Archive for the ‘Nurtura Health Blog’ Category

Skin Health – It is More Than Skin Deep!

Skin Health…. How important is it?

Healthy skin is an integral part of good health.  The appearance of your skin may be an outward reflection of your health on the inside. 

Skin is the largest organ of the body with a total surface of approximately 2 square metres and a total weight of 4.5-5kg!  It is not simply a “plastic bag” that keeps our insides in and the outside out.  Skin is a sophisticated, semi-permeable barrier that is involved in eliminating toxins, regulating body temperature and protecting the inside of the body from potential invading micro-organisms.  Millions of skin cells are shed each day.  Our skin completely replaces itself approximately every 27 days.

Many skin conditions are linked to an abundance of various uncontrolled strains of microbes.  These may include acne vulgaris, rosacea, psoriasis and eczema.  Common skin conditions such as these are much more than skin deep! These microbes may not always be the cause of the condition, however, they may stimulate and aggravate an inflammatory reaction.

Acne Vulgaris

Acne is the most common of all skin conditions.  Specifically, acne vulgaris, is characterised as a superficial condition that affects the hair follicles and oil-secreting glands of the skin.  It is manifested as blackheads, whiteheads, and inflammation (or redness).  It is most commonly found on the face, however, it may be found on the back, chest and shoulders.  This condition generally starts after puberty.  It is usually most severe in the late teenage years, but it may persist into the thirties and forties.

 

 Eczema

The atopic skin condition, Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis), has traditionally been associated with food and contact allergens.  Research has shown that poor skin integrity leaves the skin open to a barrage of external factors and bacteria.  Superantigens are released from the bacteria which stimulates an excessive immune response within the skin.  In turn, this leads to vastly increased inflammation.  Eczema is characterised with chronic itchy, inflamed skin that is very dry, red and scaly.  Scratching and rubbing leads to darkened and hardened areas of thickened skin.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that has sharply defined reddened rash or plaques that are overlapped with silvery scales.  It is commonly located on the scalp, elbows, knees, buttocks, lower back, and sites of repeated trauma.  The skin may be itchy or asymptomatic.  Psoriasis is considered to be an autoimmune disease.  Other symptoms may include joint swelling, stiffness or pain associated with psoriatic arthritis.

 
Rosacea

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that goes through cycles of fading and relapse.  It is a common condition where the primary issue may be microbial overgrowth in the small intestine, rather than an imbalance in the large intestine as is the case in many skin conditions. Relapses may be triggered by spicy foods, alcoholic beverages, sunlight, stress and the intestinal bacteria Helicobacter pylori.

Key Drivers of Skin Conditions

When considering that infection and inflammation are key drivers of skin dysfunction, the lymphatic system has a significant role to play in immunity.  The lymphatics are like a network of drainpipes important for the removal of used immune activators from the tissues.  If the drains are blocked, these activators remain and promote the further recruitment of immune cells.  This may further prolong the inflammatory reaction causing chronic inflammation, redness, flaking, irritation and swelling. 

Lymphatic drainage massage may be very beneficial in clearing these “drains” and assist in improving your skin.

Can you believe the body’s internal stress response impacts the skin barrier?  The skin actually responds to psychological stress by producing its own stress response.  In turn, this weakens the antimicrobial and protective functions of the skin barrier, leaving it susceptible to infection and inflammation.  This further highlights the crucial importance of effectively addressing and supporting issues of stress. Massage may also help with managing stress in your life.

The cornerstone of skin health focuses on addressing imbalances in the integrity of the skin barrier, immune balance and skin microbes.  A comprehensive approach to treatment is required in order to resolve the internal issues.  The use of a combination of key alterative and detoxifying herbs may enhance the function of the organs of elimination (lymphatics, liver, bowel, kidneys) and promote elimination away from the skin. 

Make an appointment with one of our dedicated Naturopaths today to help improve your skin from the inside out!

Disclaimer:  The advice on this website is of a general nature only and Nurtura Health expressly disclaims all liability arising out of the improper use of the information provided.  Nurtura Health actively discourages any self-diagnosis or self-medication.  Please consult your health practitioner regarding these important health issues.  All rights reserved.

Diabesity – The Hidden Epidemic

Diabesity – What is it?

Diabesity is becoming more known in the recent years.  This condition is when Diabetes and Obesity coexist with one another.  Sometimes it is referred to as obesity-dependent diabetes.  The scale of health problems range from mild insulin resistance and overweight, to obesity and diabetes. 

Studies show that the health impact of Diabesity is substantial and may include long-term diabetic complications, a reduction in health-related functioning, reduction of quality of life and other possible long-term complications.  There is also an association between chronic stress, depression and sleeping troubles to both diabetes and obesity.

Severe obesity represents a major risk factor for the development of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM).  The majority of people with T2DM are obese.  However, only a relatively small fraction of obese individuals develop T2DM.  Nevertheless, despite recent advances in understanding body weight regulation and insulin action, the risk factors that determine which obese, non-diabetic individuals will eventually develop diabetes still remains unknown.

Diabesity seems to be mainly caused by environmental and lifestyle factors.  The good news is that this means it may be preventable and corrected in most cases.  

Who, how, what??

When we eat carbohydrates (grains, starches, sugar), our body turns them into glucose (or blood sugar).  Glucose is a source of energy, and our body must decide how much of it to burn straight away, and how much to store for later use (as glycogen).  The hormone insulin is released soon after we eat a carbohydrate-containing meal, and its job is to help the glucose enter our cells, where it may be used for energy.  What happens when we become resistant to insulin?

Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is when your cells slowly become resistant or numb to the effects of insulin, and you need more and more of it to keep your blood sugar levels balanced.  This usually occurs when your diet is full of empty calories and a large amount of quickly absorbed sugars and liquid calories such as sodas, soft drinks, sports drinks or vitamin waters.  Don’t forget the added effect of those refined carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, rice and potatoes! 

As insulin resistance worsens, your body starts to lose muscle, gain fat, and become inflamed.  High levels of insulin tell your body to gain weight around the belly, which causes you to become more apple-shaped over time.  Insulin, which is the fat storage hormone, also drives more inflammation and oxidative stress, along with a number of downstream effects such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, low HDL, high triglycerides, poor sex drive, infertility, thickening of the blood, and an increased chance of mental health problems, among others.

Do you find it impossible to beat the bulge? Is your life plagued with sugar cravings and low moods? Are you on a rollercoaster of mood swings, mental and physical exhaustion?

Obesity increases insulin resistance, and increased insulin resistance contributes to obesity.  This vicious cycle often makes it difficult to lose weight.  When the pancreas can no longer secrete enough insulin to compensate for the insulin resistance, we may even develop Type 2 Diabetes.

“You are what you eat” is only partially true.  You are also what you absorb!  Separating the nutrients from the food you eat, from the waste products that leave your body, involves numerous functions.  Among these functions are digestion, assimilation, nutrient distribution, tissue uptake, and the use of nutrients at specific cellular sites.

How do we stop the rollercoaster?

Optimal health is more than the ability of the body to operate adequately in a particular moment.  It also means the ability of the body to withstand the challenges of everyday life.

Functional medicine is a truly Naturopathic approach of treating the causes, not just the risk factors.  We treat the whole system, not just the symptoms, and create health, not just treating the disease.  There are a number of important factors in achieving wellness including:

  • Improving nutrition;
  • Regulating hormones;
  • Reducing inflammation;
  • Optimising digestion;
  • Maximising detoxification;
  • Increasing energy metabolism; and
  • Calming the mind – reducing stress.

Underlying all balance is nutrition.  We will aim to help your body thrive despite the challenges of living, not just survive.  Achieving better health is possible and we are here to help you in any way. 

Call us today on 07 4153 4112 to make an appointment.

 

Keep an eye out for future blogs on further options…

Disclaimer:  The advice on this website is of a general nature only and Nurtura Health expressly disclaims all liability arising out of the improper use of the information provided.  Nurtura Health actively discourages any self-diagnosis or self-medication.  Please consult your health practitioner regarding these important health issues.  All rights reserved.

Inflammation… Are You Inflamed?

Inflammation – Is it Good or Bad?

Believe it or not, inflammation may be a good thing!  We have all experienced acute inflammation at some point in our lives, whether it be a sprained ankle, splinter, or a cut…  As a result, we see the affected area turn red, puffy and hot as our immune system rushes to assess the injury.  Our immune system will then fight any pathogen that may have entered our body.  A normal, healthy inflammatory response usually flares up and reduces a short time later, as the healing process resolves the inflammation and the injury heals.  Pain and inflammation should not be chronic.  But what if it doesn’t go away?

Unfortunately, unresolved inflammation may cause a snowball effect.  Imagine if you kept injuring yourself in the same location over and again.  This would result in ongoing inflammation.  However, it is important to understand that not all inflammation is visible.  For example, if you have inflammation in your gut, you cannot actually “see” the problem. You may only be experiencing some niggling gut issues.  However, if it keeps niggling and growing, the inflammation may be having a snowball effect inside.  When it is unresolved, whether you can see it or not, it becomes more problematic the longer it interferes with the normal function of your body.  This type of inflammation has been linked to many types of chronic disease such as arthritis and type 2 diabetes.

How is pain and inflammation affecting your life?

 

Chronic pain and inflammation may ruin lives.  Simple things that many of us take for granted, such as brushing your hair or getting out of bed in the mornings, may become painful activities.  These symptoms may affect your relationship with your family, as pain may also affect you emotionally.  It may simply cause reduced mood and/or withdrawal from socialising.  Or physically, it may affect your ability to play sport with your children, or even being able to pick up an infant child.  These symptoms may become a thing of the past….

Inflammation and pain may not just be due to an injury.  Unfortunately, we all get older, and there is significant evidence that implicates chronic, low-grade inflammation as one of the most consistent features of both aging, and various age-related diseases/disorders.  As you can see in the below diagram, there are many similarities between Aging-Inflammation and Gut Dysbiosis.

This image reinforces the importance of looking after our gut health.  The impact that inflammation in the gut (and/or dysbiosis) is having on our general health is substantial.  When you consider that a significant portion of the immune system is dedicated to maintaining a host relationship with the gut microbiome, it may be unsurprising that gut microbiota are heavily involved in local inflammatory responses to acute injury and/or infection.  These microbiota may assist in regulating immune responses including tolerance, and may play a protective role in acute inflammatory responses to injury.  However, as we age and we see gradual declines in function across virtually every bodily organ, the bacterial organisms in the gut do not age per se.  Hence, look after the gut and it may just help reduce inflammation further down the road!

How may you stop pain and inflammation?

Nobody wants to be in pain.  For optimal health, it is important to stop abnormal inflammation in its tracks.  Of course, pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories are often the “go-to” to help relieve persistent pain.  However, some medications may be accompanied by ongoing side effects when used long term.  This may include a negative effect on your gut.  There are many different herbal and vitamin/mineral supplements, whether it be for an acute case of inflammation, or for ongoing support.  With a comprehensive and individual treatment program using natural ingredients, we may be able to help resolve and/or reduce chronic pain and inflammation, which assists in restoring your quality of life.

In addition to herbal and/or supplement support, it is important to learn which diet and lifestyle behaviours may be adding to inflammation in your body.  Some of these factors may include:

  • Smoking;
  • Being overweight, or an unhealthy weight;
  • Eating a diet that contains refined/processed carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, white rice, cereals, etc;
  • Consuming “trans” fats (e.g. fried or fast foods, packaged baked goods, vegetable fats used in some margarines);
  • Not getting enough sleep;
  • Regularly consuming alcohol, coffee, excess sugar and/or salt;
  • Experiencing ongoing digestive issues that is disrupting the balance of ‘good’ bacteria, such as stomach pain, bloating, diarrhoea, etc; and/or
  • Experiencing ongoing psychological stress. This may include an unhappy employment situation, social isolation, or caring for a loved one with a serious condition.

If you are able to modify any or all of these factors, it may be an important step to reducing inflammation that may be contributing to your pain or illness.  Speak to one of our dedicated Naturopaths for support in making these changes. 

Addressing inflammation now, including gut health, may not only improve your quality of life, it may reduce your risk of chronic disease in the future.

Disclaimer:  The advice on this website is of a general nature only and Nurtura Health expressly disclaims all liability arising out of the improper use of the information provided.  Nurtura Health actively discourages any self-diagnosis or self-medication.  Please consult your health practitioner regarding these important health issues.  All rights reserved.

Osteoarthritis versus Osteoporosis

Osteoarthritis and Osteoporosis… What is the difference?

Is joint pain holding you back and stopping you from doing the things you enjoy?

Do you have early-morning pain and stiffness that worsens with joint use?

Do you have local tenderness and/or soft tissue swelling?

Do you ask yourself if you’ll ever be able to move with ease again?

Do you feel like you are hunching over more?

Do you have brittle bones that easily break?

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is an insidious chronic joint disease caused by the breakdown of cartilage, the firm rubbery tissue that cushions bones at the joints.  As the cartilage breaks down, changes occur in the underlying bone.  It begins the thicken and form the ugly, painful nodules which are so common with Osteoarthritis.

In addition to “wear and tear”, there are a number of possible triggering factors for Osteoarthritis.  “Something” starts irritating the joint to start this painful degenerative process.  Among others, these triggering factors may include:

  • Nutritional deficiency
  • Toxicity
  • Obesity
  • Stress

One of the most inflammatory things many people are exposed to is the food in their diet.  Food has the power to produce or reduce inflammation.  It is important to assess each case individually as what affects one person, may not affect another.  We are all unique.

Exercise, while often blamed for acute trauma and inflammation, is actually a powerful anti-inflammatory when performed regularly at a tolerated level.  The mild stress generated by exercise activates a range of responses that lead to reduced inflammation.

When we are in pain, the first thing that comes to mind is “pain relief”.  Unfortunately, the most commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals, whilst very effective initially, may also be associated with risks of side effects.  In addition, some research indicates that these substances may actually accelerate the progression of Osteoarthritis as they appear to inhibit cartilage repair.

To obtain cartilage repair in arthritic joints, both reduction of inflammation and enhancing the repair processes by various connective tissue cells, are the major therapeutic goals in both athletes and those with Osteoarthritis.  Although diet and exercise are very important in reducing inflammation, there are a number of nutritional natural medicines that have a long history of traditional use in reducing pain and swelling.  These supplements, in most instances, may be taken with your prescription medications.  Your Naturopath will take these into consideration with any treatment plan.  These natural medicines may:

  • Reduce the progression of joint inflammation and joint degradation;
  • Offer strong defence against ongoing damage; and
  • Activate beneficial enzymes which rebuild cartilage and collagen.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis occurs when there is a loss of calcium and other minerals from your bones.  This undermines normal bone structure and therefore, strength.  A reduction in mineral content is referred to as a loss of bone mineral density.  This results in porous, brittle bones that may be easily broken in a fall or merely carrying out everyday activities, such as lifting heavy shopping bags.

Osteoporosis is often called a “silent disease”.  There may be no indication that a loss of bone density is happening until a fracture occurs.  However, it is not only broken bones that are a concern… Reduced bone mineral density may also lead to significant pain, immobility and ultimately a loss of independence.

How do you maximise your bone density and reduce bone mineral losses?

Whilst you are growing, calcium and other minerals from your diet form the foundation of strong healthy bones.  Peak bone mass is usually being achieved in your 20s.  It is important to maintain a diet rich in calcium.  You may do this by incorporating dark leafy green vegetables, sardines, nuts and seeds, as well as dairy products, all of which offer excellent sources of calcium.  Ensuring that you get sufficient vitamin D through moderate sun exposure and/or supplementation will help support calcium absorption.  Don’t forget to add in regular weight bearing exercise which helps to promote bone density.  Put them all together and they create a solid foundation for skeletal health.

Your bone mineral density naturally begins to wane by your mid-30s.  However, poor lifestyle choices such as smoking and excessive alcohol intake, as well as the onset of menopause in women, may all accelerate the process.  At this time, diet is more important than ever.  It is essential to ensure you are obtaining enough calcium to keep your bones strong. 

As you get older, it is not always possible to obtain your daily calcium needs through diet alone.  Fortunately, you may help support your bone density by using a highly absorbable form of calcium.  Not all forms found in “over the counter” products are beneficial for you.  Your Naturopath may help you find the right form of calcium for you as an individual.

There is a great deal you may do to support your bones and joints, and help prevent both Osteoarthritis and Osteoporosis, even if your bone mineral density has already started to decline.  Speak to one of our dedicated Naturopaths today.  Let us help you support your bones so that you may live a longer, stronger life!

Disclaimer:  The advice on this website is of a general nature only and Nurtura Health expressly disclaims all liability arising out of the improper use of the information provided.  Nurtura Health actively discourages any self-diagnosis or self-medication.  Please consult your health practitioner regarding these important health issues.  All rights reserved.

Detoxify Your Colon and Shed Weight!

Do you want to shed a few extra kilos, increase your energy and feel renewed?  It may be time to detoxify your colon!

At birth, the inner lining of our intestines is pink, clean and supple.  Over time, however, the combination of poor diet, stress and exposure to environmental toxins may cause the intestines to become caked with debris, swollen and stagnant.  It is the colon, or large bowel, where it becomes obvious that the most severe build-up occurs.  It may be possible for the accumulated material to contribute several kilos to the weight of the colon.

For some people, weight loss may be a natural outcome of Colon Hydrotherapy.  This is due to the accumulated waste which is solid and has weight.  It has been suggested that it may be possible to have up to 3kg of faecal matter in the large intestine.

Mucus lubricates the colon, preventing trauma from the contents passing through it.  These contents become increasingly solid as water is reabsorbed on the way through.  When the body is under stress, and the body prepares for “fight or flight”, the mucus production is inhibited.  In this situation, the body is unable to perform all of its functions at once.  Digestion of food can wait until later!

Regrettably, toxicity is unavoidable.  In our everyday lives, all of us are exposed to some form of toxins.  Understanding how toxicity affects our health has now become crucial to achieving results. With our busy lifestyles today, it is no wonder so many people have constant bloating, abdominal discomfort and constipation.  Unfortunately, we are prone to getting stressed, rushing meals and eating on the run.  Initially, the escalation in diabetes and obesity has frequently been blamed on an ever-increasing sedentary lifestyle, along with refined processed food.  It is now being proposed that the unremitting influence of a low-level chemical and inflammatory burden in the body may act as a deceptive poison inside the cells.  This is pushing our body closer to the tipping point of chronic disease.

A wide range of common clinical conditions has been associated with toxicity including:

  • Immune/autoimmune disorders;
  • Reproductive and fertility issues;
  • Abnormal cell regulation;
  • Neurological disturbances; and
  • Endocrine disorders, to name a few.

Supporting the nervous system and buffering stress with an individually designed nutritional program, may be of benefit.  Not only may it assist you to cope with stress, but it may also aid your digestive and bowel function.

Dr Bernard Jensen states in his book “Tissue Cleansing Through Bowel Management” that: “Mucosal dysfunction occurs when the intestinal mucus lining becomes stagnant and putrefactive…. No longer does it serve the function of facilitating elimination of faecal material.  Instead it degenerates several ways.  It can become abscessed, in which case irritation, abrasions, ulcerations and bleeding can occur.  Food passage can become very painful.

Mucus can dehydrate and accumulate due to increased viscid consistency.  This causes layer upon layer to be built up until extreme constipation occurs.  This old material becomes a source of infection and toxic absorption, holding many otherwise excreted products. It also greatly inhibits the absorption of nutrients and water, adding to nutritional crisis.”  This may make it extremely difficult to empty the bowel.

It is important to remember that we are not powerless against toxicity.  Enhancing the body’s natural detoxification capacity, whilst at the same time reducing the toxic load through healthy diet and lifestyle choices, is our best defence.

Are Toxins Tacking on the Kilos?

When the function of the colon or large bowel is sluggish, it may offer a hiding place for bacteria, fungi, yeasts and parasites that are harmful to human health.  When those abnormal microbes start growing too freely, they challenge the “friendly” bacteria that inhabit the intestines.  This may lead to an imbalance in the intestinal microflora.  This may be characterised by inflammation and swelling in the bowel, gas and discomfort, and weight gain.

The large and small intestines are both an active front of the immune system.  They trap and eliminate pathogens and harmful debris.  The digestive system is one of the first screening systems against the daily load of bacteria, viruses, and parasites, that may challenge our immune system.

It is vital to ensure there are good populations of healthy intestinal flora specific to the immune system.  This is particularly important where food allergies are dominant in Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS); during infections, and for general health re-inoculation.

These toxins are affecting every part of our body, not just the immune system.  It is believed that when toxins build up in the colon, they may pass through the intestinal wall microscopically and negatively affect the lymphatic system.  The lymphatic system is a network of vessels and nodes that protect, clean and drain the body of toxic substances.  This may increase accumulations of toxic fluids in the tissues.  Not only is the fluid retention uncomfortable, but it may also add a burden to the liver and kidneys, two of our major eliminative organs.  If the liver is compromised, the ability to metabolise and remove fat may also be compromised.  In addition, it is not uncommon to witness an increase in acne, skin rashes, eczema, and/or psoriasis, when the bowel elimination is sluggish.

If intestinal function is compromised or unhealthy, it may have a major impact on weight and health.  “When the bowel fails, the whole body goes into nutritional crisis.  Metabolic shock waves flow to every cell and tissue”, says nutritionist and chiropractor, Bernard Jensen.  Bernard has treated thousands of colon patients during 60 years of practice using Colon Hydrotherapy.

Therefore, removing toxic waste from the bowel may lessen damaging bi-products recycling back into other parts of the body.  Once the colon is clean, the metabolism may be more likely to work as it should.  When this happens, a major obstacle to weight loss and clear skin may be eliminated.

What can you do?

Due to the common risk factors of psychological stress, consumption of a Western diet, a hygienic modern lifestyle, and consumption of antibiotics and other medications, almost everyone has some degree of dysbiosis.  The longer dysbiosis is present, the more resistant it becomes.  By reducing the toxin burden and improving toxin resistance, you may be able to restore digestive competency and rectify dysbiosis.

Following a prescribed program from your Naturopath is an essential foundation of detoxification.  The use of natural supplements may help reduce the amount of inflammation, and therefore, allow the gut to begin healing.  Not only may an individualised program help repair a leaky gut and protect against dysbiosis, it may provide complete nutrition for all phases of detoxification.  Your program may also provide you with a faster and more effective relief from a multitude of symptoms of toxicity such as hormonal disorders, weight gain, headaches, diarrhoea, allergies and fatigue, among others.

Let us help you shed those unwanted kilos, renew your energy and feel revitalised. We may assist you in your commitment to better health!  Call us on 4153 4112 to make an appointment.

 

Disclaimer:  The advice on this website is of a general nature only and Nurtura Health expressly disclaims all liability arising out of the improper use of the information provided.  Nurtura Health actively discourages any self-diagnosis or self-medication.  Please consult your health practitioner regarding these important health issues.  All rights reserved.

Detoxification – Toxin Overload and Fatigue

Is your body overloaded with toxins?

Do you frequently suffer from diarrhoea, constipation, bloating or gut pain?

Within your digestive system, you have trillions of helpful bacteria (and other organisms), together referred to as your “microbiome”.  In a healthy digestive system, these bacteria coexist in balance with each other.  However, they may be disrupted by infectious organisms such as certain food-borne bacteria (e.g. salmonella), or parasites (e.g. threadworm).  Some people may develop an excess of bacteria in the small intestine known as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or “SIBO”.  In this case, all infections may potentially lead to symptoms of gas, bloating, diarrhoea and/or abdominal pain.  If it is left untreated, a gut infection causes damage to the lining of the digestive tract, leading to “leaky gut”.  This condition causes inflammation and further microbiome imbalance, resulting in ongoing and/or worsening of symptoms.

As mentioned in the previous blog, toxins may act as chronic stressors to the body.  They are usually processed by the immune system and/or liver.  The objectives of herbal and nutritional treatment are to support the detoxifying mechanisms of the body and/or reduce the toxin load by:

  1. Removing toxin exposure through dietary and lifestyle changes;
  2. Removing bad bacteria and waste from your digestive system;
  3. Renewing your digestive lining and the healthy bacteria to improve your digestive function; and
  4. Releasing your body toxins so they may be eliminated.

 

Firstly, detoxification treats the digestive system and acts to remove bad bacteria and waste from your digestive system.  This ensures your body has effective elimination.  These bad bacteria may directly produce toxins that are absorbed into the bloodstream, and may also damage the lining of the digestive system.

Secondly, it is important to focus on your digestive system and kidneys, alkalising your body to support detoxification and elimination.  In addition, restoring a healthy balance of flora and nutrients for a healthy gut have numerous beneficial actions.  Not only do they help control the growth of bad bacteria, but they may also reduce inflammation and assist you in absorbing nutrients more efficiently.

Finally, providing the body with nutrients for a successful liver detoxification whilst protecting the body throughout the elimination process to release toxins more effectively.  Hence, it is important to protect the liver itself from the toxins that it must process, and to repair any damage to the liver.

In the liver, there are two phases to the detoxification process before the toxic molecule is excreted via bile into the bowel, or via the kidney into the urine.  If either of these phases is overloaded or inefficient, the toxic load may actually increase.  Conditions associated with poor liver detoxification may include nausea, headaches, allergies, skin disorders, fatigue, food intolerances and constipation or diarrhoea, among others.

There are specific herbs and nutrients which may be used individually, or in combination to enhance liver detoxification.  Incorporating Colon Hydrotherapy treatment into any detoxification program may expedite detox effectiveness and energy recovery.

Every person is unique and therefore, many “off the shelf” detox products are unlikely to produce the best results, if any.  This wastes both your time and your money.  Speak to one of our dedicated Naturopaths who may recommend an individualised gut detoxification program that targets your specific symptoms for a long-term solution.  We will aim to help relieve your digestive symptoms by:

  • Improving overall digestive function along with neutralising any gut toxins;
  • Removing unhealthy bacteria and parasites;
  • Restoring balance to your microbiome; and
  • Providing the ingredients to help soothe and repair your gut lining.

With your Naturopath’s support, following a detoxification program may be one of the most effective strategies for rapidly improving your health, especially if you are suffering from any of the following:

  • Fatigue, lethargy, lack of energy
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Depression, anxiety, panic attacks
  • Headaches
  • Lack of concentration
  • Mood swings, hormone imbalances, PCOS, infertility, thyroid imbalances
  • Eczema, psoriasis, acne vulgaris, rosacea
  • Indigestion, bloating
  • Allergies or intolerances
  • Recurring infections
  • Obesity
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Osteoporosis or Osteoarthritis

It is vitally important for optimal detoxification and rapid improvement in restoration of your health that each key organ and body system is addressed in a systematic way to ensure you achieve the best results.

Disclaimer:  The advice on this website is of a general nature only and Nurtura Health expressly disclaims all liability arising out of the improper use of the information provided.  Nurtura Health actively discourages any self-diagnosis or self-medication.  Please consult your health practitioner regarding these important health issues.  All rights reserved.
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Fatigue? Insomnia? Are You Caught in the Cycle?

 Which is the chicken and which is the egg?

Poor sleep and/or anxiety may be a cause of fatigue, but it may also be a consequence of fatigue, thus creating a vicious cycle.

Insomnia may manifest as difficulty falling asleep (sleep onset insomnia), or waking through the night and having difficulty getting back to sleep (sleep maintenance insomnia).  This is often characteristic of the exhausted stressed person.  A sense of not having enough sleep (non-restorative sleep) is often characteristic of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

The major causes of sleep-onset insomnia include anxiety/stress, pain or discomfort, caffeine and alcohol.  Sleep maintenance insomnia may be linked to depression, sleep apnoea, low blood sugar, pain or discomfort, and alcohol.

In today’s modern environment, stress seems to be lurking around every corner and playing a role in so many conditions.  It may not always be the driving force, but it does affect everyone differently, whether it be fatigue, lack of concentration, headaches, irritable bowel, anger and frustration, to name a few.  Like so many vicious circles in our health, as mentioned above, stress may present as insomnia, or it may just be total exhaustion that is causing the stress.  It is important to find out which is the instigator.  Talking to one of our dedicated Naturopaths may help you.

Sleep Hygiene Tips

Good sleep hygiene is very important for everyone to ensure a good night’s sleep.  Some of the main points to follow include:

  • Listen to your body clock. You should try to wake up at the same time every day and go to bed at the same time.  Do not fight fatigue at night time, but don’t go to bed if you’re not tired either.  Going out into the early morning sunshine when you first wake up may help set your body clock.
  • Sleep in a darkened, noise-free environment.
  • Bed comfort and room temperature should be right for you.
  • Avoid the use of stimulants, especially coffee, tea, guarana, soft drinks, and nicotine.
  • Avoid alcohol – it may help you doze off initially but you won’t get a refreshing or restorative sleep.
  • Removie electrical and/or digital devices such as TV, mobile phone, ipads, and computers, from the bedroom. This may help by reducing the effect of artificial blue light which stimulates the mind, disrupts the body’s internal clock, and suppresses the release of melatonin, making it more difficult to fall asleep.
  • Use your bedroom for sleep and intimacy only. If you treat it like a second lounge room – like watching TV or talking on the phone, your mind may associate your bedroom with activity and you’ll find it harder to fall asleep.
  • Relax your mind. Try turning everything off at least half an hour before bed to let you wind down naturally.  Try relaxation exercises. Although we are trying to avoid the digital exposure immediately before bed, nowadays there are many free apps to help with calm and meditation.
  • Have a warm shower or bath up to an hour before bed. This may help relax those aching muscles and allow your mind to unwind.
  • Exercise every day, but not close to bedtime. Your body needs time to wind down and return to normal temperature.
  • Don’t take afternoon naps.
  • If you can’t fall asleep in a reasonable amount of time, get up and leave the room. Read a book for half an hour or listen to some calming music.  As soon as you start to feel tired, go back to bed.

There are many herbs that may also help relieve anxiety and/or stress, and help calm the nerves to ensure a good night sleep.  Depending on what is happening in your life, what techniques you are using to cope with stress/anxiety, there are some herbal remedies that may be taken throughout the day to help prevent a build-up of tension or mental excitability.  Adrenal tonics may also help maintain blood sugars during the night.  Other herbs may be used for pain management or reducing inflammation, if this is what is disrupting your sleep.  Talk to your Naturopath to find the right herbal remedy for you.

 

 

An often unrecognised factor behind fatigue (and especially CFS) is toxin overload.  Toxins may act as chronic stressors to the body.  Toxins are usually processed by the immune system and/or the liver.  The source of the toxins may be recreational, medical, occupational, environmental and/or dietary.

For more information on how detoxifying your body may give you more energy and help you feel renewed, see our next blog.

Disclaimer:  The advice on this website is of a general nature only and Nurtura Health expressly disclaims all liability arising out of the improper use of the information provided.  Nurtura Health actively discourages any self-diagnosis or self-medication.  Please consult your health practitioner regarding these important health issues.  All rights reserved.
Posted in Nurtura Health Blog | Comments Off on Fatigue? Insomnia? Are You Caught in the Cycle?

Are You Feeling Stressed and Fatigued??

Feeling Stressed and Have No Energy??

It’s crazy, isn’t it?  We now have more modern conveniences than ever before and faster communication, and yet “fatigue” is now one of the most common complaints.

It is extremely important to identify the factors either causing or sustaining this fatigued state.  Is it something happening in your life at the moment that is causing you to feel this way?  Or is it a long term effect of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?  Either way, we need to help you address the cause, in order to reduce the fatigue and improve your energy.

There are seven factors behind fatigue including:

  • A depleted or overloaded stress response;
  • Resultant poor immunity and repeated infections;
  • Habits and lifestyle;
  • Poor thyroid function;
  • Poor diet and/or inadequate assimilation of nutrients;
  • Toxin overload (either self-induced or not);
  • Poor sleep and/or anxiety.

What is Stress?

Stress seems to be a major player in the cause of fatigue.  Normally, stress is a natural healthy response.  It acts to motivate and sharpen our focus in a situation where immediate action is required.  For example, when you are faced with danger, your body switches on the stress response, also called “fight or flight” response, to help you deal with the stressor.  The stress response is triggered by a surge of adrenaline.  Adrenaline is a chemical released by your adrenal glands that makes your heart beat faster and your breathing speed up.  It fills you with that sudden burst of energy and ensures your circulation is directed towards your muscles, heart and brain, in order to deal with the source of stress.

However, in this modern way of living, emotional triggers seem to be around every corner, causing people to have to deal with ongoing stressors.  “I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once.”  We all know someone, if not ourselves, that has felt like this at some point in their life.

Stress requires an adaptive response from the body.  A stressor is any agent or condition which threatens homeostasis or balance.  “Stressors” may include:

  • Environmental – noise & pollution, climatic extremes;
  • Psychological – emotional stress such as resentment, frustration, grief; cognitive stress such as information overload, worry, self-criticism, anxiety; or perceptual stress such as beliefs, attitude, world view, etc;
  • Psychosocial – relationship/marriage difficulties including partner, children, family, employer, co-workers; lack of social support; dealing with health and financial issues;
  • Physiological – trauma, lack of sleep, hormonal, dietary, etc; or
  • Biological – infections with virus or bacteria.
How May Stress Affect You?

When you are already fatigued and you are exposed to a stressor of some kind, your body’s stress response needs constant “rewiring” and this causes your response to become “stressed and tired”.  This then may affect your:

  • Mental wellbeing and mood;
  • Sleeping patterns – whether that be trouble falling asleep (onset) or staying asleep (maintenance);
  • Energy levels;
  • Digestive function;
  • Cardiovascular function such as your heart rate and blood pressure; and/or
  • Reproductive hormones.

It is very important to learn how to recognise your stressors and how to manage them.  In addition, your physical response to these stressful situations, to ensure balance and health are maintained. 

Everyone is unique.  What may affect you, may have no effect on another person, or vice versa.  Some people have positive coping mechanisms which may allow them to cope with more stress, such as:

  • Good time management
  • Taking some time out for yourself
  • Calm breathing &/or meditation
  • Exercise, even if it is only going for a walk
  • Sharing with family/friends
  • Monitoring sleep hygiene
  • Ensuring you are following a healthy diet.

 

However, if you have poor coping mechanisms, these may allow you to cope with less stress.  These may include:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Relying on caffeine, soft drinks, fried &/or sugary foods
  • Rushed eating, skipping meals or overeating
  • Reducing social interactions &/or relaxation time
  • Emotional outbursts.

It is important to let your Practitioner know which mechanisms you use to cope with stress so that they may help you to identify the cause of your stress, along with the impact that stress may be having on you physically and/or mentally.

With resourceful management of stress and fatigue, and with additional consideration for the immune, thyroid, digestive function and iron status, one would expect to see an improvement in both mental and physical performance and concentration, along with a general improvement in health and wellbeing.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Talking to a counsellor or psychologist may be very beneficial.  Talk to one of our dedicated Naturopaths to help you manage stress better and learn how to recover from life’s major stresses.

 

 

Look out for future blogs on stress, fatigue, insomnia and other tips to improve your energy.

Disclaimer:  The advice on this website is of a general nature only and Nurtura Health expressly disclaims all liability arising out of the improper use of the information provided.  Nurtura Health actively discourages any self-diagnosis or self-medication.  Please consult your health practitioner regarding these important health issues.  All rights reserved.

Allergies and Immune Dysregulation

 

Are allergies affecting you or your family? Do you suffer from hay fever or bouts of sneezing?  Do certain foods leave you feeling bloated or give you a headache?  Do you get itching skin due to certain pollens &/or grasses?  You are not alone!  There a millions of people living with allergic conditions such as hay fever, asthma, food allergies and/or eczema in this day and age.

However, it seems allergy is becoming a pandemic.  How did this all start?  In the late 1800’s, there was little awareness of allergic disease.  It possibly started to rise with a combination of hygiene and pollen due to changes in agriculture.  Childhood asthma really only started increasing in the 1960’s, with it becoming an epidemic by 1990.  Is it possible that the introduction of television and more processed foods had an impact on their health?  People were spending more time indoors and not being exposed to external allergens.  This has continued to increase over the years with an epidemic in food allergies.

There are a myriad of exposures that may impact the development of allergy.  The most common are microbiome, allergens, and air pollution.  Other factors may include dietary, obesity, socioeconomic status and/or psychosocial stressors.  When all of these factors are taken into account, why does your body react like this?

Basically, your body believes that what are usually harmless substances, are now dangerous and threatening damage to you.  Therefore, when you come into contact with these allergens, your immune system releases large amounts of the chemical histamine.  Histamine is there to block or push out allergens from your body by any means necessary.  Some ways it may do this is to produce redness or inflammation, a runny nose, itchy eyes, bloating, constricted airways, to name a few.

It is important to understand that some symptoms, such as fever, are beneficial in healing the body naturally.  By taking over-the-counter products to suppress a fever or block histamine (antihistamines) may actually be counter-productive, and may possibly lead to further chronic symptoms.  For example, letting a fever run its course may help enhance the movement of microbials and white blood cells to eliminate the danger.  However, if a fever gets too high, then you need to intervene with medical assistance.

There are several contributing factors that make your body’s immune system respond this way.  They majority of your immune system is found in your gut.  Hence, a healthy gut barrier is vital for immune balance.  If there is inflammation within your digestive tract; or damage to the lining commonly known as “leaky gut”, which allows small particles of undigested food, bacteria and/or toxins to pass through the blood stream causing further inflammation; or if you have low levels of good bacteria and/or an overgrowth of bad bacteria within your intestine… these all contribute and/or interfere with your body’s immune response.

Holistically, managing allergies includes symptomatic relief whilst also retraining your body’s immune system to tolerate these “threatening” allergens.  Following an individually designed treatment program by one of the dedicated Naturopaths at Nurtura Health may incorporate carefully selected herbs and nutrients, combined with a tailored diet and lifestyle recommendation.  We aim to help repair your gut, improve your ability to tolerate allergens and reduce your reactive symptoms.

Following a prescribed diet in conjunction with supplementation may greatly assist in reducing symptoms and building your tolerance levels.  In addition, recent studies have shown that medicinal mushrooms may enhance immune function and are particularly useful in those that are debilitated with conditions such as chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia.  They may be beneficial for those who experience recurrent infections or patients undergoing challenging treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation.  Adding mushrooms to one’s diet may optimise their efficacy.  They are also useful in disease prevention and were traditionally used for anti-ageing.  Further studies are being done to assess their role in regulating allergy.

It is now time to address those irritating allergic reactions and address the underlying causes.  Imagine being able to indulge in the foods you love, play with animals, or spend time outdoors doing the activities you enjoy, without bloating, sneezing or itching.  Talk to one of our Naturopaths today to help you gain control of your reactivity. 

Disclaimer:  The advice on this website is of a general nature only and Nurtura Health expressly disclaims all liability arising out of the improper use of the information provided.  Nurtura Health actively discourages any self-diagnosis or self-medication.  Please consult your health practitioner regarding these important health issues.  All rights reserved.

Women’s Health – Fertility and Preconception Health Care

If you are thinking about having a baby now or further into the future, it is not too early to start preparing for a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby.

Preconception Health Care

Preconception health care simply aims for optimum general and reproductive health of both partners to ensure viable fertility and the health of egg, sperm and nurturing environment within the uterus.  It is the ultimate preventative medicine!

Foetal exposure to a variety of factors may play a role in the development of many common chronic diseases for your child.  Being prepared and ensuring you and your partner are in the best possible health, may positively influence your child’s health for years to come.

The Critical Four Months

The preconception period is a minimum of four months.  The instant egg and sperm combine, an irreversible genetic code is formed for future development of that baby.  The health of egg and sperm reflects health/toxicity of the environment in which they grow. 

Oocyte (egg) development takes approximately 100 days to mature.  During this time they are vulnerable to toxic exposure and nutrient deficiency.

Sperm development takes over two months.  Illness, toxicity, trauma and/or poor nutrition that was present during the first cycle may affect mature sperm, regardless of a man’s health at the time of examination. Male infertility is most often a result of abnormal semen parameters due to:

  • Age;
  • Toxicity;
  • Testicular varicoceles;
  • Oxidative damage to sperm;
  • Radiation exposure;
  • Poor to low nutritional status; and/or
  • Social toxins: alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, poor food

Diet & Lifestyle

In order to lay the foundations for your baby’s growth, health and development, there are some simple, healthy lifestyle practices that both parents may do to enhance the health of both the parents and the baby.

  • Detoxification for “Him” and “Her” – this includes assessing the food we eat, the air we breathe and the water we drink. Detoxifying your body prior to conception may help your fertility status. Ideally, this should be completed prior to the “Critical Four Months”.
  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Include detoxifying foods such as beets, carrots, yams, garlic, dark leafy greens, lemons and apples.
  • Keep your weight in a healthy range. Being overweight or underweight may affect your fertility and your baby’s health.
  • Participate in regular physical activity – this may provide both physical and emotional benefits by reducing stress, weight and assist with recuperation after pregnancy.
  • Reduce stress – this may be affecting fertility and the future health of your child. Practice relaxation exercises such as meditation or yoga, or simply creating a time to rest and do activities you enjoy.
  • Cease smoking and reduce intake of alcohol and caffeine. It is recommended to avoid alcohol and caffeine altogether.  Foetal alcohol syndrome has been traced to preconception in both parents.  They both reduce conception rates and may be related to other health problems in relation to fertility/pregnancy/foetus. Preferably, switch to herbal teas such as peppermint, ginger or chamomile teas, or (low caffeine tea) such as green tea.  Decaffeinated is not recommended.
  • Avoid all sugary drinks entirely.
  • Support yourself with supplements – giving yourself a little boost in addition to changing your diet and lifestyle may help optimise your health. Rather than grabbing the cheapest formula off the shelf, ask your Naturopath to recommend a high quality comprehensive formula to ensure that you are both getting all the nutrients that you need, at the correct dose, to grow a healthy baby.
  • For males – avoid high temperatures generally such as saunas and hot baths. However, it is also important to avoid high temperatures around the pelvic region (e.g. an issue for chefs using ovens, or resting laptops on lap for extended periods of time).  Men should also avoid pressure, such as prolonged sitting, tight underwear, prolonged cycling or physical trauma.
DIET
  • All foods to be fresh and organically grown/fed wherever possible.
  • Higher in nutritional value, lower in toxins, hormones and pesticides.
  • Eat seasonally. Look at what is in season and stick to eating those fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat locally grown product. Think about where your food is coming from.
  • Minimise refined foods as they deplete the body of magnesium and other essential nutrients which are required for normal hormone production.
  • Drink 8-12 glasses of purified water daily. Mineral water is okay occasionally.
      Healthy Fats
  • Avoid toxic nonorganic saturated fats which disturb hormone and nutrient balance.
  • Avoid fried food – which is pro-inflammatory.  Stir-fry is okay.  Cook with minimal amounts of sesame oil, organic butter or coconut oil.  These are monounsaturated fats, and will not saturate on heating.
  • Use cold pressed plant based oils on salads (extra virgin olive, flaxseed, nut oils). These oils are high in essential fatty acids and should not be heated.
  • Store out of light (in dark containers), in the fridge (except olive oil, which is fine at room temperature).
  • Add lemon/pepper/garlic and/or herbs to make homemade salad dressing.
      Protein

Include a source of protein at least four times daily.

Plant Protein: combining any two of the food groups below, you will have a complete protein source:

  • Nuts
  • Grains/seeds
  • Legumes/pulses

Toast or soak grains and legumes before cooking to avoid phytates which may lead to mineral deficiencies.

  • Fish – Avoid farmed fish. Choose wild ocean fish – trout, salmon, sardines, mackerel.  Eat fish 3 times weekly.  Avoid large fish such as tuna, shark (flake), swordfish, marlin, barramundi and sea perch as they are too high in mercury.  Avoid crustaceans as they are often polluted, and raw fish may contain bacteria.  Fresh fish is definitely preferable to tinned/frozen varieties. 
  • Chicken and Eggs – trim the skin to avoid fats. Use certified organically fed only.  Be aware that free range is not necessarily organic as they may still be fed with hormones and antibiotics.  Eggs are an excellent source of protein.
  • Dairy – limit cow’s milk/cheese as it is linked to endometriosis, and may create mucus in tubes and malabsorption. Natural cultured non-flavoured yoghurt is good if you are not hypersensitive to cow’s milk.  Pasteurised goat’s/sheep’s milk is preferred.  Rice and oat milk is also okay however it is not very high in protein.  Unsweetened almond milk is also another option.  Avoid all soft cheeses such as brie, camembert, ricotta, feta, blue, or those kept unsealed in water as they may contain bacteria.
  • Red Meat – eat lean, red meat in moderation, avoiding raw/undercooked meat. Avoid organ meats, offal, sausage or mince unless it is certified organically fed.  Avoid delicatessen meats that may be high in fats, have offal content and toxic preservatives.  Organ meats contain high levels of toxins such as pesticides/hormones.
      Carbohydrates
  • Consume moderate levels of low glycaemic carbohydrates where possible. Mostly non-starchy vegetables, pulses and unrefined wholegrains.  High glycaemic foods may disrupt your hormones.  Refined carbohydrates may also leach nutrients from your body’s stores.
  • Eat lots of vegetables every day, especially dark green leafy, red and orange, and avocado. You may eat both raw and cooked regularly.  To increase vegetable intake, try adding juices throughout the day, and salads to your meals.  Avoid pre-prepared salads which may contain bacteria.
  • Keep fruit to a maximum of 2-3 pieces per day due to high sugar content. This includes fruit that may be added to your vegetable juices.  No dried fruit.
  • Whole grain and organic wherever possible. Avoid refined flour products.
  • As mentioned previously, avoid all sweet things including honey, sugar substitutes, undiluted fruit juices, cakes, biscuits, soft drinks, and anything ending with “-ose” such as sucrose, fructose, glucose, maltose, etc.

For further assistance in achieving your goals, come see one of our dedicated Naturopaths at Nurtura Health for a comprehensive assessment for both you and your partner.

Disclaimer:  The advice on this website is of a general nature only and Nurtura Health expressly disclaims all liability arising out of the improper use of the information provided.  Nurtura Health actively discourages any self-diagnosis or self-medication.  Please consult your health practitioner regarding these important health issues.  All rights reserved.
Posted in Nurtura Health Blog | Comments Off on Women’s Health – Fertility and Preconception Health Care