The Goal of the Stroll

The house we grew up in backed onto this amazing park with a soccer field and my elementary school. We had this secret door through the big gate that would open up into a world of imagination, play and adventure. I have so many childhood memories that involve friends and cousins and running out through the gate to the park.

The parks and the mature trees and the friendly neighbours are what I love so much about living in my neck of the woods. I love asking my daughters about which park they want to go to and they yell “the purple park!”

What’s even better is that there are amazing health benefits from getting outside and connecting with your neighbours. As a naturopathic doctor who works with moms, babies and kids, I love sharing about all the great reasons why it’s great to get outside and chat with your neighbours.

Park Perks

Being outside in nature just makes us feel good and this is a huge area of new research because of how much time we spend indoors and in front of tech toys like iPads, phones and TV.

Being surrounded by trees, forests and outdoor spaces has numerous health benefits for you and your kids. These include:

  • Improved short-term memory
  • Restored mental energy
  • Stress-relief
  • Lower levels of inflammation
  • Better vision
  • Improved concentration
  • Sharper thinking and creativity
  • Immune system boosts
  • Improved mental health

So, just being outside among the trees of your neighbourhood can really make you feel good.

Neighbourhood Networking

The number of neighbours who we actually know has changed over the years. We spend more time indoors and the nightly news gives us lots of reasons why we should hide out at home.

However, being with others is extremely important to our health. Having a social network helps with longevity. There was a Harvard study of graduates throughout their lifespans and they found that strong relationships are the strongest predictor of life satisfaction.

A lack of social ties is associated with depression and later-life cognitive decline as well as increased mortality. This increase in mortality risk is roughly comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day. So having strong relationships is really important!

Connecting with others relieves harmful levels of stress, which can negatively affect coronary arteries, gut function, insulin regulation, and your immune system.

So, let’s get outside more, let’s start talking to our neighbours and forming those relationships with each other, we’ll feel better for it.

Dr. Whitney Young, ND

Dr. Whitney is a Naturopathic Doctor and Super Baby Coach who has a special focus on fertility, pregnancy and children’s health. She is the founder of Guiltless Grace – an online community for moms who want to ditch the Mommy Guilt!

Managing Menopause Naturally: Herbs and Hormones

I was working with a patient for many months. We were trying to get her night sweats under control so that she could sleep. The lack of sleep was disrupting her daytime life with fatigue and brain fog. After many trials with many herbs, I brought up the possibility of bioidentical hormones to manage her menopause symptoms. She wanted to know if they were safe. After reading the results of the Women’s Health Initiative study back in 2002 she had concerns. They had shown a relationship between hormones and increased cardiovascular and cancer risks.

A wonderful article published in Integrated Healthcare Practitioners goes through what we currently know about the research.

While it concludes that we need more research done, especially comparative studies, it does point to some small studies done that support the use of bioidentical hormones over synthetic versions. They show less side effects and better safety profile for bioidentical estrogen and progesterone.

So what order should therapies occur in to treat menopause symptoms naturally?

  1. Follow good nutritional guidelines – a whole food, plant based diet.
  2. Move your body – daily exercise is helpful for symptoms and for prevention of cardiovascular disease and fracture risk.
  3. Herbs and vitamins – often these are enough to keep symptoms at bay. Sage, Black Cohosh and Soy all have evidence to support their use.
  4. Bioidentical hormones – when other interventions cannot provide the relief needed, adding some progesterone with or without estrogen can yield fabulous results.

How long have you been suffering with menopause symptoms? Is it time to get your sleep, sex and sanity back?

To see if naturopathic medicine could help your menopause symptoms, book a free meet-the-doctor session using our online booking system, or call the office at 705-792-6717

Chickpeas and Fertility

A patient came in recently with recommendations from another doctor. These recommendations included avoidance of chickpeas. This was a surprise to me as I believed legumes in general to be supportive of fertility.

chickpeas

So off I went to do my research. Long and behold I found a study concluding that chickpeas were in fact estrogenic.

If I had stopped there, I would believe that this estrogenic activity could have a negative impact for our fertility patients. Or even recommend them for patients with a thin lining.

But I didn’t stop there. I read the entire research paper.

It said that when rats were fed 50-100mg of the isoflavones extracted from chickpea sprouts, significant estrogenic effects were observed.

A 540ml can of chickpeas is about 410g. In 100g of chickpeas, you’ll get about 10mg of isoflavones. So a can of chickpeas has about 40mg of isoflavones.

Take home message? An entire can of chickpeas does not have a dose high enough to create these effects.

The average Canadian women is 70kg. She would need to consume 3500mg of these isoflavones to have these estrogenic effects and she would have to consume it daily for at least a month. That would be 87 cans of chickpeas.

By all means ladies, continue to enjoy your chickpeas! And remember, just because they cite a research paper, doesn’t mean that it’s sound advice. Check into things for yourself.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Kerri Fullerton ND & Dr. Whitney Young ND

Exercise and Fertility

 

smashed scale

Overweight and obese women are often told to lose weight in order to improve their fertility. They are told to eat less and exercise more with the focus on losing 10% of their body weight.

They leave doctor’s offices feeling ashamed, frustrated and angry. Do these doctor’s believe that they’ve never tried that before?

We want to let these women know that they can stop focusing on the weight loss part and just focus on the exercise part.

A study published in Reprod Biomed Online, July 2014 found that obese women who exercised regularly before IVF and ICSI had not only higher pregnancy rates but also higher live birth rates.

What’s key here is that it wasn’t that these women exercised and lost weight, because they didn’t. They had a stable BMI – their weight didn’t change!!

This is so empowering for these women – they can stop weighing themselves and just move their bodies. If they move, they are successful. Nice.

Please share this with anyone you know who needs to hear this. Give these women hope and action.

Yours in health,

Dr. Kerri Fullerton ND & Dr. Whitney Young ND

 

 

Sleep and Weight Gain

sleep

So many of our patients are concerned about their weight. While most of them are searching for a diet and exercise plan to follow, we are telling them to start with a good night’s sleep. Here’s why.

According to a study published in Annals of Medicine, short sleep duration has been associated with elevated BMI. There are other studies giving even more reasons to work on getting 7-8 hours of quality sleep per night:

  • Diabetes prevention: less than 7 hrs of sleep leads to insulin resistance and leptin reduction (that means poor sugar regulation and increased appetite)
  • Stress reduction: less than 7 rs of sleep leads to elevated cortisol
  • Dementia prevention: short sleep duration is associated with greater age-related brain atrophy and cognitive decline
  • Sounding smart: higher sleep continuity (staying asleep, regular sleep/wake times) leads to better performance, inhibitory control, memory recall and verbal fluency

How do you know if your sleep isn’t ideal?

  • you wake during the night to normal household sounds (like snoring, yes)
  • it takes you more than 20 minutes to fall asleep (or you fall asleep in less than 5 minutes)
  • you wake very early in the morning and cannot fall back to sleep

What can you do?

  1. Begin a mindfulness meditation program (read our previous blog here)
  2. Go to bed at the same time each night, preferably before 11 pm
  3. Keep your room pitch black to support melatonin production

If you aren’t getting 7-8 hours of continuous sleep, consider talking to one of our doctors during a free meet-the-doctor session. There are many effective natural solutions available.

Book online, or call the office 705-792-6717

Yours in Health,

Dr. Kerri Fullerton ND & Dr. Whitney Young ND

 

Natural treatment for insomnia

We often enquire about our patients sleep as it is integral to good health. Far too often, our patients report sleep disturbance or insomnia (either being unable to fall asleep or waking in the night). So when we came across this study published in JAMA Intern Med. 2015 Feb. we had to share.

meditate to sleep

This study compared Mindfulness Meditation to Sleep Hygiene Education (the implementation of proper sleep habits like dark rooms and no TV’s).

After one year, the meditation group had significant improvement in:

  • insomnia symptoms
  • depressive symptoms
  • fatigue
  • inflammatory markers

So how do you start? Check out some of these resources and begin your mindful journey to better sleep and better health.

If you are local to Barrie and looking for classes, check out:

There is also a free online program available.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Kerri Fullerton ND & Dr. Whitney Young ND