As I was explaining in my article titled ‘What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?’, one of the major causes of IBS is the presence of something in the digestive system that should not be there, such as unwanted invaders or overgrowths in our system like certain bacteria, parasites and yeast or fungi. I personally experienced the effects of having these unwanted invaders in my gut, and felt the effects throughout my body (read my story).
Probably one of the most common diagnoses when attending your doctor with digestive symptoms is that of Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS in short. But what exactly is IBS?
Your cephalic response occurs when we see, smell, think or taste food. It is a primal response that stimulates the limbic system in the brain before it then stimulates the vagus nerve that goes on to stimulate the production of gastric juices.
The small intestine is roughly 20 feet long and spread flat could cover the size of a tennis court. It is at this crucial point that digestion is completed and much of the absorption takes place.
Our stomach mostly plays a role in terms of digestion; very little absorption takes place here, other than certain medications, some water, certain salts and alcohol.
As you would have seen from my previous article digestion actually begins in the brain and I gave some simple steps that might allow you to improve this starting point of digestion.
There are many considerations when it comes to optimising digestion, but first of all we must understand the journey that our food takes to get broken down into its simply molecular form such as amino acids, fatty acids and glucose.
Athlete populations seem to be more prone to zinc deficiency, so those that train on a regular basis would fit into that same population. Red blood cell zinc is a much more effective measurement than serum zinc levels and test should be carried out before any high dose supplementation as high dose zinc can cause copper insufficiency, stomach upset and even stress liver and kidney function.
There are vitamin D receptors located on sperm cells and vitamin D also appears to play a direct role in the production of steroid hormones. Similar to Zinc and Magnesium those found with low levels, and given supplementation to increase their status, also experienced increases in testosterone levels.
Low magnesium levels are associated with lowered testosterone, thus magnesium supplementation has been shown to increase testosterone to normal ranges.
Estrogen and Testosterone have been coined female and male hormones. Whilst this is not strictly true, imbalances can see masculisation of females or feminisation of males.
Blood sugar regulation is the cornerstone of any good nutrition plan, and unbeknown to many, poor blood sugar regulation and thus insulin control can have a significant effect on male sex testosterone production.
There are many possible causes of the increased risk of illness after flying, and in this article we are going to investigate the possible causes, dispel some myths and also give you some hints as to what you can do about it.
Whilst a gratitude diary is a very ‘American’ type of activity that us Brits generally laugh at, it is certainly an effective way of changing mind set before bed, reducing stress hormones and encouraging a good night’s sleep.
One of the first areas of nutrition everyone should focus on and is easy for us to change is that of water intake.
Jet lag has the potential to wreck your performance, whether a competitive athlete or a travelling businessman / woman you need to be aware of tactics you can use to overcome jet lag as quickly as possible.
Flying can be particularly stressful on the body; I know in my experience that when I fly I’d often feel pretty out of whack for at least 24hours after landing and often my digestion felt awful for days. Even if you take your own clean, non-airplane food you can still feel pretty awful, why is this?
Our body can barely go for more than a few minutes without oxygen. But have you thought about how important proper breathing is to our health and how we can use breathing to improve how we function and feel.
Meditation when first starting out can seem challenging. We live our lives at 100mph and to take time out of our hectic schedules to sit and be in the present even just for 5-10mins can seem like the most demanding thing to do.
Sleep is one of the most important areas of health that is often forgotten about. Poor sleep can lead to lower libido, increased risk of many chronic diseases, impairs attention and alertness, increases the risk of depression, can mess up your immune system, ages your skin, increases your risk of fat gain and can draw a fat loss programme to a holt.
Before determining the in’s and outs of healthy nutrition one crucial area that must be talked about is the psychology of change. Understanding why we want to make change and forming relationships between the new habits and our current highest life values is an important step.
Optimising digestive health is one of the first and most important steps when addressing the health or body composition of an individual. The digestive system is the connection between our outside environment and the inside of the body.
There is a reason why I don’t rely on the mainstream media to educate myself on nutrition and lifestyle practices. Day in day out we are being told contradictory information regarding what we should or should not be putting in our mouths, and it is of no surprise to me that the general public is completely confused over how to eat for optimal health.
In this article I would like to discuss the benefits of including Epsom Salt baths in your life and how they can help with a range of health issues.
The human body contains around 1.5-2.5grams of zinc, of which most is found in the bones and muscles. Because there are no reserves of zinc in the body that are readily mobilised, it is crucial to keep a steady intake of zinc in the diet.
The acid that begins the process of protein digestion in the stomach is Hydrochloric acid (HCl). Within the health industry I have noticed the abuse of supplementary HCl in a hope to improve digestion. The use of non-scientific methods of testing HCl are commonly used and if truth be told are more a method of selling supplements than addressing gastrointestinal dysfunction. All that being said though the prevalence of sub-optimal stomach acid and pancreatic insufficiency could be something that in the general population is being severely underestimated.
As you saw in my article ‘What your poo says about you’, there are many indicators that can tell us is something is imbalanced in the gastrointestinal system. Moving on from assessing our stools, there are also a number of other symptoms that might indicate dysfunctions in the gastrointestinal tract.
Many years ago I remember watching ‘Dr’ Gillian Mckeith poking her nose around peoples stools on the programme ‘You Are What You Eat’. Little did I know that whilst watching that programme I would go on to become quite fascinated by the function of the gut, and my real passion is trying to translate the language of the human body. It is my opinion that the better we become at interpreting the signs and signals our body is giving the more we can revolutionise health care.
Many people assume that I have been healthy all my life, and whilst I have always been aware of health, read about health and studied health, I have by no means always been healthy.
My own experiences with ill health have always been the strongest catalysts to me understanding more about how the body functions and how all of the systems of the body interact with one another, something that has been lost in the modern ‘pill for an ill’ approach to healthcare.
Type 2 Diabetes is one of the most prevalent chronic disease around, especially in developed countries. Truth be told it is a disease of lifestyle. Some people are more prone to the development of the disease, but if the right lifestyle patterns are followed it can often be prevented and in some cases we can even reverse type 2 Diabetes naturally.
Injuries to connective tissue such as the tendons and ligaments are common place in stunt performers and sports. Recovery can take much longer than muscle injuries and often bone injuries due to the poor blood flow making it hard to remove waste products and deliver injury fighting nutrients. Here’s how nutrition and supplementation can help.
Working as a nutritionist and functional medicine practitioner, I am able to work with my clients on a number of different levels. I work on every single aspect of their lifestyle to elicit the most optimal change in their health, we look at sleep, stress, digestive health, immune, energy levels, blood sugar regulation, exercise to name a few. Most my clients are for fat loss, however my view is fat loss should be a side effect of improved health, this is why few of my clients will lose lean tissue when reducing their body fat levels and their health and energy levels improve.
I am going to touch on a very controversial subject. For years the notion of calories in calories has been the fundamental principle many health experts, doctors, dieticians etc have stuck to as an explanation as to why we as a nation are getting fatter and how you should get leaner. Whilst the laws of thermodynamics that lead us to the calories in calories out concept certainly have a place, is it true that the only reason we either get fat, get lean or stay the same is our approach to calorie intake?
Consumption of cruciferous vegetables – a family of vegetables that includes spinach, watercress, radish, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and kale – has long been associated with good health. A highly significant study from the University of Ulster was published that adds to the growing body of evidence linking the consumption of these vegetables to a reduced risk of developing cancer. (1)
In my clinic I spend a lot of my time pinching my clients skin and taking their body fat measurements. The method I use called Biosignature Modulation is a great way of seeing where a client is predominately storing body fat under their skin, otherwise known as subcutaneous fat.
Stress is a major component of modern day life – here are 10 tips for helping offload some of the stress we encounter through the day.
Poor sleep health is something that affects us all at one time or another. Whether it is stressful events, jet lag, temperature, all these things can have a negative effect on our quality of sleep. Here are 9 quick tips to help regain optimal sleep health.
In this blog I am going to look at some of the natural approaches to helping prevent colon cancer but also some interesting natural methods of supporting the body if you have already been diagnosed with colon cancer.
Image taken from: www.food.gov.uk/sites/default/files/multimedia/pdfs/nutrientinstitution.pdf
Here in the UK we have a major challenge with obesity. Every evening there is a programme on TV about obesity and weight loss, most of which concludes that the best approach is to staple around 90% of the stomach in order to aid fat loss.
I am going to start this blog with some interesting and potentially surprising facts and then a personal story about how digestive health can affect symptoms that would seemingly appear unrelated.
- 2 million people were diagnosed with a digestive disorder in 2009.
- 1/3 of the UK’s population regularly suffers from digestive illness such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation, diarrhoea, stomach aches and nausea.
- In 2005/2006 over 3.7 million operations were carried out on parts of the digestive system.
- 42% of people suffering from digestive problems turn to sources other than their GP for help.
- 15% of Death in the UK is linked to digestive health.
- Cancers of the digestive tract account for 23% of cancer deaths.
Hippocrates once stated that “bad digestion is the root of all evil”, and many naturopathic Doctors state that “life and death begins in the gut”. I have first hand experienced what an unknown digestive dysfunction can cause.
In the UK we have the third highest obesity rate in the world, with 22.4% of the population obese. Between 50-60% of the population are also overweight and these statistics are rising each year. Alongside the obesity rates diabetes prevalence has almost doubled since 1997 from around 2.5% percent to almost 5%. What could be going wrong?