New Histamine Beginners Guide

The Beginner's Guide to Histamine Intolerance by [Joneja, Janice]   This time, not one of my books! Dr Janice Joneja (her of the really useful Histamine Intolerance Q&A you can see on my histamine section here) has brought out a new Beginner’s Guide which I read and reviewed last week.

I thought it was great and will be very useful when people ask me: ‘Is it HIT (histamine intolerance), allergy or MCAS?’ I shall say: read this and then come back to me!

Available as an e-book here on Amazon UK, here on Amazon US.  And you can see my mini review of it here.

Meantime, here is the intro blurb to start you off, well done Janice!

A distillation of her years of research and experience in a really easy-to-understand format – complete with suggestions for a low histamine diet.
‘For the first time in this long, exhausting, lonely journey, I finally feel like I’ve been pointed in the right direction to find answers and wellness! Thank you Dr. Joneja!!’

If you’re struggling with your health, but the doctor can’t find anything actually wrong with you, then perhaps you have Histamine Intolerance. It’s a condition with a range of unpleasant symptoms, which can include headaches, flushing, itching, hives, swollen facial tissues, racing heart, digestive problems, irritability and more.

Many doctors don’t know much about Histamine Intolerance, although it’s estimated that 1% of the world’s population suffers from it. If you’re one of them, you’ll know first-hand how distressing and frustrating the disorder can be.

Dr Janice Vickerstaff Joneja saw the misery that this condition caused sufferers, and made it the focus of her research work; she’s been studying the condition and helping patients since the 1990s.

She’s now created this easy-to-read guide—which will help you understand if you have Histamine Intolerance, and what you can do about it—with clear advice and explanations, lots of interesting real-life cases, plus diet and treatment recommendations.

If you wonder if your symptoms could be caused by Histamine Intolerance—or if you believe they are and want to know what to do about it—this book is for you.

IBS Factsheet & Gut Plan Update for IBS Month!

April is IBS Awareness month apparently –  and I’ve just managed to get in before the end of the month to update the IBS resources for you, phew! Been meaning to do it for ages.

So, for your delectation, I have extended the IBS factsheet for you, adding a ton more info and updating all the links. I’ve waxed lyrical on serotonin and the gut, magnesium levels, food intolerance, thyroid, the gut-brain connection and the like.

Gut Plan 3DA much bigger job: I have also completely revised and updated the Gut Plan – and brought it down in price to make it accessible for as many of you as possible. I’ve checked all products, reviewed the protocols, changed innumerable links (sorry; it’s a full-time job keeping links updated!), added two more issues to consider in the ‘What else could be wrong?’ section and amalgamated all the bonus guides into the actual plan so it hangs together even better, I hope 🙂

It’s now a lovely 66 pages of help and support for you, whether you need a gut and liver programme or a body MOT – we used it all the time as a first-step protocol for 3 months often no matter what anyone came into clinic with – and it rarely let us down. I still advise it now for all manner of things. Get the body environment right and healing will follow…

You can read all about the Gut Plan here. And I’ve even made an A5 paperback version for you so you don’t need to read it on screen.

In fact, the bowel & digestion section of the A-Z is quite extensive now so do check it out. We have factsheets now on: constipation, gallbladder pain, SIgA (the gut immunity marker), SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) and ulcerative colitis.  There’s also quite an extensive one on leaky gut here. Some factsheets are quite small for now, but I am extending them and building more as I go along. I hope they help.

The Gut Plan

Meantime, for IBS Awareness week, here’s a bit of the new factsheet to start you off:

What causes IBS?

There are loads of possible causes here and it depends very much on what type and pattern of symptoms a person has. Here are some thoughts to start you off…

Food Intolerance and Poor Digestion

The biggest cause I have seen over the years is food sensitivity and poor digestion, which is why the Gut Plan below targets that (and more) below. Removing the most common foods involved usually helps, so follow the Gut Plan first. If not, then these might be some other things to think about:

 

Serotonin

If you are the constipated type and especially if you have some of the symptoms in the more severe list, maybe look at levels of serotonin. Why? Well, people don’t realise that up to 90% of our serotonin (the happy neurotransmitter) is made in the gut and it is therefore termed not just a brain neurotransmitter, but an enteric – or gut – one. If you cut the nerves from the brain to the gut, the gut would still work!

Serotonin affects the peristalsis of the muscles in the gut mainly. So, if you have too little of it, you’ll slow up (constipation) and if you have too much of it, you’ll speed up (diarrhoea). That’s why serotonin meds like receptors and agonists are used in IBS cases. However, serotonin is also important in controlling chronic pain, and in what I call hypersensitivity illnesses like CFS, FM, multiple intolerance. So, you can see how it might be worth looking into.

Certainly, I have seen people use 5-HTP, a precursor of serotonin, quite successfully to increase gut movement. Useful herbs to decrease serotonin in diarrhoea cases include ginger and peppermint. 

You can test serotonin levels using one of the neurotransmitter tests here

Interestingly, you can boost serotonin levels effectively using meditation and relaxation techniques too, so do look at the Mind-Body medicine section and especially the Healing Plan if you have some of those illnesses. I wrote it for you! I’ve written some more about this in the Gut Plan below too.

 

Nutrient deficiency

I should imagine a lot of the key issues also come down to poor absorption of nutrients. Magnesium is particularly key, not least because it is anti-spasmodic and the anti-anxiety mineral. Most of those conditions above are somehow connected to magnesium so check red blood cell levels (a standard test can be quite misleading). Interestingly, you also need magnesium as well as B6, B1 (thiamine) and folate for effective serotonin conversion and peristalsis in the gut. 

Follow step 1 in the Gut Plan (below) to improve digestion and absorption and check your nutrient levels here.

 

Adrenals & thyroid

A sub-set of patients with IBS have symptoms such as palpitations, hyperventilation, fatigue, excessive sweating and headaches and I would be looking there first at food allergy/intolerance reactions, adrenals, thyroid and the magnesium level again to start with.

Continue reading here.

 

 

Acupressure for Insomnia

This popped into my inbox today about insomnia so I thought I would share it as I know a few of you suffer with it. Made me sleepy watching him yawn!

The Thymus Thump

Image result for thymus gland diagramIf you’ve got an infection or are coming down with something, you can do something called the Thymus Thump (or Thymus Tap or even Thymus Pump) to stimulate your thymus gland to make more white blood cells. Clever, huh?

I had forgotten about it until today when I found myself in need of some thymus support. One of my lingering symptoms has been the mouth infections and sores which have never gone, despite antibiotic and all manner of my own attempts to crack them. I’ve had a rotten flare up of it in the last few weeks with mouth pain, ear pressure, swollen lymph nodes in my jaw, neck pain, collarbone pain etc – an infection, no doubt. But, no matter what I have done, it won’t go.

So, last week, Julie and I worked on removing any emotional trauma stuck in the area, which sounds a bit mad, I know, but there had to be something blocking healing somewhere, so we did some clearance in the area in a hypnotherapy session. I envisioned loads of gunge coming away. Ugh. the pain I had been in for days went an hour later. Go figure.

Unfortunately, it did come back 😦

A week later, I am now feeling like I’ve got flu; my whole body aches in the lymph areas, my chest is congested and gunge is on the move in real life. Not very nice, but I have chosen to think that the body has at last got the ability to heal and fight in that area with the emotional trauma block removed.

So, I was thinking about what I could do to encourage it to fight and end this flamin’ mouth infection and inflammation once and for all.

I have sent healing love to my body, thanking it for trying so hard for me, drunk some thyme and rosemary tea, inhaled hyssop essential oil, massaged teatree oil onto the lymph nodes and gum sores. And then I remembered the thymus thump.

The thymus is the master immunity gland, if you like. It’s where we produce and control T cells for fighting infection. It does a lot more than that but I’m focusing on immune-strengthening here. Basically, as children, our thymus gland is full and healthy, but as we age, it often becomes smaller and weaker.

I have often tested people’s IgA levels to see what their thymus level is like and then given thymus glandulars to boost production, when appropriate. But, the thymus tap is another DIY way we can do this. The thymus sits behind our breastbone just above the heart and tapping it vigorously is believed to ‘wake it up’ and get it working more on your behalf. I’ve not read any science behind it – it is an old Ayurvedic tradition I believe, but I choose to do it anyway!

As usual, there are myriad videos on YouTube about it. Here are a couple I liked:

This chap gives a good explanation of the thymus gland and its importance:

And this lady gives a nice explanation of how to do the thymus tap (I prefer tap; it sounds more gentle!):

 

So, I am thinking positively, encouraging the fight like a good little naturopath and tapping away at my thymus! I hope it works and my body can get rid of the darn infection at long last. Six years is a long time to have an infection in your gob! Wish me luck!

(This is a mind-body medicine sort of blog post, which I will post on the new blog at http://www.mind-bodymedicine.co.uk as it fits in with the Healing Plan stuff, but I will always post them here too if I think it is generally useful.)

No More ARG Zen: Alternatives For You

200 mg of ZenFor those of you following one of the Adrenal Plans, you will know about the brilliant anti-anxiety, cortisol-lowering Allergy Research Group Zen product. It’s worked for most like a dream. But it has just been delisted in the UK – aargh!! I wish they would stop doing this. The reason is because we now not allowed to sell straight GABA, it seems; a bit like we can’t have pure DHEA in the UK – which is actually not a bad thing in my book, but that is a whole other story.

I do actually prefer encouraging the body to make its own substances like oestrogen, cortisol, DHEA and GABA etc where possible because that way the body can decide how much it needs. Doing otherwise is a sort of form of HRT – a replacement therapy – rather than a boost the production therapy, like using 7 keto-zyme as a precursor for DHEA rather than too-strong-in-many-cases straight DHEA itself, for example or giving oestrogen or progesterone for hormone difficulties instead of checking and boosting the adrenals. That said, sometimes needs must and that’s when I’ve used it.

OK, so up to now, we have used straight GABA in Zen to increase GABA levels in the nervous system and brain. GABA is the key inhibitory neurotransmitter and is therefore very calming; some people call it the body’s Valium. Essentially, we were using it in cases of acute stress adrenal profiles to lower the stress levels and decrease the need for the adrenals to pump out cortisol – simply put: in a nutshell it was to lower stress levels when cortisol was high.

So, now Zen has gone, we need to find other ways of doing that. Obviously, it goes without saying that this is in addition to the usual lowering stress techniques like meditation, yoga, breathwork, controlling your blood sugar, ensuring magnesium levels (known to increase GABA itself) and your B vits.

The other thing we need to say is that I always prefer you do a neurotransmitter test and work with a practitioner when using these sort of things, please. These are complex supplements, designed to support and change brain levels of some key elements. Always best to know what you need rather than just stick stuff in.

So, that said, here is a list of your possible alternatives and I will change the Adrenal Plans accordingly for you too. I offer a few ideas so that you can choose what might suit you best. As always, start low and build up, trial to see how you get on and follow all the manufacturer’s – and your practitioner’s – instructions.

A straight alternative for now to Zen would be Quicksilver GABA with L Theanine, exactly the same as Zen but half the strength. Four pumps equals one capsule of Zen. I assume that will go soon too. Not TGF. You can find a lot more info on it here.

Next best, and the one I will be using in the Adrenal Plans, is NeuroScience Kavinace which includes what GABA is made from in the body plus taurine, which is also a known precursor for GABA production. TGF safe – yay! Here’s a bit more info on this one for you:

Neuroscience Kavinace 120 caps combines two powerful ingredients that together effectively address symptoms of stress, anxiousness, and sleep issues. This formula contains the GABA derivative 4-amino-3-phenylbutyric acid, which easily crosses the blood-brain barrier and acts as a GABAB agonist.*1 Kavinace also contains taurine, which functions as a calming amino acid.* Taurine is a GABAA agonist and may increase GABA levels by increasing synthesis, preventing breakdown, and blocking reuptake of GABA.*2-4 Kavinace also includes vitamin B6, an important cofactor for the synthesis of GABA.

It’s a highly specialist product that one so not cheap. If you need a cheaper alternative, you could of course take Taurine or L-Theanine on their own.

Taurine is often used at 500mg twice a day on an empty tum to support GABA production. It’s the most often used supplement for GABA-calming. ARG do a 500mg version here. TGF.

Or, Higher Nature do L-Theanine 100mg. There was 100mg per capsule in Zen. TGF.

Interestingly, L-Theanine works partly by blocking glutamate receptors but can raise dopamine so if it makes you feel more anxious, I’d be testing your neurotransmitters to see if your dopamine is high – which it can be in CSS (central sensitivity syndrome) – ME/FM, chronic pain and sensitivity type patients, take note.

Finally, when I moaned at ARG, who are acutely aware of most of my TGF patient needs by now!, they reminded me that liver is a precursor food for GABA. So, munch more liver or take a liver product – I’ve actually got some of this to try myself for other reasons, but haven’t dared yet as I can’t stand the stuff ;).

Anyway, I have partly shared all this with you so you can make choices, but also to show you what exactly goes on in my day to day life of creating these plans and protocols for you! It’s not as easy as you might think – especially when the rules keep changing!

To finish: you might find this article useful if you are suffering anxiety as it gives a good overall rundown of what to do and consider:

How to Reduce Anxiety and Stress

And see my factsheet on Stress, Anxiety & Depression here.

Hope that helps; I’m off for a lie down! Meantime, here is the info on recommended suppliers if you need it – I just remembered that right at the end!

New Diabetes Tests On Shop

test iconDon’t you just love it when the Universe sends you just what you need at the time you need it?! Here’s me sitting trying to work out how to service you with proper diabetes screening – which you would think is simple, but is not it turns out! – and up pops a reminder from Regenerus about Doctor’s Data’s new Metabolomic Profile which has the key diabetes indicators on it and much more for a great value price. Yay!

So, I  have today listed on the shop two versions of that for you – one bloodspot and one serum and I have also listed the separate elements from TDL as I know some of you want to monitor certain diabetes and blood sugar markers regularly and in different combinations. I aim to please.

So, here is some blurb on the new Metabolomic Test from Regenerus and you can see the tests in the Specific Health Conditions section on the shop. That is coming along nicely now – we have infections, osteoporosis, detoxification, cardiovascular, immunology, chemicals, mould toxins and more as I find and assess ones I think can really help you.

The DD Metabolomic Profile is offered in both blood and blood spot collections.  These tests were developed due to increasing awareness of the need to detect metabolic syndrome before it progresses to adult-onset diabetes and related health consequences. The profiles are designed to assess the likelihood of metabolic syndrome in ‘at-risk’ patients.  

 As always – prevention is better than cure, and early detection is vital in this area.  We all know that you don’t wake up one morning with diabetes – there will be signs and symptoms along the way – sometimes they are ignored – and sometimes they aren’t screened for effectively or early enough. 

Contributing factors for the development of metabolic syndrome may include obesity, insulin resistance, polycystic ovary disease, hormone imbalance or a sedentary, unhealthy (smoking, etc.) lifestyle.    “Over nutrition” and poor dietary choices (highly processed, high fat, high salt, high sugar “empty-calorie” foods), combined with sedentary habits interact with our genetic programming: we store extra calories as fat.  Fat cells (adipocytes) produce hormones (adipokines) that interact with the hypothalamus and or immune system and may have pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory effects.  Altered adipokine levels have been observed in Metabolic syndrome. 

The biomarkers that constitute the Metabolomic Profile include:

Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) – estimates the average blood glucose concentration for the life of the red blood cell (120 days)
Insulin – levels of insulin elevate early in type II diabetes, and then decrease as pancreatic beta cells lose function
High sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) – estimates the risk of cardiovascular disease
Leptin – leptin is a hormone produced by adipocytes to provide a satiety signal to the hypothalamus. Elevated circulating levels of leptin are associated with adipose tissue abundance, and a leptin resistance may ensue. High levels of this adipokine may have pro-inflammatory effects, and leptin accelerates arterial foam cell formation.

*Adiponectin – improves insulin sensitivity and stimulates glucose uptake in adipocytes, and adiponectin has been shown to reduce lipid accumulation in foam cells in vitro.  Very low levels of this anti-inflammatory adipokine may increase the risk for certain cancers.
*Leptin to Adiponectin ratio– the ratio of leptin to adiponectin appears to be a sensitive indicator for a variety of health conditions.  

(*only available in the full blood test, not the finger-prick test).

Patients that may especially benefit from the Metabolomic Profile include those with:

  • Increased waist size or body mass index (BMI) >30
    •  High triglycerides or need for cholesterol medication
    •  Low HDL cholesterol or need for cholesterol medication
    •  Hypertension or need for hypertension medication
    •  Fasting Glucose > 100 mg/dL
    •  Family or personal history of cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol or type II diabetes
    •  Personal history of chronic inflammatory disease

 

Except for obesity, the risk factors for Metabolic syndrome, and the chronic diseases that may develop from it, may present no symptoms until well advanced.  The greatest window of opportunity to prevent the development of atherosclerosis, type II diabetes or heart failure may occur during the early, symptom-free stages of metabolic syndrome – so we need to get on to early detection and we’d like to think this is one tool that can help you do that. 

Couldn’t agree more. I used to do Genova’s Pre-D test for early diabetes screening until they went and delisted it – why?!!! Heaven only knows. Anyway, here’s a replacement for you. Hope it helps.

Lost, Sad, Fearful, Flat, Negative? Two-Step Programme for Happiness.

I’ve felt all of those at some point or another and certainly when I was feeling really poorly most of the time. You can’t help but feel sad, fearful and negative when every day seems to be a struggle, can you? We’re only human.

What I learned was the the brain can easily get stuck in a negative-thinking loop; you think negative things and it becomes a deep neuroplasticity groove and you just become more and more sad, upset and fearful. It’s a fact of life that our brains can do that; we are primed to look for danger, but when it goes too far, you need to know you can stop that subconscious habitual loop and break the circuit. When I learned that – which, trust me, took a while! – it gave me such hope. I had something to focus on and do practically to help myself. I immediately became less of a victim.

Sure, it’s not as easy as taking a pill and it takes time and commitment but ultimately you end up as a much happier, more joyful, positive, strong and grounded person able to withstand life’s wobbles much more than you ever could before. I know because the latest ‘life wobble’ for me has only served to show me how strong at my core I really am now. That sounds so trite, I know, so forgive me, but ’tis true, so there 😉

Anyway, today I have updated the Stress, Anxiety and Depression Factsheet in the A-Z for you. I’ve been meaning to do it for ages. I’ve essentially recommended a two-step programme for you to follow to turn yourself around, much like I did.

The reason I’ve been spurred on to do it now is that I see the programme is on a really good offer until 5th December so save some money whilst you can! 

Here’s a bit of what I’ve written on that – now pretty long! – Factsheet:

Two Steps To Happiness

My recommendation for you is two-fold. I found this kind of combination therapy is the best approach as they work in different ways. 

First, seek out therapists who will help you, such as ‘our Julie’ on the Support Team, who helped me enormously. Preferably find someone who will do a mix of CBT and clinical hypnotherapy so you are really getting to the nub of what’s going on and can release any underlying subconscious and therefore hidden keys.

Have a free session with Julie and/or go the DIY route to start with at least until you feel ready for more. Download one of her self-hypnosis audios and do it every day for a month, then see where you go from there. 

Next, I also recommend this Foundations of Wellbeing Programme. It’s written by Dr Rick Hanson, who actually wrote Hardwiring Happiness and the Buddha Brain. I don’t actually like his written stuff that much, but this programme is fantastic. Click on the image for more about it.

 

 

It’s essentially a year-long programme that you work through to help un-do habitual ways of thinking and, most importantly, develop strength, joy and resilience instead of the negative bias our brains are primed for.

I know you think you’re not doing that: that’s what I thought! But, trust me, the subconscious has you by the short and curlies and part of the process is that you don’t know it – it’s subconscious, not at the conscious level, so why would you?! Took me ages to admit it.

Anyway, it is a brain science-based programme with talks and lectures from some of the best in the field, exercises for you to do and loads of stuff. I did it and found it excellent. I recall actually being astounded and crying at some of the content even in the first talk. I thought: blimey, these people have just described me. It made me feel less alone with it. 

In essence, if you feel sad, anxious, flat, wobbly, lost or out of control in any area of your life, do this. It works.

Read all about it here. Rick is definitely NOT in this for the money; he actually refunded mine as a gift for the work I do to help others, which he really didn’t need to do. That is a kind person.

OK, so this is for people who feel sad, negative, fearful, lost or basically unhappy mainly. Don’t continue feeling like that, please.

Do one or preferably both of these steps and think how much better you could be feeling in a few weeks but certainly by the start of 2018! You simply couldn’t give yourself a better start to 2017, so sort it out, treat yourself and feel better step by step.

Good luck x