By: Dr. Cassandra Connolly, ND
People are living longer; the face of aging in Canada is changing significantly with the current increase in life expectancy. With the on going research to slow down our biological clocks there has been new insights discovered that have helped scientists uncover some of the science behind aging.
The true secret of healthy aging lies in the over all health of our cells. Various theories have been made as to why we age and what exactly is happening physiologically when we age. The theory that has received the most acceptances is the “free radical theory”.
What are free radicals?
Free radicals are molecules that damage cellular components and DNA and as a result compromise cellular function. This process occurs in our bodies continuously and more frequently as we age. This compromise in cellular function causes an overall increase of inflammation levels in the body and in turn open the door to where disease then has the ability to “attack” the body.
What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are substances that inhibit oxidation, a chemical reaction that further produces free radicals and causes subsequent cellular damage. Antioxidants work by quenching free radicals in order to neutralize them before they attack the cells in our body.
Oxidative stress can also cause mutations in DNA, which is where aging comes into play. Natural antioxidants are proving to be powerful agents in the ongoing battle against cellular aging.
Nutrients and Aging
Certain nutrients have the capacity to slow down biological aging, quench free radicals and restore optimal cellular health.
1. Omega 3 Fatty Acids
- We can find this mighty guy in fish oil. Known for its heart healthy benefits, this nutrient has been shown to increase antioxidant capacity which in turn helps decrease inflammation levels in the body.
- Who loves red wine? This nutrient is considered one of the kings of antioxidant activity. Not only does it scavenge free radicals in the body but it also enhances the production of glutathione (a very strong antioxidant in the body that facilitates detoxification)
- Love curry? Curcumin is the most active constituent found in turmeric that lends a hand to why turmeric is such a powerful herb. Curcumin has been extensively studied for the role it plays in decreasing inflammation and thus enhancing the immune system.
4. Coenzyme Q10
- A vital antioxidant for the body. CoQ10 is involved in a lot of processes in the body, specifically cellular energy and mitochondria (cell power houses) support.
5. Alpha Lipoic Acid
- A strong antioxidant for the cardiovascular system, another great supplement to aid in healthy aging!
- One of my favourite Chinese herbs. Works great for healthy aging by restoring healthy cell division in cells that are sluggish or damaged.
7. Vitamin D
- Otherwise known as the sunshine vitamin! Low vitamin D levels are associated with higher inflammatory markers, which in turn put us at risk for developing more diseases. The good news is that adequate levels of this vitamin offer our body protection from various diseases.
Exercise and Aging
Once we reach a certain age aren’t we suppose to stop exercising? Nope, not necessarily. studies show that maintaining an active lifestyle is essential to help keep us strong and prevent falls into our older years.
Exercise increases healthy muscle mass and strength. Increased muscle mass can help improve quality of life and extend independent living. A recent study done on exercise and aging showed that adults who regularly exercised with resistance training were not only slowing down their aging process but also reversing it at a genetic level!
Every person’s health situation is different and each person should check with his or her health practitioners before embarking on something new. Not sure where to start? Follow the simple steps below to start making exercise a priority to assist with healthy aging.
1. Get clearance from your health care practitioners
2. Start slowly
3. Make sure the exercise is tailored to your specific health care concerns
4. Set an exercise schedule in order to track progress and stay on track.
Wondering how you can stay “forever young”? Book in for a free 15-minute meet and greet with Dr. Cass to discover how Naturopathic Medicine can work for optimizing your health!
Already a patient of Dr. Cass’s? Book in for a 30 minute consult to discuss a healthy aging plan that works for you!
The person on the plane just sneezed on you? Your co worker has been coughing all week? Your child has a cold….again. Yeah, chances are you’ve been exposed to the pesky fall bugs and viruses that are all to common at this time of year.
Cold & flu season is definitely here and this is about the time everyone begins looking for ways to boost their immune system. Part of preventing illness is being good to our bodies and being proactive in how we care for ourselves. Try these tips this season to keep your immune system functioning optimally.
1. Eat WellNow is the time to be a bit more mindful about your food choices. Foods have the ability to increase inflammation levels in the body and thus decrease our immune system from functioning optimally. Alcohol, processed foods, sugar and any foods you have a sensitivity to are best left out. Focus instead on plenty of vegetables and high quality protein.
2. Rest & RelaxThis time of year brings along lots of parties, celebrations and late nights. Opt for a night in and aim for at least 7 (8-9 is better!) hours of sleep per night. If you're struggling with getting enough sleep, try natural herbs such as passionflower, valerian, chamomile and lavender to help you get that nourishing rest your body needs.
3. Wash Your HandsSeems simple, right? That 20-second scrub with warm water and soap can be the difference between a weekend in bed or a weekend with friends. No sink? Opt for a alcohol based hand sanitizer, rather than an antibacterial one. Why? Antibacterial ones contain chemicals that disrupt your hormones.
4. Exercise.Give yourself a daily 15 minutes to keep your immune system in shape. If you’re feeling sick, take it easy and rest, resume when you feel better. Some suggestions for easy ways to get in exercise: take the stairs instead of the elevator, park further from the store entrance in order to walk more, clean the house (that is right, scrub those base boards), play outside with your children.
5. Get Your Vitamin D.Sunshine is a scarce commodity in the winter, which is why having your blood levels tested and supplementing appropriately is so important. In general Vitamin D3 can be supplemented at 2,000 IU daily for adults as a maintenance dose. However when sick higher doses may be recommended. Not sure what dose you should be on, be sure to talk to your Naturopathic Doctor!
Are you getting sick frequently? Are you currently sick and cant shake the bug? Are you doing all of the above but want to do more to protect yourself from cold and flu season? Book in with our Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Cassandra Connolly for a tailored immune plan to help you and your family steer clear of those pesky bugs this season!
Do any of these words resonate with you?
It may be anxiety.
If you are suffering from anxiety, you are not alone! In fact over 40 million North Americans suffer from anxiety yearly.
I have been one of those 40 million people. I have been on my bathroom floor in the wee hours of the morning with tears running down my face, my heart feeling like it was going to pound out of my chest and feeling like it was all doom and gloom.
I’ve also been on the other side of an anxiety attack and want to share some helpful strategies with you.
There are two types of anxiety: acute and chronic. Acute is usually situational and short lasting, perhaps you are getting ready to speak to a large audience or are preparing for a job interview. Anxiety during these times is normal. So when does anxiety become an issue? When it becomes chronic.
One of the causes of chronic anxiety is HPA dysregulation. Wondering what that is? More commonly known as “adrenal fatigue”, it is a condition where the communication between the brain and the adrenal glands is dysfunctional and in return gives way to abnormal or ineffective hormone output from the adrenal glands.
Find out if your adrenals may be at the root of your anxiety.
As a Naturopathic Doctor, I help women address the root cause of their hormone imbalances. I have successfully helped my patients eliminate anxiety and balance hormones that are driving their anxiety and uncomfortable symptoms.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is more than an uncomfortable feeling. It can be extremely debilitating and can manifest itself in physical symptoms in the body. Anxiety is a symptom of an underlying problem; it is your body’s way of telling you that something internally needs to be dealt with.
This is why anti-anxiety medications don’t often work long term. The medications decrease the symptoms but they do not address the root cause of the anxiety. Anxiety medications can lead to uncomfortable side effects and may even worsen your anxiety. That’s right…. anti-anxiety medications can worsen your anxiety!
After having anxiety hijack my own life I needed to find out where it was coming from and get rid of it. I wanted to find natural ways to heal my body without adding more stress into my system in the form of medications and so I turned to Naturopathic Medicine for help.
In my medical practice, I ask “where is your anxiety coming from?”
There are three common causes of chronic anxiety: HPA axis dysregulation, compromised gut health and nutrient deficiencies.
Naturopathic medicine can help you restore your HPA axis, balance your hormones and correct possible nutrient deficiencies. Treatment involves getting back to a healthy lifestyle that fights off stress, hormonal imbalances and inflammation.
Testing your adrenal glands and hormone levels can help uncover the root cause of your anxiety.
Are you ready to kick your anxiety to the curb? Of course you are!
Lets work together to get rid of those uncomfortable symptoms once and for all!
Book in today for a FREE 15 minute consultation and receive $30 off your initial visit!
See you soon,
When people embark on the path to healthy eating, they’re often motivated by a desire to lose weight, fend off disease or they are simply following the latest food trend. It is not common for people to eat wholesome foods in order to enhance their brain function or as a preventative measure against brain dysfunction.
The brain requires proper nutrition to function optimally; in fact it is the most metabolically active organ in the body. The brain uses nutrients at a high rate, up tp 10x more than any other organ in the human body.
A well Oiled Machine
I like to think of the brain like a car. If you have an empty gas tank or a flat wheel, you are not going to get far down the road. The brain is the same way, even if you maintain all the parts but fail to fill up the gas tank you are still not going anywhere. This is the case with the brain. We commonly have heard all about the importance of playing brain games such as Suduko to stay mentally sharp, or the importance of exercise and brain plasticity. However we have seemed to over look the importance of nutrients.
Feed your Brain
The best thing that you can do to enhance brain health via nutrition is to eat plenty of fresh vegetables, legumes (beans and lentils) and fruit. There is no such thing as too many vegetables and fruit (unless you are diabetic or are have a particular medical condition). The worst thing you can do is consume sugar, sugar is the new smoking in terms of how harmful it is to the body. All the sugar we need should be coming from our sweeter veggies and fruit. If you can cut it our completely that’s ideal, if not at least cut back significantly on your daily sugar intake.
Top Supplements to Boost Brain Function
It is important to optimize brain power in our earlier years, that’s right, don’t wait until you are retired to pay attention to brain health. There is no time like the present. I encourage you to take a look at your nutrition and lifestyle, are you supporting your brain for a better tomorrow?
Wondering if Naturopathic medicine is right for you or want to learn more? Book a free 15-minute discovery session with Dr. Cassandra
For educational purposes only, this does not replace an individual client appointment and is not medical advice.
Dr. Cassandra Connolly,