Doctor, where and when did my Hashimotos start? Why did nobody diagnose it before?
These are frequently asked questions.
Perhaps looking at the different stages of Hashimoto’s will help you answer this question.
Your genes make you more prone to developing Hashimoto’s. Thyroid function is normal and no attack on thyroid gland, antibodies are not present on bloods
Your TSH is normal but antibodies are now detectable in your bloods. An ultrasound might show Hashimoto’s changes.
The thyroid gland loses some of its ability to produce thyroid hormones and TSH might be slightly elevated. T3 and T4 is still normal. More symptoms of hypothyroidism will be noted now
The thyroid has now lost is capability to produce thyroid hormones and TSH, T4 and T3 will now be abnormal. This is often the stage where hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s is diagnosed.
There is a progression of the autoimmune response and other autoimmune diseases might now also be diagnosed.
So, if you track your progression into Hashimoto’s, you might realise that this has been a development over many decades or years.
For assistance with your Hashimoto’s please contact Dr Marike de Klerk on
071 610 2852 at Naturopathic health care centre.
By Dr. Marlo Swanepoel
What is biopuncture?
Biopuncture is a therapy consisting of injecting homeopathic products into specific areas in order to stimulate the bodies’ natural and own healing properties. Most of these injections are given under the skin or in the muscles. In most cases, several small injections are given in a specific area or areas in a single session. Biopuncture also focus a lot on homeotoxicology, which means, the toxin accumulation in the body, which may block the natural responses such as immune system or the reflex responses of your nervous system (in simple terms it aids detoxification) which helps a lot when it comes to chronic diseases.
It is important to remember that biopuncture cannot be compared to conventional injection therapy such as cortisone or pain killers. Biopuncture is not an aniti-inflammatory nor is it a pain killer. It is a remedy which works on repairing and healing, by stimulating the bodies’ natural functions.
For example, in some cases such as in degenerative conditions (eg. early osteoarthritis) which is caused by overuse and chronic low grade inflammation, the use of biopuncture may cause an acute inflammatory response which will lead to increase in blood flow, increase in cytokines and macrophages which will lead to remodelling and repair and it may stop the chronic low grade inflammation which will reduce the degeneration process.
Conditions where Biopuncture may be indicated include (just to mention a few):
Musculoskeletal injuries of problems
An interesting and well explained article written by Dr. Lee Wolfer, MD Integrative Sports, Spine and Wellness Medicine you might want to read
We have all been ‘stressed’ at some point or another about various upcoming events like deadlines at work or emotional upsets in our private life. Feeling stressed can be totally normal and has benefits such as the fight and flight response which can set in motion a physiological response to protect you from harm.
This stress response is particularly important in a life or death situation often experienced by our hunter-gatherer ancestors when being faced with a predator like a lion, these physiological changes such as a faster heart rate and increase glucose to the skeletal muscles enabled them to either run away or fight for survival.
This is an example of an acute stress response and once the threat is over, hormones involved in this response (ephedrine,dopamine and norephidrine) return to normal levels and we return to a state of rest.
In today’s modern age stress is often not that simple or fleeting, with the stress responses often becoming chronic and repetitive (high volume and stressful work load, upcoming deadlines or an abusive relationship where the stressor becomes chronic). Stress can motivate us to get up from the couch and sit down in front of our desk and get some urgent work done, but it can also trigger the chronic stress response called the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal axis, which causes chronically elevated levels of cortisol that floods your system and has adverse health effects.
For most people the stress response is fleeting and once the ‘threat’ has been dealt with, we can stop worrying. For people with GAD, the worry does not go away, and they feel stressed for prolonged periods of time without there always being a clear reason for their worry or concern.
Steadman’s medical dictionary defines anxiety as: “Vague uneasy feeling of discomfort or dread accompanied by an autonomic response (the source often non-specific or unknown to the individual); a feeling of apprehension caused by an anticipation of danger.”
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical manual 5th edition, an individual can be diagnosed with GAD if they have:
A. Excessive anxiety and worry, occurring more days than not for at least 6 months, about a number of events or activities,
B. The person finds it difficult to control the worry,
C. The anxiety and worry are associated with three or more of the following six symptoms:
The exact cause of anxiety is poorly understood, but scientists believe that there are various contributing factors such as a genetic predisposition to develop anxiety as well as environmental factors (which can be current conditions or a past traumatic experience).
The human genome project was completed in 2003 and has identified several genes that are believed to play a significant role in the development in GAD. These genetic markers include, but are not limited to:
1. Catechol-O-Methyltransferase (COMT) gene: The COMT gene is responsible for encoding the COMT enzyme which plays an important role in regulating dopamine levels in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. COMT Val158Met snippet plays a very important role in the way dopamine is metabolised. The Met/Met variant produces less of the COMT enzyme which translates to decreased metabolism of dopamine. Higher than normal dopamine levels are associated with increased anxiety and anxiety related disorders.
2. Brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF): Researches believe that this gene plays a role in the regulation of the stress response. The BDNF Val66Met snippet is believed to play a role in the stress response, individuals with decreased levels of BDNF in the cerebrospinal fluid are more likely to develop an anxiety related order following a psycho-social stress response.
Natural treatment protocols for the management of GAD:
4. Homeopathy: A carefully selected single similimum remedy that can mimic the symptoms associated with GAD, can treat the underlying cause without the harmful side effects of commonly prescribed anti-anxyolitics.
GAD is a serious mental health disorder that requires medical attention just like any other health condition. Treatment of GAD should be a holistic approach with a multidisciplinary approach as well as the necessary diet and lifestyle interventions to restore optimal health and mental well-being.
“It is time to tell everyone who is dealing with a mental health issue that they are not alone and that getting support is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength.” -Michelle Obama-
DNAnalysis and genetic testing or Homeopathic consultations for GAD:
Dr. Chantell Groenewald (M. tech Hom UJ)
The Naturopathic Health are Center.
012 460 9216
Psychotherapy for GAD:
Kevin & Elise Fourie
Counselling Psychologists / Voorligtingsielkundiges
MA Counselling Psychology (Stell) // MA Voorligtingsielkunde (Stell)
Tel: (012) 348-7393 / 1342
Fax to mail: 0866 749 636
Elise: 082 600 5812
Kevin: 083 448 9436
*Disclaimer. This article in no way serves as a diagnosis or treatment for GAD, nor does it serve to replace a consultation with a registered health care professional. Opinions in this article are those of Dr. Chantell Groenewald based on her own research and professional training. Individuals who suspect they may be suffering from GAD should seek attention from a qualified practitioner before using any supplementations or therapy protocols mentioned in this article. GAD is a serious medical condition and requires profession health care.
By. Dr. Marlo Swanepoel
M-tech Hom (UJ)
With Autoimmune diseases being a big interest of mine, I thought I would give you a brief and simple overview of how I see autoimmune diseases and hopefully bring some hope as to how it can be managed and treated naturally.
What is an autoimmune disease?
To oversimplify this, autoimmune diseases are inflammatory conditions where your immune system attacks yourself.
You see, normally your immune system should protect you from invaders such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites by sending out an army of soldiers whose job it is to fight off, kill or neutralise the threat.
Your immune system can normally do this very well and effectively as it can differentiate between foreign or abnormal cells and your own healthy cells, thus it kills off the invaders and leaves your own cells alone. BUT with an autoimmune disease, the body loses the ability to differentiate between normal and abnormal and thus mistakenly start to attach the body's cells.
There are many autoimmune diseases. Although a lot is known about autoimmune diseases many of them are still poorly understood. Some autoimmune diseases will only target a specific organ or system where others will cause a systemic invasion, meaning it goes all over.
How does an autoimmune disease occur?
As I mentioned, the exact cause is not completely understood or even known. Your immune system is extremely complicated and, in my opinion, it has more integrated parts than any other system in your body. Although the basic function of an immune system is the same in all humans, not a single person’s immune system is identical.
Think about it, even identical twins will not have the same immune system functionality, for simple reasons like, we were not all exposed to the same things throughout our lifetimes.
Some studies showed that women are twice as likely to develop an autoimmune disease compared to men. Some ethnic groups are more prone to develop specific autoimmune diseases. Some autoimmune diseases run in families, but that being said not all family members will develop the same autoimmune disease and some will not develop an autoimmune disease at all.
So yes, genetics might play a role in this whole debacle, but it most certainly is not the be-all and end-all. In fact, some doctors believe that genetics only play a 20%-25% role in the development of autoimmune diseases. Many of these diseases are increasing in frequency in especially industrialised countries, which brings us to other causes or contributing factors.
These include: environmental factors i.e. toxins, diet, inflammation, infection and so the list goes on. Some studies even hypothesise that the development of autoimmune diseases might be linked to vaccines and antiseptics, as this might cause the immune system to overreact to a harmless substance.?
So, if we don’t really know what causes an Autoimmune disease how do I treat it?
Once again, I oversimplify, but the way I see an autoimmune disease is as an inflammatory process. This inflammation is a direct response of the immune system that never shuts down. You see, acute inflammation is a good thing.
Let say you get the flu. Your immune system will release all kinds of chemicals and recruit all kinds of cells to kill this virus. One of the responses is inflammation, which will lead to a fever. This happens to be one of the best natural ways to kill off any invaders. Once the threat has been neutralised, the inflammatory response will decrease and shut down and continue to patrol the perimeter, until it sees the next threat.
However, with an autoimmune disease, the inflammatory response is never switched off. Yes, the intensity decreases but a low-grade inflammation is present 24/7. This is where and when things go haywire.
So, for me personally in my practice, I treat autoimmune diseases based on 4 pillars.
The Four Pillars of treating an Autoimmune disease
1st you must Remove any possible triggers of the autoimmune disease. This may be food sensitivities, infection, heavy metals, etc.
2nd Control the inflammatory response. Once you stop the continuous inflammatory response the immune system can rest and reboot. I always think about this as someone going to war. If you are sleep deprived and in constant fight mode you might just end up hurting one of your own.
3rd you need to start Repairing your immune system. One of the ways I do this is by diet. Go read my previous article on leaky gut (http://www.naturopathichealthcarecentre.co.za/articles/leaky-gut). Remember 70%-80% of your immune system is located in your gut. This means that if your gut is healthy, your immune system might just be healthy too. Which is why repair and control goes hand-in-hand.
4th I always try to Balance and support your immune system. This might include a few supplements to optimise the immune system functionality, but NEVER forget the power of sleep and exercise. Relaxation is just as curtail, as stress will only cause an increase in adrenalin and cortisol which will result in a tired, overworked and misfiring immune system.
Dr Marike de Klerk M.Tech Hom (UJ)
A holistic consultation might be different from your experience with a general practitioner.
Homeopaths pride themselves on the fact that they have time to spend with a patient. It is a necessity to understand what is wrong with the patient, where ailments might be originating from as well as what the expected outcome could be and what the patient needs from the practitioner.
A consultation is usually an hour long and you can expect the homeopath to ask many questions concerning many aspects of your life and the ailment that brought you to the practice. A detailed history about previous ailments as well as where you grew up and under what conditions will also be essential. The more information you have to offer the homeopath the more directed they can treat, so if you have a diary or can write down a symptom list and bring to the consultation, it will be of great help. A list of medications that are being taken currently needs to be reported as well.
I use biomeridian testing as well as live blood analysis as added tools for a more accurate diagnosis. This does not replace a comprehensive history taking or a physical examination but may offer extra clues to establish a diagnosis.
When your consultation is concluded you should have a much better idea of what your diagnosis is, what might be the cause and most importantly, what is the plan for the future to get you back to your healthy self.
Be prepared to spend time in the consulting room, relax and give as much information as you have, never feel silly or that it is not important. A small fact might just give the clue needed to resolve your health issues. Most importantly, we want to be your partner in your health journey, so, what is important to you, is important to us.
By: Dr. Chantell Groenewald
M. Tech Hom UJ
Acne, also know as acne vulgaris, is a common skin condition that occurs when the hair follicle and accompanying oil gland becomes blocked by dead skin cells, dried oil secretions and bacteria. This results in either:
1. Non-inflammatory acne: blackheads and whiteheads, or
2. Inflammatory acne: pastules, pimples, cysts and sometimes abscesses.
Acne most commonly starts around puberty due to increasing hormone levels, particularly testosterone which stimulates oil glands to produce excessive amounts of oil. Several other conditions that affects hormone levels can also cause acne, this includes:
Here are 10 natural treatment protocols that may be useful in treating acne due to hormonal imbalances:
1. Supporting phase 1 and 2 detoxification of the liver. The liver is responsible for metabolising our hormones, so supporting liver detoxification often results in improvement of hormonal imbalances. Some conventional treatment protocols for acne can be hepatotoxic, which can further aggravate hormonal imbalances in the long run.
2. Eat 5-7 servings of vegetables per day. Cruciferous and allium vegetables such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, onions, garlic and cabbage contains a substance called sulphorophane which can assist in phase 2 detoxification of the liver
3. Anti-oxidants help neutralize harmful metabolites from hormone metabolism. There are various products on the market, however a diet rich in color spectrum vegetables and berries has a potent anti-oxidant effect.
4. Herbals such as chaste berry can assists in managing hormonal imbalances.
5. Ecchinatia premium can help manage acne with a secondary bacterial infection.
6. Anti-inflammatory products such as omega 3 and curcumin can reduce inflammation associated with inflammatory acne.
7. Adaptogens such as ashwaganda can assist in stress management.
8. Homeopathy. Several homeopathic remedies can assist in the treatment of acne. A remedy can be chosen based on an individuals specific symptom picture.
9. A gut healing diet that includes anti-inflammatory foods and plenty of gut healing probiotics can assist in the treatment of acne.
10. A natural skin care regime with home made facial products. This should include gentle exfoliation, natural face wash and facial masks as well as applying products that can combat inflammation and infection such as a good quality tea tree oil.
The skin is a reflection of our overall health. A glowing healthy skin reflects a glowing healthy system whereas acne ridden skin is often an indication of underlying imbalances which should be addressed. Suppressing acne symptoms can clear your skin but the underlying problem is often not resolved and the acne can return once treatment is stopped. Careful examination of each individual and a holistic approach often yields the most favourable and permanent results.
DR. Chantell Groenewald
M. Tech Hom (UJ)
What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovarian syndrome is the most common hormonal disorder affecting women of child bearing age. It is a chronic disease affecting the functioning of the ovaries causing excessive male hormones to be secreted and is characterized by:
What causes of PCOS?
The cause for PCOS is poorly understood, but genetic and environmental factors seem to play an important role. There is a hormonal dysregulation at play, which includes
What are the diagnostic criteria for PCOS?
The current diagnostic criteria for PCOS is at least two of the three following characteristics:
What are the signs and symptoms of PCOS?
The signs and symptoms of PCOS varies from one woman to the next. Here is a list of the most common symptoms:
What are the natural treatment protocols for PCOS?
1. Losing weight
This is vital in controlling insulin sensitivity, reversing insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome (triad of elevated insulin, cholesterol and blood pressure) and will aid in controlling the production of excess androgens by the ovaries. A carefully selected diet may assist in weight loss. There are various options including low carbohydrate, intermittent fasting, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic eating programs to choose from. The correct eating plan can reduce inflammation and help control insulin levels and manage dysregulation of hormones.
2. Controlling stress
Excess cortisol produced by the adrenal glands during periods of high stress has a profound effect on our hormones. Long term expose to higher than normal levels of cortisol translate into insulin resistance, weight gain and hormonal imbalances. Getting enough sleep is also vitally important in regulating cortisol levels.
There are various supplements that can aid in controlling blood sugar, reducing excess androgen production and balancing female hormones. A qualified practitioner can prescribe the correct supplements to help manage each individual case. Some supplements that have been suggested to benefit cases of PCOS include:
I.Chaste Tree: May be beneficial in regulating erratic ovulation, acne, oligomennorrhoea and amenorrhoea, ovarian cysts and assist in sleep maintenance.
II.Inositol: specifically, myo-inositol, is a vitamin like substance found in many plants and produced in our bodies. There are various studies that illustrates the beneficial effects of myo-inositol in the treatment of PCOS.
III.Vitamin D: Vitamin D deficiency effects an estimated 60-70% of people. The only way to test if you are vitamin D deficient is by doing a blood test (supplementing without confirmed deficiency is dangerous and should be done under the supervision of a primary health care physician). Vit D plays an important role in maturation of eggs and ovulation.
IV.Folic acid, omega 3, calcium, magnesium, zinc, n-acetylcysteine and chromium are a group of supplements that may be beneficial in the treatment of PCOS.
There are various case studies that demonstrates the beneficial effects of specific homeopathic remedies to aid in the treatment of PCOS. Following a consultation, a homeopath can prescribe a remedy that suites each individual case.
Moderate exercise assists in both stress management and weight loss, which aids in controlling cortisol as well as insulin levels.
PCOS is a silent disorder with an estimated 50% of woman being not being diagnosed correctly. The potential long-term health risks of PCOS include sleep apnoea, endometrial cancer, fatty liver disease, type 2 diabetes, cardiometabolic disease and more. There are several ways to naturally balance our hormones and reverse the effects of PCOS
WHAT IS LIVE BLOOD ANALYSIS?
LIVE BLOOD ANALYSIS, ALSO KNOWN AS NUTRITIONAL OR DARKFIELD MICROSCOPY , IS IN ESSENCE THE ANALYSIS OF LIVING BLOOD UNDER A POWERFULL MICROSCOPE, CONNECTED TO A CAMERA.
Live blood testing enables us to see exactly how one’s blood behaves in the body, giving a clear picture of health at cellular level. The aim of the practitioner is not to make a diagnosis from patterns seen but rather but to see what the biological terrain is manifesting with.
“Terrain” in the blood can be likened to a vegetable garden, the terrain being the soil, where the vegetables will flourish in healthy soil and will be free of disease and parasites. Similarly in the body, if the terrain is healthy, bacteria, fungi and parasites will be repelled, metabolic processes will proceed unhindered and disease will not be enabled. By examining the live blood one can identify aberrations in the terrain, address it and prevent or correct current imbalances and diseases.
The examination of live, capillary blood has been performed by researchers all over the world for many years. It is a quick and efficient way of assessing the health of the patient. A drop of blood is examined under a special microscope which has which has both light and dark field options. Very quickly one can see terrain imbalances such as toxicity, immune disorders, gut issues and cholesterol and so on.
The difference between having blood analysed by a chemical laboratory and viewing live blood, is that one can assess the functioning of blood cells in a live blood analysis consultation. In contrast the fixed stained cells are analysed in the chemical laboratory, measured against a standard, interpreted and sent to your practitioner whom can than issue a prescription. Seeing your blood on a live blood screen enables the practitioner to describe your terrain and also for the patient to participate in the discussion.
According to what is viewed, your practitioner will then be able to suggest lifestyle changes, nutritional supplements, homeopathic or functional treatment to correct these imbalances.
Book your free session with Dr Marike de Klerk M.Tech Hom (UJ)
email@example.com or call us on 012 460 9216/7/8
By: Dr C Groenewald M.Tech Hom (UJ)
Holistic healing focuses on addressing the root cause of a disease and not only the symptom itself, using vitamins, minerals, nutritional medicine, diet, exercise and homoeopathy.
The body is an amazing organism, striving continuously towards homeostasis. When homeostasis is threatened, your body will find a way to notify you - in the form of ‘symptoms and signs’.
Each sign and symptom has a root cause, for example: if you drink a headache tablet for a headache, you are addressing the symptom only, leaving the underlying cause untreated. Finding and addressing the cause, will lend itself to a permanent cure.
To further illustrate this point, let us look at weight gain, as an example:
Underlying causes of unchecked weight gain may include:
Trying to correct the weight gain (a sign) with various diets and exercise programmes, will not resolve the underlying cause of the weight gain, and often patients may become very disheartened, when strict lifestyle changes yields little to no results. Find the cause, treat the cause and resolve the symptom.
Who can benefit from this approach? EVERYONE, including patients who
How do you start this journey? Contact us for an appointment which involves:
1. A 1-hour consultation with a qualified healthcare practitioner;
2. A complete medical history and health assessment;
3. Follow up consultation to assess your blood work, set up a treatment plan and nutritional plan;
4. Monthly follow up as required.
“The highest ideal of cure is the speedy, gentle and enduring restoration of health by the most trustworthy and least harmful way.” -Samuel Hahnemann-