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Long Covid

Long Covid

It may come as a surprise, but post-viral syndrome is not a new health issue. If you’ve lived a few decades, you may remember in the 1980’s and 90’s, that chronic fatigue was the term used to describe the long-term exhaustion which was usually caused by the Epstein Barr virus. Studies at the time found that muscle function, attention and memory were severely hampered, although the cause was largely unknown. Similarly, whilst there are a range of long Covid symptoms such as neurological, digestive, cardiovascular and autoimmune disturbances, for most people, fatigue is what has the greatest effect on the ability to function normally. As the term chronic fatigue suggests, the fatigue lasted for months after the initial viral infection. This obviously has an enormous impact on...


Get on top of the flu season

As we head into winter, we find ourselves once again in the cold/flu season, although from what I have seen, it has begun earlier this year. Whilst words like “virus”, “immune”, and “COVID” or “COVID-19” still invoke a stress response in most of us, the truth is that we will likely be more aware of viruses than we used to be for many years to come. Like all viruses, the covid-19 virus mutates over time which prevents the body from recognising the virus and fighting it more effectively. For this reason, some people find themselves being infected a second or third time, and it’s no less severe than the first time. There are also other seasonal viruses that do not test positive to a Covid test. Whether it’s...

hay fever allergic rhinitis

Springtime allergies

I do like Spring, it brings the promise of warmer weather. I particularly like wattle, the way it blooms well before the weather has begun to warm, like a promise that winter won’t last forever. But for many of us, springtime has a unique set of problems: hayfever and allergies. Symptoms obviously depend on what allergens your body is sensitive to, and the degree of sensitivity will determine the severity of your symptoms. Those with asthma or eczema in their family often have increased genetic sensitivity. What’s going on? An allergen enters the body and triggers an immune response to defend against the allergen. Mast cells (part of the immune response) release histamine which causes inflammation, usually in the nose, throat or skin. What’s going wrong? In someone without allergies, histamine...

Vitamin D for immune system

Vitamin D for a strong immune system

The most important role of vitamin D is putting calcium into our bones. But it also has other roles such as regulating our immune systems. Vitamin D is involved in the regulation of both the innate immune system (general defence) and the acquired immune system (specific targeted defence), as well as having a role in regulating inflammation. Studies have shown that higher levels of vitamin D are associated with reduced disease, including respiratory infections. A blood test for Vitamin D gives a reference range of 50-250 nmol/L, with the lower end of this range set in order to prevent osteoporosis (spontaneous spinal fractures). Whilst vitamin D levels above 50nmol/L does prevent osteoporosis, optimal health is found in levels between 100-150nmol/L. Our bodies make vitamin D with exposure...

gut and immune

Your digestion is key to your immune system

Whilst these systems may seem unrelated, they are actually closely linked. From a naturopathic view, a healthy digestive system is essential for all other aspects of health. After all, it is where all nutrients required to build and repair your body are absorbed, as well as where most metabolic waste products are excreted. Leaky Gut (Intestinal Hyperpermeability) You may have heard of the term “leaky gut”. It is a condition in which the tight gaps between the intestinal walls are increased to allow substances other than nutrients, electrolytes, and water to enter the blood supply. The immune system is then activated to eliminate these substances which are toxic (when outside the digestive system), and a continual supply of these over time, results in a state of chronic...

stress and immune

Is stress is impacting your immune system?

The last two years have certainly been a challenge for most of us. Whilst some people have enjoyed more time to themselves and cutting out the commute time for work during lockdowns, others have found themselves juggling work with home-schooling, lonely without social interaction, or afraid of the effects of the virus. What does stress do? The autonomic nervous system controls digestion, heart rate, and blood pressure, and stress plays a major role in how these functions work. It consists of two opposing modes of operation: the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous systems. You have likely heard of the sympathetic nervous system, the “flight or fight” response, where cortisol production is increased in the adrenal glands. For a short-term situation, this is helpful as it gives you the...