close up photo of raisins and dates

Intermittent Fasting – The Beginners Guide

Fasting is done for spiritual reasons by people following Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, etc. On the topic of fasting there are many of us that have either tried intermittent fasting or know somebody who has given it a go. Intermittent fasting has become one of the most popular health and fitness trends. Everybody wants to either lose weight, or simply improve their health and lifestyles!

Muslims all around the world right now are partaking in Ramadan. We want to start of by wishing all of our Muslim followers Ramadan Kareem from the Vitz team! Ramadan is a month of fasting, prayer and reflection

 This weeks blog will explain all the basics of intermittent fasting including the different types and the potential benefits.

Intermittent fasting is essentially an eating schedule which goes through cycles of fasting and eating. Intermittent fasting is not about specifying what foods are going into our bodies, but focusses on when. It is an eating pattern!

flat lay photography of vegetable salad on plate

Here are few different types of intermittent fasting :

  • 5:2 Diet – With the 5:2 method, we consume 500-600 calories on two non consecutive days of the week and then eat normally on the other 5 days.
  • 16/8 Method – This is the most popular method at the moment. Here we essentially skip breakfast and restrict eating to an 8 hour window for example 14:00 – 22:00 and then fasting for the rest of the 16 hours.
  • Eat-Stop-Eat – This method involves fasting for 24 hours twice a week. So this would mean not eating from dinner one day all the way until dinner the next day.
  • Alternate Day Fasting – This method is what it says on the tin. Fasting for 24 hours every other day.
  • The Warrior Diet – This involves eating a smaller portion of raw fruit and veg during the day and then one substantial meal for the evening.

All these methods have something in common : less calories coming into our bodies. By reducing our calorie intake, all of these methods should cause weight loss… as long as we don’t go overboard in our eating windows!

photo of a burn fat text on round blue plate

As well as weight loss, there are a few other health benefits to intermittent fasting also :

  • Weight Loss – As already mentioned, intermittent fasting can help us lose weight and belly fat!
  • Heart Health – Intermittent fasting, may reduce a few of the risk factors for heart disease such as inflammatory markers, blood sugar and insulin resistance.
  • Brain Health – Intermittent fasting increases the brain hormone BDNF as well as potentially aiding the growth of new nerve cells.
  • Fights Inflammation – Studies have shown that fasting can decrease levels of inflammation and help promote better health.
  • Healthier Lifestyle – Intermittent fasting is more efficient as there is less meal prep that needs to be done as you do not need to plan, cook or clean up as many meals as before. This makes it easier to maintain a healthier lifestyle.

Of course it is also important to state intermittent fasting is not for everyone. If you are underweight or have a history of eating disorders we would strongly advise against fasting as it could be harmful.

If you suffer from diabetes or low blood sugar, fasting can lead to spikes and crashes in your blood sugar levels, which could be dangerous.

pink doughnut on white textile

There are  small changes we can make to our lifestyle if we do not want to carry out intermittent fasting but take some lessons from it :

  • Let your body burn fat in-between meals. Do this by not snacking and being active throughout the day.
  • Avoid sugars. Instead we can eat fruits, veg, beans, lean proteins, healthy fats, etc. There are so many healthy delicious foods we can consume. Lets save the sugary treats for our cheat meals!
  • Avoid eating at night time.

Intermittent fasting can be great for various different health benefits with its various different methods. The important take away is to do what works for you.

If you decide to go with a fasting method, it is key to stay well hydrated, and to ensure food is nutritious and balanced.

Please do speak to a healthcare professional or your GP before starting a new dietary regime.

adult beans beautiful black coffee

Coffee – Is it Good or Bad for us?

Coffee is something the vast majority of drink. It is not surprising that after water, coffee is the most popular drink in the world. Over 400 BILLION cups of coffee are consumed each year. In fact, I have my morning espresso helping write this blog.

In Britain alone, over one billion pounds was spent on coffee, on average we Brits drink 2 cups of coffee per day. I know this is certainly true for me with my morning espresso and my afternoon latté.

There is an art to coffee with so many different types one can choose to create from an americanos and cappuccinos to affogatos and iced lattés. The coffee aficionados among us will also tell us there is beauty in the beans whether it’s Arabica or Liberica, etc.

All this coffee is being drunk, studied, created but just how good or bad is coffee for us? Lets find out!

coffee beans

The Good Stuff :

  • Antioxidant Dynamo – Coffee’s main rival tea usually gets a lot of love for the anti oxidants it provides however coffee is no slouch in this department. It’s filled with anti oxidants which also help reduce inflammation. Coffee has plenty of hydro cinnamic acids and polyphenols that can help play a part in reducing chances for cancer/ heart disease.
  • Energy Burst – Coffee is well known to give us the energy we need as well improving our physical performance. We have all had those mornings where we are walking zombies until we have had our first cup of coffee and then all of a sudden we feel on top of the world! The boost in caffeine stimulates our nervous systems. This is done by raising our adrenaline levels and releasing fatty acids that we can use for energy. Great for the mornings or before a workout!
  • Decrease Chances of Health Conditions – Various studies have shown a positive of drinking 1 -2 cups of coffee per day can help reducing the chances of numerous diseases compared to non-coffee drinkers.
clear glass teacup with coffee beverage

The Bad Stuff :

  • Sleep Trouble – Too much coffee consumption can really have a part to play on our sleep. Even though it may seem like caffeine doesn’t impact us because we can fall asleep, the quality of the actual sleep could be affected. Drinking 1-2 cups of coffee should not impact the sleep, however 3 or more cups per day can.
  • Anxiety and Jitteriness – Taking in too much caffeine can lead to jitteriness and anxiety. We are all different so 2 cups of coffee for somebody could be the perfect amount, however for another it could be way too much. If you are sensitive to caffeine it Is best to avoid it as much as you can.
  • Withdrawal – Caffeine can be addictive to some. When people who have been using to consuming caffeine stop consuming it they can get withdrawal symptoms. These can include headaches, exhaustion, irritability, etc.
coffee brown signage

Coffee Is often given a bad rep when it comes to health and wellness. Successful people in all walks of life drink coffee. Successful authors, personal trainers, business owners, music artists, etc.

Even successful athletes drink coffee! Italian footballers love an espresso before they start their days or before training. Most notably, the elite 5 time all star Jimmy Butler the basketballer has become a coffee aficionado. Whilst leading the Miami Heat to an NBA Championship finals in the bubble, Jimmy Butler had started making his own coffee which became so popular he started selling to other athletes within the bubble! He believes coffee is so beneficial for him he developed a passion for it which has led to the creation of his coffee brand – BIG FACE COFFEE.

Coffee like most things in life is great in moderation. According to various studies, coffee can have crucial health benefits for the average person. Going off the scientific evidence, coffee is very healthy for most people.

That said it is important to say there are the negatives aspect also. We would recommend to limit how much sugar is added to the coffee to get the maximum health benefits whilst drinking 1-2 cups of coffee per day.

Our summary is if you enjoy coffee carry on drinking it! If you do not like coffee that is also fine and you can go without.

silhouette photography of jump shot of two persons

The Power of the B Complex

Our Vitz Burst supplement (launching in May!!) is jam packed with a Vitamin B Complex as well natural green coffee bean extracts.

In this week’s Thursday blog we will be talking about why a vitamin b complex supplement is so amazing.

Firstly, we need to know what vitamins are in the B Complex :

  • Vitamin B1 : Thiamine
  • Vitamin B2 : Riboflavin
  • Vitamin B3 : Niacin
  • Vitamin B5 : Pantothenate
  • Vitamin B6 : Pyridoxine
  • Vitamin B7 : Biotin
  • Vitamin B9 : Folate
  • Vitamin B12 : Cyanocobalamin
woman turning around on green fields

These are the 8 different vitamins that belong to the B vitamin family. You may be wondering what happened to B4, B8, B10 and B11 ?! It had actually later been discovered that these substances do not have the character of vitamins which is why the numbering of the vitamins are not continuous.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

Vitamin B1 is commonly known as either the “mood vitamin” or the “morale vitamin”. Studies have shown those with a higher thiamine intake are less likely to suffer from anxiety/depression – hence its reputation as a mood booster. It also contributes to lowering blood pressure and increased energy levels

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Vitamin B2 is commonly known as the “immune booster” By forming antibodies it helps to strengthen our immune systems. Another great positive of riboflavin is the effect it has on the liver, as it detoxifies the liver.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Vitamin B3 is key for supporting our digestive system and for maintenance of our long term gut health.  Also, vitamin B3 is great for maintaining our healthy skin and nervous system.

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenate)

Vitamin B5 is mostly known as the “energy boosting” vitamin. Vitamin B5 is great for fatigue reduction especially! In our bodies, it is so important for conversion of choline into acetylcholine. Acetylcholine,  a chemical messenger, which carries electrical impulses between our nerves and muscles, allowing our bodies to function efficiently.

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

Vitamin B6 is commonly known as “the growth vitamin”. In protein metabolism, vitamin B6 is particularly important during growth. Vitamin B6 is necessary for our heart, brain and liver to function properly. This vitamin also helps regulate our sleep cycle by affecting the production of melatonin and serotonin in the brain. This is amazing as it gives us an extra bounce on our step.

man people street playing

Vitamin B7 (Biotin)

This is the magic vitamin for hair, skin and nails! Biotin plays an important role in the metabolism of fatty acids.  This is essential for healthy skin, hair, nerves as well as other bodily functions.

Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid)

Folic acid is great especially for women during pregnancy as they have an increased need for folic acid during this time.

Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin)

Vitamin B12 is commonly used as to boost energy levels. As well as this, it is also known as a “feel-good” vitamin as it also positively affects dopamine and serotonin.  

All of these vitamins work in perfect synergy with each other which is why the B Vitamin complex is so fantastic. When they’re all working together, they can support our immune system, mood, skin, energy and sleep levels. Just makes us feel better mentally and physically!

woman playing tennis on court

The Return of (Outdoor) Sports

We’re all very excited for March 29th with outdoor sports activities returning. With Gym’s opening up again on April 12th we can say goodbye to our Joe Wicks and Chloe Ting.

Being able to participate in these activities does so much for not only our physical health but also our mental health.

Whether we are playing a game of football on a Sunday morning or going on a top golf date it is so important to get back out to give your health (mental and physical) a big boost!

silhouette of man playing golf during sunset

Research has shown that exercising for around 150 minutes per week can help with our mental health to fight anxiety and depression.

There is something that is invigorating about exercising outdoors, it is said that exercising outdoors has more benefits than exercising indoors.

Physical exercise, whether it is team sports or individual focussed sports help our bodies function better but also help our mental health condition in a big way. Team sports help us keep engaged, energised and our morale is boosted by encouragement from our team members. Individual focussed exercise is also great as it is more thought provoking and stress reliving, an example of this golf.

Another big benefit of playing sports is that it can improve our brain power making it more efficient.

Research has shown that those who play sports have an ability to filter out noise and static. This in turn allows us to process information a whole lot better in different situations. In a situation where our brain is getting a lot of different info, it will filter to make us focus on the 5% that we need.

In essence, sports can improve the way our brains process information by allowing us to focus on the info that matters. It helps us cut the waffle.

photo of man running

 While we are enjoying ourselves playing sports outside its important to be as safe and cautious as possible. We need to play it safe.

Here are some things we can do:

  • Timing – We can choose to go to the gym / play our sports at hours where the location won’t be as busy as peak hours. Avoiding locker rooms and public toilets is the best course of action.
  • Hydration – As we are nearing summer it is key to make sure we are all hydrated! It can be easy to forget about something so simple but we must stay hydrated.
  • Sharing – We have to be as safe as possible and this means restricting sharing equipment, water bottles, face masks etc.
  • Sanitise – We must continue to be as clean as possible, that means making sure we are clean. This includes any equipment that is used.
  • Nutrition – Eating fruit and veg daily s a huge benefit as they are packed in essential vitamins.
woman drinking water

Finally, exercising outdoors can mean more pressure on our bones and joints. Check out our bones and joints blog to learn more on what we can do to have optimal bone and joint health.

Vitamins K2 and D3 are essential for great bone health. Make sure to supplement these to support your bones in the best possible way.  

men s white button up dress shirt

Look After and Love Yourself – It’s Important!

We all want to be in the best possible physical, mental and health condition. However how many of us actually take time out to act on it? Looking after ourselves always raises our mood but we do not do it often enough, why is this? Neglecting our health and wellness is something we have all been guilty of, even though it does wonders for our moods. This week’s blog post is about how important it is to look after yourself by loving your yourself and your body!

Give our health and wellness some time, loving and attention can raise our morale and spirits, can do amazing things for our skin, can improve our body condition and can help us all feel better overall both physically and mentally.

It is said it takes three weeks to build and create a habit. Creating healthy habits that benefit us Is crucial in our general wellbeing. Our advice is to take it slow and not do everything at once. At the end of today we want you to take a moment and analyse your day and ask yourself what got you down the most today? Whatever the answer is that will be the first habit we want you to work on.

For example, if it is your weight then the first habit to implement would be healthy eating, and then the next habit adding some exercise to the routine and so on. Another example would be if the answer to your question is work stress, the habit to build would be to take at least 15 minutes in your day to de-clutter your mind. Whether this is going on a walk, doing yoga, reading, etc.

young woman lying on bed and reading book with cosmetic mask on face

The following are some of the reasons for the important of loving ourselves and paying some attention to health and wellness :

  • Improves Mood – In our opinion, this is the greatest benefit. A healthy lifestyle will not only relax your mind but also give you the right energy you need to enjoy your day fully. An improved mood helps overcome stress, boosts self-confidence and helps you get the most out of your day.
  • Weight Management – Healthy eating with a few regular exercises will go a long way in avoiding weight gain that is not needed. This will also have a bonus effect which is boosting your immune system. A balanced diet with a few hours of exercise a week will do wonders.
  • Energy Boost – There is nothing worse than feeling lethargic all day and just going through the motions. A balanced healthy diet will give our bodies the fuel it needs to run efficiently all day. Sleeping for eight hours minimum also plays a big role so making sure we prioritize sleep is key.
  • Prevent Diseases – Keeping healthy also helps with preventing diseases such as, heart diseases, depression, blood pressure etc. Start the day of right with a healthy breakfast!
  • Longevity – Showing love to these healthy habits by applying them will also provide a longer (and happier) life whilst giving us better overall wellbeing.
silhouette photography of group of people jumping during golden time

When we talk about Health and Wellness it’s good to fully separate the two and give each equal attention.

Health is all about keeping the physical and mental condition in tip top shape to keep free of any illness, disease or injury. For our health, we can set many different goals to keep continuously improving.

Wellness has many different definitions. Wellness is all about how we live in our everyday life, there is no specific goal to meet, it is a lifestyle. Having a high level of wellness is the key to having a higher quality of life. Our wellbeing not only effects us individually but also those around us.

To truly improve your health and wellness we recommend the following : Love Yourself!

Love Yourself – Understanding that we are all different, we all have different bodies, with different brains, with different surroundings with different factors that makes us, us. We have to embrace and love every part of these! Let’s stop comparing ourselves to others, our past self, etc, lets channel on our energy into bettering ourselves in our current condition. Focus on the things in life that give you most happiness and everything will fall into place.

By focussing on the things that matter, we will truly see the importance of health and wellness.

women at the meeting

Mums the Word!

March 8th saw the world celebrate International Women’s day. It was great to see all of our timelines filled with women who have inspired so many with their stories. Here at Vitz, we are very lucky to have inspiring women part of our team.  

March 14th will be Mother’s Day which is one of our favourite days of the year. Being a mum is incredibly challenging and tough however also exciting, fun and rewarding. A big thank you to all the mother’s in the world that work tirelessly to ensure their child/children are looked after in the best possible manner.  

This week’s blog will be all about nutrition, health and wellness for women and more specifically for mothers.

baby touching woman s face

There is no day like a Mother’s day! On most days, a mother’s average day includes hundreds of tasks and that’s just for looking after the children. On top of that, add work tasks as well any other time consuming activities a Mother may do to keep her mental health healthy. This doesn’t leave much time in the day at all, so here are some quick tips that could hopefully make days go smoother :

  • Be Ahead of the Curve – By creating a plan, whether it is daily or weekly plans, we can be as efficient as possible with everything that needs to get done. This in turn will give us more chill time with the kids.
  • Prep, Prep, and more Prep – Meal prepping can save valuable hours during the week which can be spent relaxing. Keeping on top of your mental health is so important, doing something as simple as meal prepping can be invaluable.
  • Get the Kids on Board – Encouraging healthy eating in different ways could be key in getting the kids to be proud of healthy eating. Try different methods e.g. challenge them to try something healthy if they are competitive.
  • Get Creative – When doing different tasks in the day such as cooking or even a work task its important to keep it fun! Whether its something as silly sounding as making a rule that you have to dance every hour or getting creative with the foods you eat.
flat lay photography of three tray of foods

For all the expecting mothers keeping healthy is a top priority, especially as this is crucial for the baby. Choosing a supplement to keep your vitamin levels, etc high can be confusing at times, but even more so when it is also impacting your little one.

Here are two big factors to consider when choosing a supplement:

  • Transparency – It is absolutely essential that the supplement brand you are purchasing from is as transparent as possible. There are many supplements on the market that are not regulated in the best way or some even do not match up to their label claims. We would suggest even giving the manufacturer a call to have all your questions answered. Here at Vitz, honesty and transparency whilst maintaining a high level of quality is at the very top of our value list.
  • Scientifically Backed – Doing your homework on supplements is highly recommended. Being a supplement nerd is cool! To make sure the supplements are matching their label claim for quality, dosage, etc be sure to ask the supplement manufacturer for  the scientific resources such as studies on the ingredients or the supplement.
pregnant woman lying on green grass fields

Be an All – Star Mum and take an All – Star Vitamin :

Research has shown that Vitamin K2 is very important for both the mother and child during pregnancy.  

Due to the unborn child’s need for calcium, women can be impacted by a calcium deficiency. Having a lack of vitamin K2 can be detrimental for the unborn child. Skeletal development before the birth can set the pace for the child’s future bone health. Taking enough vitamin K2 ensures that the mother makes the best out of the calcium she has available which benefits her child’s bones, giving the perfect start.

In some extreme cases a calcium deficiency for the expecting mother can lead to pregnancy associated osteoporosis. This condition means the expectant mother will be in severe pain due to vertebral fractures. Vitamin K2 targets the bone producing proteins to give the bones the calcium they need.

Research has also shown, breastfeeding mothers should think about taking vitamin K2 to increase the amount of the K2 that is delivered to their new-born child. Supplements for infants can also be considered but again be sure to do your homework to ensure they are getting the best possible.

medical stethoscope and mask composed with red foiled chocolate hearts

It Takes Heart!

The heart works hard to pump blood throughout our body with no breaks, meaning we should work hard to look after hearts. Valentines has come and gone, we are now only a couple of months away from the Summer. This means for everybody that is involved in sports, whether playing or supporting, it is the business end of the season! Whether our club is going for league glory and battling relegation, we all need to fight with heart! (Even it is from our comfy armchairs at home).

sky sunset field sunrise

It’s never too early and never too late to begin really looking after our heart health. Here’s some tips to help with this:

  • Put out the Smoke – If you are a smoker you have heard this a million times, we know how tough it can be to stop smoking. It is said that it takes three weeks to break a habit, it is never too late to quit. The British Heart Foundation advise 2-3 days after smell and taste improve, 2-12 weeks after exercise becomes easier and after a year your risk of having a heart attack is halved!
  • Moderation is Key – Its important to practise moderation if you drink alcohol. Drinking too much can raise blood pressure and can elevate the chances of heart failure as well as stroke. Moderation means one drink a day for a woman and two drinks a day for a man.
  • Green Power – There is a lot of evidence that shows the positives of a diet rich in fruit and veg, Eating greens such as broccoli, kale, cabbage etc can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
sliced avocado fruit and green vegetable on white chopping board
  • Plenty of Fish – Eating fish that contain omega-3 fatty acids such salmon, trout, etc can help lower the chances of coronary artery disease. Oily fish are the best for this, they are usually coloured and have darker flesh. Fishing is also a great way to relax the mind if you are looking for a new pastime for this summer! If fishing isn’t for you, making your own sushi is also good fun!
  • Get Moving – Doing just 30 mins of exercise per day can be great for maintaining weight and helping us reach physical and cardiovascular fitness. Even if you are doing two lots of 15 minutes per day it counts. Every little helps!
  • Cut the Sugar – Sugar has been known to increase blood pressure and can also raise signs of inflammation linked with heart disease. Cut the added sugar, even if you have around 5-6 teaspoons of sugar per day this is okay. If you do have sugar daily it is important to hydrate properly to help flush the sugar out.
variety of brown nuts on brown wooden panel high angle photo
  • Go Nuts – Nuts are the best snacks for better energy,  better heart health, better blood sugar control and overall health! Switch the crisps for nuts and you will notice the difference! People who eat nuts seven times a week are 20% less likely to get heart disease. You can have your pick from a plethora of tasty nuts such as cashews, peanuts, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, etc.  
  • Supplements – There are a few supplements that aid with bettering our heart health. Supplements such as vitamin K2 + D3, Turmeric and Omega 3 can support our heart health.

adventure athlete athletic daylight

Bones and Joints – Lockdown Edition

Having endured three lockdowns now many of us trying to different ways for staying active whilst gyms, sports centres, etc are all closed. Many of us are doing a Joe Wicks style home workout to get their sweat on whilst others are going the old fashioned route with an outdoors run.Whether we are going on a long walk or working the rowing machine at home it is so important to make sure our bones and joints are also in good shape!

crop unrecognizable chiropractor examining arm of smiling female patient

It’s normal for many of us to not even give our joints a thought until it’s too late and we’re aching and in pain – I’ve been a victim of this myself many times!

Having cartilage protecting the joints with a fluid cushioning is how healthy joint should be. On average, women have more mobility in their bones and joints, because they are moving around more they are more likely to cause wear and tear.

Here are some of the causes that may cause our joints to ache:

  • Being Overweight – The pressure in the knee joints when moving is around five times your body weight, this means even a few added pounds could have an effect. On top of this body fat also increases inflammation which will cause more pain and swelling.
  • Over – Sitting  – Yes this is a thing! It is important to keep the joints moving to keep them working as they should. Doing this regularly also strengthens muscles and ligaments around your joints. Being sat down or inactive too long can result in stiffness and cause the soft tissue to decline.
  • Menopause –  Oestrogen is key to keeping the ligaments that stabilise joints flexible. As oestrogen levels fall, joints become weaker and stiffer. The low oestrogen levels will In turn cause aches and pain.
  • Stress –  You may be thinking, what has stress got to do with my joints? Well, our stress and pain levels affect how we all deal with pain. Studies have shown increased stress levels can actually make the pain worse.
woman sitting in front of macbook

If you find your joints and bones are aching or are in pain then we have some ways to build healthier joints for you too:

  • Maintain a Healthy Weight – Shedding ten pounds can take 50 pounds of pressure of your knees. Having a healthy weight means less pain, less inflammation, less pressure on joints and cartilage preservation.
  • Have a Healthy Diet – This is a key factor in health and wellness in general.  Eating fruit and veg can prevent inflammation. Eating lean proteins is important to support the strong muscles.
  • Sun or Supplements – Vitamins D and K are necessary for good bone health. If you cant get enough through the sun, make sure to supplement them to support your bone health in the best way.
  • Keep Active!!
woman with arms outstretched against blue sky

Exercise can feel like that thing we would want to do when our joints are aching. However, by staying active we can reduce pain, reduce stiffness as well as strengthening the muscles that support our joints.

It’s good and important to get around 30 minutes of exercise per day across five days. The following exercises are best for the maintenance our joint health:

  • Walking –  This can bring so many different benefits. It aids losing or maintaining body weight and also gets all major muscle groups in motion. The great thing about walking is it costs nothing but time and requires no extra equipment.
  • Yoga – Yoga is brilliant as it also helps stress relief and is great for relaxation purposes. Yoga will help keep joints mobile.
  • Swimming To burn calories and sooth muscles swimming is the perfect exercise. It is also great for improving joint pain and stiffness. Swimming can improve mood as well as helping with sleep, it is great for both mental and physical benefits.
  • Strength Training – It’s important to not over do it and go heavy with the weights. Going slow and steady is the best way. Strength training will help support and protect our joints.

Mental health is as important as physical health. Yes, it even applies to our bones and joints!

Vitamin K2 – The Forgotten All Star Vitamin

Vitamin K2 is a vitamin that could help prevent heart disease, could help improve bone and joint health, could help improve dental health as well as playing a role in supporting your immune system.

Surprisingly most people have never heard of vitamin K2 and do not even know such a vitamin exists. We’re here to explain what exactly makes vitamin K2 an “All-Star” vitamin.


The History

The history of vitamin K2 is an interesting one that goes back centuries ago.

The origins of this vitamin began in in feudal Japan. Samurai warriors would eat a fermented soybean dish called natto.

Diets centuries ago would most likely provide enough K2 however over the years vitamin K2 became less available, therefore less used. This in turn meant Vitamin K2 was “forgotten” about (hence the name “The Forgotten Vitamin” until its absence was finally recognised.

man people woman street

From the samurais in the 1600s we would have to fast forward all the way to the 1930s for the Vitamin K family to be discovered thanks to two people :  Henrik Dam (Danish scientist) and  Edward Adelbert Doisy (American Biochemist). They both received the 1943 Nobel Prize was their pioneering work! You can save that one for a future pub quiz!

In the 1960’s, Vitamin K2 as MK-4 was approved as a drug in Japan. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, studies were initiated on K2 for mothers and new-borns as well as bone health. By 2015, Vitamin K2’s effects on cardio vascular was proven. This then brings us to the present day where there is support on the benefits for the immune system also.

The vitamin that plays a star role has finally gained momentum and is ready for a starting spot!

What makes Vitamin K2 an All-Star?

To start with its important to know that Vitamin K2 deficiency is very common in western populations even though this nutrient plays a key role in many aspects of our health.

Simply, our diets do not provide us with enough vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 must be obtained through our diet. Fermented sourced are the main sources of vitamin K2.

As vitamin K2 is lacking in our diets, we must supplement K2 to get the health benefits our body requires. A deficiency in K2 could lead to calcium being deposited in the wrong areas (arteries) instead of the bones.

The main key benefits for either obtaining K2 from your diet or through supplements:

  • Bone Health – Calcium is what is needed to build and maintain healthy bones. With sufficient K2 intake, calcium is guided directly to the bone, and away from the arteries therefore K2 is putting the calcium in balance.
  • Heart Health – An excess amount of calcium being deposited in the arteries could lead to arterial stiffening which is one of the leading factors in heart disease. Also, vitamin K2 activates the Matrix Gla protein (MGP). Essentially, MGP is one of the strongest inhibitors of vascular calcification.
  • Immune Health – Calcium is key for the body, however if it is not correctly regulated this could lead to severe effects to the body. Vitamin K2 activated the calcium binding proteins that stop calcium deposition in soft tissues.

Together with vitamin D3 as The Perfect Pair, they support healthy immune and inflammatory responses.

Vitamin K2 plays an important and essential role in our body functions therefore earning its status as The All-Star Vitamin.

seashore

Vitamin D and the Immune System

You have most likely seen or heard about “Vitamin D” in the last year more than you had in the previous five years combined. The devastating impact of COVID-19 and the pandemic was something nobody had predicted at the start of 2020. Since then, many of us have attempted to ensure we are as protected as possible.

Understandably, there has been an increased consumer demand for vitamins which is increasing as each day passes. Supporting our immune health is now a primary concern for many of us with the hopes that our immune systems are protected against any illnesses/viruses. Vitamin D, in all its glory, has been all over various news outlets and has been brought to the attention of many, it has been recommended by scientists.

In this piece, we will explain the role vitamin D has on your immune system and why exactly Vitamin D is so prevalent right now.

The best place to start off with is to dive right into what vitamin D actually is.

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, so it is absorbed and carried through the body in fat globules. There are four fat soluble vitamins and these are stored in the body within cells and tissues.

There are two forms of vitamin D:

  • Vitamin D2 – Man made, usually added to foods or supplements.
  • Vitamin D3 – Natural form also known as the ‘Sunshine Vitamin’. This is because it is produced in our skin in response to sunlight.

Vitamin D deficiency is something that is prevalent in the UK especially due to the lack of sun we get!

There are a few factors that may stop us from getting the vitamin D our bodies require such as spending time indoors, being in a highly polluted area as well as living in cities where buildings may block the sunlight. In addition to this, the higher levels of melanin one has, the less vitamin D one can absorb. In the UK, it is very difficult to get the sufficient vitamin D which is why supplements are a big help!

Vitamin D is mostly known for the great benefits it provides for our bones and teeth as well as maintaining muscle function. However, it also plays a role in immune function and reducing inflammation.

So how does Vitamin D benefit our immune system?

Vitamin D is able to incite a greater production of T cells. T cells find and destroy foreign pathogens such as viruses. This in turn makes Vitamin D key to help our bodies fight against infections and foreign pathogens. If we maintain sufficient levels of vitamin D we could be giving our bodies the boost it requires to fight different types of infections.

There are a few ways we can all aid our immune systems alongside supplements. We can do the following :

  • Exercise – Exercising regularly helps clearing out toxins from your body. This helps reducing your chances of catching a flu or cold.
  • Sleep – Not getting enough sleep could raise the likelihood of getting ill or sick. Most adults should get at least 7 hours of sleep at night. Letting the body reset is key for good health.
  • Hydrate – Dehydration can make us more susceptible to illness. Drinking plenty of water throughout day is the key to prevent this.
  • Healthy Diet – Eating foods such as fruits, veg, seeds, nuts, etc that contain plenty of nutrients could give as a big boost against pathogens that could harm us. Eating these foods is crucial for better health.
  • Supplements – Supplements can help fight against viral infections. However it is important to emphasise the importance of purchasing from a brand you can trust.

We hope this piece has given you more of an understanding on Vitamin D and its role on the immune system.

Thanks for reading!