Filling Your Cup By Dr. Carmen Luterbach

Create a self care list and include blended herbal tea.

Create a self care list and include blended herbal tea.

Self-care.....ahhh. Sure can seem a daunting thing! I once thought of self-care as elaborate out-of-the house practices such as: going for a massage, a pedicure, a cut and colour or a glass of wine with friends. Now, as a parent of two, this concept has evolved out of necessity. It can seem impossible to complete the day-to-day tasks, let alone indulge. I found myself procrastinating and putting self-care on the bottom of my priority list. And, consequently, began to lose myself. 

Signs I needed self-care were many and I recognized them as increased irritability, lessened patience, creeping resentments and a reduced tolerance for stress. The concept of self-care took on a new flavour. It became a need for self preservation, as I could no longer recognize myself or my needs. I am sure you can relate. It meant, as a parent, putting the needs of every family member (and pet?) before myself. How could I integrate bits and pieces of self care into my day-to-day? 

Although we do not own a television or cell phone (I know, gasp!), I found social media and Netflix to be a total time sink, over-stimulating and as research shows, to increase negative thoughts. First step was to deactivate the Netflix account and limit my social media time to 30 minutes daily. I found that one simple step brought my stress down, the house was nice and quiet and I had carved out space in my day for self care.

I compiled a Self Care list - which for you will be as unique as your finger-print:

-Say no to activities and requests that drain me.
-Use lavender oil in a bath or diffuser
-Cuddle up on the couch with a fiction novel and hot water bottle
-20 minutes daily out-door exercise (walking in nature)
-10 minutes daily stretching or yoga
-Nightly relaxing herbal tea (recipe provided)
-Daily vitamins for post-partum health

The changes were immediate! I had a greater sense of gratitude, was more present for my children and had more inner peace. I will continue these practices regularly (perhaps not yet daily!), and will add in journalling and creative projects, like water colour painting, when the time feels right. 

How can we fill up the cups of our family members if ours is empty? Self-care is about filling your cup: so that you will take care of yourself first, in order to have the capacity to care for others.

Self-Care Tea
1 part nettles
1 part red clover
1 part peppermint
1 part oat straw or milk oat tops
1 part red raspberry leaf

Directions: mix 50 grams of each herb in a bowl and pour into a mason jar. Keep in a cool, dark place. 

Use 1 heaping tablespoon of the herbal mixture per 8oz of boiling water and steep, covered for at least 15 minutes. Add honey, if desired. You can also steep larger volumes over-night to increase the mineral content. Drink three cups, daily.

Properties of Self-Care tea: regulates menstrual cycle, source of minerals like iron and calcium, medicinal tea for pregnancy and post-partum, prepare the uterus for labour, eases menstrual cramps and heavy cycles, bone health, helps reduce nausea and mild digestive complaints, resolves anemia and mild fatigue and reduces sugar and caffeine cravings.
This tea may be familiar to you as my "Power Pregnancy" tea.

Dr. Luterbach specializes in women's health, pediatrics and thyroid care. She returned to clinical practice from her maternity leave on April 18. Availability: Tuesdays and Thursdays. Currently accepting new patients.



No More Fatigue

Want More Energy?

There is an epidemic plaguing our society. Every one of us is susceptible since no one has immunity against this condition. Although it is not a killer, it can be debilitating and affect our quality of life. Even healthy individuals with no other symptoms can be affected. This condition is fatigue.

In my patient population, fatigue is generally caused by a number of factors. These can include: nutrient deficiencies from poor diet or gastrointestinal problems, poor sleep, stress induced adrenal dysfunction, thyroid dysfunction, liver dysfunction, low hormone levels, chronic illness from infections, toxicity, mood disorders, and many others.

As a naturopathic physician, my goal is to determine and treat the cause of the fatigue. Often this takes time if the patient has been ill for a prolonged period and multiple systems of the body are performing sub-optimally. Patients want relief from their fatigue as quickly as possible.

Now I have a therapy that gets results fast and that is intravenous nutrient therapy (IVNT). I choose to administer nutrients intravenously when more energy is needed quickly and especially for patients who have been chronically ill.

Chronically ill patients almost always have issues with their digestive system making absorption of nutrients a real challenge. So many things can affect the health of the lining of the small intestines. This is where the vast majority of nutrient absorption takes place.

Supplying key nutrients intravenously bypasses the gut so high levels of nutrients can be administered and cellular and tissue levels of these nutrients vital for energy production increase quickly. Some nutrients such as B’s, magnesium and vitamin C can cause nausea, intestinal discomfort, or even diarrhea if given by mouth in very large doses. Given intravenously, these same nutrients do not cause the same symptoms.

Some of the nutrients that are given intravenously to boost energy and fight fatigue are B vitamins, vitamin C, zinc, calcium, magnesium, potassium, L-carnitine, glutathione, ATP, and coenzyme Q 10.

You don’t have to put up with fatigue any longer.  If one of your intentions is to improve your health and have more energy, we at VitaCare Natural Health Clinic can help. Contact us to set up an appointment with Dr. Yim. He will design a program to guide you back to wellness and IVNT will speed you along that path.









What's Up With Your Stool

What's Up With Your Stool?

In every police crime drama, the main characters will sometimes turn to mining forensic gems from a criminal's garbage. Sifting through the waste to find a telling bit of evidence and analyzing what is or isn’t in the garbage to discover telling abnormalities. You’d think because it was waste, it wouldn’t give much information, but it could be the deciding factor in whether the bad guy gets away with a crime or not.

Stool, your body’s waste, can also provide that ‘lightbulb’ piece of information, pointing a finger at bad guys and directing the good guys in the right direction.

Stories Your Stool Can Tell

1.    There should be a healthy balance between beneficial, commensal, and pathogenic organisms in the gut. If the population of pathogenic organisms is high, a good stool test will identify the most appropriate pharmaceutical or natural treatment agents.

2.     Fecal pH, or the acid/alkaline balance can indicate poor digestive health, inadequate intake of fiber and low levels of beneficial colonic flora. The stool pH should be on the acidic side so when the pH is too alkaline, it may be linked to an increased occurrence of colon and breast cancer.

3.     In many cases, disorders of the GI tract can be linked to intestinal malabsorption. Looking at the proportion of fecal short-chain fatty acids can determine if bacterial fermentation of dietary carbohydrates and amino acids is producing enough energy for the epithelial cells of the colon and may show the presence of inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, and even colon cancer.

4.     One of the simplest determinants of a stool test is whether your gut is breaking down food properly. The presence of undigested food like vegetables or protein can indicate a lack of specific enzymes vital for digestion.

5.     Inflammation can significantly increase intestinal permeability and compromise assimilation of nutrients. The extent of inflammation, whether caused by pathogens or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), can be assessed and monitored by examination of the levels of biomarkers.

When digestive issues are making you feel not quite yourself, include a comprehensive stool analysis in your detective kit and find out what your stool is trying to tell you.



Intravenous Therapy and Athletic Performance

IVNT and Athletic Performance


If you are a weekend warrior like me, you want to know what the big boys are doing to improve athletic performance. After all, they have access to all the cutting edge therapies. Here is a therapy that definitely improves performance AND it is perfectly safe and legal. What is this secret weapon? It is intravenous nutrient therapy (IVNT).

Phil, a 55 year-old Masters level runner, consulted me a number of years ago. He was frustrated that in spite of training diligently, his results were not getting better. He was also worried that his recovery time after hard training days and competitions seemed to be taking longer and longer. Although he still loved to run, he was starting to question if he was getting too old for all the stress he was putting on his body.

Once I determined that Phil was absolutely committed to doing everything he could to maximize his performance, I laid out a nutritional plan for him. Besides the dietary changes and oral nutrients recommended, I believed that IVNT was a key to improving Phil’s training and competition results.

IVNT introduces therapeutic doses of very specific vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants into the body through a vein as oppose to by-mouth. This increases tissue and cellular levels of nutrients and fluids at a much faster rate than can be done orally.

These nutrients can include: calcium, magnesium, potassium, selenium, zinc, vitamins B5, B6, B complex, B12, C, l-carnitine, l-glutamine, ATP, and glutathione.

Phil was a healthy skeptic and asked me how IVNT worked and what were the benefits. I explained to him that sustained, vigorous exercise requires and depletes high amounts of nutrients. These nutrients are essential to generate energy, maximize tissue and organ function (eg. muscles, heart, and lungs), decrease inflammation, facilitate healing, and promote recovery.

I went on to list the benefits which include:

  • boosting performance
  • increasing strength and stamina
  • fueling higher nutritional demands
  • reducing fatigue
  • replacing lost electrolytes and nutrients
  • speeding up hydration
  • decreasing muscle soreness and spasms
  • reducing inflammation and injuries
  • shortening recovery time
  • boosting immunity

This information intrigued Phil and he agreed to try IVNT after his harder training days and before and after his competitions.

After his first marathon of the year, he reported that he felt really good during the race and was very pleased that his finishing time put him in the top 10 for his age group. Phil was also pleasantly surprised at how quickly his soreness resolved and speed at which he was able to get back to training after that competition. His results got better as his season went on and on. Phil became a believer!

Sports might not be your livelihood, but if you are an athlete and are intrigued about trying IVNT to improve your athletic performance, contact us at VitaCare Natural Health Clinic. Set up an appointment with Dr. Yim to discuss if therapy is right for you.



An Interview with Dr. Yim on Leaky Gut

An interview with Dr. Yim on Leaky Gut

Q: Dr. Yim, I spend a lot of money each month on nutritional supplements. How do I know that I am getting any benefit from them?

A: That is a great question. You may be buying and taking lots of supplements, but if your digestion and absorption are not working properly, you will not get the most benefit from them. The simplest way to get an idea of your digestion and absorption is to do a hair mineral analysis. If you are taking all kinds of minerals and the results of your test are on the low side, you have your answer. This is a test we have available at the clinic.

Q: Is this what is meant by leaky gut?

A: This is definitely part of it. Leaky gut implies that the lining of the small intestine is more porous or permeable than it should be. When this happens nutrients like your vitamins and minerals that should be readily absorbed are not. On the other hand, large proteins that are incompletely digested and toxins that should not be absorbed do pass more readily across the lining into the blood. This can lead to a host of challenges from food allergies, arthritis, autoimmunity, and so on.

Q: What causes leaky gut?

A: There are many contributors to leaky gut and most of them are under our control. They include medications such as antibiotics and non-steroidal and steroid medicines, alcohol, stress, food allergies, and unfriendly bugs such as parasites, yeast, and bacteria.

Q: How does one heal leaky gut?

A: Remember the 5 R’s? First, remove irritants to the gut. Second, repair the lining of the gut. The G.I. Complex is an excellent product to achieve this goal. Third, replace digestive enzymes using Biogest. Fourth, repopulate the gut with Optibiotics. Fifth and last, rebalance by destressing mind and body to take a load off the gut.

Q: What other tests can give me information about my gut?

A: The blood allergy test can be very helpful to determine true food allergies.  In our office, Vegatesting gives more information about what is going on in the body as well as current food sensitivities. Finally, a Comprehensive Digestive and Stool Analysis can be sent off to determine what specific unfriendly organisms are in the gut and what are the best products to kill them, whether there are enough friendly bacteria, and how efficient the digestion is working.




Five Signs Your Body is Aging Too Fast and Needs an Overhaul

Five Signs Your Body is Aging Too Fast and Needs an Overhaul

Our body is amazing in its ability to let us know what’s going on inside, alerting us to potential health threats, giving us time to deal with the issue and possibly reverse the damage.

In a naturopathic visit, your doctor is constantly assessing your physical health by looking at these five key indicators of health.

1. Hair-Sheen, luster and suppleness are important signs of healthy hair. When it begins looking and feeling brittle and frizzy it may be a sign that it’s not getting enough moisture. It could also mean something more serious is going inside the body.

Each strand of hair is made up of three layers. The outer layer protects the inner layers. In dry hair the outer layer has broken down causing it to look dull and unhealthy. This could be caused by living in a hot, dry climate, spending a lot of time in the sun, overuse of bleaching products or frequent swimming in chlorinated water. It could also be the sign of more serious health conditions.

1.     Malnutrition-Hair needs nutrients, dry hair may be a sign of malabsorption.

2.     Hypoparathyroidism -calcium is a key nutrient for healthy bones, teeth, tissue and hair. Too little parathyroid hormone decreases the level of calcium in your blood.

3.     Hypothyroidism-dry, brittle hair and hair loss are early signs of hypothyroidism.


Blood tests for nutrient deficiencies and hormone imbalances can determine if your dry hair is caused by any of the above conditions. Talk to your ND about which test is right for you.

2. Eyes-Chronically red eyes or yellow tinged whites could be caused by more than allergies or staring at a computer screen too long. They can also be the sign of chronic inflammation or a congested liver.

Chronic inflammation is associated with several lifestyle diseases such as osteoarthritis, cancer, and heart disease.


If your naturopathic doctor suspects inflammation, he will order specific tests to determine the level of inflammation and its root cause.

3. Droopy Eyelids and Fatty Deposits Around the Eye-Droopy eyes can be a sign of fatigue, allergies, hormone imbalance or fluid retention. When free radicals accumulate they can cause cell damage in the body. This is called oxidative stress and can manifest as poor skin quality, especially in the eyelids.

Fatty Deposits could indicate heart disease. Premature aging of our skin could be a sign of something more serious going on inside with the heart.


A whole foods diet rich in compounds that reduce puffiness, fight free radical damage and helps the body to eliminate toxins through the liver and kidney.

Holistic Cleanse with liver flushing and repairing herbs.

4. Oral Health

We all expect our skin to wrinkle as we get older, but if you are developing deep naso-labial lines and wrinkles much earlier than usual, you may have a congested or poorly functioning digestive system.

Specific warning signs of a poor diet include inflamed or bleeding gums, tooth loss, mouth pain, and dental caries. If your teeth have been drilled one too many times, it could be a sign that dietary changes are long overdue. While a diet high in added sugar is associated with an increased risk of dental caries, research also recognizes that the frequency of exposure to sugar can negatively impact your teeth. In one study, the frequency of soft drink consumption was significantly associated with dental caries. If you are sipping on sugary beverages all day long it means that your teeth are constantly being flooded with sugar. Try giving your teeth a break by cutting back on the sugar and soft drinks.

Another common nutrition-related oral health problem is swollen or inflamed gums. Studies show that swollen or bleeding gums are associated with a low intake of vitamin C.


To reduce swelling in the mouth, try consuming more vitamin C rich foods such as strawberries, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, and potatoes.

Get regular checkups and cleaning.

5. Poor Wound Healing

In order for a wound to quickly and sufficiently heal, it needs an adequate supply of nutrients from the foods on your plate. Poor wound healing could indicate that you are not getting a sufficient level of essential nutrients. Poor diets impact the strength of new wound tissue, recovery time, and how well your body will be able to fight off an infection that manifests from the wound. Studies have shown that a sufficient intake of calories, protein, and micronutrients is essential for proper wound healing.


Ask your naturopathic doctor what test are appropriate for ensuring your levels of micronutrients are where they should be.

Take a diet diary to a nutritionist to determine whether you are getting enough calories and protein.




Nine Principles oF a Happy and Healthy Retirement

It’s your last two years until retirement. You realize you might come in a bit short money wise so you put in extra hours, push a bit harder and take on more work.

Then comes the day you get to walk away from a business you’ve spent years building. It isn’t easy, but you do it. A couple of months into retirement you realize the pain in your back isn’t going away and you don’t have work to distract you from taking care of it. You go to the doctor and find out you need a referral to see a specialist, plus myriad tests, then surgery. After surgery you need to put your feet up for three to six months.

Your first year of retirement, suddenly just disappeared.

What happened to travel, adventures, working out at the gym, playing with grandchildren?

Sound severe? Yes. But it happens more often than you’d think.

What’s worse is starting to feel those health issues in those last two years before retirement. You start dragging your feet to work, can’t get motivated to put that new system together, are having trouble focusing on numbers or making decisions. And there hangs retirement, like a carrot dangling just out of reach.

Most people believe that the key factor in a healthy retirement revolves around having enough money. But there are nine key factors that will have you happy and healthy during retirement and the rest of your life.

1.     Will your employee and personal health benefit package continue after you stop working?

2.     Does your succession plan allow for a continuous income to help support your retirement?

3.     Do you have a ‘bank’ of nutrients to help counter the stress of the last push to retirement?

4.     Is your energy sufficient to do all the things on your bucket list before and after retirement?

5.     Have you put together a bucket list that includes loved ones, friends and family?

6.     Do your important relationships support your slow down to retirement? In other words, will your partner be happy to have you home more?

7.     Have you developed a certain level of spirituality that will support and comfort your next years?

8.     What are you going to be doing during your first year of retirement? Volunteer? Do you have a plan?

9.     Is your athletic and sexual performance up for the adventure?

Have you answered these questions to your satisfaction? If not, you might consider thinking long and hard at whether your health and life is retirement ready.

Check out VitaCare’s free lecture featuring Dr. John Yim, ND, Kari Bradley and Frank Allen.






Retiring to Travel or Traveling Toward Retirement By Kari Bradley

senior couple

Tonight, my husband and I and our 2 teenage kids will be heading off on vacation. 3 weeks in Europe: London, Paris and Copenhagen. None of us have ever traveled outside of North America. While planning this trip and all the things we want to see and do has been exciting, it’s also been stressful (for my husband, mostly; he’s planned the whole thing, bless him). While we were making lists of must do's, we constantly had to remind ourselves that we only have 3 weeks and that, wherever we go, we'll wish we had more time there. The refrain became familiar...This is the first trip, not the only trip.

That reminder made it easier to cut things off our list, knowing we’ll get there eventually. Like many people, our plans for retirement include lots of travel. We had our kids fairly young so now, in our early 40’s, we’re staring freedom in the face. This will likely be the only big trip with the kids. We’re still young and healthy enough to do all the things we want to do and by traveling now and in the future, we aim to keep it that way.

A 2013 study showed that those who travel in retirement are generally more satisfied with their health in several areas:

  • 86% of those who travel report satisfaction in mood and outlook vs.

         75% in non-travelers

  • 77% of those who travel report satisfaction in health vs. 61% in non-travelers

And... my favourite statistic:

  • 82% feel satisfied with their ability to get things done vs. only 57% in non- travellers. ( I mean really! Who doesn’t want to feel more satisfied in their ability to get things done!?)

So, what is it about traveling that keeps us healthy? One answer to that could be the connections. (Both the kind you race for to catch the next flight and personal connections) We know that connections are an important part of keeping us healthy. A strong group of family and friends has been shown to improve quality of life. Most people who travel, are either traveling with a group, or traveling to meet family or friends. Connections!

But the other kind of connections can help too. They keep us on our toes, keep our minds active and force us to continually problem solve and "get things done".

Whatever it is about travel that keeps us healthy, we're excited about experiencing it!



Is Your Health Retirement Ready?


Is your retirement just around the corner? Have you got your finances in place, the mortgage paid off, bucket list made and plans for the next stage of life waiting to go?

It's an exciting next step and one you have been looking forward to for several years. You’ve worked hard for it; you don’t want poor or failing health holding you back.

So is your health retirement ready?

If you are getting close to retirement age, you may have already noticed some changes, perhaps injuries don’t heal as quickly, sleep isn’t easy to come by, your tummy just isn’t able to handle certain foods anymore or your joints are feeling achy and stiff.

What you don’t want are these or any other health conditions stopping you from enjoying every minute of your retirement years or any of the things you had planned to enjoy.


There is no time like the present to get your health retirement ready!

First, what does a retirement ready health picture look like? Check out this list. Circle any points that aren’t true for you.

1.     I get 7 to 8 hours of sound, restful sleep a night

2.     I have 1-3 bowel movements a day

3.     I get maybe one cold or bout of flu a year and it is gone within a week

4.     I don’t have any rashes or episodes with hives

5.     My stomach doesn’t get upset for no apparent reason

6.     I have no problem with heartburn

7.     My body digests food properly

8.     My hair and nails are healthy with no ridges, marks or brittleness

9.     I can keep going for most of the day with only a couple of quick breaks

10.  I don’t need to have a nap in the afternoon

11.  I don’t get fatigued

12.  I have a normal libido and enjoy sex with a loving partner

13.  I don’t have any joint pain

14.  My heart health is great with biomarkers showing good cholesterol numbers, healthy blood pressure and good arterial health

15.  My liver and kidneys are healthy

16.  My blood sugar is at a healthy level

17.  I have a high tolerance for exercise

18.  I don’t get yeast infections

19.  I don’t get bladder infections

20.  My hands and feet don’t get cold, they stay an even temperature

21.  I wake up in the morning refreshed and ready to go

22.  I can think clearly

23.  I don’t feel confused or cloudy during the day

24.  My teeth are healthy and are kept in good shape

25.  I don’t have issues with bad breath

26.  I can roll over in bed or get up from sitting without stiffness or pain

27.  I have no problems with muscle weakness or pain

28.  I have no challenges with depression or anxiety

29.  I am at a healthy weight for me

30.  I have no allergies or autoimmune conditions

How many statements did you circle? Did you realize, as you read through the list, that some of the points you hadn’t considered because you’ve gotten used to feeling a certain way? Or never even considered them a problem or important in the past?

"At VitaCare we believe healthy aging is all about vitality, creativity, growth, empowerment and exploration. A vital retirement lifestyle is one where you have the energy and desire to learn, move and discover new things about yourself and the world. And it means contributing in some way through service to others without detracting energy from your other activities."

Healthy aging is being proactive about your health and getting and being prepared for a healthy and vital retirement.

Let’s dig in and find out the nitty gritty of how you can get retirement ready? This is what Dr. YIm’s Seven Step Healthy Aging program looks like:

1.     Complete Health Picture

In your initial Healthy Aging program visit Dr. Yim will take a complete case history after which he will order blood and lab tests appropriate for your age and current health status. These may include testing for:

·      C-reactive protein (a marker for inflammation)

·      Kidney function and liver enzymes

·      Blood sugar

·      CBC

·      Salivary hormone levels (testosterone, estrogen, progesterone and cortisol)

·      Bioimpedence (body fat percentage, lean body mass, metabolic rate)

·      Blood pressure

·      Vega testing for food sensitivities and organ function

·      Hair mineral analysis

·      Urine toxic metal test

Dr. Yim may also prescribe specific nutrients to begin the process of building your body up to its optimal level of health. Nutrient protocols may change once test results are available.


2.  Interpretation

After your test results are sent to the clinic, Dr. Yim will go over them with you explaining what each result means to you and your treatment plan.

3.  Treatment Plan

He will then design a protocol that strengthens the weak areas in the body and work on any problems that show up on the various tests. This might include optimizing digestion and absorption of nutrients, stabilizing cholesterol or blood sugar, balancing the immune system to fight germs and decrease symptoms of allergies, improving bone strength, managing inflammation, and so on.

Therapies used will be in the form of nutrients, herbal products, injection or intravenous immune or performance enhancing therapies such as vitamin B12 shots, and most importantly nutrition.

4.  Nutrition

After testing, allergic or sensitive foods are removed from the diet to take a load off the gut and immune system. For many people, undiscovered food sensitivities or allergies can be contributors to their health challenges.

An anti-candida diet might to be followed for a period time if elevated levels of yeast in the gut are detected.

For maintenance, Dr. Yim always suggests eating an anti-inflammatory diet because inflammation is the common denominator in every chronic degenerative disease that we are all susceptible to as we get older.

The proportions and types of protein, fats and carbohydrates may vary from person to person depending on activity level, metabolic rate, health conditions, biochemical individuality and even philosophical beliefs (eg. Some people want to eat raw, Paleo, vegetarian, vegan, etc,).

5.  Movement

The term movement is used here because some folks have an aversion to exercise. The body, from the muscles, joints, and connective tissues was designed for movement. At VitaCare Natural Health Clinic, we believe that the only Fountain of Youth is movement and lots of it. Every system of the body benefits from regular movement.

This can take the form of walking, hiking, gardening, dancing, swimming, bicycling, pickle ball, tennis, badminton, yoga, tai chi, qigong, weight lifting, stretching, Pilates, Zumba, and so on. Hopefully you are getting the idea that there are many options.

The key is that each week you should be doing activities that build strength, flexibility, balance, stamina, and aerobic capacity (must get the heart rate up for at least 15 to 30 minutes). Dr. Yim helps to design the proper amounts and types of activities to maximize health and wellness.  

6.  Proper rest and stress management

Seven to eight hours of sleep a night should be a goal we all strive towards. Lack of sleep is a contributor to many health conditions such as elevated blood sugar, obesity, increased risk of cardiovascular disease and weak immunity just to name a few. Poor sleep is something that should not be taken lightly since it can have such a profound affect on health.

As people approach retirement, some are fortunate enough to report their stress level is significantly lower. Others continue to have high levels of stress from family, stress around aging parents, children or grandchildren who are struggling with their challenges, financial stress from poor investments or failure to plan properly for retirement, or health challenges.

Stress does not cause every health problem, but can aggravate or worsen any weakness or susceptibility from heart disease to autoimmunity.

Since it is impossible to get rid of all the stress in your life, it is vital to have techniques to decrease the negative effects of stress. Dr. Yim might suggest breathing techniques, meditation, visualization, counseling, yoga, tai chi or other stress-relieving techniques.

7.  Detoxification

Toxicity is one of the greatest threats to our health and well-being. A build up of toxins can contribute to everything from fatigue, mental and mood disorders, allergies/autoimmunity, weak immune function, cancer, neurological conditions like Parkinson’s, dementia or Alzheimer’s, thyroid problems, and many other conditions.

Toxins can come from the metabolism of foods, chemicals in our foods, cleaning products used in our homes, heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, to name a few, plastics, prescription or over-the-counter medicines, alcohol, air pollution and even body care products.

A vital part of healthy aging includes flushing the system regularly of toxins. Dr. Yim prescribes a gentle cleanse that includes dry brushing, sauna, detox baths, special chelating agents, herbal teas and special products that flush toxins from the cells of the body.

As we approach retirement it is important not to take our health for granted. You did not get financially prepared for retirement through chance alone, a lot of thought and effort went into your retirement planning. So don’t leave your health to chance either.

Your quality of life and the enjoyment of your retirement years can be positively influenced by the choices you make today. Choose to take a proactive approach and work with a naturopathic physician to get your health retirement ready.



Dr. Luterbach Talks Chronic UTI's

What are the Causes of Chronic UTI’s

Factors that can lead to recurrent bladder infections, a type of UTI, include:

·      Kidney or bladder stones

·      An imbalance in healthy flora

·      Food sensitivities

·      Sensitivity to caffeine

·      Bacteria entering the urethra during sexual intercourse

·      Changes in estrogen levels during menopause

o   Thinning of the urethral tissue

·      Abnormal urinary tract shape or function

·      Genetic predisposition

·      Chronic dehydration



Our naturopathic doctors can prescribe antibiotics for acute cases of a bladder infection, however, for chronic infections they may chose to use natural medicine initially or in conjunction with the drugs.

“For acute cases I will write a prescription for an antibiotic and antispasmodic, but I will also prescribe a 72-hour natural course of treatment,” said Dr. Carmen Luterbach. “I encourage natural medicine first, but if symptoms worsen or become unbearable for the patient, then they have the chemical drugs available.”

Dr. Luterbach treats various ages of patients suffering from bladder infections, from children to seniors.

“With children I usually look at food allergies or sensitivities as a potential underlying cause as a sensitivity or allergy can cause irritation and inflammation of the urinary tract lining. For my menopausal patients I will look at estrogen levels as well as food as a contributing factor.”

She added that low levels of estrogen can cause dryness and a thinning of the bladder tissue, leading to an environment where bacteria can grow and thrive.

“Testing for hormone levels can determine if a low dose of bio identical hormone is required,” she said.

Chronic dehydration can also be an issue. She explained that normal daily water intake should always be considered.

“Lack of water can create a stagnant environment,” she noted, adding that the concern is for the infection to travel to the kidneys. “Sometimes patients who suffer from chronic bladder infections don’t’ recognize the symptoms anymore. Their response is dampened and they either ignore the symptoms or don’t take them seriously.”


One of her suggestions for helping ease the pain of a bladder infection is corn silk.

“Steep the corn silk in boiling water for five to ten minutes and drink throughout the day,” she suggested.

Most importantly, Dr. Luterbach said that finding the root cause of acute and chronic bladder infections is a priority, not only to ensure there are no future bouts, but also to guard against weakened immunity and the development of more serious conditions.



Why is Low Intensity Therapy so Effective in Treating Pain?

Treat Your Pain!

sore shoulder

Injure an elbow or knee? Break a bone? Sprain an ankle? Have arthritis or nerve pain?

Now what?

A ten minute medical doctor's visit will often end with a prescription for pain medication, a referral for imaging, surgical referral and placement on a waitlist.

Some people get better after months of rest, others experience continual pain or medication side effects. Some will worsen while waiting for surgery or from losing hope. Simple daily activities like walking, playing, reaching, carrying and even standing become agonizing work.  

Low-Intensity Laser therapy can help to treat muscle, joint, ligament, meniscus and nerve injuries.

How Does Laser Therapy Work?

Laser therapy works by preventing scar tissue formation and increasing the production of collagen, a protein that holds the body together. In addition, laser therapy has the capacity to lower pain by blocking a neurotransmitter called substance P, which normally tells the brain to feel pain.


Low-intensity laser also work similar to anti-inflammatory medications by decreasing pain perception, swelling and redness. Reduced pain means less, and even discontinuation, of pain medication. This also means less side effects including reduced risk of constipation and drowsiness and long term complications like stomach ulcers and liver damage. This makes Low-intensity laser a great tool to use while waiting for surgery.

Repeated treatments can also prevent short term aches from turning into long term chronic pain.

Suffering with a joint and muscle injury and being restricted because of pain, can impair and negatively impact enjoyment of life.

Laser therapy may be your ticket back to a normal life.  Book your appointment at VitaCare Natural Health Clinic today!




SLIT Therapy For Airborne Allergies

Don't Let Airborne Allergies Dampen Your Spring

Dr. Luterbach uses SLIT therapy for relief from airborne spring allergies

Dr. Luterbach uses SLIT therapy for relief from airborne spring allergies

At Vita-Care Natural Health, we have allergy testing available in the office for existing patients and new patients.  Allergies are an inappropriate response of the immune system to some trigger in the environment called an allergen. The testing involves a sample of the allergen applied to the skin of the arm with a plastic tool.  The sensation is a light prickly feeling. Skin prick testing is suitable for the entire family. The earliest your children can be tested is at 3 years of age.

The timing of your allergy symptoms is a clue toward what your immune system is reacting to.  Allergy Season in the Nanaimo area begins in February and ends in October. Trees start to release their pollen in late winter, grass pollenates late spring and weeds pollenate in the summertime. Allergies that are year-round may be due to cat, dog, dust or mould exposure. 

What do the results of your allergy test mean? Once we determine what your body is reacting to, we can take the steps that are needed to limit exposure and boost your immune system. In the office, we use a therapy called “SLIT” to teach your body that the allergen (dust for example) is not harmful to the body. SLIT stands for sublingual immunotherapy and is a wonderful alternative to allergy shots. Using SLIT allergy drops will re-train your body not to be allergic in the first place.

The advantages of SLIT therapy include:

  • Reduced dependency on antihistamines and other allergy medications
  • Convenient at home therapy that does not require regular clinic visits
  • Fewer sick days away from work and school during the allergy season
  • Better sleep - no longer will you wake at night to itch or with congested breathing!!
  • Freedom from itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing, itchy skin and other allergy symptoms! 
  • Treatment of asthma, especially if a new diagnosis.
  • Complete treatment course of 3 years can result in permanent cure of your allergy.

It is very exciting to find out what exactly is making you feel so ill! Come to our office and learn all about treating and healing allergies!



Pediatric Allergies and SLIT Therapy

baby allergies skin

Allergies in children are on the rise. If your child has been recently diagnosed with asthma, has constant nasal discharge or congestion, wheezing, itchy eyes or skin, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain and/or cramping there may be a food or environmental exposure at play. Consistent year-round symptoms are caused by animal dander (like cat or dog), mold, pollen and dust. Cyclical symptoms of allergies occur seasonally each year. Seasonal patterns in British Columbia are:

  • February to May: Tree Pollen
  • May to July: Grass Pollen
  • July to September: Weed Pollen
  • August to October: Ragweed Pollen

With seasonal allergies, the symptoms resolve outside of the allergy season and the child feels best from November to January in the winter months.  There may also be food allergies involved. In children with food allergies, 80% are allergic to milk, egg, peanut, tree nut, fish, shellfish, soy, wheat or corn.  

Dr. Luterbach offers a diagnostic test for allergies called the scratch test. This involves a sample of the allergy lightly poked into the skin of the arm. If a small insect bite like bump appears, that is red and itchy - it indicates your child is allergic to that allergen. Testing is available without an initial consultation.  

Once the allergen is determined we work with a pharmacy to create an individualized formula containing all allergens that your child is positive to - a customized allergy medicine. The medicine is in a dropper bottle, and the child will take 4 drops daily until the allergy symptoms are resolved! Resolution of allergies can occur as soon as 3 months after starting the allergy drops. Allergy drops are used in concert with effective natural remedies to support the immune system. Children respond much faster than adults to allergy drops. 

Contact Dr. Luterbach to schedule a pediatric consultation at 250-755-1930.



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Stop Dreading Spring Allergies: Dr. Yim's 5 Phase Treatment Program Gets Results!

STOP DREADING SPRING ALLERGIES: Dr. Yim's 5 Phase Treatment Program Gets Results

Get Your Spring Back!

Get Your Spring Back!

"My allergies are ruining my life!" Those were Tom's first words when I asked how I could help him. I could tell he was suffering just by listening and looking at him.

Tom had the typical nasally voice of someone who can't breathe through their nose. His eyes were blood shot and his nose was bright red from constantly blowing his runny nose.

This patient had been suffering with spring time allergies since childhood, but now in his 30's, the allergies were year round. He had also developed a number of food allergies. In the past Tom relied on antihistamines only in the spring. Now, if he did not take two 24 hour antihistamines, his symptoms were debilitating.

I told Tom that we were going to take care of his allergies by maximizing his health and balancing his immune system.

After doing the Vegatest to identify sensitive foods and getting a snap shot of the weak areas in his body, we implemented a 5 phase program of remove, replace, repair, repopulate and rebalance.

  • We began by removing the irritants to his system like his sensitive foods, the airborne allergens with a medical grade air purifier, candida yeast from his gut, and the majority of chemicals from his foods and environment. 
  • We also replaced deficient nutrients and digestive enzymes to optimize digestion.
  • The inflammed tissues and gut lining were repaired.
  • His intestines were repopulated with a special probiotic formula.
  • Finally, we rebalanced his adrenal glands and his immune system.

When I last saw Tom, he no longer needed antihistamines. At the worst part of allergy season, he easily controlled any symptoms with a homeopathic spray. Tom said he felt amazing and that his allergies were a blessing because they forced him to take control of his health. In doing so he not only got rid of his allergies, he maximized his health. Way to go Tom!!!



Top Ten Things You Need To Know About Your Thyroid

Carmen sitting on massage table

Top Ten Things You Need To Know About Your Thyroid

In the season of countdowns and top tens, I thought it would be timely to highlight a top ten guide for thyroid health.

Being winter, cold, dark and sometimes lonely, my patients with low thyroid find this time of year somewhat challenging. Wearing more layers, socks and extra blankets to bed, thyroid patients have difficulty generating heat from the food they eat, making winter an intolerable season. Holiday food brings rapid blood sugar swings and aggravates already problematic constipation.  Sluggishness and fatigue make holiday shopping impossible. Have you ever wondered how to restore the health of your thyroid?

Here it is…top ten facts you need to know about the thyroid gland.

10. Slow thyroid function may be contributing to weight gain. Do you struggle with weight gain despite a healthy diet and regular exercise?

9. The onset of hypothyroid most often occurs after a hormonal change. Did your symptoms start after the birth of one of your children, after repeat miscarriages or just before menopause?

8. Adrenal fatigue or burn-out usually occurs with hypothyroidism. Test your salivary cortisol levels four times in the day to pinpoint your bodies ability to tolerate and respond to stress.  Restoring adrenal function takes stress off the thyroid gland!

7. Hypothyroidism is often misdiagnosed as depression and treated with anti-depressants.  Mood imbalances like depression, angry outbursts, feelings of rage, post-partum depression, anxiety attacks and apathy may have a deeper root in the thyroid.

6. You may have sluggish thyroid function or even overt hypothyroidism with a normal TSH. TSH is an indirect measure of thyroid function.

5. Comprehensive testing is required to determine the best possible treatment. I test for: TSH, T3, T4, thyroid antibodies, vitamin B12, ferritin, and vitamin D as a baseline for my hypothyroid patients.

4. You may have an auto-immune condition called Hashimoto’s. The treatment for auto-immunity involves healing the gut lining, identifying trigger foods and resolving immune damage.

3. 10% of American women have disordered thyroid function. And up to 50% of these women do not even know they have a thyroid condition – they are under-diagnosed!

2. Thyroid medications with T4 and T3 may be more appropriate for your body. Many hypothyroid patients are not on the correct dosage or medication to correct their symptoms. If you have a normal TSH: your medication could still be too high or too low in dosage!

And….in the voice of Letterman: The number one thing you need to know about your thyroid is……

1. Naturopathic Doctors at Vita-Care, restore optimal thyroid function, prescribe appropriate medication with required testing and resolve the causes of low thyroid function. With our guidance you can feel vibrant and healthy again!