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Ascent Integrative Health

Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathic medicine blends science and medicine with natural treatment approaches.  The treatment philosophy is based on 6 principles – (1) First, to do no harm; (2) Use the healing power of nature; (3) Treat the WHOLE person through individualized treatment; (4) Doctor as teacher; (5) Emphasize preventative medicine; and, (6) To identify and treat the root cause of your symptoms and illness.

Naturopathic doctors are licensed healthcare practitioners who have completed a 4-year rigorous post-graduate naturopathic doctorate program where they are trained in medical sciences – physiology, biochemistry, anatomy, diagnostics, interpretation of lab testing – and naturopathic treatment modalities – acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, nutrition, lifestyle counselling, and, herbal (botanical) medicine.  Upon completion of the program, NDs are required to pass North American standardized licensing exams (NPLEX 1 and NPLEX 2) in biomedical and the clinical sciences. They must than meet requirements with the provincial regulatory body they intend to practice in. Here in Alberta the college is College of Naturopathic Doctors of Alberta.

Some additional services available through our downtown Calgary naturopathic coctor at the clinic include: IV nutritional therapies,  injection therapy for pain management (trigger point injections and prolotherapy); functional laboratory testing for food sensitivities, hormones, and digestive health concerns; and, Intravenous (IV) nutrient therapy. More information on these services can be found below in the FAQ section.

 

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.

Celiac Profile

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.

Hormone Testing

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.

Vitamin D

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.

Organic Acids

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.

 

IV THERAPY – WHAT IS IT?

IV (Intravenous) nutritional therapy is a form of injection therapy where vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other nutrients can be delivered directly into the bloodstream.  Intravenous delivery of vitamin and minerals bypasses the gut helping to minimize any absorption issues that may occur with oral intake of these nutrients, particularly if individuals have a lot of digestive difficulties and irritation in their gut.

IV solution bags contain a variety of nutrients that when delivered into your blood at higher concentrations, move across your blood vessel walls into the tissues and cells of your body.

BENEFITS

It is a more bioavailable way to deliver most vitamins, minerals, and nutrients into the body especially for those with digestive problems or anything resulting in gut irritation.

A study was conducted to determine if the concentration of vitamin C in plasma varies based on the route of administration and it was found that peak plasma concentration of vitamin C was higher after administering an intravenous dose compared to administering an oral dose (1).  In the study, they administered 1.25g (1250mg) vitamin C orally and intravenously and found the peak plasma concentration to be 134.8 ± 20.6 µmol/L with oral administration and 885 ± 201.2 µmol/L with intravenous administration (1).  This is due to various gut factors that may interfere with absorption of vitamin C from oral supplements.

Another example is carnitine, a vital nutrient for energy production.  The bioavailability (absorption) of carnitine in the gut varies based on numerous factors including the composition of our gut microbiome or the bacterial balance in our gut (2).

Formulas can be customizable by adjusting the basic formula below based on your individual needs and current health status.  This is why it is so important to book an initial naturopathic visit prior to an IV appointment so the naturopathic doctor can assess your complete health status.

These IVs are able to provide you with a quick energy or immune boost for those days when you are feeling run-down, exhausted, feel a cold coming on, or are travelling.

Adding glutathione to your IV drip can support your detoxification pathways as it is a major antioxidant in the body.  Glutathione is great to support the immune system as well.

WHAT IVs ARE NOT DESIGNED TO DO

IVs are not meant to be a long-term solution to improving your health.  Once you identify the root cause for your health problems, often IV treatments are not needed as frequently.  For example, once you address digestive issues so you can absorb the nutrients from whole foods efficiently, the more energy you will feel and IVs can become a monthly maintenance unless you need a rapid energy or immune boost.  Addressing your hormones and other aspects of health can play a role in your energy levels, sports performance, and immune health as well. This is why getting an IV through a naturopathic clinic is different than getting an IV at an IV drip lounge – the naturopathic doctor works with you to address the root cause so that you don’t need to continuously be relying on IVs.

IVs are not meant to be a one-time treatment to restore health.  Depending on someone’s health status, how depleted one is in certain nutrients, and other factors, the benefits from an IV may last for a month, a few weeks, or a few days.  An appointment with a naturopathic doctor can help to determine the frequency of IVs required for you and other possible naturopathic treatment options. Please note, that after your first IV it is also common to feel under the weather, tired or have lower energy as your body isn’t used to a rapid delivery of vitamins and minerals.

TYPES OF IVs OFFERED

ActIVe – Designed for athletes or those that are physically active and engage in sports or work out at the gym.  This contains amino acids, vitamin C, B vitamins and L-carnitine to help build muscle and connective tissue while providing you with cofactors for energy metabolism.

ENERGIZE MultIV – This is a great IV for those that are feeling sluggish, low energy, or need a quick “pick-me-up”.  It contains vitamin C, B vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, calcium, selenium and zinc. It is also great for anyone experiencing high stress.

ImmunitIV – This immunity IV supports your immune system and is great for those that are feeling a cold coming on, anyone who wants to boost their immune system, or travellers.  This contains vitamin C, some vitamins and minerals including zinc, L-lysine, and L-glutamine which are amino acids that support the immune system.

PREPARING FOR YOUR IV TREATMENT

In order to ensure your IV is formulated for you and any adjustments are made based on your current health status, an initial consultation with the naturopathic doctor is required for new patients.  During the 90-minute initial appointment we will review your health concern(s), full review of symptoms, conduct a focused physical exam. This will help to establish a comprehensive treatment plan including administering the best IV for you with any appropriate modifications.  

A second option is to book a 30-minute IV-focused initial consult to conduct a basic health screen which ensures the appropriate administration of the IV treatment.

Certain blood tests may be required prior to administering your IV, specifically tests to assess liver and kidney function.  Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase is required to be tested prior to administering high-dose IV Vitamin C treatment.

Before arriving for your IV treatment, please ensure you are well-hydrated and have eaten within 2 hours.  This helps to reduce complications that can occur from IV administration such as fainting, nausea and dehydration.

Plan to be in the clinic for approximately 1.5-2 hours.  Some people drip slower than others. You are welcome to bring something to read or do while you are hooked up to the IV.

Please call the clinic 24 hours prior to your appointment to cancel to avoid being charged the fee for the IV treatment.  This is due to IV bags being prepared ahead of your treatment.

FREQUENCY

Depending on your health status, the frequency of IVs varies.  Some who are very deficient in vitamins and minerals and have a significant problem with absorption of nutrients taken orally due to digestive concerns may benefit from a multivitamin IV once a week for the first few weeks.

Those that are looking for health optimization, immune boosting, or an energy boost can opt for an IV once month or as needed.

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.

Package details:

  • 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).

Package details:

  • Food sensitivities 200 foods
  • Complete Thyroid Panel
    • TSH, Free T3, Free T4, TPO Antibodies
    • Thyroglobulin antibodies
    • rT3
  • 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.

Program details:

  • DUTCH hormone testing
  • Complete Thyroid Testing
    • TSH, Free T3, Free T4, TPO Antibodies
    • Thyroglobulin antibodies
    • rT3
  • SHBG
  • 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.

Naturopathic Doctor

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