Bioxyne affiliated practitioner Lee Holmes has an impressive list of health-related titles to her name; she’s certified health and wellness coach, whole foods chef, hatha yoga teacher, author, blogger and holistic nutritionist. What’s even more impressive is that in the five years since Lee started practicing, she’s become something of a household name within the Australian wellbeing space. A great portion of her work is focused on gut health.
Where does your interest in health and wellbeing originate from?
After being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and fibromyalgia a few years ago, I became accustomed to feelings of lethargy, pain and inflammation. I was prescribed to a cocktail of foreign chemicals and medications, which I was told, were going to help heal me. While the antibiotics did help ease some of my symptoms, I knew there was something deeper that I had to explore. This sparked my interest in health and wellbeing. I started researching all about health and the gut, writing down my own ideas and creating recipes that aligned with my new-found knowledge. This then lead to the creation of my blog, www.superchargedfood.com and got me to where I am today!
What have been your career highlights and what are you working on at the moment?
One of my biggest career highlights is the moment that I found out that my book, Heal Your Gut, was on its tenth print-run. I can’t describe how amazing it feels to have a book you’ve worked so hard on be so loved, useful and cherished by other people.
Another career highlight was creating my own products! I love the idea of a daily way to look after your gut, which led me to producing both my own Love Your Gut powder and Golden Gut Blend!
Finally, releasing my two gut healing programs – the Four-Week Heal Your Gut Program and my Love Your Gut bi-weekly program was a huge highlight for me.
Currently, I’m working on releasing my latest book, Supercharge Your Gut and other gut-loving powders! 2018 is shaping up to be a huge year for me and I can’t wait to see what else unfolds.
Is there one piece of wellbeing advice you consistently find you give to your clients?
Don’t overcomplicate it! Please don’t take on every single health tip you read, you’re more likely to regress and burn out. You don’t need every superfood on the planet to make you healthy, just eat real and whole foods.
Do you have any wellbeing rituals you practice at home?
Yes, I love sticking to my rituals! In the morning, I always take a glass of warm lemon water with my Love Your Gut powder. Then it’s time to move! I either head out the door for my morning walk or walk up to the gym depending on my mood.
This may not be a wellbeing ritual, but the one thing that truly motivates me to get home after my exercise is the thought of my frothy, home-made chai. Delicious.
In terms of night-time rituals, there’s nothing I love more than putting some Epsom salts in a bath, applying my Earth, Mask & Scrub and just relaxing! It’s so important to take care of ourselves every single day.
How do you take care of your own gut health?
I give my gut time to heal. As a result of all the toxins we ingest, foods we eat and chemicals we consume on a daily basis, the least our gut deserves is to rest. I let my gut rest by following an intermittent fasting regime. This doesn’t mean no food at all but rather, restricted calories over a short period of time. I recommend 500 calories per day for females and 600 calories per day for men two days a week. It’s the perfect time to let both you and your gut rest and digest. You can read more about intermittent fasting in my book Fast Your Way to Wellness.
What do you see as the role of probiotics in health and wellbeing?
Probiotics have been used for centuries to treat a variety of bowel conditions including constipation, diarrhoea and irritable bowel disease. Probiotics balance our microflora which in turn, helps support positive moods, boost energy and help produce other essential nutrients. They basically help the health world go-round.
The connection between digestive issues and the gut microbiome is now well understood by consumers, but what many people don’t know is that gut health is connected to a host of other common ailments.
Fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog See.Need.Want recently interviewed Bioxyne’s Chief Scientist Dr Peter French, who has studied the connection between the microbiome and immune health since 2002.
In this detailed interview, Peter explains the importance of maintaining gut health, how gut bacteria affects the immune system and mental health, and what we know about how PCC (Lactobacillus fermentumVRI-003) affects all these things.
“PCC® has been shown to be effective at inhibiting a range of pathogenic bacteria in the laboratory, and to boost immune and gut health in clinical studies,” Peter told See.Need.Want editor Rosie McKay. “Given the clear connection between the gut and the brain, PCC® is likely to have a positive effect on the function of both.”
With Spring on the way, while most of us look forward to warmer weather and longer days, those of us who suffer from severe symptoms of hay fever are less excited. Many dread the onset of itchy eyes, runny noses and constant sneezing. Some turn to over the counter drugs to dry up their symptoms. But there may be a better way.
With the increased knowledge that out gut microbiome is critical for a range of health conditions, including our immune system, researchers have focused on the use of probiotics – good bacteria – to assist with our gut and immune health. And now there is evidence that probiotics could alleviate the symptoms of hay fever. There are at least 18 studies that show that some probiotics can produce a significant improvement in symptoms and quality of life in hay fever sufferers. How they do this appears to be by boosting what is called the Th1 immune response.
A clinical study on babies with moderate to severe eczema, which, like hay fever is a response to an environmental allergen, showed that Bioxyne’s probiotic, called PCC® (A Lactobacillus strain) boosted the Th1 immune response and significantly improved the symptoms of eczema in comparison to a placebo control.
PCC® therefore is likely to have a similar effect on hay fever symptoms. And it has been shown to boost gut health as well! You don’t get that benefit with the OTC hay fever drugs!
Endurance training is excellent for heart health but it does take a toll on the immune system.
It has been known since at least 1993 from a range of studies that unusually heavy acute or chronic exercise is associated with an increased risk of upper respiratory tract infections (URTI).
The clinical data supports the concept that heavy exertion increases an athlete's risk of URTI because of negative changes in immune function and elevation of the stress hormones, epinephrine, and cortisol.
The Bioxyne team suspected that PCC would be of benefit to athletes and their compromised immune systems when our own preclinical studies showed that PCC® preferentially bound to the Peyer’s patches in the gut. Peyer’s patches is immune tissue in the gastrointestinal tract that plays a key role in mucosal immunity.
We proposed, therefore, that PCC® may boost the mucosal immune system, providing protection against respiratory tract infections leading to cold and flu symptoms.
In order to examine the ability of PCC® to boost the mucosal immune system in humans, we designed clinical trials on long distance runners and other elite athletes, who are known to be more susceptible to contracting URTIs than the general population.
To carry out the study, we took 20 male elite distance runners in the height of winter. They were training to compete in events ranging from 800 metres to the marathon (42.2 km).
After recruitment, our athletes completed an initial treatment month (28 days)receiving either L. fermentum VRI-003 (PCC®) or placebo. A washout month followed the completion of the first treatment month. Previous studies have shown that it typically takes a probiotic bacteria 3–8 days to pass through the gastrointestinal tract. We then swapped what our participants were taking, so that those receiving PCC® as the first treatment received the placebo as the second treatment and vice versa. The athletes were monitored for an additional fortnight (referred toas ‘‘follow-up’’) after completing the second treatment. During each treatment month subjects were required to take three capsules, twice daily.
Athletes maintained daily diaries recording symptoms, days, severity and medications.
The most important finding of the study was a significant reduction in the number of days of respiratory illness symptoms, and a trend towards a lower severity of illness, during PCC® treatment compared with placebo.
It’s clear from the clinical data that elite endurance athletes can benefit from taking PCC® when undertaking intense training for competitions, because it improves resistance to common illnesses associated with the increase in stress hormones at that time, which will ultimately impede their training and performance.
The study authors noted that “different strains of L. fermentum have different immune-stimulating ability” - PCC® it seems is particularly effective at boosting mucosal immunity in elite athletes.
Learn more about the study here.