Bridal skincare, create your 6 month plan

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It seems we can’t turn anywhere without seeing the gorgeous, glowing, happy face of Ms Megan Markle. With her wedding date set, plans are well and truly in full swing to make sure the big day runs smoothly for the Worlds eyes to see and we’re pretty sure that Megan’s skin is at the top of the list.

Brides all over the nation waited with baited breath for someone to leak news on Megan’s skincare routine before the big day and when her facialist revealed tips on what to do we suddenly saw a surge in client questions about acid peels, microdermabrasion and facial yoga. So here we incorporate frequently asked questions and advice you on when to pencil it into your diary.

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6 months to go

start with correctional treatments

This is the time to get any invasive treatments out of the way giving enough time for your skin to heal and allowing long term results to show, this means fillers, botox, chemical peels etc. Don’t forget, some treatments don’t show optimal results immediately, rather it takes up to 3-9 months to see the best results. A perfect example of this is RF, although you do see some immediate results such as brighter and smoother skin, radio frequency is a treatment which constantly works over time, boosting collagen growth and in turn tightening and lifting the face or body.

If you suffer from acne, you’ll know this is something that can flare-up at the worst of times. Acne can be caused by many things, from congestion, pollution or excessive oil secretion to stress and raging hormones. For those who have tried everything and hit a wall, you should consider a hormonal skin consultation with a doctor to get to the bottom of the flare-ups, sometimes a cream or facial just won't do it, you may need a prescription.

You should also start to consider taking supplements such as Biotin B7 and food rich in vitamin A, not only do they play a role in giving you energy for physical activity but it also helps to give healthy hair, skin and nails. At the clinic, we call B7 the “H” vitamin, stemming from the German term “haar and haut”, which means “hair and skin” and is a staple addition in our IV cocktails. Consider your supplements well in advance of your wedding, at least 6-8 months early or as soon as you can - something is better than nothing.

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5 months to go

fitness & body treatments

You are what you eat, so try to stay away from processed foods or takeaways. You’ve probably heard this a million times but eating the right food before and after a workout can make a massive difference to how your body uses and stores energy. At the clinic, we don’t believe in low fat, calorie constricting or fad diets. We should all be eating like our ancestors, a paleo lifestyle which is balanced and sustainable. With will power and consistency, 5 months is enough time for anyone to get their body into a much better condition. Do not crash diet or workout excessively at the gym it can have the opposite effect, keep your mind and body healthy by eating good fats, doing low intensity, endurance and strength training to tone and sculpt.

Now is the time to banish chicken skin (keratosis pilaris), stretch marks and cellulite. There are so many treatments out there to help with all your body woes. Two of our favourites are the Body Buff and Peel and Secret RF needling with radio frequency. The body buff and peel is exactly what it says on the tin, your body is dry brushed and then using glycolic peel all the dead skin is removed. This is especially wonderful for brides who’ll be applying henna on hands, legs and feel. The peel does not requires prep and ideally it should be done once a month before your wedding, 5 treatments later the skin on your body will be in a much better place.  Secret RF is the creme-de-la-creme of treatments, it works with monopolar radio frequency + two dozen needles to treat everything from sagging skin to stretch marks and can be used anywhere on the face or body. Results for Secret RF, much like the RF only improves over time and had a week of downtime so best to do it in advance.

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4 months to go

hair removal

Please do not shave! Whatever your option (waxing, IPL etc) make sure you look after the skin pre and post treatment with healing products and following all of your practitioners home care rules. Hair removal has a knack of causing ingrown hairs, pigmentation and scars so we recommend always keeping a Healgel Intensive at hand. Removing hair is a necessary evil, so make sure you’ve pre-booked all your appointments to ensure a hair-free-honeymoon. 

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3 months to go

calming facials & home care products

Now that you’re well underway with correctional treatments, some of which should already be making a huge difference to your skin. Speak to your therapist about creating a protocol of calming and hydrating facials for the next 3 months. Hydration is the key to beautiful skin, with or without makeup it’ll show. Not only do you want to look great on your big day, you also want to look great during your honeymoon and limit time wasted applying makeup. Your therapist should look at your bare skin under a magnifying glass before they recommend a protocol and it should be tailored to your skin needs. The best way to make your facials last longer is to follow up with good products at home, our therapists always recommend using the very best quality serum you can afford, it is the most powerful product and the one thing you should spend good money on.

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2 months to go

get your cosmetic products right

It is highly likely that you would have already booked your makeup artist, but if you intend to do your own makeup as Kate Middleton famously did on her wedding day, make sure you have the right stash of products. Thanks to all the beautifying procedures you've carried out your skin will probably not require any super heavy concealers or foundations on the day. 

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1 month to go

pedicure-plus, mani's and brows

Now you genuinely need to start unwinding, let your bridesmaids do all the running around whilst you figure our the best brow shape, kick back and enjoy a Pedicure Plus that'll remove everything and keep it off for a month. This is an upgrade on the usual pedicure, it doesn't compete with nail bars or chiropodists but it's an in-between option.

Dry January – Love your Liver

 
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We are in the first quarter of “Dry January”, which generally is 31 days of alcohol abstinence before we can return to our old drinking habits. Our old drinking habits being something we take granted and most of us ought to change. Personally, I do favour the dry January marathon, because of the motive behind general wellness, no hangovers and obviously saving a few extra pounds in the wallet. That being said, post January 31st, I do worry about our intentions to maintain this wellness, the long-term health of the most vulnerable organ that tends to be neglected when the drinking resumes and takes the battering, the liver.

Besides Dry January and Alcohol Awareness Week in November we need to pay much more attention to our liver and reduce the risks of liver cirrhosis. We only have one of it and it has hundreds of essential duties such as fighting infection and disease, destroying poisons and drugs, cleaning the body, balancing the cholesterol, processing food etc.

It has been 15 months since I have nearly joined the teetotallers’ statistic, but have been drawn back by simply one thing, environment factors. Knowing this is a good thing and trying to manage my draw back is another, therefore, finding a long-term solution is my main goal. Even though the causes of drinking differ, from drinking “for social” to “alcohol dependency” the need to control or cease drinking should be considered.

Ideally, for those practising dry January, until the 31st of January, if you manage to abstain from alcohol throughout, well done, however, you have achieved a short-term goal. Preferably, we would like to see it as a motive to revive oneself, drink less and for some, stop for good.  

I do understand, reducing our intake sounds antisocial and stopping for good, even blasphemous, however, there is always a way. Since technology hasn’t yet developed a “Fitbit” monitor to keep track of our Liver, I will advise you read more on a few links below, even better, I strongly recommend a Free App that can help us “Love our Liver” as much as we love our heart.

Here are a few clinical facts that may help you understand the need to drink less or even abstain for good:

  • Liver disease is on the increase in the UK. It can be a silent killer, with no symptoms until it is too late.

  • Exceeding the current recommendations (>14 Units per week) of drinking per week for 10 – 12 years is sufficient to cause liver damage in the absence of other liver diseases.

  • The cornerstone of treatment for Alcohol Liver Disease is achieving total alcohol abstinence and preventing relapse; medical and surgical treatments are limited when drinking continues.

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/spruce/id889035834?mt=8

https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/advice/how-to-reduce-your-drinking/

Benefits of CQ10 – Another Antioxidant?!

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When patients ask the benefits of Coenzyme Q 10 also known as Ubiquinone, it is easier to explain the lexical meaning, however, a brief explanation on the deficiency causes and the reasons of supplementing it when or if needed is just as important.

The causes of deficiencies are suggested to be genetic, lack of nutritional content, oxidative stress caused by free radicals and ageing.

Three key CQ10 Benefits:

  • It is a powerful antioxidant, which regenerates Vitamin E, another critical antioxidant.

  • Hunts the bad free radicals and prevents cell damage to proteins, fats and other molecules.

  • Essential for the proper functioning of the energy production in the cells.

Whilst I have mentioned only the 3 benefits above, we know it that it has been proposed for use in patients with Type 2 Diabetes, Mitochondrial Diabetes, treatment of hypertension and statin- related myopathy.

Why CQ10 now?

Ubiquinone has always existed and important for the proper functioning of enzymes in our body. It’s name describes best its availability within us. It is ubiquitous, meaning it is found everywhere. I guess when science publishes consistent interesting findings of wellbeing to mankind; a social media trend tends to follow, maybe the same thing with CQ10.

If it’s everywhere, then do we need it?

Yes, we need it. Like everything else in our diet, there should be a recommended daily allowance that we should take, which hasn’t not yet been established for CQ10. However, we do know that doses ranging from 50mg – 1200mg have been used safely in adult studies. The higher doses being suggested for ill patients, from neurological disorders to cardiac disease statin users. And the lesser for the general wellbeing. It would be wise to discuss taking this supplement with your practitioner.

From my own personal opinion which is evidence based and users’ feedback, CQ10 is thought to be generally safe, with no adverse side effects reported when appropriately taken.

Intraceuticals Hollywood Facial

 
Actual result achieved at the harpal clinic with Intraceuticals after one 60 minute treatment.

Actual result achieved at the harpal clinic with Intraceuticals after one 60 minute treatment.

 

An Intraceuticals Rejuvenate treatment is a non invasive treatment that targets the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and dramatically enhances overall hydration. 

How does the treatment work?

An Intraceuticals Rejuvenate treatment harnesses three elements to achieve instant and dramatic results:

A. Oxygen under light pressure aids delivery of age defying ingredients to the skin at the same time as cooling and calming the skin.

B. Unique Rejuvenate Serum contains lightweight Hyaluronic Acid and a powerful combination of vitamins and antioxidants. The Hyaluronic Acid helps to instantly hydrate the skin resulting in increased firmness, reduced appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improved look to facial contours and overall radiance.

C. Treatment Support Products provide essential layers to seal

+ What is 'The Three Step Hyaluronic Layering' system?

HYALURONIC LAYERING

Hyaluronic Acid is an ingredient found naturally in the skin. The lightweight version of Hyaluronic Acid in the Rejuvenate Serum is absorbed quickly by the skin for maximum dispersion of nutrients. Follow with Rejuvenate Hydration Gel with multi-weight Hyaluronic Acid that offers a reservoir of nutrients for the skin, finish with Rejuvenate Moisture Binding Cream containing multi-weight Hyaluronic Acid to hydrate the skin’s surface. The ultimate in intense hydration is now achieved and we call this Hyaluronic Layering.

STEP 1: THE REJUVENATE PROFESSIONAL TREATMENT APPLICATION

This is the first step in your skin’s visible transformation. Cooling, calming, pressurised oxygen increases absorption of the Rejuvenate serum and naturally improves your skin’s moisture levels while Vitamins and antioxidants protect and defend. A combination of lightweight Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamins A, C, E and Green Tea result in instantly smoother looking skin with reduced appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, better volume and increased firmness. Your skin will emerge deeply hydrated, balanced and glowing with vitality. Results are not only instant but continue to improve in the following days, in conjunction with continued use of at home products.

STEP 2: REJUVENATE HYDRATION GEL

Intensify and maintain your results with Treatment Support Products. Rejuvenate Hydration Gel with multi-weight Hyaluronic Acid provides the next hydration layer to seal in hydration and create an invisible barrier against hydration loss. Apply twice daily. Use Rejuvenate Contour Eye Gel specifically for the delicate eye area with double concentration of multi-weight Hyaluronic Acid.

STEP 3: REJUVENATE MOISTURE BINDING CREAM

+ What are the celebrities and professionals saying about Intraceuticals?

Naomi Campbell - Supermodel "Thank you Intraceuticals. When constantly travelling I get dehydrated and Intraceuticals is an absolute necessity to replenish my skin".

Victoria Beckham "There is nothing like Intraceuticals...it really helps you look and feel your best".

Eva Longoria - Actress “The treatments are a necessity before every major event”.

Katy Perry - Artist "I use Intraceuticals oxygen skin treatment to hydrate my skin and give me that fresh, well slept glowing look before any performance or appearance".

Miranda Kerr - Victoria Secrets Model "Intraceuticals facials leave my skin glowing and radiant! Thank you".

Mezhgan Hussainy - Leading Makeup Artist American Idol “Intraceuticals treatments do what no other product on the market can do! I’ve watched skin’s look and feel change right before my eyes. The treatments instant results make it a must have backstage at American Idol”

Fergie - Artist & Actress "Thank you Intraceuticals. When I'm on the road it's important to take care of my skin".

Steven Klein - Creative Photographic Artist www.stevenkleinstudios.com “The Intraceuticals treatment helps capture the very essence of the most beautiful subjects”.

Michelle Peck - Hollywood Skin Specialist “In just one 30 minute treatment, skin looks and feels rejuvenated, radiant, moisturized and fresh”.

Jenny Shircore- Academy Award Winning Makeup Artist "Makeup artist Gina Brooke introduced me to Intraceuticals treatment in which I could visibly see immediate results. Using intraceuticals on movie sets will prep skin beautifully before any makeup application."

Katherine Jenkins - Welsh Soprano "After a long haul flight from the UK to New York last year, my make-up artist introduced me to the Intraceuticals treatment. My skin looked dehydrated and tired but after a 30 minute treatment with Gina Brooke, I looked like I had had a weeks rest and I was amazed by the results. Everyone complimented me on my glowing skin and the results lasted. I would highly recommend this to anyone in a heart beat, I love the fact that this is a non invasive natural, easy to use and very pleasant way to look my best."

Kristy Hinze - Australian Model, Actress and Television Host "I just received a beautiful gift from Intraceuticals, I just wanted to thank you very much, I love the facials that Meg gives me, it really does help my skin stay vibrant during the long hours of filming on a TV set. The box that it arrived in is absolutely gorgeous too. Thank you very much."

Rachel Zoe - Fashion Stylist to the Stars "Travelling and keeping my hectic schedule can be exhausting, but an Intraceuticals treatment keeps my skin looking well rested and glowing. I can't live without it!"

Preity Zinta - Bollywood Actress "I always want to look my best on the red carpet. Intraceuticals treatmentss are the perfect way to make my skin glow."

Crina Matei - Romanian Actress "Not just a necessity but a joy and a treat for my skin. All these in just one word: Intraceuticals."

Mette Bloch World Champion Rower Denmark "Intraceuticals O2…. 2 B in Heaven! A breathe of fresh air that works”

The final step in the hyaluronic layering process. This moisture rich product contains multi-weight Hyaluronic Acid providing intense hydration and a blend of essential oils – jojoba, macadamia, wheatgerm, sweet almond – to lock in hydration. Vitamins A, C, E and Green Tea protect and help defend against environmental stress and the visible signs of premature ageing. This Hyaluronic Layering process offers unmatched hydration and long lasting results. Continued use of Treatment Support Products is an essential stage in prolonging the benefits. Apply twice daily and prepare to be impressed.

+ What are the celebrities and professionals saying about Intraceuticals?

 

 

Naomi Campbell - Supermodel "Thank you Intraceuticals. When constantly travelling I get dehydrated and Intraceuticals is an absolute necessity to replenish my skin".

Victoria Beckham "There is nothing like Intraceuticals...it really helps you look and feel your best".

Eva Longoria - Actress “The treatments are a necessity before every major event”.

Katy Perry - Artist "I use Intraceuticals oxygen skin treatment to hydrate my skin and give me that fresh, well slept glowing look before any performance or appearance".

Miranda Kerr - Victoria Secrets Model "Intraceuticals facials leave my skin glowing and radiant! Thank you".

Mezhgan Hussainy - Leading Makeup Artist American Idol “Intraceuticals treatments do what no other product on the market can do! I’ve watched skin’s look and feel change right before my eyes. The treatments instant results make it a must have backstage at American Idol”

Fergie - Artist & Actress "Thank you Intraceuticals. When I'm on the road it's important to take care of my skin".

Steven Klein - Creative Photographic Artist www.stevenkleinstudios.com “The Intraceuticals treatment helps capture the very essence of the most beautiful subjects”.

Michelle Peck - Hollywood Skin Specialist “In just one 30 minute treatment, skin looks and feels rejuvenated, radiant, moisturized and fresh”.

Jenny Shircore- Academy Award Winning Makeup Artist "Makeup artist Gina Brooke introduced me to Intraceuticals treatment in which I could visibly see immediate results. Using intraceuticals on movie sets will prep skin beautifully before any makeup application."

Katherine Jenkins - Welsh Soprano "After a long haul flight from the UK to New York last year, my make-up artist introduced me to the Intraceuticals treatment. My skin looked dehydrated and tired but after a 30 minute treatment with Gina Brooke, I looked like I had had a weeks rest and I was amazed by the results. Everyone complimented me on my glowing skin and the results lasted. I would highly recommend this to anyone in a heart beat, I love the fact that this is a non invasive natural, easy to use and very pleasant way to look my best."

Kristy Hinze - Australian Model, Actress and Television Host "I just received a beautiful gift from Intraceuticals, I just wanted to thank you very much, I love the facials that Meg gives me, it really does help my skin stay vibrant during the long hours of filming on a TV set. The box that it arrived in is absolutely gorgeous too. Thank you very much."

Rachel Zoe - Fashion Stylist to the Stars "Travelling and keeping my hectic schedule can be exhausting, but an Intraceuticals treatment keeps my skin looking well rested and glowing. I can't live without it!"

Preity Zinta - Bollywood Actress "I always want to look my best on the red carpet. Intraceuticals treatmentss are the perfect way to make my skin glow."

Crina Matei - Romanian Actress "Not just a necessity but a joy and a treat for my skin. All these in just one word: Intraceuticals."

Mette Bloch World Champion Rower Denmark "Intraceuticals O2…. 2 B in Heaven! A breathe of fresh air that works”

The final step in the hyaluronic layering process. This moisture rich product contains multi-weight Hyaluronic Acid providing intense hydration and a blend of essential oils – jojoba, macadamia, wheatgerm, sweet almond – to lock in hydration. Vitamins A, C, E and Green Tea protect and help defend against environmental stress and the visible signs of premature ageing. This Hyaluronic Layering process offers unmatched hydration and long lasting results. Continued use of Treatment Support Products is an essential stage in prolonging the benefits. Apply twice daily and prepare to be impressed.

PRP Therapy - not just a fad facial

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PRP has a long history within the medical field, it was first introduced in the 1970's for sports medicine, orthopaedics and dermatology to heal muscle, tissue and skin damage and more recently, it has been reported that Rafa Nadal used PRP to repair his knee injury. It has since been used by some of the worlds most beautiful people, to stop age in its tracks. However, it was thrust into the spotlight by non other than Kim Kardashian when she took her famous selfie lying on a bed, face covered in blood (we'll get to this part later) and there has been a buzz around this intriguing facial ever since. Kardashian, along with Rupert Everette and Bar Rafaeli are all reported to big fans of the treatment and all have remarkably smooth, youthful skin. 

Not known for the faint hearted mainly because it requires blood being drawn and injected back into your skin, it is certainly not a fad and certainly for those serious about their skincare.
The most comforting fact is knowing that chemicals or synthetic substances aren't being injected into your skin, on the contrary, this technique relies on your own blood; packed with rich platelet cells, growth hormones and a number of proteins such as cytokines along with other bioactive factors which have healing components to repair damage in the body. What better way to improve your flaws, naturally?  

To put the science plainly, blood is drawn from your arm, spun in a centrifuge to separate the red blood cells from the rich platelet. The rich platelet is then extracted and subdermal injections are made into the area of concern or used with microneedling for doubly whammy rejuvenation. Once the PRP enters the area in need of healing, it clots and begins to regenerate bringing with it all the benefits of anti-ageing - stimulating the growth of collagen and healthy skin cells.  When combined with microneedling, hundreds of micro sized injuries are made to the skin, the aim here is to kick start your skins healing process on the surface and at the same time the rich platelet is smothered over the area to sink deeper and cover more surface. 

Our verdict? If you're squeamish about what you've read so far, you'd be forgiven for not including this strange method in your skincare regime, but take it from us, it's not as painful as it looks and considering the benefits it will be worth biting the bullet for. Clients see a significant improvement in skin tone after just one session, for more complex concerns such as wrinkles, loss of elasticity, acne scarring and hair loss you would benefit more from 3 or more consecutive sessions. If you do decide to have this treatment, our best advise is to be patient as some of the results can take a couple of sessions over a period of weeks, so don't be disheartened if you don't see the desired immediate results.

Spotlight: Men's Grooming

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If your significant other is helping himself to your moisturiser with annoying regularity, its time to get him educated. Send a link of this piece so he can read it - its for his own good.

Men are getting into skincare in a big way, and thats why there is a sudden fluctuation of tremendously fresh, glowing men bouncing around the City. This could be for various reasons, maybe its the amount of advertising being bombarded on them recently, maybe it's the rise of the 'selfie' or maybe they're just born with it. Who knows?

What 's true is that while some men are confident enough to buy their own products, others are more than happy just to use their partners. You may be wondering, why not? Well, women's products are designed for women - and spoiler alert guys, your skin is not the same as a girl. 

Dr Harpal explains: 

First of all, men have more testosterone so this contributes towards oilier skin which has some positives. The plus sides of oily skin is the ageing skin manifests longer than it does in women, the off side is that they'll be more prone to acne and during adolus and hormonal surge we'll see acne resulting in pitted scaring. We see quiet a lot of men with pitted scarring at our clinic than women. Also note, their skin is thicker, they have hair growth on the skin which causes excessive irritation and damage. They can get folliculitis from poor shaving habits similar to when women shave the bikini line. 

Although something is better than nothing, your complexion needs its own formula. But, we understand that you'd rather be watching the FA Cup Final, so we've got you covered. 

Get a bi-monthly facial

The 'steam facial' usually seen at the barbers only has 3 steps, all too often this is comprised of steam, extract, moisturise. Whereas in a 'true' facial, the whole process has 7 steps: cleanse, steam, extract, mask, massage, tone, moisturise. Every step is essential and has its purpose to ensure you have instant yet long lasting results. We like to keep things as simple as possible and for this reason we have 3 staple facials:

1. Detox Lymphatic Facial.
Ideal for: everyone, especially those who shave a lot, spotty, large pores, dull skin. 
(30 min or 60 min) a hard working treatment to unclog every single pore, the therapist will even show you how much gunk she extracts from your face!
2. Oxygen Facial
Ideal for: just before a big event, this is the full works and suitable for all skin types. 
(45min) with luxury in mind this facial hydrates, plumps and leaves you glowing for up to a week. Best just before an important event.
3. Anti-Ageing Facial
Ideal for: early 30's-mature skin. Targets all signs of ageing. 
(60min) this one turns back the hands of time and restores your factory settings. Powerful ingredients to banish fine lines and sagging. Ideal for 

Our facials are as bespoke as a suit from Saville Row, we understand that your skin can change from time-to-time and so, we have created mini-enhancements to add to your facial for maximum results. Check our facial page for more info on enhancements.

Keep these staple products in your bathroom

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NeoStrata Exfoliating Wash. Good for: ingrowing facial hairs, dull, oily, acne

This lightly exfoliating wash helps enhance exfoliation and prepares the skin for treatment. 

The key ingredient is Polyhydroxy acid to enhance exfoliation and remove debris from pores. This uber simple wash doesn't dry the face and is suitable for all skin types.

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Healgel Intensive (the green one)
Good for: post shaving, reduces ingrowing hairs, wound healing

Keep this next to your shaving kit. Healgel products have been designed by British plastic surgeons for wound healing, so it's perfect post shave. Soothes, repairs and protects the skin and can help with a wide range of skin care concerns including scars and eczema so feel free to use it on the body too.

Healgel Face (the pink one)
Good for: lazy days, slap it on all over the face and you're good to go
Packed with naturally derived minerals and omega oils to help "rescue" skin from the daily rough and tumble. Don't mistake this with Healgel Intensive, whereas the green one targets specific problem areas, the pink one is a lightweight formula for all-over-use. 

Healgel Eye (the blue one)
Good for: the morning after the night before, bags, dark circle

Whether you're working too hard or partying too hard, the results can often show around your eyes. This gel-like formula cools, lifts, brightens and hydrates the skin around the eyes for that instant "awake look".

10 Little Known Vitamin D Facts

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To commemorate this day, I thought I’d share some interesting Vitamin D facts that are not so commonly known…

 

  1. Vitamin D is not technically a vitamin. Vitamins have to be consumed as they cannot be created in the body. It is better classified as a hormone. Or more accurately, a pre-hormone which has to be converted to its active, hormonal component

  2. It regulates the activity of over 200 different genes

  3. You don’t get much Vitamin D from dairy. The main reason is because animals, just like people, need sunlight to make Vitamin D. So if you eat mainly intensely farmed animals and their milk products, it won’t be high in Vitamin D. Look out for free range, grass fed animals. One good example is Kerrygold butter which claims to be from grass fed animals

  4. Lower fat foods fortified with vitamin D won’t be as good as full fat products. Its a fat soluble vitamin and as such, being delivered in a fattier format aids absorption

  5. Obesity is associated with lower Vitamin D levels. The hypothesis here is that the Vitamin hides out in the fat cells. Would be interesting to see more research here

  6. Most Vitamin D rich foods are from an animal source. Hence, vegetarians and vegans need to pay extra attention to supplementing with Vitamin D

  7. Tanning beds can help raise Vitamin D levels- but we are not advocating it!

  8. Darker skin tones or skin that tans easily make less vitamin D compared to paler skin. This is probably a necessary adaptation due to migration of our ancestors into colder regions with less sunshine. In fact, darker skin tones may require 3-6 times more time in the sun to make the same amount of Vitamin D compared to paler skin tones

  9. Older people make less Vitamin D. There may be a few reasons for this. Its believed that absorption may be poorer in older skins. The body also is less efficient in converting it to its active form. Another reason could also be that older people don’t go outdoors as much

  10. Sunscreen with SPF of 30 effectively blocks out UVB rays, hence indirectly reducing Vitamin D production by up to 95%. This piece of info was gleaned from the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 2011.

 

Hope this has given you some food for thought. I personally recommend a Vitamin D shot into the muscle 4-6 times/year for paler skins and 6-8/year for darker skin tones; spaced out more during summer months. Some people prefer taking higher dose Vitamin D orally. I personally prefer injections as they are easy to administer and receive. Plus I don’t have the hassle of having to remember to consume them. For me, I always know when I’m running low on Vitamin D when my temperature regulation goes out the door. Cold feels too cold and hot feels too hot.

 

This reminds me, I think I’m due for my winter shot now….

The Gluten Free Guinea Pig Column: Choc-banana bread

photo by Denieca o'niell

photo by Denieca o'niell

Following on from our recent blog about your gluten free diet and what happens when you consume gluten, I thought it best to write something to let those who are GF know that all is not lost. 

I have been gluten free since December and I can tell you it is hard work! I love pasta, pizza, croissants etc and it has been so difficult to cut things about because the GF substitutes in shops such as the Genius Bread or Madeira loaf are just not the same and then I ultimately slip up and have a cookie. 

I like to keep my eye out for gluten free recipes and see what options I have for when I need a sweet treat. This weekend just past I found a recipe for Chocolate Banana Bread, so I thought why not try substituting with gluten free flour and see what happens and I'm so happy I did. The bread stayed really moist, you could taste both the chocolate and banana and it was simply divine (if I do say so myself). I had friends over that same night and didn't tell any of them it was gluten free and they honestly could not tell the difference. I would definitely recommend to any of those who want to make something nice and easy.

Full recipe:

  • 3 Bananas (mashed)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup of Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1/3 cup of Maple Syrup
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup of Gluten Free Self Raising Flour
  • 1 & 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/3 cup of Dark Chocolate

Simple Instructions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together as above until you have a paste (except the chocolate)
  2. Cut chocolate into little squares, and melt, stirring every 30 seconds. Pour in a small amount of the banana mixture with the chocolate and mix throughly.
  3. Pour in half of the banana mixture into a greased loaf pan, then pour in half of the chocolate mixture. Pour the rest of the banana mixture then the rest of the chocolate on top.
  4. Use a knife to slightly mix the two together to create a swirl. Bake for 45 minutes on 150 degrees.

See below link to site for direct instructions ** remember to exchange the flour for gluten free flour.

https://www.facebook.com/officialgoodful/videos/1732756990128093/

please note: this is a personal recipe and may not cater to everyones taste or dietary requirements.

Vitamin B3

In light of the recent publishing of Australian research, “Vitamin B3 may prevent miscarriages and birth defects” nicotinamide/niacin or simply vitamin b3 does a whole lot more for us.

Within our clinic, we provide the vitamin B12 and B complex and occasionally B1, B6 and B7. B12 is the highly requested due to, simply, deficiencies in vast populations, mainly vegans, vegetarians, malabsorption syndrome, pernicious anaemia and mostly gut related illnesses. In a healthy state, we can all absorb these nutrients, considering we are sourcing them from the right foods and maintaining a balanced diet.

Where do we get B3 from?

Vitamin B3 is mainly sourced from foods that are high in protein such as meat, fish, wheat flour, eggs, carrots, peas, peanuts, legumes, tomatoes etc. The UK’s daily recommended is 0.3 mg/kg/day.

B3 Deficiency

Severe deficiency in vitamin B3 results in pellagra, which is very rare in the United Kingdom, however, certain populations listed below are susceptible to deficiency. Four “D’s” mainly characterize the disease: diarrhoea, dermatisis, dementia and potentially, death if left untreated. Additionally, the diagnosis can be strongly suggested by examining the levels of niacin, tryptophan and compounds found for enzyme function. A combined urine excretion of a metabolite of niacin and end product of niacin less than 1.5 milligrams in 24 h indicates severe niacin deficiency.

Populations susceptible to deficiency:

  • Staple diets consisting of consuming corn and sorghum
  • Individuals with eating disorders for example, anorexia nervosa

  • Congenital malabsorption of tryptophan (amino acid) from the intestines and kidney

  • Chronic alcoholics

  • Food fadists

Why B3 now?

This happens whenever “breakthroughs” or positive significant findings come out. B3 has always been important and beneficial like all nutrients and little is promoted on why nutrients are vital for our wellbeing. Good research comes out quite often and it is only fair to say this one was a lucky pick.

Besides the recent vitamin B3 findings, here is a list of the other known benefits:

  • Essential in all cells for energy production

  • Helps with metabolism

  • Repairs our DNA

  • Maintenance of the healthy skin or aging facial skin appearance

  • Free radical scavenger

  • Influences immune cell function and survival

  • Reduces the damage ultraviolet (UV) has on our immunity

  • An adjuvant in alcoholism treatments

Future of B3

B3 has been found to be a promising agent for the chemoprevention of melanoma in high-risk population. This is currently in the early stages of study and we can only cross our fingers for now that a solid foundation can be built upon from this. The headlined findings are definitely good news worth echoing and boosting your vitamins and diet to, certainly, doing more good than harm for those trying to start a family. On the other hand, we hope future studies clarify if lower levels of B3 are a partial cause of birth defects.

As exciting as it sounds, this should not open doors for a new fad diet. This is a breakthrough study, which was done under controlled environments, in mice, mice that probably don’t smoke, possibly exercise, and have their life entirely controlled in a lab. At the end of the day, these biological effects mirror human beings, and hopefully, this research will be translated onto us soon.

When Your Gluten Free Diet Goes Pear Shaped

 
 

You’re being really good. Doing all the right things. Yet your symptoms- the gas, bloating, general discomfort, joint pains, brain fog, headaches or feeling low; are still present. They did improve for a little while. But now they are creeping back.

 

You’ve been diligently looking at the labels of everything that you eat. You even started to buy organic wines now (which actually helps with the hangovers!). You can feel the desperation creeping back in. You’re terrified of being in that place again! Especially now that you’ve regained some control back and a sense of normality….

 

So what’s going on? Here are some potential reasons when this happens:

  • You are consuming gluten without knowing it. Its hard. Really hard. Even ketchup has gluten in it. Most commercial sauces have it and they mostly don’t have to list it as an ingredient.

  • There’s cross contamination. One reason I tell my patients to avoid gluten free oats. There’s almost always some degree of cross contamination. Even in restaurants where they are able to serve gluten free foods, cross contamination can and does happen.

  • An interesting possibility and the reason I wanted to write this blog…. Over-consumption of newly introduced foods or grains. The things that in the past, you may either never have eaten, or only ate sporadically.

 

Look back on your diet and have a think about what it used to look like and what it looks like now. I’ve been on this track and back. Feeling rather smug with the beautiful array of new grains and colours in my food. But secretely actually not too thrilled about the taste of some of them. At least the plate looked right and I felt great for following through on eating better.

 

The problem is when most people go gluten free, they frequently immediately look for substitutions in search of the same-looking plate of food. They still want to eat a cookie. But its now a gluten free cookie (with lots of other additives). Or bread (with gums to add elasticity that can be allergenic). Some common examples are these:

  • Buckwheat

  • Sorghum

  • Amaranth

  • Sesame

  • Quinoa

  • Hemp

  • Tapioca

  • Teff

  • Potato

  • Rice

  • Millet

  • Corn

Then there’s the somewhat poor understanding of what gluten actually is, with quite a few people avoiding bread but happily consuming rye, barley, spelt and oats.

 

Cyrex labs does a test that tests for these components. I normally ask for my patients to include this particular array (Array 4) when they are doing intolerance testing. I’ve found this test to be incredibly useful and is frequently an eye opener for my patients too.

 

So the next question…. What can we do about it? Doesn’t it leave us with NOTHING to eat?

 

It does if you think of food in terms of grain+veg+meat. However, if you think of how a paleo-like meal looks like, it comprises of veg+meat. Plus lots of good fats. Grains take a long time to harvest/soak/cook. Our ancestors were not capable of doing this. They were hunter gatherers. They didn’t have that kind of luxury. Our gut is not designed (yet) to consume the amount of grain that we do today. Is it any wonder that as a grain consuming nation, we are becoming sicker and sicker?

 

What I personally do is this:

  1. I’m a rice eater. I don’t really want to go completely paleo. But I have reduced the quantity of rice drastically over the years. And I don’t need it for every meal. So my plate today looks different from years ago where it was rice heavy. These days, you struggle to find the rice which is hidden underneath the veg or meat and a good amount of fat.

  2. I practice a not-so-strict intermittent fasting. This is now a lifestyle and I don’t ever want to go back to eating so often. I feel very good, don’t get energy crashes and only crave sugar when I’m particularly stressed. I usually eat in an eight hour window (12pm to 8pm). It works for me as I simply push my breakfast later and later. I do have a cup of tea with a little milk. As milk is considered food, this is not strictly fasting. But I can stick to this and it works for me.

  3. I don’t snack normally. I simply don’t want to in the same way I used to. I like giving my gut a break from having to work so hard.

  4. I disagree with small frequent meals mostly (there are times this is necessary esp in adrenal fatigue). I also disagree with breakfast being the most important meal of the day (again, this rule is lifted in adrenal fatigue). I can’t really imagine our hunter-gatherer ancestors getting up to a nice breakfast every morning. It probably started about with the agricultural revolution where the farmer had to eat for energy before going out to the fields. These days, we generally go to a sedentary job.

  5. I tend not to eat things where I need to read the label. So its mostly veg and meat. Close to no boxed foods.

  6. I break these rules often enough so I still am able to live a relatively socially normal life. But I always miss my own way and always, always go back to it. Simply because it makes me feel better

Vitamin C – What else does it do for us?

 
 

It has been 7 weeks since my last blog and the clinic has been casually mannered, meaning nothing unorthodox as per patient related issues. The Harpal Clinic Team has a new addition to the team, a copied version of Harpal, whom you may see when you pay us a visit.

Once again, I have been encouraged to write about this vitamin c topic by the new intravenous therapy clients, whom have the basic understanding of this essential nutrient.

By the end of this article, like vitamin c, I hope you find this fruitful to your immune system, to support and simplify recent understandings behind it.

Without consciously thinking, the food of choice for vitamin c intake is an orange, for me at least. Possibly, the most popular amongst the huge variety of fruits and vegetables we can source from. Again without determinedly thinking the benefits of this nutrient, it is necessary for growth and our immune system. As basic as that sounds, this does not explain it all, because every other micronutrient we eat does almost the same job, therefore, a bit more insight into it feels relevant.

Vitamin c is important and chronic deficiency in it can result in scurvy. Fortunately, scurvy is rare and almost exclusively associated with malnutrition, malabsorption or psychiatric disease. Since we can almost entirely defend ourselves from this disease, which has not been epidemic for a very long time, at least in the United Kingdom, little attention has been highlighted on it’s supporting role.

It is commonly known that, to provide antioxidant protection, a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of 90 mg/day for adult men and 75 mg/day for adult women is set based on the vitamin C intake to maintain near-maximal neutrophil concentration with minimal urinary excretion of vitamin c. Despite this RDA, several studies have also reported the benefits of “intravenous high doses” which can be adequately taken without any health implications, interestingly; these doses support our health.

Benefits:

  • Biosynthesis of collagen
  • Regulation of HIF-1α, which plays an integral role in the body’s response to low oxygen
  • Confers mitochondrial protection against oxidative injury.
  • Activation of the B vitamin, folic acid
  • Conversion of cholesterol to bile acids
  • Conversion of the amino acid, tryptophan to the neurotransmitter, serotonin
  • Reduces the severity of allergic reactions
  • Protects body from deleterious effects of free radicals, pollutants and toxins
  • Tissue healing

Most recently, research has shown it to be a key antioxidant of the Central Nervous System, as multiple evidence links oxidative stress with neurodegeneration, positioning redox imbalance and reactive oxygen species as a cause of neurodegeneration.

Having explained the goodness of vitamin c, which I have only written a tenth about, it is only fair to highlight the potential side effects. The side effects are, ingesting a large dose may cause gastrointestinal distress and diarrhoea. On it’s own it works well but is effective as an adjunct supplement. Also, there have been isolated cases of allergic reactions with eczema, urticaria and asthma. Otherwise, the benefits here outweigh the risk, in this article, the risk being the benefits.

The Male Ticking Biological Clock

Having seen so many patients for testosterone replacement therapy over the years, there is an interesting trend that I’m starting to notice. The issue of “biological clock ticking” now applies to both sexes.

 

Where previously this was seen to be a purely female problem, you now have a scenario where men in their late 30s and early 40s need to quickly make their minds up about finding the right girl and getting pregnant. A situation previously plaguing women in their 30s mostly. The reasons for this are a decrease in quality (poor swimmers, abnormal shapes) and quantity of men’s sperm. The causes of this decrease is multifold:

 

  • the rise in stress levels (despite your wonderful ability to manage your stress)

  • environmental toxins including that from frequent flying

  • depleted nutrients due to lifestyle and depleting resources

  • Cycling- yes that pressure on the testis for prolonged periods can be an issue

  • Anything that increases the temperature of things down there eg tight underpants/jeans

  • Radiation emission from laptops- this is low levels, continuous and prolonged. And becoming a huge issue of late for those who actually place it habitually on their laps

  • Radiation from mobile phones- the jury’s out on this. We don’t know the answer yet. Read this blog for a neutral take on phones and you can make your own mind up

  • age-related depleted hormonal profile  

  • Commencing testosterone replacement therapy

 

From my point of view, as a practitioner looking after them; I’m able to optimise them and make them feel great. But at the same time, I have to find a balance and be able to minimise any chances of reduced fertility with combining HCG or Clomid to their regimes, amongst other interventions. For some patients, they even consider freezing their sperm in the same way a woman would freeze her eggs.

 

Its a rather odd discussion to have in a culture where its not uncommon for a man of 70 to father a child (although we have no idea of the quality of that successful sperm). The point of this blog is to raise awareness that this is an increasingly common issue. Hidden as no one really talks about it. Not to be taken lightly. And not to be relegated to being only a “woman’s” problem.

City Skin Defence

Suddenly, everybody is talking about nitrogen dioxide and free radicals in the air and the direct effect it has on our skin. I, for one work in the City of London where the air is thick with harmful pollutants and I do worry about the how it can have a significant impact on my skin, not just on the surface.
The tipping point was in January 2017, when pollution readings taken from Brixton, Oxford Circus, Kings Road, Chelsea and Kensington High Street showed that nitrogen dioxide levels had breached the EU annual limit for an entire year - in just five days. Since then, MP's called the crisis a "public health emergency" whilst the Royal College of Physicians and Royal College of Paediatrics have reported around 40,000 deaths each year are due to the exposure of pollution.

Something that is becoming harder to miss is the effect it is having on our skin, although pollution particles cannot be seen or smelt, women living in urban and built-up areas are seeing more visible signs of ageing, higher rates of dark spots, pigmentation, imbalance in pH levels and adult acne. According to the Journal of Dermatology, environmental pollutants increase age spots by 25% around the cheek area as a direct result of nitrogen dioxide concentrations. So with all this bad news in mind, we now know that air pollutants can deplete antioxidant defences and perhaps even degrade proteins in the skin. 

While politicians debate and universities research about how to clean up the air, there are some everyday simple things we can do to protect ourselves, on the surface and from within. Here's our breakdown of treatments and products available to help defend your skin against the baddies in the air. 

Antioxidant Defence Serum by NeoStrata

  • Concentrated SynerG Formula containing 8 powerful multi action antioxidants is designed to combat oxidative damage and protect the skin from premature ageing
  • Patented Bionic and Polyhydroxy Acids trap oxidation promoting metals and help prevent sun-induced cellular damage
  • Citric Acid, Lilac, Green Tea, and Chardonnay Grape Seed Extracts work together to neutralise free radicals and help preserve healthy DNA, lipids, and cellular membranes.

Antioxidant Booster Serum by Intraceuticals

  • Revitalises and balances dull, stressed skin with exceptionally powerful natural antioxidants sourced from the Australian Rainforest.
  • Clarifies and refines the appearance of skin prone to blemishes, visible pores, sun damage, uneven texture or deep wrinkles.
  • As a booster serum, it can be used in conjunction with your own daily serum or as a stand alone. It's also very pocket friendly.

Glutathione supplements or intramuscular shots

  • This works from the inside, if you're taking injections you'll only need it once fortnightly/monthly depending on what your practitioner tells you. Or opt for supplements.
  • Plays an important role in detoxification reactions, protecting the cells from harmful effects of unwanted chemical substances, such as free radicals.
  • With high cysteine concentrations in the cells, explaining the protective effect against unwanted foreign chemical substances.
  • It helps with cell growth, wound healing and immune function.
  • Plays pac man and eats up free radicals which are created during exposure to hot and cold environmental temperatures and UV light from the sun or toxicity. There are others factors such as exhaust fumes, pollutants for those in the City and for those who travel a lot by trains or planes where cabin fever can effect the air (re-circulated air).

Harpal skinCity Detox Lymphatic Facial 30 & 60 minutes

  • The lymphatic system is designed to remove waste products and toxins in the body. 
  • We use a lymphatic drainage suction devise to draw out impurities. 
  • Deep cleanse, steam, extraction and mask with the full hour facial.
  • Your therapist will even show you the suction devise at the end to prove how much grime can build up in your pores! This is a very satisfying facial, consider your skin well and truly cleansed.

Heliocare 360 Fluid Cream SPF 50+

  • Protect, protect, protect with spf
  • Very high photoimmunoprotection with an innovative ulra-light fluid cream texture. 
  • Its exclusive combination of advance filters and BioShield System provides broad spectrum protection against UVA, UVB, IR-A and Visible Light.
  • Enriched with Fernblock FC for powerful antioxidant activity, and actives which repair sun damage. Suitable for all skin types, with a soft, invisible skin-feel.

NeoStrata Resurface Ultra Daytime Smoothing Cream SPF15 10 AHA

  • Correct the visual signs of photo-ageing and prevent future damage with a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen in this antioxidant-rich day cream.
  • Ideal daytime exfoliating moisturiser helps to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • It contains three potent antioxidants, including MMP inhibitor Lactobionic Acid, plus broad spectrum sunscreen, to help preserve collagen and maximise protection against oxidative damage. Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) exfoliate to visibly smooth skin. 

Intraceuticals Bespoke Facial with Antioxidant Booster

  • There is no greater satisfaction than having serum sprayed onto your face with pure oxygen, truly the essence of a city smart facial. The Antioxidant Booster will bubble wrap your face against the elements, smooth, brighten, refine.
  • Low molecular hyaluronic acid is infused with an antioxidant booster to leave you looking and feeling clean and radiant for up to a week.

What Should I Eat?

sketch by taf. garikayi

sketch by taf. garikayi

Having joined Harpal Clinic in March 2017, it was made clear that in addition to on-going patient care; we also aim to educate our patients, which I have always strongly believed to be fruitful for a healthy lifestyle.

 


I was asked to write interesting, cultivating material, but this has been hard, as I have been strongly trained to write scientifically, methodically and mathematically.  

I have tonnes of issues I would like to share, but this question is raised time and time again by our patients “I have tried everything, what should I eat?”
Even with years of studying and working in the health industry, I have had to sit back and ask myself the same question.

The issue in itself is broad, somewhat, a silly question a clinician should be asking themselves. One would expect this to be a straightforward answer, but it isn’t. Personally, shopping for my weekly food in any London shop for me is like a mental challenge, deciding the shop, trolley or basket, which aisle to start with (even with a shopping list) and what to buy. After jumping that hurdle, the next thing is reading the food labels which I would guess, maybe 3 out of 10 shoppers would know the nutritional definition (without searching Google) and benefits of what they are about to consume.

Commonly, dietary factors have been associated with the cause or prevention of many diseases, including coronary heart disease, hypertension, cancer, birth defects, osteoporosis, and a variety of other chronic diseases. These associations are derived mainly from animal studies, epidemiologic studies on people and basic research concerning potential mechanisms. To simply break this information down to the general public, interpretation is often difficult and most of the times, conflicting. In light of this, what or who should you believe in?

In the age we live in, where there is a surge in Google Diagnostics with a dose of Twitter and Instagram guidance, people will always have a prognosis and diagnosis of their health concerns, what’s causing certain pains and if not in pain, how to get optimal health. Before I forget, despite of the NHS waiting times and your GP refusing to refer you to a Nutritionist/Dietician, stick to you GP’s and/or professional healthcare advisors advice. Put the Apps aside during consultation and respectfully discuss your issue. Yes, there are hundreds of Apps giving us advice on what to eat, but the concern here is, do you trust your source of information and do you trust what you are being told?

I do not condone the use of Google to search, “what am I eating tonight”, but I do worry about the toxicity of the content of some answers we are fed. As a modern day Google user, I am going to put a very reliable link at the end of this script, where I know the benefit outweighs the risk.

Without having to exhaust myself on calorie content, protein, carbs and sugar definitions, I may not have the exact answer but I am a firm believer of “you are what you eat”. I have taken a different approach, ignored the calorie and nutritional content and try to pick more of the fresh unrefined/unprocessed vs. refined/processed foods, consume your own hand-size portions, semi-caveman thinking. Keep it balanced. Simple.

Whilst using social media – think consciously about reliable sources of information. The link I promised below is this one: http://www.cgem.ed.ac.uk/research/rheumatological/calcium-calculator/ which I will discuss very soon.

The Importance of Body Exfoliation

I have never really taken body exfoliation seriously, until my friend took a photo of me in a bikini at the beach. Yes, shock and horror took over when I discovered dimply, dry skin behind my thighs. The fact that the cellulite and stretch marks were bad enough to show in a badly focused mobile phone photo confirmed just how bad the situation was. Yup, it was pretty bad.

Now, no one at the beach ran away from me screaming at the sight of my dimply skin because lets be honest - no one really cares. But, it mattered to me. My thoughts on cellulite are similar to my thoughts on spots, unwanted hair and wrinkles: if you are self conscious about them, then by all means take measures to banish the issue and then spend less time fretting. 

So, the very next week I came into work and spoke to my friend and colleague, Viola. There was no time to waste. I needed a solution that was non-invasive, affordable and as I'm lazy, done by someone else! There were plenty of options, Mesotherapy, Fillers, Microneedling, Plexr, etcetera etcetera. They're all great, but far too advanced for me. I needed something a little more pocket friendly and organic. Enter Dry Body Brushing and Glycolic Peels, and here is the low down:

So, what are the benefits of dry body brushing?

This is a no-brainer, the brushing will slough off any dead skin and allow the new skin to absorb all the goodness of moisturisers and oils applied. Secondly, the gentle motion of brushing in one direction will create a lymphatic type drainage, helping the body release excess toxins and promote better blood circulation. In turn, you'll be helping to break down all the unsightly lumps and bumps caused by coagulated fat cells. 

What are the benefits of body peels?

Chemical peels are great for men and women alike. Do not be alarmed by the term 'chemical', this is a mild dose and very safe to use on the body. Peels are a non-invasive way to correct and treat unsightly scarring, pigmentation, uneven texture and wrinkles. It can treat melasma and sun damage by dissolving the top layer and stimulating collagen growth at the same time to give longer lasting results. A combination of dry brushing and chemical peel will give optimal results of both methods.

"There is a peel suitable for every concern. From pigmentation to spotty backs, peels are the quickest way to deal with those embarrassing body parts" - Harpal Clinic skin specialist Viola

What is the process?

The process is easy for you and me, not so easy for the therapist!
1. Kick back on the bed whilst the therapist gives you a good 'ole scrub with a dry brush
2. She'll mix and apply a glycolic peel all over your body, back and front and let it sit for a few minutes
3. Thoroughly wipe off the peel with hot mittens. (Goodness me, this step feels amazing) 
4. Moisturise the body with a lotion to soothe and hydrate with lovely light body massage
5. Total time taken, 60 minutes.

There's much more to it than the four steps above, but rather than explain the finer details, I thought it better to give you a demonstration! Click on the video for a sped-up version of the treatment. 

The results?

In short, this treatment changed the overall condition of my skin. After one session skin was as smooth and supple as a baby's butt. After four sessions I honest-to-God saw a remarkable difference. Stretch marks faded, cellulite definitely reduced, skin tone and texture was even and smooth. My arms, legs and décolletage saw the best results, keratosis (chicken skin on arms and thighs) disappeared, reduced pigmentation on knees and elbows whilst the neck and chest looked tighter and firmer. 

This is a beautiful treatment without a doubt. Think of it as a fast track to better skin and a huge confidence booster.

Why Some Vegetarians or Vegans Thrive and Others Fail

I’ve started seeing more and more people coming in for injectables and intravenous drips like Vitamin B12, B Complex, high dose Vitamin C, glutathione, Magnesium, amino acids and D amongst others. However, new Vitamin B12 patients far outnumber the rest and many of them are vegetarians or vegans. Many of these patients have also chosen to eat this way later in life ie teens or later. There is a great deal of awareness within this community and they choose to eat this way, accepting that they need to do more to counter the potential nutritional shortfalls.

Surprisingly, I don’t see many who are born into vegetarian families (due to religion or culture) where they have eaten this way for generations. This suggests that they either are relatively unaware (I somehow don’t think that this is the issue), or that they are more ‘adapted’ to this way of eating. My believe is that epigenetics is at play here.

 

Coming from a culture where I’m familiar with vegetarianism for religion purposes, and knowing what I do now about some problems that vegetarianism brings about; this article that I’m about to share has always been a question in my mind and something that I’ve been meaning to explore. It’s so well written and researched that I don’t need to add much to it besides introducing you to the writer of that blog post and giving you my 2 cents about it.

 

The article discusses 4 points and is written by Denise Minger. Denise’s blog site https://rawfoodsos.com/  went viral after she published her findings regarding the China Study, which is possibly the most famous pro-vegan study out there. Her quest started when her usually perfect teeth was found to be full of cavities despite doing everything by the book to stay ‘healthy’. Being a naturally curious sort, she delved into the China Study and actually took the trouble to analyse the data. There she found many discrepancies which sadly enough does happen in the scientific world where data is ‘tweaked’ to fit in with the original hypothesis. Her work is relevant and needs to be read.

 

My personal opinion:

  • Veganism does not suit everyone

  • If this is how you choose to eat, do take extra care to ensure that you are getting all the relevant nutrition (possible from plant sources eg seaweed, natto, marmite etc) and constantly be on the lookout for symptoms of deficiencies

  • If you have indigestion, increased acid reflux, gas and bloating or prone towards soft or hard stools, you probably have some gut issues. This means that absorption of nutrients won’t be as good

  • If you constantly take antibiotics or have done so in the past, your gut bacteria may be deficient; again potentially leading to problems with gut nutrient absorption

  • Every so often, consider injectables as it won’t get lost in the gut.

  • If you already have symptoms, consider a course of injectables initially more frequently (eg weekly or fortnightly depending on which nutrient) before you taper it off. This is to allow your body to heal to a point where you won’t go back to ‘baseline’ so quickly. There’s also the problem of getting used to a certain level of energy. Most people with very low energy levels can never figure out how others go on. They also tend to be very happy with every little uplift in energy; forgetting what its like to have full functional energy. I just don’t think it makes good sense when cumulative additional changes make such a huge change in a person’s health. The time to stop would be when you start seeing negligible results. That usually means that you’re either optimised or if you’re still tired, that there is another reason for it.

 

I hope that you will enjoy this article…..

https://authoritynutrition.com/4-reasons-some-do-well-as-vegans/

 

Vit D- My Unbelievable Labs

This is a slightly more personal blog post as I’m still a little flustered about it.

 

I’ve been taking patient’s bloods and interpreting their labs for a long time now. My personal health, alongside my patients, has increased leaps and bounds (I do take a bit of my own advice!!). I have good hair and glowing, clear skin, good gut and good energy levels. On the whole, I’m in a pretty good place. Recently, I had the opportunity to get my blood drawn and decided to see what my labs look like.

 

Results came back and most things were as expected, except for my Vit D which was below normal. This annoyed me that the labs would make a mistake. So we called them up and asked them to retest it. I had had a Vit D injection, the whole 300,000 IU of it, just a couple weeks before. The results were clearly a lab error.

 

They retested it and it came back still in the red- very, very low, but a different number to before. This got me thinking. I’ve been raving about the benefits of Vitamin D to all my patients. I’ve asked them all to get an injection as I’d personally seen the benefits in myself and my patients. What was going on?

 

In 2015/2016, I’ve probably had 4-5 injections of Ergocalciferol, or Vit D2. Each time 300,000 IU. I haven’t taken any extra supplements at home. I went on a 2 week outdoorsy holiday in July/August and still have the tan from it now (November). The first injection was a life changer. I was extremely hot the night of the injection. Next day, I was bouncing. Similar but not as dramatic improvements with the next few injections. I needed very few clothes compared to others, could handle cold more than others (no coat in summer and only lightweight coats in autumn versus others who needed much more). In fact, I still go out with bare legs now.

 

My symptoms which made me think that I may be low in D again:

 

  • Energy levels were good but I started to find it slipping

  • I wasn’t recovering from night outs as well as usual

  • I also started noticing quite significant hair loss

  • My skin was simply not as smooth and blemish free as before. It was also duller

  • More importantly, I felt colder than I thought I should be feeling

  • I was feeling too hot or too cold suddenly- temperature regulation wasn’t right. This was a classic red flag for my own body and I recognised it

 

After my last injection, once again I didn’t feel the cold that much and temperature regulation improved. Energy levels came back but I was still more tired than usual. Yesterday- after the shock of my horrendous results- I had another D shot. I slept very well at night. Hands and feet are still cool but not cold. I feel good and fresh. I’ve had a birthday since with wonderful friends and parties for most nights of the week last week. And I’m still up and raring to go.

 

What hits me is that despite doing this for a living, I was oblivious to how low my own levels were. It must have been dangerously low when I first did a D shot. I come across as being bouncier and more energetic than most people. Even I realise that I’ve higher energy levels than others. So where does that put others? I think personally, because I make sure I’m balanced in other ways, it has not been obvious that I was so deficient. But its a cautionary tale nevertheless and I know that I will be making much more efforts to get myself tested more regularly and to make sure that I’m optimised nutritionally. Since my body cannot seem to make enough from all the sun I get (more than many others and usually without SPF on my body). I will also look into simpler and more cost effective ways to test for it so that patients can get themselves tested without too much effort. Watch this space…..

FYI, we have now introduced many more injectable services like our B cocktail (B12+B Complex), C, Magnesium, Glutathione etc as an injection or an intravenous push (for larger volumes). Do check our website more for info. My patients seem to love it as they keep coming back, despite the slight ouch!

LDN Stories- Down and Depressed Amir

Amir, 43, came to see me after being referred by his nutritionist who was seeing him for adrenal fatigue. He is a professional who came upon some hard times which affected him badly.

He was on quite a few supplements for his fatigue and showed some signs of hormonal imbalance. I also thought that his diet was quite poor which would affect him quite significantly. He had brain fog, constant fatigue, struggled to recover from exercise, was moody and depressed and could not sleep well. Here's his story in his words.....

"Hi Dr Bains,

Thank you very much for your help and support. It has been a real life saver.

Prior to this adrenal fatigue, I was very fit and healthy, exercised 4 times a week, and was successful. An abusive marriage, mom dying and extreme stress caused me to become ill and life has been a struggle since 2003. Three years ago, after finishing an MBA,  I crashed completely and started work with a nutrionist making slow progress.  Prior to the LDN, my energy levels were very very low to non existent,  my mood was very low to depressed, I struggled to get 5-6 hours very poor quality sleep, and woke up feeling unrefreshed with high adrenaline levels. I felt like a zombie ,put on weight, was unable to think straight, had very bad brain fog, and was unable to do anything due to very low energy levels.

The turnaround with LDN has been nothing short of miraculous, and a real game changer.

We started the dose at 3mg, and things got worse before they got better. The LDN really ramped up an already primed immune system, increased my adrenaline, caused flu and cold like symptoms, i.e. phlegm from nose and chest, aches and pains, especially back ache, skin was horrendous and sleep was very poor due to the increased adrenaline.  However, 2 weeks after this, the immune system settled and my sleep went from 5 hours to 7 hours, and sleep quality improved from 5 to 6 out of 10. After letting the body rest and recover for 2 weeks, we increased the LDN again, causing the same cycle, but each time resulting in slightly improved sleep. Now at 5mg and after 4 months, the turnaround has been dramatic. I can sleep for 9 - 11 hours, of good quality sleep ( 8 out of 10 ), and things are improving at a faster rate. Energy levels are higher, brain fog has lifted, and most dramatic of all, my mood has improved 100%. I no longer feel depressed, despite being sub-optimal. I wake up happier, relaxed, and with a positive mindset, excited about the future. 

The key to LDN was definitely perseverance. Each stage caused initial upset, and then the reward phase followed. The big pay off being 4 months down the line. Definitely worth the wait.

Without your help, I would not have made this breakthrough.

I am now hoping to proceed to the next level of the program with my nutritionalist, and start the anti-microbial phase, and to be able to tolerate it well, due to the LDN and enhanced sleep. 

I have taken the advice you provided 4 months ago and incorporated healthy fats into my diet, started cooking with coconut oil,  watched YouTube videos and vastly improved my cooking skills. I'm struggling to add in fermented foods, and this is something my nutritionist is keen to do at a later stage.

I will now look into SIBO and get back to you."

LDN Stories- Laura and her Mood Swings, Menstrual Problems, Back Pain and Fatigue

I decided to start this series of LDN stories as I felt that people interested in starting it needed to hear about it- as and when patients felt the need to share. It is also an important lesson in persevering as some stages of this journey can feel very difficult. 

Names will be changed but I will give a brief history of why they came to me. I will then put forth their stories in their own words which, in my opinion, is more powerful.

Laura, 36, came to see me on recommendation from her nutritionist. In summary, this is her history:

  • drug addiction for 5 years in late teens
  • Chronic anxiety and mood swing with a diagnosis of 'cyclical mood disorder' from early teen
  • adrenal fatigue
  • leaky gut
  • menstrual irregularities later on

Despite a difficult and protracted ill health history, she is currently doing her masters in a difficult 'sciency' subject and working as a research assistant in the meantime. She also has a 4 year old child. So here is a smart and motivated person, feeling like there's no light at the end of the tunnel but wanting desperately to just be normal and be a mum to her child.

Here's her story:

I was referred to Harpal by my nutritionist, as he felt this would be a useful therapy for me in the aftermath of adrenal fatigue and multiple recurring health problems. Harpal prescribed the LDN sublingual drops as they give you a method to introduce the drug slowly and minimise potential side effects - and I was glad we took this approach. I was optimistic about the LDN, but the initiation process has not been without its challenges! Within a week of being on 1mg I came out in a spectacular rash on my back - a collection of bright red, itchy circles. I contacted the clinic and they assured me that this could be a side effect of the LDN, so I stuck on 1mg and didn't increase my dose until they had settled down - which was about 8 or 9 days. After that, increasing to 1.5 and 2mg did not cause the emergence of any new circles.

 

And at this point I realised some quite important things: the chronic pains I'd had for nearly a year in my back and knee had lessened, suggesting their root cause was auto-immune rather than a simple misaligned joint - and just a week before my osteopath had admitted she really wasn't sure how to treat me as she couldn't do any more than she already had. I'd previously experienced terrible 'flare-ups' of this back pain which would leave me on crutches, and left with months of weakness in my core muscles. On LDN this residual weakness had completely disappeared. I felt fitter and had dispensed with the nagging muscle fatigue that had become normal over the last year. So I learnt that maybe there was more to this situation than I had considered, but I didn't mind because I was clearly doing the right things to deal with it.

 

However, I had been dosing in the morning as I wasn't brave enough to try at night - as soon as someone mentioned the possibility of insomnia I was pretty determined to be a morning doser! But it turned out the mornings weren't the right time for me - although I had begun to see some pretty impressive benefits, I noticed my mood was low for quite a few hours after my 9am dose - to the point even I was convinced to try evening dosing. The first few nights my sleep was a bit messed up - shallow with vivid dreams - but I was like a different person the next morning. I felt happy, together - and my thinking seemed clearer than usual despite being pretty tired. Over the next week I adjusted to the evening dosing and was waking up feeling I'd had enough sleep. I was feeling better than I have in a long time - more emotionally connected, and more effective in my day to day life.

 

Then a combination of things happened - I put my dose up 1mg in 2 weeks, and started holding the sublingual liquid in my mouth for longer. I'd realised I hadn't been doing it as well as I could have, and started timing myself to keep it there 5 minutes. I guess this meant I was jumping up more than I was used to, and within a week all the positive benefits just disappeared. I had pains again, terrible fatigue, muscle twitches, foggy thinking and bad sleep. I felt pretty disappointed! After a couple of weeks feeling sorry for myself and assuming this was just how I was now, I realised it could be the LDN and contacted Harpal for advice. I followed her suggestion of dropping my dose back 1mg, and within a day I started feeling better. 3 days later I'm feeling really good again - pretty much back to where I was before. So the moral of the story was take it slow....LDN works in mysterious ways and it definitely doesn't like being rushed!

Oh and I forgot to add - I used to have to get up and pee every night, but since the LDN that has just stopped. Not sure why but I'm pleased it has!

Testosterone Series 4- Let’s talk about Nebido, Sustanon and Enantate

This series has been a long time coming as my time gets limited and other interests drive my focus elsewhere but TRT is still one of the things I most enjoy doing. The idea of this blog is to give a more medically based opinion on the 3 commonest injectables used in the UK; my experience with it and my patients’ experience with it including labs.

 

Firstly, I’d like to touch upon the fact that this blog is not referring to testosterone cycles- what you normally see in forums- that focus more on body building. The focus is on sub-optimal testosterone levels being brought back up to optimal levels.

 

The 3 commonest injectables that I use at my practice and their various quirks are summarised below:

 

Sustanon 250

  • commonest due to price.

  • Comes in ampoule only. If you are getting it online in a vial, its not from a UK pharmacy.

  • Claims to be sustained release- hence called susta-non due to having 4 different esters (or carrier molecules). Each ester releases the testosterone at a different time and hence you get a more staggered release pattern where the peaks and troughs are more stable.

  • Single 1ml shot lasts 2.5 to 3 weeks. It can be given in divided doses.

  • Main disadvantage- carrier oil is peanut oil and benzyl alcohol. This is becoming a problem I’m seeing more and more of as its giving rise to side effects which I don’t get with other injectables. Most people with mild intolerances generally don’t even know they cannot handle peanut oil. When given in such large doses (1ml into the muscle), it can cause pain and local inflammation that lasts much longer than expected. As part of my practice is gut dysbiosis where I see a lot of food intolerances, I recognised this very early on. If this is your experience too, try changing to the other injectables or use creams.

  • The average response I get when I ask about peanuts is that my patients love it! Do keep an open mind about intolerances- just because you love it does not mean that you can handle it. Look out for other symptoms of intolerances like joint pains, rashes, headaches, flu-like symptoms etc. You may get none, or all of them.

 

Testosterone Enantate 250mg

  • This is the most similar to Cypionate that many people read about in forums. Cypionate is available in the US and some other countries but not in the UK. Its what I would put my patients on who need continuity of care from the US.

  • Its quite a bit more expensive that sustanon- stupidly more in fact. I don’t know why!

  • Comes in ampoule only. If you are getting it online in a vial, its not from a UK pharmacy. The ones in vials are considerably cheaper- according to google and from what some of my patients tell me- but we practitioners will never advocate it. Its just not worth it to me.

  • Is given in the same way as Sustanon- either single shot that last 2-3 weeks or in divided doses.

  • Carrier oil here is castor oil which is less allergenic (apparently) and benzyl benzoate.

  • I personally have never had a complaint with this so suspect that it probably is less allergenic.

  • If the price point of this and sustanon were the same, I would prefer using this.

Taken at our clinic

Taken at our clinic

 

Nebido 250mg (4ml)

  • This can hurt but its usually due to the volume of product injected into a small area. I occasionally inject it either in both buttock cheeks especially in very slim patients, or change directions still with the same entry point to spread things out a little.

  • This comes in a vial.

  • Carrier oil here is refined castor oil which is less allergenic (apparently) and benzyl benzoate.

  • I’m not a huge fan of Nebido but it has its place. I personally prefer it for patients who have completed their family (for potential fertility implications), travel a lot, have compliance issues or similar reasons.

  • This always suppresses your pituitary hormones which means that the negative feedback generated will block your own production of testosterone.

  • On a practical level, a lot of people don’t mind it and are happy to put up with some testicular shrinkage- as long as everything is being monitored regularly.

  • Others freak out a little when their pituitary levels of LH comes back as close to nonexistent. They can either opt for a different option or start on a HCG protocol (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) to stimulate their own production of testosterone alongside testosterone. Its a protocol used a lot in the US and quite many of my American patients request the same continuity of care as it works well for them.

  • There are also a small number who really feel the peak- not in a good way. Optimal levels of testosterone usually makes you calmer and less anxious but too much or too little can give rise to similar symptoms paradoxically when it comes to moods and aggression.

 

Other Options

  • Bioidentical topical creams from Compounding Pharmacies- I use these a lot and my patients love them (mostly). They are much easier to use compared to the gels available on the NHS (messy, too large a volume and sometimes does not give the blood picture expected which may point to user inconsistency in application).

  • My topicals come in 3 forms- creams, gels or liposomal gel. I have so far only ever ordered the liposomal gel as its absorbability is far superior at no extra cost.

  • As these are bespoke, there is a period of trial and error until you find the right dose after which, we simply make the cream in said dose for each patient.

  • Its more physiological with everyday application and so mimics the body’s own production more closely. This also translate into less pituitary suppression.

  • Disadvantage- some people perceive creams to be less effective (not true). Some don’t like having to apply a cream everyday.

  • Transdermal Implants- not a commonly available option and I do not have much experience in it for testosterone. This is something I’m hoping to explore as I believe that there is a place for it seeing as it has a 4-5 month life cycle. My experience in implants is in contraceptive implants which I did not like. Similar to Nebido, my personal feeling is that in order to achieve such longevity, it needs to be quite powerful which can give rise to side effects initially. However, do watch this space as I’m hoping to explore this further and may find myself changing my mind about it.

 

I hope that this article will help you gain an idea of what is available legally via a pharmacy in this country and to be able to tell the difference between what may or may not suit you. Or why you may be reacting to something others don’t have a problem with. As with most things medical, its not quite that simple but getting the right balance is possible and certainly achievable.