REBUILDING YOUR ENERGY AND YOUR ADRENALS

REBUILDING YOUR ENERGY AND YOUR ADRENALS

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!

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REFERENCES

1; an excerpt From Angela Hywood on ‘The Adrenal insufficiency syndrome’

NLS Salivary hormones training manual, 2009

WHAT STRESS DOES TO YOUR HORMONES

WHAT STRESS DOES TO YOUR HORMONES

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 .

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Detox your home and body. A short guide to natural alternatives.

Detox your home and body. A short guide to natural alternatives.

A few of you have asked what alternatives to use to replace mainstream chemicals, so I thought I would write a short list. You can Google anything nowadays, so I am sure you will find plenty more!

Garden and bugs

A great bug deterrent for plants is a mix of garlic, grated soap, chilli flakes, mixed in water and use in spray bottle on your plants. White vinegar on its own or with soap flakes, sprayed directly onto weeds can ‘wither’ them within a few hours.

Some plants are not as susceptible to vinegar. A waxy coating or a “hairy” (fuzzy) surface may interfere with the absorption of the vinegar. This is the type that would suffer more by adding the soap to a vinegar weed killer recipe. (1)

If you can pull out your weeds it is much better for our soil and our health.

To deter flies coming in your house try putting basil plants near the doors. There are also some great bug zappers, fly traps and mosquito deterrents and zappers available in camping stores and online.

House Cleaning

White (home brand) vinegar, Its antibacterial, antifungal, inhibits mould, and has been shown to kill the Flu virus. Anti bacterial sprays and soaps don’t do this. They just break down the natural barrier of your skin and expose you to some nasty toxins. There are some great natural antibacterial soaps and hand washes based on olive leaf extract and tea tree oil and other essential oils. Lemon essential oil is highly antibacterial and clove essential oil is great for killing mould (be careful with this one as its pretty potent).

Bi carb soda is great for dirt you have to ‘scrub” and mixed with white vinegar makes a pretty potent cleaner!

White vinegar and newspaper makes a great glass and mirror cleaner! You probably already know that one…..

If you would prefer to buy one, the ‘Eureka’ eucalyptus and citrus spray is a great multi purpose cleaner. Its great for bathrooms and cleaning tables. I use it in my clinic and it smells great! It doubles up as a relief of aches and pains and can be sprayed onto cuts to disinfect them.

‘Eco store’ are a natural range of cleaning products and include dishwashing and clothes detergents.

Soaps

Most soaps contain animal fats (sodium tallowate) and synthetic fragrances. Not really that nice to rub all over your body. There are now some great natural soaps in the supermarkets. I prefer the coconut oil based ones, but olive oil and goats milk soaps are also very soothing and nourishing for the skin. Dr. Bronner’s do an organic range of soaps and skin care. Check out:

http://www.drbronner.com.au/

 

Skin care

The one big thing to avoid in skincare and make up is parabens. They have been shown to contribute to cancers. Try and avoid any long sounding chemical names. A must have is ’The Chemical Maze’ book. This pocket seized book has a comprehensive listing of chemicals in food, cosmetics and household products , analyses them and tells us what the potential sides affects can be. Get it at Booktopia here: http://www.booktopia.com.au/the-chemical-maze-bookshelf-companion-bill-statham/prod9780957853584.html?source=pla&gclid=CN_x8-XJttACFQqAvQod6kgGUQ

I have come across some great natural skin care over the years, and it just keeps getting better! Depending on your skin and your needs you can choose from Antipodes, who also have a completely natural face moisturiser with sunscreen. They have a range that suits every skin type. I also love the local ‘Renew me’ natural anti-aging skincare range for mature skin, made in Adelaide and available only online.

A range of body moisturisers I like are Avalon organics , Weleda and Dr. Bronners. Trilogy do the best hand cream I have ever come across- their ‘Ultra Hydrating hand cream “. For anyone that washes their hands a hundred times a day like me and needs to give them extra hydration.

And talking about washing hands, avoid those antibacterial washes. Apart from making bacteria more resistant, they destroy the natural barrier and of your skin, causing a ‘leaky ‘ skin barrier which is more susceptible to dermatitis. Look for a natural pH balanced hand wash. The best I have found is Melrose liquid castile soap was made from lots of lovely organic oils such as olive and flaxseed.

Cosmetics

There are a lot of mineral make ups out there. Beware of the powders as they clog your pores. Try the liquid minerals from Inika, a fairly new and organic range of make up. I am using it right now and find its great! I also love Young Blood and Vani -T (also local). Miessence also have a range of very pure makeup, skin care and toothpaste.

Pure by phytocare make a great Papaya ointment for lips and cracked irritated skin. This one doesn’t have any petrochemicals in it like the Lucas paw paw has (the one in the red tube).

Sunscreens without the nasties

Moogoo have a great sunscreen with an SPF of 40+. UV natural have a range from sports to baby. You cant go past the popular coconut oil , although I would not recommend to rely on it if you are in the sun for hours on end. But it acts as a natural sun protectant and the more you use it, the more effective it becomes.

Deodorants

I really love the Biologika organic range of deodorants. They smell divine! They double up as perfumes as the essential oils they use are quite strong. But there are plenty of others that are natural and aluminium free. You can also use essential oils instead of perfumes, and make up your own unique scent with a mixture of a few of them.

Toothpaste

Vicco , Miessence and My magic mud are some great natural toothpastes, free of chemicals and fluoride. They are great for sensitive teeth also.

Water filters

Watersco. Australia have great portable water filters. They get rid of 99.9% of fluoride and alkalise your water. There are also Alkaway filters and for plumbed under the sink filters ‘Wellness Filters’ are very good.

There are a huge amount of natural alternatives out there, to help make ourselves healthier and create a healthier, safer planet to live on.

 

REFERENCES

 

1 http://www.garden-counselor-lawn-care.com/vinegar-weed-killer.html

Toxins…..should you be aware?

Toxins…..should you be aware?

I was going for my morning jog down to the beach today, like I do every day (but sometimes it’s a bike ride on the beach or inside Pilates when it’s  raining ) and it is the most beautiful spring day we have had so far. Fresh air in my lungs, about to get the sea air into my lungs.  A man was in his front yard spraying weed killer (glyphosate) everywhere. And when I say everywhere, he wasn’t spot spraying he was spraying the whole lawn. So I ran down a side street to get away from this poison.

Such as downer, but the good thing is it has inspired me to write a blog on toxins! Well, some of them anyway….

PESTICIDES

Pesticides are chemicals which destroy the cells or nervous system of a living thing, be it a weed or an insect. It makes sense it can affect the cells and nervous systems of any living thing!

When I worked in a naturopathy clinic in the Adelaide hills I saw some of the most unhealthiest people from farms and vineyards who regularly used chemicals on their gardens, crops, vineyards and around their own homes.

The Australian department of health have warned the public about the use of pesticides,

please see the excerpt below. The first sentence is a bit scary!

Disadvantages of using pesticides

  • If pesticides are not used correctly, they can affect human health or cause serious injury or death to the pesticide operator, other people or household pets.
  • Pesticides can also directly affect other non-target animals. For example, a gardener spraying his garden to kill caterpillars will probably also kill harmless ladybird beetles and praying mantises.
  • If pesticides are used incorrectly or applied wrongly, they may find their way into places where they are not wanted, for example, they might be washed into rivers or into the soil.
  • Pesticides can enter the food chain

And here is a Government list of pesticides and their trade names https://www.environment.gov.au/protection/publications/ocp-trade-names

1  WEED KILLERS / ROUND UP / GLYPHOSATE

Glyphosate (Round Up) is a chemical used in weed killers that has been around since the 1970’s. This was after DDT was banned. DDT has been found to be effecting the environment 20 years later (1)

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-16/councils-still-using-herbicide-that-probably-causes-cancer/7168464

The Environmental health association or EPA, have been long interested in the reduction of chemicals in your environment. This link tells about the so called ‘inert’ chemicals have been proven to kill human cells

http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/roundup-weed-killer-is-toxic-to-human-cells.-study-intensifies-debate-over-inert-ingredients

And if you think it is safe, think again. We were once told asbestos and DDT was safe and look at what has happened years later. They are both now banned worldwide because they are dangerous. Also, Monsanto, the people who make these chemicals are one of the biggest companies in the world (who produce GE/ GMO seeds and Round Up ) they clearly have the money to make it sound safe and try and stop any bad press. (and I am sure no one can afford to sue them, as they a multi billion dollar corporation).

2 FLY SPRAY AND INSECT SPRAYS and DEET

Fly sprays are used regularly by many people without a thought. Permethrin is a common ingredient in fly and surface sprays and has been found to a potential endocrine disruptor and to be mutagenic in humans (2)

It is a very wise idea to use fly spray when only absolutely necessary, as there are many natural options available such as fly traps and insect ‘zappers’.

Brad the ‘bug man’ from March Biological control says;

‘ Was using chemical sprays ever safe? Certainly not. Sure the fly sprays don’t affect us right away like it affects the flies and other insects. But when fly spray is used, we do inhale it and repeated use of it enables the toxic chemicals to accumulate in our body till it reaches an amount when it will affect us. ‘ (3)

DEET which is a common ingredient in mosquito repellents, is absorbed through the kidneys and skin and its highly toxic with repeated usage.

“ It’s a scary chemical, and it’s definitely to be used only as a last resort, if at all, to protect yourself from insect bites” said Ronnie Cummins, national director of the Organic Consumers Association, based in Minnesota. (4)

I think that’s enough said to encourage people not to use it.

3 WHITE ANT KILLER

This is a personal story for me. I became very ill when I was exposed to white ant treatment (done against my will as I was not the owner of the house ) in a home I was living in some time ago. It affected my nervous system so much I could hardly walk for 2 or 3 months. It was debilitating and similar to Multiple Sclerosis. It was frightening. It made me very concerned that it may happen to others.

There are a few commonly used white ant treatments which are all considered toxic to humans.  This information from the government will tell you how toxic these chemicals are. Some are highly toxic. Check this out!

http://www.public.health.wa.gov.au/cproot/1791/2/Approved_Pesticides_for_Termite_Treatments.pdf

PERFUMES AND COSMETICS

Our skin is our biggest organ. So it makes sense not to cover it in chemicals! We absorb everything we put on our skin. Did you know before a woman leaves the house in the morning she can potentially expose herself to around 100 chemicals. This is from soaps, hair products, perfumes, deodorant or antiperspirants, skin care and make up! Then hopefully she doesn’t get into a brand new car as it will out gas formaldehyde (nervous system toxin) and plasticisers (hormone disruptors) for up to a year. Keep your windows down if this is you! A good tip is to place cut up onions around the car to absorbs the outgassing. Weird I know, but it really works….

Parabens in cosmetics are now well known as contributing to cancer. These chemical are used as a preservative and can be called anything from ‘methylparaben’ to ‘butylparaben’.

Aluminium is used in antiperspirants. It gets absorbed directly into the lymphatic system and has been linked with Alzheimer’s disease and breast cancer. See more at Pub Med https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12123643 and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9575492.

CHLORINE and FLUORIDE IN WATER

Chlorine and  fluoride are known are ‘ halogens’ and both Inhibit the absorption of iodine. Iodine deficiency is leading to more people becoming pre-disposed to thyroid gland dysfunction or disease and to some cancers.

Chlorine is a pesticide and its sole purpose is to kill living organisms. When we consume water containing chlorine, it destroys cells and tissue inside our body. Dr. Robert Carlson, a highly respected University of Minnesota researcher whose work is sponsored by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency, sums it up, “the chlorine problem is similar to that of air pollution” and adds that “chlorine is the greatest crippler and killer of modern times!” (5)

‘Research conducted on the health effects of chlorinated drinking water have demonstrated a variety of toxicity issues. Several studies have found that communities using chlorinated or chloraminated drinking water have an increased risk of bladder, kidney, and rectal cancers ‘(6)

Hopefully you filter your drinking water so you don’t ingest chlorine, but what about showering or bathing In it? Studies show that we absorb up to 50 times more chlorine through our lungs and skin than when we drink it.

“The steam we inhale while showering can contain up to 50 times the level of chemicals than tap water, due to the fact that chlorine and most other contaminants vaporize much faster and at a lower temperature than water. Inhalation is a much more harmful means of exposure since the chlorine gas (chloroform) we inhale goes directly into our blood stream”. (7)

HEAVY METALS

We are all going to get exposed to heavy metals unwillingly, whether we like it or not.  Petrol fumes contain lead or cadmium and even some light globes contain mercury!

But willingly, you have a choice. Heavy metals we can avoid are found in makeup/ cosmetics (especially the well-known brands), Dental amalgam fillings, in some fish and our water supply.

The law states that mercury is not allowed to be placed in landfill because of its toxicity, yet its placed into our teeth!

Mercury is also found in some vaccinations in the form of thimerosal (8) along with formaldehyde (commonly found in flu’ vaccinations).

We all know the incidences or cancer are a lot higher in places like Port Pire and Broken Hill from lead exposure. Lead is known to be unsafe in any levels in the body. This link will show you the evidence

https://scholar.google.com.au/scholar?q=lead+health+effects&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiZt_S-lJTQAhWBkJQKHRMHCowQgQMIGDAA

Arsenic is found in insecticides and pesticides. (9)  It’s worth buying organic produce for that reason, especially rice which is very high in arsenic. (unless of course its organic, which is very readily available in supermarkets).

 PLASTICS AND BPA

Most people know about BPA nowadays. Or have at least seen the BPA free bottles you can buy everywhere. Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a well know endocrine (hormone system) disruptor. But plastics still contain other chemicals that are harmful such as phthalates and diethylstilbestrol which can leach from the plastics especially with heating.  Cling wrap is also toxic and the chemicals can leach into your food. See this article for more information.

https://www.choice.com.au/food-and-drink/food-warnings-and-safety/plastic/articles/plastics-and-food

THE ALTERNATIVES MEAN BETTER HEALTH FOR EVERYONE AND OUR ENVIRONMENT !

There are also many chemicals in household cleaning products and clothes detergents. If you are using a highly perfumed clothes ‘brightening and whitening’ detergent, then it is being absorbed from your clothes through your skin. Some use very fine glass crystals that make the clothes appear brighter. This can irritate the skin and break down its natural barrier. Household cleaning products commonly contain ammonium and bleach which are toxins I would suggest to avoid. There are so many natural alternatives, even white vinegar and Bi-carb soda do the trick for most cleaning jobs!

Will you re-assess your chemical exposure? There are so many natural alternatives nowadays that it would be healthier and wiser to reduce your exposure to chemicals.  After all, we are killing our planet, but in the meantime, we are killing ourselves with toxin overload. Some scientists are predicting that we are sending ourselves into extinction as a human race…….now that is scary……

Supermarkets and health food shops all have natural alternatives to these chemical laden products. They are easy to find, and even easier online! This company has a passion for it

https://australia.melaleuca.com/

And for people who have the time and love ‘do it yourself’ for natural recipes check out Australia’s  Shannon Lush at    http://shannonlush.com/

For anyone that is interested to find out more and maybe explore the option of doing a detox (and I don’t mean starving yourself), then please come in for a consultation and I will give you a complimentary book, “ Your guide to detox” .

You can contact me on 0419 106 019 or at kated@katedrivernaturopath.com.au

REFERENCES

1 http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2007/10/09/2054547.htm

2 http://www.dontspraycalifornia.org/Permethrin%20Safety%20Review.htm

3 http://marchbiological.com/how-dangerous-can-fly-spray-be/

4 https://www.organicconsumers.org/old_articles/bodycare/deet.php

5 METAGENICES DETOX GUIDE

6 & 8  http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/chlorine-cancer-and-heart-disease/

7 https://chriskresser.com/is-your-daily-shower-making-you-sick/

8 http://www.drlwilson.com/articles/MERCURY.htm

9 http://familywellnesshq.com/heavy-metals-sources-toxicity/

 

 

Leaky gut and the gut brain connection

Leaky gut and the gut brain connection

Gut feelings”…………

“I’ve got a gut feeling about this”. We have all used this expression at some stage of our lives. There is a real relevance to this as our gut really does influence our feelings!

One way this happens is through the vagus nerve. This nerve joins your brain to your intestines, and along the way connects other organs also, such as the heart. It is one of the largest nerve systems in our body, second to the spinal cord. The vagus nerve influences our parasympathetic nervous system, which is the  ‘rest and digest’ part of our nervous system.

This ‘enteric nervous system’ of the intestines is known as the second brain

gut brain diagragm

Stress, fatigue and anxiety reduces vagal nerve activity. When there is poor vagal nerve activity this manifests as low digestive enzymes secretion and therefore poor digestion of foods and poor gallbladder function. This poor gut function then leads to overall inflammation in the body and this inflammation inhibits vagal activity. It’s a vicious cycle! It can lead to IBS symptoms (irritable bowel syndrome) with symptoms such as erratic bowel movements, bloating, flatulence and intestinal cramps.

Poor vagal activity               →                          Decreased gut, pancreatic and  gallbladder function

↑                                                                                                                                                                  ↓

Mental health disorder              →           POOR BRAIN   FUNCTION                      decreased gut immune system & intestinal blood flow

↑                                                                                                                                                       ↓

Leaky blood brain barrier                                     ←                                    pathogenic gut bacteria

and activation of microglial cells                                                                 leaky gut, low grade inflammation

*Microglial cells are immune cells which can cause inflammation of the brain.

Leaky gut …. Leaky brain

Leaky gut or intestinal permeability is when your small intestine becomes more permeable and unwanted molecules are absorbed back into the blood stream instead of being excreted. This is a leaky gut barrier.

This is more prevalent today and I see it regularly in my clinic.

Leaky gut  can be caused by;

  • food allergies or intolerances
  • intestinal dysbiosis (imbalance of bacteria in bowels)
  • pathogens such parasites, bacteria or candida
  • from frequent antibiotic use
  • ongoing severe stress
  • poor dietary choices.
  • Poor digestion and/or low stomach acid
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Frequent NSAIDS, antacids or aspirin use

Leaky gut leads to inflammation which can increase production of  cortisol (from the adrenal glands) and reduces the function of the inhibitory neurotransmitters such as GABA, which makes us feel calmer. Therefore leaky gut can lead to anxiety. It can also result in  poor sleep, reduced production of serotonin and melatonin (our sleep hormone) and chronic pain.

The inflamed brain, anxiety, fatigue and poor memory

Leaky gut can cause symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, anxiety and even depression.

These symptoms occur when the leaky gut causes inflammation in the body, and this inflammation can access the brain (the blood brain barrier)  and lead to negative brain and mood health. If this is ongoing it reduces brain cell function. If it happens in the hippocampus of the brain, this contributes to low mood and cognitive function, therefore memory is affected.

“Inflammatory, toxic and oxidative stressors that arise from leaky gut can deteriorate blood brain barrier integrity. This allows the passage of unwanted compounds into the central nervous system, setting off a cascade of damaging reactions”. (1)

An example of this is the high levels of ‘MMP -9’s’ in people with schizophrenia and depression. MMP-9  is ‘matrix metalloproteinase -9’ which is a specific proteolytic enzyme which breaks down the ‘extracellular matrix’ (the complex meshwork which fills the space between the cells of your body’s tissues).

Leaky gut breaks down tryptophan, which is an amino acid needed for the production of serotonin (our happy hormone) and melatonin (our sleep hormone). You produce neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine in your gut. It also activates our HPA axis, which is the communication of the hypothalamus, pituitary  (glands of the brain) and the adrenals.   Which can over activate the production of cortisol and adrenalin, leading to anxiety.

Over exercising is a form of inflammation which can contribute to leaky gut. So if you have a leaky gut then reduce your exercise to light to moderate.

When homocysteine levels are high, as mentioned in my previous blog on MTHFR, this results in inflammation and MMP-9 and increases intestinal permeability (yes, the leaky gut again!). This high homocysteine can be linked to having the MTHFR gene mutation.

What to do

Treat leaky gut with change of diet and lifestyle, antimicrobials, pre and probiotics and gut healing supplements. As treating leaky gut is quite complex and individualised to each person, consulting a naturopath is the best course of action here. Anti inflammatory herbs such as curcumin (in turmeric) and fish oils can be taken.

Reduce stress, anxiety and reduce exercise if there is too much.

Stimulate the vagus nerve. You can do this by singing loudly, gagging (even though not fun), gargling several times a day, with coffee enemas (not for everyone) and yoga. You could try the following exercise;

Yoga poses for digestion and vagus nerve stimulation

Kneel on a yoga mat with your buttocks on your heels. Put a rolled blanket on your lap and let it rest against your lower abdomen. Inhale to lengthen your spine and then exhale and lean forward over the blanket. Try to reach forward far enough so that you ribs are over the top of the blanket. Slowly walk your fingers forwards reaching your head down towards the mat. Breathe fully and stay in the pose as long as you like. To exit the pose just walk your hands back into a seated position.

Also deep breathing, in for three and out for five, shuts off the sympathetic nervous system ( the ‘flight and fright’) and allows for vagal activation (which activates the parasympathetic nervous system to do with – resting and digesting!)

Diet

If you have a leaky gut then adhering to an anti inflammatory gluten and dairy free diet for at least 6 weeks is recommended. I also suggest the avoidance of all sugars and processed foods. Anti inflammatory diet would contain oily fish, nuts and seeds, organic eggs, lots of organic vegetables, some fruit and limited gluten free grains such as organic brown rice, buckwheat and quinoa (they are really seeds).

Gluten has been shown to harm the gastrointestinal tract, brain and nervous system. A third of people with gluten sensitivity show no symptoms. Wheat is especially highly processed now days and it is harder to digest.

Eliminate known allergens and food sensitivities or test for these. You can also try an elimination diet and slowly introduce one food at a time to observe reactions.

Mood and gut health, to sum up…

Having and maintaining a good bacterial balance in the gut will improve;

  • Digestion and nutrient uptake
  • The immune system
  • neurotransmitter production (ie serotonin)
  • protection against toxic agents and heavy metal toxicity that can reduce mental and cognitive health
  • prevention leaky gut
  • prevention of local infections which can cause mood imbalances

As it is a two way street, anxiety and stress can cause leaky gut and leaky gut can cause anxiety and low mood. Re-establishing the microflora (the good bacteria) in the intestines plays an the important role of maintaining healthy moods in the long term.

If you suspect you have a leaky gut or are experiencing any of the above mentioned symptoms, please contact me for a consultation.

References

Biological mood management and mental health. Stacey Jarvis.

Dr. Sircus “The function of the vagus nerve”

(1) FX Medicine spring 2014. ‘The state of mind – How gut health affects the brain’. Bioceuticals trade manual

The digestive and renal systems ; Henry Oseiki and Fiona Meeke

The yeast that can cause fatigue

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

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;

Poor concentration

Fatigue

Gastrointestinal disturbances such as diarrhoea, bloating, flatulence, constipation, nausea

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Headaches

Pimples/acne

Skin rashes

Mood swings

Irritability

Anxiety

Depression

Muscle weakness

Fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue sydrome

Joint aches and pains

Allergies

Menstrual disturbances

Itchy ears

Anal and/or vaginal itching

Vaginal discharge

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

Antibiotic use

STRESS

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;

Crohn’s disease

Ulcerative colitis

Rheumatoid arthritis

Grave’s disease (auto immune hyperthyroidism)

Ankolysing spondylitis

Diverticular disease/ diverticulitis

Food sensitivities

Allergies

Chronic skin disorders

 This what candida looks like in your blood;

candida in th blood no 2

The candida buds are white. The other larger round circles are red blood cells.

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 consultation or if you are in South Australia you can visit me at my clinic in Glenelg South.

 

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