Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Relationship Between Vitamin D and Insulin Resistance

Reposted from Dr. Mercola

By Dr. Mercola
Vitamin D is a steroid hormone that influences virtually every cell in your body, which is why maintaining a healthy level is so important. Low vitamin D levels are widely known to harm your bones, leading them to become thin, brittle, soft or misshapen.
But vitamin D is equally important for your heart, brain, immune function and much more. For example, there's an important connection between insufficient vitamin D and insulin resistance and/or diabetes, both type 11 and type 2.

Vitamin D Deficiency May Influence Your Type 2 Diabetes Risk

According to recent research, vitamin D deficiency affects your glucose metabolism and may actually be more closely linked to diabetes than obesity. In a study of 118 people, those with low vitamin D levels were more likely to have type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes or metabolic syndrome, regardless of their weight.
Among obese people, those without metabolic disorders had higher levels of vitamin D than those with such disorders, and among lean people, those with metabolic disorders were more likely to have low levels of vitamin D. According to one of the study's authors:2
"The study suggests that vitamin D deficiency and obesity interact synergistically to heighten the risk of diabetes and other metabolic disorders. The average person may be able to reduce their risk by maintaining a healthy diet and getting enough outdoor activity."
It's not the first time vitamin D has been shown to play a role in diabetes. One Indian study found that vitamin D and calcium supplementation, in combination with exercise, can prevent pre-diabetes from progressing into full-blown diabetes.
For every unit increase in vitamin D levels, the risk of progression to diabetes in people with pre-diabetes went down by 8 percent.3
Another study4 published in 2013 found that type 2 diabetics given 50,000 IUs of oral vitamin D3 per week for eight weeks experienced "a meaningful reduction" in fasting plasma glucose and insulin. Other research showing this link includes but is not limited to the following:
  • Animal studies have shown vitamin D is a foundational factor necessary for normal insulin secretion5,6 and that vitamin D improves insulin sensitivity7,8
  • One study involving nearly 5,680 individuals with impaired glucose tolerance showed that vitamin D supplementation increased insulin sensitivity by 54 percent9
  • The mechanisms by which vitamin D reduces insulin resistance include its effect on calcium and phosphorus metabolism and by upregulating the insulin receptor gene10

Vitamin D May Lower Risk of Hyperglycemia in Those Taking Atypical Antipsychotics

Certain drugs can raise your risk of metabolic dysfunction. For example, statin drugs can trigger drug-induced diabetes. Atypical antipsychotics such as quetiapine, a bipolar medication, have also been linked to an increased risk of hyperglycemia and diabetes.
In the latter case, research suggests vitamin D3 may counteract these effects. As reported by The American Journal of Managed Care:11
"Atypical antipsychotics have long been associated with an increased risk of hyperglycemia — which can lead to new-onset diabetes, diabetic ketoacidosis, coma and even death.
Some proposed mechanisms for this effect include weight gain, decreased insulin secretion from pancreatic beta cells and insulin resistance.
To determine whether there were any medications that could decrease this likelihood of hyperglycemia, researchers analyzed the FDA's Adverse Event Reporting (FAERS) system — a database that logs self-reported adverse effects or medication errors submitted by patients.
By cross-referencing atypical antipsychotics and hyperglycemia, the study authors found that patients who had been simultaneously prescribed to take vitamin D and quetiapine were somehow less likely to have hyperglycemia."
Subsequent animal studies produced similar results. Mice given vitamin D and quetiapine had significantly lower blood sugar levels compared to mice given quetiapine alone. According to lead author Takuya Nagashima, vitamin D inhibits quetiapine from reducing an enzyme that causes hyperglycemia.
Based on these results, the authors suggest combining antipsychotics with vitamin D supplementation to "efficaciously safeguard against antipsychotic-induced hyperglycemia accompanied by insulin resistance."

Other Benefits of Vitamin D

Researchers have pointed out that raising levels of vitamin D among the general population could prevent chronic diseases that claim nearly 1 million lives throughout the world each year.
Incidence of several types of cancer could also be slashed in half, or more. Recent research reveals raising your serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D to 40 ng/ml can slash your risk of invasive cancers by 67 percent!
In the interview above, Dr. Michael Holick — a well-known vitamin D researcher — expands on these and many other health benefits of vitamin D. For instance, optimizing your vitamin D levels can help protect against:

Cardiovascular disease
Vitamin D is very important for reducing hypertension, atherosclerotic heart disease, heart attack and stroke. According to Holick, one study showed that vitamin D deficiency increased the risk of heart attack by 50 percent.
Autoimmune diseases
Vitamin D is a potent immune modulator, making it very important for the prevention of autoimmune diseases, like multiple sclerosis (MS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Vitamin D may help stimulate the production of hormones including testosterone and progesterone, and has been shown to boost fertility in both men and women.
Vitamin D is also associated with semen quality in men and may improve menstrual frequency in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).12
DNA repair and metabolic processes
One of Holick's studies showed that healthy volunteers taking 2,000 international units (IUs) of vitamin D3 per day for a few months upregulated 291 different genes that control up to 80 different metabolic processes.
Some of these processes help improve DNA repair and boost immune function, while others affect autoxidation (oxidation that occurs in the presence of oxygen and /or UV radiation, which has implications for aging and cancer, for example).
Recent research also suggests vitamin D can play a role in migraines. Researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center found that many who suffer from migraines have deficiencies in vitamin D, riboflavin (B2) and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).13
Girls and women who suffered migraines were particularly prone to having CoQ10 deficiency, while boys and men were more likely to be deficient in vitamin D. Those with chronic migraines were more likely to have CoQ10 and riboflavin deficiencies, compared to those with episodic migraines.
Neurological/psychological/mental disorders
Vitamin D also plays a major role in neurotransmission, and vitamin D deficiency has been associated with a number of neurological and brain disorders, including cognitive dysfunction and Alzheimer's disease (in one study, those who were most vitamin D deficient had a 31 percent increased relative risk of suffering neurocognitive decline), schizophrenia, Parkinson's disease, stroke, epilepsy and depression.
Cold and flu
Vitamin D has potent infection-fighting abilities, and can be beneficial for both the prevention and treatment of tuberculosis, pneumonia, colds and flu.

What's the Best Way to Optimize Your Vitamin D Level?

There is no doubt that vitamin D is imperative for good health and disease prevention. It may even help counteract some of the deleterious metabolic effects caused of certain drugs. But there's no lack of controversy when it comes to the issue of how to optimize your vitamin D. Most of the researchers specializing in vitamin D agree that sensible sun exposure is the ideal way though.

First of all, vitamin D3 supplements do not confer the identical effects as the vitamin D your skin generates in response to UV exposure. Secondly, sun exposure has additional health benefits that are unrelated to vitamin D production.
For example, UVA exposure produces nitric oxide (NO), which has a blood pressure-lowering effect. In fact, the entire solar spectrum is important for optimal health. We're not dependent solely on the narrowband wavelength of about 295 nanometers (nm), which is where vitamin D is made.
However, unless you make a concerted effort, chances are you're simply not getting enough sun exposure to raise your vitamin D level. As noted in a recent British study, adolescent Britons are not getting enough sun exposure even in the middle of summer to elevate their vitamin D to a healthy level, prompting the authors to suggest changes to the U.K.'s vitamin D guidelines.
As reported by Endocrine Today,14 "more than one-quarter of the adolescents in the study had inadequate vitamin D levels even during summer, the period when participants spent the most time outdoors." According to the authors:

"Current U.K. national guidance on vitamin D acquisition assumes those aged 4 to 64 years gain their vitamin D requirements from sunlight alone, thus there is no recommended nutrient intake. Meanwhile, substantial proportions of the global population, including the U.K., are reported to have low vitamin D status, and rickets has returned as a clinical concern ...

As U.K. current sun exposure patterns do not provide an adequate source of vitamin D, amendments are required to recommendations on vitamin D acquisition in this age group. While wider skin surface area exposure to sunlight might safely increase vitamin D status, oral vitamin D supplements may be beneficial during this critical time for bone development."

When to Take a Vitamin D3 Supplement

Indeed, while sun exposure is the ideal route, it can be difficult for many to achieve an optimal vitamin D level this way. Your lifestyle, location, age, ethnicity, time of year, weather conditions and a number of other factors influence how much vitamin D your skin will make in response to sun exposure. The fact that vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency is widespread even in sundrenched areas like India attests to this difficulty.

In some cases, making changes to your routine in order to get more regular sun exposure may do the trick. Key points to remember is that you need to expose large areas of skin to the sun, and on a frequent basis (ideally daily). However, under ideal conditions you may not need more than a few minutes of exposure.
The worst thing you could do is to bake in the sun for hours on end on the weekends. You definitely want to avoid burning your skin, as this will only cause skin damage that could potentially increase your risk for skin cancer.
If sensible sun exposure is either not feasible or isn't sufficient to raise your vitamin D to a healthy level, then taking an oral vitamin D3 supplement is a wise choice. If you decide to supplement with vitamin D please consider using one that also has vitamin K2, as it works synergistically with vitamin D to maximize the benefits.
The only way to know how your sun exposure is affecting your vitamin D level is to get your vitamin D tested. I recommend doing this twice a year, in January and June/July, to get a reading on your lowest and highest levels. This will tell you whether you might be in need of a supplement. It will also guide you in terms of dosage.
In short, your ideal dosage is one that will help you maintain a clinically relevant vitamin D level of 40 to 60 ng/ml year-round. For some this may be 2,000 IUs a day. For others, it could be 8,000 IUs a day or more.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Benefits of Black Pepper Oil

Reposted from Daily Tips

Spices have been used since forever, and most of them offer incredible healing potential. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you the ultimate – Black Pepper!
Black pepper has a wide range of benefits, and its essential oil is one of the most powerful natural products you will ever use.

Black pepper essential oil – Health benefits
This oil offers antibacterial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, laxative, rubefacient, and stimulant effect.

Antibacterial activity
Black pepper soothes insect bites and infections. Use it regularly to cleanse arteries, and reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.

Black pepper prevents/repairs damage caused by free radicals, and prevents liver issues, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Digestive health
This spice stimulates the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Improperly functioning digestive system results in colic, constipation and diarrhea. Black pepper prevents flatulence, and stimulates urination and sweating. There is no better way to expel toxic matter.

Neurological boost
Piperine, a compound in black pepper, fixes cognitive malfunction and memory impairment.

Respiratory relief
Black pepper relieves nasal congestion and sinusitis, thanks to its ability to dissolve mucus and phlegm in the upper respiratory tract.

Healthy skin
Use black pepper to treat vitiligo, a condition in which individuals develop white patches on their skin. Piperine stimulates the production of pigment in skin.

Weight management
Compounds in the outer layer of peppercorns boost the breakdown of fat, and promote a healthy weight loss process.
There are many ways of using black pepper, and its efficacy depends on the way you take it. You can eat or inhale it, while others prefer applying it topically.
  1. Powerful aromatic
Black pepper essential oil soothes both your body and mind. Combine it with lavender or juniper oils to reduce mental stress and give up smoking easily.
  1. Oral application
Add black pepper oil to BBQ or steak sauce. It contains sesquiterpenes, a type of antioxidants that stimulate urination and sweating. Black pepper essential oil boosts the production of bile, and enhances digestion.
  1. Topical application
Always use it with carrier oils to relax muscles and treat cramps or strains. Black pepper oil has antispasmodic properties, and it reduce cramps. Its antioxidant power eliminates uric acid from blood, which makes it ideal for those dealing with gout, arthritis, and rheumatism.

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Importance of Soaking Nuts and Grains

Reposted from Food Matters

Nature has set it up so that the nut, grain, and seed may survive until proper growing conditions are present. Nature’s defense mechanism includes nutritional inhibitors and toxic substances that can be removed naturally when there is enough precipitation to sustain a new plant after the nut, grain or seed germinates. When it rains the nut, grain or seed gets wet and can then germinate to produce a plant. So we are mimicking nature when we soak our nuts, grains, and seeds.
Nutritional inhibitors and toxic substances found in nuts grains and seed can be minimized or eliminated by soaking. These inhibitors and toxic substances are enzyme inhibitors, phytates (phytic acid), polyphenols (tannins), and goitrogens.

What Are Enzyme Inhibitors?

There are digestive enzymes and metabolic enzymes. Digestive enzymes help break down food. Metabolic enzymes help every biological process the body does. Enzyme inhibitors will clog, warp or denature an active site of an enzyme. They may also bind to the enzyme, which will prevent the intended molecule from binding. “Once again, the habits of traditional peoples should serve as a guide. They understood instinctively that nuts are best soaked or partially sprouted before eaten. This is because nuts contain numerous enzyme inhibitors that can put a real strain on the digestive mechanism if consumed in excess.”

What Are Phytates?

All grains contain phytic acid in the outer layer or bran. Untreated phytic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract and block their absorption. This is why a diet high in unfermented whole grains may lead to serious mineral deficiencies and bone loss. The modern misguided practice of consuming large amounts of unprocessed bran often improves colon transit time at first but may lead to irritable bowel syndrome and, in the long term, many other adverse effects.

Why Soak Nuts, Grains, And Seeds?

  • To remove or reduce phytic acid.
  • To remove or reduce tannins.
  • To neutralize the enzyme inhibitors.
  • To encourage the production of beneficial enzymes.
  • To increase the amounts of vitamins, especially B vitamins.
  • To break down gluten and make digestion easier.
  • To make the proteins more readily available for absorption.
  • To prevent mineral deficiencies and bone loss.
  • To help neutralize toxins in the colon and keep the colon clean.
  • To prevent many health diseases and conditions.
Soaking allows enzymes, lactobacilli, and other helpful organisms to break down and neutralize a large portion of phytic acid in grains. Soaking in warm water also neutralizes enzyme inhibitors, present in all seeds, and encourages the production of numerous beneficial enzymes. The action of these enzymes also increases the amount of many vitamins, especially B vitamins. During the process of soaking and fermenting, gluten and other difficult-to-digest proteins are partially broken down into simpler components that are more readily available for absorption.

What Can Be Used To Soak Nuts, Grains, And Seeds?

I have found many references to soaking nuts, grains, and seeds in water, salt water, or a warm water mixture with something acidic like yogurt, whey or lemon juice. It seems within 7 to 24 hours the enzyme inhibitors are neutralized and the anti-nutrients are broken down regardless of the method you choose. There is evidence that the process works when you see sprouting begin.

How Long Does The Soaking Process Take?

As little as seven hours of soaking in warm acidulated water will neutralize a large portion of phytic acid in grains. The simple practice of soaking cracked or rolled cereal grains overnight will vastly improve their nutritional benefits. Flour products should be soaked at room temperature for at least twelve hours, but better results may be obtained with a twenty-four-hour soaking.

Are The Nuts, Grains And Seeds Used Wet?

I have enjoyed almonds wet. If you choose to try consuming anything in the soaked state, make little batches and store them in the refrigerator. Usually, everything that is soaked is dried in a dehydrator or oven on the lowest possible setting for 24 – 48 hours to remove all moisture.
Wheat berries can be soaked whole for 8 to 22 hours, then drained and rinsed. Some recipes use the whole berries while they are wet, such as cracker dough ground right in the food processor. You can also dry sprouted wheat berries in a low-temperature oven or dehydrator, and then grind them in your grain mill and use the flour in a variety of recipes. Nuts, grains, seeds and legumes can be ground up to use as flour in many recipes after they have been dried.

Any Advice On What To Do With Legumes?

Maureen Diaz recommends soaking any beans or legumes in water and vinegar for at least twelve hours before cooking. Soaked and dried beans may be ground up and used as flour for thickening and baking. This is helpful for those on a gluten-free diet.
One recommendation includes placing soaked kombu or kelp seaweed in the bottom of the pot when soaking legumes. Add one part seaweed to six or more parts legumes. This is for improved flavor and digestion, more nutrients, and faster cooking. Soak legumes for twelve hours or overnight in four parts water to one part legume. For best results, change the water once or twice. Lentils and whole dried peas require shorter soaking while soybeans and garbanzos need to soak longer. Soaking softens skins and begins the sprouting process, which eliminates phytic acid, thereby making more minerals available. Soaking also promotes faster cooking and improved digestibility, because the gas-causing enzymes and trisaccharides in legumes are released into the soak water. Be sure to discard the soak water. After bringing legumes to a boil, scoop off and discard foam. Continue to boil for twenty minutes without the lid at beginning of cooking to let steam rise (breaks up and disperses indigestible enzymes). 

Are You Soaking Your Nuts, Seeds, Grains, And Legumes? 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The real truth: antidepressants actually deplete these 3 crucial nutrients for the brain

Reposted from Healthy Holistic Living

If you try to cheat nature, it will backfire.
By managing symptoms with synthetic man-made drugs, you may feel better for a while. But once you stop those drugs, you will end up with more symptoms than you started with.
I experienced this firsthand.
When I took antidepressants, I felt better initially.

But then something just didn’t feel right.
I started suffering from cognitive decline, something I hadn’t experienced before.
I eventually got fed up with the medication and tried getting off them.
But then I felt remarkably worse – much worse than I did before starting the medication.
Doctors simply told me I was experiencing a relapse of my depression and anxiety.

But that couldn’t be it, because not only were my symptoms much worse, but I also had new symptoms – symptoms I didn’t experience before I went on medication.
So, I did some research and discovered something called “drug-induced nutrient depletion”.
Studies show that pharmaceutical drugs can deplete your body of critical nutrients through multiple mechanisms, including increased excretion of nutrients, and impaired digestion, absorption and storage of nutrients. Over time, nutritional deficiencies can develop. And these deficiencies can cause additional symptoms and increase side effects. In fact, many drug “side effects” are simply nutritional deficiencies.
This is clearly a problem because nutrient deficiencies can be one of the main causes of mental illness. Being prescribed medication that further deplete nutrients from your body will make you worse. It’s an epidemic that seems to be ignored by the conventional medical system.
You may even develop new symptoms or side effects months or years after starting a medication because it takes time for nutrients to be depleted from your body. So both you and your doctor may not make the connection between the original medication and new symptoms.
These additional symptoms and “side effects” are often diagnosed as a new disease, leading to a new prescription, which further depletes nutrients.
So it’s clearly a downward spiral where you could end up being on multiple medications.
At my worst, I was on four psychiatric medications. Thankfully I’m off them all now and very healthy.

This article discusses the three key nutrients that are commonly depleted by psychiatric medication.
Your drug package insert won’t list these deficiencies, and your doctor is likely not aware of them.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

Coenzyme Q10 is a molecule found in every cell of your body and plays a key role in the production of energy.
It’s also an antioxidant and protects your body and brain from free radical damage.
Higher levels of CoQ10 have a “significant antidepressant effect” in rats because of its “well-documented antioxidant effect”. This makes sense considering the increasing amount of scientific literature suggesting that oxidative stress contributes to depression.
Unfortunately, studies show that a number of psychiatric medications, including antidepressants and antipsychotics, deplete CoQ10.
Low levels of CoQ10 can cause brain fog, mental fatigue, difficulty concentrating, memory lapses, depression and irritability.
Other deficiency symptoms can include increased blood pressure, muscle cramps, high blood sugar, and shortness of breath.


Magnesium is a vital mineral that participates in more than 300 biochemical reactions in your body. This includes neurotransmitter, enzyme, and hormonal activity, all of which can have a huge effect on your mood and brain function.
It’s one of the most important nutrients for optimal brain health, and reduces anxiety, depression and irritability. Yet, many people are deficient in magnesium today and may experience the following symptoms because of it:
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Muscle weakness, cramps, tremors, and spasms
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Insomnia
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Osteoporosis
  • Nausea
Interestingly, these symptoms sound very similar to the list of side effects of some psychiatric medications.
In fact, research has shown that many antidepressants and stimulants do deplete magnesium from your body, increasing the likeliness of developing a deficiency.
Inadequate magnesium levels can then contribute and worsen many neuropsychiatric problems. This includes depression, anxiety, insomnia, seizures, ADHD, pain, schizophrenia, irritability, premenstrual syndrome, drug abuse, and short-term memory and IQ loss. Case studies have shown that patients with schizophrenia or major depression who have attempted suicide had significantly lower levels of magnesium in their cerebrospinal fluid.
So if you have mental health condition, or take medication to deal with it, you should consider supplementing with magnesium.
Also, you should make sure to eat lots of food with magnesium, including avocados, almonds, pumpkin seeds, swiss chard, spinach, dark chocolate, halibut and beets.

B Vitamins

A number of B vitamins are also depleted by psychiatric medication, including B2, B6, B12 and folate.
Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, plays a key role in energy metabolism throughout your entire body.
As a result, a deficiency can affect the entire body, leading to low energy, weight gain, and skin and thyroid problems.
Antipsychotics, antidepressants, anticonvulsants and mood stabilizers can inhibit the absorption of vitamin B2, increasing your need for supplementation.
Lower levels of vitamin B2 have been found in people with depression, so giving them psychiatric medications can actually make them feel worse in the long run.
Healthy food sources of riboflavin include pastured eggs, leafy vegetables, beef liver, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, and almonds.
Vitamin B6 is another key nutrient that boosts mood, deepens sleep, and supports your entire nervous system.
It accomplishes this by playing a key role in the production of many neurotransmitters in your brain, including serotonin, GABA and dopamine.
But since psychiatric medications alter these neurotransmitters, vitamin B6 levels can be affected as well.
When I took antidepressants, multiple functional and integrative doctors suggested I supplement with vitamin B6.
This is because antidepressants and benzodiazepines have been shown to deplete B6.
Symptoms of deficiency include weakness, mental confusion, depression, insomnia and severe PMS symptoms.
Some of the best food sources of B6 include potatoes, bananas and chicken.
Lastly, vitamin B12 and folate are essential B vitamins that play a key role in methylation, one of the most important processes in your body and brain for optimal energy and nervous system function.
If you are depressed, you likely have lower levels of B12 and folate circulating in your blood, and people with low blood folate and B12 are at greater risk for developing depression.
Yet, instead of looking at folate and B12 levels in the blood, doctors often prescribe antidepressants, benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, anticonvulsants and mood stabilizers that have been shown to deplete folate and B12.
B12 and folate deficiency can lead to an inability to methylate properly and increased homocysteine levels. This can worsen your depression, irritability, fatigue, confusion and forgetfulness.
Good dietary sources of natural folate include leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries. B12 is found primarily in animal foods, and beef liver is a good source.


The bottom line is that the medication that you take to manage your mental health can actually reduce nutrient absorption and rob your body and brain of essential vitamins and minerals. This can lead to unwanted side effects and declining health.
On top of this, vitamin and mineral deficiencies are actually a huge underlying cause of mental health issues to begin with.
Luckily, you can avoid side effects, and even control and overcome chronic mental disease without medication, by restoring these missing nutrients.
Unfortunately, in my case, I was given a prescription that made my underlying deficiencies worse, and dug me into a deeper mental health hole.
If you’re required to take a prescribed drug, you can offset many of the side effects and experience much better health by supplementing with the above nutrients.
So why isn’t this information passed on to patients who are taking psychiatric drugs? Because unfortunately, almost all doctors are unaware that medications can deplete nutritional reserves.
So, for now, you’ll just have to be aware of drug-nutrient depletions yourself.
  1. Drug-Induced Nutrient Depletion Handbook
  2. The Nutritional Cost of Prescription Drugs
  3. The Side Effects Bible: The Dietary Solution to Unwanted Side Effects of Common Medications
  4. A-Z Guide to Drug-Herb-Vitamin Interactions Revised and Expanded 2nd Edition: Improve Your Health and Avoid Side Effects When Using Common Medications and Natural Supplements Together
  5. Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements

Monday, October 2, 2017

10 Signs Your Gut Is Overloaded with Toxins

Reposted from The Hearty Soul

By Doctor Shawna Darou, ND
The gut microbiome or balance of microorganisms in the intestinal tract has been in health news very frequently lately, with links to not only digestive health, but also mood disorders, weight, skin issues, and autoimmune conditions.
Unfortunately, the combination of a North American diet, overuse of antibiotics, use of anti-bacterial products, and lack of regular fermented foods in our diets has created a perfect storm for the imbalance in the gut microbiome.

10 Signs That You May Have an Imbalance

  1. Digestive issues – irritable bowel, bloating, abdominal pain, indigestion, bad breath, constipation or diarrhea.
  2. Allergies
  3. Recurrent yeast infections
  4. Sugar cravings
  5. Weight gain
  6. Acne, eczema, hives or psoriasis
  7. Joint pain
  8. Depression
  9. Learning or behavioral difficulties
  10. Mental fog


    Too many unfriendly bacteria or other organisms can create significant inflammation in the body, leading to joint pains and body aches, skin disorders and even autoimmune disease.

    Weight Gain

    A healthy microbiome is the key to weight loss. Many recent studies have shown that by rebalancing the microbiome, you can shift your metabolism. I have certainly seen this many times in my practice!

    Emotional Health

    If your microbiome is out of balance, you will be more prone to experiencing anxiety and depression, and also fatigue and brain fog. It’s quite amazing how far reaching the effects can be! And on a similar note, stress can affect your microbiome in a negative way too, with lasting impacts on your mood, digestion, and overall health.

    How You Can Correct a Gut Microbiome Imbalance

    1. Probiotics

    These are the healthy bacteria that help to balance the microbiome. Probiotics can come in supplement form (capsules or powder) or from naturally fermented foods such as sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, kombucha, pickled vegetables or kimchi.
    Try these recipes to get some probiotics in your diet – 2-Ingredient Sauerkraut and Coconut Kefir!

    2. Prebiotics

    These are the foods that feed the healthy bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract that contain fiber, inulin, and arabinogalactans. Prebiotic foods include artichokes, garlic, beans, onions, asparagus, carrots, leeks, and okra.

    3. Anti-Microbial Supplements

    In most cases, simply increasing the probiotics and prebiotics is still not enough. The use of antimicrobial herbs and supplements is also needed to kill off the pathogenic organisms (yeast, bacteria or parasites).
    This may include:

    4. Minimizing Sugar and All Foods Made With Flour

    Many pathogenic organisms or ‘bad bugs’ thrive with a diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates. Minimizing these foods is an essential step to rebalancing your microbiome, and no amount of probiotics will compensate.
    In conclusion, if you suspect there may be an imbalance in your gut microbiome, there are many steps you can take to restore balance. You may be surprised at how far-reaching the impacts of a healthy gut can be!

Deodorants and Antiperspirants - Why you should choose a Natural One

Reposted from Food Matters

Sweating is your body’s mechanism to cool down. Sweat has no odor; the familiar unpleasant odor is caused by bacteria that live on our skin. These bacteria metabolize the proteins and fatty acids from our sweat, causing body odor.
Deodorants deal with the smell by neutralizing it and by killing the bacteria that metabolize the proteins and fatty acids. Antiperspirants on the other hand, try to prevent sweating by blocking the pores using aluminum. Without sweat, the bacteria cannot metabolize proteins and fatty acids that cause body odor.

The Semantics of Deodorants and Antiperspirants

Antiperspirants are products that try to prevent sweating by using aluminum. However, most antiperspirants also have a deodorizing component. It might be for this reason that ‘deodorant’ and ‘antiperspirant’ are used interchangeably. For clarity, this article will consider deodorants to be products that mask, suppress or neutralize odors. There are deodorants available that do not have the harmful ingredients, but only have safe natural ingredients. These deodorants will be referred to as ‘natural deodorants’

Antiperspirants – The Over-The-Counter Drug

It might be a surprise to learn that the antiperspirant you use daily is in fact an over-the-counter (OTC) drug. As mentioned, antiperspirants work by clogging, closing, or blocking the pores with aluminum salts in order to prevent the release of sweat. Antiperspirants are considered to be drugs because they affect the physiology of the body.

Because antiperspirants are drugs, they are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Consequently, every antiperspirant sold in the US has a Drug Identification Number (DIN), which you can find on the label.

Deodorants and Antiperspirants are Considered to be Safe

Both antiperspirants and deodorants are considered to be safe by the FDA, the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute and the Mayo Clinic.

However, FDA regulation does not mean that a drug is without danger. Like prescription drugs, the FDA oversees OTC drugs to ensure that they are properly labeled and that their benefits outweigh their risks. Often, the FDA does not consider the evidence of danger to consumer’s health strong enough to take action.

Aluminum chloride, aluminum chlorohydrate, and aluminum-zirconium compounds, most notably aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly and aluminum zirconium trichlorohydrex gly, are the most widely used in antiperspirants. Most of these materials are supplied as powders, and they are typically used at levels of 8-25% based on the weight of the finished product.

We are continually exposed to aluminum due to its many uses. It is often used in cooking utensils, containers, appliances, and building materials. It is also used in paints and fireworks; to produce glass, rubber, and ceramics; and in consumer products such as antacids, astringents, buffered aspirin, food additives, and antiperspirants. Another use for aluminum is in water purification, and it can therefore occur in your drinking water.

Humans absorb aluminum through the skin: a 2001 study showed that aluminum was still present in blood samples 15 days after one application of aluminum to the armpit. Consequently, applying aluminum to the skin is a very effective way to get aluminum in your system, and in your brain.

Aluminum was first recognized as a human neurotoxin in 1886, before being used as an antiperspirant. A neurotoxin is a substance that causes damage to nerves or nerve tissue.

Aluminum as a Neurotoxin: linked to Alzheimer and other neurological diseases

Post-mortem analysis of Alzheimer’s infected brains has shown increased levels of aluminum compared to people that did not die from Alzheimer’s.

It has been well established that the accumulation of aluminum in the brain can cause neurological disorders. To prevent aluminum accumulation, reduced use of aluminum is of crucial importance. Awareness of aluminum is the primary factor in preventing aluminum induced toxicity.

The short term symptoms of aluminum toxicity include memory loss, learning difficulty, loss of coordination, disorientation, mental confusion, colic, heartburn, flatulence, and headaches. Alzheimer’s is one of the possible long term effects of chronic aluminum exposure.

Studies have found that aluminum absorbs better through the skin than orally. When using antiperspirants, one only applies very little aluminum to the skin. However, daily use results in chronic exposure to aluminum. One study has asserted that the use of aluminum based antiperspirants increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 60%.

Aluminum in Antiperspirants linked to Breast Cancer

The data from one study indicate that the degree of antiperspirant/deodorant usage and axillary shaving is associated with an earlier age of breast cancer diagnosis.

The series of events that eventually cause breast cancer can start many years before the symptoms become noticeable. Studies indicate that the chance of developing breast cancer increases when women are exposed to cancer causing agents at a young age. Consequently, young girls that use antiperspirants/deodorants are more likely to develop breast cancer later in life.
The Role of Antiperspirants in Causing Cancer

Two steps are needed to cause cancer:

  • DNA has to be damaged, resulting in damaged cells and
  • Growth promotion of these damaged cells.

There are several ways that DNA could be damaged as a result of using antiperspirants. According to one theory, it is caused by accumulating sweat through the use of antiperspirants. Your body normally exposes of waste products through sweat, the accumulation of these toxic waste products in the armpit can cause damage to the adjacent breast cells.

Another mechanism that can help cause DNA damage is through the aluminum and zirconium salts. It has been shown that aluminum can bind to DNA and change it, resulting in damaged breast cells.

The majority of breast cancers occur in the part of the breast that is the closest to the armpit called the upper outer quadrant (UOQ), where we apply antiperspirants and deodorants The proportion of breast cancer in the UOQ has been rising steadily with the increased use of antiperspirants and deodorants. In 1926, 31% of breast cancers occurred in the UOQ, in 1947-1967 this percentage increased to 43-48%. Currently the majority of breast cancers occurs in the part of the breast that is the closest to the armpit: 60.7% in 1994. Furthermore, the majority of UOQ breast cancer cases concern the left breast. One theory is that this is due to the vast majority of right handed people applying more antiperspirant to their left armpit.


Natural deodorants are available from your local healthfood store but many homemade recipes are also effective.