Lymphatic vessels

Many people have problems with insufficient flow via the lymphatic vessels resulting in oedema at the ankles/lower legs and other parts of the body, for various reasons.

To maintain the flow of lymphatic fluid there has to be sufficient muscle action to compress the lymph vessels and force the lymph toward the subclavian veins.

Make sure that you walk or engage in some sort of exercise on a daily basis. Swimming, in particular helps the problem greatly, regardless of where the lymphatic fluid is accumulating

If it is the ankles that are swelling as is often the case, elevating the ankle and rotating it can help stubborn lymphatic fluids to drain.

Be sure to drink adequate water. Often our water intake in far too low, especially in warm weather, to allow the body to drain and detoxify adequately.

Also a good lymphatic massage can work wonders, especially if done regularly, as a complete lymphatic massage systematically opens up the lymphatic ducts and encourages drainage.

If these measures do not help then you should consider the state of the bowel, especially if it is the left ankle that is swelling, as a distended lower bowel can hinder the flow of lymph back up the body and incidentally can also hinder venous flow.
See pages on ‘ Bowel -improving action’ and Bowel motions-what’s normal!’.

Echinacea is a herb that can be specific for helping lymphatic action.

Also consider having an Osteopathic examination to ensure that there is no restriction in the bony articulations of the ankle or lower back or hip that could impede lymphatic flow

Lemon, honey & cayenne

An old, but  very effective method of treating a sore and tickly throat is to make a lemon and honey drink.

Cut several thin slices of lemon. (Use the rind plus the juice of the lemon).

Put them in a mug or cup and add 1tsp of honey (Manuka is best if you have it).
Then a small amount (but as much as you can handle) of cayenne pepper (Capsaicin is the active ingredient in chilli peppers. It has important effects on pain-sensitive nerves).
Pour over boiling water.
Mix all together and allow to cool.

This drink does not have to be drunk all at once. In fact it works far better when sipped slowly.
Sipping on this brew can make a world of difference to the sore throat as well as to any annoying cough.

Magnesium

Magnesium is an often overlooked deficiency. In many areas of New Zealand soils are extremely low in magnesium causing wide spread deficiencies.

Magnesium should be found in most foods, especially green vegetables, nuts and whole grains, dairy products, meat and sea foods. However the quantity available from foods will depend on the soils on which the foods where grown.

If magnesium levels become too low symptoms such as headaches, migraines, premenstrual tension, irregular heart rhythm, muscle twitches, cramps and tremors, anxiety, depression, irritability, apprehensiveness, lack of co-ordination etc. can occur.

To quote Walter Last, ‘Magnesium is nothing short of a miracle mineral in its healing effect on a wide range of diseases as well as its ability to rejuvenate the aging body.’

It is known to be essential for many enzyme reactions, for the health of the brain and nervous system and also for healthy teeth and bones.

It is also a very good infection fighter and as well as the conditions listed above it can be greatly beneficial in treating disease of the digestive tract, Parkinson’s disease, acne, eczema, psoriasis, impotence, cerebral and circulatory problems, hay-fever, asthma and anaphylactic reactions.

The calming effect is well known, so magnesium will help promote sleep and calm any nervous condition. This includes Epilepsy, where it has been found that there are abnormally low levels of magnesium in the blood, brain and spinal fluid’.

Children can also suffer from low magnesium levels. One study showed that out of 130 children with ‘nervous’ complaints related to school and/or psychological stresses, 16% had hypomagnesmia and 41.5% had hypercalcaemia. 62% improved with oral magnesium supplementation.
In another, out of 842 children with latent tetany (muscle spasm) and respiratory problems, 56% improved with magnesium supplementation and a further 32% partially improved. Worth noting as these problems are very common in children.

Other than soil and food deficiencies low magnesium levels can be caused by an increase in stress levels and also by diabetes and high blood pressure.

Also if the diet is too acidic(too high in acidic foods such as dairy proteins, nuts/seeds, eggs, fish etc with insufficent balancing alkaline foods such as fruit & veges) the body will try to adjust its pH level by drawing on alkaline buffers, such as alkaline minerals such as magnesium and calcium.

This is one reason why the body can become deficient in these minerals even when the diet is high in dairy products containing calcium or nuts and seeds containing magnesium. Both these dietary (dairy products and nuts/seeds) sources are acidic and if not balanced with sufficient fruit and veges the body will need even more minerals to keep the pH balanced.

Magnesium deficiencies have also been associated with insulin resistance and increased risk for type two diabetes in adults. It has been noted by Japanese researchers that not only does magnesium deficiency decrease insulin sensitivity and secretion but also contributes to the development of diabetic microangiopathy.

I have also found the addition of magnesium to help in relieving hot flushes in some cases. However I have also noted that not all types of magnesium appear to work on an equal basis.

The best results I have seen have been with women using Magnesium
Glycinate.
This is a highly absorbable form of magnesium. If trying this method please be sure to also take liquid minerals as well, as although extra magnesium is often indicated post menopause it should ideally be taken in conjunction with other minerals to avoid an imbalance of minerals occurring.
Go to shop for Magnesium Glycinate.

Higher magnesium intake is associated with a higher bone mineral density in both men and women.

Epidemiological studies have confirmed that regions with magnesium rich soils had less cancer than those with low magnesium levels.

Also a warning… often the promotion of Calcium supplements to women by various health organisations, disregards the chronic low in take of magnesium of much of the Australian and NZ populations.

To check calcium / magnesium ratios, the best method I know of is to have a hair analysis. This will show all your mineral levels plus some laboratories will give a list of relevant ratios and details on how to correct them if necessary. See a naturopath to arrange for this to be done. Blood tests, on the other hand, are usually taken for serum Magnesium levels and deficiency may go unnoticed as the bulk of magnesium storage occurs within the cells.
See page on Magnesium: Calcium ratios

Adding vitamin B6 as an additional supplement helps improve the uptake of
magnesium and is often included in good quality products.

 

Macula degeneration

The macula is the very small central part of the retina of the eye.
The retinal cones of the macula are the part of the eye that are most important for sharp, central, straight ahead vision. If the retinal cones are damaged then the images falling on them will be seen incorrectly.

The central line of vision may be blurry or have parts missing, straight lines may be distorted and in advanced cases an object viewed directly ahead may not be able to be seen. Objects to the side may be seen more accurately.

One way in which the retinal cones can become damaged is through small white deposits called Drusen affecting the Bruchs layer on which the macula rests. Drusen are a build up of waste products and indicate a metabolic disturbance in the eye.
Ultraviolet rays from sunlight are known to contribute to the development andprogression of macular degeneration.

Macula degeneration is a progressive disease of the eye and is usually age related, occurring mainly in people over 55 years of age.

There are two different types, known as ‘wet’ or ‘dry’, based on the absence or presence of abnormal growth of blood vessels under the retina.

The ‘dry’ type is the most common and progression of the disease is slow.
The ‘wet’ type, in which the blood vessels under the retina cause leakage, bleeding and scarring is more severe and loss of sight more rapid.

For the ‘dry’ type there is no known treatments but the ‘wet’ type can in some instances be treated with lasers.
I have also so read on the internet that there is a drug under study that may be able to close off the leaking blood vessels and help slow the progress of the disease.

As far as natural treatments go, most are far more effective in hopefully preventing or at least slowing the progress of the condition if it is not already in an advanced state.
All are aimed increasing circulation to the eye and therefore increasing the availability of nutrients to the eye.

Increasing nutrients that are concentrated in the retina can lessen the risk of macula degeneration.
Also, increasing minerals that are known to help heal occurring damage and protect the eye from free radical damage can help immensly.

To try and protect your eyes from macula degeneration and for those wanting to try and prevent further damage:

Firstly, protect your eyes from excessive ultraviolet rays.

Secondly, eat plenty of green and yellow veges as these contain the caroteniods lutein and zeaxanthin (mainly found in maize), which are found in high concentrations in the retina. The function of these pigments is thought to be to absorb blue near-UV light, thereby helping protect the macula from oxidatisation and free radical damage.

Recent research has shown that zeaxanthin is biochemically derived from lutein by the body. Although spinach and other green veges contain good amounts of lutein it has been found that the body metabolises the lutein found in egg yolks more efficiently. There is about 30mcg of lutein in 100gms of yolk. This is a lot of egg yolk.

Lutein can also be found in some herbal supplements designed to aid eye function and for many this can be a more effective method of obtaining lutein.

Thirdly, take supplements as listed below:
-Zinc – prevents further deterioration in the early stages of macula degeneration and also interacts with Vitamin A. Best taken as colloidal minerals but otherwise at least 45mg daily.

-Selenium – also found in colloidal minerals but otherwise 2-400mcg daily.

– Vitamin C – 500-2000mg daily

– Vitamin E – 400IU daily.

– Vitamin A – 15mg.

-Ginkgo Biloba 1-2000mg daily.

-Bilberry (vaccinium myrtillar) 2-3000mg daily.

-Grapeseed – 1000mg daily

– Omega 3 – about 1000mg daily or from oily fish in the diet. Omega 3 is essential to the health of the macula as it prevents the build up of waste products called Drusen.

M.E

See page on ‘Chronic Fatigue Syndrome’

Legionnaire’s Disease

Legionnaires Disease is a severe form of pneumonia caused by the bacterium Legionella pneumophilia.
This is an organism that lives in the water of streams, lakes or mud and although usually harmless can cause disease when it finds its way into water supplies or air conditioning
systems.
Then it can be contracted by inhalation of fine drops of infected water.

The characteristic symptom is extremely high fever, which will be accompanied by malaise, headache (often severe), achy joints then the
development of a non-productive cough with possible diarrhoea and
nausea.
It can easily initially be mistaken for a gastric upset but as it progresses it involves the lungs.
It can also alter the mental status with confusion, lethargy and occasionally delirium.

Usual treatment is with antibiotics but convalescence is often very slow.
To make recovery a little quicker, take a herbal mix of Golden Seal or Indian Barberry together with Echinacea and Withania and/or Bacopa and also Garlic to help improve the immune system.

A blend of lung herbs such as Elecampane, Marshmallow, Fenugreek and Euphorbia would be excellent to help clear the lungs and regain normal functioning.
 ‘Contact us’ if you need to order a herbal blend.

Insect repellents

Insect repellents are another area that you continue to see some pretty nasty chemical concoctions being used, when in reality it is pretty easy to make an effective blend yourself or buy one of the many on the market that are based on natural essential oils.

I have always used a simple blend of Sweet Almond oil and Cider vinegar (a 50:50
solution) with citronella or lemongrass essential oils added.

Lavender oil can be added to this if your friends complain too much at the smell, but
hey, the insects don’t like it either and the almond oil is beautifully nourishing on the skin.

There are other essential oils that the bugs don’t like if you have a real aversion to Citronella, try Geranium.
Neem oil is also used traditionally in some countries to help deter insects.

The cider vinegar makes the solution spray alot better and also helps reduce any
itchiness.

Don’t use an excessive amount as you want it to absorb into the skin, not sit on top and become sticky.

If you already have an allergy to insect bites then a quercetin product will reduce the histamine effect and help you become far more comfortable and less susceptible to allergies in general.

While taking B complex will certainly help deter insects, it appears to be the thiamine (vitamin B1) content that has this effect. Increasing thiamine to 50-100 mg daily may make this more effective.

Other things that can help make you less attractive to insects are eating more garlic and onions.

Also avoiding the use of perfumes, hairsprays and perfumed suntan lotions.

Make sure that you don’t consume sweet foods or drinks, as this will make your skin smell sweet (to a bee!) and avoid the use of alcohol as this can add to the problem by making your skin flush.

You could also try drinking tonic water as the quinine content is known to help keep mosquitoes at bay. Make sure it is the preservative free version.

Up-dated Jan 2017

Infertility

The definition of infertility is ‘the inability to conceive in the past twelve months when no contraception has been used’.
There can be quite a number of reasons why a couple are unable to conceive, the most common being tubal obstruction or pelvic adhesions.
Hormonal imbalances are also high on the list and also male infertility or the presence of anti-sperm antibodies.

In other cases no reason for the apparent infertility can be found and in these cases in particular it is important to look to the overall health of both parents. For any couple the conception of a healthy child is dependent on having two healthy parents and research shows that many dietary, lifestyle and environmental factors can adversely affect reproductive health.

The formation of sperm may take up to 116 days and healthy active sperm require an adequate ZINC status and Vitamin E level.
Adequate levels of Vitamin C and Selenium are also important.
These will not be acquired by a person on a diet high in ‘junk’ foods, sugar, white flour, coffee, alcohol etc. or by a person who is smoking cigarettes.

For sperm to be effective it must be present in sufficient volume, be active, be relatively normal in size and shape and not clumping together.

The quality of sperm is measured by the ‘teratozoospermic index’ (TZI) and is a measure of the number of defects per abnormal sperm. The higher the number, the more defects there are. For example, a TZI of 1.6 or less carries an expected pregnancy rate in the general population of approximately 60%. A TZI of 1.8 has an expected pregnancy rate of 50%, but by 1.9% the rate has dropped to only 11%.

The expected time required by a man to see a difference in this index once he starts
on nutritional and herbal treatments would be about 4 months, however if he has
a lot of detoxifying to do or weight to lose, then the time frame can well be longer

For a man to improve his chances of becoming a Dad he should always firstly address his diet and life style. Eat lots or fresh organic foods and absolutely no junk foods, refined foods, food with added sugars (soft drinks etc) and no alcohol.
Stop smoking if this is applicable!

Also take Colloidal minerals daily to further increase mineral levels in the
body especially Zinc and Selenium.
See page on Minerals – why we need to supplement’.

Taking extra vitamin B12 has been shown in studies to increase sperm number and motility, as has Co enzyme Q10.
B12 is best taken in conjunction with B Complex. See page on ‘B12’.

Vitamin C is essential for normal sperm mobility and to avoid ‘clumping’ of the
sperm. It is particularly necessary if a male is exposed to toxins or cigarette smoke. Vitamin C may also reduce the number of defective or damaged sperm.

Sperm also need to be protected against free radicals and although minerals such as Zinc, selenium and copper plus vitamins such as vitamin A, C and E all have the ability to reduce free radical damage at times there may be call to add further anti-oxidants. Green tea, grape seed and all blue and red berries come into this category.

Herbs such as Panax Ginseng, Withania, Tribulus, Maca, Damiana and Astragalus are adaptogens or tonics and can also be useful, but are not aphrodisiacs as some people think.
See page on ‘Impotence’.

Ova, require 100 days prior to ovulation to mature. During this preconception time both sperm and ova are susceptible to damage and require adequate nutrition to ensure healthy development. Diet is extremely important. Lots of fresh foods and NO junk, added sugars, white flour etc.

Polycystic Ovary Disease can be a common problem, at times not diagnosed until infertility becomes an issue.
See page on PCOD.

As always MINERALS are extremely important.
Zinc
is often lowered by the use of contraceptives, I.U.Ds and Iron supplements.
Most women know that extra Folic acid is required for healthy fetal development,
but Zinc deficiency can result in impaired asorption of Folic acid.

Iodine, lack of this element can cause sub clinical Hypothyriodism which can interfere with ovulation and impair fertility.

Also all B Vitamin deficiencies have been associated with fertility problems, miscarriage, low birth weight etc.
One of the most common reasons for being deficient in B vitamins would be the use of cigarettes and excessive use of coffee and alcohol.
Coffee and smoking in particular are known to decrease chances of becoming pregnant.

All deficiencies need to be corrected well before becoming pregnant not just Folic
acid. So, extra minerals, Folic acid, B vitamins, fresh organic foods and absolutely no junk foods, coffee or alcohol.

In some cases as well as following the guidelines above extra detoxification may be indicated.
Toxic metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic can create problems with sperm and ova production and mineral deficiencies can at times be attributed to excess heavy metals.

Detoxification of all kinds can be improved by increasing mineral levels, especially Zinc and Selenium, and then in addition using herbal liver tonics for 1-3 months.
If heavy metals are suspected then further investigation will be needed and chelating products used.
Click here for more information on Detoxification.

At times there may be also a need to balance hormone levels. In this case herbs that contain phytoestrogens such as Dong Quai, Paeonia, Chaste tree (Vitex Agnus castus), Wild Yam etc can all help greatly as they work by tonifying and balancing the reproductive organs.
‘Contact us’ to order herbal extracts.

These things are far best taken care of prior to conception as due to the
speed of development of the foetus, many important processes occur very early in
the pregnancy that are dependent on the existing nutritional and toxicological
status of the parents.
See notes on ‘Pregnancy- Healthy’

Pregnancy – healthy

Many studies have shown that improved general health and an improved out look
on lifestyle can greatly improve couples chances of conceiving a healthy child and carrying full term through a healthy pregnancy.
Improved health will also facilitate a straight forward labour and make breast feeding a
lot easier.

It is best to consider at least four to six months off any contraceptive pill prior to attempting conception. This will allow the body time to re-balance its hormonal cycle, to tonify generally and to raise mineral levels.

Use Natural Family planning methods with the use of abstinence or barrier methods of contraception during the fertile periods instead.

It is important for both parents to follow a healthy regime, not just the prospective mother, as in many cases of failed conception it is the males sperm that is deficient and the quality of sperm is greatly related to mineral (especially zinc) and vitamin levels.

Generally it takes about four months to see a difference in the TZI (teratozoospermic index) in a man but this can take longer where there is a lot of weight to lose or detoxification to do.

Both parents must totally avoid the use of alcohol, caffeine, smoking and all but absolutely necessary medical drugs.

Both parents must eat good fresh whole foods, if possible organically grown but at least as free as possible from additives and preservatives. Avoid canned meats and fish and any food that could possibly be spoiled.

Both parents need to make an effort to greatly improve mineral levels. Improving the diet will help do this but in most cases it is advisable to supplement with mineral as well. One of the best means of raising mineral levels is to use Colloidal minerals. Spirulina or Barley grass added to the diet will also work well and have the
added advantage adding extra vitamins and protein.
See page on ‘Minerals – facts’ and Minerals – why we need to supplement’.

It is a good idea to obtain a mineral analysis (hair or urine) to check the mineral status and also to check for the presence of heavy metals that may be affecting the health status of the body.

Both parents need to follow a regular exercise program (but be sure that it
is not an excessive one) and if necessary learn relaxation techniques.

Especially do not stress over ‘not becoming pregnant’ this month!! It will happen when the body is ready.

If necessary seek treatment for any health issue or hormonal imbalances.
Often areas of concern will improve as the nutritional status of the body improves, but in other cases herbal remedies may be needed to help tonify the body.

If continually using a computer all day, then perhaps a little Kelp is also needed to supply extra iodine. This will help counteract the effects of radiation and the electromagnetic fields from the computer to a point, but it may also be worthwhile to invest in a bio shield or a similar device to further block these energies.

Recommended reading: ‘Better Babies’ by Francesca Naish.

Indigestion

See page on ‘Heartburn/reflux’

Impotence

As far as I am aware there are three main causes of impotence and the associated problems such as having trouble maintaining an erection, premature ejaculation and low libido.

Firstly, a deficiency in minerals, especially of Zinc and Magnesium.
Good results have been obtained in some cases just by increasing these minerals – taken as Colloidal minerals (which are especially high in these two elements), along with extra vitamin B6 and B12.

Secondly, insufficient blood flow to the penis, which may be restricted for a variety of reasons including obesity, arteriosclerosis, smoking or stress.
The erectile tissues within the penis are called ‘corpora cavernosa’. These spongy tissues fill with blood on arousal, to produce an erection. The size and strength of the erection depends on how much blood the body pumps into the corpora cavernosa.
Most remedies are aimed at improving this function.

Many natural herbal combinations will contain herbs that have a long history of helping sexual dysfunction and on study have been found to work in
the main through their ability to improve the overall health of the body
and in some cases to increase testosterone levels and balance hormones.

Maca root, Yohimbe, Tribulus, Horny goat Weed, Macuna, Sarsaparilla and Ginseng are all examples of this type of herb.

Saw Palmetto is another herb that can have profound effect, its action being more on the prostate gland, but it can prove very effective in increasing, maintaining or even having an erection.
None of these herbs actually contain testosterone, the effect they have on the male hormones is in most probability created by the effect they have on the hypothalamus and the pituitary glands.

Maca is a root vegetable that is indigenous to Peru. It has long been used to increase fertility, sperm counts and mobility in males and improve conception in females. There are few scientific studies at this stage only centuries of successful use.

Tribulus, appears to increase the production of testosterone, regulate hormone balance and act as a rejuvenation tonic. To be effective high doses of the herb are required.
The recommended dose being 250mg of standardised concentrate, equivalent to 10gm of dried herb, containing 100mg of furostanol saponins, taken three times daily. For there to be sufficient furostanol saponins, the preparations need to be made with the above ground
parts of the plant.

Ginseng acts in a similar manner and also need to be taken in high doses to be effective. Around 2.5 – 5gm of root per day or the extract equivalants. Both these herbs are known as adaptogens which mean they act as tonics to the body as a whole and often help other remedies work more effectively.
Ginseng is also thought to help relax the smooth muscle of the penis which enables the blood to flow more freely.

Ginkgo is often included not because it increases testosterone but because it helps open up the very small capillaries and also enables blood to flow more easily.

Yohimbe is the inner bark of a West African tree and once again has long been used to improve sexual dysfunction. Its other uses are to help relieve anxiety and depression and to help build muscle tissue

Horny Goat Weed is part of traditional Chinese medicine and like Tribulus and Ginseng it has been found to increase testosterone levels and has the ability to improve sexual performance.

Another frequent component of these remedies is L-Arginine.
L-Arginine is an amino acid which is the precursor to the body synthesising nitric oxide. Nitric oxide in the body enables the arterial system to maintain its elasticity and in this way is involved in the production and maintenance of erections.
L-arginine is also required to help regulate blood flow and may in some cases help alleviate high blood pressure.
It is also used to improve fertility in men, and to improve the immune system

All these remedies will offer a milder but more natural and safer approach to improving sexual health.

In some cases, diabetes can be a factor as can some medications.

Some drugs used to treat hypertension, allergy, depression and reflux are known to cause erectile problems. If you suspect that this may be a factor in your case check with your GP. In these cases the under lying problems must be addressed and they are subjects in them selves.

Thirdly, emotional problems can be a big factor and are often made worse by the problem itself.
Stress, of any sort can have a very debilitating effect as can fatigue and depression. Emotional problems obviously need to be dealt with in their own context, however supplementing with minerals, vitamins and stress relieving herbs can play an important part in helping the situation.

In these situations the intake of alcohol, coffee and nicotine also often increases and all can be detrimental as they cause blood vessels to constrict and therefore restrict the flow of blood to the penis.

Impetigo

Impetigo is usually caused by staphylococcus aureus or by streptococcus, which on many people is carried normally on the skin.
At times however, after superficial trauma to the skin, insect bites, scratching etc, it can cause infection, especially if the immune system is weakened and may become highly contagious and resistant to antibiotics.

It can definitely be stress related as stress in itself will greatly weaken the immune status of the body. In stressful situations (and this includes all situations of stress including the use of antibiotics and also the stress of being unwell) it takes a lot of effort to maintain or regain an efficient immune system.
Often simply being ‘health conscious and eating well’ are not sufficient.

The first recommendation in times of stress or infection is always a daily dose of Colloidal minerals, as minerals are the basis of the body’s ability to maintain good health.
It is important in particular to maintain a sufficiently high Zinc level which the use of a good Colloidal mineral will do.
If high mineral levels are maintained all the time then the immune status will gradually improve.
See page on Minerals – why we need to Supplement’.

Also, a herbal blend such as Echinacea and Golden Seal will further boost the immune status and Golden Seal is particularly effective in combating any Staphylococcus infection.
If treating a child these herbs can be added to a Homeobotanical remedy.

A regular dose of Vitamin C will also help prevent reoccurrence.

If these measures are continued in a regular basis, long term, they will help the body to maintain a healthy condition even in times of stress.

Externally, I have found one of the most effective treatments is to apply a tincture of Golden Seal (sometimes mixed with Calendar, Echinacea or Pau D’arco) directly to the cleansed lesion. This may sting momentarily but is effective and helps dry the lesion. This can be done several times daily. It can be a good idea to also apply this to the surrounding skin as an added deterrent to further infection.
‘Contact us’  if you need herbal remedies.

It is also important to thoroughly wash contaminated clothing,
bedding and towels in HOT soapy water or an antibacterial agent to help prevent re-infection.

If lesions are present then a loose bandage put around the area can be useful to stop infection spreading, but do not use sticking plasters as removing the plaster can cause disturbance of the skin and the infection will spread.

Also make sure that a ‘proper’ soap is being used to wash the skin and not a flowing soap. At times these types of soap do not appear to kill or remove the staphylococcus from the skin.

 

Immunoglobulins

The original question here was ‘what exactly are ‘immunoglobulins’ and how do you improve their level in the body, particularly when the immune system is very low in all respects?’

…..Gamma globulins are a group of globulin proteins found in human blood plasma. The term gamma globulins was/is often used as a synonym for immunoglobulins as most immunoglobulins are gamma globulins. However the usage is now in decline.

Immunoglogulins are an antibody substance produced as a protective reaction of the body’s immune system to disease producing organisms. The term hypogammaglobulinaemia simply means a deficiency of gamma glogulins.
Immunoglobulins are often known as ‘Igs’ (its easier!).

There are five major types:

IgA: generally protects body surfaces that are exposed to outside foreign substances, so is found in areas such as nose, breathing passages, digestive tract etc.
IgG: found in all body fluids.
IgM: found in blood and lymph and are the first type to respond to infection.
IgE: found in the lungs, skin, mucus membranes and cause reaction against substances such as pollens, animal hair etc.
IgD: found in small amounts in tissues of the abdomen.

So now that the meaning of what a gamma globulin is, is hopefully clearer, how to improve their function.

A method I have often recommended to help improve the immunoglobulin level in the body is to use a Colostrum based product that contains IgA and IgG as well as having other immune boosting properties.
Colostrum would also can help to improve energy.
Please ‘Contact us’ if you would like this product or, if unsure whether this product is for you, then send your query and details to ‘Ask Alison’.

In addition, the use of specific probiotics, such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus (strain HN001) will help as it is specific for infections and allergies.
See page on Probiotics.

The use of specific immune boosting herbals can also help. Herbs such as Echinacea, Astragalus, Reishi mushroon etc can all be effective.
There is also further information on boosting the immune system under
‘Chemotherapy – boosting the immune system’.

Hot flushes

HOT FLUSHES…what else to try when you don’t want to use HRT and Black Cohosh
hasn’t helped.

I have often noticed that the women who approach me about experiencing hot flushes and who have without success tried many different possible solutions, are usually those who are tired, over worked or stressing for some other reason.

When a woman is over tired or stressed I have often found Siberian Ginseng is an excellent herb to use. It helps the body to cope, during all times of stress but particularly during menopause.

Often I would add California poppy, Withania or perhaps Radiola (where there are symptoms of adrenal stress) to this prescription. These do need to be taken for a number of months to gain maximum benefit.
Please ‘Contact us’ if you would like this product or, if unsure which herbs are for you, then send your query and details to ‘Ask Alison’.

I have also found the addition of magnesium to help in relieving hot flushes in some cases. However I have also noted that not all types of magnesium appear to work on an equal basis.
The best results I have seen have been with women using Magnesium Glycinate.
This is a highly absorbable form of magnesium.
If trying this method please be sure to also take liquid minerals as well, as although extra magnesium is often indicated post menopause it should ideally be taken in conjunction with other minerals to avoid an imbalance of minerals occurring.

Deficiency of magnesium in post menopausal women has been shown to impair glucose tolerance, be one possible cause of heart arrhythmias and is essential for bone and cardiovascular health.

Magnesium also protects against insomnia, depression, anxiety, and stress.
Go to On-line shop for Magnesium Glycinate.

Keep in mind that when magnesium helps this complaint then it is helping the muscles of the body to relax and on some occasions I have found that there is excessive of tension/congestion around the occipital (top of neck) area.
Once this congestion is relieved the Hot Flushes recede.
If you think  this could be part of your problem then either make an appointment to see me (if living locally) or to see your nearest Osteopath.

I have also noticed that increased levels of some antioxidants have helped reduce menopausal symptoms, which may be connected with the extra Vitamin C that some of these contain or may be connected with the plant sterols that antioxidants using Acai berry contain.
In particular I have noted the skin retain/regain its elasticity and vaginal dryness improve as well as overall well being. Sometimes there is a reduction of hot flushes but not always.

Soya foods / capsules have benefited many women as soya is one of a group of food that contain ‘phytoestrogens’ which can help balance hormones.

For some women supplementation with Vitamin E has helped and for others supplementation with Evening Primrose Oil.
Evening Primrose Oil would need to be used at a rate of 3000mg daily and usually greatly reduces stress/inflammation levels which can predispose some women to hot flushes.

Other than these ideas I suggest continuing to use Black Cohosh as it definitely does help over time. The addition of another herb such as Agnus Castus or Dong Quai, which have also been used traditionally to support women through menopause may also be helpful.

Hirsutism – excessive body hair

If there is evidence of excessive body hair then it is possible that the problem is caused by a hormonal imbalance. This could be checked by undergoing a blood test.

If the problem is severe then it may also be a good idea to have your GP check for polycystic ovary disease, which can be an underlying cause of excessive hair growth (hirsutism).
See page on Polycystic Ovary Disease.

However hirsutism can also be idiopathic, that is, of no known cause.

Taking a contraceptive pill can also cause symptoms such as excess facial hair.

If a contraceptive pill is not a factor, then it is possible to treat hirsutism caused by high androgen (male hormone) levels with herbal remedies.

A combination that is known to reduce testosterone levels and therefore help
reduce abnormal hair growth is one of Licorice and Paeonia.

Other herbs that can reduce the effects of androgens are Sarsaparilla and Damiana, however these are possibly not as effective.

It can be possible to obtain good results using a combination of herbal remedies to balance hormones plus IPL treatments.

 

Polycystic Ovary Disease

Women with true Polycystic Ovary Disease will usually produce low levels of oestrogen and excessive levels of androgens with elevated LH and low FSH level.
The excessive amount of androgens produced seems to prevent ovulation and normal
follicular development, the end result being “the formation of small cystic follicles instead of mature follicles with the capacity to ovulate” (Trickey p.265)

The characteristic signs and symptoms of PCOD are often an absence of ovulation, or scanty menstruation, obesity, acne and hirsutism (excessive hairiness). Elevated blood insulin level is also characteristic of PCOD.
Often the thyroid is underactive.

Excessive androgens are also the cause of the acne problem and in many cases excess male pattern hair growth.
The condition appears to originate in the ovary.

Diane 35, is an androgen antagonist containing cyproterone acetate and a small amount of ethinyloestrodial . It can cause side effects such as break-through bleeding, breast changes, cervical changes etc.

The natural approach to treating P.C.O.D. is aimed at reducing the excess androgens, stimulating ovulation and protecting the endometrium.

A herb such as Vitex Agnus Cactus (Chaste Tree) is capable of stimulating ovulation as well as reducing androgen excess and helping maintain a regular cycle, (a regular cycle protects the endometrium from cellular damage caused by an elevated and prolonged oestrogen level).

Paeonia Lactiflora (White Peony) and Licorice is a combination that has long been used in both Chinese and Japanese traditional herbal medicine to reduce excess androgens and Paeonia has the additional benefit of helping normalise follicular development and reduce the incidence of ovarian cysts.

Tribulus has been used in cases of PCOD, on days 5-14 of the cycle. The cycles regulate in the majority of cases. Many go on to conceive.
Chaste Tree can be used concurrently throughout the cycle.

Black Cohosh can be added to help reduce LH levels (Lutenising hormone) which will usually be elevated in cases of P.C.O.D. as it occurs in association with excess androgen production.
Good results can be obtained with combinations of the above herbs, often with other herbs added depending on each individual condition and set of symptoms. However, they do need to be taken long term and results can vary.

If obesity is a problem them Kelp may well be added to the herbal combination.
One study found that in pateints that lost weight using a low calory diet and exercise, there was a significant reduction in ovarian volume and number of microfollicles per ovary. (Crosignani PG et al. 2003)

This piece of research (off the web) may also be of interest to some:
‘As you might expect from a glance at the symptoms, PCOS is a result of there being too much testosterone (the male sex hormone) in circulation.  Testosterone is not an exclusively male hormone.  Women have it too, but generally circulating at about 10 percent of the male level.
Doctors have long known that women with PCOS not only have higher circulating testosterone, but they also have extremely low levels of very important protein, the charmingly named Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin (SHBG). 

One of SHBG’s jobs is to keep testosterone out of circulation.  By binding to testosterone, SHBG controls the amount of free (and therefore active) testosterone in our bloodstream.  Having low levels of SHBG seems to result in there being too much testosterone in women.

It’s also well established that people who are obese or who have insulin resistance or Type II Diabetes have extremely low levels of SHBG.  In fact low SHBG is such a reliable indicator of insulin resistance that SHBG testing is being proposed as a good early indicator of the development of Type II Diabetes.

For a long time researchers have believed that insulin resistance is the cause of the low levels of SHBG.  That would mean that PCOS is a consequence of being insulin resistant but 2012 study has shown that is not the case.  It turns out that insulin levels do not affect the level of SHBG, but the presence of fat around the liver affects both the insulin level and the SHBG level.

One really sure way to create a fatty liver is to consume large amounts of fructose.  Because fructose is (directly and immediately) converted to fat (by our liver) it’s the single most efficient way to get the job done.

The best way to prove that theory is of course to try feeding a healthy person high quantities of fructose and see if they develop fatty liver, insulin resistance and PCOS.  Because volunteers for that kind of fun might be a bit thin on the ground researchers have had to resort to rats as the model. You can’t use any old garden variety rats.  To be certain you need to use rats that have been bred with the human gene for the production of SHBG. 

In 2007 a group of Canadian researchers tried feeding so-called transgenic rats glucose and fructose to see what happened.  They found both sugars suppressed SHBG production but fructose was twice as effective (glucose 40%, fructose 80% suppression) and fructose was especially quick, causing its damage after just three days.  They found the SHBG effect was caused by the accumulation of the fats created as a result of processing the fructose.

Joining some dots here it does not seem like a big leap to say that insulin resistance, Type II Diabetes, fatty liver disease and PCOS are all part of the same bunch of joy you can expect from consuming fructose. 

Fructose directly increases the amount of circulating testosterone in women.  More testosterone directly impairs a woman’s ability to conceive.  The single most effective way for a woman to increase her chances of having a baby is for her to stop eating fructose. 

When fructose is removed, hormone levels return to normal, PCOS symptoms disappear and fertility is restored’.