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Vitamins and Minerals

An adequate intake of vitamins and minerals is essential for good health and may not always be provided through the food we eat. Taking supplements can combat diet inadequacies and target specific deficiencies to ensure optimum health.
  • Radiance From Within

    As is evident by the number of filters available on most photo apps these days, most people desire radiant, glowing, healthy-looking skin. However, while they may take time and spend a fortune to moisturise and protect their skin externally, not many ensure their diet provides the necessary nutrients needed for healthy skin.

    The skin is the largest organ in the body covering approx. 1.8m2 and has many important functions such as forming a barrier against disease and injury and regulating the body’s temperature.  From a nutritionist’s perspective, the skin is a good indicator of what’s happening within the body with regards to the patient’s nutritional status and its appearance is often used to help identify nutrient deficiencies.  For example, dry skin can indicate a lack of essential fats or pale lifeless skin a lack of B vitamins.

    Your diet or supplement regime can have a major impact on the appearance of your skin. Here are some key elements to consider: -

    Nurture your skin from within

    The membranes of every cell in your body are made up of essential fatty acids (EFAs).  If you have dry or sensitive skin, you are probably deficient in EFAs. EFAs are available in abundance in our diet from vegetable oils, oily fish, nuts and seeds. However, many people don’t get the amounts they need through their diet alone and turn to supplements such as Omega Fish Oils to increase their intake of EFA’s.

     Tackling your lines and wrinkles

    Drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water per day will have a significant effect on the way your skin looks and feels.  Water rehydrates the cells in your skin, plumping them up and smoothing out lines and wrinkles. Water also helps flush toxins from the body giving your skin a clearer appearance.

    Sun damage

    Protecting your skin against sun damage is very important. The sun's ultraviolet light can cause major damage to the skin. In addition to sunburn, more long-lasting effects such as reduce elasticity and premature exposure to the sun.  Antioxidants are nature’s answer to reducing the impact of UV exposure on the skin.  Taking antioxidants will not stop you burning but they can help to reduce the damage done by the UV. UV creates free radicals damage within the skin and antioxidants help to reduce their effect within the body.

    Vitamins A, C and E are excellent antioxidants and have long been used topically in face creams but taking these nutrients internally will be more effective in maintaining the long-term health of your skin as internal consumption gets nutrients into every layer of the skin as opposed to only the top few layers.

    Support your skin’s building blocks

    Collagen gives your skin it’s strength and structure and accounts for approximately 70% of its volume. Collagen is one of the most common proteins found in our bodies, as it’s one of the substances that helps to hold our bodies together with it being found in the muscles, bones, skin and tendons. Our bodies can produce collagen naturally, but production reduces as we get older. It’s the decline of Collagen production that causes fine lines and wrinkles and weakens joint cartilage.

    These recommendations may take a few weeks to show and are not instant fixes. However, in time, they will benefit not just your skin but many other parts of the body also. As they say ‘beauty isn’t only skin deep’.

  • Seasonal Supplements - Autumn

    Although autumn is a beautiful season with it golden colours and crisp mornings, it is not uncommon for many of us to start to feel a little under the weather as the temperatures drop and the dark nights draw in - bringing with them seasonal illnesses and side effects. Not only is it the start of cold & flu season, but other seasonal side effects are also common around this time of year – from dry skin to mental health issues.

    The colder weather and the increased use of central heating at home result many people experiencing dryer skin in the autumn months.  Some also find they experience a reduction in energy and motivation, and the darker nights may see increased levels of anxiety and depression for others.

    To help give your body the seasonal boost it may need at this time of year, here are just some key supplements that may help keep you fit and healthy at this time of year and help you prepare for the winter months.

    Vitamin A

    While nature helps us get increased vitamin A with seasonal produce rich in Vitamin A such as pumpkin, sweet potatoes and carrots, not everyone can get the vitamins they need from their diet alone.  Vitamin A can help our skin maintain moisture and elasticity. Because it has a very important antioxidant function, it can prevent the appearance of the free radicals responsible for skin aging. It evens out the skin, improving tone and texture. It also encourages the natural production of collagen.

    Vitamin D

    As we see less of the sun in the autumn months, it makes sense that we may need more of the ‘sunshine vitamin’ to help keep us healthy in the darker months when we may be leaving the house and returning home in the dark. Low levels of Vitamin D could leave you feeling tired and unwell.

    Vitamin C

    Vitamin C helps to build up the immune system and boost immunity in the colder months, as well as helping reduce the symptoms of cold & flu. This popular vitamin is also needed for strengthening the blood vessels, bones, gums and teeth. It also has a protective role as an antioxidant. Vitamin C also helps to maintain normal blood fat and cholesterol levels and is involved in fat metabolism.


    Ginger offers many health benefits and has been used for its medicinal purposes for many years, having first been cultivated in China as an all-purpose remedy thousands of years ago. Ginger can be used to help alleviate nausea and settle an upset stomach, as well as having anti-inflammatory properties that can work to ease the symptoms of a common cold or winter flu, as well as relieving headaches and other aches and pains that become more prominent in colder weather.


    Omega-3 is used to make cell membranes and is therefore vital in helping to keep the cells in your body nice and healthy. An Omega-3 deficiency can lead to dry skin, fatigue, and depression - all of which can be worse during the autumn months. This general all round good vitamin can also help lower your risk of disease and reduce inflammation.

  • Do we really need to take multivitamins?

    For some time taking a daily multivitamin supplement has been highly recommended for certain target groups such as vegans, vegetarians, those who skip meals or those on restricted diets. However statistics are fast showing that in fact taking a multivitamin should be part of everyone’s daily routine. There are many within the natural health industry whom claim that we simply cannot reach the necessary levels of micronutrients we need with a modern diet of 2000 calories per day, regardless of how healthy that diet may be. The USA Food and Drug Administration already recommends a multivitamin for all American adults, perhaps the UK will not be far behind.

    Are we facing an irreversibly nutrient poor lifestyle? Convenience foods, snacking on processed foods, decreased soil quality and long term food storage techniques all contribute to the parallel rise in the incidence of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity that we are seeing now. As the pace of life increases, many people find it difficult to eat a well balanced diet and often resort to ‘on the go’ convenience foods. Despite recommendations the average person in the UK consumes less than 3 daily portions of fruit and vegetables instead of the recommended 5 (87% of men and 85% of women), meaning that many people are likely to be suffering from multiple nutrient deficiencies (Department of Health, 2004). In addition changes in farming techniques, decreased soil quality and long term storage have resulted in a dramatic decline in the nutrient content of our foods. Much of the food that we eat has travelled many miles to reach us, and then stayed on supermarket shelves for days meaning that nutrient levels have become depleted over time. Months may elapse between harvesting and eating, not giving the fruit or vegetable its full nutrient potential. Startling declines in the nutrient value of soil in which food is grown over the last decade, particularly in the minerals magnesium and selenium, have left us unable to rely on food for the full spectrum of nutrients that we need.

    Taking a multivitamin does not give free license to eat what you want when you want. It is simply a building block, to provide a base of nutrients to be built upon by a healthy diet. Multivitamin products can also be targeted to specific groups with varying requirements. For example post-menopausal women and men above 50 will require more calcium than other groups. Equally botanicals such as gingko biloba may be in this category to give further support to cognitive function. Younger women may benefit from higher levels of iron, B6 and folic acid. You may be aware that your lifestyle may be especially busy making eating well and regularly harder than average. On top of this your body’s requirements for nutrients becomes even more important the busier you are. For this reason taking a multivitamin targeted at your specific category can carry significant benefits.

    Even the professionals, such as nutritionists who preach the therapeutic value of food, support the use of a multivitamin as a foundation stone for a healthy lifestyle. If you decide to take a multivitamin, don’t sit back and let it do all the hard work. Take responsibility for your health and future, no matter how old you are; eat and exercise well.

    Do you need a multivitamin?

    1. Do you regularly eat less than the recommended minimum of 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day
    2. Do you experience stress, have a hectic lifestyle and are regularly ‘on the go’?
    3. Do you often resort to convenience type foods or ready meals?
    4. Do you suffer from constipation, bloating or other digestive problems?
    5. Do you get colds/flu more than three times per year?
    6. Do you live or work on or near a busy road or town, with chemicals or pesticides?
  • Can Taking Vitamin D & Calcium Help You Live Longer?

    Older people who take vitamin D supplements along with calcium may live longer than others, according to a new review of previous studies.

    The researchers looked at data regarding the vitamin D intake of more than 70,000 adults in their 60s and 70s. They found that people who took vitamin D, along with calcium supplements, were 9 percent less likely to die over a three-year period, compared with people who took neither supplement.

    However, they found that taking vitamin D alone had no effect on mortality rates.

    For every 151 people who took with daily vitamin D and calcium for three years, one life would be spared, according to the researchers' calculations.

    The finding comes on the heels of several studies with conflicting results about the health benefits of vitamin D, including its possible effects on longevity. The new review is the largest of its kind, and included eight randomized controlled trials, said study leader Lars Rejnmark, of Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark. Such trials are considered the strongest type of scientific evidence.

    The study confirms researchers' suspicions that vitamin D may increase longevity, said Dr. Philippe Autier of the International Prevention Research Institute, who was not involved in the review.

    Study participants were generally older people with health conditions, and possibly had inadequate nutrition. Therefore, it’s “not guaranteed that anyone in good health who takes these vitamins would increase life expectancy,” Autier said.

    In the review, the researchers found that 5.5 percent of the 35,412 people who didn't take vitamin D or calcium died during the study period, whereas 5.3 percent of the 35,116 people who took vitamin D died.

    Taking vitamin D, with or without calcium, had a significant effect on mortality rates only after three years; mortality rates were not significantly different among those taking the vitamin after one or two years, according to the study.

    Vitamin D and Calcium are important throughout life, because of their role in bone health, Rejnmark said. But he recommends people start paying particular attention to their intake "around menopause for women, and around the age of 50 for men."

    While the review was based on studies of people who took supplements, Rejnmark said he does not believe the benefits would be any different for people who get the nutrients through food.

    Autier noted that the greatest source of vitamin D is what the skin makes naturally when it is exposed to sunlight. People with darker skin tones, who are less able to produce vitamin D in response to sunlight, should consider supplements as a viable option, he said.

    A total of 87 percent of the studies' participants were female, but Rejnmark said this had no bearing on the results, and vitamin D and calcium are equally beneficial to both sexes in terms of preserving longevity.


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