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Why Are You Bloated? Too Much Cake, or Something Else?

What is Your Gut Trying to Tell You?

We have all become a little snack-happy at a party, eaten too much cake, and had to undo the top button of our jeans to make room for the food baby. However, if you feel and look bloated regularly without overindulging, your gut microbiome might be trying to tell you something!

A healthy microbiome is a flourishing and diverse ecosystem containing a wide variety of beneficial bacteria and microorganisms, with minimal potentially harmful or disease-producing bacteria. When the microbiome is balanced, you are able to create and absorb important vitamins, your immune system functions well, and you clear waste products effectively (yes, I mean poo!). However, if your gut ecosystem needs a little TLC, life and your belt buckle may be quite uncomfortable.

Bugs Out of Balance

An imbalance in your gut microbiome is known as ‘dysbiosis’, which is a reduction in both the number and/or diversity of the beneficial microorganisms within your gut, with an increase in less beneficial bacteria as a result. Dysbiosis disrupts the healthy functioning of your gut, leading to a plethora of uncomfortable symptoms, including digestive pain, bloating, nutritional deficiencies, or even a compromised immune system.[1] What causes it? Poor dietary choices, frequent antibiotic use, a lack of exercise or unmanaged stress. (To read more about the causes of microbiome disruption, click here).

Dysbiosis and bloating have also been linked with digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). SIBO is a type of chronic infection in which bacteria that usually reside in the large bowel reproduce in large numbers and migrate to the small intestine, somewhere they should not be. This can cause excessive bloating, flatulence and digestive discomfort. If you suffer from a digestive disorder, you could have an imbalance in your gut microbiome that needs addressing.

Meet the Methanogens

If you have dysbiosis, ‘methanogens’ may be lurking in your gut. These bacteria release methane gas as they break down fibre from your food, which can cause bloating, sluggish digestion, slow transit time (the amount of time food takes to travel from your mouth, through your gut, and out the other end), constipation, bloating, flatulence and gut discomfort. As excess methane production is connected with chronic constipation, it may be worth finding out if methanogens are making you feel stopped up.

Bad Bugs Take You For A Ride

By disrupting your internal gut microbiome, dysbiosis can create an environment where disease-causing organisms have the opportunity to flourish. We pick up little gut hitchhikers in the way of potentially harmful bacteria and stubborn yeasts in our daily activities. If our gut microbiome is fighting fit, it is able to kill off and dispose of these critters very effectively, however, if our gut microbiome is struggling, disease-causing bugs can take over.

Can you perhaps trace your gut issues back to a nasty bout of gastro or even Bali belly? Lingering symptoms can include bouts of nausea, gut pain, loose bowels, constipation (or both), brain fog and severe bloating. Even after an infection is identified and successfully treated, dysbiosis can persist, leaving you vulnerable to further infection.

There are multiple reasons why you could be chronically bloated, so how do you find out what’s going on in your gut? The best way is with a microbiome test.

Introducing the Metabiome™ Test

Based on cutting-edge science, the Metabiome™ stool test uses innovative, accurate and comprehensive testing methods to provide you with an in-depth understanding of your gut microbiome. It also measures how well your microbiome is able to function to keep you healthy, for example by helping you create vitamins and digest your food.

The test is able to identify all the microorganisms living in your gut, good and bad, showing you the types and amounts of beneficial bugs and the functions they are able to perform for you. It also measures the type and number of potentially harmful microorganisms (including methanogens) in your gut, and how they might lead to your bloating, constipation or other gut symptoms. Once you have the ‘why’, you can begin to address the cause of your issue and improve your symptoms.

If you’re curious to know how your gut measures up, the Metabiome™ test also scores your microbiome out of 100, based on 11 key signs of a healthy microbiome. The closer your score is to 100, the happier your gut microbiome is, and the greater your potential for fabulous health.

The stool sample is easily collected in the comfort of your own home, and can be mailed in the supplied reply-paid envelope. There is no awkward, tiny sample jar; all that’s needed is a swab from your toilet paper after wiping. It couldn’t be easier!

It’s Best to Test

If your skinny jeans have not seen the light of day for a while and your microbiome is yelling at you with symptoms of bloating or discomfort, dysbiosis may be the cause. The results of the Metabiome™ test can help you bring balance back to your gut microbiome and reduce those uncomfortable gut symptoms. Make an appointment with us to access this simple test and get some answers.

Learn more about our test here

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Lindy’s Top 5 Tips for Staying Well in Winter

By Naturopath Lindy Cook

The winter months are a time for conservation and cultivation of energy. As the weather cools and the days shorten, go to sleep earlier and get up later. Take the opportunity to slow down. Sleep in on weekends and nourish yourself with warm and wholesome foods. Winter is also the season of sniffles and lurgies! Most of us shudder at the idea of getting stuck in bed with the dreaded flu but there is plenty you can do to keep your immune system primed and strong.

Vitamin D
You might be surprised to know that most people have low vitamin D levels (especially in the winter). Chances are if you work in an office from 9 to 5 most days of the week, or just don’t manage to spend much time outdoors, your Vitamin D levels will be low.
Aside from supporting bone health, reducing your risk of many cancers and other auto-immune diseases a number of recent studies have shown that optimal Vitamin D levels can boost your immune system, reducing the likelihood of coming down with a cold or flu. One recent study found that people with lower levels of vitamin D were twice as likely to develop influenza, compared to people with high levels of vitamin D.
It’s best to get your vitamin D from the sun if you can. Of course that’s not always possible during winter (especially here in Melbourne!) If you suspect your levels are low during the cooler months, your best bet is to get a blood test before you start supplementing. This is the most accurate way to see if a supplement is really required and, if so, the dosage that’s needed.
While there is debate as to ideal concentrations, the following is a good guide:

  • vitamin D sufficiency > 75 nmol/L
  • sub-optimal levels 50-75 nmol/L
  • vitamin D insufficiency 25-50 nmol/L
  • vitamin D deficiency 15-25 nmol/L
  • severe vitamin D deficiency < 15 nmol/L

Your supplement should come from a natural form of vitamin D – either cod liver oil or an oil-based D3 supplement. The best food sources of natural vitamin D are egg yolks, fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, organ meats, and some portabello (highest), oyster and white mushrooms. However, keep in mind that it’s tough to get enough vitamin D in the winter from food sources alone.

Coconut Oil
Coconut oil contains two special active constituents, lauric and caprylic acid, both well known for their anti-fungal and ‘anti-candida’ action. What’s not so well know is that lauric acid is also anti-viral. The body converts it to monolaurin, an antiviral agent that fights of a number of viruses including influenza. If you’re looking to boost your immunity naturally, simply use a teaspoon of coconut oil a day. Add it to your smoothies, cooking, baking or just eat it straight from the jar!

​Not only is garlic a wonderful herb that enhances your winter dishes with a rich and warming flavour, it has a long history as an immune booster. During the First World War raw garlic juice was used as an antiseptic for bathing wounds and helped save saved thousands of lives. The major active component found in garlic, allicin, is responsible for its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Studies have shown that people including garlic supplements experienced fewer and less severe colds compared to those taking a placebo. Try adding some regularly to your diet throughout the colder months.There isn’t a recommended daily allowance for garlic, but German researchers recommend a dose of 1-4 cloves a day which provides around 4,000mcg of alliin. To cure a chesty cough crush three cloves of raw garlic, sprinkle one tablespoon of brown sugar and leave in a covered saucer for six hours. Sip the liquid throughout the day until the cough has gone. If you feel yourself coming down with a cold or flu chop a clove in four pieces (the allicin is more potent when exposed to air), then swallow it down whole, without chewing, as though it was a supplement. That way you can avoid the awful garlic breathe you would get from chewing it whole.

I don’t know about you but all the on-trend cafes I walk in to these days are serving up turmeric ‘golden milk’ lattes. And quite frankly, I love ‘em! It’s the most delicious way to warm up from the inside out over the cool winter months and do your body some good at the same time. Without doubt turmeric is the latest spice to be crowned a superfood. High in antioxidants and considered a natural anti-inflammatory, people who consume it are less susceptible to colds, coughs and congestion.

Turmeric – especially curcumin its chemical compound – contains potent antiviral, anti-fungal, anti-cancer and anti-bacterial properties. Laboratory studies found that curcumin reduced viral replication of 90% and more of cells infected by influenza virus. It also displayed an ability to protect infection from spreading to other cells. This ability to halt replication of microbes and viruses means that turmeric could offer therapeutic benefits in treating flu.

​Turmeric is considered a natural antibiotic in Ayurvedic medicine. For those with respiratory tract infections – common flu symptoms – mix water, ½ tsp turmeric and little milk and gargle with this. A cup of warm coconut or almond milk with a teaspoon of turmeric powder can fight flu, colds and cough. I like to add in a little extra ginger, cinnamon and black pepper for that added kick and warmth, here’s my recipe . In fact, I think I might just go and make one right now….

Even though it’s tempting to pull back the covers and snooze a little longer or go home straight after work and snuggle up on the couch on those grey, chilly winter days it’s vital you keep up your exercise regimen. A recent study showed that even a moderate level of regular exercise has a long-term cumulative effect on our immune system. It found that individuals who went for a brisk walk several times a week reduced the number of sick days they took by around 40%. Indeed, regular aerobic exercise, five or more days a week for more than 20 minutes a day, rises above all other lifestyle factors in lowering sick days during the winter cold season. The trick is to not go overboard as overly strenuous exercise releases the stress hormone, cortisol, which can weaken the immune system.

Probiotics are essentially ‘good bacteria’ found in naturally fermented foods and supplements that help keep your immune system strong and ward off infections. Around 70 to 80 per cent of your immune system resides in your gut so it’s critical you have a really good, balanced gut flora – your first line of defense against all those nasty winter bugs. Indeed, the latest research published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport found that New Zealand athletes had about 40% fewer colds and gastrointestinal infections when they took a probiotic compared to when they took a placebo.

When bacterial imbalance occurs in the gut, it can throw your system out of whack and leave you more susceptible to those lurking winter bugs. Foods like sugar, cake, biscuits – anything white and processed really – along with alcohol and certain drugs like antibiotics and the Pill have a detrimental impact on the gut flora. If you have really been over indulging or had to take a course of antibiotics it’s a good idea to take a good quality probiotic supplement. But, of course, my favourite thing to do is use ‘food as medicine’ to truly boost the power of your immune system and stay healthy and vital throughout the winter months. After all, it all starts with prevention.

Try to include a serve of at least one of these foods daily to promote ‘good’ bacteria and support immunity.

Kombucha tea is a fermented tea that has been around for more than 2,000 years with a rich anecdotal history of health benefits. Made from sweetened tea that’s been fermented by a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (a SCOBY, a.k.a. “mother” because of its ability to reproduce, or “mushroom” because of its appearance). It contains billions of friendly gut organisms.
Kefir is a cultured/fermented dairy drink that’s been used for thousands of years as a health elixir. It’s also the easiest form of dairy to digest, and it is generally 99 percent lactose free.
Natural yoghurt is my perfect, go-to snack food. It’s rich in protein and good fats to help keep you feeling full and your blood sugar levels balanced. I like to serve mine topped with chopped nuts, chia seeds and berries. You can also add it to your smoothies, scoop it onto your breakfast cereal, mix with unhulled tahini and parlsey as a dip or sauce for your vegies or have it for dessert instead of your usual sweet fare. Just make sure you choose a natural, sugar free yoghurt, preferably organic. That way, you know you will get optimal health benefits and ‘good bacteria’ to boost immune system functioning.
The range of delicious sauerkrauts available in health food shops now is, quite literally, mouth watering. I regularly find myself in quandary when deciding just which I want to accompany my lunch or dinner. Most recently I have been going with a smoked jalapeno and cabbage mix. A little bit on the side and everything tastes so damn good! The great news is it’s really simple to make your own a ‘food as medicine” sauerkraut and then start experimenting with different flavours.

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Flu Fighter Tea

Bring 1 litre of water to boil and add:

  • 2 teaspoons of fresh grated ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 lemon slice (leave skin on)
  • 1 cinnamon stick or half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 6 cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh chopped chilli

Continue to boil for 1 minute only. Allow to cool slightly and drink the warm tea freely throughout the day.

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A new study has found the effects of EPA, DHA and gamma-linolenic acid can improve reading in children aged 9 to 10 years, both with and without attention problems.5 A randomised controlled trial published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry found that three months of omega-3/6 treatment improved reading abilities of mainstream school children compared to placebo, with particular significance in boys. Furthermore, children with ADHD symptoms displayed greater improvements in visual analysis and reading speed. Increasing intake of specific fatty acids reveals “oils well that ends well” for children’s brain health and cognition.

Learn more about Naturopath Lindy Cook and how she can help your child’s health. 

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Those who enjoy reading books can likely enjoy a longer life in which to read them. A cohort study recently combined the data of 3,635 people to assess the impact of various reading patterns on longevity. Engaging the mind in book reading was shown to maintain cognitive status and increase longevity by 23 months, compared with non-book readers. This novel finding was independent of gender, education, health or wealth and showed that any amount of book reading increased survival.

Read more about the research in


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Could wheat be contributing to chronic health conditions?

Could wheat be contributing to chronic health conditions even if you are not a coeliac?

Scientists have discovered that a different family of proteins in wheat than gluten, called amylase-trypsin inhibitors (ATIs), can lead to the development of inflammation in tissue beyond the gut and could be negatively affecting those with asthma, fatty liver, rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions.
Read the article published by medical express here.
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Obesity and Cancer

Strong Evidence for 11 Cancers and Obesity

An extremely comprehensive research article has been published in the British Medical Journal  with strong evidence for particular cancers and being obese.

An increase in body mass index (BMI) was associated with a higher risk of developing:

  • oesophageal adenocarcinoma;
  • colon and rectal cancer in men;
  • biliary tract system and pancreatic cancer;
  • endometrial cancer in premenopausal women;
  • kidney cancer; and multiple myeloma.
Weight gain and waist to hip circumference ratio were associated with:
  • higher risks of postmenopausal breast cancer in women who have never used hormone replacement therapy and endometrial cancer, respectively.
The risk of postmenopausal breast cancer among women who have never used HRT increased by 11% for each 5 kg of weight gain in adulthood, and the risk of endometrial cancer increased by 21% for each 0.1 increase in waist to hip ratio.

Five additional associations were supported by strong evidence when categorical measures of adiposity were included: weight gain with colorectal cancer; body mass index with gallbladder, gastric cardia, and ovarian cancer; and multiple myeloma mortality.