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Diet and Lifestyle

Supplements That Can Help IBS

With the number of people diagnosed with a Vitamin B12 and Iron deficiency increasing every day, it’s important we address an underlying cause that not many sufferers are aware of: the gut. Too many of those deficient in Iron and/or B12, are simply given supplements, sometimes indefinitely, to try and raise their levels.

What they’re not doing is addressing the reason the deficiency came about in the first place. And for a lot of people, the issue is with their ability to absorb Vitamin B12 in the gastrointestinal tract – a problem that is also often accompanied by IBS-type symptoms. With Vitamin B12 and Iron both essential for almost all functions of the body, a deficiency can contribute to serious long-term ill health.

Here is a summary of what we are going to cover:
> How low levels of Vitamin B12 can cause Iron deficiency anemia
> Symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency
> What causes Vitamin B12 deficiency
> The functional lab testing you need to do to uncover the root cause of Vitamin B12 deficiency
> How to correct a Vitamin B12 and Iron deficiency

How Vitamin B12 can Cause Iron Deficiency Anemia

Let’s get this sorted first. Why are we talking about both Vitamin B12 and Iron? Well, it’s because blood loss is one of the primary causes of Iron deficiency. And given B12 is required for the production of red blood cells, a deficiency in Vitamin B12 can lead to a deficiency in Iron. This is why the onset of anemia is often the result of a B12 deficiency rather than an Iron deficiency on its own.

So, if you’ve been diagnosed with low Iron levels, the problem might actually be with your Vitamin B12 levels – our focus for this specific post.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Symptoms of a Vitamin B12 deficiency can include:
> Tiredness, fatigue or low energy
> Muscle weakness and aches
> Shortness of breath
> Dizziness or feeling light-headed
> Heart palpitations
> Loss of appetite
> Digestive issues including diarrhoea, cramping and nausea
> Mood changes including depression and anxiety
> Numbness and tingling sensation in hands or feet (peripheral neuropathy)
> Poor concentration, brain fog, memory loss, confusion
> Low Iron levels (explained above).

What Causes Vitamin B12 Deficiency

The causes of Vitamin B12 deficiency generally fall within one of the three following categories:

1. LOW DIETARY INTAKE OF VITAMIN B12

As our bodies do not make Vitamin B12, we must rely on dietary sources or supplementation. The average adult’s daily requirement is estimated to be 2.4 micrograms a day, with the best dietary sources of B12 coming from animal products.

While plant-based sources of B12 exist, studies have shown they are poorly absorbed and have little to no effect on our B12 blood levels. This presents a challenge for those who follow a vegan and vegetarian way of eating, placing them at risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency.

2. IMPAIRED ABSORPTION OF VITAMIN B12 IN THE STOMACH OR SMALL INTESTINE

Even with adequate intake of B12, if our body can’t absorb the vitamin then we may still develop a deficiency. The absorption, assimilation, and methylation of B12 is a complex process that involves many steps, as summarised in the diagram below.

Here are the most common reasons for poor absorption of Vitamin B12:

> Low stomach acid – without sufficient HCl and pepsin, the animal proteins that are bound to Vitamin B12 are unable to be digested. This means the B12 is not ‘free’ to bind with other glycoproteins and move through the GI tract for absorption. Anyone with Atrophic Gastritis or Hypochlorhydria as a result of conditions like H. pylori bacterium infection are at particular risk. As is anyone who has been prescribed proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) or acid suppressing medications.

> Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency – without the production of sufficient pancreatic (digestive) enzymes, the body is unable to breakdown the Cobalamin-R complexes in the Duodenum. As a result, the B12 cannot bind with Intrinsic Factor (IF) and make its journey through the small intestine to be absorbed.

> Surgical resection or disease of the distal ileum – because B12 is absorbed at the lower end of the small intestine, any surgical removal (e.g. weight loss surgery) or an inflammatory condition (e.g. Crohn’s and Celiac disease) that impairs the distal ileum will also impair absorption of Vitamin B12.

3. MTHFR GENE MUTATION

Individuals with gene mutations such as MTHFR or MTRR have trouble with the process of methylating B12 into its usable form. So, while the body might absorb sufficient amounts into the blood, it is unable to absorb it into the tissues where it’s ultimately needed. Your Vitamin B12 levels might still be normal or high, however your body just struggles to use it properly.

This has become a relatively hot topic recently and one that many people may be too quick to jump to. Only once you’re eating enough high quality sources of Vitamin B12 and have tested and healed your gut, whether that’s H.pylori, SIBO, parasites or other sources of inflammation, should you be looking to MTHFR gene testing. And if you do decide to complete gene testing early on, make sure you’re onto the gut testing as well.

THE FUNCTIONAL LAB TESTING YOU NEED TO DO TO UNCOVER THE ROOT CAUSE OF VITAMIN B12 DEFICIENCY

While you might have already done the standard blood test to identify low levels of Vitamin B12 and Iron, the important testing you need now is to find out the underlying root cause. These are a comprehensive Stool Test, Organic Acids Test and/or SIBO Breath Test.

If none of these tests reveal underlying gut dysfunction and/or you have already healed your gut, that’s when it’s important to look to MTHFR gene testing.

How to correct a Vitamin B12 and Iron Deficiency

1. DIETARY SOURCES HIGH IN VITAMIN B12

As discussed above, the average adult’s daily requirement is 2.4 micrograms a day, with the best dietary sources of Vitamin B12 coming from animal products. And although the exact rate of absorbability depends on a person’s digestive health, here are the top food sources of B12:
> Beef and chicken liver
> Salmon
> Herring
> Mackerel
> Sardines
> Tuna
> Trout
> Organic greek yoghurt
> Turkey
> Beef
> Lamb
> Eggs

2. HEAL THE GUT TO IMPROVE VITAMIN B12 ABSORPTION

Given the importance of a healthy and well-functioning GI tract for the absorption of Vitamin B12, healing your gut could be the key to healing a B12 deficiency. The most common gut related conditions I see that impair B12 absorption, are:
> H. pylori – lowers stomach acidity and the animal proteins that are bound to Vitamin B12 are unable to be digested.
> SIBO – bacterial overgrowths in the small intestine can consume the Vitamin B12 before it is absorbed by the body.
> Parasites – infections like Giardia can also compete with the body for the absorption of Vitamin B12.

If you have a Vitamin B12 deficiency and also suffer from GI related symptoms then it is advisable to have a practitioner order some functional lab tests to identify potential gut infections or other imbalances.

Only once you have identified the underlying cause of the Vitamin B12 malabsorption (and deficiency) can you work to eradicate the infection and heal the lining of the gut. While healing the gut, I often recommend supplementing with HCl and digestive enzymes to help B12 absorption from food sources.

3. SUPPLEMENT VITAMIN B12

For those with permanent B12 malabsorption, such as individuals with MTHFR gene mutations, vegans/vegetarians, IBD or ileum resection, Vitamin B12 supplementation is generally recommended.

For anyone healing their gut to correct a B12 deficiency, short-term supplementation might still be advisable depending on your current B12 levels and the amount of gut healing that is required.

When looking for B12 supplements, be sure to look for it in the form of methylcobalamin, rather than cyanocobalamin. This Methyl-B12 form is typically the easiest for the body to absorb and utilise, giving the biggest impact on your B12 levels. There are three main ways you can get your B12 supplementation:
> Orally in capsule form – easiest to find at the store or available on Amazon here (USA) or iHerb here (Australia).
> Sublingual drops – recommended for those with SIBO or other gut infections or imbalances that are affecting absorption. Normally available via practitioners or available on Amazon here (USA).
> Injections – recommended for more serious cases of deficiency including pernicious anemia and severe depletion causing neurological disorders.

Summary

If you suspect you have a Vitamin B12 and/or Iron deficiency, the first step is to get tested. If you are deficient in B12, step two is to identify the underlying mechanism or cause of your deficiency. Once the root cause is identified, the appropriate form of supplementation (oral, sublingual or injection), dosages and length of treatment can be determined, as well as any gut healing and rebalancing that needs to occur to heal the root cause. I hope you found this post useful and continue to work towards vibrant health, minus the B12 deficiency.

Healing the gut is a journey. If you are ready to begin yours, please head to the Work With Me page to learn more about how I work online with clients in many countries to test for and treat the many root causes of IBS symptoms and other GI condition

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Diet and Lifestyle

MGO Manuka Honey 100+

Why Manuka Honey?

Manuka honey is used as a natural ointment for wounds of all kinds. It has been hailed as a go-to germ fighter in an age of resistance to conventional antibiotics. Proponents also claim that Manuka honey can treat other conditions from acne to sinus issues.

Manuka honey hasn’t been used very long as a traditional remedy. It’s the product of the New Zealand scrub plant that gives it its name. European honey bees introduced it to the area in the early 19th century. When bees pollinate from this plant, their honey is more potent than standard honey bee honey. This is because it has a higher concentration of methylglyoxal (MGO).

What are the benefits of Manuka honey?

When it comes to superfoods, raw honey is associated with health benefits. Manuka isn’t raw honey, but it is specialized. It’s antibacterial and bacterial resistant. This means that bacteria shouldn’t be able to build up a tolerance to its antibacterial effects.

Manuka honey is said to be effective for treating everything from a sore throat to clearing up blemishes on your skin.

Other purported benefits of honey include:

  • helping heal cuts and scrapes
  • clearing infections
  • easing stomach aches
  • improving digestion
  • boosting the immune system
  • providing energy

– 100% New Zealand Pure Manuka Honey
– MGO™ content guaranteed
– Traceability guaranteed from beekeeper to jar

Harvested over 4 short weeks each year, MGO™ Manuka Honey is sustainably sourced from beehives in remote and pristine areas of New Zealand with full traceability from beekeeper to jar.

This delicious, smooth and creamy honey contains a minimum of 100mg of MGO™ per kg and is available in 250g, 500g or 1kg jars.

The unique benefits of Manuka Honey are well documented and are scientifically tested. However, it is important to know that the level of methylglyoxal can vary greatly in Manuka Honey, so you want to be sure you know what you’re getting. That is why at Manuka Health we test and certify our MGO™ Manuka Honey to guarantee the level of methylglyoxal present, as indicated on the label.

Recommended Use:

Enjoy MGO™ Manuka Honey off the spoon, with food such as toast or drizzled over porridge, or add to a hot drink when you are feeling a little under the weather

Please note Manuka Honey is not suitable for children under 12 months.

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Diet and Lifestyle

SUPPORTING EXAM STRESS and Kids going back to School.

stress

Tests and exams can be a challenging part of school life for children and young people and their parents or carers. But there are ways to ease the stress.

Watch for signs of stress

Children and young people who are stressed may:

  • worry a lot
  • feel tense
  • have headaches and stomach pains
  • not sleep well
  • be irritable
  • lose interest in food or eat more than normal
  • not enjoy activities they previously enjoyed
  • be negative and have a low mood
  • feel hopeless about the future

Having someone to talk to about their work can help. Support from a parent, tutor or study buddy can help young people share their worries and keep things in perspective.

Encourage your child to talk to a member of school staff who they feel is supportive. If you think your child is not coping, it may also be helpful for you to talk to their teachers.

Try to involve your child as much as possible.

Make sure your child eats well 

A balanced diet is vital for your child’s health, and can help them feel well during exam periods.

Some parents find high-fat, high-sugar and high-caffeine foods and drinks, such as energy drinks, cola, sweets, chocolate, burgers and chips, make their children hyperactive, irritable and moody.

Where possible, involve your child in shopping for food and encourage them to choose some healthy snacks.

Read more about healthy eating for teens.

Help your child get enough sleep 

Good sleep improves thinking and concentration. Most teenagers need 8 to 10 hours’ sleep a night. Learn more about how much sleep children need.

Allow half an hour or so for your child to wind down between studying, watching TV or using a computer and going to bed, to help them get a good night’s sleep.

Cramming all night before an exam is usually a bad idea. Sleep will benefit your child far more than a few hours of panicky last-minute study.

Be flexible during exams

Be flexible around exam time. When your child is revising all day, do not worry about household jobs left undone or untidy bedrooms.

Staying calm yourself can help. Remember, exams do not last forever.

The Family Lives website has more about coping with exam stress.

Help them study

Make sure your child has somewhere comfortable to study. Ask them how you can support them with their revision.

Help them come up with practical ideas that will help them revise, such as drawing up a revision schedule or getting hold of past papers for practice.

To motivate your child, encourage them to think about their goals in life and see how their revision and exams are related to them.

Talk about exam nerves

Remind your child that it’s normal to feel anxious. Nervousness is a natural reaction to exams. The key is to put these nerves to positive use.

If anxiety is getting in the way rather than helping, encourage your child to practise the activities they’ll be doing on the day of the exam. This will help it feel less scary.

For example, this may involve doing practice papers under exam conditions or seeing the exam hall beforehand. School staff should be able to help with this.

Help your child face their fears and see these activities through, rather than avoiding them.  

Encourage them to think about what they know and the time they’ve already put into studying to help them feel more confident.

Encourage exercise during exams

Exercise can help boost energy levels, clear the mind and relieve stress. It does not matter what it is – walking, cycling, swimming, football and dancing are all effective.

Activities that involve other people can be particularly helpful.

Support group Childline says many children who contact them feel that most pressure at exam time comes from their family.

Listen to your child, give them support and avoid criticism.

Before they go in for a test or exam, be reassuring and positive. Let them know that failing is not the end of the world. If things do not go well they may be able to take the exam again.

After each exam, encourage your child to talk it through with you. Discuss the parts that went well rather than focusing on the questions they found difficult. Then move on and focus on the next test, rather than dwelling on things that cannot be changed.

Make time for treats

With your child, think about rewards for doing revision and getting through each exam.

Rewards do not need to be big or expensive. They can include simple things like making their favourite meal or watching TV.

When the exams are over, help your child celebrate by organising an end-of-exams treat.

When to get help

Some young people feel much better when exams are over, but that’s not the case for all young people.

Get help if your child’s anxiety or low mood is severe, persists and interferes with their everyday life. Seeing a GP is a good place to start.

Some basic rules coming up to exam time

A quiet place to study – A suitable environment to study is important to help concentration levels.

A balanced diet – Good nutrition is essential at any time of year, but especially during exam time. Batch cook some healthy meals and stock up on nutritious snacks. Having some of the student’s favourite dinner to hand is important too.

Omega 3 is essential to fuel the hard-working brain at this time. Keep brain and vision in tip top shape by making sure to top up your good fats daily. Consider taking Cleanmarine® Krill Oil High Strength. It contains 590mg of concentrated, high strength Omega 3 Krill Oil. This concentrated formula of EPA, DHA, Astaxanthin and Choline provides the essential fatty acids required for the normal function of the heart, brain and vision. DHA contributes to the maintenance of normal brain function and vision, the beneficial effect is obtained with a daily intake of 250mg. Also eating 2 – 3 portions of oily fish a week will provides more essential fats for your body. Examples include salmon, mackerel and herring. Easy to cook in steam parcels in the oven with garlic, lemon and oil.

A good night’s sleep – Studying all night may seem like a good idea but if your child doesn’t get enough sleep, they are more likely to forget the information or under perform. When your mind is buzzing with exam questions, quotes and scientific theories, having something to help you switch off, relax and support deep sleep is a must. Try melissa-dreams which contains all-natural ingredients including the herbs lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) and Chamomile in combination with selected B-vitamins, Magnesium and the amino acid L-theanine. Magnesium contributes to a reduction of tiredness and fatigue while vitamins B6 and B12 contribute to the normal function of the nervous system. With no drowsiness or side effects the next day, Melissa Dream helps you to wake up rested and full of energy.

Exercise – Even a 20-minute walk will help your child to relax and destress their mind, this will also help oxygenate the entire body.

Stress is the biggest obstacle to overcome. It’s so important to get enough B vitamins in foods like broccoli. Kale, spinach. Getting your 5-a-day is bound to be the least of your worries as exam time approaches; ironically this is when your nutritional and energy needs are at their highest. Make sure you keep your nutrient and energy levels up with One Nutrition® Organic Power Greens. This is a unique combination of nature’s finest green foods including kale, broccoli, spirulina, wheat grass and barley grass juice powders in a handy capsule or powder to add to your morning smoothie.

Take time out to do something you love such as walking your dog, reading a magazine, chat online to your best friend. Journaling is also therapeutic, to put your thoughts and feelings onto paper. Try family time such as playing a board game to distract your mind from the books for a while.

Don’t forget to celebrate – when the exams are over, go out and celebrate together, hopefully everything will be back to normal by then.

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Diet and Lifestyle

Go Cal Plus Saffron Slim

If a person has gained some weight during the quarantine period, it is important for them not to be too self-critical. Several manageable adjustments can help people lose the weight they gained in lockdown.

Quarantine is an effective measure to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

However, life under lockdown comes with its own mental and physical challenges.

As a result of quarantine, some people may notice weight gain during the pandemic — one study suggests 22% of adults reported gaining weight during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many challenges and disruptions to daily routines may play a role in this.

Factors, such as less sleep, less physical exercise, and eating more, may contribute to what many refer to as the “quarantine 15,” referencing the weight gain that many people experience during the pandemic.

However, for those with concerns regarding weight gain, it may be possible to adapt gradual changes into daily routines that may help manage and maintain a moderate weight.

This article explores possible causes of weight gain during the pandemic and suggests some tips and strategies that may help people maintain a moderate weight.

How has the pandemic led to weight gain?

a person trying to lose weight after quarantine weight gain performs sit ups with a water bottle
evrim ertik/Getty Images

The restrictions that quarantine places on everyday life are likely to alter and interrupt many people’s daily routines.

The rise in unstructured time, the closure of gyms and recreational centers, movement restrictions, and the enormous stress of the pandemic will all likely affect people’s sleeping patterns, eating habits, and levels of physical exercise, which may contribute to weight gain.

People may also struggle to focus on weight management due to increasing work demands, unforeseen hardships. with the help of Go -call saffron slim and plenty of excersise you can get back to a weight you can manage and feel good in yourself again.

– Contains Saffron, Apple Cider Vinegar and Chromium
– Irish Brand
– Gluten free, dairy free, suitable for vegetarians

The natural ingredients in Go Cal include Saffron, which is arguably the most expensive herb in the world due to amount of time and energy it takes to harvest. As well as 1200mg of Apple Cider Vinegar, Green Tea, which is known for its antioxidant properties, Dandelion Root, Nettle Leaf, L-Tyrosine, and L-Carnitine. It also contains Chromium, which helps to support the maintenance of normal blood glucose levels. This combination of bioactive ingredients is formulated to assist in maintaining optimum calorie control when taken as part of a calorie controlled diet:

The new and improved Go Cal contains a selection of powerful ingredients to help you with your calorie control. The formulation includes Green Tea, Saffron, Apple Cider vinegar, Nettle Leaf, L-Tyrosine, Dandelion Root, L-Carnitine and Chromium Picolinate. Chromium can help with blood sugar balance and ease sugar cravings. Saffron helps you to feel fuller for longer. Green Tea and Apple Cider Vinegar may help to speed up the metabolism. Green Tea may also provide one with the energy to continue their exercise programme. The Nettle Leaf extract may help to curb your appetite. Dandelion can help to ensure healthy digestion. L-Carnitine and L-Tyrosine are also believed to help with weight mangaement. This is a gluten free and dairy free supplement. Suitable for vegetarians.

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