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Contrasts: More than meets the MRI

Contrasts: More than meets the MRI

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Contrasts: More than meets the MRI

150 pages
2 hours
Jan 31, 2020


What if there's a scandal lurking in healthcare, waiting to break?

MRI contrasts are a billion-dollar industry, with over one hundred million people around the globe having been injected, believing in good faith that it was necessary and safe. But what if we got it wrong? What if that trust was misplaced?

Do MRI contrasts genuinely cause gadolinium toxicity in vulnerable and unsuspecting people?

What do we really know about gadolinium, the toxic heavy metal used in MRI contrasts?

How reassured can we be that gadolinium contrast retention in the brain has no longterm side effects?

You'll find the answers to these questions and more inside this book.

Nutrition and lifestyle expert, Dr Catriona Walsh, explains how MRI contrast can contribute to you feeling run-down, burnt-out, unwell, hopeless, and in pain. Her own experiences recovering from MRI contrast toxicity, combined with her medical training and education in nutrition and lifestyle coaching, place her in a unique position to understand the science behind gadolinium toxicity and come up with powerful, natural strategies to help you combat it. She'll point you towards some actions you can start taking today to help counteract the harm and begin on the road to recovery from MRI contrast side effects.

Inside, you'll learn about the best dietary approaches to:

  • support your health
  • boost your elimination pathways
  • crank up your metabolism
  • dampen inflammation

You'll also discover how to feel better by:

  • limiting your exposure to other common toxins
  • adopting lifestyle practices that help eliminate noxious substances
  • prioritising sleep
  • incorporating other lifestyle hacks to improve your wellbeing

Praise for CONTRASTS: More than meets the MRI

"CONTRAST will be helpful to those who are chronically ill and wondering, "What happened to me?!"  It shines a light in the very dark room and exposes the truth behind unnecessary medications and the side effects that follow administration. You will laugh, cry and scream when you read this book. But mostly, you will be happy you finally understand what happened to you

The 30 minutes you spend reading this will most definitely change your life for the better, or prevent someone else from suffering a life of hell in their own skin. READ THIS!"

Suzy Cohen, RPh 

Author of Drug Muggers

Jan 31, 2020

About the author

Dr Catriona Walsh graduated in medicine from Cambridge University, England, and Queen’s University, Belfast. She is a practitioner with 15 years’ experience in the healthcare industry working as a paediatric doctor, eventually becoming a consultant with a specialist interest in childhood allergy. As a result of her own health challenges, she reevaluated her approach to healthcare. Now she adopts a more holistic way of treating people. Having left mainstream medicine to set up The Food Phoenix, she has dedicated herself to trying to improve the health of other people suffering from gadolinium toxicity. Her training in Nutrition and Lifestyle Coaching, through the Institute of Health Sciences, Dublin, provides the highest level nutrition coaching qualification available. This has allowed her to extend her expertise regarding the way that dietary and lifestyle changes can impact your health and wellbeing. She also really doesn’t like big spiders at all.

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Contrasts - Catriona Walsh

Copyright © 2019 Catriona Walsh

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. Neither the author nor the publisher assumes any responsibility or liability whatsoever on behalf of the consumer or reader of this material. Any perceived slight of any individual or organisation is purely unintentional. The resources in this book are provided for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the specialised training and professional judgement of a health care or mental health professional. Neither the author nor the publisher can be held responsible for the use of the information provided within this book. Please always consult a trained professional before making any decision regarding treatment of yourself or others.



All images (apart from portrait of the author, logo and cover image) sourced from Unsplash. Mitochondrial image from Pixabay and cover image by Enrique Meseguer on Pixabay


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Section 1 - MRI contrasts

Things your doctor never told you about MRI contrasts 

What is gadolinium anyway? 

What does gadolinium do when it’s inside your body? 

The Bottom Line 

Feeling like your metabolism has tanked? What happens when you end up with mitochondrial damage 

Connective tissue damage: Am I falling apart at the seams? 

Time for a quick recap 

But what about all the evidence that gadolinium is safe and effective? 

How can best medical practice inform us about how doctors should approach MRI contrast with their patients? 

Ready for my top 10 science fiction claims about gadolinium? 

Section 2 - Recovery

Can you ever feel better? Natural ways to boost your metabolism, support your tissues and boost your elimination pathways 

Diet: One of the most potent ways to promote your health 

Lifestyle: Often underestimated as a way to help reclaim your health 

Do you need any help in implementing these changes? 

Closing the circle: How am I now? 

How you can connect and work with me 


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Back in 2015, I had to take time off work due to ill health. There began a long journey where I tried to get to the bottom of the reasons I was so exhausted all the time, but couldn’t sleep. Why I felt so anxious and burned out. Where my chronic lower back pain was coming from. Why I was still struggling to keep on top of adult acne. Why my skin scarred so easily.

And I found out lots of things that year.

I confirmed that I had something called pyroluria. Pyroluria is a condition that’s linked with chronic ill health, anxiety, depression, chronic inflammation, a broken metabolism and excessive presence of free radicals inside your body.

My urine tests revealed increased levels of pyrroles. These are compounds that are used to make haemoglobin, the chemical that’s responsible for the red colour of our blood, but more importantly, haemoglobin is what we use to transport oxygen from our lungs to the rest of our bodies.

My blood zinc levels tested dangerously low. In fact, they were the lowest my doctor had ever seen. And that’s pretty bad because I had already recognised the symptoms of zinc deficiency in myself and was deliberately eating the most zinc-rich foods there were, like oysters, liver and red meat. So this confirmed that something was very off with the way that my body handled metals. I ended up on huge doses of zinc because of that.

I also discovered high lead and nickel levels in my hair, but only normal levels in my blood and urine. In retrospect, perhaps I shouldn’t have eaten those paint chips when I was a kid, or those wild pheasants when I discovered that they were loaded with lead shot...

I discovered a lot of other things that year, not least the fact that in conventional medicine in the part of Northern Ireland where I live, you can’t get tested for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (you can think of this as a chronic infection of your upper intestines that can interfere with your absorption of nutrients... ahhhh. So that’s why my zinc levels were so low).

Eventually, some very astute person on Facebook queried whether I might have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS).

I was a paediatrician, so I’d heard of EDS, but I was taught that it was incredibly rare. In fact, I don’t remember being taught about EDS at all. I knew a little bit about it because I’d looked it up myself to try to work out some patients’ symptoms. But the textbook I searched only had a paragraph or two on EDS.

While I’d known that I was hypermobile since I was a medical student (apparently your elbows really shouldn’t do that and it’s weird to still be able to put your feet on top of your head in your thirties...who knew?) I also discovered that most people don’t have to click or pop their wrists, hips, knees, and other joints back in now and again when they pop out. And that I shouldn’t have been having lots of aches and pains at my age. I naturally assumed that the name Benign Joint Hypermobility Syndrome meant that it was a benign condition that only affected how flexible your joints were.

How wrong I was.

So I started reading up on Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and discovered a picture of me underneath the descriptor. Not literally, however, the written descriptions were me to a tee. I had a huge Aha! moment. I may or may not have yelled Eureka!

Armed with this new information, I went to my GP and asked for a referral to genetics to confirm what I already knew in my heart of hearts: that I had hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.

My geneticist was extremely thorough, but I got the impression that she knew within about 2 minutes of meeting me that I have EDS. Once you know what you’re looking for we start to stick out like a sore (slightly dislocated) thumb.

She diagnosed me with the hypermobile type, for which there are no genetic tests, and referred me to have my eyes screened, because I’m at increased risk of visual problems, and to a cardiologist, for an assessment because there’s an increased risk of heart problems. She also referred me to a wonderful specialist physiotherapist.

What you’re probably not aware of is that there is a certain type of Ehlers Danlos Syndrome called the vascular type (vEDS). vEDS is a very unpleasant form that’s associated with early cardiac death. Unfortunately, people with vEDS have a really high risk of dying suddenly in their fifties or even younger because of problems with their aortas.

They can develop a tear in their aorta (the main blood vessel which carries blood from your heart to the rest of your body), called a dissection. Or their aorta can rupture. Both of these conditions are medical emergencies. If your aorta dissects or ruptures you might only have minutes or hours to live, surgery is major and risky and, if you survive, you may have long term complications.

Even years before this happens your doctor might use scans to pick up that your aorta looks unusually dilated where it’s weaker than average. It can even balloon out to form an aneurysm. But before your aorta tears, you often won’t have any symptoms.

Clearly, it’s usually much safer to fix an at-risk aorta before it has a chance to tear or rupture. So doctors will

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