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Archive for June, 2010

The Dangers Of Sunbeds

Justine Sheils has used sunbeds since she was 15 years old to get a tan before a holiday then top it up when back at home. At the age of 32 she was diagnosed with malignant melanoma (skin cancer) and had to have two operations to remove tumours. “I get so angry when I hear young celebrities say having a tan makes you look sexy. It’s only when you get older you understand the risks.”

Every year in the United Kingdom alone 40 000 new cases of skin cancer are reported with around 2000 proving fatal. Most cases are as a result of over exposure to the sun but the use of sunbeds may well contribute to this.

At fault is the drive to develop a healthy tan. The fashion for brown skin developed throughout the twentieth century. Earlier a paler skin was considered a mark of high social status and still is in countries such as India. Perhaps we are beginning to understand why.

Ironically a tan is not healthy at all. Too much ultra violet radiation (UVR) creates a tan, which is a symptom of skin damage. It is in fact the beginning of photoaging or premature aging of the skin. We have all seen the effects of this in people who have spent too long in the sun and develop leathery, wrinkled and sagging skin. The dermis is the layer of skin beneath the outer layer (the epidermis) and contains collagen and elastic fibres, which provide the support and elasticity to the skin. In photoaging the collagen fibrils become disorganized and abnormal amounts of elastin material accumulates. This is known as solar elastosis. A tan fades but the damage to the skin does not.

The most common types of skin cancer are actually non-threatening, including basal cell cancer and squamous cell cancer, but the risk of the potentially fatal malignant melanoma cancer is always present. Cancer Research UK reports that the incidence of skin cancer has quadrupled since the 1970s.

The debate on sunbeds is part of the wider debate on over exposure to the sun or more specifically to the UVR. In response to the evidence, the Sunbed Association have pointed out that there are regulations available on the use of their products and there is no evidence to show the use of sunbeds alone is dangerous. In reality no one person uses a sunbed alone without lying in the sun as well. Nonetheless it is believed the extensive use of sunbeds has contributed to the levels of cancer. It is reported some sunbeds give out more UVR doses than the Mediterranean sun at noon.

Generally the risk of skin cancer increases with age but worryingly younger people are more at risk of malignant melanoma. In fact the condition is now the most common cancer in the 15-34 age range and is twice as common in women up to the age of 34 than in men of the same age. For this reason the British Medical Association is now calling for a ban on under eighteen year olds using sunbeds and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health has called for all local authority leisure centres to ban their use on their premises.

So can we safely get a fashionable tan? Self-tanning lotions have improved markedly over the years and bronzers and tanning pills offer possible alternatives. As with many products the quality can vary so it is best to research the brands but natural tanning products are available and may be the better option.

The drive to have what is considered a ‘healthy’ tan encourages too many to take risks. Clearly it is wise to be sensible and find safe alternatives to using a sun bed or staying out in the sun.


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Anxiety, Stress, Fear, Anger, Mental Health & Nutrition

A useful video explaining the effects of nutrition on mental health from Nutrition By Natalie at psychetruth on YouTube.

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The Importance Of Lecithin

Lethicin was first described in 1847 by the French chemist and pharmacist Theodore Nicolas Gobley when he examined pure phosphatidylcholine from egg yoke. The term is used as a generic description of a group of yellow-brown fatty substances found in plant and animal tissues.

The substance is used as an extremely useful food additive and is recognized as safe by the United States Food And Drug Administration and the European Union (as E number E322). It is used for example to break down and reduce fats such as a non-stick cooking spray, to control sugar crystallization, help the flow of chocolate, stabilize fermentation and break down and disperse the fat in ice cream to give a creamier texture.

It also has many non-food uses too. Lecithin is used widely in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries as an aid to emulsification and an antioxidant. It enriches the fat and protein in animal feed and works as an anti-sludge additive for motor oils. It also has many uses in the paint industry forming a protective surface, intensifying colours, helping spreading and mixing and eliminating foam in water-based paints.

Benefits To The Human Body

Lecithin helps the body’s cholesterol levels, increasing the HDL (good) cholesterol and reducing the LDL (bad) cholesterol. The reason for this has not been established but the effects are clear and further benefits have been found in studies of one of the constituents of lecithin – choline.

In 1949 CH Best and his British team found where choline was deficient in the body there was an increase in hypertension and arterial damage with droplets of fat forming on arterial walls. A later three-year study discovered that a supplement of choline reduced fatalities amongst patients who had already suffered a coronary thrombosis.

There is a false belief that lecithin can enter and breakdown the body’s fat cells (adipose tissue). What the substance does is break down dietary and blood fats into smaller molecules, which form fatty acids. These are more likely to be used as energy by the body than be stored in the adipose tissue.

Lecithin is particularly useful in the liver. Best and his team discovered that cirrhosis of the liver normally associated with chronic alcoholism is frequently a secondary effect of nutritional deficiency. Experiments showed that the condition occurred where excess alcohol and a dietary deficiency were present. When the subject consumed large amounts of alcohol but also choline the abnormality did not appear. Choline clearly removed the presence of the fat.

Gallstones may be treated with a supplement of choline. The gall bladder secrets bile, which helps to emulsify fats and contains bile acids, cholesterol and lecithin. Lecithin is the agent that emulsifies the fats and may protect against the negative effects of the acids. Sufferers from gallstones have been noted to have reduced levels of lethicin.

There has also been some evidence to suggest lecithin may improve both the brains operation (and so treat dementia) and improve male sexual performance (lecithin is one of the constituents of the male ejaculate).


Some concerns have been expressed that lecithin may have side effects such as low blood pressure leading to dizziness and fainting but this tends to be from excessive use (more than 3.5 grams of choline a day). As with all substances, moderation is key.

Lecithin is a key bodily substance and it is worth ensuring you have sufficient. Should you not eat enough eggs, for example, it may be worth taking an appropriate natural dietary supplement to improve your level of this useful constituent.

To discover about Green Magic (containing lecithin), other natural dietary supplements and high quality natural health and beauty products, please visit

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