The Impact of Proposed Changes to Natural Health Product Regulations in Canada

Natural Health Products (NHPs) have been an integral part of proactive healthcare for Canadians, regulated by the Natural and Non-Prescription Health Products Directorate (NNHPD) under the Natural Health Products Regulations (NHPR) since 2004. However, recent proposed changes by Health Canada threaten the unique regulatory framework that has made Canada a global leader in NHP regulation.

Current Regulatory Framework: Under the existing regulations, all NHPs must be approved by Health Canada before being sold in Canada, with a Natural Product Number (NPN) or Homeopathic Medicine Number (DIN-HM) indicating approval. This ensures that Canadians can trust the safety, efficacy, and quality of the products they use. The level of evidence required varies based on the nature and risk associated with the health claim.

Proposed Changes and Labeling Requirements: On July 6, 2022, Health Canada announced new labeling requirements set to take effect in 2025. The intention is to enhance clarity and reduce confusion for consumers. Unfortunately, these changes were made without considering industry feedback, leading to technical and inflexible guidance that poses challenges for brands. An Economic Impact Study revealed that these changes could lead to product withdrawals, companies leaving the Canadian market, and negative impacts on employment.

Cost Recovery Concerns: The proposed cost recovery system for NHPs, including fees for product evaluation, site licenses, and annual renewal fees, is a significant departure from the current regulatory landscape. While cost recovery is acknowledged as necessary, the proposed fees, if implemented simultaneously with new labeling requirements, could financially devastate the NHP industry in Canada, particularly small to medium-sized businesses.

Impact on the NHP Industry:

  1. Financial Strain: The proposed changes threaten the viability of many companies, potentially forcing them to shut down Canadian operations.
  2. Price Increases and Limited Availability: Brands may face dramatic price increases or withdraw from the Canadian market altogether, resulting in decreased product variety and choice.
  3. Challenges for Local Businesses:Small, local businesses may struggle to navigate complex regulations and face lengthy approval processes, leading to increased costs that they may not be able to absorb.
  4. Environmental Impact: New regulations may increase packaging, reduce recyclability, and negatively impact the environment.

In the face of these proposed changes to Natural Health Product (NHP) regulations in Canada, it’s essential for concerned individuals to take action and advocate for a balanced and reasonable regulatory approach. Here are some resources that can help you get involved and make a difference:

  1. Request an Action Kit: To actively participate in the advocacy efforts, you can request an Action Kit by visiting this link. The kit includes valuable resources such as messages and images for social media, a sample email to share with your network, and other digital assets to help build awareness in your community.
  2. Email Your Elected Member of Parliament: You can directly reach out to your elected Member of Parliament (MP) and express your concerns about the proposed changes to NHP regulations. Use the Save Our Supplements website to find resources and a template for sending an impactful email to your MP. Your voice matters, and collective action is crucial to preserving the diversity, innovation, and accessibility of Natural Health Products in Canada.If these changes are imposed, there is a risk of losing access to a variety of essential products that contribute to our well-being. All supplements may be impacted- even common items like protein powder and magnesium products, which many rely on as part of their health routines. It is vital to recognize the potential consequences and actively engage in advocacy efforts to protect the availability and affordability of these products.

By actively engaging with these resources and spreading awareness within your community, you contribute to the strength of the industry and help ensure that Canadians continue to have access to safe, effective, and diverse Natural Health Products. Advocacy is a powerful tool, and together, we can make a difference in shaping the future of NHP regulations in Canada

Vitamin D and Mood

Do you ever feel a depressed mood and low energy during the long winter months?  You are not alone!  Most Canadians will feel some degree of energy and moods changes during the winter and here’s why.

Vitamin D3 is needed for adequate production of serotonin in the brain.  The way our body produces vitamin D is through sun light exposure.  In the winter, Canadians do not receive enough sunlight to produce adequate vitamin D3.

Serotonin is the brain messenger responsible for feelings of well-being and happiness.  In winter months, there is a decrease in the amount of serotonin leading to the feelings of sadness or depression.  Serotonin is also involved in regulating appetite.  The body is continually trying to achieve balance; therefore, if the body is deficient in something, it will try to gain it somehow, usually through food. Cravings of chocolate, sweets or carbohydrates are common because it is high in tryptophan, an amino acid needed to produce serotonin.  In the winter, a person begins to subconsciously eat a diet higher in these foods as the body tries to achieve the balance it is looking for.  As a result, the poorer dietary choices associated with the decreased serotonin is responsible for weight gain.  A diet lower in nutrients coupled with weight gain contributes to feeling down, sluggish, and less energetic.

Therefore, with the lack of vitamin D3, we produce less serotonin, which leads to a depressed mood, weight gain and lower energy. Unfortunately, we can’t store vitamin D in our body so receiving plenty of sunshine in the summer, will not hold us over during the darker winter months. With lack of sun exposure in our frigid winter months, supplementation is often required to prevent deficiency and increase mood and energy.


Come check out our selection of good quality vitamin D supplements and feel better this winter!

Self Compassion in Unhealthy Circumstances

The other day I was listening to a podcast and I was struck by something the host had said


“It is healthy to be unable to adapt to unhealthy circumstances”


If you have to read that a few times to let it sink in, please do! I certainly had to rewind and listen to it again. So often, we are disappointed or hard on ourselves when we are struggling to get it all done; our workload increases, a family member falls il, we fall ill, the kids activities are at an all-time high, our relationships are suffering, we don’t have capacity to meal prep, we lean more on convenience foods, we haven’t been to the gym in weeks, etc. I’m sure you have your own list that you are tallying. During these life seasons of higher demand, our bodies can start to feel the wear and tear. Perhaps we are sleeping less, resting less or eating less of the foods that serve us well. I am a firm believer that the only thing that can make these moments worse is guilting yourself for NOT being capable of “doing it all.” So often I hear people say “I should be able to handle this, I should be able to do this, why am I failing at this?” and most times, the better question is this: Why do you think that you should be able to do this? Why do you think that you are failing?


Again, “It is healthy to be unable to adapt to unhealthy circumstances”


There are seasons of life that simply demand more and our capacity shifts. Sometimes we can change these demands by asking for help or placing strict boundaries and sometimes we simply cannot. We are humbly reminded that we are actually in the passenger seat. If you are finding yourself in a season of life where the circumstances are not conducive to health, instead of self-criticism, try self compassion. The research on self compassion and health outcomes is truly astonishing. The research on self compassion and healing burn out (the byproduct of a very prolonged and untended hectic season of life) is even more so. Here are some of my favourite free resources on self-compassion to get you started.

Probiotics, prebiotics, mood, energy, nutrition.. a little bit of everything!

We have all heard it: “You are what you eat!”, and the ongoing research is backing up what our predecessors have always known, and confirming this adage in surprising ways.


Though it may not be all that surprising anymore, as the wealth of mainstream nutritional information we have access to today, compared with 20 years ago when I started my practice, is vast.  In 2005 when I first set up my practice as a Naturopathic Doctor, I was only the 3rd in the city, the 13th in the province.

Most of my patients would look at me cross-eyed when I suggested a “probiotic” supplement, and their mouths would drop open if I went on to mention the importance of increasing fermented foods in the diet.  At the time, most people knew of “sauerkraut” and that was about it, and its reputation was tarnished, as children many of us of eastern European ancestry would have been force-fed this sour/ bitter & very smelly food by our well-meaning grandmother.


Today, we have ready access to all types of fermented foods and beverages, from the aforementioned “Kraut” – not readily available in delicious flavours from turmeric-pineapple, to dill pickle!  And probiotics are commonly listed on someone’s daily supplement regime, right beside Vitamins C and D.

That being said, there may be some of you reading this that aren’t aware of what a probiotic is, and since gut-brain health is the subject of this article, I had best explain!


A probiotic is a supplement or food that is high in beneficial bacteria.  Our gastrointestinal systems (GITs), right from our mouth to our anus, are lined with specialized bacteria, almost 6 pounds worth in our entire system!, that help us to digest food, they make vitamins for us (like Vitamin K and many of the B vitamins), they help boost our gut-related immune system, and thus help us fight infection, they metabolize fibre and create short chain fatty acids that are great for energy, maintaining a healthy weight, and keeping the lining of the gut healthy.  They also synthesize certain neurotransmitters – those chemicals that are also made in the brain – that are responsible for our mood, motivation, memory and sense of calm.


The key is.. the bacteria in our systems do all of these things, provided they are the right kinds of bacteria, and in the correct ratios.


Due to diets high in sugar, alcohol, processed foods, low in dietary fibre (the kind we get from vegetables, legumes, ground flax/ hemp/ chia and other medicinal seeds), the use of medications (particularly antibiotics, psychotropic medications, steroids, and immunosuppressants), high stress levels, and sedentary lives, our gut microbial population shifts.  And rather than be comprised of the types of bacteria that do all these wonderful things I listed above, these “good guys” are replaced by bacteria, and yeast, that secrete toxins that lead to local inflammation, and disrupt the lining of the gut.  They don’t digest our food, but rather they ferment it.  So like yeast acting on flour and sugar in your bread recipe, when we eat higher starch foods, they ferment in our guts resulting in gas, bloating, and a swollen abdomen.

Over time the gut lining breaks down (and it is important to note that this happens, even in the event we have no digestive symptoms!), allowing undigested food particles, inflammatory molecules, and microbes (bacteria, yeast, viral particles, and their toxins and genetic material) into the bloodstream, creating further inflammation within the body.  This leads to everything from joint pain, muscle aches, memory loss, low energy and fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, to depression.. and many, many more symptoms.


And the thing is, the more imbalance we have in our guts, the more gut imbalance will continue to exist, as they help determine what we crave.  Because they want to stay alive, we have a hard time staying away from sugar, chips, pop, alcohol, etc.  They are putting in their orders for their survival.  Meanwhile, we are producing fewer of the chemicals needed for mood, motivation and focus. And we are producing more stress hormones, as cortisol is used by the body to attempt to fight inflammation.  Because of this, we essentially might WANT to change, somewhere deep down inside, however we have great difficulty changing, because we have no energy or motivation with which to do so.

In other words, we are caught in a vicious cycle.

It doesn’t help that the demands of life don’t often give us the time to stop, and make the changes that are needed to get into a constructive cycle.


Much like being an alcoholic that needs to go through a detoxification process when they quit drinking, and are essentially debilitated for several days as their systems get used to being deprived of alcohol, often this sort of “break” from our lives is what we need to get ourselves out of the negative loop, and into a constructive loop.

The thing is, it is worth it!  And a constructive loop will sustain itself, just as much as a destructive one, as we begin to learn that while initially eating healthfully, taking supplements, moving our bodies, having healthy boundaries, giving up self-sabotaging strategies, disguised as soothing strategies – aka coping mechanisms, and instead turning towards nurturing strategies.  Think choosing a bubble bath over ice cream and you will have the idea.


What we seek to do as Naturopathic Doctors is to provide you the tools to break the vicious cycle, and create a constructive one – and doing so in a way that doesn’t feel overwhelming. We will often use testing methods, such a stool analysis, salivary or urinary hormone assays, urinary neurotransmitter measurements, heavy metal burden assessment, food sensitivity testing, just to name a few, in order to determine where the best place to start to get you back on track with your health!


We then look to put together a treatment plan specific to each individual, which means working with the person directly in front of us to determine how to break the cycle.  I work with people who aren’t ready to make food changes, but they are willing to do therapy, and energy work to support their nervous systems.  Then, feeling better, they are ready to embark on the nutritional changes also very much required for optimal health.


For others, they might be ready for a cleanse, and dedicated to changing their nutrition, to change their gut flora, to start craving the healthy foods, and as such balance the rest of the internal chemistry like mood and motivation.


And sometimes, supplements is where someone wants to begin in order to create the positive cycle.


It doesn’t matter where we start, just so long as we start, and if we want to make health sustainable, addressing all three aspect of the cycle: 1) coaching/ counseling/ therapy/ energy work; 2) nutrition, and 3) supplementation are fundamental.  Each feeds in to the next and before you know it you are in the groove, feeling energized, inspired, motivated and free to move.


Here are a few things you can do TODAY to get yourself on track for a thriving life:

  1. Ditch sugar (including natural sugars from honey, and maple syrup, and highly sweet/ starchy foods like dried fruit, bananas, melons, potatoes, pasta, bread, baked goods of any sort – to make sure the sugar-loving taste buds are reset), processed foods, alcohol, red meat for at least 3 weeks.
  2. Drink lots of water every day.  Half your body weight in ounces!  And make about 500 mL of it contain some sort of healthy electrolyte mix.  NOT a commercial preparation that glows in the dark, but rather an unsweetened or naturally sweetened with stevia, powder with the basics: sodium, potassium, and magnesium.
  3. Eat at least 4 cups of veggies every day: raw, and lightly steamed.  Add them to soups, stir fries, blend into smoothies, or eat them on their own, dipped in hummus or a bean dip.  Just get ‘em in!
  4. Eat at least 1/3 cup of fibre rich legumes each day, in the form of hummus, chickpeas, lentils, or another favourite bean.  They are one of the best sources of prebiotic fibre, and help to mop up toxins.
  5. Keep your starches limited to those that come from root vegetables, green leafy vegetables, non-gluten whole grains (quinoa, rice, wild rice, buckwheat).  Again, these are great for feeding the types of bacteria we WANT inhabiting our digestive systems.
  6. Eat 2 Tbsp ground flax per day, and another 2 Tbsp of another type of seed, like hemp or chia.
  7. Drizzle healthy oils from good fats like olive, avocado, flax and coconut onto your food.  And eat the food sources of those oils too!
  8. Heap several forkfuls of fermented foods onto your plate.
  10. Book an appointment with an ND!  We will get you the testing, protocol, and accountability you might need to optimize your health and life

Unveiling the Microbial World Within: How to assess the Gut Microbiome’s Impact on your Health

Deep within your body resides a hidden world teeming with trillions of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. This intricate microcosm primarily inhabits your intestines, collectively known as the gut microbiome. It’s an intricate, adaptable, and diverse ecosystem, wielding significant influence over your overall well-being. In this article, we embark on a journey into the realm of the gut microbiome, uncovering its profound impact on various facets of health.

Weight and Gut Dysbiosis:

The gut microbiome plays a pivotal role in weight regulation. Research reveals that an imbalance between beneficial and harmful gut microbes, a condition termed gut dysbiosis, can contribute to weight gain. To emphasize this connection, scientists turned to identical twins, demonstrating that differences in the microbiome were not solely due to genetics. Intriguingly, when the microbiome from a twin with obesity was transplanted into mice, these rodents gained more weight than those receiving the microbiome from the lean twin.

Gut Health:

Your gut microbiome significantly influences gut health, exerting an impact on conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Individuals with IBS often grapple with unpleasant symptoms such as bloating, cramps, and abdominal pain, driven by gas and chemical production by specific microbes. On the bright side, beneficial bacteria like Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli, found in probiotics and yogurt, can enhance gut health by sealing gaps between intestinal cells and preventing disease-causing bacteria from adhering to the intestinal wall.

Heart Health:

Surprisingly, the gut microbiome extends its influence to cardiovascular health. Some studies suggest it can elevate “good” HDL cholesterol levels and reduce triglycerides. However, an ominous twist involves unhealthy gut microbes generating trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), a substance linked to heart disease, arterial blockages, and the risk of heart attacks or strokes. These detrimental microbes convert nutrients from red meat and animal-based foods into TMAO, potentially elevating the risk of heart disease. Fortunately, certain probiotics, particularly Lactobacilli, offer potential in reducing cholesterol levels.

Blood Sugar and Diabetes:

The gut microbiome may also hold a key role in blood sugar control, subsequently influencing the risk of developing type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Emerging evidence suggests that changes in the microbiome may precede the onset of type 1 diabetes. Additionally, it’s now believed that variations in blood sugar responses to identical diets may be associated with differences in gut bacteria composition.

Brain Health:

Intriguingly, the gut microbiome’s impact isn’t confined to the gut alone; it may play a pivotal role in maintaining brain health. Specific species of gut bacteria contribute to the production of neurotransmitters in the brain. For instance, serotonin, a vital neurotransmitter influencing mood and mental well-being, is primarily synthesized in the gut. Furthermore, the extensive network of nerves connecting the gut and the brain suggests that alterations in the microbiome may influence messages transmitted to the brain. Research even indicates that individuals with psychological disorders exhibit distinct gut microbiome profiles. Although further investigation is warranted, there is promising potential for the gut microbiome to be a modifiable factor in brain health.


Cultivating a Healthy Gut Microbiome:

Nurturing a thriving gut microbiome is imperative for overall health. Consider the following strategies to support and optimize your gut microbiome:

  •  Diverse Diet: Embrace a wide range of foods, especially those rich in fiber, as they encourage the growth of beneficial Bifidobacteria. Legumes, beans, and fruits are excellent choices.
  •  Fermented Foods: Include yogurt, sauerkraut, and kefir in your diet, as they are abundant in healthy bacteria, primarily Lactobacilli. These friendly microbes can help reduce the prevalence of disease-causing microbes in your gut.
  •  Limit Artificial Sweeteners: Certain artificial sweeteners, like aspartame, can stimulate the growth of unhealthy bacteria in the gut, potentially affecting blood sugar levels.
  •  Prebiotic Foods: Consume foods rich in prebiotics, such as artichokes, bananas, asparagus, oats, and apples. Prebiotics stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut.
  •  Breastfeeding: If possible, breastfeed for at least six months, as it’s crucial for the development of a healthy gut microbiome in infants.
  •  Whole Grains: Integrate whole grains into your diet; they’re packed with fiber and beneficial carbohydrates that can benefit weight management, cancer risk, and more.
  •  Plant-Based Diet: Consider adopting a plant-based diet, as it may help reduce levels of disease-causing bacteria, lower inflammation, and decrease cholesterol.
  •  Polyphenol-Rich Foods: Foods like red wine, green tea, dark chocolate, olive oil, and whole grains are rich in polyphenols. These compounds are broken down by the microbiome to stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria.
  •  Probiotic Supplements: Probiotics, live bacteria that promote a healthy gut microbiome, can be a valuable addition to your regimen.
  •  Antibiotics When Necessary: Only take antibiotics when medically necessary, as they can disrupt the gut microbiome. It’s crucial to use them judiciously.


In essence, your gut microbiome is not a passive bystander in your body; it’s an active participant in your overall health. Although there are many ways to assess the health of your gut via a thorough medical history with your trained gut health practitioner, another option Dr. Sthamann uses in specific cases is the USBiotek stool tests.


Exploring US BioTek’s Advanced Testing Options for the Gut Microbiome


Understanding the complexities of the gut microbiome is a remarkable journey in itself, but it’s made even more fascinating by the advanced testing options offered by US BioTek. These testing methodologies provide valuable insights into the composition and function of the gut microbiome, allowing us to better comprehend its impact on our health. Let’s take a closer look at the cutting-edge testing profiles available through US BioTek via a simple at home stool sample:


The GI – Advanced Profile stands at the pinnacle of comprehensive stool testing. Building upon the Basic and Standard GI Microbiome profiles, it elevates the examination with 98 markers encompassing 15 diverse testing categories. This profile combines various testing methodologies to deliver results of unparalleled sensitivity, accuracy, and reproducibility. Here’s a glimpse of the techniques employed:


PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction): US BioTek employs real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests to qualitatively detect nucleic acid from a broad spectrum of potential troublemakers in the gut. These include parasites, bacteria, and viruses. Notably, the RT-PCR platform used is FDA-authorized and requires specialized equipment and expertise to identify DNA within cells. The PCR technique, a widely used molecular biology method, enables the amplification and detection of DNA and RNA sequences. It empowers US BioTek to precisely identify even the smallest amounts of markers within the stool, providing highly accurate, reliable, and reproducible results.


ELISA (Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay): ELISA is an established immunological technique widely employed to detect the presence of specific antibodies or antigens in a patient’s blood. What sets US BioTek’s approach apart is the use of a fully-automated protocol that utilizes advanced robotics and barcoding to track each specimen throughout the testing procedure. In this method, antigen-specific antibodies, bound to the antigen, are detected through spectrophotometric analysis, ensuring reliable and accurate results.


Macroscopy: Stool macroscopy is a technique where stool samples are visually examined to detect abnormalities such as blood, mucus, parasites, and other foreign materials. Technicians inspect stool samples for color, consistency, and any unusual features. This method provides a valuable visual perspective on the stool sample’s composition.


Culture: Stool culture is a laboratory test utilized to identify bacteria in stool specimens. A small quantity of stool is placed on a growth medium and incubated at a warm temperature. If bacteria are present, they grow and form colonies, which can then be identified based on their appearance and through biochemical tests. This method offers insights into the types of bacteria present in the gut.


But the analysis doesn’t stop there. The GI – Advanced Profile explores a wide array of markers, from key phyla and commensal abundance to parasites and worms, opportunistic bacteria, fungi and yeast, bacterial pathogens, viral pathogens, and even normal bacteria/flora. These markers paint a comprehensive picture of your gut microbiome’s health, diversity, and potential issues.

Key Phyla % Commensal Abundance

  • Bacteriodetes
  • Firmicutes
  • Firm/Bact Ratio
  • Proteobacteria
  • Actinobacteria
  • Verrucomicrobia
  • Euryarchaeota

Parasites & Worms

  • Cryptosporidium
  • Histolytica
  • Giardia Intestinalis
  • hominis
  • Fragilis
  • Endolimax nana
  • Coli
  • Hominis
  • Ascaris lumbricoides, round
  • Necator americanus,hook
  • Trichuris trichuria, round
  • Taenia species, tape
  • Vermicularis
  • Strongyloides stercoralis
  • Enterocytozoon spp
  • Hymenolepis spp

Opportunistic Bacteria

  • Bacillus sp.
  • Enterococcus faecalis
  • Enterococcus faecium
  • Morganella sp.
  • Pseudomonas sp.
  • aeruginosa
  • Staphylococcus sp.
  • aureus
  • Streptococcus sp.
  • Methanobacteriaceae
  • Desulfovibrio piger
  • Enterobacter sp.

Pot. AutoImmune Triggers

  • Citrobacter sp.
  • Citrobacter freundii
  • Klebsiella sp.
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae
  • Prevotella copri
  • Proteus sp.
  • Proteus mirabilis
  • Fusobacterium sp.

Fungi & Yeast

  • Candida sp.
  • Candida albicans
  • Geotrichum sp.
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
  • Rhodotorula sp.

Bacterial Pathogens

  • Aeromonas sp.
  • Campylobacter sp.
  • difficile, Toxin A
  • difficile, Toxin B
  • Enterohaemorrhagic E. coli
  • Enteroinvasive E. coli/Shigella
  • Enterotoxigenic E. coli LT/ST
  • Shiga-like toxin E. coli stx 1
  • Shiga-like toxin E. coli stx 2
  • Salmonella sp.
  • Vibrio spp
  • Yersinia enterocolitica
  • Helicobacter pylori PCR & EIA
  • pylori virulence factors (x8)

Viral Pathogens

  • Adenovirus 40/41
  • Norovirus GI/II
  • Rotavirus
  • Sapovirus (I,II,IV,V)
  • Astrovirus (hAstro)

Normal Bacteria/Flora

  • Bacteroides fragilis
  • Bifidobacterium sp.
  • Bifidobacterium longum
  • Enterococcus species
  • Lactobacillus species
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Clostridium sp.
  • Enterobacter sp.
  • Akkermansia muciniphila
  • Faecalibacterium prausnitzii
  • Roseburia sp.


  • Stool Colour
  • Stool Form
  • Mucous
  • Occult Blood

Short Chain Fatty Acids

  • Butyrate
  • Acetate
  • Propionate
  • Valerate

GIT Functional Markers

  • Calprotectin
  • Pancreatic Elastase
  • Secretory IgA
  • Zonulin
  • b-Glucuronidase
  • Steatocrit
  • Transglutaminase IgA

Microbial Culture Along-side PCR (Dual Method)

  • Bacteria
  • Yeasts

Antimicrobial Sensitivities 

  • Antibiotics
  • Natural
  • Antifungals
  • Natural Antifungals


In summary, US BioTek’s GI – Advanced Profile is a helpful testing option that goes above and beyond to provide a comprehensive understanding of your gut microbiome, employing cutting-edge testing methods and a wide array of markers. By offering such detailed insights into the gut, it paves the way for more personalized and effective interventions to optimize your overall health and well-being.

Food Sensitivity Testing

Have you ever wondered if the foods you are eating are causing you to feel unwell?  Testing for food sensitivities may help you find your answer.

Food sensitivities are an immune reaction triggered by food allergens causing an inflammatory response.  Your immune system may react to certain foods by creating antibodies toward that food.  Food components that cause antibodies to be released are known as antigens or allergens.  Two types of antibodies produced in response to foods are IgE (immunoglobulin E) and IgG (immunoglobulin G).

A food allergy is caused by IgE antibodies and is an immediate reaction causing the typical allergy symptoms such as difficulty breathing and hives.  On the other hand, a food sensitivity is caused by IgG antibodies and is a delayed reaction, meaning symptoms often occur hours or even days after exposure.  The delayed IgG response of food sensitivities can make it difficult to attribute a specific food to a specific symptom.  During an IgG reaction, IgG antibodies bind to food antigens creating antibody-antigen complexes.  The immune system typically removes these complexes from the body.  However, if complexes are present in high amounts and the reactive food is still being consumed, the immune system can’t remove them quick enough.  As a result, the food antigen-antibody complexes accumulate and are deposited in body tissues triggering inflammation and thus a wide variety of symptoms.


Symptoms Commonly Associated with Food Sensitivities:

  • Brain fog
  • Fatigue
  • Bloating
  • Weight Gain
  • Mood Swings
  • Joint Pain/Inflammation
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Bronchitis
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Eczema
  • Migraines
  • GI Distress
  • Stomach Pain
  • Acne
  • Autism
  • Sinus Issues
  • Depression


Food sensitivity testing measures the levels of IgG antibodies in up to 240 different foods and is a great way to help identify potential food sensitivities to individualize your nutrition plan and improve your health!

Ask your naturopathic doctor if testing for food sensitivities may be helpful for you.

Simple Supports to Survive Cold and Flu Season

Welcome to the season of the lungs! As we know, with the change of seasons, we become more vulnerable to cold and flu season. Aside from all of the other great advice and support from your naturopathic doctor, here are my favourite lifestyle recommendations to keep your lymphatic system and immune system in tip-top shape this season:

Dry Skin Brushing 

Dry skin brushing is a really amazing way to support the movement of your lymph. The benefits include: exfoliating and removing dead skin cells, stimulating and draining the lymphatic system, increasing circulation, promoting detoxification and elimination, aiding digestion, as well as strengthening the immune system.

Dry Skin Brushing Instructions:

Ideally done in the morning before you shower
use a long handled, natural bristle brush, preferably with a long handle to help with hard to reach areas of your body
Use a gentle pressure and sweep the brush in strokes or circular motions on the skin, approximately 3-5 strokes per area
Start at your feet and work your way up your legs towards the groin
The abdominal area can be treated in a clockwise motion
Then brush your hands and move up your arms, always brushing towards your heart
Avoid the face, broken skin, rashes and any other sensitive areas
Dry skin brushing is most effective before your morning shower (especially alternating hot-cold shower) and/or before you go to bed.

At least 5 minutes of skin brushing daily for 3 weeks every month is recommended.

Warming Socks Treatment

Warming socks works by stimulating the body’s natural healing responses during acute infections. This treatment encourages the body to increase overall blood circulation in order to warm up the cold socks. In doing so, it draws from areas of congestion in the upper respiratory passages, head, and throat.

As a safe treatment for the whole family, warming socks is perfect at bedtime, or nap time, as it has a soothing and sedating effect, helping you to sleep through the night even when you’re feeling under the weather.

Items needed:

1 pair of medium weight 100% cotton socks
1 pair of thick 100% wool socks
Access to cold water, maybe warm water and a towel


If your feet are cool or cold, warm them by running under warm water for a few minutes and dry off with a towel.
Soak cotton socks in cold water. Wring out excess water until wet but not dripping.
Put on wet cotton socks.
Put dry wool socks on top.
Cover well with blankets and go to bed. Stay warm in bed with feet covered overnight. When you wake in the morning, your feet will be warm and the socks will be dry.
Repeat for 3 nights in a row or as directed by your naturopathic doctor.

*Caution: People with chronic health concerns or conditions, or those with compromised immune systems, should consult with a health professional before starting the above treatments.

A Guide to Conceiving While Breastfeeding: Tips for Success

Expanding your family while breastfeeding can be both a joyous and challenging journey. If you’re a breastfeeding mom who has resumed her menstrual cycle but still wishes to conceive, you might be wondering how to navigate this unique situation. The good news is that it is indeed possible to become pregnant while breastfeeding, and in this blog post, we’ll explore some essential tips for success, backed by research. We’ll also delve into the importance of managing prolactin levels and how spacing out feeds can help optimize your chances of conception.


Understanding the Challenge

Breastfeeding can naturally act as a form of contraception for some women, known as lactational amenorrhea. This means that while you’re exclusively breastfeeding, your menstrual cycle may be suppressed, reducing the likelihood of conception. However, this method is not infallible, and many breastfeeding mothers still become pregnant. If you’ve already resumed your period but wish to conceive, here are some valuable tips to help you on your journey:


Monitor LH Levels:

Luteinizing Hormone (LH) plays a pivotal role in the ovulation process. An LH surge triggers the release of a mature egg from the ovary, ready for fertilization. To track your LH levels, consider using ovulation predictor kits (OPKs), readily available at most drugstores. Begin testing a few days before you expect to ovulate and continue daily until you detect a surge. This will help you pinpoint your most fertile days with greater accuracy.


Track Your Cervical Mucus:

Changes in vaginal discharge can provide valuable insights into your fertility. As you approach ovulation, your cervical mucus will become clear, slippery, and stretchy, resembling the consistency of raw egg whites. This fertile cervical mucus creates an ideal environment for sperm to swim to the egg. By monitoring these changes in your discharge, you can better predict the timing of ovulation and plan intercourse accordingly.


Understand Your Menstrual Cycle:

Even if you’ve resumed your menstrual cycle while breastfeeding, it may be irregular. Thus, it’s crucial to understand your cycle. Maintain a menstrual calendar to identify patterns and predict ovulation. While a typical menstrual cycle is around 28 days, yours may vary. Ovulation usually occurs around the midpoint of your cycle.


Timing Intercourse:

Once you’ve identified your LH surge and observed fertile cervical mucus, it’s time to plan intercourse. Aim to have intercourse in the days leading up to and during ovulation to maximize your chances of conception. Remember that sperm can live inside the female reproductive tract for several days, so strategic timing can still lead to pregnancy.


Manage Prolactin Levels:

Prolactin is a hormone responsible for milk production. Elevated levels of prolactin can suppress LH and, subsequently, ovulation. To optimize your fertility, consider spacing out your breastfeeding sessions. This can help lower prolactin levels and increase your chances of ovulating regularly. Discuss this approach with a lactation consultant or healthcare provider to ensure it aligns with your breastfeeding goals.


Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle:

Optimal fertility often goes hand in hand with a healthy lifestyle. Ensure you consume a balanced diet, engage in regular exercise, and manage stress effectively. Consider taking prenatal vitamins with folic acid to provide an ideal environment for a developing embryo.


Seek Professional Advice:

Nutrient deficiencies, common in breastfeeding women, can impact fertility and pregnancy. For example, iron deficiency can lead to anemia, which poses risks during pregnancy, such as preterm birth and low birth weight. A health care practitioner can assess your nutritional status and provide tailored recommendations.



Conceiving while breastfeeding, even if you’ve already resumed your menstrual cycle, is possible with the right knowledge and approach. By monitoring your LH levels, tracking changes in your cervical mucus, understanding your menstrual cycle, timing intercourse strategically, managing prolactin levels, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and seeking professional advice when necessary, you can increase your chances of successfully expanding your family. Keep in mind that every woman’s journey is unique, and patience, perseverance, and a positive mindset are essential allies on the road to conception. Best of luck on your exciting adventure toward growing your family

Now Carrying Ozonated Olive Oil

Made in-house, we now carry ozonated olive oil!  Ozonated olive oil is made by bubbling ozone gas produced by a medical grade ozone generator through extra-virgin olive oil.  The ozonation process causes changes in the chemical composition of the oil, which gives it biological properties making it an extremely valuable topical product for health.


Benefits of Ozonated Olive Oil


  1. Natural Antibiotic

Ozone is a powerful antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal.  Ozonated oils treat superficial bacterial, viral and fungal skin infections. It is an effective treatment for ringworm, herpes, cold sores, toenail fungus and chronic skin infections that have become resistant to antibiotic treatments.


  1. Anti-Inflammatory

Ozonated oils become an ultra-pure source of oxygen through the ozonating process. Applying the oil topically, increases the tissue oxygenation.  Well- oxygenated skin is more effective at reducing inflammation and thus helps to treat dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.


  1. Promotes Would Healing

Ozone stimulates the growth of new skin cells, which helps to promote wound healing.  Use of ozonated oil has been shown to accelerate the skin’s natural healing process.


  1. Potential Acne Treatment

Ozone’s ability to lower treatment and combat bacterial overgrowth makes ozonated oils a potential option for individuals with persistent acne and may help get rid of acne scars.


Use of ozonated oils has been shown to effectively eliminate Cutibacterium acnes, the bacterial strain responsible for most acne vulgaris cases.


  1. Anti-Aging Effects

Due to its skin cell regeneration and enhanced oxygenation effects, ozonated oils help to increase the elasticity of the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

A Fall Reading List

As we settle into the season of cozy, I wanted to share some book recommendations with you. I tend to be a non-fiction kind of gal so you’ll find some beautiful thought-provoking reads listed below.


  1. How We Show Up by Mia Birdsong – A truly wonderful book for those who are interested in creating more community.
  2. The Care We Dream Of by Zena Sharman – A read for everyone but a great book for those of us in healthcare. A chapter in this book ponders what healthcare might look like if we had healthcare practitioners who were truly landed in their own bodies before they tend to the bodies of others and that’s when I was hooked!
  3.  Losing Eden by Lucy Jones – A compilation of research and personal stories reflecting on the important connection between us and nature. If you have any doubt how much we rely on nature, please do consider reading this book!
  4. Rest Is Resistance: A Manifesto Hardcover by Tricia Hersey – I can’t think of a better book to sink into as we reach the season of slowing down.
  5. Belonging by Toko-pa Turner – I reread this book every winter and every time, I find a new gem. It is a balm for the soul. I recommend it especially if you are feeling a little lost [aren’t we all from time to time?]


If you’re looking for more, head here to my website to check out my ever-evolving resources page. I also have a podcast playlist that I add to regularly. Feel free to share any of your current favourite reads with our community in the comments below.