Tag Archives: Kefir

POST-OP LIVER DETOXIFIERS

 

Source: Wikipedia
The liver is a large organ that sits above the stomach on the right side of the belly. Its main job is to filter the blood coming from the GI tract and then pass it on to the rest of the body. During this filtering, it detoxifies chemicals and metabolizes drugs. It also makes proteins important for blood clotting and other functions. (Hoffman, 2019)
Since I have a history of having unpleasant reactions to even small doses of many Western medicines, I want to be sure to detoxify my liver after any surgical procedure that requires anesthesia, sedatives and other pharmaceuticals. This is what I worked out with the help of Dr Gabrielle Francis, my naturopath, acupuncturist, herbalist, chiropractor, and licensed massage therapist, to do after my two recent cataract surgeries:

 

FREQUENT ACUPUNCTURE FROM AN EXPERT PRACTITIONER

Acupuncture has helped me heal after these surgeries and also helped detox my body from whatever drugs I was given during the surgeries and the eye drops I had to use for many weeks post-op. Dr Francis, has geared each post-op acupuncture session to healing my eyes and clearing my body of toxins.

As New York City acupuncturist and herbalist Dr Christopher Peacock, DACM, MS, says, acupuncture and Chinese medicine offer “the perfect supplemental treatment to assist in surgical healing where even the tiniest of vasculature is often compromised at the incision site.” Here are a few ways that acupuncture helps us recover from surgery:
“1. Acupuncture is well known for inhibiting the inflammatory process. Inflammation, while sometimes necessary, can be quite painful and stagnating. If fresh blood isn’t permitted to move into an inflamed area, pain is often the result.
“2. Acupuncture promotes microcirculation in tiny vasculature that makes up the capillary bed. Acupuncture can stimulate your own bodies ability to reconnect the tiny blood vessels that have been compromised with your procedure.
“3. Acupuncture can alter the perception of pain. Because of its ability to encourage endorphin release and disarm the nervous system, acupuncture can inhibit pain signals.”
– (Peacock, 2019)
Lest you think acupuncture isn’t real, effective medicine, here are three examples:
1. While I was seeing Dr Yan Wu, LAC, for acupuncture here in New York, his wife needed a hysterectomy. She told her New York University Hospital doc she’d only agree to the surgery if it could be done with acupuncture given by her husband in lieu of pharmaceutical anesthesia and if she could also receive acupuncture from him for post-op pain relief and to promote healing.
Dr Wu was sufficiently well regarded that the hospital agreed – though I’m sure they were also required to have an anesthesiologist on hand in the OR. Many MDs and other medical personal came to observe the surgery. Mrs Wu said she felt no pain during the operation or post-op.
Dr Wu is the author of Practical Therapeutics of Traditional Chinese Medicine, an original Chinese text written specifically for translation to English. Dr Wu is a linguist and physician, a visiting professor at the Pacific Institute of Chinese Medicine in New York, and a tenured faculty member at Beijing Peili Acupuncture College. His book describes traditional Chinese Medicine as practiced in the medical centers of the People’s Republic of China.
2. When I was in grad school, a young assistant professor in my department went to China with a group of psychologists. While they were in a remote area, her appendix ruptured and she needed immediate surgery. She was taken to a country clinic, helped up onto an operating table, draped to block her view of the surgical area and given acupuncture during the surgery. She said she felt some tugging sensations but never any pain.
After the operation was over, she was helped to stand and walk to her room where she was given more acupuncture for pain. When she got back home, she said though she never in a million years would have volunteered for any of that, if she ever needed surgery again, she’d want it done with acupuncture so she wouldn’t have to recover from both the surgery and the anesthetic.
Below is video of an open heart surgery being done in Shanghai in 2019 with acupuncture needles instead of pharmaceutical anesthesia. Only watch it if you’re not squeamish about seeing blood.

3. Some years ago I had two very sick cats and had veterinarian Dr Jeffrey Levy, DVM, CVA, of House Call Vet NYC come to my home to give them acupuncture treatments. The younger cat with serious IBD loved these treatments so much she’d present herself at his feet for him to put in the needles and then would purr happily. The older cat, with IBD and in end stage kidney failure, would sit happily in my arms while he put in the needles. Both cats lived considerably longer and in much better shape than their traditional vets thought they would.
Here’s a video of Dr Levy at work:

 

NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS FOR LIVER DETOXING

I wanted extra support from nutritional supplements to help detox my liver from the negative effects of whatever sedative/anesthesia I was given IV during the surgeries and also from ophthalmic prednisolone, the steroid eye drops I had to use for 5 1/2 weeks after each eye surgery.  These are the supplements I decided upon.
Milk Thistle
Milk thistle improves liver function by raising protective glutathione levels, helps reduce and reverse damage caused by toxins and free radicals and assists with maintaining a healthy weight.
The brand I like is Jarrow Formulas Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) 30:1 Extract. I’m taking 2 capsules in the AM and 1 capsule in the PM during the weeks post-op while I need to use Prednisolone, steroid drops to keep my operated on eye from swelling.
– (Jarrow Formulas, 2019)

Zinc

Zinc supports immune health. It’s essential for growth and physical development, the immune system and most aspects of reproduction in both males and females. (Amazon, 2019). It helps protect the liver from damage, by reducing lipid (fatty) buildup.  (Smarter Reviews, 2019)
The zinc supplement I like is Designs for Health’s Zinc Supreme – 30 Milligrams Zinc Bisglycinate Chelate with B2, B6 + Taurine. I take 1 capsule after breakfast every morning regularly and find it protects me from catching whatever viral thing is going around.

BioInflaMax
BioInflaMax, made by Nutra BioGenesis, features a blend of herbs, enzymes and other select ingredients designed to help support gastrointestinal and whole-body cytokine balance, soothe local tissues, and promote body comfort.
CYTOKINE BALANCING: BioInflaMax contains a number of compounds that may have beneficial properties to help soothe and balance tissues. Ingredients include Bromelain‚ Curcumin‚ Boswellia, N-Acetyl L-Cysteine‚ Papain and Ginger.
TURMERIC: Curcumin is a bioactive compound that comes from the Indian curry spice turmeric‚ which has strong antioxidant properties. It has been the subject of scientific research for its reputed benefits on the body’s natural response to inflammation. BioInflaMax also features Black Pepper extract, which has been demonstrated to support curcumin bioavailability.
BOSWELLIA & L-GLUTAMINE: Boswellia-derived AKBA has been studied for its reputed effects in supporting joint motility, cellular immunity and gastrointestinal integrity. L-Glutamine is a preferred fuel source for enteric cells lining the intestinal tract and plays a role in cellular repair and mucosal immunity.
   – (Amazon, 2019B)

I’m taking 2 capsules of BioInflaMax AM & PM.

 

GLUCOSAMINE SULFATE TO PROTECT MY TENDONS FROM THE ANTIBIOTIC EYE DROPS

I needed to use an antibiotic eye drop called oxfloxacin 4X day for several days before each cataract surgery and then in lessening doses over the following 5 1/2 weeks. When I looked it up, I discovered it’s a fluoroquinolone, like Cipro.
Fluoroquinolones are antibiotics  commonly used to treat a variety of illnesses such as respiratory and urinary tract infections. These medicines include ciprofloxacin (Cipro), gemifloxacin (Factive), levofloxacin (Levaquin), moxifloxacin (Avelox), norfloxacin (Noroxin), and ofloxacin (Floxin). They’re so dangerous, the FDA requires a black box warning on them and recommends prescribing them only as a drug of last resort.
Source: Regenexx
See Cipro & Levaquin can cause tendinitis & tendon ruptures (Hardin, 2018) for more information on the fluoroquinolones.
Even though I didn’t need to take this drug systemically, I was still concerned about protecting my tendons and the rest of my body while on it so I asked Dr Francis what I could do to stay safe while using it. She recommended Integrative Therapeutics’ Glucosamine Sulfate-750: 1 capsule in the AM/ 1 capsule in the PM while on the antibiotic – to start post op since this supplement is also a blood thinner.
Glucosamine helps build and support joint cartilage,  lubricates and strengthens tendons. It’s a compound naturally found with joint cartilage that has powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties.
The body needs glucosamine for synthesizing proteins and fats that form cartilage as well as playing an important role in building the joints, tendons and ligaments plus forming the synovial fluid that lubricates the joints.
Glucosamine also helps  improve gut health and digestion, mobility, range of motion and general joint health. (Axe, 2019)

 

OCUFORCE FOR MY EYES

OcuForce, made by Designs for Health, supports eye health and healing:
  • LIMITS EYE DAMAGE – Exposure to toxins, ultraviolet light from the sun, and free radicals can all do significant damage to the eye. The simple act of letting light pass through the eye and hitting the retina increases the exposure of eye tissue to a range of different light generated free radicals. For this reason, it makes sense to optimize intake of eye nourishing nutrients, especially as we age.*
  • PROVIDES COMPREHENSIVE EYE SUPPORT – OcuForce is a comprehensive formulation containing a vast array of eye-supportive nutrients, including lutein, zeaxanthin, bilberry, Ginkgo biloba, curcumin, green tea, taurine, lipoic acid, vitamin A, and mixed carotenoids including beta carotene. This product does not contain synthetic carotenoids, as research shows that natural carotenoids offer a superior spectrum of benefits.*
  • IT PROVIDES CAROTENOID – Out of all the natural carotenoids in OcuForce, Lutein is the most important for the protection of the retina. Lutein, a yellow carotenoid found in foods such as corn, egg yolks, kale, spinach, and broccoli, protects the retina from the free radical damage it undergoes regularly. The lutein used in OcuForce is naturally derived from marigolds.
               – (Amazon, 2019B)

CORTISOL MANAGER

When I discovered that the ophthalmic prednisolone drops were interfering with my ability to fall and stay asleep, Dr Francis recommended the stress hormone stabilizer Cortisol Manager made by Integrative Therapeutics. Taking one at bedtime has helped but not fully solved the problem.

  • SLEEP AND STRESS SUPPORT – Contains non-habit forming, stress-reducing ingredients such as ashwagandha, L-theanine, magnolia, and epimedium.
  • STRESS HORMONE STABILIZER – Cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone,” is naturally at its highest levels in the morning, and declines throughout the day. Too much stimulus (i.e. stress), can knock these levels out of their natural rhythm. Cortisol Manager helps support the body’s natural rise and fall of cortisol, resulting in feelings of relaxation and a more restful night’s sleep.
  • ALLEVITATE FATIGUE – with no morning drowsiness and without diminishing daytime alertness.
  • ADRENAL HEALTH SUPPORT – The adrenal glands play a large role in regulating stress levels. Cortisol Manager helps support adrenal health.
     – (Amazon, 2019D)

 

GI REVIVE & PROBIOTICS TO MAINTAIN GUT MICROBIOME HEALTH

GI Revive

To maintain the integrity of the mucosal lining of my gut (home to the friendly bacteria living in my gut), I continued taking G I Revive as usual: 2 capsules before each meal. This high quality nutritional supplement made by Designs for Health provides:
  • OPTIMAL GASTROINTESTINAL SUPPORT – GI-Revive combines L-glutamine, N-acetyl-glucosamine, MSM, DGL, slippery elm, marshmallow, chamomile, okra extract, cat’s claw (TOA-free), quercetin, and mucin for comprehensive support.
  • PROMOTE REGULARITY – Prune powder and citrus pectin are also included to aid occasional irregularity and promote healthy bowel function.
  • SUPPORT THE GUT LINING – This comprehensive formula contains ingredients designed to promote proper intestinal function and the mucosal lining.
     – (Amazon, 2019C)

Probiotics

Since the steroid drops are constipating, I also added some additional probiotic supplements to the ones I usually take to help with that:
Usual probiotics:
  • Dr Mercola’s Complete Probiotics (1 capsule before breakfast)
  • Dr Mercola’s Complete Spore Restore (1 capsule before breakfast)
Additional probiotics:
  • Align (1 capsule before breakfast)
  • Redwood Hill Farm Goat Milk Kefir
And I’ve continued to take my usual digestive enzymes supplement:
  • Enzyme Science’s Complete Digestion (1 capsule before each meal)

SOME OTHER SUPPLEMENTS FOR LIVER HEALTH

Tocotrienols are a  potent form of vitamin E. Studies have found that tocotrienols taken at the clinically recommended dosage can help cleanse the liver of excess fat buildup. (Smarter Reviews, 2019)
Selenium is a powerful mineral that’s vital for healing and detoxing the liver from harmful buildups. It stimulates production of the antioxidant glutathione, which heals damaged liver tissue cells and promotes elasticity. (Smarter Reviews, 2019) & (WebMD, 2019)
Source: Dr. Jockers

 

FOODS THAT HELP THE LIVER DETOX THE BODY

Eating foods that the liver thrives on goes a long way to recovering from the stresses and pharmaceuticals involved in modern surgery.
Nutritionist Charles Passler, DC, points out the importance of keeping our livers working at high efficiency. “When the liver is working optimally, it can take toxins stored throughout your body, convert them into their water soluble form, and efficiently excrete them from your body.” Eating the right foods  greatly helps the liver flush out foreign chemicals. (Sarway, 2019)
Look for organic versions of all of these so you’re not consuming toxic pesticides as you’re trying to detoxify your liver:
GARLIC: Garlic activates the liver’s detoxifying enzymes. These enzymes help break down toxins and eliminate them from the body. Fresh garlic contains allicin, a compound that kills unfriendly, toxin-producing organisms in the GI tract.  Garlic contains a whopping 39 different antibacterial agents that protect our bodies against illnesses.
BEETS: “Beets activate liver enzymes and [affect] bile, which helps break down and absorb healthy fats and fat-soluble nutrients like vitamin E,” says Dr. Passler. “When your liver transforms fat and soluble toxins into their water-soluble form for excretion, it binds many of those toxins to bile so they can be escorted out of your body in bowel movements.”
APPLES: Apples are rich in fiber, helping to clean out the bowels and introduce friendly bacteria. Be sure to choose organic since non-organic apples are one of the most heavily pesticide sprayed crops.
BROCCOLI SPROUTS: Dr Passler points out that broccoli sprouts are high in antioxidants and boost the liver’s production of glutathione even better than broccoli, supporting both phases of liver detoxification. Glutathione has antioxidant properties and also stimulates the immune system. It’s made up of three amino acids: L-cysteine, L-glutamate and glycine. You may remember from earlier posts that L-glutamate is the main building block in the mucosal lining of the intestines, where our probiotics live.
WATERMELON: A two-cup serving of watermelon provides the amount of daily fiber recommended by the American Liver Foundation. It also contains lycopene, an antioxidant that increases glutathione levels in the body.
FERMENTED FOODS: Tangy fermented foods like kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and real pickles fermented in brine (not the kind made with vinegar) are rich in gut-friendly probiotic bacteria that make our gut microbiomes happy.
WALNUTS: Walnuts increase circulation and blood flow in the body, assisting delivery of toxins to the liver where they’re broken down and eliminated. They also boost brain power.
AVOCADOS: Avocados provide fiber and healthy fats. They’re also a beautiful color and very tasty.
     -(Sarway, 2019)
Source: American Liver Foundation
The American Liver Foundation’s guideline for a diet to preserve the health of your liver:
“Avoid high calorie-meals, saturated fat, refined carbohydrates (such as white bread, white rice and regular pasta) and sugars. Don’t eat raw or undercooked shellfish. For a well-adjusted diet, eat fiber, which you can obtain from fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads, rice and cereals. Also eat meat (but limit the amount of red meat), dairy (low-fat milk and small amounts of cheese) and fats (the “good” fats that are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated such as vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and fish). Hydration is essential, so drink a lot of water.” (American Liver Foundation, 2013)

SOME OTHER FOODS THAT MAY IMPROVE LIVER HEALTH

COFFEE:  Coffee has the ability to prevent buildup of fat and collagen in the liver, increases antioxidant levels while decreasing inflammation and lowering the risk of developing liver disease, cancer and fatty liver.
TEA: Green and black teas are generally considered to beneficial, particularly for the liver. They have been shown to improve liver enzyme levels, reduce oxidative stress and fat deposits in the liver. However, taking green tea extract has sometimes been found to cause liver damage.
GRAPEFRUIT: Naringenin and naringin, the two main antioxidants in grapefruit, help protect the liver from damage by reducing inflammation and protecting liver cells.
BLUEBERRIES & CRANBERRIES: Antioxidants called anthocyanins give these berries their distinctive colors and protect the liver from damage.
GRAPES:  A variety of beneficial plant compounds – including resveratrol – in red and purple grapes protect the liver from damage, increase antioxidant levels and protect against inflammation.
BEETROOT JUICE:  The nitrates and antioxidants called betalains in beetroot juice protect heart health, reduce oxidative damage and inflammation of the liver, and increase natural detoxifying liver enzymes.
CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES:  Cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts, broccoli and mustard greens are high in both fiber content and beneficial plant compounds. They increase levels of detoxification enzymes and protect against liver damage.
NUTS: Nuts contain high fat levels – including the antioxidant vitamin E – plus beneficial plant compounds that improve heart health and liver enzyme levels.
FATTY FISH:  The high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish reduce inflammation, are associated with a lower risk of heart disease, and prevent fat from building up in the liver, normalizing enzyme level and improving insulin resistance.
OLIVE OIL:  Olive oil improves liver enzymes, fat levels and insulin sensitivity.
     – (HealthLine, 2017)
Source: eehealth.org

 

REFERENCES

Amazon.com. (2019A). BioInflaMax. See: https://www.amazon.com/Nutra-BioGenesis-BioInflaMax-Capsules-Inflammatory/dp/B01IDT2TRQ/ref=sr_1_4?keywords=bioinflamax&qid=1567383774&s=gateway&sr=8-4

Amazon.com. (2019B). OcuForce. See: https://www.amazon.com/Designs-Health-OcuForce-Therapeutic-Zeaxanthin/dp/B000FH11TC/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?keywords=ocuforce&qid=1567383271&s=gateway&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUExWVkwWkhDN0I2TVFPJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwOTMzODQ2MzFJNDRYUU45Q0JGMiZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwNzY1NjM0MjNKNjlOR1BXMjZZSiZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2F0ZiZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=

Amazon.com. (2019C). GI Revive. See: https://www.amazon.com/Designs-Health-Revive-Regularity-Marshmallow/dp/B00290AXJW/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIz-r-7oiy5AIVgp6fCh3jHAl6EAAYASAAEgJN1PD_BwE&hvadid=241903196859&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9067609&hvnetw=g&hvpos=1t1&hvqmt=e&hvrand=12630529196145025650&hvtargid=kwd-27363802891&hydadcr=24665_10401007&keywords=gi+revive&qid=1567424928&s=gateway&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUExS0tCVkhOUDZBNkY2JmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMzM4MjE5MUpaN1NZNkRDWlpXVCZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwOTExOTQ4MzVONlNDUTNPSlo4NCZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2F0ZiZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=

Amazon.com. (2019D). Cortisol Manager. See: https://www.amazon.com/Cortisol-Manager-Integrative-Therapeutics-Ashwagandha/dp/B0031TRUOG?th=1&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI1Yaj0e605AIVBYbICh0YXASbEAAYASAAEgJYEvD_BwE

American Liver Foundation. (2013). 13 Ways to a Healthy Liver. See: https://liverfoundation.org/13-ways-to-a-healthy-liver/

Axe, J. (2019). Glucosamine Benefits for Joint Pain, Osteoarthritis and More. See: https://draxe.com/nutrition/supplements/glucosamine/

Hardin, J.R. (2018). Cipro and Levaquin Can Cause Tendinitis and Tendon Rupture. See: https://allergiesandyourgut.com/2018/08/24/cipro-levaquin-can-cause-tendinitis-tendon-ruptures/

Healthline. (2017). 11 Foods That Are Good for Your Liver. See: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-foods-for-your-liver

Hoffman, M. (2019). Picture of the Liver. WebMD. See: https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/picture-of-the-liver#1

Peacock, C. (2019). Post Surgical Recovery Using Acupuncture. See: https://www.yinovacenter.com/blog/post-surgical-recovery-using-acupuncture/?matchtype=b&network=g&device=c&keyword=&campaign=730415643&adgroup=38277310956&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIroLkqZWu5AIVgrHtCh0jQwGVEAAYASAAEgJoEvD_BwE

Sarway, S. (2019). 8 Foods for Liver Health That Nutritionists Want You to Eat Every Day. See: https://www.wellandgood.com/good-food/liver-and-gut-cleansing-foods/

Smarter Reviews. (2019). The Best Liver Health Supplements Of 2019: Learn what to look for and avoid when choosing a quality supplement for improved liver health. See: https://smarter-reviews.com/lp/liver-health-supplements?tr=p4K9O6n&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI6LmCiNeJ4wIVD4_ICh08OQ-VEAAYASAAEgJlOvD_BwE

WebMD. (2019). Selenium. See: https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/supplement-guide-selenium#1

 

© Copyright 2019. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Probiotics for Babies

Published on 3/6/2016. Updated on 3/8/2017.

Source: ProbioticsAmerica.com

 

This post grew out of a question from the mother of a one-year old C-section baby. She wrote:
“Do you ever look at gut health in infants? My daughter had to be born c-section and therefore didn’t get a lot of the good bacteria from me that she would have received in a vaginal birth. So, she still struggles a bit with some digestive issues. I know many mothers that also struggle with this.”

Continue reading Probiotics for Babies

IN LIEU OF DIET SNAPPLE

Updated 7/20/2015. See info on Truvia at end of OTHER ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS section.

 

 

(Source: www.snapple.com)
(Source: www.snapple.com)

 

This post was prompted by a colleague who arrived on a hot summer day carrying a bottle of Diet Snapple sweetened with aspartame. Since I knew he’d battled cancer twice and is health conscious, I was surprised and sent him some information on aspartame that evening.
The next day he wrote to ask if there are any safe sweeteners since he’s trying to keep his weight down and avoiding sugar.
This is for him.

 

(Source: thesweatshed.com)
(Source: thesweatshed.com)

 

ASPARTAME

This is what Dr Robert Mercola says about the dangers of aspartame:

How Aspartame Can Wreak Havoc with Your Health

“Aspartame is primarily made up of aspartic acid and phenylalanine. The phenylalanine has been synthetically modified to carry a methyl group, which provides the majority of the sweetness. That phenylalanine methyl bond, called a methyl ester, is very weak, which allows the methyl group on the phenylalanine to easily break off and form methanol.You may have heard the claim that aspartame is harmless because methanol is also found in fruits and vegetables. However, in fruits and vegetables, the methanol is firmly bonded to pectin, allowing it to be safely passed through your digestive tract. Not so with the methanol created by aspartame; there it’s not bonded to anything that can help eliminate it from your body. That’s problem number one.
“Problem number two relates to the fact that humans are the only mammals who are NOT equipped with a protective biological mechanism that breaks down methanol into harmless formic acid. This is why animal testing of aspartame does not fully apply to humans. According to Dr. Woody Monte, a toxicology expert and professor emeritus at Arizona State University in food and chemistry:
‘There is a major biochemical problem here. Methyl alcohol is known now, and has been known since 1940, to be metabolized differently by humans from every other animal.’
“As explained by Dr. Monte, in humans, the methanol ends up acting as a Trojan horse, and here’s how. Both animals and humans have small structures called peroxisomes in each cell. There are a couple of hundred in every cell of your body, which are designed to detoxify a variety of chemicals. Peroxisome contains catalase, which help detoxify methanol. Other chemicals in the peroxisome convert the formaldehyde to formic acid, which is harmless, but, again, this last step occurs only in animals. Human peroxisomes cannot convert the toxic formaldehyde into harmless formic acid.
“So to recap: in humans, the methyl alcohol travels through your blood vessels into sensitive areas, such as your brain, that are loaded with ADH, which converts methanol to formaldehyde. And since there’s no catalase present, the formaldehyde is free to cause enormous damage in your tissues. Symptoms from methanol poisoning are many, and include headaches, ear buzzing, dizziness, nausea, gastrointestinal disturbances, weakness, vertigo, chills, memory lapses, numbness and shooting pains in the extremities, behavioral disturbances, and neuritis.
“The most well known problems from methanol poisoning are vision problems including misty vision, progressive contraction of visual fields, blurring of vision, obscuration of vision, retinal damage, and blindness. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen that causes retinal damage, interferes with DNA replication and may cause birth defects. Not surprisingly, the most comprehensive and longest human study looking at aspartame toxicity found a clear association between aspartame consumption and non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and leukemia.”
– Mercola, 2015

 

 

(Source: eluxemagazine.com)
(Source: eluxemagazine.com)

 

 

In 1991, Doctor of Nutrition Janet Starr Hull was diagnosed with severe Grave’s Disease, a serious autoimmune disorder characterized by an overproduction of thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism). Her doctors began treating her for this but she didn’t get well until she detoxed herself from aspartame, which was poisoning her – in her case, mimicking the symptoms of Graves Disease. She created an Aspartame Detox Program to heal herself and now teaches it to others.

 

(Source: medlicker.com)
(Source: medlicker.com)

 

551 people who reported toxicity effects from aspartame ingestion were surveyed in an epidemiological survey. The results were reported in the Journal of Applied Nutrition in 1988. Both acute and chronic toxicity effects from aspartame were covered.
This is a list of aspartame’s adverse health effects identified by the participants in this survey (FDA, 2003):

 

SYMPTOM                                                                                      # OF PEOPLE            %

EYE
– Decreased vision and/or other eye problems                   140                          25%
(blurring,  bright flashes, tunnel vision)
– Pain (or or both eyes)                                                                     51                            9%
– Decreased tears, trouble with contact lens,                         46                            8%
or both
– Blindness (one or both eyes)                                                      14                            3%

EAR
– Tinnitus (ringing, buzzing)                                                           13                          13%
– Severe intolerance for noise                                                       47                            9%
– Marked impairment of hearing                                                  25                            5%

NEUROLOGIC
– Headaches                                                                                        249                          45%
– Dizziness, unsteadiness, or both                                             217                          39%
– Confusion, memory loss, or both                                            157                          29%
– Severe drowsiness and sleepiness                                            93                          17%
– Paresthesias (pins and needles, tingling)                               82                          15%
or numbness of the limbs
– Convulsions (grand mal epileptic attacks)                             80                          15%
– Petit mal attacks and “absences”                                              18                             3%
– Severe slurring of speech                                                               64                           12%
– Severe tremors                                                                                   51                             9%
– Severe hyperactivity and restless legs                                     43                              8%
– Atypical facial pain                                                                           38                              7%

PSYCHOLOGICAL/PSYCHIATRIC
– Severe depression                                                                          139                            25%
– Extreme irritability                                                                         125                            23%
– Severe anxiety attacks                                                                 105                            19%
– Marked personality changes                                                        88                            16%
– Recent severe insomnia                                                                 76                            14%
– Severe aggravation of phobias                                                    41                              7%

CHEST
– Palpitations, tachycardia (rapid heart action),                     88                            16%
or both
– Shortness of breath                                                                          54                             10%
– Atypical chest pain                                                                            44                               8%
– Recent hypertension (high blood pressure)                           34                               6%

GASTROINTESTINAL
– Nausea                                                                                                   79                             14%
– Diarrhea                                                                                                 70                             13%
Associated gross blood in the stools                                      (12)
– Abdominal pain                                                                                  70                             13%
– Pain on swallowing                                                                           28                                5%

SKIN AND ALLERGIES
– Severe itching without a rash                                                       44                                8%
– Severe lip and mouth reactions                                                   29                                5%
– Urticaria (hives)                                                                                  25                                 5%
– Other eruptions                                                                                  48                                 9%
– Aggravation of respiratory allergies                                          10                                  2%

ENDOCRINE AND METABOLIC
– Problems with diabetes:  loss of control;                                 60                               11%
precipitation of clinical diabetes;
aggravation or simulation of diabetic
complications
– Menstrual changes                                                                            45                                  6%
Severe reduction or cessation of periods                                 (22)
– Paradoxic weight gain                                                                      34                                  5%
– Marked weight loss                                                                            26                                  6%
– Marked thinning or loss of the hair                                             32                                  6%
– Aggravated hypoglycemia (low blood sugar                           25                                  5%
attacks)

OTHER
– Frequency of voiding (day and night), burning                     69                                 13%
on urination (dysuria), or both
– Excessive thirst                                                                                    65                                 12%
– Severe joint pains                                                                               58                                 11%
– Bloating                                                                                                  57                                 10%
– Fluid retention and leg swelling                                                   20                                   4%
– Increased susceptibility to infection                                             7                                   1%

 

Aspartame may also trigger, mimic, cause , or worsen the following illnesses (FDA, 2003) (Hull, 2003):
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • ALS
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Arthritis (including Rheumatoid)
  • Birth defects
  • Brain tumors
  • Chemical Sensitivities
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Diabetes
  • EMS (Eosinophilia–myalgia Syndrome)
  • Epilepsy
  • Epstein-Barr
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Grave’s Disease
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Lupus
  • Lyme Disease
  • Lymphoma
  • Meniere’s Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Mercury sensitivity from Amalgam fillings
  • non-Hodgkins Lymphoma
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Post-Polio Syndrome
“These are not allergies or sensitivities, but diseases and disease syndromes. Aspartame poisoning is commonly misdiagnosed because aspartame symptoms mock textbook ‘disease’ symptoms, such as Grave’s Disease.
“Aspartame dissolves into solution and can therefore travel throughout the body and deposit within any tissue. The body digests aspartame unlike saccharin, which does not break down within humans.
“The multitude of aspartame side effects are indicative to your genetic individuality and physical weaknesses. It is important to put two and two together, nonetheless, and identify which side effects aspartame is creating within you.” ( Hull, 2002)
(Source: crossfitiota.com)
(Source: crossfitiota.com)

 

“Frequently, aspartame toxicity is misdiagnosed as a specific disease. This has yet to be reported in the scientific literature, yet it has been reported countless times to independent organizations and scientists….  In other cases, it has been reported that chronic aspartame ingestion has triggered or worsened certain chronic illnesses.  Nearly 100% of the time, the patient and physician assume that these worsening conditions are simply a normal progression of the illness.  Sometimes that may be the case, but many times it is chronic aspartame poisoning.” (FDA, 2003)

 

 

(Source: peoplecleaner.com)
(Source: peoplecleaner.com)

 

“There  have  been well over  7,000  aspartame  toxicity  reactions  officially received  by  the  U.S. Food  and Drug  Administration  between  1982  (after aspartame was first approved) until 1995. From this figure, we can estimate the number of actual toxicity reactions observed. (FDA, 2003)

 

(Source: www.killercoke.org)
(Source: www.killercoke.org)
Dr Betty Martini, is a physician who learned about the toxicity of aspartame and founded Mission Possible World Health International, a volunteer organization working with doctors around the world committed to removing aspartame from all foods, drinks, and medicines.
Martini points out that 75% of all product complaints received by the FDA  are about aspartame, considerably more than for any other additive. Recently the EPA declared aspartame to be a potentially dangerous chemical.
Martini says NutraSweet (a brand of aspartame) is a “deadly neurotoxic drug masquerading as an additive. It interacts with all antidepressants, L-dopa, Coumadin, hormones, insulin, all cardiac medication, and many others. It also is a chemical hyper sensitization drug so that it interacts with vaccines, other toxins, other unsafe sweeteners like Splenda which has a chlorinated base like DDT and can cause auto immune disease. It has a synergistic and additive effect with MSG…. The FDA has known this for a quarter of a century and done nothing even though it’s against the law.” (Genet, 2011)

 

 Check this out!
ISource: www.healthyandnaturallife.com)
ISource: www.healthyandnaturallife.com)

 

 

 

 

 

DONALD RUMSFELD AND ASPARTAME

 

(Source: solsticewitch13.blogspot.com)
(Source: solsticewitch13.blogspot.com)

 

Yes indeed, that Donald Rumsfeld – the one who, as George W. Bush’s Secretary of Defense, promoted wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He’s also known for the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuses scandal and what were termed “enhanced interrogation techniques”.
So what’s his connection to aspartame?
In 1985, G.D. Searle, the pharmaceutic company holding the patent for aspartame, was purchased by Monsanto. Fifteen years earlier, in 1980, an FDA Board of Inquiry, made up of three independent scientists, confirmed a connection between aspartame and brain tumors. The FDA had previously banned aspartame based on this finding.
Rumsfeld was Searle’s President at the time of the company’s 1985 sale to Monsanto. He promised to “call in his markers” to get aspartame approved – and he did just that.
(Source: www.geoengineeringwatch.org)
(Source: www.geoengineeringwatch.org)
In 1985, Searle was absorbed by Monsanto (the giant chemical company that’s brought us genetically modified crops containing the pesticide Glyphosate  – among other dangerous chemical products like PCB’s, dioxin, and Agent Orange – and now bills itself as a “sustainable agriculture” company).
Rumsfeld served first as CEO and then as President of Searle from 1977 to 1985. During his tenure there, he reduced the number of Searle employees by 60%, thereby creating a large spike in the company’s bottom-line profits. This maneuver earned him two awards as Outstanding CEO in the Pharmaceutical Industry – from The Wall Street Transcript in 1980 and from Financial World Magazine in 1981. He also played an instrumental role in Monsanto’s acquisition of Searle, for which he was rewarded with a large bonus, reportedly $12 mllion.
See Donald Rumsfeld and the Strange History of Aspartame if you’re interested in learning how Rumsfeld called in his markers to get the FDA’s approval of aspartame. (Genet, 2011)

 

 

 Bayer’s Flinstone’s Children’s Vitamins

(Source: seattleorganicrestaurants.com)
(Source: seattleorganicrestaurants.com)

 

 

Aspartame is found in over 6,000 products under brand names such as Equal and NutraSweet. Products containing aspartame include carbonated soft drinks, powdered soft drinks, chewing gum, confections, gelatins, dessert mixes, puddings and fillings, frozen desserts, yogurt, tabletop sweeteners, vitamins, sugar-free cough drops, and some pharmaceuticals.
For a more complete list of products containing aspartame, see the Calorie Control Council’s Aspartame Information Center.
Currently, aspartame is consumed by over 200 million people around the world.   (Calorie Control Council, 2015)

 

 

 

OTHER ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS

 

(Source: www.eckraus.com)
(Source: www.eckraus.com)
Say you decide to avoid products containing aspartame and think maybe other artificial sweeteners are the way to go – there are problems with this plan too.
Here’s Dr Mercola on artificial sweeteners:
“For the last 17 years, I’ve warned that artificial sweeteners can wreck your health. Aspartame is among the worst of the bunch, and in general, people who consume aspartame tend to be in poorer health. They also tend to develop more of a sweet tooth.
“I found the evidence against artificial sweeteners to be so compelling, and the hazards so disconcerting, I wrote an entire book on the subject called Sweet Deception, published in 2006. Now, years later, the research I presented in that book has been confirmed many times over, and the tide is finally beginning to turn against this toxic food additive.” (Mercola, 2014)
As Mercola, along with many other respected health authorities, make clear, consuming artificial sweeteners is actually associated with WEIGHT GAIN.
“The connection between sweet taste alone and increased hunger can be found in the medical literature going back at least two decades…. two studies, for example, dating back to the late 80s and early 90s, both showed this link between artificial sweeteners and increased hunger.” (Mercola, 2014)
One of the largest studies of its kind followed nearly 60,000 post-menopausal women for about 10 years. The study found that drinking only two diet drinks a day dramatically increased the participants’ risk of an early death from heart disease. The findings were presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 63rd Annual Scientific Session in Washington, DC in 2014.
“The fact that low- or no-calorie sweeteners do as much harm (or more!) than sugar, on the other hand, has seemed, and still seems, counterintuitive to many.” (Mercola, 2014)

 

(Source: naturallysavvy.com)
(Source: naturallysavvy.com)

 

 

 

 

 7/20/2015
This just came to my attention:

Truvia’s Sweet Scam: Highly Processed, GMO, and Contains Hardly Any Stevia

The take away seems to be: To preserve or restore your health, stay away from processed food products.
How about getting a non-GMO stevia plant or seeds to use a leaf or two for sweetening your tea – or make your own organic stevia extract?

 

Make-Your-Own-Stevia-Extract-H

 

 

 

 

YOU NEED TO STAY HYDRATED – SO WHAT’S GOOD TO DRINK?

I certainly don’t have complete answers to this excellent question. This is what I’ve been drinking lately:

 

KEFIR (organic and full fat if possible) mixed with filtered water

17077001328

Provides good probiotics because it’s fermented. I’ve even more than once accidentally left a cup of kefir out overnight and found it even tastier (more tang) than the day before. It’s a living food so continues fermenting, producing more probiotics, at room temp. Get the plain (unsweetened) kind. If you don’t like the tartness, add some pureed organic fruits. See KEFIR for more information. Kefir is a living culture so look for it in one of the refrigerated sections at grocery stores, perhaps near the yogurts.

 

 

KEVITA mixed with filtered water

KeVita-landscape

Kevita makes these sparkling probiotic drinks in a variety of flavors. All the ones I’ve tried are delicious, almost completely organic, sweetened only with a bit of organic stevia, and vegan. I’m particularly fond of the flavors with  coconut in them. See the Kevita site for more information, including stores that carry their drinks. Kevita is also alive so it’s sold from a refrigerated section at grocery stores carrying it.

 

 

HARMLESS HARVEST 100% RAW COCONUT WATER – usually mixed with filtered water

imgres-2

Coconut water is better at restoring electrolytes than Gatorade and doesn’t contain any of those nasty FDA approved (GRAS: “generally accepted as safe”) food colors or additives which turn out to be harmful. And raw coconut water tastes the very best. Raw coconut water needs to be kept cold so look for it in a refrigerated section at grocery stores carrying it.

 

 

ORGANIC ROOIBOS TEA – brewed at home

TWN008_Xl

Rooibos is caffeine free and naturally sweet tasting. Good with some organic unsweetened almond milk in it.

 

ORGANIC LICORICE TEA – brewed at home

270092-yogi-tea-organic-licorice

Also naturally sweet tasting.

 

 

PLAIN FILTERED WATER

water-filter-running

A few years ago, I had a 3M Aqua Pure water filter installed under my kitchen sink so there’s always tasty filtered water at hand for drinking at home or taking with me. The filtered water is dispensed via a tap with a lever next to the regular taps for the sink. Much easier than lugging bottles of water home from the store and safer for the planet too. These are the filter cartridges the 3M Aqua Pure water filter uses. I change the cartridge twice a year.

 

The above are what I’ve figured out for me. It would be great if you’d be willing to share info about your own favorite healthy drinks.

 

 

 

(Source: archive.indianexpress.com)
(Source: archive.indianexpress.com)
Something I’ve noticed since cleaning up my diet is that my craving for sweetened drinks in general has gone way down. Every once in a while I’ll stir a little organic honey into some hot tea and that’s become about it.

 

(Source: cautioncrossfit.com)
(Source: cautioncrossfit.com)

 

 

 

 

MORE ON DIET SNAPPLE

Back to where we started, with Diet Snapple:

 

SNAPPLE_DIET_PEACH_TEA_16

Snapple Diet Peach Tea

Smooth Snapple tea, perfect peach flavor. You won’t believe this peach of a tea could have this much taste and still be called diet.

NUTRITION FACTS FOR 16FL OZ :
CALORIES 10
TOTAL FAT 0 G 0%DV
SODIUM 15 MG 1%DV
TOTAL CARBOHYDRATES 1 G 0%DV
PROTEIN 0 G
INGREDIENTS:

FILTERED WATER, CITRIC ACID, TEA, ASPARTAME, POTASSIUM CITRATE, NATURAL FLAVORS, MALIC ACID

Not listed on the label (because our FDA doesn’t require such labeling) are pesticides since the tea leaves and fruits Snapple uses are made from genetically modified sources. You can be sure they’d put “Non-GMO” or ‘Organic” prominently on the label if they were using healthier ingredients.
And who knows what falls under the umbrella of “natural flavors”?
“From a food science perspective, it is difficult to define a food product that is ‘natural’ because the food has probably been processed and is no longer the product of the earth. That said, FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives. However, the agency has not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.” (FDA, 2015)
I learned years ago from my father, who was an enzyme chemist working in research and development in the processed food industry, that ground up cochineal insects are used to make foods red, orange, and pink.
They’re natural.

 

(Source: www.931freshradio.ca)
(Source: www.931freshradio.ca)

 

You’re eating cochineal (sometimes called carmine) when you consume commercial brands of raspberry yogurt, maraschino cherries, Starbucks Strawberry Frappuccino, and hundreds of other food products. It’s also used in numerous cosmetics, including lipsticks.

 

 

 

 

CHOOSING HEALTHIER FOOD PRODUCTS WITH HELP FROM THE EWG

 

2014FoodScores_C01
You can check out the nutrition, ingredients, and processing ratings of over 80,000 processed food products on the Food Scores section of the Environmental Working Group’s site. This is their health rating for Snapple Diet Peach Tea. They give it a 5 on their 1-10 rating scale. (EWG, 2015-C)
Lower scores indicate better foods. Product scores take into consideration nutrition, ingredients, and processing concerns. Ingredients are assessed for presence of pesticides, food additives, contaminants, and antibiotics. Since it’s known that whole foods are healthiest, EWG’s ratings help you choose less processed options.
“Nearly two-thirds of the 3,015 produce samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2013 contained pesticide residues – a surprising finding in the face of soaring consumer demand for food without agricultural chemicals.” (EWG, 2015-A)
The EWG has a nifty free Food Scores app you can download to smart phones and iPads. (EWG, 2015-A)
They also have another useful free app for getting ratings of cosmetics and other personal care products:
SKIN DEEP
The EWG’s Skin Deep database rates over 69,000 cosmetics and other personal care products. You can use it to check out the ingredient safety score of known and suspected health and environmental hazards for each product. (EWG, 2015-B)

 

screen568x568

 

These  EWG mobile apps  contain barcode scanners so you can check the EWG’s score for products you’re thinking of buying. Very useful when you’re out shopping – or if you want to check products you’re already using at home.   (EWG, 2015-A & 2015-B)

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Calorie Control Council. (2015). Aspartame Information Center.  See: http://www.aspartame.org/about/consumer-products/

Environmental Working Group. (2015-A). Food Scores. See: http://www.ewg.org/foodscores

Environmental Working Group. (2015-B). Skin Deep. See: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/app/

Environmental Working Group. (2015-C). Snapple Diet Peach Tea. See: http://www.ewg.org/foodscores/products/076183163573-SnappleDietPeachTea

FDA. (2003). Letter from Mark Gold to the FDA: Recall Aspartame as a Neurotoxic Drug: Reported Aspartame Toxicity Reactions. See: http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/dailys/03/jan03/012203/02p-0317_emc-000199.txt

FDA. (2015). What is the meaning of ‘natural’ on the label of food? See: http://www.fda.gov/aboutfda/transparency/basics/ucm214868.htm

Genet, R. (2011). Donald Rumsfeld and the Strange History of Aspartame. Huffington Post. See: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robbie-gennet/donald-rumsfeld-and-the-s_b_805581.html

Hardin, J.R. (2013). Kefir. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/superimmunity/kefir/

HealthFreedoms.org. (2015). Truvia’s Sweet Scam: Highly Processed, GMO, and Contains Hardly Any Stevia. See: http://www.healthfreedoms.org/truvias-sweet-scam-highly-processed-gmo-and-contains-hardly-any-stevia/

Hull, J.S. (2002). Aspartame Side Effects. See: http://www.sweetpoison.com/aspartame-side-effects.html

Kevita. (2015). See: http://kevita.com/

Mercola, R. (2014). Some info on aspartame from – The Aspartame End Game … And What’s Next. See: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/04/16/aspartame-diet-soda.aspx

 

 

© Copyright 2015 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

 

Psychobiotics: Your Gut Bacteria – Your Mood

Updated 7/5/2015 & 7/9/2015.

 

(Source: jama.jamanetwork.com)
(Source: jama.jamanetwork.com)

 

Very good news! An exciting new field of medicine is on the horizon: PSYCHOBIOTICS.
PROBIOTICS are micro-organisms that have beneficial effects on the body when consumed.
Ted Dinan, Catherine Stanton, and John Cryan, pioneering researchers in the field, define a PSYCHOBIOTIC as “a live organism that, when ingested in adequate amounts, produces a health benefit in patients suffering from psychiatric illness”. (Dinan, Stanton & Cryan, 2013)

 

(Source: www.youtube.com)
(Source: www.youtube.com)
Scientists are discovering that some probiotic micro-organisms living in our guts are also psychoactive. That is, they deliver neuroactive substances such as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and serotonin that influence the brain via the gut-brain axis.
I’d say that the field of psychobiotics in the not so distant future will be understood more broadly to include all of us, not just those with diagnosable mental illnesses. For example, we’ll be able to fine tune our anxiety levels day to day – by taking particular probiotics before events we know make us anxious (public speaking, flying, big dates, exams). And, even better, we’ll be able to AVOID depression’s deep troughs of despair and the exhausting paralysis of anxiety by nourishing healthy populations of the appropriate probiotics in our guts.
(Source: http://www.maryvancenc.com/
(Source: http://www.maryvancenc.com/

 

As we understand the gut-brain axis at this point, communications between the gut and the brain (and vice versa) travel via the long vagus nerve, spinal cord, and/or neuroendocrine systems to mediate various physical and mental states – including anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive thoughts and behaviors, autism, chronic fatigue syndrome, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Here’s a diagram of the vagus nerve’s path, showing the organs it connects between the brain at its top end and the intestines at its bottom end. You can see what an important communication highway it provides for the body, allowing the brain, lungs, heart, spleen, liver, kidneys, pancreas, stomach, and intestines to ‘talk’ to one another.

 

THE VAGUS NERVE

It runs from the brain stem down each side of the neck, across the chest, down through the abdomen allowing the brain, lungs, heart, spleen, liver, pancreas, kidneys, stomach and intestines to communicate bi-directionally along its network.

(Source: emedicine.medscape.com)
(Source: emedicine.medscape.com)
“So far, psychobiotics have been most extensively studied in … patients with irritable bowel syndrome, where positive benefits have been reported for a number of organisms including Bifidobacterium infantis. Evidence is emerging of benefits in alleviating symptoms of depression and in chronic fatigue syndrome. Such benefits may be related to the anti-inflammatory actions of certain psychobiotics and a capacity to reduce hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity. ” (Dinan, Stanton & Cryan, 2013)
Did you notice the mention of the anti-inflammatory actions of probiotics in the quote above?
Most physical and mental diseases have inflammation as their root cause. The vast majority of our immune system, about 70% of it, is located in the gut microbiome. Unbalance in the composition of microbes there creates inflammation inside the intestinal linings, increasing gut permeability, leading to chronic inflammation elsewhere in the body – and disease.
This is my short hand explanation for how the connection works:
Chronic imbalance of microbes in the gut –> chronic inflammation in the gut –> increased gut permeability –> chronic inflammation elsewhere in the body –>  diseases in the gut and/or elsewhere in the body

 

(Source: www.nature.com)
(Source: www.nature.com)

 

These signaling irregularities affect our emotions, mental abilities, behaviors, and perception of and reactions to pain (nociception). The whole system is something like an enormous, highly complex switchboard. If something interferes with signaling somewhere in the system, a circuit can malfunction and perhaps cause the entire switchboard to break down.

 

(Source: en.wikipedia.org)
(Source: en.wikipedia.org)

 

Chronic imbalances in our gut bacteria that lead to gut-brain axis signaling irregularities can also lead to a wide variety of other health problems – including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, migraines, thyroid problems, dental issues, cancers, degenerative neurological diseases, obesity, ADD/ADHD, allergies, asthma, autism, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic Lyme disease … and many, many more. And they all begin with the health of the several pounds of miniscule critters living in our gut microbiomes.

 

 

gut-microbiome

 

Our gut microbiome, the 100 trillion micro-organisms (500-1,000 species of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other tiny life forms) living in our intestinal linings, is so important to the proper functioning of the entire body that many scientists now regard it as an organ in and of itself. The theory is that these micro-organisms  communicate with the nervous system using some of the same neurochemicals the body uses to relay messages in the brain. (Smith, 2015)
These several pounds of micro-organisms in our guts secrete a large number of neurochemicals, including dopamine, serotonin, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), the very same chemicals our neurons use to communicate and regulate mood – and chemicals that also play a role in GI disorders, which, not strangely, are associated with high levels of depression and anxiety.  (Smith, 2015)

 

(Source: www.itsokaytobesmart.com)
(Source: www.itsokaytobesmart.com)

 

 

 

 

ANXIETY, OBSESSIVE BEHAVIOR, LEAKY GUT AND BACTEROIDES FRAGILIS

 

(Source: www.find-happiness.com)
(Source: www.find-happiness.com)

 

In 2013, microbiology researchers Mazmanian and Hsiao published research results that linked a specific variety of probiotic bacteria with anxious behaviors in mice. The mice were known to have alterations in their gut microbiota and GI barrier defects  (increased gut permeability, AKA leaky gut) and also exhibited anxious, obsessive behaviors (such as obsessively burying marbles). When they were given oral doses of  one of two strains of the bacterium Bacteroides fragilis (probiotic bacteria found in normal gut flora), both their GI problems and maladaptive behaviors improved. (Hsiao et al, 2013) (Smith, 2015)

 

 

 

 

STRESS, DEPRESSION AND THE PROBIOTICS LACTOBACILLUS AND BIFIDOBACTERIUM

 

 

(Source: www.menshealth.co.uk)
(Source: www.menshealth.co.uk)

 

A recent study found that a combination of the probiotics Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum (probiotic bacteria found in healthy human gut microbiomes) reduced anxiety, depression, and stress levels and improved coping strategies. (Messaoudi, 2011)
Our psychological and physiological reactions to fear and stress play a large role in depression. People suffering from major depression also have elevated levels of cortisol, the stress hormone our adrenals release to get us ready to fight for our lives or flee from the danger. Back when we frequently encountered predatory animals and were often in a fight or flight situation, this elevated release of cortisol was a very useful thing.
What often happens now is that we live in a state of chronic cortisol overproduction, over stimulated, afraid, unable to calm down, wearing out our adrenals. Chronically elevated cortisol production interferes with learning and memory, lowers immune functioning, decreases bone density, increases weight gain,  raises blood pressure and cholesterol levels, leads to heart disease, increases risk for depression and anxiety, decreases resilience – and is generally exhausting. A combination of the probiotics, Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum, was found to reduce cortisol levels. (Berglund, 2013) (Davidson, 2014)
GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) is our central nervous system’s chief inhibitory neurotransmitter, playing a central role in reducing neuronal excitability throughout the body and regulating muscle tone. (Wikipedia, 2015)
Many physiological and psychological processes associated with depression, including negative ruminations, can be traced to a deficiency in the neurotransmitter GABA. Microbes that actively secrete GABA in the gut have been identified by researchers. Chief among them are strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
Bifidobacterium longum has anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, and antimutagenic properties and may protect you from developing colon cancer.  It’s present in breast milk and is one of the first probiotics to colonize a newborn’s gut.

 

Emmenthaler Cheese
(Source: cheesecrafters.ca)
(Source: cheesecrafters.ca)

 

Swiss and Emmenthaler cheeses contain Lactobacillus helveticus. (We’re talking about real cheeses, not the tasteless, processed kinds often found prepackaged in the US.)

 

(Source: draxe.com)
(Source: draxe.com)

 

Bifodobacterium longum is found in unprocessed yogurts, various types of fermented dairy foods (kefir’s a good choice), and fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut.
(Source: www.rsc.org)
(Source: www.rsc.org)
Good news for those of us who love dark chocolate: The plentiful polyphenols in dark chocolate serve as PREbiotics, nourishing the beneficial Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium  in our guts.  (Davidson, 2014) The higher the cacao and lower the sugar content the better. Organic and fair trade also if possible.
Both L. helveticus and B. longum can also be taken as supplements.

 

 

 

 

MOOD, OXYTOCIN AND LACTOBACILLUS REUTERI

 

(Source: www.bbc.co.uk)
(Source: www.bbc.co.uk)
A team of biologists at MIT found that another probiotic strain, Lactobacillus reuteri, improved mood, restored a youthful appearance to the skin, and promoted general health by increasing levels of oxytocin, the love hormone. (Davidson, 2015)
L. reuteri is one of the fastest colonizing probiotic bacteria available. This is a good thing – colonizing probiotic strains of bacteria in your gut can restore your health.

 

 

 

 

ANXIETY, DEPRESSION AND LACTOBACILLUS RHAMNOSUS (Davidson, 2014) (Mercola, 2011) (Saey, 2011)

 

(Source: www.drperlmutter.com)
(Source: www.drperlmutter.com)
Lactobacillus rhamnosus is a bacterial strain that has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression in anxious mice.
GABA, the central nervous system’s principal inhibitory neurotransmitter, regulates many physiological and psychological processes in the body. Alterations in GABA receptor expression are linked to the the development of anxiety and depression.
Study results published in 2011 shed light on exactly how L. rhamnosus in the gut impacts the brain’s chemistry.
The researchers found that the probiotic L. rhamnosus markedly affected GABA levels in certain brain regions and lowered the stress-induced hormone corticosterone, resulting in reduced anxiety- and depression-related behavior.
When the vagus nerve was severed, GABA receptor levels and the animals’ behavior remained unchanged after treatment with L. rhamnosus, confirming that the vagus nerve is most likely the primary pathway of communication between the bacteria in the gut and the brain.
The researchers allow that the vagus nerve is the obvious communication route but perhaps not the only one, that messaging may also occur via other nerves or chemicals in the blood.
If you doubt there’s a direct connection between the health of the gut microbiome and mental health, keep in mind that functional bowel disorders and mood disorders such as anxiety and depression are generally comorbid (they generally occur together).

Strains of L. rhamnosus  are found in some dairy products such as live culture yogurts, cheeses (eg, real Parmigiano Reggiano), and kefir. They’re also found in fermented dry sausages and some fermented soy cheeses. (Panyko, 2015)

 

 

 

PAIN, CHRONIC FATIGUE, DEPRESSION, ANXIETY AND LACTOBACILLUS ACIDOPHILUS

 

(Source: www.slideshare.net)
(Source: www.slideshare.net)

 

Lactobacillus acidophilus improves the functioning of canabinoid receptors in the spinal cord that are important for regulating pain perception. (Davidson, 2014)
A 2009 study to see if treatment with live L. acidophilus was helpful for chronic fatigue syndrome and the depression that’s part of it showed promising results. When the researchers supplemented chronic fatigue syndrome sufferers with a live casie strain of L. acidophilus for two months, they saw a significant decrease in the subjects’ depression, anxiety, and general emotional distress. (Rao et al, 2009)
Food sources of L. acidophilus include live culture yogurt and other fermented foods such as sauerkraut, sauerkraut juice, kimchi, miso, chutneys, and kefir.

 

 

SEROTININ, CHRONIC INFLAMMATION AND BIFIDOBACTERIUM INFANTIS

 

(Source: www.amazon.com)
(Source: www.amazon.com)
A number of microbes can produce other neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. For example, Bifidobacterium infantis, taken as an probotic, alters serotonin levels – just like Prozac but without the undesirable side effects. (Davidson, 2014)
Bifidobacterium infantis has been clinically demonstrated to be very good at reducing the symptoms caused by chronic immune activation in the gut, autoimmune diseases, and excessive cortisol release. So it, along with some other probiotic bacteria, is a good choice for people with leaky gut, IBS, IBD, celiac disease, and Crohn’s disease. (Nootriment, 2015)
Infantis in this bacteria’s name indicates that it’s a strain vitally important for infant health.  B. infantis is usually one of the first probiotics mothers pass on to their babies during vaginal births. Many scientists and doctors therefore recommend that pregnant women take it as a supplement.
The main benefit from B. infantis is to improve digestion and protect us against infection and sickness. It has also been shown to fight allergies and prevent kidney stones. It accomplishes all this by producing large amounts of acid to make our digestive tracts and vaginas inhospitable to pathogenic bacteria and parasites. (Jerkunica, 2015)

 

 

 

(Source: www.starrybrook.com)
(Source: www.starrybrook.com)

 

 

 

 

 

FERMENTED FOODS

(Source: http://www.sacfoodcoop.com)
(Source: http://www.sacfoodcoop.com)

 

NOTE:
If you’ve decided to add ready-made fermented foods like sauerkraut or pickles to your diet for their probiotic benefits, remember it’s only the truly fermented versions that are helpful. The ones made with vinegar, although they may say ‘pickled’ on their labels, aren’t actually fermented and don’t offer any probiotic or enzymatic benefits. Look for the fermented versions in the refrigerated areas in stores.
Fermented foods contain living cultures. Refrigeration slows down the fermentation process. The brine may be cloudy – full of lactic acid bacterial growth (the desirable probiotics) created during fermentation. The jar lids may be slightly swollen from the  ongoing fermentation process. Fermented pickles have a complex taste – they’re alive on your tongue. Pickles made with vinegar taste like vinegar.

 

904e4a80c69ade6cdc800d4c0bbf9e3d
Years ago, when I was living in Cambridge, MA, my neighborhood grocery store was Savenor’s. Mrs Savenor kept a huge, wooden pickle barrel next to the checkout counter.  The top of the barrel was open. The brine was cloudy, sometimes scummy looking, and every once in a while the barrel emitted a big belch of gas. I thought the whole thing was unsanitary and never bought her pickles. Now I wish I’d known then what I’ve since learned about the benefits of that living culture.
Savenor’s was also where Julia Child shopped for her meats. The Childs lived in the neighborhood of beautiful big houses on the north side of Kirkland Street. I was in the neighborhood of old apartment buildings on the south side of Kirkland, where students and other people with little money lived.
Here’s a fond memoir about Mrs Savenor by one of her grandsons, Alan Savenor: How a Matriarch Ran Savenor’s. She was a character. Reputedly, she’d smuggled her young boys out of Lithuania by walking across the border with them under her voluminous, floor length skirt when the Nazis set about exterminating all the Jews there.

 

1165_Savenor_1

 

 

 

For those of you interested in improving your gut microbiomes and overall health by eating probiotic-rich foods, here’s a good article on Probiotics & Fermented Foods written by the Sacramento Natural Foods Coop.

 

 

(Source: fundrazr.com)
(Source: fundrazr.com)

 

 

 

YOUR BRAIN ON BUGS

This is what pioneering Integrative Health doc J. E. Williams, OMD, has to say about psychobiotics and how best to get them into your body:
“Microbiota, those microscopic bugs that live in your body—mainly in the gut—can influence brain chemistry and consequently behavior. We know that Clostridium difficile, the nasty gut hospital-based gut infection that kills 14,000 people each year in the U.S., is associated with depression and dementia. Two antidepressants, mirtazapine (Remeron) and fluoxetine (Prozac), are linked to a nearly 50 percent increased risk for Clostridium difficile infection.
“Doctors have long known that foods and changes in the gastrointestinal system are associated with mood changes. Does the pathway to happiness actually exist in your gut?

Sources of Psychobiotics

“Probiotics come in a variety of forms, from powders and capsules to foods such as yogurt, dairy drinks, infant formulas, cheese, and even some energy snack bars. Any of these forms may be effective for digestive problems as long as they contain the right kind of beneficial organisms in adequate numbers.
“In my clinical experience, I’ve found that supplements with live friendly bacteria in high dosages are more effective for treatment of depression, immune deficiency, and gastrointestinal problems then consuming yogurt or fermented vegetables alone.

Friendly Psychobiotics

  • Bacteriodies fragilis
  • Bifidobacterium infantis
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Lactobacillus helveticus
  • Bifidobacterium longum
  • Lactobacillus brevis

Brain-Immune-Gut Axis

“We’re finding that most diseases, including psychiatric illnesses, have inflammation as their root cause. Inflammation is associated with immune system imbalance and disruption of hormone activity. Probiotics may also influence how your genes work. Psychobiotics could target genes responsible influencing neurotransmitters like GABA that have a strong connection to mood and behavior.
“We know that “gluten brain” is a type of mental fog common in people with gluten sensitivity. People with gluten sensitivity feel better when eliminating wheat, but the benefit is limited. If you have tried the gluten-free diet and wonder what’s next, consider psychobiotics
“The autonomic nervous system links the brain and gut largely through the vagus nerve. More than 90 percent of the body’s serotonin, a feel good neurotransmitter, lies within the gut. In fact, your gut has a mind of its own and it’s called the enteric nervous system.
“Changes in diet have immediate effects on the bacterial composition in your gut. Antibiotics have disastrous effects on gut bacteria. Now we have good research and more than enough clinical evidence that specialized probiotic bacteria are essential for health, and also profoundly influence mood.
“So, it’s not surprising that when your gut is healthier, so is your brain and mood. Your immune system works better too, so you have fewer episodes of the cold and/or flu.”
– Williams, 2014

 

 

 

 

IS YOUR FATE IN YOUR GENES?: GENETICS VS EPIGENETICS

 

Time_DNA_Destiny_Cover

 

If there’s been mental illness – say depression, anxiety or panic disorder, OCD, autism, schizophrenia – in your family as far back as anyone can remember, you needn’t feel that you or your children are doomed. Genetics is the study of genes, heredity, and genetic variation in living organisms. Epigenetics is the study of factors that turn genes on and off and affect how cells read genes.
Your genetics account for only 25% of the chance you’ll develop a disease. The other 75% is environmental (both internal and external) and therefore largely up to you. So take very good care of your gut microbiome. Provide it with lots of good microbes (probiotics and psychobiotics) to keep a good balance in there and avoid the bad ones (bacterial pathogens and other toxins) as much as possible.
This is also true of genetic predispositions for heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer,  and pretty much every other illness. You are not a prisoner of your genes. Probiotics influence activity in our genes, allowing them to express their contents in a positive, disease-fighting manner.
Research has shown that probiotic bacteria produce positive changes in the mucosal lining of the small intestines which affect gene activity and cellular reactions.

“Consumption of a dairy drink containing three strains of probiotic bacteria was associated with changes in the activity of hundreds of genes, with the changes resembling the effects of certain medicines in the human body, including medicines that positively influence the immune system and those for lowering blood pressure.”

– Mercola, 2010

 

 

 

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STAY TUNED! There’s lots of good research being done now on the relationship between probiotics in the gut,  mood – and pretty much every other working of the body.

 

 

 

(Source: www.medscape.com)
(Source: www.medscape.com)

 

 

Many thanks to both Liz Poirier and Alex Tatusian for pointing me to the New York Times Magazine article by Peter Andrey Smith, which prompted this post: Can the Bacteria in Your Gut Explain Your Mood?  It’s very good and I recommend reading it.

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Berglund, C. (2013).  Cortisol: Why “The Stress Hormone” Is Public Enemy No. 1: 5 simple ways to lower your cortisol levels without drugs. See: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201301/cortisol-why-the-stress-hormone-is-public-enemy-no-1

Davidson, J. (2014). Nature’s Bounty: The Psychobiotic Revolution. Psychology Today. See: https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201404/natures-bounty-the-psychobiotic-revolution

Dinan, T.G., Stanton, C., Cryan, J.F. (2013). Psychobiotics: A Novel Class of Psychotropic. Biological Psychiatry: A Journal of Psychiatric Neuroscience and Therapeutics. See: http://www.biologicalpsychiatryjournal.com/article/S0006-3223(13)00408-3/abstract

Hsiao, E.Y. et al. (2013). Microbiota modulate behavioral and physiological abnormalities associated with neurodevelopmental disorders. Cell, 155:7, 1451-63. See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24315484

Jerkunica, E. (2015). Facts About B. Infantis Probiotic Strain. See: http://probiotics.org/9-health-benefits-of-bifidobacterium-infantis/

Mercola, R. (2010). The Healing Power of Probiotics Impresses Researchers. See: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/10/11/probiotics-healing-power-impresses-researchers.aspx

Mercola, R. (2011). Hike Up Your Happy Hormones With Probiotic Supplements. See: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/10/22/this-supplement-can-actually-make-you-happy.aspx

Messaoudi, M. et al. (2011). Assessment of psychotropic-like properties of a probiotic formulation (Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175) in rats and human subjects. British Journal of Nutrition, 105:5, 755-64. See

Nootriment. (2015). Bifidobacterium Infantis Probiotic Supplements Review. See: http://nootriment.com/bifidobacterium-infantis/

Panyko, J. (2015). Lactobacillus rhamnosus: Probiotic Bacteria with Impressive Health Benefits. See: http://www.powerofprobiotics.com/Lactobacillus-rhamnosus.html

Rao, A.V. et al. (2009). A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study of a probiotic in emotional symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. Gut Pathogens, 1:6. See: http://www.gutpathogens.com/content/1/1/6

Sacramento Natural Foods Coop. (undated). Probiotics & Fermented Foods. See: http://www.sacfoodcoop.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=438%3Aprobiotics-a-fermented-foods&catid=59%3Aconsumer-guides&lang=us&Itemid=65

Saey, T. H. (2011). Belly bacteria boss the brain: Gut microbes can change neurochemistry and influence behavior. Science. News. See: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/belly-bacteria-boss-brain

Savenor, A. (2013). How a Matriarch Ran Savenor’s. See: http://www.theeditorial.com/think/2013/12/10/how-a-matriarch-ran-savenors

Smith, P.A. (6/28/2015). Can the Bacteria in Your Gut Explain Your Mood? New York Times Magazine. See: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/28/magazine/can-the-bacteria-in-your-gut-explain-your-mood.html?_r=1

Wikipedia. (6/23/2015). gamma-Aminobutyric acid. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamma-Aminobutyric_acid

Williams, J.E. (2014). YOUR BRAIN ON BUGS—WILL BACTERIA BE THE NEXT TREATMENT FOR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION? See: http://renegadehealth.com/blog/2014/02/28/your-brain-on-bugs-will-bacteria-be-the-next-treatment-for-anxiety-and-depression

 

 

 

© Copyright 2015 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Follow Up on AO+ Living Bacterial Skin Tonic

Updated 2/25/2016.

 

images-1
I first wrote about AOBiome’s brilliant new approach to skin health and cleanliness in Living Bacterial Skin Tonic – Instead of Soap?! (June 7, 2014).
AO+ Refreshing Cosmetic Mist is a liquid developed by a biotech start up company in Cambridge MA to spray on our bodies in lieu of – or as an adjunct to – taking showers. Showering with most soaps and shampoos kills all the healthy elements of our skin’s microbiome. AOBiome’s new living bacterial skin tonic, made of safe live-cultured Nitrosomonas bacteria, replenishes the biome of microscopic organisms that should live on our skin.
(Source: AOBiome)
(Source: AOBiome)

 

From the AO Biome website:

THE SCIENCE

Skin has a Broad Systemic Impact

A healthy microbiome is necessary for skin to do its work optimally. The human skin microbiome requires Ammonia Oxidizing Bacteria (AOB) to function well.

AOBs Are Everywhere in Nature

In the wild, humans had this on their skin – a mutually beneficial working relationship! AOB in the natural environment regulate our nitrogen metabolism. Unfortunately, AOB on our bodies have been impaired by culture and behavior.

Why Does This Matter?

Modern hygiene has selectively depleted the natural balance of the skin microbiome particularly affecting AOB. By restoring the appropriate AOB levels, we believe a range of human health conditions could be impacted. AOBiome is interested in exploring potential physiologic effects including:

Improving skin architecture
Improving skin architecture
Preventing infection
Preventing infection
Improving vascularization
Improving vascularization

 

 

 

 

 

AOBs: What I'm spraying on my skin daily to improve my skin microbiome
AOBs: What I’m spraying on my skin daily to improve my skin microbiome

 

 

MY EXPERIENCE WITH AO+ SPRAY

After waiting a few months for the company to catch up to demand for their new bacterial spray, my first month’s supply arrived in early September 2014: Four spray bottles nestled inside an elegant box  – one bottle for each week – with clear use instructions. Each bottle contains over 100 sprays to least a week at about 15 sprays/day. The bacteria in the spray will survive about a month at room temperature so the bottle I’m using sits on the bathroom counter. The other bottles are stored in the fridge, where they’ll last for at least six months.

 

 

 

AO+ Refresjomg Cosmetic Mist - live cultured ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB). (Source: www.microbesandme.com)
AO+ Refresjomg Cosmetic Mist – live cultured ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB). (Source: www.microbesandme.com)
I began using the spray on September 7th immediately after toweling off from a shower – only on my arms, neck and chest at first – instead of my usual Jurlique Lavender Body Care Lotion. I showered using Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Soap (bar version) on my feet, crotch, arm pits and lightly on my face. As I was doing before, I’ve continued using Jurlique’s Skin Balancing Face Oil on my face and Erbe’s Orange C Serum around my eyes where the skin is delicate and usually dry.
I’ve also continued washing my hair with Jurlique’s Lavender Conditioner about once weekly. (I’ve got fine, curly hair so shampoo isn’t good for it – too drying. Conditioner does a fine job of cleaning out the dirt and excess oils.)
BTW, all the products mentioned above contain only high quality ingredients and no parabens, estrogen disrupters, carcinogens or other harsh, dangerous chemicals.
I stopped using antiperspirants many years ago once I understood that the body needs to perspire but, not quite ready to retire my deodorant, I’ve continued using my favorite: Tom’s Long Lasting Deodorant (Unscented).
What I noticed right away after that first application was that the skin where I’d applied the AO+ Refreshing Cosmetic Mist smelled like a baby’s skin – a ‘this makes me smile and feel good all over’ scent, not the shitty diaper smell. And after just one application, my skin felt and looked soft, smooth and well-nourished.

 

 

images

After a few days, I started using the bacterial spray on my legs and the tops of my feet too. This skin is usually pretty dry but has become nicely hydrated with the spray.
I tried the spray on my face but didn’t like the tight feeling it produced so returned to using face oil. Interestingly, I’ve never felt it at all on the rest of my body. This seemed to be unique to my face. Perhaps I’ll give it another try on my face.
That first bottle, with the daily use described above, lasted for 20 days – so clearly I wasn’t using 15 sprays/day.
Yesterday, with the second bottle, I started using the spray on my entire body – with the exception of my face, armpits, the parts of my back I can’t reach, and soles of my feet. That probably amounted to 12-15 sprays.
I’m thinking I’ll start using it on my hair too starting tomorrow.
One of the more interesting things that started happening after two weeks of using the spray on my arms is that some patches of seborrheic keratosis began to dry up. I expect they’ll eventually fall off! This is most welcome.

 

An example of a seborrheic keratosis. (Source: www.medicinenet.com)
An example of a seborrheic keratosis. (Source: www.medicinenet.com)

 

Seborrheic keratosis is a benign skin disorder characterized by rough, raised areas resulting from excessive growth of the top layer of skin cells. Mine are a light brown but they can range from light tan to black. They’re odd looking – like they’re just sitting on top of my skin. They’re sometimes referred to as “barnacles of old age.” How delightful. I’ll be glad to see them go.

 

BACTERIA ARE YOUR FRIENDS

(Source: www.microbesandme.com)
(Source: www.microbesandme.com)
The bottom line is that I’m quite happy to be an early user of AO Biome’s AO+ Refreshing Cosmetic Mist and greatly look forward to its being widely available. My hope is that the existence of this product will help educate people to differentiate between USEFUL bacteria and HARMFUL ones instead of viewing all bacteria as dangerous and in need of being destroyed.
I quote Michael Pollan from his wonderful article Some of My Best Friends Are Germs (Pollan, 2013):

As a civilization, we’ve just spent the better part of a century doing our unwitting best to wreck the human-associated microbiota.

 

 

There's a difference between good bacteria and bad bacteria. Nurture your good bacteria instead of trying to kill them off. (Source: naturallyimmune.org)
There’s a difference between good bacteria and bad bacteria. Nurture your good bacteria instead of trying to kill them off. (Source: naturallyimmune.org)

 

I highly recommend perusing AOBiome’s website, facebook and FAQ for more fascinating information on the needs of the skin microbiome and the science behind their product.

 

 

imgres

 

 

 

 

 

GUT/BRAIN/SKIN AXIS (Bowe & Logan, 2011) (Kresser, 2014)

 

I’ve been writing mostly on the gut microbiome on this site. Here’s information on how the skin flora microbiome fits in:

 

 

The trillions of microbes in and on our bodies are key to understanding our health. (Source: organicfitness.com)
The trillions of microbes in and on our bodies are key to understanding our health. (Source: organicfitness.com)

 

70 years ago, dermatologists John H. Stokes and Donald M. Pillsbury proposed a gastrointestinal mechanism for the observed overlap between depression, anxiety and skin conditions, such as acne.
They  hypothesized that emotional states might alter intestinal microflora, increase intestinal permeability and contribute to systemic inflammation. Among the acne remedies they suggested were Lactobacillus acidophilus cultures. Imbalances in the gut microbiota and oral probiotics produce systemic inflammation and oxidative stress, upset glycemic control and tissue lipid content, influence mood  and cause skin conditions such as acne.

 

EVIDENCE OF A  CONNECTION BETWEEN GUT PROBLEMS AND SKIN DISORDERS

 

  • People with acne are also at higher risk for suffering from GI distress, such as constipation, halitosis and gastric reflux.
  • A recent study found that teens with acne and other seborrheic conditions were 37% more likely to have abdominal bloating.
  • People with acne rosacea have been found to be 10 times more likely than healthy controls to have small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), a condition involving inappropriate growth of bacteria in the small intestine. Correcting their SIBO markedly improved their acne rosacea.
  • 14% of patients with ulcerative colitis and 24% of patients with Crohn’s disease also have skin disorders.
  • Celiac disease sufferers are also apt to have cutaneous manifestations, such as dermatitis herpetiformis (occurs in 1/4 of people with celiac). Celiacs also have increased frequency of oral mucosal lesions, alopecia and vitiligo.
  • A recent study showed that a drug used to treat psoriasis is also effective for Crohn’s.
  • In another study, 56 patients with acne who consumed a Lactobacillus fermented dairy beverage for 12 weeks saw clinical improvement.
  • Pasteurized, unfermented dairy is associated with acne but fermented dairy is not.

 

Scientists are now validating the existence of a gut-brain-skin axis – and recommending oral probiotics to cure and prevent acne and other skin conditions.
Noted practitioner of functional and integrative medicine,  licensed acupuncturist, and health blogger Chris Kresser puts it simply:
                              If you want to heal your skin, you have to heal your gut.
And, as I’ve noted throughout this site, improving your gut flora will reduce chronic inflammation everywhere in the body and keep you from developing allergies, one or more of the many autoimmune conditions and possibly even cancers – or let your body heal if you already have one of these conditions – and also improve your mood.

 

 

 

(Source: www.drchadmorton.com)
Your skin is a direct reflection of your digestive tract. (Source: www.drchadmorton.com)

 

2/25/2016:
In another brilliant move, AO Biome has renamed its skin-microbiome friendly spray mist, shampoo, and cleanser MOTHER DIRT.

 

 

Source: www.persiankittykat.com)
Source: www.persiankittykat.com)

 

 

 

REFERENCES

AOBiome. (2013-2014). facebook.  See:  https://www.facebook.com/AOBiome

AOBiome. (2014). FAQ. See: https://www.aobiome.com/faq

AOBiome. (2014). Pioneering bacterial therapy for the skin. See: https://www.aobiome.com/company

Bowe, W.P. & Logan, A.C.  (2011). Acne vulgaris, probiotics and the gut-brain-skin axis – back to the future? Gut Pathogens, 3: 1. See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3038963/

Hardin, J.R. (2014). Living Bacterial Skin Tonic – Instead of Soap?! Allergies And Your Gut. See:  http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2014/06/07/living-bacterial-skin-tonic-instead-bathing/

Kresser, C. (2014). The gut-skin connection: how altered gut function affects the skin. See:  http://chriskresser.com/the-gut-skin-connection-how-altered-gut-function-affects-the-skin

Polan, M. (2013). Some of My Best Friends Are Germs. New York Times Magazine, May 15 2013. See:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/19/magazine/say-hello-to-the-100-trillion-bacteria-that-make-up-your-microbiome.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0


© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Probiotics for Your Gut and Your Mood

 

 

images

 

Need more evidence that what goes on in your gut greatly affects what happens in the rest of your body? Here’s information recently reported in the scientific journal Gastroenterology demonstrating that our gut bacteria play an important role in our emotional responses.
Dr. Kirsten Tillisch, Associate Professor at the Oppenheimer Family Center for Neurobiology of Stress, David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, and a group of other researchers there investigated whether consumption of a fermented milk product containing probiotics (FMPP) would affect activity in brain regions that control central processing of emotion and sensation.
The researchers divided the 36 healthy female participants into three groups. One group received a placebo twice daily for four  weeks. A second group received an unfermented milk product twice daily for four weeks. The third group received a fermented milk product containing various kinds of probiotics twice daily for four weeks.
The FMPP given to the third group contained Bifidobacterium animalis subsp Lactis, Streptococcus thermophiles, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Lactococcus lactis subsp Lactis.
At the beginning of the study and again at its end, all participants underwent a Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) study of their brains to measure both resting brain activity as well as how the brain responded to an emotional event, such as seeing pictures of angry or scared people.
Results showed that a four-week intake of a fermented milk product containing probiotics positively affected mid-brain activity in regions that control central processing of emotion and sensation. (Tillisch, 2013)
In other words, the brains of the women who consumed the fermented, probiotic-rich milk product became smarter and happier in just four weeks!

 

 

probiotics

This important study is the first to show that changes in human gut bacteria can have a profound effect on how the brain interprets the environment.
As reported in Medscape Medical News, Dr. Cameron Meier, Professor of Medicine, Physiology and Psychiatry at UCLA’s School of Medicine commented on the study, stating:

The knowledge that signals are sent from the gut microbiome to the brain and that they can be modulated by dietary changes will hopefully lead to more research aimed at finding new strategies to prevent or treat digestive, mental and neurological disorders.

 

 

health-memory-mood-appetite-immunity-gut-1010-298x232

Previous research has shown that the gut microorganisms of laboratory rats can be manipulated, causing the animals to become either timid or aggressive. This information has profound implications about our modern diet as well as our generally aggressive over usage of antibiotics which kill good bacteria along with the pathogenic ones living in our guts.
The Standard American Diet (SAD),  consisting mostly of foods poor in probiotics, and decades of physician-prescribed over use of antibiotics along with the heavy load of antibiotics fed to animals we eat and the products made from them,  contribute to the increased rates of depression, anxiety and attention deficit problems that are rampant in modern Western societies. (HealthFreedoms.org, 2014)

 

 

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It’s time to concentrate on repairing our damaged guts with probiotics to restore our health.

 

 

 

Kefir and Live Culture Yogurt - Fermented Milk Products
Kefir and Live Culture Yogurt – Fermented Milk Products

 

 

KEFIR

Sour, fermented milk products such as yogurt, kefir, and labne (kefir cheese) have been consumed for centuries to improve vitality and health. Hippocrates, the Greek physician born in 460 BC and the father of modern medicine, used liquid whey to strengthen immune resistance.
Kefir, a fermented milk product derived from globules of bacteria and yeast known as “grains,” has a long history in Eastern Europe, Russia, and the Middle East. The word kefir is derived from the Turkish word meaning good feeling – a good description for what fermented milk does for the entire body.
Elie Metchnikoff
Elie Metchnikoff
More than a century ago, Nobel Prize winner Elie Metchnikoff, a Ukranian biologist, zoologist and protozoologist best known for his pioneering research into the immune system, suggested that yogurt contributed to the 87 year average lifespan of Bulgarians. He hypothesized that the consumption of live lactic acid bacteria in yogurt suppressed the multiplication of putrefactive bacteria in the large intestine.

The dependence of the intestinal microbes on the food makes it possible to adopt measures to modify the flora in our bodies and to replace the harmful microbes by useful microbes.

(Metchnikoff, 1907)

His hypothesis has been borne out by modern research.

 

 

 

Probiotics in Kefir
Probiotics in Lifeway’s Kefir

 

I strongly concur with adding kefir and yogurt to your diet for their useful microbes – gut friendly probiotics.
You’ll find kefir in the dairy section of many food stores. The plain version is healthier than the flavored kinds, which contain added sugars. And organic is preferable to non-organic (made from GMO milk).
If you’re buying yogurt, make sure it contains “live cultures” or you won’t get much probiotic benefit from it. The yellowish liquid on the top of the yogurt is the liquid whey. Again, plain is healthier than the flavored versions containing added sugars and organic is preferable to non-organic (GMO).
You can also easily make your own kefir and yogurt, preferably from organic milk.

 

 

Making Kefir at Home
Making Kefir at Home

 

 

Yogurt strains like Viili and Matsoni are cultured at room temperature, eliminating the need for a yogurt maker. Cultures for Health offers an abundance of yogurt starters.
Homemade kefir contains a wide variety of strains, including the four strains of probiotic used in the UCLA study: Bifidobacterium animalis, Streptococcus thermophiles, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Lactococcus lactis. Once you have the starter grains, also available at Cultures for Health, you can culture your milk for years to come. (HandPickedNation.com, 2013)

 

 

 

 

WISDOM FROM HIPPOCRATES, GREEK PHYSICIAN WHO LIVED 460-377 BC – THE FATHER OF MODERN MEDICINE

 

 

hippocrates-quote 

 

 

 

Quotation-Hippocrates-comfort-cure-Meetville-Quotes-186199

 

 

 

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FOR MORE INFORMATION, SEE:

THE GUT- BRAIN AXIS

THE GUT MICROBIOME – OUR SECOND GENOME

SUPER IMMUNITY

PREBIOTICS & PROBIOTICS

KEFIR

SACCHAROMYCES BOULARDII

THE STANDARD AMERICAN DIET (SAD)

GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS – OUR FOOD

THE AMERICAN GUT PROJECT

CONCLUSIONS

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Cultures for Health. A online source for many food culture starters.  See:  http://www.culturesforhealth.com/

Handpickednation.com. (2013). Fermented Milk: For the Gut and the Brain. See:  http://www.handpickednation.com/fermented-milk-for-the-gut-and-the-brain/

HealthFreedoms.org. (2014). New Study Shows How Gut Bacteria Affect How You See the World.  See:  http://www.healthfreedoms.org/new-study-shows-how-gut-bacteria-affect-how-you-see-the-world/

Metchnikoff, E. 1907. Essais optimistes. Paris. The prolongation of life. Optimistic studies. Translated and edited by P. C. Mitchell. London: Heinemann, 1907.

Tillisch, K. et al. (2013). Consumption of Fermented Milk Product With Probiotc Modulates Brain Activity. Gastroenterology, 144:7, 1394-1401.  See:  http://www.gastrojournal.org/article/S0016-5085(13)00292-8/abstract

 

 

 

© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

No Bad Bruising After a Nasty Fall


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Updated 7/6/2014, 7/25/2014 & 1/30/2015.

 

9092096-businessman-falling-down-the-stairs

 

No, I didn’t fall down the stairs like the unfortunate man in the photo above – but I certainly did splat face down onto the floor in my own apartment a week ago. I was holding the phone in my left hand and running to answer the doorbell when I apparently tripped over the edge of a small carpet. I suspect my cat had flipped it over while she was racing around that morning and I didn’t notice it since my eyes were on the doorbell intercom screen.
At any rate, I landed gracelessly and heavily on both knees, elbows,  hands, upper chest, and chin – causing me to bite my upper lip in the bargain. But I didn’t let go of the phone so the poor woman on the other end heard me go down – and heard whatever utterances I made in the process.
As I was lying there, the ad, “Help! I’ve fallen and can’t get up!’ flashed through my mind. It turned out I was able to push myself up to standing, tell the woman I’d  call her back and answer the bell.
Fortunately, my chiropractor had time to squeeze in an appointment a few hours later. She got my skeleton more or less back into alignment – not fun. Then the only way I was able to get off the chiropractic table, where she had me lying face down to work on my back, was to ooze slowly onto the floor and pull myself up from there. Definitely not fun.
According to bone scans a few years ago, my osteopenia has become osteoporosis so a fall like this might have had serious consequences.
In the past, whenever I’ve fallen or bumped myself, colorful bruises going from blue and red to yellow and green have always resulted.
OK. That’s the background of why I’m writing this blog post. It’s what happened after the fall that has amazed me and will likely interest you.

 

 

 

 

bruises_by_freakmo_sfx-d60zc2z

 

 

bruise01

 

 

 

 

WHY BRUISES FORM AND HOW THEY HEAL

Reprinted from Bruises: Causes and Treatments by Sarah Winkler (1998-2014)

Bruising appears when tiny blood vessel, or capillaries, break due to a blow to the skin. The appearance of a bruise changes over time, and you can tell how old a bruise is and where it is in the process of healing by observing its color. Generally, your skin should look normal again in about two to three weeks after an injury.

  • When a bruise is brand new, it will appear reddish due to the color of the blood that leaked from the capillaries under the skin.
  • At one to two days old, a bruise will take on a bluish or purple color. The swelling at the site of the bruise will cause oxygen to be cut off, and hemoglobin, the substance that carries iron in your blood, will turn blue.
  • At six days old, a bruise will turn a greenish color as the hemoglobin breaks down and the area begins to heal itself.
  • At eight to nine days old, a bruise will then turn yellow or brown. This is the final stage in the body’s re-absorption of the blood.

 

 

 

 

 

Arnica montana (Credit: Köhler–s Medizinal-Pflanzen)
Arnica montana
(Credit: Köhler–s Medizinal-Pflanzen)

 

 

ARNICA

After I’d scraped myself off the floor and dealt with the postman, I immediately started taking Boiron’s homeopathic Arnica montana pellets – five pellets dissolved under the tongue 3X/day.

 

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I also started applying arnica externally to the bruises where the skin hadn’t been broken – sometimes my old favorite, Nelson’s Arnica Cream,

 

nelsons-arnicare-arnica-cream-30g__50175_zoom

 

 

and other times MJ’s Herbals’ Arnica Salve.

 

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Arnica montana, a European daisy-like mountain plant also known as leopard’s bane, wolf’s bane and mountain tobacco, has been used for centuries to heal bruises, sprains, sore muscles, muscle spasms, arthritis and joint pain. It comes in the form of homeopathic ointments, creams, gels and salves to be applied externally to areas with unbroken skin; homeopathic pellets to be taken internally; and tinctures to be used in compresses. (Weil, 2014) (Wikipedia, 2014)

 

 

 

 

PROBIOTICS FROM SUPPLEMENTS AND FERMENTED FOODS

 

bacteria

 

I’ve been taking probiotics and other high quality supplements for several years now to keep my gut microbiome – and everything else – healthy. Apparently I’ve been successful:  My last thermography report showed only a slight amount of inflammation in my digestive tract and elsewhere, a huge improvement from where I started.
Currently, I’m taking:
  • Flora Synergy (Energenix)                                          5 2x/day before meals
  • Catalyst-C (Energenix)                                                 1 3x/day before meals
  • Saccharomyces boulardii + MOS (Jarrow)          1-2 3x/day after meals
  • Transfer Factor Plus (4Life)                                       1-2 3x/day before meals
  • Coral Legend Plus (Premier Research Lab)        1 2x/day before meals
  • Phyto Cal-Mag Plus (Energetix)                               3 @ lunch/3 after dinner
  • Allicidin (Premier Research Labs)                           2 2x/day after meals
  • D3 5000iu (Metagenics)                                               1x/day
  • Ostera (Metagenics)                                                      1x/day
  • Super Omega-3 Fish Oil Concentrate                    1 2x/day                                                            1,000mg soft gels (Carlson)
NOTE: This is the right combination of probiotics and other supplements for me. That doesn’t mean it’s what would be good for you.

 

I’ve also been eating more cleanly – no gluten, more greens, more healthy saturated fats (from animal and other sources – such as coconuts), fewer unhealthy fats, less refined sugar, fewer processed foods, more organic foods, fewer GMO foods and products. And I’ve included fermented foods such as kefir and real sauerkraut in my diet and started taking a juice-based supplement called Jusuru Life Blend (more on it below).

 

To read more about probiotics, see Prebiotics and Probiotics.
To read more about the probiotic yeast Saccharomyces boulardii, see here.
To read about kefir, see Kefir.

 

 

 

 

LIQUID BIOCELL LIFE   (Jusuru, 2013)

After the fall, I increased my daily dose of Liquid BioCell Life (formerly called Jusuru) from 2 ounces 1X/day to 2 ounces 2X/day to promote healing in my ribs, cartilage and the areas of soft tissue damage.
Liquid BioCell Life is an innovative, well-researched and tested, juice-based neutraceutical that promotes joint, skin, cardiovascular and cellular health. Research on fruit-derived polyphenols has demonstrated their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, neutralizing the free radicals that cause cell damage.
Jusuru, the company name, comes from the Japanese word meaning, ‘To live!’
Liquid BioCell Life contains:
  • BioCell Collagen®
  • Resveratrol
  • Antioxidants

 

 

BIOCELL COLLAGEN®

BioCell Collagen contains Hydrolyzed Collagen, Hyaluronic Acid and Chondroitin Sulfate, ingredients that have been shown in clinical trails to:
  • Promote skin firmness, resilience and hydration
  • Promotes joint lubrication and improves joint mobility
  • Reduce stiffness and discomfort
  • Rebuild cartilage and connective tissue
  • Help retard the overall aging process
  • Improve eye health
  • Nourish the scalp for healthier hair
  • Strengthen nails
  • Improve gum health by strengthening gingival fibers that attach the teeth
HYDROLYZED COLLAGEN
  • The most abundant protein found in joint cartilage and the dermis of the skin
  • Provides the structural framework for connective tissues to keep skin firm and resilient, and joints active and fluid
HYALURONIC ACID
  • The gel-like substance that holds cells together
  • A molecule that helps provide hydration to skin and lubrication to joints
  • Found anywhere there is moisture in the body

 

CHONDROITIN SULFATE
  • A naturally occurring protein
  • Gives cartilage its amazing shock-absorbing properties
  • Fills the ground substance in skin dermis

 

 

 

RESVERATROL

  • A potent antioxidant found in the skin of red grapes that makes red wine good for you
  • Each 2-ounce dose of Jusuru Life Blend contains the same amount of resveratrol as 4 bottles of red wine
  • “The French Paradox” explains why the French are heart-healthy and age gracefully

 

 

 

ANTIOXIDANTS

  • Antioxidant health benefits delivered via 13 superfruits – blueberry, mangosteen, açai berry, noni, red grapes, maqui, strawberry, apple, nopal, jujube, gogi, cranberry and pomegranate
  • Neutralizes free radicals to start the chain reaction toward improved health

 

I can attest that the juice is delicious tasting! It has also been most helpful in healing my colon from the nasty Clostridium difficile infection I battled in 2010.
See the Jusuru Life Blend Product Fact Sheet for a list of research reports on the supplement.


 

 

WOBENZYM® N

 

 

wobenzym-n1

 

 

When I spoke with David Miller, MD, one of my trusted health advisers,  six days after the fall, he approved of what I was doing and taking to recover from my injuries. He also suggested adding another supplement, Wobenzym® N – a combination of enzymes that’s especially good for promoting bone, tendon and muscle healing. It’s a German product that’s been around for 50 years.
The dose Dr Miller recommended for me is five tablets 2-3 hours after dinner or 45 minutes before a meal.

 

 

 

ABOUT WOBENZYM N  (Douglas Laboratories Canada, 2008) (Garden of Life, 2014)

 

Wobenzym N is a systemic enzyme formula containing a synergistic combination of plant-based enzymes, pancreatic enzymes and antioxidants. It was first introduced in Germany in the 1960’s. Its powerful yet delicate enzymes are contained in a vegetable-based enteric coating to ensure they reach the small intestine intact. The enzymes then get absorbed from the small intestine into the blood stream.
Wobenzym N:
  • Provides clinically demonstrated relief from everyday aches, pains and muscle soreness due to everyday activity and injuries
  • Promotes increased flexibility and mobility
  • Supports joint and tendon health
  • Maintains and supports a balanced immune system
  • Promotes health blood circulation
  • Supports health aging
  • Works holistically — throughout the entire body

 

 

BENEFITS OF THE ENZYMES IN WOBENZYM N
Enzymes are fascinating essential biological catalysts involved in almost every single process in the body. They initiate millions of chemical reactions every second in the human body. It is easy to see why supplementing with systemic enzymes can have far-reaching benefits to the human body.
The enzyme blend in Wobenzym N contains the following, clinically studied enzymes: pancreatin, papain (papaya extract), bromelain (pineapple extract), trypsin and chymotrypsin (pancreatic enzymes). Each of these is a protease – meaning they break down proteins. The formula also contains the antioxidant flavonoid rutin.
This supplement provides systematic enzyme support to assist the body’s various regulatory and communication systems, especially the immune system. As I’ve stressed throughout this site, a balanced immune system is necessary for good health. In order to make sure that the systemic effect of the enzyme support succeeds, active enzyme molecules must be available in the small intestine for absorption.

 

WHY THE ENZYMES NEED TO BE TAKEN ON AN EMPTY STOMACH
Wobenzym N is best taken on an empty stomach – at least 30 minutes before a meal or at least two hours after the last meal of the day – to maximize its absorption from the small intestine into the blood stream.
For the enzymes to function properly, the supplement should be taken with a glass of water at room temperature or below. If it’s taken with a warm to hot liquid such as coffee or tea, the enteric coating on the tablets may become compromised, interfering with the enzymes’ reaching the small intestine. Taking it with milk may disturb the absorption of the enzymes within the small intestine.

 

 

Wobenzym-N Ingredients List
Wobenzym-N Ingredients List

 

 

For more information on Wobenzym-N, see Douglas Laboratories – Canada’s Fact Sheet and  Garden of Life.

 

 

 

THE HEALING THAT HAS AMAZED ME

During this past week since I fell, I’ve seen only a tiny, pale blue bruise on one leg – and that little one disappeared after a day. The tips of both elbows are bright red but have never turned any other color. I continue to be sore, swollen in the damaged places and stiff in the knees but the heavy bruising I was expecting never materialized. I figured this all was either a sign of something dreadful – or a very good sign.
The second night after the fall, when the tissue swelling had gone down a little on the side of my chest that had taken the brunt of the fall, I realized there was also some sharp pain underneath so had chest X-rays the following day – which revealed small fractures in the 6th and 9th ribs on that side. Four X-rays of my injured left hand didn’t reveal any breakage.
My health adviser,  David Miller, MD, gave an interesting explanation for why I’ve had no visible bruises anyplace on my body from that major fall: He says it’s because all the probiotic and other supplements I take regularly, plus the Jusuru drink supplement I’ve been taking the last few months, have gotten my circulatory system into great shape, allowing the blood that escaped from the damaged capillaries to get quickly and efficiently re-absorbed by my body. The homeopathic Arnica montana I’ve been taken internally and the arnica salve and cream I’ve applied externally since the fall have helped too. He expects my ribs to heal quickly. (Miller, 2014) Given what’s happened already – and what’s not happened,  I do too.

 

 

 

Pain-Scale

 

 

I’d rate the pain resulting from this fall as 3.5 at its highest and most of the time as around 2. Using Kristin Prevallet’s techniques as described in her book Visual Comfort: Pain Management and the Unconscious Mind, I’ve been able to get it to 0.5 much of the time – ie, I’m not much aware of it.
For more on Kristin’s techniques, see Visualize Comfort.

 

 

 

 

 

june-july_stump

 

 

UPDATE A MONTH AFTER THE FALL

July 8th:
About two weeks after the fall, to further support healing, Dr Miller suggested I increase my dose of Wobenzym N for five days, from 5 tablets before bedtime to 10 tablets 45 minutes before breakfast + 10 tablets 45 minutes before dinner or at bedtime – and then return to 5 tablets before bedtime.
July 11th:
City MD, where I had the chest and hand X-rays a few days after the fall, made a follow-up appointment for me with a hand surgeon. She said she couldn’t tell what she needed to know from those four X-rays of my hand so did five more, looked at the area with ultrasound, and fit my hand with a splint to immobilize the possibly broken thumb. She also ordered two MRI’s so she could see if there was perhaps a bone chip or ligament damage around the thumb or in the wrist.
The splint was a mixed blessing – it gave my thumb and wrist a rest but pressed right on the exquisitely painful area.
July 16th:
The MRI’s told the hand surgeon that there were no broken bones or bone chips, the tendons were unharmed, but there was considerable arthritis in that thumb (from an old repetitive strain injury) and a large fluid-filled cyst at the joint in my left thumb that was causing swelling, pain, and impeding usage – a result of the fall.
She used an U/S machine to locate the cyst and give a cortisone shot right into it. Not fun – but the swelling and pain did recede and gave me back the use of that hand.
She also cut the splint down and made it looser in the area of the cyst. I only wear the splint now when I’m in a situation (such as on the subway or in a crowd) where my hand might get bumped.
July 23
This is the most interesting experience so far in my efforts to heal from the fall:
I saw a chiropractor who works mostly with energy to heal the physical body and soothe the energy stored in the body from past traumas.
These are the healing modalities he uses:
Applied Kinesiology, Total Body Modification (TBM), Matrix Energetics + Garcia Innergetics (Quantum Physics-based energy work), Yuen Method (energy-based work), Eyelight Therapy, Natural Healing Systems, Graston (myofascial technique used by pro and college sports teams), Theta Healing (energy-based work focused on flipping belief systems), NET (Neuro-Emotional Technique), The Sedona Method, Sat Nam Rasayan (yogic healing), Cold Low Level Laser therapy, Activator, and other modalities + techniques he’s created on his own. He also draws upon his knowledge as a certified Kundalini Yoga instructor, certified
Sedona Method coach, Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) practitioner, and Kabbalah Student.
I had some quite vivid dreams that night – not nightmares. In the one I remember, my left leg from ankle to just above the knee was covered with vivid red and blue bruises. Supposedly they were an aftermath of the 6/25 fall but even in the dream I knew they weren’t really there.
I felt very good the following day – barely aware of my fractured ribs, the residual swelling in my left thumb area was gone, and I generally felt lighter in my body and mind.
There was also lots of peeing going on yesterday & today – releasing of toxins.
While I’m certainly not glad to have fallen and incurred these injuries, I am glad for what I’ve learned during the healing process this past month.

 

 

 

healing-beach-help-it

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Douglas Laboratories – Canada. (2008). Wobenzym-N.  See:  http://www.wobenzym.ca/facts.cfm

Garden of Life. (2014). Wobenzym-N. See:  http://www.gardenoflife.com/Products-for-Life/Immunity-Support/Wobenzym-N.aspx

Hardin, J.R. (2013). Kefir. AllergiesAndYourGut.com.  See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/superimmunity/kefir/

Hardin, J.R. (2013). Prebiotics and Probiotics. AllergiesAndYourGut.com.  See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/superimmunity/prebiotics-and-probiotics/

Hardin, J.R. (2014). Saccharomyces boulardii. AllergiesAndYourGut.com.  See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/superimmunity/saccharomyces-boulardii/

Hardin, J.R. (2014). Visualize Comfort. AllergiesAndYourGut.com.  See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2014/06/30/visualizing-comfort/

Jusuru. (2013). Jusuru Life Blend™ Product Fact Sheet. See:  http://www.jusururesources.com/Product%20Materials/Jusuru_ProductFactSheet_USA_v01_Sep2011.pdf

Miller, D. (2014). Personal communication.

Prevallet, K. (2014). Visualize Comfort: Pain Management and the Unconscious Mind (Book 3, v.1).  Wide Reality Books: NYC.

Weil, A. (2014). Herbal Remedies – Arnica. See:   http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/REM00027/Arnica-Dr-Weil-Herbal-Remedies.html

Wikipedia. (2014). Arnica montana. See:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arnica_montana

Winkler, S. (1998-2014. Bruises: Causes and Treatments. HowStuffWorks.com.  See: http://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/problems/beauty/bruise1.htm

 

© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

 

Kefir Meatball Soup

Kefir, one of the oldest cultured milk products in existence, is regarded by many (including me) as a super food. It is a fermented, yogurt-like drink made from cow, goat or sheep’s milk, containing probiotic yeasts along with ten strains of live, beneficial bacteria … billions of active probiotics to support the immune system and balance the gut microbiome.
Here’s a delicious way to get the health benefits of kefir into yourself and your family … a refreshing reworking of an old Armenian recipe. If you’ve perused the Kefir page on this site, you’ll perhaps recall that kefir comes from the Caucasus Mountains in that part of the world.