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  • Navigating Your Fertility Journey: An In-depth Guide to Freezing Eggs

    Freezing eggs has become an increasingly popular option for women looking to preserve their fertility for the future. Whether due to medical reasons such disease, surgery, or early menopause, or simply to have the peace of mind knowing that their eggs are safely stored, egg freezing can provide a sense of security and empowerment. In this blog we will explore the considerations and steps involved in freezing eggs, as well as strategies for improving egg health and overall fertility. Let's navigate this journey together, empowering you to take control of your reproductive future. Why Consider Freezing Your Eggs? Exploring the Benefits and Precautions In the realm of reproductive choices, egg freezing emerges as a beacon of hope for many women, offering an avenue to preserve fertility until the time feels right to start or expand a family. The reality of our biological clocks can prompt considerations of egg freezing, especially in a society where career aspirations, education, or finding the right partner might delay family planning. For others, the shadow of medical treatments with potential fertility implications, such as chemotherapy, pushes the decision into immediate contemplation. This proactive step allows women to capture and maintain the quality of their eggs at a younger age, thereby potentially bypassing some age-related fertility challenges that could surface later. However, embarking on this path requires careful deliberation of both the potential upsides and downsides. The process is not only financially demanding but also emotionally and physically taxing. Success rates, while promising, vary significantly based on individual health factors and age at the time of egg retrieval. Additionally, the procedures entail a commitment to hormonal treatments and the physical process of egg retrieval, which may not be suitable for everyone. It is a huge endeavour for a woman, and can feel lonely and isolating. In weighing up these considerations, it’s crucial to engage with fertility specialists who can provide tailored advice, taking into account personal health history and future goals. This informed approach ensures that any decision made is in harmony with one’s wellbeing and life ambitions, and ensure expectations are managed. The Journey to Enhancing Egg Health: A Timeline Embarking on a pathway to enrich egg health requires patience, with the timeline varying from person to person but on average, requiring at least 3 months. This journey often begins with an assessment of lifestyle factors that can be optimised over a period of months. Implementing dietary changes and incorporating specific nutrients that play a pivotal role in egg development is the most important step. Alongside nutritional adjustments, introducing gentle exercise regimes and reducing stress through mindfulness or meditative practices contributes to creating an optimal environment for egg health and the process of ovulation. It’s important to understand that these alterations don’t yield immediate results; rather, the enhancement of egg quality is a process that unfolds gradually, typically over three to six months. This timeframe allows for the completion of an egg’s maturation cycle with the support of a healthier internal milieu. Antioxidants & A Healthy Diet: Your New Favourite Words Nourishing your body with the right nutrients is SO important, with antioxidants standing at the forefront of this mission. These powerful compounds help shield the eggs from oxidative stress, an internal process that damages cells. Incorporating a rainbow of antioxidant-rich foods into your daily meals — think vibrant berries, verdant leafy greens, and crunchy nuts — will keep your body fortified with the right compounds. You also want to avoid foods that do not offer antioxidants - processed and ultra processed foods, fast funks, low quality snacks and sugary foods. Beyond antioxidants, a balanced diet that includes ample amounts of folate, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids is equally crucial in supporting reproductive wellbeing. Each of these nutrients contributes to a fertile foundation, enhancing not only the quality of the eggs but also the overall environment in which they mature. The Role of Acupuncture in Supporting Fertility Acupuncture, a cornerstone of traditional Chinese medicine has proven to both myself, and Founder Kelly Mulhall, its benefits in improving fertility. There has been a lot of research into how, suggesting that it's a balance of harmonising hormone levels, fostering improved blood circulation to reproductive organs, and mitigating stress, that make it work. Whatever you believe, it is a really lovely practice to include and gives you some much needed quiet time. If you're unfamiliar with acupuncture, it is the practice of inserting fine needles at specific body points which are believed to unlock and regulate the body's vital energy, or Qi, thereby facilitating a conducive state for health and vitality. It is imperative, however, to entrust this delicate aspect of your journey to a practitioner not only qualified but also experienced in the fertility domain. This ensures the therapy is adeptly tailored to your specific reproductive health narrative, promising a holistic augmentation of your fertility pathway. Exercise Dos and Don'ts During Your Fertility Journey Embarking on a regime of physical activity whilst navigating your fertility journey requires a delicate balance, prioritising forms of exercise that nurture rather than negate your reproductive goals. High-intensity training, exhaustive cardiovascular routines, and rigorous weightlifting can inadvertently exert undue stress on the body, potentially hampering your fertility aspirations. Such strenuous activities may impact hormone levels and increase oxidative stress, undermining the good work being done through dietary changes. Instead, try to embrace gentler, more moderate exercises such as walking, jogging, swimming, yoga or pilates. These offer a harmonious blend of physical toning and mental relaxation, enhancing blood flow and reducing stress levels - perfect for reproductive health! As with all exercise, it is important to listen to your body's cues and adjust your activities accordingly, ensuring that your chosen regime supports and aligns with your journey towards fertility. Navigating the Minefield of Toxins: What to Avoid The world is a pretty toxic place these days - flame retardants, synthetic fragrances, heavy duty cleaning products, make up, deodorants just to name a few. In the lead up to egg retrieval, and down the line in pregnancy, understanding the landscape of environmental and household toxins cannot be underestimated. These invisible adversaries, present in everyday items from beauty products to household cleaners, can subtly undermine reproductive health by playing havoc with hormones. The key here is avoidance and minimisation - avoid most and minimise the unavoidable. Foremost, prioritising the use of natural and organic personal care products can significantly reduce exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals, commonly found in make-up, haircare, and skincare items. Opt for brands that are transparent about their ingredients, shunning those that contain parabens, phthalates, and sulphates, which are notorious for their negative effects on hormonal health. Similarly, household cleaning products often harbour a cocktail of chemicals that can be harmful if inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Swapping these out for eco-friendly alternatives not only contributes to a healthier living environment but also supports your reproductive wellbeing. When selecting these products, vigilance is key; look for goods with certified organic labels or those that boast a minimal ingredient list, ensuring that what you use in your home is as safe and natural as possible. Lastly, where possible choose organic foods. Avoiding foods that are grown using pesticides, synthetic fertilisers and other chemicals will ensure you are limiting the amount of chemicals you are ingesting and then being transported directly into your cells. We recommend downloading some apps to help you when you're next in the supermarket - Yuka, ThinkDirty and OnSkin are ones used by the team here at The Natural Balance. The Emotional Aspects of Egg Freezing: Coping with the Journey Egg freezing will be a very emotional journey for you, so try to prepare yourself to feel ALL of the emotions - from exhilaration at taking control of one’s fertility future to trepidation about the unknowns that lie ahead. It’s a profoundly personal expedition, so it's important to also work on your emotional resilience. Engaging with a supportive network, be it through close relationships, professional counselling, or connecting with others on a similar path, becomes invaluable. These sources of support can offer solace, understanding, and practical advice, helping to lighten the emotional load. Moreover, it’s crucial to grant yourself grace and patience, recognising that fluctuating emotions are part and parcel of this significant life decision (and a nice gift from the hormone injections). By embracing both self-compassion and a proactive approach to emotional wellbeing, you'll create a journey that is not only manageable but also infused with a sense of purpose and hope. If you're struggling with infertility, working with our fertility specialist can help you develop a nutrition plan that is tailored to your individual needs. Whether you're trying to conceive or simply looking to improve your health, eating a diet that is rich in fibre and other essential nutrients can provide important nutrition for fertility and pregnancy and support optimal hormonal balance. Gail Madalena Registered Nutritional Therapist, Fertility & Pregnancy Specialist Dip CNM, mBANT , mANP , mCNHC Gail Madalena is a registered nutritional therapist specialising in fertility, pregnancy and women’s health. Her expertise lies in hormonal imbalances, such as irregular cycles, debilitating PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, thyroid issues and sub-optimal fertility. Her goal is to reduce hormonal side effects and symptoms by addressing the root cause of the issue. Gail helps couples optimise your nutrition and lifestyle choices, supporting you on your journey to achieving a healthy pregnancy. At The Natural Balance we do not attempt to prevent, treat or cure any physical, mental or emotional issues. Do not disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical advice because of information you have read on this website. Do not start or stop taking any medications without speaking to your primary health care provider.

  • Kelly's Wellness Journey - From Fast Food to Nutrition Entrepreneur!

    I want to start my tale by saying that nutrition, health and wellbeing hasn’t always been a part of my life. I grew up a child of the 90’s where ham with teddy bears in, Lunchables, Sunny D and those bags of crisps where you add your own salt was all considered part of a healthy diet. I moved into my 20’s (and 30’s!) not being able to cook much more than pesto pasta or ham and cheese on Ryvita crackers. My idea of a healthy dinner was choosing a Waitrose microwave meal over a Sainsbury’s one. So it’s fair to say, I didn't have the most nutritious background to start with. But like many clients I have since worked with, you don’t know what you don’t know. So it wasn't until my health started to deteriorate in my early 30’s that I actually started to pay an interest into what I ate and drank. I had no idea that what I was (or wasn’t eating) was impacting my health. I thought taking lots of supplements like Berroca, vitamin C and Echinacea would be the remedy to my ailments and give me the boost I needed to have more energy, better sleep, improved skin health, stronger immunity etc etc etc… How wrong I was. So what was the turning point? I had suffered for over 12 years with severe IBS following a trip to Thailand during my uni years. I had also come off the contraceptive pill after 16 years, having been put on it as a teen to help with my skin. Which ironically became the worse it had ever been, after coming off it. So there I was, struggling with eczema, acne, IBS, a constant runny nose, sore throat and generally run down, stressed and living off coffee, ready meals and biscuits. I’d had enough. This can’t be my life forever? I went to the doctors and was basically told: You have IBS - we don’t have medication for that You have hormonal acne - you can go back on the pill You have eczema - here’s some steroid cream Yes people get run down and sick. You can’t take antibiotics for that Upset and confused, I left the surgery feeling lost and unheard. Surely there is another option other than medication I thought? Soon after, I was talking to a friend who is a PT and the topic of nutrition came up. Clearly, nutrition was not on my radar but I started researching it for health benefits and then discovered nutritional therapy, naturopathic nutrition, functional medicine and I felt like I had an epiphany moment. Are you telling me that there is a way to find out the root cause of my symptoms and then work to improve them naturally? Well this sounds like something I want to explore more. It just so happened, that at that time, I was having a pretty rough time at work. I was working very long hours in events and marketing and I was starting to look at other job opportunities. This is when, during my late night internet scrolling, I came across the Naturopathic Nutritional Therapy diploma at The College of Naturopathic Medicine. I read what was covered in the syllabus over the 3 years and I liked the sound of it. Hang on, so I could train to help people improve their health naturally by understanding the root cause of their symptoms, whilst at the same time learning how to improve all of my own health issues?! Now this is where people tend not to believe me… But I promise, it’s true! Within a week of learning about the course, I went into work, quit my job and enrolled to become a Nutritional Therapist, starting just a few weeks later. You could say I was taking a bit of a punt for sure! I definitely had some raised eyebrows from friends and family. Especially since they knew my diet consisted heavily on pastries and Lucozades. But how glad I am that I did it. A year of learning Bio-Medicine and then 2 years focused on Nutrition, was without doubt, one of the best decisions I have ever made in life. I absolutely loved it. Each week I was so excited to go to my lectures. I became more and more fascinated by the human body and wondered why we don't learn all of this stuff at school?! Surely, understanding how to look after your health both mentally and physically should be a fundamental part of our education? I remember learning to make sandwiches and chocolate cakes in food economics. Maybe we should change the curriculum?! So what happened next? I decided to work with a nutritional therapist myself to see all of this in action whilst I was studying. I completed a comprehensive stool analysis, which diagnosed the cause for my IBS straight away. Something which 12 years of testing at the hospital had not discovered! We worked on hormonal balance and detoxification, which was greatly supported by the improved gut health. My eczema naturally cleared up as I ate a more clean diet and my constant sickness and malaise dissipated. I slowly learnt to cook for myself with the help of Deliciously Ella and Joe Wicks and began to take note of what was happening in my body and why. It was a hugely eye opening experience. I cannot describe the relief when my body started to heal itself after years of being out of balance. So where am I today in my wellness journey? Well, I started The Natural Balance clinic at the beginning of 2020 and since then my team has grown to 3 wonderful Nutritional Therapists. It is so apparent now that health is multifactorial and taking into account not only the physical and mental health of someone but also their family, work and social life truly makes nutritional therapy a unique complementary practice. Understanding that we are a sounding board for our clients to offload some of their deepest worries and fears is not only a confidential privilege but also a gateway for us to help them improve their life in every way. Nutrition has changed my life in every way possible. I think, feel, look and sleep better since taking care of my body and I am constantly rewarded when I am able to help those around me to live a better life. I love being able to share knowledge that will enable others to help themselves. I enjoy seeing my clients' symptoms improve and helping them make small changes that will see big results. I hope that by sharing my story it gives people hope that you can live a better life with full health. Kelly Mulhall Registered Nutritional Therapist, Health Coach, Master SIBO Practitioner Dip CNM, mBANT, mANP Kelly is a Registered Nutritional Therapist who focuses on positive physical and mental wellbeing, achieved through diet, lifestyle, sleep and exercise. Having struggled for years with IBS and hormonal imbalance, and increasingly frustrated with the lack of support and helpful advice from her GP, Kelly began her own journey of healing the body from the inside out. After seeing huge improvements she quit her job to study nutrition and focus on harnessing the healing powers of food to help other people in similar situations. At The Natural Balance we do not attempt to prevent, treat or cure any physical, mental or emotional issues. Do not disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical advice because of information you have read on this website. Do not start or stop taking any medications without speaking to your primary health care provider.

  • Health Test Spotlight: DUTCH Test for Hormone Health

    There are a few ways to test hormones, including blood and saliva, but in fact, urine testing of hormone metabolites gives us an incredibly insightful look into how your hormones are behaving in the body. Today we answer the most common questions we hear about the DUTCH test for hormone health. Wait a minute, a DUTCH test? What is that? Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones It's an easy to complete test that provides an understanding of your sex and stress hormones as well as other important biomarkers that are excreted in your urine. Who is the test suited for? We use the test to help us identify hormone imbalances, mostly for women that come to us with concerns about their menstrual cycles, fertility, weight gain, previous diagnosis of PCOS, endometriosis or skin concerns. These symptoms include: PMS that feels extreme or unmanageable Painful periods Heavy or irregular periods Clotting Breast tenderness Anxiety Weight gain Acne or intense skin flare ups Fatigue Fibroids Bloating Collecting the sample sounds messy, is it? Surprisingly not! It's quite similar to doing a pregnancy test - weeing on a bit of paper, and is done in the comfort of your own home. Patients collect just four or five dried urine samples over a 24-hour period. I've been told I need a blood test. Is this test better? How do I choose which one to go for? A blood test is another excellent way of measuring hormones, and at The Natural Balance we often recommend a blood test too, especially if women are having fertility or menstrual cycle issues. The DUTCH test however is a great place to start, and for those that are needle adverse, much more preferable. The benefit of the DUTCH test is that is measures biomarkers over a 24 hour period, which is especially useful for tracking cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Cortisol is very connected with female hormone production and this can be very useful to know its cycle throughout the day. How can the test help a health professional treat me? The test we recommend, the DUTCH Complete provides an excellent report of 35 different hormone and stress levels over a 24 hour period. Our therapists have extensive training and work closely with the labs to interpret your results on a case by case basis. Once we are certain we understand the pattern of results we will put together a comprehensive nutrition and supplement protocol and review symptoms accordingly. Can I do this test on the NHS? The test is not available on the NHS but some private medical insurers may cover it. Please check if your insurance company works with the CNHC as they may be able to cover the cost. How long does it take to receive the report? It takes around 10-15 days for the 3 page report to be delivered. How has this test helped your clients before? By understanding how your hormones are behaving, we're able to create a nutrition and treatment protocol 100% specific to your imbalances. This could mean we need to up-regulate or down regulate certain hormone pathways, we may need to improve your metabolisation and clearance of excess hormones through the body or we need to support other metabolic pathways in your body that impact your hormones. Balancing your hormones can be done through a variety of holistic approaches including amending certain parts of your diet, supplements and herbs, changing up your exercise, supporting stress and sleep If you have any more questions about DUTCH testing, feel free to get in contact with us today - book a free 20 minute call and we'd love a chat. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ Kelly Mulhall Registered Nutritional Therapist Dip CNM, mBANT, mANP, mCNHC Kelly is a Registered Nutritional Therapist who focuses on positive physical and mental wellbeing, achieved through diet, lifestyle, sleep and exercise. Having struggled for years with IBS and hormonal imbalance, and increasingly frustrated with the lack of support and helpful advice from her GP, Kelly began her own journey of healing the body from the inside out. After seeing huge improvements she quit her job to study nutrition and focus on harnessing the healing powers of food to help other people in similar situations. I am not attempting to prevent, treat or cure any physical, mental or emotional issues. Do not disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical advice because of information you have read on this website. Do not start or stop taking any medications without speaking to your primary health care provider.

  • Health Test Spotlight: Breath Test for Gut Problems including SIBO

    Did you know that up to 80% of IBS is caused by SIBO? Yet surprisingly, not many people have heard of it or even know what it is (including doctors!). The breath test is one of the easiest and least invasive tests available to diagnose gut health concerns. Easy to perform, but often underused, let's go over the most common FAQs. Sounds simple, is it really just my breath? Yes, it is simply that, your breath. It comes as a kit that can be done at home, and includes pouches to collect your breath before and after drinking a small amount of lactulose (a type of sugar). If the bad bacteria are present in your small intestine, they will consume the lactulose and release methane and hydrogen, which can be captured and tested in your breath. The breath test for gut problems really is one of the simplest and easiest diagnostic tools we have access to. What does it help to diagnose? We use it to diagnose SIBO - Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. SIBO symptoms are similar to IBS, but it has some stand out symptoms, especially being triggered by foods that are seen as healthy, such a fruit and vegetables. Extreme bloating after food that comes in quickly Foul smelling gas - often methane or sulfur smelling Experience trouble digesting fruit & vegetables Feel worse after eating carbohydrates Unexplained weight loss Diarrhoea Abdominal pain How quickly do I get results? We usually get our SIBO breath test results back in around 2 weeks. Can I get it on the NHS? It is possible yes, but you will likely need to be referred to a gastroenterologist. If SIBO is diagnosed, their treatment method will be up to 3 different types of strong antibiotics for several weeks. However, we have seen many times, that once you have been treated with strong antibiotics with no other gut supportive nutrients or probiotic protocol, its quite likely that you will get a recurrent infection or a relapse of SIBO within 6 months to a year How can the test help a health professional treat me? The test we recommend, the Geneva SIBO Profiles test, which takes multiple samples over a 2 or 3 hour window. This is so that clients who have a slower digestion period or have constipation can still get a decent sample to provide a diagnosis. Our gut health nutritionist and master SIBO practitioners are well versed in these tests and can use the report provided to create a comprehensive treatment plan. How has this test helped your clients before? In the case of SIBO, it is not very well known about, and therefore not often tested in conventional medicine. Many clients come to us thinking they have IBS or stomach ulcers, but the minute we go through their symptoms and it becomes clear that SIBO is the likely cause, it's often such a relief. SIBO can be methodically eradicated through diet and a supplement protocol. Once the bacterial overgrowth is managed, clients can return to eating the foods that gave them to much discomfort before. And as mentioned, the best part, is that the SIBO test is SO EASY! You can read about Becky, and her success in reducing bloating and fatigue after being diagnosed with SIBO. If you have any more questions about the breath test, feel free to get in contact with us today - book a free 20 minute call and we'd love a chat. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ Kelly Mulhall Registered Nutritional Therapist Dip CNM, mBANT, mANP, mCNHC Kelly is a Registered Nutritional Therapist who focuses on positive physical and mental wellbeing, achieved through diet, lifestyle, sleep and exercise. Having struggled for years with IBS and hormonal imbalance, and increasingly frustrated with the lack of support and helpful advice from her GP, Kelly began her own journey of healing the body from the inside out. After seeing huge improvements she quit her job to study nutrition and focus on harnessing the healing powers of food to help other people in similar situations. I am not attempting to prevent, treat or cure any physical, mental or emotional issues. Do not disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical advice because of information you have read on this website. Do not start or stop taking any medications without speaking to your primary health care provider.

  • Health Test Spotlight: Stool Testing for Gut Problems

    Yes I know it's not always comfortable to talk about poo, but today we're going to deep dive into stool testing for gut problems and what it can reveal about your health by answering the most commonly asked questions we hear. What exactly is a stool test and how does it work? Simply put - a stool test is where you collect your poo for a certain period of time, and then send it off to a laboratory to be tested. There are two types of common stool tests offered in the UK. The first is called a Culture Test, and this is normally what your GP performs. This test is when a sample of poo is smeared onto a petri dish and then analysed based on what bacteria grows in the dish. This test can be very useful but is very basic in terms of information gathered. For example, only bacteria that like oxygen will grow, not anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that live in conditions with no oxygen), so these tests won't always tell the full story. The second type of test uses PCR technology (Polymerase chain reaction - yes like Covid tests), which looks at the DNA level of what is present in the stool sample. This technology means nothing is missed - good bacteria, bad bacteria, parasites, infections, yeasts, worms etc can all be picked up. Who is the test suited for? Because the test is so thorough it can identify a whole range of causes based on a wide range of symptoms. Generally though, we use it when clients present with gut symptoms commonly associated with gut dysbiosis, IBS, IBD, parasitic infection or leaky gut. These symptoms include: Constipation Diarrhoea A sense of urgency that impacts your daily life Experience blood or mucous in your stools Acne or troubled skin Brain fog Recurrent thrush or candida Trouble digesting fatty foods A history of travel bugs or food poisoning Pain and/or cramping IBS or IBD New food sensitivities or allergies Collecting the sample sounds awkward, is it? So it's not quite the same as how you would normally go to the toilet, but the test is done in the comfort of your own home and comes with detailed instructions to make it as easy for you as possible. You are usually provided with a little tray to put the sample in and then you are provided with gloves and a mini scoop to put samples into various different test tubes. What if one of my symptoms is constipation, how can I do this test? The test is done over a few days, so you take the samples whenever you are able to go to the toilet. The are stored in a fridge in a special biochemical hazard bag. There is only time sensitivity to send the samples back once you have done the last sample as the tests need to be performed for certain parasites within a couple of days. A constipated stool will still provide a wealth of information for a nutritional therapist to work on. How can the test help a health professional treat me? The test we usually recommend is the Genova GI Effects (we do sometimes work with others too). It is probably the most comprehensive yet easy to understand stool test that is available. It analyses over 20 types of 'good' & 'bad' bacteria, it measures inflammation levels which may indicate more severe gut disorders, it tests for parasites, worms, yeast or fungal infections, it measures activation of immune markers, which helps us understand if there may be food or other allergens causing GI upset. It also gives us a wealth of information in relation to your digestive enzymes, they way you break down protein and fats, specific enzyme reactions related to hormones and the possibility of leaky gut. It really is worth every penny. A health professional well versed in these tests can then use the report provided to pinpoint the causes for the gut disorders and then provide a comprehensive treatment plan. For example, if we see there is an overgrowth of a certain bacteria group, we can work on diet related interventions to 'kill off' that bacteria which has been causing the gut disorders. If we see someone is lacking in enzymes and has poor breakdown of fats, we can work to improve bile flow and digestion through foods, supplements and herbs. I've read that it can be expensive? Due to its comprehensive nature, this test is not available on the NHS, so it is a private fee. Whilst it is an out of pocket expense, we've found time and time again that the information this test provides is totally invaluable, and will ultimately greatly improve or eradicate your gut symptoms. By completing a comprehensive stool analysis such as this, you can be almost certain you will understand the root cause of your gut disorders and IBS. On a side note, some private health insurance companies may be able to cover the cost. Please check with your insurer if they recognise practitioners who are covered by the CNHC. How long does it take to receive the report? It usually takes around 3 weeks to receive the report back. You can read more on the Geneva website. How has this test helped your clients before? We do this test with all of our clients that have IBS or gut disorders because of how useful it is. This test has helped us get to the root of hundreds of our clients health problems. In some instances its helped to find a parasite caused by food poisoning from 10 years prior, others an overgrowth of bad bacteria which has caused persistent gas and loose stools for 5 years, another time a travel bug collected on a childhood holiday which we were able to improve symptoms of! For one woman, she had been on such a restrictive diet with the most painful GI symptoms since 1996 (nearly 30 years!) that once we did this test and after a few months of working together, she was able to eat almost anything! It completely transformed her life. Most of our clients have all tried other avenues to improve their health or even GP stool tests - followed strict diets, had multiple rounds of antibiotics, blood and allergy tests, and many trips to GPs and who still weren't able to improve their health. If you are suffering with gut disorders and IBS, doing this stool test, really will change your life. You can read more in some of the below case studies: Martina, 31, Extreme Fatigue, Constipation, Acne, Hair Loss Rebecca, 32, IBS and Cystic Acne If you have any more questions about stool testing, feel free to get in contact with us today - book a free 20 minute call and we'd love a chat. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ Kelly Mulhall Registered Nutritional Therapist Dip CNM, mBANT, mANP, mCNHC Kelly is a Registered Nutritional Therapist who focuses on positive physical and mental wellbeing, achieved through diet, lifestyle, sleep and exercise. Having struggled for years with IBS and hormonal imbalance, and increasingly frustrated with the lack of support and helpful advice from her GP, Kelly began her own journey of healing the body from the inside out. After seeing huge improvements she quit her job to study nutrition and focus on harnessing the healing powers of food to help other people in similar situations. I am not attempting to prevent, treat or cure any physical, mental or emotional issues. Do not disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical advice because of information you have read on this website. Do not start or stop taking any medications without speaking to your primary health care provider.

  • Success Story: Jessica, Improved egg quality ahead of freezing, improved low energy & anaemia  

    “After finding out my AMH levels were low for my age, I wanted the security of knowing I had frozen eggs as a backup option. Gail gave me the tools to really identify ways I could specifically improve my egg quality ahead of this process, giving me the best chance of successful conception in my future.” What were her symptoms? Jessica came to me with a clear goal of maximising her diet and lifestyle ahead of freezing her eggs. She had recently done a blood test with her local GP which showed a lower AMH level than is considered normal for her age. This is a marker of her egg reserve, so it naturally caused her some concern around her future fertility. At 36 years old, she wasn’t in a relationship or at a point where she was considering having a child - although this was definitely something she wanted long-term.  She had already gone through one round of unsuccessful egg collection, where no eggs had matured to a high enough quality, so she wanted to give herself the best chance at a second collection. Alongside this, she had also previously experienced low iron levels and symptoms of anaemia, which resulted in low energy. Overall, she was really looking for guidance on a healthy, balanced diet and a supplementation protocol to support the egg freezing process. Her diet was predominantly  very healthy and she regularly worked out, although her stress levels from work were extremely high and during these times she would slip into slightly bad habits (eating high sugar snacks). Core symptoms: Low AMH and concerns around egg health & quality Low energy, brain fog and a lack of motivation Frequently low iron levels, which were confirmed via blood tests Where did we start? In order to get a good overview of Jessica’s current eating habits and lifestyle patterns I asked her to complete a comprehensive health questionnaire, 3 day food diary analysis and lifestyle and mood assessment. There were a lot of positives in Jessica’s diet and she had a really good understanding of how to build a healthy plate, food diversity and a fundamental awareness of the importance of nutrition. My key concern was to make sure the eggs she had were the best possible quality they could be. We started off by increasing her antioxidant intake via an uptake in fruit and vegetable consumption. Whilst she was already eating these daily, increasing the amount would drastically improve her micronutrient status. Jessica had been on the oral contraceptive pill for over 17 yrs and this invariably would have left her depleted in many nutrients needed for hormone balance, cycle regulation and optimal egg health. We focused on an anti-inflammatory diet rich in omega 3’s, wholegrains and fibre. I also added in more food sources of iron, with both meat and plant based options, as well as upping her consumption of vitamin C to help aid its absorption. This helped the underlying anaemia and reduced her feelings of low energy. The main detrimental factor of Jessica’s diet was her regular intake of alcohol. We looked to reduce this gradually across the 3 months we worked together, as it was something she enjoyed doing on a regular basis. The key issue with a higher consumption is that it can cause changes in ovulation, disrupt cycle length and even affect ovarian reserve. It can also be pro-inflammatory, backlog your detoxification processes and promote dehydration and cravings for energy dense foods. Key areas we targeted: Reduction in oxidative stress and inflammation to promote egg health Increasing fertility promoting nutrients in to her day to day diet and reducing refined/processed foods Supporting detoxification pathways Targeting the endocrine system to balance hormone levels What did we do long term? Over time we began to shift our focus towards Jessica’s lifestyle. Her job was causing her continued periods of stress and to cope with this she was turning to high intensity exercise. Whilst exercise can be extremely beneficial for egg health, over exertion can also have negative impacts. This is due to elevated cortisol levels, a hormone responsible for our stress response. A key priority was to down regulate Jessica’s nervous system by regulating and encouraging the parasympathetic nervous system - our relaxation state. She began to incorporate a daily mindfulness routine, including yoga and meditation, as well as switching her HIIT workouts for more strength based sessions and adding in recovery days. We also adapted her eating environment to encourage slower eating, away from distractions to make sure she was sufficiently digesting her food. Supplements to promote Egg Health In conjunction with her diet and lifestyle changes, I also recommended a bespoke supplements plan designed to target Jessica’s specific needs. Some of these included a high potency anti-inflammatory complex to boost the quality of her egg health, alongside a prenatal supplement and a sustainable omega 3. An egg takes approximately 3 months to mature and then ovulate. Having this time to work on diet and supplementation to ensure it has the right nutrients and environment to thrive can be crucial to improving the overall quality and chances of successful conception down the line. On top of this to help reduce her stress levels and work on her mental health, we incorporated some adaptogens. These plant-based extracts have been shown to reduce the negative effects of stress on the body by modulating certain tissues and organs to reduce the stress response and restore the natural balance. What changes did Jessica see? Jessica instantly began to feel more energised and had a distinct improvement in her concentration levels and overall mood. The reduction in alcohol per week meant she had far less groggy days, which allowed her liver to focus on detoxifying excess hormones and toxins. She felt she was able to manage work stress more effectively and could adapt much more efficiently. When it came to the egg stimulation process, Jessica found the hormone treatment much less gruelling and intense on her body than the first round she had been through. She ended up getting 8 healthy eggs in total, which was a marked improvement and a fantastic result. Her iron levels had also improved and she became much more aware of how much and which foods to consume to get the right amount. Here is what Jessica had to say... “I found out I had a low egg reserve and immediately panicked about my future fertility options. At this point I began researching egg freezing and decided it was the right choice for me. I went through one round, which was unsuccessful as I didn’t respond well to the stimulation treatment. I felt a bit lost at this point and started to think children weren’t going to be an option for me. This is when I began looking into nutrition and lifestyle factors to improve my odds. I found Gail online and we immediately clicked. She had gone through her own fertility journey and I knew she understood the lows that came with that. I always thought of myself as pretty healthy, but I didn’t realise how many factors can play into egg health and ultimately affect their quality. Gail gave me the knowledge to make lasting changes to my diet. She was so adaptable in her approach and continually modified my plan to suit me and make me more compliant. I had also consistently suffered with low iron levels and a subsequent lack of energy since my childhood. Gail ensured I was eating enough across my daily meals by regularly reviewing my food intake and giving me tips on ways to get more into my diet and improve its absorption. I started to feel a difference almost straight away, which really gave me confidence the diet plan was working. On top of this, I learnt how to support my body through exercise. Instead of doing more damage with repetitive gruelling exercises that were elevating my stress levels, I began to listen to what my body was telling me and started to take care of my mind, which was transformational. When it came to the egg collection, I felt prepared and empowered by my knowledge and armed with questions to get the correct advice from my healthcare provider. The treatment was successful and they managed to retrieve 8 healthy eggs, which I was so happy with given the past failed round. I am due to go through a final egg collection early this year and Gail continues to support me in preparation. She has been such a beneficial resource and I’m so grateful for all the advice she has shared”. If you're struggling with infertility, working with our fertility specialist can help you develop a nutrition plan that is tailored to your individual needs. Whether you're trying to conceive or simply looking to improve your health, eating a diet that is rich in fibre and other essential nutrients can provide important nutrition for fertility and pregnancy and support optimal hormonal balance. Gail Madalena Registered Nutritional Therapist, Fertility & Pregnancy Specialist Dip CNM, mBANT, mANP, mCNHC Gail Madalena is a registered nutritional therapist specialising in fertility, pregnancy and women’s health. Her expertise lies in hormonal imbalances, such as irregular cycles, debilitating PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, thyroid issues and sub-optimal fertility. Her goal is to reduce hormonal side effects and symptoms by addressing the root cause of the issue. Gail helps couples optimise your nutrition and lifestyle choices, supporting you on your journey to achieving a healthy pregnancy. At The Natural Balance we do not attempt to prevent, treat or cure any physical, mental or emotional issues. Do not disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical advice because of information you have read on this website. Do not start or stop taking any medications without speaking to your primary health care provider.

  • Success Story: Natasha: Positive pregnancy via IVF, improved weight loss, hormonal acne and eradicated BV

    Natasha's Success Story: "I’m now 7 months pregnant and can’t wait to meet my little miracle. I’m so grateful for Gail’s help and can’t recommend her enough. " What were her symptoms? When I started working with Natasha she had already been through an extensive fertility journey that had left her feeling exhausted, confused and ultimately disappointed with the multiple unsuccessful attempts to get pregnant both naturally and via IVF. This gruelling process was affecting her physical and mental health, leading to extensive periods of stress and poor diet and lifestyle choices. Her key symptoms included: Inability to conceive for over 5 years 7 rounds of unsuccessful IVF due to both male factors and her own poor egg health Recurring bacterial vaginosis Persistent PMS Hormonal acne Weight gain & high cholesterol Low energy, brain fog and low mood Extremely high levels of stress Natasha had a very high pressure and stressful job, which was causing her anxiety on a daily basis. She had a poor work/life balance and I could see that this level of continued stress was playing a big factor in her fertility struggles. She felt extremely confused by all the conflicting information she had received over the past few years and wanted someone to advise and guide her in a trusting and reliable environment. Another key concern for Natasha was her weight gain, as she knew this could have detrimental effects on IVF results. She was looking for support on weight loss in a healthy and sustainable way that would support her fertility journey and improve her chances of a viable pregnancy. Where did we start? Natasha completed a comprehensive food and lifestyle review, so I could assess her medical history, past testing results and look at any other systems of her body that may have been contributing to her presenting symptoms. It also allowed me to analyse her current eating habits, including nutrient status and portion control, as well as any supplements she was already taking. Natasha’s diet was lacking in core macro and micronutrients needed to support her fertility. She was eating excessive amounts of pro-inflammatory foods including red meats, dairy and processed foods containing added sugars, preservatives and empty calories. These types of foods can wreak havoc on our reproductive hormones, promote poor blood sugar control leading to weight gain, high cholesterol and mood related disorders. This way of eating can also cause an imbalance in our internal microbiomes (mouth, gut & vagina) which are essential in conception/pregnancy and something that was clearly out of sync due to her frequent BV infections. This indicated that her vaginal environment wasn’t optimal and could have been a factor in the unsuccessful implantation of embryos in past IVF procedures. At a basic level Natasha wasn’t consuming enough daily fruits and vegetables, which contain potent antioxidants that can reduce oxidative damage in our body. She also didn’t have enough diversity in what she was eating, choosing the same meals and snacks time and time again. She lacked sufficient wholegrains, fibre and anti-inflammatory foods that can all help with the detoxification process, hormone balance and optimising our microbiomes. For specific egg health she needed to switch her protein sources from inflammatory red meats, to leaner choices and plant based options such as eggs, fish, chicken, legumes, pulses and nuts & seeds. We also focused on smarter snack choices, removing processed foods that were having a negative effect on her blood sugar and switching to options that would nourish her body with additional nutrients - keeping her fuller for longer and limiting her weight issues. “Gail really helped me to identify areas of my diet that needed improving and educated me on all the key nutrients needed to boost egg health and improve my chances of conception via IVF.” Key areas we targeted: Eating 3 well balanced meals per day - focusing on the composition to include the right balance of fats, protein, complex carbs and plenty of fruits & vegetables. Eliminating refined sugars and simple carbohydrates Ensuring daily movement Putting in place a regular bedtime routine What did we do long term? Longer term we focused on small but efficient steps to reduce her levels of stress. Mindfulness was always an area Natasha had struggled with, so we started with easy wins in the form of daily walking, relaxing baths, reading and removing external stressors such as screens during eating and in the bedroom before sleep. Slowly we began to incorporate more breathwork, meditation and journaling to help process her anxieties and separate work from her home life. Natasha also started training 3 times per week with a PT, alongside alternative therapies including acupuncture and reflexology. Her energy levels began to return, her skin was clearer and she was losing weight at a steady but consistent pace. As her diet began to improve, we shifted our focus to other factors that could have been detrimental to her egg health and the upcoming transfer. This included removing environmental toxins that can disrupt the endocrine system & interfere with hormonal balance, such as plastic (BPA) exposure, pesticides, pollutants and synthetic compounds. We also worked on Natasha’s detoxification pathways to improve her elimination of excess hormones and toxins, as well as re-building her microbiomes with pre & probiotic foods and supplements. Supplements to help Egg Health & IVF Diet is fundamental to improving egg health and increasing the chances of conception. However supplementation can prove highly beneficial when used in conjunction with the right food choices. Natasha had been suffering with BV on and off for a number of months, so we ran a vaginal ecologix test to see what was at the root cause. She had high levels of inflammation, her beneficial bacteria was low and the pathogenic strains were dominant. This meant she had a hostile environment that would have lowered her chances of implantation and conception. We supported this with potent probiotics including lactobacillus, to improve the overall composition of her microbiome and to balance the pH levels to reduce acidity. I also added in some prebiotic support to make sure the beneficial strains of bacteria could thrive, both in the vagina and the gut microbiomes. “I was shocked at how quickly my symptoms resolved once I started taking the supplements. I’m so glad I did further testing to identify what was going on. I had no idea it could have been a factor in my fertility.’ As age was a consideration with Natasha, I included some additional antioxidant support to improve the quality of her eggs. I also put her on a better quality prenatal supplement, that contained more bioavailable nutrients including essential folate, choline, zinc, selenium and iodine. What changes did Natasha see? Within the first month of working together, Natasha could already see improved results in her energy levels, mood and weight. She was able to train more efficiently, without feeling drained afterwards and she was sleeping for longer periods of time and feeling much more rested upon waking. Natasha slowly began to adopt tools for managing her stress levels and could effectively put these in to practise to avoid periods of burn out. Her egg collection resulted in 12 mature eggs and 3 A grade embryos. Even though Natasha felt incredibly nervous during the transfer window, she was able to keep a positive outlook and maintain her new healthy habits. This resulted in her first successful transfer, giving her a positive pregnancy test result after the 2 week wait. I continued to work with Natasha throughout her early pregnancy, to advise what core nutrients were needed to support foetal growth and limit her feelings of anxiety. I’m happy to say that Natasha is now 7 months pregnant and really thriving in her experience so far. Here is what Natasha had to say... “I’d been trying for a baby for over 5 years and had gone through 7 rounds of failed IVF before I met Gail. I’d decided my next round of treatment would be my last, I was 46 and I just couldn’t take the heartache of another failed attempt. My morale was very low and in my mind this was my last ditch attempt at getting the baby I’d so longed for. I’d worked with a nutritionist prior to Gail, so I knew the importance of diet & lifestyle for a successful pregnancy. However, I wanted more targeted advice from someone who really specialised in this area and had experience and success rates in assisted reproductive techniques. I knew my age would be a factor against me, I was also struggling with persistent weight gain, hormonal imbalances, frequent vaginal bacteriosis and a lot of stress - both from my job and the mental toll infertility was taking on me. We worked together 3 months prior to my final egg collection and transfer. Gail really helped me to identify areas of my diet that needed improving and educated me on all the key nutrients needed to boost egg health and improve my chances of conception via IVF. Her focus was on my egg quality, as this was something that had been a negative factor up to this point. She gave me regular feedback via my food diary review and always recommended easy ways to switch or improve what I was eating. Most importantly was how she transformed my awareness to the detrimental effects of the stress I was experiencing. My job required long hours, periods of extremely high stress, anxiety and a persistent lack of sleep. It was affecting my mood, my weight - as I was making poor food choices and emotionally eating, my relationship with my partner and ultimately having negative effects on my fertility. I started exercising regularly, incorporating recovery and mindfulness via yoga and meditation. I also prioritised switching off from work each evening and putting in place a proper bedtime routine, which combined with the food changes Gail advised gave me so much more energy and focus. When it came to the collection and transfer I felt fitter and healthier than I had in years. Gail supported me in the dreaded 2 week wait and addressed all my worries and concerns, putting my mind at ease. When I did the pregnancy test I was so shocked to see it had worked and I was pregnant. I truly believe her advice and continued support was exactly what I needed to help me piece together multiple elements across my diet, lifestyle and finally break through all the confusion I'd been facing around fertility testing and treatment. I’m now 7 months pregnant and can’t wait to meet my little miracle. I’m so grateful for Gail’s help and can’t recommend her enough. If you're struggling with infertility, working with our fertility specialist can help you develop a nutrition plan that is tailored to your individual needs. Whether you're trying to conceive or simply looking to improve your health, eating a diet that is rich in fibre and other essential nutrients can provide important nutrition for fertility and pregnancy and support optimal hormonal balance. Book a Free Call with our Fertility & Pregnancy Nutritionist Gail Madalena Registered Nutritional Therapist, Fertility & Pregnancy Specialist Dip CNM, mBANT, mANP, mCNHC Gail Madalena is a registered nutritional therapist specialising in fertility, pregnancy and women’s health. Her expertise lies in hormonal imbalances, such as irregular cycles, debilitating PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, thyroid issues and sub-optimal fertility. Her goal is to reduce hormonal side effects and symptoms by addressing the root cause of the issue. Gail helps couples optimise your nutrition and lifestyle choices, supporting you on your journey to achieving a healthy pregnancy. At The Natural Balance we do not attempt to prevent, treat or cure any physical, mental or emotional issues. Do not disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical advice because of information you have read on this website. Do not start or stop taking any medications without speaking to your primary health care provider.

  • The Optimal Fertility Diet: Boost Your Chances of Conception Naturally

    Embarking on the journey to parenthood can be both exciting and daunting, with so many factors influencing the chances of conception. The good news is that there is a big one that you can control - both yours and your partner's diet. An optimal fertility diet centres on nourishing your body with foods that enhance reproductive cell health, promote hormone balance and overall health. The optimal fertility diet encompasses a rich variety of whole, fresh foods known for their nourishing nutrients. These include an abundance of vegetables and fruits, quality proteins like fish and eggs, beneficial oils and fats, plus nuts and seeds, and wholegrain carbohydrates. By adopting this dietary approach, you naturally boost your chances of conceiving by providing your body with the building blocks it needs for optimal reproductive function. The Key Components of an Optimal Fertility Diet Whole, fresh foods Focus on unprocessed, nutrient-dense foods - fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts, seeds, dairy products, meats, and fish. These foods provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support reproductive health and hormone balance. For example, leafy greens are rich in folate, while citrus fruits provide vitamin C, enhancing iron absorption and hormone levels. Quality Protein Protein is fundamental not just for reproductive function, but for overall health. Protein provides amino acids, the building blocks of our cells. For women, ensuring we eat enough protein helps to build and repair, but also stabilise blood sugars and therefore our hormone health. Hormone balance is crucial to ensure ovulation is occurring. Healthy sources of protein include fish, eggs, beans and lentils. For red meat, the best quality is ideal - lean cuts, preferably organic or grass fed. For fish, try to go for oily types such as mackeral, salmon and sardines which are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Healthy Fats and Oils Don't be afraid of fat, it's an essential part of a healthy diet. I know it can be confusing, and fat has received a lot of criticism. However, it is really easy to identify a good healthy fat. Healthy fats are found naturally in plants, seeds, nuts, fish and dairy. Stick to these. Think about things like oily fish like salmon or sardines, vegetables like avocados, soy beans and olives, and nuts like walnuts or macadamia nuts. Fats to avoid are excess cooking oils such as canola or vegetable oils, processed foods (these contain trans fats which are the worst kind), or excess animal fat such as a fatty cut of meat or bacon. Slow-Burning Carbohydrates We will never tell you to exclude an entire food group, but just like choosing healthy fats, choosing carbohydrates that are whole grain and less processed will provide your body the right type of energy source it needs. Go for carb choices that are whole grains such as brown rice or quinoa, or starchy vegetables such as sweet potato. These provide a sustained energy release (especially when paired with a healthy fat), which is vital to maintain stable insulin levels, supporting regular ovulation cycles. Avoid white and processed carbohydrates which is most food found in a packet. These foods too often contain trans fats mentioned above. Additional Dietary Adjustments for Improved Fertility Avoid processed foods, trans fats, and excessive sugar as these can disrupt hormonal balance. In general, avoiding these foods is associated with improved overall health regardless of whether you are trying to conceive. Moderate caffeine and alcohol intake, as they can affect fertility, as they spike blood sugars. Alcohol can also affect the overall quality of egg and sperm health. No more than 1-2 cups of coffee per day is recommended, and ideally no alcohol. Maintaining a Healthy Body Weight & Its Influence on Fertility When it comes to fertility, maintaining a healthy body weight is very important. It's not just about looking good or feeling fit, but also about keeping your hormonal balance in check for optimal reproductive function. Both being too heavy and being too thin can cause problems. Being overweight has been shown to negatively affect fertility by causing hormonal imbalances and problems with ovulation.  Specifically, being overweight can lead to an excess production of oestrogen, which can make it difficult to ovulate regularly. On the other hand, having too low a body fat percentage can also disrupt your hormone balance. Your body needs a certain amount of fat to make hormones like oestrogen. If you have too little fat, it can cause your periods to be irregular or stop completely, both of which make it harder to become pregnant. So what should you aim for? It's generally considered beneficial for fertility to have a Body Mass Index (BMI) in the normal range of18.5 - 24.9. This range is associated with regular ovulation and higher chances of getting pregnant, however, BMI does not take into account many personal factors so it's always best to check with a health professional. While everyone's experience with weight and fertility is different, it may be helpful to talk to a healthcare professional if you're having trouble reaching a healthy weight. They can give you personalised advice on diet and exercise that takes into account your fertility goals. The Role of Prenatal Nutrition in Preparing for Pregnancy When planning for a healthy pregnancy, making changes to your diet is crucial. These adjustments are important for the development of a healthy foetus and the well-being of the mother. One key nutrient is folic acid, which is a type of B-vitamin. It plays a vital role in preventing neural tube defects and supports the rapid growth of the placenta and foetus. It's recommended to start taking folic acid supplements before getting pregnant if possible. Prenatal vitamins are specially designed supplements that contain multiple nutrients needed during pregnancy. They usually include iron, calcium, iodine, vitamin D, and extra folic acid. These vitamins work together to support the growth of the baby and the health of the mother. Before taking supplements it's always best to speak to a health professional to ensure they work for you and your needs. The timing of prenatal nutrition is crucial. Ideally, you should start making changes to your diet and taking prenatal vitamins at least three months before you plan to get pregnant. This gives your body enough time to build up essential nutrients that will benefit both you and your future baby right from the beginning of pregnancy. Your fertility journey is yours alone. Advice exits to provide help and guidance, but you know your body best. If you think something doesn't feel right, health professionals are there to help. When it comes to fertility, it can be a minefield and can be very daunting, especially when you're so emotionally invested. By starting with a fertility diet and a holistic approach to health you're already making positive changes. Choosing a fertility diet is a positive and holistic way to improve your reproductive health. The power of whole foods cannot be emphasised enough - just check out our founder Kelly's own fertility journey here. Remember, the power of whole foods, which are packed with essential nutrients, cannot be emphasised enough for those trying to get pregnant. Let this guide be the starting point for your nourished and healthy path towards creating new life. If you are concerned about your fertility and would like to speak to our fertility nutritionist then please book a free call below. Gail Madalena Registered Nutritional Therapist, Fertility & Pregnancy Specialist Dip CNM, mBANT, mANP, mCNHC Gail Madalena is a registered nutritional therapist specialising in fertility, pregnancy and women’s health. Her expertise lies in hormonal imbalances, such as irregular cycles, debilitating PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, thyroid issues and sub-optimal fertility. Her goal is to reduce hormonal side effects and symptoms by addressing the root cause of the issue. Gail helps couples optimise your nutrition and lifestyle choices, supporting you on your journey to achieving a healthy pregnancy. At The Natural Balance we do not attempt to prevent, treat or cure any physical, mental or emotional issues. Do not disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical advice because of information you have read on this website. Do not start or stop taking any medications without speaking to your primary health care provider.

  • SIBO: Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth & The FODMAP Diet

    What is SIBO? SIBO - or Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth - is when gut bacteria that normally grows in the large intestine, moves up and proliferates in the small intestine. This causes food to break down much earlier on in its journey through the digestive tract. Similar to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), this causes painful symptoms such as cramping, bloating, gas and diarrhoea. In fact, 50% of IBS suffers also have SIBO. What causes SIBO? Similar to IBS, it is often caused by dysbiosis in the gut microbiome, aggravated after antibiotics, food poisoning or a travel bug, causing gut inflammation. Symptoms are similar to IBS This includes constipation, diarrhoea, severe bloating, possible cramping, gas, foul-smelling stools, sometimes blood in stools or sudden urgency to use the bathroom. In addition, because the bad bacteria are active higher up the gut, acid reflux, nausea, bad breath and increased difficulty digesting fats are also experienced. Testing for SIBO A GP can diagnose SIBO using two methods; firstly assessing symptoms provided by the patient and feeling the abdomen for excess gas, and secondly via a breath test that measures the amount of hydrogen and methane present. The hydrogen and methane are byproducts of the bad bacteria (gas). Alleviating with The FODMAP Diet It is a restrictive eating programme designed to reduce the symptoms by starving the bad gut flora of the food it loves, called fermentable carbohydrates, whilst restoring nutrition to the patient. In fact FODMAP is an acronym of these types of carbohydrates: Fermentable Oligosaccharides Disaccharides Monosaccharides And Polyols By starving the bad bacteria, it provides an opportunity to work on gut repair using herbal antimicrobials and supplements, whilst also repopulating the good gut bacteria with pre and probiotic foods. By restoring the balance the the small intestine, symptoms should ease, and through careful monitoring, prohibited foods can slowly be reintroduced. This will identify if there's a particular carbohydrate type causing problems. In addition to eliminating FODMAP foods, it is suggested to cut out other foods and beverages that often cause nausea and reflux: caffeine, alcohol, fizzy and soft drinks and fatty and oily foods. This will also aid in improving overall gut health. If you think you may have SIBO, why not reach out for a free consultation where we can discuss your symptoms together. _________________________________________________________________________ Kelly Mulhall Registered Nutritional Therapist Dip CNM, mBANT, mANP, mCNHC Kelly is a Registered Nutritional Therapist who focuses on positive physical and mental wellbeing, achieved through diet, lifestyle, sleep and exercise. Having struggled for years with IBS and hormonal imbalance, and increasingly frustrated with the lack of support and helpful advice from her GP, Kelly began her own journey of healing the body from the inside out. After seeing huge improvements she quit her job to study nutrition and focus on harnessing the healing powers of food to help other people in similar situations. I am not attempting to prevent, treat or cure any physical, mental or emotional issues. Do not disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical advice because of information you have read on this website. Do not start or stop taking any medications without speaking to your primary health care provider.

  • 5 Hidden Factors That Could Be Impacting Your Fertility

    As you navigate through the journey of trying to conceive, it's natural to feel overwhelmed and uncertain about what may be hindering your chances of getting pregnant. That's why we're here to shed light on some everyday factors that you may not have considered, but could be playing a major role in your fertility. So, grab a cup of tea and get ready to dive into this engaging discussion on how to improve your odds of conceiving. 1. How Poor Nutrition and Diet impacts your fertility A diet rich in processed foods can impact fertility negatively. These foods are often laden with additives and high-calorie content, fostering inflammation in the body. They offer scant nutritional value, which is critical for reproductive health. Furthermore, their frequent consumption can contribute to a higher Body Mass Index (BMI), adversely affecting crucial fertility indicators. Excessive sugar intake - this can trigger major fluctuations in blood sugar levels, initiating an amplified insulin reaction. This metabolic disruption may have a ripple effect on our reproductive hormones, manifesting as irregular menstrual cycles, non-existent ovulation, and suboptimal egg and sperm quality, impinging on overall fertility. Lack of nutrients, often seen in strict dietary regimens like veganism or other extreme diets that eliminate entire food groups, can lead to macro and micronutrient deficiencies, impeding fertility. Such dietary restrictions require smart eating habits and potential supplementation to prevent deprivation of key nutrients essential for optimising fertility. Lack of diversity in your diet - repeatedly consuming identical foods can curtail variety in micronutrient intake, resulting in nutrient deficits and disrupting gut and vaginal microbiome health, creating hormonal imbalances. Broadening the scope of food types, particularly fruits and vegetables of varying colours, can significantly enhance fertility potential. The emphasis should be on a rainbow diet for a favourable fertility outcome. 2. Sedentary Lifestyle and Lack of exercise Adopting a sedentary lifestyle - prolonged periods of inactivity can significantly contribute to an increase in BMI. This higher BMI can adversely affect both egg and sperm health, hindering fertility. It can also provoke habitual snacking, lead to diminished energy levels and productivity, and negatively impact sexual drive. Frequent, strenuous workouts, such as intense HIIT sessions or sustained endurance training, can increase cortisol levels, causing inflammation. Continuous strenuous exercise without adequate rest and recovery exacerbates the stress response. A very low BMI can negatively influence sex hormones and menstrual cycles, thus decreasing chances of conception. Moderation and balance are key for optimal health and fertility. Not achieving the recommended 10,000 steps a day can impact fertility. A balance is needed, rather than spending all day sedentary, followed by a burst of gym activity. Low impact activities such as walking, spread out throughout the day, offer fertility benefits. Regular, light movements improve weight control, glucose management, cognitive function, energy levels, and overall health. Incorporating calming exercises such as yoga into your routine serves as an effective stress relief tool. These restorative workouts aid in relaxation and mental disengagement, creating a balanced and serene mental state beneficial for fertility. 3. Chronic Stress Long-term stress can severely impact our reproductive health. It can virtually shut down our reproductive system, dramatically increase inflammation in our bodies, and interfere with essential hormones such as progesterone in women and testosterone in men. Having a good work/life balance is crucial. Without downtime from work-related stresses, it's vital to carve out daily moments to connect with loved ones, rejuvenating mentally and emotionally for overall well-being. One way to alleviate stress is through daily engagement in calming activities you find enjoyable. By dedicating just 5-10 minutes a day to practices such as painting, gardening, or simply breathing exercises, you encourage a shift from a 'fight or flight' mode to a 'rest and digest' state, which aids in regulating and balancing your reproductive system. Strive to incorporate a single mindfulness activity into your daily routine - be it yoga, a nature walk, expressive writing, meditation, savouring music, engrossing yourself in a good book, or a relaxing bath. 4. Lack of sleep and hormone imbalance Understanding what constitutes a healthy circadian rhythm is essential. It begins with a surge of cortisol in the morning to prompt wakefulness and encourage us to rise. This should then lead into stable production of serotonin, our mood-enhancing hormone, throughout the day. As evening approaches, these serotonin levels should trigger the production of melatonin, making us feel tired and ready for sleep. However, an overactive lifestyle often induces excessive cortisol spikes during the day and into the evening, which disrupts this rhythm and negatively impacts both our mood and sleep quality. Activities like checking work emails, indulging in social media or watching TV incessantly create information overload. This triggers cortisol spikes that disrupt serotonin and melatonin levels, leading to a delayed bedtime. Implement a fixed sleep schedule, adhering to it daily. Try incorporating relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga before bedtime. These activities help in unwinding, reduce cortisol levels, and foster a state conducive to quality sleep. * Refrain from eating at least 2 hours before bedtime since digestion can induce alertness, thus hindering sleep onset. Also, avoid intake of caffeine or alcohol near bedtime as they can interfere with your sleep rhythm. 5. Harmful Environmental Toxins Every day, we're subjected to numerous external toxins - including air pollution, insecticides, plastic materials, beauty products containing phthalates, various medications, and more. Regrettably, these substances can disrupt our endocrine system, causing hormone imbalances that may potentially affect our fertility. Consequently, it's imperative we reduce our exposure to such harmful substances. It's crucial to understand that these toxins can be everywhere, from the food we eat to the air we breathe, creating an inescapable cycle of exposure. Simple changes to our lifestyle can have profound effects, ensuring a safer, toxin-free environment. Top tips for reducing environmental toxins Implement practical steps like discarding plastic materials and opting for alternatives such as glass or stainless steel for storing food and beverages. Consider wooden utensils over plastic ones and avoid using non-stick cookware due to their harmful properties. Moreover, be mindful of the types of clothing and textiles you buy, as some fabrics undergo treatments with harsh chemicals. When redecorating, opt for eco-friendly, low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) paints to reduce toxin exposure. Drink filtered water to ensure you are not ingesting toxins often found in unfiltered tap water. Maintaining a well-hydrated body can also promote a healthy reproductive system. Invest in organic where possible such as opting for organically grown fruits and vegetables, which are produced without the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilisers. Organic meat and dairy are also a good choice as they come from animals that have been reared without the routine use of antibiotics, growth hormones or genetically modified feed. Try and replace your beauty and cleaning products with alternatives that use more natural ingredients .These alternatives often have fewer harsh chemicals and toxins, offering a gentler approach for your skin and home whilst simultaneously lessening your environmental impact. Look out for brands that openly list all ingredients and commit to eco-friendly practices. If you are concerned about your fertility and would like to speak to our fertility nutritionist then please book a free call below. Gail Madalena Registered Nutritional Therapist, Fertility & Pregnancy Specialist Dip CNM, mBANT, mANP, mCNHC Gail Madalena is a registered nutritional therapist specialising in fertility, pregnancy and women’s health. Her expertise lies in hormonal imbalances, such as irregular cycles, debilitating PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, thyroid issues and sub-optimal fertility. Her goal is to reduce hormonal side effects and symptoms by addressing the root cause of the issue. Gail helps couples optimise your nutrition and lifestyle choices, supporting you on your journey to achieving a healthy pregnancy. At The Natural Balance we do not attempt to prevent, treat or cure any physical, mental or emotional issues. Do not disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical advice because of information you have read on this website. Do not start or stop taking any medications without speaking to your primary health care provider.

  • Understanding the Role of Nutritionists in Managing Chronic Disease

    Chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, arthritis, diabetes, depression and diabetes are amongst the most common and costly of all health problems. They often persist over time and require continuous medical care, and significantly impact the quality of life for its sufferers. It is increasingly recognised that nutrition plays a crucial role in the prevention, progression, and management of these chronic conditions. But what does that really mean, and how can specialist support from a nutritionist help? Unveiling the Link between Chronic Disease & Nutrition The relationship between our dietary intake and chronic disease is a complex web of connections. Nutrition, a vital thread in our physiological tapestry, has a profound impact on our health. Imbalances or deficiencies in certain nutrients can disrupt our body's functions, potentially leading to chronic diseases. For example, diets laden with saturated and trans fats, sugars and excessive salt contribute to conditions such as obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. On the other hand, a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains can aid in preventing or managing these ailments. Understanding these nutritional intricacies and their potential implications on health is the first step towards preventing and managing chronic conditions. What we eat directly impacts our body's ability to fight off disease, repair and flourish. If your body doesn't have the vital nutrients, found in fresh fruit and vegetables, then it cannot operate properly. Essentially, it doesn't have the ammunition available to fight off disease effectively, making it more prone to illness. The Role of a Nutritionist in Chronic Disease Management A nutritionist is an expert who guides individuals on their dietary choices to reach specific health goals or maintain a healthy lifestyle. This expertise becomes indispensable when managing chronic diseases. They offer bespoke dietary advice, taking into consideration each individual’s unique health status, lifestyle, and food preferences. Their recommendations advocate for dietary changes which can potentially prevent, manage or even reverse chronic conditions. They also continually monitor the effectiveness of these nutritional strategies, making necessary modifications over time. This continual support can play a significant role in an individual's health trajectory. Nutritional Intervention in Specific Chronic Conditions Adapting dietary habits can significantly influence the management of specific chronic conditions. For instance, consuming a diet low in sodium but rich in potassium can assist in controlling hypertension. For individuals with diabetes, regulating carbohydrate intake and maintaining regular meal patterns can help stabilise blood glucose levels. Conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease or coeliac disease may necessitate avoidance of triggers like gluten or lactose. In such cases, a qualified gut health nutritionist is equipped to provide tailored guidance on these dietary adaptations, enhancing the effectiveness of disease management. Therefore, a nutritional therapists intervention, through personalised dietary advice, can be pivotal in managing these chronic conditions effectively. Empowering Patients through Nutritional Education Gut health nutritionists don't simply offer tailored diet plans; they're also educators, breaking down complex nutritional science into digestible knowledge. Their role involves debunking dietary misconceptions, providing handy hints for sustaining wholesome eating habits, and equipping patients with practical skills, such as understanding food labels, managing portion sizes or providing recipes. This educational aspect empowers individuals to make educated choices about their meals, fostering a sense of autonomy and encouraging active involvement in their health journey. Collaboration with Medical Professionals Often, nutritionists function as part of a multidisciplinary healthcare team, collaborating closely with doctors and other specialists. This integrative approach supports a comprehensive view of patient's health, ensuring all areas are accounted for when devising a treatment plan for chronic conditions. Such collaboration also enhances communication amongst care providers, which in turn facilitates better coordination in managing the patient's health journey. This integrated methodology plays a crucial role in bolstering the effectiveness of disease management, driving improved health outcomes for individuals living with chronic diseases. Emphasising the Holistic Approach to Health A nutritionist's approach to managing chronic conditions recognises the interconnectedness of the body's systems. They appreciate the symbiotic relationship between physical health, mental wellbeing, and nutritional status. Whilst nutrition is a core focus, it is not isolated; elements such as stress, sleep patterns, physical activity, and mental health are equally critical. Nutritionists support clients in understanding and managing these factors, promoting a balanced and integrated approach to wellbeing. They do not merely focus on the symptoms but consider the whole person, making them invaluable allies in the journey towards optimal health. By acknowledging and addressing this complex interplay of factors, nutritionists contribute significantly to the effective management of chronic conditions. Their role underscores the importance of a holistic outlook on health, fostering long-term improvement and sustainable health outcomes. Is your diet and lifestyle supporting your body to run at its optimum? Concerned about chronic disease? Why not book a free 20 minute consultation with one of our trained specialist and let us help you today. _________________________________________________________________________ Kelly Mulhall Registered Nutritional Therapist Dip CNM, mBANT, mANP, mCNHC Kelly is a Registered Nutritional Therapist who focuses on positive physical and mental wellbeing, achieved through diet, lifestyle, sleep and exercise. Having struggled for years with IBS and hormonal imbalance, and increasingly frustrated with the lack of support and helpful advice from her GP, Kelly began her own journey of healing the body from the inside out. After seeing huge improvements she quit her job to study nutrition and focus on harnessing the healing powers of food to help other people in similar situations. I am not attempting to prevent, treat or cure any physical, mental or emotional issues. Do not disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical advice because of information you have read on this website. Do not start or stop taking any medications without speaking to your primary health care provider.

  • Eat Well, Live Well: Decoding the Secrets of Healthy Eating for Londoners

    London's vibrant food scene offers a tempting array of flavours and cuisines from around the world. However, maintaining a balanced diet can prove to be a challenge when living in a busy city. Eating well is crucial for our overall well-being so let's look at the top secrets to eating well - and healthy! - in London. Understanding What Constitutes a Balanced Diet Think of a balanced diet as a buffet of diverse foods that offer the correct proportions of nutrients your body requires to operate efficiently. This nutrition-packed assortment should ideally include carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Here's a simple rule of thumb to help you visualise: imagine your plate divided into quarters. Populate half of it with colourful fruits and vegetables, a quarter with wholesome grains, and the remaining quarter with lean proteins. It's a nourishing mix that serves up optimal health benefits! The Benefits of Eating a Balanced Diet Feasting on a balanced diet is akin to embarking on a wellness voyage. The rewards are manifold; it fortifies your immune system, ensuring that pesky bugs are kept at bay. It's also your best ally for maintaining a healthy weight, while warding off the spectres of chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and even certain types of cancer. But that's not all! It's a secret weapon for superior sleep, an enhanced mood, and laser-sharp memory and concentration. Plus, you can say goodbye to afternoon energy slumps and say hello to invigorating vitality. Eating well is indeed living well! Essential Nutrients and Their Sources A nourishing diet is loaded with essential nutrients that keep you fit and energetic. Carbohydrates, residing in foods like wholegrains and starchy vegetables are your go-to energy providers. Proteins, present in foods such as meat, eggs, beans and lentils, are crucial for tissue repair. Healthy fats, which you can find in avocados, fish, and nuts, aid cell growth. Then there's vitamins and minerals, your body's defenders. They're key for a robust immune system, bone well-being, and energy creation, and are abundantly found in fruits and veggies. So, next time you're planning your meals, ensure they're crammed with these health-boosting nutrients. Achieving Balance in Everyday Meals Incorporating variety into your daily meals can aid in achieving a dietary balance. Start your day on a wholesome note with a breakfast of porridge teamed with fresh fruits. At lunch, indulge in a vibrant salad packed with lean protein. Evenings can see you enjoying a hearty mix of protein, lush vegetables, and nutrient-dense whole grains. And don't forget to include a couple of servings of dairy or equivalent alternatives daily to meet your calcium needs. Balancing your meals has never been easier or more delicious! Hydration Is Key for Overall Well-being In the whirlwind of city life, hydration often takes a backseat. Yet, it's fundamental to our health. Water acts as the body's internal cooling system, aids in digestion and detoxification, and ensures efficient nutrient absorption. So, make it a habit to drink at least one litre of water daily, or more if you lead an active lifestyle. And it doesn't just have to be plain water. Get creative and enjoy herbal teas, infuse your water with fruit for added flavour, or savour a warm bowl of soup. So, Londoners, remember to hydrate; it's a simple yet effective way to boost your well-being (and no, coffee doesn't count!). The Importance of Regular Exercise In the puzzle of achieving optimal health, physical activity is another essential piece. Alongside a nourishing diet, regular exercise brings a host of perks. It can help keep your weight in check, boost your mood, and enhance your energy levels, all while guarding against chronic illnesses. Whether it's a brisk walk in one of London's beautiful parks, a high-intensity spin class, or a rejuvenating yoga session, try to incorporate at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise into your daily routine. It's an investment that pays dividends in the form of increased vitality and well-being. I love walking to meet friends instead of riding the tube or a busy bus, and it's an easy way to hit those 10,000 steps. I Hear You, You're Busy, So Where Is Actually Healthy To Eat? There are healthy options all around, you've just got to be savvy. When you're on the go... Always check the ingredients list. If it's long or contains words you can't pronounce it definitely has too many additives or is too refined. Pret, Leon, Itsu are often healthier choices than fast food. The food is fresh, and usually prepared on site, and they have options that include leafy greens, veggies and healthy proteins. The salads at Pret or the new rice boxes at Leon are good places to start. 3pm hits and you want a snack. Go for something yummy but nutrient dense to get you through till dinner. The little snack pots at Pret are great, or fruit or veggie sticks with hummus or a nut butter. Keep the nut butter in your work locker and pop out for some carrot battons from the supermarket. When you're at home... Check out your local greengrocer or corner shop. They often have reasonably priced fruit and veg and many stock a more diverse range than what you would find at Tesco Express! Have you tried a vegetable box delivery? Oddbox, Able & Cole, Riverford just to name a few all deliver in London. This means there is always fresh fruit and veg in your house ready to be eaten! Try and do a weekly or fortnightly shop. This way you'll plan our your meals and likely make healthier choices. If you shop each night after work you're going to make poor decisions as you're hungry, tired and stressed from a busy day. Leading a busy city life and not sure how to change up your lifestyle? Why not book a free 20 minute consultation with one of our trained specialist and let us help you today. _________________________________________________________________________ Kelly Mulhall Registered Nutritional Therapist Dip CNM, mBANT, mANP, mCNHC Kelly is a Registered Nutritional Therapist who focuses on positive physical and mental wellbeing, achieved through diet, lifestyle, sleep and exercise. Having struggled for years with IBS and hormonal imbalance, and increasingly frustrated with the lack of support and helpful advice from her GP, Kelly began her own journey of healing the body from the inside out. After seeing huge improvements she quit her job to study nutrition and focus on harnessing the healing powers of food to help other people in similar situations. I am not attempting to prevent, treat or cure any physical, mental or emotional issues. Do not disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical advice because of information you have read on this website. Do not start or stop taking any medications without speaking to your primary health care provider.

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