News and Notes January

NEWSLETTER January 2024

NO SENSE OF SMELL

Smell receptors are located at the top of the nasal cavity and depend on tiny, hair-like nerve endings that detect aromatic substances dissolved in overlying mucus. Colds and allergies can reduce smell by increasing mucus and blocking the receptors. If you don’t have nasal blockage and still aren’t able to smell, you should see your doctor, as complete lack of the sense of smell (anosmia) can result from nervous system problems, which need to be checked for. It can also be caused by head injury, menopause and certain drugs. You may benefit from referral to an ENT specialist. In the meantime, try inhaling strong-smelling decongestant oils such as Olbas Oil or Karvol Drops, available at your health shop or pharmacy.

NO SENSE OF SMELL

FISHING FOR OMEGA'S

Omega-3 derived from flax seeds require the conversion that most people are unable to achieve. Not all fish oils are created equal. Formulations with the same amount of omega-3 fatty acids, but different concentrations of the active ingredients (EPA/DHA), yield differences in the uptake and effect properties. The uptake and lipid-lowering properties of highly concentrated omega-3 fatty acid-derived formulations are superior compared to formulations with the same quantity, but less concentrated omega-3 fatty acids derivatives. For more on Omega's read the article ABC with Omega-3.

FISHING FOR OMEGA'S

ALCOHOL DETOX

Many adults and teens consume large amounts of alcohol at this time of year. Will milk thistle help? Yes! There are constant pressures on the liver and not just from alcohol consumption. Milk thistle is a great remedy to keep your liver in top shape, to detox from environmental toxins in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food and medicines we digest. The liver is an amazingly complex organ, the largest one in the body, and it affects virtually every physiological process.

Herbs that help support the liver are called hepatics and also aid digestion, increase energy, and eliminate toxic build up – the underlying causes of conditions such as chronic fatigue, stress, and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and psoriasis. The liver detoxifies harmful biochemicals produced naturally as by-products of internal processes as well as those we wilfully take in such as drugs, alcohol and chemical additives in processed foods. Milk thistle is the best known of the liver tonics. The seeds contain silymarin, which has been shown to protect the liver against a number of toxins, including excessive alcohol consumption.

For more on Milk thistle, read the article Some Facts about Milk Thistle.

ALCOHOL DETOX

TREATING TINNITUS

Tinnitus causes a hugely distressing constant ringing in the ears and is fairly common – up to one in six people develop it at some point, and about one in 100 find their life really disrupted by it. Sufferers describe ringing, whistling, buzzing, roaring or humming – the common theme is an abnormal noise coming not from outside but from inside the head. It can be brought on by hearing damage from loud noise, but often no cause is found. It can’t be cured, but that certainly doesn’t mean it can’t be treated.

Tinnitus tends to be worse in quiet surroundings, so simply having pleasant background noise to distract your brain can help hugely. It may be worth considering a ‘sound generator’, which you wear like a hearing aid. If your symptoms are very distressing, tinnitus retraining therapy helps about three-quarters of people.

According to Dr Bernard Brom, ginkgo biloba has been used successfully to treat ringing in the ears. In one trial there was a statistical reduction in sound volume after 10 weeks. No change was noted in the placebo group.1

A study published in the Journal of Personalized Medicine suggests that low-level infrared light therapy may provide relief for tinnitus. The study involved over 100 participants with tinnitus and divided them into different groups to evaluate personalized treatment options.

The therapy involved using red and infrared light in the inner ear or cochlea, where tinnitus often occurs. Low-level infrared light therapy promotes tissue regeneration, reduces inflammation, and relieves pain. The study found that treatments involving infrared light therapy were superior to placebos, and lasting therapeutic effectiveness was observed even after the treatment.

The study also suggested that focusing the therapy on the cochlea and middle ear for an increased duration showed the most significant results. As tinnitus currently has no approved treatment or cure, this is excellent news! Also see our article on Neurosoma for tinnitus.

TREATING TINNITUS

IS SOY POWDER A COMPLETE PROTEIN SHAKE?

Plant proteins are notorious for not being complete. Even soy, which is so often promoted as a complete protein, is still so deficient in methionine and tryptophan (those essential amino acids necessary for building protein) that it is effectively incomplete.

Look for combined plant protein sources that include methionine, lysine, valine and threonine to achieve the correct amino acid ratio so that the finished protein virtually matches that of human muscle.

News and Notes IS SOY POWDER A COMPLETE PROTEIN SHAKE?

GLANDULAR FEVER – what is it?

Glandular fever is a viral infection that mainly affects teenagers, because this is the time when the immune system is most vigorous and many of the symptoms are due to the body overreacting to infection. Glandular fever is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which is passed on in saliva and can be spread by coughing, sneezing, kissing and sharing toothbrushes. Someone who has had glandular fever can remain infectious for several months, but only around half those who catch the virus develop symptoms.

It is important to take things easy for several months after having glandular fever, and it’s best to avoid alcohol. Some immune-boosting supplements include olive leaf, astragalus, high doses of vitamin C, vitamin E, Rhodiola rosea, cat’s claw, aloe vera, garlic, zinc, echinacea, elderberry, medicinal mushrooms such as reishi, maitake, cordyceps and shiitake, grapeseed and pine bark extracts, phytosterols, and some Chinese herbal remedies. Talk to your naturopath, integrative medical practitioner or phytotherapist.

News and Notes GLANDULAR FEVER - what is it?

TIPS FOR SCHOOL FIRST DAY JITTERS

Whether it’s the very first day at school, or the first day at a new school, these tips will help to make it all a bit less stressful for your child. Remember, if you are positive and in good spirits, your child will be less likely to be out of sorts. An emotional parent can upset the child.

  • Have at least one practice run getting dressed for school.
  • Buy school shoes early and encourage him to wear them in.
  • Let him help you to name his belongings so he can be familiar with everything that’s new and now his.
  • Pack a school lunch a few times for him to eat at home. Hint: best not to use plastic wrap.
  • Visit the school with him several times beforehand and show him a classroom, the sorts of activities he’ll be doing, the playground and the toilets.
  • Tell him what to expect on school days, particularly how he’ll be dropped off and picked up.
  • Arrange ‘play dates’ for your child with other children starting at the same school, if at all possible.
  • Have your child stay over with family or friends occasionally to reduce separation anxiety.
  • Read some books together about children starting school successfully.
  • Relax in the last week before school – it’s important you and your son face his first day rested.
  • Set the alarm as if it’s a school day for a few days beforehand.
  • Pop a familiar toy in his bag if he needs it, but check with the school first!
  • If he seems teary on the day, tell him you’ll miss him, but that you’ll be outside his classroom as soon as he comes out.
  • Leave him with the teacher and make a clean exit. It’s vital not to sneak off – allow him to say goodbye to you properly.During the first week, spend time with your child after school to value his new experiences. He may be extra tired in the evenings and go to sleep early for the first few weeks. Remember, don’t be surprised if your child says ‘Bye!’ and skips off. If he does, you can always have a good cry at home!

News and Notes TIPS FOR SCHOOL FIRST DAY JITTERS

SCHOOL BAGS AND BACK PAIN

If your child suffers from back pain, the cause may be a heavy schoolbag. A heavy bag that’s slung over one shoulder can, over the 12 years of schooling, cause chronic back problems that linger into adulthood. Risks include muscle strain, distortion of the natural ‘S’ curve of the spine and rounding of the shoulders. Parents can reduce the risk in many ways, such as buying the child an appropriately sized school bag (backpack style and not the traditional schoolbag with handles) and making sure the load isn’t too heavy.

A schoolbag should not weigh more than 10% of the child’s weight. Discourage your child from holding the bag in one hand by its straps and from carrying the bag over one shoulder.

News and Notes SCHOOL BAGS AND BACK PAIN

MEMORY ZEST BlEND 

If you are feeling a little mentally jaded, try the simple, natural recipes below as pick-me-up drinks. 

1 part ginkgo

1 part gotu kola and peppermint leaves

1 part red clover tops

1 part rosemary leaves

1 part ginger root

Honey

Bring a cup of water (or an entire tea pot) to the boil and add the herbs. Allow the tea to steep for at least ten minutes, strain and drink. Honey can be added after the tea is strained. This is a mentally refreshing drink.

News and Notes MEMORY ZEST BlEND

DO IT FOR CHARITY

Want to get moving for a worthy cause? Then run, walk, paddle, swim or cycle for charity. Set up your own fundraising, free of charge – all you need to do is choose a charity; spread the word to friends, family, colleagues, and contacts; and encourage people to keep the donations coming in. Not only will you be going the extra mile for charity, you’ll also be getting fit! www.doitforcharity.com

News and Notes DO IT FOR CHARITY

FOOD ADDICTION

Food addiction is a vicious cycle. For example, if you eat a sugary or starchy breakfast you are likely to crash midmorning, leading you to reach for caffeine or sweets to jack up your sugar levels again. Then the cycle repeats itself in the afternoon. The carb overload creates imbalances with insulin and cortisol, as well as depleting the natural chemicals that allow for communication between the cells in your brain that help you feel good. The feel-good neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin, are especially susceptible to sugar spikes. When your diet is poor, these neurotransmitters won’t function well. When these brain messengers are affected, you’re vulnerable to depression and more sugar cravings. If you can’t handle the low between your fixes, you have a food addiction.

News and Notes FOOD ADDICTION

ADHD/ADD AFFECTS THE WHOLE FAMILY

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects not only the individual, but the entire family. Parents of children with ADHD not only have to navigate a complex neurological disorder, but also have to contend with judgment and criticism from others. School teachers may insist on Ritalin medication and suggest that the child’s behaviour may even be the parents’ fault!

Although genetics, infections and brain damage (trauma) have been cited as causes of attention deficit disorder (ADD) and learning disabilities (LD), these cases are quite rare compared to causes like a dysfunctional home, heavy metal toxicities, nutritional deficiencies and food and chemical allergies.

ADD/ADHD has become more prevalent due to the increased use of chemicals, pollutants or heavy metal toxicity (such as lead, mercury and cadmium). Complementary medicine and therapies are considered and/or tried in over half of patients with ADHD.

Complementary treatment modalities incorporating vision training, special diets and megavitamin therapy, herbal and mineral supplements, EEG biofeedback, and applied kinesiology have all been advocated. Research on the benefits of specific polyunsaturated fatty acid (EPA and DHA) supplementation has demonstrated a therapeutic benefit in several well-designed studies. Just the elimination of food additives and refined sugar produces dramatic improvements!

News and Notes ADHD/ADD AFFECTS THE WHOLE FAMILY

HOW TO USE FLAXSEED (LINSEED)

Whole flaxseeds pass through the body undigested and can be used, especially in children, for constipation. Give them a tablespoon with at least a glass of water. Buy fresh flaxseeds (preferably organic) from your health shop. Before use, grind the seeds (about a quarter of a cup at a time) in a blender or coffee grinder that you reserve exclusively for this purpose. Store the ground seeds in the fridge in an airtight container and use them up within a few days. (If they start to smell like oil paint, they've gone bad and should be thrown out.) Sprinkle a tablespoon or two of the ground seeds on cereal, or add them to salads, or mix them with peanut butter to put on sandwiches.

News and Notes How to use Flaxseed (linseed)

YOGHURT AND ROSEMARY DRINK

1 cup of raw yoghurt

1 twig of rosemary or 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary

2 figs

1 tbsp of olive oil

Place the ingredients in a jar and seal overnight. In the morning, place the mixture in a blender and blend until smooth. Drink this daily to feel refreshed.

News and Notes YOGHURT AND ROSEMARY DRINK

continue to top