List of Covid-19 clinical vulnerable/extremely vulnerable

Clinically vulnerable people
People in this category of risk include:
Anyone aged 70 and older (regardless of medical conditions)
Anyone under 70 with an underlying health condition (that is, anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds) – such as:
chronic (long-term) mild to moderate respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
chronic kidney disease
chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy
diabetes
a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines (such as steroid tablets )
being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)
pregnant women

Clinically extremely vulnerable people
People in this category of risk include:
Solid organ transplant recipients.
People with specific cancers:
people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy
people with lung cancer who are undergoing radical radiotherapy
people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
people having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
People with rare diseases that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), homozygous sickle cell).
People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection.
Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.
Other people have also been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable, based on clinical judgement and an assessment of their needs. GPs and hospital clinicians have been provided with guidance to support these decisions.

More information about who has been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable is available on the NHS Digital website.

Return to practice key changes

KEY CHANGES

Consultations
To reduce the amount face to face contact time all pre-treatment consultations will take place via Zoom or Cliniko the day before treatment takes place. A Health Consultation Information Consent form will be emailed to you after the consultation which should be emailed back to me if possible or bought to the treatment appointment ( emailed version would be preferred).
A Consent Form will be need to signed with every visit until otherwise notified by the British Acupuncture Council

Temperature Check
Your temperature will be taken on arrival using a Hands-Free Thermometer
Hand Washing/Sanitising
On arrival before entering the treatment room you will be asked to sanitise your hands as per instructions . This is repeated before leaving too.
Treatment Spacing
There will be a minimum of 30 minutes between each patient treatment to ensure thorough cleaning/disinfecting and airing of the room via opening of windows.
Please arrive as close to your appointment time to prevent any meeting of other patients. Please come alone to your treatment
Masks
Please ensure that you wear a face mask as soon as you arrive, if you do not have one, one will be provide for you. This mask should be worn for the duration of your appointment.
PPE for Practitioner
During the appointment I will be wearing fluid resistant surgical mask, disposable gloves and apron and visor. Also hand washing before and after any contact with you or surfaces.
Cleaning
All surface will be deep cleaned between each patient following a cleaning schedule. This includes surfaces such as door handles, key pads, desk and treatment surfaces, treatment couches, plastic chairs, payment terminals and bins.
All couches and pillows have PVC covers and are disinfectable, but will be also covered with disposable paper towel and any cloth towels used will be changed for every patient and will be washed at 60 degree.
Clothes
I have specially dedicated clothes for the clinic that will only be worn during the time of treatment. I will be using disposable aprons over these dedicated clothes and will change the aprons after each treatment.
High Risk Patients
At this time, I will not be seeing Clinically vulnerable people . If you are uncertain whether you fall into this group please call and I can clarify this for you. This is for your safety. I will continually monitor the BacC Guidelines for additional information.
The ‘clinically vulnerable’ category includes ‘pregnant women’. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have identified that women in the third trimester of pregnancy are at a higher level of vulnerability then those in the first and second. You can find out more detailed information on this point here https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/2020-05-22-occupational-health-advice-for-employers-and-pregnant-women-during-the-covid-19-pandemic.pdf

Payment
Please note all payments should be done online prior to treatment. No cash will be accepted

Patients must inform me if they develop any Covid-19 symptoms or have a confirmed diagnosis within 14 days of leaving my practice. Government Track and Trace Procedures will then be followed.
Please see Data Protection information in the link below:

https://ico.org.uk/global/data-protection-and-coronavirus-information-hub/data-protection-and-coronavirus/health-social-care-organisations-and-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know/?fbclid=IwAR0RKixFsc3fVaiB7JTymv62754EYiMTXzct380J3xgUxcPPxzivUoPpG4Y

Research shows Acupuncture has positive impact on IVF

Acupuncture has positive impact on the birth rate of sub fertile women undergoing IVF/ICSI, studies show.

Key Points

  • A recent high-level review found acupuncture to significantly improve birth rate.
  • A summary of 11 reviews up to 2017 found acupuncture to significantly improve clinical pregnancy rate but scientific methods need to be improved.
  • Experimental research should explore the impact of acupuncture on follicular development with the aim to improve embryo/blastocyst quality.
  • Acupuncture is a suitable treatment option to help reduce stress and anxiety levels.

What should you know?

A recent systematic review and meta-analysis (the highest level of research for evaluating the effects of a treatment) investigated the effects of acupuncture on sub fertile women during in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).1

A total of 3,188 sub fertile women from 12 randomised controlled trials were included in this latest investigation.

What did the research find?

Acupuncture significantly improved the live birth rate of sub fertile patients undergoing IVF/ICSI.

Why is this important?

In the UK, the overall birth rate following assisted reproduction is only 21% to 22% (fresh and frozen transfer). The birth rate varies with age and the type of transfer (see Table 1).

Table 1 UK birth rates per embryo transfer2
Age Range Fresh Cycle Transfer Frozen Cycle Transfer
35 and under 29% 26%
35–37 23% 23%
38–39 15% 21%
40–42 10% 15%
43–44 7% 14%

Live birth rate can be considered the most important measure of success for sub fertile people undergoing assisted reproductive treatment.

Acupuncture has been shown to have a significant treatment effect on live birth rates, indicating that it may complement an IVF/ICSI cycle.

What is different about this new systematic review and meta-analysis?

Researchers did not just focus on trials with a limited number of sessions around the time of egg collection or embryo transfer but also included those with more extensive acupuncture treatment.

What has other research indicated?

A recent overview of systematic reviews from 2009 up to 2017, found that acupuncture given at the time of egg collection/embryo transfer improved clinical pregnancy rates3.

The authors did not find a significant effect for live birth rates when acupuncture was administered around egg collection only or embryo transfer only. This evidence was graded as low quality, which means that the true effect of acupuncture administration could be substantially different from this overview’s findings.

The inconclusiveness of the evidence-base in this overview reflects the inadequacy of the scientific methods applied so far to evaluate the effects of acupuncture. Future experimental recommendations included a focus on acupuncture to influence embryo quality via improvement of egg quality, rather than treating women only after fertilisation.

One very recent trial from Australia is not included in the reviews discussed above4. It was the largest randomised trial so far of acupuncture with IVF but technical issues make its conclusions hard to relate to routine clinical practice.

A 2018 trial from China looked specifically at having acupuncture just during the follicular phase of IVF/ICSI and found it improved ovarian blood supply and pregnancy rate5.

Overall, research on acupuncture alongside IVF/ICSI is by no means conclusive and is ongoing.

Acupuncture improves emotional wellbeing during IVF

Assisted reproduction treatment can be stressful and interventions to support the psychological impact of subfertility and fertility treatment should be offered. Studies indicate that acupuncture treatment can reduce stress and/or anxiety and increase women’s ability to cope with the IVF process6.

When should I have acupuncture?

A comprehensive acupuncture treatment management strategy may be required leading up to an IVF/ICSI cycle (pre-treatment), and then during ovarian stimulation, with an aim to influence the development of ovarian follicles. In addition, treatment may also be provided around embryo transfer, and shortly afterwards during the two-week wait prior to a pregnancy test, to possibly influence implantation and relieve stress and anxiety resulting from uncertainty.

Research indicates that the effectiveness of acupuncture may be dose-dependent, i.e. you need to have a sufficient number of sessions over an adequate period of time.

References

  1. Zhang X et al (2018). Effects of acupuncture during in vitro fertilization or intracytoplasmic sperm injection: An updated systematic review and meta-analysis. European Journal of Integrative Medicine 23: 14–25.
  2. Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (2018). Fertility treatment 2014–2016: Trends and figures. Available at: https://www.hfea.gov.uk/media/2563/hfea-fertility-trends-and-figures-2017-v2.pdf [23 October 2018].
  3. Xi J et al (2018). Effects of Acupuncture on the Outcomes of Assisted Reproductive Technology: An Overview of Systematic Reviews. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2018:7352735.
  4. Smith CA et al (2018). Effect of Acupuncture vs Sham Acupuncture on Live Births Among Women Undergoing In Vitro Fertilization: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA 319(19):1990-1998.
  5. Xu ZZ, Gao Y (2018). Effects of acupuncture on ovarian blood supply and pregnancy outcomes in patients receiving assisted reproduction. Journal of Acupuncture and Tuina Science 16(4):253-259
  6. Smith CA et al (2014).The effect of acupuncture on psychosocial outcomes for women experiencing infertility: a pilot randomized controlled trial. J Altern Complement Med 17(10):923-30

Additional Info

  • Terms and conditions: Terms and conditions The use of this fact sheet is for the use of British Acupuncture Council members and is subject to the strict conditions imposed by the British Acupuncture Council details of which can be found in the members area of its website www.acupuncture.org.uk.
Last modified on Monday, 26 November 2018 22:21

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Contact

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London W12 9HQ

Phone: 020 8735 0400
Fax: 020 8735 0404
Email: info@acupuncture.org.uk

© British Acupuncture Council 2016

RE-OPENING OF CLINIC

After being closed for over 12 weeks due to the COVID 19 ,I have now decided to re-open and start booking appointments from Monday 22nd June 2020.
This will be done following the ‘ STAYING COVID -19 SECURE IN 2020’ guidelines issued by the government and the British Acupuncture Council my governing body.
Hopefully it will still remain a welcoming and relaxing environment for you. Please find below all the steps that will be necessary to keep us all safe
If you feel that you are not ready to resume face to face treatments, but would like to discuss any issue with me book a mini consultation with me. https://www.ecotherapies.co.uk/bookings/

KEY CHANGES

Consultations
To reduce the amount face to face contact time all pre-treatment consultations will take place via Zoom or Cliniko the day before treatment takes place. A Health Consultation Information Consent form will be emailed to you after the consultation which should be emailed back to me if possible or bought to the treatment appointment ( emailed version would be preferred).
A Consent Form will be need to signed with every visit until otherwise notified by the British Acupuncture Council

Temperature Check
Your temperature will be taken on arrival using a Hands-Free Thermometer
Hand Washing/Sanitising
On arrival before entering the treatment room you will be asked to sanitise your hands as per instructions . This is repeated before leaving too.
Treatment Spacing
There will be a minimum of 30 minutes between each patient treatment to ensure thorough cleaning/disinfecting and airing of the room via opening of windows.
Please arrive as close to your appointment time to prevent any meeting of other patients. Please come alone to your treatment
Masks
Please ensure that you wear a face mask as soon as you arrive, if you do not have one, one will be provide for you. This mask should be worn for the duration of your appointment.
PPE for Practitioner
During the appointment I will be wearing fluid resistant surgical mask, disposable gloves and apron and visor. Also hand washing before and after any contact with you or surfaces.
Cleaning
All surface will be deep cleaned between each patient following a cleaning schedule. This includes surfaces such as door handles, key pads, desk and treatment surfaces, treatment couches, plastic chairs, payment terminals and bins.
All couches and pillows have PVC covers and are disinfectable, but will be also covered with disposable paper towel and any cloth towels used will be changed for every patient and will be washed at 60 degree.

Clothing

I have specially dedicated clothes for the clinic that will only be worn during the time of treatment. I will be using disposable aprons over these dedicated clothes and will change the aprons after each treatment.
High Risk Patients
At this time, I will not be seeing Clinically vulnerable people . If you are uncertain whether you fall into this group please call and I can clarify this for you. This is for your safety. I will continually monitor the BacC Guidelines for additional information.

Payments
Please note all payments should be done online prior to treatment. No cash will be accepted

Fertile Cervical Mucus , Nature’s way of letting you know that you are now fertile !

Cervical Mucus

What is it? It is comprised of mucus molecules, water,   various enzymes and proteins, sodium chloride and potassium.  Without Fertile Cervical Mucus sperm would not survive long enough to even get the opportunity to fertilize the egg.

It is produced by the cervix as your oestrogen levels start to increase in the first half of your menstrual cycle, (follicular phase) on average about 5 days before you ovulate. These days before ovulation are known as your fertile window. During this time it is possible for the sperm to survive in the fallopian tubes until ovulation happens and the egg is released from the ovary and travels along the tubes to meet up with the surviving sperms. If you have sex during this window(before ovulation) it is  possible to get pregnant

Why is Fertile Mucus so important

  • It changes the pH in the vagina from its usual acidic state to a more alkaline during the fertile window. The  normal acidic state inside the vagina would only allow the sperm to survive there for just a couple of hours.
  • It keeps the sperm alive for up to 5 days ,providing nutrients
  • transports the sperm into the uterus and  into the fallopian tubes
  • filters out poor quality sperm
  • It prepares the sperm to be able to fertilize the egg via a process called capacitation

After ovulation the mucus changes in response to the hormone progesterone produced after ovulation( from the left over shell known as the Corpus Luteum ). It dries up forming a mucus plug that blocks the cervix and vagina becomes acidic again.

How to identify fertile cervical mucus

During your fertile window 2 types of cervical mucus are produced, peak mucus and non-peak.

Peak mucus is clear, stretchy,and or lubricative/slippery, very similar to raw egg white and stretches between your fingers. You will notice when you wipe yourself after using the toilet it feels slippery and you experience a feeling of wetness during the day.

Non-peak mucus is white, not stretchy between the fingers, it feels similar to white hand lotion or maybe sticky. This usually appears after the dry days after your period and then transitions into  peak  mucus.

Though both mucus are considered to be fertile, the peak mucus is produced closer to ovulation and is higher in the sperm friendly qualities.

Things that can affect the amount of mucus you produce

  • Recently stopped taking the birth control pill
  • As you get older
  • Antihistamines, Clomid  & Progesterone
  • Water in take
  • Paraben free lubricants can be helpful

So if you take note of  the signs your body is showing you ,it is possible to know your most fertile time, whether you are trying to conceive or trying to avoid pregnancy.

If you feel that you would like some coaching on how to discover your fertile window or fertile signs, please book a free 10 minute consultation here to see if you would like to work with me

If you would like to read more about the cervical mucus  a great book to start with is ‘The fifth vital sign’ by Lisa Henderson-Jacks

Are You Struggling to get Pregnant or Stay Pregnant?

Are You Struggling to get Pregnant or Stay Pregnant?

If you’re struggling to or stay pregnant that’s a sign that something isn’t right with your health, even if you’ve  not had a diagnosis from your GP.

Your body is incredibly intelligent when it comes to your health and conception. It has an innate ability to know when the conditions are optimal to conceive a baby and when they are not. Your body identifies that you are not healthy enough to have a baby or its not the right time to conceive.Fertility is all about survival.

Often couples are given the diagnosis of “Unexplained infertility”, but there is no such thing, there is always a reason, but often conventional medicine doesn’t dig deep enough or they don’t have the right tools to get to the root of the problem.

This is where  I can use my experience and the tools Functional Medicine and  Chinese Medicine to help you work to identify what it is that might be getting in  the way and interfering with you body’s natural ability to conceive.

We will work together  to fix the roots cause of your struggle to conceive naturally or support your journey through IVF if necessary.

My Online Video Fertility Coaching Program can help couples whether you are already struggling with your fertility or  you know you want a baby in the future and want to prepare.

So What Does the Online Coaching Program involve?

1 hour Initial Online Video Consultation- This is where it starts, here we get to know each other, an in depth consultation takes place, you tell me about your fertility journey so far. I will ask a variety of questions such as what age did you start you periods, were they regular. What types of childhood illness did you have, are suffering with any present health issues. What tests you or your partner have had so far and how long ago. Is there a family history of fertility?  How are you monitoring your fertility? Do you have any allergies or food sensitivities and how well to you cope with stress and how much good quality sleep do you get? and much more.

As you can see there are so many questions that I need to ask to get to the root cause of your particular fertility issue, no two couples are the same.

At the end of the consultation I will usually  give you some homework to do until our next session and in the next a couple of days I will email your Fertility Plan of Action

After your initial consultation we will meet on a weekly or every other week to coach you on various aspect of fertility and you any ask me questions that have come up since we last spoke.

  • Testing
  • Diet and Supplements
  • Toxins
  • Sleep, stress and exercise

Each of these session will last approximately 30minutes

If you feel that this is what you have been looking for, you can book a 10 minute free consultation Here to ask any questions Or you can book your Online Video Fertility Coaching Program Here

 

 

VITAMIN D AND FERTILITY

VITAMIN D

Vitamin D is actually a hormone, one of its main role is to balance the levels of calcium and phosphorus  in our blood.

Other functions include:

  • Regulating blood sugar and insulin sensitivity
  • Immune health
  • Gene expression
  • Mental health
  • Cell growth and differentiation
  • Cardiovascular health

Recent studies suggest that vitamin D status may have an impact on fertility, pregnancy, miscarriage, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, pre-term birth and  negative birth outcomes.

Biological actions of vitamin D are controlled through vitamin D receptors (VDR) that are distributed across various tissues .

The presence of VDR in reproductive tissues in both males and females suggests a possible important role in the regulation of reproductive processes. In females, VDR are expressed in the ovaries, placenta, and endometrium . In males, VDR can be found in smooth muscles of the genital tract, testicular tissue, and sperm .

Studies in women suggest that the vitamin D is involved in  endometriosis  and associated with insulin resistance and Polycystic ovarian syndrome and early miscarriage

A recent study showed that the levels of Vitamin D in the  serum and follicular fluid concentrations  in the ovaries  were associated  with higher  rates of success in achieving a clinical pregnancy in IVF cycles.

Decreased vitamin D levels  in men have been associated with poor semen quality, low sperm count, and abnormal motility and morphology.

How to get enough Vitamin D

The best way to get your Vitamin D is through sun exposure. Hence the name the Sunshine Vitamin. It  can be difficult to get enough from the sun if you live in the Northern hemisphere, especially during the winter, if you have dark skin tone or you wear sunscreen.

Best food sources of Vitamin D are:

  • Cod liver oil
  • Fatty Fish (salmon, trout, tuna, sardines)
  • Egg yolks
  • Beef liver
  • Full fat milk from grass fed cows

It can often be difficult to get sufficient from the sun and food alone

Its always best to test and not guess to find out if  your levels of vitamin D are optimum . Levels above  75nmoI/L are optimum. Easy to test your vitamin D levels  here

If your Vitamin levels are deficient, it is easier to increase  them with Vitamin D supplements, then retest in 3 months time

Food based Vitamin D supplements available here

Interesting article to read  10 things you didn’t know about Vitamin D

 

 

The Oestrogen ‘Roller Coaster’ of Perimenopause

Natural alternatives for the Menopause

As an experienced Acupuncturist and Functional Medicine Practitioner, I have found that combining acupuncture  with nutritional, supplements and lifestyle advice may provide natural effective relief from some of the numerous symptoms from hormonal imbalance such as the menopause/perimenopause.

 is it menopause  or Perimenopause?

Perimenopause can start in your early 40s, Hot flushes, insomnia, mood swings and very heavy periods. This is not the menopause, this could still be another decade away, this is the Perimenopause.  The word Menopause is often used instead of perimenopause. Menopause is a time of low ostrogen, were as perimenopause is a time of oestrogen roller coaster, a time when you can have more ostrogen than you have had before. It is actually a time of low progesterone.

Perimenopause can last between 2 and 12 years. Menopause is the life phase that begins 1 year after  your last period, when most of these symptoms calm down.

What are the symptoms of perimenopause?

There are a number of symptoms attributed to perimenopause according to the Canadian endocrinologist Jerilynn Prior such as:

  • Onset of heavy and/or longer periods
  • shorter cycles (less than 25 days)
  • New sore, swollen or lumpy breasts
  • New mid-sleep waking
  • increased menstrual cramps
  • onset of night sweats particular just before periods
  • new/increase migraines
  • new/increase premenstrual mood swings
  • weight gain without changes in exercise or eating patterns
  • These changes can come on quite quickly
  • All the above symptoms(especially brain fog/poor concentration) can look like Thyroid issues, it couldbe either or both, so please get your thyroid checked (26% of perimenopausal women have autoimmune thyroid disease)                             Get a comprehensive thyroid test here

 

 Menopause- Life after periods

Menopause can be difficult for some, but often its the perimenopause/ transition period that’s troublesome. Often menopause can be easy and some women may not require treatment.

During this phase you have much less oestrogen  and progesterone, but your body does produce small amounts from your ovaries, adrenal glands and from inside your  cells from the precursor hormone DHEA.

In certain conditions such as Premature or surgical menopause HRT will be required.

Menopause symptoms due to low oestrogen:

  • Hot flushes
  • vaginal dryness
  • reduce libido
  • painful intercourse
  • increased bladder infection/leaking urine
  • pelvic prolaps
  • weight gain
  • osteoporosis

 Treatments

The types of treatment required depends at which phase you are in Perimenpause will focus on supporting progesterone and menopause may need oestrogen support.

Many women are offered  Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to ease their symptoms by their doctors. Some women prefer a more natural approach or they may not  be able to take HRT due to previous medical history.  This can be very effective, but I would always recommend you request body-identical (Bio-identical) forms of HRT (less side affects)

Natural approach

Using acupuncture, supplements  along with a changes in your diet and life style can  help to relieve the symptoms of hormonal imbalance of the perimenopause/menopause.

 

If you interested to find out how I can help with Perimenopause/Menopause  in Leigh on Sea, Essex or the London Area and want an appointment telephone 07949407336 or email me.

Is a gluten free diet harming your health?

Is a gluten free diet harming your health?
Growing availability of testing uncovers more people each day that have gluten intolerance. For them, gluten free must become a way of life. It’s likely that some of people are struggle with undiagnosed gluten intolerance as well. But while many transition to a gluten free life to reduce symptoms, they often adopt some bad gluten free habits. A gluten free diet doesn’t always equal healthy.

Having recently been diagnosed with gluten intolerance I can relate to this.

What is Gluten Intolerance?

Those with gluten intolerance have a difficult time digesting the protein Gliadin. Gliadin can be found in most grains. The inability to digest gliadin properly causes a wide variety of symptoms. It also results in immune reactions throughout the body. Gluten intolerance has also been linked to autoimmune disease.

A Gluten Free Diet is Not Always Healthy

Today’s modern diet typically contains a large amount of foods that contain gluten. While switching to a gluten free diet, many simply swap out highly processed gluten filled foods for gluten free ones. Eliminating the gluten that causes problems in their body is good. But eating highly processed foods with high amounts of refined sugar and carbohydrates should be avoided. These foods cause blood sugar fluctuation and promote disease just like their gluten filled cousins. “A gluten free sugar laden cake , is just a cake without gluten’

 

Food manufacturers have jumped on the gluten free bandwagon. Gluten free foods have become big business. Just go to your local grocery store and you’ll see plenty of highly processed, unhealthy gluten free foods.

The Simplicity of a Healthy Gluten Free Diet

A healthy diet includes plenty of natural whole foods such as meat, fruit and vegetables. People have consumed these foods for millions of years. These foods also help to rebuild good health. And none of these foods contain gluten, which helps those avoiding it.

A Change in Diet Can Be Healthy

Many face challenging emotions when having to eliminate gluten from their diet. Completely changing how they eat and giving up favourite foods can be a struggle. But moving away from gluten and highly processed gluten free products can lead to a much better quality of life.

 

Most people with gluten intolerance don’t feel good. Many have come to accept it as normal. But by choosing a healthy, whole food, gluten free diet, they often eliminate digestive discomfort, fatigue, mood problems and skin issues and much more.. And they may even reverse disease. Following a healthy gluten free diet based on natural whole foods increases their chances of being active, pain free and disease free well into their old age.

Choosing the healthy diet

Awareness of gluten intolerance spreads more each day. With it comes even more gluten free alternatives to popular processed foods. I try to educate my clients about the dangers of these foods. And encourage them to opt for a diet filled with gluten free, natural whole foods and help them to rebuild their health and thrive

I recommend a gluten free diet to clients that are struggling with infertility, especially if they have endometriosis, Polycystic ovarian syndrome, thyroid problems or any type of autoimmune issue

 

The importance of the thyroid gland for fertility

New research suggests that a slightly underactive thyroid may affect a women’s ability to become pregnant

even when the gland is functioning at the low end of the normal range, according to a study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

The study found women who have unexplained infertility were nearly twice as likely to have higher levels of a hormone that stimulates the thyroid gland than women who did not conceive due to known issues with their male partner’s sperm count. Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is produced by the pituitary gland at the base of the brain and tells the thyroid gland to produce more hormones when needed. Elevated TSH levels can be a sign that the thyroid gland is underactive.

Unexplained infertility occurs when couples are unable to get pregnant despite months of trying and a medical evaluation shows no reason for their infertility. About 10 percent of American women between the ages of 15 and 44 have difficulty becoming or staying pregnant, according to the Office of Women’s Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Between 10 percent and 30 percent of affected couples have unexplained infertility, according to the JCEM study.

“When couples who are ready to start a family are unable to conceive despite extensive planning, multiple doctor’s visits, and expensive treatments, it can be emotionally devastating,” said the study’s senior author, Pouneh K. Fazeli, M.D., M.P.H., of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass. “Since our study shows that women with unexplained infertility have higher TSH levels compared to women experiencing infertility due to a known cause, more research is needed to determine whether treating these higher TSH levels with thyroid hormone can improve their chances of getting pregnant.”

As part of the cross-sectional study, the researchers analyzed data from female patients between the ages of 18-39 years of age who were diagnosed with infertility at Partners HealthCare System hospitals in Boston, Mass., between 2000 and 2012. Only women with regular menstrual cycles and a normal fertility evaluation were included. The researchers looked at TSH levels taken as part of the fertility evaluation from 187 women with unexplained infertility and 52 whose partners had severe male factor infertility.

The researchers found that women with unexplained infertility had significantly higher TSH levels than women with infertility due to a known cause. Nearly twice as many women with unexplained infertility had a TSH greater than 2.5 mlU/L compared to women whose partners had male factor infertility.      Get your TSH tested here

“Since we now know from our study that there is an association between TSH levels at the high end of the normal range and unexplained infertility, it is possible that a high-normal TSH level may negatively impact women who are trying to get pregnant,” Fazeli said. “This could open up new avenues for possible treatments. The next step will be to see if lowering TSH levels will help this group conceive.”

Get a comprehensive thyroid test here

Journal Reference:

  1. Tahereh Orouji Jokar, Lindsay T Fourman, Hang Lee, Katherine Mentzinger, Pouneh K Fazeli. Higher TSH levels within the normal range are associated with unexplained infertility. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2017; DOI: 10.1210/jc.2017-02120

7 Toxins Lurking in your Deodorant

 7 Toxins Lurking in your Deodorant

 While many deodorants may work for sweat patrol, they can be a sneaky source of toxins that are dangerous to your health.

Your skin is an absorbent sponge. Whatever touches it has the potential to be absorbed through your skin’s layers and enter your bloodstream. This includes toxins and chemicals that can be found in lotions, makeup, shampoo, and even the deodorant you swipe on every day.

Many of the conventional body care products we use on a daily basis are made with a long list of chemicals, many of which haven’t been tested for safety. When these chemicals are absorbed into our bodies, it’s our liver’s job to detoxify them. While this creates extra work for your liver, many of the chemicals found in body care products have been shown to disrupt hormone and cognitive function, and in some cases, promote the growth of cancer cells (1).

The deodorant you use can directly affect your breast health.

Today, there’s a growing concern regarding underarm deodorant and breast health. Since deodorant is applied directly beside the breasts, it’s suggested there’s potential for harmful chemicals to damage breast cells. Clinical observations have shown “a disproportionately high incidence of breast cancer in the upper outer quadrant of the breast, just the local area to which these cosmetics are applied” (2).

However, you don’t have to give up deodorant altogether. When it comes to 100% natural, chemical-free body care products, such as coconut oil or shea butter, dermal absorption isn’t a problem. But knowing which chemicals to stay away from when choosing your deodorant can make all the difference to your health and well-being.

Here are 7 of the worst ingredients found in deodorants and how to find a safe, natural replacement that actually works.


The 7 Worst Ingredients Found in Your Deodorant

alum.jpg

1. Aluminum

If you have an antiperspirant stick somewhere in your bathroom, I’m willing to bet that if you look at the ingredients list you’ll find some kind of aluminum component on the label, such as aluminum chloride, aluminum zirconium or aluminum chlorohydrate.

You see, aluminum, or aluminum-based compounds and salts, are the main ingredients in most antiperspirants. The aluminum helps “plug up” sweat ducts so less sweat is produced.

Now, this may be helpful in the short-term for controlling perspiration. However, chemicals such as aluminum found in antiperspirants may alter the balance of odor-causing bacteria in your armpits, which can make the smell of your B.O. worse.

Even more concerning is research showing that aluminum can cause changes in DNA when absorbed – preventing certain cells in your body from working properly (3).

Aluminum deodorant can cause changes in DNA and hormones.

Based on where deodorant is applied – right next to breast tissue – research suggests that aluminum may interfere with estrogen receptors and alter estrogen gene expressions. This is troubling data, as estrogen is the hormone that can promote the growth of cancer breast cells (4).

And let’s not forget: while breast cancer is thought of as a female cancer, it also affects approximately 2,600 American men each year (5).

As a heavy metal, aluminum is also recognized as a neurotoxin that can promote serious cognitive disorders, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (6). And while it’s argued that the amounts of aluminum we absorb from our environment and body care products are miniscule, it’s suggested that only a very small amount of excess aluminum in our bodies is needed to alter the structure of cells.

The first step to finding a safe deodorant is looking for “aluminum-free” on the label.

2. Parabens

Parabens.jpg
(Propylparaben, benzylparaben, methylparaben, butylparaben)

Parabens, a preservative and antimicrobial found in commercial deodorants, are linked to hormonal imbalances within the female and male reproductive tracts (7).

Studies on breast cancer tumors have shown concentrations of methylparabens in breast tissue, which suggests there’s a link between parabens and breast cancer cell development (8).

In addition to deodorant, parabens are also found in other cosmetics, body lotions, perfumes and moisturizers.

3. Propylene Glycol

(1,2-propanediol, methyl glycol, 1,2 dihydroxypropane and trimethyl glycol)

Propylene glycol helps absorb water, making it an ideal ingredient for antiperspirants.

Unfortunately, research suggests that propylene glycol has a negative impact on the central nervous system, and may be linked to seizures and depression. Although more research is needed on how the propylene glycol in deodorant impacts health, studies show that as a main component in burn creams, propylene glycol is most dangerous when it’s applied to and absorbed through injured skin (which includes a nick or cut from underarm shaving) (9).

4. Talc

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Talc, which also goes by the name hydrous magnesium silicate, is one of the ingredients that provides the chalk-white color to deodorant.

There’s a lack of evidence to show the long-term effects talc can have when it’s absorbed into the bloodstream, but some sources suggest it contains asbestos, a known irritant and carcinogen (10).

5. Triclosan

As an antibacterial and antifungal agent, triclosan is a chemical that’s used to help keep the odor-causing bacteria out of your pits. However, the FDA has issued warnings against triclosan for its ability to disrupt the functioning of thyroid hormones (11).

While the long-term impact of triclosan on human health is still being studied, it’s worth noting that coconut oil is a natural ingredient that has the same antibacterial and antifungal properties. When it’s an option, why not go chemical-free and natural?

6. Silica

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If you’ve ever felt irritated or itchy from your deodorant, silica could be to blame. Silica is added to deodorant to help absorb moisture from sweat, but it’s also known for being a skin irritant.

Silica helps absorb sweat, but can irritate your skin when it’s in deodorant.

The silica found in deodorant may also be contaminated with a compound called crystalline quartz, which has been linked to respiratory diseases and the development of cancer cells (12).

7. Steareth

(Steareth-2, Steareth-15, Steareth-20, Cetereath-20)

Steareth are waxy chemicals that help keep the deodorant’s ingredients from separating. In other words, steareths prevent you from ending up with an oil and vinegar, salad dressing-style deodorant.

The toxicity of steareths are said to be low according to the EWG (13). Nonetheless, you’re rolling the dice when it comes to applying any untested chemical to your skin.


The Problem with ‘Natural’ Deodorants

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While there are many natural deodorants on the market, there are a few problems when it comes to trying to beat B.O. and excess perspiration naturally.

First of all, many natural deodorants aren’t strong enough. Luckily, this can easily be resolved with natural ingredients such as apple cider vinegar and baking soda, which help control and eliminate odor-causing bacteria. Witch hazel has also been said to lower the pH of the skin in your armpits, preventing bacteria from being able to survive there.

Apple cider vinegar and baking soda can help make homemade deodorants stronger.

The second problem with natural deodorants is that the world of marketing uses “natural” as a buzzword without much authenticity. By this, I mean that you’ll see many deodorants with the word “natural” on the label, based on a few natural ingredients such as tea tree oil, while the rest of the ingredients list is still loaded with the chemicals listed above.

This is also true with deodorants that are advertised as being aluminum-free. While choosing an aluminum-free deodorant is the first and most important step to finding a safer deodorant, it’s important to be aware of the other chemicals that may be present. It should also be noted that many natural deodorants are made with baking soda as the base, but aluminum is almost always present in baking soda unless it’s labeled as aluminum-free baking soda on the ingredients list.


How to Find a Safe Deodorant That Works

woman-putting-on-deodorant.jpgThe easiest way to find a safe, natural deodorant is to read the ingredients list and scan for chemicals. It’s best to find a natural deodorant that uses organic ingredients such as:

  • Aluminum-free baking soda
  • Essential oils
  • Beeswax
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Unrefined coconut oil
  • Witch hazel

Our recommendation:  NO PONG.

Cocos Nucifera (Coconut Oil), Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda)-Aluminium Free, Corn Starch, Beeswax, and a proprietary blend of 100% pure, certified organic essential oils consisting of Orange Sweet, Vanilla, Lemongrass, Cedarwood Atlas, Bergamot, Lime, Frankincense, Ylang Ylang, and Geranium, that together give No Pong it’s fresh gender neutral smell.

 

 


The Bottom Line

Give what goes on your body the same amount of attention you give to what goes into it. Choose your body care products like you choose your food. When it comes to finding a safe deodorant with no harmful side effects, it’s important to choose products that contain no aluminum, no parabens, no GMO, no additives, and no chemical toxins. Make sure what you’re using uses trusted, organic ingredients and gets the job done naturally.

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 Information sourced from Paleohacks  Brandi Black

Whats the difference between Folate and Folic Acid?

Vitamin B9, a water soluble nutrient, is one of the more confusing members of the B vitamin family due to the different names given to it when in supplement or food form. Its correct name when talking about food forms is ‘folate’ while synthetic forms are most commonly referred to as ‘folic acid’. Interest has increased into the types of vitamin B9 we might be ingesting and how genetic individuality affects absorption and our body’s management of a naturally produced substance called ‘homocysteine’.

 

So what is the key difference between ‘folate’ and ‘folic acid’?

 

Very simply, folates (plural) are found naturally in foods such as dark green vegetables, oranges, seafood, beans and legumes (e.g chickpeas and lentils) and dairy products. Within those foods there would be varying sub-category forms of natural folates, which all share a similar ‘architecture’ but they are still all natural folate. Imagine a patchwork quilt. Each square is slightly different but the general colours form a theme or pattern.

 

A synthetic form of vitamin B9 is usually called ‘folic acid’. This is commonly found in supplements and fortified foods (where a nutrient has been added to a food product).

 

Foods like commercially mass-produced breads and breakfast cereals may lack naturally occurring folate, so a company will add synthetic folic acid to nutritionally improve levels. You will see the same with added iron or other B vitamins. This is where the public can perceive a food to be high in a nutrient, when actually a synthetic form of the nutrient has been added. Folic acid is also stable because it is more resistant to heat and therefore favoured in manufacturing and processing.

 

If you were to pick spinach from your garden and eat it, you would not be ingesting folic acid. This is a very common misconception. You would be ingesting folates.

 

EU law stipulates that even supplements containing folate, need to be labelled as folic acid. This means that we have to be our own detectives. If the product does contain folate, it’s likely to be labelled elsewhere on the product, for example in the nutrition information panel (as opposed to the front of the bottle). Our Wild Nutrition formula’s use only natural folate, despite needing to be labelled in this way.

 

What do we need folate for?

 

  • Folate is required during pre-conception and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, to support the prevention of neural tube defects (such as spinal bifida) and this is usually in the form of folic acid. Taking folate through food and food-form supplementation beyond 12 weeks of pregnancy is recommend for health reasons beyond neural tube defects. Children at all ages and stages should be eating folate rich foods as part of healthy development.
  • Healthy blood in general and to prevent the folate deficiency, anaemia
  • Folate is required for healthy cell division, which is partly why it’s so important in early pregnancy but also into infancy and childhood.
  • Folate is also required for a healthy immune system (low levels of folate may effect white blood cell division).
  • Folate is required for the reduction of tiredness and fatigue
  • Folate plays a role in psychological function

 

Natural vs synthetic nutrients – absorption is the difference!

 

Nutrients found in food or supplements in Food-Grown (food form), will be more bioavailable for some key reasons:

 

  1. Food form folate provides all the patches of the ‘quilt’ has the necessary co-factors such as fatty acids, proteins and enzymes. These act as team mates to help the nutrient to get to where it needs. Synthetic nutrients which are effectively an isolated nutrient without these co-factors e.g folic acid.

 

  1. Folate found in food or as a food form supplement, will have naturally occurring Carrier Food Factors (CFF) which are a type of carrier protein. It’s the job of CFF’s is to chaperone nutrients, communicating with the body on a cellular level, to instruct how, where and when the nutrients are to be used. If you use the analogy that each CFF is an envelope with a different address, going to a different destination. Each destination in the body has its own address that is displayed in multiple areas of each cell. The CFF’s are then able to recognize this, lock into it and deliver the nutrient to the correct address within the human system. Our Food-Grown Folate, was formulated with this in mind).        https://www.ecotherapies.co.uk/product/wild-nutrition-folic-acid/

 

  1. Food form folate is ‘methylated’. Methylation is a normal biochemical process that allows one form of a nutrient or substance to be made into something else. Folic acid would be an example of an unmethylated form of vitamin B9 where as 5-methyltetrahydrofolate is a form of methylated folate (see ‘methylation’ below).

 

What is homocysteine?

 

When we eat protein-containing foods, we will be producing a specific amino acid called methionine. This methionine gets converted into a substance called homocysteine. Homocysteine must be at a healthy level otherwise, over time, it can cause damage elevated homocysteine is implicated in brain and mental health conditions, subfertility, cardiovascular conditions and more. Nutritional therapists can run a simple blood test to identify you level of homocysteine. Eating folate rich foods and taking a supplement in food form, should support healthy homocysteine levels (along with vitamin B12) because of a process called methylation.

 

What is methylation?

 

Methylation converts homocysteine back into a substance that is needed for critical health. This process requires folate and vitamin B12 to do this efficiently.

 

Research has shown us that some people are born with a genetic issue, called MTHFR, where they cannot produce an enzyme that allows 1 step in the methylation process to take place. Therefore these individuals must be taking folate through food and food form nutrients rather than synthetic forms like folic acid. Using a food form of vitamin B9 will also support healthy homocysteine levels.

 

Indeed, those carriers of the MTHFR are more at risk for elevated homocysteine if they don’t use food forms of vitamin B9. This is because homocysteine must be converted back into useable methionine for other critical health processes. If you lack this capacity because of a genetic issue, the way to get around this is to only consume folate form food and supplement with folate as it’s a pre-converted form. MTHFR sufferers will not be able to convert the folic acid because they lack the enzyme to complete the conversion process to turn higher levels of homocysteine safely back into methionine.

By

Lorna Driver-Davies BA (Hons), HD, DHNP, mNNA, CNHC Technical Assistant at Wild Nutrition and Nutritional Therapist.

 

13th May 2016

 

How to Check for Cervical Mucus

 How to Check for Cervical Mucus

When your trying to conceive, it is very important to know when is your most fertile time or often called your ” fertile window”.  There are 4 signs that your body gives you :

Basal Body Temperature

Cervical Mucus

Position of Cervix

LH Surge

In this blog we will be looking at Cervical Mucus, if want to know more about the others go to https://www.ecotherapies.co.uk/fertility_signs/

How to Check for Cervical Mucus

Cervical mucus is the single most challenging and also the most important aspect of the fertility awareness method. Cervical mucus tells you when you can get pregnant, and it also tells you a lot about your health. It can tell you whether or not you might have a cervical infection, and it can even serve as an early detection tool for cervical cancer.

There are many different methods of the fertility awareness method. Some methods are mucus only where a woman would use her mucus observations to tell when she is fertile or not without checking her temperature or cervical position. Other methods use the sympto-thermal method where a woman checks all 3 signs of her fertility.

But why is cervical mucus so important anyway?

Cervical mucus is amazing. It definitely doesn’t get enough love in my opinion. Did you know that cervical mucus filters out defective sperm so that they don’t make it into a woman’s fallopian tubes and get a shot at fertilizing an egg? Did you know that cervical mucus is the perfect pH for sperm, and not only does it keep sperm alive for 3-5 days, but it also feeds them and gives them energy? But most importantly, did you know that sperm can’t survive in a woman’s body without cervical mucus? Sperm actually die within minutes unless a woman has cervical mucus present.

What is cervical mucus?

Cervical mucus is a hydrogel produced by the cervix [1]. Before a woman ovulates rising estrogen levels trigger her cervix to produce mucus. In a healthy menstrual cycle a woman will notice that her mucus changes from a white/lotiony type consistency to a clear, stretchy consistency like that of egg whites. She’ll notice a slippery sensation when she goes to the bathroom or she might just feel wet throughout the day.

Unfortunately many women don’t know that cervical mucus is a normal and healthy party of the menstrual cycle. I’ve spoken to countless women who thought that there was something wrong with them, and ended up in a doctor’s office every month thinking they had a yeast infection or some abnormal bacterial overgrowth. Since many of their doctors didn’t know that cervical mucus was normal either, they would often end up getting tests that would keep coming back normal.

How do I check for cervical mucus?

Many women first learn about fertility awareness through a few great books on the topic. Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler, and Garden of Fertility by Katie Singer, are two of the most common resources.  Although some methods of fertility awareness encourage women to check internally for cervical mucus (i.e. placing your finger inside your vagina and trying to observe cervical mucus from the source), this method often leads to confusion. Many fertility awareness instructors teach how to check externally for two important reasons.

  1. When you check externally it is easy to identify the difference between a “dry” day and a “mucus” day.
  2. When you check externally it is actually possible to tell the difference between vaginal cell slough and cervical mucus

Many women who use the fertility awareness method often feel that if they don’t check internally they won’t see anything. But the thing is, that a woman’s vagina is always moist, and when women check internally they’ll always find something. This often leaves them thinking they have mucus every day and overestimating the number of days in their fertile window. When a woman is producing mucus it has to come out, an she’ll be able to see it at her vulva. It’s gravity! But she does have to check frequently throughout the day or she might miss an observation.

Here are the steps for checking mucus externally…

  • Use a piece of toilet paper folded flat
  • As you wipe pat attention to the sensation you feel. Does it feel dry, smooth, or slippery?
  • Look at your toilet paper…do you see any mucus you can pick up?
  • If you have mucus pick it up and see if it stretches between your fingers
  • Then mark down what you see! [2]

Pretty simple I know. The most important part is to get in the habit of checking for mucus throughout the day. Whenever you go to the bathroom, before you take a bath, before you go to bed…basically whenever your pants are down.

What else do I need to know about cervical mucus?

Sometimes women won’t see any “egg white mucus”. Many women now think that egg white quality mucus is the “gold standard”, but many women will experience a wet sensation and have slippery mucus that just doesn’t stretch. Wet slippery mucus is definitely fertile, it just has such a high water content that it doesn’t stretch. Other women may not produce cervical mucus at all and this can be for a variety of reasons. In a healthy cycle a woman would expect to see at least one day of clear, stretchy or slippery mucus. If she has no mucus that is definitely an indication of sub-optimal fertility because it can interfere with her ability to conceive.

Whether mucus is “creamy” “sticky” or “egg white” it is all fertile. There is no such thing as “less fertile” and “more fertile mucus”. It would be kind of like saying a woman is “less pregnant” or “more pregnant”. Since sperm can survive in all cervical mucus, all mucus is considered to be fertile!

With that being said, when a woman is trying to get pregnant the best time for her to have sex with her partner is when she sees clear, stretchy and slippery mucus! Clear, stretchy and slippery mucus tells you that your estrogen levels    are high, and your body is gearing up for ovulation. So forget the ovulation predictor kits, and have sex when you see mucus!

References

  1. Morphological characterization of different human cervical mucus types using light and scanning electron microscopy. Human Reproduction, Oxford Journal
  2. Justisse Method for Fertility Management: A User’s Guide by Geraldine Matus and Elaine Matus                                                                                                                                                    This article is  from  Fertilityfriday.com by Lisa Hendrickson-Jack  2 September 2014

Gluten and Fertility: Some Things You Might Want to Know

 

 

I’m always encouraging my patients to go “Gluten Free” and I found this article written by Aviva Romm MD Doctor, Herbalist, Midwife and Functional Medicine Practitioner with many years of experience in women’s health. She explains why you should go gluten free if you’re experiencing infertility.

Fertility challenges are so uniquely painful. There is the tremendous anguish of living with the uncertainty that comes with each attempt at conception and the sadness with each unwanted period that comes. There are the feelings of inadequacy, and the aching bittersweetness of meeting your friends’ and sisters’ babies that they seemingly pop out while you suffer, feeling alone, with a sense of wanting. There’s the stress that enters the marriage and makes sex outcome-based rather than juicy and pleasurable. It’s also often a long, expensive, time-consuming hormonal roller coaster of fertility treatments, doctor’s appointments, tests, and procedures. If you are struggling with fertility challenges right now, this article may offer an option you hadn’t considered.

While there are numerous reasons for fertility problems, one that is almost always overlooked by conventional fertility specialists, and that is easy to take into your own hands, is gluten intolerance. A recent study found that undiagnosed celiac disease may be the reason for “all cause” infertility in 3.5% of women, and unexplained infertility in 5.9% of women. It is possible that the rates are quite a bit higher, because celiac is so often underdiagnosed. Another study found that women undergoing fertility treatments had an increased success when they removed gluten from their diets.

While these studies were done looking at celiac disease, which most of us do not have in the full-blown form, many people are walking around with gluten intolerance – which day in and day out in my clinical practice I see causing the same spectrum of health problems as celiac disease.

The Latest Data on Celiac Disease & Gluten Intolerance

New research data shows us 5 things about celiac disease, and its little cousin gluten intolerance:

  1. Celiac disease is drastically under diagnosed. So is gluten intolerance. 
  2. It may be causing many more health problems than we previously realized.
  3. Our current standard testing methods are not adequate for detecting celiac disease, so many people go undiagnosed who have it. So while getting positive tests back gives you a definite diagnosis, normal tests don’t mean you don’t have celiac. So testing is probably not necessary at this time. But if you do want to get tested, my blog Is a Gluten Free Diet Right for You? 3 Ways to Find Out will tell you how.
  4. A substantial number of people have “subclinical” or “silent” celiac disease – there are no obvious or typical signs of digestive problems – and fertility problems may be the first time a gluten problem shows up.
  5. Celiac can show up for the first time at any age — and again, fertility problems may be the first sign!

Whenever a woman comes to me having faced the long, emotionally painful, and expensive road of fertility problems without success, and is now ready to try a natural approach, the first thing I turn to is not the pages of hormone and other lab test results she has brought to the appointment with her, but her diet and her symptoms.

While I do run lab tests for celiac disease, including checking for the common celiac genes HLADQ2 and HLADQ8 and gluten antibodies, again, tests often come back negative in spite of a potential problem with gluten – and a fertility problem is, in and of itself, a possible sign of celiac! Improvement on a gluten-free diet is also considered diagnostic for a problem with gluten – so an elimination diet, even in my medical practice, remains the “gold standard” that I use for testing – and it’s free!

Symptoms of Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance

Both gluten intolerance and celiac disease can cause a wide range of symptoms. While most people actually do not present with obvious, typical symptoms, here are the most common:

  • Mild to severe digestive symptoms including diarrhea, smelly stools, gas, bloating, fat in the stool
  • Dermatitis herpetaformis (a terribly itchy skin condition)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Burning, sore tongue or canker sores
  • Eczema
  • Acid reflux (also called heartburn or GERD)
  • Eosinophilic esophagitis
  • Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
  • Nutritional deficiencies including anemia (iron deficiency), B-vitamin, vitamin D, and calcium
  • Osteopenia or osteoporosis due to nutritional deficiencies (calcium, vitamin D)
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss or brittleness
  • Joint pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, muscle aches and pains
  • Numbness and tingling in your hands, feet, or other areas
  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Type 1 diabetes, and other autoimmune conditions
  • Depression, anxiety, suicidal feelings, and other mental health problems
  • Migraine headaches
  • Elevated liver function tests
  • Menstrual problems
  • Infertility

Celiac disease can also cause pregnancy problems including miscarriage and gestational diabetes, the latter which can cause serious medical problems for mom, increases your risk of cesarean, and increases your baby’s lifetime risks of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. It is possible that severe gluten intolerance in the absence of celiac disease can cause similar problems.

Since going gluten free is a relatively easy thing to do, why not try it? It’s an affordable, easy step to take.

How Does Gluten Intolerance Interfere with Fertility?

There are 4 primary ways that gluten intolerance and celiac interferes with fertility (and also optimal pregnancy health):

1. Chronic Inflammation: Gluten intolerance and celiac cause inflammation not just in the gut, but as a result, throughout the body. The chemicals that are produced when your body is in a chronic state of inflammation tell your body that it’s in a danger zone and so not a great time to get pregnant. Chronic inflammation is also associated with conditions that can interfere with getting pregnant – for example, endometriosis, which has also been associated with celiac disease. Inflammation is also associated with pregnancy problems, including gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and preterm labor, so it’s important to get a handle on it before you get pregnant. Going gluten free and healing your digestive system, as described later in this article, will help you to do this!

2. Nutritional deficiencies: Your digestive system keeps you healthy in numerous ways, perhaps most obviously, through the digestion of food to provide you with nutrition. When you have gluten intolerance, inflammation develops in the lining of the small intestine that interferes with nutrient absorption. When the lining of our gut is damaged, for example by irritation due to gluten intolerance, the body is less effective at absorbing nutrients, including the ones needed for healthy conception. This includes protein, fats, zinc, vitamin D, iron, and selenium – all important for conception and healthy pregnancy.

3. Gut “dysbiosis”: It’s amazing how much our bodies mirror the natural world. In the human body there are layers of gut lining that, like soil in a garden, provide a home that feeds and nourishes the optimal bacteria, our microbiome, that we need to metabolize our food, break down, and absorb our nutrients, as well as get rid of waste.

The health of the vaginal flora is also dependent on the health of the gut flora. Like in garden soil, healthy microorganisms keep down the “bad bacteria” and other bugs in the soil that can harm the plant’s roots, damaging the whole plant. In the vagina, the good flora keep the vaginal environment at the right pH and sugar level at conception to support the passage of the sperm, and thus, facilitate conception. When the good flora aren’t hanging around in adequate numbers, the not-so-good guys that can contribute to or cause fertility problems become out of control. The wrong kind of gut flora can prevent conception, might reduce the effectiveness of IVF, and can lead to preterm birth when you do get pregnant, so now’s the time to get those flora in order. If you get regular vaginal infections, this is a sure sign that things are out of order down there, but even without those, if you are struggling to get pregnant, take an oral probiotic with Lactobacillus reuteri and Lactobacillus rhamnosus. You can additionally use these in the form of a vaginal suppository a few times weekly while trying to get pregnant. I recommend that my patients insert the capsules at night before bed; they will dissolve while you sleep. Several oral and vaginal suppository products are available on the market.

4. Autoimmunity: Because celiac disease is also an autoimmune condition, this can change the body’s ability to tolerate foreign cells including your partner’s sperm – or the baby. Additionally, celiac, both as a result of autoimmunity, and the selenium deficiency that it can cause, is associated with hypothyroidism, which can interfere with getting pregnant. If you have an autoimmune condition, gluten may be a culprit. Go gluten free, follow the 4R program below, and connect with a Functional or Integrative Medicine Doctor, or licensed Naturopath or Acupuncturist skilled in natural fertility treatment and gut health.

So What Can You Do?

The bottom line is you’ve gotta’ go on a gluten free diet (GFD) for at least three months, preferably six, to maximize the potential benefit.

Three to six months might seem like a really long time when you feel that your fertility clock is ticking, but I promise you, with the experience of 30 years of working with women trying to get pregnant, and pregnant moms, that the healthier you are when you become pregnant, the better your chance of an optimally healthy pregnancy – and healthy baby.

During this time, as hard as it is to do, putting your fertility urgency on hold while you optimize your gut health and overall well-being can bring a breath of fresh air and energy into your eventual conception, and might just allow you to let go of some stress. It’s a great time to revitalize yourself!

This is really important because stress itself affects your fertility hormones by also telling your body that there’s an emergency going on! I’ve seen the fertility challenge enough to know that everything can get affected – even a lovely sex life can become fraught with tension, anxiety, and disappointments. So use this time to also get juicy with your mate, and have some fun with your sex life again.

I’ve seen amazing babies come from taking breaks like this!

How to Go Gluten Free and Optimize Your Digestive Health

Going gluten free is sometimes as simple as eliminating all food products that contain wheat (including all wheat flour and most breads, pastas, cereals), rye, and barley. There are some great websites out there to help you along, for example, Gluten Free School. If you are highly symptomatic to gluten, you might want to also remove all of the potentially cross-reactive foods from your diet, too, especially corn. If you have celiac, or even suspect that you do, you might need to take one additional step – avoid accidental environmental contamination through foods being prepared for others in the same kitchen you’re using (dish towels, cutting boards, sponges) and checking your cosmetics for gluten – shockingly, many contain gluten products – so read labels.

Many people make the mistake of assuming that gluten free products are automatically healthier than those containing gluten. Gluten free “junk food” is actually just as unhealthy because it is often loaded with empty calories, and the same extra sugar and salt in any pastries, cookies, pasta, etc. So be careful – quite a number of people actually gain weight when they go gluten free because of gluten free food binging! The best thing is to remove the gluten, and switch over to simple whole grains like millet and quinoa, and wild rice (brown rice can be healthy but concerns have recently been raised on the amount of arsenic in all rice grown in the US, so while you’re trying to get pregnant, keep brown rice to not more than a couple of times/week).

In addition to going gluten free, I highly recommend doing the 4R Program I’ve laid out for you here to optimize your gut health and heal inflammation. If you get pregnant on the 4R Program, no worries, simply discontinue the supplements when you realize you’ve conceived. It’s that simple. But stay gluten free – this is a perfectly safe thing to do during pregnancy – you can get your nutrition from other healthy, non-gluten containing grains.

Going gluten (and stress!) free may be all your body needs to regenerate your gut, cool down the inflammation, and become less autoimmune reactive. One of my fertility patient couples decided to take a “get healthy” vacation and voila! They came back feeling great – and with a belly bump! May their pregnancy success be yours, too!

 

References
Choi JM, et al. Increased prevalence of celiac disease in patients with unexplained infertility in the United States. J Reprod Med. 2011 May-Jun;56(5-6):199-203.

Collin P, et al, Infertility and coeliac disease. Gut 1996;39:382-384 doi:10.1136/gut.39.3.382

Shah, S and D Leffler. Celiac disease: an underappreciated issue in women’s health. Womens Health (Lond Engl). Sep 2010; 6(5): 753–766. doi:  10.2217/whe.10.57

Singh P, et al. Celiac Disease in Women With Infertility: A Meta-Analysis. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2015 Jan 1. [Epub ahead of print]

Sirota I, et al. Potential influence of the microbiome on infertility and assisted reproductive technology. Semin Reprod Med. 2014 Jan;32(1):35-42. doi: 10.1055/s-0033-1361821.

Stojanović N, et al Normal vaginal flora, disorders and application of probiotics in pregnancy. Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2012 Aug;286(2):325-32. doi: 10.1007/s00404-012-2293-7.

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Coping strategies to deal with fertility issues

Coping strategies to deal with fertility issues

Coping strategies to deal with fertility issues Anya Sizer 1-5-14 Notes from her webinar

Effects of infertility

Women (sometimes men) are always surprised just what a big effect emotionally the diagnosis of infertility has on themselves and the people around them. This depth of emotions is normal ” the desire to have a family is up there with desire to eat and sleep” (Lord Robert Winston), it is fundamental, it strikes at your very core.

How a person acknowledges and feels that emotion is individual, no on size fits all. It can affect all areas of your life e.g finance, physical, emotional, mental, sleep and friendships. The person may go through different stages , e.g. shock, denial, bargaining with God, anger and withdrawal . This is similar to go through grief, bereavement, and the loss of a dream.

What can you do to help yourself?

1. Stop, step back and realize that this is a big thing and that the way you are feeling is normal. Give yourself a breathing space, think of how you would treat a best friend if they were going through the same thing. Hopefully you would be supportive and compassionate, so do the same thing to yourself – some self-care.

2. Look at this on an individual basis, not what other people would do but what you need to do for yourself. For example keep a journal, write anything you want in it, reflect on how your feeling, what can you do to help yourself.

3. Do I need distraction therapy, a project to work on, to be out and about with friends or focus on work

4. Withdrawal, to you need time for yourself or withdrawing from friendships that are not supportive or helpful

5. Do you want to tell everybody about this issue or just a few key people or just one person, remember there is no right or wrong, whatever is right for you

6. Think about what you have done in the past when you have needed to deal with a big issue in your life. For example after the breakup of a relationship, did you call on friendships, did you do things that you enjoyed, were you around supportive people and what did you learn about yourself from this episode.

Support group- in times of crisis it is important to have a supportive people around “your team” your support group. Put this in your journal or on piece of paper, draw a circle with the word me in it, then draw interconnecting circle with the members of your team in it e.g. your family, friends, professionals;

Acupuncturist, nutritionist, coach, self help group, what ever works for you.

Be pro-active, put things and dates in your diary of appointments and things you have done or doing to help yourself, e.g 20 minute walk, yoga class, acupuncture appointment

Be prescriptive, you decide what you want and let your support group know what you want from them to help you. E.g regular phone call or you will phone them when you need to talk.

The low times and the set backs- It is perfectly normal to have highs and lows, when trying to conceive, though it may seem there are more lows than highs. Remember trying to conceive can take time.

Sometimes it can be help to chose a Mantra to use in the low times or everyday to get you through your journey e.g ” it will be all be ok in the end and if it is not ok, its not the end” or “some day , some how I will be a mother” or make your own.

There will be a conclusion to your journey, though this conclusion may not be what you expect: adoption, egg donation, IVF or enough is enough, deciding there other types of families.

Compassion fatigue- often people around may become worn out, not everyone will be able to be supportive continuously and sometimes you may have to make new friend, people that can help you through this journey

Sometimes you have to take it a day at time, or even a moment at time. What do I need to do to get through it at this moment, it could be something a simple as a 10 minute break with a cup of tea or for your parents to understand what your go through.

80/20 rule. Everyday you allow yourself 20% of your time to focus or invest in your journey, e.g meet a friend , juicing , a massage or journaling.

80% of the time you try to live an a normal life, think about the areas of your life you may be neglecting. Remember your not just a women trying to have a baby.

Sometimes you will spend more than 20% of you time thinking about your fertility issue, but that’s ok, this is normal.

If you would like more information on coping strategies please see below

Source Anya Sizer, fertility focus summit 1st May 2014

‘Fertile thinking’ book, www.fertilitycoaching.co.uk

www.fertilitycoaching.co.uk

The Problem with Dairy for PCOS

The Problem with Dairy for PCOS and why it’s difficult to give up!

If you have been following Ecotherapies for a while then you know that I advocate a low dairy or dairy free lifestyle. Below Dr. Lara Briden to shares more information about Casomorphins and dairy. I think you will find this information fascinating. Now you’ll know why it is so difficult to give up cheese.

Guest Post by Dr. Lara Briden, ND

For some of you, dairy is inflammatory, and a big problem for PCOS. For a lucky few of you, organic dairy is probably OK. The problem with dairy is not the lactose, or the fat. The problem is a protein called A1 casein. When A1 casein hits your digestion, a part of it breaks off to become casomorphin or BCM7. Casomorphin is an opiate, just like morphine is an opiate, or codeine. Casomorphin is a drug, which is why it causes brain-fog in some people, and why so many people crave dairy. There’s more to casomorphin than its sedative effect. Casomorphin also causes inflammation, and inflammation is exactly what you don’t want when you have PCOS. Inflammation impairs insulin sensitivity, and damages the hormone-signalling of ovulation. Inflammation also makes hormone receptors overly sensitive to androgens like testosterone. Here is where it gets interesting. Some people digest and excrete casomorphin before it enters their blood stream. Those lucky people don’t suffer the inflammation of casomorphin, and can enjoy organic dairy as a healthy food. The rest of us need to get casomorphin out of our diet.

How do you know if casomorphin is a problem for you?

In theory, you could test BCM7 in your urine, but – as of yet- that test is not widely available. Another way to detect a casomorphin problem is to look for symptom clues:

  • Did you suffer recurring tonsillitis or ear infections when you were a kid?
  • Do you suffer chronic hayfever or sinus now?
  • Do you crave dairy?

If you answered yes to any or all of these problems, then you probably have a casomorphin problem

PCOS Meal Plans

Not all cows produce A1 Casein A1 casein is present in the milk from Holstein cows, which are the predominant dairy herds in USA, Canada, Australian and the UK. A different type of casein – called A2 casein – does not form casomorphin BCM7, and does not cause inflammation. The milks of Jersey cows, goats and sheep, are predominantly A2, and are fine for most people. Cheeses like Ricotta are ok, because they are mostly whey protein. Butter is Ok because it is mostly fat. I switch many (not all) of my PCOS patients to Jersey, goat or sheep dairy, and they do very well. The first thing to improve is their acne, usually within a few weeks. Other PCOS symptoms also improve off A1 dairy, but they take a little longer, usually 3-4 months. In fact, any good treatment for PCOS takes 3-4 months because that is how long it takes for a follicle to develop all the way to ovulation. It’s a 100 day journey to ovulation, and the journey cannot start until inflammation ends.

Anti-Inflammatory approach for PCOS

After 18 years of treating PCOS, I am convinced that inflammation is the major underlying cause for many types of PCOS. It is not the cause for every type. Some types of PCOS are caused by post-Pill syndrome. Some types are caused by leptin or a thyroid problem. In my clinic, I use blood tests to differentiate types of PCOS, and inflammation is one of the things that I measure. Going forward with an anti-inflammatory approach, it is important to understand that A1 casein is just one source of inflammation. Inflammation also comes from gluten, sugar, environmental toxins, and intestinal permeability (leaky gut). Intestinal permeability is usually the result of antibiotics and/or the birth control pill.

Dr. Lara Briden Lara Briden is a Naturopathic Doctor with a busy women’s health practice in Sydney, Australia. She has a strong science background, and worked as an evolutionary biologist before qualifying as a Naturopathic Doctor from Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto in 1997. Over the last 2 decades, thousands of women have entrusted Lara with their thyroid disease, PCOS and other hormonal conditions. She is incredibly grateful for that clinical experience because it has taught her which natural treatments actually work for PCOS and other hormonal conditions. Lara is passionate about helping women to reclaim their hormonal health. She blogs her ‘Search for Truth in Natural Medicine’ at Lara Briden’s Healthy Hormone Blog (http://www.larabriden.com/). Follow her there, and watch for her book about period health later this year.

If you would like to know more about using an integrated approach of acupuncture, nutrition and supplements to help you with your PCOS or fertility issues contact Elaine on 07949407336

original article from PCOS Diva 26 May 2014

So You are thinking about doing IVF

So You are thinking about doing IVF or You have been told you need to do IVF!

So first and foremost if someone has told you that you should think about IVF or the IVF doctor told you should be thinking about IVF, I want you to think about these four things first:

One – Have you given yourself enough time to prepare your body? So by that I mean I believe, and the research shows that you need at least three months to prepare your body to be successful with any fertility procedure that you’re going to do. Follicular genesis, the process in which your body chooses a good quality egg to use during any given cycle, takes a minimum of three months, if not more; and the same thing for sperm, spermatogenesis is the same. So we need to give ourselves some time and some space to improve our health, to improve the quality of our uterus, our lining, our ovaries, our eggs and our sperm so that way when it’s time to go through that procedure you’re in a much better place to go through that if that’s the direction you go. But hopefully in those three, maybe more months that you’re using to prepare yourself, you actually get pregnant.

Two – Relationships. Have you and your partner discussed this? Are you both on the same page? I cannot tell you how often I hear that “My partner’s not quite ready to go through with it but I want to so that’s what we’re going to do…” so on, whatever it might be. You both need to be on the same page. I have seen way too many divorces because of IVF treatments and fertility journeys that I want that to end, and the one way that I believe that’s going to end is by being on the same page and communicating. So make sure that you talk with your partner, that your relationship is strong and the foundation is strong and that you both are moving forward in the same direction, in the same time frame that you want.

Three – Have you gotten a second opinion? Just because you walked into the IVF clinic and they said you need an IVF doesn’t mean that’s what you need. That’s the business they’re in is IVF, that’s what they believe is the only option that’s going to get you pregnant so that’s typically what they recommend. So I wouldn’t expect to go to an IVF clinic and be told that you should go home and try naturally, not to say that I haven’t heard that being suggested, but that’s not typically the answer that you’re going to get. So if you want a second opinion and a different perspective you need to speak to someone who works in a different paradigm. So I suggest you get a second opinion from somebody else, from another fertility specialist, see what they think, see what their thoughts are and what direction they think that you can go, and listen to their recommendations.

Finally Four – Have you actually tried naturally for enough time to give yourself the ability to see if you’re able to get pregnant doing that? I work with patients naturally all the time and I see magical things happen. If you give yourself the space and you have the plan, and you have the right guidance, I believe that you can achieve it, and I think that way too many couples end up going through IVF when they don’t need it.

An option that many of my patients have chosen is to take a minimum of three months to prepare their body and that of their partners for IVF should they have to go through IVF and make it the most successful it can be. You never know you may not need that IVF after doing your preparation. If would like to speak to me contact me at www.ecotherapies.co.uk or 07949407336

Article from The fertility expert

Preparing for IVF with Acupuncture

Preparing for IVF with Acupuncture

November 4, 2015/in IVF / By Eva Stecz, Acupuncturist at The Zita West Clinic

Very often I am asked by women how often and for how long they should have acupuncture before they start their IVF cycles and whether it can influence egg quality in order to achieve a ‘better’ outcome.

We like to encourage women to have treatment once a week from at least 2-3 months prior to the start of IVF medication. The reason for this is that follicular growth lasts around 375 days but only during the last 90 days of development will follicles have their own blood supply bringing oxygen, hormones and nutrients to, and waste and secretory products from, the follicle. In other words, follicles will become sensitive and responsive to stimuli coming from the ‘external’ environment.

I am sure there are many women who are trying to get pregnant either naturally or through IVF who have been told by their doctors that their eggs are not healthy or are old, especially if they have been trying for a long time to conceive without success or have had several miscarriages or implantation failures. It is true that the health of eggs will influence whether fertilization will occur and if it will result in a healthy pregnancy.

Egg Quality

Egg quality is defined by the chromosomal abnormality of the egg. It is well accepted that the aging process and its impact on egg quality are irreversible. However certain negative influences can be avoided and/or improved that are proven to compromise egg health.

These negative factors include:

toxic overload

an imbalanced hormonal system

lack of or too much exercise

fatigue

compromised absorption and utilization of nutrients

lack of sleep

sluggish blood flow to the pelvic organs

weight

stress etc.

Acupuncture has the capacity to rectify some of these negative influences by improving the function of the different body systems in order for the body to regain its balance.

Three Studies into Acupuncture

Blood flow to the pelvic organs can be greatly improved with acupuncture. In a study, published in 1998, researchers measured the pulsatile index (PI) of the endometrial artery and found that high PI (>3) which would indicate compromised blood flow to the pelvic organs, can be lowered with the administration of electro acupuncture.

A study investigating the optimal number of acupuncture treatments for the best IVF outcomes found that the clients receiving the maximum benefit from IVF were those clients who received more than 8 acupuncture treatments before embryo transfer.

In a recently published study it was concluded that women who had at least 12 acupuncture sessions added to their IVF cycles resulted in higher pregnancy rates and fewer biochemical pregnancies. The study however wasn’t randomized and participants weren’t selected with the same characteristics which might have influenced the results but the women in the ‘Traditional Chinese Medicine’ group, were had higher pregnancy rates compared to those who did not have acupuncture as an addition to their IVF cycles

Our recommendation

In view of these findings we recommend to start acupuncture at least 2 months prior to IVF. This fits well with my clinical experience that women starting Acupuncture a few month before their IVF commences have better outcomes. I believe that optimizing fertility with acupuncture is not a quick fix. It is a process for the body to adjust and repair in order for it to function as optimally as possible indirectly influencing fertility in a positive way.

And lastly, I have observed during my practice that some women fall pregnant naturally while they prepare for IVF! Which obviously is an added bonus!

References:

http://www.rbmojournal.com/article/S1472-6483(15)00092-9/abstract http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org/content/11/6/1314.short

 

Magnesium and Your Hormones

Magnesium and Your Hormones

What is up with this mineral? Why are we all so deficient? We’re deficient because our cells dump magnesium during stress. We actively push the mineral out of our bodies as a way to rev up our nervous system and cope with daily life.

A revved up nervous system is what an average modern human needs to get through an average modern day. If you work, or commute, drink coffee, or worry, then you are deficient in magnesium

8 Ways that Magnesium Rescues Your Hormonal System

1) Magnesium regulates cortisol. Magnesium calms your nervous system and prevents excessive cortisol. Your stress hormonal system, also called your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, is your central hormonal system. When it functions well, then your other hormonal axes—thyroid and sex hormones—will function well too.

2) Magnesium lowers blood sugar. Magnesium is so effective at sensitizing the insulin receptor that I refer to it as our ‘natural metformin’. Better insulin control means fewer sugar cravings. Healthy insulin sensitivity is important for weight loss, PCOS, and it also prevents osteoporosis.

3) Magnesium supports thyroid. Magnesium is essential for the production of thyroid hormone. It is also anti-inflammatory, which helps to quiet the autoimmune inflammation that underlies most cases of thyroid disease. Other ways to address thyroid autoimmunity include gluten-elimination and a selenium supplement.

4) Magnesium aids sleep. As I’ve written here before, magnesium is the great sleep-promoter, and sleep is crucial for hormone production. Sleep is when we should enjoy a beneficial surge in anabolic hormones such as DHEA and growth hormone.

5) Magnesium fuels cellular energy. Magnesium is so intricately involved with mitochondria and energy production, that we can safely say: “Without magnesium, there is no cellular energy”. Hormonal tissue is metabolically active, so it requires even more cellular energy and more magnesium than other tissue.

6) Magnesium makes hormones. Magnesium is involved in the manufacture of steroid hormones such as progesterone, estrogen and testosterone. Magnesium has been shown to reduce hot flashes by 50%.

7) Magnesium activates vitamin D. Without enough magnesium, vitamin D cannot do its job . Conversely, too much vitamin D supplementation can cause magnesium deficiency.

8) Magnesium is anti-aging. The mineral has been shown to prevent telomere shortening, reduce oxidative stress, and enhance the production of glutathione.

Can You Test for Magnesium Deficiency?

No. The majority of magnesium is inside your cells, so there no way to measure it with a blood test. You simply have to try it and see how you feel.

Food sources of magnesium include leafy greens, almonds, chocolate, and mineral water.

Wild Nutrition’s Food-State Magnesium is in a highly bioavailable form meaning that mega-dosing becomes unnecessary. – Available at the SHOP

Information from Lara Briden.com