World Chocolate Day

World Chocolate Day

Chocolate is amazing! Let’s celebrate.

Chocolate is an abundant source of flavanols such as epicatechin, catechin, procyanidins, theobromine, and numerous minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, and zinc.

Studies indicate that chocolate has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiplatelet, antithrombotic, anti-atherogenic, and vasodilatory properties. Chocolate has been found to modulate glucose metabolism and can reduce endothelial dysfunction, blood pressure (both systolic and diastolic), inflammation, C-reactive protein, oxidative stress, insulin resistance, and atherogenesis. It can also improve lipid profile by decreasing low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and oxidised LDL cholesterol, and increasing high-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.

Additionally, chocolate can improve flow-mediated dilatation, insulin sensitivity, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Chocolate has also been associated with overall better health, optimism, feeling happier and less lonely, and having better psychological wellbeing.

McEwen B. Medical Synopsis: The cardiometabolic benefits of chocolate – can chocolate be the elusive elixir to optimum health? Adv Int Med 2018; 5(2): 80-81

Vitamin D in the management of endometriosis

Endometriosis is a chronic severe multifactorial inflammatory disease. The endometrium of women with endometriosis presents abnormalities on a structural and functional level affecting proliferation ability, adhesion molecule expression, steroid and cytokine production, and presence of immune components.

Endometriosis is one of the most common gynaecological diseases affecting around 15% of women of reproductive age. Women with endometriosis experience dysmenorrhoea, dyspareunia, development of scarring and adhesions, pelvic floor muscle spasm, chronic pelvic pain, chronic pain, inflammation, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, constipation, fatigue, stress, chronic stress, and negative impact on quality of life.

Impairment of immunologic mechanism and inflammatory responses has been suggested to be involved in the pathogenesis of endometriosis.

Women with endometriosis experience autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and multiple sclerosis.

Vitamin D is involved with the absorption and metabolism of calcium, calcium homeostasis, mineral homeostasis, bone metabolism, modulating inflammation, differentiation, regulation of cellular growth, anti-proliferation, regulation of genes that are crucial for glucose and lipid metabolism, and overall metabolic function.

Vitamin D plays an essential role in cell-mediated and humoral antibody response and in the regulation of the response of the immune system.

A deficiency of vitamin D has been associated with endometriosis, menstrual dysfunction, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), impaired fertility, higher occurrence of fibroids, bacterial vaginosis, insulin resistance, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases, multiple sclerosis, and lupus.

Reference: McEwen B. Vitamin D in the management of endometriosis. JATMS 2021; 27(1):24-26.

Magnesium in the management of endometriosis

Endometriosis is a chronic severe multifactorial inflammatory disease characterised by the presence of endometrial-like tissue outside of the uterine cavity. The migration of uterine endometrial cells into the pelvic cavity form lesions on multiple sites across multiple organs. Endometriosis is one of the most common gynaecological diseases in women, affecting around 15% of women of reproductive age. Women with endometriosis experience dysmenorrhoea, dyspareunia (painful sex), pelvic floor muscle spasm, pelvic pain, chronic pelvic pain, chronic pain, fatigue, stress, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, constipation, headaches, orofacial pain, inflammation, and thyroid conditions.

Magnesium is an important mineral for normal biological function. It is involved in over 300 enzyme reactions.

It is involved in the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), DNA, and RNA, mitochondrial health, utilisation of intracellular energy, relaxation of smooth muscle, normal muscle function, neurotransmission, neuromuscular transmission, parathyroid hormone metabolism, metabolism of carbohydrates, protein and fats, and bone health.

Reference: McEwen B. Magnesium in the management of endometriosis. JATMS 2021; 27(1): 18-21.

Meditation in the management of endometriosis

Endometriosis is a chronic severe multifactorial inflammatory disease characterised by the presence of endometrial-like tissue outside of the uterine cavity. Endometriosis is one of the most common gynaecological diseases in women affecting around 15% of women of reproductive age.

Adolescent women with endometriosis are at particular risk as there are often significant diagnostic delays, which in turn can exacerbate pain.

Women with endometriosis experience dysmenorrhoea, dyspareunia (painful sex), pelvic pain, chronic pelvic pain, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, constipation, thyroid conditions, inflammation, peripheral sensitisation, central sensitisation, enhanced pelvic nociception, fatigue, stress, and negative impacts on quality of life.

Meditation can effectively reduce stress, anxiety, depression, pain, chronic pain, chronic pelvic pain, fibromyalgia, migraine, heart rate variability, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Meditation has been found to improve mood, cognition, attention, creativity, self-awareness, present-moment awareness, and quality of life.

Reference: McEwen B. Meditation in the management of endometriosis. JATMS 2021; 27(1): 22-23

The potential of herbal medicine in the management of endometriosis

Endometriosis is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects 10-15% of women of reproductive age. Some of the symptoms include dysmenorrhoea, dyspareunia (painful sex), pain, and infertility. Epigenetics, altered hormones, inflammation, and immune dysregulation have been implicated in the progression of endometriosis. Herbal medicines have a long history of use for women’s health, due to their hormonal, anti-inflammatory, and immune regulatory properties.

Herbal medicines such as Dong Quai, Feverfew, Japanese knotweed, Kudzu, and Turmeric were found to inhibit the NF-kB pathway and suppress pro-inflammatory cytokines. Experimental studies show promise in the reduction of inflammation for Cat’s claw, Cramp bark, Green tea, and Licorice.

Chaste tree (Vitex) was found effective in regulating hormones and improving pregnancy rates, providing promise in the treatment of endometriosis-induced infertility. St John’s Wort is widely used as an anti-depressant and analgesic and may be beneficial in the management of depression, anxiety, and chronic pain that is associated with endometriosis.

Herbal medicines that possess anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-angiogenic, antidepressant, anxiolytic (anti-anxiety), hepatoprotective (liver health), immunomodulatory (regulation of the immune system), and hormone regulating properties have the potential to positively impact endometriosis.

Further research and clinical trials are required to determine the full effect of herbal medicines on endometriosis.

Reference: Hartmann G, McEwen B. The potential of herbal medicine in the management of endometriosis. JATMS 2018; 24(3): 146-154.

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. This month I will be posting information on Endometriosis to increase awareness of this chronic silent condition.

Endometriosis is a chronic severe multifactorial inflammatory disease characterised by the presence of endometrial tissue outside of the uterine cavity (e.g. ovaries, bowel, tissue in pelvic cavity). Endometriosis is one of the most common gynaecological diseases in women affecting around 15% of women of reproductive age.

Women with endometriosis experience:

  • dysmenorrhoea (painful periods)
  • development of scarring and adhesions
  • pelvic floor muscle spasm
  • pelvic pain
  • chronic pelvic pain
  • chronic pain
  • dyspareunia (pain during sex)
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • constipation
  • fatigue
  • stress
  • inflammation
  • vascular and nerve inflammation
  • cell and tissue oxidative stress
  • chronic stress
  • negative impacts on quality of life

Women with endometriosis experience autoimmune diseases (such as systemic lupus erythematosus and multiple sclerosis), thyroid conditions, headaches, and pain in the face and mouth.

Most women suffer in silence.

It often requires multi-therapeutic strategies to manage the symptoms.

Happy New Year! All the best for 2021

Happy New Year. 2021. Wishing you all the very best for 2021. Chase your dreams and make them a reality.

“Let our New Year’s resolution be this: we will be there for one another as fellow members of humanity, in the finest sense of the word.” – Goran Persson

The clinical utility of the B Vitamins: A snapshot

The B Vitamins are a group of water-soluble vitamins that include thiamine (vitamin B1; active form is thiamine diphosphate), riboflavin (vitamin B2; active form riboflavin-5’-phosphate), niacin (an umbrella term for niacinamide, nicotinamide, nicotinic acid; vitamin B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6; active form is pyridoxyl-5’-phosphate (PLP)), folate (folic acid and the active forms of folinic acid and methyltetrahydrofolate (MTHF)) and cobalamin (vitamin B12; active forms of methylcobalamin, hydroxycobalamin). The B vitamins have a multitude of functions in the nervous, endocrine, and cardiovascular systems, energy metabolism, metabolism of DNA, cell signalling, and various metabolic reactions. Some of the clinical applications include stress, depression, fatigue, peripheral neuropathy, memory impairment, anaemia, insulin resistance.

B vitamins have a synergistic effect with each other. It is best to supplement with the complete B vitamin complex rather than supplementing with just one or a couple of the B vitamins.[1] With this being said, after a consultation, a practitioner will be able to determine the primary and secondary B vitamins for the individual and prescribe accordingly.

Conclusion: The B Vitamins are a synergistic group of water-soluble vitamins that have numerous functions in each of the body systems. Some of the clinical applications include stress, depression, fatigue, peripheral neuropathy, memory impairment, anaemia, insulin resistance. The B vitamins should be thought of as essential in improving health and vitality.

McEwen BJ. The Clinical Utility of the B Vitamins: A Snapshot. J ATMS, 2020; 26(3): 138-41.

Dr Brad has been nominated for the Complementary Medicines Australia (CMA) Board

I have been nominated for the Complementary Medicines Australia (CMA) Board.

Worldwide, Australian complementary medicine products are highly regarded as safe, effective, and of the highest quality.

My vision for the direction for the Australian Complementary Medicines Industry is to:

  • Increase public health and wellbeing, quality of life, physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing, and reduce the burden of chronic disease of Australians, now and for future generations, through education and information on the use of complementary medicines.
  • Increase the research and education of complementary medicines and health foods through supporting programs.
  • Support and enhance a robust complementary healthcare products industry through advocacy and promotion.
  • Support the ethical and responsible promotion and use of complementary medicines through education.
  • Strengthen the position of CMA internationally and enhance its reputation as a leader of complementary medicine.
  • Increase, foster, and strengthen the position of the CMA members through advocacy and promotion.
  • Strengthen the position of complementary medicine in the media, by promoting CMA members being the first choice of expertise in their areas.
  • Enhance the support of manufacturers, importers, exporters, raw material suppliers, wholesalers, distributors, consultants, and retailers.
  • Enhance the positive interaction with Government and non-Government organisations of the benefits of complementary medicines on improving health and wellbeing and reducing the burden and impact of chronic disease on quality of life as well as the economy.
  • Enhance the relationships with industry partners, professional bodies, associations, and consumers through advocacy.
  • Provide stability, strength, and sustainability of the industry through advocacy, support, and promotion.

If you are a CMA member, please vote. I will do my best to represent you.

Fellow of Australian Traditional-Medicine Society (ATMS)

Very proud to announce that I am a now a Fellow of Australian Traditional-Medicine Society (ATMS). It is an honour to be recognised.

Mentoring program is currently full

Hi everyone. Currently the mentoring program is full. It’s been a very busy time with mentoring practitioners. The next intake looks to be September, but will keep you updated if any spaces become available.

Introduction to Nail Diagnosis

Nails often reflect the general state of health and wellbeing of a person. It is known that systemic disease/s can produce changes in the nails. Detailed examination of the fingernails can provide indications of nutritional deficiencies and potential underlying systemic diseases. This brief video (originally posted in May 2018) gives an overview of some of the nail signs encountered in clinical practice.

Introduction to Nail Diagnosis

Vitamin K2 in arterial stiffness and vascular calcification

Vitamin K2 is essential for blood health,1 vascular health,2 and normal coagulation.1 There is increasing evidence that micro-calcification plays a role in atherosclerosis and is an active player in plaque progression and destabilisation. Vitamin K2 has shown beneficial effects in arterial stiffness,2,3 vascular calcification, and micro-calcification.2 A 3-year double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in healthy postmenopausal women found that 180 micrograms/day of Vitamin K2 (MenaQ7) decreased arterial stiffness compared to placebo.3

1Sato T, et al. Nutrients. 2020 Mar 31;12(4):965.

2Florea A., et al. Eur J Prev Cardiol, 2020 Mar 2,

3Knapen M.H., et al. Thromb Haemost. 2015;113(5):1135-44.

Sage advice for cognitive improvement

Salvia originates from the Latin word meaning “to heal”.

Sage has various uses relating to cognitive function, including improving attention, learning, memory, secondary memory, cognition, and cognitive decline.

Other uses of Sage include mood, inflammation, oxidative stress (antioxidant), hypercholesterolaemia, gout, dyspepsia, heartburn, bloating, ulcers, diarrhoea, tremors, and hyperglycaemia.

Sage has enormous potential for the treatment and management of cognitive disorders, learning disorders, and mood.

Nicholas Culpeper said of Sage that it “helps the memory, quickening the senses, and helps lethargy and lowness of spirits”.

Herbal medicines and optimum nutrition play a fundamental role in the prevention and management of chronic disease. Sage has multiple actions and uses such as improving cognition, attention, learning, and memory and has significant potential for use in cognitive disorders, such as cognitive decline.

McEwen B. Sage advice for cognitive improvement. JATMS 2020; 26(1): 6-8.

Positive vibes

Sending out positive vibes to everyone during this stressful time

Positive thinking

Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will

– Zig Ziglar