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Woods Health Supplements - Affordable Quality Since 1981


  • Varicose Veins

    If you have achy, tired legs or swollen ankles these could be an early warning sign of varicose veins, which affect around 1 in 2 adults in the UK. While they aren’t dangerous, they can be uncomfortable for those that suffer with them.

    What are Varicose Veins & Why do we get them?

    They are dilated veins under your skin in your legs and are caused by increased blood pressure in the veins. Our blood moves towards the heart by one-way valves in the veins and when the valves become weakened or damaged, blood can collect in the veins. Pregnancy and being overweight both increase the risk of varicose veins as pressure bears down on the veins in the groin area.

    Are they Harmful?

    While they aren’t deemed dangerous as such, they can cause discomfort and lead to other problems. The pressure in the veins, especially when standing, can lead to pain, swelling, eczema and even ulceration. In some cases, they can cause a clot (thrombosis) to develop causing the vein to become red, hard, and tender - known as “phlebitis”. If they get knocked or injured, they may cause bruising or occasionally bleed.

    Are there any Treatments?

    There are a variety of things you can do to help reduce the chances of getting varicose veins and help improve your condition if you already have them. These include:-

    • Exercise is important as the natural working of the leg muscles massages veins keeping them working well. While walking, running, cycling and swimming are all beneficial, walking is the simplest to do and really helps improve circulation.
    • Elevate your legs whenever possible. Putting up your feet for 10 minutes several times a day or adding a wedge or pillow under the bottom of the mattress at night can help. While elevation will be beneficial, if you can raise the feet above the level of the heart (chest) this will be particularly beneficial.
    • Avoid crossing your legs or standing around all day. If you do need to stay standing, do discrete exercising rising on to your toes several times to exercise calf muscles and raise your leg when on breaks.
    • If you are overweight, try and reduce your weight to get nearer to your ideal weight range.
    • Support stockings can help to keep legs comfortable and reduce the progression of the problem.
    • Good nutrition will help!  Blood flow can be improved by eating oily fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines) two or three times per week. Garlic is another potent agent to help improve blood flow - and garlic, onions and ginger also help to break down scar tissue in varicose veins. Drinking enough water is also beneficial – aim for around 1.5 - 2 litres of water daily.

    Can Supplements Help?

    There are several supplements which help to support leg vein health. It is important to take the early warnings of varicose veins seriously and to ward off any future damage as prevention is always better than a cure.

    • Vitamin E has potent blood thinning properties, reducing platelet ‘stickiness’ which helps to keep blood flowing.
    • Co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is involved in making cellular energy and has been shown to reduce spider veins.
    • Ginkgo Biloba has been used in Chinese medicine for 3,000 years to improve blood flow to the extremities. Research has shown that Ginkgo reduces blood thickness, is an anti-inflammatory and has antioxidant effects important for blood vessel health.
    • Bilberry contains powerful dark-purple-coloured anthocyanins, a group of flavonoids, which help to strengthen blood vessels and prevent collagen breakdown to improve capillary fragility.
    • Vitamin C’s antioxidant properties help prevent cell damage, helps build collagen and strengthens blood vessels – helping to prevent varicose veins from worsening.
  • Recyling Reviewed

    In recent years we have seen a positive trend of people becoming more environmentally friendly and ‘plastic’ seems to have become public enemy number one! However, as with most things, it’s not that straight forward.

    In the supplement industry we are often asked ‘Why do you still use plastic pots?’ Here are a few key reasons why plastic pots are still, and will continue to be, used in the industry for the foreseeable future.

    • Alternatives aren’t always as green as they first appear!
    • Product protection
    • Developments in the plastic industry increasing effectiveness of recycling
    • Ease of recycling

    Resaleable pouches have become very popular lately and many believe that this is a great ‘greener’ alternative for most packaging. However, most of these types of packaging are not able to be recycled as part of the normal household recycling options. While there is a constant strive for better resealable packaging, those currently on the market is made up of several layers of different materials including a thin layer of aluminium in between the layers making it almost impossible for effective recycling, and they end up in landfills.

    Another key factor that needs to be taken into consideration for packaging supplements is the ability of the packaging to best protect the products. Supplements require specific ideal conditions to guarantee their quality and longevity – namely, need to be protected against oxygen, moisture, and light.  While resealable packaging does offer some protection against these conditions, there are still real concerns over the extent of protection at this time, especially with regards to being 100% airtight.

    Blister packs are also difficult to recycle due to the mix of materials they are made from.  Currently, they cannot be recycled as part of normal household waste and council recycling systems, and therefore many just end up in the general rubbish. The TerraCycle initiative is trying to help get these packs recycled but they must be taken to specified Superdrug stores which can be a challenge for some people.

    While glass essentially is a good material for recycling, in this industry we must be aware of hazards such a fragility (chipped and broken glass) and logistics of packaging. More packaging is needed to protect glass during shipping and increased fossil fuels are required to ship (and make) glass as its much heavier than the alternatives. This is without the concerns of the dangers of glass containers being broken - both within the consumers home or during transport.

    HDPE / PET plastic tubs are both recyclable as part of the normal household and council recycling systems, as well as offering secure protections against oxygen, moisture, and light, Recycled HDPE / PET pots can be recycled to make a variety of new products – fabrics, pens, toys and carpets.

    While all industries continue to make new developments in the ease, effectiveness, and environmental impact of reusable / recycling for packaging, here are a few things you can do to also help.

    • Don’t be afraid of plastic pots – just make sure they are recyclable
    • Make sure you recycle your pots properly in line with your local council guidelines
    • Buy larger quantities so to reduce the number of pots needed
  • SAD but not depressing

    Animals react to the changing seasons with changes in mood, metabolism and behaviour people and human beings are just the same. Many people find they eat and sleep slightly more in winter and dislike the dark mornings and short days and this is commonly referred to as 'winter blues' or 'winter depression'. Others have symptoms that are more severe, often making it difficult to cope with work and putting strain on relationships. This is a recognised problem known as Seasonal Affective Disorder that's usually shortened to SAD (sometimes also called SAD syndrome or SAD disorder).

    What are the symptoms of SAD and winter blues?

    If you suffer from either SAD or winter blues symptoms you will probably start to notice the difference around September and may not feel like your normal self until April. The main symptoms are listed below; you may not experience all of them, particularly with milder winter blues:

    • Sleep problems - oversleeping but not refreshed, cannot get out of bed, needing a nap in the afternoon
    • Overeating - carbohydrate craving leading to weight gain
    • Depression, despair, misery, guilt, anxiety - normal tasks become frustratingly difficult
    • Family / social problems - avoiding company, irritability, loss of libido, feeling emotionally 'numb'
    • Lethargy - too tired to cope, everything an effort
    • Physical symptoms - often joint pain or stomach problems, lowered resistance to infection
    • Behavioural problems - especially in young people

    Who does it affect?

    The standard figure says that around 2% of people in Northern Europe suffer badly, with many more (10%) putting up with milder symptoms (sub-syndromal SAD or winter blues). Across the world the incidence increases with distance from the equator, except where there is snow on the ground, when it becomes less common. More women than men are diagnosed as having SAD. Children and adolescents are also vulnerable.

    What causes SAD?

    The problem stems from the lack of bright light in winter. Researchers have proved that bright light makes a difference to the brain chemistry but why some people suffer and others don't is not clear.

    Nerve centres in our brain controlling our daily rhythms and moods are stimulated by the amount of light entering the eyes. As night falls, the pineal gland starts to produce a substance called melatonin that tells our body clock it's night time; bright light at daybreak is the signal for the gland to stop producing this melatonin. But on dull winter days, especially indoors, not enough light is received to trigger this waking up process. Light is also linked to serotonin (also known as or 5HT), a neurotransmitter in the brain. This makes sense because low serotonin levels can cause depression and if you're depressed it can be difficult to concentrate and complete what would normally be simple tasks. Evidence has shown that serotonin levels increase with exposure to bright light - SSRI drugs such as Prozac have the same effect, but without getting into prescription drugs, a simple course of Vitamin D can be an effective counter balance.

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