Spinal Imaging and Symptoms

Spinal Imaging and Symptoms:

By: Dr. Karim Riskallah, DC


Let me be perfectly clear....SPINAL IMAGING FINDINGS AND SYMPTOMS OFTEN DO NOT CORRELATE.  There is nothing more frustrating for me than seeing a young adult in their 20's or 30's restricting their lifestyle and worrying because their family doctor told them they have "degenerating discs" or arthritis in their spine.  As seen in an important 2015 study by Brinjikji et al in The American Journal of Neuroradiology, it was essentially deemed very normal to have a multitude of "degenerative changes" in your spine, yet still be asymptomatic.  In fact, should you be symptomatic, often times it many have nothing to do with your "degenerative changes".  I have had many patients with severe low back pain, yet have "normal" imaging findings.  Bottom line, your imaging findings and your symptoms generally don't often correlate.  Their are so many other factors to consider when assessing your spine health and symptoms other than imaging findings, such as spinal mobility, motor control, strength/endurance...etc...all of which cannot be measured or assessed with imaging.

Moral of the story:  Life is short, please stay active and do whatever it is you love to do despite your spine being labeled arthritic or degenerating. 

To read the full article, click here

Thanksgiving Closure

We have too much to be thankful for during this Thanksgiving Season that we need to take some time off to be with our family and friends.  We will be closed Saturday Oct 6th -  Oct 8th, re-opening Oct 9th.

Happy Thanksgiving Toronto!

The Truth Behind Epsom Salts Baths

The Truth Behind Epsom Salts Baths

By: Dr. Karim Riskallah, DC

I often ask my patients daily what kind of self care they have applied when they have suffered either an acute injury or managing a chronic problem.  Each time I would hope that they would inform me of an active rehab program they began, the application of the prototypical R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) protocol, or even starting a course of anti inflammatory medication when warranted.  But more often than not, patients will instead inform me that they soaked in an epsom salt bath a few times per week with the belief that an epsom salt bath helped accelerate the healing of their injury, aided in muscle recovery, or my personal favourite, ‘detoxified’ their body.  With that in mind, I wanted to write this quick post demystifying those myth.  I apologize in advance for bursting anybody’s bubble.

Epsom salt baths are cheap and essentially harmless, but certainly do not have the healing power often believed and very heavily marketed.   Most of the theories you hear are oversimplified and driven my marketing key words such as “detoxification” or “eliminates aches”.  One thing to keep in mind that I believe is the primary reason epsom salts are not as potent as claimed is that epsom salt (Magnesium Sulfate) cannot be absorbed through your skin by osmosis. Therefore, epsom salts can never be absorbed into your muscles and cause all the miraculous health claims labeled on the box.  Also, as nice as it would be, the notion that epsom salts can be used for 'detoxification" is simply impossible.  The human body has a natural system to eliminate toxic substances and often preventing them from even entering the blood system.  Thank you Mr. Liver, Mr. Kidney, and GI System.  The notion that epsom salts somehow get into the body and “suck” toxic substances out of your muscles, organs, and skin and perform a little "clean up" is laughable.  This claim is simply false, impossible, and there is absolutely no scientific evidence supporting that rational to date.

The million dollar question then is:  Is there any good reason to put epsom salts in your bath? Well, in my opinion, epsom salts will dissolve in your bath and will make your water feel nice and soothing.   If putting some Epsom salts in your bath causes a positive and powerful placebo effect, nothing wrong with that either.  But please don’t expect epsom salts to accelerate healing, improved muscle flexibility, sooth aches, improve circulation, decrease inflammation, accelerate muscle recovery,  detox your body, release muscle cramps, restore energy levels, etc etc, etc, etc.……


On behalf of the entire staff at Infinity Health Centre, we would like to send our love, prayers, and thoughts to the victims of today's tragic events.  To the Toronto Police and all EMS staff, the City of Toronto has so much gratitude for your service.  Thank you.

Are Artificial Sweeteners Any Better Than Sugar?

Are Artificial Sweeteners Any Better Than Sugar?

By: Dr. James Yoon


If you think that drinking zero-calorie diet sodas are a healthy alternative to sugar containing drinks, you may be misinformed. The results of a first-in-human study in healthy volunteers demonstrated that regular consumption of diet drinks alter the gut response to glucose, leading to altered blood sugar regulation, and can therefore predispose people to developing type 2 diabetes.

In a 2 week, double-blind, randomized parallel-group clinical study, healthy volunteers were assessed on the effects of diet supplementation with artificial sweeteners such as sucralose and acesulfame-K, often found in diet sodas and beverages. Taken in the form of capsules, three times daily before meals, blinded participants received either the artificial sweeteners, equivalent to drinking 1.2 to 1.5 L of diet beverage per day or an inactive placebo. After the 2 week period, participants ingested glucose (a simple sugar) and were assessed on how their bodies absorbed glucose, the amount of glucose in the blood, as well as the levels of insulin and gut peptides.

Despite showing similar absorption patterns in response to glucose between the two groups at the start of the study, after 2 weeks of supplementation, the group supplemented with artificial sweeteners demonstrated the following when compared to placebo:

  • 20% increase in glucose absorption
  • 24% increase of plasma glucose
  • 34% decreased production of the hormone, GLP-1. GLP-1 supports blood sugar control by stimulating the release of insulin, blocking the production of glucagon, and slowing down the absorption of blood sugar in the body.

These findings highlight, "the potential for these responses in habitual consumers of artificial sweeteners and support the concept that artificial sweeteners could reduce the body's control of blood sugar levels, exaggerating post-meal glucose levels, which could predispose them to developing type 2 diabetes.”


Integrative Medicine for the Prevention of Diabetes and Heart Disease

At Infinity Health Centre, our Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. James Yoon, often works closely with our Medical Physicians to aid in the management of patients suffering from diabetes or heart disease.  With a combination of improved diet and lifestyle recommendations, combined with and nutritional supplementation and herbal medicines, blood sugar levels can be effectively stabilized.  Even those taking regular pharmaceutical medications can be effectively treated and make significant improvements, in some cases, even reduce or discontinue their medications (with proper medical supervision).

To book an appointment with Dr. James Yoon, please contact the clinic, or simply request an appointment on-line.

*FREE 10min consults also available to meet with Dr. Yoon to learn more about how Naturopathic Medicine can you help you.



European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) 2016 Annual Meeting. September 14, 2017, Lisbon, Portugal. Abstract 193. https://www.easd.org/virtualmeeting/home.html#!resources/impact-of-artificial-sweeteners-on-glycaemic-control-in-healthy-humans




Why Do I Always get That 'Afternoon Crash' ?

Why Do I Always Get That 'Afternoon Crash' ?

By: Dr. James Yoon ND

Do you find it difficult to concentrate in the afternoon? Feeling tired, anxious, nervous, or depressed? Chances are your lunch may have something to do with it! When you eat a large lunch that is high in carbohydrates like pasta, breads, or sugars like in juice and pop, your body quickly digests and absorbs these foods very quickly, leading to a sharp spike in your blood glucose (blood sugar) levels. A sudden spike in blood sugar will give you instant energy and make you feel energetic and almost hyper. In response to this influx, your body will signal the pancreas to release insulin. Insulin's acts as a chemical messenger that tells the body's cells to take in the extra glucose from your bloodstream. The problem, however, is that your pancreas almost always overestimates how much insulin to release, and the result is that too much glucose is removed from your blood. This results in a blood sugar crash, or very low blood sugar levels.

When you eat whole grains rich in fibre, the digestion of the carbs will be slowed down. This means that your blood sugar will rise slowly as a result of eating these foods. Replacing all refined carbs with whole grains and incorporating protein and other fibre-rich food sources will make your blood sugar rise and fall slowly, which is the way nature intended, and leading to more consistent energy levels.


Using Naturopathic Medicine to Support Your Energy:

To learn more about supporting your energy levels and preventing that daily afternoon crash, you are encouraged to book an appointment with our Naturpathic Doctor, Dr. James Yoon.   Dr. Yoon specializes in providing diet and lifestyle recommendations combined with nutritional supplementation and herbal medicines to effectively manage your health and energy levels.

Please contact the clinic to book your appointment today, or simply request an appointment on-line.

FREE 10min consults also available with Dr. Yoon to learn more about how Naturopathic Medicine can you help you.

Changes to OHIP Services

We regret to inform you, that due to OHIP cutbacks, we will no longer be able to offer blood testing services as of April 1st, 2018.

All blood tests ordered by physicians will have to be done at your local public lab. The nearest blood lab is:



123 Edward St #808, Toronto, ON M5G 1E2

(416) 597-0333

All results should still be reviewed with the ordering physician.  Please book a follow up appointment according to the following guidelines:

Routine blood work:                     7 calendar days

STI testing:                                       7 calendar days

Immunization testing:                 14 calendar days

Stool testing:                                   14 calendar days

Pap testing:                                      28 calendar days

Due to privacy reasons, we cannot confirm or review your results over the phone or email. You should book a follow up appointment to review your results even if no call was received.

Thank you




Open Easter Weekend

Happy Easter weekend Toronto!

Please be advised that we are open (regular business hours) on Saturday March 31st, Sunday April 1st, as well as Monday April 2nd.

We look forward to helping you.

New Website Launched

We've been busy upgrading our desktop and mobile website to better serve you.  We hope you find our new website more user friendly and easier to navigate.  Please take a moment to learn about our health services, our amazing health care team, as well as our our clinic policies and procedures.  We have also developed a health blog to provide you with valuable health tips and informative articles...make sure to check it out regularly.  Lastly, if you haven't done so already, subscribe to our monthly newsletter to keep up with monthly promotions, news about our health services, and other patient resources.