Emma Nutrition

Simplifying the science through cooking and education. When I'm not on Mummy duties…

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Pyroluria – nutritional treatment for tension, anxiety and depression

Have you ever suffered from inner tension that you thought was just something you had to live with? Latest research has revealed a condition affecting some (stats are unknown yet) of the population and the best thing of all is that it is treatable. With simple nutrition. Amazing. There will be alot of information over the next few years regarding genetic predisposition to clinical conditions – a new branch of medicine called Nutrigenomics is merging and its very exciting. So back to the condition that causes exacerbation of tension, anxiety and depression… Pyroluria


The effect of pyroluria can have a mild, moderate, or severe depending on the severity of the imbalance. Most individuals show symptoms of zinc and/or B6 deficiencies, which include poor stress control, nervousness, anxiety, mood swings, severe inner tension, episodic anger (an explosive temper), poor short-term memory and depression. Most pyrolurics exhibit at least two of these problems. These individuals cannot efficiently create serotonin (a neurotransmitter that reduces anxiety and depression) since vitamin B6 is an important factor in the last step of its synthesis. Many of these persons appear to benefit from SSRI medications such as Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, etc. However, as with all mind-altering drugs, side effects occur and the true cause of the mental difficulties remains uncorrected. In addition these individuals often have frequent infections and are often identified by their inability to tan, poor dream recall, abnormal fat distribution, and sensitivity to light and sound. As you can imagine an SSRI will not correct these metabolic effects. More healthful benefits may be achieved by giving the appropriate supporting nutrients.

Pyroluria is a genetically determined chemical imbalance involving an abnormality in haemoglobin synthesis. Haemoglobin is the protein that holds iron in the red blood cell. Individuals with this disorder produce too much of a byproduct of haemoglobin synthesis called “kryptopyrrole” (KP) or “hemepyrrole.” Kryptopyrrole has no known function in the body and is excreted in urine.

Kryptopyrrole binds to pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and zinc and makes them unavailable for their important roles as co-factors in enzymes and metabolism.  These essential nutrients when bound to kryptopyrrole are removed from the bloodstream and excreted into the urine as pyrrolesArachidonic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid) also becomes deficient.

Pyroluria is detected by chemical analysis of the abnormal pyroles in urine detectable as a purple (on testing paper) metabolite in called “the mauve factor.

If you would like to take the Pyroluria Questionnaire to check if you have the symptoms you can do so here and if you would like to then take the lab test go here for further information.

What do you think of this emerging field of medicine and health? Do you find it exciting or daunting? Have you been tested for Pyroluria?


Image courtesy of natural health protocol


10 of the best foods to beat the afternoon slump

10 Best foods to beat the afternoon slump

If you’ve ever suffered the afternoon munchies (like me!) or the brain-deadness that many of us feel around 3pm in the afternoon try these foods to see if you have some improvement in your symptoms. Factor them in as your afternoon snack but don’t have them in addition to a biscuit 🙂

1. Chia seeds – high in Omega 3 oils as well as being a concentrated source of minerals Chia seeds can be made into balls with coconut oil and cocoa for a sweet tooth hit or soaked in water as a drink.

2. Cinnamon – high in Chromium cinnamon is the best spice for balancing blood sugar. Add it to a good quality coffee, tea or yoghurt. 70mcg of Chromium which can reduce blood glucose levels by up to 30%.  Continue reading


Nutritional Lab Tests [available now!]

Finally I’m so excited to let you know that I’m offering lab tests as a service without your needing to have a full consultation. You can also have a consultation if you like and it would be my pleasure to help you out with your health enquiry 🙂

Did you know that a Lab test can reveal where your health is really at? If you’ve ever thought you may have low Iron levels, an under-active thyroid or your hormones are out of whack a lab tests can show you alot more info than you probably thought. Lab tests with Emma Nutrition

Your GP practice is not the only place to order functional lab testing. In fact, a functional practitioner can offer analysis of results in quite a different way. For example if your thryoid test comes back as ‘normal’ do you know what this means? It means that your thyroid is functioning in a way that fits into the middle range of the population. That population is made up of well people, sick people, old people, young people etc. A sample of these people are tested and the middle range is then set as the ‘normal’ range. Obviously this works statistically but its not specific and certainly not tailored to individuals. What is going on in YOUR body is what you want to know! Well that’s what I want to know when I have a test done. As much as I care for my elderly neighbour I’m not interested in how MY results compare to HERS or how YOURS to OTHERS but more what YOUR results mean to you and your health. If you want to know what’s really going in your body a lab test is a solid objective way to measure but make sure you get it analysed by someone who has functional diagnostics knowledge. For those who are interested I did my training with Dicken Wetherby and I keep up to date with his courses and books as well as with Invivo Clinical, Genova Diagnostics and Diagnostechs as well as independent laboratories.

Previously you’ve only been offered tests within consultations but now you can order tests directly without a full consultation.

Tests available:

Adrenal Stress Profile Test

Hair Mineral Analysis Test

Click the links to see sample results, prices and get more information.


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I hate the term ‘me time’!

This week I read a blog post by Jana Bakunina about ‘me time‘. She was prompted to write about it after reading a seemingly derogatory article about it. It got me thinking….I remember when I first had my children I was told “you need to have some time to yourself” or “take a little me time“. No! Not only did I not feel the need for me time, I found the concept alarmingly stressful. Why would I want to spend time away from my baby?! My baby whom I was breastfeeding and by that was reducing my blood pressure. My (troublesome in pregnancy) blood pressure, by the way, shot up to 176/125 (it should be 120/80) when my second son was in the neonatal unit while I was in a room a couple of hundred metres away – unable to get to him. It dropped down as soon as I was with him…..and feeding him. So time away from my babies has never been a concept I agree with nor encourage. It did become a problem when I had to drive home with foils in my hair once after my 8 month old refused to take a bottle….over-bleached hair by the way takes about a year to recover!

Now that my babies are not quite so tiny and that I like to perhaps sit and have a ponder about things at times I have to question whether I now need ‘me time’ or as the eloquent Jen commented: we all need time to ruminate, ponder and explore. Would I actually like to sit in a cafe and watch the world go by? Would I like to have a shower in peace and think about the horse riding lesson or the running route I am going to take that day? The answer is, guiltily, yes. Even as I write this my 3yo is in bed wriggling next to me and it is very distracting; the constant wriggling and moving and jumping and noise and pressure to act, react, create a Lego masterpiece or negotiate a war over a paratrooper doll.

In the name of research but really to ease my guilt over desiring a little clear-headed time I pulled out a book I often refer to for hypertension (high blood pressure). In it the author discusses stress and our reaction to it. He aptly points out that its impossible to avoid all of the stressors of life, but you can do something to lessen their effects on your physical, mental and emotional health. We all have a stress response and the antidote to this stress response is the relaxation response. Doing progressive relaxation has been proven to lower blood pressure.

Progressive relaxation:

  • Sit in a comfortable chair pr lie on a mat on the floor and close your eyes.
  • Let your arms lie at your sides or your hands relaxed in your lap if you’re sitting up.
  • Take a deep breath: slowly inhale for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, and exhale for 4 counts. Repeat if desired then resume normal breathing.
  • Focus on your feet; relax them completely letting all the tension go.
  • Then focus on your ankles, your calves and all the way up through your body, relaxing all of your muscles one by one, including those on you read and face.
  • Try to take 20 minutes to complete this process. When you’re finished gradually begin to wake up again by wriggling your fingers and toes, and gently shaking out your arms and legs.
  • Take your time getting up. Slowly and gently ease back into the real world.
  • I’ve practiced relaxation for hypnobirthing and for yoga and meditation and doing it at home just isn’t the same. I’ve had the kids start screaming at me, do a poo or want a drink/food/puzzle etc. So to get my 20 mins of health inducing, stress busting, blood pressure lowering time I need to chill out and breathe deeply for a consistent 20 minutes. Of course to be creative and have more independent thought we also need a consistent unbroken time frame to free our thoughts and move forward. Would JK have written Harry Potter had she had a warm house and not had to sit in a coffee house all day without distractions of housework?!

    As Kate commented on Jana’s post: maybe referring to it as ‘me time’ makes it worse, makes us feel more guilt for taking it because we see it as just for us. If we considered the knock on effect of us feeling better and more rounded on our families and friends then it’s not quite so selfish after all!. If we considered the long term health benefits of 20 minutes a day of stress-relieving activity we might just be more willing to do it.

    What do you think of “me time”?

    Jana can be found here at Ladies who Impress.


    Does mountain gazing count as ‘me time’?!

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    Lactation cookies

    If you are looking to increase your milk supply or simply maintain a good supply here is a recipe to try. It’s also tasty and delicious. Enjoy!


    Linseeds/Flaxseeds x 40gm
    Water x 80ml
    Brewer’s yeast x 2tbsp
    Butter, cubed x 180gm (or healthy oil such as cold pressed Rapeseed or Coconut)
    Rapadura sugar or dark brown sugar x 300gm
    Vanilla extract x 1 tsp
    Spelt (or plain) flour x 260gm
    Eggs x 2
    Rolled oats x 300gm
    Cacao nibs (optional) x 100gm (or dried fruit)
    Nuts of choice x 100gm (I like to use walnuts)


  • Blend linseeds 10 sec or use milled
  • Add water to linseeds and set aside.
  • Place yeast, butter, rapadura and vanilla into blender/bowl and mix
  • Add linseed mixture, flour, eggs and mix/stir 20 sec.
  • Add oats, cacao nibs and nuts and mix through.
  • Place mixture into flattened balls onto baking trays & cook 15 minutes at 180C until golden around the edges.
  • You can double the recipe, roll up a batch in 4” lots and freeze (ready for a quick snack when busy with baby)

    Nutrition notes:
    Oats are my favourite ‘medicine food’; they are the most important food for increasing supply (the scientific reason for this isn’t certain). Healthy fats are also important as breast milk is made from fats in the diet ( hence those cookie/cake cravings that we’ve all had so its best to use healthy fats). Linseeds are another galactagogue (supply increaser) that are an important addition to the diet of a breastfeeding mother.

    Per Serving:
    Cals 203
    Carbs 24
    Fat 10
    Protein 4
    Fibre 2
    Sugar 12

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    The truth about periods – humorous link

    Here’s a little clip I came across from Bodyform. I hope you find it as funny as I did 🙂


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    Hormone contraceptive injection and type 2 Diabetes

    A ground breaking study by Nicole M. Bender has shown that contraceptive implants containing the hormone progestin can increase the risk of developing type 2 Diabetes in obese women.
    20131125-190658.jpg image by Armin Kübelbeck

    There was a 10 percent increase in fasting blood-glucose levels among the skin implant users, compared to a 5 percent increase among the IUD users and a 2 percent decrease among those using non-hormonal methods. The effects on sensitivity to insulin showed a similar trend.

    “All women, including overweight and obese women, need to have access to safe and effective contraception. Obese women are at increased risk for pregnancy-related complications and are sometimes warned by their doctors not to use contraceptives containing estrogen, such as the pill, patch and vaginal ring.” said Penina Segall-Gutierrez, co-investigator of the study. Oestrogen contraceptives can increase the risk of blood clots in these women.

    While contraception is important as pregnancy carries risks of it’s own for obese women, they need to consider the risk of the injection on their long term health.

    Weight loss and/or dietary or supplemental changes can have a massive effect on blood sugar levels.