Get the right nutrient mix for a power boost for your body

I don’t know if you’re a pill-type person…

My confession is that I am.

I don’t mind taking a vitamin or some other little tablet to boost my health, and the strength of the supplement industry shows I’m not alone.

Bioglan deliver unique mixes of nutrients for your health
Bioglan deliver unique mixes of nutrients for your health

Bioglan are a company who sell themselves on the basis of being “serious about health”. As I get older, their newest products are beginning to look more attractive.

For me their best selling points are the unique mixes of nutrients designed to help the body and the transparent information on their packaging.

Consider…

Super Fish Oil 30s 
Capsules designed to be high in EPA and DHA Omega 3 fatty acids and deliberately coated for release in the intestines where they can be more easily absorbed. Also preventing a fishy after taste.

Red Krill Oil
Again designed to be better absorbed, krill oil is 10 times more powerful than a standard fish oil capsule.

Joint-Aid Triple Action
Combines three important and powerful nutrients help maintain healthy joints: glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM (methyl sulfonyl methane)

Probiotic Gastrohealth
Contains 4 strains of probiotic that can help sustain a healthy level of friendly bacteria.

Stat-Guard
Uses CoQ10, vitamin E and zinc to support cardiovascular health and  metabolism which can be affected by statins.

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Simple basic changes to help with heart disease

When facing heart disease there are some things you need to sort out.

Making simple changes can help you beat the odds against heart disease which is, at the end of the day, a leading cause of death.

  • Get smoke-free
    Quit smoking and stay clear of cigarette smoke to lower your risk of a few types of cardiovascular disease
  • Watch what you eat
    Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, pulses, whole grains, fish, and avoid fats from meat, dairy, and processed foods high in hydrogenated oils
  • Stay active
    Couch potatoes have increased cardiovascular disease risk, so make sure you get regular exercise
  • Get tested
    See your doctor to find out if you have problems with high blood pressure or high blood levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, or glucose

It’s a good idea to chat with your doctor and get fully up to scratch on maintaining heart health with information from groups like The British Heart Foundation.

SUPPLEMENTS
When it comes to supplements various nutritional aids are thought to be helpful such as Co-enzyme q10, L-carnitine and Taurine.

Higher Nature, a group dedicated to providing the best, natural, most effective supplements have three products which are all, in some way, thought to help reduce heart disease.

  • First up there’s Red Sterol Complex which is made from red yeast rice extract, which contains lovastatin (or statins as they are popularly known). This can be used to help lower unhelpful cholesterol in the body. (See NHS report)
  • Next, there’s Organic Flax Seed Oil which in rich in Omega 3. Having a diet which is high in Omega 3 is recommended for a healthy heart.
  • Finally there’s Maxi Multi, a good old multivitamin and mineral. It should be noted that B vitamins, vitamin C, E and A and magnesium have all been thought to be beneficial to heart health.

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

Cholesterol

Cholesterol is not itself fat, but a fat-soluble substance that normally combines with fats in the blood. It is essential to the human body but there is no need for us to consume it in our diet because the body itself can usually manufacture enough to meet its needs for cellular health, good digestion, hormone production and other bodily functions.

Because it does not dissolve in the blood, cholesterol is transported around the body by linking with fat and protein to form a lipoprotein. It is the proportion of cholesterol to protein in these combination molecules that determines their effect on the body. If the cholesterol proportion is high, the density decreases. Low Density Lipoproteins (LDLs) tend to clump together and cling to the walls of the arteries, forming a thick, hard deposit that can eventually clog the blood vessel and restrict the flow of oxygenated blood. This condition is termed atherosclerosis and can lead to heart attack or stroke.

High Density Lipoproteins (HDLs) on the other hand seem to do the opposite. They actually remove cholesterol from the artery walls and return it to the liver for disposal. It’s not surprising therefore that LDL, which contributes significantly to hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) is widely dubbed the “bad” cholesterol and HDL the “good” cholesterol.

Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is the biggest cause of death in the UK, taking one in five women and one in four men. There is a clear link between these horrifying statistics and the fact that the average blood cholesterol level in the UK is one of the highest in the world – 5.8mmol/litre compared to, say 4.2mmol/litre in China. What is even more surprising though is that every time our cholesterol level drops by 1%, our risk of heart disease falls by 2%. If this is the case, why aren’t we all doing more to cut our own risk?

Perhaps the principal reason is that we don’t even know we’re at risk. Atherosclerosis remains an invisible problem until an affected artery becomes so clogged with sludgy cholesterol that heart attack or stroke occurs “out of the blue.”

Another reason is that it is not obvious which foods contribute to raising blood cholesterol levels. Eggs, prawns, shrimps and organ meats like liver actually contain natural cholesterol and are best avoided if your cholesterol level is very high. However, if they are eaten, it is thought that the body simply compensates by producing less cholesterol in the liver. The real baddies in terms of cholesterol are saturated fats, the prime sources of which are dairy products, animal fats and tropical oils like palm and coconut. These all raise levels of LDL cholesterol, while polyunsaturated fats like vegetable oils lower both “good” and “bad” cholesterol and monounsaturated fats like olive oil reduce “bad” cholesterol and, at the same time help to protect levels of the “good” HDL cholesterol.

As well as restricting intake of the wrong types of fat, cholesterol levels can also be controlled by reducing its absorption in the gut. Fibre in fruit and vegetables helps to do this by speeding the passage of foods through the intestine but high amounts of fibre will reduce HDL as well as LDL cholesterol.

The most valuable dietary components for reducing cholesterol levels are plant sterols and plant stanols. Sterols are a natural part of the cell membrane in both plants and animals, cholesterol being exclusively an animal sterol. Plant stanols, less common in nature are produced by hydrogenating sterols and the term sterols is generally used as a generic term to encompass both. Because plant sterols are structurally very similar to cholesterol, they reduce the absorption of cholesterol by competing for the limited sites for take-up in the gut. The result is a lower concentration of cholesterol in the bloodstream.

Unfortunately, plant sterols are easily destroyed during food processing and, as a consequence, we generally don’t consume anywhere near as many as we should. Studies indicate that consuming 2g per day of plant sterols can significantly reduce LDL cholesterol while retaining HDL levels and produce a 25% reduction in the risk of heart disease. The average daily intake in the UK is a pitiful 167mg.

These precious plant sterols can now be taken as a food supplement. Lestrin tablets contain beta-sitosterol and beta-sitostanol, the most abundant forms in the same amounts used in recent studies. Taking two tablets twice a day with meals will help to reduce LDL cholesterol levels and the intake may be reduced to two tablets per day for a maintenance dose

Men’s Health

Are you a man? Do you care about one? Do you know what health problems they have, or could have, or how to tackle them?… Natural Lifestyle finds out.

What all men need to know…

From an early age, men need to start taking good care of themselves. Research studies have highlighted stark differences in men and women’s health, and it makes a surprising read. Men are slightly more likely to smoke than women, men are more likely than women to be overweight, men are about three times more likely to kill themselves than women, men are more likely than women to drink alcohol excessively and men are more likely to use illegal drugs. But why?

Is it that men are still brought up to believe that they must be strong and tough, and behave as if they are indestructible? What’s more, men don’t need to see a doctor to get contraception, have smears, see a midwife or have mammograms. And even when they do want to see a doctor, most GP’s surgeries only open at times when men are likely to be at work. Are we surprised, then, that many men turn to natural health products to manage health conditions?

Whilst this should be no substitute for proper medical care, there are some useful remedies and recommendations that could help.

Looking after your heart…

If you’ve got a family history of heart trouble, it makes sense to take good care of your own. More exercise, a healthy diet and stopping smoking are essential for heart health. Nutritional supplements based on antioxidant nutrients such as vitamins A, C, E, selenium, magnesium and sometimes plant extracts such as quercetin or pycnogenol, which guard against free radical build-up (a precursor to development of atherosclerotic plaques) should be considered. If you have high blood pressure, don’t forget low sodium products as re placers for table salt, and advise men to jazz up their diets with a few spices just to keep food interesting. Other formulations that might be recommended to you by a healthcare practitioner include:

  • A supplement containing vitamin B12, B6 and folic acid will reduce heart disease risk (by keeping levels to homocysteine in the blood low).
  • Vitamin E (at least 400iu daily) should be taken to reduce risk of heart attack in those with established heart trouble.
  • Olive oil capsules were launched onto the market about four years ago and help displace high intakes of saturated fats in the blood, as well as decreasing “bad” LDL cholesterol, and increasing “good” HDL cholesterol. Other options for cholesterol balance include: red yeast rice, beta sitosterol, octosanol, wild yam and artichoke.
  • Fish oils at around SOOOmg daily (in split intakes of 1000mg) can also be chosen and linseeds also have a good ratio of omega 3 oils, so should be eaten in the diet, as should soya products, which provide isoflavones which are heart protective.

Never forget your nethers!

When it comes to prostate and sexual health, it really is important that men realise that modern lifestyles and diet have been taking their toll. Lack of exercise (which promotes healthy circulation, a factor in reproductive health) and poor diet has led to what the papers called the “great sperm disaster”. Sperm counts are getting lower, and the emphasis should shift from formulations which promise men they’ll reach new heights in the bedroom, to an overall health and diet plan including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, organic foods, plenty of nuts, pulses and the famous pumpkin seeds which are rich in minerals especially zinc for healthy sperm formation and prostate health).

Other items of interest

Take a look at what manufacturers have to offer:

  • Some formulations are broad spectrum, including all major vitamins and minerals for general health, with enhanced levels of zinc, vitamin E, possibly B vitamins for energy, antioxidant nutrients and amino acids such as arginine and glycine.(These nutrients are often recommended in higher amounts for infertility).
  • Look for products that may be specific to reproductive health, including herbs such as Africanum pygeum (frequency of urination and inflammation), ginger or ginkgo biloba (circulation), Korean ginseng (sexual performance – especially erectile dysfuntion).
  • Many products are marketed for prostate health in later life for urinary tract infections or Benign Prostatic Hyerplasia (think of Saw Palmetto, which can be used for male urinary discomfort).
  • Soya supplements may be specifically marketed for helping to maintain healthy prostate, as research shows a clear link between intake of isoflavones and prostate cancer risk. These formulations are often based on Red Clover.

Anxiety, stress and depression

At any one time in the UK, 45% of those being treated for anxiety are men, and 40% of those for depression.

Natural therapies can work wonders for stress-related conditions, taking a holistic approach to stress, anxiety and depression, including aromatherapy, acupuncture, t’ai chi, reflexology and are sure to recognise how popular medical herbalism has been for these conditions (think of the role of St John’s Wort, Kava Kava and ginseng to name just three). Nutritional programmes where caffeine is cut out (recommend caffeine free drinks), plenty of slow-release carbohydrates (recommend beans and pulses) and an all-round healthier diet (plenty of organic produce, fruit and vegetables) will help. There are many “hectic lifestyle”, “busy people’s” formulations – which are essentially designed for stress (though not allowed to say it) that you can suggest and will often include increased levels of B vitamins and antioxidants. As well as tackling the stress itself, manage a poor diet, which is often a knock-on effect from lack of interest in, or time to prepare good meals. Flower remedies may be used for emotional/mental aspects of stress, anxiety and depression and Australian Bush Flower Essences can be recommended for people who are always over-committed and who need to mate time for themselves and their relaxation.

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