Energy & Stress

Certain key nutrients are critical to helping us deal with stress and increase our energy levels. Read on for ideas and supplements to help support energy levels & your body's management of stress.
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The Effects of Alcohol On Sleep
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The Effects of Alcohol On Sleep

Alcohol is a depressant. That is, a substance that reduces stimulation and mental / physical activity. In theory, a depressant like alcohol would usually help a person get to sleep and/or sleep more soundly. However, excessive alcohol actually thwarts your ability to get a good night's sleep. We take a closer look at the effects of alcohol on sleep, and the reasons why alcohol can ruin a good night's sleep.

How Alcohol Effects Sleep

1. Alcohol is a diuretic.

Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it increases the excretion of fluids from your body via sweat and - more typically - urination. This effect makes it more likely you will have to have to get up multiple times during the night to go to the toilet. Of course, this hurts your chances of deep, truly restful sleep. The diuretic effects of alcohol also leads to a second sleep disruptor... thirst. Your body needs water to replace the lost fluids, and this need for water can cause interrupted sleep as your body tries to tell you it is running low on it's most important nutrient.  

2.  Alcohol Increases Snoring

Drinking excessive alcohol may not just be bad for your sleep. It may also be a bad thing for the person you share the bed with. Snoring is typically caused by the partial blocking of airways, which leads to vibration as we breath in and out. This vibration is what causes the snoring sound. Alcohol can act to relax the muscles around the airways, which can stop air flowing in and out of our lungs as freely as it needs. This will increase the chances you will snore, and snore loudly.  

3. Alcohol = Sugar. Sugar = Bad.

Most alcohols (and common mixers) contain sugar. This has the obvious problems of causing a spike in blood sugar levels if you drink just before bedtime. This spike disrupts sleep, among other things. Excessive sugar also depletes the body of magnesium, a mineral that is critical for muscle function and relaxation. If your magnesium levels are low, you may notice you feel restless, anxious and have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep.  

4. Alcohol Needs to be Processed By Your Body

Your kidneys and liver process alcohol. Depending on how many drinks you have had and when you stopped drinking, your  kidneys and liver continue working away at metabolising and processing that alcohol for many hours after you nod off to sleep. This means your organs are working away at a time when they should be reducing activity so they can rest and recover for the next day. This, in turn, causes a number of problems for sleep. When we metabolise a food/drink (including alcohol), an 'exothermic' reaction occurs. That is, metabolism gives off heat and raises our body temperature. This can make temperature regulation more difficult and - combined  with the sweating and dehydration effect caused by alcohol - results in an overheated, uncomfortable night's sleep. Furthermore, when we metabolise a food/drink, energy is produced. Does energy production sound like something that is a good idea of a night time when you are trying to sleep?  

Final Tip

We have covered the main negative effects of alcohol on sleep, but excessive alcohol consumption in general can have a number of negative effects on your  health and mental wellbeing. If you like a drink, we recommend sticking to the Australian Federal guidelines for alcohol consumption to ensure it doesn't adversely affect your health. These guidelines can be found at http://www.alcohol.gov.au/. ------ This article was provided by our online partner Health365. For more information on getting a good night's sleep, visit www.health365.com.au.
Stressed? You may need more B Vitamins.
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Stressed? You may need more B Vitamins.

The research into the importance of B Vitamins for dealing with stress is well documented. One study coming out of Swinburne University in Melbourne found that participants taking a Vitamin B-Complex supplement reported a 20% reduction in work related stress. This is in contrast to the control group in the study, who were given a placebo and reported no significant change in stress levels. Vitamin B is not one vitamin, rather it is a group of vitamins that can help support our bodies during stressful times. Let's look at each of the B Vitamins that can help support your body during stressful times, and why each is important.

Vitamin B1: Thiamine

Foods rich in thiamine include fish, nuts, seeds and green peas. Thiamine is needed for:
  • maintaining nerve health.
  • mood regulation
  • energy production
  • may play a role in memory and concentration.
 

Vitamin B3: Niacin

Foods rich in niacin include beetroot, beef liver & kidney, fish and seeds. Niacin is needed for:
  • supporting the digestive system.
  • mood regulation (B3 deficiency can lead to depression, irritability, stress and mood disturbances).
  • Energy production.
  • Control of blood sugar and nerve health.
 

Vitamin B6: Pyridoxine

Food sources of pyridoxine include bananas, beef / turkey liver, tuna and chick peas. Pyridoxine is needed for:
  • helping manufacture neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, which aids in the body’s ability to cope with depression, stress and anxiety.
  • immune system support.
 

Vitamin B9: Folate / Folic Acid

Food sources of folate include broccoli, spinach and dried legumes (chick peas, lentils, beans). Folate is needed for:
  • energy production.
 

Vitamin B12: Cyanocobalamin

Food sources include fish, meat (especially liver), poultry and dairy. Vitamin B12 is needed for:
  • general brain support.
  • supports melatonin and serotonin production (both of which are critical  to mood, relaxation and sleep.
 

Consider a Vitamin B Complex Supplement

The B group vitamins are not stored b y the body like many other vitamins and minerals. Whatever B Vitamins you eat that are not absorbed by your body are excreted within hours. As such, a Vitamin B Complex like Nature's Way Mega-B taken daily might be of benefit, particularly during times of stress when we tend to neglect our body and diet. Taking a Vitamin B Complex supplement is a good way to 'top up' your daily vitamin B levels and, research suggests, may be an effective way to reduce stress levels (or at least better equip our bodies with the right nutrition to deal with stress).
5 Benefits of CoQ10
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5 Benefits of CoQ10

CoQ10 (co-enzyme Q10) is a substance found in our body that is ..
Evening Primrose Oil 1000mg
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Evening Primrose Oil 1000mg

Nature’s Way Evening Primrose Oil helps relieve the symptoms of Pre-Menstrual Symptoms (PMS). EPO contains Omega-6 Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), which is involved in several biological functions, and may have a beneficial effect on women’s healthy hormonal balance. Nature’s Way EPO may also help relieve symptoms of mild osteoarthritis pain, mild eczema/dry skin and general health & wellbeing.
Introducing Super Greens + Wild Reds
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Introducing Super Greens + Wild Reds

Equivalent to 16 serves of vegetables in each glass*.
Why You Need Fibre In Your Diet
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Why You Need Fibre In Your Diet

Increasing your fibre intake may - at first - seem like a bit of a contradiction. On the one hand, fibre not typically absorbed very well by the body. Why eat more of something that your body can't absorb? On the other hand, if your diet lacks fibre, you will definitely know about it. Let's take a closer look at why you need fibre.  

Why You Need Fibre

The benefits of fibre can best be studied by looking at what diets lacking in fibre can cause versus the benefits that diets rich in fibre offer. Diets low in fibre can lead to a number of health conditions, ranging from constipation and weight gain to fatigue and blood sugar fluctuations. Diets high in fibre generally lead to  much better overall health, weight management, more regular bowel movements, better digestion and a reduced risk of a range of serious diseases.  

The 2 types of fibre

There are two types of dietary fibre that are both subtly different, yet both are important for overall health.  

1. Soluble Fibre

Soluble fibre can be digested by your body, but usually very slowly compared to other carbohydrates. As a result, when you eat a diet rich in soluble fibre, the soluble fibre is digested slowly and can lead to more sustained energy and constant blood sugar levels after eating. High fibre diets can also help with weight loss, as the slow digestion of soluble fibre leads to longer feeling of fullness that may prevent snacking and a more prolonged energy release.  

Why You Need Soluble Fibre

Soluble fibre may help with:
  • cholesterol management
  • controlling blood sugar levels
  • inflammatory bowel conditions

Good Sources of Soluble Fibre

  • Oats
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • peas
  • Vegetables
 

2. Insoluble Fibre

We have established that soluble fibre can be digested, albeit slowly. Insoluble fibre, on the other hand, remains largely undigested as it passes through your digestive tract. Just because it is not digested does not mean it doesn't play a critical role in digestion and overall health. During digestion, insoluble fibre passes through to the intestine, bringing water with it. This increases bulk and hydration of waste products. In short, this helps you go to the bathroom more regularly and the additional water in your waste helps you avoid constipation. Insoluble fibre can also help promote a feeling of fullness for those looking to lose weight / reduce snacking.  

Why You Need Insoluble Fibre

Insoluble Fibre may help with:
  • maintaining regular bowel movement
  • weight management
 

Good sources of Insoluble fibre

  • leafy green vegetables
  • root vegetables
  • carrots
  • raisins
 

Superfoods For Fibre

Super Chia Seeds not only contains double the amount of fibre than oats, they also contain both soluble and insoluble fibre, so are a great way to top up your dietary fibre levels. Try them if you are actively looking for an easy way to increase your fibre intake.

Final Tips For Increasing Fibre

  • Adults need to get 25 to 30g of fibre each day. Most Australians do not get this much fibre. If you are struggling to get enough fibre in your diet, a fibre supplement like our Adult Fibre VitaGummies  may offer some benefit.
  • Sudden increases in dietary fibre may cause abdominal pain or flatulence. If you currently have a low fibre diet and are trying to increase your fibre levels, do so gradually over the course of several weeks.
  • Finally, increasing your fibre intake may require an increase in the amount of water you need to drink in a day. Since you pass more water as waste in a high fibre diet, increasing fibre intake may bring increased risk  of dehydration. Dry mouth, increased thirst, headache or dark coloured urine are all signs you may be dehydrated and need to drink more water.
------ This article was provided by our online health partner Health365. If you would like to learn more about why you need fibre (among other things), visit www.health365.com.au.
How To Stop Snoring
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How To Stop Snoring

Snoring might be embarrassing for you, but it can be torturous for your partner / house mates / family. Try these tips to stop snoring, and if your snoring persists, see a doctor.

Tips to Stop Snoring

 

1. No Booze Before Bed

An easy way to stop snoring is to limit your daily alcohol intake. Alcohol causes the palate (roof of the mouth) to swell. It can also cause the muscles around the airways to temporarily relax and sag while you sleep. Both these effects can cause narrowing of the airways, which causes increased vibration as you breath in and out. That vibration is what causes snoring. If you decide to have a drink of an evening, have your last drink well before bed time.  

2. Stop Smoking

Smoking causes inflammation and swelling throughout the body. Cigarette smoke also contains toxins that agitate the membranes in your throat. Both of these side-effects of smoking can cause snoring. Not only will quitting smoking make you better in bed (i.e. help you stop snoring), it might just make you more pleasant to kiss too.  

3. Roll On Over

One common way to  stop snoring is to prevent the snorer from sleeping on their back. Sleeping on your back can put pressure on, or bend, airways, which can cause obstruction. Sleeping on their side or stomach is less likely to narrow or obstruct airways, so can often help snorers stop snoring. If the snorer is unable to stay sleeping on their side or stomach throughout the night without rolling onto their back, grab an old t-shirt with a pocket on the chest. The snorer should wear t-shirt backwards to bed, with a tennis ball in the pocket. Every time the snorer rolls onto their back whilst sleeping, they will have that tennis ball sticking into their back. This will be so uncomfortable they will turn themselves back onto their side or stomach.  

4. Fluff Your Pillow

Having a fluffier or higher pillow may open up a snorer's airways, meaning less snoring.  

5. Drop a few kilo's

As we have already covered, snoring is almost always caused by vibrations from restricted / semi blocked airways as we breath in and out. If you are overweight, fatty tissue can build up around the throat, chin, mouth and chest. This can make semi-blocked airways  (and, in turn, snoring) more likely. Losing some weight may help mitigate this effect.  

6. Go Get a Gadget

If the above tips do not work, there are a range of devices to help address snoring:
  • Try a 'gum guard'. These devices - similar in style to a sporting mouth guard - hold the jaw muscles in a way that helps open up the throat and airway. Your doctor can help you choose which one suits you best.
  • If your snore comes from vibrations in your nose rather than your throat, you can get nose clips and nose strips that hold your nostrils open while you sleep. Your doctor or pharmacist can help you choose the right clip.
  • Finally, if gum guards and nose clips do not  do the trick, there are a number of other more advanced devices available which can help you not only stop snoring, but get a much better night's sleep. Persistent snoring is often associated sleep apnea. There are some impressively high-tech solutions out there... Australian company ResMed are worldwide leaders in sleep apnea device design and manufacturing and have a range that is suitable for most applications. Further, the CSIRO recently developed a technique to use 3D scanning of the mouth and a 3D printer to create custom mouth pieces. Again, your doctor can assist you with making the right choice and making sense of all of the options available to you.
 

7. Go Under the Knife

As a final resort, surgery may be necessary to stop your snoring. This should be treated as a final (and drastic) option. Your doctor is the best person to talk to should all of the above options fail and you decide to consider surgery. ------ This article was provided by our online health partner Health365. To learn more about getting a good night's sleep, visit www.health365.com.au.
5 Easy Tips To Reduce Stress
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5 Easy Tips To Reduce Stress

Stress can be a debilitating condition. It can have serious effects ..
High Strength Magnesium
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High Strength Magnesium

Nature’s Way High Strength Magnesium 600mg combines magnesium with co-factor vitamin B6 to help relieve temporary mild muscle cramps and spasms. Benefits: -  mild muscle stiffness and cramps, exercise recovery - mild stress & anxiety - heart health - Premenstrual symptoms relief