How To Manage Anxiety Naturally

Alexis Reid



18% of adults suffer from anxiety in a given year. This video discusses the cause of anxiety and natural treatment options

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The Use Of Sunscreen In Babies Under 6 Months

Alexis Reid

 

Are natural sunscreens safe in babies under the age of 6 months? Join Dr Alexis Reid, chemical engineer, toxicologist and naturopathic doctor as she explains the reasons why a zinc oxide based sunscreen can be used in babies under six months 


www.ecochicmovement.com

http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm309136.htm

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The Thyroid: You Body's Master Metabolism Controller

Alexis Reid

 Many people think that losing weight is a simple matter of taking in less energy (calories) than you expend. While calories consumed and used are a key to weight loss they are not the only factors. Hormonal balance is key to help achieve lasting weight loss. One of the key hormones involved in weight loss are regulated by the thyroid gland.

Thyroid disorders are the second most common endocrine (hormonal) disorder after diabetes. It is estimated that 10% of the North American population is suffering from a thyroid condition. The news only gets worse for post menopausal women, when rates go up to 20%. This increase is post menopausal women is likely due to the influence of estrogen and progesterone on thyroid hormone. Post partum is also a trying time for the thyroid, and many women will experience symptoms of hypothyroidism.

The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland that is at the base of throat, approximately just below the Adam’s apple on a man. It’s main function is to be the master controller of the metabolism.  The thyroid works in a feedback loop process. The thyroid gland gets a signal from the brain (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone- TSH) to release it hormones, primarily thyroxine (T4) and also some Triiodothyronine (T3). The T4 that was released than travels in the blood and gets back to the brain to tell it that the thyroid is responding and it can stop releasing TSH. If for some reason the thyroid gets the “message” from the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone but doesn’t release T4 and T3, then the brain keep pumping out more TSH to try and make the thyroid listen up and respond. This is what is happening when someone has Hypothyroidism. It can be confusing because even though it is HYPOthyroidism, the TSH is high. It is considered to be hypothyroidism because the levels of the thyroid hormones T3 and T4 are lower than they should be. This is the most common kind of thyroid disorder.

Lab Tests:

TSH: first line testing, done to try and determine is the thyroid is responding properly to its stimulus.

T3 and T4: the “active” forms of thyroid hormone, T3 is much more active than T4

Reverse T3:  Sometimes, especially when the body is under stress instead of converting T4 to the more active T3, it will convert it to reverse T3, an inactive form of T3.

Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPO): These are antibodies present within the body that work against the enzyme that helps convert T4 to T3. These are commonly seen when someone has an auto immune destruction of the thyroid gland (called Hashimoto’s disease) or post partum.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

There are many symptoms, but the most common are:

-weight gain

-fatigue

-constipation

-dry skin/hair, thinning hair

-depression and decreased concentration/memory

-irregular periods

-cold hands and feet

-elevated cholesterol

Treatment Options

1) Synthroid/Levothyroxine: Supply the body with the inactive hormone T4. This is a good solution if your problem is that your body is not responding to its TSH stimulus and releasing T4. If however, your problem is with the conversion of T4 to T3, this will not be of much help. This is the reason that many people who are on synthroid do not find an improvement in their symptoms, even though their TSH levels improve

2) Iodine: is a nutrient essential in the product of thyroid hormone. Three iodine molecules are addd to make  T3 (Triiodothyronine) and four are added to make T4 (thyroxine). Iodine deficiency can lead to hypothyroidism. In many areas of the world, particularly the Great Lakes region, the soils are deficient in iodine. This is the reason salt was iodized. However, many people are now eating sea salt, which is not iodized. On the contrary too much iodine can also be harmful to the thyroid, leading to hyperthyroidism. For this reason, iodine supplementation should be done under the supervision of your Naturopathic Doctor.

3) Selenium and Zinc: trace minerals required in the production of thyroid hormone. Slenium is required for the conversion of T4 to T3

4) Tyrosine: an amino acid that is necessary for thyroid hormone synthesis. Tyrosine is also required for cortisol synthesis, which the body selectively makes over thyroid hormone. This is one of the biochemical links between stress and thyroid dysfunction

5) Botanicals: There are many herbs that can help with thyroid function including but not limited to Bladderwrack, Blue Iris, Guggul, Nettle, and Ashwagandha

6) Food Sensitivities: sensitivities to foods create an auto immune reaction in the body which can be detrimental to the thyroid. People with thyroid problems should avoid goitrogens (cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, millet, soy). Gluten has also been shown to be linked to hypothyroidism.

7) Adrenal Health: Stress has a negative impact on the thyroid gland, and also on the adrenal glands. IN practice, it is often seen that once someone’s adrenal glands are well supported that their thyroid starts responding better

8) Hormonal Balance: progesterone makes thyroid receptors more sensitive to thyroid hormone. It is essential to establish the proper balance between estrogen and progesterone for thyroid health.

Speak to your Naturopathic Doctor about getting your thyroid functioning optimally.

Talk Soon,

Dr Alexis

 

Dr Alexis practices at Life Therapies in Ottawa. Contact www.lifetherapies.ca or call 613.422.8939 to schedule your appointment.

Naturopathic Medicine is covered by most extended health insurance benefits.

 

 

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Are your batteries running low?

Alexis Reid

What are our batteries- The Adrenal Glands

The adrenal glands sit on top of both of your kidneys, and are little hormone factories. There are two parts of the adrenal glands; the cortex and the medulla. The cortex produces over 30 different steroid hormones most importantly cortisol (the stress hormone), aldosterone (helps regulate blood pressure), pregnenolone (sex hormone precursor), progesterone (female hormone) and DHEA (female health, memory). The medulla produces epinephrine and norepinephrine, which are responsible for our “fight or flight” response.  Even though your adrenal glands are only the size of a walnut, the hormones they secrete have an effect on every system in the body.

The adrenal glands help us adapt to stress in three stages

Stage 1: Alarm Stage- this is where the fight or flight response comes in.  When a significant stress is registered by the body it goes on full alert and releases extra stress hormones (especially cortisol). After the threat has been removed the body goes back to its normal state. This would be considered a normal stress response

Stage 2: Resistance- when someone is under constant stress their adrenal glands have to remain on high alert all the time. This results in the adrenal glands secreting too much of the stress hormone cortisol. The body is not able to properly adapt to other threats and this leads to increased illnesses or colds/flus that you “can’t seem to shake”

Stage 3: Exhaustion- when the body has been on “high alert” for too long, or if too many things have been causing stress, the body can lose its ability to adapt.  This is likened to the batteries running out.  The body cannot respond to any additional stressors. People are more susceptible to colds, flus and other illnesses and may suffer from extreme fatigue

What are Stressors

I find many patients, when first questioned, report not being stressed. The more questions I ask however, the more sources of stress I seem to uncover in people’s lives. Sources of stress on the body take on many different forms. It seems that very few people in today’s society are immune to the effects of stress.  Stress comes in many different forms. Some common stressors that people may tend to over look are:

1) Nutritional Stress- from eating food that is not nutrient dense (junk food), or foods that you are sensitive to

2) Chemical Stress- happens from exposing the body to excess chemicals that the liver has to work hard to detoxify

3) Overexercising- exercise is great in moderation. When we exercise too much it causes the body to release excess cortisol, which can lead to resistance and exhaustion

4) Feeling Like There is Not Enough Time- having to rush through every task in the day to get things done puts a large strain on the body

5) Strained Relationships- living in a house where it is not peaceful and a place that you can relax and be yourself

6) Not Having Downtime- everyone needs time to rest and recharge

7) Lack of Sleep- sleep deprivation causes excess cortisol to be secreted.

Illnesses Connected to Adrenal Fatigue

-insomnia

-hormone imbalances (PCOS, difficult menopause, PMS, thyroid)

-gastrointestinal issues (IBS, heartburn)

-obesity and cardiovascular disease

-anxiety/depression

-frequent infections

-metabolic syndrome and diabetes

What Can You Do?

1) Carve out 20 minutes a day for relaxation and deep breathing

2) Exercise in moderation (cardio sessions kept under 1 hr)

3) Eat plenty of nutrient dense fruits and vegetables

4) Do not skip meals (blood sugar being unregulated is a big stressor on the body)

5) Limit alcohol and caffeine intake

6) Consider supplementing with a B complex and Vitamin C (both are used in the formation of adrenal hormones)

7) There are many herbs that help support the adrenal glands. Speak to a professional to find out which ones are best for you

One of the first steps is recognizing your stressors and acknowledging the negative effect that they are having on your body.

Want help getting your adrenals back on track? Dr Alexis sees patients at Life Therapies in Westboro. Call 613.422.8939 or visit www.lifetherapies.ca to book your appointment 

 

Dr Alexis Reid, ND, MSc., BASc

 

 

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CTV News Ottawa

Alexis Reid
Ottawa Regional Contact with Dr. Alexis Reid
http://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=319689

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CTV News Ottawa

Alexis Reid

CTV Morning Live with Dr. Alexis Reid.

 

http://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=361958

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Greenwashing- What it is, and how you can avoid it

Alexis Reid

Greenwashing- What is it?!

Watch this video to learn more:

Greenwashing is a hot buzz word in the world of natural skin care. What is greenwashing? It’s the false portrayal of a product as natural when it is not. While you might wonder how this can happen, it is quite easy to do so in North America as there is currently no legislation surrounding the word natural. What this means is as long as there is any natural ingredient in the product it can be labelled as natural.

Recently, large companies have been coming out with “naturals” lines of products, the consumers have been demanding it. It is quite easy for them to take advantage of this lack of legislation. By looking closely at ingredient lists, it is often the case that the product contains 19 chemical ingredients and the last ingredient on the list is green tea extract. This is enough for the product to be labelled as natural, when it is not natural at all!

 

This creates a definite challenge for consumers who are trying to make safe, non-toxic choices when it comes to their skin care products. This is the reason why it is important to purchase products from brands that are trustworthy and are founded on the premise of providing safe, non-toxic products. Brands that are providing “naturals” options simply because that is the way the market is heading to not have the same level of dedication to ensuring that the products are non-toxic.

Bottom Line

-The easiest way to avoid being “greenwashed” is to do a little research on the company you are interested in purchasing from and determine the “why” behind their product formulations.

 

In regards to Eco Chic Movement products, they are made without the use of artificial preservatives and are 100% chemical free. I do get questions from consumers who are confused and think that the preservative agents salicylic acid, sorbic acid, benzyl alcohol and vegetable glycerin are chemically based. They are not. This combination of ingredients is plant based and broad spectrum against bacteria, yeasts and moulds. This preservative meets all global standards (ex European Union, which has the most stringent cosmetic laws) as a safe and chemical free preservation agent.

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Laser Therapy- for your aches, pains and skin issues

Alexis Reid

Laser therapy can sound like a scary thing! When I first thought about Laser's I thought about surgery and laser pointers!

This type of  laser therapy is called Low Level Laser Therapy, it converts light energy into chemical energy without heating the skin. It works by increasing the amount of ATP (energy) in the tissues you are trying to target. This means it has a host of conditions that it can be beneficial for including

  • Sprains/strains
  • Post surgical swelling and wound healing
  • Scars
  • Tendinitis
  • Psoriasis
  • Eczema
  • Acne

Check out my video to learn more about what the laser can do for you!

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Natural Solutions to Pregnancy’s Problems

Alexis Reid

When a woman is pregnant it is thought to be one of the happiest times of her life! While this may be true, it is hard be happy if you are feeling miserable. For those out there who are new to naturopathic medicine, it is a great time to give it a try seeing as you cannot take most conventional drugs now anyways!

There are a few vitamins that have received a lot of press for their importance in pregnancy. Folic acid is well known to reduce neural tube defects when taken before conception and during the first trimester.  A study which appeared in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology found that taking a prenatal vitamin was associated with a 48% reduction in neural tube defects, 39% reduction in cardiac deformities, 47% decrease in limb deformities, 58% decrease in cleft palate, and a 52% decrease in urinary tract defects (J. Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2006 Aug: 28(8): 680-9).

Morning sickness is something that 50-80% of pregnant women will experience and it can be quite disruptive to their lives. It is thought to be due to the rapidly increasing levels of estrogen. Naturopathic treatment approaches include acupuncture to PC 6 (on the wrist about 1-2 inches up from where the wrist connects with the forearm) , herbs such as ginger, chamomile and peppermint which can help to optimize digestion, tight blood sugar regulation through frequent eating of small protein rich meals and avoidance of food triggers. Vitamin B6 and magnesium can also help but, especially during pregnancy, you should consult your naturopathic doctor before starting any supplements or herbs.

Pregnancy Related Conditions that can be helped with Naturopathic Medicine

First Trimester

-Morning Sickness

-Miscarriage (through optimizing hormone levels)

-Fatigue

-Constipation

 

Second Trimester

-Iron deficiency anemia

-Heartburn

-Insomnia

-Gestational diabetes

 

Third Trimester

-Urinary tract infections

-Hemorrhoids

Breech, transverse or posterior positions

-Labour and delivery preparation

-Labour induction

 

Acupuncture

A mostly unknown area of naturopathic medicine in pregnancy is with breech, transverse and posterior positions. Most babies settle down into the head down or cephalic position in the 8thmonth of pregnancy. If your baby not head down by 36 weeks, the midwife or doctor will offer you a chance to have them turned head down manually, called an external cephalic version (ECV). ECV is more likely to be successful if this is the mother’s second (or more!) baby.  Another option is acupuncture and moxibustion. Moxibustion is the use of the incense like herb Artemesia that is held over specific acupuncture points. (I know what you are thinking….sounds a little crazy, but it works!).  A recent study using acupuncture and moxibustion at the acupuncture point BL 67 resulted in a 75% improvement in baby’s positioning to “head down”. (Acupunct Med 2013; 31:5-6).

Acupuncture is also used in practice to help reduce the back pain of early labour, typically when the baby is in a posterior position. Gentle labour inductions are also something that can be achieved with acupuncture. Starting at 36 weeks, the mother undergoes acupuncture that helps prepare the body for birth, and can help kick start things.

Were there a lot of things in the world of pregnancy and naturopathic medicine you didn’t know about before? That’s what I am here for J

As always, if you have any questions/comments feel free to post them below.

 

Talk Soon,

Dr Alexis

Dr Alexis practices at Life Therapies in Ottawa. Contact www.lifetherapies.ca or call 613.422.8939 to schedule your appointment.

Naturopathic Medicine is covered by most extended health insurance benefits.

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