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10 Ways to Sit Less & Move More at Home or in the Office

Move more at work

Seventy percent of fulltime American workers spend the majority of their day sitting in a chair. In fact, studies have found that Americans in general spend about 13 hours a day on their rear ends. New research is discovering just how bad this is − and why we need to move more.

Why Movement is Vital for Your Health

Maybe you heard the phrase, Sitting is the next smokingMaybe you heard the phrase: Sitting is the new smoking.

This sounds like a pretty harsh statement, perhaps even a little alarmist. After all, how can being stationary be worse that inhaling known carcinogens? But recent research into the subject is saying just that.

The newly-popular saying was coined by Dr. James Levine, famed endocrinologist and world expert on obesity, principle investigator at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), and director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative.

Levine himself puts the seriousness of stagnation in perspective:

“Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death.”

In particular, studies by Levine and others have shown that lack of movement is not only connected to obesity, but can also impair aerobic capacity, cognitive function, muscular-skeletal metabolism, and genetic stability. It can lead to depression, hip and back fracture, and certain kinds of cancer − including colon and breast.

It’s About Making the Commitment to Move More

All that being said, the solution to lack of movement is fairly easy. You guessed it − more movement!

If you don’t have use of a standing desk or desk treadmill (see below), or even if you do, most of the suggestions mentioned below rest on the commitment YOU need to make to give your butt a break at least every hour (every half hour is ideal).

We’ve all been there: when we are under a time crunch or are deeply involved in what we are doing, it is easy to forget. A simple way to get yourself to STAND UP AND MOVE AROUND at regular intervals is to set an alarm on your phone, on an alarm clock or through an online site as a reminder.

This strategy has a positive psychological effect as well. For under-the-gun workers putting in long hours on big projects, breaking up the time one works on the project into smaller chunks (and smaller time chunks as well) can help prevent overwhelm, according to the University of Georgia and others.

10 Easy Ways to Move at Home or at the Office

Here are 10 ways that office workers can sit less and move more during the day. And even if you don’t work at a desk job, tips 4 through 10 are great for anyone to do day or evening to get up off the coach or away from a device for a few minutes.

Use a standing desk#1 – Use a standing desk. Standing desks are becoming very popular in the office setting, for home use, and also on the go with smaller portable units that can fit on top of a regular table or desk. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes while you stand and you may also want to invest in an anti-fatigue mat for prolonged standing.

Note: If you use a standing desk, experts still advice that you take breaks to move around, stretch and get blood flow going periodically. If you work at a computer, this will give your eyes a break from the screen too.

#2 – Use a “balance ball chair. Another option if you must to sit is to use a “balance ball chair” which will allow your body to stretch through micromovements while you work. The ball and the stand usually come as separate units and the whole thing can be easily purchased for under $200. What’s more, with most units, the ball simply rests on the chair stand so when you want to do a full ball workout, all you have to do is take the ball out of the stand and you are ready to roll.

#3 – Get an office tread mill. This modality is the ultimate for those who want a work-workout combo. If you have the money to spend (they go for about $2,000 up to several thousand), a treadmill desk will keep you in motion while you type, talk, or search. For the more budget-conscious, options also exist for stand-up as well as low-sitting bicycles specifically designed to be used at a desk. Check online for available options.

#4 – Use a portable rebounder. Another option for room or office-ready mini-workouts is to get yourself a small, portable trampoline, also called a rebounder. Research on immune and lymph system health indicates that rebounding is one of the best forms of exercise for these systems. What’s more, modern day rebounders are small and many come with a carrying case they can be folded into when you travel (or if you want to take it to work with you).

You can use the rebounder while you stand and slightly bounce while you work and you can also use it for more directed movement during a quick break; just a few minutes of rebounding can do wonders for your cardio and lymph systems. Rebounders range in price from under $100 for stationary units to around $500 for top-of-the-line foldable trampolines. Cancer Survivor Chris Wark has a great YouTube video on how to get the most out of your rebounder for long-term health.

#5 – Use the dog as an excuse. Do you work at home and own a dog? That’s great news! Instead of trying to get him or her to stop staring at you while you work, why not use your pup as an excuse for a quick jaunt outside for some playtime? Throw the ball or frisbee for a few minutes or grab the leash and take him for a bathroom break. Your dog will love you and you’ll love the fresh air (if you own a cat, you’re on your own).

Do some standing stretches#6 – Do some standing stretches. If you are REALLY on deadline or just can’t afford 5 minutes to get moving, here is a quick and effective stretch that will give you instant energy and stop your back and typing muscles from atrophying:

The Donna Eden “Egyptian Stretch:” As Donna says herself, this is probably the most ancient stretch there is. Simply extend one arm up as high as it will go. Reach for the ceiling or the sky with that arm while the other arm reaches for the floor. Lift your toes and stretch your entire body while you breathe in deep. Exhale to release and change sides (if you are still confused as to how this works, check Donna Eden’s less-than-five minute “energy routine”).

Other stretches you can do include bending at the waist and letting your hands dangle to the floor then swaying from side to side for 10-15 seconds (be sure to come up slowly) as well as… bouncing! Simply vibrate your entire body while standing and breathing deep for one to two minutes. You will be surprised at how energized this simple exercise can make you feel.

#7 – Take a short walk. Get out of your chair, change into your althletic shoes, put on a jacket if you need to, set your timer and get outside! A brisk 5-10 minute walk around the block or the parking lot can do wonders for your mental and physical state. If you are able to use your phone on speaker mode, why not take that important phone call while walking? Setting up “walking meetings” with colleagues and clients is also a great way to get business done and keep your body moving.

#8 – Practice Deep Breathing. Stand up and breathe deeply in and out 5-6 times, inhaling for 4 seconds, holding for 4 seconds and exhaling for 4 seconds each time. For a more intense experience, while standing or sitting, practice the “breath of fire.” Extend your arms in the air, make fists with your hands while keeping your thumbs extended and breathe fast for 30 seconds to a minute, pumping your stomach while you do this. Then slowly release your arms to your sides. This is an ancient yogic modality that is designed to help the nervous system and give instant energy.

If you are still feeling stressed or lethargic, consider a few more minutes of gentle breathing while doing Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), which is designed to lower stress directly within minutes.

#9 – Clean Something. If you work at home, save making your bed for your first break of the day. Vacuum, dust, do some laundry, or weed the walkway. If you are at your office, take out the trash, stand up and dust a shelf, sweep or vacuum if you can. All of these actions are ways to move your body without calling it a “workout.” Set a time for 5 or 10 minutes or choose to just do one chore for each stretch break you have during the day.

#10 – Dance! Okay, you may not be able to do this if you work amongst a large number of people, but if you have an office where you can shut the door or you work at home, this option for movement during the day can be very effective, and also a whole lot of fun. When your timer goes off for your break, choose an upbeat, positively-focused song (makes sure it’s one of your favorites!) and commit to getting down for the duration of the song. Most popular songs are between 2 minutes and 5 minutes long, creating the perfect little time bubble to get your groove on and your body moving. What’s more, it will probably put a smile on your face as well!

More Helpful Hints for a Healthy Workday

Drink plenty of water throughout the dayPeriodic or continual movement while you work will do wonders for your productivity and mental state, not to mention your physical health. In addition, follow these other guidelines to stay alert, sharp and balanced during your work day:

– Use EMF protection in your workspace to protect from electro-pollution from computers, cell phones and wireless routers.

-Drink plenty of water throughout the day and eat a light, vegetable-focused lunch. Heavy eating, especially too many carbs, can cause extra lethargy and “brain fog” as your body struggles to digest all that food. Drinking plenty of fresh, filtered water helps your body to detox and keeps you more energized.

-Use essential oils to energize in lieu of that extra cup of coffee. A few drops of peppermint oil on the temples or breathed in from the palms can have an instantly energizing effect.

-Go outside at least once or twice during the day. Unfortunately, studies show that indoor pollution is often much worse than outdoor pollution − so much so that some researchers have coined the term “sick building syndrome” for the symptoms related to consistently being exposed to indoor contaminants.

Want to Be Healthier? Sit Less & Get Moving!

Inactivity can be dangerous for your health, and not just according to Dr. Levine. Physical inactivity is the fourth-leading risk factor for death and leads to an estimated 3.2 million deaths worldwide, each year according to the World Health Organization.

If you think about it, this makes perfect common sense. There was a time − before the era of obesity, chronic disease and exponential cancer rates − when the average individual spent most of his or her day in movement, either working on a farm, doing household chores, or walking, stooping, and running in order to gather the necessities of life.

Of course, most of us are living in very different times, but that doesn’t mean that our bodies don’t need the same amount of physical activity that they did back then. They do! What our new reality (and your healthy body) needs now is just a little bit of added creativity in order to move more — and thrive! − in the modern world in which we live.

 

Epigenetic Labs carries a range of the Purest, Highest Quality, and Most Effective Supplements to support a healthy, well-functioning body. See the full product line up here.

 

Sources:

  1. ‘Get Up!’ or Lose Hours of Your Life Every Day, Scientist Says
  2. New Survey: To Sit or Stand? Almost 70% of Full Time American Workers Hate Sitting, but They do it all Day Every Day
  3. Break Large Tasks Down Into Smaller, More Manageable Pieces
  4. e.ggtimer.com
  5. Mayo Clinic: James A. Levine, M.D., Ph.D
  6. Sick of Sitting
  7. Sit Too Much? 14 Gadgets to Keep You Moving at Work
  8. Rebound Air
  9. Rebounding: The Best Exercise for your Immune System
  10. Effects of a Mini-trampoline Rebounding Exercise Program on Functional Parameters, Body Composition and Quality of Life in Overweight Women
  11. Donna Eden’s Daily Energy Routine [Official Version]
  12. Tapping Your Way to a Healthier Life With EFT
  13. The Role of Deep Breathing on Stress
  14. Introduction to Indoor Air Quality
  15. A Kundalini Breathing Trick for Maintaining Vital Energy
  16. World Health Organization: Physical Activity
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Lemon Oil Uses: A Citrus Delight with a Powerful Bite

Lemon: A Citrus Delight with a Powerful Bite

Who doesn’t enjoy a nice cold glass of fresh lemonade on a hot summer day? Or perhaps a pleasant stroll through a lush lemon grove during peak bloom season? All around the world, the beloved citrus fruit known as the lemon is cherished for its gustatory and olfactory delights, adding a uniquely sweet-and-sour zest to our lives. But there’s a whole lot more to the simple lemon fruit than just its invigorating smell and pungent taste.

For at least 1,000 years, lemon (Citrus limon) has been recognized as a powerful healing food with vast therapeutic potential. Its concentrated lemon oil is especially noteworthy, bearing an abundance of terpenes and other bioactive constituents that lend to lemon oil’s uses in a variety of applications. From helping to boost the immune system to supporting healthy digestion to elevating mood and energy levels, the essential oil of lemon is, as some would say, worth its weight in gold… and then some!

D-limonene: The Key to Lemon Oil’s Effectiveness

Spanning many systems of medicine both past and present, lemon oil uses and reported health benefits are many. In describing these benefits using action verbs, one might include words like purify, cleanse, hydrate, nourish, soothe, invigorate, and regenerate.

Simply put, lemon oil is powerfully enhancing to the body, as evidenced in at least 716 scientific studies cited in PubMed, the research database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.1

Inhaling scent of lemon zest which contains lemon essential oilLemon oil, it’s important to note, doesn’t refer to anything that comes from the inner fruit of a lemon that most people are used to eating or juicing.

We’re talking about the volatile oil that’s extracted by cold-pressing the peel of a lemon − this is where a bulk of the fruit’s fat-soluble phytonutrients are found. It’s also where you’ll find lemon oil’s most effective and abundant weapon: d-limonene.

Lemon oil contains upwards of 70 percent d-limonene, a citrus terpene also found in the peels of oranges, mandarins, limes, and grapefruits that research shows possesses both anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. In vitro laboratory studies suggest that d-limonene can alter the signaling pathways within cancer cells in such a way as to stop them from multiplying. The compound has also demonstrated an ability to induce apoptosis, or cancer cell suicide.

Animal models have produced similar results, suggesting that d-limonene may help to slow the growth of pancreatic, stomach, colon, skin, and liver cancers. According to research cited by the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, d-limonene “slowed formation of tumors and their progression in animals exposed to cancer-causing substances.”2

For people who suffer from GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), heartburn, or some other form of chronic digestive disease, research out of Texas found that d-limonene may provide extended relief. Patients who took a purified form of the nutrient for as few as 14 days experienced a complete resolve of their symptoms that lasted six months or even longer. And not a single participant reported any adverse effects from taking this nutrient.3

“I recommend one 1000-mg capsule, every other day, for 20 days, or a total of 10 doses,” says Dr. Roger C. Willette, MD, an internal medicine specialist from Houston, Texas, who co-authored this study. “Of all the over-the-counter medications available to patients, d-limonene is certainly number one on my list. It gives the patients quicker, longer-lasting relief than most anything else, and it is extremely safe.”4

Other areas of interest for d-limonene include its use in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory support. Studies suggest that d-limonene can aid in flushing bad cholesterol out of the bloodstream while also protecting the gallbladder against gallstone formation. The liver can also benefit from d-limonene, which reportedly assists in enzyme production and detoxification.

D-limonene may further assist in the following areas of human health:5

  • Keeping the bowels clean and regular
  • Protecting the gut against overgrowth of bacteria and fungi, including Candida albicans
  • Balancing stomach acid levels
  • Supporting healthy weight and metabolism
  • Boosting mood
  • Promoting relaxation and restful sleep
  • Enhancing cell regulation and function
  • Bolstering the immune system
  • Promoting lymph drainage
  • Supporting healthy aging
  • Maintaining a healthy heart

Other Beneficial Compounds Found in Lemon Oil

D-limonene is just one of many components that make up lemon oil, of course. You’ll also find l-limonene (d-limonene’s terpenoid counterpart), phellandrene, pinene, and sesquiterpene − all of which contribute to the synergistic power of lemon oil.D-limonene: The Key to Lemon Oil’s Effectiveness

In other words, as great as d-limonene is on its own, you’re better off taking advantage of its other constituent friends by consuming, applying, and inhaling full-spectrum lemon oil.

Evidence of this has been seen with diabetic neuropathy, which one 2014 study found is targeted by another constituent of lemon oil known as geraniol (GE). Diabetic rats with diabetic neuropathy (DN) that were fed geraniol saw significant improvements in cellular function, with marked reductions in both oxidative stress and inflammation. This research was published in the Journal of Neuroscience Research and the authors concluded:

“From our data, we hypothesize that GE may be a promising therapeutic candidate in the management of DN in humans. Further understanding of the molecular mechanisms of its neuromodulatory effects is essential in order to exploit its therapeutic efficacy.”6

The mood-lifting benefits of lemon oil represent another area of efficacy that’s worth noting, particularly with regards to the central nervous system. Science has shown that lemon oil can help to bring depleted dopamine stores back to normal levels, in turn helping folks to feel happier and more alive. Individuals who suffer from lethargy, anxiety, depression, and other feelings of malaise can benefit most from this, as simply breathing in the vapor of lemon essential oil on a regular basis can bring about emotional revitalization.

Chinese researchers put it well in a 2013 review published in the journal Current Drug Targets:7

“Most studies, as well as clinically applied experience, have indicated that various essential oils, such as…lemon…can help to relieve stress, anxiety, depression and other mood disorders. Most notably, inhalation of essential oils can communicate signals to the olfactory system and stimulate the brain to exert neurotransmitters (e.g. serotonin and dopamine) thereby further regulating mood.”

Ingesting lemon oil can also help improve digestive function. The citric acid content found in lemon oil has been shown to directly counteract acidity and ulcers through the production of carbonates and bicarbonates of both potassium and calcium.8 Lemon oil also supports a healthy immune system by enhancing the body’s production of white corpuscles or leukocytes, which are immune cells that protect against infectious disease.9

For pregnant women in the early stages of labor pain, a double-blind, randomized, controlled clinical trial in Iran found that lemon oil can aid in pain relief. This same study concluded that “lemon oil can be effective in reducing nausea and vomiting of pregnancy.”10

Popular Lemon Oil Uses at Home

With this in mind, diffusing lemon oil at home is a great way to support a healthy nervous system, as well as boost emotional stability. And since it’s safe to ingest (after all, lemon oil is one of the most common essential oils used in food manufacturing), there’s also the option of adding lemon oil to food or beverages for an even greater biological impact. Adding just a drop or two of lemon oil to water every day can help jumpstart metabolism, for instance, thus aiding in healthy weight maintenance.

Lemon oil can also be used as a replacement for recipes that call for lemon zest. Many cooks go by the rule of thumb of 1/4 teaspoon of lemon oil to replace 1 Tablespoon of zest.

Lemon oil is further beneficial for skin when mixed with a quality carrier oil such as coconut or jojoba oil, helping to nourish and moisturize it without chemicals. It also functions as an astringent, helping to tighten skin while giving it that little extra “glow.” Always test for sensitivity before using any essential oils on your skin and dilute heavily with a carrier oil until you know how your skin reacts.lemon oil use: safe cleaners around pets

Last but not least, real lemon oil is a wonderful way to give your home a “lemony clean scent” without the use of toxic chemicals found in many commercial cleaners.

Simply combine two parts lemon oil with one part tea tree oil and mix it with water and/or vinegar in a spray bottle.

This recipe will produce an all-natural, non-toxic cleaning spray and disinfectant that you can use all around your house without having to worry about it negatively impacting your health, or that of your children or pets.11 

An important note: When using any essential oils to support your health, use only quality essential oils and always consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner who can help you address your particular health needs.

Essential Oils from Epigenetic Labs are among the highest quality oils available to consumers and are made with indigenously sourced plants retrieved from the world’s best sources.

 

Sources:

  1. Lemon Essential Oil
  2. D-limonene
  3. Willette RC et al. “Purified d-limonene: An Effective Agent for the Relief of Occasional Symptoms of Heartburn.” Proprietary study. WRC Laboratories, Inc.
  4. How to Manage Symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
  5. D-Limonene: Help for Digestion, Metabolism, Detoxification, Anxiety & Breast Cancer Prevention
  6. Protective Effects of Geraniol (a Monoterpene) in a Diabetic Neuropathy Rat Model: Attenuation of Behavioral Impairments and Biochemical Perturbations
  7. Aromatherapy and The Central Nerve System (CNS): Therapeutic Mechanism and its Associated Genes
  8. Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals
  9. The Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Oils in Aromatherapy & Herbalism
  10. The Effect Of Lemon Inhalation Aromatherapy on Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy: A Double-Blinded, Randomized, Controlled Clinical Trial
  11. Top 10 Lemon Essential Oil Uses & Benefits
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Tea Tree Oil Benefits: This Powerful Essential Oil is a Germ Destroyer

This Powerful Essential Oil from Australia is a Germ Destroyer

Picture this… you’ve just spent several weeks sailing southward on the open seas from England when you finally spot new land somewhere in the South Pacific. As you set down amidst striking white cliffs surrounded by emerald blue waters, you’re greeted by friendly locals who take you along the coastline to see the area’s many breathtaking sights. During this trek you spot something particularly interesting: tall, wispy trees with sticky, aromatic leaves that you’re told possess miraculous healing qualities.

Intrigued by this, you decide to boil these leaves into a tea for you and your worn-out crew to see if there’s any merit to the hype. Lo and behold, just a few minutes later you feel cleansed, soothed and rejuvenated. You decide to honor this tree from which these amazing leaves were plucked by suitably naming it a “tea tree.” The rest, as they say, is history and the start of the world’s love affair with the “tea tree” and its tea tree oil benefits.

This curious little story might sound like some kind of fantasy fiction, but it reportedly happened back in 1770. The main character was Captain James Cook of circumnavigation fame. Captain Cook is the man who, besides the aborigines in Australia where he landed, is said to be the first to discover the allure of the tea tree. He’s also said to have named the tree as such, although its official scientific name is Melaleuca alternifolia. And since the time of Captain Cook, the oil of tea tree (melaleuca oil) has lived on as one of the world’s most prized botanical therapeutics, for the reasons you’re about to discover.

Tea Tree Oil Benefits: From Antiquity to Modernity

Tea Tree’s Medicinal Relevance: From Antiquity to ModernityThough the history books credit Captain Cook as being the tea tree pioneer, the healing potential of this amazing plant was actually known long before he ever even arrived “down under.”

Some of the earliest historical accounts of indigenous Australian people groups suggest that tea tree leaves were commonly use in poultices to treat wounds and prevent infections. This tradition was carried forward as science uncovered tea tree oil’s incredible antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties.1

The earliest official recognition of tea tree oil as a botanical medicine occurred in the 1920s when it was described in the scientific literature as being a powerful germicide when used topically. Its popularity quickly soared, and the oil spread throughout Europe over the following decade. Eventually tea tree oil received its own monograph that was published by the World Health Organization (WHO), the British Pharmacopoeia, The Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, and the European Society for Cognitive Psychology (ESCOP).

An early 20th century study published in the British Medical Journal cites tea tree oil as “a powerful disinfectant [that] is non-poisonous and gentle” to the body. During World War II, Australian soldiers used tea tree oil as a go-to antiseptic remedy in their first aid kits. More recently in 2007, the Australian Tea Tree Industry Association (ATTIA), an agency of the Australian government, published a comprehensive dossier outlining a plethora of more recent science backing tea tree oil’s many therapeutic uses.

Listed in this dossier are the impressive results of numerous human clinical trials showing tea tree oil benefits. Melaleuca (tea tree) may provide support to the body in the following ways:2

  • Fighting harmful bacteria, including “superbugs” like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
  • Targeting viruses, including persistent viral infections like herpes labialis (cold sores and fever blisters)
  • Treating yeast and fungal infections like tinea pedis (ringworm), tinea unguium (a fungal infections of the nails), and candidiasis (candida)
  • Fighting acne vulgaris, a common skin condition
  • Eliminating dandruff
  • Preventing head lice
  • Clearing gingivitis, denture stomatitis, and other forms of oral infection

Furthermore, the results of a study recently issued by Australia’s Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) suggest that tea tree oil may even be an effective remedy for more serious conditions like skin cancer. In conjunction with the University of Western Australia (UWA), Australian government researchers examined the topical use of tea tree oil in mouse models and found that it may, in fact, be a potent anti-tumor agent.

We’ve known for a long time that tea tree oil has recognized health benefits, particularly its role in combating bacteria, fungi, and viruses,” stated Dr. Sara Greay from UWA about these groundbreaking results. Dr. Greay and her team found that just four days of topical treatment with tea tree oil was enough to promote significant tumour growth inhibition in cancerous mice.

Although we and others have reported anti-cancer activity of tea tree oil against cells in vitro, no study has ever reported anti-tumour efficacy of tea tree oil in a preclinical cancer setting…so what this new research tells us is that tea tree oil, in the right formulation, may also play a role as a clinically effective topical treatment for skin cancer in humans.3

How People are Using Tea Tree Oil Today

How People are Using Tea Tree Oil TodayAll of this scientific research into tea tree oil’s many potential benefits for humans is both impressive and ongoing. Its use is widespread and ever-growing as a result, with tea tree oil now being incorporated into an expanding array of consumer products.

These include moisturizers, body lotions, shampoos and conditioners, toothpastes, hand washes, face-cleansing washes, soaps, foot sprays, foot powders, shaving products, post-waxing treatments, and deodorants. Pure tea tree oil is also a popular choice for many people who choose to make their own care and cleaning products at home without harsh chemicals.

For simple at-home applications, pure tea tree oil can be applied to bandages and gauze strips, for instance, to support rapid wound healing without infection. Some people mix it with carrier oils like coconut, jojoba, olive and argan and apply it directly to itchy or inflamed skin as well, since studies show that it helps to minimize histamine reactions.4 For people with acne, tea tree oil is often a preferable alternative to benzoyl peroxide because it’s been known to work similarly without causing harmful side effects.5

In hospitals, tea tree oil is commonly used to sanitize surfaces that may be lurking with MRSA or other dangerous “superbugs” like “golden staph” that could harm patients. A clinical trial that took place at Westmead Hospital in Sydney, Australia, even found that a simple tea tree oil body wash was highly effective at eradicating golden staph from patients’ bodies, prompting the study’s lead author to declare it a “suitable” natural treatment for superbugs.6

Another tea tree oil benefit is that it can be diffused as aromatherapy to help support the immune and respiratory systems. Using it this way, as well as topically, may support or even replace the use of conventional antibiotics to address infections. Evidence of this is presented in a 2004 study published in the Journal of Hospital Infection, demonstrating how tea tree oil has the potential to help mitigate the growing problem of antibiotic resistance that’s sweeping the globe.7

Similarly, tea tree oil can help purify the air you breathe inside your home or workplace. Scientific evidence suggests that diffusing tea tree oil can help kill molds and other types of harmful pathogens that might be lurking in furniture or on other surfaces. Tea tree oil can also be mixed with laundry detergents, dishwasher soaps, and other home cleaning products for an added antimicrobial boost.

Perhaps the only way you don’t want to use tea tree oil is orally, despite Captain Cook’s brewing of it as a tea. The only exceptions are things like toothpastes, mouthwashes, and flavored toothpicks, none of which involve swallowing significant amounts of it. Ingesting too much tea tree oil has been reported to cause adverse effects such a digestive discomfort, dizziness, and hives.

When using any essential oils, it is always best to consult with a knowledgeable healthcare practitioner who can advise on the appropriate uses for your particular health concerns.

Essential Oils from Epigenetic Labs are among the highest quality oils available to consumers and are made with indigenously sourced plants retrieved from the world’s best sources.

 

Sources:

  1. About Australian Tea Tree Oil
  2. The Effectiveness and Safety of Australian Tea Tree Oil
  3. Anti-cancer Activity of Tea Tree Oil
  4. Tea Tree Oil Reduces Histamine-induced Skin Inflammation
  5. Top 10 Tea Tree Oil Uses and Benefits
  6. Bacteria-fighting Tea Tree Oil Safe
  7. A Randomized Controlled Trial of Tea Tree Topical Preparations Versus a Standard Topical Regimen for the Clearance of MRSA Colonization
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Lavender Oil Uses: From Holy Anointing to Modern Healing

Lavender bouquet

The lavender plant is truly an amazing sight to see with its petite purple flowers that cap slender stalks jutting forth in every direction from its bushy center. But the dazzling display of beauty it bestows to its beholders is only the tip of the iceberg as to the true essence of this beloved botanical. With a calming, sweet-smelling aroma and an extensive history of therapeutic lavender oil uses, it’s no wonder that lavender still ranks among the most popular medicinal herbs in the world.

For more than 2,500 years, in fact, people have been using lavender both medicinally and religiously to make everything from perfumes to holy anointing oils, to healing salves and ointments. In ancient Egypt, lavender oil was commonly used to embalm the dead. In ancient Rome, it was used to freshen the air and scent bath water, as well as to liven up food. Many biblical scholars even suggest that Saint Mary used it to anoint Christ with her hair – lavender likely being the costly perfume referenced in John 12:3 as nard, or spikenard.

All throughout the ages, lavender has held a special place in the collective heart of mankind. It possesses an almost sacred nature, after all, being set apart from most other plants in terms of the many unique ways in which it interacts with the senses. Beyond just its pleasant bouquet, lavender is said to impact the body on many different levels – not only physically, but also emotionally and even spiritually.

Woman inhaling scent of lavenderThe Harmonious Balancing Properties of Lavender Oil

Your being isn’t just your physical body, after all. It’s also your mind and your soul. And if you examine the historical accounts, lavender seems to touch all three pieces of this complex human puzzle. It helps to quiet what goes on inside the head while balancing everything else.

You might just say that lavender is powerfully holistic, with lavender oil being one of the most coveted distillates on the planet for imparting full-spectrum health support.

Lavender essential oil has been studied for its positive effects on a wide range of mood and sleep-related conditions including:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • PTSD
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Migraines

The use of lavender essential oil to help mitigate feelings of stress and anxiety is well-established both empirically and scientifically. A paper published in the International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice found that individuals who took daily capsules filled with 80 milligrams of lavender essential oil experienced pronounced relief from these and many other symptoms, including depression. Lavender has repeatedly been shown to help improve mood and sleep quality while causing no negative side effects.1

The reported balancing effects of lavender oil extend even further, as demonstrated with another paper published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine suggesting powerful efficacy with regards to the nervous system. In evaluating a cohort of both animal and human trials where it was thoroughly tested as a potential treatment, researchers from Europe and the Middle East concluded that lavender oil exhibits strong anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing), mood-stabilizing, sedative, analgesic, anti-convulsive, and neuroprotective properties.2

Many individuals who suffer from depression and anxiety symptoms find relief when using lavender oil as aromatherapy. High-risk postpartum women, one study found, tend to respond well to the use of lavender oil, which can help minimize or eliminate symptoms in as little as four weeks.3 Lavender oil can provide similar benefits for people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as evidenced in another study looking at its effects specifically on mood. Researchers found that taking just 80 mg of lavender oil per day resulted in a 32.7 percent reduction in depression symptoms, as well as dramatic improvements in both mood and sleep quality.4

Lavender has shown to help with sleep qualityThe findings of a similar study published in the Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine support this as well, having found that individuals with insomnia slept 60 percent better when they started using lavender oil.5 Lavender oil is also incredibly soothing against headaches, according to another study published in the European Journal of Neurology – headaches, and especially migraines, being a common cause of sleep disruption for many people.6

The primary active constituents in lavender oil, which include linalool, linalyl acetate, 1,8-cineole B-ocimene, terpinen-4-ol, and camphor, lend to all of this pronounced biological activity. These compounds vary in amount and ratio, of course, depending on the type of lavender oil used. There happen to be more than 30 different species of lavender that we currently know of, with many dozen more subspecies and hundreds of hybrids and selected cultivars. While all lavender may have benefits, the type of lavender that has been most researched and is regarded as the most therapeutic type of lavender is Lavandula angustifolia.

Lavender Essential Oil for Skin Support

Many of the lavender oil uses mentioned above tend to be aromatherapeutic in nature. But this precious substance can also be applied topically to support other areas of the body, not the least of which include the skin. With pronounced antimicrobial properties that are highlighted in nearly 100 scientific studies, lavender oil is often used to help accelerate the healing of abrasions, burns, cuts, and other skin wounds.

This common way of using lavender oil is perhaps the biggest reason why essential oils in general are even on the natural medicine radar today. It was French chemist René-Maurice Gattefossé’s use of lavender oil back in 1928 to heal a burn on his hand that propelled the idea of using essential oils therapeutically into the modern age. This event is believed to be the primary reason why essential oils are growing in popularity today.

With that in mind, consider that we now know from further scientific inquiry since the time of Gattefossé that lavender oil may also help to prevent infections stemming from bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Especially when combined with other antimicrobial essential oils such as clove oil, cinnamon, and tea tree, studies show that lavender oil has the pronounced ability to combat even hard-to-fight infections such as Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans.7

When mixed with a carrier oil such as coconut, olive, or jojoba, lavender oil can also help to soothe dry, chapped, or sunburned skin. Some people say that it also helps minimize the appearance of sunspots and aging. Lavender oil is also commonly used to help stop allergic reactions from occurring on the skin, such as those stemming from exposure to poison ivy or stinging nettle.

Better Than Vitamin C? The Antioxidant Power of Lavender Lavender essential oilOil

Many people don’t know this, but lavender oil is also a powerful antioxidant. With an antioxidant potential that’s stronger than even vitamin C, lavender can be considered an antioxidant “super hero” and is actually one of the most powerful antioxidants in existence.

Lavender’s constituents help the body to produce more antioxidant enzymes like glutathione (aka the “master antioxidant”), catalase, and superoxide dismutase (SOD), which it needs to prevent free radicals from causing oxidative damage within its many complex parts.

In an animal study published recently in the journal Phytomedicine, Romanian scientists discovered that vaporizing lavender oil for just one hour every day for seven days can help protect cells against free radical damage. In this same rat study, researchers reported that inhaling the vapor of lavender oil every day for just 60 minutes helped to prevent the type of oxidative stress associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.8

Chinese researchers came to another fascinating conclusion in an unrelated but similar mouse study, determining that the antioxidant potential of lavender’s constituents are evident in the body after just 22 hours of the oil’s use.9 There’s even animal research findings emerging to suggest that lavender oil could be beneficial in addressing the various blood sugar issues associated with diabetes.10

Safely Using Lavender Oil to Support Your Health

The lavender oil uses shared with you here are just a few of the many ways this fragrant herb supports a balanced, healthy body. If you are not experienced with essential oils, your safest bet is to work with a qualified health practitioner to determine how best to use lavender oil to support your personal health goals. It should go without saying that in order to receive the most health-boosting benefits, use only high quality organic essential oils that contain no chemicals or fillers.

 

Essential Oils from Epigenetic Labs are among the highest quality oils available to consumers and are made with indigenously sourced plants retrieved from the world’s best sources.

 

Sources:

  1. An orally administered lavandula oil preparation (Silexan) for anxiety disorder and related conditions: an evidence based review.
  2. Lavender and the Nervous System
  3. The effects of clinical aromatherapy for anxiety and depression in the high risk postpartum woman – a pilot study.
  4. Phase II trial on the effects of Silexan in patients with neurasthenia, post-traumatic stress disorder or somatization disorder.
  5. A single-blinded, randomized pilot study evaluating the aroma of Lavandula augustifolia as a treatment for mild insomnia.
  6. Lavender essential oil in the treatment of migraine headache: a placebo-controlled clinical trial.
  7. Antifungal Effect of Lavender Essential Oil (Lavandula angustifolia) and Clotrimazole on Candida albicans: An In Vitro Study
  8. Neuroprotective effects of inhaled lavender oil on scopolamine-induced dementia via anti-oxidative activities in rats.
  9. The Protective Effect of Lavender Essential Oil and Its Main Component Linalool against the Cognitive Deficits Induced by D-Galactose and Aluminum Trichloride in Mice
  10. Lavender (Lavandula stoechas L.) essential oils attenuate hyperglycemia and protect against oxidative stress in alloxan-induced diabetic rats
Posted

Eucalyptus Oil Benefits: The Enticing Essential Oil From Down Under

Eucalyptus Oil Benefits

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of smelling one up close, then you’re already familiar with one of the many special traits that characterize the eucalyptus tree. Slightly sweet with a hint of mint and notes of pine, the amazing aroma of this Australia-native gum tree species is nothing short of unique. It’s long tickled the senses of both people and animals alike, with perhaps the most noteworthy savorers being koala bears that prefer eucalyptus leaves as a primary source of nourishment.

But there are many other things that make eucalyptus − also known as Tasmanian Blue Gum − desirable. Not the least of which is its oil which has many health benefits. Extracted predominantly from the tree’s leaves, eucalyptus oil has been a prized Aboriginal folk medicine for many centuries. It has a well-established profile of therapeutic uses that include cleansing wounds, detoxifying the body, and supporting respiratory health, among other benefits.

Because of its rich historical significance in natural medicine, eucalyptus has piqued the interest of many a scientist today who are actively studying what it has to offer in the realm of modern health care. What they’ve uncovered thus far is intriguing to say the least, lending to the notion that eucalyptus essential oil just might be one of the best kept secrets that’s missing from your medicine cabinet.

A Full-Spectrum Eucalyptus Oil Will Contain These 2 Key Constituents

Perhaps the most significant constituent in full-spectrum, therapeutic-grade eucalyptus oil is eucalyptol, also known as 1,8-cineole. It’s by far the most well-studied of the chemical compounds found in eucalyptus, and for good reason: its therapeutic properties are both vast and impressive. Eucalyptol has been shown in the scientific literature to possess a full spectrum of bioactivity, demonstrating antimicrobial,1 analgesic,2,3 anti-inflammatory,4-6 antibacterial,7,8 antioxidant,9 antispasmodic,10-12 antiviral,13 hypotensive,14,15 and mucolytic properties.16,17Woman Suffering From Cold Lying In Bed With Tissue

Small amounts of eucalyptol are commonly added to oral hygiene products like mouthwash, as well as to cough suppressants such as cough drops, because of its freshening, minty flavor. Eucalyptol also has the added benefit of targeting harmful microorganisms. This is why many people use products containing eucalyptol – including eucalyptus essential oil, of course – to fight things like colds and flu, coughs, sinus infections, and respiratory tract infections.

Another key constituent in the more common varieties of eucalyptus is piperitone, a monoterpenoid ketone that’s been shown to help break up mucus and improve airflow in the respiratory tract. Possessing a strong pepperminty aroma, piperitone is reported to help clear up sinus congestion, with pronounced benefits against conditions like asthma and bronchitis.18

There are many other constituents found in eucalyptus that support its therapeutic synergy, though they tend to be in much smaller quantities. There are also many different varieties of eucalyptus with their own unique constituent profiles, including Eucalyptus globulus, one of the most popular varieties that contains between 60-75 percent eucalyptol. Other noteworthy eucalyptus varieties include:19

  • Eucalyptus radiata, also known as Black Peppermint Oil. Native to Australia. E. radiata has a similar profile as E. globulus, containing 60-75 percent eucalyptol and a noteworthy concentration of piperitone – though it has a milder aroma than E. globulus demarcated with sweeter, fruiter notes.
  • Eucalyptus citriodora, also known as Lemon Eucalyptus Oil. Native to Australia. E. citriodora contains 40-80 percent citronellal, a monoterpenoid with antimicrobial, antifungal, antispasmodic, and anticonvulsant properties.20
  • Eucalyptus dives, also known as Peppermint Eucalyptus Oil. E. dives contains 35-50 percent piperitone and 23-30 percent phellandrene, a compound known to help ward off insects.
  • Eucalyptus bicostata, also known as Eucalyptus Blue. Native to Ecuador and Australia. E. bicostata contains high levels of alpha-pinene, an aromatic terpene also found in Cannabis sativa that boasts a broad spectrum of potential uses, including as a bronchodilator, an anti-inflammatory, and for anti-cancer support.21
  • Eucalyptus polybractea, also known as Blue Mallee Oil. Native to Australia. E. polybractea contains upwards of 85-95 percent eucalyptol, with a strong aroma resembling cumin.
  • Eucalyptus staigeriana, also known as Lemon Ironbark. E. staigeriana contains roughly 51 percent aldehydes, a class of aromatic compounds with strong anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. Aldehydes are also known to have a sedative effect.22

Eucalyptus Radiata: A Top Choice for Full-Spectrum Support

Eucalyptus aromatherapy essential oils in bottlesWhen it comes to choosing a eucalyptus essential oil, you can clearly see that there are many unique facets to each one that are worth your time to carefully consider. What you want your oil to do for you, and how you want it to smell, will be among the major determining factors. You’ll also need to decide between oil varieties that contain very high levels of mostly one type of compound, and those that contain a more harmonious balance of a lot of different types of compounds.

If full-spectrum activity is what you’re looking for – which many people are – E. radiata is likely your eucalyptus essential oil of choice. One reason many people prefer E. radiata is that the smell is not quite as intense as E. globulus, though it has a similar desirable constituent profile. E. radiata is also sweeter and fruitier smelling, lending to a more stimulating and rejuvenating experience.

As it turns out, the first commercial preparations of eucalyptus oil are also said to have been from E. radiata, this particular strain being the one that pharmacist Joseph Bosisto first developed for patient use back in 1852.23 It is from this special variety that eucalyptus oil became a “thing,” so to speak, paving the way for much of the scientific research that has since taken place with regards to this powerful botanical tincture.

4 Favorite Eucalyptus Oil Benefits & Uses

So, how does one go about using eucalyptus oil? Generally speaking, you don’t want to consume it – the exception, of course, being the small amounts of eucalyptol that are found in certain foods, medicines, and oral care products. While there are, indeed, instances in which eucalyptus oil may be suitable for oral consumption, this should only be done with the proper type of oil for such use. You’ll also want to do so only under the careful supervision of a qualified health practitioner.

With that said, the most common way to safely and effectively use eucalyptus oil is as an aromatherapy using either an ultrasonic diffuser or a nebulizer. Nebulizers tend to be more effective at delivering higher amounts of active ingredients into the air, and they work great in larger spaces. Ultrasonic diffusers are more suited to smaller rooms and are typically more cost-effective than nebulizers, but because they require water, they tend to be less potent. If you already own one, you can also add eucalyptus oil to a humidifier, which functions similarly to an ultrasonic diffuser.24

As far as the potential benefits to be gained, Diffuser-Eucalyptus-Peppermint-Essential-Oil-smpeople diffuse eucalyptus oil for many reasons

#1. Folks suffering from colds, flu, sinus problems, and allergies are potential candidates, as are people with respiratory problems ranging from bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to pneumonia and even tuberculosis.

#2. Eucalyptus oil can also be diffused simply to cleanse the air and freshen up a room, helping to eliminate stale and foul odors. Many people combine eucalyptus oil with other oils such as citrus and peppermint for added aromatherapeutic support.

#3. Eucalyptus oil also functions as an excellent topical salve for cuts, scrapes, burns, sores, and other types of skin wounds.

#4. Because of its reported pain-relieving properties, many people also report using eucalyptus oil to help soothe bug bites, bee stings, muscle soreness, itching, and other skin-associated discomfort.

Important Notes of Caution When Using Eucalyptus Oil

When using eucalyptus oil topically, be sure not to get any into your eyes or other sensitive areas, and avoid applying it directly into open wounds. It is also always advisable to dilute eucalyptus oil with a quality carrier oil such as coconut oil, olive oil, or jojoba oil and to test for skin sensitivity before applying to the skin in larger quantities. As with all tools to support your health, you’ll want to use only the highest quality organic oils and to seek the advice of a qualified health practitioner to guide you for the appropriate usages for your individual health needs.

 

Eucalyptus essential oil from Epigenetic Labs is derived from organic Eucalyptus Radiata. Epigenetic Labs’ essential oils are among the highest quality oils available to consumers and are made with indigenously sourced plants retrieved from the world’s best sources.

 

Sources:

  1. Antimicrobial effect of vapours of geraniol, (R)-(-)-linalool, terpineol, gamma-terpinene and 1,8-cineole on airborne microbes using an airwasher
  2. Antiinflammatory and antinociceptive effects of 1,8-cineole a terpenoid oxide present in many plant essential oils.
  3. Antinociceptive properties of 1,8-Cineole and beta-pinene, from the essential oil of Eucalyptus camaldulensis leaves, in rodents.
  4. Anti-inflammatory activity of 1.8-cineol (eucalyptol) in bronchial asthma: a double-blind placebo-controlled trial.
  5. Inhibitory activity of 1,8-cineol (eucalyptol) on cytokine production in cultured human lymphocytes and monocytes.
  6. 1,8-cineole (eucalyptol), a monoterpene oxide attenuates the colonic damage in rats on acute TNBS-colitis.
  7. Antibacterial and antifungal activity of aromatic constituents of essential oils.
  8. Mechanism of Action of Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil on Staphylococcus aureus Determined by Time-Kill, Lysis, Leakage, and Salt Tolerance Assays and Electron Microscopy
  9. Effects of a novel gaseous antioxidative system containing a rosemary extract on the oxidation induced by nitrogen dioxide and ultraviolet radiation.
  10. 1,8-Cineole induces relaxation in rat and guinea-pig airway smooth muscle.
  11. Relaxant effects of the essential oil of Eucalyptus tereticornis and its main constituent 1,8-cineole on guinea-pig tracheal smooth muscle.
  12. Inhibitory effect of 1,8-cineole on guinea-pig airway challenged with ovalbumin involves a preferential action on electromechanical coupling.
  13. Comparative study on the antiviral activity of selected monoterpenes derived from essential oils.
  14. Cardiovascular effects of 1,8-cineole, a terpenoid oxide present in many plant essential oils, in normotensive rats.
  15. Endothelium-dependent vasorelaxant effects of the essential oil from aerial parts of Alpinia zerumbet and its main constituent 1,8-cineole in rats.
  16. Therapy for acute nonpurulent rhinosinusitis with cineole: results of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial.
  17. The value of herbal medicines in the treatment of acute non-purulent rhinosinusitis. Results of a double-blind, randomised, controlled trial.
  18. Piperitone Information
  19. The Uses of Eucalyptus are Many-But What Species Do I Use?
  20. Citronellol
  21. The Healing Benefits of the Cannabis Terpene Alpha Pinene
  22. The Anti-Inflammatory & Anti-Viral Effects of Aldehydes
  23. Top 10 Eucalyptus Oil Uses and Benefits
  24. Diffuser Comparison: Nebulizer vs Ultrasonic Diffuser vs Humidifier – Which is the Best for You?

 

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The Benefits of Collagen for Healthy Skin & Joints (+ 5 Ways to Make More of It)

Collagen - Why We Need It and How to Boost Innate Collagen Production

What do wrinkles, creases, and stiff, painful joints have in common? They’re all signs indicating that your body’s collagen levels may be critically low and in need of urgent replenishing.

Unfortunately, collagen levels start to decline when we’re barely in our mid-20s. And things get worse as we grow older. For instance, collagen breaks down four times faster in people in their 80s, relative to when they were back in their 20s.

But what is collagen, what are the benefits of collagen, and how can we maintain its levels so that we can remain healthy as we age?

What is Collagen and What Does It Do?

What is Collagen and What Does It DoCollagen is a protein. Indeed, it is the most abundant protein in the body, along with being a key building block component in all of the body’s connective tissues.

You may be surprised to learn that collagen makes up to 30 percent of all the proteins in your body and a staggering 70 percent of the proteins in your skin!

The musculoskeletal system is made up of the skeleton, muscles, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, joints, and other connective tissue that supports and holds tissues and organs together. Collagen helps to construct the infrastructure of the musculoskeletal system, which provides your body with form, support, stability, and movement.

Collagen also ensures the cohesion, elasticity, and regeneration of your skin, which is directly related to how youthful you look. In other words, maintaining your body’s collagen level is the key to having glowing, wrinkle-free skin, and countering the effects of aging and pollution.

The dermis – the layer of skin that provides the skin’s foundation – is partly responsible for your skin’s elasticity and flexibility and also helps to cushion your body from stress and strain. No surprises then that collagen is the main component of the dermis. Breakdown of collagen or not having enough of it in your body is what leads to wrinkle formation and other skin problems.

Ligaments are a type of connective tissue that attach two bones to each other and hold your joints together. Similarly, tendons are another type of connective tissue that keeps your muscles attached to your bones. All of these – bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles – are made up of proteins. Once again, their predominant protein component is collagen.

In other words, having enough collagen helps to ensure the health and self-renewing capability of your skin, hair, tendons, cartilage, bones, and joints, as well as your blood vessels and gut.

Our bodies actually contain more than 20 different types of collagen, but three of these – known as types I, II, and III – together make up 80 to 90 percent of all the collagen in the body. Types I and III are found mainly in the skin, tendons, ligaments, and bones, while type II is the main component in joint cartilage.

Collagen is made up of components known as amino acids, including glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and arginine. Constantly replenishing these amino acids via your diet is needed to maintain your body’s collagen at healthy levels. If you don’t get enough of the amino acids that are required to make collagen, you will not be able to make enough of it to meet your body’s needs.

What Happens to Collagen as We Grow Older?

What Happens to Collagen as We Grow OlderAs we age, our body’s ability to make collagen begins to slow down. As a consequence, our skin, hair, tendons, cartilage, bones, joints, blood vessels, and gut start losing their strength and structural integrity.

Our skin becomes fragile and less elastic. Wrinkles start to appear. Our hair turns grey, our joints lose their flexibility and become stiff, and our bone quality begins to deteriorate.

The good news is – even if we cannot make the same levels of collagen as we once did, stimulating our innate collagen production can potentially reverse some of these signs and symptoms of aging.

For instance, a double-blind, placebo study published in 2014 by Proksch and colleagues looked at the role of supplemental collagen peptide in eye wrinkle formation. A total of 114 women, aged 45 to 65 years, received either the collagen peptide or control, once daily for 8 weeks. Eye wrinkles were measured before starting the treatment, after 4 and 8 weeks, as well as 4 weeks after the last intake.

Consumption of collagen peptide was seen to lead to a statistically significant reduction of eye wrinkle volume by up to 20 percent – and this effect was long-lasting. The authors also detected significantly higher levels of procollagen type I and elastin in the treated volunteers, suggesting that supplemental collagen boosted the body’s own production of collagen, which may have helped reduce eye wrinkle formation.

5 Ways to Replenish Your Collagen Levels

Here are 5 ways to help maintain healthy collagen levels as you age:

#1. Collagen Supplements are produced from the connective tissue of animals and are commonly used to replenish collagen levels. In its natural state, collagen is made up of large molecules, which are “hydrolyzed,” or broken down into smaller molecules called peptides for better absorption.

Studies have shown that collagen peptides are indeed well absorbed and can trigger the body’s own collagen production. For instance, supplements of hydrolyzed types I and III collagen have been shown to increase collagen levels in the skin and also support tendons and ligaments, helping with exercise recovery.

A 2008 study by Clark and colleagues examined the effects of collagen hydrolysate on activity-related joint pain in 147 athletes, of whom 73 received the collagen supplement while 74 received control treatment for 24 weeks. The results of this study clearly showed that athletes consuming collagen hydrolysate had less joint pain – while at rest, while standing, walking, or lifting – all of which can have a negative impact on athletic performance if left untreated.

In osteoarthritis, injury or wear and tear break down the cartilage, eventually causing the bones to rub together. On the other hand, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which inflammation causes pain, stiffness, and swelling. Collagen supplements have been shown to help support joint health, which is highly beneficial for arthritis sufferers.

#2. Bone Broth has been used as a healing conBone Brothcoction in traditional cultures for centuries. Bone broth is made from nothing more than water, animal bones, vegetables, and seasoning. Often the bones are roasted first, before simmering for very long periods of time, usually more than 24 hours – so that not only gelatin (which is a hydrolyzed form of collagen), but also many healthful minerals, are released into the broth.

Bone broth is very rich in the amino acids glycine and proline. Glycine supports detoxification, while proline supports skin health, especially in combination with vitamin C. Gelatin also supports skin health and tone.

Bone broth also contains glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, which combine to support healthy cartilage. Additionally, bone broth contains hyaluronic acid (also found in beans and root vegetables) which is given on its own as a supplement to osteoarthritis patients and is also injected into knee joints to reduce pain, along with increasing knee function and mobility.

All these many powerful nutrients in bone broth greatly contribute to joint health which in turn may help to prevent inflammation-induced breakdown processes and improve overall mobility.

#3. Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is a fast-growing technology that is being used to treat many conditions that require stimulation of innate healing processes, relief from pain and inflammation, and restoration of normal function. Laboratory studies have shown an increase in production of pro-collagen and collagen along with other skin healing factors after skin exposure to low-energy laser irradiation.

#4. Vitamin C is essential for collagen production in the body, by direct activation of collagen production, by serving as a co-factor for two enzymes that are responsible for stabilizing collagen molecules, and by other mechanisms. Clinical studies have shown that applying vitamin C directly on the skin increases collagen production. Consuming vegetables and fruits rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants also helps maintain collagen levels in the body.

#5. Aloe vera has been shown to nearly double hyaluronic acid and collagen production when consumed by study participants. In laboratory experiments, naturally occurring compounds present in Aloe vera known as sterols have been shown to promote the production of type I and type III collagen.

Other Health Benefits of Collagen

Other benefits of boosting your body’s natural collagen production include supporting good hormonal balance, as research shows that the specific amino acids in collagen can help to improve the amino acid balance in the body, thereby supporting the body’s natural hormone production.

Both gelatin – a hydrolyzed form of collagen – and bone broth are known to help heal the gut lining. “Leaky gut syndrome” is a health condition in which partially digested food, toxins, viruses, yeast, and bacteria are able to enter the bloodstream from the intestine, which is harmful to your health. Leaky gut is believed to be the root cause of many allergies, autoimmune disorders, and even neurological disorders such as autism, ADHD, and learning disabilities.

By sealing the gut and optimizing the immune system, collagen and gelatin supplementation as well as bone broth consumption can help to support overall gut health which lowers the risk of getting these disorders.

 

For ideas and tips on making and using healing bone broth, download this complimentary bone broth e-book from Epigenetic Labs.

For the easy way to get all the nutritional benefits of bone broth, check out our Bone Broth Protein Powder here.

 

Sources:

  1. How to Boost Collagen for Better Skin
  2. Benefits of Collagen for Healthy Skin
  3. Oral Intake of Specific Bioactive Collagen Peptides Reduces Skin Wrinkles and Increases Dermal Matrix Synthesis.
  4. Collagen – The Cure for Aging?
  5. 24-Week Study on the Use of Collagen Hydrolysate as a Dietary Supplement in Athletes with Activity-related Joint Pain.
  6. Bone Broth, Broths and Stocks.
  7. Is Bone Broth the New Super Food?
  8. Effects of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate on Cartilage Metabolism in OA: Outlook on Other Nutrient Partners Especially Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  9. Combat Joint Pain and Arthritis with Bone Broth
  10. Low-level Laser (Light) Therapy (LLLT) in Skin: Stimulating, Healing, Restoring
  11. Vitamin C in Dermatology
  12. Effects of Plant Sterols Derived from Aloe Vera Gel on Human Dermal Fibroblasts in Vitro and on Skin Condition in Japanese Women
Posted

5 Steps to a Perfect Essential Oil Bath that Soothes & Heals Your Body

Essential Oil bath

After a long, hard day at work or taking care of family and chores, sometimes all you want to do is shut the bathroom door and draw a long, hot bath. The calming effect a bath can have on your nerves (and nervous system) is practically a given. Remember those Calgon commercials way back in the 70s (“Calgon take me away!”)? Well, you don’t have to rely on potentially toxic commercial bubble bath solutions to give you relief. In fact, if done properly, an essential oil bath can be a legitimate healing and energizing experience… as well as a deliciously relaxing one.

Why Taking a Hot Bath is Good for Your Health

Why Taking a Hot Bath is Good for Your HealthHot baths are beneficial mostly because of what we know about the health benefits of hyperthermia. Human beings, when they are in a healthy state, usually maintain a fairly constant temperature of approximately 98.6 degrees F (37 degrees C). Many individuals with certain chronic health conditions such as hypothyroidism or cancer may have a basal body temperature that is lower than this. Even a chronically lower body temperature of a half a degree below normal can potentially lower immune function by 20%.

For individuals with chronic diseases such as these, regular soaks not only relax stress responses to promote healing, but can also lead to improved immune function and regulation of pH levels through exposure to high heat as well.

Research has shown that high temperatures even have the ability to shrink cancer tumors. A study conducted at the Charite Medical School in Berlin, Germany, found that hyperthermia damaged cancer cell proteins, which led to tumor shrinkage. This makes sense since many disease conditions, including cancer, thrive in acidic, low pH environment. As temperature rises, pH levels in the body rise as well.

It seems as if ancient healers knew all along about the benefits of raising body temp for healing. “Give me a chance to create a fever and I will cure any disease,” said the pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Parmenides around the year 500 BC. And in the ancient Indian healing art of Ayurveda, a morning bath is said to be a good daily practice, or dinacharya.

5 Steps to an Amazing Bath Experience

#1: Make sure your water is clean and filtered.

You’ll likely need to enact this step ahead of time and invest some cash as well, but this step should be considered a necessity − especially if you are in an area where fluoride is purposely added to the municipal water supply. Note: You can check whether your city or town has fluoridated water by going to the My Water’s Fluoride website maintained by the US Centers for Disease Control.

Even if your community does not fluoridate the water, other contaminants may be present in the tap water you will be soaking in if you don’t have a proper filter. These additives can include chlorine, lead, iron, copper, and hydrogen sulfide as well as a cocktail of drug residue such as opiates, birth control pills, pesticides from agricultural irrigation, and other pharmaceutical drugs.

If you use well water, be sure to have your water tested periodically to ensure your water is as pure as you think it is. Arsenic is a naturally occurring toxin that is common in groundwater (and hence well water). Back in 2000, the U.S. Geological Survey found that 10 percent of groundwater samples across US exceeded the EPA’s regulatory limit. According to the World Health Organization, long-term exposure to arsenic can cause “cause cancer and skin lesions. It has also been associated with developmental effects, cardiovascular disease, neurotoxicity and diabetes.”

Choose the right essential oils#2: Choose the right essential oils and mineral additives for your bath experience.

Decide beforehand what kind of essential oil bath experience you want to have. Do you just want to relax? Then lavender oil or geranium rose can be your go-to oils. Need to invigorate for a night on the town? Try a little peppermint, spearmint, or citrus oils like grapefruit or orange to give you energy and increase vitality. Adding a little frankincense essential oil or Magi-Complex to a bath can invigorate and balance the senses, boost the immune system, and lead to a general sense of peace and well-being.

For sore, achy muscles, a few drops of eucalyptus oil in the bathwater can help soothe and relax. And if you’re plagued with itchy skin from bug bites or a fungal skin condition, you may find a few drops of tea tree oil in your bath provides some welcome relief. Note: you’ll likely want to use cooler water for the itchy skin as well.

Play around and try different combinations of essential oils in your bathwater to find the ones you like most. There’s no right or wrong combination. Just remember that a little goes a long way with quality essential oils and to be cautious as they may make your tub more slick than usual.

What about detoxing? On an average day, a typical human will come into contact with 700,000 and 2.1 million different kinds of toxic chemicals! A 2012 study conducted by the University of California, Davis found that the average person is also exposed to toxins such as arsenic and dioxin; 100% of the children tested in the study had levels of these chemicals in their system that exceeded cancer risk benchmarks.

Taking a detoxing mineral bath two or three days per week, in addition to other detoxification actions, will do a lot to keep your system clean and toxin-free. You can easily do this by adding some Epsom salts or Himalayan pink salt (which contains over 80 minerals and trace minerals) to your essential oil bathwater. An easy rule of thumb is to use 1/2 cup of salt for every 50 pounds of body weight.

According to Dr. Eric Zielinski, the best essential oils that can aid in detoxing include citral-containing oils (lemon myrtle, lemongrass, lemon teatree, May Chang), lemon, rosemary, clove, valerian root, mint, Nees & Mart., and myrrh essential oils.

#3: Create the right environment.

Environment is everything, especially when it comes to getting the most out of your relaxing bath experience. Use your bath time as a chance to thoroughly nurture yourself. Light some candles (non-toxic ones such as soy or beeswax). Play your favorite music. Place a tray of goodies − figs, quality dark chocolate, a glass of water with mint or cucumber, for example — by the side of the tub. Lock the door and take a deep breath as you slide into the warm water of your bath for total relaxation. Most importantly, be present in the experience.

Here’s some other fun tips you may enjoy: If your bathroom is due for a decorating upgrade, consider putting elements of nature such as shells, crystals, or interesting rocks along the outside of the tub. You can also invest in a shower curtain that will add a fun fabric-derived decorative element to your bath area. Research has proven that what we take in through our sense (taste, sight, feel, taste, hearing, and olfactory) can affect our moods. Depression is often defined as a dulling of the senses. Use your bath time to liven your senses in a relaxed way, and fight depression at the same time.

#4: “Tune out” the world… and tune in to healing!

Finally, make your bath time “sacred time” reserved just for you. Turn off your cellphone, computer, and all electronic gadgets that may beep and buzz for your attention. Note: if you are using your cellphone for music, you can put it on “airplane mode” and still access the music you have on your phone’s internal drive. Let others in your household know that you will be “unavailable” for a half hour to an hour or so and take care of all your chores (like letting the dog out) beforehand so that you can completely unplug and enjoy.

#5: Take Your Bath a Step Further for Healing

scrub your body with a loofa or brushYou can take your bath experience to the next level if healing is your ultimate goal. The relaxation sensation in itself can lead to healing through the lowering of cortisol levels, and the body temperature-raising effect (as mentioned above) will add to this as well.

In addition, consider doing a “total-immersion” bath. Simply fill your bathtub as high as it will go with warm to semi-hot filtered water (up to about 104 F). Completely submerse yourself in the water for 20-30 minutes. At the same time, scrub your body with a loofa or brush; this will stimulate a detox effect through the pores and will also remove dead skin.

After the bath, wrap yourself (including your head) in a large towel or blanket. Lay down to rest for about ten minutes. The warmth will stay in your skin longer and the sweating that will inevitably occur can add to your overall detox. Before and after your immersion bath, make sure you drink plenty of clean filtered water.

Stress has been connected to too many ailments to name. Taking a relaxing bath immediately calms stress responses, promoting rest, conserving energy, and balancing all systems of the body. Adding key essential oils as well as mineral salts as discussed above can turn an already relaxing bathing experience into a truly healing one.

Purity and quality counts when it comes to essential oils. Every time you use an essential oil you are creating a direct pathway to transmit every ingredient in that oil into your body.

Essential oils available from Epigenetic Labs are among the highest quality essential oils available to consumers. They are made with indigenously sourced plants retrieved from the world’s best sources.

Sources:

  1. Low Body Temperature Symptoms and Causes – And How to Treat It
  2. Chapter 3 – Heat the Body with Thermotherapy
  3. The Cellular and Molecular Basis of Hyperthermia.
  4. Cancer and Non-cancer Health Effects from Food Contaminant Exposures for Children and Adults in California: A Risk Assessment.
  5. My Water’s Fluoride
  6. High Rates of Bladder Cancer Linked to Arsenic in Drinking Water
  7. World Health Organization: Arsenic Fact Sheet
  8. 5 Senses and Depression
  9. Sweat Glands Play Major Role in Healing Human Wounds, U-M Research Shows
  10. Water Pollution Caused by Birth Control Poses Dilemma
  11. Effectiveness of Silexan Oral Lavender Essential Oil Compared to Inhaled Lavender Essential Oil Aromatherapy on Sleep in Adults: A Systematic Review Protocol.
  12. 11 of the Best Essential Oils for Detox
  13. The Value of the Hot-Water Immersion Bath in the Treatment of Threatening Puerperal Eclampsia
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Fermented Supplements: Why the Gut Benefits of Fermented Foods Also Applies to Supplements

Why Fermented Supplements

Chances are you’ve read or heard about the numerous health benefits of fermented foods such as sauerkraut (cabbage) and other veggies, kombucha drinks, and even fermented dairy products such as yogurt and kefir. But have you heard of the advantages of fermented supplements? If not, read on! If you want to get the best bang for your supplement buck, then fermented supplements from a quality source is definitely something to consider.

Your Gut Health Depends on Your Gut Bacteria

Why Fermentation is Good For Your BodyDid you know that there are trillions of tiny organisms living in your digestive tract? These go by different names including gut flora, intestinal flora, gut bacteria, or even microbiota. Collectively this biological system in known as the “microbiome.” You can remember it this way… you have trillions of microbiota in your microbiome, which resides in your GI tract, or gut.

Now some of these microbiota are healthy for you. They are helpers and may assist in everything from food assimilation to the creation of T Cells for your immune system. Other bacteria, however, are not so helpful. In fact, they can be downright dangerous and often lead to all kinds of digestive and other health issues.

When it comes to gut health, the name of the game is to have sufficient quantities of the good bacteria in your gut at all times that outnumber the “bad.” That’s not to say that a little bit of the “bad” bacteria isn’t important as well. Having a small quantity of bad bacteria keeps the helpful bacteria, as well as your immune system in general, primed and ready to go.

Since our environment, lifestyle, and the foods we typically eat provide plenty of opportunities for harmful bacteria to flourish, our ongoing job is to keep that supply of good bacteria coming into (and thriving in) our gut. We do this by eating the right kinds of foods (and eliminating harmful ones), drinking plenty of filtered water for detoxifying, and getting the right kinds of supplements for our unique needs.

Foods that Help or Harm Your Microbiome

Some of the ways you may be putting your microbiota out of balance and taxing your digestive system include:

  • Lack of fermented foods in your diet
  • Lack of probiotics in your diet
  • Lack of prebiotics in your diet
  • Insufficient enzyme-rich foods
  • Diet high in carbohydrates and sugar
  • Diet high in poor quality fats
  • Too many inflammatory foods, too few anti-inflammatory foods and substances
  • Foods laden with antibiotics, preservatives, toxins, and chemicals
  • Alcohol
  • Lack of polyphenols and resveratrol
  • Too few antioxidant-rich foods

Why Fermentation is Good for Your Gut Health

Fermentation is “the chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeasts, or other microorganisms, typically involving effervescence and the giving off of heat.” It has been used (accidentally and on purpose) since antiquity. Prior to electricity and refrigeration, fermentation was (and still is) a way to make wine and beer and to preserve all categories of foods, including meats. Because bacteria are responsible for the fermentation process, when you eat fermented foods you bring a dose of these probiotic or good bacteria (“probiotic” means “pro-life”) into your digestive system.

Some of the health effects that many people report feeling from consuming fermented foods include reduced stress, less fatigue, higher antioxidant content, improved mood, and a boosted immune system!

In general, fermentation does some very important things in your body. It helps pathogens be destroyed more rapidly, it strengthens the barriers between your blood supply and your GI tract (when this barrier is weak, you may be at risk of “leaky gut”). It also introduces very helpful antimicrobials into your system, such as bacteriocins, which are tiny amino acids that stop the growth of harmful bacteria.

Most importantly to our discussion here, fermentation helps enhance the vitamin and mineral content of whatever is being fermented. You guessed it: this goes for vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements as well!

9 Ways That Fermentation Helps to “Super-Charge” Your Supplements

BasicallySuper-Charge Your Supplements with Fermentation, what fermentation does for food it can also do for your supplements, and them some! Research shows that fermenting vitamins, minerals, and herbs before encapsulating them can enhance them in a number of ways:

  1. Increased antioxidants – fermentation can increase the antioxidant properties of your supplements, which means that your bones, immune system, and intestinal lining are all getting super antioxidant support.
  2. Increased bioavailability – it can increase the bioavailability of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B, magnesium, zinc, and many others. (Making something more “bioavailable” means making the nutrients more available for your body to absorb.)
  3. Natural preservative – fermentation can protect against spoilage as fermentation is a natural preservation process. While fermentation is a chemical process, it doesn’t rely on the addition of harmful chemicals.
  4. Boosts anti-inflammatory potential – it boosts the potential of anti-inflammatory substances such as capsicum significantly.
  5. Enhances amino acid content – fermentation makes amino acids more available, including in freeze-dried and powdered green drink mixes and protein powders. One study found that fermentation of organic, sprouted brown rice protein powder enhanced both the amino acid content as well as the bioavailability of the product as a whole.
  6. Enhanced Chelation – fermentation of substances such as chlorella and spirulina can enhance their ability to chelate (bind with) heavy metals.
  7. Better absorption – it helps your supplement become absorbed in your GI tract more effectively.
  8. Formation of new nutrients – fermentation of certain plants and other foods may actually form phytonutrients and other nutrients that weren’t there before. For example, a report published in the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition found that naturally fermenting fenugreek leaves not only enhanced levels of pyridoxine and ascorbic acid (vitamin C), but actually created vitamin B12, which was not in the herb before fermentation.
  9. Supports healthy cells – consuming fermented foods in any form helps your cells stay pliable and toxin-free!

Are Fermented Foods & Supplements for You?

Adding fermentation into your diet in some way every day simply needs to be part of any good digestive health protocol. There was a time when “going fermented” was a fun and interesting adjunct to an otherwise fairly healthy diet. Or perhaps you think that eating fermented foods is just for people who are “sick.” Times have changed, however.

The toxic burden we’re all exposed to on a daily basis is much higher and our stress levels are greater than ever. Chances are your digestive system and your body as a whole may be feeling the effects of these burdens more and more. If you’re not consuming fermented foods on a regular basis, then a good quality probiotic can make a world of difference to your gut health.

When it comes to your choosing basic supplements − whether you decide to go fermented or not − be sure to choose quality products that you know do not contain harmful fillers. Check your labels and do a little research before you buy that supplement. Believe it or not, some low quality, mass produced multivitamins and other supplements contain toxins such as hydrogenated oils, artificial colors, titanium dioxide, and worse!

If your budget permits, go for the fermented supplements whenever you get a chance. When it comes from a quality source, you’ll be getting more of the good things you want (and your body needs) in a supplement.

Epigenetic Labs uses a proprietary fermentation process in all of our products with the exception of our essential oils and bone broth. This includes: EpiBiotics, EpiGreens, EpiZymes, Fulvimaxx, Optimoxx, and 7M+.

EpiBiotics from Epigenetic Labs features an organic fermented botanical blend, plant- and soil-based probiotic blend, with an infusion of humic & fulvic acid for maximum bioavailability. This trio of amazing components will improve your digestion, support your immune system, and help restore healthy bacteria in your gut.

 

Sources:

  1. Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Fermented Foods
  2. The Potential of Bifidobacteria as a Source of Natural Folate
  3. The Probiotic Bacterial Strain Lactobacillus Fermentum D3 Increases in Vitro the Bioavailability of Ca, P, And Zn in Fermented Goat Milk
  4. Nutritional Quality of Lactic Fermented Bitter Gourd and Fenugreek Leaves
Posted

Clove Oil for Toothache and Dental Care in Ancient & Modern Times

Why Use Fluoride for Oral Health, Clove Oil Can Do The Same Thing

If you have ever experienced clove essential oil, you probably remember it. The smell of clove is unique, pungent, and spicy. Basically, when it comes to aromas, you either love clove or can’t stand it. Either way, you can’t deny the vast healing power of this most pungent spice that has been used within Chinese medicine and in other parts of the world for over 2,000 years − particularly when it comes to tooth and mouth health.

Historical Use of Clove Oil for Toothache and Gum Pain

According to “The History of Dentistry” by Walter Hoffmann-axthelm, the Emperor of China was said to have used clove as a “mouth perfume” as far back as 200 AD, and the first medicinal reference to cloves was by 10th century Arabian dentist al-Gazzar, when cloves were used to control mouth odors and pain.

Clove for Dental PainEven today the most common association people make with clove essential oil is to oral health. Isn’t it incredible that despite all our medical and dental advances that centuries later clove is still a go-to substance for pain relief for toothaches and achy gums?

It’s also been a long-standing favorite of parents with teething babies. With this method a tiny amount of clove oil, heavily diluted with a light carrier oil to avoid irritation (i.e. coconut or olive oil), is applied to the gums to soothe the pain.

What makes clove so effective as a tooth and gum reliever? Studies have confirmed that clove contains benzocaine, the same basic stuff traditional doctors and dentists usually use to numb a local area before inserting a needle. If you’ve ever gotten clove oil on your tongue you’ll recognize that numbing (“my tongue is frozen”) effect!

Can Clove Oil Help Protect Tooth Enamel?

Another interesting advantage of using clove for your gums and tooth health is that it may also help with tooth “decalcification” or tooth “erosion.”

If you’re heeding the advice of health experts that say to drink a glass of water with lemon juice every morning, then this is especially applicable to you…

Drinking lemon water first thing in the morning is a GREAT thing to do for your overall health, but it might not be the best thing for your teeth. (As a side note, a drop of lemon essential oil in your water is a good alternative to lemon juice in water. Drinking lemon water with a straw can also help to protect your teeth). All that acidic liquid from fresh lemon juice can do a number on your tooth enamel over time.

Clove oil, however, has been found to support tooth health by helping to slow dental erosion caused by acidic foods and drink. In fact, in some studies, such as a 2012 investigation conducted by the Indian government, clove oil was found to actually help with teeth re-mineralization.

Knowing what clove oil can do for your teeth, gums and tooth enamel, why would you want to use fluoride for so-called tooth health and risk all the nasty, proven side effects − including sterility and lower cognitive ability − that potentially comes along with it? Do yourself a favor and ditch the fluoride toothpaste (and the tap water that may contain fluoride as well) and go for side effect-free clove oil. It’s natural, free of toxins (if from a quality brand), and has been demonstrated effective over thousands of years for your mouth health. You can find a healthy DIY toothpaste recipe here and a mouthwash recipe down below.

Clove for Your Gums & Overall Dental Health

Did you know that inside your mouth there are over 700 different kinds of bacterial species? It’s safe to say that not all of them are the “friendly” kind. And this is precisely where clove’s unique anti-bacterial properties come in handy. Clove can provide a level of protection against bad bacteria which it turn helps to prevent gum disease.

Microorganisms in the mouth that can lead to gum diseaseMicroorganisms in the mouth that can lead to gum disease and tooth decay are resilient. They have their own “will to survive” that often make them hardy and difficult to control.

Many strains of harmful bacteria that lodge themselves in the mouth — and in the body — develop resistance to traditional avenues of controlling them, such as antibiotics. According to a report published in the journal Compendium, many bad bacteria can’t develop a tolerance nor resistance to clove oil (thyme oil as well). This fact makes these two essential oils very effective anti-bacterial agents for the mouth and gums.

A side note about clove’s anti-bacterial properties: some experts say that clove oil can even help with candida overgrowth when taken internally. Be sure to work with a naturopathic health professional to determine how best to proceed if addressing this condition.

Caution When Using: Clove Oil is Powerful

Clove Oil is Powerful. Take Precautions.When it comes to clove oil, more is not necessarily better. Clove essential oil is considered a “hot” oil that can be harsh on the stomach lining if used internally too much. It can also be irritating to the skin, so always make sure that you use a quality organic carrier oil when you apply it to the skin. This goes for the skin in your mouth (i.e. your gums) as well.

Be especially careful to keep clove oil away from your eyes and other sensitive membranes as it will sting. If you do accidentally apply it in the wrong spot, don’t flush with water which will only spread it around − dilute with a carrier oil.

And of course, make sure that your clove oil has “supplement facts” on the label. Remember that if your essential oil label does not have this wording or information then it should not be used orally.

In fact, because the skin is a great absorber (we literally “drink in” all the creams, lotions and oils we slather on it), it is best to always use quality essential oils no matter what the capacity you are using them in. That just makes good, safe sense!

How to Make Your Own Clove Essential Oil Mouthwash

Clove Essential Oil Mouthwash
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  • 1-2 cups filtered water
  • A generous pinch of pink Himalayan salt (the minerals are good for your mouth as well as your body!)
  • 2 drops of clove oil + 1 drop thyme oil OR 3 drops clove essential oil
  • 1 drop peppermint essential oil
  • 1 drop of any of the following essential oils (optional): Orange, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Frankincense, or Geranium Rose
  • A pinch of calcium magnesium citrate powder (optional, also helps with re-mineralization of tooth enamel)

  1. Add all ingredients to a glass bottle or jar. Shake well and re-shake before using.
  2. Swish with a mouthful of this concoction every morning and evening for healthy teeth and gums and a clean mouth! (Note: be sure to spit out the mouthwash and not swallow it)

Essential oils (including clove oil) available from Epigenetic Labs are among the highest quality essential oils available to consumers. They are made with indigenously sourced plants retrieved from the world’s best sources.

 

Sources:

  1. History of Dentistry (Quintessance Books)
  2. The Gentle Art of Periodontal Maintenance: A Protocol Using Essential Oils
  3. The Antibacterial Action of Eugenol, Thyme Oil, and Related Essential Oils Used in Dentistry
  4. Defining the Normal Bacterial Flora of the Oral Cavity
  5. The Effect of Clove and Benzocaine Versus Placebo as Topical Anesthetics
  6. A Randomised Double-blind Placebo-controlled Study on the Effects of a Herbal Toothpaste on Gingival Bleeding, Oral Hygiene and Microbial Variables
  7. In Vitro Inhibitory Effect of Clove Essential Oil and Its Two Active Principles on Tooth Decalcification by Apple Juice
  8. Clove and Eugenol in Noncytotoxic Concentrations Exert Immunomodulatory/Anti-inflammatory Action on Cytokine Production by Murine Macrophages
  9. Water Fluoridation: A Critical Review of the Physiological Effects of Ingested Fluoride as a Public Health Intervention
Posted

What’s in Season? 6 Healthy Spring Vegetables to Enjoy Now

What’s in Season? 6 Healthy Spring Vegetables to Enjoy Now

Spring is traditionally the time of re-birth, growth, and a fresh new start. If you spent a little too much time “hibernating” through the winter, spring is also the perfect time to focus on getting your body “tuned up” through healthier eating habits.

With the warmer weather comes the first home-grown vegetables of the season − the cornerstone of any healthy eating regimen. Whether you’re tending to your own garden or taking advantage of your local farmer’s market, now is the time to dive in to spring’s bounties.

Here is a rundown of some of the most popular springtime produce and why NOW is the best time to enjoy it for both taste and your health.

Why Eat What’s in Season?

Why Eat What’s in SeasonThe truth is that our modern form of agriculture, with pesticide spraying, genetically modified crops, and over-tilling the soil, has wreaked havoc on the nutritional value of most common crops over the last 50+ years.

It’s a sad fact that fruits and veggies prior to the 1950s contained way more nutritional value than the crops of today − even when you buy organic. A comprehensive analysis of 43 typical crops grown between 1950 and 1999 conducted by the Biochemical Institute at the University of Texas and the Bio-Communications Institute in Wichita, Kansas, found that “reliable declines” in calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamins B2, vitamin C, and protein occurred over those 50 years for the crops they studied.

The researchers also concluded that the decline was in direct correlation with certain agricultural practices designed to improve traits such as size, growth time, and pest resistance − but not nutritional value.

There is some good news to come out of all this, however. Studies have also shown that the nutritional difference is wide between commercially-grown produce that is picked before it has had a chance to ripen (and then shipped hundreds of miles to the grocery store) and those that are allowed to ripen on the vine or on the ground and then shipped just a short distance before being offered and consumed.

They have also found that heirloom varieties of common crops really pack a nutritional punch. For example, heirloom varieties of blue corn contain 99.5 milligrams of phytonutrients compared to commercially-grown white corn, which has 1.54 milligrams of phytonutrients.

What all this means is that it is healthier − by leaps and bounds − for you to eat seasonally and eat locally as much as possible!

In Season Now: The Top 6 Powerhouse Spring Veggies

Although seasonal springtime crops will vary geographically, the following varieties are ready to be consumed in the spring across much of the U.S. If you cannot grow your own, that’s okay. Help support your local farmer by paying a visit to your area’s farmer’s market. Just make sure that what you buy is organic or no spray and be sure to try out the heirloom varieties whenever you get a chance.

Remember that heirlooms may also represent some of the last traditional seed lines out there, as more and more commercial varieties are being grown through genetically-modified seeds, some of which have “self destruct” mechanism built into them. This means that the farmer must purchase those same seeds year after year. With many locally-kept heirloom varieties, however, seeds can be harvested for the future the way nature intended them to… from growing plants, year after year.

#1. Asparagus: Asparagus contains many good-for-you nutrients, including the flavonoids quercetin and steroidal saponin. Quercetin has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and is also known for its anti-cancer effects as well as being a neuro-protectant. Saponins are lesser-known flavonoids which have been shown to play a role in immune system function and the regulation of inflammatory responses.

Asparagus is also high in vitamin K and folate, two nutritional elements that the body needs for many functions. According to nutritional scientists, the best way to maintain all the wonderful nutritional components of your asparagus is to lightly steam it for no more than 3 minutes.

#2. Broccoli. BroBroccoli is of the “cruciferous” vegetable familyccoli is of the “cruciferous” vegetable family. All cruciferous vegetables (especially broccoli sprouts) contain the super-antioxidant sulforaphane, which many studies have confirmed contains anti-cancer effects, even against cancer stem cells.

Broccoli can also help support digestive health. Besides its high fiber content, the sulforaphane in broccoli also contains isothiocyanates (ITCSs) which help to protect the stomach lining from Helicobacter pylori overgrowth in that area.

Broccoli also contains about a dozen other healthy nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, zinc, calcium, and selenium. The best way to prepare fresh broccoli is to lightly steam it for about 5 minutes. Also note that broccoli is a “goitrogen,” so if you have a thyroid condition, it’s best to speak with your natural health practitioner about consuming it to allay any concerns you might have.

#3. Brussels Sprouts. Brussels sprouts seem to be all the rage these days, even showing up as the “appetizer of choice” at trendy restaurants and gastro-pubs.  This is for good reason. They are absolutely delicious when sliced and lightly sautéed with real grass-fed butter and a little chopped garlic.

Nutrition-wise, brussels sprouts are at the top of the list as well. They contain some unique properties including DNA protection (through the blockage of certain enzymes, say researchers) and the phytonutrient glucosinolate, which has been shown to have cancer-protective effects. Brussels sprouts are also very high in vitamin K, vitamin C, and fiber. The particular kind of fiber in brussels sprouts appears to be kinder to the digestive process than other cruciferous vegetables.

Also unlike other cruciferous vegetables, some studies have shown that brussels sprouts may not have as much of an effect on thyroid function as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and other cruciferous vegetables. A report published in the journal Human and Experimental Toxicology found that inclusion of cooked brussels sprouts into the diets of healthy individuals for 4 weeks had no effect on their thyroid. It should be noted, however, that this test was not done on individuals who already had imbalanced thyroid function. Nevertheless, this study and others has led some experts to conclude that cooked brussels sprouts may be a safe and super-healthy vegetable for those with thyroid conditions such as hypo or hyperthyroidism.

#4. Beets. Beets contain betalains and vulgaxanthins, unique phytonutrients which have strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification effects. In regards to detoxing, beets really shine. They can help support “Phase 2 detoxification,” which aids in glutathione production. Because of this, studies have also shown that consuming beets may protect against radiation exposure and poisoning. Beets can be boiled, steamed, shredded, and eaten raw or juiced along with some lime, green apple, leafy greens, and a little ginger for a refreshing morning detox and energizer.

#5. Dandelion. Wait… do ydandelionou mean those weeds with the yellow flowers that are taking over my back yard? You got it! Dandelions spread a wide net. They grow just about anywhere in the U.S. beginning in mid-springtime and can pop up (whether you want them to or not) throughout the summer. What you may not know is that dandelion is not just a pesky weed. It’s a true powerhouse of nutrition.

Dandelion root and leaves contains calcium, vitamin A, antioxidants, and fiber. They also help to cleanse the liver and kidneys and studies show they have benefits for those with diabetes as well as those with stomach conditions and urinary tract disorders. It should also be noted that dandelion has been known to work on the bowels and can have a laxative effect. Dandelion may also interfere with antibiotic absorption. If you are unsure, talk to your healthcare provider.

#6. Other vegetables you may find at your local farmer’s market (or in your own backyard) right now that pack a nutritional punch are: carrots, cabbage, bok choi, artichoke (Western states), radish, and spinach.

Get on the Farmer’s Market Bandwagon. It’s Good for You and Your Community!

Many Americans are catching “Farmer’s Market Fever” and you may even be one of them! This is very good news. A study conducted by Cornell University found that between 1994 and 2006, the number of functioning seasonal and year-round farmer’s markets in the United States more than doubled. Approximately 3 million Americans shopped at them and about 30,000 small farmers and food entrepreneurs earned either a part-time or full-time living selling their produce at farmer’s markets in 2006.

More than likely, these numbers have gone up over the last decade, as more and more individuals “take to the streets” (i.e. the Farmer’s Markets streets). Eating what’s in season in your local area just “feels right” to a growing number of people. That’s because it is… both for your body and for the local economy as well.

 

Detoxing your body is another beneficial way to kickstart a spring health renewal. Optimoxx from Epigenetic Labs is a superior detoxing cleanse program that is specifically designed to be extremely effective, while also safe and gentle.  

 

Sources:

  1. CUESA – Eat Seasonally
  2. What’s In Season in Your Region?
  3. Changes in USDA Food Composition Data for 43 Garden Crops, 1950 to 1999
  4. Dirt Poor: Have Fruits and Vegetables Become Less Nutritious?
  5. Quality Comparison of Hydroponic Tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum) Ripened On and Off Vine
  6. Nutritional Weaklings in the Supermarket
  7. SEEDS OF DOUBT: An Activist’s Controversial Crusade Against Genetically Modified Crops.
  8. World’s Healthiest Foods- Asparagus
  9. Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Protective Effects of Quercetin Against Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Progressive Dopaminergic Neurodegeneration in Cell Culture and MitoPark Transgenic Mouse Models of Parkinson’s Disease.
  10. NIH- Vitamin K
  11. Optimisation of Enzymatic Production of Sulforaphane in Broccoli Sprouts and their Total Antioxidant Activity at Different Growth and Storage Days.
  12. Phase 1 Study of a Sulforaphane-Containing Broccoli Sprout Homogenate for Sickle Cell Disease
  13. Preliminary Observations on the Effect of Dietary Brussels Sprouts on Thyroid Function.
  14. Radioprotective Activity of Betalains from Red Beets in Mice Exposed to Gamma Irradiation
Posted

Top 5 Ways to Reverse Aging Naturally (Without Surgery)

Top 5 Ways to Reverse Aging Naturally (Without Surgery)

There is no way to avoid aging. We are all destined to grow old, get sick, and die…

Or are we?

Although we can’t completely avoid the aging process, we sure can slow it down quite a bit. And disease? Even though it may be the “norm” for an increasing number of older Americans to succumb to chronic diseases as they age, this doesn’t have to be the case for you. There is a new normal when it comes to how we age — and following  these five simple steps to reverse aging naturally can help you get there.

5 Ways You Can Help Reverse the Aging Process

5 Ways You Can Help Reverse the Aging Process#1: Take key supplements. Nobel Prize-winning chemist, author, and health advocate Linus Pauling said, “By the proper intakes of vitamins and other nutrients and by following a few other healthful practices from youth or middle age on, you can, I believe, extend your life and years of well-being by twenty-five or even thirty-five years.” He might have added: “And you can live those extra years with excellent and vibrant health!”

Supplements (and foods, which we will talk about next) that are best for keeping your body and mind sharp must contain antioxidants. Some essential vitamins to add to your anti-aging arsenal include vitamin C and E as well as Glucosamine and Coenzyme Q10. Polyphenol-rich matcha tea and resveratrol are two other supplements that can be age-busters as well.

#2:  Use the immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory support power of medicinal mushrooms. In addition, if you are serious about your anti-aging regime, you must also consider adding a medicinal mushroom supplement to your daily routine.

Have you ever heard of the Japanese island of Okinawa? For generations, the population there was teeming with centenarians (people in their 100s) who were bright eyed and in great physical health. What was their secret? Eating fresh foods, spending lots of time out in nature and in their gardens, and surrounding themselves with family and friends. And, according to research conducted by the Okinawa Centenarian Study, the population also ate a large amount of various kinds of mushrooms, including Shiitake and Reishi.

These mushrooms have been proven to have a profound effect on the immune system and help to curb inflammatory responses. The study researchers, as well as many other studies, have linked consuming medicinal mushrooms with relief from inflammatory disease, osteo and rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune disorders and digestive problems, just to name a few.

#2 Eat Antioxidant Rich, Anti-Aging Foods. Besides mushrooms (which can be consumed in tea, in food form, or as a supplement), fill your plate with foods that are rich in omega-3 fats such as wild caught salmon, green leafy organic vegetables that contain high numbers of phytonutrients, berries such as raspberries and blueberries that have antioxidants called anthocyanins (which have been shown to slow tumor growth as well), and healing herbs like turmeric, basil, and ginger.

Want to improve your odds of living longer and living pain-free? Make it a point to also avoid all processed and GMO foods (including GMO produce), refined sugar, wheat products (especially commercially-produced breads, pastas, and baked goods), trans fats and artificial ingredients, and keep alcohol consumption to a minimum.

The best diet for staying vibrant into your 70s, 80s, and beyond is the simplest kind of diet. Eat real, recognizable food and plenty of (preferably raw or lightly steamed) vegetables in a relaxed setting and drink plenty of clean, filtered water. Even when we are older, our bodies are still primarily made of water so the key is to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

#3 Get Plenty of Sleep#3: Get Plenty of Sleep. Older people often have trouble sleeping, especially women in their post-menopausal years. The reasons for this are plentiful: stress and anxiety as well as hormonal imbalances can play a part.

Making rest a priority can do wonders for your daily energy levels and clarity of mind. Studies have shown that individuals with sleep disorders such as “sleep apnea” and insomnia have an increased risk of cancer.

Insufficient sleep has been associated with cell damage, neurological impairment, a compromised immune system, inflammation, and accelerated aging. When you get consistent, quality sleep, however, these conditions can sometimes reverse as the body is allowed to repair and restore during sleep.

#4: Exercise Your Mind. You may think of activities such as doing crosswords or sudoku, learning a language or musical instrument or reading a book as ways that you can keep your mind active in later years. But these activities are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how you can “flex your mind muscle.”

Stress-relieving and focusing activities such as meditation (and movement meditations like qi gong and forest bathing) have been proven to improve the strength and length of telomeres, stretches of DNA at the end of chromosomes which protect our genes. Telomeres keep chromosomes from fraying and clumping. Shortened telomeres are associated with aging as well as cancer and higher risk of death. A 2015 Canadian study linked evidence of longer telomere strands to meditation (when compared to those who did not meditate).

In addition, activities like creative visualization, repeating affirmations, and doing something like Emotional Freedom Technique (which also clears energy channels for physical healing, according to the principles of Chinese medicine) can keep you in a positive state of mind which can aid in the slowing down of the aging process.

Famed actress Sophia Lauren had it right when she said, “There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”

#5: Keep Moving! Hundreds of studies have correlated even moderate amounts of exercise with lower blood pressure, lower incidents of diabetes, lower cancer rates (sometimes up to 80 percent reduction), lower rates of heart disease, increased longevity and happiness overall.

Take a walk (especially in nature), swim, do some yoga or tai chi, or dance to your favorite tune. The most important thing is that you move your body at least 3 to 4 times a week for at least 30 minutes, according to experts. In addition, if your lifestyle or profession dictates that you sit for long periods of time, make sure that you get up to stretch and move every hour at least.

Your Reverse Aging “Recipe”

Taking key supplements (including mushrooms for supporting your immune system), eating healthy, organic foods and drinking fresh, filtered water, getting plenty of sleep, exercising the mind, and moving the body regularly. These five actions really are the “recipe” for not only a long life, but a vibrant one as well. Slowing down the aging process and staying sharp into your hundreds like the centenarians of Okinawa is possible. It simply takes discipline and a vision of a strong and healthy you, no matter what your physical age!

7M+ from Epigenetic Labs includes seven of nature’s most powerful mushrooms in all. The unique, fermented healing mushroom compounds combined with Dr. Nuzum’s fulvic acid compound creates a next generation of anti-aging combatants!

 

Sources:

  1. Linus Pauling
  2. The Okinawan Centenarian Study
  3. Antiinflammatory and Immunomodulating Properties of Fungal Metabolites
  4. Sleep-disordered Breathing and Cancer Mortality Results from the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study
  5. Fragmented Sleep Accelerates Tumor Growth and Progression Through Recruitment of Tumor-associated Macrophages and TLR4 Signaling
  6. Are Telomeres the Key to Aging and Cancer
  7. Mindfulness-based Cancer Recovery and Supportive-expressive Therapy Maintain Telomere Length Relative to Controls in Distressed Breast Cancer Survivors
  8. Exercise and Longevity
Posted

The Top 5 Essential Oils for Energy Support

The Top 5 Essential Oils for Energy Support

Do you wake up in the morning craving a few Zs? Do you sometimes suffer from the “late afternoon blahs?” There are so many reasons why our energy sometimes tends to lag at key moments in the day: adrenal fatigue, lack of quality sleep, stress, or aspects of a more serious condition can all play a part. Instead of downing that second (or third) cup of coffee, however, why not get energized with essential oils instead? Here is a rundown of our “Top 5” essential oils for energy!

5 of the Best Essential Oils for Energy

Feeling sluggish? Try a drop or 2 of one of these essential oils!

#1. Peppermint – Peppermint (as well as spearmint) has the ability to uplift as well as energize. This is a perfect essential oil to use if you are suffering from mid-afternoon “brain fog” or are just feeling a little blah. It contains high levels of menthol and has been shown to fight chronic fatigue as well as improve concentration. It can also help with the fatigue caused by slow digestion or overeating.

Rub a few diluted drops of peppermint oil directly on your temples

Try this: Rub a few drops of peppermint oil diluted in a carrier oil directly on your temples for instant refreshment! Be careful to keep it away from the eye area.

#2. Lemon – Lemon oil is right up there with peppermint as one of the most uplifting and energizing of all the essential oils. In fact, all citrus oils, including grapefruit and orange, can make this claim. They are often used together as a super-charger in diffusers or applied topically (dilution is recommended).

Citrus oils can elevate the mood and lift the spirits. All citrus oils, and especially lemon oil, contains healing antioxidant terpenes such as limonene. Lemon has also been associated with decreased blood pressure and can help to support a healthy liver − leading to less toxicity and more overall energy for you!

Try this: You probably know that a tall glass of lemon water first thing in the morning can help hydrate and alkalize your body. But did you also know that you can replace that lemon slice with 1-2 drops of high quality food grade lemon essential oil and have the same effect? In fact, using lemon essential oil in your morning water can not only give you a lift for your day but can protect your teeth from enamel damage associated with the acid in lemon juice. Bottoms up!

#3. Eucalyptus – Eucalyptus oil is typically associated with help with respiratory healing but it can also stimulate the brain and improve energy levels. Eucalyptus contains cineole, a substance with documented healing qualities and over 1,000 research studies to its name! Eucalyptus has been shown to support the body when healing from many chronic diseases, including neurological conditions that can affect mood as well as energy levels.

Try this: Eucalyptus oil should never be used internally, but it can make a great diffuser oil if used in small amounts. Simply put a few drops on your diffuser filter and allow the refreshing menthol molecules in eucalyptus to uplift you and anyone who walks in the door.

Rosemary essential oil#4 Rosemary. First of all, rosemary is not just a super-antioxidant; it is a super super-antioxidant. According to the USDA, its ORAC antioxidant capacity is comparitable to goji berries! That fact alone makes it a super anti-inflammatory as well. Like eucalyptus, the effect it can have in supporting a healthy immune response can have profound effects on energy levels.

Studies such as those conducted at the University of Calgary have found direct biological and neurological connections between inflammatory diseases and fatigue responses. Rosemary has also been shown to help improve memory, balance hormone levels, and improve alertness as well.

Try this: Rosemary essential oil is an ideal oil to add to food, especially meats such as grass-fed chicken, for an extra savory experience. Just be sure it is top quality and food grade rosemary essential oil. Always look for the “supplement information” label on any essential oil to know that it can be ingested.

#5. Frankincense – Frankincense is often called the “Holy Grail” of essential oils. Indeed, it was thought to be a holy substance in Biblical times. Today, the ways in which it can help you create balance and vitality in your life are too many to name here! Frankincense’s gift when it comes to lifting energy is in the way it can gently balance the nervous system. Its effect is not as instantly noticeable as peppermint or citrus, but it can be subtly long-lasting.

If you suffer from the lethargy and low energy that often comes with hormonal imbalance or depression, or if you sometimes have bouts of anxiety, then frankincense may just become your “go to” essential oil. Studies have shown that the oil “massages” the limbic system and this can have an effect on soothing the nervous system overall.

Try this: Remember that a little goes a long way when it comes to frankincense. Rub it in diluted form on lymph node areas or use it in a diffuser for gentle invigoration. If you use a food grade frankincense oil internally, one or two drops under the tongue should do the trick to soothe, balance, and uplift your mood.

How to Use Essential Oils

How to Use Essential OilsOne of the amazing things about using essential oils for health and well-being is the diversity of options for its use. Whether you breathe in an oil through a diffuser or in facial steam bath, apply it topically, or ingest a food-grade essential oil (which all Epigenic Labs Essential Oils are), the beauty of these oils is that their aromatic essence can emter into your system quickly.

Essential oils are comprised of very small particles that are able to break the blood-brain barrier, which is why people have found them so supportive for mental clarity and emotional well-being for centuries.

As a rule, less is more when it comes to how much to use, especially if you are using top quality essential oils. Just 2-3 drops in a diffuser, on key areas of the body (mixed with a carrier oil), or under the tongue can do the trick. Also try Epigenetic Labs Essential Oils mixed with jojoba or another gentle massage oil for the ultimate in relaxation and invigoration!

 

Essential oils available from Epigenetic Labs are among the highest quality essential oils available to consumers. They are made with indigenously sourced plants retrieved from the world’s best sources.

 

Sources:

  1. Citrus Leaf Extract Reduces Blood Pressure and Vascular Damage in Repeatedly Heated Palm Oil Diet-Induced Hypertensive Rats
  2. The Protective Effect of Citrus Limon Essential Oil on Hepatotoxicity and Nephrotoxicity Induced by Aspirin in Rats
  3. Eucalyptol and Its Role in Chronic Diseases
  4. USDA Database for the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of Selected Foods, Release 2
  5. How Inflammatory Disease Causes Fatigue
  6. Aromas of Rosemary and Lavender Essential Oils Differentially Affect Cognition and Mood in Healthy Adults
  7. Non-Pharmacological Pain Relief in Labour
  8. Aromatherapy: Art or Science
Posted

4 Ways That Myrrh Supports a Healthy Body

4 Ways That Myrrh Supports a Healthy Body

The biblical account of myrrh’s sacred gifting to the newborn Christ along with frankincense and gold by wise men from the East is a familiar story to Christians all throughout the world. But the consideration of myrrh (Commiphora myrrha) as a precious substance of great worth extends far beyond just the spiritual, as its various preparations and extracts have an extensive history of use in therapeutics as well.

Though it’s perhaps most known for its spicy, fragrant odor, which was traditionally used for embalming the dead, myrrh has also long been used as a natural antiseptic for purification in cleaning wounds and preventing infections. The purifying essence of this resinous sap is similarly widely appreciated as having a calming effect when inhaled, lending credence to its widespread use as an incense.

Both empirically throughout the ages and scientifically in modern times, myrrh has proven itself invaluable for a variety of special purposes. And especially in modern times, science has uncovered even more about the unique properties of myrrh that indicate its usefulness in a range of other health applications.

Here are some of the most noteworthy health benefits of myrrh that have been reported in scientific literature.

#1 – Myrrh Contains Anti-Inflammatory Plant CompoundsMyrrh is a Powerful Anti-Inflammatory

There are two classes of primary active compounds in myrrh that lend to its efficacy in supporting a healthy immune response: sesquiterpenes and terpenoids. Both of these compounds are found in a variety of food and plants sources. Studies show that sesquiterpenes and terpenoids support the body in soothing inflamed areas, while also protecting against cell damage and the formation of chronic disease. 1 This is particularly true in the intestinal tract, where myrrh has demonstrated benefits in helping to protect the intestinal barrier lining from damage.

Serious gastrointestinal conditions like ulcerative colitis have been shown in the scientific literature to respond positively to the use of myrrh, which appears to exert both protective and healing effects when taken in sufficient quantities. One study, in fact, found that myrrh was able to aid the body in protectecting against three different types of colitis, 2 while another revealed specific benefits against acetic acid-induced ulcerative colitis. 3

Some toothpastes and oral care products contain myrrh for much the same purpose, as its extracts have been shown to help protect teeth and gums against the types of inflammation that can lead to things like gum disease, gingivitis, and pyorrhea. In Germany, myrrh powder is actually government-approved for treating inflammation of the mouth and throat, the tannins in its resin being recognized as the primary active ingredients in this process. 4 Research conducted by the Dental Research Center at the College of Dentistry at the University of Tennessee also found that myrrh oil is cytotoxic against gingival fibroblasts and epithelial cells. 5

Many of these same benefits occur when myrrh is applied to inflamed skin, helping to soothe and relieve swelling while promoting elasticity and healthy aging. Applying myrrh topically may also support the body in healing skin infections and promote faster healing from wounds and sores.

#2 – Myrrh Has High Antioxidant Potential

adjuvant therapy in both the prevention and treatment of diabetesBesides addressing disease-causing inflammation, myrrh also appears to support the body in reducing disease-causing oxidative stress. One study published in the journal Food and Chemistry Toxicology, for example, found that the antioxidant potential of myrrh is so high that it may support healthy liver function. 6 With an Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) value of 379,800 µTE/100g (to put this into perspective, oranges have an ORAC value of 750), myrrh has the potential to help in many other areas as well. 7

In a study on diabetic rats, extract of Mukul myrrh (C. mukul) from India was found to have a beneficial effect on both oxidative stress marker enzymes and hepatic marker enzymes. In their report, the researchers concluded: “our data indicate the preventive role of C. mukul against STZ-induced diabetic oxidative stress; hence this plant could be used as an adjuvant therapy for the prevention and/or management of diabetes and aggravated antioxidant status.” 8

#3 – Myrrh Fights Bacteria, Parasites, Viruses & Fungi

Whether inside the body or on the skin, infection-causing pathogens are another target for myrrh. Studies reveal myrrh’s immune-boosting potential may be effective at supporting the body against conditions ranging from sore throats, acne, and the common cold, to more serious health conditions like pneumonia and even Candida albicans.

In general, myrrh protects against putrefaction, toxicity, and various other factors that contribute to infections. This, again, being why it was used historically in the preparation of the deceased. It also supports the healthy repair of cellular tissue throughout the body.

Schistosomiasis is a parasitic infection of a type of blood fluke that is common throughout Asia, Africa and tropical America. Treatment of schistosomiasis is chemotherapy with the drug praziquantel. But due to drug resistance, researchers tested myrrh on 204 patients with schistosomiasis to determine if it was effective at ridding the body of two different types of parasites: S. haematobium and S. mansoni.

The researchers reported in The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene that: “The drug [myrrh] was given at a dose of 10 mg/kg of body weight/day for three days, and induced a cure rate of 91.7%. Re-treatment of cases who did not respond with a dose of 10 mg/kg of body weight/day for six days gave a cure rate of 76.5%, increasing the overall cure rate to 98.09%. The drug was well tolerated, and side effects were mild and transient. Twenty cases provided biopsy specimens six months after treatment and none of them showed living ova.” 9

#4 – Myrrh Contributes to Healthy, Happy Hormones

Myrrh Contributes to Healthy, Happy HormonesThe constituent counterpart to terpenoids in myrrh, sesquiterpenes serve their own unique role in helping to balance the glandular system, including the hypothalamus, which is recognized as the emotional center of the human body. It is here that the endocrine system connects to the nervous system, regulating both the release and inhibition of hormone production all throughout the body.

According to Robert M. Sargis, MD, the main purpose of the hypothalamus is to maintain homeostasis, or internal balance, within the human frame. Its primary functions include the regulation of nearly every component system of the body, including heart rate and blood pressure, body temperature, fluid and electrolyte balance, appetite and body weight, glandular secretions in the stomach and intestines, the production of various substances necessary for the pituitary gland to release hormones, as well as sleep cycles. 10

Does Myrrh Possess Anti-Cancer Properties?

In addition to its ability to support the body in countering oxidative stress and inflammation, there are numerous published and ongoing studies examining myrrh’s relationship to cancer. Studies suggest that it inhibits angiogenesis, a process by which new blood vessels develop to supply “food” to cancer tumors.

For example, in a rat study published in the journal Chemico-Biological Interactions in 2017, myrrh extract was reported to have helped to improve liver function marker enzymes and prevent cancer cell proliferation. The researchers stated: “these results provide evidence that C. molmol resin [myrrh] has a potent chemopreventive activity, possibly by up-regulating the Nrf2/HO-1 signaling and attenuation of inflammation, angiogenesis and oxidative stress.” 11

In a 2011 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Plants Research, Chinese researchers looked at the effect of myrrh on human gynecologic cancer cells. They concluded that “extracts and compounds from myrrh could be useful for preventing and treating human gynecologic cancer disease.” 12

None of this should be taken to mean that myrrh in any way prevents or cures cancer. However, in addition to other healthful practices (i.e. good nutrition, sleep, movement, and stress reduction), research appears to show that myrrh can help to support a healthy immune system that is able to ward off disease.

 

Myrrh essential oil is one of 3 ingredients (along with frankincense and turmeric essential oils) of Magi-Complex blend from Epigenetic Labs. This breakthrough supplement is the first of its kind to incorporate three of the world’s best nutritional ingredients that support a healthy immune response — the Magi’s gifts to Jesus — all under one cap.

 

Sources:

  1. Molecular Basis of the Anti-inflammatory Effects of Terpenoids
  2. Myrrh Exerts Barrier-stabilising and -protective Effects in HT-29/B6 and Caco-2 Intestinal Epithelial Cells
  3. Myrrh Attenuates Oxidative and Inflammatory Processes in Acetic Acid-induced Ulcerative Colitis
  4. Phytotherapy: A Quick Reference to Herbal Medicine
  5. In Vitro Cytotoxic and Anti-inflammatory Effects of Myrrh Oil on Human Gingival Fibroblasts and Epithelial Cells
  6. Oxidative Stress and Immunotoxic Effects of Lead and Their Amelioration with Myrrh (Commiphora Molmol) Emulsion
  7. The Benefits of Myrrh, Powerful Antioxidant Support, Supports Healthy Skin
  8. Effect of Commiphora Mukul Gum Resin on Hepatic Marker Enzymes, Lipid Peroxidation and Antioxidants Status in Pancreas and Heart of Streptozotocin Induced Diabetic Rats
  9. A Safe, Effective, Herbal Antischistosomal Therapy Derived from Myrrh
  10. An Overview of the Hypothalamus: The Endocrine System’s Link to the Nervous System
  11. Commiphora Molmol Resin Attenuates Diethylnitrosamine/Phenobarbital-induced Hepatocarcinogenesis by Modulating Oxidative Stress, Inflammation, Angiogenesis and Nrf2/ARE/HO-1 Signaling
  12. Cytotoxicity Activity of Extracts and Compounds from Commiphora Myrrha Resin Against Human Gynecologic Cancer Cells
Posted

How to Find the Best Multi-vitamin: 5 Facts Every Educated Consumer Needs to Know

How to find the best multivitamin

Would it surprise you to know that multi-vitamins are the most common dietary supplement used in the U.S., consumed by nearly a third of all adults? When the average person adds a nutritional supplement to their diet, a multi-vitamin is likely to be the first choice, because it feels to them like they’re taking out “insurance” on their health.

Traditionally, a daily multi-vitamin is meant to prevent nutritional deficiency. The specific combination of essential vitamins and minerals in these supplements is deliberately designed to resemble healthy diet patterns, specifically that of regular fruit and vegetable consumption.

It’s not just the average Joe and Jane though that take multi-vitamins. Professional healthcare providers believe in dietary supplements too. In an online survey, 900 physicians and 277 nurses were asked whether they used dietary supplements and whether they recommended them to their patients.

The “Life…supplemented” Healthcare Professionals Impact Study (HCP Impact Study) reported that 51% of physicians and 59% of nurses surveyed used dietary supplements regularly to maintain their overall health and wellness. 1

When asked whether they recommended dietary supplements to their patients, 79% of the physicians and 82% of nurses surveyed said they did. 2

Clearly, there’s something to be said for the multi-vitamin approach!

However, as an educated consumer, what should you know about commercially available multi-vitamins on the market today and their potential effects on your health?

Let’s take a look at 5 important issues you should consider when selecting a suitable multi-vitamin for your health needs.

Fact #1: Research Shows Fruits & Veggies Lower Risk of Disease and Death

Fact #1: Fruits and Vegetables Lower Risk of Disease and DeathIn an ideal world, we would get all the micronutrients we need – both vitamins and minerals – in the right quantities from the fruits and vegetables in our diet. Indeed, many studies have linked regular consumption of fruit and vegetables with a significantly lower risk of dying from all causes.

For instance, the results of a 2014 meta-analysis of 16 prospective cohort studies showed that each daily increment of one serving of fruit or vegetables (up to five servings daily) lowered the risk of dying from all causes, especially from cardiovascular disease. 3

[Note: A “meta-analysis” uses a statistical approach to combine results from multiple studies to increase statistical “power” relative to individual studies, improve estimates of the size of the effect, and/or to resolve uncertainty when reports disagree. A “prospective study” keeps watch on a so-called “cohort” of subjects over a fixed period and waits for specific outcomes, such as the development of a disease – and tries to relate this to other factors, such as suspected risk or protection factors.]

The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study is another prospective study that examined the relationship between consumption of fruits, vegetables, and fiber, and cancer risk at 14 different sites in the body. In the more than 500,000 study participants, increased intake of fruits, vegetables, and fiber was seen to reduce the risk of upper gastrointestinal tract, colorectal, liver, lung, and breast cancer. 4

Similarly, 71,910 female participants in the Nurses’ Health study and 37,725 male participants in the Health Professionals’ Follow-up Study were asked to fill in food-frequency questionnaires. The results showed that fruit and vegetable intake of up to five servings daily was associated with a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Of all the food groups studied, green leafy vegetables were the most effective at reducing risk of major chronic diseases and cardiovascular disease. 5

Fact #2: Nutrition Levels of Fruits and Vegetables Are Lower Than Ever Before… and Falling

Today, most of us buy our food instead of growing our own. Unfortunately, this has spawned a massive food production and delivery industry in which our health and wellbeing has become secondary to profit margins.

However, the nutritive value of the fruits, vegetables and other foods we consume has a direct impact on our health and plays a role in determining our susceptibility to various infections and diseases. However, as the end consumers of the modern food industry, we can no longer be certain that we can and do get all the nutrients we need for a healthy, long life from our diet alone.

For instance, we tend to assume that spinach has a certain amount of beneficial iron in it. However, unless the soil the spinach was grown in had sufficient iron to begin with, this is simply not true. The fact that spinach had iron in it when it was measured decades back doesn’t mean that the spinach we’re buying today has the same beneficial levels of iron.

In fact, data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) clearly shows that thanks to soil depletion and modern intensive agricultural methods, nutrients are being stripped from the soil in which our food grows. This has led to a steady decline in average nutrient levels in U.S. crops. 6

Numerous studies on laboratory and farm animals fed corn, soy, wheat, oats, and other crops grown in different soils have shown that their growth, vigor, and functional intelligence declined while simultaneously their susceptibility to various diseases increased, when fed crops grown in depleted soils, relative to more balanced soils.

Similarly, many health experts now believe that the poor nutrition in our foods lies at the root of many of our modern-day health problems and should be addressed first, and urgently at that.

Fact #3: Most Commercially Available Multi-vitamins Simply Don’t Work

Fact #3: Most Commercially Available Multivitamins Simply Don’t WorkIf we can’t be sure of getting the nutrition we need from our diet, then we may need to consider taking dietary supplements. But here again we run into another massive problem – which is that many commercially available multi-vitamin supplements simply don’t work the way they’re supposed to.

Let’s first be clear as to what exactly vitamins are. Vitamins are organic substances that originate mainly in plants and are essential in small amounts for our health, growth, reproduction, and maintenance. Each vitamin performs a specific function in the body – in other words, one vitamin cannot replace another.

Vitamins are critical for our lives and health and need to be consumed regularly in our diet, because they either cannot be made at all or made in enough amounts in our bodies to do their job properly.

So why don’t most commercially available multi-vitamin supplements work?

The main reason is because they’re made up of isolated, synthetic compounds that are chemically and structurally different from the actual “vitamin complexes” found in real foods.

And the news gets gets worse…

Most multi-vitamin supplements you can buy on the market today contain chemicals that were never part of our natural diet, did not originate in plants, and are unable to perform vitamin-like activities in our bodies.

It might be more appropriate to label many commercially available multi-vitamin supplements as “non-food vitamin imitations!”

Fact #4: Most Commercial Multi-vitamins Are Far From Natural

The disturbing fact is that most commercially available vitamins today are as far from being the “natural organic substances that originate primarily in plants” as they can possibly be.

Believe it or not, most of the vitamins that you will find on supermarket and even drug stores shelves are produced from petroleum extracts, coal tar derivatives, chemically processed sugar, and industrially processed fish oils. What’s worse, acids and industrial chemicals such as formaldehyde are used to make them! 7

Did you know that manufacturers of petroleum-derived supplements label their products as “vegetarian” – not because they are from plants, but because they are NOT from animals? Also, some brands of synthetic vitamins are labeled “organic” simply because they contain carbon!

The unpalatable fact is this: most so-called “organic vitamins” available today are not really organic from the true naturopathic, or even the U.S. government’s own perspective.

How then can they benefit your health the way real food vitamins do?

Fact #5: Non-Food Vitamins are Different from Real Vitamins in Natural Foods

Fact #5: Non-Food Vitamins are Different from Real Vitamins in Natural FoodsThe physiochemical forms of many vitamins that are naturally present in real foods are very different from their synthetic versions, known as “analogs.”

For instance, vitamin A is present in foods as retinyl esters and mixed carotenoids. However, synthetic vitamin A analogs include vitamin A acetate and palmitate, and isolated beta-carotene.

Similarly, the real food forms of vitamin C include two variants of ascorbic acid, as well as their salts and other derivatives. However, synthetic vitamin C is made up only of isolated, crystalline ascorbic acid.

In other words, most commercial non-food vitamins are artificially prepared chemicals made from non-organic sources – and they are chemically and structurally different from the healthful vitamins present naturally in foods.

Not surprisingly, evidence suggests that food-sourced vitamins are better absorbed and used more easily by our bodies. There are many reasons for this difference, including the fact that real food-sourced vitamins exist in forms which our bodies find easy to recognize and absorb; real food-derived vitamins have smaller particle sizes which leads to better absorption; and “co-factors” present in the same foods as real food-sourced vitamins seem to enhance their absorption because of mutual interactions.

Food-sourced vitamins are biological complexes containing multiple components. Functional vitamin absorption and activity can only happen when all the co-factors and components of the vitamin complex are present and working together synergistically in our bodies. Indeed, studies have confirmed that real food-derived vitamins are nutritionally superior.

What’s the Ideal Multi-vitamin Supplement?

Our bodies have been designed to absorb and use vitamins, present in real foods as multi-component complexes that are synergistically interconnected with other nutrients, co-factors, and healthful elements present in natural foods.

Unfortunately, most of us today consume mega-doses of isolated pharmaceutical-grade vitamins, which are synthesized, standardized, isolated chemicals that are very rarely made from natural sources, if at all. Many of these synthetic vitamin analogs are simply not capable of performing vitamin-like biological activities in our bodies – and may even be toxic at higher levels. 8,9

In fact, most commercially available multi-vitamin supplements can best be described as nothing more than a jumbled assembly of many ill-fitting parts, an ineffective combination of metals and inorganic chemicals that accomplishes very little by way of health benefits.

Even if you take vitamins that have been extracted and purified from natural foods, they will simply not be as effective, since they have been separated from the other essential components of their functional complex.

In summary – as an educated consumer you need to be aware that an ideal multi-vitamin supplement should contain the entire intact vitamin complex with all the co-factors and essential trace minerals necessary for the given vitamin to function synergistically in our bodies in terms of its bioavailability, efficacy, and safety.

FulviMAX from Epigenetic Labs contains 21 uniquely fermented vitamins and enzyme-activated minerals that are more “bioavailable” and easily absorbed by your body than the synthetic compounds found in most supplements.

 

Sources:

  1. Physicians and Nurses Use and Recommend Dietary Supplements: Report of a Survey.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and Mortality from all Causes, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer: Systematic Review and Dose-Response Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies.
  4. Fruit, Vegetable, and Fiber Intake in Relation to Cancer Risk: Findings from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).
  5. Fruit and Vegetable Intake and Risk of Major Chronic Disease.
  6. Dirt Poor: Have Fruits and Vegetables Become Less Nutritious?
  7. The Truth About Vitamins in Nutritional Supplements.
  8. Natural Vitamins May be Superior to Synthetic Ones.
  9. Nutri-Con: The Truth About Vitamins & Supplements.
  10. The Truth About Natural vs. Synthetic Supplements.

 

5-multivitamin-facts

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Vitamin D Deficiency: How Much Do Adults Really Need?

vitamin-D-EL

Vitamin D is the name given to a group of fat-soluble vitamins found in cod liver oil and fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel. These vitamins are essential for the absorption of calcium, iron, phosphate, magnesium, and zinc. Cholecalciferol – also known as vitamin D3 – is made by skin cells when ultraviolet rays (specifically UV-B radiation) from sunlight fall on skin.

All forms of vitamin D – from sun exposure, food, and supplements – are not active and must undergo two chemical reactions within your body to get activated. The first reaction takes place in the liver and converts vitamin D to 25-hydroxyvitamin D. This form of vitamin D is used to determine a person’s vitamin D status. The second chemical reaction takes place in the kidneys to make the active form, known as 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D.

Vitamin D helps to maintain blood levels of calcium and phosphate, ensuring that bones are mineralized and healthy. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “Without sufficient vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen.”

How Does Vitamin D Deficiency Occur?

Vitamin D deficiency happens when consumption is lower than recommended levels, exposure to sunlight is limited, the kidneys don’t convert 25-hydroxy vitamin D to its active form, or when absorption from the gut is not enough.

As vitamin D is commonly added to milk products, having a milk allergy or lactose intolerance – and practicing ovo-vegetarianism and veganism (where no dairy is consumed) can also lead to lower levels of vitamin D.

Common Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency

One of the classic symptoms of vitamin D deficiency is head sweating. Excessive sweating in newborns is considered to be a common, early symptom of vitamin D deficiency. Another symptom of vitamin D deficiency in children is rickets, in which bone tissue doesn’t mineralize properly, leading to bone softness and skeletal deformities.

Fortification of milk with vitamin D has made rickets a rare disease in the U.S. today. However, using excessive sunscreen and spending a lot of time indoors with limited sun exposure as well as genetic differences in metabolism can still lead to rickets in children today.

Vitamin D Deficiency in Adults: How Much Do You Need?

A common symptom of vitamin D deficiency in adults is osteomalacia – a condition in which bones become soft and there is aching, throbbing bone pain. This is a result of impaired bone metabolism due to inadequate levels of phosphate, calcium, and vitamin D. Another symptom is muscle weakness.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Vitamin D deficiency is an under-diagnosed condition that has now been associated with a higher risk of type 1 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, cognitive decline, depression, pregnancy complications, autoimmunity, and allergy. In their 2013 report, the Mayo Clinic researchers also reported that low levels of vitamin D during pregnancy and infancy appear to increase susceptibility to schizophrenia, type 1 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis (MS) in later life.

vitamin-D-deficiencyWhile there is general consensus that too little vitamin D is detrimental, there is an ongoing debate about the levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D needed for optimum health, especially bone health.

A committee of the Institute of Medicine in Washington, D.C. agreed that people are at risk of vitamin D deficiency at levels of 25-hydroxy vitamin D that are less than 30 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) or 12 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). Further, the committee stated that people are at risk for inadequacy at levels ranging from 30-50 nmol/L or 12-20 ng/mL.

According to the Institute, everyone has “sufficient” vitamin D at levels equal to or greater than 50 nmol/L or 20 ng/mL. However, blood levels of 25-hydroxy vitamin D more than 125 nmol/L or 50 ng/mL have been linked to potential adverse effects.

In 2011, The Endocrine Society stated that the desirable blood level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D is greater than 75 nmol/L (30 ng/mL) for achieving optimal effects on calcium, bone, and muscle metabolism. To attain these levels, they recommend 1,500-2,000 International Units (IU) daily of supplemental vitamin D as the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adults and 1,000 IU daily for children and adolescents.

However, as later developments show, this recommendation is off… and by a very large margin too.

The “Mistaken” Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for Vitamin D?

Researchers at UC San Diego and Creighton University have challenged the RDA for vitamin D recommended by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Institute of Medicine (IOM). According to the university researchers NAS-IOM got their math wrong and underestimated the RDA by a staggering factor of ten!

According to Dr. Cedric F. Garland, Adjunct Professor at UC San Diego’s Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, “The error has broad implications for public health regarding disease prevention and achieving the stated goal of ensuring that the whole population has enough vitamin D to maintain bone health.”

Robert Heaney, MD, of Creighton University, further wrote: “We call for the NAS-IOM and all public health authorities…to designate, as the RDA, a value of approximately 7,000 IU/day from all sources.” This revised recommendation is well below 10,000 IU/day, the designated safe upper limit for teens and adults.

Who’s at Risk for Vitamin D Deficiency?

Getting enough vitamin D from dietary sources alone is difficult. Consuming fortified foods and sufficient exposure to sunlight are both essential for avoiding symptoms of vitamin D deficiency. Dietary supplements may also be necessary.

The following situations can lead to vitamin D deficiency:

  • Breastfeeding – vitamin D requirements cannot be met by human milk alone. Most cases of nutritional rickets take place among young, breastfed African Americans. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that exclusively and partially breastfed infants be supplemented daily with 400 IU of vitamin D.
  • Age – older adults are at increased risk of older adults are at increased risk of developing vitamin D insufficiencydeveloping vitamin D insufficiency because their skin cannot synthesize vitamin D as efficiently as they age, they are likely to spend more time indoors, and they may not consume enough of it in their diet. It is estimated that as many as half of the older adults in the U.S. with hip fractures could be suffering from vitamin D deficiency.
  • Limited sun exposure – homebound people, men and women who wear long robes and head coverings for religious reasons, and people with occupations that limit their sun exposure are unlikely to obtain enough vitamin D from sunlight.
  • Dark skin – higher levels of melanin significantly reduce the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D from sunlight. However, it is not clear whether lower blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in people with dark skin has the same health consequences that it does in lighter-skinned people.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and other conditions causing fat malabsorption – because vitamin D is fat-soluble, its absorption depends on the gut’s ability to absorb dietary fat. Individuals who cannot properly absorb dietary fat – because of liver disease, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis – will require vitamin D supplementation.
  • Obesity – a body mass index (BMI) equal to or greater than 30 is associated with lower blood 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels. Obese people need to consume more vitamin D, since subcutaneous fat binds and stores 25-hydroxyvitamin D, delaying its release into the blood.

Is Osteoporosis a Symptom of Vitamin D Deficiency?

More than 40 million adults in the U.S. have or are at risk of developing osteoporosis, in which low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue increases bone fragility and significantly increases fracture risk. Along with inadequate calcium consumption, insufficient vitamin D contributes to osteoporosis by reducing calcium absorption.

Maintaining proper storage levels of vitamin D supports bone strength which in turn can help to prevent osteoporosis in older adults, individuals who have difficulty exercising, and postmenopausal women.

 

One of the most bioavailable forms of Vitamin D3 available anywhere is Turmeric 3D from Epigenetic Labs. It combines the power of turmeric (and its core ingredient curcumin) with Vitamin D3 and a powerful herb called Ashwagandha.

 

Sources:

  1. Vitamin D: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals
  2. 7 Signs You May Have a Vitamin D Deficiency
  3. Vitamin D for Health: A Global Perspective
  4. Higher Levels of Vitamin D Correspond to Lower Cancer Risk, Researchers Say
  5. Scientists confirm Institute of Medicine recommendation for Vitamin D intake was miscalculated
  6. Am I Deficient in Vitamin D?
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Recipe: Bone Broth and Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers

Quinoa stuffed red peppers recipe

If you’re of a certain age and grew up eating the typical American diet, chances are you never even heard of quinoa until the past decade or so. But this tiny South American pseudograin (“pseudograins” are the seeds & grasses commonly categorized as grains) has certainly taken the world by storm over the past several years. So much so that the United Nations even named 2013 as “The International Year of Quinoa.”

Because it’s gluten-free, quinoa is a good choice for celiacs and anyone following any type of gluten-free diet. One cup of cooked quinoa also packs a powerful nutritional punch. It’s got 222 calories, 5.2 grams of fiber, 8.1 grams of protein, and 3.6 grams of fat. It also supplies 30% of the daily recommended value of magnesium, which so many of us are deficient in.

Quinoa is one of the rare plant products that is a complete protein. This means that it has all 9 of the essential amino acids that your body needs to make important biochemicals such as hormones and neurotransmitters. (Note: they’re called “essential” amino acids because your body can’t make them on its own − you must get them from food sources.)

For this tasty recipe you cook your quinoa in pure Bone Broth Protein powder, which ups the protein content significantly before using it to stuff the peppers. Hint: You can also add a scoop the pure bone broth protein powder when cooking rice, couscous, or quinoa as a side dish.

Bone broths are a good source of minerals and are rich in amino acids, especially glycine and proline. Glycine supports detoxification and is used by the body to make hemoglobin, bile salts, and other natural chemicals. Proline supports skin health, especially in combination with vitamin C. Bell peppers are a good source of vitamin C.

While the recipe shows red bell peppers, feel free to substitute green peppers, yellow peppers, or orange peppers − or even use a variety of pepper colors for an extra pretty presentation. One important note is to use organic or no spray peppers whenever possible. Bell peppers are #11 on the Environmental Working Groups Dirty Dozen list of the produce with the highest pesticide residue. By purchasing organic peppers, you’ll avoid consuming these harmful chemicals.

 

Bone Broth & Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers
Bone Broth & Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers
Epigenetic Labs
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  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 bell peppers, halved and seeded
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil plus additional for drizzling
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 scoop of pure bone broth protein powder

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Combine water, bone broth powder, and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove quinoa from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, sprinkle bell peppers with salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet and roast cut side down until skin begins to char, about 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F.
  6. While bell peppers roast, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion, zucchini, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, 10–12 minutes. Add reserved quinoa. Sprinkle with parsley and stir to combine.
  7. Turn bell peppers cut side up and fill halves evenly with quinoa mixture. Drizzle with oil as desired. Heat in the oven until warmed through.

; Yield: 2-4 servings

For more recipe ideas using healing bone broth, download this complimentary bone broth e-book from Epigenetic Labs.

For the easy way to get all the nutritional benefits of bone broth, check out Epigenetic Labs Bone Broth Protein Powder here.

 

Sources:

  1. Quinoa, Cooked Nutrition Facts & Calories
  2. List of Amino Acids in the Grain “Quinoa”
  3. Quinoa: Should You Eat It?
  4. Five Seeds (You Might Think are Grains) with Amazing Health Benefits
  5. Dirty Dozen List
Posted

Chia Seeds: How to Benefit From This Ancient Aztec Warrior Food

Chia Seeds: How to Benefit From This Ancient Aztec Warrior Food

Being so small and unassuming, they may not seem like much on the surface. But chia seeds (Salvia hispanica) are one of the most nutritionally-dense “superfoods” on the planet that many people are only just now discovering. If you’re someone who’s never tried them, you’ll probably want to change this as soon as possible for the benefit of your health.

Long before they were popularized as a decorative novelty in the 1990s with those little clay animals that grew grassy “fur” coats, chia seeds were a staple part of the ancient Mesoamerican diet. Unlike many other foods they represent a complete form of nutrition that doesn’t go rancid or spoil. 

With their name translating as “strength” in the Mayan language, chia seeds were long believed to provide almost supernatural powers to the human frame. This is why many ancient warriors kept them close for energy and stamina during battle. Ancient Aztec warriors are also said to have travelled long distances with only chia seeds in hand, knowing that this powerful superfood would sustain them through thick and thin.

Many ancient civilizations valued chia seeds so highly that they even offered them up as precious gifts to their gods. While most people today don’t think of chia seeds in spiritual terms as the ancient Aztecs once did, some might say that the health benefits of these tiny little chia seeds are a gift from nature – with an amazing nutritional profile to prove it.

Fast-forward several thousand years and knowledge of chia seeds has passed from South America through Mexico and beyond, where they continue to garner accolades as a robust form of quick nourishment. Modern science seems to agree, suggesting that chia seeds just might be one of the most underrated solutions to living a healthier life.

Chia Seeds Are Rich in Omega-3s

Chia Seeds are Rich in Omega-3s

What chia seeds are perhaps most known for today is their omega-3 fatty acid content. A single ounce of chia seeds contains 4,915 milligrams (mg) of omega-3s, as well as a healthy portion of dietary fiber, protein, calcium, copper, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. 1

Chia seeds also contain other essential fatty acids like omega-6, alpha-linolenic acid, and linoleic acid, as well as a full profile of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. 2

Omega-3s are particularly noteworthy because they’ve been scientifically shown to help improve cholesterol levels by increasing the “good” kind of cholesterol, also known as HDL (high-density lipoprotein), which in turn helps to protect the heart. Clinical studies suggest that Mediterranean-style diets rich in omega-3s may help to lower blood pressure in people with hypertension, and could help protect against heart attack and stroke. 3

There’s also evidence to suggest that omega-3s may help protect against, and even reverse, the damaging effects of type-2 diabetes, which is why many doctors recommend fish oil supplements rich in omega-3s to their patients. Other clinical evidence has shown positive results with omega-3s in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, osteoporosis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), macular degeneration, depression, bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and dementia.

Much of the scientific focus on omega-3s in recent years has centered around its positive effects on the brain. The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements says that omega-3s are an essential part of a healthy diet because they make up the protective membranes that surround every cell in the body, including inside the brain. 4 Research published in the journal Human Psychopharmacology found that diets rich in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), a key omega-3 constituent alongside docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), helps to improve cognitive performance by causing the brain to have to work “less hard” at doing its job. 5

Chia Seeds are Rich in Fiber, Protein, and Antioxidants

Omega-3s are just one element among many, though, that make chia seeds so valuable nutritionally. Even more abundant in this plant-based food is dietary fiber, which makes up 37 percent of every single chia seed. Dietary fiber, as you may well know, is likewise an important part of a healthy diet because it helps to keep the body clean and the bowels moving.

Dietary fiber is the binding agent that passes food waste through the digestive tract, preventing it from building up and causing toxicity. It can also help to lower total blood cholesterol levels by decreasing “bad” cholesterol, also known as LDL (low-density lipoprotein), as well as aid in keeping blood pressure levels normalized and inflammation in check. 6

If you've ever consumed chia seeds in a beverageIf you’ve ever consumed chia seeds in a beverage and noticed that they turn gel-like (absorbing up to 10 times their weight in water, believe it or not), this is due to all the soluble fiber they contain, which represent some of the highest levels in the plant world. This soluble fiber is what makes the many other nutrients in chia seeds, including vitamins, minerals, protein, and antioxidants, digest properly and efficiently.

Which brings us to the next biggest nutrition factor in chia seeds: protein. Making up roughly 20 percent of each chia seed – or about 5.6 grams per one-ounce serving – protein is what our bodies use to manufacture muscle tissue, bones, cartilage, skin, blood, enzymes, hormones, and a variety of other bodily chemicals. Very few plant-based foods contain as much protein as chia seeds do, it turns out, which is one of the biggest reasons why they continue to make the rounds in nutrition science.

Chia seeds are also rich in antioxidants, containing an ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) value of 10,000 vitamin E equivalents – or about four times the antioxidant value of blueberries, which are considered to be among the world’s highest sources of antioxidants.

As far as the antioxidants in chia seeds, science has a lot to say about their specific benefits. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Chromatography A, for instance, found that the antioxidants in chia seeds are exceptionally high-performing. This research found they actually two times more densely concentrated than what science had previously assumed prior to this particular study. 7 It’s these same antioxidants that can help modulate inflammation wherever it’s present in the body, helping to protect against cellular injury and more serious inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and atherosclerosis. 8

Concerning heart health in particular, chia seeds have a solid track record of aiding with good heart health. Beyond this, a systemic review of both human and non-human studies involving chia seeds published in the journal Reviews on Recent Clinical Trials found that this amazing superfood demonstrates effectiveness in supporting the body’s ability to combat a number of health issues. 9

How to Include More Chia Seeds in Your Diet

How to Include More Chia Seeds in Your DietAs you can see, there’s so much to be gained from adding more chia seeds to your diet – and if you’ve never eaten them before, now is obviously a great time to start! The easiest way to consume chia seeds is to simply eat them whole as a mix of both speckled black and white varieties. Since they’re essentially flavorless, bearing only a hint of mild nuttiness, you can add chia seeds to almost anything – oatmeal, salads, stew, soup, you name it.

Another option is to add chia seeds to your favorite smoothie or mix them in juice. Those wanting to follow in the footsteps of the ancient Aztecs may want to try one of their rumored recipes for chia seed juice that involves mixing chia seeds with lemon and water (and maybe a little bit of sweetener such as green stevia) to make “Iskiate.” This fabled elixir beverage supposedly helped the Aztec warriors run for hundreds of miles and avoid exhaustion. 10

Chia seeds are also available in powdered form, from which they can be added to all sorts of recipes as a high-protein flour or thickening agent. You can also make your own homemade chia powder from seeds in your blender – all that’s required is a dry bin blender container and chia seeds, which you can blend to your desired consistency and texture. 11

Sprouted chia seeds are an ingredient in both phase 1 and 2 of Optimoxx from Epigenetic Labs. Optimoxx is a superior detoxing cleanse program that is specifically designed to be extremely effective, while also safe and gentle.  

 

Sources:

  1. Seeds, Chia Seeds, Dried, Nutrition Facts & Calories
  2. 9 Chia Seed Benefits + Side Effects
  3. Omega-3 fatty acids
  4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids Fact Sheet
  5. Omega-3 Supplementation Improves Cognition and Modifies Brain Activation in Young Adults.
  6. Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet
  7. Phytochemical Profile and Nutraceutical Potential of Chia Seeds (Salvia hispanica L.) by Ultra High Performance Liquid Chromatography.
  8. Inflammation, Free Radicals, and Antioxidants
  9. Chia (Salvia Hispanica): A Systematic Review by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration.
  10. Chia Seed History and Origin
  11. DIY Homemade Chia Powder / Chia Flour
Posted

Brain Health: 10 Tips for Keeping “Senior Moments” at Bay

Healthy Brain

Brain fog. Senior moments. And more serious concerns: Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia that affect over 7 million Americans each year. It is important to be proactive about brain health − especially as we age. There are many aspects to our minds that remain a mystery. Yet there is also a lot about the brain that science has figured out, much of it relatively recently.

One important factor that we do know is that, even though the brain is technically not a muscle, in many ways it functions like one. For your brain to stay healthy operate at its best, it must be nurtured, nourished, and “exercised” every day. Here are 10 ways to keep your mind flexible and working for you at any age…

#1: Get Enough Quality Sleep. SGet Enough Quality Sleeptudies conclude that most individuals need at least 7 hours of quality sleep each night. While you sleep, your brain is busy repairing, clearing out toxins, and organizing all the input from the experiences of the day.

In fact, recent research conducted by the University of Pennsylvania found that “extensive wakefulness” may cause permanent damage to neurons responsible for cognition and alertness. For deep, healing sleep to occur, delta and theta brainwave states are best.

#2: Eat a Healthy Brain Diet. This means staying away from too much sugar, processed foods, and simple carbs. Eat lots of non-GMO, mineral-rich organic veggies and fresh fruits, as well as minimal amounts of complex carbs.

If you eat meat, keep it hormone-free and grass-fed and eat it in moderation. Red meat in particular contains certain forms of iron that have been linked to cognitive decline when consumed in large amounts. Too much sugar may also adversely affect brain health. The brain requires the most energy of all of the body’s organs, mostly obtained through glucose. According to research conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles, however, too much glucose intake can cause premature aging of brain cells.

Other studies have linked excessive glucose with memory loss and cognitive deficiencies. On the other hand, foods such as avocados, nuts, and seeds can give your brain a serious boost. Blueberries in particular have been found to protect the brain from oxidative stress and may even help prevent Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

#3: Consume healthy fats. Consuming healthy fats on a regular basis is simply a must-do if you are striving for a sharp mind at any age. Omega-3 fatty acids in particular − found in organic, cold-pressed olive oil (not heated), avocado oil, fish such as salmon and sardines, flaxseed oil, and chia seeds, among other sources — have been shown to support speaking ability, memory function, and motor skills.

Other studies have found that Omega 3s are a good dietary choice for people suffering with neurological conditions such as ADHA, depression, and bipolar disorder. In addition, organic coconut oil has also shown signs of being a brain-healthy fat in addition to its many other benefits.

#4: Exercise. Not only is moderate quantities of exercise good for your immune system, cardiovascular system, and even your gut, it is also healthy for your mind as well, according to research conducted at the University of California, Irvine’s Institute for Brain Aging and Dementia.

A report published in the journal Neuroscience states that getting the heart pumping through moderate amounts of walking, jogging, biking, or other activities has an effect on many parts of the brain, but especially on the hippocampus region. Exercise can stimulate the production of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in the brain which can lead to strengthening and increased production of brain tissue.

Exercise has also been linked to a lower risk of diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and depression. Most importantly, exercise decreases inflammation. Inflammation has been linked to declining brain function in studies by Yale University and others.

#5. Drink Plenty of Water. In addition to a heaDrink Plenty of Waterlthy, whole-foods diet and plenty of exercise, keeping yourself hydrated is key for maintaining a healthy brain.

The body of an average adult is made up of around 65% water. Lack of water has been linked to problems with memory, focus, brain fatigue, and “brain fog,” in addition to headaches, insomnia, and even volatile emotional states.

There have been numerous studies which have also connected dehydration to depression as well since lack of fluids may affect the production of serotonin and dopamine.

How do you know how much water to drink? Many experts recommend this: take your weight in pounds, divide that number in half and that is how much water you should be drinking in ounces every day.

Water quality, of course, is paramount. Be sure your water is filtered properly, especially for chlorine and fluoride, two substances that can wreak havoc on brain health. And be sure to stay away from all water bottled in plastic containers that may contain BPA.

#6: Detox your body of neurotoxins. Aluminum, fluoride, bromide, mold spores, too much iron and copper… the list goes on as to the environmental toxins that exist in our air, water, food, and household products that can effect cognitive function and brain health. Aluminum, in particular, has been connected to the onset of Alzheimer’s.

You can rid your body of these toxins by being proactive on several fronts. Include a regular detoxing protocol as part of your regimen for good body and brain health. Take probiotics and prebiotics to balance gut flora and eliminate the production of internal gut-related toxins which may break through the blood-brain barrier.

Remove any amalgam fillings you may still have in your mouth. Most importantly, begin the process of eliminating neuro-toxins from your environment, such as sources of mold and aluminum. Replacing commercial deodorants and aluminum foils is a great place to start. As is replacing toxic household cleaning supplies and other personal care products  with eco-friendly, and health-promoting options. Meditate

#7: Meditate. Study after study over the last 20 years has confirmed the amazing effect of regular meditation. The most amazing connections between meditation and mental health has been findings by the University of Calgary in Canada and others regarding telomeres.

Telomeres are tiny bits of DNA found at the end of cellular chromosomes which protect genetic information. Shortened telomeres are associated with stress, disease, and depression. Regular meditators, on the other hand, were found to have longer telomeres overall, which is a very good thing!

There are dozens of ways to meditate, which is basically just the act of slowing down and going into a beta or theta brainwave state so that the brain and body has a chance to rest, relax, and heal. Some meditative modalities include present moment awareness, “open focus” meditation, transcendental meditation, deep breathing, visualizing, reciting mantras or affirmations, prayer, walking in nature, focusing on a creative act such as doodling or music-making, slow stretching, and certain kinds of marital arts such as tai chi. Even coloring has been found to have meditative effects!

#8: Keep learning. Keep your brain sharp by using it every day. Do crossword puzzles, play challenging games like Scrabble or Soduku, take up a new language, learn how to play an instrument, or read a book (especially on a new to you topic) instead of turning on the tube. Research has found that flexing the “brain muscle” through focused brain activity stimulates connections between nerve cells, increases neural “plasticity,” and may even lead to the production of new brain cells.

In addition, practice using all of your senses on a regular basis, including sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. Doing so will activate different areas of your brain. One of the best (and most fun) ways to do this is to vacation in places you have never been to before and expose yourself to the sights, sounds, and tastes of a whole new culture

#9: Spend time in nature. The Japanese have a practice called Shinrin-yoku, which literally translates to “forest bathing.” According to studies conducted at Chiba University and elsewhere, forest trees emit healing substances called phytocides which can ease anxiety, lower cortisol levels, and promote healthy sleep.

Gardener planting flowersBut what if walking in the forest isn’t your thing? That’s okay, just make a pledge to get your “hands dirty” in the earth at least once a week! A 2007 study published in the journal Neuroscience made a surprising discovery: the common garden soil bacteria Mycobacterium vaccae not only reduces inflammation but also seems to have an effect on serotonin-releasing neurons.

Gardening, yard work or even helping your kids make “mud pies” should do the trick to put you in a “jolly state of mind!”

Another easy way to get at least some of the effects of “forest bathing” is to inhale the aroma of trees oils such as pine, spruce, or eucalyptus essential oil. Place a few drops of essential oil in an essential oil diffuser and recreate the smell of the forest in your home!

And finally, here’s one more tip to keep you on the path towards brain health…

#10: Keep a positive attitude! Researchers have long known what negative thoughts do to the brain. In a nutshell, they narrow focus. This may be a good thing when your life is in danger. Then, an emotion such as fear may help you survive. But keeping a positive, upbeat attitude in general is way more beneficial in the long run.

Ground-breaking research conducted in 2011 and led by “positive psychology” pioneer Barbara Fredrickson (director of the PEP Lab at the University of North Carolina) found that a concept called “broaden and build” relates to the long-term benefits of thinking positive. An open attitude leads to greater skill building, connections with people, and flexibility and strength in all areas of life − both mental and physical. And according to the Heart Math Institute, a flexible mind is also equated with being able to “bounce back” quickly when challenges arise. This is called “resilience” and it is connected to not only brain health, but cardiovascular health and a longer, more fulfilling life in general.

Optimoxx from Epigenetic Labs is a superior detoxing cleanse program that supports a healthy brain and body. It is specifically designed to be extremely effective, while also safe and gentle.  

 

Sources:

  1. Alzheimer’s Association 2016 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures
  2. Why Sleep Is Precious for Staying Sharp
  3. The Cumulative Cost of Additional Wakefulness: Dose-Response Effects on Neurobehavioral Functions and Sleep Physiology From Chronic Sleep Restriction and Total Sleep Deprivation
  4. Sugar and the Brain
  5. Three Metals that Might Cause Memory Problems
  6. Eat Smart for a Healthier Brain WebMD
  7. Botanical phenolics and brain health
  8. Omega-3 fatty acids in boys with behavior, learning, and health problems
  9. Alzheimer’s Disease: What If There Was a Cure?: The Story of Ketones
  10. Identification of an immune-responsive mesolimbocortical serotonergic system: Potential role in regulation of emotional behavior
  11. Mindfulness-based cancer recovery and supportive-expressive therapy maintain telomere length relative to controls in distressed breast cancer survivors.
  12. Stress, Depression, and Telomeres: A Brain Health Update
  13. Exercise builds brain health: key roles of growth factor cascades and inflammation
  14. Regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory, thinking skills
  15. Neurogenesis in the adult human hippocampus
  16. Cognitive dysfunction with aging and the role of inflammation
  17. Gut Microbiota Modification: Another Piece in the Puzzle of the Benefits of Physical Exercise in Health?
  18. Exercise, Heat, Hydration and the Brain
  19. Circadian regulation of slow waves in human sleep: Topographical aspects
  20. Central Processing of the Chemical Senses: An Overview
  21. Open Hearts Build Lives: Positive Emotions, Induced Through Loving-Kindness Meditation, Build Consequential Personal Resources
  22. Resilience – A Key to Fulfillment
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Eat Your Way to Joint Health: Do’s & Don’ts for Optimal Joint Nutrition

Good joint health

Of all the parts of “you” that need attention and care, joint health is sometimes the most overlooked − despite being among the most important. After all, without properly working joints, we can feel as stiff as the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz (before he got oiled up by Dorothy!)

Our joints enable us to move, bend, stretch, walk, and do a million other actions throughout our day. Strolling in nature, doing your morning stretches, playing baseball, even bending down to tie your shoes, pick up the grandkids, or pet the dog all involve your joints. Doing all of these activities without pain and stiffness requires action, especially as we age, to keep our joints limber, flexible, and healthy. And one of the most important factors in determining the health of your joints is what and how you eat on a daily basis.

The Joints: More Than Just Bone and Muscle

The JointsHere’s a fun fact: there are 360 joints in the human muscular-skeletal system but prior to the 1950s it was believed that there were only 340. Then 20 more were discovered in the ear area alone! This little tidbit of information exemplifies the sheer complexity in which nature has created the myriad of ways for us to stretch, bend, walk, and move.

So it goes without saying that there is a lot more to the joint areas of our body that just bone and muscle. There are close to a dozen different kinds of joints in the body, each designed for a certain type of movement.

The most common kind of joints found in the human body are called synovial joints. A synovial joint has a space between the bones that is filled with fluid called synovial fluid. The lining of each bone on either end of the fluid-filled space consists of smooth cartilage and surrounding the entire joint is a “capsule” of connective tissue and a “synovial membrane.” Ligaments help to protect and reinforce the joint, limiting hyperextension of movement.

Synovial joints consist of gliding, hinging, “saddling,” and ball and socket joints and include areas of movement in the knee, the shoulder and dozens of other locations. Synovial joints allow for some of the widest range of movements. Because of this, they often experience the most wear and tear as we get older.

One of the most common (and also one of the most painful) conditions that can plague the joint areas of the body is osteoarthritis. According to the US Center for Disease Control, there are currently over 30 million Americans who suffer from osteoarthritis of some kind. Approximately 10% of men and 13% of women over 60 have osteoarthritis of the knee in particular.

Eat Your Way to Good Joint Health

Eat Your Way to Joint Health.When Hippocrates said “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food,” he was referring to how sound nutrition can lead to health in the body as a whole. But this statement can especially apply to joint health.

Numerous studies have pinpointed the best foods to eat to keep your joints healthy, your synovial fluid robust, and the cartilage between your bones in ample supply.

Here are just a few of the dozens of joint-health and (not-so-health) foods to keep in mind when you are aiming for promoting good joint health or to prevent joint degradation down the line.

Let’s start with the Don’ts − the “not so good for you” foods first. Then we’ll come back around with Do’s − 3 foods that are “must haves” for not only joint health, but are also necessary for all-around vibrant living.

The Dont’s – 2 Foods to Avoid if You Want Good Joint Health

#1: Sugar and Simple Carbs. There is such a thing as the “sugar aches.” You might even have experienced this… You indulge in a fluffy yet sugar-filled coffee shop muffin and 30 minutes later, your muscles and joints just feel stiff. You may even experience pain in your knee, a cramp in your shoulder, or a full-on headache.

There is a reason for this. A 2002 study conducted by Harvard Medical School found that levels of C-Reactive Protein (which is a marker for overall inflammation in the blood and body) was raised considerably in otherwise healthy middle-aged women who consumed a high amount of sugar or simple carbohydrates on a regular basis. Inflammation in the body has been linked to a breakdown of joint cartilage and, over time, can lead to arthritis.

#2: Processed foods. Similar to commercial sugar and simple carbs like the ones mentioned above, other ingredients found in processed foods can also lead to inflammatory responses − especially in the joints. Many highly-processed foods contain trans fats such as hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated margarine and refined vegetable oil, in addition to chemical additives and preservatives. These chemically-altered ingredients have been linked to inflammation as well as oxidation in the body. Oxidation in the joint areas (especially in the knee) is correlated with high amounts of nitric oxide, which has been shown to inhibit the production and functioning of collagen as well as proteoglycans found in connective tissue.

The Do’s – 3 Healthy-Joint Foods to Add to Your Diet

#1: Bone broth. When famed dentist and nutritiBone brothonal researcher Weston Price visited the native people of the Rocky Mountain range in Canada, he discovered them to be some of the healthiest people he had encountered. He attributed their sound physiques, flexible bodies, and healthy appearance in part to their consumption of bone broth.

Besides having beneficial effects on the immune system and the gut, bone broth sourced from organic, grass-fed chicken, beef, lamb, wild game, or fish has been proven by Dr. Matthias Rath and others to support the health of connective tissues, in particular because of the natural collagen that it contains. In addition, bone broth contains chondroitin sulfate, which has been shown to support good joint health.

#2: Healthy fats. Consuming too much Omega-6 hydrogenated cooking oils (such as corn oil and soy) as well as trans-fat loaded margarines can cause an increase in enzymes which spur inflammation in the joints. Healthy oils, especially those containing Omega-3s such as olive and fish oils, has been shown to reduce inflammation. In fact, a UK study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry discovered a direct correlation between Omega-3s found in fish oils and the downgrading of “inflammatory factors that can cause cartilage destruction in arthritis.”

#3: Whole foods. Organic green leafy vegetables and other low-starch veggies, fresh, all-natural grass-fed meats, and good sources of fat − basically whole foods that you prepare yourself using the freshest ingredients − is really the best way to go when you are eating for joint health. In addition, eating whole foods in a calm environment versus rapidly consuming processed foods on the run will also keep inflammation levels down. Reducing stress levels will help to kick in the healing associated with the “relaxation response” in the body. In this state, pain and discomfort as well as factors associated with joint disease have been shown to significantly reduce.

Keeping Joints Flexible Through Movement

These short nutritional pointers are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what you can do to make sure all of your “joint parts” (including bone, muscle, cartilage, and synovial fluid) are working together in a healthy way.

Another factor that MUST be considered for good joint health is movement. Our joints allow us to move, but we have to use them in order for them to keep serving us in the way they were meant to. (The phrase “use it or lose it” definitely applies here!)

Movement in the form of both light aerobic exercise and light resistance training increases blood flow, prevents oxidative stress, works muscles, and keeps things “flowing.” Exercise also helps maintain a healthy weight which in turn relieves extra stress on the joints.

If you add movement to your daily routine (many experts say a minimum of 30 minutes, 3 times a week) to your established healthy eating habits, your odds are greatly improved that the painful epidemic of osteoarthritis that plagues so many Americans will not have an effect on you!

 

Interested in Bone Broth for supporting good joint health? Bone Broth Protein Powder from Epigenetic Labs provides you all the refined proteins, vitamins, and minerals of the healthiest bone broth… without any of the hassle of trying to make it and keep it on hand!

 

Sources:

  1. Types of Joints
  2. CDC Osteoarthritis Fact Sheet
  3. NIH Healthy Joints Matter
  4. Sugar Aches & Inflammation
  5. Relation Between a Diet with a High Glycemic Load and Plasma Concentrations of High-sensitivity C-reactive Protein in Middle-aged Women
  6. Cardiac Proinflammatory Pathways are Altered with Different Dietary n-6 Linoleic to n-3 α-Linolenic Acid Ratios in Normal, Fat-fed Pigs
  7. Weston Price, DDS Bio
  8. Nitric Oxide in Inflammation and Pain Associated with Osteoarthritis
  9. Immunomodulatory and Anti-inflammatory Effects of Chondroitin Sulphate
  10. The Dr. Mattias Rath Foundation
  11. Genomic and Clinical Effects Associated with a Relaxation Response Mind-body Intervention in Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
  12. n-3 Fatty Acids Specifically Modulate Catabolic Factors Involved in Articular Cartilage Degradation
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Frankincense Tree: The Amazing Desert Treasure with a Story to Tell

Frankincense burning on a hot coal. Frankincense is an aromatic resin, used for religious rites, incense and perfumes.

Imagine yourself, for a moment, coursing through a windy pathway that carves out an ancient woodland grove in the south of Arabia along the Red Sea. As you walk, you take in the many sights, sounds, and scents of this pristine and sacred environment. It’s likely that your ears would be tickled by a gentle chorus of chirping birds; your eyes would be flooded with a sun-drenched tapestry of desert-native flora and fauna; and your nose would breathe in the distinct aroma of one of the world’s most fascinating plant species – the frankincense tree.

Known as Boswellia in the scientific literature, frankincense boasts a unique, rich history throughout the Middle East. Its legacy even spans into modern times, and into every corner of the globe. Beyond its elegant, low-flowing branches and bright, perky flowers, the frankincense tree produces a powerful resinous sap. Today as it has in the past, this precious substance sets frankincense apart from most other plants. Frankincense resin is valued for its uses in everything from religious incense and perfume, to decorative jewelry, toothpaste, deodorant, and even folk medicine.

In part because of its rarity (frankincense grows naturally at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula, and almost nowhere else) the sap of frankincense has been a prized treasure throughout much of the world for thousands of years. At one time valued more highly than gold, frankincense is viewed by many as one of nature’s special blessings. So precious is frankincense, in fact, that the Magi from the well-known Biblical account who trekked across the arid desert to visit the newborn Christ brought some of it with them as a priceless gift fit for a king.

Where Does Frankincense Oil Come From?tear-shaped droplets of sap

So why is frankincense so special, and where does it come from? Incisions (“wounds”) are cut into the Boswellia tree and the tear-shaped droplets of sap that escape are carefully scraped off and dried. These “tears” solidify into an alluring mass of silver, golden, and amber colors that, in and of itself, are a sight to behold.

The hardened frankincense gum is either burned or processed into essential oil or oil extract, depending on the intended use. These conversion methods release the various aromatic terpenes locked inside frankincense, which unleashes that intoxicating, fragrant bouquet that typifies this unique and incredible plant.

As part of their burial rituals, many ancient civilizations, including the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and Israelites, would use these various frankincense extracts to embalm their dead as part of a holy laying-to-rest ceremony. The earthy, sweet-smelling aroma of frankincense is nothing short of pungent, after all, helping to deodorize and freshen nearly anything to which it’s applied. Frankincense can even function as a type of insect-repellant, according to both historical and modern accounts, helping to ward off mosquitos and other flying insects.

The pleasant scent of frankincense can be used to both calm and invigorate. As an essential oil, frankincense is commonly used to promote relaxation and peace of mind, with many likening its effects to mental and spiritual enlightenment. Reported uses of frankincense in this vein include stress reduction, anxiety relief, and mood improvement – all benefits with timeless and universal relevance and appeal.

Frankincense: Where Cleanliness Meets Godliness

Like pleasant aromas, cleansing is another all-encompassing ritual that never goes out of style and frankincense holds a prominent spot in the personal care lineup as well.

Many soaps, shampoos, toothpastes, and deodorants with authentic base notes contain frankincense because its aroma is both soothing and long-lasting.

When applied to the body, frankincense is widely recognized as helping to moisturize and freshen the skin, while some people even chew its resin whole because they say it helps to keep their teeth and gums clean – a purification tradition with ancient roots.

In aromatspiritual senseherapeutics, civilizations since practically the beginning of time have used frankincense to purify the air by diffusing it with that characteristically fresh and piney scent exclusive to this particular resin.

In a peer-reviewed animal study published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, researchers from Hebrew University in Jerusalem stumbled upon perhaps another purifying facet to frankincense: its ability to “purify” the body when inhaled by lifting one’s emotions out of a toxic state.

In a separate published article “Frankincense Oil: The rainbow bridge,” researcher Peter Holmes explains how frankincense has long been regarded as “the scent of purification,” not only in physical sense, but also in an emotional and spiritual sense. By allegedly helping to clear the mind and soul of damaging weights and burdens, frankincense may help to facilitate a spiritual cleansing or rebirth, aiding in the rejuvenation of the senses. 1

What About Frankincense and Health?

Even more well-documented in the scientific literature are the non-metaphysical effects of frankincense. Asian, African, and Ayurvedic systems of medicine have long held frankincense in high regard for its health-promoting benefits, with plenty of empirical evidence to back its recognized uses in supporting a healthy immune system and cellular function. Here’s just a taste of what’s been reported in peer-reviewed scientific studies about the potential health benefits of frankincense:

  • Researchers from Cardiff University in the U.K. decided to investigate the reported pain-relieving properties of frankincense. As reported in Science Daily, lead researcher Dr. Ahmed Ali stated that “The search for new drugs to alleviate the symptoms of conditions like inflammatory arthritis and osteoarthritis is a priority area for scientists. What our research has managed to achieve is to use innovative chemical extraction techniques to determine the active ingredient in frankincense. Having done this we are now able to further characterise the chemical entity and compare its success against other anti-inflammatory drugs used for treating the condition.” 2
  • In a paper published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, researchers concluded that an essential oil blend containing frankincense may help inhibit the spread and proliferation of viral cells associated with influenza. The study’s authors wrote that the oil “decreased direct infection of the cells,” adding that frankincense oil specifically “possess[es] anti-inflammatory activity through inhibition of immune cytokines production and leukocyte infiltration.” 3
  • For patients with digestive troubles, the use of Boswellia has shown positive results in a number ofFrankincense tree studies, including in a human trial involving 20 patients who “suffered from chronic colitis characterized by vague lower abdominal pain, bleeding per rectum with diarrhoea and palpable tender descending and sigmoid colon.” The patients in the study “were given a preparation of the gum resin of Boswellia serrata (900 mg daily divided in three doses for 6 weeks) and ten patients were given sulfasalazine (3 gm daily divided in three doses for 6 weeks) and served as controls.” 4

According to the paper published in the journal Planta Medica in 2001, “Out of 20 patients treated with Boswellia gum resin 18 patients showed an improvement in one or more of the parameters … In conclusion, this study shows that a gum resin preparation from Boswellia serrata could be effective in the treatment of chronic colitis with minimal side effects.” 5

  • Numerous studies have likewise investigated the use of frankincense for improving a range of health outcomes in patients with the “Big C:” cancer. Just one example is a peer-reviewed paper published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2009 which concluded that frankincense oil “appears to distinguish cancerous from normal bladder cells and suppress cancer cell viability. Microarray and bioinformatics analysis proposed multiple pathways that can be activated by frankincense oil to induce bladder cancer cell death. Frankincense oil might represent an alternative intravesical agent for bladder cancer treatment.”6 (Note: “Intravesical” is a type of therapy where a liquid drug is injected directly into the bladder via a cathether)

While none of these benefits or outcomes are guaranteed from the use of frankincense oil, their cited presence in the scientific literature are worthy of consideration. There’s a reason why frankincense has been so pronounced throughout history as a natural substance worth its weight in gold – and then some.

Whether in times past, present, or future, one thing is for sure: the frankincense tree and its fragrant resin really is one of nature’s treasure with sacred significance, and shouldn’t be ignored.

 

Frankincense essential oil is one of 3 ingredients (along with myrrh and turmeric essential oils) of Magi-Complex blend from Epigenetic Labs. This breakthrough supplement is the first of its kind to incorporate three of the world’s best nutritional ingredients that support a healthy immune response — the Magi’s gifts to Jesus — all under one cap.

 

Sources:

    1. Frankincense Oil: The rainbow bridge
    2. A Wise Man’s Treatment for Arthritis: Frankincense?
    3. Protective Essential Oil Attenuates Influenza Virus Infection: An In Vitro Study in MDCK Cells
    4. Effects of Gum Resin on Boswellia Serrata in Patients with Chronic Colitis
    5. Ibid.
    6. Frankincense Oil Derived from Boswellia Carteri Induces Tumor Cell Specific Cytotoxicity
    7. A Wise Man’s Cure: Frankincense and Myrrh
    8. The Story of Frankincense
    9. Frankincense Oil: The ‘King’ of Oils
    10. Frankincense and Mirth
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6 Ways Turmeric Essential Oil Supports a Healthy Body

turmeric essential oil benefits

Turmeric, the bright-orange root so frequently used in the cuisine of India and Asia, has been a revered cooking ingredient for centuries. Modern research, however, is also delving into its incredible array of health-promoting benefits. According to National Institutes of Health, “Today, turmeric is used as a dietary supplement for inflammation; arthritis; stomach, skin, liver, and gallbladder problems; cancer; and other conditions.” 1

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a perennial herbaceous plant from the Zingiberaceae family, the same plant family as ginger. The word “turmeric” comes from the Latin “terra merita” meaning meritorious or sacred earth. The aroma of turmeric essential oil is very much like the freshly cut root − rather spicy, a little sweet, with undertones of earthy and woodsy. Turmeric essential oil is many times more concentrated than the powdered herb. It’s made from the plant’s underground roots, called rhizomes, and is extracted from the rhizome by steam distillation.

Both powdered turmeric spice and turmeric essential oil are a bright yellow or orange in color due to the pigment curcumin. Curcumin is one of the principal healthy components of turmeric and is what gives the color to curries and mustard and is even used for dyeing fabric. You’ll sometimes hear the terms “curcumin” and “turmeric” used interchangeably, but keep in mind that curcumin is only one of many compounds found in the turmeric plant.

The Phytochemical Profile of Turmeric Essential Oil

Turmeric essential oil is bright yellow orangeThe phytochemical (plant-based, all natural components) content of turmeric essential oil is surprisingly complex. Over 300 phytochemicals contribute to making turmeric essential oil an excellent choice for supporting overall good health.

The major phytochemicals in turmeric oil are ar-turmerone (20-25 percent), alpha-turmerone (18 percent), beta-turmerone (12-13 percent) and curcumin (2-5 percent). The first three are classed as sesquiterpenes − molecules which help to carry oxygen in the body.

Other special phytochemicals found in turmeric oil include zingiberene (sesquiterpene), beta-caryophyllene (sesquiterpene), eucalyptol (a monoterpene, which helps to reprogram DNA), alpha-phellandrene (monoterpene), beta-sesquiphellandrene (sesquiterpene) and curcumenol. 2 There may well be many other phytochemicals in turmeric essential oil which have yet to be identified and studied.

Historical Use of Turmeric

Turmeric has been used for millennia in ancient healing traditions. In Indian Ayurvedic medicine it has been used traditionally to warm and strengthen the entire body, as a blood purifier, digestive aid, to eliminate worms, improve intestinal flora, and relieve gas. It is also used in India as a liver and gallbladder cleanser and strengthener, to normalize menstruation, to relieve arthritis and joint swelling, for sprains, burns, bruises, cuts and insect bites, for soothing coughs, easing asthma symptoms, as an antibacterial and antifungal agent.

In traditional Chinese medicine turmeric has been used for indigestion, sore throats and colds, liver ailments, and for wound healing.

6 Ways Turmeric Can Support Good Health

While there are a myriad of traditional uses for turmeric, here are six ways that turmeric and/or turmeric essential oil can be used to support general health and wellbeing:

#1. Promotes Clear, Unblemished Skin

The antiseptic and antioxidant properties of turmeric essential oil make it a wonderful acne fighter. It is also known to reduce facial hair, and combined with lemon juice, helps to naturally lighten hyperpigmentation of the skin.

A study published in the Dec 2011 issue of the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found that skin creams with Curcuma longa extract have photoprotective effects, which means protection against effects of the sun. According to the study, “Ultraviolet radiations generate reactive oxygen species, leading to adverse effects on skin properties. Botanical extracts are multifunctional in nature having various properties like photoprotection, anti-aging, moisturizing, antioxidant, astringent, anti-irritant, and antimicrobial activity.” 3

The researchers reported their results as being that: “The photoprotective properties of the constituents of C. longa extract and hydrant, moisturizing lipid components of nano vesicles with better skin penetration resulted in improvement in skin properties like skin hydration and sebum content.” 4

raw honey can be mixed with turmeric essential oil and applied as a face maskTip for Use for Acne: Do a patch test in a small inconspicuous place on your inner arm prior to trying this to ensure you don’t have a sensitivity to turmeric essential oil. In a glass mixing bowl combine two drops turmeric essential oil with one to two tablespoons organic raw honey. Mix well and apply to face as a mask. Leave on for 15 minutes and then wash off. While you wait, wash anything the paste came into contact with as it can stain (be sure to protect your clothes!).

A quality turmeric oil mixed with raw honey is gentle, nourishing, and helps promote smooth, unblemished skin. The honey should also help to keep the turmeric from staining the skin, although it’s a good idea to also test the paste first on the inside of your wrist before applying to your face. For best results use the mask no more than 1-2 times per week.

#2. Supports Well-Functioning Joints

Doctors from Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic traditions have used turmeric to address joint issues for centuries. Many recent studies have investigated turmeric’s ability to impact the pain, stiffness, and inflammation associated with both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

One study of note published in the Journal of Medicinal Food in August 2016 was a joint effort by Korean and American researchers. These researchers analyzed all of the randomized clinical trials that had been done to the date of the article. The researchers stated that the results of the trials “provide scientific evidence that supports the efficacy of turmeric extract (about 1000 mg/day of curcumin) in the treatment of arthritis.” 5

It’s important to note that the researchers also stated that “more rigorous and larger studies are needed to confirm the therapeutic efficacy of turmeric for arthritis.” 6

#3. Improves Mood and Sense of Wellbeing

Diffuse turmeric essential oil for calm and relaxationTurmeric essential oil has a long tradition of use for its relaxing and mood balancing properties. Try diffusing some turmeric essential oil into the air while praying, meditating, reading, at bedtime, or anytime you want to feel more calm and relaxed.

Research has shown that consuming curcumin (the key compound in turmeric) may also be beneficial for improving mood and happiness levels in those suffering with depression and anxiety. In a 2014 study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, researchers “hypothesised that curcumin would be effective for the treatment of depressive symptoms in individuals with major depressive disorder.” 7

Here’s the methodology the researchers used: “In a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 56 individuals with major depressive disorder were treated with curcumin (500 mg twice daily) or placebo for 8 weeks. The primary measure was the Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology self-rated version (IDS-SR30). Secondary outcomes included IDS-SR30 factor scores and the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI).” 8

After the 8-week study was completed, they reported the following results: “From baseline to week 4, both curcumin and placebo were associated with improvements in IDS-SR30 total score and most secondary outcome measures. From weeks 4 to 8, curcumin was significantly more effective than placebo in improving several mood-related symptoms … Greater efficacy from curcumin treatment was identified in a subgroup of individuals with atypical depression.” 9

#4. Helps With Digestive Issues

Turmeric is considered to be exceptionally helpful with digestive problems. It has been used to help relieve gas, and promote healthy digestion and elimination.

#5. Supports a Healthy Liver

Turmeric is highly esteemed in holistic medicine for its ability to support liver health. Since the liver is the main organ of detoxification, keeping it in tip-top shape is vital for good health.

#6. Supports Oral Health

Porphyromonas gingivalis (P.gingivalis) is a pathogen in the mouth that’s believed to be associated with the progression of periodontal disease. The aim of a 2016 study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research “was to substantiate the antimicrobial activity of various essential oils; eucalyptus oil, chamomile oil, tea tree oil and turmeric oil against P. gingivalis.” 10

After testing various concentrations of the essential oils against P. gingivalis, the researchers concluded that “At 100% concentration all the tested oils possess antimicrobial activity against P.gingivalis with eucalyptus oil being most effective followed by tea tree oil, chamomile oil and turmeric oil.” 11

Precautions When Using Essential Oils

Only Use Quality Oils: The quality of essential oils available on the market is widely varied. Always ensure you are using high quality essential oils, preferably organic. It is important to discover whether the maker of an essential oil uses organic growing methods, knows how to distill the oils so that they contain the essential phytochemicals, and avoids the use of toxic chemicals when growing the plants and extracting the oils. Always purchase essential oils from a trusted source. Cheaper is not always better.

Carrier oils for essential oils include olive, coconut, and almond oilDilute: It is recommended to use an organic carrier oil like olive, jojoba, almond, coconut, hemp, or argan to dilute prior to putting any essential oil on the body. Using a carrier oil aids in absorption, does not affect the potency of the essential oil, and increases the cost-effectiveness of using essential oils for health.

Keep Oils Away From Sensitive Areas: Never apply essential oils anywhere near eyes, inside ears, or too close to sensitive regions of the body. If this happens by accident, use a carrier oil to dilute − water will not help!

Do a Patch Test Before Using an Oil for the First Time: Before applying any essential oil, perform a patch test on a small area of skin such as the inside of the elbow. This is important for anyone, but especially critical if you have sensitive skin. If a reaction occurs, dilute essential oils heavily with an organic carrier oil like olive oil, jojoba, almond, coconut, hemp, or argan oils and test again.

For Babies and Children: Be very cautious when using essential oils with babies and children. They have delicate skin and their bodies are much smaller than adults. Always dilute heavily and seek guidance from a qualified healthcare practitioner before using.

In Pregnancy: Some essential oils should be avoided during pregnancy. Low doses of turmeric are considered to be safe during pregnancy, but caution should be exercised when using full-strength turmeric oil. One or two studies showed that consumption of turmeric might stimulate the uterus (the worry being that could possibly increase the risk of premature birth or miscarriage). However, other studies have demonstrated that curcuminoids actually have a relaxing effect on uterine muscle. While contradictory, what is known is that millions of pregnant women in India and Asia have taken small amounts of turmeric in their daily diet for centuries, without any adverse effects being reported.

Always remember that essential oils are much more concentrated than the whole plant materials they’re extracted from. Therefore always exercise caution when using them − especially when pregnant. Dilute heavily and work with an experienced healthcare provider.

 

Turmeric essential oil is one of 3 ingredients (along with frankincense and myrrh essential oils) of Magi-Complex blend from Epigenetic Labs. This breakthrough supplement is the first of its kind to incorporate three of the world’s best nutritional ingredients that support a healthy immune response — the Magi’s gifts to Jesus — all under one cap.

 

Sources:

  1. National Institutes of Health: Turmeric
  2. Chemical Analysis of Essential Oils from Turmeric (Curcuma longa) Rhizome Through GC-MSTopical Vesicular
  3. Formulations of Curcuma Longa Extract on Recuperating the Ultraviolet Radiation-damaged Skin.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Efficacy of Turmeric Extracts and Curcumin for Alleviating the Symptoms of Joint Arthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials
  6. Ibid.
  7. Curcumin for the Treatment of Major Depression: a Randomised, Double-blind, Placebo Controlled Study
  8. Ibid.
  9. Ibid.
  10. Antimicrobial Efficacy of Various Essential Oils at Varying Concentrations Against Periopathogen Porphyromonas Gingivalis
  11. Ibid.
Posted

Watercress: The Forgotten Superfood with Multiple Benefits

Watercress: The Forgotten Superfood

“There was a table set out under a tree in front of the house, and the March Hare and the Hatter were having tea at it…. Oh, surely, surely there were watercress sandwiches! What’s a tea without them?”
~ Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Caroll

Once upon a time, watercress was more than just that green garnish left on the side of your plate. Indeed, watercress was a much loved cruciferous consumed by many, as far back as Roman times. Even old Hippocrates is said to have given his patients watercress.1 And, as evidenced by the above quote from Alice in Wonderland, a watercress sandwich used to be a delight and necessity for any proper English afternoon tea.

Perhaps it is because it is so easy and fast to grow this water-cultivated vegetable that watercress became known as a “poor man’s food” and went out of fashion. Whatever the reason, it is a shame that this nutrient packed food was relegated to mere decoration. Happily, more and more people are discovering that watercress is one of the best-kept secrets of the “superfoods” revolution and offers a host of health benefits. 

Watercress Gets Top Marks as a Superfood

Watercress Gets Top Marks as a Superfood..While you’ll often hear the term “superfood” bandied about everywhere these days, in this case it’s true – watercress is absolutely brimming with nutrients and phytochemicals.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the ANDI Food Scores? It stands for the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index. This index evaluates the number and measure of nutrients in a food – minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins and fats – relative to the amount of calories it contains. The Index gives foods a score out of a possible 1000. The higher the number, the more nutritious the food is considered to be.

Then there’s the CDC’s (Center for Disease Control) Nutrient Density list. This system scores foods out of a possible 100, with top marks given to those “most strongly associated with reduced chronic disease risk.”2

Watercress gets top marks on both lists, being the only vegetable on the CDC’s list to get a full 100 points, 2 while also appearing at the very top of the ANDI, being only one of four items to score a full 1000.3

Just to give you an idea of the nutritional benefits of this member of the brassica family, watercress contains more calcium than a glass of milk, more vitamin C than you’ll find in an orange, and more iron than spinach.4, 5 Not only that, watercress is considered a superior organic source of vitamins A, B1, B6, C, of beta-carotene, magnesium, lutein and zeaxanthin.6 Especially of note, watercress is one of the only vegetables that contain high quantities of vitamin K. Just one cup of these greens will give you more than the minimum daily recommended amount of vitamin K.4, 7

In fact, watercress contains more than 15 essential vitamins and minerals,5 and all the powerhouse benefits of Cruciferous veggies, including the two glucosinolates, sulforaphane and gluconasturtiin (a precursor to the ITC phenethyl isothiocyanate [aka PEITC]).8

Bioactive Compounds of Watercress Benefit Your Health

How the Bioactive Compounds of Watercress Benefit Your HealthOf all the many nutrients and bioactive compounds found in watercress, the following are of special note when it comes to supporting good health.

Glucosinolates: When looking at the individual phytochemicals of watercress, it makes sense to start with the superfood phenomonen – glucosinolates.

Watercress contains a whopping 32 grams of glucosinolates, per cup.4 That matters because there are two glucosinolates that have garnered extra attention in the world of health research due to their compounding effects towards wellness. These are: sulforaphane and gluconasturtiin.

  • Gluconasturtiin: This phytochemical is a precursor to the ITC phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC), and watercress contains more of it than any other brassica (cruciferous) vegetable. This is important because it’s a compound that is being studied extensively by researchers for its potential effects on human health.9, 10, 11
  • Sulforaphane: This phytochemical is formed when damage occurs to the plant, usually by chewing. Sulforaphane is under even closer scrutiny for its wide range of promising effects on health.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin: Watercress is a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin.  According to the American Optometric Association, deficiencies in these carotenoids have been linked to AMD (advanced age-related macular degeneration) which is the primary cause of blindness for those aged 55 and up.12

Chlorophyll: Chlorophyll, as you may recall from Biology class, is what makes plants green, and helps them convert sunlight to food. For humans, consuming plants dense with chlorophyll is widely accepted as providing an array of health-promoting benefits.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that your body requires for tissue repair (including brain repair), making collagen (important for the skin, tendons, cartilage, etc.), as well as both maintaining and repairing bones and teeth. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, deficiencies in vitamin C are associated with a number health ailments, including “high blood pressure, gallbladder disease, stroke, some cancers, and atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque in blood vessels that can lead to heart attack and stroke.”13

Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin that is excreted through urine. This means your body does not store it, and you need a regular supply. Watercress is high in bioavailable vitamin C, ensuring you get slightly under 50% of the recommended daily amount in just two cups of the superfood.

The National Health Institute (NHI) has this to say on its Vitamin C fact sheet: “Vitamin C is required for the biosynthesis of collagen, L-carnitine, and certain neurotransmitters; vitamin C is also involved in protein metabolism. Collagen is an essential component of connective tissue, which plays a vital role in wound healing. Vitamin C is also an important physiological antioxidant and has been shown to regenerate other antioxidants within the body, including alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E).

Ongoing research is examining whether vitamin C, by limiting the damaging effects of free radicals through its antioxidant activity, might help prevent or delay the development of certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, and other diseases in which oxidative stress plays a causal role. In addition to its biosynthetic and antioxidant functions, vitamin C plays an important role in immune function and improves the absorption of nonheme iron, the form of iron present in plant-based foods. Insufficient vitamin C intake causes scurvy, which is characterized by fatigue or lassitude, widespread connective tissue weakness, and capillary fragility.”14

watercress-benefits

Folate: Watercress contains natural, bioavailable amounts of this B vitamin (known as folic acid in its synthetic form). Another water soluble vitamin, your body requires regular doses in order to be healthy. Folate assists cellular function, and is a well-known nutrient needed in pregnancy.15

Calcium: Getting your required calcium from plant sources has many benefits.16, 17

Not only is calcium required for bone health but also, per the National Health Institute’s fact sheet, for: “vascular contraction and vasodilation, muscle function, nerve transmission, intracellular signaling and hormonal secretion.”

The NHI also states that deficiency (hypocalcemia) “symptoms of hypocalcemia [calcium deficiency] include numbness and tingling in the fingers, muscle cramps, convulsions, lethargy, poor appetite, and abnormal heart rhythms.18 If left untreated, calcium deficiency leads to death. Over the long term, inadequate calcium intake causes osteopenia which if untreated can lead to osteoporosis.”19

Vitamin K: As previously mentioned, watercress contains high amounts of bioavailable Vitamin K, which is a rarity in the plant world. This water soluble vitamin is named after the first recognized biological role it plays in your body – clot formation (the “K” coming from the German word, koagulation).20

Getting the Benefits of Watercress from Your Diet

Getting the Benefits of Watercress from Your DietEating a balanced diet includes consuming an array of fresh fruits and vegetables in order to receive the maximum vitamins and nutrients available from the plant world.

In the case of how to get more watercress in your life: Add a cup to your salad or smoothie. Add it to your soup just as you serve it, so it doesn’t lose all its nutritional value with cooking. Perhaps take a leaf out of Alice in Wonderland and have a watercress sandwich.

In off season times, or even just for convenience and ensuring you’re getting the full impact of all the best properties of this superfood plant, you may consider a supplement version of watercress. A watercress powder could easily be added to a smoothie, soup, dressing, drink, or taken in combination with other top-shelf green powders. When choosing a product, keep an eye out for quality and the widest range of absorbable nutrients, for optimal health-supporting benefits.

Watercress is an ingredient in EpiGreens, a revolutionary new green drink from Epigenetic Labs. With its unique blend of 71 fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, herbs and spices – plus the addition of fulvic and humic acid for increased bio-availability – EpiGreens is truly in a category all by itself.

 

Sources:

  1. Watercress: Health Benefits and Nutritional Breakdown
  2. Table 2. Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables (N = 41), by Ranking of Nutrient Density Scoresa, 2014
  3. Healthy Cooking
  4. Nutritional Analysis
  5. Watercress Industry Defends Its Traditions
  6. Full Report (All Nutrients): 11591, Watercress, Raw
  7. Guidance for Industry: A Food Labeling Guide (14. Appendix F: Calculate the Percent Daily Value for the Appropriate Nutrients)
  8. Genetic and Metabolic Effects of Gluconasturtiin, A Glucosinolate Derived from Cruciferae
  9. Plant-derived Compound Targets Cancer Stem Cells
  10. In Vivo Modulation of 4E Binding Protein 1 (4E-BP1) Phosphorylation by Watercress: A Pilot Study
  11. Hypoxia and Angiogenesis: Regulation of Hypoxia-inducible Factors via Novel Binding Factors
  12. Lutein & Zeaxanthin
  13. Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
  14. Vitamin C
  15. Folic Acid in Diet
  16. Best Way to Get Your Calcium
  17. Calcium
  18. Natural Nrf2 Activators in Diabetes
  19. Calcium
  20. Vitamin K
Posted

What Is Ayurveda? An Overview of an Ancient Healing Tradition

What is Ayurveda: A Beginner’s Overview

What is Ayurveda? It’s an ancient health & healing system from India of conscious, natural, and holistic living that works to enhance physical and psychological wellbeing, promoting longevity for the body as a whole.

Rejecting a disease-based mindset, Ayurvedic principles emphasize that we are self-reliant, self-healing beings who can maintain (and regain!) good health simply by consuming healing foods, living a balanced lifestyle, and working towards inner peace. Sounds a lot like many modern-day health recommendations, doesn’t it!

When translated from Sanskrit, Ayurveda means “the science of life,” since the Sanskrit root ayur means “longevity” or “life” and veda means “science” or “knowledge.” This ancient traditional practice is designed to nourish the mind, body, and spirit in a gentle, easy manner over the entire duration of one’s life.

The Historical Traditions of Ayurveda

The knowledge of Ayurveda, it is said, was passed on by holy and learned men via oral learning tradition, until it was collated into text form roughly 5,000 years ago. From their observations, these ancient healers concluded that while change is the essence of life, it is possible to adapt to these changes and thereby attain long-lasting health. In other words, our ability to balance in our adaptation to change rewards us with health, while lack of balance translates as ill-health or disease. Conscious living by aligning our inner nature, or microcosm, with outer Nature, or macrocosm, is the key.

AyurvedaThe oldest known texts on Ayurveda that are still available are the Charaka Saṃhitā, the Sushruta Saṃhitā, and the Ashtanga Hridaya. These texts detail the effects that the five elements found in the cosmic system – specifically, earth, water, air, fire, and space – have on our individual body systems. They also explain the importance of keeping these elements in balance to ensure a healthy, happy, and long life.

  • The Charaka Saṃhitā – “Charaka’s Compendium” is an ancient Sanskrit text, one of only two traditional Hindu texts of this field that have survived from ancient India. It describes ancient theories on the human body, as well as the origin, symptoms, and therapies for a wide range of diseases known at the time. The Charaka Saṃhitā states, “Man is the epitome of the universe. Within man, there is as much diversity as in the world outside. Similarly, the outside world is as diverse as human beings themselves.”

The Charaka Saṃhitā also includes sections on the importance of diet, hygiene, prevention, medical education, as well as the teamwork required between a physician, nurse, and patient for recovery to health.

  • The Sushruta Saṃhitā – Believed to have been written around 1000 BC, “Sushruta’s Compendium” is an ancient Sanskrit text on medicine and surgery and the second traditional Hindu text on this topic that has survived. It includes historically unique chapters that describe surgical training, instruments, and surgical procedures in detail, although surgery is no longer an active modality in Ayurveda today.
  • The Ashtanga Hridaya – The third major treatise on Ayurveda, it is believed to have been written about 500 AD. Although predominantly based on the teachings of the previously written Charaka and Sushruta Saṃhitās, it also presents its own views on the two schools of Ayurveda – the school of surgery and the school of physicians.

How Does Ayurveda Work?

Ayurveda is based on the fundamental concept that no two people are alike. Therefore, any one particular diet or lifestyle habit is unlikely to benefit every person in the same way.

Instead, Ayurveda helps people to identify and understand their predominant dosha – defined as one of three energies, or collection of physical, mental, and spiritual traits – that add up to make each one of us unique.

Further, Ayurveda also explains how to regain health when the system of doshas is out of balance. Because such bodily imbalances are believed to lead to disease, the practice of Ayurveda seeks to restore and maintain health by correcting these imbalances.

For instance, food is considered medicine in Ayurveda. What you eat can serve you or work against you, depending on your predominant dosha, as well as your lifestyle habits at that time. Specifically, food can make you energetic or lazy, happy or sad, strong or weak, and focused or distracted. According to Ayurveda, what you eat directly influences your health and wellbeing.

Many people in the western world are now somewhat familiar with the concepts underlying Ayurvedic foods and healing modalities. Beyond the foods we eat, this ancient approach also asks us to look at our lives holistically.

Here are some questions you might ask yourself:

  • Are your relationships healthy or harmful?
  • Are your work habits in balance with your home life?
  • Do you get sufficient rest?
  • Are you active or sedentary by nature?

Ayurveda also considers many other factors that influence our health, such as how we nurture our friendships and relationshipsAyurveda also considers many other factors that influence health, such as how you nurture your friendships and relationships, your mindfulness (or lack of it) in your daily life, and your approach to life in general.

Ayurveda places great importance on lifestyle – including food habits and daily routines – and provides guidance on how to adapt these for better health based on your age, current state of health, and the change of seasons relative to your predominant dosha.

Constantly assessing ourselves through such a wide-ranging, holistic lens does more than help us lose weight and improve our health – it can significantly impact the very quality of our lives.

What Are Doshas?

According to Ayurveda, each person is influenced by certain elements more than others because of the way they are, or their natural constitutions. Ayurveda categorizes all such constitutions into three different doshas – each of which has certain tendencies, habits, and ways of being that separate them from the other types.

The 3 Doshas are:

  • The static Kapha dosha, in which the earth and water elements dominate
  • The active Pitta dosha, in which the fire element dominates
  • The variable Vata dosha, in which the air and space elements dominate

Every person contains all three doshas. However, according to Ayurveda the proportion varies according to the individual and usually one or two doshas predominate. Within each person, the doshas continually interact with each other and with the doshas in all of nature.

Ayurveda says that your predominant dosha not only affects the shape of your body, but also your tendencies such as food preferences and digestion, as well as the temperament of your mind and emotions.

What Dosha Type Are You?

  • The predominant earth and water elementsWhat are Doshas? in people with a predominant Kapha dosha is evident in their solid, sturdy body type, their tendency towards slower digestion, their excellent memory, and their emotional steadiness. Their thoughts and movements tend to be slow, even sluggish at times.

For all of us, a balanced Kapha is believed to help us remain grounded and be thoughtful and considerate in our words and actions.

  • People with predominantly Pitta personalities are generally considered to be more flexible and nimble, both in their body type and way of thinking. They are quick to action, passionate, expressive, and dominant in their relationships.

Pitta is said to balance Vata and Kapha energies by keeping them fired up by virtue of its fiery quality.

  • Predominant Vata personalities are believed to embody the qualities of air and space. Ayurveda states that their body types are likely to be thin and tall, with prominent joints and bones, while their movements and emotions will typically be quick, light, and change rapidly.

For all of us, a balanced Vata is believed to be critical for the flow and movement of our body, along with aiding our body’s natural processes such as breathing, blood circulation, heartbeat, thoughts, and waste elimination.

Ayurveda Says Balance Is the Key to Staying Healthy

Ayurveda not only explains how we can keep our predominant dosha in balance, but also how we can identify imbalances and how we can restore balance via our dietary and lifestyle habits.

Some people are said to be dual-dosha types, made up of a combination of two of the three doshas. For example, people who are “Pitta Kapha” will have some tendencies of each of these two doshas, but with Pitta dominating.

By helping us to understand the sophisticated nuances of our natural constitutions, Ayurveda provides examples of what we can do to keep ourselves healthy and happy.

The Ayurvedic theory of disease states that imbalances in our doshas happen either because one particular dosha is “aggravated” or in excess, or because it is “depleted” or reduced.

Specifically, if our predominant dosha is either excessive or depleted, we become more susceptible to disease. Ayurvedic solutions to restore imbalanced doshas include massage with oils containing specific herbs, yoga, and meditation, as well as customized diets that target and aim to restore inner balance.

Perhaps the most important lesson Ayurveda has to teach is that the state of our health is literally up to us − which very much aligns with the emerging science on Epigenetics. Every day of our lives, every hour of every day, we can choose to live either in health or illness.

When we choose wisely, Nature rewards us with health and happiness. When we choose unwisely, Nature sets us straight – we fall into disease and get a chance to rest and rethink our choices.

So, what is Ayurveda? To summarize, the theory of Ayurveda provides profound insights into how we can live life in harmony with Nature and natural laws and rhythms. On the practical side, Ayurveda provides clear guidelines for managing our dietary and other daily routines, stress management, and exercises for increased fitness and alertness which help us take – or regain – control of our lives and health.

 

Mushrooms are considered functional, health promoting foods in many ancient traditions. 7M+ available from Epigenetic Labs provides you seven of nature’s best mushrooms for supporting a strong, healthy body.

 

The three doshas in Ayurveda

 

Sources:

  1. Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom: A Complete Prescription to Optimize Your Health, Prevent Disease, and Live with Vitality and Joy
  2. Ayurveda: The Easy Ayurveda Cookbook – An Ayurvedic Cookbook to Balance Your Body and Eat Well, by Rockridge Press
  3. Theory of Ayurveda (An Overview)
  4. The Art of Living: Ayurveda
Posted

Has Taking Antibiotics in Childhood Compromised Your Health?

Did Taking Antibiotics in Childhood Compromise Your Health from the Get Go

Many people think nothing of taking antibiotics. Yet the overprescribing of antibiotics has created a marked increase in the rise of bacterial strains that are resistant − bacteria that will not be killed by antibiotics − a problem even the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes is fast becoming a worrying public issue.

Yet, doctors continue to regularly hand out prescriptions for antibioticsReality is, most coughs, colds, and illnesses that affect the upper respiratory system are actually viruses, for which antibiotics are no help at all. You see, viruses are not bacteria, thus antibiotics do not work on them. Yet, doctors continue to regularly hand out prescriptions for antibiotics, for these same sorts of illnesses that are more than likely viral infections.

The prevalence of antibiotic use and the subsequent resistant bacteria is compounding the increase of such infections (superbugs) as MRSA, and other strong, but antibiotic-resistant bacteria. While this is bad news for patients who actually need antibiotics, the widespread use of antibiotics has other repercussions on our long-term health and, in far too many cases, they appear to begin as early as childhood.

Before we explore that, let’s take a brief look at the history of antibiotics…

Antibiotics Hailed as Wonder Drug of the Century

How and why has the miracle drug of WWII ended up becoming such a health hazard? It started out innocently enough. Previously, when faced with infection, people had no choice but to hope and pray, waiting to see if their bodies would win the fight with the infection, or not. A simple cut during shaving could later fester and kill you. Before antibiotics, 90% of children with bacterial meningitis died.

Those are just two examples of how not so long ago, a simple infection could take your life, or that of someone you loved, with alarming speed. The variety of infections was countless. And other than folk medicine (old wives tales, traditions passed down through families or healers, herbs, spices, barks, etc.) there were few remedies to count on.

Back then a serious infection was a bit like playing Russian roulette − would the patient survive, or not? It all depended on the body’s ability to heal, and the body’s ability to combat infection depended largely on strength of immunity − including nutrition, sanitation, and other environmental factors.

Then there were those that had to choose between death and (literally) cutting off the infected part of the body, in an attempt to stave off infection. Keep in mind, there was no anesthesia, so it was a torturous decision across the board!

Bottom line: Before antibiotics, many people, and especially children, died from simple infections. It’s understandable, then, that with the introduction of antibiotics, they were seen as a “wonder drug.” They did indeed save lives.

in the form penicillinIt was Alexander Fleming who is most widely accepted as the first to have discovered antibiotics (literally meaning “against life”), in the form of penicillin, in 1928. You have probably heard the story of the petri dishes left in the sink while the scientist was on vacation, and upon returning his discovery that molds growing on the samples had killed the bacteria he was cultivating.

Still, it took until 1945 for antibiotics to really see the light of day — Fleming’s research largely obscured by lack of interest, communication limitations, and the technology of the times. It was largely thanks to two Oxford scientists who accidentally stumbled on Fleming’s work, and the powerhouse of the war machine pushing for a viable product, that at the tail end of World War II penicillin was finally able to be produced in large enough amounts that it help save the lives of thousands that may otherwise have perished.

Fleming eventually won the Nobel prize for his work. Yet, in his acceptance speech, Fleming warned of the coming bacterial resistance we now face. But the problem even Fleming didn’t foresee (and it’s fair to say most of the medical community didn’t either), was the compounding toll of effects antibiotics have on our bodies, over time.

Is Taking Antibiotics Wiping Out Your “Good” Gut Bacteria?

It can’t be denied: antibiotics assist your body in overcoming infections more rapidly. However, a particularly overlooked and detrimental downside of taking antibiotics is that while the bacteria causing infection is being wiped out… so is an indiscriminate amount of “good” bacteria.

What is “good” bacteria? Those would be gut bacteria, or one type of microbiota that reside in your intestinal tract, or microbiome, as the entire ecosystem of microorganisms living inside you, is called.

Within this biological system resides trillions of microbes — yeasts (and other fungi), bacteria, viruses, and more. That may sound like a bad thing, but each of these organisms, when in harmony, achieve a balance. Having a balanced gut system allows for optimum absorption and use of nutrients (vitamins and minerals), the proper levels of serotonin and other brain chemicals, the creation of amino acids that build proteins, as well as the creation of certain vitamins and minerals. That’s just to name a few of the bodily processes that rely on good gut health.

In fact, 70% of your immune system is connected to your gut (microbiome). Scientists have also started connecting mood, cognitive function, and other seemingly unrelated body processes to the microbiome, naming it the “second brain.”

Each of the trillions of microbes are necessary — but in balance. For example, certain “harmful” bacteria act as food for yeasts that may contribute to vitamin creation, or assist in making enzymes for digestion. Or another bacteria may keep the yeasts in check, so they don’t get overgrown.

Antibiotics don’t discriminate between “good” and “bad” bacteria. They can’t choose to only target the specific infection that’s of concern. True, there are specific types of antibiotics (these days) that are better suited to attack and kill specific bacteria… but along the way, a few million other bacteria (microbiota) in your microbiome (gut) are also going to get wiped out. That includes friendly bacteria, and others that could well be dubbed as “bad,” but exist in just enough quantities to do their job, be part of the homeostasis, and ensure your wellness.

It’s all about the synergy and balance. If one organism is given the opportunity to overpower others, disharmony ensues. This can create a chain reaction with tangible manifestations in the body, including the immune system being compromised, and other systemic disruptions that may have less than optimal results.

It’s easy to see how an imbalance in the gut can lead to a variety of health challenges.

So what does this have to do with your childhood?

Childhood Antibiotics: A Prescription for Lifelong Health Issues?

The immune system of a child, especially an infant, is a fairly delicate state of affairs. They are, naturally, immature systems. Some insist that to give infants anything but their mother’s milk is a disservice, unless they are in mortal danger. While that may be up for debate, what researchers are finding is akin to what is stated in a study published in 2015, in the journal Cell Host and Microbe. “Recent epidemiological data suggests an association between early antibiotic use and disease phenotypes in adulthood.”

That is to say, that for infants and children to consume antibiotics may predispose them to future health issues. Among the connections that have been made is early antibiotic use and weaker immune systems (potentially making them susceptible to disease), as well as autoimmune issues.

Often antibiotics are given to children for ear infectionsRegardless, antibiotics remain the top prescription for babies. Often antibiotics are given to children for ear infections, even though the source of infection could, in fact, be a virus, not a bacteria. There is evidence that more than 80% of infections of the ear resolve themselves, without antibiotics.

At least times are changing and awareness is growing within the medical community. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics revamped their treatment guidelines for ear infections, largely due to the down sides of children taking antibiotics. Now, instead of automatically prescribing antibiotics, the AAP set the standard to be a “wait and see” protocol − for doctors to monitor infections to see if they clear up on their own.

Yet how many children reach the age of one without having had at least one prescription of these microbiota-killing meds?

It doesn’t help that these medications often come with a host of additives, artificial colorings, sugar, preservatives, and sometimes sweeteners (Splenda, among others, is known to adversely affect microbiota and the microbiome).

How Many Doses of Antibiotics Did You Take as a Child?

If you were one of those children who had repeated ear or respiratory infections as a kid, you may have been dosed with more antibiotics than you can remember. The havoc played on your microbiome would be potentially severe, depending on many outside factors that you likely didn’t have control over until adulthood.

Even if you weren’t given a lot of antibiotics as a child, most of us have taken antibiotics at some point in our lives. Sadly, there are also antibiotics in the food chain that need to be considered, as well. Antibiotics are routinely given to commercially farmed animals − poultry, cows, pigs, etc. − thus the inadvertent consumption of antibiotics through dairy products and meat.

Of course, in the case of antibiotic-filled foods, one easy solution is you can simply choose to buy and consume products that are organic, and certified antibiotic-free. However it’s a little more complicated to get your gut back into balance if it’s been compromised since childhood.

Is It Too Late to Repair My Microbiome?

The good news is that even if you have taken dozens of courses of antibiotics over your lifetime, it’s far from “too late” to rebalance your microbiome for better health. The first step, as always, is simple awareness. If you realize now that you may have compromised your gut health through taking antibiotics, now you know. That empowers you to take action.

The top of the list of those actions would be:

#1. Stop taking antibiotics unless absolutely necessary. Under your doctor’s supervision, make sure if you have an infection that it’s actually bacterial, before taking antibiotics. In the meantime, look for alternative ways to support a healthy immune system which will be able to fight off common illnesses.

#2. Consume organic, antibiotic-free meat and dairy products. The fewer antibiotics you’re purposely or inadvertently consuming, the better.

#3. Learn how to best promote a healthy microbiome. This may include:

  • Consuming fermented foods and substances
  • Eating prebiotic foods (those that feed your “good” bacteria)
  • A good diet with a mix of fresh organic fruits and veggies
  • Taking a really good, plant-based probiotic supplement that contains a wide array of good bacteria, and other substances that support not only digestion, but your immune system

It goes without saying, but we’re saying it anyway… it can be vital to take antibiotics in the face of a truly life-threatening infection. However, everyone from the CDC to Harvard Medical School agree − only take antibiotics when truly necessary, with the full guidance of a health professional.

When you do take antibiotics, supplement with quality probiotics in order to give your “friendly,” life-giving microbiota a fighting chance to stay in balance.

And let’s not forget the basics of a healthy immune system: regular exercise, sunlight and fresh air, and an organic, well-balanced diet. Here’s to your excellent health!

Next up, discover why not all probiotics are created equal…
and the EpiBiotics difference!

 

Sources:

  1. Antibiotic / Antimicrobial Resistance
  2.  About Antimicrobial Resistance
  3. Allicin
  4. Penicillin
  5. The History of Antibiotics
  6. Antimicrobial Properties of Allicin from Garlic
  7. Antibiotics: Misuse Puts You and Others at Risk
  8. Help Support Your Immune System With Probiotics
  9. Antibiotics, Pediatric Dysbiosis, and Disease
  10. A Brief History of the Antibiotic Era: Lessons Learned and Challenges for the Future
  11. The Role of Intestinal Microbiota and the Immune System
  12. Allergy and the Gastrointestinal System
  13. Gut Bacteria and the Brain: Are We Controlled by Microbes?
  14. ‘Gut health’: A New Objective in Medicine?
  15. Can the Bacteria in Your Gut Explain Your Mood?
  16. What is the Gut Microbiota? What is the Human Microbiome?
  17. Saccharomyces Boulardii Stimulates Intestinal Immunoglobulin A Immune Response to Clostridium difficile Toxin A in Mice
  18. Antibiotics, Pediatric Dysbiosis, and Disease
  19. Non-caloric Artificial Sweeteners and the Microbiome: Findings and Challenges
  20. Research Review: Is Splenda safe?
  21. Splenda Alters Gut Microflora and Increases Intestinal p-glycoprotein and Cytochrome p-450 in Male Rats
  22. The Gut: Where Bacteria and Immune System Meet
  23. Penicillin: the Oxford story
  24. Probiotics Linked to Reduced Risk of Allergies, Psoriasis, Colitis, Periodontal Disease and More
  25. Treating ear infections in children
  26. Antibiotics for Acute Otitis Media in Children
  27. Use of Probiotics in Gastrointestinal Disorders: What to Recommend
Posted

5 Nutrition Tips That Can Help With Digestion Problems

Upset stomach digestion problems

Everyone needs it in order to live. But what happens when food become a detriment to your body rather than a source of nourishment? Nobody wants to feel gassy, bloated, or in pain after eating a meal, and yet these are the types of digestion problems that millions of people suffer as part of their mealtime ritual. Food items that should be producing energy and providing physical sustenance, in other words, are actually hurting them. But the question is… why?

For some, allergies are to blame for digestive issues. For others, it’s the growing number of chemical toxins in the food supply. For still others (perhaps most people) it’s a generalized gut imbalance. This imbalance can stem from not having enough digestive juices − including vital enzymes − to effectively break down food so the body can effectively use it.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that as many as 70 million people in the U.S. suffer from some type of digestion problems. Nearly 50 million ambulance calls are made every year for folks who suffer severe digestive episodes, while more than 21 million hospitalizations take place for the same reason. And, quite soberingly, nearly a quarter of a million people living in the U.S. die every year because of digestive disease.

These are worst-case scenario digestive problems, mind you. Millions more people suffer from everyday stomach aches, indigestion, acid reflux, and gastrointestinal upset after they eat − and perhaps you’re one of them. Such symptoms might be common in today’s society, but they’re certainly not normal. So what can you do to overcome them and actually enjoy eating a meal rather than dread it?

Here are 5 tips that can help prevent and/or alleviate many common digestion problems:

#1: Take Probiotics

Take Probiotics to aid with digestion problemsYour digestive tract isn’t just a set of mechanical tubes through which food enters and travels through the body. It’s a vibrant ecosystem made up of beneficial bacteria known as probiotics that functions as a living organism to support the body. It does this by taking the foods you eat and breaking them down into smaller molecules, which are passed through the wall of the digestive tract into the bloodstream for use throughout the body.

This diverse probiotic environment within the gut also functions as a powerful immune defense against pathogenic invaders and toxins. The billions upon billions of beneficial bacterial strains that live within the gut serve as a well-trained army to let the good in while keeping out the bad. These bacterial strains also function as the bulk of the body’s natural immune system. If fact it can be up to 80 percent of the immune system, which is why it’s critical to keep them in check.

Besides eating probiotic foods like yogurt and kefir, taking a probiotic supplement can help keep the body’s “second brain” fruitful and multiplying. Maintaining a healthy probiotic environment will help ensure that the gut is adequately and optimally processing the foods you eat, while also protecting you against digestive disease.

#2: Drink Plenty of Water

Another important part of maintaining optimal gut health is to drink plenty of clean (filtered) water − at least a gallon per day, especially if you work out or lift weight. Hydration is essential for keeping the intestinal tract smooth, flexible, and clean. Without water, food can become hardened and impacted, leading to constipation and buildup. It then starts to rot from the inside, creating a toxic environment that both damages gut bacteria and progressively destroys the other digestive co-factors that process nutrients from food while discarding of waste.

In his book Microcosm: E. Coli and the New Science of Life, author Carl Zimmer explains how hydration is essential for maintaining healthy gut flora. Dehydration can also cause immune cells in the gut to go awry. This can lead to a situation where the immune system is no longer able to differentiate between the good and the bad that enters it − not a good thing for your health. When hydrating, be sure to drink purified or spring water that is free of fluoride, chlorine, and other pollutants commonly found in municipal water supplies.

#3: Learn How to Manage Stress

Learn How to Manage Stress for better digestionBelieve it or not, stress is also a major contributor to gastrointestinal upset. Since the gut and brain are intimately connected on a neurological level, what you think about − and more importantly, what you worry about − often gets transferred to areas inside your midsection. Your gut then responds by releasing various secretions to offset it, including those involved in the “fight or flight” response that over time can take a huge toll on the health of your body.

Then, there’s the “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” scenario. Stress is known to cause damage to the gut in the same way that a damaged gut is known to produce more stress. In many cases simply due to the way that compromised digestion harms brain chemistry. The solution here it to learn how to better mitigate daily stressors, which may include adjusting your work-life balance and making more time for family and friends.

If you don’t effectively take care of the stress in your life, your body will progressively lose its ability to absorb nutrients, oxygenate the gut and blood, ward off disease, manufacture enzymes, and perform vital repairs and maintenance. In other words, your body and its systems will deteriorate as a result of having to try to overcome the abuse it’s being exposed to.

#4: Supplement with Digestive Enzymes

Similar to probiotics, the digestive enzymes that your body naturally produces are designed to break down the foods you eat into substances that your body can use for maintenance and repair. Your body also relies upon food enzymes that exist naturally in raw and fermented foods. Unfortunately, these are foods that many people do not consume nearly enough of to maintain a healthy digestive flow, often leading to digestion problems.

Full-spectrum digestive and proteolytic enzyme supplements can help bridge the gap here and give your body that extra boost it needs to take full advantage of the nutrition you put into it. This still requires eating healthy and following the other advice outlined in this article, but it’s also an important piece of the digestive puzzle that you simply can’t overlook when trying to correct or avoid digestive disease.

#5: Eat More “Living” Foods

Eat More "Living’" Foods that contain ezymesWhere many of these recommendations converge is diet, which when it’s properly aligned can tie in probiotics, enzymes, and hydration into one single package. “Living” foods are foods that haven’t been processed, cooked, or pasteurized. In many ways these types foods represent an all-in-one solution to the problem of digestive problems and disease.

Raw foods grown without chemicals or irradiation in healthy soil are the healthiest kinds of foods you can feed your body. Raw foods that have been fermented, cultured, and/or sprouted using traditional preservation methods can be even better. This is because they contain enhanced levels of probiotic bacteria and enzymes, both of which unlock the full nutritive potential of food and make it optimally bioavailable for the body. Just remember to chew your food thoroughly to make it suitable for reception into your digestive tract.

Some examples of living foods that can help with digestion include:

  • Chia, hemp, and flaxseeds
  • Organic fruits and vegetables
  • Probiotic foods like kombucha, kimchi, and kefir
  • Raw milk, and especially that of a goat, sheep, or camel
  • Fresh juices from things like wheatgrass, celery, and green apples
  • Therapeutic herbs like dandelion leaf and cilantro, both of which stimulate enzyme production

 

EpiZymes from Epigenetic Labs is a cutting-edge supplement designed to improve digestion and reduce the enzyme load on the pancreas. It provides 17 digestive enzymes in a base of sprouted and fermented superfoods, along with humic and fulvic acid for faster and more complete absorption of vitamins and minerals.

 

5 Tips for Digestion Problem

 

Sources:

  1. Digestive Diseases Statistics for the United States
  2. Probiotics Benefits, Foods and Supplements
  3. Importance of Water for Healthy Gut Bacteria
  4. How Stress Wreaks Havoc on Your Gut—And What to Do About It
  5. The Importance of Digestive Enzymes to Gut Health
  6. 5 Tips for Keeping Your Digestive System Healthy
Posted

DIY Non Toxic Cleaner with Essential Oils (Recipe)

Non toxic cleaners

One of the main reasons we clean our homes is to make them healthier for us to live in. But does it really make sense to use cleaning products that are more hazardous to your health than the bacteria you’re trying to kill?

Cleaning products are big business. According to the website Statistica, the America cleaning products industry (laundry detergents, lime/rust removers and various all purpose cleaners) was forecasted to generate around $61 Billion in 2016. The website StatisticBrain breaks that down to an average of $42 per month spent on cleaning supplies by the average American household.

You’re already likely aware that many cleaning products contain chemicals and other ingredients that are definitely not supportive of good health. Inhaling the fumes and absorbing these chemicals into your skin while using them is a guaranteed way to add to your body’s toxic burden. Not to mention the damage that can occur if these products accidentally get in your eyes or are swallowed.

As it turns out, “cleaning substances” are the second highest reason for calls to U.S. Poison Control Centers on behalf of children under the age of six − and #5 on the list for exposure by adults. (If you’re curious, cosmetics & personal care products lead the list for the most common substances implicated in pediatric exposures. This is yet another reason why it pays to make your own personal care products such as toothpasteshampoo, and body wash.)

Non Toxic Cleaner Alternatives

White vinegar (acetic acid), lemon juice, borax, baking soda, and essential oils are all safe, non toxic cleaning products that can be combined in various ways for all sorts of household cleaning tasks. Best of all, your risk of toxic exposure from these cleaners is extremely limited AND you’ll likely save money. Tip: Most white vinegar for sale at the grocery store is 5% acetic acid, but some brands offer a 6% vinegar which offers more cleaning power.

To get started with DIY non toxic cleaners that are better for your health and the environment, here is a simple all-purpose cleaner recipe for hard surfaces. Simply spray, let the cleaner sit for a bit (longer for tougher dirt and grease), and buff off with a cloth − using as much “elbow grease” (pressure) as necessary to remove dirt and grime.

Tea tree essential oil and lemon essential oil are both renowned for their cleaning and disinfectant properties. An added plus is that while you’re cleaning you’ll also be inhaling their beneficial scent − instead of the harsh chemical fumes from most cleaners. Feel free to substitute orange or grapefruit for the lemon essential oil (or use a combination), as all three citrus oils have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.

 

Non Toxic Cleaner with Essential Oils (Recipe)
Non Toxic Cleaner with Essential Oils (Recipe)
Epigenetic Labs
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Recipe used with permission from "Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine For The Modern World" by Jordan Rubin, Dr. Josh Axe, and Ty Bollinger



  1. In a glass spray bottle, mix all ingredients.
  2. Swirl or shake the bottle before each spray.
  3. Spray surface, and wipe with a clean, dry cloth. For tougher dirt and stains, let mixture sit longer. (Always test surfaces first in an inconspicuous spot before using cleaner all over.)

Epigenetic Labs organic essential oils are made with indigenously sourced plants retrieved from the world’s best sources. Visit Epigenetic Labs for more essential oil recipes and helpful articles.

Prep Time: 2 minutes ; Yield: 30-60 uses

 

Sources:

      1. Statistics and facts on the cleaning products industry in the U.S.Poison Statistics
      2. Consumer Spending Statistics
      3. Poison Statistics: National Data 2014
      4. The dirt on toxic chemicals in household cleaning
      5. How Toxic Are Your Household Cleaning Supplies?
      6. Heinz® All Natural Cleaning Vinegar
      7. Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil: a Review of Antimicrobial and Other Medicinal Properties
      8. ANTIBACTERIAL ACTIVITY OF LEMON (CITRUS LEMON L.), MANDARIN (CITRUS RETICULATA L.), GRAPEFRUIT (CITRUS PARADISI L.) AND ORANGE (CITRUS SINENSIS L.) ESSENTIAL OILS
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3 Essential Types of Enzymes Our Bodies Need to Function Well

Enzymes-Our-Bodies-Need

Your body is equipped in many ways to handle the foods you put into it. But your body also relies on food itself to meet it halfway in furnishing certain conversion elements.

These elements pre-digest that food and extract its nutrients. They also deliver these nutrients to areas throughout the body where they’re needed.  These conversion elements are known as enzymes, and they’re the foundation upon which human life exists.

The reason why these enzyme reserves are so important is that every biochemical process that takes place inside the body only occurs because of enzymes. Enzymes ensure that each piece of the vast molecular puzzle that makes up our bodies is functioning as it should, as well as interacting with all the other pieces in sustained congruence.

You can think of enzymes as a type of “micro miracle” that necessitates life as we see it animated in the human form.

The Good News/Bad News About Enzymes

The Good NewsThe good news is that the human body is designed to produce its own enzymes to aid in the food digestion process. It also has the ability to compensate for whatever enzymes are lacking in processed or otherwise enzyme-deficient foods — at least for a time.  This is where the bad news comes into play…

The fact of the matter is that the body is limited in the quantity and types of enzymes that it can produce for supplemental purposes beyond what it was originally designed to handle. When the foods a person eats are persistently lacking in native enzymes, in other words, the body will eventually exhaust its own enzyme reserves.

What Happens When Food Lacks Essential Enzymes?

Enzymes are important for digestion — the primary way that our bodies obtain vital nutrients from the foods we eat. Enzymes are absolutely crucial if you want to live a long and healthy life, in fact, which is why you need to make sure that you’re getting enough of them.

Let’s take a closer look at the three primary types of enzymes that your body needs:

  1. Food enzymes – occur naturally in raw food. Their job is to begin pre-digesting food in the upper stomach; a process that takes between 30-45 minutes after eating.
  2. Digestive enzymes – are manufactured by the body to further break down this pre-digested food and deliver its nutrients through the gut wall and into the bloodstream.
  3. Metabolic enzymes – are also produced by the body, and perform various other important functions throughout the body such as cell tissue repair, waste cleanup, and even destruction of harmful cells.

Each class of enzyme is designed to perform its own unique set of functions to keep your body going strong. Together, this enzymatic trio is what sustains overall health and well-being – serving as the basis of life itself.

Enzymes are substances which make life possible quote

But what happens when one piece of this enzyme mosaic is thrown out of balance, such as when otherwise enzymatically-dense foods are cooked or processed?

Many people don’t know this, but enzymes are extremely delicate and volatile, despite their incredible importance and amazing abilities. When exposed to heat, even at extremely low temperatures of as little as 118 degrees Fahrenheit (48 degrees Celcius), enzymes in food quickly begin to die off in very high numbers.

Enzymes are also unable to withstand the types of processing that lands food in shelf-stable packages, boxes, and cartons. For many people, this is a very large percentage of what they eat on a daily basis.

Such heated and processed food, stripped of its What Happens When Food Lacks Essential Enzymesenzymes, is categorically speaking: dead. This means that the body has to offset the problem by producing extra enzymes to help digest this dead food before attempting to send its nutrient components into the small intestine for absorption.

This is a difficult process that puts immense strain on vital organs like the pancreas that already have the responsibility of manufacturing enzymes for other purposes such as cellular tissue repair, toxin elimination, and waste removal.

While your body is equipped to adapt to problems like this in order to offset them, it can only do so for a limited time.  The fact of the matter is that enzyme production potential and stores gradually diminish the longer the body has to overcompensate for enzyme deficiency in food.

This creates a situation where either food is no longer being fully and properly digested, or the rest of the body isn’t getting the enzymes it needs to repair tissue and clean up waste.

In some cases, both scenarios occur at the same, creating the ultimate recipe for a health disaster.

One of the most obvious symptoms of enzyme deficiency in your diet is poor digestion. If you often feel bloated or gassy after eating a meal, for instance, or experience abdominal discomfort on a regular basis, chances are you aren’t getting enough enzymes.

EpiZymes from Epigenetic Labs is a cutting-edge supplement designed to improve digestion and reduce the enzyme load on the pancreas. It provides 17 digestive enzymes in a base of sprouted and fermented superfoods, along with humic and fulvic acid for faster and more complete absorption of vitamins and minerals.

 

Sources:

  1. Enzymes and Longevity
  2. Why Food Enzymes are Important
  3. Digestive and Systemic Enzymes: 7 Things to Know
  4. The Type of Food that Will Slow Nearly EVERY Inflammatory Disease…
Posted

6 of the Best Essential Oils for Pain

pain-essential-oil

Pain is big business. In a 2016 interview with CNBC, a senior analyst at Mizuho Securities USA was quoted as saying, “There [were] about 300 million pain prescriptions written in 2015.” She went on to explain that this equates to over $24 billion in sales, just in the United States − making pain relievers second only to cancer medications in pharmaceutical sales.

There’s a reason for this. Back in 1931, French physician Dr. Albert Schweitzer stated, “Pain is a more terrible lord of mankind than even death itself.”

It’s true − pain is debilitating. Nobody wants it and it can feel impossible to deal with.

Sadly, pain is more rampant these days than diabetes, heart disease, or cancer combined. It’s the most commonly given reason for accessing the American health care system, with approximately 1 in 4 people suffering pain lasting longer than 24 hours, and millions more dealing with severe pain.

Yet taking pain medications is not without risk, especially in the long term.

In 2011 the Center for Disease Control (CDC) released an analysis of pain medication statistics for the years 1999 to 2008. Here is just some of what they reported:

  • Overdose deaths involving opioid pain relievers (OPR), also known as opioid analgesics, have increased and now exceed deaths involving heroin and cocaine combined.
  • Prescription painkiller overdoses killed nearly 15,000 people in the U.S. in 2008. (This is more than 3 times the 4,000 people killed by these drugs in 1999.)
  • In 2010, about 12 million Americans (age 12 or older) reported non-medical use of prescription painkillers in the past year.
  • Nearly half a million emergency department visits in 2009 were due to people misusing or abusing prescription painkillers.
  • Sales of OPR quadrupled between 1999 and 2010. Enough OPR were prescribed in 2011 to medicate every American adult with a standard pain treatment dose of 5 mg of hydrocodone (Vicodin and others) taken every 4 hours for a month.
  • Non-medical use of prescription painkillers costs health insurers up to $72.5 billion annually in direct health care costs.

The number of people addicted to opiates is alarming, to say the least. The American Society of Addiction Medicine reported 1.9 million Americans addicted to prescription medications in 2016.

However, it’s not only the addictive potential that makes these common pain relievers harmful. There are side effects to consider. Opiate side effects can include: respiratory problems, nausea, constipation, vomiting, drowsiness, dizziness, brain damage, liver damage, paranoia, and over-sedation.

It’s true that the statistics and side effects listed above are representative of the more potent pain medications (opiates) such as codeine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, meperidine, methadone, oxycodone, naxolone, and vicodin. But the over-the-counter pain meds that so many people take also come with a laundry list of potential pitfalls.

The Dangers of Over-the-Counter Drugs

Over-the-Counter DangersStatistics show that, in just 7 months in 2014, Americans spent $1.65 billion on over-the-counter medications such as Advil, Tylenol, and Aspirin. If you do the quick math, that means another $1.18 billion was likely spent for the rest of 2014, taking the total to at least $2.83 billion.

Tylenol (generic name Acetaminophen) has long been considered one of the safest nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), even above Aspirin or Ibuprofen (Advil). Most people are even likely under the assumption that regularly tossing back a few Tylenol for pain is harmless. However, long-term use of this relatively “gentle” drug has been coming under question.

While side effects from correct usage of Tylenol are somewhat rare, the extreme end of potential Tylenol damage includes jaundice, lip ulcers, yellow eyes, and liver damage (more on that below). Less worrying but also possible effects include: diarrhea, cramps, and sweating.

In 2015, the University of Leeds reported on the work of Professor Philip Conaghan of their School of Medicine. He and his team did a review of current research into Tylenol (known as paracetamol in many parts of the world), concluding, “We think this study shows that the adverse health risks of taking paracetamol on a long-term basis are underestimated, particularly in relation to increased risk of heart, gastrointestinal and kidney problems.”

Tylenol Use Linked to Liver Damage and Even Liver Failure

There have also been a number of news reports about the link between Tylenol usage and severe liver damage.

For instance, in 2013 the Huffington Post reported that “Acetaminophen overdose sends as many as 78,000 Americans to the emergency room annually and results in 33,000 hospitalizations a year, federal data shows. Acetaminophen is also the nation’s leading cause of acute liver failure, according to data from an ongoing study funded by the National Institutes for Health.”

Canadians have also been warned of the dangers of acetaminophen (Tylenol), with many doctors calling on Health Canada for better labeling and warnings of the dangers the drug presents. In September 2016, Dr. Michael Rieder, a pediatric clinical pharmacologist at Western University in Canada stated in a CBC news report that acetaminophen “is the most common cause of liver injury. Period. Full stop.”

One of the issues is that multiple products contain acetaminophen, which means it is very easy to exceed safe dosage levels − especially when taking multiple products to fight a cold or flu. Doctors have warned that it is especially critical to be cautious if you become dehydrated through vomiting or diarrhea and take acetaminophen, as even normally safe levels of the drug can become toxic in these situations.

Safety Issues with Ibuprofen (Advil)

Advil (ibuprofen), is another over-the-counter drug that many assume is safe. However, it’s prudent to be aware of the following warnings as listed on Drug.com:

“Ibuprofen can increase your risk of fatal heart attack or stroke, especially if you use it long term or take high doses, or if you have heart disease. Do not use this medicine just before or after heart bypass surgery (coronary artery bypass graft, or CABG).

Ibuprofen may also cause stomach or intestinal bleeding, which can be fatal. These conditions can occur without warning while you are using ibuprofen, especially in older adults.

Do not take more than your recommended dose. An ibuprofen overdose can damage your stomach or intestines. Use only the smallest amount of medication needed to get relief from your pain, swelling, or fever.”

Are There Risks Associated with Aspirin Use?

Even Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) has some possible side effects that may come as a surprise, including: difficulty breathing, confusion, cloudy urine, increased thirst, and internal bleeding. A 2014 review of current studies found that long term aspirin use “increased the risk of peptic ulcer by 30-60%.”

But what about the use of Aspirin for those with heart issues, and avoiding heart attacks?

In 2014, a consumer update from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), reported in Medical News Today, stated that “while daily low-dose aspirin use can prevent heart attack or stroke for those who have already had one, there is insufficient evidence to support its use for prevention of first-time heart attack or stroke.”

So with all of these issues with common pain relievers, is there anything that can support the body naturally…?

Essential Oils for Pain

Essential Oils for PainEssential oils are not drugs, and according to FDA rules cannot be promoted as remedies or treatments for pain relief. However, they can be used to support good health, which may naturally lead to a reduced need for pain relievers in the first place.

Essential oils are the extracts of plants, containing many chemicals and compounds that have been studied extensively for their health and healing benefits. There are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of scientific studies available on the numerous benefits of essential oils and their components for human health.

And while it can’t be said that essential oils are without any side effects, they are far more rare and usually more in the realm of a skin rash or sneezing. That being said, it is always best to seek guidance from a qualified practitioner when using essential oils − especially if you have any health considerations.

6 Essential Oils that May Reduce the Need for Pain Meds

1. Frankincense

Known as Boswellia serrata in the plant world, frankincense is most famous for being mentioned in the Bible as a gift to the infant Jesus from the three Magi. The reason: it was considered a precious substance − perhaps due to its healing qualities.

In modern times, frankincense oil has been studied in relation to pain. A 2008, double-blind, randomized trial into the effects of frankincense extract on knee pain from osteoarthritis found “significant” reduction in pain, and improvement in knee joint functions, in some cases in just 7 days.

Most pain is a result of inflammation. Frankincense has been reported as an inhibitor of 5-lipoxygenase, an enzyme that causes inflammation in the body.

It’s also of note that frankincense essential oil has been used to support: improved circulation, reduced stress, tissue regeneration, improved digestion, immune function, and balanced hormones.

2. Lavender

2So much can be said about lavender essential oil. It has a wide variety of uses, most famously being effective for sleep and relaxation, but also used as an antibiotic and antimicrobial on wounds.

Lavender oil contains the phytochemicals perillyl alcohol and linalool. These powerful plant chemicals continue to be studied, but research has already shown them to support healing − even with conditions as serious as cancer.

Studies also have provided evidence that Lavandula angustifolia (true lavender) may support the body in such as way that there is less need for pain medication. One 2007 study found that of a group of patients getting lavender inhalation therapy after having laparoscopic gastric band therapy, just 46% needed pain medication, compared to 82% of those getting the placebo who required medication. Also of note, the 46% required less medication than the other group of patients.

Even more recently, a 2016 study found lavender essential oil effective in helping to relieve pain in patients with knee osteoarthritis.

3. Myrrh

Another Biblical plant and healing oil that has resurfaced from medicinal obscurity in recent years is Myrrh.

Myrrh is known for its ability to support the immune system to help ward off disease and inflammation, as well as support hormone balance.

A 2014 study on rats reported myrrh essential oil “has significant analgesic, anti-inflammatory and anti-hyperlipidemic effects, and reduces body weight gain and improves blood lipids profile.”

4. Clove Oil

You may know the distinct smell of cloves best from cooking a holiday ham, or from a warming cup of cider in winter. However, there’s much more to these tiny buds than aroma.

Of clove essential oil’s many reported healing properties, its pain relieving capacity has been known for centuries. Historically it has been used to assist with cold sores and abscesses, ear ache, dental pain, and even as a pain reliever for corneal pain. In a 2015 study, researchers found clove oil reduced pain in the rats being studied by up to 87%.

Clove oil is also a well known antifungal and antibacterial, often used in dental rinses and mouthwashes.

5. Peppermint Oil

5 Peppermint OilOh, spicy peppermint! While you must avoid your eyes or pay the price, rubbing a drop or two of peppermint oil on your brow or neck when you have a headache can be delightfully effective. The tingle will be invigorating, and the smell, too.

Proof of this powerful plant’s long medicinal history as a pain reliever comes from the many studies available. Of note, in 2016 the Germans reported peppermint comparable in efficacy to Aspirin and Tylenol.

Peppermint is also famous for helping digestive issues. Perhaps this is why Iranian researchers observed decreased nausea, as well as pain, when migraine patients applied peppermint oil to their forehead and temples.

Due to its strength, it’s highly recommended to use a carrier oil when applying peppermint oil topically to painful areas. Mix a few drops with a cold-pressed oil such as avocado, coconut, or jojoba oil.

6. Eucalyptus

A 2013 human study confirmed what ancient medicine already knew − eucalyptus essential oil helps relieve pain. In this randomized trial, patients with total knee replacement (TKR) surgery were given eucalyptus oil to inhale. Researchers reported “pain scores were significantly lower in the eucalyptus oil group” after 3 days, whereas the control group (those receiving the placebo) had increased pain levels.

Eucalyptus has also been indicated in the pain relief (and as an antifungal and antimicrobial) for dentistry. It’s also been found to be a powerful antioxidant.

Once again, essential oils are not drugs and do not replace the role played by pharmaceutical pain relievers. But used appropriately, quality essential oils may help to support a healthy, functioning, pain-free body.

The essential oils available from Epigenetic Labs are among the highest quality essential oils available to consumers. They are made with indigenously sourced plants retrieved from the world’s best sources.

Essential-oils-for-pain-el

 

Sources:

  1. Americans Consume Vast Majority of the World’S Opioids
  2. Pain Management
  3. Vital Signs: Overdoses of Prescription Opioid Pain Relievers − United States, 1999−2008
  4. Opioid Addiction 2016 Facts & Figures
  5. The Effects of Opiate Use
  6. Long-Term Risks of Taking Paracetamol May Have Been Underestimated by Clinicians
  7. Tylenol Overdose Risk Is Staggering; Acetaminophen Safeguards Remain Insufficient: Report
  8. Why acetaminophen is the ‘most common cause of liver injury’ in Canada
  9. Ibuprofen
  10. Daily Aspirin to Prevent First Heart Attack Does Not Get FDA Backing
  11. Experts Warn Against Long-Term Use of Common Pain Pills
  12. A Double Blind, Randomized, Placebo Controlled Study of the Efficacy and Safety of 5-Loxin® for Treatment of Osteoarthritis of the Knee
  13. Boswellia Serrata, a Potential Antiinflammatory Agent: An Overview.
  14. Treatment with Lavender Aromatherapy in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit Reduces Opioid Requirements of Morbidly Obese Patients Undergoing Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding.
  15. Effect of Aromatherapy Massage with Lavender Essential Oil on Pain in Patients with Osteoarthritis of the Knee: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial.
  16. Anti-Inflammatory and Analgesic Activity of Different Extracts of Commiphora Myrrha.
  17. Analgesic, Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Hyperlipidemic Activities of Commiphora Molmol Extract (Myrrh)
  18. The Healing Gifts of Myrrh Essential Oil
  19. Effects of Topical and Systemic Administration of Eugenia Caryophyllata Buds Essential Oil on Corneal Anesthesia and Analgesia.
  20. Experimental Evaluation of Anti-Inflammatory, Antinociceptive and Antipyretic Activities of Clove Oil in Mice
  21. Peppermint Oil in the Acute Treatment of Tension-Type Headache
  22. Cutaneous Application of Menthol 10% Solution as an Abortive Treatment of Migraine Without Aura: A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossed-Over Study.
  23. Efficacy and Safety of Medicinal Plants or Related Natural Products for Fibromyalgia: A Systematic Review
  24. Effect of Eucalyptus Oil Inhalation on Pain and Inflammatory Responses after Total Knee Replacement: A Randomized Clinical Trial
  25. Essential Oils, Their Therapeutic Properties, and Implication in Dentistry: A Review
  26. Eucalyptus Globulus Extract Protects Upon Acetaminophen-Induced Kidney Damages in Male Rat
Posted

Quick & Tasty Bone Broth Mushroom Miso Soup Recipe

Miso Mushroom Soup recipe

This mushroom miso soup is a simple tasty meal idea that combines the health-boosting benefits of bone broth with gut-boosting miso and the powerful health benefits of mushrooms.

For this recipe you can go with the mini portabello mushrooms as listed (or slice a regular portobello mushroom), or for even more health benefits why not try Shiitake mushrooms.

Shiitake, also known as Black Forest mushroom (scientific name Lentinula edodes) is native to Japan, Korea, and China and is one of the most popular and best studied medicinal mushrooms around today. Both fresh and dried forms of Shiitake are common ingredients in East Asian cooking.

In recent years, this exotic fungus, which grows naturally on dead and dying broad-leaf Asian oaks and beeches, is being carefully studied to understand its many health benefits. Shiitake is known to contain many potent bioactive compounds, including the polysaccharide beta-D-glucan known as “Lentinan,” which has been the subject of several studies for its potential anticancer benefits. For instance, Lentinan has been approved as a complementary therapy for the treatment of gastric cancer in Japan.

Some Considerations About Soy

Miso is a paste traditionally made from fermented soy beans. There is currently much debate about the health safety of consuming products made with soy − particularly as it pertains to breast health. One common school of thought among many health experts is to avoid genetically modified (GMO) soy and any products containing “soy protein isolate” which has become a pervasive ingredient in processed foods.

On the other hand, naturally fermented soy products such as tempeh, soy sauce, and miso are generally considered safe to consume (and even beneficial) in small quantities. As miso is a fermented product, it also contains bacteria that can contribute to a healthy gut.

According to the USDA, 94% of soybeans grown in the U.S. are genetically modified. For the recipe below, look for a high quality organic miso paste. Otherwise it will more than likely be produced from genetically-modified soy.

Note that the “mello white miso” called for in the recipe is a lighter kind of miso that is fermented for a shorter time and contains less salt than traditional miso. It also has a more delicate taste than traditional miso.

Mushroom Miso Soup
Mushroom Miso Soup
Epigenetic Labs
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  • 4 cups chicken bone broth OR 3 scoops of pure bone broth protein powder mixed in 36 ounces water
  • 1 cup baby portabella mushrooms OR shiitake mushrooms
  • 1⁄2 red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed OR minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1⁄4 cup dried wakame
  • 3 tablespoons mellow white OR garbanzo miso
  • half-bunch scallions, chopped

  1. In a medium pot over medium-high heat, bring broth to a rolling simmer. Add mushrooms, onion, garlic, ginger, and wakame. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low and remove 1 1⁄2 cups of broth. Whisk broth into miso and add back to soup. Hold at low heat for 5 minutes before serving.
  3. Remove from heat and add protein powder. Stir well.
  4. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with chopped scallions.
  5. Enjoy!

Prep Time: 35 minutes ; Yield: 2-4 servings

For more recipe ideas using healing bone broth, download this complimentary bone broth e-book from Epigenetic Labs.

For the easy way to get all the nutritional benefits of bone broth, check out Epigenetic Labs Bone Broth Protein Powder here.

 

Sources:

  1. Recent Trends in GE Adoption
  2. Paul Stamets, “MycoMedicinals: An Informational Treatise on Mushrooms”, (MycoMedia Productions), 2002), 51-54.
  3. Shiitake Mushroom
  4. Lentinan
  5. The use of lentinan for treating gastric cancer.
Posted

6 Types of Superfood Nutrition for Optimal Wellness

6 Types of Superfood Nutrition for Optimal Wellness

Everyone knows that the human body requires proper nutrition in order to live. And it’s safe to say that most everyone knows that eating healthy is necessary in order to live well. So why then do so many people (perhaps you’re one of them) seem to come up short in achieving the types of life-changing results they want… even when following the eating advice given to them by their doctors and dietitians?

For one, the definition of what it means to “eat healthy” varies widely depending on who you ask. For some people, eating fast food just three times a week instead of five means that they’re doing a pretty good job at staying healthy. For others, eating healthy means popping a multivitamin after a sugar-filled breakfast of doughnuts and muffins and calling it a day.

Avoiding fast food and taking multivitamins aren’t bad things, of course. But with the challenges we face in the modern world, these things simply aren’t enough to really achieve an optimal level of wellness that leaves the body feeling good and full of energy. Supercharging your health requires a whole lot more than just eating a salad every now and again or switching to bottled juice instead of soda pop. It requires dialing in on practical ways to mega-boost your diet with superfood nutrition from as many different sources as possible.

It might sound complicated right out of the gate, but learning these hidden tricks of the dietary trade doesn’t have to be overwhelming, and it certainly isn’t unattainable. When it comes to superfood nutrition, there are six major categories that serve as a great starting point if you’re really serious about fast-tracking your way to real health.

Focusing on including more of these foods into your daily routine is a surefire way to get a head start on forging a solid pathway to what we all hope to achieve − optimal wellness.

Superfood #1: Medicinal Mushrooms

Medicinal mushrooms are included in EpiGreensWhether sautéed or stir fried, mushrooms are a tasty addition to almost any savory dish. But did you know that there are more than 10,000 different varieties of mushrooms just in North America alone? Among these, many mushrooms fall into the therapeutic category of medicinal fungi, as they offer a diverse array of health benefits, some of which may surprise you.

Turkey tail (Trametes versicolor) mushrooms, for instance, possess powerful antioxidant potential, helping to enhance the immune system and lower cholesterol levels.

Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) mushrooms are similarly immune-boosting, also helping to ward off viruses while calming the mind. In the event that you encounter a poisonous mushroom, reishi mushrooms can further serve as a potent antidote, while also helping to balance the adrenal glands and promote feelings of calm.

You may have heard of shiitake (Lentinula edodes) mushrooms because they’re popular in cooking. But did you know that they’re also anti-tumoral and antiviral? Shiitake mushrooms are so medicinal, in fact, that herbalist Christopher Hobbs, editorial advisor for Herbs for Health, says they’re effective for nearly every ailment: including immune disorders, allergies, candida, the common cold, influenza, and cancer.

Similar benefits can be found in maitake (Grifola frondosa) mushrooms, which have been shown in scientific studies to fight cancer and inhibit tumor growth. Maitakes are likewise suitable for helping to naturally lower blood pressure levels while balancing cholesterol levels.

And who could forget about Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus), the mushroom that looks exactly like it sounds! Considered by world-renowned fungi expert Paul Stamets to be the world’s premier “smart” mushroom, Lion’s Mane offers immense benefits to the brain, nervous system, immune system, and heart. Not only does Lion’s Mane help to improve cognitive function, it also helps promote neural growth by stimulating the body’s Nerve Growth Factor (NGF).

Superfood #2: Exotic Superfruits

Exotic Superfruits such as acerola cherries are key ingredients in EpiGreens

We’re all familiar with common fruits like apples, oranges, and strawberries. But what about not-so-common varieties like acerola cherry (Malpighia emarginata) and Indian gooseberry (Emblica officinalis)? Both of these exotic superfruits contain some of the world’s highest levels of natural vitamin C, it turns out, and both can do wonders for the body in terms of strengthening its defenses and improving its overall functionality.

Studies show that acerola cherry is a powerful antioxidant fruit rich in flavonoids like quercetin that support cardiovascular, immune, and respiratory health.

Acerola cherry is also a potent DNA protector that minimizes oxidative damage and ultimately helps to prevent the types of harmful mutations that lead to cancer growth and proliferation.

Indian gooseberries are similar in that they’re likewise rich in anthocyanin antioxidants that help to combat early aging while simultaneously stamping out disease-causing inflammation. This, combined with their rich density of brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids and an array of other health-promoting vitamins and minerals, makes the Indian gooseberry exactly the type of thing you need to achieve your health goals.

Superfood #3: Sprouted Seeds

These tiny packages of nourishment are where life begins, which explains why they’re also an incredibly important part of any healthy diet. But even for all of their many health benefits, seeds become even healthier when they’re sprouted. Sprouting unlocks a cornucopia of seed nutrition that would otherwise not be accessible by the body. Seed germination not only makes seeds more nutritionally bioavailable, it also boosts their overall nutrient content − in many cases by dramatic amounts

Sprouting is especially important because it deactivates certain “anti-nutrients” in seeds that can inhibit nutrient absorption and even rob your body of its own nutrient stores. Such anti-nutrients include things like phytic acid, enzyme inhibitors, lectins, saponins, and polyphenols. If you’ve ever felt like your body doesn’t agree with seeds (or nuts or beans), it could be because of these anti-nutrients, which are effectively removed during the sprouting process.

Superfood #4: Fermented Herbs

Fermented Herbs are found in EpiGreensHerbs are already an underrated dietary element, and fermented herbs especially so. Most people aren’t chowing down on things like holy basil and lemon balm (not to be confused with the lemon fruit), let alone fermented varieties of these precious herbs − which is a shame considering their immense health benefits.

Like sprouting, fermenting helps to break down and convert one type of nutrient into another, making it more digestible and assimilable than it otherwise would be in its unfermented form.

Ashwagandha is one type of adaptogenic herb that’s better fermented than unfermented. Boasting a laundry list of health benefits that include support for the thyroid gland, adrenal glands, immune system, brain, and blood, ashwagandha is an excellent herb to start including in your diet.

So are turmeric and rhodiola, two other “super” herbs that rank amongst the most powerful anti-inflammatory herbs in the world. What’s even better is that their beneficial effects are greatly amplified when these herbs are fermented.

Superfood #5: Probiotics

Without these active little critters in our bellies, we would have a very difficult time digesting our food. Probiotics are what perform the digestive equivalent of both sprouting and fermenting inside the gut. They help to balance the microbial ecosystem that keeps a close eye on foreign invaders and makes sure that everything we eat is digested in such a way that the body can use it for growth and repair.

There are untold numbers of probiotic bacteria and bacterial colonies that live inside our digestive tracts, not to mention the many varieties that live in soil. In a perfect, chemical-free world, these soil-based probiotics would enrich the foods we eat while they grow. However, oftentimes these are missing, which is why supplementation can be beneficial. One probiotic strain worth supplementing with is Bacillus subtilis, which research suggests helps to improves the microbial environment in the intestines while boosting the activity of digestive enzymes.

Feeding these and other probiotics so they can perform their respective functions, fulvic acid and humic acid are two additional prebiotic “nutrient boosters” that function similarly to probiotics. Helping to activate other nutrients and make them more bioavailable, these organic, soil-based pro-nutrients actively support nutrient metabolism while helping to balance gut function. This is why they’re sometimes categorized as probiotics.

Superfood #6: Enzymes

Last, but certainly not least, are enzymes. These protein catalysts function as the energy force for the entire body. Not only are enzymes essential for the breakdown of food to be used for energy and cellular metabolism, they also serve as the engineers, technicians, and maintenance crews to keep the many vital systems of the body functioning at full speed, and with optimal efficiency.

Enzymes are perhaps the most overlooked dietary element because many people don’t even know what they are. And yet, without them, life itself would not exist. Cooked, processed, and chemical-treated foods − which many people eat on a regular basis − are mostly or completely devoid of enzymes, which makes these foods harder for the body to digest.

The following are among the most important enzymes lost as a result of processing and heating that are worth supplementing with in order to correct this deficiency:

  • Cellulase: Necessary to break down plant fiber in greens, sprouts, herbs, and fruits
  • Beta-glucanase: Necessary to break down fungi, yeast, and cereal bran fiber
  • Amylase: Necessary to break down carbohydrates and starches
  • Xylanase: Necessary to break down “tougher” fiber in beans, cereal grains, and certain vegetables
  • Protease: Necessary to break down protein
  • Glucoamylase: Necessary to break down carbohydrates and starches
  • Phytase: Necessary to convert “anti-nutrients” in beans, seeds, legumes, and grains into nutrients and trace minerals
  • Pectinase: Necessary to break down pectin fiber in fruits and vegetables
  • Lipase: Necessary to break down fats
  • Lactase: Necessary for processing milk lactose
  • Alpha-galactosidase: Necessary to break down complex carbohydrate foods like cruciferous vegetables
  • Hemicellulase: Necessary to break down plant fiber in greens, sprouts, herbs, and fruits
  • Invertase: Necessary to break down complex sugars into simple sugars

All of these superfoods can be found in EpiGreens, a revolutionary new green drink from Epigenetic Labs. With its unique blend of 71 fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, herbs and spices – plus the addition of fulvic and humic acid for increased bio-availability – EpiGreens is truly in a category all by itself.

Supercharge your Health with these 6 superfoods.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

  1. David Fischer’s North American Mushroom Basics: Real Answers About Mushrooms (F.A.Q.)
  2. Benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms and How to Use Them
  3. Lion’s Mane Mushroom – Unparalleled Benefits for Your Brain and Nervous System
  4. Acerola Cherry extract supplement health benefits, research studies
  5. 6 Health Benefits of Quercetin
  6. What Are Gooseberries Good For?
  7. The Top 5 Healthiest Seeds
  8. What Are the Benefits of Sprouting Seeds?
  9. Sprout Guide: How to Sprout Grains, Nuts & Beans
  10. Ashwagandha Benefits Thyroid and Adrenals
  11. 7 Fulvic Acid Benefits & Uses: Improve Gut, Skin & Brain Health
  12. Digestive Enzymes for a Modern Diet
Posted

7 Powerful Health Benefits of Cordyceps Mushroom

cordyceps-sinensis

The unique, amazing cordyceps mushroom made international headlines after Chinese runners broke two world records by unbelievably huge margins at the Asian Games in 1993. It seems the secret to their remarkable athletic performances was the so-called caterpillar fungus − cordyceps.

As it turns out, cordyceps mushroom (known scientifically as Cordyceps sinensis) has been used in traditional Chinese and Tibetan medicine since at least the 15th Century. An extremely rare combination of a caterpillar and a fungus, it is found at altitudes above 4,500 meters (over 14,000 feet) in the Himalayas, on the Tibetan plateau, and at other high-altitude locations worldwide.

In Tibet this fungus is known as yartsa gunbu, or “summer grass, winter worm.” It was initially identified when local herders observed that yak, goat, and sheep that ate cordyceps while grazing became very strong and stout. This observation led to a deeper examination and eventual understanding of its many health benefits.

Even today, traditional healers in many East Asian cultures recommend cordyceps as a tonic and claim that it improves energy, appetite, stamina, libido, endurance, and sleeping patterns.

Cordyceps has a truly bizarre life cycle. Being parasitic in nature, its spores land on the caterpillars of certain moth species and enters their bodies. The infected caterpillars then bury themselves below the soil before they die.

Cordyceps sinesis is an ingredient in 7M+In summer, the fungus emerges from each infected caterpillar’s head, looking like a thin, orange finger. As the fungus approaches maturity, it consumes more than 90 percent of the infected insects, effectively mummifying its hosts.

Scientific studies over the past several years have shown that the cordyceps mushroom helps to manage blood sugar levels in a healthy range, protects the heart, strengthens the immune system, enhances libido, fights fatigue and improves exercise performance, and may even help to combat cancer.

Cordyceps Health Benefit #1: Managing Blood Sugar Levels

Multiple studies have shown that cordyceps can help in the safe management of blood sugar levels. For instance, a polysaccharide (a long chain, naturally-occurring compound made up of sugars bound chemically to each other) isolated from cordyceps was seen to lower blood sugar levels in a mouse model of diabetes. This polysaccharide also lowered blood levels of harmful triglycerides and cholesterol.

Studies have shown that consumption of cordyceps mushroom extracts increases insulin sensitivity, while also lowering the insulin response to a carbohydrate challenge in normal, non-diabetic rats. Both of these are indications of reduced diabetes risk. For example, normal rats given a cordyceps extract for 17 days showed significant reductions in their fasting blood sugar and fasting blood insulin levels.

Indeed, extracts of cordyceps have been shown to slow down diabetes-induced weight loss, reduce excessive thirst, improve glucose tolerance, and lower high blood sugar levels in various laboratory rat models of diabetes. Again, all of these indicate lowered diabetes risk.

Diabetic nephropathy usually develops because of damage caused by high blood sugar levels on kidney function and is usually seen in long-term diabetes patients. In a promising 2016 laboratory study, powdered extracts of cordyceps were seen to protect kidney health in a mouse model of diabetic nephropathy.

Although human studies, including controlled clinical trials, are still needed to understand the full extent of the efficacy and safety of cordyceps, these laboratory study results clearly indicate that the caterpillar mushroom is very likely to be useful in the safe management of blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes.

Cordyceps Health Benefit #2: Protecting the Heart

In labcordyceps is approved for the treatment of arrhythmias in Chinaoratory experiments with rats and guinea pigs, a cordyceps extract was seen to correct irregularities in heart rhythms, known medically as arrhythmias. In fact, preparations made from cultured mycelia of cordyceps – which is the part of the mushroom that is made up of fine white filaments – has been approved for the treatment of arrhythmias in China.

Further, consumption of cordyceps was seen to prevent much of the metabolic damage in both the livers and hearts of rats with chronic kidney disease.

Treatments to suppress the immune system are routinely used to prevent the body from rejecting a new heart after a heart transplant. However, the prolonged use of so-called “immunosuppressants” after transplant surgery leads to significant problems of its own, including kidney damage and ironically, a greater risk of heart disease.

Promisingly, a 2008 laboratory study showed that cordyceps extract reduced the rate of cardiac rejection in a rat model of heart transplantation, indicating that cordyceps may one day become an important component of post-organ transplant therapy.

Cordyceps Health Benefit #3: Protecting the Kidneys

In China, cordyceps is routinely used to treat many kidney diseases, including chronic nephritis, chronic pyelonephritis, chronic renal dysfunction or failure, and nephritic syndrome.

Results from laboratory studies as well as clinical trials indicate that cordyceps may play a potential protective role in kidney transplantation. For example, a preparation made from cordyceps mycelia reduced the rejection of kidney transplants, improved kidney and liver function, stimulated red blood cell production, and lowered infection rates in patients after kidney transplants.

Similarly in patients with chronic kidney failure, another cordyceps product known as CS-4 significantly boosted kidney function, lowered levels of blood urea and creatinine and increased levels of total blood protein and calcium.

Cordyceps Health Benefit #4: Strengthening the Immune System

In a 2012 study, cordyceps polysaccharides overcame induced immunosuppression, while also enhancing lymphocyte activity and macrophage function in mice. Lymphocytes are known to be potent orchestrators of the immune system’s response to infections and injury, while macrophages are a type of cell responsible for detecting, engulfing, and destroying pathogens and damaged and dying cells in the body.

Cordyceps polysaccharides also improved antioxidation activity in immunosuppressed mice, while also raising the levels of their natural antioxidants superoxidase dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase.

In other words, cordyceps polysaccharides strengthened the immune system and boosted total antioxidant capacity in a laboratory mouse model of immunosuppression.

Cordyceps Health Benefit #5: Enhancing libidoConsumption of cordyceps has been shown to enhance libido

Cordyceps has traditionally been used for enhancing libido and sexual function in many Eastern societies. Laboratory experiments on animals confirms that cordyceps can improve reproductive activity as well as restore impaired reproductive function.

Consumption of cordyceps has also been shown to enhance libido and sexual activity and restore impaired reproductive function in both men and women, likely by enhancing testosterone release.

Cordyceps Health Benefit #6: Fighting Fatigue and Improving Exercise Performance

A 2010 study showed that supplementation with the cordyceps extract CS-4 for 12 weeks improved exercise performance and contributed to overall wellness in 20 healthy elderly adults.

Cordyceps likely improves physical abilities and stamina because it contains adenosine and can stimulate production of ATP, one of the primary sources of energy in our body’s cells.

Another 2007 study showed that higher production of ATP because of cordyceps consumption helped athletes maintain intense workouts while also extending the periods of time they were active at high intensity.

Finally, studies have shown that supplementing with cordyceps can lower heart rate, which explains why people can train harder for longer periods when supplementing with cordyceps.

Cordyceps Health Benefit #7: Cancer Fighter

Cancer is the second leading cause of disease-related deaths worldwide. Anticancer drugs derived from natural products are being explored because of the well-known limitations of surgery and radiotherapy and the many toxic side effects of chemotherapy.

Promisingly, laboratory studies have shown that cordyceps has antitumor activity in various cancers, including lymphoma, melanoma, prostate, breast, liver, and colorectal cancers.

Further, studies show that cordyceps can be combined with other forms of chemotherapy for cancer treatment – and although cordyceps was toxic to tumor cells, it did not affect normal cells at all under laboratory conditions.

Here too human studies, especially controlled clinical trials, are still needed to understand the full extent of both the efficacy and safety of cordyceps as an anticancer therapy.

Cordyceps mushroom is a key ingredient of 7M+ available from Epigenetic Labs which provides you seven of nature’s most powerful mushrooms in all.

7-health-benefits-cordyceps-sinensis

Sources:

  1. Traditional uses and medicinal potential of Cordyceps sinensis of Sikkim
  2. Are Cordyceps Magic, Medicinal Mushrooms?
  3. Polysaccharides in fungi. XXXVI. Hypoglycemic activity of a polysaccharide (CS-F30) from the cultural mycelium of Cordyceps sinensis and its effect on glucose metabolism in mouse liver.
  4. Anti-hyperglycemic activity of natural and fermented Cordyceps sinensis in rats with diabetes induced by nicotinamide and streptozotocin.
  5. CordyMax Cs-4 improves glucose metabolism and increases insulin sensitivity in normal rats.
  6. Protection of chronic renal failure by a polysaccharide from Cordyceps sinensis.
  7. Cordyceps militaris Treatment Preserves Renal Function in Type 2 Diabetic Nephropathy Mice.
  8. [Antiarrhythmic effects of Cordyceps sinensis (Berk.) Sacc].
  9. C. sinensis ablates allograft vasculopathy when used as an adjuvant therapy with cyclosporin A.
  10. Cordyceps militaris polysaccharides can enhance the immunity and antioxidation activity in immunosuppressed mice.
  11. Cordyceps sinensis protects against liver and heart injuries in a rat model of chronic kidney disease: a metabolomic analysis.
  12. Cordyceps as an Herbal Drug
  13. The scientific rediscovery of an ancient Chinese herbal medicine: Cordyceps sinensis: part I.
Posted

Thin Mint Smoothie Recipe

Thin Mint Smoothie recipe

If you’re a chocolate lover, here’s a quick, delicious, and healthy way to use chocolate or pure unflavored bone broth powder from Epigenetic Labs.

Considered to be one of the most ancient and remarkable nutritional substances on the planet, bone broth is a beneficial “elixir” made from simmered animal bones. Not only does bone broth taste great and provide numerous nutrients and beneficial compounds, but it’s versatile and easy to use in many recipes. (Don’t worry, it doesn’t taste like bones!)

Thin Mint Smoothie Recipe
Thin Mint Smoothie Recipe
Epigenetic Labs
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  1. Place all ingredients in blender and purée until smooth, adding water and ice to blend as necessary.
  2. Pour into a tall glass and garnish with mint leaves or sprinkle of shredded high quality dark chocolate (optional)

For more recipe ideas using healing bone broth, download this complimentary bone broth e-book from Epigenetic Labs.

For the easy way to get all the nutritional benefits of bone broth, check out Epigenetic Labs Bone Broth Protein Powder here

Posted

The Numerous Health Benefits of Bone Broth

bone-broth-health-benefits-el

There’s a common Latin American saying that sums up the powerful health benefits of good, old-fashioned broth… “Good broth resurrects the dead.”

That may be a slight exaggeration, but bone broth does have a centuries-old history of therapeutic use in traditional cultures. And it is well-known for being a soothing dish that is nourishing for body, mind, and soul. Physicians as far back as Hippocrates of Kos – revered as the “Father of Modern Medicine” – have recommended the bone broth diet as being beneficial for health.

Fast forward to the present day and to Los Angeles Lakers basketball star Kobe Bryant. During an eight-month stretch in 2013, he ruptured an Achilles tendon and then fractured his knee, both potentially career-ending injuries. And yet in 2015, at the age of 36, Bryant not only returned to the harsh rigors of pro basketball, he actually thrived.

What was his secret?

Bryant and his handlers credit at least some of his recovery and longevity to a particular chicken and vegetable soup – specifically, bone broth.

What is Bone Broth?

What is Bone BrothBone broth, regular broth, and stock all have the same basic ingredients – water, meat or bones (or both), vegetables, and seasoning. Regular broth is made with meat and may contain some bones. It is typically simmered for a short time, is very light in flavor, and rich in protein.

Stock is made mainly with bones, along with a little meat. Often the bones are roasted before simmering to improve the flavor. Stock is typically simmered for 3-4 hours and is a good source of gelatin.

Bone broth is also made with bones and may also contain a small amount of meat adhering to the bones. As with stock, bones may be roasted first to improve the flavor. The main difference is that bone broths are simmered for very long periods of time, usually more than 24 hours – so that not only gelatin, but also healthful minerals are released into the broth.

Bone broths are very rich in protein, especially the amino acids glycine and proline, and are a rich source of minerals as well. Glycine supports detoxification and is also used to make hemoglobin, bile salts, and other natural chemicals in the body. Proline supports skin health, especially in combination with vitamin C. Gelatin also supports skin health and tone.

Quite simply, bone broth is a nourishing concoction that is known to contain many essential and non-essential amino acids, gelatin which together help to form connective tissue, as well as nutrients that support the immune system, gut healing, and brain health.

No wonder the bone broth diet is known as “nature’s multi-vitamin”! Let’s take a closer look at some of its many health benefits.

Chicken Soup Soothes the Sick

Chicken broth soothes the sickStatistics show that when Americans are sick, more often than not they seek the comfort of a hot bowl of chicken soup.

According to the National Institutes of Health, the idea of hot soup as a flu and cold remedy has been around for centuries – and may in fact help to ease the symptoms.

All liquid broth soups speed up the movement of mucus, because they are hot fluids that dilate blood vessels, increasing blood flow. This allows mucus to flush everything out including the infecting agents and alleviating congestion.

Soups are also hydrating in general because they contain both water and salt, which are both important when fighting off an infection. Further, some research suggests chicken soup can reduce inflammation associated with colds and flu, providing further symptomatic relief.

Bone Broth Promotes Gut Healing

In recent years, healthcare researchers have begun to understand that our overall health and wellbeing is intimately connected to our gut. In fact, many modern diseases are now believed to be strongly influenced, if not caused, by a toxic mix of gut bacteria. The Standard American Diet (SAD) – high in unhealthy hydrogenated and trans fats as well as processed, refined, and overly sugared foods, while simultaneously being low in complex carbohydrates, plant-based foods, healthful fats, and other needful nutrients – doesn’t help matters much in this regard.

According to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, author of “Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS),” the bone broth diet is excellent for healing the gut. Indeed, it forms an integral part of her patented “GAPS Nutritional Protocol,” as described in her book.

Her healing protocol relies on the fact that bone broth or stock is easily digestible, helps to heal the gut lining, and contains many valuable nutrients and minerals which boost and balance the immune system.

For instance, “leaky gut syndrome” is a health condition in which partially digested food, toxins, viruses, yeast, and bacteria gain access to the bloodstream from the intestine, which is otherwise a barrier that prevents their access.

Leaky gut is believed to be the root cause of many allergies and autoimmune disorders – and may even lead to neurological disorders such as autism, ADHD, and learning disabilities. By sealing the gut and optimizing the immune system, the bone broth diet can help to heal leaky gut syndrome and lower our risk of getting these disorders.

Is Bone Broth Beneficial for Autism?

Can Bone Broth Treat AutismDr. Campbell is convinced that bone broth can be used to successfully treat autism. According to her, autistic children are born with perfectly normal brains and sensory organs. However, what they lack from their birth is normal gut bacteria.

Up to 90 percent of all cells and genetic material in our bodies is represented by our gut bacteria – and we choose to ignore them at our own peril.

Dr. Campbell has discovered that the digestive systems of autistic children have unusually high levels of harmful or “pathogenic” gut bacteria, which damage the integrity of their gut walls. As a result, toxins and bacteria get into their blood when they are not supposed to and eventually also enter their brains.

These toxins in the brains of autistic children interfere with their ability to process the flood of sensory information they are exposed to on a daily basis during their development. As a result, they don’t learn how to understand language, how to use it, or how to develop the natural instinctive behaviors and coping behaviors that normal children do.

Instead, they develop symptoms that we call autism.

Dr. Campbell believes that bottle feeding (instead of breastfeeding) is a contributing factor because it doesn’t protect children against abnormal gut bacteria. Indeed, her research shows that a large percentage of the mothers of autistic children were bottle-fed.

Additionally, they also received multiple courses of antibiotics throughout their childhood, worsening the state of their already abnormal gut bacteria. In other words, bottle-feeding along with overuse of antibiotics means that each passing generation of women have developed increasingly abnormal gut bacteria, raising the risk of autism in their children.

Add to this the modern SAD diet of processed, refined, overly sugared, and junk food, and what we have on our hands is a disaster in terms of intestinal health. This type of diet almost exclusively feeds pathogenic gut bacteria, allowing them to proliferate – and in some instances even dominate.

So how does all this relate to bone broth?

Dr. Campbell’s therapy for autistic children includes easily digestible foods that are dense in nutrition – which includes bone broth as well as fermented foods. According to her, it takes two years to get rid of pathogenic bacteria, re-establish normal beneficial bacteria, heal the damaged gut lining, and restore the gut to being a source of nourishment instead of a source of toxicity. Additionally, this bone broth-based diet also clears out many toxins from the body on its own.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Using her own GAPS nutritional healing approach, Dr. Campbell has successfully treated her own son who is now autism-free. She currently heads a clinic in Cambridge, England, where she continues to treat children and adults with autism, learning disabilities, neurological disorders, psychiatric disorders, immune disorders, and digestive problems.

Bone Broth Reduces Joint Pain and Inflammation in Osteoarthritis

Bone Broth Reduces Joint Pain and Inflammation in OsteoarthritisOsteoarthritis is the most common type of degenerative joint disease in the U.S. It is typically experienced as a progressive loss of cartilage, along with joint pain and inflammation of the connective tissue that makes up the inner surface of joints, especially the knees and hands.

As a result, the bones at the affected joints begin rubbing directly against each other, bone spurs develop and soon result in pain and inflammation. Bone broth is full of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, which have been shown to help support cartilage health.

In fact, one study showed that taking glucosamine and chondroitin is as effective as taking the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) Celebrex for treating osteoarthritis. Another study found that glucosamine chondroitin from cartilage is more effective for reducing osteoarthritis pain than taking it in a pill form.

Bone broth also contains hyaluronic acid, which is given orally as a supplement for osteoarthritis patients and also injected into knee joints to reduce pain and increase function and mobility. While these treatments are effective, they are also expensive.

It’s a lot easier – and cheaper – to make bone broth at home and avail yourself of all the powerful joint-healing benefits of these nutrients. In fact, bone broth is chockfull of a form of collagen that also contains the amino acids proline and glycine – and both of these have been shown to help rebuild tissues.

The protective action of all of these nutrients in the bone broth diet is believed to happen in two ways. First, as basic components of cartilage and synovial fluid, they help the joint to repair itself. Second, their anti-inflammatory actions are believed to prevent many inflammation-induced breakdown processes in joints.

Together, these two mechanisms slow the destruction of cartilage in joints and may even help to regenerate joint structure, resulting in less pain and greater mobility of the affected joints.

In summary, all available evidence indicates that bone broth’s many healthful ingredients can be used to reduce the symptoms of cold and flu; support a healthy gut, and support healthy joints that are free from pain and inflammation.

For ideas and tips on making and using healing bone broth, download this complimentary bone broth e-book from Epigenetic Labs.

For the easy way to get all the nutritional benefits of bone broth, check out our Bone Broth Protein Powder here

bone-broth-health-benefits

 

 

 

 

Sources:

  1. How bone broth became Kobe Bryant’s secret Stone Age weapon.
  2. Bone Broth, Broths and Stocks.
  3. Is Bone Broth the New Super Food?
  4. Chicken soup for colds and flu: Does it really help?
  5. GAPS Nutritional Program: How a Physician Cured Her Son’s Autism…
  6. Effects of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate on Cartilage Metabolism in OA: Outlook on Other Nutrient Partners Especially Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
  7. Combat Joint Pain and Arthritis with Bone Broth.
Posted

The Best Prebiotic Foods and Why You Need Them

Prebiotic foods

Ensuring your gut bacteria (your microbiota) are in balance is of the utmost importance to your overall health and wellbeing. This microbial system, teeming with trillions of organisms, comprises what is known as your microbiome. Scientists are finding increasing evidence that your gut and microbiome, though previously overlooked, actually participate in or even control several systems in your body. In fact, the microbiome has shown to have so much bodily influence that it’s being called “the second brain.”1

Researchers have documented how this second brain influences immunity, the production and upregulating of serotonin and dopamine (as well as many other hormones and chemicals),2 hypertension, mood, depression, weight regulation, inflammation, and more.3

On the other hand, a compromised microbiome (a condition known as dysbiosis) can lead to disease, allergies, obesity, autoimmune issues, and worse. 4

You may be aware that probiotics (healthy/good bacteria) are essential for your gut (microbiome) health. Supplementing with a quality probiotic product, and/or incorporating fermented and other probiotic foods, is a basic measure to kickstart, improve, or maintain a healthy microbiome.4

However, there is another piece of the healthy microbiome puzzle that many people miss out on… prebiotics.

What Are Prebiotics?

Though the exact definition of prebiotics is under review,5 the generally accepted definition of prebiotics is best put by the Mayo Clinic:

“Prebiotics are nondigestible substances that act as food for the gut microbiota. Essentially, prebiotics stimulate growth or activity of certain healthy bacteria that live in your body.”6

Family making salad with fiberous prebiotic veggiesIt certainly seems logical that if you want a healthy set of microbiota (gut flora), you would “feed” them and encourage them to thrive. Yet, few are familiar with the concept.

A study published in 2015 shared results of a survey of 200 adult inpatients at an urban hospital. Only 11% of respondents knew the term “prebiotic,” and only 7% picked the right definition out of the four other choices.7

Of more concern is that in a survey of 245 health care providers (100 of which were doctors), only 22% were familiar with the term. Also worrying, there was distinct confusion among this group about the differences between probiotics and prebiotics.8

Despite this appearance of common ignorance, prebiotics, as they relate to our microbiome and overall health, are getting increasing attention from the scientific community. This is largely due to the extreme importance of a healthy gut, as mentioned above.

In fact, there is some evidence that “just” adding prebiotics to your diet can have profound effects on your microbiota. In what appears to be a somewhat informal study devised by Gemma Walton PhD, School of Food Biosciences at the University of Reading in the UK, the BBC Science and Nature page reported the following in 2014:

“We took 8 hard-working cowboys, and divided them into two groups. Half of them were put on a diet of probiotics − cultures containing good bacteria found in foods such as yoghurt. The other half we put on a prebiotic diet − substances found in certain vegetables such as leeks and bananas, which make the pre-existing good bacteria in the gut healthier.

Then we got down to the dirty work. Their poo was examined daily to measure the change in bacteria. If the good bacteria are fed well they should multiply in number and make the ranchers healthier.

The cowboys’ poo showed that the prebiotic group managed to increase their good bacteria numbers by 133 million, small in bacteria terms, but an encouraging effect. The probiotic group saw little change over the week, but over a longer period there’s evidence that they can make a difference.

It seems from our investigation the best thing you can do for your bacterial health is treat your good bacteria to a prebiotic meal.”9

The conclusions drawn from this somewhat casual study is gaining evidence in formal research as well.10 More so, science is demonstrating that the combined one-two punch of using both prebiotics and probiotics has significant potential for improvement in various conditions, and contributing to long-term health.11

So what are these “nondigestible substances” that can have such a meaningful impact on our health and microbiome?

A Closer Look at Prebiotics

Generally speaking, prebiotics are fibre. They are insoluble fiber that cannot be completely digested, and can survive the small intestine, arriving at the large intestine to feed your microbiota. Such fibers include: inulin, fructo-oligosaccharides (fructans, FOS) and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS).12Strawberries are a prebiotic food

Eating fiber has long been considered to better your health, across the board.13,14  Many of us end up with a compromised microbiome by way of antibiotics, stress, high sugar and low quality high fat diets, and eating few probiotic foods.

Not eating enough fiber to nourish the microbiome − the typical Western diet − is another way we can inadvertently create imbalance in our microbiota.15 Good bacteria can die off, and other bacteria, as well as viruses and fungi, can gain the upper hand.16 But it doesn’t end there.

According to Monash University of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences in Australia, the benefits of a diet abundant in prebiotic fiber also include: elevated satiety (feeling full), weight management, reduced symptoms and incidence of IBS, improving overall immune function, protection from gut infections, and an increase in the uptake of minerals like calcium and magnesium.12

Other Prebiotic Sources

While most prebiotic food sources are fibre, not all are. The scientific requirement to be classified as a prebiotic food is a food that:14

  • Resists gastric acidity, hydrolysis by mammalian enzymes, and absorption in the upper gastrointestinal tract;
  • Is fermented by the intestinal microflora;
  • Selectively stimulates the growth and/or activity of intestinal bacteria.

Recently, some starches have also gained attention as prebiotics. These are termed “resistant starches.”17,10

Resistant starches also make it through your digestive system through to your large intestine, and due to their “resistance” to being digested, serve as a buffet line for your gut flora. (NB: Those with leaky gut and other conditions with compromised gut linings need to be cautious when introducing resistant starches to the diet.28)

So with all this in mind, what exactly are the best prebiotic foods?

The Best Prebiotic Foods

The best prebiotic foods, encompassing the known types are:6,12,14,16,18,19,20

best-prebiotic-foods-list

NB: A note on rice, potatoes and pasta: the prebiotic “resistant” qualities intensify if you cook, then cool these foods.21 Thus pasta or potato salad, and a cold rice pudding or salad would have stronger prebiotic qualities than fresh-cooked.

As with any food, finding the best quality form of all the above is vital. Choose organic wherever possible, and at minimum, food that has not been irradiated.22,23

The One-Two Punch of Prebiotics & Probiotics

Of course the purpose of eating all these healthful and delicious foods is to promote the vitality of the probiotics already in your body. It’s making the most of what you have.

It stands to reason, and is being confirmed by researchers, that the combination of eating prebiotic foods and probiotic foods is the ideal. Eating probiotic and fermented foods and substances that are rich in enzymes, anaerobes, lactic acid, probiotic strains and more, is a foundation, and relatively easy to accomplish. However, in this day and age we can’t count on food alone to get all the strains of microbes we need to have the most diverse and healthy microbiome.

Supplementing with a quality probiotic that is plant-based (not over-sensitive to heat and other conditions that can cause die off between manufacture and home), with strains such as Bacillus coagulans and Lactobacillus plantarum24-27 that can survive the stomach and upper gastric tracts, as well as consuming probiotic-encouraging prebiotics is the one-two punch your microbiome, health, and wellbeing needs to be at optimal function.

One of the best ways to support good gut health is with a quality probiotic supplement. EpiBiotics from Epigenetic Labs contains three amazing components that will improve your digestion, support your immune system, and help restore healthy bacteria in your gut.

 

Sources:

  1. The Gut-Brain Axis: Interactions Between Enteric Microbiota, Central and Enteric Nervous Systems
  2. Can the Bacteria in Your Gut Explain Your Mood?
  3. What is the gut microbiota? What is the human microbiome?
  4. ‘Gut health’: A New Objective in Medicine?
  5. Prebiotics: Why Definitions Matter
  6. Mayo Clinic Health Letter – Page 8
  7. Knowledge, Use and Perceptions of Probiotics and Prebiotics in Hospitalised Patients
  8. Health Care Provider’s Knowledge, Perceptions, and Use of Probiotics and Prebiotics.
  9. Prebiotics Vs Probiotics
  10. Recent Developments in Drebiotics to Delectively Impact Beneficial Microbes and Promote Intestinal Health
  11. Microbiota Manipulation With Prebiotics and Probiotics in Patients Undergoing Stem Cell Transplantation
  12. Dietary Fibre and Natural Prebiotics for Gut Health: FAQs
  13. Fiber and Prebiotics: Mechanisms and Health Benefits
  14. Ibid
  15. Dietary Fiber and Prebiotics and the Gastrointestinal Microbiota
  16. Benefits of a Fiber-Rich Diet
  17. Resistant Starch, Large Bowel Fermentation and a Broader Perspective of Prebiotics and Probiotics
  18. Potential Prebiotic Properties of Cashew Apple (Anacardium Occidentale L.) Agro-Industrial Byproduct on Lactobacillus Species
  19. The 19 Best Prebiotic Foods You Should Eat
  20. Prebiotics: How to Feed Your Good Bacteria
  21. Resistant Starch—A Review of the Physical Properties and Biological Impact of RS3
  22. What’s Wrong with Food Irradiation
  23. FAQs: The Foods Irradiated in Canada and the Safety Issues
  24. Bacillus Coagulans
  25. Genomic Analysis of Thermophilic Bacillus Coagulans Strains: Efficient Producers for Platform Bio-Chemicals
  26. Effect of Probiotic Bacillus Coagulans and Lactobacillus Plantarum on Alleviation of Mercury Toxicity in Rat
  27. L. Plantarum Prevents Enteroinvasive Escherichia Coli-Induced Tight Junction Proteins Changes in Intestinal Epithelial Cells
  28. Resistant Starch: Healthy or Not?
Posted

DIY Essential Oil Body Wash (Recipe)

Body wash

Personal care products… those products we use everyday to keep ourselves smelling fresh and clean. Unfortunately, many of the well-known brands lining store shelves have a hidden secret… they’re full of toxic, health-harming chemicals!

In a talk delivered at the Harvard School of Public Health in 2014, audience members learned that “In the United States, the average person is exposed to more than a hundred chemicals from cosmetics, soaps, and other personal care products before leaving the house in the morning.”1

Read Labels and Don’t Use Soap/Body Wash With These Ingredients

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is a watchdog coalition of groups dedicated to eliminating harmful chemicals in personal care products. On their website they share information with consumers on the health-harming chemicals found in personal care products. Here’s a quick list of common soap and body wash ingredients they say you should actively avoid…2

  1. 1,4-dioxane is a contaminant linked to cancer found in products that create suds, such as shampoo and liquid soap. On the label look for: Sodium laureth sulfate, PEG compounds, chemicals that include the clauses xynol, ceteareth, and oleth.
  2. Coal tar is a known carcinogen found in shampoos, soaps, hair dyes, and lotions. On the label look for: Coal tar solution, tar, coal, carbo-cort, coal tar solution, coal tar solution USP, crude coal tar, estar, impervotar, KC 261, lavatar, picis carbonis, naphtha, high solvent naphtha, naphtha distillate, benzin B70, and petroleum benzin.
  3. Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives are often found in shampoos and liquid baby soaps. On the label look for: Formaldehyde, quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, polyoxymethylene urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (bromopol), and glyoxal.
  4. Fragrance – Many products list “fragrance” on the label, but very few name the specific ingredients which prevents consumers from knowing the full list of ingredients in their products. On the label look for: Fragrance, perfume, parfum, aroma.
  5. Methylisothiazolinone (MIT) and Methylchloroisothiazolinone (CMIT) are common preservatives are found in many liquid personal care products, and have been linked to lung toxicity, allergic reactions, and possible neurotoxicity. On the label look for: Methylisothiazolinone (MIT): 2-methyl-4-isothiazoline-3-one, Neolone 950 preservative, MI, OriStar MIT and Microcare MT. Methylchloroisothiazolinone (CMIT): 5-Chloro-2-methyl-4-isothiazolin-3-one, and MCI.
  6. Nitrosamines are impurities that can show up in a wide array of cosmetics ingredients. Nitrosamines are usually not listed on product labels because they are impurities, but on the label look for: DEA and TEA.
  7. Phenoxyethanol is a preservative in cosmetic products and a stabilizer in perfumes and soaps. Reaction to exposure to phenoxyethanol can range from eczema to severe, life-threatening allergic reactions. On the label look for: Phenoxyethanol, 2-Phenoxyethanol, Euxyl K® 400 (mixture of Phenoxyethanol and 1,2-dibromo-2,4-dicyanobutane), and PhE.
  8. Parabens are preservatives used in a range of products including shampoos, conditioners, lotions, facial and shower cleansers and scrubs. On the label look for: Ethylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, and other ingredients ending in –paraben.
  9. Pthalates are chemicals linked to endocrine disruption, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and cancer. While banned in cosmetics in the European Union, they still remain prevalent in U.S. products. On the label look for: phthalate, DEP, DBP, DEHP, and fragrance.
  10. Talc (which is found in some body and shower products) may contain the known carcinogen asbestos. Talc should be avoided in powders and other personal care products unless it is known to be asbestos-free. Even asbestos-free talc should be avoided in the pelvic areas. On the label look for: Talcum powder and cosmetic talc.
  11. Triclosan is an antimicrobial agent found in a wide variety of antibacterial soaps and other products that is linked to endocrine disruption, triclosan-resistant bacteria, and environmental toxicity. On the label look for: Triclosan (TSC) and triclocarban (TCC).

Healthier Alternative: Make Your Own Essential Oil Body Wash

If you love the feeling of lathering up with a sweet smelling body wash, here’s an easy recipe you can make at home. This body wash uses castile soap as a base, which is one of the safest commercially-available soap options. A good choice is Dr. Bronner’s unscented liquid castile baby soap which you can then scent with your favorite quality essential oils.

 

Essential Oil Body Wash Recipe
Essential Oil Body Wash Recipe
Epigenetic Labs
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Recipe used with permission from "Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine For The Modern World" by Jordan Rubin, Dr. Josh Axe, and Ty Bollinger



  1. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients and mix until smooth.
  2. Store in an 8-ounce glass or BPA-free plastic bottle.

*Test sensitivity to the essential oils on a small patch of skin before using all over body

Epigenetic Labs organic essential oils are made with indigenously sourced plants retrieved from the world’s best sources. Visit https://Epigeneticlabs.com for more essential oil recipes and helpful articles.

Prep Time: 2 minutes ; Yield: 30 Uses

Bodywash-Essential-Oil-Recipe

 

Sources:

    1. Harmful, untested chemicals rife in personal care products
    2. Chemicals of Concern

 

Posted

The Effect of Gut Bacteria on Mood

Gut bacteria

You may have heard lots of talk recently about the importance of having a “healthy gut.” This is an emerging area of research and scientists are continuing to discover precise reasons why the gut (aka gastrointestinal system or GI tract) is one of the most important biological systems in the human body.

[Note: Terminology can vary when talking about gut health. For instance, intestinal flora (or gut bacteria) is often referred to as “microbiota,” and the biological system comprising these trillions of organisms is called your “microbiome.” In other words, you have trillions of microbiota in your microbiome, which reside in your GI tract, or gut. Another common term used to describe the beneficial / good gut bacteria is “Probiotics.”]

Here are just a few of the important discoveries researchers have made about the gut:

  • The majority of nutrient and water absorption takes place in the gut.
  • Around 20 hormone processes are connected to or have processes in the gut.
  • The GI tract contains more than 1 billion nerve endings and has more surface area than that of your external skin. These neurotransmitters, known as the enteric nervous system (ENS) are so involved in your body’s processes, scientists have nicknamed the gut the “second brain.”water and nutrient absorption takes place in the gut
  • There are over 100 million neurons in the ENS; more than the spinal cord, or the peripheral (outside of the brain or spinal cord) nervous system.
  • The brain doesn’t need to operate the GI system. The second brain can act independently. In some cases the ENS sends signals to the brain, not the other way round.1
  • The “gut-brain axis” describes the influence the gut, microbiome, and ENS have on the brain, including both emotional and cognitive functions.2
  • The gut contains 70% to 80% of your body’s immune cells.
  • The GI microbiome prevents colonisation by potentially pathogenic (“bad”) microorganisms, provides energy for the gut wall from undigested food, and it regulates the mucosal immune system.3
  • GI microbiota contribute to energy homeostasis (stability), prevent mucosal infections and, importantly, contributes to the maintenance of an intact GI barrier, which seems to be closely related to infectious, inflammatory and allergic diseases.4
  • Any disruption to the harmony of the GI microbiome affects the function of the host’s (your body’s) defense systems.

Can Your Gut Health Impact Your Mood?

Probably the most surprising effect the Gut-Brain Axis and microbiome have on your body is that to do with mood.5

Science has long-recognized much of our supply of neurochemicals originate in the intestines. Most of your serotonin is made there,as well as approximately 50% of dopamine.

However, it’s only recently serious consideration has been given to the role our microbiota (the bacteria in the gut) play in creating those chemicals.7,8

A 2015 story in The New York Times shares interviews and quotes with several scientists on the cutting edge of this area of research, including one of the first to propose the neurochemical aspects of the gut-brain axis − Mark Lyte, a microbiologist at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.9

Lyte and other researchers have found that among the many chemicals secreted by our microbiota, some are identical to the substances “used by our neurons to communicate and regulate mood, like dopamine, serotonin, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). These, in turn, appear to play a function in intestinal disorders, which coincide with high levels of major depression and anxiety.”10

research into the connection between gut bacteria and moodFor example, in 2014 a group of Norwegians studied the feces of 55 people noting depressive patients had certain bacteria in common. It’s due to this type of research that it’s becoming more commonly accepted that anxiety, depression, and several pediatric disorders, including autism and hyperactivity, are linked to gastrointestinal abnormalities.11

It was once thought that stress caused the immune system to be weakened, which in turn affected how bacteria in our microbiome behaved. Now, somewhat revolutionarily, research indicates that certain bacteria actually cause stress, which then impairs the immune system. The truly exciting aspect of all this science is work that Lyte and his peers are doing in the realm of reversing disorders.

Thus, using the secretions of certain bacteria to relieve anxiety and elevate mood, by putting the microbiome back into harmony—proposing probiotics (beneficial, life-giving organisms) can be tailored to treat psychological disorders. These are somewhat flippantly being referred to as “psychobiotics.”12

One exciting study carried out in Sweden found that mice raised without microbes were far more active outside. Not only that, the microbe-free mice were observed to have less anxiety and be more daring overall.

Serotonin is a known factor in mood, anxiety and depression, to name a few of its functions.13,14 The connection to the manufacturing and body’s use of this essential chemical (some consider it a hormone) is gaining increasing attention. Or, as a 2015 publication in Behavioral Brain Research stated, “The brain-gut axis is a bidirectional communication system between the central nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract. Serotonin functions as a key neurotransmitter at both terminals of this network. Accumulating evidence points to a critical role for the gut microbiome in regulating normal functioning of this axis…There is also substantial overlap between behaviors influenced by the gut microbiota and those which rely on intact serotonergic neurotransmission.”15

More research is being done to identify the precise processes occurring, but it’s certainly becoming crystal clear… the health of your microbiome is essential for even your mental and emotional wellbeing.16

One of the best ways to support your gut is with a quality probiotic supplement. EpiBiotics from Epigenetic Labs contains three amazing components that will improve your digestion, support your immune system, and help restore healthy bacteria in your gut.

gut-bacteria-mood-connection

 

Sources:

  1. Gut health’: a new objective in medicine?
  2. Ibid
  3. Lymphoid tissue genesis induced by commensals through NOD1 regulates intestinal homeostasis.
  4. Allergy and the gastrointestinal system
  5. Serotonin, tryptophan metabolism and the brain-gut-microbiome axis.
  6. Serotonin: Facts, What Does Serotonin Do?
  7. Gut bacteria help regulate serotonin levels
  8. Serotonin, tryptophan metabolism and the brain-gut-microbiome axis.
  9. Can the Bacteria in Your Gut Explain Your Mood?
  10. Ibid
  11. Correlation between the human fecal microbiota and depression.
  12. Can the Bacteria in Your Gut Explain Your Mood?
  13. Serotonin: Facts, What Does Serotonin Do?
  14. Pharmacology of serotonin: what a clinician should know
  15. Serotonin, tryptophan metabolism and the brain-gut-microbiome axis.
  16. The microbiome-gut-brain axis during early life regulates the hippocampal serotonergic system in a sex-dependent manner.
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Lion’s Mane Mushroom: Brain Protector?

Lions mane mushroom

Mushrooms have been revered for centuries within many traditional societies as nutritional powerhouses as well as for their potent medicinal properties. Hericium erinaceus, also known as lion’s mane mushroom or hedgehog mushroom, is an edible (some might even say delicious) fungus with a long history of usage in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Indeed, east Asian legends state that consuming lion’s mane can confer “nerves of steel and the memory of a lion.”

Globular-shaped, with cascading teeth-like spines from which white spores emerge, lion’s mane mushrooms are also known as sheep’s head and bear’s head in various cultures, while the Japanese know it as yamabushitake.

This nutritious mushroom is 20 percent protein and is considered by food aficionados to be a gourmet dish when prepared properly, with a chewy texture and taste similar to popular seafoods such as lobster and shrimp.

Lion’s mane has recently been the topic of many medical studies and has been reported in scientific literature to heal brain cells and stimulate their growth. For instance, in a 2014 laboratory study, an extract of this mushroom when consumed triggered nerve healing after nerve crush injuries in rats.

Furthermore, lion’s mane mushrooms are chockfull of potent bioactive compounds which have been credited with anti-inflammatory, lipid-lowering, and anticancer activities. Modern research shows that these mushrooms boost the activity of the immune system against certain types of cancers. Finally, H. erinaceus has also been reported to have antibacterial, antihypertensive, antidiabetic, and wound healing properties.

Lion’s Mane Mushroom & Research into Maintaining Brain Capacity

Lion’s mane mushrooms are increasingly being studied by the medical community for their powerful brain protective effects.

Two novel bioactive compounds – known as hericenones and erinacines – in these mushrooms have been shown to activate a peptide found naturally in our bodies, known scientifically as “nerve growth factor” or NGF. NGF is critically important and necessary for the growth, maintenance, and survival of our brain cells, known as neurons.

These naturally occurring lion’s mane compounds also stimulate a process known as re-myelination. This proces helps to keep brain cells healthy, prevents them from being damaged, and increases their ability to conduct electrical signals efficiently.

Lion’s Mane Mushroom – Maintaining Brain Capacity

This ability of lion’s mane to protect, heal, and regenerate brain cells may one day make it very useful for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, muscular dystrophy, senility, Parkinson’s disease, and other debilitating neurological conditions.

Since 1991, many studies have been published on the brain regenerative properties of lion’s mane mushrooms. For instance, a small clinical study published in 2009 showed that when lion’s mane was given to 50- to 80-year-old Japanese men and women diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), their brain capacity improved significantly – but only as long as they kept consuming the mushrooms.

In this study, 15 men and women took four tablets containing 96 percent Yamabushitake (the Japanese name for lion’s mane) three times daily for 16 weeks. These subjects were then observed for a further four weeks after the therapy period ended.

The study researchers noticed that the Yamabushitake group had significantly higher scores on their cognitive function. In other words, their ability to use their brains to learn and remember were better when compared with the control group. The longer they consumed the lion’s mane mushrooms, the better their scores were.

However, 4 weeks after the study ended and their consumption of mushrooms had stopped, the scores of the Yamabushitake group went down significantly. No adverse effects of Yamabushitake were reported throughout the study or afterwards.

This study shows that lion’s mane could potentially be used to reverse some of the symptoms of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in elderly people. MCI can involve problems with memory, language, thinking, and judgment and is considered to be an intermediate stage between normal mental decline seen with aging and the more serious brain function deficits seen in dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease.

What Research Shows About Lion’s Mane Mushroom & Alzheimer’s Disease

Lion’s Mane Mushroom – Protection Against Alzheimer’s DiseaseLaboratory models of Alzheimer’s disease include mice in which toxic peptides are used to induce the kind of learning and memory deficits that are typically seen in people with this dreaded age-related condition.

These toxic peptides also induce the formation of messy clumps of proteins known as beta-amyloid plaques which form in the fatty membranes that surround brain cells and interfere with brain function. Beta-amyloid plaques are thought to play a major role in the development of brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

In one particular laboratory study, mice injected with these toxic peptides were taught to use a maze. As beta-amyloid plaques developed in their brains, the mice lost their ability to memorize the maze.

Some of these mice were taken aside and fed a diet containing lion’s mane mushroom for 23 days, after which their memory and learning abilities were examined using the maze test. Mice given lion’s mane mushrooms showed a significant reduction in their beta-amyloid plaques along with a simultaneous noticeable improvement in their performance in the maze, compared to mice that did not get lion’s mane.

Interestingly, along with regaining their former brain functions, these mice also gained new skills – including something similar to curiosity, as indicated by more time spent exploring novel objects relative to familiar ones.

Specifically, this study showed that consumption of lion’s mane prevented the impairment of both short-term and visual recognition memory induced by toxic peptides in mice. Short-term memory is our ability to hold a small amount of information in our minds in an active, readily available state for a short period of time. Visual recognition memory has to do with our ability to recognize previously encountered events, objects, or people, to “remember” them.

Since both of these types of memories are lost in people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, this and other studies indicate that lion’s mane may one day be found helpful in slowing down or even preventing these types of memory deficits from happening at all.

Lion’s Mane Mushroom Research into Boosting Mood & Concentration

Lion’s mane mushrooms may also boost brain function in a different way… by making us feel good.Lion’s Mane Mushroom – Boosting Mood & Concentration

In a small clinical study, 15 post-menopausal women who consumed lion’s mane baked into cookies showed less anxiety and depression than women who didn’t eat the cookies. The lion’s mane cookie group also showed a clear improvement in their ability to concentrate.

In fact, Asian Buddhist monks have been reported to consume lion’s mane tea before meditation to enhance their powers of concentration.

 

Conclusion

Given that lion’s mane can protect, heal, and regenerate brain cells – can this mushroom potentially be used to treat human patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, as laboratory experiments indicate?

Could it help Parkinson’s patients or those with multiple sclerosis – and help maintain our mental agility, mood, and concentration as we age?

According to Paul Stamets, author and advocate of medicinal mushrooms, lion’s mane may be the first “smart” mushroom known to man. Safe and edible with clear benefits for our brain’s physiology and function, this powerful fungus will no doubt make the news for its powerful anti-aging and brain disease fighting properties in the near future.

Lion’s mane mushrooms are one of the are key ingredients of 7M+ available from Epigenetic Labs which provides you seven of nature’s most powerful mushrooms in all.

Lions-Mane-Mushroom

Sources:

  1. Hericium erinaceus: an edible mushroom with medicinal values.
  2. Lion’s Mane: A Mushroom That Improves Your Memory and Mood?
  3. The Unique and Versatile Lion’s Mane Mushroom.
  4. Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr.) Pers., a medicinal mushroom, activates peripheral nerve regeneration.
  5. Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial.
  6. Effects of Hericium erinaceus on amyloid β(25-35) peptide-induced learning and memory deficits in mice.
  7. Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake.
Posted

Rosemary Mint Essential Oil Shampoo (Recipe)

Shampooing hair with rosemary mint essential oil shampoo

Over the past few years savvy consumers have been wising up to the toxic dangers contained in personal care products sold in the typical grocery, drug, and department store.

These dangers include a range of harmful chemicals found in the body washes, shampoos, deodorants, hair dyes, cosmetics, and every variety of lotion and potion we’ve been applying to our bodies on a daily basis for years.

While it’s a challenge for the average consumer to know what’s safe to use and what isn’t, fortunately there are some groups you can turn to for help.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is a coalition of groups working to eliminate harmful chemicals in personal care products in the U.S. One of their founding members is the Environmental Working Group (EWG) which maintains an online safety database called “Skin Deep” that provides extensive information on the safest and least safe personal care products and brands.

You can visit http://www.ewg.org/skindeep to check the safety score of tens of thousands of personal care products. EWG even has a Skin Deep mobile app that you can download on your smartphone for instant access to this important information while you shop!

The Shampoo “Red” List (Don’t Use Shampoo With These Ingredients)

One of the personal products that most of use weekly, if not daily, is shampoo. As it turns out, many shampoos contain chemicals that are harmful to your health. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics includes the following 5 ingredients on their “Red” list for shampoos. These are the worst chemicals found in shampoo products that you need to avoid to protect your health.

  1. Ethanolamines (cocamide DEA and others)
  2. Parabens (e.g. butyl paraben)
  3. UV filters (Octinoxate, Oxybenzone)
  4. Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin)
  5. Sodium Laureth Sulfate and other -eth compounds, which can be contaminated with 1-4-dioxane and ethylene oxide

A Safer Alternative to Toxic Shampoos

The very best way to know what’s in your personal care products is to make your own. Here’s an easy essential oil shampoo recipe you can mix up at home in only a couple of minutes. It uses two essential oils that are known to benefit hair health. You can discover more about the best essential oils for hair here.

 

Rosemary Mint Essential Oil Shampoo
Rosemary Mint Essential Oil Shampoo
Epigenetic Labs
Rate this recipe
Average: 3.5/5
21 ratings

Recipe used with permission from "Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine For The Modern World" by Jordan Rubin, Dr. Josh Axe, and Ty Bollinger



  1. In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together.
  2. Store in an 8-ounce glass or BPA-free plastic bottle.

Epigenetic Labs organic essential oils are made with indigenously sourced plants retrieved from the world’s best sources. Visit https://Epigeneticlabs.com for more essential oil recipes and helpful articles.

Prep Time: 2 minutes ; Yield: 10-15 uses

 

Sources:

  1. Campaign for Safe Cosmetics: Red List for Shampoos
  2. EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database
Posted

5 of the Best Essential Oils for Hair

essential-oil-hair-el

Chances are that at some point in your life you may have experienced one or more of the hair problems that most commonly affect people… dry hair, greasy hair, dandruff, flakiness, or hair loss.

As a society, we spend a lot on hair products. In fact, according to Statistica, just under 40 million Americans spent between $50 and $99 on hair products in a quarter, and over 15 million Americans spent $100-199 in the same time period.

With all the types of hair out there, and the fact that lifestyle, nutrition, medication, and age can make us dance between them, it’s no wonder we spend so much on our hair and treating hair problems.

Here are the definitions of the most common hair types:

  • Normal Hair: usually has sheen/shine, is untreated by dyes or perms, and is neither greasy nor dry
  • Dry Hair: splits at the ends and tangles easily, looks dull and may be brittle
  • Greasy Hair: often visibly oily, heavy-feeling hair because of glands producing too much oil

Then there’s dandruff, or other issues with the scalp flaking or being scaly, such as psoriasis. Plus you can damage hair by overuse of heating tools such as a hairdryer, straightener, or curler, and from repeated coloring or perming.

This demand for products naturally creates a booming market of options. However, most of the hair care products out there (especially in the lower priced categories) are anything but “natural.”

The Hair-Damaging Chemicals in Your Shower

Many, if not most of the shampoos and hair products most com5 Best Essential Oils For Hairmonly available include synthetic ingredients that can contribute to our hair challenges.

There’s propylene glycol which can cause dry skin and irritation. Sodium lauryl sulfate or laureth sulfate is suspected of corroding hair follicles. Oleyl betaine may contribute to dry scalp and hair. Then there are the many mineral oils, which clog pores because the molecules are too big for your skin to absorb.

Fortunately there are shampoos and products out there that are less harmful. They can be steeply priced though.

A more economical, but still natural way to address hair problems (including treating hair loss, dry hair, greasy hair, or dandruff) is by using essential oils.

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are nature’s plant powerhouses. They are made by distilling the concentrated oils from herbs, flowers, and plants. These oils contain several natural plant chemicals (phytochemicals) that have healing properties.

Unfortunately, too many people still only associate essential oils with aromatherapy, or using their scent to change the ambience of a physical space.

However, plants have been used for thousands of years in ancient cultures. Chinese, Ancient Egyptian, and Ayurvedic traditional healing practices all use them in various ways for treating a wide range of illnesses and maladies, including for hair and scalp problems.

These days, science is giving more attention to how essential oils can be successfully used to promote hair growth, strengthen hair, improve the condition of hair, soothe an irritated scalp, and help with dandruff.

How Can Essential Oils Be Used to Promote Healthier Hair?

Putting oil on your hair may seem counterintuitive. After all, we produce our own oils, and most of us know the feeling of oily hair. The fact is, though, that many factors can strip hair of its natural oils, leaving us with frizz, or a scalp that is itchy and flaky—things like wind, dust, and washing our hair too frequently. The correct application of oils can assist with this, leaving hair more vibrant and healthy.

Likewise, conditions in our environment or body can cause our glands to produce too much oil. Essential oils can help with greasy hair too.

In the case of alopecia, or hair loss, essential oils have been used to increase the circulation on the scalp, as well as stimulate hair follicles, which promotes hair growth.

The Best Essential Oils for Hair

There are many essential oils for hair support. We are going to highlight the essential oils for hair with the most science to back them, and the best reputations with experts.

Please make sure you read the list of precautions at the end of this article. Also note you should only ever use the most pure essential oils − no extra fillers or ingredients − from a producer that you trust to use organic plants, and who makes quality their primary purpose.

#1 – Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree OilThis strong-smelling oil originates from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia tree in Australia. Chances are you’ve heard of this powerful, healing oil. It’s well-known for its ability to help heal skin conditions, and as an effective antiseptic, antibacterial, and antifungal.

For hair, tea tree oil is most useful for flakiness. Tea tree oil has been found successful in treating seborrheic dermatitis, as well as being an effective and well tolerated treatment for dandruff.

Tea tree essential oil has also been found to help psoriasis, as reported by two researchers from the Department of Dermatology, Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences in Ahvaz, Iran, in a 2012 article published in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology. This is likely due to tea tree oil’s “potent anti-inflammatory properties.”

While the fact that tea tree oil helps resolve scalp problems may not be news, that it has been seen to help promote hair growth, might be.

In 2013 a clinical study looked at the effects of using minoxidil (Rogaine) alone, compared to using it in an emulsion that included tea tree oil. The results were remarkable − the addition of tea tree oil demonstrated “a significantly superior response,” with a higher increase in hair count, weight, and thickness.

This pungent oil is said to help unclog the hair follicles. Certainly its antimicrobial properties assist with ridding a scalp from unwanted fungal infections, or acne connected to bacteria.

Suggested Uses: For dandruff, add a few drops to your shampoo and massage in well. For regrowth, use a good carrier oil like coconut or almond oil. Add a few drops to the oil and mix. Massage in thoroughly, making sure to wash out (avoid your eyes) after about 20 minutes.

#2 – Peppermint Oil

Ah, invigorating peppermint! This essential oil has far too many healing properties to list them all here. You want to know what it does for your hair? A lot!Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is good for both greasy and dry hair. The cooling effect will provide a tingle to the scalp, as the blood flow increases to the areas applied. It’s said to open up pores, and promote a balanced flow of oils too. Both these aspects can help with dandruff.

This essential oil is also good for getting rid of lice. [See precautions for children, below.] A 2007 paper published in the Archives of Dermatological Research reported that when combined with eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil was as effective as the commercial lice shampoo treatment available.

Similar to tea tree oil, peppermint oil has been seen to help promote hair regrowth. A study in 2014 reported “significant increase in dermal thickness, follicle number, and follicle depth,” more so than even Rogaine (minoxidil). The study reported that peppermint essential oil demonstrated hair growth of 92% after 4 weeks, compared to 55% for minoxidil.

Suggested Uses: After checking for allergic reactions [see precautions below], add 2-3 drops of peppermint oil to a carrier oil such as jojoba, coconut, or almond. Massage deeply into the scalp. Leave for 30 minutes, then wash out. Repeat daily for at least 4 weeks.

Alternatively, you can add a couple drops to your shampoo and conditioner for a cooling effect.

Note: Always avoid the eyes! Peppermint oil in the eyes stings.

#3 – Lemon Oil

Like most essential oils, lemon oil has a variety of medicinal properties. Lemon oil for hair is best used on oily hair. It will clarify and help dry up some of the extra greasiness. The antimicrobial properties will assist with any latent fungus, while acne and dandruff will find relief from its antiseptic benefits.

Though lemon oil is used for oily hair, it can also be useful for a flaky scalp, especially as a preventative. There is also evidence of lemon oil being effective against lice, and that lemon oil promotes hair regrowth.

Suggested Uses: Add a few drops to your shampoo. For moisturizing, try a weekly oil treatment. Apply a few drops of lemon oil along with a carrier oil as a conditioning treatment you leave in for approximately 30 minutes. Wash out with a gentle shampoo.

Also, for dandruff, you can add 5-6 drops to a couple tablespoons of carrier oil. Massage into your scalp and leave for up to 2 hours then rinse hair well.

#4 – Lavender Oil

lavender essential oilThe first thing you need to know about lavender oil is: they are not all created equally. “True lavender,” that being with the most studied and proven healing abilities, comes from a top quality extract from the Lavendula angustifolia plant.

This essential oil is well-known for its many medicinal properties, including pain and anxiety relief, as an antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, and is even antitumoral.

Lavender essential oil for hair supports all hair types: normal, oily, dry, and flaky.

This natural healing oil is said to promote hair growth, prevent loss, as well as improve scalp circulation and dryness. It also is known to help balance the oils, and relieve itching. The antiseptic and antifungal properties of lavender oil make it ideal for dandruff and scalp acne.

WebMD states that Lavender oil “deep conditions the hair, keeps it shiny, and helps control dandruff.”

In 2016, researchers studying the effects of lavender oil on mice reported “a significantly increased number of hair follicles, deepened hair follicle depth, and thickened dermal layer.”

Earlier research, published in the UK in 1998, reported success with hair regrowth in cases of alopecia. The oils used included lavender and rosemary.

Suggested Use: [See warnings below] Work a blend of 8 drops of lavender and 2 tablespoons of coconut oil into your scalp. For a restful night’s sleep (and full benefit of its healing qualities), try covering your head with a scarf or bandana and leaving it in overnight. For hair regrowth, try mixing with lemon and peppermint for an extra powerful treatment to wash out after about 60 minutes.

#5 – Oil of Rosemary

If you cook, you may be familiar with the distinctive smell of rosemary. The oil, distilled from the leaves of the herb, is a wonderful healing oil. It is full of antioxidants, and is invigorating to the skin and as a head-clearing aroma.

Rosemary oil is good for all hair types. It’s said to unclog pores on the scalp, and balance the head’s oils. It’s thought to be a powerful remedy for dandruff that mixes well with other oils.

WebMD states, “Rosemary oil stimulates the roots, improves hair growth, and increases circulation in the scalp.”

As mentioned above, rosemary was one of the essential oils in a 1998 study that demonstrated clear benefits to patients suffering from alopecia. Regrowth was marked significant in 44% of patients using the oil treatments.

A more recent study published in 2015 looked at rosemary essential oil for alopecia on its own, and reported similar results. In fact, after 6 months of use, rosemary oil showed identical results to minoxidil (Rogaine). Similarly, in 2013, researchers noted rosemary oil stimulates hair bulbs, indicating it could be used for preventing premature baldness.

Suggested Use: [See precautions below] After washing your hair, rub 2-3 drops of rosemary oil on your palms and then run them through your hair while still damp. For a scalp massage, add 5-6 drops to a tablespoon of carrier oil and rub into the skin. Lightly heat 4 tablespoons of coconut or olive oil, adding about 12-15 drops of rosemary oil. Once cool, rub into your scalp, covering in a hot towel. Leave for 30 minutes, then wash out.

list of 5 best essential oils for hair

Precautions When Using Essential Oils For Hair

As with all medicines and treatments, caution is required. With essential oils, again, quality is the first concern. Consulting a professional can be extremely beneficial. At minimum, when self-treating, start slow. Test a patch of skin for direct oil applications. Use a carrier oil if your skin is sensitive.

For children, dilution and tiny amounts is critical, and it’s not advised to use essential oils on children under the age of two.

Pregnant or nursing women and the elderly should all exercise extreme caution when using essential oils and see the guidance of a qualified practitioner.

If irritation appears using direct treatment (no carrier oil), stop application and try a small area with a quality carrier oil. If irritation continues, discontinue use. If you cannot use carrier oils, try apple cider vinegar, or flower waters.

Special Notes About Peppermint Essential Oil and Rosemary Essential Oil

Peppermint Oil: It’s cooling, but very potent. One drop has the same menthol content of 20 cups of tea! Do not apply near the eyes, genitals, or inside the nose or ears.

Rosemary Oil: This oil can elevate blood pressure so be extra cautious or avoid it if you have high blood pressure. Test a small patch of skin before applying to the scalp.

The essential oils available from Epigenetic Labs are among the highest quality essential oils available to consumers. They are made with indigenously sourced plants retrieved from the world’s best sources.

 

Sources:

  1. The Complete Illustrated Guide to Aromatherapy: A Practical Approach to the Use of Essential Oils for Health & Well-being by Julia Lawless
  2. 9 Essential Oils for Hair Growth (Plus 3 Mixtures & Application Tips)
  3. U.S. population: How much money did you spend on haircare products in the last 3 months?
  4. Medicated shampoos for the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis
  5. Treatment of dandruff with 5% tea tree oil shampoo
  6. Tea tree oil as a novel antipsoriasis weapon.
  7. Preparation and evaluation of a multimodal minoxidil microemulsion versus minoxidil alone in the treatment of androgenic alopecia of mixed etiology: a pilot study
  8. Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil: a Review of Antimicrobial and Other Medicinal Properties
  9. Effectiveness of lotions based on essential oils from aromatic plants against permethrin resistant Pediculus humanus capitis
  10. Peppermint Oil Promotes Hair Growth without Toxic Signs
  11. Peppermint Oil Promotes Hair Growth without Toxic Signs
  12. In vitro and in vivo effect of Citrus limon essential oil against sarcoptic mange in rabbits.
  13. Wave Bye-Bye to Damaged Hair
  14. Hair Growth-Promoting Effects of Lavender Oil in C57BL/6 Mice
  15. Randomized trial of aromatherapy. Successful treatment for alopecia areata.
  16. Rosemary oil vs minoxidil 2% for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: a randomized comparative trial.
  17. An in-depth review on the medicinal flora Rosmarinus officinalis (Lamiaceae)
Posted

How to Make Your Own Healthy Toothpaste (Recipe included)

Healthy toothpaste recipe

Looking for a safe, non-toxic way to promote whiter, healthier teeth without the use of harsh chemicals? With just a few ingredients, you can bid farewell to drugstore brands of toothpaste which often contain harmful fluoride, synthethic foaming agents, and antibacterial chemicals like triclosan.

It’s simple to make your own toothpaste as home using natural substances like food-grade diatomaceous earth (a type of magnetic clay), betonite clay, and/or activated charcoal along with a healthy fat like coconut oil. Add one or more essential oils for the finishing touch.

Store your toothpaste in a sealed container. A small glass mason jar works well. To use, scoop a small amount out of the jar using a clean spoon or popsicle stick, spread on wet toothbrush bristles, and brush teeth as usual.

Here’s an easy DIY toothpaste recipe for you to try. Feel free to experiment with different essential oils to come up with a signature toothpaste “taste” that you love.

 

DIY Toothpaste with Essential Oils
DIY Toothpaste with Essential Oils
Epigenetic Labs
Rate this recipe
Average: 3.5/5
66 ratings

Recipe used with permission from "Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine For The Modern World" by Jordan Rubin, Dr. Josh Axe, and Ty Bollinger



  1. In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together.
  2. Put into a rubber tube or sealed glass container.
  3. Brush your teeth for 2 minutes, two to three times daily.

Epigenetic Labs organic essential oils are made with indigenously sourced plants retrieved from the world’s best sources. Visit https://Epigeneticlabs.com for more essential oil recipes and helpful articles.

Prep Time: 2 minutes ; Yield: 20 uses

Posted

How to Make Healing Bone Broth at Home

How to Make Bone Broth at Home

The health benefits of broth made with bones have been researched and documented for hundreds of years. Around 1150, Benedictine Abbess and scholar Hildegarde von Bingen recommended in her “Physica” (medical text) that “frequent and adequate” portions of broth made with calves’ feet was good for relieving joint pain.

The Abbess was clearly on to something by recognizing the curative nature of bone broth. As it turns out, this ancient healing elixir has a number of other impressive health benefits that come from simmering animal bones for long periods of time. Read on for more about the health benefits of bone broth and tips on how to make bone broth at home.

What’s in Bones that Makes Bone Broth So Good for You?

When making (and consuming) bone broth, you benefit from 3 components of bones: gelatin (collagen), cartilage, and bone marrow.

Gelatin/CollagenWhat’s in Bones that Makes Bone Broth So Good for You

When bone broth cools down it often congeals due to the presence of gelatin. Achieving this gelatinous state is highly prized by bone broth aficionados as it means the broth contains a significant amount of collagen. (Gelatin is essentially the same thing as collagen. When it’s in the body it’s known as collagen, and when it’s extracted to be used as food it is known as gelatin.)

While gelatin is not a complete protein and cannot replace protein in the diet, it has been used historically as a protein stretcher. It contains the amino acids proline and glycine, both of which are two important amino acids that aren’t abundant in animal meats.

The first large scale production of gelatin became possible in the late 1600s with the invention of the “digester” by Papin in 1682. This apparatus was a type of pressure cooker used for cooking bones or meat with steam. Just over 100 years later, Europe was embroiled in the Napoleonic wars and the French turned to gelatin as a way to stretch meager meat portions and feed soldiers as well as the legions of starving homeless living on the streets of Paris and other cities.

Commissions appointed at that time by the Institute of France and the Faculty of Medicine in Paris to study the use of gelatin stated in their report that… “Gelatin … confines a large quantity of nourishing material in a very small volume; it could be used on shipboard for making soup for the sailors on voyages to foreign ports, for soldiers in besieged cities, and even in the camps and barracks.”

More recent studies of gelatin have shown that it increases the digestion and utilization of other proteins such as meats, beans, milk, and milk products.

Collagen is helpful in:

  • Soft tissue and wound healing
  • Formation and repair of cartilage and bone
  • Healing and coating the mucus membranes of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Facilitating digestion and assimilation of proteins

Cartilage

Cartilage is primarily made from collagen and elastin proteins, but also contains glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), chondroitin sulfate, keratin sulfate, and hyaluronic acid. You might recognize chondroitin sulfate as a commonly used supplement for supporting joint health and mobility. It has also been shown to improve inflammatory conditions of the gastrointestinal tract.

Using cartilage-rich beef knuckles, chicken feet, trachea, and ribs in bone broth is a cost-effective and easily absorbable alternative to pricey supplements. Cartilage is considered beneficial in the treatment of inflammatory conditions such as:

  • arthritis
  • degenerative joint disease
  • inflammatory bowel disease, and
  • lowered immune function

Bone Marrow

Bone Marrow contains two types of marrowBones contain one of two types of marrow: yellow or red. Yellow marrow produces fat, cartilage, and bone and is found in the central portion of long bones. Red marrow is where red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets are formed. It is found in flat bones such as the hip bone, sternum, skull, ribs, vertebrae, scapula, and the end of long bones.

Red marrow is especially valued as it is where blood stem cells are formed. As such, it is an excellent source of nutritional and immune support.

For example, a chicken carcass makes an excellent bone broth as it has a high concentration of red marrow bones.

Health Benefits from Eating Bone Marrow

  1. Improves gut health – bone marrow is easily digested and contains nutrients that help heal the digestive tract and improve nutrient absorption.
  2. Boosts the immune system – the strength of your immune system is linked to your gut health. Consuming bone marrow regularly strengthens the gut which will help to ward off illness and chronic disease.
  3. Glowing skin, hair, and nails – good health is usually reflected in strong, shiny hair and nails and in smooth, clear skin. Bone marrow contains gelatin (collagen) which is transferred into bone broth and into you when you consume it. Gelatin grows and strengthens hair and nails, and helps to smooth lines, wrinkles, and even cellulite.
  4. Reduces inflammation – One of the best ways to decrease inflammation is through a good diet. Eliminate or restrict inflammatory foods (i.e. vegetable oils, sugar, gluten, and GMO foods), and add the benefits of inflammation-reducing amino acids found in bone marrow: arginine, proline, and glycine.

Choosing Bones for Bone Broth

You can purchase raw bones from a butcher or use bones leftover from cooking. For example, if you make a bone-in roast, save the bone(s) to make bone broth. If you cook a chicken, save the carcass. If you don’t want want to make broth right away (or you don’t have enough bones), simply place the bones in a sealed freezer bag and store in the freezer until you’re ready. When it’s time to make broth, you don’t even need to defrost the bones first.

When purchasing bones for making homemade bone broth, aim to get a variety of bone types which will ensure you’re getting marrow, cartilage, and gelatin in your broth. If you’re adventurous, you can try adding a couple of (well cleaned) chicken feet along with the bones which are an excellent source of collagen. For making beef or lamb bone broth, be sure to ask your butcher for both a joint bone and marrow bones.

Your #1 consideration when making bone broth is the quality of the bones you use. Do your best to source the highest quality bones possible from pasture-raised/free-range animals that are grass fed and have not been subjected to antibiotics and growth hormones.

what's in bone broth

Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Make Bone Broth

Place bones in a large pot and cover with waterYou may have read about the need to roast bones first before making bone broth. Some people prefer this method as they find it adds extra flavor to the finished broth. Roasting is totally a taste preference and is not required. In any case, it is only for beef, lamb, or wild game bones – it is not a necessary step for bone broth made with poultry or fish.

If you’re new to making bone broth it may be easier to skip the roasting step until you become more practiced with the process. If you do wish to roast the bones first, all you need to do is place the bones on a cookie sheet and roast uncovered in a 350F oven for 20-30 minutes. Once you’ve gathered your bones (either raw or roasted), you’re ready to proceed with the steps below.

Step #1: Place bones (fresh, frozen, or roasted) into a large stock pot or crock pot and cover with cold filtered water. Make sure all the bones are covered, but still leave plenty of room for water to boil. Add coarsely chopped onion, carrots, and celery stalks to the pot.

Step #2: Add two tablespoon of an acidic substance (eg. apple cider vinegar, wine, or lemon juice) to the water prior to cooking. The acid will help draw out important nutrients from the bones.

Step #3: Heat slowly, gradually bringing to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Skim off any scum that floats to the top.

Step #4: Cook long and slow. Cook chicken bones for at least 6 to 24 hours (up to 48 hours). Beef bones can cook for 12 to 48 hours (and even up to 72 hours). A long and slow cooking time is necessary in order to fully extract the nutrients in and around the bones. You may need to add additional hot water as the broth simmers to keep the bones covered.

Step #5: Add additional vegetables and/or seasonings such as sea salt, pepper, herbs and peeled garlic cloves to the pot 1-2 hours before finishing. (Optional) Add a bunch of fresh parsley 10-15 minutes before removing from heat.

Step #6: Once broth is ready, remove from heat and allow broth to cool enough so you can handle the pot. Remove the solids, strain through a fine mesh strainer, and reserve the broth. If there was meat on the bones, you can pick this out to use in a soup.

Step #7: Consume broth within 5-7 days or freeze for later use. Bone Broth can be safely frozen for several months.

Bone Broth Tips

  • Using a crock pot that can be continually re-set for several hours at a time is likely a safer and easier option for most people. If you are using the stovetop method, be sure to keep an eye on your broth and follow good stove safety practices.
  • After the broth cools, a protective layer of fat will harden on top. Only discard this layer when you are about to eat the broth. Alternatively, you may choose to consume it along with the broth. If your bones are from quality pastured animals, this is a healthy, nutrient-dense source of fat. Another option is to save this fat in a jar in the fridge and use it as a cooking oil when making other dishes.
  • If your broth becomes thick and jelly-like – congratulations! That means it contains a significant amount of gelatin (collagen). When you heat up your broth, it will turn back into liquid form.
  • To warm up your broth, scoop some into a saucepan and gently heat your broth on the stove, not in a microwave oven. This will retain the maximum possible nutrients. Season with salt & pepper and/or add other health-promoting spices such as turmeric, ginger, etc.
  • There are many ways to use bone broth. It is delicious to drink by itself, or use it as a soup base, in sauces, and to replace the water when cooking rice, quinoa, or other grains.

For even more ideas and tips on making and using healing bone broth, download this complimentary bone broth e-book from Epigenetic Labs.

For the easy way to get all the nutritional benefits of bone broth, check out our Bone Broth Protein Powder here

 

Sources:

  1. Gelatine Handbook: Theory and Industrial Practice
  2. Gelatin in Nutrition and Medicine
  3. How to Make Bone Broth
  4. Broth is Beautiful
  5. Effects of oral administration of type II collagen on rheumatoid arthritis.
  6. A pilot trial of oral type II collagen in the treatment of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
  7. Dr. Kellyann Petrucci: Bone Broth for Energy, Reverse Aging & Lose Weight – #273
  8. Bone Broth: Heal Your Gut and Lose Cellulite!
  9. Chicken Feet: Why You Need Them In Your Diet And How To Prepare Them!
  10. Saving The Fat From Your Nourishing Bone Broth
Posted

12 Top Essential Oils and Their Uses (60+ Tips & Ideas)

essential oils and their uses

There must be thousands of ways to use essential oils! These little bottles are packed with a myriad of potent phytochemicals (natural, plant-based compounds) that are powerful helpers − both for health improvement and also  in and around the home. If you are an essential oil newbie, you won’t want to miss this article because we’re sharing 60+ great ways to use 12 basic essential oils. Even if you’re an experienced essential oil user, get ready to learn something new. It’s all about natural healing and improving the world we inhabit. Let’s dive in!

Frankincense Oil

  1. Frankincense-essential-oil-made-from-frankincense-resinAs a meditation aid. Use frankincense oil to help calm and center the mind, to promote spiritual awareness, and to cultivate a sense of inner peace while meditating. Frankincense contains compounds known as sesquiterpenes which work directly on the limbic system of the brain, the center of memory and emotions. Frankincense is calming, grounding, and centering to the nervous system. Diffuse it into your room, or just inhale directly from the bottle at the start of your meditation.
  2. For respiratory support. Frankincense is a powerful anti-inflammatory, which makes it useful for respiratory problems such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia, and bronchitis. It even helps with laryngitis. Diffuse it into the room where you intend to spend some time. For best results, use an ultrasonic cool mist diffuser. Never heat essential oils because heating them diminishes their therapeutic effects.
  3. To calm nightmares. Dilute frankincense oil as described below and rub over the large arteries along the sides of the neck before bed to help relieve nightmares (yes, really!).
  4. Skin complaints. Whether your skin is dry and mature or oily and blotched with blemishes, frankincense oil has wonderful balancing qualities. It helps to reduce lines and wrinkles by tightening and toning skin, accelerates the healing of blemishes, skin ulcers and wounds, and stimulates cell regeneration. For anti-aging benefits, put several drops into your favorite night time moisturizer. For acne and blemishes, apply it neat directly on the problem area, unless you have very sensitive skin, then dilute as described below.
  5. For immune support. Breathe the vapor right out of the bottle, or diffuse frankincense oil to increase immunity. Research shows that the natural chemical constituents in frankincense oil stimulate the immune system.1

Lavender Essential Oil

  1. Calming, stress relieving, sleep promoter. Feeling stressed out or having a night of insomnia? Dilute as described below, and rub lavender oil along the sides of the neck and/or breathe it in deeply. You can also place a drop or two into a warm bath before you relax into it. Lavender has wonderful calming and soothing effects and promotes deeper sleep.
  2. Stops the itch and burn of insect bites. Put a drop of lavender oil on a bee sting, mosquito or other bug bite to stop pain, itching, and reduce swelling. Reapply as necessary. Lavender oil works really well for this, especially if applied immediately.
  3. Soothes burns and sunburns. Put two to three drops of lavender oil on a minor burn to relieve the pain. Applied quickly enough, it should stop the burn from blistering as well. Keep a bottle of lavender oil in the kitchen for those burned fingers. Dilute it as described below and apply to sunburns to relieve pain and hasten healing time. Lavender oil is also wonderful mixed with a little organic aloe vera gel and applied to the skin after sun exposure.
  4. For breast health. 2014 Iranian research indicates that lavender oil kills breast cancer cells but leaves healthy cells unharmed.2 Dilute lavender oil as described below and massage it into breast tissue. Double the anti-cancer potential by pairing it with lemon or orange essential oils.
  5. As a flavor boost. Add a drop of lavender oil to brownie batter, chocolate icing, cookie dough, dessert recipes, raw chocolate, or even salad dressings. It’s absolutely delicious.

Clove Oil

  1. For toothache and Clove Oildental abscesses. Apply clove oil to a cotton swab and press it against the sore tooth and surrounding gums. Clove oil has great pain relieving properties and has been used by the dental industry for years. Clove is often included in dental rinses and mouthwashes.
  2. Potent anti-fungal. Clove oil is a powerful anti-fungal, especially against Candida albicans. Clove oil can kill 99.9 percent of C. albicans within seven minutes of exposure.
  3. For cold sores. Clove oil is an effective anti-viral, especially against herpes simplex. Put a drop of clove oil on a cold sore to significantly decrease the pain and healing time. In fact, all of the essential oils in this article are good for this.
  4. For arthritic pain. Clove oil’s pain relieving properties make it beneficial for rheumatism and arthritis. Dilute as described below and massage it into the affected area.
  5. Kills bacteria in the kitchen. Clove is a natural anti-bacterial, powerful against many bacteria strains. It kills E. coli, Salmonella, Helicobacter pylori (implicated with stomach ulcers), Staphylococcus aureus (also known as golden staph), Streptococcus pneumoniae, and many others, with no side effects. Put a drop on your kitchen sponge, in dishwashing liquid, and on cutting boards to reduce bacteria naturally. Don’t forget telephones, toilet seats, doorknobs, and computer keyboards!

Grapefruit Essential Oil

  1. In your drinking water. A drop or two of grapefruit oil added to drinking water helps to boost metabolism, promotes weight loss, and adds an anti-cancer punch with its high level of the phytochemical d-limonene. Grapefruit oil is also a potent anti-bacterial, and gives you a hit of vitamin C too!
  2. Eases a hangover. Grapefruit oil’s natural ability to stimulate the gall bladder and liver helps to detox after drinking alcohol. Diffuse it (see #2 above) or put a drop or two in your drinking water and keep sipping at it all day when in the throes of a hangover.
  3. In your vacuum cleaner. Put a few drops of grapefruit oil on a cotton pad and vacuum it up. The aroma will diffuse out into the room where you are cleaning and add a clean, fresh scent to the room. It also helps to kill airborne bacteria.
  4. Banish anxiety. Breathing in the vapor of grapefruit oil helps to ease feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress. It also helps to increase focus, so use it while studying or working on important projects. Diffuse it (see #2 above) or wear it like a perfume.
  5. Helps to overcome sugar cravings. Breathe in grapefruit oil from the bottle just prior to eating, going to the coffee shop, doing the grocery shopping, or whenever you feel tempted to have sugar. It will help curb cravings for those not-so-good-for-you sweets.

Orange Essential Oil

  1. Cold and flu prevention. Put a drop or two of orange oil into your drinking water every day. Not only dorange-essential-oiloes it contain vitamin C, it also helps to boost the immune system. If you take extra vitamin C along with orange-infused water, it helps to increase absorption of the vitamin C.
  2. Helps heal mouth ulcers. Rub a drop of orange oil into the affected spot as frequently as you can remember to do it. It might sting a tiny bit, but mouth ulcers will heal much more quickly.
  3. Wound disinfectant. Drip orange oil directly into a wound after it has stopped bleeding, then cover with a bandage. Orange essential oil is an excellent anti-bacterial. It will also speed the healing process due to its tissue regeneration properties.3
  4. Foot callus softener/remover. Rub several drops of orange oil into affected area prior to putting on your socks and shoes.
  5. Skin anti-aging. Orange oil promotes the production of collagen in the skin. It also detoxifies, increases circulation, and improves skin tone and texture. Add a drop to your toner and/or moisturizer to improve skin appearance and decrease the signs of aging. Several studies indicate that the d-limonene content also helps to fight against the development of skin cancer.

Lemon Essential Oil

  1. In your cooking. Add a drop or two of lemon oil to cake batter, muffin batter, seafood dishes, salad dressings, or any dish where lemon zest is required.
  2. For spot-free dishes. Add a drop of lemon oil to your automatic dishwasher soap. Run the cycle and enjoy spot-free dishes and a cleaner dishwasher.
  3. Add shelf life to fruit and vegetables. Fill a bowl or small bucket with cold water, add two drops of lemon oil and drench your fruit and/or vegetables in the water to preserve their shelf life. Best to do this before refrigerating.
  4. Diffuse lemon for health. Diffuse lemon oil (see #2 above) to kill airborne bacteria. Research carried out by Dr. Jean Valnet shows that diffused lemon oil can rapidly kill off the bacteria that causes meningococcal infections, typhoid fever, staph infections, pneumonia, diptheria, and tuberculosis.
  5. For oily hair. Lemon oil has a balancing effect on the oil glands of the scalp. Massage a drop or two of lemon oil into your scalp before you go to bed at night. Wash it out in the morning. Done over a period of weeks, you will notice much less oily hair. It’ll make your pillow smell nice and fresh too!

Geranium Rose Essential Oil

  1. For premenstrual tension and cramps. Massage geranium rose oil across the abdomen and lower back to help relieve cramps, muscle tension, and promote relaxation.
  2. For hemorrhoids. When painful hemorrhoids strike, add a drop of geranium rose oil to one teaspoon of organic coconut oil. Apply with a piece of gauze, leaving this in place if possible, and repeat several times a day or whenever particularly painful. Being a natural styptic, geranium rose acts by gently contracting blood vessels in the area.
  3. Repels ticks and dust mites. Before going outdoors, apply geranium rose oil on exposed areas of skin, around collars, cuffs, and pant legs. It also works well on pets, but make sure to heavily dilute for them. For dust mites, spray onto linens and put a drop on the dust cloth when dusting.
  4. For liver detoxing. Geranium rose oil improves the flow of bile by dilating bile ducts, thus assisting liver detoxification processes. Dilute as described below and rub across the right side of the rib cage (over the liver).
  5. Skin healing and regeneration. Geranium rose oil is a natural anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant. Use it in skin tonics, lotions, moisturizers and balms for such conditions as dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, oily skin, and acne. It also helps fade scars.

Peppermint Essential Oil

  1. Cool a hot flash. The high menthol content of peppermint makes it great for cooling off during Peppermint-essential-oilhot flashes. At the first sign of a hot flash developing, place a drop at the back of the neck, at the base of the skull, or on the collarbones. Breathe it in. This has an instant cooling and calming effect.
  2. As a driving aid. Taking a long driving trip? Be sure to pack the peppermint oil. Its ability to wake up the nervous system and keep your brain alert is unmatched. It’s better than coffee and no caffeine jitters! Peppermint oil is also good for kids with ADHD. Add several drops of peppermint oil to a spray bottle containing distilled water, shake it and spray it lightly on their clothes before studying to increase concentration and clarity of thought.
  3. For aching muscles and joints. A natural anti-inflammatory, peppermint oil  helps relieve pain and relax muscles. Dilute as described below and rub into sore muscles and arthritic joints for some quick relief.
  4. For allergy relief. Peppermint oil not only relaxes skeletal muscles, it also helps to relax the muscles of the respiratory system. Its natural anti-inflammatory properties help to relieve congestion due to allergies and counteract the effects of pollen. Diffuse as described in #2 above.
  5. As a digestive aid. Peppermint oil is superb for relieving indigestion and heartburn. Put just one drop of peppermint oil into a glass of water and drink. It works much more quickly than peppermint tea due to the concentrated nature of peppermint oil. If it’s too strong for you, just dilute it (see dilution instructions below) and rub it across the tummy.

Oregano Oil

  1. As an infection fighter. A 2016 research study found oregano oil to be effective against 59 different strains of bacteria, including multi-drug resistant bacteria. It was even found to be effective against bacteria known to cause cystic fibrosis.4 Oregano is also good for urinary tract infections. If taking oregano oil internally, please do so under the guidance of a qualified aromatherapist or naturopath.
  2. As an anti-aging antioxidant. Oregano oil’s high antioxidant content makes it perfect for fighting the effects of aging, which is all about free radicals creating havoc throughout the body. If using it topically, be sure to dilute as described below because oregano can be a hot oil when applied to the skin. Always avoid the skin around eyes and other sensitive areas.
  3. Ease a sore throat. Oregano oil will quickly relieve a sore throat. Add a  drop to a glass of water and gargle with it. Sip it throughout the day. Oregano oil also helps to shorten the duration of colds and flu.
  4. For athlete’s foot and fungal infections. Dilute as described below and massage into feet, between toes, or into nails for an anti-fungal blast. Or get a basin of water and add a few drops of oregano and soak your feet in it. Oregano can also be used to get rid of ringworm, another fungal skin infection.
  5. Eliminates intestinal worms. Oregano oil is a potent anti-parasitic. Take it internally under the care of a qualified aromatherapist or naturopath.

Rosemary Oil

  1. Anti-cancer, anti-proliferative. Turkish researchers in 2010 found that extracts frRosemaryom rosemary had strong anti-cancer effects on several different human cancer cell lines. Researchers tested rosemary against small cell lung carcinoma, two different prostate cancer cell lines, liver carcinoma, chronic myeloid leukemia, and two different breast cancer cell types. Rosemary oil was reported to inhibit all of them.5
  2. Improves circulation, varicose veins. Rosemary oil helps to increase circulation. Warming and stimulating, rosemary oil assists blood to move. This makes it extremely helpful for varicose veins and spider veins.
  3. Improves brain health. Rosemary oil is stimulatory to the central nervous system, and helps to promote clearer thinking. Rosemary has long been valued for its ability to help overcome mental fatigue, and to improve mental clarity and focus. Japanese researchers have recently shown that carnosic acid (one of rosemary’s phytochemicals) has neuroprotective functions in brain cells and may be helpful in the prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease.6
  4. For healthy scalp and beautiful hair. Rosemary oil is beneficial for scalp problems like dandruff and seborrhea because it helps to regulate the secretion of oil in the scalp. It also aids hair regrowth. A 2015 study comparing rosemary with minoxidil, a commonly used drug for combating hair loss, found rosemary essential oil to be just as good as the minoxidil, but only after six months of use.7 So stick with it! Rosemary oil stimulates hair follicles, thus assisting hair to grow longer and stronger. It also promotes cell division and dilates blood vessels in the scalp which stimulates hair follicles to produce new hair growth.
  5. Counteract the effects of stress. The uplifting aroma of rosemary essential oil helps to relax nerves and banish stress. A 2007 study on rosemary and lavender showed that this pair of oils decreases cortisol levels, the hormone released when one is under stress.8

Eucalyptus Essential Oil

  1. Strong insect repellent. Eucalyptus oil repels ticks, fleas, mosquitos, flies, and other annoying bugs. Eucalyptus trees have even been planted in many parts of the world to block the spread of mosquito-borne malaria. Eucalyptus can also relieve the sting and itch of an insect bite.
  2. Fever reducer. Put a drop or two of eucalyptus oil on a damp cool washcloth and rub it along the sides of the patient’s body, the chest, back of the neck, and bottoms of the feet to reduce a fever.
  3. Improves blood flow to brain. Eucalyptus oil is known to be a vasodilator, meaning it dilates, or opens, blood vessels. In 1994, Austrian researchers discovered that eucalyptol, a phytochemical in eucalyptus oil (also known as 1,8-cineol) improved global blood flow to the brain, after only 20 minutes of inhalation.9 A newer study released in 2016 by Korean researchers found that eucalyptol is also able to pass through the blood-brain barrier, a protective membrane that separates potentially harmful substances from harming delicate brain tissues. This research also found eucalyptol’s high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to be helpful in the management of chronic conditions such as respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, and degenerative nerve and brain diseases.10
  4. Assists upper respiratory infections and eases asthma attacks. Eucalyptus oil’s anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and anti-phlegm properties work very quickly to open congested airways. Make a steam inhalation by boiling two cups of water, pour it into a large bowl, then let it cool for five minutes. Add a drop or two of eucalyptus oil. Then create a tent from a small towel draped over your head. Place your face over the bowl and carefully breathe in the vapor until you get some relief. This should only take a couple of minutes. This is great for bronchitis, head colds, chest colds, and asthma.
  5. Beneficial for diabetics. Some studies have shown that several different species of eucalyptus help to reduce blood sugar levels in mice.11 Also because eucalyptus is such an excellent vasodilator, the entire body benefits from this increase in blood circulation. Diabetics commonly lack good circulation, especially to their extremities, which is a dangerous situation and can result in limb amputation. To help combat this, dilute eucalyptus oil (as described below) and massage it into the legs, hands, and feet as needed.

Tea Tree Oil (aka Melaleuca)

  1. For eczema and psoriasis. Due to its potent anti-inflammatory benefits, tea ttea tree oilree oil helps to relieve inflammatory skin conditions, especially eczema and psoriasis. Dilute as described below and apply to affected area two to three times daily.
  2. Boost your deodorant. If it’s an extra-hot day and your deodorant has failed, apply again, but this time with a drop or two of tea tree oil to kill bacteria. Tea tree oil’s potent antibacterial properties are well proven with dozens of research studies.
  3. For pet health. Heavily dilute tea tree with coconut oil and, using a cotton swab, gently clean accumulated gunk in your pet’s ears. Proceed with caution though and never drop essential oils into the ear canal (whether pet or human). Tea tree oil also helps to repel insects. Use a drop of tea tree on pet bedding or inside their crates to repel fleas and ticks.
  4. Prevents razor burn. Combine tea tree with a little coconut oil and apply after shaving to prevent or ease razor burn. If there are any blemishes or nicks or cuts on the skin, tea tree is a natural antiseptic.
  5. Natural insecticide, bug repellent, and bite reliever. Tea tree oil has long been used as a natural bug repellent by native Australian aboriginal people. Chinese research in 2016 found tea tree to be effective against the cereal weevil, Sitophilus zeamais.11 The cereal weevil is considered to be an extremely destructive pest to stored cereals all over the world. Tea tree also helps to relieve the pain, itching, and inflammation of insect bites.

How to Dilute Essential Oils

Although essential oils can be used neat (undiluted) in many cases, it is best (and more economical) to dilute essential oils before applying them to the body. Add a drop or two of your chosen oil to one-half to one teaspoonful of an organic carrier oil such as coconut, almond, hemp, or jojoba. If using with children or pets, use even less essential oil because their smaller bodies cannot tolerate an adult dose. It’s best to consult a qualified aromatherapist when using essential oils with pets or children.

Essential Oils for Cancer

Every essential oil mentioned in this article has been researched for its anti-cancer properties, although each oil works against cancer cells in slightly different ways. One thing they do share in common is that these oils are all natural anti-inflammatories and cancer is an inflammatory process. They are also packed with antioxidants. There are literally hundreds of research studies which demonstrate the different ways the phytochemicals in essential oils help to protect the body from cancer.

Please do not rely on essential oils as a stand-alone treatment for cancer and always work with a qualified healthcare practitioner for all medical needs.

A Final Word About Quality

Always choose high quality, organic essential oil that has been properly distilled so that its phytochemical content is not compromised. Look for bottles labeled 100% pure oil and beware of cheap oils that may be diluted with potentially toxic chemical ingredients.

The essential oils available from Epigenetic Labs are among the highest quality essential oils available to consumers. They are made with indigenously sourced plants retrieved from the world’s best sources.

 

Sources:

  1. Immunomodulatory Activity of Biopolymeric Fraction BOS 2000 from Boswellia serrata
  2. Comparative Studies of Cytotoxic and Apoptotic Properties of Different Extracts and the Essential Oil Of lavandula angustifolia on Malignant and Normal Cells
  3. Skin Repair Properties of D-limonene and Perillyl Alcohol in Murine Models
  4. Essential Oil from Origanum vulgare Completely Inhibits the Growth of Multidrug-Resistant Cystic Fibrosis Pathogens
  5. Inhibitory Effects of Rosemary Extracts, Carnosic Acid and Rosmarinic Acid on the Growth of Various Human Cancer Cell Lines
  6. Carnosic Acid Attenuates Apoptosis Induced by Amyloid-ß 1-42 or 1-43 in SH-SY5Y Human Neuroblastoma Cells
  7. Rosemary Oil vs Minoxidil 2% for the Treatment of Androgenetic Alopecia: a Randomized Comparative Trial
  8. Smelling Lavender and Rosemary Increases Free Radical Scavenging Activity and Decreases Cortisol Level in Saliva
  9. Functional Imaging of Effects of Fragrances on the Human Brain after Prolonged Inhalation
  10. Eucalyptol and Its Role in Chronic Diseases
  11. Exploration of Natural Enzyme Inhibitors with Hypoglycemic Potentials Amongst Eucalyptus Spp. By in Vitro Assays
  12. Insecticidal Activity of Melaleuca alternifolia Essential Oil and RNA-Seq Analysis of Sitophilus zeamais Transcriptome in Response to Oil Fumigation
Posted

11 Surprising Health Benefits of Mushrooms

medicinal-mushroom-reishi-shiitake-el

Originally used in the East as both traditional medicine and food, many mushroom varieties have been studied intensively for their therapeutic properties over the past few decades. In fact, all edible mushrooms seem to possess both medicinal and nutritional qualities, although they must be prepared properly to release their full benefits.

Modern scientific evidence shows that medicinal mushrooms typically act to strengthen the immune system, lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, and help our bodies fight against free radicals, mutagens, and toxins.

These health benefits of mushrooms seem to exist mainly because of the presence of polysaccharides (complex sugar molecules) called beta glucans in their cell walls. Beta glucans are also present in cereal grains, mushrooms, algae, bacteria, fungi, and yeast. Early human clinical trials with beta glucans have confirmed that they have an immune strengthening effect and are safe to consume, with minimal to no side effects.

Along with boosting immunity, many of these potent mushrooms have other health benefits as a result of their actions on our bodies. Let’s take a closer look at some of them…

Health Benefit of Mushrooms #1: Powerful Anti-Cancer FightersA turkey tail mushroom extract known as PSK is used to fight cancer in Japan

Brewed for thousands of years as a medicinal tea in China, turkey tail mushroom (known scientifically as Trametes versicolor or Coriolus versicolor) has recently been shown to be a powerful anti-cancer agent.

One cancer-fighting use is a turkey tail mushroom extract known as PSK (protein-bound Polysaccharide Krestin) that is widely used to treat many cancers in Japan. Multiple studies have confirmed that PSK prevents cancer cell growth with minimal adverse effects, while also simultaneously reducing side effects of standard anti-cancer therapy such as fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and pain.

For instance, PSK acts powerfully against lung cancer and strengthens the immune systems of lung cancer patients, helping them to cope better with the consequences of toxic and invasive anti-cancer treatment.

Additionally, PSK eases tumor-associated symptoms, and has been shown to extend lifespan in patients undergoing radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

Along with all this, turkey tail mushroom extracts have also been shown to:

  • Slow breast cancer cell growth, reducing tumor weight by 36% and lowering metastasis to the lungs by 70.8% in a mouse model of metastatic breast cancer
    [Note – metastasis is the spread of cancer cells from the original area where it began to other areas in the body, usually via the lymphatic system or bloodstream. In this mouse model, breast cancer cells metastasized to the lungs]
  • Slow the growth of human esophageal cancer cells by reducing their survival time and increasing their rate of apoptosis (also known as programmed cell suicide)
  • Target cancer stem cells, preventing the formation of prostate tumors in a mouse model of prostate cancer – with an incredible efficiency of 100 percent and no side-effects whatsoever!

Red reishi is another popular medicinal mushroom. Known scientifically as Ganoderma lucidum, this potent “mushroom of immortality” is known as ling zhi in Chinese and reishi in Japanese.

Reishi helps to beat cancer in multiple ways. First, it stimulates the immune system, helping the body fight more effectively against cancer.

Second, a bioactive compound known as canthaxanthin (and possibly others) in reishi have been shown to slow down tumor growth. Third, beta glucan – another bioactive compound – helps immune cells to bind more effectively to tumor cells and kill them more easily.

Because of these powerful anti-cancer abilities shown by reishi in both laboratory research and medicinal usage, the Japanese government officially recognizes it as an anti-cancer therapy.

However, if you’re thinking of adding a reishi supplement or extract to your daily regimen you should first discuss the appropriate dose for your specific condition with a qualified healthcare practitioner – as doses of commercial reishi products can vary widely.

Health Benefit of Mushrooms #2: Strengthening the Immune System

Turkey tail mushroom strengthen the Immune SystemAlong with preventing cancer growth, turkey tail mushroom extracts have been shown to repair weakened immune systems in breast cancer patients after they had undergone standard chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

These mushroom extracts appear to do this by boosting the number and activity of natural killer (NK) cells and “cytotoxic T-cells,” which likely attack and kill off any remaining cancerous cells that are left after conventional anti-cancer therapies.

[Note – NK cells are specialized immune cells that recognize and bind to tumor cells and virus-infected cells and kill them. Similarly, cytotoxic T-cells are a type of white blood cell that kills cancer cells, cells that are infected (especially with viruses), or cells that are damaged in other ways.]

Scientific research also shows that bioactive polysaccharide compounds in reishi mushrooms boost the immune system by increasing the number of macrophages. [Note – Macrophages are a type of white blood cell that digests cellular debris as well as foreign substances, bacteria, cancer cells, and anything else that cannot be identified as a healthy cell by our immune system.]

As already described above, a bioactive beta glucan compound in reishi helps immune cells bind more effectively to tumor cells and kill them more easily.

All of these immune-boosting actions of reishi have major implications for people suffering from bacterial and viral infections, as well as people with AIDS and other diseases that directly weaken their immune system. No wonder the patented turkey tail mushroom extract PSK (protein-bound Polysaccharide Krestin) is widely used in Japan as a complementary immunotherapy for treating many different types of cancers.

Health Benefit of Mushrooms #3: Protection Against Heart Disease and Stroke

Reishi offers a remarkable level of protection against heart disease and stroke, because it counters many risk factors for these conditions. Health experts now believe that bioactive compounds in reishi known as ganoderic acids and others such as coumarin, mannitol, and polysaccharides act to:

  • Lower triglyceride levels
  • Remove excess cholesterol from blood
  • Lower blood pressure (BP)
  • Reduce platelet stickiness, preventing the formation of dangerous blood clots that can lead to heart attacks or strokes
  • Help to correct arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythms).

According to one study, taking reishi extract three times a day for four weeks lowered blood pressure (BP) in 54 people with hypertension, who were otherwise unresponsive to medication.

Health Benefit of Mushrooms #4: Fighting Disease-Causing Free Radicals

Cordyceps mushrooms are known for fighting Disease-Causing Free RadicalsOxidative stress and other forms of free radical-induced damage to cellular structures in our bodies are believed to increase the risk for heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure (BP), diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and other age-related conditions.

Free radicals are highly unstable chemical compounds which attack the nearest stable molecule and “steal” its electron. When the “attacked” molecule loses its electron in this way, it becomes a free radical itself, beginning a chain reaction.

If this process cascades, the growing numbers of free radicals can damage vital structures in your body such as the outer protective membrane of your body’s cells, cellular proteins, and even your DNA.

When you are exposed to excessive amounts of free radicals – for example, because of exposure to toxic chemicals, infections, and diseases – and your body’s detoxification systems are no longer able to cope, it can lead to the unhealthy situation known as “oxidative stress.”

Promisingly, a 2015 study showed that consumption of reishi extracts for 2 weeks was able to restore some of the innate antioxidant enzyme activity in a rat with diabetes.

[Note – Antioxidants are molecules which neutralize harmful free radicals and protect vital cellular structures in our bodies from their damaging actions. While many antioxidants are obtained naturally from the foods we eat, our body also contains innate antioxidant enzyme systems.]

Similarly, in a laboratory experiment a polysaccharide peptide isolated from reishi was seen to counteract oxidative stress caused by kidney damage, leading to lower levels of free radicals known as “reactive oxygen species” (ROS) and improved kidney function.

Some health researchers suspect that reishi may not have antioxidant compounds of its own, but rather it stimulates production of a free radical fighter that already exists in our own bodies, the innate antioxidant enzyme system known as superoxide dismutase (SOD).

Similarly, scientific evidence indicates that the amazing mushroom cordyceps – known scientifically as Cordyceps sinensis – also has potent antioxidant activity, which is believed to be partly responsible for its purported anti-aging, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory effects.

Health Benefit of Mushrooms #5: Managing Blood Sugar Levels

Cordyceps mushroom - Multiple studies show that cordyceps can lower blood glucose levelsCordyceps grows in the Himalayas and on the Tibetan plateau and has a very interesting, if slightly bizarre life cycle. Its spores land on the caterpillars of a particular moth species and enters its body. The caterpillar then buries itself into the soil before it dies. In summer, the fungus emerges like a plant from the caterpillar’s head, looking like a thin, orange finger.

Multiple studies show that cordyceps can lower blood glucose levels. For instance, one study showed that consumption of a cordyceps extract known as CS-4 for 25 days increased insulin sensitivity, while reducing the insulin response to a carbohydrate challenge in normal, non-diabetic rats. These results indicate that CS-4 can potentially lower diabetes risk.

Similarly, in another study, normal rats given CS-4 for 17 days showed significant reductions in their fasting blood glucose and fasting plasma insulin levels.

While cordyceps did not affect fasting insulin levels in diabetic rats, they improved their weight, fasting blood glucose levels, and glucose tolerance (an indicator of diabetes risk) in these animals.

These and many other results from multiple studies indicate that cordyceps is likely to be useful in keeping blood sugar levels under control in patients suffering from diabetes.

11-health-benefits-of-mushrooms

Health Benefit of Mushrooms #6: Helping to Manage Stress Effectively

Reishi is an adaptogen – one of many plant forms that help to balance, restore, and protect the body. Specifically, adaptogens enhance the body’s overall ability to cope more effectively with stress and resist its unwelcome consequences, perhaps by actions on the body’s adrenal system, which is responsible for stress management.

Adaptogens exert a normalizing and tonic influence, neither over-stimulating nor interfering with normal body function, and help to counter the effects of chronic stress, anxiety, and insomnia on our bodies.

Many herbs, including Chinese or Korean ginseng, ashwagandha (Indian ginseng), astragalus, licorice root, holy basil, and mushrooms such as cordyceps and reishi are known adaptogens.

The philosophy of Eastern medicine states that our bodies need to defend themselves against threats to their “equilibrium.” Physical threats include viruses and bacteria, while mental or emotional threats (including stress) lead to anxiety and other unpleasant emotions that depress the immune system and overall functioning of the body.

Whatever the threat, reishi’s reputation is that it helps the body keep its innate balance and defend against threats to its equilibrium. Since diseases like heart disease and cancer are also clear signs that the body is out of balance, practitioners of traditional forms of Eastern medicine believe that an equilibrium-enhancing remedy such as reishi can help to treat these and many other ailments.

Health Benefit of Mushrooms #7: Enhancing LibidoLoving couple - Cordyceps has traditionally been used for enhancing sexual function

Testosterone is necessary for normal sperm development. Cordyceps has traditionally been used for enhancing sexual function in many Eastern societies. Evidence from laboratory experiments on animals confirms that cordyceps can both improve reproductive activity and restore impaired reproductive function.

Indeed, consumption of cordyceps has been shown to enhance libido and sexual activity, and restore impaired reproductive function in both men and women – likely by enhancing testosterone release in the body.

Health Benefit of Mushrooms #8: Improving Exercise Performance

Cordyceps made international headlines after Chinese runners broke two world records by huge margins at the Asian Games in 1993. According to their coach, the secret to their remarkable athletic performance was the so-called caterpillar fungus, Cordyceps sinensis.

A 2010 study showed that supplementation with the cordyceps extract CS-4 for twelve weeks improved exercise performance and contributed to overall markers of wellness in 20 healthy elderly adults.

One way cordyceps likely improves physical abilities and stamina is because it contains adenosine – a critical component of ATP – thereby stimulating production of ATP, one of the primary sources of energy in the cells of our bodies.

A 2007 study found that higher production of ATP by cordyceps helped athletes maintain intense workouts while also extending the length of time they were active at a high intensity.

A number of studies have also shown that supplementing with cordyceps can lower heart rate, which explains why people say they can train harder for longer periods when taking cordyceps supplements.

Health Benefit of Mushrooms #9, #10 & #11

Japanese researchers have found that certain bioactive compounds present in reishi act as natural antihistamines, providing strong anti-allergic benefits.

If you suffer from muscle aches or arthritis, some health experts claim that reishi is as powerful and as effective as hydrocortisone for relieving inflammation and pain, but with fewer side effects.

Finally, reishi mushrooms are traditionally believed to be able to calm the mind, along with improving memory, concentration, and focus.

Reishi, cordyceps, and turkey tail mushrooms are key ingredients of 7M+ available from Epigenetic Labs which provides you seven of nature’s most powerful mushrooms in all.

 

Sources:

  1. Immune-modulatory effects of dietary Yeast Beta-1,3/1,6-D-glucan.
  2. FDA Approves Bastyr Turkey Tail Trial for Cancer Patients
  3. 4 Medicinal Mushrooms That Fight Cancer
  4. [Immunomodulatory and antitumor properties of polysaccharide peptide (PSP)]
  5. Polysaccharide K and Coriolus versicolor extracts for lung cancer: a systematic review.
  6. Phase 1 Clinical Trial of Trametes versicolor in Women with Breast Cancer
  7. In vivo and in vitro anti-tumor and anti-metastasis effects of Coriolus versicolor aqueous extract on mouse mammary 4T1 carcinoma.
  8. Effect of coriolus versicolor polysaccharide-B on the biological characteristics of human esophageal carcinoma cell line eca109.
  9. Mushroom compound suppresses prostate tumours
  10. Studies show reishi mushrooms benefit people stricken with a variety of ailments, from high blood pressure to AIDS
  11. Adaptogenic Herbs: Nature’s Solution To Stress
  12. Antioxidant Effects of Medicinal Mushrooms Agaricus brasiliensis and Ganoderma lucidum (Higher Basidiomycetes): Evidence from Animal Studies.
  13. Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharide peptide prevents renal ischemia reperfusion injury via counteracting oxidative stress.
  14. Chapter 5: Cordyceps as an Herbal Drug
  15. Effect of Cs-4 (Cordyceps sinensis) on exercise performance in healthy older subjects: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
  16. Magic Mushroom: What ‘The Caterpillar Fungus’ Can Do For You

 

Posted

5 Top Health Benefits of Ginger

ginger top health benefits

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a flowering plant whose underground stem, or rhizome – known as ginger root or just ginger – has been widely used for centuries. It has been used as a spice as well as an alternative medicine because of its many well-known health benefits. Interestingly, it belongs to the same family (Zingiberaceae) as turmeric, cardamom, and galangal.

Believed to have originated on the Indian subcontinent, ginger was first exported to Europe in the first century AD and was reportedly used extensively by the Romans.

What Do Researchers Know About the Health Benefits of GingerGinger is a potent aromatic herb and a good natural source of vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese. Just a few slivers of fresh ginger can be used to make a healing tea. When ground to a paste or dry powder, it can be added to soups, sauces, marinades, and many other dishes to add both flavor and a pungent taste. For cooking, fresh ginger root is usually best, but powdered ginger or ginger paste are both great alternatives that can be conveniently stored for long periods of time.

What Do Researchers Know About the Health Benefits of Ginger?

Modern scientific research shows that ginger provides numerous health benefits, thanks to its potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer properties.

The main bioactive ingredient in ginger is [6]-gingerol – also known as just gingerol. It is chemically related to capsaicin (the main bioactive ingredient in chili peppers) and piperine (the main bioactive ingredient in black pepper). Gingerol has been extensively studied and is known to be a potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer agent.

However, more recent studies suggest that another bioactive family of naturally occurring compounds in ginger known as shogaols may have even stronger health benefits relative to gingerol and related compounds.

Ginger Health Benefit #1: Heals the Gut

Traditionally, ginger has a long and proven history of relieving stomach and gut problems. In herbal medicine, it is known to aid digestion and promote the release of intestinal gas, while also calming and relaxing the stomach and gut.

Ginger’s health benefits include providing relief from morning sickness. Further, it has been used successfully to combat nausea and GI upset after surgery or during chemotherapy. Studies have also shown that ginger effectively prevents symptoms of motion sickness, including seasickness.

In fact, ginger was shown to be far superior to Dramamine, a commonly used prescription drug for motion sickness. Plus, it reduces all symptoms including dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and cold sweats.

Ginger Health Benefit #2: Fights Pain and Inflammation

Health Benefits of Ginger 2 Fights Pain and InflammationNumerous studies show that ginger is effective for pain relief. In one study, participants were given either two grams of raw or heat-treated ginger supplements for 11 consecutive days. They then performed numerous elbow exercises with a heavy weight specifically designed to induce a moderate level of muscle injury. Pain and inflammation levels were tested before the exercise and for three days afterwards. Both types of ginger gave good results, although raw ginger was slightly more effective, reducing exercise-induced pain by 25 percent within 24 hours.

Ginger’s pain-relieving health benefits are likely a result of the many potent antioxidant compounds it contains (including gingerol and shogaol). They likely contribute to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, which are similar to those of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs, but without the side effects.

Further, ginger extracts have been shown to prevent joint swelling in animal models of rheumatoid arthritis by lowering levels of joint inflammation. Even non-gingerol components of ginger were bioactive and enhanced the anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic effects of the better known gingerol.

In one study, nearly 250 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee and accompanying moderate to severe pain were enrolled in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. The participants received ginger extract or control twice daily for 6 weeks. At the end of the study, more patients in the ginger extract group experienced a moderate reduction in knee pain upon standing relative to those in the control group.

Participants in numerous other studies have reported similar health benefits when using ginger regularly. These include a reduction in muscle soreness, improved agility and movement, and reduction in swelling and pain.

Ginger Health Benefit #3: Lowers Risk of Diabetes

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial looking at the effects of ginger on fasting blood sugar of 41 participants with type 2 diabetes had some interesting results. It showed that 2 grams of ground ginger supplement taken daily for 12 weeks reduced fasting blood sugar by an impressive 12 percent, on average. Other markers of chronic diabetes-related complications were also reduced.

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Ginger Health Benefit #4: Boosts Memory

Ginger has been shown to improve memory, along with other brain functions. One study examined the benefits of ginger extract on various aspects of brain function in 60 middle-aged, healthy women. These women were randomly assigned to receive either ginger extract or a control once daily for 2 months.

These participants were evaluated for memory and brain function at three different time points – before starting the study, after one month, and after two months. Ginger extract, reported the study researchers, “enhances both attention and cognitive processing capabilities, with no side effects.”

Ginger Health Benefit #5: Cancer Fighter

Last but not least, the truly exciting news about ginger and the bioactive compounds it contains is that they appear to be powerful cancer fighters.

Preliminary studies – mostly at the laboratory level – show that they may be effective against breast, ovarian, and colorectal cancer, among many others.

In one study, ginger extract potently suppressed growth of breast cancer cells by increasing expression of so-called “apoptotic cell death” genes and turning off other genes that would normally help these cancer cells thrive. Importantly, the extract did not adversely affect normal breast cells.

Another study examined the effects of gingerol on the ability of multiple breast cancer cell lines to migrate to other areas, known as metastasis. Treatment with increasing doses of gingerol slowed breast cancer movement and migration.

Top Health Benefits of Ginger #6 Cancer FighterThese findings and others suggest that therapies based on one or more of ginger’s naturally occurring bioactive ingredients may offer powerful health benefits for treating breast cancer in the near future.

Similarly, treatment of ovarian cancer cells with ginger “induced profound growth inhibition.” However, in this instance another bioactive component − 6-shogaol − was shown to be responsible for this effect.

In another study, researchers from the University of Minnesota’s Hormel Institute in Austin gave half a milligram of gingerol or control to mice without a functioning immune system. This was done three times a week before and after introducing human colon cancer cells. After 15 days, 13 tumors had appeared in the control group, but only four had formed in the group given gingerol. By day 28, all control group mice had formed measurable tumors, but it took 10 more days for this to happen in the gingerol group.

In other words, gingerol treatment significantly slowed down the formation of tumors in this laboratory model of colon cancer.

It turns out immune cells called tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) play a critical role in our ability to fight cancer. The more TILs infiltrate tumors and the more active they are, the better the patient’s prognosis.

Excitingly, gingerol has been shown to slow tumor growth in laboratory models of skin, kidney, and colon cancer by enabling significant infiltration of TILs into these tumors as well as into tumor draining lymph nodes. This suggests that gingerol supplementation may become a common complementary therapy to improve the efficacy of standard cancer therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation, without fear of any added side effects.

Ginger has many positive effects on health and is a key ingredient in the Optimoxx detoxing cleanse system from Epigenetic Labs, specifically designed to give you the most powerful yet gentle cleanse experience possible.

 

Sources:

  1. The World’s Healthiest Foods: Ginger
  2. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) reduces muscle pain caused by eccentric exercise.
  3. Superfood Trio: Ginger, Turmeric, and Carrots?
  4. Comparative Effects of Two Gingerol-Containing Zingiber officinale Extracts on Experimental Rheumatoid Arthritis
  5. Effects of a ginger extract on knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis.
  6. The Effects of Ginger on Fasting Blood Sugar, Hemoglobin A1c, Apolipoprotein B, Apolipoprotein A-I and Malondialdehyde in Type 2 Diabetic Patients
  7. Zingiber officinale Improves Cognitive Function of the Middle-Aged Healthy Women
  8. Differential control of growth, apoptotic activity, and gene expression in human breast cancer cells by extracts derived from medicinal herbs Zingiber officinale.
  9. [6]-Gingerol inhibits metastasis of MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells
  10. Ginger inhibits cell growth and modulates angiogenic factors in ovarian cancer cells
  11. Increased growth inhibitory effects on human cancer cells and anti-inflammatory potency of shogaols from Zingiber officinale relative to gingerols.
  12. Ginger ‘could halt bowel cancer’
  13. Administration of 6-gingerol greatly enhances the number of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in murine tumors.
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Trouble Sleeping? Try These 5 Best Essential Oils for Sleep

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Sleep: That thing we all “have to” do. That most coveted of conditions, though often the most avoided, or the most difficult to achieve. One thing is for certain, when it’s time to lie down and close our eyes to replenish, we would all like two things… for it to be easy to fall asleep, and to awaken hours later feeling refreshed.

Yet, according to the Cancer Centers, Americans spent $32.4 billion on sleep aids in 2012 alone, with 8.6 million people reporting they took medications for sleep just in the month of July 2013. WebMD reports that between a third and a half of all Americans “have insomnia and complain of poor sleep.”

Something is clearly going wrong if we’re all sleeping so badly. But surely taking a pill to sleep isn’t that big a deal, right? Well, unfortunately it’s not that simple.

Pharmaceutical sleeping medications, as most modern medications, come with a host of side effects, with some being known to be addictive and eventually even affecting memory and attention span. Of course, not all sleeping pills are alike. Some are actually anti-anxiety meds, some depress the central nervous system and are sedative, some affect melatonin or brain chemistry, and others simply make it easier to fall asleep.

Common side effects of prescribed sleeping pills include:Trouble Sleeping? Try These 5 Best Essential Oils for Sleep

  • Burning or tingling in the hands, arms, feet, or legs
  • Changes in appetite
  • Constipation
  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty keeping balance
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth or throat
  • Gas
  • Headache
  • Heartburn
  • Impairment the next day
  • Stomach pain or tenderness
  • Uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
  • Unusual dreams
  • Weakness

You can also be allergic to sleeping pills, risking more serious reactions from difficulty breathing, to vomiting, and even to anaphylactic shock. In any case, you should never mix these pills with alcohol.

With so many risks, why do so many Americans take meds to help them sleep?

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SLEEP IS VITAL TO YOUR HEALTH

Sleep is as essential to your health as food and water. Yet we don’t often make getting a good night’s sleep enough of a priority. We even make it harder to sleep properly by incorporating things like caffeinated drinks, or huge amounts of screen time into our lives, both of which affect our brain chemistry and sleep cycles. Not to mention what stress and late nights can do to a body.

So how much sleep do you need?

The National Sleep Foundation conducted a two-year study, comprising 18 leading scientists and researchers. They published their results in 2015, listing their findings on the minimum amounts of sleep humans need at each age.

The recommended number of hours are:
Newborns: 14 – 17 hours
Infants: 12 – 15 hours
Pre-Schoolers: 10 – 13 hours
School Aged Children: 9 – 11 hours
Teens: 8 – 10 hours
Adults & Young Adults: 7 – 9 hours
Older Adults: 7 – 8 hours

Repeatedly not getting enough sleep leads to “sleep debt.” Chronic sleep debt can have serious repercussions on your health, including a lowered immune system, decreased concentration or alertness, weight gain, higher risk of diabetes, loss of libido, accelerated aging, increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer.

In fact, according to the National Sleep Foundation, adults who sleep fewer than six hours per night are twice as likely to have a stroke or heart attack over those who sleep six to eight hours a nightregardless of age, weight, smoking or exercise habits.

Also worrying is the correlation between sleep and cancer. The types of cancer most frequently connected to higher risk are prostate, colorectal, and breast. It’s also worth noting that sleep apnea is connected to a higher risk of any type of cancer.

A 2013 study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention “identified a twofold risk of developing prostate cancer in men with sleep insomnia.” A study published in Cancer in 2010, reported that those that sleep less than six hours a night have a 50% higher risk of colorectal cancer, while a 2012 study suggests inadequate sleep is connected with both cancer recurrence and the risk for more aggressive breast cancer.

TIPS FOR A BETTER NIGHT’S SLEEP

Now the question arises: If we need sleep for our health and prevention of more serious diseases, and sleeping medications come with risks and harmful side effects themselves… what can we do to ensure a good night’s rest?

Glad you asked. Here are some top tips for a better sleep:

  1. Stick to a sleep schedule. This means you stick to the same times to wake up and sleep, evenTips for a better night's sleep on weekends. Doing so will help your body clock to regulate, and assist in both falling and staying asleep at night.
  2. Have a bedtime ritual. Allow a good 30 minutes for a relaxing routine activity that is free from technology. Separating your bed/sleep time from activities that cause stress, anxiety, or excitement will make it easier to fall and stay asleep. This includes avoiding bright lights, and “screens” (TV, mobile devices, computers, etc.)
  3. Avoid naps. If you have sleeping problems, don’t nap, particularly in the afternoon. While it’s true a power nap can be useful, for those that have problems falling asleep at night, avoiding naps can help.
  4. Daily exercise. National Sleep Foundation suggests vigorous exercise at any time of day, but not at the expense of your sleep. Even light exercise is beneficial.
  5. Assess your sleeping space. It may seem obvious but your bedroom needs to promote a good night’s sleep! This includes evaluating the temperature, with the National Sleep Foundation suggesting a cool 60-67 degrees being optimal. Noise (including your partner’s snoring) should be diminished as much as possible. Consider ear plugs, white noise machines, and other devices to block out sounds. To make the room as dark as possible, consider blackout curtains and eye covers/shades. Also be aware of allergens. A good air purifier can make a world of difference if you are sensitive.
  6. Spring for a good mattress. Pun intended! Again, it may seem obvious, but the mattress and pillows you use can make a huge difference in how well you sleep. Most mattresses have a lifespan of 9-10 years, if it’s good quality. Pillows can become worn out, too. Many advances have been made in the arena of memory and gel foam. Your sleep is a worthy investment in your health, not just a luxury.
  7. Use essential oils. These powerhouses of nature have a variety of health benefits, but there are a few that are well-known to help you sleep better. They include: rose, geranium, frankincense, orange, lemon, and lavender.

THE 5 BEST ESSENTIAL OILS FOR SLEEP

The 5 best essential oils for sleep The important thing to know is that high quality essential oils are 100% natural, with few side effects, if any. These oils are typically distilled from the leaves, flowers, and stems of plants, leaving a concentration of phytochemicals (naturally occurring plant chemicals) that are 40-50% more powerful than the plant itself.

While many people associate essential oils with aromatherapy, or even just making places smell nice, essential oils have been used for thousands of years in traditional medicine.

In recent decades they have been getting increased attention from researchers, in pursuit of proof to their efficacy for a wide range of treatments and conditions. Essential oils have been proven beneficial for every physical ailment under the sun, including digestive problems, anxiety, depression, pain, bacterial infection, viruses, headaches, heart conditions, cancer… and even sleep.

While there are several essential oils that can help with sleep, here are a few of the best:

Rose and Orange: A 2014 study showed significant effects from the inhalation of rose and orange essential oils reporting it “induces physiological and psychological relaxation.” A 2014 review looked at the effects of orange essential oil on insomnia and anxiety, citing positive results, while rose oil has had notable sedative effects in studies on mice, gerbils and humans.

Geranium: This lovely smelling essential oil has been long recommended for women in childbirth, due its relaxing effects. It was also seen to improve the sleep for those suffering from rhinitis (allergies) in a 2015 study conducted at Chung-Ang University in Seol, Korea.

Frankincense: This Biblically-famous essential oil has been said to be effective for anxiety and depression, calming the mind, as well as helping with insomnia. In a study of cancer patients published in 2016, researchers found 64% reported improved sleep using “aromasticks” that included frankincense. One of the reasons frankincense essential oil may be so useful for helping sleep is its known benefits for pain. A 2004 study published in Thailand reported oil of frankincense as one of the oils found to reduce both pain and anxiety in women in childbirth.

Lemon: It may surprise you due to its somewhat invigorating smell, but lemon oil has also been proven to be an effective sedative, with anti-anxiety benefits, too. In particular, a 2011 study tested these qualities on mice, in an attempt to understand why lemon essential oil is “one of the most popular compounds in Brazilian traditional herbal medicine.”

Lavender: Lavandula augustifolia, known as “true lavender,” is well-known as a fragrance and flower. In the fields of complementary medicines, lavender essential oils is well known as a super-oil, especially when it comes to sleep. Happily, science backs this claim with study after study.

In particular, lavender essential oil has been reported as a natural remedy for mild insomnia, with no long-term side effects. A 2013 and 2015 study of ICU patients, both reported that lavender oil increased sleep quality and decreased anxiety. Also in 2015, a study involving 79 college students investigated lavender oil on sleep, showing it did indeed improve sleep quality, with a “significant finding for waking feeling refreshed.”

HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS FOR IMPROVED SLEEP

Inhalation: Here are a few ways to enjoy the benefits of essential oils via inhalation.

  1. Put a few drops on a cotton ball, and place on your pillow.
  2. Place drops directly on your pillow.
  3. Purchase a cold diffuser. (Heat lessens the effects of these oils). Add drops of your favorite oils and fill your room with these wonderful fragrances.
  4. Place some drops of your chosen oil on your hands, and rub them together, while breathing in the aroma.
  5. Place some directly behind your ears or at the base of your throat for a medicinal “perfume.”Essential Oil Recipes For Sleep
  6. Add some drops to your laundry at the last (cold) rinse cycle.
  7. Add drops of essential oil to your bath for a pleasant, relaxing, aromatherapeutic effect.

Skin: Essential oils can be effective when absorbed through the skin. Of course, be careful to not stain clothing or delicate materials, never use close to sensitive areas (eyes, nose, genitals) and test for reactions on a small patch of skin before a full application. It takes approximately 20 minutes for oils to be fully absorbed.

  1. Rub your chosen oil on the bottom of your feet before bed. Even the tops of your toes, if reaching your feet is difficult.
  2. Place a drop behind your ears, or rub on the back of your neck. Under the breasts can be a good place, too.
  3. Create a quick hand (or body) lotion by mixing a few drops of essential oils with a small scoop of jojoba or coconut oil.
  4. Add drops to a good olive oil or other good quality cold-pressed oil (like grape seed) and massage into your skin. Better yet, have your partner massage it into your skin for you!
  5. Add some drops to cream and soak your feet and hands.
  6. Create a personal spray diffuser by adding drops to a small spray bottle, with or without water and spritzing your skin.

Ingestion: Some essential oils have been deemed safe for ingestion. Common sense is needed, and the guidance of a professional aromatherapist is best.

  1. Add a drop or 2 to your favorite drink.
  2. Place a few drops in about a tablespoon of juice or water, swish it around vigorously then quickly toss it to the back of your throat and swallow.
  3. Place a couple drops in vegan or vegetarian gel caps.
  4. Add to your smoothie or foods you are preparing. (Be sparing until you know the flavors you like, and each oil’s potency)

7 ESSENTIAL OIL RECIPES FOR SLEEP

Here are some essential oil blends and recipes you can try out to help you sleep better. Blend the following oils together to use directly in the ways listed above in the “How to Use” section.

Essential Oil Sleep Blend #1

  • 15 drops lavender essential oil
  • 5 drops frankincense oil
  • 6 drops orange essential oil
  • 7 drops geranium rose essential oil

Essential Oil Sleep Blend #2

  • 3 drops geranium rose essential oil
  • 2 drops lavender essential oil

Essential Oil Sleep Blend #3

  • 1 drop lemon essential oil
  • 2 drops orange essential oil
  • 1 drop frankincense oil

Essential Oil Sleep Blend #4

  • 3 drops lavender essential oil
  • 3 drops orange essential oil

Essential Oil Sleep Blend #5

  • 3 tablespoons of milk or cream
  • 5 drops of geranium rose essential oil
  • 1 drop orange essential oil
  • 1 drop lavender essential oil

Add to a bath, or soak feet/hands

Essential Oil Sleep Blend #6

  • 3 tablespoons cream
  • 2 drops lavender

Add to a bath, or soak feet/hands

Essential Oil Sleep Recipe #7

  • A jug of water
  • 5-10 drops peppermint oil
  • 5 drops lemon
  • 5 drops orange
  • Stevia to taste

To make just a glass, add 1 scant drop each of peppermint, lemon, and orange oil.

A Word of Caution When Using Essential Oils

Essential oils contain potent plant chemicals. Despite their natural origins they should be used with care and optimally with the guidance of a qualified professional. To receive the most therapeutic benefits be sure to use only the highest quality, organic essential oils such as those sourced by Epigenetic Labs.

 

Sources:

  1. Researchers are studying the link between sleep and cancer
  2. Understanding the Side Effects of Sleeping Pills
  3. How Sleep Deprivation Affects Your Heart
  4. Researchers are studying the link between sleep and cancer
  5. Sleep Disruption Among Older Men and Risk of Prostate Cancer
  6. Short Duration Of Sleep Increases Risk Of Colorectal Adenoma
  7. Association Of Sleep Duration And Breast Cancer Oncotypedx Recurrence Score
  8. Effects Of Olfactory Stimulation With Rose And Orange Oil On Prefrontal Cortex Activity.
  9. Essential Oils For Complementary Treatment Of Surgical Patients: State Of The Art.
  10. The Effects Of Prolonged Rose Odor Inhalation In Two Animal Models Of Anxiety.
  11. Behavioral Effects Of Plant-Derived Essential Oils In The Geller Type Conflict Test In Mice.
  12. Essential Oils And Anxiolytic Aromatherapy.
  13. Effect of Inhalation of Aromatherapy Oil on Patients with Perennial Allergic Rhinitis: A Randomized Controlled Trial
  14. Corrigendum to “Effect of Inhalation of Aromatherapy Oil on Patients with Perennial Allergic Rhinitis: A Randomized Controlled Trial”
  15. The Use Of Aromasticks To Help With Sleep Problems: A Patient Experience Survey.
  16. Complementary And Alternative Medicine (CAM) Use In An Italian Cohort Of Pediatric Headache Patients: The Tip Of The Iceberg.
  17. Non-Pharmacological Pain Relief In Labour.
  18. Sedative, Anxiolytic And Antidepressant Activities Of Citrus Limon (Burn) Essential Oil In Mice.
  19. Anxiolytic And Sedative Effects Of Extracts And Essential Oil From Citrus Aurantium L.
  20. The Effect of Massage With Lavender Oil on Restless Leg Syndrome in Hemodialysis Patients: A Randomized Controlled Trial
  21. Effects Of Aromatherapy On Sleep Quality And Anxiety Of Patients.
  22. 8 Essential Oils For Sleep
  23. Effects of Aromatherapy on the Anxiety, Vital Signs, and Sleep Quality of Percutaneous Coronary Intervention Patients in Intensive Care Units
  24. Effect of Inhaled Lavender and Sleep Hygiene on Self-Reported Sleep Issues: A Randomized Controlled Trial.
  25. How To Use Essential Oils To Help You Get The Best Sleep Ever
  26. How Sleep Deprivation Affects Your Heart
  27. The Reciprocal Link Between Sleep And Immune Responses.
  28. Alerting, Orienting And Executive Control: The Effects Of Sleep Deprivation On Attentional Networks
  29. Association Between Weight Gain, Obesity, And Sleep Duration: A Large-Scale 3-Year Cohort Study
  30. Sleep Duration and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: A Meta-analysis of Prospective Studies
  31. Healthy Sleep Tips
  32. Non-Pharmacological Pain Relief In Labour.
  33. [Effects Of Aroma Hand Massage On Pain, State Anxiety And Depression In Hospice Patients With Terminal Cancer].
  34. Best Essential Oils For Sleep and Relaxation
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5 Health Benefits of Ashwagandha (aka “Indian Ginseng”)

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Ashwagandha (also known as Withania somnifera) is a powerful herb that has been used for hundreds of years to treat a wide variety of conditions in the traditional form of Indian medicine known as Ayurveda. The health benefits of Ashwagandha include its well-known ability to enhance stamina and its truly extraordinary stress-relieving properties.

In Sanskrit ashwagandha means “smell of a horse.” That’s because this herb is said to impart the vigor and strength of a stallion, and has traditionally been prescribed to help people strengthen their immune system after an illness.

Although ashwagandha is frequently referred to as “Indian ginseng” because of its restorative properties, traditional Chinese and Korean ginseng and ashwagandha are not related botanically.

Ashwagandha extracts contain many beneficial bioactive compounds, including withanolides – a group of naturally occurring bioactive compounds – as well as alkaloids, choline, fatty acids, amino acids, and sugars. While its leaves and fruit contribute to ashwagandha’s health benefits, extracts of its roots are most commonly used in herbal remedies.

As many as 200 studies have been carried out on ashwagandha’s many health benefits. Let’s take a closer look at some of the scientific evidence for this superstar medicinal herb.

#1 – Ashwagandha Is an AdaptogenAshwagandha Is an Adaptogen

Ashwagandha is primarily used as an “adaptogen.” Adaptogens are substances that stabilize and balance various physiological processes within the body, especially in response to stress and a changing environment. For example, ashwagandha is known to reduce overall cellular sensitivity to stress.

Chronic stress is an ever-present facet of our modern lives and has been linked to a higher risk for a number of illnesses. In a 2016 study, a double-blind, randomized clinical trial was carried out on 52 people who were subjected to chronic stress and who received either 300 milligrams (mg) of ashwagandha or a placebo control twice daily.

Treatment with ashwagandha reduced stress levels felt by the study subjects, as assessed by various questionnaires. At the same time, blood cortisol levels (a reliable indicator of stress levels), body weight, and body mass index (BMI) were noticeably better in the ashwagandha treatment group when compared to controls.

Similarly, 60 days of treatment with ashwagandha significantly reduced both stress and cortisol levels in 64 subjects in another double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial.

These studies and others indicate that ashwagandha’s health benefits include effectively and safely managing chronic stress and its consequences. Along with alleviating stress symptoms, it is also known to combat fatigue, infuse energy, and enhance the powers of concentration.

Overall, ashwagandha confers a sense of rejuvenation and wellbeing.

#2 – Ashwagandha Boosts Thyroid Function

Ashwagandha may be able to benefit people with low thyroid function, since animal studies show that it has a thyroid hormone balancing effect.

For instance, when ashwagandha root extract was given daily to adult mice for 20 days, researchers found that their blood levels of both thyroxine and tri-iodothyronine (T3) were increased.

Thyroxine is the hormone secreted by the thyroid gland into the blood, from where it travels to organs like the liver and kidneys and gets converted to its active form, tri-iodothyronine or T3. T3 affects almost every physiological process in the body, from growth and development to metabolism, body temperature, and heart rate.

Similarly, in a randomized clinical trial, 8 weeks of treatment with ashwagandha was seen to increase levels of thyroxine in patients with bipolar disorder.

In other words, one of the major health benefits of ashwagandha appears to be correcting hypothyroidism by balancing levels of thyroid hormones.

#3 – Ashwagandha Lowers Blood Sugar and Insulin Levels

Ashwagandha Lowers Blood Sugar and Insulin LevelsIn a 2015 laboratory study, rats given fructose for 8 weeks showed significant increases in their blood sugar and insulin levels, along with higher insulin resistance – all symptoms that indicate the onset of diabetes in humans.

However, rats treated with ashwagandha root extract along with fructose did not show these unhealthy changes. In other words, the onset of diabetes-like symptoms was stopped in its tracks by ashwagandha treatment.

Separately, ashwagandha has been shown to raise the levels of the liver enzyme glucose 6-phosphatase, which is known to play a key role in controlling blood sugar levels.

#4 – Ashwagandha Is an Antioxidant

In the study described earlier in which ashwagandha root extract was given daily to adult mice for 20 days, lipid peroxidation in the livers of these mice was found to be reduced as well.

Lipid peroxidation is the process by which harmful free radicals steal electrons from lipids that make up protective cell membranes, damaging them and the cells they are meant to protect. In other words, treatment with ashwagandha root extract significantly reduced the extent of free radical-induced damage in the liver.

At the same time, it also enhanced the activity of other antioxidant enzymes that are found naturally in the liver, including superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase, thereby boosting overall antioxidant activity.

#5 – Ashwagandha: An Anticancer Agent?

Promising new evidence is emerging that ashwagandha may act powerfully against various types of cancer.

For instance, recent laboratory studies show that extracts of ashwagandha have significant toxicity against human T-leukemia cells and breast cancer cells, without damaging normal cells.

Similarly, treatment with an extract of ashwagandha reduced the levels of malondialdehyde while also boosting total antioxidant capacity in an animal model of benign prostatic hyperplasia – a condition that can lead on to prostate cancer.

Malondialdehyde is an indicator of oxidative stress. This result indicates that ashwagandha extract may lower cancer risk by combating harmful oxidative stress, while also simultaneously boosting antioxidant capacity.

Other laboratory studies using ashwagandha have shown similar anti-cancer actions against other types of cancers, including gliomas, colon cancer, and skin cancer.

Evidence suggests that the anti-cancer health benefits of ashwagandha may be related to its ability to dramatically increase numbers of white blood cells, boosting the immune system so that it is better able to prevent cancer cells from growing and spreading.

Indeed, studies have shown that ashwagandha can successfully complement chemotherapy by preventing the immune system from becoming suppressed during the treatment. Normally lower white blood cell counts occurring as a result of chemotherapy places cancer patients at a higher risk of infections, but this risk may be reduced or even eliminated by complementary ashwagandha therapy.

In conclusion, ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a powerful adaptogenic herb whose many studied health benefits include increased stamina, relief from the effects of stress, rejuvenation, balanced thyroid hormone levels, lowered blood sugar and insulin, neutralization of harmful free radicals, and powerful anti-cancer activity against many different types of cancers.

Ashwagandha is an ingredient in the Optimoxx detoxing cleanse system from Epigenetic Labs specifically designed to give you the most powerful yet gentle cleanse experience possible. 

health-benefits-ashwagandha

 

Sources:

  1. What Is Ashwagandha?
  2. Body Weight Management in Adults Under Chronic Stress Through Treatment With Ashwagandha Root Extract: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial.
  3. A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults.
  4. Changes in thyroid hormone concentrations after administration of ashwagandha root extract to adult male mice.
  5. Withania somnifera and Bauhinia purpurea in the regulation of circulating thyroid hormone concentrations in female mice.
  6. Subtle changes in thyroid indices during a placebo-controlled study of an extract of Withania somnifera in persons with bipolar disorder.
  7. Protective effects of Withania somnifera root on inflammatory markers and insulin resistance in fructose-fed rats.
  8. Withania somnifera Induces Cytotoxic and Cytostatic Effects on Human T Leukemia Cells.
  9. Evaluation and Comparison of the In Vitro Cytotoxic Activity of Withania somnifera Methanolic and Ethanolic Extracts against MDA-MB-231 and Vero Cell Lines.
  10. Antiproliferative and Antioxidant Effects of Withania coagulans Extract on Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia in Rats.
  11. Studies on immunomodulatory activity of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) extracts in experimental immune inflammation.
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Should Women Consume Turmeric During Pregnancy?

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Most health experts agree that a varied diet is the best way for both mother and child to get the nutrition they need for a healthy pregnancy and childbirth. At the same time, expecting mothers clearly need to be careful about consuming certain foods, such as liver (more on this later in the article), coffee, and alcohol as these may harm the growing baby’s health and affect its development.

But what about the south Asian root spice turmeric?

Given that turmeric contains more than 300 potent bioactive compounds (including curcumin) – all of which have multiple biological actions in our bodies… is it safe for women to consume turmeric during pregnancy?

What is Turmeric?What is Turmeric

Typically added as a colorant and spice to Indian and South Asian curries, as well as to mustard and some cheeses, turmeric is the spice that gives these foods their yellow color. Known scientifically as Curcuma longa, turmeric root has also been used in India as a medicinal component in Ayurveda, the traditional Indian system of medicine which has been around for some 5,000 years or more.

More recently, thousands of scientific studies have been carried out on curcumin − the main bioactive ingredient in turmeric. Curcumin has shown to have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and is believed to be responsible for many of turmeric’s known health benefits.

So, what do we know so far about taking turmeric during pregnancy?

Low Levels of Turmeric During Pregnancy Are Considered Safe

The short answer is, it depends on how much turmeric is being consumed. In general, physicians typically advise expecting mothers against taking any supplements unless they are absolutely essential. This is because pregnant women are usually excluded from clinical studies and there is little data to guide them.

One concern that has been raised is that consumption of turmeric may stimulate the uterus during pregnancy, possibly increasing the risk of premature births and miscarriages. However, laboratory experiments show that curcuminoids – bioactive compounds found in turmeric that include curcumin – actually have a relaxing effect on uterine muscle.

While this is not conclusive evidence that it’s completely safe to consume turmeric during pregnancy, millions of women in India and other parts of south Asia do take small amounts of turmeric as part of their daily diet when they are pregnant, without any reported adverse effects.

Low Levels of Turmeric During Pregnancy Are Considered SafeAnother concern is whether curcumin and other bioactive ingredients in turmeric can affect the growing baby’s development. Scientific evidence shows that taking a high dose of a turmeric extract daily for up to 90 days did not cause any observable immediate or long-term toxic effects in laboratory animals. Also, turmeric had no mutagenic effects – in other words, no damage to DNA or other vital cellular structures was observed.

Along with being non-toxic, curcumin was seen to promote lung development in rat fetuses and may even protect unborn fetuses from the effects of alcohol consumed by the mother during early pregnancy. However, it must be emphasized that this does not make it safe for women to drink alcohol during their pregnancy.

Based on the available evidence so far, it is perhaps safest for pregnant women to consume low quantities of turmeric – for instance as a spice to season foods such as curries and soups – but preferably not as a high-dose supplement. Women who are allergic to turmeric should completely avoid it during pregnancy.

Health Benefits of Turmeric During Pregnancy

The many studied health benefits of turmeric, some of which have long been exploited in Ayurveda, are also likely to benefit women during pregnancy, including:

  • Supporting strong, healthy, flexible joints
  • Boosting the immune system to help it fight against infections
  • Helping to maintain levels of healthy bacteria in the gut, protecting against stomach disorders, and relieving constipation
  • Increasing the flow of bile, necessary for breaking down dietary fat during digestion
  • Supporting the liver in detoxing and purifying blood
  • Helping to manage healthy blood sugar and lipid levels

Recently, curcumin has also been shown in laboratory experiments to prevent endometriosis, which is the abnormal growth of cells similar to those normally found inside the uterus (known as endometrial cells) in locations outside the uterus. This health condition can have a profound social and psychological impact on women and affect their chances of having children.

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General Nutrition Tips During Pregnancy

  • Protein – pregnant women are advised to consume 70 grams of protein daily. Adding a little protein to every meal can help to meet protein needs, keep energy levels stable throughout the day, and lower the risk of heartburn.
  • Folate – is used to describe a number of water soluble B-vitamins, known collectively as vitamin B9. Folate helps to make and repair our DNA. It is also required for red blood cell production, to keep blood levels of homocysteine safely low, and support nervous system function. Folate also helps to prevent neural tube-related birth defects, including spina bifida − which is why women who are trying to conceive are advised to consume folate-rich foods and take supplemental folate or methylated folate as applicable every day until they are 12 weeks pregnant. Plant foods rich in folate include romaine lettuce, spinach, asparagus, turnip greens, mustard greens, parsley, collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, and lentils. Additionally, calf’s liver and chicken liver are also great sources.Synthetic folic acid has been used for many years to fortify foods in the U.S. to reduce the chance of neural tube defects in developing babies. However, several concerns have recently been raised regarding its safety and effectiveness. According to some reports, supplementation with synthetic folic acid is ineffective and perhaps even harmful in a significant proportion of people. Please consult your healthcare provider for information regarding the folate supplement most suitable for your situation.
  • Vitamin D – pregnant women are also advised to consider taking a vitamin D supplement, since this vitamin regulates calcium and phosphate levels, which are necessary to keep bones, teeth, and muscles healthy. All adults, including pregnant and breastfeeding women, need at least 10 micrograms (10 mcg) of vitamin D daily. (Read more about Vitamin D deficiency here.)
  • Calcium – recommended daily reference intake (DRI) during pregnancy is 1000 mg, or 1 gram.
  • Iron – recommended DRI during pregnancy is 27 mg. The National Academy of Sciences recommends a supplement with 30 mg/day after 12th week for most women.
  • Vitamin A – pregnant women are strongly advised to stay away from vitamin A supplements or any supplements that include vitamin A (retinol), as too much of it could harm the growing baby. Liver is very rich in vitamin A so it is a good idea to limit liver consumption or avoid it entirely during pregnancy. Beta-carotene, the form of vitamin A found in fruits and vegetables, can safely be consumed in unlimited amounts, as the body will only convert it to vitamin A as and when needed.

If you’re not pregnant (or are pre- or post-pregnancy), and are looking for an excellent way to receive the health benefits of curcumin (turmeric) − plus two of nature’s other most beneficial spices  be sure to check out Magi Complex from Epigenetic Labs.

Sources:

  1. Clinical Research Enrolling Pregnant Women: A Workshop Summary
  2. Nutrition in Pregnancy: The Basics
  3. Turmeric and Pregnancy
  4. Antispasmodic effects of curcuminoids on isolated guinea-pig ileum and rat uterus.
  5. Systematic and comprehensive investigation of the toxicity of curcuminoid‑essential oil complex: A bioavailable turmeric formulation.
  6. Curcumin augments lung maturation, preventing neonatal lung injury by inhibiting TGF-β signaling.
  7. Improvements of insulin resistance in ovariectomized rats by a novel phytoestrogen from Curcuma comosa Roxb.
  8. Curcumin arrests endometriosis by downregulation of matrix metalloproteinase-9 activity.
  9. The little known (but crucial) difference between folate and folic acid
Posted

The 8 Best Essential Oils for Anxiety & Stress Relief

anxiety-essential-oils

Did you know that the most common mental health issues in the U.S. are anxiety disorders? According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety affects 18.1% of the U.S. population, with women being 60% more likely than men to experience an anxiety disorder over their lifetime.

And these are just the diagnosed cases. We can’t know the true level of people living with anxiety who haven’t sought professional help. Those simply holding on by their fingernails, getting by. Then of course there are those who suffer periodic anxiety due to specific events, or certain stressors in life. Trips to the dentist, being in labor, workloads, surgery, family problems… Anxiety is rife in today’s modern world.

Whatever the case or reason, the fact is anxiety costs the U.S. over $42 billion a year! That’s from patients seeking treatment through traditional health care, mainly the cost of repeated visits. This would seem to indicate that whatever the docs are doing and/or prescribing… isn’t working so well!

Here’s the next question… Did you also know that for centuries, essential oils have been used effectively for anxiety?

If you look at the growing library of research on these powerful plant oils (that are some 40-50% more powerful as extracts than the plant themselves), it’s no wonder. What a gift to have bona fide science finally backing up what traditional practices have known for thousands of years. Literally!

If you’re looking for an essential oil for anxiety, here are 8 of the best options according to science…

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender - Best Essential Oil for AnxietyHistorically oil of lavender has been used for everything from perfume to healing, from embalming to insect repellent.

Among its benefits, lavender has been shown to offer pain relief, and even antibiotic characteristics. Add to this list burn healing, allergy support, and being anti-fungal. She’s the queen of essential oils, for sure!

When it comes to oils for anxiety, lavender is the best essential oil for anxiety across the board. In fact it’s been put into capsule form and sold as a natural anti-anxiety supplement. It’s non-sedative, and has been compared to traditional prescription meds as “an effective substitute,” while being non-addictive. In fact one study that elicited anxiety responses in rats (alarm periods) went so far as to say, “lavender oil increased the response rate during the alarm period in a dose-dependent manner in the same manner as diazepam.” [Note: Diazepam was first marketed as valium and is a drug commonly used to treat anxiety disorders.]

A 2013 paper published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine stated that studies on both animals and humans provides growing evidence that “lavender oil may be an effective medicament in treatment of several neurological disorders.”

It’s not just for anxiety disorders, though. Lavender essential oil has been studied for use in operations and dental work, showing great effect at lowering stress and anxiety during these often fraught situations.

When using lavender to help with anxiety, don’t be fooled by imitations: there is only one “true” lavender that has the most potent effects: Lavandula angustifolia.  

You can use lavender essential oil in a variety of ways to address anxiety: as aromatherapy via inhalation, ingestion (see cautions further below), as well as applying to the skin. In the case of skin applications, you can apply it directly or use a carrier oil (organic, cold-pressed coconut, avocado, or olive oil are all good options) and it will absorb and be at its peak of efficacy after about 20 minutes.

Lemon and Orange Oil

Lemon and Orange Essential Oils for AnxietyWhen it comes to the wonders of both lemon and orange essential oils, it’s all about the phytochemical (plant chemical) limonene. There is extensive research on limonene, including over 200 studies on its anti-cancer benefits. The levels of limonene in citrus plants will vary depending on the trees themselves, but in general lemons contain 59-73% limonene, and orange oil 85-96%.

In a 2006 study, lemon oil was found to possess “anxiolytic [anti-anxiety], antidepressant-like effects.” In one study between the essential oil of lemon and other oils, “lemon oil had the strongest anti-stress effect.”

Orange essential oil has been studied in a variety of anxiety-causing circumstances, most notably dentistry, surgery, and women in labor. All research points to the positive effect orange oil had on the anxiety levels of patients.

Both lemon oil and orange oil can be used via inhalation, and skin application. You can also add a few drops to your water, for added flavor and health benefits.

Rose Essential Oil

Rose Essential OilThis essential oil has been used for everything from cooking to perfume. Though it has always been highly revered in traditional healing practices, not everyone realizes the health benefits this fragrant oil hides as well.

The key components of rose oil are the phytochemicals citronellol and geraniol. Depending on the plants, soil, and harvesting of the flowers, rose oil contains 34-44% and 12-28% of these powerful chemicals, respectively.

Among the benefits of rose essential oil are (in alphabetical order):

  • acting as an antidepressant
  • antiphlogistic (preventing/relieving inflammation)
  • antiseptic (preventing the growth of disease-causing microorganisms)
  • antispasmodic (relieving spasms)
  • antiviral
  • aphrodisiac
  • astringent
  • bactericidal
  • cholagogue (promoting beneficial discharge of bile)
  • cicatrisant (forming healing scar tissue)
  • depurative (purifying/detoxifying)
  • emmenagogue (stimulating menstrual flow)
  • haemostatic (stopping bleeding)
  • hepatic (helping keep the liver strong)
  • laxative
  • nervine (calming the nerves)
  • stomachic (promoting appetite/assisting digestion)
  • uterine (regulating menstruation)

Several studies have shown rose oil to posses the power to “significantly lower” anxiety. This includes a study where blood pressure, breathing rate, and oxygen saturation were notable affected. It’s also been used as an essential oil for depression.

Geranium Essential Oil

Geranium Essential OilYet another powerful flower! Although geranium oil is actually distilled from the leaves and stems, as opposed to the flower petals as is rose oil.

Because geranium oil is significantly less expensive to produce, it is often used in place of rose oil. However, the essence of geranium should not be dismissed. It contains its own depths as a natural healing aid, with some 65 phytochemicals, as well as being rich in antioxidants. Little wonder then it has been long used for a wide variety of health benefits, including possessing anti-fungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, anti-hemorrhagic, and antiseptic benefits. Geranium oil has many anti-cancer benefits as well.

Studies have also shown geranium oil to relieve anxiety, and bring higher levels of wellbeing. A 2015 study reported, “The mean anxiety score decreased significantly after inhalation of the aroma of geranium essential oil. There was also a significant decrease in diastolic blood pressure.”

You can use geranium oil in a variety of ways. Try rubbing it on your skin (either directly or with a good carrier oil such as jojoba or fractionated coconut oil) or using a cold diffuser. Even placing some drops on your hands and rubbing them together as you inhale has positive effects. The FDA has deemed this oil safe for consumption, so you could try adding a couple drops to a drink, sweetening (if desired) with a healthier sweetener such as organic honey or green stevia.

Peppermint & Eucalyptus Essential Oils

These are two essential oils that, while well known, have not been commonly connected to anxiety relief. First, let’s look at peppermint oil…

It may surprise you to learn that this “spicy” oil has been found to have anxiolytic (anxiety reducing) benefits, as well. It’s true, this oil is more commonly known for its other qualities, including being antiseptic/antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, offering pain relief, and acting as an amazing digestive aid and for calming a nervous stomach. In addition, researchers from the University of Maryland Medical Center found that peppermint oil has “a calming, soothing effect on anxiety and depression.”

Several other studies have been done and continue on the benefits of using this plant powerhouse for anxiety.

Another essential oil that’s not often been connected to anxiety relief is eucalyptus. A 2014 study reported that “1,8-Cineole, a major constituent of eucalyptus, was effective in decreasing anxiety,” in fact, significantly more than the other components being tested.

Of course this oil is better known for its use in cold medicines. It’s also used as an insect repellent, is antibacterial, antiviral, anti-parasitic, and anti-inflammatory. It’s even good for pain relief, helps regulate blood sugar and blood pressure. It will be exciting to see the research connecting eucalyptus essential oil to anxiety grow as time goes on.

Frankincense Essential OilFrankincense Essential Oil

Last, but far from least, is the essential oil of frankincense.

Substantial research has been done on this medicinal gift from the Boswellia tree, largely due to its long history and use in ancient healing traditions. Among its known healing benefits, frankincense oil has been shown to help with arthritis pain, balancing hormones, encouraging skin health, providing neurological support, and aiding digestion.

Frankincense’s cancer benefits are wide-ranging, too, being reported to be anti-inflammatory, to boost immune function, and improve circulation, among others.

With regards to anxiety specifically, a 2009 study published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology reported frankincense “causes behavioral as well as anti-depressive and anxiolytic effects in mice” containing “an arsenal of bio-active small molecules with a considerable therapeutic potential that is far from being utilized.” Science continues to study this plant extract across the gamut of health issues, but, as in a 2004 study on its use in the labor room, the use of oil of frankincense has been “favourably reported” as one of the top essential oils for “relief of anxiety and fear.”

You can use oil of frankincense on your skin, directly or with a carrier oil. Try putting some behind your ears, or at the base of your throat. You can also use a cold diffuser (heating kills many of the benefits of essential oils), and pure, top quality frankincense oils are ingestible.

CAUTION: Using Essential Oils Carries Risks
Essential oils are powerful. Despite their natural origins they should be used with care. To receive the most therapeutic benefits use only the highest quality, organic essential oils such as those sourced by Epigenetic Labs.

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Sources:

  1. Any Anxiety Disorder Among Adults
  2. The Metabolic Responses to Aerial Diffusion of Essential Oils
  3. Bergamot: A Powerful Mood-Booster
  4. Behavioral effects of plant-derived essential oils in the geller type conflict test in mice.
  5. [The effects of the inhalation method using essential oils on blood pressure and stress responses of clients with essential hypertension].
  6. Lavender and the Nervous System
  7. Essential Oils for Complementary Treatment of Surgical Patients: State of the Art
  8. Comparison of antispasmodic effects of Dracocephalum kotschyi essential oil, limonene and α-terpineol.
  9. 6 Ways to Use Citrus Essential Oil for Cancer Prevention
  10. Lemon oil vapor causes an anti-stress effect via modulating the 5-HT and DA activities in mice.
  11. Health Benefits of Orange Essential Oil
  12. The effect of aromatherapy by essential oil of orange on anxiety during labor: A randomized clinical trial.
  13. Health Benefits of Rose Essential Oil
  14. The Magnificence of Rose Essential Oil for Health & Beauty
  15. Comparing the effects of aromatherapy with rose oils and warm foot bath on anxiety in the first stage of labor in nulliparous women.
  16. The effects of prolonged rose odor inhalation in two animal models of anxiety.
  17. Anxiolytic-like effects of rose oil inhalation on the elevated plus-maze test in rats
  18. The effects of clinical aromatherapy for anxiety and depression in the high risk postpartum woman – a pilot study.
  19. 17 Healing Uses of Geranium Essential Oil
  20. An In Vitro System Comprising Immortalized Hypothalamic Neuronal Cells (GT1-7 Cells) for Evaluation of the Neuroendocrine Effects of Essential Oils.
  21. Effect of Inhalation of Aroma of Geranium Essence on Anxiety and Physiological Parameters during First Stage of Labor in Nulliparous Women: a Randomized Clinical Trial
  22. Peppermint Oil for Anxiety & Depression
  23. National Center for Biotechnology Information – Peppermint Anxiolytic
  24. The Effect of 1,8-Cineole Inhalation on Preoperative Anxiety: A Randomized Clinical Trial
  25. Effect of Echinophora platyloba, Stachys lavandulifolia, and Eucalyptus camaldulensis plants on Trichomonas vaginalis growth in vitro
  26. The Powerful Protective Properties of Eucalyptus Essential Oil
  27. Frankincense−therapeutic properties.
  28. The Anti-Inflammatory and Healing Power of Boswellia Serrata
  29. Boswellia resin: from religious ceremonies to medical uses; a review of in-vitro, in-vivo and clinical trials.
  30. Non-pharmacological pain relief in labour.
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The 5 Most Beneficial Anti-Aging Foods

anti-aging-foods

Aging is the sum total of all the changes that happen to us over the course of our lifetimes from birth to death. Aging is fun when it means celebrating milestone birthdays that allow us “grown up” privileges such as driving or voting. When we reach middle age, however, we begin to notice less than welcome features such as gray hair and wrinkles – and what’s worse, progressive mental and physical decline.

Even the very fit don’t escape the ravages of Father Time. Aging has been shown to slow down the times of marathon runners and affect the performances of elite athletes and chess grandmasters. Age-associated cognitive decline or a reduction in brain power and memory happens to everyone as they get older.

Another worrying aspect is that many people become more susceptible to infections and diseases with age. Sometimes it can be hard to separate age-related changes from the onset of an infection or debilitating disease.

For instance, a common belief is that people become cranky, depressed, and withdrawn as they get older. But people’s personalities do not change that much as they grow older. Instead, studies show that such significant changes in personality and behavior may be an early indication of disease or dementia.

Aging affects cells in every major organ in your body, yet many questions still remain as to what triggers aging, why it happens, and what exactly are the biological processes underlying these changes.

So, just why do these changes happen… and what anti-aging steps (if any) can be taken to delay these changes as long as possible?

To answer this question, let’s take a look at the so-called “free radical theory of disease and aging.”

What Are Antioxidants and Why Do You Need Them?What Are Antioxidants and Why Do You Need Them

Antioxidants are molecules which neutralize harmful free radicals and protect vital cellular structures in your body from their damaging effects. Many antioxidants can be obtained naturally from the foods you eat. Your body also contains antioxidant enzyme systems.

To understand why antioxidants are necessary for your health, let’s first understand what free radicals are and what they do.

Free radicals are highly reactive chemicals that are formed daily in your body – usually in manageable amounts – as a result of normal metabolic activity. Being very unstable, free radicals typically attack the nearest stable molecule and “steal” its electron. When the “attacked” molecule loses its electron, it becomes a free radical itself, thus beginning a chain reaction.

Once this process is started, it can become a cascade, damaging vital structures such as the outer protective membrane of your body’s cells, cellular proteins, and even DNA.

For instance, free radicals known as reactive oxygen species (ROS) are made in your body when oxygen is used to burn fuel and make energy. Getting rid of ROS is essential for life and is normally carried out by your innate antioxidant enzyme system.

However, when too much of ROS or other free radicals are formed – for example, when you’re exposed to toxic chemicals, infections, and diseases – and your body’s detoxification enzyme system is no longer able to cope, it leads to a situation known as “oxidative stress.”

Thanks to the ever-increasing levels of toxic chemical pollution including factory and automobile exhaust, UV radiation from the sun, cigarette smoke, pesticides, herbicides, household cleaners, and hundreds of other synthetic products in every aspect of our environment, we’re now being bombarded with many more free radical attacks than ever before. As a result our bodies are experiencing much more oxidative stress than they’re equipped to handle.

Oxidative stress and other forms of free radical-induced damage is believed to be involved in the development of heart disease and stroke, as well as high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related conditions, while also contributing to overall aging.

This is known as the “free radical theory of disease and aging.”

A simple yet effective way of countering the harmful effects of free radicals is to eat right and provide your body with the right nutrition by consuming anti-aging foods and supplements, which contain free-radical fighting antioxidants.

Let’s take a look at a few of the best anti-aging foods and food components and understand how they may be able to help fight disease and slow down the aging process.

Anti-aging Food #1 BlueberriesAnti-aging Food #1: Blueberries

Blueberries, which belong to the same North American family as cranberries and bilberries, lower cholesterol levels, improve glucose control and insulin sensitivity, and lower the risk of subsequent heart disease and diabetes.

These delicious fruits have the highest antioxidant capacity of all fresh fruit because of their anthocyanin, vitamin C, and vitamin E content. Blueberries also contain significant amounts of vitamin A, selenium, zinc, and iron.

Excitingly, blueberries have been shown to improve memory. In a study involving older adults, 12 weeks of blueberry consumption improved their brain function and memory scores.

Blueberries have also been shown to slow down age-related vision loss in clinical studies, especially macular degeneration, cataracts, and other retinal disorders. This is because blueberries contain the carotenoid antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which are known to directly benefit retinal health.

Additionally, blueberries protect skin against free radical damage because of sun exposure. Regular blueberry consumption has been shown to reduce muscle soreness after exercise, especially running. Just be sure to consume organic blueberries, otherwise you’ll be taking in harmful pesticides along with the berries.

Anti-aging Food #2: TurmericAnti-aging Food #2 Turmeric

Turmeric – the yellow-colored root spice in curry dishes – has a long history of use in Ayurveda, the traditional Indian system of medicine. Modern science is still uncovering a growing list of diseases that can be effectively and safely treated by the more than 300 bioactive components in turmeric.

Evidence suggests a close link between inflammation, oxidative stress, and the risk of developing many chronic diseases. A study assessing the effectiveness of various anti-inflammatory compounds found that curcumin – one of the main bioactive ingredients in turmeric – is one of the most effective, comfortably beating aspirin and ibuprofen.

Curcumin and other curcuminoid antioxidants in turmeric will likely play a key role in the prevention and treatment of many diseases triggered or made worse by inflammation, including arthritis, ulcerative colitis, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, many types of cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Curcumin has been shown to be very effective against cancers of the breast, prostate, liver, colon, lung, and pancreas in laboratory conditions.

The prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease in older Indian adults is 4-5 times less than that of American adults. Some experts believe this is because Indians consume between 25-50 milligrams (mg) of turmeric daily over their entire lifetimes, and preliminary scientific evidence supports this view.

Anti-aging Food #3 Green TeaAnti-aging Food #3: Green Tea

Green tea contains many powerful antioxidants including polyphenols known as catechins, which benefit the body by fighting free radical-induced susceptibility to disease and adverse effects of aging.

People who regularly drink green tea are less likely to get common bacterial and viral infections. In other words, green tea consumption boosts the immune system.

A study that followed over 40,000 Japanese participants for 11 years showed that participants who drank 5 or more cups of green tea daily had a significantly lower risk of dying due to all causes, especially cardiovascular disease, likely by lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Drinking green tea regularly has also been linked to a reduced risk of stroke.

Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is the most abundant polyphenol antioxidant in green tea. Laboratory studies have shown that EGCG and other green tea antioxidants are toxic to cancer cells, while population studies indicate that green tea consumption is associated with a lower risk for many cancers.

Anti-aging Food #4: PomegranatesAnti-aging Food #4 Pomegranates

Pomegranates are incredibly healthy fruits, chock full of antioxidant, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. They are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and folic acid.

Traditionally, pomegranates are believed to be so useful for maintaining healthy blood circulation that some doctors recommend eating them regularly to regain strength after a long illness. Pomegranates have also been used for clearing up the skin and lowering blood pressure, along with relieving pain, severity of arthritis, and joint inflammation associated with osteoarthritis.

According to another study, antioxidants in pomegranates – including ellagic acid and punicalagin – can prevent harmful oxidization of LDL cholesterol, one of the first steps in the development of heart disease. In fact, regular consumption of pomegranate juice has been shown to reverse the onset of atherosclerosis, lowering the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Finally, flavonoid antioxidants present in pomegranates appear to lower cancer risk.

Anti-aging Food #5: Olive Oil

Olive oil, rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), is a major component of the Mediterranean diet. People living in this region tend to have longer life expectancies, along with a lower risk of heart disease and stroke, lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and lower blood pressure, compared with North Americans and Northern Europeans.

Regular consumption of virgin or extra virgin olive oil helps to reduce inflammation and prevents hardening of the arteries and the development of atherosclerosis, lowering the risk of heart disease.

Olive oil consumption may also lower the risk of stroke in older people.

Further, virgin olive oil appears to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias with age; protect the liver from the harmful consequences of oxidative stress; and prevent acute pancreatitis and ulcerative colitis.

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Natural Antioxidants Found in Anti-Aging Foods

The main naturally occurring antioxidants in our foods are vitamin E, beta-carotene, and vitamin C. Selenium, a trace metal needed for the proper function of one of our body’s antioxidant enzyme systems, is also included in this category.

Since your body cannot make these micronutrients, which are absolutely essential for our health, it is critical that you get them from your daily diet.

  • Vitamin E – is the collective name for a group of related fat-soluble antioxidants found naturally in apricots, nuts such as almonds and hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, vegetable and fish oils, whole grains including wheat germ, spinach, broccoli, and some fortified cereals.

Vitamin E prevents formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and counters lipid peroxidation, a process by which free radicals damage our cell membranes. In this way, it helps prevent or delay chronic diseases associated with free radicals. For instance, vitamin E may protect against cardiovascular disease by blocking oxidation of LDL-cholesterol and preventing artery-clogging plaque formation.

The Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) at the Institute of Medicine of The National Academies recommends a daily intake of 15 milligrams (mg) of vitamin E for adult men and women, including pregnant women. Lactating women are recommended to take 19 mg daily.

  • Vitamin C – is a water-soluble vitamin antioxidant present in citrus fruits and juices, green peppers, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, kale, cantaloupe, kiwi, and strawberries. Unlike most animals, we humans cannot make vitamin C in our bodies, so we have to get it from our diet. Vitamin C has been shown to regenerate other antioxidants, including vitamin E, and combats free-radical formation caused by pollution and cigarette smoke.

Many studies have correlated high vitamin C consumptionMany studies have correlated high vitamin C consumption with low rates of cancer, especially of the mouth, larynx, and esophagus. Further, studies are ongoing to see whether vitamin C might help prevent or delay the development of cardiovascular disease and other diseases in which oxidative stress may be a trigger.

The Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) recommends a daily intake of 90 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C for adult men and 75 mg for women. Pregnant women are recommended to take 85 mg daily, while lactating women are recommended to take 120 mg daily.

  • Beta-Carotene – is a carotenoid antioxidant present in liver, egg yolk, milk, butter, spinach, carrots, squash, broccoli, yams, tomato, cantaloupe, peaches, and grains. Beta-carotene is a provitamin A compound that is converted into vitamin A in our bodies, although it is less easily absorbed than preformed vitamin A. The international standard of measure for vitamin A is retinol activity equivalent (RAE). Two micrograms (one microgram is one-thousandth of a milligram, or mg) of beta-carotene taken as a supplement is converted to one microgram of retinol, giving it an RAE ratio of 2:1. However, 12 micrograms of beta-carotene from food are required to provide the body with one microgram of retinol, giving dietary beta-carotene an RAE ratio of 12:1. It is important to note that vitamin A itself has no antioxidant properties and may even be harmful in very high doses, especially when taken as a supplement.
  • Selenium – is a trace element, nutritionally essential for us humans, that is present naturally in many foods and is also available as a dietary supplement. Most selenium is found in body proteins, mainly in muscle, which accounts for 28-46 percent of total selenium.

The Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) recommends a daily intake of 55 micrograms (mcg) of selenium for adult men and women older than 19 years. Pregnant women are recommended to take 60 mcg daily, while lactating women are recommended to take 70 mcg daily.

If you’re not getting all the antioxidants you need from food, your best source is whole food vitamins. FulviMAX from Epigenetic Labs contains 21 uniquely fermented vitamins and enzyme-activated minerals that are more “bioavailable” and easily absorbed by your body than the synthetic compounds found in most supplements. 

 

Sources:

  1. National Institute on Aging: Biology of Aging
  2. National Institutes of Health: Vitamin E
  3. National Institutes of Health: Vitamin C
  4. Linus Pauling Institute: Micronutrient Information Center – Carotenoids
  5. National Institutes of Health: Selenium
  6. The World’s Healthiest Foods: Blueberries
  7. Turmeric – the spice of life
  8. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin.
  9. University of Maryland Medical Center: Green Tea
  10. 7 Incredible Pomegranate Seeds Benefits
  11. Bioavailable constituents/metabolites of pomegranate (Punica granatum L) preferentially inhibit COX2 activity ex vivo and IL-1beta-induced PGE2 production in human chondrocytes in vitro
  12. The World’s Healthiest Foods: Olive Oil, Extra Virgin
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The Numerous Health Benefits of Turmeric

health-benefits-turmeric

Have you ever partaken of an Indian or South Asian curry?

The reason they are typically yellow in color is because they contain the root spice turmeric. Known scientifically as Curcuma longa, turmeric is found all over South Asia and is believed to have been in use in India as both a spice and as a medicinal component for at least 5,000 years.

The many health benefits of turmeric have long been exploited in Ayurveda, the traditional Indian system of medicine. According to Ayurvedic practitioners:

  • Turmeric maintains gut flora and protects against stomach disorders. It’s also a natural antiseptic and is useful for disinfecting cuts, burns, wounds, and other skin infections.
  • Turmeric detoxes Turmeric detoxes the liverthe liver. Curcumin (a primary compound of turmeric root) has been found to increase the flow of bile, which is necessary for breaking down dietary fat during digestion.
  • Turmeric can help to manage blood sugar.
  • Due to its anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties, turmeric is used in Ayurveda for easing arthritis inflammation and pain.

Additionally, turmeric is also used to provide relief to people suffering from cough, tonsillitis, sore throat, swollen gums and canker sores, upper respiratory congestion, dry cough, and asthma.

But it’s not just traditionalists who value turmeric. According to modern science, the list of turmeric’s health benefits – specifically, of its more than 300 bioactive components known as “curcuminoids,” which exert various beneficial biological actions in our body – is growing by the day.

Thousands of scientific studies have been carried out on curcumin, the main curcuminoid and active ingredient present in turmeric. Curcumin is believed to be responsible for many of turmeric’s studied health benefits.

turmeric-health-benefits

Turmeric’s Anti-Inflammatory Activity

Inflammation has been getting a bad rap recently. In fact, inflammation is the body’s natural response to cellular and tissue damage caused by injury, harmful external invaders such as bacteria and viruses, as well as various toxic pollutants that enter our bodies via our diet or from the environment.

Inflammation starts out as a protective response that works to eliminate the original cause of damage, clear out damaged and dying cells, and begin the process of repair and healing.

Although inflammation is beneficial for the body in the short term, ongoing inflammation is now known to play a major role in almost every chronic disease including diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and other brain degenerative diseases – as well as cancer.

Inflammatory mechanisms have been linked to the development of atherosclerosis, an early step in the formation of heart disease. Inflammatory mechanisms have also been shown to trigger thrombosis, leading to heart infarcts (attacks) and strokes.

Similarly, chFighting Free Radicals and Boosting Natural Antioxidants with Turmericronic inflammation is a necessary component for cancer formation and progression. The so-called “tumor microenvironment” – largely controlled by inflammatory cells – plays an active role in the growth, survival, and spread of cancer cells. The tumor microenvironment is the environment in which the tumor exists and usually includes blood vessels, immune cells such as lymphocytes, inflammatory cells, and various signaling molecules.

Curcumin has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine for addressing inflammatory conditions. This is supported by recent scientific research which shows that curcumin fights inflammation by interacting with and blocking the actions of a number of different molecules that play a role in the inflammatory process.

Early results from clinical trials indicate that curcumin is safe with no toxicity observed up to doses of up to 10 grams daily. In other words, turmeric’s health benefits don’t come with a laundry list of side effects, like many mainstream drugs do.

Fighting Free Radicals and Boosting Natural Antioxidants with Turmeric

Free radicals are highly reactive chemicals that are formed daily in our bodies as a result of normal biological metabolic activity. However, thanks to the ever-increasing levels of toxic chemical pollution in our environment, we’re now being bombarded with many more free radical attacks than ever before.

Free radicals damage cellular structures including the outer protective cell membrane, cellular proteins, and even DNA – paving the way for chronic diseases such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer to develop. Free radical damage is also believed to contribute significantly to the aging process.

Turmeric Protects Against Many Types of CancerTurmeric contains powerful curcuminoid antioxidants which can help neutralize harmful free radicals and minimize the damage they cause in our bodies.

Not only that, turmeric has been shown to support the activity of our body’s natural antioxidant enzymes, including superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase, and glutathione peroxidase.

SOD breaks down and inactivates harmful superoxide radicals. Catalase protects our cells from oxidative damage caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are a type of harmful free radical that contains oxygen. Similarly, the main biological role of glutathione peroxidase is to protect our cells from oxidative damage.

In other words, the antioxidant benefits of turmeric include neutralization of free radicals as well as enhancing the activity of natural enzymes in our body that also inactivate them.

Turmeric Supports a Healthy Immune Response

Extensive research indicates that the health benefits of turmeric include supporting a healthy immune response. A healthy immune system is what allows the body to fight off disease. Curcumin has been studied for its ability to block the proliferation of a wide variety of tumor cells by turning off multiple molecular mechanisms that otherwise allow them to grow uncontrollably.

Some believe that curcumin may interfere with up to a hundred different cell signaling pathways – including those of the cell cycle, apoptosis (programmed cell death), proliferation, invasion, angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels to support tumor growth), metastasis, and inflammation.

Not surprisingly perhaps, curcumin has also been reported to have anti-cancer activity against leukemia, melanomas, sarcomas and lymphomas – as well as against gastrointestinal, breast, ovarian, head and neck, and lung cancers.

Evidence also suggests that curcumin may even help to prevent cancer from developing at all. A study published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research shared the results of a Phase II clinical trial where curcumin was given to 44 smokers daily for 30 days. Eight of the research participants were already showing lesions in the colon that sometimes turn into colorectal cancer. Of the 41 subjects that completed the study, 4 grams of curcumin given daily reduced the number of lesions by 40 percent, reducing the likelihood that they will develop colorectal cancer.

How Can You Get Enough Curcumin?How Can You Get Enough Curcumin

One of the major problems with curcumin is that it’s poorly absorbed in the gut. It helps to consume black pepper along with turmeric, which has been shown to enhance absorption of curcumin by up to 2,000 percent.

Also curcumin is fat soluble, but not water soluble. So it may be a good idea to consume it in a meal cooked with a healthy fat such as olive or coconut oil.

The curcumin content of turmeric is only around 3 percent by weight – which is why most studies looking at turmeric’s health benefits use extracts that have been standardized to include large amounts of curcumin, usually at doses of 1 gram per day or even more.

It would be very difficult to consume such a high dose of curcumin every day solely from the turmeric present in curry dishes. To ensure that you take full advantage of the many diverse health supporting benefits of turmeric, you may need to consume a proven, reliable extract containing significant amounts of curcumin that is easily available to your body.

Turmeric 3D from Epigenetic Labs provides you one of the most “bioavailable” forms of turmeric due to its unique fermentation process; this means your body experiences the maximum benefits of the purest, most potent turmeric available!

 

Sources:

  1. Spice Up Your Life With Turmeric
  2. How turmeric can prevent cancer
  3. Inflammation in atherosclerosis.
  4. Inflammation and cancer.
  5. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin.
  6. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents differ in their ability to suppress NF-kappaB activation, inhibition of expression of cyclooxygenase-2 and cyclin D1, and abrogation of tumor cell proliferation.
  7. Protective effects of curcumin on antioxidant status, body weight gain, and reproductive parameters in male rats exposed to subchronic 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin
  8. Turmeric – the spice of life
  9. Anticancer potential of curcumin: preclinical and clinical studies.
  10. Curcumin and cancer: an “old-age” disease with an “age-old” solution.
  11. Phase IIa Clinical Trial of Curcumin for the Prevention of Colorectal Neoplasia
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Can Turkey Tail Mushrooms Aid in the Fight Against Cancer?

Turkey Tail mushroom

Brewed for thousands of years as a medicinal tea in China, the turkey tail mushroom – known scientifically as Trametes versicolor or Coriolus versicolor – looks set to be a major boon for cancer patients.

Emerging evidence shows that this multi-colored fungus, which grows widely in forests around the world, can help to protect cancer patients. It has shown to work in two ways: 1) by directly preventing cancer formation and growth, and 2) by boosting the immune systems that have been damaged as a result of cancer treatment.

Back in 1976, a Japanese company had already patented certain extracts of Coriolus versicolor under the name PSK and later PSP, which have since become recognized anti-cancer drugs in Japan.

Multiple studies and clinical trials have confirmed that PSP blocks cancer cell growth along with reducing treatment-related side effects such as fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and pain. PSP can also restore weakened immune systems in cancer patients.

In a 2012 clinical trial funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), turkey tail mushroom extract was seen to restore the impaired immune systems of breast cancer patients after they had finished radiation therapy.

Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a clinical trial allowing patients with advanced prostate cancer to take turkey tail extract along with conventional chemotherapy to assess the benefits of this combination.

Similarly, another clinical trial will test the effects of taking the extract along with a vaccine treatment in women with breast cancer.

Trametes Versicolor Extract and Lung Cancer: A Review

Trametes Versicolor Extract and Lung CancerAs stated already, an extract or extracts of Coriolus versicolor (aka Trametes versicolor) have been patented in Japan under the name Polysaccharide K, also known as PSK or Krestin. PSK is widely used in Japan as a complementary immunotherapy for treating many cancers, including lung cancer.

A systematic review of PSK’s safety and efficacy in lung cancer treatment was carried out in 2015, in which 28 studies were included for review and analysis.

Fifteen of 17 studies confirmed that PSK had anti-cancer effects by directly inhibiting tumors leading to less cancer growth and anti-metastatic effects, as well as via immunomodulation and boosting immune system activity. Metastasis is the ability of cancer cells to leave the area of the body they originally grew in and move to another area, starting a new tumor or multiple new tumors.

This review showed that both median survival and survival after 1, 2, and 5 years were noticeably better after PSK treatment. Immune parameters, blood function, body weight, and tumor-related symptoms such as fatigue and anorexia were all improved in lung cancer patients treated with PSK.

In summary, the authors concluded that PSK can stop the growth of lung cancers, improve immune function, reduce tumor-associated symptoms, and extend survival in lung cancer patients undergoing standard radiation and chemotherapy. They strongly advocate setting up larger randomized controlled trials to better understand the ability of PSK to treat lung cancer patients.

Turkey Tail Mushrooms and Immunomodulation in Breast Cancer

Turkey Tail Mushrooms and Immunomodulation in Breast CancerRadiotherapy and chemotherapy usually impair the immune system in cancer patients. Researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School and Bastyr University Research Institute wondered whether Coriolus versicolor extract could be used to restore the immune system and improve the health of women with breast cancer after they had undergone radiation therapy.

The study they published in 2012 shows that turkey tail mushroom extract can successfully complement conventional radiotherapy by increasing the activity of natural killer cells and “cytotoxic T-cells” – which likely attack and kill off any remaining cancerous cells.

Natural killer (NK) cells are specialized immune cells that can recognize and bind to certain tumor cells and virus-infected cells and kill them. Similarly, cytotoxic T-cells are a type of white blood cell that kills cancer cells, cells that are infected (especially with viruses), or cells that are damaged in other ways.

In this study, nine women with breast cancer were given either 3, 6, or 9 grams of turkey tail mushroom extract over a period of 4 weeks and their immune data was measured before and after radiation therapy.

This extract was reasonably well tolerated by these women. Their immune data showed that both their lymphocyte counts and functional activity of natural killer cells increased at daily doses of 6 and 9 grams. Further, the higher the dose, the greater the number of cytotoxic T-cells patrolling in their blood looking for cancer cells to kill.

This study showed that Coriolus versicolor extract is safe to give to women with breast cancer and that it can restore their impaired immune system after standard radiotherapy.

Turkey-Tail-Mushroom-benefits

Turkey Tail Mushroom Extracts in Other Cancer Models

There are many examples of the effectiveness of Trametes versicolor extract in various models of cancer:

  • A 2015 laboratory study showed that an extract of protein-bound polysaccharides isolated from turkey tail mushrooms significantly slowed the growth of breast cancer cells. Simultaneously, this extract also increased the number of blood lymphocytes – possibly by producing more of a protein known as interleukin-1-beta, known to stimulate lymphocytes.
  • A 2Trametes versicolor014 study showed that Trametes versicolor extract reduced tumor weight by 36% and decreased lung metastasis by 70.8% in a mouse model of metastatic breast cancer. This extract was seen to stimulate the immune response and also protect against breast cancer-induced bone destruction after metastasis.
  • An extract of Trametes versicolor known as polysaccharide-B markedly slowed the growth of human esophageal carcinoma cells by reducing their survival time and increasing their rate of apoptosis (programmed cell suicide).
  • A study from the Queensland University of Technology showed that PSP targets prostate cancer stem cells and prevents the formation of prostate tumors in a mouse model of prostate cancer. In the words of the lead researcher, “In the past, other inhibitors have been shown to be up to 70 percent effective, but we’re seeing 100 percent of this tumor prevented from developing with PSP. Importantly, we did not see any side effects from the treatment.” PSP’s much greater effectiveness may be due to the fact that while conventional therapies target only cancer cells, PSP also destroys cancer stem cells which initiate cancer and cause its progression. In other words, PSP treatment may be able to completely prevent prostate tumor formation.

In summary, various extracts of turkey tail mushrooms prevent the formation and growth of many different types of cancers. Additionally, they reduce treatment-related side effects and restore weakened immune systems in cancer patients who have been subjected to harmful chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Turkey Tail mushroom (Trametes versicolor) is one of the key ingredients of 7M+ available from Epigenetic Labs which provides you seven of nature’s most powerful mushrooms in all.

 

Sources:

  1. FDA Approves Bastyr Turkey Tail Trial for Cancer Patients
  2. 4 Medicinal Mushrooms That Fight Cancer
  3. [Immunomodulatory and antitumor properties of polysaccharide peptide (PSP)].
  4. Polysaccharide K and Coriolus versicolor extracts for lung cancer: a systematic review.
  5. Phase 1 Clinical Trial of Trametes versicolor in Women with Breast Cancer
  6. Polysaccharide peptides from Coriolus versicolor exert differential immunomodulatory effects on blood lymphocytes and breast cancer cell line MCF-7 in vitro.
  7. In vivo and in vitro anti-tumor and anti-metastasis effects of Coriolus versicolor aqueous extract on mouse mammary 4T1 carcinoma.
  8. Effect of coriolus versicolor polysaccharide-B on the biological characteristics of human esophageal carcinoma cell line eca109.
  9. Mushroom compound suppresses prostate tumours
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Health Benefits of Holy Basil: Ayurveda’s “Sacred Herb”

Tulsi

Tulsi or Holy Basil is amongst the most highly revered of the known therapeutic shrubbery for its ability to elevate the mind, heal the body, and uplift the soul.  This enchanting herb, also known as Ocimum sanctum, is an important part of the repertoire of India’s traditional system of medicine, known as Ayurveda.

Holy Basil boasts cherished status as one of the world’s most sacred herbs because it possesses what many consider to be near-miraculous healing potential − hence why it’s earned esteemed titles including “The Elixir of Life” and “Mother Medicine of Nature.”

In Ayurveda specifically, Tulsi is classified as a “rasayana,” delineating its MVP (most valuable player) status in the realm of adaptogenic herbs. Similarly, in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Tulsi is regarded as a “Shen tonic,” a designation that suggests it possesses an almost inherently divine essence. A healing gift straight from the heart God, so to speak. What seems to set Holy Basil apart is the fact that it encapsulates each of the three elements that embody holistic health − mind, body, and soul.

Even in contemporary functional medicine, Holy Basil is recognized as having what some might describe as miracle-esque properties. Its other name, Tulsi, actually translates as “incomparable one,” and the plant is considered to be sacred everywhere that it’s grown.

From calming the mind and relieving stress to boosting immunity and quelling inflammation, Tulsi outperforms many other therapeutic herbs. One reason is that it works holistically at the systemic level to normalize and balance the entirety of the human form, as opposed to just one or a few individual parts.

The Physical Healing Power of Holy Basil

The Physical Healing Power of Holy Basil

The traditional Indian way to use Holy Basil involves brewing it as a tea or taking it as a tincture to treat colds and influenza. It’s known to help break up mucus and phlegm while cleansing the respiratory tract, lungs, and nasal passages of toxins, and it can even be added to baths for the same purposes.

Holy Basil taken orally is also helpful in overcoming digestive distress. It’s been shown to not only help improve nutrient absorption and boost mucus production inside the stomach, but also help unwind all that nervous stress that many people carry around with them inside their guts.

Also remarkable is the pronounced restorative effect that Holy Basil has on the central nervous system. Regular use of the herb is known to strengthen nerve tissue and improve brain neurochemistry, which in turn leads to better memory and improved mental clarity. Holy Basil’s nerve-calming properties are likewise beneficial in helping to relieve bodily stress, as the herb is a powerful corticosteroid modulator that helps minimize the amount of circulating stress hormones throughout the body.

The COX-2-inhibiting properties of Holy Basil are gaining considerable attention as well in the scientific realm. Studies show that the herb’s phytochemicals − these include flavonoids, eugenol, and carnosic acid, among others − possess strong anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Besides neutralizing oxidizing free radicals, these antioxidant components show considerable promise in the treatment of serious health conditions like cirrhosis, arthritis, diabetes, and various forms of cancer.

Tulsi Helps Protect Against Radiation

With regards to the human genome, Holy Basil also shows radio-protective benefits in that it shields the body against the DNA-damaging effects of ionizing radiation. Cumulative exposure to radioactive elements from things like mobile phones, wireless routers, radiation and chemotherapy treatments, and other sources can cause prolonged damage to cells, which absorb and store it as inflammation. But Holy Basil counters this toxicity by inducing a powerful anti-inflammatory effect at the cellular level − particularly in the bone marrow and digestive tract where new cells are formed.

Holy Basil is also considered to be a powerful prophylactic (life-extending) herb. Among its many proven benefits in the longevity department are stress reduction, cholesterol modulation, blood sugar balance, and liver protection. It works even better when combined with other plants and herbs of a similar nature such as chamomile and rose. This concept is what’s known as nutritional or therapeutic synergy, or the combining of multiple substances to produce a more pronounced effect.

holy-basil-el

Can Holy Basil Address “Mind-Spirit” Causes of Disease?

As you can probably imagine, anything that helps soothe the body by gently alleviating pain, calming the nerves, and melting away stress as Holy Basil does is sure to have a positive impact on one’s mental state as well. The body and mind are intimately connected, after all, as is the spirit or soul. Holy Basil’s effects on all three are profound.

Recognizing that the herb helps restore the central nervous system and keep it in balance, many believe that Holy Basil also possesses curative properties when it comes to addressing the so-called “Mind-Spirit” causes of disease. This is the unhealthy thought and belief patterns that sometimes manifest as physical ailments. By helping to essentially restore peace of mind, Holy Basil can be used to get to the root of a Mind-Spirit illness and nip it in the bud in a way that pharmaceuticals and other methods can’t.

As mentioned above the Chinese consider Holy Basil to be a Shen tonic with a divine nature. This concept centers around the idea that Holy Basil is a bio-energetic field harmonizer. This basically means that it helps normalize the various subtle electromagnetic fields throughout our bodies and minds that govern how we function physically. Maintaining this balance is an important part of what it means to be healthy.

How to Grow and Use Holy Basil

How to Grow and Use Holy Basil

So how does one use Holy Basil? If you’re all about fresh, you can actually pick the leaves right off the live plant and eat them with your salad or another dish. You can also consume them all by themselves, with a typical serving ranging between three-to-15 leaves. Growing the plant at home is actually quite simple as well, especially if you’re already familiar with how to grow normal basil − make sure the soil is moist and feel free to expose the plant to either full sun or partial shade.

If tea is more your style, you can derive many of Holy Basil’s healing benefits by steeping between one-to-three bags of the dried herb in water. Some experts recommend heating water to just below a full boil to preserve as many of the plant’s active constituents as possible. You can also take the fresh leaves and flowering tops of the plant and turn them into tinctures or infused oils by adding the raw plant material to a glass jar and soaking it in either 80-proof vodka or pure vegetable glycerine for four-to-six weeks, shaking or stirring the mixture regularly. When complete, strain the liquid through an unbleached cheesecloth and use as needed.

There’s also supplemental tulsi extract that can be purchased. For example, Holy Basil is an important ingredient in Part 1 of our Optimoxx Detox System. To ensure that you’re getting the most potently bioavailable extracts, be sure to choose only wild-harvested, biodynamic, or certified organic varieties sold by companies that source their raw materials in an ethical and responsible way.

 

Sources:

  1. A Close Study of Holy Basil
  2. Sacred Basil
  3. Holy Basil: An Overview of the Research and Clinical Indications