Trend alert: kombucha

The fermented drink kombucha is set to be a big wellbeing trend for 2018. Thought to originate in China around 2,000 years ago, kombucha is a mildly fizzy beverage which is made from sweetened tea and a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts. Nutritionist Cassandra Barns explains: “We’re learning more and more about the importance of the ‘friendly’ bacteria and other microbes that live in our gut. They’re thought to influence our immunity, mood and weight, as well as our digestion of course. Traditional fermented foods such as kombucha can be a key way to maintain the healthy bacteria in our gut.” According to the NHS, around 40 per cent of Brits have at least one digestive symptom at any one time including bloating, abdominal pain and indigestion. So, why not swap your afternoon tea for a glass of kombucha?

Vitamin K found to support heart health

Vitamin K2 supplementation can help to support calcific aortic valve stenosis, a common cardiovascular condition in older people, according to the results of a new study. Researchers noted potential with vitamin K2, specifically the long-chain menaquinones (MK-7), as they are transported more efficiently to tissues beyond the liver.

The findings were published in The European Heart Journal. Supplementation was suggested to replenish vascular vitamin K stores to ensure “optimal calcification inhibition”. Another cardiovascular study in 2015 demonstrated a regression in arterial stiffness in healthy postmenopausal women who took just 180 mcg daily of vitamin K2 as MK-7.

It is difficult to get optimal amounts of vitamin D and K2 in a typical western diet. To obtain enough K2 from food alone, you would have to eat around 200g of cheese every day to reach the recommended 75ug a day. You would need to increase that to over 3kg to get the recommended 10 mcg (400IU) of vitamin D advised throughout autumn and winter by Public Health England. It’s a fact that supplementation is increasingly required to guarantee that we are reaching optimal levels of these essential nutrients.

To find out more about supplementing with vitamin D3 and K2, visit

UK obesity levels on the rise

The UK is the most overweight nation in Western Europe, according to a worrying new report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Furthermore, the report reveals that levels of obesity in the UK are growing faster than in the US.

“For healthy and enjoyable weight loss and fat burning you need to reduce or avoid foods containing added sugar and refined starchy carbohydrates like white bread, cakes and biscuits,” says leading UK nutritionist Dr Marilyn Glenville (

“These foods cause fluctuations in your blood sugar and increase levels of insulin, which is the fat-storing hormone of the body. Replace unhealthy saturated fats with healthy unsaturated fats found in eggs, nuts, seeds, olive oil and avocados.” Dr Glenville adds: “Try to keep your blood sugar levels and energy levels stable by eating something every three hours. Just eat breakfast, lunch and dinner plus a snack mid-morning and one mid-afternoon, with no longer than three hours between.”


…of British people believe the stress of a modern 24/7 work lifestyle can cause poor digestive health, according to a survey by The Taymount Clinic. “The gut is especially vulnerable to the presence of chronic and acute stress,” says Enid Taylor, naturopathic doctor, nutritionist and co-founder of The Taymount Clinic. “Not only does stress affect the physiological function of the gut, but it has also been shown to cause changes in the composition of the microbiota.”

Heart attack link to low phosphate levels

Low phosphate in the blood is linked to the risk of heart attack and coronary artery disease, a new study reports.

Researchers from the University of Surrey found that insufficient levels of phosphate in the blood may pose a particular danger to cardiovascular health, contradicting previous research in this area, which suggested low volumes of the mineral were beneficial to the heart.

The study examined phosphate levels of more than 100,000 patients, over five and nine-year intervals. The researchers found that those with low levels (below 0.75 mmol/L) of the mineral in their blood were at a similar risk of developing coronary problems as those with elevated levels (above 1.5 mmol/L). Instances of both conditions were high amongst those with low and excessive levels of phosphate in the blood, however cardiac events in those with mid-range (1-1.25 mmol/L) levels were significantly less.

Phosphate is an important mineral in the body and helps to regulate blood biochemistry, which can impact on the working of the heart. It plays a crucial role in enabling red blood cells to deliver oxygen to the body’s tissues, and can be found in protein-rich foods such as meat, poultry and fish. The findings were published in the journal PLOS One.

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