Preventative Medicine

We believe that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We want to support our clients to take action during times of good health and work to prevent long term illness. We spend so much time investing for retirement it only makes sense to invest a little in your health along the way.

We offer the following preventative wellness packages:

  1. Executive Preventative Health Assessment: Includes a full head to toe physical exam and laboratory screening tests. May test for: blood cell disorders, liver dysfunction, kidney problems, thyroid dysfunction, high cholesterol, inflammation, vitamin D deficiency, and gender specific tests such as prostate markers (PSA) , testosterone deficiency and other hormones. Includes wellness plan to prevent illness and support healthy aging. 
  2. Preventative Cardiovascular Health Assessment. Involves cardiovascular exam along with an advanced biomarker risk assessment. Test for inflammation, high cholesterol (and pathogenic cholesterol particles)  and other biomarkers of cardiovascular risk. 
  3. Nutritional Deficiency Evaluation. Blood test to evaluate for imbalances of nutrients within your cells. Basic labs look for deficiencies within the blood and may miss deficiencies of nutrients within the cells and tissues.

Integrative Pain Medicine

Chronic pain is a complex, multifaceted condition. It is now becoming more accepted that an integrated approach may be an effective long term solution. What is also interesting about pain is that there does not seem to be a single treatment protocol that works for everyone. Successful pain management is often achieved when multiple providers, each with their own skill set, work together. 

Recently, AMVETS, one of the largest veterans service organizations has joined with the America Association of Naturopathic Physicians to promote the use of non-pharmacological medicines for pain sufferers. 

Naturopathic medicine is particularly effective for pain because it always attempts to uncover the underlying causes of pain. Personalized therapies may involve:

  1. Anti-inflammatory diet and supplements
  2. Functional testing 
  3. Hormone evaluation
  4. Injection therapies such as PRP prolotherapy for osteoarthritis and tendon injuries
  5. Supporting gut health to reduce inflammation
  6. Mind - body techniques
  7. much more ...

Some commonly treated chronic pain conditions include:

  1. Low back pain
  2. Joint pain
  3. Fibromyalgia
  4. IBS or digestive pain
  5. Headaches

For a non-pharmacological pain consult book and appointment with Dr. Jeffery

Restorative Hydrotherapy

Chronic stress is a major health concern in our modern, face paced world. Over time, if untreated can contribute to many chronic health conditions. Chronic stress can lead to blood sugar regulation problems, hormonal problems, headaches, inflammation and much more.

Our Restorative Hydrotherapy treatment is based on a traditional naturopathic therapy that involves the application of hot and cold to the upper body region. The contrasting effects calm the nervous system and increase circulation. Each treatment is individualized and may be accompanied with other therapies such as low volt stimulation, herbal medicine, spinal manipulation, localized massage or essential oils. Overall it is a gentle, safe and restorative therapy. 

Its therapeutic potential is broad and it is useful for:

  1. Chronic stress
  2. Improve energy and overall vitality
  3. Pain
  4. Immune support
  5. Supportive care during cold and flu
  6. Sleep problems
  7. Digestive concerns
  8. Support during our detox programs 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Is it the bugs within?

Irritable bowel syndrome is a common misunderstood condition. There is a stigma regarding IBS as being mainly an emotional condition. Research is now showing that this is no longer the case. Although emotions can contribute, IBS is much more complex. 

Ones intestinal bacteria may be a major factor for many IBS patients. Researchers are now finding that many people with IBS symptoms may have an overgrowth of bacteria in their small intestine. We call this condition SIBO which stands for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. It can present as major gas and bloating often following a meal high in certain sugars. These sugars feed the bacteria leading to bloating. 

Other non-intestinal symptoms often associated with SIBO are chronic pain, fatigue, brain fog or depression. 

A simple breath test can be performed to determine if your GI symptoms are due to SIBO. Based on the results, a treatment protocol can be performed to treat it. If you suffer from IBS or suspect you may have SIBO book an appointment with Dr. Jeffery to discuss your options.

Functional Laboratory Medicine

Standard blood tests can be viewed from both a functional or pathological perspective.

Primary care doctors (including NDs) first view blood tests from a pathological perspective. This is an important tool for the screening of major illnesses or pathology. These test are often referred to as the CBC, CMP, Lipid and Thyroid panel.

A functional blood assessment should not be confused from the standard pathological assessment. Functional blood analysis allows one to evaluate for underlying imbalances interfering with optimal functioning. Iron deficiencies, B vitamin and folic acid deficiencies, inflammation and much more can be uncovered by connecting symptoms with non-pathogenic / functional patterns on standard blood labs.

This can also help focus treatment and assist to narrow down the many contributing factors involved in established chronic disease. Functional medicine analysis provides clues into nutritional deficiencies, metabolic function, inflammation and sub clinical conditions (such as thyroid and adrenal gland imballance. Therefore its also great for wellness care and can be used to optimize health. 

Since these tests are commonly ordered by primary care doctors, chances are you have a recent one available. They can be printed from your LifeLab portal and brought in on your next visit for functional evaluation by Dr. Jeffery.

art designed by freepik.com

6 Surprising Causes of Inflammation and Pain

Aches and pains are the body's way of telling us that something is wrong. Pain is a symptom of inflammation and simply taking a drug or natural anti inflammatory will not cure it. With acute trauma, the source of pain is obvious. With chronic pain you need to look for the underlying causes of the inflammation.

Here is our top 6 causes of inflammation that are all too often overlooked.

  1. Poor quality sleep
    • Anything that interferes with sleep can be driving inflammation. Sleep apnea is one condition that may remain undiscovered and drive inflammation for a long time before diagnosis. 
  2. Gastrointestinal dysfunction
    • Gluten and processed food are two dietary factors contributing to a "leaky gut". When GI integrity is compromised foreign particles can enter into our blood which stimulates one's immune system to generate inflammatory mediators. 
  3. Undiscovered dental infections may be hiding within a tooth or below the gums.
  4. Too much stress and no relaxation
    • Stress comes in many forms. It may produce inflammation due to the physical wear and tear of our tissues. Emotional stress can influence hormone levels or prevent one from sleeping, both drive inflammation. 
  5. Dietary factors
    • The average western diet is often low in good fats and high in bad fats. Good fats like fish oil (rich in omega 3) are anti inflammatory. Bad fats found in many animal products (high in omega 6) are pro inflammatory.
    • Other factors such a sugar and processed foods also contribute to inflammation. 
  6. Hormones
    • After menopause there is a decrease in the level of estrogen which has anti-inflammatory properties. 

The naturopathic approach always attempts to seek the root cause of disease while treating the symptoms using the most non-invasive therapies. 

Chronic pain is a complex condition involving many factors that are not discussed above. An integrative approach involves the incorporation of multiple modes of therapy. Therefore a through investigation including a detailed history, complete physical exam and diagnostic or functional testing is always recommended. 

Is Naturopathic medicine covered by insurance?

Yes. Naturopathic medicine is reimbursed through your extended health insurance. The amount of coverage varies depending on your plan but it is generally in the region of $200 - $500 per year. For most people this is plenty for high quality primary care, natural medicine and wellness from a Naturopathic doctor.

To make things a little easier, I currently submit eligible insurance claims on behalf of my clients to the following companies:

  1. Pacific blue cross
  2. Telus e-Health 
    1. Chambers of commerce group insurance
    2. Cowen
    3. Desjardins Insurance
    4. Great-West Life
    5. Industrial alliance
    6. Johnson Inc.
    7. Manulife Financial
    8. Maximum Benefit or Johnston Group
    9. Standard Life
    10. Sun Life Financial

If you are covered by another insurance provider, please contact them directly before your first visit to ensure coverage.

* If you are eligible for MSP premium you may be reimbursed $23 for a maximum of 10 visits per year.

* All clients can opt to pay their entire bill and submit a receipt for reimbursement. It is generally a fast an easy process.

*All direct claim submissions must be done after the visit while you are still at the office and any remaining balance paid in full.

Regards,

Nathan Jeffery, ND

The Many Functions of Vitamin D

It is well known that vitamin D is important for bone health. Vitamin D has a vast array of other functions important for overall good health. In fact, almost all tissues have vitamin D receptors which likely reflects its importance. 

Vitamin D is made when UV light from the sun comes into direct contact with our skin. We can obtain small amounts from foods such as fish, mushrooms and dairy products. Ultimately, to maintain healthy levels of vitamin D you have to have direct sun exposure. As we age, our ability to make vitamin D by our skin decreases, leading to increased rates of deficiency. Factors such as job and geographic location also commonly lead to deficiencies. We also live in environments and wear clothing that is designed to shield us from UV light, further complicating the situation. In these populations supplementation may be needed. 

Low vitamin D levels have been associated with many chronic disease such as hypertension, multiple sclerosis, dementia and depression. This may be a reason for the increased rates of depression during the dark winter months. In the elderly, low levels have been associated with increased number of bone fractures. One reason for this may be due to poor bone health or osteoporosis. However, researchers are now finding that deficient elderly have higher fall rates which is likely more significant reason for fractures. We still do not know exactly how vitamin D decreases fall rates but studies suggest that it may be due to its role in maintaining healthy brain function required for balance and coordination.

Although it is generally safe, it can build up in our tissues leading to toxic levels if taken for long periods of time or at high doses. Because of this, vitamin D levels should be checked by your doctor. Checking vitamin D levels will help determine the dose and severity of a deficiency.

Vitamin D research is a rapidly expanding and fascinating field. In future posts discuss the many other roles of Vitamin D in health and disease. 

Get your vitamin D levels checked now by Dr. Jeffery.


references

Annweiler, C., & Beauchet, O. (2014). Vitamin D in older adults: the need to specify standard values with respect to cognition. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 6, 72. 

Annweiler, C., Karras, S. N., Anagnostis, P., & Beauchet, O. (2014). Vitamin D supplements: a novel therapeutic approach for Alzheimer patients. Experimental Pharmacology and Drug Discovery, 5, 6. 

Balion, C., Griffith, L. E., Strifler, L., Henderson, M., Patterson, C., Heckman, G., … Raina, P. (2012). Vitamin D, cognition, and dementia. Neurology, 79(13), 1397–1405. 

Bishnoi, R. J., Palmer, R. F., & Royall, D. R. (2014). Vitamin D Binding Protein as a Serum Biomarker of Alzheimer’s Disease. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease: JAD

Kongsbak, M., von Essen, M., Levring, T., Schjerling, P., Woetmann, A., Odum, N., … Geisler, C. (2014). Vitamin D-binding protein controls T cell responses to vitamin D. BMC Immunology, 15(1), 35. 

Littlejohns, T. J., Henley, W. E., Lang, I. A., Annweiler, C., Beauchet, O., Chaves, P. H. M., … Llewellyn, D. J. (2014). Vitamin D and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer disease. Neurology, 10. 

Pludowski, P., Holick, M. F., Pilz, S., Wagner, C. L., Hollis, B. W., Grant, W. B., … Soni, M. (2013). Vitamin D effects on musculoskeletal health, immunity, autoimmunity, cardiovascular disease, cancer, fertility, pregnancy, dementia and mortality-a review of recent evidence. Autoimmunity Reviews, 12(10), 976–989. 

Schlogl, M., & Holick, M. F. (2014). Vitamin D and neurocognitive function. Clinical Interventions in Aging, 9, 559–568. 

Wobke, T. K., Sorg, B. L., & Steinhilber, D. (2014). Vitamin D in inflammatory diseases. Frontiers in Physiology, 5

It may be time for a sitting break!

We spend more time sitting then ever before. Most people have assumed that the poor health effects of sitting are due to the decrease in activity. Although this is true, there is likely more to the story. Sitting may be an independent risk factor for chronic disease. 

A recent study found that sitting over 4 hours per day was linked to chronic illnesses, like diabetes. Interestingly this was independent of physical activity level or other factors. This link doesn't tell us exactly why sitting is a risk factor, but only that there is a strong correlation. More research needs to be done, but it is possible that a decrease in circulation from prolonged sitting could be a factor. This is an important new finding because it suggests that sitting for long periods, then going to the gym, no matter how intense, may not be enough! 

These findings highlight the importance of taking regular breaks from sitting throughout the day, especially if you have a job which requires you to sit at a desk. This is obviously easier said than done. Timers or apps are the most inexpensive way to remind you to stand up and move around. Another, more expensive, option is to purchase an adjustable standing desk, so you can easily change from sitting to standing throughout the day.

So the next time you total your daily steps on your electronic counter, think about ways to decrease your sitting time as well!

Reference

George, E. S., Rosenkranz, R. R., & Kolt, G. S. (2013). Chronic disease and sitting time in middle-aged Australian males: findings from the 45 and Up Study. The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 10, 20.