Batmania here I come…

No, I haven’t gone crazy for the ‘caped crusader’… but I thought that would get your attention…. oh look it did! ūüėČ
I‚Äôm off to Melbourne for the ACNEM Conference May 5-6th and Batmania was one of the interim names of this very cool and happenin’ town before it became known as Melbourne in 1837! Things have certainly changed in nutrition and the environment since then and as practitioners we now need to address sometimes very complex dynamics between genes, gut, nutrition and environmental health.¬† Which, luckily enough this conference is all about!
This year’s theme for ACNEM is Health for Life РMastering the Integrated Approach. 
I am fortunate to be included in the exceptional speaker line-up (thanks for lovely sentiments many of you have expressed so far about that ūüôā ) I am presenting on ageing..which many of you know that I am suddenly now very interested in…getting old and all.


It’s Landed At Last! Aka ‘Kids’ Guts Can Be Mental’ [ft. Threadworm] Recording

Standing at the podium, I looked down at my notes & slowly read out the title of my presentation to the hundreds of people attending, ‘Paediatric Digestive Issues & Neurocognitive Abnormalities’¬†and briefly froze thinking, Holy Heck (!) this is someone else’s presentation!¬† Seriously. No, this is not one of my work stress dreams.¬† This happened. I thought…oh my how am I going to deliver this, it sounds very complex and lofty and scary!!

Then I saw my scribbled hand notes on the page,¬†the unofficial name I had affectionately given this presentation as I researched, compiled my case studies and brought it into being, months prior and I instantly relaxed…oh…Kids’ Guts Are Mental…now that I have some serious experience with and something to say about! (more…)

Can You Help Me Out Here?

Woman confused thinking seeks a solution, paper card with question mark on her head. Doubtful young female in glasses studio shot on black

Can you help me out here?¬† My memory has failed me.¬† Someone, somewhere (Mel? Syd? Auckland? Online during a mentoring session? In a Mullumbimby supermarket?!), in the past month asked me for this paper documenting the increased pain perception reported by subjects given IV saline with a slightly acidic pH compared to a neutral preparation. Quite an extraordinary illustration of the potency of small pH changes in the ECF and the impact this can have on our pain perception.¬† This study is one Professor Vormann has previously talked about and as I‚Äôm touring with the fabulous German Professor right now I said, ‚ÄėSure!‚Äô…then seemingly instantly erased from my mind who made this request! Is it you?

This month is a fabulous blur of travelling & speaking, getting back face to face with everyone at a bunch of seminars & conferences, which I love but I do forget some days where I am, who I am and¬†exactly¬†what I have promised and to whom! (more…)

Does Saturated Fat Increase the Uptake of Endotoxins?

Jason ASLM

In an ASLM¬†Tweet I shared this weekend, I mentioned our own ‘Gut Guru’, Jason Hawrelak reported dietary saturated fat (including coconut oil) increases GIT endotoxin uptake and boy did that stir the pot!¬† The social media switchboard lit up! It’s ok I know there isn’t a switchboard anymore…but I am old school ūüėČ ¬†This got just about everybody talking on Twitter & Facebook…and thinking out there in the real world…which is good, right? ¬†And if you read to the end you will find prizes galore for those of you that want to add to this discussion ūüôā (more…)

Who Me….Ageing???

Ageing hand

My partner and I have a well rehearsed script whenever he is suffering from man flu, he says, “Am I going to die?” and I say “Yes, just not today.”¬†First world peoples¬†tend to specialise in the denial of several absolutes: like time & death. ¬†As Professor David Cameron-Smith, from the University of Auckland says, ‘old’ is something we always define as ‘other’. ¬†We are not old but we know people who are!¬† I personally used to define ‘old’ as over 50 until that became rather¬†close and uncomfortable at which point I noticed a completely unconscious increase in the lower limit! Now old is over 75 yrs…and stay tuned for more updates ūüėČ

Similarly none of us are ageing, right? (more…)

‘Take Me To Your Master!’


I am¬†frequently asked what scientific journals I subscribe to and often by the same practitioners over and over, because they can’t reconcile¬†my answer: “None”.¬† Yet I constantly have my head in the scientific literature, right? ¬†The two are not mutually exclusive, it’s just about knowing which free¬†scientific and medical news-feeds are worth their weight in gold! ¬†If you really are digging into the itty-bitty detail of things these won’t answer all your questions on all your topics but they do a great job of 1) keeping you up to date with the big headlines in general medicine, or, with the use of alert systems and filters, just the areas of health¬†you’re particularly interested in and 2) offering you a huge highly credible resource database that is easily searchable.¬†

Point 1, Exhibit A ūüėČ :

Here’s just a few examples from the last month that popped into my inbox from Medscape that got my pulse racing:


No Patch on Iodine Testing



¬† Whenever I talk to practitioners about thyroid health, like I recently did at MINDD,¬†I can guarantee I’m going to get 2 questions:

  1. Shouldn’t we aim for the¬†high iodine intake of Japanese?
  2. Can we use the patch test for testing iodine levels in our patients?

I am so glad you asked.  The answers are no and no.

I am a nutter for minerals and iodine just won’t go away right now. ¬†Too little = a problem, too much = often the same problems. To boot we are faced with radically contrasting views on assessment and dosage and just about everything iodine related. It’s not you – it’s iodine. ¬†Trust me it’s a complex little mineral that requires some extra thought and caution. ¬†If you imagine the Japanese have no thyroid problems – correct that big myth right now by reading this scientific paper that refers to health problems that result from too much dietary iodine. ¬†It also explains that the typical first step in treating¬†hypothyroidism in Japan is to¬†reduce their iodine intake! (more…)

The Conference Trifecta! This is a Must Watch


Recently, I posted about my very positive experience of the AIMA NZ conference, prior to that I was gabbing on about the upcoming ACNEM Brain Health conference in Melbourne in May and now I am going for the conference hat trick! ¬†I want to revisit a¬†really impacting lecture for me at last year’s Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine (ASLM) conference, delivered by the Emeritus Professor Mark L. Wahlqvist¬†AO, BMedSc, MBBS, MD (Adelaide), MD (Uppsala), on the relationship between ecology and human health.

Why did I find his talk¬†so impacting? ¬†Why should every integrative practitioner take the time to watch this? (more…)

Elusive Integration?


Just back from a truly wonderful Australasian Integrative Medical Association (AIMA) conference in NZ. ¬†I don’t know what it is about the land of the long white cloud but they seem to produce some of the loveliest, most earnest health practitioners and this conference reflects this, setting itself apart each year as a result of its very organic mix of speakers¬†(general practitioners, naturopaths, nurses, specialists) who are all equally embraced and lauded. To boot we had medical students invited to attend this year and guess what, these 20 or so med students…they stayed for the full weekend much to everyone’s surprise(!), loved it and want more. Really. ¬†At the AIMA NZ conference, on the two occasions I have spoken, I feel a sense of coming home…no I don’t mean I am about to move there (too cold!!) but I mean coming home to integrative medicine. (more…)

Did we Leave Oestrogen in the 80s?


Duck duck GOOSE!¬†Do you¬†know this game? ¬†That’s how I’m feeling with oestrogen – high-high-high-LOW!-of late.¬†Likely similar to your experience, the majority of my female clients battle with oestrogen dominance, therefore I get so used to looking for it, expecting it: the high Cu, the profoundly elevated SHBG, maybe a raised ESR. ¬†So much so that sometimes the low ones can catch you out, especially of course when it happens in women way way before menopause.

We’re so resolved to hear bad press about oestrogen and to be armed ready to¬†saturate our patients with broccoli extracts of the highest order – do¬†we remember the clinical features and markers of an oestrogen deficit and know what to do with those women who simply don’t have enough? (more…)

Pig Thyroid For Who?

pigGot any patients on Natural Thyroid Extracts (NTE)?¬† Me too…and I am finding it’s on the increase. ¬†What’s the deal? ¬†What do we need to understand about this form of thyroid replacement therapy to best¬†monitor and manage those¬†patients already¬†on it or contemplating taking it? Does it really offer advantages to all hypothyroid patients or just to a subset of those and how would we recognise these people who might benefit the most?

NTE are marketed as being superior to synthetic thyroxine primarily based on the fact that they provide the patient with some T3 as well as T4 and in addition to that, being extracts of pig thyroid glands, there are other thyroid and iodine based actives¬†e.g. mono and diiodotyrosine, present in the extracts.¬† So in essence this is giving us more iodine and more of the other ingredients we need to make our own thyroid hormones. ¬†Based on this, many proponents of NTE say this is a major advantage over synthetic thyroxine replacement because it is more ‘holistic’ and it supports the patient’s gland in its own hormonogenesis. ¬† (more…)

Digging Deeper Into Thyroid

digging deeper

Have you still got some thyroid patients that don’t fit any sort of traditional thyroid disease model and are difficult to get results with? Oh yes me too… and watch out…I’ve been spending the last few weeks with my nose firmly embedded in hundreds of articles digging around for more answers. As¬†I am presenting¬†on thyroid conditions for ACNEM in Adelaide March 18-19th, I couldn’t resist going back to the literature to see if by delving a little deeper again I could come up with some more answers to these weird, wacky and hard to treat thyroid presentations that we’re increasingly seeing and guess what…I think I’ve found a few gems. (more…)

Are Hormones Driving the Autoimmune Bus?


Back a few weeks ago I had the pleasure of presenting at the Integria Symposium and the even greater pleasure of listening to some of the¬†fabulous speakers …you see I’ve heard my stuff before! ūüėČ The¬†‘Mosaic of Autoimmunity’ was delivered by the very funny¬†and knowledgeable Professor Yehuda Shoenfeld, who reiterated the sequence of events now well recognised to precede and precipitate autoimmunity: genetic susceptibility + endocrine context + environmental trigger –>autoimmunity.

Clinicians¬†know that overwhelmingly women dominate when it comes to autoimmune disease epidemiology and most understand that this is a consequence of oestrogen’s immunostimulatory effects. ¬†Professor Shoenfeld, described the female, or E2 dominant, immune system as being ‘super charged’ and that increased rates of autoimmune diseases were a reflection of this. Sometimes practitioners do initially great work with a/immune clients – clearing up the diet & gut, ensuring vitamin D adequacy etc and then¬†get ‘stuck’¬†or plateau with antibody levels that ‘won’t budge’. ¬†Going back and¬†checking the hormonal contribution in the case is often indicated. If the patient has an unhealthy E2 dominance and /or impaired detoxification and clearance of this hormone then working on this aspect¬†often kickstarts the next¬†stage of improvement.

A new thing to me (I know I’m a bit slow sometimes ūüôĀ ) ¬†was his mention of the potential link also with high prolactin (PRL).¬† The literature on this is extensive and hyperprolactinemia (HPRL), even just mild elevations, have been correlated with a very long list of both systemic and organ specific diseases including: (more…)

Exploding Brain Juice

explosionDoes your brain feel like it’s going to explode,¬†spilling brain-juice everywhere, when you do 2 weekend conferences in a row? Or is that just me? ¬†I have returned to my desk after the Integria Symposium and then the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine conferences with ants in my pants. ¬†I can barely sit still. ¬†No caffeine required. ¬†

Right now I want to talk ASLM because it’s fresh in my mind from the weekend but geez where to start? ¬†I was testing the water going to this one. ¬†What would a conference about ‘Lifestyle Medicine’ pitched primarily at doctors¬†look like? Would it be a bit light? Would it be token lip service to CAM with no recognition of the need to also make a paradigm shift? ¬†Well strap yourselves in guys because what I heard from their outstanding keynote speakers (Mark Wahlqvist, Michael Berk, Bob Brown…yes you heard right..I said Bob Brown!) were some of the most holistic naturopathic teaching points¬†about individual, population and global health that I have heard in a long time. ¬†These 3 speakers in particular were mesmerising – to naturopaths (yes there were a smattering of nats there) as well as to GPs, specialists and other attending allied health professionals (more…)

A New Mental Health Education Initiative in July!

Listen to the Wave (2)

‚ÄúAccess the Experts with Rachel Arthur‚ÄĚ is a month long intensive webinar series focusing on the best of Mental Health Education. Every¬†Thursday¬†night for the month of July,¬†Rachel will be interviewing a hand-picked guest speaker about a particular area of expertise in Mental Health.

Each speaker is a clinician with years of experience (from a psychologist, to a GP, to psychiatrists) who Rachel has worked with and/or been mentored by and she is thrilled that these interviews create an avenue to share their incredible & very practical knowledge with a wider audience.

Rachel’s role as the interviewer will be a feature of the webinar series –¬†ensuring you get the¬†best¬†of¬†each¬†speaker;¬†translating the complex into easy-to-understand concepts and clinically relevant content that you can start applying immediately. (more…)

Is Your Rep a Good Rep?


Recently a practitioner lamented that because of her clinic location she didn’t see company reps very often & felt this was a barrier to her staying current with her clinical knowledge.  Of course, I had to beg to differ.

We‚Äôre quick to judge the medical profession for their reliance on commercial sources of CPD, overwhelmingly provided of course by the ‚Äėdrug reps‚Äô but it seems we‚Äôre less fazed or¬†concerned about ourselves being equally reliant, unduly influenced and misguided (might I add) by the people employed by the CAM manufacturers expressly to encourage us to sell more of their products! How does that make sense?¬†

I go back to my very repetitive mantra: always be mindful of who delivers you the message/information etc. and what their agenda is.

By promoting their company‚Äôs products to us,¬†focusing¬†on the products’ strengths, ignoring or simply not¬†making it a priority to know the limitations or weaknesses of the products or the evidence, ignoring or again simply not making it their business to know when superior products are being produced by competitors or when new evidence comes to light that puts into question¬†their products, reps are only doing what they‚Äôre employed to do.¬† But is it helpful and is it ok? (more…)

Nutritional Science & Debate in Action


Last weekend I attended the Science of Nutrition in Medicine Conference in Melbourne¬†and for those of you that didn‚Äôt make it I can tell you, it wasn‚Äôt your regular CPE event.¬† I‚Äôm not sure if the debate inside the presentations or outside in the breaks was more interesting but I can say that I haven‚Äôt seen this much stimulated thought, heated discussion and passion at company run events.¬† Why? (more…)

Australia’s Food Intolerance & Allergy Guru Will See You Now!

I‚Äôve booked my flights and packed my bags (at least in my mind!) already.¬† The annual Science of Nutrition in Medicine Conference is on 2-3rd May in Melbourne & there‚Äôs one name on the bill that alone I would be attending for ‚Äď Dr Robert Loblay.¬† He‚Äôs the head of the Immunology unit at RPAH ¬†which specialises in the management & treatment of every possible type of food & chemical reaction (including all the ones the average medico would suggest are impossible/unreal or psychosomatic). By the way he also a strong interest in bioethics so this makes for a great combination in this field. He helped put together the RPAH diet and book ‚ÄėFriendly Foods‚Äô, which is such a great clinical resource for patients with food intolerances.

The way I approach food reactions in clinic has been heavily influenced by his work and because the RPAH unit is working everyday with some of the most severe, complex and unusual reactions, when he talks I listen! (more…)

I’m coming to Sydney!

So far this year I’ve been doing most of my presenting online which has been fantastic because we can all be in our PJs and no one’s the wiser (except now!!) but I do miss the face to face seminars where sometimes the real magic happens thanks to the two-way dynamic between you and me!

So guess what?¬† I‚Äôm coming to Sydney on the 31st August (and then Brisbane 6th September and then Melbourne 13th September) to touch base with many of you again.¬† I‚Äôm joining forces with Rachel McDonald from Biomedica to talk about the real world application of naturopathy in mental health conditions.¬† (more…)

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