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Licorice extract is a safe and natural remedy for hyperpigmentation
November 03, 2018 02:51 PM
What happens when a person has too much melanin? Their nails and skin darkens considerable in a condition called hyperpigmentation. The good news is that you can treat the condition naturally with licorice extract which is made by mixing ten parts of distilled water mixed with a part of extract. Put the mixture on a towel and use it as a compress for about ten to fifteen minutes twice a day. Moisturize your skin afterward with lotion so it doesn't dry out.
"Licorice extract is often combined with different citrus fruits to make an effective skin brightener."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-10-12-licorice-extract-is-a-safe-and-natural-remedy-for-hyperpigmentation.html
Top 3 Skin Care Secrets || How to Use Baking Soda To Whiten Skin
August 01, 2017 05:14 AM
Natural remedies are always best and that includes beauty treatments for facial skin. Baking soda is a refreshing mask ingredient that can be used to cleanse and brighten the face. As a wash it can slough off dead skin cells and encourage new cell growth. Other ways to use it are in combination with natural ingredients. A fruit mix combined with baking soda can be applied as a mask. Strawberries and lemon help moisturize and also exfoliate. Masks can be used weekly to prepare skin for moisturizer and your beauty routine.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guk-TH20q_I&rel=0
"Baking Soda is alkaline in nature and thus balances the pH levels of your skin to make it glow with radiance"
3 wonder ways to brighten your teeth
July 12, 2017 09:14 AM
Speaks upon the use of multiple whitening brands telling you to try using natural elements. Like Mixing strawberries, baking soda, and salt making a substance that's like paste which you apply about once or twice a week. Also, surprisingly charcoal is another method, using the dust to rub on your teeth causing the stains to go away. Be careful not to swallow the charcoals. Even the use of tumeric! Yes the cooking material, you can put a little on your teeth every other day literally provoking your teeth to be more white!
"Are you tired of trying the very many toothpastes in the market and still not getting the result? Go natural when it comes to tooth whitening with these all natural products which have natural ingredients."
Read more: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/3-wonder-ways-to-brighten-your-teeth/articleshow/59490077.cms
Why Everyone is Talking About Turmeric
December 16, 2016 06:59 AM
Turmeric, the main spice in curry, is arguably the most powerful herb on the planet at fighting and potentially reversing disease. It has so many healing properties that currently there have been 6,235 peer-reviewed articles published proving the benefits of turmeric and one of its renowned healing compounds curcumin. This puts turmeric on top of the list as one of the most frequently mentioned medicinal herbs in all of science and the next most popular studied herbs include garlic, cinnamon, ginseng, ginger and milk thistle.
"The bright yellow spice is not only an important antioxidant, but it is also an anti-inflammatory, soother of irritations and a skin brightener."
Ancient beauty rituals that work, and where to try them
December 08, 2016 12:59 PM
Not all beauty treatments are the work of white-coated scientists toiling in ultra-clean laboratories. Thanaka powder, which comes from grinding the wood and bark of the thanaka tree, has long been used on the face to brighten the complexion and shield the skin against free radicals, polluted air and harmful UV rays. Argan oil was traded as a coveted beauty agent in and around the Mediterranean area in 12 BC. The Berber women of southern Morocco were known for their exotic beauty, and their secret was applying this golden oil regularly to their faces, nails, hair and body.
"The fact that some of these have been around for thousands of years is surely a good sign they actually work."
Look Younger With This Natural Facial Exfoliator
Diatomaceous Earth (also called diatomite) is a siliceous sedimentary rock. The rock is naturally occurring, soft and can be crushed into a fine powder. Like the name suggests, it is extracted from fossilized remnants of diatoms. Diatoms were tiny, hard shelled algae that lived in water. The diatoms skeletons comprise of silica, a natural substance. Over a long time, the diatoms collected on river, lakes and oceans sediments. Because of its fineness, DE acts as a great facial exfoliant. Besides silica, Diatomaceous Earth contains calcium, zinc, copper, magnesium, phosphorus and selenium. These minerals can be absorbed through the skin to complement your diet.
Diatomaceous Earth for Facial Exfoliation
The use of DE as a facial exfoliant is becoming very popular. Today, more than 150 products contain DE as the main ingredient. For facial exfoliation, make sure you use food grade DE. Food Grade DE differs from the DE used in the pool filter. Food grade DE is finer (less abrasive and has been purified) than non-food grade DE.
It is easy to make a facial scrub. Simply mix the powder with enough water to make a paste. Be sure to apply the paste on your face immediately after preparing it. To increase its effectiveness as a facial exfoliator, rub the paste on your face with mild, circular motions. DE has abrasive properties which make it perfect for facial exfoliation.
You can use DE and water alone but for greater results mix DE with 1 tablespoon water, diluted honey or aloe vera juice and coconut oil. This way, not only do you remove microscopic dirt and oil deposits and dead skin but you also leave the skin moisturized. When massaging the paste to your face, refrain from applying it on the area around your eyes. The skin around the eyes is gentle and is often affected by powerful exfoliators and could lead to irritation. Leave the paste for a couple of minutes and use lukewarm water to rinse it off.
Diatomaceous earth looks cylindrical under a microscope. It is also known to carry a negative ionic charge that scientists claim to be the reason why pathogens are attracted to it and carried out of the body.
Benefits of Diatomaceous Earth as a Facial Exfoliator
DE is a naturally occurring ingredient. This means there are no side effects associated with its use. Food grade diatomaceous earth has anti-fungal properties. It acts as a detoxification agent and leaves the skin refreshed and clean. It is a nourishing, lightening and brightening facial exfoliator. It increases the elasticity of the skin and leaves the skin radiant. Diatomaceous earth has been tailored to boost skin immunity and act as an anti-oxidant to fight free radicals. Not only does DE rid your face of dead skin cells but also helps the skin fight premature signs of aging.
Salt and sugar scrubs are effective in facial exfoliation but they are too abrasive to be used every day. Diatomaceous earth is finer and thus a great alternative. You may choose to make a DE paste at home or a buy a product that contains DE (among other natural products).
5 Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar
For centuries vinegar has been used for various household and cooking purposes. The most popular vinegar in the natural health community is the apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is made from fermenting apple cider which is a juice that is extracted for the pulp of pureed apples. Apple cider vinegar contains acid and bacteria that have vast array of health benefits. Below are health benefits of apple cider vinegar.
1. Improved digestion.
Apple cider vinegar contains an alkalizing substance that aids in digestion. This is very beneficial to people who do not produce enough hydrochloric acid in their stomach. However, in order for apple cider vinegar to be effective it needs to be taken before consuming any food. Besides aiding in digestion, apple cider vinegar is also used to help cure diarrhea and constipation. It contain pectin which is a soluble fiber that help to ease constipation.
2. Aids in weight loss.
Scientific result that was conducted by an independent institution found out that apple cider vinegar can help in weight loss. The acid and bacteria contained in this supplement can help to speed up your metabolism thus aiding in weight loss.
3. Provides relief for diabetes patients.
Apple cider vinegar has shown to help provide relief for patients suffering from diabetes. Scientific studies has shown that apple cider vinegar contain natural components that helps to slow and control the rise in blood sugar especially after meals. When combined with other diabetic diet, apple cider vinegar can help manage the symptoms of diabetes.
4. It brightens the skin.
If you are suffering from skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis, apple vinegar is the perfect supplement for you. It helps to reduce inflammation, a factor that helps to brighten the skin.
5. It removes stains from teeth.
Apple cider vinegar helps to remove stain from teeth. All that you need to do is to rub apple cider vinegar, leave for a while then rinse your mouth with water.
Age Gracefully With Anti Aging Nutrition
January 19, 2008 01:57 PM
With today’s society constantly frowning upon aging and advertisements constantly urging consumers to buy products to tighten, firm, and rejuvenate their skin, our society has placed a very high value on youthful appearances. No one wants to look old, so a natural product to help this is very important. However, just because consumers want to use natural products doesn’t necessarily mean they will, as many wonder if natural products will actually work. Despite some reservation from the consumer, the popularity of all natural anti-aging products is on the rise. Although many products can help minimize signs of aging, companies are starting to recommend the start of preventative skin care regimens in a woman’s late teens.
The key to preventing aging is keeping skin clear, pores unclogged, and you skin moisturized in your twenties so that by the time you reach your thirties, aging is not quite as evident. By age thirty, collagen levels start to reduce, and skin starts to lose its elasticity. It is important to continue a skin care routine and work in some anti-aging products. By age forty and beyond, it’s extremely important to continue the regimen you have build in your thirties while adding an anti-aging serum.
On top of a regular skin care routine, it’s essential for women to use products that contain some level of SPF, which is very important for preventing fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots. Along with SPF, antioxidants are critical in anti aging products, preventing free radical damage and also minimizing facial redness by constricting protecting fine capillaries. Good antioxidant and anti-aging ingredients include blueberries, green tea, ginkgo biloba, cucumber, aloe, lavender, cranberry seed oil, and pomegranate.
Moisturizing the skin is also an anti-aging essential, helping the derma layer provide nourishment and adding cushion to support the skin. A good moisturizer will also help to fight dry skin and wrinkles. Some moisturizing formulas used in Japan have an ability to provide omega essential fatty acids and help to slow the formation of wrinkles. Jojoba, aloe, and avocado oils are also extremely hydrating and effective in the reduction and appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Since aging can cause the skin to be discolored, there are many products that can help to minimize the appearance of age spots and help to brighten and even out skin tone. A skin tone balancer, using natural skin lighteners such as kojic acid, lemon extract, and bilberry extract, can stop the process of melanin production and also reduce existing age spots. Sugar cane extract and sugar maple extract act as natural exfoliates, which help to brighten the skin by getting rid of dead skin cells. Night creams containing macadamia nut oil, mulberry bark, and licorice extracts help to firm and brighten the skin and also lighten age spots.
Although natural products are definitely better for consumers’ skin, they often have short shelf lives. In order to fight this, many companies create smaller batches with shorter shelf lives, to make sure that customers will use the entire product before it expires. For retailers to sell anti-aging products and compete with mainstream lines, marketers stress that education is needed to make consumers aware of how great natural skin care is.
Consume Bright Colored Foods for Better Health
October 22, 2007 10:06 AM
A plate of colored food is not only very pleasing to our eyes, but also very healthy. What looks good to eat is also very healthy for us and if you are finding it difficult to persuade your children to eat those boring old tired looking vegetables, then try brightening up their plates with some nice bright colors.
Kids love brightly colored pop and candy so it should not be a difficult thing to persuade them to eat some brightly colored vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, quashes and even thinly sliced carrots with a nice dip. The more intense the color the better for you they appear to be. Colored foods are normally packed full of anti-oxidants that help to prevent diseases of the cardiovascular system and to mop up free radicals present in our bodies. These antioxidants are all chemicals, and many of the naturally occurring antioxidants are highly colored. They are very good at destroying free radicals.
Free radicals are a form of chemical that destroy body cells, and not only accelerate the effects of aging, but also harm our heart. A free radical is a molecule with an unpaired electron. Electrons like to go around in pairs. Every atom has pairs of electrons, and one atom has an odd number then it pairs up with another atom with an odd number, so the two form a compound with an even number of electrons.
However, now and again, the body’s metabolism throws up a molecule with an unpaired electron. That electron’s first thought is to find a partner, and it does so by stealing one from a cell in your body. The result is the disruption and destruction of the cell. Free radicals can also be formed by environmental pollution, cigarette smoke, pesticides and so on.
Anti-oxidants destroy free radicals, and generally keep us healthier for longer. They do so by mopping up the extra electron, and there are many different types of antioxidant that form part of our normal diet. Among them are vitamins A, C and E, but there are others that are complex highly colored organic compounds. Among these are the anthocyanins, known to paint and ink manufacturers as strong red pigments.
Anthocyanins are the pigments or dyes that color red grapes, egg plant, plums and blueberries and they are very powerful antioxidants. However, it is not only for antioxidants that we should eat colorful foods. Some dark green foods, such as spinach, green peppers, peas, celery and dark leafy vegetables, contain what are known as lutein. Lutein works in combination with zeaxanthin to protect our eyes from cataracts and a condition known as macular degeneration, which can lead to blindness. Zeaxanthin is available from red peppers, oranges, egg yolk and corn.
Many people take folic acid supplements help maintain a healthy heart, and especially women to help prevent birth defects. However, the natural form of folic acid, folate is available from green foods such as lettuce, green beans, broccoli, peas, green grapes, and many other green foods. Broccoli and cabbage also contain indoles also known as indol-3-carbinol are believed to protect your from some cancers. So green is good!
Yellow is also good, and foods such as grapefruit, pineapple and melon help to boost the immune system and keep infections at bay, and also to provide energy and help maintain healthy eyes. Many antioxidants are yellow, although yellow might not a color that you would associate as being attractive to children, unless very bright. However, the yellow foods tend to be fruits rather than vegetables, and it is much easier to persuade a child to eat a pineapple than a squash.
Lycopene is another very powerful antioxidant that prevents the oxidation of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol that can damage the cardiovascular system through atherosclerosis. Lycopene is a red pigment very common in tomatoes, and is fat soluble. It is a member of the carotenoid family of antioxidants that are common in brightly colored foods such as carrots, red peppers and many yellow fruits and vegetables as described above. Lutein is also a carotenoid.
A diet rich in carotenoids is very good for keeping the effects of aging at bay and protecting you from heart problems. Lycopene is contained in the liver, colon, skin and prostate gland, and can occur at higher concentrations than most other carotenoids. People that suffer from HIV infections, high cholesterol diseases and inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis, are generally found to have low levels of lycopene in their blood.
Many of the so-called ‘superfoods’ are also brightly colored, and useful not just for their antioxidant properties. Take cranberries for example. These bright red berries contain proanthocyanadins that prevent some bacteria such as e-coli from adhering to the walls of the urinary tract and cause urinary tract infections such as cystitis, and also from adhering to the gums. Cranberries can therefore be used in the treatment of some gum diseases. However, they also possess strong antioxidant properties that help to protect the body against some cancers and also heart disease.
Blueberries are high in vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants with strong anti-inflammatory properties. Pomegranates have exceptionally high antioxidant content and are excellent for a healthy cardiovascular system while strong green broccoli contains not only vitamin C and antioxidants but also folate (the natural form of folic acid) and the phytochemical sulforafane that is believed to protect against certain cancers.
The color of your food, therefore, not only makes it look pretty on your plate and attractive to children, but also indicates the presence of strong antioxidants and other chemicals that help to protect you from specific medical conditions. It is no coincidence that the vast majority of the so-called superfoods is vegetable in origin rather than animal, and also tastes good. You should eat as many of them as you can, and certainly at least five portions every day.
Some can also be used as a remedy for specific conditions in addition to being used for their preventative properties, such as cranberries are used in the treatment of diseases of the urinary tract, and specific diets can help to reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol in the body. Eating with your eyes is not always a bad thing. Some may find it hard to consume enough colorful fruits and vegetables to be beneficial so what is a person to do? Your local health food store has available powdered vegetable and fruit concentrates that supply all the needed nutrients in one simple drink.
Timed-Release St. John’s Wort Once Daily The Next Generation in Mood Support.
June 29, 2005 09:37 AM
Timed-Release St. John’s Wort Once Daily The Next Generation in Mood Support.
In our high-powered world, countless Americans are searching for a wholesome, natural product to help them maintain a positive outlook and sense of well-being. The remarkable botanical, St. John’s wort, is well-known for its established history of safe use. Now Source Naturals offers you the first and only once-daily, TIMED-RELEASE ST. JOHN’S WORT. This premium botanical is manufactured in a special cellulose base, which is tested to release St. John’s wort over a 12-hour period.
Source Naturals tests each production lot of TIMED-RELEASE ST. JOHN’SWORT. This exclusive supplement is standardized to 0.3% hypericin, yielding 2.7 mg in every convenient daily dose— the amount shown in research to support mild to moderate maintenance of a positive mood. At a time when our emotional well-being is challenged by unprecedented stress levels, research into the most convenient and effective natural remedies is critical. Source Naturals is your connection to this research, dedicated to quickly bringing you the benefts of the latest emerging wellness strategies.
Popular Choice For a Positive Mood—Now Even Better!
St. John’s wort, or Hypericum perforatum, has been valued by diverse cultures as far back as the Middle Ages for its ability to support a positive outlook and sense of well-being. Today modern consumers are experiencing the benefits of this renowned herb, which include mood-brightening, relaxation, alertness, and a sense of overall well-being. Unlike other supplements on the market, Source Naturals TIMED-RELEASE ST. JOHN’SWORT is produced using the most advanced scientific methods. The result is a supplement that offers the once-daily convenience today’s consumers have come to expect.
A review of 23 randomized clinical trials encompassing 1757 subjects was reported in the British Medical Journal. It showed that St. John’s wort was more effective than placebo for mild to moderate maintenance of a positive mental outlook.
The Beneficial Constituents
The beneficial constituents of the St. John’s Wort plant are believed to be the naphthodianthrones, especially hypericin and pseudohypericin, and a wide variety of flavonoids. Source Naturals TIMED-RELEASE ST. JOHN’S WORT is standardized to consistently yield 0.3% hypericin. Each convenient once-daily dose contains 900 mg of St. John’s Wort extract, yielding 2.7 mg hypericin. This is the optimal amount found in most studies to support a positive outlook and sense of wellbeing. Benefits may be experienced within 4 to 6 weeks of initial use.
Emotional Well-Being: Important Component of the Wellness Revolution
Source Naturals is pleased to join with your local health food store in offering you the next generation in St. John’s wort supplementation. TIMED RELEASE ST. JOHN’SWORT can help you support a positive mood with the remarkable properties of the plant world, exclusively formulated for once-daily convenience. This advanced product reflects today’s revolution in natural health care, offering you the benefits of natural, cuttingedge supplementation.
Women and Depression!
June 13, 2005 07:48 PM
Women and Depression by Lisa James Energy Times, March 11, 2004
Just as fog veils a beautiful landscape, so depression veils life itself: rendering existence dark and dreary, narrowing the scope of one's dreams. And women are particularly prone to this lingering sadness.
The good news: Depression doesn't have to linger forever. With proper nutrition, lifestyle changes and a revived outlook, you can break through that fog into a sunnier emotional clime. Women are more likely than men to fall prey to depression throughout their lifetimes, with women being twice as likely as men to experience major depression.
While the greatest risk for both sexes falls at midlife, the gender difference appears early; one in ten teenage girls was found to suffer from major depression in one study (International Journal of Behavioral Development 2004; 28:16-25). What's more, childhood depression leaves a person more susceptible to mood problems in adulthood.
One reason for the gender difference in depression, according to researchers, is that women tend to dwell on depressed feelings to a greater degree than men. Some scientists believe a family history of depression carries greater weight for women. Others theorize that the inner fluctuations of a woman's monthly cycle can leave her susceptible to stresses emanating from the outer world. Studies indicate that almost three-quarters of all premenstrual women experience some level of mood difficulties (Summit on Women and Depression, APA, April 02), and a woman's hormonal ebb and flow may even make her more vulnerable to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), the kind of depression linked to a lack of natural light.
Warning Signs Not surprisingly, many depressed folks feel sad and lethargic, down on themselves and the world. But in some people, depression is marked by agitation and concentration difficulties, or is accompanied by anxiety. Sleep disturbances-either insomnia or excessive sleepiness-often ensue, and activities that used to provide pleasure lose their appeal.
Breaking depression's grip can do more than just lighten your mood-it may help safeguard your health. Studies suggest depression dampens the immune response and may increase the risks of coronary heart disease and diabetes (Archives of General Psychiatry 2003; 60:1009-14; Circulation 2000; 102:1773; Diabetes Care 2004; 27:129-33).
Origins of Depression
The reasons some people are pulled down by depression's undertow while others are able to stay afloat emotionally are complex, but researchers believe common factors link them all.
One factor that can't be ignored is genetics. "If you are depressed, there is a 25% chance that a first-degree relative-a parent, child or sibling-is also depressed," says Hyla Cass, MD, author of St. John's Wort: Nature's Blues Buster (Avery). Other factors are physical problems and medication side effects. That's why your first step should be a consultation with your health care practitioner (if your moods are especially dark, seek professional assistance as soon as possible).
Life's worries and cares also weigh more heavily on some people than on others. " [N]ot only will certain stressors [adverse events] cause depression as a direct response," notes Dr. Cass, "but they may predispose an individual to future episodes of depression." For example, the end of a relationship when you feel you've lost a lover and been humiliated (and been cheated on) raises your risk of depression (Archives of General Psychiatry 2003; 60:789-96).
The Depressed Brain
When depression hits, brain chemistry shifts. As a result, chemicals known as neurotransmitters, which relay messages between brain cells, go awry. For instance, a neurotransmitter called serotonin-critical to mood control-may decrease, leaving you feeling depressed, anxious, craving certain foods and unable to sleep.
Conversely, "high levels of serotonin are associated with emotional and social stability," according to Dr. Cass. She adds that, in addition, sex hormones such as estrogen and testosterone "affect brain cells directly."
Lifting the Fog
Because the causes of depression are so complex, leaving the darkness behind generally requires opening up several pathways. Part of feeling better simply lies in believing that you can. Researchers have found that depressed people who feel they have a sense of control over their troubles, do, in fact, have a better chance of recovery (General Hospital Psychiatry 2000; 22(4):242-50). Finding a community of like-minded folks bolsters your capacity to deal with mood problems. In some cases, time spent with a therapist can be a valuable aid in figuring out what's bothering you.
On the physical side, losing weight can lift your spirits. Among women with severe obesity-itself a depression risk factor-losing weight has led to depression relief (Archives of Internal Medicine 2003; 163:2058-65). Research also indicates that exercise helps brighten dark moods.
A change in diet, along with certain supplements, can also help dispel depression. The first step on the road to emotional recovery: eat a lot of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, and stay away from overly refined foods with high levels of sugar.
Omega-3 fatty acids, the kinds found in flax seed and fish, are essential to proper brain function. In several studies, people who took supplemental omega-3s found significant relief from depression.
Key amino acids-the basic units of which proteins are built-serve as starting points for the production of mood-lifting neurotransmitters. In one trial, people who took an amino-acid mix that included tyrosine enjoyed better moods and were happier than people who took amino acids without it (Psychopharmacology (Berlin) Sept 4 2003).
Along with amino acids, the body needs the right vitamins-especially members of the all-important B family-to create depression-fighting brain chemicals. In one study, people with depression who took vitamin B12 improved their chances of recovery (BMC Psychiatry 2003; 3:17).
Another interesting observation: Vitamin B12 and its partners vitamin B6 and folate are essential to keep a protein called homocysteine (known primarily as a cardiovascular hazard) from reaching excessive levels, and people with high homocysteine are twice as likely to be depressed. This has led some researchers to speculate that folate may help keep depression under control (Archives of General Psychiatry 2003; 60:618-26).
Herbs that may help beat back the blues include two that help the body deal with stress, eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) and schisandra (S. chinensis).
A new diet, a new outlook: With the help of the right nutrients and the right support, you can break the bonds of depression.
Don't Be Blue - Does winter got you singing the blues?
June 13, 2005 09:49 AM
Don't Be Blue by Phyllis D. Light, RH Energy Times, October 10, 2003
Have the gray skies of winter got you singing the blues? Do you feel tired, lost your creative spark, need extra sleep, can't get control of your appetite? If you nod in agreement to these queries, you may be one of the millions of people affected by SAD (seasonal affective disorder), also known as the "winter blues" or "cabin fever." Time to lighten up, throw off those lowdown winter blues and step up to more enjoyable feelings. Experts who study the winter blahs now acknowledge that you can blame much of winter's crankiness, moodiness and restlessness on short, cloudy days and a lack of sunlight. Low levels of sunlight trigger changes in hormones, increasing levels of melatonin (a hormone that normally helps you go to sleep) and decreasing serotonin (a hormone that improves mood). For many people, this hormonal tumult translates into a craving for sugary foods, a need for more sleep and a reduced sex drive.
Although the exact cause of SAD is not known, researchers believe the pineal gland plays an important role in this disorder. This gland, located beneath the brain, makes melatonin in response to the amount of light that enters your eyes. Melatonin hormone is only produced in darkness. The darker your bedroom, the greater your melatonin production.
Conversely, melatonin production usually stops in the morning when you open your eyes to the day's new light. But research shows that the production of melatonin climbs too high in folks who suffer from SAD. That excessive amount of the hormone results in a sedative effect upon the body.
Many people with SAD suffer muscular aches and pains, along with headaches and a faltering immune system. Consequently, they often feel like they have the flu all winter long.
More women than men suffer from SAD (and, apparently, depression in general), though the reason is unclear.
According to Norman Rosenthal, MD, author of Winter Blues (Guilford Press), "about 6% of the US population may suffer from SAD, with an additional 14% suffering from subsyndromal [less severe] SAD." Because less sunlight reaches the northern latitudes, folks in Washington state and Alaska suffer the highest rates of SAD. People in sun-soaked Florida suffer the least.
How do you escape SAD? If a winter vacation to the sunny South is out of the question for you, a natural program can brighten the wintry gray days and provide relief.
Turn on the Light
The most common treatment for SAD is light (also called phototherapy), which cuts back the body's manufacture of melatonin. Sitting in front of a special light box for about 30 minutes each morning during the winter months can often offset SAD. But the effects of this treatment vary from individual to individual, and some may be more sensitive to the light therapy than others.
For artificial light treatment, consult an appropriately trained healthcare professional who can design a plan that finds the optimal intensity, length and time of day for the treatment that best works for you. Researchers at Columbia University have found that timing the light therapy with the nuances of a person's biological clock doubles its effectiveness (Archives of General Psychiatry 1/15/01).
On the other hand, walking in natural light can banish these problems, and research finds that natural light frequently offers the best results (Journal of Affective Disorders 1996 Apr 12; 37(2-3):109-20). In this study, people either participated in a daily walk outdoors in natural light or were treated for half an hour in artificial light. At the end of the study, participants were tested for melatonin and cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Both were found to be lower after exposure to natural light than artificial light.
Roll up those sleeves when you're outdoors this winter: Curiously enough, studies show that light produces physiological effects by being absorbed through both the eyes and the skin.
Research now shows that light on the skin alters the hemoglobin in the blood. "This research suggests that SAD might be a disorder of the blood rather than a brain disorder," says Dan A. Oren, MD, of the Yale University School of Medicine (Science 1/12/98).
Vitamin D Need
If you suffer from seasonal depression, you may also not be getting enough vitamin D. During the sun-reduced winter months, stores of this fat-soluble vitamin drop, since the skin makes it when exposed to sunlight. When you step out into daylight, the sebaceous glands near the surface of your body produce an oily substance from cholesterol that rises to the skin's surface. Then, ultraviolet B rays from the sun convert this oily substance (7-dehydrocholesterol) into what is called previtamin D3. Finally, body heat converts previtamin D3 into vitamin D3 (a form of vitamin D).
Twenty minutes of daily sunlight exposure on the hands, arms and face can give adequate amounts of vitamin D to light-skinned people. Dark-skinned people may need longer exposure. Supplements can help: In one study, researchers found that people who took vitamin D had significant improvement in depression scale scores (Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging 1999; 3(1):5-7).
As far as vitamin D production goes, you can never receive too much sunlight (although overexposure resulting in a burn is never a good idea). The body absorbs vitamin D from the skin as needed and never accepts more than is required. (If you take supplements, follow package directions so you don't get too much of a good thing.) Food sources of vitamin D include eggs, fortified milk, cod liver oil, salmon and other fish.
Walk Away the Blues
Research also shows that exercise can chase the winter blues and that a little bit of exertion goes a long way. Exercise physiologists at Duke University found that little as eight minutes of physical activity can improve your mood.
Exercise stimulates the brain to produce endorphins, feel-good hormones that help reduce pain and depression. Physical activity can also increase serotonin levels, those neurotransmitters that brighten emotions. These two hormones work together to make you feel better: Serotonin improves the functioning of your mind while endorphins produce beneficial effects on your body. In one study, researchers reported that exercise increased vitality and improved mood even in cases of prolonged depression (Psychological Medicine 1998 Nov; 28(6):1359-64).
To banish SAD, engage in an outdoor activity in natural light, or get active indoors under bright lights.
As you can see, much of the research into low, wintry moods suggests that sun worshippers may have been right all along: Exposure in winter to our friendly, local neighborhood star offers impressive mood benefits.
Improove Memory ...
June 09, 2005 05:49 PM
Mesmerizing Memory by Cal Orey Energy Times, January 1, 1999
In the 60s, the same rock 'n' rollers who belted out "One pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small," often espoused the belief that certain pills could expand the mind. While counter-culture pill purveyors were pilloried for their pill-popping claims, 90s nutritional research has uncovered a stash of supplements that may amplify mental improvement.
Like a blues singer bending a high note, researchers are now humming with dramatic assertions that certain nutritional supplements can sustain and enhance concentration and memory function. For instance, studies reveal possible benefits for cognitive powers from vitamin C, magnesium and Ginkgo biloba. A recent report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA 278:1327-1332) said that an extract of Ginkgo biloba "can stabilize and, in some cases, improve the cognitive function and social behavior of demented patients."
A researcher in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences noted that a daily dose of vitamin E may "help protect the brain and its memories from the ravages of time." And the beat goes on: other evidence indicates that zinc, iron and boron may pump up short-term memory attention span and cut the time it takes to perform mental tasks.
Lester Packer, PhD, professor of molecular and cell biology at UC Berkeley, told a joint 1996 United Nations-World Health Organization conference on Aging that "there is a growing body of evidence indicating that the free radical theory of aging and aging-related disease is valid," and that dietary and supplemental antioxidants can help fight illness and mental deterioration.
Vitamin E and other memory aids are believed to protect brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, "the ferrymen of the brain's communication system," that influence concentration and memory. Experts say that sustaining the level of these nerve chemicals in the brain can potentially improve all mental processes.
Too much alcohol, for example, commonly causes progressive mental decline, according to Secrets of the Superyoung (Villard) by David Weeks and Jamie James. The authors also point out that "the memory tends to worsen noticeably after 15 years of alcohol drinking, and much sooner in people who go on massive binges."
"The effects of cigarette smoke are subtler because the poisonous effects of carbon monoxide in each puff are temporarily offset by the alerting effects of the nicotine," they add. Can't remember the name of that singer cavorting in a music video? Tests have shown that smokers are worse at connecting peoples' names to their faces than nonsmokers.
n Learn something new: A second language, musical instrument, or unique puzzles and games keep neurons working like new.
n Turn off the TV: Read. Studies show that passively watching TV requires less concentration than eating cereal. Mental rejuvenation also requires physical activity. Exercise increases oxygen flow to the brain, which supports memory, concentration and cognition. One study has shown that exercise significantly brightened the moods of middle-aged and older women, regardless of whether they were pre- or post-menopausal, with or without hormone replacement therapy.
Supplemental Brain Help
Antioxidants, including the previously mentioned vitamin E (You haven't forgotten vitamin E already, have you?), provide crucial help for vigorous cerebral function. The free radicals created by tobacco smoke, air pollution, ultraviolet light and certain carcinogenic chemicals deconstruct cell membranes and may foster microscopic brain cell havoc. Antioxidant enzymes convert free radicals to more neutral, benign substances and nutritional antioxidants can neutralize free radicals by linking up with them.
Vitamin C, a brainy antioxidant all star, performs so well that, according to Dr. Khalsa, its levels in the brain are almost 15 times higher than in other parts of the body. This nutrient, he asserts, aids mental and physical longevity. In a UCLA study, people who ingested at least 300 mg of vitamin C daily lived more than six years longer than those who ingested less.
Added to this mix, magnesium also scavenges free-radicals, according to Dr. Khalsa. Plus, experts recommend grape seed extract (phytochemicals that protect a wide range of cellular structures) to safeguard nerve cells and mental capacity.
B Vitamins for the Mind
Boron plays a crucial part in mental function. Scientists at the USDA's Human Nutrition Research Center have linked boron deficiencies to chronic lethargy and fatigue. In brain studies, they found that the electrical activity of the gray matter in the boron deficient indicated increased drowsiness and mental sluggishness.
HupA basically protects the brain from free radical damage (due to low levels of antioxidant defenses) and maintains or enhances crucial neurotransmitter action. More specifically, HupA helps reduce the breakdown of acetylcholine, the vital neurotransmitter, and makes this substance more bioavailable. In addition, HupA helps make choline accessible to the brain for the synthesis of acetylcholine, according to a study in Neuropharmacology (30, 1991: 763-768).
Normally, the brain manufactures sufficient levels of the chemical phosphatidylserine, a lecithin-derivative that helps boost neurotransmitter release, but deficiencies of vitamin B12 and folic acid, or of essential fatty acids, may retard that production. Low levels of phosphatidylserine in the brain are related to impaired mental function and depression in the elderly. Scientists reporting in Aging (5, 1993; 123-33) describe "good results" using phosphatidylserine in the treatment of age-related cognitive ills.
Ginkgo Brain Power
Another ingredient in what seems like an alphabet-soup of brain nourishment is DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), an omega-3 fat essential for normal brain function. Researchers met recently at The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center's Nutrition Information Center to discuss "Keeping Your Brain in Shape: New Insights into DHA." Their findings revealed links between low levels of DHA and Alzheimer's, depression, memory loss, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and certain behavioral traits including aggression and hostility.
Researchers from the National Institutes of Health point out, however, that fish is an excellent dietary source of DHA. In their studies, they discovered that depression rates in Japan and Taiwan, where fish ranks a top spot on the menu, are significantly lower than in North America and Europe.
DHA also is crucial to the neurological development of children, according to findings published in Pediatrics (vol. 101, no. 1, January 1998). Researchers suggest that DHA-rich breast milk should be the model for infant formulas that enhance babies' neurological development. Scientists also have correlated some behavioral problems in children-ADHD, for example-to DHA deficiencies.
If you are a vegetarian, or have other cause for concern about a potential lack of DHA in your diet, you can rely on dietary supplementation of DHA. Bruce J. Holub, PhD, of the University of Guelph in Canada provided vegetarians in his research project with DHA supplements over a 42-day period and substantially increased their DHA blood levels.
The bottom line to enhanced mental performance is to take a balanced approach, says Robert Snider, MD, who specializes in preventive medicine in Massena, New York. "Maintaining brain power includes exercise, stress reduction and good nutrition." The message to keep in mind: Don't lose your nutritional balance or you could lose a piece of your peace of mind.
Recommended Reading: & Brain Builders (Reward Books, 1995), by Richard Leviton.
Brain Longevity (Warner Books, 1997), by Dharma Singh Khalsa, MD.
Omega 3 Oils to Improve Mental Health, Fight Degenerative Diseases and Extend Life (Avery, 1996), by Donald Rudin, MD, and Clara Felix.
Successful Aging (Pantheon, 1998), by John W. Rowe, MD, and Robert L. Kahn, PhD.