Posted on May 29, 2013, 6 a.m.
Naturopathic therapies in conjunction with usual care may reduce a person’s risk factors for heart disease.
Naturopathic medicine is a system of medicine based on the healing power of nature. Dugald Seely, from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (Canada), and colleagues enrolled 246 members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers at 3 study sites (Toronto, Vancouver and Edmonton) for a year-long clinical trial to determine whether naturopathic lifestyle counseling helped to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Of the total sample, 207 people completed the study. The control group received enhanced usual care, and the intervention group received naturopathic care as a supplement to usual care 7 times during the study. Naturopathic doctors provided diet and lifestyle advice for patients to lose between 2.3 and 4.2 kg through a combination of caloric restriction and regular physical exercise, and dispensed natural health products such as omega-3 fatty acids, soluble fiber, coenzyme Q10 and other therapies. Outcome measures were defined as change in prevalence of metabolic syndrome and a reduction in the Framingham 10-year cardiovascular risk score, a score used to estimate a person's risk of heart disease. The researchers found that at one year, for both primary outcomes the treatment group improved whereas the control group deteriorated. Specifically, the team observed that the prevalence of metabolic syndrome, a risk factor for heart disease, was reduced by 17% over a year compared with the control group. The study authors conclude that: “Our findings support the hypothesis that the addition of naturopathic care to enhanced usual care may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease among those at high risk.”
Dugald Seely, Orest Szczurko, Kieran Cooley, Heidi Fritz, Serenity Aberdour, Gordon Guyatt, et al. “Naturopathic medicine for the prevention of cardiovascular disease: a randomized clinical trial.” CMAJ, April 29, 2013.