The gallbladder is an overworked gland. It’s a small gland that sits under the liver. The liver produces a substance called bile and the gallbladder (GB) stores it. Bile is used to break down fats from your diet and also binds to toxins and unwanted hormones such as excess estrogens to be eliminated through your bowels. When the GB is under functioning it will cause fat malabsorption, a build up of toxins in your body and estrogen dominance. AND it will predispose you to gall stones.
Symptoms associated with a under functioning gallbladder include
- Pain/tenderness under right rib cage
- Pain between shoulder blades
- Indigestion, especially after eating fatty food
- Feeling of fullness after eating
HRT and the Pill causes alterations with gallbladder function as theses hormones affect the stickiness of bile and make the gallbladder more sluggish, leading to potential gallbladder problems and stones. And for those of you women in perimenopause, who are estrogen dominant, then the GB can be a contributor.
Thyroxin or T4, is a thyroid hormone that influences GB function. If this hormone is low, it can cause slow bile flow and contribute to formation of gall stones.
What can you do to look after your GB?
Diet should include;
- Lemon juice in warm water on rising
- Regularly eat raw beetroot, bitter greens and olives
- Dandelion root tea
- Coconut oil, nuts and seeds, oily fish, omega 3 oils
- Avoid trans fats, red meat, fried foods, reduced processed foods and sugar
- Avoid over eating!
Supplements can include;
- Lethicin with meals – sunflower is best, or supplement with choline
- marys thistle
- Dandelion root
- Use castor oil packs of the GB area at night
- Rub a few drops of rosemary oil (in a carrier oil) over your GB
Get in touch if you need support or have questions.
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IBS, leaky gut, SIBO and oxalates.
Have you tried many diets, supplements and treatments for your gut issues, yet you still struggle with your symptoms? Do you have IBS, IBD , SIBO, leaky gut, diarrhoea or bloating?
Oxalates, the crystals that can form anywhere in your body including your gut, may be to blame. Oxalates, if not removed efficiently by your gut bacteria / flora, can cause inflammation and irritation to the gut. If you have leaky gut or candida you will be more sensitive to oxalates in foods and these crystals will accumulate more. Kidney stones are the most well known problem related to oxalates. They can affect your joints, muscles, eyes, liver and thyroid and cause inflammation throughout the whole body.
What are these oxalates?
Oxalates are a molecule (with no nutritional value) that is found in many healthy foods including most nuts and seeds, black beans, kidney beans, spinach, carrots, buckwheat, rye and potatoes.
These crystals care meant to be removed through the bacteria in our gut. But if this balance of bacteria is disturbed – for example after food poisoning, gastro, antibiotic use or poor diet, then the body doesn’t do a very god job of this and the oxalates build up in the body and wreak havoc!
Why do plants contain oxalates?
‘ Plants use oxalate to protect themselves from infection or from being eaten. Oxalate crystals can tear up the “teeth” of the bugs that eat them, and the bugs will stop and leave the plant alone! That’s why oxalate is a good protection for plants that taste good to bugs, but they are a secret surprise for larger creatures who don’t detect oxalate when they eat high oxalate foods, and who lack the ability to sense its toxicity and lack the means to protect themselves from oxalate’s effects.’ (1)
If you are eating lots of nuts and greens and adding raw cacoa to smoothies , then you are getting a HUGE oxalate overload.
Some of the high oxalate foods you may like to avoid are –
- Brussel sprouts
- Sweet potatoes
- Sesame seeds
- Black beans
- Navy beans
There or other foods such as FODMAPS and Histamines that also may need to be taken into consideration when helping to heal your gut issues. If you have parasites, candida or a bacterial overgrowth including SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), leaky gut then you will most probably need to take natural supplements to rectify these issues.
Note - If you decide to try this out, please cut down these foods slowly to avoid a ‘ dumping ‘ reaction, where the body releases stored oxalates and can make your symptoms temporarily worse. Please contact me for support with this or if you would like a consultation to work on your gut issues. In clinic I use live and dried blood analysis to find out the state of your health and whether you have parasites, leaky gut or candida.
For more information on oxalates, check you this website - http://lowoxalate.info/index.html
1 - http://lowoxalate.info/index.html
Are you exhausted? Fatigued? Overwhelmed? Anxious? Moody? Depressed ? Wired and tired at night? Are you getting sick all the time or constant hay fever or allergies ?
If you have any of these symptoms, fatigue on waking or throughout the whole day and you have been suffering long term, your adrenal glands are probably to blame. These small, walnuts sized glands produce our ‘fight or flight’, or stress hormones. They therefore help regulate the stress response, but also other hormones, the nervous system, cardiovascular system, regulate the sleep wake cycle and inflammation, and the immune system. With many people in today’s busy world, they get over worked and then they cannot keep up with the ongoing demands our bodies put on them.
To rebuild the adrenals, you should avoid all stimulants where possible. This includes caffeine in chocolate, coffee, cola and guarana in supplements, sugar, alcohol, and white flour products/ refined starches. Reduce stress and get plenty of sleep.
EATING FOR YOUR ADRENALS!
- Eat within 2 hours of waking up
- Eat frequently through the day to regulate your blood sugar levels, at least every 4-5 hours. This will prevent a drop in your blood sugar levels and will make a difference to your adrenal health and energy levels.
- Eat good quality protein at every meal. These can include organic free range eggs and chicken, fish and nuts and seeds.
- Eat a wide variety of whole, natural foods
- Combine a healthy fat, protein and carbohydrate source with every meal
- Eat lots of vegetables, especially the brightly coloured ones and preferably organic
- Use a mineral salt such as Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt; ½ a teaspoon daily.
- Avoid fruit in the morning
- Mix 1-2 tablespoons of fresh essential oils (cold pressed olive or flaxseed oil) into wheat free grains, vegetables and meats daily. Do this after cooking as they are not meant to be cooked with! Cook with coconut oil which is anti-inflammatory and has a high burning point.
NUTRIENTS FOR ADRENAL HEALTH
Magnesium is a very important mineral for adrenal gland function. It is estimated that at least 80% of the population are magnesium deficient. Please be aware that there are many forms of magnesium and they are not all the same! Practitioner ranges have the most bio-available forms, meaning they are very efficiently absorbed. Potassium and magnesium together are the ‘nervous system Nutrients’.
B complex vitamins are important but may be too stimulating for some people when they are extremely adrenally fatigued. In these cases, magnesium, potassium and vitamin C are the best nutrients to nourish the adrenals glands. ‘Activated’ B vitamins should be used for more efficient absorption. Vitamins B5 and B6 especially help to restore adrenal function. Always take a B- complex if you are taking singular B vitamins to avoid an imbalance occurring. Be careful during intense anxiety as the B vitamins maybe too stimulating, also when there is Chronic fatigue, take small amounts to begin with and see how you feel.
HERBS FOR ADRENAL HEALTH
There are many herbs for the adrenal glands that can help strengthen the adrenals, but also act as adaptogens. Adaptogens help your body adapt to stress and protect the adrenals from any ongoing stressors. An example of an adaptogen are; siberian ginseng, panax ginseng, withania and Rhodiola. Withania can help when there is insomnia and Rhodiola is great for energy, stamina and cognitive function. I use other herbs simultaneously to strengthen the adrenals glands, such as Rehmannia and licorice, along with homeopathics.
When there is anxiety, herbs such as withania, skullcap, magnolia and ziziphus, are great to reduce the flight and fright hormones. It is important to check your Thyroid function through a basal body temperature testing or a thyroid function test. The thyroid gland may need support also. The adrenals and thyroid work together to help regulate the nervous system.
RELAX AND MEDITATE
The adrenals cannot rebuild themselves when they continually stimulated. It’s like whipping a dead horse! If you are tired, avoid ‘soldering on ‘, as this will only make the adrenals weaker. De- stress often, by meditating or doing yoga or Tai chi. Have regular massages and enjoy some time to yourself every day. During times of anxiety more intense exercise may be needed to help the body rid the stress hormones and relieve tension.
Have an Epsom salt bath before bed to get you into a deeper sleep. If you haven’t got a bath, have a warm shower and afterwards rub some lavender oil on your temples. Magnesium oil can be rubbed on the tops of your feet before bed to give the same effect as the Epsom salt bath (Epsom salt is magnesium). Sleeping well and for at least 8 hours a night is an integral part of helping the adrenals recover.
AND BREATHE !!
Try and practice breathing from the lower part of your diaphragm. Too many people shallow breathe when they are stressed or have anxiety. Breathe in for a count of 3, and out for a count of 5, when you feel anxious or finding it hard to get to sleep.
Also our adrenals are patterned from birth, we pick up stresses in utero (the womb) and during childhood, which can have long term effects on our adrenal glands. In families, there may be a genetic pattern, where the all of family members have a similar weakened adrenal response.
No matter what stage you are in, there IS a sure road to recovery! I am here, to help you recover also!
Book a complimentary clarity call here - CLARITY CALL
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1; an excerpt From Angela Hywood on ‘The Adrenal insufficiency syndrome’
NLS Salivary hormones training manual, 2009
WHAT STRESS DOES TO YOUR HORMONES
Stress comes in many forms. It can be emotional (ie; relationship issues at work and home, grieving ), physical (ie; overwork, over exercise, over sedentary )and environmental (ie; hay fever, chemicals, pollution). When your body is under constant stress, such as being busy. working too hard and not sleeping well we are usually in the continual ‘fight or flight’ response. We produce more cortisol than usual, a hormone produced by our adrenal glands.
High cortisol over time reduces progesterone levels. This is because we produce cortisol and progesterone from the same hormonal precursor- pregnenolone. Progesterone is our anti-anxiety hormone and gives a feeling of contentment. And if you feel like you have constant PMT/PMS then you probably are low in progesterone!
If this keeps dropping over time because of stress, lowered thyroid function or a sluggish liver, then you end up with estrogen dominance. Excess estrogens can cause more frequent, painful and heavier periods, slow down the thyroid function and contribute to an under active thyroid.
And when the thyroid function slows down, this slows the liver function down and it becomes a cycle. Prolonged cortisol levels also can decrease the livers ability to clear excess estrogen from the blood.
A sluggish liver can mean you end up with insulin resistance and weight gain. Insulin is the hormone which ‘unlocks’ glucose from your food. If you are not unlocking the glucose for energy, it is stored as fat in your body, usually abdominal fat after age 40, which I known as the middle-aged spread…. Eeek! I know no-one really want this to happen!
Also, as we age we become more resistant to insulin, this can cause weight gain. Our body doesn’t utilise glucose from food as efficiently as it did when we were younger. The way around this is to exercise more and eat less sugar and carb’s.
All the endocrine glands and hormones work together like an finely tuned orchestra, so when one hormone is out of wack it will inevitably effect the others.
But don’t let this be you! You can change it, naturally .
Need some support?
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The yeast that can cause fatigue
“All disease begins in the gut” - Hippocrates
Candida alblicans are symbiotic (diverse organisms that live together) microbes which has co-evolved with humans.
Candida albicans in particular, is a yeast that we all have living in our intestines, urinary tract and vagina (for you girls). It is the most common yeasts in the human body. It is usually kept under control with the friendly lactobacillus and bifidobacteria in our gut. When it gets out of control and overgrows, it can overpopulate the bowel and other parts of the digestive tract such as oesophagus, mouth and genito -urinary tract and also can become systemic, which is known as candidiasis.
“When allowed to proliferate, candida alblicans has the ability to change from its normal yeast- fungal form to a mycelial – fungal form. The mycelial fungal form of candida produces rhizoids, which are long, root like components that are able to pierce the walls of the digestive tract and break down the protective barriers between the intestines and the blood. Penetration of the intestinal wall by fungal candida contributes to increased intestinal permeability and systemic candida infection.” (1)
Candida produces alcohol and acetaldehyde, which are toxic by-products, and cause the ‘hung over’ feeling and fatigue that many people experience. This can cause an extra burden to the immune system and liver.
Symptoms will vary from person to person and depend on how long the person has been suffering and where their inherent weaknesses are. They can include;
Gastrointestinal disturbances such as diarrhoea, bloating, flatulence, constipation, nausea
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome
Joint aches and pains
Anal and/or vaginal itching
Carbohydrate and/or sugar cravings
Sensivity to mould can be related to candidiasis
How does candida overgrow?
There are many factors that let candida overgrow. Common causes of candida overgrowth are;
Oral contraceptive pill use and changes in hormones
Poor diet, high in sugar processed foods and carbohydrates
Decreased or poor immune function
Low stomach acid
Decreased gut motility and poor digestive function
Altered intestinal pH
It is also seen in some disease states such as;
Grave’s disease (auto immune hyperthyroidism)
Diverticular disease/ diverticulitis
Chronic skin disorders
Leaky gut or intestinal permeability.
Candida can lead to intestinal permeability or ‘leaky gut’. We have a protective intestinal barrier and when it becomes damaged, it becomes leaky, where the mucosal surface lets pathogens, toxins, proteins and antigens through the intestinal wall into the blood stream with detrimental effects.
Leaky Gut could be implicated as a primary contributor to asthma, food allergies, chronic sinusitis, eczema, hives, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, fungal disorders, fibromyalgia, and inflammatory joint disorders including rheumatoid arthritis. It also contributes to PMS, uterine fibroid, breast fibroids, chronic fatigue syndrome and pediatric immune deficiencies.
Candida can be difficult to treat as it can become resistant to treatment, either conventional medical or naturopathic. This is because its produces a ‘biofilm’ to protect itself against invasion, like antibiotic resistant bacteria does.
To Diet or not to diet…
The “anti candida diet” should not be used alone. This is because candida needs to be killed, and cannot be starved just by simply changing your diet.
An anti candida diet along with the suitable treatment plan for the individual is very important.
The most important foods to avoid are sugar (including honey, and other natural sugars), wheat, processed foods and dairy products. Alcohol contains sugar and needs to be avoided and so does coffee. Some people with Candida infections can also develop an intolerance to yeasts, and find avoiding yeasts and fermented foods helpful. These include bread, vinegar, pickles, alcohol, vegemite, mushrooms, cheese, processed meats, peanuts, and old nuts which can be rancid and mouldy.
Kill off that nasty yeast…
Natural anti fungal agents include herbs such as, garlic, andrographis, olive leaf, golden seal, phellodendron, and Pau D’arco . For resistant biofilms oregano, thyme and rosemary oils are effective. Caprylic acid and lauric acid found in organic coconut oil can help kill candida. Adding liberal amounts to your diet and if needed, using coconut oil vaginal pessaries can give great welcome relief.
Healing the leaky gut and restoring a good balance of bowel flora is imperative. Healing a leaky gut can take time and a change in lifestyle and diet. There are many substances to use such as cucurmin and L- glutamine.
Correcting the terrain
To inhibit candida overgrowing, your ‘internal terrain’ needs to be improved as candida can only overgrow in an unhealthy one. Normalising your bowel habit is a great start. You should have at least one complete bowel movement a day.
Probiotics (the beneficial bacteria) come in many strains and some are more beneficial for people with candida overgrowth than others. Prebiotics such as arabinogalactans and slippery elm (these are both barks) help us produce good bowel flora and eating a high fibre diet (from vegetables) will help promote beneficial bowel bacteria. If leaky gut is a known, then there are certain D-lactate producing probiotics and fermented foods that should be avoided as they can further enhance the leaky gut. Green tea and grapeseed extracts inhibit the growth of organisms in the gut.
Low stomach acid or hypochlorydia can contribute to candida overgrowth. A good digestive enzyme complex with betaine hydrochloride will ensure you are digesting foods properly. Correcting the pH in the stomach, intestines and blood is important. A good diet and a good probiotic will influence this pH. Avoiding antacids (for example Quik–eze) and stomach acid blockers (such as Nexium or Losac) is imperative also as these will inhibit proper digestion of foods and alter the digestive pH.
The immune system needs to be supported to help fight candida. This may include taking vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc and herbs such as Astragalus and Echinacea and maybe bovine colostrum, if tolerated. Reducing or avoiding stress and getting plenty of rest help your body fight the infection further.
As fighting candida needs a holistic and aggressive approach to be successful, I would recommend the help of a knowledgeable naturopath. I can be of such help. This also means you can monitor your progress and know how long to continue your treatment plan for. I have helped my patients with candida of over 15 years now with great success.
If you would like help, please book a phone or Skype consultations or if you are in South Australia you can visit me at my clinic in Glenelg South.
(1) The digestive and renal systems , Henry Osieki and Fiona Meeke, P134
HealthWorld Ltd/ Metagenics Protocols for candida
pH and our Microbial terrain part One Vanessa Hitch