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focus AUSTRALIA’S GUIDE TO HEALTHIER LIVING!

Edition 3, 2014

Natural Pain Killers Amazing Benefits of Exercise How Saffron Improves Your Mood

7 Tips to Lose Belly Fat ...Fast! Can You Get Off Thyroid Medication?

Your Guide to Better Sleep


Are YOU Suffering From the Pain of Arthritis?

If so, BCN’s InflammaCALM may help! Containing Meriva® a Patented Form of Curcumin Delivering Enhanced Absorption! BCN’s InflammaCALM may help to:

Available from selected health food stores and pharmacies or online www.bodyconcepts.com.au Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional

Body Concepts Nutritionals

For more information visit www.bodyconcepts.com.au or call 08 9248 6904

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4 Provide temporary relief of arthritic pain 4 Reduce joint swelling and inflammation associated with arthritis 4 Fight against free radical damage 4 Provide temporary relief of the pain of osteoarthritis 4 Increase joint mobility associated with arthritis


Natural Pain Killers W

e all experience physical pain during our lives. It may result from either an acute injury, like impact on a sporting field, or perhaps a chronic degenerative condition, like arthritis. As a result, we need to find ways to relieve the pain quickly. A breakthrough occurred when it was discovered that one of the major contributors to pain was inflammation1. The inflammation was induced by hormone-like compounds called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are produced in response to tissue damage in the body. Therefore, if prostaglandin production is suppressed inflammation can be reduced and pain can be decreased substantially. One of the most commonly used medications to treat pain are NonSteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). Aspirin is one example. Even though NSAIDs are effective at reducing inflammation and pain in the body, they may cause a range of problematic side effects. Some of these side effects include: damage to the stomach lining, a reduction

in blood flow through the kidneys (which may lead to renal failure), and decreased blood clotting ability (blood thinning). The effects of NSAIDs result from their ability to inhibit the production of a group of enzymes known as cyclooxygenase (COX)2. There are two sub-groups of COX enzymes, COX1 and COX-2. COX-1 enzymes are responsible for maintaining the integrity of the stomach lining, ensuring sufficient blood flow through the kidneys, and maintaining normal platelet function (blood clotting). COX-2 enzymes are

responsible for producing inflammation in the body as well as pain and fever. Therefore, an ideal pain-reducing product would have the effect of selectively blocking the production of COX-2 enzymes without affecting the COX-1 enzymes. This would result in inflammation and pain reduction without compromising the stomach lining, kidney function, or platelet function3. Certain medications, like Celebrex and Vioxx (withdrawn from the market in 2004), offered this function, but unfortunately were associated www.focus-on.com.au

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with a range of increased health risks, particularly those related to the cardiovascular system, i.e. heart attack and stroke. They were also quite expensive. As a result, many people are now looking for natural alternatives to their pain medications and there appears to several effective alternatives that may provide the desired pain relieving effects, i.e. inhibiting the COX-2 enzymes, without affecting the COX-1 enzymes.

Natural COX-2 Inhibitors Curcumin Curcumin is one of the main active ingredients in the spice turmeric, which is the deep yellow powder used in almost every curry dish. Curcumin has been the subject of thousands of research studies published throughout the world and it has been proven to offer a range of health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) effects. Curcumin is able to effectively inhibit COX-2 enzymes as well as the genes involved in COX-2 expression without affecting the COX-1 enzymes. However, since curcumin from turmeric is not particularly well absorbed into the body it is often better to take a curcumin supplement that has been prepared in such a way so as to improve the absorption and therefore the effectiveness of the curcumin. BCN’s Relieve Turmeric Forte and InflammaCALM contain two patented forms of curcumin that have been proven to dramatically improve the absorption of curcumin. Omega-3 Fatty Acids Omega-3 fatty acids such as those found in fish oil, krill oil, and flax seed oil (as well as their whole-food equivalents) are powerful anti-inflammatory agents. In fact, in one study it was 4

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Curcumin can inhibit COX-2 enzymes without affecting COX-1 enzymes.” found that compared to saturated fats and omega-6 fatty acids, omega-3 fatty acids were able to dose-dependently inhibit the production of COX-2 enzymes without affecting COX-1 expression.4 Flavonoids / Polyphenols Flavonoids / Polyphenols are compounds found in various plants. Some of which have been shown to be effective COX-2 inhibitors and therefore act as antiinflammatory agents. It appears that the

most effective flavonoids / polyphenols for inhibiting COX-2 expression contain a particular chemical component within its structure. The component is called resorcin and is a dihydroxy benzene. A few of the flavonoids / polyphenols that contain resorcin include, quercetin, genisten, resveratrol, and various green tea catechins. Since several green tea components are effective at inhibiting COX-2 expression, green tea has been added to BCN’s InflammaCALM to further boost its effectiveness. Overall, if you are experiencing some degree of pain and don’t want to use medications, then you may want to consider the natural alternatives mentioned here. Contact us admin@bodyconcepts.com.au to obtain the list of references


7 Tips to Lose Belly Fat Fast T

here is a direct relationship between the amount of fat stored in a person’s abdomen and a person’s risk of developing a range of diseases, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes.1,2 It is important to note that abdominal fat is the fat stored around organs in the abdominal region (visceral fat) as opposed to the fat stored directly under the skin around the belly (subcutaneous fat). Even though they may be related, it is the abdominal or visceral fat that poses the greatest health risk. The easiest way to determine if you’re at risk of developing any of the aforementioned diseases resulting from excess abdominal fat is to simply measure your waist. A measurement greater than 100 centimetres for men or greater than 88 centimetres for women is considered to be ‘high risk’. Even if you are at risk or close to it don’t despair, there are some simple steps you can take in order to lose belly fat fast! 6

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1 Reduce your food intake

Probably the most effective strategy to help you lose belly fat quickly is to simply reduce your overall food intake. Keep in mind that this certainly doesn’t mean you need to starve yourself. On the contrary, it is absolutely essential that you rarely feel hungry. It is impossible to achieve long-term weight loss through severe food restriction. The best way to reduce your food intake is to simply decrease your portion sizes slightly so your appetite isn’t affected. You may also want to substitute certain foods that you’re currently consuming regularly with healthier alternatives. By reducing your overall food intake you make it easier for your body to create a mild calorie deficit that will assist your weight-loss efforts.

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Cut your carbs

There is no doubt that low-carb diets are effective for weight loss.3 They have also been shown to significantly reduce abdominal fat stores.4 However,

many people find low-carb diets unsustainable in the long term. Therefore, a far better approach is to simply reduce your overall intake of carbohydrates without cutting them out altogether. The easiest way to do this is to eat mainly fibrous vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, capsicum, tomatoes, etc., eat a moderate amount of fruits and starchy vegetables, and consume a small amount of high-density carbohydrates, like bread, pasta, rice, cereals, etc. (Available from all IGA Supermarkets.) Reducing your carbohydrate intake is effective for several reasons. Firstly, carbohydrate is stored in the body as glycogen and for every gram of glycogen stored 2-3 grams of water is stored with it. Therefore, reducing your glycogen stores will result in immediately weight loss. Carbohydrate also affects blood sugar and therefore, insulin responses in the body. By reducing your carbohydrate intake you make it easier to keep your blood sugar level stable and can easily keep insulin relatively low.


A Delicious Protein Shake That Doesn’t Make You Bloated Protein shakes are a quick, easy, convenient, and cheap way to have a meal or snack during the day. They are especially useful for those people who exercise regularly. However, most of the protein shakes on the market today contain whey protein, a derivative of milk, which may cause digestive problems. It is not uncommon for some people to experience bloating, cramps, gas, tiredness, weakness, fatigue, headaches, or irritability whenever they use a whey protein powder. Furthermore, some people may be allergic to dairy foods and therefore must avoid consuming whey protein. Plus, there are the potential health problems associated with the artificial sweeteners that are contained in most of these powders. As an alternative, BCN’s ProBlend Dairy Free is an all-natural, great-tasting pea and rice protein powder that provides you with all the benefits of a protein shake without the digestive problems. It is also hypo-allergenic and contains no artificial sweeteners.

BCN’s ProBlend Dairy-Free is: 4 4 4 4 4 4

A high-quality vegetable-based protein Dairy & soy-free Low in fat & carbohydrate Low allergenic Vegan-friendly Free from artificial sweeteners

Available from selected health food stores and pharmacies or online www.bodyconcepts.com.au Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional

For more information visit www.bodyconcepts.com.au or call 08 9248 6904

Body Concepts Nutritionals


your muscle mass, you can keep your metabolism elevated for longer simply because muscle is a metabolically-active tissue, especially when it is recovering from an exercise session. It is best to perform at least 3 weighttraining sessions a week and if you are inexperienced always employ the services of a personal trainer.

6 Perform aerobic exercise

Keeping insulin low makes it easier to access and burn fat.”

Since insulin is a fat-storing hormone, keeping it low makes it much easier to access and burn body fat as a fuel source.

3 Increase your protein consumption

Out of the three macronutrients (carbohydrate, protein, and fat) protein is the most effective at helping you lose belly fat.5 There are several reasons for this. Protein is the most satiating food component, which means it helps you feel satisfied for longer following a meal.6 It also, requires the most energy to be burned through the processes of digestion, absorption, and utilisation compared to either fat or carbohydrate.7 By helping you to eat less and expend more energy you are far more likely to lose belly fat. Furthermore, research has shown that a higher protein intake is related to having less belly fat!8

more fibre 4 Consume Fibre is the indigestible component 8

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of food matter. It is primarily found in vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, and cereals. There are two types of fibre, soluble and insoluble, both of which are beneficial from a health perspective. Soluble fibre in particular is useful for reducing belly fat. In fact, in one study it was demonstrated that consuming 10 grams per day, significantly reduced belly fat.9 Since soluble fibre slows the passage of food through the intestinal tract it can prolong the feeling of fullness and therefore, reduce appetite. A simple way to increase your fibre intake is to use BCN’s Gastro Forte AG every day. It is a high-quality fibre that mixes easily in water.

weights 5 Lift Weight training, also known as

resistance training, is well known to be beneficial from a health and weight-loss perspective.10 In fact it is probably the most underestimated way to lose belly fat fast! Since weight training forces your body to build or at least maintain

Aerobic exercise is very effective at helping you lose belly fat.11 Aerobic (‘with oxygen’) exercise includes walking, running, bicycling, swimming, boxing, aerobic classes, etc. It simply means exercise that involves movement for an extended period of time, i.e. greater than a few minutes, and results in you puffing, panting, and sweating. Gardening, housework, or lawn bowls are not considered to be aerobic exercise. Whilst they may help to burn up a few extra calories they certainly don’t increase your heart rate and/ or breathing rate. It is best to perform at least 15 minutes of aerobic exercise every day in order to achieve the best results.

7 Use fat-burning supplements

Certain fat-burning supplements are beneficial in helping you lose belly fat, particularly those containing synephrine and rhodiola, like BCN’s XLR8 Thermogenic.12 Whilst fat burners can help to some extent they are certainly not ‘magic pills’ and will not make up for a poor diet and/ or exercise program. Fat burners (also known as thermogenics) work by boosting your metabolism, helping your body to mobilise fat from your fat stores, and by increasing your body’s utilisation of fat as a fuel source. If you’re serious about losing belly and getting in shape then you must consider using the 7 tips here. By consistently using them every day you will be amazed at how quickly your body will change. Contact us at admin@bodyconcepts.com.au to obtain the reference list


No quick fixes, just Raw results Raw slim & tone protein: Rich in nutrition to make you feel fuller for longer Certified Organic Sugar free; very low in carbs Infused with herbs known to boost metabolism Raw sugar crave release: Potent herbs, flowers, leaves and seeds Vegan Nothing artificial or synthetic Dairy, wheat, gluten, GMOs, soy, corn & nut free Australian-made Raw slim & tone

Raw sugar crave release

With its delicious creamy taste and sprouted and bio-fermented protein, Raw slim & tone helps keep you full and nourished for longer. When used in combination with Raw sugar crave release, with its specific traditional anti-parasitic herbs, you’ll target excessive bad digestive bacteria. The raw result will speak for itself.

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Improve Your Mood ...naturally!

Turmeric fights depression

Curcumin is the most active component of the Indian spice turmeric and in animal and cell-based studies has been shown to have antidepressant properties. In a recent review it was shown that it can modify neurotransmitter levels, has anti-inflammatory effects, is a potent antioxidant, and can modify the body’s stress response. All of these processes are disturbed in people with major depression. Australian researchers have recently completed a human-based trial investigating the effects of curcumin in people with major depression. In this randomised, doubleblind, placebo-controlled study, published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, 55 people with major depression were randomly given either placebo or curcumin capsules for 8 weeks. Curcumin was provided at a dose of 500mg twice daily. In the first 4 weeks of treatment, both groups experienced improvements in depressive symptoms. However, from weeks 4 to 8 people on curcumin continued to get better, while those on placebo no longer improved or gradually got worse. While further research is required to replicate these studies, curcumin seems to be a promising natural supplement for major depression.

RECOMMENDED WEBSITE www.improveyourmood.com.au

It is a comprehensive website containing articles, current news and research reviews, and free mental wellbeing tools to enhance people’s mental wellbeing. If you are passionate about improving your own mental wellbeing, or helping someone you love, be sure to check out this website regularly. You can even subscribe to a free regular newsletter.

Improve Your Mood with This Free, Natural Substance

Although there is plenty of attention investigating psychological and pharmaceutical interventions for the treatment and prevention of mood-related problems, there is one often neglected natural mood-lifting substance that is absolutely free. Sunlight! Exposure to sunlight has been shown to boost several mood-lifting brain chemicals (called neurotransmitters). Serotonin is one important neurotransmitter that is commonly targeted by pharmaceutical antidepressants, but it is also known that exposure to sunlight greatly increases concentrations of serotonin. In one study published in the journal, Environmental Health, greater exposure to sunlight in people aged 45 years and over was associated with lower rates of depressive symptoms and improved cognitive functioning. Further support for the mood-related benefits of light is provided by studies confirming that light therapy is one of the most effective treatments for a condition known as seasonal affective disorders. Therefore, if you are feeling low get outside and enjoy this natural product. We are lucky enough to have plenty of it in Australia.


Improve Your Mood ...naturally!

How Saffron Improves Your Mood

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affron is most commonly known for its flavour-enhancing effects in cooking. However, from clinical research it has also been confirmed that it has significant mood-lifting effects. There have now been 3 well-controlled clinical studies comparing the antidepressant effects of saffron with pharmaceutical antidepressants (e.g. Prozac and Tofranil). In all three studies saffron was found to be as effective as these pharmaceutical drugs in improving mood in people with depression. In addition, saffron was associated with less adverse effects and has even been shown to reduce the commonly reported side effect of sexual disturbances in people taking pharmaceutical antidepressants. So how does saffron work and what are the mechanisms involved? Unfortunately, there is no simple answer, as saffron has numerous physiological effects in the body. In a recent clinical paper1 published by researchers at Murdoch University in Western Australia it was suggested that the antidepressant effects of saffron are due to the following factors: Increases serotonin levels Depression is commonly associated with disturbances in a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) known as serotonin. Pharmaceutical antidepressants known as serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) increase serotonin concentration in the brain. In several animal-based studies, saffron has been shown to elevate levels of this important brain chemical. Reduces inflammation. It has now been confirmed that depression is associated with increased inflammation in the body. When inflammatory proteins are measured in depressed people and compared to healthy,

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Suffering from mood swings? Want to maintain a positive, healthy mood?

BCN’s Saffron Ultra May Help to Maintain a Positive, Healthy Mood and May Relieve Mood Swings! Saffron has a long history of use as a medicine and has traditionally been used in Persian herbal medicine as a calming agent. Saffron may help maintain wellbeing and a positive, healthy mood, and assist in the management of mood swings. It may also be beneficial during times of stress and may help promote mood balance. Saffron may also be used as an eye formula to support healthy eye function.

BCN’s Saffron Ultra may help to: Maintain a positive and healthy mood Assist in the management of mood swings Support healthy eye function Relieve stress

Use only as directed. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare practitioner. Available from selected health food stores and pharmacies or online www.bodyconcepts.com.au

For more information visit www.bodyconcepts.com.au or call 08 9248 6904

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Improve Your Mood ...naturally! Saffron is without a doubt an effective antidepressant.”

non-depressed individuals, levels are commonly elevated in the depressed group. This has led researchers to investigate the effects of antiinflammatory compounds on depression. Saffron is a very effective natural antiinflammatory and this may be a reason for its mood-lifting effects. Increases antioxidant defences and lowers free radical damage. Another interesting finding in depressed individuals is that they often suffer from increased free radical damage and have lowered antioxidant levels in their body. As saffron is a powerful antioxidant, its mood-lifting effects may result from its ability to protect the body against free radical damage.

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Lowers stress hormones in the body. People with depression have disturbances in their stress response. When cortisol, the stress hormone, is measured in people with depression, it is often elevated compared to non-depressed individuals. In one study, the pleasant odour from saffron was able to reduce cortisol concentrations. Lowered cortisol concentrations can move people from the ‘fight or flight’ response into the ‘rest and digest’ response. This will have positive effects on mood. Enhances brain growth and protects against brain degeneration. Another interesting finding is that people

with depression experience changes in certain parts of the brain, particularly areas associated with mood. People with depression also regularly have lower levels of a protein called ‘brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)’ in the body. This protein enhances brain growth and brain plasticity. In animal-based studies, saffron increased concentrations of BDNF in the body and protected the brain from toxic insult. Through its brain-enhancing and brain-protecting effects, saffron may enhance peoples’ mood and protect against depression. Further research is certainly required to help us understand the mechanisms behind the mood-lifting effects of saffron. However, there is now enough research through good-quality clinical studies (known as randomised, doubleblind, placebo controlled studies) to confidently believe that saffron is an effective antidepressant (for mild-tomoderate severity depression). Because of the potential side effects associated with pharmaceutical antidepressants it presents as a promising natural alternative to improve mood. However, if you are currently taking antidepressants or are suffering from depression always speak to your doctor or a knowledgeable health practitioner first. BCN’s Saffron Ultra is a high-quality saffron supplement containing the therapeutic levels of saffron to improve mood and general wellbeing.


Feeling Tense? Mind Racing?

BCN’s Tranquil Mind May Help to Relieve Nervous Tension and Mild Anxiety! BCN’s Tranquil Mind contains the amino acid theanine, derived from Green Tea. Theanine may have a relaxing effect on the mind and help relieve nervous tension and mild anxiety. Theanine may also help with sleep and green tea is a potent antioxidant that may assist with the body’s antioxidant defences Contain s Theanin e

BCN’s Tranquil Mind may help to: Relieve nervous tension and mild anxiety Induce relaxation Relax the mind Improve sleep Assist with the body’s antioxidant defences

Use only as directed. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare practitioner. Available from selected health food stores and pharmacies or online www.bodyconcepts.com.au

For more information visit www.bodyconcepts.com.au or call 08 9248 6904

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Improve Your Mood ...naturally!

Your Guide to Better Sleep

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leep is so critical for our wellbeing that we allocate one third of our lives to it. It has a crucial role in enhancing the growth and repair of our immune, nervous, muscular, cardiovascular, endocrine and skeletal systems. Sleep is also involved in memory processing, the consolidation of learning, mental relaxation, and the regulation of important hormones. When sleep problems occur for an extending period, ill-health often results. How Much Sleep Do We Need? Because we are all different, optimal sleep times can vary significantly from one person to another. However, most people function best with 7 to 9 hours of sleep every day. Another good sleep marker is the length of time it takes to fall asleep. Generally people getting enough sleep fall asleep in 10 to 20 minutes while those who are sleep deprived fall asleep in less than 5 minutes (that’s if they don’t have a sleep disorder preventing them from falling asleep). If someone regularly falls asleep while sitting, reading, watching TV, travelling in the car, or during other 16 www.focus-on.com.au

daily activities, sleep deprivation may be a problem. Causes of Sleep Disorders Some of the causes of sleep problems include: • Poor sleep hygiene. This may be caused by sleeping during the day, engaging in stimulating activities at night, overexposure to light in the evening, and eating excessively at night. • Poor diet. Stimulants such as caffeine, sugar, and spicy foods are major contributors to sleep disorders. Caffeine can remain in the body for 12 to 20 hours, therefore impairing sleep even if consumed early in the day. Sugar and refined carbohydrates create sugar imbalances which can also disrupt sleep. • Alcohol and other drug use. Although drinking alcohol may help people fall asleep, it often creates disrupted, lighter sleep. Alcohol is also a strong diuretic, leading to increased nocturnal urination and awakenings during the night. Nicotine stimulates the release

of adrenaline and noradrenaline, hormones that stimulate the body, increase heart rate, and elevate blood pressure. Disrupted circadian rhythms. The body clock can be disrupted by inadequate or excess exposure to full-spectrum light and sunlight, shift work, travelling across time zones, poor diet, heavy use of stimulants, lack of exercise, excessive stress, excessive exposure to magnetic and electromagnetic fields, medication use, and ill-health. Excess physical and emotional stress. This is associated with increased levels of the stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol. Imbalances in these hormones can lead to a range of sleep disorders and create a vicious cycle of less sleep and more stress. Mental health problems. Depression, generalised anxiety, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress are just some of the mental health disorders that are associated with sleep problems. Medications & supplements. The regular use of some prescription


When Was the Last Time You Had a Quality Night’s Sleep?

BCN’s Rest and Replenish (R&R) May Help to Promote Restful Sleep R&R contains ingredients that may provide relief from insomnia and help support a quality night’s sleep. It also contains magnesium which may provide relief from muscle cramps and spasms, aid muscle recovery from physical activity, and reduce the risk of magnesium deficiency.

BCN’s Rest and Replenish (R&R) may help to: Promote restful sleep Provide relief from insomnia Allow you to wake up refreshed Relieve muscle cramps and spasms Aid muscle recovery

Use only as directed. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare practitioner. Available from selected health food stores and pharmacies or online www.bodyconcepts.com.au

For more information visit www.bodyconcepts.com.au or call 08 9248 6904

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Improve Your Mood ...naturally! Magnesium supplementation is beneficial for poor sleepers.”

• •

and over-the-counter medications and supplements such as heart medications, pain relievers, antianxiety drugs, and even sleeping pills can interfere with sleep. Nutrient imbalances. Vitamins, minerals, essential fats, and amino acids are crucial for a range of physiological processes in the body. When it comes to sleep, particularly important nutrients include, B-vitamins, zinc, iron, calcium, magnesium, and the amino acid tryptophan. These are required for the production of important hormones and neurotransmitters necessary for initiating and maintaining sleep. Medical conditions. Sleep disorders can be caused by a range of medical and physical conditions, including cardiovascular, hormonal, respiratory, and musculoskeletal disorders. Chronic pain. People suffering from chronic pain conditions often suffer from sleep disturbances. Physical inactivity. Exercise is important for reducing muscular tension, improving mental health, and balancing mood-enhancing brain chemicals. Balance is the key when it comes to exercise as too much exercise or exercising late in the evening can be detrimental to sleep. Food allergies. Allergies and intolerances to certain foods can contribute to sleep disturbances. The most common food culprits are yeast, wheat, corn, milk and other dairy products, egg whites, tomatoes, soy, shellfish, peanuts, chocolate, and food dyes and additives. Digestive disturbances. Digestive problems can lead to symptoms such as heartburn, stomach bloating,

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stomach pain, diarrhoea, constipation, and flatulence which can all disrupt sleep patterns. • Exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs). Extremely low frequency EMFs can disrupt circadian rhythms, diminishing the pineal gland’s ability to produce melatonin and other important hormones. Melatonin is a hormone important in sleep regulation. EMFs can be generated from electrical power lines, household appliances, computers and electronic devices., i.e. mobile phones. Tips for improving sleep • Improve your diet. This may be done by decreasing caffeine and sugar intake, and by eating a diet rich in essential vitamins, minerals, fats and amino acids. Also, identifying and avoiding foods you are intolerant/ allergic to can also enhance sleep. • Optimise essential nutrients. This occurs by eating a more balanced diet. Taking certain supplements can also help, such as a good-quality multivitamin, B-complex, and fish oil. Magnesium supplementation may also be helpful for poor sleepers as it reduces muscle tension and is associated with better sleep. • Reduce/ abstain from alcohol, drugs and nicotine. • Reduce or avoid unnecessary medications and/or supplements. Although avoiding many medications may not be possible, taking them earlier in the day or reducing their dose may minimise their impact on sleep. Always speak to your doctor first before changing medication schedules. • Treat mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, stress, and other psychiatric disorders. This can be achieved though psychological therapy, improved diet, supplementation, relaxation practice,

and medication. It is important to note that mental health can also be improved by better sleep. Try natural supplements. Several herbal and over-the counter supplements can improve sleep. Common ones include valerian, hops, passionflower, lemon balm, and chamomile. From recent, good-quality research, nutrients such as glycine, magnesium and taurine can also be particularly helpful for sleep and can reduce daytime sleepiness. These ingredients are contained in BCN’s Rest and Replenish. Minimise exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs). This can be achieved by placing all electric devices at least one metre from the bed, including lamps, alarm clocks, televisions, and heaters. Engage in regular physical activity. Exercising reduces stress hormones, improves mood, and increases sleeppromoting hormones. Exercising no later than 5pm has the most positive impact on sleep. Treat medical and pain-related conditions. Improving physical health, treating medical conditions, and managing chronic pain can greatly improve sleep. Improve digestive health. Better digestion will improve energy levels, mood, nutrient absorption, sleep, and overall health. Medication/ sleeping pills. Pharmaceutical sleep medications can be used as a short-term strategy to improve sleep, however, long-term use can do more harm than good. When used for excessive periods (longer than 2-4 weeks) they can lead to a range of side effects, increase day-time drowsiness, and can become addictive. Discontinuing these medication can also cause ‘rebound insomnia’.


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Improve Your Mood ...naturally!

Best New Reads THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP Harrington, Carmel

CALM: NO MATTER WHAT Wilson, Paul

In these pages you’ll find what it takes to have an underlying sense of calm and equilibrium you can rely on the whole of your life. This is much more than an emotional state. It’s a way of squeezing the most out of the up times, coping with the down times, and bouncing right back when things go completely off the rails. And best of all it requires no special skills and no effort. Calm: No Matter What shows you how to do this with one simple technique. Having sold more than 10 million ‘calm’ books, Paul Wilson is internationally known as “The Guru of Calm”. He has taught more than a million people to meditate. Pages: 192 pages RRP: $19.99 20 www.focus-on.com.au

Do you find it hard to fall asleep? Do you wake in the middle of the night and struggle to get back to sleep? Is lack of sleep affecting your performance during the day? Between 20 and 30 per cent of Australians have a problem with sleep. Sleep expert Dr Carmel Harrington believes we have the makings of an epidemic, but she also has solutions. Drawing on the latest research, Dr Harrington provides clear explanations of: • the role of anxiety and depression in sleeplessness • how lack of sleep affects our physical and mental health • the adverse effects of technology on sleep • sleep apnoea • sleep issues specific to women, including post-birth and menopause • how to develop and put in place a plan that addresses your particular issues. Authoritative and accessible, this is your complete guide to putting troubled sleeping behind you and to getting the highquality and restful sleep you need and deserve. Pages: 288 pages RRP: $29.99

HOW WE LEARN Carey, Benedict

We all know the singular torture of cramming for exams at school or for the big presentation at work: staying up later and later, forcing yourself to read through increasingly blurred lists of facts, foreign vocabulary, equations or facts about ‘oxbow lakes’. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. Brain scientists are aiming to transform education. For more than a century they toiled in their own world, in labs, working out the minutiae of memory while teachers and tutors followed their own instincts. That is beginning to change. Cutting edge experiments into how our brains retain information have proved that the standard advice for learning has been flawed and in some cases, flat out wrong. Based on new research in cognitive science, education and psychology, we learn that some children are visual learners while others are auditory; some left brain, others right brain. The brain is sensitive to mood, timing, circadian rhythm, even location. In short, it’s an eccentric, adaptive learning machine. Studybreak is both a game-changing report from the frontline of educational research, and a call to arms. It tells us how the brain operates on a cellular level, how memory storage and retrieval are related and even how sleep factors in optimal memory and learning. This book is not about how to be a genius. It’s about something far grander: how to get the most out of tonight’s homework. Pages: 400 pages RRP: $39.99


‘Did You Know That Over 70% of Your Immune System is in Your Gut?’

… and considering your gut comes into contact with more foreign organisms than any other organ in your body, it makes sense! Therefore, it is important that you do everything possible to support optimal gut health. BCN’s Gastro Forte AG contains a prebiotic, soluble fibre called Arabinogalactins, which is derived from the Western Larch tree.

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Is a potent prebiotic A great source of soluble fibre called Arabinogalactins Mixes easily in water or juice or may be added to food Is better tolerated than many other dietary fibres

Available from selected health food stores and pharmacies or online www.bodyconcepts.com.au Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional.

Body Concepts Nutritionals

For more information visit www.bodyconcepts.com.au or call 08 9248 6904


Can You Get Off Thyroid Medication?

T

he thyroid hormones are responsible for maintaining normal growth and metabolic function of all body cells. They are also essential for the development of all cells in the body. The process of producing thyroid hormones involves several steps and includes several parts of the body such as, the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, thyroid gland, liver, kidneys, and gut. Not only does the process require different parts of the body but it also requires a wide variety of nutrients including: iodine, selenium, tyrosine, 22 www.focus-on.com.au

vitamin C, vitamin A, B vitamins, folate, and zinc, just to name a few. Furthermore, other factors such as stress, certain foods or food components, heavy metals, pollutants, hormones, etc. can also play a role in the body’s ability to produce thyroid hormones correctly. Since the delicate process of producing thyroid hormones involves so many parts of the body, a variety of nutrients, as well as many other factors, it is easy to understand why errors in the process can occur resulting in suboptimal thyroid hormone production. Unfortunately, when most people

are diagnosed with thyroid dysfunction many doctors will simply provide them with synthetic thyroid hormones. These hormones simply replace the missing hormones in the body. The problem with this approach is that the patient will have to remain on the medication for the rest of their life because the replacement hormones only mask the problem by removing the symptoms rather than fixing the problem. Imagine for a moment that you’ve got a bucket full of water but the water level continues to go down. Is it a good idea to keep pouring water into the bucket or is


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The body may be able to produce adequate levels of thyroid hormones once again.”

it better to fix the hole in the bucket first? The same principle should apply when it comes to fixing your body’s production of thyroid hormones. Rather than simply using synthetic thyroid hormones, a far better approach is to find out what has caused the thyroid problem in the first place, address the cause, and then assist the body in returning to its previous state whereby it was able to produce thyroid hormones itself. Of course this is a very simplistic view of how to deal with the situation and the reality is far more complex. Here are just some of the possible causes of impaired thyroid hormone production: • Nutrient deficiency • Autoimmune condition (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis) • Stress • Toxic compounds • Impaired gut function (‘leaky gut’ or fungal overgrowth) • Hormonal imbalance • Food intolerances or allergies Once a range of tests have been performed and the cause(s) identified, then next step is to address the cause(s). This may involve removing certain problematic foods from the diet, adding additional nutrients that may be lacking in the diet, helping the body deal with stress more effectively, re-balancing the hormones, or a range of other possibilities. By doing so, over a period of weeks, months, or maybe even years, the body may be able to return to its previous state and be able to produce adequate levels of its own thyroid hormones once again. This of course means that the use 24 www.focus-on.com.au

of synthetic thyroid hormones may be able to stop. This same process can also be used even if someone has been using thyroid hormones for several years. However, in saying that there are situations where it may be impossible to stop using the thyroid medication. For example, if a person has had Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (an autoimmune condition in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland) for a long period of time then it is highly likely that there would be very little functioning thyroid tissue left and therefore, thyroid medication would become essential. Whilst in many cases it may be possible to come off your thyroid medication it is always best to work with your doctor in finding your cause(s) of thyroid problems and addressing it/ them first. If you are suffering from any of the symptoms of sub-optimal thyroid function (see Table 1.), then you may want to start by providing your body with all of the nutrients it requires for optimum thyroid hormone production. These are provided in BCN’s Thyron, which is available from health food stores and pharmacies everywhere.

Symptoms of Sub-optimal Thyroid Function • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

“Normal” thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) results Weight gain/ inability to lose weight Fatigue Poor eyebrow growth, especially the outer third of the eyebrows Menstrual abnormalities Cold hands and feet Constipation Depression Dry skin Hair loss Hoarseness Poor concentration Nervousness Elevated cholesterol Brittle nails Muscle cramps Muscle weakness Poor memory Puffy eyes Throat pain Low basal body temperature Irritability

Table 1


Trust the Wisdom of the Ages!

Spices have been used throughout the world for centuries as flavour-enhancers for food, as a form of trade and as a traditional way to improve health. In more recent times, scientific research has validated many of the health benefits offered by spices. Unfortunately though, many people don’t use spices on a daily basis and therefore won’t obtain the benefits they offer. However, now a range of spices can be easily consumed every day because they are available in the MultiSpice easy-to-use vege capsules! BCN’s Multispice: 4 Contains a combination of 5 4 Comes in an easy-to-use organic spices (turmeric, clove, vege capsule fennel, cinnamon, ginger) 4 Is a convenient way to 4 Suitable for all ages consume spices

Available from selected health food stores and pharmacies or online www.bodyconcepts.com.au Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional

Body Concepts Nutritionals

For more information visit www.bodyconcepts.com.au or call 08 9248 6904


Product REVIEWS Gastro Forte AG BCN’s Gastro Forte AG contains a prebiotic, soluble fibre called Arabinogalactins, which is derived from the Western Larch tree. It is a potent prebiotic and has been shown to have enormous benefits in supporting the immune system. Gastro Forte AG mixes easily in water or juice or may be added to food. It may also be better tolerated than other dietary fibres.

MultiSpice Spices offer an amazing array of health benefits, making them an essential part of your daily diet. However, not everyone can consume a range of spices every day, which means they aren’t able to receive the disease-preventing and health-promoting benefits they offer. BCN’s MultiSpice however, provides 5 organic spices in an easy-to-use vege capsule, which means that taking a range of health-boosting spices every day is now easier than ever!

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SuperFood Blend Our bodies are constantly being bombarded by free radicals every day. The foods we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe all contain free radicals or at least contain chemicals that generate free radicals in our body. Antioxidants are free radical scavengers that go around the body and ‘mop up’ free radicals, preventing them from damaging body cells. BCN’s SuperFood Blend contains a concentrated blend of 19 powerful ‘Superfoods’ all carefully selected to provide your body with a wide range of antioxidants and phytonutrients (nutrients from plants).

Sugar Crave Release With the purity and potency of specific traditional antiparasitic herbs, Raw sugar crave release helps target excessive bad digestive bacteria within the digestive tract. Made with all-natural ingredients and available in a convenient spray bottle, Raw sugar crave release is sure to help with those unwanted cravings. • Contains traditional, potent anti-parasitic herbs, flowers, leaves & seeds • Helps target bad digestive bacteria • Convenient spray bottle • Alkalising & Vegan • All natural ingredients RRP: $34.95 (www. amazonia.com.au) Save 15% on your next purchase by heading to http://www.amazonia.com. au/raw-proteinpromo1


Rhodiola Advanced Stress is a common problem in today’s society and is implicated in a range of diseases and also stops our body from functioning at optimum levels. The good news is that a group of herbs, known as ‘Adaptogens’, can help the body deal with stress more effectively. Rhodiola Advanced contains one of the world’s highest-quality sources of Rhodiola, which is a scientifically-proven and powerful adaptogen. It is one of the best natural stress relievers!

Tranquil Mind Tranquil Mind is the first product in Australia to contain therapeutic levels of the valuable amino acid, theanine. Theanine offers a wide range of health benefits including: relieving mild anxiety, calming the mind (without drowsiness), increasing focus and attention, improving sleep quality, improving liver function, preventing memory problems, helping overcome depression, preventing colds and flus,

and reducing stress. Theanine comes primarily from green tea and one serving (2 capsules) of BCN’s Tranquil Mind has the equivalent of 25 cups of green tea!

XLR8 Thermogenic XLR8 Thermogenic is one of the most powerful thermogenics (fat burners) on the market today. It can help you burn off body fat and lose weight faster by: • Speeding up your metabolism • Boosting your energy level • Increasing the mobilisation of fat from the fat stores • Having a diuretic effect It also is one of the few fat burners on the market that supports adrenal function by containing the adaptogen, Rhodiola.

ProBlend Dairy-Free Protein is an essential part of everyone’s diet because it serves so many functions in our body. Some of the best protein sources are animal products because they supply all of the essential amino acids. However, more people are looking for vegetable-based protein sources instead of animal products in order to ensure they consume an adequate amount of protein every day. BCN’s ProBlend Dairy-Free is a high-quality, great-tasting vegetable-based protein powder containing a combination of pea and rice protein. It is a quick, easy and convenient way to get the extra protein in your diet every day without the problems associated with consuming dairy products or artificial sweeteners.

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g n i z a m A e h T f o s t i f Bene

e s i c Exer

T

he human body is engineered for activity. The sedentary existence of the vast majority of our species during the last century has been an unnatural phenomenon. If we examine the lifestyles of our ancestors we will notice that physical activity was certainly a regular feature. Studies of ancient human remains indicate that they had bodies similar in structure and function to those of today’s professional athletes. However, it appears that as we progressed in lifestyles from that of hunter- gatherers to agriculturalists, to a largely industrialised and sedentary lifestyle, there have been corresponding shifts in our physical make-up. We are generally heavier and less fit than our physicallyactive ancestors. The benefits of physical activity in order to improve our body’s functioning and our body composition cannot be underestimated. Regular physical exercise results in the following beneficial effects: 28 www.focus-on.com.au

1. Elevates your metabolism. Any exercise will substantially elevate your metabolism, which means you burn more calories (and more body fat) every day. By keeping your metabolism elevated you slow down the natural physical decline that normally starts to occur around the age of 30. 2. Increases your aerobic capacity (fitness level) and muscular endurance. This will enable you to go through the day with more energy and enthusiasm. You will also achieve more because your body is more ‘fatigue-resistant’. 3. Maintains, tones, and strengthens your muscles. This prevents muscle atrophy (wasting), which is considered a typical part of aging. Not only does a toned, strong body look great but it also gives you greater confidence, makes daily physical tasks easier and improves your health. 4. Reduces heart disease risk. As little as one hour of walking each week can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease. Furthermore, the more vigorous the

exercise, the greater the reduction in heart disease risk. It is suggested that exercise has a vasodilating effect on blood vessels (and hence reduces blood pressure) by promoting the production of prostacyclin and nitric oxide. 5. Reduces diabetes risk. Exercise promotes the uptake of glucose by body cells as well as increases the sensitivity of cell receptors to insulin. This means there is a reduced risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. For those people who already have Type 2 diabetes, exercise is a great way to control symptoms and lower their risk of developing serious complications. 6. Improves mental health. People often say that exercise makes them feel good and there is evidence to suggest that it may even fight clinical depression better than drugs. It probably has this effect by increasing the production of natural opiates in the body (these are endorphins – the ‘feel good’ hormones). 7. Slows some effects of aging. People are constantly searching for the ‘fountain of youth’, and now there


is strong evidence to suggest that exercise is part of the answer. 8. Increases the level of HDL (high-density lipoprotein) ‘good cholesterol’. Regular exercise increases the level of HDL in the bloodstream, particularly if combined with a sound nutritional plan. 9. Reduces the risk of death from leading causes. There is an inverse correlation between physical fitness and premature death from leading causes. Finnish researchers reported that poor physical fitness is as serious a risk factor as other well-known causes such as smoking, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. 10. Increases heart efficiency and lowers the heart rate. Exercise increases stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped by the heart each beat), making it easier for the heart to send oxygen and nutrients around the body. This is why people who are fit have a low resting heart rate. 11. Reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis. It appears that weight-bearing exercise is far more important than calcium intake when it comes to reducing osteoporosis risk. Since weightbearing exercise places stress on bones, it forces them to adapt by increasing their density. 12. Reduces the risk of developing many forms of cancer. Exercise has been shown in a number of studies to reduce the risk of developing a variety of cancers. 13. Reduces the pain associated with pregnancy. Exercise may reduce the aches and pains experienced by most women during pregnancy. Pain is often due to additional stress on the muscles and joints of the body from weight gain and redistribution. A well-designed exercise program may reduce these symptoms. 14. Reduces ulcer risk. Ulcers are often caused by infection with H. pylori bacteria (which dwell in the intestines of half the world’s

population) resulting from stress and poor eating habits. Exercise may reduce ulcer risk by helping the body deal with the stress more effectively, reducing the production of stomach acid and enhancing immune system function. 15. Increases the number of red blood cells and their oxygen- carrying capacity. Exercise causes the body to increase red blood cell numbers as well as haemoglobin concentrations (haemoglobin is the part of the red blood cell that carries oxygen). This makes the transfer of oxygen from the lungs to the body cells much easier. 16. Increases the production of new blood vessels in the heart and other muscles. Any stress placed on the body forces it to respond and adapt. Physical stress from resistance training forces the muscles and bones to become thicker and stronger, whilst physical stress from aerobic exercise forces the heart and lungs (the cardiorespiratory system) to become more efficient and to increase in volume. Another adaptation the body makes following cardiorespiratory exercise is to increase the number of blood vessels (capillaries) around the heart and skeletal muscle cells. 17. Improves sleep patterns. People who exercise regularly sleep more soundly and restfully. 18. Increases cartilage thickness. Exercise increases the mobility of joints. This has a protective effect on the joints by increasing the production of cartilage cells and thereby reducing arthritic pain. 19. Increases blood flow to the skin. Exercise increases the amount of blood that flows to the skin. This not only makes the skin look and feel healthier but improves circulation as well. This is certainly beneficial for diabetics because they tend to have very poor circulation. 20. Increases alertness. Whenever exercise is performed, hormones called catecholamines are produced by the body. Catecholamines assist fat loss and stimulate the central

The benefits of exercise cannot be underestimated.” nervous system, helping to keep you more alert. 21. Improves posture. Weight training improves posture by strengthening the muscles of the torso, particularly the muscles involved in stabilising the spine. 22. Improves immune system functioning. Weight training enhances the immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells in the body. 23. Gives relief from mental stress. The catecholamines produced from mental stress (they are produced in response to both physical and mental stress) are burned up during muscle contractions. 24. Reduces lower back pain and reduces the risk of lower back injury. This is achieved by increasing abdominal and lower back muscle strength, increasing hamstring flexibility and also lower back muscle flexibility. 25. Maintains good overall function of the body. Regular physical activity maintains healthy functioning and structure of the body. www.focus-on.com.au 29


HEALTH FACTS Artificial Sweeteners May Cause Diabetes Artificial sweeteners were originally designed to help people lose weight and improve their health. However, a growing body of research now suggests the opposite may be true. In fact, a study published in the journal, Nature, earlier this year found that artificial sweeteners caused dysbiosis (an imbalance between the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria in the gut) as well as metabolic disturbances, resulting in insulin resistance (a symptom of type 2 diabetes). The researchers hypothesise that the development of insulin resistance results from certain bacteria in the gut reacting to the artificial sweeteners by secreting inflammatory compounds that lead to glucose intolerance. Results like this suggest that we should seriously reconsider our use of artificial sweeteners if we want to look after our health and particularly if we want to lose weight.

Simple Steps to Protect Against Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in Australian men (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer). It is estimated that around 120,000 Australian men are currently living with prostate cancer. Despite these alarming statistics there appears to be a range of simple steps that men can employ to dramatically reduce their risk of developing prostate cancer. According to research published earlier this year in the journal, Nutrition & Metabolism, men can reduce their risk by reducing their intake of red meat, fat, and dairy products. They should also consider increasing their intake of fruits and vegetables, in particular those that are high in the polyphenol, lycopene. Foods that are high in lycopene include: tomatoes, watermelon, red cabbage, asparagus, mango, carrot, and red capsicum. The polyphenols found in green tea have also been shown to be beneficial. 30 www.focus-on.com.au

Sleep/Anxiety Meds Linked With Alzheimer’s Disease

Benzodiazepines are a group of drugs that are used for assisting people with getting to sleep as well as helping them overcome feelings of anxiety. Diazepam (also known as Valium) is a good example. Unfortunately though, according to a recent study published in the British Medical Journal even moderate use of these medications (at least 3 months) has been shown to increase Alzheimer’s disease risk by 51%! The risk increases further with longer-term use. If you or a loved one is currently using this type of medication then you may want to speak with your doctor about suitable alternatives. An effective, natural alternative for improving your sleep quality is glycine, which is just one of the ingredients contained in BCN’s Rest & Replenish. If anxiety is a problem for you then perhaps consider using an amino acid from green tea, L-Theanine. It has been shown to induce a calm and relaxed mood in minutes. L-Theanine is contained in BCN’s Tranquil Mind.


Contain s Rhodio Conla ta! ins Rhodio la!

Focus On Magazine Edition 3, 2014  

Australia's Guide to Healthier Living

Focus On Magazine Edition 3, 2014  

Australia's Guide to Healthier Living

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