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Is coffee bad for you?

Ever wonder if coffee is a bad thing for you? Is it increasing your risk of a heart attack? Do you feel like you are “sensitive” to caffeine but you are not sure why? You can now get these questions answered by testing your genetics. Not only can you test your genetics for caffeine, but also for other areas of your nutrition such as vitamin C, saturated fats, omega 3’s, whole grains, sodium and folate. As a naturopathic doctor, I see this exciting area of medicine continue to influence my practice more often enabling me to make the best nutritional recommendations for my patients.

Many studies have looked at the association between caffeine intake and cardiovascular disease such as heart attacks. Some studies have shown an increase risk with caffeine consumption and others have shown caffeine ultimately makes no difference. So, why the conflicting results? Research shows that it is likely due to the genetic variation on how we metabolize caffeine.

Researchers have shown that some people are “slow” caffeine metabolizers, meaning their bodies cannot break down caffeine as easily. Slow caffeine metabolizers are said to account for half of the population and may have a much higher risk of high blood pressure or a heart attack if they have too much caffeine. Other people are “fast” caffeine metabolizers and do not have the same risk. In fact, those fast metabolizers actually have a lower risk of heart disease (about 25–50 per cent) with moderate caffeine consumption.

So which group do you fall in and how much caffeine is a safe amount for you? In order to find the answer, this is where you need to complete a simple genetic test, which I make available to all of my patients through testing provided by Nutrigenox, a University of Toronto start-up biotechnology company.

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Hope for the Future

I heard dozen times that the “youths are the hope of the future and the Fatherland...”

The youths are the ones to continue the past and present generations.

In a smallest unit of the society—a family—the children are the hope of the family’s generation.

They are the ones carrying the names, cultures, traditions and treasures of the family.

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Multivitamins — useful or useless?

Multivitamins come in all shapes, forms, sizes and colours. Some are chewable, some are liquid. Some promise to give you a longer lifespan while others guarantee they will help to ward off heart disease.

With so much advertising around the use of multivitamins, it may come as no surprise that most people presume they should be consuming a daily supplement.

However, is it really worth your time, research and investment?

Taking a multivitamin is a popular practice and many of our new patients coming into the clinic are already on a multivitamin supplement. Most people have one of two beliefs about multivitamins; either that they have all of their daily nutritional intake covered by taking one, or that multivitamins make “expensive urine” and have little benefit.

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Making it all add up

Whenever the education experts (including media pundits), government bureaucrats and parents would all line up to bemoan the latest international test scores of Alberta students — and then proceed to blame the teachers for them — I would always tell myself how glad I was that my kids were safely out of school.

And then I started having grandchildren. Does this mean I have to be invested in the next round of the “new math” debate, all over again? I guess so.

Here’s a question from an international Grade 8 level math test: Find 1/3 minus 1/4.

Four possible answers below the question are presented to test whether the student knows the method to finding the answer, which is 4 minus 3 over 3 times 4 (that’s 1/12 in the old math I was taught).

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Wellness Foundation can’t deal with what kills us

Does Alberta need another arms-length or autonomous foundation, funded by a dedicated tax levy, to convince us that better lifestyle choices can lead to better health?

Apparently many of us do. An informal coalition of communities and organizations representing fully a million Albertans is asking the provincial government to create a new foundation that would fund wellness initiatives around the province.

It’s easy enough to get those kind of numbers if you ask municipalities to join your cause. It’s not like Red Deer city council, for instance, would be using any of its own money to promote this initiative. So last week’s decision to join the coalition doesn’t come with much of a downside.

Quite the opposite. The upside potential for the city is huge, considering what is spent here by the city and partner organizations dealing with the outfall of illnesses and conditions that better lifestyle choices can easily prevent.

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