Methylsulfonylmethane, more commonly known as MSM, is a popular dietary supplementused to treat a wide array of symptoms and conditions.
It’s a sulfur-containing compound found naturally in plants, animals, and humans. It can also be produced in a lab to create dietary supplements in powder or capsule form. MSM is widely used in the alternative medicine field and by people looking for a natural way to relieve joint pain, reduce inflammation and boost immunity. In addition, research supports its use in treating several conditions, amongst which joint pain and symptoms of arthritis.
Can Decrease Joint Pain
One of the most popular uses of MSM is to decrease joint or muscle pain. It has been shown to benefit those with joint degeneration, a common cause of pain in the knees, back, hands and hips. Studies have shown that MSM significantly reduces inflammation in your body. It also inhibits the breakdown of cartilage, a flexible tissue that protects the ends of your bones in joints (1).
A study with 100 people over the age of 50 found that treatment with a supplement containing 1,200 mg of MSM for 12 weeks decreased pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints, compared to a placebo (2). The group receiving the supplement also reported improved overall quality of life and less difficulty walking and gettingout of bed (2).
Another study of 32 people with lower back pain found that taking a glucosamine supplement containingMSM significantly reduced lumbar stiffness and pain upon movement, plus greatly increased quality of life (3).
SUMMARY – Studies have shown that MSM is effective in reducing joint pain, stiffness and swelling. In doing so, it can improve your quality of life.
Helps Alleviate Arthritis Symptoms by Reducing Pain and Stiffness
Arthritis is a common inflammatory condition that causes pain, stiffness, and a reduced range of motion inyour joints. Since MSM has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, it’s often used as a natural alternative to medications to improve arthritis-related symptoms.
A study in 49 people with knee osteoarthritis found that taking 3.4 grams of MSM per day for 12 weeks reduced pain and stiffness and improved physical function, compared to a placebo (4).
Additionally, it can enhance the effectiveness of other common supplements used to treat arthritis such as glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate and boswellic acid*. One study found that combining MSM with glucosamine and chondroitin was more effective at decreasing pain and stiffness in people with knee osteoarthritis than glucosamine and chondroitin alone (5).
Another study showed that a daily supplement containing 5 grams of MSM and 7 grams of boswellic acid was more effective than glucosamine at reducing pain and improving function in people with kneeosteoarthritis (6). What’s more, the people who received the MSM and boswellic acid supplement were less dependent on anti-inflammatory medications than the glucosamine group (6).
SUMMARY – MSM supplements have been shown to help reduce pain and stiffness in people with arthritis. They may also help improve physical function.
The use of MSM is very safe. MSM is one of the least toxic substances known. Subjects who took 1 gram ofMSM per kilogram of body weight daily for one month experienced no negative side effects. Slight detoxification symptoms may (temporarily) occur when taking MSM, such as loose stools, skin rashes, mildheadaches, and fatigue. If necessary, the dose can then be slightly reduced.
Build up the dose gradually over 2 to 3 weeks (the dose can be increased every 2 days). Take the dose dividedover the day with meals (or on an empty stomach). The maximum dose also depends on intestinal tolerance and (severity of) the condition. Under the supervision of a professional, the dose can be increased if necessary.
LIPOCELLTECH™ – latest generation of liposomal technology
Liposomes have long been used as an effective pharmaceutical delivery method. More recently the liposome delivery method is becoming more common in natural health. The active ingredients are enveloped in a bubble of phospholipids which are fat molecules that make up the main part of the cell wall. This protects the active ingredients and allows them to better survive the digestive process and enter the intestines. Here the liposome fuses with the cell walls and the active ingredients are released and enter the blood stream. The phospholipids of the liposomes are then used in the body as they are identical to the cell membrane phospholipids.
Our supplements are powdered liposomal products from Vitamunda and use LipoCellTech technology. Advantages:
Only pure ingredients. No fillers, preservatives, or other non-active ingredients
Powder has a neutral flavor
Long shelf life. Powder in capsules has a shelf life of up to 2 years from the date of production, without losing its efficacy
Natural production method without use of heat, pressure, or chemicals
Guaranteed high-quality liposomal products
1) Ezaki J, Hashimoto M, Hosokawa Y, Ishimi Y. Assessment of safety and efficacy of methylsulfonylmethane on bone and kneejoints in osteoarthritis animal model. J Bone Miner Metab. 2013 Jan;31(1):16-25. doi: 10.1007/s00774-012-0378-9. Epub 2012 Aug 10. PMID: 23011466.
2) Xu G, Zhou T, Gu Y, et al. Evaluation of the Effect of Mega MSM on Improving Joint Function in Populations Experiencing Joint Degeneration. Int J Biomed Sci. 2015;11(2):54-60.
3) Tant L, Gillard B, Appelboom T. Open-label, randomized, controlled pilot study of the effects of a glucosamine complex on Low back pain. Curr Ther Res Clin Exp. 2005;66(6):511-521. doi:10.1016/j.curtheres.2005.12.009
4) Debbi EM, Agar G, Fichman G, Ziv YB, Kardosh R, Halperin N, Elbaz A, Beer Y, Debi R. Efficacy of methylsulfonylmethane supplementation on osteoarthritis of the knee: a randomized controlled study. BMC ComplementAltern Med. 2011 Jun 27;11:50. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-11-50. PMID: 21708034; PMCID: PMC3141601.
5) Lubis AMT, Siagian C, Wonggokusuma E, Marsetyo AF, Setyohadi B. Comparison of Glucosamine-ChondroitinSulfate with and without Methylsulfonylmethane in Grade I-II Knee Osteoarthritis: A Double Blind Randomized Controlled Trial. Acta Med Indones. 2017 Apr;49(2):105-111. PMID: 28790224.
6) Notarnicola A, Maccagnano G, Moretti L, Pesce V, Tafuri S, Fiore A, Moretti B. Methylsulfonylmethane and boswellic acidsversus glucosamine sulfate in the treatment of knee arthritis: Randomized trial. Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2016 Mar;29(1):140-6. doi: 10.1177/0394632015622215. Epub 2015 Dec 18. PMID: 26684635; PMCID: PMC5806735.
We all heard that fibre and probiotics intake plays a fundamental role in restoring gut health, but what more can we do?
We can make many small and simple changes to naturally improve gut function without drugs that thin the gut lining and only temporarily mask the root cause. We all need a road map that we can act upon to achieve meaningful changes. While this is not a personalised plan, it is a great starting point to optimal gut health.
The Art of Eating:
The way we choose to eat is somewhat reflexive. We don’t think about that; we just do it. We assume that our bodies have it easy in breaking down food. We couldn’t be further from the truth.
Chewing food properly is one of the simplest changes you can incorporate into your daily life. Why chewing is so important? Firstly, it kick starts digestive enzymes production and secondly, it ensures larger particles are broken down into smaller pieces. These aspects are essential to ensure we reduce stress on the oesophagus and the stomach. Bloating, flatulence, diarrhoea, constipation, and food intolerances are widespread culprits when larger food particles reach the digestive organs.
Being in a relaxed environment and with a relaxed mindset is more important than you think! Grabbing food on the go and answering emails and messages are the most common habits that are not serving our digestive health. The opposite of Fight or Flight is Rest and Digest. The parasympathetic system decreases our heart rate, alertness, and muscle tone during this response. Digestion is stimulated.
We want to have a good amount of hydrochloric acid, pancreatic juices, and bile. The lack of digestive juices results in undigested food, and we not only become vitamin and mineral deficient and invite a host of more serious health conditions. Chewing food while in a Rest and Digest mode is the first step. Consuming ginger, apple cider vinegar, bitter green leafy veggies and, in some cases, foods high in histamine is sufficient. Some people require more help, and we may need to use supplements such as betaine HCL with pepsin, zinc, and B complex.
The idea here is that we should not mix foods that challenge each other. This eases the digestion process as well as ensures more varied food options.
- Starchy foods such as bread and potatoes are not to be combined with heavy proteins such as meat and cheese. Why? Protein is mainly digested in the stomach, while starchy carbs are absorbed in the small intestine. Protein digestion takes much longer than starchy carbs, which means fermentation kicks in, resulting in gas and indigestion.
- Avoid mixing proteins and fats together. Fat inhibits digestive juices needed to break down protein and digested in the small intestine. Fried foods such as bacon and eggs are very poor food combinations.
- Avoid carbohydrates with acid fruits in the same meal. A tomato sandwich is a perfect example. Bread is broken down in the mouth in an alkaline environment. Brining in an acidic food reduces the effect of the enzyme.
Pairing the right foods together is one of the most beneficial ways to improve small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
Remove Toxins and Pathogens
Unwanted invaders come in many forms. The body produces toxins internally (endogenous) as part of the daily biochemical processes, and also we ingest them. External toxins (exogenous) are alcohol, tobacco, recreational drugs, medicines, additives, preservatives, etc.
Pathogens very often get into our bodies through drinking and eating. However, sometimes we are not aware of it, as we do not present with symptoms. Therefore, it is good to test to have an accurate landscape on which pathogen or pathogens cause the issues. Then, the protocol is formulated depending on the type of pathogen (bacteria, fungi, parasite, virus).
The human body is primarily made up of water. We cannot survive without water for longer than five days. When we are young, intracellular fluid (inside the cell) is much higher than extracellular fluid (outside the cell). As we age, this ratio shifts and our cell’s ability to absorb water decreases and can be dehydrated. Discussing the functions and role of water in the human body is outside the scope of this article.
- Coffee, tea and alcohol are all diuretics. Always drink 1-2 glasses of water when you consume these drinks.
- Fruits and vegetables generally have high water content. For example, tomatoes and lettuce are 95% water, while melons, oranges, broccoli, and carrots are 90% water. So go wild with consuming the rainbow!
- The purity of the water is paramount. If your budget does not support installing a water filtration system in your home, go for a simple Brita Jug and add charcoal sticks to it to get double filtration.
Constipation increases the risk of faecal toxins passing into the bloodstream and recirculating. Additionally, it changes the gut microbiome composition. Methane producing bacteria is more prevalent, which further slows transit time. There are some simple changes to improve bowel function:
- Increase fibre and water consumption. Bulking up and softening the stool are both widespread solutions to address constipation.
- Moderate cardio exercise stimulates the bowels. Constipation loves a sedentary lifestyle.
- Supplement with magnesium (600-800mg daily). Magnesium stimulates muscle movement.
The human body uses up about 50% of its energy for digestion. Regular fasting resets the body by redirecting that energy to other biochemical processes. Therefore, when we are unwell with no appetite, we must listen to our bodies and refrain from eating. A licensed alternative practitioner should supervise longer fasts (over 48 hours). All toxins are mobilised into the bloodstream from fat tissue during a fast, which is unpredictable. I invite you to watch our webinar on belly fat and fasting to learn how and when to do fasting safely. Our previous blog post Gut Microbiome and human health is also very informative and useful to read.
There are a lot of misconceptions and uninformed views behind some of the most popular trends and diets. However, the above recommendations are safe, simple, and effective. Put them in practice today!
Author: Anita Andor
Women’s Health Specialist
mBANT Nutritional Therapist
Do I really need to feel like this? Should I test or not? What should I do to feel good again? How hormonal imbalance impacts women? If you struggle with hormonal imbalance symptoms, you may well ask these questions and many more, day in and day out.
Women are taught that it is normal to experience pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) or Pre-menstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) to painful levels. I don’t share this view. None of us should have bitter experiences of PMS, period, or menopause. The pain usually indicates underlying issues that need looking into. Did you know that there are over 150 symptoms were identified as part of our PMS package? The most common ones are bloating, mood changes, headaches, food cravings, fluid retention, and fatigue. I want you to know you can have control over your symptoms.
Understanding the female cycle, the hormonal pathways, and how the different body systems are affected are key learning points to achieve hormonal balance. Furthermore, what is normal for one woman may not be normal for another. Two women may present with the same symptoms, yet different hormones are out of balance.
I can honestly say I love being on my period. I am happy, energised, and feeling a good release with it! It took me a while to get to this stage, but it was worth the journey.
Care to join me to master the works of hormones and understand how hormonal imbalance impact women? A resounding YES, I am hearing!
Hormones are chemical messengers transported in the blood, targeting cells to facilitate communication; as a result, the target cells are equipped with receptors. Hormonal signalling works using a lock (receptor) and key (hormone) system. This is important because hormones can only do their job where there are receptors. Light-bulb moment, yet? That’s why some parts of our bodies are safe and sound from hormonal chaos because it is a receptor free zone! Both the hormones and receptors need certain nutrients to work; hence, nutrient deficiencies are common causes of hormonal imbalance.
Hormones need regulation which is done via feedback loops. This means the hormone controls its own production. Most hormones use negative feedback mechanisms to keep the levels within a narrow range, while during positive feedback, the hormone feeds back to increase its production. Check the examples out below:
Hormones are produced by glands receiving executive orders from the hypothalamus with the help of the pituitary gland. They exert either a stimulating or inhibiting effect.
Why Cholesterol is a big deal?
Cholesterol is the precursor to steroid hormone production, such as progesterone, testosterone, and estrogen. Therefore, too low or high cholesterol levels leads to hormonal deficiency or overload.
Here is a simplified version of the steroid hormone pathways with the corresponding enzymes.
Let’s unravel how hormonal imbalance impacts women, shall we?
Firstly, What can go wrong?
- under or overproduction of hormones
- production of faulty hormones
- poor circulation
- faulty feedback process
- insufficient breaking down and elimination
- faulty receptors
An increase in prostaglandins may cause food to pass through the digestive tract too quickly and increase the electrolyte secretions resulting in diarrhoea and nausea.
Stress and weak adrenals
I don’t need to tell you how bad things can get with chronic stress and why holistic practitioners care about adrenal support so much. Cortisol is highest at around 8am, then it gradually decreases, so we wind down. It is a stress hormone and goes up regardless of whether we are in real danger – such as running from a predator – or perceived stress, such as a job interview. Therefore, the body prefers to manufacture cortisol rather than sex hormones to protect our lives in many stressful situations. In functional medicine, call this “cortisol steal”. Sadly, cortisol resistance exists, and we must take it very seriously!
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and luteinising hormone (LH) insufficiency result in anovulatory cycles, while low progesterone levels may increase miscarriage risk. Conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis are often diagnosed as the main cause for infertility.
Depression, anxiety, and brain fog are well-known for those who struggle with thyroid dysregulation, adrenal weakness, and low progesterone levels. The endocrine system constantly talks to the nervous system to ensure homeostasis, a physiological equilibrium.
Most people only think about thyroid issues regarding weight management issues, and it can go both ways with thyroid. Let’s not forget leptin – a peptide hormone produced by fat cells – patrolling in the bloodstream and acting on the brain to regulate food intake and energy expenditure. That is not the end of it, though! Insulin, testosterone, Cortisol, Estrogen, and Ghrelin are also key players.
Having suffered from acne for over 10 years, I can proudly say I know a lot about getting that glow back on your face! Most women in my virtual clinic presented with acne due to increased dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is the bad form of testosterone.
Low libido is predominant mainly amongst women between 40-55. This is because sex hormones begin to drop around this time, approaching menopause. Estrogen looks after the vagina’s tissue health. While testosterone is much needed for arousal and interest. Excessive stress leads to progesterone converting to cortisol instead of testosterone.
All of the above can be balanced with the right food, lifestyle, and supplement interventions; addressing hormonal imbalance as soon as known is necessary. The longer it is left unattended, the harder it will be to achieve homeostasis. The human body is pre-programmed to self-regulate itself by an internal feedback system that balances and stabilises our hormones and other biochemical processes. Homeostasis is health.
We hope you have enjoyed this journey to understand how hormonal imbalance impacts women.
Author: Anita Andor, nutritional therapist
Magnesium fact sheet
By eating the right variety of foods, it is possible to meet your recommended daily intake for levels of magnesium. Magnesium is an important mineral, and we need a certain amount of magnesium to maintain healthy energy levels, relax muscles including the heart, regulate the nervous system which helps improve anxiety, elevate mood and improve sleep quality.
Causes of magnesium deficiency vary from lack of dietary intake, diabetes, poor absorption, chronic diarrhoea, celiac disease and hungry bone syndrome. People with alcoholism are also at an increased risk. Magnesium deficiency, or hypomagnesemia, is an overlooked health problem because deficiency is often underdiagnosed due to the obvious signs not appearing until levels become severely low.
The RDA amount of magnesium you need is 300mg a day for men (19 to 64 years) and 270mg a day for women (19 to 64 years). Source: NHS
Good sources of magnesium
Magnesium is found in a wide variety of foods; the richest sources are seeds and nuts, especially almonds and pumpkin seeds. Other relatively magnesium rich foods include spinach and other leafy green vegetables, wholemeal bread, whole grains, dark chocolate, popcorn, fortified breakfast cereals and other fortified foods, milk, yogurt and some other milk products.
Sea water is naturally rich in minerals, including magnesium, so vegetables that grow in or near the sea, such as kelp, contain generous amounts of this mighty mineral. Choose foods that are whole and unprocessed, minimise your intake of refined sugar, especially from refined foods, because it can lead to increased excretion of magnesium from the body, therefore quickly depleting the stores needed for optimal health.
Avoid alcohol because it can interfere with the body’s absorption of vitamin D and other essential nutrients, which in turn affects magnesium absorption. Fizzy drinks are associated with low magnesium levels, instead drink coconut water which is naturally rich in magnesium and other electrolytes to keep you well hydrated.
Boost your magnesium intake
How do I get magnesium in my body? You may need to supplement with extra magnesium in tablet or powder form if low magnesium levels, or feel you are not getting enough magnesium from foods. Choose Lipsomal Magnesium capsules because the powder form is purer and free from additives, fillers and chemical substances. Liposomal form supplements are absorbed up to 20x better than regular supplements, meaningyou can take lower doses, because the active ingredients aren’t destroyed in the stomach and arrive intact at the site of action.
Add magnesium flakes to your bath and moisturising routine; Magnesium Bath Flakes and Magnesium Bath Flakes Ultra are a good way to increase magnesium levels as the mineral is well absorbed into your body through your skin. Plus, the bath will send you off into a good sleep as it imitates the rise and fall of body temperature experienced during the night.
Use as a daily moisturiser with added health benefits and rich hydration such as Magnesium Skin Body Butter. It will help reduce the appearance of fine lines and leaves healthier-looking skin as well as relive aches, pains, headaches, migraines and relive stress too. If you suffer from skin conditions, try Good Health Naturally’s Ancient Magnesium Oil.
The German health care system pays for patients to travel to The Dead Sea, which is extremely high in magnesium salts, for psoriasis treatment.
Choose a high quality one-a-day Multivitamin Multimineral Capsule that contains forms of nutrients that the body can recognise and use efficiently. Obtaining vitamins and minerals from diet alone can be tricky with depleted soils and our bodies in ever-fluctuating state of stress and poor health, so a multivitamin is good to keep you fully balanced.
It is important to optimise gut health to ensure maximum benefits of digestion and nutrient absorption with a probiotic such has Prescript Biotics. Maintaining optimal levels of friendly bacteria can help to ensure magnesium gets absorbed and used efficiently within the body.
What are the symptoms of magnesium deficiency?
The symptoms of magnesium deficiency are usually subtle unless your levels become severely low. They include chronic and prolonged fatigue, poor sleep, poor recovery from exercise, anxiety and mood disorders, low immunity, muscle cramps, quivery tongue, mental health conditions, irregular heartbeat and osteoporosis. A lack of magnesium increases the risk of high blood pressure, celiac disease and heart disease.
If you are experiencing symptoms of magnesium deficiency, you should seek medical advice and request a blood test to confirm if you have a magnesium deficiency or any issues with your blood sugar. If you have a health condition that causes your body to lose magnesium, it is important to eat plenty of magnesium-rich foods or take magnesium supplements.
Whatever the outcome, try to regularly eat plenty of magnesium-rich whole foods, such as nuts, seeds, grains or beans, because all these foods are high in healthy nutrients, so including them in your diet not only lowers your risk of magnesium deficiency, but will also support your overall health.
Check out our full range of magnesium products which are all made with the highest grade, certified non-GMO ingredients of the purest quality and are vegan friendly: https://lemonwellmed.co.uk/health-products/product-category/magnesium/
People who do not get enough magnesium in their diets should consider taking supplements but note that taking high doses of magnesium (more than 400mg) for a short time can cause diarrhoea.
Be careful with tannins (tea), oxalates (raw spinach) and phytic acid (wholegrains) because these can bind with magnesium, making it unavailable to the body. We recommend that you herbal teas, cook spinach gently and look for organic, stone ground, sprouted or sour dough wholegrain breads for best results.
Lipoic acid fact sheet
Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is an organic compound made in the body that acts as a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants fight ‘free radicals’ which cause harmful chemical reactions that can damage organs, tissues and cells, making it harder for the body to fight off infections. It is found in every cell where it serves vital functions at the cellular level, such as energy production, because it helps turn glucose into energy.
How does lipoic acid work in the body? Alpha-lipoic acid is both water soluble and fat soluble, allowing it to work in every cell or tissue in the body. Most other antioxidants are either water or fat soluble, for instance, vitamin C is only water soluble, while vitamin E is only fat soluble.
Good sources of alpha lipoic acid
Your body naturally produces alpha-lipoic acid, but only in small amounts. It’s found in a variety of foods but, however according to WebMD, ‘food does not appear to produce a noticeable increase in the level of free ALA in the body’, so we would recommend an alpha lipoic acid supplementation because they can pack up to 1,000 times more alpha-lipoic acid than food sources.
Animal products like red meat and organ meats such as kidney, liver and heart are great sources, but alpha-lipoic can also be found in plant foods like green peas, broccoli, tomatoes, spinach, yam, potatoes, carrots, beets, sprouts and rice bran.
Our range of dietary supplements includes Liposomal R-Alpha-Lipoic Acid, which is combined with vitamin C to support the immune system better. It helps the liver eliminate toxic substances, it’s a great source of energy and it fights free radicals and reduces oxidative stress.
Alpha R Lipoic Acid is good for blood sugar balance, supports the pancreatic function, supports peripheral nerve function as well as being an antioxidant and free radical neutraliser. There are no set dosage requirements, most evidence suggests that 300–600 mg is sufficient and safe as a daily dose. Higher doses are not recommended, as there is no evidence that they provide extra benefits
Benefits of alpha lipoic acid
Studies show that the properties of alpha-lipoic acid have been linked to many benefits including lowering blood sugar levels, lowering the incidence of blood pressure, reducing inflammation and improving nerve function. Lipoic acid also attacks waste products created when the body turns food into energy.
Research suggests using alpha acid in the treatment of weight loss, memory, heart health conditions including heart disease, skin health in particular reducing aging skin, treating HIV and diabetes gave positive results. Here we look at some of the benefits in more detail:
Diabetes – ALA has become popular as a potential aid for people with diabetic symptoms due to lowering blood sugar levels. It works by promoting processes that can remove fat that accumulates in muscle cells, which would otherwise make insulin resistant or less effective. It is proven to ease symptoms of nerve damage and lower the risk of diabetic eye damage (retinopathy) that can occur with uncontrolled diabetes, and alpha-lipoic acid may lower the risk of diabetes complications generally.
Weight loss – Research shows that ALA may affect weight loss. In a US randomized controlled trial, long-term LA supplementation resulted in slight BMI loss, greater antioxidant enzyme synthesis and less potential for inflammation in overweight adults.
Skin health – ALA benefits for skin improvements are thought to come from its high antioxidant content, because an antioxidant is a molecule that protects your cells from damage by donating electrons to potentially the dangerous free radical molecules. Research has found that topical ALA results in an almost complete reduction of fine lines around the eyes and upper lip in most of the participants.
Alpha lipoic acid side effects
Alpha-lipoic acid is generally considered safe with very few possible side effects. In some cases, people may experience mild symptoms like nausea, rashes or itching, but these would cease once the supplement is no longer taken.
Children and pregnant women should not take supplements unless advised to do so by their healthcare provider as there maybe risk factors involved. If you have diabetes and want to try alpha-lipoic acid, speak to your health care professional first, as the effect of alpha lipoic you interfere with other medications.
Check out our full range of Alpha Lipoic products which are all made with the highest grade, certified non-GMO ingredients of the purest quality and are vegan friendly.
How does the gut Microbiome influence human health?
Most people think of the gut as the stomach on its own, but the gastrointestinal tract begins from the mouth through the oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon, and rectum to the anal sphincter. Each of these parts has a different role in health, including transportation, digestion, absorption, and elimination of the ingested substances to provide our bodies with crucial nutrients for life.
The gut microbiome consists of various microorganisms living in a mutually beneficial relationship with the human body. On good days! They call this a symbiotic relationship with the host. It is important to mention that gut microbiome and gut microbiota are used interchangeably, although they mean different things. Microbiome refers to the microorganisms and their genes, whereas microbiota refers to the microbes themselves.
We are unique…
Our nutritional demands and the make-up of our gut microbiome are as unique as our appearances. No two individuals share the same microbiome, just like our fingerprints. Therefore, understanding the correct amount of nutrients we need is the first, and possibly, the most critical step towards feeling vibrant and energetic. This article aims to examine how the gut microbiome affects human health and diseases.
What we currently know
According to more recent research, the human-bacterial ratio stands at 1:1, which means we have about the same number of bacteria in our bodies as human cells. Older theories claimed that bacteria outnumber human cells.
As newborns, we are sterile, so the diversity of microorganisms depends on the environment at the time of delivery and feeding, the mother microbiome pre and postnatal, and antibiotics use. The adult gut flora is developed by the age of 3 years. Some stay with us till the end of our lives; others undergo rapid transitions. As a result, the microbial strains we house differ between environments and populations. For example, digesting seaweed by Europeans is more challenging than by Asian people.
What is the hype about these tiny creatures?
Beneficial bacteria metabolise nutrients and drugs for us, protect us against pathogens, modulate and train the immune system, produce short-chain fatty acids from fibre, produce vitamins, and support the structural integrity of the gut mucosal barrier. When something goes wrong with the microbes, something goes wrong with us too! Westernisation, urbanisation, and the increased consumption of processed foods and exposure to antimicrobial drugs result in the development of dysbiosis.
Dysbiosis an imbalance of microorganisms in the intestines, has been associated with many debilitating diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diabetes, and allergic conditions. Obesity is also very relevant. In the dysbiotic gut flora, the harmful microbes overtake the beneficial ones and manifest in various digestive complaints such as bloating, flatulence, diarrhoea, and constipation. Additionally, harmful bacteria release endotoxins which compromise the integrity of the intestines leading to permeability. The long term consequences of dysbiosis lead to more systemic issues in other parts of the body, such as the nervous, endocrine, and immune system.
Over 70% of the gut microbiota lives in the large intestine.
The predominant species are Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes. The Firmicutes: Bacteroidetes ratio gives us an indication of the risks of obesity and IBD. Sometimes bacteria dislocate in larger quantities into the small intestine, resulting in small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
An old and common way to prepare food is by fermentation, a natural process of the microorganisms converting sugar and starch into alcohol and acids in the absence of oxygen. For example, short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are produced by bacterial fermentation from non-digestible dietary fibre. Fibre increases the diversity of the gut microbiome and increases intestinal motility, reducing the number of gas-forming bacterial species. The microbes also use prebiotics, plant material and proteins that are non-digestible or can’t be broken down by us due to the lack of enzyme or issues with absorption to produce metabolites.
The three major SCFAs are butyrate, acetate, and propionate. The number of carbohydrates, intestinal gasses, and the pH of the colon are the main factors that influence their production.
Why are SCFAs so important?
Because they are heavily involved in energy metabolism, appetite regulation, gut motility, and neurotransmitter production, which affect our mood and relaxation. Depression, social behaviour, and cognitive function are also affected. Evidence suggests that there is bi-directional communication between the gut and the brain via the vagus nerve. Healthy individuals with a healthy gut mostly feel happy, energised, and looking forward to the day.
Feeding with fermentation
Our gut loves fermented foods such as yoghurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, and tofu. They contain probiotics which are the beneficial bacteria themselves. Prebiotics are plant fibre that are feeding the good guys. The intake of both of these offers health benefits to the host only if consumed in adequate amounts. Carefully evaluating the appropriate strains and mixture is crucial for a compromised gut. For example, individuals with histamine dysregulation issues may worsen their condition by ingesting certain bacterial species as they further stimulate histamine production.
While we know that the composition of the gut microbiota has a significant role in how we feel, research in this area and the immune system presents more open questions than any other aspects of human health. It is undeniable that dietary pattern has a pivotal role in the gut microbiota composition. Unhealthy food choices in the long term create an environment for and invite harmful microbes to thrive.
Author: Anita Andor, nutritional therapist
What supplements for a vegan diet?
With good planning and understanding, it is possible to meet your recommended daily intake for all the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals requirements with a balanced vegan diet, or plant based diet. However, if your diet isn’t planned properly, even for just one day, you will miss out on the essentials.
The seven important nutrients that you may need to supplement on a vegan diet are:
1. Iron and 2. B12
Too little iron can lead to anaemia and symptoms like decreased immune function and fatigue. Iron is needed for energy metabolism and is the nutrient needed to make new DNA and red blood cells, as well as carrying oxygen in the blood.
Iron can be found in two forms: heme and non-heme. Heme iron is only available from animal products, whereas non-heme iron is found in plants. Heme iron is more easily absorbed from your diet than non-heme iron.
Vitamin B12 is only found naturally in foods from animal sources and is important for many bodily processes, including the formation of oxygen-transporting red blood cells and protein metabolism. It also plays a crucial role in the health of your nervous system. Too little vitamin B12 can also lead to anaemia, and nervous system damage, as well as infertility and bone and heart disease.
We recommend Liposomal Vitamin B12 to aid the formation of red blood cells that maintain the iron level in the body, combined with iron-rich foods and a source of vitamin C to help boost iron absorption such as Liposomal Vitamin C.
Dark green vegetables such as watercress, broccoli and spring greens, beans, lentils, peas, nuts, dried fruit such as raisins, seeds, whole grains, such as brown rice and enriched brown bread, fortified foods including cereal, and some plant milks, are all great for providing much-needed iron.
3. Calcium and 4. Vitamin D
Calcium plays a role in muscle function, nerve signalling and heart health, along with being necessary for good bone and teeth health. Non-vegans get most of their calcium from dairy foods, so it’s important for vegans to get calcium in other ways. Good sources of calcium for vegans are fortified unsweetened soya, rice and oat milk, leafy green vegetables (but not spinach), almonds, sesame seeds and tahini, dried fruit, pulses, brown (wholemeal) and white bread.
Note that the body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps enhance the absorption of calcium and phosphorus from your stomach, and influences many other bodily processes, including immune function, mood, memory and muscle recovery.
Unfortunately, very few foods naturally contain vitamin D, and foods fortified with vitamin D are often considered insufficient to satisfy the daily amounts needed, which partly explains the worldwide vitamin D deficiency among both vegans and omnivores. Fortified margarine and fat spreads, fortified breakfast cereals and egg yolks contain vitamin D, and of course you also get vitamin D when exposed to sunshine.
Therefore, it is important that vegans invest a good vitamin D supplement, and we recommend Good Health Natually’s Vitamin D3 to deliver a significant dose of Vitamin D3 as well as calcium from coral.
5. Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3s are the nutrients that help build and maintain an all-around healthy body, being the key to the structure of every cell wall that you have. They are also a great energy source and help keep your lungs, heart, blood vessels and immune system working the way
they should. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that are important in preventing and managing heart disease.
High concentrations of vegan sources of Omega 3s can be found in seeds, particularly hemp, chia and ground flaxseed, as well as walnuts, and soy (including tofu, tempeh, soy milk). There are also large amounts of ALA in canola oils, which are another vegan option. Omega-3 fish oil contains both EPA and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid).
The Krill Miracle is a dietary supplement of ultra-pure omega fatty acids formulated to promote wellness and longevity. It gives a balanced fatty acid nutrition, with added ingredients to support normal immune function, may aid cardiovascular health, joint mobility, brain function, and skin health too.
Krill is a tiny shrimp-like crustacean found in the Southern Oceans, the only oceans in the world that remain unpolluted by the heavy toxic metals that are now to be found in many fish oils.
Insufficient intake of zinc can lead to developmental problems, hair loss, diarrhoea, and delayed wound healing. It’s the mineral that’s crucial for metabolism, immune function, and the repair of body cells.
To maximise your intake, you should eat a variety of zinc-rich foods throughout the day, including whole grains, wheat germ, tofu, sprouted breads, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
To give you a whole range of minerals including Organic Selenium, Zinc, Manganese, Copper, and others, we recommend Good Health Naturally’s Antioxidant Minerals.
Getting enough iodine is crucial for healthy thyroid function, which controls your metabolism, and insufficient iodine intake can lead to hypothyroidism. This can cause various symptoms, such as low energy levels, tingling in your hands and feet, forgetfulness, dry skin, depression and weight gain.
Health conditions like ADHD, autism, learning disabilities, autoimmune thyroid disorders, and cancers of the thyroid, breast, ovaries, and uterus can often all be caused by iodine deficiency. All cells in the body utilise the critical mineral iodine and rely on it for daily function.
The only foods considered to have consistently high iodine levels are iodized salt, seafood, seaweed, because food grown close to the ocean tends to be higher in iodine. Also, dairy products which pick up iodine from solutions used to clean cows and farm equipment.
A small amount of half a teaspoon (2.5 ml) of iodized salt is sufficient to meet your daily needs, but for vegans who do not want to consume iodized salt, or eat seaweed several times per week, should consider taking an iodine supplement such as Nascent Iodine. It is in its atomic form — consumable and paramagnetic — is highly preferable to its molecular form. This is the form of iodine that is well-recognised by the thyroid and easily used.
What are good sources of protein for vegetarians and vegans?
A variety of protein from different sources is necessary to get the right mixture of amino acids, which are used to build and repair the body’s cells. Most vegans will have enough protein in their diet, from good sources of protein such as pulses and beans, cereals (wheat, oats and rice), soya products (tofu, soya drinks and textured soya protein, such as soya mince), nuts and seeds.
However, proteins can be one of the most difficult substances to metabolise. If the digestive process is incomplete, undigested protein can wind up in your circulatory system, as well as in other parts of your body. We recommend Protease Enzyme Therapy to help break proteins down into smaller proteins and amino acids.
They can be of great benefit to people who have difficulty digesting proteins, but they have even broader therapeutic applications. Protease aids digestion of proteins and helps your immune system to fight infection.
Check out our range of supplements and vitamins which are all made with the highest grade, certified non-GMO ingredients of the purest quality and are vegan friendly: https://lemonwellmed.co.uk/health-products/
All vegans who are unable to meet their dietary recommendations through diet alone should consider taking supplements. Well-planned vegan diets can fulfil nutritional needs, but certain nutrient requirements may be difficult to achieve through diet and fortified foods alone, especially vitamin B12, vitamin D, and long-chain omega-3s.
Mens sana in corpore sano
A popular and widely used quote that comes from classical Latin meaning a healthy mind in a healthy body.
That is true but the opposite is also true.
When you think stress, when you behave in a stressful way, when you believe stress is what keeps you going, then your body becomes uncomfortable, not at ease and if you keep on thinking stress your body will create indigestion, ulcers, gastritis and even insomnia.
Another popular quote is “You are what you eat.”
Perhaps you know that your brain is directly connected with your digestive system through the vagus nerve.
Perhaps you have experienced feeling sluggish after having a very heavy meal.
Perhaps you have even thought that you are so full and uncomfortable that you cannot even think.
That is the very reason nutritionists recommend you have a balanced meal and an early dinner.
Perhaps you then choose to have balanced meals to optimise your mind and your body functions.
As the mind and body are connected, as what you think has a great influence on how your body behaves, here’s some more food for thought:
You are what you think.
Thoughts are not random. You choose what you think.
No one can think for you unless you choose to allow them to do so.
If you choose thoughts that sabotage you, thoughts that limit your potential and drag you down and if you do this for long enough, you will become that person through your behaviour.
When you think about yourself, you think that you are not good enough, that you are rubbish, you will never get the job you want or worse you don’t deserve to have what you want, eventually, you will assume a pessimistic attitude towards life. And as your mind and your body are connected, your body will become uncomfortable, not at ease, in other words, disease.
Now, if you choose thoughts that support you, encourage and motivate you to keep going till getting what you want, your body will respond accordingly.
By the same token, when you think you are good enough, you can and want to achieve your goals and again most importantly you deserve to get what you want, your body will respond by becoming comfortable and at ease.
The connection between your mind and your body will be at their optimum.
As you choose what you eat, choose what you think.
Think best and you become your best.
About the Author
Regina Brancato-Dunderdale is the founder of Regina Hypnotherapist. Born in Brazil, Regina started her career as a teacher to then discover NLP and hypnotherapy after her career took her to Angola, south-west Africa, where civil war still ravaged the country.
Years later, in London, a friend introduced her to NLP and hypnotherapy and she was amazed at how quickly and effectively it changed her life for the better.
Regina is now a Trainer of NLP and Hypnosis, specialising in treating phobias, overcoming anxiety and controlling your emotions.
How to get vitamin C and D naturally
Eating more fruits and vegetables is the best way to increase your vitamin C intake naturally, for vitamin D, food counts but sunlight is the main provider. From spring to Autumn, most people should be able to make all the vitamin D they need from natural sunlight on their skin, but during winter supplements are advised.
Vitamin C is known as an essential vitamin, which means your body can’t produce it. Vitamin D can only be produced by our bodies with the help of sunlight.
What food has vitamin C and D?
Vitamin C is found in a wide variety of citrus fruits and vegetables such as oranges and orange juice, peppers, strawberries, kiwi fruit, blackcurrants, kale, spinach, broccoli, brussels sprouts and potatoes.
As well as sunlight, vitamin D can be found in breakfast staples like eggs (yolks), milk, as well as in some mushrooms, oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel – red meat, liver and fortified foods – such as some fat spreads, orange juice and breakfast cereals.
How much vitamin C & D do we need?
Adults aged 19 to 64 need 40mg of vitamin C a day, according to the NHS, which you should be able to get from your daily diet. But it is important to note that intake of vitamin C cannot be stored in the body, so you need it in your diet every day to maintain the required vitamin C levels.
While of course, it is best to get your vitamin C intake from foods, many people turn to vitamin C supplements to meet their needs. Our Good Healthy Naturally’s Camu Camu C Vitamin capsules have an extremely high dose of vitamin C because the Camu Camu berries are harvested while they are still green – the moment when they have the highest content.
Zooki water-soluble vitamins are convenient, easy to mix, and great-tasting. Enjoy their Liposomal Vitamin C sachets straight from the packet onto a spoon or mix into water, kefir, smoothies, shakes, or drizzle over fruit or salads.
Studies show that from childhood right through to adulthood your body needs a 10 micrograms dose of vitamin D a day. From the end of March right through to September, vitamin D is in abundance from the sun, but if you spend a limited time outside, or during the winter months, it’s not easy to get that much vitamin D through diet and sunlight alone.
Sunscreen lotions above SPF 15, smog and glass windows block the essential UVB rays the body needs to synthesise crucial vitamin D.
So, it is important that you invest in a vitamin D supplement, and we recommend Good Health Naturally’s Vitamin D3, which delivers a significant dose of Vitamin D3 as well as 100mg of Calcium from coral per capsule.
Or for those on the go, the Vitamin D3 and K2 spray are ideal as a pair of vitamins that contribute towards the maintenance of healthy bones, muscles, immune defence and heart health as well as supporting lung and respiratory health.
What does vitamin C and D do for the body?
The effects of vitamin C on the body, also known as ascorbic acid, include functions that help to protect cells and keep them healthy, maintain healthy skin, blood vessels, bones and cartilage, help with wound healing and fight free radicals.
Vitamin C is often referred to as an antioxidant vitamin, limiting oxidative stress to the body, thereby lowering the risk of certain chronic diseases such as heart disease and cardiovascular disease.
Vitamin C contributes to the normal function of gums and teeth, the immune system and the nervous system, gives a normal release of energy for use in the body, meaning a reduction of tiredness and fatigue and aides increased absorption of iron. Vitamin C also helps maintain the normal function of the immune system during and after intense physical exercise.
For centuries, Vitamin D was considered to be only essential to maintaining bone health, but recently more and more studies are linking Vitamin D to overall body wellness. The average healthy body can naturally synthesize about 10,000–15,000 IU of vitamin D3 in the skin within minutes of sun exposure.
The benefits of vitamin D are that it regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate we have in our bodies, which are the nutrients that reduce the risk of issues with bones, teeth and muscles. Vitamin D helps to reduce the risks of falling due to posture instability and muscle weakness, which is a risk factor for fractures in men and women over 60.
It contributes to good calcium absorption from food into your bones, contributes to normal muscle function, promotes a healthy/good blood calcium level and has a positive effect on the immune system.
Can vitamin C and vitamin D be taken together?
Vitamin C and D can be taken together, and are often found in many multivitamins, such as our Good Health Naturally’s Active Life capsules. These have a unique and powerful formula, combining 130 nutrients in one capsule, including many vitamins and minerals, fulvic trace minerals, amino acids, antioxidants and much more.
Is vitamin C or D better for immune system?
By keeping blood levels high, Vitamin C it will not only decrease the symptoms and duration of colds and infections, but high-dose vitamin C may reduce the risk and the severity of dozens of diseases as well.
The benefits of taking vitamin C and D, and zinc, together stand out for having many immune system benefits and play roles in preserving physical tissue barriers. It has even been noted that the adequate intake of zinc and vitamins C and D may represent promising COVID-19 management.
Are there benefits to intravenous vitamins?
Intravenous (high-dose) vitamin C dates back to the 1940s, with documented life-saving evidence. However, in recently times, it has been noted that infusion of vitamins potentially puts the liver and kidneys under stress, and to go ahead without screening the liver and kidney function first is prohibited by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) in the UK.
These days the treatments are increasingly popular, particularly as a quick fix or hangover cure, but according to Sophie Medlin, who used to work as a clinical dietitian and as a lecturer in nutrition and dietetics at King’s College London. “Within a medical setting, we would never infuse anything intravenously, unless we absolutely had to.”
Therefore, it’s best to use the natural liposome delivery system. Liposomes are microscopic healthy fat particles used by our body to quickly reach our bloodstream. This technology has been used for many years to deliver certain drugs to specific tissues within the body without affecting the other parts of the body.
Years ago, researchers discovered that these liposomes could be filled with therapeutic agents and nutrients, so that the membrane of the liposome would hold in the nutrient and would not release it until it reached the bloodstream. They are one of the most promising routes for efficient drug, gene delivery and for vitamin and mineral supplements too.
Two of the most popular liposomal vitamins from our range include Liposomal Vitamin C capsules and Liposomal Vitamin D3 K2 Magnesium Calcium capsules both of which provide therapeutic strengths of vitamin C and vitamin D3.
Check out our range of best vitamin C and D supplements which include a full range of Vitamunda Liposome products that are all made with the highest grade, certified non-GMO ingredients of the purest quality and are vegan friendly.
The gold standard in health supplements
Elena Lena, of LemonWellMed, a supplier of nutritional supplements and innovative diagnostic and therapeutic devices discusses cutting-edge health technology – liposomal supplements.
When we think of new technology, our minds are often drawn to machines – the latest smartphone, eco-friendly transportation, AI, and robotics, but what about new innovations in health?
During the previous 18 months or so, many people have taken a greater interest in their health and are seeking out new and different approaches to preventative health. Let’s not wait until we are sick and have to treat the issue but take a more proactive approach and find ways to boost our body’s defences.
You have likely taken at least one vitamin or mineral supplement in your lifetime, but you may not be aware that the body can sometimes struggle to absorb the ingredients in a tablet. This measure of absorption efficacy is known as bioavailability.
Therein lies a tricky problem for manufacturers. To provide an effective dose of the vitamin or mineral to the cells that need it, it is often necessary to create tablets with larger doses due to low bioavailability. This absorption problem decreases the efficacy and increases the cost of the supplement. Larger doses of vitamins and minerals may also place unhelpful strain on the liver and kidneys.
Liposomal supplements work differently
Many years of medical research have led to the development of liposomal supplements. These smart supplements have the active ingredient enclosed in a lipid layer (the liposome) which protects the vitamin or mineral from the harsh environment of the stomach allowing almost complete absorption into the blood. In addition, because the liposome is identical in composition to the body’s cells, the lipid layer is also utilised by the body helping to repair cell walls – effectively there is no waste product. This innovative delivery system shows remarkable results, supported by dozens of research studies, enhancing bioavailability.
But not all liposomal supplements are created equal either.
Some liposomal supplements containing liquid-based liposomes have been
manufactured using heat and/or high pressure and chemicals are added for stability.
Some dry or powder-form liposomes have a similar production process. These manufacturing processes can damage the ingredients leading to inferior,
less pure and less effective products.
Why does this matter?
The powder-form liposomal supplements developed by UK-based company Vitamunda using LipoCellTech technology are unique liposomal supplements that contain only the vitamins or minerals and the phospholipid layer. Vitamunda, a preferred partner for LemonWellMed, is committed to producing the purest supplements without flavourings or preservatives, making their products highly beneficial and safe for all. This innovative technology pushes the bioavailability to around 95%, up to 20 times that of some traditional supplements.
Commonly asked questions
Why should I spend more on liposomal supplements?
Liposomal supplements are generally more expensive than traditional supplements. However, because they are much more effective at delivering the vitamins or minerals to the cells that need them, they produce far superior results. When you realise that for some supplements only 5% of the ingredient is absorbed by the body, you can immediately see the value of the products.
How do I take liposomal supplements?
Dry, powder-form liposomal supplements come in capsule form and are taken in the same way as any other supplement you might use. Consume with a meal and plenty of water.
Which liposomal supplements should I consider?
Naturally, this depends on which body system you are wanting to support and whether you have conditions that might benefit from additional supplementation with highly bioavailable vitamins or minerals.
During the winter months, certainly in the UK, our bodies lack Vitamin D which is vital for a strong immune system, teeth, and bones as well as heart health and improved mood, so I would recommend putting this one high on your list.
To help your body fight the winter bugs, of course, add Vitamin C to your daily regimen.
If you are looking for an all-around boost, the multivitamin and mineral formulation would be the perfect option for you. Containing 17 vitamins and minerals with unprecedented efficacy, this is the Rolls Royce of liposomal supplementation.
Are Vitamunda liposomal supplements suitable for vegans?
All Vitamunda’s liposomal supplements are suitable for vegans with the exception of the multivitamin which is OK for vegetarians but not vegans.
Where can I buy the products?
All Vitamunda liposomal supplements are available for single orders or bulk purchases WITH SPECIAL OFFERS at lemonwellmed.co.uk.
What guarantees are offered by LemonWellMed for these supplements?
LemonWellMed has done due diligence to ensure that all Vitamunda products are developed in-house according to GMP and HACCP standards. The in-house manufacture allows Vitamunda to ensure that all products contain only pure and active ingredients.
For more information about how liposomal technology works visit https://lipocelltech.com/ .
Lemon Well Med’s vision is for a world where everyone enjoys life to the full by being as healthy as possible for as long as possible. We support individuals to adopt healthy choices and healthcare practitioners to provide innovative treatments for optimum health every day.