Acne forms when a hair follicle becomes plugged with oil or dead skin cells. The most common locations are on the face, forehead, chest, upper back and shoulders. The main causes of acne are excess oil, dead skin cells, bacteria and inflammation. There are many triggers that can cause acne. Hormonal changes especially during puberty or menopause cause more oil production which leads to more clogged follicles. Certain medications can also lead to increased oil production. Diet and stress can also play a huge role in exacerbating acne.
Acne can range in severity:
- Whiteheads, blackheads
- Papules (Red and tender bumps)
- Pustules (Papule with pus)
- Nodules (Large painful lumps under skin)
- Cystic (Painful pus filled lump under the skin)
Untreated or improperly treated acne can increase the risk of complications. The most common complication of acne are scars. Severe acne can leave long-term scars even after the acne has healed. Another complication is changes to skin color, after the acne has healed the skin may be lighter or darker than the surrounding skin.
There are many different treatment plans available and if you have tried over-the-counter products for a couple of months with no success you should see a professional before your acne becomes too severe or you cause damage to your skin. The professional will make a plan to help control your current acne, reduce the risk of scars or make current scars less noticeable.
All treatments plans are based on severity and medical history. The most common treatments given from a professional will include topical (retinol or antibiotic based) and oral medications (accutane, antibiotics or oral contraceptives). Other common treatments include: light therapy, chemical peels, drainage or injections.
There are many other treatments one should consider under the supervision of a professional. Many lifestyle changes can help such as: diet changes, proper cleaning (too much can cause irritation), avoid irritants, avoid picking and taking certain supplements and herbs.
If you have scars from past acne you can get IPL or microneedling procedures, apply topicals or take certain supplements to improve the appearance of the scars.
Dr. Pace, ND does full intakes to provide you with your personalized treatment plan to control your current acne, he also provides aesthetic treatments to decrease the appearance of acne scars. Book an initial Naturopathic appointment or a complimentary aesthetic consultation with him.
Which sunscreen should I be using?
We are now entering the higher UV rating seasons and sunblock is a must for all individuals. UVA and UVB are both carcinogenic. UVA penetrates to the mid-dermis layer and causes most of the photoaging issues such as wrinkles, lentigines, telangiectasis, and altered collagen and elastin. UVB penetrates to the base of the epidermis where cells DNA is damaged and potentially causes cancer. UVB is also responsible for those nasty sunburns.
Now how do we select the right sunscreen? I suggest any sunscreen is better than none, but if you have a choice then select wisely.
We have chemical and physical sunscreens:
- Chemical sunscreens protect the skin by creating a photochemical reaction, it absorbs the UV and transforms it into harmless wave radiation and re-emits it as heat. These have a less cloudy and better appearance on the skin. Roughly 2% of people will see skin irritation due to the chemicals. Also they degrade with sun exposure and need to be re-applied.
- Physical sunscreens protect the skin by scattering and reflecting the UV rays. The older versions are cloudy and hard to apply, but newer micronized versions apply almost as nicely as the chemical ones. The risk of irritation is much lower and they do not breakdown over time and therefore do not need reapplications as frequently.
Every year the EWG (Environmental Working Group) releases a guide that includes most sunscreens and provides the hazards and effectiveness of each. You can log on to their website and search each sunscreen. https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/ (2021 list comes out soon)
I check out the EWG list every year as some companies change their ingredients. I also like to minimize my chemical burden therefore I choose a physical sunscreen.
There are also other things you can do to protect against sun damage:
- wear UV absorbing clothes
- wear a hat
- avoid sun exposure ie bring an umbrella to the beach
- take supplements that are photoprotective (Vitamin C and E)
- make sure your current medications are not photosensitizing
What can I do if I do have sun damage?
- again there are supplements that can help repair skin damage (Vit A/C/E, zinc and selenium)
- topical creams including certain ingredients, timing of these creams matter as some of the creams should not be put on when you are outside (Vit A/B/C)
- laser treatment to remove sun spots and decrease wrinkles (IPL and Nanofractional radio frequency)
If you have any questions regarding prevention or treatment of sun-damaged skin please book an appointment with Matthew Pace, Naturopathic Doctor or Lada Milos Lee, Chiropodist.
Movement Snacks…are you getting enough?
As the pandemic approaches its first anniversary, many people have found themselves working from home for longer hours, at improvised workstations, tables, chairs, and even ironing boards (actually a good idea!). Often missing is the daily commute or walking somewhere for lunch or a coffee. As a result of this, tight and aching backs, necks, shoulders and hips are many of the common complaints we see at the clinic. While the mental and physical benefits of daily exercise are vast and very important so is regular movement throughout the day. A sedentary 8+ hour workday can lead to fatigue in overworking muscles and tightness and weakness in underworking muscles, and decreased circulation overall.
One way to think of incorporating movement into your day is movement snacks! We take time to fuel our bodies with nutritious food throughout the day, why not consider giving your body nutritious movement throughout the day as well. Nutritious movement should include movement for all areas of the body in all directional planes. Our bodies were built to move – to squat, push, pull, lift, twist, bend, and rotate. Just make sure you’re adding movement in a way that’s pain free and comfortable for your body.
Here are some easy ways to incorporate more movement throughout your day:
* Change your position hourly – if you have a portable computer, consider stacking some books or boxes on a table top, or better, yet get out that height adjustable ironing board to create a standing workstation. If your body allows, sit cross legged or kneeling on the floor with your computer on a stool.
* To provide more movement to your thoracic spine and shoulders, circle your arms overhead, rotate your torso, and add in some side bends.
* To provide more movement to your hips, knees and ankles, add some squats and lunges, rotate your hips or march in place.
* Climb the stairs in your home twice an hour.
* If you have a solid door frame, reach for it and hang from it for 5-10 seconds (if that’s too extreme, just stretch your arms overhead).
* Or…simply add movement you like and what feels good for your body, just do more of it, more often.
Written by: Jennifer Ingram
Looking to start 2021 with a clean slate? This blog isn’t about setting resolutions (although we can always help you do that if you desire), but rather giving you some tips on how to start the new year with a fresh body. The old saying “you get out what you put in” is very accurate. The Christmas break is notoriously full of rich, indulgent food, too much alcohol and not enough moving! Our bodies can cope with this for a short period, but long-term it begins to dislike us. Here’s how to clean-up and give your body the chance it deserves to be its best, for you.
Tips for cleaning-up your act
The following tips are just some of many pieces of advice we could give you to clean-up your act and start feeling alive again:
1. Eat foods rich in antioxidants
This is a great way to start helping your insides detox. All of those sugary, fatty foods, soft drinks, alcohol and sleepless nights over the festive period will have left your body with a build-up of toxins. Now you need to rid your body of those toxins to begin feeling normal again. Eating foods rich in vitamins and minerals are a great way to increase your antioxidant intake. In particular, try to eat foods rich in the following vitamins and minerals to clean out the system:
• Vitamin A: Liver, kidney, oily fish (e.g. mackerel), carrots, red capsicum, tomatoes, spinach
• Vitamin C: Chilies, kiwi fruit, citrus fruits, guava, mangoes, papaya
• Vitamin E: Almonds, hazelnuts and peanuts, sunflower seeds, corn and wheatgerm oil
• Copper: Nuts, cereals, meat and organ meats (i.e. liver and kidney)
• Zinc: Lamb, shellfish, leafy green and root vegetables, milk, eggs, whole grains
• Selenium: Brazil nuts, poultry, fish, eggs, meat and organ meats (examples above)
2. Drink water, water, and more water!
Water is life-giving. Without it, we die within 3 days (depending on the person). That’s a pretty scary thought. Our bodies are also somewhere between 60-70% water, and they rely on us to replenish our water stores regularly and daily. All of the internal chemical processes that occur in our bodies (without us even knowing they are happening) require water for them to occur. When the body is low on water, these internal processes begin to struggle, and we begin to feel pretty terrible. Water is purifying for the body and it’s a pivotal part of any clean-up or detox (whatever you want to call it). We don’t think we need to give you any more reasons for drinking lots of water every day, so get to it. To help the system a bit more, reduce the amount of caffeinated, alcoholic and sugary soft drinks you are consuming and try to concentrate on just water. Your body will love you for it.
3. Exercise daily
What better way to purify the body than literally sweating it all out!? Get into an exercise routine for the new year, or just pick up where you left off if you slumped a bit over Christmas. If you’re not a fan of jogging, running or weight, then try a walk a day. A stroll in the park surrounded by lots of trees and fresh air is great for the mind, body and soul.
We don’t want to overload you with stuff to try, so we’ll leave it there for now. Give some or all of these a go and come and let us know how you feel after a few weeks. We think you’ll love the results!
Happy New Year! Oh… and now would be a great time to come see us for a new year full body check!
Weight loss: the larger picture
For every 5 points on the BMI scale above 22.5-25 BMI you have a 30% increased chance of mortality. That means if you have a BMI of 35-40 you only have a 60% chance of reaching the age of 70. This is due to all the comorbidities associated with obesity. The most common associated complications include: Type 2 Diabetes, sleep apnea, asthma, joint degeneration, fatty liver, high blood pressure, acid reflux, incontinence, depression and gout. The OMA has listed 57 comorbidities of obesity.
Here’s the most common situation for my weight loss patients: a patient sits across from me and I ask them “What brings you in today?” and they reply “My doctor told me to lose weight”. Unfortunately, they are then left to figure out how to lose the weight, which is a big feat on its own. Not only are you trying to do one of the most difficult things: lose weight! But you are also trying to navigate the expanse of literature on weight loss. Which diet?… Which exercises? And far too often people just give up.
What I want to tell you is that each person is different! What worked for your bestfriend may not work for you. There are so many other factors to weight loss that these diets and plans do not account for. Here are some other important factors we need to look at when wanting to lose weight:
- Sleep – a good night of sleep causes 25% less cravings and you will be 25% less hungry. Sleep allows your body to reset all the hormones associated with weight including insulin, leptin, growth hormone and cortisol. Good sleep consists of getting enough sleep, creating a sleep routine and getting the right kind of sleep.
- Stress – did you know hidden infections, blood sugars imbalances, food intolerances, nutrient deficiencies and gut bacterial imbalances are all chronic stressors on the body. When you think of stress, most people think of the perceived stress, such as a busy lifestyle. There are so many other things that will cause stress in our body and have negative impacts on pathways that will cause weight issues.
- Insulin resistance – insulin is necessary in the storage of sugars, and these stores are necessary for times of fasting. Insulin resistance is when the body no longer recognizes insulin and we then start to produce a lot of insulin. When we have too much insulin, fat gets trapped!
- Thyroid – the thyroid hormones regulate your metabolize, someone who produces less of these hormones will have a slower metabolism and will burn calories slower therefore will start to put weight on or may have issues losing weight
- Food sensitivities – intolerances to food unlike allergies can cause a wide range of symptoms, inflammation in the gut is one of the most common, this inflammation can cause you to improperly digest food, it also starts an immune response where the body recognize food particles as a foe and attacks it causing stress in the body and stress makes it harder to lose weight
This is just a short list, there are so many other factors that can play into weight loss issues, but these are the most common after diet and exercise. Your Naturopathic Doctor does an extensive intake to go over all the potential factors that are preventing you from losing weight. They will send you for pertinent lab work and then make a personalized plan with you which may include dietary/lifestyle changes, herbs/supplements and potentially acupuncture.
By Dr. Matthew Pace, N.D.
Christmas time is just around the corner, and that can mean only one thing… fun (at a covid level) and over indulgent.
We all tend to indulge and consume probably a few too many calories over the Christmas period. It seems to be ingrained in society that it’s the done thing. Now, as health professionals we are all about promoting just that… Health. We are all for a little indulging every now and then, but over Christmas it can be easy to overdo it and then lie around like sloths all day watching re-runs on TV. One of the beautiful things about being an osteopath is being able to make a difference to our patient’s lives in many different ways. As well as all of the hands-on stuff we do with you, we also give advice on lifestyle, diet and nutrition, relaxation and exercise. So, if you don’t want to see the waistband expand too much over the festive period, we suggest countering the odd indulgent episode with an awesome workout to ensure you stay flexible, strong and that little bit healthier this December and January.
What follows are some quick-fire workouts to fit in around your busy Xmas schedule, to really get the heart rate up and the waistline down.
Your exercises are as follows:
- Step ups: Find a sturdy bench, chair or step and put one foot onto it. Step up and drive your opposite knee up towards your chest into the air. Return down to the starting position and repeat. Stay on the same leg until all repetitions have been completed, and then switch sides.
- Sumo squats: Stand with your feet and knees wide with toes pointing out on a slight diagonal.. Squat down until your knees reach a bend of 90 degrees, tracking in the direction of your toes. Return to the start position and repeat.
- One leg L-sits: Sit upright with your legs out straight in front of you. Put your hands on the ground next to your hips and raise your body off the ground. Holding that position, raise one leg off the ground about the height of your shoe or foot. Slowly lower and repeat. Stay on the same leg until all repetitions have been completed and then switch sides.
Cycle these exercises completing each for 10 reps, 8 reps, 6 reps, 4 reps and 2 reps. Rest for one minute between each set.
Your exercises are as follows:
- Mountain climbers: Assume a plank position on your hands (like you’re about to do a push-up). Keeping your arms straight and upper body as still as possible, bring one knee in towards your chest without raising your hips into the air. Return to the start position and repeat, alternating between legs for each rep. Try to keep your form while speeding this movement up, and keep a solid rhythm going to really get the cardio aspect of this exercise going. Perform for 30 seconds.
- Skipping: Using a skipping rope, continuously skip for 45 seconds. If the rope hits your legs or you have to stop and restart, this is fine. Keep going until the 45 seconds are up. Knee issues? Choose a low-impact version by doing knee lifts or side steps.
- Get-ups: Lie on your back and get yourself to standing position any way you can. Lie back down and repeat. Complete 60 seconds of these.
Rest between exercises for 15 seconds, but ensure you move straight on to the next exercise as soon as the 15 seconds are up. Try to complete three sets.
- Run or jog around the block or a small local park at least twice
- Run up and down a set of stairs five times
- Go for a long walk to cool off
If you cannot run or jog, try cycling instead. Cycle around the block five times though! You can also walk up and down the stairs ten times if running is an issue.
Hold a plank for 2-5 minutes. You may rest whenever you need to, but ensure you complete the full time set. Set a timer on your phone!
To adopt the plank position, get on the floor face down. Grasp your hands together and push up, elbows shoulder-width apart, so you are resting on your forearms. Raise up onto your toes and lift your whole body up into the air. Keep your legs and body in a straight line from head to heels and avoid pushing your bottom up into the air (see photo).
That’s a total of four workouts for you to try. A good way to start is to perform a workout on one day, then aim to perform your next workout after one or two rest days. Eventually you will be able to perform them closer together, but rest days allow time for the body to repair and recuperate.
If you are unsure about any of the exercises above, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Enjoy your healthy Christmas everyone! And remember, call us on 416-546-4887 today to arrange your pre-Christmas appointment, and we can tailor a program just for you!
Inflammation: The Silent Killer
Inflammation is the bodies response to damage from infections, injuries and toxins. When one of these damages the body, the inflammation process is initiated and the immune system releases antibodies and other chemicals in an attempt to heal the body. This is acute inflammation and is what most think of as inflammation; Hot, Red, Pain, Swelling.
What happens when this does not resolve? When either the body cannot heal itself or when the root cause is not removed. We get chronic inflammation, and the effects on the body may surprise you!
Chronic inflammation may be caused by poor diet, smoking, chronic stress, lack of sleep, Autoimmune disease or untreated acute inflammation
In Chronic Inflammation we may not see the usual symptoms of hot, red, pain and swelling. More common symptoms are fatigue, insomnia, anxiety/depression, GI issues, weight issues, frequent infections, fever, sores and pain.
These symptoms may not be affecting your activities of daily living but long standing inflammation may contribute to other major diseases: cancer, diabetes, arthritis, IBD, allergies, COPD, alzheimer’s, kidney and cardiovascular disease. These are more serious complications and further investigation is required.
We can test for Chronic inflammation, your Naturopathic doctor can refer you for blood tests that can diagnose inflammation and determine the impact the inflammation has had on the body. This may include CBC, hsCRP, ESR, thyroid panel and fasting insulin/glucose to start. Autoimmune markers, glucose challenge and other organ health labs may also be added. If there is a correlation to food a Food Sensitivity IgG test may also be requisitioned.
Once the root cause of the inflammation is determined a treatment plan can be formed and may include the following: high fiber/low glycemic diet, supplements (curcumin, fish oils, glutamine, probiotics, magnesium, zinc), and exercise.
A Naturopathic Doctor can guide you through the investigation of inflammation and then design a personalized plan to prevent the development of several diseases that are linked to inflammation.
Written by: Dr. Matthew Pace, N.D
Reference: Pahwa R, Goyal A, Bansal P, et al. Chronic Inflammation. [Updated 2020 Aug 10]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493173/
Are you in or approaching your latter years and are wondering what you can do to ensure your bones stay strong through the next period of your life? As we age it is common to begin feeling the effects of years of ‘life’ on your body. Diseases like osteoarthritis (i.e. degeneration of joints) and osteoporosis (i.e. weakening of bones) are more common in the elderly population. But just because the figures show this, it doesn’t mean these diseases will affect your ability to lead a full and active life.
The good news is, there is plenty you can do now to reduce the risk of bone-related problems down the line. Read ahead for a few exercises you can perform regularly to keep you and your bones in tip-top shape!
Weight-bearing and resistance are key
It is widely accepted that to increase bone health, we need to stress the bones of the skeleton. The best way to do this is through weight-bearing exercises (i.e. exercises performed in an upright position with our legs impacting the ground). Resistance-type exercises are also beneficial in protecting the skeleton against the effects of ageing. ‘Resistance’’ implies an exercise that is performed against a force acting on the body. A simple example would be to compare walking through your house to walking through strong head-on winds. The wind pushing against the body is the resistance aspect.
When we exercise, forces acting on our muscles help to build strength. The forces placed upon the skeleton through the muscles help to activate special bone-building cells within the bones, and these help to maintain or build strength in the bones depending on the intensity of the exercise. In order to increase bone strength, we need to regularly push our bodies beyond the intensity of simple everyday tasks, like walking.
Age is a factor
Now, if you’re worried, we’re going to suggest a new gym membership and intense weight lifting program, then rest easy. There are lots of things to consider, and age (as well as medical history) is a big factor when it comes to prescribing exercise. Someone who is 80 will need a different exercise regime compared to someone who is 55 when it comes to targeting bone health.
Exercises to try
The following are simple weight-bearing exercises you could have a go at doing:
- Walking or jogging uphill
- Hiking across the countryside
- Stair climbing or step-ups
- A friendly game of tennis, badminton or squash
- Aerobics or dancing
You can add resistance to your exercise program by:
- Lifting weights (always start light so as to not overload the body)
- Exercising using cables or resistance bands (again, use light resistance to begin with)
Everyone has different requirements, so we suggest giving us a call on (416) 546-4887 or email me at email@example.com so we can create an individual a program that is perfect for you.
- Hong, AR. and Kim, SW. 2018. Effects of resistance exercise on bone health. Endocrinology and metabolism. 33 (4). 435-444. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6279907/
- Benedetti, MG. et al. 2018. The effectiveness of physical exercise on bone density in osteoporotic patients. BioMed research international. 2018, 4840531, 10 pages. Available from: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2018/4840531/cta/
- Osteoporosis Australia. 2013. Exercise – consumer guide. [Online]. Available from: https://www.osteoporosis.org.au/sites/default/files/files/Exercise%20Fact%20Sheet%202nd%20Edition.pdf. [Accessed 06 Jun 2020]
With the start of a new decade and coming off of an indulgent holiday season you may be considering doing a cleanse or a healthy eating kick. The elimination diet is a great place to start as it can provide the structure you need to make that goal happen. Whether it’s about giving your body a break from toxic foods or finding out food you may be sensitive to, the elimination diet can help. Typically a person will maintain this diet for 2-4 weeks. The main rationale behind the diet is that by eliminating offending foods the body is able to recover and proper digestion returns while identifying specific food allergies that may be the cause of digestive concerns to begin with. Some people report some initial reactions to the diet, especially in the first week, as their bodies adjust to a different dietary program, these symptoms rarely last more than a few days. This guideline is for informational purposes only. Make sure to consult a health professional before implementing this diet to be sure it is right for you.
Comprehensive Elimination Diet Guidelines
Leafy greens: kale, spinach, radicchio, arugula, etc.
Cruciferous vegetables: cauliflower,
broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, etc. (at least 1 serving – ½ cup – per day)
Colourful vegetables: peppers,
tomatoes, carrots, cucumber, beets,
sweet potato, etc.
Fruits, especially berries: apples,
pears, banana, grapes, blueberries,
blackberries, strawberries, etc.
Healthy fats: olive oil, coconut oil,
avocado, fish oil, flax oil
Nuts and seeds: almonds and almond butter, chia seeds, walnuts, hemp seeds, brazil nuts, etc.
Lean protein: lean ground beef,
chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, lean pork,
whey protein isolate (not whey protein concentrate), organic soy, legumes.
Organic grass-fed meats are preferred, if possible.
Healthy gluten-free grains: quinoa,
brown rice, teff, millet, gluten-free oats
Gluten-containing grains: wheat, rye,
barley and non-gluten-free oats
Dairy: cheese, milk, ice cream, yogurt
Processed foods: processed meats,
packaged foods, fast food, chips,
Alcohol: wine, beer, hard liquor, spirits, etc.
Sugar: all added sugars (high fructose corn syrup, fructose, glucose, sucrose)
White carbohydrates: white rice, white potato, white flours and most commercial breakfast cereals.
Written By: Dr. Bridget Ross, ND