About Shabir Daya

Shabir Daya is the in-house pharmacist at Victoria Health

Posts by Shabir Daya

How Does Sleep Affect Your Skin?


According to new research, the average Brit regularly survives on less than six hours of sleep a night. Most of us are well-versed with the implications of not getting sufficient sleep, including daytime fatigue, irritability and a shorter concentration span. Studies have also solidified the link the between a lack of sleep and weight gain. The impact on our skin is rarely talked about.

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. While we sleep our body goes into repair-mode and heals, restores and eliminates toxins from our skin. It gives the term ‘beauty sleep’ a whole new meaning.

How does a lack of sleep affect skin’s appearance?

Dull-looking skin: A lack of sleep raises your cortisol levels, which in turn increases inflammation in your body. Inflammation is one of the biggest underlying skin issues and if it’s constant can lead to pigmentation, increased sensitivity, rosacea and premature ageing.

Cortisol breaks down the proteins that keep your skin smooth and radiant. It is the flight or fight hormone and it sends blood to your muscles rather than to your skin. This deprives your skin of oxygen and vital nutrients, which leaves it looking dull, ashy and blotchy.

Incorporating massage into your skincare routine when you cleanse with your fingers or a tool, such as Beauty Restorer, will help boost your circulation and ease this inflammation.

Dry skin: The increased inflammation due to the cortisol can also break down the tiny lipids, known as ceramides, which hold the skin cells together and create a protective layer to retain nutrients and water. This break down can result in the dehydration, which can lead to dryness.

Your body also works to rehydrate and balance moisture levels whilst you sleep, but this can falter if you’re not getting enough sleep. Replenishing your body’s hyaluronic acid levels with supplements and a serum will help fend off dry skin if you’re unable to get a full night’s sleep regularly.

Puffy eyes and dark circles: As mentioned previously, water balance occurs whilst your sleep so cutting this sleep time could 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 the dilation of the blood vessels in the under-eye area can result in deeper tint. In darker complexions this is more pronounced since you already have more pigment.

It sounds simple, but using a cold teabag on the area does work for some because the tannic acids in tea encourages the blood vessels to shrink. However, the real thing it to get a sufficient night’s sleep!

Ageing skin: We have already touched on this, but the increased levels of cortisol leads to inflammation, which in turn breaks down the bonds that form collagen. It is the collagen in your skin that maintains the structure and elasticity, which gives it that supple plumpness. With the loss of collagen skin becomes thinner, less firmer, less smoother and gradually wrinkles become more prominent. 

Hair: 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.

With the help of fulvic acid, which supercharges your cellular energy, the Ful.Vic.Health range can help alleviate this somewhat. But as I have mentioned, targeting the underlying sleep issue is the best preventative approach. For more advice on this, read Signs and Symptons of Sleep Loss.

Shabir And Trinny On Sleep


Sleep is a huge topic and with new research suggesting that the average Brit regularly survives on less than six hours of sleep a night and catching up, it’s safe to say that it’s an issue that we have all struggled with at some point or another. In their latest live video, Trinny and Shabir discussed the most common sleep problems and the natural remedies that could help alleviate them.

Why is sleep so important?

When it comes to sleep we often focus on the problems we have falling asleep or staying asleep, rather than why it’s so important. You might assume it is a time when your mind and body shut down, but it’s actually when your body is processing, repairing and strengthening. While you sleep all the information from the day is processed and some of this information is moved from your short term memory into your long term memory and others are deleted. It’s also when your body manufactures hormones, repairs damaged tissues and produces new cells.

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/wake-up 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.

How can you get back to sleep?

Waking up after three or four hours of sleep is a common problem, especially during menopause. Don’t just lie there trying to force yourself back to sleep, instead try some chamomile tea or caffeine-free green tea as this has l-theanine, which help relax the body and mind. Cherry Night by Viridian is also worth looking into as cherries are rich in melatonin and magnesium, which are particularly good for people who battle with restless sleep. You have to use it on a daily basis to reap the benefits.

Cortisol (stress hormone) levels should also be looked at as it blocks the release of your serotonin, which balances your mood and aids sleep. Sleep Tight by Natures Aid contains Magnolia, which helps to rebalance your cortisol levels, as well as Passionflower and Hops which act as natural sedatives. Eclectic Kids Sleep Support offers a natural remedy for children from the age of 12 months and above.

What about taking melatonin supplements?

Melatonin supplements definitely help you sleep better, however in the UK they need to be prescribed by your doctor. There may be a couple of risks as it is tricky to get the dosage correct and some believe long term use of the synthetic versions could possibly hinder your body’s own production. Instead, you may opt for cherries which provide a natural form of melatonin to hopefully replenish your stores.

Does a lack of sleep cause weight gain?

There is a direct link between not getting enough sleep and gaining weight. Despite common belief, it’s not because you are awake for longer and eating more. The increase in cortisol that wakes you up also stimulates your pancreas to produce more insulin, which is responsible for regulating your sugar levels.

How do you beat the afternoon slump?

A dip in energy at around 3pm in the afternoon can be due to not getting enough sleep or what you ate for lunch. If you had a carb-heavy lunch you might find your energy levels crash after about two and a half hours because your body has burned off the sugar. You might find a power nap (less than 20-minutes) will help you recharge.

How can you ease restless leg syndrome?

Restless leg syndrome is usually associated with an iron deficiency or low magnesium levels – over 60% of us are thought to have deficient levels of magnesium. Start by upping your magnesium levels, either with an oil spray, such as Pure Magnesium Oil Spray by Life-Flo or bathing in the flakes with Magnesium Oil Original Flakes by Better You. If you don’t see any improvement after a couple of weeks, try incorporating an iron supplement.

What are the benefits of liposomal supplements?

Liposomal technology is the future of vitamin supplements. Moisture, light and oxygen can compromise the quality of tablet and capsule supplements and the nutrients can also be compromised by your stomach acid and digestive enzymes as well as the food in your gut, which affects how much is actually absorbed. Liposomal supplements use a technology that protects these nutrients and delivers them into the gut from where they are easily absorbed into the bloodstream. Aurora NutraScience has a full range of liposomal supplements, including vitamin C, D3 and curcumin.

How can you reduce bloating?

First and foremost, make sure you chew your food thoroughly. Taking apple cider vinegar regularly helps to aid your digestive system as it contains acetic acid. Your body also naturally produces digestive enzymes, which help break down the fibres, carbohydrates, fats and sugars from your meal. However, as we age our production slows, so it is worth supplementing them with Enhanced Super Digestive Enzymes.

When should you take your supplements?

If you’re going to take vitamins, you should take them with some form of food because this will signal your brain to produce digestive enzymes to ensure you absorb the maximum amount of these vitamins. Amino acids, on the other hand, are the building blocks for proteins and should always be taken on an empty stomach because they may be neutralised by dairy and other foods.

Watch Shabir and Trinny on cleansing here

Ginger for Treating Migraines

Sliced Ginger Root

Most people suffering from migraines are often prescribed a group of drugs called triptans to relieve the symptoms of migraines and severe headaches. Triptans are a group of drugs which bind the serotonin receptors in the brain helping to diminish the swelling of the blood vessels in the brain. The most common side effects with triptans include dizziness, fatigue, dry mouth, flushing and infrequently chest pains.

It does not surprise me that many people wish to prevent or treat migraines using complementary remedies. Magnesium supplements are often recommended to prevent a migraine since magnesium is a muscle and nerve relaxant, which may help to prevent the swelling of the blood vessels in the brain.

Magnesium is also a mineral whose deficiencies are very widespread in the adult population due to the body’s requirements, which are huge since magnesium is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions within the body. Unfortunately most magnesium supplements are ill-absorbed by the body and even after absorption, magnesium is not taken up efficiently by the nervous system. A unique magnesium supplement that overcomes both these obstacles is Neuro-Mag and would be the supplement of choice as far as prevention of migraines is concerned.

Ginger has been used commonly as a digestive remedy, as an anti-inflammatory for joint pain and also for the prevention of travel sickness. Ginger is now gaining popularity as a remedy for helping to treat headaches and migraines.

A study involving 100 adult migraine patients, all of whom had established migraines without aura, were randomised to take either 250 mg of ginger or a triptan at the first sign of a migraine. The investigators used standardised scales to assess the symptoms at 30, 60, 90 and 120 minutes after treatment and also at the 24 hour period.

The percentage of patients reporting 90% or better symptom reduction at the 120 minutes mark was 64% in those taking ginger and 70% is those taking the triptan, a difference that was not statistically significant. Both ginger and the triptan drug reduce the severity of the migraine attacks within two hours.

Whilst ginger was more or less as effective as the triptan drug, where it clearly outshone the drug was its lack of side effects. Only 4% of ginger users reported side effects of excess stomach acidity whereas 20% of triptan users reported dizziness, vertigo and heartburn.

It is clear from these results that ginger works effectively to help treat most types of migraines even though we do not fully understand how it works. It is theorised that ginger, due to its anti-inflammatory properties, may prevent the blood vessels from becoming inflamed. Preventing inflammation stops them from enlarging and pressing on the nerves giving rise to the headaches.

Ginger is generally considered safe for use by most people, but caution is advised in those with gallstones since it releases extra bile, and also in people using blood thinning medications since it seems to also display some blood thinning properties.

The ginger supplement of choice is Lamberts Ginger Capsules with a dosage of just one capsule to be taken at the first sign of a migraine attack. Each capsule delivers an extract of ginger which has the equivalent of approximately 14 grams of ginger root, far more than that used in the study but still considered to be a safe and effective strength.

Hormones and Skincare


Our hormones are critical to our overall wellness and skin health so being aware of how hormone levels change within a month can make us more inclined to use skincare products that are functional during these times.  This is apparent for example when one gets pregnant, the skin will often glow, basically because oestrogen is a hormone that protects our skin. Your hormones constantly affect your skin. It is linked to your age, but below are some tips to consider for those with a regular period and not on the Pill.

Immediately after your period has ended and for approximately ten days or so, oestrogen levels begin to rise and this does impart a gradual glow to skin. Skin is less liable to inflammation and redness and so during these times you can further heighten the glow with the use of hydration based products such as Hyaluronic Acid Serum, and/or Anti-aging MultiPeptide Serum.  These will help to further enhance skin radiance and encourage healthy hydration within the outer layers.

This is also the time to capitalise and incorporate serums that help extend this “glowing” period such as PHA Plus Serum, which works to gently exfoliate the dead cell layers and strengthens skin barrier function. The two serums are available separately or maybe purchased as part of the For Hydration kit by Garden of Wisdom.

For the majority, the above products are completely fine, but for some women, an increase in oestrogen may be too high due to genetics or due to poor liver function. When oestrogen levels are too high the liver cannot cope with this and an enzyme called tyrosinase is released, which causes the deposition of abnormal amounts of pigment that may result in hyperpigmentation.

For those affected, consideration should be given to incorporating Vitamin C Serum 23% + Ferulic Acid.  Vitamin C helps to brighten and lighten hyperpigmented areas as well as helping to encourage skin hydration and collagen synthesis. Because the skin is generally healthier and not inflamed during this time, the high concentration of pure L-ascorbic acid in this formulation should not be an issue. If the hyperpigmentation is extensive then perhaps consider incorporating Alpha Arbutin + Kojic Acid serum to further support the brightening and lightening effects of vitamin C serum.

By the third week, oestrogen levels begin to drop and testosterone and progesterone become dominant leading to greater inflammation, which in turn can lead to greater oil production.  This may result in the first signs of spots and acne.  It is during this time that you may wish to change your routine to GoW’s For Acne products, which provide Niacinamide Serum to help calm inflammation and regulate oil secretion, Salicylic Acid to deep clean pores of excess sebum and debris and Hyaluronic Acid Serum to maintain hydration since dehydration is a known causal factor for inflammation, which would ultimately lead to either greater oil production.

Whether you suffer from acne, hyperpigmentation or simply wish to have a radiant and glowing complexion for the entire month, there is one supplement that I would highly recommend called Clear Skin Complex by Viridian Nutrition.  This supplement contains Burdock Root which works to cleanse and purify the bloodstream of toxins that can cause dullness.  Burdock, by its virtue of cleansing the bloodstream, will help the liver to detoxify efficiently so it may also be invaluable for hyperpigmented skin types. It is safe to take Clear Skin Complex on an ongoing basis.

Fulvic Acid – The Elixir Of Life

Growing green leaves

Scientists have known for years that everyone requires at least 90 nutrients to maintain optimal health. These nutrients include 17 vitamins, 59 minerals, 12 amino acids and three essential fatty acids. Whilst nature has provided us with all these nutrients to enable us to live a long and healthy life, unfortunately the processing of foods and the depletion of nutrients in our soils are some of the biggest reasons for nutrient deficiencies within our bodies. Fortunately, scientists have found that Fulvic Acid, an element found in soil, makes nutrients more available from the food we ingest and thus corrects deficiencies quickly and safely.

What is Fulvic Acid?

Fulvic Acid is the element found in humus, the highly nutritious layer of the earth. Partially decomposed matter is the basis of humus and peat. It is this highly nutritious layer that feeds plants and ensures that they grow strong and healthy. Fulvic Acid is created in extremely small amounts by millions of beneficial microbes that work on the decaying plant matter. It combines with a variety of minerals to create a complex molecular compound. Fulvic Acid works to activate the nutrients within soil so that they can be utilised by the cells of plants. It is often termed ‘nature’s miracle molecule’ and for good reason. Unfortunately, modern farming practices have destroyed our soils, leaving them devoid of minerals and have thus disrupted the proliferation of this miracle molecule in the soil, and therefore in vegetation and animals – in effect within our food. Read More…

Treating An Overactive Bladder

Treating an Overactive Bladder

Losing control of your bladder can be a very embarrassing concern with widespread ramifications. People who have bladder control problems have trouble stopping the flow of urine, which is classified as urinary incontinence or an overactive bladder. For others it is may just be a case of a constant urge to urinate, which is often termed as a sensitive bladder.

According to recent statistics, less than half of women and one quarter of men who suffer from an overactive bladder ever seek medical help. Two large studies indicate that one in six adults report some signs of an overactive bladder, with one in three having episodes of urge incontinence.

An overactive bladder affects one in six adults over the age of 40, and is defined as having an urgent need to empty the bladder during the day and night, along with incontinence. Those afflicted with an overactive bladder have to go to the bathroom frequently, leak urine into their clothes, and report feeling depressed, stressed, and sleep-deprived. Read More…