FreeFrom SkinCare Awards Shortlist Released!

logoYippee: after all the hard work involved in judging the FreeFrom SkinCare Awards, the shortlist and commendeds are now out! Here is the SkinsMatter Newsletter which has lots of interesting links and the lists for you. Sit down with a cuppa and enjoy choosing your next healthy skincare range. Oh dear, what a chore!

Many of you know that I have been honoured to be a judge for these awards for the last two years. The awards basically give us a chance to look at what is available to consumers in the natural skincare industry.

There is MUCH debate and researching of ingredients, which takes a lot of time. Once we feel a product is worthy of inclusion, we then look at  the use of allergens and the labelling of them, consider, reject, moan about or reward the use of specific preservative systems, emulsifiers and the like, giving brownie points to the most non-toxic ones, and then we cogitate on the composition of the products and how likely they are to achieve what it says on the tin. And that’s all quite apart from how does it smell, feel, act upon the skin! We are nothing if not extremely thorough and try not to let anything get past us without a query, as you would expect..

Shaping the Market

It’s a lot of work but also a lot of fun. The reason I like it is two-fold: first, you know I have moaned for years about the toxic toiletries on our High Street shelves and the harm they can do to us, so it’s nice to be able to see more and more non-toxic versions of our old favourites as well as some new innovative products come onto the market.

And, second, in some small way, I hope we are helping to encourage and shape the market. This year, for example, we noticed a really significant improvement in most of the elements mentioned above; it was much harder to choose between them because so many of them were meeting the criteria brilliantly. The biggest change was a major drop in the use of the more ‘dodgy’ ingredients, which was fab to see. I hope the awards play a part in encouraging better products.

Even Better FreeFrom Labelling

This year, I wittered on constantly about the need for labelling ‘vegetable’ products, which means diddly-squat for a sensitive person. We look at a label that says ‘Vitamin E (natural)’ or ‘tocopherol (natural origin)’ or ‘vegetable oil’ and wonder what is the source? Is it soya, sunflower, wheatgerm or what – all of those are common allergens and people sensitive to the foods want to know they are not putting them on their skin either?

I am hoping that, even though I know it is not legally required, if a skincare company is aiming for a freefrom market or, in fact, just want to label helpfully for the zillions of people who may reject their products because they can’t assess them properly, they will start to label items like these and even things like xanthan gum and ascorbic acid (both corn-derived mostly).

That may make labels huge, I am aware, but we live in a world of online shopping and spacious websites, so the very least would be to put this information in the ingredients list on the product page, which would be SO helpful. I have lost count of the number of times I have had to contact a company to ask for derivations, which is more than a little annoying. Currently, many companies only list the beneficial ingredients and not even the full INCI ingredients list on their websites, which is just an immediate reject for me personally and my patients/readers.

Anyway, I’ve gone off on one again there, haven’t I?! I can’t help it: it’s a subject I’m passionate about. If we want to be healthy, we need that to be not just what we eat, but what we put on our skin too. I am thankful that many natural skincare companies are doing a fabulous job, better than just a year or so ago, too. Well done them; now can the others please catch up and can we take it forward even further? I look forward to our job being even harder next year..

Ok, get your cuppa now then and enjoy the fruits of our labours :) Get the lists here: Newsletter



New York IgG Food Intolerance Tests and Total IgA, IgM, IgA Testing

Just to let you know I have today listed 4 new York IgG fingerprick food intolerance tests – at a LOT cheaper than the normal ones :)

There are now four different options, testing for 50, 75, 100 or 150 foods. These are practitioner-only tests and I have more flexibility with prices so have decided to pass on quite a bit of my discount to you. The 150 foods, for example, should retail at £299 and I have listed it for £225! And that includes my postage and packing too.

Here’s some info for you and you can now find them all on the shop. Follow the links (bolded numbers)  to each test below and you can then see what foods are tested by each test:

Is what you eat making you ill?

The YorkTest Foodscan is a quick and easy 100% home test that delivers reliable laboratory test results within just 10 days, all from the comfort of your own home.

One simple pin-prick sample enables YorkTest Laboratories (Lorisian) to identify your food intolerances by testing for delayed food specific reactions in your body.

You can test for 5075100 or 150 foods at much cheaper prices than the normal York tests, even though they are the same. That’s because I have the tests through Lorisian, the practitioner arm, and have chosen to pass on some of my practitioner discount to you. This test is for the 150 foods. 

You can see the foods tested here and sample instructions here (written as if done in-clinic but you do the same at home).

Wheat intolerance, gluten intolerance, dairy intolerance, milk intolerance, egg intolerance… there are a lot of food groups and foods that can be a cause of food sensitivity and make life uncomfortable. In fact, Allergy UK suggests that up to 45% of the UK population is affected by food intolerance.

Over 75% of people who take our food intolerance test enjoy a noticeable improvement – the majority within three weeks of eliminating the offending foods.
Please note: Raised levels of food-specific IgG antibodies within your blood indicate that a reaction to a particular food or foods has occurred. If you have already taken the decision to eliminate a particular food or foods from your diet they may not show up as a reaction on your results.

If you know of foods that trigger your symptoms then do not start eating them just to confirm this through taking the test. We cannot encourage you to eat a food or foods which you already know are a problem to you. You generally have to be eating suspect foods a couple of times a week for a minimum of 4-6 weeks for them to show up.

If you prefer to take a test where you don’t have to have eaten the foods beforehand, please look at the cellular and leucocyte  assays eg. FACT or ALCAT.


Measuring the Totals

York no longer do the First Step Raised IgG test, but I have found an alternative here. You can also do a Total IgA, IgM and IgG test here and I have found a UK lab to do it so we no longer have to pay for international courier, hoorah!

Why would you want to do a Totals test, then?

If you want to confirm a problem with food intolerance and don’t want a full food test (as in Food Intolerance Test 1), this looks for total amounts of the key antibodies. 

If they are raised, you know that you are producing immune reactions to something and can then treat or go on to look for specific foods or substances. 

Useful also to check treatment progress if you do this at the start of a treatment programme, you can measure and see if the totals are reducing without the cost of the full food tests. 

Hope they help!

Flu Vaccine: A HUGE Waste of Money, Told You So!

I can’t resist saying told you so on this one. I have written about the lack – and suspected withholding – of evidence Tamiflu worked several times over the years. But, well done to the Cochrane Collaboration for finally dragging the info out of the makers, however shocking it is that they had to be legally forced. Beggars belief.

Here are a couple of the media reports for you..


The Tamiflu injection, given to 240,000 people in UK does nothing to halt the spread of flu and the govt wasted nearly £500 million stockpiling it, a major study found.  Oxford University claims that the drug manufacturer, Roche, gave a “false impression” of its effectiveness  and accused Roche of “sloppy science.”

The Tamiflu injection has been linked to the suicides of children in Japan & could actually worsen flu.  Cochrane Collaboration – a not for profit independent network of health practitioners, researchers and patient advocates – said that despite the injections there had been no reduction in hospital admissions, as Roche had claimed there would be.  The side-effects of Tamiflu include kidney problems, vomiting, headaches, depression, & anxiety.

And another…

Guardian 10.4.14.  “What the Tamiflu saga tells us about drug trials and big pharma”.  (see link below)

We now know the government’s Tamiflu stockpile wouldn’t have done us much good in the event of a flu epidemic. But the secrecy surrounding clinical trials means there’s a lot we don’t know about other medicines we take.     Today we found out that Tamiflu doesn’t work so well after all. Roche, the drug company behind it, withheld vital information on its clinical trials for half a decade, but the Cochrane Collaboration, a global not-for-profit organisation of 14,000 academics, finally obtained all the information.

Putting the evidence together, it has found that Tamiflu has little or no impact on complications of flu infection, such as pneumonia.  That is a scandal because the UK government spent £0.5bn stockpiling this drug in the hope that it would help prevent serious side-effects from flu infection. But the bigger scandal is that Roche broke no law by withholding vital information on how well its drug works. (My emphasis). In fact, the methods and results of clinical trials on the drugs we use today are still routinely and legally being withheld from doctors, researchers and patients. It is simple bad luck for Roche that Tamiflu became, arbitrarily, the poster child for the missing-data story.  And it is a great poster child. The battle over Tamiflu perfectly illustrates the need for full transparency around clinical trials, the importance of access to obscure documentation, and the failure of the regulatory system.

The bit that I can hardly believe even though, as I was reporting, people said this as early as 2009, is that Roche was perfectly legal in withholding vital trial information. How can Governments across the world be expected to assess the safety and efficacy of drugs like this if we can’t be certain of getting all the info. Pure profiteering, plain and simple.

Disgusted of Purehealth.

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Gardasil: Child Abuse by Big Pharma?

Fascinating piece for you today on Gardasil, the vaccine for human papillomavirus. I never felt very comfortable with it and this article is suggesting it has been rushed to market without adequate safety testing, which is shocking. If you have girls, this might be a useful read for you if you’re having to make the ‘will we or won’t we’ decision.

Gardasil: Child Abuse by Big Pharma (Feb/March 2014) Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients.

Autism Month: The Nutrition Connection

I noticed it is Autism Month in the US and we now have quite a few readers across the pond so I thought it an opportune time to share a couple of resources on the subject for you, wherever you are.

The connection between autism and nutritional imbalances is pretty well-established nowadays, even though it was anathema when I first remember talking about it just 20 years ago. I saw these two flyers, albeit from a nutritional testing company but complete with references, the other day and thought they would at least serve as useful aide-memoires at where to start looking.

The Autism Wheel

Nutritional Considerations of ADHD and Autism

The test is here if you need it. Quite pricey, I have to say, but cutting edge. I listed it because it is the only one I have seen that measures intracellular vitamins and elements like COQ10 rather than hair or serum and that includes fructose and carbohydrate sensitivity.


food for the brain

You might also want to have a look at Food for the Brain’s excellent resources here.


CM_logoFinally, our friends at have an excellent list of research reports and resources you can tap into, plus several articles on the subject. Here is the Autism Management page, for example.

I hope those resources help. There are more on the Autism page in the Clinic A-Z too.

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Calcium: Should You Or Shouldn’t You Take Extra?

As many of you know, I can wax lyrical on the subject of calcium and why other elements are FAR more important to you for bone health. This is in my mind again as I have been asked about the issue of poor calcium intake on a dairy free diet a few times recently; a perennial question.

You can read some of my calcium-related posts here:

Osteoporosis – Not All About Calcium

Can Calcium Cause Heart Attacks?

There are many more if you use the search box.

I see Chris Kesser, a US nutritionist, was giving his take on it this week too, although I don’t advocate getting your calcium from dairy, favouring greens, nuts and seeds instead, and you can see my rebuttal of the calcium and cardiovascular disease study in the post I’ve included above – they used crap calcium basically.

Anyway, have a read if this is an issue for you:

Calcium Supplements: Why You Should Think Twice