POST-PILL ACNE?

Click here to find out what you can do to prevent post-pill acne

Certain types of oral contraceptive pills are designed to suppress the oil glands in your skin and when you stop the pill your hormones surge again which increases the oil production again. This generally lasts fo 6 months, which can be really annoying when you are trying to flaunt your beautiful blemish free skin on a selfie.

Here’s what you can do to prevent the post pill-acne blues:

1. Make sure you don’t just come off the pill and hope for the best. Prevention is best and you should really start treating the underlying cause a couple of cycles before you stop the pill.

2. Treat stress and sleep issues as they may have been causing stress levels to push a hormone called Androgen up. This hormone causes our skin to break out mainly around the chin area and the back. Androgen also throws your menstrual cycle out of balance and can cause long cycles and might mean you are not ovulating (anything longer than 35 days is considered too long).

3. Avoid cow’s milk – it contains hormones which mimic oestrogen (cow’s milk is for feeding baby cows, so they can grow big and strong). So that means hello almond milk lattes and goodbye cheese, yoghurt and ice cream. While you are at it, also avoid sugar as it spikes insulin which makes acne worse as it affects how your ovaries respond to hormones.
That means no sugary fruit, juices, chocolates, lollies or sweet alcoholic drinks – yes, wine and champagne are sweet alcoholic drinks too.

4. Get your hormones checked 3 months post coming off the pill – anything earlier will give you a false reading as your body will still be affected by the hormones in the pill. A good test is the DUTCH – hormone test as it assesses all hormone levels including Androgens and Adrenal hormones which hugely affect your skin.

5. Make sure your digestion works and you stay clear of food allergens – any bloating or skin flare ups after food should be noted and checked out. You can get your food allergies tested via a simple blood test with us at Natology.
Take bitter herbs and zinc to get your stomach acid levels up – this usually gets rid of any bloating after meals.

Want to find out more on how to keep your skin looking fresh even off the pill? Book in for a free chat to a Natology Naturopath here.

How pimples can pinpoint health issues

Did you know that each area of your face represents an area of your health?
What is pimples could be a side effect of that annoying bloated tummy you have had since that trip to Bali last year?

Let me tell you about a naturopathic trick called Face mapping…

Let’s look at each area of the face and explore what underlying health issues might be causing acne.

Forehead – small red pimples are often seen in this area, this section represents the liver. If you have been constipated for a few weeks or longer or have been drinking too much, had anti-biotics or any type of drugs from an illness – this area will affected. The first thing here is to avoid triggers, get your diet cleaned up, water, water , water and a really good liver detox.

To get a skin detox tonic made up from Natology to help clear your skin up Click here

Cheeks – if your skin generally breaks out in this area it might be a food allergy. Are you drinking too much milk? Has bread been part of your diet too much? What about colourings in foods (smarties, Coke Zero, jelly babies).. More specifically, this area represents the small intestines, if you have experienced IBS, bloating and tummy pains. This is something to get checked out thoroughly.

To order a Food allergy test or get checked for IBS causes Click here

jawline – this one is well known, if you skin tends to break out in this area it is often due to a hormonal issue. Try to play closer attention to when the skin looks more inflamed or the texture of the pimples changes. Is it closer to your period or more mid-cycle, ovulation plays a big part here. Long cycles more than 33 days or PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) can be an underlying cause. Try to avoid coffee and sugar and reduce stress as a first line of defence to give your hormones a chance to balance out. A great App is www.Kindara.com.au which allows you to track your cycle and share it with your GP or health care practitioner to gain an accurate picture of your hormonal status.

Shoulders, chest and back – this area is another hormonal sign. Generally this is caused by high Testosterone levels. Too much stress can trigger high Testosterone levels in women.

To check out our hormone testing options Click here

If you would like to have a comprehensive appointed online or at our Brisbane or Sydney clinic click the link below:

To book an appointment in our Sydney or Brisbane clinic click here:

To book a Naturopathic Skype/Phone consult click here

Food intolerances and IBS

How do we know what foods to avoid when it comes to IBS?

Many of us have experienced bloating and stomach cramps after eating too much triple cheese pizza at a party.
The aftermath of what was going to be a fun time amongst friends with that bottle of expensive vino you bought at that fancy new bottle shop around the corner can often result in swearing off A.cheese B. Gluten for weeks. Then you think, was it the wine after all? IBS, which is short for irritable bowel syndrome feels like this every single day which often results in confusion around what to eat and maybe even eliminating entire food groups.
Bloating, cramping and frequent toilet visits are the norm.

Fortunately you can get tested for food intolerances. The test is a simple finger prick test and it can give you information about 96 foods. The lab can check those food molecules against reactive anti-bodies in your blood to then generate an accurate report on each food and your body’s response.

Generally it takes 2-6 months of eliminating food for you to be able to eat these foods again without showing a reaction.

If you want to find out if food is triggering you:

Order your test kit here

This test can be done at home and includes a phone/skype consult to help you get back on track straight away.

Nutrition tips for fussy eaters

Getting Kids to have the right nutrients can be stressful for everyone involved and both our toddlers have gone through phases of fussiness since they started solids. Here are our top tips for fussy eaters:

1. Listen to cues from your baby or toddler. Babies thrive on a bit of a routine, but at the same time
it is really important to listen to them and find out when they are hungry and offer the evening meal at
a realistic time. Bubs are usually hungry around 4.30 or 5pm. Offer the main evening meal then. It is more
likely to be eaten at this time rather than 6pm or later when they’re getting tired and cranky.

2. A toddler may need a little bit of down time before main meals so they can “come down” from
playtime and transition to eating time. A table setting and hand washing routine may help with this
(at the daycare our boys go to, they do a few ‘yoga’ stretches before lunch). Often you are likely to get a
negative response if we pull them away from doing something fun, just like us adults get frustrated
when we’re pulled away from the middle of an episode of Suits.

3. Try not to get too hung up on the time of day your child eats or how much they eat at each sitting,
listen to them and get to know their hunger cues. Do they get whingy, cranky, hangry or manic when they
are hungry? If they have a bigger morning tea than breakfast, roll with it.

4. Don’t worry if you child decides on breakfast for dinner sometimes. If they occasionally want fruit
and cereal for dinner and meat and vegetables for breakfast, it doesn’t matter as long as both meals
are nutrient dense and it’s doable of course.

5. Don’t expect your child to eat well or very much if they are overtired or are a little under the weather.

6. Kids won’t starve. Their tummies are roughly just the size of their fist so serve just small portions
initially and then top it up with more later if they want more. Smaller meals are less overwhelming to
little tummies.

7. Kids are rapidly growing little tigers and have super fast metabolisms, they don’t need much to feel full
so never fuss or insist they eat more when they say they are full.

8. All snacks should be nutrient dense. Try not to offer “empty calories” to them in between meals, try
to offer something which is protein-rich. Hummus, boiled eggs, cheese, coconut yoghurts, bliss balls, or
homemade muesli bars are great snack options.

9. Stop all snacks and drinks at least one hour before mealtime (especially dinner). A hungry kid, and
even the most picky kids are more likely to eat their meals.

10. Have a safe food at every meal. If you know they love rice or noodles or carrots, try to add one of
their safe foods in small amounts so they don’t feel overwhelmed with ALL new foods at a meal time.

11. Lead by example. Kids are more likely to eat something if they see someone they admire eating
it. If we say we don’t like something, chances are that’s what they’ll say when presented with the
same food.

12. Don’t stress. This is the biggest tip. Having a fussy eater or even just a day of fussy eating can make
you want to pull your hair out but as long as you’re serving good, wholefoods, your child will be just fine
even if all they eat is cheese for a day. Always keep in mind that kids go through growth phases
where they will eat like they’re training for a marathon followed by a period of not eating all that much.
This is normal

This article was written by our Naturopath and Nutritionist Shannon Stokes.
Shannon loves to help Mums and bubs get health and on track with the right diet.

To book an appointment with Shannon please click on the booking link on our homepage.

Put the Spring in your step!

Can you believe that this time next week Spring will be on our doorstep? Neither can we! We (an everyone else on this planet) absolutely love Spring and cannot wait to shake ourselves out of that Winter Hibernation…

We’re feeling so buzzed about the season ahead, we’re going to share our top 4 tips to shake things up and get ready for sunnier days.

1. Spring Clean – We know, we know, super cliché but hear us out… Spring cleaning is super important not just around the home but in your fridge too! Toss those extra sugary chocolatey treats that are reserved for sweater weather and start to bring some fresh produce back into your life. Strawberries, cherries, pineapples and honeydew are all coming into season so be sure to stock them up while they’re at their best!

2. Re-energise – Okay, it’s time to peel yourself off the couch and get back into things. If you’re finding it a little difficult to get yourself going grab one of our Natalogy Energy Tonics that will help boost your immune system while giving you a natural dose of energy.

3. Move – We’re always told to get ‘Summer Ready’ but everyone knows that the tortoise beats the hare in the end. No, we’re not saying walk around at snail pace, we’re saying you should pace yourself and start moving now. It’ll help both your body and your mind to be in the best shape they can be!

4. Get Outside – Grab a picnic blanket, your friends, kids, fur babies, anyone that’ll come with you and get outside. This season truly is magical so take every chance you can to soak in a bit of Vitamin D (considering sun safety first, of course). Fresh air is great for your mental health and being outdoors will easily lend itself to Tip 3 so let’s get multi-tasking and list ticking!

We’d love to hear about your Spring plans or what you’re favourite thing to do this season is! Head on over to our Facebook or Instagram pages and share your top tip with us!

The gut-brain connection in a nutshell.

We work closely together with a team of psychologists because so many physical ailments are caused by stress and anxiety. The brain and all of our organs communicate and can cause an array of symptoms if we don’t look at both.

Lets look at it this way:

In African wild life sanctuaries many go to see the ‘big five’ (leopard, lion, elephant, rhino, and buffalo), in mental health the ‘big three’ are depression, anxiety, and stress. Unfortunately the prevalence of mental health issues is increasing at a faster rate than the speed at which wildlife is declining in Africa.  The first of the ‘big 3’ we will explore is that of anxiety. 
 
A ‘whole person’ approach to treating anxiety
Anxiety plays a role in signalling that self-protective action is required to ensure safety and thus cannot be labelled as globally pathological. However when we experience anxiety in the absence of any real threat our capacity to function effectively is impaired and quality of life is diminished. Anxiety is not our default state and chronic anxiety that is always there impairs optimal functioning. 
 
Three specific psychological mechanisms that are often a focus in treatment include:

1. Reducing ‘future orientation’. Anxiety is a ‘future oriented state’. Mindfulness skills can enable us to become more ‘present focussed’. 
2. Behavioural strategies to manage hyper-arousal. Diaphragmatic breathing is one important behavioural strategy. When the body is tense breathing is affected even before panic begins. 
3. Identifying and influencing thought patterns related to anxiety.  Thoughts can be both the result and trigger for anxiety states.  Thus the relationship between thoughts and feelings is bidirectional.  Consciously influencing thoughts can result in a significant reduction in anxiety.  Catastrophising thought patterns often begin with “Oh no!”.  These cognitions block us from a realistic appraisal of threat.   Anxiety is often associated with difficulty in perspective taking that has been referred to as a tendency to ‘over care’.  For example, nobody likes the idea of sudden unemployment however becoming preoccupied with this future possibility amplifies distress. 
 
Three physiological mechanisms in the body that are related to anxiety include:

1. The HPA axis is the communication between our hormones and stress. Anxiety confuses our hormonal system and elevates stress levels even when we are asleep. Anxiety related hormones such as cortisol can easily be measured in the blood or in saliva and might be a key factor in solving the underlying cause of chronic anxiety. Once diagnosed, hormonal imbalances can be significantly reduced by supplementing with Magnesium, as it has a direct effect on lowering stress hormones in the blood. 
2. The brain and the gut are connected through a ‘nerve highway’ called the Vagus nerve. The gut is covered with many nerve endings and researchers now call it our second brain because of the tight knit connection the brain and the gut share. Anxiety releases stress chemicals which affect the nerve endings in the gut. This results in an inability to digest food properly. Stress chemicals switch off digestive juice secretion which often results in cramping, bloating and bowel habit changes. Long term IBS is often a result of Anxiety and can be treated successfully by restoring the gut lining with Glutamine, probiotics and Food therapy. Gut Function tests and Food sensitivity testing can be useful in restoring healthy function.
3. Low levels of a neurotransmitter called GABA is implicated in anxiety. Low levels of GABA contribute to anxiety and sleep issues. GABA is made from Protein sources such as meat and eggs but we need Vitamin B6, Magnesium and Zinc. If these are lacking, anxiety and agitation are often more prevalent. Get your levels of Vitamin B6 and Zinc checked regularly to rule out imbalances.

Credits:

Wade Jacklin – Clinical psychologist @ 4Life Psychology
Sarah Henschel – Naturopath and Nutritionist @ Natology

Zesty Zucchini soup

Zesty Zucchini Soup

Serves 3-5

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
Pinch Celtic salt and freshly cracked pepper 1kg zucchini, trimmed and chopped
1 large handful baby spinach
3 cups natural vegetable stock (homemade is much better than commercial!) Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon organic apple cider vinegar
Melt oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, cooking, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes or until softened. Add turmeric and seasoning, then cook, stirring constantly for 30 seconds or so. Reduce the heat slightly and add zucchini, then cook, stirring frequently, for 5-6 minutes or until the zucchini is beginning to soften.
Add the stock, zest, juice and vinegar and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the zucchini is very tender. Add the baby spinach and allow to wilt.
Remove from heat and allow to cool a little, then puree in a food processor or blender. Return to the saucepan over low heat, and warm to desired temperature before serving.

What is the deal with Folate during pregnancy?

PRECONCEPTION

Why is MTHFR important in preconception and pregnancy ? 

Written by our fertility Naturopath – Shannon Stokes

1. MTHFR is an enzyme in your body that converts the folate you eat (leafy greens and legumes) into a usable and active form for absorption
2. If you have a mutation in the gene (which is what we can test for) the absorption of folate you consume via diet or prenatal vitamin will be affected. 
3. Folate is absolutely essential for a healthy pregnancy. 
4. If we know there is a mutation in this gene we can help ensure you are getting the right types of active folate to assist with getting you pregnant, having a healthy pregnancy and healthy growth and development of your baby. 
4. A mutation in one of the tested genes or even both of the genes tested is very common and could be affecting your chance to conceive or have a healthy pregnancy. 
5. Taking higher doses of folic acid in a prenatal vitamin if you have this gene mutation is not the answer and can be impacting your fertility and may lead to pregnancy struggles. 
6. So many foods and cereals are fortified with folic acid which is overkill if you ask me, so you may be overloading via diet and then taking a prenatal vitamin with already high levels of folic acid form. 
7. This science is hugely complex and not a one size fits all approach, don’t opt for a quick over the counter prenatal vitamin especially if you feel there might be some problems getting pregnant or having frequent miscarriages.
8. Some of the signs that you may have a defect are;

depression
– fatigue
– anxiety
– low B12 levels
– elevated homocysteine (blood test)
– multiple miscarriages
– ADD
– ADHD
– high blood pressure
– chronic constipation. 

All this aside, it is important to know that the MTHFR gene resides in every single cell in the body. People with the genetic variant can have up to 40-60% reduced ability to utilise folate. It is suggested that 1 in 4 people carry a variant or mutation. That’s pretty high odds if you ask me?!
If you would like to know more, call us for a chat and get the test done at our clinic or have it posted to you. The test is simple and quick with a finger prick test and the information gained and treatment post MTHFR test is actually really easy, but always individualised! 

Credit:

Shannon Stokes

Naturopath and Nutritionist at our Brisbane clinic.

Specialising in fertility, pre-conception care, pregnancy and women’s health, children’s and adolescents Nutrition

To learn more please contact us!

Thyroid blood spot tests

Have you ever wanted to know if your metabolism is slow because of hormone issues?
Maybe you really hate blood tests (don’t worry, so do I and who can raise their hand with me for being notorious for fainting before the needle even comes close?).
Fear not, there are other options. Most our patients including myself are ok with a finger prick blood test (and for those of you who are not, there are even thyroid urine tests available – go figure..).

What is the Thyroid gland and why would anyone want their Thyroid function tested?

Positioned just over your wind pipe in the middle of the throat, the thyroid is a sensitive, butterfly-shaped gland that controls our metabolism, cell growth and repair, energy production and much more. And like the delicate winged creature, the thyroid can be influenced by the slightest of changes.
Disruption to itʼs balance can manifest in a range of symptoms including:

– Anxiety and depression – Unusual weight loss or weight gain – Menstrual irregularities, including infertility – Fatigue and lethargy – Memory loss, confusion and brain fog – Muscle weakness – Lower digestive disturbances – Heightened sensitivity to hot or cold – …. and the list goes on!

Thyroid abnormalities are increasingly prevalent in our current society and the causes are diverse. So what can disturb the equilibrium?

– Consistent stress – Environmental toxins encountered daily
– Fluoride – Chloride – Most plastics (including Teflon)
– Synthetic perfumes and body products – Chemical fertilizers and insecticides
– Hormonal changes including pregnancy and menopause

As you can see, we are exposed to these common elements regularly.
Nutritional deficiencies can also cause thyroid disfunction, those include:

– Iodine – Zinc – Selenium – Vitamin D – Iron – And the amino acid Tyrosine

In some cases the immune system could be attacking the thyroid gland, resulting in inflammation, destruction of the gland and reducing itʼs ability to make hormones. This is called Hashimotoʼs disease, which is treated differently to other hypothyroid conditions so it is essential to ascertain if this is the underlying factor to your symptoms.

THYROID AND FAT LOSS

Most of us know that a good diet and lots of exercise should get you looking like Elle McPherson in no time if we only do it for long enough and not slip off the wagon…
What about those of us who have done it all, shakes, the Atkins diet, Paleo, vegan, intermittent fasting, you name it… and haven’t seen the results you were looking for?
Have you ever wondered if there might be more to calories in and out when it comes to weight loss?
The answer is yes, there is a lot more to it than most of us think. One very important little gland called the Thyroid gland might be holding the key to the answer you have been looking for all this time.

Think of the Thyroid gland as the key guardian for all your cells. We need those keys to unlock cells to get energy production happening and to regulate our temperature.
In a nutshell – The Thyroid controls your metabolism.

To give you a few examples of what I often hear Thyroid patients say in my clinic:

• Feeling cold, can’t get warm even when others feel hot or can’t cool down even when they stand in the freezer section of the supermarket;

• Their hair is falling out and they see strands come out in the shower and wonder how they still have hair left on their head;

• Eyebrow hair is coming off and they need to make an extra effort pencilling in the gaps in the morning;
• Weight has come on suddenly with no change in diet or exercise and they are very, very frustrated about that;
• They exercise daily and tried every diet under the sun and can barely keep their weight stable, or worse keep putting it on;

• Their Nails and skin feel dry and brittle and hairstyles don’t last more than an hour;
• They feel tired and often sad for no reason;
• Constipation has been more noticeable;
• A swollen neck or croaky voice has been there on and off;

So, I guess most of you would say, well my GP checked it in my last blood test and there was no issue, so I’m sure everything is fine.
Hold up, not so fast! Which marker was tested and what range was it in?

Did you know that in most cases the Thyroid is not checked unless you ask AND if it is checked only 20% of all Thyroid markers are checked if you do ask? If it is not functioning properly but not yet necessary to be medicated, you won’t be notified.

Be sure to always check for the following:

TSH – This is generally tested as the only marker and shows how fast the gland works – like an employee in your little key making business

T4 – indicates how much metal is on the shelf to make keys – no metal – no keys

T3 – this marker tells us how many perfectly shaped keys you actually have to unlock cells

Reverse T3 – This checks for blunt keys, pretty much blocking your cells up and stopping energy production = tiredness and weight gain

Sometimes we need to check for immune conditions affecting the Thyroid but I will go into that more in my next post.

You can see how important all of this is and how we need to assess all markers rather than one.
If you want to have your levels checked, we can perform a Thyroid blood spot in the clinic for you or you can have a test kit sent to your home, this is a good option for those of you who fear needles. The blood spot is only a small finger prick and you can either do it at home or come into our Brisbane or Sydney clinic to have it done.