How to Improve Your Sleep and Stress Levels with Prebiotics

31 Mar

 

Prebiotics are nutrients that the probiotics (good bacteria) in your gut microbiome require for best health.

The bacteria in the gut help the body to digest and metabolize the food we eat and numerous research studies demonstrate that these bacteria are vital to our overall health and well-being. These bacteria also activate hundreds of genes and the immune system.

Prebiotics are the nutrients that allow the friendly bacteria in the gut to multiply and these probiotics are most commonly found in fiber-rich foods.

The friendly bacteria thrive on the indigestible fiber and inulin is one of these types of water-soluble fiber that is most commonly found in foods such as asparagus, onions, leeks and garlic as they help to nourish the friendly bacteria in the gut.

How Prebiotics Can Support Sleep

Researchers have now found that taking a dietary probiotic can have a positive effect on rapid-eye movement (REM) and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep cycles, all of which can positively affect sleep quality.

The researchers studied the effects of gut health and prebiotics and how it benefits REM sleep of certain animal test subjects. They were given a diet rich in prebiotics, starting from the age of 3 weeks old.

Previous studies into this noticed that the results suggested daily stress can alter the gut microbiome in a manner that also affects the sleep-wake cycle. The goal of their research was to determine if taking a prebiotic may help to improve sleep quality when placed under stress.

For four weeks, the test subjects were fed a manufactured diet containing prebiotic fiber or a control diet. After this time, the researchers analysed excrement and found that eating prebiotics had an increase in beneficial gut bacteria, compared with the control group.

When the friendly bacteria metabolize the prebiotic fiber, they don’t just grow and multiply, they also excrete a metabolite that’s known to be beneficial for brain health. The test subjects eating a diet rich in prebiotics were also found to spend more time in restful and restorative NREM sleep than those on the control diet.

Scientists therefore concluded that with the right nutrition and sufficient NREM sleep, it’s possible to impact brain development and function, to improve sleep problems. Taking a prebiotic in early life could greatly improve your sleep quality, along with promoting optimal brain and psychological health.

Stress levels were also found to improve due to increased REM sleep. Prior research has also shown that people who have more REM sleep after a significant trauma are less likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Why Prebiotics Are Important

Fiber rich foods are important prebiotics for friendly bacteria but in many foods they are often accompanied by sugar and carbohydrates, causing the unfriendly bacteria to grow and multiply. Processed foods and refined carbohydrates can affect the gut microbiome, especially if you don’t have enough beneficial bacteria to stay healthy.

The test group involved in the study didn’t experience any stress disruption in their gut microbiome as the control group of test subjects did and they even returned to a normal sleep pattern more quickly than the control group too.

This study therefore highlights the importance of prebiotics on gut health and its role with inflammation, obesity, depression, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.

All prebiotics are fiber but not all fiber has a prebiotic effect on the friendly bacteria. To be classed as a prebiotic, fiber must resist gastric acidity, resist any absorption in the upper gastrointestinal tract, be fermented by intestinal flora and stimulate the activity or growth of beneficial bacteria.

Add More Healthy Prebiotics Into Your Life

Raw whole foods containing fiber are the most healthy and beneficial prebiotics to include in your diet. Some of these foods include:

  • Asparagus
  • Beetroot
  • Chickpeas
  • Fennel
  • Garlic
  • Green peas
  • Leeks
  • Lentils
  • Onions
  • Pomegranate
  • Pistachio Nuts
  • Seaweed

However, it’s not always possible to get enough prebiotic fiber from foods alone, especially if you want them to nourish your good bacteria. For this reason it’s worth including a healthy prebiotic supplement into your daily routine to increase beneficial gut bacteria.

Robert Redfern

Why Your Body Needs Magnesium

22 May

Magnesium is an essential mineral for good health and optimal biological function. Not only does magnesium play a vital role in mitochondrial health, it also benefits more than 300 enzymes and more than 3,750 magnesium bonding sites on human proteins.

Magnesium’s main role is to create ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate), the energy currency of the body. It also relaxes blood vessels, supports muscle and nerve function and the proper formation of bones and teeth.

When the body is magnesium deficient it can result in deterioriating cellular metabolic function, resulting in serious health problems. Some of these health problems include anxiety and depression, migraine headaches, cardiovascular disease, fibromyalgia and sudden cardiac death amongst other issues.

Magnesium also has a vital role in the detoxification process and in minimising any damage from toxic exposure. Magnesium also has the amazing ability to optimise mitochondria and potentially prevent cancer, while being great for general energy levels and athletic performance.

The body’s organs require ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) to function properly so ensuring that your body gets the right nutrients and precursors for your mitochondria is essential for good health, disease prevention and exercise performance.

 

How Much Magnesium Do I Need?

It’s recommended to get 310-420mg of Magnesium daily for best results although some suggest requiring as much as 600-900mg/day for best health depending on your age, sex and overall health requirements.

Many of us aren’t getting enough magnesium as the soil in which food is grown is severely depleted of nutrients. Therefore many magnesium experts suggest taking a magnesium supplement to ensure you’re getting enough.

One of the best ways to get more magnesium into your diet is to eat magnesium rich foods. Here are some good choices to include:

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Swiss Chard
  • Kale
  • Bok Choy
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Beet Greens
  • Avocados
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Fatty fish
  • Fruits and berries

 

Transdermal Magnesium is Most Effective

However, one of the most efficient ways to get magnesium into your diet is to apply it topically onto the skin. Rubbing or spraying magnesium onto skin, or choosing to bathe in flakes are all good ways to ensure magnesium gets into the bloodstream for maximum cellular absorption.

Topical magnesium is one of the best ways to deliver minerals into the body via the skin and documented research has demonstrated how topically applied magnesium chloride can have a direct impact on blood chemistry.

According to the work of Dr Norman Shealy, M.D. Ph.D Founder of the American Holistic Medical Association, when 16 individuals with low intracellular magnesium levels were tested, after a 20 minute foot-soak with magnesium chloride flakes, along with spraying their body with magnesium oil on a daily basis. Their results showed that after 4 weeks of soaking their feet in magnesium chloride, 75% of the participants showed a very significant increase in their cellular magnesium levels.

When combined with OptiMSM® (Methylsulfonylmethane), the world’s purest MSM, this important source of sulfur plays a mineral element critical to the normal function and structure of the body. MSM has also been shown in studies to provide effective pain control, reduce inflammation and can dilate blood vessels, increasing blood flow. When combined with magnesium, this can greatly boost magnesium levels in the body, relieving aches and pains and supporting the cardiovascular system, processes of detoxification and good brain function. All while boosting mood, reducing stress and providing support for healthy skin.

Robert RedFern

10 Top Foods That Fight Inflammation

20 Apr

If you have heart disease, high blood pressure, bacterial or viral infections, osteoporosis, arthritis, acid reflux, candidiasis, or acne, then you could also have chronic, low-grade inflammation. In fact, if you have any number of other diseases, it is likely you have inflammation. And if you want to get or remain healthy, you definitely want to reduce the damaging effects of it!

Diet is a key part of your inflammation-fighting plan, and some foods have amazing anti-inflammatory properties.

What Is Inflammation?

Inflammation has a positive and negative affect in your body. Inflammation has a positive side because it helps your body respond to stress. But chronic, low-grade inflammation is thought to be one of the leading causes of disease, premature aging, and illness.

When you get a cold, your body responds with inflammation in the form of a fever that helps you heal. The inflammation does its job, gets rid of the virus, and disappears. But if your immunity is compromised and your body is constantly stressed, you might experience chronic low-grade inflammation that leaves you more susceptible to illness and disease.

Foods That Fight Inflammation the Natural Way

You can help your body fight inflammation by reducing stress, eliminating sugar and processed foods, and getting enough sunshine. Diet is a key part of your inflammation-fighting plan, and some foods have amazing anti-inflammatory properties.

Here are 10 excellent inflammation-fighting foods and ways to incorporate them into your lifestyle:1

  1. Fermented foods and liquids like Dong QuaiInnergyBioticPassion Fruit Biotic, and CocoBiotic should be at the top of your list of inflammation-fighting foods. They are anti-inflammation superstars for many reasons. One example is that they build immunity and help control infections that are often an underlying cause of inflammation.
  2. Broccoli has tons of vitamin C and plenty of calcium. It also fights eye inflammation. Make sure you lightly steam your broccoli to digest it well.
  3. Hemp oil (and all other oils with omega-3 fatty acids) reduce inflammation. Most Americans consume too many omega-6 fatty acids, so it’s important to incorporate more omega-3 fatty acids. Hemp oil also has gamma-linoleic acid (GLA) to further fight inflammation. Remember to look for unrefined organic oils.
  4. Wild-caught salmon is another way to get beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. You can also try other fatty fish like cod and sardines.
  5. Tart cherries can reduce inflammation ten times better than aspirin!  Tart cherries help reduce your risk for heart disease. They are certainly more delicious than the popular over-the-counter pill you are likely familiar with.
  6. Soaked walnuts make a delicious and inflammation-fighting snack because of vitamin E and more heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Soak your walnuts and other nuts before you eat them to remove the enzyme inhibitor. This makes them easier to digest.
  7. Onions and garlic. Onions not only provide a sweet taste to your savory meals, but also they have lots of quercetin, a potent antioxidant that can help your body fight inflammation. Try onions with your grain dishes, or prepare with eggs and greens. Garlic has long been a folk remedy for colds and illness, and its anti-inflammatory properties are amazing! Garlic contains sulfur compounds that stimulate your immune system to fight disease.
  8. Pineapple is a tart fruit.  It has bromelain, an antioxidant that boosts your immunity naturally.
  9. Spinach has plenty of carotenoids, one kind of inflammation-reducing antioxidant and it also contains vitamin E.  Make sure to steam your spinach for ultimate digestion.
  10. Spices: Ginger and turmeric. Turmeric is a spice used extensively in other cultures, and for good reason. It contains curcumin, a substance that actively reduces inflammation. Try sprinkling turmeric onto cooked squash or quinoa for a different flavor. Ginger works in a way similar to turmeric to lower inflammation and in some studies has been shown to reduce pain associated with arthritis.

While processed foods may seem like the easier choice at first, they deplete your health over the long haul. Developing a healthy eating plan can sometimes seem difficult but like anything that is new, it becomes second nature over time. And the payoff is well worth it: With a proper diet, you can take a proactive stance against inflammation, aging, and disease by incorporating these superfoods into your life.

Donna Gates

10 Ridiculously Easy Ways You Can Spring Clean Your Health

18 Apr

Feeling well is one of the main benefits of good health and taking care of yourself. Being mindful of your daily habits is therefore essential to achieving vitality and feeling amazing in the long term.

However, it’s all too easy to slip into bad habits such as eating ‘junk’ food, drinking alcohol or sitting down all day. At first they may seem fairly harmless, but soon become dangerous when they become a daily occurrence.

Reviewing your habits is therefore essential to experiencing true well-being. Use the following tips as a guide to stay on track and ‘spring clean’ your way to better health…

 

1. Drink more water

Water is an essential part of life. Humans are made up of water – approximately 60% of the body and 70% of the brain is made up of H20.

Drinking enough water means every cell in the body stays hydrated, skin is moisturized, kidneys can cleanse and rid the body of toxins easier and bowels can function properly.

It’s highly recommended to drink at least 6 x 500ml glasses of fresh filtered water daily.

 

2. Go for a daily walk

Walking is a simple yet powerful exercise that strengthens the heart and may reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Health experts recommend a 30 minute brisk walk daily to control blood pressure.

Walking is excellent for strengthening the heart and lungs, increasing your overall level of fitness.

The great thing about walking is that it’s easy to do and an exercise and suitable for all ages and fitness levels.

3. Go eat more greens

Eating a wide variety of green vegetables is recommended as they are packed with healthy nutrients like Vitamins A, C, E and K.

Green vegetables are full of fiber and phytochemicals, that can protect from cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and hypertension. Green veggies can also help to prevent cell damage and decrease cholesterol levels.

Eat around 10 servings of vegetables and fruits daily for good health. Staying creative is key – add to smoothies, juices, soups, salads and stews to keep meals interesting.

 

4. Practice deep breathing exercises

Many of us are might not be aware we are shallow breathing from the lungs, rather than breathing deeply from the diaphragm (abdominal breathing).

As oxygen is drawn deeper into the muscles, some of the benefits of deep breathing include stress relief, reduced risk of heart disease, reduced cravings for junk food, improved quality of sleep and elevated moods.

Other benefits include better mental focus, a strong immune system and an increase in human growth hormone (HGH) – known as the anti-aging hormone.

How to Practice Deep Breathing

Sit comfortably and inhale slowly through the nose using your diaphragm (instead of the lungs). Once the lungs are full and the belly expanded, hold the breath for 6-12 seconds.

Slowly exhale through the mouth, making sure to use the belly to push the air out. Once the lungs are empty and the belly is contracted, repeat this cycle. Repeat 10 cycles (around 8-10 minutes) daily for best results.

5. Do more down dog

Yoga isn’t simply about learning to become super flexible or getting into impressive poses.

There are countless benefits to yoga including increased muscle strength and tone, lung health, energy and vitality.

Yoga boosts cardiovascular health, supports weight loss and can even improve your athletic performance.

One recent Norwegian study found that yoga can boost immunity at a cellular level by helping you to breathe better, allowing blood circulation to flow more freely.

 

6. Eat more healthy fats

Fats help your body to absorb certain nutrients more efficiently. They are also essential for giving cells structure and Omega-3 fats support optimum nerve, brain and heart function.

Fat is also a major source of fuel for the body (as it provides many calories) and this is one of the main ways that it stores energy.

Avocados and walnuts are two good sources of mostly monounsaturated fat you should be eating, as they are rich in Omega 3’s and high in Vitamin E.

 

7.  Eliminate dairy and all grains

Dairy products like cheese and milk, along with grains such as bread and pasta are inflammatory foods that are highly acidic in the body.

Dairy products cause indigestion problems for 75% of people with lactose intolerance and this has been linked with prostate cancer. Dairy is also full of saturated fat, linked with heart disease.

Grains contain gluten, lectins and phytates that make certain minerals unavailable to the body. Eating grains can lead to health problems such as leaky gut, weight gain and Type 2 diabetes; affecting blood sugar and insulin levels that cause you to store fat.

Instead of eating milk or dairy products, choose healthy alternatives such as almond, coconut, oat or rice milk. Good alternatives to grains or wheat based products include baking with Buckwheat or Coconut flour as these are grain and gluten-free, enabling you to enjoy bread, pasta, pastries and cakes.

 

8.  Meditate in the morning

Meditation has many positives for both the mind and body. Reducing stress, improved concentration, increased self-awareness and better moods are just some of the main benefits.

Yet did you know meditation can slow ageing and support cardiovascular and immune health? Studies also suggest that meditation can improve emotional well-being, making you feel less worry, anxiety and depression.

Meditating for 5-10 minutes for beginners is recommended. As you become more practiced, try adding 5-10 minutes on every time.

 

9. Get more sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep plays a vital role in your health. Numerous studies show that insufficient sleep is linked with serious health problems including heart attacks, heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

There is evidence that getting enough sleep can lower your pain threshold, meaning you hurt less.

Sleep can promote good moods and emotional health and even help with maintaining your weight. Strong immune health and better memory are all positive benefits of sufficient sleep.

 

10. Take a good probiotic

Probiotics provide a wide range of benefits for digestive health. As probiotics are live bacteria and yeast, they can repopulate the digestive tract with healthy bacteria.

People with digestive issues such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) who suffer symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, cramps, constipation and diarrhea can all benefit from taking probiotics.

Studies also show that probiotics can boost the immune system and ward off infections, possibly even helping to fight obesity.

Probiotic rich foods include kefir, sauerkraut, miso, kimchi and kombucha tea. Consider adding more of these into your diet for best health or taking a good prebiotic and probiotic supplement.

Robert Redfern

Thyroid Cancer

15 Apr

An interesting study has shown that low thyroid and chronic headaches are linked. A large percentage of the people who get chronic headaches will go on to develop low thyroid. That low thyroid risk is then doubled if a person suffers with migraines.

I have always thought the problems were caused by something we ate but it looks like it was caused by something we did not eat or at least food that was deficient in this critical mineral.

Critical Mineral

The FDA allows selenium as a cancer prevention. Yes, you read that right, the only supplement that carries an allowable cancer health claim. It is so important for making bodily processes work correctly.

On its own selenium it is very powerful but when used with Iodine it’s even better!

Enzymes arranged around selenium, called seleno-de-iodinases help to keep T3 at an appropriate level in liver, kidney, thyroid and brain cells. Glutathione peroxidase is another enzyme, which helps to limit T4 when its levels go on the high side.

The problems that selenium deficiency can cause are made more serious when Iodine is also deficient. Selenium is crucial in aiding the body to recycle Iodine. Selenium deficiency coupled with an Iodine deficiency is likely to lead to thyroid imbalance.

Many people who are diagnosed with a thyroid dysfunction have a deficiency of Iodine, but research has shown that some may have a significant selenium deficiency as well. It’s vital to treat both deficits in order to re-establish thyroid stability.

Just reading the stats that thyroid cancer rates are increasing at a crazy rate really concerns me.

To be clear, three times more lives are blighted by this condition, which is easily prevented. It is another indication of the failure of the medical business to care for the health of the population.

The thyroid gland is a very critical gland that controls a large number of vital bodily functions. It is situated around the windpipe just below the Adam’s apple in the neck.

The thyroid receives signals from the pituitary gland, located between the eyes in the front of the brain. The pituitary instructs the thyroid how much of the various hormones are needed for the rest of the body.

The hormones produced by the thyroid control: heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, the rate food is converted into energy, weight and the absorption of calcium which is vital in the growth and development of children and especially intelligence.

The thyroid utilizes iodine and selenium as two of the main ingredients in some of the important hormones, both of which are missing from the average diet.

Many people suffer from low thyroid production (Hypothyroid), which in most cases makes the person tired and overweight. A smaller group who suffer from Hyperthyroid lose too much weight.

There are two things that are so critical to prevent or reverse all thyroid problems. I want to remind you of these forever:

Within the EU, as taken from their directive on Health & Nutrition claims, it has been confirmed that:

  1. Selenium contributes to the normal function of the immune system
  2. Selenium contributes to normal thyroid function
  3. Selenium contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress
  4. Selenium contributes to the maintenance of normal hair
  5. Selenium contributes to the maintenance of normal nails
  6. Selenium contributes to normal spermatogenesis

On its own it is very powerful but when used with Iodine it’s even better!

Why Iodine and Selenium work together…(technical jargon)… Selenium is a chief component of the molecules, called seleno-proteins, which are necessary for the body to be able to create and use thyroid hormones.

Seleno-proteins:

  1. Regulate thyroid hormone production
  2. Support the conversion of thyroxine (T4) to triiodothyronine (T3).
  3. Protect the thyroid tissues
  4. Help balance thyroid hormone production

Enzymes arranged around selenium, called seleno-de-iodinases help to keep T3 at an appropriate level in liver, kidney, thyroid and brain cells. Glutathione peroxidase is another enzyme, which helps to limit T4 when its levels go on the high side.

The problems that selenium deficiency can cause are made more serious when Iodine is also deficient. Selenium is crucial in aiding the body to recycle Iodine. Selenium deficiency coupled with an Iodine deficiency is likely to lead to thyroid imbalance.

Many people who are diagnosed with a thyroid dysfunction have a deficiency of Iodine, but research has shown that some may have a significant selenium deficiency as well. It’s vital to treat both deficits in order to re-establish thyroid stability.

Robert Redfern

 

 

Essential Oils that can Heal the Gut

1 Apr

Common Problems in the Gut

Sometimes, an individual’s gut can be damaged without their knowledge. Perhaps the bacterial balance is off and the immune system is faltering. Maybe their emotions swing wildly, or cognitive function falters.

The gut is a command post for much of the body, with nervous system transmitters that rival the CNS in the brain and spinal cord. So even if you don’t think you have gut problems – or you think you have unrelated issues – it’s worth looking at your history, lifestyle, and dietary choices to consider whether you have damaged your gut in any way.

For everyone else, you know you have gut trouble because it manifests in uncomfortable, or often painful ways.

4 Gut Issues Affected by Essential Oils

Essential oils aren’t always the perfect match for every gut health imbalance, but there are definite cases where their use is indicated and even preferred.

1) SIBO & Dysbiosis – The microbial balance in the gut can be shifted in many ways, usually categorized as dysbiosis. A particularly concerning form of dysbiosis is that of SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth), which occurs when bacteria that should be in the colon are found in the small intestine. Both generalized dysbiosis and the more specific condition of SIBO are connected with other health concerns, including IBS and metabolic disorders. (1)

Essential oils are indicated for SIBO and other gut flora issues when the essential oil is able to exhibit symptom relief without damaging beneficial bacteria. In 2012, a study analyzing the development of a probiotic (beneficial bacteria in supplement form) found certain essential oils to work well with the formula, creating a synergistic effect of increased benefits. (2)

A few years before that, eight essential oils were analyzed for their effects on gut dysbiosis (bacterial imbalance). The findings included caraway, lavender, and bitter orange as stand-out examples of essential oils that would harmonize well with the beneficial bacteria in the body. (3) These studies demonstrate the excellent ability that these essential oils have to affect detrimental bacteria while remaining gentle on the body and beneficial strains. Further research for dosing and ideal treatment methods will be exciting to see!

2) IBS – Irritable Bowel Syndrome was once considered little more than a non-diagnosis – the blanket term given when doctors essentially had no idea what was going on. Now, we know that IBS not only affects more than 10% of the global population, but that fewer than 30% of those affected will ever make it to the doctor to even seek a diagnosis. (4) IBS is usually managed with diet and medication, but essential oils – especially in enteric coated capsules that can make it past the stomach – have been indicated for symptom control, as well.

Although more extensive studies are welcomed, an extensive review conducted in 2008 shows peppermint oil exhibiting significant improvement over placebo, alongside dietary fiber – both of which stood alongside antispasmodic medications in efficacy. (5) To ensure the oil reaches the intestines, enteric coated capsule preparations are indicated by studies.

3) GERD – While the “gut” is technically the intestines, we usually use it interchangeably with the digestive system as a whole. As such, health trouble can start as quickly as the esophagus and acid reflux or GERD. This combination problem is related to stomach acids (both too much and too little) as well as a faulty “flap” that should keep the acid out of the esophagus. Acid levels can be affected by lifestyle and diet, as well as bacteria.One way to approach GERD with essential oils is to use oils that protect the stomach and improve digestive processes.

Ginger fits the bill, in tandem with turmeric, as indicated in a study released in January 2015. (6) The researchers tested antioxidant levels in rats with and without turmeric and ginger essential oils. The oils seemed to increase antioxidant levels as well as reduce damage done to the stomach wall. Culinary preparations would make sense here, providing a digestive system boost to your regular mealtime.

4) Nausea – Within the stomach, nausea is another common problem, associated with a number of ailments as a symptom ranging from unpleasant to debilitating. Anyone who has experience nausea knows that scent has a major effect on how you feel, in either a positive or negative manner. Inhaled essential oils are an excellent tool for managing nausea of nearly any cause.Backing this up with promising research, we see that peppermint and ginger work well together for alleviating nausea. (7) Refreshing citrus oils can also be beneficial, with lemon standing out as helpful for dreaded morning sickness nausea in pregnancy. (8) Aromasticks can be helpful to inhale the scent as needed, or simply open the bottle and enjoy the aroma in moments of queasiness.

Healing the Gut

We can’t discuss gut health or healing remedies without discussing the importance of bacteria. Totaling more of our body composition by weight than our own cells, bacteria comprise a formidable ally or opponent, depending on the situation.

In a journal article describing the importance of gut flora, researchers detailed the “collective metabolic activity equal to a virtual organ within an organ,” created by bacterial populations in the body. (9)

If you’re squirming in your seat at all of this talk of bacteria, you’ve probably internalized the “kills 99.9% of bacteria” line that keeps us from caring about our microscopic partners in health. More likely than not, you also have gut damage to heal.

Without restoring or protecting the bacterial balance in the gut, remedies and healing techniques will be ineffective or short lived or both. Fortunately, digestive-wellness essential oils are typically safe, and will presumably be used as part of an overall shift toward holistic wellness.

Healing the Gut with Essential Oils

While these oils carry evidence of benefit to overall gut health and can facilitate gut healing, do use caution when approaching disease states. As we all know, natural products are “not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”

Essential oils are powerful and should be treated with the respect they deserve. If you have or suspect a disease or chronic ailment, seek a doctor and professional for advice.

With that out of the way, let’s highlight some of the gut healing benefits of essential oils, as backed by science.

Peppermint – Like its parent plant, peppermint essential oil is known for its digestive remedy capabilities. Peppermint has long been indicated for IBS via enteric-coated capsules. (10) This was revisited in 2013, with coriander and lemon balm mentioned for their effectiveness, as well. (11)

Thyme- An antimicrobial by day, gut healer by night, thyme is a superhero in the world of gut health. For SIBO, thymol and geraniol have been shown “effective in suppressing pathogens in the small intestine, with no concern for beneficial commensal colonic bacteria in the distal gut.” (12) Thymol, of course, is the major component of thyme, while geraniol is found in high concentrations in rose oil.

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Lavender – Not only have we seen lavender as effective against dysbiosis, but it is a well-reputed source of anti-inflammatory and healing properties. Additionally – perhaps not coincidentally – lavender has been one of the most effective anxyolitic (anti-anxiety) essential oils, tested as a commercial internal preparation. (13) Whether the anxiety was calmed due to improved gut health or it’s just a convenient double purpose, lavender is a key component of nearly any healing protocol.

spoon of dry lavender and aromatic lavender oil

Cumin – A recent study on IBS symptoms and essential oil treatments evaluated a 2% preparation of cumin essential oil in 57 patients with IBS. At the end of the four week maximum trial, symptoms including pain, bloating, and elimination problems were significantly decreased. (14)

This, of course, is just a highlight of the digestive oils. Ginger stands out for nausea and initial digestive complaints. Citrus oils are gentle and effective for both digestion and peripheral issues, like anxiety and microbial concerns. If you’re serious about rebuilding your gut, essential oils should be near the top of your toolbox, researched and ready to go.

 

Click HERE for DIY gut health protocol:

 

Resources:

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3099351/
  2. http://www.hindawi.com/journals/grp/2012/457150/
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20030464
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3921083/
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2583392/
  6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24756059
  7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22784340
  8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22784340
  9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1500832/
  10. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9430014
  11. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24283351
  12. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25500493
  13. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26293583
  14. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3990147/

Dr. Eric Z

 

Vitamin C ‘More Than 10x Effective’ At Killing Cancer Cells

18 Mar

Vitamin C may potentially be a cancer treatment according to research from the University of Salford in Manchester. Researchers found that Vitamin C is up to 10x more effective at stopping the growth of cancer cells than certain drugs.

Previous research has shown that Vitamin C can reduce mortality in breast cancer patients, but this latest piece of research provides evidence that indicates Vitamin C can target and kill cancer stem cells.

These are the cells believed to inhibit chemotherapy treatment, resulting in the recurrence of disease and metastasis. In this experiment, researchers measured the impact of several substances including Vitamin C for its effects on cancer stem cells. While a natural antibiotic and one experimental drug performed better than Vitamin C, the latter was found to be 10x more effective at stopping cell growth than when compared with another drug.

While research from the National Cancer Institute has shown that high doses of Vitamin C can be a treatment option for cancer since the 1970s, new lab research indicates that large amounts of this nutrient could potentially slow the growth of several types of cancer cells and this includes cancer of the colon, liver, pancreas and prostate.

This is exciting research as it means that Vitamin C can potentially provide a cheap, convenient and natural solution in the fight against cancer. Unfortunately, Vitamin C doesn’t receive a lot of funding into its cancer-killing potential and in the 1980s the Mayo Clinic found that there were actually no anti-cancer benefits. However, researchers argued that the tests were flawed as the Vitamin C was taken orally instead of intravenously where it’s more readily absorbed by the gut and excreted by the kidneys.

A more efficient way to take Vitamin C is in the form of Liposomal Vitamin C which is much more absorbable than tablets. Liposomes act as a vehicle to transport Vitamin C into the body more efficiently and in this way, virtually all of the vitamin gets into the bloodstream and any issues of bowel discomfort that may be associated with oral vitamin C tablets are completely avoided.

Robert Redfern

Sleep Disorders? Acupuncture Can Help

16 Feb

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Sleep disorders occur when difficulties and complications interfere with the quality and length of sleep. One reason why it is so important to consistently have a proper night’s sleep is because without it, other medical issues may worsen. Even a single restless night can leave one feeling mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted. While a complete catalogue of sleep disorders is long and varied, some of the most common ones that respond well to treatment with acupuncture and Oriental medicine are insomnia, sleep apnea, jet lag disorder, snoring, night terrors, narcolepsy and restless leg syndrome (RLS).

According to acupuncture and Oriental medicine, the cycles of sleeping and waking demonstrate the dynamic interplay of yin and yang forces. Yin qualities include contraction, cold, inactivity and nighttime. Yang qualities are represented by expansion, heat, activity and daytime. During sleep and states of relaxation, yin exercises the dominant force. After yin energy has refreshed the body and mind, it is then time for yang energy to increase. When yang springs into action, it is now possible to wake up restored and ready for the day.

One way in which a practitioner of acupuncture and Oriental medicine may help a patient regain control of their sleep is by balancing the body’s internal forces of yin and yang through the use of acupuncture. For example, if a disharmony is discovered in the Yang Qiao channel, manifesting as an overabundance of yang energy, and since this energy is always active, it would be appropriate to decrease yang and increase yin. This can help alleviate symptoms of certain sleep disorders, such as insomnia. A channel is an invisible pathway on which energy is necessary for healing flows. The Yang Qiao channel has traditionally been used to address sleep pathologies.

However, in some cases, there is also an emotional component that must be addressed. A study entitled “Acupuncture Increases Nocturnal Secretion and Reduces Insomnia and Anxiety: A Preliminary Report”, printed in the 2004 edition of the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, yielded some very encouraging conclusions. The test subjects, all of whom complained of insomnia and anxiety, received regular acupuncture treatments for a total of five weeks.

Melatonin is a hormone produced in the pineal gland that controls the waking and sleeping cycles. It was documented that the patients’ nightly levels of melatonin production increased, which, in turn, caused a rise in the amount of time spent dozing. This also resulted in a better quality of sleep than before the treatments began. At the same time the length and quality of sleep improved, there was a significant reduction in their levels of anxiety. This led the researchers to conclude that acupuncture is a valuable and effective treatment for certain kinds of insomnia.

If you can’t seem to get a good night’s sleep call today to see what acupuncture and Oriental medicine can do for you!

Christina Sarlo LMT, L.Ac., NCCAOM
Experience Your Chi
www.christinasarlo.com

How To Take ‘Berry’ Good Care Of Your Heart Health

15 Feb

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Blueberries. Blackberries. Raspberries. Some of your favorite berries aren’t just super tasty, they also provide many powerful health benefits too. A powerful source of antioxidants, berries are also rich in elliagic acid, a natural phenol antioxidant that is also a powerful anti-cancer, anti-viral and anti-bacterial compound. Some of the health benefits of eating berries include the following…

    • Support for Blood Pressure. One study published in the journal Nutrition looked at 45 pre-hypertensive patients randomized into three groups. One of the groups was given a capsule of dried black raspberry powder at a moderate dose equivalent of 1500mg every single day, while the second group received a higher dose to the equivalent of 2500mg and a third group received a placebo. After a period of 8 weeks it was found that those taking the high dose of black raspberry experienced significantly reduced 24-hour systolic blood pressure and nighttime systolic blood pressure, when compared to the control group [1].

 

    • Reduce Heart Attack Risk. Research shows that women who have more than three servings of blueberries or strawberries have a 32% lower risk of having a heart attack [2]. Benefits of flavonoids within the berries are known as anthocyanins and these are antioxidants that give fruits their red or purple colors. Anthocyanins benefit the endothelial lining of the circulatory system and it does this by possibly preventing plaque build-up within the arteries and therefore promoting healthy blood pressure.

 

    • Protects Against Cholesterol in the Blood. Oxidative damage isn’t limited to the cells and DNA, it also becomes a problem when the circulating LDL lipo-proteins (the “bad” cholesterol) are oxidized. Oxidation of LDL is a crucial step within the process of heart disease. A 50g serving of blueberries was shown to lower LDL cholesterol by 27% within obese participants, after a period of 8 weeks [2]. Meanwhile a study showed that eating 75 grams of blueberries with a meal can significantly reduce the oxidation of LDL lipo-proteins. [3]

 

  • Controls Blood Sugar Levels And Has Anti-Diabetic Effects. The anthocyanins in blueberries can have beneficial effects on both insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. These various anti-diabetic effects have also been noted on both insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. Anti-diabetic effects were shown with taking both the blueberry extract and the juice. Meanwhile a study of 32 obese subjects found that in those who had insulin resistance, drinking a blueberry smoothie was shown to cause major improvements in insulin sensitivity. [4] When insulin sensitivity is improved, then there is a lower risk of having metabolic syndrome and developing Type 2 diabetes – one of the world’s biggest health problems. Diabetes can also lead to complications and heart disease, actually doubling the risk of heart attack or stroke. For this reason it’s recommended to protect your blood sugar health to avoid any complications.

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Adding dark berries such as blueberries, blackberries and strawberries into your diet is one of the best ways to protect your heart health in the long-term. For best results, Robert Redfern recommends eating 5 portions of dark skinned fruits every day. Make sure to include avocados – preferably 2 every day for best heart health!

Robert Redfern

 

10 Top Foods That Prevent Inflammation in Your Body

14 Feb

f you have heart disease, high blood pressure, bacterial or viral infections, osteoporosis, arthritis, acid reflux, candidiasis, or acne, then you could also have chronic, low-grade inflammation. In fact, if you have any number of other diseases, it is likely you have inflammation. And if you want to get or remain healthy, you definitely want to reduce the damaging effects of it!

Diet is a key part of your inflammation-fighting plan, and some foods have amazing anti-inflammatory properties.

What Is Inflammation?

Inflammation has a positive and negative affect in your body. Inflammation has a positive side because it helps your body respond to stress. But chronic, low-grade inflammation is thought to be one of the leading causes of disease, premature aging, and illness.

When you get a cold, your body responds with inflammation in the form of a fever that helps you heal. The inflammation does its job, gets rid of the virus, and disappears. But if your immunity is compromised and your body is constantly stressed, you might experience chronic low-grade inflammation that leaves you more susceptible to illness and disease.

Foods That Fight Inflammation the Natural Way

You can help your body fight inflammation by reducing stress, eliminating sugar and processed foods, and getting enough sunshine. Diet is a key part of your inflammation-fighting plan, and some foods have amazing anti-inflammatory properties.

Here are 10 excellent inflammation-fighting foods and ways to incorporate them into your lifestyle:1

  1. Fermented foods and liquids  should be at the top of your list of inflammation-fighting foods. They are anti-inflammation superstars for many reasons. One example is that they build immunity and help control infections that are often an underlying cause of inflammation.

2. Broccoli has tons of vitamin C and plenty of calcium. It also fights eye inflammation. Make sure you lightly steam your broccoli to digest it well.

3. Hemp oil (and all other oils with omega-3 fatty acids) reduce inflammation. Most Americans consume too many omega-6 fatty acids, so it’s important to incorporate more omega-3 fatty acids. Hemp oil also has gamma-linoleic acid (GLA) to further fight inflammation. Remember to look for unrefined organic oils.

4. Wild-caught salmon is another way to get beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. You can also try other fatty fish like cod and sardines.

5. Tart cherries can reduce inflammation ten times better than aspirin! Once your inner ecosystem is well underway you are in. Tart cherries help reduce your risk for heart disease. They are certainly more delicious than the popular over-the-counter pill you are likely familiar with.6. Soaked walnuts make a delicious and inflammation-fighting snack when you are ready for stage 2 of Body Ecology because of vitamin E and more heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Soak your walnuts and other nuts before you eat them to remove the enzyme inhibitor. This makes them easier to digest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Onions and garlic. Onions not only provide a sweet taste to your savory meals, but also they have lots of quercetin, a potent antioxidant that can help your body fight inflammation. Try onions with your grain dishes, or prepare with eggs and greens. Garlic has long been a folk remedy for colds and illness, and its anti-inflammatory properties are amazing! Garlic contains sulfur compounds that stimulate your immune system to fight disease.

 

8. Pineapple is a tart fruit that has bromelain, an antioxidant that boosts your immunity naturally.

Of The Most Important Health Benefits of Pineapple | Live Love Fruit

 

 

 

 

9. Spinach has plenty of carotenoids, one kind of inflammation-reducing antioxidant and it also contains vitamin E.  Make sure to steam your spinach for ultimate digestion.

10. Spices: Ginger and turmeric. Turmeric is a spice used extensively in other cultures, and for good reason. It contains curcumin, a substance that actively reduces inflammation. Try sprinkling turmeric onto cooked squash or quinoa for a different flavor. Ginger works in a way similar to turmeric to lower inflammation and in some studies has been shown to reduce pain associated with arthritis.

 

 

 

 

 

While processed foods may seem like the easier choice at first, they deplete your health over the long haul. Developing a healthy eating plan can sometimes seem difficult but like anything that is new, it becomes second nature over time. And the payoff is well worth it: With a proper diet, you can take a proactive stance against inflammation, aging, and disease by incorporating these superfoods into your life.

Donna Gates