Your Health Questions Answered
You might think that Google can answer your health questions and fill that gap of knowledge, but you never know whether you’re reading the right information. The result? A misdiagnosis.
So let’s take the confusion out of everything. We’ve collated all your health questions into one handy FAQ page, all written by the knowledgable Wild Oats team. It’s important to note, we always recommend that you come in for a face-to-face (socially-distanced of course) session with us so you get advice tailored to you.
Take a look at the Wild Oats Health Hub for even more health-related articles and guides too.
CBD, also known as Cannabidiol, is one of many cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. It’s been found to have health benefits without any of the side effects of recreational cannabis use.
The psychoactive substance in cannabis is called Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. CBD products are made from low THC plants known as hemp.
Hemp was often fed to animals and they passed cannabinoids on to us in meat and milk. When cannabis was made illegal around 100 years ago our cannabinoid intake was lost.
CBD is totally legal if the THC content is below 0.02%. The World Health Organisation states that CBD is non-toxic, non-addictive and has no serious side effects.
If you are on medication you should consult your GP before taking CBD.
Research suggests that taking CBD can maintain balance and wellbeing in the body. No official health claims can be made about CBD, but studies are currently underway to determine if CBD can help heart health, acne, chronic pain and sleep among other things.
CBD is normally taken as an oil and is probably most effective as an oil.
But it can also be taken as capsules, tea, skin balm, massage oil, patches, gummies and vape oil. At Wild Oats we even have CBD chocolate!
The whole plant oil, which will be dark green in colour and bitter tasting. It contains the whole spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes, chlorophyll and omega 3.
A very light coloured oil or an isolate will have been further processed. It will taste less bitter but may not always be so effective.
Ideally, CBD should state that it’s organically grown, and extracted using CO2 distillation rather than solvents, and have a third party lab test to verify the content and purity.
There are many fake brands on the market with no CBD content at all.
It’s best to start with a low dose as we all experience things differently, maybe 1 or 2 drops of 3% or 5% strength on the first day.
Then you could increase to twice a day and see how your body reacts. Or try a cup of CBD tea.
Ideally, before food in the morning, held under the tongue a minute or two to allow the CBD to be absorbed into the bloodstream through the mucous membranes of the mouth.
Or try it an hour before bed. Always wait for 5 minutes after taking CBD before having a drink.
Many people give CBD to dogs and other pets at an appropriate dose as it’s well-tolerated and non-toxic.
CBD can be prescribed by a doctor for children suffering from epilepsy and has been found to be very effective at reducing seizures.
Unfortunately, there is a lack of research into giving CBD to children for other reasons. So for that reason, we consider it not advisable.
Understandably, if you benefit from CBD you may want to take it with you on holiday. Although CBD is legal in the UK, be aware that it may not be legal in the country you are visiting.
Call the customs office of that country well in advance before taking any risks.
Supplements should never be looked at as an alternative to eating a good diet, but can help to fill the gaps in your diet. For example, in the UK there are certain things such as Selenium, Magnesium and Zinc that are hard to obtain from our diets.
Vitamin D is usually made by the action of sunlight on our skin, but during cloudy periods and the winter months it’s hard to make enough. People with restrictive diets can miss out on certain nutrients. In all these cases supplements can be very useful. Supplements can also be used to maintain health and assist various health conditions.
Food law regulates the content, labelling and promotion of food products, including food supplements.
There is no requirement for food supplements to be licenced or registered with the UK Government, but all foods sold within the UK must comply with all relevant food law. Certain herbal remedies must be licenced.
It can be useful to take iron especially for women and girls of childbearing age. Vegan omega 3 supplements can also be useful. As with vegan diets (see below) there is a world of difference between a well-planned vegetarian diet and an unhealthy one where little thought is paid to obtaining a balance of nutrients.
Vegans are at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency so it is advisable to take a supplement, and we recommend a liquid or lozenge as B12 is much more absorbable in those forms.
Iron is also worth paying attention to especially for women of childbearing age. Protein powders will increase the protein content of the diet for vegans if they feel they are struggling to eat enough protein. Vegan omega 3 supplements can also fill the gap left by not eating oily fish. Calcium can also be lacking in a vegan diet.
Supplements for arthritis fall into 2 general groups: anti-inflammatories (such as Turmeric, Boswellia, Bromelain) and cartilage rebuilders (such as Collagen, MSM, Glucosamine).
Vitamin K2 can also be useful for directing calcium into the bones and out of joints and arteries where it could cause problems.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding can be a drain on a woman’s body and a good prenatal multi-nutrient can be very helpful.
We also recommend a high DHA supplement as this is useful for forming a healthy brain, which can be obtained in vegan and non-vegan forms. Vitamin B6 and ginger can be useful for morning sickness.
No supplement from a reputable supplier should affect a drug test. However, it’s worth noting that CBD supplements are legally allowed to contain a very tiny amount (less than 0.2%) of THC, the psychoactive part of the hemp plant. Although unlikely, it’s theoretically possible that this could affect a drug test.
Iron on prescription is notorious for causing constipation but at Wild Oats we have several non-constipating iron supplements.
Certain fibre supplements taken without enough water can also cause constipation, so always follow the instructions on the pack. Some calcium supplements can also cause constipation in some sensitive individuals, but if these are balanced with magnesium this should not be a problem.
Licorice, Ginseng and Guarana can all raise blood pressure so should be taken with caution.
As always, it’s essential if you are on medication from your doctor that you check with them to make sure there are no interactions with any supplements that you would like to take.
IBS stands for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. According to the NHS Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common condition that affects the digestive system, causing symptoms like stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. These tend to come and go over time, and can last for days, weeks or months at a time.
IBS can be very frustrating and uncomfortable to live with and can have a big impact on your everyday life, but is not dangerous.
A damaged gut, depletion of beneficial bacteria, overgrowth of certain damaging bacteria and yeasts, and sensitivity to foods (increased if the gut is damaged), can all aggravate the gut. Stress and anxiety can trigger over/under activity of the bowel, as the gut and the brain are linked.
It’s important to see your doctor and get a proper diagnosis and get investigated before you do anything else. Sudden changes in your digestion, or blood in the stools should be investigated by a doctor immediately.
But after a diagnosis of IBS, there are many things that could alleviate your symptoms.
At Wild Oats we have many to choose from, depending on your symptoms.
A gut-mending formula can be very helpful, as can beneficial bacteria.
Can be helped by gentle fibre formulas, and beneficial bacteria. Drink enough water to keep the bowel hydrated and working properly. Bloating can be helped by improving your general digestion, eating slowly and mindfully rather than bolting down food while you are doing something else. Think about your food as you eat it, chew it carefully, take your time. Taking digestive bitters before eating or taking some digestive enzyme capsules can be very helpful. A tea containing fennel can help expel trapped wind.
Stress & Anxiety
May be relieved with natural remedies like L-Theanine, B Vitamins, herbs such as Rhodiola, Ashwaganda, or Passiflora, Magnesium (perhaps as a skin spray for people with Diarrhoea type IBS, as oral magnesium can act as a laxative in some people).
There is strong evidence that sugar feeds bacteria that are destructive to the gut wall, feeds harmful yeasts, and lowers levels of beneficial bacteria, encouraging inflammation, so cutting sugar out of your diet is highly recommended.
Further triggers could include wheat and gluten, beans, coffee, dairy, fried foods, artificial sweeteners and it might take some experimentation to work out what your personal problem foods are. It may be worth trying the low FODMAP diet, which limits certain fermentable carbohydrates. Fibre can aggravate the diarrhoea and bloating symptoms, so it is often recommended to go onto a low fibre diet while the gut is mending.
Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen. Tree pollen usually affects people in the spring, grass pollen in June and July, and weed and mould pollens in the autumn. It’s also referred to as seasonal allergic rhinitis and often related to chronic allergic rhinitis that can endure all year round.
Hay fever affects about 1 in 4 people in the UK and is usually worse between late March and September. This is when the weather is more likely to be warmer, windy, humid and when the pollen count is at its highest.
Symptoms can include:
- a runny or blocked nose
- sneezing and coughing
- loss of smell
- feeling tired
- itchy, watery or red eyes
If you’re asthmatic, you might also:
- have a tight feeling in your chest
- wheeze and cough
- be short of breath
First it’s essential to sort out your diet. Without that you are hobbling the horse and asking it to run. So take a look at our blog on the alkaline diet and pay special attention to avoiding gluten, all the nightshades and dairy products.
You can also try:
- Quercetin three times a day with or without food. I recommend Quercetin Formula by
Nature’s Aid because it has additional co-factors that improve its effectiveness. This can work
for many people by significantly reducing symptoms within an hour.
- Vitamin C 100mg three times a day with food (the only side effects with vitamin C are looseness
of the bowel if you take too much. Most people don’t get enough, especially when they are
exposed to some illness or other. If you suffer at all from this, simply reduce the dose. Also
for reduced effects choose a buffered variety or Ester-C).
- Vitamin D3 1000-3000iu per day, especially if you’re not getting much sunlight. The oral
spray seems to work best.
- Zinc 15mg per day minimum, 50mg max, but take the higher doses with small amounts of
copper. Viridian Zinc complex already has a trace of copper added.
- Finally, Nettle. Great fresh in soups, or as a cooked vegetable (a bit like spinach) or as a herb
Menopause is defined as the point when monthly periods stop, caused by a change in the balance of the body’s sex hormones, which is a natural part of ageing.
It happens when your ovaries stop producing as much of the hormone oestrogen and no longer release an egg each month. As we age, it becomes more dangerous to bear children, and menopause can be seen as protecting us from harm.
The average age of menopause is 51 and it usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. Around 1 in 100 women experience the menopause prematurely, before 40 years of age. Periods rarely just stop, there may be a few years of irregularity, stopping and starting.
Symptoms can start a few years before your periods stop, a time known as perimenopause, and can continue for a few years after your last period.
Everyone is different though, and many women go through the menopause experiencing a minimum of symptoms, coping well without the need for any treatment.
Lowered oestrogen levels can disrupt sleep by causing symptoms from hot flushes and sweats to anxiety and depressed mood; anxiety leading to difficulty getting to sleep, and depression leading to non-restorative sleep and early morning wakening.
Take a look at our blog on how to sleep for more around this topic.
Menopause has been known to cause brain-related symptoms, including sleep disturbances, depression, anxiety, insomnia, low libido, brain-fog and memory problems. Scientists widely believe they are caused largely by declining oestrogen levels.
Menopause can cause many changes in your body as a result of decreased production of oestrogen and progesterone in your ovaries. These changes may include hot flushes, weight gain, increased PMT symptoms, joint or muscle pain, dry eyes, vaginal dryness and vaginal atrophy.
There are many safe food supplements for menopause symptoms. It’s best to come in-store to Wild Oats so you can get advice tailored to your needs.
Supplements often used include:
- Agnus Castus
- Soya Isoflavones
- Red Clover
- Siberian Ginseng
- St Johns Wort
- Devils Claw
- Arnica Gel
- Omega 7
- Dong Quai
It’s very important to seek advice as the choice of remedy depends on your own symptoms and circumstances. As always, check with your doctor first if you are on any medication.
There are several yeast organisms called Candida, which are a type of fungus, which can live in the human body. The most common is Candida albicans.
Not really. It’s naturally occurring in the human body. It’s only a problem if our balance of good bacteria gets disturbed, usually through taking medication such as antibiotics, hormone drugs or steroids.
Under normal circumstances, the good bacteria secrete substances that keep things like Candida under control. But if they are disturbed or out of balance, Candida can multiply unchecked and cause problems.
Most people have small amounts in the mouth, vagina, the gut and on the skin, but if it starts to grow out of control it can grow anywhere in the body. For instance, it can grow in the bloodstream or internal organs like the kidney, heart, or brain and cause severe problems.
The list of possible symptoms can include:
- Feeling tired, worn down or suffering from chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
- In men, a red rash, itching and burning on the penis
- In women, vaginal itching, soreness, and redness; a white, clumpy discharge from the vagina; and painful or uncomfortable intercourse
- Difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of focus, ADD, ADHD, and brain fog
- Severe seasonal allergies
- Strong sugar and carbohydrate cravings
- Irritability, mood swings, anxiety or depression
- Digestive issues including bloating, constipation or diarrhoea
- White coat on the tongue, redness or discomfort in the mouth, sore throat, difficulty swallowing or cracking at the corners of the mouth
- Skin and nail fungal infections which include athlete’s foot or toenail fungus
It likes warm, moist conditions and feeds on sugar. It can cause problems in folds of skin, under breasts, the groin area etc. Diabetics are particularly susceptible to Candida overgrowth due to the high levels of sugar in their blood, so tightly controlling blood sugar can make a huge difference. Pregnancy makes women more prone to Candida overgrowth due to changes in hormones. People with compromised immune systems are also at risk of problems due to Candida overgrowth.
It probably won’t go away on its own. You can take action to get it back under control. You will need to make some changes to your diet (restricting sugar and carbohydrate intake), keep your skin clean and dry, take some beneficial bacteria (we have some great choices at Wild Oats) and take some antifungal supplements (Garlic, Oregano, Olive leaf, Cinnamon).
After you start taking action to reduce Candida levels, you may experience a temporary worsening of symptoms. It’s important to begin slowly and make sure you drink enough water and eat well during this period. Don’t allow yourself to get constipated, you want those dead organisms to pass out of you as soon as possible!