“I wish someone had told me that before I graduated”

Recently someone asked me to write a chapter in a book for new Veterinary graduates.
I thought it might be useful for many people of different walks of life, so here are my
TIWI KWIP’s — This cone of shame is a mnemonic word that specialists and “older” vintage  practitioners use to explain “Things I Wish I Knew When I was in Practice”
 I always enjoy listening to these lecturers, as their stories given with their “retrospectroscope” are illuminating and often a relief to hear that others had gone through your situation, bringing some hilarity to our subjective failings .  For instance the Professor of anaesthesiology was lecturing to us and relayed a humorous story about an Anaesthetist climbing the long ladder to heaven after he had passed away.  There was a long chalkboard next to the ladder, and after each step you had to place a chalk mark  next to the ladder for any mistakes you made in your life or any work related mishaps.  On his way up he met a surgeon he knew coming down, and he was surprised and somewhat concerned to see that this surgeon was heading the wrong way! “Hey, are you ok? Did you get rejected at the pearly gates?” he asked. “No, I just ran out of chalk, I’m coming down to get some more!” the surgeon said.
I hope, as you travel through your working life, that you realize that all the great Veterinarians that you respect, and that have gone before you, are there because they never gave up, and that they probably made all the mistakes that you perhaps will, or are going through right now.  Your licence to “practice” means just that- you will forever be “practicing” and learning. Listen to your colleagues, listen to your clients, avoid becoming judgemental, stay humble.  You are still the top of your High School league, and necessarily in the top 1% academically, so be aware that Veterinary Medicine and Surgery is not always clear sailing, and it is not always your fault. This does not mean that you shouldn’t acknowledge anything that did not go 100% smoothly, but remind yourself, and your clients, that we are dealing with biology, not changing an old tyre, and we cannot guarantee immortality at any cost. We can only do our best, with our heartfelt desire to help. The vast majority of our work will be an improvement for their pet, and we are definitely more knowledgeable than any other non- veterinarian out there giving advice on pet care.
There will be  many moments of mild, or even severe anxiety,  and several periods of doubt, during your first few years as a Veterinary Surgeon and Physician.  You will gain experience. Keep moving and seek help if you are feeling overwhelmed- because it’s actually a normal part of the process!  Many “disasters” are actually a lesson which in the future will help you to help someone else.  Cherish those, and remind yourself how well you recovered from that situation. Save your client thank you notes, and refer to the many outstanding successes you have had if you ever find yourself feeling down about your profession.
sunrise boys

First off remember that you are NOT ALONE.  You really do have friends and family that care, just go and find them.   Get social.  Talk to PEOPLE.  Off load your grief. The rate of suicide in the veterinary profession is unacceptably high.  It has been shown that those  vets who have a more balanced life, with a social supporting structure such as church, drama clubs, book clubs, soccer, netball, football have much less stress related illness. Exercise based activities that are routinely added to your week are a survival mechanism, it might seem a chore but just DO IT!  Find your TRIBE, so you have a sense of purpose and belonging. Tribes exist online (Facebook) and in real time in your community, its the niche- doing what you like together with a small group.
1) Develop an attitude of gratitude towards your boss and nurses. Bring food to share!  When you graduate you do not know everything and the nurses and staff often know a heck of a lot more than you. Be kind to the nurses especially, some of them may not seem worth it (they get stressed by new grads) but time will pass and you will improve.
2) Expect the unexpected– re spay– plan everything well, and something will happen that you didn’t expect, but don’t feel bad about that because next time you will do that better.   Everyone drops a spay pedicle in their first year, don’t panic, extend the incision and find the kidney in that area, its right under it.   Exteriorize and have good vision of the tract.  Don’t use thin  monofilament suture around the uterine stump in fat/peri-oestrous  as when the swelling happens (as it always does post) the material will cut into the tissue and the animal can bleed out from there.
3)  There are always more options than what you have been taught at Uni, consider referring if you are stumped- no shame in that: ophthalmology, Dentistry, Dermatologist, Internist referral, also “alternative medicine” to a qualified veterinarian trained in acupuncture, Chinese herbs, western herbs, essential oils, remedial massage, chiropractic, osteopathy- refer to your colleagues it will make you look AWESOME. (not dumb) if you get a patient that you cannot think of a way forward.  Visit your colleagues and watch them practice, see if you can be a trainee under their mentorship. Join the local journal club.
4) FAMILY first!  Make time for dating and looking after your partner and plan family fun times- your family is more important than work. However if they are very “needy” you might have to put in place some outside help, eg. if you are caring for elderly parents, an autistic child, or disabled partner, you need back up plans for when you are scheduled to work.  I have been both employer and employee, and understand both sides, however if an employer is looking after an family crisis member and their casual staff calls in at the last minute repeatedly to say they cannot work because their child has a head cold and cannot go to school – you can understand that this is really not the employer’s problem, even if government regulations in the workplace industry might allow some time off for parental leave. It’s important to be thoughtful of your colleague’s time.  Be kind to your workplace and have babysitters lined up to cover these incidences. There are paid agencies such as “Dial an Angel” and lovely grandmothers nearby, figure it out in advance, prior to your need!
Remember the saying “if you fail to plan, you are planninbaristag to fail”. Plan to make time for your family and help the practice plan to give you time off.
5) Nutrition! Don’t skip breakfast! Have 1gm of protein/kg of your body weight every day. If you  need to have a smoothie on the run, then do that. Plan nutritious stews for evening meals, a slow cooker and a rice cooker with steaming basket on top are essential to your growing family. Throw everything in the crockpot before you go to bed, and its done for the day!
6) Do 7 minutes of exercise everyday- this could be 1 minute of push ups, 1 minute of star jumps, 1 minute of planking, 1 minute of running on the spot, 1 minute of stair climbs and 1 minute each of side planking
fatcatI’m in shape! (Round is a shape, right?)You can watch the morning news while doing this.

7) Find a hobby- art, painting, pottery, snorkeling etc- you need to put GOOD pictures into your brain daily, to wipe out or replace the BAD pictures that will come in- the Hit by cars, the emotional client that blames you (incorrectly usually!) for not picking up their pets disease, the euthenasia where everyone cries etc- these all affect your adrenals and will give you a type of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.  You need to file these away and calm your hormones. Reset your Parasympathetic gut healing and remove the cortisol/adrenal rush.
8) See a Qualified Naturopath and an Integrative GP doctor–and ask for a referral to a specialist if necessary,  to help you cope and find strategies, supplements, and diet advice to get you back on track if you are feeling not quite 100%
9)  SMILE! It’s contagious–Do IT- even if you don’t feel like it. Be happy.  It is a choice.  Learn to meditate on that.
smile pup
Good luck and be well, go for the long haul– life journey!
Feel free to pop over to my wellness sites for more advice. https://www.facebook.com/Naturopathvet?fref=ts
Dr Elaine Cebuliak
Get your antioxidants in early in the day, and take large quantities!

Get your antioxidants in early in the day, and take large quantities!

ANIMAL WELLNESS ph 61 7 31221997
Veterinary Integrative Care Clinic AND Advanced Veterinary Dentistry
Greenslopes Shopping Mall
Shop 6B/700 Logan Road,
Greenslopes Qld 4120


Dr Elaine Cebuliak BVSc MACVSc dentistry, Dip Ed, Dip Rem Massage, Cert Chinese Herbs, Cert IVAS Qual Acupuncture, CMAVA, Adv Dip Naturopathy, Adv Dip Herbal Med, Adv Dip Nutrition       ph 61-422413404

Naturopathic principles to support people with LHON Genetics

Naturopathic principles to support people with LHON Genetics
Since 1983 this Naturopath has been aware of a rare and devastating genetic disease that causes sudden irreversible blindness, with presently no treatment available and very little warning about its onset. You can read more about it here: http://www.ifond.org. and here:http://www.lhon.org/lhon/LHON.html You can read about the optic nerve here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optic_nerve
You see it was about this time that my brother, a fine and upstanding Dentist, found that he could not see the sutures he had placed the week before in his patient’s mouth. His optometrist advised him to take a break and rest his eyes from eye strain, as the optometrist could see no apparent cause to this sudden blindness while examining his retina. The ensuing months led to a bucket load of tests and hospitalisation in the London hospital for Nervous disorders, ruling out every possible brain disorder- Parasitic infection, heavy metal toxicity, MS, tumour, Parkinsons, Lou Gherigs, etc. All Nada. Negative. My bro was sent home back to Australia legally blind and unable to practice his life-long well studied career, with no obvious plan to move forward as there was no diagnosis. Hoping to regain his vision, and find a cause for this devastating disease was the focus of the next year. Unfortunately at that time there was no genetic testing, and many visits to multiple specialists were unfruitful. T he rule out factors added up and they came to the provisional diagnosis of LHON. No treatment, No CURE!
Causes: LHON is the acronym for Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy. It is a sudden blindness due to an inherited mitochondrial enzyme deficiency. There is some supportive evidence based data linking the onset to a TRIGGERED response caused by various Reactive Oxygen Species/Free Radicals . Free Radicals are by products of chemical reactions with the cell contributing to apoptosis or cells breaking down. Women can get LHON but the incidence is rarer, contributing to the theory that female hormones are somehow protective to the optic nerve.
Because there are triggering events in some cases- which lead to subsequent apoptosis of the optic nerve (=programmed cell death) it is possible that preventative steps may help.
This may also be true of many mitochondrial disease processes, and so it may be worthwhile considering possible treatment strategies that may help –especially in the early stages of the onset of blindness.
I will add a disclaimer here- it is not possible to diagnose or treat any disease via the internet, you will need to work out what is best in your own situation. What I will list below are some naturopathic principles that others- including myself– have found useful. You see a genetic test was produced in the early 90’s and I have found that all of my mitochondria and my kids are also affected. They are now in their late 20’s early 30’s. All are doing well, and are aware of their genetic potentials. Through the internet I have also found many individuals with my mutation –boys, girls, and several women- younger than I –HAVE also gone blind from this horrid disease. So far no other members of my family have been affected, except perhaps my mother who suffered from atrial fibrillation in the last 20 years of her life and eventually succumbed to a clotting stroke secondary to that. LHON also causes heart disease. Remember that mitochondria affect the WHOLE body, they are the power houses of your cells, the “eveready battery” system. It is for this reason that several LHON affected individuals have multiple health challenges. It is imperative that you seek your own pathway and visit your own GP and eye specialist to discuss these strategies. You may find some of these ideas and lifestyle hints helpful. However some herbal and orthomolecular vitamins and minerals maybe contraindicated with some medications. Speak with a medically trained herbalist and nutritionist and discuss with an integrative doctor.
AIM for a BALANCE of hormones and body function:
Specifically Insulin, Oestrogen, Progesterone, Thyroxine, and Cortisol.
“Normalising” the body’s various metabolic processes and keeping “good health” involves the disciplines of nutrition, exercise physiology, sleep cycles, Stress management, and environmental toxin awareness. Its all about what we EAT, THINK, and DO! Its Lifestyle factors: Food, Fun and Fitness. By maintaining a great diet high in plant phytochemical antioxidants, GOOD quality fat, staying well hydrated, with low levels of stress and a low/healthy BMI fat ratio, while avoiding various toxins (smoking—of all types, paint fumes, alcohol, chemical preservatives, artificial flavourings, dyes, insecticides, weedicides and drugs) you have a better chance of living WELL. This is the Naturopathic principle behind stabilising LHON mitochondria. Wild blood sugar fluctuations by eating inappropriate candy, lollies, sugar, cakes, pastry, pasta and bread are pro-inflammatory and cause insulin surges, which in turn affect adrenaline and cortisol levels. Eating a low GI (glucose index) diet with plenty of good fat, some protein and phytonutrients is key to health.
The chemistry involved in the body is delicately balanced by hormones and food/nutrient intake. If you are releasing cortisol and adrenaline, the Calcium, Magnesium and other trace minerals are affected because every metabolic process in the body is affected! Yes even your kidneys will change their function if your brain puts out a signal that says STRESS!!! They will lose more vital nutrients to make way for other minerals to stay in the body to make more chemicals such as adrenaline and allow the blood pressure to elevate. Amazing systems our integrated organs! This is why families that are affected with a member who has/or is going blind need to acknowledge their grief and to seek counselling/meditation/or religious support to put back those “happy hormones” and return to a buzzing healthy body. Deal with it. For GOOD!
The grief and devastation to the individual and their family lasts a life- time with subsequent emotional roller coaster effects that continue to roll out over generations. Coping and living with dis-ease depends on the support structure of the family, the community, and the inherent strength of the individual. Find those groups, go to church, rotary or Lions club, or find a local community group with a similar interest (Chess or Golf—like my bro,line dancing, rock and roll, Agility dog handling, learning a new language, cooking etc).
Happy Hormones are linked to Happy emotions and will help balance your digestive system, your ability to absorb nutrients and will decrease your stress levels. Always a good thing. Seek your happiness bubble, as long as it is not self destructive! Exercise has been shown to increase happiness and decrease your risk of cancer by a whopping 37% so definitely add that to your Health achievement goal !

Research and lab rats:
Science takes at least 10-20 years to study medical phenomenon—the time PhD students work on and prepare their thesis and their Professors consider and work on the problem. To “do no harm” medically speaking scientific protocols and necessary ‘double blind placebo control” rules apply. Research grant proposals need to be garnered, and suppliers of cold hard cash need to be convinced that this research is necessary. This means that any preventative measures or possible treatments for a condition that does not affect a large percentage of the population is poorly funded and may even be stalled midway through its procedure. You can donate to this research via http://www.ifond.org.
While research is ongoing for LHON there have been only a few breakthroughs in the last 30 years that show promise. In the meantime hundreds more carriers have been identified throughout the world and many more souls have been inflicted by this optic nerve disease.
Through the gift of the internet and Facebook many LHON affected souls and their families have been able to communicate with each other, forming friendships across the globe which provid understanding and emotional support. It is through this avenue that I have been requested to write about my naturopathic understanding and personal experiences with LHON>
What has become apparent is that there is a resilience with many who have become blind, and who have gone on to develop a sense of humour about it and function well within society. Very few have regained a little vision over time, although most are still praying for a cure to restore their sight.

Let us break down some of the factors and possible triggers leading to the onset of LHON and for that matter any mitochondrial dis-ease.

Causes of Mitochondrial stress:
 Genetic (there are several areas on the mitochondrial DNA that are faulty-read about this in http://www.ifond.org)
 Obesity/Insulin Resistance / Inflammatory/dietary Metabolic reactions
 Infections
 Toxins
 Hormonal Imbalances – progesterone/oestradiol protective effects
 Stress
 Deficiencies of vitamins and other nutrients
 Exposure to environmental pollutants and radiation

Protective mechanisms for gene activity based on three main areas:
 Detoxification
 Methylation in the liver

 Decrease in antioxidant status in the individual may contribute to DNA damage – increased free radical exposure without neutralisation
 As we age, the ability for the body to produce anti-oxidants declines dramatically
 Impairs the ability for damaged DNA to repair itself faster.
 Free radical damage to DNA from chemical changes alters the DNA structure and therefore gene expression
 Antioxidant status is imperative to be maintained especially as the body ages.
Important antioxidants:
 CoQ10
 Vitamin C
 Vitamin E
 Selenium
 Vitamin A
 B vitamins – especially B1,3,6,9,12 necessary for the liver to detoxify via the methylation cycle.

It has been known for many years that what we eat (or don’t) is vital to how our body performs.
The role of Nutrition is key to physiological processes in the body– “the concept of health and dietary recommendations have been expanded to include achievement of genetic potential, prevention of disease and extension of longevity” Harper, AE, Am.J.clin.Nutr 1987 Vitamin and mineral deficiency at CRITICAL times are implicated in a number of pathological processes.
This is especially true in children, for instance if a child needs iron, vitamin A or iodine they NEED it NOW. Otherwise that child is going to pay for it for the rest of her life. If you meet that need the positive outcomes are glorious—2 Billion kids could be helped by supplementing these 3 things! (UNICEF. Micronutrient Initiative and United nations University).
If you have gut issues (see later blogs about gluten specifically) you may be harbouring inflammation, which releases damaging free radicals. Yep, those are the same nasty beasties that circulate through your body and bathe your optic nerve.
I hear you, you are asking: What do we need to eat?
Be aware that there is no ONE diet for everyone, as everyone has specific needs to stages of their life cycle. Growth, Pregnancy, new job, marathon running, lactating, and celiac disease all require different levels of nutrients, and specific co-factors.
There is, however ample scientific evidence to show that the advice on the Heart Tick foundation boxes of high sugar cereals is not correct. Today’s food pyramid is just WRONG—their emphasis at the bottom is on high processed sugar- refined in breads and pasta and this is fraught leading to inflammation. There is NO NEED to eat trans fats or processed margarine. Choose an unprocessed natural diet and avoid anything with numbers and preservatives. Do not eat empty calories- no sweets, cakes or candy/lollies. Avoid fried foods. Increase your omega 3 fatty acids, which should be fresh in foods such as chia, flax and other seeds and nuts and oily fish (Mackerel, salmon and a very little tuna- the latter has more mercury so should only be eaten no more than twice a month).
Nutritional imbalances are more common that frank single nutrient deficiencies in the western world. Beriberi (thiamine deficiency) Kwashiokor and Marasmus (overall protein deficiency) and Pellagra (vitamin B3 deficiency) is not common, however subclinical B6 and B12 deficiency could be underlying some neurological diseases.
The body is always changing and replacing cells. You are basically a new person every 7 years. Maybe that is why relationships suffer every 7 years. (Just kidding – no need to change partners every 7! They can change and grow with you too!).
The ability to switch on and switch off various metabolic processes using food therapy is called Nutrigenomics. We have found adding supplements and changing the diet to our chronic disease cases such as various dermatitides, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, and heart problems can greatly improve outcomes. Together with the necessary medical interventions this form of Integrative Medicine is superior to plain pharmaceutical measures.
Just a quick word about Diet: there are many different diets out there and many different types of body stages, ages and conditions. What suits one person may not suit another, and most doctors know bugger all about this! Nutritional colleges don’t even agree with each other, and certainly the RDI (Recommended Daily Intake), or RDA (Recommended daily allowance) vastly underestimates nutritional requirements for dis-ease treatments. It’s going to take some research to work out what your individual body needs, however be assured that good wholesome organic foods grown on health non toxic soil are bound to be better for you than toxic waste preservative- coal tar dyed processed crap loaded with sugar and insectide sprays.
I’m going to make this simple for you, if you follow this golden rule you will notice a huge health improvement:
Eat less CRAP:
C- carbonated drinks
A-artifical sweeteners & Colours
P- Processed foods
Diet and Nutrition are NOT the same thing. Diet refers to the foods that are consumed and chosen on a daily basis, and Nutrition is the the factors that are retained and utilised by the body. Therefore, as all good naturopaths will tell you, the state of your gut function and digestion and absorption are where you should concentrate your efforts for healthcare. See some later blogs about poo and you. Having a Bristol Stool chart comparison gives you some idea about where you need to aim your efforts. Basically on the scale of 1-6 where 1 is hard rabbit type of pellets (constipation) and 6 is diarrhoea- runny pats with no form, an ideal faecal movement is about a 4- a submarine affair with sausage like ends and about 4-5 links at least once a day. This is significant, as runny poos likely mean you are not absorbing your nutritient factors adequately and constipation means you are probably dehydrated and lacking magnesium and other elements necessary to tonify the bowel, as well as a sluggish bowel will harbour more toxicity and bad bacteria increasing inflammation in the body.
A quick way to improve your digestion is to drink 2 glasses of warm water with ½ a lemon squeezed into it first thing in the morning. Then go for a 10 minute walk or do some stretches. Disciplining yourself to do this has seen improvements in 90% of my patients. It’s a simple and achievable process- baby steps to better health! This will rehydrate you and alkalinise the body, as well as increasing the gastric enzymes and HCL required to start your digestion.
Body types and Mineral Metabolism:
Another aspect of balancing your metabolism is to pay attention to your body type, as the structure is often linked to trace mineral imbalances. Scientifically proven HTMA (Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis) may be performed- this will work out which minerals need adjusting, and help your body absorb the correct minerals. Visit a Naturopath to obtain a Naturopathic diagnosis, based on observation of your nails, tongue, diet recall, skin etc. If you cannot afford to do this, at least try the zinc test and examine your fingernails. If there are white marks on them you are likely zinc deficient, and this is a very important mineral cofactor for many metabolic processes in your body. The most common deficiencies are vitamin D3, Zinc, Selenium and omega 3 fatty acids. The most common excesses are processed foods and sugar. Fix these simple things and you will be on your way for health.
The two basic body types are the apple shape with more fat in the centre and above the middle core- this is also known as a sympathetic type. Sympathetic here refers to the autonomic nervous system and a sympathetic system is adrenaline driven, type A personality, likes or seeks stress and is present in about 30% of the western population. This is a more testosterone type, and although I have not seen any studies linking this body type to the incidence of LHON blindness, it may be possible to look at a data base and define this at some future date. There are more males falling into the sympathetic body type as well, and as more males become affected by LHON than females this might be a future research area to look at the composition of mineral balanced due to the neuro-endocrine function which determines body type. They have low levels of Calcium and Magnesium in hair and blood samples and may require these minerals to be supplemented.
The other main body type is called the parasympathetic body- it is more pear shaped and represents more than 60% of the western population (except in Scandinavia where there is an equal distribution across the board of the 2 body types!). Parasympathetic people are type B personalities and have higher levels of Calcium and phosphates in their blood and hair, are more sedentary and nurturing and less stress- seeking.
The corollary one must ask: What does the body need to make and protect myelin and optic nerve tissue?
First the body needs to be signalled and told what to do with the nutrition. This is related to hormone levels – hence this is why menopausal women are cautioned to use hormone replacement therapy to protect their capacity to make more mitochondria. Oestradiol gives the mitochondria a kick- and this is possibly why there is an increase in men going blind at around the 30 age mark. (Although to this author’s knowledge presently no one has actually done a study to measure these hormones and link them to the onselt of LHON disease in men).
Progesterone also supports myelin sheath cell makers. Wild Yam crème has been used effectively to help perimenopause and PMS women and may well help men with this genetic predisposition. The studies are yet to be done on this.
Nutritional care for the myelin: we need to feed those suckers- they are formed fromLipoproteins and B vitamins! Lipo-proteins are the structures making up cell membranes. YES: The body needs good quality fat for its cell structure. That is why the presently taught “food pyramid” which is bottom heavy on grains and flour is BAD for LHON people. Carbs are pro-inflammatory they burn quickly, do not add to structure, and cause an insulin surge followed by a dip, thereby creating a hunger for more- and linked to the present day obesity epidemic and increase in diabetes type 2. Dementia, a neurological disease is also called “Diabetes type 3” today for a good reason- a low fat high carbohydrate diet is linked to onset of dementia and Alzheimers disease. Good quality fat (butter, fish oil, flax oil) has an anti-inflammatory action and is useful for building cell structure.
There are many studies that show improvement of dementia patients if “good” fat (omega 3’s fish/flax oil and coconut oil) intake is increased with an antioxidant such as turmeric powder.
Similarly the naturopathic outcome of correcting a vitamin B12 or Fatty acid deficiency for nervous function has been well documented.
There are numerous other nutrients which act as antioxidants. These are phytochemicals found in foods, but the research from the Doheny eye institute supports the synthetic coenzyme Q 10 called Idebenone at somewhere between 300-600 mg/day.
Please be aware that if your doctor has prescribed statin drugs to lower your cholesterol you will be deficient in mitochondrial function and will need to at least supplement with coenzyme q 10 at a minimum of 300 mg twice a day. Statin drugs will decrease your ability to make vitamin D3 and a host of other hormones. They cause muscle weakness and mitochondrial deficiency. Idebenone may also be of benefit , and you may want to question your doctor carefully about the need to take these drugs and if nutritional functional foods may be of benefit, together with weight loss if you are obese.
Some functional foods include those high in antioxidants.
Antioxidants in foods include:
 Quercetin – in the skin of citrus, in pineapple core, red onions and other fruits.
 Resveratrol – in red grape skin
 Polyphenols , in many fruits, vegetables, herbs and teas
 Phytoestrogens- in clover, soya (use fermented, eg. Miso and tofu) cohosh, wild yam and sweet potatoes
A rule of thumb is if the fruit and vegetable are multicoloured (ie eat from the rainbow) you are likely to gain multiple antioxidants in your diet. Make a ton of vegetable juice fresh and eat a little fruit. Add fresh turmeric and ginger to your drinks. These will increase your ORAC scale. The higher the ORAC scale the more useful as a “free radical mopper” these drinks and foods are.
This happens in the liver and free radicals and toxic substances are filtered out here (hence the requirement for no or low alcohol imbibation- and if you must choose red wine without sulphate preservatives, at least you will take in some resveratrol!) If you have a liver problem it will show up in blood tests as an elevation of ALKP and ALT.
It’s important to look after your liver. Take regular supplements of s-AME, Milk thistle, Vitamin E and Selenium, a multi B, Zinc and Sip Green tea often. Eat Artichoke and bitter herbs/lettuces (radicchio, rocket, Cap coy, Kang Kung, purslane, dandelion, spinach, parsley, Cilantro=Coriander) and collard greens regularly. Choose a mostly plant based diet and mostly organic (or wash/soak all fruit and vege in a detoxifying rinse- see www. naturopathvet.mysisel.com for organiclens)
If the liver is not cared for or abused (eg drinking alcohol- or drugs including antibiotics!) Problems with detoxification pathways will occur – this leads to DNA damage. DNA is sensitive to toxic chemicals – DNA expression and structure is altered with toxicity.
 Phase 1 – toxic metabolites are produced – need to be cleared effectively, otherwise accumulate – especially the steroid hormones.
Methyl groups – CH 3 – are utilised to regulate gene expression. (switches off/switches on where necessary). Therefore lack of methylation compromises this activity – gene expression is altered.
 Main nutrients for methylation processes:
o Folate, B6, B12, Methionine (1 methyl group), SAMe (3 methyl groups)
Inflammatory/neurotoxic factors:
 Higher BMI levels – more adipose tissue to store harmful steroid hormones derived from western diets – meats, poultry, eggs, dairy
 Xenoestrogens found in packaged foods, plastic containers, landfill, pesticides, fertilizers, agricultural soil, animals, fish, grains – mimic estrogen and are toxic – stored in fat tissue and contribute to carcinogenesis
• Review your diet and consider the following:
– Food allergies/sensitivities – gluten is common and commonly missed/misunderstood. Some nuts (peanuts) sesame seeds, and milk proteins (casein) are next in line.
– Organic foods – reducing the processed and artificial components of the diet as much as possible
– Alkalinising the diet – reducing acid-forming foods if necessary cut out red meat and sugar.
– Increase anti-inflammatory foods – oily fish, onions, garlic, citrus, tumeric, leafy greens, celery, berries
– Reduce heated saturated fats, trans and hydrogenated fats – use monounsaturated fats for cooking and in salads – olive and avocado or coconut oil.
– Reduce refined sugars and carbohydrates – these are pro inflammatory
– Reduce red meat intake – inflammatory
– Increase fibre – improves excretion
– Increase sulfur foods (cruciferous veges broccoli, brussel sprouts) – liver detox
– Reduce the burden on digestion – easier to digest foods – nutritionally dense foods – eat more pumpkin, chicken soup, slow cooked stews, eggs.
– Introduce chlorophyll into the diet via juicing – increasing green leafy veg. – helps with detox and as a blood cleanser
– Maintain healthy protein intake – quality protein foods – yoghurt, eggs, salmon, nuts.
– Maintain healthy calorie intake – to avoid weight loss
– Herbal teas – ginger, rosehip, peppermint, withania, passionflower, GREEN TEA
Increase the intake of certain Phytochemicals found in plants which have undergone research are as follows:
• Genistein
– an Isoflavone found in Soy and Flaxseed – inhibits angiogenesis
– may play a major role in the prevention of breast and testicular cancers
– antioestrogenic
– mimic estrogen – attaches to same receptors
– inhibits 5-alpha reductase in prostate (Davis, SR.et.al, 1999)
– anti-tumour effects
– Curcumin
– obtained from Tumeric
– inhibit breast cancer development
curcumin and genistein – most potent inhibitors against growth of human breast tumour cells induced by pesticides
• Insoluble fibres found in flaxseed, bran, lentils, garlic, celery, outer husks of grains
– bind to oestrogen, testosterone and DHT to increase excretion and prevent accumulation
– Flaxseed contains the highest amount of lignans (Schultz, TD et.al, 1991) Chia seeds are also helpful
– Contribute as a food source for gut bacteria to improve immunity and resistance to disease. Globe artichoke , chicory and melons are also a great source of inulin acting as a prebiotic for “good gut bugs to grow”. Good guts create a biome which manufactures helpful hormones and vitamin K and B’s. These assist in brain function, and well your optic nerve is part of your brain!
– Anti-tumour, Anti-mitotic, Anti-oxidant, oestrogen regulating effect via receptor binding
• Green Tea
– contains the polyphenol Epigallocatechin-3-Gallate (EGCG)
– anti-angiogenic, anti-inflammatory, induces apoptosis of human epidermoid carcinoma cells and regulates cell cycles
– preventative against a variety of cancer types especially skin cancers
– carotenoid family – found in red flesh fruits and vegetables
– highest in tomatoes – also in red capsicums, goji berries, pawpaw, carrots
– Inhibits growth promoting effects of cancer cells
– Activates tumour suppressor genes
– Indole-3-carbinol
– Found in cruciferous vegetables
– Inhibits formation of carcinogenic eostrogens – 16-HydroxyEstrone
– Prevents estrogen-dependent cancers, prevents cervical cancer from HPV (Cancer Research 59, 3991-3997, 1999)
– Enhances chemotherapy effects
– Induces detoxification pathways
– Rosemary
– Carnosol – chemical in Rosemary found to be:
– Effective against blocking tumorgenesis in human bronchial epithelial cells (Offord, EA et.al 1995)
– Reverses resistence to chemotherapy drug treatment
Fish Oils
• Quercetin
– Found in red onions, berries, apples, beetroot, citrus
– Anti-oxidant
– Inhibits drug resistant estrogen receptor treatments
Detoxification for various organs:
– Liver support – Sulfur amino acids – Methionine, Taurine, Glutathione, Cysteine
– A, quercetinCo-factors for enzymes – Selenium, Magnesium, B group, Vitamin C, CoQ10, Manganese, Copper, Vitamin E
– Gut Support – soluble and insoluble fibre, pre and probiotics, vitamin A, Zinc, slippery elm
– Kidney Support – All antioxidants, Vitamin C, Selenium etc. Herbs – celery, Rhemannia and other Diuretic herbs
– Lung support – broccoli, glutathione, vitamin
– Heart Health- Hawthorne berry, Selenium, Vitamin E

PHEW! That’s a lot to take in if you are new to this game of nutritional science, right?
So to go with my baby steps plan this is an easy suggestion. Buy a juicer. Listen and watch Joe Cross’s movie “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” and drink a juice with pineapple, carrot, beetroot, celery, turmeric and ginger daily for a week then mix up your green juices so that you are drinking fresh 3 times a week minimum. If you are having signs of blindness IMMEDIATELY jump on the juices and add more good fat (butter, coconut oil, fish oil, flax oil) to your diet and remove sugars and processed foods. Eat goji berries like they are going out of style- by the handfuls. Take your Idebenone at HIGH doses immediately, and some vitamin E. Have your vit D3 checked and see a naturopath to have your minerals analysed.
So you are probably asking how am I going? So far I have not gone blind. When we first learned about LHON it was thought to only affect males, generally at the 30 year stage. I have since found many women, girls and young boys have been struck with this blindness at all ages. Perhaps I have managed myself well, or perhaps my hormones have protected me. This is what I have found with my own body, and remember everyone is different- even if we have the same genetic mitochondrial enzyme deficiency. My particular DNA pattern is 11778- it has a poor prognosis for vision return if affected and is implicated in many LHON plus signs.
My heart is OK, with a mild murmur which is thought to be no problem at this stage, however my mother suffered from Atrial fibrillation for many years prior to her serious stroke, so I am cognisant that I must be vigilant and will take warfarin if my heart becomes a fibrillation candidate. Fortunately my other parameters seem stable and healthy.
My vitamin D3 levels were down, and everyone should have these checked as this influences all your metabolic processes. In order to make D3 you need GOOD cholesterol in your diet, and sunshine. If either are lacking you may need to supplement orally, and the dose is often a lot higher than is on the lable. I take massive doses if ever I have a sign of a cold or a flu, but only for a day or 2- like 100,000 international units. I also increase vitamin C in the bioflavonoid range and zinc. I am almost never sick.
As a desk nerd and Naturopath I have noticed signs of pre syndrome x (cortisol undoubtedly playing a part as my weight gain coincided with the stress of looking after my stroked out mother) which led to a plunge in my thyroid.
Since Mother’s passing, I am addressing this now with increasing my walking and beach visits, and adding more kelp to my diet (sushi! Yum). Also removing gluten has been a big help – which causes leaky gut and is inflammatory.
I am a 56 year old menopausal woman who has worked and studied most of my life. So far I have had what I consider 2 near miss incidences of blindness in my left eye. Both times vision has recovered immediately after taking mega doses of antioxidants. These are what I have taken:
Synthetic Idebenone (900 mg /day for a few days only when the eye went blurry- I don’t take it every day) a goji berry drink with high ORAC levels from Young Living Essential Oils called Ningxia Red, several cups of strong green tea, a Cathay chinese herb called Ming mu di huang wan, and I chewed them all down with handfuls of dried Goji berries. I also make berry smoothies once a fortnight out of mixed frozen berries (YUM!) with a blender, and take Entrapro.com probiotics occasionally. I love Turmeric and curried food and eat this almost daily, often with coconut oil. I have at various times taken Neways supplements including Revenol, and also Usana antioxidants. These are all good, but I feel the greatest “hit” has been from coconut oil and turmeric plus the Goji drink. The natural progesterone effect of the wild yam crème has also been helpful to normalise hot flashes, although the chinese formula Liu wei di huang wan (also called Rehmannia 6) has been more useful.
I have also noticed that the Blackmore’s celloid of PS (potassium sulphate) is very helpful for my energy levels and I will chew one of those when feeling tired or stressed. It is very safe and can be taken several times a day as it is such a low dose. Possibly ingesting bananas may help, as a good source of potassium. I just had a banana smoothie while writing this blog, in fact.
Recently I have been taking a bioidentical hormone with a small amount of progesterone sublingually as I noticed when I was back from a teaching mission (about diabetes prevention) in Bali that I was having small sweats- thank goodness it is NOT malaria! I had this PCR tested for! I may still have some residual infection in some root canal work I have recently had performed- but THAT is a whole new blog. Dentistry is my “pet” special field, and I have written books on it! My mouth has been an adventure in dentition since I was quite young and was dealt a monobrow short sighted overenthusiastic amalgam filling overdrilling dentist. I have been “dealing with it” ever since.
Another thing: life is not immortal, and we are best to take a philosophical stance with the cards we are dealt with.
“The Pessimist complains about the wind,
The Optimist expects it to change’
And the REALIST adjusts the sail”
William A Ward.

Adjust your sails, fix your own boat- because you are the captain of your own ship. No one else controls you but YOU!
Best in health for now-
Cheers all,
And keep your mitochondria mumbling along………… stay healthy, be wise and be gentle on your body, it’s there for LIFE!

Chewing the Fat! What is GOOD for the GUT?

So what’s for dinner? After working all day and overloading the sympathetic nervous system with adrenaline and other stress hormones, its time to wind down, take a breath, relax and  let your tummy do the talking. Very often people miss meals while working,

especially when they are in a high stress overloaded job and are in gastric shutdown in the morning. After the sun sets on your desk and you head home its a common mistake to try to fill the emptiness with whatever has the least preparation time. Mistakes of ingestion can happen; and making less than the highest choice can have consequences on your health long and short term. That “indigestion” bloating feeling is nature’s way of the gut telling you to change what you are doing to yourself.

The problem is we are so far removed from “Natural food”  and “Natural Lifestyle” that we often don’t recognize what hunter gatherers we are, nor what the BEST food for us is! Our choices are mixed with our emotional connection to comfort food and what we were raised eating (mother’s home cooked fried chicken! lasagne! pasta, apple pie, etc) We are influenced by clever marketing, which prey on our weaknesses.  Government RDI (Recommended Daily Intakes) and the “healthy food pyramid” is a sham. Marketing labels are at best misleading and at worse dangerous, and these “non food inclusions” (numbers indicating artificial preservatives, food dyes, stabilisers, flowing agents etc) may help to create cancer, diabetes, and the obesity epidemic we are now seeing rampant in society. The misleading statements of “fat free” and “cholesterol lowering” and “Natural sweetener”  make you think this food is good for you. Let me tell you a little about how wrong this is.

There are some very simple lessons we have learned about nutrition from examining cultures through the ages and around the world recently.

Several people have spent a goodly amount of time blogging about this, and some highly passionate young nutritionistas can give you a fun read and taste of the vast amount of literature and scientific knowledge of proof  here: https://www.facebook.com/getafreshstart?hc_location=timeline and http://thehealthyjessie.com/  (block your ears to avoid the swearing la la la la la if you are over 40 years old and find this offensive- its the age, man…chillax!)

and here: http://rawfoodsos.com/2012/07/01/bad-science-strikes-again/

and for some scientific articles on the gluten/gliadin antibody inflammatory link see: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=anti+gliadin+antibodies

So having established that the new genetically altered wheat and its subsequent high levels of a protein that primes us to be inflammatory and allergenic, and its pervasiveness in practically every constituent of packaged food items (including pet food!) what do we do?

First we need to address our PNS or parasympathetic nerve system, and offer some self care and self love. Breathe, (slowly, deeply and with affection) practice yoga or Tai Chi or Qi gong, and also some aerobic-ness. Do this mindful practice before you eat, so your peristalsis and enzymatic processes can nourish what you do take in. This is a tick for the religious process of blessing your food before you eat it. Someone got that right! Praise the (insert your fav idol/religion etc here….).

In order to properly digest your food you must sit down, relax, breathe, and think about your food. Your choices should come naturally. You should want to eat wholesome fresh foods. Unfortunately your cravings might be for foods that will KILL you. Yes, you read that right. Inflammatory processes are set off by what you swallow. Degenerative diseases like Alzheimers, cancer, diabetes type 2 and arthritis are all linked to inflammation and insulin resistance.

Now what I am about to tell you is not new knowledge. We have data that states a diet rich in plant products with minimal meat/fish/egg protein (China/Okinawa/Mediterranean) and omega 3 fatty acids is healthy.  It is surprising considering the information that has been shelled out by the government and Food Industry (including Pet Food Industry) from paid nutritionists for the last 30-40 years consists of a heavy carbohydrate load- with really a minimal level of vegetable and fruit material. We are talking about the “5 alive” or 5 veges or 3 veges and 2 fruit servings/day. Yet to seriously change our dietary habits from unhealthy and sick to health we need to radically add 20 servings of vegetables per day! A tough ask, but easily achieved using a juicer.

Review: http://www.terrywahls.com/  for eating for a better brain, a Doctor who cured her MS symptoms by whacking in mega vegetables and a few supplements

The BIG difference between what the evil present day food pyramid is doing to our waistline and what we should be eating is simple: avoid the sugars- this is bread and grains and cakes and lollies, and USE GOOD FAT. Saturated fats are GOOD for you- it is the building blocks that allows your body to make your hormones and your vitamin D, which is an essential hormone and immune regulator. We doctors use high doses of vitamin D to help bodies fight cancer!

NOTE: IF your doctor has prescribed Statin drugs, see him STAT! Make sure you supplement with a good quality coenzyme Q 10 and ask him to review the book: Wheat Belly.

Carbohydrates including most grains (wheat, some rye, oats) are fraught with problems. The genetically modified structure of these grains have changed over the last 30 years in particular leading to an epidemic of inflammatory gut and health problems, not to mention that:

Gliadin derived opiates affect the brain, therefore it is ADDICTIVE, and like sugar with the huge insulin swings, will make you seek more food in a couple of hours, hence the merry go round of reduced satiety and increased hunger.

Wheat is the perfect Obesogen! Yes read all about it in “Wheat Belly ” which is the #1 Best seller by the NY Times, and it has caused a furore!

Listen to the author here:


Vested interest by large agriculturally based food producers and big names that control multinational companies (Kelloggs, Monsanto etc) are the agronomist controllers of our economy. Food sells. The food manufacturers base their decisions on recommending strategic directions of marketing and economic sustainability.

People need to eat, and they want fast, take away, fix the carbo crave NOW! Both of these deciding factors– the economy of manufacturing and producing cheap food, and the reliant addicted wheat based SAD diets do NOT take into consideration HEALTH AND…. WHAT IS GOOD FOR THE GUT.

We now have the fattest, most obese populations everywhere- in the WORLD. Diabetes type 2 is rampant,

heart disease, arthritis and cancer are all metabolic diseases linked to obesity.

Our advisors of the food pyramid instructions have made a big boo boo. We need to understand that the wheat of the 2000 is a different beast to the wheat of our great grandmothers. The new version of gluten and gliadin rich Wheat is full of lectins which does this:

1) Lectin blocks leptin- the hormone of satiety, it also binds to the blood vessels causing glycation, inflammation, heart damage and neurological problems.

2) The appetite stimulating properties of wheat and simplecarbohydrates are well documented. You will be hungry after the gliadin derived opiates are absorbed within 2 hours.

3) It causes depression, schizophrenia, suicidal thoughts.

4) Inflammation of the gut allows the tight junctions of the cells to become loose forming the basis of a “leaky gut” which lets large molecules to come through the lumen into the blood. These largely undigested particles can set up an antibody response in the body, leading to atopy and dermatitis (itchy skin) arthritis, blood disorders, candida infections (somewhat controversial in the medical field) and various autoimmune disorders.

Carbohydrate wheat eaters have the same part of their brain stimulated that a Crack or cocaine addict has. Carb and especially grains and simple sugars MUST have that glucose fix every 2-4 hours or they become fuzzy headed, cranky, display behaviour abnormalities, and may become violent. There are several ways of overcoming gluten/sugar addictions. First off: EAT breakfast by 7am, with eggs and plenty of butter and cheese and protein. YOUR satiety centre will be fully quenched until about 2 pm.

Here are some recipes to replace the processed wheat filled supermarket foods that have all those numbers, codes, artificial flavourings etc in them. (oh, and did I mention to avoid eating NUMBERS! If you can’t decipher what that crazy maths puzzle on the box is your body probably can’t recognise it as FOOD either!)

If you stop the flow of opiates (ie wheat and sugar) for 5-7 days you will have fatigue, depressions, headaches. Here are some hints to fight the negative side effects:

Take a magnesium supplement (1.5 gm/day), iodine (lugols 2-3 drops/day), omega 3 fatty acids (5 ml or 5 tabs of 1000mg tabs) and take favourable probiotics and prebiotics ( teaspoons of inulin, artichoke, burdock root, pumpkin) Drink lots of homemade soups. An occasional aspirin maybe necessary or use some acupressure points LI4 is a good one http://www.yinyanghouse.com/acupuncturepoints/li4

Chew your plants and make your diet a mostly plant based meal with adequate protein intake of 1-1.5 gm/kg of your body weight and . Its better to eat non processed  real foods and avoid highly processed  high sugared and refined packaged food.  Better for your gut, and for the planet.

Having sorted out the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, what else should we consider? Yes, I must admit it gets confusing. Should one be Vegan, Vegetarian, or eat lots of animal fat and animal protein? I look at anatomical markers to give us some clues as to what works best.

What are your food choices for a species? As a Veterinarian and Human Natural therapist, I base my findings on an understanding of the dentition and digestive organs. That is, if you have mostly molar grinding teeth and no canine teeth to speak of, and a very large fermenting vat like a caecum (eg. a horse) or 4 fore stomachs (like a cow) then you MUST chew grasses, leaves, and legumes. If you are a Cat your teeth function to rip, and tear and your guts are short and narrow with no fermenting vat– you  are a Carnivore!  If you have both molar teeth for chewing and grinding AND canine teeth for ripping and tearing, and you have an intermediate gut, longer than a cat and a bigger diameter colon (large intestine) which does some fermentation then you are probably a DOG- an OMNIVORE (meaning you can eat both meat and vege).

Now humans– think about teeth, incisors are of the grabbing and holding variety, much like a dog, and we do have some canine teeth– but they are not as pokey and sharp as a dog or cat. Our intestines are quite peculiar- more like a cross between a dog and a horse! So there is an aha moment here! WE are hind gut fermenters. (some husbands are more fermentatious than others ! what is it about men that means they can fart a lot more than women, or maybe they are just louder and take more pleasure out of announcing the fact? ;-))

Our colons are quite large (not as big comparatively as a horse) and can hold some fermentation processing. There is an ascending, transverse and descending component to it. The transit time should be betwen 12-24 hours though, so limited amount of fermentation should occur. This means that eating predigested already fermented food is advantageous to an absorption mechanism of broken down food. It is better assimilated in smaller pieces that way. We need good enzymes and good hydrochloric acid in our stomachs for them to work.

So  in summary anatomically we have about 10-20% of our (human) dentition and gut matching a carnivore, therefore we are about 10-20% carnivorous beings and  80% anatomically favouring a plant based diet. Lucky us! We can eat a variety of foods. How we food combine and stay health will depend on our specific genetic structure and exercise levels, however this rule of thumb generally applies well. Vegans- a laudable choice ethically, but anatomically they MUST pay attention to vitamin B12, sulfur containing amino acids, omega 3 supplementation, iron and trace mineral elements.

AND we must allow time to masticate and chew our food.

Chewing allows the taste buds to “talk ” to the brain to register how much amylase needs to be released with the saliva, it lubricates the food and makes it swallow-able and gentle to the oesophagus.

So relax, kick back, avoid the processed crap, take out the wheat,  and share some of your meals with the dog, because you are pretty similar in that belly department there!


1) Food in its most natural state is best. That is- eat an apple or a banana or salad whenever possible. If you must cook use a slow cooker, the lower and steady temperature does not affect or destroy the compounds as much as frying or high temperature baking. Once you heat treat and highly process food certain enzymes, vitamins and factors are destroyed or changed and  even made  toxic. Heat treated carbohydrates are dangerous as it produces acrylamide.  Read about acrylamide here:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20170357 in rats ingesting this it increased incidences of mammary gland, thyroid tumors and scrotal mesothelioma were observed in both studies that were performed. In humans, increased risks of ovarian and endometrial cancers, renal cell cancer, estrogen (and progesterone) receptor-positive breast cancer, and oral cavity cancer.

2) Avoid GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) food. These changed protein structures (compared to previous generations of original stock of Corn and Wheat, for example) are an unknown long term scientific experiment: on the planet, (refer to lack of Monarch butterflies, and bees in some areas) and on the mammalian body.  Crops that specifically have a spliced genetic code to allow them to resist Monsanto weedicide and insecticides are particularly of concern, as they will take up the poison into their cells and release these toxic substances into those ingesting them. This means avoiding Wheat in its present form. Eat real food, just a single ingredient eg. an apple, or several vegetables. OR  Make your own healthy foods.

3) Eat a greater percentage of vegetables than fruit and less meat protein. Studies indicate that the omega 3 oils in fish are cardio protective, and antiinflammatory- that is good for joints, skin, hair, and immune function.

4) Eat fermented foods daily- sauerkraut, Kim Chi, kefir, Beer (yep!) small amount of wine without preservatives, Kombucha, Yoghurt (full fat Greek, no sugar added)

5) avoid fried, fast, and sugar laden foods, These are pro inflammatory and cause degenerative diseases.

6) Limit your intake of caffeinated drinks to one a day.

7) Go for a 10 minute walk 30 minutes after eating. If you can’t do 10 do 5. If you can’t do 5 do 2– you get the picture. Move more!

8) Do NOT drink carbonated sugared soft drinks, and avoid aspartame and all other artificial sweeteners.


Eat real food, just a single ingredient eg. an apple, or several vegetables. OR  Make your own healthy foods.

Bon Appetit! and for your dogs and cats: BONE Appetite!