Health

A Probiotic Supplement To Prevent & Treat Gum Disease

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Gum disease, if left unchecked, can give you more than rotten teeth. It can affect your heart, liver and kidneys too. For many people, brushing and flossing twice a day may not be sufficient. Fortunately, there is a probiotic supplement which helps destroy the bacteria that cause gum disease and replaces these with beneficial bacteria which have been shown to protect gums and teeth.

What is gum disease?

Affecting large numbers of the adult population, gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria which adhere to the teeth. Although most of the plaque can be removed by regular brushing, if any of it is not removed then this film hardens up under the gum line to form tartar. Tartar harbours more bacteria and should only be removed by a hygienist or dentist.

The longer plaque and tartar exist, the greater the damage to the gums. There may be slight inflammation at the base of gum tissues, known as gingivitis. Symptoms include bad breath, swollen gums, inflamed gums and slight bleeding whilst brushing. Left untreated, gingivitis leads to periodontal disease which is when you end up with receding gums and tooth loss.

How does gum disease impact on other parts of the body?

More than 70% of the adult population aged 65 and above have some form of gum disease. This includes gingivitis which is inflammation of the gums without tooth loss, or periodontitis which can lead to bone loss and the loss of teeth. This also applies to people under the age of 65 though clearly the percentages are lower but not minimal by any means.

Research appears to indicate that the bacteria that cause gum disease may also play a role in certain diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and rheumatoid arthritis. So how can something as simple as gum disease be implicated in these serious diseases? The answer appears to lie in the excessive growth of these destructive bacteria.

The oral cavity is a fine balance of the good bacteria which protect gums and the teeth. When this balance is affected, whether through the excess ingestion of sugars, use of antibiotics or for other reasons, the result is the thriving of cavity producing bacteria responsible for inflammation and infection. It is this cycle of infection and inflammation which is linked to several diseases including:

Cardiovascular disease
Alzheimer’s
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Kidney problems

How a probiotic may save your gums and teeth

Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria responsible for a host of functions carried out within the body. The principle of using probiotics is simple; replace harmful bacteria with beneficial bacteria. Research has shown that a specific probiotic supplement, Life Extension’s FLORASSIST® Oral Hygiene, may prove to be invaluable in protecting your teeth and gums which in turn may actually protect your life.

FLORASSIST® Oral Hygiene contains two specific probiotic strains, S. salivarius BLIS M18 and Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, which have been shown to compete against pathogenic bacteria in the mouth that cause or worsen periodontal or gum disease.

S.salivarius produces enzymes that help to break down plaque. Plaque is the sticky film which forms on the teeth and is a causal factor for tooth and gum decay. When we take a general probiotic supplement, the beneficial bacteria are those that are aimed at colonising the gut and they do not colonise in the mouth. S. salivarius is a strain that has been shown to colonise in the mouth and in the gums displacing the bad bacteria responsible for tooth and gum disease. It does this because this specific bacterial strain produces an antibiotic-type substance which inhibits the thriving of bad bacteria diminishing their numbers. Although S. salivarius is a common bacteria found in the mouth, only 2% of people have the beneficial BLIS strain. One study also showed that the BLIS strain also inhibits the inflammatory compounds associated with gingivitis and periodontitis.

A patented strain of Bacillus coagulans has been shown to inhibit the growth of Streptococcus mutans, a bacteria species known to contribute to tooth decay.

Having ascertained that these specific bacteria produced marked results in laboratory tests, scientists decided to test their effects in real life. A clinical study was carried out using the parameters that dental hygienists use to determine the health of gums. All the pre-test conditions were rigorous ensuring that both male and female patients were involved; that the subjects had their plaque and tartar removed at the outset and so on.

The subjects in the study took Florassist Oral Hygiene for 30 days only but the results were measured after 30 days and at the 60 day period. These confirmed that Florassist Oral Hygiene improved all four parameters of gum health which include plaque index score, gingival index score, sulcular bleeding index and probing pocket depth. Although the subjects took the lozenges for just 30 days, benefits continued even at the 60 day period suggesting that Florassist Oral Hygiene could be used every other month to offer protection against gum disease.

Gum disease is a threat to your oral health as well as your overall health. It is often painless and goes undetected until other problems arise which is why it is always better to tackle gum disease early or to try and prevent this.

Preventing gum disease is not just about taking Florassist Oral Hygiene lozenges. You still have to brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day. When these recommendations are combined with an oral probiotic lozenge, you are likely to protect your gums, teeth and your whole body against gum disease and its ramifications.

The Health Benefits of Artichoke

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Over the last decade, it has become increasingly evident that artichoke has numerous health benefits, including its ability to aid the digestive system.

Artichoke, botanical name Cynara scolymus, is a perennial thistle native to the Mediterranean region best known for its heart, the bottom part of its spiky flower bud which some of us appreciate as a nutritious vegetable. Whilst we consume artichoke hearts, it is the artichoke leaves that have been scientifically studied and shown to be of great benefit.

Brief History of artichoke

Artichoke plant as a whole was used as a food and as a medicinal remedy as early as 400 BC. The Greeks, Romans and Egyptians consumed the vegetable for its nutritious value. The aristocracy of the Roman Empire used artichoke as a delicacy, appetiser and as a digestive aid however the vegetable appeared to fall into oblivion until the 1500’s when the medicinal use of artichoke was recorded for helping to treat jaundice and liver problems.

In 1850, a French physician successfully used an extract derived from artichoke leaves to treat jaundice which was not improving with the drugs used during those times. This led to an increase in the numbers of studies carried out and today artichoke is one of the few herbs for which we have a comprehensive knowledge of its components and its mechanisms of action within the body.

Benefits of artichoke extract

Artichoke extract is made from the leaves of the plant because these have been found to contain the greatest concentration of its active components. Artichoke leaves contain a host of compounds including flavonoids and polyphenols including cynarin and chlorgenic acid. Although scientists initially believed that cynarin was the important compound, today we know that it is actually the whole blend of its compounds that all appear to play a part in artichoke extract’s multiple benefits.

Artichoke leaf extract contains the following compounds:

  • Cynarin – this compound acts on liver cells to enhance bile production. Cynarin also acts on the kidneys to increase urine production.
  • Cynaropicrin – a compound responsible for the bitter taste of artichoke.
  • Cynaroside – a flavonoid with potent anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Sterols – beta-sitosterol and stigmasterol are some of the plant sterols found in artichoke which help to reduce the amount of cholesterol absorbed from the intestine into the bloodstream.
  • Organic acids such as malic acid.

Artichokes are rich in antioxidants and artichoke extract provides these in an even more concentrated form. The main antioxidant in artichoke extract is caffeic acid which helps to neutralise damaging free radicals. Free radical damage is the single biggest accepted theory on how we age.

Dyspepsia is a generalised term which sums up all types of digestive complications including gas, indigestion, stomach upset and bloating. Artichoke extract helps stimulate the production of bile. Bile is very important for the whole digestive process and helps break down fats as well as aiding in the absorption of many vitamins. In a study carried out at the University of Reading on those who suffer from IBS and dyspepsia, one in four patients showed a significant reduction in the incidences of IBS including a normalisation of bowel movement away from the alternating cycle so often experienced of constipation and diarrhoea. Even better results were observed in those with dyspepsia with a decrease in symptoms of gas, bloating and indigestion in over 40% of the cases.

The importance of optimal liver function cannot be underestimated. The liver processes toxins, chemicals, fats, alcohol, environmental pollutants and numerous other compounds. The symptoms of an over-burdened liver are not specific and include fatigue, headache, bloating, nausea and constipation. Stomach discomfort after meals and intolerance to meals containing any fat are notable exceptions. Artichoke leaf extract helps to increase bile production by the liver which helps remove toxins and digest fats. The combination of enhancing bile production and the antioxidants occurring naturally in artichoke extract make artichoke a very useful herb in protecting the liver.

Alcohol consumption is the most common cause of impaired liver function. Some people’s livers are very sensitive to alcohol whilst others are more tolerant. Alcohol pushes fats into the liver cells rendering them ineffective which is how fatty liver disease occurs. Studies indicate a 28% reduction in this process when taking artichoke leaf extract.

Cholesterol is required by the body to manufacture hormones and is produced by the liver. Though not inherently bad for you, many of us consume an excess amount of fat leading to excess cholesterol in the bloodstream. Once oxidised, cholesterol becomes sticky adhering to the walls of the arteries leading to heart disease including high blood pressure. As early as 1930’s, scientists discovered that artichoke extract had a positive effect on plaques found within arteries. Recent research suggests that artichoke leaf extract demonstrated a significant reduction in cholesterol and triglycerides with an average reduction of 11.5% in cholesterol and 12.5% decrease in triglycerides within a six week period. Additionally, though not a full blown clinical trial, the numbers of people involved in the study, 302, makes this a significant result. When a healthy lifestyle is not sufficient to maintain cholesterol levels within the normal range, drugs such as statins are usually prescribed which are not without side effects. Artichoke supplements offer a safe and effective alternative to these.

Artichoke leaf extract by way of supplements is a safe and natural way to improve your overall health and wellbeing. A new supplement containing artichoke extract, Life Extension Artichoke Leaf Extract, provides the highest concentration of standardised active compounds found in artichoke leaves. It is these compounds which provide the therapeutic benefits mentioned above. Artichoke supplements can be safely taken with other medications without fear of side effects. Caution: Do not take artichoke supplements if you suffer from gallstones or have an obstruction of the bile duct.

Foods To Lift Your Mood

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Neuroscientist and leadership coach Dr Tara Swart, who is conducting a year-long study on mental resilience among selected staff and guests at London’s Corinthia Hotel, emphasises the information superhighway between your gut and mood. Around 90 per cent of the body’s serotonin, the mood-balancing neurotransmitter, is found in the gut. So, as mental health charity Mind (mind.org.uk) suggests, eating food to balance gut bacteria (eg, live yoghurt, fruit, vegetables and whole grains) is vital. Research has also shown that people who took a probiotic supplement for a month experienced fewer negative thoughts. Pharmacist Shabir Daya recommends Florassist Mood, which contains two probiotic strains shown to influence gut-nervous system signalling, with positive effects on mood.

Omega-3 fats, found in oily fish, nuts, seeds and leafy vegetables, are also an essential brain food, says Dr Swart. She also says that stress causes the vital mineral magnesium to leech from our bodies, so advises clients to take a supplement. Shabir Daya suggests Solgar Wild Alaskan Full Spectrum Omega and Neuro-Mag.


HERE’S TO A HAPPIER NEW YEAR

Happiness describes a lovely state of mind that we all want, but sometimes feel is out of reach. Feeling happy is both about experiencing an ongoing state of contentment with your life (and coping with bad things when they happen), and exulting in moments of joy. With both of these, there are factors you can influence positively.

When mother of two Nicola Elliott, 38, found that her life as a ‘crazy, 60-hour-a-week’ magazine journalist was making her constantly anxious and putting her wellbeing in jeopardy, she retrained as an aromatherapist and nutritionist.

‘I was surrounded by other women who were stressed, sleeping badly and had plummeting energy,’ says Nicola. ‘So I began creating pure essential-oil blends and tinctures to help us all. The most popular one was called Tranquillity, which I made for my sister who was having trouble sleeping.’ Those kitchen-table products led to Nicola and business partner Oliver Mennell launching Neom Organics in 2005 with the aim of helping people to manage their wellbeing.

Last year, Neom created The Happiness Programme. As well as its Scent to Make You Happy range (from candles and bath products to the Mood Lifting On The Go Mist, much appreciated by my colleagues), it has now created The Guide To Happiness ebook. Written by Neom’s wellbeing experts, it provides bitesize but well-researched information and practical tips on everything from psychology and diet to mindfulness and meditation. It is really impressive and helpful. (See right for Nicola’s mood-boosting tips.)

To give YOU readers a flying start to the New Year, Neom is offering a free Nourish, Breathe & Smile Hand Balm, worth £15, to the first 250 readers to register on neomorganics.com/youhappy. In addition, Neom is offering a 20 per cent discount on all products, plus a free The Guide to Happiness ebook for every reader. To get your exclusive discount code and free ebook download, visit neomorganics.com/youhappy*.


NICOLA’S MOOD-BOOSTERS

Get plenty of fresh air every day. It’s sometimes hard to leave your desk, but try to nip out, even if it’s only for 15 minutes.

Turn off all tech at allotted times each day. I try to do this between 5.30pm and 7.30pm, so that I can give my children my full attention.

Phone a friend. If you’re time-poor, it’s easy to use social media as your default communication mode. Actually talking to my friends and family makes me feel happy.

Choose exercise you enjoy – that’s swimming and running for me – and do it for your mind as well as your thighs. Exercise triggers brain chemicals that dull pain, lighten mood and relieve stress.

Make time to do something just for you, whether that’s reading (I’m a total bookworm), listening to music, lying in a scented bath, walking in a green space or simply daydreaming.

Inflammation

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Q My granddaughter, aged eight, suffers from inflammation round the outside of her vagina, which is not responding to the doctor’s treatment for thrush.

A The irritation may be a reaction to ingredients in cleansing body products, including bubble bath and gel wash. Pharmacist Shabir Daya recommends trying Salcura Bioskin Junior products, which use natural oils to soothe sore inflamed skin and include Face & Body WashBath Milk and a topical Outbreak Rescue Cream. Read More…

The Vitamin D Lowdown

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The Vitamin D Lowdown

  • Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, also categorised as a hormone. It is made by our bodies from cholesterol by the action of UVB from sunlight on our skin.
  • It helps to control the amount of calcium and phosphate in our bodies, which are needed for healthy bones, teeth and muscles.
  • In this country, most people should get enough UVB in the summer months if they get outside in the sun, but UVB dwindles to almost nothing from October to March.
  • Vitamin D3 (the type we need) is also found in oily fish (salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines), egg yolks, red meat, fat, liver and fortified foods such as some dairy products and breakfast cereals. While it is wise to eat these, we would have to consume huge amounts to get enough – thus the need for supplements.
  • So how much vitamin D do we need? The recommended supplementary amount of vitamin D3 from the age of one to 70 is 400 IU (10mcg) and 320-400 IU for babies.
  • However, many experts believe 1,000 IU or higher is more appropriate for adults.
  • For people with diagnosed vitamin D deficiency, the recommended maintenance therapy (after testing to ensure an optimal level has been reached) is 800 to 2,000 IU daily.
  • Pharmacist Shabir Daya recommends trying the Better You DLux 1,000 Spray, a sublingual spray that provides 100 doses of 1,000 IU.

Read More…

Cracked Corners Around The Mouth

Lips drawn with white chalk on black board.

Cracked corners around the mouth is a more common condition than most people realise. It’s medically referred to as angular cheilitis or perleche.

Angular cheilitis is an infection, bacterial or fungal, characterised by inflammation around the corners of the mouth Read More…