At the age of 16 I tumbled into a deep depression. Then followed 12 years of medications and endless appointments with psychiatrists, counsellors and other therapists.
During that time, I also struggled with terrible problems with my gut, and yet repeated colonoscopies revealed that nothing was wrong;. Although the doctors had diagnosed depression, my gut issues remained a mystery.
I was tired of pretending I was ok when I wasn’t. The pills didn’t seem to be working – I was able to function but I wasn’t really living, and life was a joyless existence. I was frustrated that no-one had been able to tell me the answers in 12 years.
I had been blaming people and things around me, thinking that changing these might make a difference – was it my career, my boss, my partner making me feel like this? I then realised that the answers were much closer to home – I had not been taking responsibility for myself and my health. I started to focus on what might be going on inside – I’m no scientist but I knew that the body underwent numerous chemical reactions, especially when we fed it.
So I started to research food and nutrition. I changed the way I ate, and the transformation began.
I overcame overwhelm, brain fog and fatigue. I said goodbye to anxiety, anger and negative thinking. I regained energy, clarity and focus. I reset my mood, mindset and motivation. I alleviated my stress, symptoms, and elusive sleep.
I rediscovered the joy of eating, good honest proper tucker – real food, simple food, to nurture my mind, body and soul. I had somehow managed to hit reset! I could think rationally and make considered decisions. I could cope with all that life threw at me. I could smile. I even started to laugh again. I felt good. I was happy. That was 20 years ago.
The power of personalised, preventative health
It had never before crossed my mind that what I ate could be the answer to restoring my mental health, healing my gut, and freeing me of all the other random symptoms I had. I’d always thought that if my body broke, I’d just fix it with some pills but this wasn’t working for me. After 12 years, I had finally found the answer.
If I knew then what I know now, I may not have had to suffer 12 years of depression. I never knew that clinical testing was available so I didn’t go looking for it. We are now in an era of personalised, preventative health, which is available to everyone. Testing enables you to find the answers to your health concerns quickly, without long waiting lists, endless appointments or GP referrals. Testing also enables you to screen against future health concerns, enabling you to try and future proof your health. Please visit Your Health Tests page to learn more about the powerful benefits of these diagnostic and screening tests.
A culmination of 20 years studying food science and nutrition, biomedicine and biochemistry, anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology, I practise functional medicine and use advanced clinical health tests and personalised nutrition to prevent, diagnose and treat health conditions and illnesses. I am the detective, I peel back the layers and identify and address the cause, taking a holistic approach to supporting the whole person, rather than treating the disease and (suppressing) the symptoms.
Genetic and functional disorders, and nutritional deficiencies can be the cause or driver of an illness or condition; test results provide real and tangible evidence to work with, enabling specific and targeted therapy through bespoke nutrition and lifestyle changes.
I help clients with a range of health concerns get well and stay well, with a strong focus on supporting gut health, which is central to overall health and is a key factor in optimising immune and mental health.
A graduate of the College of Naturopathic Medicine in London, I am a fully insured practitioner member of BANT, CNHC and the GNC. General Medical Council guidelines advise doctors only to refer patients to practitioners who are registered with these regulatory bodies, to ensure the patient is working with a fully qualified and certified practitioner.
I am a founder member of Group Therapy Network, a mental health support community, and an ambassador for PropElle, a women’s property and investment community which has mental health and wellbeing at its core.
Why gut testing is a valuable tool for getting and staying well
The status of our gut is key to our overall health. Our gut is our first line of defence, with a mucosal layer that protects us from toxins, parasites, yeasts and all sorts of pathogens, and approximately 70-80% of our immune system is in the gut. If our gut becomes damaged or compromised in any way, it gets inflamed and we reduce our ability to protect ourselves, and to digest and absorb nutrients needed for so many vital processes in the body.
The microbiome refers to the bacteria residing in our gut, which are involved in nutrient production and absorption. The bacterial population can get disrupted as a result of many things – stress, smoking, caffeine, high sugar intake, medications including antibiotics, parasites, yeast infections, leaky gut and much more. Irrespective of the cause, inflammation will ensue and this is likely to compromise our ability to absorb our dietary nutrients. A bacterial imbalance (dysbiosis) can put you at risk of leaky gut (intestinal permeability) and parasitic and yeast infection, which will further impact on digestion and absorption.
If we don’t take action to fix a compromised gut, we get chronic, persistent, systemic inflammation – not just in the gut but throughout the body. The inflammatory response is designed to be only acute and temporary, in order to quarantine and eradicate pathogens. But if we have chronic, persistent inflammation, this is a driver for many diseases and illnesses including depression, allergies, Alzheimers, obesity, heart disease, osteoarthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, IBD/IBS, cancer and autoimmune conditions.
The gut is often referred to as our second brain – the gut and brain are constantly communicating with each other via the vagus nerve – this gut-brain axis interplay explains our “gut instinct”. Optimising our gut health is really important for supporting good mental health – serotonin, a neurotransmitter which supports positive mood, is synthesised in the gut.
You may not necessarily experience any gut symptoms, but brain fog, fatigue, low mood or depression, poor concentration or inability to focus, low energy, muscular aches and pains, autoimmune conditions, skin and respiratory issues, or finding it difficult to lose weight, are tell tale signs that you may have a bacterial imbalance, yeast overgrowth, parasitic infection, leaky gut, IBS/IBD, celiac disease or other gut conditions which can threaten our overall health. Please visit the Your Health Tests page for more information and to see what gut tests are available.
My professional memberships and associations
British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine is a professional body for registered nutritionists and functional medicine practitioners, assisting them in attaining the highest standards in integrity, continual learning, competence and professional practice to best serve their clients.
The Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council has been set up with government support to protect the public by providing a UK voluntary register of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners, which includes nutritionists and functional medicine practitioners. This register is approved as an Accredited Register by The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (PSA), a body which is accountable to Parliament. The government recommends that you only choose to consult a nutritionist and functional medicine practitioner who is on an Accredited Register, such as that of CNHC. General Medical Council guidelines also advise doctors only to refer patients to registered nutritionists and functional medicine practitioners who are on an Accredited Register.
The General Naturopathic Council has, in conjunction with the government agency “Skills For Health”, developed National Occupational Standard for Naturopathic Practitioners, to ensure that complementary and alternative medicine practitioners meet the UK national standard, abiding by a strict code of conduct and ethics. GNC registration is a mark of quality, professionalism and conduct for those wishing to work with a complementary and alternative medicine practitioner such as nutritionists and functional medicine practitioners.
Group Therapy Network: The Mental Health Support Community
An info hub and community which connects members to therapists, charities and helplines so they can discuss and get help on all and any issues concerning mental health.
PropElle is a property and self investment community with a focus on women’s wellbeing and mental health. This innovative membership group welcomes all women – those who are in property and those who are interested in starting a property related business, whether this is building a portfolio or investing in real estate. Run by Women Of The Future award winner Ayesha Ofori, the group aims to educate women and help them on their journey to health and wealth creation, through tailored workshops, networking, and inspirational speaker events, and by providing property investment and crowdfunding opportunities.