Ask Me A Question


If you have any nutrition questions, please use the comments box below and I will answer as soon as possible. I can, of course, only give general advice. If you have any persistent symptoms or health problems that worry you, please consult your own doctor.

“Diets, like clothes, should be tailored to you.” Joan Rivers

pen


Please leave a comment or ask me a question ...

261 thoughts on “Ask Me A Question

  • rebecca

    OK thanks I am feeling a lot better taking them now. I will try stopping them after 8 weeks and have a break to see how I feel, so if I need to start them again could I go on at 4 week cycle with 2 weeks off, what would you recommend long term.

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Rebecca, Rhodiola has been used in clinical trials at doses of up to 340 mg twice daily for 6-10 weeks which will be what the initial 2 month suggestion is based on. According to the Natural Medicines Database, ‘it is considered best to take a break from rhodiola every 1-2 weeks and to take it on an empty stomach.’ Best wishes, Sarah B

  • Stephen

    Re your recent article for the Daily Mail ‘The 10 symptoms…’. I feel you have left out a vital one : change (ie darkening) in urine colour. This can (in my case did) indicate a kidney problem. Fortunately (relatively speaking) it was AKI.

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Stephen, Whittling down to the 10 most important symptoms wasn’t easy. Urinary changes would have made it into my top 15 – but any persistent symptom or sign that worries you should always be checked. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • Steve

    Dr Brewer hello. I’ve had RA since my late 20s and I’m 49 now.In the last 10 years my condition has greatly improved to the extent where I lead a fairly normal life due to taking the Anti- Tnf drug Enbrel.
    My RA is mainly focused now on my knees where several times a year I get flare ups where the knees swell causing very restricted movement- I then have to have the knees drained and steroid infusions . Sometimes this is successful other times not. I am currently suffering one of those flare ups . I’d like to know what advice you’d give for supplement use specifically for RA both in the treatment of a flare up and minimizing the potential of future flare ups. I did start taking Hiylauronic acid but this – maybe just coincidentally – lead to one of my most severe flare ups for many years. I’ve read a lot about Tumeric and collagen but just would like your advice as I’m afraid they may interfere with the drugs I’m currently taking.
    Also exercise wise a few people have said cycling is a good exercise for strengthening the knees and mobility would you agree ?
    Regards
    Steve

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Steve, Glad you are responding well to Enbrel. You may be interested in research which suggests fish oil supplements can improve the effectiveness of some RA therapies. This can include cod liver oil or krill oil. These oils provide anti-inflammatory omega-3s and higher doses are needed then it is usually practical to get from diet alone. As always, do check with your doctors to ensure they are happy for you to combine supplements with your current therapies. Best wishes, Sarah B

      • steve damerell

        Dr Brewer thanks for the prompt reply.
        Read a lot about the benefits of turmeric would you recommend this as well as really I’d like to reduce the amount of enbrel ,in fact I’d rather use natural products rather than prescription drugs altogether ?
        Steve.

      • DrSarahBrewer Post author

        Turmeric/curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory but you should not take any supplements without the agreement and monitoring of your doctors. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • rebecca

    Have bought the Rhodiola and it says to only be taken for 2 months, I was looking to take something on a long term basis, what are your thoughts ?

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Adaptogens are traditionally taken in an on-off cycle eg Ginseng is often taken for 4-6 weeks followed by a 2 week break. Seeral clinical trials have used rhodiola for 12 weeks and it was well tolerated. You could try stopping after 2 months, eg for one week, to see how you go. It can usually be restarted if needed. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • Liz

    Hello – I am really interested in your comments about Pelargonium root for colds and bronchitis – recently I have experienced a “run” of chest infections (3 this year) – all started as colds and progressed from there and twice needed antibiotics. My doctor sent me for a chest x-ray which apparently showed some “thickening” of upper airways (I had a chest x-ray earlier this year which didn’t mention this) and I am booked in for some breathing tests although at the moment I feel I am breathing ok. From what I have read this supplement might help prevent colds and coughs spreading and taking hold as chest infections – seems worth a try anyway.
    My problem is another condition – I take medication to control high blood pressure and I have atrial fibrillation (paroxysmal) – my GP (or whoever they bring in on the day – never see same one twice) seems woefully lacking in any knowledge of this condition, and I am concerned about possible drug interactions wondered if you had any information – here’s what I currently take including supplements:

    Flecainide 100MG (Pill in Pocket so not all the time)
    Bisoprolol 2.5mg
    Losartan Potassium
    Rivaroxaban whatever standard dose is
    Magnesium Taurate 250MG per day
    Vitamin C with Zinc 1000MG per day
    Vitamin D3
    Probiotic – can’t remember the name sorry

    I am currently thinking of adding Coenzyme Q10 to the mix when I have done some further research and am also in middle of some fundamental changes to diet and lifestyle – oh and I am an active 67 year old still working full time.

    Do you think Pelargonium root would be suitable for me – I was thinking it sounds like it might help to fight the recurrent chest infections? Thought I might see what impact a low dose has – I am careful about introducing supplements to my diet especially after a bad experience with Chinese medicine which managed to trigger the worst AF episode I have ever experienced!! But I am keen to use natural remedies rather than drugs where possible.

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      HI Liz, I’ve checked the Natural Medicines database, and they do not flag any interactions between Pelargonium and any of the drugs you are taking (flecainide, bisoprolol, losartan, rivaroxaban), although this does not rule out any idiosyncratic reactions. You are wise to be cautious. It’s good that you are taking vitamin D3 as this can help boost immunity. Coenzyme Q10 is covered here. I hope that helps. Best wishes, Sarah B

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Rebecca, According to the MHRA approved patient information leaflet, a few isolated reports of allergic reactions and low blood glucose levels have been reported, although it wasn’t clear if they were related to rhodiola. High doses may make anxiety and insomnia worse, so don’t take more than the manufacturer’s dose. If taking prescribed medicines, check for interactions. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • Siobhan

    Hi, I have recently had an Arthroscopy and have not recovered particularly well. I have been told I have arthritis in my knee which I was unaware of but showed in the X-ray. I am having physio at the moment to try and ease the stiffness and pain which I have been told is due to inflammation. I wanted to know if I can take Glucosamine, ( glucosamine, chrondrotin, MSM, ginger and rose hip blend) with a combination of Omega 3 6 & 9, and turmeric and collagen supplements. Is this too much or a bad combination. I find I am now having weakness in my hands and have experienced gout in my toe. All of this has developed suddenly in the past 4/6 months

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Siobhan, Sorry to hear about your knee. Collagen plus glucosamine, chondroitin, ginger and hyaluronic acid are among the most effective supplements for knee pain. For high doses, you may benefit from a liquid supplement as this can provide higher doses without needing to take a handful of pills. It usually works out less expensive, too. Dietary approaches are often effective in overcoming gout and you may well find turmeric is as effective as ibuprofen. Hope that helps, best wishes, Sarah B

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Patrick, Sciatica is an unpleasant condition but supplements such as Devil’s Claw, turmeric and omega 3 can help to reduce inflammation and pain. I’ve writen about overcoming lower back pain here, and many of the same principles apply. Pain relieving devices can also help and avoid the side effects associated with prescribed pain killers. I’ve had particular success with microcurrant therapy (Arc4Health) as written about in this post on pain relieving devices. Hope that helps your wife. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • Janet

    Which is the best quality coenzymeq10 ubiquinol, my husband has early stage parkinsons and we have information tbat says takig 1,200 per day of this can slow the progress of this
    Many thanks

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Janet, Sorry to hear about your husband. Some trials have shown benefit with coenzyme Q10 in Parkinson’s disease, but some have not. A recent analysis of data from 8 studies, involving 899 people found that although coenzyme Q10 was safe and well tolerated, it was not more effective than inactive placebo for improving movement symptoms – but this may have been because some trials used the oxidized form (ubiquinone) whereas the reduced form of coenzyme Q10, ubiquinol, has shown better effects in animal models. The dose you quote of 1,200mg will refer to the oxidised form, but this study for example, showed no benefit with 1,200mg ubiquinone. Having said that, everyone is different and your husband may respond where othes have not. Certainliy research shows that coenzyme Q10 levels are reduced in cerebellar cells affected by Parkinson. If your husband does decide to try supplements, then lower doses are needed with ubiquinol (100mg ubiquinol is equivalent to around 280mg ubiquinone). The highest dose supplements that contain ubiquinol are 300mg, but they are not cheap. Select a supplement made to pharmaceutical standards (GMP) to ensure quality and consistency of dose – these are the only ones I’ve found on Amazon UK or Amazon US but check the listing carefully to ensure it is the ubiquinol form you are getting (not ubiquinone) and that they are made to GMP standards as the Amazon search facility is not that robust. I hope that helps. I would be interested to know how your husband responds if he does decide to take a supplement. Do liaise with his doctors to ensure any supplements he takes are compatible with his medication. Best wishes, Sarah B

      • Janet Clyne

        Thank you Sarah,
        I purchased from Amazon Pharma Nord Bio-Ubiquinol active QH 100 mg, my husband started taking 3 of these 4 times a day to get to 1,200 mg, are you saying then, that the 100mg of ubiquinol tablet is actually the equivalent of 280mg of ubiquinone and he should therefore be taking less if the 100mg ubiquinol, the information we got from Whittiker Wellness had said from the study they conducted it was using 1, 200 mg per day of ubiquinol, I’m a little confused, not sure if he needs to be taking as many as he is?

      • DrSarahBrewer Post author

        I’ve had a look at Whitaker wellness and they suggest 300mg to 4500mg ubiquinol coenzyme Q1o together with vitamin D, fish oil, NAHD, carnitine, lipoic acid and creatine. While Ubiquinol is one of the supplements least likely to cause side effects, a very high dose can lower blood pressure and is unnecessarily expensive. Do seek individual advice from a medical nutritionist. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • rebecca

    Hi, I am a 61 year old woman with a recently diagnosed overactive bladder which gets me up 3 to 4 times a night. I have been taking Pumpkin seed oil supplements for 2 months but they don’t seem to be helping, secondly I suffer from anxiety which I have found Kalms Lavender one a day have helped but cannot find an alternative at less cost do you have any suggestions.

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Rebecca, the combination of pumpkin seed oil plus soy extracts (Go-Less) has some research evidence behind it with improvements seen after 6 to 12 weeks. Your doctor can exclude a urinary infection, and advise whether medication would suit you. I’ve written about lavender oil here and there are other brands on Amazon UK and Amazon US. Otherwise, an adaptogenic herb will help you cope better with anxiety and stress – Rhodiola is particularly good. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • Arslan

    Hi, my mother aged 52 having 82kg weight. She is having a severe pain from last 2 years we consulted many doctors and found out that it’s because the liquid between the bones has been compromised now she feels pain in every single movement and the only suggestions all the doctors came up with was to have a surgery. But my mither is too afraid to have a surgery so i just wanna know is there any way to cure her with medicines

  • Mandy

    Hi, I have been extremely exhausted recently, my vision was affected, I could hear my own heartbeat, sore corners of the mouth & my legs were so heavy I was struggling to walk & was also becoming breathless. I am approaching the Menopause & have been having heavy & prolonged bleeding. Having been put on iron by a local pharmacist while waiting for an appointment for a week my level was 19 which they said was ok. She did suggest I take the supplement but I have developed a rash so stopped for 5 days but I have gone backwards. I would appreciate your views on this as I feel so rubbish but they seem to think I should be ok. Having restarted iron for 2 days I am already feeling a little better.

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Mandy, It does sound as if you have low iron levels, but other nutritional deficiencies may be involved. Take iron supplements with orange juice to boost absorption, and don’t have tea or coffee for an hour either side, as these reduce iron uptake. As you are feeling so bad do see your doctor in case you have other underlying causes such as underactive thyroid, glucose intolerance, B12/folate deficiency etc. If all else is well, you may benefit from a multivitamin and mineral that includes magnesium and B vitamins, or ubiquinol coenzyme Q10 for energy. Another cause of feeling rubbish is menopause itself and you may want to consider trying HRT or taking soy isoflavones or other menopause supplements as an alternative. Do talk to your doctor. I hope you feel better soon. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • Beverley

    I have been taking no flush niacin as part if a protocol suggested by a well know welsh Doctor (on her very informative website) for chronic fatigue. But now I’m reading thar Niacin can cause liver damage . How long and how much do you have to take before it adversely affects the liver? It’s really helped me get my energy back by the way!
    Thanks .

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Beverley, raised liever enzymes occur in around 20% of people taking doses above 500mg niacin per day, and is most common in doses above 3g per day. Liver toxicity can occur at high doses of sustained release niacin, with jaundice, itching, nausea, vomting and fatigue. It’s best to only take high doses under medical supervision so that liver function can be monitored. There is more information on niacin toxicity here. Best wisehs, Sarah B

  • fred

    hello dr brewer…..read an article about taking folic acid and methylcobol 500 together, may be cancer causing. Any thoughts? I eat vegetarian/vegan and this was prescribed for me to take daily…thanks for your time and information..

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Fred, A Norwegian study from 2009 found that people taking high doses of these supplements had a slightly increased risk of lung cancer (10% versus 8.4% with placebo). However, this study involved patients with ischaemic heart disease and other risk factors may have been involved. Importantly, the link as not been found in other studies. Deficiency of these vitamins is also associated with cancer, dementia and anaemia with reduced immunity, so it’s important to strike a balance. Once tests show your deficiency has been corrected, then taking a sensible dosage to supply your daily needs seems a sensible idea. Do discuss this with your prescribing doctor, however, who may have different views! Best wishes, Sarah B

  • Renita

    I’m anemic and just started taking iron pills and vitamin c chewables. I hate pills and I stopped and I haven’t been feeling myself in 3 days. I just feel tired all the time and sometimes a little confused. I haven’t been sleeping good. And this has never happen before I took iron and vitamin c

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      HI Renita, It’s important to see your doctor to find out why you are anemic and to find out why you are feeling so ill. Other tests may be needed. If iron deficiency is confirmed, you can take liquid forms of iron. Hope you feel better soon. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • Feras

    A woman 37 years 50 Kg ,it is been all the time the normal blood pressure is 90/60 and when ever it reaches 100/70 she feels all the symptoms of high BP & if it reaches 115/90 she will start vomiting.

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Feras, It is important that she seeks individual medical advice and full investigations to find out what is wrong. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • Dyane

    Hello Dr. Brewer,
    I am a 74 year old woman who has type 2 diabetes. My blood sugar has been creeping up and I do not want to have to go on insulin. I take Metformin 500mg in the morning and 1000mg at bedtime. I took Royal Jelly capsules many, many years ago, but was young (in my 20’s) at the time so I don’t remember any of it’s benefits. I would like to try taking it again, but I don’t know where I can purchase the good quality product. I also have hypothyroid and am on thyroid medication Levothyroxin. I still work part time as a school bus driver, but find my immunity is not as good. I got a cold/flu bug about a month ago and I cannot seem to shake it, would the Royal Jelly help with my immune system? Thank you for a reply.

  • Barry

    Evening Dr Brewer,

    I am struggling to maintain a erection during sex.
    Aware that alcohol and certain medicines don’t help and that could take ED tablets like Viagra.
    However is there any natural remedies that I can take that would help me?

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Barry, The most effective supplements are l-arginine which has a natural viagra-like actions, and Panax ginseng, which has some evidence of benefit. If poor blood flow to the peripheries is a problem, then Ginkgo biloba is often recommended. There are no guarantees, and it is a good idea to see your doctor who can help identify any underying causes, and discuss treatment options available in the form of prescribed medicines or surgery. Don’t feel embarrased – doctors deal with patients experiencing erectile dysfunction most days. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • Brian

    Dear Dr Brewer,

    I am now taking Nature’s Best Magnesium (150mg with breakfast and 150mg with my evening meal). In addition l am seeing someone from BANT shortly.

    My Mental health nurse wants to place me on mirtazapine 15mg to help with anxiety issues.

    My question is will this cause any interactions between the tablets.

    Kind Regards

    Brian

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Brian, I can only provide general information so do take the advice of your nutritional therapist and doctor. I have checked the natural medicines database and there are currently no reported interactions between mirtazapine and magnesium. Best wishes, Sarah B

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Kim, Omega-3 fish oil would be useful while breast feeding for its anti-inflammatory action and for benefits on baby’s eye and brain development. While spices such as ginger and turmeric are normal parts of the diet, they can change the ‘taste’ of your milk which can affect feeding behaviour. Do check with your own doctor or midwife before taking a supplement that is not specifically designed to support breastfeeding. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • Katherine

    Hi Dr Brewer
    I’m writing an essay on sodium and struggling! I wondered if you have any tips on sodium supplements – dosages, and in what circumstances they might be recommended?
    Many thanks.
    Katherine

  • Brian

    Dear Dr Brewer,

    I wonder if you would be so kind to help me. I had a Cryoablation for atrial fibrillation in Jun 16 at St Barts. Since then l continue to suffer from stomach issues notably:

    Bloating
    Persistent band-like pain 24/7
    Pulsating stomach
    Feel uncomfortable when l sit up straight (compressing the stomach)

    The cardiologist’s report post ablation says:
    “After first freeze of LSPV dramatic vagal response with asystole needing pacing which triggered AF”. The cardiologist is not clear what has caused my problems.

    I am currently seeing a gastroenterologist and having scans etc to see if there are any other problems with my stomach. I am of the strong opinion that my vagal nerve was damaged during the procedure and this is the reason behind my stomach issues. As you are no doubt aware the vagal nerve plays a part in the stomach and the major organs.

    My pain Consultant has tried me on pregabalin and amitriptyline but to no avail.

    Can you advise me on any natural products which may help in calming down of the vagal nerve/stomach pain etc.

    Kind Regards

    Brian

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Brian, In such a complex case it’s important to seek individual nutritional advice from a nutritional therapist who can reivew your symptoms and request blood tests to measure your level of key micronutrients. You can find an accredited nutritional therapist in your area via the BANT website search facility. They may suggest nutritional approaches such as probiotics, magnesium, B vitamins or artichoke based on your results. It’s also important to check with your own doctor before taking any supplements to ensure they won’t interact with your medical conditon or any medicines you are taking. I do hope you find someone to help. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • andy

    HI. I love your little book Cut your Cholesterol, which is helping me understand and change my diet. I looked up the ORAC table at https://www.superfoodly.com/orac-values/ to find some values not listed in your book and found a much lower figure for Dark Chocolate. your figure is 103,971 while the database I looked in gave a much lower figure of 20,816. Is it to do with different types of dark chocolate or something else ? Help! Thank you . Andy

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Andy, Glad you like the little book! It was fun to write. For ORAC values, I used the original paper by Wu et al J Agric Food Chem 2004, 52;4026-4039 which gives the total antioxidant capacity of what they describe as baking chocolate as 1039.71 micromol of TE/g which equates to the ORAC score of 103,971. I suspect their baking chocolate has a high cacao solids content. For milk chocolate the equivalent figure was just 81.70 micromol of TE/g. Phenol explorer gives total polyphenols for dark chocolate as 1859.88 mg/100g average. Aduna cacao provides an extraordinary 4000mg flavanol polyphenols per 100g cacao powder – so called super cacao. So the range is wide, and the darker the better! My post on the best cholesterol lowering supplements is here, in case it’s helpful. Best wishes, Sarah B

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Heel spurs are usually related to plantar fasciitis in which inflammation of tendons or soft tissues (eg from ‘over-use’, strain or damage creating tiny tears) cause tiny bony outgrowths (calcium deposits) of the heel bone. They are not associated with calcium or magnesium status but with running on hard surfaces, weight, age, diabetes, flat feet, high arches, spending a lot of time on your feet – although often there is no obvious trigger. Anti-inflammatories (eg turmeric) can reduce inflammation and pain. Orthotic shoe inserts also help by providing support without stressing the painful area. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • Gill

    Hello,
    I have been diagnosed with hypertension and prescribed ramipril 5mg daily. My blood pressure has come down from 232/119 to an average of 170/110. I drink hibiscus tea, take garlic, CoQ10, celery juice and, fish oil. It stubbornly refuses to budge. Is there anything else I can try as these levels still remain too high.
    I hope you are able to punt me in the right direction. Many thanks.

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Gill, Your doctor is no doubt checking your blood pressure regularly to adjust your medication – to achieve good control most peopel need 2 or 3 blood pressure drugs which work in different ways. I have lots of information on how to lower a blood pressure naturally on my other site, MyLowerBloodPressure.com. This includes a post on 44 natural remedies for high blood pressure of which one of the most effective approaches is acupressure and deep breathing exercises. It’s a good idea to check your magnesium intakes, too. If your blood pressure is still high today, please see your doctor as soon as possible as you do need your medication assessed. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • JON

    Hi Sarah, I was looking up the amino acid glutamine and found your awesome site. I need to ask maybe a strange question. In the last decade or so a lot research has been directed at the metabolic biochemistry of cancer. Specifically, glutamines role as a cancer nutrient. Companies are even making drugs to block cancers use of glutamine. With all of this said…why not remove glutamine from our diet, at least for a little while.
    I have been working on an amino acid supplement that is void of glutamine bit has the proper ratio of essential amino acids. My question is …is a diet like this dangerous? Do you see any flaws in my thinking? Whether restless leg syndrome, a better nights sleep, or even some type of cancer cure…why is glutamine free diet not looked at in more detail?

    Thank you…Jon D

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Jon, Cutting out anything from the diet can lead to imbalances. L-glutamine is a conditionally essential amino acid and is the most abundant amino acid in the circulation. It has numerous health benefits, including for cell repair, brain health, muscle, digestion and glutamine may even have anti-cancer benefits itself. I would be wary! Best wishes, Sarah B

  • Joyce

    Hi Sarah I am a 70 yr female and have just started taking Viridian 65+ Multi with co-q10 b12 & ALA but worried doses of vitamins contained are too high ie B5 50mg; B6 20mg; B3 40mg vitamin A 800ug. I base this on reading your excellent book: Vitamins minerals and herbal supplements. Please can you advise.
    Thank you
    Joyce

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Joyce, People over the age of 70 tend to absorb B vitamins much less effectively than when they were in their 20s due to reduced production of stomach acid and absorptio factors. In the case of B12, this can lead to pernicious anaemia (even with high dose supplements if none is absorbed). As B vitamins are water soluble, any excess is flushed form the body via the kidneys, so no need to worry. The vitamin A dose is fine. Click this links for the upper safe levels for vitamins and minerals. Hope that answers your concerns. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • Karen

    Hi Sarah, I have bought some l-carnitine and started taking it. However; I have read that this also helps with weight loss! I have already lost a lot of weight and don´t want to lose any more. Do you think it´s safe for me to take? Thank you.

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Karen, L-carnitine is an amino acid with many benefits on digestion, the heart, circulation and nervous system. It is needed to transport long chain fatty acids into the energy-producing mitochondria in body cells where they are burned to produce energy. The more L-carnitine that is available, the more fat can be burned for fuel – especially in heart muscle cells. By helping to mobilize fat stores and boost energy production, it may play a useful role in weight loss in peopel following a weight loss diet, but if you are obtaining enough calcories to maintain your weight, this shouldn’t be a problem. If your weight loss continues, or is unexplained, it is important to see your doctor. best wishes, Sarah B

  • Karen

    I´ve just had bronchitis for the second time this year and would appreciate your suggestions on how to avoid another bout. It´s taking me a long time to regain my energy and I am feeling tired.

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Karrie, if you are persistently feeling tired, it’s important to see your doctor, especially as you are getting recurrent chest infections. You may need a check up and chest x-ray, for example, to ensure you are in good health otherwise. If the tiredness is due to the recent infection, then you may benefit from a multivitamin supplement to correct any underlying deficiencies, and an adaptogen such as ginseng or rhodiola to aid recovery and boost your general immunity. For winter infections such as bronchitis, sinusitis or colds the most effective treatment is Pelargonium, which works quickly to reduce bacterial and viral respiratory symptoms. Here’s my post on Why am I so tired all the time which may help, too. I hope you feel better soon. Best wishes, Sarah B

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Ted, It’s not fully understood, but some studies have suggested that men with iron overload may have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer than men without. It’s thought that men with iron overload disorders may have inherited genes that increase the risk of inherited prostate cancer. However, having cancer can reduce iron stores in itself, so the relationship is not certain. A recent PhD study did not find any significant links between blood iron concentrations and risk of prostate cancer among 1,850 men in the US, for example. Here’s my post on diet and prostate health in case it’s helpful. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • Jim

    I have bone against bone in my left knee what’s the best supplement to take to help me from the pain also got a lot of fluid buildup around my knee to.Thank you.

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Jim, bone on bone is difficult as there is no cartilage left to regenerate – I suspect you need surgery. In the meantime, supplements that increase production and cushioning ability of synovial fluid may help – high dose glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, plus anti-inflammatories such as omega-3, turmeric, rosehip or ginger. You may find LQ Liquid Joint Care helpful. Topical rub-in creams and gels for muscle and joint pains can also sink in to reduce pain and without the side effects of oral medications. I hope that helps, best wishes, Sarah B

  • Sarah

    Hello Dr Brewer.
    I decided to take turmeric 400 mg twice a day (Natures Garden from H&B), devil’s claw 600 mg twice a day (Vitabiotics). I already take high strength omega 3 fish oil 1000mg once a day (Boots). My insurance allows me to self-refer for physio so I went down that route and have had a combination of physio, acupuncture and deep tissue massage, (the physio is very holistic) and the pain, numbness and pins and needles seems to have gone. No idea which of the above made it go just glad it has. I am not sure about acupuncture at all. Have had it previously and am never sure if it does anything or not. I don’t seem to get the sensations when the needles are in that other people report.
    I’m still taking the devil’s claw and turmeric twice a day. I thought I’d carry on until they had all gone.
    Is there any reason to continue to take them, or indeed, to stop taking them?
    Many thanks.
    Sarah

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Sarah, Good news that the combination of treatments worked. If your pain has gone then you could certainly try stopping the Devil’s claw and, if all stays well, could experiment with stopping the turmeric, too. By stopping them one at a time you can work out which provides the most benefit. Alternatively, stop them both and then if symptoms recur, add them back in one at a time! Best wishes, Sarah B

  • John holme

    Hi Sarah, thanks for the advice. I have been thinking about taking a vitamin D supplement for a while now, and so I would like to know what dosage to start at, and also could you recommend a brand for this vitamin. I believe D3 is the most potent form, is that correct?
    Best wishes
    John holme

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi John, Vitamin D3 is more effective at maintaining blood levels than vitamin B2 (the plant form). A typical dose is 25mcg vitamin D3 per day, but the best way to work out how much you need is with a blood test to check your current vitamin D status. Best wishes, Sarah B

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Stephanie, This virus seems to be common at the moment. It is usually self limiting and gets better on its own, but let your doctor know if she seems to be getting worse rather than better. Antiviral treatments such as elderberry syrup (eg Sambucol) may help. Probiotics (including live bio yogurt) and vitamin D (at appropriate doses for children’s age) can also help to boost immunity. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • John

    Thanks for the advice, much appreciated. Is there anything I can take to lift my mood while taking the above mentioned medications? As I do not want to change my antidepressant, is there anything that will supplement it?
    John holme.

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      HI John, As mirtazepine is itself an antidepressant, it’s a good idea to see your GP again if you feel it isn’t working. You may need your medication or dose changed. You could also ask your doctor about taking omega-3 fish oil and vitamin D supplements as these have been found to improve mood. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • John

    I suffer from depression and anxiety, and take mirtazapine and propranolol, and so I want to know if I can take rhodiola while I’m taking this medication.

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi John, I’ve checked the Natural Medicines Interaction Database which recommends caution with this combination – rhodiola inhibits an enzyme that is needed to breakdown mirtazapine so that its blood levels may rise, leading to side effects. Rhodiola may also inhibits an enzyme (ACE) which might lower blood pressure in combination with propranolol. So rhodiola is best avoided. Sarah B

  • michael

    Hi sarah i have just stopped taking my simfastatin i now feel tire all the time no energy stomache or cramps just read about q10 would that help and should i stay on the simfastatin

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Michael, you will need to talk to your own doctor about whether or not to stay on simvastin to control your cholesterol levels. You may benefit from changing to a different strength or a different statin, for example. If you decide to continue taking them, supplements of ubiquinol Coenzyme q10 may help as statins lower coenzyme q10 production, and that of vitamin D. If you decide not to continue taking the statin, then a number of supplements can lower cholesterol, of which the most effective are plant sterols. Hope that helps, best wishes, Sarah B

  • Bittu Singh

    My name is Bittu Singh from Mumbai India, I have tried everything eg (Green tea extract, Rasberry Ketones ) for weight loss, nothing has ever worked for me, what do i do ?
    Plz help help help !!!!
    I m a big follower of your website and i recommend it to a lot of people
    kindly provid me with the best sollution of my problem. I need to loose 7 kg as i m getting married next year

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Bittu, There are no magic treatments, but generally following a healthy low GI diet (ie relatively fewer carbs and more protein) and increasing your level of physical activity will help. Joining a support group can also help so that you aren’t doing it alone and you have someone other than yourself to account to. Aim for a slow weight loss as this is easier to maintain and keep off, and prevents your metabolism going into survival mode which would reduce the calories you burn and give out as heat, which is why crash diets rarely work. Aim for a loss of half a kilogram per week and you could lose the 7kg in just over 3 months. Cut back on alcohol, and think positive really focus on losing weight and really believe you can do it. Eat larger portions of vegetables and salads to fill you up. Cut back on sugar and alcohol. But don’t focus everything on your weight – focus on all the positive aspects of your personality that make you a wonderful and unique person. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • Karen Crook

    Hi Sarah, what would you recommend for Chronic Fatigue please? I was diagnosed 2 years ago and have been taking Q10 which doesn´t seem to have helped. Thank you.

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Karen, The best form of coenzyme Q10 for chronic fatigue is ubiquinol, at a dose of 100mg per day. If this does not help, then a form known as mitoquinol may help instead. Other supplements that can help with reduced energy production in cells (mitochondrial dysfunction) which is linked with chronic fatigue include l-carnitine, alpha-lipoic acid, NADH, phospholipids and magnesium. Hope that helps, Sarah B

  • Elaine

    Hello Sarah, good to find you again. I used to cut out your newspaper column. I am on blood thinning medication, not warfarin, currently apixaban. Are you aware of any interactions that have been proven, as opposed to hearsay? I have arthritis and was taking fish oil, turmeric, glucosamine tablets, but was told to stop taking them by the hospital pharmacist. The haematologist disagreed and said I should take them as I am suffering increased joint pain. Help!

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Elaine, Apologies for the delay in replying – your question arrived just before my website was transferred to a new domain so I didn’t have access for a while 🙁 Sorry to hear your arthritis is causing problems. I’ve checked the Natural Medicines drug/nutrient interaction database which says:
      Apixaban + fish oil: interaction rating Minor – be watchful – theoretical interaction but controlled research has not shown that fish oil use changes platelet function or increases the risk of bleeding (and may even decrease risk).
      Apixaban + turmeric: interaction rating Moderate – be cautious with this combination; laboratory studies show turmeric has antiplatelet effects, but results from human research is inconsistent. There is a theoretical risk of bleeding.
      Apixaban + glucosamine: no interactions found.
      So you could definitely take the glucosamine and chondroitin (no interactions found either).
      As your haematologist says you can take fish oil you could do so – he is the ultimate expert (and will be monitoring your results). Perhaps keep turmeric up your sleeve in case the others don’t help? Best wishes, Sarah B

  • William Robinson

    From William age 87)

    Dear Dr Brewer.

    My wife (age 80) and I have been taking 100 mg Ubiquinol capsules for about 2 months, and believe that we are experiencing higher energy levels. They are expensive, and our income is limited. Are you permitted to recommend any particular brand to keep costs down? Sincerely Bill

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Bill, Unfortunately ubiquinol is relatively expensive as manufacturing requires ensuring no contact with oxygen. You may find ubiquinol 100mg on a 3 for 2 offer at Boots.com and Healthspan also have a good range. The ubiquinone form of coenzyme Q10 is cheaper, but in my experience is less effective in those over the age of 50. I have reviewed a range of coenzyme Q10 supplements here, too. Hope that helps, best wishes, Sarah B

  • Monti

    Can i take b12 and fish oil and garlic , with my HBP meds( AMLODIPNE, LISINOPRIL, HYDROCHOROTHIAZIDE) to help with my condition or not. Will it help?

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Monti, as they are food products, there is no reason why you should not take vitamin B12, fish oil or garlic with your high blood pressure medications. When starting any new supplements, it’s a good idea to monitor your blood pressure to ensure it doesn’t go too low. I have a whole website devoted to lowering blood pressure, and the foods, supplements and therapies that can help at MyLowerBloodPressure.com which you may find helpful. Best wishes, Sarah B

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Mark, it will depend on the medicine and on the supplement. Taking calcium does not improve readings if you are on a calcium antagonist, for example. I have info on natural remedies for high blood pressure on my other site MyLowerBloodPressure.com, and if you’d like to let me know there what your meds are, and what supplement you are thinking of I will do my best to give you some pointers using the ASK me page. The post on 42 Natural Remedies For High Blood Pressure includes other ways to lower blood pressure, such as relaxation exercises, breathing exercise, and yoga. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • fitcatholicfamily

    Hello! I’m 32 weeks pregnant and have focused on a whole-foods diet. A couple of weeks ago my doctor said they found I”m slightly anemic and put me on iron pills. I was told the liver is an amazing source for iron and vitamin A, but then kept coming across articles that said pregnant women should avoid liver due to the Retinol form of Vitamin A that it produces, especially during the first trimester. Is it safe at all to eat, even once a week or every other week, later in pregnancy? Or is it better to avoid and eat after pregnancy? Thanks, Katie

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      It’s best to avoid liver products during pregnancy because of the high vitamin A but, having said that, most problems occur early in pregnancy when the fetus is still forming. Even so, you are on iron pills so no need for concern. Taking them with a vitamin C source eg fresh orange juice, will boost absorption. Don’t take tea or coffee an hour either side of the supplements as their tannins will reduce absorption. Hope that helps. Exciting times ahead for you! Most posts on iron are here and here. Best wishes, Sarah B