Preventing Heartache: Sugar Intake And Your Cardiovascular Health

Preventing Heartache: Sugar Intake And Your Cardiovascular Health

Many of us often find it difficult to resist the sweetness of sugar. However, it is no secret that sugar has a bad reputation when it comes to our health. While its immediate gratification is undeniable, the long-term effects of regular high sugar consumption are concerning, especially when considering our health.

Consuming too much sugar increases our risk of tooth decay, weight gain and diabetes. However, sugar is often overlooked when it comes to our heart health. It not only increases the risk of premature heart disease, heart attacks and stroke but can also reduce life expectancy.

Research consistently shows a direct correlation between excessive sugar intake and key risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol levels.

Understanding what sugar does to our bodies can help us make better choices that lead to longer, healthier lives.

Understanding Sugar

Before recognising the effects of sugar on the heart, it is essential to understand what sugar is. Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that the body uses for energy.

There are two primary types of sugar: naturally occurring sugars found in fruits, vegetables, and dairy and added sugars. Added sugars are introduced to foods during processing, cooking, or at the table.

Consuming whole foods that contain natural sugar is okay. Fruits and vegetables also have high amounts of fibre, essential minerals and antioxidants. Since our bodies digest these foods slowly, the sugar in them offers a steady supply of energy to our body.

What Are Free Sugars?

Free sugars refer to all sugars that are added to foods and drink, as well as sugars naturally present in honey, syrups and fruit juices. This term does not include sugars found naturally in fruits, vegetables and milk because these foods do not have the same negative health effects as foods and drinks with added sugars.

The NHS and other health organisations recommend limiting the intake of free sugars to reduce the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, tooth decay, and other health issues. The NHS recommends that free sugars contribute to no more than 5% of the energy (calories) you get from food and drink each day. This is equivalent to 30g of free sugars each day (7 teaspoons).

The consumption of added sugars has been rising globally, paralleling an increase in heart disease rates. Figures show that the average adult in the UK is consuming twice the recommended amount of free sugars daily. Most of which comes from soft drinks, jam and chocolate spread, biscuits, pastries and cakes.

While sugar itself is not inherently bad, excessive intake can lead to various health issues, including heart disease.

Weight

We all know that excessive sugar intake can lead to weight gain and obesity. Obesity is a significant risk factor for heart disease.

Everyone needs some body fat to stay healthy. But too much, particularly around the waist, puts your health at risk. Visceral fat is the type of fat that sits around the organs such as our liver and heart and it is associated with increased blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. All of these conditions strain the heart and can lead to cardiovascular complications.

Weight gain and obesity can be influenced by:

  • Medical conditions 
  • Medication
  • Genetic make-up
  • Stress 
  • Lack of sleep
  • Diet

Insulin Resistance

Insulin is the hormone that controls your blood sugar. Consuming large amounts of sugar can lead to insulin resistance, a condition where the body's cells become less responsive to insulin. This causes the liver to store more fat and can lead to the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes can cause elevated blood sugar levels as glucose accumulates in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy. Type 2 diabetes is a major risk factor for heart disease, as it accelerates the development of the condition, atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis is where your arteries become narrowed due to a build-up of plaque, making it difficult for blood to flow through them and increasing the risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks and stroke.

Inflammation 

High sugar intake can trigger inflammation in the body. Inflammation is another key player in the development of atherosclerosis.

Cholesterol

Cholesterol

Lipids are fat-like substances found in our blood and body tissues. Our body needs small amounts of lipids to work normally. Cholesterol is the main lipid found in our bodies and it is made up of different parts such as:

  • LDL (bad) cholesterol, is the main lipid that causes damaging build-up and blockage in our arteries. 
  • HDL (good) cholesterol helps to remove the extra LDL cholesterol and prevent cholesterol from building up in your arteries.
  • Triglyceride is another lipid that may increase your risk for heart disease.

Consuming too much sugar can lead to increased levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides while decreasing HDL levels. This lipid profile is associated with an elevated risk of heart disease.

Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)

Sugar is broken down by the liver, where it is converted into fat through a process called lipogenesis. Excess dietary sugar can lead to an accumulation of fat in the liver cells, contributing to the development of NAFLD.

Causes Of High Blood Pressure

Although salt intake is more commonly associated with high blood pressure, chronic high sugar levels can also contribute to raised blood pressure. High sugar intake can lead to weight gain and inflammation, both of which can increase blood pressure.

Do You Know What Health Targets You Should Be Aiming For?

Cardiovascular system

 

We often judge our health based on our weight and the numbers we see on a scale.

However, the journey to a healthier heart (and body) starts by reviewing our body composition and understanding how excessive sugar consumption can affect us on the inside and not only focus on how we look and feel on the outside.

Know your numbers

What Is Body Mass Index?

The body mass index is a measure that uses your height and weight to calculate if your weight is healthy.

Cholesterol

LDL cholesterol used to be the main measure of harmful types of cholesterol, but we now know that other forms of non-HDL cholesterol is also bad for our health, and this is what the healthcare professionals test for.

 

The more one's energy comes from sugar, the higher the risk of cardiovascular disease.* 

* Associations between carbohydrates and cardiovascular disease risk, Kelly et al, 2023


A study reviewed the eating habits of over 110,000 people in the UK whose health outcomes were then tracked over nine years.
 
The results showed that every 5% increase in a person's total energy intake that comes from free sugars was associated with a 6% higher risk of heart disease and a 10% higher risk of stroke.   

 

Heart and circulatory diseases cause a quarter of all deaths in the uk.*

Preventing High Sugar Levels: A Healthy (Heart) Choice

As highlighted above, the effects of high sugar levels can trigger high blood pressure, cholesterol, inflammation, weight gain, diabetes, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. All of these factors can contribute to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

The relationship between sugar and heart health is complex, but the evidence is clear: excessive sugar intake poses a significant risk to heart health. So, what can you do to reduce your risk factors?

Food Labels

Read Food Labels

Look for added sugars under names like sucrose, fructose, dextrose, and maltose. Choose products with little to no added sugars.

 

Limit Sugary Drinks

Sugary drinks, including soft drinks, juices, and sweetened teas, are major sources of added sugars. Opt for water, unsweetened teas, or sparkling water as healthier alternatives.

Choose Natures Sweet Treats

When you need a sweet fix, select natural sources like fruits. Fruits not only provide natural sugars but also come packed with fibre, vitamins, and minerals.

 Natures Sweets Fruit

Cook At Home

Cooking at home allows you to control the amount and type of sugar in your meals. Experiment with reducing the sugar in recipes and using spices like cinnamon and vanilla to add sweetness.

Metabolic Gold

Metabolic Gold is our natural supplement formulated by expert pharmacists using high-strength bergamot fruit extract and artichoke leaf extract. These two botanical ingredients work harmoniously together to improve sugar control, balance cholesterol, support weight management and optimise liver health.

Both of these ingredients are rich in naturally occurring polyphenols that have been proven to change the way our bodies process, bind and store fats. We have also incorporated organic baobab (a natural prebiotic) to help promote gut health.

Taking one capsule twice a day with food will help to reduce your cardiovascular risk factors and support your metabolic health.

Shop Metabolic Gold Now

 

Call Our Pharmacist If You Have Concerns

If you have any concerns about your cardiovascular health or your health risks in general, please call our pharmacists for free advice. (+44) 01483 685 630

Dimple Varu

Dimple Varu

Dimple is a pharmacist with 12 years of experience working in retail and general practice and now specialises in providing education and advice on natural supplements.

She believes in the power of nature and using natural existing compounds to enhance our health, whether that’s treating pain or helping to prevent long term conditions. Mum of 1, living a busy life, loves reading and baking if she has the time.

 

Effects of sugar on the brain

The Bittersweet Truth – The Effects Of Sugar On The Brain

In this blog our pharmacist Dimple delves into the relationship between sugar consumption and its effects on the brain. Dimple aims to unravel the connection between excessive sugar intake and its impact on brain inflammation and the heightened risk of Alzheimer's disease.  In a world where sweet indulgences are abundant, understanding the potential consequences on cognitive health becomes imperative.

 

What Is Alzheimers Disease?

In our lifetime, one in two of us will be affected by dementia whether this is through caring for someone with the condition, developing it ourselves, or both. The NHS defines Alzheimer's disease a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that primarily affects older adults, typically becoming noticeable after the age of 65. The symptoms of Alzheimer's disease worsen over time and can be divided into early, middle, and late stages.

(NHS Alzheimers Disease Symptoms)

Although there is currently no cure for Alzheimer's, evidence points to a link between high sugar intake and Alzheimer’s risk. (Alzheimers Research UK 2023)

Dementia is not a specific disease but is a general term used to describe a group of symptoms that affect the ability to think, remember, and perform everyday tasks. Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia.

Alzheimers Disease Symptoms

Alzheimer's disease unfolds in distinct stages, each marked by varying symptoms that progressively intensify, posing challenges for both individuals with the condition and their caregivers.

In the early stages, subtle memory lapses manifest as forgetfulness about recent conversations, misplacement of items, and difficulty recalling names and objects.
Concurrently, signs of mood changes, anxiety, and repetitive questioning may emerge. As the disease advances into the middle stage, memory deterioration becomes more pronounced, leading to difficulty recognizing familiar faces and an escalation of confusion and disorientation.

Additional symptoms include impulsive behavior, delusions, speech and language problems, disturbed sleep, and changes in mood. Individuals often require support for daily activities as cognitive decline accelerates. In the later stages, full-time care becomes a necessity.
Alzheimers and dementia

Deaths registered in England and Wales -ONS UK

What Is Type 3 Diabetes?

Evidence shows that poorly controlled blood sugar can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. This relationship is so strong that Alzheimer’s disease is often referred to as diabetes of the brain or Type 3 diabetes.

Insulin Resistance

Insulin is vital for glucose regulation and plays a crucial role in maintaining cognitive function. However, when the brain becomes resistant to insulin, it struggles to utilise glucose effectively, potentially contributing to the development and progression of Alzheimer's disease.

Does sugar cause inflammation?

Excessive sugar intake has been implicated in chronic inflammation throughout the body, and the brain is no exception. Neuroinflammation, triggered by the body’s response to poorly controlled sugar levels, is now recognised as a potential contributor to Alzheimer's disease. The inflammatory response in the brain can lead to the formation of beta-amyloid plaques, a hallmark of Alzheimer's.

Excessive Sugar

Symptoms of too much sugar in your body

It's important to note that the body reacts differently to sugar depending on individual health, metabolism, and the amount and type of sugar consumed. Here are some common symptoms associated with excessive sugar intake:

  • Weight gain: high sugar intake, especially from sugary drinks, can contribute to weight gain due to its high calorie content and its ability to increase hunger and craving for more sugary foods.
  • Low energy: consuming a lot of sugar can cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, followed by sharp drops, which can lead to feelings of fatigue, irritability, and hunger.
  • Dental problems: sugar is a leading cause of dental cavities and gum disease as sugar feeds the harmful bacteria in the mouth.
  • Mood changes: excessive sugar consumption can lead to mood swings, irritability, and may even contribute to symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • Skin issues: high sugar diets can exacerbate skin conditions such as acne and can contribute to premature aging of the skin.
  • Fatty liver disease: excessive intake of fructose, a type of sugar, can lead to a build-up of fat in the liver, which can progress to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
  • Impact on Sleep: High sugar consumption, especially close to bedtime, can interfere with your ability to have a restful night's sleep.

The Scientific Evidence

A 2021 study involving 1865 adults over 19 years found a higher risk of Alzheimer's, all types of dementia, and stroke in people who consumed the most sugar, especially in the form of drinks.

A study with 37,689 people found a link between high sugar intake and increased Alzheimer’s risk among women.

A review undertaken in 2022 found that people with type 2 diabetes are up to 90% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia.

A 2022 study with 4,932 people found that the link between Alzheimer’s, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol can begin as early as age 35. Researchers followed the participants over decades. They found that managing cholesterol and blood sugar levels early may help lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s later. 

Metabolic Gold

Metabolic Gold is our natural supplement formulated using pure artichoke leaf extract and bergamot fruit extract. These two botanicals contain bioactive compounds that provides effective support to help control sugar levels and therfore reduce your risk of dementia.

Metabolic Gold will help to improve sugar metabolism, reduce insulin resistance and restore normal cholesterol balance and weight management.

Metabolic Gold

How does Metabolic Gold work?

Metabolic Gold will help to regulate the enzyme, alpha-glucosidase, which is involved in the breakdown of complex carbohydrates into simpler sugars. By inhibiting this enzyme, you can slow down the absorption of glucose from the digestive tract, leading to more stable blood sugar levels.

The cholesterol-lowering effects are achieved through stimulating bile flow which in turn helps to break down, bind and excrete excess cholesterol from the body.

Here at The Naked Pharmacy we ensure all of our supplements are formulated using scientific evidence to ensure that they are safe and effective. Here is some trial data to support the use of Metabolic Gold to help manage your sugar levels and reduce the risk of dementia.

A study undertaken in 2019 involving 60 participants found that supplementation with bergamot fruit extract resulted in a significant reduction in sugar levels, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.


Another study found that supplementing with artichoke leaf extract for 60 days improved sugar control, insulin sensitivity, and reduced LDL cholesterol and weight circumference.

Protecting the Brain

It’s never too late to make the lifestyle changes needed to protect your health. Here are a few things you can do to reduce your risk by managing your sugar levels.

Balanced Nutrition

Healthy diet

Opt for a diet rich in whole foods, emphasising fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Minimise processed foods and refined sugars. Be wary about hidden sugars in processed foods, drinks, and snacks. Read labels and choose low-sugar alternatives when possible.

Foods with Anti Inflammatory properties

Eat foods with anti-inflammatory properties such as beans, avocados, green leafy vegetables, berries, fish and incorporate spices such as turmeric and ginger into your cooking.

What are Inflammatory Foods?

Avoid foods that can cause inflammation such as processed meat, red meat (steak, hamburgers), bread and pasta made with white flour, baked goods (cakes, cookies) and bad sugars.

Our Natruflex Turmeric capsules contain high-strength turmeric containing 95% curcuminoids (the compounds responsible for the anti-inflammatory effects) alongside black pepper extract to increase absorption of the turmeric and we’ve also added in Marine Magnesium.

Regular Exercise

Physical activity not only helps regulate blood sugar levels but also promotes overall brain health by enhancing blood flow and reducing inflammation.

Regular Exercise

Cognitive Stimulation

Mental stimulation is vital for maintaining cognitive function. Engage in activities that stimulate the brain, such as puzzles, reading, and learning new skills.

Call our pharmacist if you have concerns

If you have any concerns about sugar or cholesterol or your health risks in general, please call our pharmacists for free advice. (+44) 01483 685 630

Dimple Varu

Dimple Varu

Dimple is a pharmacist with 12 years of experience working in retail and general practice and now specialises in providing education and advice on natural supplements.

She believes in the power of nature and using natural existing compounds to enhance our health, whether that’s treating pain or helping to prevent long term conditions. Mum of 1, living a busy life, loves reading and baking if she has the time.

 

Shop Metabolic Gold Now

Metabolic Gold
Natural Ways to Reduce a Hangover and Headaches

Natural Ways to Reduce a Hangover and Headaches

We are all guilty of over indulging at certain times of year, over eating, drinking too much or consuming too much sugar.

However, as you get older you may find that it is taking longer to bounce back and you may become intolerant to certain types of foods and alcohol.

If you suffer from headaches and migraines you may be reaching for painkillers such as Ibuprofen which, although an effective anti-inflammatory, has long term side effects including increasing cardiovascular risks and damaging the protective lining of the gut. Ibuprofen is only effective for up to 6 hours, so you may need to take repeated doses!

Did you know that Turmeric with the correct range and strength of 7 curcuminoids, has multiple anti-inflammatory benefits, works just as well as Ibuprofen or aspirin and actually improves gut health.

Scientific research (ref see below) has demonstrated that curcuminoinds, the active compounds in turmeric, are effective at removing both the cause and symptoms of a hangover.

Curcuminoids are potent antioxidants. Alcohol consumption can cause oxidative stress that damages your cells, so an effective antioxidant is vital before, during and after a heavy night.

So the perfect natural solution for hangovers should be taken before you go out and again when you wake up:

Natruflex Turmeric: We recommend that you take Natruflex Turmeric 1-2 capsules BEFORE you go out and when required during the next day. 

Gut Love: Containing, 21 probiotics and 2 organic prebiotics. take 1 capsule daily to settle the digestion and improve the excretion of toxins for a minimum of 14 days.

Marine Magnesium: Take 1 capsule at night to restore healthy nerve and muscle function for a minimum of 7 days.

Vitamin D3: Take 2 capsule daily for at least 30 days

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 reduce 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 with or after food.

 

PUBLISHED RESEARCH:

Dinkova-Kostova A. Relation of structure of curcumin analogs to their potencies as inducers of Phase 2 detoxification enzymes. Carcinogenesis. 1999;20(5):911-914.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35070194/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35668500/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30395947/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36370961/

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 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)

Conquer Menopause, The Naked Way

Conquer Menopause, The Naked Way

Manage Menopause Naturally
How to enjoy great sleep, naturally

How to enjoy great sleep, naturally

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.


Diet

    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.


    Smoking

      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.


      Lifestyle

        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.


        Physical Health

          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.


          Environment

            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?

             
            Saffrosun is great for mood balance and helps regulate the 'stress hormone', Cortisol and stimulates the 'happy hormone', Serotonin.
             
            We have 3 Saffrosun Products, two adult versions Saffrosun Calm and Saffrosun Energy alongside Saffrosun for Children, formulated for 6-14 year olds.
            All three products contain clinically proven saffron, food-sourced Vitamin D3 and the organic prebiotic baobab. Saffrosun Energy has added organic marine algae with iodine to boost the metabolism. Saffrosun Calm on the other hand contains food-sourced vitamin B12 to settle the overactive nervous system.
             
            Saffrosun is effective for low mood, hormonal imbalances, nervousness and sleep disturbances and can be safely taken alongside conventional medication.  We support an integrated approach to health.
             
            If you have any questions then please call and chat to our Pharmacists who can help you make the decision that is right for you.

             

            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.

               

            Marine Magnesium

            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.


            Final thoughts


            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.

            Immune Hero & Immune Hero for Children

            Immune Hero & Immune Hero for Children

            There's a new hero in town..
             
            IMMUNE HERO
            &
            IMMUNE HERO FOR CHILDREN
             

            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.  

            Our bodies will absorb what it needs and will excrete the excess micronutrients. It is always a good idea to ensure you choose clean, natural supplements to ensure there is no build-up of the impurities found in synthetic supplements that are not excreted by our bodies as easily. 
             
            AMLA FRUIT
             

            A natural source of vitamin C

             
            Amla fruit extract (Emblica officinalis), also known as Indian gooseberry extract, is derived from the fruit of the Indian Amla tree. As well as being one of the richest sources of Vitamin C, Amla has been used in traditional medicine for centuries and it is known for its numerous health benefits due to the presence of powerful bioactive compounds. 
             
             
            THE POWERFUL BENEFITS OF AMLA FRUIT EXTRACT
             
            Immunity
            Vitamin C enhances the production and function of white blood cells, which are essential for fighting off infections and illnesses. A robust immune system can help your body ward off common colds, flu, and other infections.
             
            Immune Hero has been formulated with natural ingredients that are proven to help reduce the length of a cold!
             
            Antioxidant
            Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that helps to reduce oxidative stress, which is associated with chronic diseases and the ageing process.
             
            Collagen

            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.

            Wound Healing
            Vitamin C supports the body's natural wound-healing processes by aiding in the formation of new blood vessels and collagen production.
             
            Iron Absorption
            Vitamin C will enhance your body’s ability to absorb iron targeting tiredness and fatigue.

             

            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!

            SYNERGY

            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.

            CHOOSE NAKED

            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!

            We all know about junk food, but what about junk supplements?

            We all know about junk food, but what about junk supplements?

            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.

            So Choose Naked safe in the knowledge that we have formulated a supplement that is the best in its class.

            Metabolic Gold for Liver Health

            Metabolic Gold for Liver Health

            "It's estimated that up to 1 in every 3 people in the UK has early stages of Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease"

            SOURCE: NHSINFORM

             

            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
            • Weakness

            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:

            1. 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

            1. 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.
            1. 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. 
            1. 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.
            If you have any questions about how our products can help improve your health please call our Pharmacists on 01483 685 630 or email pharmacist@thenakedpharmacy.com.
             
            Metabolic Gold for Insulin Resistance

            Metabolic Gold for Insulin Resistance

            Insulin resistance causes fat storage

            How your body regulates blood sugar is one of the most important processes that affects general health and wellbeing. 
             
            When our diet is carbohydrate heavy (and to a lesser extent protein) it causes a rise in blood sugar levels and triggers a corresponding increase in insulin production.

            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.
             
            If you also lead a mainly sedentary lifestyle, your insulin levels will remain high. Long term high insulin levels will eventually cause your body to become insulin resistant….ie. your body loses its sensitivity to insulin.
             
            As we get older our metabolism naturally slows down which will change how we process foods and also how our body reacts to excercise, many of us experience weight gain, brain fog and resistance to excercise - a viscious and frustrating cycle. Therefore our body may need metabolic booster.

            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 has taken over 2 years to formulate in line with current groundbreaking research.
             
            It can improve sugar metabolism and reduce insulin resistance as key polyphenols in the bergamot and artichoke extracts work synergistically to improve sugar processing in the liver and pancreas. 
             
            These bioactives are scientifically proven to improve sugar control, balance cholesterol and optimise liver function.

            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.
             
            Metabolic Gold

            Metabolic Gold

            Sugar, Cholesterol, Weight & Liver Health

             

            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

            Symptoms

            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

             

             

             

            Metabolic Gold - Metabolism Booster

            Metabolic Gold for Managing Weight and Sugar Naturally


            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

            Each bottle contains over 250 bergamots which bind to unhealthy dietary fats and prevent them from accumulating in the body, particularly inside and around the liver (a condition called fatty liver which increases cardiovascular risks)

            Bergamot polyphenols improve the way fats are processed in the liver thereby balancing cholesterol and protecting cardiovascular health.

            Artichoke leaf extract


            Artichoke leaf is one of the world's oldest natural remedies to improve digestion and blood sugar balance.

            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.
             
            At pharmaceutical strength, the bioactives in Artichoke inhibit alpha-glucosidase which in turn reduces sugar levels and insulin resistance.  

            How do you take Metabolic Gold? 

            Each capsule contains 500mg bergamot and 100mg artichoke leaf extract, in a tapioca capsule.
             
            Take ONE capsule twice a day, ideally with your largest daily meals.

            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?

            Metabolic Gold has no harsh side effects and does not block co Q10 production.
             
            Statins can block coenzyme Q10 – a nutrient that’s needed for our cells to make energy.
             
            If you have taken statins, you may be familiar with their side effects such as fatigue and muscle weakness…..that’s because they can block healthy bile flow which is needed by your liver to digest fats and fat soluble vitamins A, D and E.

            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.
            A
            Kevin Leivers
            A
            "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, and fatty liver alongside problems of sugar and cholesterol balance."

            Kevin Leivers,
            Founder of The Naked Pharmacy
            Chief Pharmacist and Formulator