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Feelings of fatigue and low energy levels can greatly impact our daily lives. Whether it's struggling to stay focused at work, keeping up with a busy family life, or finding the energy to engage in activities we enjoy, fatigue can be a major obstacle. But which are the best vitamins for tiredness? In this blog we will explore the impact of vitamin deficiency and explore the role that vitamins and supplements can play in fighting fatigue.

Possible Causes of Tiredness and Fatigue

You may find yourself struggling with low energy levels and fatigue at any stage in your life. There are many reasons for these unacceptable feelings of exhaustion, but it’s very necessary to discover the causes.

Causes of tiredness and fatigue can include overwork, poor diet, lack of exercise and stress.

Lifestyle Issues

Very often feelings of low energy, exhaustion and fatigue can be traced to certain lifestyle issues such as lack of exercise or possibly too much exercise. It may be caused, not surprisingly, by poor sleep patterns. It may also be due to prolonged stress, anxiety, or depression.

It is possible that feelings of fatigue may be caused by poor dietary choices. Too much processed food, sugar and alcohol could be taking their toll on energy levels.

Fatigue can be the result of being on a certain medication, such as those used to treat allergies or persistent coughs. It’s possible that chronic tiredness could be a symptom of a particular illness that needs to be diagnosed and treated. Some of the conditions that would cause you to be constantly tired are:

Chronic fatigue syndrome is sometimes known and diagnosed by other names such as post-viral fatigue syndrome or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). This condition is only diagnosed following at least six months of consistent symptoms. Medical research is now considering CFS to be part of a spectrum of illnesses which include fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and various other autoimmune conditions.

Further research is taking place into the relationship between CFS and gut microbiota. This possibility came to light due to the presence of D-lactate producing bacteria in the gut microbiome of CFS sufferers. Findings suggest that probiotic therapy may be of value to CFS patients as well as to those suffering with fibromyalgia.

In recent years there has been a significant increase in the reliability of evidence-based nutritional intervention for sufferers. It is considered that due to marked depletion in certain vitamins amongst CFS patients, that nutritional therapy is a highly beneficial route to improving symptoms.

Although there is no conclusive cause of CFS and ME, one of the possible causes that came to light during research is the overuse of antibiotics, particularly in childhood.

Do Antibiotics Make You Tired?

Antibiotics are drugs which very effectively combat bacterial infections. First discovered in 1928 by Sir Alexander Fleming, Penicillin was the forerunner to many other types of antibiotics now available by medical prescription. Penicillin saved many lives from such diseases as bacterial meningitis, endocarditis, and pneumococcal pneumonia and this drug group continues to save lives and help people recover from common bacterial infections such as urinary tract infections, strep throat and many more.

Despite their generally huge benefits, you may find that both during and after a course of antibiotics you feel strangely wiped out and listless. It can occasionally take weeks to work through the after-effects, and this is due both to your body fighting the illness and the result of antibiotic medication. Although antibiotics are often vital, and even lifesaving, they can also have a sledge-hammer effect on your gut microbiome.

Antibiotics bring down both good and bad gut bacteria, leaving your digestive system struggling to do its complex and amazing job of absorbing nutrients from your food to nourish your body. When the balance of your gut microbiome is upset, your body’s energy sources are depleted leaving you feeling dehydrated and exhausted.

How to Combat Fatigue from Antibiotics

Taking a probiotic supplements can replace beneficial bacteria lost when taking antibiotics.

The live organisms in your gut are healthy bacteria known as probiotics. These good bacteria need nourishment to survive but unfortunately antibiotics kill off probiotics as well as the harmful bacteria.

The best way to help your gut survive antibiotics is to eat the right foods and possibly take probiotic and prebiotic supplements. Prebiotics act as nourishment for your good bacteria and the foods that are rich in prebiotics include garlic, onions, bananas, and chicory roots.

Our Probiotic Gold contains 20 billion colony forming units per capsule of the most beneficial bacteria.

Organic Baobab Powder is our prebiotic dietary supplement. Sourced from the fruit of the Baobab tree, it is rich in vitamins and antioxidants as well as providing a dietary fibre which has a gentle effect on the stomach so is a good choice if you have IBS or other inflammatory bowel conditions.

Best Vitamins for Tiredness

When deciding upon which vitamin supplements will be best to help you combat fatigue in your life, it is recommended that you choose those vitamins which have been made from natural wholefood sources.

You can easily discover which vitamin are made from wholefoods and which are made synthetically in a laboratory or by industrial process by checking the ingredient labels. Natural supplements will usually list food and plant sources or be labelled as 100% plant based. Supplements that list nutrients individually, or use chemical names, are almost certainly synthetic.

Generally, wholefood vitamins are significantly more bioavailable. This means that a much higher percentage of their nutrients are absorbed by the body. In the case of vitamins made from synthetic sources, most of them are quickly excreted from the body before any nutrients can be absorbed.

The science behind this is due to the production method of synthetic nutrients. Although they may have a similar structure to natural foods, your body may react differently to synthetic nutrients. When you eat wholefood, you are not eating single nutrients but a whole range of vitamins, minerals and enzymes that encourage optimal absorption. As synthetic nutrients don’t have these various compounds, it is unlikely that your body will recognise them as food or be able to use them in the same way as it can utilise natural foods or wholefood dietary supplements.

The following vitamins and herbal extracts are the top choices to target and combat physical and mental fatigue:

Ashwagandha

One of the most important herbs in Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha is known to increase energy by enhancing your body’s resistance to physical and mental stress. It has been found to significantly lower cortisol levels reducing the symptoms of stress. As well as improving mental fatigue and stress, research has found that ashwagandha can alleviate fatigue associated with physical effort and exercise.

Vitamin B12

This essential vitamin plays a crucial role in converting food into energy and maintaining proper nerve function. Sources of vitamin B12 include meat, fish, dairy products, and fortified cereals. By adding vitamin B12 to your daily routine, you can combat fatigue and improve stamina. It is one of the most popular vitamins for energy.

Our Vitamin B12 Oral Spray uses methyl cobalamin, which is the most bioavailable form of B12 available. It delivers the nutrients directly into the bloodstream so is fast acting to reduce tiredness and fatigue in addition to supporting the immune and nervous system.

Vitamin B Complex

Vitamin B complex, which includes various B vitamins like B1, B2, B3, and B6, promotes sustained energy and vitality. Maintaining a balance of essential vitamins is crucial for optimal energy levels. When you have a deficiency of B vitamins your symptoms can range from chronic fatigue and weakness to low mood and impaired immune system.

B vitamins are known to be essential for metabolising energy from the food you consume, making them key nutrients in fighting fatigue and promoting energy production.

Read more about our Super B Complex (Vitamin B Complex).

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is well known for its immune boosting properties, but it can also play a significant role in maintaining energy levels. Found abundantly in fruits and vegetables, such as citrus fruits, bell peppers, and strawberries, vitamin C helps fight off fatigue and supports overall well-being. By ensuring you meet the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, you can support your immune system while combating tiredness.

Our Wholefood Vitamin C capsules contain 800 mg of whole acerola cherry powder, providing 200mg of food-state Vitamin c. The fruit of the acerola cherry tree is one of the richest natural sources of vitamin C. It is also high in carotenoids and flavonoids and is an excellent plant-based source of nutrition. Another one of the best vitamins for energy.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to fatigue and low energy levels. Our bodies naturally produce vitamin D through exposure to sunlight, but food sources such as fatty fish, egg yolks, and fortified dairy products can also provide this nutrient. In addition to boosting energy, vitamin D promotes restful sleep and reduces tiredness. Ensuring you get adequate sunlight or taking vitamin D supplements can go a long way in improving your energy levels.

Our Wholefood Vitamin D supplement is sourced from a natural plant base of algae making it ideal if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet.

Iron

Iron is essential for carrying oxygen to our cells, making it a key nutrient to combat tiredness. Your body uses iron to make haemoglobin which is a type of protein in your blood which carries oxygen all around your body. If levels are low, it will cause you to feel exhausted and lacking in energy and stamina. It will also make it difficult for you to concentrate. Food sources of iron include lean meats, legumes, and dark leafy greens.

Iron tablets or capsules taken as a supplement can sometimes trigger digestive upsets and with this in mind, we offer an alternative:

Iron Oral Spray is quickly and easily absorbed, providing fast nutrient uptake, avoiding digestive discomfort.

Vitamin K

Abundant in leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables, vitamin K contributes to overall energy and well-being. Including plenty of cruciferous vegetables in your diet may help minimise the impact of antibiotics on your vitamin K levels. The benefits of vitamin K are increased when it is taken alongside vitamin D.

Vitamin K2 MK-7. Our vitamin K supplement uses menaquinone 7 (MK7) which is the purest and most natural form of vitamin K.

Vitamin D & K2 Oral Spray is an alternative to taking vitamins D and K capsules.

Magnesium for Tiredness

In the process of converting food into energy, magnesium plays an essential role by helping with hundreds of enzyme processes. It contributes to nerve and muscle health, protein production and blood glucose control. Magnesium helps your body use glucose and oxygen to fuel cell activity, it also helps regulate your sleep cycles, stress hormones and the neurotransmitters which control energy levels.

Magnesium Malate is our highly bioavailable supplement which contains malic acid and is thought to be particularly beneficial for sufferers of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Multi-Vitamin & Minerals

A good wholefood multi-vitamin supplement gives support to a balanced diet, helping to rectify deficiencies in vitamin levels which can result in low energy and feelings of fatigue.

Read more about our Multi-Vitamin & Minerals (Wholefood) supplement.

Conclusion

The best approach for ensuring you have the right balance of vitamins and minerals is to eat a balanced, nutrient-rich diet. The emphasis should be on wholefood, which is unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, and healthy fats. It is also important to drink plenty of water and take exercise each day. Get out into the fresh air and sunshine but also try to develop good sleep habits to ensure you get sufficient rest.

Due to various factors such as lifestyle issues, illness and medication, there is often a need to give diet a helping hand by incorporating high quality, wholefood vitamins and supplements. These will fill those nutritional gaps that diet alone can’t always put right.

Further Reading

How to Improve Gut Health

Benefits of Vitamin B Complex

Vitamin D3 and K2 Benefits

Our Promise

When it comes to keeping you informed on health and nutrition, we’re here for you and aim to help where we can. If you would like to discuss any aspect of using natural supplements, or would find advice helpful, please feel free to contact us on 01297 553932.

Vitamins D3 and K2 are both essential nutrients that play a crucial role in maintaining overall health and well-being. While you may be aware of the importance of each of these vitamins individually, what you may not know is that they work in synergy to give certain major health benefits. In this blog post we will explore the numerous ways in which D3 and K2 work together to protect and support your health.

Vitamin D3 and K2 - The Teamwork Effect

Why do these two vitamins work well together?

Based on the results of many studies around the world, it has been found that while vitamin D3 ensures that calcium is efficiently absorbed, K2 plays a part in the production of osteocalcin, a protein which integrates calcium into bone. Having sufficient levels of both vitamins means that calcium can do its job effectively and in the most appropriate area, while giving protection from atherosclerosis, one of the most prevalent heart disease symptoms.

Although vitamin D is classed as a vitamin, it works as a fat-soluble hormone with all types of cells in the body having vitamin D receptors. This indicates that its functions go way beyond bone metabolism. Some of these functions are detailed in this blog but include:

Vitamin K2, which plays an important role in blood clotting, bone health, cardiovascular health and insulin sensitivity, also activates a substance called Matrix GLA Protein (MGP) which sticks to artery wall linings. This substance binds itself to excess calcium, helping to protect against the formation of calcium crystals which can build up and lead to arterial clogging. This process results in a more efficient blood flow and greater arterial flexibility.

Some of the health benefits supported by vitamin K2 are:

Emerging research and clinical trial results are continuing to give positive findings that the presence in your body of sufficient levels of both D3 and K2 give seriously meaningful health benefits.

Vitamin D3 and K2 Benefits

Bone Health

When it comes to bone health, vitamins D3 and K2 are the dynamic duo. Vitamin D3 helps your body to efficiently absorb calcium, a vital mineral for strong and healthy bones. On the other hand, vitamin K2 acts as the coordinator, ensuring that the calcium you absorb reaches your bones rather than building up in your arteries. Together, they promote optimal calcium absorption, leading to improved bone density and strength.

For several decades medical science has been studying the results of randomised controlled trials to establish the value of a combination of vitamins K2 and D3. One of the published conclusions state that this combination significantly increases total bone mineral density (BMD).

Studies have found that D3 and K2 also give support in cases of post-menopausal osteoporosis which is very good news as this is an extremely prevalent complaint.

Heart Health

Vitamins D3 and K2 contribute significantly to cardiovascular function.

Maintaining a healthy heart is crucial, and vitamins D3 and K2 contribute significantly to cardiovascular function. Vitamins K and K2 help regulate blood clotting, reducing the risk of clot-related health issues such as heart attacks and strokes. Furthermore, both vitamins D3 and K2 possess anti- inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, providing an extra shield for your heart.

In cases of coronary artery calcification, studies have found the combination of vitamins D3 and K2 to give significant benefits.

Immune System Support

A robust immune system is your body's defence against infections and diseases. Vitamins D3 and K2 benefits include bolstering your immune system's effectiveness. They enhance the production and function of immune cells, helping fight off pathogens and reducing the risk of respiratory health issues. Ensuring you have sufficient levels of these vitamins will go a long way towards keeping your immune system in peak condition.

Findings based on widespread studies have emerged revealing that most of the population in the Western world is deficient in vitamin D. Recent research indicates that a scheme to optimise vitamin D blood levels could result in lessening the fatality rate from many diseases, including COVID 19, as well as counteracting the general vitamin D deficiency problem.

Healthy Ageing

Staying healthy and fit as the years go by is a very worthwhile goal, and vitamins D3 and K2 can lend a helping hand. These vitamins contribute to maintaining joint health, preventing chronic conditions like arthritis, and promoting mobility. Additionally, they support skin health, ensuring a vibrant complexion. Their influence extends to mood balance and cognitive function, giving enhanced quality of life as we age.

A combination of Vitamin D3 and K2 contributes mood balance and cognitive function, giving enhanced quality of life as we age.

Dental Health

Vitamins D3 and K2 also play a role in ensuring optimal dental health. Vitamin D3 aids in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, both being essential minerals for healthy teeth and gums. Vitamin K2 helps prevent cavities and gum disease by promoting the proper metabolism of these minerals.

Weight Management and Muscle Strength

If you are striving to maintain a healthy weight and strong muscles, then vitamins D3 and K2 will give support. An adequate level of vitamin D3 is associated with improved weight management, while vitamin K2 supports muscle strength and performance. These vitamins are your allies in achieving your fitness goals.

Vision and Energy Production

Vitamins D3 and K2 also have a positive impact on your vision health. They can help reduce the risk of certain eye conditions and promote optimal eye function. Additionally, they play a vital role in energy production and metabolic functions, ensuring you feel energized and vibrant throughout the day.

Hormonal Balance

Maintaining hormonal balance is crucial for overall well-being. Vitamins D3 and K2 play a significant role in this aspect, supporting reproductive health, thyroid function, and blood pressure regulation. By including these vitamins in your daily routine, you are taking proactive steps towards hormonal harmony.

Prevention and Management of Diabetes

If you are concerned about diabetes prevention or management, vitamins D3 and K2 offer potential benefits. Research suggests that maintaining sufficient vitamin D3 levels may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Moreover, vitamin K2 has been associated with improved insulin sensitivity, making it an essential nutrient for managing diabetes.

Cancer Prevention

The potential for cancer prevention is another advantage of vitamins D3 and K2. Research suggests that adequate vitamin D3 levels may play a role in reducing the risk of certain cancers, including breast, colon, and prostate cancer. While clinical study results are still emerging, including these vitamins in your daily routine may contribute to overall cancer prevention.

Addressing Nutrient Deficiency

Factors such as limited sun exposure and inadequate dietary intake can lead to vitamin D deficiencies.

Nutrient deficiency is a common concern, and both vitamins D3 and K2 can be affected. Factors such as limited sun exposure and inadequate dietary intake can lead to vitamin D deficiencies. This is particularly relevant for those living in the northern hemisphere, for the elderly who may not get out into daylight enough, and if you have a dark or black skin and live in the north of the UK. Your GP can do a test to check your vitamin D levels and this will determine if your levels are low.

There is not yet an official medical guideline set for the daily intake of vitamin K2 but a daily quantity of 100 mg is recommended.

Relevant Supplements

Wholefood Vitamin D3

Our Vitamin D3 supplement is entirely plant based so is perfect if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet. It is sourced from natural algae and each high strength capsule provides 2005IU.

Read more about Wholefood Vitamin D3.

Vitamin K2 MK-7

Our Vitamin K2 supplement is made using menaquinone 7 otherwise known as MK7. It is the purest, most natural, and most active form of Vitamin K available, and its properties may reap even greater health benefits when taken alongside Vitamin D3.

There are various strains of Vitamin K2. MK-4 is a synthetic version of the vitamin but in our supplement, we use only MK-7, made from natto, a Japanese soybean product which is fermented with the bacteria Bacillus subtilis natto. This provides the richest, fully bioactive form of K2.

Read more about Vitamin K2 MK-7.

Vitamin D3 and K2 Oral Spray

Our vitamin D3 and K2 oral spray delivery the recommended daily dose of both vitamins to ensure that calcium is kept out of your arteries and is delivered to your bones where it is needed.

Read more about Vitamin D3 and K2 Oral Spray.

Key Takeaways

Further Reading

Our Promise

When it comes to keeping you informed on health and nutrition, we’re here for you and aim to help where we can. If you would like to discuss any aspect of using natural supplements, or would find advice helpful, please feel free to contact us on 01297 553932.

When it comes to our health, we know that vitamins and minerals are the building blocks that support our overall well-being. Perhaps vitamin K2 is not as familiar to you as vitamins A, B, C and D, but it has a major role in balancing your health. In this blog, we're taking a closer look at Vitamin K2 benefits that can revolutionise your health journey.

What is Vitamin K2?

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin which comes in two separate forms, K1 and K2. These are essential to the production of various proteins needed to enable the coagulation of blood and absorption of calcium and can be stored in the liver and in fatty tissue:

Vitamin K1

Known as phylloquinone and is found in leafy green vegetables.

Vitamin K2

Known as menaquinone and found in fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut and natto (a Japanese food made from fermented soybeans). It is also found in fermented dairy products such as certain cheeses. K2 is present in various animal products with high amounts in organ meat such as liver.

Vitamin K2 is more biologically active with a longer half-life than vitamin K1. Additionally, K2 comprises menaquinonbe-7 and menaquinobne-4 (a synthetically produced version of K2).

The Discovery of Vitamin K

In 1931 a Danish biochemist and physiologist called Carl Peter Henrik Dam discovered a molecule which was responsible for the clotting of blood. He named the molecule vitamin K, which is the first letter of the Danish word for coagulation which is koagulering.

Professor Dam’s research further revealed that vitamin K supported bone metabolism, which is when old bone tissue is replaced by new. This function is particularly valuable following fracture, but it also takes care of the everyday micro-damage caused by general wear and tear.

The research carried out by Professor Dam and his team, in conjunction with a research team from the United States led by Edward Doisy, went on to discover many other features of Vitamin K and its role in human physiology. Apart from its primary function in enabling efficient blood clotting and the prevention of excessive bleeding, they also found that vitamin K helps to minimise bruising when blood vessels are damaged. In 1943 Professors Dam and Doisy were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for their work in discovering Vitamin K.

How Does Vitamin K Work?

Your body naturally produces some vitamin K, but research has discovered that the two forms, K1 and K2, fulfil different roles in various areas of health. The activity of vitamin K1 takes place mainly within the liver, but vitamin K2 has extra health benefits, independent of K1. However, both vitamin K1 and K2 are valuable in their function to achieve efficient blood clotting.

Although no set recommended intake of K2 has yet been verified, it has been found that between 10 and 45 micrograms is necessary to access those extra health benefits. It has also been concluded in studies that approximately 90% of the vitamin K consumed in the Western diet is K1. Unfortunately, there appears to be a deficiency in our diet, or at least in the choices readily available to us, of the foods which have the highest levels of K2 such as fermented plant foods. This means we may be missing out on those important extra benefits.

What are the Vitamin K2 Benefits?

Vitamin K2 benefits include cardiovascular health, bone and joint health and diabetes management.

Emerging results based on many clinical trials have been published in medical journals and these findings highlight some of the many health benefits of K2. These results make enlightening reading, particularly given that many of the discovered benefits offer protection from some of the world’s most pernicious health issues. See section entitled ‘Further Reading’ at the end of this blog to access this information.

As you will see from the array of serious conditions for which vitamin K2 has an impact, the additional benefits of this nutrient are indeed of great value.

Cardiovascular Health

Vitamin K2 breaks down calcium in your blood and this helps prevent a build-up of calcium and fatty deposits in your arteries. This build-up of solid matter can cause hardening of arteries which leads to heart disease. By keeping arteries healthy, smooth, and flexible, vitamin K2 lowers the risk of cardiovascular issues.

In addition, K2 has been found to promote healthy blood circulation by preventing dangerous blood clots which gives further cardiovascular protection. This evidence applies only to vitamin K2. Vitamin K1, although valuable in its blood clotting capacity, was not found to have any bearing on cardiovascular support.

Vitamin K2 benefits includes contributing to maintaining healthy cholesterol levels and hormonal balance, giving further protection to your heart.

Studies have found that supplementing with K2 can also give cardiovascular protection to post-menopausal women.

Further reading on the role of K2 in cardiovascular support

Cancer Prevention

Emerging research suggests that Vitamin K2 may play a role in preventing certain types of cancer. Its antioxidant activity, coupled with its impact on cell growth and DNA synthesis, make it a potential game changer in the battle against cancer. So far studies have focussed on liver and prostate cancers where encouraging findings have been recorded.

It was noted that these findings relate solely to vitamin K2 (menaquinone). Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) was not found to have any effect in cancer treatment.

Diabetes Management

Managing diabetes can be a challenge, but some studies into the effect of K2 on blood sugar levels and improving insulin resistance have shown promising results. It also provides cardiovascular support to diabetes sufferers. Incorporating Vitamin K2 into your diabetes management plan could make a world of difference.

K2 has been found to give excellent support in cases of peripheral neuropathy.

Bone, Dental, and Joint Health

Vitamin K2 is the superhero for your bones, preventing osteoporosis and ensuring optimal bone health. It also enhances dental health, protecting against tooth decay and gum disease. Additionally, Vitamin K2 helps maintain joint health, preventing age related deterioration and helping to keep you mobile.

Your body needs calcium to create and maintain strong bones, and when vitamin K2 breaks down the calcium, it activates a protein which helps it to bind to your bones, ensuring maximum benefit. Results of studies show that a higher intake of K2 improves bone density and reduces the risk of fractures.

In a study to assess the role of vitamin K2 supplements on bone density and fractures, it was found that K2 lessened the risk of hip fractures by 77%, vertebral fractures by 60%, and non-vertebral fractures by 81%.

Research has found that vitamin K2 MK-7 supplements help postmenopausal women in the prevention of bone loss. The supplements were found to give significantly improved bone-mineral density as well as strength.

Brain Health and Cognitive Function

Research suggests that Vitamin K2 may reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson’s disease

Your brain deserves all the support it can get, and Vitamin K2 is here to help. Research suggests that Vitamin K2 may reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson’s disease, keeping your mind sharp as you age. It also supports healthy brain development and function, promoting cognitive abilities at every stage of life.

You may be interested in further evidence-based reading on K2 for brain health and cognitive function.

Immune System Support and Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Boosting your immune system is crucial for overall health, and Vitamin K2 plays a significant role in supporting it. Additionally, it has anti-inflammatory properties, potentially reducing the risk of chronic conditions triggered by inflammation.

Liver Health and Blood Consistency

Vitamin K2 benefits the health and function of the liver but also maintains blood consistency (not too thick and not too thin), ensuring proper blood flow throughout your body. Keeping your liver healthy is crucial for overall well-being, and Vitamin K2 can be an indispensable ally in achieving that. If you are already taking blood-thinning medication you should consult your doctor before supplementing with K2.

Anti-Aging and Skin Health

Vitamin K2 can be your secret weapon in the quest for healthy and glowing skin. It also contributes to wound healing and reduces the appearance of scars.

Foods Containing Vitamin K2

Natto, made from fermented soybeans, is the highest source of vitamin K2 available.

Vitamin K is found in many vegetable foods which we may regularly include in our diet, but often these contain only K1. Some of the foods which contain the highest levels of K2, such as fermented foods, tend not to be among the regular dietary choices in the western world, which is why clinicians are currently advocating supplementation with vitamin K2. However, here are some examples of K2-rich foods to help you access some of the special benefits:

MK-7 Menaquinone (K2-7) Dietary Supplements

There are two types of vitamin K2, namely MK-4 and MK-7:

MK-4

MK-4 is a synthetic form of vitamin K2.

MK-7

MK-7 menaquinone is the purest form of vitamin K2 which comes chiefly from natto, a traditional Japanese food which is produced by fermenting soybean using Bacillus subtilis. MK-7 is more easily absorbed by the body than vitamin K1 (phylloquinone).

Menaquinone does occur in certain dairy products, the main source being cheese. However, because various bacteria are used in cheese making, the levels of menaquinone present in different cheeses can vary greatly, making this a somewhat hit and miss source.

Although menaquinone occurs naturally in the flora of the intestines, it is not readily absorbed by the body, so the maximum benefits are not easily achieved.

MK-7 menaquinone has been found in clinical studies to have beneficial properties for heart disease, osteoporosis, cancer, inflammation, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and peripheral neuropathy. It is also known to reduce the risk of broken bones.

Relevant Supplements:

Vitamin K2 made using menaquinone 7 (MK7). This is the purest, most natural, and most bioactive form of Vitamin K. It is made from natto which is a Japanese food produced with fermented soybeans.

Wholefood Multi- Vitamin and Minerals - You may prefer to take a multi-vitamin and our supplement contains 80% of the Nutritional Reference Value (NRV) of Vitamin K2.

Trials involving the combination of vitamin K2 taken alongside vitamin D3 have established that the combination of these two vitamins create synergistic benefits for both bone health and cardiovascular support.

D3000+ Vitamin D3 and K2 Oral Spray provides a supplement which harnesses the power of both vitamin D3 and K2 which work together to protect your arteries from an excess of calcium, whilst ensuring the calcium targets your bones.

Possible Side Effects of Vitamin K Supplements

Vitamin K supplements may interact with blood-thinning drugs such as Warfarin. This could result in a reduction in the effectiveness of the blood-thinning medication.

Antibiotics or weight loss medication could reduce the body’s ability to absorb vitamin K. If you are currently taking these drugs, you may wish to include vitamin K in your diet daily to ensure your levels are not depleted.

Check with your doctor if you are unsure about the safety of taking any supplements.

Top 10 Key Takeaways

Further Reading

Article setting out results of clinical trials on the impact of vitamin K2 on many serious health issues, published in the IMCJ (Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal). Link to article.

Our Promise

When it comes to keeping you informed on health and nutrition, we’re here for you and aim to help where we can. If you would like to discuss any aspect of using natural supplements, or would find advice helpful, please feel free to contact us on 01297 553932

In the quest for healthy, beautiful hair, it’s easy to be lured by the many cosmetic products on the market with their promises of lustrous locks, added volume and a silky texture. These tempting words may cause you to overlook a natural and essential protein which forms the very foundation of healthy hair. Let’s take a closer look at how collagen works with your own body to truly achieve those glowing results.

The Relationship Between Hair and Collagen

Collagen is a structural protein that strengthens and supports skin, giving it elasticity and hydration. It provides a supportive base for the skin, creating a smooth, firm, and youthful appearance. Although collagen is widely recognised for improving the complexion and skin in general, as well as supporting joints and replenishing cartilage, studies have shown that hair structure is also intricately connected to collagen.

Just like the foundations of a building, collagen acts as a support system for your hair, ensuring its strength and resilience. Collagen peptides, the amino acids derived from collagen, provide the essential nourishment needed for vibrant and healthy hair growth.

There are over 16 different types of collagens but the most prevalent are types I, II, III, and IV.

Does Collagen Help Hair Growth?

Eating foods which are rich in proline-dense collagen can help to ensure hair growth.

The centre of each hair consists of a protein called keratin which your body makes from certain amino acids, some of which are found in collagen. When you eat food or take supplements containing collagen, your body breaks it down, along with other proteins, into amino acids which are then used to build new proteins and compounds.

There are 11 nonessential amino acids which only your body can produce, and 9 essential amino acids which can only be provided by your diet (food or dietary supplements). Collagen is made up of 3 of the nonessential amino acids, namely proline glycine and hydroxyproline. Because proline is the main compound in keratin, by regularly eating foods which are rich in proline-dense collagen, you will be giving your body the building blocks it needs to ensure hair growth.

Adding collagen to your diet, either from regular intake of the appropriate foods or by supplementation, will provide certain benefits. Because collagen is bioactive it supplies your body with vital amino acids. A collagen peptide triggers the synthesis and reorganisation of new collagen fibres, and this process supports hair, skin, bones, and joints.

Collage Benefits for Hair

Hair regrowth is one of the chief benefits of taking collagen, but there are other bonuses. As well as reducing hair loss, you will gain sturdier hair follicles, stronger hair, and a reduction in breaking and splitting. You will also notice a boost to the volume and shine of your hair. This is because collagen-rich foods and supplements nourish hair from within.

Collagen Deficiency

Collagen deficiency can cause hair loss or thinning.

If you have experienced hair loss or thinning, it is likely that collagen deficiency could be the culprit. It has been discovered that having low levels of proteins, a condition known as hypoproteinaemia, is associated with weak, thinning, brittle, and dry hair. It could also be a cause of hair loss. Without sufficient collagen, your hair follicles struggle to repair and regenerate, leading to brittle, lacklustre hair. Moreover, reduced collagen production can affect the elasticity, texture, and thickness of each strand, leaving you with dull and lifeless hair. Including in your diet a collagen supplement with the correct type of peptides will stimulates hair follicles and help create new, stronger hair.

Research shows that hair follicles are susceptible to free radical damage and collagen has been found to act as an antioxidant in preventing this. Free radicals are unstable molecules that develop in your body, often due to the metabolic process but they can also be the result of stress, smoking (first or second hand), poor dietary choices, excessive alcohol, air pollution, even airborne particles in your home from open fires and log burning stoves play a small part. When there are too many free radicals present this can harm your cells, proteins, and DNA.

Because the body’s ability to fight free radical damage decreases with age, older people are more likely to need the power of antioxidants in general, and this also applies to promoting healthy hair. The problem of hair thinning due to aging has been found to be due to shrinkage of hair follicles.

Hair follicles comprise of three layers, the cuticle, the cortex, and the medulla. The outer layer known as the cuticle, resembles a framework-like structure made of keratin and this forms a protective shield around the inner layers. Your body uses several amino acids to produce keratin and many of these are found in collagen. This is why increasing your collagen intake provides your body with the means to create new hair follicles.

Collagen is thought to improve the connective tissue in the scalp. This is vital for supporting hair follicles and for boosting blood circulation to the scalp.

Best Collagen for Hair Growth

The best collagens for growing new hair have been found to be type I, and type III. Marine collagen, sourced from wild-caught fish, has more collagen type I than bovine collagen and is better for hair regrowth.

Laboratory studies have shown that marine collagen may have the high antioxidant activity needed for repair and health of hair. A study to establish the effects of marine collagen on men and women with hair loss was conducted with participants including 55 men and 5 women with genetic and age-related hair loss - a condition known as androgenetic alopecia. Hair counts taken in close-up photographs showed a 32.4% increase in hair growth in the treatment group and hardly any change in the placebo group after a period of six months. After 12 months, an average hair growth of 63.9% was confirmed and this suggests continued improvement with ongoing treatment. No adverse side effects were reported by the end of the study.

To boost marine collagen from eating seafood you would need to eat whole fish, including skin, bones, heads, scales, and cartilage. These are the parts of the fish that contain collagen, but they are usually the bits you discard when preparing a fish dish. One way to ensure you get your collagen is by eating whole fish such as sardines, anchovies, or whitebait.

If you wish to add more hair restorative collagen to your diet, you may find that taking a marine collagen supplement is the easiest and most certain method. Supplements contain much higher collagen amounts than you could get by regularly eating fish fillet, and you would need to eat regular meals of whole fish to ensure you get sufficient collagen.

Ways to Add Collagen to Your Diet

Adding fish to your diet (particularly sardines, mackerel or whitebait) can increase your collagen intake.

It’s possible to add collagen to your body through choosing to include certain foods in your regular diet, or by taking a collagen supplement. Collagen makes up the connective tissue of mammals, so is found in the skin, bones, and muscle tissue of chicken, beef, pork, and fish.

Because marine collagen has been found to be the best type of collagen for hair benefits, you may wish to add this to your diet. If you choose to do this purely from food rather than in supplement form, you will need to eat whole fish. This means including small, whole fish, such as sardines, anchovies, and whitebait in your diet on a regular basis (2-3 sardine meals per week is the recommended amount)

To include bovine collagen in your regular diet, you can make or buy a ready-made version of broth made from animal bones. This contains plenty of collagen, including gelatine (which is also a form of collagen). This broth can be taken as a hot drink or used as a base for soups and casseroles. Alternatively, add a bovine collagen supplement to your daily routine.

Another way to ensure your body has the fuel to produce its own collagen is to eat plenty of foods rich in vitamin C. Oranges come naturally to mind but there are other fruits and vegetables which are not so widely recognised for their C-boosting powers. Try using slices of sweet red pepper instead of pitta bread with dips such as hummus. Fresh strawberries and blueberries are good sources of vitamin C and are handy to add to muesli or scatter over porridge. The Guava fruit is a very rich source. Kiwi fruits, and blackcurrants are also good. Brussels sprouts and broccoli contain vitamin C, but if you’re not sure you can include these foods in your diet on a regular basis, you can always add a wholefood vitamin C supplement to your daily routine.

It's reassuring and convenient to add collagen to your diet as a supplement. Most collagen supplements are hydrolysed, meaning they are already in a broken-down form, which makes them easier for your body to absorb. It is possible to find collagen supplements in both capsule and powder form. It is recommended to choose a collagen peptides powder which contains much more collagen than capsules can hold. You would have to take many capsules each day to get the recommended amount, and this may not be convenient or desirable.

Collagen powder is pleasant to take and may be added to yogurt, smoothies or cold drinks. Our Marine Collagen Powder is a vanilla flavoured, high quality, protein-rich hydrolysed collagen, blended with hyaluronic acid. It also contains a powerful micro-algae-based antioxidant. This supplement provides unique support for youthful and healthy skin and hair.

A collagen powder is preferably over collagen capsules due to the quantity needed to have an effect.

Can Topical Application of Collagen Work?

Good quality collagen-infused cosmetic products such as shampoos and conditioners used on the hair and scalp will help to keep hair hydrated, creating a softer and smoother appearance, but they can’t help with hair regrowth. Collagen needs to reach the bloodstream to be effective for follicle repair and regeneration. Any collagen molecules in a topically applied product would be too large to penetrate the upper layer of the scalp (epidermis) and reach the hair follicles in the dermis. The only way collagen can positively affect the health of newly grown hair is when it is consumed through diet, either in the form of appropriate foods or as a dietary supplement.

Top 10 Key Takeaways:

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When it comes to keeping you informed on health and nutrition, we’re here for you and aim to help where we can. If you would like to discuss any aspect of using natural supplements, or would find advice helpful, please feel free to contact us on 01297 553932.

Yellow Maca Benefits

Not just any root vegetable, not even just a superfood, yellow maca has been a cornerstone of traditional Peruvian food and medicine for over two thousand years and is now treasured all over the world for its remarkable health benefits. Packed with a cocktail of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, yellow maca is an adaptogenic powerhouse that can enhance your energy levels, stamina, hormone balance, fertility, and immune system. Read on to learn about yellow maca benefits.

Why is Yellow Maca Different?

An interesting fact about maca is that all three colours (yellow, red and black) come from the same seeds. It’s not possible to isolate each different colour for growing purposes, and yet each of the colours has an identical nutritional profile. The phytonutrients in the skin of the maca root is what determines the unique qualities of each colour.

The typical yield ratio of any given crop of maca is yellow 60-70%, red 20-25%, and black 10-15%. According to Andean shaman folklore, the most abundant yellow maca is considered the choice for daily use. Red and black maca are rare and as such are considered sacred. They are usually saved for specific medicinal purposes.

Yellow maca contains proteins which are highly bioavailable. This means that your body is better able to absorb them than many other forms of protein. It’s a healthy choice for everyone, but if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet you will find that adding powdered yellow maca to your breakfast cereal, yogurt, and smoothies will keep you feeling full for longer as it will help you reach your daily protein requirements. It’s also a great source of soluble and insoluble dietary fibre which is great news for your digestive system.

As well as being a good source of protein and fibre, yellow maca is rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, and C. It contains amino acids, iron, magnesium, and calcium.

Yellow Maca Benefits

Yellow maca is now consumed all over the world for its adaptogenic and nutritional properties. Here are the main areas of health it supports:

Cognitive Function

Yellow maca is known to support cognitive function, alleviate brain fog, and help with memory lapses. It is thought to be the best of the three colours for its mood elevating effects, which are due to compounds known as macamides. These are unique to maca and work to preserve and boost levels of natural endocannabinoids, such as anandamide (sometimes nicknamed the bliss molecule). Macamides do this by inhibiting an enzyme called FAAH (fatty acid amide hydrolase) which would normally break down the endocannabinoids. This results in the brain maintaining higher levels of anandamide, thus giving improved mood.

Energy and Stamina

Yellow maca is loaded with B vitamins which aid in energy production and provide raised levels of stamina.

 

Yellow maca is loaded with B vitamins which aid in energy production and provide raised levels of stamina. Additionally, it is an adaptogen, which is a classification given to herbs, plants and other natural substances that help the body adapt to stressful issues such as illness, busy schedules and demanding lifestyle. This helps with feelings of being in control and having the energy to cope with what life may throw your way.

Studies have found that maca can have a positive effect on energy and stamina, often improving mood. Maca helps increase energy without the jittery side effects often experienced when taking caffeine or other stimulants.

There is reason to believe that one of the ways in which maca increases energy levels is due to its ability to prevent spikes and crashes in blood sugar and maintain adrenal health. This helps to keep energy levels higher and constant and may also have a good effect on preventing weight gain.

Hormone Balance

As an adaptogen, yellow maca can adapt to your body’s specific needs. Because it supports the function of your adrenal glands, it helps with the healthy balance of hormones which in turn alleviates many of the symptoms arising from such issues as PMT, mood swings, and menopausal symptoms which can lead to fatigue and depression.

Libido Enhancement

Yellow maca has been highly prized throughout its history for its ability to boost libido and sexual performance for both men and women.

One of yellow maca benefits for women is its ability to elevate the level of the hormone estradiol, which diminishes following menopause. When supplementing with maca, the symptoms of post-menopause, including lack of energy, anxiety, depression and loss of interest in sex may be eased.

Yellow maca has a long history of use for a libido boost for both men and women.

 

The conventional treatment for menopausal symptoms is hormone replacement therapy (HRT), but this may result in certain side effects and put women at greater risk of blood clots, heart disease, and breast cancer. However, when using yellow maca to ease the symptoms of menopause, hormones are increased in a natural way by your body. This is due to plant sterols stimulating the pituitary gland which then boosts hormones from the adrenal and sexual glands as well as from the thyroid and pancreas.

During post-menopause, yellow maca also supports the natural heightening of oestrogen levels which has very welcome anti-ageing effects.

Fertility Support

The rich array of nutrients, including zinc and selenium, in yellow maca can provide support to your reproductive system, provided you are already fertile. Due to its properties as an adaptogen it has been found in laboratory tests to increases fertility in women during child-bearing years, without altering their level of oestrogens.

Men wishing to boost fertility may like to check out the benefits found in black maca which has been found to increases the level of testosterone more than any of the other kinds of maca.

Strengthening Immune System

One of yellow maca’s much prized benefits is its ability to nourish the immune system, providing stronger and more robust protection against disease and viruses. It also helps your body adapt to external challenges and promotes a state of balance.

Combats Stress

The adaptogenic properties of yellow maca provide support to combat stress. Clinical trials have found it to have a beneficial effect on reducing symptoms of low mood and depression. It also has been found to lower blood pressure and this may be due to its high potassium content.

Adding Yellow Maca to Your Diet

You can use maca as a healthy and nutritious food or as a dietary supplement. The taste of yellow maca powder is described as mildly nutty with a slight butterscotch flavour and it mixes well with nut or oat milk.

Powdered maca can be added to your diet in the form of a smoothie.

 

Maca Drink: A Smoothie Recipe For Using Powdered Maca:

Add all of the ingredients to a blender and blitz!

To store maca powder use an airtight container and keep away from heat and humidity.

Many people around the world are now adding maca to their diet for a variety of specific reasons. If you choose to take maca as a daily supplement it is advisable to choose a product sourced from its native high-altitude regions to be sure of consistent high quality.

 

Side Effects and Precautions

As a nutritious vegetable, maca is very safe for most peoples, however, because it is rich in properties which can affect hormones, it is recommended that you moderate how much maca you consume if you have certain medical issues. If you have thyroid problems for instance, you may wish to avoid taking maca as it contains goitrogens which are substances that may impair thyroid function. It is best to check with your doctor if you have hypothyroidism.

Ten Key Takeaways

Further Reading

You may be interested in treading more about maca in our recent blogs.

Our Promise

When it comes to keeping you informed on health and nutrition, we’re here for you and aim to help where we can. If you would like to discuss any aspect of using natural supplements, or would find advice helpful, please feel free to contact us on 01297 553932.

Health Properties of Black Maca

A root vegetable from Peru, celebrated for its energy boosting nutrients, and its ability to enhance stamina, vitality, and hormonal balance. But beyond the colour of its skin, what are the special attributes that sets black maca apart from its red and yellow cousins, and why is it reputed to be the best choice for male libido and fertility? Read on to discover the black maca health benefits.

Black Maca Health Benefits

maca root sliced

 

Both men and women can benefit from the health-giving properties of black maca. Following a great deal of scientific research over the past seventeen years, maca has been found to be packed with energy boosting nutrients which enhance stamina, vitality, cognitive function and the immune system. For these reasons it is classed as a superfood and here are the main areas where it helps:

Energy, Stamina, and Vitality

If you are feeling low on energy, black maca is noted for its ability to increase stamina and endurance. It does this naturally, without the side effects that certain energising and stamina inducing drugs may cause.

Black maca is often regarded as being the most effective of the three maca colours for men. This doesn’t mean that black maca is not fine for women to take as part of their diet, or as a dietary supplement. It can either be taken alone or in a blend of all three colours

Many women, as well as men, like to achieve toned muscles, strength and stamina as part of their exercise and health regime so the properties in black maca are just as appropriate for women to take.

Antioxidant Levels and Immune System

Black maca is rich in antioxidants to fortify your immune system. Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit oxidation, protecting your cells from stress and damage caused by free radicals and thereby reducing the risk of diseases and infections.

Results of a 2018 study showed that of the biological activity of the three types of maca, the lipids and polysaccharides in black maca contained a higher level of antioxidant properties than those of the red and yellow varieties of the vegetable.

Metabolism

According to a laboratory study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology, black maca extract was found to prevent metabolism disorders by helping to regulate glucose in the human body. Your brain needs to get around 50% of its energy from glucose and your red blood cells survive exclusively on it, so the importance of well-regulated glucose levels is paramount. This indicates that black maca can support a healthier metabolism.

Mood, Cognitive Function, and Memory

Black maca can help with stress and depression as well as memory.

 

Black , yellow and red maca, have mood enhancing properties which have been found to increase dopamine levels leading to reduced feelings of depression, stress, and anxiety. It has also been found to improve cognitive function and memory, keeping the brain sharp and focussed throughout the day.

In addition, maca can regulate the production of hormones oestradiol and progesterone and to lower production of cortisol which is the prime stress hormone. This evidence is the result of studies conducted into the symptoms of menopause, to which maca has been found to be of great benefit.

Black Maca for Hormonal Balance

Black and red maca, is excellent for maintaining hormonal balance which is crucial for general health.

Black maca has been found to be especially effective for boosting sperm production and motility.

Although scientists are still researching the exact way in which maca works to balance hormones, there are factors of which they are now certain:

Libido Enhancement

Black maca is famous for its libido enhancing properties for both men and women. It has properties which can support improved sexual desire, performance and satisfaction.

Cardiovascular Health

Reducing the risk of heart disease is helped greatly by regulating blood pressure and cholesterol levels and black maca has been found to give support to the regulation of a safe and healthy level of blood pressure as well as cholesterol in the bloodstream.

Bone and Skin Health

Maintaining strong bones is essential for long-term wellness. Studies have shown that black maca can improve bone density and strength, reducing the risk of osteoporosis. It is also known to nourish skin, and has been traditionally used to reduce acne, promoting a clear and youthful complexion.

Black Maca Benefits; Male

This version of maca is sometimes considered to be the preferred choice for men, mainly because it has been found to be best for building muscular strength and improving sperm count.

Black Maca has been found to be best for building muscular strength and improving sperm count.

 

Because maca has a positive effect on hormones, it’s important to note that it is an edible vegetable which does not contain hormones but does have properties capable of supporting the body in achieving a healthy hormonal balance.

Male Libido

Research has shown that black maca has a positive effect on the male libido in subjects between the ages of 21-56. An early study from 2002 found that men who took between 1500 mg or 3000 mg experienced enhanced sexual desire compared to those participants who received a placebo.

Erectile Dysfunction

Some evidence exists that maca root could be beneficial for men with erectile dysfunction. A study in 2009 looked at the effect of participants taking 2.4g of maca for 12 weeks.

The results were based on the participants’ perception of their sexual performance and well-being. The study participants all had mild ED, and the outcome showed a significant increase in sexual well-being amongst those taking the maca than those taking a placebo.

Enlarged Prostate

Research is continuing but some studies suggest that it may be mainly red maca which helps to reduce enlarged prostate. It would be recommended to take a supplement including a blend of red, black and yellow maca to access this benefit.

Black Maca for Muscular Strength and Endurance

Black maca added to your diet has been found to help with muscular strength and endurance. Athletes and bodybuilders use maca as a supplement to increase energy and performance. Black maca has also been found to speed up muscle recovery.

Sperm Production

Several independent studies have taken place on how black maca affects both production and motility of sperm. The first laboratory study dated 2006 found that black maca was the preferred variety to be effective in supporting the production of sperm.

A further laboratory study in 2016 showed an increase in daily sperm production. It showed that sperm motility as well as sexual dysfunction was improved. The conclusion of the study was that black maca appeared to have more beneficial effect on sperm counts and epididymal sperm motility. These results were obtained over the course of 12 weeks.

For women wishing to increase fertility, red maca or a blend of all three varieties is usually suggested.

Taking Maca as a Dietary Supplement

It is possible to take black maca in isolation to the red and yellow variations of the root. It is calculated that the production and availability of black maca represents approximately 15% of all the maca grown, so it has always been a rare commodity.

As all three colours of the maca root contain similar yet certain unique properties, taking maca in capsule form as a blend of all three gives a safe, gentle and highly beneficial supplement.

Our Peruvian Maca Root Powder Capsules are a powerful blend of black, red and yellow maca, providing all the nourishment and adaptogenic properties needed to fulfil the health benefits for which maca is celebrated.

Read more about Peruvian Maca Root Extract

Ten Key Takeaways

Further Reading

You may be interested in reading more about maca in our recent blogs.

Our Promise

When it comes to keeping you informed on health and nutrition, we’re here for you and aim to help where we can. If you would like to discuss any aspect of using natural supplements, or would find advice helpful, please feel free to contact us on 01297 553932.

Red Maca Root

It’s not only the vibrant colour that sets it apart from other maca varieties, with its high phytonutrient content, red maca root provides significant benefits to women. Read on to discover the very specific and unique properties that make red maca the supplement of choice both for fertility and improved libido.

A Bit of History

The root of the maca plant has a rich nutritional value and an impressive array of health benefits. It has been used for centuries by the people of the high-altitude regions of the Peruvian Andes where it has grown for thousands of years. During the past few decades its fame has been spreading, and gathering momentum throughout much of the world as its properties proved their worth. Maca is now classed as a superfood.

Maca root is unusual in that its nutrients affect men and women differently. A further unique point of interest is that maca comes in three colours, and each of these have varying properties, bringing different sets of health benefits.

The variety of maca which is coloured red is known for its exceptional ability to help women with fertility issues. It also gives support to women if they wish to boost their libido.

You may wonder how people first realised that maca has these properties. Archaeological evidence shows that around ten thousand years ago maca grew wild in the areas around the Andes mountains of Peru where the indigenous people lived and farmed. The legend is that those who kept cattle became aware of the powers of maca when they noticed that livestock grazing in areas where it grew were significantly healthier and produced more calves than animals who were grazing on other parts of the land.

This led to people trying maca themselves and finding they were getting similar results in terms of improved health, and increased fertility. They also discovered that it had a positive effect on their libido. This caused maca root to gain its reputation as a fertility booster and it became of high value. During the time of the Incan empire, due to its aphrodisiac and fertility properties, maca became one of the desirable commodities used as currency or taken as taxes by the empire leaders.

Even after the demise of the Incan empire, maca held its ground. It survived the centuries when the Spanish colonized the areas, and it was still consistently used for its health boosting, aphrodisiac, and fertility properties. Today Peruvian medical practitioners use maca as first-line help for women trying to conceive.

Scientific studies into maca’s folk reputation have established that it contains compounds which help balances hormones, and this helps with regular ovulation. Maca has also been shown to be a nutritional powerhouse, and this factor also supports enhanced fertility. Red maca root has been found to be the best of all the maca varieties to help boost fertility.

Maca For Fertility

Red maca root has been found to enhance fertility.

 

There are various ways in which maca, and red maca, has been found to contribute to enhanced fertility. They are:

Libido

One of the most traditionally well-known health benefits of the maca root is that it helps with heightened sex drive. Scientists decided to study this effect to discover if it worked, and if so, how. In 2002 a study was conducted amongst both male and female participants, and it was concluded that taking 1.5 grams of maca each day resulted in the participants having a higher libido than the placebo group.

A further study in 2015 found that maca could be effective to women with sexual dysfunctional issues, particularly when taking antidepressants. The study reported improved sexual desire after 12 weeks of supplementing with maca, so it may not necessarily be a quick fix.

Stress Relief

Maca is an adaptogenic herb and this is thought to be the chief reason that it helps the body cope with stress. It does this by improving the healthy functioning of the endocrine system and supporting the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. This then means a more balanced release of hormones. When the hormone levels are right, this makes for a better chance of conceiving, also for a more successful pregnancy.

Hormones

Quite often there can be a higher presence of oestrogen than progesterone. This condition is known as oestrogen dominance, and it is thought to play a part when there are difficulties in both conceiving and carrying to term. Maca’s positive effect on oestrogen levels could be a helpful part of keeping hormones at a healthy balance which leads to more reliable reproduction.

A further advantage of having proper hormonal balance is that during menopause, hot flushes and sleep problems are eased.

Blood Pressure

High blood pressure can often be a problem for women, both when trying to conceive and during pregnancy. Maca has been found to help with blood pressure regulation. The results of a 2015 study found that women taking 3.3 grams of maca per day for three months, had lowered blood pressure.

Vitamins and Nutrients

When trying to conceive, also during pregnancy and breastfeeding, it is essential to have proper nutrition with all the necessary vitamins. Maca root is known to be a high source of minerals such as calcium, potassium, iodine, manganese, zinc, and a small amount of iron. It also contains vitamins B1, B2, C and D. When it comes to protein, maca is an excellent source of all nine essential amino acids which are the building blocks of proteins. This cocktail of healthy nutrients is why maca is known as a superfood.

How Red Maca Root Helps with General Health

Red maca can help with general health

 

Immune System

Red maca root acts as a potent immune system booster, helping to strengthen your body’s natural defences. By providing essential vitamins and antioxidants, red maca supports immune function and helps ward off illnesses.

Anti-inflammatory

Red maca’s antioxidant properties help to reduce inflammation which protects against chronic diseases and promotes vitality.

Strong Bones and Efficient Muscle Recovery

These are essential for an active and healthy lifestyle. Red maca root contains calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus which are all vital for bone health. Additionally, its amino acid content aids in muscle repair, reducing recovery time and enhancing physical performance.

Cardiovascular Health

This is supported by improved blood circulation and a healthy blood pressure and maca’s vasodilatory effects improve blood flow and enhance nutrient absorption helping cardiovascular function.

Healthy Skin

Primarily achieved from within, healthy skin makes a huge difference to how you both look and feel. A youthful glow brings pleasure and confidence and maca’s antioxidant properties help combat free radicals, promoting a healthy and youthful complexion and greater softness and elasticity to the skin that covers the whole of you, not only your face.

Weight Management and Metabolism

Maintaining a healthy weight and efficient metabolism is essential for overall wellness. Red maca supports weight management by increasing feelings of satiety and reducing cravings. It also has a stimulating effect of the metabolism, aiding in the efficient breakdown of nutrients and promoting a healthy weight.

Digestion

A well-functioning digestive system is key to optimal health. Red Maca root aids digestion by promoting a healthy gut flora and regulating bowel movements.

Stamina and Endurance

Whether you are an athlete or simply striving for an active lifestyle, red maca can help with energy levels. This is due to its combination of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids which improve stamina and endurance.

Mood Enhancer

Red maca root boosts mood, reduces anxiety and depression and promotes overall well-being.

Adding Red Maca Root to Your Diet

It’s possible to get red maca in various forms. You could add it in powdered form to smoothies, overnight oats or yogurt. It’s recommended that you take 1-3 teaspoons per day.

Many women are finding it easy and convenient to take maca as a daily supplement. Our maca is a blend of all three varieties of the herb, giving maximum benefit from all its many properties. Read about Maca Root Extract.

 

Ten Key Takeaways

Further Reading

You may be interested in reading more about maca for women’s health in one of our recent blogs.

Our Promise

When it comes to keeping you informed on health and nutrition, we’re here for you and aim to help where we can. If you would like to discuss any aspect of using natural supplements, or would find advice helpful, please feel free to contact us on 01297 553932.

What exactly are these benefits of Vitamin B Complex? Think extra energy, stress relief, improved skin and hair, weight loss, efficient digestion, immune system support and mental clarity. Unlocking the benefits of B vitamins can be a game changer. In this blog we’ll explain why B vitamins are so important, how to get the most out of them, and how to include them in your diet.

What are B Complex Vitamins?

B complex refers to a group of B vitamins that work together to support the body’s metabolism, energy production and brain function. These vitamins include thiamine (B1), riboflavin, (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folate (B9), and cobalamin (B12). B vitamins are water soluble, meaning that the body does not store them, so they need to be replenished daily either through the food you eat or by taking them as supplements.

The Benefits of B Vitamins

Essential for health and wellness, B complex vitamins support energy levels, give improved skin and hair, help with weight loss, and help good digestion. They also boost the immune system and support mental clarity.

Being aware of the importance of getting sufficient B complex vitamins can have a positive impact on your health and wellbeing. B vitamins are essential for an extensive catalogue of vital functions, including:

B complex vitamins support energy levels, give improved skin and hair, help with weight loss, and help good digestion.

Understanding the Different Roles of B Vitamins

Because Vitamin B affects so many important bodily functions, and each B vitamin has a unique job to do, it’s good to familiarise yourself with the role each of them plays in keeping you healthy.

Vitamin B1 - Thiamine

Thiamine plays an important role in energy production via the metabolism. This is because it helps the body break down and release energy from food. It especially supports the body in producing energy from carbohydrates. Thiamine also helps keep the heart and muscles functioning efficiently.

Good sources of thiamine from your diet:

The recommended amount of B1 needed per day* for an adult is approximately:

Thiamine must be consumed daily as the body can’t store it.

Vitamin B2 - Riboflavin

Riboflavin helps to maintain healthy skin, eyes, and nerves. It is essential for energy production, metabolism, and red blood cell formation.

Good sources of riboflavin from your diet:

The recommended amount of vitamin B2* per day for an adult is approximately:

Riboflavin must be consumed daily as the body can’t store it.

Vitamin B3 - Niacin

Niacin helps your body to generate energy. It also gives support to your nervous system and helps to keep skin healthy.

There are two types of niacin – nicotinic acid and nicotinamide. Foods with Vitamin B3 include:

The recommended amount of vitamin B3* per day for an adult is approximately:

Niacin must be consumed daily as the body can’t store it.

Vitamin B5 - Pantothenic Acid

Pantothenic acid helps with energy production and boosts the health of skin, hair, and nails. It plays an important role in regulating hormones, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar levels.

Good sources of pantothenic acid from your diet:

There has been no recommended amount set on how much pantothenic acid you need but if you eat plenty of vegetables, wholemeal bread, and some choices from the above list, you should be getting what you need.

Vitamin B6 - Pyridoxine

Pyridoxine helps the body to utilise and store energy taken from protein and carbohydrate foods. It plays a part in making haemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen.

Foods containing Vitamin B6 include chicken, bananas, nuts and avocado.

 

Good sources of pyridoxine from your diet:

The bacteria living in your bowel also make vitamin B6.

The amount of vitamin B6 recommended per day* for adults is approximately:

Vitamin B7 - Biotin

Biotin helps the body produce fatty acids. It also helps to generate energy, support skin and hair health, and balance hormones. Biotin also helps to regulate cholesterol, blood sugar, and the metabolism. You only need very small amounts.

Because the bacteria living in the bowel naturally produce biotin, it’s not known whether more is needed from the diet. A wide variety of foods do contain small amounts of B7 anyway, so you probably get enough through your normal diet.

Vitamin B9 - Folate

One of its most important roles is protection against birth abnormalities in a developing foetus. Folate reduces the risks of neural tube defects such as spina bifida so is an essential vitamin during pregnancy.

Vitamin B9 (folate) helps to protect against birth abnormalities.

 

Vitamin B9 helps the body make red blood cells. A lack of folate can result in a type of anaemia known as megaloblastic anaemia where red blood cells are larger than normal. These enlarged cells are oval-shaped, rather than round and they don’t live as long as normal red blood cells.

Folate also helps to produce energy and supports healthy skin, hair, and nails. It regulates hormones, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar levels.

Reasons why you may have low folate levels are:

Symptoms of folate-deficiency anaemia:

If you suspect that you are deficient in folate you should see your doctor to get a diagnosis as these symptoms may be similar to other blood-related conditions.

Although folate is present in a wide range of foods, it is also produced for supplement purposes. This type of vitamin B9 is known as folic acid.

Good sources of folate in your diet:

The amount of folate recommended per day* for adults is approximately:

Folate cannot be stored by the body so needs to be frequently replenished either from diet or by supplement.

During pregnancy it is recommended that you take a 400-microgram folic acid supplement daily until you are 12 weeks pregnant. If you are planning to start a family, it’s advisable to begin taking a folic acid supplement as soon as you begin to try to start a pregnancy. A talk with your doctor is advisable to check on whether you might benefit from taking a slightly higher dose of folic acid until your 12th month of pregnancy.

Vitamin B12 - Cobalamin

Vitamin B12 foods include meat, fish and cheese.

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin found naturally in some foods. It is also available as a dietary supplement and as a prescription medication. B12 is known as cobalamin because it contains the mineral cobalt, and various compounds with vitamin B12 activity are collectively named cobalamins.

 

There are two main types of B12, methylcobalamin and cyanocobalamin. Methylcobalamin is a naturally occurring form of the vitamin present in your food, whereas cyanocobalamin is a synthetic form and is often used for producing supplements

Our Wholefood Multivitamin and Mineral capsules contain B12 in the form of Methylcobalamin. As this is a naturally occurring form your body can absorb and utilise it more efficiently than a synthetic form.

Vitamin B12 helps your body utilise folate and works closely with B9 to make red blood cells. B12 plays a part in producing energy from your food and supports healthy skin, hair, and nails. It also helps to regulate hormones, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar levels. Vitamin B12 has an important role in the production of red blood cells, as well as being a key player in supporting a healthy nervous system.

Vitamin B12 has an important role in the production of red blood cells

 

A lack of B12 could lead to vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia. It can also result in symptoms of fatigue, nerve damage, digestive problems, and neurological issues such as depression and memory lapses.

Good sources of vitamin B12 from your diet:

The amount of vitamin B12 recommended per day* for adults is approximately:

If you regularly eat meat, fish, or dairy you should be eating sufficient B12 but if you follow a vegan diet, you most probably won’t be getting sufficient as it is not present in vegetables, fruits, grains, or pulses.

The NHS give nutritional information and advice for anyone following a vegan diet.

Inositol

Although no longer classed as a vitamin, inositol warrants a mention here. You may sometimes hear of inositol being referred to as vitamin B8, but strictly speaking, inositol is actually a sugar which occurs naturally in fruits, beans, whole grains, and nuts. It plays an important role in the body as a component of cell membranes, and it also affects the way insulin works to control blood sugar. Inositol also affects certain chemicals that transmit information in the brain such as serotonin and dopamine.

It's possible to get sufficient inositol from your diet to supply your body’s needs, but researchers have found that taking it as a supplement at a dose of 18 grams per day shows very promising results.

Studies have also delivered very encouraging findings that inositol has potential to be used as an alternative treatment for mental health conditions, with fewer side effects than traditional drugs.

Maximising the Benefits of B Vitamins

Just to recap on the essential work carried out by Vitamin B Complex: giving support to brain function, cognitive development, energy production, metabolism, hormone regulation, protecting unborn baby from birth defects, cardiovascular function, cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, and the advantages of having healthy skin, hair, and nails.

It’s impossible to ignore the importance of consuming the right types and amounts of B vitamins, so when it comes to ensuring you include them in your regular diet, the foods that you need are mostly staples such as:

If you are in doubt that you are getting sufficient variety, there are other steps you can take to ensure you are covered. Taking a B complex vitamin supplement takes away the doubt about whether you are getting the right amount.

Getting enough rest and exercise is something you need to strive for as this will help your body maximise the benefits of your vitamin B intake.

Potential Side Effects of Vitamin B Complex

Although B complex vitamins are essential for overall health, it is important to note that taking too much of any of these vitamins can have possible side effects including nausea, headaches, and other symptoms. It is advisable to follow the dosage instructions if you decide to take B complex supplements.

Taking Vitamin B Complex as a Supplement

When buying a Vitamin B Complex supplement be sure to buy foot-state vitamins.

 

Many products on the market are made using synthetic B Vitamins. Not only is this often a much cheaper way to produce the product, but your body will not utilise the vitamins efficiently. Most of the nutrients will pass straight through your body!

Be sure to source a wholefood or food-state form of B Vitamins. They are naturally produced and are very similar to the Vitamins found in food.

If you are in doubt that your diet alone can regularly provide sufficient amounts of the various B complex vitamins, you may wish to opt to take a B complex supplement. Our Super B Complex dietary supplement is food-state and contains Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, folic acid, inositol, and B12, along with certain necessary minerals. Our capsules are suitable for vegan and vegetarian diets, as well as anyone with candida and yeast sensitivities. They are free from dairy, wheat, gluten, live yeast, soy, added sugars, colourings, flavourings, and preservatives.

The recommended daily intake is: 2-4 tablets daily, or as advised by a doctor.

 

We also offer a Wholefood Multivitamin and Minerals supplement that provides 23 different vitamins and minerals including good levels of B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7 and B12. They are made using hydroponically grown cruciferous vegetables and are also free from dairy, wheat, gluten, live yeast, soy, added sugars, colourings, flavourings, and preservatives.

 

*The daily recommended intake amount according to standard NRVs established by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Some vitamins and minerals have a safe upper limit (SUL), speak to a health professional if unsure.

Our Promise

When it comes to keeping you informed on health and nutrition, we’re here for you and aim to help where we can.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of using natural supplements, or would find advice helpful, please feel free to contact us on 01297 553932.

Have you heard about the amazing benefits of moringa? Despite centuries of acclaim in ancient eastern medicine, we are only just beginning to learn more about the overwhelming potential of the moringa tree. Moringa Oleifera is a highly powerful adaptogen, and one of the most nutrient-dense plants, giving natural support to numerous health issues, as well as providing help with environmental problems in developing countries.

Some Facts about the Moringa Tree

In Northern India and Nepal where the moringa tree originated, the health-giving and nutritional properties of this tree have been prized for thousands of years. Moringa oleifera has now spread its areas of growth to Africa, Asia, and Latin America and thanks to clinical trials and studies, modern science has been able to back-up the ancient wisdom. Research and studies have found that the leaves, pods, seeds, stems and roots of this highly valued tree do have many nutritional uses and health benefits. There are more reputed benefits which so far remain unstudied, but the following information is based on those properties that have been scientifically verified.

Moringa is known by a variety of nicknames, some of which are:

In the region of 1,300 studies, articles and reports have centred on the benefits and healing powers of the moringa plant. These advantages are vitally important in the parts of the world that are particularly vulnerable to disease outbreaks and nutritional deficiency.

Jed Fahey, a nutritional biochemist at the School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, has published widely on moringa. His field of study is particularly slanted towards the phytonutrient value of moringa to protect against inflammatory disease, including cancer. He also discusses its usefulness in warding off malnutrition in those areas of the world where it grows, and where its natural medicinal support is much needed. Fahey recalls that he first tasted the cooked leaves of moringa when he visited a Ghanaian village in 2006. He was given crushed moringa leaves made into in a soup which tasted of a spicy, astringent, horseradish-like green vegetable.

The leaves, pods, seeds, stems and roots of the Moringa tree have many nutritional uses and health benefits.

 

Almost every part of the plant can be used for nutritional, medicinal, and environmental purposes, but the most popular medicinal use involves the drying and grinding of the leaves to unlock the many benefits. Because it is so loaded with nutrients, and with beta carotene, moringa is given to thousands of children in third-word countries who suffer with vitamin A deficiency. This is a very serious condition linked with impaired immune function, so vitamin A from the beta carotene is a seriously important supplement for them.

The plant also contains a unique blend of disease-preventing phytonutrients including zeatin, quercetin, beta-sitosterol, caffeoylquinic acid and kaempferol. These are all anti-inflammatories with powerful medicinal values. Studies have found that these compounds give protection to the cardiovascular system, and they also have anti-tumour, anti-ulcer, anti-epileptic, antispasmodic, antihypertensive and antidiabetic properties.

The potency of moringa can be released by using the leaves to brew a tea. The dried leaves are steeped in hot water which releases their chemical compounds.

Commercially, the dried, ground leaves are used to make concentrated moringa capsule supplements. Moringa supplements contain an extremely high level of vital nutrients.

The pods of the moringa tree are about 2 ft long and contain seeds that are rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

 

The pods of the moringa tree are about 2 ft long and contain seeds that are rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. When mature, the seeds can be pressed to harvest oil which can be used for cooking or may be applied topically to the skin. Moringa oil helps skin retain moisture, accelerates wound healing, and soothes dry or burnt skin.

The powdered moringa seeds are used for the purification of water. Proteins in the seeds cause bacteria to clump and fall to the bottom of the vessel where they can then be removed. This makes the water much safer and lower in dangerous toxins. Studies have found that 0.2 grams of ground moringa seed can convert one litre of contaminated water into safe drinking water. This makes moringa seed a valuable commodity in countries where clean water is not readily available.

Some very exciting lab and animal research has found the leaves and seeds have powerful anti-inflammatory cardio-protective, anti-asthmatic antibiotic, and anti-diabetic properties owing to phytochemicals which also inhibit tumour spread, giving moringa potential in protection against cancer. Further human trials are being carried out to explore these findings.

How Can Moringa Help Your Health?

Moringa leaf is rich in antioxidants and bioactive plant compounds which make it exceptionally valuable as a source of nutritional support. It is a good source of plant protein, but additionally contains amino acids, including essential amino acids, vitamins B and C, calcium, riboflavin, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.

Moringa also gives anti-inflammatory support so is helpful to sufferers of arthritis, bursitis, and other repetitive strain types of injury. Its power as an anti-inflammatory also has great potential in managing many health conditions.

To give you an idea of the amounts of nutrients in 21 grams (one standard cup measure) of fresh, chopped leaves (21 grams):

Although moringa leaves and pods are regularly used in traditional cuisine, it is mainly from the leaves that health benefits are derived. The pods are less nutrient dense, but they do contain high levels of vitamin C. Scientific studies have concluded that there are no safety issues with any parts of the moringa plant.

Specific areas of health where moringa has been found to be beneficial:

Moringa’s Antioxidant Properties

Antioxidants are compounds that help eliminate free radicals and this plays a major part in protecting you from oxidative stress which can lead to diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

The leaves of the moringa oleifera have been found to contain several antioxidant plant compounds which can offer this protective effect.

The antioxidants present in moringa oleifera are:

Moringa May Lower Blood Sugar Levels

Moringa may help to lower blood glucose levels

 

When blood sugar has been too high for too long the body can no longer find anywhere to store the glucose and type 2 diabetes is the eventual result. Diabetes brings a whole set of associated serious health conditions, including heart disease, neuropathy, and vision disruption.

Laboratory studies have found evidence that moringa oleifera may help lower blood glucose levels. Scientists believe that plant compounds such as isothiocyanates are the reason why moringa may have a beneficial effect on lowering blood glucose.

Moringa contains an acid called chlorogenic acid and this has been found to help control blood sugar levels by allowing cells to take up or release glucose as needed by the body. This gives moringa antidiabetic and hormone balancing properties. A further compound called isothiocyanates that is also present in moringa, is associated with protection against diabetes.

The International Journal of Food Science Technology published a study on how moringa had a positive effect on blood glucose control and insulin levels in patients with diabetes, when eaten as part of a high-carb meal. The findings showed that blood insulin responses were significantly lower when moringa was one of the ingredients included in the meal.

Reduce Inflammation

In cases where your body is struggling with infection or injury, inflammation is the natural protective response, but if inflammation is present for too long it can cause health issues. Many serious conditions, including heart disease and cancer are linked to chronic inflammation.

Including plenty of vegetables, fruits and wholefoods in your diet gives anti-inflammatory protection but researchers have found that isothiocyanates (such as those compounds found in moringa leaves, seeds, and pods) have very specific anti-inflammatory properties.

Positive findings have been widely reported on the effectiveness of moringa’s anti-inflammatory action in managing the pain of arthritis.

Moringa’s anti-inflammatory action can help to manage the pain of arthritis.

 

These encouraging findings are now leading to further clinical trials and studies.

Laboratory trials into moringa for helping to prevent and treat arthritis are very encouraging and further human trials are recommended.

Improved Digestion

Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, moringa is a popular choice for easing digestive discomfort, preventing, or treating stomach ulcers, liver disease, kidney damage, and fungal or yeast infections. There is reason to believe that moringa may be capable of helping fight kidney stones, urinary tract infections, constipation, fluid retention/oedema and diarrhoea.

Lower Cholesterol Levels

High levels of LDL cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease. There are various foods known to be helpful in reducing cholesterol levels in the blood and these include oats, almonds, and flaxseeds. Studies, both laboratory and human, have now verified that moringa oleifera also has cholesterol-lowering properties.

Balance Hormones

A study published in 2014 in the Journal of Food Science and Technology reported on the effects of moringa on levels of oxidative stress in menopausal women. Because levels of antioxidant enzymes are affected during post-menopause, mainly due to a lack of oestrogen, researchers investigated the possibility of moringa helping to balance hormones naturally.

The study comprised ninety postmenopausal women between ages 45-60 who were divided into three groups and given various levels of supplements. Findings showed that supplementing with moringa and amaranth gave significant increases in antioxidant status and decreases in markers of oxidative stress.

During the study, researchers found that moringa has therapeutic potential for helping to alleviate issues relating to ageing and natural hormonal fluctuations.

Erectile Dysfunction and Boosting Libido

For thousands of years Moringa has been used as an aphrodisiac to heighten libido and improve sexual performance.

It is also reputed to be helpful in cases of erectile dysfunction, and laboratory studies have been carried out into whether moringa can be effective as a natural form of the drug Viagra, which is not suited to everyone due to its side effects.

Mood Lifting Properties of Moringa

Because it is a high protein food, and a rich source of the amino acid tryptophan, moringa helps neurotransmitter function by boosting the hormone serotonin which is known as the ‘feel good’ hormone.

Health of the thyroid gland benefits from the high levels of antioxidants in moringa. It is also known to boost energy levels as well as fighting depression, low mood, low libido, and insomnia.

Moringa Gives Health Support to Skin

Moringa oil can help with skin conditions such as acne, burns and dandruff.

 

Moringa’s natural antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral compounds provide help in managing conditions such as acne, athlete’s foot, abscesses, gum disease, bites, burns, viral warts, as well as in the fight against scalp conditions such as dandruff. In addition, moringa oil applied directly onto the skin will kill bacteria. It also acts as a lubricant, hydrating the skin and helping restore its natural moisture barrier.

Because of moringa’s natural bacteria-killing power, it is often used by the perfume industry. It is also used by the processed food industry in the manufacture of certain edible products.

Uses of Moringa

In the West, moringa is most often found in powder form to preserve its shelf life. It takes approximately seven pounds of moringa leaves to make one pound of dried powder and the leaves are the most potent part of the plant. Most of the antioxidants and macronutrients are stored in the leaves. You will find them available as powder or tea or as supplements in capsule form.

The stems and roots of the plant have the least bioactive nutrients. The pods and flowers have a high phenolic content. They are also rich in proteins and fatty acids so can add protein to low-nutrient diets.

The green, unripe pods are often known as ‘drumsticks’ and may be prepared in a similar way to green beans. The seeds inside the pods are usually removed and dried.
Moringa seeds are used for the extraction of oil, sometimes known as ben oil. It can be found in creams or lotions. The oil needs to be stored in a cool, dark place away from high temperatures.

When drinking moringa as a tea, steep the dried leaves as you would any herbal tea. When taking as a supplement, it’s best to take with a meal rather than on an empty stomach. The most nutrient-dense leaves are those which are organic and dried by low temperature methods to preserve the nutrients.

Possible Side Effects and Cautions

If you are careful to buy completely natural, chemical additive free moringa it is very unlikely to cause side effects. All parts of the tree have been taken by mouth or used on the skin for thousands of years. However, today there are various forms of moringa sold and all brands may not be pure so it’s a good idea to find a source that you trust.

Check ingredient labels to ensure that the supplements are not combined with synthetic fillers or toxins. It is also important to follow dosage instruction carefully.

When pregnant or breast-feeding it is best to avoid taking high doses of moringa as it is possible that chemicals naturally occurring within the root, bark and flowers could lead to contractions of the uterus.

Moringa can affect the speed at which the liver breaks down certain medications and it can also interfere with the effectiveness of some prescribed drugs.

Because moringa may lower blood sugar levels, caution is advised if taking it alongside medication for hyperglycaemia. Medication may need to be adjusted to take account of the effect on blood glucose of moringa.

If you have an under-active thyroid and take Levothyroxine, be aware that moringa extract may reduce the amount of Levothyroxine your body absorbs so may decrease its effectiveness.

Blood pressure may be lowered when taking moringa, so care is advised if you are taking antihypertensive medication.

Taking Moringa as a Supplement

Moringa can be taken as an extract in capsule form.

 

Moringa is an amazing supplement. As a complete protein source, it is highly nutritious and its anti-inflammatory properties put it on a par with the much heralded and researched spice, turmeric. If considering buying moringa as a supplement, look for pure extract with no added fillers, or chemicals.

Our Moringa Leaf Extract Capsules contain 500mg of a 10:1 extract, which is the concentrated equivalent of 5,000mg of raw leaf. In other words, they contain just pure moringa leaf extract.

Our Promise

When it comes to keeping you informed on health and nutrition, we’re here for you and aim to help where we can.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of using natural supplements, or would find advice helpful, please feel free to contact us on 01297 553932.

If you are following a ketogenic diet, practicing intermittent fasting or just cutting down on carbs, beta hydroxybutyrate ketones (BHB) may be something you’d like to know more about.

What are Beta Hydroxybutyrate Ketones?

When you adopt a diet that includes protein and fats, but is very low in carbs, including sugar, your liver produces its own ketones, known as endogenous ketones. Endogenous is Latin for within. When ketones made in the lab are supplemented into the diet they are known as exogenous (outside) ketones.

BHB Exogenous Ketones Powder

In addition to their energy-giving and endurance-boosting properties, there is clinical evidence to suggest that BHB ketones may help with neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, also with migraine symptoms. They have been found to be a useful option in diabetes management and also to help those getting to grips with a low carbohydrate diet to stay on track, whilst reducing the more unpleasant symptoms of a different dietary regime.

BHB for Fat Burning and Energy

BHB can support fat burning energy production

For many people who need to lose a significant amount of weight, the keto diet is one which shows results. First making its world stage debut in the early 2000s with the Atkin’s Diet, keto has now become a method of weight loss involving an extremely low quantity of carbohydrates but a high amount of fat. This eating regime puts your body into a state known medically as ketosis.

Under normal dietary conditions your cells burn glucose for energy, but when there is no glucose, the energy comes from your body having to burn fat stores, and this is the way ketosis works. Your body produces beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) naturally but when in ketosis it produces much more, burning up fat stores to sustain energy levels.

It sounds easy but achieving and sustaining a state of ketosis requires very strict discipline and a huge amount of determination. This is where exogenous ketones can support your efforts to burn fat. If, once you’ve reached the stage where ketosis has kicked in, BHB is taken as a supplement, it may help you to stay on course with the diet and, at the same time, still give you the energy to exercise and work out regularly.

Taking BHB can only help with fat burning if you are already in a state of ketosis, or if you are working towards a very low carb or keto diet. Exogenous ketones in your bloodstream will then help your cells burn fat and provide an energy boost. They may also give improved mental focus as well as helping to curb cravings for sweet and carb-laden foods.

It's worth bearing in mind that from a nutritional point of view, following a ketogenic diet may have great results in terms of weight loss but it shouldn’t be regarded as a forever diet. Your body needs a balance of nutrients to be healthy long term.

What is Ketosis?

In evolutionary terms, ketosis is a process which evolved to allow human beings to survive during periods when food was scarce. Without ketosis early man would have starved to death during times such as midwinter when plant- food sources were scarce. Molecules, now known as ketones, allowed us to survive on our own store of body fat. Science has discovered that these molecules have certain other benefits as well as warding off starvation.

When ketones take over as your main source of fuel you are said to be in a state of ketosis, and this means that you are burning stored body fat instead of the body’s preferred fuel which is glucose taken from carbohydrates in the diet. These carbs include sugary and starchy foods which get broken down into simple sugars and stored in the liver and muscles as a substance known as glycogen. When on a low carb diet, you reach the point when very little glucose is left to be used as fuel, so the body begins to break down fat stores to be used as a kind of glucose which comes from triglycerides.

Ketones are molecules which are produced as a by-product from the process of body fat breaking down. When you starve your body of carbohydrates, blood sugar reduces, insulin levels drop, glucagon and cortisol increase, and fatty acids are released into the blood by a process known as lipolysis. The increase in fatty acids in the blood are then taken in by the liver to be used in the production of ketones.

There are three types of ketone:

When you are in a state of ketosis, you have raised levels of these ketones in your blood. Of the three, the most stable ketone is BHB which can be transported through the bloodstream to other organs and tissues. AcAc tends to be broken down in the blood where it is converted to acetone, a waste produce of the metabolic process, and this is excreted in the breath, hence the slight aroma of pear-drops or nail varnish often noticed in those following the keto diet.

BHB for Athletic Performance and Endurance

BHB has been found to improve endurance and energy during periods of exercise. It also boosts fat burning without causing muscles to waste. Your body burns carbohydrates for fuel when you are active, but when you restrict your own supply of carbs then your body will begin to break down fatty acids to use as fuel. Ketones are the by-product of this process.

Following long spells of exercise, or if you are fasting or on a low carb diet, ketosis will occur naturally, but this is not a quick and easy route as your body needs time to adapt to a low carb diet. During this transition you won’t be able to perform at your best and that’s why some athletes are now choosing to supplement with exogenous ketones. The addition of BHB helps you to stay in ketosis more efficiently and without some of the debilitating symptoms of carb withdrawal.

Whether or not a ketogenic diet is suitable for your goals depends greatly upon what you are aiming to achieve in your athletic performance. It may be wise to discuss your nutritional plans with a medical professional who specialises in sport nutrition to make sure you are following the most safe and effective route to meet your needs.

BHB for Neuroinflammation

Recent evidence shows that age-related metabolic dysfunction plays a part in the onset of impaired cognitive function, including memory loss, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Changes in metabolism, such as a ketogenic diet, may positively alter cognitive ability and due to these findings, along with the discovery that BHB can effectively cross the blood-brain barrier, means further investigation is going ahead to find out whether there is a way in which BHB can reduce the severity of Alzheimer’s disease.

The Keto diet is already a recognised treatment for epilepsy but until recently the exact science as to why it should help was unknown. Research has now discovered that the benefits are due to alteration in gut bacteria owing to the low carbohydrate, high fat nature of the diet. Scientists have also found that when the altered bacteria are removed from the gut of the subject under review, the benefit of fewer seizures is also removed.

Laboratory trials have revealed that when the altered bacteria are transplanted into the gut of another epileptic sufferer, they appear to give the same benefits, but without the necessity of following a low carb diet. This presents interesting possibilities for future research with human participants.

Memory and Focus

BHB ketones have been found to improve memory, mood, and focus. Supplementing with BHB may also reduce the risk of mild cognitive diseases and early stages of dementia. There is a possibility that taking BHB could even help recovery from memory impairment. The reason for these benefits is that certain neurological disorders are associated with a lack of glucose which is the brain’s main fuel. In this situation ketones are the only alternative fuel and therefore dietary supplements of exogenous ketones provide promising support to help with energy needs during times of neurological crisis.

Research is also finding evidence that ketosis induced by exogenous ketones may help arrest damage and improve cognitive and motor performance in events such as seizure, mild impairment and neurotrauma.

Science Daily reported on research carried out in 2021 and published in The Journal of Physiology, stating that ketone supplements may be a new method of protecting and improving brain health in people with obesity. It is known that those who are significantly overweight are at a greater risk of developing cognitive impairment and neurodegenerative diseases. The study revealed that giving a ketone supplement three times a day for 14 days increased blood flow to the brain and had a beneficial effect on working memory and processing speed in obese adults.

For dietary help and advice when suffering with, or caring for, anyone with dementia or neurological impairment, the British Dietic Association web page on Nutrition and Dementia has useful information along with contact details for further help and support.

BHB to Help Manage Blood Glucose Levels

Ketones are known to lower blood glucose levels so can be a support in the management of diabetes. There are two kinds of diabetes: type 1 usually occurs early in life and can be genetic. Type 2 (Mellitus) is more likely to present in later life, often after 50, but also in younger people due possibly to early obesity. Type 2 diabetes if often triggered by life-style issues such as lack of exercise, together with the prolonged habit of eating too much refined carbohydrates (including sugar).

The reasons for this happening are to do with the body’s ability to convert glucose from food into energy. This process is usually taken care of by the pancreas which produces a hormone called insulin. When you have diabetes, your pancreas makes insulin, but your cells cannot use it properly. When this happens, your pancreas works hard to produce more insulin but because cells cannot assimilate it, the extra insulin builds up in your blood and gradually the pancreas gives up the fight.

Research studies have found that a diet low in carbs, or a keto diet, has a good effect on stabilising blood glucose and this could result in a reduction of diabetes medication. Some dietitians recommend a keto diet for people with type 2 diabetes because with this type of diabetes the body does still produce some insulin, but it doesn’t work as well as it should. If you have type 2 diabetes, you need to eat fewer carbs as they will convert to glucose and increase your blood sugar levels. Because the keto diet reduces intake of dietary carbs it may be a helpful method of helping yourself control blood sugar.

Diabetes UK have some information on their website on safely following a low carbohydrate diet for anyone with either types 1 or 2 diabetes.

NOTE - If you have diabetes, and are following a keto diet, you should monitor your ketone levels carefully. This can be done with a simple home test kit. If too many ketones build up in the blood stream, they may become toxic and can lead to a condition called ketoacidosis.

Ketoacidosis

Also known as DKA, ketoacidosis is a condition that can arise if ketone levels in the blood become too high. An excess of ketones can poison the body and this situation can develop very quickly, often overnight or certainly over a period of about 24 hours.

Ketoacidosis most often crops up in those who have type 1 diabetes, but it can also occasionally occur with type 2. High levels of ketones in the urine and high blood sugar are both warning signs of ketoacidosis.

The most common trigger for ketoacidosis is often an insufficient amount of insulin, maybe due to missed doses or too little insulin being administered. Other, less common, triggers are drug misuse, physical trauma, emotional trauma, stress.

Early warning signs of ketoacidosis are abdominal pain, confusion and difficulty concentrating, flushed skin, excessive thirst, fruity breath, frequent need to pee, feeling sick and/or being sick, shortness of breath.

Prevention and treatment of ketoacidosis

Ketosis rarely affects those who eat a balanced diet with regular meals. The dangerous time is when calorie and carb intake is drastically reduced. Other vulnerable times are when pregnant or when exercising for a long period of time.

If you are diabetic and choose to put your body through ketosis, there is a risk of high acid levels. These can be dangerous unless they are closely controlled and monitored.

Medically, DKA is considered an emergency as it can result in diabetic coma. Paramedics or emergency health workers will treat with fluid replacement to rehydrate the body and dilute excess sugar in the blood. They will also give electrolyte fluids to help maintain heart, muscle, and nerve function. Insulin will be given to reverse the problem that caused the ketoacidosis. A stay in intensive care usually follows emergency treatment.

Keto or Carb Flu

Although the ketogenic diet has many followers and devotees due to its weight loss potential, it can have certain undesirable side effects. One of the downsides of the diet is keto flu or carb flu. This condition arises when certain symptoms are experienced by some people when they begin to follow the keto diet. The symptoms can present in a similar way to conventional flu but are caused by the body trying to adapt to a new diet, and particularly to the fact that there are very few carbohydrates to burn.

Because of the carbohydrate deficit, the body is forced to burn ketones for energy rather than its ‘go-to’ fuel of glucose. Ketones take over as the main fuel when following a very low carb diet or fasting diet and this is referred to as ketosis. This condition is triggered when less than 50g per day of carbohydrates (including sugar) are consumed. Because this sudden restriction of its usual fuel shocks the body, it can cause symptoms that are similar to withdrawal from certain addictive drugs or substances such as caffeine.

Although many people may make the switch to a ketogenic diet without any undesirable effects, others may experience any of the following symptoms:

Symptoms don’t generally last for more than about a week, although for some people they could last longer. There are various ways of self-help to ease the symptoms and get through the transition more smoothly:

Supplementing with BHB Ketone Salts

Because BHB triggers the body into using fat stores for energy, it may prove effective if you are considering a low carbohydrate, high fat eating regime or keto diet. It is also a helpful supplement to support intermittent fasting methods of diet

A summarised explanation of why this works is that the body’s energy source comes from burning carbohydrates, converted by the metabolism into glucose, or from fat converted by the body into ketones.

Some of the benefits of supplementing with BHB exogenous ketones:

Our BHB Exogenous Ketones supplement is blended with organic cacao nibs, natural chocolate, and sea salt flavouring. It contains no sugar and is sweetened with a little stevia. An added advantage is that the organic cacao nibs are high in natural antioxidant properties.

Read more about BHB Exogenous Ketones.

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Our long-established, family-run business sells the highest quality supplements with no nasty additives, chemicals or fillers, so you can be confident you're getting 100% natural products at affordable prices, UK wide.
logo supplement place 1592368025 44830.original

Our long-established, family-run business sells the highest quality supplements with no unnecessary fillers or additives, so you can be confident you're getting clean, natural products at fair prices. Available worldwide.

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