7 Things That Are Hurting Your Brain And Mood

1. Sugar

Refined sugar and its many synonyms are ubiquitous on ingredient lists. For a healthy brain, the first thing you should dump is sugar. There are at least two potential mechanisms through which refined sugar intake could exert a toxic effect on your mental health. First, sugar actually suppresses activity of a key growth hormone in the brain called BDNF. BDNF levels are low in people with depression. Second, eating sugar-containing foods will trigger a myriad of chemical reactions in your body that will upregulate chronic systemic inflammation. Over time, inflammation will disrupt the normal functioning of your immune system, and wreak havoc on your brain.

2. Grains

There are many ways in which eating grains will affect your brain. Just like refined sugar, grains can cause inflammation in your body that will affect your brain. Grain proteins like gluten and lectins are also well linked in the literature with having a negative impact on your gut, which in turn affects your brain.

3. Artificial sweeteners

Those little yellow, blue and pink bags are wreaking havoc on your mood. In a double-blind study of the effects of aspartame on people with mood disorders, findings showed a large increase in serious symptoms for those taking aspartame. Fifty percent of aspartame is the isolated amino acid phenylalanine, which is neurotoxic and goes directly into the brain, depleting your serotonin levels. When you lower serotonin, it can trigger a variety of different mood disorders.

4. MSG

Monosodium glutamate or MSG is a processed flavor enhancer that is commonly added to many convenience food, soups, processed meats, Asian foods, and frozen dinners. MSG is an excitotoxin which can affect your brain chemistry and your body’s endocrine (hormone) system. Sometimes it’s difficult to spot a food containing MSG because it hides in food ingredient labels behind many different names, including glutamic acid, glutamate, autolyzed yeast protein, textured protein, natural flavors and hydrolyzed corn.

5. Toxic household products

There is no doubt that we are inundated with toxic chemicals in our world. As far as environmental toxins, there are some things that are out of our immediate control. With that said, here are many things that we can control what we are exposed to. Chemicals that are used in common household cleaning products have been linked to altered brain function. The majority of beauty products used today are filled with chemicals that will literally interfere with your body’s hormones, affecting how you feel and think. These ingredients in beauty products are anything but pretty. The Environmental Working Group found that one in eight of the 82,000 ingredients used in personal care products are industrial chemicals, many of them linked to hormone and mood disorders. Remember, your skin is your largest organ and highly absorptive. If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin.just breathe

6. Heavy metals

Chronic heavy metal toxicity is overlooked as a factor for brain problems. There are two types of heavy metal poisoning: acute and chronic. Chronic heavy metal levels of mercury or lead can be an insidious issue for chronic conditions like depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue and brain fog, and can be linked to almost any mood or brain disorder. One reason why chronic heavy metal toxicity goes undiagnosed is because unlike acute poisoning, which is circulating in your blood, chronic metal toxicity has leached in your bodies tissues like your bones, fat, and brain. Because of this, a blood test might come back normal. Proper diagnostic testing is essential for this issue. Pulling the metals from the body using chelating agents and measuring those levels using a Urine Heavy Metals test is how I uncover this piece of the puzzle for my patients.

7. Chronic gut infections

To have a healthy brain you need to have a healthy gut.  I’ve written extensively about a healthy gut in my MindBodyGreen series. Your gut is your second brain, with around 95 percent of your serotonin residing there. Underlying infections of yeast, fungus or bacteria will wreak havoc on your gut and brain. Many mood and brain disorders are linked to an unhealthy gut.

Everybody has a unique combination of factors that are causing them to feel the way they feel. A comprehensive health history, labs and customized health program should be designed for the individual.

by Dr. Willian Cole

Vitamin C

Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)

Overview

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning that your body doesn’t store it. We have to get what we need from food, including citrus fruits, broccoli, and tomatoes.

You need vitamin C for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body. It helps the body make collagen, an important protein used to make skin, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. Vitamin C is needed for healing wounds, and for repairing and maintaining bones and teeth.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant, along with vitamin E, beta-carotene, and many other plant-based nutrients. Antioxidants block some of the damage caused by free radicals, substances that damage DNA. The build-up of free radicals over time may contribute to the aging process and the development of health conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and arthritis.

It’s rare to be seriously deficient in vitamin C, although evidence suggests that many people may have low levels of vitamin C. Smoking cigarettes lowers the amount of vitamin C in the body, so smokers are at a higher risk of deficiency.

Signs of vitamin deficiency include dry and splitting hair; gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and bleeding gums; rough, dry, scaly skin; decreased wound-healing rate, easy bruising; nosebleeds; and a decreased ability to ward off infection. A severe form of vitamin C deficiency is known as scurvy.

Low levels of vitamin C have been associated with a number of conditions, including high blood pressure, gallbladder disease, stroke, some cancers, and atherosclerosis, the build-up plaque in blood vessels that can lead to heart attack and stroke. Getting enough vitamin C from your diet — by eating lots of fruit and vegetables — may help reduce the risk of developing some of these conditions. There is no conclusive evidence that taking vitamin C supplements will help or prevent any of these conditions.

Vitamin C plays a role in protecting against the following:

Heart Disease

Results of scientific studies on whether vitamin C is helpful for preventing heart attack or stroke are mixed. Vitamin C doesn’t lower cholesterol levels or reduce the overall risk of heart attack, but evidence suggests that it may help protect arteries against damage.

Some studies — though not all — suggest that vitamin C, acting as an antioxidant, can slow down the progression of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). It helps prevent damage to LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, which then builds up as plaque in the arteries and can cause heart attack or stroke. Other studies suggest that vitamin C may help keep arteries flexible.

In addition, people who have low levels of vitamin C may be more likely to have a heart attack, stroke, or peripheral artery disease, all potential results of having atherosclerosis. Peripheral artery disease is the term used to describe atherosclerosis of the blood vessels to the legs. This can lead to pain when walking, known as intermittent claudication. But there is no evidence that taking vitamin C supplements will help.

The best thing to do is get enough vitamin C through your diet. That way, you also get the benefit of other antioxidants and nutrients contained in food. If you have low levels of vitamin C and have trouble getting enough through the foods you eat, ask your doctor about taking a supplement.

High Blood Pressure

Population based studies (which involve observing large groups of people over time) suggest that people who eat foods rich in antioxidants, including vitamin C, have a lower risk of high blood pressure than people who have poorer diets. Eating foods rich in vitamin C is important for your overall health, especially if you are at risk for high blood pressure. The diet physicians most frequently recommend for treatment and prevention of high blood pressure, known as the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, includes lots of fruits and vegetables, which are loaded with antioxidants.

Common Cold

Despite the popular belief that vitamin C can cure the common cold, the scientific evidence doesn’t support the notion. Taking vitamin C supplements regularly (not just at the beginning of a cold) produces only a small reduction in the duration of a cold (about 1 day). The only other piece of evidence supporting vitamin C for preventing colds comes from studies examining people exercising in extreme environments (athletes such as skiers and marathon runners, and soldiers in the Arctic). In these studies, vitamin C did seem to reduce the risk of getting a cold.

Cancer

Results of many population based studies (evaluating groups of people over time) suggest that eating foods rich in vitamin C may be associated with lower rates of cancer, including skin cancer, cervical dysplasia (changes to the cervix which may be cancerous or precancerous, picked up by pap smear), and, possibly, breast cancer. But these foods also contain many beneficial nutrients and antioxidants, not only vitamin C, so it’s impossible to say for certain that vitamin C is protecting against cancer. Taking vitamin C supplements, on the other hand, has not been shown to have any helpful effect.

In addition, there is no evidence that taking large doses of vitamin C once diagnosed with cancer will help your treatment. Moreover, some doctors are concerned that large doses of antioxidants from supplements could interfere with chemotherapy medications. More research is needed. If you are undergoing chemotherapy, talk to your doctor before taking vitamin C or any supplement.

Osteoarthritis

Vitamin C is essential for the body to make collagen, which is a part of normal cartilage. Cartilage is destroyed in osteoarthritis (OA), putting pressure on bones and joints. In addition, some researchers think free radicals — molecules produced by the body that can damage cells and DNA — may also be involved in the destruction of cartilage. Antioxidants such as vitamin C appear to limit the damage caused by free radicals. However, that said, no evidence suggests that taking vitamin C supplements will help treat or prevent OA. What the evidence does show is that people who eat diets rich in vitamin C are less likely to be diagnosed with arthritis.

Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can lower your levels of vitamin C. If you take these drugs regularly for OA, you might want to take a vitamin C supplement.

Age-related Macular Degeneration

Vitamin C (500 mg) appears to work with other antioxidants, including zinc (80 mg), beta-carotene (15 mg), and vitamin E (400 IU) to protect the eyes against developing macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of legal blindness in people over 55 in the United States. The people who seem to benefit are those with advanced AMD. It isn’t known whether this combination of nutrients helps prevent AMD or is beneficial for people with less advanced AMD. This combination includes a high dose of zinc, which should be taken only under a doctor’s supervision.

Dietary Sources

Some excellent sources of vitamin C are oranges, green peppers, watermelon, papaya, grapefruit, cantaloupe, strawberries, kiwi, mango, broccoli, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, and citrus juices or juices fortified with vitamin C. Raw and cooked leafy greens (turnip greens, spinach), red and green peppers, canned and fresh tomatoes, potatoes, winter squash, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, and pineapple are also rich sources of vitamin C. Vitamin C is sensitive to light, air, and heat, so you’ll get the most vitamin C if you eat fruits and vegetables raw or lightly cooked.

Precautions

Because of the potential for side effects and interactions with medications, you should take dietary supplements only under the supervision of a knowledgeable health care provider.

Vitamin C supplements have a diuretic effect, meaning the help the body get rid of excess fluid. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids when taking them.

Most commercial vitamin C is made from corn. People sensitive to corn should look for alternative sources, such as sago palm.

Vitamin C increases the amount of iron absorbed from foods. People with hemochromatosis, an inherited condition where too much iron builds up in the body, should not take vitamin C supplements.

Vitamin C is generally considered safe because your body gets rid of what it does not use. But at high doses (more than 2,000 mg daily) it can cause diarrhea, gas, or stomach upset. If you experience these side effects, lower the dose of vitamin C.

People with kidney problems should talk to their doctor before taking vitamin C.

People who smoke or use nicotine patches may need more vitamin C because nicotine makes vitamin C less effective in the body.

Infants born to mothers taking 6,000 mg or more of vitamin C may develop rebound scurvy because their intake of vitamin C drops after birth. If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor before taking more than 1,000 mg of vitamin C.

Vitamin C may raise blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. In older women with diabetes, doses of vitamin C above 300 mg per day were associated with an increased risk of death from heart disease.

Taking vitamin C right before or after angioplasty may interfere with healing.

If you are being treated for cancer, talk to your oncologist before taking vitamin C. Vitamin C may potentially interact with some chemotherapy drugs.

Possible Interactions

If you are being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use vitamin C supplements without first talking to your health care provider:

Aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) — Both aspirin and NSAIDs can lower the amount of vitamin C in the body because they cause more of the vitamin to be lost in urine. In addition, high doses of vitamin C can cause more of these drugs to stay in the body, raising the levels in your blood. Some very early research suggests that vitamin C might help protect against stomach upset that aspirin and NSAIDs can cause. If you regularly take aspirin or NSAIDs, talk to your doctor before taking more than the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) — High doses of vitamin C may lower the amount of acetaminophen passed in urine, which could cause the levels of this drug in your blood to rise.

Aluminum-containing antacids — Vitamin C can increase the amount of aluminum your body absorbs, which could cause the side effects of these medications to be worse. Aluminum-containing antacids include Maalox and Gaviscon.

Barbiturates — Barbiturates may decrease the effects of vitamin C. These drugs include phenobarbital (Luminal), pentobarbital (Nembutal), and seconobarbital (Seconal).

Chemotherapy drugs — As an antioxidant, vitamin C may interfere with the effects of some drugs taken for chemotherapy. However, some researchers speculate that vitamin C might help make chemotherapy more effective. If you are undergoing chemotherapy, do not take vitamin C or any other supplement without talking to your oncologist.

Oral contraceptives (birth control pills) and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) — Vitamin C can cause a rise in estrogen levels when taken with these drugs. Oral estrogens can also decrease the effects of vitamin C in the body.

Protease inhibitors — Vitamin C appears to slightly lower levels of indinavir (Crixivan), a medication used to treat HIV and AIDS.

Tetracycline — Some evidence suggests that taking vitamin C with the antibiotic tetracycline may increase the levels of this medication. It may also decrease the effects of vitamin C in the body. Other antibiotics in the same family include minocycline (Minocin) and doxycycline (Vibramycin).

Warfarin (Coumadin) — There have been rare reports of vitamin C interfering with the effectiveness of this blood thinning medication. In recent follow-up studies, no effect was found with doses of vitamin C up to 1,000 mg per day. However, if you take warfarin or another blood thinner, talk to your doctor before taking vitamin C or any other supplement.

Source: Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) | University of Maryland Medical Center http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-c-ascorbic-acidUniversity of Maryland Medical Center

Your body is capable of many things, but it can’t make vitamin C. Shaklee Sustained Release Vita-C 500 mg offers sustained-release protection hour after hour, using a proprietary sustained release system.

vitamin c

The Arthritis Society

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Don’t Stop Looking

Brian’s journey with arthritis did not end when the surgeries did, however.  He tried many different medications for pain, and experimented with alternative therapies such as light therapy, hot and cold, massage and “more creams and lotions than you’d think could exist.”  Even while having to take morphine, Brian was still experiencing a high degree of pain, and was feeling very desperate.  It was a time he describes as having “no quality of life.”   He decided to make significant changes.
“I changed the way I ate.  I shop and prepare food and do most of my own cooking now.  I don’t eat any processed food, eat only pure foods and take vitamins. The adjustments to my diet have resulted in a greater quality of life and freed me from constant pain.”  With these adjustments, Brian says he “went from surviving the day to living it.”
Now at the age of forty eight, Brian is on permanent disability, which is not how he pictured living his life.  Originally trained as a mechanic and a Service Manager, he had to give up his career and devote his time to taking care of himself.  Brian personifies determination and strength and says that having a good support system helped him through, along with the fact that he never stopped looking for a solution.  He feels that there is a reason that he came through all of this, and says that he wants to help others, and is even taking the Arthritis Self Management Program through The Arthritis Society to learn more.  By sharing his story, Brian hopes it will provide a benefit to people like him.

Natural Forces Within Us Are The True Healers

Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease

|Physician| April 14, 2011

In my forays into the history of medicine I came across these six little words by Hippocrates. 

They seem strangely modern, almost like something you might find on a Hallmark-card for today’s medical school graduates. I don’t know how old the translation is and I couldn’t understand the original text if I tried – but these simple words really touched me when I first read them.

In family medicine we don’t often cure our patients’ diseases. Many of the things we think of as medical cures are possibly only spontaneous recoveries from ear infections, pneumonias, strep infections, indigestion and acne.

Mostly we treat chronic conditions in hopes of mitigating their effects on our patients’ vital organs – eye, kidney and nerve damage in diabetes or strokes and heart attacks in patients with elevated blood pressure and cholesterol. Sometimes we only treat the symptoms – pain from degenerative arthritis or cough, congestion and shortness of breath from chronic lung disease.

The one thing physicians always can and should do is the thing we may be inclined to forget when the everyday frustrations of modern medicine make us watch the clock, the reimbursement schedule or any one of the distractions that get in the way of real doctoring.

Comfort and hope should be offered to every patient, every fellow human being, in every encounter. We must never lose sight of the power we have in changing our patients’ perceptions and expectations of their diseases.

In Hippocrates’ era, doctors believed that patients had a natural ability to overcome disease. Medical treatments were meant to support the natural healing processes. Hippocrates is said to have written: “Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease”.

How ironic that twenty-five centuries later we are re-discovering and proving, through the modern science of neuroimmunology, that patients’ frame of mind and perception of their disease predict their treatment success and cure rate more than many of the technical details of their condition or its treatment.

When we comfort a patient, we may be doing more than consoling him or her. We may be stimulating the patient’s immune system to overcome disease and return the body to a healthful balance.

We used to call that the Placebo Effect.

Does Soda Affect Arthritis?

More than 50 million Americans have been diagnosed with arthritis – one in every five adults – making it the leading cause of disability in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Arthritis is an umbrella term encompassing more than 100 diseases that cause stiffness, pain and swelling of the joints, and includes osteoarthritis, gout, fibromyalgia, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Some foods, like soda, increase the probability of developing or inflaming arthritic conditions, particularly when consumed in excess.
Health Professionals Follow-Up Study
A study published in the “British Medical Journal” examined the correlation between sugary drinks such as soda and the occurrence of gout in men. In the 12-year Health Professionals Follow-up Study, American and Canadian researchers observed 46,000 middle-aged men with no history of gout. The men routinely completed questionnaires regarding their dietary habits and provided information
on their weight and any medical conditions and medications.

Study Results
During the 12-year time frame, 755 new cases of gout were diagnosed. Men who daily consumed two or more sodas had an 85 percent higher incidence of developing gout than those who drank less than one soda a month. Men who drank one soda daily had a 45 percent higher incident rate. Diet soda did not increase the risk, but both fruit juice and fruits high in fructose did. However, since the consumption of oranges, apples and other high fructose fruits help prevent some cancers as well as high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease, the authors advise weighing the data against the benefits of fruit consumption.
Joint Inflammation
Sodas also are one of the culprits associated with inflammation of arthritic joints. Marcelle Pick, co-founder of the Women to Women Clinic, lists both diet and regular soft drinks, fruit juices and all forms of natural and refined sugar as inflammation-fueling foods, particularly when consumed at night. Pick states, “It’s interesting how some women who eat (or drink) refined carbohydrates at night are also more likely to have fluid retention and morning pain, and how changing just this one habit can turn joint pain around — almost overnight.”
Soda to Relieve Arthritis
According to RaleighChiropractic.com, some people drink a six-pack of soft drinks to diminish the pain of arthritis. This does provide temporary relief since the phosphate in the soda dissolves calcium deposits in the joints; however, the site warns against this practice and cautions that regularly consuming a six-pack of soft drinks will lead to osteoporosis since the soda’s phosphate also dissolves calcium in the bones.

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/531354-does-soda-affect-arthritis/#ixzz2jKp188YL

Can Vitamin D Really Cure Arthritis?

Can Vitamin D Really Cure Arthritis?
by Jerome Burne
Medical Health Journalist
As Featured in Food MattersVitamin D

Dr James Dowd, who works at the Arthritis Institute of Michigan, has been prescribing Vitamin D to people suffering from chronic disorders. Just in case there were any doubts about the importance of vitamin D – the ‘sunshine’ vitamin – two major studies published last week confirmed just how essential it is for good health.

One study found that people with higher levels in their blood were more likely to survive cancer, the other that having very low levels increased your risk of cardiovascular disease. Previous research has linked high levels with fighting off infection and helping with all sorts of chronic problems. But there is a catch: we make most of our vitamin D when our skin is exposed to fairly strong sunlight and we can get more from oily fish and a few foods like cereals that have been fortified with it.

Now a new and controversial book by an American doctor suggests that taking even higher levels of the vitamin – 10 to 15 times the recommended amounts – can work wonders. Dr James Dowd, who works at the Arthritis Institute of Michigan, has been prescribing vitamin D to people suffering from chronic disorders such as arthritis, back pain and headaches and the result, he claims, is a huge improvement in their symptoms.

As Dowd explains: “In the past I would have given her anti-inflammatory drugs, pain medication, a pill to lose weight and drug treatment for hypertension.” But several years earlier he himself began to suffer symptoms of joint pain and fatigue and after researching other treatments, devised a very different “and much more effective approach”.

The cure involves a high dose supplement of vitamin D and simple dietary changes, including cutting out wheat and cheese and encouraging a greater variety of fruit, vegetables and protein. It also involves a certain amount of exercise. “It sounds almost magical,” Dowd admits, “but in fact it’s just common-sense medicine based on good science; the sort that has eluded many physicians for decades.”

Vitamin D is essential for good bone health, but as research now suggests, it is also important in chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. Quite why is not clear. However, we do know that the level of vitamin D in our bloodstreams is dropping, partly because of concerns about the link between sun and skin cancer. It has been estimated that in America and the UK as many as 90 per cent of the population are not getting nearly enough vitamin D from the sun and diet can’t make up for the shortfall.