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HASHIMOTO’S DISEASE


What is it?

Hashimoto’s Disease is a condition in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, a small gland at the base of the neck below the Adam’s Apple. The thyroid gland is part of the endocrine system, which produces hormones that coordinate many of the body’s functions.

Inflammation from Hashimoto’s Disease is also known as “chronic lymphatic thyroiditis”. This often leads to underactive thyroid function or hypothyroidism. Hashimoto’s is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States. It primarily affects middle-aged women but can also occur in men and women of any age, and in children. 


Thyroid hormones are made up of an amino acid called L-Tyrosine, to which iodine atoms are added. The bulk of the thyroid hormone released into the bloodstream is T4, or L-Tyrosine with four iodine atoms added. 

Many factors are involved in the proper production of T4 by the thyroid besides L-Tyrosine and iodine. Several nutrients are critical to the production of T4 by the thyroid including:


· Vitamins C, D, and E

· B Vitamins (specifically B2, B3, and B6)

· The minerals iron, selenium, and zinc 

If one of the nutrients is missing, the thyroid gland is unable to keep up with production demands from the body and it won’t be able to produce enough T4.


Symptoms of Hashimoto’s Disease

Symptoms are not usually noticed at first, but the most common symptom first noticed is swelling at the front of the throat (goiter).

Hashimoto’s Disease typically progresses slowly over years and causes chronic thyroid damage leading to a drop in thyroid hormone levels in the blood. The signs and symptoms are mainly those of hypothyroidism.


· Fatigue and sluggishness 

· Increased sensitivity to cold 

· Constipation 

· A “puffy” face 

· Brittle nails

· Hair loss

· Enlarged tongue 

· Unexplained weight gain

· Muscle aches, tenderness, and stiffness 

· Joint pain and stiffness

· Muscle weakness

· Excessive or prolonged menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia)

· Depression 

· Memory loss


When to See a Doctor

- Tiredness for no apparent reason

- Dry skin

- Pale, puffy face

- Constipation 

You also need to see a doctor for periodic testing of your thyroid function if:

- You had thyroid surgery 

- You have had treatment with radioactive iodine or anti-thyroid medicines

- You have had radiation therapy to your head, neck, or upper chest 

High Cholesterol may be the cause of your hypothyroidism, but this needs to be discussed with your doctor.


Causes of Hashimoto’s Disease

Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system creates antibodies that damage the thyroid gland. There is no known cause of this disease. Some scientists believe a virus or bacterium might trigger the response, while others believe a genetic flaw is involved.


Risk Factors

Sex: Women are much more likely to get Hashimoto’s Disease.

Age: It can occur at any age, but more commonly occurs during middle age. 

Heredity: You’re at a higher risk if others in your family have thyroid or autoimmune diseases (Type 1 diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, etc.).

Radiation Exposure: People exposed to excessive levels of environmental radiation are prone to developing Hashimoto’s Disease.


Complications

Left untreated, are underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) caused by Hashimoto’s Disease can lead to a number of health problems.

· Goiter – Constant stimulation of the thyroid to release more hormones may cause the gland to become enlarged, a condition known as Goiter. Hypothyroidism is one of the most common causes of goiters. Goiters are not usually uncomfortable, but they can affect your appearance and may interfere with swallowing or breathing.


· Cardiovascular problems – The thyroid hormone level can impact the cardiovascular health due to possible slow pulse, abnormal heartbeats, or weakened pulse. One study found that hypothyroidism can decrease the volume of blood pumped out by the heart in each beat by 30 – 50%. Fortunately, most cardiac complications related to hypothyroidism can be treated with the proper medication.      (Ref: doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.106.678326|Circulation.2007;116:1725 – 1735.) 

· Renal complications – Serious hypothyroidism can lower the kidney’s function. This is often due to decreased blood flow to the kidneys. The issue is having less ability to excrete water and absorb sodium. As a result, blood levels of sodium may be unusually low. If extremely low hormone levels persist, recovery from these renal problems can take longer.

· Nervous System complication– Hypothyroidism can cause problems with the nervous system such as muscle weakness or nerve injury. This can lead to: 

- Breathing difficulties 

- Hoarseness 

- Trouble walking 

- Trouble talking 

- Pain in the hands and feet 

People with untreated hypothyroidism may also be prone to developing carpal tunnel syndrome.

· Infertility – Hypothyroidism reduces fertility in both men and women. Thyroid hormones regulate the metabolism of sex hormones, which control the production of sperm and eggs. In men, this has been linked to erectile dysfunction, abnormal sperm shape, and decreased libido. Men with hypothyroidism often have low levels of testosterone. Evidence from multiple studies suggest that menstrual problems are three times more frequent in women with hypothyroidism. Variation in flow and irregular menstruation are the most common symptoms.

· Pregnancy complications – Studies have shown that not enough thyroid hormones during pregnancy may cause a few problems. It can increase the risk of miscarriage, preterm birth, or preeclampsia (high blood pressure and possibly protein in the urine during pregnancy or after delivery). 


Are There Ways to Improve Hashimoto’s Disease Naturally?

1. Heal Your Gut 

Hippocrates said that “All disease begins in the gut”. Did you know that 70 – 80% of your immune system is located in your digestive system? Sounds hard to believe, but it’s true. This is important to know especially if you have Hashimoto’s Disease.

There are several protocols to follow that can help repair the gut. They include the Paleo Diet, AIP (autoimmune protocol), GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome created by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride), and low-FODMAP (fermentable, oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols).

Only you will know which one works best for you AND work with a practitioner to treat any imbalances.

2. Digestive Enzymes – Naturally occurring digestive enzymes help break down food so we can soak up nutrients. The mouth, stomach, and small intestine make some digestive enzymes. However, the majority come from the pancreas. They are lipase, which breaks down fats. Amylase, which breaks down carbohydrates. Proteases and peptidases, which break down proteins. Once nutrients are broken down into small enough molecules, they are absorbed through the wall of the small intestine into the blood and then delivered throughout the body.

3. Probiotics and Prebiotics – Probiotics are the “good” bacteria in the gut and prebiotics are the “food” probiotics need to flourish. When adding a probiotic supplement, there are some important factors to be aware of. There should be 12 – 15 different strains of bacteria. A total of 40 billion CFU (colony forming units) or higher. There should be prebiotics included such as inulin and FOS (fructo-oligosaccharides). Before rushing out to buy a supplement, pro and prebiotics are found in foods. 

4. Eat Fermented Foods – These foods contain naturally occurring probiotics and some prebiotics. Here’s a list of some fermented foods:

- Kefir – Kefir is a fermented probiotic milk drink made by adding kefir grains to cow’s or goat’s milk. Kefir grains are not cereal grains, but rather cultures of lactic acid bacteria and yeast that look like cauliflower. If you are lactose intolerant, kefir is not a good option for you.

- Sauerkraut – This is finely chopped cabbage that has been fermented by lactic acid bacteria. This is not true of the sauerkraut in cans. It’s one of the oldest traditional foods and is popular in many countries, especially in Europe. In addition to the probiotics, sauerkraut is rich in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and B vitamins. It also contains iron and manganese. The two antioxidants important for eye health, lutein and zeaxanthin, are also found in sauerkraut. Make sure to choose unpasteurized sauerkraut as pasteurization kills the live and active bacteria. It should be stored in an air-tight container and refrigerated (for up to two months).

- Tempeh – This is a fermented soybean product. Not all soybeans in the US are GMO, so you can get organic tempeh. It forms a firm patty whose flavor is described as nutty, earthy or similar to a mushroom. Tempeh is originally from Indonesia but has become popular worldwide as a high-protein meat substitute. The fermentation also produces vitamin B12, a nutrient that soybeans do not contain. 

- Kimchi – Kimchi is a fermented, spicy Korean side dish. It is flavored with a mix of seasonings such as red chili pepper flakes, garlic, ginger, scallion, and salt. It’s made from cabbage and is high in vitamin K, B2, and iron. 

- Miso – Miso is a Japanese seasoning. It’s traditionally made by fermenting soybeans with salt and a type of fungus called “koji”. It can be made by mixing soybeans with other ingredients such as barley, rice, and rye. Miso is a good source of protein and fiber. It is also a good source of vitamin K, manganese, and copper.

- Kombucha – Kombucha is a fermented black or green tea drink. This popular tea is fermented by a colony of bacteria and yeast. It is consumed in many parts of the world, especially in Asia. You can even purchase it online. The internet abounds with claims about the potential health benefits of this tea. However, high-quality evidence on kombucha is lacking. The only thing researchers do know is that is does contain beneficial bacteria.

- Pickles – Pickles are cucumbers that have been pickled in a solution of salt and water. They are left to ferment for some time using their own naturally present lactic acid bacteria. This process makes them taste sour. Pickles are low in calories and a good source of vitamin K, an essential nutrient for blood clotting. Keep in mind that pickles also tend to be high in sodium. Pickles made with vinegar do not contain live probiotics.

- Natto – Natto is another fermented soybean product like tempeh and miso. It is a staple in Japanese kitchens, is typically mixed with rice and served with breakfast. Natto is rich in protein and vitamin K2, which is important for bone and cardiovascular health. Natto has many health benefits, too many to list here. 

- Spirulina and Chlorella – These are prebiotic foods that will help increase beneficial bacteria in the gut.

5. Reduce Inflammation – There are many foods that cause inflammation in the body. The worst culprits are sugar, refined carbohydrates, vegetable oils (trans fats), dairy products, and gluten (and anything you may have a sensitivity to). There are many more foods, herbs, and spices that can help quell inflammation. To reduce inflammation, it’s best to work with a Dietician, Nutritionist, or Holistic Nutritionist to help you create a meal plan that works for you. You’ll need to balance your Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio. As you eliminate the foods that cause inflammation, you will be adding foods that quell inflammation such as Omega 3s (EPA and DHA), polyphenols, antioxidants, and folate. 


Eating a more nutrient-dense, whole foods, organic diet can be incredibly helpful for repairing damage to the gut as well. Examples of nutrient dense foods: beets, carrots, greens, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, and spinach. Other foods to add: Pasture raised grass-fed beef and pastured chicken/ Healthy fats such as avocados, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and nuts (if tolerated)/ Wild-caught fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, and shellfish.


It’s not a good idea to create your own diet without having your physician check you for food intolerances first. You can also monitor how you feel with different foods. And, you can track your symptoms by utilizing “pulse testing” to test our intolerance to foods (under a doctor’s supervision). According to the Nutritional Therapy Association, the proper way to pulse test is this: 1. Before you begin, get into a relaxed state. 2. Take the test on am empty stomach, at least two hours after having eaten or drunk anything. First thing in the morning in preferred. 3. Take your pulse for a full minute and record it. This is your base rate. 4.Take a bite of food. Chew it if you like it, but don’t swallow it. Let it sit in your mouth so you can taste it for 30 seconds. 5. With the food still in your mouth, take your pulse for a full minute and record it. 6. If your pulse increases by 6 points or more, spit it out and rinse your mouth before trying another food or until your pulse has returned back to its base rate. If your pulse increases by 6 or more beats over a minute, this potentially indicates a stressful reaction to the food you tested.

6. Reduce or Remove Unnecessary Stressors

· Start Meditating (An easy way to start is to listen to Guided Meditations. Many can be found at chopra.com that you can listen to for free.)

· Focus on Prayer

· Practice Mindfulness 

7. Keep an Eye on Your Blood Sugar!

Blood sugar matters to everyone, especially those with Hashimoto’s Disease as it is a large stressor on the body and the endocrine system.

8. Work With an NTP (Nutritional Therapy Practitioner)

An NTP can help you create a meal plan to address issues related to adrenal fatigue and much more. You can also work with a physician who practices Functional Medicine.

9. Exercise

Exercise can give you the extra boost you need and help jump-start your metabolism as well.

10. Herbs for Hashimoto’s Disease 

Bitter herbs can help stabilize things in the body due to their profound effect on the liver. Since Hashimoto’s Disease can wreak havoc on the liver by inhibiting how many thyroid hormones are active (approx. 60% of the thyroid hormones are converted from T4 to T3 in the liver), it is crucial to promote healthy liver function. The bitter herbs that promote healthy liver function include:

· Gentian (Gentiana lutea

· Burdock Root (Articum lappa

· Dandelion Leaf (Taraxacum officinale)

· Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)

· Chamomile (Matricaria recutita

Adaptogen Herbs

Incorporating gentle Adaptogen Herbs can help foster stress resilience while instilling a deeper sense of calm and balance throughout the body.

· Ashwagandha (Withania somniferia)

· Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea

· Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum and O. tenuiflorum

AVOID THESE HERBS

· Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus

· Echinacea (Echinacea spp.)

· Licorice (Glycyrriza glabra)

· Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis

· Panax Ginseng (Panax qulnquefolius

· Chorella (Chorella vulgaris

· Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca

· Cannabis (Cannabis sativa



Other references:

- Rayman MP, Prac Nutr Soc. 2019 Feb; 78 (1): 34-44. Epub 2018 Sep 13.

“History of Zinc Lozenges in Treating and Curing Common Colds”, George Eby Research website (http://george-eby-research.com/html/history.html).

- ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/29428930

Nourbakhsh M, et al, J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2016 Mar; 34: 10-4. Epub 2015 Nov 18.

- ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5112739

- ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24351023 

- Panda S, Kar A, “Changes in thyroid hormone concentration after administration of ashwagandha root to adult male rice”. J Pharm Pharmacol. (1998).




Disclaimer: The information in this article is for educational purposes ONLY. It is not intended to replace medical advice, diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any illness. Always discuss any dietary changes or adding supplements with your physician first.

  

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 Lifestyle Changes That Benefit Depression and Anxiety
 

 This article describes the dozens of ways to alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety without the use of pharmaceutical drugs. It's basically two articles in one, covering topics such as Meditation, Yoga, Sleep, Diet, and a few other suggestions. Feel free to download, print out, and share this article. The information provided just might help someone. Thank you.
 Meditation – There are many misconceptions about meditation. First, I'd like to clear up those misconceptions. It does not take a lot of time to meditate – it can be done in only 10 minutes per day. Meditation does not require repeating a mantra, lighting candles, burning incense, or praying to a God. In fact, there are dozens of different meditations to choose from.  Loving – Kindness Meditation  This is also called Metta Meditation. Its goal is to cultivate an attitude of love and kindness toward everything, even a person's enemies and sources of stress. It can help those affected by anger, frustration, resentment, and interpersonal conflict. This type of meditation may increase positive emotions and has been linked to reduced depression, anxiety, and PTSD.   - Body Scan Meditation  This meditation encourages people to scan their bodies for areas of tension and allow it to release. It can help promote generalized feelings of calmness and relaxation, help with chronic pain, and sleep.   - Mindfulness Meditation Mindfulness is a form of meditation that urges practitioners to remain aware and present in the moment, rather than dwelling on the past or dreading the future. It encourages awareness of a person's existing surroundings. Crucial to this is lack of judgment. So, rather than reflecting on the annoyance of a long wait, a practitioner will simply note the wait without judgment. This meditation can be done anywhere – the grocery store, for example. A person might calmly notice their surroundings, including the sights, sounds, and smells they experience. Research has shown this form of meditation can help with the following: reduce fixation on negative emotions, improve focus, improve memory, lessen impulsive or emotional reactions, and improve relationship satisfaction. Some evidence suggests it may improve health, too. In a study published in the American Journal of Physiology in July 2014, it was found that men with chronic kidney disease could use Mindfulness Meditation to lower their blood pressure. (Ref: Park, J., et al:, Mindfulness Meditation lowers sympathetic nerve activity and blood pressure in African-American males with chronic kidney disease. American Journal of Physiology. 2014 July.) (doi address: doi.org/10.1152/ajpregu.00558.2013)   - Kundalini Yoga This is a physically active form of meditation that blends movement, deep breathing, and mantras. It can be learned from a teacher, in a classroom, or at home to improve physical strength and reduce pain. A 2008 study of veterans with chronic low back pain found that Kundalini Yoga reduced pain, increased energy, and improved overall mental health. (Ref: yogajournal.com/yoga-101/types-of-yoga/kundalini) You can copy and paste this URL into your browser to learn how to do Kundalini Yoga properly.   - Zen Meditation/ Zazen    This form of meditation involves specific steps and postures. It is usually learned from a teacher. This is similar to Mindfulness Meditation, but requires more discipline and practice. People may prefer it if they are seeking both relaxation and a new spiritual path.   - Transcendental Meditation  People who practice TM report both spiritual experiences and heightened mindfulness. During a TM session, you focus on a word or series of words or a mantra. For example, a mantra could be, “I am not afraid of Public Speaking” and it is repeated while meditating. All you need is a quiet space and 20 minutes. Close your eyes, remain seated, and breathe slowly while repeating the mantra in your mind.    -  Guided Imagery/ Guided Meditations  If you are new to meditating, this is the best way to start. Guided Imagery helps use your imagination to keep yourself calm and relaxed. They can be done with an instructor, recordings, or a script that helps you through the process. Since there is a Mind-Body Connection, you can achieve full body peace just by using your mind to imagine. In Guided Imagery, all of your senses are used, which means that you can see, hear, taste, smell, and feel things just by using your imagination. Here's how to do it without an instructor:      * Find a comfortable spot in your home where you can sit or lie down. Allow yourself to relax and close your eyes.  * Relax further by taking a few deep, cleansing breaths.  * Imagine a place where you are happy and at peace – the beach, your childhood home, your best friend's home, a farm, a forest, etc.  * Once you find your 'happy place', focus on the surroundings. What do you see? Hear? Smell? Are you eating something? How does it taste? What are you touching? How does it feel?  * Continue to focus on your breathing as well. Breathe at a slow, relaxed pace.  * Before you bring yourself back to the present, remember a word, sound, or feeling that will help you remember this feeling in the future. When you're ready, bring yourself back to the present. Tell yourself that you will be safe, relaxed, and calm.    * Slowly, open your eyes. Look around the room and locate 2 items that you haven't noticed before or in a long time.  * Now you're back in the present.  Guided Meditations are the easiest way to start meditating. You can listen to them a chopra.com. Once you are at the site, click on the menu and look at the the menu for 'Library'. Click on Library and you will see the option for online Guided Meditations. Other people offer Guided Meditations that you can download. The two sites I have downloaded from are Christine Marie Sheldon and Tara Brach.  

 Write Down Your Thoughts    Writing can help you relax by managing anxiety, reducing stress, and coping with depression. It can also help you keep track of the people or instances that triggered negative feelings within you, It also gives you space for some self-talk. (Ref: Journaling for Mental Health, University of Rochester Medical Center) 

 Relax With Yoga Postures  You can engage in Restorative Yoga to get your mind and body relaxed. Restorative Yoga is the key element to manage chronic stress. It helps “restore” a balance, peace, and well-being – physically and emotionally. It uses 8 conditions to help your body relax:   Physical Comfort, Muscle Release, Warm Skin, Darkness, Pressure on Bones Around the Eyes, Permission to Relax, Holding the Pose for as Long as Possible, and a Reclined or Inverted Posture (not used in all poses).  List of a Few Poses:  - Sit/Easy Pose (Sukhasana)  - Supported Child's Pose (Balasana)  - Supported Reclining Bound Angle Pose  - Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana)  - Legs Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Kirani)  - Corpse Pose (Savasana)  Locate a qualified Yoga Instructor as they would be the best person to teach you how to practice Restorative Yoga properly. Always ask your physician if you can add this or any type of new, physical activity to your regular routine.  (Ref: Rentz, K. YogaNap: Restorative Poses for Deep Relaxation. Da Capo Press, 2005.)  

Pamper Yourself With a Massage    Massages can help your body in the following ways:  - Physically, they help you relax.  - They increase your energy and spirit.  - A good massage can help improve blood circulation, which maintains cells and accelerates the process of removing toxins from the body.  - They provide greater flexibility.  - They provide relief from tight muscles and other aches in the body.  (Ref: How Can Massage Help My Health and Well-Being?: University of Minnesota) 

  Improve Your Mood With Music  Music has a significant effect on body and emotions. Listening to the music of your choice can help reduce depression, eliminate stress, and help you relax. Fast-paced music will help you concentrate better. Upbeat music can help you feel more optimistic and focus on the more positive things in life. Slow music can help you to relax your muscles and quiet your mind. In one study, it was shown that the degree of likeliness for the music is linked to relaxation. In this study, the participants were asked to rate their level of relaxation by either listening to five types of music or sitting in silence. There is no particular category of music that helped relax better, but the degree of liking the music played a role in how the participants felt. The study had shown that listening to music of your choice can help you relax your mind. (Ref: Stratton, V. and Zalanowski, A. “The Relationship Between Music, degree of liking and self-reported relaxation. Journal of Music Therapy; 21,4 (1984): 184-192.)    Another study shows how listening to music can help improve sleep quality in adults. (Ref: DeNiet, G. et al, “Music assisted relaxation to improve sleep quality: meta-analysis.” Journal of Advanced Nursing 65, 7 (2009): 1356-1364.) 

   Get Plenty of Sleep (7 – 9 hours)  Chronic lack of sleep has been linked to a number of health problems including depression, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Although it is common to have the occasional sleepless night, insomnia is the inability to sleep or excessive wakening in the night that impairs daily functioning. The following is a list of things that can help improve sleep:  

 - Try a cup of Chamomile Tea   

 - Foods to Improve Sleep – Just as foods can impact health in other areas, foods can contribute to good or bad sleep. Healthy Fats such as coconut oil, eggs, and avocados help provide the necessary building blocks to manufacture sleep hormones. High  Antioxidant Foods such as colorful fruits (especially tart cherries) and vegetables, and herbal teas. De-caf green tea is a great choice for after dinner. Not only does it provide antioxidants, it has L-Theanine, which can also help relax you so you can get a good night's sleep. Quality Protein, especially at dinner: For best sleep, it's better to stop eating at least four hours before bedtime. Your evening meal should include vegetables, healthy fats, and quality protein. Eating protein at your evening meal helps keep you satiated throughout the night and helps prepare the body to enter the sleep cycle. Other Foods to Add: Pumpkin Seeds and Aloe Vera Juice. Foods to Avoid: Sugars and carbs, especially at night, can cause a blood sugar spike and crash that will lead to difficulty falling and staying asleep. Grains can cause physical stress in the body, which alters the hormone cycle and can impede sleep. Vegetable Oils (no one should consume them anyway) can cause problems in the hormone cycle, as hormones need healthy fats for production and giving the body the wrong building blocks for hormones can wreak havoc with hormone production.   

 - Nutrients to Improve Sleep: Good Quality Omega 3s. I've written several articles on this subject. Basically, you need to balance your Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio. If you are looking for an Omega 3 supplement, go to the source of Omega 3s, marine algae. Fish get Omega 3s from eating Krill, Krill eat marine algae. I no longer suggest that people should eat more fish such as wild-caught salmon or tuna. I don't like the way fish are removed from the seas, our oceans are over-fished leaving nothing for other sea creatures to feed on, and the fish we eat have been shown to have toxic chemicals in their flesh such as lead, cadmium, chromium, arsenic, PCBs, and mercury. Sorry for getting on my soapbox. It's my duty to let you know the truth, even if it's ugly. Magnesium: Many people are deficient in magnesium and this can have a big impact on sleep quality. If you opt for a supplement, check with your physician to see which form and how much you should take. You don't want to end up taking the type that will give you diarrhea. Lemon Balm: If you remember high school history class, you may have heard of Charlemagne. He is known as the Father of Modern Europe and was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in the year 800 AD. What you didn't know about him is that he is responsible for one of the greatest sleep breakthroughs. Charlemagne was so impressed by the calming effects of the herb Lemon Balm that he had it planted at all the monasteries and medicinal gardens throughout his vast kingdom. He wanted this herb to be available to the masses. In a double-blind placebo-controlled study, the participants who took 600 mg of Lemon Balm daily reported feeling significantly less anxiety. In another international study, Lemon Balm extract helped relieve anxiety and reduce sleep disturbances in 95% of the participants. Lemon Balm works by raising the levels of GABA, the neurotransmitter that helps promote sleep. Before you purchase any supplement, please discuss it with your physician. Your doctor can tell you if there are any interactions or if you can take that supplement at all. Other Herbal Supplements: Magnolia extract, Passion Flower, Ziniphus extract, Lettuce Seed extract, Kava, and Valerian Root. *Before taking any supplement, discuss it with your physician first! (Ref: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19962288)   

 - Have a Bedtime Routine    * Wake up and go to bed at the same time, even on weekends to keep your hormone cycle regular.  * Turn off WiFi at night as the EMFs can effect sleep quality  * Remove all artificial light from your bedroom including TV, alarm clock (put a dry wash cloth or towel over it), and no night lights or cellphones. If you're in the habit of charging your cellphone next to your bed, keep the phone faced down while charging to avoid seeing the light as you're falling asleep.  * Diffuse high quality, therapeutic-grade essential oils such as Lavender, Cedarwood, Ylang Ylang, or Roman Chamomile. You can use one or a combination of them. For a more detailed list, see my article posted on May 11, 2019.    * Keep the temperature around 65-72 degrees F. There are other ways to keep cool including cooling blankets or weighted blankets that help with sleep.  * Try some white noise like sounds of rain, ocean, or Gregorian chants.    * Dry brush your skin a few hours before bedtime.    * Take a soothing Lavender bath an hour before bedtime. Fill the tub with warm water, then add 10-15 drops of a high quality therapeutic-grade Lavender essential oil. Turn on some relaxing music and soak in the tub for 25-30 minutes. The music, Lavender, and the bath itself will all help promote a good night's sleep. 

   One Session of CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) was found to be sufficiently effective for those with acute insomnia.        
  Always remember to believe in yourself and train your mind to see the good in every situation. 

You CAN do this!!!   


  
    Disclaimer: The information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace medical advice, diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any illness. Before making any changes to your regular routine or taking supplements, always discuss it with your physician.   

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NUTRITION TO HELP BOOST MOOD


May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the Unites States (46.6 million) experiences mental illness in a given year. Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the US (11.2 million) experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities. More facts: 20% of youth ages 13 – 18 live with a mental health condition. 11% of youth have a mood disorder. 10% of youth have a behavior or conduct disorder. 8% of youth have an anxiety disorder. The most disturbing fact is that the 3rd leading cause of death in youth ages 10 – 24 is suicide and 90% of those who die by suicide had an underlying mental illness. (Ref: NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness; nami.org)


The Key Nutrients Are:

Selenium

Thiamine (vitamin B1)

Vitamin A

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B12

Vitamin C

Zinc

Best Sources of The Key Nutrients:

Uma Naidoo recommends the following foods:

Beans - small Red Beans - these contain B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and thiamine (B1).

Fermented Foods - Kimchi & sauerkraut (not the canned kind) - these foods help build up the healthy or "good bacteria" in your gut.

Fruits - Avocados and berries - contains B vitamins, magnesium. potassium, vitamin C, and many beneficial antioxidants.

Leafy Greens - spinach, collards and kale - contain B vitamins, iron, magnesium, zinc, vitamins A, and E.

Legumes - including lentils - contain B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and zinc.

Meats - grass fed beef - contains B vitamins, iron, vitamin A, and zinc.

Nuts - including almonds. cashews, and walnuts - contain magnesium, B vitamins, Omega 3 fatty acids, selenium, and vitamin E.

Oils - including olive and fish oil - contain Omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin E.

Krill and Algae oils contain high amounts of the Omega 3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA.

Seafood - Wild-caught salmon, herring, tuna, and anchovies - contain Omega 3 fatty acids, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, selenium, and zinc.

Seeds - chia, flax, and sunflower seeds - contain Omega 3 fatty acids, magnesium, vitamins B1 and E, and zinc.

Spices - ginger and turmeric - contain magnesium, and vitamins B1, B6, C, and E.

Whole Grains - farro, quinoa, buckwheat, and wild rice - contain protein, iron, magnesium, selenium, and vitamin B1, and zinc.

Important Information on Omega 3 Fatty Acids:

A study published in the World Journal of Psychiatry found the following:

The Omega 3 fatty acid EPA supplementation in Bipolar Disorder has been observed to increase brain N-acetyl-aspartate, a marker for neuronal health. EPA supplementation for 9 months also increased the ratio of cerebral phosphomonesters to phosphodiesters, an indicator of phospholipid turnover, and reversed brain atrophy in subjects with Major Depressive Disorder. And, EPA amounts greater than 60% of DHA positively affected depression outcome.



Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace medical advice, diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any illness. Always discuss any dietary changes with your physician first.

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ESSENTIAL OILS FOR DEPRESSION


Two thirds of us experience Mental Health problems at some point in our lives. A recent study at the Mental Health Foundation found that 30% of all adults (1 in every 3 adults) have so stressed that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. Depression is the predominant mental health problem worldwide, followed by anxiety, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. (1)


Top 20 Essential Oils for Depression:


1. Bergamot Essential Oil (EO) – It has been shown in studies to normalize and balance the brain's chemistry. Bergamot is also great for anxiety. (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21105176)

2. Cedarwood EO – This oil helps with the symptoms of both depression and anxiety. In one study, the Australian Red Cedarwood EO was hailed as a “new candidate for curing depressive disorders”. (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25465853)

3. Clary Sage EO – This oil demonstrates mood-enhancing activity even when mood is altered due to changes associated with menopause. Clary Sage influences brain chemistry to help restore normal levels of key brain chemicals responsible for depression and thyroid function. It is also useful for stress relief and as a sleep aid. (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24802524 and ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20441789)

4. Frankincense EO – In a 2008 study, Frankincense EO was diffused with Lavender and Bergamot to ease depression in terminally ill patients. Not only did it improve their depression, it helped alleviate their pain as well. (Ref: Young Chang, So. (2008). Effects of Aroma Hand Massage on Pain, State of Anxiety and Depression in Hospice Patients with Terminal Cancer. Taehan Kanho Hakhoe chi. 38. 493 – 502.)

5. Geranium EO – In one study, this oil was used on 120 women experiencing depression due to menopause. The EO was applied using a technique called Aromatherapy Massage, once a week for eight weeks. The results: Evidence shows that Aromatherapy Massage improves depression through improving blood flow in the frontal cortex of the brain. The results of this study consider Aromatherapy Massage beneficial in improving symptoms of depression and recommend it as a complementary therapy. (Ref: Rafsanjanis, S. et al.; “Comparison of the Efficacy of Massage and Aromatherapy Massage With Geranium on Depression in Postmenopausal Women: A Clinical Trial”; J Res Med Sci; Feb 2014.)

6. German Chamomile EO – Chamomile is known to be soothing and calming to several body systems. Chamomile essential oils (Roman and German) also significantly decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety when diffused during times of low motivation or stress. These oils are not only helpful for depression and anxiety, they are also helpful for stomach upset (as seen in Chamomile Tea).

7. Lavender EO – This has to be the most versatile of the essential oils. Lavender EO can help with depressed feelings, improve mood, restore motivation levels, and support other healing efforts. 

8. Lemon EO – All citrus essential oils have a role in addressing depression, but Lemon's uplifting effects may be the most powerful of all. Not only does Lemon EO help improve feelings of depression, it also helps lift “brain fog”, which frequently accompanies symptoms of depression. Lime EO needs to be mentioned here as it is considered to be just as effective as Lemon EO for depression. It helps with feelings of anxiety, dread, and hopelessness. To make a Mood Boosting Room Spray, get a small glass spray bottle (make sure to use a glass bottle as essential oils can eat away at plastic), add 2 ounces of 190 proof alcohol and 10 drops of Lime EO. Shake well before each time you spray some to boost your mood.

9. Lemon Balm EO/ Melissa EO – Lemon Balm helps to relieve agitation, reduce social withdrawal, increase time spent on constructive activities, improves brain chemistry, and it works synergistically with Lavender EO.

10. Lemongrass EO – This EO has been used to treat stress disorders in addition to lemongrass tea being used as a traditional remedy for depression and agitation. Lemongrass EO's neuroprotective properties are so strong, it may be useful in the treatment for epilepsy and other seizure disorders. (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3817747/)

11. Nutmeg EO – When diffused, Nutmeg EO closely resembled the intended results of antidepressant medications without the dangerous side effects. The effects of Nutmeg EO were increased when combined with Thai Black Ginger, a variety closely related to common Ginger Root or Ginger EO. (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5634759)

12. Neroli EO – Distilled from the flowers of the bitter orange tree, Neroli EO demonstrates anti-anxiety effects. Studies have shown that people who use it have improved hormonal mood and less stress.

13. Sweet Orange EO – This oil helps by improving the ability to visually concentrate on tasks, making it ideal for use with young children, According to studies, Sweet Orange EO was consistently found to be helpful for treating anxiety and to have a tranquilizing, de-stressing effect. (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20211673)

14. Palmarosa EO – A sweet smelling grass in the lemongrass family, Palmarosa EO has been proposed as a potential natural source of MAO inhibitors without the side effects of pharmaceuticals. (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3162958)

15. Peppermint EO – This EO can increase motivation, vigor, cerebral cortex stimulation, boost mood, alertness, and even relaxation. 

16. Rose EO – This is one of the most precious essential oils. Diffusing Rose EO helps bring on feelings of relaxation and comfort. It has also been shown to relieve depression and feelings of distress.

17. Rosemary EO – In 2013 and 2017 studies, Rosemary EO was shown to have Mental Health benefits. It was shown to exhibit antidepressant activity within two weeks when diffused for 30 minutes per day. Rosemary EO helps improve stress response, helps clinical depression, and protects the brain. (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23085339 and ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5741888/) 

18. Sandalwood EO – This EO demonstrates a powerful grounding, antidepressant activity when inhaled or diffused.

19. Vetiver EO – The scent of this EO is calming, grounding, and earthy. It is superior to other essential oils in reducing the symptoms of ADHD. Vetiver EO was shown to have similar anti-anxiety actions of pharmaceutical drugs without the harmful side effects. (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmeb/25553641)

20. Ylang Ylang EO – This EO works directly on brain chemicals to reduce anxiety and depression. Researchers have found it to be sedative and calming, to impart a harmonizing effect, and reduce symptoms of both anxiety and depression. (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4534619)


Uplifting Diffuser Blend 

1 drop each of:

Lemon, Bergamot, Ylang Ylang, Frankincense, Lemon Balm, and Lavender


For proper dilution, it's best if you work with a certified Aromatherapist or purchase essential oils from a reputable company with the essential oils diluted in a carrier oil. Make sure the essential oil company only sells high quality, therapeutic grade oils. 


Other references:

(1) Vos, T., et al. (2013) Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 301 acute and chronic diseases and injuries in 188 countries, 1990-2013: A systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease study. The Lancet. 386 (9995), 743-800.

mentalhealth.org.uk/

mentalhealth.org.uk/statistics/mental-health-statistics-depression 




Disclaimer: The information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace medical advice, diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any illness. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your current protocol.

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NEUROTRANSMITTERS AND

THE GUT-BRAIN CONNECTION


Have you ever had a “gut-wrenching” experience? Do certain situations make you “feel nauseous”? Have you ever felt “butterflies in your stomach”? These expressions exist for a reason. The gastrointestinal tract is sensitive to emotion – anger, anxiety, sadness, elation – all of those feelings (and others) can trigger symptoms in the gut. 


The brain has a direct effect on the gut and intestines. To understand how the gut and brain are connected, here is an example: a person's stomach or intestines distress can be the cause or product of anxiety, stress, or depression. More information goes from the gut to the brain the brain to the gut.

 

Two neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine, are mostly manufactured in the gut. A whopping 85% of them. When holes or 'cracks' are created in the lining of the intestinal walls, a condition is created called intestinal permeability or better known as Leaky Gut Syndrome. Many researchers and scientists believe that a dysfunctional GI tract can be the root cause of depression, anxiety, and related disorders due to a reduction of these neurotransmitters. Therefore, the first and crucial step is to heal the gut. 


What Causes Leaky Gut or Intestinal Permeability?


- Many prescription and OTC drugs can cause holes or “cracks” in the intestinal walls.

- The Standard American Diet (SAD) is a major contributor to the cause of Leaky Gut Syndrome.

- GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) were introduced in 1994 to certain crops. They were supposed to increase the resistance of species to pathogens/parasites to agricultural crops. They were also supposed to be the “cure” to end world hunger. However, that hasn't happened. The truth is that GMOs are in crops such as corn, soy, papaya, vegetable oils, cotton, certain varieties of tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, and in some meats (they eat GMO crops). Basically, every times you ingest a GMO food, you are eating two chemicals, glyphosate and bt (bacillus thuringensis, a pesticide). They have been shown in studies to be cancer-causing substances. They are also linked to autism, autoimmune disorders, and gastrointestinal disorders such as Leaky Gut Syndrome. Here's a visual example, if you have ever sprayed RoundUp on a dandelion, you've seen what happens to it. It shrivels up and dies. Well, GMO foods have the same chemical, glyphosate, in them. So when you eat them, remember the dandelion. That's what is happening to your intestinal lining.

 (Ref: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3791249) 


Symptoms of Leaky Gut Syndrome


Physical symptoms

headaches

sleep disturbances

weight loss or gain

recent loss of interest in sex

restlessness 


Behavioral Symptoms 

procrastination

grinding teeth

difficulty completing work assignments

changes in the amount of alcohol or food you consume

taking up or smoking more cigarettes 

increased desire to withdraw from others

increased desire to be with others

rumination (frequently talking or brooding about stressful situations)


Emotional Symptoms

crying

overwhelming sense of tension or pressure

trouble relaxing

nervousness 

quick tempered 

depression

lack of focus or concentration 

trouble remembering things 

loss of sense of humor

indecisiveness 


(Ref: health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/the-gut-brain-connection/) 


How Do I Repair Leaky Gut Syndrome?


Step 1 – Find the root cause of your Leaky Gut. Is it food-related? Drug-related? 


Step 2 – Find a nutritionist or holistic nutritionist to help you create a new meal plan. You'd be surprised by how many healthy foods you can add to your diet that are delicious and good for you!!


Step 3 – Enjoy feeling better once you've eliminated the triggers that caused Leaky Gut.




Disclaimer - The information provided is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace medical advice, diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any illness. Always discuss any changes in your regular routine with your physician.

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GET READY TO DITCH YOUR GLASSES...

 

Are You Tired of Wearing Glasses?


Learn How To Improve Your Vision NATURALLY

The following information is taken from actual scientific studies. Not only can you reverse vision loss, you can prevent age-related diseases of the eyes. Sounds impossible? Well, it’s not! With some simple nutritional changes, you can notice improvements in your vision within  ONE month.


The Main Reasons for Vision Loss

Environmental Toxins – These are found closer than you think. Toxins are in shampoos, conditioners, hair styling products, household cleaners, etc.

Eye Malnourishment – To find the foods that support eye health, read this article in its entirety.

Ocular Atrophy – Eyes are not being used as they were intended, looking near and far. We spend far too much time looking at our smartphones, computer, and TV screens.


First, the studies:

- A study published in The Journal of Investigative Ophthalmology identified the nutrients necessary to prevent aging eye concerns and help the muscles that control eye movement. (Published 2012)
- Several studies conducted by Professor Hugh Taylor from the University of Melbourne’s Indigenous Health Unit confirmed that the Aboriginal people of Australia have the best vision in the world. (2008-2018)
- A study conducted by Scott W. Tunis, MD, FACS in Wilmington, NC identified 11 antioxidants that inhibit cataract formation and progression by up to 15%. (06/2015 - 12/2015)
- A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition identified two (2) nutrients responsible for reducing the risk of developing cataracts by 40% in elderly Finnish people.
- AREDS (Age-Related Eye Disease Study, 10/2001) study found two (2) nutrients that reduce the risk of vision loss by 18% and the risk of developing Advanced AMD (Age-Related Macular Degeneration) by 25%. (Ref: nei.nih.gov/amd)
- AREDS2 (2006 – 2013) This follow-up study of AREDS identified two (2) nutrients that reduced the risk of developing AMD by 18%. (Ref: nei.nih.gov/areds2)


What are these nutrients?


- Lutein and Zeaxanthin – These two (2) nutrients were identified in Studies 4 – 6 (above) to have the biggest benefits for eye health.

Both are found in eggs, kiwi, red seedless grapes, orange bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, broccoli, and green beans. If you choose to add eggs daily, do not mix the white and yolk when cooking. Best eaten soft boiled, over-easy, sunny side up, or poached.
- Omega-3 fatty acids – These are the essential fatty acids that have preventive effects of aging eye concerns. They also help the nerves and muscles that control eye movement. The DHA in Omega-3s have the most beneficial properties.

The best sources of DHA are wild-caught salmon, cod, sardines, and anchovies. Krill Oil and Algae Oil have the highest amount of DHA.

- Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) – This antioxidant has been used successfully to help control symptoms of eye-related disorders including vision loss, Macular Degeneration, retina damage, cataracts, glaucoma, and Wilson’s Disease.



Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes ONLY. It is not intended to replace medical advice, diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure, any illness. Always discuss any changes to your diet or adding supplements with your physician first. 

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VITAMIN B12

 

Are You Getting Enough Vitamin B12?


Signs you may be deficient in B12:

- Fatigue
- Weakness
- “Senior” moments
- Sleepless nights
- Mood swings
- Numbness and tingling in hands and feet
- Constipation
- Loss of appetite/Weight loss
- Difficulty maintaining balance
- Soreness of the mouth or tongue

In a recent study at Tuft’s University, researchers found that nearly 1 in 4 people over the age of 26 (in the United States) are borderline deficient in vitamin B12, some of whom may already be experiencing symptoms.


Why is B12 so important?


B12 is one of the building blocks your body uses to produce DNA.
It is vital for red blood cell formation, growth, and repair.
Proper levels of B12 keep your immune system functioning normally.
B12 is necessary to regulate mood.
It helps regulate sleep cycles.
B12 helps lessen the harmful effects of the “stress hormone”, homocysteine.
New research has shown B12’s role in protecting your brain and entire nervous system by keeping the nerves communicating optimally.
Scientists at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago found those who had markers linked to a vitamin B12 deficiency were more likely to have the smallest brains. They scored the lowest on tests measuring short-term memory, concentration, and other thinking processes.

Another study published in the journal Neurology in 2011, showed that older people with high levels of B12 in their blood have bigger, healthier brains and score higher on cognitive tests than those with lower levels.

How much B12 do I need and where do I get it?

The RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) of vitamin B12 for adults over the age 14 in men and women is 2.4 mcg daily. In supplements, methylcobalamin is the form that researchers have found to be the safest and most effective to use daily.


Best Sources of Vitamin B12:

Clams, 3 oz. c 84.1 mcg

Nutritional Yeast (fortified w/100% of B12) 6.0 mcg

Rainbow Trout, 3 oz. cooked 5.4 mcg

Sockeye Salmon, 3 oz. cooked 4.8 mcg

Tuna, light (canned in water) 3 oz. 2.5 mcg

Swiss Cheese, 1 oz. .9 mcg




Other References:

- ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/

- JAMA. 2002; 288(16): 2015-2022.

- Am J Clin Nutr. 1999; 69(3): 564-571.



Disclaimer: This informational is for educational purposes ONLY. It is not meant to replace medical advice, diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure and illnesses. Always consult your physician before making any dietary changes.


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