Keep­ing mum full of en­ergy

North Waikato News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE -

Prior to fall­ing preg­nant I fol­lowed you re­li­giously as well as dur­ing my preg­nancy, and I re­ally ate very clean and looked af­ter my­self. I also man­aged to cure myPCOS (poly­cys­tic ovary syn­drome).

I have an 11 month old, and I do not think I will get de­cent sleep any time soon. I have put on weight since the baby was born (I didn’t ac­tu­ally put on that much while I was preg­nant). Any ad­vice on what foods and sup­ple­ments can give me the en­ergy I need to get through this dif­fi­cult pe­riod in my life? I want to give my baby the sup­port she needs to help her learn to sleep gently and I want to keep breast-feed­ing. Thanks, Lou

Hi Lou. It can be phys­i­cally and emo­tion­ally chal­leng­ing to get back on your feet af­ter a baby ar­rives, and this can be more dif­fi­cult if there are ad­di­tional young ones at home and if the mother is not well sup­ported. Hor­mon­ally, nu­tri­tion­ally and emo­tion­ally, things can take time to re­store.

In my ex­pe­ri­ence, it is crit­i­cal for a mumto work with a health pro­fes­sional ex­pe­ri­enced in this area, one who un­der­stands the way bio­chem­istry, nu­tri­tion and emo­tions in­ter­play. Typ­i­cally, iron and zinc will be too low for the body to make the sub­stances re­quired for hap­pi­ness and op­ti­mism, and these often need to be sup­ple­mented.

Test­ing these lev­els first is im­por­tant. Other nu­tri­ents that may need fo­cus in­clude vi­ta­min C, vi­ta­min D and mag­ne­sium. The omega-3 fat DHA is an essen­tial sup­ple­ment for a de­pleted mum. This is vital for ner­vous sys­tem (in­clud­ing the brain) sup­port, as well as hor­monal bal­ance. Oily fish sup­ply DHA, and there are now some good-qual­ity sup­ple­ments de­rived from al­gae. Also, the body can con­vert another omega-3 fat found in plants (such as flaxseeds and chia seeds), known as EPA, into DHA; how­ever, the ef­fi­ciency of the body to do this seems highly in­di­vid­ual. Some stud­ies sug­gest this con­ver­sion is up-reg­u­lated dur­ing preg­nancy but not lac­ta­tion. The fo­cus for the de­pleted mum­needs to be on easy, prac­ti­cal meals made from whole, real foods that are nu­tri­ent-dense.

Seek­ing sup­port is also crit­i­cal. If you feel as though you may be ex­pe­ri­enc­ing post-na­tal de­ple­tion, let a friend know and seek pro­fes­sional sup­port, such as the help of a psy­chol­o­gist.

Restora­tive prac­tices that ac­ti­vate the rest and re­pair arm of the ner­vous sys­tem are also a crit­i­cal part of re­cov­ery from de­ple­tion. Restora­tive yoga, Still­ness Through Move­ment, and acupunc­ture are all beau­ti­ful and highly ef­fec­tive. Email your ques­tions for Dr Libby to ask.dr­libby@fair­fax­me­dia.co.nz. Please note, only a se­lec­tion of ques­tions can be an­swered.

I often suf­fer from cold sores, I’ve heard that Ly­sine is ben­e­fi­cial – is there any ev­i­dence be­hind this? Thanks, Rob.

Hi Rob. Sev­eral stud­ies sug­gest that sup­ple­ment­ing with the amino acid ly­sine may help re­duce the num­ber of re­cur­ring out­breaks of cold sores.

A few stud­ies also sug­gest that ly­sine may help to shorten the length of an out­break.

Tak­ing ly­sine or ob­tain­ing more ly­sine in your diet, from foods such as chicken, fish, eggs, and pota­toes, may as­sist re­cov­ery and re­duce the chance of re­cur­rent break­outs of this her­pes in­fec­tion.

It’s al­ways best to con­sult a health pro­fes­sional be­fore tak­ing sup­ple­ments, par­tic­u­larly if you take pre­scrip­tion med­i­ca­tion or have any health con­di­tions. I would also stress that zinc is sup­port­ive for the im­mune sys­tem and stress man­age­ment tech­niques are also im­por­tant – often cold sore out­breaks oc­cur when the ner­vous sys­tem is over­whelmed.

If you feel as though you may be ex­pe­ri­enc­ing post-na­tal de­ple­tion, let a friend know and seek pro­fes­sional sup­port, such as the help of a psy­chol­o­gist.

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