The Trouble with Burning Out...

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One of the commonest things we see at the clinic is burn out. Also known as adrenal fatigue (not recognised in conventional medicine). When presented to your regular doctor, most people are given a sick note to take time off work; antidepressants is a common crutch plus the advice to take it easy.

“Take a holiday!”

Easier said than done. After all, in today’s world, one big cause of burnout is overworking and money constraints. So taking time out is quite a tough option. Especially if you are the responsible type and understand that by you taking time out, others get the brunt of your workload. Not an ideal situation. This is worse when the buck stops with you.

So, does traditional management work? Yes, certainly to an extent. Rest is highly important and time away gives one the right perspective and a better ability to prioritise. It also clears the mind and hence performance is enhanced. So you end up working smarter, not harder. Most people notice that their performance and work enjoyment increases after a break.

What about antidepressants? This does make a difference. I’m not a huge fan of it but nevertheless, there is a place for it. Especially when burnout causes other symptoms like raised anxiety, difficulty falling and maintaining sleep; anger, depression and a feeling of helplessness or lack of control over one’s life. To boil things down to the very basics- antidepressants numbs a person. This means that nothing feels as bad as it potentially would. This is a very useful crutch and should not be underestimated. It buys time until your body has healed enough to take over. The danger is a reliance on antidepressants for too long.

So what is it that we do, as functional and hormonal practitioners, that make our approach different from conventional medicine? The clue is in the underlined sentence above. We go to the root of the problem and help the body heal itself; therefore speeding up recovery. I also use this approach to prevent getting to a burnt out state; or in some extreme high stress situations, to delay getting there (not ideal but life is life).

We deal with the ‘burning out’ of the adrenals, which are small glands above the kidneys that release the hormones adrenaline and cortisol amongst others. A normal reaction of stress hormone (cortisol) release is excessive production when you are stressed, to cope with the increased demands on the body. When this happens consistently over a prolonged period of time, something happens. The body now goes into a state where it cannot produce enough cortisol to meet demand. At this point, you now start producing too little cortisol, contrary to popular believe. During a burn out, you produce too little to be useful. This is when you feel the need to crawl under the duvet, turn the lights off, sleep or to try to sleep and shut the world off. This is the body’s way of trying to heal the glands, so that it is able to once again produce cortisol in the right quantity to deal with your body’s needs.

This phenomenon happens to other glands too- the most commonly known of which is the pancreas which produces insulin. Early stages of diabetes signifies a problem with too much insulin release. These people need tablets to manage their sugar intake and keep their insulin low. Late stage diabetics need insulin injections. Because they now have the opposite problem where the excessive demand on the gland has caused it to burn out and the body can no longer produce enough insulin to meet demand.

We manage adrenal fatigue or impending fatigue with the right adrenal support and hormones where necessary. This will be covered in another blog. We also educate our patients so that they can see the signs and know when to self manage because that it the end goal- for you to understand your body to such an extent that you can read what your body is trying to tell you.

One problem with this, and the reason for writing this blog, is that when we most need help is when we are at our highest point in stress and time constraints and when we are most liable to forget these principles. We forget to utilise the support. I see this again and again. This blog is a reminder that when things get tough and you need a little guidance and for someone else to steer the boat- reach out for practitioners such as ourselves. We are in a position to help your body help itself. Don’t get to burn out. Its really not worth it. It takes a really long time to heal once you’re burnt out. Don’t do that long run or that very tiring HIIT session. Just rest, be lazy, day dream, order take out if need be (short term only) and allow yourself to just be. Which reminds me, I need to take my adrenal support now….

Tired All The Time- What Could Be Wrong? (Part 1)

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I would say that of all the complaints I hear at my clinic, this is by far the commonest. The scary thing is that it seems to transcend age and sex. This means that ‘tired all the time’ (tatt in dr’s world) can attack anyone at any age. So how can you avoid it?


Before we can answer that question, we need to understand what is normal and why tatt happens.


Do you remember looking at kids and their boundless energy levels? When they eat sugar, they get hyperactive and start running around. A totally normal response to excessive sugar in the blood that the body needs to get rid of as sugar is inflammatory and the body knows it. So parents, please let your kids run around- its a good thing. What about in adults? What happens when we consume too much alcohol or sugary drinks (liquid carbs)? How about snacks; including ‘healthy’ snacks? We hardly ever need to run around to burn it after. This is not the ideal response to that sugar excess. So what happens here?


Your body releases insulin. Insulin’s job is to make sure that the excess sugar is picked up and either used or stored. A lot of this happens in the liver. So the liver is now under stress to deal with all this. Cortisol the stress hormone is released. Cortisol and insulin work hand in hand (not quite so simple but good enough for the layperson). You’ll find that if you consume too much rubbish or are overly stressed, you put on weight in the middle- a classic tell tale sign of the start of insulin or cortisol issues. Unfortunately with age, this worsens as the body’s ability to adapt decreases. Now, a lot of nutrients are used up in this process. When we talk about nutrients, we talk about vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants etc. So someone with a poor diet or highly stressed life actually need more nutrient support as they probably do not get enough from their diet to make up for how quickly things get used up. These hormones also communicate with other hormones- thyroid being an important one. Thyroid controls your metabolism. Or how effectively your body consumes fuel (or sugar/fat). With age, this function goes down as well. Or perhaps you’ve accumulated ‘problems’ over the years that affect your body’s functionality.


What kind of problems are those? A whole host of potential issues. Let’s list some down:

  • Environmental issues such as toxic mold (in a old, damp house), or fumes from a brand new carpet or paintwork

  • Living and working in the city - exposure to exhaust fumes containing lead, arsenic and other heavy metals

  • Accumulation of toxins from food - e.g. mercury from seafood, sprayed chemicals (pesticides) in fruits and veg, chemical fertilisers

  • Accumulation of toxins or change in ionic charge in your body when you have e.g. metal fillings or 2 or more different types of metals in your body. This is really interesting. If you develop tatt after an orthopedic procedure or after getting dental work; including a simple brace- think about this. Its not well known enough so do your due diligence

  • Day to day stresses like SAD (seasonal affective disorder), lowered immunity due to antibiotic overuse or excessive exposure to bugs; overwork

  • Age related hormonal decline

  • Too much screen time

  • Excessive exposure to EMR (electromagnetic radiation)

  • Start or autoimmunity where the body starts attacking itself


This is merely a snapshot. The list goes on. On its own, there probably isn’t enough to knock the average person down but when a few factors are present, the cumulative effect can have a large effect.


This is mostly the reason why the average person will try various things to improve their tatt status and find that they may improve things for awhile but that they cannot shift it. It is also why in long standing cases, most people need help to get over it. It simply is not as easy as it seems to get to the bottom of.


So what can we do? We will investigate this in the second part of this blog series, so stay tuned….


PRP, Mesotherapy and Microneedling - My experience during and after 4 months

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August 2018

I’m a little lazy with skincare and if its invasive…. Well, you can assume that its going to be hard to pin me down. We have however, recently introduced a new machine to the practice, our wonderful meso gun U225. Our therapists needed practice and we needed guinea pigs ie my face, neck and tummy.

What is the difference between mesotherapy, microneedling and PRP?

  • Mesotherapy is multiple tiny, non-deep injections into the skin (any part of the body) of ingredients that can trigger the body’s own healing response. These ingredients can be amino acids, vitamins and minerals, anti-oxidants, blood (or plasma), plant extracts etc

  • Microneedling is multiple tiny, non-deep injections into the skin but no products are injected into the skin, unlike mesotherapy. Instead, products are applied by hand and infiltrates into the tiny micro channels that are created; thus penetrating deep into the skin but probably not as targeted as mesotherapy

  • PRP stands for platelet rich plasma and is the white part of the blood (after centrifuging or spinning it) with highly concentrated platelet protein which is highly regenerating and is thought to trigger a healing response in the skin. PRP uses the technique of mesotherapy to deliver the plasma.

Why did I invest in this particular gun?

  • Its one of the best on the market. Powerful and highly effective in delivery

  • Its way, way less painful than freehand meso (a loaded syringe delivered by the doctor) and can usually be done without anaesthesia

  • We have more and more people coming in for hair loss, wanting meso or PRP (plasma rich platelet) for hair regrowth. Freehand meso is very painful on the scalp

  • My therapists can do it. I seem to have less and less time available for freehand meso

  • It gives consistent delivery in terms of quantity of product injected

  • Depth of product injected is controlled better than freehand meso

The process

  • Deanna, my therapist, cleansed my skin; and started using the loaded gun on my face- without topical anaesthetic or painkillers!

  • The pain was quite minimal. I did feel it but felt quite relaxed about the whole procedure

  • A little blood was drawn but again, fairly minimal

  • Painful areas were around the nose and mouth- but still easily bearable

  • I wanted her to do my eyelids so we covered the eyebrows and went upto the first eyelid crease. Settings were changed for this so that the right depth was achieved for the thin skin of the eyelid

  • The procedure took around 40 mins; around 30 mins for the meso itself and then she applied a serum that penetrated the tiny holes that were created. I liked the thought of this- having both the goodies from my own blood plus active factors from a serum to give me a double whammy effect for my skin

  • I looked a little red after the procedure but went on with my day seeing other patients as normal. I didn’t bother with covering up the redness as it was minimal, although I could have used oxygenetix aloe vera-based foundation that we normally recommend post any invasive procedure http://www.oxygenetix.com/products


December 2018


Today is Boxing Day and time for me to review this procedure which was done in August; so 4 months later. In all honesty, I have forgotten that I had this procedure done and stumbled upon this whilst getting ready to write a hormone blog post.

I’ve just had the busiest few months of my life. Working almost everyday including weekends and most evenings as well after putting my children to bed. I haven’t had the luxury of time to do any facials or any procedures; despite simply having to go to a different room within my practice. My skincare routine is still fairly basic. I’m diligent about cleaning my face in the evenings and about applying a range of facial products that I rate highly. I dream of having a radio-frequency skin tightening treatment - a treatment that brings about so many benefits that if I only had an hour, that would be my treatment of choice.


I started this blog in August as I didn’t want to forget the experience. These are my thoughts today:

  • My skin looks very good despite the high stress and lack of sleep I’ve recently been through (over past 3 months)

  • I have no breakouts. My skin looks clear and healthy

  • My skin on the whole has a good texture

  • My skin has an even tone and even my eye bags are not that bad

All I can say is that it finally makes sense. I couldn’t really understand why my skin looked this good; or at least way better than I had expected. I’m used to it playing up the moment stress mounted. This is completely normal for most people. I don’t normally use foundation or concealer and this hasn’t changed. What everyone sees is literally my own skin; besides lipstick and a bit of eye makeup. On the last day of work, I also had the pleasure of bumping into an old client of mine that we did 2 rounds of PRP on freehand. I must say I was amazed at how different his skin looked. He had very bad pitted acne scarring with a highly uneven texture. That had now smoothed over quite a fair bit. There is still some ways to go but he really hasn’t done much else eg peels, microneedling radiofrequency and more sessions of PRP. But he was really happy with the improvements.


Final words? I’m sold. Maybe now, instead of radiofrequency, I will add PRP for overall rejuvenation including for hair regrowth- a huge area within the PRP world. This fits in extremely well with the ethos of our clinic and my personal believe - a better, more rested version of you. Nothing artificial about it!


** PRP is also known by different names e.g. Dracula Facial, Vampire Facial or Facelift. We prefer to call it PRP



World Mental Health Day!

In support of the World Mental Health Day, it is important to reiterate what mental health is and who suffers from it. Everyone has mental health and needs to take care of it. Good mental health is feeling and reacting in the ways you need and want; bad mental health is difficult or at times makes it seem impossible to react and feel in the way that you want. Without support, bad mental health evolves, and can eventually become depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar and/or many other mental disorders.


   Whilst we, we need everyone to be at least aware that within their environment everyone has a mental issue, the only difference being, others can cope and others can’t. Since that is the case, it is vital we eradicate the suffering, this can be done by showing concern to our family, friends as well as our work colleagues. We can show concern by listening to why someone’s behaviour has changed, why someone is suddenly sad all the time, isolated, always angry, eating less or depressed, generally feeling or reacting in a negative manner.


    In our clinic health questionnaires, we tend to dig in for more information beyond the reported problem, to try to uncover the underlying cause of their problem. At the time of the consultations, we tend to ask further questions which usually unmask information which is vital and at times ignored as it may seem irrelevant to the patient’s reported problem. In the time we have with the patient, it is important for us to build a rapport and allow the patient to give us their health history, including their psychological issues, which isn’t always the easiest information to gather from a patient.


    Questions asking the severity of sleeping problems, irritability, nervousness, depressive mood, low motivation, lack of energy etc. are important for us to know, to help support overall health.


    When patients walk in and come in with a complaint of chronic fatigue, their primary concern could be frequent headaches, disturbed sleep patterns, muscle and joint pains, and want these symptoms immediately reversed, however, it is vital that they are aware that we know and care they deliver their mental state history. We may not be Psychologists/Psychotherapists/Psychiatrists but we certainly refer to these experts if needed, but most importantly we care and listen. After all, your mental health can directly affect your physical health.



Mental health support does not necessarily need to be clinically treated, it is important that if you or someone else needs help, talk to someone you feel comfortable talking to about it. In a clinic setting, one should feel much more comfortable to talk to clinician as it is our role to support patients’ wellbeing.


For further information or if in need of mental health support please follow the link below:


https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/helplines/

Vitamin C – The Revisit

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I have had to come back to discuss vitamin c following the August 2017 article Vitamin C – What else does it do for us? as a result of consultation queries which warrants a universal response and obviously, restriction in word limitation given for my last vitamin c topic.

In this article, I will try to further emphasize and keep in mind the relevant clinical outcome instead of the biological explanations behind vitamin c’s effectiveness on health. Whilst there isn’t a surge in vitamin c deficiency in the United Kingdom, it is worth appreciating its influence or response when one is unwell.  

The 4 most common questions I have come across in our clinic since August 2017:

  1. What is the maximum dose of vitamin c I can take in a day?

  2. When is it important to consume vitamin c?

  3. Do I have to get intravenous injections all the time to acquire more vitamin c?

  4. Does vitamin c treat common colds?

These answers to the above questions exist, but I feel that we need a legislated update for the good of mankind. My responses are:

  1. The UK recommendation is 80 mg per day, which is about an orange and a half. However, some cases of chronically ill patients have taken doses up to 50 grams safely, under the supervision of trained clinicians.

  2. It is a daily recommendation, therefore, its recommended you take that minimum a day. When unwell, I would like to suggest that more should be added to one’s diet.

  3. No, you don’t necessarily have to have injections all the time. You can acquire more through eating foods with vitamin c, particularly fruits and vegetables. Unless there is a clinical diagnosis of malnourishment/deficiency, inadequate or unsafe oral intake, food can’t pass through the intestines or there is malabsorption syndrome.

  4. As it stands, the answer is unclear, however, what we currently know is that vitamin c does not decrease the average incidence of colds in the general population, yet it halves the number of colds in physically active people.

I feel vitamin c is just as an important nutrient as the others and contributes to one’s wellbeing. In an ill patient, it has an important role to play and clearly, the traditional “low doses” are useful, but to what degree? Some controlled trials have found statistical dose-response for the duration of the common cold symptoms, with up to 6 – 8g/day of vitamin c. Other studies have even found that vitamin c prevented and benefitted patients with pneumonia and may alleviate respiratory symptoms caused by exercise. This doesn’t mean it treats it, but obviously warrants further investigations and possibly changes in recommendations of vitamin c intake.

“Anti – ageing” – Is there a cheap, quick treat to anti-ageing?

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It isn’t a secret that in the world we live in seems we are more concerned by our body appearance more than our immune function. We are troubled by either shifting or decreasing than maintaining our body mass, we are worried by the risk of age related diseases such as cardiovascular, osteoporosis, cancer and neurodegenerative disorders and general frailty in our later years.

Social media encourages us to seek for the #gymbody, the #lookgoodfeelgood factor, which is not entirely possible. Of course, there are measures we can take such as cosmetic surgery, anti-ageing measures in the form of bioidentical hormone replacement, cocktails of vitamins, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds and aesthetics, however, the point is, not everyone can afford or is favourable to these treatments.

The question raised here at the top in bold here warrants a brief explanation, and before reading on, the answer is yes – there is a quick treat anti-ageing treatment, which helps us feel and look good without anticipating needles prodding and pricking.

Most importantly, we should remember that the ageing process is simply characterised by the declining functional capacity, increasing vulnerability to disease, debility, and unfortunately, death. I would like to think, we all aim to live longer, try to reverse our ageing process and fight against all of these traits. We know that as we get old, some of us have a higher risk to disease than others and frailty is a consequence of natural ageing.

Clinically, beyond the obvious signs and symptoms, we want to analyse the  biomarkers of cellular ageing, inflammation and age associated immune deficiencies at tissue and cellular level, to identify these deficits.

Keeping these markers optimum, at least within normality there are things we can try to do without contemplating blood draws or swallowing a pill. Surprisingly, it is what we have all heard before.

  • Exercise (both resistance and aerobic) in combination with adequate protein and energy intake.

As we age it is natural that we lose muscle mass. Moreover, during chronic illness our body wastes plus muscle mass is wasted and weakened. Lean muscle mass has been reported to decrease at approximately 1% per year after 30 years of age and observed at the end of the fifth decade. In layman’s terms, we have to replace what we are losing and gain muscle to slow down this process.

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Yes, it is the cheapest, safest and most reliable route to anti-ageing. I'll highlight the word protein purposefully as it deserves clarification. Studies in anti-ageing have shown that adequate protein intake, particularly, leucine-enriched balanced amino acids and possibly creatine enhancing muscle strength. Some studies have even recommended the amount protein ingested should be spread equally throughout the day, i.e, equivalent amounts at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Also, if additional protein supplementation is given it should be administered between meals. Levels of protein intake as high as 1.6 g of protein/kg/day have been demonstrated to increase exercise-induced muscle hypertrophy in older persons. Without getting deeper into the protein debate which will be up for discussion in future blogs, the equation is so far simple. A  dose of aerobic exercise + increased protein intake + resistance/strength exercises to increase muscle mass =  (- ageing + feel good/look good).

Secret Behind Off Label or Unlicensed Medications

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As a private practice, we are frequently approached by patients who require certain medications “off label” or “unlicensed”. This can sound quite scary for the average person who is deciding to undergo this route or for carers of the patient who may be nervous about what this may entail.

Here's a little background on these off label medications....

Every drug is developed and tested for treating certain conditions. Clinical trials are conducted and the drug is deemed “safe” to use for its intended purpose. Occasionally, the initial purpose a drug is being developed becomes null and void when one of their “side effects” then becomes the more interesting feature of the drug. A good example is Viagra. Viagra was originally developed to treat high blood pressure and angina (chest pain). Its side effect- causing erections- became an unexpected and highly lucrative venture for the manufacturers. Another good example is Botox- initially developed to treat facial tics and spasms. When they had a side effect of decreasing wrinkles, this became its main and highly lucrative use.

Pharmaceutical companies are then allowed to patent the drug for a certain number of years. This is to allow them to claw back their investment in research and development that has gone into making those drugs. It is also to enable them to make a profit- they are a business after all. This system works well. If you consider the number of drugs that don’t make the cut for human use- which translates into millions of dollars of lost revenue for the drug manufacturer, its only fair that the risk they take gets rewarded when one of their experimental drugs do work.

So let’s say that viagra was indeed licensed for high blood pressure. Now according to the medical guidelines, we as doctors, should only prescribe them for that purpose. But we are highly trained and frequently have to use our judgement in every individual case to decide the best course of action for that particular person. Guidelines exist for a reason but at the end of the day, the reason our job is not done by a computer is because of the human quality, experience and instinct that we are able to hone over the years- that beats the computer. This means that I can now decide that for my patient with an erection issue, I can give him viagra in a suitable dose to help with his erection, but not any blood pressure issues (which he may not have). That would be a classic off label use of a drug.

Some examples of off label use medications are low dose naltrexone, clemastine, various hormones, aspirin, cholestyramine and metformin amongst others.

Now lets say that a drug that has been long approved and deemed safe for a purpose has now been found to have another use. A good example is LDN (low dose naltrexone). Initially developed for addictions, it is now used in a very low dose for immuno-modulation amongst other things. This benefit has been stumbled upon. Our challenges as practitioners are listed below:

  • Someone needs to inform other practitioners about this

  • Other practitioners may well be quite sceptical as there are no large trials to “prove” this fact

  • Big pharma are not very interested in conducting large trials. These things cost money and since the initial drug has already lost its patent, there’s no money to be made.

  • So its up to individual practitioners, happy patients and word of mouth to get the word out

  • There are risks and we know it. And there’s a lot we don’t know regarding potential side effects, other uses, risks and benefits. But we’re willing to take the chance and happy to monitor closely

  • In an ideal world, we will all do research and audits on all our patients. Sample sizes will be small but something is better than nothing. However, this does mean tons of paperwork and potentially increase in staff size which unfortunately translates into increased costs for the practitioner. One reason why there are so few trials for off label medications. Its simply a few good doctors and too much work.

  • We as practitioners, also take the risk of being thought to be unsafe by fellow doctors who may not understand our reasons for going off label. This is a big issue and concerns us gravely as it can lead to suspension of our practising privileges.

I hope that this article puts things into perspective a little so that it can be more clearly understood where we- as practitioners- stand when we take the decision to use an unlicensed medication and so that you- as a patient or carer of a patient- will be able to make an informed decision as to how to decide if its the right option for you. It will probably mean more paperwork as we try to safeguard ourselves, we may ask you to participate in trials and we may even ask you to volunteer your time to help us analyse data and eventually make things more available in the future.

Do let us know if you would like to contribute anything at all ie ideas, time, money to help towards pushing these ideas forward. We have recently registered our charity Fighting Chance Foundation. But I envisage that its going to take quite a long time to get anything going mainly due to lack of time and staff at present. We would however, love to hear from you and know that we have some support.

Dry January – Love your Liver

 
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We are in the first quarter of “Dry January”, which generally is 31 days of alcohol abstinence before we can return to our old drinking habits. Our old drinking habits being something we take granted and most of us ought to change. Personally, I do favour the dry January marathon, because of the motive behind general wellness, no hangovers and obviously saving a few extra pounds in the wallet. That being said, post January 31st, I do worry about our intentions to maintain this wellness, the long-term health of the most vulnerable organ that tends to be neglected when the drinking resumes and takes the battering, the liver.

Besides Dry January and Alcohol Awareness Week in November we need to pay much more attention to our liver and reduce the risks of liver cirrhosis. We only have one of it and it has hundreds of essential duties such as fighting infection and disease, destroying poisons and drugs, cleaning the body, balancing the cholesterol, processing food etc.

It has been 15 months since I have nearly joined the teetotallers’ statistic, but have been drawn back by simply one thing, environment factors. Knowing this is a good thing and trying to manage my draw back is another, therefore, finding a long-term solution is my main goal. Even though the causes of drinking differ, from drinking “for social” to “alcohol dependency” the need to control or cease drinking should be considered.

Ideally, for those practising dry January, until the 31st of January, if you manage to abstain from alcohol throughout, well done, however, you have achieved a short-term goal. Preferably, we would like to see it as a motive to revive oneself, drink less and for some, stop for good.  

I do understand, reducing our intake sounds antisocial and stopping for good, even blasphemous, however, there is always a way. Since technology hasn’t yet developed a “Fitbit” monitor to keep track of our Liver, I will advise you read more on a few links below, even better, I strongly recommend a Free App that can help us “Love our Liver” as much as we love our heart.

Here are a few clinical facts that may help you understand the need to drink less or even abstain for good:

  • Liver disease is on the increase in the UK. It can be a silent killer, with no symptoms until it is too late.

  • Exceeding the current recommendations (>14 Units per week) of drinking per week for 10 – 12 years is sufficient to cause liver damage in the absence of other liver diseases.

  • The cornerstone of treatment for Alcohol Liver Disease is achieving total alcohol abstinence and preventing relapse; medical and surgical treatments are limited when drinking continues.

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/spruce/id889035834?mt=8

https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/advice/how-to-reduce-your-drinking/

Benefits of CQ10 – Another Antioxidant?!

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When patients ask the benefits of Coenzyme Q 10 also known as Ubiquinone, it is easier to explain the lexical meaning, however, a brief explanation on the deficiency causes and the reasons of supplementing it when or if needed is just as important.

The causes of deficiencies are suggested to be genetic, lack of nutritional content, oxidative stress caused by free radicals and ageing.

Three key CQ10 Benefits:

  • It is a powerful antioxidant, which regenerates Vitamin E, another critical antioxidant.

  • Hunts the bad free radicals and prevents cell damage to proteins, fats and other molecules.

  • Essential for the proper functioning of the energy production in the cells.

Whilst I have mentioned only the 3 benefits above, we know it that it has been proposed for use in patients with Type 2 Diabetes, Mitochondrial Diabetes, treatment of hypertension and statin- related myopathy.

Why CQ10 now?

Ubiquinone has always existed and important for the proper functioning of enzymes in our body. It’s name describes best its availability within us. It is ubiquitous, meaning it is found everywhere. I guess when science publishes consistent interesting findings of wellbeing to mankind; a social media trend tends to follow, maybe the same thing with CQ10.

If it’s everywhere, then do we need it?

Yes, we need it. Like everything else in our diet, there should be a recommended daily allowance that we should take, which hasn’t not yet been established for CQ10. However, we do know that doses ranging from 50mg – 1200mg have been used safely in adult studies. The higher doses being suggested for ill patients, from neurological disorders to cardiac disease statin users. And the lesser for the general wellbeing. It would be wise to discuss taking this supplement with your practitioner.

From my own personal opinion which is evidence based and users’ feedback, CQ10 is thought to be generally safe, with no adverse side effects reported when appropriately taken.

10 Little Known Vitamin D Facts

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To commemorate this day, I thought I’d share some interesting Vitamin D facts that are not so commonly known…

 

  1. Vitamin D is not technically a vitamin. Vitamins have to be consumed as they cannot be created in the body. It is better classified as a hormone. Or more accurately, a pre-hormone which has to be converted to its active, hormonal component

  2. It regulates the activity of over 200 different genes

  3. You don’t get much Vitamin D from dairy. The main reason is because animals, just like people, need sunlight to make Vitamin D. So if you eat mainly intensely farmed animals and their milk products, it won’t be high in Vitamin D. Look out for free range, grass fed animals. One good example is Kerrygold butter which claims to be from grass fed animals

  4. Lower fat foods fortified with vitamin D won’t be as good as full fat products. Its a fat soluble vitamin and as such, being delivered in a fattier format aids absorption

  5. Obesity is associated with lower Vitamin D levels. The hypothesis here is that the Vitamin hides out in the fat cells. Would be interesting to see more research here

  6. Most Vitamin D rich foods are from an animal source. Hence, vegetarians and vegans need to pay extra attention to supplementing with Vitamin D

  7. Tanning beds can help raise Vitamin D levels- but we are not advocating it!

  8. Darker skin tones or skin that tans easily make less vitamin D compared to paler skin. This is probably a necessary adaptation due to migration of our ancestors into colder regions with less sunshine. In fact, darker skin tones may require 3-6 times more time in the sun to make the same amount of Vitamin D compared to paler skin tones

  9. Older people make less Vitamin D. There may be a few reasons for this. Its believed that absorption may be poorer in older skins. The body also is less efficient in converting it to its active form. Another reason could also be that older people don’t go outdoors as much

  10. Sunscreen with SPF of 30 effectively blocks out UVB rays, hence indirectly reducing Vitamin D production by up to 95%. This piece of info was gleaned from the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 2011.

 

Hope this has given you some food for thought. I personally recommend a Vitamin D shot into the muscle 4-6 times/year for paler skins and 6-8/year for darker skin tones; spaced out more during summer months. Some people prefer taking higher dose Vitamin D orally. I personally prefer injections as they are easy to administer and receive. Plus I don’t have the hassle of having to remember to consume them. For me, I always know when I’m running low on Vitamin D when my temperature regulation goes out the door. Cold feels too cold and hot feels too hot.

 

This reminds me, I think I’m due for my winter shot now….

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.

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.

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

  • 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!