Dr Ursula Jacob is legendary in the field of fighting environmental aggressors that contribute to diseases such as diabetes and cancer. From her decades-long work with patients whose medication would often accelerate the ageing process, Dr Ursula has developed a supplement programme that works to fight the ageing process from the inside.
Time Block uses herbal ingredients such as green tea tips and wheatgrass with strong antioxidant properties to prevent degeneration of cells. The approach can also be applied, she says, to sufferers of auto-immune disease, Hashimoto’s and eczema. All of these benefit from a three-pronged approach: “You have an antioxidant function, you have a function that keeps inflammation out, and repairs,” Dr Ursula says. Formulated with a day and night supplement, the nutrients respond to our different metabolic rhythms over 24 hours. For instance, anti-oxidants, which effectively clean the body, need to be timed to work effectively. “You speed up the ability of repair but when you speed it up too much you don’t have the affect for the night time.”
The complex harnesses green tea tips, barley grass and wheatgrass grown at altitude in the Himalayas. “Under these conditions the plants have to be very strong to survive. And why do they survive? Because they are rich in antioxidants.”
Dr Ursula says that the high potency of the ingredients influences the length of our telomeres, which are the protective caps on each strand of our DNA that shorten as we age.
“Genes are what we have from our parents, which we cannot change,” she says, “But the micro environment you can influence. You can influence the DNA stability and the cascade starts; telomeres and how genetically you deal with inflammation.”
She says that environmental aggressors are particularly challenging in this region. “The influence from air conditioning, sand, dryness; these make the DNA instability worse,” Dr Ursula says. “Independent of how much sport you do and how you keep your nutrition, when you have bad DNA stability, you bring more toxins in to your body.”
Dr Ursula explains that supplementing is an exact science, hence the precise blend of nutrients in Time Block, and we should be wary of over-doing supplements which can cause the body to neglect inherent functions. “When you speed up one process too much in the body, the other processes go down,” she says, additionally cautioning against the use of synthetic hormones, “The more you know about metabolic activity, you know that when you push the leading hormones in our system too much, other functions get lazy. As long as you can use herbs, it’s a better balance in the body.” As Dr Ursula says, “It’s a big, big puzzle.” The presence of contaminated spices, fish oils and algae in the supplements market is also an issue, according to Dr Ursula, who stresses the importance of using only pure nutrients.
In addition to supplementing with herbs, Dr Ursula also works with patients from the region using a tailored panel – either a swab or finger prick test – reading various ageing markers, which is analysed at the University of Vienna. This helps her identify warning signs of disease and ensure the body is functioning at its highest potential. “There will always be this kind of, ‘This food is the best, this kind of exercise is the best’,” she says of sweeping wellness trends, “but it is not probably the best for you,” explaining the importance of understanding your own body and following a nutrition and fitness regime that works for you as an individual. “For example, a patient who can lose weight when she has a protein based diet, needs fast calorie burning exercises. Patients who thrive on a carbohydrate or fat-based diet, they need sports like walking or swimming where you burn your calories very, very slowly.”
Dr Ursula is passionate about eliminating metals from our environment – whether from cleaning products or air conditioning or even hair colour – which she says can cause inflammation in organs such as the thyroid, adrenal glands or breasts, leading to the autoimmune condition Hashimoto’s, which can lead to an underactive thyroid and is particularly prevalent in the region and can be dangerous if left unchecked. “The increase of thyroid cancer in girls is higher in the Middle East because of Hashimoto’s,” she warns.
Fortunately, simple lifestyle changes can dramatically improve the way your body functions, which, as well as having long-term health benefits, will also improve the way you look on the outside. “You can prevent wrinkles,” Dr Ursula promises, “When you take inflammation away, the skin has a totally different tone than inflamed skin.”
Dr Ursula’s 5-Point Plan
1. Only exercise outside or in a room with no air conditioning to avoid contamination from metals and bacteria. In the summer, this means exercising outside very early in the morning.
2. Consistent, steady exercise will build up antioxidants. Walking or swimming for 15-20 minutes every day is optimal.
3. Be aware of the hair colouring you use and opt for herbal, not chemical, products.
4. Ensure your skincare and sun protection does not include paraffin, allowing oxygen to reach
5. Ensure your teeth are in good shape; no bleeding gums and any metal fillings have been replaced
Dr Ursula Jacob will be on the pannel at Harper's Bazaar Arabia's Be Beautiful seminar on Sunday 13 May. You can watch the event live on our Instagram stories.