24 Hours To A Healthier Gut

24 Hours To A Healthier Gut

In the crowded field of wellness and nutrition, packed with some who are flogging overpriced products to the gullible and desperate, simplicity is that most welcome of things: this easy-to-digest 24-hour guide to a healthier gut is just what you need. 

Many of the choices you make every 24 hours, big or small, can impact your health—meaning the power to feel better, look better, and live a better life is in your hands. So why not start with your gut health?

Looking after your gut health does not mean complicated or boring food – it’s all about what you add in. Here’s how to improve your digestive system all day long, beginning first thing in the morning.

Upon Rising

Instead of falling victim to the AM social media scroll or the pressure of a full inbox, practice a meditation or breathwork exercise. Even a quick five minutes can calm your nervous system and regulate cortisol (the stress hormone that’s the enemy of a healthy gut), and help you start your day on a balanced and positive note. 

In Ayurveda, “agni” is the digestive fire in your body that needs to be rekindled first thing in the morning to help boost your energy levels and clear the mind (2). The key here is temperature. Cold foods slow your digestive system but hot or warm keeps everything moving at a healthy pace. When you wake up parched, choose a cup of warm/hot water instead of an iced latte to stimulate “agni” and kickstart your daily dose of hydration. As the warm water moves through your stomach and intestines, digestive organs are better hydrated and able to eliminate waste.


Even when you’re busy, don’t be tempted to rely on coffee alone or skip breakfast. Choose a breakfast that’s light and easy, but still packs in lots of nutrients. A delicious bowl of Bircher muesli from Booster Deli and Café (click here to check out our mouth-watering plant-based breakfast menu) is filled with complex carbohydrates, protein, omega fats and essential minerals that will help fire up the digestive system, eliminate bloat and regulate cravings. 

A few minutes of sun exposure in the morning can help regulate melatonin levels and set you up for a good night’s sleep later on which is key in maintaining the natural cycle of your gut microbiota, the wonderfully complex community of trillions of microbes that live in your digestive tract (3).


Every meal is an opportunity to focus on abundance. Inclusion rather than exclusion is the aim of the game for a happy gut. Make sure you’re getting enough of the good stuff by filling your plate with as many different plant foods as you can. 

Tip: Just as the liquid olive goodness of extra virgin olive oil can benefit your brain and heart health, it gives your gut microbiota some love too (3). 

If you want to maximise the diversity of your gut microbiota, avoid restrictive eating patterns, enjoy your grains and fill up on fibre. Most guidelines recommend getting 30g of fibre a day, but remember when you’re increasing, go slow and steady – and make sure you’re staying hydrated to help the fibre work its microbial magic.

Here is a list of the most powerful fibre fuelled foods by best-selling author and gastroenterologist Dr. Will Bulsiewicz, conveniently organized into an acronym to make them easy to remember(1).

F: Fruit & Fermented
G: Greens & Grains
O: Omega-3 Super Seeds
A: Aromatics (onions, garlic)
L: Legumes
S: Sulforaphane (broccoli sprouts and other cruciferous veggies)

Spend a lot of your day in front of a screen? Consider blue-light-blocking glasses or a screen filter to protect you from that artificial glow, which can disrupt your circadian rhythm and adversely affect your sleep. And yes, we really can’t stress enough the important of sleep for your gut health!


Before you call it a day, make it a priority to move. You’ve heard a million reasons to exercise regularly before but did you know that as well as helping with issues like constipation, moving your body is linked to having a more diverse gut microbiota (3)? Find the form of movement that brings you joy and get your heart rate up for at least 30 minutes most days to reap the gastrointestinal benefits.

A cup of herbal tea serves dual purposes because not only can it quell late-night sweet cravings, but if you choose one with soothing herbs like chamomile and lavender, it will also encourage a restful state.

Kombucha is a great option when you want something healthy and fizzy to tame your soda craving. This bubbly drink typically packs fewer calories and sugar since a lot of the sugar gets lost in the fermentation process. That said, ideally, you want to look for kombucha with less than 6 grams of sugar per 230 ml (1).


Try to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night – and if you can wake up and go to sleep at around the same time (give or take 30 minutes), your body will love you for it.

Cut down on unnecessary medications and choose lifestyle tweaks rather than a prescription, where possible. Work on your sleep quality instead of taking sleeping pills – or dial down your alcohol intake, as opposed to taking acid reflux medication (3).

Keep a dark, quiet and cool bedroom, stay away from glowing screens in the hours before bed and avoid caffeine after 3pm. As the day comes full circle, another meditation or breathwork practice can help relax you – and your gut!

Sweet dreams!


1. Bulsiewicz, W. (2020). Fiber Fueled: The Plant-Based Gut Health Program for Losing Weight, Restoring Your Health, and Optimizing Your Microbiome (pp. 149 – 151). Penguin Random House LLC.

2. Mischke, M. (2017). The Importance of Healthy Digestion. Retrieved January 20, 2021, from https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/ayurvedic-living/living-ayurveda/health-guides/understanding-agni/

3. Rossi, M. (2019). The Gut Health Doctor: An Easy-to-Digest Guide to Health from the Inside Out (pp. 45 – 280). Penguin Life.

This article is written by Ashlyne Nair

Spinal Stem Cell Treatment: What it is, why I did it, and why it doesn’t hurt as much as you think

Spinal Stem Cell Treatment: What it is, why I did it, and why it doesn't hurt as much as you think.

The Backstory (Pun Intended)

About nine years ago, my two-year old daughter was frolicking in a ball when I needed to extract her at the end of a class. I walked over to the ball pit, stood on the squishy blue crashmat, and reached over the waist-high barrier to pick her up. When I had her at shoulder height, she went limp in my hands. The sudden drop in her weight was too much for my postpartum back (I had just had her sister two months prior) and — boom — I bulged a disc and dropped to the floor like a sack of potatoes. 

Over the course of the next seven years, my back would act up but would be quickly fixed by a skilled osteopath. Then I hit my 40s and with one over-enthusiastic goblet squat I found myself on the floor again in agony.

It was not quickly fixed this time: I ended up in a spinal surgeon’s office with an MRI that showed my herniated L4/L5 disc significantly protruding into the spinal cord, but thankfully not compressing the sciatic nerve.

"My chronic back pain persisted until I decided to take a chance with stem cell treatments from Bangkok-based StemCells21 at Thanyapura Phuket."

At this point I knew very little about stem cells and here’s what I’ve read:

  • I was going to have injections and infusions of 70 million Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) that would be taken from donated umbilical cord. This meant there were no moral issues around embryonic stem cells. (Yay!)
  • These would be “first pass” stem cells, meaning they are cultured to yield more cells with higher viability, “higher expression of mitosis and cell cycle-related genes and a unique secretion profile of growth factors and cytokines”. (It sounded like I was getting the good stuff)
  • These cells are immune-privileged, meaning there’s less chance of rejection or complications. (Also, yay!)
  • In addition to helping regenerate my disc by signaling damned tissues and cells to self-repair, they would also help produce new cells and tissues. (Sounds good, right?)
  • The cells can also enhance immune system function, reduce inflammation, and improve other fundamental anti-aging factors, all while improving the body’s ability to continue to produce its own new regenerative cells, creating a positive feedback loop. (Cue the ‘Circle of Life’ music)


I now understood all the benefits of what these stem cells could do, but I was still not entirely sure how it all happened until I got on the phone with stem cell specialists, Dr. Htut and Dr. Joyce for a consultation. They were extremely kind, very thorough, and I trusted them immediately. They walked me through the entire procedure, answered all my questions and put me at ease.

"Dr. Htut also explained, in layman’s terms for my benefit, how the process would work. “The stem cells are attracted to inflammation in the damaged area, so they migrate to the injury site almost like a magnet would. They then become whatever is needed for repair: tissue, bone, fluid etc.”

Treatment Duration: 3 Days

My treatment was scheduled to take place over three days. Day 1 involved preparing my body to create an environment the stem cells could thrive in. I had a physiotherapy session, an IV session, and a miRNA shot in the rear to provide core building blocks for the damaged tissues to repair.

I had my IV therapy in a lovely room looking over a stunning national park. I was given intravenous curcumin (yes, the active ingredient in turmeric), for its host of benefits including its anti-inflammatory properties.

IV laser therapy was also administered, which the team used to create a more favourable microenvironment in the blood and to stimulate local tissue activity. The team’s head nurse, Khun Sah, was amazing and the insertion of the IVs were flawless.  

Day 2 was the day I would have the actual injections in my back. The treatment started with physiotherapy again before I went down to the procedure room. I received an IV of Resveratrol (yes, the good stuff in red wine) for its anti-inflammatory properties.

"Once settled, the team walked me through the biological profile of my stem cells to confirm how viable they were and that they were free of disease."

It was then time for the actual stem cells, which were delivered first by IV (20 million cells) and then by local injection for the remaining 50 million cells. For good measure, I also had another miRNA shot in the posterior. How much did it hurt? The injections were not a walk in the park, but they were far less painful than I had imagined. This treatment was rounded out by paraspinal lasers and a spin in a whole body laser bed.

Day 3: On Sunday morning, I came back for my last IV, an amino-acid called “Kidmin” that Dr. Joyce explained “feeds” the stem cells. At the same time, they checked my back and did some external laser work on it. This day was also wrapped up with a spin in the laser bed and another miRNA shot.


All of this happened a month ago. I’m now back to my daily activities and I have to say — with complete amazement — that I’m pain-free. Let me repeat that: pain-free.

The ever-present pain in my back is gone. Completely. That’s a win in my books.

As for how this will progress in terms of regeneration (slowly) and to what extent it will repair my injury (unknown), I will simply have to wait, continue my physio, and follow the doctor’s orders about easing back into exercise.

"I am also cautiously optimistic that good things are happening back there."

Click here to read more about stem cell treatment packages available at Thanyapura Phuket with StemCells21.

This article is written by Samantha Gayfer.

Edited by Ashlyne Nair

Are You D Deficient?


Vitamin D supplementation could reduce the risk of influenza and other viral infections of the upper respiratory system.

Five Important Facts You Probably Didn't Know About Vit D

  • Helps build strong bones; your body need vitamin D to extract calcium properly from the food you eat, but a vitamin D deficiency means you cannot absorb enough calcium.
  • Triggers the body’s immune cells to produce antibodies, and therefore boosting your immune system.
  • There are two different forms of vitamin D: Ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) which is often used as a food additive and Cholecalciferol (vitamin D3, a naturally occurring form of vitamin D, synthesized in the skin from endogenous or dietary cholesterol upon exposure to sunlight.
  • You get it through diet and sunlight. (Read on to find out the top vitamin D food sources)
  • It can boost brain function; studies recently suggested that low vitamin D levels could increase the risk of developing dementia.

Did you know that many people only need about 15 minutes of sun three times a week for their bodies to make adequate amounts of vitamin D? ​

A Little Extra Vitamin D from your food

  • Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel are among the best sources.
  • Beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks provide small amounts.
  • Mushrooms provide some vitamin D. In some mushrooms that are newly available in stores, the vitamin D content is being boosted by exposing these mushrooms to ultraviolet light.
  • Almost all of dairy milk supply is fortified with 400 IU of vitamin D per quart, and so are many of the plant-based alternatives such as soy milk, almond milk, and oat milk. But foods made from milk, like cheese and ice cream, are usually not fortified.
  • Vitamin D is added to many breakfast cereals and to some brands of orange juice, yogurt, margarine, and soy beverages; check the labels.

How Do You Know If You Are D Deficient?

Signs and symptoms might include:

  • Fatigue
  • Bone pain
  • Muscle weakness, muscle aches, or muscle cramps
  • Mood changes, like depression

D deficiency can occur when usual intake is lower than recommended levels over time, exposure to sunlight is limited, the kidneys cannot convert activate the inert form (from food and supplement), or absorption of vitamin D from the digestive tract is inadequate.

Why taking a vit D supplement may be more important than ever in the time of COVID-19?

Deficiency in vitamin D is associated with increased autoimmunity as well as an increased susceptibility to infection. Studies are now being published that provide direct evidence of the effect of vitamin D supplementation on COVID-19 patients, and the association of vitamin D intake and/or status on disease severity and death.

One of the studies found that the administration of 25(OH)D at the early stages of COVID-19 significantly reduced the need for admission to the ICU, regardless of existing comorbidities.


You could end up doing more harm than good if you regularly exceed the dosage in your daily supplement. Taking too many vitamin D supplements over a long period of time can cause more calcium to be absorbed than can be excreted. The excess calcium can be deposited in and damage the kidneys. As always, moderation wins out.

Science says … what does this mean for you?

Do you know what your vitamin D level is? Could a D deficiency be putting a damper on your immune response? Be sure to test to find out, and take steps to keep it within a target of 40-60 ng/ml or 100-150 nmol/L.

Give your immune system the nutrients it needs to support a healthy you and protect yourself from unnecessary diseases. Talk to our friendly Lifestyle Clinic team in person for a blood test consultation or email nicole.bravata@thanyapura.com to discuss your options from Vitamin D blood test to injections and oral supplements.


  1. Aranow, Cynthia. “Vitamin D and the immune system.” Journal of investigative medicine: the official publication of the American Federation for Clinical Research vol. 59,6 (2011); 881-6. doi:10.2310/JIM.0b013e31821b8755
  2. Grant, William. “Evidence that Vitamin D Supplementation Could Reduce Risk of Influenza and COVID-19 Infections and Deaths.” Nutrients vol. 12, 988 (2020); 1-19. doi:10.3390/nu12040988
  3. Sunyecz JA. “The use of calcium and vitamin D in the management of osteoporosis.” Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2008;4(4):827-836. doi:10.2147/tcrm.s3552
  4. Lee JY, So TY, Thackray J. “A review on vitamin D deficiency treatment in paediatric patients.” J Pediatr Pharmacol Ther. 2013;18(4):277-291. doi:10.5863/1551-6776-18.4.277

This article is a nutritional tip brought to you by Morgane Quinchon, Thanyapura’s Nutrition Manager, Registered Dietitian & Sports Nutrition Advisor.

Edited by Ashlyne Nair

Powerful Probiotics


Probiotics work by maintaining a healthy balance of our gut microbiome; they're all for equality!

This balance is easily upset from harmful substances – whether it’s an overload of antibiotics, viruses and accidental or temporary excesses of organic matter – and that’s when we need reinforcements: enter probiotics.

A plethora of conditions, from obesity to anxiety, appear to be linked to the microbes inside us. Ask most people to define microbiome, and a handful might say that it refers to a bacterial ecosystem that lives in a specific place. They may even mention the gut. To put it in layman’s terms, your microbiome is your body’s ecosystem of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria.


1) Keep your digestion working the way it should

Probiotics will help in digestive issues, candida overgrowth (an imbalance of yeast in the microbiome) and leaky gut. (1)

2) Restore your gut health after taking antibiotics

When you treat an infection with antibiotics, many of your ‘good’ bacteria are killed off along with the bad bacteria. Taking probiotics afterwards will restore the balance and diversity of your gut health. (2)

3) Keep your immune system strong

Probiotics enhance immune function through supporting the regeneration of the intestinal lining, keeping bad bacteria from entering the blood stream, and therefore maintaining the overall health of the immune system. (3)

4) Uplift your mood

Often called the “second brain,” your microbiome has a direct impact on your brain chemistry. Probiotics can have a brain-altering effect through their innate mechanism to produce neurotransmitters such as serotonin, GABA, and acetyl-choline. A diet high in natural probiotics has been proven to improve symptoms of depression. (4)


YOU ARE HOST TO 100,000 BILLION BACTERIA! You host about 430 times more bacteria than the Milky Way hosts stars.
Yes, you are an extraordinary ecosystem.
Rest assured, the vast majority of the 100,000 billion bacteria that live with you also work for your general well-being.


Supplements aren’t the only way to get a daily dose of probiotics. Here is a list of 6 probiotic foods that are super healthy:

  1. Kombucha (Available at Booster Deli & Café with delicious flavours from rosella, lime & ginger and butterfly pea flower in 200 ml bottles)
  2. Kefir (traditionally from dairy products but can be vegan as well)
  3. Apple cider vinegar
  4. Miso (fermented soybean paste)
  5. Fermented vegetables such as pickles or sauerkraut
  6. Yogurt, especially plain Greek yogurt


  1. Verna, Elizabeth C, and Susan Lucak. “Use of probiotics in gastrointestinal disorders: what to recommend?.” Therapeutic advances in gastroenterology vol. 3,5 (2010): 307-19. doi:10.1177/1756283X10373814
  2. Rodgers B, Kirley K, Mounsey A. PURLs: prescribing an antibiotic? Pair it with probiotics. J Fam Pract. 2013;62(3):148-150.
  3. Lambring CB, Siraj S, Patel K, Sankpal UT, Mathew S, Basha R. Impact of the Microbiome on the Immune System. Crit Rev Immunol. 2019;39(5):313-328. doi:10.1615/CritRevImmunol.2019033233
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5319175/

This article is a nutritional tip brought to you by Morgane Quinchon, Thanyapura’s Nutrition Manager, Registered Dietitian & Sports Nutrition Advisor.

Edited by Ashlyne Nair

The 3 R’s of Recovery Nutrition


If you wish to maintain a consistent active lifestyle, you’ll need to replenish your body from the 3 R’s of recovery to build yourself back up after your training and prepare you for your next one.


  • Carbohydrates are your muscles’ primary energy source.
  • Depending on the length and intensity of your workout, your carbohydrate stores may be significantly depleted.
  • Post-workout is the best time to replenish these stores, because your muscles absorb nutrients like a sponge during this time.


  • Next you must rebuild cells by focusing on the protein and amino acids required to help maximize muscle repair.
  • Regardless of the type of exercise you engage in, your muscles undergo some form of micro trauma on the cellular level (especially true with resistance training).
  • Protein helps to start the repair and rebuilding processes, which ultimately initiate muscle growth.


  • Finally, and just as important is getting sufficient hydration. You may know that the body is made up of 60% water. You may not know that fluids help regulate body temperature, blood pressure, and also transport energy & nutrients throughout the body.
  • That is why it is essential to allow the body to achieve balance and maintain the process of recovery by replenishing any fluids lost.
  • Consequences of dehydration include cramping, muscle fatigue, dizziness, headaches, and impaired mental/physical performance.

Now that you’ve had a chance to skim over the 3 R’s, let’s incorporate them into your post-workout regimen. And if you don’t have the time or appetite for a nutrient dense meal directly after training, recovery shakes are a great option!

Thanyapura’s signature ‘Post-Workout Recovery Shake’ at Booster Deli & Café delivers a delicious and nutritious blend of fruits and vegetables for your post-workout needs. Apple, celery, lime, pineapple, banana, avocado, rice and hemp protein blended with ice for a refreshingly sweet and slightly tangy smoothie to Refuel, Rebuild and Rehydrate.

Stay active and remember to give this recovery shake a try when you’re here next!

This article is a nutritional tip brought to you by Morgane Quinchon, Thanyapura’s Nutrition Manager, Registered Dietitian & Sports Nutrition Advisor.

Edited by Ashlyne Nair

More About Thanyapura

Current Promotions

We have a selection of food & beverage promotions to help you get started with us!

Detox Juice Program

Starting from THB 1,200 per day only. We make all your juice fresh every morning to have you performing better.

Beet it!


Beetroot (beet) juice can boost your overall performance?

Drinking beet juice raises the nitric oxide levels in your body which helps the inner muscles of your blood vessels to relax and widen. This then enables your blood to move freely, delivering oxygen and nutrients to your whole body more efficiently!

In fact, vegetables high in nitrate – beetroot being at the top – can help to promote healthy blood flow resulting in lowered blood pressure, better brain function, and improved athletic performance.

Beets are a rich source of antioxidants, such as vitamin C, carotenoids, phenolic acids, and flavonoids, along with nitrate. And thanks to its impressive nutritional profile, professional athletes are supplementing with beet juice for improved cardiorespiratory endurance, performance and recovery.


  1. Endurance athletes swear by beet juice to help cut minutes off run time and improve tolerance against high-intensity exercise.
  2. Acts a great blood purifier, which is key in keeping your skin glowing and healthy.
  3. Beet juice with its pulp is full of fibre helps in regulative your digestive processes and relieves constipation.
  4. Though high in sugar, beets actually help in regulating your blood sugar levels as the natural sugars are released very slowly in the body and thus, prevents sudden spikes.

The Bottom Line … So Beet It!

The beautiful beets have come a long way. They are one of the healthiest vegetables you can juice, undoubtedly. A glass of beet juice helps in giving you all the vitamins and minerals in a concentrated form.

It is best to have beet juice early morning or one hour before your breakfast. Here are a couple of delicious and easy ways to add more beets to your diet:

  • Up Beet Detox Juice – beetroot, red apple and celery
  • Pre-Workout Energy Shake – beetroot, mango and orange blended with some ice and a pinch of Himalayan pink salt

Available at Booster Deli & Café, open every day from 7 AM – 7 PM for dine-in and take-away. You can also pre-order via the link here to cut down on wait time: https://qr.finedinemenu.com/#/divine-restaurant/menu

This article is a nutritional tip brought to you by Morgane Quinchon, Thanyapura’s Nutrition Manager, Registered Dietitian & Sports Nutrition Advisor.

Edited by Ashlyne Nair

More About Thanyapura

Current Promotions

We have a selection of food & beverage promotions to help you get started with us!

Detox Juice Program

Starting from THB 1,200 per day only. We make all your juice fresh every morning to have you performing better.

Ways To Support Your Immune System

It’s well known that taking vitamin C can be one of the most simple and inexpensive ways to support your immune system to prevent illness and shorten the duration of colds and flu. In the wake of the recent spread of coronavirus, many people are wondering what they can do to protect themselves.

The minimum daily recommendation for Vitamin C is about 75mg for adults (the amount in one medium orange) and 15mg -25 mg for children under the age of 12. Under times of stress and to prevent illness, the requirements for Vitamin C increase and higher doses are well tolerated. You will surely know when you have reached your tolerance for vitamin C since the side effect of a larger than needed dose of Vitamin C is diarrhoea. If you get diarrhoea from taking higher doses of vitamin C orally, the dose can be cut back to half the amount you were taking, but it is safe to continue taking it.

Recommendations for higher doses of Vitamin C orally range from 1000-3000mg or more daily in divided doses at the minimum for adults. Vitamin C can be given in higher doses intravenously without getting the side effect of diarrhoea. In most adults, doses of 25-50 Grams can be given in one intravenous treatment. Treatments over 5 grams intravenously require that you have a G6PD level tested before increasing the dose since a person with a deficiency in the G6PD enzyme cannot tolerate high doses of Vitamin C.

In addition to the recommendations for Vitamin C, other supplementation can be considered including, Vitamin D, zinc, selenium, magnesium N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), and mushroom complexes. Another therapy which can help support the immune system is Intravenous Ozone. Ozone, when given intravenously, can stimulate the production of cytokines, which stimulate our other immune cells as well as prevent the replication of viruses by disruption of the viral capsid and increasing oxygen in the body. In other words, ozone is a powerhouse for the immune system.

At Thanyapura Integrative Health Centre, we practice Lifestyle Medicine. We recognize that in order to prevent any virus or illness, we must take measures in our everyday lives to ensure that we have optimum health. In addition to supporting the immune system with supplementation, we cannot overlook the importance of good sleep, (8 hours for adults and up to 10 hours for kids) for the restoration of the immune system. Nutrition is also a key factor. Avoiding sugar, fried foods, and processed foods will help as well as eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Simple measures such as washing hands and wearing a mask in crowded places can also prevent the spread of the virus. Stay home if you are not feeling well and drink plenty of fluids. It is advised to be screened at the hospital if you develop a fever, especially if you have been potentially exposed to the virus.

The worry of coronavirus can add additional stress no doubt, fortunately, supplementing with Vitamin C has an additional benefit in times of stress. Vitamin C will block the negative effects of cortisol produced by the adrenal glands and offers additional support year-round to keep your immune system robust.

Tired All The Time? It Could Be Your Hormones

Are you getting your eight hours every night but still feel sleepy throughout the day? If so, you might be one of the millions of people worldwide suffering from a hormone imbalance.

Dr. Pavinee Maneepairoj, a wellness specialist at the Lifestyle Medicine Clinic at Thanyapura Health and Sports Resort recommends that people who feel “tired all the time” get a thorough work up from a physician who understands fatigue management.  “Conventional medicine often lacks the time and patience to sift through the issues to get to the root cause of the problem,” she says, “and often discounts the critical that role, exercise, stress and diet play in hormone balance.“

Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers and the endocrine system is the factory that produces them.  Hormones regulate everything from sleep to menstruation to mood, and if if you have a hormone imbalance, then chances are your mood, sleep patterns, libido, appetite and energy levels are out of balance too.

One of the most common symptoms of hormone balance is fatigue.  According to a report in the New York Times, fatigue was either mislabeled or misdiagnosed up until the 1980s.  Today, researchers and doctors alike recognize the correlation between our fast paced, always-on, urban lifestyles and the rise in conditions related to hormone imbalances.  Key hormones that affect mood and energy levels include:


This is the body’s stress hormone and having the right balance of cortisol is crucial to keep your energy levels in check. Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that chronic stress was more likely to blame for cortisol imbalances than a problem with the adrenal glands that produce it.  This research clearly points to lifestyle, especially stress, as a culprit for adrenal fatigue.


An overactive or underactive thyroid can often be the underlying cause of fatigue, particularly in women. This hormone controls the body’s metabolism (how food is converted to energy). Just like a car engine, an overactive thyroid will cause you to burn out and an under active thyroid won’t get you started.


Testosterone is best known for its role in developing male sexual characteristics, such as hair growth, muscle mass and libido, but it is produced (in smaller amounts) by women too, and low levels of production have been linked to both fatigue and weight gain.


Estrogen comes in three forms – estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), estriol (E3). Maintaining the correct ratio of these three elements is important for both men and women, although women are more susceptible to estrogen imbalances. Studies have linked low estrogen production to certain types of cancer and heart disease, although more common symptoms include hot flashes, insomnia, painful sex, night sweats and fatigue.

Dr. Pavinee says that fatigue or ‘low energy’ is a common complaint of people these days, and while not life threatening fatigue affects quality of life and should be addressed sooner rather than later.

If you are not feeling your best, make an appointment to visit the Lifestyle Medicine Clinic at Thanyapura Health and Sports Resort.

Shining a Global Light on Mental Health Awareness

We are all human. We place value on our health and wellbeing, and strive to live in contentment. Sometimes we get sick and then, hopefully, we get better again. While physical sickness comes in many visible forms, mental sickness can be a much more concealed, conniving and consuming creature.

On 10 October each year, World Mental Health Day sheds light on the stigma that still surrounds the topic of mental health. It provides an opportunity for individuals, groups, and organisations working in the expansive field of mental health to discuss their work and promote the importance of mental health care for people around the world. This year, the World Health Organisation has highlighted Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World as the focus topic.

Regardless of an individual’s background, adolescence and young adulthood is a critical time of transition and change, often bringing with it uncertainty and stress. Events like moving house, changing schools, leaving a familiar area, living away from family for the first time, or even moving to another country can adversely affect a person’s mental wellbeing. For youths living in destabilizing environments resulting from natural disasters or active conflicts, mental wellbeing is particularly at risk. And seeking balance in a world overflowing with technology is an additional cause for concern amongst young people. The pressures that come with social media (striving towards a perceived ideal, cyberbullying, fake friends made online and not enough real life interactions) can have a huge impact on mental wellbeing.

Poor mental health frequently has a knock-on effect for other health and developmental issues in young people, from lower achievement scores due to depression, to hospitalisations as a result of struggling with an eating disorder. Substance abuse can also often go hand in hand with mental illness. This can create a co-occuring disorder situation, where the individual finds themself having to deal with two illnesses at the same time.

According to the World Health Organisation, half of all mental illness begins by aged 14, but the vast majority of cases go undetected or untreated. Suicide is the third leading cause of death in adolescents between the ages of 10-19, and mental health disorders take 2 of the top 5 causes of ‘years lost to disability’ in 10-14 year olds. Mental health is not yet getting the global action it so desperately needs. The shocking reality is that mental health disorders affect 1 in 10 children in countries like the UK, commonly as a direct response to an external event affecting their lives, but up to 70% cases go without treatment.

Thankfully, we are a far cry away from our historical ways of treating mental illness. We no longer label people suffering from a mental illness insane, throwing them into a lunatic asylum where countless lobotomies and electroshock therapies were performed. Our understanding of mental health and psychiatry as a whole continues to develop exponentially, and new treatments are tested every day to aid those that are in need of them. But our collective effort to break down the stigma surrounding mental health still has a long way to go. Public stigma (prejudicial attitudes towards a sufferer) and self-stigma (internalizing those perceptions of prejudice) are still incredibly common, and can prohibit an individual from seeking the help they need.

Schools play an essential role in the development of young people, and many have created strategies to help their students adapt to the pressures of an ever more complicated world. With the mental health of young people considered a global public-health challenge, key skills like adaptability and resilience are important to develop from a young age within the school environment. Some schools have integrated mental health into the curriculum, ensuring that there is a suitable environment where the topic can be discussed and unpacked. Others have developed additional educational components dedicated to social emotional development, which can take on the form of mindfulness practices, group counseling sessions and safe spaces. Many schools are striving towards making the discussion of mental health an open and honest one, and many educators are now receiving basic training in mental health support.

For parents, noticing that their child may be suffering from mental illness can be difficult to determine. Behavioural changes like a lack of motivation, depleted energy levels, avoidance of family and friends, difficulty in concentrating, persistent physical symptoms or bullying others can be key indicators of an undiagnosed mental illness. Ensuring children have a safe environment where trust and open-mindedness are valued is crucial when addressing these issues.

It is important to remember that a person’s mental health can be impacted at any point in their life. Mental illness can arise from unforeseen circumstances like traumatic events, or develop from repeated stresses found in environments like the workplace. Our mental health should be taken just as seriously as our physical health, and we need the support to ask for help when we need it. If you or someone you know is struggling, there are wonderful charities like Mind that can help.

Weight Loss, Without The Fluff

Whether you are looking to shed a couple of pounds or a substantial portion of weight, the sheer amount of information on weight loss that is available online, in magazines and within grocery shops, can be overwhelming. This article aims to act as an introductory guide for healthy weight loss by minimizing the jargon and offering a few pointers to help you get started.

Our initial premise isn’t exactly sexy, and won’t be winning us any marketing awards for its catchy wording, but weight loss and gain ultimately depends on our calories in vs. our calories out. The more calories we consume, the more we need to exercise in order to burn off those calories. It is widely recognised that the daily recommended intake for women sits at around 2,000kcal, and 2,500kcal for men. But these values can vary depending on age, metabolism and physical activity.

In order to undergo effective, healthy and sustainable weight loss, it is important to first understand the body. Whilst our basic biology stays the same, we are all a little different when it comes to our needs. For some, a diet that focuses on reducing the number of complex carbohydrates results in effective weight loss, but for others it can have the opposite effect. And when we start to dig a little deeper into the more popular diets out there (Paleo, Raw Food, Ketogenic, Atkins, Zone, …) we often have to purchase special books or subscriptions and learn new vocabulary – almost a new language – before we can get anywhere.

It is also important to note that your weight is not a direct indicator of health. Many refer to their BMI (Body Mass Index) to determine whether they are at a healthy weight, which estimates fatness based on an individual’s weight and height. A BMI that sits between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered healthy. However, BMI doesn’t distinguish between fat and muscle; muscle is 18% denser than fat and bone is denser than both fat and muscle. So having strong bones and muscles may label you as ‘overweight’ by BMI standards. It also cannot distinguish between visceral fat and subcutaneous fat.

For so many, dieting is an infinite rabbit hole filled with endless online health coaches offering conflicting opinions, advice and recommendations on the ideal weight loss programme. In reality, what is truly needed is a strategy that works with the individual in mind, offering sustainable, long-term results and not compromising a person’s happiness and wellbeing. It may sound like a cliché, but moderation really is key. Flooding your diet with healthy, whole foods whilst ensuring that you are not depriving yourself fully will make the process a more enjoyable one. The occasional cheat meal or lazy day will not undo all your hard work, so don’t beat yourself up about it. Life is for living, and the journey should be valued just as much – if not more – than the outcome.

5 Simple Steps for Healthy Weight Loss

  1. Get to know you: Take the time to understand what works well for your body and what doesn’t. This may include replacing certain foods with others to reduce bloating and improve energy levels. It is also highly advisable to visit a licensed nutritionist before beginning your weight loss journey.
  2. Eat the rainbow: Aim for 10 portions of fruits and vegetables each day, but be mindful of your fruit consumption due to its sugar content.
  3. Plants over Animals: Meat, while tasty, is unnecessary and doesn’t offer substantial health benefits. If you are in a position to do so, reduce your meat consumption by finding healthy delicious alternatives made from tofu, beans and legumes.
  4. Hydration Matters: Ensure you are drinking enough water each day by tracking your consumption through a reusable water bottle. Starting your day with a large glass of cold water is also the best way to kickstart your metabolism.
  5. Get Active: No matter your age, ability or interests, make sure you take the time each day to exercise. Embrace being active by running, walking, cycling, stretching or gardening. Exercising for 40 minutes a day will strengthen the body and improve mood.

Finally, try not to compare yourself to others. Whilst the internet offers us a world of knowledge at our fingertips, it also causes us to constantly measure ourselves against our perceived ‘ideal’. Instead of bombarding your mind with everything you feel you aren’t, take the time to appreciate your uniqueness and your own journey. Because chances are you are more marvelous than you know.