Feeling Blue?

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Generally we tend not to talk about depressing things….

However, Depression is very real and is one of the silent ailments disrupting corporate South Africa today, leading to increased absenteeism, conflict in the workplace and low productivity.

South Africa, spends substantial amounts annually on corporate wellness days, we should consider taking action to also address depression. Current statistics highlights that one in four South Africans suffer from depression and that the impact on companies can be more severe than physical illnesses which have to-date been the focus of corporate wellness days.

Depression can be treated successfully and those suffering can return to normal functioning with the right assistance. The reality is that people suffering from depression are generally not aware of it or are in denial that they too suffer from depression. The stigma attached to depression also leads to people being unable to seek help for fear of being isolated by their colleagues or overlooked for promotions. Some even fear that that disclosing their affliction could ultimately lead to dismissal.
Often, the person suffering from depression will hide their problem so well that co-workers just believe that their colleague is someone who is withdrawn and not a ‘people person’ rather than being someone who is quiet because they are stressed, anxious and depressed. It is often only when colleagues hear of a personal calamity of this type that they begin to understand that the co-worker who was often off sick, was late for work, unmotivated or constantly tired was suffering from something much deeper than just ‘laziness’.
“People with depression find it difficult to function properly. Depression can affect anyone regardless of their gender, age, race or social class. This is one of the main reason why corporate South Africa should encourage Human Capital professionals to be more aware of the problem and use corporate health and wellness days at the office as opportunities to create general awareness about depression, its symptoms and treatment.

By creating an open environment where mental illness is openly discussed, creating awareness about the illness and having tools for quick identification of those suffering from depression, employers can go a long way towards encouraging people to seek support and treatment for their depression-related problems. They will also build a supportive workplace for sufferers who will be better understood by their colleagues,” says Dr Fisha.

In Dr. David Perlmutter’s book “Grain Brain” he references a paper presented by C.J.L. Murray and A.D. Lopez to the World Health Organization stating that by 2020, depression will become the second largest cause of suffering, next only to heart disease. Perlmutter states that depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide (page 160).
More and more people are suffering from undiagnosed depression, simply because the demands of our lifestyle today and the expectations we place on ourselves. Our nervous systems are stressed, and before we know it, this level of unhappiness becomes the new norm. This impairment in brain function then leads to poor lifestyle choices.

THIS IS IMPORTANT… a little technical but read on… The frontal cortex!

The part of the brain directly involved with depression is the frontal cortex. Why do we need to know this? Well, because it is the largest lobe of the human brain, it also defines our personality and governs our ability to reason. It suppresses impulses (violent behavior, ADHD), fine motor coordination (handwriting), mental sharpness, cognition (learning new skills, languages) and muscle coordination (sports, dance). Any impairment of these abilities, as well as depression, is an indication of frontal lobe involvement. (So, make sure your bike and other sports helmets fit snugly over your forehead!)

According to Dr. Datis Kharrazian, he states in his book “Why Isn’t My Brain Working” depression is simply the decreased firing of the front lobe, and the frontal lobe is saturated with receptor sites for the neurotransmitter, serotonin. Poor serotonin activity leads to inner rage and anger, depression, inability to fall into deep, restful sleep, depression from lack of sunlight, loss of pleasure in life. (pg 309).

A diet including sufficient amino acid tryptophan is necessary for healthy insulin response. Tryptophan can be found in beef, liver, chicken, turkey, lamb, salmon, spinach, eggs, beans, lentils, shellfish… People who constantly skip meals or who are hypoglycemic are at risk for low serotonin production because they cannot deliver enough glucose to the brain.
Dopamine, another neurotransmitter, has many functions in the brain including mood and motivation. It is associated with the “pleasure system” of the brain. Proper dopamine synthesis relies on a diet rich in the amino acid, phenylalanine (sources: beef, fish, eggs, pork, chocolate, turkey, oats, cheese) as well as keeping a healthy blood sugar regulation (not skipping meals, eating sufficient protein in each meal).

Insulin resistant and hypoglycemic individuals experience abnormal insulin spikes which lead to impaired dopamine synthesis. Anemia, B6 insufficiency, folic acid impairment, methylation issues and liver disease can impair the action of dopamine in the brain. In my practice, I use specific questionnaires to assess the function of the different parts of the brain and brain health (neurotransmitter status) as well as a metabolic questionnaire. This enables a more specific recommendation regarding supplementation if any, and diet.

Some of the signs of depression to look out for are:

  • A person suddenly losing enthusiasm for their work;
  • Deadlines being missed and presented work not being as thorough as it used to be, having endless excuses, irrational decisions;
  • Increased absenteeism which is out of character for the worker concerned;
  • Changed social behaviour, withdrawal from peers, memory problems, highly suspicious of others;
  • Restlessness and/or irritability, aggression towards colleagues and superiors;
  • Arriving late for work and looking unhappy; anxious, edgy
  • Fatigue, usually shown through complaints of tiredness after undertaking even basic tasks and constant complaints about feeling tired.

Depression can have various causes some work related such as too much pressure at work, promotions with new demands that employees are unable to meet, and some stressors maybe home related such as , family problems, relationships, financial stressors, illness etc.

“It does not follow that because a person is suffering from depression that they can no longer do their jobs. By showing an understanding of the problem and helping explore options when problems occur, a manager can ensure that an employee suffering from depression remains a productive member of the team.
It should, however, always be borne in mind that offering support does not mean taking up the role as an informal therapist. Depression can be treated and the condition can be managed, but this is best left to professionals, as we all deserve mental break.

Researchers and Scientists are saying your Gut is your Second Brain!

Fiery Guts image

We know the brain talks to the gut and the gut talks back to the brain! Good sourced probiotic supplements (Dairy –free) in sufficient amounts support your healthy bacteria and in turn, influence your brain behavior. They are involved with producing, absorbing and transporting serotonin, dopamine and nerve growth factor. The gut sends out hormonal signals to the brain relaying messages of fullness, hunger, and pain from intestinal inflammation. So now we see why it’s so important to have a healthy gut!
Which strains of probiotics are essential? I recommend at least a variety of 10 strains but make sure it includes lactobacillus, acidophilus, and bifidobacterium. At least ten billion per capsule at least one per day is a good start. However, it is best to check with a functional nutritional advisor.

LOW Cholesterol and Depression:

cholosterol image

Dr. Perlmutter references a study in his book “Grain Brain” (page 162), which states there are numerous studies demonstrating depression runs much higher in people with low cholesterol (both dietary induced and statin-induced. Skipping meals (hypoglycemics), or an insufficient dietary protein intake may put you at risk for low cholesterol.

People taking statins are artificially lowering their cholesterol, can become much more depressed and impair their ability to make sufficient vitamin D as well.
Low vitamin D levels are not only linked to weak bones, but also, a higher risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and depression.
Cholesterol provides the precursors (building materials) to make phospholipids which are fatty compounds. These fatty compounds make up the majority of your brain!

GLUTEN Sensitivity and Depression:

Gluten sensitivity is the elephant in the room topic currently. Let’s just stress that gluten sensitivity is an immune response. This immune response turns on inflammatory chemicals which can attack the brain. So, basically, if the brain function is impaired, neurotransmitter function is also impaired (remember, dopamine and serotonin?) which leads to depression! Gluten sensitivity is not principally a disease of the small bowel as many think.

In his book, “Why Isn’t My Brain Working?” (page 158), Dr. Datis Kharrazian states “No single dietary protein is a more potent trigger of neurological dysfunction and neurological autoimmunity than gluten (the protein found in wheat).” All autoimmune disorders (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, etc.) benefit tremendously from a gluten free diet.
There are a lot of mechanisms and factors impacting our mood. One of the underlying mechanisms that cause impaired brain function as you may have noticed is impaired blood glucose regulation. This is another important reason to eat at regular intervals (don’t skip) and eat sufficient quality protein. Depression can cripple our ability to function on a day to day basis, not only impacting our lives but the lives of those around us.

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Balanced Healing

Balanced Healing offers an integrated holistic approach to health & wellness in the workplace & for the individual
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As promised we continue our discussion around diabetes but this week we will focus on Insulin resistance which may be one of the key drivers of many — if not most — of today’s chronic diseases.


Insulin is an important hormone that controls many bodily processes and challenges with this hormone are at the heart of many modern health conditions.
Insulin resistance, in which your cells stop responding to insulin, is incredibly common.
Simple lifestyle measures can dramatically improve this condition.
Insulin is an essential hormone that controls your blood sugar levels.
Insulin is made in your pancreas and helps move sugar from your blood into your cells for storage. When your pancreas senses high blood sugar, it makes more insulin to overcome the resistance and reduce your blood sugar.


+ Regulates glucose balance in the body
+ Controls fat metabolism
+ Signals for the processes that move glucose into the cells for energy purposes
+ Causes any excess glucose to be stored in adipose tissue as fat
+ Suppresses glucagons & growth hormones, which regulate the burning of fat (stored fats)

INSULIN RESISTANCE is when cells in your muscles, fat, and liver don't respond well to insulin and can't use glucose from your blood for energy. ... Over time, your blood sugar levels go up. Insulin resistance syndrome includes a group of problems like obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.

Prediabetes is the condition of having abnormal levels of glucose, or sugar molecules, in the blood; insulin resistance refers to the mechanism by which one develops that condition.

They're not two different conditions; they're cause and effect — insulin resistance is a prediabetes state
Insulin resistance might develop into type 2 diabetes.
Insulin resistance, prediabetes, and Type 2 diabetes can be managed, and in many cases reversed, by the right lifestyle changes. Medication may also be prescribed.

BALANCED HEALING is able to assist you in improving this condition with simple lifestyle measures, nutritional advice and natural supplementation. PREVENTING INSULIN RESISTANCE may be among the most powerful ways to live a longer, healthier life.


Raised insulin and blood sugar levels are key symptoms of insulin resistance. Other symptoms include excess belly fat, high blood triglycerides, and low HDL (good) cholesterol levels.

+ extreme thirst or hunger.
+ feeling hungry even after a meal.
+ increased or frequent urination.
+ tingling sensations in hands or feet.
+ feeling more tired than usual.
+ frequent infections.
+ evidence in blood work.

Classic signs and symptoms that suggest you've moved from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes include:

+ Increased thirst.
+ Frequent urination.
+ Fatigue.
+ Blurred vision.


Insulin resistance is linked to various ailments, including heart disease, NAFLD (Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease), PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome), Alzheimer's disease, and cancer.


Chromium, berberine and magnesium supplements are linked to increased insulin sensitivity. Resveratrol appears to increase insulin sensitivity, particularly among people with type 2 diabetes.

As with all supplements, there is a risk they may interact with your current medication. PLEASE CONSULT YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER before commencing any other natural treatments.
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@balancedhealing we can check your state of Health
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November is an action-packed month with many focal points within Healthcare namely – DIABETES, ANTIBIOTIC AWARENESS AND “MOVEMBER” – Campaign focusing on Male Cancers & mental health. So stay tuned for our weekly articles.

During week one we’ll touch base on the different types of Diabetes and some myth busters & natural ways to manage the disease process. Week 2 will focus on Insulin Resistance the pre-cursor to type 2 Diabetes and my personal favourite on how to manage lifestyle and supplementation.
Diabetes Types

Diabetes mellitus, commonly known as diabetes, is a metabolic disease that causes high blood sugar. The hormone insulin moves sugar from the blood into your cells to be stored or used for energy. With diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t effectively use the insulin it does make. Ideally, there should be a balance between blood sugar and insulin in the body.

+TYPE 1 DIABETES is an autoimmune disease. The immune system attacks and destroys cells in the pancreas, where insulin is made. It’s unclear what causes this attack. About 10% of people with diabetes have this type. This type of diabetes is chronic and long term.
+TYPE 2 DIABETES occurs when your body becomes resistant to insulin, and sugar builds up in your blood.
+PREDIABETES occurs when your blood sugar is higher than normal, but it’s not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.
+GESTATIONAL DIABETES is high blood sugar during pregnancy. Insulin-blocking hormones produced by the placenta cause this type of diabetes.

Diabetes is a complicated disease. If you have diabetes or know anyone who has it, you may have questions about the disease.
There are many popular myths about diabetes and its management. Here are some facts you should know about diabetes.


MYTH: No one in my family has diabetes, so I won’t get the disease.
MYTH: I will likely develop diabetes because I am overweight.
MYTH: I eat a lot of sugar, so I am worried I’ll get diabetes.
MYTH: I was told I have diabetes, so now I’ll have to eat a special diet.
MYTH: I have diabetes, so I can never eat sweets.
MYTH: My doctor put me on insulin. This means I am not doing a good job managing my blood sugar.
MYTH: It is not safe to exercise with diabetes.
MYTH: I have borderline diabetes, so I don’t need to worry.
MYTH: I can stop taking diabetes medicines once my blood sugar is under control.

For the facts read article @ https://zurl.co/jOAd



While many of these supplements show promise, IT IS WISE TO CONSULT WITH YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER before commencing as Herbal supplements have side effects and can interfere with other medications.

Work with your health care provider or BALANCED HEALING to develop a meal plan that works best for you and that you will be able to follow consistently over time. A healthy and balanced meal plan with a healthy lifestyle will help you manage diabetes.
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How stressed is your household during exam time?

What do you do as a parent to alleviate the tension and support your child with revision and studying?

Look no further, BALANCED HEALING can offer support for the entire family from nutritional planning, supplementation for concentration & focus, through to supportive therapy for anxiety and ADD/HD and much more.

So how can you as a parent channel your anxieties and support your child better during exam time?

1. Identify your child’s best way to learn

Try to identify how your child enjoys studying best, and adopt strategies around that. They may be – kinaesthetic learners like to learn via movement such as dancing, counting fingers, gestures or even acting; Auditory learners absorb information the best through sounds such as songs and recordings, OR visual learners study best through picture stories, shapes, mind maps and even paintings.

2. Create a great learning environment

A good atmosphere and comfortable learning space can lead to productive learning and revision. Ensure your child has what they need to thrive, whether it’s sufficient light and quiet, or a comfortable chair and the necessary stationery.

3. Get them to teach

A good way to get children to understand what they are learning, or to just practice their revision, is for them to “teach” you. Ask your child to pretend they’re the teacher, and go through a mock “lesson”.

4. Spread out revision

It’s difficult for anyone to concentrate on learning for long periods of time, so ensure your child is taking short breaks between revision bursts.

5. Support them

Studying is not always fun or easy, so praise your children when they are working hard. Encourage rather than threaten, If they do get stressed, try to respond to their emotions by listening, reassuring them, or hugging them. Once they’ve calmed down, you can deal with practical solutions, such as setting up a revision timetable or getting the necessary help they might need.

6. Ensure they’re sleeping sufficiently

Sleep is important to not only give children mental and physical rest but to consolidate what’s been learnt during the day. Ensure their room is dark as light interferes with melatonin (the hormone needed for sleep) production. The blue light emitted by tablets and phones can also be disruptive to sleep.

7. Set up rewards

Incentivise studying and exams not necessarily through material rewards or “prizes”, but through fun activities that children can look forward to after a series of revisions or after an exam. Incentives can include a dinner out at a restaurant, or watching sport or series together. Or better yet, ask them what they want to do the most.
"Parents needn’t feel alone with their children’s curriculum and revision. The key is to ensure a personalised and powerful learning experience which can also be achieved through technology interventions," (Parent 24)

Below is a survey conducted in the UK on how exam stress affects moms & dads.

Read full article @ https://zurl.co/Z4o7
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