January 24, 2017

The Reality of Lyme Disease Infectiousness

Building a Strong Immune System 

by Dr. Scott Saunders

“You’re number 80,” the middle-aged woman said mournfully as she walked in.

“You’re exaggerating.” I stated matter-of-factly.

“No,” she replied, “I’m counting!”

doctor healed lyme disease v2For the previous seven years Jane had been to 79 doctors for an illness that nobody could figure out.  She was having chest pain and difficulty breathing, but nobody could find anything wrong with her heart or lungs.  Nothing turned up on blood tests, x-rays, and other investigations.  She continued to get worse over time, including fatigue, weakness, and joint pains. We finally determined that she was suffering from a very elusive infection – Lyme disease.

Lyme Disease Discovery

The story of how Lyme disease was discovered is fascinating.  Lyme disease was unknown until 1973 when a group of people became ill with a mysterious disease in Lyme, Connecticut.  Due to the persistence of mothers of several sick children, an investigation was conducted. The disease was named “Lyme disease.” At the time, it was considered a tick-borne disease. However, the exact cause was unknown until 1981 when the spirochete organism was found in ticks in Colorado.  Dr. Willy Burgdorf was studying another illness caused by ticks when the bacteria for Lyme, called spirochetes, were found.

Spirochetes are not like other types of bacteria or viruses.  They have unique characteristics that allow them to infect any cell or tissue in the body.  They can also evade the immune system, both by hiding inside cells and by producing a protective coating.  For this reason, they can cause any type of problem and disguise as many illnesses. This is why syphilis, another spirochete-like Borrelia, was called “The Great Imitator.”  It could imitate any disease because it can infect any tissue. Its symptoms are like those of many other diseases, from rashes to schizophrenia.  One researcher on syphilis noted:

Spirochetes“In two-thirds of untreated people, spirochetes and host will live amicably together until the patient dies of other causes, in about a third, however, the organism will continue to act upon the host to cause a variety of mischief.”[1]

These exact words could be used to describe Lyme disease today. The “variety of mischief” means it could infect any organ or tissue, causing any sort of problem. Indeed, Lyme disease could be “The Great Imitator” of the 21st Century!

A Stealthy Disease

Even though Lyme disease was only recognized 40 years ago, new discoveries found the Lyme bacteria in a fossilized tick from the Dominican Republic, indicating that it existed before humans walked the Earth.[2] The oldest known human to have Lyme disease was a mummified body found in a glacier in the Italian Alps that may be as old as 5300 years![3]

Lyme Disease Symptoms

Lyme disease bullseye rashThe symptoms of Lyme disease are as variable as the people who have it.  It is a slippery condition to diagnose because nothing defines it, except a known tick bite. Subsequently, the tick bite produces a rash known as erythema chronicum migrans (EM) days to weeks later.

These rashes typically look like a “target,” but are actually highly variable. The CDC states that up to a third of people with Lyme disease never get, or see, a rash. In some cases rashes may spread beyond the original bite, and persist for years.

Other common symptoms include:

(3 to 30 days after tick bite)

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle and joint aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Later Signs and Symptoms

later signs and symptoms of lyme disease(Weeks to years after tick bite)

  • Severe headaches and neck stiffness
  • Additional EM rashes on other areas of the body
  • Severe fatigue
  • Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly the knees and other large joints
  • Facial or Bell’s palsy (loss of muscle tone or droop on one or both sides of the face)
  • Intermittent pain in tendons, muscles, joints, and bones
  • Heart palpitations or an irregular heart beat (Lyme myocarditis)
  • Episodes of dizziness or shortness of breath
  • Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
  • Nerve pain
  • Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Problems with short-term memory[4]

Lyme Disease Testing

Jane had visited so many doctors who weren’t able to find a diagnosis because there is no accurate way to know if she had Lyme disease. The tests for Lyme look for antibodies, but the organism doesn’t always produce antibodies. Many people have little or no immune response to the presence of the spirochete. If you test positive, there is a good chance you have it. However, if you test negative, that doesn’t rule it out. Twenty years ago doctors were told that in order to have Lyme disease four criteria had to be met:

  1. The patient had to be in the Northeastern United States
  2. The tick had to be attached for more than 36 hours
  3. There had to be an EM rash
  4. There had to be a positive blood test

It turns out that as more research is done, some people with Lyme disease may have only two, one, or even none of these. Unfortunately, most doctors still only know these four criteria, and fail to recognize many cases of Lyme disease.

Lyme Disease is Increasing in Numbers

In January 2014 Lymedisease.org reported,

“Last summer the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that Lyme disease is much more common than previously thought, with over 300,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the United States. That makes Lyme disease almost twice as common as breast cancer and six times more common than HIV/AIDS.”[5]

We’re not sure that there are that many black-legged tick bites every year! In spite of this, the CDC continues to assert that the disease can only be acquired by ticks. Clearly, these numbers are much greater than can be explained by only tick bites.

Lyme Disease Transmission

To continue reading the rest of this article, please sign in using your Home Cures That Work login. Not a Home Cures That Work member yet? Click Here to join our exclusive membership and gain access to all our amazing articles!

The Incredible Brain – And How to Keep Yours Working

Your Brain Repair Program

by Dr. Scott Saunders

The brain is arguably your most important organ. Primarily because it controls everything else. Compared to all the other tissues of the body, it uses the most energy and circulation by far. What’s more, a hard shell protects the brain, which sits in water for added shock-absorption.

It is important to protect your brain in other ways, as well. The “blood-brain barrier” prevents unwanted material, like viruses and bacteria in the blood, from crossing over into the brain tissue. The brain even requires a very specific protein to transport glucose to itself from the blood. Clearly it is important to protect your brain!

brain repair program However, in spite of all this protection, so many of us have brain dysfunctions, such as:

  • Loss of memory
  • Dementia, like Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Strokes
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Pain
  • Gradual brain shrinkage

In fact, half of all Americans who reach the age of 85 have Alzheimer’s disease. [1] How can all this happen if the brain is so well-protected?

Even though the array of factors that can cause brain dysfunction is vast, I want to provide you with the most potent brain-protecting information.

The most important issues for the brain are:

  • Nutrition
  • Energy production
  • Free-radicals
  • Toxins
  • Exercise

Nutrition for the Brain

The brain needs a constant supply of oxygen and sugar for energy. In fact, every essential nutrient is used to fuel the brain. Amino acids that come from the protein you eat are the building blocks of your brain’s network. They help make your neurotransmitters.

If your brain is lacking amino acids, then the deficiency reflects in emotional and behavioral dysfunction. Click to Tweet.

If your brain becomes malnourished from low oxygen, lack of nutrients, or toxins, then it atrophies and you lose brainpower. Some of the brain cells may die, but they can also go into an unconscious state, called “senescence.”

The brain functions that are lost first are the non-essential ones, such as memory. The essential functions of muscle control, and sensory input are the last to be affected. Thus, a loss of memory may be an early sign of a lack of energy to the brain. Just as our brain influences our health, so our health influences our brain.

What Causes the Brain to Atrophy

1. Lack of oxygen

  1. Smoking
  2. Lack of exercise
  3. Carbon monoxide poisoning
  4. Vascular disease
  5. Strokes

2. Lack of nutrients

  1. Proteins due to diet or poor digestion
  2. Good fats
  3. B-vitamins (especially folate and B12)
  4. Anti-oxidants
  5. Magnesium, zinc, and trace minerals

3. Toxins

  • Alcohol
  • Aspartame (and other sweeteners)
  • MSG
  • Caffeine
  • Stimulants
  • Sugar
  • Heavy metals:
    – Mercury
    – Lead
    – Arsenic
    – Aluminum
  • Drugs/medications
    – Sleeping pills
    – Allergy medications
    – Cholesterol medication
    – Pain medications
    – Depression medications

 4. Inflammation

The above factors (such as cigarette smoking, medications, obesity, disrupted sleep patterns and poor dietary habits) compromise the integrity of your brain. These irritants stimulate inflammation.

The brain is particularly susceptible to oxidative damage. Energy is generated from food, and regulates growth and change of cells. Too much energy for the brain causes oxidation, damage, or “rust.”

For example, when you have a nice car, you wash and wax it regularly so the paint doesn’t oxidize. Oxidation occurs when energy from the sun and oxygen combine and break down the molecular structure of the paint.

There is no way for the car paint to protect itself. So we keep the car in the garage, put a cover on it, or wax it regularly. The wax absorbs the energy, oxidizes, and comes off – then we replace it. You may not like to wax your car, but it’s better than replacing the paint!

Likewise energy is generated from food, and regulates growth and change of brain cells. Too much energy causes oxidative damage by “oxygen free-radicals.” These are high-energy molecules that damage everything they touch – like the sun. They are especially dangerous to DNA because the damage may cause entire loss of the cell. Losing brain cells is not good for memory! Research has shown that simply eating too many calories can increase the amount of damaging molecules like free radicals that can build up in the brain.[2] When these dangerous little free radical particles become too numerous for the brain to remove, they can lead to problems in cognitive function, death of neurons, premature aging, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.

All aging is caused by damage to DNA in different cell types of the body. But the brain is especially sensitive to damage because brain cells don’t divide or regenerate. That decay is evident in brain tissue with selective loss of brain cells in areas associated with mobility, learning and memory. This is why those functions deteriorate most rapidly with aging.

We can prevent the “aging” of the brain the same way we can prevent the “aging” of the paint on our car. We just need to know how to do this so hundreds of thousands of Americans like you aren’t robbed of joy and satisfaction in life each year.

We need energy to survive, but energy causes damage! Click to Tweet

The brain’s appetite for energy is great. Thus, we need enough, but not too much energy. How do we walk this fine line?

While there is still a lot to learn about our brain’s metabolism, I have worked out a few ways to help keep your thinking organ in shape, now and as you age.

The Principles of Preventing Cellular Brain Damage

To continue reading the rest of this article, please sign in using your Home Cures That Work login. Not a Home Cures That Work member yet? Click Here to join our exclusive membership and gain access to all our amazing articles!

Nutrition for Increasing Brain Function

Foods to fuel your brain, increase your mental performance and sharpen your memory

by Amanda Box

Although each of us is a person made of parts, there is a single part of our body that defines who we are—the brain. It governs our personality, our thought processes and our memories.

The brain is by far the most complex organ within the human body. However, often in our quest to keep our body healthy, we overlook our brain. Typically, our focus concerning health centers on preventing things like heart disease, cancer and diabetes. When it comes to diet, most of our healthy choices have to do with the cardiovascular and digestive systems. The reality is we are ignoring the very part of our body that makes us who we are!

Giving our brain the nourishment it needs should really be our foremost concern. This will preserve our memory, give us the focus we need for daily tasks and keep us in good spirits. Even as we age, having a strong, energetic brain is possible with the proper nutrition!

The brain is a unique organ in that it does not have the ability to store nutrients. This makes it imperative that your daily diet contains the proper nutrition that the brain needs. The brain requires a constant stream of oxygen and nutrients from the blood. What you eat throughout the day directly affects the health of your brain and its ability to function at maximum capacity.

Basing your diet around your brain’s needs can improve your:

  • Memory
  • Focus and concentration
  • Alertness
  • Mood

Just think, the food you’re eating could be contributing to that foggy feeling, depression, or anxiety that you battle. Furthermore, what you eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner can directly act on your brain’s capacity to remember.

You have the power to change the way you think, simply by changing your diet!

Eating the right foods can provide anti-aging effects inside your brain keeping you alert, focused and mentally invigorated long past retirement!

Macro and Micro Nutrition

high blood sugar leads to brain shrinkage and memory lossA healthy, optimal functioning brain needs nutrition from both macro and micro sources. Macronutrients include carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Micronutrients are much smaller molecules like vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Though most foods contain some sort of macro and micro nutrition, only a specific combination of these two forms can create the perfect combination for brain health.

The Macronutrients of Brain Function

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are important for providing a steady stream of glucose to the brain. Glucose literally acts as a source of fuel by powering the brain and keeping brain cells alive. However, not all carbohydrates are created equal. It is only complex carbs like those found in whole grains and vegetables that keep your blood glucose levels stable. They provide a constant flow of glucose to keep the brain alert and functioning at maximum capacity.

However, simple carbohydrates like those found in refined grains and white sugar can lead to spikes in blood glucose. Over time, the brain can actually become damaged from chronically high glucose levels. Studies have shown that those with diabetes and unstable blood sugar are at risk for developing cognitive impairment and dementia![1] Another study found that high blood sugar led to brain shrinkage that resulted in loss of memory![2] Maintaining normal blood sugar levels is extremely important in preserving the brain’s functions and memory.

Interestingly there’s little evidence that consuming a lot of carbohydrates is necessary for fueling the brain. The brain can also run on ketone bodies, which are an alternative fuel when glucose is not available. However, you still must provide the brain with healthy fat in order to have ketones available.

Limit your carbohydrates to those found in whole grains, vegetables and fruits. Following the Barton Publishing Food Plate provides a great visual for how much of the diet should include carbohydrates, proteins and fats. The Barton Publishing Food Plate offers a great improvement over the outdated and unhealthy US Food Pyramid.

Proteins

Proteins are important in the diet because they are the building blocks of amino acids. Amino acids from proteins are used to make neurotransmitters, which allow your brain to network and communicate.

A common neurotransmitter is serotonin, which is helpful for sleep patterns, blood pressure and a calm mood.

Eating protein also increases the levels of the amino acid tyrosine in the body. Tyrosine converts into dopamine and norepinephrine, which contribute to alertness and promote mental energy.

Barton Publishing Food PlateIt is estimated that 86% of Americans have suboptimal levels of neurotransmitters.[3] Eating adequate levels of protein increases neurotransmitters and therefore increases brain activity.

Great sources of protein include:

  • Free range eggs
  • Grass fed beef
  • Free range chicken
  • Unsweetened organic yogurt or kefir
  • Quality whey, rice, or hemp protein powder

Most people require about 40-60 grams of protein a day according to their weight. Remember, although plant protein found in beans and nuts is beneficial, it is missing important amino acids. Vegetarian proteins are not complete proteins. Incorporate plenty of animal sourced complete proteins into your diet in order to maintain the levels of amino acids needed for the brain’s neurotransmitters.

As always, it’s a matter of balance. Eat foods that provide the full spectrum of amino acids your brain needs for an appropriate harmony of energizing and calming neurotransmitters. Pay attention to what you eat and how you feel afterward. Learn what works best for you according to your daily activities and need for rest.

Fat

Fat is the most important macronutrient needed by the brain. The human brain is composed of around 60% fat, making dietary fat incredibly important for brain health! The low fat diet trend in recent years has starved the brain of necessary fat and cholesterol. Instead, low fat diets promoted carbohydrates, which raised blood sugar causing both damage and atrophy of the brain.

Mayo Clinic research found that individuals who ate high carbohydrate diets had a remarkable 89% increased risk for developing dementia! Conversely, those whose diets contained the most fat had an incredible 44% reduction in risk for developing dementia.[4]

Two forms of fat are necessary for the brain:

  1. Saturated fat
  2. Cholesterol

I understand that promoting these two forms of fat in the diet probably goes against everything you’ve been taught about a healthy diet. However, facts are facts.

The brain uses saturated fats as the building blocks of its cells. Click to Tweet.

Just think about it. What is human breast milk primarily comprised of? Saturated fat! An infant requires this high fat content to meet the needs of its brain growth and development. This form of fat is not enemy #1, rather the form of fat that nature provides to promote growth of the human brain!

Cholesterol is essential for the brain as well. Often demonized as the culprit behind heart disease and even strokes, cholesterol actually protects the brain! The brain contains 25% of the body’s total cholesterol.

Therefore, it is no surprise that cholesterol-lowering medications now warn against memory decline. Click to Tweet.

Interestingly, those with the highest levels of cholesterol may have the lowest risk of dementia.[5] Remember, cholesterol isn’t the bad guy! It actually keeps your brain healthy and young.

When incorporating fat into your diet, always stay clear of trans-fats and hydrogenated oils. These are not natural forms of saturated fats and can cause damage and inflammation throughout the body. Margarine, shortening, and many fried and fast foods contain this dangerous fat.

healthy fats to enhance mental performance and preserve memoryDon’t be afraid any longer to add healthy sources of saturated fat into your diet!

Build your brain with fat! Click to Tweet.

Some of the best saturated fats to include in your diet are:

  • Extra virgin coconut oil
  • Grass fed beef
  • Free range eggs
  • Pasture butter (Kerry Gold is a great brand)

Putting these brain-boosting fats onto your plate and into your body will enhance brain function, increase mental performance and preserve memory.

Specialized Micronutrients for Brain Power

There are 3 very important micronutrients that provide the brain with specialized nutrition:

  • B vitamins
  • Vitamin D
  • Omega 3 DHA (technically, a fatty acid)

Each one of these specific nutrients has an important job in the brain by impacting the way we think, feel and remember.

B Vitamins

B vitamins are often referred to as the “anti-stress vitamins” because of their ability to increase our tolerance for stress. This group of vitamins also helps lift our mood and provides mental energy for the brain.

However, that’s not all! A recent study revealed that B vitamins slow brain shrinkage that can occur with age. Furthermore, these vitamins specifically slowed shrinkage in brain regions known to be most impacted by Alzheimer’s disease![6]

The B vitamins are your brain’s vitamins! Click to Tweet.

Vitamin B12, in particular, is of greatest concern because deficiencies in this important vitamin are associated with dementia, memory loss, depression and even schizophrenia. Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include: fatigue, shortness of breath, diarrhea or constipation, problems concentrating and pale skin.

As we age, we often lose the ability to absorb B12 properly, so blood testing is important in maintaining proper levels. B12 shots may be needed to boost this crucial vitamin.

Vitamin B12 is solely found in animal products like meat, fish, dairy, and eggs. So it may be necessary for strict vegetarians and vegans to supplement B12, since it can be difficult for them to get enough of the vitamin.

Folic acid is another important B vitamin for the health of your brain. Folic acid is imperative for the nervous system at every age. However, folic acid deficiency contributes to aging brain processes, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia especially among the elderly.

folic acid food sourcesFolic acid is found in:

  • Leafy greens
  • Oranges
  • Oatmeal
  • Asparagus
  • Many varieties of beans

Keeping healthy levels of all of the B vitamins is extremely important for brain health. If you have any concerns about your B vitamin levels, it is a good idea to get them checked.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D, though not found naturally in many foods, is another important vitamin for the brain. Low levels of vitamin D can cause confusion, forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating. Many tissues in the brain contain vitamin D receptors, which when activated by vitamin D, encourage nerve cell growth. Some researchers believe that vitamin D also helps repair damaged neurons in the brain![7]

Increasing your vitamin D is done easily by exposing yourself to sunshine for just 20-30 minutes a day. However, supplementation is also helpful if your vitamin D levels are extremely low. Taking 35 IU per pound of body weight is a great daily dose to keep your blood levels within a healthy range. Free-range eggs are also a great source of dietary vitamin D.

Protect your brain against cognitive deficits with vitamin D.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega 3 fatty acids, specifically DHA, are the building blocks of the brain. Brain cells, otherwise called neurons, transmit messages throughout the brain and to other parts of the body. The membrane around these neurons is made up of fat, 60% of which is DHA.

In order for the neurons to communicate properly, these membranes need to be flexible. If these membranes become stiff, molecules cannot pass through the neurons correctly and can result in mood imbalances, difficulty learning, and impaired recall. Adding omega-3 fatty acids to your diet can restore the flexible nature of the neuron cell membranes. This results in increased cell communication, memory and brain function!

Omegas also seem to ward off the cognitive decline that often comes with age. Omega-3 fatty acids with DHA are found in fatty fish such as:

  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Herring

Consuming a diet that promotes a healthy, focused and energized brain takes a diet that is balanced in both micro and macro nutrition. The Barton Publishing Brain Health Solution Kit contains a list of the top 20 memory boosting foods. This makes a great reference and shopping guide for those of you just beginning your journey towards a healthy, balanced diet.

Below are two recipes that incorporate foods that are low in carbohydrates, rich in healthy fats and brimming with vitamins and minerals. These foods will fuel your brain, increase your mental performance and sharpen your memory.

Start out your day right with a Brain Boosting Smoothie! This easy-to-make meal is great for breakfast or a quick on-the-go snack. It contains healthy fats, protein, vitamins and minerals, which nourish your brain cells and provide the mental energy it needs to focus.

Brain Boosting Smoothie

brain boosting smoothieIngredients

  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1 scoop whey protein powder (no sugar or artificial sweeteners added)
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 banana (optional)
  • ¼ cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup ice
  • Flavor of choice: 1 TBSP organic cocoa powder, ½ cup strawberries, 1 tsp cinnamon, etc.)

Instructions

  1. Put all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth.

This recipe can be adapted to fit your preferences.[8] You can use cold brewed coffee, tea, almond milk, or coconut water as the base and add other fruits or flavors.

Note on Egg Yolks: Many people feel uncomfortable using raw egg in any form. I believe you must trust the source of your eggs. However, do your own research before consuming any food raw!

This next recipe contains omega 3 rich salmon along with quinoa, a protein-rich grain. This healthy dinner provides you with the healthy fats, protein and vitamins to boost brainpower.

Salmon Kabobs with Quinoa and Grapefruit Salad

Salad Ingredients:

  • Salmon Kabobs with Quinoa and Grapefruit Salad1 medium grapefruit
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 small serrano or jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 2 scallions minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Fish:

  • 1 1/2 pound skinless, center-cut salmon, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • Wooden skewers, soaked

Directions

  1. Rinse the quinoa in a bowl and drain. Put the quinoa in a small saucepan with the water and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Boil over high heat, and then reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook uncovered for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes. Transfer the quinoa to a bowl and fluff with a fork. Cool.
  2. Segment the grapefruit over a bowl, reserving the segments and juice separately. Whisk 3 tablespoons of the grapefruit juice with the vinegar, honey, ginger and salt to taste in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in 3 tablespoons the olive oil, starting with a few drops and then adding the rest in a stream to make a slightly thick dressing. Season with pepper to taste.
  3. Toss quinoa with the dressing, chiles, scallions, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Preheat a stovetop or outdoor grill to high heat. Thread the salmon cubes onto the skewers. Brush with the remaining 1 tablespoon grapefruit oil, and season with salt and pepper. Grill the skewers, turning as each side browns, while keeping the salmon moist, about 3 minutes.
  5. Toss the grapefruit segment into the salad, divide among 4 plates, and top with the salmon kebobs. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Are you looking to improve your brain function, preserve your memory and increase your focus and concentration? Begin by changing your diet! Your brain will respond to the macro and micro nutrients you feed it.

Incorporate healthy fats, protein, omega 3s, B vitamins and vitamin D into your daily life and feel your mind transform. If it is truly our brain that makes us who we are, then in fact we truly are what we eat.

If you liked this article, then you’ll love these:

 

Amanda Box, N.D.Amanda Box is a Traditional Naturopath and a graduate of Clayton College of Natural Health. She’s been in the health and wellness industry for over 12 years and currently practices naturopathic consulting in the Kansas City, Missouri area. Her passion is helping others achieve wellness of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. If you don’t have a good local naturopathic practitioner to turn to for your personal needs, Amanda does phone consultations! She can help you with weight loss, detox/cleansing, acute and chronic illnesses, skin and body care, grocery shopping, pantry overhauls, and more! Visit her blog “My Life in a Healthnut Shell” at http://amandabox.blogspot.com/ for contact info.

 

Sources:
[1] http://www.neurology.org/content/63/4/E9.full
[2] http://www.diabeticconnect.com/diabetes-discussions/general/16604-blood-sugar-and-brain-damage
[3] https://www.neurogistics.com/TheScience/WhatareNeurotransmi09CE.asp
[4] http://advances.nutrition.org/content/4/3/294.abstract
[5] http://www.neurology.org/content/64/10/1689.abstract
[6] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23690582
[7] https://beta.mssociety.ca/research-news/article/cell-based-study-reveals-that-vitamin-d-can-drive-the-activity-of-neural-stem-cells-that-promote-myelin-repair
[8] Recipe adapted from Wellnessmama.com

Bipolar Disorder: Natural Options for Balance

Once rarely diagnosed, bipolar disorder has exploded in the last 15 years.  Over 5 million Americans are currently diagnosed with bipolar disorder and childhood cases have skyrocketed, increasing over 40 fold!

What’s going on here?  Were there just as many cases before that were undiagnosed, or is something causing this rapid increase bipolar occurrence? Furthermore, is treating bipolar without strong anti-psychotic drugs really a possibility?

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder, also called manic-depressive disorder, is a mental illness that involves both periods of depression and mania, hence it’s name.  In the mania state there is little sleep, risky behavior and an inability to concentrate.  One may feel invincible and have delusions or hallucinations.

In the depressive state there are mood swings, irritability and an increased need for sleep. One may sleep for weeks and never want to get out of bed.  Suicidal thoughts are also common in the depressive state.

Degrees of bipolar vary from severe to mild.  The mania or depression state can last weeks or even years before flip flopping to the other state of mind.

It is very important that one gets a proper diagnosis for bipolar disorder before they begin any kind of treatment.  Many times a hormonal imbalance, thyroid issues or menopause can manifest similar symptoms of bipolar disorder. ADD and ADHD can also look like bipolar disorder, especially in children.

Anti-Depressants and Bipolar

I am actually shocked when one of my new clients is not taking some sort of anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medication. Drugs like Paxil and Prozac get handed out like candy to both children and adults.

Like most pharmaceutical drugs, anti-depressants don’t fix the root of the problem, but rather mask the symptoms of bipolar disorder, have terrible side effects and create long-term effects that are even worse.

Have you ever heard the commercials for anti-depressants?  Towards the end they list all the possible side-effects.  Nearly every commercial says, “Call your doctor if you have increased thoughts of suicide.”  You would think an anti-depressant would help with those types of thoughts!  Yet, these commonly prescribed medications can not only cause someone to become more depressed than they already are, but can also cause one to go into a state of mania.

Anti-depressants are some of the most overly prescribed drugs on the market. This over medication of society is causing more harm than good.

  • 25-50% of children who are on anti-depressants for 5 years end up being diagnosed with bi-polar disorder.
  • 25% of adults are diagnosed as bipolar after being on anti-depressants for 5 years.

It is my belief that the large increase in bi-polar disorder is actually caused by unneeded prescription drugs.  Anytime time you start taking a cocktail of drugs that effect brain function, there are potentially harmful and threatening risks and side effects.

SSRI anti-depressants, in particular, have the possible side effect of putting people in a bipolar mania state.  They can also cause rapid cycling in someone who already suffers from mild bipolar disorder and may not know it.  I don’t believe this is the cause in every bipolar diagnosis, but I do believe it is a contributing factor.  With around 20 million people on anti-depressants and their possible side effects, I can’t help but to think it plays a part.

If you’re dealing with depression or interested in preventing your chances of becoming bipolar, there are natural alternatives you can consider:

  • St. John’s Wort has shown to be just as effective as Prozac.
  • Exercise also has amazing benefits for depression and in studies showed better results than drugs.
  • L-Theanine and 5-HTP can also increase your serotonin levels.

Serotonin is known as our “feel good” neurotransmitter and if found in low levels, it has been linked to depression.  It plays an extremely important part in regulating our mood and sense of well-being.

I’m Bipolar. Now What?

I want to stress again that the importance of ruling out hormonal and other imbalances before you receive a bipolar diagnosis.  Once you’ve received a proper diagnosis of bipolar disorder, your psychiatrist will want to start treatment.  It is extremely important that you discuss any and all changes you are considering with your doctor.  It is not always safe to mix pharmaceuticals with natural supplements.

If you’re lucky, your doctor may be very encouraging about you seeking natural alternatives.  If not, you can always call around and see if there are any other psychiatrists in town who are.  Some chiropractors and naturopathic doctors also specialize in mental health issues, so find out who is in your area.

Diet is #1

As with any health issues, diet is key #1.  No matter how many natural pills you pop, without proper nutrition, you won’t feel the full effects.  It is very important that those with bipolar disorder eat

To continue reading the rest of this article, please sign in using your Home Cures That Work login. Not a Home Cures That Work member yet? Click Here to join our exclusive membership and gain access to all our amazing articles!

Dr. Saunders’ Personal Alzheimer’s Protection Plan

5 Prevention Techniques to Protect Your Brain Tissue

“I think he has Alzheimer’s disease…” the wife of a man in his seventies began.  Larry was having difficulty concentrating, had problems with memory and wasn’t able to work anymore.  He seemed depressed all the time.  We did some testing and found that all those years of welding had built up a large amount of heavy metals in his body – including lead.  After a series of chelation treatments to “get the lead out” his wife said, “He’s like a teenager!  He smiles again. He’s working, laughing, playing with the grandchildren and…” she leans forward and whispers, “We have sex again.”

Alzheimer’s is a decline in memory and cognition, which means the ability to think. There are many causes of declining mental function, as we noted above. The loss of brain function is not always Alzheimer’s disease.  Unfortunately, most doctors will “diagnose” every old person with dementia as “Alzheimer’s” and not look for any other cause.  It’s important for family members to know that there are many other ways to lose memory and anyone — at any age — with thinking problems needs proper testing to find out why.

This topic is personally important to me because my family moved into the home of my grandparents to take care of my grandfather who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.  It was a very difficult job for four adults to manage his care because he didn’t recognize us, or even his wife of over fifty years.  Now, I’m told I am at an increased risk of having this disease, so I have tried to find how to avoid and prevent it.

Here’s what I’ve learned.

Avoid Inflammation

.

Green Tea is a natural anti-inflammatory. Drink a cup a day — or brew it like sun tea, refrigerate and serve. My favorite is Jasmine Green Tea.


Inflammation comes from our food.  When we eat high-calorie and low-nutrient foods we create inflammation.  These include all processed foods, sweets, starchy foods, and fatty foods. In short, all the things your mom told you to avoid!  Instead, eat high-nutrient, low-calorie foods, such as fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds.

Moreover, we can turn off the genes that produce inflammation by fasting.  One to three days per month of fasting will keep most inflammation at bay.  I know of one patient who was bent over with a genetic arthritis called Ankylosing Spondylitis.  He went to Russia and went on a twenty-day fast that put his disease into complete remission. He is still doing well — as long as he fasts for several days per month.

Detoxify Continually

We can find all sorts of “Detox” or “colon cleanse” programs on the internet, but the best way to keep toxins out is

To continue reading the rest of this article, please sign in using your Home Cures That Work login. Not a Home Cures That Work member yet? Click Here to join our exclusive membership and gain access to all our amazing articles!

BrainSustain

Dr. Perlmutter’s BrainSustain, as recommended by Dr. Scott Saunders as an Alzheimer’s Disease Supplement

Nutritional Support for Enhancing Brain Function, Maintaining Memory, and Protecting the Brain

BrainSustain was developed by David Perlmutter, MD, FACN, Board-Certified Neurologist and internationally recognized leader in nutritional neurology. This product is the result of over 30 years of research in the clinical neurosciences. Ingredients used in this formula have been evaluated in extensive clinical studies and have been shown to enhance brain function, maintain memory, and protect the brain from the effects of free radicals.

BrainSustain‘s unique formula enhances brain performance and promotes brain health by improving the energy production of brain mitochondria. It facilitates neural communication, and provides superior antioxidant action that reduces the production and damaging effects of excess free radicals in the brain. This antioxidant action is vital because excess free radicals are associated with brain inflammation – a marker and common thread among such neurodegenerative disorders as poor memory, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, ALS, and others.

Taking BrainSustain is an easy, daily good health habit. Our powder formulas mix with fruit juice or smoothies to become a refreshing and profoundly beneficial beverage – providing the highest level of brain performance enhancing nutrients and powerful brain protection to ensure long term optimal brain performance throughout your life. BrainSustain’s key ingredients have been extensively studied for efficacy at some of the world’s most well respected medical institutions.

BrainSustain is a key part of a complete program to ensure optimal brain function. A healthy diet, physical exercise and mental activity all contribute to achieving and maintaining peak mental performance.

Pin It on Pinterest