Research Review

Pure North follows evidence-based decision making based on the best available research

All participants in the Pure North program have the opportunity to be a part of something much larger than their own personal health improvement program.

After amalgamating and anonymizing health information, of participants, with permission, Pure North provides the dataset to independent researchers. Research is done to determine the effect of the program on the health and wellbeing of participants as a whole. With this information Pure North is hoping to inform a shift in the paradigm of healthcare to better help people stay health.

Pure North continually reviews the most current research and updates our programs accordingly to ensure our participants are benefitting the from best minds, from all over the world, when it comes to preventative health measures.

The following serves as our bibliography for our various Pure North programs.

Vitamin D Reduces the Risk for Metabolic Syndrome

Title: The Effect of Changing Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Concentrations on Metabolic Syndrome: A Longitudinal Analysis of Participants of a Preventive Health Program
Researchers: Pham T-M, Ekwaru JP, Setayeshgar S, Veugelers PJ. 2015.

Metabolic syndrome is a combination of health conditions — high blood pressure, high blood sugar level, obesity around the waist, abnormal cholesterol levels — that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Up until recently, diet, exercise and medications were thought to be the only ways to decrease the risk of Metabolic Syndrome. This study, conducted using the data collected by Pure North, shows that adding vitamin D supplements and increasing vitamin D levels by 25 nmol/L reduced the risk of Metabolic Syndrome by 6%.

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Vitamin D Reduces the Risk for Insulin Resistance

Title: The Relationship of Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D and Insulin Resistance among Nondiabetic Canadians: A Longitudinal Analysis of a Preventive Health Program Researchers: Pham T-M, Ekwaru JP, Loehr SA, Veuglers PJ. 2015.

Insulin is naturally produced by the body and serves as a gatekeeper, measuring the amount of glucose that enters the cells to be used as energy. Insulin resistance a condition that occurs when the body can’t respond to or use the insulin it produces. The result is too much glucose in the body and that can lead to diabetes, one of the leading causes of death in Canada. Overcoming insulin resistance is a way to avoid diabetes. This is where vitamin D supplements can help. This study, conducted using the data collected by Pure North, measured insulin resistance for 5,730 participants. The results showed that over half of those that were most at risk for insulin resistance were also vitamin D deficient. Simply put, increasing vitamin D levels decreases the risk for insulin resistance and the risk of developing diabetes.

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Vitamin D Dosing Needs to Take into Account Your Body Size

Title: The Importance of Body Weight for the Dose Response Relationship of Oral Vitamin D Supplementation and Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D in Healthy Volunteers
Researchers: Ekwaru JP, Zwicker JD, Holick MF, Giovannucci E, Veugelers PJ. 2014.

This study shows that body weight and body mass index (BMI) were key in determining a person’s appropriate dose of vitamin D supplements. The study examines the relationship between the amount of vitamin D supplements taken and the body’s response, as in its ability to increase levels of vitamin D after the supplements were taken. Research concluded that the amount of vitamin D required for overweight and obese individuals is 2 to 3 times more than the amount needed by a normal weight individual.

Levels of vitamin D required based on weight:

  • Normal weight people need 5,000 to 9,000 IU/d
  • Overweight or obese people need 12,000 to 20,000 IU/d

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Vitamin D Increases Wellbeing and Quality of Life

Title: Vitamin D and Health-Related Quality of Life in a Community Sample of Older Canadians
Researchers: Chao YS, Ekwaru JP, Ohinmaa A, Griener G, Veugelers PJ. 2014.

This study found that in Albertans over 50 years of age, that people with higher vitamin D levels were less likely to have problems with mobility, usual activities, and depression and anxiety.  People with vitamin D levels above 125 nmol/L had the best quality of life scores. Supplementing with vitamin D can help improve your quality of life.

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People in the Program Feel Better

Title: The Effectiveness of a Preventive Health Program and Vitamin D Status in Improving Health-Related Quality of Life in Older Canadians
Researchers: Ekwaru JP, Ohinmaa A, Veugelers PJ. 2015.

This study, conducted using data collected from Pure North participants, found that after a year in the program participants were less likely to have problems with mobility, usual activities, pain/discomfort and depression and anxiety. Increasing vitamin D levels  were found to increase quality of life.

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The Benefits of the Pure North Program Extend to all Facets of Life

Title: The fiscal, social and economic dividends of feeling better and living longer
Researchers: Emery HJC, Fyie K, Brunel L, Dutton DJ. 2013.

The health care system spends very little of the budget on prevention of disease (<5%). Failure to invest in chronic disease prevention leads to increasing growth in health care spending as the prevalence of chronic disease rises. Besides the benefits to the patients, preventing poor health comes with numerous societal benefits. Keeping someone in good health can free up money to treat someone else. The social return on investment (SROI), the quantifiable economic value obtained in relation to the cost, for the Pure North program is $13 for each $1 invested. These benefits are found directly in reduced health care costs, indirectly in increased productivity and in improved quality of life.

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The Pure North Program Reduces Hospital Use and Saves Health Care Costs

This study of the Pure North program — wherein health care usage by program participants was measured against age- and sex-matched control samples — found genuine and significant cost savings for Canada’s single-payer health care system within one year. Participants in the first year of the program required 25% fewer hospital visits and 17% fewer emergency room visits compared to the control group. For the people that stayed in the program for one year the savings were even greater. People in the program for a year or longer had 45% fewer hospital visits in the year after joining, and 28% fewer visits to emergency departments, compared to the control group.

This represents real cost savings for a public health service: From $388 per person who joined the program to $677 per person who stayed in the program for one year or longer. As a proportion of annual health spending for these participants on hospitals, emergency departments and general practitioners, this represents a cost reduction ranging from 22% to 39%. If the Alberta government were able to implement this kind of program province-wide (at an estimated cost of $500 per participant),, it is possible that the province could free-up the equivalent of 1,632 hospital beds every year. That is roughly the same as building two entirely new hospitals each on the scale of Calgary’s Foothills Medical Centre.

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Canadians are Likely to be Vitamin D Deficient

Title: Vitamin D status of Canadians employed in northern latitudes
Researchers: Chao Y-S, Brunel L, Faris P, Veugelers PJ. 2013.

This study aimed to assess the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency (plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), >27.5 nmol/L) and insufficiency (>37.5 nmol/L) in Canadian workers and investigate risk factors. It was found that residing at a more northern latitude increased the likelihood of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency and that male employees were significantly more likely to be vitamin D deficient and insufficient than females.

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It is Important to Take Your Vitamin D Supplements Every Day

Title: The importance of dose, frequency and duration of vitamin D supplementation for plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels
Researchers: Chao Y-S, Brunel L, Faris P, Veugelers PJ. 2013.

This study examined the importance of the amount of vitamin D (dose), how often (frequency) and how long it has been taken (duration). It concludes that doses of at least 5,000 IU/d for 5 months or more were needed to raise vitamin D levels a sufficient amount.

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Vitamin D is Related with Insulin Resistance

Title: A novel approach localizes the association of vitamin D status with insulin resistance to one region of the 25-hydroxyvitamin D continuum
Researchers: Heaney RP, French CB, Nguyen S, Ferreira M, Baggerly LL, Brunel L, Veugelers P. 2013.  

Vitamin D status has a protective role in insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and hypertension. This study defines a range of vitamin D status in a cohort of non-diabetic adult Canadians. Higher vitamin D levels are associated with improved insulin response and lower blood pressure. Further, the range of vitamin D status that is found to help insulin response is above the range established for bone health.

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ALA and Human Health

Title: Alpha-lipoic acid as a dietary supplement: Molecular mechanisms and therapeutic potential
Researchers: Kate Petersen Shay, Regis F. Moreau, Eric J. Smith, Anthony R. Smith and Tony M. Hagen.  

Alpha Lipoic Acid, also known as ALA, is a powerful antioxidant. Studies have shown that taking ALA is beneficial for diabetic neuropathy, reducing DNA-damaging free radicals, chelating metals and increasing levels of glutathione, an important antioxidant that decreases when you age. There are ongoing scientific studies being conducted to see if ALA is also beneficial for heart disease and inflammation.

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B Vitamins, Cognition and Aging; A Review

Title: B Vitamins, Cognition, and Aging: A Review
Researchers: Calvaresi E, Bryan J.  

Deficiencies in B vitamins can lead to cognitive decline in seniors . Surprisingly, minor deficiencies in B vitamins are common in the general population, especially in the elderly. Early studies have shown that supplementation could be beneficial for maintaining brain health in older adults.

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Boron and Human Health

Title: Nothing Boring about Boron
Researchers: Lara Pizzomo, MDiv, MA, LMT  

Boron is a micronutrient that is very important to human health. It is essential for the growth and maintenance of bone, improves wound healing, contributes to hormonal health, reduces inflammation, protects against heavy metal toxicity and can even improve the brain’s electrical activity among other things. Boron has been shown to be safe and supplementation is recommended for individuals who don’t consume enough fruits and vegetables.

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Choline an Essential Nutrient for Human Health

Title: Choline: An Essential Nutrient for Public Health
Researchers: Steven H. Zeisel, M.D., Ph.D. and Kerry-Ann da Costa, Ph.D.  

Choline was officially recognized as an essential nutrient in 1998. This nutrient is very important for the brain and memory development in the fetus and appears to decrease the risk of the development of neural tube defects. Choline insufficiency is linked to fatty liver disease and muscle damage in adults.

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Chromium for Human Health

Title: Essentiality of Chromium for Human Health and Dietary Nutrition
Researchers: G. Tulasi and K. Jayantha Rap  

Chromium has demonstrated the ability to low density lipoprotein (LDL or bad) cholesterol levels and raise high density lipoprotein (HDL or good) cholesterol levels in the blood, especially in people with high cholesterol. Some studies have even shown chromium might improve symptoms of depression and decrease insulin resistance. Animal studies show that chromium taken with niacin or vitamin B3 could protect the heart and increases energy levels.

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CoQ10 in Human Health

Title: Coenzyme Q-10 in Human Health: Supporting Evidence?
Researchers: Saha SP, Whayne TF Jr.  

Early studies have shown that CoQ10 is beneficial in treating hypertension, congestive heart failure and even problems associated with chemotherapy. Decreased levels of the nutrient have been shown in Parkinson’s Disease.

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Curcumin – Therapeutic Role

Title: Therapeutic Roles of Curcumin: Lessons Learned from Clinical Trials
Researchers: Gupta SC, Patchva S, Aggarwal BB  

Extensive research suggests that curcumin, a component of golden spice turmeric has positive effects in numerous conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s and diabetes. Curcumin has also been shown to have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, hypoglycemic, antioxidant, wound-healing and anti-microbial properties.

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Exercise for Chronic Disease

Title: Evidence on the Effects of Exercise Therapy in the Treatment of Chronic Disease
Researchers: Kujala UM  

Exercise has been shown in numerous studies to improve the aerobic health and muscular strength in many patients with different diseases, without progressing the disease. Exercise therapy can improve disease outcomes and improve mortality. In some disease, such as osteoarthritis, pain system can even be reduced.

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IAMOT 2016 Comprehensive Review of Dental Mercury

Title: A Comprehensive Review of the Toxic Effects of Mercury in Dental Amalgam Fillings on the Environment and Human Health
The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology – 2016 Update  

Dentists around the world routinely use dental amalgam as a filling material in decayed teeth. Often referred to as “silver fillings,” all dental amalgams actually consist of 45-55% mercury. Mercury is a known neurotoxin that can cause harm to humans, especially children, pregnant women, and fetuses. The use of dental amalgam results in substantial quantities of toxic mercury released annually into the environment. Once in the environment, mercury pollution damages animals, plants, and the entire ecosystem.

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Inositol – Depression and Anxiety Disorder

Title: A Meta-Analysis of Inositol for Depression and Anxiety Disorders
Researchers: Mukai T, Kishi T, Matsuda Y, Iwata N  

Inositol is found in many foods and it actually present in all animal tissues (the highest concentrations are found in the heart and brain). Multiple studies have shown that inositol supplementation could be beneficial for depressed patients.

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Lifestyle Interventions for Patients with Type 2 Diabetes

Title: Lifestyle Interventions for Patients with, and at Risk for, Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Researchers: E Sumamo Schellenberg, DM Dryden, B Vandermeer, C Ha, and C Korownyk  

Studies have shown that comprehensive lifestyle interventions, which include counselling, exercise and diet are effective in decreasing the risk of type 2 diabetes in high-risk patients.

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Lutein and Human Health

Title: Nutritional and Clinical Relevance of Lutein in Human Health
Researchers: Granado F, Olmedilla B, Blanco I  

Lutein is a plant pigment found in many fruits and vegetables. Some early studies have shown that higher blood lutein levels are related to a lower risk of lung cancer and compromised visual function.

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Lycopene: Its Properties and Relationship to Human Health

Title: Nutritional and Clinical Relevance of Lutein in Human Health
Researchers: Yang Kun, Umar Ssonko Lule and Ding Xiao-Lin 

Lycopene is thought to be an antioxidant. It is the substance responsible for the red colour of tomatoes. Several studies have suggested that lycopene has the ability to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and coronary heart disease.

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Magnesium and Depression

Title: Magnesium in Depression
Researchers: Serefko A, Szopa A, Wlaz P, Nowak G, Radziwon-Zaleska M, Skalski M, Poleszak E. 

Magnesium is strongly connected with brain biochemistry. Some research has shown that magnesium deficiency is related to symptoms of depression. Emotional stress and stressful activities have been shown to increase magnesium loss from the body.

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Magnesium in Cardiovascular Disease

Title: Magnesium: Novel Applications in Cardiovascular Disease, A Review of Literature
Researchers: Kupetsky-Rincon EA, Uitto J. 

Some studies have shown that low blood and dietary magnesium is related with inflammation and cardiovascular disease risk factors. Early studies suggest that higher dietary magnesium is linked with a lower incidence of heart-disease and stroke.

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NAC in Psychiatric Disorders

Title: N-Acetylcysteine in Psychiatry: Current Therapeutic Evidence and Potential Mechanisms of Action
Researchers: Olivia Dean, BSc, PhD, Frank Giorlando, MBBS, BMedSc, and Michael Berk, MBBCh, MMed (Psych), PhD  

N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is an antioxidant that has shown promise in treating psychiatric disorders. Some studies have shown that NAC may reduce marijuana dependence, help reduce cravings in cocaine users, reduce some symptoms of schizophrenia (when taken with medication), and even reduce depression in patients suffering from bipolar disorder (when taken with medication).

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Obesity and Vitamin D

Title: Obesity and Vitamin D Deficiency: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Researchers: Pereira-Santos M, Costa PR, Assis AM, Santos CA, Santos DB  

Vitamin D deficiency occurs much more frequently in obese people regardless of age and location.

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Omega 3 and Human Health Outcomes

Title: Omega-3 Polyunsaturated fatty acids and inflammatory processes: nutrition or pharmacology?
Researchers: Philip C. Calder  

The current intake of omega-3 fatty acids is too low in most people living in Western countries. Long chain omega-3 fatty acids protect against cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, and might be beneficial in rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases, childhood learning, and behaviour, and adult psychiatric and neurodegenerative illnesses.

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Probiotics and Health

Title: Probiotics and Health: An Evidence-based Review
Researchers: Aureli P, Capurso L, Castellazzi AM, Clerici M, Giovannini M, Morelli L, Poli A, Pregliasco F, Salvini F, Zuccotti GV  

The intestinal microbiota is an ecosystem formed by a variety of ecological niches, made of several bacterial species and a very large amount of strains. Studies suggest that probiotics are useful for conditions such as reducing the incidence of antibiotic associated diarrhea, improved antibody responses to the flu vaccine, reducing the length of the common cold, as well as preventing and reducing the severity of respiratory infections.

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Quercetin – Health Effects

Title: Health Effects of Quercetin: From Antioxidant to Nutraceutical
Researchers: Boots AW, Haenen GR, Bast A  

Quercetin is a powerful antioxidant that is present in vegetables, fruit, tea and wine. Some very early studies have suggested that it possesses strong anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.

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Smoking Cessation and Quality of Life in Canada

Title: Dynamics of Smoking Cessation and Health-Related Quality of Life Among Canadians

Several decades of research have established a strong, causal link between cigarette smoking and negative health effects. Studies show that quitting smoking over the long-term results in improvements of health-related quality of life in both men and women.

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The Health Benefits of Vitamin K

Title: The Health Benefits of Vitamin K
Researchers: Dinicolantonio JJ, Bhutani J, O’Keefe JH  

Several decades of research have established a strong, causal link between cigarette smoking and negative health effects. Studies show that quitting smoking over the long-term results in improvements of health-related quality of life in both men and women.

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Vitamin B12 and Human Health

Title: Vitamin B12 and Health
Researchers: Ryan-Harshman M, Aldoori W  

Several studies have shown that folic acid in combination with vitamin B12 lowers risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease. Different studies have also suggested there may be a link between vitamin B12 and certain type of birth defects.

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Vitamin D and Cognition and Dementia

Title: Vitamin D, Cognition and Dementia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Researchers: Balion C, Griffith LE, Strfler L, Henderson M, Patterson C, Heckman G, Llewellyn DJ, Raina P  

Different studies have been able to show that lower blood concentrations of vitamin D are associated with poorer cognitive function and a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

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Vitamin D and Effects on Health: A Review of Recent Evidence

Title: Vitamin D Effects on Musculoskeletal Health, Immunity, Autoimmunity, Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer, Fertility, Pregnancy, Dementia and Mortality: A Review of Recent Evidence
Researchers: Pludowski P, Holick MF, Pilz S, Wagner CL, Hollis BW, Grant WB, Shoenfeld Y, Lerchbaum E, Llewellyn DJ, Kienreich K, Soni M  

Optimal vitamin D intake is not only important for bone health but also for overall health and well-being. Vitamin D receptors are in almost every cell and tissue in the body which means it can affect different organs in the body. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to cardiovascular risk factors, infertility, pregnancy and birth complications, gestational diabetes, autoimmune disease, type 1 and 2 diabetes, infection disease and a significantly increased risk of general mortality. High-quality experiments are being conducted all the time to discover new ways that vitamin D can help maintain our health.

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Zinc and Human Health

Title: Zine and Human Health: An Update
Researchers: Chasapis CT, Loutsidou AC, Spilipopulou CA, Stefanidou ME  

Zinc is such a critical element in human health that even a small deficiency is a disaster. Zinc impacts cardiovascular health, depression, type 1 and 2 diabetes, immune system function, prevents cell damage, and may even play a possible role in cancer prevention. There is even evidence that zinc metabolism is altered in both Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions.

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Lifestyle Advice from the World Health Organization to Avoid Cancer and Chronic Disease

In order to avoid cancer and chronic disease, the World Health Organization recommends that BMI be maintained between 21 and 23 and that moderate physical activity, equivalent to a brisk walk, is completed for at least 30 minutes every day, with the aim of 60 minutes of moderate or for 30 minutes or more of vigorous physical activity every day. In addition to these guidelines, they suggest limiting red meat, alcohol, salt as well as eating at least five portions of a variety of non-starchy vegetables and fruits every day, along with unprocessed grains and legumes with every meal.

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American Cancer Society Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention

Genetics can influence the risk of cancer, but cancer risk can be affected by lifestyle choices, which are not genetically inherited. For people who do not smoke, the most important lifestyle cancer risks include weight control, diet and levels of physical activity. It is recommended to be as lean as possible throughout life without being underweight and to engage in regular physical activity, while limiting sedentary behaviour. A healthy diet low in high-calories foods and beverages with an emphasis on plant foods (at least 2.5 cups of vegetables and fruits each day), rich in whole grain products and limited in alcoholic beverages are dietary strategies that can prevent cancer.

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Lifestyle Education for Type 2 Diabetes

Many studies have concluded that exercise and dietary education was effective in reducing blood glucose levels and the incidence of type 2 diabetes in high-risk individuals.

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Lifestyle Education for Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

Different studies have concluded that weight reduction and/or increasing physical activity can reduce liver fat and improve insulin sensitivity in adults with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

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Lifestyle Education for Metabolic Syndrome

Lifestyle modification involving combined diet and exercise programs or dietary counselling are effective in resolving metabolic syndrome as well as the severity of associated symptoms such as blood glucose, waist size, blood pressure and triglycerides.

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Exercise Benefits on Chronic Disease

Overwhelming evidence from a wide variety of studies link many chronic diseases such as coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cancer with the lack of physical activity and an unhealthy diet.

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“I had never heard of taking Vitamin D before – I didn’t know the importance of that. The vitamins … are very good. I really like the program, it’s excellent.”

Elva Pena, Alberta
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