Toddler Nutrition 101: Understanding food dyes

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There has been a lot of talk about food dyes and their impact on children’s health lately, with food dyes being linked to behavioral issues including hyperactivity and ADHD as well as other health concerns. Here’s the lowdown on what we know about food dyes, how to spot them and how to find healthy options for your child.

Adorable girl sit with set of good in shopping cart in supermarket

By Dr. Suzanne Bartolini, N.D.

Food dyes, also referred to as “food coloring” or “food additives”, are nothing new. Saffron, for example, was a popular coloring agent in food as far back as the Roman Empire and ancient Egypt. The difference is that in recent years, food dyes have changed. Most manufacturers now use artificial chemical dyes that are petroleum-based.

While there are more and more companies going back to nature to brighten food, most use chemical dyes which are less expensive and produce more vibrant results than most natural colorings. Here’s what I’ve learned about the role of food dyes and their potential impact on children’s health.

How are food dyes used?

Food coloring is used by manufacturers to enhance color, increase shelf life, and to improve the overall texture and appearance of a product. You’ll find food dyes in countless items, including packaged and processed foods, beverages, condiments, candies, desserts and even salmon. Dyes can make foods look fresher, more exciting and even healthier by simulating the presence of healthy and colorful fruits and vegetables.

How safe are these food dyes?

In recent years, there has been concern about the adverse health impacts of these chemical food dyes, especially on children. Here are some of the notable issues:

  • Ongoing research is finding a link between food dyes and behavior in children ranging from hyperactivity to ADHD. Because many of these dyes are found in children’s foods, health professionals believe they are a contributing factor to restless and agitated behavior, concentration issues, and hyperactivity.
  • Another major point of contention in the food dye debate is whether or not food dyes have a connection to cancer. According to the Centre for Science in the Public Interest, many of the commonly used food dyes are known to be contaminated with known carcinogens.
  • More research is showing that these artificial food substances can contribute toallergies and various other allergic reactions such as skin irritation, as well as to anxiety, headaches, and migraines (in both children and adults). They also contribute to the obesity epidemic by attracting children to highly processed foods that have little to no nutritional value.

How to spot artificial dyes on food labels

Companies are required to list food dyes in their list of ingredients, so take a moment to read the label before you buy. In the United States, the most commonly used food dyes include:

  • Blue #1 (“brilliant blue”)
  • Blue #2 (“Indigotine”)
  • Green #3 (“fast green”)
  • Red #40 (“allura red”)
  • Red #3 (“carmoisine”)
  • Yellow #5 (“tartrazine”)
  • Yellow #6 (“sunset yellow”)

What are some healthy alternatives?

The easiest way to steer clear of food dyes is to eat freshly prepared foods wherever possible. Keep pre-packaged foods with unnecessary preservatives and additives like food dyes to a minimum, and seek out wild salmon when possible.

Luckily, more and more companies are responding to consumer concerns by using healthier additives in their packaged and processed foods. These food colorings come from pigments of vegetables and minerals. Examples of these natural additives include: saffron, paprika, turmeric, beet powder, annatto extract (a tropical tree), carotene, lycopene and elderberry juice.

By understanding more about what goes into our children’s food, we can make choices we feel good about and help our kids feel great.

Dr. Bartolini is a Naturopathic physician with clinic locations in Toronto and Oakville. For more information, please visit


4 Ways to Boost Bone Health for Kids

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Childhood is the most important period for the development of healthy bones. Read on for four ways to ensure good bone health for kids.

Bones – the living tissue that makes up the framework for growing bodies – work over-time in your little one’s body and childhood is the time when they are developing most actively. For parents, this means ensuring children get enough of the essential nutrients they need for bone health.

How bones work

Bone is continuously forming and breaking down through cells called

osteoblasts and osteoclasts. During childhood, as your child’s body grows in size, more bone is formed than is broken down. Bones reach their maximum strength (referred to as “peak density”) when we are in our mid-twenties, after which, progressive bone loss occurs. This is why childhood is a crucial time for building healthy bones for life. Here are the four ways to ensure good bone health for kids.


Calcium is the most abundant mineral in our bodies, and is most well-known for its important role in keeping bones and teeth healthy. Young children aged 1-3 years require 500-700mg of calcium per day.Children aged 4-8 require 800-1000mg, and children over 8 require 1200mg per day.


Milk is the food most often associated with bone health. Cow milk is one option, with 300mg of calcium in an 8oz glass, but for children with the common problem of cow milk intolerance [link to allergy vs intolerance], goat milk is a good solution.

Other dairy products, such as cheese and yogurtalso deliver on calcium – one 4oz pouch of Kabrita Goat Milk Yogurt and Fruit [link to product] contains 48mg of calcium. Another easy way to serve up calcium for toddlers is Kabrita Goat Milk Toddler Formula – one 4oz serving contains 163.2mg.

Vegetables, especially dark green, leafy vegetables like bokchoy and broccoli, are also great choices. Other good sources include almonds, beans and lentils, sardines and salmon. Calcium-fortified drinks such as fortified orange juice, almond or rice milk are another options and all contain 300mg of calcium in an 8oz glass.You can work calcium into meals and snacks throughout the day,such smoothies, cereal, pizza, pasta, soups and sandwiches.

Vitamin D

Calcium is important, however Vitamin D3 (also known as cholecalciferol) is also essential. That’s because it is crucial for calcium absorption. Optimal vitamin D3 also prevents rickets, a childhood disease that causes softening of the bones, poor growth and severe bowing of the legs.

Vitamin D is made by the body when skin is exposed to sunlight – in most climates about 15 minutes of sunscreen-free time outside a day is enough for children. It is also found in fortified foods, fish, and egg yolk. Ensuring approximately 400-800IUs (international units) in children up to age 8 is ideal.One 4oz pouch of Kabrita Goat Milk Yogurt and Fruit contains 20% of the recommended 400IU allowance, and each 4oz serving of Kabrita Goat Milk Toddler Formula contains 16%.


Optimal magnesium also plays avital role in bone health. Not only does itbalance calcium, it is also needed to convert vitamin D to its active form. Nuts, legumes, and green leafy vegetables are good sources of Magnesium. For children up to age 8, 80-130mg is generally recommended.


Along with proper nutrition, the other keybone health habit is physical activity. Activities like walking, running, swimming, and playing team sports are great ways for the whole family to stay fit and active.

Establishing good bone health in childhood isn’t just good news for their physical development to adulthood. It can also reduce the risk of future diseases such as osteopenia and osteoporosis, two degenerative conditions that can result in weak, fragile bones prone to fractures later in life. By establishing healthy nutrition and fitness habits early, parents can encourage good bone health for life.

Below is a simple chart of some foods and the amount of calcium they contain.

1 cup yogurt = 350-450mg

1 8oz glass o f cow milk = 300mg

1 8oz glass of calcium-fortified orange juice = 300mg

1 8oz glass of calcium-fortified almond milk, rice milk, hemp milk = 300mg

1 ½ oz cheddar cheese = 300mg

1 cup collard greens = 120-180mg
1 cup white beans = 115 mg
1oz almonds=80 mg
½ cup broccoli = 35 mg

Toddler Nutrition 101- How Nutrition Affects Behaviour

By Dr. Suzanne Bartolini

for :


As fun as life with a toddler can be, living with their ever-changing moods can sometimes be a real challenge. Fits of stubbornness, tantrums and non-existent attention spans can be frustrating for parents. But while it’s true that much of this is to be expected as little ones develop a sense of independence and mature emotionally, the food they eat and the nutrients they absorb also play a big role in how they process emotions and behave.

Most of us realize that nutrition is crucial for physical development, but we may not be fully aware of how important it is for brain development, too. 80% of brain development happens in the first three years of life – including development of the frontal lobes, which control our ability to think, plan, problem solve, and focus on tasks. Research shows that when this area of the brain lacks essential nutrients, children will display less ability to focus and concentrate, and they may also display behavioural problems such as tantrums and hyperactivity. So what can we do to ensure we’re feeding our toddler’s brain the right stuff?

Keep it real

Many processed foods contain emulsifiers, preservatives, thickeners and additives, that are considered to be neurotoxins or excitotoxins. These are substances that can affect the central nervous system and can impact behavior, especially in children. At the grocery store, opt for whole foods whenever possible (choosing a mix of protein, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats and whole grains!). And when purchasing packaged foods, read the labels carefully in order to steer clear of the biggest culprits: high-fructose corn syrup, MSG, artificial hydrogenated oils, and artificial food colours.

Know your vitamins, minerals and nutrients

Providing your little one with the right mix of vitamins, minerals, and vital nutrients will boost physical and mental health, which both have a big impact on overall mood and behavior. Here’s what they need – and how to get it.

Best sources
How much?

Why: Important for immune functioning and regulating hormones, which impact mood
Best sources: Poultry, red meat, beans and fortified cereals
How much: 2-5 mg daily

Why: Has a calming effect on children with behavioural issues
Best sources: Green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans and whole-grain cereals
How much: 80-130mg daily

Vitamin D
Why: Plays an important role in the immune system functioning, attention span, regulation of behavior and overall brain function
Best sources: Sunlight, wild salmon, fortified cereals and fortified dairy, such as Kabrita Toddler Formula
How much: 400IU daily

B complex vitamins
Why: This group of vitamins is essential to proper nervous system development, which plays a huge role in toddler behavior and mood
Best sources: Eating a wide variety of grains,fortified cereals, dark leafy vegetables, chicken and fish. Kabrita Toddler Formula contains the full spectrum of B vitamins
How much: More important than how much is how many. Try to ensure your toddler gets a full spectrum of B complex vitamins

Essential Fatty Acids
Why: EFAs are necessary for optimal brain function because they support the cellular structure
Sources: foods supplemented with DHA, such as Kabrita Toddler Formula
How much: Varies depending on child, but I usually prescribe a supplement containing approximately 320mg of EPA and 200mg of DHA


Life with a toddler will always be a bit of a rollercoaster. But by paying attention to what we’re putting on their plates, we can help their little brains and bodies deal with the ups and downs of growing up.



Dr. Bartolini is a Naturopathic doctor with clinic locations in Oakville and Toronto. 416.407.0845

RADIATION — Strategies to Protect and Detoxify Yourself

The levels of radiation that we are constantly exposed to have risen dramatically over the last half century. Ambient fallout from nuclear catastrophes is impacting our environment, and ultimately our health, as we all come in contact with radioactive materials. The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, and the most recent 2011 Japan Tsunami calamity at Fukushima nuclear power plant have each had devastating consequences for the environment, damaging the ecosystem and the quality of our air, water, and soil.


The greatest health consequences of a nuclear accident or explosion are linked to radioactive materials (radio-nuclides) that can travel through air and water for thousands of miles, contaminating the world with radioactive particles. Once the human body is exposed to nuclear fallout, radioactive isotopes can remain in the body for many years, causing unpredictable chemical reactions. Absorption of radiation, especially over prolonged periods of time, can result in free radical damage, mutational damage to DNA, and cellular dysfunction, inducing several diseases. Symptoms of radiation toxicity can include fatigue, migraines, infertility, allergic reactions, hypertension, disorders of the central nervous system, anxiety, memory loss, rheumatic pains, flu-like symptoms, low red and white blood cell counts, etc.


Ionizing and Non-Ionizing Radiation


There are two types of radiation: ionizing and non-ionizing. Both types cause DNA damage and form harmful free radicals. Ionizing radiation is produced from nuclear reactors, nuclear bombs, nuclear waste, and diagnostic equipment like x-rays and CT scans. Ionizing radiation is considered the most harmful. The most common diseases linked to ionizing radiation include thyroid disease, leukemia and various cancers, anemia, bone and blood disorders, endocrine (hormonal) disruption, reproductive abnormalities and birth defects, kidney and liver damage, and overall severely damaged immune systems.


Non-ionizing radiation is a type of electromagnetic radiation produced by electronic devices such as televisions, cell phones and towers, wireless devices, computers, high voltage electrical lines, radios, microwaves, etc. Non-ionizing radiation disrupts molecules as it passes through the body, and there is an increasing body of research demonstrating that exposure to electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) can alter the behaviour of cells and hormones. For example, EMFs can cause the body to reduce production of the hormone melatonin, affecting immune processes, and causing increased defects, sterility, and fetus mortality rates in laboratory animals. In 1987, scientists discovered a significant link between increased incidence of childhood cancer and close proximity to high tension power lines and commonly used electronic devices.



Radiation Induced Thyroid Disease


A variety of dangerous radioactive materials are known to be released during nuclear power plant accidents. Among the most worrisome are cesium-137 and iodine-131, which emit Gamma rays and have affinities for parts of the human body. Cesium-137 mimics potassium inside the body and accumulates mainly in the liver, kidneys, and the reproductive system. Iodine-131 is rapidly absorbed by the thyroid gland and increases the risk of thyroid growths and cancer.


Radioactive emissions are not limited only to nuclear accidents. According to Professor Ernest Sternglass of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, an expert on radiation physics: “By design, nuclear power reactors must regularly release steam to lower the intense heat produced. Invisible radioactive particles are emitted into the atmosphere along with the steam and are carried on air currents, eventually falling to the ground with rain and snow… Many cancer hot spots are related to nuclear fallout carried by wind currents from distant locations, which later come down with rain or snow over a particular area, raising the cancer risk among a local population that received the precipitated radioactive fallout.”


The thyroid gland is the first to uptake radioactive iodine, and even when small amounts are inhaled or ingested they will concentrate in the thyroid gland. Most North Americans are iodine deficient which makes them more vulnerable to radioactive iodine. If there is an iodine deficiency in the diet, radioactive iodine-131 will be absorbed and accumulate in the thyroid gland because the thyroid does not distinguish between radioactive and non-radioactive iodine. Having adequate iodine in the body therefore prevents radioactive iodine from attaching to the thyroid gland.


Potassium iodide pills can be taken to prevent the uptake of radioactive iodine in the event of a nuclear accident. Supplementing with potassium Iodine (KI) in either pill form or saturated liquid form (super saturated potassium iodide or SSKI), is the best way to quickly load iodine into the thyroid. Potassium iodine (KI) can be administered in prophylactic doses within 24 hours of exposure in radiation emergencies, and for a short period of time after exposure. In 1986 after the Chernobyl accident, people who were administered potassium iodide experienced less childhood thyroid cancers compared to those who were not. The World Health Organization also recommends potassium iodide supplementation to prevent the thyroid’s uptake of radioactive iodine.


Consuming natural sources of iodine helps offset the side effects of radiation exposure. The best natural source of iodine comes from seaweeds (also referred to as sea vegetables), however there is renewed controversy surrounding seaweed that may be harvested from polluted ocean waters. Look for seaweed that is guaranteed free of radiation and heavy metals. Kelp is perhaps the most well-known seaweed; others include wakame, kombu, dulse, nori, hijiki, and arame.


In North American studies, seaweed was found to neutralize radioactive isotopes in the human body. Researchers discovered that certain radioactive materials can bind to the algin in brown seaweeds to create “sodium alginate” which has a unique quality in that it can bind heavy metals and radioactive elements, preventing their absorption by the body. In one Canadian study, sodium alginate from kelp reduced radioactive strontium absorption in the intestines by 50% to 80%.



Other Nutritional and Antioxidant Treatments for Combating Radiation


A large number of nutrients and foods are suggested as being helpful in preventing or limiting, or even counteracting, the effects of nuclear radiation. Below are some that are especially noted for their beneficial effects:


MISO – this fermented food made from soybeans has long been used in Japan for both protection from radiation, detoxification, and for stimulating the immune system. Miso is also well-documented to benefit circulation and remove blood clots. Miso soup was used as the primary antidote for the effects of radiation poisoning after the Hiroshima bombing. A 1990 Hiroshima University study concluded that people who regularly consume miso soup may be up to five times more resistant to radiation poisoning than people who do not.


SPIRULINA – is a blue-green algae that is extremely rich in nutrients. It contains beta carotene, vitamin B-12, iron, chlorophyll, GLA fatty acids, and much more. Spirulina has been studied extensively in Russia and China, where research has shown it chelates radiation from the body, as well as provides general protection from radiation toxicity. One study in particular demonstrated how children on a protocol of spirulina after Chernobyl had improved immunity and T-cell counts. Chlorella algae is often listed along with spirulina as an equivalent radiation chelator. However, although chlorella is well-regarded as an excellent heavy metal detoxifier and is also known to reduce chemotherapy side-effects, it has not been specifically demonstrated in research to counter the effects of nuclear radiation.


R-LIPOIC ACID – is a unique, vitamin-like antioxidant that protects the body from free radical damage. Research performed in Russia found that lipoic acid is one of the most effective anti-radiation treatments available. Promising research continues to demonstrate that it has many benefits as a super antioxidant and metal chelator, working to repair liver damage, combat radiation sickness, treat diabetes, and protect against free radical damage that promotes premature aging and degenerative diseases.


Glutathione (GSH) and N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) – Glutathione is an internally produced antioxidant that enhances the ability of immune system cells and protects against radiation damage. Studies have also shown that GSH can reduce side effects of chemotherapy, xrays, and alcohol. In addition, it is well-known as a detoxifier of heavy metals, and is extremely useful in the treatment of blood and liver disorders. Supplementing with N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), a glutathione precursor, stimulates glutathione synthesis. NAC itself is a powerful antioxidant that is especially effective in detoxifying the liver. Sulphur-containing foods such as cabbage, broccoli, and kale also help the body to produce GSH.


SELENIUM – is a cofactor of glutathione production and activates the antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase, which is believed to protect the body from cancer in large part by increasing white blood cell counts. The largest study performed with selenium demonstrated that people supplementing with selenium developed less prostate, colorectal, and lung cancers. While there are no human studies to support the theory that selenium directly protects against radiation, research performed on rats has demonstrated that selenium decreased death rates in rats who were directly exposed to radiation.


GREEN AND BLACK TEAS – Studies have shown that both green and black teas provide some degree of protection against radiation. Tea catechins seem to absorb and eliminate radioactive isotopes. The polyphenol epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) derived from green tea has been shown in animal studies to protect from whole-body radiation. Regular black tea exhibited the same anti-radiation effects in several Japanese studies.


BENTONITE CLAY – Has also been recommended for detoxing after radiation exposure, but this is not confirmed by research. Bentonite clay is well-documented in traditional medicine to bind heavy metal toxins and effectively flush them from the body.



Botanical Medicines as Potential Radiation Protectors


Ongoing research on several plants and herbs is demonstrating their potential radioprotective ablities. The natural chemicals, referred to as polyphenols, that are present in various botanicals have been shown to counteract the oxidative stress that is induced by ionizing radiation. They tend to do this either by scavenging radiation-induced free radicals and/or by elevating antioxidant levels in the body.


Many of the botanicals currently being researched have medicinal properties and have been safely used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic systems of medicine. These include various plants such as: Podophyllum hexandrum, tinospora cordifolia, phyllanthus amarus, piper longum (pippali) fruit, arctium lappa (burdock root), and zingiber officinale (ginger). The most notable research, however, has been performed on panax ginseng and gingko biloba.


PANAX GINSENG – Studies have successfully demonstrated that treatment with panax ginseng extract aided recovery of cells involved in blood clotting (thrombocytes) and red blood cell counts in blood after radiation exposure. Clinical trials reported that people who took panax ginseng extract for thirty days following exposure to radiation showed a faster recovery rate from injuries to their bone marrow, organs, skin, and blood cells. In animal studies, panax ginseng extract prevents bone marrow injury and accelerates the recovery of both red and white blood cell counts.


GINGKO BILOBA – Solid research has been performed on extracts of ginkgo biloba, which contain antioxidant compounds that protect cells from free radical damage. Specifically, the results suggest that the gingko biloba extracts prevent cells from undergoing apoptosis (programmed cell death). A study was performed on healthy white blood cells that were then exposed to gamma radiation. Half of the sample was treated with the ginkgo biloba extract and these cells showed protection from the radiation while the untreated cells underwent apoptosis. The study concluded that the extracts of the leaves of the gingko biloba tree may protect human cells from radiation damage.


PECTIN – Ongoing studies are researching pectin as a natural chelating agent. Pectin is a structural polysaccharide (fiber) found in cell walls of plants and fruits. Some studies have demonstrated it to be beneficial for binding and removing radioactive residues from the body. Pectin-rich foods include apples, guavas, plums, gooseberries, and citrus fruits.


Food IS Medicine


Buckwheat is an important food to include, according to researchers. Buckwheat is high in the bioflavinoid rutin, and research supports its protective effects against radiation, and stimulating new bone marrow production. Also important to include in the diet are dried beans, especially lentils, which have been shown to reverse DNA damage caused by radiation. Incorporating medicinal mushrooms such as reishi and chaga mushrooms into the diet can also protect from radiation-induced, cancers according to research.


Much of the damage caused by radiation can be attributed to a high level of acidity and the inflammation that results in several diseases. Consuming alkalizing foods can have a multitude of benefits, and is protective against radiation-induced illnesses. Alkalinizing foods include whole grains, fruits, dark leafy green vegetables, essential fatty acids, lean proteins, etc, whereas acidifying foods are processed foods, refined carbohydrates, sugar, etc.



Caveat, re: Iodine – While Dr. Joseph Mercola recognizes that optimal amounts of dietary iodine are important to nourish the thyroid, he warns about the risk of consuming too much iodine: “Taking too much iodine may lead to subclinical hypothyroidism, which occurs when your thyroid produces too little thyroid hormone. It’s an ironic association, since hypothyroidism is often linked to iodine deficiency, but research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that study participants taking relatively higher doses of supplemental iodine – 400 micrograms a day and more – paradoxically began developing subclinical hypothyroidism.” Dr. Mercola also points to a major culprit in the epidemic of iodine deficiency in North Americans today: bromine exposure. “When you ingest or absorb bromine (found in baked goods, plastics, soft drinks, medications, pesticides and more), it displaces iodine, and this iodine deficiency leads to an increased risk for cancer of the breast, thyroid gland, ovary and prostate – cancers that we see at alarmingly high rates today.”




References and Resources

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Emerit I., Arutyunyan R., Oganesian N., Levy A., Cernjavsky L., Sarkisian T., Pogossian A., Asrian K. Radiation-induced clastogenic factors: Anticlastogenic effects of Ginkgo biloba extract. Free Radic. Biol. Med. 1995;18:985–991.

Emerit I., Oganesian N., Sarkisian T., Arutyunyan R., Pogosian A., Asrian K., Levy A., Cernjavski L. Clastogenic factors in the plasma of Chernobyl recovery workers: Anticlastogenic effects of Ginkgo biloba extract. Radiat. Res. 1995;144:198–

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Jagetia G.C. Radioprotective potential of plants and herbs against the effects of ionizing radiation. J. Clin. Biochem. Nutr. 2007;40:74–81.

Jagetia G.C., Shrinath Baliga M., Malagi K.J., Sethukumar Kamath M. The evaluation of the radioprotective effect of Triphala (an Ayurvedic rejuvenating drug) in the mice exposed to gamma-radiation. Phytomedicine. 2002;9:99–108.

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Restoring Hormone Imbalances…..Naturally

Dr. Suzanne Bartolini, B.A., M.A., ND
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine


Feeling tired? Suffering from sleep disturbances or insomnia? Experiencing weight gain, mood swings, headaches, hot flashes or PMS? If you have any of these symptoms, there is a good chance that your hormones are out of balance. Many men and women are surprised to learn that the symptoms they have been dealing with for years are really signs of a hormonal imbalance.


For women, these symptoms may include: weight gain, migraine headaches, anxiety or depression, acne, facial hair, PMS symptoms such as breast tenderness, mood swings, cysts, painful or irregular periods. Menopausal women may experience night sweats, hot flashes, memory problems, and bone loss.


How do hormones become imbalanced? There are many different factors that can disrupt optimal hormonal balance. Hormones can become imbalanced due to stress, poor diet choices, pesticides and antibiotics in food, sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise, environmental pollution, use of birth control pills, HRT, etc.


Why is it important to have balanced hormones? Overall health depends on the body’s ability to maintain healthy cells. The bottom line: When hormones are optimally balanced, these symptoms are greatly reduced. Therefore, hormone balance is essential for good health.


What herbs are beneficial in helping to re-balance hormones? Here are just a few time-tested, safe and effective herbs for women’s health:


Dong quai – used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine as a reproductive tonic, this herb is useful for regulating the menstrual cycle and promoting vaginal health.


Sage- In addition to being helpful with many digestive ailments, is excellent for hot flashes and perspiration.


Black cohosh – also helpful in the treatment of hot flashes and perspiration, as well as headaches, heart palpitations, depression, and sleep disturbances


Chaste tree berry – another well-researched herb known to increase progesterone and regulate the menstrual cycle. It also contains flavanoids which help reduce symptoms of PMS and menopause.


Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor for guidance: Naturopathic Doctors are highly experienced in dealing with cases of hormone imbalance. Using research-based modalities such as botanical/herbal medicine, nutrition, homeopathy and acupuncture NDs assist in the maintenance and improvement of health and wellbeing.






Dr. Suzanne Bartolini, B.A., M.A., N.D.
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

tel:  416.407.0845




Dr. Bartolini is available by appointment in both Toronto & Oakville clinic locations:

Hooper’s Vitamin Shop              Best Drug Mart
1011 Upper Middle Rd E             2150 Bloor Street West, Suite 305
Oakville, ON, L6H 4L2               Toronto, ON, M6S 1M8

Optimal Bone Health – What You Need to Know

By Dr. Suzanne Bartolini, B.A., M.A., ND


Bone health is an important wellness issue for everyone. Building and maintaining healthy bones throughout your life will reduce your risk of later developing degenerative conditions such as osteopenia and osteoporosis.


Osteoporosis is a degenerative condition in which bones become fragile and prone to fractures. Osteopenia is the early stage of bone loss and is considered to be a precursor to osteoporosis. These conditions are especially prevalent among post-menopausal women.


There are many ways to prevent a diagnosis of osteopenia and osteoporosis. But there are also many ways to prevent further loss of bone density if you are diagnosed with one of these conditions.


It is important to know that bone health is dependent on more than just calcium intake. The ability to properly absorb calcium, and prevent excess excretion in the urine, is often overlooked.


For instance, certain foods in our diet interfere with calcium absorption, such as carbonated and caffeinated beverages. These have been proven to increase acidity in the blood. If the body is experiencing too much acidity in the blood, it will take calcium from our bones to “buffer” this acidity and balance out the blood’s pH. So some foods (and substances like preservatives in the packaged foods we buy) end up contributing to the excretion of calcium in urine. This in turn contributes to degenerative health conditions such as osteopenia and osteoporosis.


Some well-known vitamins and minerals for bone health include:


Calcium – We have all heard about calcium, but what is the best form of calcium to take? Most calcium supplements contain calcium carbonate and calcium citrate. However, only 20-25% of calcium carbonate or calcium citrate from supplements is absorbed. These are not ideal forms if you have digestive problems such as heartburn/GERD, regular gas and bloating, or require medications such as tums or nexium. It is important to correct these digestive functions in order to properly absorb calcium from both food and supplements. The most highly absorbable form of calcium is ossein microcrystalline hydroxyapatite complex (MCHC). MCHC should come from a professional brand to ensure a high-quality source.


Vitamin D3 – Vitamin D plays an important role in many vital body functions. It is crucial for optimal calcium absorption.
Magnesium – Magnesium balances calcium and is needed to convert vitamin D to it’s active form.


Vitamin K – Vitamin K is also required for bone maintanance and to balance calcium, but be careful if you are taking any blood-thinning medications


Manganese, zinc, copper – These are trace minerals and are important cofactors for enzymes in our bodies.


*There are several other vitamins and minerals that are equally important for your bone health. These include: boron, silicon, ipriflavone, and strontium. It is important to note that a multivitamin or calcium supplement will not give you these minerals in the dosages required.


For guidance and individualized advice on how to ensure optimal bone health, consult with a Naturopathic Doctor. Naturopathic Doctors are aided by current scientific research and are trained to combine clinical nutrition, acupuncture, herbal medicine, homeopathy, and other preventative measures to restore, as well as to maintain, health. Naturopathic medicine seeks to uncover the underlying cause of illness. Naturopathic methods and techniques are chosen to stimulate the inherent ability of mind and body to optimize health and vitality.






Dr. Suzanne Bartolini, B.A., M.A., N.D.
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

To book an appointment, Dr. Bartolini can be reached at:
tel:  416.407.0845




Dr. Bartolini is available by appointment in both Toronto & Oakville locations:

Hooper’s Vitamin Shop              Best Drug Mart
1011 Upper Middle Rd E           2150 Bloor Street West, Suite 305
Oakville, ON, L6H 4L2               Toronto, ON, M6S 1M8

The Detrimental Effects of Candida Yeast Overgrowth

By Dr. Suzanne Bartolini, B.A., M.A., ND

What is Candida?
Candida Albicans is a yeast that naturally resides in the human body. Under healthy conditions, it lives in harmony with other microorganisms. It normally resides in the intestinal tract, throat, mouth, and genitals. BUT – it can become problematic if it has an opportunity to proliferate and upset the balance of bacteria in the body. It will then burrow holes in the intestinal tract, enter the blood steam, and make its way into any organ of the body, overwhelming the immune system, and wreaking havoc on overall health.

What are some symptoms of Candida?
  Candida can become the insidious culprit behind many common health problems, including: excessive fatigue, headaches, anxiety, food allergies, unexplained muscle and joint pain, skin problems like acne and eczema, sinus congestion, urinary tract infections, hormonal imbalances, digestive disturbances like gas and bloating, and “brain fog” – the inability to think clearly or concentrate.

What causes Candida?
The two main contributors to Candida overgrowth in the body are the overuse of antibiotics and a diet high in sugar and refined foods. But also, prescription drugs such as the birth control pill and corticosteroids, heavy metal toxins, stress, and vitamin deficiencies – can all play a role in creating an imbalance in the body that enables Candida to thrive.

What are some Naturopathic ways to treat Candida?
The following are a few tips to help your immune system overcome Candida overgrowth:

  • Reduce sugar and refined  products in your diet – This includes carbohydrates and alcohol. Most processed and      packaged foods contain sugar so check food labels carefully.
  • Eat foods with anti-microbial  properties –  Increase the intake of anti-fungal foods in your diet such as garlic and      oregano.
  • Keep your colon clean – Ensuring regular bowel movements will help prevent toxins from being reabsorbed into the      bloodstream from the colon.
  • Keep your home environment healthy – Toxic chemicals weaken the immune system and this allows yeast to      proliferate.
  • Take a good quality probiotic – Investing in a good probiotic – and taking it properly – will help restore a healthy      intestinal flora and re-colonize the gastrointestinal tract with beneficial bacteria, which improves the immune system.
  • Address any nutritional deficiencies you may have – Load up on anti-oxidants such as vitamin C to help in the battle against Candida.
  • Investigate other natural supplements that have anti-fungal properties – for instance, berberine, caprylic acid, Pau D’Arco, grapefruit seed extract, and colloidal silver, all have antimicrobial effects.

Candida overgrowth is a complex health issue and can be difficult to treat.  If you think you have this condition, it may be a good idea to contact a Naturopathic Doctor to provide the guidance for successful treatment, and to improve your overall health and wellbeing.




Dr. Suzanne Bartolini, B.A., M.A., N.D.
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

tel:  416.407.0845


Dr. Bartolini is available by appointment in both Toronto & Oakville locations:

Hooper’s Vitamin Shop              Best Drug Mart
1011 Upper Middle Rd E             2150 Bloor Street West, Suite 305
Oakville, ON, L6H 4L2               Toronto, ON, M6S 1M8

Rejuvenate your Health: Get the year off to a good start with a Personalized Detoxification Program

The New Year is here, and with it come several new health resolutions. After the indulgences of the holiday season, many people suffer from post-holiday weight gain and exhaustion. This is a time when Naturopathic doctors see patients who want to put a plan in place to lose weight, increase their energy, and to improve their overall health.


If your plan is to get healthier, you may want to consider a personalized detoxification program. There are many different types of detox programs which cleanse the body of toxins, and each type has its own specific purpose and benefits. For instance, Heavy metal detoxes focus on removing accumulations of heavy metals from the body, such as mercury and aluminum. Organism detoxes work to eliminate specific organisms, such as parasites or candida yeast. Organ detoxes cleanse the liver and gall bladder, lungs, kidneys, and colon.


One of the main organs involved in detoxifying is the liver, which filters all impurities and toxins from the blood. The liver filters these substances and reduces them into compounds that the body can then eliminate through the kidneys (as urine), the skin (as sweat), the lungs (as expelled air), and the bowels (as feces). It is important for overall health to make sure that each organ system is functioning optimally.


By improving the efficiency of these systems you will notice that you have more energy, sleep better, are more mentally alert, and have enhanced well-being that is especially visible in better skin and shiny hair. You may even notice that you suffer less from colds and flus because of an improvement in your immune system.


Health concerns that can benefit from a personalized detoxification program include:

• Constipation and digestion problems such as bloating— poor bowel movements encourage harmful bacteria and toxins to accumulate over time.

• High cholesterol and high blood pressure— detoxification diets help to establish lifestyle changes that are important in both treatment and prevention of strokes and heart disease.

• Colds and flus – This is a clear reflection of a much weaker immune function and the body’s inability to fight bacteria and viruses well.

• Also— headaches and migraines, allergies and sensitivities, joint pain, smokers, those with high alcohol consumption, and those who generally feel fatigue and tired.


A Naturopathic doctor can find the best detox plan for you personally. Under guided supervision with your Naturopathic doctor, a total health program can be created for you that rejuvenates your energy and restores your health to an optimal level.



Dr. Suzanne Bartolini, B.A., M.A., N.D.
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

tel:  416.407.0845



Dr. Bartolini is available by appointment in both Toronto & Oakville locations:

Hooper’s Vitamin Shop              Best Drug Mart
1011 Upper Middle Rd E           2150 Bloor Street West, Suite 305
Oakville, ON, L6H 4L2               Toronto, ON, M6S 1M8