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Posts Tagged ‘tiredness’

I’m so pleased to see that GPs are now advising their patients to have Vitamin D tests – it’s about time! If there is one vitamin of vital need, this is it.

Vitamin D regulates gene expression, has a positive fundamental effect on cell differentiation and growth, with anti-oxidative and autoimmune anti-inflammatory mechanisms. It positively affects the nervous system by stimulating neurotrophic factors, quenching oxidative hyperactivity and regulating autoimmune responses.

It’s made by the action of UVB sunlight as it strikes the cholesterol covering our bare skin. Unfortunately with our habit of washing with soap, all the cholesterol is washed off, leaving none with which to make vitamin D. So no amount of sunshine will help when skin is washed with soap.

For some of the best information on vitamin D have a look at: http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/
Here is what Dr Cannell, of the Vitamin D Council said:

“During the last decade… ground-breaking laboratory studies have shown that the active hormone form of vitamin D interacts with receptors in more than 30 tissues and organs of the body and influences the action of some 1000 or more genes. By these means Vitamin D controls not only calcium homeostasis but another five physiological systems: the immune system, pancreas beta cells, heart and blood vessels, muscle development and strength, and brain development. In addition vitamin D has direct effects on cell activity. It facilitates cell differentiation and apoptosis, that is, it regulates cell death. Together with calcium it has a profound effect on cellular adhesion and initiation of cancer.”

30-50% of people have a Vitamin D deficiency, particularly those living in climates with little sun, living above 34 degrees north or south of the equator, work indoors, spend little time in the sun and have dark skin. The darker the skin the more sun exposure is required to obtain sufficient. The following list gives an indication of levels of vitamin D found in the blood. The test should be done for 25-hydroxyvitamin D, also called calcidiol:

Sufficient: 50-100ng/ml or 125-250 nmol/L
Hypovitaminosis: <30ng/ml or 75 nmol/L
Deficiency: <25ng/ml or 62 nmol/L

Vitamin D comes in three forms:

* Cholecalciferol or D3 which is formed in the skin, this also comes as a supplement to take.
* Calcidiol (25-hydroxyvitamin D) is a prehormone made from cholecalciferol by the liver. When testing for vitamin D this, and only this, is what should be tested for.
* Calcitriol (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D) is made from calcidiol principally by the kidneys, and is a most potent steroid hormone.

Finally a lack of vitamin D reduces the benefits of progesterone, of which, you may know, I’m a supporter.

If you have concerns, please consider having a test done. There is mounting evidence that many (74 at last count), if not all, of our modern diseases, syndromes, symptoms are possibly due to a lack of vitamin D.

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Having researched adrenal fatigue for some time now, there is some evidence that this vitamin plays an important part in restoring adrenal health.  Vitamin E absorbs and neutralizes the damaging free radical molecules inside the adrenal glands and elswhere in the body. Vitamin C enhances Vitamin E’s activity inside the cell by regenerating the capacity of vitamin E to isolate the free radicals. So these two vitamins can work hand-in-hand to keep the adrenal healthy.

It does seem, however, that choosing the right Vitamin E supplement is very important. Vitamin E is a ‘tocopherol’. Most Vitamin E supplements sold in health food shops are in the form of d-alpha-tocopherol. This is only a fraction of the complete Vitamin E complex and the majority of companies promote this type of Vitamin E, making it the most available type of Vitamin E being sold.

The Vitamin E necessary for adrenal regeneration is a mixed tocopherols supplement, specifically one high in beta-tocopherols. Studies have shown that too much d-alpha-tocopherol can actually suppress the beta and other tocopherols necessary for adrenal rejuvenation. So taking a mixed tocopherols Vitamin E supplement is crucial to restoring adrenal health.

For more information on Adrenal Fatigue, I recommend: a wonderfully comprehensive book by Dr James L Wilson – ‘Adrenal Fatigue – The 21st Century Stress Syndrome’.

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I am constantly being asked by clients about polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), from which many women suffer where cysts on the ovaries cause pain during ovulation, PMS, and excess hair growth on the face, legs and arms.  It’s been known for some time that PCOS is associated with high insulin levels, which stimulate the ovarian production of androgens (male hormones).  In a study of obese and non-obese women with PCOS (Nobumasa et al, 2002), various hormones were measured with interesting results: the average levels of testosterone and androstenedione in obese women were significantly higher than those in non-obese women.  This is yet another indicator that obesity can contribute significantly to hormone imbalance.  PCOS disappears rapidly in most women when they cut sugar and refined carbohydrates from their diet.

Can Progesterone help recovery from PCOS?

PCOS is a condition which is rising alarmingly all over the world.

PCOS is generally considered a syndrome rather than a disease, because it manifests through a group of signs and symptoms that can occur in any combination, rather than having one known cause.

Symptoms vary and include some or all of the following…

  • oligomenorrhoea (absent or infrequent periods) or amenorrhea (no menstrual period).
  • enlarged ovaries (usually 1.5 to 3 times larger than normal).
  • cysts (fluid-filled sacs), giving the classic “string of pearls” appearance to ovaries with many cysts. Cystic ovaries can lead to…
  • chronic pelvic pain – although the exact cause of this pain isn’t known, inflammation is the most likely cause.
  • anovulation (lack of ovulation), which is relatively common as the follicles mature only occasionally, this leads to…
  • low progesterone levels, as it’s only after ovulation that the follicle, now called the corpus luteum, produces progesterone. But low progesterone levels lead to…
  • high levels of luteinising hormone (LH) as the pituitary is trying to stimulate ovulation. High LH suppresses follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) so this leads to arrested follicle growth in the next cycle. But LH also stimulates the thecal cells in the ovary to produce androgens which leads to…
  • high androgens (hyperandrogenism), particularly high testosterone, androstenedione, and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), leading to excess facial and body hair, male pattern baldness, deepening of the voice, weight problems including obesity and a smaller hip to waist ratio, acne, oily skin, dandruff, suppression of ovarian function, leading to anovulation which leads to…
  • infertility (the inability to get pregnant within six to 12 months of unprotected intercourse, depending on age) and low progesterone levels

Natural treatment

  • Above all have a vitamin D test done, and take a minimum of 5000 IU’s per day, bringing the level in the blood to 50ng/ml (125nmol/L) or above. A lack of vitamin D is found in PCO, with many authorities believing it could be the main contributing factor. A lack also leads to hyperparathyroidism which is often present in PCO. High levels of parathyroid hormone suppresses thyroid activity, leading to a higher than normal TSH level. The year round level of vitamin D should be 50ng/ml (125nmol/L) or higher
  • A lack of vitamin D reduces the benefits of progesterone
  • Use between 150-250mg/day progesterone, this helps stabilise blood sugar and suppresses androgen production. It also helps to correct ovarian malfunction
  • Take the B vitamin inositol, this aids in reversing insulin resistance and stabilizing glucose levels. Studies have shown this restores gonadal function.
  • Take the antioxidant amino acids L-arginine and N-acetyl cysteine, studies have shown these restore gonadal function.
  • The amino acids L-glutamine and L-glycine are very helpful. The brain can use them in place of glucose for energy, so they stop all binging, tiredness, cravings for sugary foods and alcohol. Glutamine also heals the lining of the gut, it boosts the immune system and is the most abundant amino acid in the muscles, so helping with muscle weakness. These two amino acids are also two of the three precursors to glutathione, which apart from vitamin D, is the most important antioxidant the body makes. The third amino precursor is cysteine, which is essential to take.
  • MCT oil (medium chain triglyceride) is another excellent source of energy which is not converted to fat, but can be used directly by the cells for energy, take 5-60ml/day. It’s extracted from coconut oil and comprises 60% caprylic acid, which kills candida, and 40% capric acid.

It could take a while for things to sort themselves out, so have patience. Researchers have found it takes from four to six months for the ovaries to start functioning correctly.

Additional Information

Progesterone

Apply 150-250mg of progesterone per day. The higher dose might be needed.

It should only be used at ovulation, for the last 14 days of the cycle, taking day 1 as the first day of bleeding.

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Several people have asked me for the contents of the Energy Boost formula I
take. The idea behind the Energy Boost is to reverse insulin resistance, help
with tiredness, lack of energy, foggy brain, cravings and weight gain. The ingredients listed below, in one way or another, all play a role in achieving this (a detailed list of the actions of each ingredient is available on request):

Amount per serving
Arginine 500mg
Carnitine (N-acetyl-L-) 500mg
Cysteine (N-Acetyl-L) 500mg
Glycine 500mg
Taurine 500mg
Chromium 200mcg
Selenium 200mcg
Zinc 15mg
Vitamin B1 25mg
Vitamin B2 25mg
Vitamin B3 (niacinamide) 25mg
Vitamin B5 (Ca D-pantothenate) 100mg
Vitamin B6 (pyrodoxine) 25mg
Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin) 200mcg
Biotin 1000mcg
Folic acid 1000mcg
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) 500mg
Milk thistle (81.79% silymarins) 515mg
Plus: alpha lipoic acid, CoQ10, D-Ribose, purified phylosilicate
clay, inositol, choline, glutamine, the branched chain amino acids: isoleucine,
leucine and valine.

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According to the private health group, BUPA, roughly 270,000 people in the UK take time off every day due to stress. Nearly 60% of all absences from work are caused by stress; stress is an inescapable part of modern life. Every year sickness absence, due to work-related stress, costs British industry around £10 billion. In today’s society 75% of diseases are associated with stress and tension. Holistic therapy in its various forms can help stress-related ailments.

In the USA side effects of prescription drugs are seen as the sixth most common cause of death and this is why more and more people are turning to complementary therapy which is a central part of a worldwide healing tradition.

The holistic approach is not just to work on the symptoms but to tackle the root of the problem, thereby preventing the ailment from getting worse. Furthermore, because holistic therapy is a preventative form of therapy, many people who have regular treatments report that they experience fewer ailments than they would otherwise.

The different types of holistic therapies available at Mind, Body and Sole significantly aid in reducing stress. The differences between the treatments can be seen when looking at the healing effects the treatments can offer in regard to different ailments. The benefits, very often, are noticed immediately, but may take several treatments to achieve their fullest and most worthwhile effects.

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What is Progesterone?
Progesterone is a hormone that has been around for about 500 million years – the oldest hormone.
There are many misconceptions held about this critically important hormone. It is NOT ‘just another sex hormone’ nor is it ‘ONLY a female sex hormone’.
Why is this important?
It is essential to all vertebrates: fishes, reptiles, birds and mammals – including humans. It has countless functions in both sexes and all ages – regulating blood sugar, developing intelligence, building bones, brain activity and many more.
Our bodies make it all the time.
In the higher animals it is involved in reproduction, but not being exclusively a sex hormone it does not impart any secondary sexual characteristics. It is converted by the adrenal glands into other hormones such as cortisone, oestrogen, testosterone and others.
This is a vital point to understand… progesterone is the essential raw material from which our bodies make the other hormones. It is this simple fact that helps anyone appreciate just how wide ranging the effects of a deficiency can be. This is why progesterone therapy can be effective in treating such a wide range of health problems.
What is natural progesterone?
“Natural” progesterone – just as your body makes it – is a unique substance with unique properties that cannot be faked and that are essential to good health and to life itself.
A phenomenon known as “oestrogen dominance” happens in many women when progesterone balance is impaired. This creates very unpleasant physical side effects and plays havoc not only with their emotions. The reason behind this is the increasing use of chemicals in the world and the widespread use of oestrogen in oral contraceptives and in hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Unfortunately oestrogen dominance is something few people know anything about. Most women have been convinced that oestrogen is the answer to most female hormonal problems, whether in the form of the contraceptive pill for menstruating women or HRT for menopausal women. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Fortunately progesterone balance is easy to achieve and maintain by using natural progesterone.
The following list gives some of the symptoms of oestrogen dominance:
• Mastitis
• Menstrual cycles can become irregular
• Increases the risk of fibroids
• Potentially addictive and abusive
• Increases the risk of breast cancer
• May initiate fibrocystic breast disease
• Increases the risk of uterine cancer
• Water retention and bloating
• Weight gain
• Loss of energy
• Decreases libido
• Bad temper
• Increases risk of stroke and heart disease
• Causes chronic fatigue
• Causes skin to become thinner
• Incidental in the start of osteoporosis
• Can induce hypertension & high blood pressure
• Headaches
The majority of doctors have not heard of the benefits of progesterone and the concept of progesterone balance. Fortunately, however, a few enlightened medical doctors in the USA, Britain and elsewhere have been using progesterone to treat their patients for a number of years now.
Further positive effects of progesterone are that the immune system is boosted, one’s physical and mental energy is increased, and one becomes calmer. Progesterone also protects against toxic substances and acts as a natural diuretic.
Many of the above listed symptoms are those of Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS) and low blood sugar. Up to 60% of menstruating women in the western world suffer from PMS in one form or another. Much research has been done on it. Some have been found to be psychological, some related to food, some to stress and some to an imbalance of hormones. Research has shown that women with PMS consume three times as much sugar as those without. This unfortunately leads to the excretion of magnesium, which is vital in preventing PMS and menopausal symptoms in the first place.
Menopause, which literally means “last period”, usually occurs somewhere between the ages of 45 to 52 with the cessation of egg production. As mentioned earlier a woman is born with all the eggs she will ever need. In the few years prior to menopause ovulation becomes erratic and with it comes a decline in progesterone. At about the same time the ovaries decrease their secretion of oestrogen.
Unfortunately with the increased use of petrochemicals and oestrogen based drugs, many women are entering their pre-menopausal years in their early thirties.

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All my treatments are personalised and tailored to fit the individual I’m treating. I aim to spend up to an hour with a client, depending on what I find during the treatment – I do not, like many therapists, stick to 30 minute time slots. Having studied nutrition for two years within my Degree in Complementary Medicine, I give advice on nutrition, especially on subjects I spend time researching: amino acids, vitamins and minerals. I have an organic supplier I use in South Africa where I obtain raw vitamins and minerals (not in capsule form which can cost a fortune and don’t give nearly enough of a supply of each vitamin) and blends for Candida, Adrenal Fatigue, Energy Boosts and Detox formulas and so on. A huge area of interest for me is that of hormone balancing.

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Stress is different to pressure.  Cary Cooper, Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health (Lancaster University) states:  ‘Pressure is motivating but stress is when the pressure exceeds your ability to cope’.  1 in 5 people suffer from work-related stress; if we add to this equation the pressure of home and social life, then it’s not surprising many of us are pushed to the limit.

When we get stressed, the hormone, adrenaline is released and so causes other hormones, namely, noradrenaline and cortisol to be released.  These three hormones together divert resources to the parts of the body which are needed most – this is the ‘fight or flight’ response.  The problem is that in the 21st Century we’re not hunting for our food, we are not dealing with the odd sabre-tooth tiger attack we are dealing with sitting in traffic jams, dealing with bad news, work and family problems, but our bodies do not recognise the difference: stress is stress.  This means we are constantly being exposed to a level stream of stress chemicals but there is nowhere for them to go when we’re sitting anxiously in a traffic jam – there is no release for these toxic chemicals!

Typical signs of stress include: lack of concentration, IBS and digestive problems, frequent colds and flu, tiredness, heart disease and even cancer.

If you can, identify what’s causing you stress.  Exercise is a very good way of reducing stress levels and the best thing you can do for your health.   Zinc and the B-complex vitamins are also very good for combating the effects of stress.  Ginseng is an adaptogen so it increases the body’s resistance to stress and Rhodiola can help improve focus and concentration under stressful conditions.

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Anyone who has known me for a long period of time will tell you how I’ve suffered with headaches. How a day would not pass that I didn’t complain about my headaches and how I would be popping painkillers for much of the day, 6 days out of 7. On a good day they would last for the morning, on a bad day no matter how many painkillers I took, the headache just wouldn’t shift – I could only imagine what the medication was doing to my liver. In many cases I’d wake up with a headache. I can trace this back to the last 10 years! Not a nice feeling at all, as anyone who has suffered from headaches and migraines will testify.

It was around the time that I was suffering from chronic tiredness, studying for my health sciences degree and was doing a lot of internet research, that I came across a naturopath living in South Africa and I started to pick her brains (more about my fatigue than the headaches, I hasten to add). Her thoughts confirmed what a private doctor had told me – that I had Candida. I started to take a blend of raw vitamins, minerals and amino acids, I also started to take natural progesterone – within a week of taking the herbal blend I noticed that my headaches had lessened. Over a year has passed and to this day I still can’t believe that I don’t suffer from those debilitating headaches and brain fog that had plagued me for years. I won’t be without the herbal blend, it cleanses the system and the liver, gives energy to the body and helps insulin resistance and I won’t be without the natural progesterone.

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Readers of my blogs will know that I have suffered from adrenal stress and have looked into a number of ‘alternative cures’. I’ve looked into and talked about Macca but I never actually got around to using it because I discovered Ashwagandha first. I’ve been using Ashwagandha for several months and I do believe it’s gone a long way in helping me. I’m starting to feel ‘normal’ again.

What is it?
Ashwagandha (meaning: strength of a horse) is a known herb in Ayurvedic medicine. Found in India, it’s an evergreen shrub the roots of which are used medicinally. It has a reputation for improving strength, energy and stamina.
It’s an adaptogenic herb suitable for long-term use (avoid if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding).

Stress
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen: a class of herbal medicines that improve energy and help the body adapt to stress. It relaxes the nervous system and increases strength and stamina. Excellent for promoting restful sleep; its antioxidant effects help immunity and increase white blood cell count and reduces arthritic pain and inflammation.

Research published in the journal of Phytomedicine (2000) found Ashwagandha was ‘comparable to some orthodox drugs for treating anxiety and depression’.

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