Inflammation Could Be Affecting Your Focus

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From achy joints and sore throats to puffy eyes and acne breakouts, inflammation is often the root cause of many health and beauty issues. This week, a new study revealed that it could also be the reason behind ‘brain fog’. Researchers at the University of Birmingham found that inflammation can essentially block the brain’s ability to reach and maintain a state of alertness. 

The study consisted of 20 young men, who were given a salmonella typhoid vaccine to cause temporary inflammation and then two hours later their concentration levels were measured as they looked at simple images on a computer screen.

The men were injected with water on a different day and put through the same cognitive tests. On both days, their blood was taken to assess inflammation levels too. While our ability to prioritise and select when to pay attention and when not to was not impacted by inflammation, the results found that staying alert was. “These results show quite clearly that there’s a very specific part of the brain network that’s affected by inflammation,” says Dr Ali Mazaheri, a senior author of the study. “This could explain ‘brain fog’.”

Co-author of the study, Professor Jane Raymond adds: “This research finding is a major step forward in understanding the links between physical, cognitive, and mental health and tells us that even the mildest of illnesses may reduce alertness.” With around 12 million people in the UK suffering from a chronic medical condition and a lot of them reporting feeling mentally sluggish, this study could offer a new potential line of treatment.

What about those who don’t necessarily suffer with a chronic medical condition, but do suffer with ‘brain fog’ from time to time? Well, taking steps to reduce any inflammation and support your cognitive functions could help.

How can you reduce inflammation?

Turmeric has been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries and is regularly championed today for its anti-inflammatory powers. It is the curcumin in turmeric that is particularly good. While it helps to reduce inflammation throughout your body, research has pinpointed curcumin as a particularly good compound to supporting brain functions too.

“Curcumin’s potent anti-inflammatory properties are theorised to offer protection against cognitive decline which occurs with age,” explains Shabir Daya, co-founder of Victoria Health and registered pharmacist. “The incidences of cognitive decline are markedly lower in populations whose diet includes turmeric and although full blown clinical studies need to be carried out to confirm this, it does nevertheless appear that there is a link between the ingestion of turmeric and brain protection.”

Shabir recommends Curcumin Elite by Life Extension as it has been shown to be absorbed more efficiently than other curcumin supplements – you can read more about this here.

How can you boost your brain’s alertness?

Omega 3 fatty acids have been linked to healthy brain function, including concentration and memory for years. Shabir recommends that taking Lion Heart Pure Omega 3 Fish Oil from your 20s onwards to help support your cognitive functions (just one of the many benefits of omega 3!). If you’re vegan or vegetarian, try Echiomega as a great alternative. 

It goes without saying that getting a better night’s sleep will not only help your body reduce inflammation and relax, but it also ensures you’re more alert and focused during the day. It’s worth making sure your magnesium levels are topped up. Magnesium is a vital mineral for many functions across our body, yet a lot of us run of low levels without realising. Neuro-Mag by Life Extensions is worth the investment if you’re concerned about your levels.

If your sleep patterns are regular ad sufficient and you just need something to help power you through the afternoons, try Limitless Plus by VH. This is Shabir’s natural nootropic formulation and utilises a patented extract derived from a special non-GMO tomato plant called Noomato™, which helps not only speed up the time it takes you to mentally process information, but also aids your recall. The supplement contains another patented complex, Neumentix™ which helps reduce oxidative stress.

While more research needs to be done to fully understand the link between inflammation and our cognitive functions, trying to reduce any inflammation in your body is rarely a bad thing.

An Overview of Joint Supplements

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Many people choose to use joint supplements to ease the pain and discomfort of arthritic joints, but with a wide array of joint supplements, this often proves to be difficult. We take a look at some of our leading joint supplements. Read More…

Turmeric – Can It Help Prevent Alzheimer’s & Dementia?

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Turmeric is an ancient spice that has been used for centuries in Indian and Chinese medicine and cooking. Traditional usage of turmeric covers a very wide spectrum of concerns ranging from topical usage as a poultice for curbing localised inflammation through to taking the powder internally for the relief of stomach complaints, bladder infections and arthritis.

With the myriad of claimed benefits, turmeric has, over the last decade, been extensively studied and it is possibly the most researched herb in the world. Turmeric contains a group of powerful antioxidant compounds collectively termed curcumin and it is this compound that is responsible for turmeric’s remarkable properties, which include: Read More…

Treatment of Keratosis Pilaris – Chicken Skin

Keratosis Pilaris - Chicken Skin

It may surprise you to learn that Keratosis Pilaris, often abbreviated ‘KP’, affects nearly 40 percent of the population of the world though in reality this could be even higher. Often called ‘chicken skin’, Keratosis Pilaris is a benign disorder of the skin generally characterised by rough, red bumps around the hair follicles mostly on the arms though it can also affect the thighs, buttocks and rarely the face.

Keratosis Pilaris results from the accumulation of a protein that is present in skin called keratin. Keratin is a protective substance that prevents harmful bacteria from entering skin. In Keratosis Pilaris, keratin and dead skin cells block the opening of the hair follicles, a process referred to as hyperkeratinisation, forming hard plugs which resemble goose bumps.

Keratosis Pilaris can vary in appearance and below are some examples. Read More…

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a very common debilitating gastrointestinal disorder that affects people in different ways. It is estimated that between 8% and 20% of the adult population are affected, mainly women between the ages of 30 and 60 years, and typical symptoms include chronic abdominal pain, bloating, and varying bouts of constipation and diarrhoea.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is termed a ‘functional disorder’. A functional disorder is a medical condition that impairs the normal function of the body where every part of the body looks completely normal under examination. We do not fully understand IBS since it is a very complex condition, but sufferers can exhibit a combination of different symptoms and signs such as abdominal bloating, constipation (IBS-C), diarrhoea (IBS-D) or alternating between both (IBS-A). Read More…

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Vaginal dryness during the menopause is one of the most common concerns associated with declining female sex hormones. It is estimated that one in four women experience vaginal dryness during menopause and typical symptoms include itching, painful intercourse as well as urinary discomfort. Not just confined during menopause, vaginal dryness can occur several years before the onset of menopause and for many well beyond menopause.

Glands located near the neck of the womb are responsible for producing a fluid that keeps the skin and tissues in the vagina moist and supple. The production of this fluid is directly dependant on the levels of oestrogen within the body and declining levels of oestrogen during menopause lead to vaginal dryness. Declining oestrogen levels are also responsible for the thinning and inflammation of the walls lining the vagina making them weak and vulnerable to both bacterial and fungal infections. To make matters worse, some women may also experience pain in the pelvic region as blood circulation decreases with declining oestrogen levels. For some women, the weakness in the walls of the vagina and the muscles surrounding it may also result in a problem of incontinence. All these problems can make life very difficult, depressing and debilitating.

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