Dietary Protein Fact or Myth

Are you getting your daily requirements?

One of the main problems I encounter in clinic is client’s overall dietary deficiency in daily protein. There are many factors for this macro nutrient deficiency. Firstly there is a lot of misinformation regarding protein itself and secondly clients seem afraid of acidifying their bodies by eating too much protein and thirdly it can often be the cost involved, particularly with a large family to feed. To understand protein and its requirements here are the facts:

Before any health issues can be resolved, healing, regeneration, balancing or detoxification undertaken the body must have its required daily protein intake.

Protein is an essential part of the diet. It is made up of various combinations of small organic chemicals called Amino acids. When we eat food, containing protein it is broken down during digestion into its constituent amino acids. These amino acids are absorbed by our bodies and are used to produce new proteins and other necessary substances. Our bodies can make some of the amino acids (non-essential) (see table 1) needed to manufacture proteins, but others must be obtained from the diet; these are the eight so-called amino acid during early growth and development ‘essential’ amino acids (table 1). In addition, infants need one other for growth and development.

Proteins form part of the structure of the body, so that a continual supply of amino acids is needed. Our bodies are able to put these basic amino acid units together, using different arrangements of amino acids, to produce specific proteins, which can only be produced if all the necessary amino acids are available.

Essential Nonessential **
Histidine Infants Alanine
Isoleucine Arginine*
Leucine Aspartic acid
Lysine Cysteine*
Methionine Glutamic acid
Phenylalanine Glutamine*
Threonine Glycine*
Tryptophan Proline*
Valine Serine*
Tyrosine*
Asparagine*
Selenocysteine

(*) Essential only in certain cases.

(**) Pyrrolysine, sometimes considered “the 22nd amino acid”, is not listed here as it is not used by humans

Eukaryotes can synthesize some of the amino acids from other substrates. Consequently, only a subset of the amino acids used in protein synthesis are essential nutrients.

The nutritional value of a protein food can be judged by its ability to provide both the quantity and number of essential amino acids needed by the body. Different food sources contain different groups of proteins, which are made up of different arrangements and amounts of amino acids. In general, proteins from animal sources are of greater nutritional value because they usually contain all the essential amino acids. Proteins from plant sources, such as cereals and vegetables, may be deficient in one or other of the essential amino acids. For example, the proteins obtained from wheat lack adequate quantities of one essential amino acid, and those from beans are deficient in another.

Because the deficiency is different in each food, when they are eaten together they complement each other and the mixture is of higher nutritional value than the separate foods, and is as good as animal protein. It is important, particularly for strict vegetarians who do not consume dairy or egg products (see Table2a), that a variety of different types of protein foods are eaten.

Cooking can alter the amino-acid composition of protein and this usually results in desirable flavour and browning development. Very little nutritional value is lost.

RECOMMENDED DAILY DIETARY INTAKE OF PROTEIN IN AUSTRALIA

The recommended dietary intake (RDI) in Australia is one gram per kilogram of body weight per day. The protein intake for a 70-kilogram man is 70 grams and for a 58-kilogram woman, 58 grams per day. However growing children, pregnant and lactating women, people undergoing stress, or are unwell (severe infections or surgery) or undergo heavy exercise or work have a greater requirement for protein because of the additional needs of these conditions (see Table 2b).

A deficiency of protein in the diet can lead to muscle wasting, fatigue, weight loss, illness, oedema, anaemia and, in children, a failure to thrive, behaviour and attention problems. Higher levels of protein consumption appear to be neither beneficial nor harmful. However, it is possible that additional calcium may be required to counterbalance an excessive protein intake. Also there is a higher load of protein breakdown products, which must be excreted by the kidneys. This is where the theoretical concerns for acidity are derived from, however if you eat a variety of fruit, vegetables and leafy greens this becomes a very well-balanced diet.

 Table 2a

Grams of protein in animal foods vs. plant foods
Animal Proteins (100g) Grams of protein Plant Proteins (100g) Grams of protein
Beef 29-32 grams Legumes (Chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans) 6-7 grams
Chicken 25-28 grams Nuts (Almonds, brazil nuts, cashews) 15-20 grams
Fish 18-23 grams Seeds (Sunflower, sesame, pepitas) 20-22 grams
Eggs 5 grams per egg Tofu 8 grams
Cheese (Cheddar) 25 grams Leafy greens (Spinach, kale, rocket, lettuce, bok choi etc) 1.6 – 4.3 grams

(Kale is the highest at 4.3 grams)

Yoghurt (Natural) 5 grams Vegetables (Broccoli, beans, snow peas, cucumber, zucchini, peas) 0.8 – 5.1 grams (Green peas are the highest at 5.1g)
Milk (Whole) 3 grams Fruits (Apples, bananas, pears, kiwifruit etc) 0.3 – 1.7 grams
Protein powder (Whey) 80-90 grams Protein powder (pea) 82 grams

Table 2b

Daily Protein Requirements
Activity Level/Age group Grams of protein
Low activity (sedentary) adults Males 1g per kg                  Females 0.8-1g per kg
Light to moderate exercise – adults 1.2-1.4 g per kg
Active/Teenagers 1.4-1.6g per kg
Very active/Young children 1.6-1.8g per kg
Weight training/Infants 1.8-2.0g per kg
*Generally women require 15% less protein than males.  The required protein intake throughout pregnancy is 1.2g per kg of body weight.

(Australian Sports Commission, 2009)

* further information @ http://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/protein.htm

Why Weight?

 A Naturopathic Understanding of Weight Management.

Does one size fit all? Certainly not, we are all shapes & sizes, maintaining, losing or gaining weight for very different complex reasons. Naturopathic weight management assesses a person’s whole health profile including; their physical health and nutritional intake, exercise or activity levels, as well as, psycho-emotional and spiritual health. The client’s case is then managed efficiently and gently by treatments and medicines. It is not about fad diets or quick fixes, however, a short program is possible if you need to lose a few kilos.

A Weight Management Protocol falls into my clinical theory of clients’ needs. Often their requirements are one or a combination of the following:

  1. Cleansing and detoxification
  2. Building up, repair and fortifying,
  3. Maintenance, Balancing, encouragement and Education

Assessment of weight management

 Cleansing and Detoxifying.

  • Ascertain body fat excess, stored toxic by-products or fluid.
  • Exercise or activity, pH, pain, restriction, limitation or inertia.
  • Diet summary including; food, junk, sugar or cravings.
  • Health issues and illness; understanding the client’s blood pathology, such as lipid (fats) levels, inflammation, infections or parasites.
  • Blood sugar levels; insulin resistance with excess tummy fat may indicate high blood pressure, as well as diabetes.
  • Digestive, bowel, liver and/or thyroid complaints.
  • Food intolerances. 

     Psycho-emotional problems can present themselves in the form of poor long-term dietary choices, or comfort eating. Also it is helpful to understand the concept of  carrying too much ‘baggage’ and carrying extra weight due to past trauma, abuse or pregnancies and surgery.

 B) Building up, repair and fortifying,

  • Poor diet and Nutritional deficiencies. Fatigue.
  • Malabsorption Illnesses such as; coeliac, graves disease or leaky gut.
  • Occupational, stress, social or relationship contributors.
  • Insomnia and sleep feeding.
  • Dental problems.

The Psycho-emotional problems associated with this assessment are related to body image and eating disorders, or people suffering from depression, isolation, anxiety or exhaustion.

 C) Maintenance, Balancing, Encouragement and Education,

Glandular problems and associated hormonal, peptide and neurotransmitter response, so called The  ‘Gut-brain’ association. Hormonal and life phase changes.

Genetic contribution.

Being ‘stuck’ or unmotivated for change.

Depending on client’s requirement’s Treatment options are:

Dietary requirements and changes for life, balancing macro-nutrients, protein, carbohydrates and fats, as well as micro-nutrients, vitamins and minerals.

Pharmacologically active Herbal Medicines; balancing blood and lipid levels, reduce cravings, balance Hormones, repair and assist the gut with absorption for assimilation of nutrients. Increase energy levels. Body therapies, Flower

and/or homeopathic medicines to assist with psycho- emotional or spiritual problems..

Health and vitality are the main goals in naturopathic weight management.

 

 

 

 

Understanding Inflammation

 

We have all felt the effects of inflammation in our body whether it has been from an injury (new or old), illness, flu or a repetitive strain injury (RSI). General discomfort of pain, heat, swelling redness, loss of function of the affected tissue can make life difficult. ‘Inflammation’ we are told needs to be controlled, reduced and even blocked with various steroidal and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and injections, so we can simply get on with it and not let this pain affect our work or lifestyle.

In fact inflammation in our body is a natural and desirable action that is actually a means of ridding the body of damaged tissue, wastes and foreign objects or toxins. If the body can’t eliminate these wastes, it deposits these toxins into the injured site or somewhere else in the body, which creates further swelling, pain or degeneration of body tissue leading to chronic inflammation. This can happen when pure anti-inflammatory agents are prescribed slowing the body’s healing by blocking the removal of these wastes. Although temporarily pain free, if left solely on these medications the client may be left with weakened joints, scarring, thickened tissue or hardened calcification (frozen) joints. This can mean never able to recover naturally, or often requiring surgery.

Bio-regulatory medicine (also known as homotoxicology) and its sister modality Bio-puncture offer a different approach to inflammation. This approach utilizes unique effective, safe ‘evidence-based’ medicines. Their individual components are designed to have a functional affect for all the phases of inflammation with an affinity for the different body tissue being affected, such as bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, blood and lymph vessels, nerves and soft tissues. When this system is used for healing, the inflammatory and pain process is activated and regulated with antioxidant, anti-microbial support, as well as protection and control of proliferation of tissue. This supports tissue remodeling, which means the body is able to quickly and effectively heal injury or illness without scar tissue, calcification or further suppression of symptoms.

This system of medicine can be used for all types of injury, swelling, pain, spasms, arthritis, joint/spinal degeneration, bursitis, RSI, carpel tunnel, frozen shoulder, golfer or tennis elbow. It can be used concurrently with medications and can assist pre and post surgery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Understanding the acid -alkaline or pH balance in our bodies.

pH (potential of hydrogen ions) is the indicator used to measure the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. ( For instance a low pH indicates a high concentration of hydronium ions and a more acidic solution, whilst a high pH indicates a low concentration, hence the solution is more alkaline.) pH is measured on a scale of 0 to 14. When a solution, such as water,  is neither acid nor alkaline it has a pH of 7 or neutral.

The body has an acid-alkaline balance between positively charged ions (acid-forming) and negatively charged ions (alkaline-forming.) It must continually strive for balance as blood has to have an alkaline pH of about 7.4 to sustain life. Over a lifetime ‘wear and tear’ occurs from the effort the body expends to keep the blood at that pH. When this balance is compromised many problems can occur.

Acid-Alkaline Balance and Your Health

 Most people who suffer ‘acidity’ have to buffer these acids or borrow minerals including calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium from other parts of the body including the vital organs and the bones. In western countries calcium intake is one of the highest in the world, yet paradoxically we also have one of the highest rates of bone demineralization (osteoporosis).  Bone mineral content is dependent not just upon calcium intake but upon net calcium balance (calcium intake minus calcium excretion). The calcium excretion side of the equation is extremely important.

Bone health is substantially dependent on the dietary acid/alkaline balance but other factors such as stress and trauma play their part.  After digestion all foods ultimately reach the kidneys as either acid or alkaline and when the diet yields a net acid load such as a high protein diet, the acid must be buffered by the alkaline stores in the body.

In addition to promoting bone demineralization, a net acid-producing diet also contributes to arthritis, gout, calcium kidney stones, age-related muscle wasting, hypertension, stroke and asthma. Calcium salts in the bones represent the largest store of alkaline base in the body and are depleted and eliminated in the urine when the diet produces a net acid load.

Your body is able to assimilate minerals and nutrients properly only when its pH is balanced. It is therefore possible for you to be taking healthy nutrients and yet be unable to absorb or use them. If you are not getting the results you expected from your nutritional or herbal program, look for an acid alkaline imbalance. The Paleo Diet recommends an appropriate balance of acidic and basic (alkaline) foods (i.e., lean meats, fish and seafood, fruits, and vegetables) and will not cause osteoporosis in otherwise healthy individuals but promote bone health.

The highest acid-producing foods are hard cheeses, cereal grains, salted foods, meats and legumes, whereas the only alkaline or base-producing foods are fruits and vegetables. Therefore, because the average diet is overloaded with acid-forming foods at the expense of fruit and vegetables, it produces a net acid load and thus promotes bone demineralization.  By replacing processed foods with plenty of green vegetables and fruits the body is able to come back into calcium balance. The goal is to avoid a net acid load on your kidneys

A 1995 study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association by Dr. Thomas Remer and Dr. Friedrich Manz helped determine the amount of acidity or alkalinity in dozens of different foods. They did this by determining a foods’ potential renal acid load, or PRAL, values. A positive PRAL is an acidifying food and a negative PRAL is an alkalinizing food. The further the number is from 0, the stronger its acidifying or alkalinizing effect.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7797810
http://www.direct-ms.org/pdf/NutritionGeneral/Remer%20and%20Manz%20Acid%20Base.pdf

 

A’ Tishoo A’ Tishoo we all fall down! The Effect of Stress on Health & Immunity – A different approach

Both from a clinical and social perspective, people develop infections from exhaustion and nervous depletion. We become susceptible to illness when dealing with chronic stress and work. Sayings such as ‘run down’ ‘too much on my plate’ & ‘stressed out’, all mean, lowered immunity due to high levels of stress. Scientific lingo Psycho-Neuro-Endocrino-Immunology (PNEI) is the study of effects of chronic stress on human immune tissue. Research has shown remarkable instances of tissue damage and immune deficiency with continued stress. Studies in Molecular Psychiatry and Immunology have shown, chronic excess levels of cortisol production, weakens activity of immune function opening the way to inflammation and infections. Neuroendocrine-immune interactions are regulated by corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) indirectly, through activation of stress directly and through pro-inflammatory actions on peripheral immune functions. The indirect effects of stress on immune/inflammatory responses occur via the stress-induced activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and the sympathetic/adreno-medullary system. Glucocorticoids and catecholamines affect Th1 and 2 immune cells and mediators. Stress influences the development, course and pathology of acute and chronic health conditions such as infections, allergies, autoimmune, and inflammation. The psychological and behavioral consequences of stress have additional effects by increasing health-impairing behaviours e.g. poor diet, sleep, lack of exercise, substance abuse and mood disorders.

Medical herbalism offers a different approach, with the cooler changes ahead. Know your body and recognize the signs of exhaustion and stress. Enjoy rest, recreation, gentle exercise, sunlight (Vit D), healthy protein, Vitamins (A, B’s & C) and minerals (Zinc, Selenium, Magnesium).

Allow immune tissue to naturally respond to colds and flu, by utilising the wonderful benefits of pharmaceutical grade herbal medicines. Treatment is safe, effective and prescribed professionally.

Neuro-protective and Immune-modulating are terms used in this area of herbalism to describe Holy Basil, Withania, Siberian ginseng, Reishi and Rhodiola. These help the body adapt to stress and prevent infections and serious illness.

Immune-stimulating- modulating, Anti-inflammatory and Anti-microbial herbs include; Echinacea spp., Thyme, Boneset, Manuka, Andrographis, Cats Claw and Golden Seal.

Tonic and recovery effects are assisted with Codonopsis, Astragalus, Oats and Licorice Root. Respiratory and lung herbs effectively treat chest infections and severe coughs. These include; Inula, Ribwort, Licorice, Mullein, Pleurisy root, Hyssop and Wild Cherry bark.

General resistance herbs include; Cinnamon, Garlic, Ginger, Olive leaf, Fenugreek and Turmeric to maintain health. Herbal medicine has clinical and scientific efficacy helping to strengthen and nourish body tissue, invaluable in preventing infections. Treatment may be before, during or after illness.

 

Peeling off the Layers – Bio-Regulatory Medicine

Bio-regulatory Medicine (BRM) is overall, an evolution of scientific exploration and the art of prescribing to aid the body’s natural healing abilities. It takes into consideration techniques that can induce a self-regulatory reaction in our innate healing mechanisms and attempts to influence the body directly and indirectly, using saline and medicinal stimulants, so that the body’s own regulatory process can restore the disruptive functions back to normal. It has very minimal side effects, but is powerful and gentle at the same time encouraging healing by peeling off the layers, mentally, emotionally and physically. This ‘unwrapping’, can be directed by the practitioner and client and can be short, medium or long term and is what i specifically love about this treatment.

Bioregulatory Medicine is considered to be a bridge between the natural healing mechanisms of the body and the medicines and techniques that all health care professionals seek to optimise. It focus on the systemic effects of imbalance within the person. Whether it is an imbalance of mental, physical, emotional or spiritual matter.

Within this model, dis-functions or diseases of the body/mind are considered to be ultimately caused by toxins, whether toxic chemicals, bacterial exotoxins, biological endotoxins, post-traumatic cellular debris and also byproducts of the bodies metabolic processes. Furthermore, disease symptoms are said to be the result of the body’s attempt to heal itself and should not necessarily be suppressed.

Homeopathically manufactured single or combination products are designed to work with the body’s defence mechanisms and facilitate the body’s elimination of toxic substances. When used in combination formulations which contain measurable amounts of homoeopathically-prepared active ingredients, they can be utilised by the practitioner to treat specific indications.

The focus of treatment is on tissue type and integrity, as well as congestion and inflammation around that site or in the body generally. For example, nerve damage or sciatic pain has wonderful results using Colocynthis Homaccord, furthermore it provides health care solutions which may be used alone or with Bio-puncture, body therapies, counselling and homoeopathy. Other natural medicine strategies, such as nutritional, herbal medicines and flower remedies can also help manage the client’s health furthermore it can complement orthodox treatment without drug interactions.

Bio-regulatory medicine (aka Homotoxicology) studies the influences of toxic substances in humans, where symptoms and disease are seen as a result of the appropriate biological resistance to these toxic substances (homotoxins). Therefore disease is recognised as a healing process within humans (and animals) and anti-homotoxic preparations are therefore designed to deal with the distinct stages of an illness.

Evidence based theory Bio-regulatory medicine is a sophisticated modern form of homoeopathy and is the most prescribed form of natural medicine in Germany, where it has been used for over 50 years and is practiced by conventional doctors and natural therapists alike. In fact, 80% of orthodox doctors in Germany prescribe homoeopathic or anti-homotoxic preparations for their patients. The efficacy and safety of this medicine is supported by close to 100 clinical trials and provides health professionals with medicines that complement orthodox treatments and provide the patient with better health outcomes than they can achieve through orthodox medicines alone. The guiding diagnostic and prescriptive tool used in BRM is known as the Six-Phase Table.

Rhodiola rosea

Common names: Golden root, rose root, arctic root.

Botanical Family: Crassulaceae. Part used: Root

As part of my series on Nervines or herbs exerting a positive action on the nervous system, I would like to introduce Rhodiola. This is fast becoming one of my favourite herbs due to its unique actions and its ‘super-herb’ abilities.

Russian scientists and Western researchers have accumulated an impressive amount of scientific research to validate its abilities as neuro and cardio-protective, ie protecting brain, nerves, heart and blood vessels. Also it has tonic, immune-modulatory, adaptagenic and antioxidant properties. In other words in enhances physical, emotional and mental performance, particularly in times of severe stress. The saying of adaptagens in herbal medicine is ‘by taking these herbs particularly through stressful periods allows one to handle more crap for longer ‘ and not pay the price as often happens due to adrenal exhaustion.

Rhodiola boosts immune function, increases concentration, memory and energy.

It increases resistance to altitude sickness, assists with depression, anxiety and nervous system disorders. Interestingly, it assists with sexual dysfunction, anaemia, and chronic infections including post-viral syndromes, fibromyalgia and aspects of thyroid dysfunction.

Mode of Action

  1. Rhodiola has a balancing effect on the HPA (Hypothalamus, Pituitary and Adrenal) axis and has been shown to favorably impact cortisol levels and modulate the stress response.
  2. It also modulates the levels and activity of monoamines and opioid peptides such as beta-endorphins.
  3. The potent antioxidant activities of Rhodiola contributes to its adaptogenic effects.
  4. It modulates the immune system and improves physical stamina by increasing the production of ATP and has been shown to improve mental capacity under stressful circumstances.

Clinical Trials

A recent systematic review of randomized clinical trials found Rhodiola to be safe with beneficial effects on physical performance, mental performance and in certain mental health conditions related to stress.

As a tonic, I mix it with Withania, Bacopa, Astragalus, Rhemania, Schisandra and St Johns Wort, Magnolia or Passionflower and Skullcap, to assist clients; immune function, exhaustion, nervous debility, depression, anxiety and mental fatigue.

References 

Chen, T.,S.,Liou, S.,Y., & Chang, Y., L.,(2008),Antioxidant evaluation of three adaptogen extracts, The American Journal of Chinese Medicine, 36(6), 1209-1217.

Hung, S.,K., Perry, R., & Ernst, E., (2011), The effectiveness an efficacy of Rhodiola rosea L a systematic review of randomized clinical trials. Phytomedicine, 18(4), 235-244.

Panossian, A.,G., (2013), Adaptogens in mental and behavioral disorders. The Psychiatric Clinics of North American, 36(1), 49-64.

Panossian, A.,G.,wikman, G., & Sarris, J.(2010),Rosenroot (Rhodiola rosea): Traditional use, chemical composition, pharmacology and clinical efficacy. Phytomedicine, 17(7), 481-493.

Ross, S., M., (2014), Rhodiola rosea (SHR-5), part 1 Holistic Nursing Practice, 28(2), 149-154.