Iron is an essential mineral, necessary to produce haemoglobin, which plays an important role in storing and transporting oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body, including the muscles for healthy muscle contraction.

There are two forms of dietary iron known as haem and non-haem iron:

Haem iron can be found in animal-based foods, including lean red meats, poultry and fish

Non-haem iron can be found in plant-based foods, including nuts, legumes, grains, fruits and vegetables

Iron levels are tightly controlled within the body, with levels regulated by absorption rather than excretion, and many factors can hinder the amount of iron absorbed within the gastrointestinal tract.

Iron absorption

Haem iron is more soluble and readily absorbed by the body when compared to non-haem iron. Non-haem iron is less soluble and poorly absorbed as it’s easily disrupted and inhibited by other dietary factors including tea, coffee, milk, wholegrains and chocolate. Combining foods rich in vitamin C with non-haem iron based foods, helps to solubilise and enhance the absorption of iron from the digestive tract. Haem iron is thought to have 2-3 times greater absorption than non-haem iron. Iron supplementation may be beneficial when dietary intake is inadequate, and deficiency is common in vegetarians, vegans, the elderly, and during infancy, adolescence and pregnancy.

Iron and B Vitamins – essential Vegan supplements

Some B vitamins, particularly vitamins B2, B6, B12 and folic acid, when combined with iron, provide important cofactors that help to maintain healthy blood in healthy individuals:

Vitamins B2 and B6 are important for the production of haemoglobin, which transports oxygen around the body in red blood cells

Vitamin B12 and folic acid are necessary for the production of red blood cells for oxygen transport

Vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid are necessary for oxygen transport in red blood cells

Types of iron

There are a number of organic (eg: ferrous bisglycinate) and non-organic (eg: ferrous sulphate) forms of non-haem iron available for supplementation. Ferrous sulphate is commonly prescribed medically, and while highly bioavailable, gastrointestinal irritation is common. Ferrous bisglycinate is also highly bioavailable and is well tolerated and gentle on the digestive system.


We know Licorice as a delicious sweet treat, the herb itself has very different benefits. As a medicinal herb, licorice root has long been valued for the profound and positive effect it has on your digestive system.

Licorice has been used in many forms over the centuries. It is known that the glycyrrhizin in licorice root can cause high blood pressure. A procedure developed to remove this compound from licorice provides a new safer form known as DGL or deglycyrrhizinated licorice. Anti-inflammatory DGL is highly effective for soothing digestive disturbances, particularly gastritis and peptic ulcers.

The mechanism of DGL in peptic ulcer treatment is that it stimulates and/or accelerates the factors that protect against ulcer formation. Specifically, DGL improves both the quality and quantity of the protective substances that line the intestinal tract. The licorice produces a thick protective mucus gel that covers the lining of the stomach wall providing welcome relief for heartburn sufferers too.

Chewing DGL between or twenty minutes prior to meals seems to produce positive results as it must mix with saliva to promote the regeneration of salivary compounds that stimulate the growth and regeneration of stomach and intestinal cells.

DGL may also prove useful in eradicating Helicobacter pylori. Patients with duodenal and gastric ulcers may test positive to this bacterium.  Stress and anxiety were thought to be the main cause of ulcers, but H. Pylori causes damage to the stomach lining and DGL can combat this damage.
Licorice is also one of a group of herbs that has a marked effect upon the endocrine system. It was traditionally used as an adrenal tonic. Licorice contains glycyrrhizic acid, similar to the hormones of the adrenal cortex, these glands have the task of responding to any stress the body is under, whether it is study, work or life.  
Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) may help relieve:

  • Functional dyspepsia
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea and stomach pain
  • Gastritis
  • Leaky gut syndrome
  • Peptic ulcers

Licorice supplements contraindicate with anti-hypertensive or diuretic medications. Do not take if you suffer kidney insufficiency, liver cirrhosis or are pregnant.

The Unexpected Benefits of Going to a Naturopath

The human body is an amazing thing. It is made up of about 200 kinds of cells, each with a job to perform. Cells form the tissue of your beating heart, the hormones that control your moods, and the chemicals that trigger thoughts in your brain. Trillions of cells are performing processes during every second of your life.

Whenever something causes these processes to become unbalanced, the body no longer performs to precision. You may feel specific symptoms or an overall feeling of not being well. A naturopath uses natural resources to help the body restore balance so that you can achieve optimal health. These “resources” often include herbs, but they also extend to meditation, counselling, and other alternative treatments.

The Role of the Naturopath

A natural health provider, or naturopath, has in-depth knowledge of the tools he uses. This knowledge includes an understanding of natural resources such as herbs, and their innate properties. A skilled naturopath has a strong desire to improve the way you feel in body, mind, and spirit. He understands the impact that your physical, mental, and emotional symptoms have on your life.

Prevention is also a large part of naturopathy. The naturopath can look at the morphology of your blood or your genetics to assess your risk for health conditions in the future. He takes a more personalised approach to determining the types of treatments and therapies you need to achieve your best health and general well-being in both the present and the future.

What a Naturopath Can Do for You

Naturopathy is often used to complement medical treatment for chronic conditions. It may also lead to relief for symptoms of common conditions like allergies, food intolerances, digestive disorders, skin disorders, and stress. These conditions are often difficult to pinpoint. While most are not life-threatening, the symptoms you live with each day can greatly affect every area of your health and keep you from enjoying activities that are important to you.

The Dangers of Self-Diagnosis

Some of the conditions that cause a loss of well-being require some trial and error to detect. Many conditions cause similar symptoms in spite of being quite different from one another. This is why self-diagnosis is never a good idea, especially if you are already on medications. Making a wrong assumption or mixing homemade remedies or OTC medications with prescription medications can result in serious complications. Instead, you should put your care into the hands of a knowledgeable and experienced naturopath who knows how to find the best solutions for you.

What to Look for in a Naturopath

There are many levels of naturopathic care providers with varying areas of study. Some of the most important features to look for in a naturopath are training, experience, and the areas of specialty that pertain to naturopathic treatment.

Peter Balogh N.D. more than meets the criteria as a safe and trusted naturopath. He is a certified homeopath with an advanced diploma of nutritional medicine, diploma of natural science which includes herbal medicine, and an advanced diploma of nutritional medicine.

Pete has been providing compassionate care for more than twenty years. He has built a successful practice and the variety of services he offers continues to grow.

The Spirit of Being a Woman

The nurturing aspect of enhancing our natural beauty with chemical free make-up that performs as well as any mainstream brand is important to our team at GoVita Tanunda. We advocate thinking a little deeper into what beauty products we use and promote, then investing in brands that reflect our devotion to health focused beauty.

Let our Professional Make-Up artist show you how by booking a make-over tutorial using our Certified Organic, 100% Natural, botanical, vegan, cruelty free and non-toxic cosmetic brands

A lot of us slip between being a glamour girl and our everyday organic selves.
There is something fabulous about wandering through the beauty counters in the big Department stores that feels feminine and indulgent.

When we were younger, we were lovers of the most fancied beauty products. We were young cosmetic addicts, on a quest for clear skin, delightful smells, becoming a real grown-up woman through the transformation that make-up promised.

Cosmetics and skin care products are part of what is to be a woman. They allow us daily creativity, a feminine rite of passage!

In a way, it’s like an expression of self to indulge in the scents, the creams, the powders, the liners, the colours, the idea!

Looking back, we had no idea the products that we were using on our skin made our torturous acne and hormonal problems worse. It’s only when we learned about and transitioned to clean, organic brands, that we finally witnessed the most glowing versions of ourselves. And we didn’t have to give up our beloved makeup!

It’s powerful seeing the gorgeous models gaze down like a goddess from the Department store cosmetic counter. Watching the edgy, dark looks of the model daring you to be different on TV, or the sparkling temptress hypnotizing you from the Brand advertised in your favourite magazine.
They radiate the power of women with confidence.

While the flawless women who stare at us from cosmetic advertising may inspire us, if we embrace the self-love message beyond the superficial pursuit of perfection, it’s possible to see the whole charade of mainstream cosmetic marketing from a different perspective.

But, mainstream product marketing, unfortunately, does not alert us to health-harmful chemicals. It does not send out alarms to warn us of the fact that by using their products we are exposing ourselves to endocrine disruption (severe or slight hormonal disturbances), allergens, pollutants and very nasty toxic ingredients.

The number of women who trust the illusion of flawlessness from such harmful products is a real concern.

More and more our natural beauty role models are becoming famous for promoting products that are natural, ethically sound and positive for our physical health as well as our self-image. These women are opening doors toward meaningful changes in the beauty industry.

We should be proud of wanting to take care of ourselves and investing in our confidence as natural beauties!

Vitamins and Supplements


Australians are living longer, but with this the rates of chronic disease have increased. Biochemist, Ann Cattelan shares some nutrition and lifestyle tips to help you stay healthy and age well.

According to a recent report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), Australians are living on average 25 years longer than a century ago. But as a result, there has been an increase in the lifestyle-related chronic diseases; 63 per cent of adults are overweight or obese; and one in 10 Australians over the age of 65 has dementia. Chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, cancer and mental disorders continue to be the leading cause of illness, disability and death.

It’s up to each of us to take responsibility for our own health, because the reality is no one else will do it for you! If you’re nearing or have hit the half century mark, then take the first step and book a doctor’s appointment to tick off some health checks you’ve been avoiding for years!

Check-ups for the 50+ age group

Full blood test to check major organs are healthy – liver, kidney, heart, thyroid etc

Blood pressure, blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels

Healthy weight range assessment

Skin cancer checks

Bowel cancer screening (faecal occult blood test)

Bone density scan

Pap smear, mammogram for women (currently recommended every two years but more frequently if recommended by your doctor)

PSA blood test and prostate check for men

Vision check with your optometrist

Hearing check with your audiologist

Dental and oral hygiene check with your dentist

Brain health

As we age, one of the biggest concerns is “I don’t want to lose my marbles!” And really we are right to be worried, dementia now rates as the single biggest cause of disability in older Australians and if we continue at the current rate, dementia will triple by 2050. Here are some proven tips to protect against brain and cognitive decline that are worthy of consideration:

Get moving! – physical exercise will do more for your brain and cognitive health than a crossword! According to the University of Georgia, 20 minutes of exercise daily will facilitate information processing and memory. Not only that, it’s good for your heart and your mood. A study from Stockholm demonstrated that running had an antidepressant effect which was also associated with cell growth in the area of the brain responsible for learning and memory.

Stimulate your brain – so yes a crossword is also a good idea! Take up a new hobby or learn another language, because mental activity will help delay cognitive decline.

Take a cognitive health supplement – look for proven herbs such as bacopa, ginkgo and curcumin. In a study conducted at Southern Cross University, Lismore, Bacopa monnieri was shown to significantly improve memory in healthy older Australians. Curcumin, the active component of turmeric has some interesting new research which indicates that not only does it protect brain cells from damaging inflammation but it may also reduce the formation of beta amyloid proteins thought to play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s.

Eat well of course! It’s time to start treating your body as a temple! Opt for few processed foods and favour instead, antioxidant-rich foods – at the top of the list for your brain, eye and skin health should be salmon, avocado, broccoli, blueberries, raw nuts, coconut oil and green tea. As a special brain treat reach for a square (or two, but certainly not the whole block!) of high quality dark chocolate.

Digestive health

With age comes digestive disorders that weren’t present in younger years. In particular, constipation is a common problem in older adults, maybe due to the side effects of medication, not enough water or not enough exercise. Try these suggestions:

Get moving! Exercise is important for your gut health too!

Drink more water – staying hydrated helps stave off constipation at any age. Comprising of over 75 per cent water we need at least a liter a day to keep acidity, headaches, fatigue, cellulite, constipation, dry skin, stones, acne and UTIs away.

Consume more fibre to help your colon work better. A diet rich in low GI, high fibre complex carbohydrates like wholegrain cereals, oats, legumes, fruit and leafy green vegetables is recommended. Fibre will reduce the risk of chronic disease including heart disease, diabetes and cancer. If needed, supplement with Melrose Positively Active All Natural Fibre + Probiotic, a combination of psyllium husk powder and added probiotics to assist with regularity and digestive health.

Take a digestive enzyme supplement. Your body can use up to 80 per cent of its energy just digesting food! Digestive enzymes, which decline as we age, are important for the breakdown of food, and just might improve your energy levels as well!

Eye health

As we age, our risk of developing degenerative eye conditions increases. For example, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects one in seven people over the age of 50 and is the leading cause of vision loss in adult Australians. Here’s how to help preserve your eye health:

Take an eye health supplement containing bilberries, lutein, zeaxanthin, betacarotene and vitamin A – packed with potent antioxidants to keep the eye capillaries and blood flow strong. These powerful antioxidants will also help night vision, sun glare and visual fatigue problems that often become more pronounced with age.

Consume an antioxidant rich diet to help fight free radical damage. Include fruit and vegetables of all colours of the rainbow.

Eat more oily fish or take a daily fish oil supplement –fish oil is loaded with essential fatty acids, beneficial for eye health.

Protect your eyes from the sun – wear sunglasses with a high level of UV protection.

Skin health

If you’re looking for ways to help reduce the signs of ageing, then look to nature for some of the best ingredients to keep your skin smooth and youthful looking. Try these suggestions:

Drink a fresh juice daily. Combine beetroot, blueberries, strawberries, kale and water for a skin brightening tonic. If you don’t have a juicer, invest in one! Fresh juices are great to boost your energy, vitality and health! The BioChef Living Juicer is whisper quiet and preserves all the goodness from the produce so that the resulting juice can be stored for up to 48 hours. The gentle extraction nature means that no friction or heat is applied, so enzymes and nutrients remain intact.

Take a daily astaxanthin supplement to improve the overall condition of your skin. Derived from microalgae, astaxanthin has been shown in trials in both men and women, to improve the appearance of crow’s feet, age spots, skin elasticity, texture and moisture content.

Use Weleda’s Pomegranate Firming Facial Care range, it’s Nature certified and regular use can help the skin become firmer and smoother, minimising the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Pomegranate seed oil is rich in punicic acid, a potent antioxidant that helps promote skin cell renewal and regeneration.

Try jojoba oil, well it’s really a wax, that can increase skin suppleness by 50 per cent. Research shows that jojoba oil dramatically slows the metabolism in skin cells, effectively extending the life cycles of individual cells and insulating them against moisture loss, oxidation and structural breakdown (all of which cause skin ageing). Check out the Jojoba Company of Australia’s extensive range of 100% pure jojoba oil products.

Don’t forget – exercise, water and fresh wholefoods are also essential for optimal skin health.

Ann Cattelan is a biochemist, natural health advocate, health writer and educator.

Email Subject “10 ways for protecting your brain health”

Scheduled ON 14/8/17

Blog Title- “Maximising your brain health.”

Credit – “HERBS OF GOLD” for the blog post.

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