12 Reasons to make sure you are getting enough Zinc

What is Zinc good for?

The Autoimmune Disease Series

Image result for zinc quote

Today I thought that I’d share with you some thoughts around this incredibly important mineral.

Before getting overly concerned with symptoms, it may be worth getting this mineral tested to check your levels, because too much zinc can have its issues too, yet so many of us are deficient.

A Serum Alkaline Phosphatase Reactivation Test, which can be ordered through your doctor will indicate whether or not you require more zinc.

If you need to take more zinc, be sure to also take Vitamin B6 – they work best together.

Zinc is necessary for so many functions in the body that it is hard to know where to start.  If you have an autoimmune disease or other chronic disease addressing nutrient deficiencies can be an excellent place to kick off from, as it can help to clear up some fundamental symptoms.  With zinc in particular you will benefit from a potent immune system boost, by getting your levels into the optimum range.

One thing to remember is that if you are deficient in zinc, it can take a long time to build back up in your system, so supplementation will need to be consistent and medium to long-term.  Keep testing periodically to keep an eye on your levels.

So, what is zinc good for? Here are 12 key reasons to make sure that you are getting enough zinc:

  1. Antioxidant  Zinc is a powerful antioxidant, that means that it can help improve your immune function and help you to fight off a cold, but will also help you to combat oxidative stress that we see in more chronic conditions such as cancer.
  2. Fights Diabetes It helps to balance insulin in the body.  It allows for the adequate storage mechanism of insulin in the pancreas and then ensures that insulin can bind to cells by helping to activate digestive enzymes.  In this way glucose is used as fuel rather than stored as fat in the body.
  3. Mood stabiliser Zinc Balances other hormones.  It is not just insulin that zinc helps to regulate.  It has an effect on fertility hormones too.  In men a deficiency can negatively impact testosterone levels and with it fertility diminishes.  In women it is involved in oestrogen and progesterone production.  If we have to much or too little oestrogen circulating in our body it can manifest as moos swings, menstruation and fertility issues and can also increase the risk of some cancers.  It is also required in egg production so offers a double whammy of protection for anyone trying to conceive.
  4. Fertility  Zinc is needed for the production of estrogen and progesterone in women, which both support reproductive health. Either too high or too low levels of oestrogen can cause problems with menstruation, mood swings, early menopause, infertility and possibly even increase the risk for certain cancers.
  5. Cardiovascular health  It protects our blood vessels.  The very fine lining of cells that line our blood vessels require enough zinc to be maintained.  It helps to maintain healthy arteries thereby reducing blood pressure and boosting the health of our circulatory system.
  6. Digestion Zinc is also implicated in chronic digestive issues and as such zinc can be used to settle the effects of diarrhea.
  7. Fatigue  Energy production.  Help your body to absorb nutrients.  Zinc allows us to access amino acids from foods it also helps in the breakdown of carbohydrates, releasing a valuable source of energy.  Low zinc levels can be a contributing factor for chronic fatigue and adrenal dysfunction.
  8. Liver support  Protects the liver.  Having enough zinc is implicated in reduced levels of infection and liver damage.  It also reduces inflammation in the liver contributing to  more efficient nutrient absorption and metabolism and ensuring adequate elimination of waste from this incredible organ.
  9. Bulging biceps  Muscle regeneration. A key player in cell division and growth, zinc enables cellular development of the muscular and skeletal systems, boosting both strength and muscle mass.
  10.  Skin care Zinc also contributes to the health of your skin, both acne and eczema can improve when zinc levels are optimised
  11. Ease your mind Mental health, cognitive function and sense of taste and smell can improve with adequate B6 and zinc levels.
  12. See better Eye health is also improved with zinc.

I hope that this focus on just one small mineral can show you just how important nutrient levels in your body are.  Get one out of balance and your whole system can go out of whack!

Gemma x

 

I am enough!

The biggest disease facing humanity

The Autoimmune Disease Series

Many practitioners have noticed that people who struggle with autoimmune diseases have often suffered difficult childhoods.   Or maybe there was a one off event that triggered feelings of a lack of self worth.

You will probably relate to this, but if you don’t, read on anyway because “I am not enough” could be the biggest disease facing humanity.

I have posted  Marisa Peer speaking before, but this is important.

Like she suggests “I am enough” needs to be repeated again and again until it is fully integrated into your mind.  Until you know that it is absolutely true.  Because this is where the healing starts.

Write it on your mirror, use sticky notes all over the house, put one in your purse all of it over and over saying; “I am enough”.

Way too many of us, spend too much time with negativity in our heads.

So in order to get well you need your mind to believe something else.

So it starts with:
“I am enough.  I am enough.  I am enough.  I am enough.  I am enough.”

You are enough.  You are always enough.

Gemma x

Still got symptoms? Food sensitivities? Have you considered a gut infection called H. Pylori?

Could your food sensitivities be caused by a gut infection?

Discover what H. Pylori is and how can you combat the infection

The Autoimmune Disease Series

Hi All,

Today I want to talk to those of you who have tried diets, medications and supplements, but still don’t feel like you are turning the corner on your health path.  If you still have a multitude of symptoms, such as increasing food sensitivities, burping, belching, gastritis, acid reflux, bad breath, headaches or ulcers then this might just be the post for you.

If any of these are presenting as symptoms for you, it may be that your food sensitivities are cuased by a gut infection;  H. pylori dominating your microbiome.  H.Pylori is a particular problem because it survives your gut by suppressing your stomach acid production.

Unfortunately this not only ensures its survival but also promotes a great breeding ground for other pathogens, that would otherwise have been killed off by the stomach acid.

So along with H.pylori we might also get parasites and/or a small intestine bacterial overgrowth (S.I.B.O.).  But of course we may get an increase in food sensitivities, a problem that is just growing and growing these days.

With not enough stomach acid to break down proteins, the partially broken down proteins cause our bodies to not recognise them and they start to act as antigens, stimulating an immune response and creating inflammation and the other symptoms that we associate with food sensitivities.

Now H.pylori is not all bad.  It has been shown to offer some potent immuno-regulatory effects, but the key seems to be balance.  Many people have felt a whole lot better once this infection has been brought under control.

You can test for H. Pylori in a few ways:
• Stool antigen test: 401H test, GI Effects
• H Pylori breath test
• Blood test (may not differentiate between past and
current infection)

The stool antigen has been suggested to be the most useful.

If your test is positive:

A Doctor can prescribe medication for you.  But my job is to suggest natural options.

Before any kind of protocol you must remember that your whole body is being effected by this and your whole body will be also be affected by any die off or potency from herbal supplements.

So consider the following when completing a H. Pylori protocol;

  1. Eat an anti inflammatory diet.  Cabbage juice is particularly recommended for eradicating H. Pylori, so let it be your friend.  You only need to down 1/2 cup or 125ml/ 4 oz daily, so dust down your juicer.
  2. Support your liver with castor oil packing or coffee enemas.  The herbals will put an extra strain on your liver, so give it all the help that you can.
  3. Ensure that you give yourself plenty of time to rest, relax and sleep during the protocol.  This will help to nourish your adrenal glands.  Your adrenal glands are responsible for producing something called Secretory Ig A, which helps to line the intestinal wall, providing a barrier that will resist infections and help to prevent further infections.  Supplements to support the adrenals can also include Vitamin C (I recommend a lipospheric form) and zinc.
  4. Ensure that you have addressed nutrient deficiencies such as Vitamin B12, Zinc and Vitamin D and Iron (Ferritin).  Tests for these can be done through your G.P. /health practitioner.  You want to be in tip top shape to give your body all the assistance that it needs to fight this infection.
  5. Support your gut in healing itself, make sure that you are taking in adequate Omega 3’s, consider making some flax seed tea, zinc is also useful.  Some people find aloe vera juice to be really soothing and healing too.
  6. Of course, lastly give yourself the time to do this protocol.  Don’t rush it.  H.Pylori can be persistent, so you need to be consistent.

Now the H. Pylori 60 day protocol (as per The Hashimoto’s Institute):
• Mastic gum 500mg: Two capsules  to be taken three times per day (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
• Deglycyrrhizinated licorice(DGL) – one taken three times per day (breakfast, lunch, dinner).  Only to be used in combination with regular blood pressure monitoring (as can cause hypertension) and kidney and liver function tests – this is particularly relevant if used long-term.
• Saccharomyces Boulardii-2  taken three times per day

Mastic gum has traditionally been used to treat gastric issues and recent clinical trials have proven that mastic kills H. Pylori, in addition to other harmful bacteria and fungi.

Licorice root has long been touted for its effectiveness at treating the gut, but also hormonal issues, throat  and respiratory issues.It has also been used to provide adrenal support and so it can really address symptoms of fatigue too.

Saccharomyces Boulardii has been so successful in clinical trials, that it is now recognised as a medicine in over 100 countries.  It has extensive anti -inflammatory properties, promoting gut health.  It has been shown to bind to known pathogens such as salmonella and E coli and flush them out of the body.  It has been found to be successful in treating diarrhoea, inflammatory bowel disease and yeast infections such as Candida Albicans.

Just one more layer to consider.

Please let me know if you have success with this protocol.

Gemma x

 

What is coconut oil pulling?

How can coconut oil pulling help your health?

Kill the bacteria in your mouth to heal your gut.

The Autoimmune Disease Series

 

Bad breath? Bad gut.

Bottom line; the decay and bacteria in your mouth reflect the types of micro organisms that inhabit your gut.

It is estimated that more then 100 trillion micro organisms are crammed into the mucosal surfaces of your body, areas such as your mouth, gut and skin.

These tiny critters are now being understood to be essential for your overall health, as they promote food digestion, the absorption and utilisation of vitamins and minerals, while also mounting an immune response to invading pathogens in your body.

So if we understand that the gut is the gateway to autoimmunity, we can harness the power of these microorganisms by supporting a great gut flora.

But  How?

By helping to keep the bad bacteria at bay in our mouths.

In comes “oil pulling”.  A naturopathic technique from Ayuvedic medicine.  Initially it was introduced to the West by Dr. F. Karach, who suggested that;

“oil pulling could cure a variety of illnesses ranging from heart disease and digestive troubles to hormonal disorders. He said it cured him of a chronic blood disorder of 15 years duration and within three days it cured his arthritis, which at times was so painful he was bed ridden. ”   Bruce Fife

(Source: Coconut Research Centre)

Initially people who do oil pulling regularly notice better oral health, some people get rid of infections and gingivitis.  However, as I explained before, cleaning up your mouth cavity impacts on your whole body, detoxifying it and helping to remove the toxins that are released.

In a study done in 2008, 20 boys did oil pulling with sesame oil and in as little as 2 weeks saw a reduction in the number of ‘streptococcus mutans’ in their mouths.  This bacteria is largely responsible for plaque build up and tooth decay.

Traditionally sesame seed oil or sunflower oil has been used in this treatment.  However, many people nowadays are using coconut oil, to take advantage of its lauric acid component which offers anti microbia properties, helping to destroy fungi, bacteria and viruses.

So in addition to these benefits you may well experience relief from: asthma, allergies, chronic fatigue, diabetes, headaches and migraines, PMS hemorrhoids, and various skin problems.

This process is so simple you should give it a try for a few weeks to see if it boosts your health:

On waking take 1 teaspoon (work up to 1 tablespoon) of coconut oil or other oil of choice and place it in your mouth.

Swish it around your mouth, drawing it through your teeth for 15 – 20 minutes before spitting it out into a bin or down the toilet.  Don’t swallow this gunk as it it very toxic with bacteria, mucous and pus.

It is basically like using a mouth wash.  The twenty minutes is important so if you need to spit before then just empty your mouth and start again to make up to the time.

Before meals, on an empty stomach is best and while many do this just the once as soon as they wake, you can do this three times per day if you feel that you need it.

Let me know how you get on with your coconut oil pulling.

“Smile, it lets your teeth breathe”

Gemma x

 

“If you go down in the woods today…” Boost your killer cells

Improve your health with forest bathing and chest beating

The Autoimmune Disease Series

Shinrin-yoku, or ‘forest bathing’, is fast becoming recognised as a treatment for disease.  This is not just about calming the nerves.

Studies have found that trees exude compounds that boost our own production of ‘killer cells’,  which play a fundamental part in our immune system.  It is these killer cells, or lymphocytes that attack cancer cells.  Bottom line, they are a good thing to be producing more of.

So get yourself immersed in the trees, it is as simple, and as joyous as that.

And if you cannot get out of bed?  And even if you can:

Did you know that if you beat your chest, (or more specifically over your thymus, at the centre of your chest), you will stimulate the production of more of these killer cells.

A gentle regular thump of a few times each day  over the thymus, will stimulate this gland into action, rewarding you with increased immunity, strength and vitality.

In Feel Better, Thump your Thymus by Lisa Byrne she suggests that you:

“Do this for about 20 seconds and breathe deeply in and out. You can also add an affirmation such as “all is well in my world.”

You may know when you have activated the thymus gland as you will feel a little tingling or a subtle feeling of ‘joy’ or ‘happiness.’

Another variation is to do three thumps at a time but emphasise the first thump more firmly. For some people it may take a little time before you ‘feel’ anything. Persevere and you will get it and well worth it.

Do this every day to ensure your life energy and thymus gland is activated but do several times a day if you are suffering from anxiety, panic attacks or stress and allow your life energy to come alive.

Try to make it a regular practice.”

The Greek word ‘thymos’ means ‘life energy’.

So make it part of your daily routine to go down to the woods each day and behave like Tarzan.

The:

“Ahhhhhhh…ahh..ah..ah…ah…ahhhhhhhhh…”

might be a good way to let off steam too, but don’t say I told you to do it!

Do any of you know some great woods for losing yourself in?

With love, thumps, gorillas and Ahh…ah…ahh’s

Gemma x

 

“I’m walking on sunshine!” Vitamin D and autoimmunity.

The Autoimmune disease series.

Hello sunshine!

When you go outdoors in the summertime, eat certain foods or take a supplement you should be stocking up on your body’s stores of this vital vitamin.

If you wear suntan lotion, do an indoors job, or don’t get out much, have poor digestion or don’t supplement – you could be increasing your risk of developing (or exacerbating) autoimmune disease symptoms along with other diseases.  Also remember that the darker your skin, the harder it will be for you to absorb the vitamin D from sunlight.

Some symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include:

  • muscle/joint pain and weakness.
  • bone pain.
  • tiredness or fatigue.
  • depression.

Vitamin D has a role in regulating our immune system:

“has been shown to be involved in the prevention of certain pathological immune reactions leading to various autoimmune disorders (Type 1 diabetes, colitis, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and graft rejection) and asthma (and other atopic diseases)”

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/776915_7

The question is once you have an autoimmune condition, can you use vitamin D to get better?

In an Australian Study on Lupus patients, they decided that yes, indeed you can improve your symptoms by bringing your levels up to normal:

In systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) low vitamin D status is associated with higher disease activity and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), while over time, an increase in serum vitamin D levels correlates with reduced SLE activity.

http://lupus.bmj.com/content/2/1/e000064.abstract

I don’t suggest that you immediately go and buy yourself a supplement.  I do suggest that you absolutely make the best of the sunshine when it is there in your life.  It is the very best form of Vitamin D for your body.  Yet I do suggest that you get yourself tested; and while you are at it also test for:

  • B12
  • Ferritin
  • Alkaline Phosphatase

Too much Vitamin D can also be detrimental, (although relatively hard to do).

The following chart shows suggested levels:

vitamin d levels

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/11/21/how-to-get-your-vitamin-d-to-healthy-ranges.aspx

If you choose to supplement, use Vitamin D3(rather than 2) it is much better utilised.

I recently had an elderly gentleman contact me after I suggested that he get his levels checked and his levels were shockingly low.

So get tested and get your elderly relatives checked and then please let me know.  What are your levels?

Gemma x

 

Helping with Hashimoto’s

The Autoimmune Disease SeriesMH-Factoids

http://masteringhashimotos.com/

Dear All,

I am sorry for the late posting this week.  It has been an exciting one for me because I have just been accepted for a scholarship with The Hashimoto’s Institute, Clinician Training Program.

Before you dismiss this post, saying that your autoimmune disease is a different one, be aware that in the cases of autoimmune diseases the body is under attack from itself and just because it happens to be attacking one particular organ or area of your body, doesn’t mean that it won’t move somewhere else.  There can be a huge overlap of symptoms between the different autoimmune diseases, so it is important to be aware of what symptoms may arise.

For Hashimoto’s we see that symptoms can include:

  • fatigue.
  • weight gain.
  • hair loss, including thinning of the outer third of the eyebrows.
  • feeling more sensitive to the cold.
  • poor concentration.
  • dry skin, nails, and hair.
  • constipation.
  • drowsiness.
  • muscle soreness.
  • depression
  • heavy Periods

The great news is that with my clinician training I will be able to support you with new ideas for testing, look at infection protocols, tissue regeneration suggestions etc. I will be learning from some of the best in their field: Dr. Alan Christianson, NMD (The Doctor)​, Dr. Izabella Wentz, PharmD, FASCP (the Pharmacist) – and Andrea Nakayama, CNE, CNC (the Nutritionist ).  I have been following them for some time now, reading their work and watching their progress and I am therefore so excited to have been awarded this scholarship and the opportunity of  working with them.

There are so many of you looking for someone who can help you piece together what is going on in your body.  This training will help me to gain a much more specific understanding for those of you who have this disease.  However, through my nutritional training, I believe that the protocols that I will learn will very much support all autoimmune work that I do.

Watch this space as I will be sharing more of what I learn on this course with you over the coming weeks.

The course also offers question and answer session, so if you have any issues that you would like answers to fire away in the comment box below!

As always

With love

Gemma x

Sexual Healing; Heat up your kitchen with this Black Bean Salsa.

The Autoimmune Disease Series

I have taken this recipe from:  Intercourses:  An Aphrodisiac Cookbook, by Martha Hopkins

Have you been feeling like you have been falling apart  for too long now?  Feeling all fifty shades of grey? The heat in this recipe should put some voom into your life!

There are some great benefits to this salad:

  • Black turtle beans have come out on top of the other beans in a recent test for antioxidant properties and are fantastic for your colon.
  • Anti inflammatory properties of coriander – particularly for skin disorders.
  • The ‘Love fruit’ mango, is known for its aphrodisiac properties, high in vitamin E it helps to regulate sex hormones and is also packed with antioxidants and helps to alkalise the body.
  • Massive amounts of vitamin C in the peppers, will also help you to absorb iron.  Taking iron supplements can be quite toxic for the body so improving absorption through increasing vitamin c intake may be a better way to boost your levels.

Black bean salsa bowl

Recipe: Black Bean Salsa

  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 green pepper
  • 1/4 red pepper
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 115g canned black beans (or pre-cooked dried beans)
  • 75ml (3 fl oz) pineapple juice
  • 1 small bunch coriander
  • 1 tbls ground cumin
  • 1/2 tbls finely chopped green chilli
  • salt and pepper
  1. Soak the black beans and cook for 1 1/2 hours if using dried beans.
  2. Combine the mango, peppers, onion, black beans, pineapple juice and lime juice, coriander, cumin and chilli in a bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Chill.

Caution

Keep an eye on your symptoms for a couple of days after this salad.  If you find that any of your conditions worsen, particularly inflammation of the joints; then you may need to consider taking out the nightshade family from your diet for a while, to see if they are triggering your symptoms.

The nightshade family consists of Tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, aubergines, chillies and paprika, watch out too for curries and curry sauces, pastes and powders.   Use black pepper instead to add heat to your food.  Black pepper also aids digestion.

Also if you are having a time of flare ups there may already be too much heat in your system so don’t add fuel to the fire, concentrate instead on some cooling foods such as cucumber or melon.  Alternatively you can help to balance the heat by serving this black bean salad with some chilled non dairy coconut yoghurt – my latest find in Waitrose and health food shops.

Eat, pray, love.

Gemma x

Can this turn around for autism prove to be a vital link in your own autoimmune disease symptoms?

The Autoimmune Disease Series

 When I watched this TEDx talk I was moved to tears and I realised that it had to be my blog of the week.  I can’t say it enough, go back to basics; home cooking, food that you recognise…but watch out for the bouillon!

With Love
Gemma

Flax Seed Tea: the all important recipe for Hydration

LinseedsThe Autoimmune Disease Series

Recipe: Flax Seed Tea

Over the last few weeks I have been presenting a huge case for drinking plenty of water, especially if you have an autoimmune condition.  I have blogged about it and also uploaded my first video on it, for this Autoimmune series:  The five top reasons that you should be drinking more water if you suffer from an autoimmune disease.  So by now you should have got the message but also made a start on getting more of that life giving fluid into your body.

But what if your body just doesn’t absorb all that water?  What if instead it pours out of you like water from a hanging basket (when it doesn’t have enough water retaining gel in it)?

This gel can mean life or death to your plants through the summer and the Flax Seed Tea that I am about to show you,  can become your own water retaining gel.  The viscosity of this tea means that it will spend longer in your colon, giving it plenty more time to be absorbed along with all that gorgeous water in it.

Flax seeds are well known for their omega 3 fatty acid content (and if you don’t know much about that, sit tight because there will be plenty more about that over the upcoming weeks), but flax seeds drunk as a tea offer a huge benefit in the form of hydration.

 

“… if you are stressed your body can be like  a badly watered hanging basket. The water just goes straight through, hardly touching the sides! Linseed tea helps, because it is slightly gelatinous, this soothes and relaxes the colon, and allows it to absorb more water.”

I have posted a recipe before on making flax seed tea, but I believe that this one that Keith uses may allow the seeds to hold onto more of its therapeutic nutrients.

Flax seed tea recipe

Flaxseed tea saucepan

  1. Put 1 teaspoon of flax seed into a saucepan.
  2. Add 1 litre of fresh, filtered water
  3. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
  4. You can then sieve off the seeds if you wish (I keep mine in)
  5. Use this “gel” to make further cups of tea for the day by adding hot water to warm it again.  (Use about 1/4 – 1/3 cup flax seed tea and top up with hot water)

Hydration is the biggest benefit of flax seed tea that I am bringing to you today.  However regular drinking of flax seed tea offers many more therapeutic effects.  The mucilage in flax seed tea helps to:

  1. Soothe a sore throat and heartburn,
  2. Relax irritated lungs
  3. Sweep the colon and calm inflammation within it.  (Don’t take if suffering from a bowel obstruction)
  4. Reduce gas, bloating and abdominal cramps
  5. Relieve constipation

wonderwoman tea

Drink 1-2 cups of this flax seed tea per day in addition to 1-2 litres of water, to get your body water tight.

Wishing you all a very happy Easter

Gemma x