Stop arthritis getting out of hand

Do you know someone who suffers from osteoarthritis? Perhaps you do yourself?

The good news is that researchers are finding ways to better manage bone degeneration…

There are already some useful ways to fight back against the pain. A good diet of foods which help resist inflammation for example. Foods such as colourful vegetables and fruit and fish are good choices along with healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, and olive oil. It’s a good idea to maintain mobility and apply temperature controlled relief to joints too. Of course, doctors are there to advise and may prescribe pain relief medicine.

A recent test however, shows the value of a dietary supplement called chondroitin sulfate.

When 162 adults (all with proven hand osteoarthritis) were tested over six months it was found that those who took the supplement had less hand pain,     better hand function, and less morning stiffness in their hands.

This was regardless of whether they used paracetamol.

It is always advisable to consult a doctor when using supplements, especially to assess what else can be done to help your condition. Many supplements companies are offering a combination of chondroitin sulphate, glucosamine sulphate and collagen as a benefit.


Why do you need Prebiotics? And other musings…

Why do you need Prebiotics?

They cultivate good bacteria in your gut and kill off the bad ones. A healthy balance of good bacteria means you’ll have a better immune system, absorb nutrients more efficiently (especially calcium), and improve your bowel health.

Why do we need Calcium?

We all know that calcium is good for the bones. It is also essential for your metabolism and muscles, it protects your heart and improves premenstrual moods. Too little calcium and your body can soon be in a mess, but if you overdose on it you won’t absorb nutrients properly.

Why do we need Cranberries?

Cranberries inhibit bacteria at work in your body and helps reduce inflammation. The knock on effect has been linked to heart health, kidney stones, urinary health, gum disease and cancer.

Why do you need Flaxseed?

For Omega 3 apart from anything else. It has been found to have an impact on the symptoms of arthritis, colitis, cancer, heart disease and even acne. Flaxseed helps your hormone levels and is a natural way to normalize the menstrual cycle, manage menopause, and lower the risk of osteoporosis, cancer and heart disease.

How can you get them?

Calciflax is a new food supplement from Lifestream which is 100% natural and has Calcium, Flaxseed, Prebiotics and Cranberries in it. It is ethically made and can easily be added to cereals or smoothies, yoghurts and salads.

If you’re interested, take a look

Ease pain with natural herbal formula, for sports injury or aching joints

Everyone has been impressed.

I’ve been cycling two hours to work lately. But I had to do something after spraining my ankles. I couldn’t go running any more and I needed to exercise somehow, so I turned to cycling.

But in spraining my ankles I’ve learnt a lot of lessons the hard way.

The most important one is, if you’re in pain DON’T push it!

I’d read about RICE before (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate) – it’s what you’re supposed to do to an injury to minimise long term damage. (Recently, a St John’s Ambulance trainer told me that the compress bit has changed to “make comfortable” – I’m not sure why – maybe because you have to be careful not to damage the wound when you compress it?)

But as much as I knew about RICE I didn’t really follow it and, through overdoing it, my ankle swelled up nicely.

So, you’ll forgive me for being extra interested in Biofreeze – a pain relieving spray, roll on or gel.

Biofreeze helps you get back on your feet
Biofreeze helps you get back on your feet

The purpose of the ice treatment is to stop inflamation. Recommendations for this vary but the common advice is to apply an ice pack for 20 minutes every couple of hours for 1-2 days. Immediately you’ll realise why Biofreeze is so useful: as a handy application it does the same job as ice but provides you with much more convenience.

You will however still need to rest until you can use the wounded part of your body without too much pain. I hope to keep some of this stuff in my desk at work so that I can continue to use it for sports injuries when I need to. I’d also like to tell my boss that it’s necessary for me to put my feet up at work too (elevation), but she’d probably say to me to ‘get on yer bike’.

In addition to the active cooling ingredient in Biofreeze, Isopropyl Alcohol, Biofreeze also uses herbal extracts to promote fast, deep and lasting pain relief. It promises not to burn you like other ice treatments and it won’t stain your clothing.

Of course, relief from pain is needed in lots of other situations:

If I follow the advice I should stay healthy for some time and eventually I’d like to get back to the running. But I’m a bit more cautious now.

Stock up on cherry juice for winter

Acerola Cherry - great for Vit C
Acerola Cherry - great for Vit C

We are officially now in the lead up to winter and no doubt coughs and colds will soon be rife.

A good boost to the immune system can be gained from a juice rich in vitamin C and Biona Acerola Juice contains plenty of this!

It is a pure juice containing no added sugar, made simply from the acerola cherry fruit that has a vitamin C content 20 times richer than an orange or lemon. It is also a good natural source of antioxidants, vitamin A, iron and calcium.

As a superjuice containing melatonin it has also been known to serve as a natural sleep aid.

Tart Cherry - good for arthritis
Tart Cherry - good for arthritis

Biona Tart Cherry Juice is another organic fruit juice not made from concentrate.

Known to help promote a healthy heart, joints, muscles, and the immune system, this juice offers a multitude of health benefits particularly against inflammation caused by gout and other forms of arthritis.

As a bottled juice the nutritional benefits of cherries are available in a form that is easier and tastier than taking supplements.

More Vitamin D could protect you from disease

Vitamin D works with your cells to protect you from a number of diseases. In fact the list of illnesses it is known that Vitamin D can help with is still growing.

Multiple sclerosis, diabetes, cancers, rheumatoid arthritis – all of these can now be conected to a deficiency in Vitamin D. The sunshine vitamin is also known to help, in some cases significantly, with osteoporosis, immunity, muscular pain, coronary illness and depression.

As an anti-depressant, Vitamin D can reduce depression and enhance your mood, sociability and overall sense of wellbeing. Yet more than half the UK population is deficient in this vitamin.

If you live north of Birmingham you won't get enough Vitamin D from the sun in the winter
If you live north of Birmingham you won't get enough Vitamin D from the sun in the winter

And, this is interesting, if you live roughly north of Birmingham (above 52 degrees north) your body will not be able to make Vitamin D in the winter because of the lack of sunlight. In fact, a key reason why so many people developed rickets during the industrial revolution was because everywhere was covered in dense smog.

So how do you get more of the vitamin?

As well as sunlight Vitamin D can also be gained from fish and shellfish, and a little from eggs, dairy produce and green vegetables. But there are calls for the RDA of Vitamin D to be increased because it is such a significant health-giving nutrient.

But, given that so many people suffer from a lack of this sun-sourced friend, it’s useful to take Vitamin D in tablet form. A good vegan source of Vitamin D can be found in Viridian Vitamin D2.

Nutritionally us ladies may be a little lacking…

ladies need mineralsAre you female and ever get leg cramps, foot pain or muscle ‘twitches’? Insomnia, migraine headaches or lack of energy? Chances are you could be deficient in magnesium.

Are you female and find you are prone to hair loss? Or maybe you have  poor skin, frequent diarrhoea; your sleeping is irregular and listless and your wounds take quite a while to heal properly? If any of this sounds familiar chances are you may have zinc deficiency.

I don’t want to be alarmist but recent published research by the dietician Dr. Carrie Ruxton & researcher Dr. Emma Derbyshire of Manchester Metropolitan University shows that if you are female the likelihood is that you have several nutritional deficiencies. Here is the low down:

The results show that in 11-18year olds –

50%  are short of magnesium (stored in our muscles and needed for , energy production, muscle function, bone formation, creation of new cells, activation of B vitamins, relaxation of muscles, and also assists in the proper functioning of the heart, kidneys, adrenals, brain and nervous system)

25% lack zinc (Zinc is essential for cellular metabolism, for a good immune system [hence you take a little if you have a cold], our bodies use of protein, wound healing, cell division, normal growth and development during pregnancy, childhood, and adolescence and is required for proper sense of taste and smell)

30% are short of potassium ( maintains the water and acid balance in our blood and tissue cells, assists in muscle building, and transmits electrical signals between cells and nerves. If you have deficiency you may have muscle weakness, fatigue and slow reflexes. )

16% are short of iodine (iodine is the thyroid mineral, so feeling tired, lack of energy? mmmmm could it be lack of iodine?)

50%  lack iron (that’s an awful lot of us who may be anaemic)

In the 19-30 age group-

20%  lack iron

11% are short of vitamin B2;

80% of women are short of vitamin D.

Over 65’s

60% of the over 65s are short of vitamin D.

All in all I’m off to get myself a good all in one nutritional boost. But that is not the total answer, our western diets mean that we consume too much salt and saturated fat at the expense of fibre, fruit and veg and foods that give us omega oils. There is never any replacement for eating a good and varied diet crammed with all that is good for us – fruit and veg, oily fish, nuts and seeds. These should form the foundation of our diets, but even then, poor soils and pollution mean even our fruit and vegetables can be nutritionally starved. So, what with that and our busy lives, maybe a little boost is needed. It certainly is for me.

Take a look at the range of mega multi vitamins and minerals available Free Delivery

Cherry Active is a winner

CherryActive Concentrate and capsules are well known for their benefits to sports people for joint mobility and muscle recovery, as well as aiding regular sleep patterns. CherryActive is, in fact a firm favourite and has been a well established nutritional supplement and well acclaimed anti-oxidant for a while.

Tart Cherry Juice

So what is the news?  Cherry Active has recently been voted the best supplement for 2009.  Acclaimed for the things mentioned above, CherryActive is made from the Montmorency Cherry, or Tart Cherry. It is processed using special techniques which optimise their powerful antioxidant properties. These tart cherries are such a rich, natural source of anti-oxidants and flavonoids that just 30ml of Cherry Active has been shown to have the antioxidant capacity of over 20 typical portions of fruit and veg. No wonder it was a winner.

Cherry Active product range is quite varied to suit all needs:

Cherry Active Juice 946ml

Cherry Active Juice concentrate 473 ml

Cherry Active OAD caps 30 c

Cherry Active OAD caps 60 c