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My experience of Cranio-sacral therapy and my clients experience of what it does:

It is called cranio-sacral because the of the spinal fluid going from the cranio to the sacral is what makes everything function well and properly. All the nerves and nerve transmition from the brain to the body and from the body to the brain go through there and it is all connected like a tree with branches and roots. What the cranio-sacral therapist does is listening to the rhythm of that fluid and feel if there is any blockage in the body, memory cells of the tissue and the mind as well as the energetic field around that body to see if it is breathing well and properly. If there is a blockage just our training and knowledge will help the mother, baby and adult unblock the blockage and re-balance the system or body function.

Memory cells – my experience with Cranio-sacral therapy was amazing. My labor and my son birth were very traumatic. My son kept having colds and coughs from the time I stopped breastfeeding at 14 months. As I did not want to give antibiotics all the time I sought for  other ways of dealing with that. Homeopathy vitamin C and nutrition helped to get rid of the colds or reduce them when he had them but he still kept having more colds and coughs that he should have had. So I took him to cranio-sacral and it took a while as I took him to the Student clinic but they got rid of his traumatic birth and finally his colds and coughs were reduced to once a year and now not even once a year.

I found that CST has also a strong spiritual healing power as well. It depends on the therapist and if they have themselves experience their own spiritual healing (this is nothing to do with religion, it is something to do with your inner soul and own spirituality however you see it).  [read more…]

Stomach acid function. Why is it important to have the correct amount.

Stomach acid (HCL)

Why is stomach acid important?

Well it does a lot of things, not only helps with digestion of protein and is the second place where digestions starts (1st one is the mouth, by chewing and releasing amylase which starts digest the starches).

The stomach acid is releases from parietal cells, part of the interior stomach, the same cells activate the release of the intrinsic factor which is essential for the absorption and transportation of B12.

What is the HCL main function:

  • It stimulates the production of pepsin to break down protein.
  • Denature big protein bonds, to smaller ones in order to be broken down later in the small intestine into amino acid or small peptides so that they can be easily absorbed and made into various other proteins and hormones in the liver.
  • Kills harmful bacteria.
  • It releases various nutrients from organic complexes

Hcl is stimulated by ingestion of food, drugs, neurotransmitter acetylcholine (parasympathetic and sympathetic receptors) high histamine.

Now what happens if the hcl is too low or too high?

What symptoms would you have?

If too low you would have bloating, diarrhoea or constipation, yeast or candida, dysbiosis (more of the harmful bacteria than the good ones), stomach and belly pain, irritable bowel syndrome, undigested food, eventually leads to low nutrients and physical or emotional and mental problems with low nutrients level. Acid reflux also is another sign, due to H. pylori, vomiting and nausea is another symptoms.

If too high, well same symptoms, apart for the undigested protein you might feel more of an acid burning in the stomach and eventually ulcer. Stress increases acid reflux and eventually it reduces it because of low zinc and other nutrients that deals with stress click here to read about the effect of stress.

Did you know that zinc is important for making hcl and that if low in zinc hcl cannot be made and that zinc cannot be absorbed from food with low hcl? So it is again the chicken and the egg problem, which comes first?

Well it depends on what is going on in your diet, lifestyle and possible going back to stress, how much stress you have!

 

Reference 

Groff J.J. and SS Gropper (1999) Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism. UK Wadsworth.

Stasi C. et al (2014).Serotonin receptors and their role in the pathophysiology and therapy of irritable bowel syndrome. Tech Coloproctol. Abstract.

Nutritious and healthy snacks

There are many snacks for work around. My suggestions are the best 5 diet snack that I feel they are healthy and easy to prepare, as well as full of nutritional value and slow energy release. No matter if you do a desk job or more of a manual job, the following are light and nutritious.

  1. A palm full of nuts (more walnuts) – this snack is good unless you have an allergic reaction to nuts.

All nuts, apart for peanuts, which I exclude from my suggestions as they are not proper nuts, they are part of the pea family, are healthy and nutritional. One of the reasons I suggest it, is that they are full of nutritional ingredients as well as being slow energy release. They contain more of the omega 3 and 6 of essential fats, which are the healthy fats of our body. Nutritional value and benefits for a work snack are: They are an easy snack to bring to work and can be eaten anywhere. They contain protein, healthy fat, fiber, and minerals. Walnuts are one of the few nuts that has been researched more than then the others and it is connected with cardiovascular health. Walnuts contains both omega 3 and 6, as well as magnesium, manganese, copper phosphorous. It is rich in fibre, which makes you feel full and stops you from wanted to eat the sugary snacks. Walnuts are considered the food for the brain and it has been used since the time of the Romans and food for the Gods!

  1. Avocados dip with carrot sticks, celery sticks or half pitta bread. This is another of my favourite suggestions as a work snack, as it can be eaten eaten for breakfast, as one of my client does and/or as a snack. Very simple and easy to make or buy and/or to carry around.

Nutritional value and benefits for work snack are: The Hass avocadoes (the most used), has a good source essential fatty acid (healthy fat), potassium, vitamin E, B and Half of avocadoes contain a good source of protein, fat and fiber. Avocado also have a good proportion of carbohydrate, and minerals, which is again the best combination in a snack for work. It keeps you full till the next meal, it is great as brain fuel, and it keeps you away from sugary snacks.

  1. Fruits with skin on such as apple, pears, kiwi, oranges and mandarins:

This is again one of my biggest suggestions for a work snack. It is easy to carry or buy at any supermarket. Different fruits have different nutritional value and benefit, so the person can choose from many of the fruits around. I suggest the ones with the skin on if eaten alone as the skin is fiber and slows down the energy release. Apples and pears are from the same family which is the rose family. There are many variety of apples and pears, the nutritional value is still good for all of them. Apples, pears, kiwi, oranges and mandarins have all an excellent amount of vitamin C. Good winter work snack as it is an essential vitamin that support the immune system in fighting colds and flus. Apples have a high amount of pectin which is a soluble fibre that keeps the intestinal tract moving healthily as well as an antioxidant called quercitin which reduces the inflammatory cascade. Again this slows down your blood sugar level and therefore keeps you focused and concentrated on your work for longer. Apples have been researched extensively for their benefit in keeping the intestinal tract healthy, the immune system and the health of the heart as well. The leaves of the apples though contains a high amount of quercetin and other anti-oxidants. Well you could eat the leaves too but maybe in a smoothie type rather than as it is.

  1. One small pot of plain yogurt (any yogurt cow, goat, soya and or coconut) with nuts. This is another of my favourite work snack. One of the reasons is that combines the protein from the yogurts, essential fats from the nuts for the brain, heart and nerves, as well as all the other mineral benefit and a good source of calcium essential for bone health. One of the other reasons of suggesting it is that can be carried with you or can be bought easily in any of the shops. There are so many variety of healthy yogurt for people who cannot tolerate animal yogurt can have the alternative of soya or coconut yogurt. Same as the nuts or seeds. Coconut and soy milk have been shown in studies to reduce the bad cholesterol and increase the good one. As well as being a good source of protein. This again is an excellent work snack for the brain, heart and keep you focused on the day at work.
  2. One small pot of plain yogurt (same as above) with chia seeds and 1 piece of fruit. This is another excellent work snack and a new one that I started to recommend as chia seeds have quite few good points nutritionally. They also are easy to take with you as they sell chia shots in small bags. Chia is one of the newest seeds that has been shown to have great benefit for human health. It was used by the Aztec and South American people. Chia seeds have high content of omega 3 and 6, as well as fiber, protein, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamin E. In combination with yogurt above is again an excellent work snack, because, again is a fuel for the brain, slow down the blood glucose level and makes you focus on the work that you need to do and beneficial for your heart and nerves health as well as increasing the good cholesterol and decreasing the bad one.

I believe that if a person can have a good nutritional snack during the day at work, it is beneficial for the person and the work as well. Try the above snacks for varying your snack and see which one suits you best.

Reference for Nuts

  1. Murray M. (2005). The encyclopedia of the healing foods. Atria Books, NY.
  2. Ros E. (2009) Nuts and novel biomarkers of cardiovascular diseases. May; 89 (5): 1649S-56S.

Reference for avocado:

  1. Dreher M. L., et al (2013). Hass Avocado Compositionand Potential Health Effects. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 53:738–750.
  2. Murray M. (2005). The encyclopedia of the healing foods. Atria Books, NY.

Reference for fruits snacks:

  1. Murray M. (2005). The encyclopedia of the healing foods. Atria Books, NY.
  2. Kalinowska et al. (2014). Apples: Content of phenolic compounds vs. variety, part of apple and cultivation model, extraction of phenolic compounds, biological properties. Plant Physiol Biochem. Sep 16:84C:169-188.
  3. Liaudanskas M. et al (2014). Phenolic Composition and Antioxidant Activity of
  4. Malus domestica Leaves. Scientific World Journal, Volume 2014. Article ID 306217, 10 pages.

Reference for coconut milk and soya milk

  1. A. I. Ekanayaka, et al.(2013). Impact of a Traditional Dietary Supplement with Coconut Milk and Soya Milk on the Lipid Profile in Normal Free Living Subject. Hindawi Publishing Corporation. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. Volume 2013, Article ID 481068, 11 pages.

Reference for chia seeds

  1. Norlaily Mohd Ali et al. (2012). The Promising Future of Chia, Salvia hispanica L. Hindawi Publishing Corporation. Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology.Volume 2012, Article ID 171956, 9 pages.

Stored trauma and shock and when is the mostly luckily time to come out!

I have been researching and preparing for a therapist workshop and in particular what and how fears can stop people from moving forward. Most specifically, the workshop is about the unconscious fears and where they come from.

Well there is so much evidence regarding it that is almost overwhelming and where do you start and finish!

What I have found in a nutshell, is that unconscious fears can be stored in the part of our brain called the Amygdala and that fear can come out unexpectedly when we are mostly under a lot of stress.

We might not know what fear it is consciously, but it is there.

So, what happens if it comes out under more stress? Well it causes more stress, more panic attack and anxiety than it should be. This means that a rational fear, becomes an irrational fear and makes the brain and body think that you are in a constant danger. With the body going into a stress mode, we sleep less, our heartbeat is constantly up, our blood pressure is up, our muscles becomes hot and as they are ready to run, so become restless, our pupils dilate to make us ready to see better and our brain is on alert all the time.

The consequence of all that, is: less sleep, more nutritional depletion, anxiety for any small little thing that we need to do, and not seeing the logical part of life in general.

Now the other interesting part of my research is that the right and the left brain differences in dealing with life in general. The right side of the brain is more gentle and emotional, more compassionate and more creative, while the left part of the brain is more logical, scientific and matter of fact way of dealing with life. Now in order to have a balanced way of dealing with stress, you need to work with both brains. For example if you are dealing with an issue in the most emotional way, you need the logical part to step in and put yourself together!

If you are dealing with an issue with the most logical way, you might need a more compassionate and gentle way from the right part of the brain.

So as you seen above, our two part of the brain needs to work together in order for the person to function well.

Well what happens if they do not?

Either you get too emotional regarding a simple issue and therefore cannot see a way out in a more gentle and logical way, which it means you might get irrational even at the thought of a small task in hand! Or

You become so busy in your life and disregards anyone with some compassion and gentle thoughts that you become numb to yours and other people around you. So in someway you need a bit more gentleness towards yourself and others!

Naturally with all the stress and fears, which the body uses the same mechanism, the nutrients as some point or another will be depleted or the person ends up with a constant Irritable Bowel Syndrome or colics for babies and stomach ache for children, including constipation and/or diarrohea!

So dealing with the stress or the fear is very essential for keeping the body resources balanced up instead of depleted (if the body reaches the nutritional deficiency state can be quite hard to get to a balanced state in a short time).

(c) Maria Esposito BSc (Hons) Nutritional Therapist – NAET – R-Craniosacral therapist

Upper lip and tongue tie, some possible connection with the type of folate that you take.

What is folate, what does it do and where you find it. Why is the connection with the upper lip and tongue tie, which it has been seen more and more causing problem with breast-feeding.

What is the form that the body use?

The body uses the form folate which is transformed from the folic acid that is in supplements and in some food in the body. Folate is attached to a methyl group to make N5 or N10, methylhydrofolate (MTHF) which then is used in the liver with vitamin B12 and B6 to reduce homocysteine, make some red blood cells and much more.

Structural components of folic acid is glutamic acid, para aminobenzoic acid (PABA) and pteroic acid (pterin). Even though mammals (including humans), have all the components to make folic acid, we lack the enzyme to bond the pterin molecule to PABA to form pteric acid and therefore attach to glutamic acid. The active form of folic acid is folate, which has got multiple glutamic acid residue attached (4).

Sources of the most available form of folic acid are mushrooms, green vegetables such as spinach, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, Romaine Lettuce turnip greens, endive salads, legumes such as lima and liver. Raw foods are usually higher in folate than cooed foods, however some foods needs to be cooked in order to get other nutrients, so maybe have half and half. If you are pregnant eating endive, and raw or cooked spinach or eat  mushrooms slightly cooked, you get more of the bioavailable form of folate.

About 150 forms of folate has been found in food, but mainly in the form is N5, N10 THF.

In Lima beans the folate bioavailability (easily absorbed form) is 95% while in Romaine lettuce is about 25% (probably because of the fiber content).

Folate in foods can also be easily oxidized and therefore lost in the preparation and processing. Folate from foods also can be lost through inhibitors from foods themselves, such as conjugase inhibitors which prevents the digestion and absorption of folate.

So much that can stop folate to work and being absorbed and being used by the body.  Now from food the absorption and transportation of folate is due to the health of the intestinal track mucosal brush border (so a healthy intestinal tract). There is a folate binding protein at the mucosal brush which will carry the folate to the liver to be transformed into the active one and then used.

Folate absorption and transportation also is thought to be pH, energy and sodium dependent. Folate is absorbed through the small intestine where the optimal pH is about 6 to 7 (far from the stomach pH).

It seems because of all the factor that can affect the ingestion, absorption and bioavailability of the folate, that folate is more easily absorbed in supplement forms and at empty stomach. Folate is transformed more and more time in the liver and what ever we do not use or the used one is recycled, stored and then used again. Some is also stored in the liver cells. In the blood, the folate form is monoglutamate. This is usually bound to protein, and about a third of folate is also found in free form.

So why is folate so important?

Folate is important for the metabolism of few amino acids such as serine, glycine, methionine and histidine. 

What this amino acids do?

Methionine is one that is involved in the reduction of homocysteine, which is the one connected in adults with heart problems and high bad cholesterol and possible damage to the artery. This cycle is important for the maintenance of myelin and neural function depends on the methylation reactions using SAM (S-Adenosyl methionine). SAM is made by the oxidation and reduction of methionine and folate in the form of N5 methyl THF and N10 Methyl group, are essential for this reaction to occur. In the same cycle, for the homocysteine to be reduced again there is a need for methylated folate form as well as B12 and B6.

Histidine needs to be converted into glutamate to be less damaging to the body and folate in the above forms is essential for this conversion (Possible connection to allergy?)

Purine and Pyrimidine synthesis

Folate is involved in the synthesis of the above amino acid, which are essential for cell division, and DNA synthesis, hence the possible connection with spina bifida and maybe upper lip and tongue tie.

Folate also is essential for the making of the red blood cell and therefore deficiency can cause megaloblastic macrocytic anaemia (large immature erythrocytes, cells for the transportation of blood cells, this is also due to a deficiency of B12). The anaemia is the results of decreased DNA synthesis and failure of the cells to divide properly, with a continued formation of RNA. The results is high production of cytoplasmic components including haemoglobin, and the immature cells contains high amounts of haemoglobins . Haemoglobins are the cell that transports blood cells around the body. The formation of the blood transportation cells, involves the bone marrow, the kidney (secretion of erythropoietin) and the homocysteine cycle.

Low folate and B12 has been connected also to depression when the anti-depressants do not work (This is quiet true in eating disorders). If folate has been given without B12 and B6, there is a possible connection to an undetected deficiency of B12 and B6 with depression.

Post natal depression could be also the cause of low B6 and B12 and zinc as the homocysteine cycle needs zinc for the enzyme to function well as the other vitamins.

Heart diseases also have been connected to deficiency or low B12, folate and B6.

What is the possible connection with the upper lip and tongue tie and problems arising from low folate?

The reason that somebody connected the form of folic acid and folate to the above problem is to do with the genetic. In order for the folic acid to become active and have the methyl group attached, the body needs to have the right enzyme. Enzyme are made genetically, you either have it or have a bit of production or you do not have it at all.

As I mentioned above in order for the folate to be active and work in the body, it needs to be transformed with the methyl group attached. So it is similar to a lock and key process, without the methyl group the folate cannot work properly and therefore the key would not fit the lock and cannot be used. Now the enzyme that helps this function to happen is a mouthful to say, it is called 5,10-methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) and the genetic code that is considered defected is C677T, Ala –> Val (1). It seems that the prevalence of the VAL/Val genotype depends on the ethnic groups. In African population is low, while in Europe and North America is about 5 to 15% and in Italy is much higher depends on the regions (1).

I have not seen any scientific evidence though, yet, connecting the upper lip and the tongue tie to the genetic defect of folic acid. However it does not mean that it is not possible. If there is a defect in the folic acid formation or some women have low enzyme activity for the transformation it can be possible. However a complete blockage of the folic acid might cause spina bifida or other muscular skeletal malformation, so not quite sure how that would work and why it would only have extra layer of thick skin on the lips and tongue and no one else. Maybe it is a thought for somebody out there to studies this factor.

What problem would the genetic polymorphism have on adults?

Now the above genetic problem might have more consequences for male and female adults in life in general if they have more stress, drink a lot and eat unhealthy as that would mean that the toxins are not eliminating enough and the homocysteine will be higher and higher and heart problem can be triggered. As well as anaemia, depression and other disorders connected to high homocysteine.

Who might need more folate, B12 and B6?

People who might need more folate, B12 and B6 are people who drink a lot, as folate is decreased with alcohol, achlorydia (low stomach acid), inflammatory bowel diseases, malignancies, when taking oral contraception, in pregnancy and during lactation. If you know that you have a possible genetic low MTHR (the enzyme that transform the methyl group), then take the active form of the folate which is now out for sell by many companies, Biocare, Solgar and others.

How would you know that you might have a problem?

Well look at the your own family history, if they had a lot of heart problems, if you drink a little and cannot cope with it much, stomach problems, family cancer, possible irritable bowel syndrome and possibly allergy, even though not scientific connection yet.

Is Folic acid or folate toxic?

There are studies that showing that even at high dosage folate it is not toxic, that is above 10 mg a day. However the normal recommendation even in pregnancy is about 400 mcg. In adults about 200 to 250 mgc a day.  Vitamin C  have been shown to protect folate from oxidation (free radical formation). In the presence of too much folate, it seems that zinc absorption is diminished (3).

Which food is folic acid added to?

Folic acid is added in grains and in pregnancy supplements and has been so since 1998. Now this has seen a reduction in spina bifida which is one of the consequences of deficiency in folate, however some now connects it to the possibility of tongue tie and upper lip tie but the folic acid form, even though as I mentioned above there is a need for more studies and only for some that have problems converting the active folic acid there is the need to take methyltetrahydrofolate form of folate.

 

Reference and Bibliography

  1. Cortese C. & Motti C. (2001). MTHFR gene polymorphism, homocysteine and cardiovascular disease. Public Health Nutr. Apr;4(2B):493-7.
  2. Girelli et al (1998). Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase C677T mutation, plasma homocysteine, and folate in subjects from northern Italy with or without angiographically documented severe coronary atherosclerotic disease: evidence for an important genetic-environmental interaction. Jun 1;91(11):4158-63.
  3. Groff J. L. & Gropper S.S. (2000). Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism. Wadsworth Thomson learning. USA
  4. Knowles L. et al (2016). Treatment with Mefolinate (5-Methyltetrahydrofolate), but Not Folic Acid or Folinic Acid, Leads to Measurable 5-Methyltetrahydrofolate in Cerebrospinal Fluid in Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase Deficiency. JIMD Rep. Feb 23 (abstract)

Sadness and grief in adults


How does sadness and grief feels with craniosacral therapy. Well quite often it can be felt in the lungs area or even as a constant cough or nose blockage. If it is an old grief or sadness, than it is usually felt in the physical heart as well as the 4th chakras which is the heart center. What happens when that is acknowledged consciously. Well it can be felt with as a deep sadness and grief, there will be some tears and weeping, it depends on how much is that needs to be released and than it is gone. In our modern society, it seems that emotions, especially grief and crying is something that people do not do enough as it is considered a sign of weakness. That is especially for men. Quite often men are not allowed to cry, as if they do, then they are seen by women or men alike as weak. So they keep all that sadness and grief inside, which it means quite often they do not allow themselves ever to be or feel vulnerable and even open their heart to connect to the women who they love and respect. Now, I have also noticed and been told that women are becoming more and more like that, as they now need to be at the level of men, and any crying or feeling of being vulnerable means that they are weak and therefore not quite accepted anymore from other women themselves or the men that they are trying to connect. So what happens there is the couple stop connecting and communicating to each other for the fear of being considered weak and complaining all the time! 

(c) Maria Esposito BSc (Hons) Nutritionist/NAET – Rcraniosacral therapist

Teething for babies and toddlers

What happens when babies start to teeth? Well babies teeth needs to come out and they need to get through a lot of gum to get through. So it is quite irritating and a bit painful for some children. The teething tightness and irritation, can also irritate the ears and head and nose in some way and block them quite a bit. What I do with Craniosacral therapy is to loosen the tightness which unblocks the tiny little sinuses at the nose point, eyes and that includes the ears and fallopian tube too. Quite often after the session, or even during the sessions the baby and toddlers start to drooling a lot, which is a great sign. This means that everything is back to normal and there is more space for the teeth to grow, the irritation is gone and quite often the nose also start running and the mucus starts to be more lose if they had a cough or dry cough for a while. If the child or baby had ear aches or frequent infections, that would get better as well.

(c) Maria Esposito BSc (Hons) Nutritional Therapist/NAET – RCraniosacral therapist

Healing ourselves; healing our children

Healing ourselves healing our children is something that I firmly believe. unless we heal our past, healing our own history from our parents, their war, their problems their fears, which have become our fears, our history and our own belief, is going to be difficult to manage to heal ourselves and our children and therefore our world.

How much wheat can you eat without feeling unwell?

I went away for the Easter weekend, where every meal was organized for us and as we were in the middle of nowhere and hiking all day, I had to have what ever there was, otherwise I would feel worse and probably get into the ketogenic diet without doing the diet consciously. Yes, not eating enough also would take you to a ketogenic diet, as the body would use fat as the second fuel burner to make the energy. Now I usually do not have sandwiches everyday for lunch, however no choice there. It was a very nice bread, wholemeal. So how much did I eat before feeling unwell. Well more than I usually do. Which it was two sandwiches (the Hike were tough and I quite need fuel with that) and toast, plus porridge in the morning with lots of fruits. So no much more than I usually eat, however that 2 sandwiches for lunch did affect my stomach. I felt more bloated that I normally am and I felt more tired and than I usually am (not only for the big walk which I was not used to). However the worse was not during the eating of the bread, as my body got used to it. It was the withdraw from so much bread that got to me. In fact for the week after, my muscle were fine, however I felt so drained and tired no matter how much I slept at night. I felt my energy was drained completely. It took about 1 full 5 days to be ok and funny enough I was craving for bread! I am back to normal now, which is great.

Now with my experience with children and adults with eating wheat and gluten, unfortunately some cannot even eat a microscopic part of the gluten or gliadin of the wheat. If they do, the immune system starts to get into a low grade inflammation, which puts the body down and in constant alert. Leading to eventually more viruses or physical problems which can trigger their hereditary genes.

In a nutshell, how much wheat can you eat? well it depends on your genetic make up, it is like the lactose intolerance, each of us can cope with as much as our genetic make up allows us to cope with. Some people who evolved with the farmer genetic make up more than 10.000 years ago, might be able to cope with more wheat than others. Some cannot cope with even a microscopic part of it.

(c) Maria Esposito BSc (Hons) Nutritional Therapist – RCST

Ketogenic diet. What is it for and when to try it?

I have been hearing so much about the ketogenic diet. Lately I heard that a colleague of mine is doing that to reduce her breast cancer. She has been on the diet for 2 years and it is working for her. From all the research that I have seen, it is great for epilepsy, cancer, weight loss and cancer.

However as for any diet, this one needs to be done properly and under the supervision of a nutritionist or a doctor and with the approval of both the doctors and nutritionist if it is for any of the serious diseases. I normally, do not advocate any very strict regimental diet as a principle, however for people who know what they are getting into and have the support of an experience ketogenic nutritionist and doctor it is a good diet to do to get drastic results.

So what is the ketogenic diet and how does it work?

Normally, our body gets the fuel for the food that we eat, such as carbohydrates, fat or protein (the latter it is the last resort for the body to use, and it is used in hunger or a state of anorexia). The first fuel that the body cell will use is carbohydrate. In a balanced diet the fuel from carbohydrate can be between 50 to 60% of our food intake, followed by 15 to 20 % of fat and the rest protein. This includes all the food with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients as well as antioxidants.

In the ketogenic diet, the percentage that you need to eat in order for the body to use fat, goes from 30% to 90% of fat in your diet. Most studies though have shown that 70% of fat is plenty and enough to cause a change, higher percentage does not make a huge difference.

What happens in a ketogenic diet is that the body goes into Nutritional Ketosis with high fat and Natural ketosis when you do not eat enough. Ketones build up, which signals your brain to start using fat faster as fuel in order to survive and to function well. Fat accumulation also stops and fat is used as the primary fuel for making energy.

In order for the body to form ketones, it needs to be short of carbohydrates. Now with this in mind, it does need to be a good fat not any fry up fat. The good fats that are recommended are: coconut oil, ghee, and their products, fish oil and some good fat from the meat as well, etc. There is no much fruits in the diet, however there are plenty of green non starchy green vegetables and good oil, such as raw olive oil and flax seed oil.

As you can see, this is a tough diet, and you need to do it properly as there will be also lots of oxidation from using the fat, which is called perioxidation (free radicals). So it is important that you also take a mixture of antioxidant to support this process. This diet needs to have fat soluble anti-oxidants such as E, vitamin C, lipoic acid, zinc, selenium, and many others. Even though in young fit and sporty people, a couple of studies have found that the oxidation rate went down and the anti-oxidant metabolites of their body was more efficient in getting rid of the free radicals. However in both studies, electrolytes and good protein was supplied, as well as herbal teas allowed and plenty of water (2,3)

In a long term the ketogenic diet is very difficult, especially because we live in a world that excess carbohydrate is all over the place. Travelling would be difficult, as you need to take your own high fat food and supplements, and if you get stuck somewhere, well that would be a worry! However, fat also supply for more fuel then carbohydrate, so you would feel less hungry and therefore eat less. Also with this diet your gall bladder needs to be in full function.

At the beginning of the diet, you need to weigh everything in order for you to do the percentage right. Now it is very important that you know what you are doing with this diet otherwise you end up with kidney problems and constipation or very smelly stools. The latter is also as a consequence of the diet. Also other side effects of the diet is headache, and diarrhoea as well as constipation. So in order to be able to go without any problem, lots of greens, magnesium in a powder form or vitamin C in powder form and lots of probiotics to keep the smell down a bit.

My colleague did the diet to help reduce her breast cancer. Her results was that that the intervention on her breast was reduced. However, because she is a nutritionist she could do it. Myself, if I wanted to do it I could do it, however I would find it very hard and I would probably found another way. As we know that too much carbohydrate or sugars, good or bad in our diet, is causing the most common diseases of our times, and that includes diabetes, heart problems, cancer and overweight, it is best to prevent them by at least reducing our intake of sugars and carbohydrates as much as possible anyway.

Like everything else I believe that in any disorders and disease there is genetic component, which it needs to be triggered in order to develop. Then there is the lifestyle, stress, emotions, trauma as well as nutrition and how well we look after ourselves. If you do or you would like to try the ketogenic diet, make sure that you do not do it by yourself unless you are a nutritionist and that you have the support of a nutritionist who is experienced in ketogenic diet (they have done it themselves for at least a year or so), and the support of your doctor if you are doing it for a specific reasons, even the weight loss. Good luck for what ever reason you do it or want to try it!

Warning: if you have a genetic family history of kidney failure or problems do not attempt this diet at all. If you do attempt it do it with a practitioner as stated above and or your doctor approval for any diseases.

References:

  1. Feinman RD et al (2015). Dietary carbohydrate restriction as the first approach in diabetes management: critical review and evidence base. Nutrition. Jan;31(1):1-13.
  2. Hyun-seung Rhyu et al (2014). The effects of ketogenic diet on oxidative stress and antioxidative capacity markers of Taekwondo athletes. Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation;10(6):362-366
  3. Paoli A, et al (2012). Ketogenic diet does not affect strength performance in elite artistic gymnasts. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 2012;9:34.
  4. Prabhakar A et al (2015). Acetone as biomarker for ketosis buildup capability–a study in healthy individuals under combined high fat and starvation diets. Nutr J. Apr 22;14:41
  5. Vesely JM et DeMattia LG (2014). Obesity: dietary and lifestyle management. FP Essent. Oct;425:11-5.
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