Wellness Corner

Ready, set, swallow. How to swallow tablets without fear.

  • swallowing tablets

Ready set…. Swallow

How to swallow tablets without fear

One of the challenges I hear when speaking with my clients is their dislike of  supplements as they find it hard to swallow tablets and capsules. This can pose a problem to their Naturopathic treatment as some of the supplements my clients need only come in tablet or capsule form. Mostly everyone is ok about swallowing tablets and capsules but there are many people who really struggle. Perhaps you know someone like this? 

I hear all sorts of stories. Some clients tell me at the beginning of their session that they won’t take tablets as they just can’t swallow them. They feel that the “horse pills” are way too big and they couldn’t possibly swallow them. Others have to drink bucket loads of water per tablet and then find themselves swimming with a belly full of water not wanting to eat their breakfast as they are just too full. However, there are some clients who can easily place a handful of tablets in their hand and swallow them all in one mouthful. So what’s the difference between these folks?

Well, it’s a combination of belief and technique. 

Let me ask you…when was the last time you bit into an apple or cut a piece of meat and popped it into your mouth or bit into a sandwich and ate it? Chances are that it was somewhere between just a minute ago or a few hours ago. Did you have any trouble swallowing it? Probably not. We know that the average human has learnt to chew and swallow after 6 months of age so we can confidently say we are pretty good at it. So why can’t people swallow a tablet that is actually smaller than the piece of meat or apple they just bit off. 

The difference is that we CHEW your food and we generally don’t chew a tablet. So somewhere between not chewing and swallowing there is a believe of

“If I don’t chew the tablet, I can’t swallow it as it’s too big, therefore I’m going to choke on the tablet”. 

Due to the fact that we don’t want to choke we surrender to not being able to swallow tablets. Since this is mostly happening subconsciously and is driven by a fear of being harmed it prevents some people from doing something that will benefit them. In some people it is so strong that they simple will not attempt to try. So we need to change the belief to

“ I can swallow”.

The other component is poor technique. Most people place the tablet into their mouth, take a sip or glup of water and throw their heads back hoping that somehow the tablet will be thrown to the back of their throats and then they can swallow it. Then they drink a glass of water just to make sure it went down. Bad technique people…. 

Try this now…

Make some saliva in your mouth, look straight ahead and swallow. Easy huh? Now they this…make some saliva, tilt your head back, look at the roof and swallow. Much harder yes!! 

So the key to swallowing tablets is to keep your head straight and look ahead. No need to throw your head back as this makes swallowing really tough. Pop the tablet in your mouth, take a sip of water, keep looking straight ahead and swallow.

It is easy…you CAN do it, you have done it since you were born and you will not choke. 

Another tip is that you can sip your drink through a straw or use your water bottle and suck the water down. The momentum of the sucking will flow the tablet straight down your throat.

Some tablets are a bit dry so on the rare occasion can stick to a moist throat so you can always take a bite of your meal which will move the tablets into your stomach. 

So give it a go. There is nothing to fear! You are a master of swallowing but as with everything practice makes perfect so after the bottle of tablets you have to take thought the month you will be a pro!

Then you can try multiple tablets at once…baby steps! You can also teach this to the kids and grand kids. If you are cool about it so will they!

So remember keep your head straight, look directly ahead and ready, set, swallow. 

 

What to do when the winter lurgie strikes?

Staying healthy in winter

What to do when the winter lurgie strikes?

So you think you are getting sick. You’ve got a raspy, sore throat, congested sinuses, the dreaded body aches, and what is starting to feel like the mother of all headaches. You also have hundreds of things to do at work or home, the kids or grandkids to look after and you can’t afford to be sick!!

An action plan is called for, code-named: ‘operation get me back to 100% – ASAP’ and times like these you need Marta’s Magical Muck!

As you may know I love herbal medicine and give herbs to most of my clients for a variety of conditions. A few years ago one of my regular massage clients was feeling he was coming down with something so I offered him a bottle of immune boosting herbs which I knew would help kill off his virus and get him feeling back to normal quick smart. The next time I saw him he was thrilled to report that the herbs worked fantastically and he was feeling great in no time at all. Even though they tasted terrible he was so happy with how well the formula worked, he called the herbs Martas’ Magical Muck!! It has stuck. My mum swears by it and has an emergency bottle of triple M (as she calls it) at home all the time, my partner swears by it, the Shine Health team swear by it and everyone I’ve ever given it to loves it.

So what is MMM and how does it work?

The classical symptoms of fatigue, chills, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, a sore throat, and head and body aches are mostly due to your own immune response, rather than the harmful effects of the virus itself. Over 200 viruses can cause the common cold, and the most common one, the rhinovirus, enters your body via the nose and mouth. Once in your system, viruses will bind to tissues in these areas and inject their genetic material into your cells. The virus is then able to take control, and instruct the host cell to make viral particles using the cell’s own materials. These are then released from the cell to invade or attack other nearby cells. To sound the distress signal, these infected cells release chemical messengers known as cytokines, which activate the inflammatory processes that fight the virus, but also result in your symptoms.

 

The herbal formulation in MMM is a blend of 4 herbs which boost your immune systems ability to combat the spread of the virus, kill it off, reduce the inflammation it causes and speeds up your recovery. My favourite mix of herbs is Echinacea, Lomatium, Elderflower and Euphrasia, but I also use Thyme, Pelargonium, Andrographis, Ribwort and Ivy leaf as well. Each herb has a slightly different focus but overall they all help your body fight the cold and get you better as soon as possible.

It is important to note that the speed of your recovery has everything to do with how quickly you get onto the herbs. The faster you can start taking the herbs the faster they will help your immune system produce more virus killing cells and reduce the number of viral particles that spread the virus. This way it is less likely that your cold will descend into your lungs and leave you with a persistent cough for weeks. If you do have a cough already we also have herbs to help move and clear the mucus form your lungs, protect your airways and help you breathe better.

While there are several herbal medicines you can beat your cold with you may also want to enlist some other natural medicine troops for assistance, such as Zinc, Vitamin C and medicinal mushrooms.

A review of 13 clinical trials showed that supplementing with zinc within 24 hours of symptom onset reduced the duration and severity of colds. A 30mg dose also shown to boost the production and function of immune cells (called T cells) needed to eliminate pathogens from the body. It has also been found that supplementing zinc for five months, resulted in reduced infection rates, sickness-related absenteeism and reduced the need for antibiotic prescriptions.

Vitamin C studies have shown it can reduce the symptoms, severity and duration of the common cold by an average of 23% and it can also enhance the motility and migration of white blood cells during infection, getting them to where they are needed to fight invaders fast.

Medicinal mushrooms such as cordyceps, coriolus, reishi and shiitake, have been use in Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. Put simply they are amazing defenders of our immunity. Collectively are able to provide symptomatic relief from the common cold, enhance immune strength and function, inhibit viral entry into host cells, stimulate the activity of various white blood cells and promote the production of antibodies. 

While you are sick it is also very important that you get lots of rest or sleep (e.g. cancel all unnecessary meetings, engagements, social events) and consume plenty of fluids – notably water, warming teas, and homemade chicken and vegetable soups and broths. In order to save your family and work colleagues from contracting your virus, practice good hand hygiene by sneezing or coughing into a tissue (or at worst your elbow!), and washing your hands after blowing your nose or handling used tissues. Also, avoid close contact with others during this time – you may need to apologise for not shaking hands, and explain to little ones that you will kiss them good night when you’re feeling better.

When it comes to colds and flus, prevention is obviously better than a cure. For advice and guidance on how to support your body from getting sick in the first place, or if you’re sick right now, nothing beats expert advice on how to defeat the dreaded virus overwhelming your body’s defences so give us a call and speak to our Naturopaths or Chinese Medicine practitioners to get the right treatment for your needs. We can help you or your children before, during or after you get sick to get you back on tract ASAP!

 

References:

  1. Singh M, Das RR. Zinc for the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Feb 16;(2):CD001364. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD001364.pub3.
  2. Barnett JB, Dao MC, Hamer DH, Kandel R, Brandeis G, Wu D, et al. Effect of zinc supplementation on serum zinc concentration and T cell proliferation in nursing home elderly: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Am J Clin Nut. 2016 Jan 27;103(3):942-51.
  3. Singh M, Das RR. Zinc for the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Feb 16;(2):CD001364. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD001364.pub3.
  4. Chu KK, Ho SS, Chow AH. Coriolus versicolor: a medicinal mushroom with promising immunotherapeutic values. J Clin Pharmacol. 2002 Sep;42(9):976-84.
  5. Lin YL, Liang YC, Lee SS, Chiang BL. Polysaccharide purified from Ganoderma lucidum induced activation and maturation of human monocyte‐derived dendritic cells by the NF‐κB and p38 mitogen‐activated protein kinase pathways. J Leukoc Biol. 2005 Aug;78(2):533-43.
  6. He XJ, Niu X, Li J, Xu S, Lu A. Immunomodulatory activities of five clinically used Chinese herbal polysaccharides. Journal of Experimental and Integrative Medicine. 2012 Jan 1;2(1):15-27.
  7. Ramberg JE, Nelson ED, Sinnott RA. Immunomodulatory dietary polysaccharides: a systematic review of the literature. Nutr J. 2010 Dec;9(1):54.
  8. Holliday JC, Cleaver MP. Medicinal value of the caterpillar fungi species of the genus Cordyceps (Fr.) Link (Ascomycetes). A review. International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. 2008;10(3).
  9. Hemilä H. Does vitamin C alleviate the symptoms of the common cold?-a review of current evidence. Scand J Infect Dis. 1994 Jan 1;26(1):1-6.
  10. Maggini S, Beveridge S, Suter M. A combination of high-dose vitamin C plus zinc for the common cold. J Int Med Res. 2012 Feb;40(1):28-42.
  11. Wintergerst ES, Maggini S, Hornig DH. Immune-enhancing role of vitamin C and zinc and effect on clinical conditions. Ann Nutr Met. 2006;50(2):85-94.
  12. Metagenics practitioner website 

Spring Detox

detox your diet

Spring Clean your Health with a Spring Detox

After a long winter, Spring is finally in the air. The buds are beginning to burst forth from the trees and flowers are starting to bloom. The Chinese Wood element is moving upwards and our liver is being stimulated. With each Spring we have the opportunity to reassess our health and our lifestyle and do a Spring Detox to support our bodies. Winter usually sees most people indulging in a bit of warming comfort in the form of alcohol, sweets and way too much food. Even if you do have pretty strict or clean living lifestyle most of the year round, indulgences do happen during the clod dark months of winter.
Continue Reading

What is the Microbiome

Naturopaths have been banging on about gut health for decades, so the latest trends in "gut health awareness" is a bit of a "I told you so moment"!! Finally, what we have known about for ages is beginning to be verified by science, which is fantastic but somehow I don't think we are going to be given credit for the leading the way. 

The current buzz in health is all about the microbiome, but what is it exactly?

The word microbiome is defined as the collection of microbes or microorganisms that inhabit an environment, creating a sort of “mini-ecosystem”. Our human microbiome is made up of communities of symbiotic, commensal and pathogenic bacteria (along with fungi and viruses) all of which call our bodies home. Research is still in its infancy and there is no "ideal" microbiome that has been found.

However, what has been uncovered comparing the microbiomes of the average Westerner and the average Hunter/gatherer is that a large variety of bacterial species in the digestive tract seems to be beneficial to our health. As bacterial diversity increases it supports our health and as it drops the incidence of disease increases. A lack of bacterial diversity has been linked to chronic health problems like obesity, insulin resistance, inflammation and bowel disease. 

Microbiome function is perhaps even more important that bacterial diversity alone. In a health micrbiome, there are microbes that are preservers of metabolic function and can protect us against the pathogens. They work together and are highly adaptive in order to maintain diversity and metabolic function in an ever changing environment. A health microbiome produces substances (short chain fatty acids) which help to give us energy, reduce inflammation, influence satiety, improve gut motility and transit, maintain colonic pH and microbial balance. 

If our microbiome is compromised, as is the common case in Westerners, our gut bacteria can turn against us. There are microbes (pathobionts) that can overgrow and turn pathogenic in an inflammatory environment and contribute to disease. The hallmark of an unhealthy microbiome is reduced bacterial diversity, an increase in pathobionts, changes in microbial composition and changes in function. Consequently, this leads to a collapse in the symbiotic relationship between us and our microbes, reducing our barrier protection, increasing gut permeability and increasing immune dysregulation and dysfunction. Hence protecting our digestive system and keeping our microbiome healthy is paramount. 

With research, our understanding of how to ensure a healthy, diverse microbiome is expanding. 

For many years Naturopaths have been prescribing probiotics to help improve digestive health to support the healthy bacteria that lives there. Poor diet, reliance on antibiotics and over sanitation have slowly eroded most peoples healthy bacterial colonies. Although we have been prescribing probiotics for many years now more and more is beginning to come out about what they actually do. Of the thousands of species out there, some are of great benefit to our health and some do little. Research is now focusing on specific strains and identifying what each strain does. Like a herbal materia medica (the clinical information about what a specific herb does), clinicians and Naturopaths will need to understand the variety of probiotic species and prescribe them for specific systemic conditions. Traditionally probiotics were thought to colonise in the bowel and assist its overall health. Now research shows that they preform specific actions as they pass through the gut without seeding. 

These are some of the latest research discoveries about Probiotics. 

🌟Probiotics are NOT all created equal. 

Of the hundreds and thousands of different probiotic bacterial strains only a handful have been thoroughly studied and proven to be beneficial to our health. 

🌟Probiotics are like personal trainers. They make our microbiome stronger, more diverse and healthier. 

🌟Probiotics DO NOT seed in the gut. ie they don't colonize and replace our gut bacteria. Instead they help the healthy commensual bacteria grow, they increase the production of healthy mucus and help strengthen the protective lining of the gut. 

🌟Bacterial diversity and function are king. Therefore having a rich variety of healthy microbes in our gut promotes health. 

🌟If we do not feed our microbiome bacteria with the food that it wants it will eat us!!!

🌟The 2-3kg of bacteria in our bowels feeds on fibre and plant based food! Therefore if you want a healthy micro biome, you must EAT MORE PLANTS!!!!!!!!

🌟In order to get the correct effect you need for gut health and microbiome diversity a WELL PRESCRIBED PROBIOTIC IS ESSENTIAL! 

For a consumer the probiotic marketplace can be a confusing and overwhelming place. With so many commercially available probiotics its hard to work out which probiotic is best without a grounded understanding of why one ought to take a specific brand or type. This is where a trained health professional such as a Naturopath can help. Some health conditions require careful and considered protocols in order to get the best results. Hence undertaking the support of a Naturopath ensures that you will get the right perspective your health and on which probiotic is right for you. If you want to clear up any confusion it is best to book an appointment with our Naturopath to support you in getting the RIGHT prescription and advice about how you can strengthen digestive system and your microbiome.

Naturopaths have been banging on about gut health for decades, so the latest trends in "gut health awareness" is a bit of a "I told you so moment"!! Finally, what we have known about for ages is beginning to be verified by science, which is fantastic but somehow I don't think we are going to be given credit for the leading the way. 


The current buzz in health is all about the microbiome, but what is it exactly?

The word microbiome is defined as the collection of microbes or microorganisms that inhabit an environment, creating a sort of “mini-ecosystem”. Our human microbiome is made up of communities of symbiotic, commensal and pathogenic bacteria (along with fungi and viruses) all of which call our bodies home. Research is still in its infancy and there is no "ideal" microbiome that has been found.

However, what has been uncovered comparing the microbiomes of the average Westerner and the average Hunter/gatherer is that a large variety of bacterial species in the digestive tract seems to be beneficial to our health. As bacterial diversity increases it supports our health and as it drops the incidence of disease increases. A lack of bacterial diversity has been linked to chronic health problems like obesity, insulin resistance, inflammation and bowel disease. 

Microbiome function is perhaps even more important that bacterial diversity alone. In a health micrbiome, there are microbes that are preservers of metabolic function and can protect us against the pathogens. They work together and are highly adaptive in order to maintain diversity and metabolic function in an ever changing environment. A health microbiome produces substances (short chain fatty acids) which help to give us energy, reduce inflammation, influence satiety, improve gut motility and transit, maintain colonic pH and microbial balance. 

If our microbiome is compromised, as is the common case in Westerners, our gut bacteria can turn against us. There are microbes (pathobionts) that can overgrow and turn pathogenic in an inflammatory environment and contribute to disease. The hallmark of an unhealthy microbiome is reduced bacterial diversity, an increase in pathobionts, changes in microbial composition and changes in function. Consequently, this leads to a collapse in the symbiotic relationship between us and our microbes, reducing our barrier protection, increasing gut permeability and increasing immune dysregulation and dysfunction. Hence protecting our digestive system and keeping our microbiome healthy is paramount. 


With research, our understanding of how to ensure a healthy, diverse microbiome is expanding. 

For many years Naturopaths have been prescribing probiotics to help improve digestive health to support the healthy bacteria that lives there. Poor diet, reliance on antibiotics and over sanitation have slowly eroded most peoples healthy bacterial colonies. Although we have been prescribing probiotics for many years now more and more is beginning to come out about what they actually do. Of the thousands of species out there, some are of great benefit to our health and some do little. Research is now focusing on specific strains and identifying what each strain does. Like a herbal materia medica (the clinical information about what a specific herb does), clinicians and Naturopaths will need to understand the variety of probiotic species and prescribe them for specific systemic conditions. Traditionally probiotics were thought to colonise in the bowel and assist its overall health. Now research shows that they preform specific actions as they pass through the gut without seeding. 


These are some of the latest research discoveries about Probiotics. 


🌟Probiotics are NOT all created equal. 

Of the hundreds and thousands of different probiotic bacterial strains only a handful have been thoroughly studied and proven to be beneficial to our health. 

🌟Probiotics are like personal trainers. They make our microbiome stronger, more diverse and healthier. 

🌟Probiotics DO NOT seed in the gut. ie they don't colonize and replace our gut bacteria. Instead they help the healthy commensual bacteria grow, they increase the production of healthy mucus and help strengthen the protective lining of the gut. 

🌟Bacterial diversity and function are king. Therefore having a rich variety of healthy microbes in our gut promotes health. 

🌟If we do not feed our microbiome bacteria with the food that it wants it will eat us!!!

🌟The 2-3kg of bacteria in our bowels feeds on fibre and plant based food! Therefore if you want a healthy micro biome, you must EAT MORE PLANTS!!!!!!!!

🌟In order to get the correct effect you need for gut health and microbiome diversity a WELL PRESCRIBED PROBIOTIC IS ESSENTIAL! 


For a consumer the probiotic marketplace can be a confusing and overwhelming place. With so many commercially available probiotics its hard to work out which probiotic is best without a grounded understanding of why one ought to take a specific brand or type. This is where a trained health professional such as a Naturopath can help. Some health conditions require careful and considered protocols in order to get the best results. Hence undertaking the support of a Naturopath ensures that you will get the right perspective your health and on which probiotic is right for you. If you want to clear up any confusion it is best to book an appointment with our Naturopath to support you in getting the RIGHT prescription and advice about how you can strengthen digestive system and your microbiome.

For an appointment please call 03 9589 4549