Vitamin D and Good Health

Vitamin D is well known for helping to maintain healthy bones but what’s becoming apparent is the many other ways it supports good health.

We can get a small amount of vitamin D from food sources such as oily fish, egg yolks, red meat and fortified foods such as breakfast cereals, however it’s difficult to get enough vitamin D from food alone.

We get most of our vitamin D from natural sunlight and indeed it’s often called the ‘sunshine vitamin’. Our bodies can make vitamin D when the sunlight touches our skin and this is during the ‘summer’ months (between late March/early April to the end of September). However, in the ‘winter’ months (October to the end of March) sunlight is not strong enough to make Vitamin D. Evidence now shows that many of us in the UK may be low in this important nutrient so supplementation is often needed. Public Health England now recommend supplementation for most of the population through the autumn and winter months in particular.

Vitamin D is available as drops and sprays (straight into the mouth) so is very easy to take, but can also be taken in tablet form too.

Our team of registered Nutritional Therapists are always on hand to provide advice in store and online. Contact us, or pop in and see us to talk nutrition and how to support your health this winter.

Sources: BioCare, NutriAdvanced, Better You and

Vitamin D and Vitamin K from BetterYou

Maintaining healthy bones is not just about increasing your calcium intake. Did you know that alongside calcium you should also look into vitamins D and K2?

Vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 ensure that calcium is absorbed easily and reaches the bone mass, while preventing arterial calcification. Helping to keep your heart and bones healthy.

Separately, K2 regulates normal blood clotting, whilst D3 supports a healthy immune system and supports muscle function.

optimal bone health

D+K2 – Putting calcium in balance

For increased calcium into the bone

Vitamin D3 ensures that calcium is absorbed easily and K2 (MK-7) activates the protein, osteocalcin, which integrates calcium into bone. Without D3 and K2, calcium cannot do its job effectively.

For reduced calcium plaque in arteries

Vitamin K2 (MK-7) activates matrix GLA protein (MGP) to bind excess calcium and promote arterial flow and flexibility.

How do vitamins D3 and K2 work together?

The power of BetterYou Vitamin D + K2

This fantastic article has been created by BetterYou. You can read the original feature here.

What To Eat When Exercising

Exercise or workouts plays a vital role in our daily energy expenditure and understanding what to eat before exercising, after exercising and how much food to eat is really important to enhance both your workouts and your body composition to meet your overall training and fitness goals.

What is on your “everyday plate”?

Better food choices are established from creating and following simple everyday habits that can lead to an improvement in calorie control, nutrient timings and food selections. Before focusing your attention on pre and post workout meals it is important that your everyday food choices are near optimum. Your everyday meals are what you eat when you are not exercising, these days are known as rest days or for those that do not exercise it is their everyday. The Eat Well guide shows how much of what we eat overall should come from each food group to achieve a healthy, balanced diet.

Eat slowly and stop at 80% full

For the majority of people, the focus is on what they are eating and how they are eating often gets forgotten. Eating slower and stopping when you’re 80% full can improve your workouts and digestion. It is really important to listen to your hunger and appetite cues and focus on how you are eating. Focus should be on ensuring we are sat down when we eat, in other words avoid grabbing foods on the go. Turn off your distractions whether it is the TV, your phone or laptop and pay attention to what you are eating. Aim for about 15-20 minutes per meal, this is because it takes about 20 minutes for our satiety mechanisms to kick in, these are the messages between your brain and your gut to say you are full. Stop when you are 80% full to avoid the feeling and need to unbutton your trousers!

Eat protein dense foods with each meal

It is essential to ensure you are eating adequate amounts of protein per meal (20-30g for women and 40-60g for men). You may have heard or seen people having protein shakes or protein dense foods after they exercise but it is important to look at the protein you are eating throughout the day, not just after you exercise. By eating protein dense foods with each meal, you will stimulate your metabolism, improve your muscle mass and recovery and help to reduce your body fat.  The demands for protein increase when you are exercising regularly and the amounts you need to eat changes depending on the type of exercise you are doing and for how long you do it. This increase occurs because the protein balance during exercise shifts towards muscle break down as opposed to muscle building. It is important to eat protein as soon as possible after exercising as there is an increased demand for protein metabolism for up to 24 hours after exercising.

Carbohydrates for fat loss and maintenance

Carbohydrates are essential for providing energy to fuel exercise. You may have heard of “carb loading”, where individuals consume large amounts of carbohydrates before exercise to provide the body with enough energy for the workout ahead. Energy for workouts comes from a mixture of blood glucose from carbohydrate rich meals eaten before exercise and glycogen stored in the liver and muscles from carbohydrate rich meals eaten days before. It is important to eat carbohydrates before but additionally after exercise which a lot of people can be unaware of. HIT (high intensity training) workouts are extremely popular and it is important to eat carbohydrates immediately after strenuous exercise sessions such as HIT workouts as it will help to build up the glycogen stores that have been depleted during exercise. Additionally, the process of rebuilding and repairing of muscles can be stimulated by eating carbohydrates as the increase in insulin stimulates the uptake of amino acids which are the building blocks of protein.

Eat healthy fats daily

It is important when optimising your health, performance and body composition that you have the correct balance between the different types of fats you consume. It is recommended to have a balance of saturated fats, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, giving a third of your recommended fat intake to each fat group. After working out, the recommendation to increase your carbohydrates will result in a reduction in fats to balance out.

Examples of meals and snacks for individuals who exercise


• Porridge with milk/milk alternative and fresh fruit
• Muesli (no added sugar) or wholegrain cereal with milk/milk alternative and fresh fruit
• Wholegrain or granary toast with peanut or other nut butter alternatives
• 2 slices of wholemeal toast with scrambled eggs and a grilled tomato
• Greek or natural yoghurt with banana, berries and cereal (e.g. oats)


• Baked potato with tuna and salad
• Eggs of choice on wholemeal toast with vegetables
• Chicken and salad sandwich (wholemeal bread or wrap)
• Lentil and vegetable soup with whole wheat roll
• Couscous or quinoa salad with chicken, roasted vegetables and kale


• Wholemeal pasta with grilled chicken and vegetables in a tomato-based sauce
• Chilli con carne – lean mince, kidney beans, chopped tomatoes and brown rice
• Salmon with boiled new potatoes and vegetables
• Stir fry – whole wheat noodles, lean meat (chicken, turkey or beef), tofu or prawns and vegetables


• Fruit
• Vegetable sticks with hummus
• Fruit yoghurt
• Unsalted nuts / seeds
• Oatcakes with peanut butter

This article is written by Jade Mottley – Fitness & Nutrition Coach for NutriAdvanced. You can read the original article here.

The Benefits of Plant-Based Calcium for Bone Health

Bone is living tissue and new bone replaces old bone throughout life. But as we age, the cells that build new bone (osteoblasts) cannot work as quickly as the cells that remove old bone (osteoclasts). This leads to an overall loss of bone tissue, which makes bones weaker and more fragile and more susceptible to fractures and breaks. Therefore, supporting bone health with key nutrients, weight-bearing exercise, keeping a healthy weight and not smoking is essential, especially as we get older.

It is well known that calcium, amongst other nutrients, is necessary for supporting skeletal and bone health. Calcium is found in a variety of foods including milk, cheese, yoghurt, leafy greens, beans, lentils and tofu. Yet not everyone can achieve optimal calcium status from diet alone so may need to consider a calcium supplement. There are many different types of calcium but not all types are created equal. The main types include calcium carbonate and calcium citrate, yet these can be poorly absorbed or may cause side effects. One type that has shown in studies to be beneficial to bone health and may be more easily absorbed is a plant-sourced calcium that occurs naturally in marine algae.

A 2010 study published in the peer-reviewed journal, Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, demonstrated that a specific plant-sourced calcium is a more “bone friendly” form of calcium compared to traditional calciums. The study results showed that a specific plant-sourced calcium increased alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity 200% more effectively than calcium carbonate and 250% more effectively than calcium citrate. More ALP is produced when bones are growing or active. The plant-sourced calcium also outperformed both calcium carbonate and calcium citrate by 300% and 400% respectively on DNA synthesis – the ability of the osteoblasts to produce new bone building cells.

A separate 2011 open-label trial demonstrated that a specific plant-sourced calcium increases bone mineral density (BMD) in women over 40 years old.2 Participants followed 3 different bone-health programmes for 6 months to one year. ‘Plan 1’ contained a bone health supplement with 1000iu vitamin D3 and 750mg of plant-sourced calcium. ‘Plan 2’ and ‘Plan 3’ contained the same plant-sourced calcium with differing amounts of vitamin D3 and other added bone supporting ingredients. All plans also benefited from components designed to increase physical activity and health literacy. All 3 groups showed increases in BMD, in comparison to a range of studies suggesting that calcium and vitamin D3 supplementation alone can, at best, only slow down the age-related decline in BMD. ‘Plan 1’ showed a 1.3% increase in mean annualized percent change (MAPC) in BMD. The expected change with no intervention is -0.75%. The other 2 plans also had increases.

These studies support the efficacy of plant-sourced calcium and should be considered when supporting bone health, especially as we age.

This article is written by Laura Murphy BSc (Hons), MSc of Nutri Advanced. You can read the original article here.

Foods to Beat Chronic Illness

Foods to Beat Chronic Disease

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men in the UK and the second most common cancer in men worldwide. The number of cases is expected to almost double to 1.7 million cases by 2030 

Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men aged 25-49.

World Health Organisation (WHO) projections back in 2005 stated that the majority of all deaths are modifiable with dietary and lifestyle change. A healthy diet can have a major impact on overall health and mortality risk.

A research report published in March 2014 found that eating 7 or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day reduces the risk of death from cancer by 25% and the risk of heart disease by 31%.

Increased intake of fruits and vegetables are associated with lowered cholesterol, reduced risk of stroke, decreased risk of type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancers, improved immune function, liver activity and bone health to name but a few of the many benefits.

Only 30% of adults and 41% of older adults, and 10% of boys and 7% of girls between the ages of 11-18 meet the now outdated 5-a-day recommendation.

Simple Change – Dramatic Benefits
One simple step you can take to dramatically improve your health is to up your intake of fruit and veg, and there’s an endless list of reasons why this is a great idea! Despite such a seemingly simple action leading to significant benefits; average intakes are still worryingly low. The key to making any change to your diet or lifestyle is to start with small steps – add an extra portion per day to begin with and once established you can then add another, and so on.

Boost Your Diet
Even the most seasoned fruit and veg enthusiast can struggle to meet the recommended intake occasionally – when life is hectic and time is short. If fruit and vegetable consumption is known to be low, a fruits and greens powder may be worth considering adding to the diet. And whilst it certainly is no substitute for the real thing in terms of the benefits it can deliver, it’s certainly a useful second best and can really help to enhance the otherwise lacking daily intake of natural bioactive compounds. A fruits and vegetables powder can provide the antioxidant power of over 20 servings of fruit and vegetables and can be an easy, tasty and convenient way to support fruit and vegetable consumption in line with the latest research.

This article has been written by Nutri Advanced. You can read the original article here.

Risk Factors for Developing an Enlarged Prostate

What are the risk factors for BPH?

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia usually means you’re suffering from symptoms such as frequent and urgent urination.

It is thought that a few factors can increase the risk of developing the problem, which are:

  1. Being overweight
  2. Your family history and ethnicity
  3. Age
  4. Lifestyle

Let’s look at these in more detail and find out how to manage BPH.

1. Overweight

There is a lot of research to indicate that being overweight or obese can increase the risk of developing BPH.

Obesity can, for example, cause the following issues, all of which are favourable for the development of BPH:

  • Increased inflammation in the body
  • Reduced mobility
  • Poor circulation
  • Increased incidence of oxidative stress

Men who are overweight also tend to have higher levels of the hormone oestrogen which can increase the size of the prostate gland.

Another problem is that being overweight increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which in itself has been associated with BPH.

My Top Tip: Saw Palmetto is a traditional remedy used to relieve the urinary symptoms connected with benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH).

“Been using Prostasan for a while now and it seems to work. Will continue to order from A.Vogel.”

2. Family history and ethnicity

If a family member (and particularly a close family member such as an uncle, father or brother) has been known to suffer from BPH, if may raise an individual’s risk of developing the problem.

Also, the condition is thought to be more prevalent amongst black and Hispanic individuals. In fact, a study by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Washington found that the risk of developing BPH was 41% higher amongst black and Hispanic men than it was for white men.

So, tackling issues that increase the chance of developing BPH, such as inflammation and mobility, will be particularly relevant if you have additional risk factors such as these.

3. Age

Men over the age of 45 have a much higher chance of developing BPH than younger men. As we age further, the risk increases even more. In fact, one study has indicated that as many as 40% of men over the age of 70 suffer from enlarged prostate symptoms.

Hormonal changes go some way to explaining why the condition is more prevalent in older men.

If you want to know specifics, basically beyond the age of 30 the hormone testosterone starts to be metabolised into DHT (di-hydrotestosterone). DHT builds up in the prostate gland and, as it is inflammatory, it can cause an increase in the size of the prostate. As there will now be less room for urine to flow, the result is a selection of urinary symptoms such as difficulty emptying the bladder.

4. Lifestyle

Several lifestyle factors can increase the likelihood of developing BPH symptoms. These are:

  • Lack of exercise
  • Poor diet
  • High alcohol consumption

One scientific review found that moderate to vigorous activity could reduce BPH risk by about 25%. This is, in part, down to the positive effect that exercise has on weight. As I have discussed, being overweight is another risk factor for enlarged prostate symptoms.

As a poor diet can also lead to weight gain, we can see how this too can raise the risk of developing BPH.

Alcohol, on the other hand, can make symptoms more noticeable, plus there is also some emerging research to suggest it could increase the risk of BPH symptoms.

What to do about an enlarged prostate

So, there are some factors beyond our control that can contribute to BPH, and others that are very much issues we can address early on to reduce the likelihood of getting symptoms. However, what should be done when a diagnosis of BPH has been confirmed?

  • Saw Palmetto – this herb has traditionally been used to relieve enlarged prostate symptoms. More recently, research has indicated that Saw Palmetto can reduce levels of inflammation in the prostate.6
  • Pumpkin seed – pumpkin seed oil has been shown in research to reduce the suffering causing by symptoms of BPH; plus, it may reduce the need for treatment.7 Pumpkin seeds contain zinc, which is very good for the prostate gland, alongside Essential Fatty Acids which can reduce inflammation.
  • Reduce alcohol consumption – this is inflammatory, so it is probable that it will contribute to or worsen symptoms.
  • Medical treatment – once your doctor has confirmed BPH as the cause of your symptoms, they will discuss the various treatment options available to you, such as medication or, in more serious cases, surgery.

This blog article has been written by Dr Jen Tan, Men’s Health Advisor for A. Vogel. You can read the original article here.

Men’s Health

man running in sunshine with woods on his right and fields on his left, wearing maroon tracksuit top and black leggings

This month we’re focusing on men’s health! In the shop we have some great products to support men’s overall health and wellbeing and this article will take a closer look at Male multi-vitamins and prostate health.

We also have our Registered Nutritional Therapists who are available to offer you advice instore, or in a consultation, about any of your health concerns, including:

Read more