Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Gene Expression Changes with Meditation

Study reveals gene expression changes with meditation

Richard J.  Davidson
Richard J. Davidson

With evidence growing that meditation can have beneficial health effects, scientists have sought to understand how these practices physically affect the body.

A new study by researchers in Wisconsin, Spain, and France reports the first evidence of specific molecular changes in the body following a period of mindfulness meditation.

The study investigated the effects of a day of intensive mindfulness practice in a group of experienced meditators, compared to a group of untrained control subjects who engaged in quiet non-meditative activities. After eight hours of mindfulness practice, the meditators showed a range of genetic and molecular differences, including altered levels of gene-regulating machinery and reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes, which in turn correlated with faster physical recovery from a stressful situation.

"To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper that shows rapid alterations in gene expression within subjects associated with mindfulness meditation practice," says study author Richard J. Davidson, founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds and the William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
"Most interestingly, the changes were observed in genes that are the current targets of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs," says Perla Kaliman, first author of the article and a researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona, Spain (IIBB-CSIC-IDIBAPS), where the molecular analyses were conducted.

The study was published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology.
Mindfulness-based trainings have shown beneficial effects on inflammatory disorders in prior clinical studies and are endorsed by the American Heart Association as a preventative intervention. The new results provide a possible biological mechanism for therapeutic effects.

The results show a down-regulation of genes that have been implicated in inflammation. The affected genes include the pro-inflammatory genes RIPK2 and COX2 as well as several histone deacetylase (HDAC) genes, which regulate the activity of other genes epigenetically by removing a type of chemical tag. What's more, the extent to which some of those genes were downregulated was associated with faster cortisol recovery to a social stress test involving an impromptu speech and tasks requiring mental calculations performed in front of an audience and video camera.
“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper that shows rapid alterations in gene expression within subjects associated with mindfulness meditation practice.”
Richard J. Davidson

Perhaps surprisingly, the researchers say, there was no difference in the tested genes between the two groups of people at the start of the study. The observed effects were seen only in the meditators following mindfulness practice. In addition, several other DNA-modifying genes showed no differences between groups, suggesting that the mindfulness practice specifically affected certain regulatory pathways.

However, it is important to note that the study was not designed to distinguish any effects of long-term meditation training from those of a single day of practice. Instead, the key result is that meditators experienced genetic changes following mindfulness practice that were not seen in the non-meditating group after other quiet activities — an outcome providing proof of principle that mindfulness practice can lead to epigenetic alterations of the genome.

Previous studies in rodents and in people have shown dynamic epigenetic responses to physical stimuli such as stress, diet, or exercise within just a few hours.

"Our genes are quite dynamic in their expression and these results suggest that the calmness of our mind can actually have a potential influence on their expression," Davidson says.

"The regulation of HDACs and inflammatory pathways may represent some of the mechanisms underlying the therapeutic potential of mindfulness-based interventions," Kaliman says. "Our findings set the foundation for future studies to further assess meditation strategies for the treatment of chronic inflammatory conditions."

Study funding came from National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (grant number P01-AT004952) and grants from the Fetzer Institute, the John Templeton Foundation, and an anonymous donor to Davidson. The study was conducted at the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the UW-Madison Waisman Center.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Sensitive Teeth?

Sensitive Teeth? Two Ayurvedic Remedies Curb Hypersensitivity

by Case Adams, Naturopath
New research has determined that two natural remedies used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries can eliminate or at least curb teeth hypersensitivity.
Sensitive teeth - or teeth hypersensitivity - is a common complaint among adults. A study by the University of Washington's School of Dentistry found recently that about one in eight people (12.3% to be exact) experience hypersensitive teeth.

More revealing, they also found that teeth hypersensitivity is highest among adults aged 18 to 44 years old. The next highest incidence was among those over 65.

Teeth hypersensitivity is also more prevalent among women, those with gum recession, and among those who had undergone DIY tooth whitening at home according to the research.

And surprisingly, hypersensitivity was not associated with aggressive tooth brushing, nor with tooth chipping.

Do chemical treatments work for teeth hypersensitivity?

Today many dentists suggest potassium nitrate-containing toothpaste gels to reduce tooth sensitivity. Does potassium nitrate really work though?
A study from the University of Missouri's School of Dentistry studied 12 patients with hypersensitive teeth. The patients were split into three groups and treated for four weeks. One group used a gel with potassium nitrate-glycerine gel at 10% potassium nitrate. The second group used a glycerine gel without the potassium nitrate. The third group was given no gel.

The researchers found that group one experienced a significant decrease in sensitivity at week two, but not thereafter. Meanwhile group two experienced significant decrease in sensitivity at weeks three and four. The researchers concluded:
The most sustained decrease in sensitivity to cold was found on teeth treated with plain glycerine.
Other research has tested various other chemicals with varying degrees of success. One study tested, for example, an 8% solution of 8.0% arginine and calcium carbonate paste. This study did find significant improvement in sensitivity in a double-blind test from a New Jersey research group.

Is there a natural solution to teeth hypersensitivity?

New research says yes.
A revealing study comes from the Department of Public Health Dentistry of India's People's University. The researchers performed a study on 73 sensitive teeth among 13 patients. After randomizing into three groups, the researchers gave an extract of Indian Propolis, a product called GC Tooth Mousse or sterile water to the patients for three weeks.

They measured the patients for teeth sensitivity at the beginning of the trial, and every week thereafter, and of course at the end of the three weeks.
The research found that the Ayurvedic propolis extract significantly reduced the sensitivity among a majority of the teeth. In the beginning of the study, among the propolis group, 4 teeth were mildly sensitive, 14 teeth were moderately sensitive and 7 teeth were severely sensitive. After the first application (at seven days), 6 teeth had no sensitivity, 7 were mild, 11 were moderate and only one was severe. After the fourth application – at week four, 3 teeth had no sensitivity, 15 had mild sensitivity, 7 had moderate, and 0 had severe sensitivity.

These are great results for only four applications. However, the greatest improvement in sensitivity came with a product called GC tooth mousse. In this group, 7 were severe, 9 were moderate and 7 were mild at the beginning of the study. At the end of the fourth week, 16 teeth had no sensitivity while 8 had mild sensitivity.

The active ingredient in the GC tooth mousse product is casein phosphopeptide – common name recaldent (also CPP-ACP). This is isolated from casein – a protein contained in milk.

Recaldent is best known as a teeth remineralizer. A number of studies have shown that recaldent-containing toothpastes and gums are able to reduce dental caries. Others have shown the ingredient can significantly remineralize the teeth.

As far as reducing dental caries, large 24-month study of 2,720 people found that recaldent gum reduced dental caries by 18%.

Is casein phosphopeptide a natural remedy?

So why do I include this as a natural remedy? While most toothpastes containing recaldent also contain numerous chemicals, casein phosphopeptide is a casein metabolite, easily obtained from eating fresh yogurt. This is a practice that Ayurvedic medicine and cuisine has utilized for thousands of years - accompanying meals with fresh yogurt.

This is backed up by science too. A study from the School of Dentistry at Italy's University of Naples Federico tested 80 human molars with natural casein phosphopeptides (CPPs) from yogurt. The research found that the CPPs significantly increased the mineralization of the molars. The researchers concluded:
The results demonstrated that CPPs contained in yogurt have an inhibitory effect on demineralization and promote the remineralization of dental enamel.
Other studies have found the CPPs from yogurts and other fermented dairy products beneficial, not only for the teeth but for the immune system.
Why is yogurt - along with other fermented milk products like kefir - so special? Because the beneficial bacteria involved in the fermenting process break down casein into its metabolites.

Learn how oral probiotics can cure gum disease.
The bottom line is that humans are pretty smart. We didn't just get smart in the past century. We were smart before that too. Humans developed many natural remedies from natural substances that provide curative effects, and these were tested through ad hoc clinical trials over thousands of years as the remedies were passed on between generations and perfected among patients.

Is it wise of us to neglect this long tradition of intelligence just because some multinational conglomerate mixes up a complex batch of synthetic  chemicals?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

December Conscious Box - Gluten-Free

December Conscious Box 2013 - Gluten-Free

How Does Conscious Box work?

Conscious Box is the best way to discover the most ethical and sustainable products on the planet! Focusing on strict tenets of organic, fair trade, and pure and natural products, each month Conscious Box will introduce you to healthy and honest alternatives for every aspect of your life and for every member of your family. Discover the best natural products, earn points for leaving feedback and reviews, and buy your favorites at incredible discounts!

  • Get a variety of unique pure & natural products every month!
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  • Get content on daily living tips, exciting monthly themes, and creative ways to use your box!
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Nature's Baby Organics All Natural and Gentle Products
Nature's Baby Organics All Natural and Gentle Products
Born from a labor of love, Nature's Baby Organics products are pure, natural, safe, and always leave skin feeling soft to the touch. Cruelty free, vegan, and made with organic ingredients like Aloe, cucumber, and chamomile, Nature's Baby Organics is the perfect bath time companion for all skin types – from mom and dad's to the sensitive skin of the little ones!
Two Degrees Bar
Two Degrees Bar
Made with natural ingredients and fortifying quinoa, chia, and millet, Two Degrees makes healthy, delicious snacks with purpose. For every bar purchased, Two Degrees donates one to a hungry child in need. Vegan, gluten-free, and GMO free, Two Degrees is helping fight malnutrition while keeping to principles of sustainable, honest business. Where will you choose to send your bar? 
Sappo Hill All Vegetable Oil Glyceryne Creme Soap
Sappo Hill All Vegetable Oil Glyceryne Creme Soap
For over 35 years, Sappo Hill has been making soaps in small, handmade batches. Using organic oatmeal and retaining the naturally produced glycerin, Sappo Hill soaps gently exfoliate, soften, and hydrate the skin. Each soap is also completely free of animal ingredients and packaged in environmentally sound packaging.
Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Jellies
Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Jellies
Pack these yummy tutti frutti jellies in your little one's lunchbox for a natural dose of essential omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. Supplementing omega-3 has been shown to help support healthy brain, eye and immune system function, and now you can do it with just one delicious jellie fish capsule per day.
Coastal Scents All Natural African Black Soap
Coastal Scents All Natural African Black Soap
Wash your skin, hair, face, even remove make-up. Lather up with African black soap, it's been known for centuries to help soothe skin irritations and clear blemishes and acne.
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BumBoosa Bamboo Baby Wipes
BumBoosa Bamboo Baby Wipes
Switch to a more sustainable and all-natural baby wipe with BumBoosa's baby wipes, made from 100% bamboo-derived viscose. Soothing ingredients such as organic aloe vera, calendula and chamomile extracts, assure your little one will be happy, safe and clean.
Biobag Compostable Sandwich Bag
Biobag Compostable Sandwich Bag
Mediterranean Snacks tapaz2go: Classic
Mediterranean Snacks tapaz2go: Classic
Tired of always taking trail bars as an on-the-go nutritious snack? Then check out tapaz2go, a delicious, gluten-free, protein-rich snack pack consisting of sea salt lentil crackers and hummus. No worries about making a mess with this handy dandy on the go mini-meal.
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Mega Food Vegan Daily Dietary Supplement
Mega Food Vegan Daily Dietary Supplement
These natural gluten-free supplements are the perfect accompaniment to a vegan diet. They are specially formulated to assist in digestion and absorption of a heavily plant-based diet.
The Good Bean Roasted Chickpeas
The Good Bean Roasted Chickpeas
Raw Snacks Goji Cacao Snack Bar
Raw Snacks Goji Cacao Snack Bar
BodyCeuticals Calendula Salve

Yes Yes Yes Intimate Lubricant
The Fay Farm Warming Muscle Rub
The Fay Farm Warming Muscle Rub
Numi Organics Savory Tea
Numi Organics Savory Tea
Salamandra Naturals Lavender Soap
Salamandra Naturals Lavender Soap

Saturday, December 28, 2013

20 Powerful Secrets to Meaningful Relationships

Here are twenty powerful secrets that will help you form meaningful relationships with people:
  1. When two people meet, the prize always goes to the one with the most self-insight. He will be calmer, more confident, more at ease with the other.
  2. Never permit the behavior of other people to tell you how you feel.
  3. Pay little attention to what people say or do. Instead, try to see their innermost motive for speaking and acting.
  4. Any friendship requiring the submission of your original nature and dignity to another person is all wrong.
  5. Mystically speaking, there is no difference between you and another person. This is why we cannot hurt another without hurting ourselves, nor help another without helping ourselves.
  6. When we are free of all unnecessary desires toward other people, we can never be deceived or hurt.
  7. You take a giant step toward psychological maturity when you refuse to angrily defend yourself against unjust slander. For one thing, resistance disturbs your own peace of mind.
  8. You understand others to the exact degree that you really understand yourself. Work for more self-knowledge.
  9. Do not be afraid to fully experience everything that happens to you in your human relations, especially the pains and disappointments. Do this and everything becomes clear at last.
  10. The individual who really knows what it means to love has no anxiety when his love is unseen or rejected.
  11. If you painfully lose a valuable friend, do not rush out at once for a replacement. Such action prevents you from examining your heartache and breaking free of it.
  12. Do not be afraid to be a nobody in a social world. This is a deeper and richer truth than appears on the surface.
  13. Every unpleasant experience with another person is an opportunity to see people as they are, not as we mistakenly idealize them. The more unpleasant the other person is, the more he can teach you.
  14. You can be so wonderfully free from a sense of injury and injustice that you are surprised when you hear others complain of them.
  15. We cannot recognize a virtue in another person that we do not possess in ourselves. It takes a truly loving and patient person to recognize those virtues in another.
  16. Do not mistake desire for love. Desire leaves home in a frantic search for one gratification after another. Love is at home with itself.
  17. There are parts of you that want the loving life and parts that do not. Place yourself on the side of the positive forces: do all you can to aid and encourage them.
  18. You must stop living timidly from fixed fears of what others will think of you and of what you will think of yourself.
  19. Do not contrive to be a loving person: work to be a real person. Being real is being loving.
  20. The greatest love you could ever offer to another is to so transform you inner life that others are attracted to your genuine example of goodness.
Source: “Twenty Special Secrets,” from Mystic Path to Cosmic Power, by Vernon Howard
Photo courtesy of Per Ola Wiberg

Friday, December 27, 2013

Common Foods That May Kill Multi-Drug Resistant Cancers

What Common Foods May Kill Multi-Drug Resistant Cancers?

What Common Foods May Kill Multi-Drug Resistant Cancers?
 Dr. Joseph Mercola
The GreenMedInfo database has assembled more than 60 articles and studies regarding what food substances can help kill cancers, including those that are resistant to treatment with drugs. Curcumin (the primary polyphenol within turmeric) was by far the #1 food, with 27 studies attesting to its efficacy.  

Paprika came in at #2 with 6 studies. Other food substances that were shown to have an effect include:
  • Carotenoids
  • Lycopene
  • Sulforaphane
  • Flavonoids
  • Zeaxanthin
Cancer is, by and large, a man-made disease, the result of veering too far away from the healthy lifestyles of our ancient ancestors. Avoiding health-sustaining diets and activities, while embracing a highly unnatural lifestyle and continually dousing your insides and outsides with excess chemicals is what causes many cancers to develop, which is why what you eat is so important to avoiding this top killer.

Just as it's widely known that certain foods -- such as fructose and processed meats -- contribute to cancer, other foods can help prevent it and still others may actually kill cancerous cells, including those that are resistant to drug treatment.

The Problem with Multi-Drug Resistant Cancer

You've probably heard about the problems with drug-resistant bacteria like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). MRSA is much more dangerous than ordinary Staphylococcus aureus because it has become resistant to the broad-spectrum antibiotics commonly used to treat it, such as methicillin, oxacillin, penicillin and amoxicillin.
Just as bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics, cancer can become resistant to the drugs used to treat it, namely chemotherapy drugs. As stated in the journal Nature Biotechnology:
"Multidrug resistance, the principal mechanism by which many cancers develop resistance to chemotherapy drugs, is a major factor in the failure of many forms of chemotherapy. It affects patients with a variety of blood cancers and solid tumors, including breast, ovarian, lung, and lower gastrointestinal tract cancers.
Tumors usually consist of mixed populations of malignant cells, some of which are drug-sensitive while others are drug-resistant. Chemotherapy kills drug-sensitive cells, but leaves behind a higher proportion of drug-resistant cells. As the tumor begins to grow again, chemotherapy may fail because the remaining tumor cells are now resistant."
Using chemotherapy to target all cancers is somewhat of a shot in the dark, and is rarely the best option for cancer treatment anyway, as it usually typically doesn't cure cancer or extend life -- and it rarely improves quality of life. But adding to its downfalls is the fact that many cancers are now developing resistance to it, which makes its usefulness even more questionable.

What chemo does do, however, is expose your body to toxins that kill all cells that multiply and divide rapidly. This includes not only cancer cells, but also other rapidly multiplying and dividing cells, such as bone marrow, reproductive system cells and hair follicles.

These are powerful drugs that present an assault on your system -- one that your body must then overcome along with the cancer. An alternative form of treatment (or at the very least a complementary one) that is showing great promise is the potential to use food as your "drug" to naturally ward off and even treat diseases like cancer.

Can Food be Your Medicine?

GreenMedInfo has compiled research on 66 natural substances in food that have shown promise in treating multi-drug resistant cancer. These foods may not work for ALL cancers, so you have to be careful and also work with a knowledgeable health care practitioner who is experienced in treating cancer. Unfortunately, many are still in denial about the power each individual wields over their own health, and that preventing disease and even treating disease can be as simple as modifying your diet and lifestyle -- essentially, altering the environment of your body, to provide the best, most health-promoting growth medium possible for all your cells.

Part of the explanation for why food can have such a powerful influence on serious diseases such as cancer is due to its influence on a biological process called angiogenesis -- the process your body uses to build blood vessels. Cancerous cells, like all other cells in your body, cannot thrive without the oxygen and nutrients supplied by your capillaries.

Excessive angiogenesis (too many blood vessels) promote diseases such as cancer.
Most of us actually carry around microscopic cancer cell clusters in our bodies all the time. The reason why we all don't develop cancer is because as long as your body has the ability to balance angiogenesis properly, it will prevent blood vessels from forming to feed these microscopic tumors. Trouble will only arise if, and when, the cancer cells manage to get their own blood supply, at which point they can transform from harmless to deadly.

As our ancestors intuitively understood, nature has laced a large number of foods and herbs with naturally occurring inhibitors of angiogenesis, rendering them natural "anti-cancer medicines." Simply by consuming these anti-angiogenetic foods you can naturally boost your body's defense system and prevent blood vessels from forming and feeding the microscopic tumors that exist in your body at any given time.

Food can also be used therapeutically to target and treat specific cancers, such as the work of Dr. Nick Gonzalez, who uses three protocols -- diet, supplements and enzymes, and detoxification -- to treat cancer.

Curcumin: #1 Cancer Fighter

A number of different foods have shown anti-cancer effects, but many researchers consider the curcumin in turmeric to have the greatest potential in combating cancer -- and this is also the food that has the most supporting evidence on GreenMedInfo.

Curcumin currently has the most evidence-based literature supporting its use against cancer than any other nutrient. Interestingly this also includes the metabolite of curcumin and its derivatives, which are also anti-cancerous. Best of all, curcumin appears to be safe in the treatment of nearly all cancers, including multi-drug resistant cancers.

Much of curcumin's power seems to lie in its ability to modulate genetic activity and expression -- both by destroying cancer cells, and by promoting healthy cell function. It also promotes anti-angiogenesis, as discussed above. Researchers have also found that curcumin can affect more than 100 different pathways once it gets into the cell. More specifically, curcumin has been found to:

For instance, a study in Biochemical Pharmacology found that:
"Curcumin I is the most effective MDR [multi-drug resistance] modulator among curcuminoids, and may be used in combination with conventional chemotherapeutic drugs to reverse MDR in cancer cells."
Separate research highlighting curcumin's effectiveness against multi-drug resistant cancer include:


An important point and one you need to understand. Just because an herb is natural does not mean it will help. Some herbs and natural approaches can actually worsen cancer so you have to be very careful. Fortunately, curcumin is one of the only ones that appears to be universally useful. But if you want to use another herb you are strongly cautioned to seek an expert in these therapies. I have interviewed Donnie Yance, Dr. LaValley, Dr. Gonzalez, and Dr. Burzynski. These are examples of experts who could help walk you through the process of understanding which natural agents would be best for you.

What Other Foods Show Cancer-Fighting Potential?

Also high on GreenMedInfo's list of natural substances that may help fight mutli-drug resistant cancer were:

Carotenoids are the compounds in your foods that give them that vibrant cornucopia of color, from green vegetables to red beets, to the spectacular yellows and oranges of your bell peppers.
There are more than 700 naturally occurring carotenoids, but most people are familiar with only a few. Many carotenoids are easily obtainable through a healthy diet rich in fresh organic produce, however one exception is astaxanthin, a little-known carotenoid believed to be the most potent antioxidant nature has to offer. Astaxanthin is difficult to get from dietary sources alone, but is worth learning more about due to its beneficial effects on human health.

Lycopene, another antioxidant carotenoid, gives tomatoes their red color, and works by fighting damaging free radicals in your body. It has also shown cancer-fighting potential, particularly for prostate cancer.

Sulforaphane and Indole-3-Carbinol
A compound found in broccoli and other cruciferous veggies, sulforaphane selectively targets cancer stem cells, and by doing so, it effectively prevents the cancer from spreading and/or recurring. This is something current chemotherapies cannot do, but food can!

Another component of broccoli and cruciferous veggies, indole-3-carbinol, halts the cell cycle in breast cancer cells without actually killing the cells. The cell cycle is a rigidly prescribed series of steps a cell must go through before it can divide in two, involving the duplication of the cell's contents and a final split.

If you can alter specific components of the cell cycle, you can stop the growth of cancer cells without killing normal cells. Indole-3-carbinol interferes with the cell cycle in a way that turns off a gene for an enzyme important in the cell's growth cycle.

Flavonoids are natural chemicals found in plants, fruits and vegetables. They're actually the largest group of several thousand compounds belonging to the antioxidant-rich polyphenol family.
Flavonoids are further broken down into subclasses that you have likely heard of such as anthocyanins, flavonols, flavones, flavanones and flavanols. These terms, along with flavonoid and polyphenols (also called phytochemicals), are often used interchangeably in the literature, but they're broken into these different groups because they have varying chemical structures.

While all flavonoids are antioxidants, some have stronger antioxidant properties than others, depending on their chemical structure. Flavonoids are present in most all vegetables, including onions, broccoli and greens, as well as fruits such as apples, grapes and berries.

The Future of Cancer Treatment: Targeting Your Individual Genome

If you're looking for a diet that can help you lower your chances of developing cancer, follow the steps in my nutrition plan and work your way up to the advanced level. This is an excellent strategy for cancer prevention as well as reaching high levels of health in all areas.

However, for cancer treatment you may be better served by following a diet that is customized for your genome. This is the future of cancer treatment, and you can learn more about it in my recent interview with Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski and his son, Dr. Gregory Burzynski. They employ novel gene-target therapies in the treatment of cancer, which includes studying the patient's entire cancerous genome, analyzing some 24,000 genes in each cancer patient, in order to identify the abnormal genes.

Once identified, medications and complementary strategies such as diet and supplements are selected to treat these corrupted genes.

This can be important, as some supplements and foods -- although generally accepted as beneficial -- can make some cancers worse. But with gene-targeted therapy, genetic analysis is used to customize every aspect of the treatment. This customization also includes your diet, because as Dr. Burzynski says, "Diet is after all a combination of chemicals," meaning nutrients. For more information, please listen to the interview in its entirety, and also see my list of top strategies for cancer prevention to round out your knowledge.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Simple Sequence That Will Help Your Back

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

What Is the New Age Movement? by Teal Scott

Yesterday I was forwarded an anti New Age movement video and I was asked to express my opinion on it.  The basic argument made was that the New Age Movement is just opiate for the masses (what scientists have been saying about religion for years) and that it is just an excuse to boost book sales and enhance the personal careers of people like myself who are in essence convincing people they can manifest money so that we can make money off of those people.  I don’t usually feel compelled to respond to videos or comments that are offered by people who are in a space of extreme resistance, because there is no desire in them to find a meeting of minds.   Where there is no receptivity, no meaningful conversation can take place, so it is just better to allow them to feel exactly how they feel and line up with the results of that perspective.  But this time, I am compelled to comment because on a worldwide level, I am considered a leader of the New Age.  People give me titles and associate me with things all the time, but being called a leader of the New Age is a title I resonate with and agree with.  I am a definite supporter of the “New Age Movement”.  It is my desire to clarify for you what the New Age Movement actually is because most people who consider themselves to be “New Age”, do not even know what this movement is all about.  And I have to be honest; many of the participants of the New Age movement do not help the public image that we hold.  Instead, they discredit the movement by virtue of their actions and words. I’m going to begin by summing up the new age movement as succinctly as I can. 

The new age movement is a spiritual and socio-economic movement that seeks to create a spirituality that is not confined by dogmas or borders, a spirituality that is inclusive and pluralistic.  It seeks to create unity within humanity by extracting the seeds of truth (taking the best) from all cultures, all philosophies, all religions as well as all non-religious based philosophies such as science, self-help and psychology.  It seeks to combine those truths into the purest, most in-alignment way of life that the world has yet seen.  It seeks to decrease suffering and create unity on a social and cultural level as well, in accordance with the spiritual truths of this universe.  

Keep in mind that unity is not ever to be confused with conformity!  You cannot force any of these changes to occur, people must come to them on an individual level and be allowed to do that.  Everything else that is associated with the New Age Movement (like intentional communities, veganism/raw food-ism, astrology, positive thinking, teleology, self help, intuition, theism etc.) is just an extension of this principal belief nucleus or intention. 
The New Age Movement recognizes all beings as integral, individual puzzle pieces to the whole.  As such, it recognizes that all beings are unique.  As unique beings, what works for one person, will be different than what works for anyone else.  Because of this, the basic premise of the New Age Movement is that YOU, as an individual should create your own religion for yourself.  Your life should be a unique cocktail of what resonates with you.  It should not contain any ingredients that do not resonate with you.  Sometimes those very same ingredients that work for you, will work for other people too, but the ingredients aren’t what matters as much as the mixture of ingredients which adds up to your specific and unique recipe of well being.  Spirituality, science, religion, truth, knowledge…It all means nothing if it does not contribute to a more enjoyable life.  And The New Age Movement trusts you to know what is best for you.  You can trust yourself.  You can especially trust yourself to discern what feels good and what doesn’t feel good.  And as long as you can trust yourself to know what does and doesn’t feel good, you can trust yourself to know what is right for you personally. We must take the best that all religions and all cultures and all science and all people have to offer.  We need to take them and roll those pure, shining truths into one practice within ourselves and make that the devout practice of our lives.  This is true progression.  This is the dawning of a new age within the human race, where people recognize their own unique divinity and as such, smash through the powerlessness of their own lives.  Those of us who are part of the New Age Movement are committed to the idea of a world full of individuals that are empowered in their own lives, because we have not missed the truth that at the heart of EVERY single crime and war and injustice and tragedy, is a basic belief in one’s powerlessness to the rest of the world and to other people.  An empowered individual is an individual who never feels the urge to cause harm to another.  The impulse simply never occurs.  Imagine a society that is the reflection of such individuals.  
I, for one, am head over heels dedicated to bringing this unified, empowered and free society to fruition.  And many people, who share this vision, are already part of the New Age Movement without even knowing it.  It is true that many people are wary about associating themselves with the New Age classification, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t agree with it.  And despite the criticism and discrediting that has been directed at the movement, this really is a new age we are living in and bringing about.  The New Age Movement is a freedom movement.  It is a freedom movement designed first and foremost to dissolve barriers within ourselves and dissolve barriers between people.  The barriers we have erected between each other are painful.  The restrictions we have placed on ourselves in order to try to get ourselves to conform are painful.  We dishonor the truth of who we are by trying to cram ourselves into tiny boxes; tiny boxes of religion, tiny boxes of culture, tiny boxes of family beliefs etc.  We cannot be the full expression of our true selves while we are adhering to tiny boxes and while we are trying to get ourselves to fit into an external society instead of molding our external society(s) to fit us as individuals. The time has come to end both human suffering and non-human suffering.  The time has come to see that even though contrast is a necessary part of expansion, suffering is not.  There is no excuse for unnecessary suffering.  It is time that suffering ends within this world.  But for suffering to end in this world; it must first end within ourselves.

Because Humor is a good way to end suffering with oneself, I’m going to include two hysterically funny videos that pertain to this very topic.  A good place to start, is to learn how to laugh at ourselves… .

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Coconut oil for the skin

Coconut Oil Found Effective In Treating Atopic Dermatitis (Dry, Itchy, Scaly Skin)

By: Sayer Ji, Founder

A promising new study published in the International Journal of Dermatology[i] has confirmed the natural healing properties of virgin coconut oil in treating atopic dermatitis, a chronic skin condition characterized by scaly and itchy rashes.

Researchers at the Department of Dermatology, Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center, Manila, Philippines compared the effects of topical virgin coconut oil (VCO) to mineral oil, a crude oil derivative, in a randomized, double-blinded clinical trial. 

Patients with atopic dermatitis have inflamed skin with defects in the epidermal barrier function, primarily related to inflammation and dehydration, which leads them to use ostensibly soothing moisturizers. Most mass market skin care products, however, contain mineral oil and related petrochemical ingredients which not only may contribute to skin irritation, but more serious skin conditions such as skin cancer, as well as bodily accumulation of significant quantities within internal organs.  This is why natural, food quality ingredients like coconut oil, which have been used in traditional cultures for thousands of years, hold great promise as a viable alternative, and are increasingly becoming the subject of modern scientific investigation.
In the study titled, "The effect of topical virgin coconut oil on SCORAD index, transepidermal water loss, and skin capacitance in mild to moderate pediatric atopic dermatitis: a randomized, double-blind, clinical trial," a total of 117 patients were evaluated at baseline, and at 2, 4, and 8 weeks.  Results showed that atopic dermatitis symptoms decreased from baseline by 68.23% in the VCO group and by 38.13% in the mineral oil group (P < 0.001). The VCO group clearly experienced superior results versus the mineral oil group:
  • In the VCO group, 47% (28/59) of patients achieved moderate improvement and 46% (27/59) showed an excellent response.
  • In the mineral oil group, 34% (20/58) of patients showed moderate improvement and 19% (11/58) achieved excellent improvement.
  • The VCO group achieved a post-treatment mean transepidermal water loss (TEWL) of 7.09 from a baseline mean of 26.68, whereas the mineral oil group demonstrated baseline and post-treatment TEWL values of 24.12 and 13.55, respectively.
  • In the VCO group, post-treatment skin capacitance (an indication of the water content of the outermost layer of skin known as the stratum corneum) rose to 42.3 from a baseline mean of 32.0, whereas that in the mineral oil group increased to 37.49 from a baseline mean of 31.31.
The researchers concluded, "Thus, among pediatric patients with mild to moderate AD, topical application of VCO for eight weeks was superior to that of mineral oil based on clinical (SCORAD) and instrumental (TEWL, skin capacitance) assessments."

For more information on coconut oil as a moisturizer, and the dangers with petroleum-based ones, read our article on the topic: Let Food Be Your Cosmetic: Coconut Oil Outperforms Dangerous Petroleum Body Care Products.

For additional research on natural interventions and preventable causes of atopic dermatitis, visit our research page on the topic: Atopic Dermatitis research, or a guest post by Pat Robinson from Heal Thyself on 27 Natural Alternatives for Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis) which summarizes the most compelling research on our database on the topic.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Sugar and Your Brain

Sugar and Your Brain: Is Alzheimer’s Disease Actually Type 3 Diabetes?


Dr. B.J. Hardick, D.C.

It starves your brain, tangles and twists vital cells, and for decades it has been misrepresented as an untreatable, genetically determined disease. Alzheimer's disease is the 6th leading cause of death in North America1. The truth, however, is that this devastating illness shares a strong link with another sickness that wreaks havoc on millions of individuals in North America — Diabetes.

We all know that individuals affected by Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes have a notable resistance to insulin. Type 1 is caused by the body's inability to produce insulin, and Type 2 is caused by the deterioration of the body's insulin receptors and associated with the consumption of too much refined carbohydrate like processed grains and sugar.  But when studies began to appear in 2005 that revealed a shocking correlation between insulin and brain cell deterioration, major breaks were made around Alzheimer's prevention[i]. Health practitioners became curious about a critical question — could Alzheimer's disease simply be Type 3 Diabetes?

Alzheimer's disease has long been perceived as mysterious and inevitable. 5.3 million individuals suffer every year from the disease that appears to be untreatable[ii]. But, if this illness is associated with insulin resistance, this simply isn't the case.

We already know that diabetics are at least twice as likely to experience dementia[iii].  The cells of your brain can become insulin-resistant just like other cells in the body.  What was once considered a mysterious accumulation of beta amyloid plaques characteristic in the Alzheimer brain is now associated with the same lack of insulin that negatively affects cognition[iv].
Where there is knowledge about underlying causes there is the opportunity for prevention. Research that surfaced around problems with insulin and brain cell death offered health practitioners a way to identify useful prevention tactics that help restore the brain's cell function[v].

Your Brain on Carbohydrates

Most people know that a diet high in carbohydrates indicates a relationship to serious diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. What we haven't always known is the serious affect sugar has on our brain health. When you eat carbohydrates, which break down into sugar in the body, your blood sugar levels sky-rocket[vi]. High blood sugar levels also create inflammation, further causing your brain's health to weaken. Over time, a diet high in sugar translates into the accelerated death of supple, healthy brain cells[vii].

Studies have shown that brain cells shrink and become tangled from high blood sugar levels over time[viii]. This means that your sugar intake could be drastically affecting long-term brain health, inherently increasing the likelihood of developing lesions in the brain, which are linked to the deadly disease process we call Alzheimer's.

The good news is that the brain is very resilient. A handful of well-researched, holistic prevention tools have been shown to restore damaged brain cells, and return a dying brain to its fully functioning state[ix]

How do I decrease my risk for Type 3 Diabetes?

Coconut Oil
Many think it an unusual treatment, but it's the leading preventative tool in cognitive health. It doesn't take years or even months — coconut oil takes action on the brain after just one 40 ml dose[x]. Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) are the primary fat found in coconut oil, and they are powerful in rapidly helping to boost brain metabolism and thereby increasing cognitive functioning. Recent, insightful research has shown that patients experienced significant neurological healing after 4-6 weeks of using the oil in their nutritional plans[xi].  
Coconut oil is also a valuable source of fuel for the brain. When brain cells have undergone metabolic deterioration associated with insulin resistance, they can no longer accept glucose, the brain's main fuel source. However, coconut oil is rich in the medium chain fatty acids that break down into ketones in the liver, an alternative fuel for the brain that is as efficient as glucose.

Using coconut oil has been shown to control or even reverse the progression of what has been recently reported as Type 3 diabetes[xii]. Try using extra virgin coconut oil in your cooking, baking, or your morning smoothies to receive exceptional cognitive benefits.

A Maximized Diet
Compelling reports have shown that the nutrition plan offered to individuals seeking Type 2 Diabetes prevention is one of the same plans offered to those looking to decrease their risk of Alzheimer's disease. This dietary prevention plan includes foods that are low in sugar and high in healthy fats, which creates a rich, healing environment for the brain. Your brain will thrive when you load up on friendly fats and decrease your carbohydrate intake[xiii]. Fats that are optimal for the promotion of plasticity in your brain include olive oil, avocados, salmon, and almonds. Even small increments of good fats can make a lasting difference on your brain's health, so implement them into your diet today – and every day!

The Best Carbs – Fruits and Veggies
Modern day Western culture has consumes voluminous quantities of processed carbohydrates and so-called 'whole grains.' As a result, health practitioners are finding strong links between these foods we eat and suboptimal brain health, which makes it imperative for you to adjust your carbohydrate intake. Fruits and vegetables that promote cell growth, are less inflammatory and acidic than are starchy carbs, and, with the exception of a few higher-sugar fruits, they are lower in sugar are ideal for preventing Type III diabetes[xiv]. Maximize your dishes with blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, kale, spinach, avocados, and other dark colored fruits and vegetables for peak cognitive functioning[xv].

Beta Carotene and Vitamin C
Of course a diet low in sugar, plentiful in good fats, and rich in dark colored vegetables is ideal for the health of your brain[xvi]. Increasing your intake of antioxidants has also proven to be beneficial in nurturing and optimizing neural functioning. Research has shown that Vitamin C and Beta Carotene, found in foods like lemons, grapefruits, kale, and bell peppers, aids in the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases[xvii]. Excessive free radical production can create a dangerous atmosphere in the brain (making it rancid!), and antioxidants are a strong combatant against these brain-damaging agents. Increase your intake of antioxidants through fresh fruits and vegetables, or organic health supplements.

Chiropractic Care
Chiropractic research has shown that over time, the body's resistance to outflow from the brain can cause normal pressure hydrocephalus and toxic metabolic edema, which in turn causes the brain to break down[xviii]. This means that a decrease in normal fluid functioning without an increase in brain volume causes the brain to stop functioning. Naturally, in the prevention of Alzheimer's Disease (and any other cognitive disorder), schedule regular chiropractic appointments, and maintain a body system that is functioning at its highest potential.

Knowledge is Power
Recent research around neural deterioration and insulin resistance has been groundbreaking. The most notable, and curious, point is evidence that the disease could in fact, be preventable[xix]. Alzheimer's disease may no longer be a murky, genetically defined illness, if brain-healthy lifestyle choices are created and maintained. 

Dr. B.J. Hardick is the co-author of the best-selling Maximized Living Nutrition Plans and a contributing author for The Cancer Killers.   He is in private chiropractic practice in London, Ontario, Canada and has consulted for natural health clinics for over 20 years.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Tale of Two Brains

A Tale of Two Brains: How Your Second Brain Is Key To Understanding Many Chronic Illnesses

A Tale of Two Brains: How Your Second Brain Is Key To Understanding Many Chronic Illnesses
Dr. David Hartz, DC
 Not many people realize they have two brains. Yes, you read that right. And your second brain may have more to do with your health that you ever imagined.

We tend to think of our brain as the command center from which all physiological functions stem. But there is another intelligence in your body that you may not realize... and its importance to your health may be the key you're looking for when searching for the cause of chronic illness and even mental health issues.
If you see a thirty something man with gray hair, or a forty year old woman with balding head, or a fifty year old stroke victim in a coffin, or a sixty-five year old grandpa with shaky hands, or a seventy year old grandma with dementia — look no further than inside their compromised guts. (Gut Sense: How to Restore Intestinal Flora and What Happens If You Don't)
The "second brain" or belly brain is much different from the brain in our heads. While our cranial brain performs complex cognitive functions, allowing us to process information, apply knowledge, and change preferences, our belly brain is intuitive and receives signals and messages regarding our bodies and the environment that it sends back to our cranial brain and vice versa.

Understanding the belly brain and its functions is often the answer to helping people who are plagued with many problems that are often dismissed by traditional medical practitioners. Your belly brain, known to scientists as the enteric nervous system, is connected to your cranial brain by the vagus nerve. The same brain-regulating chemicals found in your cranial brain have also been found in your belly brain -- including hormones and neurotransmitters. It's estimated that one hundred million neurotransmitters line the length of the gut, approximately the same number found in the cranial brain. (Dr. Gershon, Scientific American: Think Twice)

The belly brain also produces dopamine and 95% of the chemical serotonin in our bodies. Without adequate levels of these two "feel-good" chemicals, we may experience depression, insomnia and other emotional distress. Be glad for these symptoms as they are warning signals—alerts--that tell you plainly to "Listen to me! Pay attention to my gut!"

Our belly brain influences not just mood, but is key to understanding many of our disease processes as well. It's easy to see why, when you realize that approximately 70% of our immune system is located in our digestive tract. Taking care of both your brains will serve you well in many areas of health. 

As Americans, we spend more than any other nation in the world on healthcare. You would think that for this price tag we would be the healthiest people on the planet. Yet we are among the sickest population. Prescription drug use for gastrointestinal and mental conditions is at an all-time high, yet too many people are still suffering and walking around in a drug-induced haze.

Maybe it's time to look to the cause of the problem rather than simply treating the symptoms. Popping a pill to ease your discomfort may be the easy way out, but it's wreaking havoc with your health. If you don't address the cause of your discomfort, the problem will only get worse until it definitely has your attention. By taking care of our two brains, we can greatly influence the quality of our health.

How do you take care of your second brain?

First, let's look at what we eat. The gut is like any environment--it is only as healthy as what you put into it. There are ten times more microbes in your intestinal biome than you have cells in your body. In fact, these microbes are made up of more than 500 different species and weigh in at somewhere between 2 and 5 pounds! If we produce a good environment for healthy, helpful microbes, we have a healthy body. Sounds easy enough, right?

So what produces a healthy gut?

Unfortunately, we have seen an increasing number of patients in our practice with serious health problems, and many of these disorders stem from intestinal issues. While a different protocol may be prescribed for each patient, there are some basic things you can do to improve the health of your gut.
1. Stay away from chicken and meat that have antibiotics when possible. These antibiotics alter the flora in your intestines. Antibiotics are meant to kill the harmful bacteria; unfortunately, they kill the good bacteria, too, leaving you even more defenseless.

2. Stay away from high carbohydrate intake, i.e., sugar, pasta, rice and grains. They feed the bad flora. Never before in the history of mankind have humans eaten such large amounts of sugar and refined carbohydrates, and our bodies are not designed to optimize this fuel on a full-time basis.

3. Stay away from gut irritants. Avoid chemical toxins such as MSG, food preservatives and flavor enhancers. Eat organic whenever possible and avoid foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Gluten sensitivity is an increasing problem in our culture where 99% of the wheat we now consume is a hybrid developed back in 1970 by Norman Borlaug. This dwarf wheat also contained 14 new strains of gluten. It is estimated about 40% of our population could be gluten sensitive or intolerant, and many think this is one of the reasons why.

4. Increase your intake of fermented foods such as sauerkraut, fermented relish, or Kombucha, a fermented tea. Just a tablespoon or two of one of these delicious foods at the start of your meal can populate your inner ecosystem with the good bacteria our bodies need.

5. For more information about healing diet and gut protocols go to http://www.gaps.me