Is your medication undermining your healthy diet?

So what would your response to that question be?  Is your daily medication, which you take to reduce your blood pressure, stop your menopausal symptoms, reduce your asthma symptoms, whatever the medication is for, could it be undermining your healthy diet, by depleting your body of the vitamins and minerals it needs.

The answer is yes!

Regardless of whether they are prescription drugs or over the counter medication, without hesitation, they will be stripping the body of what it requires on a daily basis to maintain a level of health and wellbeing.

So, now not only do we need to think about eating enough fruit and veg every day, we also need to think about what shortfalls there may be as a result of medication. Enough already!

Let’s look at a few examples of this

Antibiotics are widely taken across the world and it is commonly known as a medication which depletes the body of beneficial gut flora, the friendly bacteria in our guts.  In addition to this, antibiotics will also steal from our body’s stores of B vitamins, calcium, magnesium and iron.

Blood pressure medication will remove a large number of vitamins and minerals from the body.  Vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, potassium, melatonin and zinc.

How about HRT and other hormonal medications?  These will deplete the body of beneficial gut flora, magnesium, zinc, vitamins C and B.

A simple pain relief pill, taken for a headache perhaps, will deplete the bodies’ stores of vitamin C, Folic acid and iron.

Regardless of what the medication is for, the effects will be a shortfall of essential nutrients.

But what does this mean to our general health? The symptoms of these shortfalls in vitamins and minerals are varied.

Vitamin C, which we all think to take when we need to boost our immune system, is responsible for the integrity of connective tissue in the body. A lack of the vitamin will result in frequent infections, lack of energy, bleeding gums, slow wound healing and poor skin.

Vitamin D, helps to support bone health. A shortfall will lead to muscle cramps, arthritic pains, tooth decay, hair loss, excessive sweating and a lack of energy.

A lack of Zinc in the diet will cause infertility issues, poor sense of taste and smell, skin issues, frequent infections, poor appetite and depression. A sure sign that you have a Zinc deficiency are white marks on your nails.

The big one, which the majority of us are short on regardless of what medication we take, is magnesium. Magnesium is a natural tranquiliser, soothing and cooling the nervous system and brain. A lack of this mineral causes muscle weakness and pain, insomnia, depression, high blood pressure and an irregular heart beat. It can also lead to constipation as it is a natural laxative.

Can I just nip to the shops and buy a cheap multivitamin?

When clients come to see me for nutritional advice, I always suggest they buy the most expensive vitamins they can afford (such as those made by Cytoplan).  It’s the one area that I advise not trying to scrimp and save on.  Vitamins from the supermarket may seem good value, because they are inexpensive, but this is because they are full of cheap fillers such as corn starch and chalk, which in themselves cause problems in the body.

Our bodies are literally under attack every day. From the environments we live in, our stressful and busy schedules, the pesticides used for foods and the chemicals added to foods and water.   It would be a tall order to try and remove all of these from our diets and eat clean, organic foods, avoid medications and pollutants every day for the rest of our lives. However, making a few small conscious changes to your everyday life will have long term benefits for our body’s various organs and our quality of life.

And of course, I’m here to help

Sophie x

‘I’m just so tired all the time’

Even if you don’t say this often, there are definitely periods of our lives when we all feel exhausted.  I’ve certainly had stretches of time where I feel as if I’m running on the hamster wheel, not getting anywhere with what I have to do, but feeling exhausted as a result.  In fact it’s thought that 80% of us will undergo adrenal fatigue multiple times in our lives.

Feeling tired and exhausted seems to be a natural state of everyday life for many of us nowadays, and as a result we reach for stimulants such as caffeine and sugar to keep us going.  But these quick fix pick me ups actually make the matter much worse. 

The primary gland in the body to cause fatigue are the adrenal glands and the biggest thing to impact them is stress.  We’ve all heard of the term ‘fight or flight’ and stress of any kind can put our body’s into this state for long periods of time, leading to what we refer to as adrenal burnout.

Stress comes in many forms, both physical and emotional and many of us are used to having a low level of stress in our lives and may feel we thrive on it.  In addition to this, different stages of our lives, such as pregnancy and child birth and the menopause, put additional strain on our adrenals as they are required to work harder during these times.  This may mean our usual levels of stress become overwhelming and we need additional support.

Let’s look at some of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue

Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue:

  • You crash in the early part of the day, or throughout the day.
  • You feel tired all day, but more alert at home in the evening.  This happens when your adrenal glands hold on to energy reserves in case an emergency arises.
  • You’re exhausted but can’t sleep.  The body needs adrenal hormones to help with sleep, so a lack of these will cause sleep issues.
  • You feel tired even after a night’s sleep.    Again this is because of the adrenal hormones needed to aid sleep.
  • You are continually sweaty.  This is a result of the entire endocrine system being under stress and having to work harder to compensate for the adrenal glands.
  • You feel thirsty all the time and cave salt.  Cortisol affects the electrolytes in your blood and results in nervous system problems. 
  • Blurry vision or difficulty focusing.  Again this is down to a flood of cortisol, which dehydrates the body.  You may also find dark circles around the eyes, which is an adrenal sign.
  • Craving stimulants. This is usually a sign of needing a quick energy boost for the lack of adrenal hormones.  Alas the crash afterwards forces the adrenals to over perform and then become exhausted, which over time makes the issue worse.

Many of us can recognise a number of these symptoms as present in our lives. So how do we go about avoiding this and boost our adrenals, so that they perform at their optimum for us?

How to avoid fatigue:

  • The most obvious but possibly hardest is to avoid long term stress and extreme stress as this sets up the over production of adrenaline.
  • Avoid artificial stimulants such as caffeine, energy drinks and drugs that give you an artificial boost.
  • Strong negative emotions are another strain on the adrenals.  Fear, anxiety, anger, grief. Anything that makes you feel bad emotionally.  Positive emotions will give you a boost!
  • Eat regularly.  Eating 3 times a day will cause your blood sugar to drop and this forces the body to use hormones such as cortisol to keep it ticking over.  This puts strain on the adrenals and little time to recover. Snacking every couple of hours on foods such as apples, dates, avocados will help keep blood sugar levels stable.
  • Avoid eating too much meat.  The fat in meat will put a strain on your pancreas and liver, eventually creating insulin resistance.  This is turn makes it difficult for your body to maintain stable glucose levels, which your adrenal glands then need to regulate by creating additional hormones to compensate.

Supplements and herbal support:

You could take an all-round adrenal support supplement, which contains a range of vitamins and herbs to optimise the glands function.  Or if you prefer, you can take individual supplements as noted below:

  • Ginseng:  More suited to men, but women may take it.  Will balance the adrenals, increase stamina, energy and libido.   Helps to protect the adrenal glands from overreacting to stress.
  • Borage: Anti-inflammatory properties, supports adrenal cortex.  Helps revive and renew adrenal glands particularly after steroid treatment.
  • Discorea: Excellent for restoring the endocrine system.  Anti-inflammatory and blood purifier.
  • Passiflora: quietens the nervous system, aids sleep in those who are stressed and overwrought.
  • Skullcap: wonderful herb for anxiety and nervous tension.
  • Liquorice: can support underactive adrenal glands and boosts the entire endocrine system.  Seen as a natural steroid.  Will balance the levels of cortisol and cortisone.  Can be taken as a tea.
  • Vitamin C: Lowers inflammation in the body and soothes the adrenal glands.
  • Magnesium: Lowers anxiety and calms overactive nervous system, reducing adrenal stress.
  • Chromium:  Helps balance insulin levels and improves the strength of the adrenal glands, thyroid gland and the pancreas.
  • Selenium helps to normalise the immune system, thyroid function and protects the body against stress.
  • Ashwagandha:  helps balance the production of testosterone and cortisol. A great supplement for use during the menopause.
  • Astragalus: strengthens the immune and endocrine systems
  • Lemon Balm: replenishes the nervous system and helps regulate the production of insulin
  • Rhodiola:  optimizes adrenal function.

My two essences Calm and Energise contain a combination of many of the above herbs and are worth considering as an easily accessible support.  Have a browse through my shop page for more information on them.

Of course, there are many homeopathic remedies which can be considered too! 

Do get in touch if you’d like my help and support

With Gratitude, Sophie x





3 Things you can do to improve your hay fever symptoms this year

I’ve been amazed by how early people’s hay fever symptoms have started this year, but  perhaps with the lack of winter and the resulting early blossoming of many trees and flowers, that’s a bit naïve of
me! 

The expectation is that this year, we will see pollen levels many times higher than has been recorded
for decades.  Not good news if every spring you expect to be affected by these pesky pollens for 3, 4 or 6 months of the year.

Thankfully,there are a few things you can do to help support your body and lessen the symptoms affecting your eyes, nose and throat.

Just three things can help to alleviate your symptoms, a few vitamins supplements, changes to what you eat and keeping a few Homeopathic remedies or a tincture to hand.

First, consider removing or reducing Histamine forming foods in your diet:

Histamine is produced by the body as a local immune response, and very often we hear of people being given an anti-histamine to reduce the reaction to an allergic response.

Histamine in its natural form is found throughout the body, such as the brain where it plays a role in the sleep wake process and in the stomach.  It is this second area of the body that we can look to support by adjusting our diets to remove Histamine forming foods, thereby lessening the allergic response by allowing your body to focus on removing the allergens from pollen rather than the histamine foods in your stomach.

So, if you look to remove the following foods from your diet, you may notice an improvement in your symptoms:

Alcohol, particularly red wine and champagne. But also white wine and beer.

Smoked and processed meats such as salami, ham and bacon

Certain vegetables: tomato, spinach, avocado,mushrooms and canned vegetables as well as commercially prepared salads

Certain fruits: strawberries, bananas, papayas, kiwi, pineapple, mango, tangerines, grapefruits, prunes,
pears, raspberries

Red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, Soy sauce, Mustard, Ketchup

Cheese

Bread and confectionery made with yeast

Peanuts, cashews, walnuts

Chocolate/cocoa, Coffee, black tea

Ok, so maybe giving up wine for 6 months isn’t likely, what supplements can you add to your daily diet to help…

Wholefood Cherry  rich in vitamins and minerals, in particular vitamin C important for supporting the immune and respiratory system.

Selenium once available from soil, where it is now mostly depleted, Selenium treats inflammation in the body and improves respiratory conditions such as asthma

Vitamin B12  as well as boosting energy levels and mood, B12 also helps to balance the hormone levels
in the body, which can be affected by increased histamine.

Vitamin D3 is another vitamin which supports the body’s immune response which can be  compromised by allergies.

 

And finally some remedies…..

Nat Mur the symptoms of this remedy are of watery discharges from the eyes and nose with lots of sneezing. There may also be a loss of smell and a tickly cough.

Arsenicum, a remedy for symptoms that are burning, usually the eyes and the skin around the nose. 
Symptoms often leave the person feeling restless and exhausted.

Euphrasia also has burning, prickly eyes, with lots of sneezing.  People generally feel worse indoors

Nux Vomica sufferers are very light sensitive, they have blocked noses and itchy inner ears.  This is also a good remedy for migraine type headaches.

My most asked for remedy is my hay fever tincture,
which combines a number of remedies and herbs that are known to support the
respiratory system and reduce hay fever symptoms, drop me an email if you’d
like to learn more.