Bacterial Biofilms and Chronic Disease

There is a lot of mounting evidence for the role of bacterial biofilms in the persistence of chronic infections and the associated conditions that they cause or exacerbate. Bacteria are becoming increasing resistant to antibiotics and attack by your immune system. The reason for this is that bacteria are evolving to thwart efforts to kill them.

Many bacteria will lose their cell membranes – making them impermeable to certain antibiotics. Perhaps an even more effective defense is that of biofilms – where the bacteria group together, sometimes with other types of bacteria and create a natural biofilm – a cover made from proteins that very effectively protect the bacteria from attack.

Within this biofilm, bacteria are safe from attack from your immune system and any herbal or medical antibiotic therapy. This can lead to very slow progress for the patient and a long drawn out treatment time, if they are able to get on top of it at all.

What conditions are biofilms associated with?

This is nor a complete list – nearly any bacterial infection has the potential for biofilm creation.

Lyme Disease – The spiral bacteria Borellia is difficult to eradicate due to the presence of biofilms.

Chronic Sinusitis – some studies have shown up to 80% of patients with surgery due to chronic sinusitis have evidence of bacteria within biofilms.

Mouth and teeth problems – plaque is a biofilm, harboring bacteria, which can lead to cavities and gingivitis

Chronic wounds – bacterial biofilms in wounds can prevent wounds from healing.

Cystic fibrosis – Individuals with cystic fibrosis have bacteria colonizing in the lungs from a young age. Early on Staphylococcus aureus and Hemophilus influenza can form biofilms but in later stages Pseudomonas aeruginosa is more virulent. P. aeruginosa is associated with mortality in cystic fibrosis.

Recurring urinary tract infections – recurring UTIs may be due to the presence of biofilm on the bladder wall, preventing effective treatment of the infection.

Chronic fatigue syndrome and Fibromyalgia – CFS  and FM can be associated with many different bacterial infections, many of which can remain virulent with biofilms.

 How do you treat biofilms?

Treatment to breakdown biofilms is essential in and disease which involves chronic infection. In my patients I use a biofilm breakdown protocol which can involve the use of specific enzyme therapy to ‘digest’ the film, along with specific herbs which have been shown to be effective in targeting biofilms.

Fortunately, herbal antibacterials and antifungals do not have the same problems as antibiotics around bacterial resistance, and a targeted biofilm attack protocol along with specific antibacterial or antifungal treatments is usually very effective in bringing down levels of overgrown or infectious pathogens.

If you’d like to know if Katherine can help with your particular condition, ask her a question or call 07 3367 0337.

 

This is a great video about biofilms with some imagery on how they work…

 

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Cholesterol Lowering Diet

What is a cholesterol lowering diet?

A cholesterol lowering diet is aimed at assisting the body to reduce cholesterol using cholesterol lowering foods and avoiding foods which increase cholesterol levels. This is very different to traditional low cholesterol diets, which aim on reducing cholesterol intake in a bid to reduce cholesterol levels. Only a small amount of our endogenous cholesterol levels are from ingestion of cholesterol, the rest is made by our body. High cholesterol can be a result of the wrong dietary choices over a period of time, an inflammatory disease process, a hypothyroid condition or even allergies! The following dietary advice is aimed at helping to lower your cholesterol levels.

The following foods are associated with cholesterol lowering properties:

  • Garlic
  • Tumeric
  • Onion
  • Artichoke
  • Rocket
  • Oats
  • Eggplant
  • Tomato
  • Lentils
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Chickpeas
  • Linseeds
  • Linseed Oil
  • Ginger
  • Kale
  • Mustard Green

Fibre

Fibre helps to lower cholesterol by binding to bile, which is made from cholesterol, and carrying through the bowel for excretion. This means that the bile is not reabsorbed and needs to be produced by the liver again from cholesterol, lowering endogenous levels.

The following foods are high in beneficial fibre which increases the excretion of cholesterol:

  • Oats
  • Slippery Elm
  • Psyllium Husk
  • Asparagus
  • Wholegrain products
  • Parsnips
  • Linseed Meal
  • Brown Rice
  • Legumes
  • Barley
  • Black Rice

Another aspect of cholesterol to look at is the high density lipoprotein (HDL) and low density lipoprotein (LDL) ratio. HDL cholesterol is beneficial as it bounces off the blood vessel walls, cleaning up excess cholesterol and fats that have stuck to the walls and carrying them back to the liver for metabolism. In contrast, LDL cholesterol is damaging to its low density as it bounces against the blood vessel walls and leaves splats of bad cholesterol particles that stick to the blood vessel walls. It is these particles which are the predisposing factor to atherosclerosis as they make it easy for calcification to occur, leading to blockages which cause heart failure and strokes.

Foods which increase HDL and decrease LDL are:

  • Nuts and their cold pressed oils – almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts
  • Seeds and their cold pressed oils – sesame seeds, pepitas, sunflower seeds
  • Globe artichoke
  • Linseeds and linseed oil
  • Chickpeas
  • Cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • Lentils
  • Apples with ski
  • Ginger
  • Linseeds / Linseeds oil
  • Brown and black rice
  • Tomato
  • Fish – mackerel, salmon, sardines, herring, blue eyed cod

Antioxidants

Cholesterol actually serves an antioxidant role in the body, so when antioxidant status is low it can cause an increase in cholesterol levels. Increasing antioxidant foods in the diet can therefore help to lower cholesterol by decreasing oxidative stress but will also have a protective effect on the cardiovascular system, preventing atherosclerosis and heart disease.

The following foods are good source of antioxidants:

  • Blueberries
  • Black Olives
  • White Tea
  • Blackberries
  • Wheat Grass
  • Rocket
  • Red Grapes
  • Slilverbeet
  • Brazil Nuts
  • Berries
  • Kiwifruit
  • Mangos
  • Ginger
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Beetroot
  • Papaya
  • Red Wine
  • Lemons
  • Cocoa
  • Garlic
  • Green Tea
  • Rasberries
  • Onions
  • Broccoli
  • Strawberries
  • Pineapple
  • Apples
  • Tumeric
  • Grapefruit
  • Kale
  • Goji

What increases my cholesterol?

Now that we’ve covered all the beneficial foods you should be including in your diet, it’s time to discuss what kind of factors will have an unfavourable effect on your cholesterol levels, and should therefore be avoided.

Trans-fatty acids

Trans-fats are created by oxidation of the fat molecule, which causes it to change from its natural cis formation to a trans formation. This form is not easily digested or metabolised by the body, and studies have shown that trans-fatty acid intake is associated with inflammation, increased oxidative stress and poor cholesterol and fat parameters.

The main sources of trans-fats that should be avoided are:

  • Margarine
  • Spreadable Butter
  • Deep Fried Foods
  • Oil which is not cold pressed
  • Biscuts
  • Cakes
  • Cooking Spray Oils
  • Lard
  • Chips
  • Donuts

Sugar and simple carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the preferred fuel source for the body, so when our diet is high in simple carbohydrates the body uses this excess energy to convert to fat which then can increase our cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Simple carbohydrate sources which should be avoided include:

  • Sugar
  • White Bread
  • Pasta
  • White Crackers
  • Jasmine Rice
  • Maltose
  • Maltodextrin
  • Glucose
  • Fructose
  • Jams and Spreads
  • Chocolate/Lollies
  • Canned Fruit/Veg with added sugar

Saturated fats

A high saturated fat intake has been associated with high cholesterol levels. Saturated fat is however beneficial, it should just be consumed in small amounts compared to the other fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in your diet, which should be consumed more frequently.

Limiting the amount of the following will ensure you are not consuming too much saturated fat:

  • Excess Fat on Meat
  • Chicken Skin
  • Hard Cheese
  • Lard
  • Confit
  • Fatty Meats
  • Milk
  • Cream

Low fat products

Low fat products generally tend to be high in sugar, and as mentioned above this can lead to increased cholesterol levels. Low fat dairy products usually contain milk solids to make them creamier. Milk solids are in fact milk powder and are high in oxidised cholesterol due to the high heat process by which they are made. It is in fact better to have full fat products in moderation than it is to ingest these oxidated cholesterol containing foods.

The following low fat products should be avoided:

  • Skim/Trim/Low fat/No fat milk – if you insist on low fat milk try Mungali Creek organic low fat, TRIM or you’ll love coles skim milk as these do not contain milk solids
  • Low fat cream, yogurt, cheese, ice-cream or other dairy products
  • Other products that claim to be low in fat but are high in added sugar (Check labels)

So how do I put these dietary changes into action?

Making changes to your diet can be difficult, which is why it is important to take things slowly, changing one or two things at a time. Your practitioner will assist you in choosing which dietary changes are best to try first and will give you practical dietary advice along with recipes.

There are many options available to you as substitutions for foods that you enjoy in your daily diet – try using xylitol (a natural fruit sugar found in health food shops) instead of sugar, or substituting low fat milk for rice or oat milk.

What other things can I do to reduce my cholesterol?

Exercise

Regular exercise is an integral part of cholesterol reduction as it helps to increase metabolism and increase cholesterol excretion. Aim for 40 minutes three times a week. Try to have a mix of cardio which increases your heart rate, and strength exercises which help to reduce fatty tissue and build muscle mass.

Water

Dehydration increases oxidative stress so be sure to drink at least 1.5 litres of filtered water a day, more if exercising or on a hot day.

The Alkaline Diet

The Alkaline Diet – It All Comes Down to the PH

The acid/alkaline diet may be something you have heard of before, but what does it mean? Foods have different properties when consumed. Acid or alkaline refers to the effect the food has within the body, being acid forming or alkaline forming. A common misconception is that foods such as lemon are acid, however when consumed in the body they are actually highly alkaline forming.

pH is a scale used to measure the acidity or alkalinity of certain things. The higher the pH, the more alkaline, the lower the pH, the more acid.

  • Acid – 0
  • Alkaline – 14
  • Water – 7
  • Seawater – 8.5
  • Blood – 7.5
  • Urine – 6
  • Wine, beer and cola drinks – 3

The ideal blood pH is 7.5. Eating too many acid forming foods can reduce this pH, leading to acidity in the body. The correct pH is needed for ALL bodily functions to work correctly, from the cellular level to our metabolism and organ function.

Foods which are acid forming should therefore be reduced in the diet, and limited to 20% of your total dietary intake.

Foods which are the most acid forming in the body include:

  • Sugar
  • Refined and Processed foods
  • Soft drink
  • Wine, beer and other alcohol
  • Coffee
  • Black Tea
  • Dairy products, especially milk and milk powder
  • Wheat
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Rancid Oils
  • Most grains (except buckwheat, millet, amaranth and quinoa)
  • Most legumes (except lentils)
  • Most nuts and seeds (except almonds, pepitas and sesame seeds)

Alkaline forming foods should form the basis of your diet, making up 80% of the food you eat.

As a general rule, most fruits and vegetables are alkaline forming, with the most alkaline foods being:

  • Lemons
  • Green leafy vegetables (spinach, silverbeet, kale etc)
  • Broccoli
  • Raw salads
  • Tomato
  • Almonds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Pepitas
  • Raw honey
  • Buckwheat, millet, amaranth, quinoa
  • Spirulina, barley or wheat grass

Changing your diet

Most people have a very acid forming diet, being high in wheat, refined foods and sugar. Substantial improvements in most health conditions can be obtained by reducing acid forming foods in the diet to only 20% of your intake. This is not an easy task initially, as significant changes will need to be made to achieve this.

A good start is to look at substituting some of the acid foods for the alkaline foods:

  • Wheat – use buckwheat, millet, amaranth or quinoa.
  • Sugar – use raw unfiltered honey instead (honey is acid forming once cooked).
  • Dairy milk – try rice milk or oat milk on cereal, BONSOY milk in tea and coffee – these are still acid but less so then dairy.
  • Coffee – try a herbal tea or roasted dandelion coffee.

Try looking at your meal and imagining how you could make it more alkaline. Adding green leafy vegetables is a good way to do this, or having a salad on the side can also help. Lemon juice in water can be had on rising and before meals (30 minutes) to stimulate digestion and alkalise the body (always rinse your mouth out with fresh water after having lemon juice).

Oat, Honey & Banana Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup wholemeal spelt or rye flour
  • 1/2 cup white spelt flour
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup rice bran or macadamia oil
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup organic plain yoghurt
  • 3 small, or 2 large eggs
  • 2 large ripe bananas, mashed with a fork

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius, and grease or line a 12 hole muffin tin.
  2. In a large bowl, place all dry ingredients – flour, oats, baking powder, bicarb, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together eggs, honey, yoghurt and oil, then stir through banana.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  5. Spoon into greased muffin pan, top with rolled oats if desired.
  6. Place in oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  7. Take out of oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire cooling rack.
Enjoy!

Male Fertility

Male fertility issues account for at least 50% of all infertility cases, but is often overlooked with the focus usually on the woman’s fertility rather than both parents.

Katherine ideally treats both the mother and father to be, as this will ensure the best chance of healthy, happy baby.

There are many causes of male sub-fertility, including:

  • Low sperm counts
  • Poor semen quality or quantity
  • Poor perm morphology
  • Sperm antibodies
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Heavy metal toxicity
  • Ejaculation issues
  • Hormonal deficiencies

Male fertility issues respond very well to naturopathic treatment, with measurable improvements being made in sperm quality and quantity.

Assessing male fertility is an important part of natural fertility management as it ensures that the sperm are the best possible quality, which can increase the chances of healthy conception occurring.

For information of female infertility, click here.

For more comprehensive information about natural fertility care for both mothers and fathers to be, visit Katherine’s natural fertility website.

Pre Conception Health Care Program

Katherine loves working with couples who have decided to start or expand their family, and uses a variety of techniques to promote a healthy conception and pregnancy.

Having optimum nutrition and general health is the best way to ensure that a healthy pregnancy is achieved and that your baby has the best chance of good health.

Katherine finds that the best way to achieve this is with a healthy diet and lifestyle, but often uses herbs, nutrients and other interventions to help a couple in their quest for a healthy conception.

Studies have shown that good preconception care can improve your chances of falling pregnant, with 81% of previously infertile couples being able to fall pregnant with natural fertility management according to the foresight study.

Research is strongly indicating that your health prior to conception has huge impacts on the health of your child, from immune issues as children to having a higher chance of developing disease as adults. Ensuring that your health is optimum prior to conceiving is the only was to ensure you have given your child the very best start to life.

Focus on Food – Quinoa

Quinoa, pronounced keen-wa, was the staple food of the Incas. It is gluten-free, has the highest protein content of any grain and contains many nutrients including calcium, iron, zinc and B vitamins.

The seed coating contains saponins which can irritate the intestines, so quinoa must be soaked and washed under running water thoroughly to remove these. Quinoa is available from most health food shops.

Preparation of quinoa:

1 cup quinoa + 1 1/2 cups cold water

  • Soak overnight then rinse under running water OR soak for 15 minutes then rinse under running water for 5 minutes. The first option is more effective and better for the environment as it uses less water.
  • Drain quinoa well in a fine sieve.
  • Place quinoa in a pot and add the water.
  • Bring to a boil, cover with a tight fitting lid, and turn the heat down to simmer.
  • Cook for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and allow to sit five minutes with lid on.
  • Fluff gently with a fork and serve.

Quinoa is delicious on it’s own or served with anything you would normally use rice for.

You can tell when quinoa is cooked as the edge of the seed separates as a white spiral and the seed turns clear.

Try adding the rinsed grain to soups and casseroles or use it as a porridge.

Focus On Food – Wheatgrass

Have you been asking yourself what the craze is with wheat grass? Wheat grass is a fantastic companion to a healthy diet, as it contains high levels of chlorophyll, the nutrient that gives it its deep green hue.

Chlorophyll is structurally very similar to haemoglobin, the molecule responsible for carrying oxygen around our bodies, and therefore is said help oxygenate our body.Chlorophyll is traditionally used as a blood cleanser and alkaliser, so is great for detoxification.

Wheat grass contains 82 of the 92 minerals found in soil, including calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. It also has B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin A.

Eating the grass provides little nutrition as our digestive system cannot break down the cellulose int the plant to release the minerals. Wheat grass should therefore be consumed juiced.

A special expresser is required to juice wheatgrass. Top of the line juicers can sometimes have an attachment, or you can buy a manual one to clamp on the bench.

To grow your own wheatgrass, use a seedling tray filled with organic soil. cover soil with whole wheat grains and put a piece of newspaper on top. Soak thoroughly daily. When the grains have sprouted (2-4 days) remove the newspaper and leave in a sunny position. Water daily.

Wheat grass should be consumed within 12 hours of juicing, but ideally straight away to maintain its nutrient value. Most people don’t mind the taste, but you can follow with a slice of orange to help if you don’t like the taste of wheatgrass.

Don’t want to buy a juicer? Wheat grass juice shots can be purchased at most juice bars for around $2, so try it today!

High Protein Oat & Honey Muffins

High Protein Muffins These muffins are a great snack, being high in protein and free of sugar and wheat. Wholegrain spelt flour is much higher in protein than wheat which helps to increase the protein content of these muffins. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups wholegrain spelt flour
  • 1/4 cup plain protein powder (pea or rice protein works well)
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup rice bran or macadamia oil
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 cup organic plain yoghurt
  • 3 small, or 2 large eggs

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius, and grease or line a 12 hole muffin tin.
  2. In a large bowl, place all dry ingredients – flour, protein powder, oats, baking powder, bicarb, cinnamon and salt.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together eggs, honey, yoghurt and oil.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  5. Spoon into greased muffin pan, top with rolled oats if desired.
  6. Place in oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  7. Take out of oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire cooling rack.

 

Enjoy!

Sleep Disorders

One of the most common problems that people experience is difficulty sleeping. Sleeping is the single most important process in the body. While we sleep the body detoxifies, repairs and regenerates, so with poor sleep we can not truly heal ourselves.