Monthly Archives: May 2018

curcumin

Just How Good for You Is Curcumin?

If you haven’t heard of curcumin yet, where have you been? This polyphenol is extracted from turmeric and responsible for its multitude of health benefits. Over recent years, there has been an explosion in popularity for turmeric-based drinks – such as turmeric latte, golden milk and even turmeric herbal tea – but don’t be fooled into thinking this is simply a gimmick for the ‘in scene’; the benefits of turmeric, and more specifically curcumin, have been valued for centuries in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese medicine. Sure, the drinks look Instagram perfect, but there is a lot more to this pretty little spice than meets the eye.

The multiple health benefits of curcumin – inflammation and beyond

Curcumin is wonderful for so many things: for reducing inflammation, which underpins most health conditions; it’s antimicrobial, meaning that it will help the body fend off nasty bacteria; it has antioxidant activity to protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals and has even been shown to help modulate the immune system. Plus, if you’re prone to respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, laryngitis or sinusitis, you’ll be happy to hear that curcumin also has positive effects on the respiratory tract.

Inflammation is linked to many chronic health conditions including diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. Nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB) is considered the inflammatory master-switch, responsible for the initiation of the inflammatory cascade within cells (1). One of the main ways in which curcumin exerts its beneficial anti-inflammatory benefits is by blocking NF-kB from entering the cell, and therefore supporting the body in the healthy balancing of inflammation.

As an anti-inflammatory, when there is pain, there is inflammation, which probably explains why curcumin is found to be most useful for those with joint pains – often being associated with arthritis. These benefits are not just limited to pain-related health conditions though; research has also confirmed that curcumin reduces inflammation from exercise-induced muscle damage, perfect for those who enjoy a rigorous workout (2).

Overcoming the poor bioavailability of curcumin

Turmeric contains only 5-10% curcuminoids, 75% of which is curcumin, and whilst some cultures use turmeric in high quantities on a daily basis, the western world won’t benefit from the wonders of curcumin with the odd turmeric latte. Extracting curcumin for supplements will easily increase your intake of curcumin but, unfortunately, the body is extremely efficient at removing this spice from the body. With such poor bioavailability, you may need to take up to 8 grams per day to achieve the benefits. Whilst many technologies and additions (such as piperine) have been applied to curcumin to address this poor bioavailability, they are limited in their ability to exert a beneficial effect. Longvida technology from Igennus, however, enhances the bioavailability by 285x, with 7x longer-lasting action and 65x higher peak plasma levels. Longvida is also the only technology that has been shown to help curcumin pass the blood-brain barrier to provide the health benefits associated with curcumin to the brain as well as the body.

Igennus Longvida for neurological benefits

With its ability to pass the blood-brain barrier, Longvida technology has been shown to provide many neurological benefits such as improvements in working memory and mood (3); it also reduces beta-amyloid protein, a marker of brain ageing that is associated with Alzheimer’s disease (4). Beta-amyloid aggregation can be promoted by metals, but curcumin exerts its beneficial effects by chelating some metals, and therefore helping to inhibit aggregation (5, 6).

With its plethora of neurological benefits, Igennus Longvida Optimised Curcumin is ideal for people of all ages who are looking to support both their short – and long-term brain health.

Longvida as a cardioprotective

Studies show that using Longvida technology to deliver curcumin also helps to lower triglycerides, high levels of which are associated with an increased risk for poor cardiovascular health (4), as well as reducing total and low-density cholesterol (3), making it a very useful supplement for supporting those with high cholesterol levels. Curcumin is also safe for those on statin therapy.

Supplementing with Longvida Optimised Curcumin

Each tub of Igennus Longvida Optimised Curcumin contains 30 capsules, with a recommended 1 capsule per day dosage to support general health, and supplementation with up to 3 per day to provide more intensive support for short-term use.

References
1. Nahar PP, Slitt AL, Seeram NP. Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Novel Standardized Solid Lipid Curcumin Formulations. J Med Food. 2015 Jul;18(7):786-92
2. Takahashi M et al., Effects of curcumin supplementation on exercise-induced oxidative stress in humans. Int J Sports Med. 2014 Jun;35(6):469-75.
3. Cox KH, Pipingas A, Scholey AB. Investigation of the effects of solid lipid curcumin on cognition and mood in a healthy older population. J Psychopharmacol. 2015 May;29(5):642-51.
4. DiSilvestro RA, Joseph E, Zhao S, Bomser J. Diverse effects of a low dose supplement of lipidated curcumin in healthy middle aged people. Nutr J. 2012 Sep 26;11:79. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-11-79.
5. Yang F, Lim GP, Begum AN, Ubeda OJ, Simmons MR, Ambegaokar SS, Chen PP, Kayed R, Glabe CG, Frautschy SA, Cole GM. Curcumin inhibits formation of amyloid beta oligomers and fibrils, binds plaques, and reduces amyloid in vivo. J Biol Chem. 2005 Feb 18;280(7):5892-901.
6. Ono K, Hasegawa K, Naiki H, Yamada M. Curcumin has potent anti-amyloidogenic effects for Alzheimer’s beta-amyloid fibrils in vitro. J Neurosci Res. 2004 Mar 15;75(6):742-50.

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stress

Mental Health Awareness Week: Stress Busters

Focusing on Stress

May 14th is the beginning of National Mental Health Awareness week. Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, this year the focus is stress. Tackling stress early is crucial for good health because ongoing stress can lead to depression and anxiety, and is also linked to physical diseases such as heart disease and immune problems.

The stress response is actually a healthy response to threat or danger. It is designed to give us a quick boost of energy to fuel our fight or flight response. When stress becomes an everyday experience, however, the body struggles to cope. Blood pressure rises, inflammation is triggered and hormone levels are disrupted. Experts call this ‘allostatic overload’ and it can result in anxiety, depression and insomnia.

Several key nutrients have been found to help deal with stress and support the organs that are involved in the stress reaction. Taking time to nourish the body in this way can therefore offer protection against the effects of stress.

The ‘Fighting Five’

Nutritionist Ian Marber emphasises five key nutrients – which he calls the ‘fighting five’ – needed to support the body under stress (1). These are vitamins A, C and E, and the minerals zinc and selenium.

Each of these nutrients helps in disarming the free radicals produced when the body is under stress. Free radicals are molecules that harm cells in the body through oxidative damage. They have been linked to diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and accelerated ageing.

The ‘fighting five’ antioxidants help by neutralising these free radicals, helping to prevent the cell damage caused by stress. While antioxidant supplements can help to ensure a good intake of these nutrients, it is recommended that dietary sources should be included every day. The best sources of these valuable antioxidants include plums, tomatoes, dark green vegetables, pumpkin and sesame seeds, and seafood.

Cortisol and Stress

Another hazard associated with stress is elevated levels of cortisol. When the body is under stress, the adrenal glands begin to pump out higher levels of cortisol, a hormone that powers the ‘fight or flight’ response.

Over time, elevated levels of cortisol can become a problem, leading to anxiety and depression, as well as weight gain and breakdown of muscle and bone. Early signs of high cortisol include sleep problems, weight gain, raised blood pressure and difficulty concentrating.

Several nutrients have been found in studies to be effective in lowering cortisol levels. The most effective of these include the herb ashwaganda root extract, and the nutrient phosphatidyl serine. Both of these nutrients have been found to improve mood and lower feelings of stress and anxiety (2, 3 & 4).

Adrenal Health

Finally, protecting the health of the adrenals is particularly important for anybody experiencing ongoing stress. The key nutrients required by the adrenal glands are vitamin B5, vitamin C and magnesium.

Because our body cannot store vitamin C, it is important to provide it with a regular daily supply, particularly when stress levels are high. The adrenal gland requires higher levels of vitamin C during times of stress. The richest sources are black and red berries, citrus fruits and red peppers. Similarly, vitamin B5 cannot be stored by the body, and so including wholegrains and green leafy vegetables daily would be a sensible measure to help protect the body from the effects of stress.

The mineral magnesium is crucial to the health of the adrenals, and requirements for magnesium increase when the body is under stress (5). Stressed individuals may therefore benefit from supplementing around 300mg magnesium each day. Good dietary sources include leafy greens, wheatgerm, almonds, cod and mackerel.

While we may not be able to influence everyday stressors, such as commuting, financial worries or workload, we can certainly give the body the fuel it needs to cope with the stress response. Taking early measures to protect the body from the effects of stress is a sensible way to safeguard long term health and wellbeing.

References
1. Marber & Edgson (1990) The Food Doctor. USA: Collins and Brown.
2. Indian J Psychol Med. 2012 Jul-Sep; 34(3): 255–262.
3. Lipids Health Dis. 2014 Jul 31;13:121.
4. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2008 Jul 28;5:11.
5. Tarasov et al (2015) Magnesium deficiency and stress: Issues of their relationship, diagnostic tests, and approaches to therapy. Ter Arkh 87(9):114-122

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thrush

Thrush and supporting your intimate area the natural way

What is thrush?

Let’s begin with the most important question – what is thrush? Thrush is a very common condition caused by a yeast infection usually in the genital area, affecting predominantly women. Symptoms include irritation, inflammation, soreness, itchiness and excess discharge.

80-90% of the time, the yeast infection is caused by an increase of a fungus called Candida albicans. This fungus normally lives harmlessly on the skin in various areas of the body like the mouth, gut and on the vagina.

The Candida albicans is kept under control by bacteria (called lactobacilli) which also naturally occur on your skin, but when the fungus multiplies – due to a weakened immune system – it can cause thrush. Important to emphasise here is that thrush has nothing to do with lack of hygiene – it’s all to do with your immune system, like so many skin related issues.

Who gets thrush?

Most women get thrush at some point in their lives, but it’s most common for women in their thirties and forties. So, if you feel your intimate area is sensitive or displays thrush-like symptoms, don’t worry – you’re not alone!

Even more so – many women may also suffer from thrush more than once in their lives, with it recurring frequently for some.

Factors that make us more prone to thrush:

  • If you are ill or stressed
  • If you take antibiotics
  • If you take contraceptive pills
  • If you have diabetes
  • If you are pregnant
  • If you are undergoing chemotherapy
  • If you wear tight clothing
  • If you are menstruating

Also, be aware that some shower and bath products might irritate the vaginal areas, especially products that are quite synthetic – containing known irritants on the sensitive skin, like parfum, SLS and parabens. Check the ingredients of your skincare products before you buy or use them.

What are the symptoms of thrush?

Every woman is unique. So everyone may experience symptoms of thrush differently, with some women not even being aware they have it until they undergo a cervical smear test. Symptoms and severity of the symptoms may also vary every time you get thrush.

Most common symptoms include:

  • Vulvar itching and soreness
  • Irritation and inflammation
  • Excess discharge, often white and odourless
  • Pain or discomfort during sex
  • Pain or discomfort when passing urine
  • Slight swelling of the labia (vaginal lips)

What is Salcura’s Topida Intimate Hygiene Spray?

Salcura’s Topida Spray has been formulated to provide a safe, effective and practical solution for thrush or other fungal infections. The fine liquid of the spray is easily absorbed into skin – providing the body with what it needs to strengthen the immune system and recover a healthy pH balance.

Topida Intimate Hygiene Spray is dermatologically tested to be safe for use on dry and sensitive skin.

What makes Topida unique?

Salcura believe in the body’s natural ability to heal itself if given the right tools to do so. By using spray applications, the body can absorb the fine liquid much deeper. As a result, we can reach new skin cells earlier in their lifecycle, feeding them the minerals, vitamins and other nutrients they need to grow to the surface healthier. A healthier skin is better able to fend of any allergens and to find a healthy balance.

Topida contains natural oils of eucalyptus, lemon and peppermint to cool and soothe the skin – safflower, rosehip and plive to nourish and moisturise – tea tree, thyme and sea buckthorn for their anti-bacterial properties – and is naturally fragranced with lavender, cinnamon and fennel.

  • Instant relief from itchiness & soreness
  • High grade essential oils to restore a natural pH balance
  • Full of vitamin E (antioxidant)
  • With lactic acid to support a healthy vaginal environment
  • Easy application with 360° spray
  • Cruelty free & vegan
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