Broc On


It’s The Year Of The Broccoli Shot – By Hannah Betts


    • Here we are, only just past the ides of January, and already 2020 wellness trends are mounting up. Forget matcha, kombucha and kimchi, this year it’s going to be all about cauliflower flour, scoffing insects and “blended burgers” comprising beef and pea protein. “Whatever!” I cry, for I am already engaged in the year’s most edgy nutritional vogue: broc shotting — as in broccoli shots, a movement all the rage among the super-fit down under.

      The Broc On shot has been brought to the UK by Victoria Health, its founders having discovered the habit in Hong Kong and having instantly felt the benefit. One of them, Gill Sinclair, says: “This is huge, this is powerful, the research and development is awesome. I hereby declare this to be the year of the broccoli shot. The key ingredient is sulforaphane (SFN), dubbed the ‘miracle molecule’. There have been over 1,700 studies indicating the benefits of SFN, which include heart health, brain health, cell mutation and liver function.

      “SFN can be obtained from cruciferous vegetables, but does not exist in any meaningful quantities within them. Ounce for ounce, Broc On’s sprouts are between 50 and 100 times more potent than the vegetables themselves. Its broccoli, kale and daikon plants are grown ‘hydroganically’ in biomass chambers, harvested at three to four days, air-dried, milled into a fine powder, then packaged on the same day.”

      This kind of stuff does not come cheap, at £75 for 30 powder capsules, which you add to water. However, since its launch on January 7, stocks have already had to be replenished. Broc On is dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, soya-free — ah, if only it were taste-free. For, alas, the shots are . . . challenging: dank, frankly vegetal, more than a touch shudder-inducing. Think liquidised roasted broccoli with a hint of sprouts left over from Christmas, only Christmas 2017. I am attempting to knock one back as I type, only — ugh — even for a vegetarian of 30-plus years, it’s difficult not to feel queasy. Still, no pain, no gain. I must stop trying to erase the taste with chocolate.

      Naysayers may counter that one could simply eat one’s greens. However, as the pharmacist Shabir Daya, Sinclair’s co-founder, explains: “Broc On is not trying to replace your cruciferous vegetable intake. One shot is equivalent to eating 1.5kg of broccoli. Most people would not be able to eat this daily, even if they wanted to. So Broc On provides nutrients and enzymes, but this is not its aim. Its goal is to provide the super-powerful antioxidant that not only protects the body, but actually enhances the body’s own production of glutathione, an antioxidant that the body uses to neutralise damaging free radicals and prevent oxidative damage, which ages all our glands and the body as a whole.”

      I am taking this to translate as: “Broc shots are the purveyor of eternal youth. Take them and you will never age. Instead, you will gleam with a twentysomething luminescence.” Come join me in my quest for a greeny glow of health.

    • Buy Now

How to Win the ‘Bug Wars’ and Transform Your Health


Forget your genes, which you can’t influence, says cardiologist Dr Steven Gundry, and focus instead on the trillions of bacteria in your body, which you can recruit as your best health buddies from today on.

Some two decades back, eminent cardiologist and heart surgeon Dr Steven Gundry was obese. He suffered with daily migraines and, although only in his forties, he had such bad arthritis he wore braces on his knees to run. Despite the pain, he ran 30 miles a week, did a daily stint in the gym and ate what he‘d been taught was a healthy diet.

But it was all to no avail. He blamed ‘bad genes’, believing he was destined to be ‘fat and sick’ like his father.

At that point Dr Gundry’s ‘world was rocked’, as he wrote in a recent email to Sarah. He discovered that, ‘to put it bluntly, I had been dead wrong. I met a patient called “Big Ed” who had reversed his inoperable coronary artery blockages by changing his diet and taking supplements he bought in a health food store.’

This top heart surgeon was so impressed that he changed his diet, started taking different supplements and wrote a Yale University Thesis about it. And the obese cardiologist lost 50 lbs in the first year and then another 20. ‘I have kept off those 70 lbs for 20 years now,’ he says.

Over the last half of the 20th century, mapping the human genome was believed to be the open sesame to treating disease of all kinds. But, as Dr Gundry discovered from a growing volume of research, there has been a paradigm shift in scientific thinking. ‘The answer to living and ageing well lies in the trillions of bacteria in our bodies.’

Over the last 20 years, Dr Gundry has published papers showing that ‘most chronic diseases begin with a leaky gut and can be cured by eliminating certain foods in our diet, plus lifestyle choices’.

His recent best-selling book The Longevity Paradox delves deep into the role of these evolutionary organisms. Dr Gundry quotes a paper published in the leading science journal Nature in 2018, which supports his contention that gut bacteria directly influence the state of health of every part of your body, from your skin to your hormones to your cellular energy levels.

More than that, the state of your gut bugs plays a huge role in helping to defend you against the diseases of ageing, from neuro-inflammatory conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, to heart disease and cancer. Keeping your gut bugs happy can also reduce the symptoms of arthritis and other joint aches and pains.

This list is literally endless,’ says Dr Gundry. ‘I am continually amazed at what can be changed with diet and lifestyle choices.’ 

What’s also recognised today is the information superhighway between the gut and the brain (the gut/brain axis). The gut is often called our second brain but, according to Dr Gundry, it’s really the one in charge. So problems affecting our minds are often responding to the state of our gut bugs. Dr Gundry explains that ‘There is now increasing evidence that anxiety and depression are driven by an altered microbiome, so we see a lot of reversal of these conditions [ie anxiety and depression] as well.’ 

I wrote about other pioneers in this exciting scientific arena recently, here.

According to psychiatrist and leading researcher Professor Ted Dinan of University College Cork, ‘we are witnessing a paradigm shift in neuroscience that could revolutionise the way we prevent and treat mental health problems and neuropsychiatric conditions’. Professor Dinan’s work centres on how these ‘moody microbes’ influence depression and other stress-related disorders.

Getting your gut bugs balanced also seems to balance people’s weight issues. ‘Weight loss is a pleasant side effect of this program but, equally, chronically underweight patients gain weight and energy,’ says Dr Gundry. Sleep apnoea, which is strongly linked to overweight and obesity, usually reverses, he says.

Dr Gundry has seen the effect in his close family. ‘About a year and a half ago, I asked my oldest daughter and her husband to change their diet, not for me but for the future of my young grandchildren. Wow, did that work! They each lost over 50 pounds and my daughter’s chronic headaches and depression cleared. The kids are thriving as well.’

How to look after your gut

There are two priorities in looking after your gut bacteria. First, keep the good bugs happy and get rid of the bad ones. And second, keep the gut lining strong so the bugs stay in their place. Leaky gut (aka intestinal permeability), where the bad bugs get into the bloodstream and whiz around your body creating havoc, is at the heart of most of the common diseases of ageing, says Dr Gundry.

The most important nutrients are prebiotics. These are the fibres and sugars that feed the good gut bugs. So, feast on great sources of prebiotics such as radicchio, chicory, Belgian endive (a close relation to chicory), garlic, yams (sweet potatoes), onions of all kinds, leeks, Savoy cabbage, apples, Jerusalem artichokes, chickpeas, lentils, red kidney beans, baked beans, soy beans, bananas, watermelon, grapefruit, ground flaxseed, almonds and pistachios. Also consider a supplement of inulin such as Lepicol.

Eat lots of greens and avocadoes, limit animal protein and use lots of olive oil on everything. ‘The only purpose of food is to get olive oil in your mouth’ is Dr Gundry’s favourite saying.

Treat yourself to very dark chocolate and good black coffee. They’re full of polyphenols – micronutrients found in certain plants that are full of antioxidants with all the health benefits those bring.

Say goodbye to all grains except millet and sorghum. In general avoid gluten free products as they tend to have more sugar.

Limit fruit, also fruit juices and smoothies (particularly from children) because of the amount of sugar they contain. Compare an apple and a glass of apple juice. The whole fruit will take you five to ten minutes to eat and contains valuable fibre as well as nutrients. A glass of apple juice is gone in a trice, contains sugar from about four/five apples and no fibre.

Choose organic vegetables and foods as much as possible to limit your exposure to glyphosate. ‘This herbicide is massively destroying our gut and our microbiome,’ warns Dr Gundry.

Space your meals. Dr Gundry is a supporter of time-restricted eating – where you give your body time to recover between its digestive duties. Many experts now recommend a window of 12 hours or more between your last meal in the evening and the first one next day.

Eat your evening meal early. Try to eat your final meal of the day three to four hours before bedtime at least once or twice a week, says Dr Gundry, to allow your brain to ‘wash out’ impurities. (I find eating earlier and lighter makes me sleep much better by the way; high tea anyone?)

Supplement with vitamin D3 and omega-3 essential fatty acids These are the two supplements everyone should take. Pharmacist Shabir Daya recommends BetterYou DLux 3000 spray and Lion Heart Pure Omega 3 Fish Oil.

Dr Gundry also recommends grape seed extract, methylB12 and methylfolate. Shabir suggests Solgar Grape Seed Extract, Jarrow Formulas Methyl B-12 and Solgar Folate.

Supplements for Veganuary

Selection of veg in dirt on grey background

I’m 100 per cent in favour of plant-based diets but it’s indisputable that vegan diets – and some vegetarian ones – can lack essential nutrients including vitamin B12, omega-3 essential fatty acids, iodine, selenium, iron and also vitamin D (although most people, vegan or not, have sub-optimal levels during the winter).

The Vegan Society has a very useful ‘Nutrition Overview’ section here, with contributions from dietitians.

Cultures such as Indian Jains have consumed a completely vegetarian, non-animal diet for millennia, following their philosophy of non-violence. Jains also avoids root vegetables because of the potential for harming tiny creatures in the soil. It may seem very limited and boring but I had personal experience of this for some time with Jains’ friends and can vouch for its deliciousness and nutritional value. So it’s worth looking online for Jain blogs with recipes.

The Vegan Society offers its own VEG1 supplement. Alternatively, pharmacist Shabir Daya suggests taking BetterYou Vegan Health Daily Oral Spray, which has been formulated to deliver four essential nutrients (B12, D3, iodine and iron) straight into the blood stream, bypassing the gut where they might get lost. £14.95 for 25ml, dose four sprays daily.

Shabir also recommends taking an omega-3 supplement, but beware here as few plant sources provide an efficient means of converting their fatty acids into EPA and DHA, the key omega-3s. However echium seed oil gives vegans a source of Omega-3 that’s as efficient as fish oil. The product is called Echiomega by Igennus, £13.99 for 60 capsules, dose for adults and children over ten is 2-4 capsules daily.

Finally, a note for those who want to follow a gluten-free vegan diet. Many years ago, before I discovered I was sensitive to gluten, I became pretty ill following a vegan diet. Now there is much more knowledge about this problem and many more options, including recipes on BBC Good Food. We still eat a lot of veggie food so I’m off to try the lentil ragu with courgetti.

And the wonderful Jasmine Hemsley ( has a whole section on Diving into Veganuary from last year. Winter Sunset Soup with ginger, cumin and rosemary, anyone?

January Newsletter

2020 wrote with flowers on pink background

So here we are. January 2020. A new decade and the first newsletter of the year, where I am not writing about resolutions (because the Beauty Bible girls are doing that) and the word ‘detox’ is banned, basically because I can think of nothing worse than detoxification in the cold and grey. No, no, we are not going there, instead we are going to gently ease ourselves in with some new product launches and some thought-provoking feature articles.

But more than that, it has become more and more apparent that simplicity is key and I’ll run that through both health and beauty. We love the ‘new’ and we are deeply respectful of scientific research and development. So start getting excited about the word ‘Sulforaphane’ because we are about to do another hugely important health launch to kick off the decade. As you do.

Before I get to Sulforaphane and all that it is, I just want to say that the mission is, and always has been, to support niche brands and to help make a positive difference to each of you. I don’t really mind how it comes, with products, with words, with thoughts, just as long as it comes. And it will. But before we go forward, we need to go back and we do so by taking a look at some of the biggest health and beauty trends of the last decade:

The Biggest Health and Beauty Trends of The Past Decade

As we slide into 2020, we take a look back over the trends and movements that have shaped the Twenty-Tens. Over the past ten years, wellness has come into its own with more of us becoming increasingly conscious of what we are putting onto our skin and into our bodies.

Discernment is all and inevitably there have been plenty of micro-trends and fads that have failed to break through, but some of the biggest innovations and movements, such as powerful skincare ingredients and gut health, will continue to help shape our approach to health and beauty.
VH Editorial: The Biggest Health and Beauty Trends of The Decade

The Stress Epidemic

It is thought that we check our phones every 12 minutes and although smartphones can’t be solely blamed for the ongoing stress epidemic that took hold in the Twenty-Tens, they played a big role, together with social media, for heightening stress levels, with no sign of abatement.

I am not going to do another one of my rants about the abusive and bullying nature of social media, because there are some good sides to social, albeit the balance seriously needs addressing in my humble opinion. However, with stress and anxiety comes sleep issues and with that, let’s now take a look at three products, which we believe go a long way in helping overcome stress and sleep issues:

Herbal Sleep PM

Herbal Sleep PM is a scientifically-based herbal formulation which helps promote healthy sleep. On the packaging it states, ‘without using melatonin’, so let me just say a few words about melatonin:

Melatonin is a hormone known for its sleep-promoting properties. Melatonin is legal in the US and as this is an American brand it can make a ‘without melatonin’ statement because of its relevance. That relevance is that many do not like supplementing with melatonin and I get that. Melatonin is banned for OTC (over-the-counter) products in the UK, and although it can be obtained on prescription, on a personal note, I wouldn’t take it and neither would I take DHEA, the mother hormone that is also banned for OTC products in the UK.

So the formulation. It combines lemon balm and Honokiol, which is from magnolia bark, both of which are blended with the chamomile compound apigenin to help calm the mind and help promote high-quality sleep throughout the night. The dosage is one capsule to be taken 30-60 minutes before bedtime, although it can be increased to two capsules if needed. And dream.
Herbal Sleep PM £20 for 30 Vegetarian Capsules

Altitude Bath Soak by de Mamiel – Limited Edition

Many of you are familiar with Annee de Mamiel’s Altitude Oil, the magnificent, bestselling product that is blended with a range of powerful, antibacterial, antiviral and antiseptic ingredients which helps protect the immune system whilst flying or in the confines of public transport.

We love it because is also helps clear your head and is great for colds and sinus congestion. And now we have something else to love, Annee’s Altitude Bath Soak.

I was so excited when I discovered Annee had blended a bath soak and even more so when she told me the following; in her words:

Designed to help the body re-establish equilibrium when it feels out of balance, the Altitude Bath Soak is the ideal antidote to non-stop days. An extension of the uplifting inhalation essence Altitude Oil, this triple salt blend helps to ease stress, hydrates and nourishes the skin and fortifies the body and mind to restore energy levels’.

The triple salts are Himalayan Salts, Epsom Salts and Dead Sea Salts, which are blended with essential oils and Shungite Crystal Powder, which, according to Annee, helps to prevent the build-up of the electromagnetic energy absorbed through excessive use of devices – put those phones down is what I say and think!

Anyway, what you need to know is that Altitude Bath Soak is a Limited Edition; it looks beautiful, but then it is beautiful. And the other thing is that we don’t have many. Limited is just that, limited. Severely.
Altitude Bath Soak £42 for 400 grams; Altitude Oil £30 for 10 ml


I could not complete this section without mentioning Neurophroline, which is the third product recommended under the heading of ‘The Stress Epidemic’.

I know, I know, I can’t stop talking about it, but neither can Lisa Armstrong who mentioned it yet again in The Telegraph over the festive season. The thing is that there is nothing like Neurophroline to help take the stress out of our skin. It is such an important skincare ingredient that it will probably be on every newsletter this year. If you’ve got it, flaunt it, and seriously nothing comes close to the efficacy of Neurophroline in this category. And when and if something does, I will tell you.

Just by way of reminder, Shabir and Lisa’s articles are below and if we are talking about articles, these were two of the most read articles last year, only eclipsed by Nigella’s love letter to us in The Sunday Times, which I’ll probably be talking about forever. Such is.
Neurophroline Serum £18 for 30 ml; VH Editorial: Stress Ages Our Skin; The Miracle £18 Serum That Promises To Streamline Your Skincare Regime by Lisa Armstrong

The Incredible Benefits of Broccoli Sprouts – Broc On

Right, let’s do this launch. It’s huge, it’s powerful, the research and development is awesome and I hereby declare this to be ‘The Year of the Broccoli Shots’ as I introduce you to Broc On.

So let’s start at the beginning. We all know that eating vegetables is a healthy choice and they provide profound benefits to the body. However, numerous studies indicate that only one in ten of us actually achieves the recommended daily intake of approximately 800 grams a day of fruit and vegetables.

Whilst all types of vegetables are beneficial, there is one group that scientists believe contribute significantly to overall health due to their unique nutritional content and that is the Brassica family. Commonly known as cruciferous vegetables, these include broccoli, Brussel sprouts, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, radish and turnips.

Aside from their nutritional content, scientists have discovered a compound that makes these vegetables so vitally important. That compound is called Sulforaphane (also called SFN), which I mentioned at the top of this newsletter. And what a compound it is. It has been dubbed as ‘the miracle molecule’ and we believe it more than lives up to that name.

Sulforaphane is one of the most important phytonutrients to have been discovered over the past 30 years. Paul Talalay, an esteemed researcher at John Hopkins, first realized Sulforaphane’s potential in 1992. Sulforaphane can be obtained from cruciferous vegetables, notably broccoli sprouts and kale sprouts, but it does not exist in any meaningful quantities within the actual vegetable.

Sulforaphane is created from two very specific compounds, myrosinase and glucoraphanin, found in different parts of the vegetable and when the vegetable is chopped, blended or chewed, the two compounds react with each other to produce Sulforaphane. Broccoli sprouts, Kale sprouts and Daikon sprouts contain the highest concentration of the precursors required to make Sulforaphane.

Since the discovery of Sulforaphane, there have been over 1700 studies indicating the extensive health benefits of SFN across a wide variety of diseases and concerns, which Shabir fully explores in his article linked below; they include heart health, brain health, cell mutation and liver function.

So with a welcoming tra-la-la, I give you Broc On powered by Sulforaphane. Cutting edge, organic and convenient, this is the totally natural way of getting a daily dose of Sulforaphane from broccoli, kale and daikon sprouts. These three sources of sprouts are non-GMO and grown hydroganically in a carefully controlled environment. Once harvested, the sprouts are dried and milled into powder on the same day to retain their active compounds.

We believe this to be the most-advanced broccoli sprout supplement currently on the market. As an emerging trend, there is a great big ‘broccolli shot-movement’ going on in Australia; we are about to join in here and it will cost about £2.50 a day. Potentially, another life-changing and life-enhancing product? Yep, I think so. Follow the zeitgeist if you can.
VH Editorial: The Incredible Benefits of Broccoli SproutsBroc On by BrocShots £75 for 30 Shots

Pro Pore Refiner by Sarah Chapman

If you are a regular reader of these newsletters, then you will know that I flipped with delight when we released Sarah’s Pro Hydro-Mist Steamer last year because I am hugely into steaming out the grime on my face. Not a lot makes me happier. And now another fabulous game to play as I invite you to join me in owning Sarah’s Pro Pore Refiner. The name of the product is enough to make me smile quite honestly.

So let me tell you about it. The triple-action Pro-Pore Refiner carefully prepares and deeply cleanses polluted pores and congested skin. Its advanced three-step power programme mimics professional clinical extraction methods for controlled blackhead removal.

The entire procedure (cleanse, massage, extract) lasts for six minutes, two minutes per step. It begins with Thermo-Therapy and ionic cleansing (yellow light) to help open pores. Thermo-therapy and ultrasonic vibrations (blue light) in step two are used to warm and manipulate the skin, helping to loosen blockages and congestion further. The final step (my most favourite) is extraction. The deep joy of the suction nozzle gliding over my skin is almost too much for me. Reminiscent of hoovering my skin, I am in skincare heaven.

So this is what I do: I cleanse, I steam, I pore refine and I finish off with the product that I actually should have given an award to on the December newsletter, Pore Cleaning Powder. My brain must surely have been malfunctioning at the time, but never mind that, its brilliance rocks on and it is the perfect ending to this ritual.

There is of course the urge to do this every day, but I don’t and I don’t recommend you do either. Twice a week is sufficient, pushed to three times a week for the sheer thrill of it all. Investment skincare, yes of course!
Pro Pore Refiner £128; Pro Hydro-Mist Steamer £119; Pore Cleaning Powder by GoW for VH £12 for 50 grams

Trinny and Shabir – A Double Dose

Two new videos from Trinny and Shabir, the first is all about memory loss, which is one of the most common fears that people have as they age. Together they look at steps to help boost brain power, covering subjects such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. Rather than write reams, this video is supported by Shabir’s notes where he recommends both B12 and Limitless Plus, a nootropic, amongst other things.
Trinny and Shabir: Sluggish Brain Video; VH Editorial: Sluggish BrainBoost B12 Oral Spray £11.95 for 25 ml; Limitless Plus £32 for 60 Capsules

The second video went live on Boxing Day and it was all about Shabir and Trinny’s tips if you had overdone it on Christmas Day. Well, we are well past that now, but the video lives on because it’s not only that one day when we can overdo it; it’s relevant whenever you have had one of those days/nights and we’ll leave it that.

Anyway, my one and only claim to fame through all of this is that Trinny was wearing my jumper on the second video. Please don’t even ask. I’m still recovering from the fact that it looks far better on her than it does on me.
Trinny and Shabir: Hangover Cures Video

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar is never too far from the news, which is no surprise as this is perhaps one of the most chronicled natural remedies, with its various uses documented throughout history. The health benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar are well-founded and arise as a result of its source, apples. Apples not only contain vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, but are also a great source of fibre and have virtually no fat or sodium.

As I so often write, not all supplements are created equally and this is certainly true of Apple Cider Vinegar. We always recommend Organic Apple Cider Vinegar by Higher Nature because it contains the ‘mother’ substance from organic applies, which have not been grown using pesticides or insecticides.

However, there are some who cannot stand the ‘acquired’ taste of Apple Cider Vinegar, so for those we would recommend Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies, which taste good and are also infused with superfoods, such as pomegranate and beetroot. For the full low-down on the health and beauty benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar, Shabir’s article is linked below.
VH Editorial: The Health and Beauty Benefits of Apple Cider VinegarApple Cider Vinegar Gummies by Goli Nutrition £15 for 60 Gummies; Organic Apple Cider Vinegar by Higher Nature £7.50 for 350 ml

More Gummies

A new range of gummies for children. They are from America, where they are amongst the bestselling vitamins formulated for children. Chapter One Gummies are designed to help ease children into taking vitamins. They taste delicious, they look good and they are fun. They are also vegan and certified kosher.

There are seven variants in the range: Bones Gummies; Fibre Gummies; Immunity Gummies, Multi Gummies, Omega 3 Gummies, Vitamin C Gummies and Vitamin D3 Gummies. Each pot of Gummies are £15 and you get 60 in each pot. The recommended dose is one gummie per day and Shabir thinks they are excellent formulations.

Meanwhile, I’ve had them on my desk and I can’t stop eating them – I’ve dubbed them as my healthy sweets. Being generous I dole them out, except when I arrive with my pot at Shabir’s desk he looks at me as if I’m mad. Who cares. I am. Anyway, these are great.
Chapter One Gummies £15 each


As most of us know, life so often throws curves at us when we least expect them. The repercussions are varied, but they can be harrowing to the point that we cannot cope and we reach out for help. The incredible work of the Samaritans is well documented, but there are times when a deeper insight gives each of us a further understanding of how important it is to listen.

Having trained as a Samaritan, Sue Peart, the former editor of The Mail on Sunday YOU magazine, tells her story. I implore you to read this as it is a story about trauma, tragedy, the loss of identity and the garnering of the strength and courage needed to overcome adversity. One of the most important aspects for me is that even if you are surrounded by friends and family, you can still feel isolated and alone. That much I know.

On 20th January, Samaritans is launching ‘Brew Monday’, an initiative encouraging people to reach out to others who may be lonely. All you need is a kettle, a teabag or two and a couple of mugs. As Sue writes, such a small act of kindness can make a huge difference to someone when they need it the most. There but for the grace of God, go I.
Samaritans by Sue Peart

Supplements To Take In Your 40s

Continuing through the decades, we have now reached the 40s and this is where Shabir takes a look at what he believes are the most important supplements to take.

Inevitably, he writes about Sage Complex, mostly because he has always believed that most women over the age of 35 should take this supplement. Probiotics, multi-vitamins and bone health are also on his list. I am absolutely convinced he would have included Broc-On as well, but he wrote this before Broc-On made an appearance. I would ask him to re-write, but I don’t need eye-rolling scenarios before the year has barely begun.
VH Editorial: Supplements To Take In Your 40sSage Complex £25 for 90 Capsules; Mega Probiotic ND £19.50 for 60 Capsules; Bone Restore with Vitamin K2 £23 for 120 Capsules

Florassist Mood – Name Change

I suppose we should be grateful that Florassist Mood hasn’t gone to product heaven, but it has had a name and formulation change, so I thought I had better keep you updated as this is such a bestselling product. Actually it deserves to be.

Florassist Mood, with the wave of a wand (magic or otherwise), now becomes Florassist Mood Improve. So that’s one extra word and one extra ingredient, which would be saffron. It is thought that extracts of saffron may exert a mood elevating effect by helping to increase levels of certain chemicals in the brain, including serotonin. Studies have indicated its effectiveness in helping to alleviate the symptoms of stress, anxiety and mild depression. Improvement approved.
Florassist Mood Improve £25 for 30 Capsules

Iron 10 Daily Oral Spray

Another new product from the immaculate Better You, who are certainly living up to ‘The Excellence in Health Products’ award I bequeathed upon their heads in the VH Awards.

Delivering 10 mg of iron per four sprays, Iron 10 Daily Oral Spray has been scientifically formulated to deliver iron directly into the bloodstream, bypassing primary processing by the gut. These tiny droplets absorb quickly into the buccal membrane of the inner cheek, providing fast, effective nutrient uptake.

We have always believed that certain traditional routes of iron supplementation are notoriously known to cause digestive discomfort as iron is known to be an irritant to the digestive tract. Iron oral spray avoids these issues and contributes to the normal function of the immune system, supporting cognitive function and helping with the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.

There are groups of people who are especially susceptible to iron deficiency and these are thought to be those with malabsorption issues, pregnant women, women who have heavy periods, athletes and people following vegetarian or vegan diets. Each spray contains 32 daily doses of iron supplementation.
VH Editorial: Iron Tablets – Who Needs Them?Iron 10 Daily Oral Spray by Better You £14.95 for 25 ml

Pure Gold Elixir For Feet by Margaret Dabbs

I don’t really know how to tell you that this product is £85. So there, I’ve said it really quickly and because I am a huge fan of Margaret Dabbs, and have been for several years, it would be somewhat remiss of me not to write about it.

Taken from Margaret Dabbs’ notes, because quite honestly I really don’t know what to write, they say it is their most treasured formula to date, infused with premium Colloidal Gold. They continue by saying that harnessing the benefits of this precious metal, it is blended with Buriti, Calendula and Hempseed.

It has been formulated to transform the feet with powerful anti-inflammatory and restorative qualities, it is scented with Bergamot and Petitgrain and is housed in an antique gold, recyclable glass bottle.

I am currently running a private sweepstake as to how many we will sell. A couple of close friends have a vested interest in this because they are longing to use it on their feet. I also have a vested interest, which is more or less all about Shabir’s face if I’m wrong.
Pure Gold Elixir For Feet by Margaret Dabbs £85 for 200 ml

Newsletter Feedback

Please indulge me as I say a few things about the December newsletter, which of course incorporated the VH Awards. Your response was so amazing and the Fulvic Face Cream dream goes on, which inevitably led to yet another wait list, so much so I think I hyper-ventilated my way through the first part of December. But that’s what happens when most of us are on the same skincare regime, Neurophroline, Fulvic Face and Super Bakuchiol.
Fulvic Face Cream £30 for 60 ml; Neurophroline Serum £18 for 30 ml; Super Bakuchiol Serum £15 for 30 ml

Let’s talk about Spacemasks. It was so easy giving an award to Spacemasks for so many different reasons, but mostly because they remain as brilliant as the day they were created. They also happened to be one of the bestselling products from the newsletter and the stakes and competition were extraordinarily high. That said, it certainly wiped the floor for drama.

The drama came from the brilliant Harriet Inglis, founder of Spacemasks. She was so overcome with her award that she went on one of her channels (IGTV I think) where she proceeded to wax lyrical about it for at least five minutes, actually I think it may have been more. She is one of the best things about social media, she is hilariously funny and Harriet darling, did you have a glass or two of champagne before recording your thing! Do follow her. And if you do, you may need to lie in a darkened room with a Spacemask over your eyes after a session or two. Humour in all things.
Spacemasks £15 for Five Masks

Three Things

I can’t remember exactly when we launched Nannette de Gaspe’s fabulous skincare products, but what I remember vividly is that fact that I gave hero status to Essence Noir Polish. How I loved this product, and actually I still do, but within the shortest time, the bestselling product in the range developed an inherent issue. The packaging was flawed and it wouldn’t pump properly.

I wanted to die. Why did it have to be that product. Why, God, why! But it was and so, like everybody else, I untwisted the lid and didn’t use the defective pump. See that’s the thing with pumps, high-end, low-end, airless or otherwise, they all give problems. Anyway, I know it’s long after the event, but Essence Noir Polish now comes in a tube. Glory be as this triple-action physical, chemical and enzymatic product, formulated to remove expired skin cells, re-enters our bathrooms.
Essence Noir Polish by Nannette de Gaspe £80 for 125 ml

My love of cleansers is well-documented, what is also well-documented is that I have a wardrobe of cleansers in my bathroom, varying their use dependent upon how my skin feels and looks. One of my most-loved is Balm-Gel Cleanser by Harborist, which we launched for and on behalf of the fabulous Kate Porter, who just happened to be a customer of long-standing.

There is nothing like keeping things in the VH family, and after what seems to have a forever-wait, Kate has just released her second product, Moisture Restore Rich. The wait was worthwhile and once again it fully conforms to Kate’s ‘modus operandi’ of creating products for super-sensitive reactive skin and I’m one of those people.

Moisture Restore Rich is a concentrated blend of hydrators and barrier restoring lipids which bring comfort to dry, stressed skin. It has a rich gel-like texture that absorbs effortlessly, giving a smooth, soft finish. It is enhanced with cell-protecting glucosides and omega-5 rich pomegranate seed extract. It is fragrance free (hallelujah – no essential oils) and is vegan-friendly.

I know that so many of you are now using Fulvic Face Cream, but Kate is very special, her products are very special and this product is truly spectacular, and I don’t say that too often about moisturisers. I am currently using Fulvic Face in the morning and Moisture Restore Rich in the evening.

If ever I wanted a brand to be truly recognized for all that it is, Harborist would be that brand and Kate Porter would be that person. Can we do it please because I’m sick and tired of brands writing ‘for sensitive skins’ across their products when they are blatantly not. Another mission in a long line of them.
Moisture Restore Rich £45 for 50 ml; Balm-Gel Cleanser £25 for 100 ml both by Harborist

We have had a lot of emails recently about issues around the eye area, which include idiopathic eczema patches, psoriasis and itchy and dry skin. If this sounds familiar, we recommend the use of Dry Eye Gel containing cardiospermum, which is safe to use on eyelids and alleviates dryness that often accompanies these concerns due to inflammation. On the subject of eyes, so many accolades for Eye Contour Serum. It remains one of our bestselling eye products, not least because Shabir formulated it for himself.
Dry Eye Gel £8.95 for 15 ml; Eye Contour Serum by GoW for VH £18 for 30 ml

VH Editorial

We love a New Year, write the Beauty Bible girls. A completely clean sheet of paper, even more so with a new decade ahead of us. New Year is famously a time of re-evaluation, casting off the old, embracing the new. A time of good intentions, but also realistic goals, amongst which Sarah and Jo implore us to try a ‘beauty dare’ once a month. Cripes!
New Year’s Beauty Resolutions by Beauty Bible

At the dawn of a new decade, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all be a bit more nurturing, a little kinder, less divisive, asks Carolyn Asome. Try baby steps if you’re feeling bah-humbug at this time of year ….. nurturing and nourishing also comes from being part of a community, which is something that crops up repeatedly in many interviews and conversations.
The Age of Nurturing by Carolyn Asome

According to 2020 trend reports, hair ‘wellness’ is the next big thing we need to be aware of. Just like skin can reflect how healthy your insides are, so too can hair and that is why more and more supplements are popping up. Becci Vallis investigates.
How ‘Well’ Is Your Hair by Becci Vallis

Mostly we bumble through life getting stuff done. It’s only when something big happens – the loss of someone close to us, a scary health diagnosis, getting fired – that we tend to re-assess life. And, says Jo Fairley, as I know in my heart of hearts, it matters to take time for self-reflection. Jo takes a look at how to do it and what worked for her.
The Importance of Self-Reflection by Jo Fairley

The End Bit

And so we come to the end of the first newsletter of the year and the decade. More than anything, the one thing that truly matters is that we all come together. The ‘community’ that Carolyn so eloquently wrote about is so needed for each of us to try and uphold our sense of being.

As so many of you know, I have always thought of VH as a very special collective of like-minded people. It is also an open platform and if I live long enough (please give me the strength) to see our new site go live, I will wholeheartedly support and nurture this, most especially with the brilliant journalists who no longer have a platform. Their voices must be heard.

More than anything, I will continue to make a stand for everything that I and we believe in and that includes cutting through the minefield of confliction that belies the health and beauty industry. You see the thing is, I don’t really care how far I take it because all that matters is the truth. One day, the book!

So all that remains is for me, together with Shabir, Lara and the entire VH team, to wish each of you a happy and healthy 2020.

With love

Gill x

The Incredible Benefits Of Broccoli Sprouts

Fresh Broccoli Stems

We all know that eating vegetables is a healthy choice and provide profound benefits to the body. Unfortunately, numerous studies indicate that only one in ten of us actually achieves the recommended daily intake of approximately 800 grams a day of a mixture of fruits and vegetables.

Whilst all types of vegetables are going to be beneficial, there is one group that scientists believe contribute significantly to overall health due to their unique nutrition content – the Brassica family; commonly known as cruciferous vegetables. These include broccoli, Brussel sprouts, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, radish and turnips.

Aside from their nutritional content, scientists have found a compound that makes these vegetables so important called Sulforaphane (also called SFN). Read More…

Sluggish Brain: Trinny and Shabir


Between work, home life, social life and just about everything that we pack into our schedules, it is not surprising that our brains are literally burnt out often resulting in brain fog or mental fatigue. Memory loss is one of the most common fears that people have as they get older, so together with Trinny, I am going to look at steps to boost brain power and hopefully protect your memory from fading.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s

We tend to use the terms interchangeably however they are different. It is normal to have some memory lapses however in the case of dementia, this affects one’s ability to carry out everyday tasks such as driving, cooking, shopping and so on.

A normal person may forget where they put their keys sometimes however someone with dementia may forget where they put their keys frequently and may even forget what keys are used for.

Dementia is defined as a clinical syndrome that may result from a number of diseases including Alzheimer’s. It is diagnosed as impairment of at least two functions carried out by the brain, for example an inability to comprehend or verbalise language and form short term memories.

In Alzheimer’s, nerve cells are lost in the hippocampus which is the learning and memory centre. So the reasons for Alzheimer’s are very specific which include some of the reasons mentioned below. Aside from Alzheimer’s, dementia may also be caused by damage to the blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the nerve cells in the brain and this is termed vascular dementia.

It is important to realise in most cases, dementia is not genetic.

There are many reasons for memory loss which include stress, ageing, head injuries, too much information in one go and a hormonal connection, due to high cortisol levels.

It is theorised that as we get older, plaques develop in between nerve cells that disturb the signals of nerve impulses. Another thing that occurs is that the nerves get tangled so that sometimes signals are transmitted to the wrong set of nerves causing confusion. This is all linked to one thing – inflammation.

So what can we do about this?

First and foremost is the fact that what you eat matters. A UCLA study found that the Mediterranean diet is one of the main lifestyle factors that could help to prevent the brain from developing toxic plaques and tangles that are associated with age related decline in memory. (plaque is composed of a toxic protein called beta-amyloid in between nerve cells that prevents transmission of nerve impulses)

The Mediterranean diet includes fresh fruits and vegetables, olive oil, nuts and seeds, consuming fish, especially oily fish, and eating meat ideally only once a week. You could equally call it the anti-inflammatory diet since inflammation is a known culprit for many things within our bodies.

Equally, this diet provides sustained energy from medium chain triglycerides found in oily fish, olive oils and also from complex carbs that sustain physical and mental energy.

The same study at UCLA also found that those who were undertaking exercise on a regular basis had the lowest levels of plaque and tangles. More studies need to be performed to find out if one type of exercise is better than another, however the important thing is to undertake some form of exercise regularly.

Further tips to enhance memory and concentration

Feeding the brain – we have already talked about the Mediterranean diet and adding some of the foods we mentioned such as avocados, olive oil, nuts and seeds should be of benefit in improving blood flow to the brain, will help form structural components of brain cells and may protect your brain from ageing and damage.

Dehydration – it is absolutely imperative that we hydrate our bodies. The brain tissues contain 73% water so that the type and quantity of fluid that we consume can be just an important. Studies indicate that a 2% decrease in hydration levels can greatly affect memory and attention.

Resting your brain – it is absolutely important that you get adequate sleep. During sleep, your brain consolidates memories, removes toxic debris and repairs itself. A lack of sleep will affect attention, memory and concentration. Try to aim for between seven and nine hours; if you have difficulty sleeping then try using a supplement such as Cherry Night powder or the new Herbal Sleep PM.

Exercise – as mentioned earlier, physical exercise raises the levels of a protein that stimulates the production of new brain cells and nerve connections. We know the virtues of walking, for example, which often increases vitality and enthusiasm whilst lowering tension and fatigue.

Brain exercises – just as the body benefits from exercise, so does the brain. Brain training programs, acronyms, mnemonics (patterns of letters, words, shapes etc) are all useful as is meditation.

Focusing your brain – this might be the most overlooked way of improving your memory. It is rare for someone to focus on one task only – people are often distracted by telephones, computers and are often multi-tasking.

Cleansing your brain – if you smoke, think about a cessation program because the toxins from this can damage your brain cells.

Consider Vitamin B12 supplements

A surprising common reason for mental fog and memory problems is vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 is required for healthy brain function and to repair the sheaths surrounding the nerves. As we age, we lose the protein in the stomach called intrinsic factor which transports vitamin b12 from the intestines into the bloodstream resulting in deficiencies.

It is recommended that you get your B12 levels checked especially if you are over the age of 50. A supplement with sublingual forms such as Methyl B12 lozenges or B12 Boost Spray may help. These forms by-pass the GI tract delivering B12 straight into the bloodstream.

Consider a nootropic

Nootropics are a buzzword for a range of drugs, nutrients and herbs that can help improve our attention, memory, recall and other brain functions.

Theoretically there are many things that could be termed nootropics such as caffeine (helps concentration temporarily but after that you often get a slump). This has led to the creation of a definition of a nootropic.

Definition of a Nootropic

The idea that a drug or a herb may improve your intelligence, or improve your memory, may seem like science fiction, but scientists are working on new compounds that can help enhance various functions carried out by the brain.

When you look at nootropics, you will note that there are actually many herbs and nutrients ( as many as 80 synthetic compounds and natural ones) that may work in different ways to either help protect the brain or help provide fuel for the cells in the brain to work efficiently or have an effect on the production of neurotransmitters by the brain.

Typical examples include Ginkgo biloba, Turmeric and Sage Leaf which all work in varying ways and so many manufacturers tend to use a combination of vitamins and herbs together as a brain boosting supplement – one such supplement is Neubria’s Spark for Memory.

Many people refer to nootropics as smart drugs, which is wrong. Smart drugs are basically stimulants that are prescribed usually for ADHD or sleeping disorders such as Ritalin, amphetamines and other classes of drugs. In a healthy individual they will provide intense short-term focus without providing any other benefits to the brain and used regularly they are not without side effects because they can increase blood pressure, cause a fast heart rate and so on.

Synthetic nootropics belong to a class of compounds called the racetams such as piracetam. There is still debate over whether these compounds actually help to provide any long-term benefits and they are not without side effects, which can include headaches, dizziness, nausea and so on.

The nootropic that I favour is called Limitless Plus – this contains:

A very specific extract derived from the non-GMO tomato fruit called Noomato. We know that the tomato fruit is rich in vitamins such as C and A as well as containing a broad range of antioxidants most notably lycopene. Lycopene is a potent anti-inflammatory so this helps to ensure healthy processing of information at the synapses. The anti-inflammatory properties also help to protect our nerve cells from degradation.

Neumentix is included in the formulation and is a specific extract from non-GMO spearmint. Spearmint contains over 50 different types of antioxidants including rosmarinic acid which protect the cells from oxidative damage. It is also thought that it may enhance acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in learning and memory. It is understood that this chemical is deficient in those with dementia.

Limitless Plus fits the definition of a true nootropic and provides both short-term and long-term benefits. It is ideal for anyone that needs short term concentration for exams and also for anyone who is worried about brain function and does not wish to take pharmaceuticals.