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There is no question that this the COVID19 pandemic has resulted in untold stress within our communities, our families and most of all within ourselves. I am a firm believer that if you don’t look after your own health and well-being then you cannot look after those around you. My Mum always says – “Oonagh you cannot pour from an empty glass!” and she’s right.
Over the last number of weeks and months I have been asked about many key signs of stress playing out in our bodies – from heightened anxiety levels, to the inability to fall asleep to breakouts in our skin, flareups in our digestive tract and even our hair falling out.
Here is a summary of just some of the advice I have been giving to many of you individually over the last number of weeks and months.
‘…you cannot pour from an empty glass!‘
The Importance of Sleep
Keeping your regular routine has been vital, rising at the same time you normally would and hitting the pillow at the end of the day at a reasonable hour to get enough sleep to maintain that routine is important for both your mental and physical health.
While we sleep, the body uses this time to rest and repair. The proteins and cells of your immune system detect and fight off any external aggressors that attack the system. Sleep also enables the immune system to be ready to fight them off in future. Sleep is vital to strengthen your body’s immune response, if you are feeling unwell in any way it is vital to get as much rest as possible.
The consequence of not getting enough sleep is that you feel tired and irritable the next day and as a result your mood will be affected and it can lead to heightened anxiety levels with you feeling that you cannot cope with the simplest of tasks and you can become overwhelmed as a result.
If you find it difficult to fall asleep a hot bath with relaxing bath oil can sometimes help relax your muscles and aids a more restful sleep.
Alternatively you could try taking a spoonful of magnesium powder in a hot drink before bed can also aid a restful sleep.
Mag365 magnesium powder is a source of highly absorbable, effective, fast-acting water-soluble magnesium in ionic form. It is 100% natural magnesium and helps to both restore healthy magnesium levels and balance your calcium intake, including dissolving any excess calcium in the body. The result of this is natural stress relief.
When you hit the pillow a sleep mask that helps to block out light and distractions can aid a more restful sleep. My top pick are the Space masks because they are self-heating and relax the muscles around the eyes and as such will release any tension and aid you drifting off for a more restful sleep. They also smell of Jasmine which is simply divine.
Alternatively, spray a little of This Works Pillow Spray onto your pillow. This spray is infused with Essential Oils of Lavender, Vetivert and Wild Chamomile, Deep Sleep Pillow Spray helps you to wind down after a hectic day by soothing the body and mind. This best-selling, natural sleep aid fragrances the room whilst calming your nerves and will become your must-have sleep solution.
Melissa Dream tablets is a formulation that contains herbal ingredients that have a calmative effect on your body. They contain magnesium, Lemon balm, L-Theanine and chamomile and can help to relax you also before going to bed. Just take three tablets one hour before bed to relax you and aid a great night’s sleep.
Dealing with Anxiety
L-Theanine is one of my favourites for when people are suffering from any anxious feelings as this has a calming and focusing affect. It usually works fast, it crosses the blood brain barrier and can help to regulate your mood and can also help with sleep. High levels are found in good quality Matcha Green Tea or you can get it in a capsule form below.
Hair Loss or Hair Thinning
So many people enquiring about products for hair loss throughout this pandemic with women and in fact lots of men reaching out to us and saying that their hair is thinning or indeed coming out in clumps. Statistics show that a whole range of factors, including stress, post-pregnancy, menopause, overstyling, poor nutrition, hereditary, age can impact the health of the hair and hair growth with one in three women experiencing the distress this can cause at some stage in their lives. There is no doubt that the heightened levels of stress are causing this in many cases.
I have been asked so many times which products are best for hair loss and which supplement can be taken to help with hair thinning and regrowth and can be used by men and women.
Viviscal® Maximum Strength
Viviscal® Maximum Strength supplements are definitely my top pick for women and men who want to promote and maintain normal healthy hair growth.
Viviscal contains a blend of ingredients which will stimulate hair regrowth and will support reduce hair thinning too. The Hair follicles are supported through consistent intake of the marine protein complex AminoMarC™ together with other nutrients in each tablet.
AminoMar C™ – a rich marine protein complex and the key active ingredient in Viviscal. Protein is required for the growth and repair of hair cells. Viviscal also contains biotin, zinc, iron, silica, cherry and millet seed extract all of which play an important role in promoting and maintain healthy hair regrowth.
You will notice that thin and wispy hair is strengthened.
Breakage and thinning of your hair will decline, encouraging normal healthy hair growth.
All of which will result in your hair looking noticeably stronger, healthier looking and more vibrant.
You take 2 tablets daily – one in the morning and one at night for 3-6months and then one or two tablets daily to maintain healthy hair growth.
Thinning hair can be a real issue for the men in our life too with 50% of men experiencing hair thinning before the age of fifty thinning hair can be seen as a problem for many. There are many different causes of hair loss including hormonal changes, heredity, stress, medical conditions or the use of medications.
Viviscal Man is a natural food supplement that has been formulated to help delay or prevent hair thinning from happening. AminoMar C Marine Complex is a vital ingredient within Viviscal Man which contains protein which is needed to nourish hair, aid thinning hair and encourage hair growth. Zinc and Flax seed accompany this ingredient to slow down hair thinning and promote healthy hair growth.
Viviscal Gorgeous Growth Densifying Elixir
Viviscal Gorgeous Growth Densifying Elixir is blended with biotin, keratin and zinc to promote healthy looking hair; moisturises and conditions hair leaving it looking and feeling fuller, thicker & gorgeously shiny. Lasts approximately 30 days when used according to the directions, depending on frequency of use.
Danielle Satin Pillowcase
So many people often ask how I keep my own hair frizz free and what products I use in my hair but I actually put my frizz-free days down to using this Satin pillow case which is actually designed to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while minimising frizz and tangles in your hair.
Breakouts in your Skin
Another common complaint over the last number of months has been that of reported breakouts on your skin. Many of you have been reporting breakouts that you have never experienced before particularly around the mouth, chin and jawline. Again these breakouts could be hormonal but can also be very much contributed to stress in our bodies.
My go to skincare range for such breakouts is the Advanced Nutrition range and the Skin Complete product in particular.
Skin Complete is the first step in any good skincare routine. Two premium supplements for healthy skin have been combined: Skin Vitamin A+, enriched with vitamin D and Skin Antioxidant. These supplements work in synergy to protect skin from the inside and complements all the good work your creams are doing on the outside!
- Repairs and protects skin from the inside
- Complements topical vitamin skincare
- Vitamin A for healthy skin
- Brigade of protective antioxidants
- Includes 1 pack of Skin Vitamin A+ and 1 pack of Skin Antioxidant.
Vitamin A is contraindicated in pregnancy so do not take if you are pregnant, or likely to become pregnant except on the advice of a doctor or ante-natal clinic.
Vitamin C the most Powerful Antioxidant
Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid. It has several important functions. It’s antioxidant properties protect cells and keeps them healthy.
Vitamin C is necessary for the maintenance of healthy connective tissue, which gives support and structure for other tissue and organs and so plays a critical role in wound healing. It also strengthens your blood vessel walls and so is important for your circulation. It is needed for the production of cartridge, muscle and collagen and so is vital for your body’s healing process and that’s why I always recommend it if your body is healing in any way after surgery or specific treatments.
As an antioxidant it protects your cells against the effects of free radicals. These free radicals are molecules that are produced in your body when it breaks down food, is exposed to smoke, radiation or certain environmental factors. Your body will produce antioxidants to deal with these free radicals but sometimes your body can get an overload of free radicals and this can lead to a phenomenon known as oxidative stress.
This process plays a major part in the development of chronic degenerative diseases in your body such as cancer, autoimmune diseases , cardiovascular diseases, rheumatoid arthritis and the ageing process.
As vitamin C is such a powerful antioxidant that is why you will find it in so many skincare serums and creams to combat the ageing process and whilst these skincare products are excellent I firmly believe that taking a supplement and treating your body from within is so much better as your internal organs will benefit as well as your skin.
Vitamin C cannot be stored in the body, so you need it in your diet every day. It is found in a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. Good sources include peppers, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, oranges and kiwis. We all get a certain level of vitamin C from our diet but at times of increased stress and when you want to support your body against the signs of oxidative stress then I always advise supplementing with a good high quality Vitamin C product.
My top pick for getting optimal delivery of Vitamin C into your body is to opt for a liposomal delivery of the vitamin. Liposomal delivery will ensure that the maximum amount of Vitamin C is delivered at a cellular level. Liposomes are little Nano particles of phospholipids or good fats and the Vitamin C is encapsulated within them hence protecting the Vitamin C from the harsh digestive conditions in your intestines. This allows the liposomes to pass through the gut wall and for the optimum delivery of the Vitamin C right into your body’s cells to where it is needed. The phospholipids then dissolve away and are reused in new cell formation. My top pick without question is YourZooki with each sachet containing 1000mg of Vitamin C together with 6.7mg of Vitamin E, another powerful antioxidant.
Low Snergy and Supporting your Immune System
As restrictions are lifted and we begin to enter a new normal here in Ireland and people return to the workplace I am constantly asked what would I recommend for a boost in energy as people but also help support your immunity, my go to product to do both is Revive Active.
Revive Active is a premium product with a powerful formulation of 26 active ingredients offering natural energy all day long. Revive Active will bring your immune system back to normal thereby reducing the chance of colds and flu’s but more importantly it will keep your heart healthy and you will feel your body totally refreshed.
Revive Active contains all your recommended daily allowance of amino acids, vitamins and minerals. It contains NO added stimulants, only natural ingredients so you have no highs and lows. Contains NO artificial colours or sweeteners and is suitable for diabetics, vegetarians and coeliacs.
A Healthy Gut helps support a Healthy Body
Throughout the past number of weeks many people have reported flare ups in their gut. Several people have reported bloating, cramps, pain and changes in their bowel motions.
There is no doubt that we often can feel stress in our guts first and many of our Mums would tell us to always trust our gut – which scientists now deem our “second brain”.
A healthy gut can help contribute to a strong immune system, reduced inflammation in our bodies and now research shows how a healthy microbiome is linked to positive mental health too. The key to a healthy gut is having a healthy microbiome.
Your microbiome is a massive ecosystem made of up trillions of organisms such as bacteria, yeasts fungi and viruses. All these organisms mean your gut is almost as diverse and dense as the Amazon rainforest. Scientists are increasingly treating the gut as its own organ, recognising how vital these bacteria are as they break down food and toxins, make vitamins and interact with our immune system.
Although your microbiome is influenced by factors from birth, your actions today can have a big impact on this ecosystem. We need to look after our microbiome to maintain a balance, diet, the environment, stress and medicines such as antibiotics can all disrupt this balance, undermining the diversity of your gut microbiome.
Good diet, sleep patterns and exercise are thought to have a positive effect on the microbiome and leave us feeling happier and healthier. Modern lifestyles mean we can’t always do everything we’re supposed to restore our balance so often we recommend Symprove – a live bacteria probiotic to help reset and rebalance the gut microbiome.
Scientists are only beginning to understand the role of the microbiome, it is believed to assist in many things including:
the breakdown of complex carbohydrates
producing vitamins and minerals
producing short-chain fatty acids
defending against pathogens
training our immune system
Symprove is a water-based formulation that contains four unique strains of live activated bacteria. Because of this unique formulation Symprove will not trigger digestion, unlike other capsule and tablet forms of probiotics, meaning the bacteria are not killed by the acid in your stomach and arrive in your gut where they can thrive and rebalance your microbiome much more quickly than other capsule and tablet formulations.
I firmly believe that your microbiome lives in unity with you and if you take care of it and it will take care of you. There is no question in my mind that if you look after your gut and keep it healthy then it in turn will help keep your body healthy too.
Researchers have also now shown how 80-90% of the serotonin made in our body is made by our gut bacteria. Serotonin is known as our “happy hormone” and will help your body to regulate mood, happiness, and anxiety. Serotonin is also involved in triggering your gut wall muscles to relax and contract and hence regulate your bowel motions too.
We Are Here To Help
So however your body has responded throughout these incredibly stressful few weeks and months there are certainly products that can support your body at this time. If you are feeling the impacts of this pandemic on your sleep, your anxiety or energy levels or if you are noticing the effects on your skin or hair myself and my team of pharmacists are here to help you through these challenging times and all you need to do is to reach out and ask for the help that you might need.
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