I don’t take vitamins, ingest herbal mixes or adaptogens, am lucky if I get in four green juices max per month, and believe in tonics like a nightly glass of wine and a weekly cheeseburger. You get the picture—I am fairly healthy (I do exercise often), but hardly a health nut. But after taking Lumity anti-ageing supplements for four weeks, I’m a convert. I’ve been in a good mood every day (not in a Prozac way, it’s subtle…and kind of strange as in I’m not sure if it’s the Lumity or the fact that Spring finally arrived and the flowers are blooming), had no typical PMS signs (mood swings, cramps), my hormonal skin breakouts diminished, and I’m waking up before the alarm clock every day because I must be sleeping better.
I was thrilled when Dr. Sara Palmer Hussey, founder of Lumity agreed to a TFI interview. Hussey knows of what she speaks: she is Cambridge University’s Global Expert on Ageing and her interests beyond Lumity include weight-management, obesity and the effects of diet as the next cancer-fighting frontier. (We got into a long discussion, which I didn’t include below, about the mitochondria of cancer cells vs. the mitochondria of regular cells that fight cancer.) Point being ,that this is why Lumity works: There is serious science behind these supplements. Because in my normal day-to-day, I pay zero attention to much of what Dr. Hussey speaks about, I learned a few things. If you read on, you might too.
What made you decide to create Lumity? Where did the idea come from?
I was researching aging in general and noticed that most anti-aging products were based on the theory of aging. The main theory on aging that you have heard from the 60’s is the free radical theory of aging, which basically blames free radicals and sees them as the key cause. What I did, which is different to other research, is I kept everything on the table. So saying, ‘Okay, no one factor is the leader.’ I trolled all of the research and investigated areas that were previously unrelated to aging but which I felt actually had a huge impact. I thought it would be really interesting if we could address all of these factors; really see if we can actually slow down aging and kind of redress the balance because for me, aging is an accumulation of damage in the body.
Imagine your body has a set of old fashioned [weight] scales. On the one hand you have damage that is a byproduct of being alive. On the other side you’ve got processes in your body such as repair and protection, defenses that are counter-balancing that damage. When we’re young, those scales are well balanced so that any damage in the body is repaired and the body is protected. The moment those scales start to tip in favor of damage, damage starts to accumulate and the body then finds it very difficult to maintain the efficiency that you had in youth, in all areas of your body.
I thought we really need to target the way the body itself counter-balances damage. If you look, traditionally on the market, all products have condensed their aging down to free-radicals and therefore free-radicals can be counteracted by anti-oxidants. Most anti-aging supplements I found looking at the market were just a mix of anti-oxidants. We’re just throwing anti-oxidants at free-radicals in the body and hoping that that’s going to solve aging. I knew that that wasn’t enough.
Also most anti-aging products concentrate on the skin, worrying about wrinkles and aiding the skin. For me, at the time I started working on Lumity, I had a young daughter and I wasn’t spending a lot of time in front of the mirror. Of course I wanted good skin but it was more about, ‘I feel like I don’t have any energy, I feel that my immune system’s really weak. I seem to be picking up everything going around, everything that my daughter’s bringing back from nursery. I generally just don’t feel myself.’
Even after my daughter was sleeping well at night, I didn’t seem to be recovering. I thought, this is part of that aging process and I’d love a product that would address these factors as well as improve my skin. By addressing all of these factors that are involved in aging, you really can experience a boost in overall health. On a cellular level, if your body is not working efficiently, then you’re falling behind and that falling behind is what results in aging.
What led me to create Lumity is that there was nothing really on the market that I saw as an effective ally to women of my age, who are starting to feel less than their best. Personally, I was going to meetings and kind of struggling, drinking coffee to feel awake and to feel able to cope with my day. Just constantly tired and under the weather. I really wanted something that would make me feel strong, in terms of immune health, energetically my best, and know that I was giving my body the support it needed to repair the damage the was ongoing day after day.
When you launched it what was the reaction?
First we did a six month trial run on 120 women. What was amazing was the range of benefits that came back from that study. There was a lot around hormone balance, which I knew that Lumity would help, but I didn’t know that it would help so noticeably in so many women. That was the most pleasant surprise.
Also, to discover where women had specific issues that had become chronic and they’d tried a million things to cure. Especially skin disorders like psoriasis or eczema, they were finding that those were clearing up quite quickly. Obviously my partner was like, ‘Lets launch this. This is incredible. This is really helping people.’ It was quite a tricky one to launch because we’re like, ‘Okay what are we?’ I thought, ‘How would I describe Lumity?’ At it’s source, it was formulated as anti-aging supplement. What it has become is a daily ally for women to feel their best. I get women who say, ‘I feel strong and healthy. I don’t need to wear as much makeup. My skin feels great. I don’t come down with colds anymore. I don’t pick up bugs from my kids. I just feel able to cope with life, on an even, well-balanced keel.’
Where some women have hormonal problems with their monthly cycle, those have cleared up and they say, ‘You’ve given me back a week every month of my life where it was a nightmare and now it’s incredible, that’s cleared up.”‘ My hope is that it can help as many women as possible and become their secret ally that they know is working with their bodies to support their bodies, because as we go on our bodies need a little bit of extra support.
Also Lumity tends to be a very personal journey. For some people, they have an immediate effect in the first week and usually one of the first benefits people feel is a boost in energy. How it’s going to work and where you’re going see it first really depends on your health profile and your own body’s requirements.
Why separate morning and night capsules?
That is a very important part of this is–in all my studies I’ve been fascinated by the body’s Circadian rhythm. The body has this natural rhythm and very different mode of functioning between day and night. To me, health is balance and the body thrives on balance. So if we can attune to those natural cycles that the body has, and if we work with those natural cycles, we can be a lot healthier. When I was formulating this product, I wanted to harness those different ways of functioning that the body has. During the day you have this active mode and so the morning capsules highlight protection. They boost energy production and they get you going through the day, protecting your body from damage and making your body more efficient in terms of functioning.
The night capsules harness the repair mode of the body. When the body sleeps, it goes into deep repair mode. I think the real key to anti-aging is to harness sleep. If you look at kids, for example, when they first fall asleep, they go into this really deep sleep. That deep sleep is a result of this huge surge of human growth hormone that they produce in those first hours of sleep.
Children obviously use that human growth hormone to grow but it’s also essential to repair damage in the body and regenerate every single tissue. That human growth hormone, especially the surge during sleep is what declines as we get into our 30’s. It’s also inversely related to cortisol so if you have high stress levels [which produces cortisol] it will depress your release of human growth hormone. Human growth hormone is essential to repair in your body and to maintaining health and youth through the years.
You hear of body builders and athletes supplementing with growth hormone. The problem with that is that if you introduce growth hormone from outside the body, the body is so clever that it will register that and it will decrease its own supply. So what you’re doing is actually making the situation worse. What I wanted to do was just to really support the pituitary gland and allow your body to produce and release human growth hormone in a very useful and helpful way by providing it with what it needs to do so.
There’s this mix of amino acids in the night capsules that have been shown to really support that process. As a result of that first consumer study, I was getting loads of reviews back saying, ‘I’m sleeping so well.’
I have a friend who started taking them and she said the same.
There’s no direct link has been established between human growth hormone for example and cortisol but it’s definitely been seen that when human growth hormone levels rise, cortisol levels fall. Cortisol is your stress hormone and you know that when you’re stressed you find it very difficult to sleep, you have interrupted sleep and have very light sleep. You don’t get to that deep level of sleep that is really good quality. The kind of sleep that you wake up from refreshed and you feel as if it’s done you the world of good.
Also going back to anti-oxidants, and you may have caught wind of a few studies that were in the mainstream press about this, the problem with taking a lot of anti-oxidants is that some studies have related antioxidant supplementation to the incidence of cancer. For example, they did a study using Beta Carotene because they wanted to see whether high doses of Beta Carotene and Vitamin E would counteract lung cancer. They had to interrupt the study because they were actually accelerating the cancer. This is where my approach to the body is very much one of deep respect in the sense that the body knows how to balance itself. I don’t believe in mega doses of antioxidants. I don’t believe in mega doses of anything. I think the best approach is a gentle nudge to the body. When you’re introducing mega doses of antioxidants or any other nutrient for that matter, you’re really shunting the body off balance and it has to account for this huge influx and it can cause issues.
Is Lumity targeted to a certain age group? Are they for women? Can men take them?
In terms of age group, I think you should take Lumity when you get those first signs of aging in your mid 30s. We do have women in their 20’s taking Lumity, but you probably don’t need it then. I’d say from 30 to 35 onwards.
It wasn’t formulated with either women or men in mind. Our marketing slant has embraced women because I formulated it for myself. I love the community feel of Lumity, that it’s about women and supporting women and hopefully changing our attitude toward aging. I’d love, for example, for younger women to actually look forward to being in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, and beyond. To see women in their 80’s and 90’s who are still passionate and full of life. I’d love to create that counter tendency. Most of my friends don’t really want to be 20 again. They’re quite happy in their age group. It’s just about feeling good and feeling your best.
When do you personally take them?
I take the morning ones with breakfast because I literally get up out of bed and have breakfast. I’ve got an eight year old who wakes up ravenous and so it’s, ‘Mommy, make me breakfast.’ I’ll be making breakfast and I’ll have my morning capsules. I have my evening capsules just before I go to bed. Because they’re a soft gel, you don’t need to take them with food. In a soft gel all the ingredients are suspended in flaxseed oil and so they’re ready for absorption in the body. That format also means that we don’t have to add any nasties or binding agents, coating agents, preservatives, et cetera. The seal is perfect and really maintains the active ingredients inside. Last thing, at night, just as you’re going to bed, that’s when they’re going to be really effective, in terms of harnessing that repair mode during your sleep. Literally, the last thing I do at night, before I go to bed is have a glass of water on my bedside table and I take Lumity, which I keep there, then go to sleep.
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You can order Lumity online, or call Knockout Beauty if you’re in NYC, 631-899-3401.