Thursday, July 12, 2018

B is for Brain: Alzheimers and NAD+

Reposted from Pain Relief Sciences

While Alzheimer’s disease cannot be cured, it can be prevented through proper nutrition. An article in Natural Health 3651 states that one of the natural ways to avoid this and other forms of dementia is to increase our intake of nicotinamide riboside (NR).

This is a formulation of vitamin B3, which helps produce and regulate energy levels in cells. Vitamin B3 also helps burn carbohydrates and fats.

The human body converts NR into nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+). The latter form ensures the good health of mitochondria (tiny organelles within a cell) – which acts as “power stations”, promoting the repair of damaged cellular DNA, and keeps brain cells from dying2.
On top of that, NAD+ also activates sirtuins, special proteins that fight the aging process. NAD+ and its precursor NR have therefore been linked to longer, healthier lifespans.

As we grow older, the amounts of NAD+ in our bodies begin to deplete. The brain becomes less capable of repairing damage to cellular DNA. It also becomes much more vulnerable to dementia, especially Alzheimer’s disease.

Study Shows Nicotinamide Riboside Reverses Effects Of Alzheimer’s Disease In Mice

A joint study3 by researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (JHU-SM) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA) investigated the effect of NR on Alzheimer’s disease.

They used an animal model with mice that possessed high levels of pTau, a protein that cause the formation of Alzheimer’s4.
pTau causes brain cell death, hampers the synaptic connections between nerve cells and weakens cognition. Mice with high levels of pTau protein suffered the same problems as humans with Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Poor memory
  • Inability to learn
  • Problems with movement
  • Deteriorating grip strength

These “Alzheimer’s” mice received NR supplements for three months. The supplement raised the amount of NAD+ in their brains by a significant margin.

The JHU-SM-NIA researchers reported that the supplemented mice quickly recovered their physical and cognitive abilities. In addition to doing better at learning and memory tests, they also grew less anxious, which is a common problem in humans suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Vitamin B3 Formulation Protects And Boosts The Brain

A separate study1 reported that NR also protected against excitotoxicity, a state when excessive stimulation of neurons in the brain starts damaging or killing the affected nerve cells. Excitotoxicity is one of the precursors for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

The second study suggested that increasing NAD+ levels in neurons can serve as an effective therapy for the disease. And the best way to raise those levels is to take more NR.
While there is no serious side effects or safety concerns identified for NR yet, the gaps in the existing evidence and the safety and potential benefits are unknown. Furthermore, the lack of long-term studies means we don’t know if it’s safe for extended use.

What’s Another Alternative Way to Protect Ourselves from Diseases Now?

Thankfully, recent studies have shown that there is a “master antioxidant” that has been clinically proven to protect the body from oxidative damage and neutralize dangerous free radicals...

Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's are caused in part by oxidative stress overload in the nervous sytems. Optimising our bodies with this antioxidant would help to overcome free radicals and prevent excessive oxidative stress, keeping these diseases at bay7...
And the best part is that it can also:

  • Supercharge energy levels...
  • Increase mental clarity...
  • Decrease heart disease risk by 80%...
  • Rebuild cells "protective coating"...


Sunday, July 8, 2018

Reposted from Healthy Holistic Living

By Abbey Ryan
All winter long we wait impatiently for the weather to get warmer so we can resume regular outdoor activities. Winter ends and we’re delighted, pulling out our BBQs, splash pads, and outdoor running shoes—until we remember what the warm weather also brings… Mosquitoes.
Generally, mosquito activity will begin when the temperature reaches the 50° F level (1). The mere mentioning of the nasty insect brings back an onslaught of memories from last summer: itchy welts, allergic reactions, bug spray, and itch creams. They’re a great way to ruin summer, by why do they tend to bite some people more than others?

Why am I a mosquito magnet?

If you appear to adopt dozens of bug bites every time you step outdoors, consider the following list of reasons for why you may be attractive to the itchy bite:
1) You’re athletic (2). Yes, taking care of your health physically comes with its downfalls as well. Mosquitoes love Lactic Acid, which our bodies produce after exercise.
2) You need to shower (3). Sweat is one of the most attractive scents to mosquitoes, particularly to the breeds carrying diseases like malaria. The bacteria that makes your old sweat have an odor smells sweet to mosquitoes. So be sure to wash yourself often and not use too many sweet-smelling soaps or perfumes as they can attract mosquitoes too.
3) You’re pregnant (2). Pregnant women emit higher levels of CO2 which is attractive to mosquitoes.
4) You’ve been drinking (2). Alcohol tends to up your metabolism, which in turn boosts your CO2 output—which in turn attracts mosquitoes. Mosquitoes seem to have a preference though. They love beer.
5) You’re wearing dark or bright clothes (2). Softer or lighter colors that blend in with the light tend to disguise you from mosquitoes, while bright or darkly colored clothes interest them.
6) You have type O blood (2). Yes, the little blood suckers even have their favorite blood to suck. According to research, Type O is twice as attractive to mosquitoes then any other blood type. They are least attracted to type A (3).

How do I keep them away from me?

In order to repel mosquitoes, you want to make sure to avoid keeping things around that they like. Ridding your yard of stagnant water and keeping your grass properly trimmed are two obvious ways to maintain a non-mosquito-friendly space, but there’s more to it than this. Here are some things you can do to repel them:
1) Shower often. As discussed, mosquitoes love the scent of old sweat. Keep that odor down and you’ll lessen your mosquito bites.
2) Wear thicker, lighter clothes that their bites can’t pierce. While this sounds like torture during the hotter months, you’ll save yourself a lot of skin irritation and aggravation. 
3) Use bug repellents. These can be found at the store, or you can mix your own by combining lemon, lemongrass, and eucalyptus oils. Mosquitoes rely heavily on their sense of smell, and utilizing smells they don’t like saves you from some itchy bumps.
4) Avoid going where mosquitoes are most likely to be —tall grasses, wind-less forests, stagnant water, etc. Mosquitoes like the warmth, damp, and stillness.
5) Eat garlic, onions, and chili peppers. These are well known foods that make your body less appetizing to mosquitoes (4).


Mosquitoes are attracted to specific things. Knowing what they like and eliminating those things can change you from a mosquito magnet to a mosquito repellent. Just don’t be afraid to take a lot of showers, be mindful of your surroundings and coat yourself in bug repellent. If you do fall victim to a few bites here and there, learn how to treat the problem as well!

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Black Cumin Seed Oil: Health Benefits

Reposted from Dr. Mercola

The use of medicinal plants to help treat various diseases is a practice that’s as old as mankind. For example, the Egyptian medical book known as the Ebers Papyrus, written in 1550 B.C., details the use of 700 different plant species for therapeutic purposes. Mentioned plants include pomegranate, garlic, willow, coriander, juniper and onion. During the seventh century, Slavic people used cucumber, nettle and yarrow to help fight against various insect bites.1
Another plant that has stood the test of time is black cumin, also known as the Nigella sativa (N. sativa) plant. In Indian Ayurveda and Unani traditional medicine, black cumin figures greatly in their practice. For Muslims, black cumin seed is known as the “Habbatul barakah” or the blessed seed. In fact, it is believed that the prophet Mohammed considered it to be a “remedy for all diseases except death.”2 One of black cumin’s most popular applications is as an herbal oil, which is extracted from the seeds.

Potential Benefits of Black Cumin Seed Oil

Plenty of research has been conducted regarding the potential benefit of black cumin seed oil. Here are some of the most notable ones:
Helps fight fungal infections: In a study published in the International Journal of Health Sciences, researchers studied the cytoprotective effect of black cumin seed oil in male rats. Results show that the group of rats treated with the oil experienced reduced effects of AFB1 (aflatoxin-B1), a toxin produced by the Aspergillus flavus group of fungi.3,4
Helps manage diabetes: In a study published from Universiti Teknologi MARA in Malaysia, researchers tested the ability of black cumin seed oil to manage diabetes in rats. They discovered that upon administration of the oil, all immunological parameters (serum glucose, Pan T- and B-lymphocytes and innate cell marker) were reduced while simultaneously increasing serum insulin levels.5
Controls inflammation: Black cumin seed oil contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may help manage certain conditions, an observation exhibited in a study published in the American Journal of Otolaryngology. Researchers noted that the oil was able to reduce the symptoms of allergic rhinitis in test subjects.6
Helps reduce cancer risk: Various studies have been conducted regarding the potential anticancer benefits of black cumin seed oil. Researchers have found that it may be helpful against these cancers:7
  • Colon
  • Pancreatic
  • Fibrosarcoma
Regular black cumin seeds may also be helpful in preventing certain cancers. Studies have found that black cumin seed may help fight these cancers:8
  • Liver
  • Lung
  • Breast
  • Blood
  • Cervical
Promotes healthy blood pressure: Black cumin seeds have been traditionally used for helping relieve hypertension, and this hypothesis was tested out in a study published in Phytotherapy Research. In a double-blind, randomized experiment, results showed that test subjects who were treated with black cumin seed oil showed a decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared to those who only took placebos.9
Helps ease skin infections: Research has shown that black cumin seeds contain strong antibacterial properties that may help fight Staphylococcus aureus, a common bacteria that can cause a variety of topical infections.10

Historical and Culinary Uses of Black Cumin Seed Oil

Black cumin seeds have been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. According to the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, the seeds and the oil were historically used to treat various disorders pertaining to the following areas:11
Respiratory system
Digestive tract
Kidney function
Liver health
Cardiovascular system
Immune system
Culinary uses of black cumin seed oil include drizzling over salads and adding to juices or shakes. It can be taken on its own by consuming a teaspoon of it. When used for eating, remember that you should not cook the oil because the heat may damage the valuable compounds.12
Black cumin seed oil can be diffused to help with asthma attacks. A study published in the Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal notes that black cumin seeds contain anti-inflammatory properties that show promising results against asthma inflammation.13

The Composition of Black Cumin Seed Oil

Scientists have been able to isolate the various active compounds that make up black cumin seed oil. Chief among them include:14
Thymoquinone (30 to 48 percent)
P-cymene (7 to 15 percent)
Carvacrol (6 to 12 percent)
4-terpineol (2 to 7 percent)
T-anethol (1 to 4 percent)
Sesquiterpene longifolene (1 to 8 percent)
According to published in vitro tests, thymoquinone (often shortened to TQ) is considered a potent antioxidant. A study in Drug and Chemical Toxicology notes that TQ may be helpful in eliminating superoxide anions.15 Another study indicates that alpha-hederin, a pentacyclic triterpene saponin, has been reported to have strong potential in fighting tumor growth.16 Black cumin seeds are also rich in various unsaturated fatty acids, including:17
  • Linoleic acid (50 to 60 percent)
  • Oleic acid (20 percent)
  • Eicosadienoic acid (3 percent)
  • Dihomolinoleic acid (10 percent)

How Does Black Cumin Seed Oil Work?

Black cumin seed oil contains different fatty acids, nutrients and active compounds that work together to benefit your health. Several studies have looked into how black cumin seeds oil work and discovered that TQ plays a crucial role in its health benefits.
In one example published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, TQ was tested against 11 human pathogenic bacteria strains. Researchers were able to observe that TQ exhibited significant antibacterial activity, especially against Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 25923.19 In another study, TQ has been found to be effective in fighting against fungi, most notably Candida albicans strain.20
Other studies have examined the cancer-fighting abilities of TQ. Researchers found that it induced a growth inhibition and apoptosis in human osteosarcoma cells,21 as well as cytotoxicity in human cervical squamous carcinoma cells.22

Potential Side Effects of Black Cumin Seed Oil

While black cumin seed oil may potentially benefit your health, it is not without its own side effects. A study published in Phytotherapy Research notes that topical application caused contact dermatitis in two persons. However, no adverse effects have been reported regarding internal use.23
Pregnant women may consume real black cumin seeds as part of a healthy diet, but high doses for therapeutic applications are generally not recommended, as it may slow down or stop the uterus from contracting. Likewise, breastfeeding mothers are advised to avoid black cumin seed oil, as there’s not much information about its effects on your and your child’s health.24

Go Ahead and Give Black Cumin Seed Oil a Try

Based on published studies, as well as thousands of years of history, it’s safe to say that black cumin seed oil may potentially benefit your health in various ways. If you want to try it, remember that it should not be heated or you will risk damaging the beneficial compounds. Furthermore, try making your own black cumin seed oil at home to ensure freshness at all times if you have the resources to do so.