New Year 2017

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and feel full of optimism and hope for 2017.
If you have over indulged during the last week or so, don’t worry – I sometimes feel this actually makes it easier to eat well because you start to really want more wholesome food as an antidote! It’s certainly not a time to starve yourself though, far better to have lots of warming, sustaining dishes with plenty of seasonal vegetables. Starting January by cutting out high sugar and salty foods, as well as alcohol is, however, certainly a good idea and will leave you feeling less sluggish and bloated and with more energy to embrace the new year.
With mental health conditions on the rise, nutrition is finally being considered as a viable way to help. The idea that nutrition could ever be considered a priority in mental health had, until recently, been greeted with scepticism in the scientific community. However, there is increasing research to show the importance of diet for managing and preventing symptoms associated with mental health conditions.
The field of Nutritional Psychiatry is growing rapidly as increasing studies are showing how using diet and supplementation as a strategy to target symptoms of mental health conditions, has a more sustainable positive effect than the use of anti-depressants and other medications, which in the long-run may lead to a variety of negative side-effects.
In one particular study, the impact of a variety of nutritional supplements that contained vital nutrients for brain function was measured, in sufferers following the Christchurch earthquakes. The study aimed to demonstrate how nutritional supplements can provide the body the additional nutrients it needs to withstand chronic stress when nutrient intake is most compromised. Chronic stress and stressful situations, such as in environmental disasters, can be metabolically demanding and over time can deplete the body of vital nutrients, which can exacerbate symptoms and lead to further mental health problems.

91 adults experiencing heightened anxiety or stress 2–3 months following the earthquake in Christchurch were recruited to take part in this study. They were randomised to take 3 different nutritional supplements containing high levels of B vitamins as well as other nutrients indicated for cognitive health. All treatment groups experienced significant declines in psychological symptoms as well as a greater improvement in mood, anxiety and energy.

This is one of many studies showing the positive effects of optimal nutrition in managing mental health symptoms. What is being most significantly highlighted by academics is that adopting nutritional supplementation for the therapeutic treatment of mental health disorders is also very inexpensive and safe. The risk of side effects is very little, which is highlighted by the research undertaken thus far. This further underlines how micronutrient supplementation can be an easy and useful tool to adopt as an intervention for public health authorities.

In addition, nutritional supplementation does not only deal with the isolated symptoms of mental health conditions, but it also helps to improve overall health. Unfortunately as micronutrients cannot be patented, there is little benefit for companies to fund clinical trials. This therefore means that published randomised controlled trials have mostly been funded by the generosity of private donations. The scepticism in micronutrient supplementation is, however, gradually being lifted by these studies, which are showing great value and the potential benefit that these simple measures could have on public health.
Health problems associated with magnesium deficiency include migraines, anxiety and depression, fatigue, fibromyalgia, cardiovascular disease, sudden cardiac death, and death from all causes. 
Magnesium plays an important role in mitochondrial health. Without it, other strategies aimed at improving mitochondrial health simply may not work. More than 300 enzymes rely on magnesium for proper function and this amazing mineral is vital for muscles, bones, the nervous system, blood sugar regulation and detoxification
A century ago, people got an estimated 500mg of magnesium from their diet, courtesy of the nutrient-rich soil in which the food was grown. Today, estimates suggest we’re only getting 150 to 300 mg a day from our food.
Organic unprocessed foods tend to be your best bet, but since the magnesium content of your food depends on the richness of magnesium in the soil in which the plant was grown, even organics are no guarantee you’re getting high magnesium content.
Most soils have become severely depleted of nutrients, and for this reason, some magnesium experts believe virtually everyone needs to take supplemental magnesium.
Sources of magnesium include green leafy vegetables, avocados, seeds and nuts but if you have any of the health concerns above then a targeted supplement would probably be a good idea. However, there are many different forms of magnesium and some are better suited to different issues than to others so please get in touch if you need advice:


This is a good, well absorbed magnesium supplement for general use
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Happy New Year!