What’s up with Bee Pollen?

Hey there,
I’ve never taken bee pollen as a supplement however a number of patients have mentioned it over the years so I wanted to see what was up with Bee Pollen?

What is Bee Pollen?

Bee pollen is considered a highly nutritious food because it contains a balance of vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, enzymes, and essential amino acids.
Pollen comes from various plants, including buckwheat, maize, pine (songhaufen), rape, and typha (puhuang)
It’s not the same things as  bee venom, honey, and royal jelly.
Bee pollen contains more amino acids and vitamins than many other amino acid-containing products like beef, eggs, or cheese.

Bee Pollen Uses

Orally, bee pollen is used for general nutrition, as an appetite stimulant, to improve stamina and athletic performance, for premature aging, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), hay fever or allergic rhinitis, mouth sores, rheumatism, painful urination, prostate conditions, and radiation sickness. It is also used orally for weight loss and obesity, bleeding problems including coughing or vomiting blood, bloody diarrhea, nosebleed, cerebral hemorrhage, and menstrual problems. Bee pollen is also used for gastrointestinal (GI) problems including constipation, diarrhea, enteritis, colitis, as a general tonic, diuretic, and for alcohol intoxication.

Topically, bee pollen is used for skin care in skin softening products, and for treating eczema, pustular eruptions, and diaper rash.

 

Safety of Bee Pollen

Bee pollen has been safely used in clinical trials lasting up to 30 days. So that means if you’re using it longer than a month – consult your health care provider and consider cycling on and off of it. Alternating with other products.
There is some concern that bee pollen might have uterine stimulant effects so you may want to avoid it during your period as it might cause a heavier flow. And you probably want to stay away from it if you’re pregnant.
Preliminary evidence suggests that a specific combination product seems to decrease some symptoms of PMS including irritability, weight increases, and edema when given over a period of 2 menstrual cycles.

Dosing of Bee Pollen

An initial theoretical dose is 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon, once per day. The dosage may be gradually increased to 1-2 teaspoons one to three times per day (anecdotal). A spoonful at breakfast, preferably taken with a piece of fruit: the fruit fibers (raw hemicellulose) reinforce the activity of the fresh pollen.

Adverse effects

Hypersensitivity to pollens included in commercial preparations has been observed. Symptoms include allergic reactions such as gastrointestinal upset, rash, erythema, asthma, hay fever, nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. So start small especially if you have allergies or are sensitive to other products.

Pollen Allergies?

Bee pollen supplements can cause serious allergic reactions in patients who are allergic to pollen. Allergic reactions can include itching, swelling, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, and anaphylaxis.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about it, you probably want to chat with your health care provider to double check it’s for you. And then start small.
And if you’re struggling with any of these health conditions we mentioned above, book a free meet the doctor visit with one of us to see how we can help.
Talk soon,
Dr. Whitney
Source – Natural Medicines Database

Healthy Immune System for Kids

Hey there,

Here’s a quick video I did for you moms and dads out there who want to keep your kids as healthy as possible this winter. A few quick tips to keeping them out of the walk-in clinic.

And if they do get sick, there are lots of different things we can do with natural remedies to get them better faster and prevent the next cough, cold or flu.


Talk soon,

Whitney

Superbaby & Supermom Mentor

What Are Thyroid Antibodies?

thyroid antibodies

What Are Thyroid Antibodies?

Unless you’ve been in a biology or immunology class recently, you may not be familiar with antibodies. Antibodies are a normal part of our immune system. Your body makes them in order to “tag” or “mark” foreign bacteria or viruses that are harmful. Once tagged, your immune system can recognize these foreign invaders and fight them off.

The antibodies that occur in Hashimoto’s Disease (or any other autoimmune disease) are different. They are AUTO-antibodies. Which means that they are ‘marking’ your own thyroid tissue. This isn’t good – we don’t want your immune system attacking your own body!

Essentially, elevated thyroid antibodies indicate that your immune system has targeted the thyroid gland for destruction. Over time, this can damage your thyroid tissue and make it impossible for your body to produce its own hormones.

What do Thyroid Antibodies Mean? 

Thyroid antibodies are the most important tests to diagnose Hashimoto’s disease. If you test positive for one or both of these antibodies, you have Hashimoto’s disease.

  1. Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPOAb) – present in approximately 90% of those with Hashimoto’s disease
  2. Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb) – present in approximately 80% of those with Hashimoto’s disease.

If you haven’t already done so, I recommend testing your antibodies if you already have or suspect hypothyroidism. Hashimoto’s disease isn’t just hypothyroidism – it’s an autoimmune disease, and needs to be treated as an autoimmune disease!

The First Thing You Should Do When You Find Out You Have Thyroid Antibodies…

It’s important to know that Hashimoto’s disease does have a genetic link. So, it’s very common to see Hashimoto’s present in multiple family members (typically females). For that reason, when I have a patient with positive antibodies one of the first things I tell them is to talk to their family. Tell your mother, sisters, daughters, and aunts to have their thyroid antibodies tested as well, especially if they already know they have low thyroid function. The sooner we can identify antibodies and regulate the immune response, the more likely it is that we will be able to prevent damage to the thyroid gland. BUT, just because a relative has Hashimoto’s doesn’t mean you’re destined for it too. Genes only play a part of the picture!

Have more questions about thyroid antibodies? Let me know!

Dr. Katie Rothwell, ND

 

How To Exercise For Your Thyroid

how to exercise thyroid

Is your current exercise routine sabotaging your thyroid health?

If you have a thyroid condition, you may be experiencing one or more of the following when it comes to exercise:

  • You’re exhausted and can’t imagine attempting exercise or even making it to the gym
  • You’re making exercise a regular habit but you find that it takes you forever to recover and you experience lots of muscle or joint pain afterward
  • You’re working out like crazy and are beyond frustrated that your best efforts at the gym aren’t getting you any closer to your goals

If any of the above sounds familiar, read on!

Hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s Disease can make exercise a challenge. Why? A low thyroid also means a low metabolism. Even if you’re taking medication and your thyroid labs are “normal” your metabolism could still be suffering.

First and foremost is to make sure your thyroid labs (especially your free T3) are optimal so you have the stamina and energy to make it through your day AND get some exercise in. With optimal labs you will also recover faster from exercise and experience less muscle and joint pain.

Secondly, (and this is the important part!) the type and length of exercise can make a big difference for hypothyroid folks.

Did you know that high intensity or extended periods of exercise can actually lower your Free T3 (your most active thyroid hormone) and increases your Reverse T3?

This combination is like a big brake pedal for your thyroid gland telling it so slooow down. For people with low thyroid function, this is the opposite of what we want!

Here are some questions to ask yourself to help decide if your current exercise plan is right for you:

  1. How do you feel during exercise?
    If at any time you feel dizzy, lightheaded or fatigued during exercise it may be too strenuous.
  2. How do you feel after?
    After exercise, you should feel energized and upbeat due to the positive endorphins that are released with physical activity. If you’re feeling sore, exhausted, or like you need a nap, you may need to dial back the intensity of your workouts.
  3. Could you do the same exercise again?
    If the answer is yes, you’re exercising at the sweet spot of intensity (not too low and not too high)
  4. Do you enjoy it?
    Please, pick something you actually enjoy! Exercise doesn’t have to mean slugging it out at the gym day after day. Walking, hiking, yoga, biking, karate, swimming or mowing the lawn are all wonderful ways to move your body.

Here are my general recommendations on how to exercise for your thyroid:

  • Keep your exercise at a low to moderate intensity (less than 75% of your maximum heart rate) for approximately 30-40 minutes.
  • Avoid high-intensity cardio or extended periods of exercise. Don’t over do it – your body will interpret this as stress and will slow down your metabolism even more to conserve energy. Exercises to think twice about would include marathons, high-intensity spinning, or aggressive HIIT training.
  • Build muscle! Cardio is not king in the thyroid world. More muscle = better metabolism.
  • Listen to your body. If you feel good both during and after exercise, it’s likely a good choice for you.

Have questions? Book your Free Thyroid Assessment to learn more!

Dr. Katie Rothwell, ND

References:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16175498

Give up the Diets, not your Health

I was talking to a woman the other day who was so frustrated with her body.

“I just can’t lose this weight! I’ve done EVERY diet imaginable, it just won’t move. If anything I keep getting fatter!”, she said.  So I asked her, “Have you considered giving up the diets?” She looked at me with a sad sigh and responded “I’d love to. They don’t work. But what else can I do? My health is too important to me”.

One of the biggest objections to the #bodypositive movement was expressed by this woman. People believe that by giving up dieting and reclaiming their lives that they have to abandon their health.

It’s not true! Let me tell you why.

Body Positivity in the Media

Giving up the food rules is one of the ten principles of Intuitive Eating. Unfortunately, that’s often the only principle that people see on social media or blogs. Body loving coaches come out all ‘rah rah rah – screw the rules, eat the cake!’. And so, it goes.

Now look, the body positive movement is important for many social and political reasons. And I support it fully and completely. It’s what’s bringing attention to the fatphobic world that we live in, how women of size are being portrayed as weak and disgusting, and it’s shining light on the important topic of weight-bias in medicine. It is not a movement about health. It’s a movement about basic human rights. But that doesn’t mean that you have to abandon your health goals to be a part of this historic movement.

What about Intuitive Eating?

Intuitive Eating isn’t just a buzz word. It’s a modeled process with scientific validity. To date there are over 75 studies looking at the merits of Intuitive Eating. Here are the highlighted benefits compared to the diet/restrict models:

  • increased self-esteem and self-acceptance
  • more consistent physical activity
  • decreased binge eating and other disordered eating habits
  • improved blood pressure
  • improved cholesterol levels (LDL, HDL and triglycerides)
  • weight maintenance or weight loss*

*I struggle including weight measures and only included it to calm those who are terrified that giving up dieting means gaining weight

So what can you do to give up dieting without compromising your health?

  1. Start to follow some body positive sites and pages. Read the information about how dieting fails to address the problem and only makes matters worse. By understanding the dangers you will less tempted when you see the ‘before and after’ pictures of the latest greatest program. More of my blogs are available at www.thedietrebellion.com and on Facebook.
  2.  Learn about Intuitive Eating from the ones who created it. www.intuitiveeating.org is a site full of valuable free resources. Buy the book and read through the whole thing.
  3. Find a coach, nutritionist or naturopath who has been trained in Intuitive Eating. Yes, I’m one of them. You can book a Food Sanity Session to find out more.

No matter what, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t ditch the diets without getting fat!

Dr. Kerri Fullerton ND

 2014 May;114(5):734-60. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2013.12.024. Epub 2014 Mar 14

3 Fertility Tracking Tools

We love to work with couples trying to start their family. Whether they are about the start tracking their cycles to start getting ready to try or they’ve been trying for a few years. There are always things we can help them with.

I’ve discovered 3 favourite fertility tracking tools that I love and I share with my patients. Here they are for you.

 

The Fertility App

Ok – everyone has an app for everything. And for each patient I see, they’ve got a new app. Lots of women rely on these to tell them when their fertile days are. However the majority of women have cycles that shift and only 10% of women actually ovulate on day 14 if they have a 28 day cycle. So, that leaves a lot of room for error.

My favourite fertility app is Kindara. It’s a free one that can track your cervical fluids, temperature, your period, your other things like mood, acne, PMS symptoms. It has a chart, a daily view and will do a cycle summary so you can see the length of your cycles over the months and years you may use the app. You can also switch back and forth from tracking to get pregnant or tracking to avoid pregnancy.

 

The Fertility Book

My favourite book has been around a long time and it’s had numerous editions. This is a great starting point for you and also a good life-long resource you may want to share with your daughters one day!

Taking Charge of Your Fertility goes in depth into the fertility signs your body gives you. No one teaches you this stuff!! I think we should go to high schools and let girls know about what’s normal and what’s not.

This book describes exactly how to track with temperature, cervical fluids and cervical position. There are even pictures and many charts to compare your own with.

 

The Fertility Strips

You can spend a lot of money on ovulation predictor kits and their fancy packaging at the pharmacy. We buy these strips online in bulk and sell them at the clinic in packs of 10 for your convenience.

LH strips or ovulation predictor kits are not for everyone. Remember our motto at the clinic is to “Make a Baby Without The Crazy.” So if these little strips are making you crazy…stop. It’s ok. you don’t have to use them. Some couples love them and feel like scientists when they are doing them. Each of you is different and your journeys are all different. Do what feels right, and stop what doesn’t, and try again later if you feel like it.

 

The Fertility Doc

I love helping couples on their fertility journeys and have worked with 100s of them now in our area. I’m like an Olympic Athlete Coach – I’ve coached people who’ve been there before. Those who have won medals and walked the path you want to walk on. I can tell you about the races, the pre-qualifying meets, tests, the mental game needed and how to take care of your body throughout.

If you’d like to see how I can help with your particular situation, book a Free Fertility Introduction Session with me at the clinic.

Talk soon,
Dr. Whitney