Thursday, 19 March 2020

Essential Immune Supports

With a novel virus at pandemic levels most of us are aware of what we CAN'T do at the moment.
I hope we have all become aware of how to apply good hygiene practices, how to identify when to self-isolate and know what social distancing means.

As a Natural Health practitioner I know how important a healthy, WELL REGULATED immune response is when responding to infection.

Collectively, there has not been a lot said about how-

A) it is our immune response to the virus that may cause most harm, what is referred to as a cytokine storm, occuring in lung tissue in the case of Covid-19 and 

B) what can we do at the individual level from a nutritional and phytotherapeutic perspective to support ourselves.

And I won't start on the polluted air we're exposed to, the chemicals in our food and water supply as well as the energy dense nutrient poor non-food foods that are aggressively marketed to us and our young people. All these things place us at further risk!

What else beyond handwashing and social distancing?

I absolutley say YES to handwashing, social distancing and self isolation. Personally though, I prefer to be far more proactive in my self care. 

In turn I then feel empowered by my actions, thus reducing the potential for despair and despondency that for me, can result from a sense of powerlessness (doing nothing).

Below is an excerpt shared with permission from Goulds Naturopathica about what we, as individuals can do on a daily basis using, primarily, food as medicine.

We’ve put together a list of simple steps you can take at this time to take care of yourselves and your loved ones.
Our list of suggestions below has been compiled with the intention of providing you with simple steps for actions you can take at home, or recommendations for things that you can access fairly easily. These treatments have the potential to support your general health and immune resilience, but to be clear, none of them have any proven action in preventing or treating coronavirus infection.

Gargle and drink GREEN TEA. Consuming green tea, in particular gargling it, has been shown to reduce the risk of contracting influenza and the common cold. The tannins in green tea have been shown to have broad antiviral effects topically. In one study, residents in an aged care facility gargling the equivalent of ½ cup of green tea three times daily were more than 15 times less likely (OR 15.7) to catch the flu

Take a Vitamin D supplement. Living in Tasmania (or the Bega VAlley for that matter) is known to increase our risk of having low vitamin D. A number of studies have shown that taking vitamin D, particularly in people who are vitamin D deficient, reduces the chances of developing acute respiratory infections including influenza. Most studies reviewed used adult doses ranging from 2000IU to 4000IU a day, which is known to be safe to take long term even in the absence of deficiency

Eat probiotic foods daily. Consuming probiotic foods regularly or taking a probiotic supplement has been shown to reduce the risk of developing an upper respiratory tract infection You can consume probiotics through foods such as probiotic yogurt (Vaalia has 3 well researched viable strains in therapeutic amounts), sauerkraut or kimchi, in addition to many others. All of these can be consumed on a daily basis. If you would prefer to take a supplement, talk to us at Gould’s (or Health Expressions) about the most ideal one for your situation.

Eat plenty of raw crushed GARLIC. We don’t care if you stink, we can all stink together! Garlic is one of nature’s best antimicrobials, and it is quite amazing in that it appears to be selective in its action – it doesn’t wipe out your good bacteria. Local organic garlic is best if you can access it, but don’t worry if you can’t – eat what you can find. Ensure you are eating raw garlic according to your own tolerance as not everyone can stomach it. We find that adding crushed garlic to a meal just before consuming it, or having it with avocado on wholesome bread, improves tolerability.

Keep any medicines you regularly use in stock and within date. This includes pharmaceuticals (check your scripts are also in date), herbal remedies and nutritional supplements. At Gould’s, we have taken measures to ensure we have enough immune and respiratory herbs in stock to get through the winter season, and while we encourage you to be prepared, we emphatically ask that you don’t stockpile herbs, so that we can continue to serve the community through the winter period. Tinctures are also not something we can accept returns for, so please think about how much you realistically need. We are setting a limit of 500ml per person for respiratory and immune mixes, and while we won’t be policing repeat visits, we ask that everyone be mindful of others within the community also having access to herbal medicines.

Keep your home above 16°C. Having a cold home reduces respiratory resilience and increases susceptibility to and mortality from respiratory tract infections. This is especially important for people who are elderly, asthmatic or have other chronic/recurrent respiratory conditions.…/the-health-impacts…

Eat a healthy well-balanced diet. Eat an abundance of plant foods, high antioxidant foods (especially berries, kiwifruit and purple grapes), fresh local fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and plenty of legumes. These help to feed your beneficial gut bacteria, which will assist you with immune resilience. They also ensure you have a healthy intake of vitamin C along with other nutrients important for immune health.

Don’t overindulge with alcohol. Binge drinking is bad for your gut flora, and also impairs immune function and increases the severity of respiratory tract infections
If you smoke, action a quit plan. Contact QuitTas for support…

Get enough sleep, maintain a healthy exercise regime, and try to keep stress levels in check. We understand that these things can be easier said than done, but all three of these are integral to your immune system working well. So take the opportunities that present to take care of yourself.

If you do get sick, don’t panic, but please minimise your contact with other people, and follow the guidelines about self-isolation.

● You have returned from or transited through any high-risk countries within the last 14 days. (It appears prudent to extend this to moderate risk countries also.) At the time of writing this post (12th March 2020) the following countries are considered high and moderate risk: Mainland China; Iran; Italy; South Korea; Cambodia; Hong Kong; Indonesia; Japan; Singapore and Thailand. It appears that USA may soon be classed as moderate risk also.
● You have been in close contact with anyone who has recently transited through these countries.
● You have been in contact with anyone who has confirmed coronavirus or is suspected to be at risk of being exposed to the virus.
● You have recently returned from anywhere overseas and have even mild cold or flu symptoms.
***In all of these cases you should call the Coronavirus hotline on 1800 020 080 nationally (in Australia) to clarify your next step.…/coronavirus-covid-19-informatio…

Additional Focus

Other key nutrients (in addition to Vitamin D) that support our immune system are Zinc, Vitamin C and Vitamin A. Vitamin A is a key nutrient for mucous membrane health and immune regulation. It's functions include:

  • downregulating cytokine production thereby modulating immune response

  • supporting most immune cells such as T cells, antibodies, macrophages and Natural Killer cells.

  • helping to maintain cell wall structure and defense, in the form of cytokeratin- an important part of cell membrane structure and integrity

Vitamn A's role is crucial to the 'frontline' defence capabilities of our respiratory mucosa.

Anti-Oxidants may be a helpful addition to our first aid kits. In any inflammatory immune response our bodies generate free radicals to excess. Anti-oxidant nutrients (Vitamins C, D, E, A to name a few) and foods high in antioxidants, such as green tea, prunes, spinach, berries (think coloured plant foods/ Rainbow Diet) can help to reduce excess production of oxidising free radicals.

And quickly, I know these may be stressful times and how that can trigger stress eating. Please be aware that sugar can have a directly immune suppressive affect. Sugar intake leads to the production of gliotoxins that damage T cells and macrophages, important immune cells.

And finally, let's all look after each other as best we can. Think about having catch ups with friends in open spaces or in virtual spaces as social support can be tremendously important to our overall AND immune health.

One last goes on and the current pandemic is not the ony health concern for many of us. We still have our acne or PMS or insomnia or autoimmune disease or gut issues and so on to contend with so with this in mind I want to remind you that I can offer my consultations via Skype or over the phone.

Any questions...please just reach out.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Bowel Balancing Breakfast Bowl

So many people have quality of life issues caused by annoying bowel symptoms such as spasm, pain, bloating often with either constipation, diarrhoea or both. It can be really significant for some, not being able to move about freely without knowing where toilets are located. 

Often diagnosed as Irritable Bowel Syndrome patients may not be offered satisfactory treatment options and are left to struggle and put up with their symptoms.

This 'seed' breakfast recipe has a combination of soluble and insoluble fibres, pectin containing fruit and microorganism boosting yogurt. Now, it might not be enough to completely resolve IBS symptoms, you may need to explore further other approaches with your gut health expert practitioner, but I've seen this breakfast work wonders for people.


  • Flaxmeal
  • Almond meal
  • Ground sunflower seeds
  • Ground pumpkin seeds
  • Ground sesame seeds
  • Rice bran

After grinding to the consistency of coarse coffee combine above ingredients in quantities equal by weight e.g. 50g of each. Any mix not used fresh need to be stored in the fridge and used within 2 weeks.

Additions/ Optionals

  • Grated raw apple (with skin on) or stewed apple. High in beneficial pectin.
  • Plain yogurt- I like Vaalia for reliable therapeutic microbes- though any good quality will do.

In the cooler months the seed mix can be added to porridge, at other times you may just want to eat it on it's own.

Of course, if you are vegan, paleo, dairy intolerant etc coconut yogurt is a perfectly good option or yogurt can be omitted altogether.

I'd suggest giving it a couple of weeks at least and if not having any joy talk to a gut health expert for individualised advice.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Garlic Oxymel

Homemade Herbal First Aid 

I've been nursing a really really sore throat these last few days, two of my children are sick with upper respiratory infections and I've been busy fighting mine off with a couple of my favourite herbal helpers.

I wanted to share what I've been doing as it's an easy, effective way to deal with sore throats, colds and flu like symptoms.

Garlic Oxymel Recipe

With this recipe it isn't crucial to be exact with your measurements, approximate is good enough. Garlic Oxymel is a potent antimicrobial as well as mucolytic, (meaning it breaks up mucous) and is fabulous to have on hand as a preventative when you know there are germs around and also good when you do have symptoms of a sore throat, stuffy nose and chesty cough. 
Garlic Oxymel is also a great way to use up any sprouting garlic you may have.


1-2 C Apple cider vinegar- determined by how much you want to have on hand
1 head of garlic
Optional- fennel seeds, caraway seeds, dried chilli (if you like it really hot)


Warm apple cider vinegar on low heat with chopped or crushed garlic and 1 tsp of desired seeds and/or chilli.
After 10 minutes of very low heat decant into glass jar- leave on the bench for a few days, give it a bit of a swirl daily.
Strain and store in fridge.

How to use Oxymel

Add 1-2 tsp to a cup of warm water and consume 1-4 times daily. You might like to add honey as the taste is strong- I generally don't as I mostly eat a low sugar diet.

Here's another great recipe using everyday ingredients that protect you from illness. Click here

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Gut Flora First Aid

Undoubtedly antibiotics have made a huge contribution to our survival and quality of life, I will not dispute that. They do however have a dark side.

With the significant amount of existing and emerging research into our microbial mates (bowel flora) and our greater understanding of their crucial role in contributing to our well being, it's been suggested by some researchers we've been playing 'Russian roulette' with our use of antibiotics, without fully understanding the damage inflicted on our bowel flora and the subsequent impact on our health.

Yes, I absolutely believe in the power of natural medicines and inherently know that diet and lifestyle are the biggest contributors to health and disease. That being said, I am a complementary health care practitioner- that means my treatment plans complement many treatment plans- and absolutely there are situations where antibiotics (or other medications for that matter) are required and can even be lifesaving.

With this in mind I wanted to share a strategy I use when antibiotics have been prescribed, dispel some myths and reveal some well kept secrets along the way.

Myth No.1 Never take probiotics whilst on antibiotics!

This is quite untrue. Research shows it is best to take antibiotics with probiotics concurrently. You just need to be sure that you separate the dose by 2-4 hours. In doing so you reduce the number of probiotics damaged by the antibiotic.

A well kept secret!

There are strains of  probiotics that are actually not affected by antibiotics and can be safely and effectively taken without having to worry about when you take them. Saccharomyces boulardi (actually a yeast) is such a strain. It will hold the fort, so to speak and reduce the likelihood of other species, such as Candida albicans and Clostridia difficile getting the upper hand and becoming pathogenic.

It is important to ensure you get the correct dose and strain of SB. What's more SB doesn't require refrigeration and is a great one to have on hand during international travels.

My Gut Flora Protection Plan 

In essence the plan is to inoculate the colon with significant numbers of specific regulatory strains of probiotics and then feed them really well so they can colonise and out compete pathogenic microorganisms.

During Antibiotic treatment - 20 billon CFU's of LGG strain per day. Remember, 2 hours apart from medication.

After Antibiotics -10 billlion CFU's per day, always with food.

Additional - Add a fabulous fibre such as hydrolysed guar gum or psyllium seeds and a good dose of lactulose.
Think of these as nutritive and conditioning agents that generate favourable pH and provide fuel for our life giving bugs.

Myth 2- You shouldn't need probiotics if you're consuming lacto-fermented foods

Undoubtedly lacto-fermented foods such as yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, miso & kombucha can and do play an important role in the maintenance of a healthy microbiome.

For some people, especially those with amine detoxification issues, dairy intolerance and inefficient sulphation pathways these may not be well tolerated.

Would you use a Chihuahua to pull a sled?

Also worth noting, the strains in most fermented products are usually 'wild' strains and differ from batch to yes, whilst definitely helping to support the diversity of bacteria in our gut which is ultimately a good thing, at certain times we need SPECIFIC strains to perform SPECIFIC functions.

It's be a bit like using a chihuahua on an Arctic expedition- maybe not the best choice for dragging a heavily laden sled through the snow, me thinks!

Not sure what strains best suit you? We can help.
Want to work on your gut health and learn how to best nourish your microbes? 
Call up for a obligation free chat to find out if we're right for each other.

Travelling overseas? Worried about Bali belly? We can help with that too! 6492 3002.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018


Menopause Must Knows

The Highs and Lows of Perimenopause and Menopause

There are lots of factors that determine when a woman experiences menopause including adrenal reserve and stress though perhaps the biggest determinant is your Mum or maternal Grandma's age at menopause. Most women will go through menopause around the time of Mum and Granny, give or take 2 years.

Why the HRT not?

Some of the biggest clinical trials of conventional HRT have had to be stopped before completion  due to significant and dangerous side effects, particularly endometrial cancer and deep vein thrombosis. Fortunately for women HRT drugs are no longer prescribed willy- nilly and are ideally given at the lowest dose possible for the shortest period possible, if at all.
Women with family history of cancer and clotting disorders often prefer to avoid HRT due to the increased risks it can carry.
Luckily for us, the plant world contains an abundance of safe and effective natural options.

What the Hormone is going on ?!@#

  • Many women will experience mood changes, heavy and erratic periods and frequent spotting due to declining progesterone levels- our oestrogen is actually higher at this stage and affects the lining of the uterus, essentially becoming more fragile.
  • The next significant hormone shift is a decline in oestrogen causing general and vaginal dryness, insomnia, hot flushes and night sweats.
  • Testosterone levels (as a percentage) can increase at this stage resulting in unwanted hair growth. 
  • Luteinising hormone, lesser known than oestrogen and progesterone is released every 90 minutes and is also associated with hot flushes.


Herbal Helpers

  • Black Cohosh -No.1 herb for flushes, sweats, mood and vaginal dryness. Great for perimenopause and PMS symptoms too..
  • Sage - Especially for hot flushes with sweat.
  • Tribulus- A wonderful tonic & oestrogenic in females
  • St Johns Wort- Great for the mood and sleep disturbances.
  • Shatavari- In Ayurveda known as " She of a Hundred Husbands" Need I say more?

Nutrients to Know

  • Vitamin E- for hot flushes and vaginal dryness. Oral and topical.
  • Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids- supports vascular integrity, can relieve hot flushes.
  • Magnesium- may reduce flushes by 50%- my theory is that it's due to magnesium's role in supporting both the adrenals and nervous system. Will also help to prevent osteoporosis.

Soy what!

Soy products, controversial I know, should be used cautiously where there is an iodine deficiency and dosed away from thyroxine supplementation. There is contradictory data around hormone responsive cancers as well as using alongside Tamoxifen so always consult with a trusted practitioner in such situations.

That being said Asian diets include 30-80mg of isoflavones daily with benefits such as reduced flushes/night sweats, stable bone density and lowered cholesterol, blood pressure and trigylcerides. So in my opinion soy isoflavones are worth considering. I like my dietary soy traditional and fermented...

What's cooking in your kitchen?

  • Flaxseed meal- richest source of dietary lignans. It's anti tumour and great for prostate health too.
  • Phytoestrogen Containing Foods- soybeans, flaxseed, apples, carrots, fennel, celery, parsley & legumes.
  • Plant based diets- veggies, fruit, vegetarian proteins, nuts, seeds & legumes.
  • Low GI- essential for maintaining a healthy weight, blood sugar control and cardiovascular health.

Living the Life

  • Movement- regular physical activity 30 minutes 4 x week reduces flushes & improves mood.
  • Quit smoking- smoking increases risk of early menopause and osteoporosis.
  • Stress management- stress wreaks havoc on all our hormones, not just the stress hormones- It will always be a part of life, can you change how you deal with it? Explore the range of stress busting tools at your disposal.
  • Weight Bearing Exercise- it doesn't have to by gym based but get those muscles straining. Strong muscles = strong bones and slower ageing.

Yes, there's more!

Some women will also be bothered by vaginal dryness, bladder irritation & infection, body aches, and joint pains. After menopause women shift metabolically and we become better at storing belly fat and less good at burning carbohydrates. Personally, I think this is essential information every woman needs to know and can benefit from adjusting food and movement goals in line with this.

What I stress to my patients is that menopause is a moving target- symptoms can come, go and change over a number of years and how you eat and drink, move, sleep and stress will hugely influence your transition into your next stage. Good to know, hot flushes rarely last more than 1 year.

'Personally, I think this is essential information every woman needs to know and can benefit from adjusting food and movement goals in line with this'

Menopause can be a time of great transition for women. This is the time when women claim space for themselves, are (more or less) done with the raising and nurturing of family and have the benefit of life experience under their belt. It can be a time of great self empowerment and what can be better than being in charge of your health and ageing well- like a good whiskey or cheese perhaps?

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

What's Old is New Again!

The field of nutrition sees as many fashions as fashion does, so it would seem.

I often counsel awareness of the short shelf life of many nutritional trends- and always, always remind people that there is not a PERFECT diet out there that suits all of us.


The high fat low carb (HFLC) diet, similar to the Paleo diet but without all the maple syrup, sweet potato and dried fruits; similar to the Atkins diet, with more emphasis on quality, certainly has buckets to offer if you are looking for a health promoting eating style.


We just have to cast our minds back some 3500 or so years to see that a HFLC diet is not a "new" dietary fad.

Before mass agriculture humans survived on mostly fat, (predominantly animal fat) animal protein, wild harvested plants, some nuts, berries & seeds and when very fortunate and brave enough to take on a swarm of bees, some honey.


Despite recommendations from government health departments to adopt a low fat, high carb diet; which the population has largely done, we are seeing unprecedented rates of chronic diseases, especially the METABOLIC diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and neurological conditions such as Alzheimers and Parkinsons.


The ketogenic diet is a more refined version of the HFLC diet and has been around for a long time now as a treament for epilepsy, and before insulin was available it was the diet of choice for Type 1 diabetic patients.

It is essentially a high fat diet- anywhere from 60% to 90% of calories are sourced from fat. In fact, the Eskimos have always consumed a ketogenic diet and enjoyed good health whilst our high carb/low fat dietitians scratched their heads over this fact.

As well, think the French Paradox- all that butter, cheese and duck liver pate alongside of low obesity rates.

With a  ketogenic diet most of our energy comes from dietary fats or excess body fat (hence it's potential for safe, rapid weight loss) and to be successful we need to restrict carbohydrates in order to switch our metabolism to utilising fats as fuel, in an efficient manner.


There is an increasing body of evidence supporting the ketogenic diet as a way of reversing and slowing many common diseases. Evidence suggests it's huge potential for:
  • Obesity/ Rapid weight loss.
  • Type 2 diabetes.
  • Cardiovascular disease.
  • Anxiety.
  • Alzheimers/ epilepsy/  Parkinsons & MS.
  • Cancer- during chemotherapy and in non treatment respondent cancers.
  • Enhanced athletic performance.

    Be aware that there are many myths, misconceptions and misunderstandings about ketogenic eating plans so be sure to speak with a practitioner that understands nutritional ketosis which is very different to diabetic ketoacidosis.


I have seen numerous dietary fads come and go over the years, many exciting, some dubious and others downright dangerous. In light of the health concerns we are facing on a global scale the ketogenic/ HFLC diet has got me superexcited. 

Whilst it might not be for everybody- there are some, though not many, contraindications- and is not a one stop fix all diet I think it certainly has the potential to be a one stop fix many diet.

What are your personal health goals?

  • Better blood sugar control?
  • More energy?
  • Improved athletic performance?
  • Better neurological health?
  • More balanced moods?

If you are ready for a lifechanging shift give us a call at Health Expressions to find out how you will benefit, is it right for you, is it safe for you, how long it takes and any other questions you might have...

If you are wondering how to get started, or want more details on how to safely implement a ketogenic diet be it for rapid weight loss or chronic disease management contact us today to get the most out of our in-clinic or Skype based programs.

Keen to try  ketogenic recipes? Click here and  here

Friday, 8 September 2017

Keto LCHF Flax Pancake

Since adopting a ketogenic way of eating I noticed that my intake of flaxmeal temporarily dropped off.

Usually I like to have two tablespoons of  flaxmeal everyday because of the many ways it can benefit my health so I created a ketogenic pancake that provides a therapeutic dose of flaxmeal.


The many benefits of flaxseed (linseed) include:


  • Selective oestrogen receptor modification; this means it's good for hormonal balancing, so in the case of excessive oestrogen it will have a lowering effect whilst it can also provide oestrogenic effects in cases of low oestrogen, such as menopause.

  • Prostate Health- the oestrogen balancing effect also works to support healthy testosterone balance - reducing the risk of both prostate enlargement and prostate cancer.

  • Bowel flora modifying - it is a wonderful source of fiber that maintains a healthy colonic environment.

  • Regulates bowel function - it is both bulking and lubricating thus supporting regular, easy bowel motions.

  • Cholesterol modifying effect - due to both it's high fiber content and profile of healthy, omega 3 fatty acids.

  • Cardiovascular Health- largely due to the antiinflammatory omega 3 fatty acids.

  • Skin Health - a bit like a moisturiser on the inside, the omega 3's feed and nourish the layers of our skin.

Flaxseed really is one of my favourite superfoods. The following recipe provides two days worth of flaxmealy goodness!

Ketogenic HFLC Flax Pancakes 


  • 1/2 C flaxmeal
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp cream
  • 1 Tbsp MCT Oil (optional)
  • 1 Tsp psyllium seed
  • Water to achieve desired consistency

Beat eggs, add remaining ingredients, mix well.
Heat coconut or olive oil in skillet. Cook as you would pancakes.

I sprinkled mine with some shredded coconut and Actilax lactulose syrup. 

Calories 510
Net Carbohydrate 4g
Protein 21g
Fat 4g

Monday, 21 August 2017

What would you choose?

Why the world needs Naturopathy now!

Are you the type of person who:


  • wants a say in your own wellbeing?
  • wants to be a force in determining your own level of health?
  • feels let down by the mainstream medical model?

Australians are some of the largest consumers of Complementary Medicine in the world. 
What does this say about us and how can we make sure people are getting the 'best' complementary medicines?

What motivates people to seek out Complemetray Medicine?

Is it because they ;


  • want a say in their own wellbeing?
  • want to use medicines that are inherently safe
  • are looking for more than what the 'mainstream' offers us?
  • are wanting a healthier lifestyle all round 

Modern day Naturopathic Medicine is a perfect antidote for the health issues of the day because:


  • we are stressed to the max-work, family, social and community obligations
  • we're always plugged in and constantly connected but often more isolated than ever
  • our food  can be 'dead' and depleted
  • our environment  is polluted and toxic- physically and energetically
  • we live in a world driven by profits and progress at any cost

Naturopathy recognises that our everyday isn't always supportive of our wellbeing and goes beyond the "pill for an ill" approach.

Naturopathy ...

  • looks at a wider range of healthcare options-beyond the scalpel and pill approach!
  • sees the individual and their unique health needs 
  • identifies when balance has been lost
  • restores balance when it has been lost
  • is complementary to other types of treatments
  • is inherently safe

“The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease. ~ ”Thomas A. Edison

Naturopathy is about harnessing our bodies ability to heal. Like after a burn or graze, your body will automatically start to heal, and so we have the ability to heal from chronic diseases if only the body is allowed.

The role of naturopath is to identify the optimal conditions for each individual, and work with the client to create a plan that creates the right conditions, thus encouraging the bodies healing capacity to heal itself, just as it would after a cut or burn. 

Naturopathy is essentially about recognizing and identifying what we, as individuals, need in order to be well, be it on a physical, emotional, mental or spiritual level.

Get your Wellness prescription for Life now.

Mention this blog to receive a 30% discount and free gift. 

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

More than just a nuisance?

Are you missing the signs and symptoms of threadworm infestation?

I don't know if it's coincidence or quite why it happpens but sometimes in clinic I will have patient after patient presenting with the same (or very similar) health problems.

It's great for me as I can really hone a lot of my research time into the one area and the deeper I dig the more (knowledge) I usually find.

This happened recently and inspired this blog-
I 've been seeing a run of  people (usually children ) with recurrent pinworm or enterobiasis infestation.


Recurrent worm infection- more than just an itchy bottom?

When I see a patient with recurrent worm infections with short worm free periods in between then I start to concern myself with their;

  • Nutrient status- probably compromised!
  • Immune system- often over burdened and drained.
  • Digestive function- usually disturbed. 

Worm infestation occurs most commonly between the ages of 7-11, more likely in girls at a rate of 3:1 and is very unusual under the age of 2.

Could it be worms?


Contrary to popular belief your child could have worms and NOT have an itchy bottom.
Common signs and symptoms of worm infestation include:
  • Appetite change
  • Weight loss
  • Vague abdominal pain
  • Nose picking & thumbsucking
  • Sleep disturbances - nightmares, teeth grinding, resltessness & fatigue
  • Vulval itching, pain & redness- in girls
  • Urinary incontinence


How do you tell if you or your child has worms?


You can't always rely on the tell tale itchy bum. Many carriers will NOT have an itchy bottom at all.
Aside from the behavioural and gut disturbances listed above we might see elevated eosinophils in a standard blood count and elevated white cells in urine- basically immune cells in wee- this occurs when worms migrate to the vagina, this is fairly common in girls and the standard worming meds do not work outside of the gut.

Female reproductive issues- could it even be worms?


Some of the rarer complications of worm infestation are due to migration of worms through the vagina and into the pelvic cavity. There are reports in the literature, albeit rare, of infertility and pelvic inflamatory disease as a result.


And the MOST reliable testing method is....


Yep, you might have geussed it- the sticky tape method.
This has been scientifically evaluated against culture testing and DNA testing to be the most reliable test when done correctly.
The Sticky tape test involves applying tape to the perianal area on 3 consecutive nights and examining microscopically. More details on how to carry out the test can be found here


And the best plan of attack?


Of course, the usual strategies such as nail cutting, handwashing, clean bedding and dusting could be applied but beyond that what else can you do?

  • Gut healing- bone broth contains chondroitin sulphate for gut defence and integrity.
  • Immune support- whether with herbs or nutritents, enables a more effective immune response at the gut level.
  • Nurtient repletion- nutrient deficiency can occur due to disturbed digestion and appetite. Often it is our key immune nutrients such as Zinc and vitamin A that become depleted, potentially creating a vicious cycle.
  • Consider screening for diantamoeba fragilis- newer research suggests D.fragilis mayintroduce enterobiasis to the gut.

Threadworm infestation occurs across all strata of society, is more common in girls and may be causal in some instances of appendicitis. In some cases it is more than a nuisance and maybe an indicator that the gut integrity and immune response is lacking.
I would always pay particular attention when it occurs in children under 2 as well as in those with recurrent infections.

Got gut concerns, talk to us at Health expressions, experts in gut health.