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    How To Use Genetic Testing To Improve Your Health

    Just a quick Google and you’ll see tech savvy companies and slick start-ups in South Africa are adding genetic testing to their arsenal at a rapid rate. They promise to exchange a swab of your saliva for bespoke health advice. But can it really improve your life?
    We’ve got the deets on everything you need to know about genetic testing, from what sorts of health indicators your personal DNA test will reveal to how to make sure you’re getting the greatest benefit for your buck – and our verdict.
    Here are a few ways you can benefit from genetic testing:
    1/ It Can Help You Evaluate Your Lifestyle Habits
    Dr. Kelly Stewart, a postdoctoral researcher at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, who has published research on consumer reactions to DTC genetic testing knows a thing or two about genetic testing.
    “An important thing we can get from genetic tests, in my opinion, is being able to prioritise behaviour change,” she says of the cases where lifestyle changes can make a difference in the likelihood of our developing a disease. She points out that most of us have a long list of goals or aspirations when it comes to our health – an accumulation of abandoned New Year’s resolutions and other ambitious plans to overhaul our exercise or diet habits and get ourselves into better shape.
    But for most of us, a big part of the challenge involves deciding which lifestyle changes are most important – and then sticking with them. “Every individual has behaviours that they could change to reduce their disease risk, but changing them all at once is almost certainly a recipe for relapse,” she says.
    2/ It Can Help You Make Little Changes for Lasting Results
    A better idea: tackling these sorts of lifestyle changes one at a time and maintaining your new behaviour long enough for it to become an entrenched, habitual part of your life.
    Research on habit formation from University College London has shown that making small, specific lifestyle changes is, predictably, a lot easier than trying to implement big ones. By identifying your greatest potential health risks, genetic testing can focus your goals – helping you decide which aspects of your life to change first, Stewart says.
    3/ It Gives You A Way To Personalise Your Health Care
    In some cases, genetic testing could potentially reveal some healthy behaviours that you may want to avoid. Research has linked some genetic variants with an increased risk for atrial fibrillation, and also for an increased risk for sudden cardiac death. Stewart says that people who carry this genetic variant may want to avoid “extreme” endurance exercises such as marathon running.
    Dr. Robert Green, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston and director of the Genomes2People Research Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Broad Institute, agrees that helping you shape your health goals is a big benefit of genetic testing. “If you’re serious about diet or exercise, these products may give you information that can help educate you or guide your choices,” he says.
    “People do ask me if they should try these tests, and I mostly tell them, ‘Do your homework’,” says says Dr. Peter Kraft, a cancer researcher and professor of epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health. “Make sure you know what you’re going to be getting and you understand it.”
    What To Keep In Mind When You Do Genetic Testing:
    1/ Drastic Changes Don’t Add Up
    Some gene researchers say it’s not such a hot idea to use genetic testing as a springboard to make big diet or lifestyle changes – say, cutting out all dairy and whole grains because you tested positive for a gene variant linked with lactose intolerance or celiac disease. “You have to understand that all these test results are coming with a level of uncertainty,” Kraft says. “The sort of science stamp-of-approval these genetic tests convey causes people to put more weight on the data than [they] should have.”
    2/ Interpretations Can Vary
    There’s a risk that some individuals will put too much stock in their results if they go into the testing looking for proof of an ailment or limitation. For example, maybe you’ve noticed some joint pain or stomach discomfort, and your genetic test turns up some variants associated with arthritis or a gut disorder. It would be easy to connect the dots, and to make lifestyle changes as though a doctor had diagnosed you with one of those conditions. But that’s not the right way to use these tests. “These tests are not designed to make diagnoses,” says Allison Cirino, a researcher and licensed genetic counselor at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Cardiovascular Genetics Centre. It’s important to keep that in mind until a doctor confirms any suspicions you may have.
    What We Thought Of Genetic Testing:
    WH Managing Editor, Kelleigh Korevaar, did Optiphi’s Helix DNA test and got schooled on her health. Here’s what she had to say:
    ‘The process was really easy and super user-friendly. I swabbed my mouth, using the swab provided and filled in my details and then a courier came to collect my sample. Pretty soon, I received my results and a meeting request with a geneticist to go over my test results.
    I scanned my results but waited for my appointment to find out all the info I could. My assigned geneticist, Khilona, took me through everything and reassured me when I had worries over some health results. Of course, no one wants to hear their bone health or inflammation is an area that flagged in their results. That’s why it’s so important to have a professional take you through, because when you’re looking through everything it can be overwhelming.
    Overall, the information I got from the tests was eye opening and helpful. You can’t focus your attention on being 100% perfect at everything, but with more information about your DNA, you can work smart, not hard.
    For example, insulin sensitivity, bone health and inflammation came up as areas of potential “concern” so I’m going to focus on taking supplements and making lifestyle changes to account for that. Whereas, cardiovascular disease risk and mood disorders didn’t come up, so I know I’m not going to focus on those areas so much.
    I loved the information I got about diet (I was advised to commit to a low-fat/Mediterranean diet), exercise and skin. And interestingly, my DNA confirmed a lot of what I already believed, so I’ve used it as confirmation of habits or a nudge in the right direction.
    My verdict: While I wouldn’t use a DNA test to try to overhaul my life, it gave me great insight into areas I might want to focus my attention and how I could potentially achieve the greatest results with less effort. Over the last few months, I’ve applied a lot of what I learnt through small changes that have had big results.’
    Want to find out more? Head to Optiphi to see the DNA tests you can get. More

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    We Hear A Lot About Antioxidants – But What Are They, Really?

    Very simply put, antioxidants are substances or nutrients found in our food and drinks, which can prevent or slow oxidative damage to our bodies. Say what, now? First, let’s look at the role of oxygen on our bodies.
    What is Oxidative Damage?
    When our body cells use oxygen, they naturally produce by-products called free radicals, which are able to cause damage to cells and tissues in our bodies. Antioxidants act like “free radical scavengers” and so are able to prevent and repair the damage done by these free radicals.
    Research has shown that oxidative damage contributes to the development of many common health problems, like heart disease, macular degeneration, diabetes, and cancer. Studies have shown that loading up on vegetables and fruit, the main sources of antioxidants, lower our risk of developing disease.
    Antioxidants may also improve immune defences and therefore may lower the risk of cancer, infection and even dementia. Research even shows it could play a role in minimising ‘chemo-brain’ (brain fog after receiving chemotherapy).
    READ MORE: “I Tried A Vitamin IV Drip For A Health Boost — Here’s What Happened”
    What Are the Commonly Known Antioxidants?
    Obviously, we should be aiming to load up our plates with antioxidant-rich foods to combat exposure of oxidative stress. Luckily, there’s no shortage of delicious and nutritious sources.
    Vitamin A and Carotenoids in carrots, squash, broccoli, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, spanspek, peaches and apricots (bright-coloured fruits and vegetables).
    Vitamin C in citrus fruits like oranges, lemons etc., green peppers, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, strawberries, tomatoes and potatoes.
    READ MORE: 4 Things To Look Out For, If You Really Want To Live Sustainably
    Vitamin E In nuts and seeds, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, vegetable oils and liver oil.
    Selenium in fish and shellfish, red meat, grains, eggs, chicken and garlic. (Paella, anyone?)
    Here’s How To Make The Viral TikTok Green Goddess Salad

    Make getting enough vegetables and fruit part of your healthy daily eating plan, to get preventative power of the antioxidants in these foods – it’s vital for your health. Combining this with active living, a healthy body weight and regular health screening will drop your disease risk even further. More

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    Exactly How To Include Fibre In Your Diet To Reduce Bloating

    If you’re turning your nose up at beans and broccoli for fear of that universally-hated bloat, we’ve got bad news for ya. Eating fibre to reduce bloating is a winning strategy and keeping regular by eating a balance of fibre-rich foods is going to be a much better strategy than chomping on prunes after a week of nothing but pasta and pizza.
    In fact, on average we take in 60 per cent or less of what’s recommended. A high-fibre diet has many essential benefits including improving your digestive system and reducing the risk of certain chronic diseases in the long term.
    One of the barriers to increasing intake may be the lurking myths which discourage people from focusing on high-fibre foods. Kellogg’s Nutrition and Public Affairs Manager as well as Registered Dietitian, Linda Drummond, shares the facts to clear up some common misconceptions…
    Fact: It’s best to eat your fibre
    The World Health Organisation recommends a daily intake of at least 25g per day for adults*. This requirement can be met by taking small steps to increase food sources each day. Fibre-rich foods offer additional intrinsic nutrient benefits such as vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.
    The naturally occurring combination of these nutrients can never be perfectly replicated or manufactured. Despite supplements being available on the market, experts agree that when looking for particular nutrients, food sources are the best choice.
    To meet the daily recommendation, choose a high-fibre breakfast every morning, eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables each day and replace animal protein sources with a vegetable source such as beans or legumes regularly.
    READ MORE: 24 High-Fibre Foods That Should Be On Your Plate Every Day, According To Nutritionists
    Fact: Not all fibres are created equal
    Skipping this essential part of your diet? Read these facts and you may consider adding a few apples and bran flakes to your breakfast…
    There are many different types of fibre from different food sources, which play unique roles in the body, contributing to overall well-being. Wheat bran, composed mostly of insoluble fibre, is the most effective cereal to promote regularity. Apples, barley, carrots, legumes and oats are rich in soluble fibre, which has a cholesterol-lowering effect.
    Other benefits of a high-fibre diet include helping to achieve normal blood sugar levels and to assist in the maintenance of a healthy body weight. By including a variety of different sources and types of it in your diet, it’s possible to improve several functions of the body.
    READ MORE: Caley Jäck’s Simple Formula For Sticking To A Healthy Lifestyle
    Fact: It isn’t just for constipation
    The benefits of regular and adequate intake, nutrition experts all over the world agree that most carbohydrate-based foods eaten on a daily basis should be a source. In fact, the South African Guidelines for Healthy Eating, which provide nutrition messages to the general public, recommend that everyone should have an intake of at least 25g per day to ensure healthy functioning of the gut, as well as decreased risk for lifestyle-associated chronic diseases.
    Increasing the intake (particularly wheat bran) prevents food from lingering in the digestive system, which can cause you to feel bloated and uncomfortable. By absorbing water and creating bulk, it speeds up the passage of food through your system, helping to prevent constipation.
    Fibre helps food move through the digestive system and plays a bulking role so that undigested food can be more easily eliminated. Fibre plays a vital role in helping keep the walls of the digestive tract healthy. A high-fibre diet can help to reduce that bloated feeling.
    When beginning to increase your intake, do so slowly to allow your body to become accustomed to the change. This will help to ensure that you do not experience bloating with a sudden increase in fibre intake.
    READ MORE: Here’s What Happens When You Stop Eating Sugar, According To Nutritionists
    Fact: There are risks associated with following a low-carb diet
    One of the risks of following a low-carb diet is that it would be even more difficult to meet one’s requirements, as the major sources of fibre are also sources of carbohydrate. By not meeting your requirement, there is a risk that you may experience digestive discomfort and constipation, as well as an increased chance of developing chronic diseases in the long-term. More

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    “I Tried A Vitamin IV Drip For A Health Boost — Here’s What Happened”

    I’m pretty into exploring new ways to boost my health, which is why getting a vitamin IV drip piqued my interest.
    I’ve had a vitamin B12 shot a few times and it was sore AF, so volunteering for a whole IV just didn’t seem worth it to me. Until I chatted to a friend, who had recently found a “cool new IV Bar in Camps Bay” and swore it did wonders for her skin. I’m guilty of chasing the glow as much as the next girl, so I decided to brave up and go for it…
    Here’s Exactly What Happened…
    Walking into the IV Bar I didn’t quite know what to expect, but much to my delight there were no hospital beds or scary IV trolleys. Instead, I was greeted by friendly faces and delightfully comfy armchairs. We discussed my needs and decided that the Signature IV Therapy aka the “Royal IV” was best for me – with a high dose of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
    READ MORE: Will Collagen Supplements Really Make You Any Healthier?
    The very gentle and caring Nurse administered my IV. It was slightly painful, but not what I’d built it up to be (very often the case). And then I sat back, relaxed and sucked on a few sweets (these counter the metallic taste you get from the drip), while the 45-minute vitamin boost entered my veins.
    Most people will know IV bars as the place that celebs go when they’ve got a mean hangover and need to get rid of it fast. And sure, you can get them done. But MobivIVe has a lot more to offer than a hangover treatment or as they call it the “Babelas Beater”. They also administer drips for pregnant women, people who want to boost their immune system and avoid or recover from COVID-19, anti-ageing, detoxifying, energy boosting, high performance athletes and more.
    As for me, once I left the beautiful IV bar, my energy levels immediately perked up. I met a friend for a meal afterwards and felt alert and excited to see her. I wasn’t all buzzed the way you get from a caffeine overdose though; instead, I felt a sense of calmness. A few weeks down the line, I noticed my skin was glowing and I was sleeping better. Although, typical to the season I’ve picked up a little cold. I know an “Immune Boost” IV with vitamin C is just what’s needed to sort me out… I think it’s safe to say I might be hooked.
    Everything You Need To Know About Vitamin IV Drips
    While these IVs are a mix of vitamins and minerals that are already found in your body, it’s important to do your research and make sure whoever is administering your drip really is clued up. Here’s everything we all want to know about this latest health trend…
    Before you visit and IV Bar, what credentials etc. should you check the establishment for?
    Safety is critical! You want to make sure the intravenous vitamin centre is associated with a doctor and a registered nurse is administering the drips. Even though it’s vitamins and minerals and is considered very safe, you want to make sure the vitamins you are receiving are compounded in a sterile facility, and that the nurse has extensive experience in dripping clients. Also, from a logistical point of view, you want to go somewhere that’s inviting, comfortable and has a good energy. This is not a grudge purchase – it’s by choice, and you want to enjoy your time there.
    Do the IV drips come with any side effects – during, immediately after or the next day?
    There are no negative side effects at all – only the upside! Very few people have reported a slight headache after the detox drip, but this is normal as the body is getting rid of toxins… it’s just incredibly rare. Some people get minor bruising at the needle site, which again is normal and usually not painful. Most people, however, don’t bruise and feel the positive effects of the energy boost and immune boost immediately.
    READ MORE: 4 Simple Healthy Coffee Hacks To Really Boost Your Blend
    What are the costs of the IV?
    The MobivIVe vitamin drips start at R750 and go up, depending on the drip. Their IV drips are well priced so that they can be available to everyone – not just the stars and singers and actors and athletes who can afford a lot more. The vitamin drips have effective and safe compounds at an affordable price.
    For more info, check out MobivIVe. More

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    Apparently 35 Percent Of People Think It’s Totally Fine To Drink During Pregnancy

    Listen: It’s totally normal to want a glass of wine after a long day at work—yes, even (or, honestly, especially) when you’re pregnant.
    And many people—pregnant or not—still think it’s totally fine to have a drink during pregnancy.
    That’s according to a new survey from Cameron Hughes Wine, an online wine brand in the States. Of 1,032 people polled, 35 per cent said that it’s okay to drink wine on occasion when you’re pregnant. The other 65 per cent said you definitely shouldn’t do this.
    So…which group is correct? Some very preliminary research suggests that low levels of alcohol consumption during pregnancy might not be linked to bad health for the baby—and many women get mixed messages from the media and even their doctors since it’s tough to say how much booze during pregnancy is too much (scientists haven’t come anywhere close to nailing this down yet and most current research suggests that recommendations should be on a case-by-case basis).
    But it’s important to keep in mind that Dr Christine Greves, a board-certified gynae at the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies—along with most medical organisations — say you should totally skip the booze while expecting.
    “A safe level of alcohol consumption during pregnancy has not been determined,” confirms Greves. “That’s why we recommend complete abstinence.”
    And sorry, but the theory of drinking at the very end of your pregnancy (you know, because the baby is already “cooked”) hasn’t been proven legit. “Alcohol impacts foetal growth at all stages of pregnancy,” says Greves, who notes that it comes with some pretty scary potential consequences, including fetal alcohol syndrome (a condition that causes brain damage and growth problems due to alcohol exposure during pregnancy), structural issues with the baby’s body, and even issues with the baby’s heart, kidneys, or bones.
    Women’s health expert Dr Jennifer Wider, agrees. “The latest research tells us that the safest choice is not drinking anything during your pregnancy,” she says.
    So, uh, if you want to drink during your pregnancy, maybe just don’t. You’ll be able to kick back with a guilt-free glass of wine after the baby has left the premises.
    The bottom line: Drinking during pregnancy definitely hasn’t been proven to be safe for baby, so it’s best not to risk it.
    This article was originally published on

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    9 Disturbing Signs You’re Actually Not Eating Enough Salt

    Ah salt… The crack-cocaine of dinner parties. These health-conscious days, a raised eyebrow as you reach for the shaker is par for the “course”, given that too much salt can be detrimental to otherwise healthy bodies.
    But what if we told you that too little salt can also be bad for you? Yup: Sodium is actually a mineral that’s fairly critical for a number of your bodily functions, including fluid balance, blood pressure management and the nervous system.
    A condition called hyponatraemia results from a low level of sodium in the blood, and it’s caused by… you guessed it: Too little of this maligned condiment. In fact, head’s up Fit Fam: Hyponatraemia may be caused by drinking too much water, for example during strenuous exercise, without proper replacement of sodium, which could lead to a salt deficiency. Electrolyte drinks, on the other hand, replenish sodium stores.
    READ MORE: Will Collagen Supplements Really Make You Any Healthier?
    What Causes Low Sodium Levels?
    A string of medical conditions can lead to low sodium levels in the body: kidney failure, congestive heart failure, adrenal insufficiency, hypothyroidism and cirrhosis of the liver. Anorexia and certain meds can also cause a sodium imbalance. But it can also result when sodium is lost during prolonged sweating and severe vomiting or diarrhoea.
    For the majority of us, the only time this would be an issue is if you have a diet severely low on salt, or you’re doing some mega training accompanied by mega sweating. Drinking too much water during exercise may dilute the sodium content in your blood, and dehydration also causes your body to lose fluids and electrolytes, which may cause your sodium level to dip. So you need to get that balance right.
    READ MORE: Cold versus COVID — How To Tell The Difference
    So, What Should You Watch Out For?
    In long-term (chronic) hyponatraemia, where the blood sodium levels drop gradually over time, symptoms can be very non-specific and can include: headache, confusion or altered mental state, seizures and decreased consciousness.
    But the more subtle symptoms include: restlessness, muscle spasms or cramps, weakness, dizziness and tiredness – all of which can be accompanied by nausea and vomiting.
    How Is Salt Deficiency Diagnosed?
    The symptoms of hyponatraemia are not specific, so you’d need to pop in on your doc for a blood test to measure your sodium levels.
    READ MORE: Just How Worried Should You Be About Thyroid Disease?
    And How Is It Treated?
    Mild hyponatraemia may not require treatment other than adjustments in diet, lifestyle or meds. For severe cases, treatment often involves intravenous fluids and electrolytes.
    And If You’re Feeling Daring…
    Believe it or not, there are people out there who swear by downing pickle juice after a particularly heavy workout. This age-old remedy apparently works because pickle juice is made up mostly of water, vinegar and… salt. But, because there’s a bunch of conflicting evidence on its benefits out there, we suggest sticking to your regular electrolyte drink.

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    Will Collagen Supplements Really Make You Any Healthier?

    Collagen is one of the buzziest ingredients in the wellness world. By now you’ve probably heard that people have been injecting it, drinking it, and using it topically for its beauty perks (think: a Jennifer Aniston-esque complexion). But now the clean-eating crowd is raving that it’s the new “it” ingredient for soothing achy joints, improving gut health, and enhancing athletic performance, too.
    In an era of sip-able powders (matcha and activated charcoal, we’re looking at you), it’s no surprise that collagen supplements are now available in the form of taste-less powders. And if you can drink it, chances are health nuts have mixed a serving (two tablespoons) of collagen into it: collagen-packed lattes? Check. Collagen-chocked smoothies? You bet.
    But will ingesting collagen really make a difference in your health? We did some digging.
    READ MORE: Just How Worried Should You Be About Thyroid Disease?
    What Exactly Is Collagen, Anyway?
    Collagen is a structural protein found in the connective tissues in our bodies. That means it’s in our skin, hair, muscles, bones, and even blood vessels, explains registered dietitian Keri Gans. In fact, collagen makes up about 30 percent of the structural protein in the body, she says.
    Collagen is made up of amino acids, the building blocks of protein, such as glycine, proline, and lysine, which are needed to repair muscles, bone, and joints, and support healthy hair and skin, explains registered dietitian Mary Ellen Phipps, owner of Milk & Honey Nutrition. You can think of collagen as the “glue” that holds everything together, she adds.
    Our bodies naturally make collagen from the amino acids and vitamins and minerals (such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and copper) that we eat. (Plus, omnivores consume collagen from animal proteins such as dairy, eggs, and meat, says Phipps.)
    But the body’s collagen production naturally decreases as we age, so that by our mid-twenties, our bodies aren’t repairing themselves as fast as they once did, Phipps says. Yes, that early! Our collagen levels drop by about 1 percent per year, says Gans.
    The natural decline in collagen is no big deal. It’s natural, after all. But collagen makes up 75 percent of our skin, according to the Cleveland Clinic, so it’s no wonder that as our production of the protein decreases, we’re met with wrinkles, sag, and even cellulite. Some blame that decrease in collagen production for creaky joints, thinning cartilage, and slower muscle recovery, too.
    READ MORE: How Much Water You Should Be Drinking Daily, According To A Nutritionist
    That’s Where Collagen Supplements Come In
    Injectable and topical collagen have been around for a while, but they target just one area of the body (for example, the wrinkles on your forehead).
    The new trend of collagen supplements suggests that ingesting collagen can aid in overall tissue health by improving bone health, aiding in muscle repair, and supporting hair and skin strength. Product reviewers have reported improvements in mobility, joint health, less hair loss and even minimised period pain.
    According to experts, that’s not really how it works, though. There is no research that suggests that the collagen we eat automatically gets turned into collagen in our tissues, explains Gans.
    Here’s why: Collagen is a protein, and proteins are made up of amino acids. So, when we consume collagen, the enzymes in our gastrointestinal tract break collagen down into those amino acids, explains Gans. And while evidence published in Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin suggest that the chains of amino acids can make it to the bloodstream after ingesting collagen, that doesn’t mean that they end up where you want them to go, explains Phipps.
    You can’t “spot-train” the supplement to get distributed where you want, explains Phipps. Amino acids are distributed throughout the body based on the areas that need them the most—like your heart and brain, says Phipps. (Worth noting: there are no studies that currently suggest you will notice changes in your heart or brain by sipping a collagen smoothie.)
    READ MORE: ​10 Signs You May Have a Magnesium Deficiency
    The Truth About Collagen Supplements
    “The studies done on oral ingestion of collagen are limited,” says Gans.
    A Taiwanese study showed that fish collagen did well in improving cell functionality and reducing the damaging effects of UV on the skin.
    In one German study of women, researchers noted a decrease in skin roughness and an increase in skin hydration, elasticity and density. When it comes to treating joint issues like arthritis, studies are less definitive, but show some pain improvements.
    Dr Jacobs is hesitant that we lay claim to collagen supps as the Holy Grail of anti-ageing. “It’s important to emphasise that although the preliminary results seem promising, the current research is limited and we need more robust studies to make it a recommendation for the general population,” she says.
    Lastly, if you’re hoping collagen can help you with your GI issues, don’t get your hopes up. There aren’t any studies on collagen’s effects on gut health yet.
    READ MORE: 7 Serious Health Problems Caused By A Lack Of Vitamin D
    Should You Invest?
    If you’ve checked out the products, you’ve probably discovered that drinkable collagen doesn’t come cheap.
    Given the price, you’re be better off focusing on eating a healthy, balanced diet that’s naturally rich in collagen, says Gans. So go ahead grill up some salmon, chicken, or steak, all of which contain the high amounts of the amino acids your body needs to make collagen, she says.
    Also, because smoking, alcohol, and sunburn can affect your body’s natural collagen production, Phipps recommends quitting cigs, cutting back on booze, and lathering on the SPF. Bonus: all are cheaper than collagen powder.
    But, if you’re bound and determine to try collagen supplements, just keep in mind that, like all supplements, collagen is not closely regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. And some collagen products have been recalled because of false claims, according to a 2017 statement released by the FDA. For that reason, Phipps recommends going through dietitian or health care professional to find a higher quality supplement that is known to be more pure. You can also check the label of your powder to ensure it has been tested by a third party such as NSF International.
    This article was originally published on

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    Just How Worried Should You Be About Thyroid Disease?

    While it’s been part of human anatomy literally forever, stories about unexplained fatigue, weight gain and even irregular periods that are ultimately attributed to thyroid disease have been cropping up on our newsfeeds.
    Since almost all of us are more tired and worn-out than we’d like to be, it’s natural that we check with our doctors about our thyroids, in case that’s the root cause of why we’ve been so lethargic. But first, let’s find out just how worried we should be about this particular disease in the first place.
    READ MORE: What General Health Checks You Should Be having, According to Your Age
    So, what is a thyroid?
    The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck wrapped around the windpipe, and it is responsible for making hormones that are important for different systems in the body to function properly. Just some of the inner systems your thyroid helps look after are digestion, heart and muscle function, brain development and bone maintenance.
    What kinds of thyroid diseases are there?
    If you’re gaining weight for no reason, pooping less frequently, feeling like you always need moisturiser, are tired all the time even though you get enough sleep, or you notice your hair is thinning or your nails keep breaking, you may be suffering from hypothyroidism. This is when you have an underactive thyroid – your gland is not producing enough of the hormones neccesary.
    READ MORE: Caley Jäck’s Simple Formula For Sticking To A Healthy Lifestyle
    Symptoms of an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) include unexplained weight loss, frequent sweating, a rapid heartbeat, softer poop, and (again) fatigue.
    READ MORE: 6 Reasons Why You’re Pooping A Whole Lot More Than Usual
    Not everything is linked to the thyroid
    Even if you aren’t experiencing any of these issues, there are other factors that suggest a blood test may be in order. Having another autoimmune disease (like type 1 diabetes), pernicious anaemia, a first-degree relative with either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, certain psychiatric conditions, or taking the mood meds amiodarone or lithium have all been linked with thyroid dysfunction.
    It’s common to test people who experience depression with no family history or no causal life circumstances, and people with anxiety who show some of the physical symptoms too. Your primary-care doc can schedule the test for you.
    This article was originally featured on

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