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

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261 thoughts on “Ask Me A Question

  • angela

    I have a 6 yr old grandchild she was just diagnosed with alopecia can you give any suggestions on what we can do to slow down or prevent her hair loss.

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Angela, Alopecia is believed to be an immune disorder and is not well understood. It often improves on its own, and some medical treatments can help. If it is causing her distress, patches of hair loss can be disguised with hair woven over the area on a fine mesh. The absolute experts in this technique are Lucinda Ellery’s team who are now in both the UK and the US. The only other thing I can recommend is a multivitamin and mineral supplement designed for her age group (to safeguard against any nutritional deficiences such as vitamin D) and an omega-3 fish oil (to damp down inflammation). Best wishes, Sarah B

      • Elaine

        My current favourite multi includes a small amount of turmeric. Is this likelyto be enough to have a detrimental effect on my x2 daily Apixaban? Thank you Dr Brewer for your previous advice on this subject.

      • DrSarahBrewer Post author

        Hi Elaine, There is a potential interaction between Apixaban and turmeric. Although the interaction is theoretical and classed as minor, you should check with your doctor – they may prefer you to use a plain multivitamin and mineral supplement. Sorry, Sarah B

  • Julie

    I had a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy 2 years ago at the age of 50. Since then, I have been taking a daily hormonal supplement (estradiol 1mg/norethisteron.acet. .05 mg.). After hearing about the many positives associated with Royal Jelly, I recently bought a package, with B6, for menopausal women, but am now hesitant to take them, until I find out if it could be harmful to mix the 2 meds. I cannot seem to find any helpful info so far. Do you have any information on the risk of the interaction of Royal Jelly and hormonal supplemts? Thanks!

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Julie, According to the Natural Medicines Database there are no interactions between Royal Jelly, estrogen or norethisterone, so you could take them together. I certainly do! Best wishes, Sarah B

  • M. Lawrenson

    Soy Isoflavones were a great help when I was Menopausal. Now I am 71. Do you think they are of much benefit to the older woman? Thank you.

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      I do think soy isoflavones are helpful as they are antioxidant, and provide stimulation ot oestrogen receptors throughout the body – including brain, bones and circulation – to improve memory, help maintain strong bones and elastic tissues. Dietary isoflavones support collagen production in the skin, and may provide some protection against hormone-related cancers, too. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • Lisa

    hi i AM 56 AND HAVE ALLAYS HAD LONG THICK BEAUTIFUL HAIR. OF COURSE IT IS STILL BEAUTIFUL 🙂 THOUGH NOTICEABLY THINNING IN THE FRONT, WHAT DO I DO? THANKS SO MUCH IN ADVANCE!

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi William, Kaneka are the manufacturer that developed the complex process needed to synthesise ubiquinol (as opposed to ubiquinone coenzyme Q10) and were first to bring it to market, so they tend to get my vote. Their products are made to GMP (pharmaceutical) standard. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • Alan

    Hi A friend has had a stomach stapled leaving a much smaller area to digest food. She suffered badly with dumping syndrome but not via the anus. She is not sure what to eat as she is trying to lose weight. Can you please help.

  • Jan

    I have read that studies say you should take at the very least 5,000mg of collagen daily to make any difference.what are your views on this.thank you

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Jan, CLinical studies have used doses of 10g per day. You do need higher amounts, usually, to stimulate collagen repair, which means either taking collagen powder, or taking a collagen drink. A few studies have found tiny amounts (10mcg) useful for autoimmune joint pains. More info in my post on best supplements for knee pain. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • Lorraine

    Dear Dr Brewer

    I have found your website really helpful, for which many thanks. My current concern relates to my teeth. I have been taking a liquid iron supplement for a good few years (I don’t eat any meat) and have only just been advised by my dental hygienist that it is causing considerable staining on my teeth which is not proving easy to remove. I want to change to a non-liquid alternative – can you suggest any, please?

    Best wishes

    Lorraine

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Lorraine, Glad you find the info helpful. To obtain the typical daily intake of 14mg iron I would recommend a ‘gentle’ supplement made to pharmaceutical standards (GMP) and providing iron in the form of ferrous fumarate (less likely to cause constipation).Eg Innopure in the UK, and Swanson Iron (18mg) in the US. If you experience indigestion, then Healthspan Ironcare or Amazon Elements Iron are good alternatives. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • Jay

    Again, thanks for the quick response.

    My situation: age 58, 6ft, 182 pounds or 13 stone, never smoked, never alcohol, workout 4 out of 7 days. According to my doctor, I can opt to take statins or use the more holistic approach. I don’t take any pharmaceuticals products and naturally I prefer your methods. My question is this page up to date regarding your preferred methodology?
    https://drsarahbrewer.com/best-cholesterol-lowering-supplements

    It seems the sterols and krill oil should be enough for me to get to my target. I am still pondering whether or not to through in niacin.

    One more idea, can I use the sterols, krill oil at the same time as milk thistle? The more I read about milk thistle, it seems to be an exceptional product for cleansing the liver and lowering LDL.

  • Jay

    Apparently there are various products & protocols to reduce LDL cholesterol as shown on your site. In searching around there seems to be many options. In one study Krill Oil at 3grams per day, lowered LDL by 31%. In another study, Beta-Sitosterol 500mg a day lowered LDL by 19% in one month. In 7 days, turmeric/curcumin, 500mg lowered LDL by 11%. Mega doses of niacin, also claims to lower LDL, if you can take the flushing. There seems to be a lot of science regarding Bergamot orange which also seems very promising.

    So what is the current best protocol with the least amount of pill popping. Cost is not so much the issue, just looking for the best/safest approach to lower LDL as I believe statins are somewhat akin to a bit of rolling dung.

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Jay, The first step is usually to take a plant sterol supplement at a total dailiy dose of 2g to 2.4g (typically one 800mg tablet with each meal). This blocks the absorption of cholesterol and has an approved EU health claim that it helps to maintain normal cholesterol levels. Other supplements, such as krill oil, can then be added in, if necessary. Best wishes, Sarah B

      • Jay

        Good day doctor, thank you for your quick response.

        In researching, plant sterols lower LDL by 10%. Would you try Beta Sitosterol over plant sterols to get better absorption? My target would be to lower LDL by 30%. Apart from naggingly high LDL cholesterol, my blood work is as good as it gets. My weight and BMI are textbook, along with 118/68 average blood pressure.

        Someone also recommended – Reserveage – Bergamot Cholesterol Support with Resveratrol but not sure that will do the trick.

        After a few fits and starts on “project lower LDL” I believe in my case; I’m afraid I will need the “full Monty” approach. Perhaps you could outline the current 2018 “best practices” protocol for the lowest possible LDL.

        Thanks again for input. ….

      • DrSarahBrewer Post author

        Hi Jay, It depends on lots of factors, genetics, level of HDL and non-HDL cholesterol, so there is no one size fits all. Best practice remains to take a statin if your risk of cardiovascular disease is raised. Otherwise, plant sterols are the first line non-statin approach as they have the EU claim. Do see your doctor for individual advice. Best wishes, Sarah B

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Joyce, ramipril is an ACE inhibitor used to treat high blood pressure. According to Drugs.com there are no recorded interactions between ramipril and coenzyme Q10. However, coenzyme Q10 does have a blood-pressure lowering action of its own and is used in some countries, such as Japan, to treat hypertension. This can be beneficial if ramipril alone is not controlling your BP. On average, in trials, coenzyme Q10 lowers blood pressure by 11/7mmHg. Do check with your doctor before taking the combination. I have lots of info on ways to lower blood pressure on my other website, mylowerbloodpressure.com. Hope that helps, Sarah B

  • Owen

    Dr. Brewer,
    I’m doing a report for a class and I am curious on a fact you used in your book titled, “The Total Detox Plan”. In it, you state the EPA ” in the United States considers that 60 percent of all herbicides, 90 percent of all fungicides and 30 percent of all insecticides are potentially cancer-causing.” Could you provide me with your source? Thank you very much.
    -Owen Yonce

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Owen, Refevernces include: Pimentel D. Environment, Development and Sustainability 2005.7:229-252, Shan BS et al. J Toxicol Env Health. 1988; 24:429-37, Public health impact of pesticides used in agriculture. Geneva WHO 1990, and the EPA itself. You may find this WHO presentation on pesticides useful in putting together your report, too. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • Nisa

    I had to have a full hysterectomy at the age of 44 – I am now 48 and have been on HRT. Lately I’ve been suffering pains in my joints namely hips, elbows and knees – are there any supplements that you would recommend I take? I would appreciate any advice, thank you in advance

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Nisa, It’s important to see your doctor to diagnose the cause as there are lots of different types of joint pain, and some need medical treatment sooner rather than later. If your doctor diagnoses osteoarthritis, however there is lots of choice on supplement that will help. I’ve covered these in my post on the best supplements for knee pain. Pain relieving creams and gels are also a good choice as they sink in exactly where needed. Hope that helps. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • frted

    I am looking at your guide to best supplements for arthritis. I also have HBP…I take 2.5-5mg amlodipine and was concerned about the effects of lowering BP while consuming a supplement for my cervical arthritis….any suggestions from your list ??

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      There are no serious interactions reported for amlodipine and food supplements used to treat joint pain, so you could select a combination product combining glucosamine and chondroitin or turmeric,for example. The supplements that can affect blood pressure (in beneficial ways) are covered on my other website, mylowerbloodpressure.com. Another option is to use a topical cream or gel (if not too mess with long hair), or to use a pain-relieving device such as Arc4Health microcurrent therapy which is very helpful for joint pain. Warm neck wraps are also helpful. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • Andrew

    Hi Doctor…I have just gone through a Total Knee Replacement…could you recommend any supplements that would help me in my recovery.
    Regards
    Andrew

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Andrew, You will need to check with your own doctors that they are happy for you to take supplements, based on your other medication etc, but my usual suggestions are vitamin C (for collagen production and antioxidant to boost healing), hydrolysed collagen, glucsosamine and chondroitin (for tissue repair) – these are found in combination products of which the highest dose is in LQ Joint Care. Best wishes, for a rapid recovery, Sarah B

  • Janet

    Hi Sarah,
    My Son who is 39 has suffered with Epilepsy and a severe hearing loss since he had Pneumochocal Menigites when he was 5 mths old, is Epilepsy is well controlled he hasn’t had a seizure since December 2010..my concern is that the medication he takes for the Epilepsy, carbamazepine and clobazam can cause his bones to thin he has had a number of fractures to his ankle over the years playing football, I wondered wether he should be taking calcium or any other supplements to protect his bones and brain function, his Father has recently been diagnosed with parkinsons disease and I am concerned that he might get it too, my husbands brother has Epilepsy too, however, not as a result of illness or injury..
    I would appreciate your thoughts,
    Many thanks
    Janet

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Janet, It’s worth yoru son seeing his doctor as long-term anticonvulsant therapy has been associated with low bone mineral density. The doctor can arrange tests to assess his bone density and prescribe medication – including calcium and vitamin D – if needed. I have a post on diet and osteoporosis here. While some cases of Parkinson’s disease are hereditary this is rare, and there is some information on the michaeljfox website. I hope that helps. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • Barb

    I am having thinning hair & rash in back of neck. Been taking multiple B vitamins & vit e,c, d,
    Should I take another multivitamin for hair. Would too much B vitamins cause constipation or other problems. I started taking Terry Naturally Vits for Nerves feet & legs. Which has really helped me with my back pain & leg sciatica. What Vitamins are good for your hair ?

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Barb, B vitamins are water soluble and relatively non-toxic so it is unlikely that a multivit plus a hair, skin and nail product would take you over their safe upper levels. Have you seen your doctor to rule out iron deficiency or underactive thyroid, which can be causes of hair loss. The rash on your neck needs checking, too. If hair thinning is age/menopause related, then a caffeine shampoo can really help (read my post Best Shampoo For Thinning Hair). Supplements for hair health usually contain ingredients such as biotin, silica, selenium, zinc and amino acids or collagen eg Wellwoman hairfollic or LQ LiquidHealth Skin, Hair & Nails. I hope that helps, Sarah B

  • Vanessa

    I have had tennis elbow in both arms for at least 3 years now, I have had the maximum amount of cortisone injections possible. I do take 1500mg of Glucosamine, cod liver oil and turmeric supplements – is there anything else you can suggest I try. It is really getting me down now. Many thanks Vanessa

  • Debi

    I only have one kidney after losing the other to cancer. I eat sensibly and exercise regularly. What if any suppliments could I take to boost the kidneys function? Thank you

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Debi, It’s difficult to advise as it will depend on your current kidney function, and the medicines you are taking. Your doctors will have recommended whether or not you need to follow a lower protein diet and how much water you should drink. Supplements that are sometimes suggested to improve general kidney cell function include alpha lipoic acid and coenzyme Q10 but it is important not to take any supplements without the knowledge and advice of your own doctor. Sorry I can’t be of more help. Best wishes, Sarah B

  • lorraine

    I am female, 56, 18.6 stone, 5’9”. Previously of extremely good health and never bothered about my weight. I have recently been diagnosed with Diverticular disease after a particularly nasty bout of Diverticulitis. Since my colonoscopy i have found that, contrary to my consultant advise, I cannot tolerate high fibre foods, green veg, pulses etc… My consultant suggested taking pro-biotics and consult a nutritionist for help. I have suffered at the hands of ‘weird, hippy type, clearly unqualified’ practitioners and want to see someone who is medically trained. (I was extremely embarrassed with one woman who said she could tell me ‘my problem foods’ whilst balancing on tip toes after i was asked to hold a phial of liquid stuff). How can i find someone suitable? the probiotics seem to be helping, my low fibre diet is also helping but i am now very conscious that i want to lose weight and improve my diet. Could you help?

  • Jacqui

    I read an article that you posted about taking 1 mg of chicken collagen for RA . I’ve looked and looked and can’t see anything under 40mg. Can you help?
    Thanks and Happy New year.

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      Hi Jacqui, Low doses of undenatured collagen for immunotherapy are not easy to come by, although practitioners may weigh out their own tiny doses using pure collagen powder obtained from opening capsules such as Bio-Collagen.Larger doses can provide benefit, too. I hope that helps, Sarah B

  • rebecca

    Hi I have bought the go less to start, however I have been taking Pumpkin seed oil for 3 months now, the advice on go less is a very high dose to start with, do I need to do this as I have been taking the Pumpkin seed oil for a while, be grateful for your advice.

    • DrSarahBrewer Post author

      It will depend on whether you have noticed benefit from the pumpkin seed oil you have taken. If not, then it’s best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and start over. Best wishes, Sarah B