Binge Drinking Lowers Working Memory in Adolescents

Razi Berry

A recent study from Columbia University Irving Medical Center notes that binge drinking impairs working memory in the teenage brain.1 This study may help explain why adolescents who binge drink are 15 times as susceptible to alcoholism as adults.

Teen Brains Vulnerable to Addictive Behaviors

It is well known that the brains of youth (teens) are at a developmental stage that is more vulnerable to addictive behaviors, or that their brains can more easily be “switched on” to an addictive behavior, such as alcohol use. The current study is trying to figure out what these switches are, and how they are influenced by binge drinking.

The Study

Much of the research in the area of binge drinking has used mice models, in which forced intoxication has been used through vapor inhalation or alcohol injection. This study allowed the mice to drink voluntarily.

The mice are given alcohol every other day during an age range that is developmentally similar to human adolescence. Some mice drink a lot, and some very little – just like what is seen in humans.

The results of binge drinking in adolescent mice is very similar to what is seen in humans as well. Binge drinking young mice become heavier drinking adult mice.

Significant changes observed within the brains

The most significant changes within the brains of the mice occurred in the equivalent of the human prefrontal cortex (PFC). This area of the brain is crucial in planning, and maintenance of working memory and attention. It is an area that does not mature fully in humans until their 20s.

PFC activity

In the binge-drinking mice, the PFC activity was inhibited, which was seen to impact working memory centers. These findings parallel human imaging studies of alcoholics and binge drinkers. This may be part of why adolescent binge drinkers tend to have memory problems.


Salling MC, Skelly MJ, Avegno E, et al. Alcohol Consumption during Adolescence in a Mouse Model of Binge Drinking Alters the Intrinsic Excitability and Function of the Prefrontal Cortex through a Reduction in the Hyperpolarization-Activated Cation Current. J Neurosci. 2018;38(27):6207-6222.

Image Copyright: wavebreakmediamicro / 123RF Stock Photo

Razi Berry is the founder and publisher of  the journal Naturopathic Doctor News & Review  that has been in print since 2005 and the premier consumer-faced website of naturopathic medicine, NaturalPath.  She is the host of The Natural Cancer Prevention Summit and The Heart Revolution-Heal, Empower and Follow Your Heart, and the popular 10 week Sugar Free Summer program. From a near death experience as a young girl that healed her failing heart, to later overcoming infertility and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia though naturopathic medicine, Razi has lived the mind/body healing paradigm. Her projects uniquely capture the tradition and philosophy of naturopathy: The healing power of nature, the vital life force in every living thing and the undeniable role that science and mind/body medicine have in creating health and overcoming dis-ease. Follow Razi on Facebook at Razi Berry and join us at  Love is Medicine  to explore the convergence of love and health.

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Can Herbal Medicine Improve The Quality Of Your Breast Milk?

Can Herbal Medicine Improve The Quality Of Your Breast Milk? | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Toronto Naturopathic Doctors

Every new parent wants what's best for their baby.

Feeding your baby is one of the most integral parts of building a healthy immune and digestive system, which is why here at Annex Naturopathic we encourage new mothers breastfeed their children when possible.

If you choose to breastfeed your newly born, it's important to understand that your dietary choices will influence your breast milk and therefore your baby's diet.

So if you choose to breastfeed your baby, it's important to focus on a nutrient-dense diet.

At Annex Naturopathic Clinic, we can help you on your path to healthy and natural breastfeeding for your baby.

How can you provide the most nutritious breast milk for your baby?

Keep reading to find out.

Common Myths About Breastfeeding

One of the most common challenges of breastfeeding is low milk production.

Low production often occurs due to poor latching of the baby the nipple; this can be helped by consulting with a qualified lactation consultant to learn different techniques for breast feeding to find one that works best for you and your child

Another reason why it's important to have a healthy diet and to consult with a qualified health professional while breastfeeding is to ensure that you're obtaining sufficient nutrients to improve the nutrient quality of your breast milk

Breastmilk also contains sufficient amounts of iron for the baby's needs but the level of iron in the breastmilk is reflected by sufficient levels in a breastfeeding woman.

Formula may contain too much iron, and is typically not present in highly absorbable forms.

Other benefits to breastfeeding including providing your baby with natural antibodies to prevent infections and promoting healthy bonding between the breastfeeding mother and infant.

What You Eat, Your Baby Eats

When breastfeeding, you do not need a special diet, but you do need to consider that you're eating for two.

Breastfeeding actually burns calories, approximately 425 to 700 calories per day, so it's important to increase your caloric intake to account for your daily calorie requirements.

While breastfeeding, it's important to focus on protein-rich foods such as chicken, low mercury seafood, beans, and lentils.

Fruits and vegetables, and a variety of whole grains will provide essential vitamin and minerals, and natural plant-based fats, will keep the breastmilk rich and full of baby-friendly brain fuel.

Make sure drink plenty of water to keep your breastmilk production healthy.

Avoid inflammatory foods such as junk food, and limit alcohol, caffeine, and high-mercury fish.

While breastfeeding, it's a good idea to avoid a detox diet or any other detoxifying products too, as these toxins can end up being flushed out through your breast milk.

If you're baby is gassy/colicky, avoid gas-producing foods such as broccoli, cabbage, and chocolate.

Herbs For Healthier Breast Milk

In addition to a nutrient-rich diet, you can also supplement with nutrient-rich herbs to improve the quality of your breast milk.

Herbal medicine improving breast milk | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Toronto Naturopathic Doctors

1. Rosehip

Rosehips are high in vitamins A and C; vitamin C typically occurs in low levels in breastmilk since our bodies don't store it.

Vitamin C is required for the proper development of many parts of the body, and vitamin A affects immune function and cellular health.

In a recent study, it was found that vitamin C levels can be doubled or tripled in breast milk in poorly nourished mothers through supplementation.

2. Raspberry Leaf

Raspberry leaf is high in many important vitamins and minerals, including calcium, iron, and magnesium.

These herbs are helpful in the production of quality breast milk and can also improve energy in breastfeeding mothers

3. Hibiscus Flowers

Hibiscus flowers are high in selenium, which is an excellent source of manganese and chromium, silicon.

Selenium is needed for proper immune system function, and elevated intake may be associated with reduced risk of cancer.

4. Alfalfa

Containing high levels of fiber, protein, niacin, potassium, and vitamins A and C, alfalfa is an important supplement due to its nutrient density.

5. Oatgrass

Oatgrass is one of the best sources of magnesium, which regulates diverse biochemical reactions in the body.

It is also high in chromium, sodium, and silicon.

6. Blessed Thistle

Blessed thistle is an herb that has been used in herbal medicine ever since medieval times.

It's commonly used as a galactagogue – a herb that helps breastfeeding mothers increase their supply of breastmilk.

You can get blessed thistle in tea form – many herbal teas for breastfeeding mothers contain blessed thistle.

Blessed thistle is commonly combined with fenugreek as well, another galactagogue commonly used by dairy farmers to increase the supply of milk their cows give.

Contact Annex Naturopathic

When ensuring breastfeeding health, it's important to eat a nutritious diet with sufficient calories.

Take care of your body, and your baby will be taken care of too.

If you're expecting a baby and are looking to breastfeed, contact the Annex Naturopathic Clinic.

Our ND's will assist you in developing a diet which contains the nutrients your baby needs.

Book a consultation with Annex Naturopathic Clinic 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,

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

See more info on health, wellness, naturopathy, and medicine at: naturopathic doctor Toronto

Enhanced External Counterpulsation Therapy for Heart Disease and More

By Dr. Mercola

Dr. S. Ramasamy1 is a cardiologist and noninvasive cardiology consultant specializing in heart failure management, whose innovative work centers around the use of enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP). In this interview, he discusses the use of EECP as an adjunct to or primary therapy for heart disease, and how it may benefit a number of other conditions as well, including diabetes.

I had the pleasure of meeting him and his wife at last year's annual Academy of Comprehensive and Integrative Medicine (ACIM) conference in Orlando. EECP is a really valuable yet oft-ignored resource in the treatment and prevention of heart disease. Ramasamy began working on an EECP research project when he came to the U.S. as a medical resident in 1998.

"When you have coronary artery disease or cardiac disease, you have multiple options to solve that," he says. "You have medical management. After the medical management phase, then you go for an angiogram. Through the angiogram, they are able to find out how many blocks you have in your coronary arteries.

Based on the blocks, you're either going to be a candidate for bypass surgery or peripheral angioplasty, or they may use a stent, which can be a bare metal stent, or a drug-eluting stent or a biodegradable stent. But what people don't know is there's another option called EECP, enhanced external counterpulsation.

What does EECP actually do? EECP, is a noninvasive way of treating the same cardiac disease without the intervention. At the same time, this treatment is able to significantly increase blood flow across the blocked artery, so the heart muscle can get more blood supply without you actually going for these invasive procedures, like bypass surgery and angioplasty."

Why EECP Is a Superior Treatment Choice for Heart Disease

A principal benefit of this treatment is that rather than surgically grafting one or more vessels, EECP allows your body to create new vessels without surgical intervention. It triggers the creation of thousands of tiny vessels that provide as much, if not greater, volume of blood to your heart. As noted by Ramasamy, while the main blood vessel that gets the graft or stent only contributes 30 to 40 percent of the blood supply going to your heart, the remaining majority is actually supplied by microvessels, which number in the millions.

When you do EECP, you not only increase the blood supply in the area that is blocked, but you're also increasing blood flow to the entire cardiac muscle. In other words, it's not specific to the ischemic area. Rather, it globally increases the blood supply across your heart muscle. "That's the great thing about EECP," Ramasamy says, "It's noninvasive. It can significantly increase the blood flow by using microvessel circulation, profoundly much better than the main vessel is able to supply."

How EECP Is Performed

EECP is a treatment name trademarked by VasoMedical, so what we're really talking about here is the concept of external counterpulsation or ECP. That said, during ECP treatment, the patient is asked to lie down on a treatment table that has a valve system. They wrap your lower limbs, including your calves, lower thighs and upper thigh region with inflatable cuffs, similar to that of a blood pressure cuff, which is hooked up to an electrocardiograph (EKG) machine.

The machine, through the EKG, senses your heart rhythm beat by beat. It then precisely times the inflation of large bladders around your pelvis and legs (similar to blood pressure cuffs) with the diastolic phase of your cardiac cycle. The cuffs inflate to a pressure around 260 to 300-millimeter mercury pressure. The compression starts at the bottom of your calves, moving sequentially upward, forcing blood from your lower limbs toward your heart.

The compression affects both the venous compartment and the arterial compartment. When the arterial compartment is compressed, the blood goes in the reverse direction.

Ramasamy explains, "It is timed in such a way that the main valve, the aortic valve, is closed, so the blood can directly route into the coronary arteries, which arise from the root of the aorta." As a consequence, it increases the blood supply to your coronary artery two- to threefold, which is similar to what you achieve with anaerobic or high-intensity interval training.

"Basically, your heart thinks you're performing something like a 6-kilometer fast running. That much blood is increasing in your coronary circulation. At the same time, it also compresses the venous system and increases the blood sent to your heart. In fact, it increases the cardiac output. These two functions are very important.

Increasing blood flow to the coronary artery is helpful for patients who have ischemia or blockage in the coronary artery. It is helpful to patients with heart failure, because it can increase the cardiac output. This procedure is done every day for one hour, done ideally five days or six days a week. It goes up to six to seven weeks continuously. In some patients, it can be also performed twice a day, [in which case] the treatment can be cut short and completed in almost three weeks' time."

EECP Is a Medicare-Approved Treatment That Can Benefit Many

In the U.S., EECP is covered by most insurance plans, including Medicare, if you have a diagnosis of angina or coronary heart disease resulting in angina. If you don't have insurance, it's still a far more effective and safer approach than surgical intervention. Thirty-five treatments will typically cost you about $5,000, and the results often last for about five years.

In India, EECP is offered to a much wider array of patients, including those with heart failure, coronary artery disease or a history of heart attack, and Ramasamy believes it has great potential not only for angina but also as a primary treatment for heart failure.

I first became aware of EECP in the mid-'90s. I was very skeptical at the time because I felt one could just exercise and get the same benefit. I was wrong about that, however, as it's absolutely impossible to reproduce the "exercise" that EECP creates. Physics and biomechanics simply don't allow it.

The Difference Between Exercise and EECP

Exercise alone cannot cause the pressure to increase during the diastolic (resting) phase of the cardiac cycle, causing the blood to flow upward. Your body simply does not work that way. That's the magic of EECP, because during the diastole phase, when you have an increase in blood return to your heart, it pushes the blood upward, causing this massive increase in collateral blood vessels in the heart.

Exercise will promote microvessel formation too - but you must be healthy to do it, since it requires high levels of exertion. Ramasamy explains the difference between EECP and exercise further:

"No. 1, most cardiac patients are so sick they cannot even walk for three or four minutes without resting. Probably, they have an effort angina or an exertional angina. Even a minor increase in exercise [causes] angina pain. This group of patients, obviously, you cannot push them to do exercise. Even if you push them to do an exercise, they may not be able to achieve more than three to four minutes of walking. Basically, for patients who cannot exercise, EECP is a good option.

I will also add another thing. If you compare EECP to exercise, that's a good comparison. But let's say that somebody who is not athletic, or they have body strain, you put them on a sudden increase in exertion, you ask them to run maybe a kilometer or a mile, they're not trained to do so. So, their heart rate increases and their blood pressure shoots up. Basically, the heart is trying to pump so hard because of the increased pressure and heart rate.

Probably the effort of exercise won't reach them, because they're going to struggle by increasing their exercise. But when you do EECP, the opposite happens. It keeps your blood pressure down. In fact, during EECP, because it relaxes your vessels, your systolic pressure goes down. Your heart rate is kept constant.

By keeping your blood pressure down and heart rate constant, you only increase the blood flow to the coronary [artery]. You're getting maximum benefit - more than exercise can do - without actually doing exercise. It's kind of a passive exercise that we can do for anybody. This is an advantage of EECP - in both the cardiac patient and also noncardiac patient who are not doing regular exercise."

How Quickly Can You Get Results and How Long Do Benefits Last?

Here's yet another way to explain it: During normal systolic blood pressure, the 120 systole - the top number of your blood pressure - all your organs get maximum blood supply. During the diastole phase (the bottom number of your blood pressure) the pressure drops - in the case of "ideal" blood pressure, it's down to 80.

During EECP, the opposite occurs. In the systolic phase, due to increased cardiac output, all the organs get increased blood supply, and during the diastolic phase, because of the cuff compression, blood supply is increased, allowing all your organs to get again maximum blood supply both during the systolic and diastolic phases.

"Basically, during EECP, you're getting a dual blood supply rather than the single blood supply fully depending on the systolic phase," Ramasamy says. Typically, in cardiac patients, by the 15th to 20th session, collateral circulation starts increasing, and most patients start to feel much better at this point.

Also, during EECP the sheer stress due to increased flow across the entire vascular system causes your body to respond through endothelial cells that line your blood vessels. It secretes growth hormones, and nitric oxide is also increased, which benefits your health.

"We have seen in a lot of trials that the nitric oxide levels shoot up three to four times the normal value. Because of that, in cardiac patients, vasodilatation can happen and symptoms drastically [reduce]. At the same time, the collateral circulation also starts taking place after 15 sessions. Another 20 sessions are given for the maintenance for the cells.

When you do the treatment for a long period of time, up to 35 sessions, all the new collateral vessels formed will become a permanent conduit. Even after you stop the treatment the benefit has been shown to last for up to five years."

Now, I want to make it really clear here that ECP is not a magic bullet. But it's a very useful tool, and a far safer and less expensive and superior treatment than angioplasty or bypass. Ideally, it would be used in addition to lifestyle changes such as implementing a cyclical ketogenic diet, so that, eventually, you can get into a regular fitness program. In such a case, EECP can be a very powerful synergistic tool to change your life around.

EECP can also be helpful for erectile dysfunction, as it increases blood flow in the lower part of your body. "We never even recommended it, but there are people coming [to our clinic] from the Middle East, just for erectile dysfunction," Ramasamy says. It will also help flush out your lymphatic system, reducing peripheral edema.

How EECP Can Benefit Prediabetics and Type 2 Diabetics

While treating cardiovascular disease is probably is the most important benefit, EECP also has a number of other health benefits. It's really useful to view this modality as a form of passive exercise. Like exercise, it has many of the same benefits. For example, it decreases insulin resistance and is useful for the treatment of diabetes. According to Ramasamy, increased attention is now being given to EECP as preventive care.

"For example, we have seen patients with the glucose intolerance … These are the group of patients who are not considered normal or diabetic; they are in between. The blood sugar level is not close to normal, which it is supposed to be.

When we put them on EECP, it actually reverses the blood glucose level to normal. That's a fantastic finding, because what happens is it drastically reduces both the fasting as well as the postprandial blood sugar level, and now these patients are considered normal (nondiabetic). We still don't know the exact mechanism of how it is able to reduce insulin resistance and how it is able to reverse the diabetic to normal.

But one of the reasons is because EECP is a form of aggressive exercise. It has the effect of increasing blood flow to the pancreas. It also increases glucose utilization in skeletal muscle. Because when you put on the cuff and it inflates and deflates for 35 days, somehow, the receptors in the muscles are stimulated. They are able to absorb this blood sugar level from the circulation and blood sugar level comes under control.

When treating cardiac patients who are also diabetics with EECP, we've seen them go hypoglycemic (a significant decrease in blood sugar level). When we evaluated these patients, we realized EECP caused a significant drop in blood sugar level, and we were able to reduce their antidiabetic drug and insulin dosage.

It also reduces the bad (low-density lipoprotein or LDL) cholesterol and significantly increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels … [S]tatins can reduce your LDL level, but it won't increase your HDL level. If you want to look into increasing the HDL in addition to the exercise, you'd want to be taking some fish oil. But I think EECP is a first treatment modality, which not only decreases your LDL, but significantly increase your HDL levels also," Ramasamy says.

EECP for Heart Failure and Hypertension

Diastolic dysfunction is one of the most important and interesting issues. Most people think heart failure is when the systolic function declines, such as when your ejection fraction number goes down from 60 to 50 percent.

This is called reduction in left ventricular function. Heart failure occurs at 40 percent. It's known as systolic dysfunction. The second type of dysfunction, which is equally common and comprises half of all heart failure is diastolic dysfunction. We still don't have any proper medical management for the treatment of diastolic dysfunction.

"EECP has shown very good promise in initial studies. We have good experience in treating these patients with diastolic dysfunction. How does EECP help these patients? When we inflate and deflate the cuffs, the deflation causes dilation of your blood vessels.

So, your heart can now easily pump the blood in to the dilated vessels, causing the diastolic pressure to come down. It's a very important parameter to assess the diastolic dysfunction. The overall stiffness of the ventricle is reduced.

Heart failure is becoming a big epidemiological disaster in the U.S. We have medical management and device-based management for heart failure. This has shown to improve quality of life and decrease the mortality, but what they couldn't achieve is a decrease in repeat rehospitalization."

This is an area where EECP can be very useful. Once you are admitted for heart failure, your chances of repeat hospitalization within 30 to 60 days is between 30 and 50 percent. "It's a huge percentage. We have shown that if you put them on EECP immediately after they come back from being hospitalized, the rehospitalization rate drops to 15 percent," Ramasany says, adding:

"EECP is a very good treatment for heart failure because it improves the circulation to the myocardium. Because it increases the blood supply to the myocardium, the muscle contracts much better than before. It improves your LV function, which is the ejection fraction. It improves your quality of life. It is also able to reduce rehospitalization rates, and improve survival."

One of the side effects of heart failure is that it causes the left ventricle to enlarge, a condition called left ventricular hypertrophy. Initially, when EECP was introduced in the U.S., heart failure was a contraindication for EECP, and the reason for that is because when you push blood back into the heart, if the heart is too weak to pump the blood outside the ventricle, if there was a back pressure, the blood will go to the pulmonary artery.

When the pulmonary artery wedge pressure increases, it causes pulmonary edema, which was very common among heart failure patients undergoing EECP. However, we can now successfully treat heart failure patients by altering the timing of the inflation and deflation of the cuffs.

"Thereby we can increase the cardiac output without putting the patient at the risk of pulmonary edema. Also, one of the important factors, which can predict the outcome in patients with heart failure, is left ventricular end diastolic volume.

If the ventricle is dilated then your end diastolic volume will be greater, causing increased mortality and repeat hospitalization. We have shown in our study that 35 sessions of EECP treatment actually reduces the end diastolic volume, so left ventricular enlargement improves with increase ventricular contraction power."

High blood pressure is another condition that can be improved with EECP. Most of the patients undergoing EECP for coronary artery disease will also have hypertension. They are on medication to control their hypertension, and sometimes they have high blood pressure in spite of medication. EECP has been shown to decrease systolic blood pressure by about 15- and 10-millimeter mercury pressure respectively after a one-hour session, which is quite significant.

The reason for this decrease is because you inflate and deflate the cuff around the lower limbs, which constitutes to 60 percent of your peripheral vascular resistance, which is the cause for increases in blood pressure.

After about 35 days of treatment, the increased nitric oxide secretion from the endothelial cells will begin to dilate your blood vessels. Once the blood vessel is dilated there is a drop in the peripheral vascular resistance, thereby lowering your systolic blood pressure. So, EECP treatment has a positive effect on your cholesterol level, blood sugar level and systolic pressure level. These effects show EECP has a great potential as a preventive tool.

EECP Effect on Your Lymphatic System

EECP can also flush out the lymphatic in the lower extremity. Many of the patients undergoing EECP have edema, either venous or lymphatic, but after EECP the pedal edema does go away. "Probably, EECP not only causes reverse flow in arterial system and improves venous flow, it may also have some effect on the lymphatic system, but it's not been studied yet," Ramasamy says. A common experience during EECP is the urge to empty your bladder. In response to why that happens, Ramasamy says:

"I would comment if the patient wants to empty the bladder often during the treatment, then their lower limb vasculature is very good. When we give the compression in the lower limbs, there is an increase in coronary perfusion pressure around 40 percent, then a 20 percent increase in cerebral perfusion pressure, but in renal there's a 130 to 140 percent increase in blood flow.

Such an amount of blood flow can increase your glomerular filtration rate and increase urine output in the bladder. Also, since there is an increase in blood flow in the pelvic area, it's very effective in patients with erectile dysfunction."

EECP Shows Promise for Alzheimer's

Last but not least, EECP also shows promise in the prevention of dementia, as it increases vascular flow to your brain. During EECP, there's a 20 percent increase in the cerebral perfusion pressure. This increases the blood flow to your cerebral cortex also.

"I think this should be a treatment for senile dementia or Alzheimer's disease," Ramasamy says. However, randomized studies are still needed to confirm the benefits. Again, just like in the treatment of heart disease or coronary artery disease, EECP is not a magic bullet. But certainly, in conjunction with other effective strategies, such as those detailed in Dr. Dale Bredesen's book, "The End of Alzheimer's: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline."

More Information

Again, the primary condition that EECP is recommended for is heart disease, and angina more specifically. If your doctor has been recommending that you get a bypass, or angioplasty or a stent, then EECP is something you should seriously consider before you opt for surgery. Even if you have to pay for it out of pocket, it's going to be far better than subjecting yourself to surgery, which does nothing to treat the cause of the disease.

At least ECP addresses the physiological mechanisms, giving you not just one, but thousands of bypasses all over your entire heart, while simultaneously improving your blood pressure, cholesterol ratios, insulin sensitivity and lowering your risk for dementia. It even increases cardiac stem cells naturally, which decreases your risk of myocardial infarction and death. Stem cells also increase in peripheral circulation, so EECP appears to have a global effect on stem cell production.

"I would explain EECP as a vascular reversal treatment. Anything that is related to vascular or blood flow, I think EECP can be worth it," Ramasamy says. "It's like aggressive exercise on your vascular system. Any vascular disease usually responds to EECP." That also includes peripheral vascular disease or peripheral arterial disease, which can be very painful, and has few effective treatment options.

"Peripheral vascular disease patients have severe classification pain. The calf muscle will be severely painful when the patient starts walking due to lack of blood supply to the skeletal muscle.

The EECP effect is not specific to any vessels but it's a vascular reversal treatment. In patients with peripheral vascular disease and claudication pain, when we apply EECP there is a decrease in peripheral vascular resistance and promotion of collaterals in lower limb. So the patient is able to improve their exercise time," Ramasamy says.

On Chronic Stable Angina Management

The management of chronic stable angina is complex. Angioplasty and stents have failed to show benefit in multiple randomized control trials. Studies show it cannot improve quality of life, cannot increase longevity or prevent a heart attack. EECP, on the other hand, has been shown quite useful. Ramasamy explains:

"EECP has three important functions. It can be initially used as a primary treatment. If you have diabetes, hypertension or hypercholesterolemia, you can use it as a preventive tool and improve your endothelial function to secrete more nitric oxide and restore your endothelial function to normal.

If you don't use it as a preventive tool and you have a coronary heart disease and chronic stable angina, EECP may also play a major role because, again, it can improve your collateral circulation and angiogenesis. It can improve your blood supply to the ischemic area, without manipulating your coronary artery by bypass and angioplasty.

Third, if you did a bypass and angioplasty and it fails due to graft occlusion or stent restenosis, which are very common, then EECP is the only option. Finally, the end stage: If you did all these things, and your heart is still not able to recover from the shock due to myocardial infarction and you go into heart failure, EECP again plays a major role. I think EECP should be used more than what is currently being used in the U.S. and India.

When you have a heart attack … your heart muscle is going to die. There is no metabolic activity that happens in the myocardia. The surrounding myocardium is also suffering from ischemia, which is always associated with death. There are dead cells when there is ischemia. Procedures, whether bypass surgery, an angioplasty or an EECP, are able to recover this ischemic cell back to normal.

But once the damage is done, which happens in heart failure, I don't think the EECP or any other interventional procedure is able to recover or reverse the dead cells. For infarction, they usually go for fibrosis and It cannot be recovered. But the ischemic cells surrounding the infarction can recover."

For more information about Ramasamy and how EECP can help you, see There, you'll also find a long list of scientific studies relating to the use of EECP. Physicians who want to learn more about EECP and how you can offer it to your patients, check out

Come and See Me Speak in November in Orlando

Ramasamy spoke at the ACIM conference in Orlando last year. It is by far my favorite professional event to attend as there is a stellar group of clinicians sharing their insights on how to optimize health with natural strategies that are typically ignored by conventional medicine.

Of course, I will also be speaking, along with a list of many other outstanding clinicians such as Drs. Dietrich Klinghardt, Lee Cowden, Daniel Amen and many others that you can see here. If you are a clinician, I could not encourage you more strongly to join me in Orlando November 8 through 11. If you are an interested lay person, there will be a two-day event for you that last year had 500 attendees, at which I will also be sharing my latest strategies on how to improve your health.

There are actually two events, one for professionals and one for lay people. So please come join me and learn from some of the best physicians in natural medicine. I can assure you that you will learn loads of useful information.

5 Signs Of Gluten Intolerance (That Aren't In Your Digestive System)

5 Signs Of Gluten Intolerance (That aren't In Your Digestive System) | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Toronto Naturopathic Doctors


The way it's talked about these days you'd think it was a bad word.

For people with gluten intolerance though, it really is something to be avoided.

The symptoms that go along with it can range from just feeling a little tired, to digestion-related concerns that many of us have probably heard about.

Many of the common symptoms are digestion-related, which many are familiar with, but there are some other symptoms which aren't linked to your digestive system as well.

Let's take a look at some of these symptoms, and then you can determine if you need to see a digestive health naturopathic doctor to help manage them.

What Is Gluten Intolerance?

When most people think of gluten intolerance, they probably think of celiac disease.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that constitutes adverse reactions to gluten, which is found in food containing wheat, barley and rye.

This means that these substances cause the body to attack itself, viewing its own normal, healthy cells as foreign invaders.

This condition is found in about 1% of the population, but there's an even larger number of people who have gluten sensitivity.

This means that there could be up to 13% of the population who don't have celiac disease, but for whom gluten is still an issue.

Many of the symptoms of gluten intolerance have nothing to do with the digestive system.

Do you have symptoms you can't explain?

Could they be related to your diet, perhaps caused by a gluten sensitivity?

Let's take a closer look.

Common Digestive-Related Gluten Concerns

Many of the symptoms of gluten intolerance are related to the digestive system.

Bloating is when your belly feels full and swollen, especially after a meal or foods that your body can't process properly.

This is one of the most common issues for those who have gluten sensitivity.

Constipation and diarrhea are also common issues for those who are sensitive to gluten.

Inflammation in the gut lining means the body may have trouble absorbing nutrients.

This in turn leads to discomfort, diarrhea, and constipation.

In addition to digestion related symptoms, there are many that are unrelated to the gut or stomach.

Let's have a look.

Different signs to know if you have Gluten intolerance | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Toronto Naturopathic Doctors

1. Headaches

There are many causes for headaches.

Alcohol, lack of sleep, stress and poor posture can all be culprits, but so can eating foods to which you're intolerant.

A 2013 study in the journal Headache showed a link between an increased prevalence of headaches in patients with celiac disease and gluten intolerance when compared to a control group.

If you're experiencing unexplained headaches, consider that the cause might be gluten.

2. Fatigue

Tired all the time, but can't figure out why?

Being prone to fatigue may be a symptom of gluten intolerance, as shown in a study in the journal Digestive Diseases and Sciences in 2003.

This may be partially because of an inability to absorb iron, as this study oniron deficiency anemia and gluten intolerance from 2011 shows.

Approximately 60%-82% of those individuals with gluten-intolerance are prone to tiredness and fatigue, so if you fall into this group, know you're not alone.

3. Anxiety And Depression

Do you often feel anxious?

Constantly worrying about every little thing, mind racing and restless?

Or maybe you're feeling depressed and detached.

Having a hard time getting through the day?

It may actually be linked to your diet, and a side-effect of gluten intolerance.

A study in the Journal of Hepatogastroenterology from 1996 showed a higher prevalence of anxiety and depression in patients with celiac disease than the control group.

If you're feeling sad or anxious and can't figure out why, try cutting out gluten and pay attention to the effects it has on your mood.

4. Skin conditions

Weird rash? Itchy skin?

Not sure the cause?

It might be a lotion, something in your laundry soap or too much sun.

But if you haven't changed your skincare, laundry, or sunbathing routine recently then maybe it's something else.

A 2006 study in The European Journal of Dermatology showed a link between gluten sensitivity or celiac disease with issues such as psoriasis and itchy rashes that can form on the elbows, knees, scalp, back and buttocks.

5. Joint Pain

There are many causes of joint pain.

Injury, overuse, and infection are all common offenders.

But if you're experiencing joint or muscle pain and can't pinpoint the cause, it might have to do with gluten.

Those with celiac disease and gluten intolerance are thought to have an over-sensitive nervous system.

The pain may also be from inflammation caused by exposure to gluten.

Contact Annex Naturopathic

Are you experiencing any of the symptoms listed above?

Having trouble pinpointing the cause?

Tired of feeling tired, anxious and having unexplained headaches?

There are of course, many different causes for all of these, but they could be linked to your diet.

At Annex Naturopathic we can discuss your symptoms with you, and work together to determine if the cause may be related to your diet.

And more importantly, we can put together a treatment plan so that you can get on with living your life.

Contact us today to set up an appointment.


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

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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.

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