How to Tame a Mid-Life Belly

How to Tame a Mid-Life Belly

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? 

Declining oestrogen levels require the body to look elsewhere for oestrogen – namely fat cells, which produce a weak form of oestrogen.
The body tries to create a reserve of oestrogen in fat cells – and this reserve is mainly around the middle. 

 

Oestrogen and Insulin

Declining levels of oestrogen also slow down metabolic rate and insulin resistance may occur.
 
Menopausal women respond differently to glucose (sugar) and are at greater risk of becoming insulin resistant – insulin is the hormone that helps the body use glucose for energy.
 
This can then cause weight gain and increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
 
Low oestrogen levels have also been shown to be associated with low vitamin D levels, which can increase fat storage.
As a woman transitions through menopause, the adrenal glands take over from the ovaries to produce a little oestrogen – however, as the adrenals also produce stress hormones – if a woman is dealing with a lot of stress in her life, the adrenals will shift to “survival mode” and away from producing oestrogen.
 
This encourages the body to store fat, especially around the middle and puts the brakes on any weight loss tactics.

 

Why does this happen in men?

Testosterone plays an important role in maintaining a healthy weight by helping to build muscle, speed up metabolism and maintain insulin sensitivity.
 
However, as men hit their 40s and testosterone levels start to decline, this encourages the body to store fat, especially around the middle and is associated with a higher risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Human Growth Hormone is another crucial hormone in men, which enters rapid decline as men enter their 40s causing a reduction in muscle mass.
Muscle tissue is the largest consumer of glucose (sugar) in the body, so the loss of muscle mass results in less glucose being used up and this excess is then converted into body fat and stored around the middle. 
The reduction in muscle mass also means that the body does not process carbohydrates efficiently, so eating too many sugary and starchy foods such as biscuits, cakes, sweets, pasta, potatoes, crisps etc triggers weight gain which is harder to shift.
Of course both men and women have these hormones in greater or lesser quantities and these levels also fluctuate based on gender and ethnicity.

The impact of poor sleep

High stress levels and disrupted sleep can add to the weight gain and insulin resistance.  

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

Muscle mass diminishes with age, whilst fat storage increases – losing muscle mass slows your metabolism, making it more challenging to maintain a healthy weight.
Low testosterone levels and poor thyroid function can also slow down metabolism, causing fatigue and making it harder to shift fat.

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 WITH B12– has been proven to promote restful sleep, balance the stress response and enhance energy levels.

 

Saffrosun with B12 

SAFFROSUN WITH MARINE MAGNESIUM - 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.

 

Saffrosun with Marine Magnesium

 

Saffrosun with Marine Magnesium

BERGATONE – 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.

 

Bergatone

 

 

 

 

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)

Upgrade your Muscle Recovery with Natruflex Turmeric

Upgrade your Muscle Recovery with Natruflex Turmeric

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

Natruflex Turmeric 

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.

 

Natruflex Turmeric

 

Body shape is not an indicator of the strength of your blood vessels

Body shape is not an indicator of the strength of your blood vessels

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.

A healthy and strong blood circulation system is essential to have a good quality of life.
Therefore body shape is not an indicator of the strength of your blood vessels.

What causes a stroke?

Arteries can become clogged with fatty substances from our diet and a sedentary lifestyle which can cause the arteries to narrow and stiffen, resulting in blocked blood flow, a condition known as atherosclerosis.
 
This increases the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, and this impeded blood flow will affect the health and efficeincy of every organ in the body.
 
If it happens in the brain, the blockage can cause a stroke. Poor blood flow is also linked to issues such as vascular dementia, erectile dysfunction and decreased circulation in the hands and feet.

So what can we do to keep our blood vessels unclogged, strong and healthy?

  1. 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.
  1. 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.  
  1. Stop -  smoking.
  1. Maintain - low LDL cholesterol by reducing your consumption of processed and deep-fried foods.
  1. 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 Bergatone, 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.

    Bergatone 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.

     
    Jeff Schmidt - Heart Attack

    Heart Attack by Jeff Schmidt

    It turns out that we really are ‘the sum total of our experiences.’ Had I known then the impact of many of my decisions, I may have made changes earlier, but it turns out that we must live life to truly understand it. 

     

     

     

    I was definitely living life. Perceived invincibility provided me with the tunnel vision which enabled me to dash from one task to another, ticking off one more achievement, adventure and accolade.

    Of course you can’t sustain this symphonic level of intensity without topping up the tank with quick access fuel, mine came in the form of sugar- packets of delicious sweets and finely baked biscuits.

    I also gradually began to neglect my regular exercise regimen in exchange for a membership in the weekend warrior club. Gut irritation and a little extra weight accumulated, but, as far as I was concerned, I felt normal for a 40-something professional.

    ‘That’ evening, the one that irreversibly shook up my life, Thursday 3 December, I found myself staring eternity squarely in the face. I had returned home from work with my two girls. It had been a stressful day capped by a suitably heated, hard-hitting quarrel that left me trembling. 

     I did not generally consider my life stressful, and yet I knew that I ran at a pretty high-octane pace. But that was OK, because, despite warnings from others, I was, or believed I was, bulletproof.  

    I wore my intensity like a shiny badge of honour. On that evening, however, the engine said ‘no more’; you can’t drive even the most brilliantly engineered sports cars at 5000 RPM indefinitely. 

     It took my mum, who spotted me bent over, clutching my chest, rubbing my arms on FaceTime and my daughter's subsequent fear-filled plea to get help for me to make the medical call. Reluctantly, in a haze of pain, I did make the call. In minutes an ambulance was there. 

     

    Pride masking the danger, I couldn’t help, but feel that all this commotion was quite unnecessary. The seasoned paramedics quickly assessed my traumatised frame, blood pressure surging through my veins like a blocked firehose. They looked me straight in the eyes, piercing my vanity, and said, “We are taking you to hospital. Now.” 

    Jeff Schmidt - a loose wire

     

    ‘That’ evening marked the beginning of a myriad of changes.  Naturally, and most significantly was that of my health, but also, running neatly alongside, compelling me, almost without choice, was my desire to capture the goodness in life around me. 

    Being in hospital forced me to slow down and rest, my senses sharpened and my eyes opened to the subtleties in the world around me, to things I had not previously noticed before. 

    I became acutely aware of nuances in conversation, of the sacrifices of those around me and of the delicacy of relationships. I was also painfully cognizant, in increasing measure, of the compounding effects of the bad choices I had made for my body- sugar addiction, stress, exercise withdrawal and sleep deprivation.

    Buckminster Fuller once said, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” So, that is what I did (and am doing), engineering a new, more tantalising model for life. 

    My diet, for instance, has been transformed. The once glutinous intake has been replaced with cleaner foods, nutrition straight from the earth and, perhaps more importantly, I expunged sweets. 

    Implored by the immediacy of the situation, I also instilled radical changes to my work routine and introduced regular, gentler exercises in the great outdoors. The list goes on, but I feel that, if indeed we are ‘the sum total of our experiences,’ I have been gifted a lifeline with which to significantly alter the outcome of my time here on earth. And, I must say, my heart feels good, very good indeed.

     

    NOTE FROM THE NAKED PHARMACY

    Jeff’s story highlights the importance of regular heart health checks for both men and women above the age of 30. The good news is many heart and circulatory diseases are caused by risk factors that can be controlled, treated or modified.
    Key risk factors as identified by The British Heart Foundation are cholesterol, diabetes, being overweight, physical inactivity, smoking and having high blood pressure. As well as a family history of heart issues.
    As a pharmacist, I believe that relatively simple diet and lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of heart disease. 
    Our targeted high strength supplements can help and the general rule for these supplements is to start as early as possible to help prevent problems rather than have to treat later, especially if you recognise the risk factors.
    My two supplements of choice are Bergatone to reduce the build up of bad fats in the body and improve the metabolism. Research is now showing that the four specific polyphenols in high strength organic bergamot fruit extract provide effective support for managing weight and cholesterol, by binding to bad fats in the gut.
    Alongside Black Garlic an organic compound that is produced when white garlic is fermented over several months. It helps to maintain healthy blood pressure, as well as protecting the cardiovascular system.

     

     

     

    Jeff Schmidt is the Author/illustrator of the bestselling book: 

     HEART ATTACK- Finding hope, joy and inspiration through adversity. 

    How to lose weight naturally

    How to lose weight naturally

    Accumulation of belly fat is something that can creep up over the years and catch us by surprise. It is suggested that on average adults gain ~1.5kg annually and never shed that weight. Why is that?

    The answer is often our lifestyle. Reducing calorie intake and supporting gut health by increasing your vegetable intake will support weight loss but shifting belly fat can be more troublesome. Coupled with this is the effect this fat is having internally - on our blood vessels and heart for example.

    One of the biggest culprits driving stubborn belly fat is sugar intake

    Hidden sugars in many foods and drinks will increase the accumulation of fat in the tissues and blood vessels. Look at the sugar contents of many cereals, breads, fizzy drinks etc and try to cut them out completely. Every improvement you make by increasing exercise or supplementing can be completely counteracted by your sugary intakes.

    Bergatone

    One clinically tested solution for bad fats is Bergatone, a natural food supplement made from Italian bergamot fruits. Studies have shown that 3 capsules daily, 30 minutes before food for a period of 4 months can help manage weight and cholesterol alongside a healthy eating and exercise routine. How does it do this? Each tablet is packed full of active ‘power house’ polyphenols at 35% effective strength. These polyphenols bind to bad fats from our diets in our gut and tissues. They also help to balance cholesterol in the liver. Double whammy!


    Black Garlic

    When it comes to protecting our heart we can further help by supplementing our diet with daily Aged Black Garlic. This has been shown to help relax our blood vessels, allowing for more efficient circulation of blood to our tissues. How does it do this?...Our Black Garlic is selected due to its naturally high concentrations of the chemical allicin. A six month aging and fermentation process converts allicin to active S-allyl cysteine (S-AC). This high strength, premium grade S-AC provides the protection for our cardiovascular system. Aged Black Garlic and Bergatone are a perfect combination, working in harmony with each other on separate cardiovascular systems.

    Italian Bergamot: The Mediterranean Way to a Healthy Cardiovascular System

    Italian Bergamot: The Mediterranean Way to a Healthy Cardiovascular System

    As if Chianti and pizza were not enough reasons to love everything Italian, one of the most powerful natural solutions for cardiovascular health has Italian roots, literally!

    Bergamot may sound familiar as the peel of this citrus is often used for teas, perfumes and essential oils. The fruits grow on trees only in the region of Southern Italy called Calabria, very close to Sicily.

    Beyond the appeal of the peel, the fruit pulp itself has a unique combination of five polyphenol bioactives, whose names are a mouthful such as naringin, bruteridin and melitidin. These natural bergamot compounds block the same enzyme as statin medications but without the side effects. Bergamot fruit extract has also been shown to lower blood sugar, reduce inflammation, improve blood vessel activity and activate the AMP-K system, similar to a common diabetic drug called metformin.

    How is all of this known about the citrus fruit growing in a remote area of Italy?

    There was a belief that natives of Sicily who ate the fruit of the bergamot citrus tree did not get heart disease, diabetes and other maladies.

    Universities in Italy began studying this folklore which proved to be accurate, based on a number of high quality human clinical studies. There are now more than 200 scientific studies exploring the role of bergamot for health. Bergamot is now available in capsules that concentrate the active polyphenols found in the whole fruit.


    Does bergamot actually work?

      The science says yes and the experiences and feedback from consumers who regularly take bergamot supplements supports this too. In a recent trial of 77 patients with high cholesterol, subjects were treated with either a statin medication alone or a combination of statin and bergamot. The combination therapy produced the lowest LDL cholesterol and the highest HDL cholesterol.

      This trial also showed the measures of damage to blood vessels by oxidation were the lowest when bergamot was added. Further studies have demonstrated the beneficial effects of bergamot on blood sugar levels and body weight were demonstrated.


      What about metabolic syndrome?

        Metabolic syndrome is a combination of increased abdominal fat and waistline, hypertension, abnormal cholesterol lipid values with low HDL and high triglycerides and elevated blood sugar.

        An estimated 20–25% of the world’s adult population is thought to have this condition and maybe as many as one third of adults in the United Kingdom suffer from it. Bergamot has proven to be particularly useful in assisting the reversal of this syndrome, which raises the risk of future events like heart attack and stroke.

        A particularly challenging condition seen more and more commonly is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), also known as NASH. NASH results from an inactive lifestyle along with a diet that is high in processed foods, oils and fats which over time, overloads liver cells with fat droplets. It is also associated with insulin resistance, pre-diabetes and adult Type 2 diabetes as the insulin resistance builds. While the foundation of the treatment of NASH is activity, weight loss, plant-based diets with low or absent of added oils, bergamot shows promise here too. In a study of humans with metabolic syndrome and NAFLD, significant responses to bergamot were recorded.


        What can Bergatone do for you?

          When combined with lifestyle efforts focusing on diet, exercise, sleep and stress, the bergamot fruit from southern Italy could provide significant cardiovascular benefits.

          Our new formulation of Bergatone sees a move from tablets to capsules that contain pure Bergatone fruit extract in a tapioca capsule shell, nothing else.

          We recommend this supplement is taken for at least 3-4 months at a dose of one capsule three times daily. This should be consumed 20-30 minutes before the three main meals and in doing so will:

          • Help unhealthy fats pass safely through the gut
          • Restore and improve cardiovascular health
          • Help restore normal cholesterol balance
          How to Improve Men's Health

          How to Improve Men's Health

          Men's Health
          Bergamot - Small, Simple, Strong

          Bergamot - Small, Simple, Strong

          Bergamot - Small, Simple, Strong
          Nutraceuticals & Your Diet

          Nutraceuticals & Your Diet

          Nutraceuticals & Your Diet