The Gluten Free Guinea Pig Column: Choc-banana bread

photo by Denieca o'niell

photo by Denieca o'niell

Following on from our recent blog about your gluten free diet and what happens when you consume gluten, I thought it best to write something to let those who are GF know that all is not lost. 

I have been gluten free since December and I can tell you it is hard work! I love pasta, pizza, croissants etc and it has been so difficult to cut things about because the GF substitutes in shops such as the Genius Bread or Madeira loaf are just not the same and then I ultimately slip up and have a cookie. 

I like to keep my eye out for gluten free recipes and see what options I have for when I need a sweet treat. This weekend just past I found a recipe for Chocolate Banana Bread, so I thought why not try substituting with gluten free flour and see what happens and I'm so happy I did. The bread stayed really moist, you could taste both the chocolate and banana and it was simply divine (if I do say so myself). I had friends over that same night and didn't tell any of them it was gluten free and they honestly could not tell the difference. I would definitely recommend to any of those who want to make something nice and easy.

Full recipe:

  • 3 Bananas (mashed)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup of Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1/3 cup of Maple Syrup
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup of Gluten Free Self Raising Flour
  • 1 & 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/3 cup of Dark Chocolate

Simple Instructions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together as above until you have a paste (except the chocolate)
  2. Cut chocolate into little squares, and melt, stirring every 30 seconds. Pour in a small amount of the banana mixture with the chocolate and mix throughly.
  3. Pour in half of the banana mixture into a greased loaf pan, then pour in half of the chocolate mixture. Pour the rest of the banana mixture then the rest of the chocolate on top.
  4. Use a knife to slightly mix the two together to create a swirl. Bake for 45 minutes on 150 degrees.

See below link to site for direct instructions ** remember to exchange the flour for gluten free flour.

https://www.facebook.com/officialgoodful/videos/1732756990128093/

please note: this is a personal recipe and may not cater to everyones taste or dietary requirements.

Vitamin B3

In light of the recent publishing of Australian research, “Vitamin B3 may prevent miscarriages and birth defects” nicotinamide/niacin or simply vitamin b3 does a whole lot more for us.

Within our clinic, we provide the vitamin B12 and B complex and occasionally B1, B6 and B7. B12 is the highly requested due to, simply, deficiencies in vast populations, mainly vegans, vegetarians, malabsorption syndrome, pernicious anaemia and mostly gut related illnesses. In a healthy state, we can all absorb these nutrients, considering we are sourcing them from the right foods and maintaining a balanced diet.

Where do we get B3 from?

Vitamin B3 is mainly sourced from foods that are high in protein such as meat, fish, wheat flour, eggs, carrots, peas, peanuts, legumes, tomatoes etc. The UK’s daily recommended is 0.3 mg/kg/day.

B3 Deficiency

Severe deficiency in vitamin B3 results in pellagra, which is very rare in the United Kingdom, however, certain populations listed below are susceptible to deficiency. Four “D’s” mainly characterize the disease: diarrhoea, dermatisis, dementia and potentially, death if left untreated. Additionally, the diagnosis can be strongly suggested by examining the levels of niacin, tryptophan and compounds found for enzyme function. A combined urine excretion of a metabolite of niacin and end product of niacin less than 1.5 milligrams in 24 h indicates severe niacin deficiency.

Populations susceptible to deficiency:

  • Staple diets consisting of consuming corn and sorghum
  • Individuals with eating disorders for example, anorexia nervosa

  • Congenital malabsorption of tryptophan (amino acid) from the intestines and kidney

  • Chronic alcoholics

  • Food fadists

Why B3 now?

This happens whenever “breakthroughs” or positive significant findings come out. B3 has always been important and beneficial like all nutrients and little is promoted on why nutrients are vital for our wellbeing. Good research comes out quite often and it is only fair to say this one was a lucky pick.

Besides the recent vitamin B3 findings, here is a list of the other known benefits:

  • Essential in all cells for energy production

  • Helps with metabolism

  • Repairs our DNA

  • Maintenance of the healthy skin or aging facial skin appearance

  • Free radical scavenger

  • Influences immune cell function and survival

  • Reduces the damage ultraviolet (UV) has on our immunity

  • An adjuvant in alcoholism treatments

Future of B3

B3 has been found to be a promising agent for the chemoprevention of melanoma in high-risk population. This is currently in the early stages of study and we can only cross our fingers for now that a solid foundation can be built upon from this. The headlined findings are definitely good news worth echoing and boosting your vitamins and diet to, certainly, doing more good than harm for those trying to start a family. On the other hand, we hope future studies clarify if lower levels of B3 are a partial cause of birth defects.

As exciting as it sounds, this should not open doors for a new fad diet. This is a breakthrough study, which was done under controlled environments, in mice, mice that probably don’t smoke, possibly exercise, and have their life entirely controlled in a lab. At the end of the day, these biological effects mirror human beings, and hopefully, this research will be translated onto us soon.

When Your Gluten Free Diet Goes Pear Shaped

 
 

You’re being really good. Doing all the right things. Yet your symptoms- the gas, bloating, general discomfort, joint pains, brain fog, headaches or feeling low; are still present. They did improve for a little while. But now they are creeping back.

 

You’ve been diligently looking at the labels of everything that you eat. You even started to buy organic wines now (which actually helps with the hangovers!). You can feel the desperation creeping back in. You’re terrified of being in that place again! Especially now that you’ve regained some control back and a sense of normality….

 

So what’s going on? Here are some potential reasons when this happens:

  • You are consuming gluten without knowing it. Its hard. Really hard. Even ketchup has gluten in it. Most commercial sauces have it and they mostly don’t have to list it as an ingredient.

  • There’s cross contamination. One reason I tell my patients to avoid gluten free oats. There’s almost always some degree of cross contamination. Even in restaurants where they are able to serve gluten free foods, cross contamination can and does happen.

  • An interesting possibility and the reason I wanted to write this blog…. Over-consumption of newly introduced foods or grains. The things that in the past, you may either never have eaten, or only ate sporadically.

 

Look back on your diet and have a think about what it used to look like and what it looks like now. I’ve been on this track and back. Feeling rather smug with the beautiful array of new grains and colours in my food. But secretely actually not too thrilled about the taste of some of them. At least the plate looked right and I felt great for following through on eating better.

 

The problem is when most people go gluten free, they frequently immediately look for substitutions in search of the same-looking plate of food. They still want to eat a cookie. But its now a gluten free cookie (with lots of other additives). Or bread (with gums to add elasticity that can be allergenic). Some common examples are these:

  • Buckwheat

  • Sorghum

  • Amaranth

  • Sesame

  • Quinoa

  • Hemp

  • Tapioca

  • Teff

  • Potato

  • Rice

  • Millet

  • Corn

Then there’s the somewhat poor understanding of what gluten actually is, with quite a few people avoiding bread but happily consuming rye, barley, spelt and oats.

 

Cyrex labs does a test that tests for these components. I normally ask for my patients to include this particular array (Array 4) when they are doing intolerance testing. I’ve found this test to be incredibly useful and is frequently an eye opener for my patients too.

 

So the next question…. What can we do about it? Doesn’t it leave us with NOTHING to eat?

 

It does if you think of food in terms of grain+veg+meat. However, if you think of how a paleo-like meal looks like, it comprises of veg+meat. Plus lots of good fats. Grains take a long time to harvest/soak/cook. Our ancestors were not capable of doing this. They were hunter gatherers. They didn’t have that kind of luxury. Our gut is not designed (yet) to consume the amount of grain that we do today. Is it any wonder that as a grain consuming nation, we are becoming sicker and sicker?

 

What I personally do is this:

  1. I’m a rice eater. I don’t really want to go completely paleo. But I have reduced the quantity of rice drastically over the years. And I don’t need it for every meal. So my plate today looks different from years ago where it was rice heavy. These days, you struggle to find the rice which is hidden underneath the veg or meat and a good amount of fat.

  2. I practice a not-so-strict intermittent fasting. This is now a lifestyle and I don’t ever want to go back to eating so often. I feel very good, don’t get energy crashes and only crave sugar when I’m particularly stressed. I usually eat in an eight hour window (12pm to 8pm). It works for me as I simply push my breakfast later and later. I do have a cup of tea with a little milk. As milk is considered food, this is not strictly fasting. But I can stick to this and it works for me.

  3. I don’t snack normally. I simply don’t want to in the same way I used to. I like giving my gut a break from having to work so hard.

  4. I disagree with small frequent meals mostly (there are times this is necessary esp in adrenal fatigue). I also disagree with breakfast being the most important meal of the day (again, this rule is lifted in adrenal fatigue). I can’t really imagine our hunter-gatherer ancestors getting up to a nice breakfast every morning. It probably started about with the agricultural revolution where the farmer had to eat for energy before going out to the fields. These days, we generally go to a sedentary job.

  5. I tend not to eat things where I need to read the label. So its mostly veg and meat. Close to no boxed foods.

  6. I break these rules often enough so I still am able to live a relatively socially normal life. But I always miss my own way and always, always go back to it. Simply because it makes me feel better

Vitamin C – What else does it do for us?

 
 

It has been 7 weeks since my last blog and the clinic has been casually mannered, meaning nothing unorthodox as per patient related issues. The Harpal Clinic Team has a new addition to the team, a copied version of Harpal, whom you may see when you pay us a visit.

Once again, I have been encouraged to write about this vitamin c topic by the new intravenous therapy clients, whom have the basic understanding of this essential nutrient.

By the end of this article, like vitamin c, I hope you find this fruitful to your immune system, to support and simplify recent understandings behind it.

Without consciously thinking, the food of choice for vitamin c intake is an orange, for me at least. Possibly, the most popular amongst the huge variety of fruits and vegetables we can source from. Again without determinedly thinking the benefits of this nutrient, it is necessary for growth and our immune system. As basic as that sounds, this does not explain it all, because every other micronutrient we eat does almost the same job, therefore, a bit more insight into it feels relevant.

Vitamin c is important and chronic deficiency in it can result in scurvy. Fortunately, scurvy is rare and almost exclusively associated with malnutrition, malabsorption or psychiatric disease. Since we can almost entirely defend ourselves from this disease, which has not been epidemic for a very long time, at least in the United Kingdom, little attention has been highlighted on it’s supporting role.

It is commonly known that, to provide antioxidant protection, a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of 90 mg/day for adult men and 75 mg/day for adult women is set based on the vitamin C intake to maintain near-maximal neutrophil concentration with minimal urinary excretion of vitamin c. Despite this RDA, several studies have also reported the benefits of “intravenous high doses” which can be adequately taken without any health implications, interestingly; these doses support our health.

Benefits:

  • Biosynthesis of collagen
  • Regulation of HIF-1α, which plays an integral role in the body’s response to low oxygen
  • Confers mitochondrial protection against oxidative injury.
  • Activation of the B vitamin, folic acid
  • Conversion of cholesterol to bile acids
  • Conversion of the amino acid, tryptophan to the neurotransmitter, serotonin
  • Reduces the severity of allergic reactions
  • Protects body from deleterious effects of free radicals, pollutants and toxins
  • Tissue healing

Most recently, research has shown it to be a key antioxidant of the Central Nervous System, as multiple evidence links oxidative stress with neurodegeneration, positioning redox imbalance and reactive oxygen species as a cause of neurodegeneration.

Having explained the goodness of vitamin c, which I have only written a tenth about, it is only fair to highlight the potential side effects. The side effects are, ingesting a large dose may cause gastrointestinal distress and diarrhoea. On it’s own it works well but is effective as an adjunct supplement. Also, there have been isolated cases of allergic reactions with eczema, urticaria and asthma. Otherwise, the benefits here outweigh the risk, in this article, the risk being the benefits.

The Male Ticking Biological Clock

Having seen so many patients for testosterone replacement therapy over the years, there is an interesting trend that I’m starting to notice. The issue of “biological clock ticking” now applies to both sexes.

 

Where previously this was seen to be a purely female problem, you now have a scenario where men in their late 30s and early 40s need to quickly make their minds up about finding the right girl and getting pregnant. A situation previously plaguing women in their 30s mostly. The reasons for this are a decrease in quality (poor swimmers, abnormal shapes) and quantity of men’s sperm. The causes of this decrease is multifold:

 

  • the rise in stress levels (despite your wonderful ability to manage your stress)

  • environmental toxins including that from frequent flying

  • depleted nutrients due to lifestyle and depleting resources

  • Cycling- yes that pressure on the testis for prolonged periods can be an issue

  • Anything that increases the temperature of things down there eg tight underpants/jeans

  • Radiation emission from laptops- this is low levels, continuous and prolonged. And becoming a huge issue of late for those who actually place it habitually on their laps

  • Radiation from mobile phones- the jury’s out on this. We don’t know the answer yet. Read this blog for a neutral take on phones and you can make your own mind up

  • age-related depleted hormonal profile  

  • Commencing testosterone replacement therapy

 

From my point of view, as a practitioner looking after them; I’m able to optimise them and make them feel great. But at the same time, I have to find a balance and be able to minimise any chances of reduced fertility with combining HCG or Clomid to their regimes, amongst other interventions. For some patients, they even consider freezing their sperm in the same way a woman would freeze her eggs.

 

Its a rather odd discussion to have in a culture where its not uncommon for a man of 70 to father a child (although we have no idea of the quality of that successful sperm). The point of this blog is to raise awareness that this is an increasingly common issue. Hidden as no one really talks about it. Not to be taken lightly. And not to be relegated to being only a “woman’s” problem.

City Skin Defence

Suddenly, everybody is talking about nitrogen dioxide and free radicals in the air and the direct effect it has on our skin. I, for one work in the City of London where the air is thick with harmful pollutants and I do worry about the how it can have a significant impact on my skin, not just on the surface.
The tipping point was in January 2017, when pollution readings taken from Brixton, Oxford Circus, Kings Road, Chelsea and Kensington High Street showed that nitrogen dioxide levels had breached the EU annual limit for an entire year - in just five days. Since then, MP's called the crisis a "public health emergency" whilst the Royal College of Physicians and Royal College of Paediatrics have reported around 40,000 deaths each year are due to the exposure of pollution.

Something that is becoming harder to miss is the effect it is having on our skin, although pollution particles cannot be seen or smelt, women living in urban and built-up areas are seeing more visible signs of ageing, higher rates of dark spots, pigmentation, imbalance in pH levels and adult acne. According to the Journal of Dermatology, environmental pollutants increase age spots by 25% around the cheek area as a direct result of nitrogen dioxide concentrations. So with all this bad news in mind, we now know that air pollutants can deplete antioxidant defences and perhaps even degrade proteins in the skin. 

While politicians debate and universities research about how to clean up the air, there are some everyday simple things we can do to protect ourselves, on the surface and from within. Here's our breakdown of treatments and products available to help defend your skin against the baddies in the air. 

Antioxidant Defence Serum by NeoStrata

  • Concentrated SynerG Formula containing 8 powerful multi action antioxidants is designed to combat oxidative damage and protect the skin from premature ageing
  • Patented Bionic and Polyhydroxy Acids trap oxidation promoting metals and help prevent sun-induced cellular damage
  • Citric Acid, Lilac, Green Tea, and Chardonnay Grape Seed Extracts work together to neutralise free radicals and help preserve healthy DNA, lipids, and cellular membranes.

Antioxidant Booster Serum by Intraceuticals

  • Revitalises and balances dull, stressed skin with exceptionally powerful natural antioxidants sourced from the Australian Rainforest.
  • Clarifies and refines the appearance of skin prone to blemishes, visible pores, sun damage, uneven texture or deep wrinkles.
  • As a booster serum, it can be used in conjunction with your own daily serum or as a stand alone. It's also very pocket friendly.

Glutathione supplements or intramuscular shots

  • This works from the inside, if you're taking injections you'll only need it once fortnightly/monthly depending on what your practitioner tells you. Or opt for supplements.
  • Plays an important role in detoxification reactions, protecting the cells from harmful effects of unwanted chemical substances, such as free radicals.
  • With high cysteine concentrations in the cells, explaining the protective effect against unwanted foreign chemical substances.
  • It helps with cell growth, wound healing and immune function.
  • Plays pac man and eats up free radicals which are created during exposure to hot and cold environmental temperatures and UV light from the sun or toxicity. There are others factors such as exhaust fumes, pollutants for those in the City and for those who travel a lot by trains or planes where cabin fever can effect the air (re-circulated air).

Harpal skinCity Detox Lymphatic Facial 30 & 60 minutes

  • The lymphatic system is designed to remove waste products and toxins in the body. 
  • We use a lymphatic drainage suction devise to draw out impurities. 
  • Deep cleanse, steam, extraction and mask with the full hour facial.
  • Your therapist will even show you the suction devise at the end to prove how much grime can build up in your pores! This is a very satisfying facial, consider your skin well and truly cleansed.

Heliocare 360 Fluid Cream SPF 50+

  • Protect, protect, protect with spf
  • Very high photoimmunoprotection with an innovative ulra-light fluid cream texture. 
  • Its exclusive combination of advance filters and BioShield System provides broad spectrum protection against UVA, UVB, IR-A and Visible Light.
  • Enriched with Fernblock FC for powerful antioxidant activity, and actives which repair sun damage. Suitable for all skin types, with a soft, invisible skin-feel.

NeoStrata Resurface Ultra Daytime Smoothing Cream SPF15 10 AHA

  • Correct the visual signs of photo-ageing and prevent future damage with a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen in this antioxidant-rich day cream.
  • Ideal daytime exfoliating moisturiser helps to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • It contains three potent antioxidants, including MMP inhibitor Lactobionic Acid, plus broad spectrum sunscreen, to help preserve collagen and maximise protection against oxidative damage. Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) exfoliate to visibly smooth skin. 

Intraceuticals Bespoke Facial with Antioxidant Booster

  • There is no greater satisfaction than having serum sprayed onto your face with pure oxygen, truly the essence of a city smart facial. The Antioxidant Booster will bubble wrap your face against the elements, smooth, brighten, refine.
  • Low molecular hyaluronic acid is infused with an antioxidant booster to leave you looking and feeling clean and radiant for up to a week.

What Should I Eat?

sketch by taf. garikayi

sketch by taf. garikayi

Having joined Harpal Clinic in March 2017, it was made clear that in addition to on-going patient care; we also aim to educate our patients, which I have always strongly believed to be fruitful for a healthy lifestyle.

 


I was asked to write interesting, cultivating material, but this has been hard, as I have been strongly trained to write scientifically, methodically and mathematically.  

I have tonnes of issues I would like to share, but this question is raised time and time again by our patients “I have tried everything, what should I eat?”
Even with years of studying and working in the health industry, I have had to sit back and ask myself the same question.

The issue in itself is broad, somewhat, a silly question a clinician should be asking themselves. One would expect this to be a straightforward answer, but it isn’t. Personally, shopping for my weekly food in any London shop for me is like a mental challenge, deciding the shop, trolley or basket, which aisle to start with (even with a shopping list) and what to buy. After jumping that hurdle, the next thing is reading the food labels which I would guess, maybe 3 out of 10 shoppers would know the nutritional definition (without searching Google) and benefits of what they are about to consume.

Commonly, dietary factors have been associated with the cause or prevention of many diseases, including coronary heart disease, hypertension, cancer, birth defects, osteoporosis, and a variety of other chronic diseases. These associations are derived mainly from animal studies, epidemiologic studies on people and basic research concerning potential mechanisms. To simply break this information down to the general public, interpretation is often difficult and most of the times, conflicting. In light of this, what or who should you believe in?

In the age we live in, where there is a surge in Google Diagnostics with a dose of Twitter and Instagram guidance, people will always have a prognosis and diagnosis of their health concerns, what’s causing certain pains and if not in pain, how to get optimal health. Before I forget, despite of the NHS waiting times and your GP refusing to refer you to a Nutritionist/Dietician, stick to you GP’s and/or professional healthcare advisors advice. Put the Apps aside during consultation and respectfully discuss your issue. Yes, there are hundreds of Apps giving us advice on what to eat, but the concern here is, do you trust your source of information and do you trust what you are being told?

I do not condone the use of Google to search, “what am I eating tonight”, but I do worry about the toxicity of the content of some answers we are fed. As a modern day Google user, I am going to put a very reliable link at the end of this script, where I know the benefit outweighs the risk.

Without having to exhaust myself on calorie content, protein, carbs and sugar definitions, I may not have the exact answer but I am a firm believer of “you are what you eat”. I have taken a different approach, ignored the calorie and nutritional content and try to pick more of the fresh unrefined/unprocessed vs. refined/processed foods, consume your own hand-size portions, semi-caveman thinking. Keep it balanced. Simple.

Whilst using social media – think consciously about reliable sources of information. The link I promised below is this one: http://www.cgem.ed.ac.uk/research/rheumatological/calcium-calculator/ which I will discuss very soon.

The Importance of Body Exfoliation

I have never really taken body exfoliation seriously, until my friend took a photo of me in a bikini at the beach. Yes, shock and horror took over when I discovered dimply, dry skin behind my thighs. The fact that the cellulite and stretch marks were bad enough to show in a badly focused mobile phone photo confirmed just how bad the situation was. Yup, it was pretty bad.

Now, no one at the beach ran away from me screaming at the sight of my dimply skin because lets be honest - no one really cares. But, it mattered to me. My thoughts on cellulite are similar to my thoughts on spots, unwanted hair and wrinkles: if you are self conscious about them, then by all means take measures to banish the issue and then spend less time fretting. 

So, the very next week I came into work and spoke to my friend and colleague, Viola. There was no time to waste. I needed a solution that was non-invasive, affordable and as I'm lazy, done by someone else! There were plenty of options, Mesotherapy, Fillers, Microneedling, Plexr, etcetera etcetera. They're all great, but far too advanced for me. I needed something a little more pocket friendly and organic. Enter Dry Body Brushing and Glycolic Peels, and here is the low down:

So, what are the benefits of dry body brushing?

This is a no-brainer, the brushing will slough off any dead skin and allow the new skin to absorb all the goodness of moisturisers and oils applied. Secondly, the gentle motion of brushing in one direction will create a lymphatic type drainage, helping the body release excess toxins and promote better blood circulation. In turn, you'll be helping to break down all the unsightly lumps and bumps caused by coagulated fat cells. 

What are the benefits of body peels?

Chemical peels are great for men and women alike. Do not be alarmed by the term 'chemical', this is a mild dose and very safe to use on the body. Peels are a non-invasive way to correct and treat unsightly scarring, pigmentation, uneven texture and wrinkles. It can treat melasma and sun damage by dissolving the top layer and stimulating collagen growth at the same time to give longer lasting results. A combination of dry brushing and chemical peel will give optimal results of both methods.

"There is a peel suitable for every concern. From pigmentation to spotty backs, peels are the quickest way to deal with those embarrassing body parts" - Harpal Clinic skin specialist Viola

What is the process?

The process is easy for you and me, not so easy for the therapist!
1. Kick back on the bed whilst the therapist gives you a good 'ole scrub with a dry brush
2. She'll mix and apply a glycolic peel all over your body, back and front and let it sit for a few minutes
3. Thoroughly wipe off the peel with hot mittens. (Goodness me, this step feels amazing) 
4. Moisturise the body with a lotion to soothe and hydrate with lovely light body massage
5. Total time taken, 60 minutes.

There's much more to it than the four steps above, but rather than explain the finer details, I thought it better to give you a demonstration! Click on the video for a sped-up version of the treatment. 

The results?

In short, this treatment changed the overall condition of my skin. After one session skin was as smooth and supple as a baby's butt. After four sessions I honest-to-God saw a remarkable difference. Stretch marks faded, cellulite definitely reduced, skin tone and texture was even and smooth. My arms, legs and décolletage saw the best results, keratosis (chicken skin on arms and thighs) disappeared, reduced pigmentation on knees and elbows whilst the neck and chest looked tighter and firmer. 

This is a beautiful treatment without a doubt. Think of it as a fast track to better skin and a huge confidence booster.

Why Some Vegetarians or Vegans Thrive and Others Fail

I’ve started seeing more and more people coming in for injectables and intravenous drips like Vitamin B12, B Complex, high dose Vitamin C, glutathione, Magnesium, amino acids and D amongst others. However, new Vitamin B12 patients far outnumber the rest and many of them are vegetarians or vegans. Many of these patients have also chosen to eat this way later in life ie teens or later. There is a great deal of awareness within this community and they choose to eat this way, accepting that they need to do more to counter the potential nutritional shortfalls.

Surprisingly, I don’t see many who are born into vegetarian families (due to religion or culture) where they have eaten this way for generations. This suggests that they either are relatively unaware (I somehow don’t think that this is the issue), or that they are more ‘adapted’ to this way of eating. My believe is that epigenetics is at play here.

 

Coming from a culture where I’m familiar with vegetarianism for religion purposes, and knowing what I do now about some problems that vegetarianism brings about; this article that I’m about to share has always been a question in my mind and something that I’ve been meaning to explore. It’s so well written and researched that I don’t need to add much to it besides introducing you to the writer of that blog post and giving you my 2 cents about it.

 

The article discusses 4 points and is written by Denise Minger. Denise’s blog site https://rawfoodsos.com/  went viral after she published her findings regarding the China Study, which is possibly the most famous pro-vegan study out there. Her quest started when her usually perfect teeth was found to be full of cavities despite doing everything by the book to stay ‘healthy’. Being a naturally curious sort, she delved into the China Study and actually took the trouble to analyse the data. There she found many discrepancies which sadly enough does happen in the scientific world where data is ‘tweaked’ to fit in with the original hypothesis. Her work is relevant and needs to be read.

 

My personal opinion:

  • Veganism does not suit everyone

  • If this is how you choose to eat, do take extra care to ensure that you are getting all the relevant nutrition (possible from plant sources eg seaweed, natto, marmite etc) and constantly be on the lookout for symptoms of deficiencies

  • If you have indigestion, increased acid reflux, gas and bloating or prone towards soft or hard stools, you probably have some gut issues. This means that absorption of nutrients won’t be as good

  • If you constantly take antibiotics or have done so in the past, your gut bacteria may be deficient; again potentially leading to problems with gut nutrient absorption

  • Every so often, consider injectables as it won’t get lost in the gut.

  • If you already have symptoms, consider a course of injectables initially more frequently (eg weekly or fortnightly depending on which nutrient) before you taper it off. This is to allow your body to heal to a point where you won’t go back to ‘baseline’ so quickly. There’s also the problem of getting used to a certain level of energy. Most people with very low energy levels can never figure out how others go on. They also tend to be very happy with every little uplift in energy; forgetting what its like to have full functional energy. I just don’t think it makes good sense when cumulative additional changes make such a huge change in a person’s health. The time to stop would be when you start seeing negligible results. That usually means that you’re either optimised or if you’re still tired, that there is another reason for it.

 

I hope that you will enjoy this article…..

https://authoritynutrition.com/4-reasons-some-do-well-as-vegans/

 

Vit D- My Unbelievable Labs

This is a slightly more personal blog post as I’m still a little flustered about it.

 

I’ve been taking patient’s bloods and interpreting their labs for a long time now. My personal health, alongside my patients, has increased leaps and bounds (I do take a bit of my own advice!!). I have good hair and glowing, clear skin, good gut and good energy levels. On the whole, I’m in a pretty good place. Recently, I had the opportunity to get my blood drawn and decided to see what my labs look like.

 

Results came back and most things were as expected, except for my Vit D which was below normal. This annoyed me that the labs would make a mistake. So we called them up and asked them to retest it. I had had a Vit D injection, the whole 300,000 IU of it, just a couple weeks before. The results were clearly a lab error.

 

They retested it and it came back still in the red- very, very low, but a different number to before. This got me thinking. I’ve been raving about the benefits of Vitamin D to all my patients. I’ve asked them all to get an injection as I’d personally seen the benefits in myself and my patients. What was going on?

 

In 2015/2016, I’ve probably had 4-5 injections of Ergocalciferol, or Vit D2. Each time 300,000 IU. I haven’t taken any extra supplements at home. I went on a 2 week outdoorsy holiday in July/August and still have the tan from it now (November). The first injection was a life changer. I was extremely hot the night of the injection. Next day, I was bouncing. Similar but not as dramatic improvements with the next few injections. I needed very few clothes compared to others, could handle cold more than others (no coat in summer and only lightweight coats in autumn versus others who needed much more). In fact, I still go out with bare legs now.

 

My symptoms which made me think that I may be low in D again:

 

  • Energy levels were good but I started to find it slipping

  • I wasn’t recovering from night outs as well as usual

  • I also started noticing quite significant hair loss

  • My skin was simply not as smooth and blemish free as before. It was also duller

  • More importantly, I felt colder than I thought I should be feeling

  • I was feeling too hot or too cold suddenly- temperature regulation wasn’t right. This was a classic red flag for my own body and I recognised it

 

After my last injection, once again I didn’t feel the cold that much and temperature regulation improved. Energy levels came back but I was still more tired than usual. Yesterday- after the shock of my horrendous results- I had another D shot. I slept very well at night. Hands and feet are still cool but not cold. I feel good and fresh. I’ve had a birthday since with wonderful friends and parties for most nights of the week last week. And I’m still up and raring to go.

 

What hits me is that despite doing this for a living, I was oblivious to how low my own levels were. It must have been dangerously low when I first did a D shot. I come across as being bouncier and more energetic than most people. Even I realise that I’ve higher energy levels than others. So where does that put others? I think personally, because I make sure I’m balanced in other ways, it has not been obvious that I was so deficient. But its a cautionary tale nevertheless and I know that I will be making much more efforts to get myself tested more regularly and to make sure that I’m optimised nutritionally. Since my body cannot seem to make enough from all the sun I get (more than many others and usually without SPF on my body). I will also look into simpler and more cost effective ways to test for it so that patients can get themselves tested without too much effort. Watch this space…..

FYI, we have now introduced many more injectable services like our B cocktail (B12+B Complex), C, Magnesium, Glutathione etc as an injection or an intravenous push (for larger volumes). Do check our website more for info. My patients seem to love it as they keep coming back, despite the slight ouch!

LDN Stories- Down and Depressed Amir

Amir, 43, came to see me after being referred by his nutritionist who was seeing him for adrenal fatigue. He is a professional who came upon some hard times which affected him badly.

He was on quite a few supplements for his fatigue and showed some signs of hormonal imbalance. I also thought that his diet was quite poor which would affect him quite significantly. He had brain fog, constant fatigue, struggled to recover from exercise, was moody and depressed and could not sleep well. Here's his story in his words.....

"Hi Dr Bains,

Thank you very much for your help and support. It has been a real life saver.

Prior to this adrenal fatigue, I was very fit and healthy, exercised 4 times a week, and was successful. An abusive marriage, mom dying and extreme stress caused me to become ill and life has been a struggle since 2003. Three years ago, after finishing an MBA,  I crashed completely and started work with a nutrionist making slow progress.  Prior to the LDN, my energy levels were very very low to non existent,  my mood was very low to depressed, I struggled to get 5-6 hours very poor quality sleep, and woke up feeling unrefreshed with high adrenaline levels. I felt like a zombie ,put on weight, was unable to think straight, had very bad brain fog, and was unable to do anything due to very low energy levels.

The turnaround with LDN has been nothing short of miraculous, and a real game changer.

We started the dose at 3mg, and things got worse before they got better. The LDN really ramped up an already primed immune system, increased my adrenaline, caused flu and cold like symptoms, i.e. phlegm from nose and chest, aches and pains, especially back ache, skin was horrendous and sleep was very poor due to the increased adrenaline.  However, 2 weeks after this, the immune system settled and my sleep went from 5 hours to 7 hours, and sleep quality improved from 5 to 6 out of 10. After letting the body rest and recover for 2 weeks, we increased the LDN again, causing the same cycle, but each time resulting in slightly improved sleep. Now at 5mg and after 4 months, the turnaround has been dramatic. I can sleep for 9 - 11 hours, of good quality sleep ( 8 out of 10 ), and things are improving at a faster rate. Energy levels are higher, brain fog has lifted, and most dramatic of all, my mood has improved 100%. I no longer feel depressed, despite being sub-optimal. I wake up happier, relaxed, and with a positive mindset, excited about the future. 

The key to LDN was definitely perseverance. Each stage caused initial upset, and then the reward phase followed. The big pay off being 4 months down the line. Definitely worth the wait.

Without your help, I would not have made this breakthrough.

I am now hoping to proceed to the next level of the program with my nutritionalist, and start the anti-microbial phase, and to be able to tolerate it well, due to the LDN and enhanced sleep. 

I have taken the advice you provided 4 months ago and incorporated healthy fats into my diet, started cooking with coconut oil,  watched YouTube videos and vastly improved my cooking skills. I'm struggling to add in fermented foods, and this is something my nutritionist is keen to do at a later stage.

I will now look into SIBO and get back to you."

LDN Stories- Laura and her Mood Swings, Menstrual Problems, Back Pain and Fatigue

I decided to start this series of LDN stories as I felt that people interested in starting it needed to hear about it- as and when patients felt the need to share. It is also an important lesson in persevering as some stages of this journey can feel very difficult. 

Names will be changed but I will give a brief history of why they came to me. I will then put forth their stories in their own words which, in my opinion, is more powerful.

Laura, 36, came to see me on recommendation from her nutritionist. In summary, this is her history:

  • drug addiction for 5 years in late teens
  • Chronic anxiety and mood swing with a diagnosis of 'cyclical mood disorder' from early teen
  • adrenal fatigue
  • leaky gut
  • menstrual irregularities later on

Despite a difficult and protracted ill health history, she is currently doing her masters in a difficult 'sciency' subject and working as a research assistant in the meantime. She also has a 4 year old child. So here is a smart and motivated person, feeling like there's no light at the end of the tunnel but wanting desperately to just be normal and be a mum to her child.

Here's her story:

I was referred to Harpal by my nutritionist, as he felt this would be a useful therapy for me in the aftermath of adrenal fatigue and multiple recurring health problems. Harpal prescribed the LDN sublingual drops as they give you a method to introduce the drug slowly and minimise potential side effects - and I was glad we took this approach. I was optimistic about the LDN, but the initiation process has not been without its challenges! Within a week of being on 1mg I came out in a spectacular rash on my back - a collection of bright red, itchy circles. I contacted the clinic and they assured me that this could be a side effect of the LDN, so I stuck on 1mg and didn't increase my dose until they had settled down - which was about 8 or 9 days. After that, increasing to 1.5 and 2mg did not cause the emergence of any new circles.

 

And at this point I realised some quite important things: the chronic pains I'd had for nearly a year in my back and knee had lessened, suggesting their root cause was auto-immune rather than a simple misaligned joint - and just a week before my osteopath had admitted she really wasn't sure how to treat me as she couldn't do any more than she already had. I'd previously experienced terrible 'flare-ups' of this back pain which would leave me on crutches, and left with months of weakness in my core muscles. On LDN this residual weakness had completely disappeared. I felt fitter and had dispensed with the nagging muscle fatigue that had become normal over the last year. So I learnt that maybe there was more to this situation than I had considered, but I didn't mind because I was clearly doing the right things to deal with it.

 

However, I had been dosing in the morning as I wasn't brave enough to try at night - as soon as someone mentioned the possibility of insomnia I was pretty determined to be a morning doser! But it turned out the mornings weren't the right time for me - although I had begun to see some pretty impressive benefits, I noticed my mood was low for quite a few hours after my 9am dose - to the point even I was convinced to try evening dosing. The first few nights my sleep was a bit messed up - shallow with vivid dreams - but I was like a different person the next morning. I felt happy, together - and my thinking seemed clearer than usual despite being pretty tired. Over the next week I adjusted to the evening dosing and was waking up feeling I'd had enough sleep. I was feeling better than I have in a long time - more emotionally connected, and more effective in my day to day life.

 

Then a combination of things happened - I put my dose up 1mg in 2 weeks, and started holding the sublingual liquid in my mouth for longer. I'd realised I hadn't been doing it as well as I could have, and started timing myself to keep it there 5 minutes. I guess this meant I was jumping up more than I was used to, and within a week all the positive benefits just disappeared. I had pains again, terrible fatigue, muscle twitches, foggy thinking and bad sleep. I felt pretty disappointed! After a couple of weeks feeling sorry for myself and assuming this was just how I was now, I realised it could be the LDN and contacted Harpal for advice. I followed her suggestion of dropping my dose back 1mg, and within a day I started feeling better. 3 days later I'm feeling really good again - pretty much back to where I was before. So the moral of the story was take it slow....LDN works in mysterious ways and it definitely doesn't like being rushed!

Oh and I forgot to add - I used to have to get up and pee every night, but since the LDN that has just stopped. Not sure why but I'm pleased it has!

Testosterone Series 4- Let’s talk about Nebido, Sustanon and Enantate

This series has been a long time coming as my time gets limited and other interests drive my focus elsewhere but TRT is still one of the things I most enjoy doing. The idea of this blog is to give a more medically based opinion on the 3 commonest injectables used in the UK; my experience with it and my patients’ experience with it including labs.

 

Firstly, I’d like to touch upon the fact that this blog is not referring to testosterone cycles- what you normally see in forums- that focus more on body building. The focus is on sub-optimal testosterone levels being brought back up to optimal levels.

 

The 3 commonest injectables that I use at my practice and their various quirks are summarised below:

 

Sustanon 250

  • commonest due to price.

  • Comes in ampoule only. If you are getting it online in a vial, its not from a UK pharmacy.

  • Claims to be sustained release- hence called susta-non due to having 4 different esters (or carrier molecules). Each ester releases the testosterone at a different time and hence you get a more staggered release pattern where the peaks and troughs are more stable.

  • Single 1ml shot lasts 2.5 to 3 weeks. It can be given in divided doses.

  • Main disadvantage- carrier oil is peanut oil and benzyl alcohol. This is becoming a problem I’m seeing more and more of as its giving rise to side effects which I don’t get with other injectables. Most people with mild intolerances generally don’t even know they cannot handle peanut oil. When given in such large doses (1ml into the muscle), it can cause pain and local inflammation that lasts much longer than expected. As part of my practice is gut dysbiosis where I see a lot of food intolerances, I recognised this very early on. If this is your experience too, try changing to the other injectables or use creams.

  • The average response I get when I ask about peanuts is that my patients love it! Do keep an open mind about intolerances- just because you love it does not mean that you can handle it. Look out for other symptoms of intolerances like joint pains, rashes, headaches, flu-like symptoms etc. You may get none, or all of them.

 

Testosterone Enantate 250mg

  • This is the most similar to Cypionate that many people read about in forums. Cypionate is available in the US and some other countries but not in the UK. Its what I would put my patients on who need continuity of care from the US.

  • Its quite a bit more expensive that sustanon- stupidly more in fact. I don’t know why!

  • Comes in ampoule only. If you are getting it online in a vial, its not from a UK pharmacy. The ones in vials are considerably cheaper- according to google and from what some of my patients tell me- but we practitioners will never advocate it. Its just not worth it to me.

  • Is given in the same way as Sustanon- either single shot that last 2-3 weeks or in divided doses.

  • Carrier oil here is castor oil which is less allergenic (apparently) and benzyl benzoate.

  • I personally have never had a complaint with this so suspect that it probably is less allergenic.

  • If the price point of this and sustanon were the same, I would prefer using this.

Taken at our clinic

Taken at our clinic

 

Nebido 250mg (4ml)

  • This can hurt but its usually due to the volume of product injected into a small area. I occasionally inject it either in both buttock cheeks especially in very slim patients, or change directions still with the same entry point to spread things out a little.

  • This comes in a vial.

  • Carrier oil here is refined castor oil which is less allergenic (apparently) and benzyl benzoate.

  • I’m not a huge fan of Nebido but it has its place. I personally prefer it for patients who have completed their family (for potential fertility implications), travel a lot, have compliance issues or similar reasons.

  • This always suppresses your pituitary hormones which means that the negative feedback generated will block your own production of testosterone.

  • On a practical level, a lot of people don’t mind it and are happy to put up with some testicular shrinkage- as long as everything is being monitored regularly.

  • Others freak out a little when their pituitary levels of LH comes back as close to nonexistent. They can either opt for a different option or start on a HCG protocol (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) to stimulate their own production of testosterone alongside testosterone. Its a protocol used a lot in the US and quite many of my American patients request the same continuity of care as it works well for them.

  • There are also a small number who really feel the peak- not in a good way. Optimal levels of testosterone usually makes you calmer and less anxious but too much or too little can give rise to similar symptoms paradoxically when it comes to moods and aggression.

 

Other Options

  • Bioidentical topical creams from Compounding Pharmacies- I use these a lot and my patients love them (mostly). They are much easier to use compared to the gels available on the NHS (messy, too large a volume and sometimes does not give the blood picture expected which may point to user inconsistency in application).

  • My topicals come in 3 forms- creams, gels or liposomal gel. I have so far only ever ordered the liposomal gel as its absorbability is far superior at no extra cost.

  • As these are bespoke, there is a period of trial and error until you find the right dose after which, we simply make the cream in said dose for each patient.

  • Its more physiological with everyday application and so mimics the body’s own production more closely. This also translate into less pituitary suppression.

  • Disadvantage- some people perceive creams to be less effective (not true). Some don’t like having to apply a cream everyday.

  • Transdermal Implants- not a commonly available option and I do not have much experience in it for testosterone. This is something I’m hoping to explore as I believe that there is a place for it seeing as it has a 4-5 month life cycle. My experience in implants is in contraceptive implants which I did not like. Similar to Nebido, my personal feeling is that in order to achieve such longevity, it needs to be quite powerful which can give rise to side effects initially. However, do watch this space as I’m hoping to explore this further and may find myself changing my mind about it.

 

I hope that this article will help you gain an idea of what is available legally via a pharmacy in this country and to be able to tell the difference between what may or may not suit you. Or why you may be reacting to something others don’t have a problem with. As with most things medical, its not quite that simple but getting the right balance is possible and certainly achievable.

 

The IV Vitamin Cocktail Hangover- When You Feel Worse After....

 

Many people know of Vitamin Cocktails and in particular Myers- the best known of them. It consists of a mixture of Vitamin C, B-Complex and Magnesium with a few variations to it depending on where the stock comes from.

 

Most practitioners work with the basic Myers first before adding other additives to it. Frequently added ingredients are glutathione (a powerful antioxidant), high dose vitamin C, amino acids amongst others (Taurine, L-Carnitine, L-Lysine, Acetylcysteine, L-Arginine, L Carnosine) and minerals. Practitioners who are trained will usually let you know what you can add to benefit the particular issue that you’re interested in improving.

 

Most people feel very good on Myers. However, recently I’ve had a few patients who felt worse after a session. Symptoms they had included:

  • Headache

  • General unwell

  • Diarrhoea or constipation

  • Sinus congestion or flu-like symptoms

  • Body aches

 

Naturally they were worried after having experienced only great symptoms before. I congratulated all of them. I was really pleased about it! This is what happened….

 

  • They got dumped!

  • Their cells dumped stored wastes and toxins into the blood stream to be excreted via pee, poo or sweat.

  • Occasionally, the innate metabolic pathways are stagnant or are already overworked. In this instance, the symptoms can also feel bad

  • Their detox organs are being overworked. These are your liver, skin, lymphatic system, kidney, colon and lungs.

  • Their detox capacity is good or has improved

 

To me this is a good thing, although not comfortable to go through. At the very least, it means that stored toxins are being released and cells are now cleaner. There are a few things that can be done to decrease the effects of this happening. So after a Myers, it is usually a good idea to:

 

  • Lay off alcohol for a while to allow your liver to recover from the toxin load from your cells

  • Drinks lots of water to flush things out

  • If you have diarrhoea like symptoms, do not take anti-diarrhoeal but let the body dispose off as much poo as it needs to

  • If you have constipation type symptoms, take high dose oral vitamin C and magnesium which can cause loose motion (a good thing here)

  • Try a colonic if you’re up for it

  • Take a magnesium salt bath. The magnesium can help draw out more toxins from your skin, speeding up the process of toxin extraction.

  • If you are familiar with intermittent fasting, its a good thing to try to let your digestive system take a break. Alternatively, consider going on a bone broth day. The fat and protein in the broth should keep you satiated. If you would like to do a juice fast instead, do include lots of vegetables in it as a fruit only juice can make you feel worse (due to its effect on insulin). Add some coconut oil to it to slow down absorption of glucose.


In a nutshell, keep going with the cocktails and make sure that you inform the clinic you had your IVs regarding side effects, if any. Most these should pass and in the long run, you will have healthier cells.

Gluten and Thyroid- What’s the connection?

 

Many people who are fairly well read about thyroid problems will know that the general advice is to go gluten free. This is for both hyper and hypothyroid, especially if one has autoimmune thyroid disease like Graves’ and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. We will be talking mostly about Hashimoto’s when referring to autoimmune thyroid disorder.

Hashimoto’s is usually diagnosed by doing a thyroid antibody profile. The profile consists of Thyroid Peroxidase Antibody (TPO Ab) and Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb). TPOAbs are present in nearly all (>90 %) patients, while TgAbs can be seen in approximately 80%. So a negative test does not necessarily mean that you don’t have Hashimoto's.

This test is not done that often in the NHS as it does not alter management in most instances. With functional medicine practitioners however, we treat most autoimmune diseases by attempting to decrease the body’s attempt to attack itself.

The problem with gluten is that the molecular structure of the protein component of it- gliadin- actually resembles the structure of the thyroid gland. When gluten/gliadin is eaten, it passes into the blood stream and the body tags it for destruction by the immune system antibodies. These same antibodies will then also attack the thyroid gland because of the resemblance to gliadin.

In people eating gluten regularly  for example toast in the morning, sandwich for lunch and pasta for dinner, you can see how over time, this can cause a critical situation of your thyroid gland being constantly attacked a few times a day, every day for months or years on end. One frequent reason that despite ‘adequate’ T4 supplementation, those with Hashimoto’s simply don’t feel that well.

This is also the reason that desiccated thyroid like Armour, is not a good idea in autoimmune thyroid. The animal glandular tissue looks like thyroid tissue and is then attacked by the body which subsequently also attacks the thyroid gland at the same time. In these instances, I prefer using compounded thyroid T4 and T3 where relevant.


The take home message is that if you have thyroid problems and you’re not sure if you have autoimmune thyroiditis and your GP is not happy to test you for it, do try going completely gluten free for at least 3 weeks and see how you feel. Its well worth your time and effort.

 

LDN- the miracle cure?

I stumbled upon LDN (low dose naltrexone) not too long ago and was intrigued and felt a need to find out more and more. Being in the field that I’m in, that’s actually quite a big deal. We are exposed to so many new ‘miracle cures’ from prescription medications to herbs and supplements that it becomes a problem to know when to stop.

There’s also the bias of the person ‘pushing’ the agenda. I don’t mean this in a bad way as most people ‘push’ their ideas based on their own experience, expertise, passion and interests. Just a quick look at amazon books will tell you that. I’ve come to the point where I’ve given up on deciding who the ‘master’ is.

In the hormone world, the ‘master hormone’, depending on who wrote the book, is one of these below:

  • Melatonin

  • DHEA

  • Human Growth Hormone

  • Thyroid

  • Leptin

 

I’m quite sure I’m forgetting a few but those spring to mind.

 

The world of supplements and prescriptions is even more fun. Its a little hard to follow but I’m sure most of you know a little about Goji berries, macca, ginseng, garlic, ginger, turmeric,  Vit B12, Vit C, Vit D, Vit K, Magnesium and the list goes on.

 

So to bring things back to my original point- it actually takes quite a lot to get me excited these days. I’m a little jaded…

 

LDN first came to my attention when I was researching SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). Because I didn’t know anything about it, I did the usual due diligence of giving it my hour’s worth. The hour turned to many hours and before I knew it, I was hooked. I didn’t have any experience in it but has many patients who I thought fitted the profile of how it could help. I even created a special LDN only consultation to see what would happen (this is quite different from my usual consults but I wanted it to be more accessible).

 

This is my opinion to date. I’m still in early days but already have a good number of patients on it at present. Most people have autoimmune issues. I personally prefer the sublingual route of administration as it bypasses the gut. From my experience, even those without obvious gut issues may have absorbability problems and its worth the slightly higher price point.

 

It is NOT a miracle cure and is not even a cure at all. What it does is to facilitate the body in mending itself by increasing our own production of feel good neurotransmitters. These don’t only make us feel good but also improve our immune system- one of the hardest things to achieve. Most people should anticipate that they will be on it for at least 3 months. Below is what you can expect (this differs based on diseases etc but is a good general guide):

  • Around 30% won’t find that it makes any difference at all

  • Of the remainder 70%, around 15% might have miraculous results

  • 30% will find a niceable difference

  • The rest will not find much of a difference until they stop it- upon which they will then realise that there actually was a positive difference

 

*Please bear in mind that this is a rough estimate of my personal experience and may not correspond to other practitioners or to what you may have read. This is not a scientific accurate analysis.

 

My opinion on it- and I promise I will update you whenever I get more information- is this:

  • Due to the relatively low cost of it, I believe that it is worth a trial of at least 3 months

  • For those in whom it works, some need to take it for life if theirs is a lifelong autoimmune problem

  • For others, they only need to take it until their symptoms clear up and in my opinion, probably upto 3 months after. These would be the gut dysbiosis patients amongst others.

  • For mild side effects, lower the dose but do persevere

 

If one has realistic expectations of what can be achieved, I believe that this could prove to be a very exciting opportunity and another avenue for those who have exhausted all other avenues.

10 Lesser Known Benefits of TRT

Most people think of Testosterone replacement therapy as a “Libido and Muscle” therapy. I have however, started noticing a trend of more and more people coming in asking for the lesser known benefits of TRT. These are usually people with normal jobs, family and life, just wanting a better quality of life. So here a little peep into what people are telling me:

 

  1. My hands and feet are warmer.

  2. I’m much calmer and not so anxious anymore.

  3. I’m able to handle stress better and hence, I feel that I perform better at work.

  4. I have the will and energy to play with my kids again.

  5. I’ve stopped yelling at my kids (as much) and the noise they make does not irritate me the way it used to.

  6. I’m more assertive and stand up for myself a lot more (to the detriment of some partners and co-workers!).

  7. I wake up more refreshed. My sleep has improved.

  8. I’ve put on weight but I’m trimmer (muscle weighs more than fat)

  9. I’ve better hair growth on my face (good for the current facial hair trend but not for all)

  10. Brain function is much better. Everything seems clearer and there is no brain fog anymore.

 

I decided to write this in the first person as its literally a snippet from different people’s stories. As a practitioner, its very gratifying to hear. It also means that after a while, they forget about harpal clinic- a wonderful thing- as life feels right again. These are on top of the well known benefits of libido enhancement and erectile issues; also the muscle building capacity which is dose dependent. Incidentally, this also applies to women on TRT.


There probably are other contributing factors as well as I tend to manage stress where relevant, at the same time. This is hugely important as both stress hormone and testosterone share similar building blocks. Therefore a ‘steal’ happens whenever more stress hormones need to be built, as they are the more important in hormonal hierarchy. In any case, these snippets are from my 3 month reviews post commencing therapy and its likely to stay the same or improve. Pretty exciting I’d say!

 

 


Fat, Spotty and Hairy- Sod’s Law Right?! Or is it?

Mood Swings PCOS.jpg

If you look around, the description above fits many people. They can be mildly overweight to quite big. Look at their skin and its usually not great. Hairiness is a little harder to detect as it so easy to get rid of these days. Maybe this describes you. It feels terribly unfair that not only does the person have to put up with the extra weight, but why the bad skin and all that hair (except where you want hair)?

 

 

This description funnily enough affects both sexes- again, look around you. In women or girls, it most commonly Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS. In men, there’s no equivalent term for it but part of the problem is still the same. This means that management is not all the same, but along similar lines. Its quite a bad problem as to the average person, someone with these symptoms can come across as being self indulgent (with food), lazy (with skin care and hair) and joyless. Very unfair as it certainly is not true.

 

The classic PCOS person is overweight, hairy with bad skin. The not so classic ones- probably the more common ones may have amongst other things:

  • normal weight to underweight

  • acne

  • oily skin

  • dandruff

  • thinning hair or hair loss

  • horrible PMS (the b*@$ from hell to you!)

  • erratic periods to absent periods

  • cysts on ovary (not as common as you’d think!)

  • slightly miserable personality or tendency for depression or feeling down

  • multiple miscarriages

  • infertility

 

Some people exhibit none of this obviously and it only becomes obvious upon having multiple miscarriages or have other fertility issues. A lot of people think that it settles upon hitting menopause but it doesn’t as the main hormone involved is Insulin- which is produced throughout life. The main problem with PCOS is actually suspecting it. If you read this and it resonates with you either for yourself or for someone you know, its a big step forward. The average person with PCOS is usually missed as most doctors are trained to pick up the obvious clues. My mentor trained me to assume that everyone has it until proven otherwise. A really good way to approach it I feel as quite frequently blood results come back normal- but what we’re interested in knowing is the ratio of the hormones in relation to one another; not in relation to a set criteria.


This blog is mainly about wanting to put the word out there, to get the bells ringing and to make you think twice. In another blog I’ll cover what we can do to help ourselves and when you need to consider getting help. Research it more- there’s a lot of information out there and feel free to share in our comments.

Fabulous Five

Winter is here, so bring on the slew of treatments, products and supplements to calm, heal and protect your body inside and out from the dark dreary nights, fierce winds and central heating. Scared and feel like the only option is to hibernate until Spring? Fear not...
We've narrowed down the five superhero treatments and products available at Harpal Clinic to fight off all that Winter has in store and put the spring back in your stride.

Top five treatments

1. Radio Frequency (the non surgical face lift)
Heat energy is zapped deep into your skin to boost collagen and leave you with firmer, tightened and evenly toned skin. The treatment starts with a thorough cleanse, a gel is applied and the RF wand is glided across your face. It will feel soothing with a sightly warm sensation and is followed by a healing serum to seal everything in. This is ideal for victims of saggy skin and the best thing is...RF can treat any part of your body. Saggy knees, boobies and bums beware!

2. Micro Needling (collagen induction therapy)
Think Derma Roller, to the power of 10! Micro Needling is the Trickster, it causes injury to the skin and fools it into repairing itself. The healing process then stimulates collagen production, heals acne, scars, cellulite, stretch marks, wrinkles and more. Treatment begins on cleansed skin, topical anaesthesia is applied to the area 15 minutes prior and then the therapist is let loose with a wand yielding 16 tiny needles. Later you may feel a little tender, some dryness and peeling for the next 2-3 days. This is your skin healing itself. Results can be seen immediately and will improve over a period of weeks and months.

3. Intraceutical Hollywood Facial
This a favourite amongst the heroes at Harpal Clinic and endorsed by an array of Hollywood stars. An all rounder it treats wrinkles, fine lines and hydrates your skin in an hour of pure bliss. Following the three step hyaluronic layering process, you'll leave looking visibly refreshed and plump.

4. Micro Dermabrasion+Electroporation
The AquaTouch gadget will gently exfoliate away dead skin cells from the surface. This polishing treatment uses water micro dermabrasion technique so rest assured, it is kinder to the skin. The added super power of electroporation will increase permeability of skin cells and allow serums to sink in with supreme effect. Treatments range from 30-70 minutes long and you'll experience zero downtime. 

5. IV Vitamin Cocktail Infusion aka Myers Cocktail
This is an intravenous nutrient potion. A mixture of Vit B, Vit B, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, minerals such as magnesium sulphate and calcium. This will enhance your immune system, reduce fatigue and help anyone with digestive problems, bloating and allergies. Think of this as a boost, it will help you stay perky and protect against the nasty cold and flu viruses winter unleashes.

lippy.jpg

The superhero products to get you through the big freeze

1. Intraceutical 3-step (sold separately)
This trio of hyaluronic beauties will help you Revive, Replenish and Protect. Designed to work in harmony with each other they combine powerful ingredients to fight against the signs of ageing. With the option of Rejuvenate, Opulence, Atoxelene and Clarity to target your specific concerns, these heroes have been endorsed by an array of Hollywood celebrities.

2. NeoStrata Problem Dry Skin Cream £36
The combination of freezing temperatures and central heating can cause havoc on your skin. This rich cream can be used on any part of your body experiencing extreme dryness. Jam packed with moisturising oils, beeswax and other goodies it will reduce flaking, chapping and will even help heavily calloused areas, yet it is safe and gentle enough to use on sensitive areas such as your face. 

 

3. Intraceutical Boosters £39.95 each
These nifty little guys are brilliant. Four powerful serums allowing you to customise your skincare, they can be used alone or combined with your daily skincare.

  • Vit C+B Booster to Smooth, Brighten Strengthen
  • Collagen+ Booster to Restore, Tighten, Volume
  • Antioxidant+ Booster to Detox, Revitalise, Balance
  • Vit A+ Booster to Regenerate, Clarify, Refine

 

 

4. NeoStrata Anti-Oxidant Defence Serum £78
Another serum to put the spring back into your skin, this product contains 8 antioxidants which will combat oxidative damage and fight against ageing. Wrinkly, sallow, dull skin be gone!

5. HealGel Intensive £37.50
We rave about HealGel at Harpal Clinic. Created by world leading plastic surgeons and biochemists its purpose is to soothe, repair and protect your skin. This versatile product can be applied anywhere on your body and is gentle enough to use on your face (a great base as a makeup primer) and even soothe intimate areas after a waxing.

The Floyd Mayweather Scandal- Can Vitamin Infusions Really Enhance Performance?

 

The recent scandal of boxer Floyd Mayweather in his fight against Manny Pacquiao, brought out of hiding the increasingly common use of intravenous infusions as a performance enhancer within the athletic community.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/boxing/34216157

 

Traditionally, the infusions were seen within medical tents of marathons and triathlons. These infusions generally consisted of normal saline, some had glucose to replenish lost supplies, and some vitamins and minerals. They were used mainly as recovery tools instead of performance enhancing tools. These days, it has become increasingly trendy for top level athletes who compete in multi-day events to use these drips to speed recovery in preparation for the next day’s events.

 

Which brings us to the question of…..does it really work?

 

Factors supporting its use

  • It obviously works as otherwise it wouldn’t be used in those medical tents as a recovery aid.

  • The nutrients go directly into your blood stream; bypassing a potentially sluggish digestive system and hence a level of malabsorption.

  • Nutrients do not have to depend on the human body’s natural inefficiency.

  • The drip can be tailored to not only address vitamin and mineral deficiencies, but also to include amino acids where there’s a need.

  • It hastens cell recovery, regeneration, ATP regeneration (which is why it works so well in chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia), new cell formation amongst other things.

  • It helps with mental clarity and focus.

  • It can help in nutrient deficiencies where none are suspected. These nutrients are all water soluble meaning that it gets disposed off if there’s excess. So in periods of need, one has to replenish it with food or supplements. Unlike fat soluble nutrients that can be released from fatty storage on demand. Periods of need tends to be during times when the body is under constant stress, like training for a big sporting event, and so its easy to see how even those who eat very well can potentially have a deficit.

 

Factors against its use

  • It can seem like an unfair advantage, despite the fact that there are no ‘drugs’ being delivered.

  • A recent study done actually showed that the very low tech ‘drinking water’ produced better results in a selection of athletes who were split into 3 groups. The athletes were put through mild exercise in the heat for 2-4 hours and dehydrated by 4% of body mass. During recovery, the first group was given no water, 2nd group-  an IV drip, 3rd group- drinking water. They were then made to repeat the exercises again. (1)

  • The first group, unsurprisingly, reported it as being the hardest to continue the exercises. Surprisingly, group 2 with the drip, actually found it harder to exercise compared to group 3. The hypothesis here may be that the sensation of drinking a cool drink sends important signals to the brain about thirst. This seems to suggest that both the action of drinking as well as internal rehydration seem to have a potentially equally important role.

  • There’s the hypothetical risk of over-hydration although I suspect its fairly small unless the practitioner really does not understand IVs.

  • There could be a placebo effect which could very well be due to the fact that being forced to sit still for an hour while the drip is taking place, is helping recovery.

 

Bottomline is that for multiday events, it does help hasten recovery for the next day’s event. For the rest, they can choose to use it post or pre-event to boost the levels of nutrients and aid cell healing and regeneration or simply wait and rest until things feel like its back to normal again.

 

  1. Riebe D., Maresh C.M., Armstrong L.E. et al. (1997). Effects of oral and intravenous rehydration on ratings of perceived exertion and thirst. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 29, 117-124.