April 26 – May 30, 2024



My bone density story

I recently found out that my bone density in my Lumbar Spine (my lower back) leaves something to be desired, which was quite a shock, and has made me look much more closely at everything to do with bone density, including diet, supplements and lifestyle. I thought I’d share what I’ve learned – bearing in mind I’m far from an expert, this is really just what I’ve learned so far. It’s a journey, as they say, and I’m only just starting it! I experienced a fairly early menopause, at age 44-45. I

What I’m learning about bone health Your bones are ‘living’ tissue that can regenerate and strengthen themselves, as long as you know what to do. I have decided that I want to find ways to reverse my bone loss. Having done a lot of reading I’m reluctant to take the osteopo- rosis drugs on offer, as there is some evidence that they harden the bones so that they become brittle and have significant side effects. So, after a lot of research I have decided to look at alternatives to medication and investigate what we can do if we want to reverse bone loss with diet and lifestyle. Diet I’ve learned that a healthy diet for bones is an alkaline diet. If your diet has a high acid load this weakens bones because the body will remove alkalising minerals from bone tissue to maintain a healthy pH balance. So without a pH-balanced diet, your bones are under constant assault. If you’ve done any sim- ple chemistry you’ll know that minerals like calcium are used to ‘buffer’ or neutralise acidity. And so, in order to maintain the right pH, our body steals calci- um and other minerals from our

knew that it could affect bone density but somehow a few years passed, and I’ve only just had a DXA scan now, at 48. In hindsight, I would encour- age any women experiencing early Menopause to request a DXA scan asap, so you have a good benchmark for your bone density before your hormones start to wane. A DXA (or DEXA) stands for dual-energy X-ray absorp- tiometry scan and it uses very low levels of x-rays to measure how dense your bones are. You are given measurements for your hips and spine. My hips are perfect, but my spine is -2.5, which isn’t a good reading. My Z Score (which is where they compare your readings to other people your age) is also -2.5 which means I have lost more bone mass than most people my age. The good news is that I can do something about this. Lucki- ly for me, our shop manager Fleur has been working on her bone density for a few years and has managed to increase the density of her hips and stop the loss in her spine, all by changing her diet and lifestyle.

HEALTH Hannah Dare Organico Bantry

bones. It’s going to be challenging for me to alkalise my diet. Acid forming foods include many of my favourites – cheese (and most dairy), coffee, all grains (which means rice, bread, pasta and all starches) and all meats and fish. Luckily I have never been a cola drinker but people who drink a lot of cola may be at risk of bone loss due to the effect of phosphoric acid, which is used in cola drinks as a flavour enhancer. I’ll be honest – I’m not sure how I’m going to manage to completely alkalise my diet. But I’m making a start, as I suspect there are more health benefits to an alkaline diet than just bone health. I’m starting by adding in

to unclog the pores, sulphur to kill the bacteria, and retinoids which help to unplug pores, reduce inflammation, pro - mote cell turnover, and inhibit formation of new acne lesions. Topical herbal creams may in- clude herbs such as ‘Filipendula ulmaria’, ‘Salix alba’, ‘Calendu- la’, ‘Trifolium’ and so on. Keeping a journal that notes factors such as menstrual cycle fluctuations, stress levels, dietary habits, and skincare products used, can help identify if acne is hormonal or bacterial. Fungal acne This type is not well known but occurs when hair follicles become infected with a fungus called Malassezia yeast. Fungal acne causes clusters of small, itchy, red bumps (papules) on the skin which, if left untreat- ed, can turn into whiteheads or small pockets of white or yellow pus (pustules). It can be treated with topical or oral anti-fungal medication. From a herbal perspective an anti-fungal herb such as oregano and an anti-inflamma - tory herb like calendula could be used as a wash. lots of lemon water, extra fruits and vegetables, possibly adding in a fresh veg juice every day, and cutting out some of the acid-forming foods. I’m going to monitor my progress using PH strips. I’ll let you know how I get on! Collagen promoting diet I’ve also learned that increasing collagen production can be very healthy for my bones. This could mean taking a collagen supplement, as well as making sure I’m eating plenty of colla- gen promoting foods. Eating a variety of healthy protein sourc- es provides the amino acids our body needs to create collagen and other proteins. Fish, quinoa, bone broth, beans, chicken, and Continued on next page...

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Controlling the different types of acne

A skin problem that mil- lions of people around the world have, acne can show up in many forms, from whiteheads and blackheads to painful cysts under the skin. However, not all acne is the same and it’s important to know the difference between hor- monal acne and bacterial acne in order to treat and control it effectively. Hormonal acne Many times, hormonal acne is caused by changes in the body’s hormone levels, especially an- drogens like testosterone. These hormonal changes can cause more sebum to be made, pores to get clogged, and inflamma - tion, all of which can eventually lead to hormonal acne lesions. The chin, jawline, and forehead are common places to get it. Hormonal acne is different from other types of acne because it tends to be deeper and more cystic. It can be very painful and lowers self-esteem. It affects both men and women and is more likely to last longer. For women it may often get worse before menstruation or when there is a major hormonal change such as the menopause.

According to the HSE web- site ( the main treatments for acne are: A mix of antibiotic tablets and topical treatments (creams, gels and ointments) if you have severe acne; Hormonal therapies or the combined oral contraceptive pill; Isotretinoin - you may be referred to a dermatologist who can prescribe this if your acne fails to respond to other treat- ment or you have scarring. The approach is different from a herbal perspective. Balancing hormones is the first priority, as this helps the issue where it begins, in the pituitary. Getting a blood test that identi- fies hormone levels at different times of the menstrual cycle establishes if there is a hor- monal imbalance and this is then addressed by using different herbs. Other prob- lems associ- ated with hormonal acne in

mation, blood stasis, menstrual cramps, and painful menstrua- tion, all of which often accom- pany this condition. Some lifestyle changes may also help hormonal acne. Increased stress can make hormonal changes worse, so doing stress-relieving activi- ties like yoga, meditation, or regular exercise can help keep hormone levels stable and lower the chance of acne breakouts. Getting enough sleep every

night is also important for keeping hormones in check. It may also help to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins and less sugary foods, processed snacks, and dairy products, which can make inflammation and hormone imbalances worse. Bacterial acne Bacterial acne, on the other hand, is brought on by too many ‘Cutibacterium acnes’ (C. acnes) bacteria on the skin. When there is too much sebum on the skin, these bacteria grow, which can cause waxy plugs, in- flammation, and pimples. It can show up anywhere on the face, back, or chest and usually looks like whiteheads, blackheads, and pustules. Topical treatments that target the bacterial growth may work better on bacterial acne than on hormonal acne. Bacterial acne can vary in severity depending on factors like hygiene, diet, and skincare habits and often responds to dietary changes. Topical skin care

HERBAL HEALING Dr. Rosari Kingston

Dr. Rosari Kingston PhD, M.Sc (Herbal medicine) is a medical herbalist practising in Dr. O’Reilly’s integrative clinical practice in Clonakilty as well as Church Cross, Skibbereen. Dr. Kingston’s area of research are the healing modalities present in Irish vernacular medicine and she incorporates them, where possible, into her clinical practice. In her clinical practise she specialises in infertility and digestive issues.

women and that need to be addressed with a herbal prescrip- tion are inflam -

products for bacte- rial acne normally include salicylic acid as this helps

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