How Hormone Therapy Can Slow Down Ageing-Part 2

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

Why oh why do women lose their waists and become “apples” instead or “pears” with the approach of the menopause? Dr Yehudi Gordon explains and looks at the connection between nutrition and hormones. Nutrition, of course, being something of great interest to me. The truth is that emotions play a large part in how and why we eat. Women have a lot to deal with in terms of relationships, children and work at this stage of their lives. Hormones make it all so much worse. 

The best thing you can do for yourself is to eat in a way that optimises not only your weight but your health. This is exactly what my book The In-Sync Diet (written with nutritionist Fleur Borrelli) is designed to do and would advise checking it out. Whilst I agree with much of Dr Gordons’ nutritional advice, there are some subtle differences in my book which is based on the most up to date information and thinking. And do remember when you are reading the article that vegetables are carbohydrates and are preferable to grains. 

How Hormone Therapy Can Slow Down Ageing-Part 1

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

People often ask me “what is your secret”? I always say there is no secret, just a combination of things that make a huge difference to how one ages. I call it the Toolbox, filled with the tools that build a happy, healthy, youthful body.

But the truth is that the decline of hormones is probably the most ageing thing of all. As oestrogen levels plummet, skin thins, dries out and wrinkles. The dewy, plump appearance of skin seems to disappear overnight. Energy levels are low and often anxiety and depression set in.  A few decades ago women started taking HRT and for awhile it offered  great release from menopausal symptoms. But then it was reported that there were dangerous risks associated with it. There’s now a generation of women who have used no HRT at all. 

But there’s a natural alternative and it’s a game changer. 

Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) has the potential to safely and effectively help unpleasant symptoms and actually slow down the ageing process. So I guess this is as close to a “secret” as we’re going to get!

However, what exactly is it, is it really safe and how does it affect ageing?

Here, Dr Yehudi Gordon, one of the top gynaecologists in the UK,  summarises the most recent evidence (both scientific and experiential) about BHRT. He explains how it’s different from conventional HRT.

This is everything you need to know. And trust me, you need to know this. 

(NB Unfortunately it’s easiest to get this privately but it is possible to get blood tests of hormone levels on the NHS and to get some form BHRT)

Why take Digestive Enzymes?

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

Since bringing out The In-Sync Diet with nutrionist Fleur Borrelli, we’ve heard from many people who have problems with their gut. This ranges from IBS, to bloating, to all kinds of digestive problems. The In-Sync Diet should help tremendously with gut problems but we often recommend that people take digestive enzymes as well. So what are these and why are they needed?

I myself have been taking them for a number of years. Hydrochloric acid in the gut decreases with age so even though I don’t have gut problems, I take them. Many people who get indigestion will take an ant-acid which will take acid away when in fact their problem could well be that they don’t have enough. 

Fleur explains how this all works and why digestive enzymes could be the answer (along with more vegetables and a bit of fruit).

Why we may need a little help from digestive enzymes

Mid age woman with stomach ache

Mid age woman with stomach ache

 Most of us at some point in our lives will have suffered from digestive complaints. The most common symptoms experienced are usually bloating, acid reflux, stomach pain and constipation or diarrhoea. The problem is, if this is the regular state of play, our bodies have a hard time absorbing all we need from our food. When we eat food it needs to be broken down into smaller pieces so we can absorb it across the gut lining and into our systems to be used for cellular energy. The nutrients we absorb are used for building and repairing the body and supporting all the organs and tissues.

And so in order to get the energy it needs, the body then starts to break down lean muscle instead to fuel us with glucose. Your brain, the ruler of your metabolism, is programmed to see poor digestion as a stress situation—and we have very selfish brains.

So as you can see, unpleasant digestive symptoms are the body’s built-in alarm system. They present themselves to tell us that we aren’t getting enough nutrients through our diet, most likely because we aren’t digesting our food properly in the first place. These could be one or more vitamins, minerals, good fats, protein, and/ or the right carbohydrates. Your body runs the same way as your car. It needs fuel to function. Any deficiencies with any of these nutrients, and your body’s service will cost you a lot more.

So what can we do to improve our digestion? Digestion of our food starts before we even open our mouth. When we look at the meal in front of us, our brain prepares us by making sure that we have sufficient saliva in our mouth and that the stomach is a certain acidity. Food is mixed with the saliva that contains enzymes to start to break it down. This is why it is so important to chew carefully until your food becomes a pulp.

Many of us over 40 tend to have low stomach acid and this can cause the same symptoms as if we were producing high stomach acid.  Often if we have a high intake of grains and pulses, they will irritate the stomach leading to the production of lactic acid. It is all too often treated with antacids (the opposite of what we need if we have too little stomach acid), which have the negative effect of rendering us unable to breakdown our food and also unable to kill the viruses and bacteria that may enter the body via this route. If you have a low stomach acid or a lack of stomach acid, big chunks of undigested food will go into the gut and then begin to create problems as they basically putrefy and are broken down by the action of bacteria – it just all sits in the gut and creates toxins, headaches and so on.

And what is more, after many years of squirting out lots of digestive enzymes every day the pancreas can become “tired” and not digest as well as it used to and food can ferment and cause bloating and gas and feed the bacteria and yeast that love sugar like Streptococci species and Candida albicans (thrush type yeast).

Raw foods like vegetables and fruit contain naturally occurring enzymes. There is an enzyme called Bromelain that helps to break down the very large “macromolecules” that sometimes get into the gut from foods or other allergy sources. The bromelain breaks down these big potential allergy producing proteins while in the gut and thus prevent them going through the gut or creating damage and allergy. Fresh pineapple is rich in bromelain. Ripe, organic fruit in season is rich in enzymes. Papaya has papain – another excellent enzyme. Raw, organic vegetables are also rich in enzymes. Lightly cooked vegetables still have some enzymes. Overcooked food loses these natural food enzymes and the pancreas then has to spend years pouring out lots of enzymes internally to digest our cooked food which is an energy consuming business.

 The good news

 Help is at hand with digestive enzyme supplements which have plant enzymes in them to help to digest all foods including those which are very difficult to break down such as beans, dairy and gluten. I would thoroughly recommend taking them before a meal for anyone wishing to help reduce digestive complaints or simply want to ensure you are getting the most, in terms of nutrients, from your foods – to this end, they might even be better than taking an all purpose multivitamin.

Fleur recommends these Digestive Enzymes


The Gut – Future Solutions

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

It’s going to take a brave person to use the latest “fecal” method to fight infection but I suppose if you’re sick enough, you’re going to go for it. This 4 part gut series by nutritionist Fleur Borrelli, shows how incredibly important gut microbes are and how they affect every facet of our health and well being. The more removed from the earth and the land we are, the more processed our foods are, the more we will suffer and see diseases increasing despite all the medical breakthroughs of the last century. That there are now superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics is a very frightening development and gives us the possible prospect of people once again dying from a simple infection. However there are things you can do to protect yourself. Eating healthily and exercising regularly, will help protect and strengthen your immune system. In fact, a good lifestyle, could save your life.

Unhealthy Gut Ecology

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

Here we continue our series on the gut by nutritionist Fleur Borrelli. In this third part we look at why it’s so important to keep a healthy balance of the good and bad gut bacteria. An imbalance can cause all kinds of problems. Diet, supplements (in particular digestive enzymes and probiotics) and stress management can all help.

Why is the Gut Referred to as “the Second Brain”?

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

The big discovery on the gut is how much it affects our mental health and behaviour and is often referred to as “the second brain”. It’s quite hard to get ones’ “brain” round that concept isn’t it? And having too many of the “bad guys” in your gut, can make you overweight! Ok, I bet that’s got your attention? There’s no doubt that the gut is hugely important and knowing as much about it as possible, can only be a good thing.

To that end, here is part 2 of nutritionist Fleur Borrelli’s important article on the gut. Parts 3 & 4 to follow in a few weeks.

 Our microbial world – Part Two

Why our Gut Microbes are so Important

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

Recent research has shown that the gut is crucial to good health. And it’s importance to every aspect of health, from  the immune system to our mental health, has been hugely underestimated.  The gut is teeming with bacteria and all sorts of microbes, some good, some bad. It is vital to get the balance right. Not enough of the good ones and you could suffer from food allergies and have a compromised immune system. 

This is such an important subject that I asked nutritionist Fleur Borrelli, to do an article explaining exactly how the gut works and why these bacteria that inhabit it are so important. It’s such a big subject, she came back with a 4 part article!

Here’s the first part.

Our microbial world – Part One

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. 



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