Having spent over 5 years working with babies (and being a Mum myself!) I've seen a lot of colicky wee ones. Trapped wind can contribute to colic and reflux so making sure they get their burps up can make a huge difference in making them more comfortable. Sometime babies can be really difficult to burp so I thought I would share my favourite techniques. Often rotating through them can be really helpful when baby just won't burp!
1. Over the knee burp - Lay baby carefully tummy down, over your knees and pat or rub with an upwards motion up babies back.
2. The squatting burp - lift baby up and then carefully squat them down on your lap allowing their knees to tuck up against their chest. Then holding/leaning them against you rub their backs with an upward motion.
3. Sitting on your knee burp - Perhaps one of the most commonly used burping techniques is to sit baby on your knee and rub their back with upward strokes. In younger babies make sure to support their head and neck. In older babies with good neck control you can often get lots of good burps up by applying gentle pressure to the tummy while rubbing their back.
4. Massage Burp - Lay baby down on their tummy with their head to one side. Massage from the base of the spine upwards with a gentle but firm pressure.
5. Over the arm burp - Lay baby over your arm, supporting their head with your forarm/elbow. Hold them at a slight angle so their tummy is lower than their head. Pat or rub their backs.
6. Over the shoulder burp - Another classic burping position but there's a reason for it! Place baby over your shoulder and gently pat or rub in an upwards motion on their back.
7. The German Mama Burp - This one is very similar to the over the shoulder burp but this time you position baby so that your breast is gently pressing into their tummy. Then start tapping/rubbing from the lower back and moving upwards to the upper back and repeat.
8. The cross body burp - Hold baby with their head on one shoulder and their feet towards the opposite side. Pat/rub in an upwards motion. Then swap and do the same again on the other side.
Another position that can be really helpful to soothe unsettled babies is Tiger in a Tree a.k.a Cat in a Cradle (and one or two others!). Make a cradle with your arms and lie baby on it's front so that it's head is being supported by your elbow/arm and their tummy is lying on your hands. Let their arms and legs dangle a little. You can then apply a slight pressure to their tummy, and/or pat/massage around in a clockwise motion.
I hope these techniques will help you and your baby to produce lots of burps.
This information is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat any specific conditions. Nor is it designed to replace the advice of your healthcare provider.
Have you been told that your baby has reflux? Are you trying to get your head around what that means and what to do next? I'm here to help.
What is infant reflux?
Firstly let me say that for the purposes of this blog when I talk about infant reflux I'm also including GORD (GERD), GOR, Silent Reflux, the symptoms of allergies/intolerances and what may have been dismissed as "colic".
In simple terms a reflux action is when something moves from the stomach to the oesophagus. It is a natural process that our bodies are designed to do for a number of reasons, e.g. to remove excess air from our stomach - burping or vomiting to remove food/bacteria. The body's ability to reflux is completely normal and is one of the body's ways of protecting itself from pathogens etc.
What's not normal is when this action is happening over and over again especially when it is causing obvious pain and discomfort. It is not normal for stomach acid to be oesophagus all the time and it's certainly not normal for babies to be in distress.
The good news is that there is always a reason for your babies symptoms and we can work together to figure it out.
The most common causes of reflux
1. Build up of gas.
Those of us who can remember back to physics lessons at school will remember that things will move from an area of high pressure to an area of low pressure. If you blow up a balloon and then let go of it, it will deflate as the air moves from high pressure (inside the balloon) to an area of lower pressure (outside the balloon).
The same thing happens inside a baby's stomach. When the pressure inside the stomach is too great the body will try to regain balance by sending the gas into a lower pressure environment. In this case the oesophagus. The pressure level will determine the force of the regurgitation with higher pressure leading to projectile vomit and lower pressure as silent reflux.
The question we need to answer is where does the air come from?
More often than not it's because baby is swallowing too much air. Babies can swallow air when they cry, laugh, eat, drink (especially if there are issues with latch to breast or bottle), when they swallow saliva and if there are air bubbles in their milk.
2. Food Allergy or Intolerance.
Our digestive system plays a key role in immunity as you may have seen if you've read any of our posts on probiotics. One of the roles of gastric acid found in the stomach is to kill pathogens and prevent them reaching the small and large intestine. However, the infant digestive system is very immature and sometimes it's ability to perceive pathogens is a little off. For example, it may, rightly or wrongly, identify that a protein in cows milk, gluten, soy or any other food is a virus and trigger a reflux reaction to protect itself by vomiting out what it has perceived as a threat.
In these cases, reflux is a symptom of the allergy or intolerance.
There are of course other causes of reflux including pyloric stenosis, galactosaemia, intestinal blockages, etc which is why it's important that we assess each case individually.
If you're ready to start figuring out what's causing your little ones reflux then start with this free download to track all of their symptoms.
If you'd like more tailored 1:1 support you can find full details of my packages here.
Want to know more about why I started supporting babies with reflux? You can read my story here.
I truly hope I can help you on your journey to a reflux free life.
If you or someone you know suffers from migraines you’ll know it is a pretty nasty and often debilitating condition, sometimes lasting days or even longer. Believed to be the third most common disease in the world, it affects 3 times more women than men and many women cite hormones as a trigger. In the UK estimates suggest that we lose 25 million days from work or school due to migraine. Absenteeism from work costs £2.25 billion and NHS prescription costs around £250 million per year. It is thought that less than 50% will consult their family doctor and that most self medicate for migraine.
In addition to pain, migraine can include
Tension headaches are considered to be non vascular while migraine is a vascular headache involving excessive dilation of blood vessels in the head. Migraine attacks can often be preceded by visual disturbance, blurring of vision, bright lights , anxiety, disturbed thinking, mood swings, numbness and tingling.
So what causes them?
There is a genetic component here which many of you will identity with and I do see this in my clients. In my own family, it is common down the female line and has been a very debilitating condition for many over the years.
Blood vessel instability
Research supports a link between blood vessel instability and migraine headaches With excessive constriction being followed by rebound dilation. There does seem to be an inherited tendency here as some have an abnormality in their constriction and dilation of blood vessels.
The platelets of some migraine sufferers have been found to be different from normal platelets during and between attacks. Platelets are the cells involved in clotting and migraine sufferers can have an increase in platelet aggregation which means a clumping together. Interestingly it is thought that the amount of serotonin released by patients in response to a serotonin stimulation (eg food allergy/intolerance) can rise leading to a migraine. Another interesting phenomenon related to platelets is that migraine sufferers have been shown to have a twofold increase in mitral valve prolapse, with this leaky valve causing damage to blood platelets. Research has shown 16% migraine patients to have a mitral valve prolapse
Even more interesting to me is that mitral valve prolapse is also three time more prevalent in those who are deficient in magnesium, since I find that many of the sufferers I see in clinic are also magnesium deficient. Indeed, in practice I find that a combination of dealing with food allergies/intolerances and supplementing magnesium to correct deficiency can be the most helpful means to prevention and the above challenges in some part explain some important links here.
Serotonin deficiency Syndrome
Another hypothesis is that migraines are linked to serotonin deficiency state. Research going back to the 1960’s found a serotonin breakdown product in the urine (5-HIAA) during a migraine. New research suggests this is due to increased breakdown of serotonin from increased activity of monoamine oxidase. The link with low serotonin levels has been the basis of many prescription drugs for migraine e.g. sumatriptan a serotonin agonist. Numerous studies have also shown a link between supplementing with 5HTP and prevention. It should be noted that this works best of taken for at least 6 months.
Keeping a migraine diary
It can be very helpful to notice what is happening around the time of migraine attacks to look for repeated patterns. There may be an accumulation of stressors over time which come to a head and that domino effect begins to happen which results in a headache. Susceptibility may be due to reduced tissue serotonin and changes in platelets and a build up of histamine and other inflammatory mediators.
Factors that trigger migraine
What can we do about it?
Firstly find your root cause and eliminate where possible or avoid the build up of triggers. We can Test for food intolerances/allergies, nutrient deficiencies, hormonal imbalances. Modern drug treatment is inadequate because it fails to address root cause. In the 1980’s it became apparent that using analgesics on a regular basis could backfire and actually lead to increased frequency of attacks and many doctors were talking about analgesic rebound headaches. Another interesting point to note here is that regular use of NSAID’s like ibuprofen can suppress ovulation and also cause damage to the gut contributing to intestinal permeability which puts us at risk of food intolerance and poor absorption of nutrients therefore feeding into the problem.
Magnesium is a muscle relaxant and anti-inflammatory. It is therefore commonly used for period pain, joint pain as well as headaches and migraines. Dosing from 400-600mg but take advice from a Nutritional therapist on any dosing. Magnesium is a common deficiency which is well researched in migraine. Also, 50% of Migraine sufferers have been found to have reduced concentrations of iodised magneisum. Levels are depleted by stress, poor diet, excess alcohol, high oestrogen, certain drug meds among others.
Vitamin B2 can help many reduce the number of migraines they have. As a preventative it needs to be taken for more than one month to see an effect and ideally for 3 months. It can also be depleted by the oral contraceptive pill. This study showed a 68% reduction in attacks after 3 months at a 400mg dose
5HTP has been shown in several studies to be effective in prevention of migraine attacks and has been shown to be as effective as pharmaceuticals but without the side effects in prevention of migraine. 5HTP works by regulating serotonin levels. Do not take this if you are taking antidepressants.
Turmeric is well known as an anti-inflammatory and can be incorporated into the diet regularly in both food and as a warm drink. It is useful when having an acute attack and some supplements are combined with ginger which is another anti-inflammatory.
Ginger can rival NSAID’s as an analgesic and can be used regularly in the diet, as a tea or supplement. I normally recommend this combined with turmeric for the best results. For example turmeric active. Studies have shown ginger to be as effective as commonly prescribed sumatriptan for migraine relief
Omega 3 are essential fatty acids found commonly in oily fish. They lower inflammation and can help with hormone balancing. Aim for 3 servings of oily fish per week or supplement. Flax seeds, chia seeds and walnuts also provide omega 3 as do organic grass fed meats and chicken. We can test omega 3 levels for you to help us identify any deficiencies.
CoQ10 used as the active form ubiquinol has been shown in studies to be effective in migraine prophylaxis and has a similar mode of action to riboflavin as it improves energy metabolism and mitochondrial function.
Feverfew is perhaps the most well known herbal preventative for migraine and a number of studies have shown a reduction in frequency and severity including this one published in the lancet
Hydration you probably know about but it’s so easy to forget this one. Remember herb teas also count towards good hydration. How about choosing some turmeric and ginger teas throughout the day and you will tick more than one box!
Essential oils be very helpful especially if you are feeling too nauseas to take annoying else. Peppermint and lavender are good starting points and can be rubbed into the temple with one or two drops or can be diffused.
Acupuncture can be helpful for migraine pain relief and and may have a mechanism involved in normalising serotonin levels.
Massage and Indian head massage are also recommended for regular use to modulate cortisol and reduce muscular tension.
Reflexology is also helpful in modulating cortisol and in hormone balancing
Whatever you decide to try to support your migraines, the key to all things health is prevention and that means finding out your root cause. Otherwise you might just try endless rounds of supplements only to discover that you were shooting at the wrong target. The supplements above will all offer support via different mechanisms of action but if you are still eating your trigger food or you are not answering your body’s need for a regular sleep pattern or reducing screen time etc., then you are just going to go round in circles and get frustrated. In addition, it may be that the dose you are taking is not right for you or maybe you are taking medication that interacts with that particular supplement. It’s never a one size fits all approach and each case is different. There may be multiple factors setting you up for migraine and each one needs to be addressed. Migraine often goes hand in hand with other co-morbidities eg IBS, especially constipation which is often linked to hormonal imbalance. For more information on Nutritional therapy have a look here or arrange a call to discuss your needs. More information on our testing services here.
How did you get in to working with babies?
I have always loved babies. For as long as I can remember if someone had a baby then I would have been there offering to give them a cuddle or play with them. Even now if someone comes in store with a pram, I am straight over to say hello. When I qualified as a Massage Therapist 5 years ago, I knew I wanted to work with babies and so immediately trained as a Baby Massage Instructor.
What made you specialise in reflux support?
When I did my training we covered infant reflux and some of the massage techniques that can be supportive. However, it wasn’t until I actually started teaching and could see the distress being caused to both Mum and baby that I started to dig a little deeper. I had these women in my classes who were exhausted, who felt alone, whose concerns were not being listened to and were being brushed off. They were being told “you’re just an anxious first time mum”, “ reflux is normal”, “it’s not possible for them to cry as much as that”, “they are gaining weight there is nothing to worry about”. For these women, the cup of tea at the end of a class became a safe place for them to share what was happening. I was one of the first people who had listened to them, who believed them when they told me they had 3 hours sleep the night before, who believed that the only place they would settle was in their mothers arms, and who agreed that this was not “normal”.
Having worked alongside our clinically trained Nutritional Therapist Beverley for so long and being steeped in the idea of functional medicine and finding root cause I was watching these babies struggle and wondering why is no one asking WHY do these babies have reflux and WHAT is the root cause? I taught the Mum’s massage techniques to ease abdominal pain, to help them pass wind, to ease constipation which was a common side effect of the medications they had been prescribed for reflux. Those techniques did make a difference, they helped take the edge off but I knew that wasn’t enough. I knew that if I was to better serve these families then I had to learn more about what causes reflux and how to address that root cause.
So, what happened next?
I started to research infant reflux and learn about the infant microbiome. Slowly I built my knowledge and then one day I came across a book that had just launched called The Baby Reflux Lady and I thought YES!!! It was exactly what I had been looking for. Aine Homer had written this book because her children had reflux and she didn’t want anyone else to have to go through what they had. She had painstakingly pulled together her experience and all the research she could get her hands on and written this amazing book. Aine then took that research to the next level and launched a course for professionals called The REFLUX method which I jumped on and was one of the first to train with her.
I devoured that course. Suddenly all the pieces fell into place and I could begin to see what was causing the reflux for so many of the babies in my classes. I would sit with the mums at tea time and ask questions, observing feeding, looking for clues and making suggestions which, in some cases would include making them aware of other professionals who could support them with their specific group of symptoms: osteopaths, the infant feeding team, local breastfeeding groups etc.
Since then I stopped doing general classes and focussed exclusively on supporting babies with colic or reflux and their families in a 1:1 course setting. This allowed me to ask more specific questions and provide more tailored advice and solutions. I have since continued my professional training with Aine and am now a certified Infant Reflux Specialist. I firmly believe that reflux is a symptom of something else. It is my job to help you figure out what that root cause is, and provide you with the solutions so you can begin to work towards a reflux free baby.
You can find full details of my services here.
Vitamin D is one of the most common deficiencies. It is estimated that 1 billion people globally have Vitamin D deficiency and 50% of the global population have Vitamin D insufficiency. It is estimated that about 90% of our Vitamin D comes from exposure to sunlight whilst a small proportion comes from our diet. Individuals with darker skin have increased amounts of melanin in their skin which decreases the efficacy of Vitamin D absorption which is why people with darker skin are at greater risk, particularly in the UK where from October to March, the rays from the sun are not strong enough to enable our bodies to make vitamin D. This is one of the reasons that the Department of Health and the NHS now recommend that everyone in the UK should consider taking a vitamin D supplement from October to March. The elderly, overweight and those living in the Northern Hemisphere are also at greater risk. A 2017 study additionally revealed that shift workers, health care workers and indoor workers are at increased risk of developing a deficiency due to reduced outdoor time and sunlight exposure. Apart from this, malabsorption syndromes such as celiac disease, short bowel syndrome, gastric bypass and cystic fibrosis may also lead to Vitamin D deficiency. Medications such as phenobarbital, carbamazepine, dexamethasone, nifedipine, spironolactone, clotrimazole, and rifampin induce hepatic p450 enzymes which speed up the degradation of vitamin D.
Why do we need Vitamin D?
Vitamin D's primary and vital function in the body is to maintain blood levels of calcium. It does this through increasing the amount of calcium absorbed from food in the small intestine. This helps the body to form and maintain healthy bones. A deficiency in vitamin D can lead to osteomalacia or rickets. A deficiency of vitamin D also increases the risk of developing osteoporosis and experiencing fractures and broken bones. Apart from this, vitamin D deficiency has also been associated with increased risks of cancer development, particularly breast, colon and prostate cancers. Researchers have found that increased sunlight exposure and circulating vitamin D are associated with reduced occurrence and mortality in many types of cancer. Vitamin D is well known for its impact on the immune system and studies suggest that inflammation is often at the root of many modern autoimmune diseases including multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, digestive disorders and high blood pressure. University of Aberdeen researchers studied patients in the North of Scotland which has the highest rate of MS in the UK who were treated during the winter with UV-B light therapy. Dr Anthony Ormerod, Clinical Reader in Dermatology at the University, said: “Our study shows that UV-B light, which mimics sunshine, can have a striking effect on the immune system of patients."
In addition, a study in 2018 from Trinity College Dublin linked vitamin D deficiency with an increased risk of depression of over 75% over a four year follow up period.
What are the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency?
There is evidence to suggest that people with vitamin D deficiency are at increased risk of developing health conditions such as osteoporosis, autoimmune conditions, depression and cancer. Symptoms can also include weakness, chronic fatigue, depression, insomnia, anxiety, weakened immune system, inflammation and weak or broken bones. We would recommend that you are tested for vitamin D deficiency if you experience any of these symptoms. Vitamin D tests are available on the NHS and in our Nourishing Insights clinic. This is a simple pin prick blood test which can be done at home. Find out more about Vitamin D testing and order here.
How can I optimise my vitamin D levels?
The main way in which we obtain vitamin D is from exposure to natural sunlight from the sun. When UVB rays land on the skin, a substance in the skin, 7-dehydrocholestrol is converted into vitamin D3. There are two types of supplemental vitamin D; Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3. The type of vitamin D our bodies makes naturally is vitamin D3. Whilst the body is able to convert some D2 for use, vitamin D3 is believed to convert 500 times faster than D2 and is estimated to be four times more effective in humans. Most experts suggest spending 20 minutes in the sun without suncream (suncream blocks the absorption of vitamin D) to enable your body to absorb vitamin D naturally without damaging the skin. For darker skinned people, the time recommended increases to around 40 minutes. If you do not want to expose your skin to the sun, you should use a good quality supplement to make sure you are obtaining enough vitamin D to protect your immune system, bones, joints and general health.
Are there any food sources?
Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D and it is difficult to obtain vitamin D only from food. However, there are some food sources and research suggests that eating foods which are rich in Vitamin D can help you acquire more. Some of the best sources of vitamin D in foods are halibut, mackerel, salmon, herring, trout and eggs. Mushrooms are one of the only plant sources of vitamin D and they acquire vitamin D the same way the human skin does, through exposure to the sun. The vitamin D content of mushrooms is increased through exposure to Ultra Violet light. The quantity of vitamin D in mushrooms can vary dependant on how they are grown.
Who should supplement and how much should I take?
Current Department of Health recommendations suggest the following ‘at risk’ groups should be using a vitamin D supplement all year round. These include:
From October to March the Department for Health recommends that everyone should supplement with Vitamin D. However, bare in mind that many of us now are spending little time in the sun and when we are we are wearing sun creams or covering up. Even in hot countries where people are going from air conditioned homes to offices and malls with little exposure to sunshine has led to a global epidemic with deficiency. For example, in countries such as Pakistan it is estimated that 80% of the population is deficient. In addition, it is estimated that vitamin D has a half life of about 15 days which would mean that every 2 weeks our levels halve without ongoing exposure to sunshine or supplementation. Therefore, your holiday in the sun in February is not going to help you in April.
Dosages vary according to age, bodyweight and level of deficiency. Testing is recommended to optimise your dose.
Are there other nutrient considerations when supplementing with Vitamin D?
Vitamin D and K2
Vitamin D and Vitamin K2 work synergistically with each other to ensure that calcium is directed out of the arteries and into the bones where it helps improve bone density.
Without enough vitamin K2 calcification within the arteries can occur. We normally advise a combination product of D and K2 for the post-menopausal age group.
Vitamin D and Magnesium
Magnesium plays a key role in determining how much vitamin D our bodies can make. It’s suggested that people whose magnesium intake is high are less likely to have a vitamin D insufficiency than people whose magnesium levels are low.
It’s also claimed that magnesium supplementation increases vitamin D levels in people who are deficient in the vitamin, but causes a reduction in people whose intake is high. Too much vitamin D can increase calcium levels, which in turn can lead to certain health complications.
To learn more about magnesium and signs of deficiency, have a look at our blog.
To find out more about Vitamin D supplementation contact us here, or come and visit us at 44 St Andrew Street Aberdeen. Nutritional Therapy consultations are also available on Zoom and skype. More information here.
BetterYou D3000 and K2
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The pioneering delivery method allows the vitamin D and K to be absorbed directly into the bloodstream, via the inner cheek, bypassing the digestive system where many nutrients may be lost.
Vitamin D and Vitamin K2 work synergistically with each other to ensure that calcium is directed out of the arteries and into the bones where it helps improve bone density.
Without enough vitamin K2 calcification within the arteries can occur, increasing the risk of heart disease.
BetterYou have sourced a bioavailable and stable form of K2 MK-7 which can be easily utilised by the body. The form of K2 has been derived from flowers and we can guarantee purity of the active form of K2.
Vitamin D Testing Service
We’re proud to work in collaboration with Sandwell and West Birmingham trust to offer you a complete vitamin D testing service which can be completed from the comfort of your own home.
Usage - Single use
Biomarkers Tested - 25-hydroxyvitamin D (Stored vitamin D)
Testing Method -Liquid chromatography mass spectrometry
BetterYou DLUX 1000 Vegan
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BetterYou™ DLux3000 is an optimum strength daily oral vitamin D spray. Specially formulated to deliver vitamin D directly into the bloodstream bypassing the digestive system.
BetterYou Magnesium Gel
BetterYou Magnesium Gel provides essential magnesium in a targeted application. Formulated for direct application on joints and muscles to help support relaxation.
BetterYou Magnesium Spray
BetterYou Magnesium Oil Body Sprays are a simple and scientifically proven method of delivering a high dose of absorbable elemental magnesium through the skin to replenish magnesium levels. This range includes sprays help with different areas of your life including sleep, sports performance and joint health.
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nutri Advanced Megamag Calmeze (Orange)
MegaMag® Calmeze has been formulated to support normal psychological function, a healthy nervous system and to reduce tiredness & fatigue by providing a high strength combination of magnesium, B vitamins, L-theanine, glycine, taurine, glutamine and vitamin C. It is supplied in a tasty orange flavour powder which easily mixes with water or juice.
With many more of us living very busy lives, Megamag® Calmeze can help to support that sense of calm and harmony.
MegaMag® Calmeze delivers 200mg of magnesium in the glycinate form per dose. Magnesium glycinate has been shown in studies to have superior absorption when compared to other forms of magnesium. It’s generally well-tolerated and especially suited to those with sensitive digestive systems.
Magnesium is a very important mineral, involved in literally hundreds of reactions in the body. It is known as “nature’s tranquiliser”, as it has a calming effect on muscles and nerves, but it’s also necessary for energy production too.
MegaMag® Calmeze also contains a specific B vitamin combination that includes vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6. The B vitamins are very important for the production of energy, as well as for psychological function. Some also help reduce tiredness and fatigue.
Vitamin C is present in a mineral ascorbate form. The health benefits of vitamin C are many, and include energy production, reducing tiredness and fatigue, as well as supporting the nervous system.
MegaMag® Calmeze contains the amino acids theanine, taurine, glycine and glutamine. With the formula being in powdered form, we’re able to provide therapeutic levels of amino acids that would be difficult to achieve in tablet or capsule forms.
nutri Advanced Magnesium Glycinate
High strength magnesium in a well absorbed form designed to support muscle function, the nervous system, energy production, bones and teeth.
What does Magnesium do?
Magnesium is a mineral that is essential for life, and is found in every cell type in every organism. It is needed for hundreds of reactions within the body, including helping with energy production, reduction of tiredness, maintenance of normal muscle function, and keeping your bones and teeth healthy.
Why choose our Magnesium?
Magnesium as glycinate is a superior, highly absorbable form of magnesium, that is well tolerated especially by those with sensitive digestive systems. Provides 100mg of magnesium per tablet.
Who is it suitable for?
Anyone who wishes to take extra magnesium in a high quality, gentle and effective form. Poor soil and processing methods can mean that even those eating a balanced diet might not be getting as much magnesium as they need.
nutri Advanced Megamag Muscleze
MegaMag Muscleze (formally Ultra Muscleze) is a high strength magnesium powder designed to support muscle function and recovery following exercise, It has a tasty orange flavour and mixes easily into water or juice.
One scoop of MegaMag Muscleze delivers 240mg of magnesium in superior, highly absorbable forms that are gentle on the stomach - bisglycinate and malate. The formula also contains malic acid, amino acids - l-carnitine, creatine, glutamine and taurine – and B vitamins including the body-ready, active forms of vitamin B12 and folate(vitamin B9).
Why is Magnesium important? - Magnesium is an essential mineral needed for many body functions. It is the second most abundant nutrient in the body and has many important roles including the support of muscle function, converting food to energy, reducing tiredness and fatigue, the normal functioning of the nervous system and contributing to electrolyte balance.
Why include amino acids and B vitamins? - In order for magnesium to be able to play its part in many of its functions, it needs taurine, glutamine, carnitine and B vitamins to be present. These are all co-factors of magnesium and are needed to support the actions of magnesium within the body.
How does MegaMag Muscleze support muscles and post-exercise recovery? - One scoop provides 672mg of malic acid and 240mg of magnesium. Malic Acid plays a very important role in energy production within each cell. Magnesium supports healthy muscle function, reduces tiredness and fatigue and supports energy-yielding metabolism. Magnesium also helps balance electrolytes which is essential for normal muscle contraction. An imbalance in electrolytes can result in cramps. The formula also contains B vitamins which also reduce fatigue and supports the body converting food to energy.
Who should take Magnesium? - Those who require support for muscle function, tiredness and fatigue and nervous system function may benefit from magnesium.Magnesium can be found in foods including green leafy vegetables, nut, seeds and whole grains. However modern farming methods have sadly meant a decline in the level of magnesium present in these foods.
Why should I take MegaMag Muscleze? - MegaMag Muscleze provides high levels of easy-to-absorb magnesium and is gentle on the stomach. The formula provides a range of other vitamins and amino acids to support the role of magnesium including the body-ready active forms of vitamin B12 and folate (vitamin B9).
BetterYou Magnesium Skin Body Lotion
BetterYou Magnesium Body Lotion is a nourishing blend of magnesium and shea butter formulated to improve skin elasticity, soften skin and relax muscles.
Top Tips to Support the Immune System
Vitamin B12 is an essential water soluble vitamin which is required for a range of functions in the human body. It is one of the B-Complex group energy giving vitamins which are important for promoting a healthy nervous system and detoxifying the body. These vitamins act as coenzymes, helping the body to obtain energy from food. They also regulate important functions of the cardiovascular, endocrine and digestive systems. The body can not produce B Vitamins and so they must be obtained from our diet.
Vitamin B12 is one of the most common deficiencies in the western world and can occur for a number of reasons. Pernicious anaemia (an autoimmune condition) is one common cause of Vitamin B12 deficiency. Due to a lack of intrinsic factor in this condition, the body is unable to absorb Vitamin B12 and so becomes deficient. This condition can result in a range of symptoms including nerve damage, muscle weakness, extreme fatigue, numbness in hands and feet, osteoporosis, depression, dementia, digestive issues, and a smooth, thick red tongue among others. If you have any or all of these symptoms, you should make an appointment with your GP to rule this out. Pernicious anaemia is normally diagnosed by a GP and treatment includes routine B12 injections.
However, it is also possible to develop B12 deficiency as a result of not getting enough Vitamin B12 from the diet or absorption problems as a result of digestive issues such as leaky gut, coeliac disease, Crohn's or SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth).
Vitamin B12 is primarily found in animal products, such as meat, fish, milk, cheese and eggs meaning that deficiencies of this nutrient are common among vegetarians and vegans. One of the difficulties being that although there are some fortified foods such as nutritional yeast and fortified milks which can provide some B12, not all of those following these diets are conscientious about ensuring that their needs are covered via nutrition. Therefore, supplementation becomes a requirement.
Certain medications such as proton pump inhibitors and anticonvulsants can also affect the absorption of Vitamin B12. In addition, anti-depressants and the oral contraceptive pill can deplete B12 among other nutrients. Whether you have been on the pill or are currently taking it, a good B-Complex can help replenish the nutrients depleted by the pill while also supporting hormone balance.
B12 is a particularly important nutrient for promoting a healthy nervous system and many Psychiatrists such as Dr Drew Ramsay are now encouraging their patients to eat foods such as oysters which are rich in both Vitamin B12 and Omega 3 (two nutrient deficiencies which have been linked to higher risk of suicide and depression). A 2010 study led by researchers at Rush University looked at more than 3,500 adults and showed that a higher intake of B6, B9 and B12 whether through food or supplementation was associated with a decreased likelihood of depression for up to 12 years follow up.
The most common form of B12 supplementation is cyanocobalamin which is less expensive but it is not found in nature. It may release small amounts of cyanide into the system which may have relevance to an individual with impaired detoxification as a result of genetics, nutrient deficiencies or chronic illness. The recommended form is therefore methylcobalamin which interestingly is the form produced by our gut bacteria. Likewise if you are wanting to increase folate (B9) we would recommend methylfolate rather than folic acid for better absorption. Read more in our blog on folic acid vs folate.
We have a range of B Vitamin supplements available, some of which are practitioner only products and therefore unavailable online.
If you are interested in any of the B Vitamins for supplementation, come in for a chat or give us a call so that we can make the best suggestion for you. We can also provide relevant testing if appropriate.
BetterYou B12 Boost
BetterYou Boost B12 Oral Spray is an effective aid to normal psychological functions, expertly blended to help boost energy levels.
Suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
"Don't you just love New York in the fall, it makes me wanna buy school supplies"
Starting the new school year can be an exciting time. Buying new stationary, new uniforms and going into a new class with a new teacher can make it an unsettling but exciting time of change for children. But, as every mum and teacher knows, those first few weeks back always bring an explosion of bugs, and children who are immune compromised can become easy prey for some of these viral attacks. Making some diet and lifestyle changes can help boost your child's immunity and make a real difference to their overall health and wellbeing. Here are our top tips for a healthy school year.
Optimise Vitamin D
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin which is essential for maintaining healthy levels of calcium in the blood. Vitamin D also plays an essential role in immune system health and cell growth. The main source of Vitamin D is from exposure to natural sunlight from the sun. However, from October to March the rays of the sun in the UK are not strong enough to enable our bodies to make Vitamin D. As a result, it is now a government recommendation that everyone should supplement with Vitamin D from October to March each year. Recommended dosages for children vary according to body weight.
Look after Gut Health
It is estimated that between 70%-80% of our immune system is located in our gut which means that what we feed our gut bacteria can impact our immune health. Prebiotics such as garlic, leeks and asparagus feed the friendly bacteria in our guts so consuming these on a regular basis can benefit gut health. Probiotics have also been shown in clinical trials to have a beneficial impact on gut and immune health. Optibac and Proven both have good ranges for children. ProVen Fit for School was used in the ProChild study, which took place over six months and those children taking Fit for School saw a 30% reduction in absenteeism from school due to coughs, colds and other upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs). The study also found that the duration of coughs and colds was halved in the children taking Fit for School and visits to the doctor and consequently prescription for antibiotics was reduced by 43%. This probiotic is suitable for children aged 4-16.
Consume Omega 3
Omega 3 is great for our brains and helping us focus. Omega 3's also reduce inflammation and prevent attacks by toxins or pathogens. Food sources include oily fish, eggs, walnuts, flax, chia seeds and grass fed meat. If you're concerned that your child won't eat many of the foods which contain Omega 3, you could supplement with a good source of omega 3 such as Eskimo 3 Bright Kids Jelly Splats.
Eat a Rainbow
Eating a wide variety of colourful fruits and vegetables ensures we get a combination of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to support the immune system. If you're concerned about any nutritional gaps, BetterYou have designed a handy multi-vitamin spray for children with a blend of 14 essential nutrients. The robust multi-nutrient formulation contains the full spectrum of B vitamins, including folate, combined with vitamins A, C, D, K, selenium and iodine.
Sleep is when our bodies rest and restore. It is therefore essential for optimal immune health. Aiming for at least 10 hours sleep for little ones is a great way to ensure they get the rest they need to grow and thrive. Avoid electronics and blue light effect from TV/ computer etc at night and ensure a good winding down routine of baths and stories. Relaxation music can be helpful for us all and some children benefit from white noise. Essential oils are ideal to diffuse in the bedroom and can aid sleep and relaxation. Talk to use about appropriate essential oils and other supports such as magnesium cream which can be helpful depending on age of the child.
We hope you all have a happy and healthy school year!
If you would like to know more about nutritional therapy for children, you can find more information on our children's nutritional therapy page or pop into the shop at 44 St Andrew Street, Aberdeen to have a chat with us.
Optibac For Babies and Children
£6.99 - £45.99
What's it for?
A natural supplement from OptiBac, for infants and children.
Who's it for?
For infants & children from birth to 12 years, and for pregnant & breastfeeding women.
Each sachet:Provides 3 billion live cultures + 0.75g of FOS fibres, guaranteed until end of expiry.
Fructooligosaccharides (FOS); Filler: potato starch; Live cultures (Lactobacillus acidophilus Rosell-52, Bifidobacterium infantis Rosell-33, Bifidobacterium bifidum Rosell-71).
Each sachet guarantees 3 billion micro-organisms + 0.75g FOS fibres.
BetterYou MultiVit Junior Vitamin Oral Spray
Specially formulated for children, BetterYou MultiVit Junior Oral Spray combines an expert blend of 14 essential nutrients to provide complete nutritional support for your child’s health and wellbeing.
Suitable for vegetarians
Acidophilus & Bifidus with A-Z multivitamins for Children
Specially formulated for children aged 4-16.
Adequate vitamin intake is especially critical for children to ensure they develop and grow healthily. As some children can be fussy eaters, it may be useful to supplement their diet to ensure they have an adequate intake of vitamins and minerals.
ProVen Probiotics Acidophilus & Bifidus with A-Z Multivitamins for Children is unique in providing a combination of 100% of the recommended daily allowance of all 13 essential vitamins, together with 2.5 billion Lab4 friendly bacteria - all in one tasty chewable tablet developed specifically for children.
The unique addition of the extensively studied Lab4 friendly bacteria helps to support immune and intestinal function making ProVen Probiotics Acidophilus & Bifidus with A-Z Multivitamins for Children a comprehensive nutritional support to help maintain your child's everyday health and wellbeing.
BetterYou DLux Infant
BetterYou DLux Infant Vitamin D Oral Spray is gentle formulation of coconut oil and vitamin D, specially formulated for children from birth to 3 years.
Suitable for vegetarians
Adaptogen herbs are quite an amazing type of healing plant which can help our stress response by modulating cortisol and normalising our physiological function. Possibly one of the best known is ginseng of which there are several types. My first experience with Siberian ginseng was about 23 years ago when going through a period of fatigue post virally and was fortunate enough to live beside Scotland’s first qualified Medical Herbalist Brian Lamb. Brian started me on Siberian ginseng among other things which had me firing on all four pretty quickly. Since then, I have been a firm advocate and have been fascinated by the quite remarkable benefits of these herbs which I wouldn’t be without in my own life.
1. Siberian Ginseng or Eleutherococcus senticosus. My personal favourite and one I’ve used many times with success over the years. Research has shown that eluthero can significantly improve energy, mood, stamina and cognitive function. It has also been shown to modulate blood pressure. One example is a study of those with chronic fatigue which showed benefit especially for those with mild to moderate symptoms.
2. Ashwagandha has been shown to improve memory and learning and is also the most researched adaptogen for those with underactive thyroid. In Ayurvedic medicine it is seen as an all round tonic and used to promote fertility. Some studies have shown cognitive benefit for those with bipolar disorder and also an improvement in cholesterol and blood glucose in diabetes.
3. Rhodiola has been researched in relation to its impact on stress and depression. In a study of people with stress related burn out, it improved many associated measures including stress and depression. One study has suggested that Rhodiola showed favourable results versus Zoloft (sertraline) with less associated risks for mild to moderate depression. Because of the lack of side effects, some have suggested it be used in place of antidepressants which do come with side effects and also deplete certain nutrients.
4. Shatavari is an interesting adaptogen and has many uses. The word literally means ‘woman who has a thousand husbands’ and is traditionally given for fertility and improved libido, vaginal dryness and is useful in the prevention of osteoporosis. It is also widely used as a woman’s herb and has been shown to be an excellent galactagogue for low milk supply. For menopausal women, it has also been shown to improve libido.
5. Holy basil is lesser known but becoming more mainstream perhaps due to the availability of Pukka Tulsi tea which is becoming popular. Also known to boost energy and cognition, there are studies showing improvement in generalised anxiety. Tulsi has been shown to have broad spectrum antimicrobial activity in studies.
6. Astragalus is a fascinating herb with many effects and research has suggested it may have anti-tumour activity, blood sugar lowering effects and supports the immune system. It has been shown to prevent colds and flus and is particularly beneficial for upper respiratory infections. Some studies have looked at the cancer protective effects.
7. Cordyceps is an adaptogen which is lesser known among the public but is gaining recognition across many pathologies. It is actually a type of fungi or medicinal mushroom which, similar to the above also has immune modulating effects and supports the stress response. You may come across it in supplements to support stress or adrenal function. It also has anti-tumour effects and is indicated for respiratory infections and chronic fatigue. More and more research is coming out on the effects of mushrooms in cancer prevention and indeed mushrooms are widely used in mainstream medicine in Russia, China and Japan.
If you would like to find out more about adaptogens or find out which might be the most relevant for yourself, come and see us at 44 St Andrew Street, Aberdeen.
Astragalus, Elderberry & Garlic Complex
£11.30 - £19.20
Astragalus is an adaptogenic herb which has been traditionally used to support the immune system.
TWO VEGETARIAN CAPSULES TYPICALLY PROVIDE:
Astragalus Root 350mg
Elderberry (fresh freeze dried) 150mg
Garlic (fresh freeze dried – ORGANIC) 125mg
Olive Leaf (fresh freeze dried – ORGANIC) 75mg
Oregon Grape Root 50mg
Elderflower (fresh freeze dried) 25mg
Maitake Mycelia (fresh freeze dried) 25mg
Stabilized Rice Bran 15mg
Cayenne Pepper (fresh freeze dried – ORGANIC) 10mg
Larch Tree Arabinogalactan 225mg
NO FILLERS, BINDERS OR OTHER EXCIPIENTS
SUITABLE FOR VEGETARIANS & VEGANS
NO WHEAT – NO GLUTEN – NO CORN – NO SOY – NO YEAST – NO DAIRY – NO GELATINE – NO ANIMAL INGREDIENTS – NO ADDITIVES – NO ADDED SUGAR – NO COLOURS – NO FLAVOURS – NO PRESERVATIVES
£16.95 - £29.95
Wholistic™ Shatavari is a concentration of the finest parts of whole shatavari root gathered from fertile organic soils. Expertly created to help maintain feminine rhythm this broad-spectrum formula contains the highest organic grade, sustainably cultivated herbs, carefully selected to bring you the full potential of nature’s goodness.
£16.95 - £29.95
Wholistic™ Ashwagandha is a natural formula to nourish the mind and relax the nervous system.
As busy modern living puts increasing pressure on the mind, it can leave us feeling tense, overwhelmed and in need of some recuperation. Ashwagandha, the herb of modern life, is one of Ayurveda’s most prized adaptogenic herbs; it is known as ‘rasayana’ meaning rejuvenate. It has been used for centuries to moderate the body’s response to stress, bringing both energy and inner calm. By nourishing a worried mind and relaxing the nervous system, the body is rebalanced and ready to tackle life’s challenges.
Pukka’s organic Wholistic™ Ashwagandha uses a unique extraction process to retain all 45+ active compounds. This ensures a powerful, concentrated extract that maximises the synergistic benefits. Pukka’s Ashwagandha has been proven to provide a:
Each daily serving (2 capsules) gives you 20% NRV of iodine:
Mushroom Gold is based on three edible mushrooms – organic Maitake, Reishi and Shiitake. Rich in Vitamin D*, these mushrooms have been used for centuries to help support a healthy ecosystem. We ensure that the fruiting body and mycellium as well as the extra-cellular metabolites are blended to deliver the concentrated polysaccharides and beta-glucans.
This broad-spectrum formula contains the highest organic grade, sustainably cultivated herbs, carefully selected to bring you the full potential of nature’s goodness.
*Each daily serving gives you: 248% NRV of Vitamin D naturally occurring in mushrooms.
Vitamin D contributes to the normal function of the immune system and process of cell division.
Eczema or atopic dermatitis is a chronic skin condition often causing red itchy inflamed skin which can range in severity from mild to severe.
According to statistics around 15 million people in the UK live with this condition and in 2015 GP’s in England wrote around 27 million prescriptions for various topical agents costing around £169 million. If you are thinking to yourself that more and more people are suffering from this you’d be right in your assumption. An NHS funded study has shown that the numbers of cases have risen by 40 % in 4 years.
What we do know about the condition is that it is an allergic condition with 80% of sufferers having raised IgE antibodies. Eczema patients have positive allergy tests and around two thirds have a family history. Many also suffer from other atopic conditions such as asthma and hay fever.
The standard treatment protocols involve simply managing symptoms via emollients and sometimes steroids and if infection is triggered due to scratching, antibiotics. Allergens are also tested for although these tend to focus on only IgE mediated reactions.
We are back to finding our root cause. So first lets look at what’s going on in the immune system. The allergy antibody IgE is elevated in 80% of cases and this is activated by a type of white blood cell, a helper cell called TH2. Mast cells can release higher amounts of histamine leading to the itch that we associate with eczema. Then there’s the issue that around 90% of sufferers also have a predominance of the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus on the skin which their immune system is unable to kill. Often scratching can activate this infection and cause some potentially severe staph infections. So how do we prevent this vicious circle? Well we have to do everything we can from day one to promote our gut/immune function. In our immune system we have regularly T cells sometimes known as Treg, which are involved in immune suppression and immune tolerance. It’s known that an unhealthy gut can lead to a decrease in these important cells and therefore an imbalance in our TH1/TH2 cells with the TH2 cells being unregulated. Studies have indicated that the use of probiotics from birth can confer a reduction in TH2 dominance and symptoms of AD at 13 months old versus placebo.
Studies have shown that breast feeding is associated with a reduced risk of eczema and other allergies. However there is a caveat here in that although breast milk may confer antibody protection, in at risk children it may also be necessary for the feeding mum herself to remove common allergens which may unwittingly be triggering the problem as these proteins pass through the milk. Common allergens being dairy, peanuts and eggs. That said, the advice is to introduce these common allergens while breast feeding at the 6 to 12 month stage and to then continue to breast feed for a further 6 months following this introduction.
Older and formula fed children
In older and formula fed children a study looking at triggers for eczema indicated that Peanuts eggs and milk have been shown to account for 80% of adverse reactions to foods in people living wth contact dermatitis. Other common triggers and are wheat, fish and soy.
The hygiene hypothesis. Are we just too clean?
Epidemiological studies, especially those looking at migration from one country to another indicate that we acquire the same immune disorders as soon as we move to another area so environmental factors are playing a huge role. Lifestyle changes have led to a decrease in infection in the industrialised world and this has been shown to be inversely correlated with increases in allergies and autoimmunity. Studies have also shown that exposure to animals or growing up on a farm confers protection from a young age as we are exposed to a greater variety of bacteria which leads to activation and modulation of innate and adaptive immune response. In one large Swiss study, nearly 14,000 children were surveyed between 2006 and 2007, with over 3,000 farming children and around 11,000 non-farming children. In this study, 38% of the non-farming children had allergies compared to 19% of the farming children.
Those living with allergies have commonly got some level of digestive compromise and dysfunction. Stomach acid which normally assists in the removal of infection and therefore has a protective role, can commonly become low and therefore play a role in weakening our immune system and make us more prone to infection. It also sets us up potentially for the leaky gut phenomenon which puts us at risk of further food sensitivities of the IgG variety (delayed reaction) and chronic inflammation. If you have intestinal permeability you may also be experiencing other health challenges e.g. fatigue, brain fog, headaches, depression, sinus, IBS, reflux, joint pain, and autoimmunity. This is also why I see many clients in clinic who may be coming along for help getting to the root of their eczema but who also have any number of the aforementioned symptoms. A lack of a very important nutrient zinc can ensue as a consequence of low stomach acid. This nutrient is essential for immune, gut, hormone and skin health. It affects appetite, smell and taste of food, so in children who have a narrowing of food choices and are no longer enjoying certain foods, zinc deficiency may be at the heart of this. It is also a particular problem in cases of acne in teenagers so look out for changes in eating and appetite in older children and test their zinc levels. This can be done with a very simple taste test which all the family can do. Adequate zinc is also required for healing the gut.
Gut Flora and probiotics
Because our immune system resides primarily in the gut we need to look at gut bacteria. We also need to weed out any trouble makers Interestingly yeast overgrowth is a common cause of eczema. It’s also a very common problem as the western diet of high sugar, refined carbs and low fibre sets up the perfect conditions for this to grow. In addition, yeast overgrowth can result from long term medication use e.g. antibiotics, steroids and the oral contraceptive pill. We therefore need to ‘weed and seed’ the gut, get the infections out and the good bacteria in to assist with immune balancing and symptom resolution.
Risk factors for allergies in children
This relates to those factors which influence the health of the micro biome from day one. In an ideal world we need to be focusing on the gut health of mum prior to a planned pregnancy as this is what baby inherits. Areas of concern are
The Swansea Study
This was a large study by the University of Swansea Medical School with 454 mother/baby pairs who were given Lab4b probiotics containing Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria both during the final month of pregnancy and the first 6 months of infancy to evaluate whether this would prevent allergy in children. The results showed that versus placebo, the probiotic groups did indeed confer a protective effect on prevention of eczema and also prevention of allergic reaction to common allergens including pollen, cows milk, eggs and dust mites.
Prof. Steve Allen, concluded the following key message from the trial:‘Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria administered to pregnant women and infants aged 0-6 months prevented atopic sensitization and atopic eczema.
The babies given the Lab4b probiotics were 57% less likely to develop atopic eczema than those receiving the placebo.
The babies given Lab4b were 44% less likely to develop allergic reaction to common allergens, including pollen, cow’s milk, egg and house dust mite.
Stress is very much linked with gut/immune function and when we are stressed we are more likely to have a flare of these conditions so managing stress for young and old is a life long strategy for eczema management. Adaptogen herbs can be helpful as can mindfulness, meditation and essential oils such as lavender for relaxation. As those living with eczema have a tendency towards poor absorption due to gut compromise a common nutrient which we can find ourselves low in is magnesium and this is also because we actually use more of it when we are stressed. More tips here on how to maintain levels.
Nutritional therapy/ Functional medicine approach for eczema
The nutritional therapy approach involved recognition of all of the above factors and follows through with the following stages.
This can be done if required and in addition to either allergy or food intolerance testing we can offer stool testing to identify infection and imbalance and even cortisol testing if stress is a particular trigger.
This really does depend on the individual. It depends on what else they may be presenting with, their individual root cause/s, what medications they are on etc. However core supplements to include are going to be probiotics to reinoculate the gut, omega 3 and vitamin D. We may also recommend supplements and diet change to support gut integrity and immune balancing as per above recommendations.
More info on booking an appointment with us for adults and children here.
Burks AW, Williams LW, Mallory SB, et al. Peanut protein as a major cause of adverse food reaction in patients with atopic dermatitis. Allergy Proceedings 1989;10:265-269.
Von Mutius E, Vercelli D. Farm living: effects on childhood asthma and allergy. Nat Rev Immunol. 2010;10:861–868.
Allen SJ et al 2014.
Probiotics in the prevention of eczema: a randomised controlled trial.
Archives of Disease in Childhood 99(11): 1014–1019
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“I did Nutritional Therapy with Beverley and it was life changing. I highly recommend it!” Allison Blakely (Glasgow)
44 St Andrew Street, Aberdeen, AB25 1JA
Tel: 01224 969637
Opening Hours: Sun- Mon: Closed Tue to Sat: 10am-4pm
Late night appointments available on Thursday evening on request.