how to improve your sleep, reduce bloating and the liquid vitamins you need to take
One of the most common concerns I get asked about is difficulty in sleeping. Either these people are struggling to fall asleep or they simply cannot sleep for any length of time. Before we talk about sleep problems, it is best to understand why the body needs sleep.
We tend to think of sleep as a time when the body and mind shut down. Far from it; sleep is actually an active period when a lot of processing, restoration (repair) and strengthening occurs.
During sleep, all the information that we have gained during the day and has remained in our short term memory banks is then consolidated and some of it stored into our long term memory. Researchers have found that we tend to perform better at memory tasks after we have fallen asleep.
Sleep is also a time for restoration and repair of tissues, growth of cells, manufacture of hormones.
The quality and duration of sleep can have a profound effect on the health of our skin. When we sleep our bodies recharge but so does our skin. During sleep we heal, restore and eliminate toxins from skin.
During the first three hours of sleep, your body produces human growth hormone from the pituitary gland. This hormone is vital for maintenance of youthful and radiant skin because it is involved in the repair of the damages caused to skin on a daily basis whether from external or internal sources.
The middle two hours of sleep is when melatonin levels increase. Melatonin is a hormone that is involved in the circadian rhythm which is the pattern of sleep/wakeup but it also is a powerful antioxidant working to remove any free radicals that arise from the all the reparative processes that are undergoing whilst we are sleeping.
During the final two or three hours, levels of cortisol drop, muscles relax giving skin its deepest recovery time.
A lack of sleep causes increased cortisol levels – cortisol is an inflammatory hormone and inflammation breaks down proteins that keep skin smooth and radiant. Because cortisol is the flight/fright hormone, it sends blood to the muscles rather than the skin and hence skin is deprived of oxygen and vital nutrients making it appear dull, ashy, blotchy and prone to pigmentation problems due to constant inflammation.
The increased inflammation due to the cortisol can break down the tiny lipids (ceramides) between skin cells and this can result in the dehydration of skin leading to dryness. Your body also works to rehydrate and balance moisture levels whilst you sleep so this can also cause dryness if you are not sleeping well.
As mentioned previously, water balance occurs whilst you sleep so cutting this sleep time may well result in puffy eyes and perhaps even a slightly puffed up body (water retention). Dark circles may also be associated with a lack of sleep because this results in the dilation of the blood vessels in this area resulting in a deeper tint and of course in darker complexions this is more pronounced since these people already have more pigment.
(Home tips of using a cold teabag does work for some because the tannic acids in tea encourage the blood vessels to shrink but the real thing it to get sufficient sleep!)
As mentioned previously, the increased stress hormone, cortisol, is inflammatory in nature breaking down the bonds that form collagen which maintains elasticity and structure within skin. Skin then becomes thinner, less firm, less smooth and gradually wrinkles become more prominent.
There is a direct correlation between stress and the onset of hair loss. Cortisol causes inflammation in the whole body including the hair follicles where all the process of keratin manufacture occurs. A lack of sleep is the most ruthless form of stress to the body and can result in premature hair loss.
Whilst we have looked at the impact of a lack of sleep on skin, the implication of a lack of sleep to the body as a whole include:
Feeling moody or irritable
Inability to concentrate or work
Increased weight gain – this in turn can lead to other concerns such as heart disease
Financial implications of lost productivity, absenteeism, work related accidents and so on
Current estimates: between 30 and 50% of the population at any given moment face acute insomnia (short term) and up to 10% with chronic insomnia that may last for several months or more.
Definition of Insomnia: habitual sleeplessness or the inability to sleep. Everyone struggles to sleep from time to time but insomnia is different because its an ongoing issue even when the person has had a relaxing day and has the ability to go to bed and still cannot sleep.
It is a multi-faceted increased activation that occurs within the hormonal system, neurological system and behavioural patterns so this is not as simple to tackle as one would think.
There are many conditions that lend to insomnia which include:
Menopause, hot flushes, night sweats
Stress and anxiety
Urgency to urinate or sensitive bladder
Pain associated with conditions such as arthritis
Certain antidepressants, decongestants and some steroids
Parkinsons due to increased dopamine levels
Although it seems that many people struggle getting restful sleep, insomnia and sleep problems are NOT normal and must be addressed.
Set the right temperature in your room – too warm and you will be sweaty and too cold a room will also not be conducive to sleep. Try to keep the temperature between 18 and 20 Celcius which seems to be the optimum for most people.
Dim the lights in the bedroom, remove distractions like TV’s and ensure you have chosen the correct bedding for the season allowing skin to breath.
Do not get stressed about lack of sleep – try relaxation techniques, CD’s and other aids to calm the mind. Stress causes increased cortisol which impacts on the amount of sleep hormone produced.
Skip late night sugar and simple carbohydrates before bedtime as these can spike your blood sugar levels and increase energy at a time when you do not need it. The subsequent decline in sugar levels in the blood after eating these can then wake you up feeling hungry. If you are intending to snack, better to have a high protein snack which will increase sleep hormone production.
Keep electronics out of the bedroom – watching TV and answering emails in the bedroom are definitely not a good idea.
If possible, stick to the same or similar sleep time – this will help to keep your circadian rhythm.
Limit caffeine intake after 12 noon because caffeine exerts a stimulatory effect for up to 12 hours.
Take a nice relaxing bath with Beat the Blues Shower & Bath Oil (£29) – showers tend to be brisk and invigorating so I would use this in the bath or applied to the body first and then soak in the bath – contains Clary Sage which has a musky sweetness and is very relaxing; Petitgrain which is known to relax the mind, banish negative thoughts etc.
For those who may not wish to use aromatherapy oil baths (allergies etc) may consider the use of Magnesium Oil Original Flakes (£9.95)– magnesium helps relax muscles and the body as a whole. People with low magnesium often complain of restless sleep waking up frequently in the night. Magnesium is required for the production of GABA, a neurotransmitter in the brain that promotes deep sleep.
Try aromatherapy essential oils such as lavender, vetivert and chamomile. These are a great way of encouraging your body to wind down as they promote relaxation. This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray (£24)which contains all the above and in studies provided the following results:
89% of users fell asleep faster than normal
92% of users felt refreshed the following morning
Use natural sleep supplements – if you have chronic lack of sleep you should go and see your GP however many people choose to try natural sleep supplements over traditional drugs for fear of dependency.
We have in the past recommended Cherry Night (£25.95)
powder which is a great supplement to increase melatonin levels gradually whilst magnesium in the formulation works to relax the body.
I am however going to introduce you to a more comprehensive supplement whose formulation tries to tackle sleep problems from a variety of angles – called Sleep Tight (£25.50) capsules and it contains:
Magnolia – to help relax the body and importantly reduce cortisol levels that increase with age and stress.
Passionflower- used historically as a calming herb, some compounds in passionflower work to act like a natural sedative; it also contains harmine which has the ability to relax the mind.
Ashwagandha – often referred to as Indian ginseng, this herb acts on the adrenals to modulate the stress response and also provides greater energy during the day.
Tart Cherries – rich in melatonin, our sleep hormone, tart cherries also contain muscle relaxing magnesium.
Hops – rich in B vitamins which are required for the nervous system, hops naturally act as a sedative.
Theanine – from green tea works to relax the mind by increasing alpha wave production.
Sleep impacts on every part of our lives and a lack of sleep impacts on hormones, concentration, stress, energy and more. Additionally, a lack of sleep on one day cannot be recovered on another day as useful as this may be.
This is a technology that is gaining momentum in the nutrient sector and with good reason. Before we briefly describe what this technology is all about, lets look at what factors can impact nutrient bioavailability – these are:
Before you even ingest a tablet, moisture, oxygen, temperature and other environmental factors may affect the nutrient.
Digestive juices, acids and enzymes all can interact and possibly degrade these nutrients. Food in the digestive tract – the digestive tract is seldom empty so nutrients may interact with these foods, bind with them and therefore may be reduced in their delivery.
The use of binders, fillers, colours and other additives may also impede nutrient availability.
All of these factors can be mitigated with the use of liposomal encapsulation technology!
So what is this technology?
At the heart of this technology are liposomes.
Liposomes are microscopic healthy fat particles which are made up of a type of fat called a phospholipid. These phospholipids naturally form tiny bubbles within the water solution that they are suspended in. Within these bubbles, you can suspend any vitamin, mineral, herb, drug, medicine or dyes.
This technology has been used since the late 1970’s when predominantly scientists used it to deliver drugs, dyes etc to specific organs and tissues within the body.
These liposomes do not need our digestive system to break them down like it does for vitamin tablets and capsules. The liposomes are absorbed from the small intestine directly into the bloodstream from where they can go to all tissues delivering their nutrient content.
The amount of nutrient within each liposome can be reduced considerably because of the efficiency of this method – also the phospholipid outer wall is near identical to each and every cell barrier meaning that these liposomes can lodge onto the cell barrier and release their contents to each cell. There are no fillers, binders or other additives required.
I believe that the next few years will see the rise of liposomal delivery systems within the nutrient sector as this is a highly efficient and effective way of getting nutrients into the body and its cells.
Liposomal Vitamin C (£20) – delivers 1000mg of vitamin C per teaspoon. To give you an idea, 5000mg of vitamin C tablets deliver less than 1000mg on average and they may cause diarrhoea whereas this does not.
Liposomal Vitamin D3 (£20) – one teaspoon delivers 3000iu! Incidentally, its official that vitamin D supplements now outsell vitamin C which have for years been the number 1 selling nutrient.
Liposomal Curcumin (£25) – this is one of my favourites because of the importance of curcumin to the body. Curcumin is the active component of turmeric which is now labelled as the most important herb in the world. This is because it displays powerful antioxidant properties but crucially it seems to have the ability to protect our genetic material and even more important is its ability to trigger programmed cell death which is important as far as cells that have gone wrong are involved.
Liposomal R-Alpha (£25) – this contains a very unique antioxidant called R- alpha lipoic acid (R-ALA). Alpha lipoic acid is one of the most fundamental antioxidants to help reduce the markers of ageing. We know that genetics play an important role in ageing however we also know that premature ageing is down to oxidative damage from free radicals.
One of the secrets to slowing down the ageing process is to combat this oxidative damage with long acting antioxidants such as alpha lipoic acid (oxidative damage is occurring every second in our lives due to the myriad of chemical reactions taking place in each and every cell). We normally produce this antioxidant however the levels produced decrease with age. Food sources include dark leafy greens such as spinach and broccoli, beef and organ meats.
Benefits of this antioxidant:
Soluble in water and oil unlike any other antioxidant and so can work across the whole body including the nervous system.
R-Alpha Lipoic Acid is absolutely important for people with sugar related concerns. Sugar destroys proteins in our bodies due to the oxidative damage causes when sugar is metabolised which leads to other concerns such as high blood pressure. Alpha lipoic acid may offer some protection
Brain protection due to its ability to protect the central nervous system.
Much more than this – eyes, weight loss etc
Liposomal Co-Q10 (£25) – oxygenation of all the tissues within our bodies so it protects the heart and gums. Primary enzyme for energy production.
Between 25% and 40% of the population will suffer from symptoms of acid reflux.
20% of adults will suffer from GERD which is a severe form of acid reflux or persistent indigestion.
Bitter or sour taste in the mouth due to regurgitation
Bloating after meals
Belching, gassiness, burping or flatulence
Throat irritation, hoarsiness etc
Contrary to popular belief, acid reflux symptoms are not often caused by excess acid and in fact these may be caused by a lack of acid. We require stomach acid to break down food so that we can extract nutrients from these. A lack of stomach acid causes improper breakdown, especially of protein rich foods, which can result in the creeping up of the contents of digestion up the oesophagus causing these acid reflux symptoms.
Improper function of the sphincter between the stomach and the oesophagus. When it does not close completely, acid can creep upwards causing the symptoms – long term can create damage to the oesophagus and scarring.
Since some of the acid has crept upwards, digestive process is altered causing other symptoms such as constipation, slow bowel movement etc.
Hiatus hernia – this is where part of the stomach pushes into the chest through an opening called a hiatus which connects the stomach to the oesophagus. This causes stomach acid, bile and air to enter the oesophagus causing the symptoms of acid reflux.
Helicobacter pylori –it is the most successful pathogen in human history – discovered in 1982 it has been around for 200 years or more and almost everyone has it with most of us not even realising that we have it. It is passed on by saliva so sharing utensils, drinks etc.
It resides in the lining of the stomach and for the majority, no symptoms are noticed. In some cases this infection causes inflammation leading to the erosion of the stomach lining causing peptic ulcers and this ulceration may also occur in the intestine and in the oesophagus. Additionally it reduces stomach acid production.
Aging – as we age, we produce less stomach acid – this may be due to overuse of antacids but generally our digestive system ages with us.
Obesity – fat deposition around the mid-riff region puts pressure on the valve and sphincter allowing the release of acid into the oesophagus.
Eating large meals – puts excess pressure on the sphincter or valve causing acid to travel upwards
Excessive exercise – especially running and aerobic high impact exercises with too little rest can result in pressure on the abdominal cavity.
The major problem with all these lie in the fact that we still believe this to be due to high acid production when the reverse is usually the case.
Antacids – provide temporary relief but of course the stomach self regulates and increases acid production quickly.
H2 Blockers – work by blocking a substance that encourages acid production. They work slower than antacids but their action is longer. Not ideal because not breaking down food more efficiently especially protein rich foods can result in undigested protein and food putting pressure on the abdomen causing the symptoms of acid reflux to return.
PPI’s – the most prescribed group and in my opinion the most dangerous of acid reflux drugs, these permanently block an enzyme that tells your stomach to produce acid side effects are too many to list and include:
Increases risk of bone fractures – due to malabsorption of nutrients
Increased risk of gut infection
Increased risk of ulcers – because low acid means the H Pylori can thrive and cause erosion
The crux of the matter is that all of the above and not without side effects, deplete nutrients within the body due to lowering the acid and increase the risk factors for other disease.
Chew__ your food thoroughly – spoke about this earlier in the year – 12 to 15 times is a good guideline. Chewing tells your brain that its time to digest and this is the number one culprit for acid reflux. Chew thoroughly, put your fork down in between each bite and enjoy your food.
Diet__ – virtually every study carried out on acid reflux and GERD points to diet as a contributing factor. The diet should incorporate quality protein, probiotic enhancing foods such as fermented vegetables and fibre rich foods but DO NOT OVERLOAD ON FIBRE as this can sit and cause pressure leading to reflux. Reduce grains, refined sugar and refined vegetable oils. Basically a low inflammatory diet
Good foods include: yoghurt, bone broth, fermented vegetables etc.
Candida overgrowth - which often affects stomach acid production
Protective – rich in polyphenols which are powerful antioxidants
May help control cholesterol – because it contains apple pectin – a soluble fibre known to reduce circulating cholesterol.
Slows the digestion of starch – starch is converted into sugar – sugar destroys all proteins in the body which is why it is considered toxic when taken in excess amounts. This digestion of starch means less sugar in the bloodstream which means less likelihood of developing sugar related diseases.
Difference between mother ACV and filtered
The supermarket ACV are filtered and although the acid content is roughly the same, the unfiltered mother version contains enzymes, minerals and probiotics to further aid digestion. It is organic, unfiltered so still contains the bacteria that turn apple juice and water into vinegar – in effect fermented! Great for cleaning surfaces, windows etc but I prefer the cloudy ACV for cooking or for internal usage.
Use Betaine HCl (£13.95)__ – betaine hydrochloride with pepsin is a supplement that alongside ACV works to increase the stomach acid levels. Pepsin is an enzyme normally released by the stomach which helps break down proteins in food more effectively – this is important because often people don’t eat lean meats and the improper breakdown of a high protein meal is more likely to cause acid reflux and acidic stomach sensations.
Use a quality digestive enzymes supplement__ – so the stomach has started the breakdown of food by using Betaine HCl but the food still needs to be continued to be broken which is where the Enhanced Super Digestive Enzymes (£23.25) come into play.
Not everyone can swallow and for these people may consider Centaurium Tincture
Do not overeat – smaller meals allows food to be digested more efficiently and also does not put pressure on the sphincter between stomach and the oesophagus.
Do not drink too much water – stay hydrated but not overly hydrated again due to pressure on the stomach.
Reduce stressors if possible
Don’t eat before bed – allow three hours before bedtime
If your symptoms of acid reflux continue for more than a few weeks, please consult your GP.
Vegan Health Daily Oral Spray (£14.95)
This is the world’s first sublingual oral spray containing the four nutrients that may be deficient in those on a vegan or vegetarian diet.
Vitamin B12 – normally called the red vitamin because it is found predominantly in meats and fish, plant sources simply do not have a need for B12 so generally plant sources are analogs which are similar but not the same.
Iron – plant sources are nowhere near utilised as animal sources
Iodine – plant foods (with the exception of seaweed) simply cannot guarantee the amount so it is best to supplement
Vitamin D3 – mostly D3 is obtained from washed sheep wool or from fish and eggs. Vegan vitamin D’s have up to now been vitamin D2 which accumulates in the body and can be toxic to your liver. This spray contains the world’s first patented vegan D3 obtained from plants.
The contents of this video are not intended to replace conventional medical or dermatological treatments and advice. Any suggestions made are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, condition or symptom. If you have any personal concerns please seek the advice of a healthcare practitioner.
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