Depressed & Snappy? You Need Serotonin!

Serotonin is the brain chemical that makes us feel happy and content. When we eat a wholesome meal, the body is notified through the release of serotonin that we are well fed, helping us feel content and satisfied. A lack of serotonin causes depression, anxiety, irritability, negativity and food cravings. From a nutritional standpoint, a lack of serotonin is frequently a result of bad diet and food reactions.
Reactions to certain common foods decrease our levels of serotonin and make us crave sugar and other refined carbohydrates. When we have food sensitivities or food reactions, the picture of contentment is upset and the well orchestrated symphony of chemical reactions in our bodies begins to break down.
As we eat reactive foods, they enter our system as macromolecules that the body doesn’t recognize, triggering an inflammatory response which results in swelling and bloating. Then the body releases endorphins which give a feeling of relief along with a “high”. When the endorphins wear off, we crash and feel the need to eat this reactive food again so that you can get the endorphin release again.
To complicate matters, our adrenal hormones rush to the rescue to help the body cope with the allergic reaction, but also contribute to the initial high and the ultimate crash. Eventually, the levels of serotonin become depleted because the white blood cells that help to transport serotonin are busy with the inflammatory reactions in the body.
If you are a “carbohydrate craver”, it will seem virtually impossible to break the cycle. One easy step to break the cycle is to get outdoors. The natural sunlight increases serotonin levels as will moderate exercise such as brisk walking.
Next, begin to identify food allergens in your diet and eliminate them. The most reactive seven foods are wheat, milk, sugar, soy, peanuts, corn, and eggs. But consider food chemicals such as MSG and aspartame.
An easy way to identify food reactions is by taking your pulse rate before and after you eat. Adrenal hormones cause your heart rate to increase. If your pulse is elevated after you eat, chances are that you ate a reactive food.
Food reactions harm the metabolism more than any other single dietary factor. They slow the metabolic rate. They increase the hormones that cause weight gain. They create hypoglycemia. They depress energy. They also contribute to illness.
Cleaning up the diet to contain whole foods and plenty of protein will also help you feel better. It’s important to eliminate processed foods and foods that are high in refined carbohydrates and/or sugar.
Supplements that will help increase your serotonin levels along with your mood and your energy levels are a good balanced whole foods multi-vitamin and a basic omega 3 oil to fill in nutritional gaps.
Another helpful supplement that increases serotonin levels is 5-HTP. It is a metabolite of the amino acid tryptophan and the precursor to serotonin. 5-HTP is best taken in small doses throughout the day as it is not stored in the body. I like one called Neuro-5-HTP that contains not only 5-HTP, but B vitamins and theanine as well. Theanine helps balance the 5-HTP with properties that reduce stress and increase focus and memory.
My favorite serotonin enhancing herb is St. John’s Wort – but it has to be fairly high quality to get good results. Also, be sure to get plenty of sunlight to increase your natural levels of vitamin D and remember to walk outside at least 20 minutes per day.

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CoQ10 – Good For You!

Coenzyme Q10 provides energy for the body’s cell growth and maintenance. It is a valuable antioxidant that is normally produced by all cells in the body, but is much more abundant in the heart, liver and immune system.
As we age, our ability to produce Co Q10 seems to decline. Low levels of Co Q10 have been linked to several chronic diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, congestive heart failure, and cardiovascular disease. Low levels of Co Q10 are also linked to people with severe allergies, auto immune disorders and muscular dystrophy.
There are a number of scientific studies showing that Co Q10 may be effective against diseases such as heart disease, heart failure, breast cancer, Parkinson’s, high blood pressure, and Alzheimer’s.
For the cardiovascular system, Co Q10 stabilizes heartbeat in arrhythmia patients, prevents atherosclerosis in the arteries by preventing oxidation of LDL cholesterol, improves blood circulation, assists the heart to function normally in the presence of blood clots, alleviates congestive heart failure, improves 91% of heart attack patients within 30 days of initial Co Q10 supplementation, lowers blood pressure, improves the heart’s ability to survive and produce energy in limited oxygen situations, helps to prevent stroke, counteracts the toxic effects of ischemia on the brain and heart, and normalizes heart function in mitral valve prolapse patients.
For the immune system, Co Q10 can double the body’s level of protective antibodies, alleviate allergies, suppress proliferation of cancer cells, boost immune system chemicals that attack cancer cells, increase the body’s resistance to virus, and greatly enhance the general function of the immune system.
In terms of metabolism, Co Q10 increases energy production in the body improving athletic performance and also alleviating chronic fatigue syndrome. Co Q10 also helps to reduce blood sugar levels by 20 to 36 percent in diabetes patients.
The nervous system is another area benefiting significantly from Co Q10 supplementation. Nervous system disorders helped by Co Q10 include Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and ALS, Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis and schizophrenia. For those of you without a chronic disease, Co Q10 retards the aging process within the brain and increases energy within the brain.
Benefits of Co Q10 are not limited to the inside of the body. Co Q10 also helps the skin and is an effective therapy for psoriasis. Topical Co Q10 improves the visual appearance of the skin and helps to prevent and treat wrinkles.
For supplementation, soft gels (as opposed to dry capsule form) are better utilized in the body. The latest trend in Co Q10 is Ubiquinol, which is what the body makes when we take ordinary Co Q10 or ubiquinone. Ubiquinol is more expensive per milligram than the ubiquinone form or Co Q10, but each milligram of ubiquinol is equivalent to 2-10 times the same amount of Co Q10.
Buy the largest milligram you can afford. The clinical trials tend to use 100 to 150 milligrams per day, with some of the studies using 200 to 1200 milligrams depending on the condition. Note that CoQ10 is one of the supplements where quality really matters. Cheap CoQ10 tends to be crystallized and not useful to the body. Instead of wasting your money on the cheap stuff, buy quality to get the benefits of this incredible supplement.

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Flu Arsenal – Build Yours Now!

It is time for me to stock my personal flu season arsenal. Every cold and flu season is a little bit different – something that worked really well last year may be just so-so this year. My first line of defense is something called d-Lenolate Plus – it is olive leaf, neem and homeopathics. I take 2 of these 4 times a day when I first notice symptoms. I usually know on the first dose if it is working.
If that isn’t quite taking care of my symptoms so that I can go to work and help all of you, I add oregano oil. Oregano oil kills lots of viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungus. It is really strong stuff – especially the kind that is at least 70 percent carvacrol. I like this in liquid veggie caps because the oil is just awful tasting– with the capsules, you get to swallow it without the nasty taste.
Occasionally, this doesn’t work as well as I would like it to. Then I usually add one or more of the following: zinc, vitamin C and/or nucleotides. These all help boost the immune system and speed healing. Nucleotides are relatively new – and also effective. On colds and flus, research shows that nucleotides can diminish the symptoms and duration of both. In research trials, nearly all patients on a therapeutic course of nucleotides reported significantly less discomfort associated with the symptoms of colds and flu and experienced a substantially accelerated recovery.
These products are in my first aid cabinet during the fall/winter for colds and flus. I then like to add something to help break up coughs and congestion. I have 2 favorites – fenugreek and thyme (in combination so it counts as 1 thing) and a herbal blend with osha in a liquid gel cap that really seems to work well on the pesky middle of the night coughs.
Everything I mentioned above is tablet or capsule form now that my son is old enough to swallow pills. I still recommend liquid forms for those who need them. For the younger set, I have 2 favorites – colloidal silver and elderberry chewables. Both of these interfere with a virus or bacteria’s ability to reproduce and overrun your system. I particularly like silver for stomach viruses because it is very gentle, but usually very effective.
A couple of years ago, we added a really strong tasting liquid called Cold and Sinus Blaster – it does just that. I like it for breaking up congestion and speeding up recovery. There are many other supplements that work. Everyone is a little bit different – one customer uses astragalus and zinc. Another uses echinacea and vitamin C. Others swear by oscillo.
Natural supplements work best when taken at the first symptoms of cold or flu – I go with the early and often theory because it is bad for my business if I get sick.
I also need to mention my favorite immune builders. The first is olive leaf – the one I like best is d-Lenolate as it is a patented extract that stays in the body longer than other olive leaf extracts. The only time I get sick is when I run out of this – it’s my personal immune builder. I also recommend Elderberry Defense which is either a capsule or a chewable. I find that taking one of these on a regular basis keeps immune systems strong so they are more resistant to sickness to begin with – and if you do get sick, a strong immune system lessens your symptoms and helps you recover faster.

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Detox For Your Health!

X is for detox. Detoxification is a basic principle of natural health. Any program of restoring the health and balance of the body includes getting toxins out of the body.
You may wonder why detoxification is so important. A few toxins here and there are not the issue. It is the accumulation of them over time because they tend to store in our fatty tissue because the body cannot eliminate them without some help. The fatty tissue we are talking about is not just that roll around the middle – it also a form of fat known as phospholipids that are found in significant quantities in our brain and nerves. This accumulation of toxins over time can cause serious degenerative problems.
How can you tell if you need to detoxify? I think if you are living in this day and age and eat conventional American food, you need to detoxify. The symptoms and signs of toxicity include fatigue, lack of energy, headaches, high blood pressure, allergies and sensitivities, excessive mucus production, sinus problems, and bronchitis. They can also include mood changes, joint aches, arthritis, autoimmune issues, skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis, forgetfulness and foggy thinking along with just not feeling good. If you have any of these symptoms, it may be time to clean up.
Many people ask where the toxins come from. They are everywhere – not to be paranoid or anything, but think about it. Much of our food is conventionally grown, meaning that they use chemical pesticides and fertilizers. To top that off, if they are processed in any way, they are treated with chemical additives to preserve texture, taste and shelf life. Our animals are also raised on conventionally grown crops and are fed hormones and sometimes highly processed food that is completely unnatural to their systems. These animals have the same trouble we do in eliminating unnatural chemicals – they store them in fatty tissues. The toxins you get from conventional meat may be the same ones that end up in your brain, prostate and breasts.
Transfats are another major source of toxins in the body. Transfats are unnaturally saturated fats that include shortening and margarine and are found in baked goods, snack foods, and fried foods. These transfats are used by the body for any kind of fatty tissue. Now again, we are not talking about the roll around the middle. There is a cellular membrane for each cell in the body that is made up of fat. If transfats are all that is available, then that is what the body uses. Cell membranes made from transfats are brittle and stiff and basically cause deterioration of the body at a cellular level – this is not good – it is a major source of problems associated with aging. It is also a huge issue with skin conditions. Most skin cancers have some relation to these transfats.
Other ways toxins enter our bodies are through our lungs, and through our skin. Breathing any kind of chemical fumes allows toxins into the body. One commonly overlooked source of inhalant toxins is our cleaning products and air fresheners.              We also forget about the absorbability of our skin. Whatever we put on our skin goes into our bloodstream without being processed by our liver first. Many of our cosmetics and lotions have horrible chemicals in them and we don’t even think twice about the toxicity of them. Think about even Vaseline – also known as petroleum jelly. Yuck! Or baby oil – also petroleum based. How about nice substitutes made from olive oil and beeswax, coconut oil or sweet almond oil?
Detoxification is a way to help the body process out these stored chemicals and it helps lead to health and balance in the long run.

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