Q: As the evenings draw in and it’s dark when I get up, I notice that my energy levels dip and I want to eat more – usually carbs, which is unlike me – and sleep more. Does this mean that I have seasonal depression? If so, what can I do about it?
A: Full-blown seasonal depression affects eight per cent of people in the UK during winter, according to the Seasonal Affective Disorder Association (SADA, sada.org.uk). Unlike other forms of depression, ‘people with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) tend to sleep more, eat more and gain weight’, explains Dr Norman Rosenthal (normanrosenthal.com), the psychiatrist who first described and named SAD in the 1980s. Read More…
There is a growing body of scientific evidence for the health benefits of turmeric, the golden Asian spice whose active compound is called curcumin. Its main action is damping inflammation, which underlies many diseases from arthritis and tendonitis to skin problems and even some forms of cancer. Many people choose to take a daily turmeric supplement as well as cooking with it. Ensuring that turmeric is well absorbed by the gut has always been a problem, but a new Turmeric Daily Oral Spray from Better You (£17.95 for 25ml) goes directly into the bloodstream via the soft tissue of the mouth.
Beware of getting it on your fingers, though: I coloured my keyboard bright orange. Read More…
Q. Our four-year-old daughter has spent four nights in hospital with pneumonia. She is taking a seven-day course of antibiotics with Calpol. What can we give her to build up her resistance?
A. When she finishes the antibiotics, pharmacist Shabir Daya recommends taking the herb astragalus to strengthen her immune system and fight infections. Try Eclectic Kids Astragalus Alcohol Free Tincture for Kids (£12). She should take a weight-related dose as directed three times daily for one month. Do not use astragalus if she has a temperature. Read More…
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.
Gill meets Sarah Vine and Susannah Taylor from Get the Gloss.
Get the Gloss launched in October 2012; how was the idea conceived and what was the inspiration behind the site?
ST: I had a blog called Get the Gloss – I had started it as I had a wealth of experts at my fingertips from my time as Beauty and Health Editor at Vogue and Glamour and I wanted to share these experts online. I then met with Sarah who had a bigger idea for a website that brought inter-active expert advice to the public and she asked me to help build it and be its editor. As I started working on the bigger site it became clear I wouldn’t have time for my blog, so the big site became Get the Gloss. Read More…
Q I’m pregnant and worried about vitamin D deficiency, after reading some frightening stories in the press. Is my baby at risk and do I need a supplement?
A Vitamin D is vital for building bones. Deficiency can cause rickets in children, because it impairs the absorption of dietary calcium and phosphorus. A recent study in Southampton Hospital’s orthopaedic department revealed that one in five children referred for investigation showed signs of rickets. Low levels may also affect growth, the age of walking, and tooth development. Children may be irritable, and prone to infection. Read More…