Hayfever Tool Kit…….

If you are anything like me Spring isn’t your favourite season as with a change in season comes ALLERGIES.

Hayfever or Allergic Rhinitis known as “Bi Yuan” in Chinese Medicine literally means, “nose-pool”. It is due to an antigen-antibody reaction in the nasal mucosa. The release of histamines makes capillaries more permeable to fluid accumulation resulting in swelling and irritation. If the antigens responsible are only pollen particles then it is called Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis (Hayfever). If the antigens are dust, house-dust mites, faecal matter, fungal spores and animal dander it is known as Perennial Allergic Rhinitis.

Western Medicine assists to alleviate the symptoms of Hayfever via the use of Anti-Histamines which work by preventing histamine from reaching the site of action i.e. receptors. They can be quite effective however they do carry side-effects (nervousness, drowsiness, dizziness, fatigue, GIT disturbances) and individuals often begin to become immune to their effects having to seek out a new antihistamine every few months.

In terms of Chinese Medicine Hayfever/Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis is due to an invasion of Wind Cold of the Lungs which if not appropriately treated can over time develop into Wind-Heat. Predisposing factors to its development are Weak Wei (Defence) Qi, Weak constitution, Weak Lung QiFamilial history of Lung disorders and Poor dietary habits.

 Symptoms related to

WIND COLD

  • Stuffy nose
  • Runny nose with clear or white watery mucus
  • Slight headaches
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy throat
  • Cough
  • Chills

WIND HEAT

  • Sneezing
    • Stuffy nose
    • Runny nose with thick yellow discharge • Itchy nose and throat
    • Redness and swelling around the nose • Itchy, red, sore eyes
    • Thirst
    • Cough
    • Sweating

Once the pathogen has moved internally conditions of Retention of Phlegm Cold in the Lungs, Retention of Phlegm Heat in the Lungs, Stomach Fire, Deficient Lung Qi and Deficient Spleen with Damp can arise which are much harder to treat.

When treating Hayfever, Chinese Medicine aims to expel Wind-Cold or Wind-Heat during the season and strengthen Lung and Kidney Defensive Qi as well as build the immune system. The best time to do this is actually towards the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. Treatment involves Acupuncture, herbs, dietary changes and supplements.

Treatments which could/should be used along side Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine are,

  • Increase consumption of Fish Oils to retard PG2-inflammatory prostaglandins (take with Vitamin E to avoid oxidation)
  • Use garlic (decreases mucous, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory) and horse radish (expectorant, breaks up mucous, opens up sinuses) in cooking. There are also great supplement combinations of these 2 herbs
  • Include bee’s wax/honey into the diet as this may decrease sensitization to pollens by orally stimulating the blocking antibodies. Must be from a local farm and taken at least 6 weeks prior to the beginning of the season
  • Drink 2 cups of fenugreek tea daily as its acts as an expectorant helping clear the lungs of phlegm build up
  • Ginger extract may be helpful due to its anti-inflammatory properties
  • Hot spicy foods may assist in opening up the nasal passages
  • Coenzyme Q10 is useful in regulating histamine release
  • Zinc and Vitamin C  improve oral immunity and assist in drying up mucous from nasal passages. Vitamin C acts as a potent immuno-stimulant and is anti-inflammatory. Zinc is so amazing at supporting immunity
  • Quercetin a bioflavonoid and natural antihistamine stabilizes the membranes of cells that release histamine which trigger allergic symptoms
  • Bromelain has strong anti-inflammatory properties helping reduce swelling of the nasal passages
  • Breathing exercises may assist to strengthen the respiratory system
  • Reduce allergic foods such as wheat and dairy (mucous producing)
  • Reduce cold, raw foods as they place too much strain on the spleen and increase mucous production
  • Avoid fried foods, colours, flavours, preservatives, refined carbohydrates as they all suppress the immune system

Note ~ it is best to not hang wet clothing/bed sheet outside to dry on high pollen days as it can greatly increase allergic episodes. Washing clothing in high water temperatures helps kill dust mites and vacuuming daily will help to eliminate offending dust.

Hair lacking lustre? Hair Health & Chinese Medicine…..

Hair along with our skin and nails is a reflection of our internal health and wellbeing. Hair loss is no longer a male only issue. In fact, around 40% of women by the age of 50 show signs of hair loss and less than 45% of women actually reach the age of 80 with a full head of hair. However, these days women in their 20’s and 30’s are experiencing the stress of hair loss. It is always a scary sight when you encounter handfuls of hair on the shower floor day by day. 

In Chinese Medicine we view hair loss as having two major causes. The first cause is viewed as a deficiency of Kidney Essence known as Jing. Hair relies on the nourishment of kidney essence to grow. Jing determines growth, reproduction, development, sexual maturation, conception and pregnancy. Hair relies on the nourishment of Kidney Essence to grow. If the Kidney Essence is abundant, hair will grow well and will be healthy and glossy. If kidney essence is weak or declining hair will become thin, brittle, dull looking and fall out.

Causes of a deficiency in kidney essence are 

1. Hereditary Weakness- Chinese Medicine has always placed great emphasis on the relation between the parents essence and the hereditary constitution of their offspring.

2. The emotion related to the kidneys is fear. If an individual goes through an experience which inflicts fear this can lead to sudden hair loss.

3. Chronic Illness  + Old Age – With Old age and Illness a weakness of the kidneys occurs. In fact Chinese Med sees the process of ageing as a result of the decrease of kidney essence throughout life.  

4. Overwork – Both physically and mentally overwork will affect the kidneys. 

The other causative factor of hair loss is blood heat. Heat in the blood can rise up to the scalp and almost heat the follicle so much that it kills its nourishment (burns the YIN) causing the follicle to fall out. This cause will be a common in young individuals. One of the biggest causes of blood heat will be emotions in the case. Blood & Qi nourish body tissues – hair along with skin & nails.

The Liver also plays a vital role in hair health by playing a role in the movement of Qi & Blood – moving these vital substances upwards to nourish the scalp.

Western Medically trichologists believe that in women hair loss is a reflection or barometer of internal deficiency or disturbance of nutritional, metabolic, hormonal or autoimmune origins. One Australian trichologist explains that our hair is “non-essential” and only receives a supply of nutrients when the body has enough nourishment to mend or maintain its more vital parts. That is why the hair is always one of the first indicators to reflect internal disturbance. The body starts to withdraw support from the hair so it can utilise nutrition in other areas…..therefore hair becomes dry, lifeless and thin. Pregnancy and motherhood are also big causes of hair loss. Other causes are viewed as surgery, weight loss, allergic reactions, stopping the contraceptive pill, shock or a stressful event. Undiagnosed thyroid problems, coeliac disease and diabetes are also reasons for hair loss. In more serious cases diagnosis of pituitary tumours usually non malignant in young women can cause hair loss. 

I believe its important for women to take notice of other symptoms such as tiredness, scalp sensitivities, cold extremities, mood swings and unexplained weight gain or loss as these symptoms are all indicative of why hair loss may be occurring. The body is always speaking to us. 

Apart from Acupuncture and herbal supplements to strengthen and balance kidney essence, increasing your levels of iron, vitamin D, biotin, silica and iodine are essential as low levels of these vitamins and minerals will cause hair loss. Diet also goes without saying. Maintaining your levels of healthy fats (nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocados, flaxseed, coconut oil) lots of fresh organic fruit and vegetables, leafy greens, good levels of protein via organic chicken, grass fed meats & eggs and salmon/oily fish to provide omega 3 fatty acids are so important. Maintaining Gut health & integrity is essential hence incorporating Bone Broth into your daily nutrition plan is also very important to allow for the proper assimilation and absorption of what you eat. The gelatine found in bone broth is very healing.

Regular exercise and other stress management techniques are also important to bring down cortisol and adrenaline (stress hormones) and increase serotonin and endorphins our healthy brain neurotransmitters.

Scalp massage using either a coconut oil or caster oil along with rosemary, lavender and peppermint essential oils will help stimulate blood flow to the scalp. Leave it on the scalp for at least an hour before shampooing out.

Expect approximately three months to start to see some changes in hair loss levels. Hair is always three months behind what you do. Hair is often the first tissue to reveal signs of a problem but is almost always the last to recover.  

IT’S ALL ABOUT SUPPORTING IMMUNITY……

There has been a lot of information, much conflicting around the Corona Virus. What has become clear is that the world has not seen a medical emergency quiet like this for a long time.

As a Natural Medicine Practitioner my focus and emphasis is always “Prevention is Better than CURE”. I feel like the real focus on virus prevention has disappeared frankly & find individuals fighting over toilet paper and tissues quiet ridiculous!!

So what are the best ways to support yourself and your loved ones from COVID19?

As Hippocrates stated thousands of years ago “All Disease Begins in the Gut”. 80% of your immunity starts in the GUT so please focus on eating nutritious “real” food. Load up on lots of vegetables, lots of greens, good fats (avocado, olive oil, flaxseed oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds), organic sources of protein (eggs, chicken, grass feed meet). Load up on bone broths that strengthen & heal the GUT.  

Steer away from consuming to many biscuits, cakes, sugar filled sweets & milk chocolate, highly processed foods, frozen convenient foods, alcohol etc. Although eating these foods may seem like a “comfort” at the time long term they are simply just suppress the immune system.

Along with filling your body with nutritious foods and practicing great hygiene (preferably washing your hands with soup and water over using too much hand gel sanitizer), wiping down surfaces like your mobile phone with mentholated spirits often (there’s a lot of microbes on there) taking immune boosting supplements is a key.

VITAMIN C – Acts like a solider standing guard in your body therefore essential in the fight against this strain of virus. Aim for about 1000mg daily

VITAMIN D – Essential for supporting the immune system & is involved in respiratory health. Minimum of 2000IU daily.

ZINC – Essential mineral which is involved in more body functions than any other mineral. One of its most important roles is in Immune system support (white blood cell production and T cell production). T cell secretion by the thymus gland which is primarily involved in immunity & strong Anti-viral activity. Zinc has an anti-inflammatory function & COVID-19 primarily attacks the lungs causing high levels of inflammation. Aim for 25-30mg daily.

OLIVE LEAF EXTRACT  Due to its high antioxidant and free radical scavenging properties olive leaf extract is antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and immune-stimulating. It has been shown to be effective against virtually all viruses & bacteria. Recommended dose of 500-100mg.

ELDERBERRY – Combats free radicals & inflammation. Helps with coughs and congestion. Soothes the respiratory system & supports immunity.  

ECHINACEA – Fights inflammation & bacterial and viral infections. Stimulates certain white blood cells, which is important when going against foreign invaders such as COVID-19.

Some supplements have the above in combination formula’s.

SPRING & Dreaded Hayfever

ent-sneeze-cat-header

Ah SPRING……That time of year when the sun begins to shine again and flowers start to bloom once more. However, for so many of us it is not all sunshine and roses! It is also the time of year for dreaded Allergies–Hayfever.

Hayfever or Allergic Rhinitis known as “Bi Yuan” in Chinese Medicine literally means, “nose-pool”. It is due to an antigen-antibody reaction in the nasal mucosa. The release of histamines makes capillaries more permeable to fluid accumulation resulting in swelling and irritation. If the antigens responsible are only pollen particles then it is called Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis (Hayfever). If the antigens are dust, house-dust mites, faecal matter, fungal spores and animal dander it is known as Perennial Allergic Rhinitis.

Western Medicine assists to alleviate the symptoms of Hayfever via the use of Anti-Histamines which work by preventing histamine from reaching the site of action i.e. receptors. They can be quite effective however they do carry side-effects (nervousness, drowsiness, dizziness, fatigue, GIT disturbances) and individuals often begin to become immune to their effects having to seek out a new antihistamine every few months.

In terms of Chinese Medicine Hayfever/Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis is due to an invasion of Wind Cold of the Lungs which if not appropriately treated can over time develop into Wind-Heat. Predisposing factors to its development are Weak Wei (Defence) Qi, Weak constitution, Weak Lung Qi, Familial history of Lung disorders and Poor dietary habits.

 Symptoms related to

WIND COLD

  • Stuffy nose
  • Runny nose with clear or white watery mucus
  • Slight headaches
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy throat
  • Cough
  • Chills

WIND HEAT

  • Sneezing
    • Stuffy nose
    • Runny nose with thick yellow discharge • Itchy nose and throat
    • Redness and swelling around the nose • Itchy, red, sore eyes
    • Thirst
    • Cough
    • Sweating

Once the pathogen has moved internally conditions of Retention of Phlegm Cold in the Lungs, Retention of Phlegm Heat in the Lungs, Stomach Fire, Deficient Lung Qi and Deficient Spleen with Damp can arise which are much harder to treat.

When treating Hayfever, Chinese Medicine aims to expel Wind-Cold or Wind-Heat during the season and strengthen Lung and Kidney Defensive Qi as well as build the immune system. The best time to do this is actually towards the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. Treatment involves Acupuncture, herbs, dietary changes and supplements.

Treatments which could/should be used along side Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine are,

  • Increase consumption of Fish Oils to retard PG2-inflammatory prostaglandins (take with Vitamin E to avoid oxidation)
  • Use garlic (decreases mucous, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory) and horse radish (expectorant, breaks up mucous, opens up sinuses) in cooking
  • Include bee’s wax/honey into the diet as this may decrease sensitization to pollens by orally stimulating the blocking antibodies. Must be from a local farm and taken at least 6 weeks prior to the beginning of the season
  • Drink 2 cups of fenugreek tea daily as its acts as an expectorant
  • Ginger extract may be helpful due to its anti-inflammatory properties
  • Hot spicy foods may assist in opening up the nasal passages
  • Coenzyme Q10 is useful in regulating histamine release
  • Zinc and Vitamin C lozenges improve oral immunity and assist in drying up mucous from nasal passages. Vitamin C acts as a potent immuno-stimulant and is anti-inflammatory
  • Quercetin a bioflavonoid stabilizes the membranes of cells that release histamine which trigger allergic symptoms
  • Breathing exercises may assist to strengthen the respiratory system
  • Reduce allergic foods such as wheat and dairy (mucous producing)
  • Reduce cold, raw foods as they place too much strain on the spleen and increase mucous production
  • Avoid fried foods, colours, flavours, preservatives, refined carbohydrates as they all suppress the immune system

Note ~ it is best to not hang wet clothing/bed sheet outside to dry on high pollen days as it can greatly increase allergic episodes. Washing clothing in high water temperatures helps kill dust mites and vacuuming daily will help to eliminate offending dust.

Season of Spring

Element – Wood

Controlled by – Metal

Sense – Sight

Colour – Green

Climate – Wind

Organ – Liver

Disease Affecting – Muscles

Emotion – Anger

Number – Eight

Flavour – Sour

Beneficial Cereal – Wheat

Beneficial fruit – Plums

Beneficial Vegetable – Leaks

Beneficial Meat – Chicken

 

Are we winding up when we should be winding down?

blue-light-affecting-eyes

We all know how hours on end staring at a computer, laptop, ipad & iphone screen impact us at the end of the day. In this digital age our workday be it working in a corporate environment/office, in our own business or blogging centre’s around being glued to our screens.

So how does one rejuvenate, revive and avoid screen burnout at the end of the day?

I believe it all starts with taking steps throughout the day and setting up your workspace so that the long-term impacts are decreased. Thus, overtime fewer consequences occur on mental and physical health and wellbeing.

Here are some of my personal tips to surviving your workday and winding down at the end of it.

  1. Be kind to your eyes. It is said that the eyes are the windows to the soul therefore be gentle to them and make sure to take breaks away from the screen every 30 minutes. When we stare at our screen for hours we often forget to blink leading to dry sore eyes. Having some lubricating eye drops on your desk and putting them in a few times throughout the day will and can prevent exhausted eyes. Brewing up chamomile tea and allowing the tea bags to cool before placing them on your eyelids also soothes sore eyes as well.
  2. Now days we are constantly surrounded by EMF (Electric Magnetic Fields). Our homes and workplaces run on WiFi constantly emitting these physical fields produced by electrically charged objects. The long-term concern is that they leave us feeling “wired” ourselves and unable to wind down. I love having a bottle of Electro Essence by Australian Bush Flower Essences by my screen. In fact I have approximately 6 bottles around my house. It helps protect me from feeling drained and flat and reduces the emotional effects of radiation. I replace them once a year ensuring the essences stay active.
  3. Make a point of not looking at a screen at least 2 hours prior to bedtime. Studies have concluded that light emitted from screens in the evening alters sleepiness and modifies and suppresses melatonin levels (hormone which helps control yoursleep and wake cycles). Studies show comprehensive results supporting the direct impact that reading a printed book verses a light-emitting device on sleep. Hence, go old school and switch to a book before slipping into the land of nod.
  4. Long hours staring at a screen not only affects your eyes but posture leaving you with sore aching muscles particularly of the neck, shoulders and lower back. Winding down at the end of a workday with a cup of hot cacao is ideal. Raw cacao contains beta-carotene, calcium, zinc, iron, potassium, chromium and in particular magnesium that helps ease muscle contraction aiding relaxation. I love to have mine with almond milk, cinnamon and little raw honey or coconut sugar if craving a little sweetness.
  5. I absolutely love ending my workday with a big mug of herbal tea. Look for blends, which include chamomile, lemonbalm, rose petals, lavender, juniper berries and fennel, all herbs, which aid in restful sleep by calming down the nervous system.
  6. I love essential oils. Essential oils are volatile and absorbed into the blood system when applied topically. Lavender is soothing easing stress and anxiety. It comforts and sooths the nervous system promoting peace of mind. For that reason is perfect to pop on your pillow at the end of the day or massaged into the temples and/or back of the neck. Roman chamomile is also a fantastic essential oil that can be used in conjunction with lavender as it’s properties are soothing, calming and releasing therefore encouraging serenity at the end of a long tiring day.

Technology is fantastic and allows us to be connected however it can be taxing on our physical and mental health. It’s important to take steps to avoid burnout and therefore allow us to continue doing what we love.

Coffee & Your Hormones

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Hormone – “A substance that is produced by one tissue and transported to another tissue where it induces a specific physiological response”. 

Hormones being chemical messages are essential for many processes within our body from growth and development to metabolism, appetite control, the female menstrual cycle to fertility. So many factors are causing havoc on our hormones these days

  • Environmental toxins such as herbacides and pesticides
  • Plastics especially when heated
  • Cleaning products
  • Cosmetics
  • Household furnishing
  • Chemicals in paints
  • Electric magnetic fields from wifi, mobile phones etc

Females seem to suffer more significantly from the affects of hormone disruptors. This has lead to increased numbers in females with

  • Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome –  PCOS
  • Premenstrual Syndrome – PMS
  • Endometriosis
  • Breast lumps and Cysts
  • Mood swings
  • Menstrual irregularies
  • Fibroids
  • Weight gain
  • Hair loss
  • Acne

The list goes on. Now ladies there is another hormone disruptor, one that helps us start our day, one that elicits daily pleasure —> COFFEE. Yes coffee that warm liquid that many have become addicted to!

How does coffee distrupt hormones you ask? Well coffee being a stimulant releases cortisol one of our stress hormones. Cortisol has been found to make PMS worse, increases menstrual cramps as it robs our body of the beautiful relaxing mineral -MAGNESIUM and heightens hot flushes etc.

Coffee depletes essential B Vitamins which are involved in almost every process in our body  – red blood cell formation, energy production, hormone production & stabilisation, mental function & clarity, healthy skin and hair, digestive health & metabolism to mention a few.

Coffee depletes other essential vitamins such as Vitamin C (essential for immunity, skin health/repair and collagen synthesis, adrenal support). Zinc (immunity, skin health & repair, GUT health & repair). Potassium (heart, kidney, muscle, nerve & digestive system health as well as functioning). Calcium (bone & muscle health). Most importantly coffee robs our body of Magnesium an essential mineral whom’s role is in relaxing muscle (muscular-skeletal, bowel and importantly of the uterus). Hence this only contributes and worsens menstrual cramps and no one wants that right!!

Coffee when consumed in quantities of two serves or more daily robs the body of good gut bacteria and as we know all too well everything starts with a healthy MICROBIOME. 

So how can you continue to enjoy your morning caffeine fix without it causing havoc on your hormonal levels?

  • Start your day off with a glass of warm water and the juice of half a lemon to support liver health and its action of filtration.
  • Bullet proof your coffee by adding 2 tablespoons of unsalted grass fed butter or coconut oil to lessen the affects of the caffeine
  • Dont consume more than two cups of coffee daily and importantly no caffeine after 11am or 12 midday as caffeine takes up to 12 hours to clear from the body. Drinking coffee later in the day will only cause restless sleep which leads to you waking up tired and hence needing more coffee to get through your day……see its a vicious cycle.
  • Think about alternative warm soothing beverages such as a cup of chai tea/latte or brewing up a Matcha latte.

So ladies there are so many factors affecting and contributing to our hormonal havoc as i mentioned above. Eating organically, choosing to use chemical free cleaning products and cosmetics and lessening hour coffee consumption are definately key!!

Surviving the “SILLY SEASON”

Staying-Sane-in-the-Silly-Season

Ah Christmas or as we like to fondly call it “The Silly Season” is upon us!!!! It happens every year and every year we tell ourselves “This year I won’t over eat, I will make better food choices, I will pace myself with alcohol, I will get to bed at a reasonable hour”. However for most of us that seems to fall by the way side by the second week of December right.

Here’s how you can balance your wellness this holiday season.

  1. Stay hydrated. Always have a bottle of water with you at all times, just please don’t make it plastic!!!!!! Drink plenty of herbal tea (hot or cold) for variety and add some fruit slices to your water to infuse flavour & vitamins.
  2. When out at a Christmas function or dinner alternate between a glass of water and an alcoholic drink. Alcohol is very dehydrating!! Think sad skin the next day.
  3. If drinking alcohol choose wisely and stick to white spirits with lime and soda – these beverages contain a lot less sugar than wine and cocktails. REMEMBER ALCOHOL IS FULL OF EMPTY CALORIES AND SUGAR.
  4. If heading to a Christmas party it is always highly advisable to have a snack before you leave (and no a doughnut doesn’t count). Have a bowl of vegetable soup or some scrambled eggs and avocado or a small piece of grilled chicken with some grated vegetables or avocado.  Rice crackers with some tuna or salmon are also great. This will prevent you from reaching out to every platter of food that comes your way. I mean lets face it most of the food on those platters is deep-fried.
  5. Eat mindfully. There will always be another dinner or Christmas dinner.
  6. Try and stick to your routine as much as possible. Get to bed at a reasonable hour preferably around 10pm whenever possible. Every hour of sleep prior to midnight equals two hours after midnight.
  7. Getting to bed a reasonable hour also prevents the activation of the hormone GHRELIN known as our hunger hormone. When we aren’t getting sufficient sleep and we are feeling fatigued our brain and gut tells us we need fuel and unfortunately for most that means reaching for sugar for a quick fix.
  8. Whenever possible food prep is key. Spend two hours on a Sunday afternoon for example prepping food for the week ahead so that healthy nutritious food is ready to go after a long day.

Stay Healthy this Festive Season.

My Top Supplements For Wellness Support.

vitamins

We all know that eating well is the first step to achieving health & wellness. However, due to environmental, work, family and emotional stresses etc in our daily lives our body needs extra support. This is where the addition of supplements targeted at specific aliments can be very beneficial.

The following blog post will focus on my top 6 supplements which I believe are beneficial  and supportive of our body.

Magnesium 

Magnesium is an essential macronutrient known as the “Anti-Stress” & “Anti-Spasm” mineral. Magnesium is very depleted in our diets as it is stripped from soil and further removed via food processing. Alcohol, sugar and caffeine also decrease the amounts of magnesium within our body.

Functions

  • Production of energy within our body
  • Cardiovascular function
  • Stress management (stress increases excretion from the body)
  •  Relaxes skeletal muscle, blood vessels and the gastrointestinal tract
  • Anti-spasmodic
  • Protein & carbohydrate metabolism
  • DNA production & function
  • PMS support (irritability, fatigue, depression, water retention, menstrual cramps)
  • Nerve support
  • Assists in management of anxiety, nervousness, insomnia, depression
  • Assists in the management of constipation as it helps relax the bowel wall
  • Aids in muscular recovery especially following strenuous exercise
  • Helpful in the management of migraines and headaches

Food Sources

  • Seafood
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Kelp
  • Nuts (almonds, pecans, cashews, brazil nuts)
  • Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower)
  • Legumes
  • Soy flour & tofu
  • Wholegrains – Wheat bran/germ
  • Millet
  • Brown rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Avocados
  • Apricots
  • Dates, prunes
  • Blackstrap molasses

Interestingly 85% of magnesium is lost from grains when milling them into flour. Soaking & boiling also leaks magnesium levels. Oxalic acid in spinach and chard greens can stop the absorption of magnesium as does phytic acid in nuts hence why activated nuts are best where the phytic acid is removed.

It is best to take Magnesium supplements at bedtime or in-between meals for better absorption.

500-1000mg is a great supportive daily dose.

Vitamin D

Known as the “Sunshine” vitamin, Vitamin D is a hormone rather than a vitamin. Our skin (when exposed to UV rays), bloodstream, liver & kidneys all contribute to the formation of fully active Vitamin D3 levels in our body.

Functions

  • Regulates calcium metabolism and absorption
  • Decreases the excretion of calcium via the kidneys
  • Maintains the normal calcification of bones. Stimulates osteoclasts (bone cells) which take calcium out of bones, but also increases blood calcium levels which leads to bone calcification and health.
  • Stimulates reabsorption of calcium and phosphorous from bone. Helps put these minerals into teeth
  • Maintains normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus within the body
  • Works together with the parathyroid for calcium absorption
  • Has a role in blood clotting (regulated by calcium)
  • Involved in respiratory health
  • Involved in the production of gastric juices

If Vitamin D levels are low, blood levels of calcium and phosphorus decrease. As a consequence the body pulls these minerals from bones. This can then unfortunately lead to osteoporosis, rickets and osteomalacia.

Food Sources

  • Fish liver oils – Cod Liver Oil
  • Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon
  • Foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals
  • Beef liver
  • Cheese
  • Egg yolks of organic free range eggs

Minimum of 2000IU is required daily.

Zinc

Zinc is an essential mineral which is involved in more body functions than any other mineral. Zinc is highly removed from soil, through food processing and the refining of grains. Naturally found in small amounts within the body at 2.0 to 2.5 grams in total, mainly in the liver, kidneys, lungs, red blood cells, pancreas, prostate, retina, lens and pituitary gland.

Functions 

  • Growth & development
  • Maintenance of body tissues (essential for cross linking of elastin & collagen fibres within skin)
  • Hair health (deficiency associated with alopecia & brittle hair lacking pigment)
  • Sexual function & desire. Particularly necessary for the production of sperm and sperm motility as well as prostate health
  • Immune system support (white blood cell production and T cell production)
  • T cell secretion by the thymus gland which is primarily involved in immunity
  • Anti-viral activity
  • Essential for Vitamin A metabolism and maintenance of Vitamin A levels within the body
  • Detox of chemicals & metabolic irritants
  • Carbohydrate metabolism
  • Synthesis of DNA
  • Essential for the healing of skin tissue following surgery and burns
  • Aids oil gland function (think acne)
  • Energy production (involved in the Kreb Cycle = Energy)
  • Protein digestion
  • Necessary for the production of stomach acid and digestive enzymes
  • Involved in the removal of lactic acid from muscle metabolism – think strenuous exercise consequence
  • Important for normal insulin activity
  • Involved in taste sensation
  • Zinc has an anti-inflammatory function

Sources

  • Oysters
  • Red meat (beef, lamb, pork)
  • Liver
  • Fish (herring, tuna, anchovies)
  • Egg yolk
  • Wholegrains (whole wheat, rye, oats)
  • Chicken
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Ginger root
  • Pecans & brazil nuts (activated)
  • Split peas
  • Lima beans

Zinc absorption varies from 12-59% depending on body needs and stomach acid concentrations.

Recommended daily requirement 15-30mg

Vitamin C

Essential nutrient found only in fruit and vegetables, the highest level in uncooked food. One of the least stable vitamins, Vitamin C sacrifices itself and is willing to be damaged to save other vitamins. Vitamin C is more concentrated in different parts of the body – adrenal gland, pituitary, brain, ovaries, eyes and testes.

Functions

  • Immunity!!! I like to think of Vitamin C as a soldier standing guard and protecting us from any nasty invaders
  • Essential in the prevention of the common cold & flu
  • Vitamin C is vital in helping produce and maintain healthy collagen within skin allowing it to support body cells and tissues and bring more rapid healing to injured or ageing tissues (ageing skin, burns, fractures, bedsores, skin ulcers, wound healing). Hence great pre & post surgery along with zinc
  • One of the major Antioxidants – protecting our body from oxidative damage
  • Gives support & shape to the body
  • Maintenance of healthy blood vessels. Has a role in the prevention and treatment of Atherosclerosis and therefore reduction in the risk of heart disease. Studies have shown a reduction of platelet aggregation – an important factor in reducing the formation of plaque and clots
  • Stimulates adrenal function and the release of norepinephrine & epinephrine (adrenaline) however prolonged stress depletes Vitamin C
  • Assists with thyroid hormone production
  • Aids in cholesterol metabolism & its elimination
  • Vitamin C protects Vitamins A, B, B2, Folic Acid & B5 from oxidation
  • Vitamin C is involved in the process of detoxification. It reduces the side effects of such drugs – cortisone, aspirin and insulin.
  • Reduces toxicity of heavy metals – lead, mercury and arsenic
  • Vitamin C has a role in reducing histamine levels – think allergies and hayfever
  • Vitamin C is a natural laxative therefore helpful in cases of constipation
  • Essential in the absorption of iron
  • Has an anti-inflammatory action

Sources 

  • Citrus fruits (lemon, orange, lime, tangerine, grapefruit)
  • Rosehip
  • Cherry
  • Papaya
  • Cantaloupe
  • Strawberry
  • Red & green capsicum
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Tomato
  • Asparagus
  • Parsley
  • Dark leafy greens & cabbage
  • Sprouted whole grains, seeds & beans

Recommended daily intake 500-1000mg

B Vitamins 

B vitamins are essential for an array of functions within our body. B vitamins are water soluble in nature and not stored well in the body hence required via our diets daily. Some B vitamins are produced within the body by microorganisms especially in the large intestine (bacteria, yeast, fungi & molds).

B1 – Thiamine

B2 – Riboflavin

B3 – Niacin

B5 – Pantothenic Acid

B6 – Pyridoxine

B9 – Folic Acid/Folate

B12 – Cobalamin

Functions 

  • Functions as co-enzymes to catalyse many biochemical reactions within the body as such converting carbohydrates to glucose
  • Fat & protein amino acid metabolism
  • Essential for nervous system function & support
  • Relaxation & energy production/function especially within those whom are stressed & fatigued. Essential during times of increased stress, fatigue, anxiety, nervousness, insomnia & hyperactivity
  • Essential to hair, nail, skin, eye, liver & mucosal lining health. Signs of deficiency are dry itchy dermatitis rashes and cracks at the side of the mouth for example
  • Aids in the general muscle tone of the gastrointestinal tract. Allows the bowels to function most efficiently
  • PMS & menopause support and relief

Sources 

  • Yeast
  • Germ & bran of cereal grains
  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Nuts
  • Liver
  • Leafy greens

Recommended daily intake 50-100mg

Probiotics

Probiotics are live bacteria also known as ‘microbiome’ or ‘live microorganisms’. This population of microbiome comprises groups including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. As well as bacteria, certain yeasts may be used as probiotics.

The word ‘probiotics’ itself is born from the marriage of two Latin words pro and biota, which together mean ‘for life’; it’s a fitting definition, considering your body contains such a huge volume of microorganisms – this number is thought to outnumber your body’s cell count by ten-fold.

Functions

  • 80% of our immunity is in our GUT therefore without a healthy microbiome the incidence of illness increases. I am not just talking colds, flu & bronchitis but cancer, arthritis, auto-immune illness, skin issues & mood stabilisation/disorders such as anxiety & depression
  • Improved digestion & absorption of nutrients from the food we eat
  • Increased energy from production of vitamin B12
  • Probiotics destroy candida – harmful yeasts which cause havoc on our body
  • Aids in healing leaky gut syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease
  • Assists and encourages proper bowel clearance
  • Antibiotic associated diarrhoea
  • Weight loss
  • Production of Vitamin K2, Enzymes, B-Vitamins and SCFA Butyrate
  • Modulation of the IgA and IgG immune cells, B & T Cells and our inflammatory response
  • Crowding out the “bad bacteria”, yeasts and fungi

Sources

  • Organic dairy such as yoghurt
  • Fermented vegetables (Kim chi, sauerkraut)
  • Milk kefir
  • Water Kefir
  • Kombucha
  • Miso

It is important to note that probiotics are strain specific, meaning that certain strains work best for particular aliments. Therefore it is always best to seek the assistance of a professional health care practitioner such as an Acupuncturist, Naturopath, Nutritionist etc.

Practitioner only supplements are also more superior in their quality.

Probiotic strengths vary from 25 Billion to 500 Billion.