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Hormonal Imbalance In Women: Top Causes And Home Remedies

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Hormonal Imbalance In Women: Top Causes And Home Remedies
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Dr. Edward F. GroupGuest Writer

At certain times in a woman’s life, hormonal fluctuation is expected — during puberty, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause, for example.

Other times, a hormonal imbalance may occur because of a stressful time in your life, lack of sleep, or even certain health conditions.

If you want to know whether you may have a hormonal imbalance, what are its symptoms, and what you can do about it, read on.

What Is a Hormone Imbalance?

Hormones are chemical compounds in your body that act as chemical messengers. Produced by endocrine glands such as the pituitary, thyroid, and ovaries, hormones regulate various bodily functions, from menstruation and ovulation to mood and even digestion and hunger.

Hormones are released into your bloodstream, with each targeting different parts of the body.[1] An abnormal amount of any hormone — whether too much or too little — causes a hormonal imbalance. Even a small shift in hormone levels can cause big changes within the body!

Top Hormonal Imbalance Symptoms

Some of the more common symptoms women with a hormonal imbalance may experience include the following.

  • Irregular periods
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Acne
  • Fatigue
  • Change in libido (sex drive)
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Depression
  • Mood swings, irritability, or anxiety
  • Thinning hair or hair loss
  • Night sweating
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Foggy brain
  • Painful periods and heavy bleeding
  • Infertility
  • Heart palpitations
  • Constipation and diarrhoea
  • Sensitivity to cold environments
  • Headaches
  • Skin tags
What Causes Female Hormone Imbalance?

There are many different reasons why women may experience a hormonal imbalance. Common causes of female hormonal imbalance include:

Menopause

Menopause marks the time of your life when your period stops permanently. Though a normal part of aging, it has a tremendous impact on hormone production in the body.

The average age at which women experience menopause is 52 years old.[2] First, however, women go through a menopausal transition period, or perimenopause, as their bodies adjust to hormonal changes.

In perimenopause, your ovaries produce less estrogen than usual and progesterone levels also fluctuate.[2] Some symptoms of low estrogen, as well as progesterone levels shifting include:

Birth Control

Estrogen and progesterone levels in your body fluctuate at different times in your menstrual cycle. Birth control disrupts your body’s natural hormonal production. Though birth control options work in different ways in the body depending on the type you use, most of them suppress ovulation in order to prevent pregnancy from occurring.[3]

Did you know the CDC found that 64% of women aged 15–49 in the United States are taking some form of birth control?

Because birth control alters the hormones your body naturally produces, some women experience both physical and emotional symptoms.

There are a variety of different forms of hormonal contraception, including birth control pills, skin patches, hormone-releasing contraceptive coils, hormonal injections, and vaginal rings. Most influence a woman’s hormone levels to prevent pregnancy.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder. In healthy women, ovaries produce and release an egg each month as part of the menstrual cycle.

A woman with PCOS may experience premature ovarian insufficiency — the egg may or may not develop as it should and ovulation may not occur.

In addition to unpredictable ovulation, women with PCOS may experience irregular menstrual cycles. Other symptoms of PCOS include excess body hair, acne, dry skin, hair loss, insulin resistance, and weight issues.

Though the exact cause of PCOS is unknown, high levels of androgens — male hormones, such as testosterone — may be the cause.[4]

Pregnancy

While the ebb and flow of hormone levels is normal and expected in pregnancy, it may leave you feeling like you’re on an emotional roller coaster with your hormones operating the ride. In addition to affecting mood, hormone changes may also cause pregnancy fatigue, tender breasts, nausea (aka morning sickness), and skin changes.

Whoa! Your hormones start fluctuating immediately after conception!

Hormonal changes in pregnancy begin almost immediately after conception. Once an egg gets fertilized by sperm and becomes an embryo, it travels to the uterus where it implants.

At implantation, hormones — such as estrogen, progesterone and the growth hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) — kick in to help the body support and sustain a pregnancy. These hormones all fluctuate throughout pregnancy.[5]

Hypothyroidism

The thyroid gland produces, secretes, and regulates certain hormones. Hypothyroidism — or underactive thyroid — occurs when the thyroid fails to produce enough of these hormones.

Did you know that women are more than 5 times more likely to develop hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is the most common thyroid disorder caused by hormonal imbalance; women are five to 20 times more likely to develop hypothyroidism, and this rate increases with age.[6] Muscle weakness, fatigue, constipation, and weight gain are common symptoms.

Poor Diet & Nutrition

Eating a diet rich in processed foods, starchy carbohydrates, and sugar may lead to a hormonal imbalance by raising your body’s insulin levels, increasing cortisol in the body.

People who live with chronic stress tend to make poorer food choices and may increase their intake of “snack foods” that are not nutrient dense, leading to weight gain. [7, 8]

Science shows that a diet rich in processed foods and meat will cause a hormonal imbalance.

Consuming animal products can disrupt your endocrine system and lead to a hormonal imbalance, too. Researchers discovered that eating meat or drinking milk from cows treated with hormones has a “profound” biological effect on humans.[9]

Lack of Sleep

We spend a third of our lives asleep. And while that may sound like a lot of lost time to engage in the activities we enjoy, sleep is absolutely essential to good health.

Wow! Did you know that estrogen can affect sleep?

Sleep quality can have an impact on our endocrine system and hormones. While we sleep, our bodies are working at releasing and balancing our hormones.[10]

For example, estrogen plays a role in sleep quality and lack of sleep may cause changes in estrogen levels. It can be a vicious cycle; lack of sleep affects hormones, and changing hormones affect sleep!

If you are struggling with sleep deprivation, consider a light yoga or stretching routine in the evening, or meditation to help calm your body and mind to help you get a restful sleep.

Chronic Stress

Can’t focus or remember important things? You may have elevated cortisol levels in your body. Often called the “stress hormone,” cortisol affects blood sugar levels, metabolism, and even our ability to form memories.

And that’s not all. Chronic stress can cause fluctuations in many hormone levels and can lead to a number of health problems, including digestive issues, headaches, heart disease, sleep problems, weight gain, anxiety, and endocrine disorders.[11]

Effective stress management can break the hold that chronic stress has on your life, lowering cortisol levels and helping you feel happier and healthier in the process.

Consider starting a daily meditation practice, or do a few minutes of relaxing breathing exercises when you feel particularly stressed. Know your limits and ask for help when possible, rest when you can, and be sure to get adequate sleep each night.

Estrogen Dominance

Bloating, breast tenderness, and moodiness are all symptoms of normal, expected hormonal fluctuations in women. But these symptoms can also be a sign of abnormally high estrogen levels, known as estrogen dominance.

Toxic estrogens called xenoestrogens can cause estrogen dominance. Xenoestrogens come from common household items such as plastic water bottles, home-cleaning supplies, pesticides, and other environmental toxins.

Estrogen dominance may also be caused by obesity or taking medications such as birth control pills.[12]

Natural Remedies for Hormonal Imbalance in Women

If you are experiencing a hormonal imbalance, there is hope for improvement! Let’s explore some natural remedies and lifestyle changes that may help you restore balance and improve your health.

Adaptogen Herbs

Adaptogens are natural substances that help the body adapt, particularly to stress.[13] 

Adaptogens work to bring your hormones back into balance. Some adaptogenic herbs to consider using to restore hormonal balance include milk thistle, ashwagandha, and licorice root.

Supplementation

No matter your age or issue, you may benefit from supplementation to help balance your hormone levels. Some of the best herbs and supplements for female hormone balance include:

Iodine

Iodine is a crucial component to helping your thyroid gland produce hormones.[14] These hormones support growth and development, regulate metabolism, and repair damaged cells.

Iodine also plays a critical role in supporting women’s health, particularly reproductive and breast health. Your ovaries require almost as much iodine as the thyroid.[15]

Probiotics

Probiotics are microbes that have a beneficial effect on the body and human health. In women, probiotics support hormonal and vaginal health.

The probiotics in your gut play a role in recycling and metabolizing the hormones your body produces, such as thyroid hormones and estrogen.[16] If you are looking for probiotics that specifically support women’s healthLactobacillus species are ideal. If you need more information, check out our guide to choosing the best probiotic.

Vitamin A & D

Supplementing with vitamins A and D can help regulate insulin, balance blood sugar levels, and support your body’s natural hormone cycles. One of vitamin A’s most important jobs is to help the thyroid function properly.[17]

Wow! There could be a link between vitamin D deficiencies and fertility.

Vitamin D helps balance blood sugar levels in the body and regulates adrenaline and serotonin. A study exploring the impact of vitamin D on a woman’s reproductive system showed that 93% of participants who experienced infertility were vitamin D3 deficient.[18]

Chaste Tree Berry

Chaste tree berry (Vitex agnus-castus) is known to help reduce premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms. A review of several clinical studies done on chaste berry discovered that along with managing PMS side effects, it can reduce heavy periods, help with hormone-induced acne, and help regulate menstrual cycles.[19]

Exercise

Exercise does more than just help us stay fit — it can have a big impact on hormonal health, too.

Exercise can help promote normal insulin levels by helping balance insulin sensitivity.[20] High levels of insulin can cause inflammation throughout the body, weight gain, heart disease, and other lifestyle-related diseases.

Aim for 150 minutes of exercise per week! You’ll feel the difference.

You don’t need to do intense aerobic exercise to enjoy the benefits of physical activity — even walking regularly may balance hormone levels to improve your strength and quality of life.[21]

Diet

Eating a nutrient-dense, plant-based, balanced diet can do wonders for your physical and mental health, including hormonal health. Try to enjoy a variety of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

Refrain from consuming too many refined carbohydrates and processed foods, which can cause hormonal imbalance. Though it isn’t always easy in our busy world, you’ll find your investment in your health will be worth the extra time it may take to prepare healthy foods.

Yoga

Staying in Savasana (“corpse pose”) all day sounds relaxing, but you’ll actually discover many health benefits by practicing yoga!

Going through menopause? Yoga can decrease hot flashes by 66 percent.[22] No matter what age and stage of life you’re in, yoga can have a positive effect on your endocrine system and help balance your hormones when they’re off-kilter.

Research shows that regular yoga sessions can significantly decrease premenstrual symptoms such as moodiness and tender breasts.[23]

Meditation

Today’s stress triggers — such as an impending deadline or loud construction across the street — can raise adrenaline and cortisol levels. Meditation can lower stress hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline, while also promoting normal blood pressure and heart rate.[24]

As a bonus, meditation also helps produce dopamine — a “feel good” hormone that controls the brain’s pleasure and reward centres.[25] Not sure where to start? Check out our guide on meditation.

Traditional Treatments

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a traditional option, particularly for menopausal women but studies linked it to higher rates of cancer and heart disease. However, we recommend more natural methods. After all, menopause is a normal, unavoidable part of life for women.

Many natural health stores sell a natural progesterone cream, which can reduce symptoms of menopause. Many of these are made from Mexican wild yam root. The hormone is bioidentical to the one your body produces, and research indicates it is generally safe.

Points to Remember

Hormones are chemical messengers created by endocrine glands that control major bodily functions. When in balance, our hormones help us feel our best. But even a small hormonal imbalance can upset this delicate system and cause our bodies to experience unwanted symptoms.

There are many things that may cause hormonal imbalance in women. The good news is there are things you can do to help restore balance to your hormones. Dietary supplements, hormone balancing herbs, yoga, meditation, a healthy diet, and exercise can all help maintain hormonal balance — and good health — helping you live your best life in a healthy body.

Have you experienced a hormonal imbalance? What did you do about it? What helped?

Article Sources
  1. Hormones. U.S. National Library of Medicine. 5 Nov 2018. Accessed 5 Mar 2019.
  2. Menopause Basics. Office on Women’s Health, US Department of Health and Human Services. 22 May 2018. Accessed 4 Mar 2019.
  3. Contraception: Hormonal Contraceptives. Informed Health Online. Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care. 29 Oct 2008. Accessed 5 Mar 2019.
  4. Ndefo UA, et al. Polycystic ovary syndrome: a review of treatment options with a focus on pharmacological approach. P T. 2013 Jun; 38(6):336-338,348,355.
  5. Kumar P, Magon N. Hormones in pregnancy Niger Med J. 2012 Oct-Dec; 53(4):179-183.
  6. Gietka-Czerne M. The thyroid gland in postmenopausal women: physiology and diseases. Prz Menopauzalny. 2017 Jun; 16(2):33-37.
  7. McGrice M, Porter J. The effect of low carbohydrate diets on fertility hormones and outcomes in overweight and obese women: a systematic review. Nutrients. 2017 Mar;9(3):204.
  8. Duong M, et al. High cortisol levels are associated with low quality food choice in type 2 diabetes. Endocrine. 2012 Feb; 41(1):76-81.
  9. Malekinejad H, Rezabakhsh A. Hormones in dairy foods and their impact on public health – a narrative review article. Iran J Public Health. 2015 Jun; 44(6):742–758.
  10. Kim TW, et al. The impact of sleep and circadian disturbance on hormones and metabolism. Int J Endocrinol. 2015; 2015: 591729.
  11. Ranabir S, Reetu K. Stress and hormones. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Jan-Mar; 15(1): 18–22.
  12. Xu Z, et al. Biological effects of xenoestrogens and the functional mechanisms via genomic and nongenomic pathways. Environ Rev, 2017, 25(3):306-322.
  13. Liao L, et al. A preliminary review of studies on adaptogens: comparison of their bioactivity in TCM with that of ginseng-like herbs used worldwide. Chin Med. 2018; 13:57.
  14. Chung HR. Iodine and thyroid function. Ann Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Mar; 19(1):8-12.
  15. Slebodzi?ski A. Ovarian iodide uptake and triiodothyronine generation in follicular fluid. The enigma of the thyroid ovary interaction. Domest Anim Endocrinol. 2005 Jul;29(1):97-103.
  16. Kim J, Park YJ. Probiotics in the prevention and treatment of postmenopausal vaginal infections: review article. J Menopausal Med. 2017 Dec; 23(3):139-145.
  17. Broussad J, et al. Vitamin A, endocrine tissues and hormones: interplay and interactions. Endocr Connect. 2017 Oct; 6(7):R121-R130.
  18. Pal L, et al. Vitamin D insufficiency in reproductive years may be contributory to ovulatory infertility and PCOS. Fertil Steril. 2008.Volume 90,S14.
  19. van Die MD, et al. Vitex agnus-castus extracts for female reproductive disorders: a systematic review of clinical trials. Planta Med. 2013 May;79(7):562-575.
  20. Krishnan S, et al. Association between circulating endogenous androgens and insulin sensitivity changes with exercise training in midlife women. Menopause. 2014 Sep;21(9):967-974.
  21. Yamada M, et al. Mail-based intervention for sarcopenia prevention increased anabolic hormone and skeletal muscle mass in community-dwelling Japanese older adults: the INE (intervention by nutrition and exercise) study. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2015 Aug 1;16(8):654-660.
  22. Avis NE, et al. A pilot study of integral yoga for menopausal hot flashes. Menopause.2014 Aug; 21(8):846-854.
  23. Tsai SY, et al. Effect of yoga exercise on premenstrual symptoms among female employees in Taiwan. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2016 Jul; 13(7):721.
  24. Pascoe MC, et al. Mindfulness mediates the physiological markers of stress: Systematic review and meta-analysis. J Psychiatr Res. 2017 Dec;95:156-178.
  25. Kjaer TW, et al. Increased dopamine tone during meditation-induced change of consciousness. Brain Res Cogn Brain Res. 2002 Apr;13(2):255-259.

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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Health

Nine Benefits Of Eating Black Pepper

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Black pepper on table
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Dr. MercolaGuest Writer

Pepper is so common in kitchens today that it’s easy to take for granted, but this savoury and spicy seasoning adds not only a powerful kick to your meals but also an impressive boost to your health.

Black pepper (Piper Nigrum L.) is native only to Kerala, India, and ancient trade is thought to have occurred between India and the West, with references to black pepper appearing in Greek and Roman texts. The spice trade was a highly profitable business in the ancient world, and pepper was so in demand that traders could set their prices, leading to the spice becoming a luxury item reserved for the rich.

Even today, the Dutch term “peperduur,” which means as expensive as pepper, is used to describe anything that’s extremely expensive. Eventually, more trade routes were established, leading pepper to make up 70% of the international spice trade.

As it became more widely available, prices dropped and it became a mainstay in cuisines throughout the world and is featured in popular spice blends such as India’s garam masala, Morocco’s ras el hanout, France’s quatre épices and Cajun and jerk blends.

Traditionally, pepper was used as a carminative agent to help relieve gas as well as to stimulate gastric secretions. This “king of spices” was also valued for gastrointestinal purposes, including to relieve vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhoea. Emerging research hints that its health benefits extend far beyond this, however.

Nine Reasons to Eat More Black Pepper

1. Antioxidant Properties — Black pepper and its main active ingredient piperine, which gives pepper its heat and pungent flavour, are powerful antioxidants, with notable free-radical scavenging activity that may offer chemoprevention and help suppress tumour growth. Black pepper essential oil is also rich in phenolics, flavonoids and proanthocyanidins, which have strong antioxidant activity.

Piperine, which is also anti-inflammatory, also protects against lipid peroxidation, which may play a role in chronic diseases like cancer, liver disease, atherosclerosis and even the aging process itself.

2. Cardiovascular Protection — With cardiovascular diseases representing the leading cause of death globally, a December 2020 systematic review published in Trends in Food Science & Technology is of tremendous relevance, as it found black pepper and piperine have protective effects on cardiovascular diseases.

Its key findings reveal that black pepper regulates lipid metabolism, inflammation and oxidation status, which all affect heart health, while piperine specifically targeted processes associated with atherosclerosis.

A number of additional beneficial effects from piperine were also noted, such that they suggested the substance, and black pepper, could be used as a food additive to prevent and treat cardiovascular diseases.

Its beneficial effects include preventing the uptake of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) associated with heart disease in macrophages, preventing lipid peroxidation as well as preventing inflammatory cells from adhering to the endothelial monolayer and improving the overall lipid profile. In addition, researchers explained:

“Besides, piperine may ameliorate myocardial ischemia, cardiac injury, and cardiac fibrosis, exhibit antihypertensive and antithrombosis effect, as well as prevent arterial stenosis by inhibiting vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation.”

3. Anti-Inflammatory Properties — A 2020 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry further revealed that alkaloids from black pepper have anti-inflammatory activity by activating the nuclear factor kappa B, or NF-kB pathway.

This proinflammatory signalling pathway plays a role in the expression of proinflammatory genes like cytokines, chemokines and adhesion molecules, and “has long been considered the ‘holy grail’ as a target for new anti-inflammatory drugs.”

4. Liver Protection — Piperine has diverse pharmacological actions, with hepatoprotectivity — or liver protection — among them. Research has shown piperine offers protection against liver damage induced by tertiary butyl hydroperoxide and the chemical carbon tetrachloride by reducing lipid peroxidation.

Black pepper extract also stimulates liver regeneration by restricting fibrosis, and an animal study showed black pepper essential oil (BPEO) improved liver health after chemical injury. The researchers stated, “BPEO can be used as potential liver health products and natural preservatives.”

5. Anticancer — Piperine has antimutagenic and cancer-preventive effects. Pepper extract has been found to inhibit the development of solid tumours in mice with lymphoma as well as increase lifespan. Researchers noted in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology:

“Ayurvedic and Chinese traditional medicine and tribal people use herbal preparations containing Piper nigrum fruits for the treatment of many health disorders like inflammation, fever, asthma and cancer. In Brazil, traditional maroon culture associates the spice Piper nigrum to health recovery and inflammation attenuation.”

Their study found black pepper extract had cytotoxic, antiproliferative and antitumor effects in MCF-7 breast cancer cells by inducing oxidative stress and triggering apoptosis, leading researchers to conclude “the overall data from this study are well in line with the traditional claims for the antitumor effect of Piper nigrum fruits.”

Studies also suggest that piperine may have anticancer effects by enhancing the antioxidant system and increasing the level and activity of detoxifying enzymes.

6. Brain Health — Piperine may be beneficial for cognitive brain functioning, and animal studies suggest black pepper extract significantly improves memory in rats with Alzheimer’s-like disease, likely by attenuating oxidative stress in the hippocampus brain region.

Piperine has also been found to increase cell viability and restore mitochondrial functioning and primary neurons in cells damaged by a neurotoxic insecticide, and also has neuroprotective effects in models of Parkinson’s disease. Pain-relieving, anticonvulsant, antidepressant and antiseizure effects have also been noted.

7. Antidiabetes Effects — Black pepper has multiple antidiabetes effects, including helping to improve blood sugar metabolism.

Further, in an eight-week study involving 86 overweight subjects, those who consumed a combination of piperine and other bioactive food ingredients, including epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), capsaicins and L-carnitine, had a significant decrease in insulin resistance, suggesting the ingredients “might be useful for the treatment of obesity-related inflammatory metabolic dysfunctions.”

8. Increase Nutrient Absorption — Black pepper has the unique ability to synergistically interact with nutrients, increasing their absorption. For instance, research shows that when EGCG from green tea is administered in combination with piperine, it increases the absorption of EGCG and helps it stay in the bloodstream longer.

Piperine also increases the bioavailability of resveratrol and curcumin. In one study, the addition of piperine increased absorption of curcumin by 2,000%. Further, as noted in Medicinal & Aromatic Plants:

“Piperine increases the absorption of many drugs and nutrients from the gastrointestinal tract by various mechanisms. It alters the membrane dynamics and increases permeability at site of absorption.

Piperine increases the serum half-lives of some substances like beta-carotene and coenzyme Q10 and decreases metabolism of many drugs by inhibiting various metabolizing enzymes …”

This means adding black pepper to your meals may make it easier for your body to absorb the many nutrients they contain. Pepper itself also contains some nutrients, including manganese, vitamin Kfibre and iron.

9. Weight Management — Piperine blocks the formation of new fat cells, and when combined with capsaicin and other substances, black pepper was found to burn as many calories as taking a 20-minute walk. A small study involving 16 healthy adults also revealed that drinking a black pepper-based beverage had appetite-suppressing effects.

Further, piperine’s ability to inhibit new fat cells from forming, known as adipogenesis, is said to be due to downregulation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPAR?), an intracellular molecule involved in vascular and immune processes, making it a potential treatment for obesity-related diseases.

Pepper Offers Too Many Benefits to Count

The health benefits of black pepper do not end here. In addition to piperine, other valuable constituents in black pepper include piperlongumine, sylvatin, sesamin, diaeudesmin piperlonguminine, pipermonaline, and piperundecalidine, each with their own unique health potential.

Black pepper has been prized since ancient times and is featured in traditional medicine, including Ayurveda. Researchers from Guru Jambheshwar University of Science and Technology in India noted:

“It is most commonly used to treat chronic bronchitis, asthma, constipation, gonorrhea, paralysis of the tongue, diarrhoea, cholera, chronic malaria, viral hepatitis, respiratory infections, stomachache, bronchitis, diseases of the spleen, cough, and tumours.”

They noted a wide range of reported pharmacological activities from black pepper, including:

AnticancerAntioxidantImmunomodulatory
AntimicrobialAntiplateletAntihyperlipidemic
AnalgesicAdulticidalMelanin-inhibiting
AntidepressantAntiamoebicHepatoprotective
Anti-inflammatoryCoronary vasodilationBioavailability-enhancing
AntifertilityAntiobesityLarvicidal
RadioprotectiveCardioprotectiveAntifungal

There’s also some evidence that suggests black pepper plays a role in gut health by altering the makeup of intestinal microbiota and possibly acting as a prebiotic. So, with its many beneficial properties, feel free to add pepper liberally to your meals.

For best results, choose whole peppercorns and grind them fresh when you need them. Dried peppercorns can stay fresh for three to four years, especially if stored in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight or heat, however once ground pepper will gradually lose some of its flavour and potency. Ground pepper may also be adulterated with something other than black pepper.

Peppercorns are versatile in that you can use a pepper grinder to grind them to a course or fine texture, depending on your preference. You can also use them crushed, especially when using pepper in a coating. When cooking, use a hand-held mill and grind fresh peppercorn at the last moment to retain the full flavour and health potential of the essential oils.

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.

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Health

Serrapeptase: An Enzyme That Treats Inflammation, Arthritis, Scar Tissue And More

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Dr. Michelle KmiecGuest Writer

The use of enzymes therapeutically is not a new concept, and has been widely accepted for its healing properties in both traditional and modern medicine.

Serrapeptase is a proteolytic enzyme, which means that it breaks down protein into smaller components (peptides and amino acids) that the body can re-use. It is derived from the digestive system of the silk worm, which regurgitates serrapeptase to break free from its cocoon.

Scientists in India first began to research the enzyme to see how it could be used therapeutically in the human body. From the start, they were astonished to realize that serrapeptase is a very powerful anti-fibrotic enzyme, with applications for the treatment of inflammation, arthritis, scar tissue and much more.

Although the Serrapeptase enzyme was discovered in silk worms, no silkworms are actually used in the manufacturing process of commercially available Serrapeptase supplements. The enzymes are extracted from Serratia bacteria, and grown in controlled environments without the use of a silkworm host.

What Does Serrapeptase Do?

Realizing that serrapeptase is anti-fibrotic was an interesting discovery because many health conditions are the result of abnormal thickening or scarring of fibrous connective tissue, a condition known as fibrosis.

Fibrosis is any disease where excess fibrous growth is present. This includes a wide range of conditions and health issues, including the following:

  • Plaquing of the arterial walls (atherosclerosis)
  • Fibrocystic breasts
  • Uterine fibroid tumours
  • Scarring after injury
  • Scarring after surgery
  • Cystic Fibrosis; affecting the exocrine glands (secreting glands; mucus, hormones, etc.) of the lungs, liver, pancreas, and intestines.
  • Blood clots; due to the fibrin in blood

The action of serrapeptase doesn’t stop there. It is an effective enzyme against inflammation in all its forms. In other words, inflammation of the joints, the digestive system as well as other organs.

This is because serrapeptase breaks down the dead tissues and excess fibrin, thus eliminating the body’s defines mechanism which is known as inflammation.The body is then able to clean out the burdensome dead tissues and fibrin growths, allowing for the healing process to begin more effectively.

Inflammatory health conditions that serrapeptase is effective against are:

  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Serrapeptase, by helping the body eliminate dead tissues and fibrin growths, is extremely beneficial to those suffering from autoimmune disorders such as:

  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Psoriasis
  • Allergies
  • Cancer

Serrapeptase in these cases, not only breaks down the dead fibrin tissues, but also serve as a healthy alternative to NSAIDS (aspirin, ibuprofen), and powerful steroids that are sometimes used for pain control.

Conditions That Have Been Helped by Serrapeptase
  • Pain (of all kinds)
  • Arthritis
  • Arterial plaque
  • Headaches caused by inflammation
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Lupus
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Psoriasis
  • Emphysema
  • Bronchitis
  • Pulmonary Tuberculosis
  • Asthma
  • Sinusitis
  • Eye conditions caused by inflammation
  • Injuries and trauma
  • Post operative scarring
  • Inflammatory bowels diseases
  • Cystitis
  • Fibroid tumours
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Fibrocystic diseases
  • Varicose Veins
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Subclinical chronic inflammation; premature aging
Dosages

Regarding the conversion of mg and IU for serrapeptase, the answer is not that easy. There appears to be a different standard of conversion depending on what company you choose to buy from. There is some research that has used the ratio of mg of serrapeptase which equals 20,000 units of activity, however not exclusively.

There has also been research done with 200 mg or 20,000 IU.

With this in mind, it would be best to not try to compare the two, but rather stick to one measurement or another.

The dosage varies depending on the condition you are trying to address or if you are simply using the enzyme for maintenance purposes.

Dosages range from:

  • 30 mg – 1000 mg
  • 10,000 IU – 100, 000 IU

In either case, taking 1 – 2 per day is typical for maintenance or for minor ailments. The therapeutic dosage can be as high as taking the max dosage (either 1000 mg or 100,000 IU. Keep in mind that this does not mean that they are equivalent) for up to 30 pills per day for the lower potency and dosages taken 1 -2 times per day for the higher range.

There doses seem to be the concern regarding the “blood thinning” properties of serrapeptase, so let’s clarify what is really meant by blood thinners.

Technically, the blood cannot get “thin”. What happens when you take something that acts to “thin the blood”, like an Aspirin or something stronger such as Coumadin, is that the blood becomes less sticky, so the blood can then flow more freely. The blood itself has not changed, but rather the mechanism that allows (or disallows) for free flow has. This is a subtle concept, but an important one.

There are many things that can impede blood flow such as:

  • Platelets sticking together
  • Clotting
  • Plaquing
  • Inflammation

See: Serrapeptase: Carotid Artery Blockage

With the use of serrapeptase, any of the above can be remedied and the research has proven it. However, the question is…will serrapeptase interfere with a drug therapy being used to “thin the blood”?

There appears to be no concerns with taking serrapeptase at the lower dosages. The really cool thing about this enzyme is that whether you take lower doses or higher doses, you will ultimately achieve the same effect. One just takes a bit longer than the other.

If you are concerned regarding any interactions, please consult a knowledgeable doctor. I say knowledgeable because this enzyme has a great deal of research supporting it, so if your current doctor dismisses the idea of trying serrapeptase, he/she is giving an opinion without having read the research. If that is the case, please seek out a healthcare professional who is open to all methods of healing — especially non-pharma methods that have been shown to be effective for your overall health!

Remember, there is only one you… it is your right to be in control of your health!

If you want to give this supplement a try, it’s widely available here.

Recommended Articles by Dr. Michelle Kmiec
About the Author

Dr. Michelle Kmiec is a board-certified chiropractic physician who also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Biology, and a minor in Medical Research. She is a life-long athlete who after curing herself 100% naturally from MS and chronic anxiety, became an avid nutrition health researcher/promoter.

She has been featured in many Health magazines and has been a guest on radio talk shows in the USA, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia. She is the author of the book “Healthcare Freedom Revolution: Exposing the Lies, Deceit and Greed of the Medical Profession”, Founder of Online Holistic Health, and a contributing writer for other popular informative health website/blogs. She is also co-founder of Crazy Meets Common Sense! – the Podcast that makes sense out of the crazy, to help you live a more healthy, fulfilling and empowering life!

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Health

Natural Cure For Depression Silenced?

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Depressed woman
Photo Credit: Pexels

Dr. Michelle KmiecGuest Writer

Depression affects over 25 million Americans a year. But did you know there is a highly effective natural treatment? Inositol – or Vitamin B8.

Inositol Deficiency Linked to Depression

1995 study found amazing results treating depression with inositol. As reported in the American Journal of Psychiatry (Vol. 152, No. 5) “the overall improvement in scores on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale was significantly greater for inositol than for placebo at week 4. No changes were noted in hematology or in kidney or liver function…  Inositol had a significant antidepressant effect in this study.”

2001 study continued to find impressive results, and “continuing reports of inositol’s efficacy in the treatment of depression, panic disorders, and OCD should stimulate replication studies”. Yet conventional medicine (in all its wisdom) continues to treat depression with big pharma medications, despite the findings of  a 2010 study that  “the benefit of antidepressant medication compared with placebo may be minimal or non-existent in patients with mild or moderate symptoms”.

My guess is, even if you suffer from depression, you haven’t heard about this study. And I’d even go further to guess that most of you have never heard of inositol.

Well if this is you, don’t feel bad. Far too many doctors are also unaware of this vital substance – and that is truly the travesty! The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that nearly 15 million American adults suffer from a major depressive disorder, and sadly that number does not include or reflect undiagnosed mild depression or the depression that occurs in children. But each year, doctors are prescribing increasing amounts of anti-depressants, which translates to a multi-billion dollar profit (per year) for big pharma companies.

Naturally, any of the numerous antidepressants prescribed today come with a lengthy side-effect sheet including the increased risk of suicidal thoughts, especially in younger patients. Other common side-effects include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Blurred vision
  • Skin rash
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Insomnia or prolonged sleep
  • Irritation
  • Anxiety

Whew!

Antidepressants Causing More Harm

Where does a person turn when prescription drugs are causing more problems than they are “fixing”? Especially when medical doctors advocate against the use of nutritional solutions, let alone acknowledge that we live in a nutrition deficient country?

Sadly, the answer is that many people opt to finally try the natural route only to find that it didn’t work. This is often due to following reasons:

  • They didn’t take the nutrients long enough to experience a change.
  • They needed to take the nutrient in a higher dosage, but didn’t for fear of “toxicity”.
  • They became confused because of contradictions and misinformation regarding the natural method and simply gave up; now even more depressed than when they started!

All of the above listed reasons are unnecessary. Despite the extensive positive research on many natural treatments, our “healthcare” dictators insist on only recognizing drugs and profit, and patients have come to expect a quick fix instead of a lifestyle change. And the responsibility for this rests largely on the lap of the FDA and AMA.

Your Welfare is Not in the Best Interest of The FDA and AMA

It is interesting that the medical establishment boasts a nearly 95% safety rate regarding antidepressants. However this is a dangerously skewed percentage, giving the patient a false sense that the drug they are taking is actually safe.

Dr. Ann Blake Tracy, author of ‘Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? said the following of  the alarming correlation between antidepressant use, human behavior and health conditions:

“We have witnessed no decrease in suicide, but increases in murder/suicide, suicide, unwed pregnancies, domestic violence, manic-depression, MS, hypoglycemia, diabetes, bankruptcies, divorce, mothers (parents) killing children, road rage, school shootings, cancer, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and fibromyalgia since these serotonergic drugs have become so popular and I relate it directly to the effects of these drugs.”from the  article, “The Aftermath of Prozac, Zoloft, Luvox, Fen-Phen, & Many Other Serotonergic Drugs”

Overdose is also a problem, according to a 2013 press release from the United States Centres for Disease Control:

In 2010, nearly 60% of the drug overdose deaths (22,134) involved big pharma drugs….  The researchers also found that drugs often prescribed for mental health conditions were involved in a significant number of big pharma overdose deaths. Benzodiazepines (anti-anxiety drugs) were involved in nearly 30% (6,497) of these [big pharma overdose] deaths; antidepressants in 18% (3,889), and antipsychotic drugs in 6% (1,351) ~

More Regarding So-Called “Safe”Antidepressants

Dr. Joseph Glenmullen, Clinical Instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, has treated patients with Prozac and discovered significant safety issues. He wrote “Personal Review: Prozac Backlash: Overcoming the Dangers of Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, and Other Antidepressants with Safe Effective Alternatives” to bring to light the true darkness of how drugs are approved by our “respected” FDA. An absolute must read!

Of course, any potential treatment depends upon FDA approval. And if a claim is made regarding a vitamin, mineral, or some other natural supplement without the FDA stamp of approval, you could be looking at a serious fine and/or jail time. However, even when the required research is done and the results prove positive, conveniently they often get buried or only partial results are allowed to surface; strategically placed negative studies appear; the cry from the sceptics and the pro-drug community is that the study did not have a significantly large enough trial group or that the long term effects are still unclear.

Well, the following shows the problem with “ethical and unbiased” research. Dr. Joseph Glenmullen found that congress had allowed itself to be manipulated by Big Pharma – and this is no big secret. Shockingly, drugs are routinely approved without long-term confirmation of safety! And short term studies (6-8 weeks) were often designed for only one purpose: market approval.

If a study is designed for specific outcomes, just how unbiased are the result? Do you think the results are skewed? You bet they are. And if you are one who trusts in the FDA stamp of approval, think again for the sake of your own health!

Magic Mushrooms
Magic Mushrooms May Hold Key To Long-Term Relief From Anxiety And Depression. Click here to read the article.
Think Again!

When studies find a natural substance is effective against depression, without the horrific side effects, and is something the body actually needs, why isn’t it given any attention?

If the FDA truly have our health at their forefront of their priorities, why then aren’t they putting their stamp of approval on inositol as fast as they do for drugs such as Prozac?

If a natural substance helps bring balance to our biochemistry, wouldn’t the next logical assumption be that we, as a nation, are possibility nutritionally deficient? 

Doesn’t bringing the body back into balance sound more like the intelligent approach to health and wellness, rather than taking a chemical drug with serious side effects that does nothing more than mask the symptoms?

Where is the media, if they are truly unbiased?

And more importantly, why are we the public – or should I say the “FDA guinea pigs” – outraged and demanding the truth?

Recommended Articles by Dr. Michelle Kmiec
About the Author

Dr. Michelle Kmiec is a board-certified chiropractic physician who also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Biology, and a minor in Medical Research. She is a life-long athlete who after curing herself 100% naturally from MS and chronic anxiety, became an avid nutrition health researcher/promoter.

She has been featured in many Health magazines and has been a guest on radio talk shows in the USA, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia. She is the author of the book “Healthcare Freedom Revolution: Exposing the Lies, Deceit and Greed of the Medical Profession”, Founder of Online Holistic Health, and a contributing writer for other popular informative health website/blogs. She is also co-founder of Crazy Meets Common Sense! – the Podcast that makes sense out of the crazy, to help you live a more healthy, fulfilling and empowering life!

Please SHARE this article with your family and friends.

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Anti-Aging

Natural Detox: Detoxing As A Way Of Life

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Strawberry photo
Photo Credit: Pexels

Marie Be, Guest Writer

The link between increased toxicity and a range of diseases is now becoming well recognized by medical authorities. Many studies describe a general health decrease as well as specific ailments that occur in the body with increasing levels of toxins.

In toxin-free conditions, the body is efficient at detoxifying and eliminating free radicals, but the rising quantities of toxic compounds we breathe in, ingest or absorb daily demand more of the body’s resources, and drastically impede the body’s optimal performance. That’s why detoxing needs to be a way of life. As the environment around us, the foods we consume and the water we drink become more and more toxic, the body’s natural detoxification systems become overloaded. And as the body cannot perform optimally, toxicity slowly increases over time, reducing the body’s natural capabilities to maintain good health. That’s when disease occurs.

The equation is simple; the less toxins that accumulate in tissues and organs, the stronger the body’s natural healing capabilities.

When the body is clean from toxins, it doesn’t have to invest a lot of energy in combating toxic compounds, and has extra energy to invest in building and running its natural defence mechanisms, fighting diseases and dealing more efficiently with new toxins as they inevitably enter the body. Detoxing the body of accumulated toxicity and reducing environmental and dietary exposure strengthens the function of the immune system, benefits the cardiovascular system, and increases overall vitality.

Other Health Benefits Include
Improved Liver Function

Detoxing improves the function of your liver which can have a positive influence on regulating your blood cholesterol level, a key predictor connected with heart attacks, strokes and premature death in many individuals.

Improved Digestion

By eliminating waste materials, parasitic infections and built-up contaminants from the digestive track, a ‘detox’ lifestyle improves the body’s digestive functions. This enables proper digestion and nutrient absorption. Cleansing the digestive track also has the potential to re-establish flavour appreciation of healthy and balanced natural food products, as well as reduce food cravings.

Reduced Inflammation

Detoxing the body reduces inflammation of the muscles and joints by eliminating toxic pockets in these areas, and reducing the body’s self protective response (which is what typically causes inflammation in the first place).

Rebalanced Hormones

By getting rid of agrichemicals absorbed from “enhanced”foods contaminated with fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides, insecticides, antibiotics and growth hormones, a detox can assist the body to naturally rebalance hormone levels.

Improved Mood

When toxins circulate through the body, they inevitably reach the brain and your central nervous system. Such toxins will negatively affect mood, sleep, cognitive function and the ability to concentrate. Toxicity also increases stress, anxiety, lethargy and even depression. Eliminating toxins can improve your mood and overall sense of wellbeing.

Reduced Effects of Skin Aging

When the body is overloaded with toxins, the body tries getting rid of them through the skin, a main component of the body’s elimination system. Toxicity can lead to premature aging, poor complexion, pimples and blemishes. Reducing the body’s toxic load can result in significantly younger looking skin.

Detox as a Way of Life

The human body is designed to constantly gather and remove toxins from its cells and organs. Ideally, detoxing the body should be more than an occasional cleansing diet – it should be a way of life – especially with the unprecedented levels of toxicity to which we are exposed each day.

Avoid cosmetics, body lotions and skin-care products made with chemical ingredients. To find more tips on natural daily detox products, as well as safe cosmetics and skin care products, checkout EarthSun. Or why not try out my Skin and Body Detox Cream easy make-at-home recipe?

To maintain a cleansed body, it is also important to minimize your exposure to chemical toxins. Toxins are present in many foods, water supplies and cosmetics. To learn more about foods that create toxicity in the body, check out my recent article: Preventative Detox: 6 Foods to Avoid for a Clean Healthy Body

Resources
  1. David O Carpenter, Kathleen Arcaro, and David C Spink, Understanding the human health effects of chemical mixtures. Environ Health Perspect. Feb 2002; 110(Suppl 1): 25–42.
  2. Environmental toxins and health–the health impact of pesticides.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18075622
  3. Chemical Exposures: The Ugly Side of Beauty Products  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1253722/
  4. Developmental Fluoride Neurotoxicity: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3491930/
About the Author

Marie Be’s inspiration comes from her mom who always challenged common assumptions and sought to understand for herself the major issues concerning her family and the choices she made on their behalf. She raised Marie and her brother in a rural environment, feeding them the best organic foods, and focused on building strong immune systems in her children through the use of natural plants, herbs and minerals.

As a fiery teenager, Marie travelled the world in search of purpose and dreamed of positively influencing our society. While earning her first two degrees, in architecture and sustainable development, she worked for Greenpeace and many other organizations of change. Her experience taught her that change cannot be imposed; she now aims at inspiring individuals through education and awareness.

Marie moved to Vancouver to undertake a Masters in Regenerative Sustainability under the supervision of a Nobel Peace Prize recipient. Teaching workshops on well-being, she started observing a widespread desire in our society for both physical and environmental health and sustainability. Feeling the winds of change, Marie founded EarthSun. By tuning into nature as our source of life, and acquiring knowledge of ancient herbal traditions as well as new technologies, Marie believes it is possible to use nature’s intelligence to create simple and effective health products.

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