Tuscan White Bean Stew – the perfect cool weather warmer

A traditional Tuscan soup that is low in fat and calories and a perfect cool weather warmer

Serves 6

For the croutons
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 cloves garlic, quartered
• 1 slice whole-grain bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

For the stew
• 2 cups dried cannellini or other white beans, picked over and rinsed, soaked overnight, and drained
• 6 cups water
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 bay leaf
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
• 3 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
• 6 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, plus 6 sprigs
• 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock or broth

To make the croutons, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes to infuse the garlic flavor into the oil. Remove the garlic pieces and discard. Return the pan to medium heat. Add the bread cubes and saute, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

In a soup pot over high heat, combine the white beans, water, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially and simmer until the beans are tender, 60 to 75 minutes. Drain the beans, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Discard the bay leaf. Place the cooked beans into a large bowl and save the cooking pot for later use.
In a small bowl, combine the reserved cooking liquid and 1/2 cup of the cooked beans. Mash with a fork to form a paste. Stir the bean paste into the cooked beans.
Return the cooking pot to the stove top and add the olive oil. Heat over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion and carrots and saute until the carrots are tender-crisp, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until softened, about 1 minute. Stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, the pepper, chopped rosemary, bean mixture and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the stew is heated through, about 5 minutes.
Ladle the stew into warmed bowls and sprinkle with the croutons. Garnish each bowl with a rosemary sprig and serve immediately.

Low cost amino acid that protects the brain from ageing

New discoveries are highlighting the roles that a low-cost amino acid,  taurine, plays in helping to preserve the human mind. The importance of maintaining critical concentrations of taurine, as we age is being recognised by specialists in cognitive medicine. In particular how it protects against environmental pollution. 1,2
Taurine is one of the most abundant amino acids in our bodies. It plays special roles in the brain, where it meets many of the criteria for being a neurotransmitter (a molecule that transmits signals between brain cells).3,4Its role in normal brain development is already established.5-7

It is thought that taurine:
•Protects brain cells against environmental toxins including lead and organic pesticides8
•Prevents dysfunction of mitochondria within brain cells, thereby sustaining energy levels9,10
•Protects brain cells against excitotoxicity, the chemically stressful effects of overstimulated brain cells9
•Enhances the inhibitory systems driven by the “relaxing” neurotransmitter GABA, which directly opposes excitotoxic effects11
•Cooperates with other neurotransmitters to promote induction of long-term potentiation, which is the neurological process by which memories are formed and retained during learning2,12
•Reduces brain inflammatory processes that are active in production of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases13
•Stimulates proliferation and new neuron formation to sustain learning and memory14-16
•Protects brain cells against destruction following a stroke17,18
•Attenuates damage caused by beta amyloid protein, a major contributing factor in Alzheimer’s disease10,19

Protects the adult brain as well as the developing brain by slowing down ageing and also again environmental toxins,  increasingly recognised as factors in adult neurodegenerative disorders including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.20-23

Taurine protects against environmental poisons

A recent study showed that rats exposed to either a dangerous pesticide called CPF, lead acetate, or both toxins, showed biochemical damage leading to visible degeneration of brain tissue. When the animals were cotreated with taurine, those changes were prevented.8

These findings may have increased urgency as Americans discover just how our public infrastructure has failed to protect us against lead and other toxins in our water supplies.24

Taurine’s multiple mechanisms of action fight brain aging in other important ways, particularly by protecting the brain against internal age-accelerating forces.

For decades, scientists believed that adult brain cells could not reproduce, nor could new brain cells be generated afresh. Studies with taurine are turning that dogma on its head.

New brain cell growth was demonstrated in an exciting study released in 2015. Swiss scientists discovered that feeding middle-aged mice taurine could trigger rapid growth in populations of stem cells in the brain and greatly promote their subsequent differentiation into functioning adult brain cells.25 This effect had previously been shown in studies of cultured adult-mouse brain stem cells.14 And another 2015 study demonstrated that human-brain stem cells in culture underwent the same type of proliferation and specialization demonstrated in the animal studies.16

Together, these studies mean that humans are likely to be able to stimulate new brain cell development, and foster rapid synaptic connections between them with taurine.

Neurodegenerative diseases rob aging adults of memory, function, and dignity. Taurine has significant favorable impact on the malformed and toxic proteins that accumulate in the aging brain, leading to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Taurine can prevent damage wrought on brain cells by the malformed Alzheimer’s-related protein called beta amyloid.10 That mechanism may have been at work in a recent mouse model study of Alzheimer’s, in which six weeks of taurine added to drinking water rescued mice from developing cognitive deficits. In this study taurine supplementation restored cognitive function to that of age-matched normal mice.19

Elevated blood glucose and insulin resistance severely damage the brain. Some researchers now refer to Alzheimer’s as “type III diabetes.”26 In 2015, a study showed that taurine supplementation in mice could increase brain insulin receptors, an effect that might prove to be protective against the disease.27

Ischemic strokes are the result of an abrupt reduction in blood flow to specific brain regions. Strokes not only cause immediate symptoms, but also contribute to accelerated brain aging over the longer term.28,29 Once again, a role for taurine supplementation is evident.

Taurine appears to protect brain cells from the oxidative stress induced during a stroke, and to slow subsequent brain cell death.9,18 Chronic cellular destruction contributes to neurological problems in stroke survivors, so preventing it is an important approach to mitigating stroke damage. A mouse study has shown that adding taurine to another emerging stroke drug improved performance on neurological tests, while the drug alone was ineffective.18
Brains age for many reasons. Chronic toxin exposures, elevated blood sugar, accumulations of abnormal proteins and circulatory disruptions are known to accelerate brain aging.

Taurine is proving to have significant brain age-decelerating effects. Most recently, it has been shown to be protective against toxic exposures including lead and pesticides. It also inhibits beta amyloid formation associated with Alzheimer’s and helps regulate the brain’s control of glucose. Taurine also shows evidence of protection against the cognitive deficits induced by stroke.

It has also been reported that this amino acid has helped grow new brain cells.


  1. Menzie J, Pan C, Prentice H, et al. Taurine and central nervous system disorders. Amino Acids. 2014;46(1):31-46.
  2. Suarez LM, Munoz MD, Martin Del Rio R, et al. Taurine content in different brain structures during ageing: effect on hippocampal synaptic plasticity. Amino Acids. 2016;48(5):1199-208.
  3. Ripps H, Shen W. Review: taurine: a “very essential” amino acid. Mol Vis. 2012;18:2673-86.
  4. Iio W, Matsukawa N, Tsukahara T, et al. The effects of oral taurine administration on behavior and hippocampal signal transduction in rats. Amino Acids. 2012;43(5):2037-46.
  5. Shivaraj MC, Marcy G, Low G, et al. Taurine induces proliferation of neural stem cells and synapse development in the developing mouse brain. PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e42935.
  6. Liu J, Liu Y, Wang XF, et al. Antenatal taurine supplementation improves cerebral neurogenesis in fetal rats with intrauterine growth restriction through the PKA-CREB signal pathway. Nutr Neurosci. 2013;16(6):282-7.
  7. Li F, Teng HY, Liu J, et al. Antenatal taurine supplementation increases taurine content in intrauterine growth restricted fetal rat brain tissue. Metab Brain Dis. 2014;29(3):867-71.
  8. Akande MG, Aliu YO, Ambali SF, et al. Taurine mitigates cognitive impairment induced by chronic co-exposure of male Wistar rats to chlorpyrifos and lead acetate. Environ Toxicol Pharmacol. 2014;37(1):315-25.
  9. Kumari N, Prentice H, Wu JY. Taurine and its neuroprotective role. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2013;775:19-27.
  10. Sun Q, Hu H, Wang W, et al. Taurine attenuates amyloid beta 1-42-induced mitochondrial dysfunction by activating of SIRT1 in SK-N-SH cells. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2014;447(3):485-9.
  11. El Idrissi A, Shen CH, L’Amoreaux W J. Neuroprotective role of taurine during aging. Amino Acids. 2013;45(4):735-50.
  12. Suarez LM, Bustamante J, Orensanz LM, et al. Cooperation of taurine uptake and dopamine D1 receptor activation facilitates the induction of protein synthesis-dependent late LTP. Neuropharmacology. 2014;79:101-11.
  13. Ward RJ, Dexter DT, Crichton RR. Ageing, neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration. Front Biosci (Schol Ed). 2015;7:189-204.
  14. Hernandez-Benitez R, Ramos-Mandujano G, Pasantes-Morales H. Taurine stimulates proliferation and promotes neurogenesis of mouse adult cultured neural stem/progenitor cells. Stem Cell Res. 2012;9(1):24-34.
  15. Hernandez-Benitez R, Vangipuram SD, Ramos-Mandujano G, et al. Taurine enhances the growth of neural precursors derived from fetal human brain and promotes neuronal specification. Dev Neurosci. 2013;35(1):40-9.
  16. Pasantes-Morales H, Ramos-Mandujano G, Hernandez-Benitez R. Taurine enhances proliferation and promotes neuronal specification of murine and human neural stem/progenitor cells. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2015;803:457-72.
  17. Chen PC, Pan C, Gharibani PM, et al. Taurine exerts robust protection against hypoxia and oxygen/glucose deprivation in human neuroblastoma cell culture. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2013;775:167-75.
  18. Gharibani P, Modi J, Menzie J, et al. Comparison between single and combined post-treatment with S-Methyl-N,N-diethylthiolcarbamate sulfoxide and taurine following transient focal cerebral ischemia in rat brain. Neuroscience. 2015;300:460-73.
  19. Kim HY, Kim HV, Yoon JH, et al. Taurine in drinking water recovers learning and memory in the adult APP/PS1 mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Sci Rep. 2014;4:7467.
  20. Goldman SM. Environmental toxins and Parkinson’s disease. Annu Rev Pharmacol Toxicol. 2014;54:141-64.
  21. Campdelacreu J. Parkinson disease and Alzheimer disease: environmental risk factors. Neurologia. 2014;29(9):541-9.
  22. Nakamura T, Tu S, Akhtar MW, et al. Aberrant protein s-nitrosylation in neurodegenerative diseases. Neuron. 2013;78(4):596-614.
  23. L’Episcopo F, Tirolo C, Testa N, et al. Aging-induced Nrf2-ARE pathway disruption in the subventricular zone drives neurogenic impairment in parkinsonian mice via PI3K-Wnt/beta-catenin dysregulation. J Neurosci. 2013;33(4):1462-85.
  24. Bellinger DC. Lead Contamination in Flint–An Abject Failure to Protect Public Health. N Engl J Med. 2016;374(12):1101-3.
  25. Gebara E, Udry F, Sultan S, et al. Taurine increases hippocampal neurogenesis in aging mice. Stem Cell Res. 2015;14(3):369-79.
  26. Li X, Song D, Leng SX. Link between type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease: from epidemiology to mechanism and treatment. Clin Interv Aging. 2015;10:549-60.
  27. El Idrissi A, Sidime F, Tantawy O, et al. Taurine supplementation induces hyperinsulinemia and neuronal hyperexcitability. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2015;803:415-23.
  28. Canugovi C, Misiak M, Ferrarelli LK, et al. The role of DNA repair in brain related disease pathology. DNA Repair (Amst). 2013;12(8):578-87.
  29. Seghier ML, Ramsden S, Lim L, et al. Gradual lesion expansion and brain shrinkage years after stroke. Stroke. 2014;45(3):877-9.

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.

Vitamin C protects skin from cancer


London: A joint study by scientists in the UK & Portugal has discovered a new role played by Vitamin C in protecting the skin from cancer and sun damage.

Researchers at the University of Leicester and Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biology in Portugal studied new protective properties of vitamin C in cells from the human skin, which could lead to better skin regeneration.

The work, by Tiago Duarte, Marcus S. Cooke and G. Don Jones, found that a form of Vitamin C helped to promote wound healing and also helped protect the DNA damage of skin cells. Their findings have been published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine.

This report is the latest in a long line of publications from these researchers, at the University of Leicester, concerning vitamin C. Previously, the group has published evidence that DNA repair is upregulated in people consuming vitamin C supplements. The researchers have now provided some mechanistic evidence for this, in cell culture, using techniques such as Affymetrix microarray, for looking at gene expression, and the ‘Comet’ assay to study DNA damage and repair.

Tiago Duarte, formerly of the University of Leicester, and now at the Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biology in Portugal, said: “The exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation increases in summer, often resulting in a higher incidence of skin lesions. Ultraviolet radiation is also a genotoxic agent responsible for skin cancer, through the formation of free radicals and DNA damage.

“Our study analysed the effect of sustained exposure to a vitamin C derivative, ascorbic acid 2-phosphate (AA2P), in human dermal fibroblasts. We investigated which genes are activated by vitamin C in these cells, which are responsible for skin regeneration.

“The results demonstrated that vitamin C may improve wound healing by stimulating quiescent fibroblasts to divide and by promoting their migration into the wounded area. Vitamin C could also protect the skin by increasing the capacity of fibroblasts to repair potentially mutagenic DNA lesions.”

Even though vitamin C was discovered over 70 years ago as the agent that prevents scurvy, its properties are still under much debate in the scientific community. In fact, the annual meeting of the International Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine, which will be held this year in San Francisco (USA), will feature a session dedicated to vitamin C, entitled “New discoveries for an old vitamin”.

Dr Marcus S. Cooke from the Department of Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine and Department of Genetics, at the University of Leicester, added: “The study indicates a mechanism by which vitamin C could contribute to the maintenance of a healthy skin by promoting wound healing and by protecting cellular DNA against damage caused by oxidation”. “These findings are particular importance to our photobiology interests, and we will certainly be looking into this further”.

These results will be of great relevance to the cosmetics industry. Free radicals are associated with premature skin aging, and antioxidants, such as vitamin C, are known to counter these highly damaging compounds. This new evidence suggest that, in addition to ‘mopping up’ free radicals, vitamin C can help remove the DNA damage they form, if they get past the cell’s defences.

The study has the potential to lead to advances in the prevention and treatment of skin lesions specifically, as well as contributing to the fight against cancer.

Recipe of the day – Aromatic Salmon and Leek Parcels by Filipo Berio


This dish takes only a few minutes but its low calorie, delicious and packed with anti-aging nutrients.

Aromatic Salmon and Leek Parcels

These can be served hot, straight from the barbecue, or do as the eastern Mediterraneans do, which is just as delicious, and let them cool in their packages and then serve them cold.

Serves 4

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

2 medium leeks, trimmed
4 salmon fillets, skinned, about 175g (6oz) each
6 tbsp Filippo Berio Olive Oil
3 tbsp chopped coriander
1 teaspoon medium hot curry powder
2 tbsp lemon juice
Salt, freshly ground black pepper
4 stems of cherry tomatoes on the vine


1. Thinly slice the leeks, place in a large sieve and rinse under cold water to remove any grit. Drain well.

2. Cut out 4 large squares of heavy-duty foil, grease lightly with a little oil, and
then divide the leeks, placing in the centre of piece of foil. Scatter half of the coriander over. Place a salmon fillet on top of each, season.

3. Mix together the remaining oil, curry powder and lemon juice and pour some over each steak, allowing it to drizzle over the fish onto the bed of leeks. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then fold the foil over and seal the packages.

4. Put the packages on the grilling rack of a preheated barbecue and cook for 15 minutes. Halfway, place the stems of vine tomatoes on the barbecue and cook alongside the salmon (cooking time will depend on the temperature of barbecue and whether the barbecue is used open, which will take slightly longer than with a lid). To cook the salmon parcels in the oven, heat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 8. Place the parcels on a baking tray and cook for 15 minutes. Unwrap one parcel and test the fish is cooked using the point of a knife.

5. Remove the packages and either serve immediately, in or out of the foil. Scatter the remaining chopped coriander over the fish and serve with the tomatoes to accompany. Alternatively, allow to cool, then remove the wrappings and serve cold.

Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) – the latest research



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.


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.
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


Mexican detox smoothie giveaway from Crussh


CRUSSH the UKÂ’s oasis of healthy food and wellbeing has launched the UKÂ’s first ever Cactus detox smoothie.

Cactus has been used for thousands of years by Mexican natives to enhance health and vitality. Celebrated for its wealth of health-promoting benefits including cleansing the liver and colon; the Cactus offers a great variety and high levels of antioxidants such as Vitamins A, C and Bs, as well as providing a rich source of fibre and hydration due to its high water levels.

Research has also linked the use of Cactus in slowing down the ageing process, treating intestinal illnesses such as ulcers, reducing blood sugar levels in diabetes, burning fat and lowering cholesterol.

The Cactus smoothie contains a delicious blend of 98% fat free yoghurt, lime, pineapple and banana and is available at all Crussh stores from January until March.

To try the Cactus smoothie for yourself, Crussh has given Elixir five free smoothie vouchers for you to win. To grab your free smoothie, all you have to do is to email us your name and address at readeroffer@elixirnews.com with the word Smoothie in the header. The first five emailers who send in their details by 28 February 2009 will receive a voucher. Please note that no cash equivalent is being offered.

So get back to nature this New Year and cleanse your body with the time-old Mexican Cactus detox available at all Crussh stores now.


Can nutraceuticals prevent diabetes?

Lexington: People at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes might be able to delay or prevent the disease by taking certain food supplements and making lifestyle changes, according to a new book.

Diabetes is a worldwide epidemic, and it is growing at an alarming rate. In 2006, the United Nations declared it an international health threat comparable to HIV/AIDS. However, emerging evidence suggests that risk of diabetes can be reduced by a combination of weight loss, exercise, dietary changes and the use of supplements called “nutraceuticals,” extracts of certain foods purported to have a physiological benefit or provide protection from disease.

The book, “Nutraceuticals, Glycemic Health and Type 2 Diabetes,” by Dr James Anderson, an international authority on metabolic diseases, and professor emeritus of medicine and clinical nutrition, provides an overview of glycemic health and highlights the use of nutraceuticals in the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes. Anderson identifies dietary fiber from whole grains as one of the strongest preventive measures for type 2 diabetes. The book also offers an in-depth discussion on certain minerals and herbs that assist in achieving tighter glycemic control.

Anderson collaborated with Vijai K.Pasupuleti, founder of SAI International — a firm engaged in research, consulting and marketing for nutraceutical, pharmaceutical and biotechnolgy companies — to summarize cutting-edge research from all over the world and assemble the outcomes. Thirty-five scientists from nine countries contributed 18 chapters presenting the latest findings on the role of nutrition in diabetes.

This emerging evidence will allow health care providers to offer the latest in nutrition guidance to patients with diabetes. It will encourage producers of foods and supplements to make active ingredients more widely available to consumers, and will enable self-directed individuals to make intelligent choices about nutrition supplements to prevent diabetes.

In the closing chapter Anderson provides practical guidelines based on his clinical experience, his research and the research presented in the book. He gives recommendations for specific amounts of minerals to slow progression of diabetes or reverse diabetes in its early stages. Over 100 herbal supplements are evaluated and 11 are assessed to be of potential value for treatment of early diabetes.

Anderson and his colleagues have been doing research on nutrition and diabetes for 35 years at UK and he has published over 100 research papers on this topic.

75% of Brits pop vitamin pills for health


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

[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;

Vitamins do not extend life – experts dispute new report


Copenhagen: A group of international scientists is claiming that vitamins do not extend life and may even end it prematurely.

After analysing 67 studies of more than 230,000 men and women, they conclucded that there was little evidence that those taking supplements of the antioxidant vitamins A, C and E were healthier.

In the UK, for example, a third of the population take supplements – a total spend of ÂŁ333million annually. This amounts to 40% of women and 30 per cent of men taking pills each day.

The analysis examined trials on beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium. It says in-depth analysis of the different trials does not support the idea that vitamins extend lifespan.

‘Even more, beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin E seem to increase mortality,’ says the review.

Vitamin A was linked to a 16 per cent increase in mortality, beta-carotene – the pigment found in carrots, tomatoes and broccoli which the body converts into vitamin A – to a 7 per cent increase and vitamin E to a 4 per cent increase. However, there was no significant detrimental effect caused by vitamin C.

‘There was no evidence to support either healthy people using antioxidants to prevent disease or for sick people to take them to get better,’ said the published by the Cochrane Library, a publication of the Cochrane Collaboration, an international organisation which evaluates healthcare research.

It said more research was needed on vitamin C and selenium. Antioxidants are used by the body as protection against free radicals, which are molecules produced during normal metabolism.

These can damage the body if they flourish in an uncontrolled way as a result of illness, overexposure to toxins or ageing.

It is thought antioxidants such as vitamin C confer health benefits by ‘grabbing’ or neutralising free radicals, and many people take them as health ‘insurance’.

The theory behind using antioxidants is to combat oxidation – the chemical reaction that causes metals to rust – which in cells can damage DNA, thus raising the risk of cancer, other diseases and the changes associated with ageing.

Previous human and animal laboratory research suggested that boosting antioxidant levels in the body might extend life, but other studies produced neutral or even harmful results.

Altogether 47 trials involving 180,938 people were classified as having a low risk of bias which showed ‘antioxidant supplements significantly increased mortality’.

Goran Bjelakovic, who led the review at the Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark, said: ‘We could find no evidence to support taking antioxidant supplements to reduce the risk of dying earlier in healthy people or patients with various diseases.

‘The findings of our review show that if anything, people in trial groups given the antioxidants beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin E showed increased rates of mortality.

‘There was no indication that vitamin C and selenium may have positive or negative effects. So, regarding these antioxidants, we need more data from randomised trials.

‘The bottom line is that current evidence does not support the use of antioxidant supplements in the general healthy population or in patients with certain diseases.’

The review does not offer any biological explanation as to why supplements can cause harm, although it has been suggested that betacarotene, for example, might interfere with the body’s use of fats.

There is no suggestion from the review that a healthy diet including plenty of vegetables and fruit – natural sources of antioxidants – is harmful.

Some of BritainÂ’s most popular celebrities have spoken out against this weekÂ’s alarmist and grossly misleading vitamin story, which wrongly questioned the safety of the antioxidant supplements that benefit millions of consumers in this country.

Sir Cliff Richard, Gloria Hunniford, Jenny Seagrove and Carole Caplin have joined health industry experts in rejecting the widely publicised antioxidant review and reassuring consumers that concerns over these supplements are unfounded.

An extensive body of scientific research has proven that taking supplements, including vitamins C, E and beta-carotene, selenium and zinc can play a significant role in maintaining good health. The updated meta-analysis published in the ‘Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008’ should not cause consumers to question the efficacy or safety of antioxidant supplements.

“Provided they follow the intakes on the label consumers shouldnÂ’t be concerned about the safety of antioxidant supplements available on the UKÂ’s High Streets,” said Dr Michele Sadler on behalf of the Health Food ManufacturersÂ’ Association (HFMA).

“The truth of the matter is that this meta-analysis is simply not applicable for vitamin users in this country. The analysis largely focused on extraordinarily and atypically high doses of antioxidant vitamins – in fact, the mean value of vitamin A used in the research was more than four times the upper level in typical formulations sold in the UK, and some of the studies tested up to 40 times the UK’s safe upper limit. Supplement users would have some trouble trying to replicate this kind of daily intake,” explained David Adams of the HFMA.

Celebrity SupportÂ…

Joining the growing body of health supplement supporters concerned at the effects such stories will have on the millions of consumers who use supplements to boost their health and wellbeing,

Sir Cliff Richard said: “I’ve always freely admitted to taking food supplements. I’ve done so for years and believe that they’ve been beneficial to me personally. For those of us prone to put on weight at the drop of a chocolate digestive, it’s only logical to compensate for some of the vitamins and nutrients that we deny ourselves at mealtimes. Certainly if a time came when we were denied the freedom of choice to take our dailypills and potions, I would be seriously concerned.”

Gloria Hunniford said: “Doctors and ‘experts’ are always saying that to get the nutrients we need, all we have to do is eat a proper diet. But show me the people who do on a regular basis. Most of us eat on the run, myself included, and sometimes we have no choice but to snack on whatever food is available at the time. Under professional guidance, I have used vitamin supplements for many years to augment what I eat – and will certainly continue to do so.”

Carole Caplin added: “It must be obvious to everyone who hasnÂ’t got a vested interest in supplements that this review is absolute rubbish, it contains fundamental flaws.

“With nearly 750 studies to choose from, why did the researchers manage to focus on just 67? That’s less than nine per cent of the total number of clinical trials on antioxidants available. The research makes clear the team failed to determine the actual cause of death, so there is no proven link whatsoever between the antioxidants assessed and mortality.

“This isn’t even a new study – it’s simply a re-hash of old work which was widely criticised in 2007 for its inaccuracies. It is only common sense that our bodies need regular supplies of essential nutrients for growth and maintenance.

“Obtaining all we need from food is not always possible so high quality supplements often have a valuable role to play. When taken responsibly they act as a health insurance policy. I will certainly continue to both use and recommend them when necessary.”

Jenny Seagrove said: “To those of us who use vitamins in the UK, this research seems utterly pointless. I canÂ’t help but wonder why they have chosen to report it again at this time, just when the EU is about to set dose levels for all vitamins and minerals. The antioxidant dose levels in our vitamin tablets are tiny compared to the levels tested in this research, and donÂ’t forget that the high level antioxidant doses they used are not even available in UK supplements.

“IÂ’m not going to be bullied by this dismal research paper – I am 100% confident that the vitamins and mineral supplements I use are safe and effective and I will continue to use them when I choose.”

Fundamentally and Systematically FlawedÂ…

In an opinion shared by the majority of the health industry, David Adams continued: “This review is fundamentally flawed. Of the 67 clinical studies included in the review, over two thirds of the total were conducted on individuals already diagnosed with disease, resulting in a serious bias in the results. No matter how positive the effects of antioxidant vitamins on good health, they simply cannot be expected to overturn previously diagnosed, chronic illness.

“The authors’ decision to investigate ‘all cause’ mortality also created a multitude of problems. The study failed to examine the differences in causes of death, and the results were based on all types of causes, which could range from accidents to other illnesses. With 69 per cent of the trials involving individuals with diagnosed disease, mortality occurring throughout the study period could have been related to the pre-determined illness. Furthermore, the study omitted to identify the intervention of prescribed medication.The authors themselves point out that the doses in some trials were above the upper safe levels of intake and comment that
further investigation into the causes of mortality is necessary for accuracy in measurement of the results.”

David Adams concluded: “Antioxidant supplements cannot be expected to undo a lifetime of unhealthy living, but combined with good lifestyle choices, can play an important role in promoting overall health and wellbeing.”

Director of Consumers for Health Choice, Sue Croft said: “Twenty-one million people in the UK use dietary supplements every day. They can’t all be wrong! We have been using vitamins and minerals here for almost fifty years; they are not a fad, from time to time they play an important role in maintaining optimum health – they are part of our culture.

“The re-publishing of the research paper at this time is highly suspicious. Not only that, it will cause concern and anxiety to millions of consumers who regularly use such supplements.

“The EU is about to reveal their proposals for dose levels that could well mean that many thousands of really beneficial and safe products will be removed from the British market and many small retailers will be forced to close. We do need to preserve our existing specialist market; people wanting to take responsibility for their own health should be encouraged to keep themselves well through optimal supplementation.”


The Health Food ManufacturersÂ’ Association (HFMA) is the voice of the UKÂ’s natural health industry and represents more than 120 manufacturers and suppliers of natural health products.

Founded in 1965, the HFMA is a not-for-profit organisation which operates long-standing codes of practice to help ensure that member companies adhere to high standards and offer good quality, safe products supported by responsible, lawful information.

For further information about the HFMA, visit www.hfma.co.uk

Higher Strength Supplements

UK industry associations and the Food Standards Agency have agreed advisory
statements for use on the labels of supplements containing high levels of specific nutrients: see www.food.gov.uk”

Dr Michèle J Sadler, BSc PhD RPHNutr BSc Hons (1979)

Qualifications include BSc in Nutrition at Queen Elizabeth College, London University and Doctorate in Biochemistry, University of Surrey. Dr Sadler has edited several reference works most notably as Editor-in-Chief of Encyclopaedia of Human Nutrition, (3 volumes), Academic Press, 1998.

Are you getting enough Vitamin D?


As a lack of vitamin D is linked to various diseases including the return of rickets, cancer, heart disease, tuberculosis and diabetes.

Since it is produced in the skin on exposure to sunlight, those living in Scotland and the North of England are more likely to suffer deficiency.

Experts recommend between five and 25 micrograms per day, however, 90 per cent of adults in the UK make less than three.

The situation is worst for those north of Birmingham where the sun is too weak in winter for the vitamin to be produced.

A recent report in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences revealed that people with higher levels were more likely to survive colon, breast and lung cancer. This follows last year’s University of San Diego review of 40 years of research, which revealed that a daily dose could halve the risk of breast and bowel cancer.

Other claims are that it reduces the risk of heart disease (a study of 10,000 women in California found that those who took supplements had a 31 per cent lower risk of dying from it), diabetes (in a Finnish study of 12,000 children, it cut their chance of developing Type A diabetes by 80 per cent), even colds and flu (New Yorkers who took vitamin D had flu 70 per cent less often).

Yet despite this increasingly compelling evidence, too many of us are not getting enough. The result: a resurgence in rickets, which stunts growth and deforms the skeleton, causing bowed legs.

Vitamin D Fact File

• 90 per cent of the body’s supply of vitamin D is generated by reaction to sunlight on the skin.

• Vitamin D is found in oily fish like sardines, salmon, mackerel and tuna, cod liver oil, and in milk, cheese, eggs and liver.

• “Healthy Start” supplements for children up to the age of four are given free to those on benefits but can also be bought for ÂŁ1.70 at pharmacies or health clinics.

• The first mention of rickets is credited to Daniel Whistler, an English doctor who wrote a paper in 1645 on the subject.

• Vitamin D was named in 1922 by the American biochemist Elmer McCollum, who performed experiments to find the nutrients within cod liver oil. It was so called because it was the fourth substance he identified.

• One in 100 children from ethnic minorities in this country is thought to be deficient in vitamin D; darker skin requires more sun to produce the vitamin.

• In 2003 a New York couple were convicted of endangering the life of their 15-month-old baby after subjecting her to a strict vegan diet which left her suffering from rickets. Silva and Joseph Swinton were sentenced to six and five years in jail.

• The classic signs of rickets are bow legs caused by softening of the bones; if not detected early surgery is needed to correct it.

• Most people can make enough vitamin D in the summer to last them through the winter

Vitamin D may help against diseases of ageing


London: Vitamin D may help to slow down the ageing process and protect against degenerative diseases, according to new research from scientists at King’s College London.

Head researcher Brent Richards says: “These results are exciting because they demonstrate for the first time that people who have higher levels of vitamin D may age more slowly than people with lower levels of vitamin D.

“This could help explain how vitamin D has a protective effect on many age-related diseases, such as heart disease and cancer. What’s interesting is that there’s a huge body of evidence that shows sunshine ages your skin—but it also increases your vitamin D levels. So, like many times in medicine, we find there’s a trade-off”, Richards adds.

The study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at vitamin D levels in 2,160 women ages 18-79. It examined their white blood cells for genetic signs of aging. The women then were placed into three groups according to their vitamin D levels.

Science has placed telomeres as the most reliable measures of a person’s age. These are the lengths of genetic material that cap the free ends of DNA in a cell. With age, the telomeres shorten and the DNA becomes increasingly unstable. Eventually the cell dies.

The study found that those with the highest vitamin D levels had significantly longer telomeres (equivalent to five years of normal aging) than those showing the lowest vitamin D scores.

During summer, much of the vitamin D needed by the body is created by a reaction in the skin, which is powered by sunlight. In winter months where there is less sunshine, vitamin D comes largely from fortified products such as milk, soy milk and cereal grains. It can also be found in cod liver oil, wild salmon, Atlantic mackerel, shrimp and sardines.

“Although it might sound absurd, it’s possible that the same sunshine which may increase our risk of skin cancer may also have a healthy effect on the aging process in general,” says co-author Tim Spector.

The team of scientists opine that though large-scale trials are needed to confirm the discovery, if proved correct the finding could have a dramatic impact on healthcare.

Can vitamin B1 help diabetics?

London: The vitamin B1 is excreted faster in diabetics than in healthy people, according to a new study by the Warwick Medical School.

Vitamin B1, also called thiamine, is important in keeping the body’s circulatory system healthy but is dispelled by diabetics 15 times more quickly than in healthy people.

This deficiency could increase the chance of heart attacks and strokes, which account for around 80 per cent of diabetes deaths.

The discovery may mean that high-dose vitamin B1 supplements could therefore reduce the risk of patients developing heart problems. Another option would be to develop drugs to stop the kidneys getting rid of so much of the vitamin. The study, published in the journal Diabetologia, involved 74 diabetics and 20 healthy volunteers.

Thiamine concentration in the blood was 76 per cent lower in Type 1 diabetics and 75 per cent lower in Type 2 diabetics.

Lack of thiamine is believed to increase the risk of heart problems because it affects the working of special cells which line the body’s circulatory system.

Professor Paul Thornalley, who led the study, is now running a trial to test whether patients given extra doses of the vitamin have healthier hearts.

He is giving patients a tablet containing 300milligrams of vitamin B1 a day. The average daily nutritional intake of vitamin-By Daniel Martin

Health Reporter B1 is 1mg – meaning changes to diet would not be enough to have an effect.

Matt Hunt, science information manager at the charity Diabetes UK, which funded the study, said it could lead to ‘very exciting outcomes’.

He added: ‘Researchers are already looking into the effect of giving people the vitamin in tablet form to see if early kidney damage can be reversed.

‘From there, work could be done to see what effect supplementing vitamin B1 levels could have on other complications of diabetes such as nerve and eye damage.’

More than 1.9million Britons are Type 2 diabetic and up to 750,000 more are undiagnosed. Type 2 is linked to obesity and up to half of cases could be prevented through changes to diet and exercise.

Around 300,000 Britons are Type 1 diabetic, which is present from childhood.

Depression linked to folate deficiency

Boston: The vitamin, folic acid, which is important in preventing birth defects, may help treat depression.

New research by Tufts University in the US has revealed that those with depression have low levels of the vitamin which is found in spinach, cabbage and strawberries.

In the UK, the National Health Service is to carry out a trial in which 700 people with moderate to severe depression will be given daily folate supplements.

Another recent report from St George’s Hospital in London, has already found that by adding the vitamin to antidepressant medication, treatment may boost the overall effect of other treatment.

Other studies suggest that folate deficiency may occur in up to one-third of patients with severe depression.

According to research at Tufts men and women who have experienced major depression have lower concentrations of the vitamin in their blood than those who had never been depressed.

The Tufts research, based on 3,000 people, suggests supplementation helps by reducing fatigue and improving energy levels.

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.

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.

Vitamins & Minerals


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Osteoporosis is a condition in which the density of bones reduces, leaving them more prone to breaking. It affects one in three women and around one in 12 men in the West. The reduction in bone density in women occurs when levels of the female hormone oestrogen diminishes from about the age of 35, at a rate of one percent bone mass a year. Oestrogen stimulates the growth of bone cells called osteoblasts, which help to build bone. Often there are no symptoms until the disease is in its more advanced stages, which is why is has been called the ‘silent killer’.

It is the cause of thousands of fractures in women every year. Around 15-20 per cent of women will die as a result of fractures. As it has hereditary links, women whose close family members have suffered from the disease are automatically at a higher risk. Women who begin menstruating relatively late – 15 and over – are at a higher risk of osteoporosis as are women who go through the menopause early – before the age of 45 – as they will have had less oestrogen exposure. Women who are tall and slender are at additional risk as are yo-yo dieters. Eating disorders increase the risk of osteoporosis. The onset of osteoporosis can be prevented by taking bone-building food supplements.

There are a whole battery of tests for anyone who is not sure whether they have symptoms. These include: DXA (Duel X-ray Absorptiometry) tests, the most common, are available throughout the UK; X-rays can detect and assess any minute fractures or hairline cracks; Bone Turnover Tests (BTT) for testing bone density, carried out over a period of a year. Hormone tests check levels of hormones important to building bone strength. Calcium metabolism tests will show up abnormalities in blood calcium levels.

As far as drugs are concerned the most commonly prescribed drug is Didronel, which is used in combination with a programme of calcium tablets, and can restore bone, though not all that has been lost. HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy), can also reduce the incidence by between 50-75 per cent by raising oestrogen levels.

There are a number of preventive steps that can be taken including: Diet – Calcium, essential for building strong bones is found in dairy foods, beans, nuts and fish, preferably consumed with their bones, such as salmon or sardines. The suggested daily intake for women between 20 and 45 and women over 45 on HRT is 1,000mg. Adding vitamin D, helps the body absorb the mineral/ In addition, other minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, zinc and sodium all make up our skeleton and therefore must be included daily in our diet. You also need to eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Vitamin C is also vital for healthy bones and can be found in citrus fruits and berries and vegetables such as broccoli and potatoes. Vitamin K is present in cauliflower, spinach and olive and soya bean oils.

As well as diet exercise also plays a crucial role in reducing the likelihood of developing osteoporosis because bones need regular load-bearing impact to stimulate the bone to grow. Swimming and cycling are not as good as jogging or step aerobics. You also need to do strengthening exercises and stretches.

Drinking excessive alcohol ie more than seven drinks a week interferes with the bone building activity of your cells because the toxins from the alcohol will prevent your bones from absorbing the maximum nutrients from food. In addition drinking more than four cups of coffee a day doubles the risk of hip fractures because it is a diuretic and removes water present in lubrication fluids for joints. Also women who smoke have significantly lower bone density because smoking reduces oestrogen levels.

Alternative treatments

The wild yam contains a compound called diosgenin, which is used to manufacture oestrogen and progesterone and may help replenish bone density on the same principle as HRT. The herb horsetale is sold as a tea or tincture and is rich in silicic acid providing silicon, which contributes to the formation of cartilage and bone.


The risk for men is much lower as they have a 25 per cent larger bone mass than women. This is because testosterone, the male sex hormone, also stimulates bone growth. But in common with women, their oestrogen levels fall in their late 30s and they start to loose bone mass at about 0.3 per cent of bone annually. The symtoms are the same as are the tests which should also include testosterone levels, Usually, low estosterone is a natural consequence of ageing. Indicators include a reduced libido or impotence, decreased facial and body hair and enlarged ‘breasts’. Also, men with a light frame and low weight have a higher risk of osteoporosis and medications such as steroids and diuretics may put men in a higher risk category.

For more information, contact the Women’s Nutritional Advisory Service on 01273 487366; www.wnas.org.uk and the National Osteoporosis Society helpline on 01761 472721; www.nos.org.uk



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.

Antioxidants – supplements and foods


Antioxidnts 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 antioxidants 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.

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.

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.

The following is a list of the main antioxidants and anti-ageing supplements (vitamins, minerals, amino-acids and hormones) and where they can be found naturally in various foods.


A major cause of ageing is the decline in the energy-producing capability of cells which results in reduced metabolic activity and eventually cell death. This is a highly potent antioxidant that fights free radicals and since it is both water and fat soluable means that it can penetrate to all parts of a cell. This enzyme helps cell metabolism, general vitality and production of collagen. It is usually taken in combination with acetyl-L-carnitine, an amino acid that assists the transport of fat into the mitachondria of the cell. As an antioxidant it is also used in anti-ageing skin creams.

This supplement is not recommended during pregnancy or for diabetics who are glucose intolerant. It should not be taken after 5pm as it is a stimulant and could keep you from sleeping. It is also in the following foods – spinach, liver brewer’s yeast, beef and potatoes.


Amino acids are the building blocks of the body and made up of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen that make proteins to form muscles, hormones, enzymes, skin, hair, organs and bones.

Altogether there are 23 amino acids:

L-Arginine: Used to make muscle tissues and relaxes blood vessels. Researchers believe it helps reduce angina, high blood pressure and glaucoma. It also helps increase muscle size. It is found inoats, grains, fish, red meat, Brazil nuts, almonds, peanuts and gelatine.

Aspartic Acid:Assists red-blood cell production and is helpful for cancer patients who have undergone radiotherapy. Can be taken as part of the supplement magnesium aspartate. Found in fish, meat, sunflower seeds, almonds, gelatine and walnuts.

Carnitine:Assists in detoxing and fat burning, reducing cellulite. Also found in yeast, dairy products, liver and red meat.

Acetyl-L-carnitine: is one of the most extensively researched nutrients and credited with aiding brain function. It is believed to work by increasing the levels of important neurotransmitter chemicals essential for memory, focus and learning. It has also been shown to reverse damage to brain cells brought about by poor nutrition and even alcohol abuse. Tests on Alzheimer’s patients have shown it can improve memory function.

Acetyl-L-carnitine is a natural component of the brain’s chemistry but levels decline in age and also through external factors such as pollution. The only natural source is bovine so a synthetic form, derived from amino acids, is recommended.

A number of studies of acetyl-L-carnitine have shown that it slows or prevents age-related decline in mental function, depression, assists recovery in stroke victims and Alzheimer’s. It may also be of benefit in the management of Parkinson’s disease, damaged nerves and diabetes. Patients with brain injuries report that a combination of acetyl-L-carnitine with phosphatidyl serine, significantly improves their overall brain function, attention span and learning ability. Acetyl-L-carnitine has also been found helpful in the management of diabetes especially when combined with lipoic acid and GLA.

It also has a role as a powerful immune enhancer. This is due to its ability to promote the health of the nervous system, which in turn governs the activity of the immune system. Acetyl-L-carnitine may offer specific benefit to HIV patients and those with tuberculosis. Another attibute is that the benefits are almost immediate. Its effects are enhanced by taking it in combination with phosphatidly serine, B vitamins, phosphatidly choline and EPA/DHA (fish oils).

Read: The Carnitine Miracle by Robert Crayhon. Also the skin-anti-ageing books by leading dermatologist, Nicholas Perricone.

Side effects: There are no known side effects this is believed to be because acetyl-L-carnitine is a nutrient already manufactued by the body to protect and regenerate the brain. It should not be taken after 5pm as it is a stimulant.

Cysteine: Helps to break down toxins in the liver and also helpful to cancer patients. In laboratory tests it has been shown to extend the life of some animals. Found in eggs, wheatflour, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds and oats.

Glutamic Acid: One of the components that goes to make folic acid but excess can provoke epilepsy and seizures so sufferers need to ensure they take adequate vitamin B6 which breaks it down. There is no supplement since it is abundant in food. Found in cheese, sunflower seeds, almonds and wheatflour.

L-Glutamine: Assists the repair of the stomach lining damaged by excessive alcohol and also helps counter cravings for alcohol. Found in cabbage, barley and potatoes.

Glutathione: People suffering with rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, cancer and Parkinson’s Disease often have low levels of this amino acid. Treatment of those suffering from Parkinson’s over a 30-day period discovered a 42 per cent decline in symtoms. Although it is available ina supplement it has shown that diet combined with taking the anti-oxident lipoic acid is far more effective. Found in fish, meat, fresh fruit and vegetables.

Glycine: Breaks down the uric acid in the kidneys and is therefore useful for gout suffers. Also found to reduce the symptoms of schizophrenia and osteoarthritis. Found in sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, buckwheat and gelatine.

Histadine: Helps reduce joint inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis sufferers who usually have low levels. But allergy suffers should beware as its main function is making histamines. Found in sunflower seeds, peanuts, dairy products and gelatine.

Isoleucine: Reduces levels of tryptophan, which encourages sleep, and is therefore helpful to sufferers of chronic fatigue syndrome (ME). Found in sunflower seeds, oats, cheese and gelatine.

Leucine: Also assists in combating tiredness. Found in the same foods as Isoleucine.

Lysine: May help in reducing the symtoms of the herpes virus. Usually taken with vitamin C and zinc. Found in beans, lentils, broccoli, potatoes and tofu.

Methionine:Helps reduce histamines and is therefore helpful in treating allergies and hay fever. Needs to be taken with the B vitamins, folic acid and B12. Found in oats, seeds and Brazil nuts.

Ornithine: Assists in increasing muscle mass and weight gain. Taken in conjunction with arginine. Found in eggs and dairy foods.

Phenylalanine: Produces natural painkillers so is helpful for backache and arthritis and also depression. Found in cheese, oats, peanuts, almonds.

Proline: Taken with vitamins B3 and C it can slow down an eye condition called gyrate atrophy. Found in sunflower seeds, oats, wheat, cheese and gelatine.

Serine:Works on the memory neurotransmitters acetylcholine and dopamine to aid memory. Found in almonds, walnuts, gelatine and eggs.

Taurine: Reduces cholesterol and helps to prevent gallstones. Found in cow’s milk, liver, kidney and fish.

Threonine: Reduces symptoms of depression. Supplements should only be taken with medical advice. Found in fish, cheese, gelatine, almonds and peanuts.

Tryptophan: Helps the brain produce serotonin which can assist in depression, insomnia and weight loss. A 500mg dose is taken daily. Found in sunflower seeds, oats, Brazil nuts and cheese.

Tyrosine: Has been used alongside conventional drugs to treat Parkinson’s Disease as it helps to make the neuro transmitter dopamine. Also helpful to reduce stress. Found in eggs, sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts and cheese.

Valine: Helps alleviate the symptoms of ME when taken in conjunction with isoleucine and leucine. Found in sunflower seeds,gelatine, cheese, peanuts, oats and fish.


Found in carrots and other highly coloured vegetables and fruits. An antioxidant that may help fight cancer.


A chemical found in fruits and vegetables. Found in the following foods: Apricots, plums, blackberries, strawberries, green tea, rosehips, green peppers, green beans, broccoli, red cabbage, grapes, cherries, rhubarb, red wine, lemons,oranges. Quercetin, the most active of the citrus bioflavonoids has anti-inflammatory properties and helps allergic reactions. Also beneficial in diabetes as it helps prevent damage to blood vessels by excess sugar in the body.

Grapes, particularly grapeseeds and red wine are a good source of the bioflavonoids proanthocyanidins (see below). These prevent hardening
of the artery. Butcher’s Broom can reduce inflammation and swelling associated with leg problems as it strengthens the vein and helps blood flow and even mor effective when combined with horse chustnut seed (conker) extract, vitamin C and the flavonoid rutin. The plant, milk thistle contains the bioflavonoid silymarin which promotes cell regeneration and can help repair liver damage from alcohol. This helps the skin and promotes energy.

CoEnzyme Q10

CoEnzyme Q10 is a fat-soluble vitamin-like substance present in every cell of the body. It also occurs naturally in a number of foods, including organ meats, soy oil, sardines, mackerel and peanuts. It is a powerful antioxidant and acts as a coenzyme for several of the key steps in the production of energy within every cell. Low levels of CoQ10 have been linked to several deseases. Low levels are attributed to an insufficient dietary intake combined with an inability of the body to manufacture its own. A number of commonly prescribed medications can also affect levels including statins (used to treat high cholesterol), beta-blockers and tricyclic antidepressants.

CoQ10 has been particularly successful in the area of cardiac health. It is found in fairly high concentrations in healthy hearts. Conversely, low levels are associated with congestive heart failure. It is also thought that low levels may also be the main cause in heart failure. It has also helpful in reducing blood pressure and heart rate and associated conditions, as well as peridontal disease. There is also increasing evidence that the brain can also suffer.

Ageing humans have been found to have 57% less CoQ10 on average compared to that of young adults. Its effect on the mitochondria, the “energy powehouses” of our cells where it regulates the oxidation of fats and sugars into energy, makes it one of the most important nutrients for people over the age of 30. Although there are no known side-effects its energy boosting properties mean that it can increase the body’s production of free radicals and it is advised that it is taken with other potent antioxidents ( for example Life Extension Mix and/or Life Extension Booster or Gamma E Tocopherol with Sesame Lignans formula).

DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone)

The supplement DHEA, is a steriod hormone that can slow ageing, prevent disease and improve strength. Its medical uses include the treatment of depression and dementia It is used by some athletes to increase muscle mass and strength, but banned by sporting bodies including the International Olympic Committee and the National Football League. It is classed as a food supplement and has also become popular as an anti-ageing remedy.

Ageing men and woman are invariably DHEA deficient. DHEA is the most abundent circulating hormone in the youthful human body but peaks by the age of 25 and declines thereafter. By the age of 70 most people DHEA has declined by over 80%. DHEA should not be taken by those with existing prostate or breast cancer. Those with liver disease should take dissolve in the mouth tables rather than capsules.

DHEA levels decrease after 30 and it is thought that some symptoms of ageing could be associated with a DHEA deficiency.There has been considerable interest in using DHEA in Alzheimer’s disease. DHEA supplements in menapausal woman have also shown to increase estrogen levels and reduction in hot flushes.

A study by the Univesity of California, San Diego, said that 50mgs a day taken daily over six months increased lean body mass and muscle strength.

Known side effects: DHEA and pregnenolone may cause heart rhythm irregularities and irreversible hair loss.


DMAE, or dimethylaminoethanol (chemical name deanol), is a compound found in high levels in oily fish such aas anchovies, sardines and salmon. It is also produced in small amounts by the human brain. It is sold as a food supplement to boost brain function and is thought to be helpful in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Doctors are also looking at its role in treating poor memory and AlzheimerÂ’s Disease, as well as some movement disorders.

The supplement was originally researched as a treatment for ADHD and early studies in the 1970s revealed that it was helpful for children with learning disabilities and behavior problems. This substance appears to increase production of chemicals in the brain essential for short-term memory, concentration, and learning capacity. It is also classed as an “cholinergic” because it is thought to increase levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, one of the chemicals in the brain that enhances mental powers. A decrease in the brain cells that produce acetylcholine is thought to be parlty responsible for AlezheimerÂ’s. “Cholinergic” drugs, such as tacrine (Cognex), donepezil (Aricept), rivasatigmine (Exelon), and galantamine (Reminyl) are used to treat the dementia of Alzheimer’s disease.

Although there are no conclusive studies it is possible that DMAE has memory-boosting effects. Many nutritionally oriented physicians prescribe DMAE along with another memory enhancer, the dietary supplement phosphatidylcholine.

DMAE supplements won’t work for everybody and are not intended as a cure. But they are safe and may be helpful. They should be taken with meals.

There are no known drug or nutrient interactions associated with DMAE but more needs to be learned this supplement. You should consult a doctor, particularly if you have any illnesses such as epilepsy.

International anti-ageing skin doctor Nicholas Perricone describes DMAE as “the magic bullet” for skin. He prescribes supplements and a diet high in wild salmon – his research documents changes in the skin in only three days. He believes that DMAE is a building-block of the neuro-transmitter acetylcholine which declines with age and causes a deterioration in musle-tone as well as brain function. This diet also has a beneficial effect on weight.

Recommended books by Perricone: The Perricone Prescription and The Wrinkle Cure.


Alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), an amega-3 oil, and gamma-linoleic acid (GLA), an amega-6 oil are naturally occuring fats with ani-inflammatory effects.

Fish oils: it is important to pick an oil that has been purified and contains a high dose of Eicosapentaenoic acid(EPA). Oils made from fish rather than livers are preferable because of the levels of toxins.


Glucosamine is a natural substance in the body known as an amino-sugar which is made in the body as a result of the synthesis of L-glutamine and glucose. Glucosamine stimulates glycosamino-glycans which are important in the formation of cartiliage and joint ligaments. As people age, they lose the ability to manufacture sufficient levels of glucosamine. Cartilage then loses its gel-like nature and ability to act as a shock absorber. Research in The Lancet medical journal which used X-rays to investigate the knee cartilage of volunteers, found those who took glucosamine pills for three years halted the progress of their osteoarthritis. In Spain, Portugal and Italy, glucosamine is the preferred treatment for arthritis. Glucasamine is sold as a supplement and there are also skin patches. It is often sold in supplements with Chondroitin sulfates which help the glucosamine into joints.


HGH is released by the pituitary gland during sleep and is the most important anti-ageing hormone of all. It is produced until around mid-20s to age 30, but continues to decrease as we age. Genuine HGH is synethically made by only two drugs companies mainly for use with children who suffer from growth hormone deficiency. In adults HGH injections are used to increase metabolism and other visible signs of ageing but these are only available on prescrption. Naturapathic HGH has been criticised as a “scam” by professional anti-ageing experts.

HGH restores muscle strength, stamina and other attributes of youth.
There are also natural ways to encourage HRH production, including exercise. The following are HGH boosters:magnesium, calcium, potassium, zinc and B vitamins found in whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, plus unprocessed nuts and seeds, brown rice, low sugar cereals — especially oats, soya-based foods and raisins. A good night’s sleep and regular exercise help increase production of this hormone. People who sleep on average eight hours a night live longer than those who sleep for six hours or less. Also HGH boosters are the amino acids omithine, lysine, arginine and glutamine.

Read Staying Young; Growth Hormone by Dr Gilbert Elian (Age Reversal Press).

Known side effects: HGH injections can only be obtained with a doctor’s prescription. It should not be used by those suffering from cancer. There are studies that suggest it may increase risk of cancer, triggers diabetes and joint pain -although supporters dispute this.


Millions of people already take melatonin, which is sold in pharmacies and health food stores in the United States, Thailand, Singapore and on the Internet. Melatonin is a hormone that is produced naturally in the pineal gland in the brain and is released during the night. It regulates sleep patterns and influences other hormones and is useful in relieving jet lag and has anti-cancer properties. In experiments it has been shown to increase the lifespan of animals.


A hormone produced by the adrenal glands and ovaries that regulates the growth and condition of skin. It is often taken in combination with DHEA. Known side effects: DHEA and pregnenolone may cause heart rhythm irregularities and irreversible hair loss. On top of that, these treatments can cost up to $1,000 a month. They should not be taken by anyone with cancer.

PROANTHOCYANIDINS (a class of plant flavonoids)

Found in grapes, grape seeds and red wine and help to prevent hardening of the arteries.


As well as supplements they can be found in the following foods:

*Alpa lipoic acid: spinach, liver, brewer’s yeast, beef, potatoes.
*Anthocyanins: blueberries, bilberries
*Carotenoids: sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, corn, sweet peppers, spirulina, kale
*Catechins: green tea, green tea extract, grapes and chocolate
* Coenzyme Q10: meats, peanuts, sardines, spinach
* Flavonoids: broccoli, ginkgo biloba, tomatoes, soybeans, onions, apples and red wine
* Lutein (a carotenoid): kale, spinach, broccoli, grapes, zucchini, leeks, corn
* Polyphenols: green tea, cherries, grapes, most berries
* Selenium: Brazil nuts, brown rice, sea food, eggs, tuna, buckwheat
* Tocotrienols: part of the vitamin E complex found in eggs, meat, palm fruit oil
* Vitamin A found in liver, whole milk, eggs, cheddar cheese, beta carotene;
* Vitamin C – citrus fruits, papaya, brussel sprouts, broccoli, strawberries
* Vitamin E – nuts, soybeans, spinach, sunflower seeds, asparagus, sweet potatoes
* Sulpher in nutrients such as cysteine, glutahione and lipoic acid.
* Bromelain, natural enzyme found in the pineapple, and available as a supplement, has anti-inflammatoryproperties.

About Elixir


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