Coffee Fixation

Coffee Fixation

Coffee’s been around as a drink since it became popular in the coffee houses of the 17th Century. People liked it then and like it now as it gives a buzz and helps stimulate the nervous system, helping to waken us up in the morning. The active ingredients in coffee are starches, various anti-oxidants, polyphenols, caffeic and chlorogenic acids and its main compound caffeine. Caffeine gets broken down into theobromine and theophylline in the liver.

It’s caffeine that gets the researchers going. There is a lot of conflicting opinion on whether it helps with conditions like type 2 diabetes (T2D), excess cholesterol, Alzheimer’s disease, prostate enlargement and liver disease. Caffeine may be associated with a greater risk of glaucoma, iron metabolism issues, hyperactivity and behavioural problems (ADHD), migraine and insomnia.

The brown colour of the beans comes from the roasting process converting the starches into sugar, a process called caramelisation. Same thing as when you make any sugar oxidise (as in making creme caramel).

Decaffeination is done by processing companies–either water or solvent methods–and the extracted caffeine sold on to the pharmaceutical industry.

There are many foods and drugs which have very high caffeine. These include Red Bull, Irn-Bru or dark chocolate. Milk chocolate has less in content. Beecham’s Powders and many painkillers have added caffeine as they have a short term effect to increase blood sugar. The problem occurs when this initial kick fades. You then get the resultant dip and insulin reactions that bring about low or high blood sugar reactions (hypoglycaemia or insulin resistance).

You also have the problem of caffeine withdrawal when trying to reduce intake. The symptoms of withdrawal last between 12hrs and 7–10 days and include headaches, thirst, irritability, mood swings, poor concentration, insomnia and other unpleasant psychological reactions.

From an osteopathic viewpoint its best to avoid becoming addicted to any substance, food or drink. Periodically take time out from foods that you believe you are addicted or sensitive to. These are often foods that you consume regularly and perhaps too often! Doing a detox spring clean to your normal diet provides a chance for the elimination of toxins and an opportunity to lose a few pounds of unwanted weight.

All things in moderation is probably a sound bet when it comes to coffee in healthy individuals. Care should be taken to avoid in the conditions already mentioned earlier in this article, particularly if you are noticing poor energy levels, an erratic sleep cycle or depressive illnesses.

Lowering Cholesterol

Lowering your ‘bad’ ie. LDL cholesterol (Low Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol and avoiding high blood pressure is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Most people discover their LDL cholesterol to HDL cholesterol (High Density Lipoprotein) ratios when applying for health or medical insurance. But lowering your cholesterol with a prescription from your doctor is not always the best way. Try the below natural methods for lowering your cholesterol and living a healthier lifestyle.

  • Regular Exercise - With regular exercise you can help your body to reduce stress, lose weight, increase metabolism, burn more calories, and more. Steady and regular exercise has been found to help lower cholestrol and reduce triglyceride levels. With regular exercise you can lower your body mass index and achieve a healthy weight. This helps you to reduce your risk for heart disease and diabetes.

Cut Out trans-fats - Trans-fats are found mostly in fried and ‘junk’ foods. Avoiding these types of foods limits your calories, fat intake, and helps lower your cholesterol.

Remove Stress From Your Life - Stress and anxiety cause chemicals (cortisol), to be released into your body–raising your blood pressure, and reducing blood flow to your heart. Avoid stressful situations–use techniques such as breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, and other similar techniques. This helps your body to deal with stress and minimize the effects on your body.

Lose Weight - Being Overweight changes your metabolism and the way your body deals with fat and cholesterol. Losing weight in a slow and steady manner improves your health and lowers your cholesterol. Natural dieting results in consistent weight loss and reduces your risk of diabetes and high blood pressure. It has also been shown to be the single most important factor in extending natural lifespan.

Emphasise Healthy Social Relationships - Focus on stress-free family and friendship activities. Sort out your problematic issues if you can. These should fit with a healthy lifestyle and steer away from unhealthy and stressful social behaviors including arguments, drinking, inactivity, and overeating.

Get a Pet - Many studies including have shown that caring for a pet reduces stress. A 10 year study performed at the Stroke Research Center at the University of Minnesota found that owning a pet lowers blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, helps with depression, and reduces risks of dying from a heart attack or other diseases.

Reduce Red Meat, Eggs, & Whole Milk - Red meats, whole milk, and egg yolks are concentrated cholesterol foods. They should be reduced and replaced with some of the healthier foods that are low in cholesterol. Some examples can be found below.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids - Stock up on foods containing Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids raise HDL and lower LDL cholestrol levels. Some good sources include salmon and herring fish, walnuts and almonds, dried cloves, and flaxseed oil. Many of these foods also contain antioxidants and vitamins.

Try Oat Bran & Brown Rice Bran - Both oat bran and brown rice bran contain high levels of soluble fibre, for example porage oats. Soluble Fiber binds fats absorbing cholesterol.

Blueberries, Garlic, & Apples - These three foods are tasty and can be easily combined with many other foods in home-made recipes. Garlic and Blueberries lower both blood pressure and cholesterol when combined with the other activities we have included. The fiber pectin in apples decrease the amount of cholesterol produced in the liver, mainly by reducing the initial uptake of fats from food eaten in a meal. Using these ingredients in your meals can make a healthy impact on your cholesterol.



Probiotics are a group of supplements that help in restoring the ‘good’ or ‘friendly’ bacteria to the GI tract. There are many different types of probiotic, but most are bacteria similar to those found naturally in our gut, and in the majority of cases from two main groups, lactobacillus and bifidobacterium. Within these groups there are many different species. Some probiotics are yeasts which are different to the friendly bacteria.

Probiotics are available in some foods as well as dietary supplements. Some examples of food substances containing the microorganisms are, yoghurt, miso, soya products. Some foods contain them naturally whilst others have them added during production.

Friendly bacteria are vital for the functioning of the gut and digestion and absorption of food. They also provide protection against microorganisms that cause disease, and are vital in the development of the immune system.

As with most other things, it’s all about balance. The balance of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria is thrown off in many different ways, the most widely reported being the use of antibiotics. Antibiotics not only destroy the bad microorganisms but also the good, so it is vital for the restoration of health to repopulate this group.

Unfriendly bacteria, yeasts, parasites and fungi, and overgrowth of these organisms can alter the balance, requiring additional supplementation, whilst, equally importantly, addressing the cause of the initial overgrowth.

Other common causes of imbalance are, poor diet, (excess sugar, alcohol, refined foods), stress, some pharmaceutical medications and food intolerances.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is probably the most talked about vitamin around, but at the same time the most under utilized

It is water soluble and therefore our own stores are minimal, yet it is needed for over 300 bodily functions.

Nature uses Vitamin C to maintain balance when under stress and most mammals produce increased amounts when required. This is not the case for humans. We are dependent on our own ever decreasing stores to counteract external stimuli, and have to increase our consumption accordingly.

Some of the possible health benefits and actions are listed below:
  • Anti-oxidant, battles the forces that cause cell and tissue damage.
  • Collagen production.
  • Acts against viral/bacterial infection.
  • Supports immune function.
  • Aids recovery after surgery/injury.
  • Anaemia - aids iron absorption.
  • Helps prevent arteriosclerosis.
  • Neutralizes free radicals
  • Anti-carcinogenic.
  • Detoxifying.
  • Natural laxative.
  • Adrenal support.
  • Transports amino acids across the cell membrane.

Unfortunately most Vitamin C supplements fall short of providing therapeutic amounts of the Vitamin, and its value is thus not fully appreciated.

It is also one of the safest vitamins to consume in large doses due to its lack of toxicity in the body, although individuals undergoing iron therapy should be aware that it increases the absorption of iron. Diabetics should also monitor their blood glucose levels carefully.

If anyone wishes to obtain more information on dosage, please ask for personal advice at your next appointment.

Natural Anti-Inflammatories

Natural Anti-inflammatories

Inflammation has a well established role in all illnesses and diseases. Most people suffer the painful consequences to some extent at some time or other.
It is becoming increasingly documented that pharmaceutical treatments have many adverse side-effects and don’t address any of the issues concerning the causes of the inflammation, or helping the body cope with the inflammatory response.
There are many natural remedies that, whilst taken sensibly and on the advice of a health practitioner, can help to reduce inflammation and thus the pain associated with it, and with fewer adverse reactions in the body.
A few are mentioned below.

This is an enzyme, originally discovered in the intestine of silkworms, that has been shown to be an extremely powerful proteolytic enzyme. In studies it has been shown to digest and break down inflammatory cells, blood clots, fibrous tissue, cysts and any other non living tissue, leaving body tissues to function normally.
For more information on serrapeptase click in the link below.

Omega 3’s
Essential fatty acids and their role in inflammation is often a confusing subject. Whilst inflammation plays a vital role in our bodies defense system, the key is to maintain a balance between the omega 6’s, (which play a necessary role in the production of inflammation), and omega 3’s that have an anti-inflammatory function.
If there is an excess of dietary omega 6’s, (found in vegetable oils and added to many processed and packaged foods), and a lack of antioxidants,(such as vitamin E) and omega 3’s, (found in fish oils and leafy green vegetables), then the result can lead to chronic inflammation having free reign throughout the body.
As always, the key concept is one of balance.
Just to further confuse the issue, olive oil, that may be used to replace the use of vegetable oils, is high in yet another omega, omega 9! Omega 9 has also got anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
GLA’s, found in evening primrose oil, hemp seed and borage oils, although omega 6’s, do not have the same properties, and help to inhibit inflammation.

Curcumin is the substance that gives turmeric it’s bright orange colour. It is in fact a member of the ginger family. Like ginger it has been recognised for hundreds of years, especially in Ayurvedic medicine, as a natural anti-inflammatory and detox aid.
Modern research has focused not only it’s action in the inhibition of the pre-inflammatory enzymes, but also in it’s potential role in the inhibition of unwanted bacteria and viruses.
Curcumin, however, should not be taken by those on blood thinning medication or with bile duct problems. It should also not be taken by those who are pregnant.

As with all supplementations, a healthcare practitioner should always be consulted prior to use.