• 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!

     

     

     

     

     

  • Exclusion diet/ Gluten Free/ Healthy Food

    Given up Gluten Grains ?- what you need to stay Healthy…

    Natural fresh healthy food Gluten Free

    Given up Gluten Grains?

    Well the media are at it again with their fear tactics and poor science. According to latest reports giving up Gluten could ‘make you more prone to developing Heart Disease and Diabetes’.

    Let me just turn this around for a moment and query whether they are saying that they have scientific studies that prove that eating bread, biscuits and cake prevent Heart Disease and Diabetes?

    NO – all the latest research shows the complete opposite.

    Let’s look at the facts.

    • The studies quoted were mainly based on the fibre content and lack of some nutrients connected to not eating Whole Grains.
    • The majority of gluten grains consumed in the developed World are highly processed.
    • Processing grains strips away the bran and the germ – removing more than half the B vitamins, 90% of the Vitamin E, most of the minerals and virtually all of the fibre.
    • The rise in Cardiovascular Disease and Type 2 Diabetes has been epidemic over the last 40 years when Governments have been pushing high carbohydrate, low salt, low fat diets.
    • People that develop Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes often are overweight and eat a nutrient poor diet.
    • Latest research in many Countries is confirming that a Low Carb, High Good Fats diet can prevent and even reverse both Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease and Government guidelines are being adjusted accordingly.

    What Nutrients do wholegrains contain?

    Processed flour products usually have some vitamins added back in plus sugar and salt to make up for the lack of flavour. Typically in cereals Vitamin D, some B Vitamins and iron are added.

    Unprocessed wholegrains contain

    • all the B Vitamins – B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, Folic Acid, Biotin.
    • Vitamin E
    • Vitamin K
    • Choline, Inositol

    and the minerals

    • Magnesium
    • Zinc
    • Chromium
    • Copper
    • Manganese
    • Molybdenum
    • Phosphorous
    • Selenium

    Therefore if you find you need a Gluten Free Diet for managing IBS, Coeliac or Non-Coeliac gluten Sensitivity, any other inflammatory Bowel disease or Autoimmune Disorders it is important that you eat a varied diet that supplies these nutrients. This is not hard as these nutrients are in many other foods but it does become difficult if you also are limited to a vegetarian or vegan diet and in those circumstances I would suggest enlisting the help of a Nutritionist. If you are Paleo then you may not want to eat some of the foods on this list but for the sake of nutrition I prefer to eat what I term a modified Paleo diet and include them.

    I follow a Gluten free diet and am also dairy free. Many people that are sensitive to Gluten are also sensitive to Dairy, including people with Coeliac Disease. I like to include some non-gluten grains that I tolerate well and one of the important ones is Oats. Some people might contest this but as long as I buy GF Oats I find they are OK. Oats contain much higher levels of iron and Magnesium than wheat and also plenty of soluble fibre rather than the irritating bran fibre.

     

    What to eat to stay Healthy when Gluten Free

    GRAINS

    Non GMO Corn, GF Oats, Brown Rice, Quinoa, buckwheat and millet.

    VEGETABLES and Legumes

    Leafy Green Vegetables, Avocados, carrots, sweet potato, alfalfa, kelp, tomatoes, Broccoli, mushrooms, peas, beans, lentils, onions, garlic.

    MEAT and FISH

    All meats, liver, pate and other offal for the important vitamin B content. Fish, oily fish and seafood.

    EGGS

    FRUIT

    Melon, Bananas, fresh oranges, grapefruit, apricots, prunes.

    NUTS and SEEDS

    Almonds, Brazil nuts, Pecans, Walnuts, Hazelnuts, Sunflower Seeds, Sesame seeds, Flaxseeds.

    DAIRY

    Live Yogurt, Cheese, Milk. If you eat dairy or not I would add a good Probiotic as it is in the Gut that we make the most B Vitamins and neurotransmitters.

    Green Tea and Dark Chocolate

    for good sources of Vitamin K and Magnesium

    If you eat a good selection of these foods on a regular basis you will not be nutrient deficient or be lacking in Fibre but you will definitely be free of the chemicals they spray grains with (like Glyphosate) free from inflammation

    and

    Healthy!

     

     

  • 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.

  • 10 portions Fruit and Vegetables a day/ Health/ Magnesium

    Magnesium deficiency Stats Reveal All

    Magnesium

    Magnesium deficiency is commonplace and can have quite an impact on your health.

    These Magnesium stats reveal all.

    Magnesium content in vegetables has declined up to 80% since 1950 and modern processing of grains for flour and pasta removes 80-90% of total magnesium. No wonder we are now being told that we have to eat 10 portions of fruit and vegetables a day to remain healthy!

    The World Health Organisation states that 75% of the population do not  reach the RDA for Magnesium of 300mg.

    What factors affect our levels of cellular Magnesium?

    • Stress and illness
    • carbonated drinks – phosphates bind to Magnesium
    • caffeine causes more Magnesium to be excreted through the kidneys
    • refined sugar does as well
    • taking Calcium supplements without Magnesium

    Magnesium is in your cells and the intercellular spaces so cannot be accurately measured with blood tests.

    Symptoms of Magnesium deficiency are  muscular cramps, poor sleep, anxiety, times of hyperactivity, chronic pain and heart problems but you can be deficient and not have identifiable or constant symptoms.

    Magnesium can be found in leafy green veg, wholegrain cereals, brown rice, nuts, pumpkin and other seeds, beans, fish and seafood, cocoa and dark chocolate.

    Sizzling Plant Minerals are now with increased Magnesium at 200mg per daily drink and they also include all 75 natural minerals that are deficient in our diet. Your cells require these minerals to function properly and keep healthy and that is why I consider this supplement to be the first choice as the most important  supplement for maintaining health.

     

     

    Buy here. …and tick autoship to save.

     

     

    Here is a YouTube video from David Perlmutter MD that explains just how important Magnesium is for health.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmNIL3lo_Jg&sns=em

     

  • Nutritional Medicine

    SOIL-Minerals-Probiotics-Food-Microbiome-HEALTH

    SOIL-Minerals-Probiotics-Food-MicrobiomeHEALTH 

    the connections we need to understand and take action on.

    World Soil Day

    RTEmagicC GSP WSD 16 WebBanner 150x150 EN 2xwFYZOur soils are the foundation of our Nutrition and yet are in a depleted and polluted state in much of the World.

    IMG 2065 1 AsigMo
    And at no time under greater threat……

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    Where Food Begins

    Healthy soils are critical for global food production, but we are not paying enough attention to this important “silent ally,” FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said on the eve of World Soil Day, to be celebrated on 5 December.

    Healthy soils not only are the foundation for food, fuel, fibre and medical products, but also are essential to our ecosystems,  playing a key role in the carbon cycle, storing and filtering water, and improving resilience to floods and droughts, he noted.

    via Where Food Begins

    FullSizeRender 4 Z72Egp
    This diagram shows 18 of the minerals that are exchanged between soil, plants and our food – the main 3 being N (nitrogen) P (Phospherous) and K (Potassium) and NPK fertiliser is what has been added back into the soil for many years to get higher yields. The main problem is that there are over 75 minerals that are needed by the body to maintain a disease and ailment free state. The World Health Organisation acknowledges the effect that certain other mineral depletion can have on the health of entire populations – one important one is Iodine that is essential for brain development and thyroid function. Then Selenium is also deficient in many areas and leads to higher rates of cancer.

    Soil should also contain a massive diversity of organisms that help support all life on this planet. There should be more organisms in one tablespoon of healthy soil than there are people on this Earth. As with the science of the Microbiome we are only just beginning to realise the importance of these organisms for our immune systems and mental well-being. We are also moving further away from our natural environment and becoming immersed in technology with more contact to our electronic devises than we do to real food and soil.

    As a result of all these changes and the addition of an ever increasing amount of pollution and toxins that our body has to deal with, we are becoming chronically sick. There are no pills that cure this only a change in lifestyle and nutrition that will give our bodies what they need to thrive.

    We have to take responsibility for this by eating fresh, mainly unprocessed food, buying organic and free range where possible and treating our mineral depletion with Celtic sea salt, Himalayan Salt and Epson Salt baths as a minimum. I personally take Sizzling Minerals every day and feel so much better.

    We also need to eat well to protect our gut and microbiome. Avoid drugs that damage this vital part of our immune system – antibiotics, PPI’s, NSAID’s etc. and take advanced Probiotics to support our gut and brain health. I am in the process of testing a new type of Probiotic that I will write about in 2-3 weeks so if you want to know the results then sign up for my newsletter by Mail-chimp – in the side bar.

     

     

     

     

     

  • Blood sugar management/ Cancer Prevention/ Energy/ Health/ Inflammation/ Probiotics/ Sizzling Minerals/ Sleep/ Sugar Detox

    SUGAR and overcoming addiction.

    Sugar - overcoming addiction

    You might be surprised that I start by discussion Fat more than Sugar but understanding the connection between the two is vital to understanding SUGAR and overcoming addiction.

    From years we have been told that saturated fat was bad for us and that it caused weight gain, high blood sugar, heart disease and strokes and from that false belief, more and more processed low-fat foods flooded the market. Thousands of fad diets were promoted all centered on low fat and the prevention of weight gain and disease and yet the population has just gone on getting fatter and more sick.

    We now know that advice was totally wrong and that refined vegetable oils and transfats are the lethal ones that age us faster, damage cell walls and cause chronic inflammation and disease. Over these same decades we have eaten more and more carbohydrates to try to satisfy our hunger.  Many of the processed foods and drinks have hidden sugars in an attempt to make them more palatable. Healthy fats satisfy our appetite and have a stabilising influence on blood sugar.

    Insulin Resistance

    Our bodies were not designed to run on sugar and lots of processed carbohydrates like packaged cereals, pasta etc. and therefore we have a hard time converting all those foods to usable fuel. Most modern meals contain much more of this fuel than we can use in the short-term and so the body produces lots of Insulin to process it and allow what is needed to go to work in the muscles, brain and liver. When these cells are full the rest of the glucose is converted to FAT for storage.

    We now consume nearly four times as many carbohydrates(including sugars of all types), a lot less fiber and often poor quality fats and oils. In time, the insulin receptors on the surface of your cells start to decrease in number and also in efficiency and if the glucose can’t get into the cells because they are full – it stays circulating in the bloodstream. The Pancreas senses the high levels of blood glucose and secretes more Insulin and the receptors on the cells  become even more resistant! Constantly higher blood glucose causes inflammation and damage to cells. The main signs that you have a degree of Insulin Resistance is fat distributed around your middle and around your vital organs that is very hard to shift. This is dangerous Visceral fat that can also affect hormone levels.

    We now have 3 generations of people with some degree of Insulin Resistance which has reached 1:2 of the whole population. Type II Diabetes and Cancer are epidemic. Even children are now being diagnosed with Type II Diabetes and yet a generation ago it was mainly a disease of middle-age.

    The good news is that it is reversible.

    Read More

  • Blood sugar management/ Cancer Prevention/ Health/ Healthy Food

    Confused about Healthy Eating?

    Confused by Nutrition?

    Confused about Healthy Eating? – you’re not the only one! The Public, the media and some Professionals  seem to be struggling to keep up with the massive influx of new scientific and nutritional information that has come to light over the last 5 years. Good nutritional advice is now very much more complex as it involves knowing not only which foods to eat and in what quantities but how to avoid toxins from herbicides, pesticides, GMO foods, chemicals and other health damaging ingredients in foods plus knowledge of the nutrients we may be deficient in due to soil depletion and farming methods. We are living at a time of the highest levels of chronic ill health and we need to understand about healthy eating as part of living a longer life, maintaining a good quality of life and avoiding diseases that are preventable.

    The media are not helping and some newspaper/magazine articles and TV programs are just adding to the confusion by presenting out of date or misleading information and not being able to differentiate between marketing and science. Take “The Truth about….Healthy Eating” on BBC 1 last week – quoted as being an investigation into if we can eat and drink our way to good health. Read More

  • Health/ Organic produce/ Sizzling Minerals/ Toxin free products

    Natural Skincare for over 40’s

    Natural Skincare

    Research of toxin free hair and skin care products has led me to a new regime of Natural Skin Care for the over 40’s that is based on various  oils and products to stimulate the collagen that starts to be lost around this age. A detour from my normal Posts but it is all about nourishment, inside and out.

    I am not going to list all the toxins that can be found in even expensive skin and hair care products other than to say that many are petrochemical in origin, some have been shown to be cancer causing and whatever you put on your skin can be absorbed into your body. Although I am talking about over 40’s skin care here I would urge everyone to look at the ingredients contained in babies and children’s products and reduce the exposure of your children and grandchildren to toxins as much as possible because they will be exposed to many more toxins than previous generations. Read More

  • Cancer Prevention

    Prevention of Cancer – choices we make…

    Cancer prevention for life

    Who doesn’t fear Cancer? We are constantly reminded that it affects more than 1:3 people and that is a terrifying statistic when applied to our friends and family and therefore we tend to push it to the back of our minds. We would like to be certain that we could prevent it and that isn’t possible as it affects everyone from the newborn to the super fit but research shows us that there are lifestyle choices that can help with the prevention of Cancer and being informed and taking action lessens the fear.

    We all produce cancer cells everyday of our lives and our Immune System deals with them but various factors can overwhelm our immune system and make it much more difficult to cope. We can change aspects of our lifestyle and diet to limit our exposure to toxins, support our immune system and include natural foods, herbs and spices that we know have anti-cancer properties so here are some important choices we can make… Read More