Monthly Archives: March 2013

Foods that Cause Inflammation

As discussed previously, these pro-inflammatory foods not only cause you to gain weight more easily (and make it harder to lose weight), but they also result in chronic disease conditions as long as you consume them.  This list comes from Nat Jones, an expert on this topic.

Bagels, Breads, Baked goods, Croissants, Muffins, Pastry, Rolls
Cereals (except old fashioned oatmeal)
Corn bread, corn muffins
Corn syrup
Dairy Products
Egg rolls
Fast food
French Fries
Fruit juice—choose the fruit instead
Fried foods
Hard cheese (except for feta and grating cheeses, such as Romano and
Hot dogs
Ice cream, frozen yogurt, Italian ices
Jams, jellies and preserves
Pita bread
Rice (quick cooking)
Snack foods, including: potato chips, pretzels, corn chips, rice and corn
cakes, etc.

If you need more information on staying healthy, get in touch with us.

Take care!

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Metabolic Syndrome

metabolic syndrome 1

Metabolic Syndrome (or Syndrome X) is a disorder that is characterized by hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia, hypertension and central obesity.  Other manifestations of this Syndrome are glucose intolerance and a loss of insulin sensitivity, increased uric acid in the blood due to a decrease in clearance at the kidney, increased salt retention, and increased fibrinogen giving a tendency towards increased coagulation.  Not surprisingly, these lead to an increased risk of Coronary Heart Disease(CHD).  This shows how insulin resistant patients (high insulin output) can eventually develop CHD.

So how does this increased insulin secretion start.  How can we stop this from occurring and causing insulin resistance, a condition where normal levels of insulin are not sufficient to do the job of bringing glucose into the cells of the body?  Inflammation occurs through various pathways in the body.  It occurs by different pathways such as stress and diet.  High stress and a diet with processed food, refined carbohydrates, high carbohydrate load, low protein and low fiber, fast food, as well as environmental triggers like heavy metals and additives in plastics – all contribute to inflammation.  Interestingly, fat on its own does not increase insulin (or its counterpart, glucagon).

What happens to a patient who is told to eat the regular pyramid of low fat and a “healthy distribution” of carbs?  This increases insulin further, causing more fat to be stored.  This increases cell volume, increases the need for more cholesterol for cell walls,  and signals the body to find and release more cholesterol.  The patient’s cholesterol levels will now increase.


There is a way to very effectively reduce or eliminate metabolic syndrome and its associated problems (including Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease as well) and the medications associated with it.  Using a specified eating plan that uses healthy fats and low carbs for a given period of time, we can help you to live longer.

Give us a call and ask for more information.  Have a great day!

Posted in Nutritonal Supplements, Stone's Pharmasave | 1 Comment

Thanks to our MLA Mr.Keith Bain for recognizing our work!


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Drug Depletions for Statins


Statins have become a double edged sword for many of our patients.  Without them choldesterol levels would be through the roof (although keep in mind that just because your LDL is high doesn’t necessarily mean it will lead to plaque buildup on your blood vessels – but it might). It is the oxidation of the cholesterol that is the issue, not always the level of cholesterol.  We measure total cholesterol for you at Stone’s to give you an idea of where you are.  If you are on statins it will in most cases give you a more respectable total cholesterol level.  Keep in mind though that it can deplete you of the following nutrients:


Thanks to our friends at Natural Standard for this list.  Get in touch with us to discuss supplements to compensate for these depletions.




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Testosterone use in Women (including improved breast cancer outcome)


As much of a struggle as it can be to convince a practitioner to write for estrogen and progesterone, I get even stranger responses when my recommendations include testosterone for women.  All hormones are important to our wellbeing.  It is like a conductor directing a symphony, or a contractor making sure the trades all come together to build a house.  This sounds like what DNA does, you might say.  Well it just so happens that hormones speak to the cells they bind to from the receptor on the cell membrane to your DNA in the nucleus of the cell.  This is a lot of control to have.  There many steps that have to take place after a hormone meets that receptor.  This is why we sometimes see different symptoms between patients with the same hormone levels (high or low).  It isn’t all about levels, but it’s a good place to start.  Your diet and nutritional status are a huge help.

What if one of these hormones is testosterone.  Testosterone is an essential hormone for both men and women and the androgen receptor is found in most tissues.  What if the level of testosterone is low in the saliva or the connection between the receptor and the nucleus is broken?  Symptoms would include perhaps:

  • Depression
  • excessive anxiety or fears
  • excessive emotions
  • low resistance to stress
  • reduced muscle strength or tone
  • dry skin
  • low libido
  • vaginal itching
  • painful intercourse
  • looking older than your age
  • hesitant
  • cellulite on the thighs
  • varicose veins on the legs
  • flabby belly
  • pale face
  • poor concentration or memory
  • permanent fatigue

Does this explain you?  A good first step is to have this level tested in the saliva.  Why saliva testing?  Because it shows what is free and bioavailable to reach the tissues.  If I wanted to know how busy it was in my Pharmacy, I could either count the cars that drive by the store or count the customers in the store.  Which one would give me the more accurate count, the second one of course.  This is the difference between blood and saliva testing.  The blood is the street and the saliva is the pharmacy.

When your testosterone levels are low, you are more susceptible to depression, anxiety disorders, joint disorders, osteoporosis and atherosclerosis.   We often find women low in testosterone have a number on testosterone topically. It is important to note that testosterone treatment in this way takes time to work.  It can take up to four months to see improvements.  These changes are normally emotional or libido related in nature and take some patience to happen.  The increase in muscle tone takes longer, up to eight months to occur.  Diet and exercise dramatically increase results here.  Eating animal protein and avoiding foods that lower testosterone (grains, sugars and alcohol) will accelerate results.  Testosterone levels tend to be the opposite of cortisol.  Cortisol tends to increase like insulin.  Insulin increases with sugar.  So if a food increases insulin rapidly then it inversely affects the testosterone levels.  This is how stress (high cortisol) reduces testosterone.   In the opposing manner, testosterone helps to improve blood glucose levels and fight against insulin resistance.   In boosting testosterone in women, we suggest avoiding alcohol, vinegar and caffeinated drinks, sugar, soft drinks, sweets, bread, pasta, cereals (even cereal fiber) and dairy.   None of our recommendations on hormone or supplements work as well without exercise.

So, documented benefits of insulin include, decreased inflammation, improved energy levels, increased bone density, decreased blood pressure, decreased cardiovascular disease, lowered LDL levels, increased HDL levels, improved muscle strength, improved brain function and decreased body fat.  All proved by science.

This brings me to the best part of testosterone treatment for women, breast cancer protection.  In 2004 a study that involved 100,000 women years, it was found that adding testosterone to conventional hormone therapy brought the breast cancer risk down to the level of non hormone users, quite a remarkable feat!  Other studies have found the same results.

In applying testosterone, hair growth is a concern of physicians and patients.  Typically it is less than 10% in the literature of this side effect.  In my practice I see it as much lower.  If applied in cream form to the leg(s) this is less of an issue due to normal shaving anyway.  Some women do not absorb testosterone well this way and respond better to IM injections.  DHEA supplementation can increase testosterone levels in women (not men) so some women may go this route as well.

If you have further questions on this popular topic, give us a call!

-Hormone Optimization in Preventive/Regenerative Medicine second ed, Ron Rothenberg, Kris Hart and Roger Rothenberg California Health Span Institute

The Hormone Handbook second ed, Thierry Hertoghe, MD, 2010, SA International Medical Books

The Hormone Makeover, Donna White, 2010, Xulon Press

BioIdentical HRT, Storey Marketing, for Stone’s Pharmasave



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No clear evidence that decline in hormone replacement therapy use linked to fall in breast cancer.


Coincidentally, after the last blog, Science Daily reported the following post:

This report show how women are needlessly being denied hormone replacement therapy’s benefits over the last decade.

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More Hormone Therapy and Breast Cancer…

This has proven to be a popular topic based on the last blog.  I am hearing that you would like more information on this topic.

In a 2006 study that sought to assess the effect of menopausal hormone therapy (ht) on reoccurrence , cancer-related mortality and overall mortality after a diagnosis of breast cancer, nearly 3500 patients were used to determine that these menopausal HT use in breast cancer survivors was not associated with increased cancer reoccurrence, cancer-related mortality or total mortality.

In Dec 2005, a study determined from forty menopausal women that exposure to progesterone for 10 to 13 days monthly reduced estriol induced proliferation of normal breast epithelial cells ( a note to all those women with hysterectomy who have been told that they do not need progesterone).  This replicated the results of a study in 1995.

In 2002, a study that involved over 1100 women, it was determined that ht use for menopausal symptoms by women treated for primary invasive breast cancer is not associated with an increased risk of breast cancer recurrence or shortened life expectancy.

In 1999, a study that involved over 12,000 person years, there was found to be no association between breast cancer risk and the use of topically applied progesterone.

In 2005, a study showed us that the production of progesterone during pregnancy (normally high levels at that time) as well as the application of progesterone for HRT do not increase breast cancer risk, and can even protect against breast cancer development.

Over 1000  women that were found to be low in progesterone showed a 5 fold greater incidence of premenopausal breast cancer in a 1981 study.

     In the interest of brevity, I can state that there are scores of other studies available to show that using the hormones that your body already used for its entire life will not show an increase of breast cancer.  There are also many studies showing that the DIM or I3C we suggest for women are also terrific to increase the metabolism and clearance of estrogen into healthy metabolites.  It is also documented that the most common age for the initial stages of breast cancer are 5 years or more before menopause.  From our testing we often see this is the point in a woman’s life that she is most in an estrogen dominant state.  A combination of anovualtory cycles (no egg released but still have regular bleeding) and  xenoestrogen exposure (from plastics and environmental factors) at this stage in life lead to estrogen dominance and a higher risk of breast cancer.
Perhaps the question should be, “can you afford to NOT be on hormone therapy”.
– Ron Rothenberg, MD, Kris Hart, MN, Roger Rothenberg BA, Hormone Optimization in Preventaive/Regenerative Medicine, Second Ed., California Healthspan Institute, pp 193-216.
-Donna White, The Hormone Makeover, 2010, Xulon Press, References
John Lee MD,  What Not to Tell Your Doctor About PreMenopause, 2005, Grand Central Publishing, Page 240


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Hormone Replacement Therapy and Breast Cancer


 It’s a common question when someone approaches me on whether or not it’s safe to use hormone replacement therapy (bioidentical or not) with a breast cancer concern.  Although it had its flaws, the Women’s Health Initiative clearly showed us that conjugated estrogens from horse urine (albeit a natural source of estrogens) when combined with medroxyprogesterone acetate seemed to increase the incidence of breast and endometrial cancer.  In fact many studies have come to the same conclusion.

     So what about bioidentical hormone replacement (or supplement) therapy (BHRT) and its effects on the same cancers?  A legitimate question.  What I say to women considering this therapy is that all hormone replacement therapy has a possibility of an association with carcinoma.  However estriol, one of the components of our estrogen cream, has been tested numerous times in this regard and is now believed to be protective against breast cancer.  One study was 35 years in length.  Regarding progesterone, many studies have determined its protective role in breast cancer and in fact one study showed a five fold increase in breast cancer in progesterone deficient women (Donna White, The Hormone Makover, Xulon Press, 2010 pg272).  

     If a breast cell divides abnormally today in an otherwise healthy patient, it can take about 5 years for that to show as a palpable mass of a breast cancer lump.  If you give estrogen to a patient with an estrogen feeding tumour, can that estrogen cause that tumour to grow more quickly.  Yes, estradiol could in theory do that even with the protective effects of estriol and progesterone.  This could result in the lump becoming apparent in 2-3 years.  Did the estrogen therapy cause the initial cell to divide into cancer? Studies show us that this is not the case.  Progesterone is needed to counter the effects of estrogen, like yin and yang.  

     So does this mean I would recommend BHRT in women with existing breast cancer.  Well I certainly would recommend Progesterone given its track record in helping to prevent breast cancer (as well as vitamin D and an alkaline diet).  The debate of whether estriol protects against breast cancer becomes secondary to actually treating the disease at this point.  Once in remission, I have to go with the science that estriol is protective against breast cancer.

     So in a nutshell BHRT in my opinion, based on the science helps protect against breast cancer.  Given the small doses needed topically, in comparison with the higher dose needed orally to get past the first pass effect of the liver, topical BHRT is preferred.  HRT with horse estrogen and medroxyprogesterone are not recommended.    When given the benefits of BHRT (cardiovascular, bone, brain, genitourinary health, depression, irritable bowel, low libido, dry skin and nails, etc., etc., etc.) the science proves that this type of therapy  improves quality of life and in my opinion, helps prevent more carcinomas than it causes.

   And Remember! Progesterone does not equal progestin and Natural estrogens are not all equal.


Dr.John Lee’s Hormone Balance Made Simple,  2006, Wellness Central Hachett Book Group, John R. Lee, M.D. and Virginia Hopkins

Natural Hormone Replacement (for women over 45) 1997, Smart Publications, Jonathan V. Wright M.D. and John Morgentahaler

What your Doctor May Not Tell Your About Premenopause. 1999, Grand Central Publishing, John R. Lee , M.D. Jesse Hanley, N.D. and Virginia Hopkins





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How Ideal Protein Weigh Loss Works

ideal protein

In response to your numerous requests on Ideal Protein Weigh Loss Program, here are the basics:

Phase I of the diet is for the entire time you want to lose weight to your goal.  Women typically lose 3-5 lbs per week and men 5-7 lbs per week.  Following the diet strictly is important for this to occur.  One of the biggest causes of weight gain is increased insulin secretion.  This is normally a problem with the North American Diet that is high in refined carbohydrates and a stressful lifestyle.  This leads to higher insulin levels and more hypoglycemia and cravings for more carbohydrates and fat storage.  The cycle of low and high blood sugar repeats itself many times during a day.  This is how metabolic syndrome develops.  This is a common medical problem that has been explained in previous blogs where blood pressure and cholesterol increases along with weight gain and insulin resistance.  Heart disease and diabetes develop as a result of this.  It is this principle that the Ideal Protein Weight Loss Program works.

Just to break the news to you up front, Phase I of this program (where all of the weight loss occurs), involves zero alcohol, fruit, dairy, sugar, bead, pasta, potatoes, corn, carrots or peas.  Yes I said zero alchohol – just for the weight loss phase, sorry.  This normally turns 1/2 of the people away.  It doesn’t mean you can never have these things again, just not while you are losing the weight.  When you consider a few months of work can prevent diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and extend your life, it seems like more of a possibility.  In the first few days of the program you will deplete your body’s normal immediate source of energy – glycogen. At that point your body needs to decide where to go to burn fuel for energy Fat or Muscle.  Because we give you a small amount of protein daily, your muscles and lean body mass are preserved and the fat is used for energy.  This is a condition called ketosis.  As long as you consume even a small amount of sugar, the body will have a hard time burning fat.  The key is the quality of the protein.  High quality protein is absorbed better than low quality protein.  Ideal Protein utilizes high quality protein from farms in Germany and Ontario to give the best absorption possible.

So…in Phase I you have an Ideal protein product with breakfast, lunch and a snack in the evening.  You MUST consume two cups of vegetables at lunch and supper (these can be distributed during the morning and afternoon if needed).  Supper involves 8 oz of meat or fish.  You can have your one coffee in the morning, no sugar and you can use skim milk or you can ad a splash of your chocolate drink).  If you need more during the day you can have herbal tea (no caffeine) and you must consume 64 oz of water per day minimum.  You can go online to check out the food.

For those of you who will immediately claim that this is not a healthy way to eat or live, weight loss is not a normal or healthy state.  Catabolism is not something you want to continue, and fruit is not bad, neither is corn or potatoes.  However if you want to lose the weight safely, quickly and effectively, these are the rules to follow.

The three things I like about this plan are: safe, rapid, motivating weight loss;  loss of fat and not lean body mass, and a gradual release into a regular and healthy eating habit.  Most diet plans cause you to lose both fat and lean body mass (muscle, bone, organs, water etc).  If you gain weight again you gain fat.  This means your percent body fat increases with this gain.  We start the program with a weigh in and a measurement on the Body Composition Analyzer, which tells us your lean body weight, your percent body fat and your hydration level.  We use this analyzer each week to follow your weight loss to be sure you are only losing fat and preserving muscle.

This is not a high protein diet.  It gives a relatively small amount of protein to protect muscles.  In fact it gives Health Canada recommended levels of daily protein.  It does give lower calories than you are used to.  There is an alternative plan for those that require more, but just about everyone we have on the plan is on the regular plan.  The majority of people on the diet do not feel hungry.  There are a few vitamin and mineral supplements needed while on this diet that must be taken and sea salt is also needed.

Once you’ve reached your weight loss goal you do 2 weeks of Phase 2 where you get your lunch back to normal.  You simply have 8 oz of meat for lunch instead of the Ideal Protein food.  This is followed by 2 weeks of Phase 3 where you take away the breakfast Ideal Protein food and you bring back fruit and bread to your diet.   There 2 phases are key to the program because they slowly bring your insulin levels back up.  Skipping these steps can result in a spike in insulin and weight gain.  Phase 4 is zero Ideal Protein foods and you have been reintroduced to a normal diet.  This may prove to be the toughest part of the diet since you are back on your own in your choices of what to eat.  We stress that patients come back periodically to check their weight and fat percent before it gets out of hand again.  We also measure your basal metabolic rate so we know what sort of calorie intake you should have.

Eating 850-900 calories a day on Phase 1 means you cannot help but lose weight.  Depleting your body of glycogen means you will be in ketosis and you will be burning fat for energy.  Keep in mind that alcohol prevents the enzyme system in the liver that converts fat to sugar from working and this (combined with an already low sugar availability) can cause you to pass out.

It is important to fill out the health questionnaire before starting since there are some people that may need an alternate plan or may not be able to go on the plan at all.

We have a local radio personality on this protocol, Nikki.  She is encouraged to write on her blog in a brutally honest way to allow the reader to get a true feel of what the plan is like.  She recently wrote on the cost of the plan, sometimes this cost of $84 per week plus supplements is a deterrent. Here’s what she had to say:

Besides being asked what I eat while on the Ideal Protein weight loss program, I’m also asked a lot about how much it costs. You can find lots of people online who say being on the program increases your grocery bill a lot. And this is a big criticism of the program since you also have to add the cost of the Ideal Protein food and supplements.

So I decided to keep track of my grocery bills to see if it was true that my grocery bills would increase and to see if the program was overly expensive or not.

This is what I have found:

Total spent on groceries since Jan. 7: $940.83 *this is for me and my daughter since it’s too much work to break down just me.
Weekly average grocery bill on Ideal Protein: $104.54
Weekly average grocery bill before Ideal Protein: $110

photo courtesy of Her Coins

Based on this, I’m not spending more on my weekly groceries, but I did buy a lot of fresh produce then so maybe that is why.

I have noticed I am not throwing out as much wasted food (rotten / spoiled.) Substantially less to be honest. Before Ideal Protein, weekly I had lettuce, fruit and other stuff I hadn’t gotten to, that was off and had to be thrown out. Over the past 9 weeks, I think I’ve only thrown out radishes that the greens rotted to. And a tomato. Literally 1. That’s insane. And good. It means more of the money I spent on those groceries went in our mouths and not in our compost.

However, my weekly food budget for before I started Ideal Protein should also reflect the amount of food we were eating out. Since I don’t have receipts for all of these, I went back to July 2015 to check out my Visa charges for this and alcohol. My mouth dropped to the floor:

$498.76 – in take out and alcohol for the month.

That is a lot of money.

When you factor that in – my weekly food total jumps from $110 to $260.

You also have to factor in the cost of Ideal Protein.

The first week is the most expensive since you have to buy all the supplements. That week runs you about $200. The other weeks are roughly $80 in food. So if I just look at the first month on Ideal Protein, that adds up to:

$440 for the 1st month – still $58 bucks less than before I was on it.

After that first month it’s about $360 – which is definitely cheaper than my previous take out habit.

Base on this – it looks like being on Ideal Protein is actually costing me less than my previous bad eating style.

Not to mention – the health benefits you get from loosing the weight are worth millions. Especailly when it comes to preventing life threatening diseases.


With any weight loss plan, once the plan ends, then the plan can fail.  Following phase 4 is key.   To help our patients we have developed a series of YouTube videos that walks you through all areas of the grocery store:



If this sounds like something you need, contact us and we can get you started!

Graham MacKenzie PhC, Stone’s Pharmasave, Baddeck, Nova Scotia

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Stress and Nutrition


Acute stress has followed us as long as we have existed.  It is what the body is designed for and thrives under.  When food was available to the caveman they ate as much as they could, as fast as they could whenever they could because famine could come tomorrow.  Our bodies are designed to physiologically adapt to acute stress and store the fat reserves for such a problem.

For today’s chronic stress of credit cards, bills, relationships, family, traffic, jobs and so on, stress is chronic.  Such stress can be debilitating.  It can develop into an indadequate stress response with clinical symptoms.  Healthy aging is aided in such circumstances with neutraceutical interventions.  Lifestyle changes such as stress reduction, relaxation, regular exercise and a healthy diet all support a healthy response to stress.  Chronic stress can lead to overactive response (chronic depression, diabetes OCD, myocardial Infarction, hypertension, dyslipidemia, bone density loss and obesity) or inadequate response (chronic fatige, chronic pain, hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, allergies and fibromyalgia).

Adaptogens with claming and restorative properties are available such as Rhmannia, Polygala.  They help with an overactive response to stress.  Adaptogens with invigorating and restorative properties like Holy Basil, Ashwagandha, Bacopa, Cordyceps, Asian Ginseng, Rhodiola and Licorice help modulate an inadequate stress response.

In our practice, the inadequate response is more common.  Over time, an overactive stress response results in  the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis becoming desensitized.  This gives a burned out patient (fatigue, poor appetite, decreased libido, hypersomnia, inflammation, low self esteem).  When we test these patients, they typically have low salivary cortisol.  These patients have waited much too long to come and see us, but there is help from neutraceuticals, dietary counselling and exercise. Also the stressor must be removed.  Initially they would have given high cortisol readings and an overactive response (irritable, insomnia, anxiety, intolerant, difficulty concentrating).

The typical adrenal fatigue patient sleeps badly, has their best sleep between 6-8 am, wakes exhausted, feels better by noon, needs a nap a 3, feels better around 6pm after supper, gets normally tired in the evening but if they stay up late they feel they can stay up all night.  Retesting these patients for cortisol secretion in just a few months after this therapy often shows a rebound in cortisol.  It takes years to get this way, it takes months to rebuild back to normal.  Some patients report three or four life changing stress events over 7-10 years (divorce, death of loved one, car accident, stressful relationship).  The final event was the one that tipped the scales for good.  Others just had chronic stress for years with bad coping techniques.

Keeping thyroid function at top shape is difficult when low adrenal funtion or HPA dysfunction is occuring.  Iodine, selenium, vitamin E, Zinc, and vitamins A and D are all helpful in thyroid health.

Ask us for help if you suspect this may describe you!


Metagenics reference

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