How can Naturopathic Medicine support concussions?

A concussion is a potentially debilitating condition that can be caused buy a variety of
injuries. While many are mild, some can have lasting effects. Many patients can heal
from a concussion with appropriate rest, but some need more support to fully heal.


Common symptoms following a concussion include:

  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Headaches
  • Mood changes
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep disruption
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to smell and light


How can Naturopathic Medicine provide support?


1. Providing conditions for healing


  • Acupuncture may support nerve growth and repair, increase circulation,
    oxygenation of tissues, decrease inflammation, and improve cell signaling. It may
    also improve sleep quality and decrease anxiety.


  • Research has suggested to EAT MORE oily fish, turmeric, coconut oil, turmeric,
    and eggs may support recovery from a concussion.
  • Sugar and monosodium glutamate may worsen post-concussive symptoms so

Nutraceuticals that may support neurological healing

  • DHA/EPA:
    DHA promotes neurological repair and proper signaling between cells and
    between cells and their environment. Meanwhile, EPA supports mood regulation
    and decreases inflammation in the brain, allowing for healing.
  • Phosphatidylserine:
    Higher levels of this nutrient correlate to higher levels of many neurotransmitters. It supports messaging to the neuron, which promotes growth and regeneration of brain cells. This also supports our ability to handle stress, partially by decreasing cortisol production.
  • Vitamin B12:
    This vitamin is important for the remyelination of neural axons, which supports communication between brain cells. This nutrient may also help decrease glutamate toxicity. Glutamate can leak out of cells following injury, causing symptoms such as headaches.


2. Hormonal dysregulation

About half of people who experience a major head injury will experience a hormonal
imbalance. Why? The pituitary gland in the brain regulates most of the main hormones.
It’s anatomy leaves it vulnerable to damage during trauma.

What can be done?

Hormonal testing
Naturopathic doctors have access to a wide variety of hormonal testing to fit the
patient’s needs. This could include testing specific markers in the blood, comprehensive
urine or saliva panels.

Herbal support
Depending on the imbalance which needs correction, herbal support is effective for
many patients.

Bio-identical hormones
Hormones such as progesterone may be prescribed as needed. Progesterone acts as a
neurosteroid. It calms the nervous system, which can support sleep. It can also
decrease inflammation allowing the brain to heal.


3. Providing symptomatic relief

Intravenous therapies

Receiving nutrients intravenously allows for 100% absorption and higher doses to be
delivered directly to the tissues. This has the potential to speed up recovery time.

  • Glutathione
    After the neurons are injured, reactive oxygen species (ROS) build up in the tissues. The prolonged presence of ROS slows recovery. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that supports the removal of ROS. It is also a key planner in the immune system of the brain. Most supplemental forms are destroyed bystomach acid, so this nutrient is frequently recommended as an IV.

If you think that we have suffered a concussion, Naturopathic Physicians cannot diagnose a concussion  through brain imaging. Please contact your family physician or go to your nearest hospital. If you are recovering from a diagnosed or suspected concussion, our Naturopathic Physicians are happy to provide support through consultation and recommendation of a treatment plan. For more information, contact us at 604-929-5772.


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Can stress make my hot flashes worse?

Can stress make my hot flashes worse?

What are Hot Flashes?

Hot flashes are just one of many symptoms that can occur in perimenopause or menopause. There is an intricate pathway of hormones that come into play with regards to balancing hormones. Once key thing to remember is the role that the adrenal glands play in keeping our hormones balanced and supporting us in being symptoms free.

When we enter into our mid 40’s (or earlier for some women with premature ovarian failure), our adrenal glands begin to take a front seat to our hormone health. The adrenal glands are our “fight or flight” hormone producing glands. They produce the hormones that respond to panic, or keep up awake for long hours for those working in emergency setting. The adrenal glands also regulate blood pressure, blood sugar, and produce sex hormones. So if you are in a continuous state of stress, we can notice symptoms in all of these areas. High blood pressure or low blood pressure. Shakiness when we don’t eat regularly. Increased feelings of stress and overwhelm. And all of the symptoms of hormone imbalance. Hot flashes, insomnia, low sex drive and weight gain, just to name a few.

What can you do?

If you feel that stress is a culprit for your hot flashes, consider the following actions:

  1. Try and stick to a regular schedule for meals, exercise and sleep. Bedtime by 10pm is ideal. Keep your workout light. Exercise exhaustion puts further stress on the adrenal if you are not conditioned properly.
  2. Eat protein with each meal. Protein stabilizes blood sugar and keeps you from feeling shaky, and reaching for foods that are less than healthy.
  3. Try a B complex. Most people tolerate a B complex very well. Please take with food as it will cause nausea without food. It will also turn the urine bright yellow. This is completely normal.
  4. Pick 30 min a day to deal with the most stressful things on your list or in the news. 60 minutes might be more realistic for some, but let yourself really feel what you are feeling every day. I recommend the same for people who are grieving a loss. These feelings are much the same right now for most of us.
  5. Limit caffeine intake. If you have caffeine, have it with food and choose organic. Coffee and tea are very heavily sprayed and can be considered endocrine disruptors.
  6. Seed rotation. This is pretty old school Naturopathic Medicine, but it works! From the new moon to the full moon, incorporate ground flax and pumpkin seeds in your diet. From the full moon to the new moon, do the same with sunflower and sesame seeds. Nut butters work too. These combinations boost estrogen and progesterone, respectively.

Cathryn Coe, ND is a licensed Naturopathic Physician and owner of Edgemont Naturopathic Clinic. 

Meet your Neurotransmitters

Meet your Neurotransmitters

Nerve cells release tiny chemicals, called neurotransmitters to send messages to neighbouring cells. Neurotransmitters play an important role in the healthy functioning of the nervous system including mood, sleep, and more. Keep reading to learn more about some of these key players. 


Dopamine plays an important role in depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Parkinson’s, addiction, depression and schizophrenia. It is important for motivation. It is also used to make epinephrine and norepinephrine. Norepinephrine dysfunction is linked to ADHD, posttraumatic stress, anxiety and Alzheimer’s disease.

Foods that support dopamine

Dopamine is made from the amino acid tyrosine which is high in salmon, tofu, white beans, pumpkin seeds, wild rice and spinach. As amino acids are the building blocks of protein, most protein-rich foods will contain adequate tyrosine. 

Supplements that support dopamine

Vitamin D: This vitamin protects the nervous system. It also increases the activity of tyrosine hydroxylase, possibly increasing the production of dopamine.


Serotonin is made from the amino acid tryptophan. It helps to regulate sleep, eating and digestion. Reduced levels of serotonin are linked to depression, anxiety, OCD, obesity, carbohydrate cravings, insomnia, migraines, premenstrual syndrome and fibromyalgia.

Foods that support serotonin:

Trypyophan is found in most meats. Plant-based foods with the highest amount of tryptophan include pumpkin seeds, squash seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, soybeans and oats. 

Supplements that support serotonin:

5-HTP or 5-hydroxytryptophan is an in-between step between tryptophan and serotonin. Our bodies have an easier time forming serotonin from 5-HTP then from tryptophan. 5-HTP is present in many sleep and anxiety supplements. 


This neurotransmitter is calming, or inhibitory to the nervous system. GABA is used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and epileptic disorders. 

Foods that support GABA:

Cruciferous vegetables (kale, broccoli, cauliflower), soybeans, adzuki beans, mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes, buckwheat and peas. 

Supplements that support GABA:

GABA can be taken as a supplement. Research suggests GABA cannot pass from the blood into the brain directly due to its large size. It may have an impact on the nervous system by acting on receptors in the digestive tract.  

Animal research suggests certain strains of lactobacillus bacteria may produce GABA.

Please note: Many pharmaceuticals are designed to change the activity of neurotransmitters. As a result, accidentally taking a supplement that acts on the same pathway as a medication can have severe side effects.




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Patterson E, Ryan P, Wiley N et al. Gamma-aminobutyric acid-producing lactobacilli positively affect metabolism and depressive-like behaviour in a mouse model of metabolic syndrome. Sci Rep. 2019;9(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-019-51781-x

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Whitbread D. Top 10 Foods Highest in Tryptophan. myfooddata. https://www.myfooddata.com/articles/high-tryptophan-foods.php. Published 2019. Accessed December 29, 2019.

Whitbread D. Top 10 Foods Highest in Tyrosine. Myfooddata. https://www.myfooddata.com/articles/high-tyrosine-foods.php. Published 2019. Accessed December 20, 2019.