Each of us has innate biochemical factors which influence personality, behavior, mental health, immune function, allergic tendencies, etc. Scientists tell us that the number of different genetic combinations possible in a child from the same two parents exceeds 42 million. It’s interesting to note that we do not possess a combination of characteristics from our parents, but instead have a diverse collection of characteristics from many ancestors on both sides of the family.
Except for identical twins, each human being has unique biochemistry resulting in quite diverse nutritional needs. Shakespeare was correct when he wrote “One man’s meat is another man’s poison.” For example, some of us are genetically suited for a vegetable-based diet and others are not. Some persons can satisfy their nutritional needs by diet alone and others must have nutritional supplements to overcome genetic aberrations. (more…)
In November 2010 I explained how researchers had demonstrated that oregano could boost dopamine levels, in turn helping a person have a better mood and motivational drive. A new study along these same lines has found that oregano can boost serotonin levels as well. Low serotonin and dopamine are two common findings in individuals struggling with mood. (more…)
Probiotics, often referred to as ‘good bacteria’, are known to promote a healthy gut, but can they promote a healthy mind? Exploring the new world of neurological probiotics, researchers in BioEssays present new ideas on how neurochemicals delivered directly to the gut, via probiotic intestinal microbiota, exert their beneficial effects in maintaining gastrointestinal health and even psychological well-being. (more…)
Depression is not a disease. Rather, it is a sign that your life is out of balance. Depression is a condition that has risen to epidemic proportions. It affects approximately 19 million Americans, almost 10% of the population. We are led to believe that it is due to a chemical imbalance in the brain and can only be treated with certain drugs that correct this imbalance. Yet, these medications may do more harm than good. There are natural, safer methods that can effectively treat depression. (more…)
Last year I told you about a University of Pennsylvania (UPENN) research team that found that in the vast majority of cases…around 70%…those on an antidepressant drug were getting no more benefit than they would be if they were stirring an extra spoonful of sugar into their morning cup of Joe.
After analyzing the results of six large-scale placebo-controlled studies, the UPENN team concluded that in only the most severe cases…about 30%…are antidepressants any more effective than a placebo. (more…)
Over the coming months, we are exploring in detail various bodily systems and nutritional solutions for the optimal functioning of these systems. Previously, we explored the immune system and male and female reproductive systems. This month, we will discuss the gastrointestinal tract.
Other recent articles in this newsletter have discussed in depth the health of the gallbladder, liver and pancreas. Therefore, this article will only briefly touch upon those three organs and revolve primarily around the gastrointestinal tract, a summary of the way it works, how it plays a crucial role in immune health and the secretion of serotonin, and factors affecting the health of this vital system. (more…)
Experimental Double-Blind Crossover Study: For six hyperkinetic children with low whole blood serotonin levels, supplementation with vitamin B6 for three weeks increased serotonin levels and, like methylphenidate, showed trends suggesting that it was more effective than placebo in decreasing hyperkinesis. Moreover, in contrast to methylphenidate, its benefit continued into the following placebo period.
Coleman M et al. A preliminary study of the effect of pyridoxine administration in a subgroup of hyperkinetic children: A double-blind crossover comparison with methylphenidate. Biol Psychiatry. 1979;14(5):741–751. (more…)
A recently published book, The Spiritual Anatomy of Emotion: How Feelings Link the Brain, the Body, and the Sixth Sense, offers us a new way to think about the relationships among mind, body, emotions, illness, and health. It describes the way the natural flow of emotions, based on the energetic processes of the body, is related to immunity, stress reactions, and various health-related conditions. This book is particularly valuable for anyone who is especially sensitive to the environment (light, noise, smell, chemicals), since it puts those experiences in a new context and helps us understand the benefits and side effects of being unusually sensitive. (more…)
People who have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) generally suffer… a lot. This on-again, off-again condition causes abdominal cramping, frequent diarrhea and/or constipation that is painful, disruptive and often embarrassing. As though that’s not enough of a burden, you can only imagine how upsetting it is for IBS patients to hear doctors dismiss their disorder as “psychologically based.”
Well, folks with IBS, your days of feeling disrespected and dismissed may be coming to an end. New research has demonstrated that people with IBS have differences in the brain that link directly to their physical troubles — a discovery that also points to strategies that can be immediately helpful in improving symptoms.