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Perseverance and Endurance in Nutritional Therapy

by June Butlin(more info)

listed in nutrition, originally published in issue 31 - August 1998

One of the fundamental principles of optimum nutrition is a time delay in the healing process. Nutrients in the form of foods, supplements and herbs do not produce an instant overnight result, as do some drugs. When you make improvements to the quality of your diet, it takes time to establish the optimum levels of nutrients necessary, to rebuild the cell structures, enzymes, hormones, prostaglandins etc that will lead to better health

Generally, people feel worse in the early days of changing their nutrition, and can suffer mild symptoms such as headaches, pains and muscular aches.

There are three main reasons for this: the release of circulating toxicity, the withdrawal effects from noxious substances and the elimination of hidden allergies. Dedication to a nutritional program will help to overcome this initial, unpleasant stage, and improvements can be achieved within one to twelve weeks. Without immediate results, it is often difficult to keep focussed, but perseverance and endurance in the face of nothingness for a few days or weeks, can make the difference between sub-optimum and optimum health.

It took my client, Adrian, twelve weeks to rebalance his body and to achieve his health goals. His presenting symptoms were very dry skin, eczema, with accompanying hayfever, tiredness, anxiety and a little "overfat".

Adrian had been suffering from these conditions after working on a building site for twelve months. Eczema, his main concern, is a chronic inflammatory skin condition, with irritating itchiness. It usually targets the areas around the elbows, knees and wrists, but in Adrian's case the eczema covered the whole of his body. It was worrying for him as he was a semi-professional footballer, and was unable to continue playing because the increased heat and sweat from his skin exacerbated his condition. This, in turn, caused him to feel anxious and stressful. His doctor and dermatologist had prescribed oral and topical corticosteroids, antihistamines and an anti-anxiety drug - all to no avail. He was desperate and prepared to do anything to eradicate his problems.

His diet contained lots of sugar, coffee, tea, wheat, dairy, alcohol, fast foods, and very few vegetables. The foods that he had difficulty omitting from the diet were bread and cheese. This is a good indicator that these foods are not beneficial to his body, and were confirmed by kinesiology testing. A urine sample and kinesiology test suggested that his liver was underfunctioning, bacteria were present and his body was too acidic.

Three key areas were targeted to accomplish his goal of clear skin and improved overall health. These were to deal with the presenting food sensitivities, to build up the immune system, and to provide the specific nutrients needed to improve the eczema and hay fever through diet, nutrients and topical applications.

Adrian followed an alkali based, high fibre and mineral diet for the first two weeks. He then included a small number of acidic foods, in the ratio of 80% alkaline forming and 20% acid forming, so as not to swing the pH (potential hydrogen) to extreme alkalinity. This helped to establish and maintain homeostasis in his body. The food sensitivities of dairy, wheat and corn were avoided throughout the therapy.

His nutrient deficient diet and alcohol intakes were adversely affecting his immune system, particularly the efficiency of the liver's two-stage detoxification process. To stimulate phase I -- the breaking down of toxins -- foods containing bioflavanoids were introduced such as citrus foods, onions and garlic. To stimulate phase II -- making the toxins water soluble for excretion -- organic, cruciferous vegetables containing phytonutrients, were added to the diet. These vegetables are broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts

To improve the inflammation and skin condition essential fatty acids were introduced into the diet and supplements of eicosapentanoeic acid and gamma linolenic acid were taken along with zinc picolinate. A strong multi vitamin was added to support the nutrition program and Vitamins A and E were included as they are critical nutrients for the development and maintenance of the skin and prevent hyperkeratinisation. N Acetyl Cysteine, an antioxidant, was introduced after six weeks.

Topically, bath oils of melissa and lavender were used to soften the dry scaly skin, and aloe vera medicated skin cream was applied at regular intervals throughout the day, to heal and prevent irritation. Cotton clothing was worn next to the skin, and extremes in temperature were avoided. Fast walking was advised each day to improve the circulation of the blood and lymphatic system.

Resistance training was added three times each week to prevent the loss of lean body tissue and to aid fat loss.

In terms of time scale Adrian's spirits started to lift after eight days, although the eczema seemed to get worse. After three weeks his energy levels increased, and after five weeks he had never felt as fit. He lost 9lbs in seven weeks and at that stage his hay fever had cleared. The eczema was still widespread, although the quality of his skin had improved. His motivation to continue came from the fact that he had never felt as healthy in his life and he actually enjoyed the foods. Ten weeks into the therapy Adrian's kinesiology assessment revealed a sensitivity to dust mites. To counteract this, all bedding was washed, the carpets cleaned, the mattress vacuumed and a dust mite sheet fitted. These surfaces were also treated with dust mite powder.

At this stage I felt that I had to reassess the situation, especially if Adrian's eczema did not improve in the following two weeks.

Knowing that I am not infallible and that I had exhausted my knowledge I thought I might have to refer him to another therapy -- Would Chinese medicine have the answer?

However, this situation did not arise, because by the twelfth week Adrian's eczema had healed, and he was back to playing football.

I think we can all learn from Adrian's endurance and perseverance and favourite phrase of "keep on, keeping on", if we are determined to achieve our own optimum health.


Dr Brally's Food Allergy and Nutrition Revolution. James Brally MD. Keats Publishing, 1992. ISBN O-87983-590-7
Encyclopaedia of Natural Medicine. Michael Murray ND and Joseph Pizzorno ND. MacDonald and Co Publishers, 1990. 0-356-17218-X
The 20 Day Rejuvenation Diet Program. Jeffrey Bland, Ph.D. Keats Publishing, 1996. ISBN 0-87983-760-8
Healthy Healing. Linda Rector Page ND Ph.D. Healthy Healing Publications, 1992 ISBN 1-883334-50-4
Alkalize or Die. Dr Theodore Baroody. Electric Press, 1996. ISBN 0-9619595-3-3


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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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