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Category Archives: HORMONES

METABOLIC BALANCE
Categories GENERAL HEALTH, HORMONES

Asthma, Metabolic Balance and One Women’s Journey

Case Report: Asthma, Metabolic Balance and One Women’s Journey

This is a synopsis of the journey of a 41 year old, mother of 2, lifetime asthma sufferer who began her Metabolic Balance journey in November 2018.

The purpose of this report is to draw attention to the power of individualized dietary interventions in the presence of chronic, debilitating symptoms. This client presented with very low energy, severe asthma that had her relying on a puffer multiple times per day, recurring chest infections and an inability to lose weight. In just 10 weeks following her individualised Metabolic Balance program this client has regained energy, is no longer tied to her preventer medication and as a result has released over 10% of her body weight. In this synopsis the client will be referred to as ‘P’ for privacy reasons.

Presenting Concerns at initial consultation (November 2018): P has suffered from debilitating asthma since the age of 21. In the last 12 months, possibly as a result of significant stress, her asthma symptoms had become even worst. Without a puffer literally within arm’s reach, P would feel panicked and stressed. Her breathing struggles meant a good night’s sleep was impossible. Her condition added to the physical stress on her body and she felt exhausted all day long, everyday. Her asthma meant she was fearful to exercise too much because she was left so breathless. Despite trying multiple dietary changes, including the elimination of all dairy and gluten at times, her asthma symptoms had not improved in the past. Despite trying lots of different interventions, P had also struggled to maintain a healthy weight range for most of her adult life. P suffered from multiple chest infections a year and some mild bloating as well.

Based on initial, comprehensive blood work and measurements, health conditions and symptoms an individualised Metabolic Balance program was formulated, which P began in early November. In contrast to some of the popular trends that are emerging now P’s plan:

-Did not exclude all dairy! Although no cow’s milk products featured on her personalised program.

-Did not exclude bread! A small amount of non-wheat bread was actually recommended with each meal.

-Did not exclude coffee or tea, although this was to be drunk sans milk and sugar and in sensible quantities (maximum 3 per day)

-Did not exclude white potatoes!

-Did not exclude legumes.

-Did not exclude fruit, with 2 fruits allowed per day with meals (although the types of fruit were individually determined to suit)

Did:

-Ensure adequate hydration (individually based on body weight)

-Ensure 3 quality meals were consumed daily featuring protein / carbs as vegetables, fruit and starch / healthy fats

-Not allow snacking. Outside of the 3 nutritious meals, there was nothing else. Does the average, sedentary Aussie really need to graze constantly?

Follow-up and Outcomes:

Just 1 week into the program, all digestive discomfort including bloating had resolved. The biggest struggle was remaining hydrated with adequate water, having not been consistent with water intake in the past.

By 5 weeks into the program, P described her asthma symptoms as noticeable less severe despite some significantly wild, hot, dry weather, which would normally worsen symptoms. At this point, a 10kg total weight loss had also been noted. Hydration levels were good.

At 8 weeks into the program, P reported the program being a part of her routine. Despite Christmas and a family holiday, P had followed the main principles of the plan easily, no longer having issues with cravings and motivated because the way she felt. Easy to hit water intake; feeling like the body needed it and thirsty if she starts to slacken off.

At 10 weeks into the program, P was not experiencing any breathing difficulties at all and had not used any medication to manage asthma for weeks. With the burden of this condition off her shoulders, P was looking to bring in a regular exercise routine. Total weight released at this point was over 14kg, more than 7% of P’s total body weight.

P, for the most part, has felt satisfied on her program, only struggling with hunger sporadically.

P is now at the 11 week mark in her Metabolic Balance journey and has just completed her first week of consistent exercise, with 4 brisk walking sessions accomplished! Unfortunately, her asthma symptoms did return during her exercise sessions. However, she will persevere with these sessions consistently over the next 3 weeks. As her fitness improves, it’s likely the asthma will be less of a problem. Having literally always dreamed of being able to run, stepping the intensity up will be the next step on the journey after this first month of focusing on brisk walking sessions.

This synopsis of P’s journey has been written based on the CARE case report guidelines to ensure the synopsis is as objective as possible. This summary was prepared in consultation with clinical notes taken during consultations. P has read this report in full and confirms it’s accuracy as well as providing consent for it to be published.

The take home points for the reader include:

  • Comprehensive and individualised nutritional prescriptions are a truly powerful solution to chronic and debilitating health conditions
  • Food groups don’t necessarily have to be excluded. Exclusions of any whole foods should be based on an individual’s reaction to them – not on a societal level.
  • When underlying health issues are resolved, the physical body is less stressed and inflamed, and true weight release occurs
  • This was a supported journey and it wasn’t just about food. Long term health changes will only come when someone’s thoughts and feelings around food are also changed. New habits, a new lifestyle and new goals have been created which are only possible as a result of these health improvements.

The next information evening about the Metabolic Balance program is this Thursday the 7th of February, from 6pm here at the clinic. Please phone or email to register your attendance.

Read more about Metabolic Balance here.

JOURNEY OF A METABOLIC BALANCER PART 2
Categories HORMONES, MENTAL HEALTH, THYROID, WEIGHT LOSS

JOURNEY OF A METABOLIC BALANCER PART 2

This is a continuation of Alice’s journey on Metabolic Balance®. If you haven’t read part 1 catch up on that first here.

1 week into the program now, it was time for me to touch base with this lovely young lady again today. This second touch point, shortly into the plan is an important one. The first week can be a bit of a harrowing journey for some, especially if they are coming from a high sugar diet. This was not the case for Alice (her diet was fairly good before, just a bit inconsistent… due to life really), but it’s always good to reflect on the first week regardless. It’s also important to look at what symptoms have changed and check on body composition as well – it’s about celebrating the little wins.

Metabolic Balance® kicks off with a 2 day ‘cleanse’ and Alice was kind to herself the first day, mainly resting and doing a bit of computer work at home. The second day was a little bit more brutal with a stubborn headache, a foggy brain and a general feeling of exhaustion. These are typical detoxy type symptoms, which most people experience to some degree.  By dinner time, Alice said she had gotten through it so it did pass quickly.

By Sunday, Alice started on her official food plan. She was a little shocked with her portion of vegetables in particular, thinking that it didn’t look like a lot. However, when married with her protein, she was surprised that it did indeed satisfy her. Monday was back into routine and a full day out of the house, and keeping up with hydration was tough (water intake is individually assigned on Metabolic Balance®). By Tuesday, there was a big turnaround and Alice said she felt a little bit ‘euphoric.’ One of the biggest wins on that day was noting the absence of consistent aches in the fingers and hands – a symptom that had bothered her for some time. This seemed to have disappeared and still today (Friday) had not been noted again at all. This is a good sign that systemic inflammation is beginning to correct itself with the right foods for the individual. Obviously, its not going to happen overnight, but it will slowly dissipate over many months. Symptoms improvement and weight release are signs that this is the case.

Alice had reported consistent bloating in her first consult and this came good pretty quickly into the plan. Usually, chickpeas are a major trigger for this, but even following a chickpea meal, the bloating wasn’t near as severe as usual. Alice thinks a big part of this comes down to meeting her actual hydration requirements. I believe as a practitioner a big reason for digestion improving is  ‘uncomplicated food’ and simple protein choices for the body.

Despite feeling less ‘fluidy’ and less ‘blah’ (we can all relate to those feelings can’t we), Alice said she had no expectations when it came to measuring. She knew things were going to take time and didn’t expect a huge change. A nice surprise when the scales reflected a weight loss of 2.0kg and a scan confirmed a loss of 1.63kg in body fat (the remainder was water weight). Her waist measurement was 2.5cm lower, directly over the belly button. Think about what this might mean to someone who has felt out of control of their body and their health for some time, not knowing what to do or how to help themselves, yet trying to do ‘all of the right things.’

One of the most significant and rewarding changes at this point would be quite a fast turnaround in Alice’s mood. Over the previous month she’d had some time off and she realised she’d stayed at home almost the entire time. Really hadn’t wanted to see anyone and had avoided doing anything…. Just felt blue. She said that she was feeling more like herself already and wished she had the time off all over again – to catch up with some loved ones and do some fun things. It’s so nice that some zest for life is coming back and obviously such an important aspect of health to monitor. Another clinical example of why nutrition is such an important consideration for mental health.

The foods Alice stuck with were really basic this week. Having to juggle this program, alongside a large family and full time study commitments, she didn’t get too adventurous. Creating some new meals and bringing in some other proteins will be the focus for week 2.

A good start to a journey. Everyone’s being unique.

JOURNEY OF A METABOLIC BALANCER PART 1
Categories HORMONES, WEIGHT LOSS

JOURNEY OF A METABOLIC BALANCER PART 1

I was recently contacted by a young lady (who we will call Alice from this point forward) directly interested in Metabolic Balance. She has decided to move forward with the program and I am going to be sharing a bit about her story and her results (as they happen-no fabrication here) so you can follow her journey.
Alice presented to me in clinic like a lot of other clients do, although that’s not to diminish the significance of her struggles in any way. Quite tired consistently and slow, but consistent weight gain over the past 5 years. Some of her symptoms absolutely screamed low thyroid function including low mood, periods of alarming hair loss, low mood and digestive disturbances. Despite this, all of her blood tests had come back ‘normal’ and despite trying quite a few different approaches, she had not felt well for a long time. Nor had she felt in control of her body or her weight.

Alice’s journey will be unique in that she is in the health industry herself. So she does have good awareness of her own body and a very proactive approach to her health. This attitude is one of the key’s to success not only on Metabolic Balance but any health journey. One must value their own health and be open to making changes to achieve the result they want.
When I asked Alice how she was feeling she simply said ‘really inflamed. I feel like things just aren’t right and I’m at a loss as to what to do to improve them.’
We did decide pretty quickly that MB would be the most comprehensive option as far as her food was concerned moving forward. In addition, I made some adjustments to Alice’s supplements because although she had some really good quality options in her pantry, she wasn’t taking them at the correct time or dosage or consistency.
Fast forward a few days and we received Alice’s blood results back from the lab. These are used, along with age, medical conditions, medication and measurements, to formulate the Metabolic Balance food plan. The blood tests are fairly comprehensive and sure enough, a number of inflammatory markers were well outside of normal range, and suspected iron deficiency was confirmed.

Fast forward a few more days and I received Alice’s Metabolic Balance plan back from head office in Germany. Alice is not a fussy eater (which is great – the less fussy, the more ‘ideal’ the plan will be) and at first I was really excited. I had a quick scan and saw a few things I had never seen come up on a plan before! Yay for Alice, I thought. Meanwhile, I was also considering the extra recipes I could add to me Metabolic Balance recipe book. But then on closer inspection….. ‘augh’ was the sound that came out of my mouth. This is REALLY restrictive. There weren’t a whole lot of fish options and overall the protein types were a bit limited… so was the vegetable list. I had about 30 minutes up my sleeve before my next appointment with Alice and so I pulled a few recipes out that would be suitable to help her along and did a bit of brainstorming around meals she could create.
So how did Alice take the news and the plan? Firstly, she was feeling marginally better with the new supplement routine but looking forward to nailing the food side of things. And after an hour together, reviewing her bloods, going through the preparation phase (first 2 days) and then discussing the food plan, we both found lots of positives to focus on. As Alice said, if it was the same old thing than she would simply get the same result, right? 3 meals a day, adequate water for her size and exactly the right foods…. time to get creative and let the journey begin.

In general, I find the ‘worst’ the blood tests are and the more ‘chronic’ someone’s health state is, the more restrictive a Metabolic Balance plan may be. In saying that, many people go through life basically eating the exact same thing everyday, and even Alice’s list can be turned into lots of different fast, healthy meals. We will be reviewing progress and symptoms after 2 weeks and introducing a few more items to the allowed food list. At 4 weeks, its possible things may get more exciting again, but we will wait and see how Alice responds to her Metabolic Balance plan.

I’ll update you on Alice’s journey in a week, when I next see her. The purpose of this blog series is to take you on a journey… because Metabolic Balance is ‘a journey.’ It’s also to show you first hand what kind of improvements and changes to someone’s health we can gain through nutritional medicine. My personal opinion, based on my professional knowledge is that there is no better example of ‘healing through nutrition’ than Metabolic Balance. You will see that truly regaining health isn’t always easy… but regaining ‘life’ along the way certainly makes it worth it!

Categories HORMONES

Diet and PCOS

Polycystic ovarian syndrome affects 1 in 5 women making it one of the most common hormonal conditions experienced by females (1). Its consequences can appear alarming and many women may feel quite hopeless as far as managing the condition is concerned. However, its highly responsive to nutritional intervention and here’s why:

First, a brief look at PCOS. For a diagnosis to be made, 2 of the 3 criteria (2) must be satisfied:

-absence of a regular period

-evidence of hyperandrogenism (that’s high testosterone)

-the detection of cysts on the ovaries when viewed on ultrasound

Other consequences are metabolic, cardiovascular and hormonal in nature and generally include the following:
-reduced insulin sensitivity: women with PCOS seem to have up to 40% reduced insulin uptake when compared with non-PCOS women. I.e. the ability to handle simple carbohydrates is significantly reduced, much like type 2 diabetes.

-increased circulating insulin can drive up central adiposity; i.e. fat around the waist. In general, weight management is usually more difficult for women with PCOS.

-higher cardiovascular risk factors; cholesterol, blood pressure and homocysteine to name a few, are more likely to be sub optimal. This is a cumulative effect of higher blood sugars, unbalanced hormones and increased central fat: all drive up systemic inflammation.

-Compromised mental health including higher incidences of depression and anxiety. Likely a cumulative effect of higher systemic inflammation and out of whack hormones.

What does PCOS have to do with Nutrition?

A lot actually. PCOS is sometimes referred to as ‘diabetes of the ovaries’  so considering the diet will go a long way in managing the condition. We can reduce insulin resistance by including adequate protein and healthy fats alongside fibre rich, unrefined carbohydrates with each meal. A women with PCOS is NOT going to thrive on a low fat diet.

Improving blood sugar and insulin sensitivity may assist with weight management. This may in turn have a positive effect on lowering inflammation which will improve cardiovascular risk factors and support healthy mental health.

Plus, there’s loads of research as far as specific nutrients and nutritional medicine* is concerned. Here are some of the tools we have in our belts:
-N acetylcysteine a naturally occurring amino acid taken at certain dosages assists with ovulation and fertility in women with PCOS. View the full meta-analysis here.

-Inositol, (an often forgotten B vitamin) currently one of my favourite supplements in clinic can reduce elevated testosterone levels and improve insulin levels as shown in many papers including this one here.

-Neurotransmitter support such as natural GABA, 5 hydroxy-tryptophan (precursor for serotonin) and SAMe are viable and important options for PCOS sufferers seeking mental health support without side effects.

This represents the tip of the iceberg and takes a birds eye view on a condition that may vary from person to person. The drivers are more complicated than this article allows, but the take home point is: PCOS is not a ticket to infertility. There is hope outside of the contraceptive pill, IVF and diet shakes which may work for some women, but result in suffering and side effects for others. You deserve to know your body, understand your condition and know your options. 

*Don’t take herbs or supplements without consultation with a practitioner. They can interact with medications so should be used with caution and prescribed by a professional. Don’t purchase herbs and supplements over the internet as they may not be regulated by the TGA (Australia’s supplement ‘watchdog’) and they may not be formulated to therapeutic strengths or formulas.

REFERENCES

  1. Statistics from Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, webpage available here.
  2. The Diagnosis of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome in Adolescents, available here.
  3. N-acetyl Cysteine for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome : A systematic Review and meta-analysis of Randomised Controlled Clinical Trials. Available here.
  4.  Metabolic and Hormonal Effects of myo-inositol in women with polycystic ovaries, available here.