17th Feb 2017
Filed under: Uncategorized
What is Q10?
A vitamin-like substance, Q10 can be found in every cell in the human body, specifically in the mitochondria (the energy producing structure of the cell). It is a key component for the production of energy, in the form of the molecule ATP. Cells in the body with high energy requirements such as the muscles and the heart, have a particularly high Q10 requirement.
Although we can produce our own Q10, these levels peak in our late 20s and gradually decrease from then onwards. Statin therapy is known to reduce this production of Q10 even further as an undesirable side-effect. Small amounts of Q10 can be obtained from the diet, though substantial Q10 levels can be obtained from supplements.
The Q-Symbio study
The 2004 ‘Q-Symbio’ study shows Quinone Q10′s ability to protect the health of those affected by chronic heart failure (CHF). A multi-national trial headed by Professor Mortensen of Copenhagen University Hospital, the study was carried out in 420 patients (18 years +) with CHF. The study was a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study, which is considered the gold standard in clinical research. Patients were assigned either 300mg of Quinone Q10 daily, or a placebo and both groups were assessed for both symptoms and bio-markers of heart stress.
The Quinone Q10 group showed a 43% reduction in mortality compared to the placebo group.
Graphs showing reduction in mortality rate in the Q10 treatment groups compared to to placebo
Cardiac function was improved, less adverse cardiovascular events were experienced and hospital admissions reduced in the Q10 group compared to the placebo. Not only this, but levels of a particular biomarker (NT-proNBP) which is a sign that the heart muscles is stressed, were reduced (1).
The KiSel-10 study
Selenium has an important relationship with Q10 when taken together. Selenium deficiency can inhibit the cells receiving Q10, and Q10 must be available for the body to benefit from optimum selenium function. The 2013 ‘KiSel-10′ study demonstrates this synergistic relationship well.
Participants in the KiSel-10 study were randomly assigned a placebo or 200mcg of SelenoPrecise (highly bioavailable selenium) with 200mcg of Quinone Q10 for a 5 year period. The SelenoPrecise and Quinone Q10 group showed a decreased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease related conditions by 50%. The heart stress biomarker NT-proNBP was lower in the treatment group. The study also showed that the treatment group experienced less inflammation and improved cardiac function than placebo (2).
The protection persists!
A 10 year follow up with the participants of the KiSel-10 study was conducted, with fascinating results. The upper quarter of participants with the most selenium in their bodies had significantly less mortality rates than the lower quarter.
1. Mortensen S, Rosenfeldt F, Kumar A, Dolliner P, Filipiak K, Pella D, Alehagen U, Steurer G, Littarru G, Study Q-S. The effect of coenzyme Q10 on morbidity and mortality in chronic heart failure: Results from Q-SYMBIO: A randomized double-blind trial. JACC. Heart failure. 2014 Oct 6 [cited 2017 Feb 15];2(6):641–9. .
2. Alehagen U, Johansson P, Björnstedt M, Rosén A, Dahlström U. Cardiovascular mortality and N-terminal-proBNP reduced after combined selenium and coenzyme Q10 supplementation: A 5-year prospective randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial among elderly Swedish citizens. International journal of cardiology. 2012 May 26 [cited 2017 Feb 15];167(5):1860–6.
13th Feb 2017
Filed under: Uncategorized
If you have difficulty getting to sleep at night, you’re not alone (even though you might feel like it at the time)! A report for the British sleep council in 2013 showed that around 27% of us in the UK get poor quality sleep on a regular basis (with 5% saying that they sleep very poorly) (1).
The consequences of poor quality sleep are accumulative and will get worse until they’re addressed (2). An occasional bad night’s sleep may make you feel irritable, while several nights of poor sleep can cause poor concentration, alertness, decision making as well as a low mood. You may find it will impact your workouts and may even find it hard to manage weight.
Worryingly, lack of sleep over a period of time can lead to more severe health problems such as:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
What are the benefits of a good nights sleep?
Getting a great night’s sleep comes with it some fantastic benefits! As well as having a reduced risk of diabetes and heart disease, you may also experience
- Better weight management
- Improved mental health and cognitive function
- Improved energy
- Increased fertility and libido
The foundation of good sleep
Figuring out what is disturbing your sleep goes a long way to tackling the problem. If you experience anxiety or racing thoughts before bed, winding down before you attempt to sleep could be a great idea. Do this in whatever way suits and relaxes you. Perhaps listening to soothing music, reading a book, writing down the thoughts that are on your mind or even a nice warm bath.
Making your bedroom a haven of calm and free from distraction has been shown to have a major impact in the quality of our sleep, especially when initially nodding off. Try making your bedroom tidy, dark and a comfortable temperature. Block out lights such as street lights if possible, with thick curtains or blackout blinds. Keeping a regular sleeping time can also help your body get used to the pattern, and can help tell your brain that it’s time to shut off.
Finally, try to keep your bedroom associated with sleep and relaxation by removing TVs, game consoles, and limit your use of electronic devices such as tablets and smart-phones before sleep.
Diet and exercise
Caffeine close to bedtime is obviously detrimental to sleep quality for most people. Tea and coffees should be limited, though you may find relaxing, caffeine -free teas teas such as camomile or valerian useful for nodding off. Don’t have more than a small cup though, as frequent bathrooms breaks are definitely sleep-disruptive. Caffeine can be found in less obvious places, like soft drinks, chocolate and medication (such as combined for paracetamol for example), so watch out for those. Though it may help many of us get to sleep, alcohol has been shown to reduce the quality of the sleep we do eventually get.
Regular exercise is fantastic for sleep quality, but try to avoid rigorous activity close to bed time as it could have the opposite effect and be too stimulating. Light exercise, like yoga and stretching, are trusted ways to unwind.
Sleep and kiwi
Kiwi fruits are presently being investigated for their ability to aid a restful sleep, with promising results. In one study, consumption of two kiwi fruits an hour before bed may shorten the time it takes to attain a restful sleep, while improving its duration and quality (3). It is theorized that these properties come from a range of bioactive compounds found in the fruit, including serotonin (which the body can convert to melatonin, the sleep hormone).
Sleep and cherry juice
Speaking of melatonin, tart Montmorency cherries have been reported to contain high levels of it, along with other phytochemicals. One 2012 study compared a group of volunteers who took cherry juice to a placebo group, in terms of sleep. The cherry juice group reported more effective sleep, increased bed in time, total sleep time and an elevated melatonin levels compared to the placebo group (4).
The importance of magnesium supplementation for sleep
Magnesium is a key mineral in our bodies, used for over 300 enzyme functions. Primarily, it’s necessary for muscle and nerve function, can relax muscles and calm the nervous system. When we have enough of it, it can be great for stress relief and reduction of anxiety. Magnesium insufficiency on the other hand, can be highly disruptive to sleep.
The research of magnesium and sleep
Magnesium can greatly improve sleep, and the body of evidence to support this is ever growing. In several studies, magnesium supplementation decreased insomnia severity, improved the length of sleep and decreased the time it took participants to achieve a full sleep (5, 6).
Magnesium can also help correct the negative impact a bad night’s sleep can have on exercise and sports performance. In one study, sleep deprived participants who consumed oral magnesium supplements had better exercise tolerance than those who consumed no magnesium at all (7).
Magnesium is often consumed to reduce severity of restless leg syndrome, which is a common reason for difficulty getting to sleep, especially as we age. Restless leg syndrome (also known as Willis-Ekbom disease) effects the nervous system and can be described as an overwhelming urge to move and jerk the legs.
Which magnesium supplement to choose from?
When choosing magnesium supplements, absorption is key. As with most supplements, how well our body breaks down the supplement into its individual molecules is a determining factor for how well our bodies can absorb and use it. There are many different types of magnesium, with the most common form in supplements being magnesium oxide. This form unfortunately is one of the lesser absorbed magnesium forms out there. Supplements with multiple magnesium sources and that are designed to absorb well in the gut are ideal choices.
Personally, I take Pharma Nord’s Bio-Magnesium, which a multi-sourced magnesium that absorbs fantastically. I dissolve it a glass of water and drink it, because it’s so bioavailable.
Constantly struggling with sleep can be more than frustrating, it can be incredibly detrimental to your health! The great news is, you’re not alone, and there are many tips to help address it, some you may have have thought of before!
1. [Internet]. 2017 [cited 16 January 2017]. Available from: https://www.sleepcouncil.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/The-Great-British-Bedtime-Report.pdf
2. Why lack of sleep is bad for your health [Internet]. Nhs.uk. 2017 [cited 16 January 2017]. Available from: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/tiredness-and-fatigue/Pages/lack-of-sleep-health-risks.aspx
3.Lin H, Tsai P, Fang S, Liu J. Effect of kiwifruit consumption on sleep quality in adults with sleep problems. Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition. 2011 Jun 15 [cited 2017 Jan 17];20(2):169–74. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21669584.
4. Howatson G, Bell P, Tallent J, Middleton B, McHugh M, Ellis J. Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality. European journal of nutrition. 2011 Nov 1 [cited 2017 Jan 19];51(8):909–16. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22038497.
5.Abbasi B, Kimiagar M, Sadeghniiat K, Shirazi M, Hedayati M, Rashidkhani B. The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Journal of research in medical sciences : the official journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences. 2013 Jul 16 [cited 2017 Jan 17];17(12):1161–9. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23853635.
6. Held K, Antonijevic I, Künzel H, Uhr M, Wetter T, Golly I, Steiger A, Murck H. Oral mg(2+) supplementation reverses age-related neuroendocrine and sleep EEG changes in humans. Pharmacopsychiatry. 2002 Aug 7 [cited 2017 Jan 17];35(4):135–43. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12163983.
6. Tanabe K, Yamamoto A, Suzuki N, Osada N, Yokoyama Y, Samejima H, Seki A, Oya M, Murabayashi T, Nakayama M, Yamamoto M, Omiya K, Itoh H, Murayama M. Efficacy of oral magnesium administration on decreased exercise tolerance in a state of chronic sleep deprivation. JAPANESE CIRCULATION JOURNAL. 1998 [cited 2017 Jan 17];62(5):341–6. Available from: https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jcj/62/5/62_5_341/_article doi: 10.1253/jcj.62.341.
02nd Feb 2017
Filed under: Uncategorized
Frankie talks about… appropriate supplementation
Supplements are at their best, when taking appropriately and when there’s a need for them. Often people may consume excessive amount of vitamins, hoping for some result like boosted immunity or energy and experience disappointment when it doesn’t work out.
I (along with Pharma Nord) recommend supplements without excessive levels, and that are evidence based and with an emphasis on good absorption. Vitamin D in the winter months, folic acid containing products pre-pregnancy and fish oil capsules (if we dislike or can’t afford seafood) are all perfect examples.
Even with a varied diet, we may not be getting everything we need. Soils worldwide have an uneven distribution of minerals, and some parts of the world may be lower in certain minerals as a result (as is the case with the UK and Selenium). As well as this, according to the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, a substantial proportion of adults in the UK over 19 years old had intakes below the recommended levels for magnesium, potassium and selenium (1).
Why not try – Bio-Vitamin D, Bio-Marine Plus, SelenoPrecise
1. National Diet and Nutrition Survey
2. Read Sian Williams’ story
31st Jan 2017
Filed under: Uncategorized
February is heart month, a great time to take stock and make sure we're doing the right thing to keep our hearts healthy. Doing so can help prevent events such as coronary heart disease (CHD), a major cause of death in the UK (around 73, 000 deaths per annum).
Heart conditions like heart disease usually happen when risk factors such as unfavourable cholesterol levels or high blood pressure build up. So take some time and appreciate your ticker with these 5 golden rules:
1) Visit the Mediterranean
When you go grocery shopping that is. The Mediterranean diet has been long hailed as one of the most heart healthy diets in the world, and for good reason. People who live in this region, and consume the diet associated with it, appear to experience less heart disease than those living in the UK and Northern Europe.
Key features of the diet include consumption of olive oil, increased oily fish consumption and unprocessed foods like fruit, vegetables, nuts and wholegrains. Polyunsaturated fats found in oily fish can help reduce our LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, while monounsaturated fats found in olive oil and nuts may reduce LDL and can raise good cholesterol (HDL)!
2) Get moving
Try your best to keep moving, fit and active. Find an activity that you enjoy doing, as you're much more likely to stick to it. Perhaps try yoga with a friend, take on a vigorous spin class at the gym or prefer some 'me' time with a long jog and your favourite music.
Going to the gym three times a week is great, but if you can't manage that, try to incorporate activity into your every day life. Take the stairs, not the lift. Get off the bus/train one stop early and walk. Walk the dog. Cycle to work, there's lots of ways!
3) Do you need to lose weight for your heart?
Reducing your bodyweight if you're obese/overweight can greatly reduce the risk factors of heart disease. Keeping fit and active (as mentioned previously), and eating a sensible balanced diet will both go a long way to help this goal.
Fibre rich foods will help you keep feeling fuller for longer, especially when paired with adequate fluid intake. Added sugar in foods can be a major antagonist to your waistline, so try to avoid it whenever possible (intrinsic sugars found in fruit and vegetables aren't as bad, considering they usually come packed with fibre and micro nutrients).
If you're unsure if you're medically classified as overweight, try not to measure your BMI as it's considered outdated and doesn't suit those with a higher muscle mass. Instead, ask your health professional for a waist-to-hip ratio measurement. BUPA have a handy calculator on their website which could be a good first port of call if you want to know more.
BUPA Website Calculator
4) Supplement your life
As great as the Mediterranean diet is, not everyone may be able to achieve this for various reasons. If you can't afford oily fish x3 times a week, if you're vegan or just don't like seafood (despite all it's virtues), perhaps supplements are the way forward. Key supplements to consider include omega-3, with marine based products such as Bio-Fish Oil or Bio-Marine plus offering superior use to the body. Flaxseed or algae sourced omega-3 offer vegan options. CoEnzyme Q10 is another excellent choice for supporting your heart, and is well studied for it's cardio-protective effects. Good absorption is vital with Q10, so opt for an oil based supplement with strong bio-availability evidence (such as Bio-Quinone Q10).
5) Combat your vices
Beating some of your bad habits is an impact way to help protect your heart.
Quitting smoking can hugely improve your health. There is a great one stop resource website which includes information on quitting therapies, tips and even smart phone apps to keep you motivated).
Smoke Free Website
Drinking a little is fine and in fact, some studies highlight the benefits of light alcohol consumption to heart health. Excessive drinking on the other hand, can cause damage to the heart muscle, is detrimental for general health and can even contribute to weight gain. Unit recommendations have changed recently, with both males and females now being recommended no more than 14 units per week, with the aim of having a few alcohol free days per week.
22nd Sep 2016
Filed under: Company News,Research
During or after the menopause, many women suffer from pain, itching or burning and 40% of women suffer from vaginal dryness. This can dramatically impact day-to-day comfort, confidence and sexual relationships.
A recent empirical study, conducted with 45 women over a 3 month period, to determine the impact Omega 7 SBA24 has on vaginal atrophy and associated symptoms reflects the benefits of Omega 7 SBA24 on intimate dryness.
All participants rated their symptoms on a scale from “none” to “very severe” before taking Omega 7 SBA24. A similar questionnaire was sent out after 6 weeks to determine the speed of efficacy and a final questionnaire had to be completed after 12 weeks.
At the end of the study 86% of those who suffered from vaginal dryness found an improvement in their symptoms, with 80% finding an improvement visible half way through the trial. A total 77% of those who found sex painful found that Omega 7 SBA24 cured or alleviated the problem, 88% of those who reported general pain stated this had completely cleared by the end of the trial.
In terms of support, 73% of women who took part in the trial felt that there was not sufficient support for women during the menopause and 88% of those surveyed felt the need for more natural products specifically aimed at menopausal symptoms.
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