The Facts on Flora (A little need-to-know information about the microorganisms we share our bodies with) Dana Kolenich, BSc.
Probiotics - literally meaning “for life”, probiotics are (according to the World Health Organization), “live microorganisms that confer a health benefit on the host” when taken in the right amounts. You’ve probably heard that probiotics are good for digestion, boost your immune system, and other health benefits. Today, we understand that our bodies are home to an infinite number of bacteria, which I’ll call flora; “probiotics” is the name given to the bacteria playing important roles in our digestive health, immune system, and more.
Have you ever looked on the label of a probiotic? If so, you’ve likely read a list of strange latin names like Lactobacillus, Bifidus and maybe even Streptococcus (wait, isn’t strep bad??), and then numbers ranging from the high millions to billions. I wouldn’t be surprised if you felt some confusion - so let’s get to the bottom of it!
First - The Facts:
We have a huge amount of different bacteria inside and on our bodies, called flora. Our flora is made up of many species of bacteria, making up 2-6 pounds of our body weight. We now know which species of bacteria are the regulars in our body -- the good guys, which we call probiotics and provide us with health benefits; the regulars, which hang around not really doing anything but can cause problems when too many of them get together; and the bad guys, the ones that cause trouble wherever they go. These bacteria are present in everyone, however each person has their own unique flora, which is influenced by genetics, age, sex, stress, nutrition, and diet.
I know, this story just got a whole lot bigger. How are you supposed to know which probiotics are right for you? That’s where your naturopathic doctor can help. There’s a large number of factors in today’s world that is involved in promoting and maintaining a healthy gut flora -- through this post, you’ll see little arrows ( → ) indicating some of these important factors, which you can discuss with any one of our interns and naturopathic doctor!
The Good Guys:
These are the bacteria that are permanent residents in your gastrointestinal tract, from your mouth all the way down to -- you know. We get these tenants at birth, when we leave our sterile home inside our mother’s womb and pick up her bacteria on the way out. These bacteria are necessary for vital functions in our bodies, including how we break down and absorb nutrients from food, how drugs are metabolized, maintaining healthy intestinal walls, modulating our immune system and preventing overgrowth of harmful bacteria and other pathogens.
The most abundant families (or genus) of bacteria that make up our flora (we’ll just focus on our internal flora today) are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. There is a number of different species amongst these families -- for example, Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus acidophilus are two different species under the same umbrella family. The term “species” is often incorrectly used interchangeably with the term strain. A strain of bacteria is a genetic variant of the species (for example, even though you and I are humans, we differ genetically). Knowing the strain is important because the effects of a probiotic have been found to be strain-specific, which means different strains of the same species will have different effects on our bodies: Lactobacillus (L.) rhamnosus GG (the strain is indicated by the letters/numbers on the end of the name) have different effects than L. rhamnosus PB01.
Quick Mention about the Regulars:
These are the bacteria in and on our bodies that hang out normally without causing too much trouble...unless given the opportunity to (also known as commensal). This includes (but is not limited to) the Streptococcus species, which hangs out in our mouths and helps keep pathogenic bacteria away, synthesize vitamins, and contribute to immunity...but when their numbers get too high or get into a spot they shouldn’t be (like a cut in our mouths) they can cause problems like strep throat, gingivitis and more. Also are Helicobacter pylori, in our stomachs (I’m sure you’ve heard of H. pylori infection - the same thing). This is a reason why maintaining a healthy flora will keep everyone happy, including between your good guys and your regulars.
What’s the deal about CFU?
CFU, or “colony-forming units” gives an indication of the amount of live organisms that you get in a single dose, which is usually in the millions or billions. Probiotic foods such as yogurt, kefir, and kimchi have a similar number of CFUs, however they tend to vary and are not reported on the labels. Research has found that the smallest effective dose tends to be 5 billion CFUs. More is not always better - each person must be assessed individually to determine what the appropriate amount of CFUs is required.
Why do we take probiotics if these bacteria are inside us already?
Over 100 years ago, Nobel Prize winner Eli Metchnikoff realized that the good bacteria help keep the number of bad bacteria in check. Observations were made at the time that children who were ill with diarrhea had a lower number of a particular bacteria (today called Bifidum) in their stool compared to healthy children.
A study in 2016 showed that taking a multistrain probiotic had health benefits in central nervous system disorders -- including anxiety, depression, autism spectrum disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder -- and improved memory. Other health conditions that have found benefit from probiotics include antibiotic-associated diarrhea, IBS, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea, traveller’s diarrhea, constipation, urogenital infections, sperm motility, autoimmune conditions and atopic conditions like allergies, eczema and asthma.
IMPORTANT: If you are sick with an infection or illness, always consult a doctor. Doctors can do tests to see what microorganism is causing the problem, and treat it appropriately. Probiotics are not treatments for every infection and illness that is linked to microorganisms - rather they are a method of promoting healthy flora and are best used in cases of disease prevention and healing post-illness. Probiotics should also be avoided in those with decreased immune function, which includes (but not limited to): those infected with HIV, cancer patients undergoing active treatment which has side effects of decreased white blood cell production, and more. Remember, probiotics are a medical treatment and should therefore be treated like any other medicine.
As we head into colder, dreary weather (bye Summer!), this is a good time to think about our vitamin D levels!
First of all, what is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is actually a hormone – meaning it is synthesized by our bodies. This occurs when ultraviolet rays from the sun interact with cholesterol molecules on our skin, which then diffuse into the bloodstream. This is why you’ve likely heard that sunlight is good for our D levels, and also why we can become deficient in winter months.
Does this mean we should be tanning all day in the sun?
Not necessarily (and SPF can block synthesis) – even 20 minutes spent outside twice weekly can improve levels, but we can also increase our levels through food sources:
Vitamin D2 & D3 are converted into the active metabolite (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D) in the body by the liver and kidney. Vitamin D is primarily metabolized in the liver, stored in the liver & fat tissue, & absorbed by the small intestine.
What are the benefits of Vitamin D?
• Bone Health - helps regulate levels of Calcium & Phosphorus in the body via greater absorption in the small intestine & reabsorption by the kidneys, which leads to increased deposits in bone
• Immune function - helps protect us from pathogens & has implications for autoimmune disease (in which levels are often low)
• Preventative effects against: Diabetes, cardiovascular disease & cancer
• Mood: supplementation in patients with depression has been shown to significantly improve mood
• Anti-inflammatory: shown to significantly down-regulate inflammatory signals.
If you’ve been experiencing any of the following symptoms (and haven’t been getting much sun!), you may want to have your levels checked:
Risk factors for deficiency include:
Be sure to have your levels checked & consult with an ND before supplementing!
I’m sure most of us are familiar with the term probiotics - the “good” bacteria which help to balance out the “bad” bacteria in our gut. But what are prebiotics, and why are they important? Prebiotics are simply food for our “good” bacteria. They are indigestible carbohydrates which can be obtained from either food sources or dietary supplements. When we ingest them, they stimulate the growth of these “good” bacteria and help them to function optimally. Having a well-balanced, healthy gut flora is critical for a multitude of reasons, including proper immune function, bowel regulation, optimal brain functioning, and cholesterol balance. It has also be shown to be beneficial for the prevention and/or treatment of the following conditions: atopic allergy, gastric and intestinal infections, irritable bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, urogenital tract infections, and obesity. As we expand our knowledge of prebiotics and how they positively affect the gut microbiome, it is evident that they can play a major role in optimizing health and preventing disease.
So what are the best sources of prebiotics? Although there are many prebiotic supplements on the market, supplementation may not be necessary for individuals who consume a diet high in vegetables and fruit. Obtaining nutrients from whole foods rather than supplements is ideal, and since there are a variety of wonderful foods that are rich in prebiotics, you may not need to rely on a prebiotic supplement. Examples of prebiotic-rich foods include:
So, next time you’re heading to the grocery store or local farmer’s market, keep this list of foods in mind. Incorporating a few servings in your diet each day will ensure an adequate intake of prebiotics, and will help support not only your gut micriobiome, but also your overall health.
Happy September, my friends! For most of us, this means getting back on track with our scheduling. This often includes meal planning, and for naturopathic medical students, it can mean a chance to try out a new diet that we may recommend to our patients.
We live in an era where people have access to all the information they could ever want, but we are also seeing conditions where people are seeking to manipulate their internal chemistry to perform on the most optimal level, to lose the most amount of weight, to gain the most amount of muscle, among other goals. In the age of Pinterest and Instagram we feel pressure to be perfect in all aspects of our lives, from keeping our apartments tidy to ensuring that our meal planning and dieting is immaculate. We often feel as if we are expected to look top notch at all times. But, we are only human. Sometimes these excessive pressures that come from the age of information can contribute to a darker side of dieting - where our diet no longer becomes about living a healthy lifestyle, but turns into obsessively restricting caloric intake and nutrients, to the point where we are focusing more on our restrictions than what we are taking in.
There’s not much we can do to change the social conditions in which we are existing, but there is much that we can do to change our relationship with them. I’d like to share some tips with you to make the most of your meal planning and healthy eating, and to help you get back on track with being your best self!
Hopefully these tips help you to be a little more mindful about your diet and your motivations for changing it up. As always, consult your healthcare team before making any major changes.
As more people are discovering food sensitivities to dairy, alternatives have become widely available in grocery stores, café’s, restaurants etc. This includes nut milks, which have become staples for those wishing for a dairy-free alternative to add into coffee, tea, and smoothies. Even people without dairy sensitivities still opt for nut/oat/rice milk as a “healthier” choice.
But how healthy is it?
Many nut milks are full of food additives, which help to preserve shelf-life and enhance the taste and consistency of these products. Most almond milks also have thickening agents, which are carbohydrates that change the consistency of the milk. Many nut milks actually contain only about 3% almonds.
What ingredients should I watch out for?
Bottom line: nut/oat/rice milks can be healthier alternatives to dairy milk, depending on the source and ingredients. If you make your own, you can be sure where the ingredients are coming from and that there are no extra additives, unless you choose to add some. It may seem like a daunting task, but only takes a few minutes and the taste is superior to any processed kind you buy at the store.
1. Use a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of water to organic raw almonds (or nut of choice), depending on how creamy you want your milk!
EX: 3 cups water, 1 cup almonds
2. Pour into blender, blend on high for a few minutes
3. Place a cheese cloth/straining cloth into a large bowl, pour the milk through
4. Squeeze extra milk through the strainer, store in a glass jar and enjoy for 3 -5 days!
Cinnamon, nutmeg, lavender, clove, or some organic maple syrup for sweetness!
From miracle foods to fad diets - it’s tempting to jump into trying the new latest health food trends. From gluten-free to FODMAP, ketogenic to vegan, there’s so much information out there - and it’s just plain difficult to know where to start and what’s right for you. It’s time to focus on the basics - a diet that is right for everyone.
First, why do we care what we eat?
I think we all know why food is important - along with oxygen and water, it keeps us alive. However, humans are incredibly complex living beings and being healthy depends on many more factors than just the basic but vital triad of food, water and oxygen. These other important factors are:
So why do we focus on food, when there is so many other determinants of health? Since food is a basic necessity for life, there are ways in which we can integrate food into many of the other determinants of health.
Social Environment and Food
Remember that time you tried to eat your breakfast on the way out the door, taking it on the road or the subway so that you could make it to work or school on time? Or are you one of the many who skip breakfast to save time in the morning?
Our bodies are not meant to eat while being busy. Historically, humans kept busy to eat - gathering, hunting, moving to new places as environments changed. Granted, we keep busy in order to eat today too - however many of our jobs are not as physically taxing, and when we do find the time to relax and eat, it is usually in front of the TV or at our computers still doing work.
Eating on the move and distracted eating are both unhealthy ways of incorporating food into our day. When we are rushed, stressed or on the go our bodies are releasing hormones that are telling our digestive system and other system involved in the “rest and digest” state to stop working so it can allocate resources to our heart, blood vessels, muscles, and lungs. This response is called the fight or flight response, the purpose of which is to prepare our bodies for exactly that - fleeing or fighting. Today, this response becomes activated when it overreacts to things like being late, traffic jams, and work and family pressures.
Studies show that eating while distracted (for example, while watching TV) results in increased food intake - we are unable to properly assess how much food we are eating, and can eat up to 71% more than we would in a non-distracting environment. Studies have also found that people who ate while distracted were less satiated and ate sooner afterward.
The Problem: Eating while our mind is distracted by other factors.
The Goal: Mindful eating
Physical Environment and Food
There are an overwhelmingly large number of factors involved in the role of physical environment and health - including, but not even closely limited to sustainable farming, genetically-modified foods, pesticides, hormones and antibiotics, food packaging and preservation, food security and food safety. All of these factors are important to consider when choosing healthy, sustainable food - but for today, let’s just focus on the direct impact food quality has on our health.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the Dirty Dozen before, and maybe even the Clean 15? If not, the Dirty Dozen is a list of the top 12 produce that, when conventionally grown, contains the highest amount of pesticides. To see the full list, head over to the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen Guide. This year, strawberries topped the list, containing around 10 pesticides, all the way up to 22 different pesticides!
Animal products can be a good source of many nutrients, including protein, essential fatty acids, B vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium and iodine. However, conventionally-raised animals (which means animals given antibiotics and hormones, fed grains or improper diets, and raised in enclosures) can be a source of toxins. Organic animal products and free-range/wild caught animals is a better option to reduce the source of these toxins - however the best way to avoid them is focusing on a plant-based diet with smaller amounts of good quality meat and animal products.
Additionally, there’s the actual food itself - looking at which foods cause disease and which foods prevent disease. For example, consumption of fruits and vegetables decreases risk of stroke, heart disease and cancer - on the other hand, consuming sugar, saturated and trans fats are related to increased risk of the above health conditions.
The Problem: Consuming foods that may be detrimental to our health.
The Goal: Eating health-promoting foods.
Food as Medicine
Not only is food required to sustain life - it can also be used as medicine. We can and do use various dietary strategies to address and help treat many health concerns - such as genetic disorders, autoimmune conditions and food intolerances, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and more. Diets like these include, but are not limited to the ketogenic diet, elimination diet, FODMAP diet, and many others. These diets are therapeutic - meaning they are meant to treat a condition and, for the most part, not meant to be lifelong changes. Many of them involve drastic changes to eating/food choices that could result in nutrient deficiencies when done incorrectly.
There is a lot of hype about these therapeutic diets in social media today - focusing on mindfulness and food quality is a great way to promote healthy eating, and is right for everyone. If you’re interested in finding out whether the therapeutic diets are right for you, or just to learn more about them, book an appointment with a naturopathic intern today!
SourcesMoray J, Fu A, Brill K, et al. Viewing television while eating impairs the ability to accurately estimate total amount of food consumed. Bariatric Nursing and Surgical Patient Care. 2007; 2:71–76.
Ghobadi S, Hassanzadeh-Rostami Z, et al. Association of eating while television viewing and overweight/obesity among children and adolescents: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. Obes Rev. 2018; 19(3):313-320.
There has been a plethora of research on mindfulness in recent years. A simple PubMed search of “mindfulness" reveals over 5000 citations, with applications of mindfulness to areas of medicine such as oncology, chronic pain, eating disorders, obesity and depression/anxiety. Applications of mindfulness have also been studied in healthcare professionals to enhance their work experience. Mindfulness practices have been applied in our schools to cultivate mental well-being in our children. But what exactly is mindfulness? Yes, everybody says that it’s “good for us” but what are its practical implications for everyday life?
In today’s fast paced society, it seems as though everybody is constantly busy, not only working on the task at hand but constantly focusing on what is next and frantically “multi-tasking”. I say “multi-tasking” in quotations because there really is no such thing - we are simply switching between various tasks as fast as we can. In this way, only a fraction of our attention remains with the present task, a state of mind which may becomes detrimental to our performance. In fact, constantly thinking of the next item on our to-do list has been linked with burnout, a sense of emotional exhaustion, feeling a decreased satisfaction with life in general and it takes a massive toll on productivity.
Being fully present and engaged with one task at a time can do wonders for not only our productivity but for our mental health in general. I’ve experienced it myself - when I am distracted with different ideas and thoughts all at once that keep me from focusing on the work in front of me, I begin feeling scattered and lose my train of thought. On the other hand, being fully present in the moment can help us achieve a sense of flow.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has discussed the concept of “flow” at length. He says that when you are engaged in a task that is meaningful, you become completely absorbed. He goes on to say that the nervous system is not capable monitoring more than about 110 bits of information per second. Thus, when we achieve this state of complete absorption, we don’t have enough mental capacity to even think about our problems at home or a plethora of other thoughts that could be plaguing our minds. Some of the criteria he uses to describe the state of flow include: having an inner clarity of what needs to be done, knowing that the activity is doable and being completely involved in what we are doing. Flow, he says, is the secret to happiness.
Paulo Coelho says in The Alchemist, “If you concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living now.” So how can we achieve present-moment awareness and a sense of flow in our day to day lives? Mindfulness meditation and drawing our attention back to the breath for just a few minutes a day is one of many strategies that can be easily utilized. But I would take it one step further than just focusing on our breath for 5 minutes per day. Meditation isn’t just a few minutes of focusing on your breathing; it's a way of life. Allow mindfulness and present moment awareness to permeate every aspect of your existence. We should continue learning from the past and planning for the future but simultaneously it becomes important to avoid ruminating over the past and anxiously thinking of the future by cultivating moment-to-moment awareness of our days. After all, life is just a succession of present moments. In discovering the magic of the present moment, we see that it is the only thing that has been there all along and it is eternal.
Stress is an inevitable part of life, and while some stress is good for us, being overwhelmed by all our obligations can have serious impact on our health. Here are a few techniques to help manage stress we may be undergoing in our daily lives.
1. Write it
Sometimes writing down stressors can help us manage them. They often feel bigger and more overwhelming when they are in our head rather than on the page.
2. Breath It
Deep breathing can really help calm us down when we are overwhelmed. You can incorporate deep breathing in a few different ways.
3. Reframe It
This one is harder and sometimes takes some extra help. It involves taking a look at your stress and goals and redefining how you view “success”.
4. Restructure It
Zoom out on what is important and make sure that you have the right balance of work and fun for yourself. Don’t overload, say no to some things, or yes to fun things depending on where you are at.
Schedule fun, or time to do nothing, whatever you feel you need. Self care doesn’t look the same for everyone, so find out what works for you and enjoy it.
5. Move It
When we take care of our physical selves, we improve our mental selves. Ensure you are participating in some physical activity, even if it means simply going for a walk.
6. Don’t Ignore It
Reach out. Ask for help if you need it. Whether that help is available at work, with friends or family, or via a health care provider. Take time to talk to someone, you deserve to feel good!
Start feeling better today by booking an appointment with one of Dr. Solomonian’s interns on Tuesday 2:45-7pm at the Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic by calling (416) 498-9763.
Learn more about our interns here: lesliesolomonian.weebly.com/rsnc/meet-our-interns
Well…summer is definitely here, and it looks like it is here to stay. With high temperatures, clear skies and large public gatherings, we do not need to be convinced to get outside for our daily dose of vitamin D.
However, even with all of these pros, there is still potential for the body to get pushed off balance. To be more specific: dehydration.
In the medical world, dehydration can lead to 2 different scenarios: heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
The Down Side
Here’s the deal:
Apart from the rare summer cold/flu that may pop up, there is a down side to summer. Even though your body is making and storing all of this delicious vitamin D for the winter, it is also tying to keep your body from overheating. The body’s best way of doing this is by sweating.
Now don’t get me wrong…
Sweating has its benefits: for one, it helps to detox the body of toxins. The problem comes when the body cannot make enough sweat in order to cool the body.
This is where it gets dangerous…
Heat exhaustion occurs when the body has lost most of its water and electrolytes (sodium and potassium) due to sweating. More on electrolytes later…
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include: muscle cramps, pale/moist skin, nausea, weakness, light-headedness, and a possibility of fainting.
For heat exhaustion (aka dehydration), it is recommended to first find some shade and take a break from the sun.
The next two actions include:
Heat stroke is more serious, and occurs when the body cannot make anymore sweat.
Its symptoms include:
So what should you do if this occurs?
When it comes to heat stroke, it is recommended that you present to the emergency department of a hospital IMMEDIATELY. It is also a good idea to present to the emergency if you are not sure about the person’s well being.
So, how do you prevent the bad stuff from happening when you are out at the beach?
HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE!!!
The big question is: What should I hydrate with?
Before we get to that, let us see what we should keep to a minimum…
The first is alcohol. Alcohol has a diuretic effect on the body. Alcohol consumed in the correct amounts is not a problem during the summer. However, it is good to counter that with drinking water after each alcoholic beverage consumed.
A good guideline is to consume one 8 oz glass of water after each alcoholic drink. However, this is better recommended when the temperature is not causing us to sweat. For this reason, it would be better to increase this amount to 1.5-2 times that amount for the hot summer months.
Second, iced coffee. Yes, it is delicious. However, iced coffee, just like regular coffee, is also a diuretic like alcohol!
So just like the recommendation above, I would recommend that you have 1.5-2 8oz glasses of water to rehydrate from this tasty treat.
Ok! The moment you have all been waiting for!
So, the best way to rehydrate is by adding a source of electrolytes to our water. This helps the absorption and retention of water in the body, since it mimics the electrolyte concentrations of our blood. Electrolytes, notably potassium and sodium, are also used in many chemical processes that help the body function properly.
What’s the best formula for rehydration?
* 2 cups of water
* 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
* 1 tbsp organic maple syrup
* juice of 1/2 a lemon
Here is a bonus tip:
You can also use this rehydration formula after you exercise at the gym, have a sauna or peat bath treatment, and even after a bath in Epsom salts. The gym and sauna treatments will cause you to sweat and lose electrolytes, while the peat and Epsom salt baths will cause you to absorb minerals. Either way, it would be a good idea to rehydrate to prevent dehydration.
Want more great tips? Meet the interns from Leslie's Tuesday night shift at the Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic. We'd love to support your health!
My name is Dana and I am a 4th year naturopathic intern at the Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic in Toronto. In 2015 I graduated from Carleton University in Ottawa, where I received a B.Sc. degree in Biological Health Science with a minor in Psychology, after which I began my studies at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. Initially setting out to study forensic sciences, I took an extra course in plant biology and was fascinated with plants playing a role in the origins of modern medicine. Through various opportunities and discussions, I learned about naturopathic medicine, a form of medicine that uses botanicals (and a variety of other therapies!) in a holistic manner to treat and prevent disease.
Throughout my education, I’ve developed particular interests in autoimmune conditions, cancer care, weight management and mental health - however I would love to help facilitate the healing process for any and all health conditions.
I love to spend my free time running, trying new recipes, having fun with arts and traveling to see family and friends.
I am Sukriti, a 4th year naturopathic medical intern at the Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic. I am interested in supporting patients with a wide variety of conditions and incorporating evidence based practices into my treatment plans when it is possible. I look forward to working with patients to understand their particular health goals and creating an individualized plan for each patient to help them achieve optimal health. Before studying naturopathic medicine, I completed my undergraduate studies in Health Sciences at McMaster University. During this time, I was first exposed to naturopathic medicine when I had the opportunity to co-author a research paper focusing on the integrative management of a health condition of our choice. It was through this experience that I understood the vital role that naturopathic medicine can play within our current healthcare system. Since that time, I have co-authored papers in the fields of oncology, psychiatry, digestive health and preventative medicine and I value staying abreast of research in the field and remaining informed of advances in patient care. In my spare time, I love playing with my three cats and German shepherd, spending time with family and friends and being in nature as much as possible.
My name is Meaghan Bradica and I am a fourth year naturopathic medical intern at the Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic. I am extremely passionate about helping patients embark on their journey towards health optimization. I focus on understanding each individual’s story and developing a customized treatment plan to address the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of the patient’s life that require support. I enjoy working with all conditions and concerns, but I have a special interest in women’s health (menstrual irregularities, PMS, menopause), hormonal imbalances (adrenal and thyroid disturbances), as well as digestive concerns (IBS, IBD, Celiac disease, food sensitivities).
Prior to beginning my education at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology at the University of Maine, where I also had the opportunity to play on their NCAA Division 1 soccer team. In my free time, I enjoy running, playing sports, baking, and spending time with my family and friends.
Mathieu Boire is a naturopathic medical intern at the Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic. Prior to starting at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, Mathieu graduated from the University of Regina with a bachelor’s of science in chemistry in 2013. Ever since elementary school, he has suffered from a multitude of complex illnesses. He decided to pursue a career in naturopathic medicine because it has always helped him in his pursuit for optimal health and because he genuinely loves to help people.
Mathieu likes to find the root cause of the illness that is ailing people, and focuses on developing a treatment plan to help heal the whole body.
Hi, I'm Erin! Originally from St. John's, Newfoundland, I am a former sociologist turned ND-to-be; my other hats include part time musician, and full time yoga enthusiast. I graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador with bachelors in Social Work, Psychology, and Sociology. My interest in naturopathic medicine started after discovering the impact it had on my own health concerns, and my desire to help heal my community grew from there – I have a lot of love for my home, and I hope to help the people of Newfoundland and Labrador improve their health to be as vibrant as the land we live on. My particular interests and strengths in naturopathic healthcare are in the scope of mental and digestive health, but I am thankful to absorb all experiences at this current point in my education.
My name is Filza and I am a 4th year naturopathic medical intern at the Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic. In 2015 I graduated from Ryerson University with a degree in Nutrition and Food and soon after I began studying naturopathic medicine. My interest in naturopathic medicine began when I started to see a naturopathic doctor at a very young age. The holistic approach to health, treating the root cause and principles of naturoapthic medicine really resonated with me. As I began too see changes in my health from diet intervention, botanical medicine and acupuncture, my interest in naturopathic medicine peaked and I decided to pursue it as a profession.
Throughout my education, I've developed special interests in women's health, gut health and weight management. My goal as a naturopathic medical intern is to understand my patient's health, listen to their needs and create a treatment plan that is realistic and efficacious. My aim is to work with my patients to support them on their journey to health and wellness.
My name is Caroline, and I am a 4th year naturopathic medical intern at the RSNC. My own experience with Crohn’s disease inspired my interest and research into naturopathic treatment of digestive and gastrointestinal concerns and IBD. The knowledge and experience I’ve gained along my journey combined with my academic background in neuroscience gives me a unique perspective in exploring the mind-gut connection, which I believe is an integral factor in many conditions. Other interests of mine include women’s health, anxiety and mental health, cognition, natural skincare and anti-aging, as well as general health concerns.
Prior to pursuing naturopathic medicine, I completed an honours BSc majoring in Biology and Psychology at the University of Western Ontario, and then moved to the UK for a year to earn my MSc in Neuroimaging at Cardiff University. I also worked at St. Michael’s Hospital and the Hospital for Sick Children conducting neuropsychological assessments, research, and imaging analysis of patients with traumatic brain injury.
In my free time I love to do Pilates, explore Toronto, and spend time with family and friends. I would love to work with you to achieve optimal wellness!
I'm Madeleine! I am passionate about working on helping people overcome mental health challenges, improve their brain health and manage stress. I also focus on women’s health, particularly managing painful periods, abnormal cycles, hormonal imbalances, and menopause.
I discovered my love for natural medicines while completing my Honours Bachelor of Science at the University of Toronto, where I studied cell biology and global health.
In my spare time I like to play soccer, cook healthy meals, listen to music, travel and explore different cities, and spend time hiking and swimming outdoors.
Book with me to get started on living your best life!