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Caprylic Acid - What is it and what are its benefits?
September 24, 2022 10:55 AM
NOW® Caprylic Acid is a naturally derived nutrient also known as octanoic acid. Caprylic acid is a medium-chain fatty acid (MCT) that is naturally found in coconut and palm kernel oil. Caprylic acid feeds friendly bacteria and fights candida. Candida overgrowth can lead to feelings of fatigue, moodiness, headaches, and digestive issues. Taking caprylic acid can help restore balance in the gut and improve overall health.
What is Caprylic Acid?
Caprylic acid is a type of saturated fatty acid that has antimicrobial properties. It occurs naturally in coconut oil, palm kernel oil, and human breast milk. Caprylic acid is also known as octanoic acid. It gets its name from the Latin word for “egg” because caprylic acid was first isolated from egg white in 1807.
Benefits of Caprylic Acid
Caprylic acid has many potential health benefits. It has been shown to fight candida, which is a type of yeast that can overgrow in the body and lead to fatigue, moodiness, headaches, and digestive issues. Caprylic acid also helps to restore balance in the gut microbiome by killing bad bacteria and promoting the growth of good bacteria. Additionally, caprylic acid has anti-inflammatory properties and can help to improve cognitive function and joint health.
How to Take Caprylic Acid
Caprylic acid is available in SoftGel form. It can also be taken as an oil or added to food or beverages. The recommended dosage depends on the form you are taking as well as your age, health, and other factors.
NOW® Caprylic Acid is a naturally derived nutrient with many potential health benefits. It can help fight candida, restore balance in the gut microbiome, improve cognitive function, and reduce inflammation. Caprylic acid is available in SoftGel form. If you're struggling with Candida or other bacterial overgrowth in the intestinal tract, consider using caprylic acid and take back control of your life.
The Consequences of Not Getting Enough Sleep
September 14, 2022 04:03 PM
Most people know they should be getting around eight hours of sleep per night, but according to the National Sleep Foundation, between 50 and 70 million U.S. adults havea sleep disorder*. That means many of us are not getting the quality sleep we need on a nightly basis. But what does that mean for our health? Let’s take a look.
Short-Term Effects of Sleep Deprivation
There are many short-term effects of not getting enough sleep, including:
* Difficulty concentrating or making decisions * Increased forgetfulness * moodiness or irritability * Slow reflexes * Increased anxiety * Decreased sex drive * Weight gain or weight loss * Heightened senses * Increased susceptibility to colds and flus
Long-Term Effects of Sleep Deprivation
The long-term effects of sleep deprivation are even more concerning. Some of the long-term effects of not getting enough sleep include:
* High blood pressure * Diabetes * Heart disease * Mood disorders such as depression or anxiety * Memory problems * weakened immune system * Increased pain perception Conclusion: As you can see, there are many short-term and long-term effects of not getting enough sleep. If you think you might have a sleep disorder, talk to your doctor about treatment options. In the meantime, practice good sleep hygiene by avoiding caffeine before bedtime, establish a regular sleep schedule, and create a calming bedtime routine. Do your best to get seven to eight hours of quality sleep every night so you can wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day!
Need more sleep try melatonin!
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate our sleep-wake cycles. It's produced naturally by our bodies in response to darkness and starts to increase in the evening as we prepare for bed.
How Does Melatonin Work?
Many people take melatonin supplements in an effort to improve their sleep quality. And there is some evidence to suggest that it can be helpful. One small study found that melatonin supplements helped people fall asleep faster than placebo pills did. However, the effects were only temporary, lasting for just three days.
Another study looked at the effects of melatonin on people with insomnia due to jet lag. This research found that melatonin supplements shortened the time it took for participants to fall asleep by about an hour on average.
It's important to note that these studies looked at short-term usage of melatonin supplements. There's not much research available on the long-term effects of taking this supplement.
If you're struggling to get enough sleep, you might be wondering if supplements could help. One popular option is melatonin. But what is it, and does it really work? Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate our sleep-wake cycles which is produced naturally by our bodies in response to darkness.. Many people take melatonin supplements in an effort to improve their sleep quality and there is some evidence to suggest that it can be helpful such as one small study found that melatonin supplements helped people fall asleep faster than placebo pills did.. however the effects were only temporary lasting three days or another study which looked at the effects of melatonin on people with insomnia due to jet lag and found that it shortened the time it took participants to fall asleep by an hour on average...
Give Melatonin a try and sleep better!
What Is Vitamin B-6 And What Is Its Health Benefits?
January 05, 2014 09:19 AM
Vitamin B6 is a water soluble vitamin that is part of the vitamin B complex group that consists of pyridoxal (PL), pyridoxine (PN), pyridoxal 5 phosphate, pyridoxine 5 phosphate, 4-pyridoxic acid (PA), pyridoxamine 5 phosphate, and pyridoxamine. Pyridoxine is the form that is commonly given as a vitamin B-6 supplement. Vitamin B6 is also found in most multivitamin mineral supplements.
The benefits of vitamin B-6 include:
The amount of vitamin B-6 that is needed daily by the body depends on age and sex. Men and women between the ages of 19 and 50 need 1.3mg/day, women who are 51 years and older need 1.5 mg/day, pregnant women need 1.9 mg/day, and men over 51 years need 1.7 mg/day.
Below are some of the foods that contain vitamin B6 (the amount of vitamin B6 they contain is in mg)
Fruits- per carrot juice contains 0.27 mg per 125mls, prune juice contains 0.30mg per 125 mls. and one avocado fruit contains 0.26 mg.
Grains- 30 g of wheat bran contains 0.35 mg of vitamin B6, 30 g of bran contains 0.20 mg
Meats- 75 g of cooked beef liver contain 0.76-0.78 mg, 75g of cooked beef contains 0.14-0.26 mg, 75 g of salmon or tuna contain around 0.67 mg, and other fish (trout, cod, mackerel, snapper, bluefish, and herring contain 0.30-0.39 mg.
Legumes- 0.75 of a cup of soybean contains 0.30 mg, 0.75 of a cup of chickpeas contains 0.84 mg, and 0.75 of a cup of lentils contains 0.26 mg.
The symptoms and signs of vitamin B6 deficiency include:
anemia, depression, convulsion, irritability, morning sickness, and sore tongue.
You can easily meet your daily requirements of vitamin B-6 by taking vitamin B-6 supplements. Athletes who are taking protein and amino supplements should also take vitamin B6 supplements to improve their body’s intake of the proteins and amino acids consumed.
What Exactly Does Diindolylmethane (DIM) Do For The Body?
May 20, 2013 01:52 PM
Diindolylmethane otherwise known as DIM is a natural compound that is essentially synthesised when the body breaks down indole-3-carbinol a compound that is primarily present in cruciferous vegetables, like cauliflower and broccoli. The curative properties of the said vegetables have been documented, dating to many centuries ago. Today we have the advantage of scientific and technological advancement, as such medicine has been able to research and identify some specific benefits of diindolylmethane.
Today DIM is sold as a supplement or rather in supplement form and is known to offer an array of health benefits. Although not all benefits have been confirmed most of them have been researched, confirmed and documented. It is thus agreeable by most experts that DIM has enormous health benefits for both women and men. Some of these benefits include
DIM supplements are known to enhance the effectiveness as well as the efficiency of the metabolic processing of this hormone. This enhancement has closely been linked to elevated levels of antioxidant protection of both the brain and the heart. The process is as well responsible for other documented benefits, including increase libido in women and men as well as dwindle the moodiness in ladies.
The enhanced levels of estrogen metabolism are known to stimulate other hormones including the testosterone. As such this aids the body to return the optimal levels and a state of hormonal balance. In essences the body becomes more responsive particularly to exercise and increases fat-burning metabolism, this not only help build the lean muscle much faster but also promote an overall healthier body.
DIM is in different aspects to play the role of preventive medicine. It is believed that it plays a key role in preventing certain types of cancers, including colon cancer, uterine cancer and breast cancer just to mention but a few. It has also been associated in helping prevent enlargement of prostates. Treatment Diindolylmethane especially the supplements have been used and are used to treat various ailments, such ailments include premenstrual syndrome, breast pain and endometriosis.
DIM has been known to mitigate risks associated with hormone replacement therapy. Its desired effect on metabolism of estrogen makes it a common choice for mitigating the effects of environment estrogen exposure.
Diindolylmethane side effects
Very little is known of the safety or there lack of, of this compound supplements more specifically in the long term. Due to its ability to an effect on estrogen metabolism, it is postulated that taking DIM supplements could trigger hormone sensitive conditions such as endometriosis, hormone dependent cancers and uterine fibroids. As such it is advice that one seeks medical advice before using these supplements.
What are the sources of DIM?
As earlier mentioned this chemical compound is produced by digestion of indole -3-carbinol by the body. This compound is present in these vegetables; brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, collard greens, mustard greens, kales and watercress. Where do you find these supplements? These supplements are available in most online vitamin stores as well as many food stores that specialize in dietary supplement.
Dangers of Rhodiola Rosea? First Lets Look at The Benefits
December 20, 2012 08:02 PM
Rhodiola rosea also referred to as golden root or roseroot grows in the extremely cold parts of the world. Although there are over 200 different species of roseroot rhodiola rosea is the popularly specie due to its health benefits. It is currently widely used in Asia and Europe to treat several health conditions.
Improves Depression and Mood
According to a study in the Nordic Journal of Psychiatry Rhodiola rosea extracts helps improve mood as well as lifts depression. It is also known to help improve sleep, lower moodiness as well as lift mild to moderate depression. It is known to help relieve fatigue on the patients suffering from stress associated fatigue. It not only decreases fatigue it increases mental performance particularly concentration and reduces cortisol production in people suffering from fatigue syndrome. It is therefore important to note that supplementation with rhodiola rosea robustly cancels out physiological and behavioral changes induced by persistent exposure to gentle stressors.
Functions as an Adaptogen
It is also a known adaptogen meaning that it helps in strengthening your endocrine and immune nervous system, thus improves your ability to defend against internal and external stress. It works a little different from other adaptogens such as ginseng, it works on neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine which are associated with several illnesses such as seasonal affective disorders and fibromyalgia. It helps you to withstand stress as well as stress related diseases such as lowered immunity and hypertension. It has also been noted to increase the ability to exercise, reduces lactate levels as well as skeletal muscle damage mainly after vigorous exercise.
It is advisable that you consult your doctor before you start taking any rhodiola rosea supplement. Despite its numerous health benefits it has several negative side effects especially if high doses are consumed. The dangers include irritability, insomnia, dry mouth and dizziness. Pregnant women, breast feeding mothers and people suffering from manic depressive and bipolar disorders should not take rhodiola.
This Herb is considered generally safe for most individuals with many mood boosting properties.
June 03, 2008 01:11 PM
Mental disorders, including depression, affect more than 22 percent of adults in the United States according to the National Institute of Mental Health. The stressful way in which we live contributes to this percentage of unhappy people. People feel pressure on the job and are being rushed all the time. We eat fast food on the run due to time constraints and have less time to exercise. This combination of factors leads to moodiness and irritability. It also detracts from our overall happiness.
Whether you typically experience seasonal sadness or have been diagnosed with depression, there is help available. You don't have to accept feeling down as part of life. Nor do you have to deal with the unwanted side effects that come with taking a prescribed antidepressant or anxiety medication. All you need to take the edge off of life is natural albizzia flowers. This herb provides a natural way to reduce stress.
Albizzia Flowers as a Natural Remedy for Sadness
Albizzia flowers are herbs that have been used by the Chinese for more than 500 years to treat sadness. They also have been used by Korean and Japanese people as a natural remedy for life's stresses.
Taken from the silk tree, albizzia is often referred to as the happy tree. It can be used for a variety of emotional needs, from spiritual disorders to emotional imbalances. It is also known as the Mimosa tree.
Uses for Albizzia Flowers
Albizzia flowers can be used to treat the following:
In essence, this herbal flower provides a gentle calming effect. It works to relieve tension and bring a sense of peace over the body. The herb gives a sense of contentment and comfort, and relieves aches and pains associated with the symptoms above.
Albizzia is especially useful for those dealing with grief. Losing a loved one can feel devastating and overwhelming. Albizzia flowers help to relieve these feelings and can make coping with your loss a little easier.
Antidepressants vs. Natural Herbs to Relieve Depression
Using Albizzia flowers is much safer than taking a prescription antidepressant. Antidepressants are mind-altering drugs that have a list of unhealthy side effects. They can cause you to feel things like dry mouth to headaches. Drugs like Paxil can even increase the risk of suicide in some people. You can avoid these potentially dangerous side effects by using natural herbs to take the edge off of life.
Albizzia is a relaxant and a sedative that works to calm the liver, kidneys and heart. It works to ease and calm the mind and body without the effects of pharmaceutical drugs. Starting with a low dose of 10 drops two to three times per day is recommended. As your body adjusts, you can work your way up to 30-60 drops several times per day.
Though it isn't a miracle herb, Albizzia is a helpful herb that can relax the body and aid mood disorders. It can be used in conjunction with prescription drugs or in place of them to minimize the effects of a stressful lifestyle.
Barleans – Organic Evening Primrose Oil
June 02, 2006 03:16 PM
Evening Primrose Oil has long been revered for providing relief from symptoms associated with PMS and menopause such as cramps, hot flashes, breast tenderness and moodiness*. Now, for the first time you can enjoy the benefits of EPO from a pure, pristine and organic source.
Barlean’s … You deserve nothing less.
Evening Primrose Oil provides your body with a rich source of gamma linolenic acid (GLA), and omega 6 fatty acid that supports the body’s cardiovascular, nervous, immune and reproductive systems. The GLA contained in Evening Primrose Oil is a nutrient used by the body to maintain healthy cells and vital body functions.
Evening Primrose Oil enhances the health and strength of cell membranes throughout the body, and promotes a proper inflammation response. Evening Primrose Oil is also used by the body to maintain healthy hormone levels.
Suggested use: 2 Capsules per day.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Ingredients: Each Light-resistant carob coated gelatin capsule contains: 100% organic, unrefined, evening primrose oil.
Serving size 2 Capsules 2.6g
Amount per serving:
WHY DO SO MANYWOMEN SUFFER FROM HORMONE IMBALANCES?
July 25, 2005 10:06 PM
WHY DO SO MANYWOMEN SUFFER FROM HORMONE IMBALANCES?
The question of why so many women, young and old, suffer from a hormonal imbalance persists. Today’s environment and life style are certainly significant causal factors and explain, to a great degree why even young, seemingly healthy women may experience a lack of progesterone.
Dr. Peter Elliston of the Harvard Anthropology Department found through one of his studies of 18 women who all had regular menstrual cycles that seven of them did not experience a mid cycle increase in progesterone levels, suggesting that ovulation did not actually occur.12 Dr. Lee cites this as yet another example of the widespread incidence of anovulatory cycles occurring in young women throughout this country, a fact which is undoubtedly linked to rising infertility rates in the United States. Eating disorders, poor nutrition, widespread use of birth control pills, stress, pollution, etc., contribute to hormonally-related disorders and most certainly affect progesterone production, the ability to conceive and menopausal transitions.
CAUSES OF HORMONE IMBALANCES
Dr. Lee believes that widespread use of the birth control pill has caused the ovaries to be compromised, possibly playing a role in the development of PMS that would normally not exist.13 Documented results from using natural progesterone have been impressive but remain relatively unknown by the majority of women. Progesterone therapy can help relieve the following PMS symptoms: breast engorgement, breast tenderness, irritability, headaches, depression, moodiness, fatigue, anxiety, bloating, water retention, cramps, and irregular periods.
Dr. Joel T. Hargrove of Vanderbilt University Medical Center has had some very impressive results using natural progesterone to treat his patients with PMS. He has had a 90 percent success rate using this form of progesterone.14 Interestingly, he used oral progesterone which had to be administered in a much heavier dose to achieve the same results Dr. Lee obtained with transdermal progesterone.15
Moderating Male Midlife Moodiness - The lesser known guy version of menopause is now a ...
July 14, 2005 09:28 AM
Moderating Male Midlife moodinessThe lesser known guy version of menopause is now a syndrome
Question: How can you tell if a man has irritable male syndrome?
Irritable male syndrome (IMS) may sound like a joke, but it's really no laughing matter. Just as women experience anxiety, depression and irritability with hormonal changes, men too can suffer from cyclic and menopausal symptoms-they're just more likely to be chastised for it instead of being consoled with a pint of Ben & Jerry's ice cream.
Since men's hormones actually fluctuate every hour rather than every 28 days, it should come as no surprise that male behavior should be affected. For some men over 40, however, the behavior swing can be quite dramatic, leaving a guy in a chronic bad mood. But try telling the grouch that he suffers from "male menopause" and he just might chuck the Ben & Jerry's at you.
The term "irritable male syndrome" was coined by Gerald A. Lincoln, a researcher at the Medical Research Council's Human Reproductive Sciences Unit in Edinburgh, Scotland. Lincoln first observed IMS while studying Soay sheep, a large, curly-horned variety known for their boisterous rutting rituals that rival the masculine intensity of any Super Bowl party. After mating season, however, Lincoln noticed that as testosterone levels dropped off, the rams became agitated, fearful, withdrawn and likely to irrationally strike out at other males. The hypothesis behind this behavior is that the withdrawal of androgens affects melatonin and serotonin uptake and can make for one cranky ram. However, IMS in two-legged, human subjects can present itself with more complexity.
Psychotherapist Jed Diamond, author of The Irritable Male Syndrome: Managing the Four Key Causes of Depression and Aggression (Rodale Books), defines IMS as "a state of hypersensitivity, anxiety, frustration and anger that occurs in males and is associated with biochemical changes, hormonal fluctuations, and loss of male identity" that can occur at any time during a man's life. A lot of IMS involves depression; normally thought of as a female problem, this emotional downer often comes out differently in men, more outwardly than inwardly directed.
One point of similarity between the sexes is that IMS, like depression in women, is often linked to the multi-source stress that pervades modern living. The result? According to Diamon, "Up to 30% of men, especially those in adolescence and midlife, exhibit symptoms of IMS. In its mildest forms, it can cause men to be moody and irritable. At its worst, it can lead to violence and even suicide."
Is it a Bad Day or a Bad Decade?
So how can you really tell if a man has irritable male syndrome? Since a guy isn't likely to say flat out that he's having trouble with relationships or is having hot flashes (you read that right), there are other, more telltale signs to look for. While we all may temporarily experience bad moods, if you or someone you know exhibits one or more of these feelings with frequency over a period of time, IMS may be the cause: anger, sarcasm, defensiveness, blaming, withdrawal, anxiety, defiance, being argumentative, feeling unappreciated, frustration.
Physical IMS symptoms include fatigue, unexpected weight gain or loss, frequent urination, hair loss (besides the typical male pattern) and impotence. The thyroid gland, which serves as the body's master energy controller, is often out of whack on men suffering from IMS. If that sounds familiar, see your practitioner for a thyroid hormone check.
Less Flabby Means Less Crabby
Sometimes, IMS is not a matter of lowered testosterone levels but one of elevated estradoil, the usable form of the female hormone estrogen. This condition can develop with consumption of too many hormone-laced meats (eating organic meat is a good option). In addition, a diet high in high-glycemic carbs such as white breads and white pasta will undermine testosterone levels as well as pack on unwanted pounds.
To help trim down and keep IMS symptoms at bay, Larrian Gillespie, MD, author of The Gladiator Diet: How to Preserve Peak Health, Sexual Energy, and A Strong Body at Any Age (Healthy Life Publications), recommends a diet that's 40% protein, 35% low-glycemic carbs (read: green veggies) and 25% fat, of which only 10% should be saturated fat. To help keep testosterone levels up, avoid apricots, carrots, white potatoes, white rice (whole wheat past and rise are okay) and-sorry guys-dark beer.
Gillespie also recommends that men take a multivitamin daily along with calcium, magnesium and the herb saw palmetto to inhibit the breakdown of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone a precursor to prostate disease.
Now that you know IMS is real, you can take the bull (or Soay ram) by the horns and do something about it. IMS can be treated through diet, natural hormone replacement therapy and counseling, if necessary.
Question: What do you call a man who is always tired, miserable and irritable?
Wrong answer! That was the old guy. Mr. Nice is back. -Karyn Maier
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.
Battle Fatigue! Don't passively accept chronic exhaustion and weakness.
June 10, 2005 10:06 PM
Battle Fatigue! Don't passively accept chronic exhaustion and weakness. by Joanne Gallo Energy Times, December 6, 1999
Most folks wouldn't seek the distressing distinction of suffering chronic fatigue syndrome. Aside from a dizzying array of discomforts associated with the malady, the lack of a definitive cause, and few remedies offered by the medical establishment, scornful skeptics lob accusations of laziness or boredom or just plain moodiness. "Snap out of it!" they say, with little sympathy or understanding. "Just get moving!"
But if you're one of more than 3 million Americans affected by chronic fatigue, you know your problem is not all in your head. Your symptoms are real and they extend far beyond mere tiredness. In addition to a debilitating sense of fatigue that can make everyday existence feel like an overwhelming struggle, you may suffer from impaired concentration and memory, recurrent sore throats, nagging headaches, muscle and joint pain, swollen lymph nodes and fitful sleep. The persistence of any one of these effects alone could be debilitating, but the overall diminished capabilities of the chronic fatigue sufferer can become the most discouraging aspect of the disease.
But before you give up hope on kicking this energy-sucking ailment, look to natural ways to boost your immune system and regain your stamina for a more healthy and productive life. New research points to powerful, energy enhancing supplements which, combined with a nutritious diet and stress reducing techniques, can help you reclaim your body from a swamp of sluggishness.
Part of the public's misconceptions about chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) may stem from vague definitions of exactly what it is and its causes.
In the '80s, CFS was often mentioned in the same breath as the Epstein-Barr virus, which garnered much notoriety as the "yuppie flu": a state of chronic exhaustion that often plagued young, overworked professionals, as the media trumpeted. CFS was initially thought to be the result of the Epstein-Barr virus, and the two were often considered to be the same thing. Since the Epstein-Barr virus causes mononucleosis, the term "chronic mono" was also thrown around to refer to long-lasting states of fatigue.
Today, CFS is defined as a separate disorder from the Epstein-Barr syndrome. Researchers have found that CFS is not caused exclusively by the Epstein-Barr virus or any other single infectious disease agent. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, CFS may have multiple causes, in which viruses or other infectious agents might have a contributory role. Some of these additional possible culprits include herpes simplex viruses, candida albicans (yeast organisms), or parasites.
According to the CDC, a person can be definitively diagnosed with CFS when she or he experiences severe chronic fatigue for six months or longer that is not caused by other medical conditions, and must have four or more of the following problems recurrently for six consecutive months: tender lymph nodes, muscle pain, multi-joint pain without swelling or redness, substantial impairment in short-term memory or concentration; sore throat, headaches, unrefreshing sleep and postexertional malaise lasting more than 24 hours.
Even if you are not diagnosed with CFS, you could still probably use some help in fending off fatigue. You may suffer from another poorly understood condition like fibromyalgia, which causes similar symptoms of exhaustion and pain with additional stomach discomfort. You may cope with another ailment like hypoglycemia or low thyroid function that zaps your energy. Or you could be like almost every stressed-out American adult trying to do it all at the expense of your well-being. Though researchers still search for a definitive cause for CFS, one thing is certain: Constant stress and poor nutritional habits weaken the immune system's ability to ward off a host of debilitating viruses and organisms. So before you run yourself down and succumb to a chronic condition, learn how you can build up your defenses now.
Some of the most exciting new research in CFS treatments focuses on NADH or Coenzyme 1, an energy-enhancing nutritional supplement. This naturally-occurring substance is present in all living cells including food, although cooking destroys most of it. Coenzymes help enzymes convert food and water into energy and NADH helps provide cellular fuel for energy production. It also plays a key role in cell regulation and DNA repair, acts as a potent antioxidant, and can reportedly improve mental focus and concentration by stimulating cellular production of the neurotransmitters dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin.
A recent study conducted at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, DC, and reported in the February 1999 issue of The Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, showed that chronic fatigue sufferers improved their condition significantly by taking Enada, the stabilized, absorbable, oral form of NADH. The researchers found that 31% of those who took the supplement achieved significant improvement in relief of their symptoms, and a follow up study showed that 72% achieved positive results over a longer period of time.
Coenzyme-A and Coenzyme Q-10 (Co-Q10) are related coenzymes also necessary for energy production.
According to Erika Schwartz, M.D., and Carol Colman, authors of Natural Energy: From Tired to Terrific in 10 Days (G.P. Putnam's Sons) CoQ10 in combination with the nutrient carnitine enhances cellular energy production, thereby boosting energy levels. Coenzyme-A is required to initiate the chemical reactions that involve the utilization of CoQ10 and NADH for the production of energy at the cellular level.
Another important energy-enhancing nutrient is D-ribose, a simple sugar that is crucial to many processes in your body. D-ribose stimulates the body's production of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, an energy-rich chemical compound that provides the fuel for all body functions. D-ribose is essential to the manufacture of ATP and maintaining high levels of energy in the heart and skeletal muscles.
In addition to these new nutrients, a host of more familiar vitamins and minerals can help banish fatigue. According to Susan M. Lark, M.D., author of the Chronic Fatigue Self Help Book (Celestial Arts) nutritional supplements help stimulate your immune system, glands and digestive tract, promote proper circulation of blood and oxygen, and provide a calming effect. Some of Lark's recommended nutrients for building and regaining strength include:
Vitamin A: Helps protect the body against invasion by viruses that could trigger CFS, as well as bacteria, fungi and allergies. Supports the production and maintenance of healthy skin and mucous membranes, the body's first line of defense against invaders. Also supports the immune system by boosting T-cell activity and contributing to the health of the thymus, the immune-regulating gland.
Vitamin B Complex: Depression and fatigue can result from the body's depletion of B vitamins, which can occur from stress or drinking too many caffeinated beverages. Studies have provided preliminary evidence that CFS patients have reduced functional B vitamin status (J R Soc Med 92 , Apr. 1999: 183-5). The 11 factors of B complex are crucial to glucose metabolism, stabilization of brain chemistry and inactivation of estrogen, which regulate the body's levels of energy and vitality. n Vitamin C: Helps prevent fatigue linked to infections by stimulating the production of interferon, a chemical that can limit the spread of viruses. Helps fight bacterial and fungal infections by maintaining healthy antibody production and white blood cells. Also necessary for production of adrenal gland hormones which help prevent exhaustion in those under stress.
Bioflavonoids: Help guard against fatigue caused by allergic reactions; their anti-inflammatory properties prevent the production of histamine and leukotrienes that promote inflammation. Bioflavonoids like quercetin are powerfully antiviral.
Vitamin E: Has a significant immune stimulation effect and, at high levels, can enhance immune antibody response.
Zinc: Immune stimulant; improves muscle strength and endurance. Constituent of many enzymes involved in metabolism and digestion. n Magnesium and Malic Acid: Important for the production of ATP, the body's energy source. Magnesium is also important for women who may develop a deficiency from chronic yeast infections.
Potassium: Enhances energy and vitality; deficiency leads to fatigue and muscle weakness.
Calcium: Combats stress, nervous tension and anxiety.
Iodine: Necessary to prevent fatigue caused by low thyroid function, as it is crucial for the production of the thyroid hormone thyroxin.
In addition to nutrients to bolster your immunity, herbal remedies can also help suppress viral and candida infections. Garlic is a powerful, natural antibiotic, while echinacea and goldenseal have strong anti-infective abilities. Other botanicals help combat tiredness and depression: stimulating herbs such as ginger, ginkgo biloba, licorice root and Siberian ginseng can improve vitality and energy. For anxiety, moodiness and insomnia try passionflower or valerian root, which both have a calming effect on the central nervous system.
Eating For Energy
Supplements can only do their best if you eat a nutritious diet. Start by cutting out large quantities of sugar, caffeine, alcohol, dairy products, red meat and fat.
But what are the best foods when trying to restore energy or recover from illness? "High nutrient content foods with a good balance of proteins and carbohydrates," answers Jennifer Brett, ND, interim clinic director and chair of botanical medicine at the University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine.
"You want foods with high nutritional value-that's where vegetables end up looking better than fruit."
Brett enthusiastically pushes that "universal food," as she calls it: chicken soup.
"In China," she says, laughing, "they do make chicken soup, and they do think of it as healing, because they add astragalus and shiitake mushrooms. Vegetable soups with chicken or fish have high nutritional value and are easy to digest."
The same principle applies to juices, Brett says. Juices are a good way to tastefully get more phytonutrients from fruits and vegetables into your diet. Toss in protein powder, and you can make a complete meal in your blender.
"You get more energy from juicing," she explains, "more accessible nutrients and carbohydrates that are not bound up in fiber." Brett's additional recommendation: oatmeal.
"It's got protein and carbohydrates combined with a lot of minerals, which you may not get from a sugary cereal," she says. "Sure, they spray some vitamins on them, but if you don't drink the milk in the bottom of the bowl, you'll miss out on them. You might as well take a multivitamin."
Look to fiber for superior energy enhancement. Natural Energy author Schwartz calls it downright "miraculous": "In terms of conserving precious energy, fiber-rich foods are your cells' best friends," she writes. "It takes smaller quantities of them to give you a full, satisfied feeling. They release all their benefits slowly, which allows the cells to extract nutrients with much less effort. Then these fiber-rich foods graciously leave the body with ease and efficiency." Among these "slow burn" foods that Schwartz says raise blood sugar slowly and steadily and maintain energy evenly:
Alfalfa sprouts-high in fiber and low in cholesterol.
Apples-one medium unpeeled provides 10% of the recommended daily fiber dose; unlike sweeter fruits, which are rich in healthful fiber, they help regulate blood sugar.
Broccoli-along with such greens as cauliflower, cabbage, kale, collard greens and broccoli rabe, it's packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals n Brown rice, wild rice, other whole grains-fiber treasure troves, including barley, quinoa, millet and buckwheat.
Corn-excellent fiber source.
Lentils and other legumes-high in fiber, delicious beans are rich in culinary possibilities.
Oat bran and wheat bran-mix into yogurt or add to cereal for the best available access to fiber.
Popcorn-an excellent snack.
Citrus for More Energy
If constant colds and infections are draining your energy, healthy helpings of citrus fruit may be the pickup you need. According to Robert Heinerman, in Heinerman's Encyclopedia of Healing Juices (Parker), citrus fruit have been used for more than a thousand years as natural remedies for a wide variety of ailments:
Kumquat juice is supposed to help clear up bronchitis. Lemon juice with a pinch of table salt eases a sore throat. Lime juice in warm water soothes aches and cramps from the flu. Tangerine juice can break up mucous congestion in the lungs. Along with citrus' vitamin C, these fruits also supply carotenoids, antioxidants that provide disease-preventing benefits. Citrus also often contain calcium, potassium, folate (a B vitamin that fights against heart disease), iron and fiber.
Fruits are loaded with phytochemicals, naturally occurring chemicals that give fruit their vibrant colors. Yellow, red and orange fruits are also high in flavonoids, like quercetin, a substance which fights cancer. Quercetin also aids in prevention of cataracts and macular degeneration, according to author Stephanie Beling, MD, in her book Power Foods (Harper Collins).
Even the US Department of Agriculture agrees on this flavonoid's benefits, noting in its phytochemical database that quercetin is an "antitumor promoter, antiasthmatic, anticarcinogenic, antiplaque, cancer-preventive, capillariprotective." (Quercetin is also available as a supplement.)
Don't Avoid Avocados
For a vitamin rich food, few items beat the avocado which holds vitamins E and C as well as some B vitamins (B6, niacin, riboflavin). A significant source of beta carotene, though not nearly as much as carrots or sweet potatoes, avocados also contain high amounts of the minerals potassium, magnesium, copper and zinc.
Just 15 grams of avocado delivers about 81 international units of vitamin A as beta carotene. Beta carotene, a carotenoid in fruits and vegetables, is converted to vitamin A in the body. This vitamin, aside from providing antioxidant protection from damaging free radicals, is necessary for good eyesight, healthy skin and healing.
In addition, the avocado, like all of these healthy foods, tastes great. Which means that you can pep up and not have to sacrifice taste for zest.
Healthy Mind, Healthy Body
Remember that the path to wellness begins in your mind. Stress-reducing activities like yoga, meditation and massage and aromatherapy can have a great rejuvenating effect on your body. If you can learn to handle stress effectively instead of letting it control you-and strengthen your system with the right nutrients and diet-you'll find that fatigue can be a sporadic visitor rather than a chronic companion.