How to Increase Longevity and Slow the Signs of Ageing

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It’s National bed month.

We are helping you sleep easy tonight by explaining how you can help prevent night sweats (the unwanted sister of hot flushes), from keeping you awake.

Here’s the key factors to consider and how you can naturally optimise your longevity:

1. Sleep

Sleep impacts on all of your body’s systems and a lack of it can double the signs of skin ageing according to a US study, as well as making us feel less attractive.

More importantly, it can be a real risk to our health, with a report from University of Warwick finding that people who sleep less than six hours per night are 12% more likely to die over a 25-year period than those who get the recommended amount of sleep. These deaths were often from heart-related conditions.

Most medical professionals advise that you aim to achieve regular, uninterrupted sleep sessions of six to eight hours per night in order to maintain optimal health and vitality.

2. Stress

Stress is often unavoidable, but could be wreaking havoc on your appearance and life expectancy.

Stress can damage our chromosomes and DNA, resulting in mutations that can increase your risk of overall immune distress, degenerative diseases (like Parkinson’s and Huntington’s) and even cancer. A study by Harvard and Stanford Universities quantified that consistent stress could knock as much as 33 years off your potential lifespan.

To avoid this and stave off developing those grey hairs a little longer, ensure that your hormones are naturally in balance, optimise your diet, cut out contaminants (like alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes) and try to be mindful about what causes your blood pressure to creep up.

3. Diet

Diet is another all-encompassing factor that can impact severely on your health and wellbeing.

No matter how much you think you’re looking after your body, a bad diet can wreck your complexion and leave you looking pale and peaky. Your diet can also impact on your overall life expectancy, with coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and diabetes (which, according to the New England Journal of Medicine, can shave six years off your life alone) are among the most serious risks.

Start taking regular exercise, avoid consuming high levels of alcohol, and eliminate trans fats from your diet. Trans fats are bad and increase your risk of heart disease. In fact, they are so bad that some countries have banned them outright. They also interfere with the body’s ability to produce its own DHA (an omega-3 essential fatty acid). Fill your new diet with wrinkle-fighting antioxidants, whole and non-farmed foods, and ensure your vitamin intake is optimised.

4. Essential oils/serums

Even with a balanced diet and regular exercise, there are certain conditions or individual variables that can prevent us from absorbing the right levels of essential nutrients.

Essential oils and serums have long been used as a way of distilling the essence of integral elements to ensure that we can regulate our intake to match our unique bodily composition. Rather than being a direct means of extending longevity, essential oils will help to maintain your overall wellbeing, boost your immune system, improve skin quality, help you sleep and much, much more.

Once an expensive lifestyle option, you can now easily mix your own essential oils at home using ingredients like jojoba oil, evening primrose oil, pomegranate oil, vitamin E and lavender oil.

5. Genetic mutations

Genetic mutations and free radical damage are most commonly caused by toxic elements entering our bloodstream via our diets, alcohol or cigarettes.

Each mutation has the potential to turn cancerous, or cause degenerative diseases that could dramatically decrease your life expectancy. A study by Treatment4Addiction found that each cigarette was equivalent to 14 minutes off your life expectancy (10 years if you’re regularly smoking 20 per day). But, there are unseen factors too. A nutritional imbalance and the presence of E numbers and other contaminants in our diet might be slowly degrading your overall health.

With cigarettes and alcohol, it’s easy to know exactly what you need to cut out. However, knowing how to adapt your diet can be a little more complicated. Simply revise the ‘Diet’ section above and you can start off on the right foot.

6. Hormones

Our hormones are the oil that keeps our finely tuned machines in proper working order, but decline dramatically with age, often resulting in the onset of numerous degenerative diseases.

This decline is likely to signal that the menopause is now in full swing, complete with the range of unpleasant side effects that this transition brings. Later, your risk of cognitive degeneration, mobility issues and bodily changes (weight gain, wrinkles, hair loss etc.) will increase significantly. And, even if you try to fight back with synthetic hormones, you’ll be increasing your risk of breast cancer and other conditions.

The answer? You need a wholly natural hormone solution, known as bioidentical hormone restorative therapy (BHRT) to keep your body on track. A natural therapy, that helps keep you positive, vital, energetic, and healthy through and through, protecting both your short-term and long-term, mental and physical health.

Conclusion

The further medical research advances, the more we come to understand that many aspects of the ageing process are not set in stone and can be avoided with intelligent lifestyle choices. Follow these simple steps and look forward to excitement and energy in your later years.

Slow the Signs of Ageing

We’re pre-programmed to resist the signs of ageing and take every step we can to maximise our lifespan. But, with all the distractions of modern life, it’s easy to fall into bad habits that can slowly start to shave years off your life expectancy.

Fighting back against the ageing process doesn’t mean cutting out everything that you love, but with a few minor lifestyle changes you can re-discover your natural vitality and look forward to a long and healthy old age.

8 Reasons Everyone’s talking about Omega 3

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Omega 3 and its importance

Ever wonder why people in Okinawa, Japan, lead the longest and highest quality lives in the world? Or, why Greenlandic Inuit have a rate of heart disease 85% lower than that of the US?

The answer: they’re the biggest consumers of Omega 3.

Read on to find out why everyone’s talking about Omega 3, and how you can feel the benefits by adjusting your intake to the correct level.

What is Omega 3 and how does it affect the body?

Omega 3 is a fatty acid that plays a crucial role in the health of your heart, brain, skin, hair and much, much more. The effects can be even more pronounced for women, with Omega 3 helping to generate certain prostaglandins (hormones) which in turn affect inflammation, decrease menstrual cramps and increase immune system functionality. As the body can’t generate its own Omega 3, we must consume it as part of our diet or in the form of a high-quality supplement.

Omega 3 is inherently linked with another essential fatty acid; Omega 6 and again, this must be consumed in food or supplements. Like Omega 3s, Omega 6 fatty acids are vital to good health. They assist your body in making prostaglandins, and have many other bodily functions. However, the typical western diet contains a much higher rate of Omega 6s and a lower rate of Omega 3s, than that of our ancestors. This can lead to chronic inflammation and many health problems. It is important that the intake of Omega 6 fatty acids and Omega 3 fatty acids maintain a specific ratio. Overall, you should be aiming for a ratio of between 3:1 and 6:1 (in favour of Omega -6). However, most people tend to maintain an average well above recommended levels at a ratio of between 10:1 and 25:1. This is due to high consumption of processed carbs, vegetable oil, and baked products. It is, therefore, advantageous to your health to try and reduce your intake of Omega 6 and increase your intake of Omega 3.

The typical Mediterranean diet contains more Omega 3 fatty acids and less Omega 6 fatty acids. The trick in not to eliminate Omega 6 fatty acids but to decrease them, making sure they are balanced with the correct amount of Omega 3 fatty acids.  

Food sources of Omega 6s occur in meats and other animal products, mother’s milk, black current seed, borage oil, and evening primrose oil, flax oil, hemp, pumpkin, safflower, sesame, soybean, sunflower, and walnut.

Here are just some of the positive health benefits that you can gain from omega 3:

Increase energy Weight loss Improve fertility
Healthy skin Ease anxiety Decrease inflammation that leads to heart disease
Slow the signs of ageing Enhances insulin function Boost immune system
Improve memory and focus Lessen joint pain/arthritis Reduce symptoms of ADHD
Decrease cardiovascular risk Reduce risk of eczema, psoriasis, dandruff – perhaps even wrinkles   Reduce risk of eye disorders
Lowers blood pressure Decrease risk of blood clotting in inappropriate places Decrease risk of depression

While Omega 3 from the right type of fish oil (containing Eicosapentaenoic and Docosahexaenoic) can help you with everything listed above, those based on red meat or flaxseeds (containing Alpha Lipoic Acid) are not quite as potent. 

Why is everyone talking about omega 3?

Omega 3 can boost your defences against a host of illnesses, such as:

1. Cancer

Omega 3 has been found to have a positive effect on various forms of cancer, including colon, prostate and breast. Docosahexaenoic can be taken alongside tumor necrosis drugs to boost their effect.

2. Cardiovascular health and stroke risk

Omega 3 plays an important role in protecting against cardiovascular disease and stroke as it has anti-inflammatory properties.

3. Alzheimer’s Disease

The fatty acids in Omega 3 that support brain functionality also help prevent brain atrophy, which slows cognitive degradation and may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease.

4. Digestive health

Research points to a correlation between adequate Omega 3 intake and conditions such as IBS or Crohn’s Disease, as well as potentially reducing proportions of bodily fat – especially around the belly!

5. Mental health

Omega 3 may play a role in improving mood disorders for some people, including depression and anxiety, support ADHD treatment and improve defences against Parkinson’s Disease.

6. Diabetes

Fish oil could help people suffering from type II diabetes by lowering triglycerides and apoproteins.

7. Bone health

Omega 3 has long been known to help with suppleness and movement, significantly decreasing joint tenderness and stiffness in people with rheumatoid arthritis and maintaining or increasing bone mass for people suffering from osteoporosis.

8. Immune system

Omega 3 could give your immune system a real shot in the arm. It has been shown to help prevent the weakening of the system in animal trials, as well as autoimmune disorders, such as lupus and nephropathy.

What dosage you need and how to use supplements to get it?

Consuming foods rich in Omega 3 is the first step towards finding nutritional harmony. As mentioned earlier, there’s no magic number when it comes to Omega 3 intake. Instead, it’s about finding balance with your Omega 6 intake, with an ideal ratio of between 3:1 and 6:1.

These are some of the top performers for boosting your Omega 3 intake:   

Salmon Cod liver Mackerel
Sardines Halibut Tuna
Pollock Herring Walnuts
Beef Venison Lamb
Soybean Tofu Shrimp

*All fish listed should be wild-caught, while red meat sources should be grass-fed.  

Whether they become part of your daily routine, or are just a stopgap for the days when eating oily fish is just not a possibility, high-quality supplements are a must-have for every medicine cabinet. But, remember; more is not necessarily better, it’s about finding balance.

Some fish oils are heavily processed and so their effectiveness is diminished overall. Fish oils or (preferably) krill oils should contain phospholipid complex in order to increase absorption and reduce triglyceride levels. Vitamin E should be ingested alongside omega 3 to prevent it from oxidising, while vitamins A, B and C, biotin, magnesium, niacin and zinc all help fatty acids turn into usable hormones.

Omega 3 does more than fortify your defences against illness. It’s a boost to your everyday wellbeing that could help you discover a new level of health. Follow these simple steps and see for yourself!

 

Vitamin C: Why You Need this Healing Antioxidant for Your Immune System

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You Need Vitamin C As A Healing Antioxidant

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient and powerful antioxidant that can help to boost your immune system, keep you energised and stave off a whole range of diseases.

Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C must be consumed in food or high-quality supplements as it cannot be made in the body. It’s used to generate the protein that makes your skin, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels, and is an ‘electron donor’ that maintains optimal electron flow, fights oxidation and protects vital molecular elements.

All in all, it’s an important part of who we are and too many of us aren’t getting enough of it. This water-soluble vitamin is essential to your health, so make sure you stay at your radiant best by reading through our guide to vitamin C.   

What are the health benefits of vitamin C?

As a co-factor in at least eight enzymatic reactions, vitamin C impacts a whole host of the systems that keep you at your best. These are some of the effects of vitamin C that you just can’t do without:

  1.   Skin and collagen: Studies have shown that higher vitamin C intake is linked to a reduction in the appearance of wrinkles and the time it takes wounds to heal. It also contains antioxidants, which is one factor in reducing the risk of developing skin cancer.
  2.   Mineral absorption: Taking vitamin C alongside iron increases nutrient absorption rates, which in turn helps to strengthen the immune system and reduce inflammation.
  3.   Free radical damage: Vitamin C can protect against a build-up of free radical molecules within the body, which might otherwise contribute towards conditions such as cancer, heart disease or arthritis.
  4.   Cold and flu: Vitamin C can shake your immune system from its slumber, helping to fight off colds and flu and therefore prevent further complications, such as pneumonia.  
  5.   Cancer: Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and used in high-doses as a supplementary treatment for cancer. Lab tests have shown that it may slow the growth and spread of prostate, pancreatic, liver and colon cancer.
  6.   Stroke: A study from the US found that people with the highest concentrations of vitamin C were 42% less likely to suffer a stroke than those with the lowest levels.
  7.   Physical performance: The vitamin might improve muscle strength and oxygen intake during exercise, as well as reducing inflammation for asthmatics.

Symptoms of vitamin C deficiency

So, now that you know how important it is to stay topped up, here are some of the key warning signs to look out for that might point to a vitamin C deficiency:

Bruising easily Swollen or bleeding gums Slow wound healing
Gingivitis Dry/splitting hair Dry, red skin spots
Rough/dry/scaly skin Nosebleeds Low immune system
Digestive problems Weight gain Swollen/painful joints

Certain factors can increase your risk of becoming deficient in vitamin C, including:

  • Smoking
  • Ageing
  • Antibiotics
  • Aspirin
  • Birth control pills
  • Cortisone
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • High blood pressure
  • High fever
  • Painkillers
  • Stress
  • Sulfa drugs

If you’re part of any of these groups, it’s recommended that you top up your intake with high-quality supplements.

How to find balance through our diet and supplements

Like all nutrients, you can optimise the amount you take in from your diet by using organic fruit and veg, and consuming either raw or steamed. To help you find your natural balance, try to make sure you’re consuming 2-3 of these vitamin C rich foods every day:

Foodstuff Vitamin C Foodstuff Vitamin C
Guava 1 fruit: 377 mg Blackcurrant 1 cup: 203 mg
Red pepper 1 cup raw: 190 mg Kiwi 1 piece: 164 mg
Green peppers 1 cup chopped, raw: 120 mg Orange 1 large: 82 mg
Strawberries 1 cup: 89.4 mg Papaya 1 cup, in pieces: 86.5 mg
Broccoli 1 cup raw: 81.2 mg Kale 1 cup raw: 80 mg
Parsley 1 cup, fresh: 79.8 mg Pineapple 1 cup, fresh: 78.9 mg
Brussels sprouts 1 cup raw: 74.8 mg Grapefruit 1 cup: 71.8 mg
Peas 1 cup raw: 58 mg Cauliflower 1 cup raw, chopped: 46.4 mg

*Figures courtesy of draxe.com.  

With vitamin C, there’s no chance of overdosing as any excess will be excreted out later. Doses of vitamin C higher than 5000mg can be taken, but may cause diarrhea. Mineral ascorbate and Ester-C are buffered forms of vitamin C that cause less diarrhea. And if taking antacids please remember to take your vitamin C at least four hour beforehand, as antacids inhibit absorption of this important vitamin.

However, as 10% – 20% of us fall below recommended levels of vitamin C through diet alone, you should also consider taking a high-quality supplement to top you up. Taking one 1,000mg high-quality supplement has no real downsides. In fact, it will help to reinvigorate your health and leave you feeling full of life. Vitamin C should be taken two or three times over the course of the day as it is easily excreted from the body. Keeping your levels topped up in this way will ensure that you stay fully protected.

Hemochromatosis happens when the body accumulates excess iron. Vitamin C can increase this accumulation, therefore people with hemochromatosis should avoid the intake of extra vitamin C. Also, people with a glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, should not have vitamin C given to them intravenously.

Follow these simple steps and find out how optimising your vitamin C levels could help you rediscover your natural vibrancy.

Discover how vitamin B12 can boost your energy levels

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Are You B12 Deficient?

B12 is a super-vitamin that keeps you feeling active and is key to a whole host of your body’s most important functions, including the formation of red blood cells that carry oxygen around your system.

Falling below your optimal B12 levels can cause or exacerbate a range of serious health complaints. Here’s our top tips about B12 to help you stay naturally full of life:  

What role does B12 play within the body?

Vitamin B12 is a complex chemical that contains the mineral cobalt, and is often referred to as the ‘energy vitamin’.

It helps to prevent fatigue and build energy stores by supporting thyroid function and cellular methylation.

Vitamin B12 Energy Supplement | Menopause Woman

Vitamin B12 is best known for its mental energy producing effects. Our digestive systems become less efficient leaving the elderly with lower levels of B12.

However, the effects of vitamin B12 go far beyond just giving you an energy boost – the following processes are all reliant on the vitamin:

Red blood cell formation Cellular energy
Memory Nutrient absorption
Adrenal gland support DNA synthesis
Nerve and brain regeneration Reproductive health
Digestive health Carnitine metabolism

Why do we become deficient and what are the signs?

B12 deficiency is generally caused by one of two things: either a lack of B12 in your diet, or (more likely) an undiagnosed secondary condition such as ‘leaky gut’ that prevents you from properly absorbing it into your system.

Damaged stomach lining (known as leaky gut) can cause ‘Pernicious anaemia’ (or vitamin B12 anaemia), preventing you from absorbing the B12 that is a natural part of your diet.

Am I at risk?

The latest research suggests that we could all potentially be at risk of a deficiency. The Framingham Offspring Study indicated that up to 40% of the UK and US population, aged between 26 and 83, have lower than optimal levels of this vitamin.

People don’t generally notice symptoms until they’re in their 30s, and the average age for a deficiency diagnosis is 60.

The following people are particularly at risk from B12 deficiency:

  • Aged over 50
  • Vegans or vegetarians
  • Sufferers from digestive issues (e.g. diarrhoea, IBD)
  • Those with an H.pylori bacterial infection or stomach ulcer
  • Post-surgery weight loss (1)
  • Afflicted by acid reflux

Also, people taking the following forms of medication are at an increased risk of becoming B12 deficient:

  • Antibiotics
  • Blood pressure control
  • Birth control pills
  • Cholesterol-related drugs***
  • Diabetes medications
  • Anti-psychotic drugs
  • Antacids (which decrease the amount of B12 absorbed from food, but not from supplementation)

***

The Cholesterol Puzzle Book | Jill D Davey

Get a great understanding of the benefits of cholesterol and why it’s not the ‘bad guy’ it’s made out to be.

What are the warning signs?

While the symptoms are likely to be pronounced, they are often attributed to other causes. Here’s some of the signs to watch out for:

Fatigue Lack of focus
Tension in muscles Poor memory
Emotional fluctuations Lack of motivation
Infertility Digestive issues (diarrhoea, IBS)
Lack of energy Hypothyroidism

How to increase your B12 levels

Diet

Unlike most of the vitamins in our diet, B12 is not primarily produced by plants or animals. It’s mainly produced by a cocktail of bacteria in the gut.

Here’s some of the top foods to help boost your B12 supply (Remember to always try to eat organic!)…

Beef /chicken liver (organic) Sardines (wild) Salmon (wild)
Tuna (wild) Cod (wild) Lamb (organic)
Scallops (wild) Beef (grass-fed/ organic) Natural Yogurt (organic)
Venison (organic) Raw (unpastuerised) organic milk Turkey (organic)

B12 can be killed off by overexposure to heat. So, to maximise B12 intake, try cooking these foods as medium rather than well-done.

As most B12 is stored in meats, vegetarians and vegans are especially at risk from B12 deficiency, so they could increase their dietary intake with probiotic and fermented foods, and particularly supplements.

Supplements

As you’re able to generate some B12 in your gut, you should think about supplementing both your B12 levels directly, and boosting your digestive system as a whole.

For B12, methylcobalamin or hydroxycobalamin are recommended over cyanocobalamin as they can be absorbed more easily. Desiccated liver tablets are another completely natural supplement that can help to boost B12.

A balanced combination of natural supplements to boost your B12 intake would include:

  1. Natural Vitamin B12 Vitamin B12 Energy Supplement | Menopause Woman
  2. Live Probiotic Supplement 

    Probiotic Supplement | Menopause Woman

    Probiotic supplements help optimise the naturally occurring bacteria in the intestines and optimal function in this area helps to regulate normal bowel function

Because ‘B’ vitamins are water soluble, they leave the body quickly and so should be taken twice per day. The recommended daily dosage is 400 – 500mcg, however it’s always best to speak with an expert in restorative medicine in order to finely tune your B12 intake.

The health benefits of balanced B12 levels

It might sound a little complicated, but once you know how, it’s really easy to re-discover your natural B12 balance. And the health effects can be life-changing.

Maintaining optimal levels can reduce the risk of your health being affected in the following ways:

Anemia Asthma
Depression Fatigue (adrenal fatigue and CFS)
Kidney disease Macular degeneration
Memory loss Migraine headaches
Multiple sclerosis Neuropathy
Shingles Tinnitus
Decreased levels of oestrogens (women) Decreased progesterone levels (women)
Increased cortisol levels Insomnia and irritability

And those are just the direct benefits.

There’s so much at stake with B12 deficiency, it helps to stay one step ahead and maintain your natural balance long-term. Follow these simple steps to re-discover the real you and maintain optimal health for many years to come.  

References:

  1. Majumder S, Soriano J, Louie Cruz A, Dasanu CA.Vitamin B12 deficiency in patients undergoing bariatric surgery: preventive strategies and key recommendations. Surg Obes Relat Dis. 2013 Nov-Dec;9(6):1013-9.

Should we take Vitamin Supplements?

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Some of the many questions women ask me are, should we take vitamins and other nutrients or not? In what amounts should we take them, which supplements are the most effective and which vitamins or nutrients should we take for a specific illness or chronic disease?

Yes, admittedly, it can be very confusing, especially as there are so many on the marketplace… some pure and some not so pure, but that is for another discussion!

The guidelines

Answering this question is important to our health and longevity – but as we know, there are so many differing viewpoints regarding nutrition and nutritional supplements, it can be difficult for you to know in which direction to move. The RDA, recommended daily allowance, and the RDI, reference daily intake, were developed so they could be used as a guideline for our daily intake of vitamins and nutrients. However, these dietary recommendations are only suggestions, which are often rigidly followed by well-intentioned people.

Unfortunately, these guidelines are way below the levels that restorative medicine would call sufficient (optimal) to help people achieve optimal health – which is its goal. Also, the RDA and RDI recommendations do not consider that every individual is different and therefore their requirements for vitamins, mineral, and other nutrients will be different. T0 enable them to gain full health benefits, nutritional intake needs to be considered.

Of course, stress, age, lifestyle, genetics, medications, soil depletion, vitamin interaction, and whether there is a need for more antioxidants, also all need to be considered. Just because your healthy neighbour or friend is following a certain nutritional plan doesn’t mean that it will work for you.

What does your body need?

It is imperative to understand what the body needs. Only 20% of disease is inherited and 80% is the environment in which we place our body. It is what we personally do to our body that counts. Our health and lifestyle is basically based on lifestyle, environment and nutrition. It is these factors that have a huge influence on the number of years spent in good health. Many studies demonstrate that people with better health habits and nutritional diet survive much longer and with a lesser degree of disability at the end of life.

The Journal of the American Medical Association stated,

“Sub optimal vitamin states are associated with many chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, cancer and osteoporosis. It is important for physicians to identify patients with poor nutrition or other reasons for increased vitamin needs.” Going onto say, “Most people do not consume optimal amounts of all vitamins by diet alone… it appears prudent for all adults to take vitamin supplements.”

What about nutrients from healthy eating?

There are various reasons why it is almost impossible to get all nutrients we need from food:

  • most soil is now depleted of many important minerals, such as magnesium and zinc
  • selenium, a trace mineral, is also deplete in some areas but can be found in overabundance in other areas. Selenium is good for health in small amounts but is toxic in large amounts – watch out!
  • when fruit and vegetables are not consumed after they are picked, they immediately lose their nutritional value.
  • cold storage continues to destroy nutritional value – grapes lose up to 30 percent of their B vitamins, by the time they arrive at the supermarket. Tangerines that are stored for eight weeks lose more than half their vitamin C.
  • over cooking – the longer you cook fruits and vegetables, the less nutrients there will be left. It is always better to lightly steam them or eat them raw, and if possible as soon as they are picked.
  • processing foods (the foods that most of us eat today) destroy any nutritional value it may have after it has been picked. Food can be processed, blanched, canned, sterilized and frozen – all these mechanisms decrease nutritional value. The milling of grains removes much of its fiber and twenty-six essential nutrients.

In today’s modern society the intake of supplements is fundamental to good health – but make sure you get the right supplements in the right amounts, and clean, pure supplements (no chalk, etc!)

Restorative medicine can design a nutritional programme just for you! Right amounts, clean, pure just for you!

The Effects of Yo-Yo Dieting

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Yo-Yo Diets

yoyo-diet-thyroid-weight

The thyroid is our metabolic motor, and controls our metabolism (metabolic rate), when we ‘crash diet‘ a biologically-programmed interruption in its function is created, which actually results in weight gain – the opposite to what you are looking to achieve. As the thyroid talks to all the other hormones, this interruption disrupts the hormonal flow, and consequently, other metabolic processes along the way.

The thyroid gland secretes its hormones in the following proportions: 80 percent of T4, the inactive form, which is ultimately converted to T3 in the bloodstream to become the active form, and 20 percent of T3. When we crash diet a physiological response in the body takes place, which most likely dates back to Paleolithic man and the risk of starvation. T4 is then converted into reverse T3 (RT3), instead of T3. Reverse T3 is not metabolically active, and will result in the ‘shutting down‘ of our basal metabolic rate (metabolism).

When there is a lot of crash dieting going on the body sees this as a sign of famine and slows everything down, so whatever we are doing we will not lose weight. With persistent yo-yo dieting we are technically lowering our basal metabolic rate. Our metabolism will get stuck on neutral and we will gain weight on fewer calories whatever programme we are following, be it a high protein, low-carb, high vegetable, or whatever – the results are always the same; metabolic ‘shut down’.

Yo-yo dieting has gained its name because it truly is a yo-yo effect; as soon as we stop the severe food restrictions, the weigh piles back on and at a greater rate. This short-term solution does not work. If we restore our body with bioidentical hormones, adapt healthy eating habits and include exercise, the weight will come off and stay off!

Note: The same mechanism occurs in people under intense and increased stress. Stress raises the hormone, cortisol, which interferes with the conversion of T4 to the active form T3, this results in more reverse T3 being made, and again, it slows down the metabolism. This is known as stress-induced weight gain.

Balance your hormones, your systems, your body. Restore your body!

What happens when we eat too much sugar?

Do you have a sugar addiction?

We all know that sugar is bad for us. We point our fingers at our growing waists, thighs and bottoms and blame sugar. Less well known, are the adverse effects on our skin, brain, kidneys, joints and even our genitals.

In the west we eat far too much sugar.  The highly refined sugar that causes most concern is hidden in the ready meals and convenience foods we eat on a daily basis. Eat too much of it, (that’s over 24g daily for women and over 36g daily for men) and it starts to cause problems throughout your system.

Here is what happens when you eat too much sugar

Sugar Prevention Infographic

Brain

Eating sugar causes a vicious cycle of cravings by releasing Dopamine making you feel good then it drops dramatically meaning you have more to make yourself feel good again.

  • It impairs your memory and learning skills.
  • It may cause or contribute to depression and anxiety.
  • It’s a risk factor for age-related cognitive decline and dementia.

Heart

Sugar can damage the tissue in your heart and;

  • cause stress on your heart.
  • increase blood pressure.
  • increase the risk for obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Skin

Sugar damages collagen and elastin, the protein fibers that keep skin firm and elastic. Eating too much sugar can make your skin;

  • look and feel less supple.
  • more wrinkled.

Kidneys

Kidneys are our body’s filtration system and when it is overloaded by sugar it can stop this process from happening as effectively.

  • Sugar can lead to kidney failure through high blood sugar levels and diabetes.
  • If you have a Urinary tract infection, sugar is only going to make the pain worse.
  • Sugar can damage your kidneys making it harder for them to do their job, meaning not all the toxins are being released through waste.

Joints

  • Sugar encourages inflammation on your joints causing pain.
  • High sugar diets are linked to Arthritis and osteoporosis.
  • Inflammation, caused by sugar, in your joints can lead to reduced mobility.
  • High blood sugar levels can lead to diabetes which will increase weight gain and sore joints.

Genitals

  • Can cause erectile disfunction in men.
  • Can cause lack of sex drive in women.
  • Increases risk of yeast infections ( ie. Thrush)
  • Sugar can reduce blood flow to your genitals making sex less enjoyable.

Its not all bad news, don’t worry!
There are many things you can do to reduce the effects sugar has on your body. Here are some easy tips to try and minimize your sugar intake.

  • Rice
    • switch from white rice to brown or wild
  • Potatoes
    • replace sweet potatoes for white
  • Water
    • drink filtered water and infuse it with fruit such as lemon or lime.
  • Sweets
    • swap sweets for nuts or chopped up fruit
  • Dips
    • try mashed avocado as a dip instead of salsa.

Source for infographic.

10 Trans Fat Foods to Bodyswerve

Confused about trans fats?

You are not the only one.  See our handy list below of the 10 worst trans fat food culprits to avoid.

Until UK food manufacturers, retailers and fast food outlets eliminate trans fats from their products completely, avoid these 10 processed foods that can contain trans fats;

  1. Margarine. Some brands have removed trans fats, but check for ‘mono and diglycerides of fatty acids’’.
    Tip. Use butter sparingly instead.
  2. Artificial (non dairy) creams and instant sauces. Check the label of instant custards and artificial cream for hydrogenated vegetable oil.
    Tip: Make your own custard and use real cream.
  3. Fast foods and takeaways. Most fried food; fries, chicken and deep-fried  foods use partially hydrogenated oil. It’s tricky, because even when the restaurant outlet doesn’t use trans fats, foods like fries are sometimes partially fried in trans fat before they’re shipped to the restaurant.
    Tip: Skip the pies and fries.
  4. Baked goods (cookies, biscuits etc). Yes your favourite muffin or biscuit bought from the supermarket may contain trans fats. In fact, trans fats are used in commercially baked products more than any other foods. Watch out for cookies and cakes with shortening-based frostings, some supermarket bakeries use plenty of trans fat.
    Tip: Put your pinny on and bake them yourself.
  5. Cake and biscuit mixes. Look out for partially hydrogenated soybean and / or cottonseed oil.
    Tip: Add baking powder and flour to your shopping basket and do it your self.
  6. Frozen pizza. A serving of certain brands of frozen pizza can contain up to 4 grams of these harmful trans fats.
    Tip: Check the ingredients or make your own.
  7. Microwave meals. Frozen dinners are often loaded with trans fat.
    Tip: Check the ingredients, or make a bulk pot of home made stew to make dinners quicker and easier during the working week.
  8. Doughnuts. Even doughnuts from supermarket bakeries use trans fats. Watch out for Emulsifiers (Mono- and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids) on the label.
  9. Frozen pies. Often somewhere in a very long list of ingredients you will find emulsifier (Mono and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids). Avoid.
  10. Ice Cream. Yes, that joyful spoon is a fat bomb heading straight for your stomach. Read the ingredients list, and put any products containing emulsifier (Mono- and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids) back on the shelf.

If in doubt…

Always check the ingredients lists for hydrogenated fats or hydrogenated vegetable oils because food manufacturers in the UK do not have to label trans fats.

Anytime you read ‘partially hydrogenated oil’ or ‘hydrogenated oil’ on the list of ingredients, it means the foods in question contains trans fats. Also, watch out for ingredients listed as  ‘mono and diglycerides of fatty acids’ which are often listed on donuts, ice-cream and even bread.

If you enjoy a cheeky take away at the weekend – beware! Fast food shops and chains re-use cooking oils which will create even more trans fats. Always ask them how often they change their oil and which oil they use. Or a better solution – just don’t go!

What’s the fuss about transfats?

Trans fats are in the news because the US is going to ban them. Yes, coming from the country that has ‘fries with everything’, it’s a big deal.

Since US companies were forced to label trans fats, consumption dropped by about 78%. The FDA (the powerful food banning arm of the federal government) expect an all out ban to reduce the number of patients with coronary heart disease and heart attacks.

The bottom line

Industrial trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils are toxic. They have no nutritional value whatsoever! Avoid them! These artificial fats are introduced into our foods during the making of processed and fried foods. Processed foods typically include anything that is put into a can, packaged into a box or bag.

What are trans fats?

Also known as trans fatty acids or TFA, they are fats that are found in small amounts in a large variety of foods. They are artificially made when vegetable oils are hydrogenated, by using a kind of turkey baster that injects hydrogen atoms into a liquid (e.g. unsaturated fat – a good fat) fat, making them more solid. These hardened fats are then used in cooking, baking, to lengthen the shelf life of products you buy in the supermarket.

(Note: Natural trans fats are found in grass-fed meats and dairy products that come from pasture-raised animals. These are the exception to the rule when talking about trans fats and are called conjugated linoleic acids or CLA. CLA has both anticancer and antiobesity properties…and is good for you, unlike man-made trans fats. What we’re concerned about here is the artificial variety made industrially by food manufacturers to keep supermarket food fresher longer).

Should I be concerned?

Yes. In the UK trans fats are not banned. We rely on an informal agreement called the Responsibility Deal that relies on the industry to self regulate and to reduce trans fats in our food. We don’t even label them properly in the UK!

Despite the protestations from the food industry that everything is ‘heading in the right direction’ and that we don’t need to ban them, trans fats are still in a huge range of foods – many of which are aimed at children.

Just think about it… ice creams, sweets, cereal bars, sweets, cookies, chocolate, stuffing mixes, margarine, ready made cakes, microwave ready meals. So although the amounts in each food product may be small, if you are eating a lot of processed foods your overall intake of this toxic ingredient will add up.

Why hasn’t the UK banned trans fats?

All the experts agrees that trans fats have no known health benefits but have clear health risks.  The consumption of trans fats has been linked to coronary heart disease, stroke, elevated blood pressure, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, prostate and breast cancers, Type 2 diabetes, liver dysfunction, infertility, depression, and even aggression.

Wow, that’s a lot of problems.

Written in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) on the 16th September 2015, experts said around 7,200 deaths from heart disease could be prevented in England over the next five years if the artificial fats were banned. That’s a saving of approximately £265m a year, according to a study in the BMJ.

  • In The Telegraph, Dr Tim Chico, a consultant cardiologist at the University of Sheffield, said it was clear that artificially-manufactured trans fats, “whose use only benefits the food industry”, increase the risk of heart disease.
  • In The Independent, Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director of the British Heart Foundation, said that trans fats had no known benefits and “clear health risks” adding that other countries were “well ahead of us” in efforts to cut back consumption.

Yet, despite Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, Sweden, Austria and now the US all banning trans fats outright, the UK government will continue with an informal approach where the food industry is allowed to self regulate their use of trans fat in processed foods.

Where does responsibility lie?

Unlike the US’s decision to ban trans fats by 2018, the UK’s government’s agreement with large manufacturers of processed foods is a voluntary arrangement called the Responsibility Deal. Within the ‘Responsibility Deal’ manufacturers have pledged that they are committed to removing trans fats from their food products.

So, in reality, the responsibility is on you, not the government, food manufacturers or retailers. Trust the food manufacturers to put people before profit or educate yourself and avoid all foods with hydrogenated fats or hydrogenated vegetable oils in the ingredients list.

More reading on Trans Fats

Xenoestrogens – an Increased Risk of Endometriosis

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“And what on earth are xenoestrogens?”

I know that not everyone has heard about these environmental compounds with oestrogenic activity. Once inside the body they can mimic our own natural oestrogens. They are dangerous and disrupt the hormone environment, which in turn will interfere with the reproductive system, going on to create numerous reproductive health problems.

Are any of you having trouble conceiving? It may not be you, it could even be your partner. Excess xenoestrogens in the body can harm both ova and sperm! Something to think about!

Xenoestrogens have been seen to cause poor prostate health (in men), irregular menstrual cycles, polycystic ovary syndrome, uterine cysts, fibroids, and endometriosis.

How to avoid xenoestrogens

Believe it or not, many xenoestrogens are found in products that you use every day. The daily exposure to these oestrogen-like compounds are putting your health at risk. Although it may be impossible to eliminate all of these products from your daily life, it is always good to try. You cannot do this if you are not well informed, so here you are:

  • Parabens are everywhere, they are used as a preservative. Look for them on the ingredient list when buying face creams, body creams, sunscreens, shampoos etc. And especially, methylparaben, proplyparaben, butylparaben and ethylparaben.
  • Food dyes and preservatives, such as, butylated hydroxanisole, and FD & C #3 (a synthetic cherry-coloured dye used in cake decorating gels and candies etc) Red dye #3 is also used as a colour additive for ingested drugs – beware – double whammy! All are bad news!
  • Chlorine and products containing chlorine – not good!
  • Polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resin such as flame retardant materials, some home furnishing, cars and electronics.
  • Weed killer and insecticides.
  • Ethinylestradiol, found in combined oral oestrogen birth control pills.
  • Cleaning detergents – many contain surfactant (one of the many different compounds that make up a detergent).
  • Building supplies – which can include, pentachlorophenol found in wood preservatives and polychlorinated biphenyls found in adhesives, lubricants, paints and electric oils.

So what have all these Xenoestrogens got to do with Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a medical condition that is found in the female reproductive system. What happens is tissue grows outside of the uterus rather than within it. Of course, this overgrowth can happen in several other places as well, including the vagina, bladder, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and the side of the pelvic wall – all cause discomfort. With endometriosis the tissue outside the uterus is affected by the hormonal changes of menstruation just as the uterine lining is affected by hormonal changes. You may then experience excess bleeding and cramping, along with fatigue, bloating, painful intercourse, and pain in the pelvic area.

The thing is when xenoestrogens enter the body by way of drinking out of plastic bottles (plastic is a no, no in my household – a definite NO! banned, vietato!), by applying sunscreen, or being exposed to any of the above mentioned, they can cause endometrial symptoms simply because xenoestrogens over-stimulate the cells which then go on to cause excess tissue growth. The name for an excess of oestrogens is commonly known as oestrogen dominance. Having an excess or dominance of any oestrogens can cause the development of endometriosis. For the majority of women diagnosed with endometriosis, it is the first indication that they have a hormonal imbalance.

If you are suffering from or recognise any of the aforementioned endometrial symptoms, it is important that you consult with a restorative hormone specialist so you can get to the root cause. Your restorative specialist can then determine the best and most appropriate treatment helping you to avoid any other further and/or more serious problems, and get you back on track to start feeling better!

To your health!

3 Things you Need to Know about Bone Health

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Keep your bones healthy

We all know that as we age our bones become weak and fragile and can progressively move towards osteoporosis.

Here are restorative medicine’s top 3 tips to keep your bones strong and healthy, and osteoporosis away:

1. Keep your hormones levels balanced and at optimal levels

As we age hormones declines which go on to totally disrupt the hormonal environment. There are various hormones involved in bone health including the major sex hormones oestrogens, progesterone, testosterone and DHEA, as well as parathyroid hormone, and vitamin D.

In menopause both oestrogen(s) and progesterone levels drop quite drastically, this is the beginning of ‘bone breakdown’. Oestrogen(s) and progesterone work as a team in our body, and along with their many tasks, support bone health.

If we keep our hormone environment healthy we will keep our bones healthy, along with the rest of the body. Restore your hormones, restore your body, with bioidentical hormone restorative therapy.

In my latest book The Menopause Cure: Hormonal Health, you will find out so much more on how to protect your bones… your brain and your body!

2. Make sure your blood levels of vitamin D are optimal

The second tip is make sure your blood levels of vitamin D are optimal so calcium can be absorbed. Almost everyone is deficient in vitamin D, even those living in warmer climates.

Soak up some sun, but not too much, don’t abuse it!

Eat a diet rich in calcium to supply the body with its daily needs thus avoiding the necessity to raid the bone storage vaults, which would then leave the bones deficient in calcium – our bones are a reservoir that store minerals and calcium that may be needed by other parts of the body!

Many women are advised to take calcium supplements which are really not necessary but if you do supplement with calcium, always, always remember to take magnesium as well.

Magnesium is a natural calcium channel blocker and has the ability to block the channels by which calcium enters the cells; when magnesium is low, intracellular calcium rises. You do not want calcium entering the cells of your heart. Calcium plays a big role in the build up of plaque, arrhythmia, blood pressure elevation, and even constipation.

3. Regular weight bearing exercise

The third tip is do regular weight-bearing exercise; it is crucial to bone health. Weight-bearing exercise helps to keep both the muscle and bone healthy and strong. If you start weight-bearing exercise before the menopause your bones will take longer to thin out and weaken.

Run, walk, move it and grove it, dance and chance it. If you don’t move it you will lose it!

Start today!