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What is the difference between UVA and UVB rays?
What is the difference between UVA and UVB rays?

We all know that the sun is harmful for our skin but understanding the difference between UVA and UVB rays is vital when choosing your sun protection. Read on to discover all you need to know about ultraviolet rays and your skin.

You’re probably aware that the ultraviolet (UV) radiation emitted by the sun can be divided into two main types, ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB). Both types damage unprotected skin - but did you know that they don’t affect skin in the same way? Understanding the difference is important when choosing your sun protection and the need for broad spectrum protection.

 

What are UVA rays?

UVA light, also known as long-wave light, is responsible for about 95% of the UV light that reaches our skin, with a wavelength of 320 nm to 400 nm. UVA rays are present all year round - as long as there’s daylight, there’s UVA. As the longest wave on the UV spectrum, they’re able to penetrate deep into the skin, 80% of UVA rays reach the outer layer of the dermis, the layer of skin beneath the epidermis. This makes them responsible for most preventable photo-ageing, as well as 35% of skin cancers.

Although both UVA and UVB are bad for skin, UVA rays are more of a worry because a much larger percentage of them reach earth’s surface and they are present all day long and all year-round, even when it’s cloudy. So if it’s daylight at any hour, UVA rays are present.

Unlike with UVB rays, you do not feel UVA rays damaging your skin. UVA rays are responsible for getting a suntan, and unless you burn first, getting a tan is not painful. However those stealthy UVA rays are reaching deep into skin, destroying many of the important substances that help give skin its elasticity and firmness. As a result of this, UVA rays are a major contributor to wrinkles and skin ageing as well as every type of skin cancer.

Another thing to remember is that UVA rays penetrate glass, which UVB rays can’t do. Unless windows are specially treated to filter UVA radiation, you could be under attack when simply sitting in your car or sitting by the window at work.

 

What are UVB rays?

UVB rays, meanwhile - the rays we most commonly associate with tanning - are at their greatest in the summer months and are responsible for 96% of sunburn cases. The intensity of UVB rays varies according to factors such as geographical location, time of day and the season. So in the Northern hemisphere you can expect them to be strongest in the summer months, in places with sunny climates, though like UVA rays they are present all year round.

UVB light has a much smaller range than UVA with a wavelength of 290 nm to 320 nm. Although it’s not as deeply skin-penetrating or omnipotent as UVA rays, UVB light is very powerful, that’s why it’s directly responsible for sunburn and other visible discolorations to skin’s surface.  UVB radiation also plays a part in skin cancers.

So, while both UVA and UVB rays can result in instant - and temporary - light tanning, their secondary effects vary, with UVB rays being mostly responsible for sunburn and UVA rays being major contributors to cutaneous photo-ageing. UVB and UVA radiation is reflected from sand, water, and snow, [In fact an astonishing 80% of UVB rays reflect from snow with higher altitudes being more damaging.] Together they lead to skin darkening and greying, wrinkles, loss of firmness, redness and collapse of immune defences. Scary stuff!  So wherever it is you’re going, you’ll want to pack a protection with broad-spectrum filters against UVA and UVB radiation, [the SPF rating only applies to protection against UVB rays].  If the sun protection is labelled “broad spectrum” it has been tested and proven to protect against the full range of UVA and UVB radiation.

Can sleep affect your immune system?
Can sleep affect your immune system?

If you have ever spent a night tossing and turning, you already know how a lack of sleep can leave you feeling the next day. We all experience a bad night’s sleep every now and again. But if you are regularly not getting enough, it could do more than leave you feeling grumpy and in desperate need of coffee the next morning. Ever notice that you are prone to sniffling and sneezing when you do not get enough sleep? Turns out it is not in your head. Sleep and a healthy immune system go hand in hand and a lack of good-quality shut-eye can affect our health in many ways.

 

What is the immune system?

The immune system is an army of different cells, tissues, and organs that all work together to protect the body against disease and infection. It works by recognising the difference between your own body cells and foreign cells, destroying anything in your body that could be harmful and make you sick.

 

What happens to the body when we sleep?

We spend around a third of our lives asleep. Although you might not be ticking things off your to-do list whilst you are dreaming away, your body is still working. Even after you have clocked off for the day, it works hard to get important jobs done to keep you performing at your best while you are awake. Your brain sorts and processes everything you have learnt and experienced that day to form new memories. The pituitary gland in the brain releases growth hormones, which help the body to grow and repair itself. The immune system releases cytokines which are small proteins that help the body fight inflammation and infection. Pretty incredible right? Without enough sleep, your immune system might not be able to work at its best.

 

Will a lack of sleep affect my health?

The odd bad night's sleep may make you feel tired and irritable the next day, but it will not harm your long-term health. However, regular sleepless nights can. A lack of good quality sleep can put you at risk of serious medical conditions including heart disease, diabetes and can even shorten your life expectancy. Studies have shown that people who get less than seven hours of sleep every night tend to gain more weight and are at a greater risk of obesity compared to those who get at least seven hours of slumber. The immune system is also affected if you skimp on the shut-eye, as less of the useful cytokine proteins are produced if you’re not sleeping well. To add to the list, it is not just your physical health that is impacted by poor sleep. It can also affect your mental health, increasing the risk of developing long-term mood disorders like depression and anxiety.

Most of us need around eight hours of good-quality sleep a night to function properly – but some need more and some less. If you wake up tired and spend the daydreaming about taking a nap, you're probably not getting enough sleep. Sound familiar? The only way to compensate is by getting more sleep. We know sometimes this is way easier said than done, so to hit the hay happy we have lots of slumber secrets and saviours to help you drift off. If you are having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or you’re not feeling rested when you wake up, chat to your GP.

 

Is there anything else I can do to keep my immune system healthy?

When your immune system is on top form, you probably forget about it working away around the clock to protect you. But to help keep yourself fighting fit, as well as nailing your sleep routine, there are other things you can do to help take care of your immune system.

  • Wash your hands

Washing your hands regularly with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, is a simple yet effective way to protect yourself from catching and spreading germs.

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet

Create a rainbow on your plate to help keep your immune system healthy. The more colour on your plate from fruit and vegetables, the more variety of important vitamins and minerals you are likely to get.

  • Exercise regularly

Regular exercise has so many health benefits, including supporting a healthy immune system. Walking, cycling, yoga or dance classes, do whatever works for you.

  • Reduce everyday stress

Stress is annoyingly something we all have to deal with sometimes. What is important is finding ways to manage your everyday stress to keep you healthy and happy.

Choosing the appropriate sunscreen
Choosing the appropriate sunscreen

Sunscreen may not be the flashiest part of your skincare routine, but it is a high performer, delaying the formation of wrinkles, dark spots and other signs of aging while also protecting you from developing skin cancer. With all the good that sun care does, it should be a no-brainer to wear sunscreen every day. Except many of us do not.

If greasy skin or stinging eyes are causing you to skip your SPF, you are not using the right formula. Read on to discover how to choose the best sport sunscreen for you, the difference between sport and regular sunscreen and how much sunscreen to apply when you have got a good sweat going on.

 

How does sunscreen work?

Before you understand how sunscreen works and what SPF is, you need to understand why you need to protect your skin. Ultraviolet radiation (UV rays) from the sun hits skin at wavelengths ranging from 290 to 400 nanometres. These rays expose skin to both UVA, which causes damage like collagen breakdown, skin cancer, and UVB, which causes sunburns. Without a broad-spectrum sunscreen lotion (which protects from both UVA and UVB rays), the energy from the radiation goes into the fat and proteins in your skin. This generates free radicals that attack your cellular machinery. In the short term, this damage triggers an inflammatory response such as sunburn. In the long term, the radiation can introduce mutations in your skin cells’ DNA. If these mutations get passed along, they create cancer cells.

The simple fix is to wear sunscreen. There are many ingredients in sunscreens, but the active ingredients mainly fit into two groups: mineral and chemical:

  • Mineral sunscreens that contain physical filters (such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) achieve their sun protection factor (SPF) by physically blocking the UV rays from penetrating the skin. To put it simply, they act as a mirror to create a barrier between the skin and the UV rays that directly reflects them from the skin.
  • Chemical filters (such as octocrylene or avobenzone) protect skin by absorbing UV rays. Instead of deflecting the UV rays, chemical filters work like a sponge and absorb them and transform the energy into heat.

 

How to apply sunscreen?

Dermatologists recommend the use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen (protects from UVA and UVB rays) with an SPF of 30 or higher. The best practice is to apply your sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes prior to venturing outside to allow the sunscreen to bind to your skin. If you are planning on exposing a lot of skin (if you’re going to wear a swimsuit or running shorts and a tank, for example), apply the sunscreen while you’re naked. This will help ensure you get complete coverage.

 

How long does sunscreen last?

If you are outside and wondering how often to reapply sunscreen, the benchmark is every two hours—which means if you’re marathon training or planning on running or biking for longer than two hours, bring some sunscreen along. It is two hours because that’s when the sunscreen’s SPF value is fully effective. In other words, after two hours, your sunscreen is not entirely doing its job anymore.

 

How to choose the best sunscreen when practising sports?

The whole point of working out is to get a good sweat going, but perspiration and sunscreen do not always mix. Formulas that are not designed for sports can ball up, sting your eyes and leave your skin covered in white streaks once they are combined with sweat. The best sunscreen for sports features an oil-free, water-resistant, and fragrance-free formula to prevent stinging. Apply your sport sunscreen at least 30 minutes before heading outside to allow it to fully absorb and to be sure you do not skip any areas.

 

What is the difference between sport sunscreen and regular sunscreen?

There is no standardized test that verifies whether a certain type of sunscreen is better for certain activities; however, sunscreen that’s qualified as water-resistant for 80 minutes is the best for outdoor workouts. Unlike regular sunscreen, water-resistant sunscreens continue to protect the skin when wet. Water resistance testing involves having subjects apply sunscreen to the skin and immerse the area in water. After, their skin is tested to be sure the sunscreen is still effective. Water resistance of 80 minutes means that the sunscreen will continue to provide the labelled SPF for 80 minutes of continuous water immersion like swimming or sweating.

 

All you need to know on Vitamin B12
All you need to know on Vitamin B12

Feeling tired all the time? Memory not what it used to be? Struggling to complete physical tasks that you used to normally take in your stride? All these are common complaints that can result from a myriad of different medical problems… but there is often just one cause that links them all – Vitamin B12 deficiency.

We get B12 from animal products such as meat, fish, milk and eggs. It is one of the water-soluble B vitamins which is bound to protein within food. However, you may be struggling to get enough through a healthy diet as it is notoriously hard to absorb through the gut.

 

What does vitamin B12 do?

Vitamin B12 helps the body’s ability to reduce the onset of fatigue and increase concentration levels by contributing to a normal energy metabolism.

Vitamin B12 is essential for the formation of red blood cells and the development and normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, particularly those aspects which determine concentration, learning, memory and reasoning.

 

Sources of vitamin B12

We get B12 from animal products such as:

  • Red meat
  • Fish
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • It can also be found in fortified foods

However, you may be struggling to get enough through a healthy diet as it is notoriously hard to absorb through the gut due to its large molecular size.

 

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

B12 is a notoriously difficult nutrient to absorb in the gut. At most only 1% of our dietary intake will be absorbed by the body, and that relies on digestive efficiency and the presence of a chemical called intrinsic factor.

Deficiency can occur at any age and in the past, we have associated deficiency with growing older and our inability to extract the large molecule from our diet. However, more and more children and teenagers are being diagnosed with a deficiency. In extreme cases deficiency (known as pernicious anaemia) can cause severe nerve damage.

Our livers hold large stores of B12 and deficiency tends to develop over many years and because symptoms can easily be mistaken, diagnosis is often missed. Symptoms vary but include one or more of the following: fatigue, vague mental fogging and memory problems, depression, weakness, pins and needles in the hands and feet, and an unsteady walk.

 

How do I raise my vitamin B12 levels?

A B12 supplement can be the easiest way to raise your B12 levels. As a water-soluble vitamin there is no upper daily limit to how much you can take. However, because of the difficulty in absorbing such a large molecule, tablets and capsules are notoriously difficult for the gut to break down and digest.

A daily B12 oral spray, applied directly onto the inner cheek of the mouth, it avoids over-reliance on our digestive system. Absorption commences immediately. It’s fast, it’s convenient and it tastes great. Click here to see what we recommend.

What is heartburn?
What is heartburn?

Heartburn is a common digestive symptom, which occurs when stomach acid backs up, or refluxes, into the oesophagus, the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. It causes a painful burning feeling in your chest or upper abdomen, and may spread to your neck or throat, or even arms. Early pregnancy, certain foods (especially large meals), a hiatal hernia, alcohol and side effects of some medication can trigger heartburn. It is also a symptom of indigestion, which can be brought on by stress or anxiety.

If you have symptoms more than twice a week, you may have Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GORD), chronic acid reflux that can lead to complications, such as oesophagitis (inflammation of the oesophagus), bleeding and narrowing of the oesophagus, and rarely oesophageal cancer.  

 

What are its symptoms?

Heartburn symptoms include:

  • A sour taste in your mouth that creeps up the throat
  • A burning sensation in the chest after eating
  • Pain that worsens when lying down or bending over.

If symptoms are more severe, you will need to see your doctor. These include:

  • Heartburn occurs more than twice a week
  • Heartburn persists despite use of over-the-counter medications
  • You have difficulty swallowing
  • You have persistent nausea or vomiting
  • You experience weight loss because of poor appetite or difficulty swallowing.

 

How is it diagnosed?

A doctor will start a heartburn diagnosis with a detailed health history, questioning you about your symptoms, as well as other factors, such as whether or not you smoke. Then they will conduct a routine physical examination. If the symptoms are very troublesome, and the doctor suspects something more serious than mild heartburn, he or she might recommend a gastroscopy or upper endoscopy (commonly known as “swallowing the camera”).

 

What are your treatment options?

Occasional heartburn is very common. Most people can manage the discomfort with simple remedies, these include certain lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medication, like antacids.

 

Lifestyle changes include:

  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals
  • Avoid eating before bedtime
  • Avoid alcohol, aspirin, ibuprofen and caffeine
  • Stop smoking
  • Elevate the head of your bed (or use two or three pillows) to allow gravity to keep acid in the stomach and avoid reflux.

There is a wide variety of over-the-counter medication to choose from. Antacids can be taken after meals, at bedtime, or when needed, to bind excess acid in the stomach and to coat the oesophagus. Visit your pharmacy for an advice.

 

Can it be prevented?

Adjusting your diet is effective when it comes to prevention as certain foods and drink can aggravate heartburn. These include:

  • Alcohol, which relaxes the lower oesophageal sphincter
  • Coffee and orange juice, plus other acidic juices, which can worsen or trigger heartburn
  • Fatty foods, fried foods, and some acidic foods (oranges, grapefruits, tomatoes) as well as spicy foods.

You can also take some over-the-counter medications before you eat to prevent heartburn. Leading a healthy lifestyle and avoiding alcohol and tobacco can also help to prevent heartburn symptoms.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?
What are the symptoms of diabetes?

Diabetes can feel like an information minefield but understanding the condition can be the first step towards managing it. We are here to simplify the subject and help you grasp the basics.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person's blood glucose (AKA blood sugar) to become too high. The amount of sugar in someone’s blood is controlled by a hormone called insulin. For someone without diabetes, food is digested and enters into the bloodstream. As this happens, insulin moves glucose out of the blood and into cells, where it is broken down to produce energy. However, when someone has diabetes, their body is unable to break down the glucose into energy. This is because there's either not enough insulin to move the glucose, or the insulin produced does not work properly.

What are the different types of diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes

This is where the body's immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin, meaning you have to inject insulin to control blood glucose levels. There are different types of insulin that can be injected at different times. There is the long-acting, basal insulin that keeps blood glucose stable overnight or in between meals, then there’s the fast-acting, bolus insulin taken before eating or drinking something that contains carbohydrates.

Type 2 diabetes 

This is where the body does not produce enough insulin, or the body's cells don’t react to insulin. This is much more common than type 1. Most people need medicines to control their type 2 diabetes, but it can also often be managed through healthy eating, regular exercise and maintaining a healthy body weight.

Gestational diabetes

For some, diabetes and pregnancy go hand in hand. During pregnancy, some women have such high levels of blood glucose that their body is unable to produce enough insulin to absorb it all. This is known as gestational diabetes, a condition that usually disappears after giving birth. Gestational diabetes can sometime cause premature birth and other problems for you and your baby if left untreated, but the risks can be reduced if the condition is detected early and managed effectively.

Who can get diabetes?

Although there is nothing you can do to prevent type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by maintaining a healthy weight, eating well and by being active.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

It is super important for diabetes to be diagnosed as early as possible. If left untreated, it can slowly get worse and lead to serious complications, including damage to your kidneys, eyes, and other organs. Symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Needing to urinate more frequently than usual, particularly at night
  • Feeling very tired
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of muscle bulk
  • Itching around the penis or vagina
  • Frequent episodes of thrush
  • Cuts or wounds that heal slowly
  • Blurred vision

With type 1 diabetes, these symptoms can appear quickly over several weeks, or in some cases, even days. Alternatively, with type 2 diabetes, these symptoms can appear very gradually, often going unnoticed for long periods of time.

See your GP if you think you have symptoms of high blood sugar.

 

Collagen – The fountain of youth
Collagen – The fountain of youth

Proteins are wonder workers that are crucial to good health. The word ‘protein’ comes from the Greek ‘proteos’, meaning ‘primary’ or ‘first place’. This gives an indication of its importance among nutrients! Proteins are made up of amino acids that join together to form long chains. You can think of a protein as a string of beads in which each bead is an amino acid. Your body uses amino acids to build and repair tissues, and make enzymes, neurotransmitters and hormones that are involved in hundreds of bodily functions. They are an important component of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.

For proteins to be properly utilised, we need adequate stomach acid to break them into usable amino acids from animal and plant sources in our diet. The production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach naturally diminishes as we age, and - worryingly - it is also suppressed when we stress a lot. In its wisdom, the body pulls energy, blood and attention away from digestion when our nervous systems enter fight or flight mode and sends all available resources to the muscles in preparation for running or fighting. When we suffer from chronic stress, the stomach simply does not produce sufficient hydrochloric acid to make good use of the proteins we consume. 

Although we tend to eat a lot of protein as a society, we still see many people suffering from arthritis, knee, hip and joint dysfunction, thinning hair, ageing skin, brittle nails, cellulite, anxiety and depression – a good indication that we are not digesting our proteins well.

Is it any wonder then that collagen is so popular? Besides the visible benefits for skin, hair and nail health, collagen has been lauded for its ability to treat intestinal permeability. It is also taken to strengthen joints and increase bone health, boost muscle mass and support heart and nervous system health. 

Good quality collagen is hydrolysed, which means it has already been broken down into very small absorbable particles and is convenient to use. No need to handle questionable animal parts and cook your own broth for days on end.

The three main types of collagen used for supplements are types I, II and III.

 Type I Collagen - 100% found in marine (fish) collagen, and present in smaller amounts in porcine (pig) collagen and some forms of bovine (cattle) collagen. Type I makes up 75 - 90% of the collagen found in your skin, hair, nails, organs, bones and ligaments. For skin and beauty applications, type I collagen is considered to be the best. Type I also stimulates the production of type II in the body.

 Type II Collagen – found in chicken and bovine collagen. Type II collagen makes up the fluids and function of the cartilage and joints. Its main supplemental purpose is for the treatment of joint pain and arthritic conditions, as well as being a dietary protein source. Type II collagen makes up 10% of the total collagen in the body and 50 - 60% of the protein found specifically in our cartilage.  

Type III Collagen - Found together with type I in porcine (pig) and bovine (cattle) collagen if from bovine hide. Type III collagen is the second most abundant collagen in tissues, most commonly in those with elastic properties such as skin, lungs, intestinal walls and walls of blood vessels. It is also found in fibrous protein in bone, cartilage, dentin (a strengthening coating on teeth), tendons and other connective tissues.

Type I and III are mostly found together, and are beneficial for hair, skin and nail health, strong bones and digestive health. Type II is most beneficial for joints. Note that if you take type I, your body can make type II from it. If you decide to use both kinds, be sure to take them at different times of the day: type I and III in the morning, and type II at night before bedtime on an empty stomach.  An important consideration is to always seek out collagen from clean sources - free range and pasture-raised beef or chicken, and fish free from contaminants and heavy metals. 

Beating a burn out
Beating a burn out

Burnout refers to a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. When you begin to feel like you are burning out, everything in your life is affected – your career, social life, family and relationships as well as the image you have of yourself. You may feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet the demands of life. Our ‘always on’ modern-day culture coupled with the daily stresses of life and the high expectations we place upon ourselves create a clear recipe for burnout.

Stress and burnout are closely related. The stress could be a result of anything, including trauma (for example retrenchment, divorce, bereavement, accident, and injury, etc.), financial issues, work pressures, an abusive relationship or illness. When we perceive ourselves to be under threat physically or psychologically, the adrenal glands activate the sympathetic nervous system and release a flood of hormones including adrenalin and cortisol. This instinctual acute stress response is sometimes called ‘fight, flight or freeze’. The primitive response to stress prepares the body to react to the danger as it did for our ancestors, and it may become a default pattern. 

Under extreme or prolonged stress, this cascade of hormones floods the body constantly and overloads the adrenals. This eventually results in a depletion leading to adrenal burnout or chronic fatigue. It can also lead to systemic inflammation, making you susceptible to illness and chronic health conditions. 

Burnout is not plain exhaustion or job dissatisfaction. The truth is that you may not even realise that you are suffering from burnout until you are presented with a health crisis or a mental or physical breakdown.

 

Signs and symptoms

  • Feeling irritated and argumentative, or losing your temper often 
  • Reacting irrationally or disproportionately 
  • Strain in personal or professional relationships 
  • Chronic fatigue, exhaustion, lack of energy and feeling ‘flat’ 
  • Depression, decreased motivation and discouragement 
  • A weak immune system or constant illness 
  • Feeling tearful, overwhelmed and anxious, or suffering panic attacks 
  • Feeling numb or empty 
  • An inability to focus or concentrate, poor memory or foggy thinking 
  • Poor decision-making or unhealthy choices 
  • Weight gain or loss, or an increase or decrease in appetite 
  • Increasing or new medical conditions
  • Digestive issues 
  • Despair, loss of hope or faith, cynicism or negativity, and self-doubt 
  • Ineffectiveness

 

Recovering from a burnout

First, acknowledge that you are burnt out! Pushing through will not fix the problem. Working on discovering the root cause of your burnout rather than just treating the symptoms is known as the functional approach. A functional wellness coach will nurture, guide and motivate you to explore and recover from burnout and offer nutritional, supplementation and movement suggestions as well as mindfulness tools and strategies for lasting transformation. You may see both a coach and a therapist as a compatible dual treatment for burnout.

 

Get some sleep

Are you getting between seven and nine hours of quality sleep per night? Poor sleep has dire consequences for your body and mind, including a weakened immune system and poor cognition. If your sleep is compromised by insomnia, intermittent waking or sleep apnoea, this can exacerbate or even lead to burnout. Practise good sleep hygiene by avoiding screens one hour before bedtime, keeping electronic devices out of the bedroom, having a light early dinner, practising relaxation exercises, and avoiding caffeine and alcohol at night.

 

Practice mindfulness  

Being able to process emotions constructively is crucial. Breathing techniques, meditation, visualisation and other stress management tools can help. Becoming aware of what is happening in your body and mind under stress and training them to respond differently can calm the sympathetic nervous system and reduce anxiety. 

 

Nutrition

Poor nutrition (processed and junk foods, sugar, hydrogenated fats and chemicals, etc.) leads to a greater chance of burnout. Your diet impacts everything, including your emotions. During burnout, you might not have the motivation to make healthy eating choices. But your body needs the right amount of crucial nutrients as fuel to function optimally.

 

Move!

Movement or exercise increases feel-good hormones like endorphins, induces relaxation, and promotes energy and mental clarity. Make time for movement in your life even if you do not feel like it and time is tight. Find the right movement for you, whether it is yoga, pilates or trail running and cycling. Just remember that exercising when ill or fatigued may increase the stress response. Exercise gently when you feel you can. Only you can be the judge of what’s right for you.

 

Get rid of everything which is toxic

Get rid of toxic relationships or situations in life and seek those that uplift you. This includes the people with whom you choose to interact, as well as environmental toxins. Become conscious of chemicals (including parabens, pesticides, plastic, synthetic chemicals and pollution in air, food and water, etc.) and avoid them as much as possible by making better choices. 

 

Adjust the way you react to situations

Obstacles in life are unavoidable. We cannot change the things that happen to us, but we can choose how we respond to them. Take control with a more problem-solving, optimistic attitude. Setting and achieving goals is a great motivator. Make necessary small changes. Having a purpose that is fulfilling and makes you feel valued for your unique gifts is an antidote to burnout. If you are willing to work at it, lasting change is possible.

What does vitamin C do for the immune system?
What does vitamin C do for the immune system?

When you think about supporting your immune system, you probably think about vitamin C. But how are they actually connected? As the seasons change, many people may begin stocking up on orange juice or vitamin C supplements. In fact, vitamin C is one of the most commonly taken supplements in the world – but what does it really do for the immune system? And is it possible to take too much vitamin C? 

 

What does vitamin C do for the immune system?

Vitamin C is an essential micronutrient for humans, but the body cannot make vitamin C on its own. You need to consume vitamin C through external sources, such as through your diet or supplements. Like the B-complex vitamins, vitamin C is water-soluble. Because our bodies do not store water-solubles well, vitamin C needs to be replenished every day. 

Vitamin C helps support the immune system by supporting various functions. It is a potent antioxidant and helps fight oxidative stress which is important for a healthy immune response. It also supports the functioning of white blood cells, which are major components of the immune system. 

 

Which foods are high in vitamin C?

Ensuring your diet has an adequate amount of vitamin C is the first way you can help support your immune system. Some fruits that are high in vitamin C are citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes, as well as less common fruits like pineapple, kiwi, and watermelon. Many vegetables are also rich sources of vitamin C, including broccoli, spinach, green and red bell peppers, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes. 

 

What is the difference between Ester-C® and vitamin C?

If you’ve ever stood in front of a vitamin C display at the pharmacy, you may be overwhelmed by the seemingly endless array of options. What is actually the difference between Ester-C® and regular vitamin C? In short, vitamin C is acidic and may cause stomach irritation for some people. Ester-C® was created as a response to this problem; it is a non-acidic, well-absorbed version of vitamin C that is gentler on the stomach. During the production of Ester-C®, vitamin C metabolites are also created that help to enhance the retention of vitamin C in your body.* Studies show that Ester-C® increases vitamin C levels in white blood cells for up to 24 hours or up to two times longer than regular vitamin C.

 

What happens when you have too much vitamin C?

According to the Council for Responsible Nutrition, vitamin C has very low toxicity and is not believed to cause serious adverse effects if you have taken too much. The most common complaints after high intakes of vitamin C are diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramps, and other gastrointestinal effects related to the unabsorbed vitamin C in the intestine. 

What to eat and drink when you are tired?
What to eat and drink when you are tired?

Quite often, feelings of fatigue can be overcome through changes to diet and physical activity. Many people rely on caffeine and other quick fixes to get an energy boost. Although coffee and sugary foods may give you a brief burst of energy, this is often followed by an energy slump. This can lead to poor dietary choices and the cycle persists.

Here are some of our nutrition tips to fight fatigue:

  • Blood Sugar Balance

Keeping your blood sugar levels balanced results in sustained energy during the day. Choose slow releasing, complex carbohydrates such as wholegrains. Complex carbs are the body’s primary energy source – providing fuel for both brain and muscles. Put it this way, you would not drive your car without fuel, so do not try run your body on empty either. Very low carbohydrate diets often leave you feeling weak and tired as you are not getting enough glucose from carbohydrates in the diet.

Choose wisely and watch portion sizes but do not totally eliminate this food group. Wholegrains such as oats also contain a number of B-vitamins, aka the ‘energy vitamins’, which are essential for turning the food you eat into useable energy.

  • Check your iron levels

Fatigue can sometimes be a sign of a more serious underlying vitamin or mineral deficiency. The most common of which is low iron – or anaemia. Iron deficiency is especially common in women, especially those of childbearing age. If you are feeling constantly tired, look pale and keep getting ill, it might be worth having a blood test to check on your iron status. You can certainly improve iron levels through diet.

Choose sources of haem iron, which are absorbed more easily in animal foods such as shellfish, red meat, poultry and fish. Non-haem iron is the type found in plant foods such as spinach, kale, beans, lentils, nuts and eggs. Increase absorption by consuming vitamin C alongside iron rich foods.

  • Protein

By adding protein to each meal and snack, you will slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream, ensuring energy levels remain stable. As well as the typical animal sources, do not forget about vegetarian sources of proteins such as nuts, seeds, beans and lentils. The latter are a great source of iron, a lack of which can result in weakness, fatigue and apathy. Unfortunately, our bodies cannot absorb iron from vegetarian sources as well as they can from animal sources. Therefore, to increase absorption, ensure you eat your beans and lentils with foods that contain high amounts of vitamin C.

  • Dark, leafy greens

Popeye got it right; spinach contains large amounts of magnesium, which is essential for energy, strength and stamina. It also relaxes muscles and can aid sleep. In short: if we do not get enough of the stuff, we feel tired and weak. Magnesium deficiency is surprisingly common, so make sure you add spinach and other leafy green vegetables to smoothies, salads, soups and stews.

  • Vitamin C

Adequate amounts of vitamin C are crucial for a healthy adrenal system, which helps prevent feelings of fatigue from both physical and emotional stress. Remember, cooking significantly reduces the vitamin C content of food, so ensure you get some raw fruits and veggies in your diet daily.

  • Water

Even being mildly dehydrated can leave you feeling weary and fatigued. As well as drinking enough water throughout the day – at least 1.5 litres, you can also top up your levels through foods such as watermelon, cucumbers and citrus fruits