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How A 3-Day Fast Resets Your Immune System

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Immune system fasting
Photo Credit: Getty

Dr. Edward F. GroupGuest Writer

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

How Does Fasting Reset the Immune System?

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

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

How to Perform a 3-Day Fast

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

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

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

Have you tried fasting to improve your immune system?

Article Sources
About the Author

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

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

For more information, please visit Global Healing Center.

Please SHARE this article with your family and friends.

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.

Please SHARE this article with your family and friends.

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Got Happiness? Learn How To Boost Dopamine And Create Your Own Joy!

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Got Happiness? Learn How To Boost Dopamine And Create Your Own Joy!
Photo Credit: Pexels

Dr. Edward F. GroupGuest Writer

What does happiness mean to you? We all know money can’t buy it, and not even the most enterprising of entrepreneurs have figured out how to bottle it. No matter how hard they try, experts can’t seem to crack the code on how to be happy.

The good news? When you modify your daily routine in small ways, you can increase the neurotransmitter dopamine. One of the main effects of dopamine is boosting feelings of happiness and pleasure.[1] You hold the power to create your own happiness!

Here’s how.

What Is Dopamine?

Dopamine is a “feel good” neurotransmitter involved in mood regulation.[1] Like all neurotransmitters, dopamine transmits messages between nerve cells in the brain and body. It works with another feel-good neurotransmitter — serotonin.

Higher levels of dopamine in the brain result in a positive mood. This means there is a relationship between the amount of dopamine your body releases and how happy you feel.[1]  That means that by changing small things in your life, you can boost your body’s dopamine production and essentially create your own happiness!

How Do I Boost Dopamine to Create Happiness?

There are many ways to increase dopamine levels and create happiness for yourself. Here are our best suggestions.

Practice Positivity and Gratitude

People tend to base their sense of well-being on the balance between positive and negative emotions.[2] Since increased dopamine is connected to a positive mood, cultivating good feelings can help you create happiness — and it will grow over time.[2]

Wondering how to incorporate the power of positive thinking into your life? Keep a notebook or journal where you write down at least one good thing that happened to you every day. Better yet, write five. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude!

So, banish negative thoughts and focus on the positive. Identify small and big happy moments to shift your focus and increase dopamine.

Fill Your Day With Things You Love

Another simple way to create your own happiness involves filling your day with little things that make you happy. Take a long, luxurious bath before bed. Create for yourself a relaxing, comfortable home with items that spark joy. Give back to others.

Spreading joy to yourself and others gives you something to look forward to. This can fill your emotional reservoir, which can help during not-so-happy moments.

Social worker Michelle K. learned the happiness-boosting power of anticipation when her son was a newborn. “Caring for a new baby can be really hard! I started treating myself to a big cup of coffee after lunch every day,” she explains. “It’s a small thing that makes a big difference. Looking forward to drinking it kept my spirits high during tough times.”

Get Your Sleep On!

Happy days start with restful nights. Ask anyone who has felt low after a late night or dealt with a cranky kid who missed his nap: sleep quality has a significant impact on mood.[3] A lack of sleep can also trigger junk food cravings, & poor food choices leave you feeling worse.[4] It’s a cycle that you can flip the script on!

Dopamine helps regulate circadian rhythms in the central nervous system.[5] Generally, dopamine makes you feel more awake by suppressing melatonin — the sleep hormone.

When your body does not produce enough dopamine, or the dopamine you have can’t get recycled in the normal physiological processes, you sleep less. So mind your dopamine if you want to get sleep — which will make you happier!

Treat Yourself to a Massage

You can’t buy happiness, but you can pay for a professional massage. Better yet, have your partner do it for free! The healing power of touch will increase dopamine and serotonin while reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol.[6]

Wisconsin-based art director Curtis W. started getting massages to treat lower back pain, but it didn’t take long for him to notice how uplifted he felt after every session. “I’d walk out of the massage therapist’s office feeling like a million bucks,” he says, “and the mood boost would last for days.”

Even after his back pain went away, Curtis continued to get regular massages. “Any time I’m feeling low, I schedule a massage. I’m always a happier, more relaxed person afterward.”

Meditate

Looking for a science-backed way to create your own happiness that won’t cost you a thing? Try meditation. Meditation involves sitting still and staying quiet for a period of time — a minimum of five minutes, but preferably ten or longer.

The change in consciousness that occurs when you’re in a meditative state triggers the body to release more dopamine.[7] And this leads to a more peaceful, happier state of mind.

One of the best things about meditation is that it doesn’t require any special equipment or a huge time commitment. It can take some time to learn to meditate, but it’s not hard! Check out our article about Dr. Group’s beginner’s meditation techniques. Meditation is wonderful, simple tool to improve your mood. The more you do it, the better you will feel.

Exercise Regularly

If you’ve felt the so-called “runner’s high” after a great workout — or after a hearty yoga session — you experienced an increase in dopamine.[8] One of the benefits of exercise is that it bumps up serum calcium levels in the body, which enhances dopamine signals and synthesis.[8] The result? A natural “high” feeling.

Retail buyer Joy P. started running because she wanted to lose a few pounds before her wedding, but exercise became much more about her emotional wellbeing than her weight.

I’m an anxious person, and I was amazed by how much happier and less stressed I felt after running,” she says. “Now it’s my therapy. I started running 15 years ago, and I still do it at least twice a week!”

Take Your Vitamins!

In addition to making lifestyle changes that increase dopamine, your body requires specific vitamins and minerals to produce this neurotransmitter at healthy levels. Certain nutrients found in supplemental form — or in the diet — also promote normal levels of dopamine. Make sure to get enough of the following:

Vitamin D

Often called the sunshine vitamin, your body produces vitamin D naturally — but makes less in low-light conditions. This leads many people to become deficient in winter months. Vitamin D helps regulate dopamine circuits, which influences why people often become sad during the winter.[9, 10]

Low D not only reduces dopamine but can also lead to obesity![9] Make sure you get enough. Global Healing’s Suntrex® D3 is an organic, vegan vitamin D supplement that boosts brain and nervous system health, has a positive effect on the immune system, and promotes normal dopamine levels.

Calcium and Magnesium

Calcium and magnesium both play an important role in the pathways by which your brain produces dopamine. People who feel down are often deficient in magnesium and have low dopamine levels.[11]

Nearly half of the people in the United States consume less than the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of magnesium from their food. So many people have either deficiencies or subclinical deficiencies that global experts call it a public health emergency.[12]

Since both calcium and magnesium promote normal dopamine levels, make sure you get enough of these essential minerals. It will help keep your mood more positive, promoting happiness and joy.[13] They’re often sold together, and the best supplements include calcium: magnesium in a 1:1 ratio, like Global Healing’s IntraCal®.

Probiotics

Probiotic supplements — helpful microbes — also play a role in promoting a healthful mood.[14, 15, 16] Multiple studies have linked probiotic intake to a happier mood and improved overall mental health.[15] Strains known to influence mental wellness are called psychobiotics.[16]

Some strains may promote normal dopamine, such as Lactobacillus plantarum.[14] Look for a high-quality, multi-strain formula, such as Floratrex®, a blend of prebiotics plus live cultures from 25 probiotic strains, including Lactobacillus plantarum.

Turmeric

Curcumin, the main active constituent in turmeric, has mood-elevating properties because it modulates the release of dopamine and serotonin.[17]

When paired with black pepper (piperine), turmeric is better absorbed by the body.[17] Look for a supplement like Global Healing’s Organic Turmeric Raw Herbal Extract™ that contains black pepper as well as Energized Trace Minerals™ to heighten absorption.

Oregano

The oil of Mediterranean oregano (Origanum vulgare) can lift mood because of the way it interacts with the body system that produces dopamine.[18] Oregano’s active ingredient, called carvacrol, has many promising health benefits.

When used regularly, carvacrol may promote normal dopamine and serotonin levels in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus, parts of the brain involved in behavior and thought processes.[19]

Points to Remember

You may not be able to buy happiness, but you can create your own! Lifestyle choices like positive thinking, filling your day with things you love, getting enough sleep, treating yourself to a mood-lifting massage, meditating, and exercising regularly can boost dopamine — and your happiness.

Using supplements to support normal dopamine levels is a powerful way to promote happiness. Vitamin D, magnesium, probiotics, ginseng, turmeric, and oregano are all great for this happiness boost.

What do you do to create your own happiness? Do you have any tips on how to increase dopamine naturally? We’d love to hear about what works for you.

References
  1. Dfarhud D, et al. Happiness & health: the biological factors- systematic review article. Iran J Public Health. 2014;43(11):1468-1477.
  2. Fredrickson BL. The role of positive emotions in positive psychology. The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. Am Psychol. 2001;56(3):218-226.
  3. Triantafillou S, et al. Relationship between sleep quality and mood: ecological momentary assessment study. JMIR Ment Health. 2019;6(3):e12613.
  4. Greer SM, et al. The impact of sleep deprivation on food desire in the human brain. Nat Commun. 2013;4:2259.
  5. Korshunov KS, et al. Dopamine: a modulator of circadian rhythms in the central nervous system. Front Cell Neurosci. 2017;11:91.
  6. Field T, et al. Cortisol decreases and serotonin and dopamine increase following massage therapy. Int J Neurosci. 2005 Oct;115(10):1397-1413.
  7. Kjaer TW, et al. Increased dopamine tone during meditation-induced change of consciousness. Brain Res Cogn Brain Res. 2002 Apr;13(2):255-259.
  8. Sutoo D, Akiyama K. Regulation of brain function by exercise. Neurobiol Dis. 2003 Jun;13(1):1-14.
  9. Trinko JR, et al. Vitamin D3: A role in dopamine circuit regulation, diet-induced obesity, and drug consumption. eNeuro. 2016;3(2):ENEURO.0122-15.2016.
  10. Bertone-Johnson ER. Vitamin D and the occurrence of depression: causal association or circumstantial evidence? Nutr Rev. 2009;67(8):481-492.
  11. Serefko A, et al. Magnesium in depression. Pharmacol Rep. 2013;65(3):547-554.
  12. DiNicolantonio JJ, et al. Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis. Open Heart. 2018;5(1):e000668.
  13. Cardoso CC, et al. Evidence for the involvement of the monoaminergic system in the antidepressant-like effect of magnesium. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2009 Mar 17;33(2):235-242.
  14. Liu WH, et al. Alteration of behavior and monoamine levels attributable to Lactobacillus plantarum PS128 in germ-free mice. Behav Brain Res. 2016 Feb 1;298(Pt B):202-209.
  15. McKean J, et al. Probiotics and subclinical psychological symptoms in healthy participants: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Altern Complement Med. 2017 Apr;23(4):249-258.
  16. Wall R, et al. Bacterial neuroactive compounds produced by psychobiotics. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2014;817:221-239.
  17. Kulkarni SK, Dhir A. An overview of curcumin in neurological disorders. Indian J Pharm Sci. 2010;72(2):149-154.
  18. Melo FH, et al. Antidepressant-like effect of carvacrol (5-Isopropyl-2-methylphenol) in mice: involvement of dopaminergic system. Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 2011 Jun;25(3):362-367.
  19. Zotti M, et al. Carvacrol: from ancient flavoring to neuromodulatory agent. Molecules. 2013 May 24;18(6):6161-6172.

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.

Please SHARE this article with your family and friends.

Continue Reading

Health

What Should Your Poop Look Like?

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What Should Your Poop Look Like?
Photo Credit: Getty

Dr. Joseph MercolaGuest Writer

The size, shape and color of your stool give valuable clues as to the state of your health. It’s so important, in fact, that in 1997 Stephen Lewis and Ken Heaton with the U.K.’s Bristol Royal Infirmary teaching hospital developed what’s now known as the Bristol stool chart.

The chart, formally known as the Bristol stool form scale, was developed after the team conducted a study showing the chart’s usefulness for monitoring changes in intestinal function.1

If you’re in the habit of fast flushing, i.e., you poop and flush without looking at the contents, you should make a point to look at your stool and observe what it may be telling you. The Bristol stool chart is an easy reference point to help you determine if your stool is in the ideal range or not — and what that may mean for your health.

Bristol Stool Chart: Types 3 and 4 Are Ideal

The Bristol stool chart is widely used as a tool to help patients identify their type of stool when seeing their doctor. The seven-point scale ranges from constipation (Type 1) to diarrhoea (Type 7), with a variety of consistencies in between. Type 1 is an indication that a person is very constipated, while Type 2 is associated with slight constipation.

Types 3 and 4 are normal and ideal, while Type 5 is a sign that you may be lacking fibre. Types 6 and 7, diarrhoea, signal inflammation. While it’s normal for your stool to fluctuate from day to day, particularly if you have changes in your diet, you should be aiming for Types 3 and 4 most of the time.

“An ideal stool looks like a torpedo — it should be large, soft, fluffy and easy to pass,” according to Dr. Amy E. Foxx-Orenstein, former president of the American College of Gastroenterology.2 Other descriptions for ideal stool include looking like a sausage or snake.

What Determines the State of Your Stool?

The consistency of your stool is largely determined by its water content. If food travels rapidly through your intestinal tract, it will absorb a limited amount of water, leading to loose or liquid stools. A slower transit time allows for more extensive water absorption from the stool in the colon, which leads to harder more formed stools upon their exit.3

At one end of the spectrum, loose stools, or diarrhoea, are usually the result of infection in the gastrointestinal tract, and occur when food and fluids move rapidly through your digestive tract. Although the time food takes to digest varies from person to person, it normally takes between six and eight hours from the time you eat food until it reaches your small intestines.

From there it travels to the large intestines and is finally eliminated. The average transit time is between 33 and 47 hours, depending upon your age and sex and the type of food eaten.4 If a pathogen enters your system, diarrhoea is your body’s way of helping to clear it.5

The most common cause of acute diarrhoea in the U.S. may be attributed to several different types of bacteria: salmonella, Campylobacter, shigella or E. coli.6 In other cases diarrhoea may be called “functional” as a clear trigger cannot be identified.

Functional diarrhoea may be caused by irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease, for instance. Other causes of diarrhoea include drugs, endocrine disease, cancer, lactose intolerance, malabsorptive disease such as celiac disease, or a reaction to fructose or gluten. At the other end of the spectrum is constipation, signalled by hard, dry, lumpy stool.

Poor nutrition, lack of exercise, not drinking enough water and a low-fibre diet are just some of the factors that can lead to constipation, a condition that affects up to 16% of Americans chronically.7

Stool Consistency May Be Associated With Pain

The Bristol stool chart may be useful for assessing more than just the state of your gastrointestinal tract and stool consistency, as research suggests the latter may be associated with a person’s perception of pain.

The researchers suggested that because the gut microbiome influences health via the gut-brain axis, pathogenic bacteria in the gut could lead to both pain and altered stool consistency. Indeed, they found that stool form was associated with pain perception and anxiety status.

Especially, abnormally liquid stool was more related to pain sensitization and anxiety status than hard stool,” the researchers noted. “These findings indicate that the microbiota dysbiosis might be involved in pain sensitization and psychologically low states. Thus, our results suggest that assessing stool form in patients with chronic pain is important.”8

In short, if your stool falls outside of the normal spectrum on a regular basis, especially toward Types 5, 6 or 7, it’s a sign that your gut is likely imbalanced, a condition that could affect your overall physical and mental health.

For example, in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which often causes loose stools, the nerves in the gut are far more active than in healthy people, which has led researchers to speculate that the pain IBS patients suffer is the result of a hypersensitive nervous system and may explain why IBS is frequently brought on by stress or emotional trauma.9

What Is Poop, Exactly, and How Often Should You Go?

Poop, also known as stool, feces and excrement, is made up mostly of water (about 75%). The remaining 25% is made up of a combination of dead bacteria, indigestible food matter, cholesterol, fats, protein and inorganic substances such as calcium phosphate. Debris from the mucous membrane of your intestinal tract, bile pigments (bilirubin) and dead white blood cells also collect in your stool.10

On average, adults pass about 3 to 8 ounces of feces daily, typically broken up one to three times a day.11 That being said, there’s a wide variation in what’s considered normal bowel-movement frequency. Specifically, three bowel movements per day to three per week may be normal for you, and the frequency may change from day to day or week to week. This is because many factors influence your bowel habits, including:

DietTravel
MedicationsHormonal fluctuations
Sleep patternsExercise

In a study of 268 adults between the ages of 18 and 70, researchers confirmed that a wide variance in bowel habits is normal. Ninety-eight percent of the participants had a bowel movement frequency ranging from three times weekly to three times daily, and both ends of the spectrum were considered normal.12

Further, while straining to make a bowel movement or feeling an urgency to go can be signs of a medical issue, they may also fall in line with what’s normal. “Some degree of urgency, straining and incomplete evacuation should be considered normal,” the researchers noted. During the weeklong study, urgency was reported by 36% of participants, straining by 47% and incomplete defecation by 46%.

Signs of Healthy Stool

The size and shape of your stool are only two indications of whether your stool is healthy and normal. Other important factors to take note of include the following, which can signal whether your stool is healthy or not:

Healthy StoolUnhealthy Stool
Medium to light brownStool that is hard to pass, painful or requires straining
Smooth and soft, formed into one long shape and not a bunch of piecesHard lumps and pieces, or mushy and watery, or even pasty and difficult to clean off
About 1 to 2 inches in diameter and up to 18 inches longNarrow, pencil-like or ribbon-like stools can indicate a bowel obstruction or tumor; narrow stools on an infrequent basis are not so concerning, but if they persist, definitely make a call to your physician
S-shaped, which comes from the shape of your lower intestineBlack, tarry stools or bright red stools may indicate bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract; black stools can also come from certain medications, supplements or consuming black licorice. If you have black, tarry stools, it’s best to be evaluated by your health care provider
Quiet and gentle dive into the water; it should fall into the bowl with the slightest “whoosh” sound — not a loud, wet cannonball splash that leaves your toosh in need of a showerWhite, pale or gray stools may indicate a lack of bile, which may suggest a serious problem (hepatitis, cirrhosis, pancreatic disorders or possibly a blocked bile duct), so this warrants a call to your physician. Antacids may also produce white stool.
Natural smell, not repulsive (I’m not saying it will smell good)Yellow stools may indicate giardia infection, a gallbladder problem, or a condition known as Gilbert’s syndrome. If you see this, call your doctor.
Uniform texturePresence of undigested food (more of a concern if accompanied by diarrhea, weight loss or other changes in bowel habits)
Sinks slowlyFloaters or splashers
Increased mucus in stool — This can be associated with inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis, or even colon cancer, especially if accompanied by blood or abdominal pain
Very bad odor — If your stool has an extraordinarily bad odor, it should not be ignored. I am referring to an odor above and beyond the normally objectionable stool odor. Stinky stool can be associated with a number of health problems, such as a malabsorptive disorder, Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease and chronic pancreatitis.
What to Do if Your Poop’s Not Ideal

If your stool tends to be either too hard or too watery, pay attention to your diet. If you’re constipated, be sure you’re drinking enough water, as dehydration is a common cause. Also important, whether your stools are hard or loose, is to increase your fibre intake; good options include psyllium and freshly ground organic flaxseed (shoot for about 25 to 50 grams of fibre per 1,000 calories consumed daily).

Boosting the health of your intestinal flora by adding naturally fermented foods into your diet, such as sauerkraut, pickles and kefir (if you tolerate dairy), is also important, although you can add a probiotic supplement if you suspect you’re not getting enough beneficial bacteria from your diet alone.

Removing all sources of gluten from your diet (the most common sources are wheat, barley, rye, spelt and other grains) can also help you optimize your bowel habits, and be sure to focus your diet on whole foods rich in organic vegetables, while avoiding sugar, artificial sweeteners and processed foods.

Exercise can also help keep your gastrointestinal tract in good working order. It’s also important to relieve stress daily with tools like the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). Last, but certainly not least, you may want to change the position you’re using to poop, namely giving squatting a try.

When you sit on a typical toilet, your puborectalis muscle, which is involved in bowel control, cannot fully relax. This is why you may need to push or even strain in order to have a bowel movement. While squatting, the puborectalis muscle relaxes fully, making elimination easier, which is why many experts believe squatting is the perfect position to poop.

Squatting, along with the lifestyle changes mentioned above, can go a long way toward getting your stool into the ideal Types 3 and 4 ranges, but if problems persist, schedule a visit with your holistic health care provider to rule out a medical problem.

Article Sources
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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