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An Holistic Approach to Optimum Sports Nutrition

by June Butlin(more info)

listed in exercise and fitness, originally published in issue 25 - February 1998

Until September 1995, Catherine was fit, healthy and full of vitality. She had a happy home life, a good social life, and a reasonable degree of fitness. She achieved excellent results in her A level examinations and was looking forward to her forestry studies at the University of Wales in Bangor.

During the first term at Bangor she suffered from extreme tiredness and regular sore throats. The GP in Bangor prescribed antibiotics, but by the end of November she was considerably worse. The sore throats became very severe and she had difficulties eating and could only manage sips of water. She was unable to attend any lectures, had lost weight and her mental state was fragile.

Catherine took time out of university and her own GP took a blood sample and confirmed glandular fever. She was given an anti-inflammatory throat spray and Ibuprofen for the headaches that she was experiencing. She was told to rest, and apart from a ban on alcohol, no further advice was given.

In January she had apparently recovered sufficiently to start the new term at university. She remained reasonably well for the next few months. However, the stress of university life, plus student living, resulted in a gradual decline in her general health. By June 1996 she was experiencing outbreaks of thrush. Repeated visits to the doctor resulted in a series of unsuccessful treatments with antibiotics as well as four courses of Gynopevaryl (antifungal). From June until February of this year the thrush became more severe and she was given several more treatments of antibiotics.

In February 1997, Catherine's thrush symptoms became intolerable, and she was referred to a consultant. Further blood tests confirmed thrush and another course of Sporanox (antifungal) was prescribed. This was given to treat the thrush for three months. On the follow up visit Catherine felt no better. She was told that that she did not have a life threatening disease and therefore would have to learn to live with it. A further three month course of Diflucan (antifungal) was prescribed.

Catherine became depressed, nervous, anxious, withdrawn and experienced panic attacks. Naturally her work suffered, and she was so depleted by Easter of 1997, that she was unable to return to university. At this point Catherine's mother arranged an appointment for her to see me. She completed a diet diary and questionnaire prior to the initial consultation. The diet diary revealed that Catherine was eating only intermittently and her nutritional status was depleted. She was omitting breakfast and was consuming alcohol on a regular basis. Her diet was high in sugar and very low in complex carbohydrates.

I found the information in the questionnaire confusing as there seemed little to suggest, in terms of symptoms, that Catherine had ongoing severe thrush. I rang Catherine to recheck various details and soon realised that thrush may or may not have been the root cause of her problems. Taking the case history as a whole, Catherine's symptoms indicated a severely depleted immune system.

This was caused by her poor nutritional status, her stress levels and the unrelenting use of antifungal and antibiotic treatments over the previous year. Her body seemed unable to initiate any form of healing response and I could not understand the reason why the cycle was spiralling as Catherine has a background of exceptionally good health. Using kinesiology as a diagnostic technique, I was able to detect that the glandular fever was still present in the body. The vicious cycling between thrush symptoms, antibiotics, antifungal drugs and ill health was exacerbated by her post-vital condition.

Initially, I put Catherine on an upbuilding cleansing programme taking into account the foods that she was sensitive to. Three meals each day were obligatory, two of which included protein in the form of fish, eggs, white meat, and at least four vegetables along with baked potatoes and brown rice. Drinks included regular carrot/apple juice, herb teas and lots of filtered water.

Catherine took two supplements from natural sources to target her severely depleted immune system; Aloe Vera and a combined nutrient containing maritime pine bark, grape seed pips, circumin extracts and ginkgo biloba. Other supplements included a multi vitamin/mineral, zinc, magnesium/calcium 2:1., and iron EAP to help raise her low ferrutin levels. I also advised her to take some butyric acid, to heal the leaky gut wall caused by the antibiotics.

Catherine improved rapidly over the following weeks. The diet was adhered to and gradually she was able to incorporate some gentle exercises into her day, walking at first, then swimming and some resistance training at the local gym. She also included some simple relaxation exercises and her mental attitude became more positive.

After four weeks Catherine was a different woman. She was brighter, more alert and had no symptoms of thrush. Her energy was returning and she was starting to study again at home. At the end of May she was able to return to university for a few days to complete her examinations. By August she had regained all her vitality and sparkle and was well enough to take up her year out placement at a paper mill in Carlisle – a very strenuous position!

It is sad that Catherine's case was not looked at holistically. It is well documented by Stephen Davies and others that many people recover very slowly after glandular fever and that the virus can be very persistent. A number of abnormalities can also occur after the infection such as food allergies, changes in the immune system and in cell metabolism. Zinc, iron, and B vitamins are almost always deficient. If these issues had been addressed by the doctors it would have saved Catherine many months of misery.

Reference Books

Boost Your Immune System. Jennifer Meek. I.O.N. Press. 1996. ISBN 1870976145.
Complete Nutrition. Michael Sharon. Prion Publishers. 1989. ISBN 185375076X.
Dr. Braly's Food Allergy and Nutrition Revolution. James Braly M.D. Keats Publishers. 1992. ISBN 0879835907.
Nutritional Medicine. Stephen Davies and Dr Alan Stewart. Pan Books Ltd. 1987. ISBN 0330288334.


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About June Butlin

June M Butlin PhD is a trained teacher, nutritionist, kinesiologist, aromatherapist, fitness trainer and sports therapist. She is a writer, health researcher and lecturer and is committed to helping people achieve their optimum level of health and runs a private practice in Wiltshire. June can be contacted on 01225 869 284;

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