How to increase longevity and slow the signs of aging

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.

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 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.

An alternative is bioidentical hormones restorative therapy (BHRT) to help improve your life and protect your long and short-term 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.

8 reasons everyone’s talking about omega 3

Ever wonder why people in Okinawa, Japan, lead the longest and 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, again, 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!

Natural hormones v HRT

Given the effects that follow a hormonal slump, it’s important for all of us to be aware of the facts before embarking on a treatment programme.

While the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has proclaimed synthetic HRT to be a safe treatment for those going through the menopause (in a study part funded by big-pharma giant Pfizer), there are still considerable questions about the health risks such as cancer and heart disease, and the treatment’s effectiveness.

Bioidentical hormone restorative therapy (BHRT) is an alternative and safe method to HRT. However, you must make sure that you chose an expert in this field if you want the best results and stay safe. Chose a qualified doctor!

Here is why natural or bioidentical hormones can help you rediscover your body’s balance:

1. Natural hormones are the right fit to be fully metabolised

Metabolisation of hormones in the body is like finding the right key for a lock. While synthetic hormones might be able to fit the keyhole they do not open the lock. Natural hormones, on the other hand, are the correct key to open that specific lock.

Whether hormones are naturally produced or received as supplements, the body automatically sweeps them into the circulatory system, flowing through an intricate network of capillaries until they find a cell with the right receptor.

Synthetic hormones such as progestins (fake progesterone, such as Provera®) and those derived from the urine of pregnant mares such as Premarin®, together known as PremPro®, have molecular compositions that do not fit into the lock-and-key setup in the body, they cannot correctly interact with the receptor sites. No one actually knows what happens to these molecules that do not ‘fit’ into the receptor sites. But what we do know is, it can take up to thirteen weeks to eliminate them from the body – these are chemicals that do not belong in the body and cause toxic by-products.

Natural or bioidentical hormones, on the other hand, are eliminated through the urine within one day – they are recognised, metabolised and expelled efficiently by the body, with no toxic by-product build-up.

Bioidentical HRT – a natural alternative for your body’s hormonal composition

Conventional HRT treatments are a one-size-fits-all solution. However, every woman (and man for that matter) metabolises hormones differently, so her (his) hormonal needs will be different! Bioidentical hormone restorative specialists will take the time to get to know your hormonal composition and prescribe a natural, effective treatment to restore your inner balance.

A link has long been established between HRT and heart disease, strokes and various forms of cancer. So although NICE has recently declared the treatment safe, both the compound itself and the dosage levels carry severe health risks that may be avoided with natural hormones.

With bioidentical hormone restorative therapy, the clinician will analyse the results of your blood tests and provide you with a treatment programme based on your specific hormonal levels to help restore your natural equilibrium, rather than just artificially inflating hormonal levels towards an arbitrary target. Your hormone levels will be monitored at regular intervals and the treatment tweaked to maintain optimal hormone levels, that correct the symptoms of the menopause, and at the same time, slow the ageing process.

Unlike synthetic hormone treatment – which is generally prescribed for a maximum 5-year programme due to health concerns with artificial compounds – natural hormone restorative therapy is a lifelong solution that offers you the possibility to maintain your health, zest and vivacity into your latter years.

Bioidentical hormone restorative therapy is a safe, effective and long-term alternative to conventional HRT treatment, assisting you in rediscovering your joie de vivre without having to worry about jeopardising your health. Find out how to get started with bioidentical hormone restorative therapy.

Is B12 deficiency stopping your blood from breathing?

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. However, its effects go far beyond 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’re all potentially at risk. The Framingham Study indicated that up to 40% of the UK and US population have lower than optimal levels of the 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-weight loss surgery
  • 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)

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 (diarrhea, IBD)
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:

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

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

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
  2. Live Probiotic Supplement

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. Optimal B12 balance is also linked to preventing these serious health concerns:

  • Brain damage
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Depression
  • Cancer

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.

Am I too old for iron deficiency? Why this is a myth and what to do about it.

Iron is a crucial mineral that promotes a wide variety of functions within the body, but its deficiency can often be misdiagnosed.

Optimal levels depend on your age and gender; however, medical knowledge focuses more on some specific demographics’ susceptibility to deficiency. Doctors are keenly aware that women of reproductive age lose iron as a result of their menstrual cycle, and even more so if they are pregnant or breastfeeding – but what about the rest of us?

Iron requirements decrease as a result of the menopause, but a base level is still needed – you’re never too old to be deficient. And, because many of the symptoms of iron deficiency match those of the menopause, doctors can often mislabel symptoms. So, if you’re feeling listless, here’s how to make sure that your iron levels are in balance, to promote top health and rediscover your spark.

What role does iron perform within the body?

We generally have 3 – 4g of iron in our body at any given time, with a large portion stored as haemoglobin and the remainder spread between the liver, spleen, your bone marrow and muscle tissue.

Iron is a wonder-nutrient, helping us to perform a whole host of daily functions. Most crucially, it helps generate the red blood cells that carry oxygen around your body, and it also plays an important role in metabolising proteins.

Why do we get deficient?

A low level of iron is the most common nutritional deficiency in the US, with over 10% of women falling below recommended levels.

Women are the more likely sufferers of iron deficiency as they lose the mineral as part of the reproductive cycle – but anyone can be affected, through excessive blood loss, poor diet, or conditions that prevent iron absorption.

Research shows that the following groups are especially at risk of an iron deficiency:

Vegetarians/vegans Fitness fanatics
Pregnant or breastfeeding women People who have lost or given blood
People undergoing dialysis Sufferers of GTI disorders, such as Crohn’s
Regular takers of antacids People with ulcers

What are the warning signs?

The number one symptom of an iron deficiency is anaemia, which means that your body isn’t creating enough red blood cells to carry oxygen round the body.

If you can’t carry enough oxygen, your brain and muscles will be denied the nutrients that they need, and you’ll start to feel weak and lethargic. Iron promotes general wellbeing and helps to boost energy levels, and is also involved in the enzymatic functions that control your metabolism and help you digest foods properly. Optimising your levels will improve brain and heart health, boost energy levels, and make your skin, hair, nails and waistline look better.

Many signs of an iron deficiency match up to the symptoms of a hormone deficiency. Here are the main warning signs to look out for:

Anaemia or increased blood sugar Changes to appetite or weight
Chronic fatigue Decreased immune function
Pale or yellowing of the skin Cough
Shortness of breath Low concentration or memory
Abnormal heartbeats or increased body tension Sores on your mouth or tongue
Muscle weakness or restless leg syndrome Mood changes

How to use supplements to naturally restore your iron levels

Fortunately, iron deficiency can be identified by a simple blood test and treated easily with the right diet and supplements.

In terms of diet, look out for whole-foods with high iron levels, such as

  • organic/grass-fed meat,
  • poultry,
  • eggs,
  • dairy products,
  • fruit,
  • veg (dark greens particularly)
  • whole grains.

And, iron is more easily absorbed when eaten with certain other foods, so, for example,  try pairing foods rich in vitamin C (leafy salads and citrus fruits) with pulses for a better iron hit. Other substances that increase iron absorption are: cysteine, folic acid, Vitamin b6, and zinc.

Here’s some iron-rich foods to consider on your next shop:

iron food sources table

The number one symptom of an iron deficiency is anaemia, which means that your body isn’t creating enough red blood cells to carry oxygen round the body. Iron requirements decrease as a result of the menopause, but a base level is still needed – you’re never too old to be deficient.

 

Iron supplements are also a great fix for deficiency, especially if you’re in one of the ‘at risk’ groups. However, side-effects of an iron overload (more than 45mg per day) include nausea and constipation, and intake can be altered by calcium supplements or medication for conditions such as Parkinson’s or cancer. All in all, it’s best to speak to an expert in restorative medicine to make sure your levels stay perfectly balanced.

Could an iron boost be the key to rediscovering your natural vivacity? Follow our simple suggestions and find out.

How attitudes towards the menopause and aging have changed

The menopause was once considered to be the first step on the road to becoming aged and less active. Not so today – now, modern healthcare techniques, lifestyle advances and a more equal social perception of mature women is making 50 the new 40!

These changes have filled our screens with female role models of a menopausal age that are living life to its fullest, such as actors Dame Judy Dench, Dame Helen Mirren and Emma Thompson, US politicos Hilary Clinton and Michelle Obama, or TV personalities like Oprah Winfrey and Carol Vorderman.

Restorative medicine is the natural way to live younger

So, what can we put this paradigm shift down to? Restorative medicine has played a leading role in helping women live younger, and especially in dispelling some of the body myths associated with the menopause. No longer must women choose between suffering the full hormonal collapse of the menopause, or finding a quick fix with generic synthetic treatments that carry concerning side-effects.

You can now take your life back into your own hands, balancing your hormones naturally at a level that’s right for you, helping to reduce or remove a whole host of menopausal symptoms, including:

Keeping your hormones at the right levels for your body has also been shown to decrease the likelihood of health concerns associated with ageing, such as heart disease and strokes. Restorative medicine lets you maintain your natural balance by using compounds that are bioidentical to those found within the body, coupled with a healthy and active lifestyle.

What is the new model menopausal woman?

Now that you’ve found a way to look and feel fabulous, what can a new-age menopausal woman expect?

1. Rediscovering romance
When you combine the freedom of kids fleeing the nest and retirement with the supple frame, enhanced look and sex drive that bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can offer, you’ve got yourself a recipe for love.

You can get back to spending quality time or holidays with your partner or, if you’re single, take up dating again with a new confidence and verve – changing social dynamics mean there are a lot of good 50+ dating sites now available.

2. Pursuing that dream
Whether you’ve always planned to set up your own business, write a book, or just want to indulge a new interest, the clarity of thought and mobility that restorative medicine can offer are key to maintaining your performance at its best. It is now common to see lists in Forbes of ‘50+ entrepreneurs’ – evolving social attitudes to age are giving mature women increased opportunities.

3. Getting fitter
Restorative medicine recommends putting your increased energy and improved health to good use by keeping fit. There’s now a whole host of gym classes designed specifically for women over 50, or you can give the young guns a run for their money in combined classes or running clubs too.

4. Being an inspiration
Whether you’re playing actively with grandchildren, or achieving something that will be respected by friends and family alike, the sharp wit and dynamic energy that restorative medicine can help you keep will prove an invaluable asset to all of your endeavours.

With so much opportunity to make 50 the new 40, why not find out how you can use restorative medicine to get the most out of your active and fulfilling later life?

Why is zinc deficiency often misdiagnosed? How to identify and fight it

Zinc is an essential trace element and mineral that’s found in all living beings. It’s known as ‘essential’ for a reason: it has a major effect on your overall health. In fact, it performs more biological roles within the body than all other elements combined.

However, your body has no means of producing or storing the mineral, so it’s tough to regulate your intake – the World Health Organisation estimates that 31% of people globally are zinc deficient.

Ensuring that your levels are optimised will help you maintain your natural sparkle.

Why are we just starting to notice how common zinc deficiency is?

Though known as a crucial element for plants and animals since the early 1900s, it took another 60 years before scientists began to investigate zinc’s effect on humans, and clinicians focused more on the effects of iron deficiency. The mineral was finally identified as essential only in 2009.

You get zinc mainly from your food. But even if you eat three balanced meals a day, it’s not quite that simple – modern food doesn’t contain as much zinc as our cavemen ancestors ate, for two key reasons:

  1. Industrialised food processing rinses out up to 50% of zinc through mechanical and chemical processes.
  2. Cooking habits – we don’t often risk eating raw meat or veg today, but cooking to well-done fries essential minerals to a crisp, preventing them from being absorbed by your body.

So now, up to 2 billion people globally have a marginal zinc deficiency – but this is not severe enough for them to realise their condition, or for it to be easily diagnosed because symptoms are common to many other conditions.

How would I notice if I was zinc deficient?

Zinc is an essential mineral that helps with enzymatic reactions, binding to electron-rich cell proteins to interact with amino acid side chains. But what does this actually mean for your general health and wellbeing? You might notice some of the following if you become deficient:

  • a loss of appetite
  • occasional moodiness
  • numbed smell and taste
  • immune system compromised: for example, getting a lot of colds
  • diarrhoea or ‘leaky gut’
  • increased allergies sensitivity

If you notice these symptoms, you should have your doctor check your zinc levels, and they can then prescribe a specific dosage of zinc for you if needed.

Here are just some aspects of your health that zinc can help to maintain:

LiverOysters
Crimini mushroomsPumpkin seeds
SpinachBeef
Sea vegetablesGreen peas
Raw milk and cheeseBeans

Try to get these in an organic, unprocessed form. Also, try boiling, poaching and steaming (and avoid microwaving, frying and charbroiling) to ensure that the zinc is still absorbable when you eat.
Also, note that smoking can cause zinc deficiency, so it’s another really good reason to quit!

Restoring your zinc levels to their natural optimum can boost your bodily functions and help prevent health conditions. And, it’s so easy to achieve: with simple diet improvements and nutritional supplements, you could find a whole new lease of life!

 

Why magnesium deficiency makes you ill – how to spot the signs and what to do

women magnesium deficiency
Just look around the room; chances are that almost everyone in your eye-line is suffering from magnesium deficiency in one form or another. But, with symptoms so common that they’re often attributed to other ailments, and a lack of relevant clinical research, most of us don’t ever realise why we’re suffering.

Why magnesium is crucial for your general health

The fourth most common mineral in the body, magnesium is both a mineral and electrolyte that helps pass electrical signals along the nerves in your body. You may have seen sports drinks adverts that claim electrolytes are lost through sweat, resulting in cramp: but this is just the tip of the electrolyte-impact iceberg.

Without magnesium, your heart would stop beating, your muscles would seize up and your brain would stop processing information. A co-factor of an astonishing 300+ bodily reactions, magnesium helps regulate your temperature, maintain energy levels, form bones and teeth, and fight cardiovascular disease. Magnesium levels are reduced by stress factors, which can subsequently initiate or worsen chronic illnesses.

Why the symptoms of deficiency are very common and hard to diagnose

Conventional medicine has struggled to identify magnesium deficiency because of its reliance on blood tests. Magnesium in blood is crucial to ward off heart attacks, so your body will supplement any loss in the bloodstream by robbing reserves in bone or muscle tissue. Therefore, all blood tests typically show similar levels. However, 99% of our magnesium reserves are in muscle and bone tissue, which aren’t usually tested. So a deficiency can go completely under the radar.

Over 3,750 magnesium binding sites have now been found within the human body, meaning that a deficiency of this under-loved electrolyte could trigger or exacerbate a whole host of conditions, including:

OsteoporosisAsthmaAnxiety
Insomnia Blood clots Depression
Muscular and back pain Bowel disease Lethargy
Muscle crampsCystitis Impaired cognitive ability
SeizuresDiabetes Foggy memory
Constipation Cardiovascular disease Fatigue
Headaches HypoglycaemiaTendonitis
Migraines Kidney and liver disease Aggression
High blood pressure (Hypertension) Musculoskeletal conditions (fibromyalgia, cramps, chronic back pain, etc.) Obstetrical/gynaecological problems (PMS, infertility, and pre-eclampsia)
Nerve problems Tooth decay Tension

Any of these sound familiar? Women may be particularly prone, because excess oestrogens, present during the early stages of the menopause (or perimenopause), also create a magnesium deficiency.

Beating magnesium deficiency for improved health and wellbeing

There’s so many simple ways that you can boost your magnesium levels and recover your natural balance. Here’s just a few:

  1. Start by supplementing with high quality magnesium: your doctor trained in restorative medicine can prescribe these for you as part of a general health rebalance.
  2. Change to an organic diet featuring magnesium-rich food (including dark chocolate!)
  3. Slather yourself in magnesium oil
  4.  Take a long soak in an Epsom salt bath – it will boost your sulphur levels too
  5. Try to avoid prolonged stressful activities
  6. Reduce sugar intake – it takes 54 molecules of magnesium to metabolise one sugar molecule
  7. Stay away from synthetic oestrogen compounds

The changes might start subtly, but you should definitely notice when your magnesium levels start to fall back in line. When your balance is restored, the stress which can cause magnesium deficiency is reduced, along with the potency of chronic symptoms.

Restoring your natural optimum magnesium levels doesn’t just fight or eliminate the conditions listed above: because many of the remedies are part of a generally healthier lifestyle (such as improved diet and a calmer outlook), you could find your general health and energy is stronger than ever before.

Congratulations To Our Winner

Nutribullet Winner 2015-Victoria-Savill

Congratulations Victoria

Many congratulations to the winner of our Menopause Woman competition to win a Nutribullet and signed copy of the book, The Menopause Cure; Hormonal Health.

 

Thyroid friendly foods (Infographic)

One in 20 people in the UK suffer from thyroid disorders, according to the British Thyroid Foundation. The most common thyroid condition is hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid.  During October, the Menopause Woman page on  Thyroid and Menopause received over 30,000 visits from our readers looking for information on under active thyroid or low thyroid.

To help you make food choices to improve your thyroid health see the Thyroid  infographic below. The Thyroid Food Swap infographic walks you through some of the foods to avoid and replaces them with foods to strengthen thyroid function. It includes causes of low thyroid, common symptoms and the vital hormone connection that many women in the forties are not aware of. If you are looking to strengthen thyroid function, keep on reading.

Thyroid Food Swap

Thyroid Food Infographic

Thyroid Food Infographic

Is it my thyroid or the perimenopause?

Life events such as childbirth and menopause can influence the balance of female hormones which put women at a higher rate of thyroid disorders than men. Women in their forties tend to be more affected than their male counterparts and, in fact, many midlife cases of hypothyroidism can be due to oestrogen dominance. Numerous cases of hypothyroidism can go undetected and untreated, as many doctors and women may be unaware of the hormonal connection and thyroid function in perimenopause/menopause.

Dr Dzugan is always telling me that thyroid dysfunction or imbalance is commonplace in many of DzLogic’s patients and US research shows around 25 percent of women in or near perimenopause are diagnosed with this condition.

So, is there such a thing as a Thyroid Diet?

Whilst there isn’t such a thing as a ‘Thyroid Diet’, there are foods that can damage or strengthen the thyroid gland, together with general hormone production. The thyroid needs certain vitamins and minerals that are accessible in many foods. A healthy diet of real foods consisting of a plant-based, whole-food regime, provides active nutrients which help to protect the thyroid.

Why certain minerals and vitamins matter

When we are deficient in certain minerals and vitamins, such as vitamin C, B-complex, zinc, selenium, and iodine, the thyroid cannot function at optimal. This is when we see weight gain, become more subject to insulin resistance, and suffer from a myriad of other symptoms; foggy thinking, brittle nails, joint pain, allergies, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibrocystic breast disease (noncancerous changes in the breast tissue), hair loss, decreased sex drive, to name a few.

Without iodine the thyroid just doesn’t work!

The majority of people are deficient in iodine in fact, nearly 72 percent of the world’s population. We need trace amounts of iodine in all of our hormone receptors for our hormones to work correctly – good thyroid function is vital to hormone balance. Without iodine the thyroid just doesn’t work!

Using iodized salt isn’t sufficient to remedy this deficiency. The use of iodine that was once added to foods, greatly helped to reduce the incidence of goiter, or abnormally enlarged thyroid gland. Nevertheless, in the 1960s the use of iodine in bread was discontinued, largely because it was thought to be bad for you, and so replaced by bromium.

The problem with Bromium

Bromium is now found in such things as bread, vegetable oils, energy and fruit drinks and many other products. Bromium can actually dislodge iodine in a healthy thyroid, provoking it to dysfunction, going on to cause hypothyroidism. Today, processed and convenience foods present a significant problem because they are so deplete of important nutrients that help maintain a fully functioning and healthy thyroid and body. Continual consumption over the years of these ‘nutritionless foods’, will affect thyroid function and slow it down.

Keep away from these non-nutritional foods – eat real food!

The problem with fluoride

Another thing, fluoride in our waters and toothpaste block iodine binding. Drink filtered water and buy fluoride-free toothpaste! And apart from that, high fluoride levels have been linked to various negative health effects; impaired brain development which include lower IQ in children, weaker bones and more fractures, genetic damage and cell death, an increased tumor and cancer rate, and damaged sperm and increased infertility.

Thyroid friendly foods

Hormone friendly foods include organic, wild or free-range proteins, such as salmon, chicken, eggs, and beef. Other sources are raw nuts and seeds, and fresh fruit, along with pure, cold-pressed organic oils, including borage oil, olive oil, sesame oils. And importantly, organic green vegetable helps boost thyroid function.

What about soy?

Consuming organic soy foods such as fermented soy sauce, fermented soy yoghurts and miso, in small quantities, are also hormone friendly foods. However, you should avoid all regular soy foods that contain genistein, which ultimately decrease iodine absorption.

References

Dr Dzugan

British Thyroid Foundation

Dr Northrup on Thyroid Disease

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