Metabolic Changes From Antipsychotic Medications in Youth

Node Smith, ND

A new study reveals that short-term treatment of children with antipsychotic medications can increase body fat, and decrease insulin sensitivity, predisposing these children to the development of diabetes.1

Childhood obesity is now considered an epidemic

Childhood obesity has increased by more than 300 percent from the 1970's to now, and is considered an epidemic that is contributing to the rising rates of diabetes in youth. There is also an increased practice of using antipsychotic medications in an off-label way to treat common nonpsychotic behavioral problems, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The use of these drugs, even for a short time, may be changing the metabolisms of children in way that makes them gain weight easier and develop insulin resistance.

First study of its kind

Researchers from Florida Atlantic University and Washington University in St. Louis, have published a randomized prospective clinical trial testing the hypothesis that antipsychotic medications adversely affect body fat and insulin resistance. Children between the ages of 6 and 18 were analyzed. It is already known that antipsychotic medications are linked to diabetes development, as well as weight gain, but there have yet to be any studies on children. The study is published in JAMA Psychiatry.

First time whole body changes have been measured in a population taking antipsychotics

The interesting thing about this study is that it is the first time that whole body changes have been measured in a population taking antipsychotics for the first time.

The study

The study looked at 144 children, all of whom were diagnosed with at least one psychiatric condition involving significant aggression and for which antipsychotic medication was already being considered. Participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 different medications (aripiprazole, olanzapine, or risperidone) for 12 weeks.

All of the medications resulted in significant increases in body fat

All of the medications resulted in significant increases in body fat, including both visceral and subcutaneous abdominal fat, which are more closely associated with risks for cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Insulin sensitivity was also altered significantly

The U.S. has seen a surge in off label use of antipsychotic meds

Over the past twenty years the United States has seen a significant increase in the off label use of antipsychotic medication for behavioral conditions. These drugs were not developed for this use, and are now being shown to have adverse effects that may outweigh their proposed benefits of off-label use.


Nicol GE, Yingling MD, Flavin KS, et al. Metabolic Effects of Antipsychotics on Adiposity and Insulin Sensitivity in Youths: A Randomized Clinical Trial.JAMA Psychiatry. 2018 Jun 13. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.1088. [Epub ahead of print] PMID:29898210

Photo by Caroline Hernandez on Unsplash

Node Smith, ND, is a naturopathic physician in Portland, OR and associate editor for NDNR. He has been instrumental in maintaining a firm connection to the philosophy and heritage of naturopathic medicine among the next generation of docs. He helped found the first multi-generational experiential retreat, which brings elders, alumni, and students together for a weekend camp-out where naturopathic medicine and medical philosophy are experienced in nature. Four years ago he helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic ReVitalization (ANR), for which he serves as the board chairman. ANR has a mission to inspire health practitioners to embody the naturopathic principles through experiential education. Node also has a firm belief that the next era of naturopathic medicine will see a resurgence of in-patient facilities which use fasting, earthing, hydrotherapy and homeopathy to bring people back from chronic diseases of modern living; he is involved in numerous conversations and projects to bring about this vision.

The post Metabolic Changes From Antipsychotic Medications in Youth appeared first on NaturalPath.

Gluten: What Is It And Should You Avoid It?

Gluten: What Is It And Should You Avoid It? | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Toronto Naturopathic Doctors

If you've been reading or watching the news surrounding health and diet in the past few years, chances are you've heard of gluten.

More than likely, you've heard about the wonders and miracles that come about from having a gluten-free diet.

But what is gluten, and what exactly does it do to your body?

Discover the truth about gluten and your digestive system below.

What Is Gluten?

Gluten is the part of many grain products that gives them the chewy texture that many people enjoy, as well as giving products like bread the ability to rise when baked, providing the airy, fluffy texture.

It acts as a binding agent as well, holding the bread together.

gluThis is why gluten-free breads tend to be a bit crumblier than their gluten-filled counterparts.

Gluten actually refers to a family of proteins in these grain products, rather than a singular one.

Glutenin and gliadin are the main proteins found in gluten, of which gliadin is mainly responsible for many of the negative side effects reported for consuming gluten products.

Dietary Sources of Gluten

Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, rye, barley, and spelt.

This means that many foods considered staples in our diet contain gluten, like our morning toast, our pasta for lunch, and even that beer we had with our dinner.

Seemingly, these days almost every part of our diet has gluten in one way or another.

But the important question is, does this pose a problem?

For a portion of the population, this seems to be the case.

Problems Associated With Gluten

Although it's generally a good idea to avoid gluten in your diet, certain parts of the population need to be more careful than others.

For the unlucky ones, there are varying degrees to which gluten can wreak havoc on your body and its many systems, such as the digestive system, immune system, and cardiovascular system.

The following describes the different ways your body might react negatively to gluten.

Gluten and the different things you should learn about it | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Toronto Naturopathic Doctors

1. Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is the most severe reaction your body can have to gluten.

Celiac disease happens to fall in the category of autoimmune disorders, which essentially means the body's immune system starts to attack other parts of the body because it mislabels them as foreign invaders.

In the case of celiac disease, gluten acts as the trigger to this attack response, and the immune system works systematically to destroy the gluten, with the lining of the gut being collateral damage.

Damage to the intestine can result in a loss of ability to absorb nutrients from the food you eat, which leads to nutrient deficiencies, anemia, chronic diarrhea, weight loss, severe digestive issues, and an increased risk for many other conditions.

Unfortunately, many individuals might not even know they have celiac disease until the damage has already been done, as common symptoms in earlier stages are similar to regular indigestion, such as discomfort, bloating, and constipation.

2. Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

Before you panic, you may have these symptoms without actually having celiac disease.

Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is a condition that presents itself similarly to celiac disease but does not involve an autoimmune response.

This means that there is less damage done to the gut or intestinal lining; however, consuming gluten while having this condition can still result in painful symptoms like abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhea.

However, there may be real damage done to the

3. Allergies to Wheat

For some individuals, any digestive problems following eating gluten products might simply be an allergy to wheat.

Since celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity are harder to diagnose, you might first consider the possibility of a wheat allergy if there are consistent digestive problems after you eat food with gluten in it.

4. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Although irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS for short, is not caused by gluten, there are studies that show a benefit in eating a gluten-free diet for those suffering from the condition.

More specifically, there are certain variations of IBS that may benefit from a gluten-free diet, so the strict nature of eliminating gluten may sometimes present itself as the best option.

5. Dermatitis Herpetiformis

Some problems with gluten intolerance can present themselves on the outside of the body as well.

One of the most obvious examples of this is dermatitis herpetiformis, which Reunala best described in the journal Annals of Medicine as celiac disease of the skin.

Dermatitis herpetiformis is characterized by a blistering rash that appears after consumption of gluten.

Unfortunately for people with this condition, digestive problems indicative of celiac disease can also occur in concurrence to the skin problems.

On the bright side, due to the visible nature of this condition, you are more likely to notice immediately that the reaction you are having is more than just simple indigestion.

Contact Annex Naturopathic

As you can see, many, if not all, of the conditions that involve having to be careful around gluten have similar symptoms.

Here at Annex Naturopathic, we've treated a number of patients with digestive health concerns, with gluten intolerance being only one of the many concerns commonly treated.

If you're unsure of whether or not you may have one of these conditions, or even if you're simply unhappy with your digestive health, contact us at Annex Naturopathic.


If you're curious to learn more about this subject or would like to consult with one of our NDs feel free to book a visit or contact us.

Yours in Health,

Annex Naturopathic Clinic
572 Bloor St W #201, Toronto, ON M6G 1K1


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Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck, ND, and Tanya Lee, ND

Get more ideas about health, wellness, naturopathy, and medicine at: naturopathic doctors

Three Ingredient Tahini Ice Cream

During our trip to Tokyo last spring, I had the most incredible sesame ice cream and I haven't stopped thinking about it. Before the trip, my friend Stephanie sent me a list of must-eat-at places. She knows me very well because … Go to the recipe...

The post Three Ingredient Tahini Ice Cream appeared first on Love and Lemons.

How to Control Moles in Your Garden

For more natural health and wellness tips, visit: - 

If you are having problems with moles but do not want to use poisons, there are some things you can do that are environmentally friendly and humane. Here are some tips on how to control moles naturally.
1. Get a cat. Really – just the smell of a cat about the place will keep moles at bay. But most cats will actively hunt the moles as well.
2. Plant castor bean plants near your garden. Bear in mind that castor bean plants, while attractive, are poisonous. So if you have small children or animals that may ingest the plant, this is not a good option. Castor bean plants do repel moles, though.
3. Castor oil is a less toxic natural option. Mix 3 tablespoons of liquid dishwashing soap with a cup of castor oil. Stir in a...
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Stay Hydrated And Cool This Summer With A Hibiscus Cooler

Stay Hydrated And Cool This Summer With A Hibiscus Cooler | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Toronto Naturopathic Doctors

The summer is officially here!

This is a time where drinks of all kinds are being abundantly consumed to battle the heat and stay hydrated.

Many people tend to go for more refreshing beverages such as lemonade, pop, fruit juices, and electrolyte drinks.

But while these may be refreshing in the moment, they aren't the best choices as they are typically riddled with sugar, which actually works against our bodies and can perpetuate dehydration.

One of the best ways to stay cool, hydrated and nourished is to consume herbal iced teas - not the store-bought kind, but ones you can easily make at home with ingredients you can find at a Toronto naturopathic herbal dispensary.

These not only taste great, they'll keep you cool and provide a plethora of essential vitamins and minerals to keep you hydrated and energetic in the energy-depleting heat.

Hibiscus Flowers

One of my favourite iced teas to make in the summer is made from hibiscus flowers.

Hibiscus is a tasty and beautiful herb that can help us in many ways.

It's extremely rich in vitamin C and antioxidants such as polyphenols like quercetin.

It helps your body absorb B12 and provides a healthy amount of chromium, a mineral that helps regulate blood sugar levels.

Hibiscus has been well-researched and found to help with maintaining healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

In Egypt, hibiscus is traditionally consumed to regulate body temperature, and for fluid balance.

And, being in the middle of a desert, the Egyptians know a thing or two about staying cool in the heat.

This makes hibiscus a pretty useful herb to drink during the summer heat.

Make Your Own Hibiscus Iced Tea

Making your own hibiscus iced tea is super easy.

You can drink it on its own, but because of its potency some like to dilute it with sparkling water.

You can also get creative with it and make some fun summer cocktails – I find it goes well with gin or vodka.

Hibiscus is generally considered safe, but if you're on medication, it's best to consult with a healthcare provider who is familiar with drug-herb interactions before consumption.

Have a taste of a good Hibiscus Cooler | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Toronto Naturopathic Doctors

Ingredients For Hibiscus Iced Tea

This might be the simplest recipe you can find – it only has two ingredients.

To make hibiscus iced tea, you'll need:

• 1/2 cup of dried hibiscus flowers

• 1 litre of cold water

Instructions For Hibiscus Iced Tea

Combine the hibiscus flowers to the cold water in a pitcher and let it steep in the refrigerator for about 8 hours.

Strain out the flowers and enjoy the infusion over ice.

It can be quite tart, so if that's not your thing you can always sweeten it with a bit of honey, or add some lime or lemon for a more citrus-y taste.

Contact Annex Naturopathic

A hibiscus iced tea is a refreshing way to stay cool during the summer, but it's only the beginning.

There are a number of different herbs with properties that can affect you, for better or worse, in many different ways.

If you're dealing with some health concerns, we can help.

Contact us here at Annex Naturopathic to book a consultation.

We'll work with you to discover the root cause of your symptoms and develop a treatment plan with the goal of getting rid of them for good.

Contact Annex Naturopathic today.


If you're curious to learn more about this subject or would like to consult with one of our NDs feel free to book a visit or contact us.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Tanya Lee, N.D

Annex Naturopathic Clinic

572 Bloor St W #201, Toronto, ON M6G 1K1


Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck, ND, and Tanya Lee, ND

Discover more information on health, wellness, naturopathy, and medicine at: naturopathic doctor in Toronto