anatomē’s approach to health is simple: nutritional and emotional wellbeing is the key to a fulfilling, balanced and healthy life. Founded by Brendan Murdock on the realisation that a store providing high quality, contemporary health products with expert advice did not exist, {anatomē} provides the finest vitamins, supplements and therapeutic oils - in eye-pleasing packaging (no gaudy labelling here) - to deliver both physical and emotional benefits. 

Made using active natural botanical extracts, organic and scientifically proven ingredients, the range has been developed with the help of sports scientists, nutritionists and aromacologists to support on the quest to become your best, healthiest self. And, with a range dedicated to women's wellbeing, we spoke to Brendan about how to regulate hormones, boost our libido and navigate each phase of feminine life cycles...

{Cult Beauty} Can you start by talking us through the brand’s beginnings and its ethos? What differentiates anatom} from other wellness ranges?

{Brendan Murdock} While keeping fit is important, it is only one aspect of our wellbeing and with mental health issues, anxiety and sleep disorders at epidemic levels, I realised that traditional health food stores were offering very little to nourish the mind and soul in the way of experience, products or services. This provided the inspiration for Aromacology, the study of the influence of botanical extracts and aromas on human mood physiologically.

At {anatomē}, we only source the best varieties of botanical extracts (for example, lavender from the Himalayas has very different properties and benefits compared with Cornish, Provençal or Bavarian lavender - the provenance is key), and, by communicating exactly how each supplement or therapeutic oil will tangibly benefit body and mind, we're empowering each individual to take responsibility for their own daily health - reinforcing the concept that beauty begins on the inside. 

{CB} There’s so much (often contradictory!) information surrounding the supplement realm. How do you identify what’s missing from our lifestyles and create the next, health-boosting blend?

{BM} Travel, intensive exercise, illness, stress and hormonal changes: modern life places many demands on our bodies. As we are becoming increasingly aware, the microbiome plays a pivotal role in our overall health. This means that from time to time we may benefit from an additional boost from a particular vitamin or mineral to support our digestive or metabolic function and immune system.

We are discovering that individuals really want compounds, assembled with a clear focus in mind - whether it’s to support the body physically or mentally. It’s the link between mind and body, and an accessible collection of product that is thoroughly researched with tangible benefits. So being in a city like London in the case of women, we are finding that each individual needs more support with maintaining energy levels, remaining healthy and being mentally equipped to face the swathe of lifestyle challenges, both night and day.

{CB} With a category devoted to female wellness, can you talk us through the most common deficiencies, their negative effects and how to combat them?

{BM} There are a number of key deficiencies in the diet that we see day to day. Magnesium deficiency is common. Despite it being present in all plant foods, impaired soil quality means that we run the risk of not acquiring enough magnesium to meet our daily needs. Stress can also cause magnesium loss. Symptoms of deficiency range from loss of appetite and weakness to muscle cramps, extreme fatigue, low mood and migraine. We advocate food first and suggest combatting any potential deficiency by incorporating lots of plant-based foods into your diet such as vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts (fish and meat provide comparatively little). You may want to consider a magnesium supplement if you are experiencing symptoms of deficiency.

B12 is another common vitamin deficiency, particularly amongst vegetarians and vegans as it can only be obtained in the diet from animal sources (although research continues to explore whether it can be obtained from plant sources such as seaweed and fermented products in a form that is usable to humans). Some people also lack the special protein that helps the gut absorb B12. Symptoms of deficiency range from fatigue resulting from anaemia, and brain fog and nerve pain or tingling in the limbs. We recommend eating a range of lean meats, eggs and dairy where possible, but supplementing with B12 if you eat little or no animal products or suspect a deficiency.

Whilst other B vitamins are abundant in foods (and do not require the special protein to be absorbed), the risk of having sub-optimal amounts is increased amongst people leading hectic busy lives as levels become depleted in times of stress. Medication or heavy alcohol use can also increase excretion of these vitamins and inflammatory gut issues can reduce their absorption. Not all B vitamins do the same thing and the different types come from different foods. Eat a wide range of whole foods such as wholegrains, nuts, dark green leafy vegetables as well lean meat, fish, dairy and eggs to meet your daily needs.

{CB} It’s great to see you catering to menopausal women. There’s so much squeamishness surrounding menopause, with very little information/education that’s accessible. What steps can we take to dismantle the stigmas and help raise awareness?

{BM} Of course sometimes the symptoms of the menopause can be unpleasant for some women, however menopause is not an illness, but a normal, natural part of a women’s life and as such, at {anatomē}, we don’t believe it is a taboo subject. In fact, we have clearly labelled our new product as {Menosupport + Renewal} for women to be able to readily identify what they need and to not be afraid to ask for what they require. 

We believe it’s very important to talk about the menopause with friends, to discuss the shared symptoms and to learn from each other’s experiences. There are common symptoms, and often women historically have suffered in silence and have felt reluctant to communicate their issues to others. We hope our new targeted menopausal support supplement can help trigger meaningful and open conversation between women (and men) about the menopause. We also recommend resources such as the online service menopausesupport.uk

{CB} For those of us who’re working through the menopause, do you have any advice to help us navigate this (sometimes tricky) time of life?

{BM} Many of the unpleasant symptoms of menopause such as night sweats, hot flashes or mood swings can be attributed to fluctuating levels of the female sex hormone, oestrogen, as the ovaries stop producing this hormone after menopause. anatomē’s new supplement {Menosupport + Renewal} is specially formulated with phytoestrogens which mimic oestrogen and can therefore help restore its balance and hopefully alleviate some of the side-effects. 

The added B vitamins also help the liver to metabolise hormones to help keep things in sync. They are also vital for adrenal function which is especially important for menopausal women as the adrenal glands are the only glands which secrete oestrogen after menopause. The adrenal glands also produce the hormones involved in the body’s stress response, so we would advise menopausal women to work on stress management so that their adrenal glands are not overwrought in producing stress hormones and can still produce sex hormones. 

We advocate mindfulness at anatomē and the importance of routine and relaxation. We in fact offer a range of essential oil elixirs including our night time {Recovery + Sleep} blend which restores calm, aids relaxation and promotes a restful night’s sleep.

From a dietary perspective, we also recommend a whole foods diet with lots of green leafy veg, fibre, oily fish, and minimal sugar. Some women also benefit from reducing their coffee intake and we recommend reducing alcohol consumption.

Women of menopausal age should also consider some gentle weight-bearing exercise to help keep their bones healthy - bone disorders and fractures are more common at this stage in a woman’s life.

{CB} We’re also thrilled to see anatomē acknowledging female libido. With desire and arousal interwoven with emotion, how can a supplement help us to feel ‘in the mood’? Are aphrodisiacs ‘a thing’?

{BM} A hormonal imbalance can reduce a woman’s sexual desires so a supplement that helps address this imbalance can most definitely help. anatomē’s new {Libido + Energy Boost} supports the adrenal glands (with vitamin B5) which produce female sex hormones (in addition to the ovaries). Because our adrenals are a key organ in managing our stress response, this supplement can therefore help reduce the impact that stress can have on our libido. 

The added herbal botanicals - including Siberian ginseng and Tienchi ginseng - are fantastic adaptogens which help regulate the endocrine system and balance hormones, thus increasing libido. They are also great for enhancing physical performance. So, not only will women benefit from increased desire but also increased stamina! Ginsengs are in fact a natural aphrodisiac, used historically to increase both sexual desire and pleasure.

{CB} And with so much governed by our hormones – from sex drive to spatial awareness – it’s surprising how little we’re taught about what’s going on with our bodies. How does your ‘Daily Wellbeing + Hormonal Support’ help to keep things in sync?

{BM} Our hormones control everything, from our metabolism, to temperature and sexual reproduction. Hormonal fluctuations are normal throughout the course of a woman’s life - stimulating and support puberty, pregnancy, menopause and so on - as well as throughout the menstrual cycle to encourage conception. Modern life however can disrupt the body’s system of balancing hormone input against output. 

anatomē’s {Daily Wellbeing + Hormonal Support} can help your body to maintain this delicate balancing act. It contains a whole host of vitamins and minerals in an easily absorbed form so that they can actually get to work. The B vitamins in particular help the body metabolise sex hormones and thus help excrete any excess, and botanicals such as Siberian ginseng, feverfew and alfalfa are powerful adaptogens which help calm the stress response and support adrenal health which is essential for hormonal balance.

We also recommend the use of our essential oil elixirs. Applying these to the body’s pulse points sporadically throughout the day provides an opportunity to switch off from your daily tasks and challenges, and to take a moment to reflect and regroup. Our {Focus + Concentration} oil helps clear the mind; the Australian fragonia has also been shown to regulate hormonal balance and reduce symptoms of PMT such as depression and anxiety.

{CB} At what age would you recommend women start taking an everyday supplement?

{BM} Women of any age can benefit from an everyday supplement, from the age of 18 right through menopause and beyond. Certain stages of a women’s life might increase the need to supplement such as pregnancy, lactation and menopause for example. Supplementation can also be particularly beneficial in times of stress and illness or if gut issues are present.

So, we recommend taking one capsule of our {Daily Wellbeing + Hormonal Support} per day. As well as supporting hormonal balance, its range of nutrients and botanicals supports the immune system, metabolism, brain function and stress control.

{CB} And when it comes to the ways in which hormones can impact our skin, do you know of any minerals or supplements that help to minimise the risk of acne and hormone-related flare-ups?

{BM} Hormonal flare-ups are a somewhat natural response to changing hormone levels as part of the normal menstrual cycle - acne can be worse amongst women whose hormones are a little out of sync however. The anatomē {Daily Wellbeing + Hormonal Support} can help reduce the incidence and severity of hormonal acne as it helps balance sex hormone levels. 

This supplement also contains good levels of the antioxidants A, C and E which are vital for reducing inflammation which typically accompanies acne. These antioxidants also help reduce oxidative stress which is associated with skin ageing so for women with signs of skin ageing and acne (which is rather common), this supplement can help with both. Vitamin C is also great for collagen formation and skin repair so it may help reduce scarring after acne.

The anatomē {Selenium} supplement can also be of benefit to acne prone skin as selenium is a powerful antioxidant which helps reduce red and inflamed acne spots.

Thank you so much Brendan!

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