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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bisphenol-A Free Products

BPA forms the inner lining of almost all canned goods. It leaches into the foods when the cans are heated during the pasteurization process.

Alternatives:

  • Eden Foods, an American company switched to BPA free cans in 1999.
  • Buy foods in glass jars.
  • Frozen goods like peas and carrots are another option.
  • Of course, fresh is best!

BPA free water bottles:

  1. Sigg - Swiss made water bottles made from aluminum w/ some sort of protective organic coating inside with claims that there's no leaching into the bottle.
  2. Nalgene - Recently started producing BPA free water bottles. Their new line called Tritan Bottles, are made from Eastman Tritan TM copolyester, which is manufactured without Bisphenol A.
  3. Klean Kanteen - Stainless steel drinking bottles with no inner lining.
  4. ThinkSport - Stainless steel vacuum sealed bottles keep contents hot or cold for hours. These bottles do not contain any toxins, including BPA, PVC and phthalates.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Bill C-51: CBC interview with health minister Tony Clement & a Naturopathic Doctor

The CBC's Anna Maria Tremonti speaks with federal health minister Tony Clement, a naturopathic doctor and a medical doctor regarding the pros & cons of bill C-51, which aims to regulate the natural health product industry.

If you are unsure about Bill C-51, this audio interview should help.

Listen to Part 2:
http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/2008/200805/20080528.html

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

How do you live your dash?

I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning…to the end.

He noted that first came her date of birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth…
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own;
The cars…the house…the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard…
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real,
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile…
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy’s being read
With your life’s actions to rehash…
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?


(by Linda Ellis)

Monday, May 26, 2008

C-Section deliveries increase risk of allergies & asthma

In the past few years, the number of caesarean section deliveries have been increasing. It has become fashionable to do so with the media reporting a number of celebrities asking for this procedure. Unfortunately a recent study conducted by a team of scientists from the University of California at San Francisco presented their negative findings to the American Thoracic Society's 2008 International Conference in Toronto recently. They stated that babies born by C-Section have weaker immune systems than those born vaginally, which may explain the increased risk of developing allergies and asthma.

A few month ago, I attended a two day lecture on the benefits of probiotic therapy in children and it relates to the recent news announced by these California researchers. Probiotics are the good bacteria that populate our gastrointestinal tract. Please see my previous post on the benefits of probiotics: http://naturopathicessentials.blogspot.com/search?q=probiotics

Babies born vaginally are exposed to the flora/bacteria from the mother's vaginal tract which is usually good. C-section babies are first exposed to bacteria from the environment by a baby or mother touching objects and putting their finger into the infant's mouth. This set of bacteria are different from the ones that the infant would have received from a vaginal birth.

A large scale clinical trial is being conducted into the UK into whether probiotic therapy with newborns will help to decrease the risks of developing atopic conditions like eczema, allergies & asthma. This research looks promising!

So given a choice between a C-Section or a vaginal birth, I recommend the latter.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Federal Bill C-51: Why the people are revolting? What can you do?

In the news of late, we hear about protests from groups and many members of the public about Bill C-51 - a federal legislation amending the Food and Drugs Act. Currently, people have the opportunity to express their concerns and propose amendments to Bill C-51.

Naturopathic doctors have a minimum of 7 years of post-secondary education in medical, naturopathic and clinical sciences. NDs are leaders in natural health care with extensive knowledge and training in the use of all natural health products, including those regulated by the Natural Health Products Directorate. Reducing access to natural health products will reduce the care that NDs are able to provide to their patients.

As a ND I support regulations that ensure the products I recommend to my patients are safe, effective and of high quality. If I am unable to access products appropriate for treatment my patients’ health is put at risk.

My concerns regarding Bill C-51 include the following:
• The term “therapeutic product” is unclear and inappropriately places natural health products in the same category as pharmaceutical products.
• The present definition of “practitioner” excludes naturopathic doctors from access to natural substances that are or may, at the Ministers discretion, be designated prescription therapeutic products.
• Under our regulated Scope of Practice, naturopathic doctors compound, sell and dispense product to patients. The definitions of “sell” and “controlled activity” under C-51 differ from the definitions used in provincial legislation and significantly impact my ability to practice.

In my professional opinion we need a regulatory framework that implements a third category for natural health products as outlined in the 53 recommendations brought forward by the Standing Committee on Health in 1998.

This is a great website that provides futher information regarding this Bill.
http://commonground.ca/iss/202/cg202_bill_C-51.shtml


What can you do?

It is important that your voice be heard now as time is of the essence.

Write a letter to the federal Minister of Health (Hon. Tony Clement) and your MP expressing your concerns. Letters drafted by both the Naturopathic Canadian and provincial associations can be used as a template for concerned patients and individuals. A copy of the template is below and can be edited, mailed, faxed or emailed to the Minister of Health and your MP.

Find out who your MP is and his/her contact information from this website:
http://www2.parl.gc.ca/Parlinfo/Compilations/HouseOfCommons/MemberByPostalCode.aspx?Menu=HOC

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

SAMPLE LETTER FOR PATIENTS ON BILL C-51

Insert Date
Insert name of M.P. and Address


Dear (insert name of MP)

I am writing to you (insert as one of your constituents) to express my concerns about Bill C-51 and the impact it will have on the ability of my naturopathic doctor (ND) to treat my health concerns safely and effectively.

As an informed patient I have chosen to be treated by a naturopathic doctor utilizing natural therapies and substances to ensure optimal health. I would like some assurances that my choice to see a naturopathic doctor will not be negatively affected by Bill C-51.

I have the following questions:

1. Will Bill C-51 exclude my ND from having access to all the products he/she needs to treat all my health concerns?
2. Will Bill C-51 result in fewer natural health products being available in the Canadian marketplace?
3. Will inspectors have the ability to enter premises under the search and seizure provisions without a warrant or a judge’s approval?

I support the need for regulation that ensures that the products recommended by my ND are safe and effective but I do not support legislation that treats natural health products in the same manner as pharmaceutical products. Now would be an excellent time for the government to implement a third category for Natural Health Products as was recommended by the Standing Committee on Health in 1998.

I appreciate your attention to this important matter and would welcome the opportunity to speak to you about my concerns. I can be contacted at (insert phone number).


Sincerely,
(Your name)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Morning after pill (Plan B) to be sold over-the-counter in pharmacies across Canada

It appears that Plan B, a "morning after" emergency contraceptive pill will be sold over-the-counter in pharmacies in Canada according to drug maker Paladin Labs Inc. Plan B can be used up to 72hrs after having sex to prevent unintended pregnancies, but it's most effective if used within 24hrs.

Many people I've spoken to did not know that Plan B had behind-the-counter status, meaning that one could obtain the pills by speaking to a pharmacist without a doctor's prescription.

As the name suggests, I would not recommend this as a first line contraceptive. As I tell my patients, it's good to read a drug's product monograph to learn more about what they are taking so that they can make an informed decision. You can find an abbreviated product monograph on Plan B's website.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Acupuncture: Its origins. Does it work for allergies?

As part of my naturopathic medical education, we learn the art and science of traditional chinese medicine, which includes doing four years of training in acupuncture. Some patients are hesitant and nervous when I first suggest this as part of the treatment protocol, but after the first or second treatment, they find it quite relaxing and enjoyable.

Acupuncture has taken decades to become accepted by western medicine. President Nixon first brought interest to this ancient healing art back in 1972 when a member of the traveling press, New York Times reporter James Reston, received acupuncture in China after undergoing an emergency appendectomy. Reston was so impressed with the post-operative pain relief he experienced from the procedure that he wrote about acupuncture upon returning to the United States.

Acupuncture has been practiced in the far east for well over 2000 years. In 1997, the U.S. National Institutes of Health formally recognized acupuncture as a mainstream medicine healing option with a statement documenting the procedure’s safety and efficacy for treating a range of health conditions. The World Health Organization promotes acupuncture as a safe, effective and affordable medicine. While awareness of acupuncture is growing, many health care practitioners are still unfamiliar with both the theory and practice of acupuncture. Please ensure that the person performing acupuncture on you has had the proper training - both theory & practice.

Below is an recent article from the Globe & Mail about the benefits of acupuncture treatment for allergies. As a naturopathic doctor, this is just one tool that I use as a part of a comprehensive treatment strategy for dealing with allergies.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080513.wlacu13/BNStory/specialScienceandHealth/?page=rss&id=RTGAM.20080513.wlacu13

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Breastfeeding: Yet another benefit discovered

This past week, I read with interest about a big study conducted at McGill University about how breast feeding raises a child's IQ and improves their academic performance. Dr. Michael Kramer, a professor of pediatrics at McGill University, and his colleagues followed 14,000 kids for 6.5 years and performed a number of IQ tests including testing the child's proficiency in reading, writing, mathematics and other subjects. Those who were were breastfed exclusively for an extended period performed the best.

I read a response to this research by a mother who felt that this research should not be published as mothers should be able to choose whether they breastfeed or bottle feed their own children.

Now I definitely empathize with some of the guilt that some mothers may be feeling. Breastfeeding can be a challenging task. I've heard new mothers tell me about the troubles they've had........sore nipples, not producing enough milk, latching problems with the baby, etc. These are some of the reasons mothers give for why they switch to baby formula instead of breast milk. During my internship as a naturopathic doctor, I have had the privilege of observing and preceptoring with Dr. Jack Newman, a pediatrician and breastfeeding expert who coaches new mothers who are having difficulties breastfeeding. What I learnt is that the concerns listed above and many more can be easily resolved with proper coaching.

Before you give up on breastfeeding, please consult a lactation consultant. You can find one from the La Leche League website: http://www.llli.org/

The Canadian Pediatric Society recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life.

Below are some of the benefits of breastfeeding as listed by Toronto public health:

Best for babies
Breastfeeding:
  • is human milk for human babies
  • helps to prevent constipation
  • helps to protect against childhood diabetes and childhood obesity
  • helps to protect against ear, chest and stomach infections
  • helps to protect against allergies and asthma
  • helps to protect against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • helps to prevent tooth decay
  • may lead to smarter children
  • may lower the risk of developing breast cancer in adulthood (new study)
Best for mothers
Breastfeeding:
  • promotes closeness and bonding of mother and baby
  • helps the uterus to return to its normal size after birth
  • helps to control bleeding after birth
  • helps to protect against breast cancer and ovarian cancer
  • helps to keep bones strong
  • helps with weight loss after birth
  • halves risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (newest study)
Best for families
Breastfeeding:
  • saves money
  • saves time – breast milk is always fresh and ready
  • does not produce any garbage