Anna came to see me because she was struggling with low mood and felt less and less able to cope with everyday life. She felt tired all the time, anxious and depressed. She had discovered that when she felt unhappy she would eat a poor diet and this exacerbated the way she felt. But she had noticed that her mood would improve when she looked after herself with a good diet. This is the reason she thought she should see a nutritionist.

Anna, like many of us, led a busy life, she often worked long hours and would then ‘crash’ at the weekend. She wasn’t getting much sleep and it would be unsettled.

Other health issues Anna presented with were recurring yeast infections, gingivitis, frequent colds, constipation and small brown patches of skin that had appeared on her face in the last few years.

From talking with Anna about her health history and symptoms we identified a possible gluten intolerance and I also suggested that her amalgam fillings might be contributing to a number of her symptoms. It was obvious that Anna had some form of adrenal issues and sometimes sensitivity to mercury (from amalgams, or occupational exposure) can exacerbate this. An Adrenal Stress Index test revealed that Anna’s cortisol levels were chronically high. Chronically high levels of cortisol can affect brain function affecting mood, over time the brain switches off it’s response to cortisol – in order to protect itself from high levels. Which can lead to an even stronger depressive state.

We needed to support Anna’s adrenal function before we could even begin to address her possible mercury toxicity. Testing for toxicity in the urine would be damaging as we would have to use a chelating agent and Anna’s body wasn’t strong enough for that at this point. So as an alternative we used a hair mineral analysis test which enabled us to see whether mercury was affecting the pattern of other antagonistic minerals like zinc and selenium. It was.

We supported Anna’s adrenal function with additional protein and a blood sugar balancing diet. We also included some high doses of vitamin C to support detoxification and adrenal function. We used an adrenal and sleep support product at night time which supports solid blocks of sleep. This is an ideal way to support adrenal function – avoiding disrupted sleep. In the morning, instead of skipping breakfast, Anna would prepare a protein shake to give her body a good source of amino acids to use as building blocks for neurotransmitter function.

At our third consultation we began supplementing with minerals to restore levels that have been decimated by mercury exposure. This also ‘pushed’ some mercury out the body too so dietary were used to support detoxification. Addressing mercury exposure was necessary for Anna to completely restore her health. Some of the symptoms Anna reported were signs of mercury sensitivity – gingivitis, chronic yeast infections, brown spots and constipation and it was likely that this was the underlying ’cause’ of her subsequent health issues. However, Anna couldn’t consider removal of her amalgam fillings until her body was in a better place to process any exposure that might happen during the process.

With Anna feeling stronger we continued working on restoring gut flora and eliminating yeast through using garlic, coconut oil and specific probiotics. We used the last two topically as well as internally. Eliminating yeast is not always possible whilst the body is struggling to cope with a mercury issue because yeast tends to hold onto mercury, almost like it is protecting the body.

At this point Anna still has her amalgam fillings, her plan is to have them removed at some point in the future. She feels much happier and better able to cope. Her constipation and yeast infections have subsided and her sleep and energy have improved massively.

Nutrition case study: Low mood, stressed, yeast infections and mercury issues.