April 26 – May 30, 2024


Collagen: Natural support for healthy ageing #Bealtaine:positiveageing

A geing gracefully is all about living the best life possible and having both the physical and mental health to enjoy it. Like a bottle of wine, you can get better with age with the right care! Un- doubtedly, a healthy diet, regular exercise, good sleep routines and maintaining social contacts, all have a positive influence on healthy ageing. With age, certain changes happen to your body, both internally and externally, which can impact the way you look and feel. Collagen plays an important role in many of these changes. Let’s take a closer look. What is collagen? Collagen is the most abundant structural protein in the human body, making up about 30 per cent of your body’s total protein, so it is no surprise that it can be found throughout the body. Your body can produce colla- gen naturally from amino acids (the building block of proteins) and it needs vitamin C, zinc, copper and manganese to form the collagen proteins complete- ly. These collagen proteins form a fibre-like structure which is used to make connective tissue. Connective tissue is a type of tissue that connects other tissues and is a major component of skin, hair, muscles, tendons, lig- aments, bones, joints, teeth, and many other parts of the body. Why is collagen important? Collagen is the glue that holds A new drive is underway to bolster State funding for services which heart and stroke patients in Co Cork describe as their “lifeline”. L support Irish Heart Foundation patient support services – with funding vital to their continued operation. It is estimated that 67,000 people in Cork are living with cardiovascular disease. For many, supports pro- ocals are being urged to lobby their TDs and Sen- ators to sign a pledge to vided by the charity are the only help they receive after a life-changing heart event, heart failure, stroke or other cardiac

SOMEGA Collagen Plus Bandon-based health supple- ment company SOMEGA was founded by nutritionists and food scientists, Dr. Paula Gaynor and Mark Clifford. They have recently launched Collagen Plus, an advanced collagen supplement which contains marine collagen PLUS nine essential vitamins and minerals, hyaluronic acid, and two botani- cal extracts. SOMEGA Collagen

our body together and is vital for our health, more specifically it: Gives structure, strength and elasticity to skin; Helps to replace dead skin cells; Allows new skin cells to grow; Provides strength, structure and support to muscles and bones; Helps blood to clot; Provides a protective covering for organs. What happens to collagen as we age? With age, our bodies gradually make less collagen, and the collagen that is made becomes more fragmented and less well distributed throughout the body. This change contributes to many of the natural signs of ageing, such as: Loss of skin elastic- ity and firmness, resulting in wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging; Weakened muscles and muscle aches; Joint pain and stiffness; Weakened bones and increased risk of osteoporosis; Reduced flexibility The benefits of collagen supplements Collagen supplements have become an increasingly popular and convenient option for nat- urally boosting collagen levels. Supplementation is associated with several health benefits: Skin Health: Research indicates that taking collagen supplements can improve skin health and appearance. A recent review of 19 studies concluded that collagen supplementation can delay and improve the signs of skin ageing by decreasing facial wrinkles and improving

skin hydration and elasticity, while the supplementation is maintained. The time required to delay skin ageing in most studies was 90 days. Hair and Nails: Collagen supplements contain amino acids that our bodies use to build keratin, another important pro- tein in hair and nails. Collagen supplementation has been found to increase nail growth, decrease the frequency of broken nails,

and improve brittle nails. Bone Health: Collagen supplements taken long-term have been shown to help increase bone mineral density in postmenopausal women who are at a greater risk of developing osteopenia and osteoporosis. Joint Health: Collagen sup- plementation has been found to reduce symptoms related to os- teoarthritis, including stiffness.

Plus is a powder with a natural berry flavour and can be added to water, juices and smoothies. It’s a delicious way to enjoy and reap the health benefits of collagen daily! SOMEGA products are stocked in health stores and pharmacies throughout West Cork. For more information, visit

COLLAGEN PLUS SUPPORTING BEAUTY FROM WITHIN Expertly formulated supplement containing marine collagen PLUS nine essential vitamins and minerals, hyaluronic acid and two clinically researched botanical extracts all working together to support healthy skin, hair and nails. Delicious natural berry flavour. SOMEGA is a West Cork brand with more than 40 years of nutritional expertise packed into each product. Available from health food stores, pharmacies and


Drive underway to fund ‘lifeline’ supports to Cork heart and stroke patients

the Irish Heart Foundation, the charity, he said, “played out of their skin” to help make up for lost time. “For me, the services have been critical in reducing a strong sense of isolation expe- rienced following my bilateral stroke. “The Irish Heart Foundation offered essential remote ser- vices based around commonly used apps and internet plat- forms; most importantly, there is a strong sense of community with the other participants with lots of contact and support. “The therapy, support and training given by the Irish Heart Foundation has been instrumen- tal in me returning to work on a part-time basis, they equipped me well to face the challenges of getting back to work.” Mr Macey says stroke patients leaving hospital often feel abandoned – and many heart failure patients end up in a revolving-door system where they need to be re-admitted. “Our range of services, de-

scribed by patients as a lifeline, reduce the need for admission to hospitals and nursing homes. A heart disease diagnosis or stroke often leads to post traumatic stress disorder. But the counselling we provide is the only psychological support available to many patients. “People are denied basic services and it is appalling.” In addition to counselling, the Irish Heart Foundation provides nurse-led needs assessments, weekly support calls, back-to- work programmes, fatigue man- agement, peer-to-peer support services, social interaction and online exercise groups. Patients also have access to a Nurse Support Line to provide medical advice. Once they sign the pledge, elected representatives’ names will appear on vocacy/ and they are also asked to share the pledge on their websites and social media.


but only a fraction of this work is State-funded, says the chari- ty’s Director of Advocacy and Patient Support, Chris Macey. “Nationally, 80,000 heart and stroke patients are discharged from hospital every year, or one every seven minutes, in many cases to a bleak and uncertain future,” he said. “One in three of all stroke patients returning home are being referred in to our services, whilst we are also supporting thousands of heart patients. “These people cannot simply return to the lives they led before and desperately need the unique pathway of support services that the Irish Heart Foundation provides. “We are doing our utmost with our resources to ensure that people can make the most of life after a stroke or heart diag-

nosis, but we cannot guarantee continued delivery of these services.” In May, 2022, 53-year old Arthur Little from Ballydehob in West Cork was woken in bed at 1am by his wife Lydia. She thought he was having a nightmare, but soon she and their daughter Róisín realised he was having a stroke. “I wasn’t aware I was having a stroke, but luckily my wife and daughter recognised the F.A.S.T. signs: facial drooping and left side weakness and called an ambulance imme- diately. I remember trying to move out of the bed and I just couldn’t,” Arthur said. After being discharged from hospital, he waited over six weeks without any referrals or therapy. But once a call was made to

The practical, social and emotional support services be- gin when patients leave hospital and continue for as long as they are needed. Now local people are being encouraged to ask their local representatives to sign an online pledge on cacy to ensure €1.2million in crucial annual funding is made available. The Irish Heart Foundation currently receives just 8.6 per cent of this to fund patient sup- port services nationwide, which it says is inadequate to help the current volume of patients. The services reduce costs for the State every year by supporting patients to continue living in their homes rather than requiring nursing home care or being readmitted to hospital –

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