Advancing Naturopathic Medicine
The Canadian Naturopathic Foundation supports research and public education for the advancement of Naturopathic medicine in Canada. A key pillar of this mission is the funding of Naturopathic research and reporting important research results to the public. Research is key to ensuring that naturopathic treatments and recommendations are based on scientific investigation and evidence.
Focus: Reducing the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiovascular diseases are chronic, lifelong diseases caused by interactions among genetic predisposition, health behaviours, and the environment. The four most common classifications of Cardiovascular disease are:
1. Ischemic heart disease, in which plaques such as fat and other materials buildup on the inside walls of the arteries of the heart and interfere with blood supply and normal heart function.
2. Myocardial infarction, or heart attack, is an acute event in which the blood supply to a part of the heart muscle is interrupted long enough to cause damage to the heart. Usually ischemic heart disease is the underlying problem.
3. Congestive heart failure, in which the heart is not able to pump the blood well enough throughout the body, causing a build up of fluid in the body particularly the lungs or legs.
4. Cerebrovascular disease is a broad term that includes brain ischemia (lack of oxygen), brain haemorrhage (or bleeding), and disorders of brain blood vessels.
New study supports the benefits of naturopathic treatment for people at risk of cardiovascular disease.
In 2009, the Public Health Agency of Canada produced a comprehensive and groundbreaking report on the state and impact of Cardiovascular disease (CVD) in Canada (Tracking Heart Disease and Stroke in Canada 2009).
While this report was being published, the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) began a multi-centred study examining approaches to reducing Cardiovascular disease risk factors through Naturopathic treatment (Naturopathic Treatment for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: A Whole Practice Randomized Pragmatic Trial).
The objective of the CCNM study was to assess the effectiveness of adding individualized Naturopathic care to conventional medical care on risk of Cardiovascular disease in a population of Canada Post workers. This study is the first pragmatic whole practice trial to formally evaluate the benefits of individualized Naturopathic care for the prevention of Cardiovascular disease.
Research results indicate that naturopathic medicine provides safe and effective risk reduction for people at risk of developing Cardiovascular disease. Participants treated by a Naturopathic Doctor lowered their risk of experiencing a life-threatening heart attack, stroke, or death by over 3% within the next 10 years. Simply stated, changes occurred in their heart and blood vessels equivalent to that of someone at least 5 years younger.
Participants in the treatment group also had a 14% decrease in metabolic syndrome; a combination of risk factors for heart disease, such as obesity, high cholesterol, high glucose, and high blood pressure. When compared to the increased incidence of metabolic syndrome in the control group, naturopathic treatment led to a 27% beneficial reduction in metabolic syndrome. This dramatic result clearly supports the benefits of Naturopathic treatment for people at risk for Cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
The information gained through this research presents a unique opportunity to inform and educate Canadians on how to reduce their risk of heart disease, prevent an anticipated increase in Cardiovascular disease, and reduce the health care cost associated with Cardiovascular disease.
In collaboration with the CCNM and the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND), the Canadian Naturopathic Foundation (CNF) is embarking on an 18-month comprehensive public education campaign to help Canadians reduce the risk of Cardiovascular disease through effective and economical evidence-based Naturopathic measures. The strategy and campaign detailed in this proposal has the potential to reach and engage 10 million Canadians and 150,000 patients.
Below is a preliminary summary of the simple lifestyle changes that clinical trial participants followed to achieve better health and reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease. We will be promoting these same behaviours and activities through our CVD risk reduction campaign.
Be sure to check this section of our web site frequently for updates and further details on how naturopathic medicine can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.