Top Five Natural Remedies for Immune Support

Written by Glynis Barber on . Posted in Ageless - Articles, Health

Taking control of one’s own health is a very empowering thing. As viruses spread at an alarming rate around the globe and people everywhere are having to take time off work and are brought down by colds and flu multiple times a year, it’s really important to keep your immune system strong and healthy. If you do succumb to a virus, the doctor can do very little to help. However, there is much you can do for yourself, both to prevent and cure. Besides keeping yourself as fit and healthy as possible through exercise and good nutrition, the remedies below, as prescribed by nutritionist Fleur Borrelli, can do much to help.

(For more info on any of the supplements or to order just click on the name.)


Woman sneezingIf you are suffering from any of the symptoms below, it may be a sign that your immune system needs a little help:

  • Frequent colds and sore throats
  • Slow recovery
  • Inability to shift a virus
  • Fatigue or chronic fatigue
  • Lack of get up and go
  • Sugar cravings
  • Irritability
  • Slow wound healing

Your immune system can be challenged during the winter months due to the darker days and fewer opportunities to be outside. Fortunately help is at hand with the many natural remedies that contain endless health giving properties. Use them alongside a healthy diet to combat the coughs and colds of the season.

1.    Beta Glucans

Beta glucans are complex fibres from the cell walls of plants, fungi, yeasts and bacteria. Take them throughout winter as a preventative measure to help boost your own natural immunity and to kick start the body’s own defence systems. Alternatively use them when you feel the first stirrings of an upper –respiratory tract infection.

2.    Pelargonium Sidoides

Pelargonium Sidoides, an evergreen perennial plant indigenous to South Africa, is a traditional herbal medicinal product. There are a number of active polyphenol compounds in the extract including coumarins, flavonoids and tannins, with anti-bacterial and immune-modulatory effects. Use it to help combat some of the symptoms associated with an upper-respiratory tract infection such as a blocked or runny nose or sore throat. Unlike antibiotics, bacteria do not become resistant to it and it can fight viruses too. 

3.    Lactoferrin

 Lactoferrin is an immune complex that is produced naturally in mother’s milk. It helps to maintain a proper level of “good” bacteria in the intestinal tract, while controlling the number of “bad” bacteria.  Because of its versatility, lactoferrin can also be used as an anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic. It may also play an important role in the support of allergic disorders such as asthma, rhinitis and atopic dermatitis due to its ability to reduce oxidative-stress induced hypersensitivity.

4.    Resveratrol

 Resveratrol is polyphenolic compound found in purple grapes, red wine and some berries. It improves energy levels by increasing energy production in cells and decreasing the number of free-radicals produced in the process. It also helps to support a healthy body composition by encouraging the breakdown of fat for energy. It might even increase longevity by improving the body’s metabolism, defence and repair processes. Take it through the winter to significantly boost your immune system and may be even to help burn some of those extra calories.

Glynis- Resveratrol has the added benefit of being one of the best anti-ageing supplements there are. I use this in my daily regime.

5.    Reduced Glutathione

Glutathione, an antioxidant, can be found in all living organisms and cells of the body. In fact the glutathione antioxidant system is one of the best defence mechanisms we have against free radical effect. Take it in the reduced form if you wish to stimulate your immune system to protect against viral infections and help shift some of the toxicity that has built up over the Christmas period. With age, illness, stress, fatigue and physical exertion, your body’s own production of glutathione can be inadequate.

By using natural agents to support your immune health, eating a diet rich in fresh whole foods and drinking plenty of water you will sail through winter.

Just click on any of the supplements to place an order.

 

The Health & Beauty Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

Written by Glynis Barber on . Posted in Ageless - Articles, Health

I remember going through a phase a long time ago of drinking Apple cider vinegar in warm water every morning. I’d heard it was really good for you but had no idea why. I did it anyway but then got out of the habit. After reading what pharmacist Shabir Daya has to say about it, I think I’m going to start again. The benefits are so numerous it’s astonishing. 


 

shutterstock_209160016

Apple Cider Vinegar is perhaps one of the most chronicled natural remedies throughout human history.  The Babylonians, as far back as 5000 BC, used vinegar as a tonic, to add to food and as a pickling agent. Egyptian urns dating back to 3000 BC have been found to contain vinegar residues and Chinese historical documents dating back to 1200 BC featured the merits of vinegar’s benefits.

The health benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar are scientifically well founded and arise as a result of its source, apples.  Apples not only contain vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, but are also a great source of fibre.  Additionally, they contain virtually no fat or sodium.

High quality Apple Cider Vinegar is created from the fermentation of fresh, ripened apples and is especially potent if the fermentation process is left untouched.  Filtering and pasteurization can lead to poorer nutrient content. High quality unprocessed Apple Cider Vinegar not only contains all the goodness of apples but additionally contains enzymes and a spectrum of nutrients during the two fermentations required to turn apples into Apple Cider Vinegar.

The Health Benefits

People are often skeptical about the health benefits of something as common as Apple Cider Vinegar especially when it is used for so many ailments. Scientific research has in many cases proven that Apple Cider Vinegar does indeed help many concerns through a variety of its individual components. I am not going to go through all the reported benefits, however Apple Cider Vinegar does have some extraordinary benefits worth noting.

Apple Cider Vinegar can help restore normal acid levels in your digestive system and hence alleviate reflux and heartburn.  This sounds illogical because Apple Cider Vinegar is acidic in nature so why would you drink acid to counter hyperacidity. Although a full scientific study is yet to be carried out, it appears that taking a mildly acidic Apple Cider Vinegar diluted down helps to stop the acid producing cells from over-producing acid in much the same way as some of the proton pump inhibitors available on prescription.

Apple Cider Vinegar may help to protect our cells and their genetic material within our bodies. The results of several studies, although not completely conclusive, suggest that acetic acid in the vinegar could be the protective agent.  Some scientists seem to think that it is apple pectin and the polyphenols (antioxidants) which may be the protective compounds.  Irrespective of the compound, we know that Apple Cider Vinegar helps to protect our cells and this actually has a health and beauty aspect.

Preliminary studies have indicated that Apple Cider Vinegar can have a positive influence on maintaining healthy cholesterol levels in the body.  Pectin found in Apple Cider Vinegar is a soluble fibre that has been studied extensively for its ability to reduce high cholesterol significantly.

In the modern world, diabetes has become one of the leading causes of mortality due to the impact of elevated blood sugar levels.  Sugar destroys all the proteins within our bodies leading to the failure of the function of the glands including the heart, pancreas and so forth. This can lead to secondary diseases that are so common in diabetics.   Studies indicate that Apple Cider Vinegar, taken in conjunction with the last meal of the day, resulted in lower blood glucose levels the following morning.  It is theorized that the acetic acid found in Apple Cider Vinegar slows the digestion of starch leading to low sugar levels in the bloodstream.

The consequence of this property is significant and if you have a history of diabetes in the family or are already a type 2 diabetic, introducing Apple Cider Vinegar may be of real value in controlling your blood sugar levels especially because we know that drugs can only control blood sugar or even blood pressure often for a few hours only.  The typical way of taking Apple Cider Vinegar is to mix two teaspoons into a glass of water and to drink this before a major meal.

There are of course many other reported benefits of taking Apple Cider Vinegar and include:

Helps fight acne and spots.
When applied topically, it can help in eradicating warts.
Helps support the immune system to fight infection.
Relieves sunburn.
Encourages fat burning mode in the body and thus aids weight loss when used as part of a calorie controlled diet.
Relieves the pain of arthritis and gout.
Stimulates gastrointestinal motility to help those who are regularly constipated or have sluggish bowel movement.  Additionally, Apple Cider Vinegar cleanses the gut of harmful bacteria that may be responsible for a myriad of GI concerns.

These are just some of the benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar, but it also has some other benefits that may surprise you as outlined below:

In an age when many of us use styling products that tend to build-up on the strands of hair, Apple Cider Vinegar when used as a rinse washes away this build-up helping to restore shinier hair, reducing frizz and sealing the cuticle of the hair.

Apple Cider Vinegar when mixed with water and used as a gargle helps to destroy the bacteria responsible for bad breath and also helps break down plaque.

Using a couple of teaspoons of Apple Cider Vinegar in the bath helps draw out toxins leaving behind clearer, toned and moisturized skin.

Many women claim that drinking Apple Cider Vinegar helps maintain youthful skin and this may be because it contains a large number of minerals in particular potassium.  Potassium is required to build new soft tissues along with several other nutrients such as hyaluronic acid.  Aside from ageing tissues, Apple Cider Vinegar may also slow down the appearance and proliferation of age spots.

Which Apple Cider Vinegar ?

Apple Cider Vinegar is made from freshly crushed apples that are put into wooden barrels to allow for natural fermentation. The fermentation results in a natural rich brown colour.  When you pour some liquid and look at it through light, there should be some floating brownish particles.  This compound is termed the “mother” and as the Apple Cider Vinegar ages, more of the “mother” accumulates in the bottom. All of Apple Cider Vinegar’s nutritional properties and its benefits are associated with this “mother” substance.

The Apple Cider Vinegar, which is widely available, is clear and devoid of the nutritional “mother’ substance.  These products have been filtered and distilled to remove any particles and are pasteurized which is a heat process that destroys all the goodness.  Whilst many people associate clear apple cider vinegar as being healthy, this simply is not the case because the product has been stripped of its nutritional content.

I believe that with all the great benefits that Apple Cider Vinegar has to offer, we should incorporate it into our daily healthy regimen.  Being a liquid, it is versatile and can be easily incorporated with food or as a stand-alone.  I prefer Organic Apple Cider Vinegar by Higher Nature because it contains the “mother” substance from organic apples which have not been grown using pesticides or insecticides.

This content is not intended to replace conventional medical treatment. Any suggestions made and all herbs listed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, condition or symptom. Personal directions and use should be provided by a clinical herbalist or other qualified healthcare practitioner.

Winter Health

Written by Glynis Barber on . Posted in Ageless - Articles, Health

Winter is a tough time. Well not if you live in Los Angles or Cape Town or Miami or…… well loads of places but for most of Europe and many other places round the globe, winter is a time of colds, flu, low mood, and also weight gain. Why do these things happen and is there anything we can do to lessen the impact or even prevent it happening? 

Nutritionist, Fleur Borrelli, gives us a little biology lesson here that explains it all. And the good news? Yes there are natural and easy things to do that will help.


autumn leaves

Winter Health

Winter seems to challenge our capacity to live a ‘circadian-friendly’ life. Winter begins at the point at which the clocks are put back towards the end of October. The rationale for moving the clocks back and forth is that we make better use of the daylight hours and there is less demand for electricity usage and we therefore save energy. It was Benjamin Franklin who was said to have coined the proverb ‘Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.’

The problem is winter goes against our natural evolutionary rhythm! We now know through DNA evidence that we moved out of Africa around 60,000 years ago. It was while we were in Africa that we developed a ‘day/night’ rhythm because we would hunt during the day whilst the larger predators, lions and tigers, were asleep. We have kept this rhythm ever since. Whilst there have been some adaptations to living in the Northern Hemisphere, on the whole shorter daylight hours can bring disadvantages. This is because we have thirteen clock genes all regulated by the master clock gene in the brain – in the suprachiasmatic nucleus. All our cells, organs and tissues including our bones are dependent on us having exposure to a day- night rhythm. But in winter we tend to rely a lot more on artificial factors such as electricity and central heating and we have no exposure to sun. This can result in stress, depression and poor physiological health.

 

 Sleep disturbances

The pineal gland in the brain is there to sense light and darkness. When it senses darkness it produces melatonin. Melatonin regulates the ‘sleep-wake’ cycle by making us feel drowsy and ready for bed. It is also a ‘repair’ hormone because whilst we are asleep it acts as a free-radical scavenger as well as an immune system booster to counter the effects of inflammation. This ‘sleep-wake’ cycle can be disturbed particularly if we live in the city because we are potentially exposed to light twenty-four hours per day.   Not only is our sleep pattern disturbed but also the efficient functioning of every organ and system in our body including hormone balance and blood sugar control. Both insomnia and hypersomnia, sleeping too much, have been linked to coronary events. What we can do to support the production of melatonin is to ensure that at night we adopt a night-time rhythm to wind-down’. Ideally all computer and T.V. screens should be switched off an hour before bedtime and we read a book using low level lighting. Black-out blinds are also an effective tool to boost melatonin levels. Melatonin is produced from serotonin which in turn is produced from an amino acid, a building block of protein, called tryptophan. Food sources of tryptophan include chicken, turkey, banana, salmon, nuts and avocado. By eating some of these foods, particularly in the first part of the day, you may be improving not only your mood but also your sleep quality.

 

 Weight gain

Winter is associated with a tendency to put on weight. Typically in our evolutionary history winter was a time of compulsory fasting because of the lack of food. Our bodies were adequately prepared for this because we would be able to use stored fat and protein as an energy source. Nowadays winter is a time associated with high meal frequency and the overconsumption of high starchy carbohydrates such as cakes, bread and biscuits. Frequent intake of these high calorie foods will upset our blood sugar levels and weaken our immune system. We also become more sedentary over the winter period as it becomes less appealing to go out into the great outdoors. The less active we are the more prone we are to put on weight. This is made worse by our reliance on central heating. We are equipped to deal with the cold by shivering. What shivering does is activate what is known as brown adipose tissue (BAT) or ‘brown fat’. Brown fat, unlike white fat, is healthy because it gets broken down to produce heat in the body. The problem is that we are too reliant on central heating we lose our healthy brown fat and our ability to adjust to the cold in a process known as’ thermoregulation’. The trick to keeping your brown fat is by holding off for as long as possibly before turning the central heating on and only keeping it on for a small number of hours in the day. Certain nutrients such as green tea, the omega 3 fatty acid DHA and curcumin the active ingredient in turmeric can also support thermoregulation in winter.

(Glynis says – I religiously take omega 3, my favourite being Krill Oil and have recently started taking Curcumin as it is very anti-inflammatory. Most of us have some sort of inflammation to a greater or lesser degree which can cause health conditions as well as accelerated ageing, and we can’t have that can we??)

 

The winter blues

Depression and anxiety disorders tend to manifest in winter. Good mood depends on a number of substances being made available to the body and one of these is vitamin D. Vitamin D is formed from cholesterol when sunlight hits our skin. Vitamin D alongside DHA as well as vitamin A modulate genes responsible for brain structure, energy metabolism and brain function. In fact vitamin D affects the function of almost all organs in the brain and could be considered an anti-depressant. It is therefore advisable to supplement this vitamin during the winter months as well as eating a diet rich in oily fish and yellow and orange root vegetables such as squash and carrot.

(Glynis says – Vitamin D is one of the most important supplements to take and particularly in winter. I swear by it. It’s important to take Vitamin D3 along with Vitamin K2.  If you have to have a blood test for any reason, ask your doctor to include a vitamin D test. I take a high dosage in winter, 5,000 – 10,000 mg to keep my levels normal.)

 

Fleur Borrelli

What Are Bio-Identical Hormones?

Written by Glynis Barber on . Posted in Ageless - Articles, Health

Hormones! Like it or not, we women are a slave to them. They can play havoc with our lives and make us utterly miserable.  As they decline all sorts of mayhem ensues and did you know waning oestrogen levels ages us and contributes to wrinkly, dry skin? Life is so unfair isn’t? But……..all is not lost. There are things we can do to help at all stages of our lives (let’s not forget PMT!).

I myself began using Bio-Identical Hormones in my 40’s. I use it in the form of a cream that I rub into different body parts. It’s gentle and mild and I have always presumed safe. I think I was a bit ahead of my time as it wasn’t even available in the UK then and had to be purchased from Europe. It has recently become available here but should always be administered under the directions of a doctor. 

I am delighted that Dr Rajendra Sharma has written a piece on this important subject specially for Ageless.

Bee Sting Therapy

Written by Glynis Barber on . Posted in Ageless - Articles, Health

I was intrigued to hear that many people, Gwyneth Paltrow included, have been using some sort of bee therapy for health and beauty purposes. What on earth does this entail I wonder? Smothering skin in honey or maybe swallowing bee venom or maybe getting stung (yikes) for therapeutic purposes? I asked Tara Heath, based in Cailfornia, to find out what all the buzz is about? 

The answer to back pain?

Written by Glynis Barber on . Posted in Ageless - Articles, Health

Women with back acheAs you may know, a few months ago I put myself into a self imposed bootcamp. For 6 weeks I ate mostly protein, vegetables and a bit of fruit and worked out twice weekly with trainer Rhys Brooks.

I’ve always worked out, doing regular trips to the gym as well as yoga. The difference was that I had Rhys twice a week instead of once a month or so, when he would give me a program which I would follow until I saw him again. The only problem was that I used to cheat! If he had put 3 sets of an exercise, I would do 2 because I was in a hurry or feeling a bit tired. If he said do a bench press with 8kg weights, I would use 6kg because, well, because 8kg felt a bit heavy!

Working out with Rhys twice a week was a bit of a shock to the system. He is that odd mixture of being the nicest, sweetest, most lovely man while at the same time being the toughest trainer who shows no mercy. He gave me weights so heavy that I feared for my joints. I’ve always had lower back pain and it takes a lot of maintenance and care to keep it manageable. Same with my knees. I kept saying that I felt the weights were too heavy or the angle of the lift too awkward for my back to handle. However he insisted it would all be fine. And the amazing thing is, it was fine. As well as all the other many benefits from my bootcamp, the one I didn’t expect, was that my back and all my joints were going to vastly improve. It took me awhile to realise just how incredible this improvement actually was. 

I have a great physio who I usually visit every few weeks to keep my back from spasming up and causing pain. Since I began my bootcamp 4 months ago, I’ve been to see him once. And other than that one time, my back has been pain free. For the first time since I can remember. As anyone with back pain will understand, this is a joyous result.

What is sweating all about?

Written by Glynis Barber on . Posted in Ageless - Articles, Health

After recently looking at the difference between Bikram and Hot Yoga, both of which leave you sweating buckets, it seems only logical that we should look at sweat! Is a regular heavy sweat good for you? Does it really detoxify you as claimed? OR not at all as one of my hot yoga teachers boldly declared to the class after just having made us sweat so much that my towel was literally soaked! 

I asked nutritionist Fleur Borrelli to give us the sweaty low down.

(And guess what? That yoga teacher was wrong! Turns out sweating is more important than ever as the world has become more and more toxic due to man made chemical overload!)


 

Sauna Interior- is sweating good for you?Incredibly we have around two to four million sweat glands that become fully active once we reach puberty. Sweat glands are tubular structures of the skin that produce sweat. What may be surprising is that women may have more sweat glands than their male counterparts but men’s can certainly be more active(1)! Because sweat is produced when our autonomic nervous system is activated, it is not something we can consciously control. For some this may be an uncomfortable reality but it does have many benefits.

The smelly sweat comes from apocrine glands which are located in the scalp, armpits and groin. Apocrine sweat is a fat-infused liquid which is consumed by bacteria which causes the smell. Throughout evolution we have always coexisted with bacteria in mutually beneficial ways. This type of sweat tends to be emitted when we are under emotional distress and may as hunter gatherers have been a way of warning predators of our distinct presence. However some studies show that apocrine secretion is linked to our immune system and may be a way for a woman to be able to affirm that her selected mate is immunologically different from herself thereby offering the best chance for the survival of our species. In one such study, a group of female college students were given T-shirts worn by male students for two nights in a row and asked to select the T-shirt that smelled the best. They all chose T-shirts representing different immunological properties from their own (2).

Eccrine glands, on the other hand, can be found all over the body with the highest concentration in the palms of our hands and the soles of our feet. This type of sweat is made up of water and electrolytes such as sodium, chloride and potassium. The primary purpose of these glands is to help us to maintain a stable core body temperature – around 37 degrees celsius. This is all controlled by a thermostat in the brain called the hypothalamus. On a hot day, temperature receptors in the skin send signals to the hypothalamus to cool us down by increasing the sweat rate. It does this by increasing blood flow to the skin to stimulate sweat glands – all cleverly designed to stop us overheating. When we used to move around for food, this sweat would have remained on the surface of our skin evaporating to keep us cool.

Nowadays our chemical exposure is huge and sweating has never been so important.   It is a means of getting rid of some of our toxic load through the skin through a process known as detoxification. Despite the fact that in the last fifty years 50 million or so new chemicals have been created by man, detoxification, is not recognised by modern medicine as a process that needs supporting. It is a normal function of the body and something we naturally do via our liver, our kidneys and skin. However medical textbooks do not take into account that genetically we are back in the Stone Age and then we did not have the huge amounts of environmental toxins that are around now. We really do need to sweat and there is strong science to show how we can release heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium, lead and even mercury through our skin(3)! And one particularly disruptive twenty-first century chemical, Bisphenol A, has also been found in sweat suggesting that sweating may be an effective means of getting rid of it (4).

All around the world, people since ancient times have used ‘sweat baths’ as a means of keeping clean. These have included Turkish baths, Finnish baths, saunas and steam rooms. Exercise too will bring a sweat on, particularly if done in a heated environment such as Bikram or hot yoga. One particular type of sauna is getting a lot of attention currently and that is Far Infrared Sauna (FIR) (5). Far infrared rays constitute the main energy source of the sun and warm our skin when we sit in it. The rays penetrate several centimetres below and heat up subcutaneous tissue. With enough rays on the skin, the skin will sweat and chemicals from the subcutaneous tissue will be mobilised and passed out. This is often a more gentle way of shifting chemicals for those who are very sensitive because it does not allow them to escape back into the bloodstream only to be trapped somewhere else.

Given the right conditions, we can literally sweat buckets. However it is important to remember that for that to happen safely, we need to be well hydrated in the first the place. For those who engage in endurance activity or hot yoga, it may also be prudent to drink a coconut water or add some electrolytes such as Elete into your water afterwards (6).

  1. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003218.htm
  2. http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/260/1359/245
  3. J Environ Public Health. 2012; 2012: 184745.
  4. J Environ Public Health. 2012;2012:185731.
  5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infrared_sauna.

Fleur Borrelli

 

Ways To Boost Your Immunity This Summer

Written by Glynis Barber on . Posted in Ageless - Articles, Health

Is it  just me or do more and more people seem to be getting colds and flu during the summer? And not just in the UK but everywhere. The last time I visited South Africa (during their summer) I was absolutely amazed at how many people were ill. It seemed like the entire population had a nasty virus whilst under a bright blue sunny sky.

Here, nutritionist Fleur Borrelli, explains what’s going on and what we can do to minimise the risk of falling prey to summer colds.

How to Avoid Bloating and Indigestion

Written by Glynis Barber on . Posted in Ageless - Articles, Health

Ok this is going to be a bit like a biology lesson so get a nice cup of tea, snuggle up and concentrate. Digestive enzymes are very important and decline rapidly with age, stress, if you don’t chew your food properly or if your nutrition is poor. Fortunately you can take Digestive Enzymes as a supplement and I now take them with each meal (see which ones below). They are, however, important for everyone, and lack of them can cause nasty day to day problems. Who hasn’t suffered from bloating? An uncomfortable and totally unattractive occurrence! Ignore this at your peril!

Pharmacist Shabir Daya tells it like it is.


Do You Experience Bloating, Gas Or Indigestion?

Peas in a pod!

Bloating is a very common and annoying concern; occasional bloating may be attributable to over-eating or eating foods that do not agree with you, however constant bloating may be associated with hormonal insufficiency, irritable bowel syndrome, food intolerances and high stress levels, to name just a few.  At the centre of all of this is our digestive system:

What exactly is the role of the digestive system?

Our bodies obtain nutrients from foods that are broken down efficiently by digestive enzymes, which are released as soon as we ingest food. The effects of improper digestion are widespread and include feeling lethargic, uncomfortable, a bulging stomach, bloating, rumbling or gas and wind.

It is often said that ‘you are what you eat’ and whilst this remains true to a certain extent, what is equally important is the state of your digestive system. Even if you were to eat a healthy, nutritious meal, if your digestive system is not functioning at its optimal level, then the body will not receive all the nutrients that it depends upon. Every single cell within the human body depends upon the supply of vital nutrients and an optimal digestive system depends upon the production of digestive enzymes.

So what are digestive enzymes?

Enzymes are necessary for all functions carried out within our bodies.  Currently, more than 3000 enzymes have been identified and experts believe that there are literally thousands of enzymes that have yet to be identified. Such is the complexity of the human body.

Enzymes basically act as catalysts working to quicken any process that they are involved in.  Every organ, tissue and cells have their own specific enzymes designed to carry out appropriate processes. Without enzymes one would not be able to digest food, breathe, move or even think.

We are constantly being reminded about drinking plenty of water, eating high fibre foods and consuming lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and yet large numbers of the population still experience constant bloating, gas and indigestion.   The reason could be the lack of digestive enzymes.  Our bodies require sufficient amounts of digestive enzymes to break down food as it passes through the gastrointestinal tract.  The foods we eat require to be broken down into smaller bits in order to obtain nutrients from them. They are generally grouped as containing fats, proteins, carbohydrates, fibres and other components.   As soon as we ingest food, these digestive enzymes are released in the small intestine from the liver, gall bladder and pancreas.  Digestive enzymes are specialised proteins and can be generally classified as:

Proteases to break down proteins
Lipases to break down fats
Amylases to break down carbohydrates

Digestive enzymes are produced naturally by the body but their production can diminish for several reasons including:

  • Ageing – as we age, our production of digestive enzymes diminishes.
  • Stress because our bodies are not equipped to digest food under stressful conditions.
  • Poor eating habits such as not chewing food properly or rushing through meals.
  • Imbalanced diets that do not have the right mix of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
  • Eating insufficient raw foods which contain naturally occurring enzymes.
  • Inadequate vitamin and mineral levels
  • Exposure to artificial colours and preservatives.

With so many factors affecting digestive enzymes, is it a surprise that vast numbers of the population suffer from minor digestive concerns?

Healthy EatingMost people neglect the first step of digestion and that is to chew food thoroughly.  Chewing food thoroughly has great benefits by breaking down food into smaller particles that are easier to digest, by stimulating the flow of saliva which has its own digestive enzymes and the actual action of chewing sends signals to the pancreas and other digestive organs to ensure digestive enzyme production.  By the same token, do not chew gum because this fools the digestive organs into releasing digestive enzymes resulting in possible glandular exhaustion.

If you do not have sufficient digestive enzymes then taking the above steps will have no major benefits from the relief of bloating, occasional constipation, reflux, abdominal discomfort and other related issues.  I am not going to bore you with all the individual digestive enzymes and their role in great detail except to say that the use of a digestive enzyme supplement can help and may put less strain on the digestive system.

Digestive Enzyme Production Declines from the age of 20!

An incredible statement, studies indicate that the body’s natural digestive enzyme production starts to decline by the time you reach 20.  These studies further indicate that digestive enzyme production decreases by an average of 12% with every ten years of age so that by the time you reach your forties, it is roughly 25% of when you are young.  To make matters worse, hydrochloric acid production in the stomach also declines with age and this is crucial for activating all of the stomach’s digestive enzymes.  This digestive enzyme depletion can not only result in many of the digestive concerns such as bloating and gas but it can result in nutrient depletion in the body and there are several studies that show that using digestive enzymes can increase nutrient absorption by hundreds of percentages.

Digestive Enzymes help to reduce inflammation

In addition to playing a role in digestion, digestive enzymes also help to reduce inflammation in the body and speed healing after surgery.  In general, protein digesting enzymes can help to prevent tissue damage, inflammation and swelling.  Inflammation is linked to virtually every single chronic disease that affect our bodies including heart disease, poor cognitive function and joint function.

 Super Digestive Enzymes

There are hundreds of digestive enzyme supplements on the market and many people find it difficult to choose which one to take.  I am a great fan of Life Extension, a pioneering research based company and I have no hesitation in recommending Super Digestive Enzymes.  This digestive enzyme supplement fits my criteria because:

  • Super Digestive Enzymes contains a mixture of enzymes to break down all the food groups.
  • It contains the enzyme activity rather than just the weight of each ingredient.
  • It contains the optimal strengths of digestive enzymes to help break down foods without affecting the body’s own digestive enzyme production.
  • It is from a very reputable and research orientated company, and is easy to use.
  • Super Digestive Enzymes are free from known allergens such as dairy, wheat, yeast, shellfish, artificial flavours, colours and preservatives.

Conclusion

Eating a balanced diet all the time is next to impossible for most of us on a daily basis.  If we ate a diet of raw and whole foods only, which contain naturally occurring enzymes, then our bodies would not need to work overtime to produce more nor would we end up with digestive exhaustion.  Instead we are, for all the reasons mentioned within the article, putting a huge burden on our digestive system.

Most of us would benefit from the use of Super Digestive Enzymes because this supplement will help:

  • Break down all food types efficiently thus helping to prevent bloating and many digestive concerns including constipation.
  • Enhance energy production
  • Fight infections through their effect on immunity
  • Speed healing time of tissues
  • Fight inflammation in the body
  • Enhance vitamin and mineral absorption in the body
  • May help to regulate cholesterol and triglyceride levels
This content is not intended to replace conventional medical treatment. Any suggestions made and all herbs listed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, condition or symptom. Personal directions and use should be provided by a clinical herbalist or other qualified healthcare practitioner.

The Importance of Bacteria

Written by Glynis Barber on . Posted in Ageless - Articles, Health

Bacteria have been on this earth longer than humans and were indeed one of the first life forms on the planet. They are very resilient and have even been known to flourish on manned spacecraft. We tend to think of them as gross, dirty and bad.  Some, indeed, are very dangerous but others are vital to our survival and to our well being. Looking after your gut bacteria can actually transform your health. However, getting the balance right can be very difficult and it’s resulted in numerous health problems for many people (maintaining a healthy weight without this balance is impossible for example). Probiotics can be very helpful to achieve this, especially if you often use antibiotics which upsets the balance of bacteria in the gut. I make sure I use antibiotics very rarely and take probiotics every day.

Here nutritionist, Fleur Borrelli, explains why bacteria are so vital.

(She advises that many probiotics aren’t up to the task but recommends the one I use which is Mega Probiotic-ND and also Bio-Kult Advanced Probiotic.)