This episode brings you some information about your immunity health and also women’s health, with Natalie Cruttenden.
On this episode, find out who Natalie is, her vast work experience and interests.
Natalie also shared with us her thoughts on women’s menstrual cycle and its impact on physical performance.
Other interesting notions from functional pathology to body types and hormones. What should you be eating?
Tips on this episode on how to boost your immunity health, is not to be missed~
Yeah, exactly. It’s perfect that way. So yeah. That app. It’s called FitrWoman. F I T R woman. I love it.
Yes, it does. So your adrenals actually need some carbohydrates to be healthy.
There’s a lot going on and things that are in research right now in vitamin C in relation to COVID.
Natalie Cruttenden is a naturopath with over 20 years’ clinical experience. Natalie also spent a number of years working as a Registered Nurse at the Royal Women’s Hospital, which proved invaluable to her naturopathic practice.
Find Natalie here at Resonance Complementary Therapies
Episode 059 : Immunity and women's health with Natalie Cruttenden
Podcast brought to you by Jurmaine Health
Welcome to our JURMAINE HEALTH podcast where the Center for brain and body improvement and our team believes that everyone should live their best life in the best body and with their best brain.
Hi, NATALIE, how are you today?
I'm well how are you?
Thank you so much for coming on the podcast or maybe this might become a video. The reason why I have you and quite a number of people on board about gut health is because different people will have different expertise on gut. I mean across the board, it will be quite similar, but there are slight differences and I also want to know a little bit about that. Also because it's it, it is COVID and we just happen to hit the COVID season or phase of getting people on board to talk to us. I'd like to have your expertise and have your expertise share with our listeners about how to keep their immune systems and gut really healthy at this point in time. And also on top of that, is there anything else that they can do to calm their systems down or their adrenal glands down so that they are not so why it as a result of being in isolation, or the feeling of their wings being clipped? Those things are I think creating a lot of anxiety for people. There hasn't been a tease medicines not medicines, supplements, anything you suggest that will be fantastic, but first I'd like to know your background.
I went into naturopathy.
So I started studying naturopathy in the early 90s. I think I enrolled in 92. I graduated in 95.
So I was about 21 years old when I started and didn't really know what I wanted to do. Stumbled upon a magazine called well being, it's probably still being published. Now, I don't know. Read an article about nutrition and herbal medicine and just in an instant went, Oh, that's amazing. That's what I want to do. So moved to Melbourne from Canberra, and studied with primarily really interested in nutrition. But the degree teaches you a lot about herbal medicines, homeopathy, a whole lot of other things as well. So when I first graduated, my absolute focus on nutrition, it was there, but it wasn't as honed in as it is now. And then over the years nutrition's really become my primary point of interest again. So yeah, so I studied naturopathy, met my now husband in the same course. So we have a practice together. We're in Ashburton in Melbourne, practiced there for nearly 16 years now. I can't believe it.
And so along the way, I ended up studying nursing, he ended up studying acupuncture so he's got that. I nursed for a number of years. I thought I wanted to be a midwife by the time I finished the undergraduate in nursing, I've had two kids by then and you know, things just changed a bit. I ended up in IVF nursing and in gynecology, female health. It was really interesting, I really loved it. Really good for me in my naturopathic practice to have an insight into the hospital system and medications, how it all works. So I haven't nursed for about, I think about eight or nine years now. And so just staying with this naturopathy for the time being.
That's quite a journey.
And part of what I have been asking about Lingy, Lingy is our conduit, helped us meet. So I'm really grateful for Lenny putting in the effort to manage both our times and what I've been looking for is people who not only know natural empathy, but they also understand the medical system too. All that they understand nutrition and also training because without which, I think it's a little bit, a little bit one dimensional. And our bodies are not one dimensional.
Well, I was just thinking that yeah, I mean, there's all different types of naturopaths out there and different. We're attracted to different types. I've always been fairly straight laced, and scientifically based. And I think that's why I liked nursing and that. So that fits well within our clinic, we do a lot of functional pathology testing. So rather than doing things on intuition or doing things, generalized, I try to do in a really specific way, so I don't have to treat anything until we've got the right information. We know what we're treating, it means that you treat in a much more efficient way because it takes the guesswork out of things. So yeah, I mean, I think nursing really influenced me in a positive way in that regard. Yeah.
Well, you're talking about functional pathology. Could you explain to people what that means?
Sure. So regular pathology would be when you go and see your doctor and you get blood tests done or You might, if you're having some gut issues, you might get a fairly standard PCR stool test done. But generally their tests those sorts of tests, and looking at sort of like an end result. So say for example, if you have a liver function test, it's looking at your enzyme levels, your test will be normal until you actually have some kind of liver disease. So the enzymes are raised, you've got inflammation in your liver, so something's happened. When we look at the functional tests, look at the processes that are going on. So you don't need to be in a disease state to be able to see Well, for example, with the liver, what are the different stages of detoxification and how are they going, you don't have to have hepatitis or anything like that, to be able to see that there's some room for support there. We use testflight for intestinal permeability, which is also called leaky gut. That's, that's a urine test where you can assess the integrity of someone's gut. We use stool sample testing a lot, particularly for the microbiome, because now we can map the bacteria in your large bowel, which we do breath testing for SIBO, which is another intestinal or gut condition. So these tests don't rely on you being overtly unwell, it can track function along the way. Or another good way to compare is, for example, someone might go and have a colonoscopy, and all these other tests, mind you they have their value, we like to see the results of those as well. But for example, a colonoscopy will show you change in structure for so we show if there's polyps or this diverticular pocket, so any tumors or any growths but it can't tell you how well your gut is functioning. Then the stool sample tests will give us ideas of inflammation and all that other things that go on in the gut.
That's quite comprehensive.
Yes, it is. And unfortunately, the tests are not like the really great gut tests sit around $350 but the information you get is phenomenal. And you can tag a treatment then. So you're not just being generalized. You're being very specific for that person.
That's a little bit like customized prescriptions. Right? Yeah. And instead of generalized prescriptions.
Yeah, that's right. When you see women because you were in women's health, what are one of the top three key three types of cases that you see?
So they usually have to do with estrogen imbalance, very often it's an estrogen dominant situation. So probably, probably the main most common thing is irregular periods, or premenstrual symptoms syndrome, sorry, issues with PMS. They will often see things like endometriosis. And when I was working, so my practice has evolved a bit over the years as well. So after I finished nursing in IVF, my naturopathic clinic had a big focus on women's health and preconception care. And I still have that to a degree but then over the years it's sort of just happened that we ended up working a lot with gut health. And so now I would say 60 70% of my practice is gut health. But often the women who have had gut health issues often have hormonal issues as well. Detoxification and all those sorts of things. Often I'll see people have chronic constipation, that exacerbates estrogen dominance. So, again, everything sort of all goes together.
What happens someone has estrogen dominance?
So estrogen dominance means there's a relationship between the levels of estrogen and progesterone in our body. And if someone's estrogen dominant, it doesn't mean they're producing too much estrogen. It either means that they're not clearing it out properly. So they might have estrogen detoxification issues, or maybe they're not making enough progesterone, maybe they're not ovulating. So typical estrogen dominant symptoms would be periods that are quite heavy there might be clotting, can be real irritability and prior to the period, they can be premenstrual breast tenderness, headaches, skin changes, so they are all kind of you see that cluster of symptoms. And often what we do is we're working on estrogen detoxification, and enhancing progesterone as well. And stress really comes into it. You know, you mentioned the adrenals, just before, because cortisol is made from it will steal progesterone. So if your stress levels are very high, your progesterone levels will drop off as well, which will exacerbate all those symptoms. So sometimes the hormonal treatment is to do very much with stress management, as much as it is to do with liver detox and all those other things as well.
And do they have a physical shape that they present with?
Yes, so very, sort of in a very general level, the woman who is wider in her hips and her thighs tends to be more of the estrogen dominant women who have more of the apple shape or more of the larger in the abdomen, abdominal area, they tend to be more to do with PCOS and insulin resistance and those sorts of issues. So, generally Yes, but you can be tripped up so women with PCOS generally have you know, that Apple shape and facial hair and those sorts of things, but not all of them. So it's important not to go Oh, you're a you know, you're a slim person. You must not have PCOS. It's not quite as clear as that. But yeah, generally speaking, there's that correlation
And are they predisposed to have particular cravings for each type of person?
I don't know about the estrogen one definitely PCOS because that's to do with insulin resistance and blood sugar issues. There's often carbohydrate craving, because sugar is getting into the body but they're not getting into the cells, so they are stuck in the blood rather than getting to the tissues, but then there's just the typical I mean, I would say premenstrually most women tend to crave carbohydrates,
Women with PCOS and PMS from Mild to Moderate symptoms and it's a bit of an undercurrent when they are doing training, like lifting, weight lifting, you do weightlifting, too. Would they be able to train optimally?
Are you talking about within having issues like the hormonal issues?
This is a really great app I love called FitrWoman. And it's amazing because you plug in your menstrual cycle. And it shows you because the first half of our cycle, which is the follicular phase, which is like from day one of your period until you ovulate, that's actually when we're hormonally sort of least amount of fluctuation we are stable. Usually that's when we can lift really well we’ll feel really strong and our endurance is good. Post ovulation in the luteal phase, these concepts get a little bit more wobbly. And definitely in those days leading up to the period, our recovery times tend to be slower. And often we can't lift or do any kind of training quite so well. So I love the app because it actually lets you know where you're at. And it gives suggestions. You know, maybe today's not the day to try and pr go for a long, slow jog, do something light and in terms of sleep irregularities, because we tend to premenstrually, our body temperature changes a bit we'll often wake from being overheated. And so yes, it has a huge impact on training. And I think the more women know this cycle, the more you can be confident you're at ease with it, you understand what's going on. So rather than banging your head against a brick wall or saying why can't I do this? Why can't I lift today? I cannot. It's like oh, that's why Yes, I am next week. I'll be fine. It's okay.
Yes, because quite a number of women love training and lifting heavy in and they kind of go beat themselves up a little bit for not being able to do that not quite sure what's happening then sometimes I've got to go, Hey, you can't even do a lunge today, much less putting, like, you know, 100 150 kg on your back. Right? Exactly. And they don't realize how much the change in hormonal phasing affects them. It's huge. And it's not a disadvantage as such, it's just the more you understand your cycle the more you are in tune with it, then you can go with it. You don't you're not always fighting things. It just said a lot of additional energy. flow, of energy?
Yeah, exactly. It's perfect that way. So yeah. That app. It's called FitrWoman. F I T R woman. I love it. There's a really great doctor, Dr. Stacey Sims, she talks about she's the woman who says, I'm not gonna get it quite right. But she says something about women and not small men. So just stop being treated like that, you know, our hormonal profile is entirely different. She does a fabulous TED Talk. And she's written a book about training and fitting in with your menstrual cycle. And yeah, and it was through her that I found the app. In fact, the TED Talk is on the app.
Right? I say, Yes, that's it. Yeah. It's really, really good to know. Moving from that, I found that women above like, I don't know, about 60 or most already postmenopausal. Yeah. Oh, getting there. They tend to seem to hold a lot of lymphatic fluids. Can you explain to me what, what's up with that?
So, I mean, one thing we know for sure, is postmenopausally. Women just don't metabolize carbohydrates, as well as pre menopause. So for example, just going back to what was saying before, so just a woman comes to me and she's overweight and she doesn't train very much at all do much exercise, I would put her on a lower carb style diet. And that can help with insulin resistance and that kind of thing. A woman who wants to lose weight but she trains a lot, you're older on a higher carb diet because you need those carbohydrates to keep that metabolism into it's quite individual. But that's for women who are pre menopausal postmenopausally which the average age of menopause is 52. So postmenopausally, if you eat the same amount of carbs, as you were pre menopausally, you're going to gain weight, and some of that weight will be fat, but a lot of it will be fluid.
Because for every gram of carbohydrate, we tend to hold three or four mls of water. So we get a lot of water weight, so not metabolizing those carbs, it makes things a lot more sluggish. So I think that would be the primary reason.
Yeah, so even if it is plant based carbohydrates
Yeah, yeah, you still just gotta be mindful of Your total carbohydrates per day.
I see because I have some patients that are on a vegan diet and they eat like lentils. They have beans and carbohydrate for heavy Yeah, please SHERMAIN I'm not losing weight man. And then we think that, you know, is a lymphatic issue. And by then the movement of the weight is not moving and they get frustrated, but they don't want to exercise. You know, this so that this layer of cycle of issues that's happening
Yeah, absolutely. And a vegan or a vegetarian diet can still be and often is a super high carbohydrate diet. So if someone's eating that way, I would suggest drastically reducing the amount of grains and keeping the legumes and the vegetables and the nuts and seeds type and you really being mindful of the grains of the fruit because they are very carbohydrate dense legumes, they're carbohydrate dense, but they're a really good source of protein as well. So you don't want to take them away. And just on that, like a plant based diet, not necessarily vegan or vegetarian, but a predominantly plant based diet is the absolute best diet you can have for your gut health. Because all those different fibers in the plants feed different bacteria in your large bowel. And if you've got a healthy gut microbiome, you've got a healthy immune system you've got you've got pretty much a healthy everything, you know, it's the seed of it all. So I don't want to I would never want to discourage those women, for example, for having their plant based diet, but if they just tracked even if they wanted to use My Fitness Pal or something and just tracked, put in their diet for like three or four days, they'll probably see that they're having a disproportionately large amount of carbohydrate in there.
Okay, yeah. This is interesting. carbohydrates and with more carbohydrate intake, does that have any effect on the adrenal glands?
Yes, it does. So your adrenals actually need some carbohydrates to be healthy. So it's not uncommon to see, for example, people who like to train a lot, and also trying to be lean, so they put themselves on a very low carb diet. And they slip into adrenal fatigue, not true adrenal fatigue like not necessarily can't leave the house can't work, but into a state of low adrenal energy. And those people are really scared to reintroduce carbohydrates because they think they're going to put on weight. But what it does is it bounces their energy up and then their metabolism kicks in. So in that sense, there is a certain amount of carbohydrate you need. But on the flip side, if you have a lot of carbohydrate and particularly if that starts to come from refined foods and processed foods, so there's not the fiber isn't in there to moderate The speed with which the glucose is released into the blood. So you get all these blood sugar spikes, and then you crash down again. And your adrenals will become tired from any kind of stress. It can be emotional stress, it can be physical stress, or it can be training. So even if you think you're doing the right thing it can, and certainly blood sugar fluctuations and too much sugar will absolutely text the adrenals.
The reason I'm asking them is because currently because with COVID, this needs to do with COVID, right? Yeah. Well, alcohol, no, dan murphy thing is considered as an essential service. Yeah, alcohol has got mass. Sure. And that carbohydrate. I mean, it spikes the system. It dumps the system to the nervous system. How does that make people feel relaxed through this period of time, and it's so difficult Oh, do they have better alternatives than you might want to share.
Yeah. So that's interesting, isn't it because people often will use alcohol to calm themselves down and to feel like they're unwinding. And it does give that sensation in the immediate in the immediacy of it. Thing as though the flow and effect to you know, our liver is mainly kicking in and metabolizing while we sleep, and that's what often if people have had a few drinks, they'll wake up in the middle of the night or they'll have really poor quality sleep, then, you know, once we have poor quality sleep, we will tend to, there have been plenty of studies on this, we will eat poorly the next day, even if you've got a really healthy plate of food there, and a really carbohydrate dense junk food he kind of plate through there. When you're sleep deprived, you will go for the poorer choice because it picks you up more quickly. So it's just and then so then people feel stressed and they feel horrible, so they have another drink. On and on is really, I think it's more important. Now while we're all much more limited in our activity you know, Everyone obviously staying at home unless you absolutely need to go out. It's easy to lose structure. It's easy for the hours just to blur into each other already. I've spoken to patients, they're going to bed much later, they're sleeping in a bit there might not be training because they used to go to the gym to train. So all these things, I think one of the, one of the best things we can do for stress management is actually keep a routine. Yes. And it helps you feel like you're still in charge of your life, you're still on top of things. Because you know how things spiral down, like if you start eating badly and you don't sleep as well, and then it all just sort of kicks in. And so I think I think that returns are really important, I think, sure, like people might have a glass of wine or two here or there. I think if you didn't ever used to drink during the week, still don't like it's really important. It's so important to keep those rules in place. Because this is going to go on for quite a while, and we're at the beginning of it and mental health is gonna be a huge issue for people. And if we start to let up our personal habits slip it is just a way down. So I mean, I've heard of people who even think this is kind of cute. But if you're working from home and they're finding it hard to switch from home to work, they're actually getting dressed for work out to the letterbox and get back in the door. And just psychologically, it's like, now I'm at work.
There's a few other things. So it's very early stages, obviously with COVID. But there are some studies and some evidence that seem to show that Melatonin is protective against the people who have very high melatonin levels aren't succumbing to COVID as much so Melatonin is the main hormone for sleep. So sleep quality at this time for your immune system is hugely important. The plant based diet we were just talking about before, so when you eat all those different types of plant based foods, they feed the beneficial bacteria that are in your bowel. Those beneficial bacteria produce these substances called short chain fatty acids. There's a few of them, one of the main ones is butyrate. And they are anti-inflammatory, not to your gut, but to your whole body. And we know we've COVID-19 once it takes hold in the person system, it's incredibly inflammatory. So when people are at the end stage of COVID, and they're dying from it, it's because of organ shutdown from inflammation. It's a cytokine storm. So to get your beauty This is like obviously way back at the other end just to prevent and be in best health as you can eat all those right foods, you're reducing inflammation in your body, you're keeping your gut barrier strong, so your immune systems are less taxed. So like those sorts of things are super important now to eating well. Getting enough sleep. And doing some kind of exercise. Like, if you're not into weightlifting, that's fine, like find an app and do a 10 minute core workout something every day. They're all going to enhance the immune system is so important right now.
Right? Yeah, that's so true. Um, the one thing I've been taking as a long, slow release of vitamin C, or I'm starting to change into a change to, to liposomal vitamin C. Yeah. What do you think about that?
There's a lot going on and things that are in research right now in vitamin C in relation to COVID. So a lot of the studies are based on intravenous vitamin C in the ICU, so they are very unwell. The COVID-19 has really taken a stronghold and there is evidence that the people who have some vitamin C infusions are recovering more quickly than people without it.
So like all this stuff's early stage, so we can't say for sure, but that's what needs to be. And then when you look at the other thing we know with COVID, like automatic inflammation, so there's a marker and you are getting blood tests done and there's a marker called CRP c reactive protein, high C reactive protein levels are having worse outcomes to COVID-19. And there's research to show that oral vitamin C reduces c reactive protein. So if you are already not inflamed before, you contract the virus, your outcomes look like they're going to be better. So vitamin c is really important for that. We know outside of COVID that vitamin C reduces the severity of colds and reduces the duration of colds. So it definitely has so it's got that immune boosting property and anti inflammatory so it's a very good fit for what's going on now. And then the liposomal formed just as easy to absorb like you get it into your body better and some vitamin Cs have quercetin, which is a sort of bioflavonoids related to it. Quercetin also has a lot of antiviral anti inflammatory properties. So from what we know at the moment, vitamin Cs are really good thing to be taking.
Anything, else that might help.
Well, there aren't as many studies on other things, but a lot of the practitioners in the States, I've been listening to webinars and there are certain Herbs that seem to be beneficial. So, for example, there's a herb called Esther Gallus, which is broadly speaking, antiviral and antimicrobial. Zinc is really really important for the immune system. So just having adequate zinc on board. nettle root not so nettle leaf is used as a direct for the kidneys, but nettle root is antiviral, but I would say as a general rule, to make sure you've got some zinc, some vitamin C, get out in the sun, but we're heading into winter and in Melbourne, we tend to become vitamin D deficient. Because we're so far south and we just don't get that sun exposure. So making sure your vitamin D levels are important, they would be sort of that and getting enough sleep and eating a plant based diet up with a plant based diet. There are a couple of ways to try and make sure you're achieving it. One is to try and eat 40 different plant based foods a week, that seeds legumes, great whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and the first few days you'll feel like a superstar because every time you write something, then there is another one. And what you'll find probably is around day three or four, you're just eating the same foods again, so to try and have more variety, purple carrots, instead of just orange carrots or just try you're trying to eat lots of different colors. So that's one way of doing it. Another way is just to try and say you could use My Fitness Pal and track and make sure you're getting 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day. You're getting that it means you're getting lots of veggies and fruits and whole grains, or the other one people can do is just try and get 800 grams of vegetables and fruit a day. So just weigh the ritual for and just try and hit 800 grams. If you choose any of those three, your gut microbiome is going to be happy, your immune system will be more balanced, your bowels will be working well like people hate being constipated. And if you're indoors not being able to exercise as much sun, you know, you need you need that. So sleep, diet and some of those extra nutrients.
So in summary for everyone in general for the targets, but majority of people anyway, before it becomes a time where someone needs to see you.
It's sleep, diet, and exercise.
Yeah. They are the three pillars of good health.
Eat a lot of colors.
Vitamin C, Zinc, and what else?
Vitamin D just make sure the levels are okay. And they are and the other herbs. Sorry, I didn't mention because there are some great templated formulas around that use some of the Mushrooms like Reishi and shiitake they are really good antiviral.
Yeah, yes. Thank you so much. So how would a person find you? And what would you like the person to look for you where you can help them?
Yeah. So we have a website. So the practice I work at is called Resonance Complementary Therapies to the website. We have our Facebook page as well that people can find us on that noise message through that or on the website, you can make an appointment straight. From there, we have telehealth set up now. So we can do a lot similar to zoom, we can do non face to face appointments. However, we're still an essential service. So people are still coming in for their appointments. It's, it's up to the individual. And people can come and see us. You know, it's very broad our practice. I mean, yeah, we do a lot with gut health and immunity and autoimmunity. Like if anyone's got any sort of concerns, stress management, there's a whole range of things. So yeah, so I think Facebook or The website is the best way to get us on Facebook
Okay, so Facebook and the website to find you and it's called Resonance Complementary Therapies.
Yeah. And also I'm sorry social media and just email info at resonance therapy.com.au
Info at Resonance Therapy.com.au. That's a Yeah, that's it. Yeah. Thank you so much not only for your time and your expertise on nutrition and women's health to be just touched a little bit on it, but it's enough for people to understand I believe that. Yeah, they are not bodies on your gut and these things can change resolutely.
Thanks so much for having me. It was really lovely to chat. I enjoyed it.
Thank you. We're gonna see you again.
And we'll do okay.
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