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Healthy Aging

Nicotinamide has long been associated with neuronal development and the survival and function of the central nervous system. The areas of greatest improvement have shown to be in joint flexibility, muscle coordination and heart mental health.

NADH (Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide plus hydrogen) is a stable and bioavailable coenzyme that helps promote cellular energy production, and provides nutritional neurotransmitter support.

Suggested Nutritional Support Uses:

  • Correct mitochondrial dysfunction
  • Improve energy levels
  • Improve brain function

Resveratrol is a plant compound that acts like an antioxidant. The top food sources include red wine, grapes, cranberries, blueberries, chocolate, pistachios and peanuts. Research has shown that high doses may help reduce blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure typically goes up with age, as arteries stiffen. Resveratrol may improve blood-pressure by helping to produce more nitric oxide, causing blood vessels to relax and be more flexible.

Resveratrol studies have shown improved cholesterol levels by reducing the effect of an enzyme that controls cholesterol production.  Oxidation is a normal body process and very damaging to the buildup of fatty plaques on arterial walls making them much more volatile.

The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect may protect brain cells from damage. It has also shown to increase insulin sensitivity and prevent further complications associated with diabetes by helping to metabolise glucose and keeping blood sugar levels low.

P-5-P

P5P is an essential nutrient of energy metabolism within the cell and helps improve overall energy. Daily chronic fatigue and lethargy are common health complaints and P-5-P being a water-soluble vitamin may be insufficient. Diet and nutrition play a direct role in maintaining energy and an increase in neuronal health. This is partly due to P5P’s ability to improve signaling between brain cells which could explain the improvement in mental motivation. This may result in more focus, better mood, and improved motivation to carry out your daily tasks. It has been an area of research in aging and a vitamin along with vitamin B3 (NADH) which are essential for neurons and their survival. The overall neuroprotection capabilities likely play a role in overall brain health.

A lack of P5P (and vitamin B6 in general) is often found alongside high homocysteine levels which raises cardiovascular risk and can adversely affect brain health in patients.

If you are looking to just be more focused or get some more motivation, P5P may prove effective in reaching that goal.

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Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a critical turning point in health and is always treated very seriously. There are a number of lifestyle changes including diet and supplementation.

  • Losing weight
  • Increasing regular exercise
  • Eating more potassium rich foods such as potatoes, bananas, watermelon and green leafy vegetables
  • Increasing magnesium and calcium
  • Reducing salt
  • Eating foods to increase Nitric Oxide (NO) or to supplement to increase NO

Nitric oxide is a molecule whose primary purpose is to make sure blood vessels stay wide open. It increases fluidity of arteries which improves circulation, delivery of nutrients and oxygen to cells and helps with healing. Individuals with poor circulation, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, erectile dysfunction are often deficient in the critical molecule nitric oxide.

Blood flow is often impaired in older individuals due to a number of lifestyle issues as well as genetics. Arginine is a conditionally essential amino acid that makes Nitric Oxide and requires precursors L-ornithine, and L-citrulline improves absorption. According to the research, increasing Nitric Oxide with L-arginine, can reverse deficiencies and dramatically improve your arterial elasticity, blood delivery to extremities, cardiovascular and overall health.

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The Role of Diet as an Acne Treatment

Nutrition and diet need no mention when it comes to claiming its overall health benefits, but can diet affect acne? Science suggests that keeping blood sugar levels down, eating more When you consult a dermatologist the likelihood is that you will be prescribed a topical retinoid cream or possibly oral vitamin A as isotretinoid which suppress sebum, the oily substance secreted by the sebaceous glands. Since vitamin A is found in many foods, it can be said that diet does influence acne.

Sebum is controlled by hormones, particularly testosterone which is why it is more active as hormones rattle around during teenage years. Many studies have shown that refined dietary carbohydrate and some fats can also affect sebum levels as sugar influenced growth factor 1 which impacts short term spikes in hormone levels. Fats, especially processed oils used in convenience and fast foods are well known to cause inflammation in other soft tissue diseases such as osteoarthritis and add to the overall burden that might exist in teenage skin disorders.

Vitamins A and D are the first group of nutrients reported to show they affect skin health to influence hydration, clumping of skin cells and metabolism. Researchers safely assume that the absence of these important nutrients from the diet can influence skin biology allowing for cells to proliferate and become inflamed more easily. Vitamin D is at low levels in many populations while vitamin A supplementation needs to be approached with caution making Cod-liver oil supplements a safer option.

Studies also show the role of essential fatty acids and especially linoleic acid (nuts, seeds, meat and eggs) and omega-3 fats (walnuts, oily fish, flaxseed oil, omega 3 algae EFA), as vital building blocks for ceramides, one of the skins main moisturising elements and key to hydration.

Another class of nutrients influenced by the diet are minerals such as zinc known to influence anti-inflammatory  enzymes and boost immunity, selenium a powerful antioxidant and magnesium where low levels can cause cortisol to rise as well as add to low-grade inflammation.

Factors associated with attributing whole food groups such as dairy, add a confusing aspect to their role in causing acne.  Because milk is the first food for all mammals to support exponential growth, it is classified as a growth hormone and could well influence reproductive hormones at critical times. Adebamowo et al (2008) claimed dairy was blamed for causing acne flareups in their self-reporting (study n= 4,253 teenage boys). Whether it is the popular debate that milk from pregnant and lactating cows has higher levels of hormones which affect teenagers to cause acne, is not conclusive. What is more likely is the high glycaemic index and insulin response after ingesting milk rather than the growth factors is the cause of elevated blood glucose spikes which affect testosterone. Overall for protein and calcium, low fat dairy is a good food, albeit worth some level of control.

It is important to highlighting the association between a high-glycaemic diet causing raised blood sugar levels and acne. The flow on is raised circulating glucose stimulates sebum oil production, reduces the receptors for binding up testosterone which frees it into the system causing a surge of testosterone to affect the skins biology. Certain fats also cause increase inflammation which may be the association between skin flare ups after eating fried foods and chocolate.

Why acne is widespread in western cultures but not in indigenous societies? Diet may not be the sole reason but there are scientifically plausible reasons to believe nutrition can influence the presence and severity of acne.

Research suggests dietary control and supplements may help:

Avoid refined white cereals and sugar which free testosterone by raising insulin

Avoid drinking too much milk and especially sweetened milks

Eat more vegetables for antioxidants

Eat good fats such as nut and seeds, eggs yolk, oily fish

Eat foods high in zinc such as seafood, meat, nuts, pulses

Supplements such as vit E and D, EFA, zinc, selenium, magnesium

Keeping good hygiene

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Digestive Health

Digestive symptoms are extremely common at all ages sharing a wide range of common symptoms but very different underlying cause. From babies with colic, small children with bloating, gas and diarrhea/constipation, and a wider range of symptoms as we mature, digestive problems such as cramping, bloating, indigestion and acidity are all considered on the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) spectrum but can have completely different drivers.

The first assumption people make when they get bloating after a meal, is a sensitivity or intolerance to something they ate, however it is a somewhat misguided way of self-diagnosing the problem, especially if the bloating tends to occur no matter what you eat!

Intolerances and allergies are most unlikely to occur out of nowhere, and if they have not been historical in nature such as from childhood, it’s time to think again about what the underlying cause may be.

The digestive system requires that many things have to work together in order for it to run properly. It is like a very busy causeway and if the balance gets disrupted, the flow that digestion must follow upsets the entire environment.

These are the importance steps to follow:

Make sure you have enough stomach acid 

  • Stomach acid is the first stage after chewing to chemically break foods down into a soupy mix. There are a couple of enzymes also present but a strong pH is essential. Otherwise foods pass into the small intestine in large molecules and. Stomach acid is a gravely misunderstood area with much of the population trying to neutralize acid with antacids to relieve the discomfort of heartburn, reflux and a feeling of fullness. Acid is required to digest fat, meat, break milk down and neutralize acidic foods. These are often the foods that cause acidity only because the stomach cannot produce enough acid to break them down. Spices also trigger a reaction by making the stomach produce more acid in an alkaline environment. Digestion has a top down effect and poorly digested foods enter the small intestine then starts to ferment with the digestive enzymes present.

Start by taking a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon in water at the onset of each meal and a good digestive enzyme from the pharmacy may also be helpful. Fruits such as apple, papaya, kiwi and the core of a pineapple also have enzymes helpful for digestion and often an apple after dinner is great for reducing acidity. Hot water with lemon, ginger, a pinch of cayenne pepper is also a champion digestive

  • Look after your micro-organisms

The gut flora or bacteria is constantly under attack by antibiotics, food spoilage, yeasts from baking and brewing, and a poor immune system. A potent Probiotic to re-establish bacterial balance and upregulate IgA is a great boost to the gut ecosystem.

A diet heavy on refined carbohydrates and sugar are ideal for feeding the wrong types of bacteria and yeasts and often cause bloating.

  • Boost your enzymes

Two digestive enzymes are integral in the stomach – pepsin and betaine while most enzymes come from the pancreas in response to foods entering the small intestine. The pH is watered down to neutralize stomach and enzymes go to work to further split foods into a unit that can be carried across the digestive lining and utilized by the body.

Once in the system, if you suspect a food has caused a rash, headache, sneezing or itchiness, then you maybe having an IgG reaction to a specific food and a Food Intolerance will help identify this.

If a food causes a digestive symptom such as gas, bloating, cramos, changes to bowel movement, this is a sensitivity to what is happening in the small intestine.

The large bowel or colon is where the bacteria and yeast mostly reside and this is where most of the gas and bloating and cramping occurs.

Modern genetically modified (GM) gluten proteins and preservatives

There is a suggestion that GM gluten has been a bit of a game changer which may explain why you can tolerate some wheat and not others. Durum attar wheat is hard wheat and is not developed to form an elastic dough necessary for bread making. It is made into a dough and rolled for pasta or chapattis making it easier to digest

Eat Anti-microbial foods

Our digestive system is extremely well geared up to protect us from most invading toxins that might enter through food or water, however, our immunity also needs to be strong and robust.

Many foods and botanicals can help boost immunity such as garlic, turmeric, papaya, ginger, coconut, vit D, zinc, vitamin C, Echinacea and Ginseng.

Healing Foods

The gut lining is also very important as a barrier to protecting the body from toxins and also for good absorption of what we need for our health to flourish. Stress so often hits you in the gut as the brain and gut are partners. As with our outer skin and joints, the gut lining needs collagen from foods and amino sugars such as glucosamine, good fats such as coconut oil and butyric acid from butter and some nice slime promoting foods such as Aloe Vera, deglyceralized licorice, marshmallow root and Slippery Elm. OPTI GI

Keeping the bowel moving is also a big problem due to refined and processed foods stripped of fiber. Fiber supplements can be an easy substitute but don’t offer the other nutrient benefits of consuming more whole grains, fruit and vegetables.

Getting to know the personality of your gut is well worth the effort and finding out how you can best support it with its requirements rather than your favourite foods!

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Stress and Diet

Eating to relieve stress may have more positives than we realise but there is also a downside if you pick the wrong foods. Nutrition science looks closely at the key nutrients that can suffer in times of high stress as well as the nutrients that help to calm the farm.

B-Complex supplements is a group of all 8 essential B’s that work very well together. Despite this they have their own specific jobs with the number one role of helping convert protein, fat and carbohydrates to useable energy. Two essential B vitamins are folic acid and B12 which need to be methylated to become active. They are a critical step in making brain hormones that affect mood, stress, brain health and memory. Foods that contain B vitamins include:

  • Beef/ Poultry/ Fish
  • Nuts/ Beans/ Fortified cereals
  • Dairy products/ Eggs
  • Spinach

Methylating foods are beetroot, spinach, mushrooms, eggs and shellfish. Nutritionists tend to use methylated B complex to cover a greater need for methylation and make up for any gaps.

Ashwagandha is an Indian herb classified as an adaptogen — a class of herbs that support the adrenal system and help you deal with stress. It has long been studied for its wide range of health benefits and earned the title “King of Ayurvedic medicine.” Our research and that of others suggests that Ashwagandha can help lower cortisol (the stress hormone) and thus reduce chronic stress. A systematic review of 5 randomized controlled trials published in the Journal of Complementary Medicine suggests that Ashwagandha substantially reduces stress and anxiety scores.

5HTP is a precursor to serotonin and melatonin. It is particularly helpful taken before bed to help with sleep and staying asleep. Often just breaking the poor sleep cycle with 5HTP can be enough to get your natural circadium rhythms back in line with day and night. We consider 5HTP as having a short life in the body and therefore it is safe and works quickly but doesn’t get stored.

Magnesium has long been associated with supporting the central nervous system and neuromuscular conduction. It has a protective role in protecting against excessive excitation. When magnesium is low, more adrenalin is produced and cortisol. Foods high in Magnesium include:

  • Nuts
  • Pulses
  • Mackerel
  • Avocado

Magnesium supplementation can help with relaxation, which also helps relieve migraines, restless leg, improves bowel movement and eases pain. It is used to reduce inflammation in cells and help improve insulin sensitivity.

L-Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid found in protein foods such as meat, fish, dairy, eggs, nuts, and beans. It is the precursor to making dopamine, adrenaline, and norepinephrine. The dopamine pathway is quite complex and requires a number of key nutrients starting with L-tyrosine, B-complex, methylation, magnesium and vitamin D When any of these are insufficient or the body requires more to deal with stress, common symptoms are felt in your cognitive ability including memory and focus, all suffer. Supplementing with the raw material is the starting point.

Probiotics

Gut bacteria communicate with the brain through a complex network of chemical signals which are often referred to as ‘The Gut Brain Connection”. Research links good gut bacteria with digestive health, immunity, autoimmune and overall health.

Phosphatidylcholine is a phospholipid and often called Lecithin. They are a major component of the cell membrane and protect against the movement of molecules going in and out of cells as well as the signaling between cells which can cause overstimulation. Much research has been carried out in the area of brain health – autism spectrum and Alzheimer’s.

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Stressed Out hormones

Stress is a normal part of everyday life as we juggle study, careers, finances, family and the fast pace of change in the world. We all know the feelings aligned with the stress response that put us on edge but the body also has mechanisms to get it quickly under control and help us move on. When everyday hassles become problematic, the “fight or flight response” designed to effectively deal with possible dangers can lead to hormonal imbalance and become a problem.

FIGHT-OR-FLIGHT

The “fight or flight” response is that sudden response to deal with impending danger be it life-saving or a burst of anger that draws several nervous system chemicals and hormones to “fight or flee”. Increased heart rate, energy to muscles and blood pressure kick in and survival mode takes over.

When the body is focusing on survival functions, other bodily functions are suppressed to maximise the fight-or-flight reaction.

When everyday smouldering stress is not switched off, sensitivity to digestive problems, increased heart rate, extra demand on the nervous system and oxidative stress start to impact hormones including reproduction.

HORMONAL HAVOC

Research links chronic stress with a host of potential health problems, and many of these are as the result of changes in hormone levels. Cortisol is a main player which causes disruption to sleep, digestion, depression, memory and focus.

During fertility treatment, relaxation is strongly advised as well as tapering off excessive exercise as stress can dampen down the production of reproductive hormones. Prolonged suppression of reproductive hormones due to chronic stress can cause irregular menstruation in women and lower sperm count and sexual function in men, and may even lead to prolonged infertility. Stress also impacts other hormones such as leptin and ghrelin which control appetite, affect metabolism and influence blood sugar levels.

CHILL OUT

Managing stress is easy when you are on the outside looking in but not so clear when it’s you involved. Changing behaviour is a science in itself and requires a real reason to make a commitment to dealing with life’s hitches. Identifying the things that trigger prolonged stress can be as easy as writing a list and the difficult part is taking the steps to find a solution.

Sometimes it might be planning ahead and being consistent such as having a protein rich breakfast, making a balanced good lunch the night before so you can eat a lighter dinner as soon as you get home and go to bed at a reasonable hour to get eight hours of sleep.

A troublesome boss, colleague or partner is another common issue that causes stress or family turmoil. But they all have a strategy albeit, not always straight forward.  Don’t feel like you need to go at it alone. Find out a range of stress-relief techniques and ask family and friends for support when going through difficult times.

Using relaxation techniques such as reading, exercise, crosswords, yoga and meditation may also work for you. But it’s important to remember that stress management and relaxation aren’t achieved overnight and that stress won’t simply disappear from your life even if you’ve mastered these techniques. What you can change is your reaction to stressful events, the framework of your timings and add in some techniques to improve your ability to cope with life’s challenges.

Studies show anti-stress supplementation helps too: Ashwagandha, magnesium and 5HTP before bed improve serotonin and promote a more restful sleep to push through cortisol being produced too early. Avoiding a heavy meal late in the evening and also taking energy promoting supplements such as B complex and vitamin C early in the day is also a good strategy. Keep on top of your vitamin D levels as they are also linked to neurotransmitter function and depression.