Autoimmune Disease Explained

orangeimmunecells bursting outThe relationship between autoimmune disease and immune resilience.

These are very delicate times we are facing, especially with our health. And more specifically, because the coronavirus virus (COVID -19) has hit hard. To make things a little more clearer, we really need to understand the relationship between autoimmune disease and immune resilience. This, at least, may help people with autoimmune diseases feel a little more secure about the whole COVID-19 situation.

So, autoimmunity… and why does the body attack itself?

In my previous blogs I talked about immune tolerance and immune resilience. However, it’s important to understand that having an autoimmune disease doesn’t mean to say it will weaken immune resilience. But we’ll get to that later. First, let’s look at what autoimmunity really is.

Autoimmunity, to describe it in medical terms, is a disorder where the immune system erroneously destroys and attacks body tissue. Put simply, it is the immune system going slightly crazy (it’s gone into ‘tilt mode’) and mistakenly eats, destroys, and attacks body tissue. As an example, Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, where the body mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland; or rheumatoid arthritis, where the body mistakenly attacks the joints. Other examples of autoimmunity are type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, alopecia, vitiligo, etc.

Under normal circumstances the immune system is able to tell the difference between foreign (nonself)cells and your own (self) cells. And protect against germs like bacteria and viruses, sending or releasing, an army of fighter cells, natural killer cells, etc, to attack the foreign invader.

When we look at autoimmune disease, however, the immune system erroneously thinks parts of the body, such as the thyroid, joints, skin, etc, are foreign. Your immune system is in ‘tilt mode’, and sends out, or releases autoantibodies that then attack healthy cells.


How does autoimmunity affect your chances of contracting an illness – viral, bacterial or otherwise?

Well, that depends. When we talk about autoimmune disease and immune resilience we need to look at how well your immune function is working in relation to your autoimmunity. To put it another way, different people may have the same autoimmune disease but either a higher or lower immune state. And in fact, autoimmunity can either heighten or dampen immune resilience.

As an example, some people with Hashimoto’s may have a high white blood count and some a low white blood count. Some may have different levels of natural killer cells, T-cell regulation, and B-cell activity, etc. Everyone is different, just because you have the same autoimmune disease doesn’t mean your immune status will be the same!

What this means is some people with autoimmunity alone may have a heightened immune status, meaning they have a high immune resilience. One way to tell if your immune resilience is strong is if you haven’t caught a cold or flu over the last 5 years or so. Even when, at the same time, heightened immune activity may exacerbate autoimmune attacks against bodily tissues. This may seem a little complicated but really it isn’t. A good way to look at it is, we should think of autoimmunity and the immune resilience as two functioning processes that can harm us or protect us. Autoimmunity is a disease which harms us, whereas immune resilience, which can be built or broken depending on your lifestyle habits. When immune resilience is strong we will be less likely to catch get ill. And less prone to chronic disease.

Do people with autoimmunity need to be cautious when taking botanicals?

Well, yes and no!

Let me explain. Because autoimmunity instigates such a diversity of immune responses in each and everyone of us that have it, we need to think before we start taking any herbs, medicinal mushrooms, or other botanicals that can influence the immune system. Of course, it is always best to speak with a qualified functional/restorative doctor before commencing any regime.

If we take a look at the immune-stimulating botanicals such as echinacea or maitake mushrooms in some autoimmune people, they can fire up the immune system and make their autoimmune symptoms even worse. Again, botanicals that actually delay or slow immune response, such as antibody production, can also make autoimmune people worse. We need to be very careful here. Talk to your qualified functional/restorative physician or doctor.

The best way to modulate the Immune system and improve resilience with autoimmunity

So, let’s cut to the chase. If you are one of those people who finds it difficult to balance your immune system, or measure chronic disease, your lifestyle picture should be looked at. As mentioned in my previous blog they make a world of difference. These lifestyle strategies include:

Of course, there are many other healthy lifestyle habits you can take on which help balance immune function. But just start off slowly and you’ll see, you’ll get there. The key is to understand how important your life is…and your health. We only get one shot at this, and we only have one body. You can’t buy a new one, it’s not like a car or fancy dress. Take care of yourself and learn to love yourself. Remember you are the best thing that ever happened to you 🙂

You can find previous blogs here:

Healthy Immune System – Healthy You

The Immune Reset

To your health

Jill:) xx

The Immune Reset

Hand Blocking Green Immune Cells Bursting out from Black background

5 Ways to support immune resilience and improve immune tolerance.

Click here if you missed my previous blog about immune tolerance and immune resilience. And where we spoke about how important it is to strengthen immune tolerance (when it is low) in order to support immune resilience, which in turn promotes a healthy, well-functioning immune system.

Below are the five lifestyle strategies I mentioned in my previous blog, that we need to follow to strengthen immune system health. And to make your life and heart full again. To make you healthy and strong. Here’s to a happy, healthy life. Of course, there are other strategies you can do as well, but these are your starters.

  • Good sleep
  • Proper diet and nutrition
  • Hydration
  • Physical activity at appropriate levels
  • Emotions

Good Sleep

One of the most neglected and misunderstood strategies to improve immune function, immune resilience and to avoid infections is good sleep. Certain immune system cells (natural killer cells and T-cells) that are used to fight infection are boosted and activated when we sleep. When we sleep the body repairs itself and we are at peace. When we wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start the day, it’s a sign that we have had adequate sleep. When we are grumpy and bumpy, groggy and cranky, that’s a sure sign we didn’t get enough sleep. The day ahead will be long. Adequate sleep is fundamental to a well-working immune system and immune resilience.

Go to bed early. Try to sleep at least 7 hours a night. It is well known that people who sleep less than 7 hours are more prone to heart attack. And 90 minutes before bedtime, turn off all devices and televisions. Let your mind breath…and relax. I know it’s easy to say go to bed early when all you want to do is watch some television or stay on your computer because you feel as if your day has been all work and no play. It seems unfair. But start off by doing it a few nights a week, try reading a book in bed for ten minutes to relax and wind down. You’ll soon see that you’ll get into the habit of it, and start feeling much better.

Remember that there is not a single tissue within the human body and not one process within the brain that is not enhanced with adequate sleep (minimum 7hrs per night), or in the other case, impaired without enough sleep (less than 6hrs per night).

Proper Diet and Nutrition

What is nutrition, is it simply food that fills us up without giving us any health benefits, or is it food that is overflowing with vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, etc, that helps us grow, develop, renew, and stay healthy? You guessed it, it’s the latter.

If you look the word nutrition up in the oxford dictionary, it is the “process by which living things (including humans ) 🙂 receive the food necessary for them to grow and be healthy.” Without good nutrition we cannot possibly be healthy and we cannot possibly have a robust immune system.

This, I believe, is what most people in today’s world don’t understand. The foods we eat build us up or tear us down. They build our immune system and push hormone production – hormones, in turn, support a healthy and robust immune system and really improve our immune surveillance…killer cells at work!

So what should we do? Firstly, we need to cut out processed sugars, and concentrated sugars from your diet. That would include concentrated fruit juices, sweets, boiled sugar sweets, candy, etc. Anything that has a high amount of concentrated sugar in it needs to disappear from your diet. Plus they are empty calories that don’t provide you with any nutrition, at all!

We need to eat lots of colourful and varied fruit and vegetables which are high in flavonoid antioxidants, which really help our overall immune system strength. Another major helper is to diversify our microbiome. In other words, we want to have as many different healthy bacterial species in our gut. A healthy gut is essential for a healthy immune system. In fact, believe it or not, approximately 80% of our immune system is found in the gut. Eat multiple kinds of vegetables, but try to change the vegetable you eat. Don’t eat the same fruit and vegetable all the time…change them, this way you will really improve your immune resistance, by improving your gut microbiome.

Last but not least cut out inflammatory foods. Avoid such things as fried foods, processed foods, high floury carbohydrates (eg pasta, breads, pizzas), which cause insulin surges, make you tired (it’s the insulin surge that makes you tired), and they also deplete antioxidant reserves.

Also, avoid partially hydrogenated fats which deplete our antioxidant reserves – they usually come in packets or boxes. Read the labels on the foods you buy.

HYDRATION

Hydration…what is hydration? Again, in the Oxford dictionary hydration means, “The process of making something/somebody take in and hold water.” Water is the key word!. Drink lots of water throughout the day…drinking tea, coffee and alcohol can actually worsen the ‘hydration situation’ as these beverages act as diuretics, so we basically become dehydrated just from that. Please drink water and avoid sugary drinks. Another key to building immune resilience is to stay hydrated all the time. Don’t let yourself get thirsty.

When we are dehydrated the immune system goes into default, and we become more prone to infections. The immune system dysregulates and, interaction and communication (yes our immune system communicates…it talks to our body 🙂 ), and immune signalling becomes compromised. In other words, when we are dehydrated the immune system becomes less efficient. Another thing, dehydration impacts blood volume and can cause miscommunication (yes our body is talking again) between the lymphatic system and the immune system.

If you have an infection or feel you are about to get one, you definitely need to stay hydrated and drink (water!) all the time, as this helps clear the infection quicker.

Of course, you need to cut down on salt intake if you want to stay hydrated. High salt intake makes you urinate more often to try and get rid of the sodium and regulate osmotic pressure.

Physical activity at appropriate levels

Although this might sound strange the immune system communicates throughout the whole body – it has to, to enable us to have optimal immune function, and optimal immune resilience. So, throughout our body and throughout the trillions of cells we have in the body, we have different types of immune cells, from macrophage to antigen-presenting cells. What these cells do is test and sample whatever is coming into the immune system…so when a pathogen, viral, bacterial or other microorganism that causes disease, comes in, they check it out by sending an immune messenger. When a pathogen is detected they (immune cells) let the immune system know that it now needs to manufacture antibodies to protect it from this pathogen. T cells now need to switch on and our natural killer cells need to attack and deal with this infection. To achieve the best immune response this message has to reach the whole body as quickly as possible.

To quicken this process movement of any kind is important…but how much movement, when and how?

Movement promotes better blood flow, circulation, and lymphatic exchange of fluids. When you increase your heart rate, the blood flow and circulation enhances and when you pump those weights, and release and contract, it helps the lymphatic system to work more efficiently, and move fluids throughout the body at a greater speed. If you want to improve, support and/or build overall immune function, it is critical that you do some kind of movement/motion. However, the question is how much?

If you are healthy and have no immune challenges, strenuous exercise is fine, and can actually help release opioids, which have an incredible impact on immune cells like T cells, natural killer cells, and B cells, which of course, will strengthen immune system function and make it much more able to respond to any type of pathogen appropriately.

Instead, if you have an infection and are fatigued it’s best to slow down. Take it easy. High, intense exercise burns up antioxidants and reserves, which will really dampen our immune system. If you are not feeling too good or getting sick a brisk walk is just as good, it’s important not to fatigue yourself. Even a slow walk will activate your lymphatics and immune system function.

So, the key thing here is…

Any kind of movement, whether it’s high intensity or a gentle walk in the park, are critical to vascular dynamics (blood flow and exchange), to help push immune messengers throughout our body. If you want to improve your immune resilience and support tolerance, exercise, movement and motion are critical factors.

Emotions (Laughing and crying)

Really? Yes, really. These emotions can greatly impact immune resilience which help us to fight off infections and be less susceptible to infections that are going around.

Laughing actually triggers a release of opioids, that is of course, why we feel so relaxed and happy after a good laugh. As mentioned previously, opioids greatly impact immune system function by activating key cells such as T cells, natural killer cells and regulatory T cells that help the immune system to be more efficient in dealing with any type of pathogen. So, remember to laugh a lot and watch comedy films rather than tragedy. Laughing can have a profound impact on the immune system. ‘Be Happy – Laugh More – Stay Healthy’.

So what about crying? Hmm! Crying, believe it or not, this also helps us release opioids. For instance, in a critical situation or a crisis many of us cry. If you think about it we feel better after we’ve cried…it seems to relieve us somehow. When we start to cry opioids are released to act as a safeguard, and help dampen stress. In short, they help protect us from dealing with the stressor, which impacts the immune system.

So even crying significantly impacts the immune system by way of opioid release. Think about this next time you want to cry…just cry…and Be Happy!

I know we are all resistant to change, and yes, old habits die hard. But it’s your health we are talking about…it’s your life and the quality of it, no one else’s. Try these changes and see how it can change your life and your health. And if it helps to motivate you…these changes may even help you lose weight.

However, remember rebuilding a strong immune system doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time. You need to be consistent…you need to stick with it. Make yourself a New Years resolution, even if it’s not New Year…who needs New Year to make a new resolution? Start now and your summer will be off to a super start. Remember, the longer you leave your immune system to breakdown the longer it will take to repair.

To Your Health

Jill 🙂

How to increase longevity and slow the signs of aging

We’re pre-programmed to resist the signs of ageing and take every step we can to maximise our lifespan. But, with all the distractions of modern life, it’s easy to fall into bad habits that can slowly start to shave years off your life expectancy.

Fighting back against the ageing process doesn’t mean cutting out everything that you love, but with a few minor lifestyle changes you can re-discover your natural vitality and look forward to a long and healthy old age.

Here’s the key factors to consider and how you can naturally optimise your longevity:

1. Sleep

Sleep impacts on all of your body’s systems and a lack of it can double the signs of skin ageing according to a US study, as well as making us feel less attractive.

More importantly, it can be a real risk to our health, with a report from University of Warwick finding that people who sleep less than six hours per night are 12% more likely to die over a 25-year period than those who get the recommended amount of sleep. These deaths were often from heart-related conditions.

Most medical professionals advise that you aim to achieve regular, uninterrupted sleep sessions of six to eight hours per night in order to maintain optimal health and vitality.

2. Stress

Stress is often unavoidable, but could be wreaking havoc on your appearance and life expectancy.

Stress can damage our chromosomes and DNA, resulting in mutations that can increase your risk of overall immune distress, degenerative diseases (like Parkinson’s and Huntington’s) and even cancer. A study by Harvard and Stanford Universities quantified that consistent stress could knock as much as 33 years off your potential lifespan.

To avoid this and stave off those grey hairs a little longer, ensure that your hormones are naturally in balance, optimise your diet, cut out contaminants (like alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes) and try to be mindful about what causes your blood pressure to creep up.

3. Diet

Diet is another all-encompassing factor that can impact severely on your health and wellbeing.

No matter how much you think you’re looking after your body, a bad diet can wreck your complexion and leave you looking pale and peaky. Your diet can also impact on your overall life expectancy, with coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and diabetes (which, according to the New England Journal of Medicine, can shave six years off your life alone) are among the most serious risks.

Start taking regular exercise, avoid consuming high levels of alcohol, and eliminate trans fats from your diet. Trans fats are bad and increase your risk of heart disease. In fact, they are so bad that some countries have banned them outright. They also interfere with the body’s ability to produce its own DHA (an omega-3 essential fatty acid). Fill your new diet with wrinkle-fighting antioxidants, whole and non-farmed foods, and ensure your vitamin intake is optimised.

4. Essential oils/serums

Even with a balanced diet and regular exercise, there are certain conditions or individual variables that can prevent us from absorbing the right levels of essential nutrients.

Essential oils and serums have long been used as a way of distilling the essence of integral elements to ensure that we can regulate our intake to match our unique bodily composition. Rather than being a direct means of extending longevity, essential oils will help to maintain your overall wellbeing, boost your immune system, improve skin quality, help you sleep and much, much more.

Once an expensive lifestyle option, you can now easily mix your own essential oils at home using ingredients like jojoba oil, evening primrose oil, pomegranate oil, vitamin E and lavender oil.

5. Genetic mutations

Genetic mutations and free radical damage are most commonly caused by toxic elements entering our bloodstream via our diets, alcohol or cigarettes.

Each mutation has the potential to turn cancerous, or cause degenerative diseases that could dramatically decrease your life expectancy. A study by Treatment4Addiction found that each cigarette was equivalent to 14 minutes off your life expectancy (10 years if you’re regularly smoking 20 per day). But, there are unseen factors too. A nutritional imbalance and the presence of E numbers and other contaminants in our diet might be slowly degrading your overall health.

With cigarettes and alcohol, it’s easy to know exactly what you need to cut out. However, knowing how to adapt your diet can be a little more complicated. Simply revise the ‘Diet’ section above and you can start off on the right foot.

6. Hormones

Our hormones are the oil that keeps our finely tuned machines in proper working order, but decline dramatically with age, often resulting in the onset of numerous degenerative diseases.

This decline is likely to signal that the menopause is now in full swing, complete with the range of unpleasant side effects that this transition brings. Later, your risk of cognitive degeneration, mobility issues and bodily changes (weight gain, wrinkles, hair loss etc.) will increase significantly. And, even if you try to fight back with synthetic hormones, you’ll be increasing your risk of breast cancer and other conditions.

An alternative is bioidentical hormones restorative therapy (BHRT) to help improve your life and protect your long and short-term health.

Conclusion

The further medical research advances, the more we come to understand that many aspects of the ageing process are not set in stone and can be avoided with intelligent lifestyle choices. Follow these simple steps and look forward to excitement and energy in your later years.

Vitamin C: why you need this healing antioxidant for your immune system

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient and powerful antioxidant that can help to boost your immune system, keep you energised and stave off a whole range of diseases.

Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C must be consumed in food or high-quality supplements as it cannot be made in the body. It’s used to generate the protein that makes your skin, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels, and is an ‘electron donor’ that maintains optimal electron flow, fights oxidation and protects vital molecular elements.

All in all, it’s an important part of who we are and too many of us aren’t getting enough of it. This water-soluble vitamin is essential to your health, so make sure you stay at your radiant best by reading through our guide to vitamin C.   

What are the health benefits of vitamin C?

As a co-factor in at least eight enzymatic reactions, vitamin C impacts a whole host of the systems that keep you at your best. These are some of the effects of vitamin C that you just can’t do without:

  1.   Skin and collagen: Studies have shown that higher vitamin C intake is linked to a reduction in the appearance of wrinkles and the time it takes wounds to heal. It also contains antioxidants, which is one factor in reducing the risk of developing skin cancer.
  2.   Mineral absorption: Taking vitamin C alongside iron increases nutrient absorption rates, which in turn helps to strengthen the immune system and reduce inflammation.
  3.   Free radical damage: Vitamin C can protect against a build-up of free radical molecules within the body, which might otherwise contribute towards conditions such as cancer, heart disease or arthritis.
  4.   Cold and flu: Vitamin C can shake your immune system from its slumber, helping to fight off colds and flu and therefore prevent further complications, such as pneumonia.  
  5.   Cancer: Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and used in high-doses as a supplementary treatment for cancer. Lab tests have shown that it may slow the growth and spread of prostate, pancreatic, liver and colon cancer.
  6.   Stroke: A study from the US found that people with the highest concentrations of vitamin C were 42% less likely to suffer a stroke than those with the lowest levels.
  7.   Physical performance: The vitamin might improve muscle strength and oxygen intake during exercise, as well as reducing inflammation for asthmatics.

Symptoms of vitamin C deficiency

So, now that you know how important it is to stay topped up, here are some of the key warning signs to look out for that might point to a vitamin C deficiency:

Bruising easily Swollen or bleeding gums Slow wound healing
Gingivitis Dry/splitting hair Dry, red skin spots
Rough/dry/scaly skin Nosebleeds Low immune system
Digestive problems Weight gain Swollen/painful joints

Certain factors can increase your risk of becoming deficient in vitamin C, including:

  • Smoking
  • Ageing
  • Antibiotics
  • Aspirin
  • Birth control pills
  • Cortisone
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • High blood pressure
  • High fever
  • Painkillers
  • Stress
  • Sulfa drugs

If you’re part of any of these groups, it’s recommended that you top up your intake with high-quality supplements.

How to find balance through our diet and supplements

Like all nutrients, you can optimise the amount you take in from your diet by using organic fruit and veg, and consuming either raw or steamed. To help you find your natural balance, try to make sure you’re consuming 2-3 of these vitamin C rich foods every day:

Foodstuff Vitamin C Foodstuff Vitamin C
Guava 1 fruit: 377 mg Blackcurrant 1 cup: 203 mg
Red pepper 1 cup raw: 190 mg Kiwi 1 piece: 164 mg
Green peppers 1 cup chopped, raw: 120 mg Orange 1 large: 82 mg
Strawberries 1 cup: 89.4 mg Papaya 1 cup, in pieces: 86.5 mg
Broccoli 1 cup raw: 81.2 mg Kale 1 cup raw: 80 mg
Parsley 1 cup, fresh: 79.8 mg Pineapple 1 cup, fresh: 78.9 mg
Brussels sprouts 1 cup raw: 74.8 mg Grapefruit 1 cup: 71.8 mg
Peas 1 cup raw: 58 mg Cauliflower 1 cup raw, chopped: 46.4 mg

*Figures courtesy of draxe.com.  

With vitamin C, there’s no chance of overdosing as any excess will be excreted out later. Doses of vitamin C higher than 5000mg can be taken, but may cause diarrhea. Mineral ascorbate and Ester-C are buffered forms of vitamin C that cause less diarrhea. And if taking antacids please remember to take your vitamin C at least four hour beforehand, as antacids inhibit absorption of this important vitamin.

However, as 10% – 20% of us fall below recommended levels of vitamin C through diet alone, you should also consider taking a high-quality supplement to top you up. Taking one 1,000mg high-quality supplement has no real downsides. In fact, it will help to reinvigorate your health and leave you feeling full of life. Vitamin C should be taken two or three times over the course of the day as it is easily excreted from the body. Keeping your levels topped up in this way will ensure that you stay fully protected.

Hemochromatosis happens when the body accumulates excess iron. Vitamin C can increase this accumulation, therefore people with hemochromatosis should avoid the intake of extra vitamin C. Also, people with a glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, should not have vitamin C given to them intravenously.

Follow these simple steps and find out how optimising your vitamin C levels could help you rediscover your natural vibrancy.

Is B12 deficiency stopping your blood from breathing?

B12 is a super-vitamin that keeps you feeling active and is key to a whole host of your body’s most important functions, including the formation of red blood cells that carry oxygen around your system.

Falling below your optimal B12 levels can cause or exacerbate a range of serious health complaints. Here’s our top tips about B12, to help you stay naturally full of life:

What role does B12 play within the body?

Vitamin B12 is a complex chemical that contains the mineral cobalt, and is often referred to as the ‘energy vitamin’.

It helps to prevent fatigue and build energy stores by supporting thyroid function and cellular methylation. However, its effects go far beyond an energy boost – the following processes are all reliant on the vitamin:

Red blood cell formation Cellular energy
Memory Nutrient absorption
Adrenal gland support DNA synthesis
Nerve and brain regeneration Reproductive health
Digestive health Carnitine metabolism

Why do we become deficient and what are the signs?

B12 deficiency is generally caused by one of two things: either a lack of B12 in your diet, or (more likely) an undiagnosed secondary condition such as ‘leaky gut’ that prevents you from properly absorbing it into your system.

Damaged stomach lining (known as leaky gut) can cause ‘Pernicious anaemia’ (or vitamin B12 anaemia), preventing you from absorbing the B12 that is a natural part of your diet.

Am I at risk?

The latest research suggests that we’re all potentially at risk. The Framingham Study indicated that up to 40% of the UK and US population have lower than optimal levels of the vitamin.

People don’t generally notice symptoms until they’re in their 30s, and the average age for a deficiency diagnosis is 60.

The following people are particularly at risk from B12 deficiency:

  • Aged over 50
  • Vegans or vegetarians
  • Sufferers from digestive issues (e.g. diarrhoea, IBD)
  • Those with an H.pylori bacterial infection or stomach ulcer
  • Post-weight loss surgery
  • Afflicted by acid reflux

Also, people taking the following forms of medication are at an increased risk of becoming B12 deficient:

  • Antibiotics
  • Blood pressure control
  • Birth control pills
  • Cholesterol-related drugs
  • Diabetes medications
  • Anti-psychotic drugs
  • Antacids (which decrease the amount of B12 absorbed from food, but not from supplementation)

What are the warning signs?

While the symptoms are likely to be pronounced, they are often attributed to other causes. Here’s some of the signs to watch out for:

Fatigue Lack of focus
Tension in muscles Poor memory
Emotional fluctuations Lack of motivation
Infertility Digestive issues (diarrhea, IBD)
Lack of energy Hypothyroidism

How to increase your B12 levels

Diet

Unlike most of the vitamins in our diet, B12 is not primarily produced by plants or animals. It’s mainly produced by a cocktail of bacteria in the gut.

Here’s some of the top foods to help boost your B12 supply:

Beef /chicken liver (organic) Sardines (wild) Salmon (wild)
Tuna (wild) Cod (wild) Lamb (organic)
Scallops (wild) Beef (grass-fed/ organic) Yogurt
Venison (organic) Raw milk Turkey (organic)

B12 can be killed off by overexposure to heat. So, try cooking these foods as medium rather than well-done, to maximise B12 intake.

As most B12 is stored in meats, vegetarians and vegans are especially at risk from B12 deficiency, so they could increase their dietary intake with probiotic and fermented foods, and particularly supplements.

Supplements

As you’re able to generate some B12 in your gut, you should think about supplementing both your B12 levels directly, and boosting your digestive system as a whole.

For B12, methylcobalamin or hydroxycobalamin are recommended over cyanocobalamin as they can be absorbed more easily. Desiccated liver tablets are another completely natural supplement that can help to boost B12.

A balanced combination of natural supplements to boost your B12 intake would include:

  1. Natural Vitamin B12
  2. Live Probiotic Supplement

Because ‘B’ vitamins are water soluble, they leave the body quickly and so should be taken twice per day. The recommended daily dosage is 400 – 500mcg, however it’s always best to speak with an expert in restorative medicine in order to finely tune your B12 intake.

The health benefits of balanced B12 levels

It might sound a little complicated, but once you know how, it’s really easy to re-discover your natural B12 balance. And the health effects can be life-changing.

Maintaining optimal levels can reduce the risk of your health being affected in the following ways:

Anemia Asthma
Depression Fatigue (adrenal fatigue and CFS)
Kidney disease Macular degeneration
Memory loss Migraine headaches
Multiple sclerosis Neuropathy
Shingles Tinnitus
Decreased levels of oestrogens (women) Decreased progesterone levels (women)
Increased cortisol levels Insomnia and irritability

And those are just the direct benefits. Optimal B12 balance is also linked to preventing these serious health concerns:

  • Brain damage
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Depression
  • Cancer

There’s so much at stake with B12 deficiency, it helps to stay one step ahead and maintain your natural balance long-term. Follow these simple steps to re-discover the real you and maintain optimal health for many years to come.

Why is zinc deficiency often misdiagnosed? How to identify and fight it

Zinc is an essential trace element and mineral that’s found in all living beings. It’s known as ‘essential’ for a reason: it has a major effect on your overall health. In fact, it performs more biological roles within the body than all other elements combined.

However, your body has no means of producing or storing the mineral, so it’s tough to regulate your intake – the World Health Organisation estimates that 31% of people globally are zinc deficient.

Ensuring that your levels are optimised will help you maintain your natural sparkle.

Why are we just starting to notice how common zinc deficiency is?

Though known as a crucial element for plants and animals since the early 1900s, it took another 60 years before scientists began to investigate zinc’s effect on humans, and clinicians focused more on the effects of iron deficiency. The mineral was finally identified as essential only in 2009.

You get zinc mainly from your food. But even if you eat three balanced meals a day, it’s not quite that simple – modern food doesn’t contain as much zinc as our cavemen ancestors ate, for two key reasons:

  1. Industrialised food processing rinses out up to 50% of zinc through mechanical and chemical processes.
  2. Cooking habits – we don’t often risk eating raw meat or veg today, but cooking to well-done fries essential minerals to a crisp, preventing them from being absorbed by your body.

So now, up to 2 billion people globally have a marginal zinc deficiency – but this is not severe enough for them to realise their condition, or for it to be easily diagnosed because symptoms are common to many other conditions.

How would I notice if I was zinc deficient?

Zinc is an essential mineral that helps with enzymatic reactions, binding to electron-rich cell proteins to interact with amino acid side chains. But what does this actually mean for your general health and wellbeing? You might notice some of the following if you become deficient:

  • a loss of appetite
  • occasional moodiness
  • numbed smell and taste
  • immune system compromised: for example, getting a lot of colds
  • diarrhoea or ‘leaky gut’
  • increased allergies sensitivity

If you notice these symptoms, you should have your doctor check your zinc levels, and they can then prescribe a specific dosage of zinc for you if needed.

Here are just some aspects of your health that zinc can help to maintain:

LiverOysters
Crimini mushroomsPumpkin seeds
SpinachBeef
Sea vegetablesGreen peas
Raw milk and cheeseBeans

Try to get these in an organic, unprocessed form. Also, try boiling, poaching and steaming (and avoid microwaving, frying and charbroiling) to ensure that the zinc is still absorbable when you eat.
Also, note that smoking can cause zinc deficiency, so it’s another really good reason to quit!

Restoring your zinc levels to their natural optimum can boost your bodily functions and help prevent health conditions. And, it’s so easy to achieve: with simple diet improvements and nutritional supplements, you could find a whole new lease of life!

 

Why magnesium deficiency makes you ill – how to spot the signs and what to do

women magnesium deficiency
Just look around the room; chances are that almost everyone in your eye-line is suffering from magnesium deficiency in one form or another. But, with symptoms so common that they’re often attributed to other ailments, and a lack of relevant clinical research, most of us don’t ever realise why we’re suffering.

Why magnesium is crucial for your general health

The fourth most common mineral in the body, magnesium is both a mineral and electrolyte that helps pass electrical signals along the nerves in your body. You may have seen sports drinks adverts that claim electrolytes are lost through sweat, resulting in cramp: but this is just the tip of the electrolyte-impact iceberg.

Without magnesium, your heart would stop beating, your muscles would seize up and your brain would stop processing information. A co-factor of an astonishing 300+ bodily reactions, magnesium helps regulate your temperature, maintain energy levels, form bones and teeth, and fight cardiovascular disease. Magnesium levels are reduced by stress factors, which can subsequently initiate or worsen chronic illnesses.

Why the symptoms of deficiency are very common and hard to diagnose

Conventional medicine has struggled to identify magnesium deficiency because of its reliance on blood tests. Magnesium in blood is crucial to ward off heart attacks, so your body will supplement any loss in the bloodstream by robbing reserves in bone or muscle tissue. Therefore, all blood tests typically show similar levels. However, 99% of our magnesium reserves are in muscle and bone tissue, which aren’t usually tested. So a deficiency can go completely under the radar.

Over 3,750 magnesium binding sites have now been found within the human body, meaning that a deficiency of this under-loved electrolyte could trigger or exacerbate a whole host of conditions, including:

OsteoporosisAsthmaAnxiety
Insomnia Blood clots Depression
Muscular and back pain Bowel disease Lethargy
Muscle crampsCystitis Impaired cognitive ability
SeizuresDiabetes Foggy memory
Constipation Cardiovascular disease Fatigue
Headaches HypoglycaemiaTendonitis
Migraines Kidney and liver disease Aggression
High blood pressure (Hypertension) Musculoskeletal conditions (fibromyalgia, cramps, chronic back pain, etc.) Obstetrical/gynaecological problems (PMS, infertility, and pre-eclampsia)
Nerve problems Tooth decay Tension

Any of these sound familiar? Women may be particularly prone, because excess oestrogens, present during the early stages of the menopause (or perimenopause), also create a magnesium deficiency.

Beating magnesium deficiency for improved health and wellbeing

There’s so many simple ways that you can boost your magnesium levels and recover your natural balance. Here’s just a few:

  1. Start by supplementing with high quality magnesium: your doctor trained in restorative medicine can prescribe these for you as part of a general health rebalance.
  2. Change to an organic diet featuring magnesium-rich food (including dark chocolate!)
  3. Slather yourself in magnesium oil
  4.  Take a long soak in an Epsom salt bath – it will boost your sulphur levels too
  5. Try to avoid prolonged stressful activities
  6. Reduce sugar intake – it takes 54 molecules of magnesium to metabolise one sugar molecule
  7. Stay away from synthetic oestrogen compounds

The changes might start subtly, but you should definitely notice when your magnesium levels start to fall back in line. When your balance is restored, the stress which can cause magnesium deficiency is reduced, along with the potency of chronic symptoms.

Restoring your natural optimum magnesium levels doesn’t just fight or eliminate the conditions listed above: because many of the remedies are part of a generally healthier lifestyle (such as improved diet and a calmer outlook), you could find your general health and energy is stronger than ever before.

Should we take vitamin supplements?

Some of the many questions women ask me are, should we take vitamins and other nutrients or not? In what amounts should we take them, which supplements are the most effective and which vitamins or nutrients should we take for a specific illness or chronic disease?

Yes, admittedly, it can be very confusing, especially as there are so many on the marketplace… some pure and some not so pure, but that is for another discussion!

The guidelines

Answering this question is important to our health and longevity – but as we know, there are so many differing viewpoints regarding nutrition and nutritional supplements, it is difficult to know in which direction to move. The RDA, recommended daily allowance, and the RDI, reference daily intake, were developed so they could be used as a guideline for our daily intake of vitamins and nutrients. However, these dietary recommendations are only suggestions, which are often rigidly followed by well-intentioned people.

Unfortunately, these guidelines are way below the levels that restorative medicine would call sufficient (optimal) to help people achieve optimal health – which is its goal. Also, the RDA and RDI recommendations do not consider that every individual is different and therefore their requirements for vitamins, mineral, and other nutrients will be different. T0 enable them to gain full health benefits, nutritional intake needs to be considered.

Of course, stress, age, lifestyle, genetics, medications, soil depletion, vitamin interaction, and whether there is a need for more antioxidants, also all need to be considered. Just because your healthy neighbour or friend is following a certain nutritional plan doesn’t mean that it will work for you.

What does your body need?

It is imperative to understand what the body needs. Only 20 per cent of disease is inherited and 80 per cent is the environment in which we place our body. It is what we personally do to our body that counts. Our health and lifestyle is basically based on lifestyle, environment and nutrition. It is these factors that have a huge influence on the number of years spent in good health. Many studies demonstrate that people with better health habits and nutritional diet survive much longer and with a lesser degree of disability at the end of life.

The Journal of the American Medical Association stated,

“Sub optimal vitamin states are associated with many chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, cancer and osteoporosis. It is important for physicians to identify patients with poor nutrition or other reasons for increased vitamin needs.” Going onto say, “Most people do not consume optimal amounts of all vitamins by diet alone… it appears prudent for all adults to take vitamin supplements.”

What about nutrients from healthy eating?

There are various reasons why it is almost impossible to get all nutrients we need from food:

  • most soil is now depleted of many important minerals, such as magnesium and zinc.
  • selenium, a trace mineral, is also deplete in some areas but can be found in overabundance in other areas. Selenium is good for health in small amounts but is toxic in large amounts – watch out!
  • when fruit and vegetables are not consumed after they are picked, they immediately lose their nutritional value.
  • cold storage continues to destroy nutritional value – grapes lose up to 30 percent of their B vitamins, by the time they arrive at the supermarket. Tangerines that are stored for eight weeks lose more than half their vitamin C.
  • over cooking – the longer you cook fruits and vegetables, the less nutrients there will be left. It is always better to lightly steam them or eat them raw, and if possible as soon as they are picked.
  • processing foods (the foods that most of us eat today) destroy any nutritional value it may have after it has been picked. Food can be processed, blanched, canned, sterilized and frozen – all these mechanisms decrease nutritional value. The milling of grains removes much of its fiber and twenty-six essential nutrients.

In today’s modern society the intake of supplements is fundamental to good health – but make sure you get the right supplements in the right amounts, and clean, pure supplements (no chalk, etc!)

Restorative medicine can design a nutritional programme just for you! Right amounts, clean, pure just for you!

Thyroid friendly foods (Infographic)

One in 20 people in the UK suffer from thyroid disorders, according to the British Thyroid Foundation. The most common thyroid condition is hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid.  During October, the Menopause Woman page on  Thyroid and Menopause received over 30,000 visits from our readers looking for information on under active thyroid or low thyroid.

To help you make food choices to improve your thyroid health see the Thyroid  infographic below. The Thyroid Food Swap infographic walks you through some of the foods to avoid and replaces them with foods to strengthen thyroid function. It includes causes of low thyroid, common symptoms and the vital hormone connection that many women in the forties are not aware of. If you are looking to strengthen thyroid function, keep on reading.

Thyroid Food Swap

Thyroid Food Infographic

Thyroid Food Infographic

Is it my thyroid or the perimenopause?

Life events such as childbirth and menopause can influence the balance of female hormones which put women at a higher rate of thyroid disorders than men. Women in their forties tend to be more affected than their male counterparts and, in fact, many midlife cases of hypothyroidism can be due to oestrogen dominance. Numerous cases of hypothyroidism can go undetected and untreated, as many doctors and women may be unaware of the hormonal connection and thyroid function in perimenopause/menopause.

Dr Dzugan is always telling me that thyroid dysfunction or imbalance is commonplace in many of DzLogic’s patients and US research shows around 25 percent of women in or near perimenopause are diagnosed with this condition.

So, is there such a thing as a Thyroid Diet?

Whilst there isn’t such a thing as a ‘Thyroid Diet’, there are foods that can damage or strengthen the thyroid gland, together with general hormone production. The thyroid needs certain vitamins and minerals that are accessible in many foods. A healthy diet of real foods consisting of a plant-based, whole-food regime, provides active nutrients which help to protect the thyroid.

Why certain minerals and vitamins matter

When we are deficient in certain minerals and vitamins, such as vitamin C, B-complex, zinc, selenium, and iodine, the thyroid cannot function at optimal. This is when we see weight gain, become more subject to insulin resistance, and suffer from a myriad of other symptoms; foggy thinking, brittle nails, joint pain, allergies, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibrocystic breast disease (noncancerous changes in the breast tissue), hair loss, decreased sex drive, to name a few.

Without iodine the thyroid just doesn’t work!

The majority of people are deficient in iodine in fact, nearly 72 percent of the world’s population. We need trace amounts of iodine in all of our hormone receptors for our hormones to work correctly – good thyroid function is vital to hormone balance. Without iodine the thyroid just doesn’t work!

Using iodized salt isn’t sufficient to remedy this deficiency. The use of iodine that was once added to foods, greatly helped to reduce the incidence of goiter, or abnormally enlarged thyroid gland. Nevertheless, in the 1960s the use of iodine in bread was discontinued, largely because it was thought to be bad for you, and so replaced by bromium.

The problem with Bromium

Bromium is now found in such things as bread, vegetable oils, energy and fruit drinks and many other products. Bromium can actually dislodge iodine in a healthy thyroid, provoking it to dysfunction, going on to cause hypothyroidism. Today, processed and convenience foods present a significant problem because they are so deplete of important nutrients that help maintain a fully functioning and healthy thyroid and body. Continual consumption over the years of these ‘nutritionless foods’, will affect thyroid function and slow it down.

Keep away from these non-nutritional foods – eat real food!

The problem with fluoride

Another thing, fluoride in our waters and toothpaste block iodine binding. Drink filtered water and buy fluoride-free toothpaste! And apart from that, high fluoride levels have been linked to various negative health effects; impaired brain development which include lower IQ in children, weaker bones and more fractures, genetic damage and cell death, an increased tumor and cancer rate, and damaged sperm and increased infertility.

Thyroid friendly foods

Hormone friendly foods include organic, wild or free-range proteins, such as salmon, chicken, eggs, and beef. Other sources are raw nuts and seeds, and fresh fruit, along with pure, cold-pressed organic oils, including borage oil, olive oil, sesame oils. And importantly, organic green vegetable helps boost thyroid function.

What about soy?

Consuming organic soy foods such as fermented soy sauce, fermented soy yoghurts and miso, in small quantities, are also hormone friendly foods. However, you should avoid all regular soy foods that contain genistein, which ultimately decrease iodine absorption.

References

Dr Dzugan

British Thyroid Foundation

Dr Northrup on Thyroid Disease

Share Our Thyroid Infographic On Your Site

The Effects of Yo-Yo Dieting

yoyo-diet-thyroid-weight

The thyroid is our metabolic motor, and controls our metabolism (metabolic rate), when we ‘crash diet‘ a biologically-programmed interruption in its function is created, which actually results in weight gain – the opposite to what you are looking to achieve. As the thyroid talks to all the other hormones, this interruption disrupts the hormonal flow, and consequently, other metabolic processes along the way.

The thyroid gland secretes its hormones in the following proportions: 80 percent of T4, the inactive form, which is ultimately converted to T3 in the bloodstream to become the active form, and 20 percent of T3. When we crash diet a physiological response in the body takes place, which most likely dates back to Paleolithic man and the risk of starvation. T4 is then converted into reverse T3 (RT3), instead of T3. Reverse T3 is not metabolically active, and will result in the ‘shutting down‘ of our basal metabolic rate (metabolism).

When there is a lot of crash dieting going on the body sees this as a sign of famine and slows everything down, so whatever we are doing we will not lose weight. With persistent yo-yo dieting we are technically lowering our basal metabolic rate. Our metabolism will get stuck on neutral and we will gain weight on fewer calories whatever programme we are following, be it a high protein, low-carb, high vegetable, or whatever – the results are always the same; metabolic ‘shut down’.

Yo-yo dieting has gained its name because it truly is a yo-yo effect; as soon as we stop the severe food restrictions, the weigh piles back on and at a greater rate. This short-term solution does not work. If we restore our body with bioidentical hormones, adapt healthy eating habits and include exercise, the weight will come off and stay off!

Note: The same mechanism occurs in people under intense and increased stress. Stress raises the hormone, cortisol, which interferes with the conversion of T4 to the active form T3, this results in more reverse T3 being made, and again, it slows down the metabolism. This is known as stress-induced weight gain.

Balance your hormones, your systems, your body. Restore your body!