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  • Dean Johnston - From Fireman To Ironman

    Dean Johnston is a keen athlete and sportsman who has just completed the 2019 Welsh ‘Ironman’ challenge. He lives in Cwmafan, Port Talbot with his wife Victoria and two boys Ioan and Theo. Dean has always been a keen sportsman since a young child and was a regularly seen running or playing semi-professionally on the football field.

    After being a firefighter for a number of years which was a life long dream, unfortunately, he was involved in a road traffic accident whilst on his bike. The accident, though not his fault, meant his life took a different term and he spent the next 3 years surviving and recovering.

    He has overcome this, and just completed his first Iron man in 10 hours 47 and coming 9th in his age category, and 78th overall out of 2039 other competitors.

    In the Podcast video above,  Jamie speaks to Dean about his training and the event itself.

    Dean Tells His Story...

    WOW! What an emotional weekend that was!!!

    I managed to finish my first ever Ironman – an unforgettable sporting experience that I’m going to find hard to beat. Amazing course, amazing supporters and of course representing an amazing club in Port Talbot Harriers!

    Crossing that finish line was a bittersweet moment for me. I was ecstatic to finish but kept thinking about the journey I’d taken to get there. Exactly 3 years ago to the day, I was recovering from an operation to fix a double compound fracture to my right arm, after avoiding a collision with a car. A fracture that ultimately cost me my job! A job that I loved as a firefighter! A job that I’d done for 18 years and had expected to do for another 18. The pain wasn’t a problem, I knew it would go away soon. But, suffering with PTSD, depression and the realisation that I’d have to find a new career to help support my family was tough. I blamed myself! I sure visited some dark places!

    I am so, so lucky to have such a close loving family. A wife who was so supportive and understanding and put up with so much s*** she deserves a medal!! Without them it would have been even tougher!

    When I decided to take on the Ironman I soon realised that this was my medicine! It took me out of those dark places! Gave me a purpose! I was so envious hearing people talking about it. I wanted a piece of the action. If I couldn’t be Dean the firefighter, maybe I could be Dean the Ironman.

    The training was tough! But a breeze compared to what I’d been through personally. I didn’t want to just survive and get through the Ironman. I wanted to complete it as fast as I could. I thought I’d set myself a target. After being inspired by Geraint Thomas’ (my hero) winning the Tour de France the year before, I thought I’d set a lofty goal of trying to secure an age group Kona spot - the birthplace of Ironman and where the Ironman world championships are held. The holy grail of triathlon. To do this a felt a time of 10 hrs 30 mins was needed.

    Before getting into triathlon I’d been a fairly competitive runner. I had a 5k PB of 16.27 which I set as a 15 year old. I soon got distracted by football though and gave up running to play semi-professionally. I always promised myself that I’d go back to running after football and at 35 I returned, almost beating my 5k PB at 39 years of age, running 16.36. As I got older I decided to try longer distances running a half marathon PB of 1.15 and a marathon PB of 2.47.

    Gut Issues During Running

    Unfortunately, I started to develop stomach issues during these races, which really frustrated me as I was training really well, but when it got to the races the pain would get too much and I would have to stop. That’s when I decided to go into triathlon (sprint and Olympic distance). My logic was, the race can still last for 2 hours but the run only lasts 40 minutes. Unfortunately after time the stomach issues returned again. I saw a large number of physios to try and sort the problem but it always returned. I knew this was going to be a problem when taking on this Ironman challenge so I decided that if a physio can’t sort it then maybe it’s more of a gut health problem rather than a muscular problem.

    That’s when I spoke to Charlotte at Aliment and PRP Supplements. I’d seen the Intensive Training Probiotic Complex on social media and did a bit of research into the product and was impressed with the studies. After speaking with Charlotte we decided to go with the probiotic but also decided to add the Omega Max Pure as an anti-inflammatory and vitamin D for bone health. It would prove to be a great decision and a pivotal moment in my training and races.

    Training For Ironman

    I always loved the research of training. There were so many different opinions, different books - Joe Friel’s Training Bible, Don Fink and Paul Newsome’s Swim Smooth and Jack Daniels’ Running Formula. I read them and decided to plan my own programme and coach myself. It was something I enjoyed and immersed myself in.

    The training was divided into 3 phases. A BASE (start till 20 weeks from race), BUILD (20 weeks before race) and PEAK (10 weeks before race) phase.

    Base Phase

    The BASE phase would start with 2 swims a week (2 x30 mins), 3 bikes a week (2x1 hour & 1x2 hour) and 3 runs a week (1x30 mins, 1 x brick & 1x 45 mins long ) all at low intensity at zone 2 HR and slowly adding volume to the sessions, just building up the endurance. It was going to be a long 9 months of graft; I didn’t want to blow up months before the race.

    Build Phase

    In the BUILD phase I added 1 extra session to each discipline which was a threshold session. Swim (1 x easy, 1 x Technique, 1 x threshold) Bike (2 x easy, 1 x threshold, 1 x long building up to 4 hours) Run (1 x easy, 1 x brick, 1 x threshold, 1 x long building up to 1 hr 45 mins).

    Peak Phase

    In the PEAK phase frequency remained the same but volume increased again for all long sessions. Swim (1 x easy, 1 x Technique, 1 x threshold) Bike (2 x easy, 1 x threshold, 1 x long building up to 6 hours) Run (1 x easy, 1 x brick, 1 x threshold, 1 x long building up to 2 hr 30 mins). Until 3 weeks before the race which would start the taper.

    The PEAK phase was interrupted by an injury sustained to my ankle during a race. 3 weeks of running were missed as a result and had a detrimental effect on my running performance during Ironman.

    The training was really tough! Feeling tired most of the time, but what surprised me the most was that I never got ill. When I was in demanding blocks of training I would find that I’d breakdown with a sore throat. It never happened this time.

    The Result...

    Close but no cigar. I was to finish in a time of 10hrs 47 mins. I’m really pleased with the result. It’s a time I would have been thrilled with at the start of the day. But…I couldn’t help be a little disappointed! I missed the Kona spot by less than 9 mins.

    Ironman Wales Race Day

    As I was about to ‘toe the line’ for the start the race, I had a lump in my throat! and the national anthem hadn’t started to play yet. It wasn’t to do with nerves of what was to come, the hours of suffering with 2000+ other athletes and teammates. It was the realisation that I’ve had a pretty s***ty 3 years and yet here I am chomping at the bit to face another challenge, looking forward, being positive. I was proud of myself!

    The race itself was everything I expected and more. It filled every expectation! I’d prepared well, my body was ready!! The only thing I hadn’t truly prepared myself for was the crowd. Ooofff! Everywhere was rammed! The banks overlooking North Beach for the swim, the streets of Tenby town for the run. The highlight? The hill after Heartbreak Hill, leading up to New Hedges. I remember looking up, seeing a sea of bodies in a line, 2 or 3 deep for 400m just leaving enough gap for 1 cyclist to pass. screaming ‘Go Dean’. This is the closest I’ll ever get to feeling like a pro athlete I thought! I lived the dream for 30 seconds!

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    If you are taking any prescribed medication or have any medical conditions ALWAYS consult your doctor or pharmacist BEFORE taking vitamins or supplements. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. If pregnant or lactating, ALWAYS consult your doctor before use. Or if you have any queries about any supplement ALWAYS consult a QUALIFIED medical professional.


    Please click here to read our legal disclaimer on all products and advice.

  • Probiotics And Immune System

  • Lab4 Probiotics - The Basics

    With over 30 years’ experience in probiotics, coupled with continual research and new product development, Lab4 Probiotics is one of the world's most respected producers of probiotics. The company is owned and managed by Dr Nigel Plummer, a world-renowned expert in the field of probiotics. Dr Plummer produced his first human probiotic in 1994, having previously worked in the field of animal probiotics.

    Lab4, the strain of bacteria used in our products has been developed over 20 years by Dr Nigel Plummer. A 20-strong team of scientists and researchers has spent the last 15 years undertaking clinical research into the effectiveness of the Lab4 probiotic strains. The Lab4 probiotic that is in the PRP probiotic products have been used in research relating to allergy, common illnesses and specific digestive complaints and are designed to be used in pregnancy, through infancy, childhood and into adulthood.

    What Are The Benefits Of Lab4 Probiotics?

    More and more research is being carried out each year as the benefits of probiotics are tested. Current research shows that probiotics could have benefits for;

    - Digestion and absorption
    - Mental health conditions
    - Allergies
    - Immune function
    - IBS
    - Traveller’s diarrhoea

    There are a number of mechanisms by which probiotics have been suggested to improve health.

    They can directly modulate our immune system and can boost immune cells including natural killer cells, the IgA-producing cells as well as T lymphocytes.

    They have an antimicrobial action. They produce antimicrobial substances and also compete with pathogens to adhere to the lining of our digestive system.

    They can improve the intestinal barrier. Within our digestive tract, the lining of cells is held together by structural proteins. This barrier prevents certain substances and compounds from entering our circulation. Probiotics can enhance this barrier, as well as increase the mucosal layer which covers it.

    Probiotics can also increase the amount of short chain fatty acids (SCFA) in our digestive system. These have been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect throughout the body.

    Are they All The Same

    If you look at the label of a probiotic product you will see the name of the bacterial strain that the product uses. For example, in our probiotic products we use the strains:

    - Lactobacillus acidophilus CUL 60
    - Lactobacillus acidophilus CUL 21
    - Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. Lactis CUL 34
    - Bifidobacterium bifidum CUL 20

    The names are made up of the bacteria genus (e.g. Lactobacillus), species (e.g. acidophilus) and strain (e.g. CUL 60). While some bacterial strains can have similar mechanisms and health benefits (particularly if they are the same species), some of the benefits have been shown to be strain specific.

    Have the Lab4 Strains Been Used In Research?

    Lab4 is the proprietary group of probiotic bacteria, which was developed by Dr Nigel Plummer and his team of scientists at Cultech Ltd and has been used in probiotics products around the world for the past 10 years.

    There are now 12 clinical studies supporting the use of Lab4 probiotics for a variety of functions in adults, children and babies. Carried out over the past 15 years, these studies have shown the benefit of the Lab4 and Lab4b consortia in supporting digestive health, immune health, performance and mood and cognition.

    Specifically, the studies have shown the impact of probiotics on early immune system development, immunity in children, alongside antibiotics and in helping to prevent antibiotic resistance, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), athletic performance, anxiety and attention.

    Throughout these trials and 15 years of use in products, Lab4 probiotics bacteria have been shown to be completely safe. This is further supported by The Swansea Baby Trial which involved both pregnant ladies and newborn babies. The approval of the Lab4b probiotics for use in this large trial with these two potentially vulnerable populations is a testament to the efficacy of this group of bacteria. Take a look at the Lab4 study timeline for more information.

    proven probiotics travellers diarrhoea

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    Are There Any Other Benefits?

    More recent research has also shown the Lab4 strains can also have a positive impact on sports performance.

    • When runners supplemented with Lab4 probiotics for 4 weeks and asked to run to exhaustion in the heat, they were able to run for ~15% longer compared to when they had taken the placebo (Shing et al., 2014)
    • In ironman triathletes, participants supplemented with probiotics or placebo for 12 weeks. Those taking probiotics had a 10% quicker overall race time than those on the placebo – although this did not reach statistical significance. Those taking probiotics also suffered from fewer and less severe gut symptoms (e.g. bloating, urge to defecate, nausea, etc.) during training compared to the placebo group. (Roberts et al., 2016)
    • Runners competing in the Marathon des Sables (often called the toughest race on the planet) had an overall race time that was 12% quicker after supplementing with Lab4 probiotics compared to placebo (Marshall et al.m 2017)

    Yet to be published research has also shown that Lab4 can have benefits to athletes who consume carbohydrate drinks during exercise, as well as improve performance in marathon runners.


    If you are taking any prescribed medication or have any medical conditions ALWAYS consult your doctor or pharmacist BEFORE taking vitamins or supplements. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. If pregnant or lactating, ALWAYS consult your doctor before use. Or if you have any queries about any supplement ALWAYS consult a QUALIFIED medical professional.


    Please click here to read our legal disclaimer on all products and advice.

  • Tips To Help Travellers Diarrhoea

    - Part 1 of the 'Benefits Of Probiotics' Series

    Nothing can ruin your holiday more (except maybe bad weather!) than a dodgy stomach or travellers diarrhoea. From sickness and diarrhoea to cramps and bloating, these common irritating ailments are enough to put anyone off their afternoon sangria in the sun. That’s why we’ve put together a few travel tips to keep your gut in good health this summer.


    Probiotics And Travellers Diarrhoea

    These little “friendly bacteria” help restore the natural balance of bacteria in your gut. Probiotics boost the immune system and help fight off harmful bacteria; they also possess anti-inflammatory properties and can strengthen the lining of the intestine – this prevents toxins entering your blood (known as “leaky gut” syndrome). Research has shown probiotics to be beneficial for those suffering with gastroenteritis, irritable bowel syndrome, allergies, diarrhoea, and more recently, for endurance athletes. In one meta-analysis, 85% of cases of traveller’s diarrhoea (travel tummy) were prevented with probiotic supplementation[1] and they have demonstrated high efficacy in children[2].

    Many strains of probiotics exist; we recommend Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium – begin taking 2 days before travel and continue daily until you return.

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    Stay Hydrated

    The human body contains up to 65% water to function at its best, so it’s important to stay hydrated. In severe cases, dehydration can be fatal – even mild dehydration can cause muscle weakness, confusion, headache, irritability, and cramps – just to list a few! Aim to drink 2 litres of fluids a day (cordial, tea, and coffee all count) plus at least an extra litre if you’re exercising or in a hot climate.

    Gut Issues

    If you find yourself spending more time in the bathroom than by the pool, here is what you should do. Experiencing sickness or travellers diarrhoea (or both if you’re really unlucky) can leave you dehydrated, which will only make you feel worse, so it’s important to replace the fluids you have lost. Alongside water, you also lose salts (mainly sodium and potassium) – consume an electrolyte drink or, alternatively, a glass of milk will do the job. Secondly, if all that travelling (or a nasty hangover) has left you feeling nauseous, ginger has been shown to reduce symptoms[3] – try a few ginger biscuits or be prepared and pack some ginger supplements in your suitcase.

    Don’t drastically change your diet

    Naturally, you will want to try new foods when travelling and maybe indulge a little. But suddenly consuming a lot of fat, sugar, and processed foods won’t do your digestive system any favours. Try to make sure you’re still getting enough fruit, vegetables, and fibre to aid digestion and sooth travellers diarrhoea– a morning smoothie should do the trick!

    Food hygiene

    Not that you shouldn’t be thinking about this when at home, but food and general hygiene are even more important when travelling abroad. Carry hand sanitiser so that you are always prepared and able to wash your hands before eating. Avoid tap water and raw fruits and vegetables. A bit of common sense will go a long way in helping your holiday from taking a nasty turn for the worst.


    1. McFarland (2007) Meta-analysis of probiotics for the prevention of traveler's diarrhea. Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease [Online], 5 (2) March, pp. 97-105.
    2. Allen et al. (2010) Probiotics for treating acute infectious diarrhoea. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews [Online], 10 (11) November.
    3. Lete & Allué (2016) The Effectiveness of Ginger in the Prevention of Nausea and Vomiting during Pregnancy and Chemotherapy. Integrative Medicine Insights [Online], 11 March, pp. 11-17.


    If you are taking any prescribed medication or have any medical conditions ALWAYS consult your doctor or pharmacist BEFORE taking vitamins or supplements. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. If pregnant or lactating, ALWAYS consult your doctor before use. Or if you have any queries about any supplement ALWAYS consult a QUALIFIED medical professional.


    Please click here to read our legal disclaimer on all products and advice.

  • What is Inulin?

    Inulin is a type of carbohydrate and dietary fibre that has gained lots of interest in the last number of years of the role of the gut and the bacteria that reside there have been seen more and more as an important player in our overall health. Dietary fibers have the potential of exhibiting physiological functions in the human body such as lowering of blood cholesterol or glucose level and providing laxation.

    Recommended Intake Of Inulin

    The recommended level of dietary fiber is 30 g for person utilizing 2500 kcal and 25 g for person utilizing 2000 kcal per day. The World Health Organization recommends 27–40 g/day of total dietary fiber and 16–24 g/day of non-starch polysaccharides - amounts not typically met by the majority of westernised countries.

    The Inulin Basics

    Inulin is classified as a fructan, meaning that it is made up of lots of connected fructose molecules. Inulin is found in large quantities in Jerusalem artichoke, chicory root, garlic, asparagus root, salisfy and dandelion root.

    Food materials which are usually not absorbed in the small intestine and can selectively promote the activity and growth of particular native bacteria of the digestive tract are defined as prebiotics. These are the fermentable ingredients capable of producing definite changes in activity as well as composition of gastrointestinal microflora (Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria). There are a number of health benefits associated with prebiotics e.g. improved gut microbiota, increased mineral absorption, stimulation of immune functions, reduced risks of irritable bowel diseases and constipation and they also possess the potential to lower the cholesterol and colorectal cancer (1)


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    Adding Prebiotics To Your Diet

    Adding prebiotics in your cooking is a natural approach to improve your overall health. Most of the prebiotics can also give the desired functionality to the food items. For example, short chain prebiotics serve the same function as exhibited by sugars and so can contribute to the crispiness & browning of the product. On the other hand, long chain prebiotics can act as fat replacers. Moreover, majority of prebiotics are not damaged by food processing operations thus retain their functionalities

    Adding Inulin To Your Food

    Adding inulin to yogurts, overnight oats, or smoothies is the easiest way to incorporate it into your daily routine. If you’re baking, you can substitute some (or all) of the sugar out of the recipe for an equal weight of inulin. You can even stir it straight into your morning tea or coffee.


    1. Drobnic, F.; Riera, J.; Appendino, G.; Togni, S.; Franceschi, F.; Valle, X.; Pons, A.; Tur, J. Reduction of delayed onset muscle soreness by a novel curcumin delivery system (Meriva®): A randomised, placebo-controlled trial. J. ISSN 2014, 11, 31.
    2. Delecroix, B.; Abaïdia, A.E.; Leduc, C.; Dawson, B.; Dupont, G. Curcumin and piperine supplementation and recovery following exercise-induced muscle damage: A randomized controlled trial. J. Sports Sci. Med.2017, 16, 147–153.
    3. Basnet, P.; Skalko-Basnet, N. Curcumin: An anti-inflammatory molecule from a curry spice on the path to cancer treatment. Molecules 2011, 16, 4567–4598.
  • Can Probiotics Help Hay Fever and Other Allergic Conditions?

    Airborne allergens, such as pollen, dander and dust mites, affect a large number of people and can lead to hay fever symptoms. These symptoms can be uncomfortable and distressing and for those of us looking for natural alternatives to medication, probiotics might form part of the solution.

    There is increasing evidence that these friendly bacteria (probiotics) may help in preventing and alleviating allergic conditions. Whilst some foods, such as live yoghurt, kefir and sauerkraut contain high levels of friendly gut bacteria, these foods do not appear in abundance in today’s diet and taking probiotics in supplement form may be the best option for achieving the required balance of bacteria in our gut.


    View Our Probiotic Range

    - Contains extensively studied Lab4 probiotic consortium
    - Successful results in clinical trials on allergies
    - A range of different products for different requirements

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    How Can Probiotics Help Hay Fever?

    Friendly bacteria can help to modify the balance of bacteria in the gut and help to boost the immune system. They can also help by increasing the levels of an antibody (secretory IgA), which lines the respiratory and gastro-intestinal tracts and helps to reduce the effect of allergens.

    Much of the research relating to probiotics and the prevention and reduction of symptoms of allergy has been done with children. The Lab4 group of probiotics found in the ProVen Probiotics products has been shown to help in the prevention of allergy, when given to babies during the last trimester of pregnancy and the first six months of infancy. In a study involving 454 mother-baby pairs, the babies who received the Lab4 friendly bacteria were 50% less likely to develop allergies by two year of age than the babies who did not receive the probiotics [1].


    1. [1] Allen SJ et al 2014. Probiotics in the prevention of eczema: a randomised controlled trial. Archives of Disease in Childhood 99(11): 1014–1019


    If you are taking any prescribed medication or have any medical conditions ALWAYS consult your doctor or pharmacist BEFORE taking vitamins or supplements. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. If pregnant or lactating, ALWAYS consult your doctor before use. Or if you have any queries about any supplement ALWAYS consult a QUALIFIED medical professional.


    Please click here to read our legal disclaimer on all products and advice.

  • CBD Oil - What's The Big Deal?

    What Is CBD Oil?

    CBD oil seems to be the ‘buzz’ at the moment, everyone seems to be trying it! With so many suggested benefits which you can find on the internet, I can see why.

    CBD stands for Cannabidiol, and the oil is usually made up from hemp seeds and hemp extract. The hemp seed oil comes from the pressing of the seeds of the plant as the name would suggest, and the extract comes from the leaves and stalks of the plant itself.

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    Where Does CBD Come From?

    Cannabidiol (CBD) is extracted from the cannabis plant, specifically the hemp strain. With no psychoactive or addictive effects, it is perfectly legal and safe to take. It is believed CBD oil acts on the endocannabinoid system in our bodies, and much of the current buzz surrounding scientific research on CBD focuses on the benefits this non-intoxicating compound can have on our wellbeing.

    You may have read that CBD’s status as a food supplement has changed, however, CBD oil is still legal and safe to consume.

    It is important when choosing which CBD oil to purchase, that you buy one which comes from EU approved supply, and that it complies with the European standards for THC content, pesticide use, and Heavy metals.

    What's The Best Way to Take CBD Oil?

    The great thing about CBD oil is that is it suitable for vegetarians and vegans as it comes directly from the plant.

    This ensures that the oil is absorbed quickly and effectively into your bloodstream maximising the benefits. If you are new to CBD Oil, it is advisable to start with a low dose and to build up your intake gradually over a few weeks, until you find the dosage that best suits your needs. For best results CBD Oil is taken sublingually (under your tongue).

    cbd oil

    What Are the Benefits Of CBD Oil?

    We have recently been hearing feedback from lots of different people who have tried CBD oil for reasons such as pain relief, in muscle recovery to helping with their anxiety.

    Studies have shown that CBD may help reduce chronic pain by impacting endocannabinoid receptor activity, reducing inflammation and interacting with neurotransmitters .

    For example, one study in rats found that CBD injections reduced pain response to surgical incision, while another rat study found that oral CBD treatment significantly reduced sciatic nerve pain and inflammation.*(References below)

    We all react differently to nutritional supplements. If you are new to CBD, it’s important to start low and slow with your dosage and build it up slowly over time if needed. If you’re taking any prescribed medication, as with any nutritional supplement please consult your doctor before use.

    Our CBD Oil

    Aliment CBD Oil is “Grown from Certified EU seeds, according to regulation (EC) no 112212009 with Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) no 393/2013, Council directive 20021571EC and Article 39 (1) of regulation (EC) no 7312009”.

    The Aliment/PRP oil is certified by a Eurpean ISO laboratory. It is confirmed to have non-detectable levels of total THC; approved for pesticides and contaminants in accordance to the council regulation (EC) No396/2005 and No 839/2008, (EC) No 1881/2006 and (EU) 165/2010; and conforms to the heavy metal regulation in accordance to Council regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 (EC) No 835/2011.

    We are fortunate to operate in a heavily regulated industry with no room for misleading promises. As a responsible company we cannot make health claims for CBD oil. However, we do encourage you to research this ingredient for yourself, with plenty of resources online explaining CBD’s huge popularity.


    Front Pharmacol. 2017; 8: 391.

    Published online 2017 Jun 21. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2017.00391

    Cannabidiol Is a Potential Therapeutic for the Affective-Motivational Dimension of Incision Pain in Rats

    Karina Genaro,1,2,* Débora Fabris,1,2 Ana L. F. Arantes,1,2 Antônio W. Zuardi,1,3 José A. S. Crippa,1,3 and Wiliam A. Prado2,4

    Eur J Pharmacol. 2007 Feb 5;556(1-3):75-83. Epub 2006 Nov 10.

    The non-psychoactive cannabis constituent cannabidiol is an orally effective therapeutic agent in rat chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain.

    Costa B1, Trovato AE, Comelli F, Giagnoni G, Colleoni M.


    If you are taking any prescribed medication or have any medical conditions ALWAYS consult your doctor or pharmacist BEFORE taking vitamins or supplements. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. If pregnant or lactating, ALWAYS consult your doctor before use. Or if you have any queries about any supplement ALWAYS consult a QUALIFIED medical professional.


    Please click here to read our legal disclaimer on all products and advice.

  • Is Baby Brain Real? This Is Why Fish Oil Is Important During Pregnancy

    “The brain size of women with insufficient DHA actually shrinks in pregnancy because the foetus will rob their brain to build its own.”

    ‘Baby Brain Is Real’!

    Many of us have heard about baby brain, and some have experienced it! But why and how does it happen?

    When a baby is born, it has a much larger head compared to body. In fact the brain to body ratio in a human is a couple of hundred times greater than some large mammals.

    The most important brain building nutrient for the developing brain is DHA. A baby's brain is made up of 11% DHA. DHA is fundamental for the structure and function of the brain and eyes, making up 97% of the omega 3’s in the brain.

    It is now recognised that if the pregnant mum does not have enough EPA/DHA, then the brain size of the mum will actually shrink during pregnancy because the foetus will take what it needs to develop and nourish its own. This means that this could be the reason that women often report feeling forgetful (baby brain).

    The general consensus therefore is that fish oil is extremely important in pregnancy, not just for the developing baby, but also for the mum.

    baby brain

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    However, the method of getting enough high quality fish oil is also important. Most pregnant women are generally advised to eat 2 portions of oil fish per week during pregnancy. This may be difficult for so many reasons, and there is also the concern of the source of the fish being eaten. Where was it caught? Is it wild or farmed? Has it been screened for heavy metals?

    Another consideration is the type of fish the EPA/DHA is coming from. For example, you may typically eat tuna as one of your portions of oil fish per week. Tuna could on average have 10 times the amount of heavy metals than smaller fish such as sardines and mackerel and even Salmon. Whereas a good quality supplement would get its oil from sardine and anchovy, which typically contain much lower levels of contaminants.

    So whereas these factors would be important for anybody eating fish, whilst being pregnant, this may make these factors even more crucial.

    Good quality fish oil supplements (NOT Cod Liver Oil) will not only provide good levels of DHA/EPA, but they will also provide the re-assurance that they have been tested to ensure the absence of heavy metals such as Mercury, and other contaminants.

    So doesn’t it make sense to take a high quality fish oil supplement so you know exactly what you are putting into your body, from a nutrient level point of view, and also from a purity point of view.

    An ideal level of DHA during pregnancy is 250-300mg per day

  • PhD Study Timeline - Probiotics and Performance

    Over the last two years, the LAB4 Probiotic strains have been used in two studies that have looked at their effect in endurance athletes.

    The first looked at whether probiotics could help increase the amount of carbohydrate used during exercise. Many people will take on gels and sports drinks during endurance exercise. This can accumulate in the gut and lead to gut discomfort. This study showed that in cyclists consuming a carbohydrate sports drink, probiotic supplementation increased their ability to use the carbohydrate drink.

    In the second study, recreational runners supplemented with probiotics (or placebo) for 28 days before completing a marathon race. the probiotic saw reductions in gut symptoms during the weeks leading up to the race. They also reported less severe symptoms such as bloating and the urge to go to the toilet, during the marathon itself. This, in turn, saw that, compared to placebo, the probiotic group were able to maintain their speed at the end of the race, while the placebo tended to slow down.

    Below we have put together all the research and studies that have been done on the Intensive Training Probiotic over the last 4 years. The results are pretty amazing...

    [icon_timeline timeline_style="jstime" timeline_line_color="#939393" time_block_bg_color="#ffffff" time_sep_bg_color="#01abb7" tl_animation="tl-animation-slide-out"][icon_timeline_item time_title="November 2014 - PhD Starts" title_font_color="#01abb7" title_font_size="desktop:22px;"]

    Jamie starts PhD journey at Liverpool John Moores University, supervised by Graeme Close (performance nutritionist for England Rugby).[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title="March 2015 - Study: Effects of High Intensity Running and Markers of Gut Damage" title_font_color="#01abb7" title_font_size="desktop:22px;"]Looking at the effects of high-intensity running and markers of gut damage, compared to at rest. Results from this study showed that while high intensity running lead to increases in some of these markers, they quickly returned to baseline values and were not related to any gut symptoms such as bloating or the urge to go the the toilet.[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title="September 2015 - Jamie Begins Lecturing at Bolton University" title_font_color="#01abb7" title_font_size="desktop:22px;"]Teaching Sports Nutrition on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title="January 2016 - The Effect of Glutamine On Gut Damage During Running In The Heat" title_font_color="#01abb7" title_font_size="desktop:22px;"]Work begins on a study to investigate the effect of glutamine on gut damage during running in the heat. The results showed that consuming glutamine two hours before a one hour run in the heat reduced the amount of damage to the gastrointestinal tract. There appeared to be a dose-response effect, but doses of around 10-15 grams were still effective. This study was later published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology.[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title="March 2016 - First Article Published in the United Kingdom Strength and Conditioning Association journal." title_font_color="#01abb7" title_font_size="desktop:22px;"]

    In this article Jamie discussed the current state of information in regards to the gut in elite athletes and future directions for research.[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title="June 2016 - BBC’s The Truth About Healthy Eating" title_font_color="#01abb7" title_font_size="desktop:22px;"]BBC the truth about healthy eating

    Assisting on BBC’s The Truth About Healthy Eating, Jamie helped a small study that looked at the effects of different breakfasts. The results? Breakfasts higher in protein, and lower in sugar content lead to lower feelings of hunger and increased satiety - you were more likely to get through to lunch-time without wanting something else to eat.[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title="September 2016 - Collaboration with Edge Hill University" title_font_color="#01abb7" title_font_size="desktop:22px;"]thank you note intensive sport probiotic phd

    Working in collaboration with Edge Hill University to look at the food choices of Ultramarathon runners during a race. The results of the study are still being written up, but the general trend saw Ultra runners start by eating sweet foods but, as the race progressed, they tended to select savoury choices like pretzels and potatoes.[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title="February 2017 - Study: Effects of Probiotics on Exercise Metabolism" title_font_size="desktop:22px;" title_font_color="#01abb7"] probiotics exercise metabolism

    Work starts on study looking at the effects of probiotics on exercise metabolism. Jamie has since presented this work at two major international scientific conferences and has shown that probiotic supplementation increases your ability to use carbohydrate that you consume during exercise.[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title="May 2017 - Liverpool Rock'n'Roll Marathon" title_font_size="desktop:22px;" title_font_color="#01abb7"]Jamie taking at Liverpool Rock'n'roll marathon

    Jamie attended Liverpool Rock'n'Roll marathon to talk about how sports science can help people run a faster marathon. Discussing in race nutrition, caffeine, pacing, drafting and even shoe types.[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title="August 2017 - Study: Effects of Probiotic Supplementation on Gut Symptoms in Marathon Runners" title_font_size="desktop:22px;" title_font_color="#01abb7"]During this final PhD study, Jamie looked at the effects of probiotic supplementation on gut symptoms in marathon runners. The results have not yet been published, but those in the probiotic group suffered less severe symptoms during training and during the marathon. This also showed for the first time that probiotics could improve endurance performance as those in the probiotic group slowed down less at the end of the race, compared to the placebo group.[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_feat time_title="October 2017 - Article Published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine" title_font_size="desktop:22px;" title_font_color="#01abb7"]The article highlights the prevalence of gastrointestinal symptoms in elite athletes. There is a significant of number of symptoms reported that could affect performance and symptoms that could affect the overall quality of life.  [/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_item time_title="December 2017 - Study: The effects of Glutamine on Markers of Gut Damage During Exercise in the Heat" title_font_size="desktop:22px;" title_font_color="#01abb7"]The effects of glutamine on markers of gut damage during exercise in the heat. This study showed that a single dose of around 10-15 g of glutamine, 2 hours before exercise, can reduce the measures of gut damage. While this might be higher than typical daily doses, it could be a strategy to consider for anyone participating in a big endurance event, particularly in the summer months.[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title="November 2018 - PhD Thesis Submitted" title_font_size="desktop:22px;" title_font_color="#01abb7"]The hard work is over (for now). PhD thesis submitted.[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_feat time_title="February 2019 - PhD Viva" title_font_size="desktop:22px;" title_font_color="#01abb7"]Jamie Pugh becomes Dr Jamie Pugh after defending his PhD in his viva voce. He is examined by World renowned scientists Dr Neil Chester and Professor Neil Walsh. [/icon_timeline_feat][/icon_timeline]

    Intensive training Probiotic

    20% Off Lab4 Intensive Training Sport Probiotic

    - Formulated for performance
    - Used in two clinical trials with endurance athletes (as shown above)
    - 25 Billion viable cells per capsule
    - Helps aid digestion during intense exercise
    - Contains extensively studied Lab4 consortium. Also contains L-Glutamine, N-Acetyl Glucosamine and ElavTP

    Find out more...

  • 7 Ways On How To Help Keep a Healthy Heart

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