Blog Post

Vitamin D

  • by Joanna Engel
  • 22 Nov, 2018

Are you getting enough?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that exists in two main forms: vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). It is estimated that around one billion people worldwide (almost 50% of the population) across all ethnicities and age groups may have insufficient Vitamin D levels. For many people, the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency may be subtle. However, even without symptoms, low levels of vitamin D can pose many health risks.

Sunlight as a primary form of vitamin D.

Vitamin D is unique because it can be made in the skin from our exposure to sunlight. It is the Ultraviolet (UVB) light from the sun that synthesizes vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) in the skin. In order to increase and maintain adequate vitamin D levels it is essential to obtain 15–30 minutes of midday (12.00 - 3.00pm) sunlight on bare skin that is without any sunscreen daily during the summer months (April-October), although exposure time should depend on how sensitive a person’s skin is to sunlight, furthermore people with darker skin may need longer exposure. It has been suggested that during the summer months an adult with fair skin in a swimsuit who obtains enough sun exposure to cause a slight ‘pinkness’ to the skin may obtain the same amount of vitamin D as does one who ingests 20,000 IU of vitamin D.2. Unfortunately, the half-life of this vitamin is around 3-6 weeks, so even the stores gathered over the summer can decline rapidly by the time we get into the winter months.

What affects levels

How much vitamin D is synthesized depends on many factors including a person’s age, for example those above 65 years of age are 4-times lower capacity to produce it in their skin compared to younger adults. Furthermore, some medications (statins, diuretics, anti-seizure) have been found to affect vitamin D metabolism. Any areas of skin that are covered will not benefit from the sun’s rays, whilst darker skin has been found to absorbs less sunlight, also affecting levels. Those of us living further north (Europe), vitamin D levels will be affected due to fewer direct sun rays. Our modern and busy lifestyle, longer working hours means that we’re spending fewer hours outside, reducing our sun exposure.

Recent campaigns recommend not being exposed to direct sunlight because of skin cancer risk, which has led to the over-use of toxin-filled sunscreen during times of limited sun exposure. Using sunscreens not only blocks the production of this vitamin by more than 90% if properly applied, but also all of the other beneficial photoproducts produced in the skin in response to UVB including increased Nitric Oxide production, improved inflammatory response as well as antimicrobial benefits. Furthermore, our modern diet may be low vitamin D rich foods such as fatty fish, whole-fat dairy, seafood, legumes (beans and peas), nuts, seeds, and soy products, furthermore, it is difficult to get adequate amounts of this vitamin from diet alone. Vitamin D3 is only found in animal-sourced foods (fish oil, liver, egg yolk and butter) and dietary supplements, whereas D2 mainly comes from plant sources (fortified foods mushrooms, (grown in UV light), as well as dietary supplements.

During the winter months

The UK gets insufficient UVB intensity during the months from October until the end of March, resulting in minimal skin production of vitamin D during the winter season, independent of age. This is because the angle of the sun is too low during the winter months to produce any vitamin D in the skin, regardless of duration of exposure. This is due to a smaller zenith angle of the sun (see figure 1).

Figure 1 The solar zenith angle

Checking vitamin D levels

Testing and maintaining levels of vitamin D is important to prevent deficiency and preventing toxicity. Your GP or functional lab can carry out a test to measure the active vitamin D in the bloodstream. The most accurate way to measure how much vitamin D is in your body is the 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test. 25 (OH levels). If you require supplements it is important to re-check your levels after three months to see if you have achieved or maintained adequate levels of vitamin D. Furthermore, Nutritional biochemist Dr. Chris Masterjohn summarized that recent evidence suggests that optimal vitamin D levels may vary from population to population, despite the fact that there is currently only one reference range used for all patients. Therefore, it is important to make sure that measured vitamin D levels are within “functional” limits for health, not just ‘within normal limits’ that are defined to avoid severe vitamin D deficiency such as seen in rickets. Additionally, children and adults with chronic health conditions such as autism, MS, cancer, heart disease, or obesity may require increased amounts.

Table 1. Measures of vitamin D and conditions associated with vitamin D levels


Reference Dr. Michael Stone


The Endocrine Society recommends a minimum vitamin-D blood level of 30 ng/mL — and between 40 and 60 ng/mL for optimal health.

The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM), which promotes an integrative medical model, advises that between 50 and 80 ng/ml is necessary for optimal health benefits.

The Institute for Functional Medicine recommends the following supplement dose based on measured blood levels of vitamin D (see table 2), then re-testing (after 3 months) to see if levels have improved. If your numbers have improved, lower your dose accordingly, if levels have not improved it may be worthwhile to consider testing for genetic polymorphisms that may slow or inhibit your body’s ability to convert vitamin D.

Table 2 blood levels of vitamin D and recommended supplement doses

Addressing the root cause of deficiency

If your vitamin D levels are below “functional” ranges despite reasonable sun exposure (roughly 15 - 30 minutes) in the midday sun in the summer for fair-skinned people, as well as a nutritious diet containing good sources of vitamin D, then it is important to investigate and treat the underlying causes of vitamin D deficiency (speak to a Functional medicine practitioner).   One of the reasons that your vitamin D may not be in functional range can include genetic variations, which have been found to affect vitamin D metabolism, and may require life-long vitamin D supplementation, furthermore genetic variants that affect vitamin D metabolism have also been found to affect other physiological processes, including immune functioning and neurotransmitter metabolism (mood health). Compromised and poor gut health and digestion could also be a reason for vitamin D not being in range, including chronic conditions such as celiac, crohns and chronic pancreatic that may lead to a reduced vitamin D absorption from food. Low vitamin D levels can also reveal that there may be some chronic/acute inflammation or infection. (stomach and bowel resections). Liver disease/poor liver function can also be a cause of vitamin D deficiency due to the decreased production/flow of bile leading to a reduced ability to emulsify fat and reduced availability/absorption in the gut.

Vitamin D for health

Vitamin D plays a key role in numerous physiological processes, furthermore virtually every cell in the body has a vitamin D receptor, which, when bound to this vitamin, can influence the expression of more than 200 genes. Recent studies show that vitamin D’s effects go far beyond bone health: eg, children given 1,200 IU of vitamin D per day for four months during the winter reduced their risk of an influenza, whilst pregnant women deficient in vitamin D seem to be at greater risk of preeclampsia and caesarean section. Vitamin D benefits include

Cancer: suppresses the proliferation of and stimulates the differentiation and apoptosis of some kinds of cancer cells, especially breast, prostate, and colon;

Diabetes: triggers the transcription of the insulin receptor gene in peripheral target cells and activates the release of insulin from the pancreas’ beta cells;

Cardiovascular disease: decreases PTH levels and the release of renin by the kidneys, which helps reduce blood pressure;

Muscular function: increases calcium uptake by muscles and stimulates the intracellular release of calcium within the muscle to maintain appropriate muscle contraction;

• Immunity: upregulates macrophages’ production of cathelicidin, a protein that helps them fight conditions such as upper respiratory infections and tuberculosis;

Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and schizophrenia: prevents the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the brain

Multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and type 1 diabetes: suppresses the autoimmune response.

Reference https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/070114p48.shtml

Supplementation

The Department of Health recommends that everyone over the age of four should take 10 micrograms (400iu) of vitamin D every day, particularly from October to March).

If your vitamin-D levels are low and you can’t safely or sufficiently raise them with whole foods and sunshine, taking a supplement can help. “Vitamin-D replenishment represents the single most cost-effective thing we can do in medicine to boost baseline health,” states Gregory Plotnikoff, MD mts FACP. However, supplementation should be considered carefully, especially since there can be risks of mega dosing. According to Chris Masterjohn, “Vitamin D can be a double-edged sword as adequate vitamin D prevents heart disease, but too much vitamin D may promote heart disease.

An excessive intake of vitamin D is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, kidney stones and low bone density

Both vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 are available in supplement form, and many patients are prescribed D2, a synthetic version of the nutrient called ergocalciferol, however this is not the most bioavailable form. Taking the D3 (cholecalciferol) instead has been shown to be much more effective in raising blood levels of vitamin D, this is because the body will always need to convert any ‘stored’ form of vitamin D3 into the ‘active’ form for it to do its various jobs like supporting calcium absorption. Opting for an ‘active’ high-quality well-absorbed form for your body to use easily is recommended.

For increased absorption of vitamin D it in order to increase your vitamin D levels, it’s best to include the other fat-soluble vitamins: A, E, and K2.  Vitamin D is fat-soluble, which means it requires dietary fat to be absorbed by the body, such as fatty fish which also delivers vitamin D making it more bioavailable. It is important to note that Vitamins D3 and K2 work together to strengthen bones, adding that high doses of D on its own can deplete vitamin K2 in the body. When taking D, it’s also important to get adequate amounts of magnesium to ensure you can absorb calcium effectively. The fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and K work synergistically, and adequate vitamin A and K may protect against toxic effects of excess vitamin D. Sufficient levels of potassium and magnesium have also been suggested to protect against vitamin D toxicity. Unfortunately, many people are deficient in these micronutrients in the developed world, making them more susceptible to vitamin D toxicity. Taking all of these vitamins and minerals together in supplement form, as opposed to vitamin D on its own is recommended for optimal health benefits.

 

Most importantly ‘Take the right amount of vitamin D’. If you have a deficiency,

References


1. Jovicic S, Ignjatovic S, Majikic-Singh N. Biochemistry and metabolism of vitamin D. J Med Biochem. 2012;31(4):309-315.

2. Holick MF. The d-lightful vitamin D for health. J Med Biochem. 2013;32(1):1-10.

3. Ross AC, Taylor CL, Yaktine AL, Del Valle HB (eds). Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press; 2011.

4. Jaaskelainen T, Knekt P, Marniemi J, et al. Vitamin D status is associated with sociodemographic factors, lifestyle and metabolic health. Eur J Nutr. 2013;52(2):513-525.

5. Battault S, Whiting SJ, Peltier SL, Sadrin S, Gerber G, Maixent JM. Vitamin D metabolism, functions and needs: from science to health claims. Eur J Nutr. 2013;52(2):429-441.

6. Holick MF, Binkley NC, Bischoff-Ferrari HA, et al. Evaluation, treatment, and prevention of vitamin D deficiency: an Endocrine Society clinical practice guideline. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011;96(7):1911-1930.

7. Carlberg C, Seuter S, de Mello VDF, et al. Primary vitamin D target genes allow a categorization of possible benefits of vitamin D3 supplementation. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(7):e71042. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0071042

8. Kuhn T, Kaaks R, Teucher B, et al. Dietary, lifestyle, and genetic determinants of vitamin D status: a cross-sectional analysis from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Germany study. Eur J Nutr. 2013;Epub ahead of print.

9. Vogeser M, Seger C. Vitamin D—challenges in diagnosing and monitoring of hypovitaminosis D. J Med Biochem. 2012;31(4):316-325.

10. Rosen CJ, Abrams SA, Aloia JF, et al. IOM committee members respond to Endocrine Society vitamin D guideline. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012;97(4):1146-1152.

11. Bischoff-Ferrari HA, Shao A, Dawson-Hughes B, Hathcock J, Giovannucci E, Willett WC. Benefit–risk assessment of vitamin D supplementation. Osteoporos Int. 2010;21(7):1121-1132.

12. Godar DE, Pope SJ, Grant WB, Holick MF. Solar UV doses of adult Americans and vitamin D3 production. Dermatoendocrinol. 2011;3(4):243-350.

13. Moreno-Reyes R, Carpentier YA, Boelaert M, et al. Vitamin D deficiency and hyperparathyroidism in relation to ethnicity: a cross-sectional survey in healthy adults. Eur J Nutr. 2009;48(1):31-37.

14. Pronsky ZM, Crowe JP. Food-Medication Interactions. 17th ed. Birchrunville, PA: Food-Medication Interactions; 2012.

15. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 26. US Department of Agriculture website. http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list. Accessed October 26, 2013


by JO ENGEL 03 Dec, 2018

As the Winter season settles in, we notice that the days are getting shorter and the nights longer, many of us may be concerned with fending off the dreaded flu or a cold. Flu viruses can affect us mostly during the Autumn/winter months, in particular during October and November, and then peaking between December and February. Influenza is an acute viral respiratory infection caused by RNA viruses and results in fever and myalgia in infected people, whilst colds are caused by different viruses, and symptoms are usually much milder.

Although we can’t prevent cold and flu viruses from making their winter appearance, however we can make sure we are consuming a healthy diet (rich in vitamins and minerals, good fats), taking regular exercise, getting enough sleep, and reducing stressor and stress in order to help to bolster the immune system. Furthermore, practicing good personal hygiene, and good health habits such as covering your mouth when coughing and washing your hands, can help stop the spread of germs. If you are already unwell, a healthy diet and certain supplements can help ease cold and flu symptoms (see lsit below).

Other alternatives to consider

• Adaptogens (holy basil, reishi, ginseng)

• Herbal teas and preparations for symptom control (pelargonium sage, thyme, oregano, ginger, wild cherry bark, yarrow, elder flowers, honey, etc.)

Most people with the flu, usually have the ‘mild’ illness and do not require any medical care or antiviral drugs, in most cases, it is advised that they should stay at home and avoid contact with other people until they are better.

by JO ENGEL 12 Sep, 2018
Nutrition therapist explains how avocado oil is the new must-have product for cooking. Avocado oil offers both external and internal benefits and can be used in cooking as a much healthier alternative to other oils.
by Jo Engel 14 Aug, 2018

Avocado fruits (Persea Americana) are deliciously creamy in texture and taste and are incredibly versatile as they can be added to salads, soups, pasta dishes, made into pancakes, and added to smoothies and are now available frozen as a quick and easy option. Avocados are a great source of fibre, they are rich in vitamins including the B vitamins, vitamin K, E and C, and mineral’s potassium and copper as well as being rich in monounsaturated fats.......

what’s there not to love  Confused about what oils to cook with.......try avocado oil

As well as avocados being a delicious and nutritious food, their additional benefits can also be obtained by using the avocados natural pressed oil as a tasty and healthy option in the kitchen for cooking, baking, grilling and roasting. Avocado oil is made from the fruit pulp and not the seed, whilst most other popular oils are made from the seed including, sunflower, pumpkin, flaxseed oil, whilst Olive oil is made from both from the fruit and seed.

What makes avocado oil so great

Avocado oil contains beneficial levels of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid (9 omega) as well as containing other fatty acids (omega 3 and 6) all found to offer many health benefits – see below . Furthermore, Avocado oil has a stable structure with a high smoke point (520 degrees Fahrenheit), which means it to be used for high temperature cooking. No other oil, including ghee, tallow or lard has a higher smoke point, making avocado oil the best choice for high heat cooking. Furthermore, Avocado Oil is thought to be a good replacement for extra virgin olive oil, especially since olive oil is best when cooked at lower temperatures.

Other oils including soy, canola, flaxseed, pumpkin seed and corn oils that have been found to break down and burn at high temperatures which means that the flavour from the oil is lost, and its beneficial nutrients are destroyed.

 

How to Use Avocado Oil

Avocado oil can be used for roasting and grilling root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots and turnips. It can also be used in salad dressings, marinades, soups, stir-fries, baked goods, sauces, smoothies, pesto, pizza, and kale chips and you can drizzle it on just about anything.

 

The many health benefits associated with avocado oil

 

Recent research shows avocado oil’s fat and plant pigments may offer

 

Antioxidant protection by fighting against free radicals whilst decreasing oxidative stress, avocado oil has been shown to improve energy production for cell function and prevent mitochondrial dysfunction (1).

Improved skin health: avocado oil can treat skin wounds by increasing collagen and reducing inflammatory cells (2). It’s a great moisturiser for skin and hair

Improved Psoriasis: a combination of vitamin B12 and avocado oil effectively treated patients with psoriasis. The anti-inflammatory properties in avocado oil can also provide relief to those with other skin conditions, including eczema and keratosis pilaris (3).

Reduction in Periodontal disease: avocado oil and soybean oil was found to reduce inflammation by inhibiting por-inflammatory cytokines molecules in periodontal ligaments and bone cells when used as a mouthwash (4)

Improved Symptoms of Arthritis: Extracts from avocado and soy bean oil may reduce the pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis. Avocado oil has even received prescription drug status in France because of its proven ability to counter the negative effects of arthritis! (5)

Lowers cholesterol and heart health: The beta-sitosterol in avocado oil has been found to reduce cholesterol and heart disease in various studies. The oil has been found to improve the overall blood lipid count and reduce the concentration of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol (6)

Helps improve weight loss avocados support weight control, through its oleic acid content. Diets that are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids such as oleic acid can protect against abdominal fat accumulation. (7)

 


by Joanna Engel 26 Jul, 2018
Chronic Stress
by Joanna Engel 16 Jul, 2018

HISTAMINE

How to increase the histamine lowering DAO enzyme naturally

Do you experience unexplained anxiety or suffer with random headaches? Do you avoid drinking red wine as it causes red face flushing? Do you get a swollen or itchy tongue when you eat avocados or bananas?

If you can relate to any of these frustrating symptoms, then you may have histamine intolerance

What is histamine intolerance?

Histamine Intolerance occurs due to the overproduction and accumulation of histamine in the body and the inability to break it down, resulting in a range of chronic symptoms similar to an allergic reaction (1). Other symptoms associated with histamine intolerance include gastrointestinal disorders (Irritable bowel syndrome), sneezing and nose congestion (2). urticaria (3), atopy, itch (pruritus), and asthma (4).

Although histamine intolerance symptoms can be triggered by certain foods and some of the symptoms mimic an allergic response, the good news is that histamine Intolerance is not considered to be an allergic reaction as it is not mediated by an IgE, immune system reaction, as found with real food allergies, and for that reason is not usually considered to be life threatening. However, the symptoms of histamine Intolerance can be quite severe and debilitating for some sufferers, affecting their quality of life. Unwanted symptoms can impact on the enjoyment of eating out and social events, leading to a constant worry over what to eat.

Recent research shows that at least 1 percent of the world’s population have histamine intolerance and out of those almost 80% affected are middle-aged women (5). Frustratingly the existence of histamine intolerances is frequently misunderstood and underestimated by the medical professional. A diagnosis of histamine intolerance can be supported, by the presentation of two or more of the typical symptoms of histamine intolerance (6). Although understanding the root cause or causes of the development of histamine Intolerance is vital for the appropriate management of symptoms (1).

Diamine oxidase deficiency DAO symptoms

Research has shown that there are several different reasons for developing histamine intolerance (7) however, primarily histamine Intolerance occurs due to an inability for the body to break histamine down, or to clear it out. This process requires two naturally occurring enzymes Diamine Oxidase ( DAO ) and histamine N-methyltransferase ( HNMT) . However, due to either genetics or acquired reasons, the body might not be able to produce enough of one or the other, or both of these (1). Recent research has found that DAO Enzyme Deficiency accounts for over 70% of all Histamine Intolerance (8).

The DAO enzyme, is produced in the intestine, mainly in the intestinal mucosa and its function is essential to breaking down the histamine in the foods that are consumed (1). An impaired DAO enzymatic function and low levels of DAO may lead to reduced DAO activity, which has been found to affect the body’s ability to breakdown and degrade histamine intake. Low DAO levels or an impaired DAO function may lead to an excessive build-up of histamines in the body associated with histamine intolerance (8) Reduced DAO activity has been found to affect multiple organs ( lungs, skin, cardiovascular system, brain, gastrointestinal ) leading to numerous symptoms ( as mentioned above) and can occur even after the ingestion of a small amount of histamine (8).

Elevated histamine concentrations are also associated with an imbalance between the amount of histamine that is released from the cells in response to certain triggers, as well as a build-up of histamine in the body as a result of foods eaten (9). Many Histamine-rich foods and certain beverages have been found to be involved in the accumulation of histamine. Histamine is an organic nitrogen compound, which is found in particularly high levels in certain foods, in addition some foods contain other biogenic amines ( such as cadaverine and putrescine ) which have also been found to trigger the release of histamine and both are associated with elevated histamine levels (10). For example, many migraine sufferers report headaches triggered by histamine rich foods, which are associated with reduced DAO activity, reporting complete relief from headache symptoms when consuming a histamine-free diet (11).

Histamine as well as other biogenic amines are present many different foods at varying levels, the highest concentrations of histamine are found predominately in microbially fermented products, which increase with maturation (12) including aged cheese, sauerkraut and processed meats (12) Alcohol, especially red wine is rich in histamine and is a potent inhibitor of DAO (13). The ingestion of wine is associated with an increase of plasma histamine levels, and the occurrence of sneezing, flushing, headaches and asthma attacks, (13). Although foods such as citrus fruit contain very little histamine, they have the capacity to release histamine directly from tissue mast cells, leading to increased levels (13). However, symptoms don’t always appear immediately, they may appear when the body accumulates histamine throughout the course of the day. An additional benefit of adopting a low-histamine diet is that it serves as a further diagnostic tool, when diagnosing histamine intolerance.

What causes a DAO Enzyme Deficiency?

There are several factors that may reduce DAO activity including

 

Genetic inheritance - genetic mutation

Medications – both prescription and over-the-counter.

Female hormone imbalance (oestrogen to progesterone)

Gastro-intestinal diseases (Irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and Ulcerative colitis, Celiac disease and Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth SIBO)

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies: Vitamin b6, vitamin c, zinc and copper, are required to make DAO.

The ingestion of histamine-rich food

Alcohol as a blocker or inhibitor of DAO

 

Ref: http://alisonvickery.com.au/dao-deficiency

A vicious circle may occur if there is impaired DAO activity, resulting in increased plasma histamine concentrations (14) which in turn leads to unwanted symptoms, which have been shown to inhibit NHMT activity, the second enzyme required for metabolizing histamine (14).

How to increase DAO enzymes

To date research has determined that there are many factors that negatively impact on the amount of DAO synthesised in the body (1,15). The good news is that acquired histamine intolerance may only be transient and potentially reversible.

Encouraging results of a recent study have found that dietary modification and increased intakes of certain nutrients can lead to improved symptoms associated with histamine Intolerance. A study carried out in 2017 was able to establish that certain nutrients could positively influence DAO transport and DAO bioavailability, ready for the body to utilise more efficiently. Furthermore, specific dietary modification was found to regulate the transportation of available DAO into the gut and bloodstream, thereby positively impacting on the degree and location of DAO activity (15).

Favourable results were achieved by the dietary modulation of fats, in particular increased intakes of the Omega-9 fatty acid - monounsaturated fats , a primary source of oleic acid . Intakes of Olive oil, in particular were shown to substantially increase the release of DAO into the blood stream, in fact by up to 500% (15). Other good sources of oleic acid include avocado, lard, and nuts like macadamias. Oleic acid has been shown to have many other health benefits such as supporting heart health and blood circulation, when consumed as part of a Mediterranean diet (16).

The pro-inflammatory Arachidonic Acid , a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid, found in offal, fatty red meat, dairy, especially hard cheeses and eggs was found to cause the highest increase in histamine, when compared to other foods (15). In addition, increased intakes of linoleic acid , a polyunsaturated - omega six fatty acids , as found in vegetable, nut and seed oils (including flaxseed and canola oil) also led to elevated histamine levels. Reducing intake of Omega six, as found in processed foods and vegetable oils, whilst increasing intakes of Omega 3 fats – essential fatty acid (including fatty fish, seafood) has been shown to beneficially moderate inflammation in the body and help reduce the risk and symptoms of associated diseases (15). Moderate intakes of alpha-linolenic - or omega-3 also an essential fatty acid was found to lead to only a moderate histamine release, although only a modest amount is converted to the beneficial EPA and DHA form of omega 3 (15). Alpha – linoleic acid is found in chia seeds, hemp seeds, herbs, and sprouts, and in lower amounts in broccoli, zucchini, avocado, cauliflower and onions.

The Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), also known as medium-chain fatty acids, found in coconut milk and coconut oil have reported antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties (15). Moderate consumption of this fatty acid was not found to elevate histamines levels in the body.

Protein intake is responsible for the release of DAO in the gut. Consuming a wide-range of grass-fed organic protein and including protein sources from fresh seafood were found to lead to a beneficial increase of DAO activity (15). Good quality Ingested protein may help to release DAO from the intestinal mucosa into the gut, helping to deal with ingested amines and histamines, whilst preventing a build-up of histamine levels in the body.

How to implement changes

Consuming local organic produce, fresh grass-fed protein, whilst avoiding artificial ingredients and pesticides has been associated with increased DAO activity. A wide range of fresh produce, organic wholefoods, herbs, sprouts and vegetables can be consumed to obtain a balanced and nutritious diet.

Balancing fats effectively has achieved beneficial results regarding DAO activity. By utilising the heat stable oils, including ghee and pressed coconut oil for baking and cooking at high temperatures, as well as regularly consuming oleic acid including olive oil and macadamia oil for light cooking, frying and drizzling, whilst avoiding industrial seed oils, sources of linoleic acid to help to improve DAO function (15).

Further beneficial dietary changes can be made by avoiding high histamine containing foods, DAO blocking foods, DAO-blocking drugs as well as supporting healthy gut function.

Additional Nutritional Support

Deficiency of the DAO cofactors, zinc, copper and vitamin B-6 and vitamin C, has also been associated with elevated histamine concentrations and reduced DAO activities. Therapeutic Supplementation of both these water-soluble vitamins, and minerals may offer further relief from the symptoms of histamine intolerance, supplementation has been associated with the increased activity of DAO (17,18).

Increased DAO levels in the body can also be achieved through DAO supplementation. Recent research has found that irrespective of whether or not histamine was ingested, additional DAO supplementation led to a reduction in symptoms of histamine intolerance [19] DAO supplementation has been found to help release DAO into the bloodstream, helping to actively degrade amines and histamine throughout the whole body (8)

Overall, there are several beneficial dietary changes that can be made to help prevent DAO deficiency. The promising results from recent research has shown that dietary modification can help to regulate diamine oxidase release. However, further studies are necessary to fully understand the exact role of fat on intestinal lymph diamine oxidase levels. Therefore, making some adjustments to the diet may be beneficial in the long run, as dietary intakes may have notable additional physiological implications.

 

References

 

  1. Maintz, L. Novak, N. 92007). Histamine and histamine Intolerance. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 85 , 5.
  2. Steinbrecher I, Jarisch R. Histamin und Kopfschmerz.(2005) (Histamine and headache.) Allergologie 28 :84–91 (in German).
  3. Lessof MH, Gant V, Hinuma K, Murphy GM, Dowling RH (1990). Recurrent urticaria and reduced diamine oxidase activity. Clin Exp Allergy ; 20: 373–6.
  4. Wantke F, Hemmer W, Haglmuller T, Gotz M, Jarisch R.(1996). Histamine in wine. Bronchoconstriction after a double-blind placebo-controlled red wine provocation test. Int Arch Allergy Immunol, 110: 397–400
  5. Missbichler A. Diagnostischer Nachweis der Aktivität von Diaminooxidase in Serum oder Plasma. (2004) (Diagnostic proof of the DAO activity in serum and plasma.) In: Jarisch R. ed. Histamin-Intoleranz. Histamin und Seekrankheit. (Histamine intolerance. Histamine and motion sickness.) Stuttgart, Germany: Georg Thieme Verlag KG,:8–17 (in German).
  6. Jarisch R.(2004). Histamin-Intoleranz. (Histamine intolerance.) Aerztemagazin 8:1–4 (in German).
  7. Raithel M. Durchfälle und weicher Stuhl. In: Jarisch R. ed. Histamin-Intoleranz. Histamin und Seekrankheit (2015) (Histamine intolerance. Histamine and motion sickness.) Stuttgart, Germany: Georg Thieme Verlag KG, 2004:77–110 (in German).
  8. Manzotti G, Breda D, Di Gioacchino M, Burastero SE, (2015) Serum diamine oxidase activity in patients with histamine intolerance, Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2015 pii: 0394632015617170.
  9. Bodmer S, Imark C, Kneubuhl M.(1999). Biogenic amines in foods: histamine and food processing. Inflamm Res;48:296–300.
  10. Sarkadi L. Histamine in food. In: Falus A, Grosman N, Darvas Z.(2004). eds. Histamine: biology and medical aspects. Budapest, Hungary: Spring Med Publishing, 176–85.
  11. Steinbrecher I, Jarisch R. Histamin und Kopfschmerz (2005). (Histamine and headache) Allergologie, 28:84–91 (in German).
  12. Nordic Council of Ministers Present status of biogenic amines in foods in Nordic countries. Tema Nord 2002: 524 (ISBN: 92-893-0773-0). Cited by: Sarkadi L. Histamine in food. In: Falus A, Grosman N, Darvas Z. (2004) eds. Histamine: biology and medical aspects. Budapest, Hungary: SpringMed Publishing, 176–85.
  13. Wantke F, Hemmer W, Gotz M, Jarisch R. (1997). Adverse reactions to alcoholic beverages: a diagnostic guideline. Clin Exp Allergy ;27:343 (abstr).
  14. Ahrens F, Gabel G, Garz B, Aschenbach JR. (2002). Release and permeation of histamine are affected by diamine oxidase in the pig large intestine. Inflamm Res 51(suppl):S83–4.
  15. Wollin, A, wang, X, Tso, P. (2017) Nutrients regulate diamne oxidase release from intestinal mucosa). The American Physiological Society, 20, 220
  16. S. Terés, G. Barceló-Coblijn, M. Benet, R. Álvarez, R. Bressani, J. E. Halver and P. V. Escribá (2008). Oleic acid content is responsible for the reduction in blood pressure induced by olive oil. PNAS 2008 September, 105 (37) 13811-13816
  17. Johnston CS. (1996). The antihistamine action of ascorbic acid. Subcell Biochem ;25:189–213.
  18. Enteroimmunology: A Guide to the Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Inflammatory Disease – Charles A Lewis
by ENGEL JO 05 Jun, 2018
January is Oatmeal month

Oats are a species of cereal grain, that are renowned for their seeds. Oats are a popular breakfast choice as they are sugar free, contain high fibre levels (One cup 81 grams of dry oats contains 7.5 grams of fibre, the recommended daily intake of fibre is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men), helping to slow down digestion and to keep you fuller fore longer. When broken down the sugar is released slowly into the bloodstream, preventing a ‘big blood sugar spike’. 


Why not add some berries and nuts to your breakfast porridge for additional health benefits  

Oats are rich in a range of important vitamins and minerals, including the B vitamins, folate, Iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese. Oats contain many molecules including polyphenols that act as antioxidants.

 

A great source of fibre

Oats contain a soluble fibre called beta glucan, which has been found to have a beneficial effect on cholesterol, reducing the’ bad ‘LDL cholesterol as well as reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and inflammatory diseases.   Its rich fibre content may help to ease constipation and help aid weight loss as well as supporting healthy weigh maintenance.

 

Oats are so versatile 

When you shop for oats, you may discover several types on the supermarket shelves. It is important to choose the right variety which are either the: whole oat groats, steel cut, Scottish and rolled as these contain the whole oat kernel, as well as the same nutritional value. In contrast Instant, or flavoured varieties often contain sugar, artificial flavouring and colouring. NOTE Although oats themselves do not contain gluten, in rare cases, they are grown in the same fields as wheat or barley, and these crops can sometimes contaminate oats with gluten.

by ENGEL JO 05 Jun, 2018

January is love your liver month

The Love Your Liver campaign is a national awareness initiative regarding liver health, run in January by the British Liver Trust – which is the UKs charity for adults with liver conditions. This is good timing, especially after all the Christmas festivities which may have led to overindulgence and weight gain, which could have a detrimental effect on our health. Any weight gain may result in extra fat stored in the liver, whilst increased caffeine and alcohol intake as well morning-after painkillers, may also place additional pressure on this hardworking organ. Giving up drinking in January is more popular than ever, and abstaining and/ or reducing intakes has been found to be beneficial for health. Excess alcohol intakes can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, liver disease, depression, dementia as well as certain cancers, as well as being an ‘empty’ calorie.

How does overindulgence damage the liver?

The liver filters around one and a half litres of blood every minute, working hard to rid the body of toxins such as: alcohol, caffeine, drugs and food additives. Oxidative stress can increase when the liver tries to break down alcohol and other toxins, which may cause damage to the cells in the liver. Furthermore, alcohol can damage the intestines, which means that toxins from the intestine can get into the liver, leading to potential inflammation and scarring. The liver also turns glucose into fat, which is sent round the body, and it is stored for use when we need it. Alcohol affects the way the liver handles fat, increased intakes lead to fat being build up in the liver. If the liver is being bombard with too many toxins we can eventually overstretch our liver’s resources. Furthermore, excess body weight, and obesity are risk factors for a Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease NAFLD, which is associated with an increased risk of metabolic syndrome

 

How to protect and repair the liver? The good news is that the liver has the remarkable ability to repair itself. In order to support your liver, The Love Your Liver campaign suggests :

Reducing alcohol intake – abstaining for 2-3 days in a row each week;

Increasing physical activity - take more exercise and stay fit;

Reducing intake of sugar and saturated/trans fats.

 

There are a number of dietary measures that may also to help to support an overburdened liver. Foods and beverages that may help to promote healthy liver function include:

Increasing intakes of sulphur rich foods including garlic, legumes, onions and eggs and the Cabbage family such as cauliflower, cabbage and sprouts

Increasing intakes of (soluble) fibre rich foods such as pears, oat-bran, apples and legumes

Increasing your intake of water, keeping hydrated with 8-10 glasses of water a day.

Supplements may offer additional liver support, and support the livers detoxification process

Highfields Vitamins MSM Methyl Sulphonyl Methane - 120 tablets - £9.95 – This supplement is a form of sulphur – and may help to support the sulphation process in the liver, which is the chemical process used to detoxify substances such as alcohol and Paracetemol

Viridian Organic Milk Thistle – 30 tablets - £8.85 – An antioxidant supplement that may help to support and repair the liver, with much research supporting its benefits in diseases of the liver

 

1 in 5 people in the UK have a fatty liver, and rates of liver disease in the UK are rising NHS.

it can be hard to notice the first signs of liver issues as the liver has no nerve endings. However, if you feel you have been overindulging over a long period of time and are worried you can ask your GP for a liver function test.

The Love Your Liver Roadshow is touring throughout the month of January and offers free liver assessments to the public. Stopping at Portsmouth, Bristol, Cardiff, Birmingham, Liverpool, Bradford, Leeds, Middlesbrough and Glasgow. Visit the British Liver Trust’s Love Your Li
by ENGEL JO 05 Jun, 2018

January 16th is National ‘Nothing Day’

This day is literally about doing nothing at all , which is not a bad thing considering that we all often lead such stressful lives. During stressful times it is important to take some time out and be kind to yourself, eat well, rest and sleep, allowing your body to recover. Chronic (long -term) stress has been linked to the body storing fat around the middle area (stomach) therefore often stress management may be the most significant steps to help aid weight loss. Managing stress levels as well as consuming a nutritious diet and/or taking supplements my help to support the immune system as well as minimise the negative effects such as weight gain during stressful periods. Consider increasing intakes of fruit and vegetables each day and focus on foods containing:

B Vitamins . Bananas, leafy green vegetables, avocados, nuts, seeds and also meat, fish and dairy products to help support your energy levels.

Vitamin C . Oranges, tomatoes, peppers, kiwi fruit, leafy green vegetables, broccoli are rich in Vitamin C, important in supporting the adrenal glands, which contain the largest store of vitamin C in the body.

Magnesium. Nuts, Leafy green vegetables, whole grains, especially oats, brown rice and beans are good sources. You can also take a relaxing bath with Epsom salts as these contain magnesium that can be absorbed through your skin, which can help to relax muscles and reduce anxiety.

Reduce Caffeine, alcohol, sugar and salt and smoking as these put stress on the adrenal glands, and strip the body of essential nutrients

Increase exercise , even gentle exercise can help reduce stress levels, including Yoga and tai chi, swimming, breathing exercises, meditation may also help reduce stress. Taking time out just to relax can help you manage your stress more effectively.

Sleep: Getting sufficient and quality sleep, whilst eating healthier and avoiding excessive caffeine may help you sleep well and for longer periods.

 

 

by ENGEL JO 05 Jun, 2018

Coconut oil - The bigger picture

 

the American Heart Association released a report warning against coconut oil due to the high amounts of saturated fat. This goes back to the current debate over the health of saturated fat and eating fat

 

it is important to look at the whole picture rather than an isolated ingredient.

 

Indeed, high saturated-fat consumption in a diet that is low in fibre and leafy greens, and too high in sugar and refined carbohydrates may increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases

 

However high fat consumption from clean sources such as mono-unsaturated fats (olive oil) and even saturated fat (organic coconut oil) eaten alongside a healthy diet that is low in refined foods and sugars and high in vegetables and fibres has in fact been found to improve cholesterol composition, and be heart protective.

 

Coconut oil is unusual as it contains medium-chain triglycerides that have been shown to speed up metabolism and assist in fat loss, as well as lauric acid, a component found in breastmilk, which is anti-microbial .

 

In essence coconut oil is a great health food that can be used for cooking as it has many benefits, however it needs to be consumed as part of a healthy diet in order not to cause additional inflammation in the body.

 

A Further recent study has reported the benefits of eating Coconut oil, as reported in the Daily Mail.

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5248337/Claire-Coleman-Proof-coconut-oil-GOOD-you.html

by ENGEL JO 05 Jun, 2018

Drink to your health this January

National ‘hot tea’ month falls in January, one of the coldest and wettest months of the year, so enjoying a hot cup of tea may be a great way to warm up, whilst also potentially benefiting your health.

The Antioxidant activity in tea has been found to help protect the body from free radical attack as well as beneficially modulating detoxification enzymes; positively stimulating immune function as well as decreasing platelet aggregation. The health benefits ascribed to the consumption of teas may be related to the high content of bioactive ingredients such as polyphenols, which have been reported to possess antioxidant, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory activities.

 

What are the health benefits of drinking tea?

 

Regular tea consumption has been found to provide health benefits, offering hydration and is a great alternative to drinking coffee as it contains less caffeine. There are a variety of different kinds of teas available on the market, each with a different strength and flavour. Green tea, black tea, white tea, oolong tea and pu-erh tea all derive from the Camellia sinensis plant , which is native to China and India. These teas contain caffeine and the amino acid theanine as well as antioxidant flavonoids which may help to protect against free radicals. Each tea undergoes varying degrees of oxidation which affects their health-promoting capacities.

Black tea , is fully fermented and research shows that when drunk regularly (3 cups per day) may help to reduce blood sugar levels, lower total cholesterol and triglyceride levels, whilst increasing beneficial HDL cholesterol levels, as well as potentially reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, improving endothelial function and blood pressure leading to a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Green tea is unfermented and contains high concentrations of EGCG, which offer powerful antioxidant benefits that have been shown to reduce the build-up of atherosclerosis, as well as lowering total cholesterol, and triglycerides levels, whilst increasing beneficial HDL cholesterol levels, leading to a reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, as well as potentially reducing the risk of cancer

White tea is the least processed and is made from buds and certain leaves which are steamed, and dried, regular intakes may help to boost cardiovascular health, helping to lower cholesterol, whilst potentially reducing the risk of cancer and enhancing weight loss.

Oolong or Pu-erh tea is partially fermented and has been found to reduce the risk of Heart Disease, potentially promoting weight loss, decreasing inflammation, as well as reducing the risk of cancer.

Studies have found that drinking six cups of black tea per day is associated with a 36% lower risk of developing heart disease

Herbal Teas

 

Herbal teas can be made from herbs, fruits, seeds, or even the roots of plants or flowers, this means that they vary in potency and chemical compositions, depending on the plant used. Herbal teas come in hundreds of different varieties and they offer a variety of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, and most do not contain caffeine. Although herbal teas have lower concentrations of antioxidants than green tea, black tea, white tea, oolong tea and pu-erh tea, they still have many health benefits, especially if they are drunk frequently throughout the day, thereby increasing antioxidant levels in the bloodstream.

 

Dandelion, hibiscus, green, hawthorn, and juniper teas are considered to be ‘Diuretics’ teas, as they may help to eliminate toxins from the body, whilst supporting the gastrointestinal system, kidneys, and liver.

Elderberry, echinacea, ginger, and liquorice root teas contain antioxidants and vitamins that have been found to boost the immune system , and may help to prevent infections, whilst protecting against oxidative stress.

Valerian, kava root, chamomile, and lavender teas may help to balance neurotransmitter levels, helping to reduce anxiety and to improve sleep.

Allspice, bergamot, chamomile, eucalyptus, and kava root teas have been found to have ‘analgesic’ properties , and may help relive discomfort and pain, or support recovery from surgery illness and injury.

Peppermint, ginger, turmeric and eucalyptus teas have been found to help reduce inflammation , including arthritic inflammation and haemorrhoids, whilst reducing gastrointestinal discomfort.

Kava root, valerian, St. John’s Wort and chamomile tea consumption has been found to help to lower stress, depression and anxiety levels, whilst also boosting energy levels.

Dandelion, chamomile, cinnamon, peppermint and ginger teas have been found to help aid digestion by improving symptoms of Indigestion, cramping, bloating, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and diarrhoea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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