Self Care for Busy Women: Part 2

Self Care for Busy Women: Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of Self Care for Busy Women. 


If you haven’t read Part 1, you can find it HERE.


Earlier today, someone posted in a Facebook group I’m in, saying how her feed in the past week had been filled with posts about self-care.  There have also been a number of posts across various platforms talking about planetary factors, with 5 planets in retrograde at the same time, the full moon & the lunar eclipse and that a lot of people will be feeling the need to just slow down, not to take on too much and just assess where life’s at and where they want to go.  It’s a time to forgive and move on from the past, learning from the lessons rather than getting caught up in “shoulds” and doing things the way they have always been done.

This is a great time to schedule in some more self-care so you can have the energy to move forward towards that balance and bliss we all seek.

One point that was raised on the Facebook post was that self-care comes with a large degree of privilege.  Women who have great support networks or have the financial means are more able take the time to look after themselves, compared to a single mama who’s solely responsible for the care and support of herself and her children.  There’s absolutely no denying that reality, and they are often the people who need self-care the most.  Conversely, it’s not uncommon for partnered women to feel they have to ask someone else’s permission, sometimes begging, for time to do things for themselves, by themselves, even for something as simple as having a shower without interruptions.  It is so easy to get caught up in doing all the things for others which is why we hear so many woman say they’ve lost their identity; they’ve forgotten who they wanted to be and what it is that used to make them happy, or they just can’t see any way to fit those hobbies into their lives any longer.  If they do get some time for themselves, they often don’t know what to do first, or are wracked with guilt.

Whilst dreams of fame, creating or luxuriating on a tropical beach with a personal cocktail waiter/waitress at your beck and call may be temporarily put on hold, there are a few more things you can do to regain some sanity & feel more replenished.


6) Warmth

When you are chronically stressed and/or over-worked, your adrenal glands take an absolute beating.  Our bodies were not designed to cope with sustained stressors and continually high levels of cortisol will lead to adrenal exhaustion, much in the same way that high blood sugar levels will lead to insulin resistance.   Chronically elevated cortisol will also affect your sex hormones, contributing to loss of libido, infertility & accelerated aging.

In Eastern health philosophies, there’s a balance of energies – warming/cooling, damp/dry, yin/yang.  When supporting adrenal function, warmth is important.  You want to make sure the kidney/adrenal area of your back is always covered, away from cold, damp breezes.  Keep your feet warm and dress so you are comfortably warm at all times.  Drink warm drinks (herbal teas, bone broth or vegetable broth are all good) and choose lightly cooked vegetables over raw foods & salad, particularly in Winter months when your body is already putting so much energy into just keeping you warm.

The other thing in Winter is to get out in the sun when possible.  Keeping your torso well covered, then expose as much of your arms & face to the sun as you can to help maintain Vitamin D levels.  This will help your hormonal balance, reduce the chances of getting the flu & improve your mood.  If you have North-facing windows in your house, make like a cat & curl up for a while when you can.  (If you live far from the equator or have problems converting vitamin D, you may benefit from a vitamin D supplement, along with magnesium that the body uses to properly utilise the vitamin D).


7) Brain-dump / Write it down

I was at a business mastermind group recently when a friend wisely said, “the brain is for creating ideas, not storing them”.  Who hasn’t woken up at 3am with some marvelous idea, or laid awake for hours with thoughts & ideas abuzz, wishing their brain would STFU? One solution is to sit down and just write it ALL out.  Anything that comes to mind.  It does not need to make sense or follow a structure.  It just needs to get out of your head.  Ideally, you’ll do this with a pen and paper, as there’s something that happens in the sub-conscious when you hand-write things, but you could also type it out if preferred.  Often you’ll be surprised by what you’ve written as things come out that you’re not always conscious of, but by getting those thoughts written down, you don’t have to waste brain power trying to remember all the things.  The result will be less stress & better sleep, which will mean even less stress & better sleep.

Whilst on the subject of writing things down, it can be useful to spend a few minutes each night writing a to-do list for the next day, starting with the things you are least enthused about.  Getting those out of the way early means your day is always going to get better  😉 Finish the day by noting three things you were grateful for that day.  By combining those two things, you won’t be laying awake trying to remember everything you have to do and the last thing your subconscious will remember are the positive thoughts.


8) Calm the Farm

Another really effective way to increase that feeling of calm & wellbeing is meditation.  That does not have to mean hours sitting in the lotus position, although you can certainly do that if you’re so inclined.  For the average busy woman, though, 10-30 mins a day is probably far more realistic.  This can be done in several ways; through concentrating on your breath only and letting other thoughts just pass on through, by listening to a guided meditation or some relaxing music or by listening to a yoga nidra recording (AKA yogic sleep, where 1 hour of practice is equivalent to 3 hours of sleep).  There are some fantastic professional sound healing meditations available, or check out YouTube for a heap of free options to suit any taste.

Anytime you feel your blood starting to boil, stop whatever you’re doing & take 5 deep belly breaths.  This only takes a minute and will balance your sympathetic & parasympathetic nervous system so you’re no longer in that ‘fight or flight’ mode.


9) Exercise

Now, I know not everyone is going to class exercise as self-care, but it IS an important factor in optimising both physical & mental health.  Aim for half an hour a day, remembering that can be broken up to 3 x 10min sessions if need be.

To make sure it becomes part of your routine, find something you love to do.  Walking, jogging, dancing, cycling, team sport or my favourite, yoga.  If you do have chronic stress issues, start with a gentle walk, some restorative yoga or tai chi.  Even though exercise is beneficial, an already exhausted body can see it as an additional stressor, so launching straight into cross-fit is probably not the best way to get started.  Build up to that 😉


10) Bodywork

I have met very few people in my life who don’t enjoy some form of bodywork – massage, reflexology, Bowen therapy, osteopathy, chiropractic, Bodytalk, etc.  Some of these can be more difficult to fit in, especially if you don’t have someone to look after the kids for an hour or two.  However, if you are able to schedule in a treatment every few weeks, it can make a massive difference to the way you feel.

In Part 1, I mentioned my health crisis a couple of years ago.  As it was affecting my nervous system so significantly, I chose to visit a Chiropractor who was able to calm the sympathetic response.  I continue to visit him regularly for preventative care and as each treatment only takes a few minutes, it’s something I can take my kids to.  Not exactly the same as an uninterrupted hour-long massage, but the key message here is to do what you can with the time and resources you have.


There will always be responsibilities or people competing for your attention, time and energy.  To use a cliché, you can’t pour from an empty cup, so it’s often more about making time rather than finding time to do the things that will fill your cup.  It may be one of the 10 things I’ve suggested across the two posts, or you might have your own way that works for you.  The trick is to make it a priority, a habit, not something you do as an after-thought.

Doing things that nourish your body, mind & soul will have flow-on effects to those around you.  Not only will you be calmer and more able to cope with the challenges of life, you’ll be teaching others to value themselves.  While I was writing this post, my 4yo did a couple of rounds of deep breathing to overcome some anxiety she was feeling and she’s now doing a yoga session – all unprompted.  By showing our kids that our needs matter, they will grow up knowing that their needs matter.  It’s win-win!

Comment below with your favourite way to fill your cup and share this post with others who may need a reminder that they matter, too.


Nyree xx



Unity Wellness provides health-related information to assist people in making their own choices.  While we have exercised due care to ensure the accuracy of the information on this site, it is not intended to be used as medical advice and it is not intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes or as a substitute for your own health professional’s advice.  Unity Wellness does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information provided on this website.


This post/site may contain Affliate links or links to my Independent Advocate store. By clicking these links, you pay no more for the products/services, but I will receive a commission on purchases to keep this site running & support my family (thank you!).  I will never promote any products or services that I would not be happy to use myself.

This website is owned and operated by an independent InnerOrigin Advocate and is not endorsed by InnerOrigin Pty Ltd or InnerOrigin Australia Pty Ltd or any of their respective associated companies. Any opinions expressed on this website are made by, and are the responsibility of, the individual Advocate and should not be construed as a representation of the opinions of InnerOrigin Pty Ltd, InnerOrigin Australia Pty Ltd or any of their associated companies.

Self Care for Busy Women: Part 1

Self Care for Busy Women: Part 1

Ladies and gentleman, in case of emergency, an oxygen mask will drop from the compartment above your head.  Pull down firmly on the mask to begin the flow of oxygen and be sure to put on your own mask before assisting children or other passengers.


After pulling another all-nighter, I woke up this afternoon to a message from a friend asking what time I was coming over.  Actually, there were three messages from her, spread across the day.

Huh?  There must be some confusion?  I said next Wednesday.  I know that because I’d worked out that I’d double-booked myself next Wednesday and had to see if I could meet the other person another day.  Why would I have said this week?  I’m promoting a movie screening like crazy and the deadline is so close and my youngest has been sick and it’s her birthday in two days and I have to organize food and a gift and I need to work out what my teenager can do so she’s not just sitting at a computer all day and all those dishes need washing before I can cook anything and aaaaaarrrrrrrrrrggggggghhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!! 

As it turns out, I had said this Wednesday, but my brain had filed it against the wrong date.

Crap!  I messed up.  I let someone down.  I hate being that person who doesn’t show when you’re expecting them to.  What the hell happened to my memory?  Why did my brain have to rewire during pregnancy to favour fast reflexes instead of the great memory I once had? 

Sound familiar?  As women trying to balance ALL the things – work, family, friends, household, ourselves – it’s often that last thing that falls to the bottom of the priority list.  We’re so busy & so tired that we get by on the fumes of the coffee or tea that goes cold before we get to drink it or that snack that we packed in our bag for the kids the other day that they didn’t want or maybe that whole block of dark chocolate we stashed away where hopefully the kids wouldn’t find it.  Ya feelin’ me?  The great irony being that if we DO prioritise self-care more, we’re better able to manage everything else.

The thing is, I know this.  I reckon you know it. We all do, but it’s easy to forget or justify why we don’t have time to nurture ourselves.  It’s what landed me in hospital with sudden-onset convulsions two years ago, imagining the worst & wondering if I’d see my kids grow up.  Broken sleep, poor appetite, hormonal imbalance, breastfeeding, underlying genetic issues, financial strain; all these things were causing stress to my body.  I wasn’t feeling it psychologically because my brain was protecting itself, instead creating somatic symptoms as a sort of release valve.  It was a huge wake-up call at the time and these days, I try to be more aware of the whispers before my body has to scream at me again.  It’s time to go back to those things that will create a better sense of balance and calm.  I wanted to share some tried & true tips for self-care that are as much a reminder to myself as they are my way of trying to help you so you don’t find yourself sick and burnt out.

When putting this post together, it kept getting longer and longer as I went over all the things I know are important and effective, and saw the irony as the clock marched on into the wee hours and I was nowhere near finishing.  I also thought those of you who will benefit the most from the info are those of you with the least time to sit down and read a lengthy post, so I will post it in 2 parts, each with five tips.

1) Create a nurturing routine

In a case of perfect timing, a parcel arrived for me today that I’d been eagerly Nurture Me Essential Oil |  A beautiful limited edition blend of organic essential oils called Nurture Me.  As I looked at the bottle, I was reminded of Alice in Wonderland where she found the bottle on the table that said ‘Drink Me’.  The temptation to do what the label said was overwhelming (not chug down the whole bottle, just the Nurture Me part).  I opened the bottle and experienced an aroma that felt like a warm hug.  Earthy, spicy, grounding.

When possible, set some time aside for a warm bath with Epsom salts and a few drops of your favourite essential oil mixed into a carrier, but when time is short, do what I did & have a hot shower to relax tight muscles in the shoulders, neck & back.  After drying off gently with a towel, mix a few drops of Nurture Me into a carrier oil (I used jojoba) and rub that stuff all over yourself (except sensitive areas, because no one needs that sort of stress)!  Imagine you are massaging a loved one, or they are massaging you.  Tell each body part how much you appreciate it for everything it does for you.  It might sound strange at first, but trust me, your body is listening to how you talk to it and will respond in kind.  It only takes an extra minute, but is so worth it.

If you don’t already have one, get an ultrasonic oil diffuser and have some oil diffusing in the space you spend the most time, or in a quiet room where you can grab a bit of time to sit and breathe/meditate.  You can even get plug-in diffusers for your car, or diffuser pads that clip onto the air vent.  Just make sure the oil you use does not make you feel TOO relaxed whilst driving!


2) Fast Nourishment

When you’re running around, forgetting meals, getting by on insufficient sleep, it’s so much more tempting to reach for the coffee, energy drinks or fast food (or rather, food-like substances).  On days like that, I like to make a drink with coconut water, superfood powder & some medicinal herbs.  Coconut water contains electrolytes to hydrate the body, SunLove is a Naturopathic blend of 36 superfoods to boost energy, reduce oxidative stress and support adrenal function and Cosmic Calm is a blend of three adaptogenic herbs to again support adrenal function and help the body adapt to stress.  I put the coconut water and the 2 powders in a shaker cup, screw the lid on, give it a shake & drink up.  Just as quick as any of the aforementioned pick-me-ups without the resulting crash.  If I feel like an extra boost, I’ll add in some other green powder, colloidal minerals, some probiotics and maybe a little more moringa.  Being in liquid form, the nutrients are absorbed & utilised faster than they would be if you had to chew & breakdown the food first.  It won’t replace a balanced diet, but it will give you a good hit of nutrients to help you through those times your diet is lacking.

If you’re not entirely ready to kick the caffeine habit, still have a green drink like that, but try something like a mushroom coffee that gives you some extra nutrients with less of the jittery feelings.

Self Care Part 1 |

The other thing I like to do is make a batch of bliss balls to keep in the fridge.  It only takes a few minutes and you can pack so much into a batch using dates and coconut as a base, then adding nuts, seeds, coconut oil, raw cacao powder, cacao nibs, superfood powders, collagen or plant-based protein powder, etc to taste.  Grab a bliss ball instead of something full of refined sugar.  They also double as a great afternoon snack for the kids, or something to put in their lunchbox if you leave out nuts or other things not allowed in many schools these days.


3) Gut health

The health of our gut plays a significant role in not only our immune system & physical health, but also how we feel mentally & emotionally.  Around 80% of the serotonin in our bodies, correlated with feelings of calm, relaxation & happiness is in our gut, so it makes sense to nurture our microbiome.  Eating a wide range of fibre-rich vegetables does the same for our microbes that compost does for our garden; it feeds the microbes that increase availability of nutrients.  The bacteria in our gut synthesise a number of B-group vitamins which help to calm our nervous system to reduce that “tired & wired” feeling.  Eating a spoonful of fermented veggies like sauerkraut or kimchi with each meal is a great way of combining probiotics with the fibre they need to thrive.

As mentioned, I’ll often use a food-based probiotic in my green drink, or you can use a synbiotic powder that combines probiotics with prebiotics, which are the ‘microbe fertiliser’, to recolonise your gut with good bacteria much faster than taking probiotics alone.  You can also get a brew of Kefir, Jun or Kombucha on the go for an endless supply of probiotics.  You can even get Hemp Kombucha kits with all the ingredients & instructions you need to get started.


4) Hydrate

I can hear my chiropractor every time I think about this subject……”how’s your water intake been?” he asks, knowing full-well what the answer is by the way I look and how locked up my body is.

I don’t think I’m telling you anything new when I say the human body is around 70% water and it’s recommended you drink 2-3 litres a day (more when exercising, breastfeeding, sick, in hot climates, etc).  You can get an estimated daily water requirement HERE.  Water flushes away the waste from normal cellular function, keeps our skin supple, lubricates our joints and reduces joint pain, prevents muscle cramps, maintains healthy kidney function, regulates blood pressure and keeps the contents of our bowels soft so we can pass stools easily.

If we look just at the brain for a moment, it is around 80% water.  If not properly hydrated, grey matter in the brain begins to shrink and if we become chronically dehydrated, the brain can begin to age prematurely (*takes a big swig of water*).  Water, as cerebrospinal fluid, circulates through the brain via the glymphatic system (no, that’s not a typo), to flush away toxic metabolites and proteins that accumulate between brain cells.  The activity of the glymphatic system increases nearly 10x while we sleep, with the brain cells contracting by 60% to allow the fluid to flush through more easily.  This flushing maintains healthy brain function and reduces the risk of neurodegenerative disease like Alzheimer’s.  Almost every neurodegenerative disease is associated with an accumulation of cellular waste products, so one of the best things you can do to help your brain function during the day and reduce that foggy feeling is to be well-hydrated before going to sleep and start the day with a large glass of water.   Filtered/purified water is best.  Imagine washing yourself in a clear, sparkling stream versus a muddy pool of stagnant water.  That’s kinda how I visualise what’s going on inside the body.   If your water supply is fluoridated, you’d do well to get a filter that removes fluoride as it can compete for with iodine for receptor sites in the thyroid & reduce thyroid function, leading to more sluggishness and brain fog.


5) Sleep

We’ve already seen how important well-hydrated sleep is for maintaining a healthy brain.  Another thing the brain does in the sleep state is to produce support cells that go on to produce myelin that insulates our neurons to ensure the proper transmission of electrical signals in the body.  Memory & learning is also consolidated during sleep, so if you keep losing your keys, have no idea what day it is or people start calling you ‘Dory’, you probably need to look at improving your sleep habits.

Ideally, you should aim for being asleep by 9pm as the three hours between 9pm and midnight are the most restorative.  As a lifelong nightowl, I realise how early that sounds, especially when you factor in that it’s best to avoid electronic devices at least a couple of hours before bed. Throw in the need to have some quiet time when everyone else is sleeping and yeah….still working on that balance.

Sleep has a significant impact on other body systems, too.  A study by the CDC shows that both too little sleep (<6 hours) and too much sleep (>10 hours) is associated with higher incidences of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity & anxiety when compared to people getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night.  Even one night of insufficient sleep can move you into a pre-diabetic state, so next time you are pondering whether to sleep or get some extra work done (or write a blog post about the importance of sleep), sleep is always the better option.  As a bonus, getting quality sleep makes your skin look better.

You can see on this Chinese Body Clock chart where the energy of our body is most concentrated at certain times of the day based on circadian rhythms:


If you can plan your activities to line up with these times, you will be following the natural flow of your body and will feel better for it.  There is a similar clock in Ayurvedic medicine, also.

If you have difficulty stopping that chattering ‘Monkey Mind’ that keeps you awake, you may like to try a guided meditation or some amazing sound healing recordings to bypass the conscious mind & clear the subconscious clutter that you’re holding on to.

On that note, it’s wayyyyyy past my bedtime and I have to fill up my water bottle.  Stay tuned for Part 2 where I discuss five more things you can do to nurture your body & soul so you can live a more peaceful life.

Comment below with the things that help you to relax and recentre


Nyree xx


Unity Wellness provides health-related information to assist people in making their own choices.  While we have exercised due care to ensure the accuracy of the information on this site, it is not intended to be used as medical advice and it is not intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes or as a substitute for your own health professional’s advice.  Unity Wellness does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information provided on this website.


This post/site may contain Affliate links or links to my Independent Advocate store. By clicking these links, you pay no more for the products/services, but I will receive a commission on purchases to keep this site running & support my family (thank you!).  I will never promote any products or services that I would not be happy to use myself.

This website is owned and operated by an independent InnerOrigin Advocate and is not endorsed by InnerOrigin Pty Ltd or InnerOrigin Australia Pty Ltd or any of their respective associated companies. Any opinions expressed on this website are made by, and are the responsibility of, the individual Advocate and should not be construed as a representation of the opinions of InnerOrigin Pty Ltd, InnerOrigin Australia Pty Ltd or any of their associated companies.

Eating Dates Produces Powerful Health Benefits, Religion and Science Agree

Eating Dates Produces Powerful Health Benefits, Religion and Science Agree

Originally posted on: Friday, July 6th 2018 at 6:15 am

Since biblical times, dates were to believed to possess profound healing properties, but only now is science catching up to confirm our distant ancestors knew exactly what they were talking about. 

If you go by the Nutrition Facts panel of an ordinary package of dates, they look more like sugar bombs than a healthy snack. Check this one out:

But are they really as nutritionally vapid as these label claims make them seem?

Not by a long shot.

When we apply the complementary lenses of modern scientific investigation and ancient wisdom, dates begin to look like both a holy- and a super-food of immense value.

Here’s a neat example.

From the Koran to Clinical Trials: Dates for Better Birthing

In the Koran, the central holy book of Islam, Allah instructs the Virgin Mary to consume dates when she gives birth to Jesus.[1] And so, not surprisingly, dates are commonly referred to within the Islamic tradition as beneficial to pregnant women. We might chalk this up as “pre-scientific” magical thinking without basis in medical fact, were it not for a remarkable human clinical study that confirmed their value in pregnancy…

Published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2011 and titled, “The effect of late pregnancy consumption of date fruit on labour and delivery“, researchers set out to investigate the effect of date fruit consumption on labor parameters and birth outcomes. Over the course of 11 months at Jordan University of Science and Technology, two groups of women were enrolled in a prospective study where 69 women consumed six date fruits per day for 4 weeks prior to their estimated date of delivery, versus 45 women who consumed none. These women were matched so there was no significant difference in gestational age, age and parity (the number of times a woman has brought a pregnancy to viable gestational age) between the two groups.

The results of the date intervention were reported as follows:

  • Improved Cervical Dilation: “The women who consumed date fruit had significantly higher mean cervical dilatation upon admission compared with the non-date fruit consumers (3.52 cm vs 2.02 cm, p < 0.0005).”
  • Less Damage to Membranes: “[The intervention group had] a significantly higher proportion of intact membranes (83% vs 60%, p = 0.007).”
  • More Natural (Spontaneous) Labor: “Spontaneous labour occurred in 96% of those who consumed dates, compared with 79% women in the non-date fruit consumers (p = 0.024).”
  • Less Drugs Required: “Use of prostin/oxytocin was significantly lower in women who consumed dates (28%), compared with the non-date fruit consumers (47%) (p = 0.036).”
  • Shorter Labor: “The mean latent phase of the first stage of labour was shorter in women who consumed date fruit compared with the non-date fruit consumers (510 min vs 906 min, p = 0.044).”

The researchers concluded:

“It is concluded that the consumption of date fruit in the last 4 weeks before labour significantly reduced the need for induction and augmentation of labour, and produced a more favourable, but non-significant, delivery outcome. The results warrant a randomised controlled trial.”[2]

Thanks to research like this we can see how the mythological and scientific ways of understanding now converge and confirm one another. I believe that rather than contradict and/or negate one another, the mythos and logos are beginning to assume a far more productive complementary relationship as we move into a new era of understanding where the profane and sacred are perceived as intimately entwined in our direct experience. The field of nutrition, as you can see, is no exception.

Dates Contain Nourishing Information

Dates, of course, are in the palm tree family, and along with coconut and red palm, are some of the oldest cultivated plants known in the historical record; in fact, they are so old we don’t know where they first originated.  They have provided life-sustaining nutrition in regions that are often sparse in edible resources, and are increasingly being researched as a powerful medicinal food that could reduce much suffering in malnourished and disease prone populations, especially in underdeveloped countries.

Even while scientific analysis of dates are beginning to reveal that they are actually densely packed with a wide range of minerals, vitamins, amino acids and fatty acids, it should be emphasized that they are not just sources of energy and material building blocks for our body. We must acknowledge that they are also sources of biologically valuable (perhaps indispensably so) information. We can not analytically decompose a food into the minerals, vitamins, and macronutrients (e.g. lipids, fats, and protein), that we believe are responsible for its nourishing and life-sustaining properties, without losing quite a lot in the process. Foods contains hundreds, if not thousands, of physiologically important biomolecules, together which modulate the expression of thousands of genes in our body, as well as affecting our microbiome. In fact, our microbiome works on the foods we ingest, and together produce an intermediary layer of biomolecules known as the metabolome, many of which may be indispensable to our health.

This is why when we say food is medicine, we are not simply using a metaphor. We now know that food is capable, on a molecular level, of positively modulating a wide range of biological pathways simultaneously, in a manner that drugs simply can not replicate. In fact, I believe food contains an immense, if not infinite, amount of information which our bodies draw from to realize optimal gene expression, especially in times of stress or imbalance. Looking at it granularly, I believe food contains discrete units or packets of gene-regulatory energy and information. This can be inferred by the way curcumin, for instance, which is only one of hundreds of biomolecules found in the spice turmeric, is capable of modulating over 2,000 genes simultaneously within a cancer cell line, with a positive end result. Both the specificity and broadness through which these food compounds are capable of correcting imbalances is simply astounding and speaks to an intelligence within certain plants of particular food and medicinal purpose that can not be exhaustively explained through terms and methods of the reductionistic sciences that still form the backbone of our understanding of conventional nutrition.

So if my theory holds true, and dates, which are a food type (namely, fruit) we co-evolved with for quite some time, are more than just a package of mainly simple carbohydrate (half fructose/half glucose) and mineral quantities of alphabetic vitamins and minerals, but also possess gene-regulatory energy and information, shouldn’t it perform a number of therapeutic effects?  Indeed, the research now bears testimony to exactly this fact.

I took the liberty of doing a cursory meta-analysis of the extant research on dates available through the National Library of Medicine’s biomedical database MEDLINE, accessible of course through the google-like search engine And to my pleasant surprise the research on dates as a whole (including the fruit, pollen and seed extract) reveals approximately 19 specific beneficial modes of action, and a preventive and/or therapeutic role in about 40 different health conditions.

Consider for a moment that most of the blockbuster drugs on the marketplace only have one therapeutic mode of action and one condition they are approved to treat. Additionally, there are on average 75 adverse health effects for each drug. The fact that it is classified and sold as a food and not a drug should not delude us into thinking it is not as powerful as a pharmaceutical. In fact, it should be clear that foods are actually far more powerful in affecting root cause resolution of health conditions by nourishing us deeply, nutritionally, and again, informationally(literally: to put form into).

To gain greater familiarity with the literature demonstrating the various therapeutic properties of dates, view our Date research page.  You will notice that one of the potential therapeutic properties of dates are its beneficial properties in diabetes – which underscores our original point, that if you go by nutrition facts panels alone you are bound to miss out on a number of healthy foods include fruits like dates.



[1] The Holy Koran, Chapter 12 – verses 22-25, retrieved on Feb. 28 2015, “So she [Virgin Mary] conceived him, and she retired with him to a remote place. And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm tree. she cried (in her anguish): ‘Ah! would that I had died before this! would that I had been a thing forgotten and out of sight!’ But (a voice) cried to her from beneath the (palm-tree): ‘Grieve not! for thy Lord hath provided a rivulet beneath thee; And shake towards thyself the trunk of the palm-tree; it will let fall fresh ripe dates upon thee.'”

[2] [Note: “non-significant” here means insignificant in statistics, which is often due to insufficient numbers of subjects enrolled to draw results with adequate statistical power]


© 6th July, 2018 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here




Unity Wellness provides health-related information to assist people in making their own choices.  While we have exercised due care to ensure the accuracy of the information on this site, it is not intended to be used as medical advice and it is not intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes or as a substitute for your own health professional’s advice.  Unity Wellness does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information provided on this website.


This post/site may contain Affliate links or links to my Independent Advocate store. By clicking these links, you pay no more for the products/services, but I will receive a commission on purchases to keep this site running & support my family (thank you!).  I will never promote any products or services that I would not be happy to use myself.

This website is owned and operated by an independent InnerOrigin Advocate and is not endorsed by InnerOrigin Pty Ltd or InnerOrigin Australia Pty Ltd or any of their respective associated companies. Any opinions expressed on this website are made by, and are the responsibility of, the individual Advocate and should not be construed as a representation of the opinions of InnerOrigin Pty Ltd, InnerOrigin Australia Pty Ltd or any of their associated companies.

Drug-induced Nutrient Deficiencies

Drug-induced Nutrient Deficiencies


Whilst Pharmaceutical drugs can be life-saving in some cases, it is well-known that they can cause side-effects which can impede on your quality of life.  A number of these side effects can be linked to nutrient deficiencies caused by the medications, but as medical doctors have limited training in nutrition, these deficiencies can go undiagnosed.

My late grandfather was one of those people who almost rattled when he walked from all the medications.  His maladies included GORD, Barrett’s Oesophagus, leukaemia, haemochromatosis & arthritis (rheumatoid & osteo) to name a few.  His skin was paper-thin & in his later years, he gained a lot of weight due to the steroids.  His breakfast consisted of 20+ pills, with many of the medications given to counter the side effects of others.  Although he did take some supplements & saw his chiropractor regularly, he was a creature of habit & was not one to make the dietary changes I suggested.

I know he was not alone in this regard.  Sometimes, we just want to take a pill to make the symptoms disappear rather than treating the underlying cause, but a review published in ‘Pharmaceutics’ this week looks at links between medications & nutrient deficiencies.  If you do need to take certain medications, you may want to consider specific supplementation to reduce side-effects & other unintended consequences.


The long-term use of prescription and over-the-counter drugs can induce subclinical and clinically relevant micronutrient deficiencies, which may develop gradually over months or even years. Given the large number of medications currently available, the number of research studies examining potential drug–nutrient interactions is quite limited. A comprehensive, updated review of the potential drug–nutrient interactions with chronic use of the most often prescribed medications for commonly diagnosed conditions among the general U.S. adult population is presented. For the majority of the interactions described in this paper, more high-quality intervention trials are needed to better understand their clinical importance and potential consequences. A number of these studies have identified potential risk factors that may make certain populations more susceptible, but guidelines on how to best manage and/or prevent drug-induced nutrient inadequacies are lacking. Although widespread supplementation is not currently recommended, it is important to ensure at-risk patients reach their recommended intakes for vitamins and minerals. In conjunction with an overall healthy diet, appropriate dietary supplementation may be a practical and efficacious way to maintain or improve micronutrient status in patients at risk of deficiencies, such as those taking medications known to compromise nutritional status. The summary evidence presented in this review will help inform future research efforts and, ultimately, guide recommendations for patient care.
Let’s first look at the medications most likely to affect nutritional status:
Drug Nutrient Interactions |


Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)

The main action of PPIs is to reduce gastric acid production. Thus, decreased absorption of micronutrients that depend on low pH for uptake into intestinal cells may occur with PPI use.

Vitamin B12
  • PPI use has been observed to decrease protein-bound B12 absorption and may lead to B12 deficiency in some individuals, although the results are mixed.
  • Certain PPI users including the elderly, individuals with atrophic gastritis and/or H. pylori infection, and slow metabolizers of omeprazole may be at a higher risk of B12 deficiency.
  • Additionally, certain dietary choices may influence risk of deficiency. Evidence suggests the effects of omeprazole on B12 status are due solely to impaired gastric acid secretion and not impaired intrinsic factors. Therefore, drinking acidic fruit juice concurrently with B12 may improve absorption in PPI users, as demonstrated in a small absorption study in hypochlorhydric older adults taking omeprazole.
Vitamin C
  • Vitamin C is highly concentrated in gastric juice, where it is predominantly found in its biologically active antioxidant form, ascorbic acid (AA). In addition to acting as an antioxidant, AA in gastric juice functions to eliminate potentially carcinogenic nitrites from saliva. In this process, AA is converted into its inactive form, dehydroascorbic acid (DHAA), which cannot be absorbed in the intestine. However, it may be converted back to AA through a pH-dependent process for reabsorption.
  • In one observational study, patients with H. pylori infection had plasma vitamin C levels that were at least 30% less than H. pylori-negative patients.  However, the dietary intake of vitamin C in infected patients was also lower than in non-infected volunteers.
  • Two short-term (four weeks) intervention studies found reduced circulating vitamin C levels in H. pylori-infected patients taking omeprazole independent of dietary intake.
  • Given the evidence that omeprazole increases the ratio of DHAA to total vitamin C in the gastrointestinal tract, lower circulating vitamin C levels with PPI use in H. pylori-infected patients may be due to decreased intestinal bioavailability of vitamin C.
  • There is some evidence to indicate PPI use may negatively impact iron absorption. PPI users already at elevated risk for iron-deficiency or those with pre-existing iron deficiency may be at greater risk for impaired iron absorption during PPI therapy.
  • The collective evidence indicates that chronic PPI use is associated with increased fracture risk, particularly in individuals who may already be at risk of fractures, such as older adults, and is considered a contributing factor to osteoporosis and fracture risk by the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
  • Case reports of hypomagnesemia with chronic PPI use have been widely documented. In some, but not all cases, magnesium supplementation alone was not completely successful in reversing hypomagnesemia until PPI therapy was discontinued. Among ~30 cases of hypomagnesemia, more than half of these patients received PPI therapy for ≥5 years and 30% for ≥10 years. All of these reported cases were in older adults (age 51–82 years) and occurred more frequently in women than men.
  • Gastric acid secretion may play a role in intestinal zinc absorption in humans, reflecting the need for dietary zinc to be in the reduced state. In one study, omeprazole administration at 60 mg/d for one week in healthy adults almost doubled the pH of fasting gastric juice and decreased plasma zinc levels by ~40%. These results suggest omeprazole may decrease zinc absorption by increasing gastric pH, however there was no control group and the sample size was small. A more recent study found that in healthy control subjects the plasma zinc increased 126% in response to supplementation with 26.2 mg zinc twice daily for 14 days, compared with only a 37% increase in those on long-term PPI therapy. In this study, baseline plasma zinc levels were also negatively associated with long-term PPI use.
Beta Carotene
  • Thus far, only one study has investigated the effect of PPI therapy on the absorption of the provitamin A carotenoid, β-carotene. In a crossover study of 12 healthy volunteers, plasma β-carotene levels at 6 and 24 h after supplementation with 120 mg were significantly lower following seven-day treatment with 40 mg/d omeprazole compared with no omeprazole treatment.


NSAIDs: Asprin

Vitamin C
  • Acute and short-term doses of aspirin taken concurrently with vitamin C may alter vitamin C absorption in leukocytes, and its antioxidant activity in gastric mucosa may protect mucosal cells from damage. However, the effects of long-term, low-dose aspirin on vitamin C status, and its clinical implications, are unclear. Given the evidence that vitamin C may help prevent aspirin-induced gastric lesions, patients suffering from gastric mucosal injury due to an aspirin regimen may benefit from vitamin C supplementation.
  • Collectively, the associations between aspirin, anemia, and Hb were inconsistent, and it is unclear whether low-dose aspirin causes iron deficiency anemia. However, among older adults the association between low dose aspirin use and decreased Hb was notable.
  • One limitation to using Hb as a marker of iron status is that it is generally considered to be the last parameter to change. That is, early stages of iron deficiency occur well before measurable changes in Hb are observed.
  • Older adults on a low-dose regimen, particularly those with H. pylori infection, may be at risk of decreased Hb and serum ferritin.


Anti-Hypertensives: Diuretics

Calcium and Loop Diuretics
  • Loop diuretics  (especially furosemide) negatively affect calcium homeostasis, which may lead to secondary hyperparathyroidism.
  • Loop diuretics increase urinary calcium excretion, although calcium balance may possibly be maintained by increased intestinal calcium absorption. Despite this potential compensatory mechanism, some individuals, particularly older adults and the elderly who absorb intestinal calcium less efficiently with age, may be at higher risk of decreased BMD and increased fracture risk with chronic use. Other risk factors for this association include the dose, duration, and form of loop diuretic.
Calcium and Thiazides
  • Chronic thiazide use leads to reabsorption of renal calcium and may increase serum calcium levels above the normal range in certain individuals, particularly older women. Although observational studies indicate thiazide diuretics may protect against hip fractures, RCTs are needed to confirm these findings.
  • Extensive evidence indicates that mild magnesium depletion is relatively common with loop and thiazide diuretic use. Loop diuretics directly inhibit magnesium reabsorption in the kidney, thus, both short and long-term treatment can lead to depletion. Conversely, thiazides induce magnesium excretion indirectly through multiple mechanisms, including suppression of PTH. Therefore, long-term therapy with thiazides is more likely to cause magnesium depletion than acute thiazide exposure.
  • Population studies that investigated risk factors for hypomagnesaemia with diuretic use have determined patients with congestive heart failure who receive high doses of loop diuretics on a chronic basis, elderly patients, and individuals with poor dietary magnesium intake, or high alcohol intake may be at increased risk.
  • Oral magnesium supplementation has been shown to be effective in increasing muscle concentrations of magnesium. In patients with arterial hypertension or congestive heart failure, magnesium concentrations were restored to normal after six months of supplementation.
Thiamin (Vit B1)
  • Evidence from both animal and human studies has demonstrated that acute doses of loop diuretics increase urinary loss of thiamin.
  • The effect of diuretics on thiamin is of particular concern for the elderly, who are at an increased risk of thiamin deficiency due to low dietary intake of this vitamin.
  • Diuretic users were 2.3 and 4.2 times more likely to have intakes below the recommended dietary allowance and estimated average requirement for thiamin, respectively, compared to nonusers, even after adjusting for sociodemographic and meal pattern variables.
  • Urinary zinc depletion with thiazide diuretic use may lead to tissue depletion, although it is unclear to what extent diuretics alone lead to clinical zinc deficiency. It is also possible the loss of zinc from thiazide diuretic use may be additive to other risk factors for zinc deficiency, such as inadequate intake, hepatic cirrhosis, diabetes mellitus, gastrointestinal disorders, or renal disease.
  • Although both loop and thiazide diuretics increase urinary potassium excretion with chronic use, most research has focused on the latter since they generate hypokalemia more frequently than the former.
  • While potassium supplements may not fully restore serum or body tissue potassium levels to normal, they appear to be effective in preventing hypokalemia.
  • However, potassium supplementation may further decrease blood pressure in addition to the effects of the diuretic itself, potentially resulting in low blood pressure.
  • In an observational study conducted after the implementation of folate fortification (1998), long-term use of diuretics was associated with lower red blood cell folate in hypertensive patients.
  • A short trial of hypertensive patients found decreased folate levels with hydrochlorothiazide use after six weeks.
  • Diuretics other than triamterene, namely thiazides, may negatively influence folate status, even in the age of folate fortification. However, the clinical significance of this drug–nutrient association is unknown.


Anti-Hypertensives: Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors

  • ACE inhibitors, as a drug class, may increase the risk of zinc deficiency. However, this effect is more pronounced with captopril than other ACE inhibitors. The underlying mechanism may be due to the thiol-radical group present in captopril that can chelate serum zinc and enhance its excretion.
  • Patients on chronic ACE inhibitor treatment, especially captopril, may be at higher risk of impaired zinc status, particularly when other factors associated with impaired zinc status—such as heart failure, renal disease, older age, malabsorption and diarrhea—are present.
  • ACE inhibitors can cause retention of potassium in the kidney via their inhibitory effect on aldosterone secretion.
  • Certain factors may contribute to increased risk of hyperkalemia with ACE inhibitor use, including older age, renal disease, diabetes, congestive heart failure, use of potassium-sparing diuretics, potassium supplements or consumption of potassium-rich diets.


Anti-Hypertensives: Calcium Channel Blockers (CCBs)

  • Gingival hyperplasia may develop in response to CCB treatment, mostly in men, but also in women. Although likely a drug class effect, the largest number of case reports have been documented with the use of nifedipine. A case–control study from The Netherlands showed current use of CCBs doubled the risk of gingival hyperplasia in a dose-dependent manner. The association between CCB use and gingival hyperplasia has been confirmed in other studies that investigated the incidence of this condition in users of amlodipine and nifedipine when compared with controls.
  • In addition to the presence of dental plaque and poor oral hygiene, a major contributing factor to the development of gingival hyperplasia is impaired uptake of folate into gingival fibroblasts. Folic acid supplementation has been shown to decrease the incidence, reduce the severity, or delay the onset of gingival hyperplasia.
  • Patients taking CCBs should be counselled on how to meet their recommended folate intake.
  • Very limited data indicates that CCB monotherapy does not appear to influence potassium status, while the concomitant use of beta-blockers may be of concern in some older adults.


Hypercholesterolemics: Statins

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
  • CoQ10 is a naturally occurring, fat-soluble, vitamin-like compound obtained from the diet and, to a lesser extent, from endogenous synthesis. CoQ10 functions in the electron transport chain in the mitochondria and, thus, plays an important role in energy metabolism. CoQ10 is an intermediate in the mevalonate pathway, which is inhibited by statins.
  • Statin use may lower serum CoQ10 levels in a dose-dependent manner but the clinical implications are unclear, and it is unknown whether decreases in serum CoQ10 result in significant depletions in muscle. The risk of CoQ10 depletion in muscle may be greater in older adults, as well as patients who develop myopathy while taking statins. The efficacy of CoQ10 supplementation on statin-induced myopathy symptoms is still under debate.
Vitamin D
  • There is a higher prevalence of suboptimal 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in patients experiencing myopathic symptoms from statin use compared to those who do not. Furthermore, supplementation with vitamin D regressed myopathic symptoms in >90% of patients.
  • The relationship between statins and vitamin D status remains controversial, and it appears that the nature of this particular drug–nutrient interaction is complex. Some studies indicate that some hyperlipidemic or vitamin-D-deficient individuals may improve their vitamin D status while taking statins. Conversely, vitamin D levels may be lower in patients with statin-induced myopathy.
Vitamin E and β-Carotene
  • Vitamin E and β-carotene are transported in the circulation, in part, by low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and a few studies investigating whether statins influence the status of these nutrients have been conducted.
  • Statins are very commonly prescribed and may be associated with changes in circulating β-carotene and vitamin E levels. However, the effect of statins on these compounds is unclear. Additional, high-quality, controlled studies are needed to better understand potential interactions.


Oral Hypoglycemics: Metformin

Vitamin B12
  • Cross-sectional analyses of adult populations with T2D from the U.S., Korea, the Netherlands and Brazil have consistently reported lower serum or plasma B12 in those taking metformin when compared to either healthy controls or T2D patients not taking metformin, after adjusting for covariates.
  • Serum folate levels also decreased by 7% with metformin use, raising the concern that elevated Hcy in response to metformin may be attributable to decreased folate status, and not solely to decreased vitamin B12 status. Similar observations were made in another RCT investigating the long-term effect (~4 years) of 850 mg/d metformin on vitamin B12 and folate status in T2D patients receiving insulin treatment.
  • Data from survey and case-report studies indicate that metformin use may reduce the intestinal absorption of dietary B12. Other studies have observed clinical symptoms of B12 deficiency with long-term metformin use, including megaloblastic anemia and peripheral neuropathy.
  • Observational and intervention studies have shown that metformin use may negatively affect vitamin B12 status in a duration- and dose-dependent manner through impaired intestinal absorption. Individuals already at risk of low B12 status, including the elderly and vegetarians, may be at greater risk during drug therapy. Although more studies that include functional markers of B12 status are needed, the current evidence is sufficient to recommend periodic assessment of vitamin B12 in patients taking metformin. Furthermore, the concomitant use of a multivitamin with metformin appears to protect against B12 deficiency.


Oral Hypoglycemics: Thiazolidinediones (TZD)

Calcium and Vitamin D
  • There is consistent evidence that T2D patients have a higher incidence of bone fractures compared to non-diabetic patients, despite no significant differences in BMD between the two groups.
  • Long-term TZD use has been shown to increase the risk of bone fracture in women, who are already at a higher risk for osteoporosis, bone loss, and bone fracture than men [145]. Furthermore, the intake of nutrients critical for bone health, including calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium, was reported to be insufficient in T2D patients on antidiabetic therapies.
  • Although evidence indicates that TZD increase the risk for bone fracture and osteoporosis, in particular among older women, no studies have examined the potential protective effect of concurrent supplementation with calcium and vitamin D on bone health. Considering the dietary intake of these nutrients is likely insufficient in this population, supplementation may be warranted in some cases.


Oral Corticosteroids

Calcium and Vitamin D
  • Extensive evidence from cross-sectional and longitudinal studies indicates that prior and current exposure to glucocorticoids increases the risk for bone loss and fractures.
  • In a meta-analysis of five RCTs, supplementation with calcium plus vitamin D had a significant effect on preventing bone loss at the lumbar spine and forearm, but not on femoral neck bone mass, fracture incidence, or bone resorption. The combination of calcium plus vitamin D was also found to be more effective than calcium supplementation alone. While it is likely that calcium plus vitamin D supplementation does protect against bone loss in patients taking glucocorticoids, it may be insufficient to protect against bone fracture and osteoporosis.
  • Glucocorticoids have a negative effect on bone loss and fracture and are a leading cause of secondary osteoporosis, particularly in individuals who cannot achieve the recommended intake of calcium and vitamin D from diet alone, and in those who are otherwise at high risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis, e.g., advanced age or postmenopausal females. Concurrent supplementation with calcium and vitamin D may be appropriate for some patients.
Sodium and Potassium
  • Corticosteroid use has been reported to cause sodium and water retention as well as increased potassium excretion, potentially leading to hypertension.
  • In general, it is recommended that patients on chronic corticosteroid therapy limit their sodium intake and monitor their potassium intake. A diet rich in potassium is likely sufficient to maintain normal levels during corticosteroid treatment, but potassium supplements may be recommended for individuals who are unable to obtain the recommended amount through diet alone.
  • A study investigating the effect of corticosteroid treatment on chromium status in 13 patients reported increased excretion of this essential mineral after three days of treatment, although the clinical significance is unclear [350]. In this same study, chromium supplementation of three patients with steroid-induced diabetes was found to improve fasting blood glucose levels. To date, no additional RCTs have been performed to validate these preliminary findings.


Bronchodilators: Beta2-Agonists and Inhaled Corticosteroids [ICS]

Calcium and Vitamin D
  • The effect of long-term ICS use may negatively influence bone metabolism and BMD in certain patients. The association appears to be stronger in COPD compared to asthmatic patients since the former are already at an increased risk of impaired bone health. No studies have tested the effect of calcium and vitamin D supplementation in ICS users on markers of bone health, and such studies are needed.



Calcium and Vitamin D
  • Numerous studies have reported a significant association between the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and risk of osteoporosis, with considerable evidence indicating these drugs increase the risk of fracture in a dose- and duration-dependent manner. Additional evidence indicates SSRIs may also decrease BMD. However, collective findings from cohort and case–control studies report the increased risk of fracture from SSRIs may be independent of BMD.


Oral Contraceptives (OC)

Vitamin B6
  • Tryptophan metabolism, an indirect measure of vitamin B6 status, is abnormal in OC users compared to controls and can be corrected with supplemental doses of vitamin B6.
  • Intervention studies with vitamin B6 supplementation have reported improvements in clinical symptoms of B6 deficiency and fewer side effects in OC users who may be deficient in this vitamin.
Vitamin B12
  • Several studies have consistently reported serum B12 levels are lower in OC users compared to nonusers.  While most of these studies adjusted for confounders, not all adjusted for dietary intake.
  • Although there is consistent evidence that OC use is related to lower serum B12 levels, it is not clear whether this is actually indicative of a biochemical B12 deficiency. For populations already at risk for B12 deficiency, such as vegetarians, it is unclear how a potential change in serum B12 binding capacity due to OC use may affect them.
  • A recent meta-analysis that included case–control, cohort studies, and clinical trials from 1970–2013 concluded that OC use is, indeed, associated with lower blood folate status, though other studies conducted during the same time period found no difference in folate status between OC users and controls. This discrepancy may be due to confounding issues, including lack of adjustment for dietary folate intake, supplement use, smoking, and alcohol consumption. Even in studies that considered dietary intake of folate, results varied. It is possible inter-individual genetic differences in folate handling may contribute to the variation.
  • The collective scientific evidence, at present, is too inconsistent to support the conclusion that OC use causes folate deficiency. However, maintaining normal folate status is critical among women of child-bearing age, regardless of OC use. In 2010, the Food and Drug Administration approved a folate-containing OC for use. Two recent clinical trials tested the effects of this folate-fortified product, and both reported clinically significant increases in markers of folate status when compared to women given an OC absent folate.
  • Several studies have reported that OC use may increase BMD in women ranging in age from young adulthood to perimenopause.
  • In contrast, others have reported a detrimental effect of OC use on BMD.
  • The effect of OC use on TBBMC and BMD at specific sites may depend on a number of factors, including type and level of physical activity as well as calcium intake. Women on long-term OC therapy and high physical activity may be at highest risk.
  • Most cross-sectional studies have shown serum magnesium levels are lower in OC users compared to both nonusers and women on other forms of contraception, with one exception. An increase in the blood calcium to magnesium ratio due to low magnesium levels can influence blood coagulation processes. Indeed, a systematic review and network meta-analysis of 26 observational studies that investigated the risk of venous thrombosis for different combined OCs concluded OC use increased the risk of venous thrombosis, and effect size depended on the combination used.
Vitamin C and E
  • While some studies indicate circulating vitamin C levels are lower in OC users compared to nonusers, others indicate little threat to individuals who live a healthy lifestyle and consume a diet adequate in vitamin C. Then again, several studies show chronic OC use leads to increased oxidative stress, in particular lipid peroxidation, and lower circulating vitamin E. Enhanced oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation may represent a potential risk for cardiovascular disease.


Not only can some medications affect nutritional status, but poor nutrition or poor metabolism of nutrients, such as with leaky gut or MTHFR mutations, can affect the efficacy of some medications:


Antidepressants and Folate
  • Several observational studies report lower folate status, as measured by serum, plasma, and red blood cell folate concentrations or plasma Hcy, in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) compared to healthy controls. Additionally, genotyping analysis determined gene variants of methyltetrahydrofolate (MTHFR) are associated with risk of being diagnosed with depression, findings that were confirmed in a meta-analysis of similar studies.
  • The relationship between folate status and depressive symptoms is of interest because, despite the widespread use of antidepressants among patients with MDD, 31–49% of patients are either partial- or non-responders (this is around the same percentage of the population estimated to have MTHFR variants).
  • Additionally, about one-third of patients classified as responders to antidepressants were reported to have cognitive or physical symptoms, likely to be residual symptoms of depression, side effects of medication, or both. Furthermore, observational studies of middle aged and older adults found low blood folate levels were associated with greater resistance to improvement following antidepressant therapy.
  • The evidence suggests low folate status may be associated with depression and adjunctive treatment with folate may benefit individuals on antidepressant therapy, including patients with MDD who are nonresponsive to antidepressant medication. Currently there are no official guidelines regarding the most effective form, dose, or duration of folate supplementation in this capacity.


ACE Inhibitors and Iron
  • The most common side effect of chronic ACE inhibitor use is a dry cough, which occurs in 5–39% of patients. Given the evidence that nitric oxide synthesis is down-regulated in the presence of iron, it has been hypothesized that nitric oxide generation in bronchial epithelial cells may contribute to the ACE-inhibitor-induced cough.
  • Following iron supplementation, the reduction in mean score of daily cough severity was significantly greater when compared with the placebo group, and three subjects in the iron group reported complete cough resolution. No changes in iron status were observed in either group. These findings suggest that iron supplementation may ameliorate ACE-inhibitor-induced cough, although additional research is needed to confirm.


There is no doubt the use of commonly prescribed medications that can adversely impact nutritional status is on the rise.  Given the increasing prevalence of conditions that require long term medication use, and an inadequately nourished adult population, the potential public health implications are profound. While young and middle-aged adults are certainly affected, there is particular concern for older adults who are more likely to use multiple concurrent medications. Aging adults also undergo physiological changes that affect nutrient needs, and their ability to meet these needs, which may further compound the issue.

Ideally, clinicians should recommend their patients consume a sufficient quantity and variety of nutrient-dense foods in their daily diet.  Unfortunately, health professionals are not routinely trained to provide dietary advice, nor do they have time to provide effective counseling during an office visit.

Many adults are aware of potential shortfalls in their diet and take a dietary supplement, most often a multivitamin/mineral (MVM) preparation, to compensate. Indeed, observational data indicates adults who take a full spectrum MVM supplement are less likely than nonusers to be deficient in any micronutrient (14% vs. 40%, p < 0.02). Intervention studies confirm MVM supplementation helps fulfill micronutrient requirements and improve nutritional status even in healthy adults. A growing body of evidence also supports the use of MVM in preventing certain chronic conditions, especially with long term use. Historically, physicians have been hesitant to recommend a MVM, despite little evidence of harm. Current evidence indicates age- and gender-appropriate MVM supplements, formulated at or near 100% of the daily value for most micronutrients, are generally well tolerated and do not appear to increase the risk of mortality or disease.

In conjunction with an overall healthy diet, a single daily MVM may be a practical and efficacious way to maintain or improve micronutrient status in patients at risk of deficiencies, such as those taking medications known to compromise nutritional status. Practitioners should be aware that a single dose MVM will not provide sufficient calcium, CoQ10, or fish oil. Depending on the medication in use, as well as the patient’s baseline status, usual dietary intake, and current condition, a separate supplement may be warranted.


Drug_Induced_Nutrient_Deficiencies |


This article is a summary of a Review published 20th March, 2018 at  All References can be viewed there.

© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (






Unity Wellness provides health-related information to assist people in making their own choices.  While we have exercised due care to ensure the accuracy of the information on this site, it is not intended to be used as medical advice and it is not intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes or as a substitute for your own health professional’s advice.  Unity Wellness does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information provided on this website.


This post/site may contain Affliate links or links to my Independent Advocate store. By clicking these links, you pay no more for the products/services, but I will receive a commission on purchases to keep this site running & support my family (thank you!).  I will never promote any products or services that I would not be happy to use myself.

This website is owned and operated by an independent InnerOrigin Advocate and is not endorsed by InnerOrigin Pty Ltd or InnerOrigin Australia Pty Ltd or any of their respective associated companies. Any opinions expressed on this website are made by, and are the responsibility of, the individual Advocate and should not be construed as a representation of the opinions of InnerOrigin Pty Ltd, InnerOrigin Australia Pty Ltd or any of their associated companies.

Cancer treatment: a different paradigm

Cancer treatment: a different paradigm

American author Gregg Braden, famous for his cancer-treatment theories presents this fascinating theory: that our emotions affect our DNA and that the collective power of thoughts, such as suggestion or prayer, can cure us of any kind of physical disease, including cancer.



Cancer Cells

He claims that cancer cells effectiveness are stopped by intent and awareness of the existent synergy between our thoughts and manifestations in the physical world, and there there is a field that connects everything together.
This ‘essential field’ he mentions has been scientifically proven and explained in “Nature” n.332, the leading science journal in 1996.

Control over thoughts and emotions

Braden states that emotions and thoughts form an electromagnetic field, whose waves reach 1 meter from our bodies.
Visionary scientist Nikola Tesla even said that one day people will be able to produce electric power with the help of the strength of their own thoughts, which means our thoughts are extremely powerful with energy.
This does specifically apply to focused and strong thoughts, instead of the scattered thoughts of everything we see or feel on a daily basis. Collective thoughts can form exceptionally powerful electromagnetic fields and in turn, physically affect the environment.
All we need is for the technique to be developed and we will have treatments based upon this theory put into practice.
This theory is shown to have been proven by a video recorded in a Chinese hospital which shows curing of cancer of 3×2.5 cm size in less than 3 minutes, after following the entire process on ultrasound on a screen.
Powerful electromagnetic radiation can only be created after you have learned to control your emotions and feelings, and to enhance them with exercises.

DNA changes feelings

Feelings and emotions are actually mirrors to our environment. Everything created within ourselves is projected into our surrounding environment and so our reality is created from what is inside us.
For example, if you think: “One day I’ll be happy, or I’ll be healed, or I’ll get a good job, and so on…” the mirror tells us that this idea is a projection of things to happen in the future, and so it will never happen in the now.
If we can learn to speak and feel that we are changing ourselves in the present moment, and believe as if that has already happened, a change in our DNA will happen and therefore we will change with it.
It is only our thoughts, emotions, feelings, and faith that control everything that happens to us, what happens within us and effects our general lives.
Be aware that your DNA can be changed by your emotions. Be sure to use this important tool to benefit your life.

Take a look at Gregg Braden’s presentation in this video:



Unity Wellness provides health-related information to assist people in making their own choices.  While we have exercised due care to ensure the accuracy of the information on this site, it is not intended to be used as medical advice and it is not intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes or as a substitute for your own health professional’s advice.  Unity Wellness does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information provided on this website.


This post/site may contain Affliate links or links to my Independent Advocate store. By clicking these links, you pay no more for the products/services, but I will receive a commission on purchases to keep this site running & support my family (thank you!).  I will never promote any products or services that I would not be happy to use myself.

This website is owned and operated by an independent InnerOrigin Advocate and is not endorsed by InnerOrigin Pty Ltd or InnerOrigin Australia Pty Ltd or any of their respective associated companies. Any opinions expressed on this website are made by, and are the responsibility of, the individual Advocate and should not be construed as a representation of the opinions of InnerOrigin Pty Ltd, InnerOrigin Australia Pty Ltd or any of their associated companies.

How I released 30+kg with the 4 Phase Fat Loss Protocol

How I released 30+kg with the 4 Phase Fat Loss Protocol


Grab yourself a cuppa….


I’ve figured it’s time to share my experience with Changing Habits so you can understand why I’m such a fan.  It’s a story of increased health & decreased weight that I’ve been meaning to share for a little while.  In fact, I started writing this post nearly 9 months ago, so it’s well & truly gestated and this story is ready to go out to the world.

Since childhood, I’ve always been ‘bigger’ than a lot of my peers, be that in height or weight.  Although looking back on some of the pics now I don’t think I looked as huge as some of my classmates made me out to be, I was certainly heavier than most. Weight issues ran in the family.  Chips, icecream & softdrink each night was the norm growing up.  I remember when I was maybe 11’ish years old, I tried switching from regular lemonade to diet lemonade in an effort to curb the sugar intake.  Apart from a horrible, bitter taste in my mouth, I ended up getting terrible headaches.  If only I knew then what I know now about aspartame, but this was the mid 1980’s & diet drinks were the “healthy option”.

When I was 18, my Dad sent me off to a dietician to help me lose weight.  She diagnosed me with salicylate & amine intolerance & suddenly the moodswings of my teen years made sense; after the side-effects from the diet lemonade, I’d switched to orange juice instead.  I lived on the stuff for years, but it was making me sick.  I was prescribed an elimination diet but the only foods on the “safe” list were those I didn’t really like.  I stuck to it for long enough to see a difference in my behaviours, but I felt weak, tired & malnourished…..and still didn’t drop much weight.

A few months later, I went on a cruise by myself.  Although I got some postive male attention, there were still those who thought it right to bully me about my weight.  It was on that cruise that I had time to reflect on my life – not only the weight issue, but my health in general – from asthma to eczema to physical pain & the pattern of falling seriously ill every second year. I’d had enough of being sick. I could see the medical system didn’t have the answers I needed.  At that moment, I knew that when I returned home, I wanted to study Naturopathy so I could help not only myself, but others dealing with inherited dis-ease.

I spent the next few years studying then went on to manage a clinic for a while.  My plans to open my own clinic after moving interstate did not pan out as I’d planned & I got a job in another field.  Although I was no longer working as a Naturopath, I still believed in the principles & used them to guide my choices.  I was still overweight.  Nothing changed that.  I could lose about 8kg max at a time (Weight Watchers, South Beach diet, keto shakes through the gym), but it would bounce right back on.  I felt like a fraud.  No one’s going to listen to a fat Naturopath talk about health, right?  (I see you lurking there, patriarchy 😉 ).

Ten months after moving, I managed to lose about 65kg – AKA my ex-partner  😉  That was at least a metaphoric lifting of weight.  Still no real change to the physical.  I went on to meet my husband & after losing our first baby, our eldest daughter was born a couple of years later.  About 6 weeks after the birth, my weight suddenly ballooned & I gained a lot of weight in a short time.  When she was 13 months old, I ended up with a herniated lumbar disc.  I was 31yo & needing a walking frame just to get from the bed to the toilet in the adjoining bathroom.  I was on a cocktail of heavy-duty pain-killers just to get through the day.  One of the pain specialists suggested losing weight to reduce the strain on my spine. Sure, because I’ve never tried that before! 🙄  He did go on to say that even very slim people have back issues, but the scowl was firmly set on my face by that time.  It felt like yet another judgement.

In 2009, I bought a Thermomix on the recommendation of a friend.  Great – a machine that will help me prepare & cook the healthy food I love.  At the time I had it delivered, the consultant asked if I was interested in becoming a rep.  I declined as my eldest (and then only) child was 4 years old & was home with me full-time.  Fast-forward to early 2012 & my consultant invited me to a local cooking class.  Sitting there watching the demonstration, I knew it was something I could do, so I ticked the box on the feedback form to learn more about becoming a consultant myself.

Around the same time, I heard about a weight loss protocol through Changing Habits that promised significant weight loss & better hormonal balance in a short time without the need to exercise.  I was sceptical, but intrigued.  Between my dodgy disc & adrenal fatigue, the no exercise thing was a big drawcard for me.  I’d already read Cyndi O’Meara’s book, ‘Changing Habits, Changing Lives’, so I knew her philosophy revolved around real foods & no chemicals.  Cyndi has studied nutrition & diet for nearly 40 years.  She saw her family’s health decline rapidly in just one generation at a time when commercial pesticides were introduced to the US farming community.  Her family became the largest family of haemophiliacs in the world, despite having no history of the disease in previous generations, and many of them were affected by cancer.  As such, I knew she would not be promoting anything that did not align with her values.  On one hand, there was a program I wanted to try, but then I was just starting in a business that revolved around food.  I was already committed to the business, so the protocol went in the “one day” basket.

After doing my initial Thermomix training, my Consultant (also my trainer & the State Manager) asked if I’d like to attend a demo with her.  I went along, met the host/customer & helped out with the demo.  At the end, I heard the host & my consultant talking about the protocol.  My ears pricked up & I mentioned I’d been looking at doing it myself.  As it turns out, the host of the demo was Cyndi’s best friend & the Coach for the protocol.  I know, right?

After about 6 months of doing demos, I was burnt out.  My husband was often away dealing with legal matters after a family tragedy the year before & our daughter was not coping with me going out to do demos.  The combined stresses were too much & I’d cry at the thought of having to do another demo.  I made the call to step away from Thermomix & focus on my own health for a while.  I decided it was time to do the protocol, so I ordered the full kit.  If I was going to do it, I was going to do it properly so I could balance my hormones & get off the diabetes fence.  In another moment of fate, Cyndi O’Meara came to Hobart 2 weeks later to talk health at a public Thermomix event.  I attended the talk, got to meet Cyndi and took what became my ‘before’ photo:

Before 97.6kg |

A few days later, I had everything I needed to get started.  I was 97.6kg, which although was a few kilos less than my heaviest known weight of 103.3kg, still had me in the “obese” category.  The ‘ideal weight’ calculator the Coach used put my ideal weight around the 60kg mark (I’m 170cm tall).  I couldn’t remember the last time I was 60kg.  Certainly some time in my childhood.  I had been in the mid-70’s throughout high school, except one Summer when I got down to around 68-69kg walking to get hot chips most days because I had a massive crush on the son of the local takeaway owners  😆  (granted, the walking was probably what helped, but I still call that time my “chip diet”).

The first 2 days of the protocol are known as ‘loading days’ where you eat as much as you can, focusing on good fats & limiting carbs so your body gets used to burning fat for energy instead of glucose.  It’s a time many people gain a couple of kilos, but I actually dropped a couple.  I was already eating pretty well – mostly organic & limited processed foods – but I tend to undereat (which I suspect plays a part in my metabolism coming to a standstill when breastfeeding, combined with a lack of sleep).  I didn’t really eat enough on the first day of loading as I was helping a friend move away from an abusive situation, but I did what I could the next day & I certainly wasn’t complaining with 2kg gone in two days.  The second phase of the protocol strips your diet back to basics, eating set amounts of protein, veg & salad at each meal.  By having simple meals, it becomes obvious when you’ve eaten something that doesn’t agree with you so you can avoid it moving forward.  You also take support drops to help your body utilise stored fat & there’s the option of taking the Changing Habits probiotics, colloidal minerals, green powder and seaweed salt for iodine & other minerals which I chose to do.  They help to reduce hunger, heal the gut, detox the chemicals that have been stored in your fat cells & reduce inflammation. (The Protocol has been updated slightly since I did it & the Complete Pack now also includes Camu Camu powder for Vit C)

The original protocol was developed over 60 years ago by an endocrinologist when he noticed patterns of weight loss in his patients being treated for other issues.  What Cyndi has done with the 4 Phase Fat Loss Protocol is to combine the core of the original program with modern knowledge of nutrition.   There are a few versions of the protocol around the place, but many allow chemical-filled diet drinks & other artificial crap which is not going to help your overall health.  They’ll just overload your liver & make it more difficult to maintain long-term results.  The goal with Cyndi’s program is to reach leptin sensitivity.

What is leptin?

Leptin is the hormone that tells us we’re full.  It sends signals to the hypothalamus to say we have sufficient energy stores to give us that feeling of fullness & prevent us over-eating.  However, the abundance of processed carbs, grains & sugars in our modern diet mean we are pumping out more insulin, which increases fat stores & ultimately leads to insulin resistance.  Insulin resistance results in increased fat stores & increased fat stores increase leptin.  Our body is trying to signal to our brain that we have enough energy but just as excess insulin leads to insulin resistance, excess leptin leads to leptin resistance & the signals are ignored.  Our brain can not ‘hear’ the leptin so thinks we’re starving & increases fat storage.  The increased fat increases the secretion of leptin & messes with thyroid hormones, and around it goes in a vicious cycle.  You can regain leptin sensitivity through a strict low carb diet over several months, but the protocol fast-tracks the process.

Cyndi has written a blog post about it if you’d like to learn more.  She lists the following as symptoms of leptin resistance:

  • Uncontrollable cravings, especially sweet foods and refined carbohydrates
  • Late night eating
  • Stress eating
  • Weight gain around the middle
  • Inability to reach a goal weight
  • Yo-yo dieting
  • thyroid symptoms
  • can also be associated with infertility

You can also see a series of blog posts on leptin, its effects & a review of some supplements written by Helen Sanders for more info.

Back to my story…..

So yes, I had many symptoms of leptin sensitivity going on.  As such, getting to the underlying cause of my excess weight was really important to me.  I wasn’t doing this *just* to lose weight, but more to get my endocrine system functioning optimally, particularly as I knew I had suboptimal thyroid function based on low basal body temps from years of charting my cycle when trying to conceive #2 and my progesterone levels had been low for a long time.  I was 38 years old & my husband was 49, so I was well aware of the ticking clock with each passing year.  Tests showed everything was fine from his end, so it was up to me to maximise my fertility if we were to ever have more than one child.

Phase 2 of the protocol usually lasts 21 days, but those with more than 12kg to release can go up to 43 days per round.  (I like to use the word ‘release’ rather than ‘lose’ from a psychological & energetic perspective.  ‘Release’ is a choice to let something go, ‘lose’ implies you may want it back, which I certainly didn’t.)  I chose to do the maximum number of days & at the end of the six weeks, I was down an amazing 17kg & about 3 dress sizes.  Never had I achieved results like that before.

17kg released | 4 Phase fat Elimination Protocol |

Phase 3 lasts for 3 days where you still eat basic food, but stop taking the drops and Phase 4 lasts a minimum of 3 weeks where you very gradually reintroduce foods to see which ones cause inflammation & weight gain for you.  For me, chicken, olive oil, tomatoes & brassicas (cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, etc) were some of the biggest offenders, yet they are foods commonly recommended for health & weight loss.  It goes to show that we are all so very individual & it’s one of the reasons I don’t subscribe to the notion of an “ideal” diet.  To me, the ideal diet is the one that best suits your individual biochemistry, which this protocol helps you to discover.

After the obligatory break between rounds, I went on to complete my second round of the protocol, this time with 5 weeks in Phase 2 which saw me down another 10kg.  The following month, I was feeling seedy & sure enough, I was pregnant.

Sadly, that bub did not stick around long.  I was absolutely gutted & cried uncontrollably the entire night.  It hit me the harder than my first miscarriage, which I did not think possible.  I went off the rails somewhat & regained some of the weight.  That’s the thing, though – when you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always get.

Once I had worked through the early stages of that grief, I got back on track & did my third & final round over 4 weeks.  At the end of that time, I was 67kg & feeling hungry a lot more.  This is one of the signs of reaching leptin sensitivity and although I was still a few kilos off the calculated ideal weight & still had fat to burn, people were saying I was starting to look too thin.  Four weeks felt like the right time to stop.  I was ready to move on.

Just after I finished that round, Cyndi came to Hobart again to present a talk & I was asked to help out.  It was the perfect way to finish my time on the 4 Phase Fat Elimination Protocol.  I was 30.6kg down & had gone from a size 20 to a small size 10.  For the first time in my life, it felt like the way I looked on the outside reflected how I felt on the inside.  I was no longer taking naps to get through the day, there was absolutely no sign of impending diabetes & I no longer had people asking about my ‘bump’.  I really owe so much to Cyndi & the Changing Habits team for offering this program that has worked wonders not only for me, but so many others I now have the pleasure of calling my friends.

What then?

I took up yoga & rebuilt strength.  My weight settled in the low 70’s, which felt more comfortable for me & was easy to maintain.  I also gave up the jewellery making business I had on the side which I’d started as a creative outlet to help me when I was going through infertility.  I just wasn’t feeling it anymore & did not want to be up late at night making something that did not bring me satisfaction, only to have to get up in the wee hours to do markets.  A month after my last market, I was pregnant again.  She’s now 3.5 years old & absolutely amazing.  I had an intervention-free pregnancy with an independent midwife & the home/water birth I wished I’d had with the first one.  Within a week, I was back to my pre-pregnancy size.  However, as after the first birth, my endocrine system has gone out of whack, so the weight has increased.  I’ve also discovered I’m compound heterozygous for MTHFR & have pyroluria, but that’s a story for another day 😉

Because the protocol is so effective at ridding the body of fat, there is a release of stored toxins that can pass into breastmilk.  As such, I won’t be able to go back to it until my daughter fully weans, but I can’t wait to feel that good again!  Until then, I’m taking the same supplements as I took on the protocol & am working on getting to sleep earlier as I discovered what a difference sleep makes to weight when I was on the program before & there’s so much more information now about sleep & the effect on our microbiome.  Breastfeeding mums or those who have a physically strenuous job can follow the Hunter Gatherer Protocol as an alternative, which is essentially a nutrient-dense Paleo-style eating plan that has similar benefits, albeit more slowly.

If you’re not pregnant or breastfeeding & would like to try the 4 Phase Fat Elimination Protocol, now is a great time to get started.  There is a supported group program beginning 29th September 2018, but September is a month to prepare so you can set yourself up for the best results.  I did the protocol at the same time as Mel, the current Coach for the program.  We have similar stories & she’s absolutely amazing, so I know you’re going to be in great hands.  Click the image below to learn more:

How I Released 30+kg with the 4 Phase Fat Loss Protocol |




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