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Sharons entire professional career has been focused around health and wellbeing. For the past 5 years she has been very involved in the exciting new field of genetics and personalised health. Sharon's focus in clinic is to identify and treat the driver's of disease, not just focus on symptoms. This is why a genetic profile is so valuable as it shows right at a gene level what is occuring.
Sharons foresight meant she was an early adopter of DNA profiling and was one of the first practitioners in Australia to successfully integrate DNA into clinical practice. In addition to maintaining a busy practice, Sharon has been a business development manager and consultant to a genetic profiling company and has trained hundreds of doctors and allied health professionals throughout Australia and overseas in the clinical use of DNA.
Sharon is passionate about how DNA can help support people in making better choices regarding their health and wellbeing. This led to her establishing the first DNA-centric clinic in Australia. She was both Director and Principal practitioner of this award winning clinic. With iDNA Health she has expanded upon this model and is now also offering personalised skincare and skincare products, as genetics around skin is giving us astounding insight and treatment options.
Specialising in Womens Hormones
For over 16 years Sharon has applied her expertise and skills as a Medical Herbalist, consulting with patients on a wide-variety of health issues, with a special focus on womens hormonal problems. She has experience dealing with women of every age, at every stage of their hormonal problems. What is now very exciting is that a genetic profile can give a woman insight into her hormonal issues in a way that has not been possible before.
Sharon is considered an expert in hormones and women's health. For the past 12 years she has conducted hormone-based courses for GP's and other allied health professional in understanding hormones and interpreting saliva hormone reports.
Advanced Functional Testing
In addition to genetic profiling, Sharon uses a wide variety of advanced functional testing to determine what factors are contributing to your symptoms and health problems.
Treatment interventions are a combination of herbs, vitamins and minerals, diet and lifestyle changes to restore balance and good health.If you have your DNA profile, your treatment goes to the next level and becomes personalised and much targeted.
Sharon's professional practice also includes developing an anti-ageing program for a leading integrative health clinic, incorporating state-of-the-art diagnostics.She has held positions as the Health Promotion Officer at Curtin University, been a Director of a Corporate Health and Wellness Program, and undertaken university-based research into alcohol and caffeine.
About Genetic Testing
Your DNA test will report on a range of genes that control key biological functions in the body. The genes themsleves cannot be changed, but their function, the gene expression, can be modified with key intervention strategies.
Areas of Practice
These are the health issues I work most frequently with:
Sharon is a qualified Medical Herbalist. She studied in the USA and then practiced in New York prior to returning to Australia in 2000.
On her return to Australia she spent two years researching and developing a comprehensive anti-ageing program for an integrated clinic. It was from this research that Sharon began to use a lot of the advanced testing listed above.
Sharon has specialized in the area of hormones for the last 6 years and provides workshops for other naturopaths and GPs on testing and rebalancing hormones and advanced hormone diagnostics.
Sharon has spent over 25 years working in the area of health and fitness. Prior to becoming a Medical Herbalist she was a Health Promotion Officer at Curtin University in Perth, W.A., and Director of a Corporate Health and Wellness Program.
Hormones and Women
As a woman you know that your hormones play a major role in your mood, energy and overall wellbeing. When your hormones are out of balance you experience:
Creating hormone balance is not a one size fits all approach. Creating balance in hormones is complex. Have to consider:
As a practitioner specializing in hormones, I understand
Many women think that it is normal to have painful periods or terrible PMS. Your menstrual cycle should not be painful, you should not have excessively long or really heavy bleeding and you should not become overly moody or depressed, or suffer from bloating or breast tenderness.
My approach to menstrual problems:
Up to 5 years before the menstrual cycle finishes, hormone levels can begin to change. As we get older there are less and less eggs or follicles left in the ovaries, and this leads to changes in hormone levels and changes in the menstrual cycle.
From my experience of treating women it is during peri-menopause that many women begin to experience a lot of symptoms around their menstrual cycle. Sometimes these symptoms are mild and easy to live with, but they can also be more severe and impact dramatically on quality of life. The most common symptoms I see are:
My approach to Peri-menopause:
Your hormones are not just about having a menstrual cycle. Your hormones play an integral role in your health. They
My approach to menopause:
Endometriosis is one of the most common gynecological problems. It is a leading cause of hysterectomy, is responsible for about 25% of cases of infertility, and rates of this disease are increasing in teenagers. This is a complicated disease caused by many factors.
My approach to treating Endometriosis:
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is the most common endocrine disorder in women of reproductive age. It is not simply a reproductive problem but a complex endocrine disorder with many causes and many clinical presentations. Besides the reproductive complications, PCOS has many long term serious health implications.
My approach to treating PCOS:
Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer in women. The causes of breast cancer and the treatment options are vast. I treat many women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer or have had breast cancer in the past.
The main problems I see with women who have been recently diagnosed is trying to come to terms with the shock of the diagnosis, trying to cope with the information being presented by the medical team, overwhelmed with how quickly they have to make decisions about treatment, and trying to sort through the massive amount of information on alternative therapies.
What I offer women recently diagnosed with breast cancer:
My approach to Breast Cancer:
As a woman contraception is an extremely important decision. You spend most of your reproductive years trying to prevent a pregnancy, so you need a method that is effective and has few side effects.
There are many options available to you, and it is important to assess the pros and cons of these options.
Many women think that taking the oral contraceptive pill is a safe and easy option, but it does have side-effects. Before using the oral contraceptive pill, contraceptive implants or depro-provera it is important to:
I encourage you to book an appointment to assess your contraceptive choice.
What I cover in this appointment includes:
Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy
Bio-identical hormones are increasingly being recommended to women. Bio-identical hormones are hormones that are bio-identical to your own hormones (same biochemical structure). The hormones are manufactured in a laboratory and are delivered into your body via creams, troches (placed under the tongue) or injection.
Before using bio-identical hormones it is important to
Bio-identical hormones have only begun to be used more recently.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
Hormone replacement therapy has decreased since early 2001, when the long term studies detailing their risks were publicized. Hormones that are given to women as HRT are conjugated equine estrogens, essentially estrogens from a pregnant horse. They do not have the same chemical structure and are far more powerful than human estrogens. This is why many practitioners are recommending bio-identical hormones instead of HRT. HRT also includes progestins, which are synthetic progesterone. Progestins do not act like natural progesterone once in the human body.
If you are considering using HRT or are already using HRT, I encourage you to book an appointment to discuss
Men go through a form of menopause just like women and it is termed Andropause. The main hormonal issues that men face are:
As these changes occur you may begin to experience symptoms such as lack of energy, decreased mood, decreased libido, erectile problems, prostate problems, loss of muscle mass.
Your hormones play an integral role in your health. They
My approach to andropause:
These programs have been developed to support couples in all aspects of their reproductive health from pre-conception, through pregnancy and post-natally.
The aim is to support the health and well-being of couples so they can conceive naturally, have a healthy pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby.
There are a number of different programs as couples looking for basic pre-conception care have very different to needs to couples who have struggled to get pregnant after months or even years of trying, while other couples struggle with recurrent miscarriages. There is also a program to support couples through assisted reproduction such as IVF.
All of the programs and recommended protocols have been thoroughly researched.
A pre-conception care program is one of the most important decisions a couple can make for the health of their baby. The main aim of pre-conception is to ensure good nutrient status so that the egg and sperm develop in a nutrient rich environment. It is important for both men and women to undertake a pre-conception program. Research shows that a pre-conception program will:
Why Women Need Preconception Care
Every woman planning to get pregnant should complete a pre-conception care program. However, there are some women where it is extremely important. These are:
Why Men Need Preconception Care
The male contributes 50% of the DNA. Research is demonstrating that the age of the father is just as important as the age of the mother.
The aim of this program is to remove heavy metals and toxins from the body. Both men and women can benefit from this program prior to getting pregnant.
Why a woman should detox prior to pregnancy:
Why a male should detox before getting his partner pregnant:
Stress has such a negative impact on your health. Most people know this, but do very little to effectively decrease stress. Stress will lead to an imbalance in hormones, will suppress immune function and increase the rate at which you age. One of the biggest impacts of stress is on the adrenal glands, as they produce your stress hormones. As your adrenals become depleted the symptoms you begin to experience are, lack of energy, poor sleep, waking in the middle of the night, increased anxiety, poor mood and depression, inability to switch off mentally.
My approach to stress and adrenal fatigue:
Thyroid disease is extremely prevalent. The thyroid is affected by many factors including adrenals and stress, hormone levels and diet.
My approach to hypothyroidism:
My approach to Hashimotos Disease:
My approach to Graves Disease:
I spent two years researching and implementing an anti-ageing program for an integrated health clinic. Anti-ageing is a highly researched field and our knowledge of what causes ageing is rapidly increasing. We now have a very good understanding of how to slow and even reverse it.
Our focus for anti-ageing is often a cosmetic approach that is quickly progressing from covering the grey hair, to the more radical botox, liposuction and cosmetic surgery solution. Unfortunately, although these may give you a more youthful appearance, at least for a while, ageing is a process that occurs at the cellular level. We know with certainty that your chronological age does not mean anything. You have the capacity to be much younger physiologically if you have good health habits, or can be much older physiologically if you engage in unhealthy health habits.
The question is How old do you want to be?
What Causes Ageing
If you want to slow or reverse the ageing process you need to know what causes ageing. There are four major processes that contribute to ageing. They each have there own impact but are all interrelated and having one process in operation will encourage and perpetuate the others.
Glycation Is the process by which extra glucose molecules attach themselves to protein. Not the protein from your diet, but the protein that is the building block of the human body. These proteins are used to make your hormones, enzymes, neurotransmitters, cells of your immune system, and form the structural base of your chromosones.
After a glucose molecule has joined to a protein, the protein is damaged and unable to perform any useful function. What you end up with are AGEs (advanced glycation end-products), and these are the most toxic molecule to protein, especially to collagen which is what your skin is made from. AGEs make your tissues, muscles, ligaments, organs and the retina of the eye stiff, hard and inflexible and increase oxidation. And because the only fuel source for our brain is glucose, our brain is very vulnerable to glycination. The brown liver spots on the skin of older people are AGEs laid down in the skin.
Certain diet and lifestyle factors can decrease the process of glycination.
Oxidation Although oxygen is necessary for life, our using oxygen to produce energy results in the production of free radicals, and it is free radicals that cause oxidation. Free radicals damage DNA and the mitochondria that produce energy, they damage your bodys protein and immune system and damage the cell membrane which controls how nutrients get into your cell and toxins and wastes are eliminated. The cell membrane that controls what gets in and out of your cells is largely made up of fat and is very prone to oxidation, as is your brain. It has been estimated that each cell sustains 10,000 free radical hits per day. With anti-ageing testing it is now possible to measure the oxidative damage to your DNA.
There are key nutrients which will help decrease free radicals and protect your DNA from damage.
Methylation is a very important process in the body. It is how we make sure our genes replicate properly, how we turn genes on and off, control protein synthesis, and how we clear estrogens, toxins and heavy metals from our body. When you fail to methylate well you increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, have poor gene expression which can lead to more diseases and cancers, and you fail to detox and inactivate harmful substances you ingest or are exposed to.
You can measure your capacity to methylate and there are key nutrients which will ensure healthy methylation.
Inflammation Is our bodys natural reaction to injury and infection. As you age you tend to release more inflammatory cytokines into your body. Diseases such as arthritis, inflammatory bowel disorders, asthma, eczema, allergies, fibromyalgia are all inflammatory in nature. We now realise that cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity are also inflammatory mediated diseases. Stress increases inflammation. The more inflammation we have the more free radicals we generate.
Inflammatory markers can be measured in the blood and there are key nutrients to help decrease inflammation.
By taking key nutrients and undertaking key lifestyle factors you can have a dramatic impact on the rate at which your body is ageing.
Salivary Hormone Testing
Hormones can be measured by blood, urine and saliva. When measuring hormones through blood these hormones are bound and have no biological activity. I prefer to measure hormones through saliva as it is measuring free and available hormones.
Many symptoms of hormone imbalance are overlapping, so it is impossible from symptoms alone to be able to determine hormone levels. The most important factor with hormones is looking at the balance between hormones. To assess hormone levels and understand how they are impacting on the body and other hormones, it is important to look at them all, not just one or two in isolation.
Sharon recommends a standard 7 hormones be screened. The three estrogens: estrone, estradiol and estriol, progesterone, testosterone, and the two adrenal hormones, cortisol and DHEAS, and for women planning a pregnancy, androstenedione.
Urinary Estrogen Metabolism
The amount of estrogen in the body is very important, but how the body metabolizes this estrogen is just as important if not more important. The body can metabolize estrogen through pathways that make estrogen very weak and very safe, or through to pathways that make estrogen more powerful and can lead to an increased risk of various cancers.
I recommend this test for
Organic acid testing gives an insight into the biochemical pathways of the body.
I recommend this testing for people with
Amino acids are the building block for our muscles and tissues and for our neurotransmitters in the brain. These amino acids need to be balanced with one another in order to work effectively. When supplementing with amino acids it is important that you do not inadvertently disrupt this balance.
I recommend this testing for people with
Gut Microbial Profile
The health of the gut is so important to overall health. Naturopaths have always known the importance of healthy gut flora and healthy gut function. All of the recent research shows the role of the gut in so many aspects of health.
There are many types of stool test to check for gut microbial levels. I prefer to use a laboratory that performs DNA finger-printing technology. This test measures
I recommend this test for people with
Hair Mineral Analysis
A hair mineral analysis can answer all of these questions.
There are many factors that impact on your personal nutrient needs.
What nutrients are in your foods to begin with?
Our ability to absorb nutrients is impacted by many factors.
Functional Liver Detoxification Profile
The liver performs more functions than any other organ in the body. If the liver cannot detoxify effectively, you will be come toxic from the inability to clear byproducts of metabolism, over the counter and prescription drugs, alcohol, toxins and heavy metals.
The best way to test you livers ability to detoxify is to do a Functional Liver Detoxification Profile. It measures the many different pathways in the liver. Many people have had a Liver Function Test (LFT) ordered by their doctor. This test gives no insight into the capacity of the liver to detoxify.
Many people put themselves onto a detoxification program. If your liver is unable to detoxify well and keep up, your detoxification program can do more harm than good.
I recommend this test for people
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