One thing that often surprises me is how effective basic, simple changes can be. Basic naturopathic principles such as diet and lifestyle can affect our health, but how successful can they be when it really matters? When it comes to treating cardiovascular disease, it turns out they can be quite potent!

According to the Heart and Stroke foundation, 1.6 million Canadians are living with cardiovascular disease. 80% of these cases are preventable. A 2010 report states that cardiovascular disease affects 6.7% of the total population in the Okanagan.

Most people find making changes to their diet and lifestyle to be difficult because it goes against their established habits. Unfortunately, these habits paved the path to cardiovascular disease in the first place. Naturopathic medicine excels at helping patients improve their health by empowering with the support they need to change their habits.

“Naturopathic medicine for the prevention of cardiovascular disease: a randomized clinical trial”

A 2013 study on how Naturopathic Medicine can help patients with cardiovascular disease.

In 2013, the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) published a study on the impact of naturopathic medicine on cardiovascular health. This study was conducted among patients who were already receiving care from their family doctor. Performed in Vancouver, Edmonton and Toronto, the patients were split into two groups. The control group received standard care from their family physician, while the intervention group received enhanced care from their family physician plus a naturopathic doctor. Over the course of 1 year, the patients receiving additional care improved in every category that was measured. The patients who visited naturopathic doctors received treatments such as dietary changes, nutritional supplementation and lifestyle interventions.

Patients were evaluated using the Framingham 10-year Cardiovascular Risk Score and were assessed for metabolic syndrome. Additionally, patients were monitored for changes in their lipid levels (triglycerides, LDL, HDL, Cholesterol ratio), HA1c (a test to monitor diabetes), fasting blood glucose and blood pressure.

“Metabolic syndrome is defined as having 3 out of 5 of the following risk factors: Abdominal obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and poor control of blood sugar.”

Results

  • Reduction in the number of patients with metabolic syndrome
  • Reduction in the likelihood of having heart attack or stroke over the following ten years
  • Improvement to cholesterol levels (Triglycerides, LDL, HDL, Cholesterol ratio)
  • Reduction to HA1c levels, indicating better control of blood sugar
  • Improvement to Fasting Blood Glucose
  • Improvement to Blood Pressure

Interventions

  • DASH or Portfolio diet
  • Nutritional supplementation
    • Fish oil, Plant sterols, Cinnamon, CoQ10, ALA, Lutein
  • Lifestyle changes
    • Exercise: aerobic & anaerobic
    • Diaphragmatic breathing

Reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease can be challenging, but working with a naturopathic doctor can make it easier to keep your heart healthy.

Naturopathic medicine. It’s safe, and it works.

Seely, D., Szczurko, O., Cooley, K., Fritz, H., Aberdour, S., Herrington, C., et al. (2013). Naturopathic medicine for the prevention of cardiovascular disease: a randomized clinical trial. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 185(9), E409–16. http://doi.org/10.1503/cmaj.120567