Women juggle work & life balance better with age

British women are struggling to bring balance to their lives, with only one in four (27%) saying they successfully juggle the demands of work, family and a social life. But over-40s are the most likely to get it right, with almost one in three saying (31%) saying they strike the right balance and more than half (57%) say they sometimes get it right.

Four out of five (84%) women say there are times when they are trying to keep too many balls in the air and a similar number (81%) fear their frenetic lifestyles could lead to health problems in the future.

Hormonal balance

This worrying picture of women’s health and emotional wellbeing has emerged in polls conducted for Kira, one of the nation’s most trusted names in women’s health and herbal supplements.

The One Poll surveys of 1,000 women — half aged between 20 and 40 and half aged 40 to 60 — found that older women are the best when it comes to resisting the pressure to be perfect, with two out of five (41%) saying it was never an issue, compared to less than a third (29%) of 20 to 40-year-olds

Older women are also less likely to look enviously at their friends’ lives, with almost two out of five (38%) saying this was never an issue, compared to less than a quarter (23%) of the 20 to 40-year-olds.

They are also less likely to fall prey to pressure from social media with only one in 13 (8%) saying online activity made them feel they were being short-changed by life, compared to almost one in five (18%) of the younger women.

Body confidence as we age
Body confidence also grows with age, with seven out of ten (69%) of the older women saying they had no interest in cosmetic surgery or procedures, compared to six out of ten (59%) of the younger group. The 20 to 40 group was twice as likely to want a boob job or new nose, 18% compared to 8% and 10% versus 5%.

However, anxiety about the future was a factor across the board, with almost nine out of ten (89%) women in both age groups saying they worried about what lay ahead. Money and debt was a cause for concern for one in three (32%) and two out of five (45%) admitted they were struggling financially.

Dr Catherine Hood, a women’s health specialist and an advisor to Kira notes: “It’s reassuring that experience brings a little more stability and contentment, but these surveys show women are balancing different demands throughout their lives.

She adds: “The demands of our bodies change too, which is why bone health becomes much more of an issue as we age. Top up vitamins can be helpful during periods of stress or when busy lifestyles makes it difficult to exercise and eat healthily.

“But I would advise any woman over 40 to take special care to protect their bone health with a high calcium supplement such as Kira Body Balance.”

How to find balance, bone health and avoid hormonal blips
Kira Hormonal Balance is a one-a-day food supplement which is great for women on the go as it does what it says on the pack, and helps keep your hormones in balance.

It contains a combination of essential B vitamins, which are important for hormonal metabolism and balance. Vitamins B2, B6, B12, vitamin C and folic acid also help reduce tiredness and fatigue, while vitamins B1, B6, B12, folic acid and pantothenic acid may help to maintain normal mental performance and normal psychological function.

Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) – the latest research

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AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION (AMD)

What is AMD?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease that affects the macula, the part of the eye that allows a person to see fine detail. AMD gradually destroys the sharp, central vision, which is needed for seeing objects clearly, and for common daily tasks such as reading and driving.

AMD causes no pain and, in some cases, advances so slowly that people notice little change in their vision. In others, the disease progresses faster and may lead to a rapid loss of vision in both eyes. AMD is a leading cause of vision loss in the western world for individuals over the age of 60, and is thought to affect over three million people in the UK alone. AMD occurs in two forms: wet and dry.

Where is the macula?

The macula is located in the centre of the retina – the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. The retina instantly converts light into electrical impulses, known as nerve signals, and sends them on to the brain for image interpretation.

What is dry AMD?

Dry AMD occurs when the light-sensitive cells in the macula slowly break down, gradually blurring central vision in the affected eye. As dry AMD gets worse, a person may see a blurred spot in the centre of his or her vision. Over time, central vision is gradually lost in the affected eye.

The most common symptom of dry AMD is slightly blurred vision. A person may have difficulty recognising faces and may need more light for reading and other tasks. Dry AMD generally affects both eyes, but vision can be lost in one eye while the other eye seems unaffected. One of the most common early signs of dry AMD is ‘drusen’ in the eye, possibly combined with pigment abnormalities.

What is drusen?

Drusen are yellow deposits under the retina often found in people over age 60, and in isolation do not normally cause vision loss. In fact, scientists are unclear about the connection between drusen and AMD, but have found that an increase in the size or number of drusen raises a person’s risk of developing either advanced dry AMD or wet AMD.

An eye care professional can detect drusen during a comprehensive dilated eye exam.

What is wet AMD?

Wet AMD is another advanced stage of AMD and is generally preceded by early or intermediate dry AMD. Wet AMD occurs when abnormal blood vessels behind the retina start to grow under the macula. These new blood vessels tend to be very fragile and often leak blood and fluid. The blood and fluid raise the macula from its normal place at the back of the eye, and damage to the macula occurs rapidly.

With wet AMD, loss of central vision can occur quickly.

What are the stages of AMD?

AMD has three stages, all of which may occur in one or both eyes:

1. Early AMD – people with early AMD have either several small, or a few medium-sized drusen. At this stage, there are no other symptoms and no vision loss.

2. Intermediate AMD – people with intermediate AMD have either many medium-sized or one or more large drusen. Some people see a blurred spot in the centre of their vision. More light may be needed for reading and other tasks.

3. Advanced AMD – in addition to drusen, people with advanced dry AMD or advanced wet AMD have a breakdown of light-sensitive cells and supporting tissue in the central retinal area. This breakdown can cause a blurred spot in the centre of the vision. Over time, the blurred spot may get bigger and darker, taking more of the central vision. Individuals may have difficulty reading or recognising faces until they are very close.

If a person has vision loss from dry AMD in one eye only, he or she may not notice any changes in overall vision. With the other eye seeing clearly, the individual can still drive, read and see fine details, and may notice changes in vision only if AMD affects both eyes.

Which is more common – the dry form or the wet form?

The dry form is much more common, although scientists are still not sure what causes it. More than 85 per cent of all people with intermediate and advanced AMD combined have the dry form.

However, if only advanced AMD is considered, about two-thirds of patients have the wet form. Because almost all vision loss comes from advanced AMD, the wet form leads to significantly more vision loss than the dry form.

Can the dry form turn into the wet form?

Yes. All people who have the wet form of AMD had the dry form first. Dry AMD can advance and cause vision loss without turning into the wet form of the disease. The dry form also can suddenly turn into the wet form, even during early stage AMD. There is no way to tell if or when dry will turn into wet AMD.

The dry form has early and intermediate stages. Does the wet form have similar stages?
No. The wet form is considered advanced AMD.

Can advanced AMD be either the dry form or the wet form?

Yes. Both the wet form and the advanced dry form are considered advanced AMD, and vision loss can occur with either form, although in most cases, only advanced AMD can cause vision loss. People who have advanced AMD in one eye are at especially high risk of developing advanced AMD in the other eye.

Causes and Risk Factors

Who is at risk of developing AMD?

The greatest risk factor is age. Although AMD may occur during middle age, studies show that people over age 60 are clearly at greater risk than other age groups. For instance, a large study found that middle-aged people have about a two per cent risk of developing AMD, but this risk increased to nearly 30 per cent in those over age 75.

Other risk factors include:

• Smoking – smokers have an increased risk of developing AMD

• Family History – individuals with immediate family members who have AMD are at a higher risk of developing the disease

• Obesity – research studies suggest a link between obesity and the progression of early and intermediate stage AMD to advanced AMD

• Poor nutrition lacking in lutein /zeaxanthin rich diet (nutrients found in green leafy vegetables such as curly kale and egg yolk)

• Race – Caucasians seem to be more likely to lose vision from AMD than those with darker skin

• Gender – women appear to be at greater risk than men

Can a person’s lifestyle make a difference?

A person’s lifestyle can play a role in reducing the risk of developing AMD. So it’s important to remember to:

• Eat a healthy diet that’s high in fruit, fish and vegetables, specifically green leafy vegetables

• Avoid smoking

• Maintain a normal blood pressure

• Maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly

Symptoms and Detection

What are the symptoms of AMD?

Dry AMD: The most common early sign for dry AMD is blurred vision. As fewer cells in the macula are able to function, people will see details such as faces or words in a book less clearly.

Often this blurred vision disappears in brighter light. If the loss of these light-sensing cells becomes great, people may see a small but growing blind spot in the middle of their field of vision.

Wet AMD: The classic early symptom for wet AMD is that straight lines appear crooked. This results when fluid from the leaking blood vessels gathers and lifts the macula, distorting vision. A small blind spot may also appear in wet AMD, resulting in loss of one’s central vision.

Neither dry nor wet AMD cause pain.

How is AMD detected?

An eye care professional may suspect AMD if the person is over age 60 and has had recent changes in central vision. AMD is detected during a comprehensive eye exam that includes a visual acuity test, dilated eye exam, and tonometry (a measurement of intraocular pressure).

An eye care professional also may perform other tests to learn more about the structure and health of the eye. For example during an eye exam, the patient may be asked to look at an Amsler grid – a grid of straight lines with a black dot in the centre. The patient will be asked to cover one eye and stare at the black dot. While staring at the dot, they may notice that the straight lines in the pattern appear wavy, and that some of the lines are missing. These may be signs of AMD.

If an eye care professional believes the patient needs treatment for wet AMD, he or she will suggest a ‘fluorescein’ and/or ‘indocyanin green angiogram’ to identify any leaking blood vessels and recommend treatment.

What does AMD mean for the patient?

For many, AMD is a shock which can be compounded by lack of information, empathy and support available. Patients are frequently told that little can be done to treat the condition, leaving them feeling both angry and depressed.

People with AMD are more likely to become depressed than the general population, and depression can increase the difficulty of adjusting to the disease (Quality of life in age-related macular degeneration – Royal Holloway University of London, 2006). Indeed, a US cross-sectional study of 151 patients living with AMD reported that the rate of depressive disorder was twice that generally found among elderly people living in the community.

Those living with AMD may lose their independence, requiring help with personal and household tasks and other aspects of daily life. Shopping, cooking and general mobility are also more difficult for people with AMD than those of a similar age with no visual impairment. An additional prospective study of AMD patients with recent (within six weeks) loss of vision to their second eye found that of the 51 participants, 33% met the criteria for clinical depression (a higher rate than 16% found in the wider community), of whom only one was receiving treatment for depression, suggesting low levels of pre-existing depression (Source: Rovner, Casten and Tasman – Effect of depression on vision function in age-related macular degeneration (Journals of Ophthalmology, 2002).

Other health problems associated with age such as arthritis and osteoporosis serve to impair quality of life still further.

Visual hallucinations, known as Charles Bonnet Syndrome, and common in those with visual impairments, can also occur with AMD. While benign and frequently short-lived, research suggests that few are warned that AMD can cause hallucinations and may not report them, featuring dementia. Such unnecessary worry may further damage quality of life.

Rehabilitation, including the provision of low vision aids and training in their use, has been proven to benefit those with AMD, improving visual function and assisting quality of life. Psycho-social interventions, such as peer support groups, also help sufferers adjust to the disease.

Treatment

How is wet AMD treated?

Wet AMD can be treated with laser surgery, photodynamic therapy, and injections into the eye. None of these treatments are a cure for wet AMD, and the disease and loss of vision may progress despite treatment.

1. Laser surgery – this procedure, which is performed in a doctor’s office or eye clinic, uses a laser to destroy the fragile, leaky blood vessels. A high-energy beam of light is aimed directly onto the new blood vessels and destroys them, preventing further loss of vision.

However, laser treatment may also destroy some surrounding healthy tissue and some vision. Only a small percentage of people with wet AMD can be treated with laser surgery. It is more effective if the leaky blood vessels have developed away from the fovea, the central part of the macula.

The risk of new blood vessels developing after laser treatment is high. Repeated treatments may be necessary, and in some cases, vision loss may progress despite repeated treatments.

2. Photodynamic therapy – a drug called ‘verteporfinÂ’ is injected into the arm. It travels through the body, including the new blood vessels in the eye, and tends to “stick” to the surface of the new vessels.

Next, a light which activates the drug is beamed into the eye for around 90 seconds, which destroys the new blood vessels and leads to a slower rate of vision decline. Unlike laser surgery, this drug does not destroy surrounding healthy tissue. Because the drug is activated by light, the patient must avoid exposing skin or eyes to direct sunlight or bright indoor light for five days after treatment.

Photodynamic therapy slows the rate of vision loss, but does not stop it or restore vision in eyes already damaged by advanced AMD. Treatment results often are temporary and a person may need to be treated again. Photodynamic therapy is relatively painless, takes about 20 minutes and is normally performed in a dedicated hospital clinic.

3. Injections – wet AMD can now be treated with new drugs that are injected into the eye (anti-VEGF or anti-angiogenic therapy). Abnormally high levels of a specific growth factor occur in eyes with wet AMD and promote the growth of abnormal new blood vessels. This drug treatment blocks the effects of the growth factor.

A person will need multiple injections that may be given as often as every month. The eye is numbed before each injection, and the patient may need to remain in hospital for a period of time after each session for monitoring. This drug treatment can help slow down vision loss from AMD and in some cases improve sight.

How is dry AMD treated?

Once dry AMD reaches the advanced stage, no form of treatment can prevent vision loss. However, intake of certain antioxidant vitamins and zinc can delay and possibly prevent intermediate AMD from progressing to the advanced stage, in which vision loss occurs.

The US National Eye Institute’s Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) found that taking Bausch & Lomb’s PreserVision, a high-potency nutritional supplement containing antioxidants and zinc, significantly reduces the risk of advanced AMD and its associated vision loss. Slowing AMD’s progression from the intermediate stage to the advanced stage will save the vision of many people.

Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS)

What is the dosage of the AREDS formulation?

The specific quantities of antioxidants and zinc used by the AREDS researchers were 500 milligrams of vitamin C; 400 International Units of vitamin E; 15 milligrams of beta-carotene (often labelled as equivalent to 25,000 International Units of vitamin A); 80 milligrams of zinc as zinc oxide; and two milligrams of copper as cupric oxide. Copper was added to the AREDS formulation containing zinc to prevent copper deficiency anaemia, a condition associated with high levels of zinc intake.

Bausch & Lomb’s PreserVision Original formulation, which was proven safe and effective by the AREDS study, is available in soft gel and tablet forms. The new PreserVision Lutein soft gels replace beta-carotene with lutein and are suitable for smokers.

Who should take the AREDS formulation?

People who are at high risk for developing advanced AMD should consider taking the formulation in consultations with their health care provider or personal physician. A person is at high risk of developing advanced AMD if he or she has either:

1. Intermediate AMD in one or both eyes.
-OR-
2. Advanced AMD (dry or wet) in one eye, but not the other.

The AREDS formulation is not a cure for AMD, nor will it restore vision already lost from the disease. However, it may delay the onset of advanced AMD. It may also help people who are at high risk of developing advanced AMD keep their vision.

Can diet alone provide the same high levels of antioxidants and zinc as the AREDS formulation?

No. High levels of vitamins and minerals are difficult to achieve from diet alone. However, previous studies have suggested that people who have diets rich in fruit, fish and vegetables, specifically, green leafy vegetables, have a lower risk of developing AMD.

Can a daily multi-vitamin alone provide the same high levels of antioxidants and zinc as the AREDS formulation?

No. The formulation’s levels of antioxidants and zinc are considerably higher than the amounts in any daily multi-vitamin. If a person is already taking daily multi-vitamins and his or her doctor suggests taking the high-dose AREDS formulation, it is recommended that the individual review all vitamin supplements with his or her doctor prior to taking the AREDS formulation.

Because multi-vitamins contain many important vitamins not found in the AREDS formulation, a person may wish to take a multi-vitamin along with the AREDS formulation. For example, people with osteoporosis need to be particularly concerned about taking vitamin D, which is not in the AREDS formulation.

How can a person take care of his or her vision once diagnosed with AMD?
If a person has dry AMD, he or she should have a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year. An eye care professional can monitor his or her condition and check for other eye diseases. Also, if a person has intermediate AMD in one or both eyes, or advanced AMD in one eye only, the doctor may suggest that the individual take the AREDS formulation containing the high levels of antioxidants and zinc.

Because dry AMD can turn into wet AMD at any time, a person should obtain an Amsler grid from their eye care professional. It is recommended that the individual use the grid every day to evaluate his or her vision for signs of wet AMD. This quick test works best for people who still have good central vision. If a person detects any changes in the appearance of this grid or in his or her everyday vision while reading the newspaper or watching television, he or she needs a comprehensive dilated eye exam.

If a person has wet AMD, a doctor would normally advise immediate treatment. After laser surgery or photodynamic therapy or anti-VEGF anti-angiogenic therapy, a person will need frequent eye exams to detect any recurrence of leaking blood vessels.

Studies show that people who smoke have a greater risk of recurrence than those who don’t. In addition, a person should check his or her vision daily at home using the Amsler grid and will need to schedule an eye exam immediately if any changes are detected.

What can a person do if he or she has already lost some vision from AMD?
If a person has lost some sight from AMD, he or she should not be afraid to use his or her eyes for reading, watching TV, and other routine activities. Normal eye use will not cause further vision damage. These individuals should also ask their eye care professional about low-vision services and devices that may help make the most of their remaining vision.

Many community organisations and agencies offer information about low-vision counselling, training, and other special services for people with visual impairments. Macular Disease Society is of particular value to many existing AMD sufferers. The Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB) also provides support and services for those experiencing vision difficulties and loss.

Current Research

What AMD research is currently being conducted?
Research is conducted globally to help provide better ways to detect, treat, and prevent vision loss through AMD. Currently, scientists are:

• Studying the possibility of transplanting healthy cells into a diseased retina – a London-based project to cure AMD has recently been launched, following ÂŁ4 million donation from an anonymous American donor. This will involve a study where patients will be treated for dry AMD with injections of Retinal Pigment Epithelium (RPE) into the eye. The RPE itself has been developed under laboratory conditions from embryonic stem cells. The study is likely to take at least five years to complete, and will be undertaken by Moorfields Eye Hospital in conjunction with the Institute of Ophthalmology at University College London and the University of Sheffield

• Evaluating families with a history of AMD to understand genetic and hereditary factors that may cause the disease

• Looking at certain anti-inflammatory treatments for the wet form of AMD
• AREDS II further examining the role of vitamins, lutein, omega-3 fatty acids and zinc

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75% of Brits pop vitamin pills for health

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London: Britain is a nation of supplement junkies, with three quarters of us regularly adding extras to our diet to keep healthy, spending more than ÂŁ350m a year on shortcut solutions to health.

New research from milk company, Cravendale exposes that over half of those Brits (59%)are investing in pills and potions with very little or no knowledge of their benefits. Even fewer people realise that milk contains crucial nutrients such as vitamins B2 [Riboflavin] and B12, protein, and phosphorus as well as contributing towards daily vitamin A, B1 [Thiamin], zinc, magnesium and potassium.

A quarter of supplement fans (27%) blame their busy lifestyles, and one in four cite pressure to get in their “five a day”: with no time for fruit and veg, they’re stocking up on supplements instead. One in ten men are taking pills to get gym fit; and 15% of women take supplements specifically to help prepare them for pregnancy.

Leading the trend are youngsters: 86% of under-25s take supplements on a
regular basis. This habit is being established at an increasingly young age – 44% of mums admit to adding supplements to their childrenÂ’s diet on a
regular basis.

Sue Malcolm, consultant nutritionist for Cravendale milk says: “Supplements do have their place, but for many of us a healthy diet should be the first choice. A simple glass of milk contains important nutrients including vitamins and minerals that help you on your way towards achieving a healthy diet, no matter what age.”

A glass of Cravendale naturally contains more than 20 crucial nutrients, including a third of your recommended daily requirement for calcium for strong bones and teeth.

A glimpse of unhealthy Britain reveals:

Bad diets

Nearly a quarter of the UK (24%) takes supplements to combat the negative effects of a bad diet. This is most prevalent in Northern Ireland, where
nearly a third of people (31%) choose to supplement their diet with pills – compared to the hearty North (16%)

Milk ignorance is rife

Milk is a natural source of many of the nutrients weÂ’re taking as pills, but only a quarter of us know that milk contains vitamins, only 5% know that it contains zinc and only 10% know that it contains any magnesium. Two in ten think milk contains added sugar and salt!

DonÂ’t ditch the milk!

The survey reveals a male misconception that milk is fattening – one in ten
men (14%) said they donÂ’t drink milk because it is fattening. However strong evidence shows that people who drink milk as part of their diet are actually slimmer than people who cut it out[2] <#_ftn2> . In fact, a glass of semi skimmed milk contains about the same number of calories as a banana
– not a lot!

The UK’s supplements of choice – Vitamin C and calcium

Vitamin C is taken by 25% of the population to stave off colds. Calcium is also high on the list, with almost one in ten taking calcium supplements. But both of these nutrients can be found in a glass of milk – a 250ml glass of semi-skimmed milk contains around 8% of an adultÂ’s daily requirement for vitamin C and a massive 38% of an adultÂ’s daily requirement for calcium.

Londoners are too busy to be healthy

43% take supplements to counteract their busy lifestyles, compared to a national average of 27%

About Cravendale

At Cravendale milk matters. ThatÂ’s why itÂ’s finely filtered to make it purer for a fresher taste. Filtering removes more of the bacteria that causes milk to sour, so Cravendale lasts longer too.

For more information visit www.milkmatters.co.uk

The survey was conducted with 1001 consumers through FlyResearch in June
2008.

[1] Heart Protection Study, 2002
[2] Zemel MB (2005) J Am Coll Nutr 24; 537S-5346S, Zemel MB (2005) J Am
Coll Nutr 24; 537S-5346S, Zemel MB (2005) Obes Res 13; 192-193, Zemel MB et
al (2005) Obes Res 13; 1218-1225, Zemel MB et al (2005) Int J Obes (Lond)
29; 391-397, Zemel MB et al (2004) Obes Res 12; 582-590, Moore LL et al
(2006) Obesity 14; 1010-1018, Jacobsen R et al (2005) Int J Obes 29;
292-301

www.vitalityshopuk.com offers 20% discount

20% off all products

The Vitality Shop UK offers you the highest quality health nutraceuticals and beauty products from around the world.The aim of Vitality Shop UK is promote healthy lifesyles so that you can not only live longer and more vital lives.

Improved medical intervention and nutrition, has resulted in a huge spurt in longevity in the 20th century. An extra 20 years has been added to the average lifespan, bringing the average global life expectancy to 66 years. Life expectancy in Ancient Rome was 22 and in the Middle Ages 35. Today there are some people who live to more than 115 years.

Although medical science is a long way from the discovery of a longevity pill, there is a growing community of doctors worldwide who believe that we can change our biological biomarkers to those of a younger person by making positive lifestyle changes. As a result we can live longer, happier and healthier lives.

Email us at service@vitalityshopuk.com for your promo code

Folic acid may protect against Alzheimer’s

New York: Folic acid may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s, say US doctors.

The finding follows a study of nearly 1,000 elderly people which discovered that those with higher levels of this B vitamin were less likely to suffer mental deterioration.

The research was carried out by Columbia Univesity Medical Center spent six years examinng the diet of 965 healthy adults with the average age of 75. The one in five who went on to develop Alzheimer’s had the lowest levels of folic acid.

Folic acid has also been found to be useful in improving the memory of people aged over 50.

Folic acid, a B vitamin is found mostly in dark green vegetables such as asparagus but is easily destroyed by cooking. Supplements provide a form of the vitamin more easily taken up by the body. And the researchers recommended that both natural and supplement forms of the vitamin were the best choice for older people.

UK heart attack victims to get free fish oil supplements

London:UK heart attack survivors are to receive free fish oil supplements from the GovernmentÂ’s National Health Serice (NHS).

The patients will be prescribed the supplements which contain omega-fatty acids by their doctors in an attempt to prevent further illness.

The decision will bring the UK into line with other foreign countries such as Italy where heart attack patients are routinely given fish oil supplements on leaving hospital.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), the body which approves drugs for use within the state system, currently advises that patients who have suffered a heart attack should eat a Mediterranean- style diet and increase their consumption of oily fish to between two and four portions a week.

The benefits of eating oily fish are undisputed. Omega-3s are classed as a ‘super food’ because they are critical to maintaining a wide range of body functions.
They are found in oily fish such as mackerel, herring, salmon, sardines and trout, as well as soya bean, rape seed oil, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds and walnuts.
They help reduce heart attack risk by cutting blood fats, reducing the chances of a blood clot and blocking dangerous heart rhythms that might otherwise prove fatal.
Research shows regular fish eaters are 30-40 per cent more likely to survive a heart attack.

Joint healthcare campaign launches in UK

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London: Health Perception, the UKÂ’s leading glucosamine specialists, have initiated a new consumer awareness campaign called JUMP 4 JOINTS! This has been developed specifically to draw attention to the importance of looking after oneÂ’s joints from an early age in order to enjoy overall health and mobility later on in life.

Many people are totally unaware of just how vulnerable their joints are. Inevitably, they donÂ’t worry about the health of their joints until problems occur. These could be anything from the complaining elbow of an amateur tennis player to the more extreme pain caused by repetitive use of certain joints over time, and the onset of osteoarthritis.

According to the Arthritis Research Campaign, more than 7 million adults in the UK have long-term health problems due to arthritis and related conditions. The cost to the nation is estimated in the region of ÂŁ6.5 billion when absence due to illness, consultations, prescription drugs and secondary care rheumatology costs, disability allowances and community and social services are taken into account.

The first step of the campaign is a free 24-page booklet that is packed with expert advice and valuable information on nutrition and exercise, as well as interesting facts on joints and how they work.

Whether suffering discomfort now, or seeking to avoid it in the future, JUMP 4 JOINTS! could help. One of the contributors, GP Dr Rob Hicks, clearly lists various ways to improve joint health and recommends keeping active. “It saddens me when I hear people say that having Osteoarthritis means they “can’t do” the things they want to do anymore, or that they “just have to live with it” because this doesn’t have to be the case.”

David Wilkie, founder and managing director of Health Perception is keen to draw attention to the benefits that supplements such as glucosamine can bring to joint husbandry. “As a former Olympic swimmer, I have personally felt the pressure of sport at the highest level and the associated stresses and strains on the body and its joints. It was for this reason that I originally decided to introduce glucosamine into the U.K. I had seen many of the world’s top athletes using glucosamine, a naturally occurring product in the body commonly referred to today as the ‘building blocks of the connective tissues’, to help their joints with excellent results, but it was a relatively unknown product here at home.”

In the guide, Naturopath Miriam Elkan has compiled a list of ‘The Good and the Bad’ foods for joint health and explains that: “Caring for your joints means taking care of everything else and everything else taking care of your joints. If you care for your joints you are also looking after your heart, your lungs and your weight.”

A special four-page easy-to-follow Jump 4 Joints! Workout has been devised by Pilates Consultant and Chartered Physiotherapist, Beverley Skull, to help improve overall joint mobility. She also focuses on four main areas of fitness, namely strength, aerobic capacity, flexibility, and agility & balance, along with an explanation on the overall benefits of exercise to promote a healthy active life. This is reinforced by David Wilkie’s swimming feature and Karl Frew’s introduction to ‘Rebounding’, which, according to NASA is ‘the most efficient and effective exercise yet devised by man’.

This publication has something for everyone, including a handy index to guide the consumer through the myriad of information available, with a whoÂ’s who and whatÂ’s what in the world of joint health and culminates with the chance to win a break for two in Iceland.

The Jump 4 Joints! booklet is available free by calling 0845 330 5518 or by visiting the dedicated website www.jump4joints.co.uk

Supernutrients – the first line of defence against infections – and they help you look younger and live longer

By Avril OÂ’Connor

Superfoods and food supplments can help the body fight infections and the diseases of ageing.

For example, by eating superfoods and taking supplements that contain powerful antioxidants, substances that can protect our body from infections. These supernutrients not only have the potential to help you be healthier and look younger for longer but will give you the best possible chance of fighting off viral infections such as colds and flu this winter.

In Japan, for example, doctors are combating heart disease by prescribing CoEnzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a fat-soluble vitamin-like substance produced by our own bodies. This substance is an essential component of the mitochondria, the energy producing unit of our cells, where it helps produce the bodyÂ’s fuel. The role of CoQ10 is similar to that of the sparkplug in a car engine.

Low levels of CoQ10 have been linked to several diseases, in particular congestive heart failure. Ageing humans have been found to have 57% less on average compared to young adults. But there is increasing evidence that it can help prevent and even reverse several diseases of ageing – heart failure, gum disease, muscular dystrophy, diabetes and chronic fatigue. In healthy individuals its effectiveness can be experienced in the gym where it can assist in cardio-vascular endurance.

Antioxidants help the body defend itself against attack from free radicals, the unstable molecular structures, caused by pollution, stress, smoking and drinking to excess, that damage cells and which scientists believe are the trigger for cell mutations that cause cancer and other ageing diseases.

Nutritionist Sally Beare, author of The Live-Longer Diet (www.piatkus.co.uk) says: “In order to stave off degenerative diseases and enjoy optimum health, we have to get the full range of nutrients. These include at lest seven to twenty minerals, thirteen vitamins, eleven essential amino acids and two essential fatty acids (essential meaning that they are essential for health and cannot be made by the body). At the absolute minimum, we should eat at least five portions of fresh fruits and vegetables every day, and preferably ten. Yet most Western diets include far less than this, and the UK Food Standards Agency found that only 36 per cent of people in the UK are even aware of the recommendation.”

Ideally, antioxidants should be consumed as part of a well-balanced diet, but since many processed foods are deficient, dietary supplements should be considered. Anyone who is pregnant or taking pharmaceutical drugs for a serious illness should consult their doctor before taking supplements as some can interact with medication.

Included in the list of supernutrients are foods that release energy slowly into the blood stream, those with a low Glycemic Index, that keep energy levels constant and prevent tiredness and the onset of diabetes. Oats are one of the best sources and it also lowers cholesterol and blood pressure. Other superfoods to include in your diet are eggs, one of the best sources of protein; green tea to protect against heart disease and cancer; nuts such as brazils that contain selenium which protects against cancer and improves thyroid function and walnuts for a healthy heart and olive oil and soya to reduce cholesterol.

Eating oily fish regularly helps protect the brain and has the added bonus of giving us beautiful skin. Mackerel, herrings, tuna, salmon, sardines and anchovies all contain omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) as do flax seeds (linseed) and flaxseed oil.

New York dermatologist, Dr Nicholas Perricone (www.www.nvperriconemd.co.uk) describes DMAE, a substance found in abundance in wild Alaskan salmon, as “the magic bullet” for skin. In his book, The Perricone Promise, he explains how you can look 10 years younger in 28 days by eating supernutrients, including salmon and DMAE and have a healthier brain and slimmer body at the same time. DMAE is also a building-block of the brain neuro-transmitter acetylcholine which declines with age and causes a deterioration in muscle-tone as well as brain function leading to AlzheimerÂ’s.

He says: “Looking good and having a positive body image is not vanity; it’s your road to a long, healthy and happy life.”

The most important dietary antioxidants are found in the more colourful varieties of fruits and vegetables such as:

Red/Orange: Tomatoes, strawberries, oranges, carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, red and orange peppers, and salmon are rich in vitamins A, C and E.

Green: Cabbage, spinach, avocado, kiwi fruit and peas are rich in vitamin A.

Yelow: Lemons, melons, mangoes, yellow peppers and grapefruit are all rich sources of Vitamins A and C.

Purple: Blueberries, blackcurrants, red cabbage and beetroot are excellent sources of vitamins A, C and E.

White: Garlic, onions, cauliflower and walnuts are rich in vitamins A, C and E.

Millions duped with fake black cohosh

New York: Women who use the herbal supplement black cohosh may be using a fake supplement, according to an investigation by the American Chemical Society.

The herb, which is a native American plant, is used by millions of women to prevent some of the nasty symptoms of the menopause such as hot flushes. But in many cases it does not work.

But a new study, publication in the Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry, says that many black cohosh supplements do not contain black cohosh and may contain an Asian species of the plant which does not work as well.

The researched analysed 11 products marketed as black cohosh and found that three contained the Asian herb, one contained both herbs and others contained different amounts.

Researcher Edward Kennelly, PhD, who headed the study with Fredi Kronenberg, PhD said their finding revealed that many manufacturers are not following good best practice and was a warning to consumers..

UK doctors question benefits of supplements

London: Britons may be overdosing on vitamins, according to a new report by insurer Norwich Union Healthcare.

Four in ten family doctors believe patients are taking too many of the supplements without knowledge of possible serious side effects.

Most family doctors also believe people do not realise that vitamin and mineral supplements may intefere with drug function. Iron supplements, for example, can make antibiotics less effective in fighting infection and vitamin B6, used by many women for premenstrual tension, can cause nerve damage. Excessive vitamin A taken during pregnancy can harm an unborn baby and it also thought that high doses of vitamin C could increase the risk of cancer.

The research also discovered that 13 per cent of the 250 family doctors had patients who had suffered harmful side effects from vitamins in the last year.

Most doctors surveyed believed patients overestimated the benefits of taking vitamins, with many using them as a substitute for a healthy diet and lifestyle. Three quarters had seen an increase in the number of people self-medicating with vitamins over the last five years.

Almost half of the doctors felt there was not enough information on vitamins to enable people to make informed decisions on their own.
They also supported stricter controls on testing of vitamins and backed the idea that only pharmacists should sell them, rather than allowing them to be bought over the counter or via the internet.

Earlier this year the EU introduced new rules governing vitamin and mineral supple-ments, but guidelines on maximum doses are still being written and the process is expected to take until 2009 to be completed.
Previous research has raised a cancer risk from high doses of vitamin C.

A study published in the journal Science in 2001 found that in test tube tests, the vitamin could trigger a biological process that damages the
DNA, or genetic code, of cells. Earlier this year, women were warned that taking B vitamins to ward off a heart attack fails to work and may increase the risk.

Researchers in Norway found that heart attack survivors who took a combination of B vitamins for three years were more likely to suffer problems, including second heart attacks and strokes. There was also a possible increase in cancer risk thought to be triggered by increased cell growth.

A study last year found that high doses of vitamin E could be hazardous for elderly people. The substance is often thought to protect the heart and help stave off Alzheimer’s disease.

Prostate Cancer

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This is the second most common male cancer and has a survival rate of 50%. It mostly affects men aged over 60 – half the sufferers are over 75. Risk factors include family history and a diet low in vegetables and high in animal fats. Treatment includes surgery or radiation. Hormone therapy may be used but side-effects include risk of impotence.

Symptoms include frequent trips to the toilet (especially at night), difficulty in urinating and blood in the urine. However, some men may not show any symptoms of prostate cancer and so the cancer can be found only through routine tests. A test which shows whether there is an elevated level of the protein PSA (prostate specific antigen) in the blood is recommended. Normal PSA concentration in blood is between 0.1-2.6ng/ml. PSA levels of 4 ng/ml or greater should prompt a further consultation with a urologist as they may be a indication of prostate cancer. This test can be carried out by a GP. Although there are home proper diagnosis can only be made through biopsy, which would be carried out by a urologist and usually involve a TRUS (transrectal ultra sound) biopsy and/or a CT scan, MRI scan or a bone scan.

Other Prostate problems

There are a number of other prostate disorders that could account for the symptoms. BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia) is an abnormal enlargement of the prostate.

As the prostate enlarges, it can squeeze the urethra making it difficult to urinate and can also stop the bladder from emptying fully. It is difficult to tell the difference between BPH and prostate cancer, so a PSA test should be done.

Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate caused by infection with bacteria and can also produce similar symptoms to cancer, so a PSA test should be carried out.

Treatments for prostate cancer include – external beam radiotherapy 40 uses
high-energy X-ray beams directed at the prostate. These beams prevent cancer cells from dividing and the tumour growing. This avoids the need for surgery but it may cause damage to the bladder and rectum. Diarrhoea, cystitis and nausea are common short-term side effects, there is a risk of impotence and incontinence and it requires daily hospital visits for six weeks.

Surgery in which the entire gland is removed eradicates the disease in 70% of men. But there is a high risk of impotence and a small risk of incontinence. Patients will also need to stay in hospital for at least one week, and then take six weeks off work to recover.

Brachytherapy is a new form of radiation treatment for localised prostate cancer. Radioactive seeds are implanted directly into the prostate gland, meaning a higher dose of radiation can be given than is possible with external beam radiotherapy. The advantages are similar to radiotherapy, with the added plus that damage to surrounding tissues, such as the bladder, is limited. The downside is that it can cause a burning sensation while urinating which may last for some time, one or two anaesthetics are required and its long-term effectiveness has still to be evaluated.

Diet may help prevent prostate cancer. Again antioxidents (vitamins and amino-acids) that occur naturally in many fruits and vegetables. Vitamins C and E and selenium are all antioxidants. There has been evidence showing a reduction in the number of prostate cancer deaths when vitamin E (50mg) was supplemented in smokers. Selenium supplementation (200mg) was also found to reduce prostate cancer in a small group of men, but more research is needed before routine supplementation can be recommended. Keeping weight down, avoiding fatty foods and eating red and processed meat in moderation. Eat five fruit and vegetable portions per day, including a regular intake of tomatoes, and perhaps include some soya products in your diet. Drink alcohol in moderation (a maximum of 3 units per day) and don’t smoke.

A useful web site is Prostate Cancer Now – www.prostatecancernow.org

Body Fat Metabolising suppplements

The following supplements – taken as a formula – help the body lose body fat.

CLA (conjugated linoleic acid)
ALA (alpha lipoic acid)
CoQ10 (coenzyme Q10)
acetyl L-carnitine
L-carnitine
DMAE
L-tyrosine
GLA (Gamma linoleic acid)
Omega 3
chromium polynicotinate.

Vitamins & Minerals

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General advice

Vitamins are either water or fat soluable. Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat soluable and stored in the liver by the body. Since they are used slowly overdosing on them can be more toxic. The B vitamins and vitamin C are water soluable and excess amounts are flushed out of the body.

Since many processed foods are deficient in essential vitamins they can be taken by way of supplements. New research has shown that Vitamin B3 in the diet can help prevent Alzheimer’s, and Vitamins D and C are being investigated for their potential role in the prevention of cancer.

Antioxidants are the elixir vitamins and supplements that help the body defend itself against free radical attack – these are unstable molecular structures that damage cells and which scientists believe are responsible for mutations that cause cancer and other diseases and illnesses. Although we identify several vitamins, minerals and supplements that have particular antioxident properties, they deliver the optimum benefits when taken with other essential nutrients and a balanced diet.

The most important antioxidents are alpha lipoic acid, acetyl L-carnitine, DMAE, vitamin A and betacarotene, vitamin C, Vitamin E, selenium, followed by vitamin B2 (riboflavin), and the minerals, copper, manganese and zinc. Other important antioxidents are co-enzyme Q10, carotenoids such as lutein and lycopene, alpha lipoic acid, green tea and grapeseed extracts.

Care should be taken not to exceed guidelines and a qualified medical doctor should be consulted for accurate information that takes into account your age, weight, health and any medical conditions for which you are taking drugs that might cause contra-indications.

VITAMIN A (and beta-carotene)

Found in Liver, cheese, eggs, oily fish, also cod, halibut, milk., brocolli, cantaloupe melon, kale, red bell peppers, watercress and spinach. Essential for growth, bones, vision, skin, growth, immune system and reproduction. It also helps protect against a range of cancers, helps acen, colds and infections Deficiencies cause mouth ulcers, poor night vision, acne, frequent colds, flaky skin and dandruff. A lack of this vitamin is common in those with Crohn’s Disease. High doses can increase the risk of bone fracture and damage unborn babies – but you’d need to take more than 5g a day.

Since it is fat-soluable it is best taken with some dietary fat and the mineral zinc. As far as the skin is concerned it penetrates into cells protecting them from free radicals and oxidative stress. Acne and ageing skin are often treated with topical Retin-A (tretinoin), an acid form of vitamin A.

The B VITAMINS

These vitamins work together to aid a large number of biological processes that affect the skin, brain and nerves. Thy aid the health of hair, skin and nails, strengthen bones and muscles, fight fatigue, aid liver health, brain function and skin disorders. A deficiency can cause a range of problems ranging from skin problems to insomnia and depression.

VITAMIN B1 (thiamin)

It is found in pork, vegetables, milk, cheese, peas and beans, dried fruit and nuts, salmon and soyabeans. . Contains Vitamin B1, or thiamine, is essential for energy production, brain function and digestion. A lack of leads to tender and weak muscles, irritability, poor concentration, poor memory, depression and tingling hands.

VITAMIN B2 (riboflavin)

Found in cereals, meat, kidneys, mushrooms, eggs, milk, watercress, cauliflower, almonds, walnuts, low-fat cottage cheese and plain yogurt. This vitamin helps turn fat, sugar and protein into energy. It is essentialfor healthy skin, hair and nails and to regulate body acidity. Deficiencies can cause sore tongue, sensitivity to bright lights, cataracts, dull hair and skin problems. In levels found in supplements, there’s no evidence this can cause harm. Vitamin B2 is useful in treating migraine and helps reduce dependence on painkillers used to treat them.

VITAMIN B3 (niacin)

Found in oily fish, liver, poultry, eggs, nuts and seeds, mushrooms, wholegrains, vegetables. It is essential for energy production, brain function, hormones and healthy skin. Helps balance blood sugar. A lack can result in appetite loss, dementia, diarrhea, lack of energy, headaches, anxiety, skin problems. High doses can cause skin flushing so high amounts should not be taken without medical supervision.

The Institute For Healthy Ageing in Chicago recently discovered that people who eat a diet low in Vitamin B3 (12mg or less per day) are 80 per cent more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s. Wheras those to take the vitamin were mentally fitter in general. Other studies have found that vitamin B3 is beneficial in preventing cataracts. In cases of mild depression, the vitamin is given with the amino acid tryptophan which together help to stimulate serotonin, the body’s feel good chemical.

VITAMIN B5 (pantothenic acid)

Found in almost all meat and veg. Red meat, mushrooms, rye bread, kidney, eggs, broccoli, almonds, chickpeas and lentils. Assists in the body’s energy production and endurance, controls fat metabolism and is essential for the brain and nerves. Lack causes muscle tremors or cramps, apathy, anxiety or tension and tiredness.

VITAMIN B6 (pyridoxine)

Found in liver, pork, chicken, salmon, whole cereals, oats, wheatgerm, eggs, avocado, bananas, lentils and vegetables. It is necessary for protein utilisation and brain function. A natural antidepressant. A lack of can cause depression, irritability, muscle tremors, lack of energy and skin problems. Taking high levels such as 1,000mg/day have been associated with nerve damage. Carpal tunnel syndrome which causes pain and numbness in the fingers and associated with arthritis is reduced with by increasing intake of vitamin B6.

VITAMIN B8 (Biotin)

Found in kidney, liver, eggs, dried fruit, almonds, wheatbran, and oats. Helps the body use essential fats, promoting healthy skin, hair and nerves. Assists in metabolising food and utilising other B vitamins. Promotes healthy hair. A deficiency can result in anorexia, nausea, vomiting, depression, hair loss, dry skin, eczema.

VITAMIN B9 (flate, folacin, folic acid)

Found in green vegetables, asparagas, beetroot, peas, chickpeas, sprouts, almonds, brown rice and avocados, chicken, kale, melon, oranges, parsnips and spinach.. Needed for cell division and growth. Critical in the womb for brain development and nerves. Insufficient can led to anaemia, eczema, anxiety, poor memory, stomach pains, sore tongues and mouths and diarrhea.

VITAMIN B12 (cyanocobalamin)

Found in all meat products, seafood, seaweed, eggs, halibut, salmon and yogurt. Helps blood carry oxygen, so is essential for energy. Needed to make DNA, for cell division and nerve function. A lack of causes poor hair condition, irritability, lack of energy, weakness, anemia, constipation, flatulence and weight loss. Helps to lower hormocysteine levels (used with folic acid and B6). There are no known risks

VITAMIN C (Absorbic Acid)

Found in broccoli, peppers, tomatoes, watercress, cauliflower, citrus fruit, kiwi fruit, berries. There are two types of vitamin C, both of which are important antioxidents. The usual form is known as L-ascorbic acid, which is water soluable and protects the water element of skin cells. The other vitamin c, known as C ester, which is fat soluable and protects the fatty part of the cell. This is made of absorbic acid with an added fatty acid from palm oil and is retained by the skin far better than L-ascorbic acid.

Vitamin C strengthens the immune system, makes collagen and keeps bones, skin and joints healthy and strong. Detoxifies pollutants and protects against cancer. A lack can lead to infections, bleeding gums, easy bruising, slow wound healing, wrinkles and the disease scurvy. It is also thought to be a contributor to Parkinson’s Disease. High doses can cause diarrhea.

Vitamin C is best taken with bioflavinoids, the antioxident compounds found in vegetables and fruits.

Vitamin C combined with Vitamin E helps slow the progress of the age-related eye disease, macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the over-65s, caused by a deterioration in the retina. It is thought that Vitamin C helps in the absorption of lutein and lypocene, bioflavinoids found in fruit and vegetables that are needed to maintain the health of the retina.

Since Vitamin C is needed for the production of collagen — the basis of healthy cartilage, ligaments and tendons, it also stimulates the bone-building cells and boosts calcium absorption. Research has found that people who suffered back pain because of damaged discs found this reduced (and, in some cases, the need for surgery was overcome) after taking Vitamin C daily.

Low levels of Vitamin C are associated with rheumatoid arthritis, which leads to swelling and stiffness in the joints of the knees, wrists and ankles. Studies at Manchester and Cambridge Universities found that people who ate plenty of dietary sources of Vitamin C, such as fruit and vegetables, substantially reduced their risk of developing the disease.

Vitamin C can also help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, according to recent studies. It can also help overcome fertility problems associated with a low sperm count. Studies have found that 500mg of Vitamin C twice a day can boost sperm count by a third while also reducing the numbers of abnormal sperm — which can’t fertilise an egg — by the same amount.

VITAMIN D (Calciferol)

Found in oily fish, liver, eggs and fortified cereals. Formed in the skin on exposure to the sun. Regulates calcium levels, helps maintain heart action and the nervous system. A lack of can cause joint pain or stiffness, backache, tooth decay and muscle cramps. High doses over long periods can weaken bones. Doses of 1,250mcg are potentially toxic.

Vitamin D may reduce the risk of developing Type 1 diabetes, the most serious form of the disorder, which can be controlled only with insulin injections. Finnish studies found that babies given Vitamin D supplements have an 80 per cent reduced risk of developing the condition in later life, although as yet scientists are not sure why.

Vitamin D helps those with the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis, as it plays a key part in the absorption of calcium, which is vital for bone strength. Studies have found that a Vitamin D supplement, taken with calcium, can help reduce the rate of fractures (a common side effect of the condition) by 45 per cent. Most people get enough Vitamin D through diet and exposure to the sun, but elderly people may benefit from a supplement.

American studies have found that low levels of Vitamin D increase the amount of wear and tear in the joints of the hip and knee, which can lead to osteoarthritis — a bone condition that affects half of those over the age of 60. The Arthritis Research Campaign is funding further research to see if Vitamin D could be used to combat osteoarthritis of the knee in future.

VITAMIN E (Tochopherol)

Found in unrefined plant oils, tuna, soya, olive oil, nuts and seeds, spinach. Necessary to protect fats in cell membranes from damage. May protect against cancer. Helps the body use oxygen. Improves wound healing and fertility. A lack of leads to easy bruising, slow wound healing, loss of muscle tone and infertility. No toxic effects of found at less than 2,000mg per day.

Studies have found that people with sufficient Vitamin E in their diet have a reduced risk of heart attacks. It can also reduce the risk of further attacks in people who have already suffered one. Vitamin E reduces cholesterol and inflammation, and so helps prevent blood vessels becoming furred or inflamed. However, the studies found that the benefits are gained only from dietary sources of Vitamin E, not supplements.

Vitamin E may also help a number of menopausal symptoms including hot flushes, and mood swings caused by hormonal imbalances.

Researchers at St Thomas’s Hospital in London found that pregnant women could reduce the risk of pre-Eclampsia — which causes a huge surge in blood pressure and kidney damage, and can prove fatal to mother and baby — by taking Vitamins E and C. The study found that taking 400mg of Vitamin E and 1,000mg of Vitamin C reduced the risk by almost ten per cent. It is thought the two vitamins help ‘mop up’ the toxins released into the body through the kidney damage.

VITAMIN K (Phylloquinone)

Found in green, leafy vegetables, broccoli, vegetable oils, potatoes, milk. Vitamin K is essential for the normal coagulation of blood. A lack of causes easy bleeding. Supplements aren’t needed. Our diet provides around half of our needs, and bacteria in the intestine produce the rest.

MINERALS

CALCIUM

Found in milk, cheese, green leafy vegetables, soya milk, nuts and eggs. Promotes healthy heart and nerves, clots blood, improves skin, bone and teeth, contracts muscles. Insufficient can lead to muscle cramps, insomnia, joint pain or arthritis, osteoporosis, bleeding gums, high blood pressure and even rickets.. Too much can cause diarrhoea. Found in broccoli, low fat yogurt, nuts and seeds, sardines and salmon, sea vegetables, tofu.

CHROMIUM

Found in Brewer’s yeast, calves liver, wholemeal bread, rye bread, oysters, potatoes, chicken and apples. Needed for heart function . Assists in regulating blood sugar levels, regulates insulin, lowers cholesterol and is also attributed with assisting weight loss. A deficiency may cause glucose tolerance and impaired growth, dizziness and cravings for frequent meals and sweets. It should be taken with vitamin C for maximum absorbtion levels andto reduce cravings. Although the FSA recommends no more than 10mg, many pre-diabetic people take this amount to improve blood- sugar control. The FSA have issued a caution on a form of chromium called chromium picolinate, which may increase cancer risk.

MAGNESIUM

Found in leafy vegetables, nuts, yeast, red pepper, wholemeal bread, avocado, oatmeal, tofu. Necessary to strengthen bones and teeth, promotes healthy muscles by helping them relax; important for the nervous system and energy production. A lack can cause muscle tremors, insomnia, high blood pressure, depression, kidney stones.

IRON

Found in black pudding, liver, red meat, beans, nuts, dried fruit, wholegrains, green, leafy vegetables. Necessary for blood to carry oxygen to tissues. It’s also needed in enzymes vital for energy production. Deficiency can led to anaemia, pale skin, fatigue, nausea and sensitivity to cold. Too much can cause diarrhoea – though anaemics may take more than 17mg under medical supervision.

SELENIUM

Found in tuna, oysters, wholegrains, mushrooms, cottage cheese, courgettes, chicken. Antioxidant which helps fight infection, promotes a healthy heart, reduces inflammation, helps fight cancer. A deficiency of this mineral causes premature aging, high blood pressure, frequent infections. No signs of toxicity have been found below 0.7mg.

SODIUM CHLORIDE

Found in celery and processed foods. Sodium chloride, or salt, maintains body’s water balance, prevents dehydration. Needed for nerve and muscle function. Moves nutrients into cells. Insufficient can cause dizziness, rapid pulse, apathy, muscle cramps, headache. Excess salt may contribute to high blood pressure and heart disease.

ZINC

Found in brazil nuts, chicken, halibut, oatmeal, salmon, sunflower seeds and turkey. Zinc is responsible for helping wounds to heal, collagen prod uction, cell division. A deficiency causes a worsening of skin conditions such as psoriasis.

Obesity

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Obesity is now an epidemic in many developed countries with one in five adults seriously overweight – 17% of men and 21% of woman are obese. There is also a large rise in the number of overweight and obese youngsters. Obesity in children aged between two and four almost doubled from five to nine per cent from 1989 to 1998. It trebled from five to 16 per cent among children aged six to 15 between 1990-2001. Obesity in women trebled between 1980 and 2002 from eight to 23 per cent. Obesity in men is even worse, with the figure rising fourfold from six to 22 per cent. Obesity causes at thousands of deaths each year, from medical conditions such as heart disease, strokes and diabetes.

Obesity is measured by calculating your Body Mass Index (BMI). This is your weight in kilo-grams divided by the square of your height in metres. A BMI above 25 is categorised as overweight, and above 30 is obese.

A recent study by the Netherlands Morbidity Research Group, which studied the health and lifestyles of 3,500 men and women over more than half a century has concluded that being obese or overweight in adulthood decreases life expectancy as much as smoking.

Dr Anna Peeters, of the Netherlands Morbidity Research Group, who led the study, said: ‘We concluded that obesity in adulthood is associated with a decrease in life expectancy of about seven years, both in men and women.The condition leaves people at risk of heart disease, diabetes, high bloodpressure and osteoarthritis. Recent studies have shown obesity is leading to more than 30,000 premature deaths annually in Britain from illnesses caused or worsened by being overweight.

Studies have shown that the ten per cent of women who are heaviest are 20 per cent more likely to suffer breast cancer than the ten per cent at the other end of the weight scale.

Instead of extreme diets, surgical procedures or drugs, doctors recommend sustainable lifestyle changes such as a varied and sensible diet including fresh vegetables and fruit with moderate amounts of protein and exercise that doesn’t necesarily mean going to a gym, such as cycling or dancing. See Elixirs and Diet .

New discoveries

Chemical that could burn away obesity

A compound called KB-141, which speeds up metabolism and also reduce cholesterol has been developed by the pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb. It works by stimulating the thyroid hormone that regulates metabolism and cholesterol. Previous treatments have not been able to discriminate between different thyroid functions, and have affected both metabolic and heart rates. While most research into obesity has focused on appetite suppression.

Stomach pacemaker

An Italian doctor has invented a ‘stomach pacemaker’, the size of tiny matchbox, which when implanted within the stomach, slows down the movement of food through the intestine, making a person feel fuller and preventing hunger pangs.

The Gastric Stimulator (TIGS), is similar in design to a pacemaker but slows down the movement of food through the intestine. It sends out pulses of electricity that trigger activity by natural neurons in the stomach whose job is to tell the brain when there is no more room for food. In other words, it fools the brain into
thinking the stomach is full.Results from early tests on ten patients show they were able to lose 90 per cent of their excess weight over two years. The device would stay in the body permanently.

Other treatments for obesity include drugs and surgery such as stomach stapling the most popular forms of surgery, shrinks the size of the stomach but this can lead to complications. Another option, a gastric bypass, restricts both food intake and the take-up of sugar and fats.

Trials on the stomach pacemaker are being carried out by an American implant company, Transneuronix, on 150 people in Europe and the U.S. If the results are positive the pacemaker could be inplanted in Britain patients.

The device delays the emptying of the stomach. The signals are thought to restrict movement by shrinking the entrance and exit. At the heart of the technology is a stimulation lead implanted in the gastric area using keyhole surgery and connected to a battery-powered electrical unit implanted under the skin around the abdomen. A third piece of equipment is a computer that works like a remote control to check how the technology is working, and which is also used to change the type of electrical signals being sent out. Once it has been put in place, the device can be left on indefinitely or switched on when the patient feels an urge to eat excessively.

Herbal hunger cure

Research shows that those taking Zotrim, the brand name for a product that contains a combination of three South American herbs – shed around five pounds in a month.

Nutritionist Dr Carrie Ruxton, who conducted the study, says the preparation could provide extra motivation for slimmers plagued by hunger pangs. ‘It promotes a physical feeling of fullness caused by a delay in the emptying of contents from the stomach,’ she said.

Taking the herbal tablets delays the rate at which the stomach empties by an average of 20 minutes. The delay is not dangerous – it merely extends the normal length of time taken to digest food. But it makes it difficult for people to eat too much as they feel uncomfortably full more quickly.

About Elixir

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Avril O’Connor is the Editor of Elixir News and Elixir magazine. It has been developed from a passion which began in 2002 when there was a proliferation of web sites selling anti-ageing products and services….but few with an independent voice.

In April 2005 Elixir News was born. It is editorially independent enabling consumers to better make informed choices about their health and anti-ageing products and services.

We do not accept payment to write endorsements of products and services or for the inclusion of experts and services in our directories. This enables Elixir News to be a credible and independent news source, as well as including all the services and professional experts that we consider relevant to our readership. Nevertheless inclusion is not an endorsement by us and should it come to our attention that any business mentioned on our site is being conducted in an illegal or unethical manner we will remove it from our directories.

Visitors to our site should also bear in mind that many claims are made for anti-ageing products and services that are not necessarily substantiated by scientific evidence and should always take the expert advice of a qualified medical doctor.

It is the intention of Elixir News to fairly report and investigate the facts. If we consider that any claims for products/services are bogus or unsubstantiated we will say so. If you have had negative experiences with businesses in this sector please let us know and we will take up the challenge. We also report on our positive experiences with products and services. Advertising or sponsorship is clearly labelled as such.

We hope that you will find our web site useful in arming you with knowledge that can help you live a longer and happier life. But once again we do advise anyone with persistent health problems to consult a qualified medical practitioner/doctor. Anyone embarking on a intensive anti-ageing programme should, in particular, seek the advice of a qualified specialist about the supplements they plan to take and in what quantities, as they may conflict with drug therapy and certain medical conditions. The doctor may advise certain blood and other tests to determine your individual needs.

Please do let us know about your experiences and feedback on the information within this site. Email us at info@elixirnews.com