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Beets For Better Lung Efficiency

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Beets For Better Lung Efficiency
Photo Credit: Pexels

Dr. Joseph Mercola, Guest Writer

If you have breathing troubles, nitrates — a compound found in beets — may be able to help. Previous studies have shown that nitrates can help improve muscle function by optimizing the way the muscles use calcium. Since the diaphragm is a muscle, researchers from the University of Florida wanted to see if those benefits could be translated to the diaphragm.

For the study,1 researchers split old mice into two groups. One group was given drinking water that contained sodium nitrate daily for 14 days. The other group was given plain water.

After the study period, they measured the isometric force and peak power of the diaphragm muscles in the mice and found that both significantly increased in the group of mice given nitrates in their drinking water.

This increase in force and power translated to improved contraction of the diaphragm muscle, which can then improve lung function and breathing. The increased power in the diaphragm could also help older people clear the lungs more effectively, which may help reduce the risk of developing infections. For reference, the mice used in the study were 24 months old, which is equivalent to about 70 years of age in humans.

This is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic for two reasons. The first is that severe symptoms disproportionally affect the older population. We already know that respiratory muscle function declines with age, contributing to breathing troubles, impaired airway clearance and a decreased quality of life. Since nitrates can improve muscle function of the diaphragm, it may help improve the outlook for older populations with respiratory infections like COVID-19.

The study’s author, Leonardo Ferreira, also points out that one of the problems with weaning COVID-19 patients off ventilators is respiratory muscle dysfunction. If dietary nitrates can help improve that muscle function, it may make the transition from ventilators to independent breathing more successful.2

The nitrates in beets have also been shown to help improve oxygen uptake by dilating the blood vessels and allowing more oxygen to be delivered to muscles, like the diaphragm, and other cells.3

Other Benefits of Beets

But beets aren’t only good for your lungs. Other studies have shown that red beets may also:

Lower your blood pressure — Drinking beet juice may help to lower blood pressure in a matter of hours. One study found that drinking one glass of beet juice lowered systolic blood pressure by an average of four to five points.4 The benefit likely comes from the naturally occurring nitrates in beets, which are converted into nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide, in turn, helps to relax and dilate your blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure.

Another study5 found drinking 8 ounces of beet juice per day lowered blood pressure by an average of nearly eight points after the first week, which is more than most blood pressure medications.

Boost your stamina — If you need a boost to make it through your next workout, beet juice may again prove valuable. Those who drank beet juice prior to exercise were able to exercise for up to 16% longer.6 The benefit is thought to also be related to nitrates turning into nitric oxide, which may reduce the oxygen cost of low-intensity exercise as well as enhance tolerance to high-intensity exercise.

Fight inflammation — Beets are a unique source of betaine, a nutrient that helps protects cells, proteins and enzymes from environmental stress. It’s also known to help fight inflammation, protect internal organs, improve vascular risk factors, enhance performance and likely help prevent numerous chronic diseases.7 As reported by The World’s Healthiest Foods:8

“[Betaine’s] … presence in our diet has been associated with lower levels of several inflammatory markers, including C reactive protein, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor alpha. As a group, the anti-inflammatory molecules found in beets may eventually be shown to provide cardiovascular benefits in large-scale human studies, as well as anti-inflammatory benefits for other body systems.”

Stave off cancer — The powerful phytonutrients that give beets their deep crimson color may help to ward off cancer. Research has shown that beetroot extract reduced multi-organ tumor formations in various animal models when administered in drinking water, for instance, while beetroot extract is also being studied for use in treating human pancreatic, breast and prostate cancers.9

Provide valuable nutrients and fiber — Beets are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber and essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese10 (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas). Beets also contain the B vitamin folate, which helps reduce the risk of birth defects.

Support detoxification — The betalin pigments in beets support your body’s Phase 2 detoxification process,11 which is when broken down toxins are bound to other molecules so they can be excreted from your body. Traditionally, beets are valued for their support in detoxification and helping to purify your blood and your liver.

Nitrates in Foods

Almost 80% of dietary nitrates come from vegetables.12 Beets are one of the richest sources, containing more than 250 milligrams of nitrates per 100 grams. Other foods with high nitrate content include arugula, celery, cress, chervil, celeriac, Chinese cabbage, fennel, endive, kohlrabi, mustard greens, leeks and parsley.

Keep in mind that naturally occurring nitrates are different from the nitrates found in processed foods, such as bacon or sausages. The nitrates that you get from vegetables are converted to nitric oxide (NO) in your body.

NO has potent health benefits, as described in “Why You Need to Try the Nitric Oxide Dump Workout.” However, when nitrates and nitrites from processed meats react with the gastric acid in your stomach, it forms nitrosamines, harmful compounds that have been linked to several different types of cancer.13,14

The reason meat-based nitrites don’t boost NO production but rather turn into harmful N-nitroso compounds has to do with the presence of proteins and heme15 (an iron-containing compound that makes up part of the hemoglobin molecule in blood) and the absence of antioxidant compounds.

On the other hand, plants contain antioxidants such as vitamin C and polyphenols that impede the formation of harmful nitrosamines. The presence of these compounds helps ensure that the nitrites are converted into NO once they reach your stomach rather than harmful N-nitroso compounds.16

Unlike processed meats like bacon, most plant foods are also not cooked or fried at high temperatures, which further minimizes the chances that harmful substances will be produced.

How to Eat Beets

If you’re new to beets, there are plenty of ways you can enjoy them:

  • Grate them raw over salads
  • Juice them, along with other fruits and vegetables
  • Lightly steam them
  • Marinate them with lemon juice, herbs and olive oil

Please note that if you’re interested in buying beets to make your own juice, the industry has gone the way of so many crops in the U.S. — toward genetic engineering, according to the Organic and Non-GMO Report.17 This is particularly true with sugar beets.

While the table beets most people eat are not currently genetically engineered, they’re often grown in close proximity to sugar beets, which are often GE, and cross-pollination is known to occur. So, when choosing beets to eat, opt for organic varieties whenever possible.

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are dangerous for humans on a number of levels. GMOs may alter DNA, potentially cause cancer, and may trigger other “less severe” problems like organ failure, liver and kidney damage.

Although beets have the highest sugar content of all vegetables, most people can safely eat beet roots a few times a week. Beetroot juice, however, should be consumed in moderation.

Make sure you also eat the beet greens, which are loaded with valuable nutrients, including phosphorus, zinc, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, calcium and iron.18

References
  1.  J Physiol (2020)
  2.  EurekAlert, August 16, 2020
  3.  Nutrients. 2017;9(1)
  4.  Nutr J. 2012;11:106
  5.  Nutr J. 2012;11:106
  6.  J Appl Physiol. 2009;107(4):1144-55
  7.  Am J Clin Nutr. 2004;80(3):539-49
  8.  The World’s Healthiest Foods. 2020
  9.  J Complement Integr Med. 2013;10
  10.  USDA FoodData Central. April 1, 2020
  11.  Nutr Cancer. 2005;53(1):91-103
  12.  Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;90(1):1-10
  13.  Nutrients. 2019;11(11)
  14.  Oncotarget. 2016;7(35):56915-56932
  15.  Wired. October 27, 2015
  16.  The Essential List. April 28, 2014
  17.  The Organic and Non-GMO Report. June 2008
  18.  USDA FoodData Central. April 1, 2019

Originally published at mercola.com and reproduced here with permission.

Recommended Articles by Dr. Joseph Mercola
About the Author

Born and raised in the inner city of Chicago, IL, Dr. Joseph Mercola is an osteopathic physician trained in both traditional and natural medicine. Board-certified in family medicine, Dr. Mercola served as the chairman of the family medicine department at St. Alexius Medical Center for five years, and in 2012 was granted fellowship status by the American College of Nutrition (ACN).

While in practice in the late 80s, Dr. Mercola realized the drugs he was prescribing to chronically ill patients were not working. By the early 90s, he began exploring the world of natural medicine, and soon changed the way he practiced medicine.

In 1997 Dr. Mercola founded Mercola.com, which is now routinely among the top 10 health sites on the internet. His passion is to transform the traditional medical paradigm in the United States. “The existing medical establishment is responsible for killing and permanently injuring millions of Americans… You want practical health solutions without the hype, and that’s what I offer.”

Visit Mercola.com for more information, or read Dr. Mercola’s full bio and resumé here.

Please SHARE this article with your family and friends.

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The Healing Power Of A Gut Cleanse: 6-Day Detox

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Photo Credit: Getty

Dr. Edward F. GroupGuest Writer

The body is an incredible machine. Each person’s body has a built-in detox system — starting with the gastrointestinal (GI) tract — that processes toxins, chemicals, and other harmful substances that your food inevitably contains. The GI tract begins to remove harmful substances from your food by sending them out of the body in your stool or to the liver and kidneys to be fully detoxified.

The GI tract also breaks down the food you eat, using the nutrients to build muscle, bone, brain, and other critical body tissues.

Over time, your gut can get overwhelmed from the toxins it absorbs from the food and water you consume, the air you breathe, and the products you use on a daily basis. A gut cleanse — sometimes called a colon cleanse — can ensure all those toxins aren’t affecting your ability to stay healthy.

Short Breakdown of the Gut Cleanse
  • Get Ready: Stock up on raw organic apple cider vinegar (ACV), distilled water, and healthy, plant-based foods, or fruit if you’re doing the fruit-only option.
  • Make ACV mix: Prepare six gallons of ACV mix by adding two tablespoons of ACV per one gallon of distilled water.
  • Days 1 to 6: Follow a healthy diet with three small meals throughout the day, such as avocado, nuts, or fruit. Drink an ACV mix throughout the day. Before bed, take an oxygen-based colon cleanser.
  • Post Cleanse: Follow a healthy, plant-based diet with three small meals throughout the day. Make sure to drink lots of water with fresh lemon.

Read the full details below.

What Does Your Gut Do for You?

When someone refers to the “gut,” they’re typically referring to the entire digestive system. That’s everything from mouth to anus — including the esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, small intestine, and large intestine, also called the colon.

Every section of the digestive tract has a function, and the colon is one of the most important. It’s a U-shaped part of the intestines that is up to six feet long. The colon has four sections: ascending, transverse, descending, and sigmoid. A whole ecosystem of gut bacteria resides inside the colon, helping to keep your digestion on track.

What Is a Gut Cleanse?

A gut cleanse is an incredibly effective way to improve your overall health and wellness, boosting your gut’s ability to digest food and detoxify harmful substances. A gut cleanse has three main components: eliminating, flushing, and replenishing.

First, you eliminate food items known to cause digestive issues, such as dairy, meat, gluten, and other allergens, while eating a clean diet — ideally, all fruit — for several days. Next, you flush your digestive system of all the extra waste, toxins, and organisms it has collected over time. Last, you replenish your gut’s beneficial organisms, also called probiotics.

A gut cleanse is a three-step process — eliminate, flush, and replenish — that can kick-start a new, healthy lifestyle.

Cleansing your gut is something you should regularly do — it’s not just a one-time quick fix. Your gut needs regular maintenance. Doing a gut cleanse is a great opportunity to kick-start new, healthy habits. You will feel so much better after clearing out the old gunk and welcoming in healthier foods, more beneficial probiotic bacteria, and smoother digestion.

Signs That It’s Time for a Cleanse

The Standard American Diet (SAD) is ruthless when it comes to messing with your gut health. All of the meat, dairy, sugar, wheat, and fried and processed foods unleash all sorts of havoc on your body, leading to accumulated toxins and even compacted fecal matter in the gut. Many people say that they can feel when it’s time for a gut cleanse.

Your body is constantly sending signals that you need to cleanse, and some people say they can even feel when it’s time for a gut cleanse!

Your body is pretty good at sending out signals to make sure you’re aware that something is off-balance. If you notice any of the following symptoms, it’s a pretty strong indicator that it’s time for a gut cleanse.

Gut Detox Protocol

To ensure you’re doing the gut cleanse properly, be sure to follow the dietary instructions below. In some ways, a cleanse is similar to fasting. You will be eliminating a lot of foods that you ordinarily eat unless you already follow a very clean diet.

Gut Cleanse Diet

You have two options for the gut cleanse diet. The fruit-only option is ideal, and you will get the best results with it. However, you can also do a gut cleanse by eating mostly plant-based foods.

Option 1: Fruit-Only Diet

While performing your gut cleanse, you should eat organic fruit. Choose fruits from the following list. These particular options are full of nutrients and water and are gentle on your digestive system. You can eat as much fruit as you want.

  • Apples
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Grapefruit
  • Oranges
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon
  • White grapes
Non-Fruit Option

If you need a heartier option, you can eat a plant-based diet; eliminate meat, dairy, eggs, soy, wheat, and gluten-containing products. Eat organic or locally grown food for best results. Below are a few additional tips:

  • Eat healthy, plant-based foods for six days straight with three small portions daily.
  • Eliminate meat, dairy, eggs, soy, GMOs, wheat and gluten-containing foods.
  • Eat lots of salads, vegetable soups, raw nuts, seeds, and fruits.
  • Do not cook any food in a microwave as this will reduce the effectiveness of cleansing.
  • Eat dinner at least one hour before bedtime.
  • Avoid all alcoholic beverages.
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners like those in diet sodas and other diet products. Instead use honey, stevia, monk fruit, or coconut sugar.
  • Avoid high fructose corn syrup, molasses, white sugar, dextrose, sorbitol, processed fructose, and sucrose.
  • Replace table salt with seasonings like Himalayan salt.
Ingredients

You’ll want to make sure you have the proper ingredients for this gut detox on hand before starting. All the items on this list work together to balance out your gut microflora, remove toxins from your system, and normalize your digestive health.

The distilled water, lemons, and apple cider vinegar create a drink you’ll hydrate with throughout the cleanse. Here’s how to make it:

  1. Take one gallon of distilled water and pour out four ounces
  2. Add two tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar
  3. Shake well
  4. Add the juice from half a lemon
  5. Mix and refrigerate
Instructions

This gut cleanse is a six-day process. Each day, make one gallon of the apple cider vinegar cocktail and drink it throughout the day.

Save eight ounces of the apple cider vinegar mixture for the end of the day. Just before you go to bed every night, use it to take six capsules of Oxy-Powder. If you have any left over after that, don’t save it — pitch the rest and make a fresh batch in the morning.

Select a personal affirmation that works for you, perhaps related to the reason why you’re doing the cleanse. Are you trying to improve your overall health? Try, “I am healthy.” Is it to rid yourself of toxins? Say, “I am clean.” Are you determined to lose weight? Repeat, “I am lighter.” Or pick an affirmation that aligns with your goals.

Important: Drink 12 to 20 ounces of the gut cleanse cocktail when you wake up and between meals.

Breakfast
  1. Take 3 Latero-Flora capsules 20 minutes before eating.
  2. Eat breakfast. Follow your dietary option.
  3. Drink 12 to 20 ounces of the gut cleanse cocktail.
  4. Repeat your affirmation nine times.
Lunch
  1. Eat lunch. Follow your dietary option.
  2. Drink 12 to 20 ounces of the gut cleanse cocktail.
  3. Repeat your affirmation nine times.
Dinner
  1. Eat dinner. Follow your dietary option.
  2. Drink 12 to 20 ounces of the gut cleanse cocktail.
  3. Repeat your affirmation nine times.
Bedtime
  1. Take six capsules of Oxy-Powder.
  2. Drink the remaining eight ounces of apple cider vinegar mix.
  3. Before closing your eyes, repeat your affirmation to encourage a restful night’s sleep.

Repeat these instructions for six days. After the first full day of the cleanse, you should expect to have three to five bowel movements every day. If you don’t, increase your Oxy-Powder intake by two capsules every night until you hit the three to five mark the following day.

Note: Because a gut cleanse flushes out most of the food and compacted waste that has accumulated in your gut, you will want to replenish your gut microbes with beneficial bacteria at the end of your cleanse. Take a probiotic supplement that can boost the results of your cleanse.

Benefits of a Gut Detox

A healthy gut means a happy body. When your colon and digestive system are working the way they should, your body’s natural ability to detoxify itself is at peak performance.

If your digestive system is not working properly, you most likely aren’t getting all the nutrients available from what you eat. Your body may also be having trouble absorbing enough water from your food. A gut detox can get your digestion to a better place. Below we list the top benefits of a gut cleanse.

Balance Your Emotions

When your gut is in proper working order, it can affect your mood in a good way. Several studies show that anxiety and stress increase with greater inflammation in the body — and inflammation occurs when your diet is less than optimal.[1] A gut cleanse can normalize this systemic redness and swelling, helping to balance out your emotions.

Regulate & Restore Your Immune System

The micro-organisms in your gut interact quite closely with your immune system, and depending on which organisms you’ve got, there’s a potential link to autoimmune diseases.

A gut detox can help eliminate the harmful organism in your body, helping the gut to heal and keeping your immune system on track while replenishing your gut with beneficial microbes.[2]

Relieve Constipation & Promote Regularity

Your body can have a hard time with digestion when you follow a poor diet that’s full of processed foods, meat, and sugar. An unhealthy diet can lead to compacted waste — or, in other words, constipation.

Since you eliminate unhealthy foods on a gut detox, while focusing on drinking water and eating fiber-rich foods, it helps your system, removing waste and flushing out the bad stuff.

Essentially, your gut will be reset following a cleanse, which means your bowel movements will likely be more regular and consistent, and you’ll be processing and digesting food at healthy levels again.

Increase Energy

One of the most commonly reported benefits following a gut detox is a big energy boost, especially if you follow it up by switching to a healthier diet.

You may not even need that cup of morning coffee anymore. You’ll not only feel more awake, but you will also just feel better overall.

Jumpstart Your Metabolism

Both new research and therapies focus on how the microbiome in your gut helps regulate metabolism. A gut cleanse could be just what you need to take your body’s innate calorie-burning power to a higher level.

As a bonus, once your biome is in top shape, it may help you fight against obesity. Early studies show that new therapies focused on gut flora could be effective at lowering obesity rates.[3] This is why replenishing the gut with beneficial probiotics is essential to the overall effectiveness of any cleanse.

Boost Nutrient Absorption

Within your gut, the colon absorbs nutrients from the food you’re eating. If your gut is unhealthy, those nutrients may not be properly absorbed.

When that happens, you’re at a higher risk for things like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), malabsorption syndrome, leaky gut, Crohn’s disease, and nutritional deficiencies.

Strengthen Your Brain

Recent research shows that the health of your gut can have a positive impact on brain function. Specific diets — like the healthy one you’ll adopt after your detox — can help normalize neurodevelopmental disorders.

Some probiotics are also known to influence brain activity, so be sure to add them back into your diet with supplements once the cleanse is over.[4]

Other Ways to Maintain a Healthy Gut

Once you’re done with the cleanse, make following a healthy diet your new norm, especially if you previously ate meat, dairy, or a lot of processed foods. There are other options for maintaining a healthy gut as well — things you should probably do together with that diet, listed below.

Manage Your Stress

Too much stress can cause a whole array of disorders, including ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).[5] If you’re stressed out, try healthy ways to manage it — like meditation, yoga, and deep breathing.

Take Enzymes

Digestive enzymes have one main purpose — to break down food so you can digest it more efficiently — but they also boost your health in other ways.

Enzyme supplements support normal digestion, reduce bloating and gas, protect your cells and tissues from oxidative damage, and deter systemic redness and swelling.

Adopt a Plant-Based Diet

Animal-based diets have an undeniably negative affect on gut health.[6] plant-based diet that focuses on organic fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains helps to normalize mood, fight obesity, and promote a healthier gut microbiome.

A plant-based diet promotes strong digestion, and helps with heart health, anti-aging, and so much more. Herbal and green teas, as well as supplements, can add additional nutrients and antioxidants to your plant-based diet.

Incorporate Probiotics

Recent research shows that probiotics help restore healthy gut flora, normalize swelling, boost mood, improve skin health, and ease certain systemic diseases.[7]

Supplements can help introduce the right probiotics into your body. Choose supplements that contain many probiotic strains as well as prebiotics, fiber-rich “food” for the microbes. You can also add dairy-free probiotic foods to your diet for additional benefit. Many fermented foods, like kombucha, sauerkraut, and kimchi, naturally contain beneficial probiotics.

Start Exercising

Exercise is for more than just weight loss. It helps keep you alert, releases stress, and keeps your brain functioning at an optimal level — and it’s helpful for your gut, too.

When you exercise, it boosts the number of beneficial microbe species in your gut, which boosts digestion as well as your immune system.[8]

Points to Remember

A gut cleanse, also known as a colon cleanse, is an important part of regulating your digestive system and getting your body back on track. With an unhealthy internal system, you’ll feel sick and sluggish. A gut detox can also normalize your mood, immune system, and digestion — all the while promoting regularity.

We recommend our Colon Cleanse Kit as part of a healthy lifestyle to simultaneously support your gut and colon.

An ideal gut cleanse spans six days. During that time you will eat only fruit — or a clean, plant-based diet — allowing your gastrointestinal tract to clean itself out, lighten its load, and detoxify. Apple cider vinegar, lemon, and gut-detox supplements, taken at regular intervals, help the process. Taking a probiotic after you complete the cleanse helps ensure your gut stays healthy afterward.

Once you finish the cleanse, it’s important to maintain optimal gut health. You can do this by exercising, taking supplements, changing your diet, and controlling stress.

Article Sources
  1. Bested AC, et al. Intestinal microbiota, probiotics and mental health: from Metchnikoff to modern advances: Part II – contemporary contextual research. Gut Pathog. 2013 Mar 14;5(1):3.
  2. Wu HJ, Wu E. The role of gut microbiota in immune homeostasis and autoimmunity. Gut Microbes. 2012 Jan-Feb;3(1):4-14.
  3. Martinez KB, et al. The gut microbiota: the gateway to improved metabolism. Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2016 Dec;45(4):601-614.
  4. 4 Fast Facts about the Gut-Brain Connection. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, National Institutes of Health. Updated 24 Sep 2017. Accessed 21 Dec 2018.
  5. Konturek PC, et al. Stress and the gut: pathophysiology, clinical consequences, diagnostic approach and treatment options. J Physiol Pharmacol. 2011 Dec;62(6):591-599.
  6. David LA, et al. Diet rapidly and reproducibly alters the human gut microbiome. Nature. 2014 Jan 23;505(7484):559-563.
  7. Hemarajata P, Versalovic J. Effects of probiotics on gut microbiota: mechanisms of intestinal immunomodulation and neuromodulation. Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 2013 Jan;6(1):39-51.

Monda V, et al. Exercise Modifies the Gut Microbiota with Positive Health Effects. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2017;2017:3831972.

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

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 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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Scientific Links Between Processed Foods And Depression

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Scientific Links Between Processed Foods And Depression
Photo Credit: Pexels

Dr. Joseph MercolaGuest Writer

Research shows that the food you eat can have a profound effect on your mental health. So, regardless of your mental health problems, the importance of addressing your diet simply cannot be overstated.

In a very real sense, you have two brains — one in your head, and one in your gut. Both are created from the same tissue during fetal development, and they’re connected via your vagus nerve, the tenth cranial nerve that runs from your brain stem to your abdomen.

It is now well established that the vagus nerve is the primary route your gut bacteria use to transmit information to your brain, which helps explain why mental health appears to be so intricately connected to your gut microbiome 1 — the bacteria and other microbes living in your gut.

For example, researchers recently found that fermented foods helped curb social anxiety disorder in young adults.2,3 Another study4 found that mice engaged in obsessive-compulsive repetitive behaviours were pacified when given a strain of the bacterium Bacteroides fragilis.

Gut bacteria also produce mood-boosting neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). In fact, the greatest concentration of serotonin is found in your intestines, not your brain.

At the end of the day, if you’re trying to address your mental state, optimizing your gut health should be toward the very top of your list.

The Strong Link Between Sugar and Depression

A number of food ingredients can cause or aggravate depression, but the number one culprit is refined sugar and processed fructose, which feed pathogens in your gut, allowing them to overtake more beneficial bacteria.

Sugar also suppresses the activity of a key growth hormone in your brain called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF levels are critically low in both depression and schizophrenia.

Diets high in sugar also triggers a cascade of chemical reactions in your body that promote chronic inflammation, which over the long term disrupts the normal functioning of your immune system and wreaks havoc on your brain.

Last but not least, refined sugar and processed fructose and grains are key contributors to insulin and leptin resistance, which also plays a significant role in your mental health.

One recent study5,6 found that high-glycemic foods (including those high in refined grains and added sugar) were associated with higher odds of depression.

Added sugar in particular was strongly associated with depression, reconfirming what William Dufty said in his classic best-selling book, Sugar Blues, first published in 1975. Sometimes it takes a while for science to catch up — in this case 40 years!

Other Processed Food Ingredients That Promote Depression

Other processed food ingredients that can contribute to depression and/or other mental health problems include:

  • Genetically engineered (GE) ingredients can significantly alter your gut flora, thereby promoting pathogens while decimating the beneficial microbes necessary for optimal mental and physical health.
  • Glyphosate the most widely used herbicide on food crops in the world with nearly 1 BILLION pounds applied every year — has been shown to cause nutritional deficiencies, especially minerals, which are critical for brain function and mood control. It also causes systemic toxicity, and was recently declared a Class 2A probable human carcinogen. Roundup, in which glyphosate is the active ingredient, has also been shown to increase the antibiotic-resistance of E. coli and Salmonella.
  • Artificial food additives, especially the artificial sweetener aspartame, can wreak havoc with your brain function. Both depression and panic attacks are known potential side effects of aspartame consumption. Other additives, such as artificial colorings, are also known to impact mood.
  • Gluten, a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye, and barley, may negatively impact mood and brain health. In fact, a number of studies indicate that wheat can have a detrimental effect on mood, promoting depression and even more serious mental health problems such as schizophrenia. Most non-organic wheat is also treated with glyphosate in a pre-harvest processed called desiccation, which adds to its problematic effects (see glyphosate above).
To Heal Depression, Heal Your Gut

As noted by The Epoch Times:7

“In the last 20 years or so, scientists have developed a new respect for bacteria, and the paradigm is turning from a strategy of war, to one of co-existence. Science now considers a robust, diverse bacterial colony to be essential to good health.”

Indeed, the bacteria residing on and in your body outnumber your cells 10 to 1, and viruses in turn outnumber bacteria 10 to 1. In many respects, you are your microbiome.

As Tom Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, told The New York Times:8

“We are, at least from the standpoint of DNA, more microbial than human. That’s a phenomenal insight and one that we have to take seriously when we think about human development.’’

Rapidly mounting research reveals that many of these little microbes have very specific functions, and as a whole play a profound role in your biological processes and overall health — including your brain health.

“According to Dr. Raphael Kellman, a New York City-based physician who specializes in treating the microbiome…the microbiome not only influences our mood, but it also has a lot to do with how the brain functions and develops over time,” The Epoch Times9 notes.

‘By improving the microbiome we can actually see positive changes in mood, cognitive function, and executive function,’ Kellman said…

‘The microbiome communicates with the brain through a number of mechanisms… These pathways include direct neurotransmitters that the microbiome produces.

It communicates with the brain via the vagus nerve, and also via the endocrine system in the stress pathway — the hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal axis.’

Current treatment for neurological disorders focus on direct changes to brain chemistry, tweaking levels of neurotransmitter chemicals in hopes of tuning in the right balance. But the future of mental health treatment may focus much more on the gut than the brain, and more on food than drugs.”

The fact that improving your microbiome can affect your cognitive function means it’s also important to nourish your gut to stand a better chance against neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s. Interestingly, researchers have also found that recurring depression is associated with shrinkage of the hippocampus, the area of your brain associated with memory formation,10 and depression itself appears to be a risk factor for dementia.

Here, it’s important to take your vitamin D levels into account, as both depression and Alzheimer’s disease are associated with vitamin D deficiency.

The Birth Of A More Holistic Model For Mental Health

Depression and anxiety are typically treated with antidepressants, despite the fact studies have shown them to only be on par with placebos in terms of effectiveness. They’re also associated with a slew of side effects, including the progression into more severe and/or chronic mental health problems. Recent research may in part explain why antidepressants can worsen the situation rather than making it better.

The ‘chemical imbalance’ theory states that depression and anxiety disorders are due to low serotonin levels. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) work by making more serotonin available for use in your brain, which is thought to improve your mood. Alas, recent research reveals that people with social anxiety do not have low serotonin; they have higher than normal levels. So further boosting serotonin with an SSRI will only make the anxiety worse…

The new focus on gut health is a welcome departure from the synthetic drug model. As discussed in The New York Times,11 researchers are listing and investigating psychoactive compounds found in feces, and are experimenting with fecal transplants in animals to assess its effect on neurodevelopment:

“Anxiety, depression, and several pediatric disorders, including autism and hyperactivity, have been linked with gastrointestinal abnormalities. Microbial transplants were not invasive brain surgery, and that was the point: Changing a patient’s bacteria might be difficult but it still seemed more straightforward than altering his genes. When Lyte began his work on the link between microbes and the brain three decades ago, it was dismissed as a curiosity.

By contrast, last September, the National Institute of Mental Health awarded four grants worth up to $1 million each to spur new research on the gut microbiome’s role in mental disorders, affirming the legitimacy of a field that had long struggled to attract serious scientific credibility… It seems plausible, if not yet proved, that we might one day use microbes to diagnose neurodevelopmental disorders, treat mental illnesses and perhaps even fix them in the brain.”

Abnormal Gut Flora Fosters Abnormal Brain Development

Researchers have also begun experimenting with fecal transplants in autistic children,12 and while such investigations are still in its infancy, there’s plenty of cause for optimism. There does in fact appear to be a close connection between abnormal gut flora in infancy and abnormal brain development — a condition Dr. Campbell-McBride calls Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS). GAPS is the result of poorly developed or imbalanced gut flora and may manifest as a conglomerate of symptoms that can fit the diagnosis of autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), attention deficit disorder (ADD) without hyperactivity, dyslexia, dyspraxia, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, just to name a few possibilities.

Dr. Campbell believes autistic children are born with perfectly normal brains and sensory organs, but once their digestive system becomes a major source of toxicity instead of being a source of nourishment, they start to develop autistic symptoms. This theory fits in well with more recent research13 published by the American Society for Microbiology, which identified a bacteria (Sutterella) that is unique to the intestines of children with autism. According to the authors:

“Many children with autism have gastrointestinal (GI) disturbances that can complicate clinical management and contribute to behavioural problems. Understanding the molecular and microbial underpinnings of these GI issues is of paramount importance for elucidating pathogenesis, rendering diagnosis, and administering informed treatment.

Here we describe an association between high levels of intestinal, ucoepithelial-associated Sutterella species, and GI disturbances in children with autism. These findings elevate this little-recognized bacterium to the forefront by demonstrating that Sutterella is a major component of the microbiota in over half of children with autism and gastrointestinal dysfunction (AUT-GI) and is absent in children with only gastrointestinal dysfunction (Control-GI) evaluated in this study.”

Nourishing Your Gut Flora May Boost Your Mood and Protect Your Mental Health

All things considered, it seems quite clear that nourishing your gut flora is extremely important to support a positive mood and stable mental health. To do so, I recommend the following strategies:

  • Avoid sugar and processed, refined foods in your diet. Remember eating real food is one of the most powerful and simple strategies you can implement to take control of your health. If you need help doing this, read through my nutrition plan for a simple, whole-food based diet. There is simply no question that eliminating refined sugars is the most powerful intervention the average person can make to improve their gut flora.
  • Eat traditionally fermented, unpasteurized foods. Fermented foods are the best route to optimal digestive health, as long as you eat the traditionally made, unpasteurized versions. Ideally, you want to eat a variety of fermented foods to maximize the variety of bacteria you’re consuming. Healthy choices include fermented vegetables, lassi (an Indian yoghurt drink, traditionally enjoyed before dinner), fermented milk like kefir, kimchee, and natto (fermented soy).
  • Take a high-quality probiotic supplement. If you don’t eat fermented foods on a regular basis, do consider taking a broad-spectrum probiotic. Research has shown that certain probiotics may help alleviate anxiety by modulating the vagal pathways within the gut-brain, affecting GABA levels, and lowering the stress-induced hormone corticosterone.

In summary, foods have an immense impact on both your body and your brain, and eating whole foods as described in my nutrition plan is the best way to support your mental and physical health. Whether you need a quick pick-me-up or you’ve been struggling with poor mood for a while, the best remedy is likely not found in your medicine cabinet but right in your pantry or refrigerator.

Article Sources
  1. The Atlantic June 24, 2015
  2. Psychiatry Research April 28, 2015 [Epub ahead of print]
  3. Psych Central June 12, 2015
  4. New York Times June 23, 2015
  5. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition June 24, 2015 DOI: 10.3945
  6. Time June 29, 2015
  7. Epoch Times July 1, 2015
  8. New York Times June 23, 2015
  9. WebMD June 30, 2015
  10. Epoch Times July 1, 2015
  11. New York Times June 23, 2015
  12. New York Times June 23, 2015
  13. MBio January 10, 2012, vol. 3 no. 1 e00261-11
Recommended Articles by Dr. Joseph Mercola
About the Author

Born and raised in the inner city of Chicago, IL, Dr. Joseph Mercola is an osteopathic physician trained in both traditional and natural medicine. Board-certified in family medicine, Dr. Mercola served as the chairman of the family medicine department at St. Alexius Medical Center for five years, and in 2012 was granted fellowship status by the American College of Nutrition (ACN).

While in practice in the late 80s, Dr. Mercola realized the drugs he was prescribing to chronically ill patients were not working. By the early 90s, he began exploring the world of natural medicine, and soon changed the way he practiced medicine.

In 1997 Dr. Mercola founded Mercola.com, which is now routinely among the top 10 health sites on the internet. His passion is to transform the traditional medical paradigm in the United States. “The existing medical establishment is responsible for killing and permanently injuring millions of Americans… You want practical health solutions without the hype, and that’s what I offer.”

Visit Mercola.com for more information, or read Dr. Mercola’s full bio and resumé here.

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Health

CoQ10 Benefits: A Powerful Energizing Antioxidant For Health And Vitality

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CoQ10
Photo Credit: Pexels

Dr. Edward F. GroupGuest Writer

If you’re looking for a supplement that can help you feel energized, promotes healthy aging, and keeps you feeling your best, look no further than CoQ10. Supplemental CoQ10 benefits include increased energy levels, healthy and youthful-appearing skin, mental sharpness, and immune system support.[1]

Naturally produced by the body, CoQ10 has many roles, including helping convert the food you eat into energy that fuels your brain and body.[1] Because levels decline as you age, some people like to boost their body’s production by taking a CoQ10 supplement. Its antioxidant properties can help protect your body from harmful free radicals.[1]

That’s not all. Read on to learn more about this important compound that can support your overall health and well-being.

What Is CoQ10?

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) helps the mitochondria — the cell’s powerhouses — produce energy.

Did you know CoQ10 is found in every cell throughout the body?

Your mitochondria produce something called ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which stores and transfers energy to every living cell in your body.[2]

CoQ10 plays a role in producing ATP in the body, so in a sense, it’s like a cup of coffee for your cells! Maintaining sufficient levels of CoQ10 boosts cellular energy production and keeps your body systems and organs function as they should.[1]

CoQ10 also acts as a powerful antioxidant, protecting your cells and tissues from harmful free radicals.[1]

You’ll find CoQ10 in every cell throughout your body; however, it concentrates in the organs that require the most energy, including your heart, kidneys, and liver.[1] Your brain also uses a lot of CoQ10! However, its production declines with age.

Top 12 CoQ10 Benefits

Though technically not actually a vitamin, some people refer to CoQ10 as “vitamin Q,” since it has vitamin-like qualities. Let’s explore some of the health benefits this impressive antioxidant offers.[3]

1. Supports Heart Health

Heart troubles can have a big impact on your quality of life. Thankfully, long-term studies suggest that CoQ10 is beneficial for heart health.

In Sweden, researchers studied 400 healthy individuals over the age of 70. Half of the group were given CoQ10 and selenium (another antioxidant), and the others were given a placebo pill for four years.

At the end of the study, the CoQ10 group had fewer serious heart problems, and healthier hearts compared to the placebo group.[4]

The even better news? In a follow-up study 12 years later, those same people who took CoQ10 for the initial 4-year period still fared better with cardiac health than the placebo group.[5] CoQ10 also promotes normal blood pressure.[6] 

2. Boosts Energy Levels

Feeling less energetic and chalking it up to being “older?” You may have a CoQ10 deficiency. Declining CoQ10 can affect how you feel, including zapping your energy levels.

When you take extra CoQ10, you spark the production of your body’s cellular fuel (ATP), which recharges your system. Fuelling your cells may boost your energy levels. This helps you get through the day with less fatigue.[1]

So far, scientists have found that CoQ10 improves endurance in individuals living with cardiac health problems, particularly during exercise.[7]

More research is needed on how CoQ10 affects already healthy individuals’ energy levels.

3. Promotes Healthy Aging

As you age, your body requires extra care. The best way to care for your body is through a diet rich in plant-based foods, regular exercise, and healthy stress-management techniques. But, sometimes our bodies need a little extra support.

Older adults are more vulnerable to harm caused by oxidative stress — an imbalance between free radicals (cell-damaging molecules) and your body’s innate ability to prevent the harm they cause. Thanks to its antioxidant qualities, CoQ10 helps protect the body from these harmful free radicals.[8]

In a clinical trial, older adults took both selenium and CoQ10 for four years. Individuals who consumed the CoQ10-selenium supplement had fewer health issues requiring hospital visits. Participants reported improvements in physical performance, vitality, and even quality of life.[9]

4. Encourages Mental Sharpness

You’ve likely heard that doing a daily crossword puzzle can help keep you mentally sharp well into your golden years. CoQ10 may have a similar effect.

In animal studies, CoQ10 supplementation improved cognitive performance and memory, particularly when combined with vitamin E.[10]

It isn’t just aging that causes oxidative stress — exposure to toxins in our environment can cause it too. This oxidative stress leads to neuron (brain cell) damage.

Researchers have discovered that laboratory cells pre-treated with CoQ10 have the potential to protect themselves better against neuron and oxidative damage.[11] This is promising news indeed!

CoQ10’s antioxidant nature allows it to bolster the body’s defence against oxidative stress in your brain cells, keeping your brain sharp.

5. Upholds Healthy Joints & Muscles

You use your joints and muscles for movement and everyday physical activities. Over time, these body parts encounter wear and tear. As a result, you may occasionally experience muscle weakness and sore joints.

Researchers have explored how CoQ10 can reduce the effects of strain and discomfort in joints and muscles caused by injury or fatigue.

It turns out that CoQ10 might have a therapeutic effect on joints by minimizing cartilage degradation, easing joint discomfort, and promoting overall joint health and wellness.[12]

Research also shows that CoQ10 supplementation helps increase the concentration of this important compound in muscles, helping improve exercise performance.[13]

6. May Ease Occasional Headaches

Headaches are a common problem in all age groups.

In older adults, the prevalence of headache ranges anywhere from 12 to 50%. Frequent headaches occur in up to 17% of people aged 65 and older.[14]

Some promising new research found that CoQ10 may offer relief by promoting normal levels of inflammatory cytokines — chemicals in the body that affect head discomfort.[15]

As a result, those people taking CoQ10 had fewer headaches; among those who did experience head discomfort, it was less severe and did not last as long.[15]

In a clinical trial that gave Gulf War veterans CoQ10 supplements, researchers found that 80% of those receiving CoQ10 supplementation reported fewer headaches, demonstrated improved recall, and had less fatigue with exertion.[16] They also reported feeling less irritable and experienced less muscle discomfort.

7. Keeps Skin More Youthful

We all know and expect wrinkles with age — laugh lines are a sign of a well-lived life. But that doesn’t mean we don’t want to keep our skin looking as youthful as possible.

Skin becomes more vulnerable to damage as you age, due in part to the lower levels of CoQ10 in the body.

The solution? Take CoQ10 to make up for deficiencies — and keep your skin healthy and youthful.

In a clinical study, researchers found that individuals who took a CoQ10 supplement for 12 weeks had “significantly reduced wrinkles and microrelief lines, and improved skin smoothness.”[17]

As a result, you’ll find CoQ10 listed as an active ingredient in many skin-care products, such as creams and toners.

8. Supports Oral Health

Sore, bleeding, and receding gums can cause discomfort and may even interfere with enjoying life to its fullest. They also occur more with age.[18]

It turns out that CoQ10 can help reduce chronic redness and swelling in the mouth, supporting oral health.

With its ability to help cells produce energy, CoQ10 boosts tissue repair within the gums to keep your mouth healthy.[19]

If dry mouth is a concern, CoQ10 can help with that, too! Dry mouth is often experienced by older adults, as saliva production tends to slow down with age.[20] A clinical trial showed improvement in dry mouth in individuals who received a CoQ10 supplement.[20]

9. Boosts the Immune System

Your immune system keeps you healthy, and it’s important to do what you can to help keep it strong.

Your first line of defence is to live a healthy lifestyle — eat whole, plant-based foods, exercise, and get plenty of sleep. Still, there are times when your immune system may need some extra support.

CoQ10 helps your body produce the energy needed to keep your immune system working as it should, helping you stay healthy.[1]

Certain medical treatments and medications can weaken your immune system, leaving you more susceptible to illness. While some pharmaceuticals and medical treatments can deplete your body of CoQ10, a good supplement can help build it back up and strengthen your immune system.[21]

10. May Improve Your Workouts

Are you looking to get the most out of your time in the gym? CoQ10 may help. Or at the very least, help you feel less fatigued afterward.

A study with a small group of people found that those taking CoQ10 for just a week were able to pedal faster while riding a bike and felt less tired after the workout.[22]

CoQ10’s effectiveness in this area needs further research. Some studies found that CoQ10 did not affect fatigue or performance during exercise, but this study was on triathletes.[23]

Endurance athletes or those doing high-intensity training may need higher amounts of CoQ10 in order to fully feel the boost in energy and less post-workout fatigue.

11. Supports Healthy Vision

If you’d like to avoid picking up a magnifying glass to read the newspaper in the future, consider supplementing with CoQ10 to support your eye health throughout life.

Researchers discovered that CoQ10 protects your eye’s retinal cells against oxidative stress — which can otherwise restrict blood supply to your retina and cause damage.[24]

Your retina is a thin layer of tissue on the back of your eye that converts light into an electric signal relayed to your brain through the optic nerve. Your brain then translates the electrical signals into the images you see.

CoQ10 levels in an eye’s retina decline by 40% with age, which may contribute to vision troubles. Your eye health may benefit from CoQ10 supplementation even before any eye issues begin.[25]

12. Lung Support

Studies have found that people with lung issues and breathing concerns tend to have low levels of CoQ10 in their bodies.[26]

Some studies showed that CoQ10 can boost lung functioning in multiple ways, including reducing the need for unnatural intervention.[27]

CoQ10 supplements improved performance and tissue oxygenation in individuals with lung issues during exercise and at rest.[27]

Do You Have a CoQ10 Deficiency?

Most of us are aware that we need vitamins to avoid deficiencies in our bodies. Did you realize you may also become deficient in CoQ10?

Some of the signs and symptoms that you may have a CoQ10 deficiency include:[28]

  • Bouts of fatigue
  • High blood pressure
  • Aching or stiff muscles
  • Blood sugar imbalance
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Edema (swelling)

Talk to your healthcare provider if you’re worried that you may have a deficiency; they may do a blood test to determine your CoQ10 levels.

Eating a diet rich in CoQ10 and taking a supplement are two options to increase levels in your body.

Foods Containing CoQ10

While you can ensure you are getting proper amounts by taking it as a supplement, dietary sources rich in CoQ10 include:[28]

  • Vegetables: spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fruits: strawberries and oranges
  • Nuts and seeds: hazelnut, pistachio, sesame seeds
  • Lentils

The best way to ensure you get the maximum benefits of CoQ10 through food sources is to consume these foods raw.

Which Is Better: CoQ10-Rich Foods or a Supplement?

Although an organic, plant-based diet involving CoQ10-rich foods is good for your health, taking a CoQ10 supplement is the best way to ensure you consistently get enough in your body, especially as your body’s natural production slows down with age.

Environmental toxins in the body coupled with age or illness may mean you need higher levels of CoQ10 than food alone can provide.[29]

Over-the-counter supplements come in two versions — CoQ10, which is also called ubiquinone (an oxidized form) and ubiquinol, its reduced (not oxidized) form. When you take ubiquinone, your body will convert it to ubiquinol in your body.

Your body converts ubiquinone and ubiquinol back and forth in the body, though the ability to do so may slow with age.

Spending time in the sunlight and eating plants containing high levels of chlorophyll both help the body convert CoQ10 between ubiquinone and ubiquinol, depending on its needs.

CoQ10 itself is a safe and effective supplement. Both ubiquinone and ubiquinol are fat-soluble and should be taken with a fat-containing meal for best absorption.

I recommend Global Healing Centre’s CoQ10 & BioPQQ® with Shilajit — an exclusive blend of three ingredients that combines the most well-researched CoQ10 supplement on the market with BioPQQ, a compound that acts like a cup of coffee for your cell’s mitochondria, plus shilajit — a mineral-rich Himalayan substance that boosts the bioavailability of the other two ingredients. Altogether, this trifecta provides an energy boost at the cellular level.

You may want to consider taking vitamin B-6 along with your CoQ10; research shows the body requires an adequate level of vitamin B-6 in order to synthesize CoQ10.[30]

CoQ10 Side Effects and Precautions

The benefits of CoQ10 supplementation are plenty. Side effects, although rare, may occur with larger servings of CoQ10, or those just starting the supplement.[28]

These side effects include:

  • Mild stomach upset
  • Lowered blood sugar
  • Nausea
  • Potential issues with blood clotting in patients who use certain medications
  • Restless sleep when taken in large portions
  • Diarrheal

Dividing daily servings into two or three smaller portions may help reduce side effects. Be sure to follow the instructions included with your supplement, and don’t take too much.

If you are on any prescription medications for blood pressure, talk to your healthcare provider before taking CoQ10, as it may interact with some blood pressure medications.

The safety of CoQ10 in pregnancy has not been thoroughly tested, so it is best not to take supplemental CoQ10 during pregnancy.

Points to Remember

As we learn more about CoQ10, more people are choosing to use it as a daily nutritional supplement for its multiple health benefits. Research from the thousands of studies conducted on the compound have shown that CoQ10 can:

With CoQ10’s few side effects and many benefits, this supplement is great for improving overall health and wellness.

Whether you want to stay mentally sharp as an older adult, increase your fertility, support your heart health, or boost your energy levels, CoQ10 is a supplement worth considering.

Article Sources
  1. Saini R. Coenzyme Q10: The essential nutrient. J Pharm Bioallied Sci. 2011 Jul-Sep; 3(3):466-467.
  2. Lodish H, et al. Molecular Cell Biology. 4th ed. New York: W. H. Freeman 2000. Section 2.4, Biochemical Energetics.
  3. Coenzyme Q10 (PDQ®). PDQ Integrative, Alternative, and Complementary Therapies Editorial Board, Pub online: 21 April 2016. Web. Oct. 10 2017.
  4. Alehagen U, et al. Significant changes in circulating microRNA by dietary supplementation of selenium and coenzyme Q10 in healthy elderly males. A subgroup analysis of a prospective randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial among elderly Swedish citizens. PLoS One. 2017 Apr 27;12(4):e0174880.
  5. Alehagen U, et al. Still reduced cardiovascular mortality 12 years after supplementation with selenium and coenzyme Q10 for four years: A validation of previous 10-year follow-up results of a prospective randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial in elderly. PLoS One. 2018 Apr 11;13(4):e0193120.
  6. Rosenfeldt FL, et al. Coenzyme Q10 in the treatment of hypertension: a meta-analysis of the clinical trials. J Hum Hypertens. 2007 Apr;21(4):297-306.
  7. Lesser GJ, et al. A randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of oral coenzyme Q10 to relieve self-reported treatment related fatigue in newly diagnosed patients with breast cancer. J Support Oncol. 2013 Mar;11(1):31-42.
  8. Lui HT, et al. Effects of coenzyme Q10 supplementation on antioxidant capacity and inflammation in hepatocellular carcinoma patients after surgery: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Nutr J. 2016;15:85.
  9. Johansson P, et al. Improved health-related quality of life, and more days out of hospital with supplementation with selenium and coenzyme Q10 combined. Results from a double blind, placebo-controlled prospective study. J Nutr Health Aging. 2015 Nov;19(9):870-877.
  10. McDonald SR, et al. Concurrent administration of coenzyme Q10 and alpha-tocopherol improves learning in aged mice. Free Radic Biol Med. 2005 Mar 15;38(6)729-736.
  11. McCarthy S, et al. Paraquat induces oxidative stress and neuronal cell death; neuroprotection by water-soluble Coenzyme Q10. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2004 Nov 15;201(1):21-31.
  12. Lee J, et al. Coenzyme Q10 ameliorates pain and cartilage degradation in a rat model of osteoarthritis by regulating nitric oxide and inflammatory cytokines. PLoS One. 2013; 8(7):e69362.
  13. Cooke M, et al. Effects of acute and 14-day coenzyme Q10 supplementation on exercise performance in both trained and untrained individuals. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2008;5:8.
  14. Starling AJ. Diagnosis and management of headache in older adults. Mayo Clin Proc. 2018 Feb;93(2):252-262.
  15. Dahri M, et al. Oral coenzyme Q10 supplementation in patients with migraine: Effects on clinical features and inflammatory markers. Nutr Neurosci. 2018 Jan 3:1-9.
  16. Golomb BA, et al. Coenzyme Q10 benefits symptoms in Gulf War veterans: results of a randomized double-blind study. Neural Comput. 2014 Nov;26(11):2594-2651.
  17. Žmitek K, et al. The effect of dietary intake of coenzyme Q10 on skin parameters and condition: Results of a randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind study. Biofactors. 2017 Jan 2;43(1):132-140.
  18. California Dental Association. Receding Gums. 2017. Accessed 6 May 2019.
  19. Manthena S, et al. Effectiveness of CoQ10 oral supplements as an adjunct to scaling and root planing in improving periodontal health. J Clin Diagn Res. 2015 Aug;9(8):ZC26-ZC28.
  20. Ryo K, et al. Effects of coenzyme Q10 on salivary secretion. Clin Biochem. 2011 Jun;44(8-9):669-674.
  21. Garrido-Maraver J, et al. Coenzyme Q10 Therapy. Mol Syndromol. 2014 Jul; 5(3-4):187-197.
  22. Mizuno K, et al. Antifatigue effects of coenzyme Q10 during physical fatigue. Nutrition. 2008 Apr;24(4):293-299.
  23. Nielson AN, et al. No effect of antioxidant supplementation in triathletes on maximal oxygen uptake, 31P-NMRS detected muscle energy metabolism and muscle fatigue. Int J Sports Med. 1999 Apr;20(3):154-158.
  24. Lee D, et al. Coenzyme Q10 ameliorates oxidative stress and prevents mitochondrial alteration in ischemic retinal injury. Apoptosis. 2014 Apr;19(4):603-614.
  25. Qu J, et al. Coenzyme Q10 in the human retina. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2009 Apr;50(4):1814-1818.
  26. Gvozdjáková A, et al. Coenzyme Q10 supplementation reduces corticosteroids dosage in patients with bronchial asthma. Biofactors. 2005;25(1-4):235-240.
  27. Fujimoto S, et al. Effects of coenzyme Q10 administration on pulmonary function and exercise performance in patients with chronic lung diseases. Clin Investig. 1993;71(8 Suppl):S162-166.
  28. Oregon State University. Coenzyme Q10. Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center. Updated Apr 2018. Accessed 13 Apr 2019.
  29. US National Library of Medicine. Bioavailability of Ubiquinone and Ubiquinol in Older Adults. Updated 23 Apr 2019. Accessed 6 May 2019.
  30. Willis R, et al. Clinical implications of the correlation between coenzyme Q10 and vitamin B6 status. Biofactors. 1999;9(2-4):359-363.

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

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 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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Everything You Need To Know About Hemp VS. CBD

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Everything You Need to Know About Hemp vs. CBD
Photo Credit: Getty

Dr. Edward F. GroupGuest Writer

Are you wondering about the differences between hemp and CBD oil? How do hemp and weed differ? With so many new hemp products on the market, conscientious consumers want to pick the best supplements made with the highest-quality processes and ingredients. If you want to learn how to distinguish between all the terms and products — or just see what all the excitement is about — read on.

People have used hemp (Cannabis sativa) since ancient times for its incredible health benefits. This diverse plant has thousands of uses and people used it — legally — for centuries. Early Americans grew the fast-growing plant for textiles and rope due to its stronger-than-steel stalk. But in 1970, due to political pressure, the Controlled Substances Act outlawed both hemp and weed in the United States. Companies still sold hemp products after then — you might have seen hemp shirts or jewellery or hemp seed hearts — but they came from imported sources.

With the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill (Agricultural Improvement Act), farmers can once again grow hemp in the U.S.

Companies can also sell hemp throughout the country.[1] As a result, you suddenly see thousands of hemp products like CBD or hemp extract on the market — and with them, a lot of possible confusion.

Let’s break it down.

The Beneficial Compounds in Cannabis

Hemp and weed are different forms of Cannabis. While all hemp comes from Cannabis sativa and contains low levels of THC, weed is bred for high THC and can be Cannabis sativa or C. indica. THC is the compound responsible for the psychoactive effects that people experience. Farmers breed hemp to have low THC content. In fact, the law classifies hemp as any Cannabis sativa containing 0.3% or less THC.[1]

The hemp plant contains many natural chemical compounds, including the phytocannabinoids it’s famous for. These natural substances stimulate the body’s endocannabinoid system, which keeps the body in balance (physiological homeostasis).

THC — Tetrahydrocannabinol

Most people have heard of THC because of the “high” it produces when used recreationally. Weed plants contain around 10% THC or even greater, compared to the much lower 0.3% or below for hemp. While some states regulate non-hemp Cannabis products, it is not federally legal to sell in the U.S.

If a hemp plant or hemp-derived product contains greater than 0.3% THC, it would also not be federally legal. On the other hand, full-spectrum hemp products that do contain up to 0.3% THC can now legally be sold nationwide. They can also be shipped in the postal mail, used in most public places, and taken on airplanes across state lines (be careful with international travel as other countries have different laws).

Some hemp products contain no THC. These products are considered broad-spectrum — as compared with full-spectrum (see below). Full-spectrum products are recommended because THC in itself is one of hemp’s beneficial compounds, with analgesic effects that ease physical discomfort as well as relieve daily stress and anxiety.[2]

CBD — Cannabidiol

The benefits of CBD are impressive! It is most known for its ability to bring relaxation and calm, ease joint discomfort, support a healthy inflammatory response.

On top of that, while CBD promotes an alert calm during daytime, it promotes restful sleep at night.

Growers often breed the hemp plant for a high CBD (cannabidiol) concentration, besides having low THC. Hemp-derived CBD with less than 0.3% THC is now widely sold.

You can also buy non-hemp CBD derived from weed, but it’s only legal in states with medical weed laws and is not federally legalized in any state, so you should not mail it, use it in public, or take it on airplanes. Hemp-derived CBD is perfectly fine in these places.

Other Cannabinoids and Nutritious Compounds

While CBD and THC are best known, Cannabis contains trace amounts of a wide variety of other cannabinoids. These include CBG (cannabigerol), CBC (cannabichromene), and CBN (cannabinol). Scientists are exploring the health benefits of hemp’s minor constituents, and the research results show promise.[3, 4, 5]

Hemp contains protein, chlorophyll, fibre, plus many vitamins, fatty acids, flavonoids, antioxidants, terpenes, and a wide variety of synergistic metabolites. In a full-spectrum product, all the plant compounds work together, creating a stronger effect on the body than each would alone. This is known as the “entourage effect.”

For more information, check out our article on the top five health benefits of hemp.

Types of CBD Products

As you may have noticed, CBD and hemp products are in high demand! You can find many product variations, ranging from liquid extracts or oils, gummies, and vamping options. These products vary greatly in concentration, quality, and how they’re absorbed in the body.

Full-Spectrum Hemp

A full-spectrum hemp extract or oil contains all the plant compounds found in the Cannabis plant for maximum health benefit.[2] Full-spectrum products are typically made with all parts of the plant — flowers, stalks, leaves, seeds, and roots.

A high-quality, full-spectrum product tends to be more expensive because it’s made using an artisanal approach, like a fine wine or craft beer. All the naturally-occurring substances work together, creating enhanced health benefits — the entourage effect. A full-spectrum product is recommended so that you get the full range of health benefits from this therapeutic plant.

Full-spectrum hemp extracts are created using a highly advanced process. The hemp plant gets macerated using state-of-the-art equipment, then soaked in liquid for several days. The extraction process results in a highly concentrated product.

Broad-Spectrum Hemp

A broad-spectrum product, in contrast to full-spectrum, has some components removed — usually THC.

Broad-spectrum offers a distant second-best option because you lose some of the health benefits as well as the entourage effect. It can be a good option for people who may be sensitive to even very low levels of THC or want to avoid it for other reasons.

CBD Isolates

CBD is not the same as hemp oil. CBD isolates are simply cannabidiol in its purest form, typically as a white crystal powder or waxy resin. They can be synthetic (not recommended) or non-synthetic — isolated and purified from the plant through laboratory processes.

You can also buy CBD oil, which is CBD extracted into an oil base.

While CBD alone offers incredible health benefits, a pure CBD product is the least recommended option for a couple of reasons. First, CBD oil contains a single chemical compound, whereas full-spectrum hemp oils or extracts contain all of the plant’s vitamins, nutrients, and cannabinoids. Second, you can easily end up with a synthetic product. Finally, isolates can create tolerance, where you need more and more to achieve the same effect.

Full-Spectrum Hemp Extract Shopping Guide

Many brands are capitalizing on the Cannabis craze. You can now find hundreds of products — how do you know which you want? Something sold as “hemp oil” can be any number of products, ranging from something from just hempseed oil to a full-spectrum product. While cold-pressed hempseed oil makes a delicious addition to a salad dressing and does wonders for your skincare regimen, it’s not the product that most people are looking for these days — something that contains CBD and other helpful cannabinoids.

Instead, seek out a pure, high-quality product: certified organic, free of harmful additives and fillers, whole-plant, full-spectrum, and grown from American hemp. Products made with imported hemp do not go through the rigorous quality-control process that American-made, organic products do. Imported hemp can contain impurities or even toxins. Also, make sure to buy from an established supplement company experienced in sourcing, processing, and testing for quality ingredients.

Global Healing Centre’s full-spectrum, high-potency Organic Hemp Extract is a product you can trust. We use American-grown hemp and test each batch for purity and safety, so you can enjoy the remarkable benefits of this miracle plant just like nature intended. Our cold process extraction reduces the loss of volatile yet important phytochemicals and ensures you get the best, most potent product on the market.

Points to Remember

Full-spectrum hemp extract, CBD, hempseed (or hemp seed) oil, and hemp oil are different things. It pays to know the difference when it comes to your overall health and well-being — and to get your money’s worth. CBD or cannabidiol is a unique phytocannabinoid found in Cannabis that offers many health benefits. In contrast, a full-spectrum product captures all the plant compounds, including CBD plus CBG, CBC, THC, and other beneficial compounds.

Full-spectrum means that the products contain all of hemp’s naturally-occurring cannabinoids and other nutrients. This means you get the ultimate in relaxation, deep sleep, easing of joint discomfort, and other health benefits. Be careful if you are searching for “hemp oil” because you may end up with pure hempseed oil instead — while it’s great for culinary uses, it does not contain a full-spectrum of cannabinoids.

High-quality full-spectrum hemp extracts are typically made using a connoisseur’s approach. This means that manufacturers use all of the plant parts, including flowers, leaves, roots, seeds, and stems, so they capture all the nutritious and beneficial chemical compounds. A quality product like Global Healing Centre’s cold-processed certified Organic Hemp Extract will ensure you get all the health benefits that hemp can offer.

Have you tried hemp or CBD? What was your experience?

Article Sources
  1. The Farm Bill, Hemp Legalization and the Status of CBD: An Explainer. The Brookings Institute. Published 14 Dec 2018. Accessed 28 Jun 2019.
  2. Hill KP, et al. Cannabis and pain: a clinical review. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2017;2(1):96–104.
  3. Prenderville JA, et al. The role of cannabinoids in adult neurogenesis. Br J Pharmacol. 2015 Aug; 172(16):3950–3963.
  4. Williamson EM, Evans FJ. Cannabinoids in clinical practice. Drugs. 2000 Dec;60(6):1303-1314.
  5. Andre CM, et al. Cannabis sativa: the plant of the thousand and one molecules. Front Plant Sci. 2016;7:19.

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

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 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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