nutrition

Methylation and Histamine sensitivity

Do you have a sensitivity to pollen in the air at various times of the year? How about skin reactions to certain foods or things you touch that can respond to claritine or other antihistamine medications?  Watery eyes, runny nose or post nasal drip? Do you have a weak stomach? Maybe a history of panic attacks, depression or mental fatigue? If so, you might have a sensitivity to (or build up of) Histamine - a chemical naturally produced by the body, and consumed in foods. The problem is often a genetic limitation in processing and excreting histamine from the body, which is often linked to a process called under methylation. Undermethylation and its many consequences can cause a wide variety of symptoms in different people.

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Bedwetting in children

A common children's condition we see at the clinic is bedwetting (nocturnal enuresis). It is normal for children below the ages of 4 or 5 to lack control of their bladder, however, if this continues after the age of 5, it could signify a problem. Primary enuresis is described as bedwetting in a child beyond 5 years old who has never been able to establish good bladder control. Secondary enuresis is described as a bedwetting relapse in a child who was previously toilet trained.   There are several alternative medicine therapies that have published reports on treatments for bedwetting. These include:   Dietary modification Craniosacral therapy Acupuncture  

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Low FODMAP diet

The FODMAP diet is considered to be one of the most effective diets in the management of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is a common gastrointestinal disorder the developed world where it affects one in seven adults. It is characterised by abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, wind and stool changes often swinging from diarrhoea to constipation. However, there is often no pathological change detected in bowel studies. FODMAP is an acronym that stands for: Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. These substances are essentially all types of sugars or sugar alcohols. It should be noted that the typical western processed food diet contains a large amount of these sugars as added ingredients - examples include galactose, lactose, fructose, sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol and maltilol. All of these types of sugars are poorly absorbed in the human small intestine, leading to fermentation, toxicity and gas production by bowel bacteria. Weakening and stretching (distension) of the intestinal walls by this digestive dysfunction leads to the symptoms of IBS. People with fructose sensitivity and lactose intolerance are more specific examples of the general FODMAP sensitivity found in some people and will also benefit from this diet, which was developed by a team at Monash University in Australia.   What foods are high in FODMAPs? Apart from processed foods mentioned, many of these sugars are found naturally, though in much smaller amounts. People who have developed IBS may be sensitive to fruits and vegetables containing FODMAPs, even though they were not sensitive previously. Some examples of foods are listed below: Fructans: Wheat, Rye, Barley, Onion, Garlic, Spring Onion, Leek, Beetroot, Chicory, Dandelion leaves, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Fennel, Chocolate Galactans: Beans and pulses Polyols: Stonefruits, Apples, Avocados, Blackberries, Lychees, Pears, Watermelons, Cauliflower and Mushrooms   A rule of thumb is that fruits, onions and vegetables of the cabbage family are to be avoided on the FODMAP diet as is lactose containing dairy food. Foods considered acceptable on the diet: Vegetables: bok choy, cucumbers, capsicum, carrots, corn, eggplant, lettuce, leafy greens, pumpkin, potatoes, yams, zucchini Fruits: bananas, berries (not blackberries or boysenberries), rock melon, grapes, grapefruit, honeydew, kiwifruit, kumquat, lemon, lime, mandarin, orange, passion fruit, pawpaw, pineapple, rhubarb, tangerine, tomatoes Proteins: meats and fish all OK, nuts (except cashews and pistachios), seeds Grains: gluten free grains and their products, oats, quinoa, rice, tapioca Beverages: Water, coffee and tea. Avoid fruit juices. Dairy: Lactose free dairy products, hard cheeses, alternative milk products (soy, rice and almond milk)   Monash University has a website with further information on IBS and the FODMAP protocol: http://www.med.monash.edu/cecs/gastro/fodmap/

Alkaline Diet

What is it? The alkaline diet is an old approach to managing chronic illness and inflammation. Popularised by Chiropractor Dr. Theodore Baroody in his book "Alkalise or die" and later on Dr. Robert Young in his book "the pH miracle", it was based upon the writings of earlier natural medicine practitioners such as chiropractor Dr. Bernard Jensen and JH Kellogg. The central premise is that much of the food we eat today (grains, processed foods and drinks, meat) along with a steep rise in pharmaceutical use has resulted in chemical imbalances in the body. Our organs only tolerate a very narrow range of pH (the measure of whether a system is alkaline or acidic) so when our body is flooded with acid forming chemicals, our alkaline maintenance processes become stressed, resulting in inefficient removal of excess acid. Because this acid is toxic, the body deposits this excess acidity throughout the tissues, which over time causes neuromuscular inflammation, brain chemistry changes and systemic arthritis. Eventually, even the organs begin to fail. By altering the foods we consume to minimise those that cause acid formation, the body is given time to excrete excess acids from the system, which results in improved health and vitality. In principle these alkaline-forming foods are largely comprised of fruits and vegetables and should form 80% of the diet. Acid forming foods such as meats, grains and processed foods should never make up more than 20% of your diet. Dairy foods range from strongly acid forming when in the form of cheeses, and less so for yoghurts and soft cheeses, while nuts and seeds tend to be somewhat neutral to acid. Generally, the diet should be largely vegetarian, with occasional meats and whole grains to provide additional nutrients. Some foods which are acids themselves (such as lemon juice and apple cider vinegar) break down into alkaline residues in the body, while other foods such as sugar forms acid, so it is important to obtain a chart of these foods to help you in your choices. In addition, many proponents of this diet also recommend a water ionisation unit to produce ionised alkaline water for consumption, however the evidence for its value is limited. On a similar note- bottled water sold as alkaline water is little more than just ordinary water with increased calcium carbonate, so spending money on this is not likely to be helpful. Pros: Fairly easy once you know the food placings Increases dramatically the amount of plant food in the diet Eliminates processed food Has wider health effects as well as weight loss Doesn't calorie count or emphasise portion sizes Cons: Can be hard to make the changes needed for some people Can lead to a healing crisis early on (withdrawal headaches etc.)  

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Blood Type diet

What is it? The blood type diet originated with a theory proposed by Naturopath Peter Adamo that different foods react differently according to the blood constitution of the person. Part of this reactive process is blamed on Lectins, a class of toxin protein that is found within different food sources that interact with the digestive tract to inhibit digestion which ultimately leads to deficiency syndromes, reactive inflammation and eventually illness. Specific diets are prescribed for different blood groups, as follows:   Type O (the hunter): High protein (meat and seafood), low carb diets. Avoid dairy and vegetables. Avoid brassica family vegetables especially (cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower etc.). No coffee   Type A (the agrarian or cultivator): Largely vegetarian (vegetables, fruits, nuts & seeds), Carbs are OK but minimise dairy and fats. Coffee is OK   Type B (the nomad): Mixed and omnivorous- include meats, seafood, dairy, vegetables, wild game. Specific recommendations for weight loss include green vegetables, eggs and organ meats. These are the only group that supposedly thrive on dairy   Type AB (the enigma): Mixed and omnivorous- including a balance between meats, vegetables and dairy. Specific recommendations for weight loss include seafood, tofu and fruits such as pineapple. These are supposed to be the most recent to have developed and generally fall between the needs of group A and B. Pros: No calorie counting, easy to follow Not as restrictive as some diets General recommendations to avoid gluten, and get plenty of exercise Cons: There is no credible evidence to support the theory Based on a whole lot of false assumptions:  Hunter gatherers have not been shown to be predominantly type O Type O is not the oldest group chronologically Type B (those who supposedly thrive on dairy) is most common in Asia, where the incidence of lactose intolerance is highest Not well balanced and portions sizes are not restricted

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