Is cortisol messing with your life??

September 5th, 2018

 

Have you had your cortisol levels checked? It may be time to do so.  Talk to your doctor or chat to us at New Leaf about ways your cortisol can be checked!

WHAT IS CORTISOL?

Cortisol is known as the stress hormone. It is important to understand how to balance this hormone for optimal health.

Cortisol is a naturally occurring hormone that is secreted by the adrenal glands located on your kidneys. It is one of the main stress response chemicals with adrenaline being the other. Both are responsible for maintaining balance in your body.

CORTISOL LEVELS

When it is in a healthy rhythm, cortisol is highest in the morning to give us the energy to get our day started, minimise inflammation and boost our immune response to peak levels. It is naturally lowest at night to help us wind our bodies down into rest-and-repair mode. When this natural cycle is disrupted, we can end up with dysfunction of cortisol levels such as:

HIGH CORTISOL SYMPTOMS:

  • Sleep problems (insomnia, waking in the night)
  • Blood sugar issues (including sugar cravings, metabolic syndrome, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and diabetes)
  • Weight gain (increased fat storage and belly fat)
  • Immune system imbalances leading to more frequent infections, reactivation of old viruses, allergies, inflammation, and even autoimmune disease
  • Poor digestion and impaired absorption of nutrients
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Decreased memory, focus, and willpower
  • Mood swings
  • High blood pressure
  • Racing heart or palpitations
  • Flush face
  • Increased urination

LOW CORTISOL SYMPTOMS:

  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty waking in the morning
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Weight changes
  • Salt cravings
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Dizzy or faint
  • Feel “weird”

Most chronic and long-term health issues like obesity, digestive issues, diabetes and even cancer can be linked to disturbances in our natural cortisol patterns.

Let’s look at the range of some low or high cortisol health scenarios:

1. CORTISOL AND WEIGHT GAIN

Persistently high or low cortisol levels can cause you to experience changes in your body weight. High levels of cortisol can stimulate your appetite and lead to obesity. Excess weight in this situation is often to carried on the upper body and a round face or excess fat tissue around the neck may develop.

2. CORTISOL AND HYPERTENSION

High cortisol levels may increase your risk of developing high blood pressure (hypertension) or high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia). Low levels of cortisol can have the opposite effect and cause decreased appetite or significant weight loss. Loss of appetite can lead some people to become dehydrated or develop low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) due to poor fluid intake. Symptoms include increased thirst, headache or dizziness.

3. CORTISOL AND SKIN

High cortisol levels in your blood can contribute to skin issues like thinning or easily bruising skin and stretch marks that are pink or purple in colour on the arms, buttocks, legs, stomach or breasts. On the flip side, abnormally low levels of cortisol may cause patches of increased pigmentation (hyper-pigmentation) on your knees or elbows.

4. CORTISOL AND SLEEP

Cortisol is a part of your sleeping and waking cycle. Imbalanced levels can cause excessive tiredness or fatigue that can be long-lasting (chronic) and may cause sore or weak muscles. Men with high cortisol levels can experience impotence and may also be accompanied by decreased sexual desire. Cortisol imbalances in women can lead to the development of an irregular menstrual cycle, which can make it difficult for women to become pregnant.

5. CORTISOL AND DIET

Studies have revealed that eating balanced meals and participating in physical activity 3-5 times a week can help maintain cortisol balance. But in today’s go-go-go world, chronic stress, can over time, cause the adrenal glands to become overworked which in turn effects cortisol levels. And there may be times when this process cannot be dealt with diet and lifestyle changes alone. This is when a hormonal imbalance needs to be fully evaluated and corrected in conjunction with a customized nutrition and fitness program that meets your unique needs.

HOW TO REDUCE CORTISOL

Lowering your cortisol levels requires attention paid to a few things that with some management, can prove to be successful. Here are some tips:

1.  Look at your sleep schedule

Cortisol regulates the production of melatonin, which is important not only for sleep but for detoxification and immunity. High cortisol levels suppress melatonin and that means you may not only experience insomnia and other sleep issues, but you are increasing your risk of inflammatory conditions like diabetes and cancer.

How much sleep do you need? At least seven hours of mostly uninterrupted sleep for at least two weeks can begin to reset your cortisol levels. Also, make sure you are going to bed and waking up at the same time to create a regular sleep cycle.

2. Get rid of EMF’s

And remember — we live in a world of electronic devices full of EMFs (Electromagnetic Frequencies) and bombardment of blue light. Using ear plugs to get rid of white noise, silencing your phone and turning off your computer a couple of hours before going to bed is helpful to ensure quality sleep. This practice will make a huge difference in controlling your brains internal clock that tells you when to sleep.

It is important to remember that timing, length and quality of sleep all influence cortisol for better or for worse.

3. Eat the right foods, at the right time

Believe it or not, that low carb diet we are all into these days can increase cortisol — if it is too low. You may benefit more from eating a small number of healthy carbs three to five hours before going to bed. And in general, eating just before bedtime can affect not only how well you sleep but also your cortisol levels. Try not eating within three hours of settling in for a night’s rest. What you eat and when you eat can have a profound effect on your cortisol response.

4. Plan on exercising at the ideal times

Studies show that exercise can help to reduce cortisol levels. However, the opposite can be true if you over exercise or exercise late at night. Doing intense exercise earlier in the day increases cortisol levels immediately following exercise but it can have positive effects of reducing cortisol levels in the evening and before bedtime.

5. Relax and reset

It is important to learn some relaxation strategies, especially after a long, hard work day/week in order to help reset both mentally and emotionally. This can lead to healthier cortisol levels and a healthier YOU in general. Even 15 minutes can make a difference, but I suggest to my patients that taking that walk in nature or getting into an easy yoga routine, are great ways to handle cortisol issues.

6. Practice deep breathing

Deep breathing helps to lower stress and is an easy habit anyone can do anywhere. Studies show that this simple technique can help to substantially lower cortisol levels. Who would have guessed? Read my article on how to effectively practice deep breathing for relaxation. Other helpful techniques that incorporate deep breathing for relaxation are yoga and tai chi.

Check out this helpful guide on adding other relaxation techniques such as meditation, visualisation, music and progressive muscle relaxation.

7. Avoid caffeine and alcohol late in the day

A great cup of coffee or tea can be a sure way to get some energy and also some pleasure in life. But both, along with chocolate, can keep you up at night. Caffeine can affect your cortisol levels and disrupt sleep patterns so be mindful of when you have it. I have also noted that many of my patients report that they slept better and felt better all-around when they limited their alcohol consumption, especially in the evening.

8. Eat clean

Chronic inflammation is a huge trigger of cortisol imbalances along with blood sugar balance. Simply put — a diet of processed foods, poor-quality fats, and too much sugar can cause inflammation that leads to chronically over activated cortisol production.

9. Find happiness

When was the last time you found time to do something that really made you happy? Pursuing things that bring you happiness and satisfaction can help to lower your cortisol levels. Hobbies such as art, music, gardening and spending time outdoors can provide a sense of well being and pleasure which will help keep cortisol down. It’s time to develop those hobbies you’ve been dreaming about!

10. Spend time with family and friends

Having strong relationships with family and friends can help you to manage stress and lower your cortisol levels. However, at times, these relationships can be the cause of your stress. Learning to deal with conflicts and seeking positive outcomes will provide stronger bonds and emotional well being. Having more friends and family in your life can be a source of great happiness and support.

Even furry companions such as canine pets can prove to be helpful in lowering cortisol levels.

11. Add Essential oils 

Some essential oils are shown to harness stress and excess cortisol levels. Such oils include lavender, cinnamon leaf, cedarwood, eucalyptus, and ylang-ylang. The aroma of these essential oils can actually pass right through the blood/brain barrier which has a direct effect on areas of the brain controlling your feelings of stress and anxiety which influence your cortisol response.

12. Take supplements for stress

Studies show that taking certain supplements can help to manage cortisol levels and stress. Supplements such as fish oil and other adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha, Rhodiola, Cordyceps, and Reishi have been shown to lower cortisol levels within 60 days. Below are some of my favourite supplements for restoring cortisol levels.

13.  Kinesiology, Acupuncture, Massage, Chi Nei Tsang

All of our processes can support reducing your stress, and rebooting your adrenal glands.

CORTISOL SUPPLEMENTS

I recommend a few supplements to my patients that can help keep cortisol levels in good balance overall and nourish the adrenals as well.

One of my favourites is Omega Brain Care, a Phosphatidylserine and essential fatty acid supplement that has been found to naturally block the harmful effects of cortisol. The body produces very little of it, so supplementation can ensure you are getting enough to maintain overall good health.

I also like to suggest Adrenotone which is a combination of standardised adaptogen herbs and nutrients designed to help support healthy cortisol levels as well as protect you against chronic stress.

Ready to get your cortisol in balance but feel unsure about where to start?   Testing is usually the first step and I can help with that (Doctor’s test, nutripath testing through us, kinesiology). A simple cortisol saliva test is one way to get an accurate reading of your cortisol levels and way to monitor your progress over time. Then we can discuss some great protocols that can help you achieve balance – naturally.

Know someone who needs help, forward this article to get them started on their road to recovery!

Easy Ways to Beat Colds and Flus, Fast Feeling Flu-y?

August 16th, 2018

Easy Ways to Beat Colds and Flus, Fast Feeling Flu-y?

Feeling run down with a sore throat, runny nose, pounding head, cough, or fever? Don’t suffer in silence waiting for your cold to run its course. Instead, try these easy, natural ways to help you kick that lurgy and feel better, fast.

Your (Natural) Medicine Cabinet Did you know that natural medicines do double duty when fighting an infection? Not only do they help you feel better quicker by reducing your symptoms, they can also boost your immunity and reduce your chances of getting sick in the future.

Ask your Natural Healthcare Practitioner whether these four cold-busting remedies are suitable for your particular symptoms:

Andrographis – a potent herb that can help reduce the symptoms of colds and flu by stimulating your body’s own immune function; improving your runny nose, cough, fever, headache and fatigue.

Medicinal mushrooms – coriolus, reishi and shiitake can help reduce congestion and mucus, helping you breathe easier.

Probiotics – did you know that there are specific probiotic strains able to help you fight off a cold? The probiotics Lactobacillus rhamnosus (LGG®), Lactobacillus plantarum HEAL 9 and Lactobacillus paracasei 8700:2 have been shown in multiple scientific studies to help reduce the symptoms and duration of the common cold.

Zinc – reduces both the duration of infections and the severity of symptoms, helping you get back to your normal activities sooner. Having adequate zinc levels also decreases the likelihood of you getting sick in the future; meaning fewer sick days needed annually.

Do-It-Yourself Recovery Alongside taking your natural medicines you can help yourself get well by using these seven DIY symptom-relieving strategies:

1. Ease nasal congestion – use a nasal spray containing antimicrobial essential oils (ask your Practitioner for a recommendation). Also, try a steam inhalation or take a steamy hot bath or shower, so you can breathe easier and be more comfortable.

2. Gargle with warm water regularly – this can help ease a sore throat. Add a teaspoon of salt for added antiseptic and gentle anti-inflammatory benefits.

3. Drink plenty of fluids – dehydration can occur if you do not replenish fluids lost through sweating, having a runny nose, or having a fever. Being dehydrated can make you feel sicker than you need to. Choose water rather than sugary drinks which can increase inflammation.

4. Eat regular meals – to keep your energy levels up. Try nourishing, cooked and vegetable-rich foods like soups and stews (they also help keep you hydrated). If you don’t feel like eating, a simple chicken broth can help provide the electrolytes and minerals (such as magnesium, calcium and phosphorus) your body needs to function well.

5. Use ‘food as medicine’ principles – chicken soup can also help reduce mucus congestion, especially if you add warming and pungent herbs and spices such as cayenne, ginger and turmeric. Add plenty of garlic too as it’s considered ‘natures antibiotic‘, helping reduce the chance of developing a secondary bacterial infection that can follow a viral cold or flu.

6. ‘Eat a rainbow’ – include lots of colourful fruits and veggies where you can, to give your immune system the antioxidants and vitamins (such as vitamin C) it needs to support healthy immune function and keep you fighting the infection.

7. Take time off – don’t feel guilty about staying home from work. Convalescing will give your body and immune system the chance to recoup its energy – getting you back to work quicker and fighting fit again. Your colleagues will also thank you for keeping your germs at home! We’ve saved the best tip for last.

See Your Practitioner… For a personalised immune-boosting treatment plan. As everybody is different, your Practitioner can tailor an effective strategy for your situation. Maybe you also have a history of catching every cold and flu there is – so ask them how you can also address the factors that may be weakening your immunity, such as a nutrient deficiency, stress or lack of sleep. Rather than wait for your cold or flu to run its course, be more immune savvy this time around. Support yourself with these natural tips and tricks, and get back to enjoying all the activities you love. LGG® is a registered trademark of Chr. Hansen A/S. Talk to your Practitioner about easy ways to naturally beat colds and flus today.

Auto-Immune Disease – let’s get well!!

August 16th, 2018
5 Things You Can Do to Help Reverse Your Autoimmune Disease That Your Doctor Isn’t Telling You
  1. Heal Your Gut. Your gut is your gateway to health. …
    • look at your blood for signs of fungus, candida, parasites, bacteria and viral infections
    • have kinesiology sessions to support better immunity – and find old infections!
    • break down the biofilms in your body with specific herbs and nutrients
    • boost your gut immunity and heal your gut!
  2. Optimize Your Diet. …
    • what is best for you?  we can work towards finding if your body needs a paleo diet, ketogenic diet, weightloss process such as HCG, auto-immune paleo, specific carbohydrate diet
    • remove the toxins – eat fresh, healthy, organic foods
    • think of being toxin free, pesticides free, GMO free
  3. Reduce Your Toxic Burden. …
    • look at all of your products – for washing, cleaning, hair and body products – start researching which ingredients are toxic for your immune system
  4. Heal Your Infections. …
    • start the process.  help infections out of your body, boost your immunity.
  5. Relieve Your Stress.
    • huge!!!  see us for kinesiology, massage, universal consciousness and supplements specific for stress!

Men’s Health, Mast Cell Activation Syndrome & New Leaf Natural Therapies!

July 24th, 2018

Men’s Health is so important!

It’s been fantastic since Congress….  top take-home factoids I’ve been loving are:

  • Men – get your testosterone checked!  If you need, support your testosterone levels with injections or supplements that contain tribulus, zinc, horny goat week (true herb!) etc
  • Testosterone is linked to mood disorders and exhaustion
  • Men born since 1970 have 1/2 the testosterone as those born before…  This is due to environmental toxins.  As I’ve always said, we can’t get rid of the toxins but we can support our detox capabilities with herbs and nutrients such as silymarin, lipoic acid, glutathione, anti-oxidants and vitamin C.  Lots of other herbs too!
  • This lack of testosterone since 1970 is being studied to see if it’s linked to kids with higher anxiety, depression, suicidal rates
  • It’s once estrodial takes over as the main hormone in men that estrodial interacts with environmental toxins and is linked to cancers…  Pre-1970 testosterone levels peaked at around 40 years old, Since 1970’s it’s often in the teenage years/early 20’s, so estrodial is becoming dominant much earlier
  • Adrenal fatigue should be named ‘Burnout Syndrome’ according to Dr Flavio Cadigiani
  • Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome should be renamed under ‘Metabolic Syndrome’ as it’s insulin and inflammation that drive the PCOS, yet women can have metabolic syndrome without the PCOS, therefore many practitioners run out of ability to support clients with painful periods.
  • Mast Cell Activation Syndrome – if you get your histamine levels tested, the maximum histamine levels you want are 8.  MCAS is linked to allergies, dizziness, asthma, POTS, anxiety
  • if you get unexplained pain in the brain (migraines), gut, uterus, spinal cord – you could have MCAS…  Pop in and see us!  There are nutrients known to pull stored histamine out of your body.
  • Every thought we have affects our genes either positively or negatively
  • Traumas from childhood can affect our kids / grandkids etc for up to 7 generations!  With kinesiology and universal consciousness techniques we can mitigate these effects.  In fact, studies show that a trauma in childhood activates obesity genes (we’re more lucky if we’ve been traumatised and don’t end up with weight challenges!) and addictive behaviours (are you self-medicating??)
  • Intermittent Fasting is proving to be a fantastic health-improvement tool for longevity!  The most researched and popular Intermittent Fasting time bracket by the speakers was the 18/6.  Off food for 18 hours (say 7pm until 1pm next day…).  Every hour over 12 hours of fasting doubles the benefit of the previous 12 hours!

AT New Leaf we support these issues with

  • detoxification processes including dietary adjustments; acupuncture; kinesiology; supplements & herbs; weight loss detox processes…
  • kinesiology to access information about where the histamines are and what we need to release them
  • emotional support – using Universal Consciousness Processes; kinesiology & LEAP

Talk soon,

 

Madonna
0417 643 849

Soy: Safety issues – fact or fiction!

July 18th, 2018

A Note from Madonna:
Great article from Metagenics on Soy…

I’m in the unique position to have been doing kinesiology for over 20 years…  I always joke I’m lucky to have done my naturopathy first as kinesiology was so much fun.
I’ve got a 15 step process to find allergies/intolerances/substance issues with people:

  • we have Nutripath food testing to find if people have allergies to substances
  • we use the Food Detective blood test in-house to find if people have intolerances
  • I’ve found generally over the years that organic soy is fine!  (Generally, of course!)
  • Georgia and Madonna use kinesiology to target specific substances and see if your body is able to utilise them…
    • if dairy is an issue, is it the casein, the lactose, a DPP4 enzyme deficiency, lectins, hormones?  Is Organic OK?
    • if grains are an issues, is it a FODMAP problem, lectins, gluten, gliadins, DPP4 enzyme deficiency, pesticides, GMO?  Is Organic OK?
  • Enjoy!!!

    Madonna Guy
    You Tube:  New Leaf Health Team
    07 3348 6098
    healthteam@newleafnaturaltherapies.com.au

All the Noise About Soy

The world we live in is a melting pot of mixed cultures which has resulted in the spread of many ingredients and cuisines. One such example is the soybean, finding its way onto the plates of many individuals, and offering a blend of protein, fibre, fats and phytonutrients (e.g. isoflavones). Despite a long traditional use in Asia and the scientifically proven benefits of soy consumption, vocal soy critics have cast concern over this eminent legume, confusing many people about whether soy is safe or not. Whilst some objections against soy for reasons such as overt allergy are well-founded, anti-soy arguments based on misinterpreted data have tainted the perceived safety of soy; leaving many individuals hesitant on whether to enjoy or avoid it. However, research offers remedies to several soy myths, enabling them to be busted – read on for details:

Myth #1: Soy is a goitrogen.

Fact: Goitrogens are substances that disrupt the production of thyroid hormone by interfering with the uptake of iodine into the thyroid gland. Soy has previously been classified as a goitrogen; however, this was based primarily on observations yielded from in vitro and animal studies,1 which in this instance offer limited relevance to humans due to differing metabolism between human and animals with regards to soy.2 That said, in situations of inadequate dietary iodine intakes, thyroid symptoms caused by this lack may be amplified by simultaneously high intakes of soy.3 Nevertheless, a comprehensive review of 14 human clinical studies provided little evidence that soy exerts anti-thyroid effects in healthy subjects,4 which is further supported by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).5

In summary, human evidence supports the safe consumption of dietary soy6,7 alongside adequate iodine intake.8

Myth #2: All soy is genetically modified.

Fact: In the past decade, there has been a surge in the production of genetically modified (GM) crops, with soy representing one of those most commonly affected. Genetically modified organisms (GMO) are those whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques designed to produce specific traits. It is true that without sufficient data we can’t predict the effects of modified proteins, so selecting non-GMO soy products avoids unknown risks. As such, non-GMO sources of soy are available, and consuming it in this natural and unadulterated wholefood form is always advised for maximal health benefits.

The Humble Soybean Manifests in Many Dietary Ways.

Myth #3: You should only eat soy if it’s fermented.

Fact: In early China, soy was traditionally cooked like a grain. Processing of this legume then evolved across different regions of Asia to become a variety of modes like those illustrated in Figure 1. This included fermenting (to create tempeh, miso and natto), sprouting, grinding to make a ‘milk,’ and the pressing of unfermented bean curd to create tofu. Fermentation is especially favored in Korea and Japan for producing strong flavours, however doing so is not the golden rule for soy consumption. Similar to other legumes, simply softening soybeans with moisture and heat (e.g. boiling) causes the hardy components within the bean to denature. This allows the nutrients to then become bioavailable and absorbable, and therefore allow us to attain the benefits from consuming them.

In summary, soy has not always traditionally been fermented, and it is perfectly safe and appropriate to consume it in its unfermented form.

Myth #4: Soy is a phytoestrogen.

Fact: The term phytoestrogen describes the ability of certain compounds (found in foods and medicinal herbs) to act similarly to the actions of the hormone oestrogen. However, incorrect interpretations of the term phytoestrogen have raised some concern.

As it pertains to soy, experts have corrected the term phytoestrogen, defining the bean instead as a selective oestrogen receptor modulator or ‘SERM’.

Being a SERM, soy communicates with the body similarly to oestrogen as it can bind to what’s known as oestrogen ‘receptors’, which then modulates their activity (the ‘output’). For example, soy isoflavones have been shown to down-regulate oestrogen receptor alpha (ER-?) activity. Given that ER-? is associated with negative events such as tumour growth, SERM compounds (like the isoflavones found in soy) are viewed as beneficial, as they can favourably influence the state of play. What’s more, soy isoflavones also bind to the beneficial oestrogen receptor beta (ER- ?), whose activity is associated with protective health benefits in both men and women.9 In summary, a SERM such as soy does not increase oestrogen levels, but balances oestrogen receptor activity, which can lead to more optimal body function.

The Balance of Soy

It’s important to keep in mind that the health benefits of soy, like many wholefoods, are broad. The soybean is much more than just soy isoflavones – it provides additional health-promoting nutrients including protein, fibre, minerals and B vitamins, all nourishing your body in more ways than one. To enjoy some soy as part of a balanced, check out the healthy Tofu and Veggie Stir-Fry recipe below. You too can reap the benefits of this highly versatile legume.

 

 

Tofu and Veggie Stir-Fry 

Makes 1 serve.

Ingredients:

• 1 tablespoon of olive oil
• 200 g tofu
• 50 g broccoli
• 50 g cauliflower
• 1 clove garlic (cut into small pieces)
• 1 tablespoon of diced chives
• 1/3 cup water

Method:

• Heat oil with garlic until garlic is lightly cooked.
• Add cauliflower, tofu and broccoli and stir through very quickly.
• Add water and continue stirring.
• Cook on high heat for approximately four minutes and continue stirring.
• Add a little more water if required to prevent sticking.
• Add chives.
• Turn out and serve.

 

References

1. Messina M, Redmond G. Effects of soy protein and soybean isoflavones on thyroid function in healthy adults and hypothyroid patients: A review of the relevant literature. Thyroid. 2006 Mar;16(3):249-258. doi: 10.1089/thy.2006.16.249.

2. Soukup ST, Helppi J, Müller DR, Zierau O, Watzl B, Vollmer G, et al. Phase II metabolism of the soy isoflavones genistein and daidzein in humans, rats and mice: a cross-species and sex comparison. Arch Toxicol. 2016 Jun;90(6):1335-1347. doi: 10.1007/s00204-016-1663-5.

3. Messina M. Soy and health update: evaluation of the clinical and epidemiologic literature. Nutrients. 2016 Nov;8(12):1-42. Doi: 10.3390/nu8120754.

4. Messina M, Redmond G. Effects of soy protein and soybean isoflavones on thyroid function in healthy adults and hypothyroid patients: A review of the relevant literature. Thyroid. 2006 Mar;16(3):249-258. doi: 10.1089/thy.2006.16.249.

5. EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food (ANS). Risk assessment for peri?and post?menopausal women taking food supplements containing isolated isoflavones. EFSA Journal. 2015 Oct;13(10):4246. doi: 10.2903/j.efsa.2015.4246.

6. Rizzo G, Baroni L. Soy, soy foods and their role in vegetarian diets. Nutrients. 2018 Jan 5;10(1):43. doi:10.3390/nu10010043.

7 EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food (ANS). Risk assessment for peri?and post?menopausal women taking food supplements containing isolated isoflavones. EFSA Journal. 2015 Oct;13(10):4246. doi: 10.2903/j.efsa.2015.4246.

8. Rizzo G, Baroni L. Soy, soy foods and their role in vegetarian diets. Nutrients. 2018 Jan 5;10(1):43. doi:10.3390/nu10010043.

9. Kuiper GG, Lemmen JG, Carlsson B, Corton JC, Safe SH, van der Saag PT, et al. Interaction of estrogenic chemicals and phytoestrogens with estrogen receptor beta. Endocrinology. 1998 Oct;139(10):4252-4263.

Keeping the spine happy under stress!!! New Leaf Tips

July 12th, 2018
K

 

Stretching:  Many people do work that will eventually lead to repetitive strain injury.  Learning how to stretch and take care of your body is a sensible thing to do.  These stretches are specific for the upper body and neck.  Doing these several times throughout the day when we are feeling the muscles ‘tighten’ can help us relieve the pain as it happens.  These are useful for anyone using a computer many hours per day, students, hairdressers, mechanics, massage therapists…anyone who does similar movements with the upper body over and over again.

Acupuncture:  Has been used for centuries to support better health of the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles.

Why do we need to stretch?  When we start to feel that ache or burn in a muscle, it is building up lactic acid.  Lactic acid dehydrates the muscle, and eventually the muscle becomes ‘gluey’ and later on the muscle tissue calcifies.  Stretches gets the blood supply into the muscles and helps to release the  waste products from the muscles, and support re-hydration of the muscles.

Massage:  When we feel those ‘knots’ during a massage, the muscles are somewhere between ‘gluey’ and ‘calcified’.  It can take many hours of massage to remove these knots.

Stem Cell Nutrition:  https://madonnaguy.cerule.com/

Cellular Regeneration: Our Frequency Specific Microcurrent equipment can dissolve these calcifications much more quickly than massage can.  Chronic calcification may take many treatments, and long term will prevent surgeries.

Nutrition:  Muscles which regularly ache require both magnesium and water.  Drinking plenty of water is massively important for muscle health and quality.  Magnesium products such as Fibroplex (much more potent than any tablets on the market) help to get magnesium into the muscles as quickly as possible.

Kinesiology:  we can use ‘muscle testing’ to find out which muscles are hypertonic, ie causing pain and use techniques such as PNF stretching to release these muscles.  We may also find stubborn muscles which are switching off other surrounding muscles, thereby  making the whole area ‘weak’ and hard to keep pain-free.  We recommend monthly treatments to re-establish integrity of the major 84 muscles of the bodye

Surrogacy Kinesiology!!

July 12th, 2018

https://youtu.be/FHzfYbgMqkY

 

Surrogacy is a weird beast in the kinesiology world.  I’ve been doing it for nearly 23 years – and these days it’s just as weird as when I first started using it.   Here’s a quick video from our New Leaf Health Team YouTube channel…

Have a fab day!!

Madonna Guy
New Leaf Natural Therapies
07 3348 6098
healthteam@newleafnaturaltherapies.com.au

Benefits of Hot Stone Massage: Winter Special with Shelby!!! 3348 6098

June 18th, 2018
What happens during a hot stone massage?

A hot stone massage is a type of massage therapy. It’s used to help you relax and ease tense muscles and damaged soft tissues throughout your body.

During a hot stone massage, smooth, flat, heated stones are placed on specific parts of your body. The stones are usually made of basalt, a type of volcanic rock that retains heat.  Hot massage stones are heated to between 45 to 60 degrees.

The stones may be placed:

  • along your spine
  • on your stomach
  • on your chest
  • on your face
  • on your palms
  • on your feet and toes

Massage therapists may hold heated stones as they massage your body using Swedish massage techniques such as:

  • long strokes
  • circular movements
  • vibration
  • tapping
  • kneading

Sometimes, cold stones are also used during a hot stone massage. Cold stones may be used after hot stones to calm any engorged blood vessels and to soothe the skin.

 6 benefits of hot stone massage

All massages generally fall under the alternative medicine umbrella. They’re becoming a popular complementary therapy for many conditions. Here are some advantages of getting a hot stone massage:

1. Helps relieve muscle tension and pain

Heat has long been used to ease muscle tension and pain. It helps increase blood flow to the affected area. It may also reduce muscle spasms and increase flexibility and range of motion. Cold therapy helps relieve inflammation. Depending on your symptoms, alternating hot and cold stones during your massage may be helpful.

2. Reduces stress and anxiety

It’s the position of the American Massage Therapy Association that “massage therapy can be effective for stress relief.” Research supports their opinion. A 2001 study showed that a ten-minute massage improved cardiovascular responses such as stroke volume. A 1997 study found that 15-minute, onsite chair massages in the workplace significantly reduced stress compared to a 15-minute break without massage.

A 2015 study found that people who underwent abdominal colorectal surgery had less pain, tension, and anxiety after receiving post-operative massage.

3. Promotes sleep

A 2006 literature review found massage may be an alternative to sleeping pills in adults with insomnia. The research showed that back massage helped promote relaxation and sleep. A 2001 study showed that infants with sleep problems who were given a 15-minute massage by their parents went to sleep faster. They were also more alert, active, and positive upon awakening. Massage is thought to help you enjoy more restorative sleep, although it’s not completely understood why.

4. May help relieve symptoms of autoimmune diseases

Hot stone massage may relieve painful conditions such as fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes widespread, chronic pain. According to a 2002 study, people with fibromyalgia who received a 30-minute massage slept longer, had fewer trigger points, and had decreased levels of substance P (a substance involved in transmitting pain signals) than people with the condition who received relaxation therapy. More research is needed, however, before massage becomes a standard fibromyalgia treatment.

A 2013 study found that people with rheumatoid arthritis may benefit from a moderate-pressure massage, such as hot stone massage. Participants in the study experienced less pain, greater grip strength, and a greater range of motion after one month of massage therapy.

5. May help decrease cancer symptoms

A large, three-year study published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management examined how massage affected pain, fatigue, stress and anxiety, nausea, and depression in 1,290 people with cancer. The study showed massage, especially Swedish massage, improved cancer symptoms, even in those with substantial symptoms. Researchers believe the comforting use of human touch played a role.

6. May boost immunity

Massage may give your immune system a boost. According to a 2010 study, a single session of Swedish massage therapy had a positive and acute impact on immunity. Blood samples taken before and after the massage showed a decrease in arginine-vasopressin, a hormone that helps regulate blood pressure and water retention.

 Risks and warnings

When performed by a trained therapist, a hot stone massage is generally safe. There are some circumstances where it should be avoided. Consult your naturopath/doctor before getting a massage if you have:

  • a bleeding disorder or take blood thinners
  • burns on your skin
  • open wounds
  • a history of blood clots
  • had surgery in the last 6 weeks
  • a fracture or severe osteoporosis
  • low platelet count (thrombocytopenia)
  • diabetes

A prenatal massage may help relieve stress and ease uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms. Still, most massage therapists won’t use hot stones on pregnant women. If you’re pregnant, you should only get a massage with your doctor’s approval, and under the hands of a trained prenatal massage therapist.

Winter Special:  only $99 for your initial 1.5 hour Stone Stone Massage with Shelby 🙂

Mast Cell Activation Syndrome!

June 15th, 2018

 

Does histamine control your life?   Are you even aware that it might?  You might have MCAS!!

Much of this information comes from Dr Tania Dempsey and Dr Jill Carnahan in the States….  but it is a Syndrome worth thinking about if you’re simply not getting on top of your pain, allergies, nervous system stresses etc….  Many doctors in Australia are totally unaware of this condition.

What is Mast Cell Activation Syndrome?

Mast cells, a type of blood cell, play an important role in the body’s immune system. They reside in all body tissues and form part of the body’s initial defence system. Mast cells react to foreign bodies and injury by releasing a variety of potent chemical mediators, such as histamine, when activated. In a healthy person these chemicals will act beneficially to protect and heal the body, but in a person with MCAS these same chemicals are inappropriately triggered and released and have a negative effect on the body. Amongst the triggers are a variety of different foods, exercise, chemicals, fragrances and stress. Many sufferers struggle to identify their triggers and continue to discover new triggers for many years after diagnosis.

MCAS forms part of a spectrum of mast cell disorders involving proliferation and/or excessive sensitivity of mast cells, it has been identified since 2007. It features inappropriate mast cell activation with little or no increase in the number of mast cells, unlike in Mastocytosis*.  MCAS causes a wide range of unpleasant, sometimes debilitating, symptoms in any of the different systems of the body, frequently affecting several systems at the same time. The onset of MCAS is often sudden, affecting both children and adults, sometimes in family groups, mimicking many other conditions and presenting a wide-range of different symptoms that can be baffling for both the patient and their physician. Often there are no obvious clinical signs since MCAS confounds the anatomy-based structure underpinning the traditional diagnostic approach. Very often Mast Cell Activation Syndrome is hiding in plain sight.

Mastocystosis:  very rare and NOT what we’re talking about here…

Mastocytosis involves inappropriate mast cell activation AS WELL AS an increased number of mast cells. It is a rare but relatively well known mast cell disorder and is currently easier to diagnose than MCAS.

Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS): When Histamine Goes Haywire…

Mast cells are present in most tissues throughout the human body, especially connective tissue, skin, intestinal lining cardiovascular system, nervous system, and reproductive organs. They are part of the allergic response designed to protect us from threat and injury.  When the body is exposed to a perceived threat, the mast cells secrete chemical mediators, such as histamine, interleukins, prostaglandins, cytokines, chemokine and various other chemicals stored in the cytoplasm of the cell.  These chemical messengers produce both local and systemic effects, such as increased permeability of blood vessels (inflammation and swelling), contraction of smooth muscle (stomach cramps and heart palpitations), and increase mucous production (congestion, sneezing, etc).   Historically, we thought of mast cells only in relation to an allergic or anaphylactic response.  We now know they play a profound role in immune activation, development of autoimmunity and many other disorders, such as POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome).  Sadly we are seeing a large increase in patients presenting with mast cell disorders and MCAS.  I believe it is in part do to the onslaught of more pervasive environmental toxins, moulds and chemicals.

Withouts mast cells, we would not be able to heal from a wound.  They protect us from injury and help the body to heal.  Unfortunately, overactive mast cells can cause a variety of serious symptoms.

Symptoms of overactive mast cells may include:

  • skin rashes/hives
  • swelling/oedema
  • flushing
  • asthma
  • itching
  • abdominal pain
  • nausea/vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • wheezing
  • shortness of breath
  • heart palpitations
  • anxiety, difficulty concentrating
  • headaches
  • brain fog
  • low blood pressure
  • fatigue

Mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS) is a condition symptoms involving the skin, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, respiratory, and neurologic systems. It can be classified into primary (clonal proliferation or mastocytosis), secondary (due to a specific stimulus), and idiopathic (no identifiable cause). Proposed criteria for the diagnosis of MCAS included episodic symptoms consistent with mast cell mediator release affecting two or more organ systems with hives, swelling, flushing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, low blood pressure, fainting, heart palpitations, wheezing, red eyes, itching, and/or nasal congestion.  For a diagram of all of the varied symptoms histamine can cause, click here.

Triggers may be medications, foods, supplements, hormones, opioids, stressors (physical or emotional), cold temperature, heat, pressure, noxious odors, chemicals, insect bites, trauma or environmental toxins.

We commonly see mast cell activation syndromes associated with CIRS (chronic inflammatory response syndrome) in response to biotoxins, such as mould, inflammagens, and lyme-related toxins.

Low MSH and Mast Cell Disorders?

As mentioned above, we frequently see histamine intolerance and MCAS in patients with mold-related CIRS (chronic inflammatory response syndrome).  It is interesting to note that a common finding in CIRS is low MSH.  According to this study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, alpha-MSH plays an immunomodulatory role during inflammatory and allergic reactions of the skin.  In addition, there is evidence that MSH induces mast-cell apoptosis(cell death).

Definition of Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS)

  1. Typical clinical symptoms as listed above
  2. Increase in serum tryptase level or an increase in other mast cell derived mediators, such as histamine or prostaglandins (PGD2), or their urinary metabolites,
  3. Response of symptoms to treatment
Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS)

Mast cells can be activated by both direct and indirect mechanisms as a result of exposure of the host to pathogens.

Diseases Associated with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS)

  • Allergies and Asthma
  • Autism
  • Autoimmune diseases (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis,  systemic lupus, multiple sclerosis, bullous pemphigoid, rheumatoid arthritis and others.Eczema
  • Celiac Disease
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • CIRS (chronic inflammatory response syndrome)
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Food Allergy and Intolerances
  • Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)
  • Infertility (mast cells in endometrium may contribute to endometriosis)
  • Interstitial Cystitis
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Migraine Headaches
  • Mood disorders – anxiety, depression, and insomnia
  • Multiple Chemical Sensitivities
  • POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome)
Mast cells are known to be the primary responders in allergic reactions, orchestrating strong responses to minute amounts of allergens. Several recent observations indicate that they may also have a key role in coordinating the early phases of autoimmune diseases, particularly those involving auto-antibodies.

Mast cells are known to be the primary responders in allergic reactions, orchestrating strong responses to minute amounts of allergens. Several recent observations indicate that they may also have a key role in coordinating the early phases of autoimmune diseases, particularly those involving auto-antibodies.

Lab Tests for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS) – many of these are as yet unavailable in Australia …  Possibly histamine is as yet the only available, but chat to Georgia about what our Naturopathic Labs can offer….

  • Lab tests specific to mast cell activation for suspected MCAS may include:
    • Serum tryptase (most famous mast cell mediator)
    • Serum chromogranin A
    • Plasma histamine
    • Plasma PGD2 (chilled)
    • Plasma heparin (chilled)
    • Urine for PGD2 (chilled)
    • PGF2a
    • N-methylhistamine
  • Tryptase is the most famous mast cell mediator. Serum tryptase value is usually normal in MCAS patients, but sometimes it is elevated.  Tryptase values that show an increase of 20% + 2 ng/ml above the baseline level are considered diagnostic for MCAS.
  • Chromogranin A is a heat-stable mast cell mediator.  High levels can suggest MCAS, but other sources must first be ruled out, such as heart failure, renal insufficiency, neuroendocrine tumors and proton pump inhibitor (PPI) use.
  • Heparin is a very sensitive and specific marker of mast cell activation.  However, due to its quick metabolism in the body, it is very difficult to measure reliably.
  • N-methylhistamine is usually measured in a 24 hour urine test to account for the variability in release over the course of the day.
  • Prostaglandin D2 is produced by several other cell types, but mast cell release is responsible for the dominant amount found in the body.  PGD2 is less stable than histamine and metabolized completely in 30 minutes.
  • Other less specific mast cell mediators that are sometimes abnormal in MCAS patients include Factor VIII, plasma free norepinephrine, tumor necrosis factor alpha, and interleukin-6.

Treatments to reduce MCAS symptoms and lower histamine

  • H1 Blockers
    1. hydroxyzine, doxepine, diphenhydramine, cetirizine, loratadine, fexofenadine
  • H2 Blockers
    1. Famotidine (Pepcid, Pepcid AC)
    2. Cimetidine (Tagamet, Tagamet HB)
    3. Ranitidine (Zantac)
  • Leukotriene inhibitors
    1. Montelukast (Singulair)
    2. Zafirlukast (Accolate)
  • Mast cell stabilizers –
    1. Cromolyn
    2. Ketotifen
    3. Hyroxyurea
  • Tyrosine kinase inhibitors – imatinib
  • Natural anti-histamines and mast-cell stabilizers
    • Ascorbic Acid
    • Quercetin
    • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxal-5-phosphate)
    • Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil, krill oil)
    • Alpha Lipoic Acid
    • N-acetylcysteine (NAC)
    • Methylation donors (SAMe, B12, methyl-folate, riboflavin)
  • Certain probiotics decrease histamine production
    • Lactobacillus rhamnosus and bifidobacter species 
  • DAO Enzymes with meals – UmbrelluxDAO
  • Decrease consumption of high histamine foods (more on histamine-restricted diet)
    • Avoid alcoholic beverages
    • Avoid raw and cured sausage products such as salami.
    • Avoid processed or smoked fish products. Use freshly caught seafood instead.
    • Avoid pickles
    • Avoid citrus fruits.
    • Avoid chocolate
    • Avoid nuts
    • Avoid products made with yeast and yeast extracts
    • Avoid soy sauce and fermented soy products
    • Avoid black tea and instant coffee
    • Avoid aged cheese
    • Avoid spinach in large quantities
    • Avoid tomatoes, ketchup and tomato sauces
    • Avoid artificial food colorings & preservatives
    • Avoid certain spices: cinnamon, chili powder, cloves, anise, nutmeg, curry powder, cayenne pepper

References

  1. Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, A Review
  2. Mast cell activation disease: a concise practical guide for diagnostic workup and therapeutic options
  3. Presentation, Diagnosis and Management of Mast Cell Activation Syndrome by Dr. Afrin
  4. Histamine and Gut Immune Mucosal Regulation
  5. Dr. Theoharides presents “Mast Cell Disorders”
  6. Diagram of Histamine Symptoms
  7. Mast Cell Aware
  8. A Tale of Two Syndromes
  9. Mold Histamine Connection

Air Quality & Our Health: Madonna Guy Naturopath

May 30th, 2018

How the Air Quality of Where You Live Affects Your Health

If your home is close to the freeway, you could be putting your health in jeopardy.

This article from the U.S. is well written and gives great ideas about supporting your health!  Madonna’s thoughts:

  1. there are herbs which support the lungs, sinuses and airways
  2. there are anti-inflammatory nutrients and herbs that can be used to support better breathing under stress
  3. Vitamin D is important for every cell in your lungs!
  4. Old infections can create low level inflammation that adds to your risk of sinusitis, hayfever, allergies and asthma
  5. Overuse of steroids suppress the mucus in your lungs to the lower lobes – over years of use we end up with less capacity in the lungs – chi nei tsang can help loosen the congestion in the lower lobes of the lungs
  6. Overuse of Anti-biotics has been shown to destroy the villi in the intestines and lead to lung conditions – there are nutrients and probiotics specific for re-growing the intestinal villi
  7. Biofilms can build up in the lungs and intestines – and hold old infections – which are released in a mutated form when we are run-down
  8. Our Food Detective shows 60 food intolerances that are causing inflammation in your body – this can be done within a 60 minute consultation with our naturopaths
  9. Glutamine, vitamin A, vitamin D are all crucial for healing the gut and lungs
  10. Kinesiology, Acupuncture and Chi Nei Tsang abdominal massage all support better immunity, better lung function, less allergies and less inflammation

Call us on 3348 6098 to book an appt 

 

The Los Angeles freeway system was designed to get you where you need to go fast (well, more likely in tons of traffic). But it also has had unintended consequences for the health of people who live near the busy roads — especially children, who can suffer lifelong consequences as a result.

The health risks of air pollution.

First, some good news: The USC Children’s Health Study, one of the largest research projects into the long-term effects of air pollution on children’s respiratory health, has found that, overall, kids’ lungs have improved in the past 20 years in the LA area. Bronchitis symptoms have also declined. This is all due to improvements in air quality, as policies to fight pollution were put in place and emission levels from vehicles declined.

But, it’s still clear based on the study’s findings that children who live in areas with more pollution have poorer lung function, reduced lung growth, more asthma and greater lung damage than kids who live in areas with less pollution. The air quality is definitely the cause, as lung function improves when kids move away from these areas. Plus, days with higher levels of air pollution lead to more respiratory infections that result in more school absences.

More negative health outcomes discovered.

Kids aren’t the only ones at risk. USC Environmental Health Centers notes that high levels of air pollution near freeways can cause high blood pressure and gestational diabetes in pregnant women. It could also lead to more cognitive problems in their babies. In teens, another USC study showed pollution particles can affect still-developing brains and increase delinquent behavior. In adults, another USC study found that preventable heart disease deaths are a direct result of living near a major road. Living near air pollution can lead to more cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and stroke, and premature death as a result.

Urban living or the suburbs?

So how close is too close? The state Air Resources Board recommends against building homes within 500 feet of freeways, although the LA Times reports that this is happening anyway. The City Planning Commission has even warned against building 1000 feet from a freeway and notes negative health consequences as far as a mile away. (Check out how your home fares with the LA Times’ interactive map.)

In some ways, urban density can have environmental benefits — living close to public transportation hubs reduces the number of cars on the road. Better air filtration systems, vegetation barriers and other anti-pollution measures may help new buildings that are close to busy freeways. But experts still agree that living farther out has current benefits for your health, even though you have to drive a greater distance to get to where you want to go. In general, the farther you are from the freeway, the less pollution poses a risk to your health.

But besides moving, what else can you do to protect your respiratory health if you live in an urban environment with pollution? Monitor the air quality by visiting the Environmental Protection Agency website airnow.gov. You can also sign up for email alerts or download their app. Or, check out the World Health Organization’s air quality website, breathelife2030.org.

Follow these tips to keep safe when air quality is low:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible in a building with air filtration. At home, close the windows and use an air conditioner with a HEPA filter, or use an air cleaner/purifier, especially in your sleeping space.
  • Keep your home clean of particles by using a vacuum with a HEPA filter, and a wet mop on floors. In general, carpet is going to hold onto more dirt and dust, so bare floors are better.
  • Don’t use a fireplace, smoke or light candles.
  • On your commute, see if you can go in off-rush hour. Try taking back roads or, if you walk, go through a park.
  • Take off your shoes as soon as you get inside, and change your clothes.
  • If you exercise outdoors, skip mid-afternoon on warm days.