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Monthly Archives: September 2021

WHERE TO GET VITAMIN D AND WHY: Exciting research and new uses

Are you getting enough vitamin D? If you are, then you belong to the privileged half of the global population. According to studies, 50% of people worldwide have the “sunny vitamin” insufficiency, while about 1 billion are deficient. 

If you lack this element, you might consider increasing your intake through foods rich in vitamin D, or supplements. Read on to find out why it is so beneficial. 

Why is it important?

It needs no special introduction, since it has been in focus lately, especially in the context of the COVID 19 pandemics. 

Most of us are aware of vitamin D’s importance for our skeletal system and teeth, thanks to its ability to maximize the absorption and use of calcium. It is also known to be beneficial for muscle, heart, and lungs health.

Yet, there is so much more to this powerful vitamin than we can imagine. Scientists keep discovering its new fascinating properties with incredible implications for our health.

Vitamin D and urinary health

Are late night trips to the toilet becoming a nuisance? One of the latest discoveries is the impact of vitamin D on the bladder function and some common urinary problems such as pelvic floor disorders, urinary incontinence, or overactive bladder . 

Recent reviews of several past studies have demonstrated a strong link between sufficient Vitamin D intake and good urinary health. 

On top of everything else we have learned, this may sound unbelievable, but there is a clear explanation. The muscle which contracts to allow urine out of the bladder contains vitamin D receptors. Consequently, the vitamin can help strengthen this and other muscles in and around the pelvic floor. 

Moreover, a study from 2019 found a correlation between low vitamin D levels and  an increased risk of bladder cancer.

Vitamin D could be important for COVID 19

Vitamin D is famous for its immune-boosting properties. However, some recent findings shed new light on its ability to fight even the coronavirus. 

It has long been known that vitamin D deficiency significantly correlates with the severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection, but now we know more about the mechanisms through which it helps our immune system fight off the disease. 

When the virus enters our body, its protein spikes attach to a protein on the surface of our cells. The virus then hijacks the host cell’s protein-making machinery to translate its RNA into new copies of the virus. In just hours, a single cell can be forced to produce tens of thousands of new virus particles, which then infect other healthy cells. 

Enter vitamin D! Recent studies discovered that its metabolites can inhibit replication machinery enzymes of COVID 19 virus, thus hindering the infection and reducing its severity. 

Another way in which the virus can hurt us is the occurrence of the so-called cytokine storm. Cytokines are small glycoproteins produce by various types of cells throughout the body. When released, cytokines can promote a wide range of functions. One of those functions is in response to inflammation. If this response is uncontrollable, a cytokine storm occurs. When this happens, various inflammatory cytokines are produced at a much higher rate than normal, thus allowing  for more immune cells to be recruited. This can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which has accounted for a significant number of deaths from SARS-CoV-2.

The “sunny vitamin” however seems to  modulates our immune response and prevents severe autoimmune reactions. While there are other ways to treat and suppress cytokine storms, proper and timely use of vitamin D might actually help prevent them. More research is necessary, but the results so far are promising.

Fight D-ficiency with these foods 

One of the most common ways to get this crucial vitamin for our bodies is by exposure to the sun. Experts say that exposing a good amount of your skin to the sun for 15 to 20 minutes is the best way to activate it. Especially during the strongest sun hours of the day, which are typically 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

You can also get it from various foods. The best choice is salmon, preferably wild, rather than farmed. A 3.5 ounce (100 grams) piece of Atlantic salmon should provide 526 international units (IU) of vitamin D, which is 66% of the daily value. Other sources include tuna, sardines, eggs, mushrooms, and vitamin D-fortified dairy products. 

The bottom line 

The “sunshine vitamin” is here to stay. Even when the skies are grey. Everyone in the UK is advised to take a daily supplement during the autumn and winter months (October to early March), when we cannot make vitamin D from sunlight.

Goodwill Vitamin D3 will cover your daily needs for this vitamin when you can’t get the sufficient amount from sun or diet. 

You can find a lot more information about this vitamin and other interesting health topics on our blog.


Sources: 

https://www.eatthis.com/news-vitamin-d-bladder-study/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34491371/#affiliation-1

https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Cytokine-Storm.aspx

https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/ajpendo.00174.2021?utm_campaign=9.9.2021&utm_medium=PressRelease&utm_source=ajpend

https://www.eatthis.com/best-food-to-eat-for-vitamin-d/

IMMUNE SYSTEM AND GUT CONNECTION: Let food be thy medicine

Is the immune system and gut connection something you should think about? Statistics show that 43% of the UK population have experienced digestive problems at some point in their lifetime. However, only 59% of those people have ever visited a doctor to discuss them. The report provides a list of the most frequent symptoms of digestive issues:

Abdominal pain (63% of cases)

Diarrhoea (55% of cases)

Bloating (53% of cases)

Flatulence (44% of cases)

Constipation (44% of cases)

Usually, digestive problems settle down on their own – but not always. For instance, In some cases they are ongoing problems, digestive issues can indicate a more serious condition. We recommend speaking to your doctor if your symptoms don’t improve in two weeks!

Our gut breaks down the food we eat and absorbs nutrients that support our body. These affect energy production to hormone balance, skin health, mental health, and toxin elimination. About 70 percent of the immune system is stored in the gut! So, by maintaining our digestive system – we also support our immunity!

How is gut connected to the immune system?

Whole grains in various bowls are a perfect example of food for healthy gut

Firstly the gut microbiota resides in the gastrointestinal tract. It ensures essential health benefits to our bodies. Major alterations of the gut microbial responses can cause immune dysregulation – which could lead to autoimmune disorders!

Beneficial bacteria in the gut – Bifidobacterium, and Lactobacillus – regulate our immune system. They inhibit the growth of pathogens by competing for resources and support the development of immune cells. 

Additionally, they fight against inflammation and protect the gut barrier. The bacteria also produce metabolic products and contribute to the immune response.

Our bodies store more bacterial cells than human ones. This is a community of bacteria that lives in and on us – they are called the microbiome. Each microbe species performs specialised jobs – just like a company! Together, they keep us healthy. 

In our gut, the bacteria balance is critical because they ensure the immune response.

5 ways to improve gut health and immune system

Fortunately, we can improve gut health by introducing simple life changes. Because of the immune system and gut connection, this can have a major impact on our health. Let’s see what we can do!

1. Take probiotics and eat fermented foods

Fermented foods are becoming incredibly popular. For example, by eating the fermented food or taking probiotic supplements, you’ll boost the beneficial bacteria in the gut. Fermented foods are certainly great natural sources of probiotics.

They include:

  • Sourdough bread – made from fermented dough,
  • Kimchi – fermented cabbage,
  • Kombucha – fermented green or black tea,
  • Tempeh – made from fermented soybeans,
  • Cultured milk and yogurt.

2. Consume less sugar and sweeteners

In case you have a sweet tooth – you are certainly at higher danger of gut dysbiosis, which is an imbalance of gut microbes. Artificial sweeteners aren’t good either. They can negatively impact blood glucose levels due to their effects on gut flora. In other words, artificial sweeteners may increase blood sugar even though they are not sugar! 

It is crucial to eat sugary food in moderation and consume more healthy organic food!

3. Avoid taking unnecessary antibiotics for better connection between gut and immune response

We often take medicine like antibiotics to fight off bacterial infections. 

Overuse is certainly a significant public health problem that can lead to antibiotic resistance. In addition, antibiotics damage the gut microbiota and immunity. Even 6 months after their use, the gut still lacks several species of beneficial bacteria.

4. Reduce stress for healthier gut

We all know that stress can be dangerous to our health. Managing stress is certainly significant for many aspects of health – including gut health!

For example, studies suggest that psychological stressors can disrupt the microorganisms in the intestines. Even if the stress is only short-lived!

The following stressors may negatively affect gut health:

  • psychological stress,
  • environmental stress (extreme heat, cold, noise)
  • sleep deprivation,
  • disruption of the circadian rhythm (day/night circle).

Milder cases of indigestion are commonly caused by stress. The symptoms generally include acid reflux and heartburn. To soothe discomfort, we suggest trying Pepto Soda. It is a convenient, practical solution with a pleasant lemon flavour.

For more info on everyday stressors, read our previous blog post.

5. Digestive enzymes equal better gut and immunity

5 pills on two green leaves illustrate digestive enzymes which are great for gut health

By good luck, we have plenty of food that contains natural digestive enzymes! Think pineapples, papayas, mangoes, honey, bananas, avocados, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kiwifruit, and ginger. By adding any of these foods to your diet they’ll help promote digestion and better gut health!

If you have a leaky gut, enzyme support is beneficial to healing and rebuilding the gut. Supplemental enzymes, taken before eating, provide energy for digestion. Food is then easier to break down and nutrients to assimilate.

You can read more on digestive enzymes here.

Try a food supplement such as Enzimax, which has 7 digestive enzymes to improve your gut health. In case you need something even more powerful, try Enzimax Forte. It utilises a capsule-within-capsule technology, to help even better nutrient absorption.

Trust your gut feeling

In conclusion, the immune system and gut connection are both strong and important for the overall quality of life. To have a healthy digestive system you must certainly eat healthy food, manage stress, avoid unnecessary antibiotics, and consume food rich in digestive enzymes. Meanwhile, you will build a great foundation for a healthy digestive system. This results in a good immune response, and a strong, healthy body.

Our team provides up-to-date information on the most relevant pharmaceutical information. If you found this post helpful – share, like, and follow our blog!


Sources and links:

www.pushdoctor.co.uk

www.nature.com

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

www.bbc.co.uk

www.nutrition.org.uk

VITAMINS FOR AUTUMN AND COMMON ILLNESSES: These supplements will ensure you enjoy the most magical season

Are vitamins all they’re cracked up to be? And, more importantly, should you take extra dose of vitamins during autumn?

The opinions vary. Some say they can really boost our immunity and help us get through the autumn season. Others are reserved and ask for further research. It is essential to know whether or not you need supplements, which ones exactly, and how much of them you should consider taking.

Read on as we try to shed some light on some common seasonal challenges and ways to deal with them.

Common autumn illnesses

Autumn carries a number of seasonal health risks. Colder weather and staying indoors favour various illnesses. However, in the time of a global pandemic, it is easy to neglect some familiar foes.

One of the annoying autumn visitors is the common cold, and the accompanying sore throat, runny nose, congestion, and cough. These are often caused by rhinoviruses, which can spread from person to person through the air and close personal contact, and last for up to 14 days. Common colds are usually mild, but can sometimes lead to severe conditions: asthma, bronchitis  or even pneumonia.

Another seasonal nuisance is flu, usually followed by fever, headache and muscle soreness, on top of all the common cold symptoms. Flu is caused by influenza virus types A, B, and C and it is highly contagious. It can cause very serious, life-threatening complications, and even result in hospitalisation.

Finally, the most dangerous condition which becomes more prominent in autumn is pneumonia. It is inflammation of the tissue in one or both lungs, usually caused by a bacterial infection or a virus, including coronaviruses. Severe symptoms include rapid and shallow breathing, rapid heartbeat, high temperature, sweating and shivering, loss of appetite, even wheezing and feeling confused and disorientated.

Vitamins for autumn illness prevention

Woman in a yellow sweater sneezing and covering her nose with a handkerchief

The first thing that any epidemiologist will tell you is to take precautions:

  • cover your mouth and nose with a handkerchief or tissue when you cough or sneeze,
  • throw away used tissues immediately,
  • wash your hands regularly to avoid transferring germs to other people or objects.

The latest Covid-19 fashion – wearing a face mask – can’t hurt with other contagions either.

Strong immunity is the first and probably the best line of defence against any illnesses. However, there is no magic bullet to boost your immune system.

It’s no secret that sufficient sleep, exercise and a healthy diet are a good start. Yet, there are a number of other tips and things to consider:

  1. Avoid any unnecessary stress as much as possible. It weakens your body’s defence systems. To find out more about the impact of stressors on our health, read our previous blog.
  1. You can socialise while following safety measures. Build healthy relationships. People with a wider social network are likely to live longer than those with fewer friends and contacts.
  1. Get a pet. If you own a furry friend, you are more likely to have lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and a healthier heart.

Should you take vitamins during autumn?

Cranberries on a table and in a glass of water, surrounded by autumn leaves

A healthy and balanced diet is the best source of vitamins and other elements which help you fight off diseases. Some of the most important immunity boosters and vitamins for autumn are vitamins C and D, along with minerals zinc and magnesium.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is the alpha and omega of strong immunity. It is essential for the growth and repair of tissue all over the body. It helps heal wounds while repairing and maintaining healthy bones, teeth, skin and cartilage. As an antioxidant, vitamin C fights free radicals in the body. This may help prevent or delay certain cancers and heart disease and promote healthy ageing.

This powerful vitamin is present in citrus fruits, tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, green and red bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kiwi. Eat these foods while they’re fresh to limit nutrient loss.

As for the daily dosage of vitamin C, the RDI is officially up to 90 mg for adult men, which is enough to prevent serious deficiency and possibly scurvy. However, since it is water-soluble and our body cannot store it, researchers suggest it is safe to take even up to 1000 mg per day. This amount is recommended if you want to be less susceptible to infection, or reduce its duration and severity.

Depending on your diet, you might need to take vitamin C supplements. Goodwill Pharma’s  VITAMIN C 250 Direct Albert Szent-Györgyi Granules are convenient and have a refreshing orange flavour.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D has several important functions, such as regulating calcium and phosphorus absorption, and supporting normal immune system function. Getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D is vital for normal growth and development of bones and teeth, and warding off diseases.

Your body can produce sufficient amounts of this “sunshine vitamin“ when exposed to sunlight. In the less sunny months, though, you might need to resort to foods rich in vitamin D, such as the fishes – salmon, herring, mackerel, cod, tuna and sardines.

The recommended daily intake of vitamin D is 400 IU (international units). Goodwill Vitamin D3 is an optimal solution for the most vital (and often deficient) form of this vitamin – D3.

Zinc

Zinc is an essential micronutrient crucial to almost every aspect of your health. Research shows that this mineral enhances immune function, stabilises blood sugar levels, and helps keep your skin, eyes, and heart healthy.

You can find it in foods such as oysters, crab  beef, or pork. The daily needs range from 8 to 11 mg. Goodwill Zinc provides the optimal amount of this element.

Magnesium

Magnesium keeps your immunity strong by improving the white blood cells’ ability to seek out and destroy germs. You can find it in various foods, such as dark chocolate, avocados, nuts, or bananas. If you need a supplement, Magnewill Rapid is a convenient solution with three highly bioavailable magnesium salts in powder form. 

Astaxanthin – a rising star for autumn troubles

Astaxanthin is a red pigment that belongs to a group of chemicals called carotenoids. It occurs in certain algae and causes the pink-red colour in salmon.

It is one of the most powerful antioxidants today. Thanks to its unique ability to pass the cell membrane, it protects cells from external and internal oxidative stress.

Among other things, it can support our immune system by protecting cells from Reactive Oxygen Species, or ROS. Immune cells produce these Reactive Oxygen Species as a part of their anti-pathogen reaction. It also makes them vulnerable to oxidative stress.

Astax + 3 Direct contains high quality astaxanthin from shellfish, enriched with vitamin C, zinc, and selenium.

What you autumn know

Autumn is a time when the strength of our immunity is put to the test. We cannot cure or even prevent some of the usual infections, but we can certainly make ourselves less susceptible. We can also reduce their intensity and duration.

A healthy lifestyle and diet go a long way towards boosting our immunity. However, we might often need an extra push from carefully chosen vitamins for autumn, such as the golden oldies – vitamins C and D, zinc or magnesium.

Additionally, we have at our disposal a powerful new weapon against the seasonal challenges in the form of the super antioxidant – Astaxanthin.

If you want to learn more about this fascinating supplement and get more useful information and advice on health, read our blog.

Sources: 

https://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-strengthen-immunity

https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/food-and-diet/do-i-need-vitamin-supplements/

https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20201117/can-supplements-boost-your-immunity-this-winter

INNOVATIVE FOOD SUPPLEMENTS: How food supplements are changing for the better and what it means for you

True innovation is hard to pinpoint. Innovation is sometimes more about the frills and attractive features, but sometimes there are truly worthy advancements in research and development. Best food supplements usually reflect both.

In the supplements industry, we should distinguish convenience from genuine improvement. The former is more commercial (and often seems more important); the latter takes more effort and serves health long-term.

Recent developments over the last few years have given us both:

  • new forms of supplements (granules, powder, drinks, gummies), and a nice alternative to an increasing pile of pills;
  • a lot of research on ingredients and delivery mechanisms in supplements.

We will discuss the latter, because it is relevant for common health issues: digestion, immunity, and health of bones and joints. Read on to find out what’s been going on and what these true innovations can do for you.

Astaxanthin: The new Holy Grail of immunity food supplements

Wide frame of a microscope in laboratory

When they think of supplements, the majority of people instantly think of immunity. Rightfully so: the most important vitamins and minerals (C, D, Zn, Mg) play a vital role in our immune response.

Yet, in recent years, there has been a lot of research on a pinkish pigment – Astaxanthin (often shortened to ASX).

It is a red/pink pigment from the class of carotenoids, predominantly found in aquatic cultures (salmon, shellfish and algae). Astaxanthin also gives the pinkish hue to the flamingos’ feathers, and can even be found in propolis.

What is so special about it?

Astaxanthin is hailed as a more natural version of another promising pigment – canthaxanthin. Canthaxanthin is a red keto-carotenoid found in bacteria, algae, and some fungi, but commercial canthaxanthin is often chemically synthesized.

The interest in astaxanthin stems from its potency – astaxanthin is an antioxidant thousands of times stronger than vitamin C

The comparison doesn’t stop there:

  • thousands of times stronger than resveratrol (found in red wine),
  • several hundreds times stronger than CoQ10 and green tea catechins,
  • and hundreds of times more efficient than Vitamin E.

These promising features of astaxanthin bring many benefits for consumers:

  • strong immunity,
  • healthy skin,
  • cardiovascular health,
  • relief of menopausal symptoms and
  • improved fertility in men.

There are even studies considering astaxanthin for the treatment of diabetes.

For an in-depth view of astaxanthin, read our blog post here.

Digestive enzymes: The missing links in gut health

A woman holding a stem of a plant in solution, inside the test tube

Probiotics

Everyone knows about probiotics, right? We take them when we have stomach issues and hope they will miraculously make them go away. Which, sometimes, they do.

But are you familiar with digestive enzymes? They have been around for some time, especially with the rise of veganism and vegetarianism. The general population, however, only recently started paying attention to their role in digestive health.

Digestive enzymes are produced in the pancreas, stomach and small intestine. They break down the three macronutrients: proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.

Processed foods, lifestyle, age, and genetic factors contribute to the decline of produced enzymes. As the intensity and quantity of digestive enzymes diminish, so does the body’s tolerance and capacity to digest certain foods. This leads to initial problems like allergies, intolerance, indigestion, which can develop into more serious problems: Crohn’s, IBS, dyspepsia, and other digestive issues.

Luckily, pharmacology has given us encapsulated digestive enzymes to keep the digestive tract humming (pleasantly!). This means that you can ingest and supplement the digestive enzymes you need, so your digestive system can do the things it’s supposed to.

commercial digestive enzymes nowadays:

Here’s a caveat – there are two problems with many commercial digestive enzymes nowadays:

  • not enough variety of digestive enzymes in a supplement,
  • inadequate delivery mechanism to the GI tract, which renders them useless.

What do we mean by these?

The industry standard is typically 3-4 digestive enzymes in a supplement. That would be fine if there were only a few enzymes that the body needs. Nevertheless, the number of digestive enzymes is vast, so you could get a supplement that doesn’t fulfil your needs at all.

There are some products in the market – like Enzimax – that contain more enzymes, i.e. 7-8 that are commonly missing.

However, even when you do have in theory all the enzymes, the majority of companies do not take into account the physiology. Digestive enzymes are delicate proteins. The potent hydrochloric acid easily deactivates them.

This means that, even though you invest your money in an adequate supplement, it might be worthless, and won’t solve your digestive issues. If the problem is in the GI tract, the enzymes need to be there to work their magic.

Goodwill Pharma is one of the rare companies that addressed the delivery mechanism issue and invented a double capsule. Enzimax Forte has an inner and an outer capsule, with a total of 8 digestive enzymes. The hydrochloric acid dissolves the outer capsule, and the first batch of enzymes is released. The remaining enzymes move unaffected to the GI tract.

For a detailed overview of digestive enzymes, read the blog post here.

The increasing collagen debt: Supplements cum laude

Collagen traversed a winding path until its vital importance was recognized. It was viewed as an irrelevant protein because it doesn’t contain the amino acid tryptophan.

Science eventually caught up. Collagen is now recognised as the most important protein since it makes up 30% of all proteins in the body.

But, wait, isn’t collagen the thing we put on our face to prevent ageing?

Yes, but, more importantly, collagen proteins provide the scaffolding and the structure for the entire body. They envelop the organs and the muscles, and are a crucial ingredient for cartilage, i.e. healthy, lubricated joints.

Collagen

Collagen is vital in the prevention and treatment of arthritis, osteoarthritis, osteopenia, osteoporosis. It helps the body remain young and keep moving well into the mature age. Collagen supports athletes, alleviates sports injuries, and promotes a healthy-looking and beautiful appearance.

Unfortunately, as we age, collagen production declines. This leaves us vulnerable to injuries, effects of ageing, and debilitating health challenges like arthritis.

Depending on the source, there are several types of collagen: synthetic, animal-sourced and fish collagen. All of them have their place and may suit your specific lifestyle needs (for example, you might want to choose the fish collagen if you are vegetarian). There are even vegan versions of collagen, derived from yeast and bacteria. 

Still, let’s hone in on collagen’s role in cartilage preservation.

Cartilage is a cushion to your joints, and with time, we lose it, which leads to painful rubbing of one bone against the other within a joint.

For collagen to work, you must first have enough vitamin C in the body. It is essential for the production of collagen.

The body collagen works with several other components to preserve the existing cartilage (for example, chondrocytes, which are cells that build cartilage).

However, no collagen can regenerate the lost cartilage.

Whats the innovative ?

Here is the innovative part: research on a specific type of animal-sourced collagen has shown great results in the preservation and regeneration of cartilage. The collagen in question is the FORTIGEL collagen.

The studies done on athletes showed remarkable retention of existing cartilage, proven by scans.

The results of any collagen supplement will however depend on the severity, duration and previous treatments of the condition. The initial results with FORTIGEL collagen are the main reason why Goodwill Pharma opted for it in their products, in combination with the abovementioned vitamin C, chondroitin sulfate, and glucosamine sulfate.

Our products are the best food supplements in terms of our understanding of cartilage preservation and potential regeneration.

You can learn more about FORTIGEL collagen in the blog post here.

Innovations in food supplements don’t end

Food supplements are constantly changing. We are blessed to live in an era when we can invest in research and versatile, healthier, more efficient solutions.

Better ingredients and delivery mechanisms mean you can better support a healthy and happy life.

And – just in case you were wondering – we also value convenience. The bulk of our products come in the form of powders, granules and gummies. But we prefer to give more space to talk about research and advancements.

For more information on health conditions, tips on health and beauty, and what makes best food supplements, visit and read our blog.


Links and sources:

11 Things You Should Know About Digestive Enzymes

Astaxanthin: The Samurai Way

FORTIGEL Collagen: Why this might be the best collagen supplement

https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1063/astaxanthin

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5946307/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/canthaxanthin

https://www.healthline.com/health/why-are-enzymes-important

https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/vegan-collagen

https://www.gelita.com/en/products/collagen-peptides/fortigel

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4045593/