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Body Systems

How Does Excess Salt Affect the Immune System

A standard Western diet is commonly high in sodium or salt intake which has been noted as a contributing factor for cardiovascular disease and the development of high blood pressure. Fast foods, fries, chips, packaged foods (especially those that contain seasoning blends) are loaded with salt. The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 2.3g of salt per day, however, it’s been reported that less than 10% of the American population actually follows this advice.1 Although salt is related to water balance in the body (volume and fluid pressure), excessive or inadequate amounts of salt intake can affect the

The Fibre and Heart Health Connection

Approximately 2.5 million Canadians are living with heart disease and 160,000 are newly diagnosed each year. It affects all genders and risk factors increase with age. Statistics like this can be scary but heart conditions aren’t inevitable. There are steps you can take to reduce your risk even if you’ve already had issues with your heart. The link between dietary fibre and heart health may surprise you but it is an important one. The recommended daily intake of fibre is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. However, only about 5% of people follow these guidelines. This is

Sugar and the Microbiome

The idea that our bodies are inhabited by trillions of bacteria is no longer a farfetched Sci Fi scheme. We now know that our colon is home to critters of all kinds – friendly and not so friendly microorganisms doing their part to stay alive. Moreover, they help us survive, aiding everything from our digestion to immunity. Studies have linked our gut microbes to mood regulation, tendency towards obesity1, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular health2, colon cancer3, Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome4. On a daily basis, these microbes help us metabolize foods and ascertain key nutrients, producing their very own

Benefits of Butyric Acid

Short chain fatty acids (SCFA) are produced by the gut microbiota largely in the large intestines or the colon. SCFA have numerous health properties including maintenance of good gut and brain health via the gut-brain axis but also in metabolic syndrome (MetS). This article discusses the effects on the latter. Many of us are familiar with long chain fatty acids comprising 18 carbons to 22 carbon length, like the ones present in flax, hemp as well as olive, evening primrose, borage and fish oils. Omega 3 fatty acids include DHA and EPA which have been widely studied for benefits for

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

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,

The Miracle of Muscles

Our muscles are capable of amazing, precise and coordinated force; from lifting a teacup to explosive movements such as sprinting and power lifting. Muscles allow for tremendous function so that we can explore our full physical potential. Approximately 40% of our body is composed of skeletal muscle but there are several other types of muscles including smooth and cardiac muscle (Guyton and Hall 2006). There are almost 700 individual muscles in your body and they come in all shapes and sizes (Tortora and Grabowski 2003). The smallest skeletal muscle in your body is located in your middle ear and is

Are You Stressing Out Your Digestive System?

The importance of the digestive tract, also called the gastrointestinal tract (GIT), is often underestimated. Its purpose may seem to only digest food, absorb nutrients and then excrete waste; however, the world inside the GIT is actually an entire ecosystem, and one that constantly influences our health. The bacterial colonies within this system uses the food we send down, producing nutrients and neurotransmitters, sending signals, influencing inflammation and the immune system, and interacting with the nervous system. There are literally trillions of living microorganisms inside the gut and throughout the digestive system with the power of suggestion over our mood.

The connection between thyroid function and weight gain

By Dr. Sarah Zadek ND The inability to lose weight from diet and exercise alone can be extremely frustrating. There are many factors that affect weight management, and for those who struggle with this it may be worth investigating other causes of this “stubborn metabolism.” One such cause is the functioning of the thyroid gland and its respective hormones. Thyroid hormones play crucial roles in how the body uses energy and regulates appetite. Additionally, fat cells, also called adipose tissue, contains their own messengers and hormones that affect energy stores and usage. The interaction between these cells, their messengers and

Your Genes are Not Your Destiny: How to Tap into Your Genetic Potential. Part II

By: Dr. Robyn Murphy, ND The verdict is in, your genes are not your destiny. Advances in genetics and epigenetics have evolved through observations that environmental factors influence genetic expression to directly impact an individual’s health. Epigenetic changes are reversible while effects of genetic variations are modifiable. 1,2 Today, in the midst of personalized medicine, understanding an individual’s genetic blueprint provides simple yet powerful strategies to significantly make a difference in one’s health. While science reveals how general lifestyle strategies in diet, exercise and stress reduction significantly impacts epigenetic modifications and thus gene expression and risk for disease; it is

Your Genes are Not Your Destiny: A Guide to Epigenetics. Part 1

By: Dr. Robyn Murphy, ND Are your genes your destiny? This common question is top of mind for most, especially for those who are considering genetic testing. Questioning whether or not you really want to know, in fear that nothing can be done. Well, the simple answer is, NO, your genes are not your destiny. While this may be due to a number of factors, such as the impact of the gene, the main topic of this article is discussing how epigenetics and particular lifestyle strategies can positively influence health, and that knowing your genes may just be the missing

PCOS: Signs and Struggles of a Hormonal Syndrome

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a health problem affecting one in ten women of childbearing age. PCOS is caused by an imbalance of reproductive hormones that creates problems in the ovaries. This imbalance can lead to infertility (in fact it is the most common cause of that condition), problems with the menstrual cycle and development of cysts in the ovaries. PCOS impacts women of childbearing years and can happen any time after puberty. It has been proven that PCOS can exist in women of any body type.  Since there is a genetic component, it’s a good idea to ask your

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