Health through pregnancy

Dear readers

Getting pregnant takes two. And if your are trying to have a baby, it is important that both man and woman are healthy. So men don’t turn me off just yet thank you.

Fertility specialist say that when you plan to have a baby, you can start improving your health for 3 months before trying. It can be achieved by making positive changes to your lifestyle to limit stress, by being more careful to eat naturally nutrient rich food (fresh and processed as little as possible), by supplementing your diet with extra vitamins and minerals when necessary.

Then, when you have achieved these improvements and put the best chances on your side, do not let the fact that it may not work first time stress you. As a couple, although these times can be emotionally difficult, the intimacy is still precious. Try relax and enjoy it (no amount of pressure will help).

And when you have settled in your improving routine, there is no reason to stop. Feeling healthier and more energetic is a good thing to get used to so keep it up. When you do get pregnant, you can continue with it; but although it will be sufficient for dad to be, mum to be will have to review or increase her diet. No fear, baby will help him/herself  to develop and grow (unless diet is poor and unbalanced but it should have be helped by the above improvement), therefore leave mum lacking. Any lack or deficiency can cause a variety of issues including morning sickness,  fatigue, anaemia…. All are so common it is now considered normal to suffer them in pregnancy; it isn’t normal and doesn’t have to be endured.

In the same way, you can adjust your diet and supplements to prepare for labour and after baby is born to get your strength back and more to breastfeed and enjoy baby day (and night). And all this time, dad to be has kept his healthy diet going so he is still feeling good and even better so he (now dad) can help.

Through all the different stages, nutrition and/or herbalism can help and support you in your efforts to be healthy physically and emotionally. I will be happy to help you at any point before (fertility enhancement/treatment), during or after pregnancy.

 

Advertisements

Pre-Menstrual Syndrome or Tension (PMS or PMT)

PMS is the term used to describe a cluster of symptoms commonly experienced by women in the week leading up to menstruation.

Not every woman suffers from PMS but for those who do there seems to be no escape from its cyclical regularity. I’m talking about physical symptoms such as bloating, tiredness, swollen and tender breasts and headaches, lower back pain, abdominal cramps, water retention. These range from uncomfortable to extremely unpleasant.

For others, however, there are also emotional symptoms such as irritability, mood swings, anxiety, anger or violent outbursts, depression and even thoughts of suicide that the sufferer is unable to control, making her withdrawn and antisocial.

PMS questionnaire :

– Are your periods irregular?

– Do you crave chocolate before a period?

– Are you irritable, intolerant, or anxious prior to menstruation?

– Do you suffer from weight gain or water retention each month?

– Do you experience premenstrual cramps?

There are three main causes :

Glucose intolerance marked by a craving for sweet food and stimulants.

Oestrogen dominance and relative progesterone deficiency. These hormones control the monthly cycle and their changing levels affects women in as many ways as there are various symptoms.

Deficiency in essential fatty acids and vitamin B6, zinc and magnesium, which together create prostaglandins, which help to balance hormone levels.

Vitamin B6 is essential for all protein utilisation and it has been proved helpful in many conditions from PMS to carpal tunnel syndrome (strain condition affecting nerves in the wrist) and cardiovascular disease.

Magnesium is essential for many enzymes in the body. It works together with Vitamins B1 and B6, being involved in protein synthesis and therefore essential in the production of some hormones including prostaglandin of which higher level has beneficial effects on PMS.

Essential fatty acids are converted into prostaglandins with the help of Vitamins B3, B6, C and Biotin and minerals Magnesium and Zinc. So deficiency in any of these nutrients can also create the equivalent of hormonal imbalances.

Oestrogen dominance can be due to excess exposure to oestrogen substances, or lack of progesterone or a combination of both. But to help make sure it is not the earlier, it may be wise to eat less or avoid red meat and dairy products. Also, many pesticides, soft plastics used for wrapping and most birth control pill and HRT contain oestrogen and can participate in building up your oestrogen level and therefore making your PMS worse.

PMS symptoms can be eased by making changes to your diet and studies suggest that a diet high in carbohydrates and low in fat is helpful. Eat little and often before menstruation, snaking on fruit but avoiding sugary treats and stimulants (coffee, tea, chocolate). Ensure that your daily diet includes 1 tablespoon of cold press vegetable oil rich in both Omega3 and Omega6 fatty acids (or supplement with cod liver oil capsules).

Good eating habits coupled with supplements can often relieve symptoms of PMS all together. So to help keep your hormones in balance :

  • keep animal fats very low in your diet.
  • choose organic vegetables and meat wherever possible to reduce pesticide and hormone exposure.
  • Don’t eat fatty foods wrapped in non-PVC cling film.
  • Reduce the use of stimulants such as coffee, tea, chocolate, sugar and cigarette. If you are addicted to any of these you will need to break the habit.
  • Do not let stress become a habit in your life. Make changes to your lifestyle to limit stress and the way you react to it.
  • Make sure you are getting enough essential fats from seeds, their oils or supplements of primrose or borage oil (omega 6) or flax oil (omega 3).
  • make sure your supplement programme includes optimal levels of vitamins B3 and B6, biotin, magnesium and zinc.

Helpful foods :

Spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables for magnesium and vitamin B6

Wholemeal bread and whole grains (brown rice, oat) for complex carbohydrates, vitamins B3 and B6, calcium, zinc and magnesium

Eggs, avocado, nuts and cold press virgin olive oil for vitamin E.

Fish (salmon, sardine, mackerel, herring, tuna) for Vitamin B6, magnesium, calcium and essential fatty acids (omega 3, 6)

If you have PMS or menopausal symptoms, consider using herbs such as lemon balm, sage, vervain, black cohosh, or St John’s Wort. These can relieve tension in various parts of the body by relieving liver tension and improving blood circulation and cardiovascular tone. Many women like to drink lemon balm tea because it is good for menstrual problems and cramps. It can also be added to food for flavouring.

Do not use herbs without checking first with a professional as it could interfere with any other treatment you may be taking.

Overcome over-active thyroid

I have been working as a nutritionist-herbalist at the Haven Heath Clinic since last November.

Although I can help and treat various conditions and illnesses, I specialise in the treatments of gall and kidney stones, weak immune system and my big favourite, the treatment of over-active thyroid.

It is my favourite because, like many people, I suffered the consequences of an over-active thyroid. If you are in this situation, you may be familiar with symptoms of itchy skin, weight loss, tremors and palpitations, feeling unusually hot and extreme fatigue. Your thyroid guides the speed of your body’s metabolism. When it becomes over-active, it produces more hormones, telling the rest of the body to go faster and therefore making you feel as if you are running marathons back to back every day.

From these symptoms, doctors will organise a blood test to check thyroid levels (TSH, T3, T4). Be encouraged to ask for a complete test of your blood levels as often the liver function will be struggling too (and ask for a copy of your results to take home).

But based on thyroid results alone, the suggested treatments will be : beta-blockers which block the effects of the excess thyroid hormones; anti-thyroid drugs (methymazole, propylthiouracil (PTU)) which actually interfere with the thyroid gland’s ability to make its hormones. The later are usually very effective at controlling hyperthyroidism within a few weeks but, apart from side effects, hyperthyroidism will come back as soon as treatment is discontinued. So it is often a life time treatment with radioactive iodine treatment being offered as an alternative. And of course, if that doesn’t work there is the last resort to surgery where the thyroid gland is removed, and hormone replacement will have to be taken (thyroxine) for the rest of your life.

Has anything positive been achieved? I am convinced it has not and for that reason, I refused all conventional treatment and went all out for nutrition and herbal treatment.

Once you start your natural treatment, you will start feeling better within a few weeks as thyroid hormones levels go down. But this treatment aims at resetting your thyroid in the way it should function and so it could tale at least 6 months to bring the hormones levels back to normal for a lasting effect. That means they will stay normal even when you stop the herbal treatment and even when you go back to eating a normal healthy diet.

I did it on my own and it is certainly worth doing. You can be well again and drug free. You will need dedication and firm determination but you can do it.

If you decide to commit to this, I will be happy to come along side you to help and encourage you.

God bless you all.

The real side effects of antibiotics

We all know how antibiotics help us fight infectious diseases, save lives and reduce suffering. Although they will continue to do that, they are also over prescribed and particularly on young children up to 6 years old. When they are used repeatedly, they can create problems such as :

  • Antibiotic-resistant bacteria. These bacteria have changed to become stronger and more virulent causing diseases which may persist with chronic symptoms of illness.
  • Destruction of friendly bacteria. The multitude of friendly bacteria (many in our gut flora such as Lactobacillus) in our body helps us fight against unfriendly bacteria. Antibiotics are not selective and they destroy all bacteria unfriendly or not. So after a treatment using antibiotics it is a good idea to reintroduce friendly bacteria to the digestive system with an acidophilus supplement or simply with live yoghurt.
  • Yeast growth. One problem leads on to another. In the absence of strong friendly bacteria to control the population of unfriendly bacteria and yeast, these may overgrow and bloc the proper functioning of the immune system. There appears a higher risk of becoming ill.
  • Immune suppression. The repeated use of antibiotics can undermine our own immune system and increase the likelihood of a repeat infection. Ideally, the use of antibiotics should be reduced but in any case it would be good to support our immune system with vitamins, minerals and herbs.
  • Nutrient loss. The use of antibiotics creates a new environment in the digestive tract and it may not be as functional as it should (showing signs of digestive irritation, diarrhoea, or dysfunctional intestinal flora). The loss of vital nutrient needed by the immune system may then contribute to the making of a vicious circle whereas the weak undermined immune system is not getting enough nutrients and becomes even weaker.
  • Food allergies. These can be due to genetic predisposition or to immune system disorder but it can also be caused by malabsorption, poor digestion, repeated food exposure and poor integrity of the intestinal wall. Our immune system is normally capable of recognising what is our own from any intruders it may need to fight back. But it has been shown that partially digested food protein can travel across the intestinal wall and into the body where it will be confronted as an intruder. Now, many factors can cause the intestinal wall to be damaged and these include abnormal gut flora and decrease in normal gut flora. Both, as discussed earlier can be linked to repeated use of antibiotics.

    Food allergies can be treated. First by identifying the problem food and eliminating it from the diet to decrease inflammation. Secondly, an appropriate treatment can be decided to boost the immune system, heal and strengthen the mucous membranes including intestinal walls.

These issues tend to develop from an early age but if left unattended, adults may still suffer with it. Here are some symptoms associated with food allergies : gas, diarrhoea, colic, constipation, irritable bowel or irregular stool pattern, chronic bladder infection, chronic earache, runny nose, sinusitis, wheezing, chronic bronchitis, chronic repeated infections, acne, eczema, itchy skin, painful joints, backache, cramps or headache, migraines, depression or anxiety, hyperactivity, poor concentration or insomnia.

As usual, if you feel you or someone you know are struggling with any of these symptoms, think positive. It can be treated with food, supplements and herbs. Just get in touch for more informations as treatment needs to be tailor specially for you. And if any of you have seen Food Hospital on TV, then surely you will feel inspired to use your food as your medicine.

Promotion Board

I would not normally consider myself particularly artistic but I have been working on this promotion board. I’m quite pleased with my efforts so I just wanted to share it with you all.

It will be in the window of The Haven health clinic throughout the whole of May. And even if you don’t get to see it there, you can still benefit of the £10 discount that will apply to all appointments with me – your nutritionist, Corinne – in May.

Call The Haven (01364 654954) now to book your reduced priced appointment in May.

Nutrition promo board

I look forward to meeting you.

For your diary

THURSDAY 7th April 7.30-9.30
at Jelly Fish Production Studio in Buckfastleigh
Rune Lekkerkerker
Integrate healing into your daily life
Through understanding how our state of mind affects our health, we empower ourselves, and learn to be in control of our own health and life. Combined with simple but very effective Qigong exercises this will be a healing filled evening.
Rune Lekkerkerker
As a Traditional Chinese Medicine Therapist (Acupuncture, Tuina (massage), nutrition) I am specialised in ‘Wu Shen’ (The Five Spirits), a study based on ancient Daoistic wisdom to understand the human consciousness on a very deep level.
I am also a Yuan Gong Qigong teacher and work as a Yi-Qi Therapist.
Cost £3.00 including refreshments.

How we think about illness and health.

I read a book by Dr Agus called The end of illness. I feel very strongly that our medical system is letting us down. It is the biggest profitable business failing. And I think like Dr Agus that we have got so use to it, we are now thinking about illness and heath in a way that fits the system even if it isn’t helping.
So like Dr Agus, I want to ask “Has the time come for us to stop thinking about illness as something the body ‘gets’ or ‘has’ but rather to think of it as something the body does?”

Our body is a very sophisticated creation, slightly different for each of us, but it does not come with any instruction or maintenance manual.
We have to learn to know for ourselves, how our own body works. That means stop thinking we can feed it just about anything without consequences.

What we eat, drink and do with our time is what makes our lifestyle. Our body is sensitive to it and reacts by giving symptoms more or less strong depending on how our body feels.
Now we can choose to be in tune with our body and listen to the complaints and think back to find what caused it. Or we can choose to ignore it and simply take a pill to shut it up.
How many signs and symptoms can we ignore and take drugs for before some really serious illness makes us stop. Our body is making us feel really ill because it has been abused so much it can’t take it any longer. So what makes us think that giving it more drugs will solve the accumulated problems (signs) our body has been trying to communicate to us?

I think it is worth thinking about how much we would give to be healthy, fit, feeling good, full of energy and happy with our body as a whole.
It is possible you know! And sometimes it only takes a few changes in what we eat, in how we organise our time to avoid high stress level, or in our lifestyle.
Let me know what you think. As a nutritionist-herbalist, I can help but ultimately, it is your body and who can know it better than yourself; you have to first make the decision to be the one doing (making the changes) with my help.

I look forward to hearing from you and/or reading your comments.