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How to Support a Healthy Immune System?
May 21, 2022 10:19 AM
It's no secret that a strong immune system is key to keeping you healthy. A robust defense against invading viruses and bacteria can help you stay well all year long, and even support healthy aging. But what are the best ways to support your immune system? Here we will discuss four simple tips that can help keep your immune system functioning at its best!
What is the immune system and what does it do?
The immune system is a complex network of cells and proteins that work together to protect the body from infection. One of the main roles of the immune system is to identify foreign invaders, such as viruses and bacteria, and destroy them. The immune system also helps to remove damaged or abnormal cells from the body, preventing them from causing disease. In order to carry out these functions, the immune system must be able to distinguish between normal, healthy cells and foreign or abnormal cells. To do this, the immune system uses a variety of specialized cell types and proteins. white blood cells are a type of cell that is important in immunity. They circulate through the body looking for foreign invaders and damaged or abnormal cells. When they find these cells, they release substances that destroy them. antibodies are proteins that are produced by the immune system in response to an infection. They attach to foreign invaders and mark them for destruction by other cells of the immune system. The immune system is constantly changing and adapting in order to better protect the body against disease. This process is known as immunization, and it occurs when the immune system encounters and Defeats a new virus or bacteria.
The benefits of a strong immune system?
A strong immune system is the key to maintaining good health. It helps the body fight off infections and diseases, and also helps to repair tissue damage caused by injury or illness. There are a number of ways to boost the immune system, including eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. Additionally, there are a number of supplements that can help to support the immune system, such as vitamin C, echinacea, and garlic. By taking steps to boost the immune system, we can help to protect ourselves against a wide range of illnesses.
Four ways to support your immune system?
There are many ways to support your immune system. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can help to protect cells from damage. NAC (N-acetylcysteine) is an amino acid that helps to produce glutathione, a key molecule for detoxification. Echinacea is a herb that has been traditionally used to help fight infection. Garlic is a well-known natural remedy that has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. All of these substances can be found in supplement form, and they can also be found in many foods. For example, citrus fruits contain vitamin C, broccoli and Brussels sprouts contain glutathione-boosting compounds, echinacea can be found in capsules, teas and tinctures, and garlic is a common ingredient in many cuisines. By including these immune-supporting nutrients in your diet, you can help to keep your immune system strong and healthy.
Additional tips for keeping your immune system healthy?
In addition to getting plenty of rest and exercise, there are a few other things you can do to support your immune system. First, make sure you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals. Vitamin C is known for its immune-boosting properties, so consider taking a supplement or eating foods rich in vitamin C, such as oranges, strawberries, bell peppers, and broccoli. You should also make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D, which you can get from spending time in the sun or by taking a supplement. Vitamin E and N-acetylcysteine (NAC) are also thought to support immunity, so consider adding these to your diet as well. Finally, probiotics are “good” bacteria that live in your gut and help keep your digestive system healthy. Probiotics can be found in fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut, or you can take them in supplement form. Purchasing a few of these in vitamin supplement form and consuming them daily can ensure you get enough of the needed vitamins to support a healthy immune system. By following these tips, you can help keep your immune system healthy and strong.
A strong immune system is essential for good health. It helps to protect the body against infection and disease, and it also helps to repair tissue damage caused by injury or illness. There are a number of ways to boost the immune system, including taking vitamin supplements, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. Are you getting what you need to better support your immunity?
9 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight on Keto
April 22, 2019 04:13 PM
The keto diet can be a very effective way for individuals to shed excess pounds, but if it is not practiced correctly, the results will remain limited. In order to optimize the diet’s effectiveness, dieters who find their progress stalling should attempt to reduce the amount of carbohydrates and proteins they are eating, assess whether their overall food intake might be either too low or too high, focus on triggering ketosis, get regular sleep and exercise. If these strategies fail, it might be time to adjust inflated expectations or consider the possibility of a medical condition that is inhibiting weight loss.
"To calculate net carbs, simply subtract the total grams of fiber from the total grams of carbs in your foods. High-fiber keto foods like certain veggies are great choices to help keep carb consumption low while squeezing in plenty of vitamins and minerals to support better health."
Read more: https://draxe.com/reasons-not-losing-weight-on-keto/
Natural antifungal remedies that reduce candida overgrowth
March 18, 2019 05:11 PM
Did you know that the most common cause of yeast infections in humans is caused by a fungi called Candida albicans? Those who have a high presence of Candida albicans can experience symptoms such as brain fog, depression, and unstable moods. Researchers have found that there are several natural remedies that can help decrease the presence of Candida albicans within our systems. Substances such as coconut oil have natural antifungal properties which help fight off any overgrowth of Candida albicans.
"If you suffer from candida overgrowth, you may experience symptoms like mood swings, leaky gut, brain fog, and depression, which can interfere with your daily life."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-01-05-natural-antifungal-remedies-that-reduce-candida-overgrowth.html
Feeling down and moody? Lift your spirits by taking fish oilsupplements
February 21, 2019 02:05 PM
There are several cardiovascular benefits that coincide with routine consumption of fish oil supplements, but many are unaware of the cognitive benefits that fish oil also provides. The omega-3 fatty acids that are present in fish oil are vital in our system's ability to maintain structures of nerves and cell membranes that help defeat chronic conditions such as depression and anxiety. The omega-3 fatty acids work as a benefit for our cognitive function as opposed to making them more vulnerable as other harmful fats may do.
"Fish oil supplements are among the most popular dietary supplements, mainly for their ability to lower the risk of heart disease, thanks to the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-01-14-lift-your-spirits-up-by-taking-fish-oil-supplements.html
Beta Glucan can Boost your Immune System in a great way
November 18, 2013 07:43 AM
What is Beta Glucan
If you are one of those people that always remain ill or if your body cannot adopt easily with weather then it’s a sign of poor immunity and you need to improve the immunity system of your body. In order to do this you can take help of some medicines or you can consume some foods that naturally contain the Beta Glucan, which is a soluble fiber and it plays a key role in improvement of immunity system of your body.
Effects of Beta Glucan
If we talk about the effect of Beta Glucan on your immunity system it work on both the component of your immunity system that are acquired immune response and innate immune response system. In order to improve the immunity system f your body beta Glucan activate both of these component and as a result of this you get better immunity system.
How is Beta Glucan Works
In this process of immunity system improvement, First Beta Glucan combines itself with a specific type of white blood cell that is commonly known as Macrophage and as a result of this particular bonding, these white blood cells can detect and eliminate harmful foreign bodies in much better way. For this action of immunity system improvement innate immunity system is responsible.
Once your body gets the information about any kind external harmful bodies such as bacteria, virus or any other infection, acquired immune response system get activated and this is the system that fights with all these external bodies. Beta Glucan improve this system as well so your body can communicate about these intruders and can defense the body in much better manner.
Other than improvement of immunity system of your body, Beta Glucan, can help you to fight variety of other problems as well including high cholesterol, diabetes, cancer and a lot of other diseases as well.
Is Elderberry Good for Colds and Flu?
April 14, 2011 03:32 PM
Elderberry and your Health.Elderberry is a plant species best known for its medicinal properties believed to effectively treat colds and flu. It is native to Europe and North America, but also has a significant presence in the Middle East. It is cultivated for its flowers and fruits, which are utilized for both culinary and medicinal uses. The flowers are often made into a popular juice, which is the flavor of many local soft drinks. The fruits are consumed raw, and only consumed when fully ripe.
Sambucus nigra is the plant species generally referred to as elderberry although the term elder encompasses the entire genus Sambucus, which comprises up to 30 species. Most species of elderberry thrive well in damp regions where the soil is moderately wet and the area quite shaded, and sambucus nigra is no exception. This species is noted for their dark purplish berries and creamy white flowers, both of which are edible. It is usually categorized as a shrub, but it can grow up to 10 feet on average, looking much like a small tree.
Elderberry has been ascribed with herbal properties since the ancient times, with an emphasis on the amelioration of flu symptoms. All its parts are historically noted for their specific uses. The bark is utilized as an herbal treatment for cardiovascular, digestive, and renal conditions. The leaves are used to disinfect wounds. The berries are for inflammation, allergies, and skin disorders. And the flowers are usually used to relieve sore throat, colds, and influenza. Today elderberry extracts found in health products are obtained from various parts of the plants.
Stimulates Faster Immune Responses
The organic compounds naturally occurring in elderberry appear to speed up the immune responses implicated in viral infections, notably the common colds and influenza B. In Europe, elderberry has enjoyed overwhelming popularity in comparison with other herbal remedies for colds. Indeed it contains unique flavonoids believed to be responsible for stimulating the immune system. Its anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial properties are all attributed to the same organic compounds.
Reduces the Severity of Cold Symptoms
Researchers are enthusiastic about the outcomes of preliminary studies. Earlier studies in Europe recorded noticeable improvements in best known symptoms of the common cold, such as runny nose, nasal congestion, headaches, and sinusitis. Furthermore, it shortened the duration of cold infections. And since its preparations have not been associated with any adverse effect, it can be administered to people of all ages. Succeeding studies conducted in North America yielded very promising results, cutting the severity of symptoms and Defeating infections fast.
Effectively Treats Influenza Infections
There have been several studies looking into the efficacy of elderberry preparations, and all of them pointed to a compound called Sambucol. It was first observed to be a viable treatment for Influenza B infections, but more recent studies came to a conclusion that it also effectively treats influenza A. In all studies, Sambucol helped over 80 percent of patients suffering from flu in less than 3 days.
Keep Elderberry on hand in case of emergencies
It is good to keep elderberry on hand for when a cold rears its butt. Starting elderberry at first signs of a cold can greatly increase its effectiveness.
NK Immune Boost
September 25, 2008 03:59 PM
The immune system is the ultimate bodyguard that can prevent illnesses before it even takes hold in the body when it is properly taken care of. Immune impairment has become a major concern within recent decades among health professionals. The strength of the immune system directly influences the quality of health. However, it is often something that we take for granted. There are a lot of things that can interfere with proper immune function, including diet, stress, and level of activity. It is within our ability to create a health immune system for ourselves.
If we do something that makes us a little bit healthier, we will experience less disease and suffering. Each of us individually must do what is necessary to protect ourselves from common health threats that can occur if the immune system is compromised like heart disease, arthritis, fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal problems, AIDS, cancer, and many other illnesses. We will be able to avoid disease and the suffering it causes if we do what is necessary to keep our immune system healthy and balanced.
In order to understand how to fight against health problems in the best way, it is necessary to first understand the basics of how the immune system functions. The smallest components of the immune system are biomolecules, which are also called immune factors or immuno-regulatory molecules. The immune system fights against the potential health dangers by identifying and then eliminating dangerous and unfamiliar particles, which include bacteria and viruses. The immune system can very selectively discriminate between self and non-self, a trait that is extremely unique. It then destroys the foreign antigens and leaves itself alone.
Biomolecules called cytokines work to regulate and simulate the body’s defense system. Cytokines help to fight against foreign molecules, also called pathogens, by inducing the production of antibodies. These antibodies work to neutralize antigens and create immunity to them. Additionally, a functioning immune system remembers the foreign antigens that it has encountered before so that it can prevent or quickly Defeat secondary attacks by the same pathogen.
There are many immunity agents that are found in the body. An antibody is a molecule of the immune system that is secreted into the blood and helps to fight against antigens like bacteria and parasites to help create immunity, Antigen are substances that stimulate the production of an antibody when it is introduced into the body. Antigens include toxins, bacteria, foreign blood cells, and the cells that are found in transplanted organs. Colostrum, antibody-rich milk, is produced by a mother during the first week of her child’s life. Cytokines consist of any of several regulatory molecules that are released by cells of the immune system and acts as a mediator in the generation of an immune response. Cytokines assist in the regulating and controlling of the immune system.
Interleukin is a type of cytokine which encourages the growth of immune cells. There are many types of interleukins, with three of the most common stimulating the inflammatory response, the growth of blood stem cells, and the production of helper T cells. Pathogens are agents that cause disease, while tumor necrosis factor is a type of cytokine that has anti-tumor properties. It affects blood vessels, therefore, regulating both inflammation and killing tumors. Lastly, white blood cells help to protect the body from infection and disease.
Keeping the immune system in tip top shape is very important. There are a variety of natural substances such as colostrum that can help the immune system function at optimal levels. Natural supplements are available at your local or internet health food store.
September 03, 2008 09:17 AM
Over the past several decades there have been many shifts in the research that concerns the immune system of the body. Recent discoveries have found that colostrum carries agents that can positively affect immune function in humans.
An impressive body of research has found that colostrum is responsible for the first transmission of immune signals in a newborn, which are valuable in shaping the knowledge of the newborn’s defense systems. When an infant is born, the immune system is somewhat naive to the various invaders that try to break down its defense systems and take over the body.
Since colostrum is the first food that the body traditionally takes in, the information that the mother has collected over her life of how to fight microbial invaders, cancerous cells, and other toxins effectively is immediately transferred to her newborn. At a time when the infant is vulnerable to thousands of invaders, nature provides a way to help the infant in the process of building his or her immune system in a quick and effective way. Colostrum is an essential part to this complex and timely process.
As soon as an infant is born, it is generally fed, with the first portion of fluid that comes from the mother being colostrum. It was thought by experts for decades that colostrum contained only vital nutrients in a nutritional sense, but many now believe that breast-feeding a child is much more beneficial than simply bottle-feeding a child with formula. It has now been discovered that colostrum is much more than a nutrient-rich fluid, it is a combination of immune agents.
This mix of nutrients contains agents that are not species-specific in their function, so they do not produce an allergic reaction when introduced to a foreign species. Some of the more prominent and devastating conditions that could be effectively prevented by the use of colostrum and its properties include viral and bacterial infections, parasitic infections, autoimmune disorders, neurological conditions, fungal infections, tissue damage, as well as many others.
The body uses an assortment of processes, mechanisms, and agents in order to defend itself. All of these make up what is known as the immune system. The body uses three interrelated functions making its defense mechanism effective. First, it recognizes foreign agents within the body, followed by enlisting a variety of cells and molecules to eliminate or neutralize the invader. Last, the body is able to remember the exact foreign substance so that next time it comes around; it can deal with it quickly and effectively.
If the invading organism is able to get through the physical barriers of the skin and mucous membranes in the nose and throat, there are several immune barriers that are ready to defend the body including the body’s temperature, hydrochloric acid found in the stomach, and interferon. Hydrochloric acid, along with the low pH of the stomach, Defeats a large majority of viruses that make it past the mucous membranes of the nose and throat.
Interferon is derived from the virus of infected cells and binds and neutralizes nearby virus cells. If there is enough interferons present, this substance can neutralize large quantities of invading viruses. Colostrum helps the body manufacture interferons that can fight viruses and protect the body for a lifetime.
May 12, 2008 11:10 AM
All female mammals, including humans, produce colostrum soon after giving birth, and before proper milk is produced. It is a milk-like substance that provides newly born infants with a boost to their immune system and gives immediate protection against the germs with which they are about to come into contact.
It also, incidentally, promotes the child’s first bowel movement to rid it of the large amount of dead blood cells created when it’s blood supply was drastically reduced after the severing of the umbilical supply.
It is now believed that colostrum will help not only newly born infants, but also grown adults. If your immune system is weak or you are suffering from a condition that could be helped by a boost to your immune system, colostrum might be what you need to help you fight off what is ailing you. This has become clear after the way that colostrum works has been established.
Transfer factors were discovered in 1949 by Dr. H. Sherwood Lawrence of the New York University School of Medicine. He found that when he injected an extract of the leukocytes of somebody that had previously been infected with tuberculosis, the natural immunity was transferred from the donor to the recipient. He called this extract the ‘transfer factor’, and a means of transferring immune response factors between people was born.
However, the sharing of transfer factors between people suffering from serious conditions such as the HIV virus or hepatitis is a high risk action, and fifty years later, in 1999, bovine colostrum was discussed at a transfer factor conference in Mexico. Bovine colostrum contains large quantities of transfer factors such as IgG type immunoglobulins and hydrogen peroxide. The latter is commonly produced by our body cells to fight off invading pathogens, and immunoglobulins are very effective in fighting some diseases that can be fatal to AIDs patients. Take Cryptosporidium parvum, for instance. This microorganism causes a form of diarrhea that AIDs patients have no defense against but that colostrum can be particularly effective against, and it is also effective against rotavirus that is the main cause of diarrhea in young children.
Before discussing this further, let’s go back a step and examine how bovine milk came to be included in the equation. At one time it was believed that a baby received its immunity from the mother while in the womb and that this was extended via the mother’s milk. However, it was discovered that the milk contained no antibodies as such, only the colostrum, and these antibodies had somehow been transferred to the baby.
This was explained by the concept of the transfer factor. It is not the antibodies that are being transferred from mother to child, but the transfer factor. This modulates the immune system of the recipient and teaches it how to create antibodies against the specific antigens that the donor’s antibodies protect against and to inform the recipient’s immune system when these antigens are present.
The next step was to test the theory that the transfer factor should be able to be passed between species, and the cow was the obvious initial choice since not only are cattle exposed to many of the same antigens as humans, but we already use cow’s milk as a food source – particularly for babies and children. It worked! It was found that when humans were fed cow’s colostrum the specific antibodies were later found in the blood of the person given the treatment.
The next step was to determine the form in which this substance could be used, and injections of various types were tried without success. It was established that the only means of administering colostrum was by drinking it, or supplying it in capsule form. It can be drunk fresh or freeze dried to kill of living organisms and then fats and sugars removed and the resultant dried product encapsulated. It is even possible to remove all large molecules, antibodies, proteins, etc, and still retain the transfer factor. It is absorbed by the gut, and the resultant message passed to the recipient.
It is important to understand that it is not the immunoglobulins from the cow that are passed on, because these are species specific, and are in fact the source of most cow’s milk allergies. There is no transfer of antibodies or any other specific parts of the immune system. What are passed on are the messengers, particularly the transfer factors that are not species specific. A cow’s transfer factors would work just as well in a cat as in humans, only cats don’t get the same diseases as cows and people.
The types of disease that colostrum can help to protect us from include viral and bacterial diseases, fungal diseases and parasites, and neurological and autoimmune diseases. If you have cancer, colostrum can help significantly since cancer and immune deficiency are related. Cancer cells are being formed all the time in your body, but your immune system generally disposes of them. However, if it fails to do this, then the cells can proliferate and lead to cancer as we know it. Colostrum can help your body to prevent cancer occurring, and if you have it, can help to reduce its spread.
Freelance journalist Sam Wainaina studied the effects of Ebola virus in Uganda after the 2002 outbreak, and concluded that had transfer factors been available during the outbreak to transfer immunity it might perhaps have been contained sooner than it was, and saved many, many lives. Although transfer factors have been known of for 60 years, there is still a lot to be done in their application and studies on colostrum could help to accelerate this. Transfer factors alert immune cells to danger, train the system to generate the right type of immunoglobulins and boost NK cell activity to Defeat the invaders. They can also moderate an over-active immune system that can be as much a danger to the body as an invading pathogen.
Colostrum can also be used to burn fat and create muscle tissue, and is popular with bodybuilders but it is for its healing and immunity-boosting properties that it is most used. Biotechnology companies are now boosting the colostrum’s transfer factors by injecting cows with vaccines that create pathogens. Known as Ultra Colostrum this is an advance on the natural material.
Enzogenol® Pine Bark Extract Fact Sheet
December 07, 2005 05:30 PM
Enzogenol® Pine Bark Extract Fact SheetNeil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA 4/14/05
LIKELY USERS: Those seeking antioxidant protection; People trying to Defeat the effects of aging KEY INGREDIENTS: Enzogenol® from New Zealand Pine Tree bark (Pinus radiata) Rutin (200 mg) and Grape Seed Extract (50 mg)
MAIN PRODUCT FEATURES: Enzogenol® is a powerful formulation of antioxidant bioflavonoids extracted from the bark of the New Zealand Pine (Pinus radiata) that is comparable to flavonoid formulations of other pine bark products. The flavonoids found in Enzogenol have been shown in clinical and non-clinical studies to support cardiovascular health and to protect cells and tissues from the damaging effects of oxidative stress. NOW® Enzogenol® also contains Rutin and Grape Seed Extract for their synergistic antioxidant benefits.
ADDITIONAL PRODUCT USE INFORMATION & QUALITY ISSUES: Enzogenol® is a powerful and highly effective formulation of antioxidants extracted from fresh New Zealand pine bark – one of the most comprehensive complexes of natural antioxidants. A breakthrough in processing technology combines all of these antioxidants in an Enzogenol® capsule in exactly the same ratios as are present in the tree's bark. What's more, the revolutionary pure-water extraction process doesn't use toxic solvents like traditional extraction processes do.
SERVING SIZE & HOW TO TAKE IT: One to four capsules a day as an antioxidant dietary supplement.
COMPLEMENTARY PRODUCTS: Other antioxidants including Vitamin C, VitaBerry Plus+TM, Alpha Lipoic Acid, NAC, etc.
CAUTIONS: There are no specific cautions with this product.
GENERAL CAUTIONS: Pregnant and lactating women and people using prescription drugs should consult their physician before taking any dietary supplement. This information is based on my own knowledge and references, and should not be used as diagnosis, prescription or as a specific product claim. Information given here may vary from what is given on the product label because it represents my own understanding of the science underlying the formula and ingredients. When taking any new formula, use common sense and cautiously increase to the full dose over time.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Hertog MG, Feskens EJ, Hollman PC, Katan MB, Kromhout D. Dietary antioxidant flavonoids and risk of coronary heart disease: the Zutphen Elderly Study. Lancet. 1993 Oct 23;342(8878):1007-11. PMID: 8105262 Keli SO, Hertog MG, Feskens EJ, Kromhout D. Dietary flavonoids, antioxidant vitamins, and incidence of stroke: the Zutphen study. Arch Intern Med. 1996 Mar 25;156(6):637-42. PMID: 8629875
Ames, BN, Shigenaga, MK, Hagen, TM (1993). Oxidants, antioxidants, and the degenerative diseases of aging. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 90, 7915-7922
June 13, 2005 01:18 PM
by Cal Orey Energy Times, August 2, 1999
Depression plagues the creative and the mundane. The disparate desperate driven to distress by depression include painters, poets, actors and musicians as well as truck drivers, clerks, electricians and physicists. The victim list encompasses Vincent van Gogh, Emily Dickinson, Audrey Hepburn, Virginia Woolf and Ludwig von Beethoven, as well as millions of other sharers of melancholy misery.
More than 17 million American men and women experience depression in one form or another every year, according to the National Mental Health Association (NMHA) in Alexandria, Virginia. This includes the deeply destructive major, or clinical, depression, the wide mood swings of bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), and dysthymia, a milder, long-lasting form of emotional suffering.
Twice as Many Women In the depression scenario, women suffer twice as much: Two times as many women as men endure clinical depression, reports the NMHA. The mood-deteriorating effects of the hormonal disruptions women are heir to may be partly to blame.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about one of 10 Americans wades through at least one depressive swamp sometime during his or her life.
The good news: Research shows that diet and lifestyle can lower your risk of depression.
Birth of the Blues
Nowadays, mounting evidence suggests that depression may result more from physiological factors than psychological woes.
Some of the hidden reasons why you may be depressed include: nutritional deficiencies, exacerbated by overdosing on too much caffeine, sugar, alcohol and high fat foods; allergies; anxiety and chronic stress; and a chemical imbalance in the brain's gray matter. According to the NMHA, people with depression often possess too little or too large a quantity of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. Changes in levels of these brain chemicals may cause, or contribute to, clinical depression.
The NMHA also reports that an imbalance of melatonin, a chemical made by the body's pineal gland (located at the base of the brain), contributes to a form of wintertime depression called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This hormone is made at increased levels in the dark. Therefore, the body may oversupply this hormone during winter's shortened daylight hours.
Since the B vitamins are often involved in the production of energy, and a large component of depression may encompass the inability to get out of bed and deal with the world, experts believe that at least some of the signs of depression are linked to B deficiencies. For instance, studies cited in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima) by Michael Murray, ND and Joseph Pizzorno, ND, demonstrate that folate deficiency and lack of vitamin B12 can compromise mental health (Drugs 45, 1993: 623-36; Lancet 336, 1990: 392-5).
Inositol: This vitamin is also part of the B vitamin complex, and it, too, has shown its ability to lift spirits. Research work in Israel shows that daily inositol given to 28 depressed patients for four weeks produced an overall positive effect. (Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 7:2, May 1997: 147-55). Inositol is found in whole, unprocessed grains, citrus fruits (except lemons) and brewer's yeast.
NADH: Allan Magaziner, DO, in his book The Idiot's Complete Guide To Living Longer & Healthier (Alpha), reports that brain energizing NADH, a metabolite of vitamin B3, enhances the production of the key neurotransmitters dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin. "In a recent clinical trial," he claims, "nearly all patients given NADH for depression reported improvement in their symptoms and the absence of side effects or adverse reactions."
Another substance winning the spotlight for its effect on mood is SAM-e: S-adenosylmethionine. In New York on February 24, a symposium coordinated by the American Health Foundation met to hear researchers present information from studies of SAM-e's ability to possibly ease depression.
"SAM-e is a natural product. You and I have it but as people age it declines in production in the body. And that's why we believe supplementation in older people is a beneficial means of bringing that back up and helping people that have depression," said the lead symposium researcher, John H. Weisburger, PhD, MD, Director Emeritus, American Health Foundation in Valhalla, New York.
Another researcher, Teodoro Bottiglieri, PhD, Associate Professor of Biomedical Studies and Neurology, Director of Neuropharmacology at Baylor University reported: "SAM-e has been shown to enhance brain dopamine and serotonin neurotransmitter metabolism and receptor function. It may also aid in the repair of myelin that surrounds nerve cells. These mechanisms are likely to be responsible for the antidepressant effect of SAM-e."
(Bottiglieri is co-author with Richard Brown, MD, and Carol Colman of Stop Depression Now, a report on the powers of SAM-e just published by G.P. Putnam's Sons.)
SAM-e was first touted as an antidepressant in Italy in 1973. It's been reported that nearly 40 clinical trials demonstrate its beneficial effects as a natural antidepressant.
For instance, an analysis of more than 1000 people suffering depression showed that the effect of antidepressants in patients taking SAM-e was 17% to 38% better than dummy preparations. Conventional antidepressants show a 20% effectiveness rate (Bressa G. Acta Neurol Scand S154, 1994: 7-14).
5-HTP: Another popular supplement to boost mood and relieve depression is hydroxytryptophan. "This medication is actually a brain chemical that is metabolized from tryptophan into serotonin," says Magaziner. And since low serotonin levels have been linked with depression, and certain prescribed medications may up serotonin levels, 5-HTP is in demand.
"One of the more impressive studies supporting the efficacy of 5-HTP for depression evaluated 100 people who had previously found conventional antidepressant therapy to be inadequate. Forty-three of these folks reported a complete recovery, and eight showed significant improvement," reports Magaziner. Not only has 5-HTP been shown to work slightly better than drugs known as SSRIs (these include Prozac), he adds, it has fewer side effects than standard antidepressants, too. DHEA: Medical experts also believe that levels of the hormone DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) may influence mood. Ray Sahelian, MD, in his book All About DHEA (Avery) reports an interesting study conducted by Dr. Owen Wolkowitz of the Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco. A group of six depressed middle-aged and elderly individuals who took DHEA found that within a month they had better memory and mood. (Biological Psychiatry 41, 1997: 311-18.) "In addition," adds Sahelian, "other studies have also found that DHEA increases energy levels and a sense of well being." But follow package directions: Some people complain of greater irritability and overstimulation with DHEA, when they take large amounts.
St. John's wort: still the most touted natural therapy for Defeating depression. In Europe, 23 clinical studies, reviewed in the August 3, 1996 British Medical Journal, found that this herb, also known as Hypericum perforatum, can be helpful in alleviating cases of mild to moderate depression. The work, which included 757 patients, has shown that hypericum produced fewer side effects than conventional anti-depressants.
Although experts have never satisfactorily explained exactly how St. John's wort benefits the brain, some theorize that it boosts serotonin levels. And it can help SAD sufferers.
"In a recent study of 20 people with SAD, four weeks' worth of St. John's wort significantly alleviated feelings of depression. Those people who added full-spectrum lights to the treatment program gained an even greater benefit," notes Dr. Magaziner.
Valerian: Anxiety and stress, which can cause depression and insomnia, may be helped by this herb, says the prolific Dr. Sahelian in his book Kava: The Miracle Antianxiety Herb (St. Martin's). In 101 Medicinal Herbs (Interweave), Steven Foster reports that "Ten controlled clinical studies have been published on valerian...one of which suggests that valerian should be used for two to four weeks before daily mood and sleep patterns improve."
Amino Acid Help
Amino acids, the building blocks of protein, may also help improve mood. (For more on protein, see page 65.) These chemicals are used by the body to construct neurotransmitters, brain chemicals that facilitate mental activity.
For instance, the amino acid L-tyrosine is necessary for the formation of transmitters adrenaline and dopamine. This substance, therefore, is given to alleviate depression and anxiety.
The substance L-dopa which is given to victims of Parkinson's disease is concocted from tyrosine. And several antidepressants alleviate bad moods by boosting the interaction of brain chemicals related to tyrosine.
In addition, since tyrosine is used to make adrenaline, this amino acid may be helpful for folks trying to cope with the mood problems related to stress.
Another amino acid that experts believe useful for better moods, L-methionine, is used by the body to make choline, a crucial substance for brain function. (Choline goes into the formation of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter.)
Methionine has been given to people suffering from schizophrenia and depression as well as to those with Parkinson's. Methionine plays a number of crucial roles in the brain and body since it helps form other vital proteins.
For those concerned about preserving a positive mood, researchers are positive that smoking worsens depression. A study at the Department of Behavioral Services at the Henry Ford Health System in Michigan found that daily smokers run twice the risk for major depression compared to those who only smoked occasionally.
Unfortunately, the investigators found that not only did smoking seem to lead to depression, depression, in turn, led to more smoking (Archives of General Psychiatry, 2/99).
"Smokers who have depression tend to see their smoking become a daily habit and it may be because they use nicotine to medicate their depressed mood," reported Naomi Breslau, PhD, who headed the research. Over a five year period, the researchers looked at about a thousand young people aged 21 to 30. They found that daily smokers generally start smoking in adolescence, and those who report early depression are three times as likely to eventually become daily smokers.
If you're feeling down, don't give up hope. Although depression can prove to be a depressingly complicated malady, daily, healthy habits can offset its effects. Getting consistent exercise, dousing your cigarettes and turning to herbal and nutritional help to treat mild depression may Defeat those blues.
Health Movements - Joining mind and body with healthy movement generates harmony
June 12, 2005 05:49 PM
Health Movements by Sylvia Whitefeather Energy Times, December 6, 2003
Mind/body exercises like yoga (especially the super-popular Bikram variety), tai chi and Pilates aren't just trendy, they're custom made to soothe the rough edges of modern life. So often does today's fast-paced world emphasize the mental and competitive aspects of existence that its inhabitants frequently neglect the necessity of gentle movement for the body. But these exercises are an antidote to the tendency to view the mind and body as separate entities.
Modern science is validating what traditional teachers have always known: The mind dwells in every cell. Joining mind and body with healthy movement generates harmony, lowers your chance of chronic illness and promotes emotional stability.
No one knows when yoga first appeared. Historians and archaeologists figure the practice was initiated in India somewhere between 3,000 and 1,500 BCE. But the father of the modern forms of yoga is considered to be a man named Patanjali, who wrote the Yoga Sutra around 200 CE.
The literal translation of the word yoga is "union." As Jennifer Schwamm Willis notes in her book The Joy of Yoga (Marlowe), this practice represents "the union of body, mind and spirit." The purpose of learning the fundamental movements of yoga is to connect with your body, release knots of tension and improve strength and flexibility. In that way, the physical balance during a yoga session translates into inner balance during times of crisis or distress. Schwamm points out that ancient yoga practitioners believed "the aim of yoga is to quiet the fluctuations of the mind, to create stillness in order to hear one's inner voice..."
Yoga is used by many for stress relief. But it has other important uses: In a study presented by Oregon Health & Science University at the American Academy of Neurology meeting in April 2003, yoga was shown to benefit folks with multiple sclerosis. The researchers found that participants who regularly attended yoga class for six months suffered less fatigue and improved their quality of life.
A yoga class generally begins with warm-up postures, moves on to a core group of basic postures, and ends with poses meant to cool you down. An important aspect of yoga is breath work and control. Movement in and out of poses involves carefully orchestrated breath work. Inhalation and exhalation in timed sync with movement lies at the heart of yoga's benefits. Yoga beginners often feel stiff and inflexible. But with gentle, patient, regular practice, greater flexibility, strength and balance can be had. Experts say that a yoga session does not demand struggle; it asks for surrender. If one pose causes discomfort, try another.
One particular form of yoga, Bikram, is hot in terms of both popularity and room temperature: Not only is it one of the biggest trends in the fitness world, this demanding, aerobic take on yoga is conducted in heated rooms designed to maximize muscle relaxation and minimize injury risk. The heat also helps facilitate cleansing and detoxification. It was created by Bikram Choudhury, a four-time Indian yoga champ who founded the Yoga College of India in Beverly Hills, California.
As in other types of yoga, Bikram uses asanas, or poses, handed down through generations of yoga teachers. In this case, though, 26 asanas are done in a prescribed order over a 90-minute period. Everyone, from novice to expert, works out together, the idea being that each individual is working to stretch his or her own limits by becoming stronger, more flexible and less prone to illness.
Bikram yoga stresses the tourniquet effect, in which blood floods through vessels after they've momentarily been squeezed shut. This pressurizing effect is supposed to flush out debris, quickening circulation and releasing stress. The tourniquet effect also helps cleanse the lymphatic system. Proponents say Bikram improves balance, concentration and posture; increases energy; and eases sleep.
Like any other exercise program, Bikram yoga requires diligence: one center says a minimum of 10 classes over 30 days is needed for maximum benefits. And while hydration is important during all fitness routines, consuming adequate water is crucial when you're exercising in a hot room.
Tai chi (also known as taiji or tai chi ch'uan) consists of a series of fluid movements that build endurance, increase flexibility and balance, and foster alertness of mind and spirit. Tai chi developed around the 13th century as a form of martial arts in China based on the power of flow and grace, rooting and yielding, flexibility and endurance. To the onlooker, a person practicing the movements of tai chi has the quality of someone swimming in air.
This gentle form of movement can be practiced by people of almost all ages and physical conditions. Tai chi does not require special equipment, props or a floor mat. As a non-impact form of exercise, tai chi delivers minimal stress to the joints. Tai chi emphasizes proper body alignment and uses the large muscles in the legs to relieve stress from the hips, back and shoulders. It strengthens joints, increases range of motion and improves circulation of all body fluids. Like many other forms of mind/body exercise, tai chi relieves stress.
Tricia Yu, author of Tai Chi: Mind and Body (DK), has been practicing tai chi for over 30 years. She believes that tai chi not only has benefits as a health exercise, but that it "can have a beneficial effect on your mental and emotional states, as well as help you to feel connected with your surroundings." Yu adds, "Like yoga, tai chi originated in a culture that views the mind and body not as separate but rather as different expressions or states of qi-vital energy or life force."
Current research has validated the health benefits of tai chi. One study found that the knee strength of elderly people practicing tai chi improves significantly (J Gerontol A Biol Med Sci 2003 August; 58:M763-6). Participants in this study, whose average age was 72 years, benefited significantly after five months of tai chi. For the elderly, this extra strength and control translates into fewer falls and injuries.
Tai chi may help immunity. In a study published in the September 2003 issue of Psychosomatic Medicine, researchers reported that elderly folks who participated in a tai chi class for a period of 15 weeks "saw an improvement in factors that suppress shingles [a painful viral condition] increase by 50%." They also showed an increased ability to move throughout the day and a significant improvement in their general health.
Joseph Pilates (1880-1968) was a sickly child afflicted with asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever. Determined to recover his health, Pilates studied both Eastern and Western forms of exercise, incorporating moves from gymnastics, yoga and wrestling, along with controlled breathing. With his wife, Clara, Joseph Pilates developed the form of exercise known today as simply Pilates. In the 1920s, Joseph left his native Germany and came to New York City and began teaching his exercise style in dance studios.
Today, Pilates has gained acceptance both as an exercise style for fitness and as a system for physical rehabilitation. Because of its benefits, Pilates is practiced in hospitals, wellness centers, gyms and specialized Pilates studios. It is used by athletes, dancers and anyone looking to increase endurance and improve flexibility, balance and muscle tone.
The basic principle of Pilates focuses on increasing what is called core strength. Core muscle groups include the abdominal, pelvic floor and back muscles. If these muscle groups are strong, then the body is balanced and strong. The Pilates method also encourages flexibility by building long, strong muscles without bulk.
The Stott method is one of the most popular forms of Pilates. This technique combines traditional Pilates exercises with movements updated to conform with modern knowledge about the biomechanics of the human body. By stabilizing muscles in the pelvis and shoulders, and keeping the spine and pelvis in safe, neutral positions, knowledgeable Pilates instructors minimize the chance of injury during these exercises.
Pilates exercises have been shown to help reduce back pain. Researchers report that "Pilates method can be useful for patients with chronic low back pain and deconditioning" (J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2002 May; 25/4:E3).
According to Ken Endelman, the founder of Balanced Body, maker of Pilates equipment, "Pilates is a full-body exercise. It focuses on flexibility and control, not adding bulk; bulk Defeats flexibility. This flexibility is particularly important as we age. Staying flexible is key, and Pilates is good at those types of things."
A Pilates routine can be structured to fit your specific physical needs or goals. Instructors use specially designed equipment along with mat work to improve fitness. The human body was designed to move. Again and again, research shows that exercise maintains health, vitality, longevity, weight and quality of life. If you match your exercise with your physical needs and goals, and your personality, you are more likely to stay with that program whether it is aerobics, walking, Pilates or yoga. For real benefits, physical fitness has to be a lifetime endeavor.