Naturopathic Doctors – Halifax, NS

How Stress Affects Your Health

Stress, if not managed properly, can lead to mood swings, trouble concentrating, weight gain, fatigue, thyroid issues, trouble sleeping, digestive complaints, low libido, hormonal imbalances of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, accelerated aging, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and other health issues.

Cortisol is the major ‘stress’ hormone made in our adrenal glands. Most of the cells in our body contain receptors for cortisol, so stress can have effects on many different body systems! Cortisol is a part of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis (HPA axis) which controls stress and regulates body processes such as blood sugar, metabolism, digestion, blood pressure, memory, emotions, mood, thyroid, melatonin, and others.

What affects our cortisol levels?

Our blood levels of cortisol vary throughout the day naturally, known as a diurnal rhythm. Generally, cortisol should be highest in the morning and gradually fall throughout the day. This natural flow of cortisol can be disrupted by many different stressors. General life stress, emotional stress, physical stress, fatigue, burnout and night shift work can alter and actually reverse our cortisol rhythm.

Examples may include:

    • Busy, full schedule (kids included – we are seeing too many kids over-scheduled!)
    • Lack of sleep and fatigue (caffeine dependence)
    • Too much screen time – TV, computer, phone
    • Too little or too much exercise
    • Poor food choices (blood sugar, nutrient deficiencies)
    • Gut inflammation and food intolerances
    • Environmental toxins
    • Negative internal thoughts
    • Loneliness – lack of support or sense of community

How does stress change cortisol levels?

When we experience stress, cortisol and neurotransmitters are released during the immediate ‘fight or flight’ stress response. This leads to symptoms such as increased heart rate and breathing, slowing of digestion and constriction of blood vessels so that we can respond to this stress response. Normally the negative feedback loop of the HPA axis will allow us to settle when that stress response is over and our cortisol levels go back to their regular rhythm. Stress is manageable when interspersed throughout the day because we get time to recover. However, if stress remains high for most of the day, our bodies can’t re-balance and cortisol remains higher than desired. This can give you a false sense of energy, as you are ‘running on adrenalin” or you may feel ‘wired but tired’.

In chronic stress exposure, our bodies try to adapt while cortisol continues to increase and become imbalanced (too high and eventually too low). Chronic stress activates the HPA axis differently compared to experiencing short term stress. Imbalanced cortisol can lead to mood swings, trouble concentrating, weight gain, fatigue, thyroid issues, trouble sleeping, digestive complaints, low libido, hormonal imbalances of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, accelerated aging, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and other health issues.


Diagnosis is usually done on the basis of a thorough intake and physical exam along with an easy take home urine or saliva test kit. These tests provide an accurate representation of your individual cortisol levels by taking multiple samples of either saliva or urine throughout the day. This is superior to testing cortisol levels in the serum (blood sample) as that would reflect only a single representation of your cortisol at that specific time. Also, blood sampling can be stressful to some individuals which in turn would raise cortisol levels in that moment. Along with testing for cortisol, if deemed appropriate testing for other hormones including estrogen, progesterone and testosterone may be suggested and included.


Treatment is based on the individual patient case, their test results and seeking/correcting the root cause of the cortisol imbalance and any sequelae. There are many naturopathic interventions available including dietary and lifestyle interventions and nutritional or herbal supplementation based on the individual situation. Come see us today to talk about cortisol and other hormonal imbalances to see if testing would be right for you!

For more information on hormonal imbalances and cortisol, including testing, contact us at Bedford Naturopathic 902-835-4907 or

SIBO: What is it and do you have it?

Have you been dealing with unpleasant digestive symptoms that you can’t seem to get to the bottom of? SIBO, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, is something we are seeing more and more of in practice. In fact, many cases of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) are thought to be SIBO. Read on for more information!

What is SIBO?

We have an abundance of bacteria in our colon (large intestine), with lesser amounts present the further up the digestive tract we go (small intestine, stomach). SIBO is the presence of excessive bacteria in the small intestine. This area of the GI tract plays a big role in our digestion and absorption of nutrients, so you can imagine if the terrain is not optimal it can lead to an array of issues. Unfortunately, you can feel just plain terrible!

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FREE TALK: Gut Health – Optimizing Your Digestion

**Our March 6th talk is at max capacity so we have added a second event.**

Tuesday March 27th at 7pm at Bedford Naturopathic.

Feeling that your digestive health could improve? Are you experiencing discomfort such as frequent bloating, heartburn, gas, irregularity or other symptoms? Join Dr. Quinn, ND & Dr. Dean, ND for a free informative educational session about gut health! Learn about healthy vs. unhealthy digestion, the factors that can impact your digestion, how the gut is connected to the body as a whole and what our approach is to healing these issues.

Join us on Tuesday March 27th at 7pm at Bedford Naturopathic.

Call: 902-835-4907

What are Xenoestrogens and How to Decrease Your Exposure

Xenoestrogens are a type of endocrine disruptor found in things like food, personal care items and plastics. They are synthetic or natural chemical compounds such as PCBs, BPA, PFCs or phthalates that imitate the hormone estrogen and can disrupt our natural hormone balance when they get into our bodies. This can lead to estrogen dominance. Females may experience the unpleasant symptoms mentioned in our last blog post, while males may suffer from loss of muscle mass, fatigue, low libido, and gynecomastia (enlarged breasts), as estrogen can interfere with testosterone levels. This disruption may lead to, or contribute to, health issues such as problems with our reproductive system, endometriosis, infertility, early puberty in children, obesity, diabetes, and hormone sensitive cancers like breast and prostate cancers. Xenoestrogens can be found in some foods, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, plastics, household products, skin care products, makeup, and building supplies.

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Could you have too much Estrogen?

It’s no secret that an area I am passionate about is hormonal health. There aren’t many situations where our hormones aren’t playing a role in one way or another.

Something that I commonly see in practice is women in their 30s and 40s who are feeling like they are having a hard time losing weight, struggling with low energy, heavy and painful periods, and feeling much more irritable and anxious than they ever have before. Of course, we have to consider the fact that they might have children at home and be busy in their careers. Focusing on stress management, self-care, and strategies to make day-to-day life flow a bit smoother can make such a difference. But what else is going on and how can we support these women so they can get back to feeling like their best selves? In these cases, excess estrogen can often be the culprit. Sometimes this can be a relative excess compared to low progesterone levels, but often there’s simply too much of it and it isn’t being properly metabolized and eliminated from the body. We are exposed to endocrine disruptors and environmental estrogens on a daily basis, and many women at one point or another have been on hormonal birth control. Read More

Postpartum Depression

Although it is such a joyful and rewarding time, there can be ups and downs during the postpartum period. Lack of sleep, initiation of breastfeeding, variable support networks, hormonal changes, and physical symptoms after birth can all take a toll on a mother’s mood. This article will discuss the difference between postpartum ‘baby blues’ and postpartum depression, as well as discuss some ways to try and prevent postpartum depression.

Postpartum blues

During the postpartum period, there is a shift in hormones; estrogen & progesterone levels drop and prolactin levels rise. Postpartum blues can affect up to 75% of mothers, and the onset is usually within the first 3-5 days postpartum and can last for 24-48 hours. Symptoms include; anxiety, mood swings, fatigue, and feeling tearful and overwhelmed. There is no treatment required for the baby blues, however, support, nutrition, and rest will assist with coping with these changes.1Read More

Moody Kids, Poor Appetites, and Pooping

Is there a relationship? Is there a FIX?

“Terrible twos” “Toddler tantrums” “Meltdowns” …

Does this have to be your reality? NO.


Happy Toddler

Ask yourself these questions:

  • is your child having difficulty pooping or not pooping everyday?
  • does your child have a bloated belly, that seems a little bigger lately?
  • does your child have a poor appetite or are they considered a picky eater?
  • does your child seem to be especially moody, even when sleeping well?
  • If you answered YES to any of these questions – WE CAN HELP!

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Wishing you and yours a healthy, happy holiday!!

Did you know we will be open throughout the holidays? Check out our hours below and get in touch at 902 835 4907, or book online now! There are only a couple of appointment times left…

If you’ve been meaning to get in but just haven’t been able to fit it into your schedule this is the perfect time. Dr. Quinn will also be offering Intravenous Vitamin therapy which is a great way to boost your immune system during this busy time and may give you that extra needed energy.

Happy Healthy Halloween!

Halloween is always an exciting time of the year! However, keeping it healthy can be a challenge when sugar is a major ingredient in many treats. The good news is that, you can still indulge in all the flavors of the season whilst nourishing your body; The secret is in keeping it natural!

Both chocolate and pumpkin are staples in the month of October, but the key to enjoying these foods in a healthier way is to consume dark chocolate that is 75-85% cacao over milk chocolate, and to roast your own whole pumpkin over using canned/pureed forms.

Both dark chocolate and pumpkin offer a wide range of health benefits.Read More

#1 Reason To See A Naturopathic Doctor

Naturopathic Doctors are primary care providers whose goal is to work with you to restore health and prevent illness

We want to help you get to the bottom of your health concerns so that you can experience optimal health. We are all unique individuals with specific health needs, and your healthcare should reflect that. Our aim is to work collaboratively to put the pieces of the puzzle together and help you reach your goals.

To find out more information, browse our website, give us a call, or stop by the clinic!

In health,

The Bedford Naturopathic Team