New research suggests that a diet rich in fermented foods and beverages may help curb social anxiety in young adults, especially those who are highly neurotic.

The effect is likely to be due to the probiotics produced during the fermentation process.

The study was published in the August 15 issue of Psychiatry Researchand is availableonline.


Gut-Brain Interaction

The study included 710 students enrolled in introductory courses in psychology at the College of William and Mary. The participants completed questionnaires about fermented food consumption, neuroticism, and social anxiety.

The questionnaire asked about a variety of foods, including yogurt; kefir or food or beverages that contain yogurt; soy milk; miso soup; sauerkraut; dark chocolate; juices that contain microalgae; pickles; tempeh; and kimchi.

A higher frequency of fermented food consumption correlated with fewer symptoms of social anxiety in students.

Probiotics reduce the permeability of the gut, so harmful substances don't “leak out”. Probiotics also reduce inflammation of the gut. Because anxiety is often accompanied by gastrointestinal symptoms, reducing gut inflammation helps alleviate those symptoms.

Probiotics have also been shown to modify the body's response to stress, and stress response is highly linked to mental health disorders, such as social anxiety.

In addition, consumption of fermented milk has been shown to reduce the brain's response to negative facial expressions. By reducing the brain's response to negative social stimuli, social anxiety symptoms might be reduced.


Megan Brooks Social Anxiety? Fermented Foods May Help. Medscape. Jun 15, 2015.

Please share this blog with anyone whom you think may benefit

circulating tumour cells

Detection of cancer by Circulating Tumor Cells (CTC) leads to rapid early-stage treatment

A recent study found that asymptomatic lung-cancer patients diagnosed using CTC test allowed for rapid surgical intervention to remove these tiny tumors when they first became visible on CT-scan.

This is the first study to demonstrate successful early treatment due to cancer cell detection by an innovative CTC test known as ISET.

Lung cancer is the 5th most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia.

In 2010, there were 10,296 new cases of lung cancer diagnosed.

In 2020, an estimated 13,640 people are expected to be diagnosed with lung cancer in Australia. Lung cancer was the most common cause of cancer death for men and women accounting for 18.8 per cent of all cancer deaths.

If caught in the early stages of growth, most lung cancers are quite treatable. However, the disease takes root, grows and spreads throughout the body very silently. There are usually no symptoms or non-specific symptoms while the tumor is localized in the lungs.

However, those tiny tumors are shedding tumor cells into the bloodstream, which go on to colonize other organs and tissues. Finding these circulating cells can both prevent metastasis and allow for detection of the primary tumor long before obvious symptoms would first appear.

That is exactly what occured in this latest study, conducted by Paul Hofman, MD, PhD, Head of Laboratory of Clinical and Experimental Pathology at IRCAN (Institute for Research on Cancer and Aging) and the Pasteur Hospital in Nice, France.

In the study 245 people, including 168 COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) patients, 42 smokers and 35 non-smokers, had their blood drawn and tested using ISET. Circulating tumor cells were found in 5 or 3% of the COPD patients.

As a result of this early recognition, these 5 patients were closely monitored. 1-5 years after CCC detection (CTC validated by cytopathological analysis by ISET), the tumor became visible by CT-scan showing nodules. In all 5, these tumor nodules were surgically at a very early stage thanks to the ISET test.

Without ISET, these tumors would have grown in a silent manner. More than one year after surgery (16 months), there was no tumor recurrence in these 5 patients.  They seem completely cured.

A study "Sentinel Circulating Tumor Cells Allow early Diagnosis of Lung Cancer in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease" has just been published in the Public Library of Science (PLOS) ONE open-access journal.

Michael Thomsen is pioneering the use of ISET CTC test in Tasmania.  CTC testing is not just for lung cancer. All solid tumours shed cells into the circulation and the ISET CTC test may be a useful tool for early detection. It is important to state, however, that the test has not been validated as an early detection test. The ISET CTC test is mainly used to monitor the effectiveness of active treatment.

A related test, is the CTC chemosensitivity test. This test analyses the ability of selected compounds to kill the cancer cells isolated from a cancer patients blood stream. If a compound is found to be effective there is a chance it will also be effective in the body. On the flip side, if a compound is found not to be effective, there is no chance it will work in the body.  The chemosensitivity test can be used to test both chemotherapy and natural anticancer compounds.

Contact Hobart Naturopath for further information.

Please share this blog with anyone whom you think may benefit.

We’ve had a little time this week to update or email lists, so if you’re seeing this newsletter for the first time and would like to see more-go to our health blog or to our facebook page and you’ll get al the “back issues” so to speak!

We will always try to keep you all informed on the latest and most reliable health updates both in the clinic and via this newsletter

Yours in health

Erin and Michael



A mother’s diet can permanently alter the functioning of her offspring’s genes even before the child is conceived, scientists have shown. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA


Mother's diet before conception 'can affect child's lifelong risk of disease'

Your fate is sealed before you are even born: new study shows nutrition advice to adolescent girls before pregnancy could avert preterm births and brain defects.

A mother’s diet before conception can affect her unborn child’s genetic make-up and immune system, according to new findings with profound implications for policy and development work.

A report launched today by scientists at the Medical Research Council (MRC) and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that a mother’s nutritional status at the time of conception can permanently change the function of a gene that influences her child’s immunity and cancer risks.

Leading researchers believe this could have a wider impact on the treatment of nutrition in global development.

Read the full article

A dietitian was expelled from the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) in April 2015 because of her recommendation of lower carbohydrate diets to people with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

The original complaint against me came from a dietitian who didn’t agree with my approach. Her complaint was “that my recommendation of a very low carbohydrate diet for type 2 diabetes management is inconsistent with Evidence Based Practice” and secondly, that a client she had seen previously was not happy with our interview.

Read more about here

Think about it. The dietician recommend a diabetic not to eat too much sugar, and they expelled her!

I say, get your nutritional advice from a naturopath.

A few weeks ago I attended a skin cancer conference on the Gold Coast. A presentation described how just 1 g nicotinamide can reduce the risk of recurrence of non-melanoma skin cancer by 23% compared to placebo in patients with severely sun-damaged skin.

For any of your out there, you may as well start taking nicotinamide if you have early signs of skin cancer including solar keratosis (actinic keratosis) or if you have had SCC (squamous cell carcinoma) in the past.

The product used was Nature’s Own 500 mg nicotinic acid. Pretty cheap at about $11 for 60 tablets from any health food store.

Read more about the study

Michael Thomsen is considering starting a cancer support group for cancer patients, friends and families.

Please contact us to register your interest in joining our cancer support group. Contact Hobart Naturopath by ringing reception on 6223 4842 or by email.

What is a cancer support group?

A support group is two or more people who come together regularly and voluntarily to discuss shared experiences. Most groups are face-to-face, but they can also be over the phone or online.

What happens in a typical support group meeting?

Support groups provide an opportunity for people to share their experiences and feelings with others who are ‘in the same boat’. The group leader or facilitator may lead a discussion about particular topics or experiences, such as what it’s like to talk to your children about cancer.

A meeting could involve laughter, tears, empathy, love, acceptance and/or learning something new. 

Groups can also help participants become more informed about cancer-related topics, such as treatments, side effects, exercise and nutrition, relationships and life after cancer. Most groups regularly invite speakers to present topics of interest at meetings.

Guest speakers may include doctors, nurses, psychologists, dietitians, naturopaths and pharmacists.   

Why do people join a support group?

The main reason people seek support is because they are feeling anxious about the cancer and its ‘social burden’. A cancer diagnosis can also be a very isolating and lonely experience, especially if a person has little experience with cancer or doesn’t know about support available. Isolation can lead to distress, fear and feelings of abnormality.

Please contact Hobart Naturopath if you are interested in joining our cancer support group by ringing reception on 6223 4842 or by email.

For further information, view information sheet from the Cancer Council.


dishThis week the results of a three year study from the Charles Perkins Centre in the University of Sydney concludes that a high carbohydrate (think vegetables, pulses and whole grains), low protein diet has made the headlines as the most beneficial for longevity and reduction in cardiovascular disease risk, and lowered risk of chronic disease such as diabetes.

Despite the popularity of high protein diets such as Atkins, Paleo, CSRIO GAPS and others, we have consistently recommended the Mediterranean style eating plan as the most ant-inflammatory diet helping reduce the prevalence of chronic illness and improving longevity-this is exactly what the findings of this recent study are recommending.

ABC News item on the low-carb study

News item from Sydney University

At Hobart Naturopath we are committed to sorting through the plethora of information to bring you, our patients, real, evidence-based research and therefore good reasons for the choices in health that we offer here.

babyA few years ago, we spent many months researching and writing for the third edition of Ruth Trickey’s fabulous text “Women, Hormones and the Menstrual Cycle”.

The knowledge gained from both this, and more recent research, daily informs our treatment of hormonal issues in women from adolescence through childbearing to beyond the menopausal years.

Herbal medicines can improve the majority of hormonal issues including painful, heavy or irregular periods, hormonal imbalances including PCOS and premenstrual symptoms and can improve or help gain optimal fertility, including during assisted fertility treatments such as IVF.

While working in Ruth’s clinic in Melbourne for two years, I (Erin) gained exceptional experience through referrals from Melbourne IVF and other fertility experts. It is of course, a very rewarding area to work in-especially when the result is a healthy bub!

depressionMany of you will be aware that I (Erin) have a particular interest in the treatment of anxiety disorders and mental health issues.

Many physical issues are exacerbated and sometimes even caused by anxiety; yet the opposite can also be the case and having chronic physical health impairment can create stress, anxiety and even depression.

A wholistic approach to diagnosing and treating the root cause as well as the symptoms of poor mental health especially when combined with physical symptoms is essential. 

Herbal and nutritional medicines are a well-researched and effective way to manage of such conditions.

Hypericum or St Johns Wort is the most well known of all herbs in the treatment of depression and nervous system disorders, but there are many other herbal medicines that not only improve the action of Hypericum, but deal with symptoms of anxiety, assist relaxation and act as adaptogens, ie helping the system to adapt to and cope better with, stress.

Managing any physical symptoms at the same time can also be achieved with herbs, supplements and good diet and of course-exercise!

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