1. Mindful Eating
Avoid eating when standing, or when doing work / on the phone or computer. This means you’re eating in your fight or flight mode, which takes the blood flow away from the digestive tract, causing malabsorption of foods, and bloating.
Please try to sit down for every meal, and actually think about what is on your plate, and how it is going to benefit your health; rather than simply thinking about food to fill the hunger in your belly.
This includes CHEWING YOUR FOOD.
Try and chew 20 times with each mouthful before swallowing.
This will enhance food breakdown, increase the absorption of nutrients, and reduce bloating.
When you're eating on the run / in the fight or flight phase, your production of digestive enzymes reduces, and you're less inclined to breakdown your food; meaning it will go undigested to the large intestine, where bad bacteria eat at it; they produce gas = you get bloated and experience discomfort!
What a simple strategy EVERYONE can implement.
Heightened stress (or simply being too busy) can severely impact gut health; and this is something people often ignore.
The body cannot tell the difference between being stressed or in danger, and simply just being too busy. Your body still needs to secrete your stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) to make you productive, and make use of your time. This is something many people do not recognize as stress.
Stress takes the blood flow away from the digestive tract, alters stool and food transit time (ie: constipation or urgency and diarrhoea); and it also inhibits vagus nerve stimulation.
The Vagus Nerve is one of the Cranial Nerves. It's the Gut-Brain Axis.
Basically, it's like a little chemical messenger highway that links the gut and the brain together.
The Vagus nerve helps control peristalsis (the movement of food from one end to the other), it tells the body to release digestive and pancreatic enzymes to start breaking down your food, and it also helps active the "Rest and Digest" phase of the nervous system; which is the opposite of the fight or flight mode.
3. It's not "You Are What You Eat", but, "You Are What You Absorb".
Digestion begins in your mouth.
No, scrap that!
Digestion begins in your mind and eyes!
Mentioned above, Mindful Eating is severely important.
Looking at your food, observing what is in it, and allowing those signals to be sent to the brain to release saliva in the mouth, is where your digestion starts.
Saliva contains enzymes such as Amylase, which actually helps break down carbohydrates!
If you're not effectively stimulating the Vagus Nerve (aka. Gut Brain Axis / signalling highway), then you will not be producing adequate amounts of digestive or pancreatic enzymes, and therefore won't be breaking down, and absorbing your food.
My simple tips to increase digestive enzyme secretion (and stimulate the vagus nerve) are:
This helps calm the nervous system, stimulate the Vagus Nerve, and switch to rest and digest mode (aka. enhancing food absorption).
4. Test Don't Guess
Think you might have a bacterial overgrowth/imbalance, SIBO, food sensitivity or a parasite?
Then please TEST for it.
Far too many people self prescribe harsh antibacterials and anti-parasitics without actually looking at what's going on with the state of someones gut.
Or more-often, will remove a food thinking they're intolerant to it, without looking at the state of their gut first.
LEAKY GUT - is when the lining of your small intestine is impaired. Think of it as little holes in a cellular barrier. This will impair nutrient absorption, inflammation, and cause food intolerances, because several different food particles, toxins, bacteria, you name it, will be getting through your gut lining, and into your blood stream - and the immune system attacks it, naturally
I like to do comprehensive microbiome testing with the majority of my clients, because it gives us a fantastic view of exactly what's going on internally.
It will test: parasites, bacteria, the ratios between different classes of bacteria that can make you gain weight, crave sugar and slow your metabolism, bacteria associated with auto-immune disease, gluten sensitivity, liver and gallbladder function, inflammation, LEAKY GUT, digestive enzymes; and it will even look at the amount of a particular enzyme that has the ability to re-circulate toxins and Oestrogen in the body...(Hello to all my acne, endo and hormonal imbalance sufferers!).
5. LOOK AT YOUR POO
Gross, I know.
But looking at our stools, really does give us a good indication of what may be going on in our gut.
Let me introduce you to an old friend of mine....the Bristol Stool Chart.
Have a look at the chart, save it if you must.
See which number on the chart you are.
A healthy stool should be around type 3, or even type 4.
Easy to pass, the occasional crack on the surface, sinks to the bottom, no food, no blood, and no mucous.
It should be a nice mid brown, not black or have black spots, and not a clay colour.
For MANY people, this is not the case.
If you're concerned about the quality of your stool, I urge you to do some stool testing with a reputable practitioner.
6. Variety is KEY
Long term gut health comes from variety in your diet.
Every single plant product we eat, had lots of different phytochemicals and constituents that actually allow our microbiome to flourish!
If we ate the same thing, day in, day out (which WAY too many people do!), then our bacteria will be continuously exposed to the SAME phytochemicals and constituents.
Think your your microbiome as a lush, diverse forest.
If you only ate the same 5-10 foods every week, then it's more likely that you will have the same 5 species of trees inhabiting the area. Whereas if you changed what you ate with the seasons, and had a diverse range of fibre rich, colourful plant products, then you will a diverse array of bacterial species.
I say to many of my clients, try and shop at a farmers market, where you can get fresh ingredients that has not been GENETICALLY MODIFIED to be available all year round.
Next time you go into a supermarket, take a look at the fresh produce; have you ever noticed that the same fruits and veggies are available all year round?
That is NOT the way mother nature intended it to be.
7. Avoid Excess Saturated Fats
Saturated fats from animal products and oils such as coconut oil, palm oil, canola oil, sunflower oil,and butter, are high in saturated fats.
Sure, we need a small amount of these, but studies have shown high amounts of Saturated fats in the diet, has been linked to an increased release of something called lipopolysaccharides (LPS).
LPS are the dead debris of gram negative bacterial cell walls, and they are not good news.
They produce masses of amounts of toxins into the human body, and severely increase inflammatory cytokine release (inflammatory chemicals in the body). These LPS produced int he gut and their associated toxins have been shown to be major predisposing factors for inflammation associated diseases such as atherosclerosis, sepsis, obesity, type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer's.
Studies have even showed Coconut oil (which is high in saturated fat) to increase LPS release, and associated toxins.
Now with everyone being on a crazy coconut oil obsessed rage, this is a concern for me as a practitioner, and someone who focuses heavily on gut health and long term health.
I always tell my clients, that fat is ESSENTIAL, and a low-fat diet is no longer considered healthy.
HOWEVER, you need to be sure which fats are good, and which are bad.
I prefer my clients to prioritize their essential fatty acids, primarily their Omega 3's.
These oils have been shown to reduce LPS and toxin release, protect the cells from damage, and reduce inflammation in the body.
8. Avoid pharmaceutical medication if you can...incl. the Pill, Nexium and NSAIDs
Now, this is not necessarily anything new, but more-so here to show you some of the side effects pharmaceutical medication have have.
NEXIUM AND OTHER ANT-ACIDS:
9. Eat Organic
A lot of our food is now genetically modified to be available all year round, and genetically modified to survive pesticides and chemicals sprayed on them to kill bugs and weeds.
These are all extremely harsh chemicals, the majority of which are known carcinogens.
Why on earth would you eat that?!
Eating organic not only supports farmers, but also supports you, and your gut health.
Avoiding toxin exposure from a diet (or lifestyle) will reduce the toxic burden on your gut, and your body all over.
Toxins will increase intestinal permeability (leaky gut), and are a lot for your body (and liver) to process.
Pesticides are associated with an increased risk of chronic diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, birth defects, reproductive disorders, cancers, diabetes and auto-immune disease.
Try and east seasonally, and buy organic wherever possible.
I like to try and follow the below:
DIRTY DOZEN (please buy these organic)
CLEAN FIFTEEN (ok to not get organic if it's not available or accessible - but please WASH AND SOAK these in Lemon or Eucalyptus essential oil):
10. PROTECT YOURSELF
On far too many stool tests, I always see bacterial overgrowth's and parasites.
Many strains such as Streptococcus, Staph, Bacillus, Pseudomonoas, Morganella etc, come from contaminated food, via faecal oral transmission.
Now if that doesn't gross you out, I don't know what will.
Obviously we have little to no control over handling or hygiene practices on other people's behalves, but we CAN help ourselves.
Here are some simple tips to prevent bacterial overgrowths:
I hope you have found this helpful!
Pre-biotic and resistant starch foods, help feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut
Long term gut health comes from a good quality, organic, plant rich diet, with variety.
I always tell my clients, you can take as many supplements as you want, but ultimately your aim should be to be able to get your nutrients for good gut health, from your diet.
My favourite way to do this, is adding in resistant starch's.
Resistant starch's are exactly what they sound like; they are 'Resistant to digestion'.
That means instead of us breaking down a lot of the fibrous matter, we actually leave it up to our microbiome (aka beneficial bacteria) to break it out.
Pre-biotics and resistant starch's are their food.
This is why I do not like long-term FODMAP diets, as a lot of FODMAP foods, are indeed pre-biotics.
Imagine trying to run a car without petrol, or starving yourself of your own food.
Well that's exactly what a low FODMAP diet is doing to your microbiome; it's starving it of it's fuel source!
If you're experiencing a lot of reactions to foods, I would suggest seeking out a practitioner that will do some comprehensive stool testing; as more often than not, it's the state of your gut (and/or stress) that is effecting your symptoms; not the food.
For example, if you so happened to have a bad bacterial overgrowth (which MANY people do!), then these bugs will be eating the FODMAPs, pre-biotics and resistant starch's; releasing a lot of gasses, pro-inflammatory chemicals, and causing you a lot of digestive discomfort.
You can see right there that it's not necessarily the foods fault, but in fact, the bad bugs!
If this sounds all too familiar, then please get in contact with me!!
No-one needs to live a life depriving themselves of delicious (and very healthy food) such as garlic's and onions!
Some of my favourite resistant starch’s and prebiotic rich foods to help feed healthy bacteria include:
Please note: when adding in pre-biotic foods and resistant starch’s you may experience some bloating as gas (especially if you have been avoiding these foods). Try having ½ cup of any of the above foods, wait 3 days, and if no discomfort arises you may continue to eat it.
Now a delicious (and functional) recipe for you to try!
Pre-heat fan forced oven to 170 degrees.
Place green banana flour, eggs, vanilla essence, baking powder, cacao powder, amond milk and coconut sugar in a food processor and mix until combined.
Melt coconut oil in the microwave or on the stove, then mash in 1 x ripe banana; add this to the food processor.
Place contents of food processor in a large mixing bowl, and mix through chocolate chips until combined.
Add the mixture to a lined baking tray (roughly 20 cm x 10 cm tin), and top with coconut flakes.
Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.
Slice into 4cm x 4cm slices, and store in an air tight container.
HERBAL TREATMENT OF PMS.
Allopathic medicinal treatments for premenstrual syndrome (PMS) usually include the oral contraceptive pill (OCP), antidepressants, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and other pain killers, diuretics, progesterone and GnRH analogues; which can significantly reduce the amount of hormones produced in the ovaries.
Some main symptoms experienced in PMS include:
As there are different types of PMS such as PMS-D (depression), PMS-A (Anxiety), PMS-C (carbohydrate craving), PMS-H (hyper hydration) and the more severe Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD); there can be different herbal remedies that may be warranted.
INDICATED HERBS AND THEIR ACTIONS.
Which form of PMS is it suited for?
Vitex agnus castus
Vitex has the ability to bind to dopamine receptors, which therefore inhibits the release of prolactin and corrects a progesterone deficiency; therefore reducing breast pain experienced in PMS (Wuttke et al, 2003). Due to Vitex’s ability to reduce prolactin levels, it can also enhance corpus luteum development and modulates the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian (HPO) axis to also correct irregular menstruation (Hoffman, 2003, p.595).
All other forms of PMS
White Peony may be useful in PMS associated pain and abdominal distension due to its ability to inhibit twitch responses of skeletal muscle, and has anti-inflammatory effects by inhibiting TNF-a and IL-1B (Bone, 2003, p459; He & Dai, 2011); therefore reducing stimulation of nociceptive receptors (pain receptors) and reducing muscular pains and cramps experienced in PMS. White Peony is also a cognition enhancer, which may also be beneficial in PMS during times of poor concentration and memory (Bone, 2003, p.458).
All other forms of PMS
One of the active constituents of St John’s Wort (hyperforin) inhibits the reuptake of feel-good neurotransmitters Serotonin and Dopamine, as well as noradrenaline, GABA and L-glutamate; which allows them to illicit a greater response/increasing their action in the body (Klemow, Bartlow & Crawford, 2011). Therefore, as the mechanism behind mood changes experienced in PMS is due to a relative serotonin deficiency, for which St John’s Wort can be effective in improving (Yonkers, O’Brien & Eriksson, 2008). Symptoms of a serotonin deficiency can also be craving carbohydrates, as carbohydrates support the delivery of the serotonin precursor, tryptophan to the brain (Richard et al, 2009).
Cramp bark can be useful in PMS due to its uterine relaxant and antispasmodic activity (Dietz et al, 2016), studies on human uterine tissue have also shown a relaxant effect (Jarboe, Zirvi, Nicholson & Schmidt, 1967). It may also be effective in inflammation and pain associated with PMS due to its ability to inhibit inflammatory metabolites such as TNF-a, NFkB, IL-6 and IL-8 and decreasing the stimulation of nociceptive receptors (Finn & Walsh, 2013). Cramp bark may also be effective in PMS-A due to its mildy sedative and hypotensive effects (Bone, 2003, p.164).
All forms of PMS
Dandelion is a well-known herb used for its diuretic actions, however it also has an affinity for the liver, and actions as a bitter (Hoffman, 2003, p.587). As stress and sympathetic nervous system activation can alter hormones via HPA/HPO axis stimulation & enhancing PMS symptoms, Dandelion may be effective in reducing this effect due to it’s ability to enhance parasympathetic nervous system activity via stimulation of the vagus nerve (Howland, 2014). Furthermore, as Dandelion’s diuretic action increases urinary output, it can be useful in fluid retention experienced in PMS (Hechtman, 2012, p.779). As it’s also a hepatic, it may also help support the liver in clearing excess hormones (Hoffman, 2003, p.587).
Withania/Ashwaganda is a well-known adaptogenic herb that exerts its action via modulation of the HPA axis, down regulating cortisol production, and therefore improving the stress response, which can be heightened in PMS patients (Hechtman, 2012, p.779). Due to the down regulation of cortisol, this herb may also be effective in allowing proper synthesis of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, which is down regulated in anxiety; as well as enhancing serotonin synthesis (Kumar et al, 2013).
Withania can also modulate the HPO axis, regulating the menstrual cycle and modulating oestrogen, progesterone luteinising hormone and follicle stimulating hormone (Toufexis et al, 2014).
If you're experiencing any of the above listed symptoms, and cannot seem to find any relief; why not try a more natural (and very effective) approach, using herbal and nutritional medicine?
Get in touch HERE today.
We always tend to take a lot of care about what's going IN our bodies, but what about what is going ON them?
With our skin being our biggest organ, we need to look a little closer to the expensive (read: often overpriced) beauty products and gimmicks we fall victim to. So many of them are absolutely ladened with chemicals and heavy metals, most of which are endocrine disruptors - they disrupt (and often mimic) all of our natural hormones (and not just female or male hormones - thyroid and brain chemicals too!).
See below a list of items to watch out for.
SOME CHEMICALS TO AVOID INCLUDE (but not limited to):
Additionally, when pregnant also avoid the following:
Some of my favourite NON-TOX brands are:
Serotonin is our ‘happy brain chemical’. It helps to control our appetite, behavior, and moods, sleep patterns, regulation of pain, and even memory recall.
I always like to explain to my patients, that serotonin is like an extension of nutrients; it’s made from tryptophan (an amino acid) from the protein we eat, and with the addition of vitamin B1, B3 and B6, iron, magnesium, zinc, and folate, we can convert this amino acid into 5-Hydroxytryptamine (aka Serotonin).
Think of serotonin as a cake you’re trying to make, if we don’t have enough ingredients (the nutrients listed above), then we obviously aren’t going to make a nice serotonin cake. On the other hand, because Serotonin is made in the gut (aka our “oven”), if our oven isn’t up to scratch, then we don’t expect to make a nice happy serotonin cake do we?
We need to ensure that our diet provides the right nutrients for this to occur, as well as create the right environment for the biochemical pathways to occur.
For example, if we’re too stressed, this causes a rise in cortisol (our stress hormone), this cortisol completely shunts serotonin production, and pushes it down a completely different pathway called the Kynurenine pathway; the by-products of which are vitamin B3 and quinolinic acid (which causes oxidative stress, anxiety, has neurotoxic effects and causes inflammation). Furthermore, because the majority of Serotonin is made in the enterochromaffin cells within our small intestine, if we have leaky gut, bacterial imbalances, parasites, yeast overgrowths and inflammation of our gut lining, there’s no way that our gut (oven) is going to be able to effectively make the Serotonin.
I see a lot of clients with a history of depression, anxiety, stress, mood fluctuations in PMS and menopause, as well as parasites, dysbiosis and leaky gut - all of which can be alleviated with herbal and nutritional medicine. It really is amazing what you can do if you know the exact biochemical pathways, and how each herb or nutrient can effect what’s going on in the body on a pathophysiological level; because it allows us to pin point where we need to go with treatment.
I do microbiome mapping with the majority of these clients, which allows us to test things such as leaky gut, inflammation and bacterial imbalances; as well as doing regular stress support to ensure we’re doing everything we possibly can to create the perfect environment for Serotonin to be made.
If you have any questions, please always feel free to email me, I would love to be able to help you!
1 cup of almond meal
1/4 cup of coconut oil
3 medjool dates
1 cup of raw cashews (soaked overnight)
60g of Raw Amazonia Fermented Paleo Protein
1 cup of almond or coconut milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
Sprinkle of cacao nibs
Place the almond meal, melted coconut oil & dates in a food processor, mix until combined.
Press into a lined baking tin.
Place in the fridge to set for 10 minutes.
For the filling, place cashews, protein powder, nut milk of choice & maple syrup, and blend until it's a smooth consistency.
Take the base out of the fridge, and pour the filling on top. Smooth out the top, and cover with cacao nibs.
Place in the freezer to set for one hour.
Take out and slice into desired square sizes, and place back in freezer until you want to eat it!
1 cup of almond meal
1/2 cup of coconut flour
1/2 cup of maple syrup
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 tsp of tapioca starch
Place all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
Smooth mixture into donut baking tin, and bake in a moderate oven for 35 minutes.'
It really is that simple!
Many of you may have seen this acronym, thinking it was standing for something a little more...rude should I say?
But what does it actually mean?
It stands for: Methylene-Tetrahydro-Folate-Reductase.
MTHFR is an enzyme that converts folate, into its most active form 5-MTHF.
This active form of folate acts like a key to unlock a particular cycle in the body called the Methylation cycle.
Without getting too sciencey, this methylation cycle does the following:
So what is an MTHFR gene mutation?
It's estimated that approximately 40% of the population have a genetic variation of the MTHFR gene; currently only 2 of the 34 variants are studied:
The mutations can be as follows:
MTHFR C677T Heterozygous = decrease in ability to convert folate by 40%
MTHFR C677T Homozygous = decrease in ability to convert folate by 70%
MTHFR A1298C Heterozygous = decrease in ability to convert folate by 20%
MTHFR A1298C Homozygous = decrease in ability to convert folate by 40%
MTHFR C677T & MTHFR A1298C heterozygous = compound heterozygous = decrease in ability to convert folate by 50%
So what are the symptoms?
Why it's especially important to test for women of reproductive age or thinking about conceiving.
Folate (also known as Vitamin B9) is an essential nutrient required for DNA replication, growth and the development of the fetus and the formation of the neural tube.
Deficiencies are associated with congenital abnormalities such as orofacial clefts, Anencephaly & Spina Bifida.
If we can't convert folate into a form utilized effectively by the body, then we're not providing enough of this essential nutrient for the growth and formation of our unborn baby. This is why it's important to seek help from a registered practitioner to get a good quality, practitioner only pre-natal supplement regimne.
I have written more on pre-conception care here.
Testing for these genetic variations involve a simple genetic swab test - one which I order almost every client, especially every pre-conception care client.
My own story.
I too have an MTHFR A1298C variation.
I picked up on this after years of recurrent acne, inability to tolerate alcohol, elevated liver enzymes on blood tests and low energy.
I had previously tried many different natural and allopathic route's to rid myself of these symptoms, until I thought "I wonder?!".
Sure enough the test came back positive, and it explained SO much in regards to my symptoms.
Although it's only a 20% decrease in conversion to active folate, it was obvious that it was still effecting me.
Since being on a protocol to allow my methylation cycle to work effectively, , I have an enormous amount of energy, and my adult acne is slowly fading away, and low and behold - my liver function is now perfect; although I still don't drink alcohol because I don't like the feeling so much.
Health certainly is not once size fits all, and you shouldn't be left questioning what your GP says, be pressured to be put on contraceptive medication to control your hormones or acne, or be ignored.
If any of this information sparks an interest in your own wellness journey, then please get in touch today.
Gluten, just about the most well known word in the health and wellness industry right now. It’s feared, but often people have no idea why, or the repercussions it can have not only on your digestive health, but also the overall functioning of your body.
Well, I am here to break it down for you!
Gluten, is the main storage protein in the grain wheat. Some proteins found in gluten are called gliadin and glutenin. Gluten is also found in barley and rye; however the protein in oats, called ‘Avenin’ does not contain gluten or gliadin – due to cross contamination in manufacturing, oats can become ‘contaminated’ with gluten and its proteins; therefore correct manufacturing processes must be performed to eliminate any cross contamination. You are able to purchase gluten free oats, just be sure that it is clearly displayed on the label.
Gluten is a highly digestion-resistant grain, therefore it can travel to the small intestine in whole particles, causing inflammation, pain, bloating, poor memory and concentration, and in some cases diarrhoea or constipation. In Coeliac disease, gluten consumption triggers the immune system to attack it’s own tissues – the microvilli of the small intestine. This causes severe nutrient depletion, due to the destruction and loss of surface area, resulting in impaired nutrient assimilation and absorption.
Unfortunately, whether you’re Coeliac, gluten intolerant or not, due to gluten’s ability to resist the power of our digestive enzymes to break it down, resulting in inflammation in our gut, it can also result in a term known as ‘Leaky Gut’.
In our gut, we have something known as tight gap junctions; these junctions serve as a barrier that enables the integrity of our gut to be strong, preventing food particles, bacteria and toxins from travelling into our bloodstream wreaking havoc. However, when gluten is consumed, it causes these tight gap junctions to become permeable, reducing the integrity of our gut, allowing said bacteria, pathogens, toxins and food particles to flow into our circulation, evening reaching up into the blood supply to our brain.
Ever experienced brain fog after eating? There’s a good chance you may have some underlying permeability in your small intestine.
Now why is this important in regards to the functioning of our immune system?
Well, if you think about it, our gut is the one part of our internal body that comes into contact with the outside world; so it makes sense that our immune system needs to be present there to help fight off invading pathogens. However, when there’s intestinal permeability (aka Leaky Gut), this can result in our immune system to be less concentrated in our guts, and causes our white blood cells to travel elsewhere in the body where these floating bacteria, toxins and food particles may be. As a result, this can not only cause our immune system to be depleted and unable to fight off pathogens that do find their way into our body via our gut, but also can cause create Dysbiosis in the body.
Dysbiosis is simply an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria in our gut. This basically allows the bad bacteria to flourish, increases inflammation and systemic stress in the body, and allows the kill off of our healthy, disease fighting bacteria. If this is the case, it allows pathogenic bacteria to adhere to the lining of our gastrointestinal cells, resulting in infection and illness. Furthermore, this inflammation and immune dysfunction can also give rise to conditions such as auto-immune disease; where (like in Coeliac Disease) the body attacks it’s own tissues, unable to decipher self from non-self.
To prevent this from happening, we need to ensure we’re supporting the integrity of our gastrointestinal cells, reducing inflammation, providing antioxidant support, have a wide array of healthy bacteria in our gut, and ensure we’re providing prebiotic rich foods as a food source for our beneficial bacteria to feed on and flourish. Some essential nutrients to help our gut to heal include collagen, glutamine, gelatin, vitamin C and vitamin A.
If you’re concerned about your gastrointestinal health, are wondering about food intolerances or allergies, or are interested in using herbal and nutritional medicine to help your immune system, gut health or anything else in your body, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with me. I offer complimentary 15 minute consultations face to face or over the phone if you’re interested in an initial chat. If you’re ready to jump straight into consultation, bookings can be made with me online here or by calling me on 0427 375 986.
Vis Medicatrix Naturae – The Healing Power of Mother Nature.
WHAT IS STRESS?
A brief over view of the HPA axis/stress system.
Increased levels of glucocorticoids (cortisol and aldosterone) in response to stress, over activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis) and sympathetic nervous system dominance can inhibit reproduction as a mechanism to ‘protect self’. Your body simply won’t put preference to grow and nourish another human being, if its priority is to protect itself, which is the mechanism it’s in when stressed – fight or flight mode (sympathetic nervous system dominance).
How stress affects your reproductive hormones:
Further to this, continuous maternal exposure to stress whilst pregnant, or exogenous glucocorticoids (steroidal drugs) can result in permanent damage to the HPA axis and stress-related behaviours of the offspring, as glucocorticoids are vital for normal brain development.
EXPLAINING THE FEMALE HORMONES DURING MENSTRUATION.
During menstruation, oestrogen drops, & in response the hypothalamus release GnRH, which signals the pituitary to release FSH, which initiates follicular growth in the ovary.
Hypothalamus releases gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) & in response, the pituitary releases luteinising hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) to signal the ovaries.
In response, the ovaries release oestrogen and progesterone, which signal back to the hypothalamus, like a feedback loop.
While the follicles are developing, it stimulates the endometrium to develop/proliferate.
The rise in oestrogen in the follicular phase causes changes in the cervical mucous to make it a sticky ‘egg-white’ consistency, Oestrogen continues to rise whilst the ovum (egg) develops in the (most mature) follicle.
The rise in oestrogen triggers the hypothalamus to secrete GnRH, which stimulates the release of LH and FSH, which in turn stimulates the release of the ovum. This is when ovulation occurs.
Once ovulation occurs, FSH levels sharply drop and LH slowly declines.
The Luteal phase follows after ovulation, by which the corpus luteum (which is stimulated by LH) secretes larger quantities of progesterone, followed by constant levels of oestrogen.
Progesterone influences the endometrium (which started to develop under the influence of oestrogen) to develop blood vessels and glandular structures that are able to nourish a developing embryo (if fertilised).
If fertilisation doesn’t occur, the corpus luteum regresses after approx. 14 days, which leads to a decline in the hormones and the endometrium sheds (menstruation).
Once oestrogen levels reach a low enough point, the hypothalamus secretes GnRH, and the cycle starts again.
If your cycle is irregular, and you think stress may be effecting your hormones, then get in contact with me for a Naturopathy appointment in Melbourne or Bright.
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