Health Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water

Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water Particularly in the Morning 2 Health Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water (Particularly in the Morning)


A glass of lemon water to start your day can help keep the doctor away. Why do I say that? According to Hippocrates “All disease begin in the gut”, and modern research has also concluded that an unhealthy gut environment impacts the immune system and leads to a myriad of diseases.

Drinking vitamin C rich lemon water (especially first thing in the morning) helps your gut by stimulating the production of hydrochloric acid, a critical ingredient needed by our stomach to digest and expel waste. Lemon is known to neutralize free-radicals in our body, and helps greatly in balancing our body’s pH levels (more on that below). And there are more benefits that I want to share with you too.

As recently as a few years ago, I would start my day by drinking a cup of coffee to “wake myself up”. It was a habit that lasted around 7 years until I replaced coffee with juice this year. I have to admit, I still drink coffee but only on occasion when I’m with friends, but it is nowhere near the amount I was drinking before.

Why Drink Lemon Water?

Overall, this little yellow fruit packs a lot of nutritional punch. It is rich in antioxidants that will neutralize free radicals from oxidizing cells and it stimulates our digestive system to flush out toxins from the body.

The biggest benefit in my book is the very low sugar levels. According to ThePaleoDiet, per 100 grams it only has 0.2 grams of fructose and 0.2 of glucose which makes this fruit suitable for almost anyone looking for a quick nutritional boost every morning.

Here’s the nutrition you’ll get from 100 grams of lemon juice:

Vitamin Mineral Profile Lemon Juice Health Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water (Particularly in the Morning)


Source: Nutrition Data

Health Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water

Post-Workout Recovery

Lemon is rich in electrolytes and an be used alone or in combination with apple and celery to as a post-workout recovery drink. This recipe includes lemon, lime, water, sea salt, and honey/natural sugar and provides a safer, more affordable alternative to commercial “energy drinks”.

One thing people don’t realize when they workout is that their body becomes very acidic after an intense workout. Lemon is a great neutralizer of that high acidity inside your body. [1]

Tip: You can also replenish loss fluids during workouts by drinking lemon water instead of just plain water to improve muscle endurance (particularly for running).

Alkalizes the Body, Helps Maintain pH

Nutritionists like Gareth Edwards say that has a great alkalizing effect on the body because “minerals in it disassociate to make it alkaline” as it gets absorbed by the body.

Even though lemon is acidic itself, when it enters the bloodstream “the alkalizing salts override the presence of acids” during the metabolic processes that happens when it enters the bloodstream. [2]

When our body becomes more acidic, it is more prone to disease. A great way of balancing pH levels is drinking water infused with fresh lemon juice to alkalize the body and lowering acidity levels. [5]

Tip: Avoid adding honey, maple syrup or any type of sweetener because doing so will just have the opposite effect which is to raise the body’s acidity levels.

Asthma Treatment

Lemon has been listed in countless home remedies lists as one of the best natural treatments for asthma that’s because it is rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant that fights free radicals which causes smooth muscle contraction and airway constriction, both symptoms of asthma. It also helps clear out mucus from air vessels. [3]

Tip: Don’t just rely on lemon for treatment, if your doctor prescribes an inhaler by all means use it just in case you have asthma attacks. Lemon is only meant to provide you with the dietary supplement you need to fight this condition.

Balances Blood Sugar Levels

Lemon is rich in bioflavonoids which give this fruit its yellow color. This same compound also naturally stimulates the production of insulin in our body which in turn balances our blood sugar levels. [4]

Tip: If you juice try using lemon as the only sweetener in your recipes, it has very little sugar and calories. It takes takes a little bit to get used to but the results will be well worth it. If it’s too bitter or sour, add one apple to the mix.

Brain Food

This little yellow fruit is rich in potassium which is considered brain food. [6]

Caffeine Replacement

Lemon is a natural energy booster, even more so if you add honey to it. I’ve said earlier in this article that I was a chain coffee drinker, and I’ve replaced it lemon water with no regrets whatsoever. [7]


The citric acid present in lemon helps flush toxins from the colon, gallbladder and liver that otherwise would be absorbed by the body. The best effect can be had by drinking this first thing in the morning before any meals. [8]

Dissolves Phlegm

Citric acid present in lemon will help dissolve phlegm. In addition to that it is rich in antioxidants like Vitamin C and K that help fight off cough and colds.

The traditional concoction involves combining lemon with warm water and honey. Warm water in a way sooths irritation (at the same time is a decongestant) caused by cough. William Sears says that honey is a very effective at dissolving phlegm, more effective than cough syrups. [9]

Tip: Remember that if your cough does not improve a few days after drinking this mixture, consult a physician and take proper medication. This only serves as a natural first aid alternative.

Fights Cancer Cells

Remember about the compound Bioflavonoids I was talking about earlier, it turns out that this also works as an antioxidant that fights cell oxidation and free radical damage which are the main culprits of cancer. Theresa Chung who wrote “The Lemon Juice Diet” went as far as saying that it can help prevent cancer. It also contains pectin that according to Vijaya Kumar have been known to protect the intestines from cancer.

Heart Food

Potassium found in lemon is vital for the function of our heart, it does not treat any ailment but it helps in preventing heart related illnesses like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and irregular heartbeat.

Helps Hydrate the Lymphatic System

According to Dr. John Douillard, the lymph system largest circulatory system in our body, twice as large as the arterial system, it is responsible for flushing out waste and toxins out of our system. Keeping it hydrated is important to our overall health.

Actually, water alone is enough to hydrate the lymph system but I added lemon here because it helps in alkalizing thus balancing acidity levels.

Helps Relieve Constipation

This combo is great as a home remedy for constipation. Water helps lubricate the digestive system and soften stool. Citric acid found in lemon induces bowel movement that will flush out undigested waste from the colon. [10]

Helps Treat Scurvy

Scurvy for those who don’t know is a disease that is a direct result of vitamin C deficiency. Sailors are most prone to this disease because of their extended mission trips on sea that often outlast their produce supply. Lemon water is the treatment of choice for this ailment because it is rich in vitamin C. Water is great as masking the sharp flavor thus allowing them to drink this concoction in large amounts.

Supports Digestive Health

A cup of warm water before any meal in the morning will help break down waste and flush out to toxins from the gut. That’s because at a molecular level, lemon is similar to your saliva that encourages the liver to produce bile – a fluid needed by our intestines to dispose waste and toxins. [11]

Tip: Warm lemon water should be the first thing that goes in your stomach in the morning, before having breakfast or any other liquid.

Helps Prevent Eyesight Degeneration

Being rich in vitamin C also has a positive effect on your eyesight as this will help prevent eye conditions like macular degeneration and cataract. [12]

It also contains a tiny bit of vitamin A (1% per 244 grams), another key nutrient for good vision.

Supports the Immune System

Lemons are rich in nutrients like bioflavonoids, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, citric acid, folate and pectin that boost our body’s immune system and immobilize free radicals (the cause of many ailments).

18. Increases Metabolism and Promotes Weight Loss

It is a little known fact that drinking 8 glasses of water (8 ounces per glass) each day actually boosts your metabolism or how much your body burns calories by 30%. This is based on a study done by Michael Boschmann of the Franz Volhard Research Center. Lemon adds some flavor to water which will help you drink more plus it has pectin which suppresses appetite. [13]

Tip: Most of the pectin and dietary fiber is found in the white pity part under the skin, make sure to eat this as well.

Helps Keep the Body Hydrated

If drinking pure water is a chore for you, consider adding a few slices of lemon in there to add a bit of flavor and sharpness to it. It’ll help hydrate your body and replenish lost vitamin and minerals you lose when you get stressed. [14]

Kills Free Radicals

Per 100grams of lemon juice, you’ll get 77% of your daily vitamin C requirements which is known toneutralize free radicals in our body.

Kills Worms

Parasites like worms thrive in an acidic environment. Drinking lemon mixed in water helps in flushing them out.

Lowers High Blood Pressure

Citrus fruits like lemon are rich in vitamin C that helps in thinning the blood, in addition to its antioxidant properties. Another mineral found in this fruit that helps lower blood pressure is potassium that flushes out excess sodium. [15]

Tip: if you suffer high blood pressure it is important that you keep yourself hydrated throughout the day. A lack of water in the body tells your system to go into preservation mode, which means it will hang on to every last drop of water your body has, the effect of which is the thickening of the blood – another cause of high blood pressure.

Lowers Stress Levels

One thing that gets depleted when you’re stressed is vitamin C so the next time your stress levels go up, take a break and replenish that lost vitamin C with a cup of warm lemon water. [16]

Helps Prevent Bad Breath

It helps two ways here. First by killing the bad-breath-causing bacteria in your mouth and second, by flushing away toxins in your liver that when overworked releases bad smelling substances to the bloodstream, lungs then out the mouth. [17]

Radiant Skin

Its antioxidant properties help you get more radiant skin from the inside out by repairing damaged cells, flushing out toxins and killing free radicals that can ruin our skin. [18]

Reduces Uric Acid and Inflammation

Lemon is rich in potassium and citrate that prevent the crystallization and buildup of uric acid inside the body which also causes swelling. Since it is a diuretic it will help flush out excess fluid from the body and that includes the uric acid thus reducing inflammation. [19] Inflammation is associated with a range of common diseases.

Tip: To get the maximum benefit, drink a glass after every meal and avoid adding any sweeteners in there like honey because this is a byproduct of fructose metabolism. [20]

Treats Kidney Stones (and Prevent It)

Dr. Hoffman said in this article that the citrate present in lemon help inhibit oxalate crystals from forming, one of the most common kidney stones. He recommends mixing 4 ounces of lemon juice to two liters of water to increase urinary citrate levels. Oh, avoid adding any sugar or honey for the maximum benefit.

Helps Prevent Urinary Tract Infection

My wife has had her battles with UTI and a recent bout with it left her weak and unable to work for almost a week. Her friend’s sister had it much worst; the UTI she had led to septic shock which almost took her life – but fortunately she was able to overcome it.

Studies have shown that lemon has antiseptic properties that prevent sepsis – a condition when left untreated may lead to septic shock. If you have UTI, drink lots of water to flush out toxins and facilitate the healing process. Lemon juice is a natural antibiotic that kill the bacteria inside the bladder and urethra so adding this to water will help in naturally relieving the pain. [21][22]

Your Liver Will Love It

Vitamin C, which is abundant in lemon, is needed by our body to produce glutathione which is needed to detoxify the liver. Also its antiseptic properties stimulate the liver in flushing out uric acid and other impurities. [23] Consult your health professional first if you have a serious liver complaint.

Some Handy Tips

General use
  1. The best time to drink lemon water would be in the morning 15 to 30 minutes before having any type of meal because your body will be able to absorb more nutrients on an empty stomach.
  2. Avoid any type of bottled/concentrated lemon juice as these are already pasteurized and contain artificial sweeteners that we don’t want. Remember adding sugar to a citrus fruit raises the body’s pH level. Using fresh lemon is always the best.
  3. I’ve read some articles that go as far as saying to drink this even before brushing your teeth, I say that’s going overboard but it’s worth a shot.
  4. Lifehack recommends that you use half a lemon if you weigh 150 pounds or less and a whole lemon if you weigh over 150 pounds.
  5. You can use a straw to drink this since the acids found in lemon can eat away at the teeth’s protective enamel coating.
  6. You could follow up with a glass of water to wash away those acids.
Looking to add more lemon to your diet?
  1. You could squeeze lemon on meat, seafood or salad dishes to add a contrasting flavor to these dishes
  2. Add lemon zest on drinks or desserts
  3. It could be used as a base for cakes, cookies and other desserts
Sweeten it up, naturally

The most straightforward recipe would be squeezing half-a-lemon on a glass of warm water but if you think this is too sour for your taste, sweeten it up a bit by adding a teaspoon or two of pure honey. You can do this not only for added flavor but also to help you…

Pick up your energy level (by adding calories) – If you’re drained by 2 in the afternoon, trying drinking lemon water with honey. It helps in boosting energy levels because both of these ingredients are natural energy boosters. This certainly beats drinking artificial energy drinks like Red Bull.

Treat sore throat – This combination works well together in treating a sore throat. Lemon helps dissolve mucus and lemon acts as a lubricant that coats the backside of your throat providing some relief, plus the natural vitamin c aids the immune system.

Treat coughs – This is my personal home remedy for when I have cough. I’ll mix in honey plus half a lemon in a mug of hot water and will feel relieved afterwards. According to the Mayo Clinic, honey contains dextromethorphan, an ingredient found in over-the-counter cough medications, which works well as a home remedy to suppress coughs and sore throat.

Please note: Adding honey (or any type of sugar for that matter) to lemon water could turn it into an acidic concoction that could lower your body’s pH levels. According to Ross Bridgeford (the alkaline diet advocate) if your body’s pH levels go down, the red blood cells turn into mold, bacteria and yeast which in turn excrete acid waste. In short, sugar, whether it be honey or processed sugar combined with citrus makes the body highly acidic – a breeding ground for a lot of ailments.

Hot or cold?

As much as I’d like to drink it hot in the morning to wake up my senses, a lot of nutritionists and health experts say that you should only use lukewarm water because boiling water may kill the enzymes and cold water may disrupt the digestive benefits, causing your body to use more energy to absorb and heat the water, as compared to absorbing lukewarm or body-temperature water.

The only time I would recommend you drink it hot would be if you want to relieve constipation, nausea and heartburn.

Don’t throw away the skin

Don’t throw away the skin as it is a rich source of nutrients like potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin A and C, calcium, beta carotene and iron. It is known to be a great anti-cancer agent because it flushes away carcinogenic stuff from our body.

You could eat the skin but I’d prefer to grate it on your desserts, food or drinks. It will all boil down on your preference. Remember if you’re planning on eating the skin make sure that you are using organic, that way you don’t have to worry about pesticides going into your system.

But.. Avoid eating the rind if you have kidney or gallbladder stones avoid eating the skin as it contains high amounts of oxalates that can crystalize and become stones.

How to prepare?

You can do what I do and squeeze it on a cup of warm water but that’s messy and you’ll need to exert some effort. To get more juice out of lemon, you could use an old fashioned reamer or a juicer.

Another way to prepare lemon water is chopping them off in slices and soaking them in a pitcher of water. This will help add to the flavor of water and help you drink more. Just make sure to wash it thoroughly and scrub the rind.

If possible, avoid using the microwave

I’d avoid using the microwave to heat this because of the radiation that could possibly kill the nutrients in this drink, if possible use a thermos and fill up 3/4’s of the cup with water (at room temp) and the other 1/4 with hot water, that should do the trick. If you need to use the microwave cover the cup with a small ceramic (not plastic) plate so it shields the drink from radiation

Can pregnant women drink this?

Dietitian Julie Redfern says that drinking lemon water can provide some relief from dizziness, headaches, endema, and cramps. The American Pregnancy Association says that even lemon scent helps provide relief to morning sickness. Only avoid this when you have allergies to citrus or if you have ulcer. Make sure to consult with your gynecologist before making any diet changes during pregnancy.

Finally, avoid lemon if…

Avoid lemon juice if you have an ulcer, or if you’re by chance allergic to lemons.

It would be best to consult your health care professional before regularly consuming lemon water if you think you may have an ulcer, allergy, or any other serious medical condition.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is, drinking lemon water promotes healing and improves our health.

This fruit from the rind all the way to its juices is a rich source of nutrients, antioxidants and enzymes that help flush out toxins, prevent diseases and promote healing in our bodies. Adding this drink to your diet will do a great deal in balancing your body’s pH levels that prevents it from being too acidic. It’s in an acidic environment where bacteria, parasites and cancer cells tend to thrive.

Remember to drink at least 8 glasses of water every day to keep your body hydrated.


Article sources:




TSRI Scientists Discover Possible New Target for Treating Brain Inflammation

A team led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has identified an enzyme that produces a class of inflammatory lipid molecules in the brain. Abnormally high levels of these molecules appear to cause a rare inherited neurodegenerative disorder, and that disorder now may be treatable if researchers can develop suitable drug candidates that inhibit this enzyme.

This treatment approach may also turn out to be useful against more common conditions that involve brain inflammation—a category that includes multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS and secondary damage after stroke and head injuries. Such inflammation often fails to respond to standard anti-inflammatory drugs.

“This finding is a good example of what can be gained from studying enzymes linked to rare human genetic disorders,” said Benjamin F. Cravatt, chair of TSRI’s Department of Chemical Physiology and member of TSRI’s Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology.

Rare and Mysterious Disorder

The new study by Cravatt’s team, which appears as a Nature Chemical Biology Advance Online Publication on January 12, stemmed from investigations of PHARC, a rare and mysterious inherited disorder that was first described by Norwegian researchers in 2009. Named for its unique set of typical symptoms (polyneuropathy, hearing loss, ataxia, retinitis pigmentosa and cataract) PHARC usually manifests in early adolescence and progressively worsens with age.

In 2010, PHARC was linked to gene mutations that inactivate the enzyme ABHD12. The finding prompted Cravatt and his laboratory to develop a mouse model of the disease in which the ABHD12 gene is similarly inactivated. Studies of those “PHARC mice” revealed that the ABHD12 enzyme normally breaks down immune-signaling lipid molecules called lysophosphatidylserines (lyso-PSs) in the brain. ABHD12’s absence in the PHARC mice leads to an abnormal buildup of lyso-PSs and subsequent neuroinflammation.

Having identified an enzyme that normally breaks down lyso-PS molecules, Cravatt and his laboratory set out, in the new study, to find an enzyme that makes lyso-PSs. In principle, such an enzyme could be targeted with compounds that inhibit its activity, to dial down lyso-PS levels in the nervous system and thus treat PHARC.

Sophisticated Test and a Weight-Loss Drug

To find a lyso-PS-making enzyme, Cravatt lab Research Associate Siddhesh S. Kamat led the effort to develop a sophisticated test for detecting the enzyme-mediated conversion of precursor phosphatidylserine (PS) molecules to lyso-PSs. “Using this test we discovered a cryptic yet distinct lyso-PS-making enzyme activity in the mouse brain,” said Kamat.

The tests revealed especially high levels of this activity in the cerebellum, a brain region strongly impacted in PHARC.

The team also found that this lyso-PS-making activity could be powerfully blocked in the lab dish by the weight-loss drug tetrahydrolipstatin (THL, also known as Orlistat and Xenical). THL is a known inhibitor of multiple enzymes, and the team was able to link the lyso-PS-making activity in mouse brain specifically to one of these enzymes: a previously uncharacterized enzyme called ABHD16A.

In further work, Cravatt’s team began a collaboration with the laboratory of chemist Amy R. Howell at the University of Connecticut to find a more potent and selective inhibitor of ABHD16A, initially as a tool for studying the enzyme.

“Dr. Howell very generously allowed us to screen her library of THL-related compounds for ABHD16A inhibitors,” Cravatt said.

A Better Inhibitor

The team eventually isolated a small-molecule compound, KC01, that disrupts ABHD16A activity in mammalian cells more selectively than THL does. “Using this inhibitor with advanced chemical proteomic and metabolomics techniques, we were able to confirm that ABHD16A is a major producer of lyso-PS molecules in several different mammalian cells,” Kamat said.

The team found that blocking ABHD16A activity with KC01 markedly reduced secreted lyso-PS levels in culture and brought elevated lyso-PS levels back down almost to normal in cells derived from PHARC patients. The treatment also greatly reduced the secretion of inflammatory compounds by PHARC-mouse immune cells (macrophages) following exposure to a bacterial toxin.

Finally, the team confirmed the role of ABHD16A by breeding a line of mice whose ABHD16A gene was inactivated. The ABHD16A-knockout animals grew up with lower than usual brain levels of lyso-PSs, and their macrophages showed a correspondingly muted response to immune stimulation.

Cravatt notes he hopes to conduct future research in collaboration with the Howell laboratory to develop a better ABHD16A inhibitor that, unlike THL and KC01, can reach the brain from the bloodstream and thus can be tested in live mice—and perhaps in PHARC patients someday. “We also think there is a potential for applying the lyso-PS-lowering strategy more broadly against neurological and immunological disorders,” said Cravatt.

Other co-authors of the paper, “Immunomodulatory lysophosphatidylserines are regulated by ABHD16A and ABHD12 interplay,” were Kaddy Camara of the Howell Laboratory at the University of Connecticut; Dong-Hui Chen and Thomas D. Bird of the University of Washington at Seattle, who supplied cell samples from PHARC patients; and William H. Parsons and Melissa M. Dix of the Cravatt Laboratory at TSRI.

Scientists urge artificial intelligence safety focus

The development of artificial intelligence is growing fast and hundreds of the world’s leading scientists and entrepreneurs are urging a renewed focus on safety and ethics to prevent dangers to society.
Roboy, a humanoid robot developed at the University of Zurich,at the 2014 CeBIT technology trade fair on March 9, 2014 in Hanove

An open letter was signed by famous physicist Stephen Hawking, Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn, and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk along with some of the top minds from universities such as Harvard, Stanford, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, and Oxford, and companies like Google, Microsoft and IBM.

“There is now a broad consensus that (AI) research is progressing steadily, and that its impact on society is likely to increase,” the letter said.

“The potential benefits are huge, since everything that civilization has to offer is a product of ; we cannot predict what we might achieve when this intelligence is magnified by the tools AI may provide, but the eradication of disease and poverty are not unfathomable,” it added.

“Because of the great potential of AI, it is important to research how to reap its benefits while avoiding potential pitfalls.”

How to handle the prospect of automatic weapons that might kill indiscriminately, the liabilities of automatically driven cars and the prospect of losing control of AI systems so that they no longer align with human wishes, were among the concerns raised in the letter that signees said deserve further research.

Read more at:

How Often You Really Need To Shower (According To Science)

Some people see showers as a necessary (and lovely) ritual that all decent human beings do daily…

How Often You Really Need To Shower (According To Science)

While others believe it’s a chore to avoid until the last possible minute and then do as quickly as humanly possible.

How Often You Really Need To Shower (According To Science)

If you’re in this category and have ever wondered how often you actually need to clean your body, the answer is: not as often as most Americans probably think.

Two dermatologists tell BuzzFeed Life that most Americans shower way more than is necessary.

How Often You Really Need To Shower (According To Science)

According to Dr. Joshua Zeichner, assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, how frequently we shower and what we perceive as body odor is “really more of a cultural phenomenon.” Boston dermatologist Dr. Ranella Hirsch echoes this sentiment. “We overbathe in this country and that’s really important to realize,” she says. “A lot of the reason we do it is because of societal norms.”

And those norms are mainly the result of good advertising.

And those norms are mainly the result of good advertising.

After the Civil War, both advertising and “toilet soap” (i.e., soap for the body) became more prevalent in the United States, says Katherine Ashenburg, author ofThe Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized History. “Americans turned out to be much more gullible and susceptible to these things than Europeans,” Ashenburg tells BuzzFeed Life.

Then, in the 1920s and ’30s, more women entered the workforce and more Americans left their farms to work closely together in factories, leading to another major cultural focus on cleanliness and bathing. This time, it came from business books like Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People and was mainly about success and attractiveness.

“Germ theory didn’t matter half as much as promises of beauty,” Ashenburg says.

But here’s the thing: Frequent showering may actually be doing more harm than good.

How Often You Really Need To Shower (According To Science)

Zeichner and Hirsch say that showering too often (particularly in hot water) can dry out and irritate skin, wash away the good bacteria that naturally exists on your skin, and introduce small cracks that put you at a higher risk of infection.

Both doctors say that parents should not bathe babies and toddlers daily. Zeichner says that early exposure to dirt and bacteria may make the skin less sensitive as you age, and prevent allergies and conditions like eczema.

While your activity level and climate will affect how often you’ll want shower, you can probably skip the daily shower and take one every two to three days.

How Often You Really Need To Shower (According To Science)
(Cue people who work out daily raging in the comments. Yeah, yeah.)

If you’re so inclined, you can clean the grossest parts of your body with a soapy washcloth or cleansing towelette to remove odor-causing bacteria on non-shower days. (Grossest parts of your body = “face, underarms, under the breasts, genitals, and rear end,” according to Zeichner.)

You should also put on clean undergarments each day; one study showed that we shed far more dirt and oil in our clothes than we do in the shower.

SO. You no longer have to stand in the stupid shower every morning getting your head wet for 10 minutes while you try to get up the courage to step out into the freezing bathroom!

Joint Pain, From the Gut

Scientists don’t know what causes rheumatoid arthritis, but many suspect that the microbiome—the bacteria that live in our gastrointesntial tracts—may be to blame.

Doctors aren’t entirely sure what triggers rheumatoid arthritis, a disease in which the body turns on itself to attack the joints, but an emerging body of research is focusing on a potential culprit: the bacteria that live in our intestines.

Several recent studies have found intriguing links between gut microbes, rheumatoid arthritis, and other diseases in which the body’s immune system goes awry and attacks its own tissue.

A study published in 2013 by Jose Scher, a rheumatologist at New York University, found that people with rheumatoid arthritis were much more likely to have a bug called Prevotella copri in their intestines than people that did not have the disease. In another study published in October, Scher found that patients with psoriatic arthritis, another kind of autoimmune joint disease, had significantly lower levels of other types of intestinal bacteria.

This work is part of a growing effort by researchers around the world to understand how the microbiome—the mass of microbes that live in the gastrointestinal tract—affects our overall health. The gut contains up to a thousand different bacteria species, which together weigh between one and three pounds. This mass contains trillions of cells, more than the number of cells that make up our own bodies. Over the past several years, scientists have compiled a growing collection of evidence that many of these bugs may have a major effect on our well-being, with some triggering chronic, non-infectious ailments such as rheumatoid arthritis, and others protecting against such diseases.

“It’s become more and more clear that these microbes can affect the immune system, even in diseases that are not in the gut,” says Veena Taneja, an immunologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, who has found clear differences in the bacterial populations of mice bred to be genetically prone to rheumatoid arthritis. In those more susceptible to the disease, a species of bacteria from the Clostridium family dominates. In mice without arthritis, other strains flourish, and the Clostridium strains are scarce.

“This is frontier stuff,” says Scher, the director of the NYU’s Microbiome Center for Rheumatology and Autoimmunity. “This is a shift in paradigm. By including the microbiome, we’ve added a new player to the game.”

Scientists are especially intrigued by how these bacteria influence the immune system. In recent decades, the incidence of many autoimmune diseases has been increasing; many microbiome researchers argue that at least some of this rise is due to changes in our bacterial ecosystem. Altered diet, the explosion of antibiotic use, and decreasing contact with the microbe-packed natural world of animals and plants have all combined to transform the bacteria that call humans home. “Our microbiome has changed significantly over the past century, and especially over the past 50 years,” says NYU microbiologist Martin Blaser, who puts much of the blame on widespread use of antibiotics. “We’re losing microbes with each generation; they are going extinct. These changes have consequences.”

Blaser points to his own research on a species of bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (so named because it looks something like a helicopter). He sampled the gut bacteria of a group of U.S. children, and found that Helicobacter pyloriexisted in only 6 percent of them. By comparison, other research has shown that the strain is common in the vast majority of people from many parts of the world, especially in developing countries. The decline of Helicobacter pylori in the West, which is likely related to the spread of antibiotics as well as improved sanitation, may have medical consequences: Some research indicates that the bacteria may reduce the risk of asthma, perhaps by curtailing the body’s immune response to airborne stimuli. Blaser suspects that asthma is one of the illnesses affected by our changing microbiome: Rates in the U.S. have been climbing for three decades, and grew by more than 28 percent between 2001 and 2011.

Blaser argues that H. pylori and other gut microbes are so deeply involved in our bodily operations that they shouldn’t really be considered aliens. “They are part of who we are,” he says. “These organisms are part of our developmental choreography; they have an enormous amount to do with how our immune system develops.”

In fact, these bacteria have a powerful vested interest in controlling how our bodies respond to interlopers. Blaser and others say that it appears that many of the bugs that live inside us have thrived by modulating the immune system to avoid being recognized—and attacked—as invaders; in essence, these organisms train immune cells not to be trigger-happy. A microbiome with the wrong sorts of bugs, or the wrong ratio of bugs—a situation known as dysbiosis—may unbalance this immune system, causing immune cells to assault not only bacteria, but also the body itself.

Microbes are especially influential in the gut, which houses two-thirds of the body’s immune cells. As the pathway for digestion, the gastrointestinal tract must deal with a constant stream of food-related foreign microbes, which must be monitored and, if they are harmful, destroyed. To do this, our intestines have developed an extensive immune system, whose effects reach far beyond the gut. Immune cells in the gut seem to be able to activate inflammatory cells throughout the body, including in joints.

But while many scientists are confident of the link between the microbiome and arthritis, they haven’t pinned down what particular role bacteria play in triggering the disease. Scher says Prevotella copri may stimulate an immune reaction that then targets joint tissue. Or it may crowd out beneficial microbes that keep immune-system attack cells being too aggressive [a theory supported by the fact that people with high levels of Prevotella copri also had reduced amounts of the bacteria Bacteroides fragilis, which seems to restrain the immune system. Scher suspects that a similar mechanism may explain the results in the psoriatic arthritis study; the missing microbe species—Akkermansia, Ruminococcus, and Pseudobutyrivibrio—may signal the immune system to ease off.

Scher thinks that eventually, it will be possible to treat arthritis by adjusting the microbiome. Dozens of researchers, including Scher and Blaser, are looking into a range of potential strategies to use bacteria as medicine for immune disorders. Already, millions of Americans ingest probiotics—cocktails of supposedly beneficial bacteria that claim to treat everything from acne to insomnia. Scher, like many microbiome scientists I spoke to, is skeptical that these products are useful. “Probiotics are generally safe and almost completely untested,” says Scher. “There’s this idea that you can simply replace certain bugs that are missing. I don’t think it’s as simple as that.” For one, he says, it’s not clear whether most microbes from probiotics can survive the digestive process.

Scher puts more faith in modifying the microbiome through diet. He notes that some patients with rheumatoid arthritis have benefitted from cutting out meat, or adopting a Mediterranean diet (high in fish, olive oil, and vegetables, and low in meat and saturated fat), though scientists don’t know exactly why this helps. In a separate study, Finnish researchers found that a vegan diet changed the gut microbiome, and that this change was linked to an improvement in arthritis symptoms.

Others are focusing on particular bugs over diet. At the Mayo Clinic, Taneja has found that a species of Prevotella bacteria, P. histicola, can prevent or halt the mouse versions of both rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease of the brain and nerves. She is hoping to begin studies on humans in the next few months.

And some scientists are focusing not on the microbes, but on the compounds they produce. B. Fragilis, for instance, may ease autoimmune disease by releasing a molecule called polysaccharide A, or PSA. Harvard University microbiologist Dennis Kasper, who discovered the compound, has found that when given PSA, mice are protected from certain autoimmune diseases, including MS.

Kasper says PSA may be a more effective and reliable way to modify the immune system than adjusting the balance of microbes. PSA also has an advantage over medicines now used for autoimmune disease, Kasper says: It is subtle. Rather than suppressing the entire immune system—an approach that has obvious disadvantages to the patient—PSA instructs immune cells to continue to patrol without going after harmless targets. “This is a molecule that we have lived with for eons,” Kasper, who has recently begun working on ways to turn PSA into medicine for humans, told me. “We know that our bodies can live with it.”

Right now, doctors aren’t using microbes or their metabolites in patients with arthritis or M.S., but Scher, like Kasper, is optimistic: “In 10 or 15 years I think the microbiome will be a key therapeutic option for some of these diseases,” he says. “There will be challenges, but I don’t see why it can’t happen. This isn’t science fiction.”

Here’s A Photo Of Something That Can’t Be Photographed

Here's A Photo Of Something That Can't Be Photographed

This seems like a normal, if blurry photograph of an object — a regular old cat stencil. The catch is, however, that the photons that hit the camera lens couldn’t and didn’t interact with the stencil in any way. So why can you see it?

In Vienna, a team of scientists led by Gabriela Barreto Lemos spent a good long time multiplying photons. First they created an experimental set-up in which a photon from a laser could take one of two paths; as long as they didn’t try to detect which path the photon took, the photon went simultaneously down both paths, making two virtual photons.

Here's A Photo Of Something That Can't Be Photographed

Next, both paths contained a crystal. Each crystal turned the photon that traveled down its path into a pair of entangled photons. When two photons are entangled, a change that one photon undergoes will be reflected in the second photon. One spin changes, and so does the other. The scientists still did not measure which path the original photon went on. So the one photon “split” in two, and went down each path, where it was turned into four photons in two entangled pairs.

Here’s where it gets tricky. On one of the paths, there was an object. In this case, it was a cat stencil whichwas invisible to red light. The entangled pairs of photons were red and yellow.

The yellow and red pair that passed through the cat stencil recombined with the yellow and red pair that did not pass through the stencil. The red photons were directed to the camera, but the yellow photons were not. And on the camera appeared an image of a cat in red light, despite the fact that the single photon of the four “travelers” that could actually interact with the stencil didn’t make it to the camera.

So quantum entanglement gives us a picture made of photons that could never have interacted with the object the picture represents.

Scientists are finally working out how the most ancient life on Earth functions

The Australian discovery could help researchers find new alternatives to antibiotics and cancer cures, and improvements to industry.

A team of scientists led by the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) in Australia have gained world-first insight into archaea – the mysterious, ancient organisms that make up 20 percent of the biomass on Earth, but have gone relatively unexplored by science.

Their research, which has been published in Nature, shows that the organisms contain a surprisingly advanced protein that controls their shape and movement – and it’s closely related to similar, medically important proteins in humans and bacteria.

Archaea have existed for around 2.5 billion years and are some of the oldest life forms on Earth. They make up the third major grouping of life on the planet, alongside eukaryotes (all plants and animals) and bacteria, and can exist in extreme conditions, including the human and animal guts. They also produce all biological methane on the planet.
Importantly, scientists believe that they could offer much-needed alternatives to antibiotics and could also greatly benefit chemical processing and industries – but very little is known about the organisms.

Now an international team, led by Iain Duggin, a research fellow at UTS Science’s ithree institute, have found out some valuable information about the role of a vital protein in archaea that could allow scientists to better work with the organisms.

The protein is called CetZ, and the scientists discovered that it controls the shape and movement of archaeael cells – almost like a cytoskeleton – and allows them to move into a torpedo-like shape in order to swim faster.

This ability was thought to have evolved in complex organisms. But the study suggests it may have originated in archaea.

CetZ is part of a superfamily of proteins that is present in nearly all life – the equivalent in humans is called tubulin and in bacteria it’s known as FtsZ. The discovery is important because tubulin is currently being investigated as a potential cancer drug target, and FtsZ is related to cell division and multiplication in bacteria.

“Our research helps understand the differences between the human (tubulin) and bacterial (FtsZ) proteins that are related to CetZ,” said Duggin in a press release.

“Whilst tubulin is a key target in cancer drug development, we believe that FtsZ could be an important target for the development of new antibiotics, potentially enabling the design of anti-infective drugs that inhibit bacterial cell division and growth, with fewer side-effects.”

The discovery could also allow scientists to take better advantage of archaea, according to the director of the ithree institute, Ian Charles.

“A new type of potentially useful antibiotic called Archaeocin has recently been described that is derived from the archaea,” said Charles in the release. “Archaea provide an untapped source of novel compounds at a time when alternatives are urgently needed given the rapid rise of resistance to existing antibiotics.”

While we’re still only beginning to understand more about our most ancient relatives, it’s an exiting first step towards the future.

Solar cell polymers with multiplied electrical output

One challenge in improving the efficiency of solar cells is that some of the absorbed light energy is lost as heat. So scientists have been looking to design materials that can convert more of that energy into useful electricity. Now a team from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory and Columbia University has paired up polymers that recover some of that lost energy by producing two electrical charge carriers per unit of light instead of the usual one.

Solar cell polymers with multiplied electrical output

“Critically, we show how this multiplication process can be made efficient on a single molecular polymer chain,” said physicist Matthew Sfeir, who led the research at Brookhaven Lab’s Center for Functional Nanomaterials, a DOE Office of Science User Facility. Having the two charges on the same molecule means the light-absorbing, energy-producing don’t have to be arrayed as perfect crystals to produce extra electrical charges. Instead, the self-contained materials work efficiently when dissolved in liquids, which opens the way for a wide range of industrial scale manufacturing processes, including “printing” solar-energy-producing material like ink.

The research is published as an Advance Online Publication in Nature Materials, January 12, 2015.

The concept of producing two charges from one unit of light is called “.” (Think of the fission that splits a single biological cell into two when cells multiply.) Devices based on this multiplication concept have the potential to break through the upper limit on the efficiency of so-called single junction , which is currently around 34 percent. The challenges go beyond doubling the electrical output of the solar cell materials, because these materials must be incorporated into actual current-producing devices. But the hope is that the more-efficient current-generating materials could be added on to existing solar cell materials and device structures, or spark new types of solar cell designs.

Most singlet fission materials explored so far result in twin charge carriers being produced on separate molecules. These only work well when the material is in a crystalline film with long-range order, where strong coupling results in an additional charge being produced on a neighboring molecule. Producing such high quality crystalline films and integrating them with solar cell manufacturing complicates the process.

Producing the twin charges on a single polymer molecule, in contrast, results in a material that’s compatible with a much wider variety of industrial processes.

The materials were designed and synthesized by a Columbia University team led by Professor Luis Campos, and analyzed at Brookhaven using specialized tools at the CFN and in the Chemistry Department. For Sfeir and Campos, the most fascinating part of the interdisciplinary project was exploring the electronic and chemical requirements that enable this multiplication process to occur efficiently.

“We expect a significant leap in the development of third-generation, hot-carrier solar cells,” said Campos. “This approach is especially promising because the materials’ design is modular and amenable to current synthetic strategies that are being explored in second-generation .”

Details of the materials’ analysis

At the CFN, Sfeir and Erik Busby (a postdoctoral fellow) used time-resolved optical spectroscopy to induce and quantify singlet fission in the various polymer compositions using a single laser photon. Xiaoyang Zhu of Columbia helped to understand the data and interpret results.

“We put light energy into a material with a laser pulse and watch what happens to that energy using a series of weaker light pulses – somewhat analogous to taking snapshots using a camera with a very fast shutter,” Sfeir said.

The team also studied the same process using “pulse radiolysis” in collaboration with John Miller, who runs the Laser-Electron Accelerator Facility.

“The differences observed between these two experiments allowed us to unambiguously identify singlet fission as the primary process responsible for the production of these twin charges,” Sfeir said.

With Qin Wu, the team also used a powerful computer cluster at the CFN to model these materials and understand the design requirements that were necessary for singlet fission to take place.

“The ideas for this project and supervision of the work were really shared between Brookhaven and Columbia,” Sfeir said. “It’s a great example of the kind of collaborative work that takes place at DOE user facilities like the CFN.”

The next steps for the CFN-Columbia team will be to test a large class of materials using the design framework they’ve identified, and then integrate some of these carbon-based polymer materials into functioning solar cells.

“Even though we have demonstrated the concept of multiplication in single molecules, the next challenge is to show we can harness the extra excitations in an operating device. This may be in conventional bulk type solar cells, or in third-generation concepts based on other inorganic (non-carbon) nanomaterials. The dream is to build hot-carrier solar cells that could be fully assembled using solution processing of our organic singlet fission materials.”

Here’s Proof That Facebook Knows You Better Than Your Friends

Your operating system knows you so well, says science

Facebook, for one. Researchers at the University of Cambridge and Stanford University studied how Facebook Likes matched up with people’s own answers on personality tests, as well as those of their close family and friends. With enough Likes of objects, brands, people, music or books, the computer was better at predicting a person’s personality than most of the people closest to them—with the exception of spouses. (They still know us best, it seems.)

Wu Youyou, a PhD student in the Psychometrics Center at the University of Cambridge, and her colleagues had previously investigated how computer models could predict demographic and psychological traits in people. But inspired by the movie Her, they were curious about how the models would do in evaluating personality traits. They asked 86,220 people on Facebook to complete a 100-question personality survey that determined where they stood on the so-called Big Five traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. They then analyzed their Facebook Likes to generate a model in which Likes were linked to the traits. Likers of meditation, TED talks and Salvador Dali, for example, tended to score higher on openness, while those who liked reality star Snookie, dancing and partying were more extraverted.

On average, people on Facebook had 227 Likes, and this was enough information for the computer to be a better predictor of personality than an average human judge (in other words, a friend), and almost as good as a spouse. The more Likes, the better the computer got. It only took 10 Likes for the computer to outperform a work colleague, for instance, 70 to do better than a friend, and 150 to outscore a family member.


“We know people are pretty good at predicting people’s personality traits, because it’s such an important thing in all of our interactions,” says Youyou. “But we were surprised by how computers were able to do better than most friends by using just a single kind of digital data such as Facebook Likes.”

Computers are such good predictors because they can take all the Likes at face value and treat them equally, says Youyou’s co-author Michal Kosinski from Stanford’s department of computer science. People tend to forget information if it’s not top of mind and tend to give more weight to memorable or recent events, potentially biasing our evaluations. But computers can treat each piece of information objectively.


Still, the computer strategy isn’t always entirely accurate. It can’t account for changes in people’s moods and behaviors and outlooks, and given that people are notoriously dynamic, that could be a problem. (People who scored higher on the extraversion scale, for example, did like meeting new people but also inexplicably Liked Tiffany & Co., while those who were more conscientious expressed preferences for mountain biking and motorcycles.) But Kosinski thinks that this kind of computer modeling could help processes like career planning and job recruitment. People just entering the job market could benefit from such personality profiling, which could better link them to the right industries and jobs in those sectors. A free spirit who likes to travel, explore and take risks, for example, likely wouldn’t be happy as an accountant, while an introverted person wouldn’t be ideal for a marketing or public relations position.

Kosinski also speculates that computers could streamline job recruitment. Many companies use personality questionnaires, especially when seeking high-level executives, but such questionnaires can be inaccurate and unreliable, as candidates are incentivized to give the answers they think the company wants to see. Computers might be able to come up with a more accurate personality profile than these questionnaires, if the Facebook data are any indication.

Kosinski recognizes that applying such models is tricky. “We have to be really cautious and make sure we don’t upset people and don’t do anything that breaches the trust between the applicant and the employer, if the employer starts testing without explicit consent,” he says. “But we certainly hope that these technologies can be used to better human life.”

Magnesium: Miracle Mineral For All Skin Problems

Magnesium Miracle Mineral For All Skin Problems

Magnesium fosters good health in the body by regulating blood pressure, lowering the risk of cardio-vascular disease, preventing migraines and reducing menstrual cramps. It is required for the performance of over 300 reactions in the body. It’s also the fourth most prevalent mineral found in cells, after calcium, phosphorous and potassium; and the third most abundant mineral in sea water, and the eighth most abundant mineral on Earth. But did you know that it can also do wonders for your skin? In fact, it’s considered as ”the mineral of beauty” in traditional Chinese medicine.

Magnesium deficiency results in lower levels of fatty acids on the skin. This reduces elasticity and moisture and creates the perfect condition for dryness and inflammation.

The Beauty Benefits of Magnesium

Magnesium helps restore cellular magnesium levels,  acts as a natural cellular protectant, facilitates safe and effective detoxification, provides relief of aches, pains, spasms and encourages healthy skin tissue growth. Other benefits can be found here: Health Benefits of Magnesium

.Prevents Wrinkles: Magnesium is necessary for the enzymes that regulate DNA replication and repair. Without it, the skin is subject to a host of harmful free radical damage and inflammation. The book “The Magnesium Miracle” cites a study showing that skin cells grown without magnesium were twice as likely to suffer attacks from free radicals.

.Reduces Breakouts: In a 2007 study cited in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” Magnesium was discovered to help reduce inflammation caused by an excess amount of E-selectin and C-reactive protein. E-selectin is produced when the skin sustains any type of injury, including those created by acne-causing bacteria invading the skin. The presence of E-selectin results in acne inflammation. Magnesium helps reduce E-selectin’s effects and prevents the inflammation.

.Tackles Skin Allergies: Eczema is often a sign of a magnesium deficiency. When magnesium levels are low, the body begins to produce histamines. Histamine creates itchy skin and red blotches, which is caused by swelling blood vessels leaking fluid into the skin and tissues. Along with histamine production, magnesium deficiency also results in lower levels of fatty acids on the skin. This reduces elasticity and moisture and creates the perfect condition for dryness and inflammation.

Magnesium: Topical Application Vs Oral Intake

Magnesium can be obtained from a variety of food sources. (Refer here: Magnesium-rich foods). However, Magnesium and other nutrients are diminished or lost in produce after harvest, through handling, refrigeration, transport and storage. This article gives a fair idea about magnesium loss in foods.

Studies indicate that most Americans have magnesium deficient diets, with 1 in 5 getting less than half the RDA for magnesium in their daily diets. Oral supplementation is affected by numerous things in your gut irrespective of the type of oral magnesium you take. Moreover, magnesium taken orally can be potentially laxative and the ability to absorb magnesium through the GI tract is limited by its shortened transit time.

The skin is a living, breathing organ. So long as a molecule or ion is small enough to pass through the porous surface of the skin, it will eventually end up in your blood stream. Topical application also allows you to maximize the amount of magnesium you’re getting daily without having to worry about diarrhea, digestion, or swallowing additional pills several times a day. It is especially effective as a painkiller and can be applied directly to the trouble area, often providing instant relief.

Magnesium Oil

A deficiency of magnesium as you age can result in calcification in the kidneys, bladder and joints. The introduction of additional magnesium in your diet from magnesium oil can support the health of bones and teeth, which deteriorate as you age. Other conditions that come with age, such as poor circulation and glandular disorders, can be helped with adequate intake of magnesium oil.


Magnesium oil can soothe arthritis by relaxing the muscles in arthritic joints. In order to relieve arthritis pain, you can take magnesium oil orally as a diluted mixture, or rub it over the skin surrounding the joint. If you have sensitive skin, you should dilute the oil with water before topical application. You can use up to 600 mg per day of magnesium oil, in separate doses with meals, to relieve arthritis pain. If you have low blood pressure, you should only take 300 mg per day.


If you have osteoporosis, your hips, spine and wrists are very susceptible to breaks and fractures due to loss of bone density. Even if you are not diagnosed with osteoporosis, magnesium oil can have positive effects if you have low bone mass. Magnesium oil may act as a buffer against diets with high acidity, as well as substitute for a lack of calcium in the bones.

DIY Magnesium Oil

You will need:
.½ cup Magnesium Chloride Flakes
.½ cup Distilled Water
.A Glass Bowl or Glass Measuring Cup
.A Glass Spray Bottle

.Boil the distilled water. It is important to use distilled water, to extend the shelf life of the mixture.
.Put Magnesium Chloride Flakes in a glass bowl or measuring cup and the pour the boiling water over it.
.Stir well until completely dissolved.
.Let cool completely and store in the spray bottle.
.Can be stored at room temperature for at least six months.

Spray on arms, legs, and stomach daily. It may tingle on the skin the first few times and which is normal. It should fade after a few applications, but you can dilute with more water if it bothers you too much. You can either leave it on the skin or wash off after 20-30 minutes.

DIY Magnesium Body Cream

You will need:
.1/2 c. Double-Strength Magnesium Oil OR (follow the steps above to make your own)
.1/2 c. Avocado Oil.
Note: If you want a harder lotion, use coconut oil. Alternatively almond oil, olive oil or jojoba oil also works.
. 1/2 c. Unrefined Shea Butter.
Note: Those with an allergy to latex should choose cocoa butter or mango butter.
.2 tbsp. Beeswax.
.4-6 Drops of any Essential Oil.

.In a saucepan over low heat, melt together the shea butter and beeswax, then add the avocado oil.
.Add the melted oils to a blender. The oils and the magnesium oil should be about the same temperature, or just warmer than room temperature. If they are different, they won’t form an emulsion.
.Add the magnesium oil to the blender. Turn it on low at first, then turn it up until the lotion turns thick, white, and opaque.
.Immediately pour the finished lotion into a glass jar.
.This lasts for 3 – 6 months.

.Rub it on your leg or foot to ease and prevent cramps.
.Use it as a massage oil, using almond oil as a carrier/base oil.
.Rub a pea-sized amount at the base of the skull and the back of the neck to relieve a tension headache.
.Massage into lower back to relax injured or sore back muscles.
.Rub it on the stomach right before bed for a deeper sleep.
.Pregnant women can use it to reduce morning sickness and pregnancy heartburn