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Activated Charcoal: 15 Benefits And Uses For Health And Wellness

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Photo Credit: Collective Evolution

Dr. Edward F. GroupGuest Writer

Activated charcoal is a hot topic in health and wellness these days, gaining recognition as a powerhouse agent for detoxification with a wide range of potential uses. We see activated charcoal in everything from facial masks and teeth whiteners to digestive remedies and even an exotic new food trend that uses its charcoal hue for an element of surprise (think jet-black ice cream).

Activated charcoal benefits are no secret. A staple in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, activated charcoal remains to this day a common emergency room antidote for cases of toxicity and poisoning in developed nations around the world.[1] As for activated charcoal uses in daily life, this natural healing product is extremely versatile and generally considered safe. Yet activated charcoal should be handled with care (scroll down for an overview of activated charcoal side effects).

What Is Activated Charcoal?

Activated charcoal is a by-product of burning coconut shells, bamboo, olive pits, wood, or various other substances. For your natural medicine cabinet, we recommend purchasing activated charcoal that is organic and made from coconut shells.

Processed at very high temperatures, this unique charcoal is “activated” in a way that changes its structure to increase the surface area and make it more porous. It is the porousness of activated charcoal that makes it effective at attaching to (“adsorbing”) toxins and flushing them out of the body. This is the principle behind activated charcoal detox.

Unlike the charcoal briquettes you use to light your barbecue, activated charcoal is free of toxins and carcinogens and is generally safe to consume and apply topically. Never substitute regular charcoal for the activated charcoal used for health and wellness!

What Are the Benefits of Activated Charcoal?

With its purifying qualities, activated charcoal offers potential benefits including detoxification, alleviating gas and bloating, digestive health, lowering cholesterol, reducing the effects of radiation, and anti-aging.

Detoxification

The most scientifically proven of all of activated charcoal’s benefits, detoxification happens naturally with this powerful agent. Because activated charcoal’s porous surface has a negative electrical charge, it attracts positively charged molecules such as toxins and gases for safe removal from the GI tract. In hospital emergency rooms throughout the developed world, a high single-use dosage of activated charcoal is the most frequently used method of gastrointestinal decontamination after certain kinds of poisoning, toxic exposure and drug overdose.[2]

Activated charcoal is considered to be effective for acute poisoning from a wide variety of drugs and poisons including acetaminophen, aspirin and tricyclic antidepressants. However, it is not useful for poisoning from lithiumiron, cyanide, potassium, and ethanol.[3]

While some use activated charcoal as a hangover cure, there is currently no evidence to support this. More than one study has shown that activated charcoal is not effective at adsorbing alcohol.[4]

Alleviating Gas and Bloating

Activated charcoal’s ability to reduce gas and bloating in the digestive system is scientifically proven. A double-blind clinical trial found reduced gas and bloating in subjects that used activated charcoal compared to the placebo group.[5] And in 2011, the European Food Safety Authority presented its scientific opinion in favour of using activated charcoal to reduce excess gas in the digestive system.[6] For more tips, see 10 Natural Remedies for Gas.

Digestive Health

When used for digestive cleansing, activated charcoal can promote overall digestive health. Considered a natural gut cleanser, activated charcoal can help lighten the body’s toxic load — potentially reducing allergic reactions and oxidative damage, as well as strengthening the immune system.

Lowering Cholesterol

Some researchers have found that activated charcoal can help people regulate their cholesterol. Just as it does with toxins, activated charcoal can attach to (adsorb) and flush out cholesterol in the intestine, preventing its absorption in the bloodstream. In a controlled study of people with high cholesterol, activated charcoal was effective at lowering total and LDL cholesterol levels.[7]

Reducing the Effects of Radiation

Piggybacking on its powers of detoxification, activated charcoal can also reduce the effects of radiation. Through the process of adsorption, activated charcoal attaches to radionuclides in the same way that it attaches to other toxins. See “13 Natural Remedies for Radiation Exposure” for more about activated charcoal’s ability to neutralize radiation, as well as the science behind it.

Anti-Aging

Through its ability to rid the body of toxins, activated charcoal has the potential to be a natural approach to healthy aging. With a reduced toxic load, the body experiences less of the oxidative damage that drives the aging process. In the same way, it may help to prevent cellular damage to our natural detox organs (the kidneys and liver) and also support adrenal gland health.

Activated Charcoal Uses

Activated charcoal use runs the gamut from gut-cleansing detox to purifying facials, teeth whitening, bug-bite care and more. Keep activated charcoal on hand for natural healing remedies like these.

Digestive Cleansing

The digestive tract is where a myriad of toxins can enter our bodies, from pesticides and heavy metals in food, to chemicals in water and exposure to mold. When you eliminate toxins with a digestive cleanse, you can feel lighter, stronger, and more energetic. While there are many different kinds of digestive cleanses, a simple approach is to eat whole, organic foods and avoid sugar, caffeine, and alcohol.

Activated charcoal can supercharge your cleanse by assisting with the removal of toxins through the process of adsorption — that is, the toxins attach to the activated charcoal like metal to a magnet, and then pass safely out of the body with a bowel movement.

Recipe: To add activated charcoal to your cleanse, take 10 grams (either as a powder added to water or in pill form) 90 minutes before each meal for two days. Be sure to drink plenty of water to avoid constipation.

First Aid for Poisons or Toxins

An antidote to certain types of poisoning or exposure to toxic substances, drugs, or household chemicals, activated charcoal is handy to keep in your first aid kit or medicine cabinet. It is essential, however, to first contact 911 or a poison control center immediately. Depending on the type of poison, they may instruct you to administer activated charcoal at home before going to an emergency room.

Note: Having activated charcoal in your first-aid kit or medicine cabinet can help jump-start the recovery process but should never replace a healthcare professional.

Facial Mask

In the same way that activated charcoal draws toxins out of the digestive system, when applied topically, it can draw oils, dirt, bacteria and other impurities from the pores, leaving skin clean, clear and less prone to breakouts.

Recipe: Mix a teaspoon of activated charcoal powder with a tablespoon of honey to make a paste. Apply to face and neck with a cosmetic brush. Keep on for 5 to 10 minutes, then wash off with your favourite natural cleanser.

Note that activated-charcoal powder is very messy when spilled! Avoid using it over hard-to-clean areas such as tile grout.

Acne Spot Treatment

Mixed with a bit of aloe vera gel, activated charcoal makes an effective acne spot treatment.

Recipe: Break open one capsule of activated charcoal in a small bowl. Using a cotton swab, mix with a half-teaspoon of aloe vera gel to create a thick paste. Apply paste to acne. Let dry about 30 minutes. Wash off with warm water.

Teeth Whitening

It may seem counterintuitive to turn your teeth black in order to whiten them (don’t worry — the black washes off!), but many people have success using activated charcoal as a natural teeth whitener. Because activated charcoal is abrasive to the teeth, dab it on gently rather than using a toothbrush.

Recipe: In a small bowl, break open two capsules of activated charcoal. Using a cotton swab, mix in just enough water to make a thick paste (less than 1 teaspoon). Dab paste onto teeth, let sit three minutes and rinse.

Flatulence Relief

Activated charcoal’s ability to alleviate gas and bloating is clinically proven. If certain foods trigger gas, activated charcoal is one way to keep flatulence at bay.

Tip: Take 1 gram of activated charcoal at least 30 minutes before you eat and 1 gram an hour after you eat.

Bug Bites

Activated charcoal can be a great remedy for mosquito bites and bee stings, as it can alleviate the itching and discomfort that they cause.

Recipe: In a small bowl, break open one capsule of activated charcoal. Using a cotton swab, mix with ½ tablespoon of coconut oil and apply to the bug bite or bee sting.

Water Filtration

Just as it can remove impurities from the body, activated charcoal can also remove contaminants from water. Activated charcoal is a key component in many commercially available water filtration systems, and works in a similar way to the carbon filtration in the popular Brita water pitchers.

Activated charcoal in water filters may be effective at removing pesticides, solvents, and other chemicals. However, it is less effective at removing fluoride, viruses, bacteria, and hard-water minerals.

Air Purification

In the same spirit, activated carbon is also effective as a filter for air purification. Much like baking soda, commercially available charcoal bags can be placed in the refrigerator, car, pet areas, gym bags, and other places to freshen air, neutralize odours, and combat mold.

Activated Charcoal Forms

Activated charcoal is available in pills, tablets, capsules, and loose powder for multipurpose use. In all forms, activated charcoal is odourless and neutral-tasting.

Pills and Tablets

Activated charcoal to reduce gas and bloating is often taken in pill or tablet form. Generally, two pills or tablets are recommended to be taken at least 30 minutes before eating gas-producing foods, and one hour after.

Capsules

Purchasing activated charcoal in capsule form is a handy way to use small amounts for recipes. Simply break open a capsule into a small bowl to release the powder, and mix it with water, coconut oil or another ingredient to make a paste for DIY healing.

Powder

A jar of fine, jet-black activated charcoal powder is handy for a variety of uses. In cases of poisoning or the ingestion of toxins, activated charcoal powder is mixed with a liquid and given as a drink (or, in emergency rooms, administered through a tube from the mouth to the stomach).

For more common household use, activated charcoal powder can be used in small amounts for teeth whitening and other remedies.

Are There Side Effects to Using Activated Charcoal?

It is important to remember that activated charcoal not only adsorbs to toxins and unwanted chemicals in the body but it can get rid of good things, too, such as nutrients from food, supplements, and prescription medicines, making them less effective.

It is best to take activated charcoal on an empty stomach between meals so that it does not affect the absorption of nutrients. Activated charcoal should be taken 90 minutes to two hours prior to supplements and prescription medications.

Keep in mind that activated charcoal can make your stool turn black, but this is a temporary and harmless side effect. In addition, be sure to drink plenty of water to prevent constipation when taking activated charcoal.

Activated charcoal is generally considered safe for use during pregnancy. At least one study supports its use for cholestasis, which is a condition marked by the reduction or stoppage of bile flow, during pregnancy.[8] Some pregnant women use it to alleviate symptoms of nausea and vomiting (morning sickness) as well as diarrhoea, though its effectiveness in such cases is not well documented. In some people, activated charcoal can cause side effects of vomiting and diarrhoea — the very symptoms it may be used to relieve.

Your Story

What about you? Have you ever used activated charcoal? What’s your favourite recipe?

References
  1. LoVecchio F, et al. “The feasibility of administration of activated charcoal with respect to current practice guidelines in emergency department patients.” Journal of Medical Toxicology. Sept. 2007.
  2. Juurlink DN. “Activated charcoal for acute overdose: a reappraisal.” British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. Mar. 2016.
  3. Olson KR. “Activated Charcoal for Acute Poisoning: One Toxicologist’s Journey.” Journal of Medical Toxicology. 2010.
  4. Hultén BA, et al. “Does alcohol adsorb to activated charcoal?” Human Toxicology. May 1986.
  5. Jain NK, et al. “Efficacy of activated charcoal in reducing intestinal gas: a double-blind clinical trial.” The American Journal of Gastroenterology. Jul. 1986.
  6. Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to activated charcoal and reduction of excessive intestinal gas accumulation (ID 1938) and reduction of bloating (ID 1938) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006.” European Food Safety Authority Journal. 2011.
  7. Neuvonen PJ, et al. “Activated charcoal in the treatment of hypercholesterolaemia: dose-response relationships and comparison with cholestyramine.” European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 1989.
  8. Kaaja RJ, et al. “Treatment of cholestasis of pregnancy with peroral activated charcoal. A preliminary study.” Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology. Feb. 1994.
Recommended Articles by Dr. Edward Group
About the Author

Dr. Edward F. Group III (DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM) founded Global Healing Center in 1998 and is currently the Chief Executive Officer. Heading up the research and development team, Dr. Group assumes a hands-on approach in producing new and advanced degenerative disease products and information.

Dr. Group has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the internet.

For more information, please visit Global Healing Center.

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Awareness

Activate Your DNA With Solar Frequencies

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DNA With Solar Frequencies
Photo Credit: Pexels

Joshua Eagle, Guest Writer

The sun is the supreme giver of all life and the greatest source of energy existing in our solar system. Just as water is the source of all life, the Sun is the source of all water. For it is not until the hydrogen radiating from the sun merges with the oxygen of the Earth’s atmosphere that water (H20) can be created.

The receiving of sunlight not only works to stimulate the brain, but is also held as one of the 5 essential elements in both Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicine. The sun which delivers a masculine energy to our mother Earth, is also responsible for stimulating our bodies to produce the essential brain antioxidant Vitamin D, typically referred to as “the master hormone”.

Our bodies naturally produce Vitamin D when the sun’s UVB light reacts with the cholesterol in our skin and Vitamin D can then be absorbed directly into our bloodstream. Studies on Vitamin D show its powers to enhance our brain by enhancing information processing speed, reducing memory loss and helping to prevent various neurodegenerative diseases. Yet the sun provides much more to our brains than just Vitamin D.

By exposing different parts of our bodies to sunlight, we trigger different biological DNA reactions and activations in our bodies. For example, exposing the male reproductive area to the sun is shown to multiply testosterone hormone levels in men by up to 300%. Likewise, exposing areas of our face and head to sunlight stimulates our brains pineal and hypothalamus glands to produce neurotransmitters which support overall mental functioning.

The current field of epigenetics has further discovered that by simply exposing our naked skin to sunlight, over 3,000 epigenome DNA switches are turned on or off and re-synchronized in our body in response to natural celestial frequencies being emitted by the sun. (In turn, the sun’s light unique frequencies are responsive to the communicative information it receives being emitted from the black hole at the center of our galaxy.)

The Great Deception

In the bible, it is written about a “deceiving light” or Lucifer, whom will attempt to usurp and replicate “the light of God”, but whom is incapable of doing so. This great deceiver has turned up in the form of synthetic vitamin pills for vitamin D, Big Pharma that claim to be able to replicate natural vitamin D, and various commercial sun-tan lotions which actually contain toxic carcinogens and other chemicals which block the UVB required for our bodies to naturally produce vitamin D.

Not only do the majority of these lotions block ultraviolet light from the sun, which is needed for both producing vitamin D and activating DNA, but the numerous toxic chemicals used in these lotions are also ingested into the body through the pores in our skin. It is estimated that 60% of what you put on your skin is in fact ingested into your body and bloodstream through your pores. Being that a person using sunscreen is further adding to this absorption by heating themselves up in the sun and causing their pores to open further, one is essentially baking themselves in toxic chemicals by using most commercial sunscreens.

Enhancing Ultra Violet Light Absorption

While the sun is a major provider of life and health, certain modern technologies will counteract the healing effects of the sun, and can reverse them from healthful to harmful. For instance, the healthy UVB rays of the sun cannot penetrate glass and sunlight transmitted through glass onto the skin will promote burning rather than health. As well, the Vitamin D our bodies produce as a result of sunlight is maintained in our body’s natural oils. Therefore technically, using soap within a 24-48 hour period after receiving sunlight can wash away these vitamin D containing oils and prevent the Vitamin D from being absorbed into our bloodstreams.

To protect yourself from sun over-exposure, I recommend consuming antioxidant rich foods prior to sun exposure such as green tea, berries, cacao beans and other antioxidant rich organic fruits, vegetables and herbs. If you have circumstances which require you to spend unusually long hours in the sun, or you burn easily, consider using a protective hat or seek out a natural organic sunscreen lotion;  much safer alternatives to standard commercial sunscreens. Don’t run from the sun, embrace it and activate a higher frequency of intelligence throughout your DNA today.

For more tips on activating your DNA and ascending your health naturally, please check out my new book Mind Nutrition.

References
Recommended Articles by Joshua Eagle
About the Author

detoxification, weight loss, mind ascension and longevity. After a decade of studying health through various modalities he received formal training from the Institute for Intergrative Nutrition as well as The Body Mind Institute where he studied under various Naturopaths, Nutritionists and healers of various holistic health systems.

He is also the author of the book Mind Nutrition: Timeless Secrets to Enhance Your Brain Daily, a guide to timeless natural health strategies, foods, herbs and exercises for improving one’s mind on a physical, emotional and energetic level.

Mind Nutrition

Joshua Eagle’s book Mind Nutrition: Timeless Secrets to Enhance Your Brain Daily is a step-by-step guide to timeless natural health strategies, foods, herbs and exercises for improving one’s mind on a physical, emotional and energetic level. It is designed for anyone looking to dive deeper into the field of holistic health and nutrition with a specific focus on the brain and its vast array of unlimited growth potential, including techniques for gaining: expanded states of intelligence, increased learning capacity and cognitive abilities, greater attention, focus, and clarity, self-actualization, and acceleration of the brain’s cellular, neuronal and synaptic operating system.

Mind Nutrition is available here on Amazon.

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Health

Brain Vitamins: The Top Vitamins And Minerals For Your Mind

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Health brain2020
Photo Credit: Pexels

Dr. Edward F. GroupGuest Writer

You may have heard that taking extra vitamins can improve your memory, protect against Alzheimer’s disease, or help you ace that test. Are “brain vitamins” really a thing? In reality, a debate exists over whether vitamins can boost your brain health. You may see wild claims that one vitamin or another may make you smarter, wiser, or delay aging. Others say they do not actually improve your brain’s functioning and make you smarter but do support an already-healthy brain.

Can Vitamins Help Brain Health?

Throughout life, your brain continually creates new connections and repairs broken ones. Vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, sometimes called nutraceuticals, support that process.[1, 2]

Yet many people don’t get enough of key vitamins and minerals that best support brain health. You may become low in a certain vitamin or mineral without realizing it. This can lead to low energy, brain fog, and memory loss. The stress of modern lifestyles can even deplete the vitamins and minerals you do consume.

You can’t have a thriving brain if you do not have these essential and important nutrients. In the end, vitamins and minerals may not make you smarter, but they can support a healthy brain, especially if your body is low in one — or more — of them.

The Best Vitamins and Minerals to Support Brain Health

All nutrients play a role in keeping us healthy, but some are specifically good for the brain. If you follow a healthy diet, it’s easy to get most of these nutrients through your food. However, many people do not have an ideal diet, full of colourful and diverse fruits, vegetables, grains, and healthy oils. If your diet falls short, supplementation becomes more important.

B Vitamins

All eight B vitamins are important for brain cell functioning and work best together. B vitamins are water-soluble, meaning your body uses them immediately and does not store them; your body excretes any excess.

B vitamins help produce key neurotransmitters: serotonin, dopamine, and GABA. Neurotransmitters are molecules that send messages throughout your brain and body.

While B-1 (thiamine), B-2 (riboflavin), and B-6 (pyridoxine) play a role in brain health, the most significant B vitamins for brain health are the following.

Vitamin B-12 (Cobalamin)

Not enough B-12 means not enough brain fuel.[3] Your brain is about 2 percent of your body weight but saps twenty percent of your entire body’s energy stores, and B-12 plays a crucial role in energy metabolism.

B-12 also removes toxins from the brain. Specifically, it helps remove homocysteine, an amino acid linked to brain shrinkage and other adverse health effects.[4] A diet high in meat can raise homocysteine levels which can damage delicate blood vessels in the brain and increase the risk of blood clots. Eating a plant-based diet, in general, helps to reduce clotting and inflammation within blood vessels.

Despite its importance, about forty percent of the U.S. population has low B-12 levels.[5] This can lead to mental and emotional changes, such as memory loss and brain fog.

Best sources: You can only get vitamin B-12 in meat and dairy — although some strains of probiotic bacteria produce it. Vegetarians, vegans, older people, and those with conditions that prevent them from absorbing B-12 should take a supplement.

Global Healing Centre’s VeganSafe™ B-12, a certified organic formula that contains the two most bioactive forms of this vitamin, is an excellent choice.

Vitamin B-9 (Folate)

Folate is the version of B-9 found naturally in foods, while folic acid is the same vitamin but made in a laboratory. B-9 plays an essential role in producing your brain’s neurotransmitters.

Too little folate can lead to neurological disorders and cognitive impairments. This applies to a developing fetus as well as adults. A deficiency in folic acid or folate has been linked not only to elevated homocysteine levels, but also to Alzheimer’s disease.[6] It is often a challenge to get enough B-9 from foods.

Best sources: You’ll find B-9 in green leafy vegetables, beans, asparagus, beets, and citrus fruit. For more ideas, view our folate-rich foods article.

Antioxidant Vitamins

Your brain needs a great deal of energy to do its job. With its delicate functioning, the brain is also prone to disease-causing oxidative stress.

When free radicals in your body damage cells, this is called oxidative stress. These free radicals get generated naturally, but more so when you are exposed to toxins and stress.

Vitamins E, C, and D are some of the body’s most important essential vitamins for your brain. They act as antioxidants, compounds that counteract the effects of cell-damaging free radicals.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is exceptionally effective at counteracting free radicals. It supports the brain’s ability to adapt and grow new connections. It also boosts your immune system.[7]

Healthy people with diets rich in vitamin E may even be less likely to develop dementia, and it may slow the development of Alzheimer’s disease.[8] Yet ninety percent of Americans do not get the estimated average requirement!

Best sources: You can get vitamin E in hazelnuts, green leafy vegetables, asparagus, avocados, olives, spinach, and sunflower seeds.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. Low levels of vitamin C in people has been linked to depression.

Vitamin C helps convert the neurotransmitter dopamine to norepinephrine. Norepinephrine affects executive function, which means focus, interest, intelligence, and mood.

Vitamin C deficiency is rare, but if you smoke or eat a lot more meat than plant foods, you might not get enough.[9]

Best sources: Vitamin C-rich foods include citrus fruits, tomatoes, broccoli, bell peppers, leafy greens, and berries — especially strawberries, raspberries, and cranberries.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a crucial role in protecting brain health and function. It supports a healthy mood and protects against declines in cognitive function.[10]

A clear example of the importance of this “sunshine vitamin” is the example of SAD — seasonal affective disorder. Many people get the blues during months of low sunlight when your body produces less vitamin D.

Global Healing Centre’s Suntrex D3™ provides a superior plant-based source of vitamin D in an easy-to-take liquid formula.

Best sources: Your bare skin produces this vitamin from daily exposure to the sun, but you may need more during certain times of the year. Try shiitake and button mushrooms to help boost your intake of this vitamin. If you are vegetarian or vegan, you may need a supplement as most sources of vitamin D are not plant-based.

Minerals

Dietary minerals are chemical elements that your body needs to function. The following minerals are especially important to the brain:

Iron

Iron is a mineral that helps regulate the central nervous system, including the brain. Your body uses it for metabolic processes involving thought and behavior.

Iron insufficiency is widespread, particularly among women of child-bearing age, pregnant women, vegetarians, and vegans. Low iron levels can cause brain fog and even psychiatric symptoms.[11]

Best sources: Iron-rich plant-based foods include legumes such as white beans, lentils, and kidney beans, as well as oats and spinach. Sesame seeds and cashews are also high in iron. You can also buy iron supplements, but many are harsh on your system. Global Healing Centre’s Iron Fuzion™ is a plant-based supplement that is gentle on your stomach.

Lithium

One mineral that shows promising results as a “brain booster” is lithium, an important trace mineral. While lithium is found in many foods, lithium orotate is an optimal form found in supplements. This combines lithium and orotic acid, the same substance that makes zinc orotate so effective.

Lithium orotate may increase the brain’s gray matter. In fact, it is one of the only things known to stimulate new brain cell growth other than exercise.[12] Consuming small servings of lithium orotate can powerfully increase proteins that maintain and repair brain’s cells.[12] It shows remarkable potential for lifting mood, memory, and cognitive function.

Best sources: Lithium is found at low levels in many foods, including lentils, garbanzo beans, mushrooms, cauliflower, brown rice, and coffee. If you take supplements, purchase them from a reputable supplier. Global Healing Center’s Lithium Orotate is an excellent choice. This advanced formula promotes brain function and a happy mood with low servings of lithium orotate.

Nutraceuticals

Though they’re not vitamins, nutraceuticals are worth mentioning because some play a substantial role in cognitive function. The word simply means a component of food used for therapeutic purposes. Nutraceuticals that help brain health are called nootropics.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3s are the building blocks of your neurons and their cell membranes. Omega-3 fatty acids also help limit the number of beta-amyloid proteins that develop in your brain as you get older. Excess beta-amyloid protein in the brain is linked to Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.[13]

There are three main types of omega-3s: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). You have to get ALA from food or supplements, but your body produces DHA and EPA (that’s not to say you can’t become low).

Most people don’t get enough omega-3s relative to omega-6 fatty acids, so getting them in your diet is important.[14, 15]

Best sources: Great sources of omega-3 fatty acids include olive oil, flax seeds, chia seeds, algae oil, walnuts, and kiwi fruit. Algae oil is one of few plant sources of EPA and DHA; the other plant sources mainly provide ALA. Avoid fish oil supplements if possible as they have a high likelihood of mercury contamination.

Probiotics

Probiotics are helpful microbes that support digestive health. Healthy gut bacteria play a key role in the two-way communication between your gut and your brain.[16]

The gut-brain axis is a well-documented phenomenon in science, though less well-known by the general public. Your gut produces up to ninety percent of the serotonin in the body! Bottom line: If you want a happy and healthy mind, make sure to nurture your gut biota.

Best sources: Get probiotics from fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kombucha, and coconut milk yogurt. Or look for a high-quality supplement like Global Healing Center’s Floratrex™, an advanced formula with 25 unique strains and 75 billion CFUs.

Tips on Boosting Brain Function

What you do to keep your heart and the rest of your body healthy is also good for your brain. The combination of these healthy lifestyle practices is more powerful than any of these actions alone.[17]

  • Eat a plant-based diet full of veggies, fruits, gluten-free grains, and healthy oils.
  • Avoid excessive sugar which atrophies the brain.
  • Exercise regularly: it grows brain cells!
  • Try nootropic herbs like Rhodiola rosea and ginseng.
  • Do brain exercises, like puzzles, reading, or taking up a new hobby!
Points to Remember

Several vitamins, minerals, and nutraceuticals support brain health. Brain health includes your ability to remember, learn, concentrate, and maintain a clear, active mind.

No specific nutrient is a “brain vitamin” per se, and taking more vitamins will not necessarily boost your mental powers. Yet many people have low levels or are even deficient. In those cases, supplementation or eating more vitamin-rich foods can help.

Stress also depletes your body’s stores of vitamins and nutrients. Ensure you get enough of the vitamins your brain needs for best mental health.

The best vitamins for a healthy and happy brain include B-12, folate (B-9), the antioxidant vitamins E, C, and D, and the trace minerals iron and lithium, particularly lithium orotate. “Nutraceuticals” such as omega-3 fatty acids and probiotics are also important for top brain function. As long as you use as directed, vitamins and minerals do not typically have side effects in healthy individuals.

The best way to get these micronutrients is through your diet. Supplements are sometimes a good option, especially if your diet does not contain an array of brightly collared fruits and vegetables. Physical activity and brain exercises, such as doing crossword puzzles and reading, also improve your brain health.

Have you taken any vitamins or minerals to boost your brain health?

Article Sources
  1. National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, “What Is Brain Health?” web page. Accessed Dec. 10, 2018.
  2. Gómez-Pinilla, F. Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2008 Jul;9(7):568-578.
  3. Raichle M.E. Two views of brain function. Trends Cogn. Sci. 2010;14:180-190.
  4. Smith AD, et al. Homocysteine-Lowering by B vitamins slows the rate of accelerated brain atrophy in mild cognitive impairment: a randomized controlled trial.” PLoS ONE. 2010 Sep 8;5(9):e12244.
  5. McBride, J. B12 Deficiency May Be More Widespread Than Thought. United States Department of Agriculture website.
  6. Folate: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements Website. Updated 4 Oct 2018. Accessed 18 Apr 2019.
  7. Vitamin E: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements Website. Updated 17 Aug 2018. Accessed 18 Apr 2019.
  8. Gestuvoa MK, Hung WW. Common dietary supplements for cognitive health. Again Health. 2012 Feb;8(1):89-97.
  9. Vitamin C: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements Website. Updated 18 Sept 2018. Accessed 18 Apr 2019.
  10. Vitamin D: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements Website. Updated 9 Nov 2018. Accessed 14 May 2019.
  11. Beard J. Iron deficiency alters brain development and functioning. J. Nutr. 2003 May;133(5):1468S-1472S.
  12. Marshall TM. Lithium as a nutrient. J Am Physicians Surgeons. 2015; 20(4):104-109.
  13. What Happens to the Brain in Alzheimer’s Disease? National Institute on Aging Website. Accessed 18 Apr 2019.
  14. Simopoulos AP. The importance of the ratio of omega 6/omega 3 essential fatty acids. Biomed Pharmacother. 2002 Oct;56(8):365-379.
  15. Fenton JI, et al. Immunomodulation by dietary long chain omega-3 fatty acids and the potential for adverse health outcomes. Prostag Leukotr Ess. 2103 Nov-Dec;89(6):379-390.
  16. 4 Fast Facts About the Gut-Brain Connection. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health Website. Updated 24 Sept 2017. Accessed 18 Apr 2019.
  17. National Institute on Aging, “What Is Brain Health?” Accessed 10 Dec 2018.

Originally published at Global Healing Center and reproduced here with permission.

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About the Author

Dr. Edward F. Group III (DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM) founded Global Healing Center in 1998 with the goal of providing the highest quality natural health information and products. He is world-renowned for his research on the root cause of disease. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center earned recognition as one of the largest natural and organic health resources in the world. Dr. Group is a veteran of the United States Army and has attended both Harvard and MIT business schools. He is a best-selling author and a frequent guest on radio and television programs, documentary films, and in major publications.

Dr. Group centres his philosophy around the understanding that the root cause of disease stems from the accumulation of toxins in the body and is exacerbated by daily exposure to a toxic living environment. He believes it is his personal mission to teach and promote philosophies that produce good health, a clean environment, and positive thinking. This, he believes, can restore happiness and love to the world.

For more, please visit Global Healing Center.

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Health

How A 3-Day Fast Resets Your Immune System

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Immune system fasting
Photo Credit: Getty

Dr. Edward F. GroupGuest Writer

The benefits of fasting are many and various. Fasting supports good health by promoting a healthy body weight, encouraging normal cognitive function, and even facilitating detoxification. Now, research has also shown that fasting may help reset the immune system.

How Does Fasting Reset the Immune System?

Like every other system in the body, the immune system is subject to wear and tear. Aging, aggressive medical therapies, oxidative stress, environmental toxins, and the like can all accelerate the degradation of immune cells.[1, 2, 3] When immune cells are weak and frail, they’re not as effective as they should be in protecting your health. This is where fasting can help.

When you fast, your body looks for nourishment everywhere it can. It goes after stored fat, but it also recycles malfunctioning or inactive cells, like those old, worn out immune system cells.[4] This cell recycling process, known as autophagy, makes room for your body to create fresh, new immune cells. It’s similar to spring cleaning, in that you declutter your body and end up with a rejuvenated immune system. Many people, especially those whose immune system is compromised, make a concerted effort to fast for a few days once or twice every six months to reset and reboot their immune system with fresh, strong cells.[5]

How to Perform a 3-Day Fast

Forty-eight hours appears to be the minimum duration to see benefits to the immune system, but it may take a bit longer for the desired effect. A three day fast is a long enough duration to see some of the benefits, but short enough that most people won’t need professional supervision.

If you’ve never performed a fast before, start small. Going a full three days without eating can be emotionally and mentally stressful if you’re not prepared for the side effects. Start with intermittent fasting, a pattern of eating that involves alternating cycles of fasting and eating. Try extending how long you go between meals. Slowly increase the amount of time between meals until you can go most of the day without eating food.

If you tolerate this well and aren’t under the care of a health care professional, you can try alternate day fasting. When you feel ready, you can embark on an extended water fast to boost the immune system even further.

Have you tried fasting to improve your immune system?

Article Sources
About the Author

Dr. Edward F. Group III (DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM) founded Global Healing Center in 1998 and is currently the Chief Executive Officer. Heading up the research and development team, Dr. Group assumes a hands-on approach in producing new and advanced degenerative disease products and information.

Dr. Group has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the internet.

For more information, please visit Global Healing Center.

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Health

How To Make Your Own Hemp Milk At Home In Two Minutes

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Photo Credit: Pexels/Alexas Fotos

Anastasia, Guest Writer

Originally published at kindearth.net and reproduced here with permission.

Hemp Milk is quite possibly the healthiest plant-based milk out there! So, it definitely deserves a bit of love here in the Kind Earth Kitchen.

I am not into over complicating stuff, so my way of making hemp milk is pretty easy.

In fact, you can make it in a couple of delicious, minutes – flat.

There are different ways of making hemp milk. For ease and speed, I use shelled hemp seeds (also known as hemp seed hearts). This means that I can blend them up quickly without the need for straining at all. You’ll get a little bit of sediment settling to the bottom (after a little while) – if you don’t strain it – but to me, that is all part of the fun and goodness. I never strain my plant-based milk if I am making with hemp seeds hearts.

Remember: No straining is required IF you use SHELLED hemp seeds. All you need to do is give it a quick swish and a jiggle in the jar before you drink it.

However… if you use whole hemp seeds with the shells on you WILL need to strain it

This recipe here is for shelled/hulled hemp seeds. However, if you do actually use whole hemp seeds (with the shells/hulls still ON) then you will need to strain it; otherwise, the sediment will be too coarse. Straining it involves, either a cheesecloth, a piece of muslin or a purpose made nut milk bag to do so and squee-e-e-eze.

Hemp Has A Sort Of Nutty Taste

Hemp has a nutty sort of taste. If you aren’t instantly taken by it, then give it a chance, because it really can grow on you. A lot of people I know, absolutely adore it and couldn’t live without it now! I add a little bit of coconut sugar and vanilla to this recipe – just to make the whole hemp milk experience dance and sing. Although you can make it plain (hemp and water only) if you prefer.

Why Are Hemp Seeds So Good For Us?

It has to be said… hemp is one of the most amazing plant foods that exist on our planet! It is a protein power superstar, having one of the most complete protein profiles in the plant food kingdom. It contains a fabulous balance of essential fats (essential fats are crucial to include in your diet for health) including omega 3. It’s excellent for skin health, cholesterol levels and is especially high in beneficial antioxidants.

Read more about hemp benefits here: All about Hemp Seeds and their health benefits.

Getting Your Shelled Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are available in all good health food stores (in most countries). I am not talking about the hemp with the high THC levels that gets you high though… I am talking about the culinary hemp seeds. It helps a lot to buy shelled hemp seeds (also called hemp hearts or hulled hemp seeds) without the crunchy outer shell on them; this makes it very easy to blend smoothly.

In the UK, I use these ones all the time: RealFoodSource Organic HEMP SEEDS. They are excellent value (you can get their non-organic version for even more of a bargain) and also grown in the EU – yay! I absolutely love them. Using them on a daily basis I probably go through about 1kg (2lbs) every two months – for my own personal use. If you don’t use them all the time, they’ll probably last you longer and you could buy a smaller packet. When I visit North America I’ve purchased these onesManitoba Harvest Shelled Hemp Hearts and used to my hearts’ delight.

Quick Hemp Milk Video – See How I Make It Myself

Check out my super quick visual guide for more tips on making hemp milk…

How to make Hemp Milk in two minutes

How To Make Your Own Hemp Milk At Home

Yield: 4 SERVINGS

Prep time: 2 MINUTES

Total time: 2 MINUTES

Hemp milk recipe using hemp seeds hearts, vanilla and coconut sugar. Super healthy and made in two short minutes

Ingredients
  • 100g (1/2 cup) shelled hemp seeds
  • 500ml (2 cups) spring water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons coconut sugar
Instructions

Please check out my video above first for more tips and a quick visual guide

  1. Add all ingredients to a jug for blending.
  2. Blend for about a minute or until everything is combined.
  3. Pop the hemp milk into a large jar or bottle.
  4. Pop it into the fridge to chill before serving (it tastes best chilled).
  5. You will still get some sediment settling from the hemp seeds. This is all super healthy.
  6. Note: If you don’t want the sediment OR if you have used whole (seeds that aren’t shelled) hemp seeds then you will need to strain it will a cheese cloth or purpose made nut milk bag.
  7. Give it a swish and a jiggle before using.
  8. Enjoy!

I do hope that you enjoy this.

From my heart to yours. Anastasia

About the Author

Plant-based workshop leader, retreat chef, recipe developer and life coach Anastasia was born in England and is currently nomadic. After a profound spiritual awakening in 1995, she recognised that all things are deeply connected and adopted a lifestyle of compassion and respect for all sentient beings. With a deep affinity with Mother Earth she founded KindEarth.net a space dedicated to compassionate, heart-centred living, plant-based recipes, meditation and reconnection with nature. Having enjoyed a vegan diet for over 24 years, she has experienced optimal health along the way, publishing several cook books and developing a plethora of original high vibe recipes. Anastasia invites us all to rise up from our deepest depths, to honour our true calling and is always delighted to hear from others who resonate on this journey back to a higher paradigm of love and respect.

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This article was shared with permission. Original article here.

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