I only appreciated the full value of sleep after my son was born and we experienced regular interrupted nights. After a few weeks my mind started playing tricks and my wife would often find items in our food cupboards which were obviously not supposed to be there!
It took us several months to resolve my son’s regular wake up calls - we mixed bananas with his formula which sustained nutrition beyond 2 hours. By that time, I felt I was functioning at 30% of my usual capacity. However, I then found it difficult to restore my sleep pattern back to the pre-parenthood 7-8 hours. My body and its sleep hormones had adapted to the new regime.
Sleep research demonstrates how long term sleep problems impact health. The health impact data for sleep problems is a wake up call in itself! Long term effects include a decline in cognitive function, increase in mental health problems, chronic fatigue, and lack of concentration / irritability.
Every person is unique. However, the National Sleep Foundation guidelines advise that healthy adults should sleep, on average, between seven and nine hours a night.
How to reset the sleep pattern with natural solutions.
Sleep disturbances can be caused mainly by lifestyle, environmental and health factors.
Understanding and treating the primary cause, should usually resolve the issue and improve the quality of sleep.
I concluded from this experience, that I should never underestimate the power of food or drink to affect my health including sleep. To reset my system, I cut out all products containing caffeine and sugar for 2 weeks and then reintroduced them carefully avoiding caffeine in the afternoon or evenings. I love a glass of red wine in the evenings but I noticed even one glass affected the quality of my sleep making me wake up during the night so I reduced my week day alcohol intake too.
I’m not a smoker but the data shows that nicotine is a brain stimulant so, while it is advisable to quit smoking altogether, it is important to avoid smoking just before bedtime.
Daily exercise is fundamental for physical and psychological health; however, exercising just before bedtime will increase the body’s adrenaline production and raise body temperature, making it more difficult to switch off. So, exercise earlier in the day and try to avoid more intense exercise 2 hours before bedtime if possible.
The influence of daylight on the body’s sleep hormone melatonin is well documented. Exercising in daylight helps to restore melatonin levels in the evening. However, a glance at a mobile phone or laptop screen at night will quickly reduce the levels of this sleep hormone. Even opening a fridge door at night can have a negative effect.
Problems such as headaches, migraines or chronic pain will stop you from getting a good night sleep. Speak to your GP or Pharmacist about the appropriate medication or natural remedy to treat the relevant symptoms in order to resolve the issue.
Stress and mental health problems like anxiety and depression contribute to a high percentage of sleep difficulties. In this case, a combined approach of psychological support, lifestyle changes and use of medication/natural remedies, tailored to the severity of symptoms, is often very helpful and can restore emotional balance and promote restful sleep. Also, relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, mindfulness can help you to relax and unwind.
Furthermore, sleep difficulties can be related to hormone imbalances; fluctuations in the levels of testosterone, thyroxin, cortisol, progesterone and melatonin (sleep hormone) can all disturb your sleep pattern.
The production of melatonin naturally increases especially with evening darkness and it is a central part of the body’s sleep-wake cycle. The levels of melatonin are very important to induce and maintain sleep. Synthetic melatonin can be taken for the relief from short term sleep disturbances and can help adjust the body's internal clock. Consult your GP before starting melatonin therapy which is available on NHS prescription.
The bedroom should be somewhere that we associate with sleep. It is better to remove distractions from your bedroom and watch TV, play computer games and eat in another room. This will allow you to relax and unwind.
Also the ‘blue light’ generated by computers, phones and tablets displays suppresses the production of melatonin, hence causing sleep disruption. It is recommended not using these devices at least two hours before you go to sleep in order to reduce the impact on the quality of your night rest.
Other common factors that can affect sleep are light, temperature and noise. You should be able to control the intensity of light and noise in the room by using blackout curtains/ eye mask and ear plugs respectively. The temperature of the room is also very important; feeling too cold or hot can disrupt your sleep so always make sure you work out the best sleep environment for you. Keeping a sleep diary can be useful to record the conditions that helped you get a good night sleep.
How can Nature help?
At the Naked Pharmacy we believe in a holistic approach to health.
While addressing the root cause of sleep difficulties should be the first point of action, the use of natural remedies can support the process leading to a better quality and quantity of sleep.
How will Saffrosun help me?
At The Naked Pharmacy, we ensure that all of our supplements are made with effective strength bioactives and are scientifically supported by clinical trials. You can read more about our research here.
Pure Marine Magnesium is a natural remedy which helps to support optimum nerve and muscle function, while promoting relaxation. It is sourced from sea algae and is one of the seven essential minerals we need for our bodies to function healthily. Magnesium helps relax muscles and induce sleep.
You can read more about clinical trials on the effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia here.
It is recommended to consult your Pharmacist or GP before taking any new supplement to make sure it is suitable for you, do call us on 01483 685 630.
After the birth of my son I realised why sleep is a vital component of overall health and well-being to help my body repair and re-set, ready for a new day. Taking a step by step approach to treat my sleep disturbance eventually resolved the issue. Eventually, I realised that my pre-bed routines and environment had a significant influence on the quality of my sleep. Small, incremental changes made a big difference.
Natural remedies proved effective for me and still form part of my approach, whenever I am troubled with poor sleep. At The Naked Pharmacy, we are always very happy when we help solve customer sleep problems because we know how much this will improve overall health and happiness.
Looking after your body’s natural defences has never been more important. With flu season right around the corner, now is the time to supercharge your immune system and protect you and your family against those dreaded seasonal bugs!
Vitamin C and Zinc are essential minerals, which our bodies do not store or make and so we rely on adequate intake from our food and supplements.
A natural source of vitamin C
Vitamin C plays a vital role in the synthesis of collagen, a protein that is essential for the health of your skin, hair, and nails.
Immune Hero will help to promote healthy and radiant skin and reducing signs of ageing.
HOLY BASIL, OYSTER & SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS
Natural sources of Zinc
Zinc plays a pivotal role in maintaining a robust immune system. It helps regulate the production and activity of immune cells, ensuring they function optimally.
Zinc is also crucial for the activity of over 300 enzymes that aid in metabolism, digestion, nerve function, and it is even responsible for our ability to taste and smell!
When taken together, Vitamin C and Zinc can have a synergistic effect on your health. They work together to support the immune system, enhance wound healing, and promote overall health.
Formulated with nutrient-rich Amla fruit extract, Holy Basil, Oyster and Shiitake mushrooms, Immune Hero is packed with Vitamin C, Zinc, and an abundance of bioactive compounds to help support your health.
Like all of our supplements, this remedy is sourced from naturally strengthened botanicals with absolutely no artificial ingredients and free from chemicals, colours, additives and bulking agents!
HOW NAKED ARE YOUR SUPPLEMENTS?
We all know about junk food, but what about junk supplements? Have you ever considered the quality and transparency of the supplements you choose?
In a world where health and well-being have taken centre stage, many of us are turning to supplements to support our overall vitality. With an abundance of choice available, it's essential to navigate the world of dietary supplements wisely.
We aren’t what we eat... We are what we digest, absorb and utilise!
Naturally sourced supplements harness the complex synergy of bioactive compounds found in whole foods and botanical sources. These supplements provide a holistic approach to nourishing the body, delivering a comprehensive blend of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals.
Supplements sourced from nature are easily recognised by the body leading to high nutrient absorption and utilisation whilst minimising any side effects or potential medication interactions.
CAN SYNTHETIC SUPPLEMENTS MIMIC NATURE'S DESIGN?
The truth is, synthetic supplements attempt to replicate the benefits of their natural counterparts through laboratory processes. However, they often fall short in capturing the full spectrum of compounds present in nature.
Synthetic supplements also behave differently to naturally occurring nutrients and therefore, they are not recognised by our bodies in the same way. This inevitably leads to reduced absorption rates and bioavailability, potentially making them ineffective.
WHAT ABOUT SAFETY?
The potential for long-term risks to health far outweighs any health benefits or cost savings associated with consuming synthetic vitamins.
Synthetic supplements are often made using industrial petrochemicals and solvents, which can increase the toxic load on the body. Worse yet, the body may not recognise the isolated nutrient, consider it a foreign body, and target it for removal!
These supplements often contain very high amounts of nutrients to make up for the body's inability to absorb them; these high dosages could lead to health issues due to overdosing.
"It's estimated that up to 1 in every 3 people in the UK has early stages of Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease"
When our fat cells can’t cope anymore with storing fat – the liver takes the burden and becomes the “overflow” storage organ for fat. This sets the stage for a vicious cycle and metabolic dysfunction.
As the fats in blood increase, gene function in the liver is inhibited causing more fat to be dumped there. At the same time, levels of leptin are increased – causing a corresponding fall in the fat-burning hormone known as adiponectin. Low adiponectin levels lead to insulin resistance in the liver – which then causes blood sugar to rise – and this sugar is then converted to more fat.
Early symptoms of NAFLD (Non Fatty Liver Disease) may be mild:
- Extreme Fatigue
- Discomfort in upper right abdomen
- Difficulty losing weight
Losing weight can help to slowly unclog the liver, reduce the amount of stored fat, thereby speeding up the metabolism as well as to help to reduce blood sugar, harmful LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
Dietary suggestions to unclog the liver and support its optimal function:
- A Mediterranean diet (vegetables, fruits, antioxidant spices and herbs, whole grains, oily fish, nuts and olive oil) have been shown to benefit liver health.
Liver nourishing foods include : cruciferous veg (Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, broccoli, rocket (arugula), watercress)
Bitter foods: rocket, radicchio, dandelion greens
- Practising some intermittent fasting can also help un-clog the liver, even if you can only manage a 12 hour overnight fast, as it allows the body to rest and regenerate.
- Ensure you are eating enough protein. If you are not consuming enough protein this can impair your liver’s ability to carry out it’s detoxifying and metabolic functions.
- Drink plenty of pure water to help flush out excess toxins.
The great news is that we can support our hard working liver with specific nutrients which have been supported by scientific research:
- AGED GARLIC can help shift unwanted fat from being dumped in the liver.
- VITAMIN D deficiencies are linked to NAFLD (Non Alcohol Fatty Liver Disease) : Vitamin D deficiency leads to the release of pro-inflammatory agents that can contribute to fatty liver disease
- BERGAMOT & ARTICHOKE EXTRACTS - Bergamot fruit extract has been shown to lower blood sugar, reduce inflammation, improve blood vessel activity and artichoke boosts your production of bile.
Insulin resistance causes fat storage
Insulin is known as “the fat storer” hormone and is strongly influenced by carbohydrate intake and overconsumption of food, causing a detrimental increase in your blood sugar.
When insulin resistance occurs, sugar can’t get into your cells the way it normally would and the result is that this sugar gets stored as fat.
How can you reduce insulin resistance?
- Diet (Mediterranean diet, intermittent fasting)
- Increased physical activity such as HIT
- Supplement regularly with Metabolic Gold
How can Metabolic Gold help with insulin resistance?
Metabolic Gold is a unique, safe and effective natural supplement that contains the highest strength bergamot fruit extract and artichoke leaf extract to improve sugar metabolism, balance blood sugar and reduce insulin resistance.
Poor metabolic health affects one in four UK adults in the UK and is the leading cause of an increased risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
The risk factors for poor metabolic health are:
- high sugar levels
- Insulin resistance
- abnormal cholesterol levels
- excess fat around the waistline
- fatty liver
- elevated blood pressure
Most of the conditions associated with metabolic health don't have obvious signs or symptoms and require a blood test to determine (such as cholesterol levels). However, a large waist circumference is something that you would visibly notice and if your sugar levels are high, you might notice the signs and symptoms of diabetes — such as increased thirst and urination, fatigue, and blurred vision.
Preventing or reversing poor metabolic health
The risk factors listed above are all modifiable with adopting a healthy lifestyle which should include:
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet consisting of fruits and vegetables, whole grains (brown rice), proteins (pulses such as lentil) and avoiding over processed and refined foods such as microwave meals and sugary treats is key.
- Exercising regularly. Undertaking a minimum of 30 mins of physical activity a day 5 days a week.
- Cutting back on alcohol and smoking can be a really effective way to improve your metabolic health, boost your energy, lose weight and save money.
How can Metabolic Gold help?
Metabolic Gold contains Bergamot fruit extract and Artichoke leaf extract. It is the perfect blend of naturally sourced, high strength ingredients that work together synergistically to help reduce sugar levels, improve insulin resistance, balance cholesterol, reduce fat around the waistline and improve fatty liver.
In a recent trial of 60 patients who were overweight and had high cholesterol, subjects were treated with a combination of bergamot extract and artichoke leaf extract for 2 months and compared to a group that received a placebo for the same amount of time. The results showed a significant decrease in total and LDL cholesterol as well as a significant reduction in waist circumference.
When combined with lifestyle efforts focusing on diet, exercise, sleep and stress, the combination of bergamot fruit and artichoke leaf extracts can provide significant health benefits.
We recommend this supplement is taken for at least 3-4 months at a dose of one capsule twice a day after food
Introducing our new formula containing pharmaceutical strength bergamot and artichoke extracts. Metabolic Gold has been over two years in research and developement.
Bergamot may sound familiar as the peel of this unique citrus fruit is used for teas, perfumes and essential oils.
However, we only utilise the fruit sourced from trees found in the coastal areas of Calabria, Southern Italy as it's unique combination of five polyphenol bioactives reduce the levels of unhealthy fats in a similar manner to statin medications, without the side effects.
Bergamot fruit polyphenols have been scientifically proven to improve levels of good cholesterol, reduce inflammation and improve blood vessel elasticity.
Bergamot fruit extract
Bergamot polyphenols improve the way fats are processed in the liver thereby balancing cholesterol and protecting cardiovascular health.
Artichoke leaf extract
It boosts your liver’s production of bile. Bile is a natural compound that digests and uses fats so they don’t accumulate in your liver or in your body.
How do you take Metabolic Gold?
A randomized placebo-controlled study with 60 overweight adults showed that supplementing with 600mg bergamot and 100mg artichoke leaf resulted in a reduction in LDL cholesterol, significant reduction in waist circumference and visceral adipose tissue in 2 months – even in participants who did not follow a low-calorie diet.
Concerned about side effects?
The natural formulation of Metabolic Gold means that you can take it alongside most medications, however we recommend that you take a few minutes to call us, or write to us and get some friendly pharmacist advice if you have any questions about your current regime.
"Metabolic Gold is effective because of the botanical sources, strength of the bioactives, scientific research and pharmaceutical quality of the formulation. The unique combination of the artichoke plus bergamot extracts will help so many people who have a sluggish metabolism, fatty liver alongside problems of sugar and cholesterol balance."
An increase in fat around the waistline during our 40's is common even if there has been no change in your diet or lifestyle and can lead you to feeling frustrated that your previously successful weight-loss tactics are no longer effective.
However the good news is that our bodies undergo changes in hormone levels, muscle mass, etc. that require us to rethink our relationship with our diet, lifestyle, exercise and levels of stress.
Why does this happen in women?
Oestrogen and Insulin
Why does this happen in men?
The impact of poor sleep
Research also shows that lack of sleep, will increase appetite and hunger hormones alter, making us more hungry and prone to cravings.
Loss of muscle mass
Here are our tips to help you tame unwanted weight gain:
- Blood-sugar control is key (check out our book recommendations below to help you). Aim to reduce the amount of carbs you consume, especially rice, pasta, bread, cakes, alcohol and sugary foods. These peak sugar and encourage a sugar roller coaster.
- Include protein with every meal and essential fatty acids (omega 3s).
- Fasting overnight (12-14 hours) be aware of underlying health conditions that may mean fasting is not a safe option for you.
- Regular and consistent exercise, especially resistance training to build muscle mass, resistance bands for example are portable and easy to use. Regular exercise snacks are better than weekly exercise bingeing!
- Be aware of your stress levels as this will effect how your body metabolises food and nutrients, daily de-stressing activities could be a 10 minute walk outside, 5 minutes of breathing, journalling, regular 2 minute cold showers.
Can Supplements help?
SAFFROSUN CALM– has been proven to promote restful sleep, balance the stress response and enhance energy levels.
SAFFROSUN ENERGY - includes all the benefits of Saffron if your thyroid is sluggish, or are suffering from brain fog with added iodine, vitamin D3 and will provide you with balanced energy.
METABOLIC GOLD – can help in your weight loss journey by binding to bad fats in the gut and prevent them being used in the body. Studies show that it can substantially reduce belly fat when taken for 3 months.
Books you may wish to read to support your weight loss journey:
MenuPause by Dr Anna Cabeca – gives 5 unique menu plans to break through menopause weight loss resistance
Glucose Revolution by Jessie Inchauspe – a great reference book on blood sugar control (check out @glucosegoddess on Instagram)
Whether you are a novice or competitive athlete, when you undertake any exercise, you want to take preventative measures to reduce muscle damage.
During exercise the two leading causes of muscle damage are inflammation and oxidative stress.
The natural bioactive polyphenols of the spice turmeric called curcuminoids have been shown to counteract both inflammation and oxidative stress caused by exercise.
Exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD) leads to the onset of an inflammatory response that is associated with a decrease in the ability to generate muscle strength, decreased range of motion, localised swelling, delayed onset muscle soreness and increased muscle proteins in the blood (such as creatine kinase, lactate dehydrogenase and myoglobin).
Inflammatory responses are always linked to oxidative stress and both are directly involved in EIMD.
The Science Bit
A 2020 review showed that supplementing with turmeric extract at a dose between 150mg – 1500mg per day before and during exercise and up to 72 hrs post exercise improved performance by reducing exercise-induced muscle damage and reducing inflammation caused by physical activity. Read PubMed Article
Another review showed that participants who supplemented with a turmeric extract demonstrated reduced inflammation and oxidative stress, decreased pain and muscle damage, superior recovery and muscle performance and improved gastrointestinal function. The review concluded that curcumin supplementation appears to be safe and beneficial for sport and exercise in humans. Read Review
Our supplement Natruflex Turmeric contains 800mg turmeric extract (curcuminoids) per 2 capsules.
It is combined with black pepper for better absorption and naturally sourced marine magnesium, which further supports nerve function.
Taking curcumin is much gentler on the body than taking non steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, which can cause adverse effects such as heartburn and stomach ulcers.
If you’re looking to further enhance your stamina and exercise performance:
- Try adding 1-2 tablespoons of chia seeds to your daily diet. These tiny seeds are super packed with protein, omega 3 and omega 6 oils, calcium, iron, zinc and rich in antioxidants. When mixed with water and allowed to soak, these seeds release a form of gelled water that hydrates more slowly and effectively than just drinking liquid alone.
The Aztecs so treasured chia that they used to gift it to their king in homage and Aztec runners used to chew on the seeds as they went into battle.
Chris McDougall’s book “Born to Run” describes how the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s Copper Canyons – known to be ultra-runners, running hundreds of miles without rest and enjoying every mile of it, fuelled themselves with a beverage containing chia seeds called ‘Iskiate’ and you can add a Natruflex Turmeric opened capsule an you have the perfect natural drink for recovery and fuel.
When gut health is good, you’ll feel balanced – when it’s off, you may experience a variety of symptoms and this imbalance can also affect your emotional health, your immune system and skin health.
Signs you could benefit from taking a probiotic?
- You’ve taken a course of antibiotics
- You eat a lot of refined sugar
- You’ve taken a course of antacid medfication
- You experience bloating
- You have a lot of gas
- You suffer from loose stools/diarrhoea
- You regularly get constipated
- You have skin issues triggered by certain foods
50% of our stools are actually bacteria that have been living in your gut – therefore these bacteria need replacing everyday.
So how can we replace these wonderful hard working bugs?
- Plant-based fibre - helps our gut bugs thrive aim for ideally around 30g per day, ensuring vegetables and fruits of all the colours of the rainbow are included in a week.
- Fermented foods can boost the number of friendly bacteria in your gut, Kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kombucha, pickles (in salty brine), tempeh, natto, unsweetened yoghurt
- Prebiotics : these are like fertiliser for our new and current gut flora and include:
- Baobab fruit
- Moringa leaf
- Chicory root
- Dandelion greens
- Jerusalem artichoke
- Garlic, Onions, Leeks
- Barley, Oats
- Apples (with the skins)
- Dark chocolate
- Flaxseeds (also known as linseeds)
- Potatoes/pasta that have been cooked the day before and left in the fridge overnight
Why taking a probiotic could help?
Our GUT LOVE is a great multi-strain probiotic that can be taken daily, containing 19 different strains of live bacteria to help replenish your gut flora with a variety of strains.
Did you know that the blood vessels in your body are nearly 60,000 miles long which is twice around the world.
Their job is to carry vital blood, oxygen and essential nutrients to every part of the body. Healthy vessels are strong, elastic, flexible and clear of any deposits.
What causes a stroke?
So what can we do to keep our blood vessels unclogged, strong and healthy?
- Follow - the principles of a Mediterranean-style diet rich in a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, ideally 6 portions a day and include a daily portion of a vegetable rich in nitric oxide, such as beetroot, broccoli, spinach, collard greens and kale. Nitric oxide is a substance that is essential for optimal arterial health and function. Eat regularly.
- Move - Aim for 30 minutes 5 times a week. However, research is growing that 'snack size' consistent exercise is just as impactful on our bodies and our mind. Dr Chatterjee is a huge advocate for adding an exercise snack with your daily routine so add squats as the kettle is boiling, or toe raises whilst brushing your teeth 5 minutes a day is better than nothing and consistency is key.
- Stop - smoking.
- Maintain - low LDL cholesterol by reducing your consumption of processed and deep-fried foods.
- Lose - weight carrying extra weight increases your chances of having too much LDL cholesterol in your blood, leading to fatty deposits building up in the arteries, restricting blood flow. Studies show that even losing 5% of your body weight can improve cholesterol levels.
Our Metabolic Gold, is made from Bergamot (Citrus Bergamia) only grown in Calabria in Italy and can be used to support the health of your arteries by reducing cholesterol and supporting weight management.
Studies show that bioactive compounds in Bergamot can reduce the “bad” fats, lowering LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and improving total cholesterol levels.
In fact, Research on Bergamot has been shown to have 2 specific molecules that are very similar in structure, and function to statins.
Metabolic Gold can generally be used in conjunction with prescribed cholesterol-lowering medication – speak to one of our pharmacists for more information about your health and any potential indications with current medication