Our intro guide to mushrooms outlines the current evidence and research backing the use of common medicinal supplemental mushrooms, such as; Lion's Mane, Cordyceps, Reishi, Chaga, Shiitake, and Turkey Tail...
Learn how to make a balanced, quick and delicious smoothie by following our simple guide to making 'The Perfect Smoothie'!
Bella Marinkovich, DipNut
Post by Emily White
For as long as I can remember the words ‘slip, slop, slap’ have been gospel. Whenever you step out into the sun it is hard not to think about skin cancer and thereby the importance of covering up. However scientists are now suggesting that we have taken this a bit too far with a lot of people suffering from a Vitamin D deficiency- without even knowing!
Post by Emily White
The age-old quote, 'let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food' by Hippocrates is certainly of relevance in todays world. Gut health is something that can be related to this and is an extremely important determinant in someone’s health. The nutrition that we provide for our body plays a huge role in this and probiotics in particular, are a very important aspect of any nutritional plan in order to optimise gut health and overall wellbeing.
Post by Emily White
The average person gets struck down with a cold or flu two to three times every year. It is estimated to be one of the most frequent illnesses amongst humans and brings about great frustration, as it seems your body waits until it is absolutely most inconvenient before you get struck down with the virus. Murphy's law right?!
By Cliff Harvey
As we near the end of the summer break in NZ and Australia and the Christmas and holiday season around the world, inevitably ‘detox’ diets and ‘cleanses’ jostle for space in our news feed. It’s tough to not be sucked into these ads and testimonials, especially if you’ve over-indulged in food and booze, and burnt the candle at both ends over the festive season. Let’s face it, you’re going to feel less than optimal if you’ve been eating too much, eating processed and refined foods, and drinking too much alcohol…but are detoxes and cleanses really the answer?
It’s fair to say that there is little evidence that detox diets and cleanses offer any clear benefit. There are few studies on the many ‘detox’ diets and ‘cleanses’ on the market and most of the claims are not backed by any amount of credible evidence or even plausible science.
By Sarah Mortimer (HPN graduate)
Magnesium is one of the most talked about minerals and justifiably so; it is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the human body (1) including energy production pathways hence its potential relationship to sports performance. These energy pathways mentioned involve the uptake of oxygen into the muscle, the ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate) pathway as well as the electrolyte balance4 another important aspect affecting sports performance.
Post by By Cliff Harvey ND
Natural, bio-identical, synthetic - In the field of supplementation what do all these terms really mean? Do you really know if you are getting the most out of your supplementation regime?
Many people make the assumption that ‘natural’ supplements must be superior, or must be more easily absorbed, digested or metabolised. This is not necessarily true, and in this case it is fair to say that the devil is in the details.
By Matt Foreman
Creatine is one of the most researched supplements in the world and by far the most popular for muscle building. However the majority of people underestimate the powerful effects of creatine and its hidden benefits that can be utilised by everyone, regardless of whether you are a bodybuilder, athlete or everyday person.
Post by Emily White
You have been away on holiday for 3 weeks, indulging in a little too much alcohol and processed foods, and you have come home feeling a bit ‘squishy’ and all round like your body is in dire need of some TLC.
But never fear, because the week you get back you are going to get knees deep in the latest and greatest detox cleanse!!
Hear the word detox diet and you get polarizing opinions:
-The first being that they are wonderful- gods gift to weight loss and all round health and vitality!
- The second being that they are an absolute load of money wasting crap (or something along those lines).
So who is right?
Post by Emily White
More then a thousand studies have been performed on creatine monohydrate making it the most studied sports supplement to have been identified. It has also found to be one of- if not the most effective on the market.
It is hugely popular amongst men, however it is interesting to note that very little women supplement with creatine monohydrate. Many women believe that it is a ‘men’s supplement’ and taking it will result in them becoming ‘bulky’ or gaining unwanted weight. So is creatine a supplement that more women should be using and is it safe to do so?
Post by Emily White
Anyone who suffers from eczema will know all too well the unbearable discomfort that it brings. Eczema, a rather broad term, is used to describe a variety of skin conditions that result in red, itchy skin. It can vary in severity, from slightly red and inflamed to full on weeping blisters.
Post by Cliff Harvey ND
- Pea Protein Isolate contains all essential amino acids
- It provides essential amino acids in the amounts recommended by the World Health Organisation
- The amino acid composition of Pea Protein Isolate compares favourably with the recommended pattern of the Institute of Medicine of the National Institutes of Health
- It contains up to 90% protein, making it one of the highest sources of protein available
- Pea Protein Isolate provides an effective, complete solution for your protein requirements
By Matt Foreman
Isagenix is a multi-level marketing scheme which offers people the opportunity to make money the higher they get on the pyramid. It offers nutritional cleansing, detoxing, weight-loss supplementation, and general wellness products, along with additional financial benefits through the marketing of their products.
I started working as a nutritionist (initially as a student practitioner) back in the late 90’s. At the time I loved strength and ‘physical culture’ in all its forms…including bodybuilding. In fact I still think bodybuilding of the type epitomised by Bill Pearl, John Grimek and other ‘pre-steroid era’ bodybuilders is awesome. These guys were true physical culturists. They lived and breathed the pursuit of strength and health, and the way they looked was a consequence of this. Over time the aesthetic became pre-eminent, and as any athlete is tempted to do, means to improve more rapidly (primarily anabolic steroids) became more and more rampant.
By Cliff Harvey ND.
Chlorella is a single celled blue-green algae renowned as a nutrient superfood and used in many multi-nutrient products and sold individually as a health supplement.
In spite of its rich nutritional profile there has been some concern that the detoxifying effects (such as reductions in dioxin and mercury levels) may raise exposure to these damaging compounds for the unborn or breastfeeding baby.
The form of folate that is used in food fortification and most dietary supplements is a synthetic form; pteroylmonglutamate. There are important differences between naturally occurring and synthetic forms of folate however, and this article seeks to explain some of those differences.
Cliff Harvey PhD, DipFit, DipNut
Folate (vitamin B9) in any form is not used directly within the body, but is metabolised to a metabolically active co-enzyme, tetrahydrafolate (tetrahydrafolic acid).
1. Ashokkumar, B., Mohammed, Z. M., Vaziri, N. D., & Said, H. M. (2007). Effect of folate oversupplementation on folate uptake by human intestinal and renal epithelial cells. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 86(1), 159-166.
2. Kelly, P., McPartlin, J., Goggins, M., Weir, D. G., & Scott, J. M. (1997). Unmetabolized folic acid in serum: acute studies in subjects consuming fortified food and supplements. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 65(6), 1790-1795.
3. Smith, A. D., Kim, Y. I., & Refsum, H. (2008). Is folic acid good for everyone?.The American journal of clinical nutrition, 87(3), 517-533.
4. Wright, A. J., Dainty, J. R., & Finglas, P. M. (2007). Folic acid metabolism in human subjects revisited: potential implications for proposed mandatory folic acid fortification in the UK. British Journal of Nutrition, 98(4), 667-675.
5. Troen, A. M., Mitchell, B., Sorensen, B., Wener, M. H., Johnston, A., Wood, B., ... & Ulrich, C. M. (2006). Unmetabolized folic acid in plasma is associated with reduced natural killer cell cytotoxicity among postmenopausal women. The Journal of nutrition, 136(1), 189-194.
6. Ulrich, C. M., & Potter, J. D. (2006). Folate supplementation: too much of a good thing?. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, 15(2), 189-193.
7. Pietrzik, K., Bailey, L., & Shane, B. (2010). Folic acid and L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate. Clin Pharmacokinet, 49(8), 535-548.
8. Konings, E. J., Roomans, H. H., Dorant, E., Goldbohm, R. A., Saris, W. H., & van den Brandt, P. A. (2001). Folate intake of the Dutch population according to newly established liquid chromatography data for foods. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 73(4), 765-776.
There's a lot of buzz about the uses and benefits of beet juice for performance. In this article, Joe McQuillan PhD (at the time a PhD candidate) looks at some of the research on beets and performance
Joe McQuillan PhD
Recently, two research articles presented evidence for increased time-trial performance in well-trained cyclists (relative VO2max ~57 ml/kg/min) following dietary nitrate supplementation using beetroot juice.
If you have been following the time-line of beetroot juice as a method to enhance stamina or decrease the cost of exercise you would know there is nothing unusual about the findings—aside from the fact it was carried out on trained cyclists. To ensure transparency of findings both studies utilized a double-blind (researchers and subjects are not aware of whether the drink is nitrate rich or nitrate depleted), repeated measures cross-over (subjects carried out all testing under nitrate rich and nitrate depleted conditions). Diets were also closely monitored so that prior to testing cyclists did not alter their diet in any way, thus reducing the possibility for external alterations to changes in performance.
The choice of drink in both studies was James White Drinks organic beet-it juice, however the two studies employed quite marked loading protocols with Cermak et al (2011) using a 6-day chronic loading phase using 140 ml/day at a concentration of 8.0 mmol. In the second reviewed study, Lansley et al (2011) used 500 ml of 6.2 mmol concentration taken as an acute dose 2.5 hours prior to the 4 km and 16.1 km time-trial. Table 1. details the characteristics of participants, the loading protocols and changes in performance over 4 km,10 km and 16.1 km distance following dietary nitrate supplementation.
While previous studies have shown changes in performance using ‘healthy’ populations this is the first evidence that dietary nitrate supplementation via natural beetroot juice can enhance performance in a trained group of athletes. A reduction of time by 1% will result in a 34 sec reduction for a 60 min time-trial. To achieve this from as a result of a ‘training effect’ for an already well-trained athlete would require either an increase in training time, change in methodology of training or—if this option exists in the sport – purchasing equipment to go faster or all of the above.
Within their study, Cermak et al (2011) also investigated the impact of nitrate supplementation on two bouts of 30 mins of steady state cycling. To achieve this, participants cycled on an ergometer at 45% and 65% of their peak power output (PPO) based on a previous incremental cycle test. Their ventilation response was measured during this time in order to assess a variety of breathing responses including oxygen (VO2) utilisation and carbon dioxide production (VCO2). As witnessed in previous papers a reduction in VO2 was accompanied by no change in VCO2, total energy utilization, heart rate or rate of perceived exertion. The magnitude of the reduction of VO2 at 45% PPO was 3.5% and at 65% PPO it was 5.2%. Therefore at greater relative intensities, dietary nitrate appears to have a greater effect on enhancement of exercise economy. It would appear that the combined effects of vasodilation, alterations within the mitochondria and improved ATP efficiency are – at least in part—responsible for these physiological improvements which lead to the performance improvements witnessed in the three details time-trials.
The relatively large dosage of Cermak et al (2011) equates to a nitrate intake of ~500 mg. I say relatively large as to ingest the same amount of nitrate through raw vegetables would require eating ~3 moderate lettuces in one sitting. Healthy, yes, but quite impractical as a loading strategy and in the lead up to competition. Obviously, with no preparation required and ease of ingestion 2.5 hours out from an event the beetroot juice is formulated for a sporting focused market. With these relatively new findings expect to see an increasing number of cyclists, runners, multisporters and triathletes of all abilities consuming beetroot juice before their peak events.