February 26th, 2015

March is Pharmacy Awareness Month

Expanded Scope

Pharmacists are taking on expanded roles and are increasingly being recognized as the medication management experts of the health care team. Here is chart from the Canadian Pharmacists Association showing what pharmacists are doing in each province.

Pharmacists are the most accessible health care providers for Canadians, yet many still unaware of the breadth of health services they now provide.

Pharmacy Awareness Month aims to help improve the public’s understanding of the increasing role pharmacists play in the provision of health care services and the tangible benefits they bring as health care providers for Canadians.

For many years, Pharmacists have been taking on expanded roles in the Canadian health care system. Today’s pharmacist is highly respected as the medication management expert of the health care team. They collaborate with patients, their families and other health care providers to deliver a range of innovative services, including medication reviews, chronic disease management, immunization services and wellness programs.


February 23rd, 2015

Five Foods of Mexico

mexico_221851948Inspired by a recent trip to Mexico, this blog post discusses fabulous fare from that southern hot spot! Mexican cuisine uses many delicious foods and spices but five that really stand out to me are:

  • Avocados
  • Tomatoes
  • Beans
  • Corn, and
  • Peppers

Read on for a brief overview of these tempting ingredients and try a recipe or two at the end of this article.


February 17th, 2015

London Drugs Osteoporosis Screening Clinics in Victoria

Osteoporosis Screening Clinics return for two days at London Drugs in Tillicum Centre


As individuals continue to focus on their health there are many tools available to provide guidance on health goals. One area of health people may not consider is the health of their bones. London Drugs is announcing the return of their Osteoporosis Screening Clinics to give individuals an overview of their bone health. For two days only, London Drugs Victoria customers will have an opportunity to book an appointment with a pharmacist.


February 2nd, 2015

Getting to Know the “Forgotten Organ” in Your Body

You are made of approximately 10 trillion body cells. As if that wasn’t amazing enough, your body is host to many trillions of microorganisms such as bacteria, yeasts, viruses and fungi. These live all over and in your body, with a large contingent found in your “gut,” also known as the gastrointestinal system. The gut runs a complex path from the mouth to the esophagus, stomach, small then large intestine, and finally the rectum and anus. The roughly 100 trillion microorganisms that inhabit the gut (mostly in the large intestine) exist “symbiotically” with humans. This means we provide them with a place to live and they help us digest certain foods, help provide a balance against unhealthy microorganisms, create vitamins K and biotin, and perhaps, even help regulate our body weight. These trillions of organisms can even be considered an essential organ in the body, as important as any other.

Kashi granola bars

You may already be aware that bacteria digest foods we don’t break down well. Beans are indeed a “musical fruit” as gut bacteria process the stachyose (a natural sugar) that was not digested by the human gut. In fact, this sugar and other carbohydrates such as fiber, are important foods for your gut bacteria. The addition of “prebiotics” to foods such as yogurt and bread is intended to support the growth of these bacteria.

A common prebiotic is the fibre “inulin.” You will find this in Kashi granola bars and some flavours of Nature’s Path cereal, available at London Drugs.

Nature’s Path cereal

You may also have heard how important the balance of “good” to “bad” microbes is. Indeed, of the trillions of organisms in our bodies, not all are beneficial for us. A good example is Clostridium difficile. This bacteria is fairly widespread in nature but only causes problems under certain circumstances, such as, for example, when you take an antibiotic to treat an infection. In this case, the drug destroys some of the normal, helpful bacteria as well as the bacteria causing the illness. Without enough healthy bacteria, C. difficile can grow out of control. For this and other reasons, it is very important not to overuse antibiotics.

Bacteria also help with our nutrition. One example of this is vitamin K. This vitamin is required for normal blood clotting. Foods, such as leafy green vegetables, provide about half the vitamin K required for healthy adults while gut bacteria (good old E. coli) produce the rest. Interestingly, newborns lack the bacteria in their intestines to produce vitamin K so they are usually given vitamin K supplements, either as a shot or by mouth, before discharge from the hospital.

The idea that weight could be affected by gut microbes, particularly bacteria, has been gaining traction in recent years. Studies have been done on mice and on humans, and while there are no absolutes yet, it appears that leaner mice and people have different types of gut bacteria as well as a more diverse population- that is, more types of bacteria. And at least one study suggests that a high fiber, low fat diet is more supportive of microbes that promote a healthy body weight.

The Human Microbiome Project (HMP), sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, was established in 2008, with the mission of defining our microbial community and analyzing its role in human health and disease. This project is made possible with the help of thousands of volunteers who send in samples from their skin, mouth, feces and other sites. At least 10,000 different microbes have been identified. As the research proceeds, it will be possible to better understand which microbes are most useful for human health and perhaps how to help them flourish in our systems.

Stay tuned for more exciting developments about the “forgotten organ.” Anticipate a future where we think about our health and the health of trillions of our closest friends.

Barbara Allan RD

Registered Dietitian
Certified Diabetes Educator

January 25th, 2015

How happy are YOUR feet? (Bunions, Calluses, Corns)

How happy are

YOUR feet?

It’s time to squeeze your tender tootsies into boots again…and for bunions, corns and calluses to make their annual appearance…

After a summer of foot-freedom, it’s time for socks, shoes and boots. That often means footwear that’s tight or rigid enough to cause pressure and friction, or even alter the way your bones are positioned within the framework of your feet. Let’s take a look at the three most common foot complaints and what can be done to prevent or alleviate them. READ MORE

January 17th, 2015

Acne – Controlling breakouts


Controlling breakouts

acneAffecting as many as fve million Canadians, more people see a doctor for acne than any other skin condition. While it is true that teenagers are the age group most affected by the condition, people of all ages experience acne. In fact, roughly 85 per cent of the population will suffer from acne breakouts at some point in their lives.

At this time of year, though, teenagers are the most likely group to be thinking about acne. The stress associated with the new school year, making new friends, and so on can play havoc with the skin, causing breakouts when they are least wanted. Here, we share some tips on controlling acne breakouts. READ MORE

January 8th, 2015

Quit Smoking: London Drugs Pharmacists can help

cigarette-buttIt is estimated that a smoker will try to quit several times before finally stopping the habit of smoking, and the most successful quitters are people who have tried to quit several times. The more times you try to quit, the more likely you are to eventually succeed.

What happens once I do quit?

When you do quit smoking your body will experience a decrease in your blood pressure and heart rate, within eight hours levels of oxygen increase to normal in the body, after one day the risk of heart attack decreases and within a few weeks fatigue levels will decrease as will extreme shortness of breath while exercising.

Other benefits of smoking include having younger-looking skin, the return of taste and smell, and better breath.

What steps are recommended when quitting?

Writing down a specific action plan, determining the benefits of quitting, recognizing situations where one is inclined to smoke, determining an appropriate smoking cessation aid, and creating a list of activities that will replace smoking are all tools to help quit.  And a London Drugs Pharmacist can help you create and utilize these tools.

Other strategies for successful quitting include support groups and counseling.

Contact your local pharmacy to book an appointment with a London Drugs Pharmacist to learn about all the options to help quit smoking.

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