Naturopathic medicine is a health care system that blends modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of health care. Naturopathic medicine emphasizes disease as a process rather than as an entity.
Treating both acute and chronic conditions, naturopathic treatments are chosen based on the individual patient – their physiological, structural, psychological, social, spiritual, environment and lifestyle factors. In addition to diet and lifestyle changes our naturopathic doctor’s natural therapies include botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, homeopathy, injection therapy and acupuncture. They call also write requisitions on a wide range of lab testing.
Some of the specialty programs offered by our naturopath include a weight-loss management program and a hormone screening program. We are also able to package a general wellness program for individuals. See below for details.
The Goal: to address the biochemical components of health and disease so our bodies can heal themselves.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Naturopathic Doctors in Alberta can requisition most laboratory tests performed at Calgary Lab Services (CLS). Beyond such tests, they also have access to specialized testing. Here are some of those tests available at Ascent Integrative Health.
Food Sensitivity Testing
This test assesses your personal reactivity to 120 or 200 different foods. Specifically, this blood test will assess your body’s immune response, gauging reactivity of an immunoglobulin IgG against the various foods and the intensity by which they respond (normal, moderate or high reactivity). Results from this test are used, in conjunction with your symptoms, to create a personalized treatment plan for you to heal your digestive tract. The test is done in office and mailed out for analysis.
This in house blood spot test screens for several antibodies whose presence strongly suggest gluten sensitivity and or celiac disease. These antibodies are IgA and IgG to gliadan (a protein found in gluten) to assess for gluten sensitivity and IgA antibodies to tissue transglutaminase which is specific for celiac.
Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis (CDSA)
This test is collected in the comfort of one’s home, whereby stool is collected and sent to the lab for processing. Results examine digestive and absorptive functions along with screening for opportunistic pathogens and parasites. Often this test is run when symptoms such as persistent bloating, diarrhea, indigestion, and/or constipation, occur.
This take home test requires collecting saliva or urine at various times of the day to quantify the presence of several hormones. Testing saliva or urine for the levels of sex and adrenal hormones is a non-invasive method that yields reliable results and informs treatments protocols. The saliva is screened for active hormone availability, where results help to determine imbalances and patterns related to some chronic diseases. The urine test screens for hormonal metabolites and is more comprehensive than the saliva hormonal tests.
In Alberta, family doctors are no longer allowed to test your vitamin D levels. If you have been supplementing vitamin D for a long period of time, it is important to know where your levels are to ensure levels are increasing. Low levels in this case could point to absorption problems. Low vitamin D can lead to low energy, low mood, poor immune health, and make you more susceptible to skin conditions or autoimmune diseases.
This take home test screens urine to assess for metabolic functions & cellular metabolic function. Organic acids are metabolic intermediates that result in energy production pathways, the breakdown of neurotransmitters, detoxification and microbial activity. Understanding the presence and quantity of these metabolites can help inform where blockages may be in such processes and how to support them and or what to screen further for optimal health.
Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) Testing
This take home test involves collecting 10 breath samples in the comfort of your own home and mailing it out for analysis. This test looks at the presence of bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine (normal, good bacteria that have overpopulated from the large intestine to the small intestine). Symptoms of possible SIBO include gas, bloating, cramping, diarrhea and/or constipation, heartburn, nausea, and an inability to tolerate many fruits, vegetables, sugars, fibrous foods. SIBO can contribute to leaky gut and food sensitivities.
Prolotherapy is short-form for “proliferative therapy”. This type of injection therapy is used for damage and injuries to tendons, ligaments, and joint capsules. It involves injecting dextrose with an analgesic solution (most commonly, procaine) to help promote proliferation of the connective tissue in the tendons, ligaments, and cartilage/connective tissue within joint capsules. The proliferation happens due to dextrose stimulating a controlled inflammatory response which aids in tissue repair. Inflammation is necessary for tissues to heal and repair and problems arise when the inflammation is prolonged or gets out-of-control. This makes prolotherapy great for chronic musculoskeletal pain involving strains, sprains, partial tears, arthritis, and other joint capsule injuries.
Trigger point injections use procaine (an analgesic) along with vitamin B12, magnesium, or other therapeutic injectable solutions to help relieve trigger points in muscles. These are great for athletes or anyone involved in any form of physical activity and has developed tight muscles or notices ‘knots’ in their muscles which creates pain as the muscle is unable to relax completely. Trigger points can be identified through palpation of your muscle and identifying areas of pain that feel harder than normal.
Mesotherapy, biopuncture, neural therapy are other special naturopathic injection therapies offered. Mesotherapy can be therapeutic for those that are afraid of needles and is used for more muscular pain. Biopuncture is another technique used for muscular pain and can use vitamin B12, magnesium, and/or homeopathic solutions. Neural therapy is great for helping to break up scars that can be creating pain.
Please note that these injection therapies do not address the root cause and is a therapy to help rebuild strength in your joints, tendons, and ligaments so you can perform activities of daily living that you once used to. It is recommended to limit stress on the affected area for a few weeks after the injection treatments and gradually return to your regular activity level.
*If you are susceptible to chronic injuries or delayed healing from injuries, there may be an imbalance at the physiological level that should be addressed such as autoimmune diseases, chronic inflammatory conditions, hormonal imbalances, and, poor digestive health. A more in-depth naturopathic initial visit can help to identify these areas.
*Chiropractic treatments are recommended prior to the injection to help with joint mobilization and massage therapy is recommended after the injection to help with moving the fluid around the affected area.
Energy (Adrenal support) booster*: Contains vitamins B1, B6, B12, folate, AMP, chromium, procaine, and biotin
Immunity booster: contains Echinacea and homeopathics. This is designed to help stimulate your immune system and may not be indicated for individuals with certain illnesses and children under the age of 8.
Lipotropic injections*: Contains B12, Chromium, inositol, choline, and, methionine. Inositol, choline, and methionine have been shown to support fat mobilization related to fatty liver.
B12 injections*: This is an injection consisting of B12 in its methylated form – methylcobalamin. B12 helps to improve energy, can help with tingling and numbness, supports red blood cell development, and may be low in vegetarians and vegans.
*Since these injections contain B12, it is always good to have your blood levels tested prior to the injection to see if suboptimal B12 is the cause for your low energy. Scheduling an initial appointment will enable a comprehensive work-up to determine the source of your low energy (low B12, hormonal imbalance, inflammation, low iron, inadequate food and nutrient intake, etc).
Package price: $695 ($350 Test + $345 Visit and B12 injections)
This package is ideal for anyone who wants a snapshot at multiple organ systems in their body. This test is a great baseline test identifying possible gut dysbiosis – presence of yeast, abnormal bacteria, or mold in the body. Markers for mitochondrial function are also measured – mitochondrial dysfunction is often present in chronic pain and presentations where one experiences chronic fatigue or slow recovery after exercise, surgeries, or injuries. Neurotransmitter metabolites – serotonin, dopamine, and adrenaline – are also evaluated so this helps screening for improving brain health in cases of anxiety, depression, and behavioural disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorders or ADHD. Markers are also provided that can provide a general screening for chemical and mold toxicity, and, poor detoxification. B vitamin metabolites– important in energy metabolism – are also measured.
This test is great for anyone experiencing low energy, chronic pain, delayed healing of injuries, fibromyalgia, anxiety and other mental health disorders, Autism spectrum disorders and other behavioural disorders, and, digestive problems. You are also offered two B12 injections to help with energy, methylation support and B12 may help with numbness and tingling.
- Organic Acids Testing
- Review of results and individualized treatment recommendations based on results
- Initial Naturopathic Visit: $165
- 2 Follow-up appointments ($90 each)
- 2 x B12 injection included
Program Price: $845.00 ($505 tests + $345 for visit and injections)
This program is great for those looking at ways to help them shed a few pounds. Along with dietary and lifestyle recommendations, it is important to look at thyroid hormones and food sensitivities (especially when you have a healthy, active lifestyle but are still finding it hard to lose weight). An inability to lose weight could be due to water retention that can happen because of inflammation or less than optimal thyroid hormones since our thyroid hormones regulate metabolic activity.
Identifying food sensitivities are different than food allergy tests. Food allergy tests are looking at immediate hypersensitivity reactions – those that occur within hours of consuming a food (common allergy symptoms like sneezing, hives, itchy throat, itchy/watery eyes, anaphylaxis). Food sensitivities are delayed-type hypersensitivity reactions that may occur a few days after the food is consumed making it hard to pinpoint what food triggered the symptoms. These immune reactions can present as digestive issues – bloating, gas, looser stools, constipation; joint and muscle pain; low energy; anxiety and other mood/behavioural changes; be a precursor to autoimmune conditions; chronic pain; delayed healing of injuries in spite of receiving adequate treatment and maintaining a persistent low-grade inflammation throughout the body that may contribute to weight gain.
Two lipotropic injections will be offered. These contain methionine, choline, and inositol have research in supporting fat metabolic pathways, including benefitting fatty liver. These injections also contain some B12 (energy) and chromium (blood sugar regulation).
- Food sensitivities 200 foods
- Complete Thyroid Panel
- TSH, Free T3, Free T4, TPO Antibodies
- Thyroglobulin antibodies
- Initial Naturopathic Visit $165
- 2 45-minute Follow up appointments ($90 each)
- Dietary and lifestyle assessment
- 2 x lipotropic injections included
Package Price: $915 ($570.00 Tests + $345 Visit and injections)
This is the most comprehensive dried urine hormone test plus a comprehensive thyroid test. It looks at your cortisol levels over four time intervals in the day, your total cortisol production, androgen markers (testosterone and DHEA), progesterone, estrogen, melatonin, oxidative stress marker, dopamine, adrenaline, serotonin, glutathione, B6, and B12 status. It also determines how well you are detoxifying your estrogens through phase 1 and phase 2 metabolism. You also get a comprehensive picture of what is happening with your thyroid hormones because adrenal, sex and thyroid hormones are very closely linked to each other. Most medical doctors will only test TSH and if you are lucky, you may get a free T4 but routine screening does not involve testing free T3 even though free T3 is the active thyroid hormone responsible for thyroid activity. Furthermore, thyroid hormones can be normal with the presence of thyroid antibodies which can signal an inflammatory/autoimmune process.
This test is great for anyone who is feeling fatigue, low energy, decreased stamina/endurance, feeling tired after exercising, delayed healing of wounds/injuries, delayed recovery of muscles post-exercise, weight gain, inability to lose weight easily, type-A personalities, increased stress, infertility, looking at pregnancy in the near future, PCOS, irregular cycles, anxiety, depression or anyone that is worried their hormones may be off!
With this package, you will get two adrenal support injections which contain B12, methylfolate, B6, B1, some procaine, AMP, biotin, and chromium to support blood sugar regulation and metabolic pathways in the body.
- DUTCH hormone testing
- Complete Thyroid Testing
- TSH, Free T3, Free T4, TPO Antibodies
- Thyroglobulin antibodies
- Initial Visit: $165
- 2 45-minute Follow up appointments ($90 each)
- 2 Adrenal support injections included
Naturopathic medicine treats all forms of health concerns — from pediatric to geriatric, from irritating symptoms to chronic illness and from the physical to the psychological. Naturopathic medicine is beneficial for:
● Natural disease prevention
● Health promotion and maintenance
● Improving organ function (ie liver, stomach, bowels, kidneys, etc)
● Smoking cessation
● Following unsuccessful conventional medical therapy
● Improving the quality of life for those with serious and life threatening illnesses
● Those looking to combine conventional and naturopathic treatments to minimize side effects of drugs, surgery and other treatments
After the Second World War health care moved away from a more natural approach, focusing on the advances in surgical techniques, the introduction of antibiotics and the growth of the pharmaceutical industry. In the last twenty years, public desire for greater control in the health care process and a growing dissatisfaction with high-tech solutions to health problems has resulted in a resurgent interest in the natural methods of preventive health care. This trend has increased demand for naturopathic services as people seek ways to improve their health, cope with day-to-day stresses and avoid illness.
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