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The Importance of Detoxing to Improve Our Health, Energy Levels and Preconception Care

21st August, 2013

 Part 1

Fatigue, lethargy, difficulty concentrating, reproductive disorders, mood swings, recurrent infections, allergies and autoimmune disorders, are just some of the symptoms and conditions you may suffer with, due to an accumulation of environmental and microbial toxins in your body. Toxins are  eliminated by the body either by directly neutralising them, or excreting them in the faeces or urine. The liver, kidneys and intestines are the main organs of detoxification. However if these organs are under-functioning and become impaired due to illness, heavy toxic loads,  and poor diet, it may be worth looking at ways to support your digestive system and liver function.

Counterfeit drugsThe Types of Toxins the Body can be Exposed To

A toxin can be described as any compound that has a detrimental effect on cell function and structure.

Toxins can  be classified as:
Heavy metals
  such as lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic and aluminium.

Liver toxicants such as chemicals, alcohol, drugs, solvents, pesticides, and food additives.
Microbial Compounds produced by yeast and bacteria in the gut, toxic amines, and toxic derivatives of bile.
Protein metabolites such as ammonia and urea are toxins that the kidneys are responsible for eliminating .

Heavy metals and liver toxicants can both give rise to a range of psychological and neurological symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, dizziness, depression, mental confusion and poor coordination (Murray and Pizzorno, 2003).

Microbial compounds have been implicated in psoriasis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, allergies, asthma and immune disorders (Murray and Pizzorno, 2003).

Ionising Radiation effects (flying and X-rays), have been shown to contribute to abnormalities of sperm and ova, causing chromosomal damage and foetal malformations such as Down Syndrome (Naish, 2000). According to Naish an international flight or high altitude domestic flight is equivalent to one X-ray through your whole body. Naish suggests Reiishi and shitaki mushrooms, Burdock, Astragalus, Siberian Ginseng and B5 to aid recovery from exposure.

Other factors that contribute to the need to detoxify the body are

Poor dietary choices such as high sugar diets and junk food
Slow gut transit time due to highly processed foods and low fibre
Poor peristaltic function which slows down the elimination of stools
Hormonal imbalances

English: A restaurant dish consisting of small...

Chocolate cakes from Gaulupeau, Versailles


Testing for toxicity

 Heavy metals – the most reliable measure is hair mineral analysis.
 Toxic chemicals – a detailed case history is essential and possibly blood and fatty tissue   analysis. To measure the effects these chemicals have on the liver, a clearance test is useful and can measure compounds such as caffeine and benzoic acid when a specified amount is ingested (Murray and Pizzorno, 2003).  

Signs and Symptoms Indicating Poor Liver Function

The following list will also indicate if your liver is functioning under par and needs work to help support detoxification:
Diabetes, gallstones, 10 kilos overweight, psoriasis, a history of heavy alcohol use, anabolic steroids, oestrogens and oral contraceptives, history of viral hepatitis, and high exposure to certain chemicals or drugs such as pesticides, diuretics,  antibiotic, NSAID, thyroid hormone (Murray and Pizzorno,  2003).

Gallstone

Why is it important to undergo detoxification in preparation for conception? What dietary, herbal and nutritional steps can be advised to support the body in this process?

Intestinal and liver detoxification should occur four months prior trying to conceive to ensure positive results and to ensure your major organs of elimination are working efficiently. This way accumulated toxins won’t interfere with your hormone levels and health of your reproductive organs.

Having a healthy, functioning body primed with all the required vitamins and minerals to support a pregnant woman, with all the increased demands for iron, calcium, iodine and B vitamins and a growing foetus, is highly desirable to increase your chances of conceiving.

It is important to undergo intestinal detoxification to help reduce the absorption of toxic substances.  This is achieved by supporting the barrier function of the bowel, ensuring proper bowel elimination, and destroying harmful pathogens which may adversely impact on the health of the foetus and mother.

According to The Practitioner Guide to Integrated Detoxification by Meatagenics (2004) endotoxins from dysbiosis and excess levels of oestrogen have a dysregulating effect on the Hypothalmic Pituitary Adrenal axis which may result in derangements of the Hypothalamic Pituitary Gonadal axis with subsequent reproductive problems.

Intestinal detoxification

Initially if inflammatory conditions are present such as allergies, eczema, psoriasis it may be beneficial to eliminate wheat and dairy from the diet and other known allergens as they may damage the gut wall and cause dysbiosis. Wheat and dairy are the most common offending food allergens (Pizzorno & Murray, 2003).

Fibre is able to bind to toxins in the gut and promote their excretion. Water soluble fibres are best such as a large variety of fruit and vegetables especially apples and pears, guar gum, and psyllium husks. In addition cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage inhibit the carcinogenic effects of chemicals, increase the healing of the gut wall and increase the rate in which the liver changes oestrogen into the water soluble form which can be excreted in the faeces. High fibre reduces the amount of oestrogen able to re-enter the bloodstream, which helps prevent hormonal imbalances.

Probiotics such as Lactobacillus acidophilus increase healthy bacteria in the gut, act as immune system modulators and prevent the colonisation of the gastrointestinal tract by variety of pathogens due to the production of antimicrobial substances such as lactic acid, acetic acid and hydrogen peroxide (Braun & Cohen, 2005).

According to Naish (2000) probiotics will help eliminate the precursors to oxidants which are damaging to a baby’s DNA, proteins and other essential nutrients.

Glutamine acts as fuel for intestinal mucosa and lymphocytes, improves gut immunity by increasing IgA levels, supports gut mucosal growth and promotes healing and bowel rescue (Osiecki, 2002).

Zinc resolves intestinal permeability problems which will aid in the reduction of toxic absorption and is essential for specific and non specific immunity (Braun & Cohen, 2005). It also restricts endogenous free radical production and is a possible scavenger of free radicals (Braun and Cohen, 2005).

I hope this helps those who are interested in detoxing. In the next couple of weeks I will post Part 2 which will include liver detoxification and some general dietary and herbal advice to aid detoxification. If you need more specific advice to help with detoxing or you are suffering from any of the conditions and symptoms I mentioned throughout this article don’t hesitate to call me on Ph 0432 540 996 to book in for a detailed consultation. 

References  

Bone, K. 2003 A Clinical Guide to Blending Liquid Herbs, Churchill Livingstone, USA
Braun, L, & Cohen, M. 2005 Herbs and Natural Supplements An Evidenced Based Guide, Elsevier, Australia
Meatagenics  Article Preconception and Pregnancy Care May 2004 Metagenics Product Guide 2005
Naish, F. 1999 The Natural Way To A Better Pregnancy, Transworld Publishers, Australia
Naish, F, & Roberts, J. 2000 The Natural Way To Better Babies, Preconception Health Care for Prospective Parents, Random House, Australia.
Naish, F. 2000 Natural Fertility, Sally Milner Publishing, Australia
Osiecki, H. 2002 The Nutrient Bible, Bio Concepts Publishing, Australia
Pizzorno, J & Murray, M. 1998 Encyclopaedia of Natural Medicine, Prima Publishing, USA

Important Vitamins and Minerals for the Nervous System

1st March, 2013

Most B vitamins are important for the nervous system and can help support a number of different complaints such as anxiety, depression, and nervous exhaustion. Magnesium and many of the B vitamins listed are important cofactors in the production of certain amino acids and neurotransmitters such as, serotonin and dopamine, which can impact on mood and alertness.

B vitamins are however best taken as a B complex, rather than individually, to prevent depletion of any one B vitamin, which can occur if you are taking a high dose of any single B supplement. It is best to take B vitamins in the morning to help provide energy throughout he day.

Calcium and Magnesium are two very important minerals to support stress, anxiety, nervous twitches and muscular cramps. Like alot of minerals they are absorbed better in the evening. Not all B vitamin  and Calcium andMagnesium supplements are made the same, and their quality and efficacy can vary greatly.

It is best to chat with your naturopath about obtaining good quality practitioner only brands, to help you reach the correct therapeutic dose to treat your particular condition. If you need advice about this don’t hesitate to contact me Monique, on 0432 540 996.

Vitamin B5 – Pantothenic Acid

Sources

Whole grains, legumes, cauliflower, broccoli, salmon, avocado, egg yolk, liver, milk, sweet potatoes, mushrooms (Osiecki, 2002; Braun & Cohen 2005; Haas, 1992)

English: Three eggs with double yolk

Uses

Stress, adrenal support, energy, demyelination, panic attacks (Osiecki, 2002; Braun & Cohen, 2005)

Caution
>10gm may lead to diarrhoea (Osiecki, 2002)

Vitamin B6 – Pyridoxine

Sources

Cereal, chicken, egg yolk, brewer’s yeast, salmon, tuna, walnuts, bananas, sirloin steak (Osiecki, 2002; Braun & Cohen, 2005; Haas, 1992)

English: Roasted chicken Español: Pollo asado

 

Uses

Anxiety, stress, autism, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, muscular disorder, dysmenorrhoea, carpal tunnel disease

Caution
500mg can lead to peripheral neuropathy (Osiecki, 2002; Braun & Cohen, 2005)

Vitamin B9 – Folic Acid

Sources

Eggs, beans, green leafy vegies, lentils, beans, yeast, mushrooms, broccoli, asparagus, brussel spouts, cabbage, spinach (Osiecki, 2002; Braun & Cohen, 2005; Haas, 1992)

Uses

Stress, restless legs, insomnia, mental illness, periodontal disease, preconception and pregnancy, cervical cancer (Osiecki, 2002; Braun & Cohen, 2005)

Caution
Essentially non toxic (Osiecki, 2002)

Vitamin B12 – Cobalamin

Sources

Egg yolk, brain, oysters, salmon, sardines, clams, meat, milk, cheese (Osiecki, 2002; Braun & Cohen, 2005; Haas, 1992)

Maasdam cheese

Uses

Post natal depression, insomnia, memory loss, MS, restlessness, shingles, dementia, attention deficit, diabetic neuropathy, MS (Osiecki, 2002; Braun & Cohen, 2005)

Caution
General lack of toxicity (Osiecki, 2002)

Calcium

Sources

Almonds, buckwheat, dairy products, sardines, soybeans, green leafy vegies, white self raising flour, egg yolk, tofu, molasses (Osiecki, 2002; Braun & Cohen, 2005; Trickey, 1998; Haas, 1992)

English: Shelled almonds (Prunus dulcis) Itali...

Uses

Cramps, menstrual cramps, PMT, pregnancy, lactation, high blood pressure, post menopausal (Osiecki, 2002; Braun & Cohen, 2005)

Caution
Generally non toxic (Osiecki, 2002)

Magnesium

Sources

Almonds, cashews, soybeans and flour, whole grains, wheat germ rye flour and whole wheat flour, eggs, seeds, kelp, broccoli, beetroot, spinach, dried figs and apricots (Osiecki, 2002; Braun & Cohen, 2005; Trickey, 1998)

Brown Rice, Asparagus and Chickpeas

Uses

Chronic fatigue, diabetes headaches, depression, irritability, anxiety, HBP, palpitations, PMT, stress, restless legs, tics, cramps (Osiecki, 2002; Braun & Cohen, 2005)

Caution
Only > 15gm (Osiecki, 2002)

References
Braun, L, & Cohen, M. 2005 Herbs and Natural Supplements An Evidenced Based Guide, Elsevier, Australia Gropper, S, Smith, J, & Groff, J.2005 Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism, Wadsworth, USA Haas, E. 1992 Staying Healthy with Nutrition, Celestial Arts Publishing, USA Osiecki, H. 2002 The Nutrient Bible, Bio Concepts Publishing, Australia Trickey, R. 1998 Women, Hormones, and the Menstrual Cycle, Allen & Unwin, Australia

What Affects Iron Defeciency?

Woman pregnancy month by month.

February 19th, 2013

Iron is a mineral, that helps transport oxygen around the body with the aid of red blood cells called haemoglobin. It is predominantly stored  in ferritin complexes in the liver, bone marrow and spleen. Most healthy people have 4-5 g of iron in their bodies.

   Primary Iron Deficiency tends to affect:

  •  Vegetarians, the elderly, and people with protein calorie malnutrition
  •  It is also more common during periods of growth, due to the expansion of blood volume, which occurs in infancy, adolescence and pregnancy
  • It is the most common cause of anaemia, although this is the last stage of iron deficiency
  • Enzymes involved in energy production and metabolism requiring iron are the first to be affected by low iron stores  (Braun and Cohen, 2005), often leaving people feeling tired for months. If you are concerned about your iron and energy levels, testing your serum ferritin levels is the best way to determine body iron stores.

     Secondary Iron Deficiency is a result of:

  • blood loss, gastrointestinal problems affecting absorption (coeliac disease), and increased destruction of red blood cells
  • excessive menstruation is the most common cause
  • Iron deficiency is the most common deficiency in the world

Figure 2 - Schematic of Maxwell model using on...

  

 

 

 

Some Deficiency Signs and Symptoms

  • fatigue and lethargy
  • cardiovascular and respiratory changes
  • pale inner eyelids and palm creases
  • pale nail bed
  • brittle hair
  • decreased resistance to infection
  • poor mental and motor function
  • reduced thyroid function
  • difficulty maintaining body temperature in the cold

Old Women

    

   

 

 

 

 

Vegetarians and Iron Stores

  • The Dietary Reference Intakes recently suggest that vegetarians need to increase dietary iron by 80% to compensate for the lower iron bioavailability of 10% from a vegetarian diet (Hunt, 2003).
  • The recommendations of 33 mg of iron for a vegetarian woman of childbearing age is difficult to meet with foods alone, especially when most assessments of their dietary intake fall in the range of 11-18 mg/d (Hunt, 2003).
  • However the vegetarian food guide pyramid calculated on a (2000 kcal) diet would be most beneficial for vegetarians trying to obtain 32-36 mg Fe/d (Hunt, 2003).

                                                                    Iron Sources

  • Haeme iron – found predominantly in animal sources: lean red meat, liver, poultry, fish, oysters, clams, shellfish. It is absorbed 2-3 times better than non-haeme forms.
  • Non – haeme iron – found in plant and dairy products: nuts, legumes, vegetables, fruit, dried fruit, grains and tofu.

Public domain photograph of various meats. (Be...

English: Fried tofu for cooking Bahasa Indones...

Fried tofu

Seafood and Beancurd Hotpot - Vegie Valley

Two Juglans regia walnuts.

                                  

                                      

                                               Factors that Enhance Non-Haeme Iron Absorption

  • Acids – 20mg of ascorbic acid has been shown to increase levels by 39% (Braun & Cohen, 2005). Pizzorno & Murray, (1998) suggest 500 mg of Vitamin C with each meal.
  • Red meat increase absorption by 85% (Braun & Cohen, 2005).

Citrus fruit slices

                                        Factors that Inhibit Non-Haeme Iron Absorption

  • Iron from a vegetarian diet is likely to be substantially less available for absorption because of the different form of iron and other constituents that inhibit iron absorption
  • Polyphenols found in tea and coffee, red and white wine
  • Phytic acid (whole grains), and oxalic acid (spinach, chocolate, berries)
  • Calcium (milk) can reduce absorption by up to 70%, also other dairy products and eggs
  • Zinc competes for absorption
  • Achlorhydria and antacid use
  • There are many drug interactions with iron, tetracycline antibiotics, antacids and L-dopa to name a few

English: A photo of a cup of coffee. Esperanto...

Recommended Daily Allowance
Children (1-11 years) 6-8 mg
Children (12- 18 years) 10-13 mg
Men >19 years 7mg
Women (19 to menopause) 12-16 mg
After menopause 5-7 mg
Pregnancy/lactation 10-20mg

Before taking any iron supplements get your iron levels tested and consult your naturopath or doctor. Supplements are used to treat or prevent iron deficiency but need to be used with caution because excess use can be dangerous and lead to organ damage.

Inappropriate iron supplementation in children can inhibit growth in non deficient children

References
Braun, L, & Cohen, M. 2005 Herbs and Natural Supplements An Evidenced Based Guide, Elsevier, Australia
Hunt, J 2003 ‘Bioavailability of Iron, Zinc, and Other Trace Minerals from Vegetarian Diets’ AJCN, Vol 78, No 3, 633s-639s, viewed 27th February 2007 http://www,ajcn.org