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Summer Supplements

To really harness the most of summer, we need the energy to play, socialise, and relish those long, hot, heady summer days. Apart from our glorious, energy-giving natural sunshine, we look at five of the best ways to supplement our natural vigour.



Vitamin D Yes, we used to think this came in buckets in summertime, but as we are all lathering on the suntan lotion and seeking the cool shade, we don’t get as much as we think in Aotearoa. Proximity to the equator is also a factor. Functioning as a hormone, every cell in the body has a receptor for it. Even a mild vitamin D deficiency, which is very common, can cause fatigue and tiredness.

Support your muscles Supplements to support muscles while enjoying summer sports and activities can help stave off fatigue and injury – summer is no fun with sore hamstrings. Vitality NZ’s product ‘Muscle Performance’ harnesses active ingredients such as anthocyanins in blackcurrants to aid muscle recovery. Also, protein powders to help build and repair muscles have come along way, with organic and plant-based powders an option.

Vitamin C Vitamin C is essential all year round, but in summer it can help the body manage heat so there is more energy to keep going on long, hot days. It can also help ward off heatstroke and rashes, especially the prickly heat type. Energy-zapping summer colds are easy to catch too, so keep up the vitamin C, which our body needs regularly and consistently.

Vitamin B A good B-complex supplement taken daily can certainly amp up the energy levels. Also, a handy summer tip: Thiamine, vitamin B1 – which is usually in a decent dosage (50 to 100mg) in B-vitamin supplements – can be a deterrent for those pesky, biting insects if taken at least 10 days before and during exposure.

Hormonal help Menopausal symptoms, PMS and fluctuating hormones sure can cramp your style during summer holiday season. A good supplement, recommended by a health practitioner, to keep hormones in check can work in synergy with a healthy lifestyle. Vitality NZ harnesses blackcurrant oil in their Women’s Health formula, one which helps fluctuating hormones, as well as boosts summer skin, hair and nails.




Staying well

It’s been said that we’re ‘living shorter and dying longer’, but Christchurch pharmacist Mark Webster is pioneering an integrative healthcare model that is seeing more and more people living well and staying well.



It was long rides on the tube in the UK that sparked Mark’s lifelong passion for a more holistic approach to health. Utilising the travelling time to study, he picked up some short courses through the University of Manchester; one was in nutrition and one was in complementary therapies. “That was probably the very beginning of my journey,” he says.

A book, Complementary Therapies, introduced him to the idea that as a pharmacist, you may not agree with complementary therapies, but if you don’t at least gain a basic understanding of them, you risk losing a growing portion of your clientele to somebody down the road who has no knowledge or understanding of medicine. “I thought that was a very sensible position,” Mark says.

Working in UK hospitals after his pharmaceutical training, Mark quickly realised the Kiwi expression ‘see you later’, wasn’t as warmly received as it was on our side of the globe.

“English people didn’t want to ‘see you later’ because that meant they would be back in hospital. So if they had just had an acute admission, I would say ‘I hope you’re feeling better soon’ and if they had come in for a simple check up with their specialist and everything was fine, I would say ‘stay well’ and that received a really positive response.”

When he returned to New Zealand, he recognised a change in health was taking place.

Some of the healthfood store workers had started wearing white smocks which had traditionally been the pharmacist’s label, and the very way we view our health had changed.

“Rather than looking for curative methods, we were now looking for managerial methods,” Mark says.

“We’re managing diabetes, managing our mental health and managing our cardiovascular health. I felt that in my industry, there were ‘get better’ pharmacies and ‘stay sick’ pharmacies and there was not a lot of proactive work going into staying well.”

‘Staying well’ is now Mark’s mantra, a moniker that has also become the name of both his Hornby pharmacy, and his clinic.

Stay Well Pharmacy opened in 2001 and, just a few years later after joining the Australian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine, where he learned about how nutritional medicine interfaces with allopathic or western-style medicine, he opened up a clinic at the pharmacy, enabling Christchurch customers to access a next-level care, which encompasses diet, exercise and lifestyle.

“I soon realised that wasn’t quite enough,” Mark says. “I needed to find some allies and there weren’t many in New Zealand.”

He enrolled with the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M), completing their fellowship programme and becoming board-certified. “Even though that qualification is well-known in the US, it’s not widely recognised here,” he says.

“I also recognised that I’m working with a group of people who only recognise scientific, evidence-based, peer-reviewed information and if I wanted to be considered to be a leader in my field, I needed a recognised qualification – a degree.”

Working around his clinic and pharmacy, Mark completed his Masters of Health Science in Integrated Medicine through George Washington University in May this year. In June, he relocated his Stay Well clinic to Merivale where he practises integrative medicine at the Alpha Omega Clinic in Leinster Road.

“There needed to be somebody in the middle who could connect all the practitioners together,” Mark says of his journey.

“That’s what integrative medicine is; it’s a bringing together of the best of everybody, for the fulfillment of the patient.”

Medical organisations deal extremely well with the acute, Mark says. “So if you’ve been in a trauma accident and you’re bleeding or you’ve had a heart attack or sudden downturn in health, the medical model works exceptionally well, but they struggle to work well with the long term; the chronic. They don’t work with the ‘why’, they just work with the ‘how’.

“The number one thing I’ve learnt is that we are all individuals; there’s no rubber stamp for everyone; no one diet that will suit everyone; no medicine that suits everyone. I help people to recognise that their personal picture of health is a 37 pieces jigsaw puzzle. Without addressing the foundational corners of the puzzle; sleep, hygiene, stress and relaxation, movement and exercise, and diet and nutrition, it can be problematic to successfully piece together the internal pieces to complete the optimal picture.”

“What I do is allow people to have a broader perspective of their health and the options that are available. It’s ideal for somebody who is sick and tired of being sick and tired, but also people who are currently healthy and want to stay well.”

Stay Well Clinic is at 154 Leinster Road. Visit




Preventing gum disease: Christchurch PerioHygiene

When it comes to gum health care, the quality of the dental cleaning matters, says Dr Yasmin Akrum.



Having practised dentistry for more than 25 years, which includes working as a periodontist for 16 years at the Singapore Dental Centre and in a specialist private practice in Singapore, she knows gum disease can be prevented and treated, provided it is detected early and thorough cleans are instituted.

Yasmin moved to Christchurch in 2012 and in March this year, she opened Christchurch PerioHygiene, offering high-quality dental hygiene services which support treatment for implants as well as periodontal (gum) treatment.

“Christchurch PerioHygiene was conceived to bridge the gap between dental hygienists and periodontists (gum specialists),” Dr Akrum says.

“We can definitely prevent gum disease if we have good preventive care with the use of technologically advanced and specific instruments. Almost all gum diseases can be treated, if detected early. There’s no need to lose a tooth due to them.”

Dr Akrum supervises her team of hygienists closely (who can treat moderate gum disease cases), possibly lessening the need for full specialist treatment. “I guide our hygienists to clean the way specialists clean.”

With the latest technology at their fingertips, Christchurch PerioHygiene also offers a range of anaesthetic options in an environment that strives to be comforting for patients. Even the dental chair is overlaid with a medical grade memory foam cushion.

Christchurch PerioHygiene is located at 140 Idris Road. You can find out more by visiting or phoning 03 928 1878.



Toolkit for weight loss: Unichem Cashel Pharmacy

Recent data indicates that over 60 percent of Australians and New Zealanders are overweight or obese; more concerningly, as obesity levels increase, research suggests more people are now dying from obesity-related causes than from smoking.



Cashel Pharmacy run a Practitioner Weight Management Program incorporating evidence-based techniques and clinical tools to help people change behaviours to achieve healthy, sustainable weight loss – and it’s achieving great results.

Setting specific weight and physical activity goals is associated with better weight loss outcomes. These are set out as SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and with a Timeframe). They specify what a person will do, when, where, and for how long.

Other weight loss tools implemented in the six-week programme are Regular Self-Monitoring, a cornerstone of successful weight loss intervention and dietary improvement; Mindfulness, which strengthens a patient’s connection with their own hunger and satiety cues, reduces stress-related eating and helps establish a new relationship with food; and Problem-Solving Therapy, a behavioural change technique that empowers patients to stay on track when faced with obstacles and setbacks by providing a series of steps through which patients can understand challenges and devise effective solutions. Problem-Solving Therapy also assists in replacing negative thoughts with more-positive thoughts.

With regular support from the Unichem Cashel Pharmacy Practitioner team and using the aforementioned techniques and tools, patients can achieve a lasting and healthy weight loss.

Find Unichem Cashel Pharmacy at 3/111 Cashel Street, phone 03 595 1289 or visit



New kids on the wellness block

The doors to 18 businesses threw open their doors at The Welder complex on 2 November. We check out the new kids on the wellness block.



A collection of six re-purposed industrial buildings on Welles Street, between Manchester and Colombo, have housed a range of businesses over the years, from an old welder’s workshop to a former grocery distribution centre. And, while they’ve been given a healthy new lease on life as the first-ever health and wellbeing centre of this scale in New Zealand, the developers have paid due homage to the buildings’ former residents.

The business hub, created by local property development firm Box 112, includes a yoga studio, a plant-based treat store, two bread and baked goods specialists, a wholefoods refillery, a juicery, a wine and tapas bar, a yakitori restaurant and an indoor plants store – for many of them, Canterbury was their commercial birthplace and the city remains close to their hearts.

Box 112 has built its developmental empire by purchasing, fitting out and leasing buildings throughout the city, but with a unique appreciation of architectural history, they’re all about the stories behind the spaces. “Buildings are not just spaces, they have memories attached to them,” co-director James Stringer says.


Rejuvenating the semi-industrial area south of Tuam Street is a project close to the company’s commercial heart and The Welder now stands as testament to this tireless dedication.

Pro-rugby player Tim Bateman has brought us the country’s largest modern wellness centre, O Studio, which offers a range of yoga, flotation, meditation, ice-baths, infrared saunas and personalised coaching programmes.

“It’s awesome; a dream come true,” O Studio’s Sam Thomas says of the opening. “It’s been two years in the making for O Studio, with Tim slaving away alongside a professional rugby career, which makes it an even more incredible feat to get where we are today.”

Sam and Sally Hooper, former owners and creators of Pot Sticker and Sister Kong, have paired up with former All Black Andy Ellis to open Christchurch’s only Yakitori restaurant Bar Yoku. And cold pressed organic juice cleanse company Greenroots Juicery has opened Barefoot Eatery here.


Stewart Corkin and the clever crew behind Corkin + Friends have opened a plush new hairdressing space in the development, while Flourish Foliage provides a range of indoor plants and related products.

Rhiannon and Elsie are the passionate pairing behind The Great Pastry Shop, while GoodFor allows you to stock up on your pantry goods without the wasteful packaging that comes with it.

Christchurch’s very own modern craft bakery, Grizzly Baked Goods, has also made its home here, along with modern-day tea merchants Noble and Savage.

The Two Raw Sisters bring their creative approach to plant-based food through workshops, catering, cookbooks and videos, and you’ll also find vino and tapas bar Salut Salut here, along with destination homewares store, Sollos.




Mummy mugs make waves

When it comes to looking after children, it’s all too easy to forget to look after yourself. A group of Sumner mums have teamed up with talented potter Tatyanna Meharry to encourage mums across New Zealand to take five minutes to themselves to have a cuppa, with the proceeds going to support Plunket Nationwide to help mums with postnatal depression and also to the local Sumner kindy.



These Christchurch mums are on a mission to encourage other mums to take five minutes a day to relax, press pause and take a moment to themselves to enjoy a cuppa in the beautiful ceramic ‘Mummy Mugs’ created from Sumner sand.

With one in five mums experiencing postnatal depression, it was an easy decision to support this very worthy cause, designer and mum-of-two Kat Gee explains. “We are proud to align with Plunket and support their efforts to be there for mums when they feel depressed or anxious,” Kat says.


“Parenting can be pretty full-on with everyone demanding your attention and sometimes you just need to make yourself a cuppa and take a moment to reset. I was actually inspired by Jacinda Ardern saying that she loved having her large mug of tea on the go every day.

“We aren’t all Jacinda Arderns but I thought, ‘gosh if it’s good enough for Jacinda, it’s good enough for other mums too’. And yes, she will be sent a mug too!”


The Mummy Mugs are uniquely designed by mums for mums and have been inspired by the local beaches. Each mug is hand-glazed with a mix of both matte and shiny textures and feels like you are holding a cold stone that warms up with the tea of coffee. They are all dishwasher safe and come in one classic 375ml size.

Show your support today by purchasing your Mummy Mug at

Priced at just $34.95, these mugs make the perfect Christmas gift for you or another mum, sister or friend. All orders need to be collected from Urban Style, Sumner on 7 December from 10am-2pm.







Reasons to head beachside

Psychologists and health researchers are constantly finding more science-backed reasons why we should spend time outside. As the temperatures heat up, we’ve found some of our own.


  1. Encourages exercise
    When you’re hanging out outside, chances are you’re going to be logging some exercise and we all know the benefits we can reap from even light exercise.

  2. Stress relief
    Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, it contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and the production of stress hormones.

  3. Vitamin D
    You can’t get the right amount of vitamin D your body needs from food. The most natural way to get vitamin D is by getting out in the sun, but make sure you do it safely and sensibly.

  4. Promotes better sleep
    Even light exercise helps people sleep better. Meanwhile, the natural light patterns strengthen the production of melatonin which is responsible for those feelings of sleepiness you get in the evening.

  5. Boosts brain health
    Research suggests that people who take walks in nature are also reaping mental health benefits like less depression and lower stress levels.

Enjoy the outdoors every day! We have two prize packs containing summer essentials to help with bites, bruises and burns. Each pack contains: Goodbye OUCH Sun Balm 80g, Goodbye OUCH Manuka Balm 25g and Goodbye SANDFLY 50ml. All products are available in selected supermarkets, health food stores and pharmacies and online at





Growing families: Genea Oxford Fertility

One of the founders of fertility services in Canterbury is returning from Australia to become Genea Oxford Fertility’s Medical Director.




Fertility specialist Dr Pete Benny, who is currently the Medical Director of Monash IVF NSW and an Associate Professor at the University of Sydney, will return to Christchurch to take up his new role in the New Year.|

As well as helping Genea Oxford Fertility patients to grow their families, he will be training new fertility specialists to work at the clinic. “I had always planned to come back to Christchurch and was lucky to be presented with this exciting opportunity,” he says.

Prior to leaving Christchurch, Dr Benny practiced as an obstetrician and gynaecologist and held a number of roles in the city’s burgeoning fertility services. These included Clinical Director of Canterbury District Health Board’s IVF Unit until 1993; Medical Director of Healthlink South’s IVF service until 1996; Medical Director of The Fertility Centre until 2008; and Medical Director of Repromed Christchurch (now Fertility Associates) until 2010.

“Many of the people I worked with are still in Christchurch, including (Genea Oxford Fertility specialists) Janene Brown and Richard Dover. I am really looking forward to being back amongst them.”

Dr Benny says he finds his specialty endlessly interesting. “One of the things that is fascinating me at the moment is research into how the uterus and embryos communicate with each other. It seems highly likely that embryos send a number of messages that the uterus reads and then decides whether or not to accept them. It is so interesting to think about what those messages might be,” he says.

“The biggest issue around the world is of course educating society about what happens with fertility and ageing. People need a better understanding, so that they start planning their fertility and don’t leave it too long.”

Appointments are now being taken for consultations with Dr Benny in the New Year. Simply call Genea Oxford Fertility on 0800 377 894 or ask your General Practitioner for a referral.


Dr Pete Benny




Saving lives: TriEx

TriEx has been a leading health provider for the three (tri) areas of service excellence (ex) in Health, Safety and Occupational Hygiene in New Zealand for more than 30 years.




Offering First Aid training in both Christchurch and Auckland, the team acknowledges that each workplace has different first aid risks and so in addition to public courses, they also provide businesses with a simplified and affordable range of tailored courses specific to their needs.

Employees can complete Unit Standards 6402 and 6401 in eight hours, ensuring they have the first aid skills to save a life.

TriEx also offers a four-hour Psychological First Aid course to help prepare learners to respond to a person who may be experiencing emotional distress in the workplace. Much like any First Aid treatment, Psychological First Aid is to help preserve life, provide help, promote recovery and provide comfort.

With one in five New Zealanders experiencing some form of mental distress during their lifetime, this course is designed to help break down stigmas around psychological distress and mental health by expanding knowledge and understanding to build acceptance and tolerance in our community.

The course covers what might emotional distress look like, how to approach a distressed person, Psychological DRSABCD, listening skills, suicide, anxiety, and workplace bullying.

All courses can be booked online by visiting For enquiries or bookings, phone 0800 487 439 or email




The gut/brain connection

Did you know that up to 95 percent of serotonin and 50 percent of dopamine – vital brain chemicals which impact our happiness, wellbeing, reward and motivation – is made in the gut?



Leading Clinical Nutritionist Ben Warren is touring the country this month, helping Kiwis understand the strong link between what they eat and how they feel. We caught up with Ben about the latest research into our interlinked gut-brain connection and how nourishing your gut can create a more calm, joyful and peaceful mind.

Can you tell us a bit about the connection between gut health and mental health?
We’ve probably all experienced a gut feeling, tummy in knots, or butterflies. And the research is starting to show that this is more than ‘just a feeling’. In fact, it turns out that the gut might actually be our ‘second brain’ after all, and its health can impact our emotions and mental wellbeing.

Not only is the brain talking to the gut and the rest of the body, but it goes the other way too. The gut is talking to the brain which impacts how we think and feel on a daily level.

This feedback loop is known as the gut brain axis – a two-way communication pathway. The gut talks to the brain in a number of ways – through the central nervous system, the autonomic nervous system, through neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine and via the immune system.

At the core of this is the microbiota, the trillions of bacteria and organisms that live synergistically with us. Research is looking heavily at these mind-altering microorganisms and the impact of the gut microbiota on brain and behaviour, specifically looking at emotions and the mechanisms of things such as probiotics and fermented foods and their ability to control and change how we think and feel; which makes supporting your gut an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to creating mental wellness.

Kombucha is being touted as the hottest thing for gut health at the moment, how effective is kombucha and other fermented foods at restoring gut health?
While it’s early days for the research on these traditional foods, the research is currently pointing towards having a broader, wider, deeper, more diverse microbiome (primarily the organisms living in our gut – although we have them elsewhere too) – as being associated with better gut health and also our whole body health too. Traditionally fermented foods can help contribute to this broader, wider, more diverse microbiome.

In an article published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology titled, ‘Fermented foods, microbiota and mental health: ancient practice meets nutritional psychiatry’ (2014), they answered this exact question. The take home message? Yes, fermented foods are beneficial, not only to our physical health but also to our mental health due to their ability to mitigate inflammation and oxidative stress. In another study looking at neuroticism and social anxiety, a higher frequency of fermented food consumption was associated with fewer symptoms of social anxiety, suggesting that fermented foods containing probiotics may serve as a low-risk intervention for reducing social anxiety.

When it comes to kombucha, I haven’t seen any specific research. However, if made traditionally as a fermented tea, it should contain strains of friendly bacteria as well as the beneficial metabolic byproducts of bacteria fermentation. I do have concerns with the commercialisation of kombucha, particularly how they are making it. They are sometimes using a lot of sugar and not letting it naturally ferment or carbonate, instead carbonating artificially like a regular fizzy drink. I would stick to trusted brands – the ones I go for are New Leaf, Organic Mechanic and Good Buzz.

What’s the difference between probiotics and prebiotics, and how critical are these to our gut health?
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that have been shown to have a known benefit to human health, whereas prebiotics are the food that the beneficial bacteria need to survive. Like us, bacteria need food to live!

Our body is home to trillions of bacteria, and it is these bacteria that digest key aspects of our food to synthesise neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine and their precursors. In fact, up to 95 percent of the body’s serotonin is produced in the gut by the microbiome. Adding in probiotics (as a supplement or naturally through fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha or coconut yoghurt) is a great way to nourish your gut health back into balance by adding in a diverse range of beneficial bacteria.

We can support our bacteria by eating prebiotic-rich foods such as beans, legumes, bananas, raw onion or raw garlic. Eating a variety of vegetables will support diversity as different foods feed different types of bacteria.

How are antibiotics and their overuse contributing to poor gut health?
There is good research indicating that overuse of antibiotics is contributing to poor gut health. However, I’m not suggesting that you don’t take antibiotics, as they can be lifesaving in certain situations! Rather, I’d recommend taking a high-quality probiotic alongside the antibiotics and consuming fermented foods to minimise the impact on the microbiome.

Are supplements all they’ve cracked up to be and what should we be supplementing?
Absolutely, the increase in research on the benefits of probiotics for human health has been exponential over the last 20 years. Researchers are now isolating specific strains that impact mood, for example in one study looking at Bacillus coagulans(MTCC5856) on major depression with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), the improvement in depression and IBS symptoms was statistically significant and clinically meaningful. In another study looking at Lactobacillus helviticus and Bifido bactaterium longum taken for 30 days they found it decreased global scores of anxiety and depression. It’s very early days in the research currently and there’s a long way to go, but there’s definitely enough research to justify their use.

What are some of your key tips for fueling our modern day lives to get best gut – and brain – health outcomes?
• Eat a wholefood diet focusing on a variety of vegetables
• Take a high-quality probiotic with a wide variety of proven strains
• Minimise sugars and artificial sweeteners
• Consume fermented foods as part of your daily food intake
• Consume chicken and bone broths to support gut healing
• Daily movement or exercise can help to modulate the biome by 20 percent!