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Top 13 Nootropic Supplements To Sharpen Mind And Mood

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Sharpen Mind And Mood
Photo Credit: Truth Theory

Dr. Edward F. GroupGuest Writer

If you want a nutritional supplement to enhance your brain function — short-term memory, focus, creativity, mood, or motivation — look for a nootropic. The term nootropic comes from the Greek root words nóos (mind) and tropé (turning). Natural nootropics can help older adults stay sharp, students who want to improve their memory for upcoming exams, or busy workers who need a boost of creativity.

Having good mental health is more than just the absence of illness. It also involves having a positive mood with enough energy and mental clarity to make the most out of life. That’s not always easy. Daily pressures and environmental toxins can lead to anxiety, fatigue, and brain fog — even when you follow a good diet-and-exercise routine. Supplements are a great way to add specific health-boosting nutrients to your diet so you can optimize your health.

What Are Nootropics?

If you drink coffee or tea to jump-start your day, you’re using a nootropic without realizing it. Nootropics, sometimes called cognitive enhancers, brain boosters, or “smart drugs,” are compounds that affect your central nervous system. They have an enhancing effect on one or more aspects of your mental state. These substances target “executive function,” which means attention, learning, memory, alertness, and motivation.

Nootropics affect the brain in different ways. Some influence your neurotransmitters. Others increase blood flow, oxygen, and nutrient levels in the brain. Others protect you from the effects of toxins and free radicals. Some even promote the growth of new neurons (brain cells) and brain cell connections that help you adapt to change.[1]

Most people know that food gives your body nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals. But most typical modern diets lack variety. Unlike our ancient relatives who wandered through natural habitats, browsing on various plants, herbs, roots, and berries for adequate nutrition, most people living in modern society have unvaried diets full of meat, wheat, corn, soy — and a multitude of processed foods.

Adding nutritional supplements to your diet can broaden the variety of nutrients, antioxidants, and beneficial phytochemicals you get. This can improve your brain function and overall health.

Natural vs. Synthetic Nootropic Supplements

Nootropics compounds are either natural or synthetic (human-engineered). People have used natural nootropics since ancient times. Some of these substances grow in the wild, but people also cultivate them as crops. You can also find them in foods as well as dietary supplements available in capsule, liquid, or powder form.

Herbs and other plants, amino acids, and minerals all have nootropic uses. Most don’t act as dramatically as synthetic ones — but that quick-acting benefit of synthetics often comes with numerous side effects. Natural products, in contrast, come with more overall health benefits because the nutrients are typically high in antioxidants and support the brain’s response to inflammation. When you take a natural nootropic regularly, you’ll see more noticeable effects. They are generally safe when used as directed.

Top Natural Nootropic Supplements

Natural nootropics include herbs, minerals, and other nutraceuticals. The following are a few of the most effective and time-honored nootropics you can find.

Caffeine

Caffeine is the world’s most consumed nootropic. Think about it. You wake up groggy, and then have that morning cup of Joe to get your mind awakened and alert. That’s a clear example of how a nootropic works!

Caffeine is found naturally in coffee, tea, cacao beans, and cola nuts. As a stimulant, it can reduce fatigue, enhance alertness, energy, and concentration.[2] Caffeine can also promote a positive mood. It’s rich in antioxidants, which fight damage from disease-causing free radicals. But be careful; its stimulant effects can increase blood pressure and heart rate in some people.

Caffeine perks you up by blocking the brain receptors for adenosine, a chemical that causes sleepiness. It also speeds up nerve-cell action and increases the “feel good” neurotransmitter dopamine.

Ashwagandha

Also called winter cherry, ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an adaptogenic herb. In other words, it helps your body and mind manage stress better. It may even ease occasional anxiety.

Ayurvedic medicine uses ashwagandha roots and berries to make herbal remedies for sexual libido, the immune system, and daily stress. Its plant alkaloids and lactones promote normal levels of the stress hormone cortisol.[3]

Bacopa monnieri

Another herb used in Ayurvedic medicine, Bacopa monnieri or brahmi, enhances memory and reaction time.[4] It also may help with learning and information processing.

Bacopa contains bacosides, antioxidants that protect your brain from free-radical damage. Bacosides also boost signals in the parts of the brain that process memories.

Ginkgo biloba

The leaves of the ginkgo tree are popular in traditional Chinese medicine. Many people take ginkgo to stimulate mental performance or focus.[5]

Ginkgo biloba may enhance brain function by improving memory and the processing of information. Others say it helps them stay calm. Ginkgo is also an antioxidant. Its effects include improving blood flow to the brain and promoting normal stress hormone levels in healthy people.[6]

Mucuna pruriens

Commonly known as velvet bean, Mucuna pruriens is used in ancient Ayurvedic medicine as a brain stimulant. Also an adaptogen, it counteracts stress in the body and mind.

Modern science has discovered that this bean contains L-dopa, a precursor to several neurotransmitters that affect mood and cognition.[7] It also contains several strong antioxidants that counteract oxidative damage in the brain.[8, 9]

Rhodiola rosea

This flowering shrub is an adaptogen that boosts mood and reduces fatigue.

Part of traditional herbal medicine, Rhodiola rosea may help the mind and body handle stress so you can perform better.[10] Rhodiola has mental health benefits, too.

This herb contains salidroside, an antioxidant, and rosin, which promotes a normal response to inflammation. These natural compounds support brain health, reduce fatigue, and improve mood.

L-Theanine

L-theanine is an amino acid (the building blocks of proteins in your body). It is a component of black and green tea, and you can also find it in moringa leaves. Some people buy L-theanine as a standalone dietary supplement.

This amino acid helps your body regulate hormones and neurotransmitters that positively affect how you feel and think. It can relax you without causing drowsiness.

L-theanine also has an unusual trait: It increases alpha waves in the brain, associated with deep relaxation and creativity.[11] You can enhance its “mellow yet sharp” effects by taking it with caffeine.[12]

BioPQQ

Pyrroloquinoline quinone or PQQ is a naturally-occurring chemical compound in your body. It is one of the compounds known to boost brain’s nerve growth factor (NGF), supporting brain health, memory, alertness, and focus.[13] BioPQQ is the most-studied PQQ supplement available, with an excellent safety record.

CoQ10

Taking BioPQQ with CoQ10 (coenzyme Q10) — a molecule that helps create your cell’s mitochondrial energy — provides one of the most effective nootropics available. CoQ10 & BioPQQ® with Shilajit is a synergistic blend of these two nootropics that provides advanced antioxidant support while boosting heart and brain health.

Minerals

Your brain also needs certain minerals to operate at its best. Make sure you get enough of these “brain minerals.”

Lithium Orotate

Lithium is an essential trace mineral linked to new brain cell growth.[14] Lithium orotate is a molecule comprised of the lithium mineral bound to orotic acid. Not only is lithium orotate extremely safe, it can calm daily stress and promote peace and calm.[15]

Calcium

Calcium ions help the nervous system transmit messages. This mineral also plays a role in how you store and retrieve memories.[16] Calcium regulates levels of neurotransmitters and affects neuron “excitability.” You can find calcium in beans and leafy greens such as kale or as a dietary supplement.

Magnesium

A partner to calcium in nerve cell excitability and message transmission, magnesium also plays a crucial role in brain and nervous system function. Raising magnesium levels — particularly in the millions of people who are low in this essential mineral — improves brain function, including focus, memory, mood, and energy.[17] Magnesium can also improve your sleep and relax tight muscles!

Zinc

The mineral zinc protects the brain, supporting normal brain function and a positive mood. Many people are low in zinc. Taking a supplement or getting more in your diet can support healthy brain function, better mood, and overall cognitive performance. Zinc also supports the immune system and helps your body make DNA and proteins. This mineral is abundant in pumpkin seeds, greens, grains, and beans.[17]

Which Supplement Is Right for You?

When choosing a nootropic, consider the type of effect you’re seeking — stimulating or relaxing? Do you want to improve your memory or gain energy? Whichever you’re thinking of taking, I recommend purchasing only natural, organic supplements from a trusted brand.

Everyone responds a little differently to nutritional supplements, and they are not all the same strength. When you try one, take a low amount to start. Make sure to talk to your healthcare provider, especially if you are pregnant, have a serious health condition, or are taking medications.

Another option is to take a single nootropic supplement with a blend of natural ingredients. Global Healing Centre’s NeuroFuzion® contains vitality-boosting Bacopa monnieri, Mucuna pruriens, Rhodiola rosea, St. John’s wort, and other plant compounds that support mental health and healthy cognition, as well as lithium orotate.

Points to Remember

Nootropics, or cognitive enhancers, are compounds that affect your central nervous system and may improve your mental state and overall functioning. They can be synthetic or natural, but nootropics found in nature are safer and many offer nutritional benefits as well. Their effects range from increased alertness and reaction time to better memory and reduced daily stress.

Some of the most effective and popular natural nootropic herbs include ashwagandha, Bacopa monnieri (brahmi), Mucuna pruriens, caffeine, Ginkgo biloba, L-theanine, and Rhodiola rosea. Minerals with nootropic effects include lithium (especially lithium orotate), calcium, magnesium, and zinc.

The best way to choose a natural nootropic is to decide the effect you’re seeking and then take the lowest effective dose.

Have you tried any of these natural nootropics?

Article Sources
  1. Suliman, NA, et al. Establishing natural nootropics: recent molecular enhancement influenced by natural nootropic. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016;4391375.
  2. Ferré S. An update on the mechanisms of the psychostimulant effects of caffeine. J Neurochem. 2008 May;105(4):1067-1079.
  3. Chandraskhar, K, et al. A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian J Psychol Med. 2012 Jul; 34(3):255-262.
  4. Neal C, et al. Cognitive effects of two nutraceuticals Ginseng and Bacopa benchmarked against modafinil: a review and comparison of effect sizes. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2013 Mar;75(3):728-737.
  5. Silberstein, RB, et al. Examining brain-cognition effects of Ginkgo biloba extract: brain activation in the left temporal and left prefrontal cortex in an object working memory task. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:164139.
  6. Jezova D, et al. Reduction of rise in blood pressure and cortisol release during stress by Ginkgo biloba extract (EGb 761) in healthy volunteers. J Physiol Pharmacol. 2002 Sep;53(3):337-348.
  7. Ramya KB, Thaakur S. Herbs containing L- dopa: an update. Anc Sci Life. 2007 Jul;27(1):50-55.
  8. Uma S, Gurumoorthi P. Dietary antioxidant activities in different germplasms of Mucuna. J Med Food. 2013 Jul;16(7):618-624.
  9. Yadav SK, et al. Mucuna pruriens seed extract reduces oxidative stress in nigrostriatal tissue and improves neurobehavioral activity in paraquat-induced Parkinsonian mouse model. Neurochem Int. 2013 Jun;62(8):1039-1047.
  10. Lee Y, et al. Anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects of constituents isolated from Rhodiola rosea. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:514049.
  11. Nobre AC, et al. L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2008;17 Suppl 1:167-168.
  12. Owen GN, et al. The combined effects of L-theanine and caffeine on cognitive performance and mood. Nutr Neurosci. 2008 Aug;11(4):193-198.
  13. Itoh Y, et al. Effect of the antioxidant supplement pyrroloquinoline quinone disodium salt (BioPQQ™) on cognitive functions. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2016;876:319-325.
  14. Monkul ES, et al. Prefrontal gray matter increases in healthy individuals after lithium treatment: a voxel-based morphometry study. Neurosci Lett. 2007 Dec 11;429(1):7-11.
  15. Marshall TM. Lithium as a nutrient. J Am Physicians Surgeons. 2015; 20(4):104–109.
  16. Gareri P, et al. Role of calcium in brain aging. Gen Pharmacol. 1995 Dec;26(8):1651-1657.
  17. Wang J, et al. Zinc, magnesium, selenium and depression: a review of the evidence, potential mechanisms and implications. Nutrients. 2018 May;10(5):584.

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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Group Drumming Synchronizes Heartbeats And Increases Teamwork, Research Shows

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Group Drumming Synchronizes
Photo Credit: Pexels

Nikki Harper, Guest Writer

If you’ve ever sat in a drumming circle or even just been moved to dance by a particular rhythm, you’ll already understand something about the power of drumming. Research is ongoing into the therapeutic and healing benefits of drumming, and into the way in which drumming can help to prolong and maintain cognitive health too. New research this year has also revealed how drumming in a group can lead to the synchronizing of heart rhythms – which in turn can lead to better group performance on other unrelated tasks.

In this latest research, scientists at Bar-Ilan University and its Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center joined forces with the department of music to explore how drumming can contribute towards group cohesion and teamwork. The study, published in May in the journal Scientific Reports involved 51 groups each with three participants, whose heart data – including the time interval between individual heart beats (IBI) was continuously monitored [1].

Each member of each group participated through a drumming pad as part of an electronic drum set shared with the other group members. They were asked to match their drumming to a rhythm which was played on speakers. Half of the groups were given a steady and predictable tempo to match, while the other half was given a constantly changing rhythm to work to. This meant that researchers could analyse the synchronization efforts between group members, while reviewing changes in IBI during the experiment, which were found to synchronize.

Each group was later asked to improvise drumming together, and it was found that the groups who had shown the highest levels of synchronization during the original task also showed greater co-ordination and synchronization during the improvisations – to a statistically significant level, beyond what one might expect randomly [1].

The researchers hypothesize that drumming together, and the behavioural co-ordination this requires, contributes to the bonding of a group, and thereby enhances their ability to perform well together as a cohesive whole. This may have important implications for human co-operation and teamwork on a larger scale [1].

Meanwhile, research elsewhere has found links between drumming, intelligence, good timing and problem-solving abilities. Neuroscientist David Eagleman conducted research with professional drummers, which took place at Brian Eno’s studio [2] – Eno having previously suggested that drummers’ brains worked differently to those of other people. Apparently, he was correct – the research showed a ‘huge statistical difference’ [3] between the brains of the drummers versus control subjects.

Could this new knowledge be used to help counter cognitive decline? Former Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart thinks so. He has been collaborating with the University of California on a project to create a drumming app which he hopes can be used to help stave off dementia and Alzheimer’s [4].

Meanwhile, we know that previous research has found numerous physiological benefits from drumming, including reducing stress levels, boosting the immune system, helping to alleviate chronic pain and even increasing cancer killing cells.

In many ways, drumming is a universal language, and almost a primal instinct. By appreciating and taking part in drumming, it seems that we can also enhance our understanding of other rhythms in life, such as human co-operation – while also keeping our brains active and healthy, and supporting our emotional instincts [5]. What’s not to love about that?

Sources
  1. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-65670-1
  2. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/04/25/the-possibilian
  3. http://www.openculture.com/2020/01/neuroscience-of-drumming.html
  4. https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2018/mickey-hart-alzheimers-awareness.html
  5. https://project-resiliency.org/resiliency/the-benefits-of-druming/
About the Author

Nikki Harper is a spiritualist writer, astrologer, and Wake Up World’s editor.

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3 Powerful Indigenous Herbs From North America

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3 Powerful Indigenous Herbs From North America
Photo Credit: Getty

Nick PolizziGuest Writer

Growing up, I was fascinated by the hundreds of interesting plants that grew in the forests behind my childhood home in rural Connecticut. We would wander down old forgotten trails for hours, lost in the greenery and enchanted by the timelessness of the place.

I would later come to realize that these old woods are home to one of the most extensive systems of indigenous medicine in the world.

We now know that the original inhabitants of North America were extremely advanced, far beyond what our textbooks and cowboy movies would have us believe. One need only examine the hundreds of gigantic temple mounds that still stand, from the southern Mississippi Valley all the way up into the Great Lakes region, to understand the hidden capability of these cultures. According to respected archaeologists, the first of these mind boggling earth works was constructed 1,000 years before the Great Pyramids of Egypt!

Perhaps the clearest window into the highly evolved technologies that Native American communities possess is their back-of-the-hand familiarity with the medicines of the forest. In fact, the early explorers of the new world relied heavily upon indigenous herbals and would not have survived without them.

Known for unprecedented generosity to strangers, tribal elders often shared this knowledge with European trappers and frontiersmen with little to no expectation of compensation. Plant wisdom was not seen as a possession to be hoarded or leveraged for personal gain. One’s intimate understanding of both plant and man came with a built-in responsibility to use these tools for the benefit of all – even the odd pale-skinned newcomers from the east.

A far cry from our patent-crazed The Big Pharma System of today right?

I tread very lightly on this sacred topic out of deep respect for the richness of each native tribe that lives, or has lived on this continent. Each group has their own distinct medicine tradition and too often they are lumped together under one homogenized label. We never share indigenous herbal knowledge without the express permission of the healer and their community to do so.

Also important: Because of over-harvesting and deforestation, many North American herbs including American Ginseng, are now endangered in certain regions. When seeking out these powerful plants, please make sure to source them from a conscious and sustainable outfit. For more information on how to safely harvest and protect the precious herbs of the world, visit the hard working community at United Plant Savers (www.unitedplantsavers.org)

Without further ado – the three Native American herbs below were shared with foreign settlers centuries ago and are still widely used because of their effectiveness. They are shining examples of the extraordinary contribution that the native civilizations of North America have made to herbal and clinical medicine.

“All plants are our brothers and sisters.

They talk to us and if we listen, we can hear them.”

— Arapaho Proverb

American Ginseng: Panax quinquefolius

When many of us think of ginseng our minds immediately leap across the Pacific Ocean to Asia, but an equally potent version of this plant has been used here in North America for thousands of years. The Seneca celebrate American Ginseng as one of the five most valuable plant medicines, and are not alone in their sentiments.

Like so many other herbs, French traders in Quebec quickly recognized American ginseng for its medicinal value and began purchasing large quantities back in the 1600 and 1700s.

What it’s good for:

Unlike the Asian variety which warms and stimulates the body (promoting the “yang” – or masculine forces within us), American ginseng does quite the opposite. Known for its cooling properties, American ginseng is often used to stabilize fever, reduce swelling, and flush out the digestive tract.

The Cherokee, Mohegan, and Potawatomi often dried the herb and brewed it into therapeutic teas. Known as a robust adaptogen, it has been shown to reduce many types of stress – both physical and mental.

“Panax”, the first word in its latin name, comes from the Greek word for panacea, meaning “all healing”. High praise is built right into the title!

Goldenseal: Hydrastis Canadensis

Called the “universal herb” for over 300 years, the goldenseal is a perennial that thrives in the forests of Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and West Virginia – particularly in the Appalachian region. It was most likely introduced to early colonists by the Iroquois and its use as a medicinal has spread like wildfire since then.

What it’s good for:

True to its reputation as the “universal herb”, goldenseal was used in a wide variety of applications. It was highly favoured as a diuretic, liver cleanser, and was commonly infused in cold water to treat sore or itchy eyes. The Catawbas boiled the root and drank its tea to alleviate jaundice, stomach ulcers, and cold sores.

If you’re feeling adventurous – the Cherokee were known to grind the root into a powder and mix it with bear grease to create an insect repellent. The bear grease can be substituted with other vegetable based oils!

Black Cohosh: Actaea racemosa

Also known as “black snakeroot”, the black cohosh is a tall, white flowered plant that is quite common in the woodlands of the Lake Ontario region all the way down to Georgia. The word “cohosh” comes from the Algonquin term for “rough”, which is a reference to the plant’s gnarled root structure. This subterranean portion of the plant, or rhizome, is where the medicine is in this herb.

What it’s good for:

The black cohosh has been a go-to remedy in women’s health for centuries. It is used by Native American healers to treat menstrual cramps, sooth hot flashes, and alleviate post-menopausal depression.

Lately, black cohosh has become a popular herbal supplement in health food stores and many claim it has even broader applications, although these have not been scientifically proven yet.

Interesting fact: Both goldenseal and the black cohosh are in the buttercup family!

I hope you find the herbs above to be of benefit to yourself and your loved ones. Again, we carry a deep respect for the native cultures who brought us this vital knowledge and are honoured to be in a position to pass it along to you.

Stay curious,

Nick Polizzi – Founder, The Sacred Science

Recommended Articles by Nick Polizzi
About the Author

Nick Polizzi has spent his career directing and editing feature length documentaries about natural alternatives to conventional medicine. Nick’s current role as director of The Sacred Science documentary and author of “The Sacred Science: An Ancient Healing Path For The Modern World” stems from a calling to honour, preserve, and protect the ancient knowledge and rituals of the indigenous peoples of the world.

For more, visit www.thesacredscience.com.

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How Stress Impacts Your Body – And How To Fight Back

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Photo Credit: Pexels / Inzmam Khan

Kate Harveston, Guest Writer

When you feel overwhelmed, your thoughts start racing through every conceivable scenario. You grow irritable, and little things that previously didn’t bother you begin to drive you crazy.

You know how too much tension affects your mind and mood, but what about your body? As it turns out, stress can have multiple adverse effects and even shorten your lifespan. Here’s what you need to know, as well as techniques to help you calm yourself. 

How Stress Impacts You Physically

You go for a hike, and you see a bear. Automatically, several physiological changes take place. Your eyes send a message to your amygdala, which then cries SOS to your hypothalamus. That gets your central nervous system in gear and triggers your adrenal glands to release adrenaline, soon followed by cortisol. Your heart rate and blood pressure increase to supply critical oxygen to your muscles to prepare you for fight or flight. This process all occurs before you start tiptoeing backward.

In a short-term crisis like the above, your body returns to homeostasis, or a normal resting state, once the threat passes. However, while you can beat a retreat before mama bear spies you, it’s more challenging to escape looming deadlines, micromanaging bosses and bill collectors. This prolonged stress keeps your cortisol levels high. 

Small doses of cortisol improve immune function and relieve pain, but your body gets used to elevated levels during periods of ongoing disquiet. As a result, the hormone loses its palliative effect and leads to inflammation. 

The current pandemic creates the perfect meltdown pot. Women, in particular, feel the crunch. While both sexes must adjust to the new reality, women tend to carry a greater sense of responsibility than their male counterparts. When it comes to juggling home-schooling the kids with telecommuting, the lioness is most likely to step up to the plate — and shoulder the burden of added stress. 

A prolonged stress response damages nearly every system in your body. Stress hormones directly impact your heart and increase oxygen demand through your body, making it pump harder. It can also interfere with the electrical impulses this organ relies on to function properly, which can lead to an attack or stroke. 

Stress also impacts your gastrointestinal system. You might recall a time when you got butterflies in your stomach before a performance review or the first day at a new job. People with autoimmune or inflammatory bowel disease often experience worsening symptoms when things grow tense. Researchers suspect this may be due to changes in your intestinal microbiota, or beneficial bacteria that inhabit the area.

Perhaps most frighteningly right now, stress can hinder your immune response. Studies in rats show that the number of T-cells, a critical type of white blood cell for fighting infection, decreases significantly when subjected to repeated tension over several days. If the mere thought of running out for groceries sends you into a paroxysm of fear about catching the COVID-19 virus, your emotions could ironically increase your chances of getting sick. 

What You Can Do to Manage Stress During Uncertain Times 

Getting a grip on your stress levels can benefit your overall health significantly. How can you do so, though, when so much uncertainty abounds, even among world leaders? Try these techniques to manage your emotions positively:

  • Meditate: You don’t need to spend a dime to learn how to meditate. All you need is a quiet space where you can sit and focus solely on your breath. As thoughts intrude, as they will, observe them neutrally. Then, let them go. Remember, the mere fact that you feel worried about something means it isn’t happening at present. If you prefer the guidance of a teacher, you can find ample meditation videos on YouTube for free.
  • Exercise: When you work out, your body releases endorphins, natural feel-good chemicals that help you to relax. For best results, keep your fitness time to under an hour. While moderate exercise decreases your cortisol levels, prolonged bouts can raise them. Save the marathon training for a less anxious time. 
  • Do yoga: Yoga unites your breath and body movement. It combines the mental benefits of meditation with the physical perks of exercise. You don’t need any equipment except perhaps a mat, and you can find ample free videos online. 
Lower Your Stress Levels and Improve Your Health

If you want to improve your physical health, it pays to start by getting a handle on your stress. By using natural, holistic techniques to tame the tension tiger, you can improve the length and quality of your years.

About the Author

Kate is a health and wellness journalist with an interest in holistic healing and all-natural living. If you enjoy her work, you can visit her blogSo Well, So Woman.

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Let Food Be Your Cosmetic: Coconut Oil Outperforms Dangerous Petroleum Body Care Products

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Photo Credit: Pexels / Artem Beliaikin

Sayer JiContributing Writer

What you put on your skin goes directly into your body. Indeed, human autopsy studies have shown that mineral oil widely permeates our internal organs; major moisturizer brands have been found to cause tumour formation in treated animals. All the more reason why we need healthy “food cosmetics” as alternatives to petroleum-derived body care products.

It boggles the imagination how most mass market body care products today are almost entirely composed of petroleum-derived chemicals, whose toxicity are thoroughly established. Take parabens as an example. These endocrine-disrupting, estrogen-like petrochemicals have been found at concentrations 1 million times higher than the estrogen (estradiol) levels naturally found in human breast tissue, leading to the highly concerning conclusion that human hormones are now being eclipsed by synthetic chemicals.

When we slather these chemical concoctions onto our skin, they enter directly into the lymphatic and circulatory systems, depositing in internal organs and body fat. And unlike things you ingest orally, there is no “gate keeping” liver there to protect you from these chemicals entering rapidly into your body through your skin. This is why, of course, you should never put on your body anything you cannot, or would not eat.

Unfortunately, major trusted brands have been found to be just as bad as more generic, cheaper ones in this respect, making it exceedingly difficult to avoid harm unless you are already wise to the issue and using completely natural body care products.

For instance, back in 2009, the Journal of Investigative Dermatology published a highly concerning study titled “Tumorigenic effect of some commonly used moisturizing creams when applied topically to UVB-pretreated high-risk mice,” wherein branded moisturizers, including Dermabase, Dermovan, Eucerin Original Moisturizing Cream (Eucerin), or Vanicream, were found to increase the rate of formation and number of tumours when applied topically to UVB-pretreated high-risk mice.[1]

Chemical industry public relations spokespersons love to point out that we are not mice, implying that preclinical research like this should not throw up a red flag. Should we be made to wait for the very industries guilty of poisoning us to voluntarily fund multi-million dollar, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trials to determine whether their products are not also causing cancer in humans? Short of a legal mandate, self-incriminating research like this will never be performed, and not only because such a study would be highly unethical (i.e. intentionally poisoning trial subjects), but because it will reveal a truth fraught with immense legal and financial liabilities. Needless to say, a logical approach would be to apply the precautionary principle so that when animal toxicological risk assessments show harm, instead of extrapolating an Orwellian “acceptable level of harm” to humans, we take the sane step of avoiding human exposure altogether.

Crude Awakening: Mineral Oil Contaminates Everyone’s Bodies

Sadly, the reality is that we are not only immersed in a sea of petrochemical products, but we bioaccumulate them in our bodies over the decades, carrying them with us to our early graves.

As we disclosed in a previous article titled “Crude Awakening: Mineral Oil Contaminates Everyone’s Bodies,” one of the only studies ever performed on the topic of petrochemical accumulation in the human body found that 48% of the livers and 46% of the spleens of the 465 autopsies analysed showed signs of mineral-oil induced lipogranuloma (a nodule of necrotic, fatty tissue associated with granulomatous inflammation or a foreign-body reaction around a deposit of an oily substance), indicating just how widespread pathological tissue changes associated with petrochemical exposure really are.

And why should be surprised? Petroleum is everywhere. We build and power our cars from it. We implant plastic into our breasts, and we coat our vegetables with USDA/FDA-approved ‘food grade petroleum.’ Our entire global food system is driven by nitrogen urea based fertilizers, pesticides and related agrichemicals which are all petrochemical in origin. Oil derived hydrocarbons form the basis for the molecular building blocks of many synthetic patent medicines, and even some of our vitamins (e.g. dl-alpha tocopherol). Our foreign policy is largely based on invading countries for ostensibly political/ethical reasons who just happen to be sitting on ‘our oil’ (i.e. War = Resource Procurement).  It is hard to imagine how we might escape our dependence on the petrochemical industrial establishment, given how vertically integrated it is into every facet of modern life, including the very fabric of our bodies.

But there are concrete steps we can take to improve the situation, starting with our own bodies. One of those is to bring back ancient ‘food cosmetics’ like coconut oil.

In a previous post, we discussed the 13 Evidence-Based Medicinal Properties of Coconut Oil, but we did not mention its beneficial effects on hair and skin. While coconut oil has been used for millennium as food, medicine and cosmetic, only in the past few decades has scientific research emerged confirming its ancient uses.

Coconut Oil Is Superior to Mineral Oil for Treating Dry Skin

A 2004 randomized double-blind, controlled trial comparing extra virgin coconut oil with mineral oil as a moisturizer for mild to moderate xerosis (dry skin) found that coconut oil performed equally well, as far as objective measurements, and better than mineral oil, as far as the subjective perceptions of those using it.[2]

Coconut Oil Is Superior to Mineral Oil at Protecting the Hair

A 2001 study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science found that coconut penetrates the hair shaft while mineral oil does not. This difference was attributed to coconut oil’s higher affinity with hair protein. The researchers explained their findings further:

The results show that coconut oil penetrates the hair shaft while mineral oil does not. The difference may be due to the polarity of the coconut oil compared to the nonpolar nature of the mineral oil. The affinity of the penetrant to the protein seems to be the cause for this difference in their behavior. This study also indicates that the swelling of hair is limited by the presence oil. Since the process of swelling and deswelling of hair is one of the causes of hair damage by hygral fatigue, coconut oil, which is a better penetrant than mineral oil, may provide better protection from damage by hygral fatigue.”[3]

Coconut Oil Protects the Scalp from Fungal Infections

Another study published back in 1993 in the journal Mycoses looked at the use of various commonly used hair oil preparations in India. They found that coconut oil was effective at inhibiting the skin fungi known as dermatophytes, lending a possible explanation for why the fungal infection of the scalp, a condition known as tinea capitis, is so rare in India.[4]

Coconut Oil + Anise Beats Pesticide Spray for Lice

A 2010 study published in the European Journal of Pediatrics found that coconut and anise spray can be a significantly more effective than the highly toxic insecticide Permethrin as an alternative treatment for head louse infestation.[5]

Increasingly, science confirms the value of traditional folk medicine in disease prevention and treatment. After many years of vast misrepresentation, coconut oil has gained wider acceptance not simply as a wholesome food, but as a medicinal agent capable of both nourishing and healing the body in ways that xenobiotic chemicals by their very nature cannot.

Resources
Recommended Articles by Sayer Ji
About the Author

Sayer Ji is the founder of Greenmedinfo.com, a reviewer at the International Journal of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine, Co-founder and CEO of Systome Biomed, Vice Chairman of the Board of the National Health Federation, and Steering Committee Member of the Global Non-GMO Foundation.

For more, visit GreenMedInfo.com and Facebook.com/GreenMedInfo, osign-up for GreenMedInfo’s free e-Newsletter.

© March 12th, 2018 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for their newsletter here.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Collective Spark or its staff.

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