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Product of the Month: MooGoo Udder Cream

Nourishing and Healing for the Skin

Naturopath Brisbane

The Skin Milk Udder Cream is very nourishing for the skin, and has healing ingredients as well. It is completely natural, easily penetrates the skin, and is non-greasy. The cream is full of skin repair ingredients and milk proteins for skin elasticity. It is great for people with allergies or sensitive skin.

Udder Cream is being recommended by a number of oncologists and hospitals in Australia due to its efficacy in helping the recovery from chemo and radiotherapy induced dermatitis. A clinical trial initiated by the Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital making a comparison between the use of sorbolene and MooGoo Skin Milk Udder Cream is currently underway.

Here is a testimonial from the MooGoo website:

“Hi MooGoo,

I feel compelled to write to you as I cannot thank you enough for creating your Udder Cream. I recently went through treatment for skin cancer on my face. Wow, I have never experienced pain like that before, I’d rather give birth back to back 5 times than do that again. I was in so much pain once the treatment was over, I was beside myself. My face was swollen, weeping and bleeding. I went to the doctor got a script for pain killers and cortisone ointment but after 2 days it was still so painful, I was desperate for relief even if it was just 5 minutes. My dear parents asked what they could do and I remembered I had used your udder cream before on my daughter who suffers every now and then from eczema and how it gave her relief. They bought me a tube and it was instant relief, it soothed and felt so cool on face it made me feel sane again. The change in my skin in just a few days was miraculous. My family couldn’t believe it.”

Andrea & Family, QLD

Why I Always Take Vitamins

I was asked by a client the other day if I take vitamins, and they seemed surprised that I do. They didn’t believe taking supplements was necessary if you eat properly and take good care of yourself. However, there are 3 reasons why I will always take some form of supplement.

The Quality of Our Food

Most fruit and vegetables are grown to maximise their size and appearance, not for the best nutrition. The CSIRO did a comparison of the nutritional value in Australian-grown fruits and vegetables for 1948 and 1991, and found a huge drop in many of them. The level of Vitamin A in carrots dropped by a whopping 99.96%! (Download the Nutrition in Food Comparison Table.) How something tastes can often tell us how nutritious it is; you know how strawberries these days look amazing but taste like cardboard. There are some fruits that I love to eat when I am overseas where they taste fantastic, but I can’t bring myself to eat them in Australia, because here they taste so incredibly bland.

One of the reasons for this, is that Australian farming soils are becoming more and more depleted of the essential nutrients that are needed by the plants (and by us). Some foods are being kept in storage for long periods before being sold, or picked green and artificially ripened, and these also decrease their nutrient levels.

Without eating foods grown organically in good quality soils, it is virtually impossible for us to get the optimum level of nutrients we need from our diet alone.

My Lifestyle

I have a very busy and sometimes stressful life, so my body’s demand for some nutrients is higher. I am also around sick people all the time, so I need to keep my own health and immune system in very good shape.

Prevention of Chronic Health Problems

Everybody is born with health strengths and weaknesses, and as we get older, these weaknesses start to show up more. Most people accept that their bodies will deteriorate as they get older – I don’t! I want to live long and be healthy, so that I can enjoy my life to the full. To do that, I have to be proactive, to be aware of any health weaknesses in my body, and to look after them properly now so that they don’t develop into problems later.

Stress, illness, increased physical activity, pollution, coffee and tea, medications, and many other factors all increase our nutritional requirements. Very few people eat all the right foods all the time, or have the perfect lifestyle. Our bodies are made up of what we eat and drink, and if we don’t give them what they need, sooner or later something will start to go wrong in our body. Our future is determined by what we do now, and it is far easier to treat a small problem now than a big problem later.

However, not knowing what nutrients you specifically need and just taking a multivitamin won’t help you much, and you could even be wasting your money. Australians spend more than half a billion dollars a year on vitamin and mineral supplements, and most of the time they see little or no results from them. To maintain or improve your health, you need to have a professional assessment of what your body’s specific needs are, and then take the right quality and quantity of supplements to get results.

If you have a health issue, we recommend booking in for a free Comprehensive Assessment at our clinic. We can then look at what is going on in your body, what is causing the problem, and the best way to sort it out. (Terms and Conditions- the Assessment is a completely free service, with no obligations whatsoever.)

Product of the Month: Talyala Emu Oil

Anti-Inflammatory for Muscles, Joints, & Skin

sports injury relief brisbane
The main benefits of emu oil are:

  1. Strong Natural Anti-Inflammatory: Emu oil is very good at soothing and reducing inflammation.
  1. Excellent Penetration Into the Skin and Deeper Tissues: The skin is designed to prevent things getting into and out of the body easily, so most products don’t penetrate below the outer layers of our skin. However emu oil does, so muscle pain or joint pain and skin conditions deeper than the skin surface can be reached by it. This is especially important for inflamed muscles, arthritis and tendonitis.
  1. Reduces Risk of Infection: Pure emu oil is bacteriostatic – it cannot grow bacterial organisms.
  1. Nourishes the Skin and Deeper Tissues: Most skin products and moisturisers only reach the outer few layers of skin. However emu oil penetrates, hydrates and nourishes the skin from within.

What Does It Treat?

Emu oil is often very effective for:

  • Joint pain, muscle pain, and arthritis
  • Sports injuries
  • Skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis, acne, rosacea, keloid scarring, burns, sunburn, and general dryness
  • It also increases the healing rate of open wounds (probably due to its anti-inflammatory effect), and reduces the risk of infection

And you only use a very small amount of it.

Here is a testimonial from the Talyala Emu Oil website:

“I was put on to the use of emu oil from the recommendation of a relative who spoke highly of the benefits of its use. So I thought I would give it a go, ….. and have been sold ever since! That was 3 years ago. ….. I put it on each morning after I have a shower. In the past I have tried all the various creams with limited effects and cost wise, I am a mile in front. It’s great for very dry skin, especially around my heels. ….. I find that you only need a drop, it certainly goes a long way, its non-greasy, easily absorbed into the skin. I have also had arthritis in a finger joint, it was hard to bend my finger, I used the oil over a week, the inflammation went away, and I got movement back. I can’t speak highly enough of the benefits of the oil, my whole family use it now for heat rashes, dry skin, ….. I don’t hesitate in using it.”

John Baniowski, Oak Park VIC

We have researched many emu oil products, and believe that this one is the best. (You will not get the same results with cheaper brands.)

Immune & Detox Tea

zen zai immunity tea

This herbal tea is a great booster for the immune system and a cleanser for the body. Autumn has just started, so now is the time to start strengthening your immune system for winter.

Zen Zai Immune is also a powerful digestive tonic, and is calming to the nerves. This loose-leaf tea contains 7 different organic herbs- lemon grass, ginger, licorice, spear mint, peppermint, echinacea, and black pepper. Each herb has been carefully sourced to ensure the highest quality possible.

Zen Zai Immune is locally made, and is only $15 per packet (less 10% for Gold Health Members). It will be on display at our front counter this month, and there is also a tester jar, where you can smell the wonderful aroma of this blend.

Please Avoid These Five Things if You are Trying to Fall Pregnant

natural fertility brisbaneLow fertility is a very common problem these days; a study by The University of Queensland on women between 28 and 36 found that 18.6% (almost 1 in 5) of them were diagnosed as infertile. While there can be many different causes for low fertility, there are some things that should be avoided by all couples trying to conceive and to have a healthy baby.

1. Heavy Metals

Heavy metals can have a very destructive effect on fertility, and all of us are widely exposed to them in our daily lives. Aluminium, arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury and nickel are often in our bodies at higher levels than you would expect (or want).

Sources of Heavy Metals

  • Aluminium: cigarette smoke, certain medications (aspirin, ant-acids, nasal sprays), cookware, deodorants, aluminium foil, dental amalgams, tap water, certain food additives
  • Lead: cigarette smoke, hair dyes, lead pipes, car exhaust, lead paint
  • Mercury: dental amalgams, thermometers, tattooing, fabric softeners, cosmetics, laxatives, insecticides, seafood
  • Nickel: cigarette smoke, fertilisers, hydrogenated fats, margarine
  • Arsenic: car exhaust, coloured chalk, household detergents
  • Cadmium: cigarette smoke, fertilisers, batteries, metal coatings, plastics.

Other sources of heavy metals include cosmetics, newsprint, birth control pills, antiseptics, body powders, cheese, toothpaste, milk products, and nasal sprays.

The problem with heavy metals is that they will take the place of the good minerals your body needs to function properly. For example, lead has been found to displace calcium, iron, manganese, selenium and zinc, leading to reproductive failure, slow infant development, damage to sperm, sterility, and impotence.

Getting Heavy Metals Out of the Body

We recommend all prospective parents consider having testing to determine if toxic metal accumulation is disrupting their natural fertility. We also encourage reducing your exposure to any heavy metals, to ensure the safest pregnancy and healthiest baby possible.

Hair analysis or urine analysis are excellent methods to find out the level of heavy metals in your body, and these tests can be arranged at our clinic. Certain herbs, supplements, and acupuncture treatments can be used to clear or significantly reduce the heavy metals, and ensure that your body is in peak optimal health for conception.

2. BPA Exposure

Awareness of the effects of BPA on the hormone balance in men and women is increasing all the time. We are commonly exposed to many hormone-disrupting chemicals these days, and some of the most important are the xenoestrogens. These are chemicals which imitate oestrogen in the body, but instead of playing a crucial role in the hormonal system, they upset it instead.

Xenoestrogens are not biodegradable, and are stored in our fat cells. They have been linked to infertility, endometriosis, early onset puberty, miscarriages, disrupted reproductive cycles, ovarian dysfunction, decreased sperm quality, stimulation of mammary gland development in men, obesity, cancer, heart disease, and numerous other health problems. Oestrogen is a very important hormone in the body and is essential for both men and women, but in modern diets there are often high levels of toxic oestrogens in many of the foods we eat, and even in the packaging it comes in.

Where Are They Found?

Xenoestrogens are found in many day-to-day products. One of the worst xenoestrogens is Bisphenol A (BPA), an industrial chemical that acts as a synthetic oestrogen. It has been used to harden plastics for more than 40 years, and is everywhere, including the lining of canned foods and drinks, water bottles, cash-register receipts, medical devices, compact discs, dental sealants, and many other products. In 2009, laboratory tests commissioned by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) detected BPA in the umbilical cord blood of 90 percent of newborn infants (together with more than 230 other chemicals).

BPA has been linked to reproductive abnormalities, reproductive system development problems, decreased intellectual capacity, behavioural problems, reproductive system cancers, obesity, diabetes, early puberty, asthma, heart problems, and other chronic ailments. According to Consumer Reports’ testing, just a couple of servings of canned food can exceed the safety limits for daily BPA exposure for children.

How to Reduce your BPA (and Other Xenoestrogen) Exposure

  • Avoid commercially grown produce (most are grown with pesticides)
  • Eat organic, grass fed meat and wild caught fish (factory farmed meats contain oestrogenic compounds)
  • Avoid drinking or eating out of plastic containers
  • Eat mostly raw, fresh foods (processed, pre-packaged foods of all kinds are a major source of chemicals such as BPA)
  • Store your food and beverages in glass rather than plastic, and avoid using plastic wrap and canned foods (which are often lined with BPA-containing compounds)
  • Do not reuse plastic water bottles (BPA is found in some bottles made of polycarbonate- look for plastic identification code 7)

3. Stress

Stress has a major effect on both male and female infertility for a number of reasons. It can interfere with the hypothalamic-pituitary axis, which controls the delicate balance of the hormones for conception. Women exposed to repeated stress can have inhibited levels of estrogen and progesterone.

Cortisol is the main stress hormone, and is part of your body’s ‘emergency response system’. If a tiger jumps out at you from behind a tree, your heart suddenly beats faster, your breathing gets faster, certain muscles will tighten, your blood sugar levels rise, and non-emergency systems in your body are suppressed, such as your digestive, immune and reproductive systems.  Your body is now in ‘fight or flight’ mode. This is great for emergencies, but if your body is frequently in this mode, it may become difficult for you to conceive or to remain pregnant.

A 2010 study showed that stress decreases sperm concentration, sperm count and sperm motility (activity) to below the normal range of the World Health Organization.

Reducing stress not only improves the pregnancy outcomes for natural conception but also for those couples using assisted fertility technology. A 2006 study demonstrated that reducing stress may diminish the number of IVF treatment cycles needed before a pregnancy is obtained.

4. Diet High in Red Meats, Trans Fatty Acids, and Grains.

In a recent study, it was found that diets rich in red meat and processed grains seem to impair the ability of sperm to move about, and diets high in trans fats appear to lower the amount of sperm found in semen.

“The main overall finding of our work is that a healthy diet seems to be beneficial for semen quality,” said Audrey J. Gaskins, lead author of the first study. ”Specifically, a healthy diet composed of a higher intake of fish, fresh fruit, whole grains, legumes and vegetables seems to improve sperm motility,” Gaskins explained, “which means a higher number of sperm actually move around, rather than sit still.”

5. Sugar

Fructose directly increases the amount of circulating testosterone in women, and more testosterone directly impairs a woman’s ability to conceive. Therefore, it is most important that for a woman to increase her chances of having a baby, she needs to minimise her fructose intake.

Other Things to Note

  • Avoid drinking alcohol, particularly beer (hops has been linked to increased oestrogen)
  • Detox the liver (all oestrogen compounds need to pass through the liver)


Natural therapists consider that a woman’s periods can reflect how well her hormones and reproductive system are working. So one of the aims of any course of treatments is to help improve her periods as much as possible, which may include the timing and length of the period, making sure the flow is not too heavy or too light, and treating any period symptoms (in conjunction with normal medical treatment).


It is becoming more common for our acupuncturists to work in conjunction with medical fertility specialists whilst a woman is undergoing ART (Assisted Reproductive Technologies such as IVF, IUI and ICSI). There is continuing research about how acupuncture can assist with the effectiveness of IVF treatment, and there is also broad agreement by acupuncturists and other health practitioners about using acupuncture in these cases. Please contact our Principal Practitioner if you would like to find out if acupuncture may be able to assist in regard to your specific situation.

The outcome of acupuncture for fertility Brisbane treatments depends on the skill and expertise of the therapist, and on the methods that they use. We only use Japanese acupuncture techniques at our clinic, since when performed by a highly-trained therapist, we have found this style to be more effective that the standard Chinese acupuncture. (All of our acupuncturists were originally taught Chinese acupuncture, but since being trained in the Japanese style they now only use that method.)


fertility naturopath brisbaneNaturopathy is the use of natural medicines (such as high potency supplements, herbal treatments, diet therapy, etc.) and may be able to assist with many fertility and women’s health issues. Naturopathic medicine involves looking after the chemistry of the body, including improving essential nutrition levels and reducing toxin levels. It aims to improve hormone health, as well as helping to regulate periods, cycle length and ovulation times.

Naturopaths are qualified health professionals with a 4 year degree. We have two dedicated, full-time naturopaths at our clinic, Margaret McNamara and Sunni Patel.

Special Offer

If you are trying to conceive, or are looking to start trying in the next 12 months, or are going through IVF, we recommend having your nutrient levels, thyroid function, hormone balance, stress levels, internal circulation, and toxicity levels checked at our clinic. A Comprehensive Assessment, performed by our Head Therapist, is normally $120, but is currently available free of charge. During your Assessment, we will identify and explain to you:

  • What exactly is happening with your fertility
  • Why you might be having difficulty conceiving, and
  • What are the best approaches to improve your fertility quickly and effectively

Please note that it is much better if you and your partner each have an Assessment, and if possible sit in on each other’s appointment. There is no obligation with an Assessment, only information and understanding. Places for these Assessments are limited, so if you would like to reserve an appointment for you and your partner, please ring or email soon. Please also feel free to contact the Brisbane clinic if you would like more information about any aspect of fertility improvement, and we look forward to meeting you soon.

Client Survey: 92% Satisfaction Rating

brisbane naturopath & acupuncture clinic survey resultsThank you very much to everyone who completed our recent Client Survey. The results were even better than we hoped with a 92% Satisfaction Rating. Additionally 76% of our clients said that they were ‘Very Satisfied’ with us and the treatments they had received.

How Bad Gut Bacteria Can Cause Diabetes, Asthma, Ulcerative Colitis, Multiple Sclerosis, Autism, Allergies & Autoimmune Diseases

Bad gut bacteria causes many problems(This article is a condensed version of an ABC Catalyst program dated 21 August 2014, titled Gut Reaction Pt 2, which follows on from the article on Part 1 in our previous newsletter. We have taken out sentences and phrases to shorten the article without detracting from its content, and added headings. You can watch the full TV program, or read the entire transcript, at .)

New discoveries about food are rocking the foundations of medicine and nutrition. I think this is one of the biggest developments in medical research. I really think we’re encountering a revolution, that maybe we can prevent diseases by simply changing our diet. The bottom line is the modern Western diet could be making us very sick, contributing to heart disease, diabetes, asthma, emphysema, multiple sclerosis, even autism, and the list goes on.

The reason for the revelation that a good diet is even more important than we thought is the discovery of the many trillions of new contributors to our health – the tiny good bacteria living in our guts. In a nutshell, if you eat a bad diet, you end up with bad gut bacteria, and these bugs send the wrong messages to the immune system. You could wind up sick.

Now it’s all very well to know that the modern Western diet is causing health problems – but what do you do about it? Well, that’s what this second episode is all about and I can tell you now it’s more than just changing the food you eat.


The reason the modern diet is so unhealthy is it’s drifted far from the diets we evolved to eat. While there was no one caveman diet, there was one thing all these diets had in common – a lot of fibre. We saw this in the last episode with Africa’s Stone Age Hadza people.

An average man or woman in the West is consuming less than 20g a day of dietary fibre; six-month- to one-year-old Hadza kids are eating 50g to 200g of fibre a day, every day, and they do this throughout life.

The gut is a container with an entire world inside of it, with hundreds if not thousands of species. Just as all the plants and animals in nature live in harmony together as an ecosystem, so do the species in our intestines. And like any other ecosystem, the gut will be tipped out of balance if the creatures in it don’t get one of their fundamental foods. For the bugs living in our gut that is fibre. That’s why the low-fibre food we eat these days can be so damaging. To see the effects of that, in the last episode we met Gideon – a young, fit gymnast. The two of us took a junk food challenge. After a typical high-fat, high-sugar feed, we had our bloods measured to see the effects. And Gideon was shocked to learn that while he was fit on the outside, on the inside, my much older body was performing better than his. His body needed two to three times as much insulin as mine, and he was on the road to diabetes.

Gideon Cordover: “This is a huge shock to me and quite nerve-racking.”

Almost all of Gideon’s diet is processed food. When we eat these foods, it generates a whole lot of bad bacteria in our body that promotes inflammation.

So, we put a proposal to Gideon- four weeks of healthy meals.

Gideon: “I’m nervous that I won’t like the taste of some of the food that I’m gonna be eating, and I’m a bit nervous that I will feel hungry all the time because I’m used to eating huge quantities of fast food.”

The plan is we’ll look at Gideon’s gut bacteria before and after his new diet, and we’ll also remeasure his insulin response after four weeks of eating this healthy high-fibre food.

Vinegar to Prevent Asthma

The most important thing is to have a balanced diet and lots of high fibre. But we’ve also shown that with a lot of the studies we’re doing in animals now that supplementing the diet by giving vinegar can actually stop things like asthma.

The idea of using vinegar medicinally has been around for thousands of years, back to the Egyptian times, the Greek times. The beneficial effects of vinegars in society have been known for a long time. Even Italians – a lot of vinegar on salads, a lot of vinaigrette – they have very, very low incidences of inflammatory disease.

In fact, even the research on eating a good diet has an air of ancient wisdom about it. Hippocrates said ‘Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.’ And we agree with that entirely.

The reason vinegar could be a medicine is because it contains acetate – the molecule we met in the first episode, the one our good bacteria make. We now know that acetate can stop the immune system from overreacting, which promotes good health. Professor Matt Cooper developed asthma at about 18.

Professor Cooper: “I ended up taking a puffer twice a day and I was taking steroids two or three times a day. I had several incidents where I was really worried, I was almost gonna go to hospital, it was that bad. I was taking puff after puff, I could barely breathe. It hurt my chest a lot when I coughed.”

“But now I’ve started eating more fibre and using liberal quantities of vinegar. Now I probably have one puff a year, if that.”

Dr Alison Thorburn showed she could reduce asthma in mice by simply feeding them high-fibre food. She then gave them acetate in their drinking water, which also reduced their asthma.

So the simple stuff we splash on a salad may help treat a disease that plagues the Western world. And when pregnant mice were given a high-fibre diet, their offspring didn’t develop asthma; they were protected against it developing.

Gut Bacteria and Emphysema

Gut bacteria are tied up with a lot of other diseases, too. Mice that have emphysema get an improvement in symptoms after taking in the bacteria of healthy mice. The good gut bacteria have treated them.

Ulcerative Colitis

They are trialling a procedure for another debilitating disease thought to be connected to bad gut bacteria – ulcerative colitis. It’s an inflammatory bowel disease and Anna has suffered it for more than half a decade.

Anna Demasi: “So I was sick at about 22, so I’m 29 now, and I had really bad diarrhoea, you know, I couldn’t control it, going to the toilet, you know, 30, 40 times a day. And I couldn’t sleep, fevers, sore back. Those 30, 40 times a day was not food, it was mostly just blood and water.”

“You can’t go anywhere. You can’t plan for trips, can’t plan anything, can’t even go to the shops to buy something.”

This inflammatory bowel disease can be treated with powerful drugs but they can have terrible side effects.

“My face would blow up like three times the size in a matter of days. I’d put 10, 15 kilos in a matter of a few weeks. And then the mental things, you’d get quite anxious and very aggressive. And you also couldn’t sleep at night. So just a horrible, really horrible drug.”

So a new treatment for the condition is being trialled at Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital – a faecal transplant. You’re implanting live bacteria into another person’s system, to try to change their flora to that of a patient without inflammatory bowel disease.

And did it work for Anna?

“Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It worked. So I don’t think I’ve ever gone to the shops so much before. You know, I can go for walks, I can play with my kid in the park, I don’t have to sort of worry ‘Where’s a toilet?’, bring a change of clothes with me, all that sort of stuff.”

We don’t know yet if this works for everyone or even if it’s a permanent cure, but if it does treat inflammatory bowel disease, the way is paved for other ailments, like emphysema and even multiple sclerosis.

Multiple Sclerosis

In many ways, inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis are related on an immune level. The cells that attack the gut in inflammatory bowel disease are very similar to cells that attack the brain and the central nervous system in multiple sclerosis.


And the possibilities don’t stop there. It has even been found that autism seems to be related to gut bacteria. Small molecules released by gut bacteria can travel through the circulation, and potentially enter the brain and affect brain function.

Intriguingly, people with autism do often have gut problems and have different gut bacteria. When we administered a special probiotic to animals that had autistic-like behaviour, not only were we able to correct the gastrointestinal symptoms but we were able to also correct many of the behavioural symptoms that these mice exhibited, the behavioural symptoms that are associated with human autism.

Allergies and Autoimmune Disorders

Our long-term goal, is to potentially treat multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, asthma, a variety of different autoimmune and allergic disorders, because the immune response that we believe triggers all of these disorders is very, very similar, and so the tissues may be different for these diseases, but the immune response is similar.

How Did Gideon Go?

Gideon: “I’m well into the second week now of my high-fibre diet. I’m so much better now. Last week, I was just complaining. I take it all back.”

How would Gideon’s gut bacteria be after his four-week high-fibre diet? Well, his results showed more good bacteria and a greater diversity. To see if that translated to better health, we gave him another fast food challenge and remeasured his bloods.

The results are spectacular- Gideon’s blood sugars, fats and insulin response were vastly improved. It took half the amount of insulin to clear the same amount of carbohydrate out of his system as it did the first time round. So everything is working so much better. The body senses food and responds to it almost immediately, so you can actually effect improvements in health within two or three days of changing your diet.

Gideon “It was relatively easy to get a really remarkable result and my insides are clearly much healthier now than they were before, so that’s really inspired me to keep going, because if it is that easy, why not keep it up?”

Using food as thy medicine is so simple yet so powerful… and open to all of us to put into practice.


From a natural therapy point of view, it is wonderful to see that modern medicine is starting to realise the importance of a healthy digestive system and immune system, and the crucial role that diet and a good digestive ecosystem play.

It is also important to include a variety of healthy foods in your diet, as there is a huge diversity of bugs in a healthy gut ecosystem.

If you have a health issue you would like to sort out, please book in for a Comprehensive Assessment at our Brisbane Naturopath and Acupuncture Clinic. We can then have an in-depth look at what is happening in your body, what is causing the problem, and what can be done to sort it out. These Assessments are very thorough, and you will learn a lot about how your body is working. Our clients find them very helpful and interesting.(Terms and Conditions- the Assessment is a completely free service, with no obligations whatsoever.)

We currently have a limited number of free Assessments available, so please contact the Clinic soon if you would like to book in for one.

How Bad Gut Bacteria Can Cause Serious Diseases

This article is a condensed version of an ABC Catalyst program dated 14 August 2014, titled Gut Reaction Pt 1. We have taken out sentences and phrases to shorten the article without detracting from its content, and added headings. You can watch the full TV program, or read the entire transcript, at

In our next blog we will cover the subsequent program, including how good bacteria can be used to treat diseases.

Could our food be making us sick – very sick?

In the first of this two-part special, Dr Graham Phillips reveals new research about the interplay between food and the bacteria deep within our guts.

I think this is one of the biggest developments in medical research. I really think we’re encountering a revolution. Maybe we can prevent diseases by simply changing our diet.

The remarkable new discoveries are telling us that our current eating habits could be making us sick. Very sick. Indeed, our food might be contributing to heart disease, cancer, asthma, allergies, arthritis, autism, depression, multiple sclerosis, diabetes – the list goes on.

We’ve been hearing for years how we should be eating healthy food. But this research is different. It’s all about the bacteria that live in our intestines. Eat good food, you end up with good bacteria. Eat badly and you get bad bacteria in your gut. Now, it turns out your gut bugs have an enormous influence on your health.

I think you can extend your life span by years, if not decades, with a healthy diet. And all the evidence is pointing to that.

How We Inherit Good Bacteria

The gut bacteria story starts at the beginning of life. During the messy process of birth, a newborn gets covered in microbes. If you were vaginally delivered, the microbes that you’re coated in initially mostly come from your mother’s vaginal community. Baby also acquires some of mum’s gut bacteria from traces of her faeces. A bit like inheriting a gene, you can also inherit the bacteria from your mother.

How we inherit good bacteria

And nature’s even provided food for those fledgling gut bugs. Mum’s milk has more than just nutrients for the baby. Breast milk contains a lot of sugars that the baby can’t metabolise, but they’re important for promoting the growth of particular kinds of bacteria in the gut that are good. Also there’s increasing evidence that the milk itself is produced with bacteria in it.

We Need Good Bacteria

Living on us and inside of us are an enormous number of bacteria. In fact, the bacterial cells outnumber ours by 10 to 1. So when you think about it, they’re not really OUR bacteria, we’re THEIR human.

Some scientists now say we’re a supraorganism, like a termite colony or a beehive, where individuals are just part of a whole. An organism that’s consisted of both human cells as well as microbial cells, all working together for perhaps the common good.

Together, the bacteria weigh about 1.5 kilograms, as much as our brains. And most live in the gut.

You eat your food, any what’s left over gets into the large intestine – the bowel. And that’s where most of the gut bacteria are. Most of us think of bacteria as generally nasty bugs rather than friendly organisms.

They Control How Our Immune System Works

We’re learning why these bacteria are critical to our health. And one of the main reasons is they help educate the body’s defences. We now know that the bacteria inside us control a lot of our immune system. They produce small molecules that regulate our immune responses.

It’s mainly in the gut that the immune system learns what to and what not to attack. And our bacteria don’t just affect physical health. They also have pathways to our brains. There are probably many different types of connections between gut bacteria and the brain. So your bacteria may influence how you think.

If our health is tied up with our bacteria, what bad effects could the modern world be having? Caesareans, for example, now account for up to 1 in 3 births. C-section babies are not readily inoculated with natural bacteria.

And in fact children born through caesarean section have got microbes that look more like the microbes that live on our skin, than children who are born in natural birth that have got microbes that look more like microbes that live in the intestine.

The literature in allergy and asthma indicates that children born to caesarean section are more likely to develop these types of disorders than children born to natural birth. Bottle feeding is also likely to result in different gut bacteria. Children that were breastfed are likely more protected against allergy and asthma than children who were fed formula. And I think these principles can extend beyond just allergies to autoimmunity, to neurological disorders.

Good Bacteria and Diet

Good bacteria and diet

While these possible health problems from entering the world unnaturally are disturbing enough, what about the unnatural diets we eat these days? Our gut bacteria change depending on what we eat. Eat bad food and you support bad communities of bacteria. And there seems to be one main bad food culprit – we’re eating too many low-fibre meals these days. Indeed, a lot of research is now pointing to low fibre being largely responsible for that long list of diseases.

It’s very exciting times now and we’re starting to understand for the first time how what we eat defines a lot of disease, and how we can actually avoid that disease by looking at diet. The people who take the highest levels of fibre are the ones that are living the longest.

Effect on Children

Effect on children

And it’s not just diet and the early years of life that are changing our gut bacteria. So are antibiotics. They’re a bit like dropping a nuclear bomb on your gut bacteria. Particularly vulnerable to antibiotics are young children.

The relationship between microbial ecology of the gut and the priming and training of the immune system is such a critical thing in the development of a child, that if you mess with that too badly, then that may be responsible for problems.

By the age of three the gut microbes look adult-like. And so I think that there is this critical window very early in life when gut microbes could affect the immune system or the metabolic and the nervous system.

OUR Diet Can Cause Chronic Inflammation

Our low-fibre diets, antibiotics and Western ways have left us with very low diversity in our gut bacteria.

The most diversity we’ve ever seen is with the Hadza (a tribe in Africa who eat a diet similar to what our distant ancestors would have). So let’s take a healthy adult in Australia. They might have 1,000 to 1,500 species of bacteria; a similar-aged Hadza might have two to three times that much.

Conditions chronic inflammation can lead to.

So all the health problems on that list may be connected to a lack of diversity and to the wrong type of bacteria disturbing the immune system, leaving our bodies in a perpetual state of inflammation. Inflammation is one of the body’s defence mechanisms and involves immune cells being released. But these defences can do harm if they’re not properly controlled.

The cells which are built to kill bacteria are actually doing damage to our own tissues. And that’s usually an inflammatory disease. That’s what happens in diabetes or in asthma or in rheumatoid arthritis. And you can add obesity to that list.

Good Bacteria and Weight

In Australia, 62% of us are overweight or obese. It’s the majority condition now.

Now, the common view is just too many calories are the cause of obesity. But could it be more complex than that? Maybe there’s more to losing weight than just exercise and eating less. Maybe you also have to change your gut bacteria.

The famous bacteria experiment.

There’s a famous experiment. They took a strain of mouse that’s genetically predisposed to obesity, rendered it free of bacteria, then they gave these mice new gut bacteria from thin mice. Incredibly, they now tended to stay thin. Gut bacteria could be helping to make the modern world fat. Back in the day obesity was a rarer thing, there could have been better gut bugs as a result of eating less processed food – in other words less sugar, fat, and more fibre. That’s a stark contrast to the modern world. But there’s good news if you’re overweight. Your gut bacteria community can be altered.

You can change it by changing your diet. And so if you manipulate the combination of protein, fat and carbohydrates in the diet, you can shift the composition – the community ecology, if you like – of the gut really quite profoundly.

In short, to do this, you have to eat a lot more fruit and vegetables. And another disease that was rarer in old times but growing at a frightening pace today is type-2 diabetes. And, again, bad bacteria from eating too much processed food could play a key role.

What About Asthma?

Dr Alison Thorburn – “It was pretty tough and annoying, because you’re always that kid in the playground with the Ventolin in your pocket. I remember my mum limiting what we could eat, which was really strange. I remember one day she said we’re not allowed to have oranges anymore ‘because you’re sister’s allergic to oranges. It makes her asthma worse.’ So I was really annoyed at my sister that I wasn’t allowed to have oranges. No orange juice. Also wheat and yeast and Vegemite at some stage. So I used to always say to my Mum, ‘Why? Why can’t I eat this?’ And she couldn’t give me an answer.”

Alison’s scientific curiosity in asthma had been sparked. Now Alison is a postdoctoral researcher at Monash University. And she’s found a new treatment for asthma – well, in mice at least – which is incredibly simple. She just puts them on a high-fibre diet.

But how does fibre fix up asthma?

“We know that when we give the mice a high-fibre diet compared to their normal diet, their gut bugs, their bacteria, change dramatically; the mice end up with more good bacteria.”

“There are really good bacteria that produce great things for our health, in particular short-chain fatty acids, which are the molecules we work on. Dietary fibre gets broken down to produce these short-chain fatty acids and then they do amazingly good things in the gut and also throughout the body.”

“One is acetate. Now, it’s important to have acetate in your body, particularly in the digestive tract, because it helps dampen the immune system. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory. Because they’re anti-inflammatory chemicals, they help prevent inflammatory diseases like asthma.”

Next time we’ll discover ways we can all have better gut bacteria and so live healthier lives.


Natural therapists have long believed that a good digestive system, including the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut, is absolutely crucial to good health. And research such as this is helping to confirm it. In the past, doctors have generally looked at the body like a car, with parts that sometimes break down. However, it is becoming clearer to researchers that the digestive system is an ecosystem, with a huge variety of organisms (including us) interacting with each other to create a balance. Of course, some ecosystems are healthier than others, and some can even disintegrate and become toxic.

Having the right bacteria in your gut, and having the right diet to maintain your internal ecosystem, are essential to good health. Probiotics can provide the good bacteria we need, however since our ecosystems are so complex, there is no one probiotic that can sort out everyone’s system. For example, we supply ten different probiotics for different purposes.

Probex An anti-inflammatory probiotic for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Ultra Flora Digest For healthy digestive function and improved immunity, with fibre
Ultra Flora Immune For increased immune function
Ultra Flora LGG 1. For eczema and food allergies in infants
2. Reduces the frequency of diarrhoea
Ultra Flora Plus High potency probiotic which also inhibits bad bacteria
Ultra Flora Plus Dairy Free Dairy free version
Ultra Flora Restore For restoration of healthy gut flora during and after antibiotics
Ultra Flora Restore Dairy Free Dairy free version
Ultra Flora SB Dysbiosis For the treatment of excess bad bacteria, including diarrhoea
Flora Care for Kids For a healthy digestive and immune system in children

Please note that these are Practitioner Prescribing Only products, so a trained therapist has to decide which is the correct one for you. If you are interested in looking after your digestive and immune systems, your long-term health, or if you have allergies, auto“immune problems, asthma, or other inflammation disorders, please book in for a Comprehensive Health Assessment. We can then have an in“depth look at what is happening in your body, what is causing the problem, and what can be done to sort it out. These Assessments are very thorough, and you will learn a lot about how your body is working. Our clients find them very helpful and interesting. We currently have a limited number of free Assessments available, so please contact us soon if you would like to book in for one.

Best Health Funds for Natural Therapies

Health FundsDo you want to get better value from your health fund? At this time of the year, many of our clients have used up their limit for natural therapies, and are not sure which is the best health fund for them.

In June this year, Choice did a Health Insurance Comparisons Review for singles, couples and families. We have created simplified tables of the results, based purely on natural therapies (acupuncture, massage, naturopathy) cover for each of these groups.

Please note

  • There are 3 levels of cover in each table- basic, medium and top.
  • The policies are for extras cover only, and do not include hospital cover.
  • It is important that you consider the full level of cover that you want.

Because of this, these tables should be used as a guide only.

What is clear from the tables is that smaller health funds often provide better value than larger ones. We suggest that you

  • Look up what are the best natural therapies options for you from the tables.
  • Ring these funds and a few others to get a quote.
  • We have had good reports regarding Frank Health Insurance, so you may like to include a quote from them.
  • You could also ring iSelect, however keep in mind that they only compare 12 out of 36 providers.
  • If you want to process your claims at the Clinic, don’t choose HCF or Latrobe Health Services, as they haven’t added natural therapies onto the Hicaps system.

When you ring the funds, let them know that you are shopping around, and ask them if they can waive the extras waiting period for you.

A few phone calls could save you a lot of money in the long term!


Health Insurance Comparisons Tables

Health Funds Extras Cover Comparison for Singles

Health Funds Extras Cover Comparison  for Couples

Health Funds Extras Cover Comparison for Families


Getting Fat from Juicing Kale


We recently had a client who was trying hard to improve her health, so she was making and drinking plenty of fresh vegetable and fruit juices. However, after a while, she found that she was putting on weight instead of losing it, and was getting digestive issues such as stomach discomfort, bloating and gas. What was going wrong?

Kale is very popular at the moment, and with good reason. It is an excellent source of many vitamins and antioxidants- one cup contains 180 percent of the recommended daily dose of Vitamin A, 200 percent of Vitamin C, and 1,020 percent of Vitamin K. All three of these vitamins are antioxidants that help protect the body from certain types of cancer. Kale’s unusual amount of vitamin K in particular helps the body with blood clotting and bone health. Kale is rich in calcium and iron, and it contains a massive 45 different flavonoids, with a huge variety of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

However, it is often the case that anything that can have a powerful good effect on the body, if used incorrectly, can have a negative effect. Excessive use of kale, such as juicing it every day, could cause problems such as

  • High levels of Vitamin K, which can increase the risk of blood clots forming in the body and causing strokes.
  • Kale belongs to cruciferous family, which includes broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and bok choy. These vegetables are well-known for their cancer-prevention properties. However, they can also suppress the thyroid, causing low energy, weight gain and hair loss.
  • Raw kale in particular can be hard on the digestive system, causing bloating, gas and other abdominal issues.

So Should We Avoid Kale?

In a word, no! It has many wonderful nutritional benefits. But just because something is excellent in moderate amounts, doesn’t always mean it is even better for everyone in higher doses.

There are two ways to avoid nutrition imbalances. One way is to have everything in moderation. Done correctly, juices can be fantastic, however keep in mind that they are highly concentrated, so don’t have them all the time, and have a variety of ingredients. An even better approach is to have a proper assessment by a good Brisbane naturopath, who can determine which foods are best for you and which ones you should avoid.