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The Caruso Homeopathy Blog

            The Medicinal Properties of Cats Claw


     The South American herb, called Cat’s claw, otherwise known as Unicaria tomentosa or Una de gato comes from the Peruvian Amazon. It is a tropical creeping vine that grows upwards, to 100 feet. It actually comes from the same family of plant as coffee. This South American herb has been used for over 2000 years, as an anti-inflammatory and/or immune booster.

      Cat’s claw show promise for arthritis due to its sterol and chemical compounds that resemble steroids. In 2001, the journal called, “Inflammation Research” published a double blind study that found that cat’s claw helps with osteoarthritis of the knee, by significantly reducing pain with activity. They found the herb well tolerated and safe. Other scientists published research in the Journal of Rheumatology in 2002, that 60 mgs of Cat’s claw helped rheumatoid arthritis symptoms by reducing the number of painful joints, by 53.2% as compared to the placebo group which was 34.1%.

      This herb has good results in bowel disorders by helping to detox the intestinal tract and replenishing friendly bacteria. It appears that cat’s claw can help treat the fungus candida albicans, parasites, the stomach bacteria h. pylori and improve beneficial flora like acidophilus and bifidobacteria in the gut. It helps to heal the lining of the digestive tract, including stomach ulcers and intestinal tract.

      Some Austrian researchers have confirmed that Cat’s claw supports cancer patients by increasing their immune system. It seems to help boost the immune system so that people can take a full course of chemotherapy with regards to breast cancer, hodgkin’s disease, leukemia, melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma. It is supportive of chemotherapy and radiation because it helps to remove toxins. One study published in, J Ethnopharmacol. 2018 Jan 30;211:285-294, found that Cat’s claw helped delay the growth of squamous cell cancer growths. Another study published in, Genet Mol Res. 2017 Sep 27;16(3), found that cat’s claw when administered alongside a chemotherapeutic drug called cyclophosphamide, it significantly reduced its damage to the cells in the body. It appears that this herb can help with chemotherapy without hindering its affects.

      Cat’s claw is adaptive to the immune system, if there are too little white blood cells, macrophages, it stimulates them and if too many it reduces them. This herb also helps with stimulating the immune system that may be depressed in lyme disease. It helps the body with sinusitis, colds and flu, and as well H pylori. Stomach ulcers. A journal published research, Braz Oral Res. 2016;30(1):e61. doi: 10.1590/1807-3107BOR-2016.vol30.0061., that cat’s claw may also help with tooth infections. Some researchers has said it may show promise in HIV and AIDS as well.

      Not much information is given on Cat’s Claw’s use during pregnancy and lactation. Avoid if you have had or plan to have an organ donation, if you suffer from tuberculosis, hemophilia, autoimmune disease or multiple sclerosis. As well check with your pharmacist for contraindications if you take any prescription drugs.

Natural Remedies for An Enlarged Prostate

     Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland. When males hit puberty their prostate doubles in size and continues to enlarge as time goes by. According to the Urology Care Foundation (, BPH is common in the aging population and about half of all men between the ages of 51 and 60 have BPH and 90% of men over age 80 do. If the prostate enlarges considerably, it will put pressure on the urethra, restricting urine flow and causing urine retention in the bladder. As time goes on BPH can weaken the bladder and kidney due to urine retention. BPH does not necessarily lead to cancer and it may be present with a modest PSA reading (prostate specific antigen). The PSA is a measurement of a protein that the prostate produces. The higher the number the more concern there is for cancer however, a high PSA may be related to BPH, a prostate or bladder infection.

     BPH can be related to normal aging, however an early enlargement of the prostate can be linked to a number of things such as mineral deficiencies, hormone imbalances, poor diet, stress and celibacy. In the clinic nutritional deficiencies and dietary factors are a common cause of BPH. Emphasis on a healthy whole food diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds and moderate amounts of whole grains, legumes and lean proteins is recommended. Keeping blood sugar stable helps health in general and benefits BPH symptoms. Other lifestyle factors such as a healthy, normal waistline and physical activity are promoted. One mineral in particular, zinc, is very important and used in every cell in the body. It is one of the most common deficiencies in both men and women. Other lifestyle factors that influence BPH negatively are high stress and unhappiness. Often grief, loss of a partner or an unhappy married life can influence health negatively. Another risk factor for BPH is infrequent prostatic fluid emissions. Just like women’s flow or perspiration, it releases toxins. The proverbial, use it or lose it saying applies here. Another negative influence on BPH can be toxic mineral exposure, for example, lead from smoking ( or other toxic metals like arsenic, cadmium, copper and mercury. In BPH cases we often support other organs such as the liver, intestines, lymph, kidneys and bladder. This indirectly supports the prostate by reducing toxins by increasing organ elimination and function, In these cases gentle homeopathic drainage remedies are used depending on the case.

     Mother tinctures are herbal preparations that are often used in homeopathic prescribing. They are herbal remedies so they may have side effects as opposed to homeopathic remedies however, if prescribed properly they should have minimal side effects compared to prescription drugs. Please consult your pharmacist for contraindications. Here are just a few common mother tinctures.

     Urtica Urens mother tincture helps promote urine flow and eases swelling from water retention. It is also useful in allergies, gout and hives.

     Sabal Serrata is a low growing herb in coastal regions. Years ago herbalist Andrew Chevallier named Sabal the “plant catheter”. The herb or plant is much better to use than the berries. It helps with drawing pains due to BPH and urine back up. This herb also helps to detoxify testosterone, which helps BPH.

     Chimaphila Umbellica mother tincture is helpful when there is a sensation of a ball in the perineum, with urine retention. These types may also have diabetic tendencies. They have acute swelling and inflammation of the prostate.

     Pareria Brava is a remedy made from a vine that helps with the sensation of an enlarged bladder with pains. They may feel a constant urging to pass urine and they have to strain which is quite painful. These types may have to get into an odd kneeling position to make flow come.

     Solidago is made from Goldenrod and is used when the prostate affects the kidneys. They may develop pain that runs down the legs. Urination may be difficult and there may be water retention.

     Homeopathy is a medicine that is suited to one’s unique symptom picture, so two people suffering with symptoms of BPH may require different remedies according to their symptoms. Homeopathic medicine in a potency higher than 6CH does not carry any side effects. In my clinic I find the best responses are with homeopathic medicines, not with herbs, drugs or vitamins. There are many remedies for symptoms of BPH but here are a few that are most commonly indicated:

Baryta Carb is a remedy that is useful for BPH in the elderly. These types tend to have a poor memory, dribbling long after urination and diminished sexual capacity.  

Conium is a great remedy for those with an enlarged and hardened prostate. They have a heavy feeling there. These types may develop BPH after a loss of their significant other.

Thuja is a remedy for an enlarged and inflamed prostate. It can happen after a suppressed STD. They may have a forked stream of urine due to dried mucous in the urethra.      

   As you can see homeopathic medicine is very individualized and two people may get different remedies depending on their unique symptom picture. BPH does take time to heal, it is not a quick fix and professional homeopathic help is recommended. In an ideal world, everyone would have access to a homeopath and a medical doctor and they don’t disparage the other person’s treatment. This way the patient can have the best of both worlds.

The Little Known Mineral Vanadium, Named for the Goddess Freyja, has many Health Properties

    Vanadium the mineral was discovered in 1801, by Andres Manual Del Rio. The element is named after 'Vanadis', the old Norse name for the Scandinavian goddess Freyja. Vanadium is used in metal manufacturing and it was found to be an essential mineral to humans, in 1971, in very small quantities, thus it is a trace mineral.
     It is said that a deficiency in vanadium can be related to an increased incidence of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Vanadium is used in the body for growth and fat metabolism. A deficiency in this mineral can be related to an increase in cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Thus it may prove useful in cases of high cholesterol to use chromium and vanadium as a supplement. Vanadium has an impact on the cells that convert fat into co-enzyme A. Co-enzyme A is a helper molecule that activates certain molecules in cells, such as those in the krebs cycle that produce energy, ATP, within the cell. It helps with fatty acid synthesis, and every cell has a fat membrane that is required for communication with other cells and to prevent breaking down. ATP is an important, energy-rich compound that gives fuel and energy for the synthesis of protein and DNA deoxyribonucleic acid, the genetic code needed for cell replication in the body. So it is important in cell growth and repair.
     Vanadium plays a role in the function of the cells of the thyroid and blood sugar. Vanadium is often used in diabetics because it exerts an insulin like effects, that lowers blood sugar. In 200, the journal  called “Metabolism” published a study, involving 16 diabetes patients. After six weeks of treatment with vanadyl sulfate, some patients showed improvements in glucose metabolism and cholesterol levels. However, the small preliminary study did not find that it regulated glucose levels well alone. 
     This trace mineral is used for weight loss. Vanadium may have a positive influence on the blood vessels and liver by blocking cholesterol from being deposited there. This means it may help with fatty liver and atherosclerosis.  Vanadium is useful for healthy bone formation especially in the teeth and the skeleton.  It is also useful for anemia and water retention.
     A  2002 edition of  Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology published that laboratory studies on human cells demonstrate that vanadium may help promote programmed cell death involved in stopping the spread of cancer cells. There is some evidence that vanadium may help suppress the growth of cancerous tumors, according to the report. Another possible benefit of taking vanadium supplements is protecting against colon cancer, but this claim is based only on animal studies, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center. According to an article in the journal, Metal Ions in Life Sciences, Feb 5 2018  They write that “some vanadium compounds can combat common markers of cancer, which include metabolic processes that are important to initiating and developing the phenotypes of cancer.” More research is needed on the effects of vanadium in cancer.
     There is not a lot of research on the symptoms of vanadium deficiency however, researchers speculate that they may be high cholesterol, triglycerides, fatty liver, heart disease, faulty blood sugar, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. Drinking a lot of alcohol, smoking or a diet low in vanadium may cause a deficiency. Vanadium is a micronutrient found naturally in mushrooms, shellfish, black pepper, parsley, dill, grain and grain products. Supplementation of vanadium should be done as a trace mineral and if possible after showing a deficiency, through a hair mineral analysis. If supplementing with vanadium use a trace mineral form, not a high dose, because vanadium is not excreted and can be toxic in high doses.

The Medicinal Properties of Cumin Seeds


By Heather Caruso, BSc, Hom, ROHP

     The spice cumin has a peppery citrus type of flavor and is often used in Middle Eastern, Indian and Mexican dishes. Cumin belongs to the Umbelliferae plant family and is native to Egypt. It has a place as both a culinary and medicinal herb. It is mentioned in the bible as a treasure for seasoning and to tithe to local priests which reminds me of my farming patients who have brought me chickens for services rendered. In ancient times, Egyptian pharaohs were mummified with cumin.

     Cumin contains vitamin A, C, E, B6, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and minerals like iron, manganese, copper, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. It is a source of protein and amino acids, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and contains a good amount of fatty acids.

     The health benefits of cumin are many. One great thing cumin does is it is thought to increase the secretion of pancreatic enzymes which help digestion and absorption of nutrients. ( It is also thought to help with constipation due to its fiber content, reduce gas and bloating. By aiding in constipation it is useful to prevent hemorrhoids. It helps bile flow from the liver ( and has been shown to help with IBS symptoms in a study of 57 people after two short weeks. (

     Cumin is thought to have anti cancer properties due to its great number of beneficial compounds such as phenols, flavonoids, terpenes and alkaloids. Some of these compounds reduce oxidative damage to cells protecting one from free radical damage. In one study cumin was shown to prevent lab animals from developing stomach or liver tumors. It has potent free radical scavenging abilities and activates the livers detoxification enzymes.

     Cumin has been thought to help with weight gain and diabetic complications. One study found that a group of 78 participants taking a placebo, cumin or orlistat (a weight loss drug) had the same amount of weight loss in the herb group as they did using orlistat, without side effects. The cumin group had a beneficial affect on insulin production. ( Several studies find that cumin aids in blood sugar control, weight loss and digestion.

     This herb has anti fungal and anti bacterial properties. A compound found in cumin called megalomycin acts as an antibiotic. In one animal study cumin also helped break opiod addictive patterns in rats. It is also thought to be of benefit in asthma and lung infections because it clears mucous from the respiratory tract and acts as an anti-inflammatory.

     There are no safety concerns with the use of cumin. To bring out the fragrance and flavor of cumin, roast the seeds in the over, on a tray at 300 degrees or in a skillet for a few minutes on low heat. Then grind or add them whole to dishes. Some people make a cumin tea, by boiling 2 teaspoons of seeds in 2 cups of water and allowing them to steep for 10 minutes. Cumin would be best used for its aromatic flavors in Middle Eastern or Mexican dishes

Natural Remedies for the Symptoms of Osteoporosis

     Osteoporosis is a condition where the density of the bone decreases and the risk of bone fracture increases. Typical locations are the vertebrae and hips. It is considered to be a disease that affects our aging population and occurs more often in women than in men. The causes of osteoporosis may be a poor diet, an acidic body terrain, drug treatments (steroids, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, diuretics and antacids), a genetic predisposition, excessive alcohol intake, inactivity and a thin body frame.

     Being a thin body frame is usually a hereditary issue and taking care of one self nutritionally will help provide the best outcome. Daily exercise of daily brisk walking with some resistance or weight training a few times per week will prove helpful to build bone. Medications may be discussed with one’s doctor should they cause of osteoporosis. Ideally a doctor will provide medication alternatives or work alongside a natural health professional to reduce a medication and introduce a non-toxic alternative.

      Medical doctors typically recommend drug treatments for osteoporosis such as Actonel or Fosamax. These types of medications prevent the natural cycle of breaking down bones. Our body builds up and breaks down bone in cycles, similar to our hair growth. Many doctors recommend patients take one popular, inexpensive brand of calcium carbonate. This type of calcium is not well absorbed and may put one at risk for the formation of calcium oxalate kidney stones. More highly absorbable forms of calcium are calcium hydroxyapatite and then calcium citrate. Calcium should be given in a ratio of two parts calcium to one part magnesium to help with absorption. As well some bone formulas also contain strontium, vitamin K2, vitamin D, manganese and boron to increase bone density.

     As people age, they do not make as many digestive enzymes and stomach acid. Both are required to absorb nutrients and minerals that may help keep bones healthy. Malabsorption puts people at risk for osteoporosis and other nutritional deficiencies such as anemia and low vitamin B12 levels. Supplementation with a digestive enzyme, with or without hydrochloric acid, may be beneficial. It is important to not take hydrochloric acid if someone is not low in it, because it can cause burning and discomfort. Other digestive issues such as food allergies are linked to osteoporosis. Food allergies and sensitivities like celiac disease, gluten and lactose intolerance cause problems with poor absorption and digestion. Celiac disease actually damages the  microvilli in the intestinal wall, where nutrients are typically absorbed.

     Diet plays a huge role in health in general and bone density is no different. Interestingly according to the book, “Nutritional Medicine” by Alan R. Gaby M.D., an interesting study found that rats who were fed a high sugar diet developed osteoporosis. An observational study of men and women found that those who ate the largest amounts of candy had the lowest bone density. Sugar may lead to bone loss because it is devoid of nutrition and it increases urinary calcium excretion. This also is linked to the formation of calcium oxalate kidney stones. Those with kidney stones have lower bone density than the general public. Lastly large quantities of sugar increase blood cortisol levels, a hormone known to cause bone loss.    

     Some drinks linked to osteoporosis are colas, tea, coffee and caffeine. Caffeine in general increases the excretion of calcium and magnesium through the urine. Thus calcium supplementation may be protective for bones against a high caffeine intake. A low dietary protein intake increases ones risk of osteoporosis. Lacto Ovo vegetarians have the same risk of osteoporosis as omnivores do[i], however, vegans have a higher risk of low bone density but it is unclear whether it is due to a lack of calcium or other minerals.[ii]

     Another factor that may lead to bone loss is heavy metal toxicity. Some studies have shown that high levels of aluminum and lead are linked to osteoporosis. These toxic minerals are in our environment and some people retain them more than they should. Exposure can also happen in smokers, those working in an industrial environment and those with a compromised liver.

      Homeopathy is a system of medicine that is often misunderstood by the general public and medical community. Homeopathic remedies are prescribed by matching a person’s individual symptoms to a remedy that has those same symptoms when taken in a crude dose. Homeopathy in Latin means “like cures like”. Homeopathic remedies are typically made from plant, animal or mineral matter like red onion, bee venom or carbonate of lime for example. The remedies are prepared in a manner that makes them diluted and a nanoparticle medicine. Thus any potency over a 6CH has no side effects. When the right remedy is matched to a person’s unique symptom picture, it stimulates one’s natural healing mechanism to recognize abnormal symptoms and proceed to heal them. If a homeopathic remedy is not matched well, it will have no action at all. Homeopathy is safe for babies, adults, seniors and even pets.

     The beauty of homeopathy is that the right remedy can stimulate a person to heal deeply. In chronic disease, healing will require different homeopathic remedies as a person goes through various stages of healing. In an acute disease, like a sore throat or ear ache, often times one homeopathic remedy will suit the entire case.

     Herein a few common homeopathic remedies are highlighted to show how homeopathy is suited to a person’s unique symptom picture rather than a disease name:

Calcarea Carb types tend to be heavy set people. They are chilly and like the warmth. They tend to have cold and clammy feet. They are easily out of breath, feel weak and jaded from overwork. They tend to easily strain their muscles and joints. They have osteoporosis and tend to gall and kidney stones.

Calc Phos is suited to a type similar to calcarea carb but these types are usually lean. They love smoked meats like bacon. They tend to have osteoporosis, spinal curvatures and poor union of fractures. These types may also suffer from arthritis and rheumatism where drafts cause pain. Cold aggravates. They feel better in warm weather, hot summer day and worse in cold and damp weather.

Phosphorus is a remedy suited to thin tall people. It can be linked to osteoporosis of the spine, upper jaw and bones in general. They may feel weak in their joints and tend to easy sprains on exertion. They are like a human barometer, sensitive to changes in the atmosphere, thunderstorms and lightning. They are susceptible to external impressions such as lights, sounds, touch, odors and so on. They tend to crave ice, cold drinks and food.

Silicea is a remedy that is suited to people who may tend to easy exhaustion and poor absorption. They tend to have diseases of the bones and cartilage such as decay, necrosis and softening of the bones. They may also suffer from bunion growths. This is a remedy that helps with spinal injuries and parts that are laid on tend to go to sleep. Silicea types are cold people, they feel worse in the winter and worse for drafts. Suffer from curvature of the spine, kyphosis (hunch back) and decay of the vertebrae. The bones in the spine are greatly affected, pain in the vertebrae, coccyx and lumbar region. They may have a stiff neck with headaches.

     Homeopathic remedies can be purchased at your local health food store, the typical potency is a 6X or 30CH. The dosing depends on the case however, most often a remedy for osteoporosis may be administered at least a few times a week, under the tongue and in between meals.

     Osteoporosis is a multi-factorial disease that needs individualized attention. The path to healing is not always a straight line and in chronic disease usually more than one remedy and modality is needed. People can benefit from a variety of approaches such as screening for nutritional deficiencies, addressing drug side effects, improving diet and applying the correct homeopathic remedy.

     Heather Caruso is a best selling author, registered homeopath and orthomolecular health practitioner. She has been in private practice for the past 20 years in Guelph Ontario.




Top 10 Keys to Cultivate Happiness

       I recently had a conversion with a good friend who works in the mental health field. We spoke about personalities and how some people seem cheerful even when life hands them the proverbial lemons. This wise woman said it may be part of a person’s nature and personality to react in a good, negative or balanced way but every person is responsible to cultivate their own happiness. Cultivate, means in gardening to grow or in general to develop or acquire a skill, for happiness.

     This concept of “cultivating happiness” really resonated because most busy people get into a groove of just existing, going through mundane tasks day after day and forgetting the things that bring joy into the routine. Herein are some easy tips starting from simple mind techniques, looking at lifestyle and ending in correcting unique nutritional imbalances. In a great majority of cases, a simple mind shift, healthy habits, like getting enough sleep and eating whole foods are enough. When it is not enough, correcting any unique nutritional needs is paramount to every person’s health and feelings of well being.

      Here are the top 10 ways to cultivate happiness:

  1. Wake each day and find something to be grateful for. Even being grateful for small things is a start. It sets the day up for appreciation. Count these proverbial blessings no matter how small.
  2. Don’t take things too seriously. Make a mistake? Have a flaw pointed out? Use it for a learning experience or accept that we are all human. Earth school is about, learning and growing.
  3. Keep friends who are supportive and have others best interest at heart. Limit experience with negativity and dream stealers. Finding a group of friends whom one admires, finds comfort in and is uplifted by their company is key. It is hard to fly with the eagles whilst scratching with the turkeys.
  4. Have pursuits or hobbies that are fulfilling. Not everyone has a dream job, but everyone can fill themselves with joy and love. View or make art, listen to or compose music, dance, sight see, volunteer to help others, garden, pet cats or dogs, be active in church. Healthy and fulfilling pursuits takes one away the mundane, stimulates the mind and gives one a break. If one is lucky, their hobbies will also increase positive social interactions with other worthwhile people.
  5. Become physically active even in little ways. Human beings are not to be sedentary. Taking a simple brisk walk increases pain relief and feel good hormones called endorphins. It improves lymphatic drainage, heart health and mood. Any activity is worthwhile, biking, hiking, kayaking, swimming, aerobics, cleaning, gardening, yoga, tai chi etc. The choice is yours and exercise is cumulative, it doesn’t have to be done all at once, even in 10 minute increments, three times a day over the day counts. Start where you are at.
  6. Aim to get a good night’s sleep. Set a sleep schedule. Sleep in a dark room. Don’t take caffeine after morning and don’t eat too late. Don’t watch upsetting or stimulating news or television right before bed. Exert enough energy during the day, to tire you for evening. These things all influence sleep. If one needs further support try remedies like calcium and/or magnesium, passionflower, valerian, holy basil, skullcap or melatonin for a good nights sleep. Many sleepy time teas contain these herbs.
  7. Accept where one is now. If there are goals, getting a better job, going through relationship changes, recovering from an injury, starting on healthy eating journey, quitting smoking, recovering from alcoholism, or whatever, know that Rome was not built in a day. Celebrate small victories and know that every seed planted makes a difference and one will bloom in time.
  8. Take only whole foods and a balanced diet. When one’s diet focuses mainly on fast, sugary or prepackaged foods, both the body and mind acquire very little nutrition. It gains empty filling calories. It can also cause cravings due to their addictive nature. Fast and prepackaged foods hinder good health, a positive mood and focus. Some types of fats such as trans fats and oxidized fats, create inflammation and may actually block the receptor for healthy fats such as omega 3 fatty acids which are good for brain, nerves and mood. Alcohol actually depletes the body of happy nutrients, such as magnesium, chromium, b vitamins, folic acid and omega 3 fatty acids. Thus over doing it with booze can definitely make someone’s mood worse. Instead, eat a diet that focuses on whole grains, fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, healthy fats, legumes, fish and little meat. Don’t drink calories, take water and eat three squares. Food contains phytonutrients and biochemical messages that can carry both positive and negative messages for every cell in our body. It is amazing how a person’s mood can be altered by diet. For some it is easier to change their religion than their diet. Take steps daily to improve and simply do your best and forget the rest.
  9. Everyone has a unique biochemistry. At the Caruso Clinic, each person’s unique nutritional needs are met and determined with testing. If certain nutrients are lacking, a regime may be prescribed to best support optimal health. We don’t recommend taking standard vitamins from the drug store, most of them are poorly absorbed and unnecessary. Taking unnecessary vitamins, minerals or herbs is hard on a person’s body and their liver. In fact often people will have high liver enzymes when they take a lot of supplements they don’t need. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, if the liver is unwell, people tend to feel more irritable and angry. However when people support their organs, body and mind, by replacing missing nutrients they will feel right within themselves and happier.
  10. Lastly, if the above steps to cultivate happiness is not enough, there is deep grief, depression or any other imbalance, consider a constitutional remedy. This is a remedy that is suited to one’s unique set of symptoms, emotional, mental or physical. It doesn’t change ones nature of the situation but it can improve one’s well being and make one feel more grounded within themselves.

If you would like more information on how we can help increase a positive mood by improving diet, having an individualized nutritional protocol and/or a constitutional remedy, please contact us for more info.

It seems as though every time we turn around we hear about another thing that causes cancer. We may feel like we need to live in a bubble to prevent ourselves from future suffering. However, we do have more of an impact than we know when it comes to helping ourselves stay healthy. We may have a family history of cancer and think our genes will be our downfall, however we can prevent the expression of these genes if we do the right things with diet. Thus we can change our expression of our genotype (cancer genes) by eating well to prevent their expression (phenotype).

     Our diet plays a role in how our genes are expressed. Certain methods of cooking can increase carcinogens. For example, grilling meats on the barbecue can increase hetrocyclic amines (HCA) a chemical reaction to charring meats on high heat and an open flame. The worst five as reported by the "Cancer Project" to grill are chicken breast, steak, salmon, hamburger and pork. A high meat intake has been linked to colon and breast cancer.

     Studies have shown that alcohol consumption has a cumulative effect on the incidence of breast cancer in women. It has also been linked to stomach, colon, rectum, liver and ovarian cancer. There is a moderate increase in breast cancer in those who drink 3 to 6 alcoholic drinks per week. Women's body's do not metabolize alcohol the same way men's do. Alcohol seems to increase our estrogen levels which may lead to hormone related cancers. Men on the other hand, who have three drinks per week, especially red wine, tend to live longer. (I know ladies totally not fair!)

     Eating a diet high in meat, saturated and trans fats and low in fibre increase the incidences of breast, colon, lung, prostate and rectal cancers. According to research diet plays a role in at least 30 percent of all types cancers. This means that we do have some control in what we eat and improving our health and longevity.

Eating for Cancer Prevention

     What we can gather from the information above avoiding/limiting alcohol, saturated fats, grilled meats and low fibre diets helps in the prevention of cancer. In the July newsletter we highlighted which foods are beneficial for breast cancer prevention, view this newsletter now. Also eating a diet low on the glycemic index helps to prevent obesity, diabetes and also breast, prostate and colon cancer. The glycemic index refers to how quickly something turns into a sugar in the blood. Low glycemic means the food turns into a sugar less quickly than a high glycemic one. This keeps blood sugar stable. Amazingly researchers have found that the diabetic drug, metformin may actually prevent cancer. Keeping blood sugar stable prevents aging of the cells that may cause mutation such as in cancer development or other degenerative diseases. 

     Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is the best insurance for health. Choose 8 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables. They are rich in polyphenols and other cancer preventing compounds. Choose a wide variety of colours of the rainbow to ensure your nutritional needs are met because each colour and vegetable or fruit contains various compounds that are beneficial for health. Choose to eat lean proteins such as chicken, fish, turkey, game meats, legumes and soya (unless you have an estrogen positive type of cancer). Eat whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, rye and oats. Choose healthy fats such as olive, safflower or grapeseed oil, unprocessed coconut oil, raw nuts and seeds. Choose dairy products such as low-fat yogurt to get beneficial bacteria that helps your intestinal tract and immune system.

     On another note, research into food stuffs that prevent cancer has been quite fruitful (pardon the pun!).  Below is a list of a few great foods that will improve your health:

  • Brazil nuts contain the most selenium of all nuts. Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that has been toted as an anti-cancer mineral.
  • Tomatoes cooked contain lycopene which may help prevent prostate disease.
  • Brocolli, cabbage, cauliflower and brocolli sprouts contain compounds called sulphurophane, lutein, zeaxanthin and indol 3 carbinol that has been found beneficial in colon, rectal, breast, prostate and skin cancers.
  • Flaxseed contains lignans that studies have been found to be beneficial in cases of prostate, breast and colon cancer.
  • Green tea has many benefits. The Journal of Cellular Biochemistry, states that green tea's polyphenols that are abundant in green tea, red wine and olive oil, may protect against various types of cancer. Dry green tea leaves contain  40% polyphenols by weight, may reduce the risk of the stomach, lung, colon, rectum, liver and pancreas cancer according to study findings.

     There are many other healthy foods as well as supplements that can improve your health and well-being. Cancer affects so many people in our society, I truly believe it is our focus on pre-packaged foods, our environment as well as the individual's ability to filter toxins to stay healthy. If you have a health concern please contact the clinic for an assessment at 519-827-9237.

This information is not meant to diagnose or treat diseases. Please seek the help of a qualified health practitioner if you have a serious health concern.

     A study of approximately 447,000 people found an association with the lowest carbohydrate intake and an increased mortality (death) rate. The study showed that the lowest carb diets had a 31% mortality rate compared to those with the highest carb diets. Noting that in the NHANES study they found that the highest carb diets were are much more risk for mortality compared to those with a moderate carbohydrate intake (which was considered at approx 50%). Moderate carb intake is more in line with a dietary plan similar to the zone of south beach diet, where as very low carb, is more in line with ketogenic diet. The number of carbs per day in ketogenic diet can vary as well from person to person.

     However, it appears the media is lumping all diets that ask for moderation of our carbohydrate and starch intake as "low carb". This is where people become confused about diet, the media skews studies and the public doesn't have easy access to read the original research. This type of reporting by the media makes one wonder if the way the media reports the news is funded by the folks who make diabetic or cholesterol medication. When one opens the link below, from MedScapeToday, it had a picture of white pasta, white bread and buns, making one wonder if that particular article was attempting to suggest that eating plenty of refined flour products was associated with longevity.

     In short, what we suggest at the clinic we take away from this news is that for the long haul, don't stay extremely low carb for a long time period of time since it is associated with early death. Be mindful that the highest carb diets are also linked to an increased mortality rate and incidence of disease such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Moderate carbohydrate intake is best, between 40 to 55% of one's daily food intake. IT is what they have said for years about moderation, sticking with whole foods, moderate whole grains, nuts, seeds, healthy fats such as olive oil, fish, legumes and plenty of healthy non starchy veggies and fruits which are good for health and longevity. Please note each person has individualized needs for certain nutrients and not one diet suits all.

     Heartburn is defined as stomach acid extending up to the esophagus creating burning and discomfort. It is a very prevalent condition, so much so that antacid medication ranks as one of the highest prescribed drugs right next to cholesterol and hypertension medication. There are a variety of symptoms and causes of acid reflux and heartburn according to medical sites. Each person is different. In the clinic, we see at least a quarter of all of our patients have some type of digestive disorder. It is important to have a proper medical check up by an MD to determine what the cause of the heartburn is and what the proper course of action should be.

     At the clinic, we believe our body provides us with clues when something is wrong. Joint pains, headaches, fatigue and heartburn are clues that something is off. It is our body’s way of notifying us that something is not right and we should not pay attention. One television commercial for a heartburn medication, shows a man living in an apartment. He is receiving deliveries from a pizza shop, Chinese food and chicken wings. He is rejoicing with music that he can now eat all of this food without consequence due his choice of taking a medication. Should this kind of behavior continue the next body clue this person may develop is a heart attack or diabetes. Not everyone develops heartburn from over doing junk food, but many do. The causes of heartburn may vary. Here are some well documented causes:

  1. Consuming certain food triggers, such as caffeine (tea, coffee), chocolate, spicy foods, fatty or fried foods, citrus fruits and tomatoes, sugar, alcohol, onions and peppers.
  2. An imbalanced diet that focuses more on acidic types of foods, like meat, grains and nuts instead of more alkaline forming foods like fruits and vegetables.
  3. Consuming foods that a person is sensitive or allergic to, such as gluten, dairy products, citrus, eggs, soya or shellfish for example.
  4. Eating high histamine foods, such as dried fruits, cured meats, smoked meats, nuts and so on.
  5. Having an overgrowth of bad bacteria or dysbiosis such as parasites, helicobacter pylori, klebsiella and/or candida albicans.
  6. A lack of beneficial bacteria such as acidophilus.
  7. Ongoing stress causes immunoglobulin IgA to decrease. Secretory immunoglobulin IgA helps maintain the lining of our gut and mucous membranes thus when it decreases one can develop more pain and burning quite easily.
  8. Pregnancy can cause heartburn due to carrying a child. The extra mass creates less space for the stomach and it pushes up the stomach contents. Thus pregnant women often develop heartburn and belching as the baby grows.
  9. A large waistline or beer belly creates the same pressure as in pregnancy.
  10. Use of certain medications such as anxiety medication, antibiotics, antidepressants, blood pressure pills, nitroglycerin and pain relievers such as aspirin, cortisone and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories can cause heartburn. Be sure to check with the doctor should any medication be a trigger for heartburn.
  11. Damage to the esophagus, due to medications or infections.
  12. Low stomach acid or a lack of pancreatic enzymes can actually cause fermentation of food in the stomach and upper intestinal tract, leading to bloating and acidity.

      As one can see, not everyone has the same triggers for heartburn. They also are a variety of individualized symptoms for example:

  1. The feeling of a lump or pressure sensation behind their sternum
  2. Sour risings that come up to the throat
  3. Belching after eating
  4. A dry irritating cough that tends to be worse after meals
  5. Burning in the lower stomach
  6. Nausea and vomiting after eating
  7. Easy gagging
  8. A sensation that food gets lodged in the throat
  9. Bitter taste in the mouth
  10. Sour or burning risings from the stomach contents when bending over

     In the Caruso Clinic, we tailor suit treatments to the individual and assess to determine if there is any underlying cause and then remove that trigger. This requires a bit of investigation through testing. We use a mix of dietary recommendations, nutritional supplements, herbs and homeopathy depending on one’s individual needs.

     Certain supplements and herbs are also quite useful for helping to reduce symptoms of acidity such as licorice, digestive enzymes, diamine oxidase, embelica, aloe soccotrina, robinia, slippery elm, glutamine, mastic gum, zinc carnosine and ginger.

     Homeopathy is a medicine that is suited to one’s unique symptom picture, so two people suffering with symptoms of heartburn may require different remedies according to their symptoms. Homeopathic medicine in a potency higher than 6CH does not carry any side effects. There are many remedies for symptoms of heartburn but here are a few that are most commonly indicated:

Colubrina is suited to sedentary workaholic types who over indulge in food, alcohol or caffeine. They tend to be constipated, irritable and have stomach pains a few hours after eating.

Lycopodium types tend to be full of wind. They are bloated and flatulent. They also may tend to be constipated and aggravated by beans, cauliflower and other flatulent foods. They may need to unbutton their pants due to bloating. They tend to have reflux that sits in their throat.

Natrum Phos is a tissue salt that is a general remedy beneficial for stomach acid symptoms. It helps with side effects from certain medications such as pain killers and other prescription drugs that trigger heartburn.

     As you can see homeopathic medicine is very individualized and two people may get different remedies depending on their unique symptom picture. In an ideal world, everyone would have access to a homeopath, nutritionist and a medical doctor and they don’t disparage the other person’s treatment. This way the patient can have the best of both worlds. In my years of practice, I have treated many people with digestive problems. Often times improving the diet helps considerably. Should that not work, supporting a person with homeopathy and supplements is key. The beauty of homeopathy is that it can work in conjunction with these medications so that the patient can have the best of both worlds to experience their best outcome.

Heather Caruso is a homeopath and holistic nutritionist for the past 20 years in Guelph Ontario. For more information or to book a free get acquainted chat go to

Reishi Mushroom has a lot of health benefits. It has been known to improve energy levels and reduce stress. It also supports the liver and improves immunity. Researchers have found that reishi actually improves age related oxidative damage. This may be a key to healthy aging.

For more information on healthy living, book a free get acquainted chat.


   The thyroid gland is a gland found in people's throat and controls the metabolism and determines how quickly we burn calories for fuel. It also controls our body temperature and heart rate. If the thyroid is not working properly the person is not as well. Many people have signs of low thyroid function and they have not been diagnosed. There is a wide range that lab tests accept as normal. Typically doctors only test for TSH, however other hormones may be tested such as T3, T4 and anti-thyroid antibodies. Some people’s lab results may be on the cusp and they feel off but don't get medical treatment because it is within range.     

     Some symptoms that the thyroid gland is functioning sub-optimally are:

  1. Weight gain or difficulty losing weight.
  2. Fatigue and loss of energy, sleeping more and feeling unrefreshed.
  3. Increased susceptibility to colds and virus.
  4. Muscle cramps, aches pains, low back pain.
  5. Mentally sluggish, poor memory.
  6. Mental symptoms such as depression, lethargy, anxiety and crying.
  7. Dry skin, hair and brittle nails.
  8. Loss of appetite.
  9. Lowered libido.
  10. Atherosclerosis, high cholesterol and triglycerides.
  11. Slow heart rate.
  12. Loss of the outside half of the eyebrow.
  13. Water retention.
  14. Difficulty swallowing, goitre.
  15. Heart palpitations.
  16. Hair Loss.

      There are many reasons that the thyroid gland gives up working optimally. In our clinic we treat people as an individual and determine which issues may be an issue and preventing wellness. One may find that hypothyroidism can be related to poor liver function and it not converting thyroid hormones (T3, T4, TSH) into usable forms. It can be related to a deficiency in minerals such as zinc, selenium, iodine, vitamin E and the amino acid tyrosine. Other vitamins that may be low are vitamin A, B, C and E.   

     Hypothyroidism can also be related to poor stomach acid. Signs that one has low stomach acid, is bloating after meals and difficulty digesting red meat. People need stomach acid to digest protein, and protein is required to make iodine available to the thyroid gland. Another reason that people may suffer from hypothyroidism is that the HPA axis, is imbalanced. The HPA (hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal gland) axis is a feedback loop in our nervous, endocrine system that all talk to each other. Sometimes the pituitary sends messages to the thyroid to tell it to make more or less hormone. The adrenal being overactive and during times of stress can send signals that may suppress thyroid function.  Excessive estrogen and cortisol can also suppress thyroid function.    

     Diet plays a large role in thyroid function. Those who eat a lot of flour products may be inadvertently consuming bromine, which is used in flour making. Bromine blocks the thyroid from picking up iodine due to its chemical structure. Chlorine and fluoride can also block thyroid receptors from picking up iodine. Thus it is best to use filtered water and a natural toothpaste if you have concerns about thyroid health. Certain foods may interfere with thyroid function if eaten in excess such as uncooked cruciferous vegetables (bok choy, kale, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli), soy, millet, peaches, strawberries, spinach, radishes and peanuts. A diet that promotes diabetes such as a high glycemic and high carb diet is also linked to depressed thyroid function.      

     What can one do about diet? Aim to consume foods that are high in the mineral iodine such as seaweed, nori, kelp, seafood and iodized natural sea salt. Cruciferous veggies are super healthy so if you do eat them, be sure to eat them cooked or steamed. Reduce your intake of grains to one or two servings per day, depending on your activity level. If you do eat grains choose whole ones such as steel cut oats, quinoa, brown rice and teff. Wheat may be a common food sensitivity, especially in Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Food sources of selenium are brazil nuts, mushrooms, oysters and sardines for example. Eat most of your diet from a wide variety of colours of non starchy vegetables, use healthy fats such as olive and coconut oil for cooking, nuts and seeds, limit dairy to organic yogurt for their probiotic culture (unless sensitive to it), free range protein, beans and fruits. Limit sugar, alcohol, refined carbohydrates and don't smoke. Many people who smoke get thyroid cancer, since inhaling tobacco smoke passes along the throat and it acts as a carcinogen.     

     Typically in the clinic we do screening to determine one's homeopathic remedy and what they are lacking nutritionally. Homeopathic remedies are very individualized, that is why it is best to seek professional help and not self prescribe. Each person is different and we recommend seeing a professional but here are some common homeopathic remedies for hypothyroidism:

  • Calcarea carb is a popular homeopathic that suits people who tend to gain weight easily and have hypothyroidism. They may have been overweight since they were young. They tend to be chilly and sweat profusely at night and wet the pillow all around. They may also have odd cravings like for eggs, indigestible things like dirt, chalk (see pica) and have an aversion to eat. They may have troubles with cold and damp feet. Their menstrual cycles are early and too profuse.
  • Natrum Mur is a remedy that can address thyroid issues. The usual cause of issues in these types are suppressed grief. They tend to keep grief and sorrow inside and brood about it. People who may need this remedy may be emaciated in the throat area and be chilly. They may feel irritable when spoke to and get a headache from sunrise to sunset. Headaches can be like little hammers pounding on the head, they may begin with blindness and show zigzags before the eyes. They may desire salt and have a mapped tongue. They feel worse in sea air, from heat or sun, mental exertion at 10 or 11am. They feel better going without meals and lying on the right side.
  • Sepia is a remedy that is great for hormonal conditions. These types tend to be exhausted but better for physical exertion. That is the strangest keynote of this remedy. Sepia types tend to have PMS, heavy bearing down sensation in the uterine area and a sensation if they don't cross their legs everything will protrude from their pelvis. These types can be sad and weep. They dread being alone and yet they feel indifferent to their family and those she loves best. She gets tired of her children and husband.

     In the clinic we treat each case as unique personalize remedies to each case. In a perfect world, people could have access to their medical doctor and laboratory tests and see a nutritionist or homeopath. One would not disparage the other that way the person could be monitored and get the best of both worlds. For more information book a free get acquainted chat today.


Many people ask me what the difference between a naturopath and a homeopath is. I am a registered Homeopath and a Nutritionist. A Homeopath has in depth training in homeopathy which is one system of medicine. Homeopathy is not herbs, vitamins, essential oils or supplements. It is considered to be a natural medicine. Homeopathic medicines can be prepared from plant, animal or mineral matter but its method of preparation and administration is what makes it homeopathic. Remedies are diluted and succussed. Any remedy over a 6CH potency carries only an energy frequency of the original substance and does not have any side effects. Remedies are matched to a person's set of symptoms rather than a disease name. Thus two people with the same disease name would get a different remedy depending on their unique symptom picture.

Naturopaths also use natural medicine and homeopathy. Naturopathy is not one system of medicine. Their training is typically the same number of years as those who specialize in homeopathy however their training focuses on other natural modalities like acupucture, chinese medicine and homeopathy for example. Their training is not as in depth as someone who specializes in homeopathy or chinese medicine. However, some Naturopaths take extra training in homeopathy to gain a deeper knowledge and they may register as a Homeopath.

To recap, Homeopathy is one system of medicine. It is made from plant, animal and mineral matter but it is diluted and gentle. The remedies are matched to someone's unique set of symptoms not a disease name. This matching helps the body to recognize abnormal symptoms and take action to correct them. Homeopathy is not the same as herbs, vitamins, minerals or essential oils. Some have even said magnets are homoepathic. A naturopath and homeopath both use natural medicine but a homeopath specialized in depth in homoepathy. We both have great professions.

Anyone in Ontario who calls themselves a homeopath must be registered with the College of Homeopaths and meet their minimum standards to practice and use the homeopath title.

Dr Oz is known to support natural health care. One of his shows highlighted how smelling lavender can help with anxiety. It is interesting, that research shows that consuming a 100mg pill of lavender as a supplement is equivalent to some anti anxiety medications. For Dr. Oz's news click here.

An interesting article touched on a subject that many alternative health practitioners already know, that poor sleep may be linked to a high glycemic diet, diabetes and an imbalance in gut flora. In the clinic we notice, that those conditions were people typically have dysbiosis, an imbalance of bad bacteria, like fibromyalgia, pcos, IBD may have more sleep problems than others. Read on.