Taking Probiotics for Good Health

June news

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The Importance of Taking Probiotics for Good Health

Probiotics are the beneficial or good bacteria that normally reside in your digestive tract. Two of the more common beneficial bacteria are Acidophilus and Bifidobacterium. These healthy probiotics have so many health benefits for our body.

They keep our immune system strong, helping us fight off infections. Probiotics can really help reduce the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome such as gas and bloating. They work great for reducing belly bloat just in time for bathing suit season!
Probiotics have many other health benefits including the prevention of urinary tract infections, treatment and prevention of vaginal yeast infections, prevention of allergies and treating eczema.

Digestive health is very important for children. A newborn acquires beneficial flora during birth. Therefore, taking probiotics during pregnancy is important to support the digestive health of the mother and secondly, her newborn baby.

The Swansea Baby Trial conducted in 2012 founds probiotics administered during pregnancy and early infancy reduced the frequency of eczema in children. (SJ Allen, S Jordan, Probiotics and Atopic Eczema: Double Blind Randomized Controlled Trial. Arch Dis Child 2012 97:A2)

Probiotics have so many health benefits. A good quality probiotic is important to ensure the right strain of bacteria is being used to colonize the intestinal tract. Start taking your probiotics!

Come in and talk to one of our naturopathic doctors and find out which pro-biotic is best suited for you!

Yours in health,

Dr Tasreen Alibhai ,ND

Sleep and Hormones

sleep hormone

Sleep is important for our body to receive the rest we need for repair of our cells and overall rejuvenation. Hormones play an integral part of that repair process. 

Two important hormones released as we sleep are Melatonin and Growth Hormone. They are  involved in regulating sleep, repair of our cells and the healing process. 

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain, and it helps regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycle. Levels of Melatonin rise in the evening. This is the signal to the body that it’s time to sleep. In the morning levels fall when its time to wake up. Melatonin also has antioxidant properties and is involved in regulating the immune system.

Growth hormone is produced by the pituitary gland. It is involved in the growth and development of our body. Growth hormone plays a role in regulating the body’s metabolism, muscle and bone growth. Growth hormone is released in pulses throughout the day. The highest levels are released during deep sleep.

Melatonin may help to increase the secretion of growth hormone during sleep. Melatonin acts on the hypothalamus, which is the part of the brain that controls the pituitary gland’s release of growth hormone. Increasing melatonin levels may enhance the secretion of growth hormone during sleep, which in turn may have benefits for muscle growth, bone growth, as well as metabolism.

Do not take melatonin supplements for the purpose of increasing growth hormone as it can have adverse effects on the body’s natural hormonal balance. It’s always best to talk to a healthcare professional before starting any new supplements. 

When considering the role of sleep with weight loss and metabolism, getting a good night’s sleep may be beneficial. To optimize metabolism, try these suggestions to get a good night’s rest:

  • sleep in comfortable clothing in a cool room
  • sleep in a dark room, use black out blinds or curtains if necessary to keep the room dark
  • aim for at least 8 hours of sleep
  • try to establish a regular sleep routine, going to bed the same time and waking up the same time
  • try to establish regular relaxation activities before bed to signal your body it is time to get ready for sleep. This may include a warm shower or bath, reading a book or listening to relaxing music.
  • avoid caffeine in the evening or try to cut off all caffeine intake after 2 pm. Choose herbal teas instead.
  • avoid strenuous exercise in the evening. Relaxing activities such as yoga or meditation may work better to help you relax and fall asleep.
  • try to avoid using your phone or computer at least 3 hours before bed. Try reading a light book instead.

If you are practicing these sleep strategies and are still having difficulties falling or staying asleep, consider having your hormone levels tested. Stress can trigger releases of cortisol in the middle of the night. This increase in cortisol may disrupt normal melatonin and growth hormone release. A 24 hour saliva cortisol test  may provide clues if stress is affecting your sleep. 

When it comes to weight loss and metabolism, sleep is important. The Naturopathic Physicians at Vitalia Health Care in Vancouver are available to discuss your weight loss goals and assess if hormones may be affecting your sleep. 

The Risks of Skin Cancer

skin cancer
Skin cancer is similar to most types of cancer where a known, single cause has not been found. Most cancers seem to be the result of a complex mix of many risk factors such as life style choices, exposure to known cancer-causing substances in the environment. The frequency and accumulation of the exposure to a risk factor increases the chances that cancer will develop. Therefore it may take many years for cancer to develop after exposure to a risk factor.

People may be exposed to several risk factors in the course of their daily lives. Some of these risk factors such as the sun and tobacco can be avoided, while others like age or genetic factors cannot. At least 50% of cancers can be prevented through healthy living. Risk reduction (or prevention) means taking action to lower the risk of developing cancer. There are ways a person can decrease his/her overall chance of developing certain types of cancer and stay well. In the case of skin cancer one of the vital ways to reduce risk is to avoid over exposure to the sun.
Here are some tips on how stay safe during the summer months:

Cover Up
Wear long clothing, broad brimmed hats, and UV-blocking sunglasses.

Wear Sunglasses
The sunglasses should be labeled to block 99-100% of UVA abd UVB rays or UV absorption up to 400 nm, or meets ANSI UV requirements.

Wear Sunscreen
Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF of 15 or higher every day, even the winter. Apply approximately 30 minutes before going out into the sun to allow for absorption.

Seek the shade especially between 10 am and 4 PM
Use the shadow rule: If your shadow is shorter than you- Seek Shade. When shadows are shorter than objects creating them, avoid direct sunlight.

Avoid UV Tanning Booths
Despite the claims of the tanning booth industry, tanning booths are not safe. The lamps used in tanning beds give out UVA rays and often UVB rays as well. These ultraviolet rays have been shown to cause serious long-term skin damage and are may be a risk factor for skin cancer.

Click HERE for more detailed information on ways to protect yourself from Skin Cancer.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Quinn Rivet, ND

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