Sarah Short Circuit

Heal, Nourish, Nurture

Tag: Gut Dysbiosis

ACNEM 2017

Totally in my element over the weekend with all things Brain Health for Better Life Outcomes at the 7th Science of Nutrition in Medicine (ACNEM) Conference 2017 (except for the chilly Melbourne weather).

What is more important than a well functioning nervous system?

Prof Felice Jacka, Nutrition and brain health over the life course, discussed 10% of Australia adults and less than 50% of children eat according to dietary guidelines with a dose response to vegetable intake and health outcomes. Information of on what to eat has been muddied by industry with the productions of processed foods pushed out as healthy foods. Mental and substance disorders are the leading source of disability, there is a growing burden of dementia and cognitive disease, and an increase in prevalence of neurodevelopmental disorders all linked to diet and lifestyle. Diet quality is linked to common mental health disorders, particularly depression, with either not enough good or too much bad, both are independent factors that increase a person’s risk independent of their socioeconomic status, education, health behaviours, weight and irrespective of the form the diet takes. Genetics and early life trauma are less modifiable than diet and pregnancy is linked to the childrens later mental health. The biological pathways of how diet influences mental health include inflammation and oxidative stress, cytokines, low grade activation of the immune system, brain plasticity and gut microbiome. 70% of our immune function is our gut, with the importance of fermenting foods and fibre. Biological dysregulation (see slide).

Prof Felice Jacka ACNEM 2017

A leaky gut is many things degrading the gut lining resulting in the transportation of these factors into the blood stream and mounting an immune response. Experimental evidence suggests exaggerated stress, blunted immune system and increase blood brain barrier permeability is similar to autism and that microbiota is essential for brain development. The sources of bacteria are transient and can help out e.g. probiotics can alter anxiety like behaviours. After 4 generations cannot resuce our microbiota except by facel transplant. We can improve our diet and our mental health. Find out more at the Food Mood Centre.

Prof Felice Jacka ACNEM 2017

Prof Michael Berk, The role of mitochondrial dysfunction in mental health and nutrient treatment options, was a fascinating talk on mitochondria in a range of disorders and is an essential feature of bipolar and resting energy phase dysregulation. Many factors including diet and inflammatory markers impact on mitochondria. In mitochondria the failure to up-regulate in the presence of demand and down-regulate when the demand goes. Treatment of hyperthermia increase mitochondria and reduces depression under red lights/sauna. The use of nutraceuticals as treatments are not benign, can worsen some disorders, everyone responds differently to the same foods (recommend viewing Eran Segal).

Prof Michael Berk ACNEM 2017

Dr Felice Gersh, Estrogen and Brain Health: Exploring estrogen’s vital role linking the brain, the gut microbiome, and the immune system, made me realise just how important our hormones are to our overall health. Dr Gersh explored the vital role estrogen plays in linking our brain, gut, microbiome and immune system. Females have three times the prevalence of dementia, rapid cognitive decline, more depression, bipolar, more brain issues due to estrogen. Menopause is the end of metabolic homoeostasis. Estrogen is neuroprotective, and has played an evolutionary role in survival, telling the body you are healthy and able to reproduce. Estrogen receptors affect many organs in the body and regulate mitochondrial production. In Pubmed estrogen replacement therapy is listed as an endrocrine disruptor! Estrogen promotes neural plasticity, cognitive function and is a glucose transporter for the brain. Estrogen controls our circadian rythym, it sets the beat, and controls out autonomic nervous system. Our microbiome is diurnal also influences our circadian rythym and disease susceptibility. Circadian dysfunction can cause leaky gut and our immune system is highly regulate by our circadian rhythm.

Dr Felice Gersh ACNEM 2017

Dr Denise Furness, Nutritional genomics and mood disorders, discussed how our genes give us a risk or predisposition not a diagnosis. We are so pro-inflammatory due to stress upregulation which from our evolutionary advatage was great for infections and wounds compared to now we have different types of stress (recommended viewing Julia Rucklidge).

Dr Denise Furness ACNEM 2017

Dr Felice Jacka, Dietary intervention for adults with major depression (The SMILES Trial), asked the question “If I improve my diet, will my mental health improve?” by carrying out a 12 week RCT with people with a poor diet quality, stable, not psychotic/bipolar, tended to be treatment resistant and not vegan/vegetarian. Patients had 7 sessions starting weekly then fortnightly with a modified Mediterranean diet. The study focused on sustainable changes and has various measures of dietary adherence. Patients received a food hamper to try new foods (see slide). It was challenge to recruit to the study, there were many limitations and in hindsight it would have been great to collect samples to test the microbiome. Results showed that those in the dietary intervention had greater reduction in depressive symptoms and one third were in remission. Read more on the SMILES Trial.

Prof Felice Jacka ACNEM 2017

Dr Natalie Parletta, Evidence and practical applications for improving diet in patients with mental disorders and impact of diet on mental health from the HELFIMED study, talked how people do not make the connection between diet and our health. Over 35% of our food are from discretionary foods. The HELFIMED was a 6 month RCT on dietary behaviour change and the Mediterranean diet, including teaching people cooking skills and encouraging to eat more whole foods with food hampers, healthy menu plans and cooking support. Results see slide.

Dr Natalie Parletta ACNEM 2017

A/Prof Ross Grant, Brain Inflammation – an ageing time bomb, discussed the brain inflammation with leaky gut stimulating inflammation in the body as well as the brain and cytokines may be stimulating our vagus nerve. The hippocampus is vulnerable to inflammation and is one of only 2 areas in the brain where neurogenesis is possible.

Dr Dave Jenkins, The Professor Dale Bredesen protocol for reversing early Alzheimer’s disease, was something new to me, how we optimise not just normalise metabolic perturbations, with a lot of behaviour change required, this protocol goes against the silver bullet mindset with a team approach and 50% diet. This integrative approach is based on diet, exercise, sleep, stress and core treatments turmeric, DHA and magnesium with the objective to remove factors that cause or exacerbate damage to the central nervous system and provide with elements to protect, repair and perform to stimulate the central nervous system. Read more on the protocol here.

Dr Dave Jenkins ACNEM 2017

Dr John Hart, Cognitive decline case study, was inspiring to see such a comprehensive treatment plans including light and circadian rhythm management

Dr John Hart ACNEM 2017

This ACNEM weekend continue to support just how important our nutrition is for our mental health. Looking for a simple holistic approach to health and nutrition and want to learn more? Study new online ‘Introduction to Nutrition’ Course at your own pace – 10 modules. Learn and implement new skills, allowing you to make sustainable changes in your health and diet.

 

Introduction to Nutrition Course

Prenatal stress

A mother’s emotional state while pregnant has long lasting effects with cultural, environmental and biological differences. Foetal programming has different sensitive periods and our environment starts in the womb. Sensitive early mothering helps attachment, and can counteract some of what happens in the womb.

It is not just toxic stress that is associated with changes in development and behaviour. Prenatal stress can be pregnancy specific anxiety, maternal mental health and daily hassles. The associated risks in children are that they are more likely to have anxiety and depression, increased aggression, impaired cognitive development, sleep problems, temperament issues. There are risks of physical changes including low birth weight, preterm delivery, decreased telomere length (impacts longevity), decreased immune function and altered microbiome. Some are more affected than others due to the gene-environment interactions, for example, the more depressed, more methylation, more epigenetic changes. 

Just think of the impact globally stress may be having on the next generations. For more info check out http://www.beginbeforebirth.org/

Effects of prenatal anxiety, depression and stress on the child: global implications – Professor Vivette Glover, International Marce Society Conference 2016.

MINDD 2016

The MINDD Foundation is committed to improving the lives of children and families by promoting a holistic approach to healthcare and living. After last years MINDD Forum changing the direction of my healing and recovery there was no way I was missing the MINDD Forum this year, especially with the key note speaker being Kelly Brogan.

Dr Nancy O’Hara was back again this year speaking about ‘It wasn’t me it was my germs’; love this concept! We are depleting our microbiome of the nutrients we need by the way we lead our lives. The majority of our immune system resides in our guts. Gut dysfunction is associated with germs including parasites and yeast. It was interesting to learn that a clostridia infection, a bacteria in our gut, has been found to associated with psychosis. The way to treat gut dysfunction is with nutrition as fresh, organic, unprocessed foods that are varied and rotated; probiotics to control inflammation and encourage gut movement; remove stressors;  and the best way to detox is a minimum of 1 stool per day.

There is no such things as junk food; it is either junk or food

– Nancy O’Hara

Great talk on effects of food on anxiety by Trudy Scott, eating real, whole, good quality foods is the foundation to maintaining optimal mental health. A lower risk of depression and anxiety was found with traditional diet of vegetables, fruit, fish, grass-fed meat, and whole grains when compared to western and modern diets in an Australian study by Jacka 2010.

Diet intervention

Trudy Scott

Food is Medicine but there is no “one size fits all” diet. Great talk on Using Bioindividual Nutrition to Personalize Therapeutic Diets. Julie Matthews spoke about how dietary intervention is at the foundation of healing. Individuals have specific dietary needs and diet needs to be bioindividually applied. Keep an open mind as you may need to use a particular diet in the short term or further restrict a diet or prioritize one diet over another or apply more than one dietary principle to improve function with the goal of the least restrictive, most varied diet possible.

no one size fits all

Julie Matthews

What an awesome way to spend a Friday with these inspiring wellness rock stars at the MINDD Forum Food is Medicine day. I loved the cooking demos learning from the best of the best Alexx Stuart, Jo and Isaac Whitton from Quirky Cooking, and Helen Padrin and Charlotte Carr. From digestive calm soup to lemon cheesecake panna cotta to best butter chicken ever to pantry essentials in an non-negotiable hour of power. Nourishing your family with quality, real food is simple, basic to basics home cooking. Change the way we do our shopping and change how we approach new ways of eating. Teach our kids real food, take time to spend with our kids, talk with our kids makes a difference when going through change.

Food is Medicine

Top: Alexx Middle: Isaac and Jo Bottom: Helen and Char

I had the honour of meeting Kelly Brogan MD. Kelly is such an inspiration to me and I am extremely grateful to Kelly for her focus on maternal mental health including postpartum psychosis and showing us that we do have ‪‎capacity to heal‬. Thank you MINDD Foundation for bringing Kelly to Sydney.

Kelly

Kelly Brogan and me!

Listening to Kelly Brogan speak about the root cause of depression and anxiety and the power of our food was awe inspiring. We need to stop looking at the symptoms and start asking WHY? The whys are sugar imbalance, gluten sensitivity, nutrient deficiencies, and thyroid autoimmunity. Depression is an inflammatory response, a symptom not a disease.

Medication is not better than doing nothing. We don’t know what medications are doing to our microbiome. We are passing the damaged microbiome onto the next generation. The principle mental health intervention needs to be dietary recommendations.

We have knowledge inside us how to interact with food in a healing way but it is hijacked early with processed foods. We have to get back to food as information for gene expression and our microbiome. We need to speak to our nervous system in a different way.

Your body’s ability to heal is greater than anyone has permitted you to believe.

“Through the alchemy of my darkest nights I heal and thrive. Today I rise!”

A beautiful and moving video shared by Kelly Brogan at the end of her talk which had most of the room in tears. We as women will transform this world!

Today I rise

Kira Sutherland spoke about the basic principles of healthy living for optimal wellness are natures 7 healers, of which most of us manage to achieve 2-3. However, if we achieve exercise this cascades into other areas and we are almost always then able to achieve all 7 healers. Exercise helps us to be better adapted to stresss, strengthens our immune system, improves our gut flora, helps our organs to detox, has been shown to be just as good as anti-depressant medications but with positive side effects. 

Exercise

Kira Sutherland

Other speakers included Erica Peirson on hypothyroidism in children on how brain development and every cell is dependent on the thyroid horone, pregnancy is a stress test on the thyroid and how the microbiome should be nurtured as much as the newborn itself; Elizabeth Mumper spoke about the Management of Prenatal and Postnatal Risk Factors of Autism and that so many things have changed so quickly for our kids and the basic recommendations for pregnancy include a well-balanced, organics, non-GMO diet, green your home, reduce stress, get enough sleep, regular exercise and avoid toxins; and Annalies Corse on Maternal Health and the nutritional considerations for conception, pregnancy, birth recovery  and the 4th trimester, and that it can take greater than 6 weeks for recovery after birth as this transition can be very stressful both emotionally and physiologicaly which can then further deplete us of nutrients and energy, with a labour + c-section birth the hardest delivery from an emotional point of view.

The postpartum period is a time when women tend to be amenable to health counselling; this provides a tremendous opportunity for promoting lifelong healthy habits.

– Annalies Corse

Help the brain heal the gut. A major aha moment for me listening to Dr Carlo Rinaudo talk about the role of the vagus nerve. If the brain is not working properly you have reduced brain-gut activation affecting gut and immune health. The vagus nerve is our largest cranial nerve connected to many different organs in our body.

Low vagal nerve activation results in

  • reduced gut motility
  • reduced release of digestive enzymes
  • reduced blood flow which reduces repair and nutrient transport
  • leaky gut leading to inflammation and autoimmunity

The typical response for low vagal tone is a sympathetic dominant state: adrenal stress, anxiety, poor sleep, hormone imbalances and poor posture. The vagus nerve stimulation has used in the treatment of inflammatory conditions, stress, anxiety and depression.

I had vasovagal syncope‬ (fainting) after the birth of my son in the weeks before developing postpartum psychosis. The pieces of my health puzzle are starting to come together.

Vagus Nerve

Dr Carlo Rinaudo

Right time, right place meeting Holly Bridges with a lovely long chat with Holly about the polyvagal theory and the 3 responses to stress: flight, fight and freeze. Our body goes into survival mode, into a state of safety, into a shut down response thanks to a weak control of the vagus nerve. With the help of neuroplasticity it is possible to reconnect the mind-body connection and re-engage the brain.

Holly has a fantastic, easy to read, easy to understand book explaining the polyvagal theory and how this impacts people with Autism. A huge piece of my health puzzle has been ‘reframed’. Thank you Holly!

Reframe Book

Holly Bridges

My books from the MINDD Forum 2016.  So grateful to get my copy A Mind of Your Own signed by Kelly Brogan MD. Finally got my hands on Bubba Yum Yum’s The Paleo Way and get it signed by Char and Helen.

books

Books from MINDD 2016

Save the date for the third weekend in May 2017 for next years MINDD Forum!

 

Functional Nutrition Course

 

ACNEM 2016

“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food” – Hippocrates

What an amazing weekend of learning at the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine (ACNEM) Nutrition in Medicine conference in the Sydney. So many awesome speakers with many gems of information on toxins in our environment, our microbiome, autoimmunity and genetic influences.

Cribb

Julian Cribb – ACNEM 2016

“If we do not have a ‘Right Not to Be Poisoned’, there will probably never again be a day when we are not.” – Julian Cribb Poisoned Planet 2014.

Brilliant presentation on the toxins in our environment. Most people have little notion of the contaminant spread and the impact on our bodies and minds, and the risks posed to human life now and for centuries to come. In our modern society we need to take responsibility, we alone have the power to correct, to take action and demand a new human right to eliminate toxins from the food chain.

Ecology

Emeritus Prof Mark Wahlqvist AO – ACNEM 2016

“To know where we come from is to know who we are and where we may go. We are ecological creatures.” Fantastic presentation by Emeritus Prof Mark Wahlqvist AO on “Health Care Systems for Ecological Creatures: the need to know who we are” ACNEM 2016. Food is an indicator of our ecological status and the eco-vulnerable are those who as most disconnected from their ecosystem. The rapid loss of our ecosystem is contributing to our health. The wholefoods system is being transferred by each generation to a people-less food system. We are losing our food biodiversity. We are missing our ecosystem with Nature Deficit disorder. We are ecosystem dependent creatures.

Bijlsma

Nicole Bijlsma – ACNEM 2016

Every 60 seconds 20 chemicals are registered on the Chemical Abstract Service Registry. That’s over 200,000 chemicals a week – Nicole Bijlsma – Environmental chemicals in the built environment: sources, health effects and avoidance strategies ACNEM 2016.

It takes years and generations to prove if these chemicals are safe or hazardous. Being evidence based is keeping us in the dark ages, when is sufficient evidence to act? The burden of proof is not on industry to prove safety of these chemicals. It is up to us as citizens to get involved to assess our chemical load. There are many ways we can reduce our toxic load including changing the food we eat, changing the personal care products we use and changing the way we clean our homes.

Prescott

Prof Susan Prescott – ACNEM 2016

“To change the world, you have to change the menu first” – Prof Susan Prescott.

Fantastic presentation on Early life solutions to the Modern Health Crisis. Our early environment influences our development and function. Bacteria are our foundation of life and as we have co-evolved with microbes they influence our physiology and behaviour. We don’t yet understand the effect on biology of food and we don’t even know what bacteria we have lost. Our disconnect from nature is another factor in our dysbiotic drift. The health of tomorrow will depend on what we do today. Everyone can make a difference by the choices we make!

Curriculum

Launch of the ACNEM Primary Care Curriculum

“As a nation we must do more”. The Federal Health Minister, The Hon Sussan Ley MP launched the ACNEM Primary Care Curriculum at the ACNEM Nutrition in Medicine conference. The greatest epidemic of all time is chronic disease. Changing our eating habits and emphasising the nutrition role in medicine is important in the prevention of disease and promotion of a healthy lifestyle, and as is providing doctors with this knowledge.

Nutrition and our environment play such an important role in our health, and after attending the ACNEM conference it certainly has made me think more about what is in my food and the toxins around my home. For anyone who is concerned about the foods they consume or may have any kind of health concerns a must watch is the upcoming What’s With Wheat Documentary.

This documentary investigates

  • what has changed in our wheat that is now causing a huge increase in cealiac and non-cealiac gluten sensitivity.
  • how modern agriculture has affected our wheat crops.
  • why we as a society are getting sicker and sicker, including a rise in autoimmune diseases.
  • what we can do to make change to not only improve our own health but the health of our children and future generations.

You don’t want to miss the FREE screening of What’s With Wheat Documentary available in June 2016.

What's With Wheat Documentary - opt-in page

Garlic

Did you know that if you rub garlic on your feet that you will taste garlic in 30 minutes? This is a cool fact I learnt in Twenty8 Health and Lifestyle Educator Program (HLE).

A few months ago I noticed a red, raised, rash-like patch the size of 20 cents on my armpit. I had no idea what it could be and it proceeded to get extremely hot, irritated and itchy especially being located in my already hot, sweaty armpit. It only got worse as rashes to began to appear on my other arm pit as well.

At first I thought it might have been an unusual way of detoxing as lymph nodes, which are part of your immune systems that help fight infection and disease, are found in the arm pit area as well as many other areas in your body. Then I saw on a low-tox Facebook group a number of other people were asking about rashes in their arm pits. I was not alone! However, it turned out that most of these people had made a recent switch to natural deodorant like Black Chicken. In my case I had made the switch to a natural deodorant months prior and it didn’t contain bicarb.

Not knowing what I had I asked my Mother-in-law. One look and she said ‘ringworm’. Great I have worms! Actually I had a fungus tinea also known as athletes foot. Ringworm thrives in wet, moist areas, particularly if you sweat a lot, and is highly contagious. Ringworm, like candida, may be caused by my ongoing issues with gut dysbiosis. One Google search mentioned “GAPS Diet along with antifungal herbs, supps would be great help. Fungal infections also are indicators of low immunity. According to Dr. Natasha Campbell, fungus overgrowth wouldn’t clear up until mercury/heavy metals are gone from the body. She says fungus is there to protect you from heavy metals. …B vitamin deficiencies, zinc, magnesium, vitamin A, C, E, D all are immune boosters. When they are low, body won’t function the way it should.” This particularly interesting as healing my gut is a work in progress. After the MINDD Forum listening to Dr Natasha in person I am looking into GAPS and I am currently getting tested by a holistic doctor following up some of ahas about my health, particularly around vitamin deficiencies and heavy metals levels.

I started treating the ringworm with over the counter anti-fungal creams, the heavy duty strength version where they recommend no longer that 2 weeks usage. Not particularly encouraging to use especially when you are applying this to your highly absorbent arm-pit area. I even tried a natural version of a over the counter anti-fungal cream. Creams didn’t really have an effect.

2015-06-21 008 Lavender

Twenty8 Lavender

Dr Google wasn’t much help as there as so many ways people recommend to treat ringworm, some even saying its difficult to treat or incurable despite it being so common. I was confused on what to do and reluctant to go to the doctor to get prescription medication. So I turned to my trusty essential oils. Lavender and Tea tree essentials oils have great anti-fungal, anti-microbial properties and these two oils in particular are safe to apply directly to the skin. Not having a pure therapeutic grade tea tree essential oil that I could trust I used my Twenty8 Lavender essential oil. Every first aid kid should contain Lavender.

Over the next few weeks the redness and itchiness subsided and the initial patch began to heal. But other rashes persisted and were starting to drive me bonkers. In my Twenty8 HLE course I started to learn the different properties of essential oils. I thought a synergistic effect of a combination of anti-fungal oils would be more effective than Lavender alone. I started to do a mini-massage on my arm pits with half a teaspoon of sweet almond oil and 1 drop of Twenty8 Immune Boost. This had the desired effect and slowly my arm pits started to recover slightly, but the ringworm still persisted. The tea tree oil I did have on hand I used as an anti-fungal laundry rinse aid by adding a few drops (or perhaps a drizzle) to each load of laundry as ringworm can be extremely contagious and spread easily in a household. Tea Tree essential oil certainly made our clothes, sheets and towels smell amazing!

2015-06-21 005 Calm kids

Calm Kids by Jennifer Jefferies

I was at the stage of seeking medical advice to combat the ringworm that had plagued me for months now. I had hoped with the advent of the winter months and the cooler weather this would help settle down my skin. I was sick and tired of having itchy, irritated armpits. Whilst reading Calm Kids book (recommended reading in Twenty8 HLE) I read that garlic can be used on older children to treat ringworm.

I decided to try the garlic option as it seemed easy enough. A sliver of raw garlic rubbed directly onto the skin. You may experience a slightly burning sensation if you get the garlic on unaffected skin, but the relief from the itchiness is almost instant. Its the caprylic acid in garlic that is anti-fungal and which is also found in coconut oil, another recommended option to treat ringworm. What I discovered after the fact was that it should have disclaimer on the numerous sites claiming garlic is an effective treatment. After I treated myself with garlic I Googled an explanation as to why I became so ill. A side effect of garlic can be diarrhoea, stomach issues, nausea, gas in some individuals like this and this website mentions. I got all these symptoms in spades along with loss of appetite not surprisingly, and this was most likely caused by the toxins excreted from the fungal die-off.

However, within three applications of raw garlic onto my armpits over three days my ringworm has almost cleared completely. It took over a week to start to feel like my stomach was happy with me again and to be able to eat without wanting to gag. I continue to apply the anti-fungal creams and essential oils now that the ringworm appears to under control.

Have you tried any natural remedies for ringworm? Or a natural treatment for skin conditions?

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