Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Health Benefits of Lithium Orotate

The first time I heard about lithium orotate was five or six years ago in South Africa. I had a friend who suffered from severe mood swings and depression and suggested that she should try this nutritional supplement that was already popular in South Africa. She declined and delivered herself into a psychiatric care. I have never heard from her again.


It is not my intention to judge anyone, but to this day I do not understand why would my friend opt for heavy psychotropic drugs instead of trying to balance brain chemistry naturally.

There are many natural supplements that can help improve mood and prevent depression. One such versatile supplement is lithium orothate that was first formulated by the famous German orthomolecular scientist and physician, Dr. Hans Nieper. 

What Is Lithium Orotate?

An alkali metal related to sodium and potassium, lithium has been traditionally used within allopathic medicine to treat mental imbalances such as anxiety and depression. However, there are many side effects to taking this strong mineral, as the body poorly absorbs the standard forms of lithium carbonate. That is, until lithium orotate was discovered.

Lithium orotate offers superior bio-utilization for the human body, allowing the mineral to penetrate the mitochondria, glia and lysosomes that exist within the intracellular structures of our cells. The mineral stabilizes these lysosomal membranes, slowing the enzymatic reaction that leads to many of the negative side effects of other forms of lithium salts. 

Most people are unaware that lithium is not a drug, but is a naturally occurring mineral from the earth. Just like calcium and potassium, lithium is something that every human body requires for mental and physical health.

Many people are familiar with the pharmaceutical forms of lithium (lithium carbonate and lithium citrate), these aforementioned chemical extracts used to treat mania and depression. 

Lithium orotate is very different than the other forms of the mineral. Whereas pharmaceutical drug forms of lithium require high doses to penetrate our cells, lithium orotate is only needed in extremely small serving size, considering the fact that a massive amount of the mineral penetrates the cell (approximately 97%). The other great news is that unlike its pharmaceutical counterparts, lithium orotate is non-toxic, safe, has little to no side effects, and works on 70% to 80% of people who use it.

Health Benefits of Lithium Orotate
  • Brain Protection - Studies show that the mineral lithium can actually rejuvenate and build the grey matter nerve cells in the brain by up to three percent.
  • Anti-Aging Effects - Small amounts of lithium orotate have been shown to offer anti-aging effects to the brain
  • Neuroprotection From Environmental Toxins - Lithium has been shown to protect the system from numerous toxins, particularly in the grey matter of the brain.
Other lithium benefits include:
  • Lyme Disease
  • Low white blood cell counts
  • Juvenile convulsive disease
  • Alcoholism and liver disorders
  • Pain associated with migraine and cluster headaches
  • Hyperthyroidism and other thyroid diseases: Studies show that lithium may aid in the even distribution of iodine.
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), as well as a general stress reducer.
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and aggression: Studies show that individuals taking Lithium experienced lowered levels of rage and anger, as well as improved memory.
  • Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
  • In the reduction of myopia (nearsightedness) and glaucoma: Dr. Hans Nieper found that glaucoma patients could benefit from the dehydrating effect of lithium on the eye, offering patients vision improvement and a lowering of intraocular pressure.
  • Bipolar disorder: Orotates may lessen effects of manic or depressive episodes. Lithium has been shown to serve as an effective mood balancer in 70-80 percent of bipolar patients.
  • Depression: the therapeutic serving of lithium orotate is 150 mg/day. This is compared to 900-1800 mg of the prescription forms. In this range of lithium orotate, there are no adverse side effects and no need for monitoring blood serum measurements.

Precaution

Do not attempt to self-medicate a mental imbalance with lithium orotate. Speak with your health care provider for more information. Pregnant and nursing women should not take any type of lithium supplement. 

Also, lithium should not be taken by those with renal or cardiovascular diseases, severe dehydration or exhaustion, sodium depletion, or in individuals using any form of diuretics or ACE inhibitors.

By Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM

Information about lithium orotate courtesy of the Global Healing Center


Purchasse Lithium Orotate - Natural Help for Mood Swings

*This information is for educational purpose only. It is not meant to diagnose or cure a disease.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

How to Break Sugar Addiction

Sugar consumption is on the rise all over the world. This fact has horrendous implications since the metabolic syndrome, obesity, Type 2 diabetes in adults, and alarmingly early onset of Type 2 diabetes in children, are only few consequences of sugar consumption.

Scientists have demonstrated that refined sugar is a highly addictive substance. One study found that the extremely sweet taste can surpass the cocaine reward even in people who are addicted to heavy drugs. In another study scientists demonstrated that quitting sugar can be as difficult for some people as quitting nicotine or alcohol.

Are you addicted to sugar?

Addicts seldom admit that they have a problem and often find justification for their behavior.
  • Do you always eat dessert? 
  • Do you always have to have something sweet in your house?
  • Do you make excuses to take just one more piece of that delicious cake?
  • Do you struggle to say no when you are offered something sweet? 
  • Do you have sugar "attacks" where you feel you must have something sweet or you will not make it? 

If you eat sweets on regular basis try to give them up for a day or two and see what happens. If you develop headaches and mood swings the chances are that you are addicted.

A few years ago one of my favorite nutritionists, Patrick Holford, devised clever nutritional strategies for people who wished to quit their addictions. 


Quitting any kind of addiction is not an easy process. The withdrawal symptoms are often unbearable and can make it difficult for anyone to give up the stuff he or she is addicted to - be it nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, heavy drugs or even sugar. While drugs or alcohol are considered harmful to our health, sugar addiction is often trivialized, neglected or not even recognized as such. Worse, many people do not even know that sugar is harmful to health. Many do not know that they are addicted.

What is sugar?

Sugar is the generalized term used for sweet, short-chain, soluble carbohydrates, many of which are used in food to sweeten and improve the taste. They are composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Together with starches and fiber, sugars belong to the class of carbohydrates that are necessary to provide energy and regulate protein and fat metabolism, among others.

All sugars are either monosaccharides (simple sugars) or disaccharides. Simple sugars are easily and quickly digested and utilized by the human body, but there is a difference in the way liver processes glucose and fructose. (This is a vast subject that requires another article.) Disaccharides such as sucrose or the common white table sugar, on the other hand, require enzymes in order to be converted into simple sugars that are then utilized by the body.

Sucrose, which is composed of the monosaccharides fructose and glucose, is found in sugar beets, sugar cane, sorghum, maple syrup, molasses, and pineapple. It is composed of one molecule of fructose and one molecule of glucose and can be metabolized in a healthy body.

Sucrose is used extensively to sweeten food and beverages, but even people who do not add sugar to their diet may be consuming large amounts of so called "hidden" sugar that is added by the food industry into ever growing amount of foods. Salad dressings, mayonnaise, ketchup, peanut butter, baby formula, bread, sausage, luncheon meat, etc. all have sugar added to them.

Addiction to sugar begins very early in life and is constantly reinforced by millions of dollars spent on advertising all over the world by the food industry. Average person living in America consumes more than one hundred fifty pound of sugar per year! It is estimated that only thirty pounds come from sugar that people are consciously adding to their food. The remaining amount comes from industrially produced foods and drinks.

Why should you quit sugar:
  • Sugar can make you fat! Sweets and foods with added sugar deliver incredible amount of empty calories and no fiber or nutrients to keep you nourished and satiated. As soon as you had your sweet fix you normally crave for more. You not only eat more calories than you can burn, but sugar promotes belly fat that once there is probably the most difficult to lose.
  • Excess sugar consumption has the same toxic effect on liver as does alcohol. In fact, increased sugar consumption had the same detrimental effect on health as the consumption of alcohol and could be responsible for hypertension, myocardial infarction, insulin resistance, obesity, malnutrition, liver disease, and pancreatitis.
  • Sugar suppresses the release of  the human growth hormone or HGH. Consumption of sugar, especially within two hours after workout, causes hypothalamus to release the inhibitory hormone somatostatin. Somatostatin from the hypothalamus inhibits the pituitary gland’s secretion of the HGH and the thyroid stimulating hormone. 
  • Sugar disrupts the immune system. In the 1970s the Noble Prize winner Dr. Linus Pauling discovered that the vitamin C increases the body's ability to fight infections. He also found that sugar inhibits this ability. In order to be able to fight bacteria and viruses, our white blood cells must accumulate vitamin C at the 50-fold concentration all the time. Vitamin C is constantly being moved through the cell membranes into the white blood cells all over your body. Dr. Pauling discovered that glucose, which has similar chemical structure as the vitamin C, can replace vitamin C concentration in the white cells. In fact, when blood sugar rises to 120 after a consumption of cakes, candies or sodas, the ability of white cells to fight infections decreases by about 75%! Moreover, it can take up to six hours to restore optimal levels of vitamin C in the white blood after consumption of sugar.
  • Sugar can increase risk of cancer. Researchers have found that sugar in the intestine triggers the formation of a hormone called GIP. GIP is controlled by a protein called β-catenin that depends entirely on sugar levels in the body. This in turn, increases insulin released by the pancreas. Researchers found that there is a strong correlation between β-catenin and the cell's susceptibility to cancer formation. Moreover, research also shows that high sugar consumption lowers the survival chance of breast cancer and colon cancer patients.
  • Sugar can damage your heart and shorten your life. In 2013 the Journal of American Heart Association has published a study confirming that sugar affects pumping mechanism of the heart and can potentially increase the risk of heart failure. Researchers found that a glucose metabolite called glucose 6-phosphate (G6P) that is derived from sugar and from starch was responsible for the changes in the muscle protein of the heart. These changes could eventually lead to heart failure. 
  • Sugar contributes to premature aging. When sugar enters your system it has the tendency to bind to fats and protein molecules in your body. This process is know as glycation. It results in the production of advanced glycation end products known as AGEs. These molecules cause damage to connective tissues and are responsible for chronic inflammation. But AGEs are not only responsible for processes that are "hidden" deep inside our bodies. They also are the cause or visible aging. Collagen and elasin are the proteins in skin that are responsible for the health and youthful appearance. These proteins are also most susceptible to the glycation process. 

It is probably much easier to enumerate reasons for quitting sugar than to quit this sweet addiction. Like many people I have a very sweet tooth and cannot imagine a festive dinner menu without dessert, but I also know too well that sugar is not good for me. It is enough for me to look into a mirror the next day after I satisfied my sugar cravings the night before. The skin looks inflamed and the joints feel stiff. I know that if I continued eating sweets for another day or two things would get even worse. So I quit for a week or two only to get tempted again.

Young people can recover from the sugar binge much faster and may not even gain weight, but with age the damage done by sugar becomes more obvious and almost irreversible. So, how do we quit sugar cravings?


Sugar craving exist on two levels:
  • physiological, where it manifests itself as an addiction to sugar, the chemical substance that affect entire body chemistry
  • emotional, where it manifests itself either as craving for comfort and happiness, or as a reward for a particular type of behavior.

To successfully quit sugar we must understand and address both, the physiological and the emotional  dependence on sugar.

If you are addicted to sugar you must understand that there is no one-fits-all solution to addiction. Every human being is unique and will power and self-motivation are not always enough. However, everyone can implement a few simple steps that would gradually re-set the addicted brain and re-program body chemistry.

The Break-Sugar-Addiction Program

The plan involves two aspects of our physiology: brain chemistry and blood sugar balance. Deficiency in certain neurotransmitters, especially serotonin, often leads to sugar craving. Fluctuation in blood sugar leads to cravings and energy crashes.
  • The very first step to recovery from sugar addiction is a gradual change of diet. Begin your personal program by conscious reduction of sweets and desserts you consume. Sweets and desserts are the obvious, identifiable sugar sources. This would mean that you have to remove sugar and sweet foods from your pantry and change your shopping habits. Stay clear of cookies, candy, cakes and ice cream, and less sugar to your coffee and tea. Going a cold turkey does not work for everybody so you may need to replace your desserts with sweet fruit that at least has vitamins and minerals, and has a form of sugar that can be digested by the body. Try to replace fast food with high quality protein and add fresh vegetable to your menu. At the same time you should supplement your diet with high quality multivitamin and mineral formula. Vitamins and minerals will help you nourish your body and may help reduce  cravings. In addition you should take a high quality Omega-3 fatty acids and probiotics to restore flora in the intestines.
  • Removal of sugar from the diet may cause mood swings, low energy, or headaches. To balance the brain chemistry supplement with L-Tryptophan and 5-HTP. These two supplements will help the brain to produce the mood enhancing serotonin. To support blood sugar balance take a chromium supplement. Also, add sugar-balancing cinnamon to your diet.
  • To control sugar cravings supplement with the amino acid L-glutamine. The suggested dose is 500mg 3-4 times a day, best taken on empty stomach about 30 minutes before a meal or when you feel your blood sugar is very low and you feel like having something sweet. The sugar craving vanishes within minutes and you do not even feel jittery or stressed. 

Many nutritionist suggest that we should consume foods that have low glycemic load, or the GL. The GL tells us how a particular food will affect the blood sugar balance. Foods with high GL will cause sugar spikes and cravings. Foods with low GL convert slowly into glucose and encourage body to burn fat. A low glycemic diet will keep you nourished and satiated and will not only help you break your sugar addiction, but also lose weight.

Depending on your current situation you may need to consult a certified health practitioner who will help you break the sugar addiction. A certified nutritionist will help you create a healthy nutrition plan. He or she will also help you clear candida that may also be the cause of your sugar cravings.

If your craving for sugar is mostly emotional you will need to address the underlying emotional issues. Yoga, relaxation and meditation in combination with supplemental magnesium, L-tryptophan and 5-HTP may help a lot, but you may have to see a therapist to understand why your emotional problems are causing addiction. And if you reward yourself with a large piece of cake, you should probably change your strategy. Try a large bowl of fresh strawberries the next time you feel that you need a reward.

By Dominique Allmon

P.S. Many people who wish to break the sugar addiction resort to artificial sweeteners to satisfy their love and craving for the sweet taste. The only artificial sweetener that I would take is stevia. Stevia is made from the leaves of South American plant Stevia rebaudiana. Studies demonstrated that stevia may actually lower blood sugar levels and improve the function of insulin.

Further reading:

Sugar Detox For Beginners
The Diet Cure
The Low-GL Diet Made Easy



*This information is for educational purpose only. It is not meant to diagnose, treat or cure a disease.

Creative Commons License
How to Break Sugar Addiction by Dominiqe Allmon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Health Benefits of Blueberries

Blueberries are one of the healthiest foods available to us all year round. More and more researchers publish study results that are quite amazing. Short of a nutritional miracle this tiny dark berries can help reverse effects of premature aging and improve debilitating conditions.


Blueberry is a native North American perennial flowering plant from the genus Vaccinium that also includes cranberries, lingonberries and bilberries. The plant produces indigo-colored berries and is mostly cultivated in North America and Europe, but also grows successfully in other parts of the world.

Blueberries are very high in vitamin K, vitamin C, manganese, copper and dietary fiber. They contain anthocyanins, flavonols, and other phytonutrients that include resveratrol and pterostilbene.  Studies demonstrated that all these phytonutirents act as antioxidants that protect the whole body from oxidative stress. These nutrients protect the DNA and act as anti-inflammatory agents that help reduce inflammation in the body.

Cognitive Health 

The latest research suggests that compounds in blueberries may help slow down age-related damage to the brain cells, reverse age-related memory loss and improve overall cognitive health. Test subjects who consumed blueberries had improved memory, learning skills, cognition, reasoning, verbal comprehension and numerical skills. 

Blueberries may help slow down cognitive decline in aging adults and prevent against Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Researchers discovered that compounds in blueberries significantly increase production of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine deficiency is associated with bad mood, depression and Parkinson's disease. Increased consumption of blueberries may help ward off the onset of Parkinson's disease, improve mood and alleviate depression in dopamine deficient individuals.

Cardiovascular Health 

Blueberries protect blood vessels from oxidative stress and help balance cholesterol. People who ate 1-2 cups of blueberries daily for a period of 1-3 months had increased levels of HDL (the good cholesterol) and reduced levels of LDL or the blood vessels clogging and damaging bad cholesterol. Blueberry extract was shown to lower blood pressure. People who eat blueberries on regular basis have much lower chance of developing hypertension. Research shows that blueberries help lower blood pressure in two ways: On the one hand they help blood vessels to relax reducing the resistance to blood flow; on the other, blueberries (the extract, to be precise) inhibits the protein that the body uses to keep blood pressure elevated.

Blood Sugar

Blueberries are classified as low-GI fruits. GI or the Glycemic Index is a method of measuring the impact of food on our blood glucose levels. Foods with lower GI release glucose more slowly and steadily and do not cause glucose spikes. This is important for people who struggle with metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and obesity. In addition, fiber in blueberries helps to further balance blood sugar and improve health of those patients who were diagnosed with blood sugar problems. 

Cancer 

Various studies demonstrated that blueberry extract may prevent uncontrolled cell reproduction that could lead to formation of tumors. The extract also prevented formation of pre-cancerous lesions. Cancers such as that of the colon or the cervix begin as pre-cancerous lesions and turn into malignant tumors. Blueberry extract greatly reduced formation of such abnormal tissues.

Blueberry extract also prevented angiogenesis or the formation of new blood vessels that feed the tumors. Cancer has the ability to spread to adjacent or distant organs. Tumor cells can penetrate the blood (and lymphatic) vessels and spread throughout the body. For the metastatic spread of cancer a network of blood (and lymphatic) vessels is important. The formation of new blood vessels is called angiogenesis. (The formation of new lymph vessels is called lymphangiogenesis.) Blueberry extract curtails this growth of blood vessels and increases survival rate in cancer patients. It also has the ability to inhibit enzyme responsible for the proliferation of cancer cells. And last but not least, the extract triggers apoptosis or cancer cells' death.

Vision

Antioxidants in blueberries help protect the retina from oxidative damage. They also protect the retina from damage caused by the sun. Anthocyanosides in blueberries provide protection against such disorders as the age-related macular degeneration, myopia, cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, extreme dryness and retinal infections. People who consume blueberries on regular basis report improved night vision. 

Urinary Tract

Just like cranberries, blueberries contain compounds that prevent E. coli bacteria from adhering to the walls of the bladder. According to latest research this helps ward off the urinary tract infections.

Weight Management

As I mentioned before, blueberries have a very low glycemic index and help balance blood sugar. This helps people with weight problems to reduce cravings. Blueberries help lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels, and improve fasting glucose and insulin sensitivity. Moreover, polyphenols and catechins found in blueberries help activate fat-burning genes in abdominal fat cells. And last but not least, fiber in blueberries helps improve digestion and elimination. All these factors combined with active lifestyle, exercise and sensible calorie intake may contribute to a desired weight loss. 

Conclusion

There is hardly any system in the body that is not positively affected by the consumption of blueberries. Adding one or two cups of blueberries to your daily diet can help your reverse premature aging and protect you from many diseases.

Blueberries are rather inexpensive and are easily accessible throughout the year. When buying fresh blueberries make sure that you are buying pesticide-free organically grown berries. They are darker and richer in antioxidants. Fresh and frozen blueberries can be used to make smoothies or desserts. Dried blueberries can be added to cereals or trail mixes. 

Standardized blueberry extract sold in capsules has one advantage over the fresh fruit. It provides the most reliable means of delivering the vital flavonoid components to your body. Capsules can be taken as a means of prevention in addition to regular consumption of fresh fruit.

By Dominique Allmon


For inspiring blueberry recipes visit my raw food blog Passionately Raw!

*This information is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.



Creative Commons License
Health Benefits of Blueberries by Dominique Allmon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.