For Bad Backs, It May Be Time to Rethink Biases About Chiropractors


Spinal manipulation or physical therapy such as heat and stretches (above) seem as effective as traditional approaches to help lower back pain. 

About two of every three people will probably experience significant low back pain at some point. A physician like me might suggest any number of potential treatments and therapies. But one I never considered was a referral for spinal manipulation.

It appears I may have been mistaken. For initial treatment of lower back pain, it may be time for me (and other physicians) to rethink our biases.

Spinal manipulation — along with other less traditional therapies like heat, meditation and acupuncture — seems to be as effective as many other more medical therapies we prescribe, and as safe, if not safer.

Most back pain resolves over time, so interventions that focus on relief of symptoms and allow the body to heal are ideal. Many of these can be nonpharmacological in nature, like the work done by chiropractors or physical therapists.

Physicians are traditionally wary of spinal manipulation (applying pressure on bones and joints), in part because the practitioners are often not doctors and also because a few chiropractors have claimed they can address conditions that have little to do with the spine. Patients with back pain haven’t seemed as skeptical. A large survey of them from 2002 through 2008 found that more than 30 percent sought chiropractic care, significantly more than those who sought massage, acupuncture or homeopathy.

Researchers have been looking at the evidence supporting spinal manipulation for some time. Almost 35 years ago, a systematic review evaluated the available research, most of which was judged to be low in quality, and found that there might be some short-term benefits from the procedure. Two reviews from 2003 agreed for the most part, finding that spinal manipulation worked better than a “sham procedure”, or placebo, but no better or worse than other options.

Almost a decade later, a Cochrane review assessed the literature once more, and found 12 new trials had been conducted. This review was more damning. It found that spinal manipulation was no better than sham interventions.

But since then, data have accumulated, as more higher-quality studies have been performed. Recently, in The Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers looked for new studies since 2011, as well as those that had been performed before.

The evidence from 15 randomized controlled trials, which included more than 1,700 patients, showed that spinal manipulation caused an improvement in pain of about 10 points on a 100-point scale. The evidence from 12 randomized controlled trials — which overlapped, but not completely with the other trials — of almost 1,400 patients showed that spinal manipulation also resulted in improvements in function.

In February, in Annals of Internal Medicine, another systematic review of nonpharmacologic therapies generally agreed with the other recent trials. Based upon this review, and other evidence, the American College of Physicians released new clinical practice guidelines for the noninvasive treatment of subacute back pain. They recommended that patients should try heat, massage, acupuncture or spinal manipulation as first-line therapies.

The only things that might detract from the use of spinal manipulation in this situation would be its cost and potential harms.

Because they fear those potential harms, some physicians are hesitant to refer patients to chiropractors or physical therapists for care. But in all the studies summarized above, there were really no serious adverse events reported. It’s possible to find anecdotes of harm to the spinal cord from improper manipulations, but these are rare, and almost never involve the lower spine.

Some physicians are concerned about the cost of spinal manipulation, especially since most insurance carriers don’t cover it. Visiting a chiropractor costs more than taking many non-narcotic pain medications. But more invasive interventions can cost a lot of money. In addition, studies have shown that, in general, users of complementary and alternative medicine spend less over all for back pain than users of only traditional medicine.

Medication and surgery can also lead to harms. We shouldn’t forget that prescription pain medications, like opioids, can lead to huge costs, especially when they’re misused.

Some physicians are uncomfortable that we don’t have a clear picture of how spinal manipulation actually works to reduce pain. It’s also possible that some chiropractors do it “better” than others, and we can’t tell. This concern should be tempered by the fact that we don’t have a great understanding of why many other therapies work either. Some of the more traditional things we recommend don’t even work consistently.

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Still, there is no merit to many other claims about spinal manipulation — that it has been proved to work for things like infantile colicpainful periodsasthma, gastrointestinal problems, and more. For most conditions, the therapy lacks a good evidence base.

But given the natural course of back pain — that most of it goes away no matter what you do — the ideal approach is to treat the symptoms and let the body heal. Noninvasive therapies seem to do that well enough.

Source:www.nytimes.com

Scientists Confirmed Why A Himalayan Salt Block Is One Of The Greatest Things You Could Own


Himalayan pink salt is the purest salt known to mankind, layered far away from insudtrial pollution

 The salt beds are set deep in the Himalayan Mountains. Some refer to it as “pink gold.” It’s been praised since forever, and people have always used in their diet.

When exposed to high temperatures, the Himalayan salt block develops a patina, same as cast-iron skilled does.

Himalayan pink salt is rich in calcium, iron, and 84 trace minerals

The pink salt is rich in 84 elements that are naturally found in the human body, which means that by consuming it regularly, you’ll give your body all the minerals it needs.

 Himalayan pink salt also contains calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium. It’s low in sodium, which makes it a great substitute for table salt. The minerals are incorporated in tiny particles of colloidal size, and the body can absorb and metabolize them easily.

The pink salt makes your food tasty

Prepare your food using Himalayan salt block, and the taste will amaze you. You can never possibly over- or under-season your food. It’s all about the taste.

Antimicrobial power

Himalayan salt blocks are the safest cooking utensils you’ll ever get. The pink salt acts as an antimicrobial agent, and its main purpose was to destroy microbes and preserve food.

Temperature resistance

These blocks can ‘survive’ high temperatures. You can practically chill it in your fridge, and use it to serve cold cuts and food. Set it on the grill or your gas stove and cook your food on it. Amazing!

Experts have confirmed that Himalayan salt blocks work well in temperatures between 0°F and 900°F (-17°C to 482°C).

But, keep in mind that sudden temperature changes may damage your block. It should rest for 24 days between each use.

Cook on your Himalayan salt block

Placing the salt block on your grill or gas stove is the best way to use it. You should never put it in the oven.

If you decide to go for the gas stove. Turn the heat on low, then increase it gradually. Your salt block will reach 300°F (149°C) after half an hour.

Heat the block for 40 minutes before every use, and let it cool completely before you clean it.

Source: livingtraditionally.com

Breathing Program to Improve Mental and Physical Health


Story at-a-glance

  • Nine out of 10 adults breathe incorrectly, thereby impairing their health and exacerbating anxiety and depression
  • Proper breathing is a cornerstone of health. Learning to breathe well can improve your sleep, cognition, eating habits and resilience to stress, and lower inflammation, reduce pain and increase longevity
  • Horizontal breathing is healthy breathing; on the inhale, your midsection relaxes and expands, and on the exhale, your breathing muscles squeeze, narrowing your middle

It may be hard to believe, but 9 out of 10 adults breathe incorrectly, thereby impairing their health and exacerbating anxiety and depression. Fortunately, learning to breathe correctly is not a complicated affair.

In this interview, Belisa Vranich, a clinical psychologist and author of “Breathe: The Simple, Revolutionary 14-Day Program to Improve Your Mental and Physical Health,” shares a breathing program she developed that can help improve your physical and mental health in a short amount of time.

Psychologists do not typically focus on breathing. As is often the case with health pioneers, it was her personal health problems that led Vranich onto this path.

“What happened is that one year in New York, I woke up and had this dull throbbing pain in my jaw. I went to the dentist and found out I was not only grinding my teeth, I was pulverizing them because of stress …  

Being someone who sort of thrived on stress, I reached a point where it wasn’t working for me anymore … [F]inding out I had to pay thousands of dollars to get teeth replaced and fixed was my [aha] moment.

Most people take a yoga class or have a stiff drink. I decided for the yoga class. I loved the breathing we did in yoga … When I left yoga, I tried to find other classes that had to do with breathing. Most of them were vague, as far as their scientific explanations of what was going on, although they were lovely …

[C]oming from a science background, I really wanted to know why things were happening … Long story short, I found all types of breathing in sports, martial arts, birthing, singing [and] free diving. I put all those practical elements together and came up with the breathing class I give now.

I went back to my own patients [who] had anxiety and depression, and it worked really well with them … They would spend chunks of the session really wanting to do breath work. That’s how the transition happened.”

Proper Breathing Is a Cornerstone of Good Health

In her book, “Breathe,” Vranich accurately points out that breathing is a cornerstone of good health, and that changing the way you breathe can have an enormous impact, improving your sleep, cognition, eating habits, resilience to stress and more.

It can even lower your inflammation level, improve gastrointestinal (GI) function, increase longevity and reduce pain. When you’re in pain, you tense up, which in turn affects your breathing, making it shallower. This actually makes the pain feel worse, and can lead to a vicious circle where the pain becomes constant.

When it comes to breathing style, there are two basic types: vertical and horizontal breathing. Most people breathe vertically. This type of breathing makes you feel a bit taller on the in-breath, as it raises your chest and shoulders.

“Unfortunately, it’s anatomically incongruous,” Vranich says. “Your neck and shoulders were never meant to be breathing muscles. You’re not using the best part of your lungs. You’re actually telling your nervous system that you are in a stressed-out state.

If you’re not already in a stressed-out state, it’s going to make you more stressed … Horizontally is the way you see all animals on the planet breathe. They breathe and widen where the biggest part of their lungs are …

If you ask a 5-year old to take a breath, they just widen like a little puffing fish … It’s their deep breath. It’s perfect. You take a 10-year-old and ask them to take a deep breath and all of a sudden, it’s completely changed.

The 10-year-old will raise their shoulders, puff up their little chests and take this vertical, apical breath. If it doesn’t happen by age 10, definitely by age 15 … What they’re doing is mimicking their parents and what they see around them …”

How to Address Dysfunctional Breathing

The origins of dysfunctional breathing can also be traced back to excessive sitting. The average American sits 13 to 16 hours a day, which puts your body into an unnatural posture. According to Vranich, your posture affects as much as 30 percent of your breathing.

You may also have learned improper breathing through sports. Constrictive clothing such as tight waist bands, compression garments and bra straps add to the problem. Sucking in your gut also worsens the situation.

“Even if you’re not pulling in your gut because you think it makes you look thinner, you’re bracing because of anxiety. Think about it. That’s actually a posture that most of us have very often,” Vranich says. “It’s this braced middle … because it makes us feel better.

We feel like we’re ready to run or to strike. The problem with all of those things is that it takes the breath and it pushes it up, [turning it into] a vertical breath …

Luckily, dismantling it is fairly easy because somewhere in your body, you remember having breathed horizontally … [and since] it does make you feel better [when breathing horizontally], you start doing it.”

The book, “Breathe,” is a useful resource that provides a variety of different exercises and strategies to address this dysfunctional breathing. One such strategy Vranich calls “rock and roll.” You can do it either standing or sitting.

Begin by relaxing and unbracing your midsection. Take a deep breath in and actually feel the middle of your body get wider. Let your belly go. On the exhale, roll backward, tipping your hips underneath you while pressing your fingers gently into your belly, giving it a little squeeze.

These movements are exaggerated because learning a new mechanical movement is easier if you start by exaggerating it. Eventually, this will teach your body to use the diaphragm to breathe. So, on the inhale, let your belly go. On the exhale, roll back and squeeze.

“This is the most important breath,” Vranich says. “If you do anything at all, this is the most wonderful one … You want to get yourself trained to breathe that way all the time.”

Remember to Engage Your Diaphragm When Breathing

One of the key things to remember is to work with and engage your diaphragm when breathing, as this will allow you to change your breathing more easily, and make the change permanent. This is what the “rock and roll” breathing exercise teaches you.

“[While] the Buteyko [Breathing technique] focuses on your carbon dioxide levels, breathing through your nose, and posits that most people over-breathe … I focus on style of breathing.

I really look to see where you’re breathing from, because in my experience that has been what really resonates with people and what creates the most change,” Vranich says. “Although I touch on Buteyko Breathing in my book, I try to bring in breathing exercises from as many different places as possible, because I want there to be information that resonates with a really diverse group of people.

I talk about breathing that happens in singing … in martial arts … In “Breathe,” I bring in everything I possibly can, as far as breathing, to really give you a choice to see which of these different exercises works for you. But my main gift, I’d like to think, is that I look at where you’re breathing from.”

You might know that muscles will atrophy from lack of use. If you’ve been breathing improperly for several decades, it may take some time to retrain your breathing muscles before you can breathe optimally. Even athletes can have weak breathing muscles, because in order to be strong, they have to be worked out separately. It doesn’t happen automatically simply because you’re breathing heavily, and it has nothing to do with lung capacity. Your breathing muscles include your:

  • Intercostals: Muscles that run between your ribs, allowing your chest wall to move
  • Diaphragm: That thin sheet of muscle that extends across your thoracic cavity below your heart and lungs, above your digestive system
  • Obliques: The largest, outermost muscles of the lateral, anterior abdomen that give you that six-pack look
  • Pelvic floor

How to Strengthen Your Breathing Muscles

Working those muscles and really engaging them when breathing will have a dramatic effect on your ability to breathe well. Your inhale is governed by your diaphragm, while the exhale is primarily governed by your intercostals and obliques. Oftentimes, feeling short of breath is due to insufficient exhalation leaving excess residual air in your lungs. With age, your intercostals and obliques can weaken, thereby weakening your ability to exhale fully.

“When I teach, I teach the extremes so that you understand the mechanics. I make that exhale a squeeze. When you think about exhaling, most people think, ‘Inhale, exhale, let go,’ and that really messes us up. That idea of ‘exhale, let go’ makes you relax and flop down when you actually want to be narrowing your body on the exhale …

If you can think about your belly button getting closer to your spine and even your ribs coming together, that’s a really good exhale, which will obviously make your next inhale much better,” Vranich explains.

While about 50 percent of people can change their breathing for the better simply by reading the book or taking a single-session breathing class, to really change your breathing for life, most people need to commit to doing the exercises several times a day for one to three weeks.

The Importance of Stretching

Stretching helps improve your range of motion and flexibility, and proper breathing is an important aspect of effective stretching as well. Conversely, stretching can also improve your breathing. Vranich explains:

“Since your intercostals are two layers of muscle on the inside of your ribs, the best way you can stretch them is by inhaling and then stretching … [This opens] up the spaces between your ribs … Add air to the ribcage, on the inside, and then stretch. Add a little bit more. It’s called air packing — air packing comes from free diving — then stretch a little bit deeper. You can actually focus on the side that’s collapsing and give that a little crunch …

Now, I love spinal twists. If you don’t have any injuries, if you’ve been OK’d for doing spinal twists, doing spinal twists on the exhale will definitely get you deeper into the twist using the breath … Whatever chair you’re on, taking the back of your seat … and pulling yourself around on the exhale will get you deeper into the twist.”

Source:mercola.com

Mindfulness meditation helps women but not men, first study suggests


Mindfulness does not help men, a new study has shown
Mindfulness does not help men, a new study has shown 

Mindfulness does not help men, the first study to look at the gender divide in meditation suggests.

Although recent research has shown that mindfulness meditation, the practice of directing attention to present sensations and feelings, can be beneficial, nobody has checked whether the results were the same for both sexes.

But when Brown University broke down results they found a clear difference for men and women. While practising significantly helped women overcome a downcast mood, it actually made men feel slightly worse than before they began.

 “That was the surprising part,”said Dr Willoughby Britton, assistant professor of psychiatry and human behaviour and of behavioural and social sciences.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a widespread phenomenon that researchers hadn’t bothered to investigate.”

Students meditate in the lab component of their coursework
Students meditate in the lab component of their coursework

The study followed 41 male and 36 female students over the course of a full, 12-week academic class on mindfulness traditions which included three one hour-long meditation labs a week.

Over that time the average student had engaged in more than 41 hours of meditation in class and outside.

But while women’s moods improved by an average of 11.6 points over the trial, the average mood of men got slightly worse.

The researchers believe that the traditional way in which men and women deal with emotional distress could be behind the disparity.

“The mechanisms are highly speculative at this point, but stereotypically, women ruminate and men distract,” added Dr Briton.

“So for people that tend to be willing to confront or expose themselves or turn toward the difficult, mindfulness is made for improving that. For people who have been largely turning their attention away from the difficult, to suddenly bring all their attention to their difficulties can be somewhat counterproductive.

 “While facing one’s difficulties and feeling one’s emotions may seem to be universally beneficial, it does not take into account that there may be different cultural expectations for men and women around emotionality.”

Dr Brown said since conducting the study she has found the same gender divide in two other published studies, and will shortly publish new details on her findings.

Source: Frontiers in Psychology.

By Using Coconut Oil You Will Be Able To Reverse Cavities And Heal Decomposed Teeth!


You are surely familiar with the countless health benefits of coconut oil, but you might now be aware of the fact that this oil is highly beneficial for your dental health.

 Research has shown that it can be a perfect substitute for over-the-counter toothpaste kinds, most of which contain chemicals, and might cause irritations and other adverse effects.

Dental health is extremely important for the overall health, and the numerous mouth infections might cause various other health issues in the body, such as stroke, dementia, heart issues, and respiratory disease.  Therefore, you should always take special care for your dental health.

Newest studies have shown that coconut oil is one of the best ingredients you can use to maintain your dental health at optimal levels and that it is much more effective that toothpaste.

A recent study conducted at the Athlone Institute has found that this oil is better than all other oils when it comes to keeping the teeth clean and healthy. This oil is an excellent antibacterial agent, as its digestive enzymes prevent bacteria growth in the mouth.

Streptococcus and S Mutans are acid-producing bacteria which are the main culprits for the decomposition of teeth in adults and children. They get energy from sugar and cause an acidic environment in the mouth, which demineralizes the tooth structure, and the tooth gets spoilt.

According to Dr. Damien Brady, the main researcher from Athlone Institute of Technology,

 “Involving coconut oil with adjusted enzymes in the products of dental hygiene represents an interesting alternative to chemical additives, especially because it works at considerably reduced concentrations. Plus, with bigger antibiotic hostility, it is essential for us to pay attention in finding and using some new ways to fight against microbial infection.”

In order to avoid the harmful chemicals, people should turn to more natural variants of teeth cleaning. Toothpastes are rich in triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate, fluoride, and artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, which might cause various health issues.

For instance, triclosan was linked to endocrine issues, and sodium lauryl sulfate was found to negatively affect the taste buds.

On the other hand, we will suggest a natural toothpaste recipe which contains coconut oil:

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons baking soda
  • 15-30 drops of lemon, thieves, or peppermint essential oil

Instructions:

Mix all the ingredients, and use the paste as any other.

Moreover, oil pulling is another way to protect your teeth and support dental health. You should swish a tablespoon of coconut oil in the mouth for about 5-20 minutes on an empty stomach.

Afterward, spit the oil, which will absorb the bacteria from the mouth, and leave the teeth clean, healthy, and white.

Sources and References:
www.davidwolfe.com
www.organichealthuniverse.com
besthealthyguide.com

Revolutionary Cannabis Patch Successfully Treats Fibromyalgia and Nerve Pain (without getting you high!) 


In November 2016, Cannabis Science announced 2 new pharmaceutical developments in the form of cannabis skin patches for pain. Representatives claim the skin patch will be more effective than cannabis-based topical creams, pills, or injections due to its more accurate dosing (1).

Currently, the skin patches are not yet available and no official date has been given by Cannabis Science for clinical trials. Nevertheless, should research and development progress as expected, the cannabis skin patch could prove to be a much-needed new option for treating complicated chronic pain conditions including fibromyalgia and diabetic neuropathy.

Does Cannabis Work for Treating Pain?

medical marijuana

The most common natural plant cannabinoids (phytocannabinoids) are: THC, cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), and cannabinol (CBN). While the majority of research and public attention has been directed at THC, the new skin patch development uses the CBD, otherwise known as cannabidiol(1).

Research shows that CBD has several beneficial properties, including (5):

  • anti-inflammatory
  • analgesic (pain relief)
  • greater antioxidant activity than vitamins C or E
  • neuroprotective

CBD is a non-euphoriant, and some research actually suggests that this particular cannabinoid reduces the effect of the other euphoriant cannabinoids, lessening their psychoactive effects including panic, anxiety, intoxication, and heart palpitations. In short, taking isolated CBD will not alter your state of mind like smoking or consuming marijuana would.

Cannabis Science CEO, Raymond Dabney states, “As more states nationwide legislate for the legalization of Cannabis and Cannabis derived medications, we here at Cannabis Science are focused on developing pharmaceutical formulations and applications to supply the huge growing demand expected over the coming few years.”

medical uses for cannabis

Thanks to a growing body of research exploring the medical uses of cannabis, and a cultural openness to medical marijuana use, the cannabis skin patch may soon be a real option available to those suffering from painful conditions like diabetic nerve damage and fibromyalgia.

Diabetic Neuropathy and Cannabis

Diabetic neuropathy is a group of nerve disorders associated with diabetes. While nerve damage can start at any point for those with diabetes, people who have had diabetes for 25 years or more or who have difficulty managing their blood sugar or blood pressure levels, have the highest risk (2).

Since nerve damage can occur in every organ system, symptoms can be varied. Some people with nerve damage won’t experience any noticeable symptoms at all. The 4 main types of diabetic nerve damage come with their own unique set of symptoms:

Diabetic Nerve Damage Symptoms

1. Peripheral Neuropathy: The most common type of neuropathy is peripheral neuropathy, which usually manifests in hands and feet as (2):

  • numbness
  • tingling
  • sharp pain
  • sensitivity to touch and temperature

2. Autonomic Neuropathy: This type of nerve damage affects the cardiovascular system, eyes, digestive tract, sex organs, urinary tract, and sweat glands. Symptoms include (2):

  • noticeable changes in digestion and bladder function
  • sexual dysfunction in both men and women
  • inability to manifest usual warning signs of low blood sugar
  • trouble seeing at night
  • profuse sweating

3. Proximal Neuropathy: Proximal neuropathy is localized in the legs. It’s associated with (2):

  • pain in legs, hips, thighs or bottom
  • noticeable weakness in leg muscles

4. Focal Neuropathy: This form of nerve damage can affect any nerve in the body (but most often in the head and arms), causing weakness and pain. Other symptoms include (2):

  • vision problems, aching around eyes
  • facial paralysis
  • acute pain in chest, stomach or abdominals

How Is Diabetic Nerve Damage Treated?

Conventionally, doctors will prescribe patients with diabetic nerve damage painkillers, anticonvulsants or antidepressants such as oxycodone, Ultram, amitriptyline, Cymbalta, or Lyrica. Additionally, they will work with the patient to help keep blood sugar levels balanced.

Should Cannabis Science’s skin patch go through clinical trials and be approved by the FDA, it would provide a more natural and effective way to manage pain from diabetic nerve damage without risk of addiction (a massive problem with opioid prescriptions).

Fibromyalgia and Cannabis

cannabis patch to treat fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia syndrome is a chronic condition often grouped together with arthritis, although it is not an arthritic condition. Fibromyalgia affects mostly women. A 2008 report estimated that about 5 million adult Americans suffer from fibromyalgia (4). Sufferers of fibromyalgia experience chronic non-localized pain, tenderness, and intense fatigue. Sometimes, fibromyalgia is accompanied by other symptoms including (3):

  • brain fog
  • headaches
  • morning stiffness
  • restless leg syndrome
  • painful menstrual cramps
  • irritable bowel syndrome

How is Fibromyalgia Treated?

Unfortunately, fibromyalgia can be tricky to treat; this is complicated by the fact that many medical providers are not familiar with fibromyalgia or its various treatments. The FDA has currently approved 3 drugs for fibromyalgia treatment: Duloxetine, Milnacipran, and Pregabalin.

The Cannabis Science skin patch might be a promising treatment option for many fibromyalgia patients, especially those for whom the 3 current drugs don’t have an effect. It would also provide a less risky solution than the current drugs, which come with their own long lists of side effects and long-term risks.

Help us spread awareness of this potential new treatment by sharing this article with your friends and family. We will continue to follow the development of the Cannabis Science skin patch and provide updates as new studies and trial information becomes available.

Source:http://theheartysoul.com

Study Finds That Psilocybin Hyperconnects The Brain


Psilocybins have many positive effects on the human brain, being known to cure ailments such as travel sickness and having magical effects on perception and spirituality.

They have been  used for centuries with cave painting of mushrooms being found dated over 6,000 years ago.

A lack of studies on psilocybins has led to a poor understanding on exactly how the substance works, but a recent study had a ground-breaking result.

The study, conducted at Kings College, London has found that psilocybins have an effect on the brain like nothing else seen before.

They found the compound to be connecting parts of the brain that are usually completely separate.

Study co-author Paul Expert said:

“…the compound connects brain regions that don’t normally talk together.”

The study found ‘long range connections’ between areas of the brain causing a state of synesthesia which accounts for why people describe seeing colours when listening to music.

Fellow Kings College psychopharmacology researcher Mitul Mehta said:

“…through studies such as these we can really begin to tackle the questions of how we achieve coherent experiences of ourselves in the world around us, and understand what makes this break down.”

Source:http://livetheorganicdream.com

10 Foods to Boost Nitric Oxide


One of the most important molecules for blood vessel health is nitric oxide (NO). It is a major vasodilator, as it keeps blood vessels open. Doctors have prescribed nitroglycerin to patients for many years for patients with chronic chest pain (angina pectoris). Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Lyndon Johnson lived on the stuff. Nitroglycerin gets converted to nitric oxide.

Our Body Makes NO- if we give it the tools it needs.

There are two cellular pathways in the body that generate nitric oxide. Dietary sources of nitrates and nitrites enter the body through the gastrointestinal tract and are subsequently converted into nitric oxide. In a second pathway, an enzyme known as nitric oxide synthase (NOS) synthesizes nitric oxide from the amino acid L-arginine and oxygen. Nitric oxide can then impact vasodilation, blood pressure regulation, inhibition of endothelial inflammatory cell recruitment, and platelet aggregation.

The 3rd way to boost nitric oxide…GET SUNSHINE.

In short, nitric oxide can reduce blood pressure, prevent heart artery blockage, and prevent stroke. So let’s talk about 10 food items that can boost your nitric oxide levels AND improve your health.

  1. Dark Chocolate

Guess what, chocolate is healthy. Well, that is only partially true, but at least we got your attention. The raw cacao bean increases nitric oxide and is loaded with antioxidants. Cacao can lower blood pressure and markers of inflammation. Unfortunately, chocolate is loaded with sugar. Save it for special occasions and skip the milk chocolate. Only go for the dairy-free dark variety. I like to add raw cacao to my breakfast “cereal” of nuts and seeds along with coconut flakes and homemade nut milk.

  1. Citrus

Oranges, lemons, and grapefruit contain high amounts of vitamin C, which has been shown to protect your precious nitric oxide molecules from free radicals. Vitamin C from any source raises levels of nitric oxide synthase, the enzyme that converts L-arginine into nitric oxide. Vitamin C is also a co-factor in reducing dietary nitrite to nitric oxide.

  1. Pomegranate

This delicious fruit boosts nitric oxide and is a tremendous anti-inflammatory. It also reduces oxidative stress, a leading factor in the production of coronary artery disease. Polyphenols in the pomegranate assist in converting dietary nitrite to nitric oxide. These same polyphenols block nitric oxide from converting back to nitrite.

Pomegranate inhibits the formation of monocyte chemoattractant protein, a molecule that recruits inflammatory cells to the blood vessel lining. This is a major factor in coronary artery disease. Cranberries and other berries would have similar benefits. Pomegranate juice powder is found in our Vessel Support.

4. Walnuts

Most people know that walnuts are high in heart healthy vitamin E. But because of their high amount of L-arginine, walnuts keep the blood vessels running freely. Interestingly, walnuts look a lot like the human brain, so eat them for brain health as well. Most other nuts are a good source of arginine. Soak your nuts for six hours prior to using.

5. Arugula

Also known, as rocket lettuce, arugula is the highest source of nitrates known. This bitter green is perfect in salads or sautéed with other veggies. We mix with grilled onions and use on top of our grass-fed burgers. I usually eat it straight out of the bag in handfuls.

6. Spinach

Want to be strong like Popeye? Eat your spinach (but fresh, not out of the can). This leafy green is packed with nutrients, and of course, nitrates. Add to salads, soups, sautéed or just straight out of the garden.

  1. Watermelon

Watermelon is loaded with the amino acid, L-citrulline, which gets converted into L-arginine and ultimately nitric oxide. So many people reach for L-arginine supplements, but the body does not absorb it well. L-citrulline is easy absorbed.

8. Beets

Beetroot is loaded with nitrates. There are plenty of studies that confirm this food as a vasodilator which lowers blood pressure. Also, beets are an excellent source of anti-oxidants and contain betalains, which are anti-inflammatory. Check out our organic beetroot powder here.

  1. Meat and Seafood

Grass-fed meat and wild seafood are a wonderful source of CoQ10. This nutrient is a necessary co-factor to raise nitric oxide. Liver and other organs contain the highest amount of CoQ10. Statin drugs lower CoQ10 by 40%!

  1. Garlic

Garlic does not contain much in the way of nitrates, however it jump-starts their production by boosting the enzyme nitric oxide synthase (NOS). NOS converts L-arginine into nitric oxide in the presence of other cofactors such as vitamin B2 and B3. Studies also confirm that garlic supplements lower blood pressure and have many more benefits.

Source:www.thedrswolfson.com

Meditation and the psychedelic drug ayahuasca seem to change the brain in surprisingly similar ways.


At the end of a dark earthen trail in the Peruvian Amazon stands a round structure with a thatched roof that appears to glow from within.

In the Temple of the Way of Light, as it is known, indigenous healers called Onanya teach visitors about the therapeutic uses of ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic brew that’s been used by locals for thousands of years.

 

Across the Atlantic, researchers in an ornate blue-tiled hospital in Barcelona, Spain are studying ayahuasca’s physical effects on the brain.

The teams in those two disparate locations approach the study of the psychedelic drug very differently, but researchers at each one are coming to similar conclusions about the way ayahuasca affects the mind.

Among volunteers who take ayahuasca for studies, scientists have documented a rise in certain key traits that mirror those of experienced meditators. These changes include increases in openness, optimism, and a particularly powerful ability known as decentering.

Amanda Feilding, the founder and director of the UK-based nonprofit Beckley Foundation, collaborates with scientists around the world to understand how psychedelic drugs affect the brain.

Feilding describes decentering as “the ability to objectively observe one’s thoughts and feelings without associating them with identity”.

Decentering might sound esoteric, but it’s one of the key aims of mindful meditation and is also a goal of successful depression treatments in some cases.

In volunteers who’ve taken ayahuasca as part of Beckley’s research, decentering has been linked with higher scores on questionnaires designed to measure well-being and happiness and lower scores on measurements of depressive or anxious thoughts and symptoms of grief.

“It’s interesting because even though our research out of Peru is based on surveys, while in Barcelona it’s based on more traditional scientific research, our results out of both places are showing an increase in these traits,” Feilding says.

“It seems patients are finally able to liberate themselves from the emotional pain they have long been suffering from. To calmly observe one’s thoughts and feelings in an objective way in order to become less judgemental and more self-accepting.”

Since the findings out of Peru are based on surveys, they can’t prove that ayahuasca caused the reduction in symptoms of depression and grief – only that there’s a connection between the two.

But in Spain, as part of a collaboration between Beckley and Sant Pau hospital, neurologist Jordi Riba is looking at the brain activity in depressed volunteers who are given ayahuasca.

His findings indicate that in addition to people simply reporting that they feel more decentered and less depressed after taking ayahuasca, there is a corresponding neurological change in their brain activity.

One small study of 17 depressed volunteers who took ayahuasca saw a decrease in activity in areas of the brain that tend to be overactive in conditions like depression and anxiety.

And a new study of regular ayahuasca users suggests a physical shrinking in these parts of the brain, though that work has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

These findings are bolstered by other research on the potential therapeutic effects of psychedelics. Studies out of New York University and Johns Hopkins suggest that the psychedelic drug psilocybin – the ingredient in magic mushrooms – elicits similar effects among depressed people.

“With the psilocybin, you get an appreciation – it’s out of time – of well-being, of simply being alive and a witness to life and to everything and to the mystery itself,” Clark Martin, a patient who participated in one of the Johns Hopkins trials, previously told Business Insider of his experience.

David Nutt, director of the neuropsychopharmacology unit at Imperial College London, has been working with Feilding, and says the brains of people with depression or addiction get locked into patterns of thinking driven by the brain’s control centre.

“Psychedelics disrupt that process so people can escape,” he says.

Source:sciencealert.com

Probiotics found to reverse depression without the violent side effects of SSRI antidepressants.


Image: Probiotics found to reverse depression without the violent side effects of SSRI antidepressants

Lactobacilli, beneficial bacteria commonly found in probiotics, proves to be a potential treatment for depression. Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine examined the effects of stress in mice and noted a significant loss of Lactobacillus in the process. The scientists found that the loss in Lactobacillus results in the subsequent manifestation of symptoms associated with depression. However, feeding mice with food containing Lactobacillus reuteri helped the animals return to almost normal.

Lactobacillus appears to affect the levels of a blood metabolite called kynurenine. The blood metabolite is known to trigger the onset of depression. The researchers note a surge in kynurenine levels when loss of Lactobacillus takes place, which in turn leads to the onset of depressive symptoms in the animals. However, maintaining high levels of kynurenine diminishes the effects of the beneficial bacteria, researchers say.

“The big hope for this kind of research is that we won’t need to bother with complex drugs and side-effects when we can just play with the microbiome. It would be magical just to change your diet, to change the bacteria you take, and fix your health – and your mood,” says lead researcher Alban Gaultier.

The findings are published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Results of the recent study are reflective of a systematic review published in the journal CNS & Neurological Disorders Drug TargetsAccording to the analysis, gut microbiota play a key role in regulating stress response and in the development of the central nervous system during critical stages. The review confirmed that probiotics help mitigate anxiety and depressive-like behaviors in animal models.

Human studies establish link between probiotics, depression

A vast number of human studies from the last few years have demonstrated the beneficial effects of probiotics in alleviating depressive symptoms. In 2011, French researchers found that daily consumption of a probiotic formulation helped ease psychological distress in study participants. Both L. helveticus and B. longum strains were shown to promote beneficial psychological effects in volunteers, the researchers wrote in The British Journal of Nutrition. Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles also found that women who drank milk that contained probiotics exhibited less activities in brain areas associated with emotions compared with those who drank plain milk.

Another study published in the journal Nutrition showed that participants with  major depressive disorder who regularly took probiotic supplements had significantly lower Beck Depression Inventory total scores compared with those in the placebo group. A meta-analysis published last year also revealed that study participants who were on probiotics treatment had lower showed relatively low incidence of depression. The findings appeared in the journal Nutrients

Probiotics consumption may also help regulate mood, a Dutch study found. Researchers at the Leiden University in the Netherlands examined 40 healthy participants and classified them into two groups: the probiotics group and the placebo group. Study data showed that patients in the probiotics group exhibited less reactivity to sad moods compared with those in the placebo group.

“Even if preliminary, these results provide the first evidence that the intake of probiotics may help reduce negative thoughts associated with sad mood. As such, our findings shed an interesting new light on the potential of probiotics to serve as adjuvant or preventive therapy for depression,” said study author Lorenza S. Colzato.

Another study published in Psychopharmacology revealed that people who took prebiotics — compounds that promote probiotic growth — paid less attention to negative information and more focus on positive information during a computer test compared with those who took a placebo. Researchers also found that participants in the prebiotics group had lower cortisol levels in their saliva than those in the placebo group. High cortisol levels were known to induce stress.

Sources:

News.Virginia.edu

Sci-News.com

NCBI.gov

NutritionJrnl.com

MedicalDaily.com

LiveScience.com