Quick Reviews: Q & A with Vitamin C

Hello Everyone,
In today’s blog Nutrition Nourishment are reviewing Vitamin C with a quick Q & A for all your health related facts. Want to know what role Vitamin C plays in the body? How much do you need to have in your daily diet? What can Vitamin C do for you??Then continue to read on…

1. How stable is vitamin C?

The stability of ascorbic acid decreases with a rise in temperature and PH. This destruction by oxidation is a serious problem in that a considerable quantity of vitamin C contents is lost during processing, storage and preparation.
Vitamin C content can be affected by season, transport, shelf life, storage time, cooking practices and chlorination of water. Cutting, bruising, heating and exposure to copper, iron or mildly alkaline conditions can destroy ascorbate. It can also be leached into water during cooking.

2. How does dosage affect the absorption of vitamin C?

Transport of vitamin C is a saturable and dose dependent process that occurs by active transport. At the intestine and cells AA is oxidized to DHAA, which is more quickly transported across the cell membrane. Once inside the tissue or intestinal epithelium, the vitamin is reduced back to AA. The degree of intestinal absorption decreases as intake of AA increases. Intakes of 1 to 1.5 grams results in 50% absorption, but at intakes over 12 grams, only 16% of the vitamin is absorbed. In contrast, an intake of less than 20 mg, has a 98% absorption rate. Absorption of vitamin C is greater when several individual doses of vitamin C, in quantities less than one gram, are taken throughout the day rather than one megadose.
A single large dose saturates the enzyme kinetics for vitamin C, leading to excess AA in the intestinal lumen, which causes numerous gastrointestinal problems.

3. List five functions of vitamin C.

Collagen formation
Structure of bone and teeth
Immune System Function
Production of hormones
Mineral absorption and utilisation

4. How does vitamin C affect iron absorption?

The absorption of heme iron is not significantly impacted by other foods, while non-heme iron is strongly influenced by foods that may enhance or inhibit its absorption.
The key role of ascorbic acid for the absorption of dietary non-heme iron is generally accepted. The reasons for its action are twofold: (1) the prevention of the formation of insoluble and un-absorbable iron compounds and (2) the reduction of ferric to ferrous iron, which seems to be a requirement for the uptake of iron into the mucosal cells.

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5. What are the signs / symptoms of scurvy?

Vitamin C deficiency causes scurvy, symptoms include fatigue, pain in extremities, haemorrhages, a decrease in integrity of the blood vessels, oedema, ulcerations, muscle weakness due to defects in collagen metabolism and death. In infantile scurvy, the changes are mainly at the sites of active bone growth and include pseudo paralysis of the limbs. In severe scurvy, haemorrhages may be more severe and include epistaxis, bleeding into joints, periotoneal cavity, pericardial sack and adrenals.
6. Why do smokers have a higher recommended intake of vitamin C?
Smoking causes vitamin C to be used up much more quickly by the body, so smokers need to add an extra 35 milligrams per day to the RDI because of the great stress on their lungs form oxidative damage and toxic by-products of cigarette smoke. Adding an extra piece of fruit to the daily diet would more than cover this extra requirement for vitamin C.

7. How does the RDI for vitamin C compare to the amount required for disease prevention?

Vitamin C is a powerful functional food ingredient with numerous health applications. Proper intake over a lifetime helps to maintain our current health and prevent future ailments. At least 10 mg daily will prevent clinical deficiency and scurvy; but current research suggests 90-500 mg daily for optimal benefits. Much higher doses (many beyond the 2 g UL) are used in the clinical setting, with the greatest blood plasma levels achieved through IV injection. Proper doses for treatment are extremely variable, and depend upon the disease being treated. The risks of high- dose vitamin C supplementation are almost negligible when compared to some current treatments. That being said, extremely high-doses should be administered with caution and treated as a pharmaceutical agent. In regards to disease management, continued clinical and epidemiological research will help to further understand and confirm the positive health effects from vitamin C in the prevention and treatment of numerous conditions. In terms of the general public, studies on the long-term effects of over-the-counter oral supplementation should be focused on, due to increasing awareness of vitamin C benefits. Future studies should also focus on how to safely and effectively implement vitamin C into diets of populations at-risk for deficiency

8. What role does vitamin C play in the prevention of cardiovascular disease?

Disease Treatment
Cardiovascular disease
Vasodilation
The ability of blood vessels to relax or dilate (vasodilation) is compromised in individuals with atherosclerosis. Damage to the heart muscle caused by a heart attack and damage to the brain caused by a stroke are related, in part, to the inability of blood vessels to dilate enough to allow blood flow to the affected areas. The pain of angina pectoris is also related to insufficient dilation of the coronary arteries. Impaired vasodilation has been identified as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Many randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have shown that treatment with vitamin C consistently results in improved vasodilation in individuals with coronary heart disease, as well as those with angina pectoris, congestive heart failure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Improved vasodilation has been demonstrated at an oral dose of 500 mg of vitamin C daily.
Hypertension:
A recent meta-analysis of 29 short-term trials (each trial included 10 to 120 participants) indicated that vitamin C supplementation at a median dose of 500 mg/day for a median duration of eight weeks reduced blood pressure in both healthy, normotensive and hypertensive adults. In normotensive individuals, the pooled changes in systolic and diastolic blood pressure were -3.84 mm Hg and -1.48 mm Hg, respectively; in hypertensive participants, corresponding reductions were -4.85 mm Hg and -1.67 mm Hg. The significance of the blood pressure-lowering effect of vitamin C on CVD risk has not yet been determined. It is important for individuals with significantly elevated blood pressure not to rely on vitamin C supplementation alone to treat their hypertension, but to seek or continue therapy with anti-hypertensive medication and through diet and lifestyle changes in consultation with their health care provider. For information on dietary and lifestyle strategies to control blood pressure.

9. What is the relationship between vitamin C intake and the common cold?

The work of Linus Pauling stimulated public interest in the use of large doses (greater than 1 gram/day) of vitamin C to prevent the common cold. In the past 40 years, numerous placebbo-controlled trials have examined the effect of vitamin C supplementation on the prevention and treatment of colds. A recent meta-analysis of 53 placebo-controlled trials evaluated the effect of vitamin C supplementation on the incidence, duration, or severity of the common cold when taken as a continuous daily supplement (43 trials) or as therapy upon onset of cold symptoms (10 trials). Regarding the incidence of colds, a distinction was observed between two groups of participants: regular supplementation with vitamin C (0.25 to 2 grams/day) did not reduce the incidence of colds in the general population (23 trials); however, in participants undergoing heavy physical stress (e.g., marathon runners, skiers, or soldiers in subarctic conditions), vitamin C supplementation halved the incidence of colds (5 trials; RR: 0.48, 95% CI: 0.35-0.64). A benefit of regular vitamin C supplementation was also seen in the duration of colds, with a greater benefit in children than in adults: the pooled effect of vitamin C supplementation was a 14% reduction in cold duration in children and an 8% reduction in adults. Finally, no significant effect of vitamin C supplementation (1-8 grams/day) was observed in therapeutic trials in which vitamin C was administered after cold symptoms occurred.
As Always,
Healthiest Regards,
Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment.
Further Reading.. 
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Health Fact Sheet: Heartburn (Acid Indigestion)

Hello everyone,

Heartburn, a form of indigestion or reflux, is a feeling of burning pain or discomfort in the chest usually after eating. It typically worsens when you are lying down or bending over. Heartburn that is mild and occasional can be usually managed with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications, which in more serious cases, other treatment may be necessary.

What causes heartburn?

Normally, a ring of muscle at the end of the oesophagus (the tube connecting your mouth to your stomach) relaxes to let food in, and tightens to prevent stomach acid from escaping. However, if the muscle relaxes when it shouldn’t, or is weak, stomach acid is able to rise up into the oesophagus where it causes pain and irritation.

Common triggers for heartburn

Some people experience heartburn regardless of what they eat. Others find they only get it after eating certain foods or large meals. Common triggers for heartburn can include:

  • Large meals

  • Fat or spicy foods

  • Coffee and carbonated beverages

  • Citrus foods

  • Alcohol

  • Chocolate

  • Cigarettes

  • Peppermints

Other common triggers that can increase heartburn are:

  • Being overweight or obese

  • Being pregnant

  • Taking certain medications

Symptoms of Heartburn

A Burning pain or discomfort in the chest aren’t the only symptoms you may experience with heartburn. Others can include:

  • The sensation of pressure or pain just behind your breastbone

  • Felling like food is ‘sticking’ in your chest or stuck in your throat

  • Burping and/or bloating

  • A sour or acid taste in the back of your throat

Some more uncommon symptoms that may occur due to heartburn and require the consultation of a healthcare professional are:

  • Difficulty/painful swallowing

  • Symptoms are interfering with your lifestyle or daily activities

  • The Heartburn symptoms become worse and continue with the use of heartburn medications

  • Persistent Hiccups

  • Heartburn is occurring more than once a week

  • Cold sweats, shortness of breath, feeling light-headedness or dizzy

Symptoms of heartburn occur in a similar area of a heart attack. If you’re unsure whether your suffering from heartburn or are having a heart attack, seek medical attention right away.

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Treatment Options

There are many over-the-counter treatments for heartburn including antacids chews and syrups that neutralise the stomach acid, however your doctor may prescribe you with medication or in rare instances surgery.

Dietary Advice

  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals instead of larger meals

  • Avoid any foods you know trigger heartburn

  • limit or cut back on alcohol

  • Limit fatty or spicy foods

  • Avoid coffee and carbonated beverages

Lifestyle Advice

  • If you are overweight, try losing excess weight to reduce the pressure around your stomach

  • Avoiding lying down soon after a meal

  • Quit smoking

  • Avoid tight fitting clothing

  • Elevate your head when in bed

No alternative medicine therapies have been proven to treat Heartburn, although some people still find complementary and alternative therapies may provide some relief when combined with a doctor’s care. Some ideas may include herbal remedies such as licorice, chamomile, marshmallow and slippery elm. Relaxation therapies to calm stress and anxiety including acupuncture and meditation.

Outlook

While heartburn and indigestion can be distressing, it can be treated effectively whether it’s cutting back on foods, avoiding alcohol, quitting smoking or medications, it’s important to speak to your doctor to confirm the best treatment available for you.

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

Health and Wellness Review: The New News on Probiotics.

Hello everyone,

You may have noticed alot of information and talk about probiotics and the microbiome on Nutrition Nourishment. That’s due to the advanced in medical research and studies providing us with valuable insight into the role of the gut microbiome environment in good health. Unfortunately we don’t know the best strains (and numbers) for health, but we do know they key to good health appears to be hosting a variety of different species of strains for a wide range eco-system. Some key players have been researched and found to possess powerful health fighting resources for our bodies and help manage chronic conditions, however, the research is still quite young. Heres the NEW news on probiotics!!

Probiotics – The Wonder Bugs!

The gut microbiota, which describes the microorganisms living and growing inside your digestive tract, is a hot topic right now! Exciting new research indicates, these microbes have a profound impact on the many aspects of your health and well-being. Taking probiotics (specific strains of beneficial bacteria) can positively influence these microorganisms and lead to improvements, not only in your digestive and immune health but the health of your whole body.

Is Your Gut Out of Balance?

An imbalance in the gut microbiota is linked to numerous health conditions, both within the gut and throughout the body. You may have experienced symptoms such as bloating, wind, abdominal pain and discomfort; signs of poor immunity (e.g. frequent colds and flus); or been plagued by allergies or skin conditions such as eczema. These may arise due to disturbances to the intricate balance of intestinal bacteria.

Many common lifestyle factors including alcohol consumption, medications (e.g. antibiotics), processed foods and stress can disrupt this delicate balance and lead to an increase in undesirable bacteria or deficiencies in beneficial bacteria. This imbalance has been associated with conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), asthma and autoimmune diseases (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis). In these cases, probiotics can help to restore the correct balance of bacteria and ultimately reinstate health. It is more important than ever to support your gastrointestinal microbiota!

How Do Probiotics Work?

Specific probiotic strains help to rebuild the disrupted microbiota and act like policemen within the gut, restoring peace amongst the ‘citizens’ of the microbiota. Probiotics have a regulating effect on both disease-promoting and beneficial bacteria; undesirable bacteria are kept at minimal levels, meanwhile promoting growth of beneficial bacteria. This exciting new news is in contrast to earlier thoughts that probiotics repopulated the gut by directly replacing any bad bugs living there. Instead, probiotics help to restore the numbers and types of beneficial bacteria unique to you; rebuilding a healthy and diverse community of beneficial microbiota, and enabling them to function at their best, so you too can feel your best!

The Correct Strains at the Right Dose

There can be significant variation between probiotic strains. Different strains not only have different actions in your body, but also deliver different health benefits. Additionally, different doses of the same strain can have varying effects in the body. Your Practitioner can tailor your treatment by selecting specific probiotic strains at the right dose to address your individual health concerns. These may include:

  • Bifidobacterium animalis ssp lactis (BB-12®) – This super strain assists in rebuilding the gut microbiota, and helps to rebalance bacteria after a course of antibiotics.
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus (LGG®) – Commonly referred to as LGG®, this probiotic strain helps to regulate immune function, and in doing so may be useful for the treatment of autoimmune conditions, allergies, and eczema.

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Probiotic Protection

Appropriate probiotic storage is of utmost importance to ensure the bacteria remain live, strong and healthy – essentially in a healthy state to restore your healthy state. In nearly all instances, probiotics must be stored at stable temperatures within the fridge to keep them live and active. The only exception is when they are protected by PROTECTAIR™ technology as this has been shown to minimise moisture levels (moisture ‘activates’ probiotics, which you don’t want to happen until they are in your body!). This technology has been developed to allow certain probiotic strains to remain out of the fridge for a set period of time, while still remaining stable and effective, so you get results.

Practitioner Recommended Probiotics Are Best

It is essential to source your probiotics based on the recommendation of a qualified Natural Health Practitioner. This ensures that the formula contains the correct strains at the right dosage and combination to address your specific health needs. A Practitioner prescribed probiotic will provide high strength, therapeutic doses of bacteria that will be beneficial for managing your health. Restore peace and balance amongst the ‘citizens’ of your marvellous microbiota!

As Always,

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment.

Smart Snacking: Bring Some Balance into Your Diet.

Hello everyone,

The most common complaints I have in clinic are people struggling with energy levels, especially in the afternoon. It all comes down to balancing macronutrients during meals, and smart snacking. Finding some quick, easy and affordable snack options to keep energy levels high, blood sugar balanced and hunger at bay is easy with a little inspiration. Protein-rich, nutrient-filled snacks like the ones below can be a great way of bumping up your nutrition intake for the day – and are a delicious excuse to take a break from study and have a little down time. Some other great examples are:

  • Raw almonds/nuts/seeds
  • Dates filled with nut butter
  • Brown rice cakes with almond butter and cinnamon
  • Veggie sticks (carrot, celery) with hummus
  • Green apple smeared with peanut butter

I’d love to hear any of your go-to snack ideas too!

Simple Snacks

Greek Yoghurt, Cinnamon and Nuts

Simple as that. Just add a sprinkle of cinnamon to a few spoonfuls of Greek Yoghurt, top with any nuts or seeds you have (I love buckinis and walnuts!) and enjoy! Add some berries for an extra Vit-C and antioxidant hit! We also have a couple of homemade granola options in the  “breakfast” recipes section on our website.

Here’s a simple example: 

Mix together: 2 C Organic Steel-Cut Oats, 3/4 C Coconut Flakes, 1/2 C Chopped Almonds, 1/2 C Chopped Walnuts, 1 tsp Cinnamon Spice, 1/2 tsp Nutmeg/allspice, ½ tsp cardamon, 2 Tsp Chia Seeds, 4 Tsp organic virgin pressed coconut oil, Melted, 1/2 C Maple Syrup/Rice-Malt Syrup, 1 tsp vanilla. Optional: Dried cranberries/apricots. Pour the granola mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread into an even layer to ensure an even roasting. Bake for 30 minutes or until granola is a nice golden brown, stirring every 10 minutes to ensure an even bake.

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Healthy Sweet Potato Wedges

First things first, preheat your oven to 180°! You want it nice and hot so the wedges go extra crispy. Just cut your sweet potato into chunks, arrange on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper or some cumin if you feel like spicing things up! Place in the oven and 30-35 minutes later you’ll have some perfectly cooked sweet potato wedges.

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Bliss balls

Bliss balls are the best grab-and-go snack – make a batch for yourself today and you’ll be set for the week! These Almond butter and Protein Bliss balls are perfect for regulating your blood sugar levels and providing a healthy boost of good fats! Yum!

Here’s a simple example:

Add to food processor: 2 scoops vanilla protein (any pea/rice, organic variety), 1 tbsp almond butter, 2 tsp maple syrup, 2-3 dates (pitted), 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, 1 tbsp coconut flour, pinch of sea salt, 1/4 cup of water. Process until ingredients start to bind together. Roll into balls and top with extra almond butter and cinnamon.

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Smoothies

Smoothies are another easy snack option. Just blend up some easy-to-find, pantry-staple ingredients and pour into a glass – or jar!

Everyone’s Favourite: 

SUPER CHOC BANANA BERRY SMOOTHIE – SERVES 1

This sweet, chocolatey, berry goodness will make you feel as though your having a cheat day, however your body will thank you for the high intake of nutrients, and antioxidant-rich superfoods. This will aid your body to fight free-radical, remove toxins, detox, and rebuild. 

Ingredients:

1 Frozen Banana

Handful Mixed Berries

2-4 Pitted Medjool Dates

1-2 tsp Cacao Powder

1 tsp Chia seeds

1 tsp Maca Powder

1 tsp Beetroot powder

1 Tsp of Goji Berries

½ Avocado

2C milk of choice (Soy, Almond, Coconut)

Handful Ice

 

Method:

Blend all ingredients together to form a smooth consistency. Enjoy!

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Don’t forget to check out all the recipes available for free on the website for some more delicious inspiration!

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

Osteoporosis: Health Protocols for Long-Term Management

Hello everyone,

Osteoporosis is the result of demineralisation of bone tissue, resulting in the bones becoming fragile and an increase in fracture risk. Osteopenia is the beginning stage of this process. Risk factors include genetics, lifestyle issues (diet, smoking, alcohol, physical activity), hormonal status and certain prescription medicines. Bone remodelling is the process of bone resorption (breakdown) and bone formation. Understanding how this biochemical process works is the key to preventing and reversing osteopenia and osteoporosis.

This disease serves as a classic example of two key concepts – 1) the body doing exactly what it is supposed to do based on the stimuli we give it from the outside world, and 2) Western Medicine asking the wrong question when trying to determine how to treat it. The gold standard test to diagnose and mark progress in treatment of osteopenia and osteoporosis is the DEXA scan, which measures bone density. Other tests that some practitioners will use measure the results of bone breakdown in urine; this test may be more helpful in determining any benefit from treatment quicker than waiting a year or two for results to be evident from a DEXA scan.

The idea that osteopenia and osteoporosis are the sole result of a lack of calcium is likely terribly misguided. There are a host of minerals and nutrients that are required for the body to make bone properly; including magnesium, vitamin D, boron, strontium, vitamin K, and others. Calcium may be the one that you are least likely to be deficient in. But there are two other vital considerations that need to be addressed to properly and permanently treat or reverse bone loss. The first is weight-bearing exercise. It is through stressing the bones by lifting things that tells the body to make those bones stronger and more flexible. This is how you encourage bone building.

The second is how acidic the body is as a result of diet and other lifestyle factors. If the body is too acidic, the only choice is for the body to “borrow” minerals from the bones (a store of minerals) to buffer the excess acid. These three concerns are the reason why we have such a prevalence of loss of bone mass in this country – lack of bone building nutrients, lack of weight-bearing exercise and over-acidifying diets and lifestyles!

Juices-detox

A alkalising diet includes a variety of colours and fresh foods to help balance phase I and Phase II detoxification pathways in the body. Aiding to eliminate toxins form the body. In turn, reducing inflammation and providing nutrients for bone remodelling. 

Diet

The diet is one of the keys to preventing and treating decreased bone density… and it isn’t just about getting the minerals from the diet; it is also about how acidifying a person’s diet is, and making adjustments if necessary. Even though I feel that we should strive to get as many minerals and nutrients that we can from our diet, I think that most people with bone density concerns will need to supplement with a proper bone mineral formula. Of course, eating as many fresh fruits and vegetables is always a good idea, especially for someone with osteopenia or osteoporosis. Green leafy vegetables, in particular, offer minerals and vitamin K.

The reason for this is two-fold. You will get vitamins and minerals from those foods – but more importantly, you will be helping to alkalinise your system with those fruits and vegetables. And this is the part that is often missed or not respected enough when it comes to preventing and treating bone density problems. When the body is too acidic, it must steal minerals from the bones to buffer things.

These are the foods that will acidify your body…

  • Animal proteins
  • Grains
  • Sugar, including artificial sweetners
  • Sodas
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine

Foods that alkalinise your body are…

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • whole grains

It is interesting to note that the “nature” of a particular food does not necessarily translate into the effect that it will have on your acid/base balance. An example of this is pineapple, which is very acidic, but one of the more alkalising foods for your body. The general rule of thumb is that all fruits and vegetables are alkalinising.

This does not mean that you have to be a vegetarian to fight bone density loss – but it does mean that you have to properly balance the acidifying foods with enough alkalinising foods to create the environment where you are not stealing minerals from your bones.

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Lifestyle

Lifestyle considerations, other than diet, are key to prevention and treatment of bone loss.

Weight-bearing exercise is vital! It is through the process of “stressing” the bones by lifting things that instructs the body to make those bones stronger and more flexible. And studies have shown that weight lifting that targets specific areas do help those areas more. With osteopenia and osteoporosis, we are mostly concerned about the hips and the spine. So, doing weight lifting that targets those areas will net the most useful gains. If you are new to the practice of lifting weights, I recommend that you work with a certified trainer to help make sure that you use good technique so you don’t risk injury.

I know this seems obvious these days, and this really shouldn’t have to be mentioned… smoking is probably the single most harmful habit that you can have that negatively affects every single aspect of the body and it’s function – and it is also true with osteoporosis. Please, if you smoke, put all of your efforts and resources into quitting… then you can work on other things.

Alcohol is also a factor in two ways. It is very acidifying to the system; thus causing the need to steal minerals from the bones. It is also a factor in leading to falls, which can lead to fractures in someone with lower bone density.

Stress can also be a factor. When under stress the body uses progesterone to make cortisol, the hormone of stress. This can then lead to hormonal imbalances that can affect bone density. Progesterone is the hormone that encourages bone building. Low progesterone levels can cause a shift in the balance of bone remodelling towards the breakdown of bone.

There are certain prescription and over-the-counter medicines that can affect bone density. The whole class of drugs that decrease stomach acid (antacids, H-2 inhibitors, Proton-pump inhibitors) make it harder to absorb minerals like calcium. Also, steroids like prednisone are known to contribute to decreased bone density. People on these medicines need to be extra vigilant with the diets, exercise regimens and bone mineral supplements.

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Nutrition nourishment is all about health and wellbeing in a holistic lifestyle approach. We advocate Integrative medicine

Key Nutrients

Calcium: Essential role in bone mineralisation.

Glucosamine: Inhibits inflammatory cytokines.

Vitamin C: Required both structurally and functionally in the management of oestoarthritis. Essential role in the synthesis of collagen, acts as an antioxidant, protecting against effects of oxidative damage.

EFAs: Essential fatty acids. Reduce excessive prostagladins in the body, which are involved in inflammatory processes in the body.

Chondroitin: inhibits inflammatory cytokines and increases bone mineralisation and repair.

Vitamin D: May help prevent against cartilage loss, maintains bone formation.

Zinc: Helps maintain connective tissues and offers antioxidant protection in synovial fluid to prevent joint damages.

Vitamin E: Antioxidant, protects against oxidative damage.

*Disclaimer: This article should be used as a reference guide ONLY. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you experience any symptoms of pain.  Never self-diagnose as it can be dangerous, causing unwanted side effects and possibly cause chronic conditions. 

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment.

 

Hemp: The Ancient Super Plant

Hi everyone,

I’ve had quite a number of enquiries regarding hemp products of late, and with the recent proposal for low-THC hemp food products to be sold in Australia being approved by ministers in April, we can expect to see hemp food products filling up our shelves over the next six months. Industrial hemp, unlike marijuana, has extremely low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical component that causes psychoactive effects such as hallucinations. Cultivation of hemp for industrial purposes has been done by many civilisations for over 12,000 years, with such uses as rope, canvas, paper, and clothing. It has also been used in Chinese medicine for over 3,000 years.

Genetic Difference between hemp and Marijuana

A recent publication of a new study shows the genetic difference between hemp and marijuana. (1) After more than 12 years of research, the team found a single gene responsible for the genetic differences between hemp and marijuana as noted:

While hemp produces a non-euphoric cannabidiol (CBD) with approximately 0.3 to 1.5 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration, marijuana is packed with between five to ten percent (or even higher) psychoactive THC concentration.”

The researcher believe they have ‘indisputable evidence’ that hemp and marijuana should be regarded as separate plants.

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Botanical Name: Cannabis Saliva

Hemp seeds, or hemp hearts, are rich in healthy fats, minerals and is classed as a complete protein (this means it contains all 9 essential amino acids). Hemp seeds are usually consumed after the hard outer shell is removed, leaving just the soft, creamy ‘heart’ behind. The seeds have a slight nutty flavour, making them incredibly versatile for use in cooking, baking, for adding to smoothies and salads.

Health benefits of Hemp Seeds

  1. Excellent source of Nutrition

Hemp seeds are composed of more than 30 precent healthy fats in balanced ratio of Omega 3 & 6, Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), antioxidants, amino acids (25% protein), fiber, iron, zinc, carotene, phospholipids, phytosterols, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin D, vitamin E, chlorophyll, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, copper, potassium, phosphorus, and enzymes. Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is a necessary building block for some prostaglandins; Hormone-like chemical in the body that help smooth muscles, control inflammation, body temperature, aid in healthy growth of cells, nerves, muscles and organs throughout the body.

*GLA may be beneficial for PMS and menopausal Symptoms

GLA in hemp seeds produces prostaglandin E1, which reduces the effects of the hormone prolactin. Prolactin is thought to play a role in the physical and emotional symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). GLA in hemp seeds may also help reduce the symptoms of menopause. (2)

Essential fatty acids in Hemp Seeds:

The oil contained in the hemp seed is 75-80% polyunsaturated fatty acids (considered ‘good’ fats) and only 9-11% of the lesser desired saturated fatty acids. Hemp seed oil is reputed to be the most unsaturated oil derived from the plant kingdom. EFAs are involved with producing life’s energy throughout the human body and without them, life is not possible. Fatty acids are utilised in the body to synthesis hormones, aid in tissue repair, provide energy ‘fuel’ and assist in neurotransmitter activity. 60% of the brain is actually fat!

  1. Heart health

Hemp seeds contain a perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega-6 Linoleic Acid and Omega-3 Linolenic Acid – for cardiovascular health and general strengthening of the immune system. In these numerous health-healthy compounds, including the amino acid arginine. L-arginine is a precursor to nitric oxide in the body. It has been shown to enhance blood flow and help the body maintain optimal blood pressure. Nitric oxide signals the smooth muscles cells in the blood vessels to relax, so that vessels dilate and the blood flows more freely.

This help the arteries stay free of plaque; and when the body has inadequate nitric oxide, the risk of coronary artery disease increases. The GLA found in hemp is an anti-inflammatory, and may assist in reducing risk factors associated with heart disease such as blood pressure, blood clots and an increase in recovery after a heart attack.

  1. Skin Health

Fatty acid deficiency can manifest in a variety of ways, but skin problems such as eczema, thick patches of skin, and cracked heels are common associations. Hemp seeds are a rich source of fatty acids in optimal omega 6 to omega 3 ratio. Research suggests hempseed oil may improve symptoms of atopic dermatitis, and potentially provide relief from eczema. (3)

  1. Plant based-protein

If you are following a plant-based diet, hemp makes a healthy source of complete protein. With all essential amino acids and an amount of protein similar to beef (by weight), hemp seeds are an excellent option. Two-three tablespoons of hemp seeds provides about 11g of protein, complete with amino acids lysine, methionine, and cysteine. Two main proteins in hemp seeds, albumin and edestin, which is comparable to soy and egg whites. Hemp’s edestin content is among the highest of all plants. It is also easy to digest because of its lack of oligosaccharides and trypsin inhibitors, which can affect protein absorption.

  1. Digestion

Whole hemp seeds contain both soluble and insoluble fibre, which may support digestive health. Soluble fibre dissolves into a gel-like texture, helping to slow down digestion; this helps you feel full for longer and is one reason why fibre may help with weight management. Insoluble fibre does not dissolve, and helps to add bulk to the stools. This helps food move through the digestive tract more quickly for healthy elimination.

Fibre plays an essential role in digestive, heart, and skin health and may improve blood sugar control, weight management, and reduce risk of colon cancer. However, de-hulled or shelled hemp seeds (also known as hemp hearts) contain very little fibre, as the major of fibre content is in the shell.

Final thoughts

The use of hemp for food and medicine may be as old as the human race itself. Recent interest in the seed arises from the awareness of the nutritional need for omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids, as well as the need for cheap sources of protein to feed a burgeoning population in Asia and the developing world. In addition to its nutritional value, hemp seed has demonstrated positive health benefits, including the lowering of cholesterol and high blood pressure.

With news of hemp seed products being approved for sale in Australia, companies will no doubt be developing hemp and hemp-like products in processing techniques have been the start of such seemingly remarkable foods as a hemp seed tofu and a low fat cheese substitute that even melts and stretches like real cheese. I don’t like overly promote processed foods, so if we were to start adding in hemp, it would be in the form of hemp seeds, pure and simple. I also don’t think that hemp should replace other animal/vegetarian protein sources-but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t have a place in your diet. Just as soy products had become a marketing promotion for ‘healthier’ alternatives, Hemp soon will too; and with all processed food products moderation is key.

Healthiest Regards

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment.

Hemp Scientific Research

  1. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/nph.13562/full
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21069097
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16019622

Renew Health and Vitality: Your guide to Detox

Hello everyone,

In today’s blog Nutrition Nourishment is discussing the detoxification process and natural ways to help assist your body’s detoxing organs do their jobs more efficiently. Detoxing is an individualised approach; it can be small changes to the diet and lifestyle such as giving up smoking and alcohol for a month, or more extreme in the ways of an elimination diet and lifestyle overhaul. It’s important to remember that if chose to do a detoxification program, it must be under guidance of a qualified health professional. This will ensure individual compliance, and help reduce the likeihood of unwanted side effects, while the body is being re-programmed.

Firstly, well take a look at why it is important to detox, and then some diet and lifestyle changes that help aid in the detoxification processes within the body. Below are safety precautions and a list of possible side effects if you do choose to do a full detoxification program, however, even by making some small changes to your diet, such as introducing more fruits and vegetables and increasing water, can help aid detoxification twofold!

Why Detox?

Detoxification is a natural metabolic process whereby the environmental and dietary toxins our body is exposed to are chemically changed into less harmful substances, and subsequently excreted from the body. Supporting detoxification is a cornerstone of Naturopathic Medicine, and aims to address dietary and lifestyle factors to reduce the burden placed on your detoxification system, while simultaneously supporting the capacity of your key detoxing organs. The four key therapeutic goals of the detox program are to reduce dietary toxins, improve detox capacity, neutralise free radicals and eliminate waste products. The ultimate goal in detoxification is to follow a protocol that is safe and effective, and enables optimal health.

Our bodies are designed to be able to process and remove toxins through elimination channels including our digestive system, liver and kidneys. Individual variation may alter how toxins are affecting the body’s health. This can be due to:

  • Toxin Burden: This represents the level of exposure to various toxins and may include dietary allergens such as gluten, food additives and preservatives. Occupational, environmental or lifestyle related toxins including cigarette smoking, or exposure to hazardous chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides, cleaning agents, or some chemicals used within cosmetics can all add to your toxic burden. Toxins can also be created internally as part of normal, healthy metabolic processes or by bacteria in the digestive tract or recirculation of waste from the bowel.
  • Toxin resistance: This describes the ability to process and eliminate toxins effectively and refers to the impact they may be having on your health. In the modern world, it is less common for health issues to arise as a result of the additive effects of low-levels exposure to a broad range of dietary and environmental toxins.

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The Detox Diet

  • Plant-based. Encourages liberal amounts of fresh vegetables, fruits and spices, legumes, nuts and seeds and moderate amounts of whole grains. Organic where possible to reduce carcinogens, pesticide and herbicide exposure.
  • Low-saturated Fats: Diets that are high in sat fat have been found to encourage the circulation of components of harmful bacteria from the digestive system into the blood stream, which contributes to toxic burden.
  • Whole food: Eliminates refined, processed or packaged foods that tend to be high in various chemicals such as additives, preservatives,and artificial sweeteners/flavours These foods also tend to be high in kjs and low in essential nutrients. High intakes of refined carbohydrates can also negatively impact the balance of digestive flora.
  • Eliminate gluten and dairy: Two of the most common allergens that are inflammatory to the body, and increasing production of potentially harmful free radicals.
  • Hydration: All the body’s metabolic functions depend on water, including effective detoxification. Consuming 2-3 litres of water daily assists the kidneys to remove wastes through this important eliminatory channel. A good rule of thumb is that if your urine is not a light straw- almost clear in colour, you need to drink more.

Lifestyle considerations

  • Exercise: Regular exercise is a great way to assist with detoxification, promoting circulation of blood and lymph throughout the body and makes you feel good. This enhances elimination of waste products and the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to organs and muscles. The lymphatic system relies on movement of muscles during exercise to pump internal waste from the body.
  • Water: Aim for 2-3 litres/day. Add some interest to your water by adding a little lemon, ginger, mint or berries for a cool treat. Ensure you carry a bottle with you at all times and sip throughout the day.
  • Sleep and Rest: the body uses sleep as an opportunity to heal and rejuvenate. 7-9 hours of goof quality sleep each night will complement the detoxification system. Sleeping environment can have an impact on your sleep quality. Ensure your bedroom is dark, well ventilated and set at a comfortable temperature. Keep a regular bedtime, turn off the television and electronic devices 1 hours prior, to allow your body time to wind down and prepare for a restorative nights sleep.
  • Stress: It’s impossible to avoid stress in our lives, but we can change how we response to stress. Stress management may mean making a lot of changes, but these changes are positive contributors to detoxification, not to meant general health. Negative energy, emotions and reactions often influence our health more profoundly than we realise. Choosing to be positive and focused represents the opportunity to detoxify your life from negativity. Find positive affirmation or quotes that inspire you to fight off negative thoughts and make healthy food choices, especially when your at the fridge door.
  • Dry Skin Brushing: Your skin is a major organs of elimination and as dead skin cells accumulate, then reduce the skin’s ability to detoxify effectively. Before you shower, spend 5-10 minutes with a firm-bristled brush or loofah and scrub the skins of the arms, legs and back quite briskly; brushing in a upwards motion form the wrist to shoulder. Ankle to hip and down the back. Your skin may be slightly red and tingly when you are finished.

Safety:

Caution in pregnancy. Detoxification programs should never been attempted during pregnancy. If you fall pregnant while doing a detox program, you should stop immediately and contact your support practitioner. If you are planning to conceive, it is however, a good idea for both partners to detoxify before the pregnancy. Eggs and sperm take three to four months to develop, so you should aim to have completed a detox program at least four months prior to conception.

Many prescription medications can be affected by the detoxification process. It is not uncommon to alter dosages of medications during and after detoxification, and all medications should be taken in separate doses from detoxification supplements. If you are on a variety of medications, it’s important to let your practitioner know, so they can provide safe recommendations on how to proceed.

Side effects: Occasionally people may experience adverse symptoms during a detoxification program due to the breakdown of toxins, and increased elimination. Side effects may include nausea, changes to bowel function, headaches and fatigue. Generally these are short-term and will self-limiting. Contact support if there are sever or last more than a few days. Never begin a new exercise routine during a detox, always wait until finished due to these effects. Gentle exercise is recommended.

A detoxification program can help you feel fresher, and healthier after completion. To continue on your path to long-term health and vitality, it’s important to consider adapting some changes to our everyday diet and lifestyle. As noted above. Optimal health is about achieving balance in all areas of your life to stay healthy and active for as long as possible.

And as Always,

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment.

Love your guts: Solutions for Optimal Digestive health and Function

Hello everyone,

Gut health has become hot topic in the media of late, but in traditional Naturopathic Philosophy it is a core essential for optimal health. Not surprising then, that management of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) is a key step in managing almost all other body systems. The gut is a complex machine and dysfunctions can have profound influence over other body systems. As a result of this complexity, managing digestive disorders isn’t always a simple process, and there are many other contributing factors that can lead to GIT dysfunction.

Within the digestive system there are six main areas that we can influence based on the Naturopathic principles. These areas must be functioning optimally in order to maintain health and wellbeing. These are viewed below:

Diet

The food we consume provides the body with energy and nutrients requires for metabolic pathways, but also has a strong influence on digestive health. For example, a diet high in refined carbohydrates and saturated fats may result in dysbiosis (imbalance) of the gut.

It’s important to make food choices that help to support and nourish the digestion including fruits, vegetables, fibre, good quality proteins, fatty fish, nuts, seeds and wholegrains. Some individuals with food intolerances/sensitivities may benefit from elimination diets, and FODMAPS, however, these diet should be a short-term option.

Enzymes

Most food consumed contains nutrient complexes that are too large for the body’s cells to utilise. In a healthy system, digestive organs secrete acids and enzymes that break down nutrients to make them small enough for the cells to metabolise. When digestive secretions are reduced due to an imbalanced system, nutrient absorption is also compromised and may need prescribed digestive enzymes to function properly.

Bacteria

As more research continues into the world of the human micrbiome, our understanding of the importance of the balance of microflora in the GIT is increasing. Microbial imbalances can refer to pathological bacteria being present in the gut but also inadequate levels of beneficial bacteria, both of which can result in unfavourable ‘terrain’. this can have detrimental impact in the gut and on many other body systems, particularly immunity. This balance can be restored through the use of anti-microbials, good quality probiotics and diet/lifestyle corrections. The foundation of Naturopathic medicine.

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Barrier

There are three main lines of defence in preventing bacteria from penetrating the gut barrier. First line, immunoglobulin A (IgA);which binds bacteria and therefore, keep those bacteria in the digestive tract where they can do less damage.

Second Line of defence is mucous. This is a physical barrier between the gut lumen and the epithelium which prevent bacterial adherence to epithelial cells. Nutrients such as glutamine, zinc, vitamin A, fibre, turmeric and Aloe Vera increase levels of IgA and improve mucosal integrity.

The third line of defence against bacteria in the GIT is the epithelial cells. These cells have selective permeability designed to exclude detrimental particles and absorb beneficial items such as nutrients from food. In sub-optimal digestion, the tight junctions between these cells can open, causing leaky gut. This allows foreign particles to penetrate the gut barrier.

Immune

Did you know 70% of immunity is in your gut?

Immune balance is influenced by the gut microbiome, and in turn, gut microbiome is influenced by immune balance. Immune-driven inflammation in the gut can lead to barrier dysfunction, so it’s important to address immunity when considering gut health.

The immune system can be treated with individual specific immune protocol and the gut microbiome can be brought back into balance. Probiotics, zinc, vitamin C and glutamine all assist in maintaining the health of immune cells, and balance of the microbiome environment.

Enteric Nervous System

Have you heard the commonly held belief that the body’s second brain is the gut? This is referred to by the enteric nervous system (ENS) and its role in digestive health. The ENS regulates the behaviour of the GIT including motility and gastrointestinal secretions. managing stress an supporting the nervous system can have a massive impact on the gastrointestinal system. This can be particularly apparent in individuals with medically diagnosed irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

And remember you are more microbiome than you are you. Feed them before they feed on you. Support your system with a balanced, whole food diet, learnt to manage stress, exercise, particularly outdoors and spend time tuning into your spiritual side. This is all part of loving your self and loving your guts!

Healthiest regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment.

Healing Herb of the Week: Cinnamon

Hello everyone,

In Today’s blog, I’m continuing on with the Healing herbs fact sheets with information regarding a delicious and versatile spice, Cinnamon; which has long been used as both a food product, and for medicinal purposes since ancient Egyptian Times. It was used for purposes such as flavourings for beverages, and in combination with other spices for embalming. Ancient Chinese books mention its use as a medicinal agent dating back to 2,7000BC. Due to its high demand, discovering lands where it grew were noted as a primary motive for voyages in the 15th/16th Century. In Ayurvedic medicine within China, Korea and Russia, Cinnamon is considered warming to the internal organs and used for energy, circulation and vitality.

Did you know? Cinnamon is loaded with antioxidants that protect the body from Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), or commonly referred to as free radicals within the body. Studies have found when comparing cinnamon’s antioxidant activity to 26 other spices, cinnamon was a clean winner, outranking even “superfoods” like garlic and oregano. I is so powerful that it has been used a natural food preservative for thousands of years. 

 

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Botanical Name: Cinnamonum Cassi and Ceylon Cinnamon.

Active Constituents: Essential Oil (High in cinnamaldehyde), Coumarin, Oxygenated diterperies, Proanthocyanidins.

The Cinnamaldehyde constituent (found in the EO component) is attributedwith producing most of the herbs biological effects.

Parts Used: Stem Bark

Main Actions: Anti-diabetic, Anti-inflammatory, Aromatic, Spasmolytic, Anti-microbial, Anti-bacterial, and carmitive.

Anti-Bacterial/Anti-Fungal: Helps fight bacteria and fungi including Helicobactor Pylori, Salmonella, E. Coli, Listeria and Candida, particularly within the respiratory tract, and digestive tract.

Anti-Inflammatory: Inflammtion is an incredibly important biological function in the body, however, in modern society our bodies are in a constant state of inflammation whereby the body is directing it against its own tissues, which has resulted the majority of chronic conditions including heart disease, arthritis, dysbiosis and cancers. Cinnamon can help the body fight infections and repair tissue damage caused by inflammation, which in turn may help reduce risk of inflammatory diseases.

Hypoglycaemic Activity: The water soluble polyphenolic compound called methylhydroxychalone polymer (MHCP) extracted, potentiates insulin activity by activating the key enzymes that stimulate insulin receptors while inhibiting the enzymes that deactivated them. Just a tsp (4g) daily can have significant benefits, particularly for those suffering from diabetes, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.

Hyperlipidaemic: Cinnamon has been linked with reduced risk of heart disease, which is in fact the world’s most common cause of premature death. Scientifically proven to help reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol within the blood stream, helping to reduce the risk of cardiovascular conditions. (1) More recently, big review studies have concluded that a cinnamon dose of 120mg/day can have these effects. (2) Animal studies have shown a reduction in blood pressure, which together drastically cut the risk of developing heart disease. (3)

Anti-emetic: Cinnamon can help to reduce nausea and may be as effect as anti-emertic drugs, without the side effects.

Carmitive: Calming effect on the stomach, ability to relax smooth muscle and reduce cramping. Helps to expel gas, which may be beneficial for flatulence and mild spasms in the digestive system.

Clinical Uses: In practice, varies medical practitioners can therapeutically use cinnamon for insulin diseases such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance, along with improving LDL/HDL ratio in cardiovascular conditions.

Neurodegenerative disease: Diseases that are characterised by progressive loss of the structure or function in brain cells. Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson disease are two of the worlds most common types of neurodegenerative diseases. Two compounds found in cinnamon appear to inhibit the buildup of a protein called tau in the brain, which is one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s Disease. (4) In a study looking at mice with parkinson’s disease, cinnamon helped to protect neurons, normalise neurotransmitter levels and improve motor function. (5) Although exciting news, these effects need to be further studied in human trials.

Cancer: Cinnamon has been widely studied for its potential use in cancer prevention and treatment therapies. Overall, the evidence is limited to test tube experiments and animal studies, however they do suggest that cinnamon extracts may protect cells against cancer. (6) A study in mice with colon cancer revealed cinnamon to be a potent activator of detoxifying enzymes in the colon, protecting against further cancer growth. (7) These findings have been supported by test tube experiment, which showed that cinnamon activates protective antioxidant responses in human colon cells.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): A condition that is characterised by insulin resistance, where insulin looses its effectiveness on the cells and glucose remains in the blood at high levels causing problems/imbalances in the body. Cinnamon may be beneficial for people suffering PCOS with scientific research finding cinnamon results in significant reduction in fasting glucose, as well as insulin resistance testing, with fasting glucose levels dropping by 17%. Cinnamon also helps to increase blood flow and protect female reproductive hormones from oxidative damage/stressors.

Indications: Cold, flu, diabetes, colic, dyspepsia, nausea, anorexia, diarrhoea, digestive weakness.

Caution: Pregnancy, gastro-oesophageal reflux (GORD), patients on anti-diabetic drugs. Needs to be taken away from mineral supplements, thiamine and alkaloids.

Dosage: 1.5-4g up to four times daily is considered safe.

My Final Thoughts:

Cinnamon is an incredible healing herb that, when used in as a food source, is unlikely to induce any unwanted side-effects. Cinnamon is considered one of the healthiest (and most delicious) spices on the planet. It can make a great compliment to fresh juices, curries, herbal teas, stir-frys and stews. It is loaded with nutrients and bioactive compounds that have powerful benefits for your body and brain.

Please be advised, if you are thinking of taking a cinnamon containing supplement, to first speak to a medical professional. As a whole food nutritionist, I would always advise adding these healing herbs to your daily diet to get the optimal benefit it can offer.

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

Reference Studies:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14633804
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24019277
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4003790/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19433898
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24946862
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3105590/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18260732

Hypoglycaemia: Manage Low Blood Sugar Naturally

  • Hello everyone,

    Hypoglycaemia is a condition characterized by low blood sugar, usually happening 3 to 5 hours after a meal. Typical symptoms may include; headache, mood changes, irritability, nervousness, excessive sweating, mental confusion, and blurred vision.

    There can be a few different causes, but far and away the most common cause is from the over-stressing of the normal control mechanisms of glucose storage and release in the body. This happens for 2 main reasons – consistently eating foods that raise blood sugar too quickly alternating with periods of not eating and the biochemical result of chronic stress.

    It is also important to note that hypoglycemia, although seemingly the opposite of diabetes, is a precursor to diabetes, and as such, needs to be seen as a serious potential health risk, as opposed to just an inconvenience.

    There are numerous diagnostic tests that may be used to identify hypoglycaemia, however, the easiest and maybe most accurate way is through a simple questionnaire or a comprehensive consultation with a accredited practitioner. It must be understood that every one of these “symptoms” can occur for other reasons, so other causes should be ruled out before assuming that hypoglycemia is the issue. And yet, when most of these symptoms are present, there is a strong likelihood that blood sugar control is a root cause.

    Because blood sugar is the only source of energy that the brain can use (as opposed to the rest of the body being able to break down muscle for an energy source if needed), low blood sugar can result in all manner of brain dysfunction issues, including confusion, aggression, anxiety, depression, etc. Additionally, chronic headaches, attention issues and even PMS symptoms may all be linked to hypoglycemia. Blood sugar regulation problems should be evaluated and considered much more than it does in medicine today.

    Diet and other lifestyle factors are usually the cause of hypoglycemia. This fact gives us the means to make this problem go away without medical intervention.

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Diet 

Understanding the mechanics of blood sugar management in the body and which foods cause rapid increases in blood sugar are the foundations needed to reverse hypoglycaemia.

  • When blood sugar rises quickly, the body responds by equally quickly releasing insulin to “do something” with that sugar. Instantly raised sugar levels is an indication to the body that sugar will keep coming, and the result is actually an over-production of insulin. The result is actually an “over-clearing” of sugar from the blood. Remember that the brain can only use blood sugar as fuel, so when this happens it is brain function that suffers – thus the hypoglycemia symptoms. Another result of this cascade of chemical events is that the body is instructed to go out and eat more sugar.

    The glycemic index (GI) of a food is a measure of the property of how quickly it causes blood sugar to rise. The higher the GI is, the worse it is for blood sugar control. There is another index used to better measure the effect of a serving of a food – glycemic load (GL). This takes into account the “density” of particular foods and how a serving would affect blood sugar. Keeping the foods under a GL of 15 would be tremendously helpful for helping to control hypoglycemia. For instance, even though the GI of watermelon is 72 (pretty high) the GL of watermelon is only 4. So a serving of watermelon is actually fine. Of course, eating an entire watermelon would be a problem.

    The fiber content of food is also very important in controlling rapid rises in blood sugar for 3 reasons. First, it slows down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, thereby preventing rapid rises in blood sugar. Second, it increases cell sensitivity to insulin, thereby preventing the excessive secretion of insulin. And third, fiber improves the uptake of glucose by the liver and other tissues, thereby preventing a sustained elevation of blood sugar. This is why most processed and refined carbohydrates (bread, pasta, cereal, most grains) are bad for hypoglycemia; processing = removed or poor fiber.

    The best diet strategy for the hypoglycemic is to replace processed and refined carbohydrates in the diet with more fresh fruits, vegetables and quality proteins. Furthermore, the person suffering with hypoglycemia should never, ever go more than 3 hours without eating something. In between meals, a handful of nuts, a low GI protein bar, or a piece of whole fruit will all work well to keep to eating something every 2-3 hours.

Lifestyle

The biggest lifestyle consideration, other than diet, is consistent exercise. Exercise actually helps to: blood sugar by enhancing insulin sensitivity. The best way to go is to dedicate half of whatever time to have for exercise to building muscle and the other half to some sort of aerobic activity. And the aerobic part should be interval training.

Alcohol consumption also needs to be curtailed for the hypoglycemic. Alcohol induces reactive hypoglycemia by interfering with normal glucose utilisation  as well as increasing the secretion of insulin.

Supplements

B Vitamins: I alway recommend taking an activated vitamin B complex, as they all work synergistically together for many important biological pathways in the body. They aid in energy production and metabolism, cognitive function, mood, and cellular communications.

L-Carnitine: An amino acid that mobilises fatty acids into the mitochondria for ATP production. (Energy production of the cell).

Iodine: An essential component for thyroid hormones and production of T3 and T4 hormones within the blood stream

CoEnzyme Q10: Found in virtually every cell in the body and plays a vital role in energy-dependant processes.

*Disclaimer: This article should be used as a reference guide ONLY. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you experience any symptoms of the hypoglycaemia  Never self-diagnose as it can be dangerous, causing unwanted side effects and possibly cause chronic conditions. 

Healthiest Regards

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment