The underrated nutrient- Selenium

The underrated nutrient- Selenium

With its name derived from the Greek word “Selene,” selenium has caught attention as a micronutrient since 1817. Selenium (Se) is an essential trace mineral which is of fundamental importance to human health. Trace minerals are those which are required by your body in tiny amounts. 

Both organic and inorganic forms of selenium can be absorbed by your small intestine and in turn can be widely distributed in various body tissues and render important biological functions.

Hundreds of health benefits have been linked to it, ranging from its splendid antioxidant capacity to diligently working as a catalyst for production of the active Thyroid hormone (T3) and the list goes on and on. 

A wealth of research has put a light on its magnificent role in improving immunity, bad, fertility enhancement, efficient Thyroid gland working and reducing the risk of heart problems.

Apart from the ones mentioned above, Selenium has also established its utmost importance in keeping away metabolic problems. These are disorders that disrupt the normal metabolism, i.e., the process of converting food into energy. Problems of high cholesterol and constantly high blood sugar levels were improved following supplementation with Selenium, a study reveals.

In certain inborn errors, for instance, Phenylketonuria (PKU) in which there is faulty metabolism of an amino acid named- Phenylalanine and manifestation of mental problems, improved patient conditions were observed with Selenium supplementation. 

Symptoms of Se deficiency manifest as recurrent infections due to weakened immune system, hair loss, brain fog, fatigue as well as fertility issues in men and women. 

Se intake is extremely variable across the world due to a number of factors, including the Se content of the soil in which crops and fodder are grown, soil pH and organic-matter content, and the presence of ions that can bind with Se, making it unavailable.

Recommended dose of selenium varies in different countries in consideration of differences in geographical as well as in living styles of particular populations. This fact enables the effects of both Se deficiency and excess to be observed in the natural world.The effects of Se excess are probably less well known. Apart from some occasional cases of overdose where people have ingested wrongly formulated supplements. You can find Selenium from Brazil nuts, an excellent dietary source and also from organic animal liver and meat.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has made a recommendation on the dose of selenium for adults to be 30 to 40 μg/day and stated that daily intake up to 400 μg selenium shall be considered safe.

Reach out to ThriveFNC to know more about your health concerns. We are also available for a FREE consultation. Click below!


About the Author

Ria Jain is a Nutritionist with a Master’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She works as a Research Associate at Thrive Functional Nutrition Consulting. She firmly believes that a healthy outside starts from a healthy inside. She is constantly researching the subject and keeps the rest of us at Thrive updated with her latest findings in the field. Her articles on Thrive’s blog are an expression of her research findings.

Know this Amino acid- Homocysteine

Know this Amino acid- Homocysteine

Hcy, short for- Homocysteine (hoe-moe-sist-een) is an non-essential toxic amino acid derived as a by-product of protein metabolism in the process of conversion of Methionine to Cysteine. 

Methionine is an essential amino acid, meaning it cannot be produced by the body, hence should be provided through dietary sources. On the other hand, Cysteine is a non-essential amino acid which can be made in the body using Methionine. 

Methionine ————-> Homocysteine ————–> Cysteine

This is done by a process called Methylation and is highly dependent on vitamin derived cofactors, vitamin B12, Folic acid and vitamin B6. If this process is dysfunctional it causes a build-up of homocysteine in the bloodstream. 

The level of homocysteine in the plasma is increasingly being recognised as a risk factor for disease and seen as a predictor of potential health problems.

Your homocysteine levels (or H Score) are more important than cholesterol, your blood pressure and even your weight as a measure of your health. In recent years high homocysteine has proven to be a reliable indicator of risk for heart attacks, strokes, memory decline and Alzheimer’s.

Your homocysteine level or H score is well worth knowing – it’s more important than your cholesterol level.

For example, a massive US survey of 136,905 patients hospitalized for a heart attack found that 75 per cent had perfectly normal cholesterol levels and almost half had optimal cholesterol levels! Elevated homocysteine levels affect the interior lining of blood vessels in the body, increasing the risk of atherosclerosis or narrowing of blood vessels and can also increase formation of clots. This can result in early heart attack and stroke.

 Why is Methylation important?

The methylation cycle helps us to operate both physically and mentally, so it may not be surprising that many different functions in the body use this process. 

Some functions include nervous, cardiovascular and immune system activity, as well as energy production, heavy-metal detoxification and hormone balance. Another important bodily function that methylation is connected to is DNA (1).

Methylation is a process that is essential for our DNA to work properly, and it may be the link between our environment, nutrition and disease.

Methylation and homocysteine though get caught in a vicious cycle.

Excess homocysteine build-up will result in a dysfunctional methylation cycle and if your methylation process is dysfunctional due to deficiencies of B-12, B-6 and Folate it will result in a buildup of homocysteine leading to condition called hyperhomocysteinemia.

About Hyperhomocysteinemia 

Hyperhomocysteinemia is a state in which excess homocysteine is present in the body i.e above normal levels. As stated earlier, as per our optimal health guidelines, your H- Score should ideally be below 6.


The most common cause of hyperhomocysteinemia is an enzyme defect associated with homocysteine metabolism. Dysfunction of enzymes and cofactors associated with the process of Homocysteine conversion can possibly be causative factors.

Genetic errors in enzymes or absence of these enzymes are directly linked to the higher level of homocysteine. A deficiency in CBS i.e.,Cystathionine beta synthase is the most common reason for an increase in homocysteine because CBS converts homocysteine to cysteine (3).

Some other factors include:

-Diets deficient in nutrients which help in lowering homocysteine levels like- Folic acid, Vitamin B6 and B12, Zinc and TMG (trimethylglycine)

-Excessive Methionine (Protein) intake

-Certain diseases- Chronic renal failure as a result of which there is reduced elimination and Hypothyroidism in which antithyroid drugs can possibly cause the increased amounts. Also malignant tumors can cause Folate deficiency and altered Homocysteine conversion (3)

-Side effects of some drugs such as proton pump inhibitors, cholestyramine, metformin, methotrexate, nicotinic acid (niacin), fibric acid derivatives, and oral contraceptive pills (3)

 -Poor lifestyle – especially smoking and high coffee and alcohol intake

-In youth, elevated levels of homocysteine may arise due to sickle cell disease or nutritional factors. Studies have shown that consumption of meat and dairy based products can also bring about an increase in circulating levels of Homocysteine (4).

Such high levels of circulating Hcy pose a threat for underlying diseased conditions across different age groups, right from little children (high homocysteine levels have been associated with autism like symptoms) to the elderly. 

In pediatric populations, Hcy levels are important not only for cardiovascular disease, obesity, and renal disease, but the most interesting evidence concerns study of elevated levels of Hcy in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (5).

 In another study, Homocystinuria was observed in newborns. Homocystinuria is a disorder of methionine metabolism, leading to an abnormal accumulation of homocysteine in blood and urine which is normally not detected in appreciable quantities in blood and urine (6). These high levels show probable vitamin b12 deficiency, MTHFR deficiency (6). The enzyme MTHFR is necessary for conversion of Homocysteine to Methionine and high circulating Homocysteine levels were observed because of apparent Folic Acid deficiency. Folic acid is needed for the functioning of MTHFR enzyme. The detection of these deficiencies early in life can help in timely course of action for treatment.

Studies of children and adolescents indicate elevated homocysteine levels are linked with elevated blood pressure levels and increased weight (7). 

Moreover, high levels of Homocysteine have the ability to damage blood vessels (3) and it is because of this reason that it is considered as a potent risk factor for the development of Cardiovascular diseases.

Some studies have found Hyperhomocysteinemia to be the underlying cause behind age related macular degeneration (AMD) as a result of increased inflammation. AMD causes loss in the centre of the field of vision, thus leading to blurred vision (3). Hearing loss is another disease provoked by high blood homocysteine level and is thought to be due to direct damage to neurons (3).

In pregnancy, Hcy levels were investigated in relation to the increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes such as baby born smaller in size than usual, high BP during pregnancy, recurrent abortions, low birth weight, or growth restriction within the uterus (5)

Further, research also revealed a relation between Ovarian cancer and high homocysteine levels due (8). Also, in a study conducted with postmenopausal women, hyperhomocysteinemia happened to cause colorectal cancer (3).

It is documented that Homocysteine affects bone mineral density.This could result in bones becoming less rigid, increasing the chances of fracture (9). High levels of Homocysteine are known to disrupt insulin signaling, thus, causing insulin resistance (4). Research has also shown hyperhomocysteinemia to cause Alzheimer’s disease due to its ability to worsen Beta-amyloid plaque formation, which are known to lead to the onset of the disease (10).

Finally, a focus on the principal pathologies of the elderly (cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disease, osteoporosis and physical function) are also presented due to high homocysteine levels. Elevations in blood homocysteine levels have shown to be associated with common problems seen with aging, such as cognitive impairment, dementia, depression, osteoporotic fractures, and functional decline (11).

It is said that Hcy is one of the best predictors of overall health and even the risk of death.

So you see, it’s important to keep your homocysteine levels below 6, tribe. It is an important marker of internal health and the earlier you identify the build-up, the better it is for you.

The good news is that homocysteine levels can be tested and high homocysteine levels can be normalised through ThriveFNC’s approach (because we get to the root cause of your high levels). 

Get your homocysteine levels checked at the earliest and reach out to us at ThriveFNC to learn how to bring them down to normal levels. 


  1. Methylation-

About the Author

Ria Jain is a Nutritionist with a Master’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She works as a Research Associate at Thrive Functional Nutrition Consulting. She firmly believes that a healthy outside starts from a healthy inside. She is constantly researching the subject and keeps the rest of us at Thrive updated with her latest findings in the field. Her articles on Thrive’s blog are an expression of her research findings.

How to Thrive amidst the Coronavirus scare?

How to Thrive amidst the Coronavirus scare?


Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses and COVID-19 is a new strain discovered in 2019. As of 26 March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports over 4, 00,000 positive cases and more than 20,000 deaths, with the numbers rapidly increasing with new cases being reported from different territories.

From what experts know so far, certain comorbidities place those who test positive for COVID-19 at higher risk of mortality. A study on COVID-19 hospitalized patients from Wuhan found almost half of the cases (48 percent) suffering from underlying chronic diseases. Of the total cases, 30 percent had hypertension, followed by diabetes (19 percent) and coronary heart disease (8 percent).

Other countries are also seeing how pre-diagnosis health plays an important role. Italy reported that of the first nine people younger than 40 who died of COVID-19, seven were confirmed to have “grave pathologies” such as heart disease. According to a report on patient characteristics from Italy’s National Institute of Health released March 17, 99% of COVID-19 patients who have died had at least one pre-existing condition (from heart disease to high blood pressure diabetes to kidney diseases) and nearly 50% of the patients who died had three pre-existing conditions.

According to the World Heart Federation, “non-communicable diseases (NCD), specifically chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, hypertension and diabetes are major risk factors for developing severe symptoms of COVID-19.”

To begin with, NCDs are today the world’s biggest killers, leading to 71 percent of all deaths in 2018. Sixty-three percent of all deaths in India are attributed to NCDs, with 23 percent at risk of premature deaths.

Atleast 27 of Indian COVID-19 patients (out of the total 38 at the time writing this blog) had one thing in common — they all had underlying conditions like diabetes and hypertension that are believed to have compromised their body’s fight against the pandemic.

The need to reverse chronic dysfunctions thus takes on deeper urgency in India because the country is estimated to have over 8 crore hypertension patients, and around 7.29 crore diabetes cases among adults.

As COVID-19 diagnosis continue to rise across the globe and death counts due to assorted health reasons increase, most of those have been attributed to underlying diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems and poor respiratory health.

Louisiana Department of Health states that out of the total deaths resulting from COVID-19, 41% had Diabetes, 31% had Chronic Kidney Disease while 28% and 23% suffered from Obesity and Cardiac problems. 18% of the total deceased had pulmonary ailments.

We now know that people who have underlying medical conditions including heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, cancer, and hypertension face higher odds of getting really sick or dying because they make our immune systems grow weaker, which makes it more challenging to fight off infectious diseases.

The risk for positive COVID-19 diagnosis is higher in people with weak immune defenses. Adding to the burden can be emotional stress, lack of sleep and physical exhaustion, which can further make one prone to diseases by weakening immunity. Maintaining a healthy diet with food that boosts immunity can help fight infections. Physical activity and nutrition have known to boost the immune system.

“Your immune system is (the) best weapon against corona-virus,” as said by a Turkish scholar. Strengthening the immune system with healthy nutrition may help equip people with a defense mechanism against viruses.

Building immunity along with fixing internal dysfunctions is the best strategy one can have in today’s time. 

Speak with us now to learn how to do both- improve your immunity and get rid of chronic health problems. If not now, then when will you do it?




5 Steps to Survive- when the air you breathe is killing you

5 Steps to Survive- when the air you breathe is killing you

Delhi Air Pollution

Over the last week we’ve been hearing numerous stories of friends, family members and loved ones of Thrive Tribe getting impacted by what’s happening to the air in Delhi. With crop burning and Diwali crackers, the air in Delhi and surrounding areas is now a poisonous mix of particulate matter, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, sulphur oxide, nitrogen oxide, cadmium and other chemicals and heavy metals. 

How do these affect your health?
Particulate matter(PM) is a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets. These when inhaled affects both the heart and lungs, numerous studies have proven the negative impact of PM on your heart and lung health. 
Volatile Organic Compounds or VOC’s are carcinogenic in nature and can trigger genetic mutation at a cellular level
Carbon monoxide can cause dizziness, sweating, restlessness, visual distortion, nausea and even loss of consciousness
Sulphur oxide and Nitrogen oxide are both irritants and can irritate mucus layers in your eyes, nose, throat and respiratory tract which explains why everyone’s eyes are burning

Apart from this, this air can also impact your cognitive ability- your ability to think and work productively. Your brain needs oxygen to function optimally, and when you are breathing poisons instead of oxygen it starts creating symptoms like excessive irritability, anger, and loss of productivity. 

Of course, this (the Gas Chamber called Delhi) is a monstrosity that we have created and it teaches us there really are no limits to human stupidity.

However, now that the problem is created and damage is being done, here are some solutions from Thrive to help you get through this situation and allow your body to heal. 

STEP 1 Create as much clean breathable air around you as possible Create clean Air


  1. Invest in a good quality air purifier at least for your bedroom– this is where you spend the longest time and sleep is when your body is naturally in a recovery mode. Ensure that you are breathing clean air in this room. Get a H12 or H13 HEPA filter with a Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) of 2 at medium speed. Ensure it has a carbon filter that weighs at least 500 gms. Pick one that has a noise level below 50 DB at medium speed with a washable pre-filter. If it has sensors to indicate Air quality then that’s even better. Keep the air purifier on for as long as there are people in the room. 
  2. Bring in indoor plants, they are a gift from this planet to us. They remove pollutants by absorbing harmful gases and VOC’s and create clean air for us. The best ones to get are Money plant ( Five 8 inch pots per person), Areca Palm (Four shoulder high plants per person), Snake Plant (Six plants per person), Bamboo (Four shoulder high plants)
  3. Avoid lighting agarbattis, using candles and room fresheners and loose powders- these add to indoor air pollution
  4. Wear a good quality air mask when outdoors

Step 2 Ensure you eat food that heals and regenerates your body Fresh fruits and vegetables

  1. Please ensure you buy as much organic produce as possible
  2. Eat brightly colored fruits and vegetables- and we mean really colorful

– dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and arugula
– yellow orange vegetables like carrots, pumpkins, bell peppers, 
– all fruits, with extra special focus on fresh/ frozen berries. 
– eat as much raw as you can
– Lots of amla/ gooseberries- has extremely bio-available Vitamin C
– eat sprouts

3.  Have Coriander- Parsley chutney, both these herbs pull out heavy metals and toxins from your body. Please WhatsApp us on 7796692504 for the recipe

4.  Avoid animal products, especially dairy in all forms. These are loaded with toxins and hormones that are anyway bad for your health. Plus animal protein creates inflammation in the human body even in a healthy environment.And it’s really high in fat which overloads your liver (your primary organ for detox). So do yourselves a favour and avoid all animal products if not forever then at least until the air clears up a bit.

5. Avoid excess fat in your diet– refined oils, ghee, too many nuts and seeds. There are two reasons for this, one- the liver is the primary organ involved in fat metabolism and in a normally functioning system this is what the liver is supposed to do- process fat. But when you are overexposed to toxins and poisons from your environment then the liver takes on the burden of having to remove these toxins from your body and dietary fat at a time like this can clog up the liver and create a build up of toxins in your system. Secondly, heavy metals can get oxidized into harmful oxidative molecules in the presence of fat, these then cause cellular damage that results in disease. 

Step 3: Supplement with nutrients that support respiratory and cardiovascular health and act as antioxidants in your body. Supplements

 Which ones?

  1. B-12
  2. Zinc
  3. Vitamin C
  4. MSM
  5. NAC
  6. Magnesium

 Please WhatsApp us on 7796692504 for which ones for dosages and brand recommendations

Step 4: Bring in the healing power of herbs and herbal teas 

Herbal Teas

  1. Nettle leaf tea
  2. Lemon balm tea
  3. Thrive’s Healing tea- This is an incredibly healing tea, please WhatsApp us on 7796692504 for the recipe
  4. Lomatium root

Step 5: Practice breath work

If you have a regular breath work practice like Pranayam, you could continue with it. IF you don’t have one, then this one by Soma Breath is absolutely incredible. Click here for a link to the Breath meditation

Implement these 5 steps, and we guarantee you will breathe a little easier despite the pollution. If you need to learn more or need help with specific symptoms, please reach out to us and we’ll be more than happy to help. 

Puberty, PMS, Menopause: 3 things you could do to make it pain and struggle free

Puberty, PMS, Menopause: 3 things you could do to make it pain and struggle free


If you are a woman reading this, you need no introduction to the subject. If you are a man reading this, then you aren’t too much of a stranger to this subject either, unless you’ve been living on Mount Athos

For 80%  of all menstruating women, that time of the month when your uterus makes it’s presence known loud and clear is a not a laughing matter. More than 150 symptoms have been attributed to PMS! The symptoms are so common that the medical community considered discarding the term “PMS” and accepting the symptoms as normal! This attitude trivializes the daily significance of PMS for the millions of women women who suffer from it.

For at least 5% of all menstruating women, the symptoms of PMS are so severe that they are incapacitated on a monthly basis. For many women, even moderate PMS can interfere with work and can disrupt everything from parenting to social relationships. In addition, if PMS symptoms weren’t enough, for most women menopause has become something to dread. Plus, now that little girls as young as 8 and 9 are hitting puberty (which isn’t normal, but more on that subject in another blog post), that’s far too many years of you being your held hostage by your biology right from puberty up until you hit menopause.  PMS

But is it really your biology holding you hostage? What’s really going on? Most theories blame your hormones, inflammation, prostaglandins, neurotransmitters etc making you believe that you really have no control over what’s going on in your body.

Symptoms such as depression, diarrhea, bloating, anxiety, insomnia, migraines, and mood swings are often blamed on PMS. That blame is inaccurate. These symptoms, like the supposed symptoms of menopause (night sweats, hot flashes, fatigue, dizziness, weight gain, digestive issues, bloating, incontinence, headaches, moodiness, irritability, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, heart palpitations, trouble concentrating, memory issues, insomnia and other sleep disorders, vaginal dryness, breast sensitivity, joint pain, tingling, hair loss or thinning, dry or cracked skin, and dry or brittle nails), are actually from underlying health conditions such as a sensitive central nervous system, IBS, heavy metal toxicity or chronic viral and bacterial infections. 

These symptoms become more apparent at this particular time in your cycle because the menstruation process takes up 80 percent of your body’s reserves. The 20 percent left over cannot manage the health conditions that your immune system normally keeps at bay. This is another prime example of how far conventional medicine is from understanding women’s health. Rather than pointing to the reproductive system as the reason for a woman’s suffering at her time of the month, we should look at it as a messenger. Rather than drowning the signals in painkillers, steroids, immunosuppressants and antibiotics we need to support both the immune system and the reproductive system with healing foods and herbs.

Your uterus is a maker of life. It sustains life for 9 months.Cute Uterus It’s a space where a living being has to be nurtured and protected. Your uterus is a fierce protector of life. This is its primary role. Does it make any sense at all that a healthy and natural life process should be causing so many problems? 

Over the last few decades thanks to an overload from the environment, we have been overexposed to radiation, toxic heavy metals, mutated versions of viruses and bacteria and chemicals like DDT. These are invisible intruders in our lives, and are the root cause of the chronic illness epidemic that we are witnessing in our times. We are exposed to these and absorb these over our lifetime. These can even be passed down generation to generation and can get stored in our internal organs like the brain, the gut, the liver, pancreas and even the uterus. These cause your underlying health dysfunctions, the ones that become so apparent during PMS and menopause. Your biology is not holding you hostage.It’s in fact sending you signals that there are intruders in your body that need to be dealt with.  Your depression, diarrhea, bloating, anxiety, insomnia, migraines, and mood swings are all indicators that something deeper needs to be fixed.

What triggers the pain though?

Abdominal PainWell, the space in our abdominal and pelvic cavity is actually quite cramped. Every organ fits in there snugly and there’s no empty/ extra space. When any of the above factors triggers lymphedma or fluid retention, this excess fluid starts putting pressure on everything around it, there really is no place for your internal organs to go. This pressure itself makes everything uncomfortable. The nerves in your abdominal and pelvic cavity are being touched by this pressure and start sending pain signals to your brain, and that is what triggers the pain. To relieve yourself of the pain and discomfort, here are 3 things that you can do reduce your pain and suffering. 

1. INCLUDE the following foods in your diet 

Wild blueberries, Asparagus, Avocados, Apples, Spinach, Black grapes, Cranberries, Cruciferous vegetables, Leafy greens and Cucumbers

These will boost your immune system and support your reproductive system

2. ADD the following herbs and nutrients to your daily routine

Lemon balm, Red clover, Nettle leaf, Licorice root, Zinc, Vitamin B12, Folic acid, B-Complex, Vitamin D3, and Plant based Omega-3’s

3. EXCLUDE the following foods from your diet

Dairy, Wheat, Eggs, Corn, Canola Oil, MSG/ Natural Flavors/ Preservatives, Refined Sugar, Processed Foods

These foods not only cause inflammation, but also feed pathogens leading to a higher toxic load on your system.

If you struggle with issues you’ve always thought of as PMS, reach out to me to explore what could really be causing your symptoms and let’s address that true cause. Periods should be easy. You needn’t go through the pain. You deserve a stress-free menstrual cycle.