• Adrenal Fatigue/ Autoimmune diseases/ Blood sugar management/ Exclusion diet/ Health/ hormones/ Hyperthyroidism/ Hypothyroidism

    Thyroid disruption and modern diet/lifestyle influence

    Thyroid Hormones

    A while ago I wrote an article about why I thought we needed to look at the treatment of low Thyroid  (Hypothyroidism and especially Hashimoto’s) in a more holistic way. Today I would like to discuss why we have an Hypothyroid epidemic that is also treated inadequately by mainstream medicine. Modern Lifestyle has created the perfect storm – stress, low fat, high carb diet and disrupted Thyroid/hormones. Nutrition and lifestyle changes can have a great effect, as I have proved by my own, so read on to find out…..

    The Functional Medicine approach of  an understanding of the root cause and lifestyle choices can lead to better outcomes with or without hormone replacement.

    I remember being taught that the Pituitary was the conductor of the endocrine orchestra… many years ago but analogies often stick in the mind. This basically illustrates that all the hormones in the body when healthy, work together  in a balanced and synchronised way and if one instrument was to play the wrong notes then the whole production would be discordant.

    Now let’s look one of the most common chronic problems – FATIGUE. Not just feeling tired because you have been over-working, over-exercising or ill but a chronic fatigue that means you never really have much energy, you might even wake up feeling tired and you mostly feel lack-lustre with no get-up-and-go and no incentive to do anything. You go to the Doctor and after some blood tests you are told you have low Thyroid function and they may suggest that you need to take Thyroxine – for the rest of your life.

    The Thyroid Gland

    The Thyroid Gland in your neck, controlled by a hormone from the Pituitary called TSH, produces hormones T3 and T4 that regulate your metabolism and that doesn’t just mean how many calories you burn and whether or not you put on weight – it means that the thyroid hormones regulate the way every cell in the body functions. Just to list some of the functions that are affected:

    • Heart Rate
    • Breathing
    • The Brain and Nervous System
    • Body Temperature
    • Muscle Strength
    • Menstrual Cycles
    • Blood sugar
    • Cholesterol levels

    Therefore when the Thyroid Gland is producing either too many hormones or too few the symptoms in the body can be very diverse and affect the quality of life.  Sometimes this prevents someone going to their Doctor because they feel they will be perceived as a hypochondriac and they are not sure how to describe the feeling they have “not being quite in control” or “out of sync” – which is exactly what, in fact is happening with imbalance in the whole endocrine system.

    Let’s revisit that Orchestra….. one musician is playing off key, so what are the choices? Remove them, replace them or find out why and try to correct the problem. Exactly the same in medicine. The Doctor might remove the Thyroid Gland (either by surgery or with Radiation), or the most common scenario is to replace the missing hormones with just artificial T4 (which frequently turns out to be an inferior player!) or, as in the Functional Medicine approach, investigate why it is out of balance and try to correct the problem.This can be complicated and time consuming because you have to look at all the hormone systems and how they regulate each other. It could cost a lot of time and money and a specialist to interpret all the results and we are really only just beginning to understand how things work on a cellular level.

    NB. frequently Hypothyroidism is preceded by a period of Hyperthyroid type symptoms. Hyperactivity, anxiety, poor sleep and stress because the body is pumping out lots of TSH from the Pituitary to try to get the Thyroid to work harder. If, at this stage you are treated aggressively for Hyperthyroidism then you will end up in an even worse situation, possibly even without a Thyroid Gland.

    The Nutritional Approach

    I like to take a different approach. I start with what we know –

    • Thyroid imbalance sometimes has an Autoimmune cause with anti-bodies present in the blood. Ask your Doctor to do this test.
    • There is often a history of chronic stress, sugar/caffeine cravings with resulting high Cortisol. Thyroid hormones help eliminate excess Cortisol but if the hormone Pregnenolone is low the body will be using too much thyroid hormone and the body may be struggling to produce more. See the OAT axis mentioned in the Medical advice section.
    • or a history of years of yo-yo low fat dieting, metabolic syndrome or Diabetes.
    • there may be a history of hormonal disruption, menstruation problems, fertility problems, Birth control hormones or HRT, oestrogen dominance symptoms. Oestogen can prevent the conversion of T4 to its active form of T3 in the body. All connected in the OAT axis.
    • look for clusters of symptoms – there are over 300 connected to Thyroid dysfunction but it is important to see beyond the symptoms and be aware of underlying nutritional deficiencies.
    • A Leaky Gut or poor gut microbiome may have caused or added to the problem – especially if thyroid antibodies have been found.
    • Coeliac Disease or a Gluten or Lactose intolerance could have caused nutritional deficiencies
    • or there may be deficiencies due to a restricted diet. Selenium, zinc and iodine are essential for the production and utilisation of Thyroid hormones.
    • There may be an underlying infection. Epstein Barr Virus has been implicated recently and this could also account for some of the more advanced symptoms such as tingling of the hands and feet, itchy skin, irregular heart rhythm and nodules in the Thyroid gland. There may be a history of infection such as Glandular Fever or ‘Mono’, Herpes virus, Shingles etc. These are viruses that can lay dormant for years but activating the immune system and it is believed that the percentage of people now carrying these viruses is extremely high.

    What can we do to correct the imbalances.

    1. Start with your diet. A Paleo Approach diet that includes plenty of leafy vegetables, Berries, healthy fats and enough quality (organic if possible) protein. Eliminate gluten, Dairy and Soy plus any other food you appear to react to. Good substitutes for Dairy exist in Coconut milk/yogurt products or Almond Milk but initially it is best to avoid all processed Gluten Free products to reduce inflammation as much as possible. Change to using Celtic Sea Salt as this contains iodine which is essential for Thyroid hormone production. Ordinary table salt is just sodium chloride, chemicals and some added iodine whereas Celtic Sea salt is natural, sun dried salt and has other important minerals including magnesium, manganese iron and zinc. Selenium is another mineral that is required by the thyroid and is often deficient in the soil and diet in many countries so it is well worth adding about 200mcg a day. Selenium works well with adequate levels of Vitamin D3 and therefore it is best to get levels checked and to take 4,000 – 5,000 iu per day during the winter.
    2. Reduce sugar in all its forms and do not use artificial sweeteners. It is very important to balance your blood sugar therefore make sure you have protein and healthy fat at each meal – this is NOT a calorie controlled diet, if you eat enough of the healthy proteins and fats you will not feel hungry but you will still lose weight because your body will adapt to burning fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. Restricting Calories can lead to even more stress on the Adrenals and make losing weight harder. It can take a little while to adapt to this ‘keto’ diet and initially you may get some symptoms of detox which is because lots of toxins are stored in body fat and when you start to burn that fat you will start to eliminate those toxins. Drink plenty of water or coconut water (unsweetened) and add 2-3g of vitamin C if you get constipated. Warm Epson Salts baths may help as well so that all the detox pathways – skin, kidneys and bowels are working well. The liver will also have to work hard at first so be kind to it – start the day with warm water and fresh lemon juice and avoid alcohol until you are feeling much better.
    3. Healing the gut and reducing inflammation are very important and I have many articles (and an e-book) on how this is achieved and supplements that can speed the progress so I won’t cover it again here.
    4. Reduce Stress – examine your lifestyle/commitments and work out ways to reduce the stress. Yoga or Pilates can work wonders if practised at least every other day and there are some brilliant, free video courses on YouTube. this is my favourite teacher Yoga with Adriene

      She has a brilliant one for neck and shoulder relief and this is where so many of us hold our stress and tension.

    5. After 2-4 weeks I would suggest trying some adaptogenic herbs – these help to balance your hormones, can help with relaxation and sleep. They have been used for hundreds of years in Ayurvedic Medicine but research which sound best for you and whether they are safe to take with any pre-existing condition, pregnancy or breast feeding. Ashwaganda and/or Licorice root are good but try one at a time to see if they suit you.
    6. Then we can add some foods and supplements that can help reduce your viral load – if that is possibly a problem for you. I would start by gradually increasing the coconut oil/cream in your diet. Use Virgin Coconut oil in cooking or as a spread with nut butter and maybe add some MCT oil to your coffee in the morning. if you add too much too quickly you will give yourself stomach cramps and possibly diarrhoea. The beneficial fat in coconut oil is Lauric Acid which can be converted to the active ingredient Monolaurin in the body or for a stronger effect you can buy Monolaurin as a dietary supplement. Other supplements that can kill EBV are Lemon Balm, L-Lysine an amino acid, Olive leaf, Black seed oil or Scutellaria (the herb Skullcap). These may be natural remedies but they are strong and it is important to follow the dosing advice if self treating.

    My Personal experience…

    If you suspect that your Thyroid is not performing as it should you could take your morning temperature before you get out of bed.(This is called your Basal body temperature and will likely be low if you have low Thyroid function.) My worst symptoms were hair loss, tingling of hands and feet and poor sleep.

    • My Basal Temperature was about 34.2C when I first took it in July of 2017. My pulse 48 and irregular (sinus Bradycardia)and my blood pressure always low. Normal basal temperature would be 36.1 – 37C & a normal pulse is about 60 -72 beats per minute.
    • I started taking Selenium at this time because as I was already following a healthy Paleo diet, gluten, soy and dairy free,eating organic veg and taking additional minerals this was one mineral I knew I could be short of living in the UK.
    • I started taking Methyl B complex vitamins as they are better absorbed.
    • After just 2 weeks my Basal temperature had already risen to between 35C – 36C
    • I then tried adding a Tyrosine capsule a day but this gave me a headache and a discomfort in my throat – it is not recommended that people with auto-immune Thyroid (Hashimotos Hypothyroid) use this as it can trigger a bigger immune response. I stopped this on day 7 but noticed that my metabolism was up, I was actually feeling warm and the tingling in my hands and feet was much better.
    • After a few days I started taking Ashwaganda. This according to Ayurvedic medicine is best taken with milk (coconut or almond for me)and honey prior to bed.
    • I then thought I would try a protocol that would reduce any EBV activity. I have a strong history of Shingles x 3 with the first severe infection when I was 12 and a severe Glandular Fever aged 18 that left me with post viral fatigue for several months. I vary what I take to give maximum effect. L-Lysine first and I actually got herpes pain over the area of my back that had been affected and just a couple of blisters appeared! I then tried Black seed oil for 3 weeks and I started to feel much better. Everything improved except my sleep which was erratic – having some great nights followed by a few of not being able to get to sleep until 3 or 4 am.

    Now, January 2018, my Basal Temperature is 36.1C and my pulse 60 and regular. My blood pressure has remained similar 120/60. I bought Thyroid Healing by The Medical Medium because although not a medical man he has a great knowledge of healing with diet. I added freeze dried wild blueberries, celery, apple and papaya to my diet. Previously I had concentrated on raspberries, blueberries and strawberries but in the Winter in the UK these are imported and not tasty whereas freeze dried wild blueberries are more nutritious and there is no waste.

    What next for me? 

    Continue on my improved diet, continue to take supplements as needed. This year I am going to keep up my Yoga practice, spend more time in Nature and have the whole of February Free of social media if you want to join me #freefromFeb is the hashtag! Just need to improve my sleep so will give my brain a detox.

    Conclusion

    In six months I have managed to improve my Thyroid function to near normal limits and avoided prescription medication. I have no symptoms of parasthesia in my hands or feet and they are actually warmer than they have been in years! My sleep is still not right so I have just started taking Scutellaria baicalensis (Chinese Skullcap) following an excellent webinar from Metabolic Healing on Thyroid management. This herb has many therapeutic benefits and references can be found here

    and even more science here 

    Described as the most powerful antioxidant owing to its 5 compounds and strong anti-inflammatory actions, ease of crossing the blood-brain-barrier and it has neuroprotective properties.

    It should not be taken by people on statins, diabetes medication or anticoagulants. It is not recommended for anyone with oestrogen sensitive conditions and  there is insufficient evidence to say if it is safe in pregnancy or breastfeeding.

    Medical Advice

    I am not giving medical advice here and in the first instance you should always see a doctor to get blood tests and rule out any other disease or problem. I did this and I would encourage everyone to do the same but the reality in the UK and in mainstream medicine generally seems to be that you normally only get tested for TSH and T4 and that the ‘normal’ range for these appears to be too high in relation to what is actually being observed as signs and symptoms. You could ask that your adrenal function and oestrogen and progesterone are tested as well as the Thyroid anti-bodies test. Peri-menopause can give many of the same signs and symptoms or a Hysterectomy may have prompted problems.

    Doctors not trained in Functional Medicine do not usually look at the OAT Axis for imbalance between the Ovarian-Adrenal-Thyroid hormones and at how a low fat, high sugar /carbohydrate diet and chronic stress can impact the body. This is what the information above is able to address.

    Most of us would rather avoid surgery, radiation treatment or a lifetime of taking prescription medicines, either natural or artificial hormones. If you can get the help of a Functional Medicine Practitioner then great or an Ayurvedic practitioner but whatever you do you will need to document your symptoms and take responsibility for your health. We live in an age where chronic conditions – that cannot be cured with a prescription- are increasing at an alarming rate but it has been proved that nutrition and lifestyle can give you your quality of life back.

     

     

     

     

  • Autoimmune diseases/ Celiac/ Health/ Hypothyroidism/ Immune System

    Why I think Hashimoto’s needs a different approach.

    Fatigue

    This post is about my recent experience and why I think Hashimoto’s needs a different approach.

    What is Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism

    Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism is an Autoimmune disease where your body gradually destroys your thyroid gland leaving you with multiple symptoms such as

    • Loss of outer eyebrow hair and increased loss of hair on head and body
    • slow heartbeat
    • discomfort in throat
    • muscle aches and cramps
    • weakness
    • arthritis
    • cold intolerance
    • dry skin and hair
    • lethargy / fatigue
    • sleep disturbance
    • brittle nails
    • memory loss/poor concentration
    • weight gain
    • tingling or parasthesia in hands / feet

    Each individual will have any number of these symptoms and they can vary with the level of thyroid deficiency and the length of time the body has been deprived of the right amount of hormone.

    There are other causes of Hypothyroidism such as cancer surgery, radioactive iodine treatment of hyperthyroidism, heavy metal poisoning and more rarely a problem with the Pituitary gland that is not producing enough TSH – thyroid stimulating hormone.

    Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism is by far the most common (90-95%) and that is what I am focusing on today.

    Treatment Options

    Normal medical treatment has always focused on replenishing the body with thyroid hormone – either in the form of a synthetic T4 drug or desiccated thyroid tissue taken from pigs or cows. In the case of a surgically removed thyroid or one that has been destroyed by radiation then this may be the only option.

    With Hashimoto’s I feel it is important to take a Functional Medicine approach to find and treat the root cause which is an Autoimmune reaction and to support the thyroid with the nutrition it needs for optimal function. There is frequently an underlying Adrenal imbalance as well and patients often say that they have had extreme stress previous to symptoms, or ongoing. There may also be a history of Epstein Barr infection or other herpes infections, all of which can affect the immune system long-term.

    It is very important to look at the medical history as the Thyroid may have been under attack for quite some time before multiple symptoms appear and a diagnosis sort. It is also possible that other Autoimmune problems are present, especially Coeliac disease or Gluten intolerance. This could mean that the digestive tract is damaged, already reacting to foreign proteins and not absorbing all the nutrients we need.

    Hashimoto’s is not something that I think you should try and treat yourself and it should be monitored with appropriate blood tests but there are certain actions that you can take yourself that can help balance your system, boost your health and at the same time help your Doctor see the overall picture of the effects of the disease and the treatment.

    If you think you may have Hashimoto’s rather than any other cause of fatigue then the first thing you could do is set up a chart to record your Basal Temperature. This is the temperature that you body falls to at night when you are sleeping. Have a thermometer by your bed and as soon as you wake take your temperature, in your armpit. Make sure that it is right in your armpit and leave it for 2-5 mins to get an accurate reading. If you have low thyroid function then it is likely to be several points lower than the normal range of 36.4C -36.7C . Do this for at least a week so that you have a record to show your doctor and you can also carry on to show any reaction to treatment.

    My own approach

    I have thought for years that my Thyroid was slightly under-active and have not been good with aerobic activity, climbing hills etc. since having Glandular Fever aged 20. I lost my outer eyebrows ages ago. I have been aware of my pulse being slow and irregular (43 -55) for over 10 years but have had ECG’s and told it wasn’t anything to worry about. It wasn’t until a medical showed a TSH of 5.25 and a slightly low FT4 of 11.8 that I thought I should probably do something about it if I was to continue to be healthy.

    It also made me realise that an increasing amount of tingling and parasthesia in my hands was probably more likely to be caused by my Thyroid than by neck arthritis. I felt, maybe wrongly, that if I went to my GP I would just be put on synthetic T4 Thyroid pills and from everyone I have dealt with over the years I knew this was not the cure all that it is often claimed to be.

    My plan was to first optimise my nutrition to see if that had any effect on my symptoms. I started by taking Bio-Selenium 200 as that is know to be essential for Immune and Thyroid function and it is a nutrient that many in the UK are know to be lacking. Ten days later I started a Basal Temperature chart and also recorded my pulse and blood pressure every few days. The first few days my temperature was in the range 34.1-34.4 C which is 2 degrees below normal therefore I decided to add an amino acid L-Tyrosine 500mg as I had read that this could possibly stimulate the available thyroid hormone. I realise that I was experimenting but I  researched and the only side effect was said to be that if you suffered with migraine headaches it may trigger them. I never get headaches since giving up gluten and dairy and therefore thought it was unlikely to affect me.

    Within 2 days my Basal Temperature was up 35.5-36.0 C and I actually felt very warm and my circulation was improved with warm feet – something that is a complete anomaly to me! This was in total contrast to the typical UK weather that had suddenly taken a dip back to cool and wet. That evening I started to get a headache and by the next evening it was continuous and worse – I felt like I had been kicked in the back of the head. Taking painkillers lessened it but then a couple of days later I started to get an uncomfortable feeling in my throat and a tight sensation on swallowing. Now this seemed extreme for a natural protein that is found in chicken, turkey and that I thought I probably was getting sufficient quantities of through my diet and so, listening to what my body was telling me, I stopped taking the L-Tyrosine. During the time I was taking it the tingling in my hands disappeared and I felt more energised and alert but I have since read that if you have autoimmune problems it may be too stimulating and cause more inflammatory reaction. If self medicating – even with nutritional supplements – always do thorough research!

    The tingling in my hands returned, the throat gradually returned to normal and my Temperature remained above 35C.  On to a new plan…

    Ashwaganda, a popular Ayurvedic medicine used for a wide variety of disorders, is something I have used before to treat stress and fatigue. It is an adaptogenic herb with the ability to get the body to regulate itself. It has been proven to work well in regulating the thyroid gland when additional T4 and/or T3 is required or if the rate of metabolism is slow.  Scientists concluded that people with hypothyroidism benefited from Ashwaganda due to it’s ability to raise T4/T3 and its anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, antioxidant and nerve protecting qualities. It is important to buy good quality herbs therefore I started on 1 capsule twice a day of fresh organic Ashwaganda Root Capsules.

    I also added Licorice (Glycyrrhiza Glabara) that supports immune function and with ingredients that heal the digestive tract, are anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-microbial. From my latest research it does look like there may be a connection to Autoimmune problems stemming from Epstein Barr infection that can stay dormant in the body therefore adding supplements that have anti-viral properties could help.

    So far, so good. I am generally sleeping better and have plenty of energy. The peripheral neuralgia is improving again and a month on my temperature has not fallen below 35C and I haven’t had any palpitations. I will carry on for another month with this plan as well as my usual Low Carb High Good Fat diet, Methyl B Vitamins, Vitamin D and keep eating nuts and seeds for zinc, Liver or pate for Ferritin levels, Lemon Balm (anti-viral) and Green Tea and Resveratrol in the form of Red Wine plus my Sizzling Minerals to make sure I get good magnesium levels and all the other minerals I need to help cellular function.

    I will get a repeat blood test and if I have to take a thyroid hormone then I would definitely prefer to take a natural one that provides all the elements needed and not just artificial T4 – thyroid function is complex. Functional Medicine is about looking for the root cause, assessing all the signs and symptoms and adjusting diet and lifestyle.

    This might sound a lot but it just becomes part of what you do – listen to your body, assess signs and symptoms and tweek as necessary! Those that don’t take time to maintain their health may end up losing time due to ill health!

     

     

     

     

     

  • Aging/ Arthritis/ Autoimmune diseases/ Collagen/ Energy/ Health/ Immune system - healing/ Inflammation/ Leaky Gut/ Nutritional Medicine

    Proven Nutritional Remedies for Ageing

    ageing

    There are certainly many personal and spiritual improvements that can come with age – more confidence, wisdom, understanding and courage to name just a few. Intolerance is not often considered to be a good trait but it can be what drives you to instigate change – it certainly is a strong factor that drives me into action. I do not accept that we have to suffer as we age. We have plenty of evidence that there are nutritional remedies for ageing and that in the ‘Blue Zones’ of the world, people live to be much older without the chronic ill health that is common during the last 20 years of life in the Western World. Most of us don’t want to live longer if it means being ill, immobile, lonely or mentally impaired and we don’t have to! There are natural proven Nutritional remedies for ageing, combating loss of energy, loss muscle strength and mobility, improving sleep etc.

    Our bodies slow down as we age,

    they don’t function quite as well as they used to but with the right knowledge we can minimise the effects. I am not going to tell you to get gym membership or run marathons as I have never been big on exercise myself. I am a nutritionist and so this is about optimum nutrition. Many of you  have probably already noticed changes that you either hate or have just tried to accept thinking that you can’t do anything about;

    • extra weight
    • fat tummy
    • lines, wrinkles
    • Bat-wing arms
    • loss of energy

    ….but here are a few more;

    • muscle loss and wasting
    • joint stiffness and pain
    • loss of flexibility and range of movement
    • poor quality sleep
    • breaking, fragile nails
    • thinning hair
    • inflammation
    • poor digestion
    • blood sugar problems
    • loss of strength and stamina
    • weakened immune system
    • bladder weakness
    • loss of memory and mental performance

    A depressing list and even with a positive mental attitude these are things that can seriously impact our quality of life.

    To illustrate the point I would like to tell you about my Mother. She was only in her 50’s when she started to suffer from the extreme pain and difficulties of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Sjögren’s syndrome (dry eyes, mouth, chronic cough, muscle pain and poor digestion). When I had my three children she was unable to hold them, play with them, bath them and even a cuddle could be painful. Now that I have grandchildren I realise the full extent of what she missed out on and it is because of her Autoimmune problems that I became interested in Nutrition and disease prevention.

    I have several friends of similar age to me (65) who also struggle to cope, have less energy, cannot get down on the floor, cannot lift anything heavy due to poor backs, knees or hips. Some my age have already had hip or knee replacement surgery. Weakness of grip and inability to open jars, inability to squat and get up again and lack of balance are all early warning signs and women tend to suffer this much more than men.

    Now the good news

    I have suffered from ALL of the symptoms above and at age 30 I seriously imagined being just like my Mum by the time I was in my 50’s. I was convinced that diet and lifestyle played a very large part and also that multiple doses of Antibiotics definitely worsened the symptoms. Nutrition became a passion that has grown year on year and while at work as a Nurse the talk was all about ‘evidence based Medicine‘ I was always bashing on about evidence based Nutrition!

    We are living through very interesting times when knowledge about nutrition, ageing and chronic disease is expanding daily and that there is plenty we can do to alleviate the symptoms of ageing with good, evidence based Nutrition.

    What we have to do is not only ignore but also undo the damage that decades of poor dietary advice – low-fat, low calories, high carbs have inflicted on our bodies. If you want to know more about this I have an article ‘ Why Low-fat diets damage your Health.

    Weight gain, joint pain, loss of energy are not symptoms of old age anymore than a sudden penchant for pearls could be and simple changes can reverse all of these symptoms – as I have proved. I am now my ideal weight at 10st.7lbs and most of the symptoms I have suffered in the past have significantly improved or even disappeared. I do have a very poor memory for names but my ability to learn has increased, not diminished; I have more strength and energy than a few years ago and my bladder weakness has improved about 90% – no medications just good nutrition and nutritional supplements.

    The Journey to a Healthier Old Age

    Writing for women and men of 40+ I would like to share my knowledge and help you to prevent or reverse all these horrible symptoms that your Doctor will tell you are down togetting old’ and we will start with…..

    Collagen.

    Collagen is an amazing substance made up of 3 main amino acids – Glycine, Proline and Hydroxyproline, that constitutes 30% of the total protein in our bodies. It is what strengthens tissues and holds us all together. When young the body consistently produces collagen but by age 40 collagen synthesis starts to decline, with a dramatic reduction in synthesis after the Menopause. By age 60 there is normally a considerable decline but with early or surgically induced Menopause this could be considerably younger. As it was for myself and my Mother. I had a Hysterectomy age 31 and what followed was poor digestion, multiple food intolerances, arthritis and fatigue. Collagen and especially Glycine helps to heal the gastrointestinal tract, it is needed for the production of Bile salts and digestive enzymes, strengthens the immune system and reduces chronic fatigue.  This is why it is one of the best nutritional remedies for ageing.

    Other lifestyle aspects that affect collagen production are high levels of stress, excessive exposure to UV light, smoking and a poor diet with high processed carbohydrates and sugar.

    Autoimmune disorders can also target Collagen.

    Increasing Collagen

    There are many ways you can increase your intake and production of Collagen and therefore increase the health of your joints, improve sleep and mood, improve skin elasticity, muscle strength and flexibility.

    With food

    Collagen is made up of several amino acids that all come from animal sources.

    1. Organ meat:- liver, kidney, heart, tongue, sweetbreads. Some people, children included, who have not been used to eating organ meat cooked on it’s own or in a casserole might prefer pâté, Haggis or it added to burgers and sausages.
    2. Connective tissue:- oxtail, neck, marrow – all cheap stewing or casserole cuts with plenty of bone. I find a Slow Cooker best.
    3. Bone Broth:- chicken, beef, ham – organic definitely best.
    4. Pork skin, chicken skin, fish skin.
    5. Eggs:- especially the whites but the yolk helps with the production of fibrinogen which is also important.
    6. Gelatin

    ‘Women of a certain age’ may get a lightbulb moment – did we eat far more of these foods growing up than we do now? Do we now spend a fortune on skin creams that claim to include or stimulate Collagen production and reduce wrinkles by including Retinol (Vitamin A) from animal sources?

    For Collagen to be well utilised in the body some other nutrients are required so these are also nutritional remedies for ageing and foods that increase vitality and a strong immune system.

    • Vitamin C – citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwis, tomatoes, leafy green vegetables, peppers and broccoli
    • Anthocyanidins – blackberries, blueberries, cherries and raspberries.
    • Copper – shellfish, nuts, red meat, avocados, liver, kidney.
    • Vitamin D – oily fish like tuna, sardines, herring, mackerel, salmon, egg yolks, mushrooms, small amounts in milk, cheese and yogurt. Sunlight on skin.

    Supplements

    If you are already showing signs of decreased Collagen in your body then as well as increasing all the foods listed I think you need to take a supplement for a minimum of 3-6 months. I was already eating all the right foods and taking a natural Plant Mineral daily but a supplement of powdered Collagen started to make a visible difference after just 1 month. They are not just for bodybuilders – although the adverts do supply a bit of eye candy! A useful site is here.

    Do check out the best supplements because many products with low doses are sold as beauty products.

    You can get Collagen as a powder that dissolves in liquid and is easily absorbed or in capsules or tablets. 3-6 grams a day is recommended. The Collagen usually comes from fish or bovine sources so check this if you have allergies. Some are made from concentrated bone broth. Some have Vitamin C added and some even have Hyaluronic Acid – which helps hydrate tissues and cushion joints.

    Better to spend your money on nutritional supplements that benefit the entire body than on expensive creams just for your face – most of which don’t work. Collagen is not easily absorbed by the skin. Most other treatments rely on stimulating production by removing the surface layer of skin cells (a konjac sponge is a great natural way to exfoliate) or damaging the deeper layers with needles or laser – definitely not something I would choose.

    ageing

    I would love your feedback and to know how you get on.   

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This article was first written by me  for Sally Canning’s website 2016.

  • Autoimmune diseases/ Exclusion diet/ Food intolerance/ Glutamine/ Health/ Immune System/ Immune system - healing/ Inflammation/ Ketogenic diet/ Leaky Gut/ Mineral Depletion/ Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity/ Nutrition and Cancer/ Nutritional Medicine/ Paleo Diet/ Probiotics/ Sizzling Minerals/ Sugar Detox/ Wheat and Dairy Intolerance

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    There are so many ‘diets’ out there, so many weight loss supplements and we go through life trying them all. Often starting in our teens or early 20’s we follow the fads, low carb, high protein, low fat – we might try pills to curb our appetite,  block fat absorption, make us poop more but none of this has a lasting effect. I have never been really overweight, probably 14-20 lbs at certain times in my life and I have tried –

    The Mars Bar diet –

    The low fat yogurt and  black coffee diet

    The Cabbage Diet,

    The F Plan Diet – OMG! that was the start to many of my problems!

    The South Beach Diet……..

    It is possible to initially lose weight doing all of these but it is not sustainable and ultimately not healthy. As a Nutritionist I now know how damaging some of these dietary changes are with many of them slowing your metabolism and depriving your body of vital nutrients. The decades long Low Fat eating advice – even for those not over-weight, has been the most damaging and has resulted in an epidemic of chronic disease, insulin resistance and obesity. The move to convenience foods and fast food results in us eating highly processed foods that are actually nutrient deficient and if we are nutritionally deficient we get food cravings, hormone imbalance and lowered immunity. Many of these highly processed foods cause inflammation in the body. This might become evident by pains in joints, eczema, heartburn, IBS, fatigue, high Blood pressure, weight gain, Diabetes.

    Modern Lifestyle also adds to the problem with more stress, exposure to many toxins, drinking more alcohol, more snacking, less quality rest and sleep. Our immune systems suffer and we end up taking more antibiotics and all of these things can damage our digestive tract and cause even more long-term problems.

    If you have a chronic health problem and inflammation then by healing your gut and improving your immune system you will reduce inflammation, improve your digestion, gain energy and vitality and reverse chronic damage.

    All the information you need to get started on the road to healing and health. From the foods to eat and enjoy to the natural supplements that will help your recovery – 30 pages of up to date information and links to more resources that can help – all in one guide.

    We are the midst of an epidemic of Chronic disease. Autoimmune Diseases – of which there are more than a 100 confirmed and many more suspected; Cancer; Heart disease; Diabetes; Asthma, Arthritis; Chronic Fatigue; Anxiety and depression. It is Chronic disease that is crippling our Health Services and ruining our quality of life.

    Especially relevant is the fact that drugs do not cure most Chronic Diseases – therefore we need to address the problems in a different way and not just treat symptoms but core body functions. Consequently Functional Medicine is the only way forward, looking at how chronic disease is caused and addressing diet and lifestyle for a sustained recovery.

    Chronic disease often starts with inflammation and a poor immune system and it is totally possible to reverse this with lifestyle and good nutrition choices. Proven by Doctors and Nutritionists around the World.

    If you want to make changes that improve your health long-term, reduce your chances of getting Dementia, Cancer or Autoimmune diseases this book will help you, step by step, including supplements and recipes to get you on the right track. It is a regime that is easy to stick to and puts you in charge. By finding out which foods cause problems for you and how you can control your appetite and fat burning with natural foods.

    This guide will tell you how. (Different currencies catered for through this link.)

    Buy my product

  • Autoimmune diseases/ Celiac/ Coeliac/ Food intolerance/ Healthy Food/ Ketogenic diet/ Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity/ Wheat and Dairy Intolerance

    Healthy Food while travelling – with Food Intolerance

    healthy food while travelling - with food intolerance

    Finding Healthy Food while travelling – with Food Intolerance problems is not easy. I am lucky enough to have just had two wonderful, mainly sunny, weeks exploring the Canadian Rockies. As my son and I are both Gluten and Dairy free, travelling and eating out generally can cause problems. Canada had many more Gluten free restaurant options than we get in the UK and restaurant staff everywhere were much more aware and helpful than here. They also seem to serve low carb main meals and do not offer fries with everything. As with the special meal pictured above – the potato was minimal, which is how we like to eat. Even when high in the Rockies, Salads and fresh fruit salads were plentiful. We also found that they have quite a few Gluten free beers. As elsewhere, we found Italian Restaurants usually had Gluten free pasta and Pizza options.

    Preparation is everything

    I started by investigating the airline food available but there was literally nothing we could eat and although most airlines can substitute Gluten free or Dairy free they seem incapable of doing both. The risk is too great and nobody wants to be ill on a 9 hour flight or at the start of their trip. I bought some Paleo Protein Bars and made some chocolate crisp protein bars to fill in for when breakfast or lunch was not possible. We took dates, dairy free chocolate and mixed nuts (which we couldn’t eat because someone on the flight had a severe nut allergy.) We have a basic standby of fruit, ham or turkey, gluten free crackers and crisps which saw us through most of the difficult days actually travelling. Each place we visited we Googled ‘Gluten free Cafes and Restaurants’ and were quite overwhelmed by how much information was out there.

    Eating Out 

    We actually found some great places!  We had a delicious, really healthy lunch of Meatballs on zucchini noodles with mushroom sauce in The Kofta Meatball Kitchen in Cambie Street, Downtown Vancouver. We had a good burger with a very acceptable Gluten free Bun in Milestones, Kelowna plus salad.

    The best meal of the entire holiday was the steak wrapped in smokey bacon with a black pepper demi-glace and lovely fresh vegetables which is the feature image above. The chef at The Marmot Lodge, Jasper, then excelled himself by producing a gluten and dairy free Hazelnut chocolate tart with a berry coulee! It was incredible – thank you, you are a star!

    hazelnut chocolate torte

    Then when in Victoria on Vancouver Island we found an amazing place called Sante Gluten Free Cafe (check out their Facebook Page) where we had a fantastic chicken risotto and we also bought pizzas, lemon coconut slice plus a Cinnamon bun for our long journey home. We also had a lovely meal in the Milestone’s on Victoria Harbour.

    We survived the whole holiday without getting ‘glutened’ and have some lovely memories – so thank you Canada! It certainly isn’t easy finding healthy food while travelling – with food intolerances but with a little planning it is possible to eat and even be a little indulgent 😉

    Let’s hope awareness keeps improving.

  • Autoimmune diseases/ Celiac/ Coeliac/ Gluten/ NCGS/ Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

    Celiac or NCGS is there a difference?

    Celiac or NCGS

    Celiac or NCGS is there a difference? Celiac (Coeliac in UK and Ireland) disease and the connection with wheat has been known about since the 1940’s and with gluten since 1952. Celiac disease is caused in genetically predisposed people by a reaction to a gluten protein called gliadin which can be found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, durum, Kamut and triticale with some people also reacting to oats. Celiac Disease can vary from mild to severe usually showing destruction of the gut lining and is an Autoimmune disease.

    Despite nearly 65 years of knowledge it is poorly diagnosed across all age groups and it is estimated that less than a quarter of people are diagnosed. To confirm diagnosis raised antibodies (IgA) and destruction of the villi in the gut lining have to be demonstrated. Certain populations have a higher incidence, the populations of Ireland and Italy appear to and also people with Downs Syndrome have an increased risk .  Celiac disease is associated with a multitude of other chronic medical conditions, many of which are Autoimmune disorders and also some neurological disorders.

    NCGS – Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity was originally described in the 1980’s and only since 2010 has been included in the spectrum of gluten related disorders. It is also associated with Autoimmune disorders and neurological disorders where no small bowel disease has been discovered.

    It is known that there may be a genetic predisposition but that a trigger such as surgery, infection, pregnancy and emotional stress can trigger symptoms of Celiac disease and NCGS.

    The varied symptoms are common to both and can be:- Read More

  • Anaemia/ Autoimmune diseases/ Blood sugar management/ Cancer Prevention/ Energy/ Immune System/ Stress Reduction/ Supplements

    B Vitamins and Autoimmune Disease

    B Vitamins

    There are eight numbered B Vitamins that are all important for cellular metabolism but with more recent findings we know the importance of some B Vitamins and Autoimmune Disease.

    People who suffer from Autoimmune Diseases and/or have genetic mutations that affect the way Vitamin B is used in the body may benefit from supplementing the natural forms of B6 (Pyridoxine), B9 (Folate) and B12 (Cobalamin). These three vitamins are critical for for supporting the methyl cycle and DNA and RNA synthesis. B Vitamins are all water soluble and easily lost or destroyed by water, heat processing, roasting and canning. Elevated homocysteine is a proven factor for cardio vascular disease and taking B6, B9 and B12 can lower Homocysteine levels.

    Vitamin B6 as the co-enzyme form Pyridoxal 5′-phosphate, P5’P  is used in the metabolism of proteins and fats and is necessary for creating glucose from these foods and is also essential for the synthesis of neurotransmitters and red blood cells. It is necessary for the production of Hydrochloric acid and the absorption of Magnesium and B12. Helps the body metabolise and transport selenium and zinc, is a natural diuretic and alleviates nausea. It is involved in converting 5-HTP into Serotonin and also the calming neurotransmitter GABA.

    Signs of Deficiency are

    • Anaemia not corrected by iron
    • poor sleep
    • kidney stones
    • morning sickness
    • PMS – Premenstrual Syndrome
    • Skin rashes and dry skin
    • Anxiety and nervousness
    • Insulin Resistance
    • muscle spasms and cramps
    • Carpal Tunnel syndrome
    •  Asperger’s and Autism
    • Heart Disease

    Causes of deficiency are Read More

  • Autoimmune diseases/ Brain - Gut Connection/ Energy/ Inflammation/ Probiotics

    Probiotics Breakthrough

    Paleo and LCHF approach

    A Review.

    We have a Probiotics breakthrough with a new supplement called Elixa Probiotic.

    So much of what I do and write about this past couple of years has been about the health of our Microbiome – the environment of beneficial bacteria within and on our bodies that affects our health. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can be taken as a supplement, eaten as fermented foods and even given as an enema and many people have learnt that by improving their gut health they can significantly improve their overall physical and mental health.

    They have proved so beneficial that a daily top up seems essential to some people with chronic inflammatory disease, Auto-immune disease, ADHD, Autism, Depression and Insomnia to name just a few. Taking probiotics has also been shown to improve the function of our immune system. I have taken probiotics on and off over the years. At first the supplements only contained one or two strains and needed to be kept in the fridge but over the years different technology has meant that we can now benefit from several strains and they have a good shelf life at normal temperatures.

    The breakthrough is a new Product that has 12 different strains and is 50 times the strength of the average Probiotic and best of all, you probably only need a six day course to set up a much healthier environment in your digestive tract.

    Elixa Probiotics

     

    Read More

  • Adrenal Fatigue/ Arthritis/ Autoimmune diseases/ Blood sugar management/ Cancer./ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ Detox Drinks - healthy drinking/ Energy/ Health/ Hyperthyroidism/ Hypothyroidism/ Mineral Depletion/ Nutritional Medicine/ Sizzling Minerals

    Optimum Health and Energy

    Minerals

    Do you exercise, eat a healthy diet and spend a lot on daily supplements but still feel there is something missing? Would you love to have Optimum health and energy? Wake refreshed? Have better digestion and more stable blood sugar? Plus Sports enthusiasts can improve performance, Prolong Endurance, increase stamina and have rapid recovery.

    Do you suffer from chronic health problems, stress, poor sleep, low blood sugar, Type II Diabetes, bloating, IBS or other digestive problems, allergies and intolerances, poor focus or memory, pains in muscles, legs or joints? Then that something that is missing is almost certainly Minerals. You need about 60 different minerals a day for the proper function of your

    • Immune System
    • Enzyme functions
    • Balancing of body pH
    • Cellular Health – mitochondrial health, oxygenation and energy

    Linus Pauling stated “you can trace every sickness, every disease and every ailment to a mineral deficiency” and yet the estimate is that we are only taking in 20-25 now even on a good diet with at least 5 a day fruit and vegetables. Nutritionists and Doctors seem to frequently ignore the importance of minerals and yet we have an epidemic of immune system problems and allergies in all ages, but especially children.

    A post on Magnesium Deficiency went viral and the media seems to concentrate on Calcium and the problems with calcium tablets but what about the 58+ other minerals? We need 7 Macro-minerals for bone, muscle, heart and brain function and fluid balance – Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride and Sulphur All Trace minerals are incorporated into enzymes or hormones required in body processes. So here are just a few minerals and what they are necessary for. Read More

  • Autoimmune diseases/ bodykind supplements/ Energy/ Food intolerance/ Hashimotos Disease/ Health/ Hypothyroidism/ Nutritional Medicine

    Vitamin B12 Deficiency in Adults & Children

    B Vitamins

    Vitamin B12 deficiency in Adults & Children can become serious and debilitating if not diagnosed. Many of the signs and symptoms can be similar to other health problems and sometimes health professionals may be looking for diseases rather than nutrient deficiencies.

    Vitamin B12 is also called cobalamin and  cyanocobalamin. It is water soluble and found mainly in foods from animals. It is an essential vitamin and sometimes known as a ‘feel good’ vitamin as, along with other B vitamins it ensures a healthy nervous and energy system. It forms and regenerates red blood cells and is essential for growth and development being necessary to utilize fats, proteins and carbohydrates. It improves concentration, memory and balance and also helps detoxify cyanide from foods and airborne toxins like tobacco smoke.

    SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS IN ADULTS

    • weight loss
    • weakness or fatigue
    • muscular soreness
    • sore, red tongue
    • headaches
    • shortness of breath
    • abdominal bloating
    • Palpitations
    • Anaemia
    • Depression and other Psychological symptoms
    • Problems with memory, understanding and judgement leading to Dementia
    • Neurological symptoms such as ‘pins and needles’ in extremities, Peripheral Neuropathy
    • unexplained Vision or taste impairment

    CAUSES

    1. Nutritional – people following a vegan, vegetarian or low protein diet. Low dietary intake over a prolonged time are at risk of deficiency. All of these people should take a Vitamin B Complex supplement that includes B12.
    2. Malabsorption – Lack of a protein produced in the stomach called the ‘Intrinsic Factor’ can mean that B12 cannot be absorbed. This is called Pernicious Anaemia and the treatment is high dose B12 injection. Anyone who has had to have part or all of their stomach removed would be in a similar position.
    3. Digestive – antacid medications interfere with the absorption as stomach acid is necessary for proper absorption so anyone on antacids or PPI drugs, especially during pregnancy should supplement B12. Inflammation and damage to the intestines can cause inability to absorb B12, as in Coeliac disease, Crohn’s etc. Also some other medications, like anticonvulsants,inhibit absorption. People over the age of 60 with other health problems, poor diet and diminished stomach enzymes and acid may also be at risk. B12 deficiency can also occur due to SIBO when there is slower movement of food through the intestines allowing an overgrowth of the wrong bacteria and these bacteria steal the B12 for their own use. Intestinal parasites can also be a cause.
    4. Autoimmune Disease – Pernicious Anaemia is an Autoimmune disorder but other Autoimmune conditions can also be present that will possibly be accompanied by lack of Vitamin B12 – Graves Disease, Hashimoto’s disease, Vitiligo, MS and Addison’s Disease (Adrenocortical Insufficiency) for example.

    SUPPLEMENTS AND DIET

    Supplements can be in the form of tablets or capsules of Vitamin B12 plus a Vitamin B Complex or sometimes if deficiency is due to insufficient stomach acid then a sub-lingual powder can be just dropped under the tongue and will absorb through the mucous membrane of the mouth.  Supplements of between 50mcg and 2,000mcgs have been reported safe. The outlook once diagnosed and treated is excellent. Probiotics may improve digestion and absorption.

    Dietary sources of Vitamin B12  Read More