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Apr 01
2014

Sceletium Tortuosum Homeopathic with neurotransmitter cofactors

Have you ever walked into a room and forgot why you were there? We all have. It’s called having too much on your mind, or being tired, or maybe one of your medications is causing a little memory slip. For example, if you are taking Paxil for depression, Tagamet for heartburn, Ditropan for an overly active bladder, an ACE inhibitor for high blood pressure, Claritin or any non-sedating antihistamine for a cold or allergy you can become forgetful. Maybe you are drinking too much alcohol? Forgetfulness can also be a sign of depression. Maybe it is just garden variety stress and anxiety over a protracted period of time?

Too be sure, stress can encumber brain function in a major way. Among other things, stress releases cortisol. Cortisol gets a lot of bad press but like all good antiheros it isn’t all bad. A little cortisol is actually good, especially when it is releasing insulin for your blood sugar maintenance, triggering your immune function, lowering your sensitivity to pain and giving you a quick burst of energy. Not so much when it causes you to take on belly fat and elevating your risk of heart disease or affecting your ability to remember things and think straight.

Initially, stress and anxiety releases adrenaline into our bloodstream, cortisol comes second. Adrenaline is largely responsible for the immediate reactions we feel when stressed. We have all had close calls driving the car and felt our hearts instantly rev to 8000 rpm, sweat to instantly pop and experienced wilder breathing. That's adrenaline. Cortisol needs more time, minutes, rather than seconds. Releasing cortisol is a multi-phase progression involving two other hormones as well. Once our amygdala (subcortical brain structure linked to fear and pleasure responses) recognizes a threat it sends a message to the hypothalamus (the part of the brain that produces hormones that control body temperature, hunger, moods . . .) which releases corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) which instructs our pituitary gland to release adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which orders the adrenal glands to produce cortisol.

But, and here’s the rub, adrenaline exits fast, about two minutes. Cortisol remains in your body much longer than adrenaline does which is why it has more time to negatively affect brain cells. When we stew on some problem cortisol chronically elevates, washing into the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that manages working memory, attention, judgment and decision making. A few days of stress is one thing, a few weeks, months or a lifestyle that causes constant cortisol release will take its toll on every aspect of your life.

The good news is that experiments based on cortisol lowering behaviors and side effect free medications like the Homeopathic Sceletium Tortuosum with neurotransmitter cofactors can reverse memory impairment and depression issues. "Ducks walk out of a lake, flap their wings and they fly off." "When you face something stressful, particularly if it's is likely to repeat, it will have a long term negative impact on your emotional and physical health. Don’t become attached to it. It is not noble. Like water off that ducks back, shake it off and move on with your life."

Mar 10
2014

St. John's Wort and Health Belief Model

History and Orientation

The Health Belief Model (HBM) is a psychological model that attempts to explain and predict health behaviors based on an individuals attitudes and beliefs of individuals. It was first developed in the 1950s by social psychologists employed by the U.S. Public Health Services. The most recent work has been executed to explore the long- and short-term health behaviors affiliated with sexually risky behaviors such as HIV/AIDS transmission.

Core Assumptions and Statements

The HBM is based on the understanding that a person will take a health-related action (i.e., take St. John's wort) if they:
  1. Feel they are experiencing feelings of depression can be avoided,
  2. Have a positive expectation that by taking St. John's wort (or any other doctor recommended action) to avoid further feelings of negativity.
  3. Believes that he/she can successfully commit to the above with confidence.
The Health Belief Model is predicated upon four perceived threats. 1. Perceived susceptibility 2. Perceived severity. 3. Perceived benefits 4.Perceived barriers.

These concepts were proposed as accounting for people's "readiness to act." An added concept, cues to action, activate that readiness and stimulate overt behavior. Recently, the Public Health Services has added the concept of self-efficacy (or one's confidence in the ability to successfully perform an action) to help the Health Belief Model to better fit the challenges of changing habitual unhealthy behaviors, such as engaging in negative esteem behaviors like: taking illegal drugs, alcohol, no exercise, overeating . . . Please review the following table appropriated from, "Theory at a Glance: A Guide for Health Promotion Practice" (1997)
Concept Definition Application
Perceived Susceptibility One's opinion of chances of getting a condition Define population(s) at risk, risk levels; personalize risk based on a person's features or behavior; heighten perceived susceptibility if too low.
Perceived Severity One's opinion of how serious a condition and its consequences are Specify consequences of the risk and the condition
Perceived Benefits One's belief in the efficacy of the advised action to reduce risk or seriousness of impact Define action to take; how, where, when; clarify the positive effects to be expected.
Perceived Barriers One's opinion of the tangible and psychological costs of the advised action Identify and reduce barriers through reassurance, incentives, assistance.
Cues to Action Strategies to activate "readiness" Provide how-to information, promote awareness, reminders.
Self-Efficacy Confidence in one's ability to take action Provide training, guidance in performing action.

Conceptual Model


Source: Glanz et al, 2002, p. 52

Scope and Application

The Health Belief Model has been applied to a broad range of health behaviors and subject populations. Three broad areas can be identified:

  1. Preventive health behaviors, which include health-promoting (e.g. diet, exercise) and health-risk (e.g. smoking) behaviors as well as vaccination and contraceptive practices.
  2. Sick role behaviors, which refer to compliance with recommended medical regimens, usually following professional diagnosis of illness.
  3. Clinic use, which includes physician visits for a variety of reasons.

Example

This is an example from two sexual health actions. (http://www.etr.org/recapp/theories/hbm/Resources.htm)

Concept Condom Use Education Example STI Screening or HIV Testing
1. Perceived Susceptibility Youth believe they can get STIs or HIV or create a pregnancy. Youth believe they may have been exposed to STIs or HIV.
2. Perceived Severity Youth believe that the consequences of getting STIs or HIV or creating a pregnancy are significant enough to try to avoid. Youth believe the consequences of having STIs or HIV without knowledge or treatment are significant enough to try to avoid.
3. Perceived Benefits Youth believe that the recommended action of using condoms would protect them from getting STIs or HIV or creating a pregnancy. Youth believe that the recommended action of getting tested for STIs and HIV would benefit them — possibly by allowing them to get early treatment or preventing them from infecting others.
4. Perceived Barriers Youth identify their personal barriers to using condoms (i.e., condoms limit the feeling or they are too embarrassed to talk to their partner about it) and explore ways to eliminate or reduce these barriers (i.e., teach them to put lubricant inside the condom to increase sensation for the male and have them practice condom communication skills to decrease their embarrassment level). Youth identify their personal barriers to getting tested (i.e., getting to the clinic or being seen at the clinic by someone they know) and explore ways to eliminate or reduce these barriers (i.e., brainstorm transportation and disguise options).
5. Cues to Action Youth receive reminder cues for action in the form of incentives (such as pencils with the printed message "no glove, no love") or reminder messages (such as messages in the school newsletter). Youth receive reminder cues for action in the form of incentives (such as a key chain that says, "Got sex? Get tested!") or reminder messages (such as posters that say, "25% of sexually active teens contract an STI. Are you one of them? Find out now").
6. Self-Efficacy Youth confident in using a condom correctly in all circumstances. Youth receive guidance (such as information on where to get tested) or training (such as practice in making an appointment).
Jan 17
2014

A severe case of the blues? (“Un gros cas de blues.”)

Frances first girlfriend, 48 year-old journalist Valerie Trierweiler, has “Un gros cas de blues.” (“A severe case of blues?”) after French President Hollande spent the night with 41 year-old actress Julie Gayet. The point of this blog is not to speculate on whether Holland was technically cheating on Trierweiler, nor is it to discuss if the French press is becoming more Americanized in their graphic expose of Hollande scooting through Paris on his Vespa for all-night trysts. I am more interested in the fact that Trierweiler checked into a hospital for Sleep Therapy to deal with her depression.

The link between depression and lack of sleep is well established. More than half of the depression sufferers struggle with insomnia. It was long thought that insomnia was a symptom of depression, it now seems that in many cases, insomnia is a set up for depression and often doubles the risk of becoming depressed. New research shows that treating insomnia can synergize other depression protocols in the battle against depression.

Many children and adolescents with depression who suffer from both insomnia and hypersomnia are more likely to have severe and longer-lasting depression. They are also more likely to suffer from anhedonia (an inability to feel pleasure). Additionally, a 2006 sleep poll focusing on children aged 11 to 17 found a strong association between negative mood and sleep problems. Among adolescents who reported being unhappy, 73% reported not sleeping enough at night.

Four studies funded by the National Institute of Mental Health are set to be released in 2014 on the topic of sleep and depression. The first has already been completed, and the promising findings were presented at a November 2013 convention of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. The study found that 87 percent of depression patients who resolved their insomnia had major improvements to their depression, with symptoms disappearing after eight weeks whether the person took an antidepressant or a placebo pill. “The way this story is unfolding, I think we need to start augmenting standard depression treatment with therapy focused on insomnia.”

There are several natural antidepressants that not only address depression through various pathways, elevate serotonin with 5-htp, inhibit serotonin reuptake with Sceletium Tortuosum AKA Zembrin, enhance sleep with L-tryptophan
Jan 14
2014

Does your child have ADHD?

There are actually three different subtypes of ADHD. The symptoms of ADHD include inattention and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity. Most children display these traits at some point in their young lives. But to establish a diagnosis of ADHD—often referred to as ADD—the symptoms should be inappropriate for the child's age. For purposes of this blog we are going to confine ourselves to one possible cause of the issue. Gut health. For an accurate diagnosis you should consult your primary care physician.

How good are your child’s language skills? Listening skills? Does he/she complain of abdominal pain? Many verbally challenged children have a sensory processing disorder rendering their abdominal pain agonizing. But what does this have to do with ADHD? It is no secret that the health of the intestinal tract can have a huge impact on the brain and behavior. ADHD diagnosed children exhibit speech and language delay because they cannot focus long enough to learn speech patterns like other children. If they have a hard time communicating their pain to parents they can come off as irritable and unfocused. One the biggest factors influencing the health of the intestinal tract are gut microorganisms. These microorganisms, a mix of good and bad bacteria along with common yeast called Candida Albicans, are called gut flora. There are over three hundred species of bacteria, both good and bad, and yeast that live in our intestines. The good bacteria that are needed in the intestines are called probiotics. In a healthy gut environment, these bacteria and yeast live happily with each other however external stressors such as antibiotic treatment may knock this harmonious balance off, resulting in under production of serotonin and an overgrowth of yeast.

Pathogenic bacteria and yeast thrive on an acidic environment. Children who consume sugar are setting themselves up for an acidic gut. The intestinal flora imbalance and/or yeast overgrowth may be treated by re-populating the intestine with friendly bacteria and MSM.

What is MSM?

The fourth most abundant substance in our bodies, Methyl-sulfonyl-methane is basically the mineral sulfur, an essential component of all living cells. Sulfur is necessary for collagen synthesis: skin, hair and nail health. For this reason it is referred to by many as “the beauty mineral.” But sulfur’s benefits go far deeper. It also helps eradicate gut parasites, asthma, allergies, arthritis, inflammation, constipation and yeast. Sulfur flypaper like ability to attach impurities helps detoxify our blood while increasing blood circulation, reduces muscle cramps and back pain, increases our energy and alertness, mental calmness, and consequently our ability to concentrate.

And, while doing that, MSM stays busy scavenging for free radicals, aids the liver in its production of the chemical choline. Choline is necessary for concentration. While doing all of this MSM alkalizes (controls acidity) in the stomach and coats the intestinal tract so that parasites lose their ability to hang on. It is the perfect adjunct to probiotics when it comes to maintaining a happy, highly functioning gut chockfull of comforting flora.

Would Probiotics and MSM benefit my ADHD child?

Absolutely. Anyone for that matter. Here are some signs of gut imbalance fueled by yeast overgrowth:
  • Frequent loose stool, diarrhea, gold stool or green stool.
  • Alternating between hard/dry stool mixed with mushy wet stool.
  • Chronic constipation requiring medication.
  • Three or more stool per day lasting for more than a month.
  • Explosive stools, large stools (enough to clog toilet), excessively foul-smelling stools.
  • Undigested food visible in stool.
  • New or sudden onset of urine or stool incontinence in previously potty-trained children.
  • Ringworm rash.
  • Intermittent diffuse rashes.
  • Acne.
  • Oral thrush .
  • Persistent, raw, itchy diaper rash.

Adults can also have gut induced ADHD. In fact half of the adults diagnosed with the disorder had it as children. When ADHD persists into adulthood, symptoms may vary. For instance, an adult may experience restlessness instead of hyperactivity. In addition, adults with ADHD often have problems with interpersonal relationships and employment.
Jan 08
2014

Brain Degenerative Factors and their Effects on the Brain

The following is a list of brain degenerative factors that can easily progress into age senile dementia, Alzheimer’s, depression and early general dysfunction.
  1. Inflammation. Most people think that inflammation is painful but interestingly enough the brain does not have brain receptors. Hence we cannot feel brain inflammation. Through modern day technology (MRI exams and chemical markers) we can actually look at brain cells that produce inflammation. When this happens the brain is literally on fire.
  2. Brain Oxidation. This is caused by an abundance of free radicals in the brain. Oxidation is rusting. It is like leaving a piece of iron out in the rain. This is exactly what happens when free radicals attack brain—and body—tissues. If left untreated brain fat, protein and DNA, our code of life, becomes damaged. It is our pantheon of excellent great antioxidants like Idebenone and Reduced Glutathione that protect us against free radical damage.

Inflammation and free radical are very much interrelated. By reducing inflammation you reduce free radical activity. By reducing inflammation you are preserving your brain and body.
Ways to cut brain and body inflammation.
  1. Cut sugar out of your diet. Fact: sugar is directly toxic to the memory centers of the brain. Brain shrinkage of the hippocampus (memory center) even happens within the realm of normal sugar consumption. MRI studies among a group of diabetics performed over a 4 year period definitively measure a profound brain shrinkage due to high sugar levels caused by diabetes. Alpha Lipoic acid is an excellent way to reduce plasma levels of sugar. Sugar is bad because it binds to proteins. This is bad news because it causes glycation. Glycation causes inflammation which causes free radical damage. Sugar creates free radical damage that negatively affects the brain. Note: carbohydrates are a form of sugar. Studies have shown that reducing carbohydrate consumption is one of the most effective ways to inhibit the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease.
  2. Reduce gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye. Gluten is highly inflammatory. Genetically, humans can’t handle gluten. Our physiology is not prepared to deal with this strange and suddenly very prevalent protein. You don’t have to have celiac disease to suffer the inflammatory effects of gluten. It can affect any part of the body but has been identified as a treatable cause of various brain problems. What happens is that our body mounts an immune response to deal with it. Immune reactions are tied directly to inflammation. Gluten sensitivity is directly correlated to brain dysfunctions like depression, ADHD, and even schizophrenia. Though modern man learned how to cultivate high gluten wheat in the past 10,000 years, it is irrelevant because our DNA that began evolving 160,000 years ago in the hunter gather period in Ethiopia does not have the skill set to deal with gluten. St. John’s wort, the popular antidepressant is also an excellent antioxidant for the brain and is the basis of certain brain cancer protocols.
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