About Sherry Torkos

Sherry Torkos is a pharmacist, author, certified fitness instructor, and health enthusiast who enjoys sharing her passion with others. Sherry graduated with honors from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science in 1992. Since that time she has been practicing holistic pharmacy in the Niagara area. Her philosophy of practice is to integrate conventional and complementary therapies to optimize health and prevent disease. Sherry has won several national pharmacy awards for providing excellence in patient care. As a leading health expert, Sherry has delivered hundreds of lectures to medical professionals and the public. She is frequently interviewed on radio and TV talk shows throughout North America and abroad. Sherry has authored fourteen books & booklets, including The Glycemic Index Made Simple and Breaking the Age Barrier. Her most recent book, The Canadian Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine has become a national best-seller. For more information, visit: www.sherrytorkos.com

Hormone Imbalance and Hypothyroidism

In terms of synthetic hormones what about medications such as Synthroid for hypothyroidism that doctors say you have to take for the rest of your life? What should I do? Where do I go next?

Most people with hypothyroidism have to take thyroid hormone for the rest of their lives. Our thyroid hormone regulates many body processes and if you have hormone imbalance it can result in a wide range of physical and emotional symptoms.

The thyroid gland produces two hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroixine (T4).  Most of the actions of thyroid hormone are due to T3, the active form of thyroid hormone. Our bodies convert T4 to T3, however in some people this conversion does not happen adequately.

There are several different types of thyroid medications – natural and synthetic and T3 and T4. Synthetic forms of thyroid hormone (T4) are Synthroid and Eltroxin. There is also Cytomel, which provides the body with active (synthetic) T3. This is a preferred form for those who do not convert T4 to T3 adequately, however it needs to be taken three times daily. Lastly there is natural thyroid hormone, triiodothyronine, which can be made at a compounding pharmacy. It is important to know that in this case “natural” means that they are not chemically made or synthesized, they are obtained from animal (pig) thyroid. While natural thyroid is typically well tolerated some people do react adversely.

Here is a link to an article that discusses some of these issues:


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Zinc Deficiency Symptoms-Are You Deficient?

Zinc is often found in multivitamins and prenatal supplements.  It is used in our bodies to support immune function, reduce severity and duration of the common cold, and delay the progression of macular degeneration. It is also involved in numerous enzyme reactions and is required for growth and development, immune and neurological function, reproduction and regulation of genes and to stabilize the structure of proteins and cell membranes.

Although a severe zinc deficiency is rare, except in those with a genetic disorder, severe malnutrition or malabsorption, severe burns, or chronic diarrhea, marginal deficiencies are common in malnourished people, vegetarians, pregnant women, the elderly, and those with celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, colitis, and sickle cell anemia.

Zinc deficiency symptoms include impaired growth and development, skin rashes, severe diarrhea, immune system deficiencies, impaired wound healing, poor appetite, impaired taste sensation, night blindness, clouding of the corneas, and behavioural disturbances.

Some people that are on prescription drugs may deplete their store of zinc. Drugs that deplete zinc include: diuretics, anticonvulsants, iron supplements, penicillamine, ACE-inhibitor drugs, acid-reducing drugs, and oral contraceptives.

Zinc supplements can reduce copper levels, so look for a multivitamin that contains copper as well as zinc. Zinc supplements can also reduce absorption of antibiotics (tetracycline and quinolones), so separate intake of zinc supplements from these products by two hours. Since the average zinc intake is below the RDA and many conditions and drugs deplete zinc levels, a supplement should be considered. Most multivitamin and mineral complexes provide at least the RDA for zinc.

Foods that are rich in zinc include: red meat, shellfish, eggs, whole grains, and fortified cereals. Too much zinc can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. High dosages of zinc supplements may reduce copper levels.

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Is it true that eating a lot of meat substitutions (tofu, soy etc.) raise/effect estrogen levels & weight gain?

 Consumption of soy foods such as tofu is not associated with weight gain. In fact, many studies have found that vegetarian or plant-based diets, which include soy foods, are more effective for weight management. Soy does contain phytoestrogens, which are plant-based estrogen-like compounds that can exert weak estrogenic effects. Most research has found that soy foods do not raise estrogen levels in the body.

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Discover the benefits of exercise…they are more than you think.

In addition to weight control, consistent physical activity offers the following impressive benefits:

1. Improved Mood Even light exercise can boost your emotional wellbeing. Aerobic exercise stimulates the release of certain mood-elevating compounds called endorphins— “feel good” chemicals. These natural painkillers induce relaxation and relieve depression.

2. Reduced Risk of Heart Disease If you are overweight, you face a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Exercise can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, two major risk factors for heart disease. It also reduces stress, another contributing factor to heart disease, especially for women.

3. Increased Mental Acuity Memory loss can occur as a result of age, poor health, depression or medications. But unless there is irreversible brain damage, physical activity can invigorate and revitalize the mind. Aerobic exercise helps move blood and oxygen to all the body’s organs, including the brain.

4. Reduced risk of diabetes Excess weight increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. Physically active people are less likely to develop this condition, and those who have type 2 diabetes can reduce their blood sugar and their need for medication with more physical activity. Exercise increases the body’s ability to use sugar for energy and thereby decreases the need for insulin.

5. Pain Relief When you exercise, your body generates pain-killing endorphins. Moderate exercise also triggers the release of natural cortisone, which helps relieve the pain of osteoarthritis. Overweight people are more susceptible to osteoarthritis. Strength training, in particular, can decrease arthritis pain and keep your body limber and flexible.

6. Increased Bone Density Osteoporosis is a debilitating bone condition responsible for chronic pain, spine problems and bone fractures for millions of people, most of them women. Bone loss is preventable and, to some extent, reversible. Resistance exercises, those that stress the bones, can help improve bone density and prevent bone loss with aging.

7. Longevity Obese people face a higher rate of mortality. Exercise may help reduce that risk. Studies of post-menopausal women have found that, in general, the more frequent and intense their physical activity, the lower their risk of death from all causes.

8. Increased Strength Regular resistance training exercises can significantly increase your strength. This has even been demonstrated even among in those over age 80.

9. Improved Quality of Sleep Lack of sleep is a common concern especially for women and it can have far-reaching effects on our health, increasing the risk for heart disease, depression and even some forms of cancer. Regular exercise has been shown to improve sleep quality.

10. Improved Energy Level Believe it or not, regular exercise can actually make you feel more energized and give you the vim and vigour to lead an active life.

Discover Why Exercise to Lose Weight is So Important.


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Simple Weight Loss Tips

It’s easier than you think to make good food choices part of your lifestyle. For starters, check out these simple tips.

  • Make a satisfying protein-rich drink or smoothie by blending 2 cups (473 ml) of low-fat yogurt with 1 cup (237 ml) of crushed seasonal fruit, a banana, and a dash of soy powder.
  • Eat a salad or broth-based soup as a first course so you’ll feel full, but take in fewer calories.
  • Pack healthy “on the go” snacks such as unsalted nuts, carrot sticks, pears, and apples so you’re not tempted by chips or candy bars.
  • Change to a lifestyle mindset
  • Stop thinking about the word “diet” as an unsatisfying set of restrictions and instead think about long-term changes that lead to slow, steady weight loss. Create a healthy lifestyle that includes daily exercise and eat right by making smart choices.
  • Choose nutrient-packed foods: Ensure balance and give your body a full range of protein, fats, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Pay attention to portion sizes: Share a dish when eating out or keep some for later if the portions are too large. At home, serve reasonable portions on small dishes (so they look bigger) and avoid second helpings.
  • Take a walk: Get 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five to six days per week to use up the calories you take in and prevent weight gain. Aim for 60 to 90 minutes a day for substantial weight loss.
  • Get started: Begin healthful habits today to manage your weight for the rest of your life. Small steps count, so look for opportunities: take the stairs, park farther away, walk to shops.
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