May 1, 2013
Yoga has demonstrated great benefit for a wide range of health challenges, including back pain, high blood pressure, anxiety and more. Now, researchers have learned one of the reasons why yoga is so beneficial for human health. A new Norwegian study reveals that yoga has almost instant effects on altering gene expression in favor of a strong immune system.
April 30, 2013
Here is a link to a great article highlighting the benefits of exercise, especially outdoor exercise, as an inexpensive, readily accessible remedy for anxiety, insomnia, back pain, and more.
April 29, 2013
The non-profit Environmental Working Group recently released their 2013 Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists. Apples and celery were at the top of the list of the most contaminated fruits and vegetables, while asparagus and avocados were at the top of the list of the least contaminated fruits and vegetables. Click here for more.
Pesticide residues are an important contributor to the increased incidence of chronic illnesses worldwide, including obesity, estrogen sensitive cancers, neurological disorders, depression and anxiety.
In an effort to protect the body from harm (especially children whose detoxification mechanisms are not fully developed, and older adults whose detoxification systems are less efficient), do your best to stick with organic when consuming the Dirty Dozen.
April 15, 2013
A new article in the Los Angeles Times helps to shed light on the value of yoga as part of a treatment plan for anxiety and depression.
Los Angeles Times (latimes.com) – Yoga Might Help Boost Mental Health – By Amber Dance – (Saturday, April 13, 2013)
As you stretch into warrior pose and inhale and exhale, you’re not just stretching those hamstrings and lungs; you’re also doing good for your brain with a practice that can stave off or relieve problems such as stress, depression and anxiety.
Yoga “gives some sense of sanity,” says Sat Bir Khalsa, a neuroscientist at Harvard Medical School in Boston. “You’re no longer washed away by the avalanche of your emotions. You are more in control.”
Yoga practice can also lower heart rate, breathing rate and blood pressure, and may make people less sensitive to pain.
In some cases – particularly for anxiety, depression and stress – yoga might be more effective than medication, though this hasn’t been proved, says Dr. Murali Doraiswamy of the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. While it won’t get rid of whatever is causing you distress, it could make it easier for you to deal with the issues. Doraiswamy compares learning yoga to learning to surf: Once you’ve got the skills, you can ride the wave instead of drowning underneath it.
April 11, 2013
From the The New York Times (nytimes.com) – Air Pollution Tied to Birth Defects – By Nicholas Bakalar – (Monday, April 08, 2013)
Exposure in the first two months of pregnancy to air pollution from traffic sharply increases the risk for birth defects, a new study has found. Researchers used data from two large studies carried out in eight counties in the San Joaquin Valley in California. One has tracked birth defects since 1997, and the other has recorded concentrations of nitrogen dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matter at 20 locations in the valley since the 1970s. The results are posted online in The American Journal of Epidemiology. Setting aside defects attributable to other known causes, there were 849 cases of birth defects.
The researchers adjusted for smoking, maternal age and other variables, and compared these cases with 853 healthy control subjects.They found that a mother living in areas with the highest levels of carbon monoxide or nitrogen oxide concentrations (the top 25 percent) was almost twice as likely to give birth to a child with neural tube defects — severe and often fatal defects of the brain and spinal cord— as one living in areas with the lowest concentrations.
I hope that all of us do the best that we can, to pay attention to the impact of environmental pollutants on health, and take action to reduce the toxic load on our planet and our children.
April 11, 2013
Just like with hormones, it is about balance when it comes to amino acid therapy.
The relative amount of one amino acid, like tryptophan, to the others, is what makes the difference when it comes to mental health. Dr. Michael Greger, MD of NutritionFacts.org posted an interesting video about the importance of high tryptophan levels, relative to other amino acids, when it comes to boosting serotonin levels and treating depression. So eating animal protein, for example, isn’t helpful for boosting serotonin, whereas consuming seeds (pumpkin, sesame, butternut squash, etc), which have a particularly beneficial tryptophan to protein ratio, is helpful. I would advise eating raw (and sprouted if possible) seeds, as roasting the seeds alters the amino acid ratios.
We have long been testing the blood for amino acid imbalances in patients with mood disorders. Formulating the appropriate amino acid blend to create healthy amino acid balance, based on symptoms and the blood test results, makes a big difference in producing positive change. The most impressive changes I have witnessed in practice are with patients facing the challenges of anxiety, depression and autism disorders.