Oxidative stress and inflammation and why you should be taking curcumin…..

 

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Everyone’s talking about turmeric and curcumin ! Here’s why it’s such a popular topic and incredibly powerful health promoter….

 

Oxidative stress is a state where there are insufficient antioxidants to neutralise free radicals. Free radicals are a natural by-product of cellular function in the body which, left unchecked, can damage cells or create abnormal cells like cancer. Antioxidants act to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. Some antioxidants are made in the body but most come from the food we eat.

A good balance between free radicals and antioxidants leads to a healthy ‘redox state’ for cells. Too high or too low levels of ‘redox balance’ affects the efficiency of our cells and can lead to problems like premature aging, cell damage and dysfunction, cancer, heart disease, dementia and arthritis.

Antioxidants are our front line protection against cell damage, they improve general health outcomes and boost immune function

Inflammation is often thought to be a totally negative thing but in fact is incredibly important. It helps the body fight foreign invaders and also has a role in repairing damage. Without inflammation, pathogens like bacteria could progress unchecked making us very sick indeed.

Although acute inflammation is beneficial in protecting us such as when we are injured, it can become a major problem when it is chronic and inappropriately affecting our body’s own tissues.

Long term, low level inflammation plays a major role in almost every chronic Western disease. This includes heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s and various  conditions such as arthritis, IBS, Crohn’s disease, asthma, dermatitis etc. Sources of antioxidants that help fight chronic inflammation play a vital role in preventing and treating these diseases.

 

Curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory. Clinical trials have shown that it matches the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, has none of the nasty side effects and has the benefit of a number of other health promoting properties.

Curcumin is also a source of antioxidants and not only protects our cells from free radical damage but also boosts our bodies levels of antioxidant enzymes.

Curcumin has beneficial effects on several factors known to play a role in heart disease. It improves the function of the endothelium which has positive impacts on blood pressure and blood clotting reducing risks for cardiovascular events such as stroke and heart disease.

Other important benefits include management and reduction of arthritis symptoms, cancer treatment and prevention (through the modulating of cell damage, division and proliferation), treating depression by increasing BDNF which is vital to the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine

Curcumin is the active beneficial compound found in turmeric. The spice turmeric only provides about 3% curcuma by weight so it’s virtually impossible to receive a therapeutic dose through diet alone.

Curcumin, when taken as a supplement, is most effective when combined with a good quality fat source and pepper. Swallowing a few whole peppercorns when you take your curcumin will hugely increase its absorption.

 

Others  antioxidant supplements include :

Glutathione
Vitamin C and E
Alpha lipoic acid
CoQ10
Resveratrol
Carotenoids found in bright coloured fruit and vegetable.

 

Dietary sources :

Bright and dark fruit and veg – orange fruit and veg, berries, kiwi fruit, dark grapes, dark green leafy vegetables
Nuts
Tea – black and green
Whole grains

If you’re looking for ways to include more turmeric into your diet why not try this favourite of mine – Tofu and Chickpea Curry 

 

Prevention is better than cure !  Ways to reduce oxidative stress

Eat a low sugar diet
Exercise
Keep stress at a healthy level
Get enough sleep
Avoid smoking and alcohol
Minimise exposure to toxins – environmental and food sources, drugs

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Blood tests come back normal but you still feel bad ….

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Does this scenario sound familiar to you ? You don’t feel well. Something doesn’t feel right in your body.  You go to the GP, get some blood tests done and they all come back within the ‘normal range’. The GP tells you everything is fine and that’s that. You go home feeling like it must be in your head. No one has taken how you feel seriously. You still feel crappy, tired, down, sore or sick but there’s no ‘evidence’ so nothing gets done about it. You are within the ‘acceptable level of health’ but is it acceptable to you ?

If I had a dollar for each time I looked at a set of blood results and saw that things were not, in fact, all ok, I would be a lot wealthier than I am. It is rare for me to see a completely normal, unremarkable set of bloods. There is almost always something out of kilter or at least off the mark enough to indicate where there may be a problem.

The ‘normal ranges’ set for most pathology tests are not accurate for everyone.  They are based on averages of a wildly diverse group of people. For instance, your iron results might look normal on paper but would you still feel they were accurate if I told you that they were based on a reference range sourced from a group of men or women ranging in age from 18 – 69 years with little consideration given to factors such as disease, hormone status, level of activity or specific diets which all impact on peoples ability to use and store iron ?

Same goes for thyroid function. Natural health practitioners estimate that 10% of adult women are in the sub-optimal or low functioning range yet the stated ‘normal range’ doesn’t back this up. Standard testing accepts a thyroid stimulating hormone range of    0.5 – 4.0 mIU/L.  Anything below 1.0 or above 2.0 rings alarm bells for me. People may have many, many signs of thyroid dysfunction but if the tests are ‘in range’ you go home without any support for what can be a very difficult health issue.

So if you are feeling below par and want to know why book your appointment, bring in your paperwork and lets find some answers and solutions.

 

 

Autoimmune diseases….

Autoimmune diseases are becoming more and more common. Some commonly known autoimmune disorders include eczema, psoriasis, vitiligo, hay fever, thyroid diseases, MS, Crohn’s disease and IBS.

Autoimmune response occurs when there is a loss of discrimination between the body’s own cells and foreign cells. The body cannot recognise it’s own cells and attacks leading to an ongoing and often severe inflammatory response. This response is mediated via T- Helper cells which are the cells which drive our immune system’s actions. Two types of T Helper cells exist – TH1 and TH2, and they direct either cell driven or antibody immune responses.

Autoimmune disease can generally be categorised by their TH1 or TH2 drivers.

Some examples of  TH1 dominant diseases / disorders include : rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes, psoriasis, Crohns disease, Hashimotos disease (low thyroid function), vitiligo, Parkinson’s disease.

Some examples of TH2 dominant conditions include : allergies, eczema, hayfever, asthma, Graves disease (hyperthyroidism) and IBS.

The good news is that there are plenty of herbs and supplements which can calm the inappropriate immune response, reduce the inflammation and help you feel well again.

Call today to see how I can help you.

Follow your gut feeling …

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Did you know that 70% of your immune cells are in your gastrointestinal tract ? Your GI tract is home to lots of bacteria, about 400 different species – and weighs in at an impressive for 3-4 kilos !! Some are the good guys which keep us happy and healthy. Others can lead to reduced immune function, digestive issues like bloating and indigestion and can even affect your mood.

Some studies are showing that specific probiotic treatments given to pregnant women can prevent the occurence of some inherited predispositions such as allergy, eczema and asthma in their babies. Other studies show promising results in the treatment of autism.

One of the main functions of the GI tract is to keep the bad guys in check and this is made all the more difficult if your diet is out of whack. Too much refined sugar and a lack of fibre and whole foods can create the perfect breeding ground for these nasties and this is when the good guys get over run. Other factors which inhibit beneficial gut flora include antibiotics and other medications, stress, infections and disease.

Along with improved diet one of the best methods of correcting gut flora is to take a probiotic. There are lots and lots of different strains and it’s important to get the right one for your particular symptoms or health issues. Pro and prebiotics are used to treat conditions from travellers diarrhoea, asthma, eczema, to improve immune function and to lessen allergic responses.

Follow your gut feeling – when was the last time you felt really well ??? Maybe your tummy is trying to tell you something.

NaturoCath Naturopathy  02 45677104

info@naturocath.com.au

Dry July

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Do you drink beer, wine or spirits on a regular basis ?  In the interest of disclosure I have a glass or two of wine about four times a year. I’m not much of a drinker – more of a one pot screamer really. One glass I get loud and silly, two glasses and I’m asleep on the couch.

Drinking is such a big part of our social and cultural life. It can be a really nice way to spend an evening – some great food and a nice glass of wine – but it’s good to remember that alcohol is a depressant drug, slowing the central nervous system and putting a strain on detoxifying organs.

I was talking to a client recently who was telling me about how he is trying “Dry July” – a month alcohol free. It was a big decision for him to make given that he drinks around 2-4 alcoholic drinks every day. He wan’t sure about his ability to stay with it for the whole month but I think it’s great that he is giving it a try. One of the most valuable things he has gained from the experience so far is recognising that he isn’t waking up with his usual nasty headache which has become part of his daily life. It took a couple of weeks grog free for him to make the connection that this was the cause of his regular headache and morning fogginess.

We talked about his reasons for drinking – work stress, habit, to help him sleep – and looked at other ways we could address these issues without so much alcohol.

There are some scary facts out there about Australia’s alcohol consumption. According to the NHMRC 1:5 of us drinks at levels which place us at risk of alcohol related disease or injury.

81% of men and 84% of women drink alcohol on a regular basis. ABS statistics tell us that (for every person over the age of 15) 10.3 litres , or 2.3 drinks every day, are consumed annually. When you consider that some of us drink very little or not at all, some people out there must be hitting it hard.

Some people or groups just shouldn’t go anywhere near this stuff – pregnant women, anyone under the age of 18, those with known kidney or liver dysfunction, people dealing with mental illness and most medications are not great when mixed with alcohol.

The long term effects of regular alcohol use include :

  • heart damage
  • high blood pressure and stroke
  • liver disease
  • cancers of the digestive system
  • other digestive system disorders (eg stomach ulcers)
  • sexual impotence and reduced fertility
  • increasing risk of breast cancer
  • sleeping difficulties
  • brain damage with mood and personality changes
  • concentration and memory problems
  • nutrition-related conditions
  • risks to unborn babies.
  • increased risk of inflammation, insulin resistance
  • increased risk of depression and anxiety
  • obesity
  • stress on kidney, liver and pancreas

Even though this list is alarming alcohol is fairly low risk if the recommended guidelines are stuck to. A good guide is no more than two alcoholic drinks daily and at least three alcohol free days a week.

I am sometimes asked about red wine and it’s cardioprotective properties. Red wine, drunk in moderation, may have heart protective effects. Studies have shown that red wines contain powerful antioxidants that come from the skins of the grapes used to make the wine. Different grape antioxidants have different effects. One, which is only found in red wine, increases the level of good (HDL) cholesterol in the blood while simultaneously lowering the level of bad (LDL) cholesterol. Resveratrol, the antioxidant in red wine is available in a tablet form and this is my preferred method of getting the benefits.

If you feel like you may have a problem with alcohol, wonder if you are drinking too much or of you would like some help getting back on track call me today. Tel 02 45677104 – your liver will thank you for it.

Read more: http://www.naturaltherapypages.com.au/article/the_effects_of_alcohol#ixzz21DJkBuDq

Inflammation – putting out the fire

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Inflammation can affect anywhere in our bodies. Externally we see swelling, redness and pain usually as a result of a sprain, insect bite, cut or graze. Internally, it can be caused by poor diet, lifestyle choices, stress, autoimmune disorders, disease, aging, injury or exposure to toxins and chemicals.

Many inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, joint and muscle pains, digestive disorders such as Crohn’s Disease and IBS, migraine, asthma, eczema, fibromylagia, lupus (SLE) can be helped by adopting a low inflammation diet and herbal and nutritional support to reduce the immune response casuing the inflammation.

Inflammation is often associated with an over reactive immune response. Given that 2/3 of our immune system is in our gut it makes sense to be careful with our gastrointestinal system and what we put into it.

Chronic inflammaion leaves us at an increased risk of heart disease and artheroclerosis, cancers, depression and anxiety, weight gain. It also leaves us more susceptible to disease and infection.

Do you ever wake up feeling stiff, sore and achy ? Most people think this is just part of getting older or that they may have some arthritis but it can be a strong sign of systemic inflammation. If you feel like this, or have an inflammatory disorder call to see how I can help you.

There are many safe and effective herbs and supplements such as hops, turmeric, selenium and zinc which can quench the inflammation fire and do so without the risks often associated with pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories such as Nurofen and Celebrex.

Email info@naturocath.com.au or call 02 4567104 for your free anti-inflammation diet and information sheet.

The facts on red meat

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Meat eaters be warned – you are not going to like what you hear. It’s time to have a long hard look at your meat consumption and to decide whether you want to keep consuming foods that give you heart disease, cancer and ramp up your risk of early death. Harsh but true – read on.

A Harvard University study has tracked 120,000 people over 28 years to asses the affects of red meat in diet.

Particpants who ate unprocessed read meat daily (a palm sized portion) showed a 13% increased risk of premature death. For those who ate processed red meats the risk jumped to 20%.

Red meats, especially processed ones like salami, bacon and hot dogs, contain nitrites, preservatives, colourings, carcinogens and salt. Both processed and unprocessed meats are high in saturated fats and can lead to heart disease, high cholesterol levels and cancer.

The facts are in and you know what to do. Significantly limit your intake of red meat if you want to look after your heart, live longer and reduce your risk of bowel cancer. Why not kick off the week with ‘Meatless Mondays”.

The risks associated with eating other meats such as poultry and fish are significantly less. For a healthy, risk free option why not give other forms of protein such as tofu, eggs, beans and nuts a try.

Looking for meat free recipes ??? Go to http://www.naturocath.com.au/Naturocath/Food_%26_Recipes/Food_%26_Recipes.html

STRESS !!!!!

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Stress is a killer, literally. There are many forms of stress and the most common are acute and chronic stress.

Acute stress, where you are reacting to a specific incident or occurence is not always bad and often helps us to giddy up and deal with difficult situations. We all know how it is to feel stressed in traffic jams or when your car breaks down and we also know that this type of stress response abates fairly quickly once the problem is resolved.

The nastier side of stress is chronic stress. This type of stress can feel never ending and is the kind that can really take a toll on our sense of wellbeing and  health. Chronic stress can become part of our lives when difficult things feel like they have taken over -such as an unhappy relationship, taxing job, debilitating illness, family issues, financial worries.

When we are chronically stressed our bodies are pumping out adrenalin and cortisol causing all sorts of unwanted body responses which affect our health in lots of ways. Our normal relaxation responses which stop this ‘fight and flight’ response just doesn’t work well enough to keep things in check and we are at risk of developing lots of physical issues such as headaches, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, hairloss, diabetes, thyroid and adrenal disorders, increased risks for heart disease and cancers.

This list of horrors is enough to make anyone feel stressed ! The good news is there is lots you can do to minimise stress in your life and take control of your health.

A good diet, quality sleep, making some changes to reduce your exposure to stressors, exercise, having some daily fun, counselling and herbal medicines can help you get back on track and bring your quality of life back to a place you can feel happier about. We only get one life, do you really want to spend it feeling overwhelmed, worried and angry ?

Call me today to see how I can support you in making some great choices for yourself and your health.