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CaptureDr Carrie Decker ND, explores the terminology and the accuracy of the ubiquitous moniker of adrenal fatigue.

“I’m so exhausted all the time, I think I have adrenal failure.” “My friend told me her naturopath said that her adrenals crashed and I think mine have too.” “I took a test and my cortisol was low and my chiropractor told me I have adrenal fatigue.”

GrapeseedGrape seed extract by no means is “new” to the nutraceutical world, however, we are learning more about the potential broad benefits of this antioxidant-like nutritional compound, and starting to gain broader knowledge of mechanisms by which individual responses to this substance may vary. Grape seed extract is high in antioxidants in the form of polyphenols, which contribute to its potential therapeutic action.[i]  Resveratrol, the grape’s greatest claim to fame, is found primarily in the skins of grapes, with gallic acid, catechin, and epicatechin being the main polyphenols found in GSE.[ii] The amount of each of these substances in Grape seed extract varies widely by the variety of grape from which the seeds are sourced. Studies have shown that some of the compounds sourced from grapes, such as catechin and epicatechin, have a synergistic antioxidant effect.[iii]

biomolecules-05-01399-g001-1024Dr Carrie Decker ND explores some of the mechanisms linked to airpollution and human health. The action of taking a deep breath in and slowly exhaling is an experience we can likely all attest to as being restorative, balancing, and calming. Even much better so if this experience can be in a place where we are held by nature such as a forest with trees towering around us or at the oceanside with the sand between our toes. We take it for granted that the very action of breathing is a positive health-promoting activity, and how can it not be? Everyone, even the very little child, is aware that we cannot hold our breath far beyond a minute without the need for the refreshing blast of a new gulp of oxygen. It is our very nature to breathe, and now we even have evidence from studies surrounding meditation and controlled breathing techniques that further our knowledge that yes, taking time to breathe, will positively impact our health.[1],[2] Additionally, we also can thank science for showing us that the experience of breathing in natural settings also is truly more restorative than in an urban environment.[3],[4]

UntitledOutdoor air pollution is contributing to about 40,000 early deaths a year in the UK, say the Royal Colleges of Physicians and of Paediatrics and Child Health.

They say diesel emissions have been poorly controlled. And indoor air pollution has been overlooked. Tobacco still poses the biggest indoor threat, but wood-burning stoves, cleaning products and air fresheners can contribute. Mould and mildew in poorly ventilated rooms can also cause illness.[1]

spermA paper, presented via abstract submission to a conference in Ururguay in 2017, by researchers exploring the role of membrane replacement therapy in the reduction of oxidative damage in spermatozoa, describes how carefully selected membrane compatible lipids improve sperm motility and potentially offers a reproductive advantage to aging or oxidatively damaged spermatozoa membranes.

The authors are: *Costa, C;* Baissazteguy, V; Santos, M; Ordoqui, R; Montes, J; Settineri, R; Nicolson, GL y Ferreira, G.

497S2a-f1.2Dr Carrie Decker ND explores the role of sleep as a toxic evaporation technique.

As we focus on health, and how to improve it, it is important to consider the impacts not just of diet and exercise but also sleep. So many individuals experience a lack of sleep in overall quantity or quality, whether it be due to nighttime awakenings to care for children or loved ones, a job that is demanding or requires work at evening hours, or other health conditions that contribute to insomnia. As healthcare practitioners, on a daily basis we likely see other aspects of health worsening when patients are unable to sleep. We often hear that sleep is healing and restorative, but what is the research that supports this?

plaque-psoriasis-infoDr Carrie Decker ND, explores some practical interventions and provides a brief overview on the role of your gut and the development and progression of psoriasis.

If you or a loved one has psoriasis, you probably are familiar with the struggles of waxing and waning symptoms of dry, flaking skin, possibly accompanied by itching and pain as the skin repeatedly cracks in regions, while it goes through various phases of healing and shedding. For some people the issue is rather mild, and only presents as a somewhat unsightly patch which may be uncomfortable for others to see as they may fear it is contagious.  For others, the pain and symptoms are more severe, and may be accompanied by arthritis (known as psoriatic arthritis), which causes progressive damage to the joints and often requires medications and management by a rheumatologist to prevent irreversible joint destruction.

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wod_brain-1It’s fair to say we carry many objectives regarding our wellbeing and health – to get more fit, lose weight, or better manage finances are common objectives. One is the management and maintenance of cognition. Memory and cognitive function becomes more significant with age. Many people seek natural support for the improvement of memory, and some therapeutic agents have more evidence than others for their ability to support cognition and memory.

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indexThe journal Nutritional Neuroscience, published a paper in April 2017, exploring the relationship between diet and depression.[1]

The authors note that converging evidence from laboratory, population research, and clinical trials suggests that healthy dietary patterns, such as the traditional Mediterranean-style whole-food diet, and specific dietary factors, including omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), vitamin B6 and folate, antioxidants, and zinc, may influence the risk for depression. Despite the consistency of published evidence on the relationship between dietary patterns and depressive disorders, arising from numerous observational studies carried out in recent years on large and heterogeneous populations (including diverse cultures and age groups), and the emerging evidence suggesting that dietary improvement may prevent depression, there are no dietary recommendations currently available regarding depression.

Background:

Major depressive disorder is a common, chronic condition that imposes a substantial burden of disability globally. As current treatments are estimated to address only one-third of the disease burden of depressive disorders, there is a need for new approaches to prevent depression or to delay its progression. While in its early stages, converging evidence from laboratory, population research, and clinical trials now suggests that dietary patterns and specific dietary factors may influence the risk for depression. However, largely as a result of the recency of the nutritional psychiatry field, there are currently no dietary recommendations for depression.

Aim:

The aim of this paper is to provide a set of practical dietary recommendations for the prevention of depression, based on the best available current evidence, in order to inform public health and clinical recommendations.

Results:

Five key dietary recommendations for the prevention of depression emerged from current published evidence. These comprise: (1) follow ‘traditional’ dietary patterns, such as the Mediterranean, Norwegian, or Japanese diet; (2) increase consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, wholegrain cereals, nuts, and seeds; (3) include a high consumption of foods rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids; (4) replace unhealthy foods with wholesome nutritious foods; (5) limit your intake of processed-foods, ‘fast’ foods, commercial bakery goods, and sweets.

Conclusion:

Although there are a number of gaps in the scientific literature to date, existing evidence suggests that a combination of healthful dietary practices may reduce the risk of developing depression. It is imperative to remain mindful of any protective effects that are likely to come from the cumulative and synergic effect of nutrients that comprise the whole-diet, rather than from the effects of individual nutrients or single foods. As the body of evidence grows from controlled intervention studies on dietary patterns and depression, these recommendations should be modified accordingly.

The paper makes five key recommendations:

  1. Follow ‘traditional’ dietary patterns, such as the Mediterranean, Norwegian, or Japanese diet. The available evidence suggests that traditional dietary habits may be beneficial for positive mental health.
  2. Increase your consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, wholegrain cereals, nuts, and seeds. These foods should form the bulk of the diet as they are nutrient dense, high in fibre, and low in saturated and trans-fatty acids.
  3. Include a high consumption of foods rich in omega-3 PUFAs. Fish is one of the main sources of omega-3 PUFAs, and higher fish consumption is associated with reduced depression risk.
  4. Limit your intake of processed-foods, ‘fast’ foods, commercial bakery goods, and sweets. These foods are high in trans-fatty acids, saturated fat, refined carbohydrates, and added sugars, and are low in nutrients and fibre. Consumption of these foods has been associated with an increased risk or probability of depression in observational studies.
  5. Replace unhealthy foods with wholesome nutritious foods. Healthy dietary patterns (e.g. fruits, vegetables, wholegrain cereals, and fish) and unhealthy dietary patterns (e.g. sweets, soft-drinks, fried food, refined cereals, and processed meats) are independent predictors of lower and higher depressive symptoms, respectively.

Comment

As all NTs and functional medicine trained practitioners will recognise, these core recommendations make good clinical sense, but in themselves will not transform someone’s mental health alone. Further manipulation of the microbiome, may be another intervention, as well as suitable personal skill developments.

Reference

[1] Opie RS, Itsiopoulos C, Parletta N, Sanchez-Villegas A, Akbaraly TN, Ruusunen A, Jacka FN. Dietary recommendations for the prevention of depression. Nutr Neurosci. 2017 Apr;20(3):161-171. View Abstract

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imagesA summary of key points.

In this mini update, learn more about possible contributors to IBS, and how simple diet or supplemental interventions may improve it. There’s a lot more than just probiotics to try!

Learn about:

  • The importance of the pancreas and digestive enzyme secretion,
  • Support for improving constipation,
  • And how mealtime habits can be a simple solution!
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