It has been declared a global health crisis by the World Health Organisation (WHO) but

What is the Coronavirus and why is everyone panicking?

Let’s start with what the Coronavirus is not. Sadly it’s not a light beer to be leisurely sipped in the late afternoon sun. Coronaviruses (CoV) are members of a large family of viruses ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

Coronaviruses are zoonotic meaning that they can be transmitted between animals and people. Research found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans.  

The current coronavirus has been named 2019-nCoV it is a new strain which until now has not previously been seen in humans.

Common signs of infection include:

  • Respiratory symptoms
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Breathing difficulties

In more severe cases infection can cause pneumonia and severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

At present symptoms are thought to appear between two and ten days post contracting the virus. There is evidence, yet to be confirmed, that the virus can be spread by asymptomatic people – people who carry the virus but are not yet sick.

Declared a global health crisis by the World Health Organisation

Download my free guide to Coronavirus Outbreak.

I’m going to say it out loud and clear: CRASH DIETS DON’T WORK!⁠⁠

As much as having one magic solution to all problems ⁠sounds alluring, it’s in essence, simply ineffective and a rather damaging approach. I often find myself wondering why we assume that internally, we are all the same because we are most certainly not. Which means that a one size fits all diet plan is never going to work!⁠⁠

We’re human, living and breathing creatures, after all. We might all look slightly different on the outside – eye and hair colour, skin tone, height and body structure but that’s where it stops.

Your gut is unique. There are many out there, but nobody else has one quite like yours. It’s a hive of activity, digesting and absorbing the food that you eat, extracting vitamins, minerals and nutrients in its own way (It’s actually called the second brain in India). It’s so important that to understand the best way for you to eat we need to understand how your gut is working. That means getting a look at what’s going on inside. Which is where biochemistry and personalised approach to nutrition step into the game. ⁠⁠

I hear you wondering how all this affects your weight-loss goals? Well, it’s wonderfully simple and at the same time, it’s insanely complex. In essence, if you’re unable to absorb the right nutrients in the right order your body is going to have a hard time fuelling itself.

Now, this could happen due to you fuelling it with the wrong fuel. Have you ever put petrol in a diesel car? If you have you know what I am talking about. If you put petrol in a diesel car, it will instantly cease the engine to the point where you literally have to buy a new engine! Now with your body it takes a little longer but if you put the wrong food in your body it will eventually fail. A long list of things will start to happen to you but in short, you’ll gain weight and you’ll be susceptible to a whole host of autoimmune conditions!  

Imagine what happens when you throw in a standard dose of western societal stress, it’s like putting fuel on the fire! 

Stress means that your body is in a constant state of fight or flight, the last thing it’s thinking about is digesting the last meal or snack you gobbled down, racing around in your busy life. 

The combination of the wrong food and the chronic levels of stress that most people are under all too often results in long term nutrient deficiencies and permeability issues (amongst a host of other things). This inevitably results in much bigger and more serious problems than weight gain.

⁠But it’s not all doom and gloom – there is light at the end of the tunnel. Thing is your body is an incredible machine. All it needs is the right fuel and support, and it will begin to set things right. 

You just need to know exactly what to put in your body to help rather than hinder, now that’s something we can do together. 

If this resonates with you, send me a message I would love to hear your story.  To book your free consultation, click here.

Every day you take between 17,000 and 30,000 breaths (1). You have been doing this since you took your very first breath on this planet. Question is, are you doing it right? Chances are you’re not!

Take a moment and watch your breath. This is not something that you normally think about so you’re forgiven for having to take some time to figure out how to do so. It’s probably fair to say that you have become aware of your chest moving up and down, in and out, with belly sitting, doing nothing. In fact, chances are you’re holding your belly in, because somewhere along the lines, most likely when you were a child, you were taught to do this. Someone probably told you that it makes you look thinner, with modern-day societal pressures applied, and now you found yourself always holding your stomach in.

It was in that moment when you realised that by holding your stomach in you could give the impression that you were slimmer. That, inevitably, reprogrammed your mind and consequently stopped breathing properly.

So why am I asking you about how you’re breathing?

Breathing is integral to life, that goes without saying. However, deep breathing has other beneficial effects. Breathing not only stimulates relaxation in your body, but also directly activates essential pathways for health improvement.

To understand this we must go back to the basics and first bring you up to speed on your nervous system. Your nervous system splits into two main branches: the sympathetic nervous system (responsible for the flight or fight stress response) and the parasympathetic nervous system (responsible for rest, digest and heal response). These two branches work like a seesaw is a children’s play park. If one side is up (on), the other side must be down (off). They cannot work simultaneously.

Now here’s where it gets interesting. If you’re like most people in the modern world, your sympathetic system is almost always on. In the very old days it was triggered by being chased by sabretooth tigers, these days it’s triggered by stress, over-scheduled calendars, chronic illness, financial worries, relationship drama etc.  This means that your parasympathetic system that is in charge of optimising detoxification, digestion and immunity isn’t able to function.

As a consequence your body is almost always flooded with stress hormones and inflammation. Digestion has slowed in most cases to a near halt and your immune system isn’t working. Basically, you’re effectively in a state where your body promotes disease rather than health. Not a great place to be.

Your body has a remarkable ability to heal itself, however, to do so one of the key factors is that you’re relaxed, in the parasympathetic state. This is even more important if you have an autoimmune condition or chronic disease.  

One of the quickest and easiest ways of getting here is though deep breathing. It’s one of the reasons that when a child or even a friend is panicking you tell them to take deep, slow breaths that send an instant message to your body to begin healing.

When you breathe properly your …

  • Energy and Metabolism will increase: Deep breathing increases oxygen in your body which results in increased energy and believe it or not weight loss. (2)
  • Detoxification Rate Increases: Deep breathing allows for the release of carbon dioxide from the lungs trigging the cells of the body to enter “clean-up” mode. Especially important if you have an autoimmune or chronic disease. (3)
  • Blood Pressure and Heart Rate will decrease: Studies suggest that deep breathing can significantly reduce blood pressure and heart rate. (4)
  • Blood sugar normalises: High blood sugar triggers inflammation which in turn promotes the disease process in the body. Blood sugar levels can be reduced by triggering parasympathetic nervous system moderating insulin release. (5)
  • Cortisol levels (stress hormone) Normalize: Raised cortisol levels can lead to adrenal fatigue, weight gain (the spare tyre effect around your waistline), blood sugar imbalances, insomnia, hormonal imbalances and lowered immunity. Deep breathing counteracts the stress response in your body.
  • Lower your pain levels: The stimulation of your parasympathetic nervous system through deep breathing has been shown to reduce the perception of pain in those suffering from chronic pain like fibromyalgia. (6,7)
  • Optimise your digestion and absorption – Food like knowledge is power, however, just like knowledge, food is only powerful if you can absorb it. Optimum digestion only occurs when your body is in the parasympathetic state.

Deep breathing is a powerful tool, it can instantly change what’s happing in your body. So, if you suffer from autoimmune or chronic health issues you want to aim to have your body in the parasympathetic (healing) mode as much as possible. The great news is that within a few seconds of deep breathing your body understands the message and begins to relax. Your cortisol levels decrease, you’re able to digest and detoxify at a much better rate and your immune system starts to behave.

So how do you breathe properly?

Read part two here.

A little while ago I found myself listening into a heated discussion regarding the pros and cons of eating organic and what that really meant. If the truth be told the two people arguing their points really didn’t have a clue what they were talking about, while the thought of setting them straight crossed my mind I have learnt not to poke my nose in places where it’s not welcomed!  

A few weeks later I was drawn into a similar discussion only this time with friends and acquaintances. I was again surprised to learn that while they sounded like they knew what they were talking about, the truth was that they didn’t really have a clue. It got me thinking.

What does organic mean?

Organic comes from the school of thought that healthy food comes from healthy soil. Organic farmers work hard to build up the long-term fertility of their soil, they make use of plant and animal waste recycling this as fertilisers. Seaweed or rock powders are used to balance the ground mineral content, bees are actively encouraged to pollinate crops and crop rotation is used to increase microbial life through minimal ploughing and the use of ground cover-crops.

Organic farmers also create and help to sustain wildlife habitats, utilising these as pest controls. Rather than removing trees and hedgerows they plant more. They create ponds rather than draining them and work to maintain meadows rather than destroying them in a bid to create industrial sized fields. The use of artificial fertilisers, pesticides, growth promoters, antibiotics and feed additives are prohibited.

What are the benefits?

To start with, organic foods are free from genetic modification. This is a major bonus but, to appreciate it, you have to understand what GMO is and what it can do to you. GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms, in this case crops which have had their genetic makeup artificially manipulated. Crops are engineered to withstand direct application of herbicides and or produce insecticides. This has both positives and negatives. The positive is that farmers using them have higher yields with less disease or pest damage. The negatives are that these pesticides are designed to kill crop pests, which sadly often sees useful organisms such as ladybirds and bees suffering from the same gait. Many of the chemicals work by poisoning the nervous system in a similar way to military nerve gas. Current testing does not investigate the long-term effects of low dose exposure to these chemicals or the cocktail effect that comes from eating a variety of chemical laden foods.  

So, when you choose organic produce you are choosing to avoid the residues of chemicals sprayed onto the crops but also chemicals that are genetically implanted into the plant itself.

Organic foods are also free from irradiation (exposure to radiation in order to kill off harmful bacteria). They have been shown to have higher nutrient content values, are generally more flavoursome and organic farming methods help to maintain soil fertility keeping farmland healthy for years to come.

Justifying the extra cost

On average, organic produce costs 20% more to produce. Farms tend to be smaller, relying on crop diversity and rotation. They often use specialised machinery and have higher labour costs. After harvesting conventional farmers rely on chemicals to control pests and moulds, however organic farmers use cold storage which comes at a higher cost failing to benefit from the economy of scale that conventional farming offers.

Is your organic food really organic?

‘Certified Organic’ is a legally protected certification which is only granted after a rigorous series of inspections from the farm to the shop. This certification is protected by law and it is an offence to market food as organic if it is not certified.

Now you have the basics, is Organic food worth the extra 20%? Well, that’s something that every individual needs to decide for themselves. Remember though, that eating fruit and vegetables is always going to have more positives than negatives than not eating them at all.

Read Part 1

Thyroid Antibodies – How your immune system attacks your thyroid

The vast majority of thyroid conditions are autoimmune, this means that your immune system attacks your own thyroid. When your hypothyroid the autoimmune condition presents as Hashimoto’s and when you are hyperthyroid the autoimmune condition presents as Grave’s Disease. 

It’s vital to know if your thyroid condition is autoimmune because once you develop one autoimmune condition you’re three times as likely to develop another.

Another reason for finding out if your thyroid condition is autoimmune is that autoimmune disease can be reversed by addressing its root causes.

There are two main types of thyroid antibodies:

Thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOab) – these attack an enzyme used to synthesize thyroid hormones and are commonly elevated in both Hashimoto’s and Grave’s Disease.

Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb) attack thyroglobulin, which your thyroid uses to produce its hormones. These are typically elevated in Hashimoto’s patients.

Elevated Antibodies – your immune system is attacking your thyroid putting you on the autoimmune spectrum or into a full blown autoimmune disease.

Which Thyroid Markers should your Doctor Check.

In the ideal world your Doctor should run a full thyroid panel however most conventional medicine doctors only check your TSH and if you’re lucky your FT4 levels. Truth is that as you have read just checking two markers doesn’t give you the full story.

In order to get the full picture your health care professional should run the following tests:


Free T4

Free T3

Reverse T3

Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPOAb)

Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb)

What are the Optimal Ranges?

Most conventionally trained doctors rely on the “normal” reference ranges. Unfortunately, these are too broad and often inaccurate. This is because when they created the lab ranges for a healthy thyroid they later discovered that they had include people who already had thyroid dysfunction. In 2003 new narrower reference ranges where release, however most doctors and laboratories have yet to up-date their practice’s and over a decade and a half later are staggeringly still using the old recommendations!

Alongside listening to your body these are the ideal reference ranges to use.

·   TSH 1-2 UIU/ML or lower (Armour or compounded T3 can artificially suppress TSH)

·   FT4 >1.1 NG/DL

·   FT3 > 3.2 PG/ML

·   RT3 less than a 10:1 ratio RT3:FT3

·   TPOTgAb – < 4 IU/ML or negative

What to do if your Doctor won’t order the full panel.

I often find people coming to see me with all the symptoms of a dysfunctional thyroid. Their doctors have run the typical TSH and T4 test revealing that the results are “normal” and yet that person still feels awful.  It’s at that point where we work together to figure out what’s going on. I’ll order the full panel for you and we will address the under lying root cause of your dysfunctional thyroid. I’ll teach you what to do to help your body restore you to your former glory and if you can’t remember what that feels like you’re going to be in for a pleasant surprise.

Book a free consultation here.

If you suffer from any of these, then there’s a good chance that your gut is leaking.

Gastric Ulcers; Infectious diarrhoea; Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS); Inflammatory Bowel diseases (Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis); Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO); Celiac disease; Fibromyalgia; Food sensitivities; Allergies; Respiratory infections; Acute inflammations conditions (sepsis, SIRS, multiple organ failure); Chronic inflammatory conditions (arthritis etc.); Autoimmune diseases (lupus, multiple sclerosis, Hashimoto’s etc.); Obesity-related metabolic diseases (fatty liver, type II diabetes, heart disease); Chronic fatigue syndrome.

What is leaky gut?

Leaky gut has recently been called a danger signal for autoimmune disease (1) Increased Intestinal Permeability commonly referred to as Leaky Gut Syndrome is a digestive condition in which bacteria and toxins are able to “leak” through the gut barrier /intestinal wall.

The gut barrier is by far and large our greatest physical barrier covering a space of 400m2, it separates and protects us from the outside world preventing harmful toxins and micro-organisms from causing damage yet allows nutrients to pass through it, into the bloodstream to be transported to your organs. It requires 40% of our energy to function. (2)

Tight junctions are small gaps in the intestinal wall, they act as gatekeepers allowing water and nutrients to pass through while blocking harmful substances. Intestinal permeability refers to how easily nutrients pass through the junctions in the intestinal wall. (2)

When the tight junctions become loose, the gut becomes more permeable and starts to leak (leaky gut). This allows tiny particles and toxins that should never be able to enter your bloodstream to pass through. This situation results in acute widespread inflammation. As the size of the holes gradually increases, a reaction from the immune system becomes increasingly likely (autoimmune). So, your normal immune response designed to fight infections and disease ends up over compensating, leading to chronic inflammation, the root of most diseases. (2,3)  

Symptoms indicative of a leaky gut

  • Chronic diarrhoea, constipation, gas or bloating
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Poor immune system
  • Headaches, brain fog, memory loss
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Skin rashes and problems such as acne, eczema or rosacea
  • Cravings for sugar or carbs
  • Arthritis or joint pain
  • Depression, anxiety, ADD, ADHD
  • Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, celiac disease or Crohn’s (2,3,4)

What causes leaky gut?

While the medical world remains undecided on the exact causes, it is known that a protein called zonulin is the only known regulator of intestinal permeability. When activated in genetically susceptible people, it can lead to leaky gut. Zonulin release is triggered by two factors; intestinal bacteria and gluten, a protein found in wheat and other grains. (6,7)

The following factors are believed to play a contributing role:

Genetic predisposition – some people develop leaky gut because they are sensitive to environmental factors that “trigger” their bodies into an autoimmune response.

Your Diet –  diets that include allergens and inflammatory foods i.e. unsprouted grains, added sugar, GMOs, refined oil, food additives and dairy products. (2)

Chronic Stress – alters bowel movements and the microbiome (bacteria living in your gut). (8)

Toxin Overload – the average person comes into contact with 80,000 chemicals and toxins (including alcohol and drugs) a year. Antibiotics, pesticides, tap water, aspirin and NSAIDS are the worst offenders. (9,10)

Bacterial Imbalance – known as dysbiosis, an imbalance between beneficial and harmful bacteria in your gut.

Yeast overgrowth – yeast is naturally present in the gut, however an overgrowth of yeast can contribute to leaky gut. (11)

Gluten – Gliadin a protein found in gluten can increase intestinal permeability. (12, 13)

One of the best things about your body is its incredible ability to heal. If you think your gut may be leaking and would like to know how you can help yourself to heal, please get in contact for a personalised plan designed just for you.

You have all the symptoms of a dysfunctional thyroid gland; your health care professional ordered a test and now you’re staring at a bunch of numbers trying to decipher them as if they were a cryptic crossword!

I often find myself explaining thyroid tests, so I thought I would publish this article to explain what each marker means, why you should check them and what the optimal reference ranges are to ensure your thyroid is functioning optimally.

TSH – Thyroid stimulating Hormone.

The hypothalamus is responsible for amongst other things managing hunger, thirst, sleep, hormones and body temperature, it continuously monitors the level of thyroid hormones present in the bloodstream. TRH thyroid releasing hormone is sent out to your pituitary gland if it deems energy levels are low, the pituitary gland subsequently releases TSH Thyroid Stimulating hormone which is sent directly to the thyroid to produce more T4 thyroid hormone. Consequently, your TSH level is an indication of what your pituitary gland is doing based on your hypothalamus’ feedback loop as opposed to how your thyroid is actually functioning. Due to this being a negative feedback loop the meaning of the results are generally counterintuitive and confusing.

High TSH – This can be a sign that you are under-producing thyroid hormones and that you are hypothyroid.

Low TSH – This can be a sign that you are over-producing thyroid hormones and are hyperthyroid. It can also indicate that you are on too much supplemental thyroid hormone. Supplemental T3 of natural desiccated thyroid hormone can artificially suppress your TSH, so in the absence of symptoms it could be perfectly normal.

Normal TSH – If your TSH falls within the normal reference range this can indicate that you do not have a thyroid dysfunction. However, if you have the symptoms then even if your test results indicate a normal result you may still have thyroid dysfunction.

T4 – Thyroid Hormone in storage mode.

Once TSH signals your thyroid to up the production of hormones it produces four different types of thyroid hormone = T1, T2, T3 and T4. With the primary being a storage hormone called T4. Free T4 (FT4) is unbound and circulated throughout the bloodstream and stored in tissues so that when required it is readily available.

High FT4 – Can indicate an overactive thyroid – Hyperthyroidism

Low FT4 – Can indicate an underactive thyroid – Hypothyroidism

Free T3 – The Fuel

On deciphering that each local area of your body requires more power, storage T4 is converted into Free T3 (FT3), the active form of the hormone attach to receptors inside your cells and power your metabolic processes, hence the fuel.

High FT3 – indicates your thyroid is overactive – Hyperthyroidism

Low FT3 – You may be converting T4 to FT3 very well and you could have hypothyroid symptoms even if your TSH and FT4 are with in ranged. This is one of the most common causes of hypothyroid symptoms which is often over looked in generalised NHS testing.

Reverse T3 – The Braking System.

A portion of T4 is required and used to create Reverse T3 (RT3), which like T4 is inactive. RT3 can attach to the receptors for FT3 in order to slow your metabolic processes, hence the breaking system.

High RT3 – It is probable that you are converting too much T4 into RT3 and not enough FT3, which can cause hypothyroid symptoms even if your TSH and T4 levels are optimal. Your RT3:FT3 ration should ideally be less that 10:1

Read Part 2