Search Term: " moods "
Omega-3s are a potent way to treat depression without resorting todangerous prescription medications
May 17, 2019 04:01 PM
One can treat poor mood and depression without using pharmaceutical drugs. One of these approaches involves using omega-3 fatty acid. Foods rich in this fatty acid can help. It has been shown by many scientific studies that the risk of having depression is reduced when one takes foods rich in omega-3 fatty acid. Some of the means that have been identified as the pathways in which omega-3 fatty acids work is that they can make the CNS to release more serotonin, they can reduce the risk of an inflammation and also its severity, and they can stop phosphatidyl-inositol from releasing hormones that make a person to have depressive moods. The way omega-3 fatty acids do this has been found to be similar to the way anti-depressant drugs work. Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to counter the release of serotonin in the brain that trigger depressive moods and they also have effect on the release of cytokines in the heart that relates to lowering the risk of one having coronary heart disease. And fortunately, heart disease is linked to major depressive moods. So, omega-3 fatty acid is a powerful compound that can be used to treat both problems. But what researchers have not agreed upon though is the required dosage of omega-3 fatty acid that a person should take each day to reap these benefits.
"The fatty acids achieve their natural antidepressant effects through several means. Omega-3s can raise the activity of CNS seratonin, reduce the risk and severity of inflammation, and stop phosphatidyl-inositol from sending signals that bring about depressive moods."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-04-15-omega-3s-are-a-potent-way-to-treat-depression.html
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
New study links negative mood with higher levels of inflammation
January 05, 2019 02:26 PM
New research from Penn State University has shown that being in a negative mood can be linked with higher levels of inflammation and may be a signal of poor health. Inflammation is a contributing factor to many diseases such as diabetes and cancer. These negative emotions include sadness, anger, and depression. 220 participants reported on their moods and blood samples were taken to measure the inflammation present in the body. This was the first study to research how the two are linked. The long-term goal of the researchers is that the information will eventually lead to insights into how interventions can improve mood and ability to cope with stress. That will in turn help break the cycle of disease associated with inflammation.
"New US research has found that a negative mood, such as feeling sad or angry, may be linked with higher levels of inflammation and may be a sign of poor health."
Read more: https://www.malaymail.com/s/1705392/new-study-links-negative-mood-with-higher-levels-of-inflammation
5 Adaptogens That Will Improve Your Brain Function
August 29, 2018 10:53 AM
Adaptogens help protect your brain from stress and keep it working at peak efficiency. Ashwagandha, for example, can bolster focus, memory and cognition, as well as promoting the growth of new dendrites. Rhodiola can make neurons more sensitive to dopamine and serotonin, which increases mental clarity and focus, and has great potential for fighting depression and inflammation. Turmeric is an even stronger anti-inflammatory, and may help depression as well. Siberian Ginseng can help speed up processes in the brain, and improve learning and retention of new information. Finally, maca root can stabilize moods, fight brain fog and help inhibit breakdown of neurotransmitters.
"Adaptogens are substances that promote balance and negate the ill effects of stress in the body."
Read more: https://www.care2.com/greenliving/5-adaptogens-that-will-improve-your-brain-function.html
Known as the "bliss molecule", anandamide is a natural way to stimulate a sense of happiness
August 10, 2018 05:53 PM
Anandamide is a natural endocannabinoid produced in your body and found in certain foods that stimulates the same pleasure receptors as psychoactive THC. Anandamide and other endocannabinoids can help protect the brain from stress and damage, and encourage balanced moods and better consolidation of memories. The only two foods with large amounts of anandamide are (famously expensive) black truffles and chocolate, especially cacao powder and nibs, which are less processed. Several other foods, including black pepper, olive oil, grapes, broccoli, spinach and others can also raise your anandamide levels.
"The “bliss molecule” is a natural neurotransmitter and endocannabinoid that creates a sense of happiness, an article on Be Brain Fit stated."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-08-08-anandamide-is-a-natural-way-to-stimulate-a-sense-of-happiness.html
Herbal treatments help balance hormone fluctuations and mood swings in women
April 07, 2018 05:17 PM
Menopause is an unsettling time of life; the chemical seratonin becomes unbalanced and causes uncomfortable or even painful changes in the body. Fortunately, there are some natural herbs and treatments that can help with the hormonal imbalances experienced. Those herbs have a long history of use and are as follows: St. John's Wort, Kava Kava, Black Cohash and Valerian. These different herbal treatments are traditionally used to treat depression, menopausal problems as well as promote relaxation and healthy rest.
"Menopause is a natural occurrence wherein menstruation stops in women."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-04-06-herbal-treatments-help-balance-hormone-fluctuations-and-mood-swings-in-women.html
Scientists stunned to learn that gut bacteria seem to have control over your moods and brain function
July 13, 2017 12:14 PM
A team of researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles have found a link between their female subjects' gut bacteria and higher levels of anxiety, irritability, and distress. Subjects whose fecal matter contained the bacteria strain Prevotella displayed an increased number of neural connections linked to emotional, attention, and sensory brain regions. The findings of this study may help explain why individuals with irritable bowel syndrome and functional bowel problems are more prone to developing depression and anxiety.
"This is the first time that behavioral and neurobiological differences associated with microbial composition have been studied in this way."
Read more: http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-07-10-scientists-stunned-to-learn-that-gut-bacteria-seem-to-have-control-over-your-moods-and-brain-function.html
How diet influences our mood and mental health
February 10, 2017 02:59 PM
Our diet affects many aspects of our physical and mental health. The mental is what's discussed here. This talks about how what we eat affects our moods and our emotional well being. Read this if you think you might be at risk of such effects yourself so you know what to change.
"Brains do not live in a vacuum; they play by the same rules as other organs in your body when it comes to being healthy."
The 3 most exciting developments in sports nutrition right now, according to scientists
January 09, 2017 12:59 PM
When it comes to sports nutrition, there are three very exciting developments that have taken place in sports nutrition right now. The first development is nitrates, which help you to perform better and longer. The second development is collagen, which helps with tendon and ligament integrity as well as reducing the risk of injury. The last one is casein protein which can allow for prolonged muscle building if taken before bed.
"Once they make the switch, they say, not only are their race results and game-day performances better, they report sustained energy, better moods, and clearer thinking."
Vitamin B Complex Health Benefits, Deficiency Symptoms of Vitamin B Complex
November 24, 2016 02:59 PM
Everyone knows that it's bad to have a deficiency in just about anything, and that especially includes vitamins. if your nutrition is off, that affects your entire body, and you're in for a really bad time -- but how do you know what you're deficient in and what that vitamin does for you? "Vitamin B Complex Health Benefits, Deficiency Symptoms of Vitamin B Complex" explores the symptoms of Vitamin B deficiency and the benefits of the vitamin itself.
"The vitamins from the B complex are useful in the treatment of diabetes because they reduce the cholesterol and blood fat and they should be administered at all times."
health benefits of dhea and how it declines as we age
The importance of DHEA to human health cannot be overlooked. Found in the bloodstream, dhea is the furthermost plentiful hormone steroid. It is secreted in the brain, testes and ovaries and produced by the adrenal glands. Adrenal glands is the major producer of DHEA hormone. This hormone is changed to other hormones essential in the body such as estrogen and androgen.
Health benefits of DHEA
How DHEA levels diminishes with age
As we age, dhea levels biologically diminish. According to research by experts, in our young years, plenty of dhea is secreted since it is vital for brain development and growth. This gradually continues until the age of 25 years after which the levels start to decline. The impact of the diminishing levels of dhea are mostly felt when we hit 40 years and above. This is manifested in terms of difficulties in remembering information, low levels of libido particularly in women, dry skin and increased anxiety.
DHEA is a hormone that is essential to human beings as it aids in counteracting the aging process, making us feel good and above all improving our overall health. Taking dhea supplements for those aged 40 years and above will help keep at bay problems associated with low levels of DHEA.
Herbs For Better Mood and Mental Health
Bad moods occurs to even the best of us. When one is in a bad mood, their feelings spiral out of control and emotions run wide. Feelings of unworthiness and isolation can occur. Fortunately, meditation is not the only solution for bad moods. Natural herbal remedies also help to improve mood. Below is a list of herbs that you should consider taking next time you want to fight bad moods. If one does not work for you, another in the list might work miracles.
Each herb listed above can calm and ease a stressed mind, gently improving mood with out side effects.
Your Mood and mental health
Bipolar disorder is a terrible mental disease that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by periods of severe depression, followed by periods of extreme euphoria. It can be rapid cycling, which means the person with the disease goes through many moods a day.
Once you figure out what the underlying cause such as brain chemistry, then you can take a natural approach to help boost serotonin or dopamine.
Always remember to be careful if on MAO inhibitors or SSRI inhibitors before taking natural remedies like 5-htp or dopabean to mess with serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain.
How Do Probiotics Boost Your Immune System?
An average person carries thousands of microorganisms. Among these microorganisms are bacteria. For most of us, the word bacteria usually comes with a negative connotation. It's no wonder that for many years, we have looked for ways to kill bugs.
While some of the bacteria we carry can cause diseases, some are “good” and useful. "Good" bacteria helps us break down the nutrients in food, educate the body's immune system to recognize enemies, fight off food poisoning, metabolize drugs and produce moods' determining chemicals.
Unfortunately, some of our activities can significantly reduce the number of healthy bacteria. To replenish the lost bacteria, you can take harmless live bacteria and yeasts commonly called probiotics. Probiotics occur naturally in our bodies, but you can also get them in certain foods and supplements.
How Probiotics Work
Probiotics are essential in food digestion and absorption process. They help move food through the gut. It's for this reason that probiotics can help manage conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, infectious diarrhea, and antibiotic-related diarrhea. The absorption of adequate nutrients leads to a stronger immune system.
Good bacteria are essential for gut health. Modern medicine has found a great link between gut health and the body's immune system. Unfortunately, necessary antibiotics kill bacteria indiscriminately. Probiotics can boost our disease fighting capabilities by replacing lost helpful bacteria.
Probiotics can also boost the body's immunity by offering us protection from “bad” bacteria. They protect us by lowering the number of disease-causing bacteria in the system.
Probiotics also help balance "good" and "bad" bacteria. Balance is essential for optimal body performance. Numerous medical studies have for instance shown that cesarean babies are more prone to allergies and eczema because they have lower levels of helpful bacteria and chemical imbalances in their immune systems.
Beneficial bacteria are not created equal. Our personal gut bacteria depends on the food and supplements we take. Research has shown that some species can produce immune-boosting chemicals. Some bacteria, for instance, can produce chemicals that are great for heart and gut lining health.
Facts about Curamin and its working formula.
March 30, 2014 01:14 AM
Benefits of curcumin
It is very normal to experience pain and inflammations however, curamin is the answer to any pain problem. What is curamin? It can be described as a blend of all-natural components comprising of curcumin, Boswellia, curcuminoids, nattokinase and DLPA (dl-phenylalanine). Curcumin has been researched and found to have a broad healing platform, that is, anti cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti bacterial and anti-fungal. During post-surgery, it has been proven to ease inflammation and in addition to that, reducing inflammation and swelling in arthritic conditions. Nattokinase is nutrient element in curamin which is an enzyme. The enzyme functions in that it helps breakdown blood clots as they can be painful and moreso, helps in relieving blood pressure.
Inflammations should be well taken care of as research says that, the pains are responsible for all kinds of serious sicknesses such as cancer and painful conditions such as arthritis. The enzyme nattokinase, is very important in relieving inflammations by enhancing circulation in the body thus allowing compounds such as boswellia, pain killer endorphins and curcumin to get to the areas where they are needed most. In addition,it enhances balance of fibrinogen in the body which is associated with muscle damage. Curamin also contains a component by the name DLPA which works in an interconnected mode and furthermore improving moods. Boswellia is termed as a traditional herb which relieves pain by reducing inflammation.
Two capsules, two times a day is the most appropriate dosage to clients. The manufacturer warns that eight capsules should not be exceeded in 24 hours.
What Is GABA And Why Is It Important For The Brain
December 21, 2013 01:22 AM
What is GABA
The human brains need various supplements to make it work better. One such supplement is the gamma aminobutyric acid, abbreviated as GABA. It is the second most important neurotransmitter for the brain. The neurotransmitters allow synapses that transfer information to gray matter in human. This amino acid gives human an inhibiting experience thus making one calm. This makes it possible for one to have a feeling of well being and tranquility.
GABA on Human Body
GABA is useful in the human body because it acts as neurotransmitters. This means you are protected from nerve impulses. This neurotransmitter cools the brain. Research has shown that it helps to increase alpha wave production. This is related to the feeling of relaxation we have in brains.
With enough GABA, it is known to prevent the feeling of insomnia. This comes when neurons firing decreases to make one have a restful sleep. The calming effect helps an individual’s brain to have elevated moods which is an important part for reducing blood pressure. To enable an individual have more concentrations when working, they need to have increased levels of GABA.
What Are The Health Benefits Of The Herb Motherwort?
November 29, 2013 10:40 PM
What is Motherwort HerbMotherwort is a herb known for its properties of calming the nerves and relaxing the heart by reducing the harmful effects of stress. It is mostly used by women, but also works for men who have heart and nervous system maladies that relate to stress. It’s scientific name is “Leonurus cardiaca” and its native location is Europe and Asia. The common name comes from the fact that is has been prescribed to pregnant stressed women throughout history as a cardio tonic and nervine tonic. It strengthens and gladdens the heart thus transforming user from dull and bitter moods to relaxed, comfortable and happy ones.
Benefits of Motherwort Herb
The herb includes tincture that elevates a persons mood and acts as a sedative. As a result, the user gets better sleep on using heavy doses and a good energy balance when using small doses spread out through the day. When combined with linden flower and ginger tinctures it also helps to tackle postpartum depression. By acting as a galactagogue, it promotes the flow of mother’s milk and it also helps soothe the uterine before and after giving birth. For those who are not pregnant, consumption of motherwort leads to better menstrual flow as a result of the regulation of the menstrual cycle. Women with cramps, nervousness and digestive disturbances during PMS benefit most from the consumption of this herb as tea or in other forms.
As a cardio tonic, it is injected so that it can halt the clotting of blood as results to a better blood flow. Improved blood flow in the body is good for prevention of other diseases and health risks such as heart attacks and stroke. People with thyroid disease and hypoglycemia or low blood sugar tend to develop heart palpitations, but this is greatly reduced by the use of motherwort. Lastly, other useful uses of motherwort herb include the relieving of lung problems such as asthma and bronchitis.
How Does Chlorella Improve Your Health?
November 04, 2013 05:06 AM
What is Chlorella
Chlorella is made by two cycle periods that determine the total cell size and length. A timer usually runs through the G1 phase and it leads to the cell attainment prior to S phase without further growth requirement. The cycle is consistent with increments of size control. It multiplies rapidly through photosynthesis and requires only three basic conditions to reproduce namely; water, carbon dioxide and sunlight. There are various health benefits of chlorella including;
Chlorella is rich in various types of vitamins including; A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C and E. It provides the nutrients as a whole food bundle that is way superior than manufactured formula.
Chlorella is rich in magnesium that helps in improving blood sugar levels, mental health and heart health. It also contains other rich minerals including; iron, potassium and calcium.
Chlorella is a rich protein source and it also contains important amino acids. The amino acids are used by the body for rebuilding neurotransmitters and lean tissues.
Chlorella is very effective in binding with toxic chemicals and heavy metals. The toxins are removed from the body hence bringing a positive health impact.
Chlorella increases the body energy. It is also very effective in elevating moods and it is way stronger than taking super food.
Chlorella has amazing cancer-fighting abilities due its rich natural carotenoids that prevent oxidation. It also has the ability to nourish the system.
Chlollera helps to improve blood sugar levels and insulin over time. It can also improve insulin resistance and diabetes.
Chlollera offers protection against heart disease by improving LDL cholesterol and triglyceride. It also has strong antioxidant properties.
Chlollera has unique properties that can lower body fat. It can also improve insulin sensitivity and aid fat metabolism.
Cranberry The Best Solution For Bladder And Urinary Tract Problems
October 26, 2013 11:28 PM
What is cranberry
Cranberries are among the healthiest and most nutritious fruits in the world today. They are small red berries commonly grown in Canada, Europe and the United States of America because of the nature of the climate in these regions that support the cultivation of these berries. Cranberry is loaded is rich in antioxidants and other essential nutrients required by the body. The following are the many health benefits of cranberries.
Helps in the treatment of urinary tract diseases
Cranberry juice is known for its healing properties as far as urinary tract and bladder infections are concerned. This juice contains proanthocyanidins that prevent bacteria from sticking to the uterine walls and the walls of the bladder. For effectiveness you are advised to drink a single glass of this juice on a daily basis.
Effective in dealing with kidney and bladder problems
Cranberry is rich in citric acid among other nutrients that can help in preventing kidney stones the cause of many kidney problems including kidney failure. It is also helpful in treating bladder problems.
Boosts your immune system
Cranberries are very rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants that are responsible for boosting your immune system. Antioxidants are very essential in the removal of harmful toxins from the body. This means that you will have a very strong immune system that will help in fighting of other diseases.
Enhances mental health
Studies show that cranberries are also important when it comes to mental health. This is because they have the ability to boost your moods, suppress anxiety and deal with depression. On top of that cranberry juice helps in improving your memory. It is therefore recommended that you include a glass of this juice in your diet.
Helps in fighting cancer
A recent study shows that cranberry extracts can help in fighting breast cancer by preventing the cancer cells from spreading or the growth of tumors. For a healthy body you are encouraged to drink a glass or two of the juice made from cranberry.
In summary, if you have bladder infections or urinary tract problems simply drink a glass of cranberry juice or simply eat the fruits and you will no longer experience these problems.
Does Curamin work?
December 22, 2012 11:00 AM
The Big Question: Does Curamin work?
Well, this herbal supplement is a quick, natural and safe pain reliever, which has been proven to work. Moreover, the composition does not have any side effects on the body. It enhances the defense mechanism of the body against any inflammation.
Curcumin (Inflammation Management)
The main ingredient of Curamin, Curcumin enhances the anti-inflammatory components of the body and works as the immune system's modulator. This implies that whenever you consume Curamin, it renders long term effects on the body, thereby controlling oxidative stress.
Nattokinase (Circulation and Inflammation)
Curamin contains an enzyme referred to as Nattokinase, which helps the circulation of the body and thus nutrients reach all corners of the body. Therefore, whatever part of the body might be affected, you can experience results after a few minutes of consumption. Similarly, waste products are also removed from one's body via excretory system much more efficiently. Nattokinase balances the fibrinogen level, meaning the muscles are repaired quickly when they are injured as a result of heavy muscular strain. Curamin has
DLPA (Mood Enhancer)
DLPA amino acids which hinders the breakdown of enkephalins. Enkephalins are often associated with moods. Therefore, you'll never have irritating feeling while undergoing stress and pain anymore. You can carry out your daily activities or even have happy moments with your family during the pain and inflammation.
5-LOX (Inflammation Trigger)
Most inflammations are triggered by uncontrolled behavior of the inflammatory enzyme, known as 5-LOX. This formula helps turn off the 5-LOX enzyme.
Boswellia (Anti-inflammatory Herb)
Curamin contains Boswellia serreta extract, a beta-boswellic acid, which hinders this enzyme's activity. Inflammation can be triggered by several factors. To handle all these factors, Turmeric: Curcumin longa is included in the Curamin. Curcumin longa, extracted from turmeric, is a great antioxidant. Inflammation and pain are common in life and they usually draw you back from having a stress free life. This is where Curamin comes in handy by offering the much needed relief to get rid of pain from your daily life.
Curamin Has a money back guarantee if it does not work by the end of the bottle send it back for a refund.
February 15, 2012 06:58 AM
Ashwagandha is a popularly known dietary supplement that is commonly grown in India and North America. Also known by the name Indian Winter Cherry, ashwagandha is a product of the brown roots of a shrub that goes by the same name and which is believed to have a wide range of benefits for many ailments. Ashwagandha has always been considered as a very important herb in ayurvedic medicinal systems. This is particularly because of its wide application in curing a wide range of ailments, which has earned it a lot of respect in the eyes of traditional herbal healers. In fact, even modern science has started grasping the herb's potent abilities. Research has already confirmed that ashwagandha possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory as well as anti-stress properties. This article will hence discuss some of the benefits of ashwagandha to our bodies.
Ashwagandha is particularly recognized for it calming effect on the body. Some researchers have even indicated that it has the ability to induce sleep. Research has demonstrated that it calming and sleep-inducing effects or properties are much similar to that of the popular amino acid known as GABA.
Ashwagandha is also popularly recognized for its ability to ease restlessness or anxiety in addition to reduction of drug withdrawal symptoms. It has the ability to stabilize one's moods in addition to encouraging adrenal recovery which has made it very valuable among herbalists.
The benefits of ashwagandha extend far beyond mood stabilization as it also finds applicable use in helping elderly people to have a better cognitive ability, mental agility as well as enhance their memory and retention. Other than the above, ashwagandha is also known as a very effective remedy for fighting the symptoms of colds as well as coughs.
Recent research has also provided reliable prove that ashwagandha bears a lot of potential ability towards decreasing or inhibiting the growth of cancer cells without having any side effects on other healthy cells.
Ashwagandha is also an antioxidant that contains anti-aging properties and is traditionally recognized for its ability in the nourishment of muscles and the brain as well as strengthening the immune system. Studies have also indicated that the orange berries of the ashwagandha shrub can be tropically used in the treatment of skin ulcers, tumors and carbuncles. Ashwagandha also has anti-inflammatory properties that provide relief to swellings as well as restores blood supply.
It also works as a suppressant to any form of pain. This is due to its “ushan virya” potency properties that help in the eradication of pain in the body. It is also known as an effective remedy for diseases such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, as well as sciatica. It use also has effective application as a remedy for goiter, lymphadenopathy, as well as healing any wounds or injuries.
As a powerful aphrodisiac, ashwagandha helps in the enhancement of sexual energy in addition to long lasting endurance in both men and women. In men, it improves sperm count as well as sperm quality.
Further research has indicated that ashwagandha is an effective treatment for diabetes, constipation, nerve problems, memory loss, impotency, bipolar disorder among a list of other endless physical ailments.
Ashwagandha, taken with a healthy diet as well as accompanied by healthy lifestyle choices is a great way of guaranteeing one's protection from minor ailments as well as promotion of physical strength.
A Good Vitamin Plan Is Essential To a Health Child To Help Fight ADHD
December 21, 2010 06:19 PM
Have you known any child who is having difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity or over-activity? This child is probably experiencing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD. ADHD is a common childhood disorders and can continue through adolescence and adulthood. Researchers are not sure what causes ADHD, although many studies suggest that genes play a large role.
Like many other health conditions, ADHD probably is a result of a combination of factors. There has been no cure for ADHD yet palliative management is promising in reducing symptoms of ADHD and improving the child’s well being and optimal functioning. These include medications, psychotherapy, training and education or a combination of these managements. In this article, we will be focusing on the natural vitamins that can help fight the exacerbation of ADHD symptoms which include:
1. Choline: Choline is a vital precursor to the production of neurotransmitters such as Dopamine and Acetylcholine. These nervous system chemicals are helpful in supporting concentration, alertness, and memory.
2. Zinc: Studies show that children in ADHD categories have lower levels of zinc and clincal studies reveal that those children who supplemented with extra zinc along with traditional ADHD medications have reported improvement of signs and symptoms most especially hyperactivity and impulsivity. Foods high in zinc include Seafood, oysters, salmon, crabmeat, and, red meat like beef, lamb and pork, poultry such as turkey and chicken, dairy products, nuts, beans, fortified cereals, and whole grains.
3. Fish oil: Most Oily Fish contain omega-3 fatty acids With DHA. These chemicals can improve mental skills and enhance the child’s ability to organize activities. Possible cause for the low fish oil status of the ADHD children may be impaired conversion of the fatty acid precursors namely Linolenic Acid and alpha-linolenic acid to their longer and more highly unsaturated products, EPA and DHA, which are fish oil fats. Fish high in omega 3 fatty acids include salmon, albacore tuna, herring, mackerel, trout, sardines, flax seeds, walnuts, butternuts and soybeans.
4. Magnesium: Magnesium can have a calming effect. The best thing about magnesium is that it is abundantly found in many foods. Low dietary magnesium levels could lead to anxiety, irritability, and/or restlessness. This mineral can also play a role in sugar metabolism, which is important when wanting to stabilizing moods and concentration. Magnesium, a calming mineral, can be found in foods like nuts, black beans, peas, seeds and ready-to-eat whole grain cereals.
5. Vitamin B-6: Vitamin B-6 is needed for normal mental development and is important in the synthesis of brain chemicals including dopamine , serotonin, and norepinephrine. A B-6 deficiency has symptoms of inability to concentrate, irritability, and short-term memory loss. Regular consumption of vitamin B-6 could help reduce behavioral issues in a ADHD child. Good sources of B vitamins are milk, fish, eggs, yeast, green-leafy vegetables and cereals. Oranges are a great source of vitamin C and can improve our mood.
These are some of the natural vitamins that we find in our food. A good multiple vitamin supplements with iron can be safe and effective.
If you Suspect your child has ADHD, whats stopping you from getting him or her on a supplement plan today?
Herbs For Depression
December 13, 2010 12:34 PM
Fight Depression with Natural Herbs
Before discussing treating depression with natural herbs we should first consider depression itself: what is it and what causes people to become depressed? Psychiatrists and psychologists will suggest a number of definitions although most experts agree that there are two forms of depression.
Causes of Depression
Exogenous depression comes about as a result of external factors such as bereavement, heavy debt, job loss, etc, while endogenous depression comes from within and is believed to be due to biochemical problems, including food allergies, hormonal changes, thyroid problems, nutritional deficiencies, particularly Vitamin B deficiency, and addictions. There are many other reasons for people becoming depressed, some of which can be established by the particular symptoms of the individual.
In many cases of depression the external factors are often easier to treat than those due to internal factors. Many exogenous causes of depression such as bereavement are alleviated through time, while causes such as job loss and debt can be resolved once the cause has been rectified: thus, if the patient is no longer in debt or is re-employed, the depression tends to disappear with the cause.
Symptoms of Depression
Depression is not diagnosed from a single symptom, but from a number of symptoms that can point to a person being clinically depressed and requiring treatment. Among the symptoms of depression are:
Prolonged periods of sadness or despair
Forms of Depression
Many normal people can suffer one or two of the above systems, and would not be diagnosed as depressed because of it. We can all get mood swings, feel a bit worthless now and again or be unable to concentrate or focus at times, but that does not mean we are clinically depressed.
Depression would not be diagnosed in a patient with just one of these symptoms but five or more likely would be. In fact, the American Psychiatric Association in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders deem the patient suffering clinical depression if displaying 5 or more of the bottom 8 symptoms above for a month or more. This is believed to be the case with around 17 million Americans so it is a significant problem.
Manic depression is otherwise known as bipolar disorder, where patients have large mood swings from high and extreme hyperactivity and excitability to very low deeply depressive moods and is a clinical condition generally treated using drugs.
Treatment of Depression With Natural Herbs
The usual treatments are drugs that often have undesirable side effects; so many people are trying natural remedies instead. There are a number of herbs that can be used to treat depression, one of the most familiar being St. John's Wort. However, there are others, and here is a synopsis of each.
St. John's Wort
St. John's wort (hypericum perforatum) is likely the best known herbal treatment for depression. In fact, in Germany it is prescribed by doctors to children and adolescents for the treatment of mild depression and is available over the counter in many countries.
However, it can also be used in cases of severe depression, and a report in the Cochrane Database Review[8(4)] by K. Linde, M.M. Berner and L. Kriston in 2008 stated that of 29 separate tests carried out on a total of over 5,000 patients, the conclusion was that St. John's wort extracts were at least as good in treating severe depression with 5 times lower side-effects as tricyclic antidepressants and twice lower than the new selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI).
It should be stated, however, that one trial on 340 subjects indicated no improvement over a placebo. However, the anti-depressive drug sertraline (Zoloft) was also shown to be no better than the placebo in this test, so some doubts must lie regarding its accuracy. Of all the herbal treatments, St. John's wort has had most testing carried out and it seems to be effective in treating mild to severe depression although not all experts are yet agreed.
Kava Kava Root
Kava kava can be used to treat depression and anxiety, largely due its content of kavalactones that are believed to increase the amount of a number of neurotransmitters in the blood, including the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin. Kava kava root is mildly intoxicating, having much the same effect as alcohol, and can also reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
However, it is doubtful if its effects are permanent and so it may be less of a depression cure as a short-medium term treatment. Its effects are also variable on different people, some describing it as making them feel relaxed and 'dreamy', while others find it therapeutic and making them feel better in themselves.
Kava kava should not be taken without your doctor knowing about because there have been concerns about its effect on the liver if taken in excess. A European-wide ban was lifted about two years ago after testing found the risks of taking it to be very low. It has been used for centuries as an intoxicating drink on islands such as Fiji.
Passion flower has been used for centuries to treat anxiety, stress and depression, its active ingredients believed to be maltol and ethylmaltol that help to increase the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is one of the brain's key neurotransmitters and has been described by some as the brain's own 'Valium' supply.
Through the intervention of GABA, passion flower extract helps in reducing anxiety levels and makes you feel a lot calmer. If you suffer forms of depression that make you hyper or excitable, passion flower will help to reduce this and also helps to cure insomnia. It is a component of many natural sleeping pills.
These are just three natural substances that can be used to treat depression. However, you must inform your doctor or physician if you decide to take them since they may interfere with or change the effect of any antidepressant drug you are currently taking.
Call today for natural remedies for depression
Control Depression And Appetite With 5-HTP
March 05, 2010 12:21 PM
It has become a national obsession to find a quick fix for obesity. In the long run, prescription drugs have not proven to be safe or effective. Additionally, just about all diets fail. There have been some natural supplements that have been found to be both beneficial and safe. One of the most promising of these supplements is griffonia, which is extremely high in 5-hydroxytryptophan, which is also referred to as 5-HTP.
Considerable research has been done on 5-HTP as to its safety and use in weight loss and depression. 5-HTP is made from tryptophan, which is a natural amino acid that is found in foods. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, meaning that it cannot be produced within the body. Therefore, it must be obtained from food, specifically, proteins. 5-HTP is convereted to an important monomine neurotransmitter called serotonin within the liver and brain. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that transmit signals between neurons in the brain. Serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that closes the gap between neurons, is essential for many bodily functions.
It is believed to play a role in both depression and obesity. Unlike serotonin alone, it can cross the blood-brain barrier. This makes it possible for the brain to manufacture more serotonin. 5-HTP may actually help to promote the production of serotonin, which makes more available in the body. Research has determined that increasing amounts of 5-HTP can help deal with weight loss and depression. 5-HTP is made from tryptophan, which is a natural amino acid that is found in foods.
5-HTP may be able to revolutionize the treatment of emotional and physical problems that are related to the lack of serotonin. This amino acid has been used effectively in Europe for decades. Recent clinical studies that therapeutically administered 5-HTP confirmed that this supplement is effective in treating depression, fibromyalgia, binge eating, chronic headaches, and insomnia.
Recent research determined that a group of women given 5-HTP ate less than those women who were given a placebo. Weight loss through appetite control was linked to the intake of 5-HTP. Women who took 5-HTP over a five week period lost an average of three to four pounds. Other studies on humans have produced the same results. It seems that 5-HTP provides a feeling of fullness, causing women to eat less.
Depression has been linked to low levels of serotonin. 5-HTP has been shown to improve mood swings and depression by elevating serotonin levels in the body. One study compared 5-HTP supplementation with the use of Prozac, which works by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. In both cases, there was fifty percent improvement in depression. However, those who were taking 5-HTP showed a higher tolerance for the treatment and had a lower failure rate.
Those suffering from obesity and depression may be helped by the use of 5-HTP. This natural supplement may be able to help reduce the appetite and improve moods. 5-HTP acts as an alternative to prescription drug therapy, which is well-known for the adverse side effects that it provides. It is important to consult your health care provider before using this, or any other supplement. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by 5-HTP, please feel free to contact a representative from your local or internet health food store.
June 26, 2009 12:15 PM
Depression affects 22 percent of Americans between the ages of eighteen and older each year. It is one of the most common medical problems in the United States. Depression affects both young and old, and women twice as much as men. Depression is an illness of the whole body. It affects the nervous system, moods, thoughts, and behavior. It also affects the way you eat and sleep, the way you feel about yourself, and the way you react to and think about the people and things around you. Symptoms of depression can last for weeks, months, or years. There are various types of depression, which vary in the number of symptoms, the severity, and persistence.
People with depression generally withdraw and hide from society, losing interest in things around them and becoming incapable of experiencing pleasure. Symptoms of depression include chronic fatigue, sleep disturbances, changes in appetite, headaches, backaches, digestive disorders, restlessness, irritability, quickness to anger, loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies, and feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy. Many people who are depressed think about death and consider suicide. Things appear bleak and time seems to pass slowly. Someone with depression can be chronically angry and irritable, sad and despairing, or display little or no emotion at all. Some people try to sleep off depression, while others do nothing but sit or lie around.
There are three main types of clinical depression: major depressive disorder, dysthmyic disorder, and bipolar depression. There are variations in the number of associated mental symptoms, severity, and persistence within these types. Dysthmic disorder is a chronic, but less severe type of depresses ion. It is characterized by milder, persistent symptoms that may last for years. It usually doesn’t interfere with everyday tasks. Bipolar disorders usually begin as depression but progress into alternating episodes of depression and mania, characterized by abnormally and persistently elevated mood, energy, restlessness, or irritability. Bipolar depression is commonly known as manic depression. It has other symptoms including inflated self-esteem, a decreased need for sleep, and increased talkativeness, racing thoughts, distractibility, physical agitation, and excessive risk-taking.
The causes of depression are not fully understood. However, it is assumed that there are most likely many and they are varied. Depression may be triggered by tension, stress, a traumatic life event, a hyper-stimulated immune system, chemical imbalances in the brain, thyroid disorders, nutritional deficiencies, poor diet, the consumption of sugar, mononucleosis, lack of exercise, endometriosis, any serious physical disorder, or even allergies. Whatever the factors that trigger it, depression starts with a disturbance in the part of the brain that governs moods. Most people can handle everyday stresses, with their bodies simply readjusting to these pressures. When stress is too great for a person and his or her adjustment mechanism is unresponsive, depression may be triggered.
The following vitamin nutrients are helpful for those who are suffering from depression: essential fatty acids, 5-HTP, L-tyrosine, SAMe, taurine, omega-3, vitamin B complex, zinc, choline, calcium, magnesium, chromium, GABA, lithium, NADH, and vitamin C with bioflavonoids. Additionally, the following herbs may be beneficial: lemon balm, ginger, ginkgo biloba, licorice root, oat straw, peppermint, Siberian ginseng, kava kava, and St. John’s wort.
Great vitamin supplements like the ones listed above are available at your local or internet health food store. When looking for natural vitamin supplements, always look for name brands to ensure that you receive a high quality and pure product.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Vitamins, minerals, and herbs are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
December 20, 2008 11:16 AM
If starting your day with a cup or coffee or two, having another while you’re on the road, another after arriving at work, and another to get through the afternoon slump, and perhaps a can of pop or a candy bar after work followed by an ice tea and ice cream after dinner, you may have a serious caffeine addiction.
Many people often feel irritable as the next day’s events are closing in on them at bed time and are restless about the next day’s problems race through their mind. It’s been like this for years for many of us, with an estimated 80 percent of adult Americans being regular coffee drinkers and each adult coffee drinker averaging 3.3 cups of coffee per day, without taking into account other sources of caffeine.
Caffeine can be found in tea, chocolate, soft drinks, and medicines, but is most often consumed in coffee. Coffee is somewhat popular because of the stimulating effect of its caffeine constituent, but it can contribute to irritability, depression, diarrhea, insomnia, and other disorders. The number one legal mind-altering drug in the world, caffeine is odorless, slightly bitter and can be found in coffee, tea, kola nuts, ilex plants, mate, and cocoa. You may know and accept that you have a caffeine habit, but many people are convinced that they need a pick-me-up from time to time in order to get through the day. What is important is that caffeine is not actually giving you the burst of energy, but instead negative moods and emotions.
The coffee tree, which is a small evergreen, has smooth leaves and clusters of fragrant white flowers that mature into red fruits that are about half of an inch long. The fruit contains two seeds usually, which become raw coffee beans when dried. After roasting, coffee contains more than 700 volatile substances including acids, alcohols, and even residues of cancer-causing pesticides. In all fairness, caffeine does act as a mild stimulant to the nervous system when used in moderation, which results in a feeling of well-being and alertness. It increases the heart rate, urination, and stimulates the secretion of stomach acid.
Although a little caffeine may wake us up and give us a sense of energy, too much caffeine actually hurts our moods and overall well being. Two cups of caffeine per day seems to have a positive effect, but research shows that even one cup a day is enough to cause dependence. Caffeine may temporarily improve your mood and give a sense of vitality, it wears off and your mood and energy levels crash to levels even lower than before. Additionally, our bodies adjust, causing us to need more caffeine to give us the same desired effect. Caffeine does not provide any energy or increase our alertness. Instead, it stimulates our bodies.
Excessive intake of coffee can lead to restlessness, insomnia, and heart irregularities. Those people who drink a lot of coffee often complain of jittery nerves, chronic anxiety, frequent bouts of diarrhea or loose stools, and restless nights. Coffee can also cause stomach and intestinal problems, as well as coronary diseases. An occasional cup of coffee is one thing, but depending on a cup to keep you awake is something entirely different.
Harsh symptoms of withdrawal such as headache, fatigue, and depression are common among regular caffeine users. Caffeine also causes the body to expel vital nutrients like b vitamins from the body that we need to function. If you consume more than two cups of coffee each day then a multi-vitamin should be taken once daily to help replenish was is lost by the diuretic effects of caffeine in the body.
August 12, 2008 01:34 PM
Similar to everyone else, you probably have an occasional period where you’re down in the dumps. But don’t fret; feeling a little bit down every now and then is normal. But when these low feelings persist, you may be in trouble. If they deepen over time no matter what you’re doing to change them, then chances are that you are truly depressed. True depression occurs as a result of a loss of interest in nearly everything that once gave you pleasure. These pleasure feelings are replaced by an all-consuming feeling of emptiness and numbness which may be related to clinical depression.
Clinical depression is another matter, this form of depression is an intense feeling of sadness that lasts for long periods of time and prevents people from leading a normal life. It is a treatable medical condition and is characterized by persistent and sometimes severe feelings of worthlessness, guilt, sadness, helplessness, and hopelessness. There may also be disturbance in sleeping or eating patterns, anxiety, regret, shame, grief, diminished ability to concentrate, and repetitive suicidal thoughts.
Having five or more of these symptoms for a span of two weeks or longer is categorized as clinical depression. However, there are shades of gray when it comes to being emotionally down, from low moods all the way to major depressive episodes. Dysthymia is a lot less severe than depression, but it lingers sometimes for years, allowing people to function adequately but consistently feeling unhappy. Bipolar disorder also causes people to have severe high and low mood swings, while seasonal depression is another form that rounds out the category.
According to a global study, depression may be the most disabling disease in the world. Researchers found that depression can worsen health more than angina, arthritis, asthma, and diabetes. Those who have depression and one or more chronic diseases are in the worst health of all. It is estimated that 19 million American adults are living with major depression, with up to 25 percent experiencing an episode of major depression at some point during their lifetime and women suffering twice as much as men do from major depression.
Suicide is strongly connected to depression and is the third-leading cause of death in 10 to 24 year olds, with most depressed people never seeking treatment. Those who are undiagnosed and untreated allow depression to worsen and last for years of untold suffering. About 15 percent of people with major depression die from committing suicide. Major depression is a life-threatening illness that should be treated by medical experts. There is no test that can diagnose major depression. However, it is important to rule out other medical problems that have similar symptoms as those of depression.
Depression is usually treated with medications and counseling. Natural remedies may also be effective in the treatment of depression, especially in those cases that are mild to moderate. Additionally, many nutritional, environmental, and lifestyle factors are involved and it is important to recognize that these factors are not only important for depression, but also for our total health. Getting people healthy gets them less depressed, generally speaking, and there are three supplements that can help ease the symptoms of depression naturally.
Lithium, which is a prescription drug for bipolar disorder, is a simple mineral with benefits for the nervous system to improve mood and cognition. Since patients with depression often have low levels of omega-3 fatty acids and DHA, proper DHA levels are essential for proper functioning of the neurotransmitters. Supplementing with essential fatty acids can help with depression symptoms.
Finally there is SAM-e, a molecule that naturally occurs in the cells of plants and animals, works well as an antidepressant without causing side effects for most people. Always consult your doctor if you suspect you may have clinical depression or when you start any new vitamin supplements with medication and never exceed the recommended doses on the bottle with out a doctors help.
June 11, 2008 04:51 PM
Multiple vitamins should be designed with one purpose in mind. They should provide you the ability to properly balance your regular diet with the additional vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants needed to make your diet nutritionally complete.
It is rare that people follow the recommended daily allowances in their regular diets. For this reason, multi-vitamins were developed to provide the missing nutrients to your daily diet. Vitamins designed with this purpose will automatically provide you with the essential additional nutrition you need to boost your health and wellness.
The Correct Multi-vitamin Make-Up:
A good multivitamin supplement will contain all of the following ingredients. It is designed to balance an average diet and boost health and wellness.
* Major vitamins * Minerals * Amino acids * Carotenoids * Tocopherols * Tocotrienols * Antioxidants
Antioxidants are an important part of any diet because they attack and neutralize free radicals. These fragments of chemicals are caused by:
* Normal metabolism * Pollution * Ultraviolet radiation * Rancid oil * Other toxins
Scientists believe that free radicals are one of the elements responsible for aging and degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, arthritis and cancer. It is because of the nutrient deficiencies in our regular diets that we have become more susceptible to degenerative diseases.
Mixed Tocopherols and Tocotrienols:
Vitamin E is a series of related compounds. The four main forms are alpha, beta, delta and gamma. Most multi-vitamin supplements only contain large amounts of alpha tocopherol. A healthy diet needs a mixture of them all.
When too much alpha tocopherol is induced, gamma tocopherol is depleted. This causes deficiencies because gamma tocopherol is crucial to good health as well. For this reason, it is important that your tocopherol intake is balanced. A mixed intake of all tocopherols is more effective in preventing cardiovascular disease.
Tocotrienols are potent antioxidants that complement the alpha tocopherol. The combined nutrients are much more effective at preventing oxidation. This is why you must have a balanced combination of tocopherols and tocotrienols to maintain a healthy diet and a healthy body. To accomplish this you must have a balance of all of the compounds that make up vitamin E.
These are the red, orange and yellow plant pigments that are found in all of our fruits and vegetables. All of these contain different amounts of carotenoids, but the colors are often hidden by the plant's chlorophyll content. Examples of foods containing large amounts of carotenoids include:
* Kale * Collard greens * Swiss chard * Broccoli
Tomatoes contain Lycopene, which is a red carotenoid found in tomatoes. It is a potent antioxidant that reduces the risk of prostate cancer. Unfortunately, carotenoids are better absorbed through the ingestion of supplements than from foods. Multi-vitamins usually only contain beta carotene. It is important to find one that contains beta carotene, alpha carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin.
The Bottom Line:
A complete multiple vitamin supplement is necessary as a part of a daily health and wellness regimen. The best multi-vitamin contains a healthy balance of everything listed above in the correct dosages. It is important to do your homework and be sure the multi-vitamin you choose will do its job correctly.
Learn as much as you can about your own body's individual nutritional needs. By giving your body proper nutrition, you help it to fight off illness and diseases much more efficiently. A complete multi-vitamin will:
* Strengthen your immune system * Decrease your risk of cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis * Increase your level of energy * Elevate your moods * Help you to enjoy a healthier, more productive life
Choose a multi-vitamin that has been developed based on the latest science and technology. You will be taking a well-rounded supplement that was designed to properly complement a typical daily diet.
Your Mouth Has A Lot To Say About Your Health
January 10, 2008 08:24 AM
For those of you have read every magazine article on improving your health and sex life, tried every trick suggested to you, and still have not found the solution, you may be missing one fact that most people don’t even consider towards improving their love life with better health. A woman’s sexuality has to do with a great variety of factors including both physical and emotional issues. Physical influences include hormonal imbalances, which play a major role. Most women experience the rage of this imbalance during pre and post menopause, as well as our menstruation cycle, commonly known as PMS. But most people have not considered one other important physical factor that is affecting their sexual mood, which is gum disease. Although this connection is rarely talked about and may seem odd at first, it becomes obvious how it all works when you learn the science behind it.
Throughout the different stages of our lives, our hormones fluctuate greatly. From puberty to pregnancy and menopause, many of our tissues are affected, which includes our gums. The gums can swell up, bleed easily, and even change color during times of related hormone events. Gum disease may be prevented with Coenzyme Q10 supplementation. Once the hormone balances, the hormones often do not go back to their healthy state automatically. If you practice good oral hygiene, your gums will go back to normal, but if not, it will stay the same or get worse with out proper nutrition and Coenzyme Q10.
Most people never realize that the slight bleeding of their gums during pregnancy or pre-menopause has anything to do with their hormones and nutritional deficiencies. Slight bleeding, red gums, and swelling are all signs of the inflammation that is associated with gum disease. Most people do not pay attention to the signs of inflammation when it occurs in the mouth, as gum disease affects 23 percent of women ages 30-54 and 44 percent of women ages 55-90. Proper nutrition may help reduce the number of individuals affected by gum disease.
Even the beginning stages of gum disease, which are known as gingivitis, can greatly impact your mood and health. If it is not treated, gingivitis will advance into chronic inflammation, leaving devastating results on your health. When your gums are not healthy, a great amount of events involving chemicals takes place both locally and systematically. These chemical changes trigger your immune system to respond, leaving inflammation on the gum tissue. During inflammation, immune cells release substances called inflammatory cytokines, which boost immunity but also induce dark moods in some people. If these cytokines stay too high for too long, they can even potentially trigger depression. Chronic inflammation leaves your body feeling tired and burned out. Unfortunately, a lot of people who have gum disease do not even know they have it. Except for the sign of slight bleeding when flossing or brushing, an unsuspecting person may not be aware there is tissue breakdown until it’s too late.
The solution to the situation is really simple. Taking 100 to 400 milligrams of Coenzyme Q10 to boost the immune system and help the body reduce its production of cytokines as well as boost energy. Coenzyme Q10 can improve periodontal health so be sure to consider the health of your mouth as an important part of your overall health. When you feel healthy, your sex drive is also healthy. If you’re feeling run down and have no interest in sex, make a visit to your dentist and have your gums checked. There is no excuse to not get regular dental check-ups and visit your local health food store to practice good oral hygiene and boost over all health.
Supplements good for reducing stress and boosting energy!
March 26, 2007 02:05 PM
More and more Americans are feeling overworked, overtired, and overcome by life’s demands. We just do not have the energy we need to meet our responsibilities to the people we care about. More importantly, we don’t even have the energy to have fun! It seems that a constant feeling of fatigue has become part of the American way of life.
Research has shown that the same processes that cause lack of energy can rob us of sleep, saddle us with excess weight, disrupt our hormonal balance, and create significant amounts of stress in our daily lives. Chronic stress can dramatically contribute to fatigue, sleep disorders, irritability, and anxiety. The research simply confirms what most of us already know – uncomfortable stress can really wear us out mentally and physically! It can take away the satisfaction of a job well done. It can take away our ability to believe in ourselves. And, sadly and maybe most importantly, continual stress can take the fun and joy out of life.
In a separate issue of Ask the Doctor, we discuss the energy and sleeping needs of people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. In this issue, I discuss the 3-step process I call “Vitality 101.” People do not have to accept pain, insomnia, or fatigue. It’s time for everyone to feel great and have a life they love!
Step 1 – Nutrition
Good overall nutrition is important for everyone! As a foundation product to support energy levels, a powdered drink mix is a pleasant, easy way to ensure that you are taking all of the necessary vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that you need to have great energy all through your day.
The following chart lists the most critical ingredients. You can see that almost all of the vitamins and minerals work together to help improve energy levels and overall health.
In addition to the powdered energy drink mix, it is important that you also take a high potency vitamin B-complex supplement. This should include niacinamide, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, and choline, which are especially important to restore the energy production needs of your body. It is also critical to get enough water, as most Americans are chronically dehydrated.
Step 2 – Rest Your Body
Having trouble sleeping is one of the most troubling symptoms of stress. While the stress is wearing us down and making us tired, it’s also keeping us tense and unable tot relax. The result? That easy drift into sleep becomes harder and harder. And if we are lucky enough to actually get some shut-eye, stress will often wake us up, sometimes several times a night.
This occurs because excess stress suppresses the sleep center in the brain. It is important to break the “stress/insomnia cycle” early, before it results in pain and hormonal and immune dysfunction!
Because good quality sleep is how the body repairs and re-energizes itself, it may be helpful to use herbal products to promote good quality sleep. There are many natural supplements that are marketed as sleep formulas. To get the best results, it is very important that the right ingredients are in the sleep formula you buy. Look for a supplement that has a blend of herbs that promote deep sleep, such as valerian, L-theanine, hops, passionflower,
Step 3 – Manage Excess Stress Levels
In this fast paced world, it is important to learn to manage the stressor in our lives. Glandular extracts, such as raw adrenal extract, can offer natural support to help our bodies deal with the effects of stress and, in turn, can boost your energy levels. Exercise is another stress buster. Using your body physically is important for good health. Find something that is fun for you, however, or you are unlikely to stick with it!
Q. Does stress zap my energy in any other ways besides making me lay awake at night and causing me to be a zombie the next morning?
A. Most people are familiar with the body’s dramatic response to an emergency. The heart pounds, the muscles constrict, and the lungs expand – and while this is happening, we are capable of greater than normal strength and speed. This response is the body’s way of rescuing itself when faced with an emergency. We don’t have to think about it to make it happen. It’s automatic.
The same can be said of a chronic stress response. Whether we’re late for a business meeting because we’re stuck in traffic, or worrying about how we are going to pay for our children’s college tuition, our response to stress happens automatically. The difference between the two is that the body’s response in an emergency starts and resolves itself quickly. The response to being stuck in traffic may not.
The body makes the “stress hormone”, cortisol, to handle the normal stresses of day-to-day living. But in an emergency situation, the adrenal glands, located above the kidneys, secrete increased amounts of this hormone until the emergency passes. Then the body returns to its normal function. Unfortunately, however, chronic stress is more complex. When our body is subjected to increased amounts of the hormone, cortisol, for an extended time, it can lead to a condition known as “adrenal burnout” or “adrenal fatigue.” While it’s true that very large amounts of cortisol can have damaging effects on our hormones, too little cortisol doesn’t allow us to respond to stress properly. It’s really a matter of balance.
Q. How can I control the stress in my life and re-energize?
A. Many people who are under constant stress may have adrenal burnout. Adrenal burnout occurs when the adrenal glands are constantly producing cortisol in response to chronic stress. Over time, this exhausts the adrenal reserve, meaning the adrenal gland can no longer increase cortisol production in response to stress.
The good news is that changes in our hormone levels can return to normal when stress is decreased. The key in learning how to deal with daily stress is to allow the body to return to its normal state. I discuss additional techniques for coping with stress in my recent book Three Steps to Happiness! Healing Through Joy (see my website, www. jacobeitelbaum .com, for more information). In addition to stress control, it is important to supplement your adrenals with a glandular therapy regimen to ensure healthy cortisol levels and adrenal function. Glandular therapy, which uses the concentrated forms of bovine (cow) or porcine (pig) glands, can improve the health of our glands. Pioneers in the field of endocrinology (the study of hormones) hypothesized that glandular extracts work by providing nutrients the body lacked and thus repaired the malfunctioning gland.
If you are one of the unlucky folks with stressed-out adrenal glands, you should see great results from taking raw adrenal supplements. Be sure to buy adrenal extract supplement that contains both whole adrenal and cortex adrenal.
The best adrenal supplement should also contain vitamin C, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid and licorice. Licorice contains glycyrrhizin, which is broken down into glycyrrhizic or glycyrrhetinic acid. This compound inhibits the activity of an enzyme that turns active cortisol into inactive cortisol. While in high amounts (greater than 100 mg of glycyrrhizic acid/day), licorice administration causes hypertension, no such effects have been observed at lower doses. Experts have speculated that inhibition of the cortisol-converting enzyme may reduce cortisol-related symptoms associated with adrenal insufficiency. The adrenal glands use these nutrients to manufacture cortisone and other compounds. It just makes sense to purchase an adrenal supplement with these supportive ingredients.
Did your grandmother ever tell you to eat your liver so that you didn’t get “tired blood?” Well, it turns out that she was right. Liver extract is another glandular extract that can help improve energy levels.
Liver extract is an excellent source of highly bioavailable nutrients including iron, B vitamins (especially B12), and other minerals. The stamina and energy-enhancing benefits of liver are widely touted. Liver extract has been shown to support healthy function of the liver and increase the energy levels inside our body.
Because heat will destroy the key components in the liver, a high quality liver extract supplement should be cold-processed and encapsulated to enhance speed and absorption of nutrients from liver. A high quality aqueous liver extract supplement should also contain vitamin B12 to support healthy blood iron and oxygen levels to energize.
Q. It will be great to get a good night’s sleep. Are there also any other natural alternatives that could help promote relaxation and increase my energy levels during the day?
A. Yes, there are. Rhodiola rosea is an all-natural herb that has long been used to help relieve stress and increase energy. Rhodiola has also been used to lift our moods, improve sexual satisfaction, and even help in certain nervous system disorders. First used in Siberia and
In clinical trials, the most effective Rhodiola rosea extract was found to contain 3% rosavins and 1% salidroside. While there are many Rhodiola supplements in health food stores, only those containing these specific amounts can provide the best results.
Altered digestion, food intolerances, decreased energy, fatigue, cognitive problems, and sleeplessness create the need for changes in daily living routines. These can include alterations in diet; exercise modifications; alterations in activities of daily living according to one’s energy level; and sleep/rest management. All may require the assistance of a professional clinician, such as a chiropractor, nutrition specialist, physical and/or occupational therapist, mental health professional, or sleep therapist.
Super busy lives demand super strength nutrition. Begin each day with a powdered nutritional supplement after getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night. In addition to the nutritional beverage mix, a vitamin B complex supplement should be taken every morning. The nutritional drink mix and the vitamin B complex supplement will ensure that your body has all the vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other nutrients to combat your fatigue. Taking a daily adrenal supplement, like the one discussed earlier, will provide the much needed (and often depleted) nutrients your body may be lacking, and help you recover lost energy. Rhodiola rosea, and ginseng can offer additional natural nutritional support in your busy life to boost your energy levels. These nutritional supplements can be used daily and you will feel energized to get through each day’s challenges and opportunities!
Coming out of depression.
October 28, 2005 02:46 PM
If a positive outlook is the sun, then depression is a heavy shade drawn across one’s existence. Clinical depression is not the passing blue mood or feelings of sadness, grief and sorrow in the face of life’s more somber moments. But when sadness seems never-ending, when you can’t concentrate, sleep or enjoy anything, when you feel hopeless and that life isn’t worth the bother—now that’s depression.
If your moods are especially dark, seek professional help. What you may be experiencing, though, is more of a sneeze n’ sniffle melancholy than the heavy chest-cold kind (and the analogy is apt, given how common a disorder depression truly is). If that’s the case, you may find the following supplements helpful:
Omega-3 Fatty acids: A healthy brain needs plenty of these healthy fats. Flax seed oil and fish oil are two common sources.
SAM-e: This naturally occurring substance helps activate serotonin and dopamine, two brain chemicals vital to healthy mood.
St. John’s Wort: One of the best-known natural depression fighters, St. John’s Wort also helps reduce the mild anxiety that often accompanies depression. It usually takes four to six weeks to reach full effectiveness.
Tryptophan: An amino acid the body uses to create serotonin. Natural tryptophan is found in milk protein concentrate.
Speak with health care practitioner if you are taking prescription medications for depression (or any other condition, for that matter). Do not stop taking synthetic antidepressants without proper guidance.
THERAPEUTIC APPLICATIONS OF ST. JOHN’S WORT DEPRESSION—AN OVERVIEW
July 15, 2005 09:12 AM
THERAPEUTIC APPLICATIONS OF ST. JOHN’S WORT DEPRESSION—AN OVERVIEW
Depression is a disorder that affects millions of people, both Americans and worldwide. It takes many forms, but is usually marked by sadness, inactivity and heightened selfdepreciation. Hopelessness and pessimism are often common symptoms, as are lowered self-esteem, reduced energy and vitality, and loss of the overall capability to enjoy one’s existence.
Depression is probably the most common psychiatric complaint offered to doctors, and has been described by physicians from at least the time of Hippocrates, who called it “melancholia.” The course the disorder runs varies widely from person to person. Depression may be short-term, or may occur repeatedly at short intervals. It may be somewhat permanent, mild or sever, acute or chronic. And who does depression most affect? Rates of incidence are higher among women than men (for varying reasons, some not totally understood). And men are more at risk of suffering from depression as they age, while a woman’s peak age for experi-encing depression is usually between the ages of 35-45.
Depression is caused by many things—it could come about because of childhood traumas, or because of stressful life events—but more and more, doctors and scientists are pointing to biochemical processes as a main culprit in the onset of depression. Defective regulation of the release of one or more naturally occurring monoamines in the brain—particularly norepinephrine—leads to reduced quantities or reduced activity of these chemicals in the brain, bringing on the depressed mood for most sufferers. Accompanying the increase in depression cases and the emerging knowledge of its causes has been the rise of drug and other therapies in treating the disorder. The two most important are drug therapy and psychotherapy. Psychotherapy aims to resolve any underlying psychic conflicts that may be causing the depressed state, while giving emotional support to the patient. This usually involves seeing a psychiatrist and/or psychologist at regular intervals. This also may be accompanied by participation in support groups.
Antidepressant drugs, on the other hand, directly affect the chemistry of the brain and its chemicals, such as the monoamines that are thought to have the most effect on depressed emotional states and moods. The tricyclic antidepressant drugs are thought to work by inhibiting the body’s physiological inactivation of the monoamine transmitters. This results in the buildup or accumulation of these neurotransmitters in the brain and allows them to remain in contact with nerve cell receptors longer, thus aiding in elevating the mood of the patient. There are other drugs, called oxidase inhibitors, which interfere with the activity of monoamine oxidase, an enzyme known to be involved in the breakdown of norepinephrine and serotonin.5
While drug therapy is something more favorable than continuing suffering from depression, for many persons who take these medications it brings on very undesirable side effects. Uncomfortable physical side effects are among the biggest complaints. Many drug users suffer from sensations of nausea, bloating, indigestion, abdominal cramping and diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal discomforts. Dizziness is often a common complaint, and there are many others. For decades, St. John’s wort has been utilized as a mood elevator, antidepressant and overall mental stimulant. As mentioned before, since times as far back as the Crusades do we have record of St. John’s wort being used in this and other capacities. Wounds were treated with the herb’s extracted oil, the insane were given the herb for its effect on both the nervous system and brain, and it was even used to cast out evil spirits (which often is linked to hallucinations and other mental instability).
More recent uses in “folk” or nonstandard medicine point to St. John’s wort’s effective use not only as an antidepressant and nervous system tonic, but also for neuralgia, wounds, kidney problems, its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, and of very recent interest, its use as an AIDS virus inhibitor. Michael Murray, in his book Natural Alternatives to Over-the-Counter Drugs, points to St. John’s wort’s uses for the previously listed uses, and the results of several recent clinical studies. Rebecca Flynn and Mark Roest also outline very well the benefits of the herb as shown in medical and other tests.6 The information coming from both the folk medicine and the clinical medicine worlds indicates that St. John’s wort possesses effective and safe healing properties for several disorders and ailments, and potentially many more.
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
5-HTP - The Science of Sleep
June 29, 2005 02:22 PM
Sleep is especially important in today’s world. It’s the time when your body repairs, rebuilds and replenishes the tissues and compounds that have been damaged or depleted by the demands of your life. But when there is too much stress, imbalances occur that can keep you from getting enough sleep.
Source Naturals, the science company, introduces 5-HTP to help promote healthy sleep cycles. 5-HTP, or L-5-Hydroxytryptophan, is created when the tryptophan in your body is converted into serotonin. 5-HTP can cross the blood-brain barrier and is associated with increasing active serotonin levels as well as serotonin production. And those increased serotonin levels are associated with healthy sleep regulation, increased melatonin production for 24-hour sleep cycle regulation, mood regulation, and appetite control. Source Natural’s 5-HTP capsules are safely and naturally derived from Griffonia simplicifolia seeds.
How 5-HTP Works
5-HTP works because it supports your body’s balanced production of two important sleep regulating hormones, serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep, moods and appetite. But you need adequate serotonin levels to maintain this balance. 5-HTP is the serotonin precursor that is formed when tryptophan is converted into serotonin in your body. In clinical research, 5-HTP increased the amount and availability of serotonin produced by the body. It is able to cross the blood brain–barrier to increase both serotonin levels and serotonin production in your brain so you can regain a healthy balance when you are sleeping, feeling emotions, or eating.
Eventually, the serotonin in your body is converted into melatonin, the hormone that helps regulate healthy 24-hour sleep cycles known as circadian rhythms. Aging and various forms of physical or emotional stress can decrease your melatonin levels and disrupt your sleep cycle. Fortunately, that balance can be regained. When 5-HTP increases serotonin production, melatonin production is also increased, which can help you regain a healthy circadian rhythm.
Naturally Promoting Healthy Sleep
Source Naturals 5-HTP is safely derived from Griffonia simplicifolia seeds and is available in 50 and 100 mg potencies. Innovative natural products, such as 5-HTP, are part of a new paradigm in health care. You can join this revolution in preventive wellness, long before it becomes mainstream, by taking charge of your health with products that are only available at natural food and nutrition outlets. Support your healthy moods, eating habits and sleep cycles with the science of Source Naturals 5-HTP today.
Three Tips for a Healthy Sleep Cycle
Scents of Balance
June 14, 2005 11:54 AM
Scents of Balance by Rosemary Sage Energy Times, January 5, 2005
Life can feel like an emotional rollercoaster, with the high-stress jitters following the low-mood blues. But aromatherapy-the healing power of scent-can restore equilibrium.
The use of volatile plant oils, including essential oils, for psychological and physical well-being dates back thousands of years. The ancient Chinese, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans used infused oils and herbal preparations for medicinal, fragrant, cosmetic, even spiritual reasons.
During the late 20th century, people started to relearn the benefits of aromatherapy and these days, aromatherapy's reputation as a soothing, healing art continues to grow. Once you've experienced the odiferous power of aromatherapy's essential oils, you'll keep coming back for more: These gently wafting odors have the power to stimulate or calm, invigorate or relax.
When you enter this scented world, "there you will find nature in one of its most powerful forms-aromatic liquid substances known as 'essential oils,'" says Valerie Ann Worwood in The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy (Thorsons). Essential oils form what Worwood refers to as the "fragrant pharmacy," a collection of concentrated substances used in pharmaceuticals, foods and cosmetics.
When you sniff the aromas of essential oils, "they enter and leave the body with great efficiency, leaving no toxins behind," Worwood points out. "The most effective way to use essential oils is...by external application or inhalation. The methods used include body oils, compresses, cosmetic lotions, baths-including sitz, hand and foot baths-hair rinses...perfumes...and a whole range of room [scenting] methods."
As Worwood explains, essential oils are produced in various parts of different plants. As a result, it takes a great deal of specialized work to extract essential oils. About 60,000 rose blossoms are consumed in the production of an ounce (!) of rose oil.
Just as the antioxidant phytonutrients we eat in vegetarian foods link our bodies to the health-promoting chemistry of plants, the penetrating nature of essential oils are thought to connect our souls to the essences of flora. "From inside comes the voice and from inside comes the scent," observed the 19th century German doctor Gustav Fechner, quoted by Robert Tisserand in The Art of Aromatherapy (Healing Arts Press). "Just as one can tell human beings in the dark from the tone of voice, so, in the dark, every flower can be recognized by its scent. Each carries the soul of its progenitor."
Fechner believed that the power of essential oils to stir our deepest emotions derives from their function as a vital means of communication in the plant world. As Tisserand asks, can't we imagine that flowers "communicate with each other by the very perfumes they exude, becoming aware of each other's presence?"
The Science Behind the Scent
While alternative medical practitioners have acknowledged the effectiveness of aromatherapy for thousands of years, only recently have conventional medical researchers begun seriously looking into how this technique works.
For instance, a study of estragole, a chemical found in basil, fennel and tarragon, determined that it could potentially ease back pain by inhibiting inflammation of the sciatic nerve. (The sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in the body, runs from the back down the leg.) The researchers discovered that estragole is "active on nerves," a conclusion that aromatherapy practitioners, who employ the scent of these oils to soothe pain, already knew. Science is verifying another piece of information long known to practitioners-that while certain essential oils can calm you down, others prod your alertness. In a study performed at the University of Northumbria in England, scientists found that sniffing the scent of lavender lulls the human brain into a comfortable, rather stupefied state, while rosemary, in contrast, can sharpen recall.
As the English researchers noted, lavender "produced a significant decrement in performance of working memory, and impaired reaction times for both memory and attention-based tasks." That's probably why the odor of lavender is noted for enhancing sleep. On the other hand, the scientists found that rosemary "produced a significant enhancement of performance for overall quality of memory and secondary memory factors." However, they did point out that under the influence of both of these oils, performance slowed when tackling a battery of memory tests. Apparently, the oils mellowed people so that they had little motivation to rush through the paperwork.
As Frazesca Watson notes in Aromatherapy Blends & Remedies (Thorsons): "The aroma of the oils directly affects our moods and emotions and sometimes our short- and long-term memory. Together with a wide range of physiological benefits, the aroma can help with emotional upsets such as depression, anxiety, nervous tension, anger, apathy, confusion, indecision, fear, grief, hypersensitivity, impatience, irritability, panic and hysteria."
Essential oils are especially helpful at defusing stress. Watson notes, "Treatments with essential oils are therefore very helpful for all sorts of stress-related problems, so common in our modern life."
As scientific research into the effects of these oils continue, conventional medical practitioners are sure to embrace them in increasing numbers. But before there were scientists around to confirm the effects of these wonderful scents, the ancient medical practitioners in Egypt and Greece attributed the origins of aromatherapy to the gods. For many people in today's overstressed world, the relaxing assurance of essential oils certainly seems heaven-s(c)ent.
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.
Menopause: Disease or Condition?
June 13, 2005 03:44 PM
Menopause: Disease or Condition?
by Mary Ann Mayo & Joseph L. Mayo, MD Energy Times, September 4, 1999
It's front-page news. It's politically correct and socially acceptable. Talking about menopause is in. Suddenly it's cool to have hot flashes. Millions of women turning 50 in the next few years have catapulted the subject of menopause into high-definition prominence.
It's about time. Rarely discussed openly by women (what did your mother ever advise you?), meno-pause until recently was dismissed as "a shutting down experience characterized by hot flashes and the end of periods." Disparaging and depressing words like shrivel, atrophy, mood swings and melancholia peppered the scant scientific menopausal literature.
What a difference a few years and a very vocal, informed and assertive group of Baby Boomers make. Staggered by the burgeoning numbers of newly confrontational women who will not accept a scribbled prescription and a pat on the head as adequate treatment, health practitioners and researchers have been challenged to unravel, explain and deal with the challenges of menopause.
Not An Overnight Sensation
Menopause, researchers have discovered, is no simple, clear cut event in a woman's life. The "change of life" does not occur overnight. A woman's body may begin the transition toward menopause in her early 40s, even though her last period typically occurs around age 51. This evolutionary time before the final egg is released is called the perimenopause. Erratic monthly hormone levels produce unexpected and sometimes annoying sensations.
Even as their bodies adjust to lower levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, some women don't experience typical signs of menopause until after the final period. A fortunate one-third have few or no discomforts.
According to What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Premenopause (Warner Books) by John R. Lee, MD, Jesse Hanley, MD, and Virginia Hopkins, "The steroid hormones are intimately related to each other, each one being made from another or turned back into another depending on the needs of the body...But the hormones themselves are just part of the picture. It takes very specific combinations of vitamins, minerals and enzymes to cause the transformation of one hormone into another and then help the cell carry out the hormone's message. If you are deficient in one of the important hormone-transforming substances such as vitamin B6 or magnesium, for example, that too can throw your hormones out of balance. Thyroid and insulin problems, toxins, bad food and environmental factors, medication and liver function affect nutrient and hormone balance."
The most important reproductive hormones include:
Estrogen: the female hormone produced by the ovaries from puberty through menopause to regulate the menstrual cycle and prepare the uterus for pregnancy. Manufacture drops significantly during menopause. Estradiol is a chemically active and efficient form of estrogen that binds to many tissues including the uterus, breasts, ovaries, brain and heart through specific estrogen receptors that allow it to enter those cells, stimulating many chemical reactions. Estriol and estrone are additional forms of estrogen.
Progesterone: also produced by the ovaries, it causes tissues to grow and thicken, particularly during pregnancy, when it protects and nurtures the fetus. Secretion ceases during menopause.
Testosterone: Women produce about one-twentieth of what men do, but require it to support sex drive. About half of all women quit secreting testosterone during menopause.
Estrogen's Wide Reach
Since estrogen alone influences more than 400 actions on the body, chiefly stimulating cell growth, the effects of its fluctuations can be far-reaching and extremely varied: hot (and cold) flashes, erratic periods, dry skin (including the vaginal area), unpredictable moods, fuzzy thinking, forgetfulness, fatigue, low libido, insomnia and joint and muscle pain.
Young women may experience premature menopause, which can occur gradually, as a matter of course, or abruptly with hysterectomy (even when the ovaries remain) or as a result of chemotherapy. Under such conditions symptoms can be severe.
In the 1940s doctors reasoned that if most discomforts were caused by diminishing estrogen (its interactive role with progesterone and testosterone were underestimated), replacing it would provide relief. When unchecked estrogen use resulted in high rates of uterine cancer, physicians quickly began adding progesterone to their estrogen regimens and the problem appeared solved.
For the average woman, however, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) became suspect and controversial, especially when a link appeared between extended use of HRT (from five to 10 years) and an increase in breast and endometrial cancers (Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 37, 1997). The result: Women have drawn a line in the sand between themselves and their doctors.
Resolving The Impasse
Since hormone replacement reduces the risk of major maladies like heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's, colon cancer and diabetes that would otherwise significantly rise as reproductive hormone levels decrease, most doctors recommend hormone replacement shortly before or as soon as periods stop. Hormone replacement also alleviates the discomforts of menopause.
But only half of all women fill their HRT prescriptions and, of those who do, half quit within a year. Some are simply indifferent to their heightened medical risks. Some are indeed aware but remain unconvinced of the safety of HRT. Others complain of side effects such as bloating, headaches or drowsiness.
Women's resistance to wholesale HRT has challenged researchers to provide more secure protection from the diseases to which they become vulnerable during menopause, as well as its discomforts. If the conventional medical practitioners do not hear exactly what modern women want, the complementary medicine community does. Turning to centuries-old botanicals, they have validated and compounded them with new technology. Their effectiveness depends on various factors including the synergistic interaction of several herbs, specific preparation, the correct plant part and dosage, harvesting and manufacturing techniques.
Research demonstrates that plant hormones (phytoestrogens) protect against stronger potentially carcinogenic forms of estrogen while safely providing a hormone effect. Other herbs act more like tonics, zipping up the body's overall function.
Help From Herbs
Clinical trials and scientific processing techniques have resulted in plant-based supplements like soy and other botanicals that replicate the form and function of a woman's own estrogen.
The complementary community also can take credit for pushing the conventional medical community to look beyond estrogen to progesterone in postmenopausal health.
Natural soy or Mexican yam derived progesterone is formulated by pharmacologists in creams or gels that prevent estrogen-induced overgrowth of the uterine lining (a factor in uterine cancer), protect against heart disease and osteoporosis and reduce hot flashes (Fertility and Sterility 69, 1998: 96-101).
A quarter of the women who take the popularly prescribed synthetic progesterone report increased tension, fatigue and anxiety; natural versions have fewer side effects.
These "quasi-medicines," as Tori Hudson, a leading naturopathic doctor and professor at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, Portland, Oregon, calls them, are considered "stronger than a botanical but weaker than a medicine." (Hudson is author of Gynecology and Naturopathic Medicine: A Treatment Manual.)
According to Hudson, the amount of estrogen and progesterone in these supplements is much less than medical hormone replacement but equally efficacious in relieving menopausal problems and protecting the heart and bones.
According to a study led by Harry K. Genant, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco, "low-dose" plant estrogen derived from soy and yam, supplemented with calcium, prevents bone loss without such side effects as increased vaginal bleeding and endometrial hypoplasia, abnormal uterine cell growth that could be a precursor to endometrial cancer (Archives of Internal Medicine 157, 1997: 2609-2615).
These herbal products, including natural progesterone and estrogen in the form of the weaker estriol or estrone, may block the effect of the stronger and potentially DNA-damaging estradiol.
Soy in its myriad dietary and supplemental forms provides a rich source of isoflavones and phytosterols, both known to supply a mild estrogenic effect that can stimulate repair of the vaginal walls (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 83, 1991: 541-46).
To enhance vaginal moisture, try the herb cimicifuga racemosa, the extract of black cohosh that, in capsule form, builds up vaginal mucosa (Therapeuticum 1, 1987: 23-31). Traditional Chinese herbal formulas containing roots of rehmannia and dong quai have long been reputed to promote vaginal moisture.
Clinical research in Germany also confirms the usefulness of black cohosh in preventing hot flashes and sweating, as well as relieving nervousness, achiness and depressed moods caused by suppressed hormone levels. It works on the hypothalamus (the body's thermostat, appetite and blood pressure monitor), pituitary gland and estrogen receptors. Green tea is steeped with polyphenols, mainly flavonoids, that exert a massive antioxidant influence against allergens, viruses and carcinogens. The risks of estrogen-related cancers such as breast cancer are particularly lowered by these flavonoids, as these substances head directly to the breast's estrogen receptors. About three cups a day exert an impressive anti-inflammatory, antiallergenic, antiviral and anticarcinogenic effect.
Other phytoestrogen-rich botanicals, according to Susun Weed's Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way (Ash Tree Publishing), include motherwort and lactobacillus acidophilus to combat vaginal dryness; hops and nettles for sleep disturbances; witch hazel and shepherd's purse for heavy bleeding; motherwort and chasteberry for mood swings; dandelion and red clover for hot flashes.
Our Need For Supplements
Adding micronutrients at midlife to correct and counter a lifetime of poor diet and other habits is a step toward preventing the further development of the degenerative diseases to which we become vulnerable. At the very minimum, you should take:
a multivitamin/mineral supplement vitamin E calcium
Your multivitamin/mineral should contain vitamins A, B complex, C, D, E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc. Look for a wide variety of antioxidants that safeguard you from free radical damage, believed to promote heart disease and cancer, as well as contribute to the aging process.
Also on the list: mixed carotenoids such as lycopene, alpha carotene and vitamin C; and folic acid to help regulate cell division and support the health of gums, red blood cells, the gastrointestinal tract and the immune system.
Studies indicate a deficiency of folic acid (folate) in 30% of coronary heart disease, blood vessel disease and strokes; lack of folate is thought to be a serious risk factor for heart disease (OB.GYN News, July 15, 1997, page 28).
Extra vitamin E is believed to protect against breast cancer and bolster immune strength in people 65 and older (Journal of the American Medical Association 277, 1997: 1380-86). It helps relieve vaginal dryness, breast cysts and thyroid problems and, more recently, hit the headlines as an aid in reducing the effects of Alzheimer's and heart disease. It is suspected to reduce the thickening of the carotid arterial walls and may prevent the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol, which contributes to the formation of plaque in arteries.
Selenium also has been identified as an assistant in halting cancer (JAMA 276, 1996: 1957-63).
The Omegas To The Rescue
Essential fatty acids found in cold water fish, flaxseed, primrose and borage oils and many nuts and seeds are essential for the body's production of prostaglandin, biochemicals which regulate hormone synthesis, and numerous physiological responses including muscle contraction, vascular dilation and the shedding of the uterine lining. They influence hormonal balance, reduce dryness and relieve hot flashes.
In addition, the lignans in whole flaxseed behave like estrogen and act aggressively against breast cancer, according to rat and human studies at the University of Toronto (Nutr Cancer 26, 1996: 159-65).
Research has demonstrated that these omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can reverse the cancer-causing effects of radiation and other carcinogens (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 74, 1985: 1145-50). Deficiencies may cause swelling, increased blood clotting, breast pain, hot flashes, uterine and menstrual cramps and constipation. Fatigue, lack of endurance dry skin and hair and frequent colds may signal EFA shortage. Plus, fatty fish oils, along with vitamin D and lactose, help absorption of calcium, so vital for maintaining bone mass.
In addition, studies show that the natural substance Coenzyme A may help menopausal women reduce cholesterol and increase fat utilization (Med Hyp 1995; 44, 403, 405). Some researchers belive Coenzyme A plays a major role in helping women deal with stress while strengthening immunity.
Can't shake those menopausal woes? Menopause imposters may be imposing on you: The risk of thyroid disease, unrelenting stress, PMS, adrenal burnout, poor gastrointestinal health and hypoglycemia all increase at midlife. Menopause is a handy hook on which to hang every misery, ache and pain but it may only mimic the distress of other ailments. For this reason every midlife woman should have a good medical exam with appropriate tests to determine her baseline state of health. Only with proper analysis can you and your health practitioner hit on an accurate diagnosis and satisfying course of therapy.
And if menopause is truly the issue, you have plenty of company. No woman escapes it. No woman dies from it. It is not a disease but a reminder that one-third of life remains to be lived. Menopausal Baby Boomers can anticipate tapping into creative energy apart from procreation. If not new careers, new interests await. An altered internal balance empowers a menopausal woman to direct, perhaps for the first time, her experience of life. She has come of age-yet again. Gone is the confusion, uncertainty, or dictates of a hormone driven life: This time wisdom and experience direct her. There is no need to yearn for youth or cower at the conventional covenant of old age. Menopause is the clarion call to reframe, reevaluate and reclaim.
Mary Ann Mayo and Joseph L. Mayo, MD, are authors of The Menopause Manager (Revell) and executive editors of Health Opportunities for Women (HOW). Telephone number 877-547-5499 for more information.
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.
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.
June 11, 2005 05:04 PM
Power Protein by Joanne Gallo Energy Times, August 4, 1999
Chances are, if you've been trying to lose weight, build muscle, or increase your energy levels, then you've been hearing about protein. This essential nutrient has stolen the spotlight of the health industry as the alleged key to vitality and a solid physique.
With books like Protein Power (Bantam) and Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution (Avon) firmly implanted on The New York Times bestseller list, and protein bars and shakes growing in popularity, more people than ever are seeking to tap into the power of protein.
But before you go on an all-out protein-blitz, how can you decide what's best for you?
The Purpose of Protein
No doubt about it, protein performs a variety of roles. First and foremost, it is used to manufacture and repair all of the body's cells and tissues, and forms muscles, skin, bones and hair. Protein makes up the connective tissue that forms the matrix of bones; keratin is a type of protein used to make hair and nails.
It is essential to all metabolic processes; digestive enzymes and metabolism-regulating hormones (such as insulin, which influences blood sugar levels) are all made of protein. This nutrient also intricately takes part in transport functions: Without sufficient protein the body cannot produce adequate hemoglobin, which carries nutrients through the blood. Lipo-proteins are fat-carrying proteins which transport cholesterol through the bloodstream.
Protein helps regulate fluid and electrolyte balance, maintaining proper blood volume. Immunoglobulins and antibodies that ward off diseases are also comprised of protein.
Any protein that you eat that is not utilized for these purposes is stored as fat, although some may be broken down, converted to glucose and burned for energy. This can occur during intensive workouts, or when the body runs out of carbohydrates from the diet or glycogen from its muscle and liver stores.
"Even though the body can depend on the fat it has stored, it still uses muscle protein, unless it is fed protein as food," explain Daniel Gastelu, MS, MFS, and Fred Hatfield, PhD, in their book Dynamic Nutrition for Maximum Performance (Avery). "When dietary circumstances cause the body to use amino acids as a source of energy, it cannot also use these amino acids for building muscle tissue or for performing their other metabolic functions."
One can see why it is so important to eat a sufficient amount of protein daily in food, shakes or bars. Without it, bone tends to break down, the immune system can become impaired, and muscle strength drops as the body uses up muscle protein for energy.
Proteins are built of chains of amino acids, and 20 different kinds of these building blocks are necessary for protein synthesis within the body. Eleven of them can be manufactured by the body through a process called de novo synthesis; these are referred to as non-essential amino acids. The other nine, which must be obtained from the diet, are known as essential amino acids. (Although some amino acids are called "non-essential," in actuality they are vital: The body needs all 20 amino acids to function properly.)
Some of the more familiar non-essential amino acids include: n Carnitine helps remove fat from the bloodstream n Arginine helps burn sugar Essential amino acids include: n L-tryptophan, a precursor of the neurotransmitter serotonin, helps create calm moods and sleep patterns n L-lysine, required for the metabolism of fats n L-methionine a component of SAM-e (a supplement intended to relieve depression and arthritis, see p. 45)
The body forms and destroys protein from amino acids in a constant cycle of synthesis and degradation. You must consume protein regularly to replace the lost amino acids that are oxidized when protein is broken down and used for fuel. The amount of amino acids lost each day depends on what you eat and how much exercise you do.
Athletes vs. Weekend Warriors
Protein intake in the general population is still adequate, notes Gail Butterfield, PhD, RD, director of Sports Nutrition at Stanford University Medical School. "But we're learning that what is true for the general population may not be true for the athletic population," she says. "With heavy training there is greater protein degradation and you need to increase your intake. Thus, protein requirements are higher for athletes than regular people."
Also, if you diet or restrict your eating in any way, you may also not be getting enough protein.
Certainly, if you work out, eating protein is important. Providing four calories of energy per gram, protein keeps blood sugar steady during exercise. After exercise, it helps replenish and maintain stores of glycogen (stored muscle fuel) and decreases the loss of amino acids, as recent research has shown (J Appl Physiol 81 (5), Nov. 1996: 2095-2104). Lab studies in animals show that protein consumed after you run, lift weights, bike, etc..., helps stimulate muscle growth (Jrnl of Nut 127 , June 1997: 1156-1159)
High-protein diets are frequently touted to promote weight loss and increased energy. One of the most influential: the so-called 40-30-30 formula, developed by Barry Sears in his book The Zone: A Dietary Roadmap (HarperCollins), which describes a diet whose calories are 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% fat. The rationale: when you eat too many carbohydrates, your body uses these starches for energy instead of burning body fat. A high protein diet is supposed to keep your blood sugar balanced and stimulate hormones that burn body fat instead of carbohydrates for energy.
Other fitness experts such as Sherri Kwasnicki, IDEA International Personal Trainer of the Year of 1998, say that while protein is a necessary component of any diet, extreme high-protein plans aren't necessary for recreational fitness buffs. However, she notes that maintaining muscle mass is the key to aging gracefully, and getting enough protein is critical for that.
Many people today won't eat meat and dairy for ethical reasons, or to avoid the antibiotics and other chemicals in the raising of poultry and cattle. But that doesn't have to prohibit adequate protein intake. All soybean products, including tofu and soymilk, provide complete proteins, which supply ample quantities of all the essential amino acids.
In the past vegetarians were told to combine particular foods to make sure they consumed all the essential amino acids at each meal. (For example, beans with either brown rice, corn, nuts, seeds or wheat forms "complete" protein.) Today, diet experts aren't so picky. Eating a variety of plant-based foods throughout the day is just as effective as combining them at one meal.
Vegans who avoid all animal products should eat two servings at sometime during the day of plant-based protein sources, such as tofu, soy products, legumes, seeds and nuts.
The newest sources of protein are bars and shakes, which are growing steadily in popularity. Protein bars now constitute about 12% of the so-called energy bar market, with sales increasing about 38% per year. These bars generally provide at least 20 grams of protein, including soy and whey protein and calcium caseinate (milk protein). The benefits: bars supply protein along with carbohydrates for energy; protein powders, on the other hand, provide quickly digested, easily absorbed amino acids.
Edmund Burke, PhD, author of Optimal Muscle Recovery (Avery), suggests "If you need extra protein, you may benefit from the convenience of a mixed carbohydrate-protein supplement... choose a supplement that's healthy and low in fat."
Amino acid supplements are also growing in popularity, reported to build muscle and burn fat, or improve mood by boosting brain neurotransmitters. The amino acids glutamine, phenylalanine, tyrosine and 5-HTP (a form of tryptophan) are all used to boost spirits and enhance brain function.
And if you still ponder the merits of those high protein diets, do keep in mind that protein may be better at controlling hunger than carbohydrates or fat since it steadies blood sugar, so it may help you stick to a reduced-calorie plan. But excess protein can't be stored as protein in the body: It is either burned for energy or converted to fat. And carbs are still the body's top energy source, so forgoing too many can leave you tired and sluggish.
Still, with so many vital functions-and a variety of sources to choose from-you can't afford to not explore the benefits of protein.
Stevia, Xylitol Sugar alternatives ...
June 09, 2005 06:15 PM
Sugar Solution by Kristin Daniels Energy Times, January 4, 2002
Sugar Solution by Kristin Daniels
Low blood sugar-a blood sugar recession-can make the good times recede. While you can't live without blood sugar, too much or too little wreaks havoc on your body and mind. And when blood sugar dips low enough to cause hypoglycemia you may feel like your emotions have been shredded. Knowing how the body regulates blood sugar allows you a measure of control in keeping blood sugar in the proper groove, and makes life a little sweeter. Hypoglycemia occurs when you feel dragged out because of low blood sugar. Ironically, this low blood sugar syndrome may be caused by an overabundance of sugar in your meals and snacks. Those who point to hypoglycemia as a widespread problem claim that up to two of three women in America suffer from hypoglycemia. That would make it an epidemic of monstrous proportions. In a survey of 1000 folks complaining of hypoglycemia, published in the Hypoglycemia Support Foundation's winter 2000 edition, researchers found that low blood sugar sufferers complained of hypoglycemic discomforts in several main categories: 94% of the people in the study reported nervousness, 89% mentioned irritability, exhaustion affected 87%, depression struck 86% and drowsiness hit 73%. Other miseries included fatigue, cold sweats, tinnitus (ringing of the ears), rapid heart rate, blurry or double vision, confusion, sudden hunger, convulsions, sweating, sleeping problems, paleness, muscle pain, memory loss, crying jags, fainting and dizziness.
Body of Evidence
Diary of a Maddening Condition
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.
St. Jophn's Wort Time Released (TR)
May 09, 2005 09:42 AM
St. John's Wort Timed Release
A New Kind of Flower Power - 18.8 Million People Can Experience Better moods Naturally with Source Naturals New Timed Release St. John's Wort in Convenient Once-Daily Tablets
Scotts Valley, California " September 2, 2004 " Source Naturals®, creators of the highly acclaimed line of health supplements, has introduced St. John's Wort Timed Release - a potent natural product to promote healthy moods. So why take it? Because, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 18.8 million American adults will experience imbalances in their mood health during the year.
"St. John's Wort has never before been available in a timed release form," says Vice President Jeff Lipsius." This unique product was scientifically formulated to conveniently and continually release mood-boosting compounds throughout the day or night. This is how St. John's Wort should be taken for maximum benefit."
"Most people don't even want to discuss their mood concerns. And they don't have to face this alone. This is an all-natural approach to maintaining healthy moods. Even the story behind St. John's Wort is cheerful," says Marketing Manager Lisa Brighton. "It is the flowers and a dark red residue on the flowers, which contain the beneficial compounds, such as hypericin, that help boost your mood. This is a flower with the clinically proven power to improve your mood." Source Naturals " founded in California by Ira Goldberg in 1982 " is committed to enhancing individual potential to enjoy optimal health and well-being by providing superior quality dietary supplements and nutritional education. For more information, pricing or purchase locations, please visit