Homocysteine: is it just about THE BEST indicator of health?

I read this book by Patrick Holford over the Christmas holidays. It may not be most peoples’ idea of a holiday read but I couldn’t put it down! For me it reinforced why so many of my clients see dramatic leaps forward in their health when they supplement B vitamins, Zinc and other nutrients.

Methylation (one of the more complex topics we studied in my Kinesiology training) put very simply is the chemical process by which we turn the food we eat into us – ie, our body’s cells. During methylation, methyl groups are added or taken away from other molecules in order to produce the substances we need to function, ie, to make, maintain or detoxify our cells, produce hormones, etc. We’re doing this millions of times per split second, every second of the day and night.

Homocysteine is the natural chemical we make from animal proteins we eat (specifically by removing a methyl group from the essential amino acid Methionine. Essential means it has to come from our diet.). We then add a methyl group to Homocysteine to make one or other of two chemicals which are absolutely vital to our health: S-adenosyl methionine (SAMe – pronounced sammie) OR Glutathione.

SAMe is our brain’s master tuner, it’s a natural anti-depressant and it’s anti-arthritic, liver-protecting and our main methyl donor (it gives methyl groups to other molecules to make what we need). Low SAMe would result in chronic pain such as fibromyalgia, as well as degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s.

Glutathione is our body’s best detoxifying agent, it literally prevents us from going off, or ageing. A lack of glutathione would mean an increased risk of all disease.

A high level of Homocysteine in a fasting blood test is an indicator that Methylation is not happening as it should – we’re low in methyl groups. If we don’t have methyl groups available, not only can we not make vital chemicals but we also run the risk of methyl groups being taken away from our DNA and/or not having what we need to repair our DNA. Our DNA is the blueprint of life for us. If it’s faulty, we get faulty pretty quickly. Damaged DNA = disease, especially cancer and autoimmune conditions.

So, Methionine makes Homocysteine and Homocysteine makes SAMe or Glutathione. These processes require specific nutrients (co-factors) – ie, we need certain nutrients to be present in our bodies in order to produce these vital chemicals. When we don’t have these nutrients present, we will have a high Homocysteine level and this is connected to an increased risk of the following conditions:

  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • cancer
  • diabetes
  • Alzheimer’s
  • thyroid problems
  • depression/schizophrenia
  • Parkinson’s
  • infertility
  • chronic pain – arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraines
  • autoimmune conditions
  • digestive disorders

The main nutrients needed for methylation are B vitamins – particularly B2, B6 and B12, as well as Zinc, Betaine, Folate and Choline. Other nutrients which are helpful are Omega 3 (EPA/DHA), Garlic, Sulphur and Magnesium. This explains why vegetarians and vegans are probably always going to have high Homocysteine levels. These nutrients are not or not easily found in non-animal foods. To make it even harder to methylate, a percentage of the population has a built-in genetic fault in the MTHFR branch of methylation (ie, to make SAMe). These people need even higher levels of the nutrients.

So, guess what depletes B vitamins? Modern life, in a nutshell … stress, alcohol, convenience foods, pollution, etc.

To check if Homocysteine is relevant to your health problems and which nutrients you need, contact me to book in.

Happy Methylating!

homocysteine pdf

My New Year Cleanse

Like most people, in December I tend to eat foods I don’t usually … and drink more alcohol. So, I’m doing a gut cleanse this week. Here’s what I’m doing:

Drinks: 

  1. NO alcohol or caffeine
  2. At least two litres per day of still mineral water and herbal teas. I use whole leaf tea – the flavour and quality is so much better. I have a teaball  for single cups and a teapot for when hubby joins me. I get my loose herbs from Helen’s Whole Foods in Weymouth or Buy Wholefoods Online. My current favourites are: nettle, dandelion, lemon verbena, fennel seed and dried ginger.
  3. I’m planning to include some home-made raw juices with plenty of fresh turmeric and ginger (but I haven’t got round to it … it’s something to do with the weather I think!)

Food:

  1. NO dairy (except small amounts of butter)
  2. NO sugar
  3. NO grains
  4. Low carb (very little rice or potatoes)
  5. Maximise veg, herbs and spice intake (I ordered in extra veg from Riverford this week along with organic turmeric and ginger root which I’ve been adding to everything)

Go to Menus below to see what I’ve been eating day by day and to download recipes (click on the links).

Supplements:

My kinesiologist came up with two products I needed to help cleanse my gut:

  • CandiSolve – a combination of digestive enzymes and a specific probiotic which re-balances candida overgrowth.
  • Punica Plus – a herbal parasite formula.

These were individually identified for me during a kinesiology session – I DO NOT RECOMMEND TAKING SUCH REMEDIES WITHOUT TESTING. Contact me to book in.

I’ve been experiencing some “die-off” symptoms – slight headaches and tiredness mostly. I’ve been resting, as well as getting fresh air and exercise.

Menus:

Day 1: (I made a batch of Muffins, Linseed crackers & cannellini bean Hummus)

  • Breakfast: Spinach omelette, linseed crackers, herbal tea
  • 11am: a muffin, herbal tea
  • Lunch: Spicy carrot & parsnip soup, linseed crackers, hummus, water
  • 4pm: handful of brazils & almonds and an orange, herbal tea
  • Dinner: sausages, braised red cabbage (no sugar), an orange

Day 2:

  • Breakfast: 2 soft-boiled eggs, linseed crackers, herbal tea
  • Lunch: Spicy carrot & parsnip soup, linseed crackers, hummus, water
  • 4pm: a muffin, herbal tea
  • Dinner: fish pie, leftover braised red cabbage

Day 3:

  • Breakfast: 3 rashers grilled bacon, half an avocado, half a paleo flatbread & butter, herbal tea
  • 11am: a muffin, herbal tea
  • Lunch: Cauliflower soup, linseed crackers, hummus, water
  • Dinner: beef & pork chilli, slaw, an orange

Day 4:

  • Breakfast: Spinach omelette, linseed crackers, herbal tea
  • Lunch: Cauliflower soup, linseed crackers, hummus, water
  • 4pm: a muffin, herbal tea
  • Dinner: sausages, broccoli, roasted parsnips, small amount of 75% dark chocolate

Day 5: (I’ve lost two pounds)

  • Breakfast: 2 soft-boiled eggs, linseed crackers, herbal tea
  • Lunch: Squash & red lentil soup, rice cakes, peanut butter
  • 4pm: a muffin, fennel & ginger tea
  • Dinner: Greek chicken, roasted parsnips, broccoli

Made another batch of hummus and linseed crackers and I’m trying out a new lemon cookie recipe. Riverford had bergamot lemons this week – smell amazing and the juice tastes like a cross between lemon and mandarin.

Day 6:

  • Breakfast: 2 soft-boiled eggs, linseed crackers, herbal tea
  • Lunch: leftover Greek chicken, raw slaw, half an avocado, 2 lemon cookies (they’re good!), herbal tea
  • Dinner: beef & chickpea curry, shredded cabbage dressed with lime zest & juice and olive oil. A glass of wine and small amount of 75% chocolate (it’s Friday!).

Day 7:

  • Breakfast: 2 soft-boiled eggs, linseed crackers, herbal tea
  • Lunch: Squash & lentil soup, hummus, celery, herbal tea, lemon cookie.
  • 4pm: an orange and a muffin, herbal tea.
  • Dinner: pork & veg casserole, spring greens, muffin, two squares 85% choc.

I think that this week of menus shows you the diet which best suits me when I want to feel good and lose weight (I lost 3-4lbs – I’m back to my usual weight). There is no one-size fits all in terms of which diet is best … please contact me to book in so we can find which diet suits you. Happy new year!

FODMAPs

A low FODMAP diet often helps alleviate symptoms of IBS, colitis, indigestion, etc. FODMAPs are naturally-occurring sugars found in lots of healthy foods such as onions, apples, cabbage and lentils. FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. Most of us have no trouble digesting them but for some people they cause symptoms such as: flatulence, bloating, stomach pain and acid reflux. These symptoms can be mild and tolerable or really uncomfortable and debilitating. 

However, I don’t think this intolerance is a condition in itself … I think not being able to tolerate FODMAPs is a sign of dysbiosis. That is, it’s a symptom of an imbalance in gut bacteria – and this should be addressed (with herbal remedies, enzymes and probiotics) so that these healthy foods can be reintroduced and tolerated.

Here are the five different groups of FODMAPs and the main foods in which they can be found:

Fructans: artichokes, asparagus, beetroot, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, aubergine, fennel, chicory, dandelion leaves, garlic, leeks, onions, radicchio, lettuce, wheat, rye, inulin, FOS (a prebiotic supplement).

Galactans: legumes – all beans & peas including kidney beans, soybeans, lentils, chickpeas, baked beans.

Wheat is a FODMAP

Lactose: milk, cream, ice cream, custard, dairy desserts, yoghurt, soft cheeses 

Polyols: apple, apricot, avocado, blackberry, cherry, longan, lychee, nectarine, pear, plum, prune, mushroom, sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol (sweeteners).

Excess fructose: honey, apple, mango, pear, watermelon, high-fructose corn syrup, agave syrup, dried fruit, fruit juice

It may be that only one or two groups cause symptoms. To find out which, try eliminating all groups for a month and then introduce one group at a time week by week.

However, addressing the underlying digestive imbalance is the best solution. Kinesiology can identify the cause and find which natural remedies are needed. Contact me for more information and to find your way back to a happy relationship with these foods.

The importance of protein … again!

I see so many clients whose diet is very low in protein. If you’re vegetarian and/or you eat the SAD diet (Standard American Diet) of breakfast cereals, skimmed milk, sandwiches, pizza and pasta then it’s likely you’re not getting enough protein (let alone other nutrients).

We need protein to make and repair every cell in our body. If we don’t do that – efficiently and properly – every second of every day -we get degenerative diseases. Basically, if we don’t replace each dying cell with a healthy new cell, we age faster and die younger.

Protein is made up of amino acids. There are over 500 amino acids in nature; humans need 20 of them to build, repair and renew cells, make hormones, etc etc. Of those 20 – nine are essential – this means we can only get them from our diet. (The other 11 we can manufacture.) For me, this film shows the health implications of not having all 20 amino acids available in our cells …

Meat, fish, seafood, eggs and other animal products are the best and most complete proteins. Follow this link for an article listing vegetarian foods in order of their protein content.
Spirulina (blue green algae) is one of the most ‘complete’ vegan proteins. This Spirulina powder is the absolute best I’ve ever come across – it’s so natural – and it tastes great. It’s grown in a community project and sales support their work with hungry children in Africa (a real win/win).
In my personal opinion, the only ‘healthy’ vegetarian diet is one which is macrobiotic. This means carefully combining pulses and grains and including seaweeds and other nutrient-dense foods. You can read more about this diet here.

However, even if you’re a meat eater, you could still be lacking protein because your digestion isn’t working well enough to break it down and absorb it. You may need to supplement digestive enzymes with your meals, or drink a tablespoon of cider vinegar in a little water before each meal to pep up your digestive juices. I like to recommend taking a B vitamin supplement as most people I see are low on them and we need B vitamins to make digestive enzymes.

Contact me for more information and to book in for a kinesiology consultation.

Systematic Kinesiology: a case study

C was referred to me by her chiropractor in November 2016. At her first visit, we recorded the following 8 main symptoms/issues to address. Last week I asked her to rate her level of improvement after Systematic Kinesiology sessions with me:

  1. Tired all the time – even on waking/after 9 hours in bed.
    General tiredness 90% better, on waking about 60% better.
  2. Fear of fainting – 70%
  3. A sensation like an air lock at the bottom of ribcage, bubbles in throat. 100%
  4. Belching and indigestion – 90%
  5. Eating a restricted diet (no wheat, yeast, mushrooms, dairy, vinegar, oranges, cocoa, chocolate, oats, eggs) – 90%
  6. Difficulty (fear of) driving – 60%
  7. “often anxious/stressed”. Not doing hobbies.
    “This is tricky as stressed at moment (due to a life event), had improved, but not now.”
  8. Pain in nape of neck – 60%

What did Systematic Kinesiology (“SK”) do to help C?  In every kinesiology session, I address whatever comes up as a priority for the person, at that time. With SK I am seeking to establish a ‘silent dialogue’ via gentle muscle-testing. I can then look in the four realms of health: structure, bio-chemistry, emotions, energy – to see what needs to be addressed. I then muscle-test a choice of nutritional supplements, herbal remedies, essential oils and Bach flower essences. When I have identified all that tests positively, I balance the person using techniques which include lymphatic massage, neuro-vascular work, acupressure points, meridians, chakras, etc. I then re-test to make sure the balance has worked. At the end, I check all the remedies and supplements that have come up in the session and make recommendations.

In C’s case, in the first session, wobbly blood sugars showed and Chromium and Fish Oil supplements were what I recommended. We also did a lot of emotional release work using Bach flower essences, affirmations and tapping. I made up a bottle of Mimulus flower essence and gave C some tapping and affirmations to do for homework. At the end of the session, we also muscle-tested some of the foods C had removed from her diet years before (as a result of Vega testing) and she agreed to try reintroducing wheat, eggs, cheese and butter.

At the next visit, C reported driving was “a lot better”, the ‘air lock’ sensation was “not as bad”, no big belching, she wasn’t waking up hungry in the night, she’d been eating wheat and eggs nearly every day with no ill-effect and she’d got her first period in four months (an unexpected improvement). In this second visit, we checked more foods, did more stress release work and some structural work on her jaw. The flower essence which was helpful this time was Hornbeam. Again, I gave it and some stress releases as homework.

At the third visit, C reported the “air lock” sensation had gone, tiredness was better, driving was ok, digestion was “better” and she was very happy with the new foods she was eating (especially chocolate!). At that visit, we worked on balancing female hormones.

So, in just three sessions we made massive improvements. C chooses to continue to come every 4-5 weeks since – for a ‘balance’ and to address whatever issues come up. At visit 7, C reported that she felt ‘vibrant’ and that she hadn’t felt ‘this good for 3-4 years’. She’s continued to make steady progress, despite some life events which have increased stress levels.

Here’s what C says about kinesiology: “don’t understand really how it works! but it does! My diet has really improved so very much, it was such a negative thing for me, but my progress has been rapid and very positive. I am still working on the stress-related elements as these are quite deep-seated and so I expect they will take a while to resolve, however I have made really great progress. My lifestyle balance is improving every time I see Jane.”

It’s been a huge privilege to help C with her health – I love what I do! Contact me to see how I might help with your list of symptoms. I practise Systematic Kinesiology in Weymouth and Dorchester, Dorset.