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Your Nutrition Questions Answered

Understanding health information can be overwhelming. To make things easier, our Purolabs team reached out to our customers and gathered their health-related questions.

After going through them, I've picked out the top five questions that cover the most commonly asked topics. Hopefully, my answers will provide some support and guidance in case you have similar questions.

1. I’m perimenopausal and although I live a healthy lifestyle, I can’t seem to get rid of constant abdominal bloating. Can you recommend anything?

Although menopause is a natural life transition, it can trigger many undesirable symptoms. Hormonal imbalance persists throughout this phase, particularly if you're not taking hormone replacement therapy.

Oestrogen supports water balance in the body, and its reduction leads to common symptoms such as water retention and bloating in the abdomen.

As the adrenals take charge of hormone production, cortisol, one of our primary stress hormones, increases, promoting bloating and weight gain around the midsection. Hormonal fluctuations also impact digestion, resulting in delayed gastric emptying or constipation, adding to the bloating.

To combat menopausal bloating, it's essential to focus on healthy digestion and stress reduction.

Taking probiotics can really help with digestion. It helps to regulate the pH of your digestive tract, boosts nutrient absorption, and helps ease constipation and bloating. Remember to give your body time to digest by not snacking too much, and try to finish eating at least three hours before bed to avoid bloating.

Exercising too much also spikes cortisol levels making bloating worse. Try to mix up your workouts with gentle exercises to support your adrenals.

2. What supplements can I take for thinning hair?

Pinpointing the root cause is crucial in dealing with thinning hair or other health symptoms. Common causes behind hair loss are stress, hormonal imbalances, lack of sleep, or nutrient deficiencies like zinc or biotin.

In case nutrient deficiency is the root cause of hair thinning, supplementation is great help but you also have to ensure your gut is able to efficiently absorb the nutrients you consume.

If you experience chronic digestive symptoms along with hair loss, it's important to address this before supplementation, as you don’t want to place a band-aid over the symptom.

Another customer advised that they had a gastric bypass and started losing their hair shortly after. I would strongly advise to consider functional gut testing to work out if you are absorbing your nutrients effectively.

It's also worth checking for hormonal imbalances, such as thyroid dysfunction, which can contribute to hair loss. Talk to your GP about getting your thyroid function tested if you suspect this may be a factor.

3. How do you prevent acid reflux?

Interestingly, I often come across patients experiencing symptoms of low stomach acid and acid reflux.

While many believe that acid reflux is caused by excess stomach acid escaping into the oesophagus, resulting in a burning sensation and discomfort, this is not always the case.

In fact, for many, it could be due to a lack of stomach acid production and insufficient digestion. When food enters a stomach with insufficient acidity, it doesn't break down properly and instead ferments, leading to a feeling of fullness and burning, which can mimic acid reflux symptoms.

Here is how you can increase your stomach acid to help with reflux symptoms:

  • Eat more bitter tasting foods to boost digestion. Up your intake of rocket, turmeric, broccoli, cabbage, and basil.
  • Incorporate prokinetic foods like ginger, magnesium, asparagus, and artichoke to speed up digestion and reduce fermentation.
  • Reduce snacking in-between meals.
  • Take apple cider vinegar capsules before a big meal.

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If you have acid reflux and take antacids, it's possible that the medication could make the problem worse by lowering stomach acidity. I do not advise to stop taking antacids if they have been prescribed by your GP. If you are taking antacids, ensure that you take them at least four hours apart from supplementation to aid absorption.

4. Me and my husband became vegan in January. We are both very active and already take your probiotic complex, which we’ve found extremely good. Any other recommendations to help us make sure we cover all bases on a vegan diet?

This is a great question and one to consider when switching to a vegan diet.

Plant based diets can provide a range of disease fighting life giving nutrients, however there are a few nutrients that are harder to obtain in adequate amounts on this diet. Supplementing the following nutrients are advised:

Vitamin A – Vitamin A needs to be converted endogenously to a form of vitamin A (retinol) which the body can use. Some people lack the enzymes needed to convert vitamin A; therefore, supplementing is recommended.

Zinc – Pumpkin seeds are the highest plant food source of zinc, however, you would need to eat 100g of pumpkin seeds daily to reach your recommended intake.

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Iron – Heme iron found in animal foods is more easily absorbed than plant based iron. Anaemia can be a common symptom associated with a plant-based diet if you aren’t diligent with your iron intake.

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B12 – B12 is a vitamin that needs to be supplemented on a plant-based diet, as it is found in negligible amounts in plant foods.

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You can also take our multivitamin to cover all bases and make your life that little bit easier.

5. What is the best time to take supplements in general? At the same time? Or does it depend on the supplement?

Another great question. When it comes to taking supplements, it's not just about the quality of the product, but also about how and when you take them. Timing can have a big impact on symptom relief.

For instance, minerals and water soluble vitamins are best taken on an empty stomach, while fat soluble vitamins need dietary fats to be properly absorbed.

Fat Soluble Vitamins – Vitamins A, D, E & K

Water Soluble Vitamins – Vitamins B & C

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When taking your vitamins and minerals, it's a good idea to have your fat soluble vitamins with your meals and your minerals either on an empty stomach or before bed.

Also, keep in mind what you want to improve with your supplements. For example, if you're taking magnesium to sleep better, take it one hour before bedtime.

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If you are currently taking medication, consult with your GP before adding supplements to your daily regime. Our formulations are potent and designed for therapeutic effects, so always check first.