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Insomnia – Natural approaches

Insomnia is the most prevalent sleep disorder and affects a large proportion of the population on a situational, recurrent or chronic basis.[i] An estimated one third of a general population presents at least one form of insomnia and 6% to 10% meet criteria for an insomnia disorder.[ii] Prescription ‘sleeping pills’ (or sedative hypnotics) are associated with numerous side effects and according to available evidence, the risks of chronic hypnotic use outweigh the benefits.[iii] Thankfully, various natural alternatives are available. Lifestyle and diet There are several aspects of our lifestyle and diet that can be modified to improve sleep quality. For

PEA: Unique topical health benefits

The skin is one of the largest organs in the body and has a variety of cells including: keratinocytes, sebaceous glands, fibroblasts, melanocytes, adipocytes (fat cells) and so on. These cells in turn have a large range of receptors among others, endocannabinoid and related receptors like CB1, CB2, TRPV1, PPAR, COX, opioid, TLR, GRP55, GPR119 etc. Observational reports from the 1990s showed that when cannabis, hashish and other variants of cannabis were abused, there was accompanied skin disorders like hair loss, acne, ageing, dermatitis, dry skin etc. These observations indicated that cannabinoids may modulate these receptors and that using the

Curcumin Ultra: New clinical findings

Three new studies provide further evidence of the effectiveness of the unique molecule-curcumagalactomannoside complex (CGC) which is one of the key ingredients used in AOR’s Curcumin Ultra softgels. Building on the already impressive body of work, the first study compared once a day 400 mg of CGC containing 130 mg of curcumin against the standard combination of 500 mg of glucosamine and 415 mg of chondroitin sulphate taken twice daily dose (total daily dose of 1000 mg glucosamine and 830 mg chondroitin sulphate) in terms of effectiveness in patients with osteoarthritis. This was a six-week, 72 patient study. In the

Lactoferrin, A Powerful Allay in Health and Disease

Lactoferrin (Lf) is a small molecule, as far as proteins go, with a bunch of glucose side chains, and is properly called a glycoprotein. Its structure is like a spring that coils onto itself which allows it to trap and hold minerals within its many folds. Lactoferrin is found abundantly in mothers’ milk, especially the first milk or colostrum that helps protect the newborn but is also present in other bodily fluids like tears, saliva, sweat, urine etc. signifying its importance as an important defence molecule. Lactoferrin plays an important role in a wide range of diseases which briefly can

Men’s Mental Health

This year, “Movember” felt a little different, with all those glorious ‘stashes hidden behind a necessary mask. The constraints of the ongoing pandemic; loss of sport and gym time, along with changes in social structure and interaction can be significant disruptors. It is important that men talk about the elephant in the room and strategies to overcome disruptions to mood and mental health.  There is a lot to be positive about and much to consider when looking at ways to improve wellbeing. Vitamin D and living in the great white north The change in season in Canada can be beautiful,

Shut Eye: A Deeper Meaning

Why is it that sleep dysfunction seems to be so ubiquitous in North Americans of all ages? To answer that we must first understand why we sleep, why we need to power down and how our fast-paced modern lifestyle may not be conducive to getting the best sleep. The Circadian Rhythm Let’s start by going back to the biology of our natural on/off buttons, the creation of a diurnal (or daily active and inactive) rhythm known as our circadian clock. There is an internal rhythm related to an organism’s adaptation to light-dark or day-night cycles of the planet. “Chronobiology” is

Supporting Aging Eyes

As we age many systems and senses begin changing. Often the changes in these senses result in some very significant alterations and decreases in quality of life. It is estimated that approximately half a million Canadians are living with significant vision loss that impacts their quality of life. Ocular aging relates to structural, mechanical, and functional impairments in any of the structures of the eye from the cornea, the covering of the outer eye that offers both protection and light refraction, to the macula, the center of the retina in which age-related degeneration occurs. Conditions that are attributed to aging

Butyrate: a New Health Biomarker

How to increase butyrate levels and achieve health effects beyond the gut! Our gut or the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) is a fascinating microcosm, busy generating a complex and diverse set of chemicals that greatly impact our overall health and wellness. Besides the common duties of elimination and absorption, our GIT also helps metabolize or break down and change existing molecules whilst generating new ones, which can be both friend and foe. Whilst the small intestine is largely responsible for digestion and absorption, the large intestine or the colon, is the epicenter of generating these chemicals. This is because the colon

The Journey to Ironman – Part 3

Here I was, walking into the running store, feeling a little apprehensive about asking questions. I could not have been more surprised. The staff were amazing, so helpful. I have always simply picked a pair of shoes that were the latest style, or that I simply liked the look of, however; these people took “shoe shopping” to a totally different level. They looked at my current shoes, how I landed, my stride length and suggested custom orthotics based on the wear pattern. My lower back has always given me some issues, however with the kilometres I had been doing, it

Building Your Body – Considerations for Optimal Composition

Choosing the right strategy to improve body composition is a hot topic, with many different exercise and dietary strategies suggested to be successful for weight loss, reducing body fat, and preserving lean muscle mass. It is important to select the right approach that fits your individual needs. It is particularly encouraging that many studies show success in improving body composition with as little as three, thirty-minute workouts per week, provided they are combined with a diet regimen that is calorically neutral or hypocaloric[i]. These small studies have not only looked at exercise type but have included a variety of individuals

Reducing Stress for Men

Stress is unavoidable. Every year, sometimes every day there seems to be new things to be stressed about. Finances, health, loved ones, job security, politics, the future… the list goes on and on. Life has a way of throwing one curveball after another and it’s easy to become overwhelmed. This can be particularly difficult for men as there is more societal pressure for them to seem like they “have it all under control”. Gender stereotypes depict men as always being strong, not showing emotion and not talking about their feelings. Asking for help is sometimes seen as a weakness, which

What is the Importance of Free-curcumin?

Curcumin is a well-studied herb, and as such there are thousands of different products on retailer’s shelves. Moreover, there are dozens of different brands with serious marketing dollars towards differentiating their brands and, touting their effectiveness. Curcumin belongs to a group called curcuminoids comprising three slightly different molecules that are extracted from the root or rhizomes of the Curcuma plant. Curcumin comprises over 80% of this group and is the most researched molecule, and therefore, everyone refers to curcumin when they really mean the curcuminoid group. Virtually all the products on the market consist of this curcuminoid group, and not

Journey to Ironman: Part 2 of 4

I was so determined to keep the momentum going – literally. I got home, had a shower and a quick snack and within 30 minutes of walking through my door I had signed up for my first Calgary marathon – go big or go home I thought. I was nervous and excited at the same time. I had only five weeks to prepare myself, which I would later find out is not a lot of time to prepare yourself physically and mentally. I continued with my endurance program that I had made up in my head, the more the better

Living for a Healthy Cholesterol Level

Linked not only to a healthy heart, but also to better overall health in general, cholesterol is an extremely important part of our internal makeup and understanding how to manage both “good” and “bad” cholesterol levels can lead to a longer, healthier life. As we age, managing cholesterol becomes not only more important but also more difficult. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that men with less than optimal aerobic fitness are at a greater risk of developing high cholesterol in their early 30s, while men with higher aerobic fitness are likely to

Hormonal Constipation: Get Moving Again

Constipation is defined by infrequent bowel movements, hard, dry stools, straining and pain with defecation, and can lead to the development of hemorrhoids. There are many different causes of constipation, including intestinal dysbiosis, lack of dietary fiber, dehydration, food sensitivities and medication use such as opioids and antihistamines. Constipation could also occur due to structural issues of the intestines, or due to hormonal responses. The occurrence of hormonal constipation is more common in females. Women tend to have changes in stool consistency throughout the menstrual cycle as hormone levels fluctuate. It’s not uncommon for women to experience firmer stools and

Endometriosis: Inside Out

Endometriosis is a painful disorder characterized by the presence of endometrial (uterine) tissue in locations outside the uterus. This can include on or around the ovaries, on other structures within the pelvic cavity, and even in other locations around the body. Endometriomas, also described as hemorrhagic cysts, can be intrusive and adhesive to surrounding structures; and because they are made of endometrial tissue, they respond to cycling ovarian hormones.  There are many different stages and severities of endometriosis depending on infiltration of tissue, adhesion to surrounding organs and structures, the number of lesions and the symptoms experienced.  As a result,

Balancing Hormones for Fertility

Hormones are chemical signals that are always being produced, secreted, traveling, and, if their respective receptors are available, attaching to those receptors to cause an effect. To the average female, heavy menstrual bleeding or a lack of menstruation, acne, migraines and weight gain, or significant mood disturbances could all indicate a hormonal imbalance. In men, abnormal hormone levels can cause low libido, sexual dysfunction, depression, and gynecomastia (breast tissue growth in genetic males). There are so many factors that affect hormones. Although some hormone imbalances may seem benign, they could indicate a larger issue. For example, abnormally high estrogen levels

Stress and Hormone Regulation

Stress is a natural part of our lives, and although it gets a bad reputation, stress isn’t necessarily a terrible thing. Stress helps us deal with new situations and threats. It keeps us alert and on our toes. It can even be considered healthy: the ability to adapt to stress can make the body (and mind) stronger – but only if there is a proper “recovery” period afterwards. Where we get into trouble health wise is in situations of chronic stress; when there isn’t enough recovery but a maintenance or resistance to stress for so long, followed by a phase

The HPA-axis and Hormone Balance

Contextualizing the neuroendocrine system is no easy feat, as there are hundreds of signals and factors that enable each organ to communicate sending positive and negative feedback signals. Imagine if you will, each organ is centered on a teeter-totter in the middle of many scattered across a playground, with strings connecting them all. The tension in the strings is constantly changing as each organ needs to stay balanced. When lifestyle, and environmental factors push any organ in one direction, the strings help the other organs compensate releasing more or less of a hormone- while we have developed impressive resilience to

Journey to Ironman: Part 1 of 4

The journey to becoming an Ironman is more than just crossing a finish line at the end of a race, it’s a lifelong adventure of being the best you can be and improving yourself. Every person’s story is unique and everyone has a different reason for wanting to complete the challenge which is known for being one of the most mentally and physically demanding endurance races in the world. Ultimately, I chose to do it for me, follow through with the commitment to myself, and to prove that the body is much more capable than what we realize. Anything is

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