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10 AMAZING HEALTH BENEFITS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT VITAMIN D…

Vitamin D is all over the news at the moment, with medical studies taking place worldwide to determine the extent of its effect on Covid-19 patients. Whether it can ease symptoms of the virus or not, following a survey that highlighted how one in five Brits are deficient in vitamin D, Simon Bandy of natural health specialists Veganicity, gives us his top 10 reasons why we really should be stocking up the ‘sunshine vitamin’ this winter:

  1. It can reduce depression: there’s no doubt that 2020 has been a tough year for all, andmedical staff are now expecting mental health issues to increase significantly, knowing that we will continue to see the effects of COVID-19 for a long time into the future. Vitamin D can play a vital role in regulating our mood and warding off depression so, as the darker, longer days creep in over winter, it’s the perfect time to dose up.
  2. It can boost weight loss: it’s thought that the extra calcium the body gets from taking vitamin D supplements can have appetite-supressing effects—handy given that two in three Brits admitted they piled on the pounds during the first stages of lockdown.
  3. It can benefit those bones: vitamin D ensures the body can absorb calcium, potassium and magnesium, all which help to keep bones and teeth strong and help prevent osteoporosis—a disease that affects over 3 million people in the UK.
  4. It can help support lung function and reduce respiratory illnesses: while there are still various medical trials being undertaken around the world, especially given the current pandemic and its effects on the respiratory symptom, many researchers have already shown that having low levels of vitamin D in the body correlates with illnesses such as bronchitis and asthma, and symptoms including wheezing and chest tightness.
  5. It can help regulate the body’s insulin levels: according to Diabetes.co.uk, Vitamin D is believed to help improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin—the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar levels— and thus reduce the risk of insulin resistance, which is often a precursor to type 2 diabetes, something that affects one in ten people over 40 in the UK.
  6. It can help promote a healthy pregnancy: vitamin D is especially important in pregnancy as it helps your baby’s bones, teeth, kidneys, heart and nervous system to develop.Furthermore, some studies suggest that pregnant women who have a vitamin D deficiency may have a higher risk of developing preeclampsia and giving birth preterm.
  7. It can help prevent falls: while Vitamin D is essential for bone development, many people don’t know that it can improve muscle strength and neural functionality too, thus reducing the risk of falls. This can be particularly beneficial for the older generation who are frailer and more susceptible to fractures.
  8. It could reduce the risk of getting cancer: while the UK medical profession is still sceptical about this claim, a study in Japan did show that higher levels of vitamin D in the blood arelinked to a lower risk of cancer, especially liver cancer.
  9. It can help us avoid catching the common cold or flu: another study suggested that taking vitamin D supplements could reduce the chances of catching seasonal flu as one of the vitamin’s most important roles is keeping your immune system strong so you’re able to fight off the viruses and bacteria that cause illness.
  10. It can give you a boost of energy: constantly feeling tired, especially during the winter months, is one of the leading symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency, however, it is often overlooked as a cause. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is thought to affect over 2 million people in the UK, yet vitamin D supplements are an easy and inexpensive way of reducing symptoms.

Simon said: “We get most of our vitamin D from sunlight on our skin and from certain foods. Given that most of us will spend a lot more time indoors now the weather is turning for autumn and winter, people really should be making sure they get enough of this vital vitamin. 

“From October to early March in the UK, we simply cannot get enough vitamin D from sunlight. While it is found in some foods such as oily fish, red meat, eggs and some fortified spreads and cereals, vegetarians and vegans are particularly at risk from vitamin D deficiency as these foods don’t form part of their diet. 

“The dosage everyone should take will depend on their age, skin colour, descent and living conditions, but the average for those over one year old is 10 micrograms a day. You should always check with your doctor if you are unsure or think you have a severe deficiency.”

The Veganicity Vitamin D Complex supplement provides the optimum daily intake in one easy-to-take small tablet. Available from www.veganicity.com, www.Amazon.co.uk and all good independent health shops nationwide priced at £8.45 for 90 tablets (approx. 3 month supply).

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WORLD SPINE DAY OCTOBER 16th – WORLDWIDE SPINAL HEALTH AWARENESS…

Tomorrow, 16th October is Worldwide Spine Awareness Day. World Spine Day highlights the burden of spinal pain and disability around the world. With health professionals, exercise and rehabilitation experts, public health advocates, schoolchildren and patients all taking part, World Spine Day is celebrated on every continent.

World Spine Day highlights the importance of spinal health and well being. Promotion of physical activity, good posture, responsible lifting and healthy working conditions will all feature as people are encouraged to look after their spines and stay active.

World Spine Day 2020 will focus on getting people BACK ON TRACK to revitalize their spines and restore spinal health and well being. This campaign will be the spinal public health event of 2020. World’s Spine Day vision is a world of healthier spines – help us to get the world get BACK ON TRACK!

An estimated one billion people worldwide suffer with spinal pain. It affects people across the life course and is the biggest single cause of disability on the planet. Effective management and prevention is therefore key and this year’s World Spine Day will be encouraging people to take steps to be kind to their spines.

Populations in under-served parts of the world often have no access to conventional healthcare resources to care for spinal pain and disability. Dedicated spinal health professionals do not exist in many parts of the world, helping people to self-manage their conditions is important. Even in high-income countries, back pain afflicts many millions of people, resulting in an enormous impact on industry and the economy.

Organized by the World Federation of Chiropractic, World Spine Day has over 600 official organizational supporters worldwide. More information about how to get involved is available at www.worldspineday.org  on Twitter and Facebook.

Simply registering your support via the organisations page helps them to spread the word and help them keep you in touch with the latest events occurring worldwide.

Since 2012, the World Federation of Chiropractic has been coordinating World Spine Day in collaboration with organizations around the world. This October 16, 2020 will mark the ninth official World Spine Day. They are calling on people and organizations around the world to join together to raise awareness around the prevention and effective management of spinal conditions.

World Spine Day has become a focus in raising awareness of back pain and other spinal issues. With health professionals, exercise and rehabilitation experts, public health advocates, schoolchildren and patients all taking part, #BackOnTrack will be celebrated on every continent.

The aims of WSD:
  1. To raise awareness about spinal health and spine disorders among individuals, communities, professionals and all stakeholders associated with spine care;
  2. To provide a forum for ongoing discussion about the burden of spinal disorders and the sharing of best practices; and
  3. To promote an interdisciplinary, collaborative approach to easing the burden of spinal disorders.
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BACK PAIN AWARENESS WEEK (OCT 5-9)TOP 10 SELF-HELP TIPS FOR FIBROMYALGIA & BACK PAIN SUFFERERS IN LOCKDOWN…

To mark Back Pain Awareness Week, leading UK back-pain-prevention expert and Health Ergonomist Nichola Adams offers practical advice on coping with the growing challenges of working from home for a further six months.

 

Advice on slouching: a Work Station Assessment by Nichola Adams    

Leading UK back-pain-prevention expert and health ergonomist Nichola Adams’s workload has risen sharply during Covid lockdown.


And statistics show the numbers of us suffering from back pain are also growing, especially now that lockdown is extending for another six months.

To mark national Back Care Awareness Week (October 5-9), Nichola, a Technical Member of The Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors, has compiled her ‘Top 10 Self-Help Tips for Back Pain and Fibromyalgia Sufferers’.


Combining the Greek words ‘ergon’ (meaning ‘work’) and ‘nomoi’ (meaning ‘natural laws’), Ergonomics is the science of making products and tasks comfortable and efficient for human use.


“Health Ergonomics is a multidisciplinary science. It combines biomechanics (how our bodies move), anthropometrics (our measurements) and psychology to enable us to design products and services that best match people’s physical, as well as mental, capabilities,” explains Nichola.


“Ergonomics recognises that we are all individuals and that there will be many external influences that affect our recovery. This includes the environment as well as social factors that affect, for instance, our attitudes towards our back pain, our stress levels and other influencing factors that can influence our levels of back pain.” 

TIP 1 -Keep moving: When you do, blood flows more easily and brings nutrients and oxygen to your tissues and muscles. When sitting at your computer, standing breaks are vital. Take one every 30-60 minutes. Just standing up and siting back down will provide a beneficial boost. Take your laptop to a higher surface like a kitchen work-top or chest of drawers, then stand a while. Own a patio or garden? Work outside. Fresh air blows away brain cobwebs.
TIP 2 -Eat well, stay hydrated: Keeping the body stocked with immune-boosting, antioxidant-rich foods is key. Antioxidant foods are also anti-inflammatory. Enjoy dark fruit and leafy vegetables. Magnesium-rich foods are also good for reducing mental and physical stress. Check your vitamin D levels with a home testing kit. Keep hydrated, aiming for 7-8 glasses a day. It’s all too easy, when we’re working hard, to forget to drink enough water.
TIP 3 – Sit up straight: While moving regularly is key, sitting upright will also help reduce the load on your spine. Don’t sofa-slouch! If you only have your sofa to work from, mimic a good set-up. Build a supportive back using cushions (deep sofas cause slouching). Pop a cushion under your laptop to protect yourself against its heat and raise it up. Try an adjustable laptop holder that’s made for sofa or bed use.
TIP 4 -Care about your chair: Sit on a chair whenever possible. If it’s a dining chair, not an office one, always try to ensure your lower-back curve is supported as this is particularly good for easing tension build-up on sensitive backs. You can use a cushion or rolled-up towel for extra support. Better still, buy an inflatable lumbar support cushion for your lower-back curve. Ask your employer if they’ll offer you budget for a chair with a lumbar support and adjustable seat height and armrests. Always sit with your arms level with the top of the desk as this will help you avoid flicking up your wrists or hunching your shoulders to type.
TIP 5 -Get your screen height right: If you’re using a laptop, make sure you can either dock it onto a larger screen that’s at eye height, or raise the laptop onto some books. Alternatively, try using a laptop holder so that you aren’t slouching or looking down to read the screen as this will load unwelcome pressure onto your neck, shoulders and back. Then use a separate keyboard and mouse.

TIP 6 -Mind the gap: When using a keyboard and mouse, keep these close to the front of your desk so that you don’t find yourself in a position where there’s a gap and you’re needing to extend your arms forward when typing. Failure to do this can quickly bring on shoulder and neck tensions as our arms are surprisingly heavy when extended forward. Keep your wrists relaxed and straight in order to reduce pressure building up.
TIP 7 -Stay positive: Maintaining a positive frame of mind is more important than many people realise. And your brain has a far bigger say in your body’s ability to feel pain than you might imagine. If we’re stressed and worried, our body naturally tenses up. The brain then goes on alert for pain. Despite the distractions of the pandemic, try to take time out for yourself and just relax. (Bonus mini-tip: A magnesium hot bath can also work wonders for the brain and body.)
TIP 8 -And …… breathe: Slowing down your breathing can impact your cortisol levels. This brings down your stress levels and keep the oxygen flowing through the body. Try this exercise I can recommend: Step 1: Breathe in for a count of five. Step 2: Pause for a count of four. Step 3: Breathe out for eight beats. Step 4: Then pause for four. Step 5: Repeat. Get used to the maths and you’ll notice the difference straightaway.
TIP 9 -Exercise gently: With no office commute, exercising daily becomes essential. Try a morning stroll, jog or cycle as morning light helps with your circadian rhythm (helping our sleep/wake cycles) and vitamin D levels. Maybe treat yourself to a visit to your local park or a coffee, to encourage yourself to get out. By venturing out in the mornings, before work gets busy, we’re more likely to stick to the routine. Try stretching exercises, too, like yoga or Pilates.
TIP 10 -Remember, you’re worth it!: Focus on yourself and ring-fence extra time to keep in tune with what gives your life meaning and purpose. Remembering to take regular breaks at home isn’t easy, so use technology to set yourself automatic reminders on your mobile. When working from home, find ways to support your body so your muscles relax. Everyone’s an individual and ergonomists like me can conduct assessments remotely if you need bespoke advice.

Source: Alec Lom – Nichola Adams, MSc Health Ergonomics, Tech CIEHF (Technical Member of The Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors), Reg Member ACPOHE (The Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Occupational Health and Ergonomics), is one of the UK’s leading back-pain experts and the Founder of Inspired Ergonomics (http://www.inspiredergonomics.com/)