Blooming Wellness https://www.bloomingwellness.com Health & Wellness Blog by Dr. Eeks Mon, 17 Dec 2018 16:20:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.9 Neti Pots and Amoebas. Should You Use One for Your Sinuses or Stick to Steam? https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2018/12/neti-pots-and-amoebas-should-you-use-one-for-your-sinuses-or-stick-to-steam/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2018/12/neti-pots-and-amoebas-should-you-use-one-for-your-sinuses-or-stick-to-steam/#respond Fri, 14 Dec 2018 17:55:17 +0000 https://www.bloomingwellness.com/?p=12874 There is a lot of fear around Neti Pots, because of a recent case study published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases. Feel free to click on the link to read the specifics of the case, but I’ll summarize below: A 69 year old woman with a history of breast cancer and sinus issues […]

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There is a lot of fear around Neti Pots, because of a recent case study published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases. Feel free to click on the link to read the specifics of the case, but I’ll summarize below:

A 69 year old woman with a history of breast cancer and sinus issues was prescribed sulfamethoxazole trimethoprim (Bactrim) twice daily to help alleviate sinus pain and congestion. Bactrim did not help, so one of her doctors recommended nasal lavage with a Neti pot. Instead of using saline water or boiled water as recommended, the woman used tap water from a BRITA filter for one month. At the end of the month, she noticed a quarter size red rash on the right side of her nose. One of her doctors diagnosed it as Rosacia. A biopsy was performed, but no diagnosis was made. The rash persisted. At the one year mark of using her Neti pot, the woman suffered a left-sided seizure. A CT scan was performed, which showed a 1.5 cm ring-enhancing lesion in the motor cortex of the brain. Because of her history of breast cancer, the most likely diagnosis was metastases to the brain. She went to the OR, a biopsy was performed, and instead of mets, she tested positive for Babmuthia mandrillaris, a type of amoeba that causes Granulomatous Amoebic Encephalitis. There are only 200 cases known worldwide, and it’s almost always deadly. Sadly, the woman died shortly after the diagnosis.

Infections from the one-celled amoebas ( Babmuthia mandrillaris and Naegleria fowleri) are extremely rare and always involve the brain being exposed to fresh water. Usually swimmers are infected,  like the 29 year old New Jersey man who died from a N. fowleri infection after swimming at the BSR Surf Resort Park in Texas. Amoeba-infected water went up his nose and into his brain, which the amoeba feeds on. Literally.  Yes, it’s a horrible, gruesome death.

Amoebas also hang out in pipes and can end up in tap water, even tap water run through a BRITA filter. There is zero threat when you swallow the water, because gastric acid kills the amoeba. But if you shoot tap water up your nose using a Neti pot, you may send an amoeba to your brain. If you do that, it will most likely kill you.

The good news is that this is easily preventable. Sinus symptoms can improve with Neti pots, but the key is to use a saline solution, a hypertonic saline solution or water that has been previously boiled or UV-treated.  NEVER use tap water, bottled water or carbon- filtered water. If you have chronic sinus issues or have had surgery due to chronic sinus symptoms, you may want to look into using Lactated Ringer’s solution instead of saline solution. At least one double-blind, randomized controlled trial shows that lactated Ringer’s solution produced significantly better sinus symptom relief than both saline and hypertonic saline solutions.

I don’t use nasal irrigation with a Neti pot. I use steam and essential oil inhalation instead of nasal irrigation, but a large randomized controlled trial comparing the two suggests that, at the end of 6 months,  nasal irrigation with saline solution is more effective at improving symptoms of sinusitis than steam inhalation. Steam inhalation was shown to reduce the frequency of sinusitis-associated headaches, however. The study used boiled water, inhaled for 5 minutes, twice a day. When I do steam treatments, I do it first thing in the morning and at night before I go to bed, and I add Matricaria extract ( Chamomile),  Thymus (Thyme) and Origarium ( Oregano). I like it, it helps me ( and my asthma) and it’s an easy method folks can try at home. If you prefer the Neti pot and it’s helping you, don’t let fear of amoebas stop you! Just don’t use tap water or filtered tap water. Ever.

 

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The Differences Between Hemp, Marijuana and CBD https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2018/12/the-differences-between-hemp-marijuana-and-cbd/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2018/12/the-differences-between-hemp-marijuana-and-cbd/#respond Thu, 13 Dec 2018 16:33:58 +0000 http://www.bloomingwellness.com/?p=12718 Most people are aware of the reported benefits of taking CBD. It can extend to easing a range of health conditions, from epilepsy to chronic pain. There are many misconceptions surrounding the link between CBD, cannabis and marijuana. They put off some people. However, this article will help you gain a clearer idea of several […]

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Most people are aware of the reported benefits of taking CBD. It can extend to easing a range of health conditions, from epilepsy to chronic pain.

There are many misconceptions surrounding the link between CBD, cannabis and marijuana. They put off some people. However, this article will help you gain a clearer idea of several things:

  • What each term means
  • Why they are associated
  • Why CBD is not something to be afraid of.

Definitions

To start off, let’s clear up some common misconceptions.

  • Cannabis: a tall herb native to Asia. It has many varieties, some of which are high in THC whilst others have high levels of CBD.
  • CBD: shorthand for cannabidiol. A non-intoxicating compound found in both cannabis and hemp plants.
  • Hemp: an Asian herb cultivated for its tough fibers and edible seeds. It’s often turned into oil, cultivated because of its high levels of CBD and very low levels of THC.
  • Marijuana: psychoactive dried flower buds from the female cannabis plant.
  • THC: abbreviation of tetrahydrocannabinol. One of two active compounds from cannabis resin. One of which (delta-9-THC) is the chief intoxicant in marijuana, used medicinally.

Are hemp and marijuana one and the same?

No.

Long have many grouped them together in the same category. But, hemp and marijuana are, in fact, not at all the same thing. Hemp and marijuana have very different compositions and uses.

Marijuana has a reputation for use as a recreational psychoactive substance. Meanwhile, its cousin, hemp, has fallen into its shadow. We use hemp for a wide range of applications that marijuana would not be suitable for. Notably, the production of high quality CBD. Hemp is also used to make health supplements, skincare, clothing and other textiles. It’s known for having over 25,000 possible uses.

Hemp is not a psychoactive, and contains under 0.3% THC compared to 5%-35% for marijuana. It is also an easy and eco-friendly crop to grow, unlike marijuana. Marijuana needs cultivation in very specific conditions that burn large amounts of energy.

What are the differences between hemp and marijuana?

Their chemical makeup is different when it comes to the amounts of THC contained in each of them. Marijuana generally contains between 5% and 20% THC. So, it can be relatively potent depending on the strain. In contrast, hemp contains a maximum of 0.3% THC. It has no noticeable psychoactive effects on those who consume it. The amount of THC that can be present in hemp products is closely regulated. This is so that consumers can rest assured they will not experience a ‘high’ when taking it.

In practical terms, marijuana and hemp also look very different:

  • Marijuana has broad leaves and tight buds
  • Hemp is typically a tall bush with skinny leaves that grow around the top of the plant.

Why are hemp and marijuana associated?

The links between hemp and marijuana date back to President Nixon’s ‘War on Drugs’. It was the time in which the Substances Act of 1970 was introduced. It outlawed hemp as well as marijuana. Even though the effects of the former are nothing like the effects of the latter. The move led to a massive drop in the production of hemp. But, it also led to a lot of misconception about the plant.

In March 2018, Sen. McConnell introduced a bill to legalize industrial hemp production. His bill removed the plant from the controlled substances list. This made it available to grow on an agricultural scale again.Whilst both marijuana and hemp are varieties of cannabis sativa, hemp is a safe plant to consume. Its byproducts cannot make those who take them high.

What are the benefits of hemp?

Hemp contains high concentrations of CBD, proven to have a wide range of health benefits. Its fibers can also be used to make fabric and other products in an eco-friendly way. The plant is growing in popularity on a rapid basis. This is because more people are understanding how CBD can improve their well-being. From improved sleep, to a better mood and less anxiety, the benefits of CBD are many.

CBD interacts with receptors in the body that regulate many systems. These include pain and inflammation.Many with chronic pain conditions report that taking CBD supplements reduces their suffering. As a result, this leads to a better quality of life.

There are reports of Hemp oil improving the mood of those who take CBD. This occurs by working with the body’s endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are essential for maintaining good mental health.

They also have properties that could combat the spread of cancer cells. There are studies that show they’ve killed cervical cancer cells completely.

Are there any risks associated with hemp oil and CBD?

Hemp oil and CBD are generally considered safe for consumption, though patients should always check with their physician before taking any supplement. The most common side effect of taking CBD is some tiredness when starting the treatment. These effects can be beneficial in aiding with sleep, though patients may want to take the supplement at night so that it doesn’t interfere with their daily life. It can also cause gastrointestinal symptoms for some people. But again, these should subside after a few weeks.

One of the main concerns with CBD is its interaction with certain medications. These include epilepsy medication, which is why it’s important to check with your doctor. Still, CBD is a safe supplement for most people. Its effects have the ability to improve patients’ lives for the better in a wide variety of ways.

In summary

Many have mistaken hemp and marijuana for the same since the 1970s. However, they are, in fact, two very different plants. The main differentiating factor is the very low levels of psychoactive THC in hemp compared to marijuana. These make it a safe source of CBD oil. Hemp is an eco-friendly crop and can be used for a wide variety of products.

 

To try out organic, 3rd-party tested Hemp & CBD Oil products, click here.

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ZENBands: What are They, the Holiday Travel Style and Travel Anxiety Version: https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2018/12/zenbands-what-are-they-the-holiday-travel-style-and-travel-anxiety-version/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2018/12/zenbands-what-are-they-the-holiday-travel-style-and-travel-anxiety-version/#respond Wed, 12 Dec 2018 12:16:49 +0000 https://www.bloomingwellness.com/?p=12849   Hey gang, I wanted to take a minute and share a video from our Instagram page that explains the ZENBand a bit more. I’m posting it now, during the holiday season, because a lot of folks use the ZENBand as a travel gadget. If you combine it with our ZENTones, especially the anxiety-reducing ZENTones, […]

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Hey gang,

I wanted to take a minute and share a video from our Instagram page that explains the ZENBand a bit more. I’m posting it now, during the holiday season, because a lot of folks use the ZENBand as a travel gadget. If you combine it with our ZENTones, especially the anxiety-reducing ZENTones, it can be an effective tool for travel anxiety. If you’re curious about why the tones can be helpful, check out the science on on our FAQs page here.

I hate to fly. Like most fears, it’s irrational. I used to try to avoid flying whenever possible and amusingly remember googling “ship” trips to Europe when I had scheduled meetings over there. Never would have made the meeting in time. For some reason, I don’t have an irrational fear of ships sinking, and if something should happen, I’m confident in my swim stroke and worst case scenario, my dead man’s float. I also don’t fear sharks. Aren’t fears fun, random and bizarre? 😉  To me, there’s something terrifying about having ZERO control inside a plane way above the ground, and having to let go and put all of your trust in a pilot you don’t know. Yet millions of people do it every day…

Anyhow, I use my ZENBand and listen to the Anxiety-Reducing ZENTones before each flight. I listen in the airport, every single time, and it helps calm my nerves. There are a variety of ZENTones to choose from, and each one runs about 30 minutes. You can download each on to whatever device you choose, or you can easily access them through our web-based App. I must say, ZENTones is better than what I used to do: Drink a ton of red wine on my way to the airport and at at airport, pass out on the plane, then wake up at my destination with a huge headache and dried-up sinuses.  Alcohol combined with cabin air is never a good thing.

Below is the video. The band can act as as an eye-mask too, and keeping out ambient light and worldly distractions optimizes the relaxation response. The video features holiday colors ( Cherry and Basil) but we have a bunch of other colors and designs you can choose from. They are stylish, camouflage bad travel hair, and no outside labels EVER, because I find them obnoxious. ( Hey, you never know who you might meet on the plane… 😉 ) Each band is 100% cotton, so no plastic. Fleece, polyester and spandex material all contain plastic, and we are trying to cut down on our use.

Don’t forget that the ZENTones are half off through the holiday season, because I really want folks to try them!

Most importantly, wherever you are going, travel wisely and have a good time. Life is short, enjoy each moment.

 

Join our Facebook Peer Support Group, moderated by Erin Stair, MD, MPH

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Cranberries and Urinary Tract Infections: Do they work? When and Why do they work? https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2018/12/do-cranberries-really-help-prevent-utis-what-the-recent-evidence-says-and-what-i-do/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2018/12/do-cranberries-really-help-prevent-utis-what-the-recent-evidence-says-and-what-i-do/#respond Sat, 01 Dec 2018 19:33:17 +0000 http://www.bloomingwellness.com/blog/?p=5310 Who has had a UTI? I think we all have, so hopefully my little drawing to the left is relatable. If you get a UTI, “Urine for it” is right. The urgency, the stinging, the frequency…not a good time. Chronic UTIs are awful. Doctors will prescribe antibiotics, but they often lead to yeast infections and […]

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urineforit

Who has had a UTI?
I think we all have, so hopefully my little drawing to the left is relatable. If you get a UTI, “Urine for it” is right. The urgency, the stinging, the frequency…not a good time. Chronic UTIs are awful. Doctors will prescribe antibiotics, but they often lead to yeast infections and over time, drug-resistant bacteria. I know so many women who are, right now, on the UTI-Antibiotic-Yeast infection cycle. It’s a hideous cycle that can drive someone to insanity and should encourage us to find effective preventives.
There are preventive measures one can take to reduce the risk of getting a UTI, such as drinking a lot of water to flush out the kidneys; not having sexual encounters with risky people; urinating after sex, and wiping the right way, meaning wiping front to back. I was recently shocked by how many people wipe the “wrong” way, or back to front. It’s okay if you do it, because it’s an easy thing to fix.
The focus of this blog will be cranberries. Many women drink cranberry juice when they get a UTI. You’ll recognize them because they are constantly squirming while lugging around a gallon of cranberry juice wherever they goes. The question is, does it work? The answer is possibly for prevention, not so much for treatment, and it mostly depends on the dose and the timing. Why not for treatment? Because cranberries’ supposed mechanism of action is due to its Proanthocyanidins (PACs) that prevent E coli from attaching to the mucosal surface of the urinary tract and proliferating. Once the bacteria successfully attaches, it’s much easier for them to proliferate and much harder for PACs to be effective.
So what’s the evidence?
Three researchers conducted a review, published in JAMA, on 24 randomized controlled trials for cranberry juice and UTI prevention. They concluded that cranberry juice did not significantly impact UTIs. That said, there was a very high noncompliance rate for women enrolled in the studies, meaning the women did not drink the cranberry juice as directed, which may have skewed results. The researchers also noted that the cranberry doses could have been too low. Other recent studies have been more promising.
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study showed that women recovering from pelvic surgery had a significant reduction in UTIs if they took 2 cranberry juice capsules 2 times a day for 6 weeks post-op (equivalent to two 8 ounce servings of cranberry juice) compared to placebo. Another study showed that women with chronic UTIs who supplemented with low or medium doses of cranberry juice for 1 year, had less visits to the doctor’s office compared to placebo. Probably the best evidence yet, is from a recent study, and the largest ever done. A multi-centered randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial showed that women with a history of a recent UTI who drank 1 80z bottle of cranberry juice/day for 6 months had a significant reduction in UTI symptoms when compared to placebo.
I eat a lot of dried cranberries, so I want to mention a 2013 study by Burleigh. It was an observational study that showed that consuming 1 serving ( 42 grams) of sweetened, dried cranberries reduced the incidence of UTIs in women prone to getting them. Dried cranberries have a different antioxidant profile than cranberry juice. Dried cranberries have a much higher concentration of polyphenols. Polyphenols may prevent E coli from attaching to the bladder wall and also interfere with E coli directly in the gut, in a way that reduces infectivity. If you want to try dried cranberries, they are a great addition to oatmeal or yogurt!
From the research and information gathered here, I’d say it’s worth giving cranberry juice and/or dried cranberries a shot, especially if you are a chronic UTI sufferer. But be diligent about it and commit to following one of the successful protocols mentioned above. For example, try the 1 80z bottle a day and see if it makes a difference. It can’t hurt.

 

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A Senior’s Guide to Staying Healthy in the Winter https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2018/11/a-seniors-guide-to-staying-healthy-in-the-winter/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2018/11/a-seniors-guide-to-staying-healthy-in-the-winter/#respond Wed, 28 Nov 2018 21:01:28 +0000 http://www.bloomingwellness.com/?p=12689   Sponsored Post Who does not like winter as a child? Winter offers so much fun – sledding, skiing, snowboarding or simply throwing snowballs at each other. However, the older people get, the less fun they see in this cold and dark season. Winter is often not about fun for elderly ones. They face real […]

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Who does not like winter as a child? Winter offers so much fun – sledding, skiing, snowboarding or simply throwing snowballs at each other. However, the older people get, the less fun they see in this cold and dark season. Winter is often not about fun for elderly ones. They face real challenges moving around, keeping warm and protecting themselves from illnesses.

However, most of the troubles and difficulties that come together with the cold season can be avoided easily. All you need to do is get ready for winter in advance. These are the main challenges most seniors face in winter and some tips to cope with them.

  • Bad weather conditions

Winter comes to us together with its weather surprises – freezing rain, snowstorms, and severe frosts. If this doesn’t bother the younger generations much, it does bring a lot of discomforts to the elderly people. The slippery sidewalks and roads expose them to real danger because once they fall, the risk they break some bone is really high at this age. It is good to supply your loved ones with a box of sidewalk salt, putting it close to the entrance door. This way they can easily use it in case of necessity. Another way to prevent falling is providing your senior loved one with a pair of non-skid boots (or other shoes with good traction). And don’t forget to make sure that shoveling is done at the first necessity. It’s great if you can do it yourself, but even if you can’t, ask a neighbor to do it for extra money.

“Despite what may be commonly thought, dementia is not a disease in itself. Instead, it’s a group of symptoms in combination that reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities,” According to Jane Byrne, Project Coordinator at FirstCare.ie.

  • Obligatory winter supplies

Since winter can be quite unpredictable, you should make sure that your senior loved ones have everything they need, in case there is no chance to go out for a few days due to slippery roads or severe snowfalls. It concerns both food and medical supplies. See to it that there is enough for more than 3 days in a row. Then your loved ones will have nothing to worry about. Besides, power can go out during snowstorms, getting some flashlights or candles that use batteries would be highly advisable. It’s even better if you can get a power generator and teach your senior loved ones to use it just in case. Warm clothing is a must too. Make sure your elderly ones have everything like warm coats, mittens, scarfs, boots, pants, sweaters, etc. Warm blankets will be a great plus in such situations as well.

  • Staying healthy through winter

Staying healthy through winter is another challenge that seniors may face during the cold season. And the problem is not only in lower temperatures and lack of sunlight. The matter is that various germs spread easier indoors, and this is exactly where everyone spends most of the time in winter. Spending time outdoors is vitally important in order to get more fresh air and sunlight. Open air and sunlight help to avoid the so called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This is a kind of depression which affects older people more than young ones. Still, there are ways to fight it. First, getting some artificial light – special lamps to switch on for a few hours a day. And second, finding some interesting and fun activities indoors and socializing more.

 

  • Eating healthy

Eating the right way becomes not that easy in winter, especially for people who spend most of their time home, as our elderly ones do. But at the

same time, it is very important to have good nutrition since it gives enough energy to go through old temperatures and fight diseases. There are special diets for seniors to follow, but even if your elderly ones are not diet lovers, supply them with quality food to make sure their diet is balanced and nutritious. The best option would be bringing them some tasty hot dishes you cook if you live somewhere nearby. This way you also give them some company and make their winter isolation not so visible. And that is the main thing they want from you – your attention.

 

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Bloated? Try Dill Water and These Natural Tips https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2018/11/feeling-bloated-try-dill-and-these-other-tips/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2018/11/feeling-bloated-try-dill-and-these-other-tips/#respond Thu, 22 Nov 2018 01:23:59 +0000 http://www.bloomingwellness2.com/blog/?p=3984 Who struggles with bloating? I know I have, and I think we’ve all been there from time to time. You look pregnant when you’re not and can’t fit comfortably into your clothes. The balloon-like jogging pants become our best friends. Certain foods, stress and life factors can definitely instigate bloating, but first we need to […]

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Who struggles with bloating? I know I have, and I think we’ve all been there from time to time. You look pregnant when you’re not and can’t fit comfortably into your clothes. The balloon-like jogging pants become our best friends. Certain foods, stress and life factors can definitely instigate bloating, but first we need to talk about gas. You can’t talk about bloating without talking about gas.

Gas forms when bacteria in our colon ferments carbohydrates that aren’t digested in the small intestine. There are certain foods and drinks notorious for producing gas, including carbonated beverages, like beer and soda, those loaded with artificial sweeteners, and those with lots of fiber. The normal human, on average, should pass gas 10-20 times per day. I know some of you out there well exceed that statistic, and I toast to all you over-achievers. It’s a great feeling to pass gas. When you can’t, something is wrong and you BLOAT.

There are a gazillion home remedies for bloating, but the one I’ll focus on today is dill weed, or Anethum Graveolens. Dill is full of essential oils that calm the stomach by working as an antispasmodic, which relieves cramping and stomach pain. The oils innate to dill also help release gas, thereby reducing bloating. Dill also acts as a natural diuretic, which is another way it reduces bloating. One laboratory study showed it to significantly improve the integrity of our gastrointestinal system’s mucosal lining, which could help prevent GI ulcers.

To maximize the benefits of dill, I like to cook with it and drink it as dill water. Dill water is commonly referred to as gripe water, and it’s been used for years and years as a homeopathic treatment for colicky babies with GI distress. To make dill water, all you have to do is boil 1 TBSP of dill seeds in approximately 200 ml of water, let it cool, and sip it throughout the day or 30 minutes before you eat. An alternative to making your own dill water is to simply chew on dill seeds, but I’ve found that the warm dill water works better.  Another thing you can do is drink pickle juice, which is essentially cold dill water. I eat a lot of pickles. Whenever I’m through with the pickles, I save some of the “dill water” in a separate container. When do I drink it? When I’m premenstrual, as it helps counteract PMS bloating. Also, a randomized controlled trial showed that dill significantly reduces pain associated with the premenstrual period, possibly due to its effect on bloating.

Other health benefits of dill can be attributed to its many antioxidants. Dill weed contains caryone, flavonoids, coumarins and xanthones, all antioxidants with healing benefits throughout our bodies. Research has shown that dill weed has a significant lipid-lowering effect, by reducing LDL cholesterol ( the bad kind)  and increasing HDL ( The good kind).  Dill also has antibacterial activity, which can potentially control bacterial and yeast overgrowth in our guts and help reduce gas formation. There is anecdotal evidence that dill works as a sleep aid too, so if you’re a bloated insomniac, give dill water a try.

If dill water isn’t your homemade treatment of choice, there are plenty of other things you can try to alleviate gas and bloating, including:

1)      Boil mint leaves. Drink after meals.

2)      Chew Fennel seeds ( which have very similar properties to dill) after meals

3)      Take charcoal tablets ( found at most natural health food stores)

4)      Exercise ( Simply put, moving moves gas. If people moved more, they’d bloat less. I highly recommend walks after larger meals. )

5)      Try sipping hot lemon water ( hot water molecules move faster than cold ones)

6)      Lay on your left side, which adds optimal pressure to remove trapped gas

7)      Lay on your back on the floor, pull your legs into your stomach and hold that position. You can also do the bicycle from that position, which also helps some people release gas.

8)      Do Yoga

9)      Quit swallowing air: Okay, that’s impossible and bound to happen, but don’t swallow more air than you have to. If you chew a lot of gum, try to cut back, as that’s a big air-swallowing culprit. And if it’s sugar-free gum, you’re not only swallowing air you don’t need, but will face the wrath of artificial sweeteners, too. Both cause bloat.

10)   Try cutting out lactose and/or gluten. Many people have an allergy and don’t even know it. Or they eat too much lactose, thereby saturating the enzyme lactase, which results in excess gas and bloating.

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Laura’s Journey of Overcoming CPTSD https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2018/11/lauras-journey-of-overcoming-cptsd/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2018/11/lauras-journey-of-overcoming-cptsd/#comments Fri, 16 Nov 2018 12:58:24 +0000 http://www.bloomingwellness.com/?p=12511 In 1968, I was born the 5th of 6 children to a young couple in a small town outside of Boston, MA. My parents were very active in their church community, and raised my siblings and me to embrace the traditions and beliefs taught there. My father was a hardworking man and my mother stayed […]

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In 1968, I was born the 5th of 6 children to a young couple in a small town outside of Boston, MA. My parents were very active in their church community, and raised my siblings and me to embrace the traditions and beliefs taught there. My father was a hardworking man and my mother stayed home to raise us. It was a typical upbringing in the beginning.

My parents became fervent believers in an off-shoot movement within the church that preached communal living, amongst other things. When I was in elementary school, people started gathering at our family home. There was an open door policy. Our doors were open 24 hours a day to anyone who wished to enter. Some visited once. Some stayed for days, weeks, and months, while others stayed for years. I never knew who was coming and going. And sometimes people I had never met suddenly became a member of the household. These people were lost and confused and were seeking solace. They turned to my mother for spiritual and life guidance. And as one can imagine, this fueled her feelings of power and enabled her ability to control others. A cult was born.

My home life was confusing and isolated me from my peers. I was bullied and became a loner. I was afraid of anyone who wasn’t part of the church, as it had been drilled into me that they were evil for believing otherwise. As a teen, my life was filled with prayer meetings, attending church and participating in religious rallies. I was told I had demons inside me who were trying to take over my soul. They used the term oppression as opposed to possession. I struggled with untreated depression and panic attacks. I was told that was due to my need for a deliverance—another word for exorcism. I had three of those.

While some of the live-ins (my term for people who moved into our home) and prayer group members were fun, nice people who were just seeking peace, some were not safe for a child to be around. Later, some of these people would make the local news for the horrible things they did to children. Sometimes to me. Sometimes not. But I was exposed to them nevertheless. I was a very sensitive child who was always looking for love and acceptance and comfort. So when my kindergarten teacher pulled me aside while the other students went outside to play, I felt special. Then she molested me. She was not the last.

I didn’t know how to reconcile in my mind what was happening to me, so I disconnected from my thoughts and feelings. This was my way of enduring the inner chaos, in order to go about my day as if nothing had happened. This is called dissociation. It has been a lifelong coping skill for me. I no longer need it, but my mind and body automatically go there when I perceive a threat or reminder of past abusive or neglectful situations.

20-yr old Laura at her favorite   beach. (She was planning to kill herself on the same week this picture was taken.)

The emotional neglect and mind control throughout my childhood have affected my ability to function as an adult. I’ve had five suicide attempts—only after the first did my family visit me in the hospital. I’ve had too many inpatient psychiatric hospitalizations to count. But worst of all is the shame I carry. Sometimes crippling shame for things I had no control over. Things done to me.

Unable to hold down a job, I felt that I needed to find something where I could put my focus and get some pleasure and satisfaction from. One good friend, an artist who has fought her own battles, introduced me to creating art & making some craft projects. I found creative outlets such as painting, card making and eventually, woodworking.

A card Laura made for her niece back in 2008.

Having a project to focus on helps with my dissociation as it forces me to pay attention to what I’m doing in the moment as opposed to re-experiencing the past. It allows me to get my body and mind away from unwanted thoughts, feelings, images and sensations that make me want to flee this world. Either by dissociation or by acting on the desire to end my pain. End my life.

I found peace and an outlet in woodworking. But that’s not the end of my story. Complex PTSD is not something most people can recover from, as the interpersonal trauma we experienced embedded itself into our minds and bodies. About six years ago I started therapy with someone new. From the beginning, my gut already told me things weren’t right. But I was tired and just went through the motions. But the “therapeutic relationship” wasn’t therapeutic at all. It was emotionally abusive and destructive. In some ways, it mirrored the emotional abuse I suffered growing up. But I wasn’t fully aware of this dynamic for years. Very often victims of abuse are repeatedly abused—either because it’s something they just expect or they don’t consciously see the repetition…or both.

During that time I decided my art wasn’t really important. I decided nothing was important – showering, eating, or seeing friends. I was more dissociative than ever and I was very depressed. I was experiencing multiple panic attacks a day, as well as chronic migraines. I threw out all of my art supplies and the work I had done. All of the paints, cardstock and other mediums. All of the things I had ever produced. None of it mattered because no matter what I did and no matter how hard I tried, everything I enjoyed wasn’t important because, in my C-PTSD mind, people would always hurt me in the end.

A Way Back to Art and Woodworking

Thankfully, things changed. A little over a year ago I had an awakening. I’m not sure how it happened, but I saw my therapist for who she was and realized the harm she was doing to me. Eventually, I made the healthy decision to fire her and jump back into my art. Using colors and textures, designs and shapes take me away from my pain and confusion and allow me to enjoy myself, calm myself and sooth myself. And having a physical reminder—something I can touch, smell and see of a positive experience, uplifts me. Sometimes I keep my creations and sometimes I find joy in giving them away.

I felt free again and decided to start to replenish my art supplies. My friend, the artist, put together an art kit for me for my 50th birthday. I’m looking into joining an art studio for adults dealing with mental health issues. While I can’t afford much in the way of supplies, I’ve decided to repaint and refinish some of the furniture in my tiny apartment.

Laura with her artist friend last July 2018.

I’m honestly excited about using my creativity again and having my work displayed in my home where I can enjoy it and remind myself that in the end, it’s all going to be okay. 

***

Laura’s life story is just one among countless stories of people suffering from PTSD/CPTSD. Her unceasing attempts to find ways of coping with her disorder and healing herself from her troubled past is truly inspiring. She have discovered the good that art and woodworking bring to her, and now she continues to re-discover it. Like her, there are other people who have found solace and positive distraction through woodworking, too. Get to know them at Sawinery.net.

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Fish Oil/ Omega 3s for Depression: The Evidence Both For & Against, Part 2 https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2018/11/fish-oil-for-depression-part-two-the-evidence-both-for-and-against/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2018/11/fish-oil-for-depression-part-two-the-evidence-both-for-and-against/#respond Tue, 13 Nov 2018 02:45:19 +0000 http://www.bloomingwellness2.com/blog/?p=4903 In the last blog I explained the different theories for depression. They’re will probably be 20 more theories in 20 years, but that’s how research and science works.  What follows is a current comprehensive summary of the studies that support using omega-3 fatty acids for depression and the studies that don’t.  Before you go on,  […]

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In the last blog I explained the different theories for depression. They’re will probably be 20 more theories in 20 years, but that’s how research and science works.  What follows is a current comprehensive summary of the studies that support using omega-3 fatty acids for depression and the studies that don’t.  Before you go on,  just know that a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial is considered the “gold standard” for evidence. Therefore, the results of those studies are considered stronger evidence. Case Control studies and Cohort studies are not considered to be as rigorous. But they still count as evidence. When I use the words “Significant improvement” or “Significantly improves,”  that means that STATISTICALLY the study showed improvement in the study population. A statistically significant improvement sometimes does not manifest as such in the real world, although it has a much better chance than a study that yields an insignificant result.  All that said, please read the different studies that either support or do not support supplementing with fish oil, and I’ll let you be the judge as to whether you think you should supplement or not.

 

THE EVIDENCE For Omega-3 Fatty Acids as Related to Depression: 

A 2017 randomized controlled trial showed that adults (18-65) diagnosed with depression showed a significant reduction in symptoms after following a Mediterranean diet and supplementing with fish oil capsules for 6 months. Researchers also noted a correlation between higher Omega-3s, Lower Omega-6s and improved mental health.

A 2016 analysis of data from a randomized controlled trial involving 122 people diagnosed with depression showed that levels of EPA and DHA in red blood cells PLUS a high EPA:DPA ratio in depressed individuals correlated with a significantly higher reduction in depressive symptoms.

The Sun cohort study by the University of Navarra in collaboration with the Harvard School of Public Health involved a total of 7,903 participants.  Researchers measured participants’ dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids and measured the study’s chief outcome (the incidence of depression) using questionnaires. Researchers found that a moderate consumption of fish (between 83.3 – 112 g/day) had a 30% risk reduction of developing major depression, however a dose-response relationship was not found. ( Dose response means the symptoms of depression should decrease proportionally to the amount of fish oil being consumed.) An interesting observation is that participants with a high baseline consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, who also increased their consumption during the study, developed an increased risk for mental illness. Researchers proposed that a possible explanation for this finding is that a potentially high mercury content in fish could independently increase the risk of depression, since organic mercury is known to cause neurological damage.

A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study was conducted in Iran, a country where fish consumption is very low (6.1 kg/capita/year).  33 elderly participants were randomized to receive fish oil (omega-3 fatty acids) capsules and 33 were randomized to receive a placebo. Major depression was measured using the Geriatric Depression Scale-15( GDS-15), and results showed that while the GDS-15 score improved for both the fish oil and placebo groups, it showed a 25% increase in improvement in the fish oil group. This study used a very low dose (300 mg) of fatty acids for 6 months, and the researchers speculate that the study population may have been under-dosed. However, given that it was an elderly population, the lower-dose was chosen to avoid potential cross-reactions with other medications.

Rizzo et al. conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 46 depressed elderly patients, half of which were randomized to receiving fish oil supplements dosed at 2.5 g/day, and half of which received a placebo. Results of their study show that the Arachidonic Acid to EPA ratio was significantly lower in the group receiving fish oil, and there was also a significant improvement in depressive symptomology in the fish oil group. ( Arachidonic Acid is a precursor to cells involved in inflammation, so having a lower ratio of Arachidonic Acid to EPA is a good thing.)   This study used an EPA:DHA ratio of 2:1, which is worth mentioning because it supports others studies which suggest that the effect an omega-3 supplement has on depression is driven by the EPA content. The research suggests that all fish oil treatment protocols contain at least 60% of EPA in order to be effective.

Another randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was conducted by Su et al. in 2003. Su et al. randomly assigned 28 depressed patients to receive 9.6/day of omega-three fatty acids or a placebo. Utilizing the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression to measure the symptoms of depression, the results of the study show a statistically significant improvement in the group consuming the omega-threes.

Puri et al. conducted a case study showing that 4 g of pure EPA not only significantly improved symptoms of depression, but the study also utilized brain imaging technology that showed an increase in brain tissue in the depressed patients. Puri’s study implies that advanced brain imaging may play a critical role in future research on how omega-three fatty acids alter brain structures.

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study by Nemets et al. showed that adding omega-three fatty acids via fish oil capsules to concurrent antidepressant therapy significantly improved treatment results. Specifically,  study participants receiving the fish oil reduced their Hamilton depression scale score by 12.4 points, whereas the placebo group only reduced their Hamilton Depression Scale score on average by 1.6 points, by week 3 of treatment.

EVIDENCE THAT DOES NOT SUPPORT SUPPLEMENTING WITH OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS FOR DEPRESSION: 

A 2004 cohort study by Jacka et al. found no significant difference in omega-three fatty acid intake in depressed and non-depressed women, although the authors note that this particular sample of depressed women had, on average, a severe level of depression.

A systematic review of the effectiveness of omega-three fatty acids for depression was conducted by Williams et al,.  in which was pointed out that several clinical trials involving omega-threes as treatment failed to demonstrate a significant effect. It should be noted that the ratios of DHA to EPA utilized were not specified.

Marangell et al. conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled study in which 36 depressed patients were assigned to receive 2 grams of DHA or a placebo.  The Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Scale ( MADRS) was utilized to measure the extent of depression symptoms, and Marangell et al. found no significant difference between the control group and the group receiving DHA.

A large cohort study that was conducted in Finland involving 29,133 men ages 50-69 years found no significant association between fish consumption/ omega-three fatty acids with self-reported depression, hospital treatment for depression or death from suicide.  It should be noted that the total intake of omega-threes was relatively low in comparison to other studies ( 2.2 g/ day or .47 g/day from fish).

Keck et al. conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study on the use of EPA for the treatment of depression associated with bipolar depression. A very high dose of EPA was used (6 g) yet no significant difference in outcome was produced between the study participants taking EPA and those assigned to the placebo group.  While this study targets bipolar depression, it is worth noting since a very high dose of EPA was used, yet did not yield a significant positive outcome.

A large case-control study designed to assess the effectiveness of omega-three fatty acids on depression in lung cancer patients was conducted in Japan. Fatty acids were measured using gas chromatography and depression was measured using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, involved 717 subjects from a large lung cancer database.  Results of the study show that there was no significant association between omega-3 fatty acid level and major depression. This study is noteworthy because it highlights that the sample population under study may influence the effectiveness of omega-3s in depression. It also implies that depression in cancer may be a unique, “reactive” phenomenon to a highly stressful event and may not respond similarly to treatment as other depressions might. We need more population-specific research in the area of treatment and depression.

THE DOSE RIDDLE?  HOW MUCH EPA TO DHA IN A FISH OIL CAPSULE DO YOU WANT? 

If you want to try fish oil, the recommended ratio between EPA and DHA varies. In fact, it is speculated that the different outcomes of omega-three fatty acid and depression studies partially depends on whether a higher ratio or lower ratio of EPA:DHA is utilized. As Dr. Horrobin states: “High doses of EPA/DHA may not be necessary and due to the effect on cytokines and intra-cellular communication, lower levels of pure EPA may be of benefit.”

Peet and Horrobin conducted a large study that was published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. They measured the effects different doses of pure EPA ( 1g, 2g, or 4g) had on depression, and their results showed that the 1 g of EPA led to the most significant improvements.

Studies involving DHA as monotherapy generally yield insignificant results, which is the conclusion Martins et al. made after conducting a large meta-analysis of 124 studies on EPA/DHA and depression.

YOUR TAKE-HOME POINT:  You want a fish oil capsule that has at least 60% EPA.

Do I take fish oil capsules?

No. I try to get everything I need from my diet and I have a hard time believing supplement companies. But that’s me, and you need to do what’s right for you.

Comments and questions? Leave below.

 

Have you read Manic Kingdom yet?  What are you waiting for…

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The Many Theories of Depression that You’ve Never Heard Of: How Omega Three Fatty Acids Might Help https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2018/11/fish-oil-for-depression-mood-part-one-the-many-theories-of-depression-that-youve-never-heard-of/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2018/11/fish-oil-for-depression-mood-part-one-the-many-theories-of-depression-that-youve-never-heard-of/#comments Mon, 12 Nov 2018 03:48:17 +0000 http://www.bloomingwellness2.com/blog/?p=4866 Part I: The Theories of Depression:  Major Depression is a chronic, disabling illness that affects millions of people worldwide. The World Health Organization predicts it will become the main cause of disability by the year 2020, for both developed and developing nations. Treating depression is expensive. It is estimated that depression will cost us 13.4 […]

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Part I:

The Theories of Depression: 

Major Depression is a chronic, disabling illness that affects millions of people worldwide. The World Health Organization predicts it will become the main cause of disability by the year 2020, for both developed and developing nations. Treating depression is expensive. It is estimated that depression will cost us 13.4 billion dollars by the end of 2018. Because of depression’s high healthcare costs, because there are no objective diagnostic measures, and because its underlying biological causes remain ambiguous, it is among the ten most frequent indications for using alternative or complementary medicine (CAM), including omega 3 fatty acid supplementation.

 HOW IS MAJOR DEPRESSION CLASSIFIED? 

The American Psychiatric Association define major depression as a disorder in which two or more depressive episodes occur at least two months apart, in conjunction with no manic or hypomanic episodes (APA, 2000).  Symptoms that classify as a major depressive episode must be present for a two week duration, interfere with one’s prior functioning ability, and include at least five of the following symptoms: 1) Depressed mood most of the day; 2)Anhedonia;  3) weight loss or weight gain; 4)Insomnia or hypersomnia; 5) Psychomotor agitation or retardation; 6) fatigue or loss of energy; 7)feelings of worthlessness or guilt every day; 8) diminished ability to think or concentrate; and 9) Recurrent thoughts of death.

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WHAT ARE OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS? 

Essential omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that come from a variety of plant and marine sources. They are considered “essential” because the human body does not manufacture them naturally, and they therefore must be obtained from one’s diet. Plants are sources of the omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which include flaxseeds, hemp, canola oil, fresh leafy vegetables and walnuts.  Fish is an excellent source of two preformed omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Seafood with the highest concentrations of EPA and DHA include mackerel, salmon, herring, anchovy, sardine and trout.

brain-food

DEPRESSION & THE LOW SEROTONIN THEORY: 

The idea that low serotonin levels in the brain leads to depression is the most popular theory thanks to the drug companies’ mega marketing machines, but it’s certainly not proven and there are many others. These include the vascular hypothesis, which theorizes that atherosclerotic changes in the brain lead to depression, as well as the theory that exposure to chronic stress reduces the size of the hippocampus and leads to depression. Research is continually supporting the emerging theory that a more generalized  neuronal dysfunction, cellular membrane and/or a dysfunctional immune response are at the root of depression, all  concepts that support the use of omega-three fatty acids for depression.

THE CELL MEMBRANE THEORY: 

There are a variety of theories as to why omega-3 fatty acids help treat depression, none of which have been definitively proven. The most prevailing one is that omega-3 fatty acids make cellular membranes more fluid, and thus allows for increased serotonin transport, more effective membrane-imbedded receptor uptake, and better signal transduction. Polyunsaturated fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids, help form the phospholipid bilayers of cell membranes. Another type of polyunsaturated fat, omega-6 fatty acids, also can form cellular membranes, and the omega-6 fatty acids form much more rigid cellular membranes than the omega-3s. Omega-6 fatty acids are found in corn, safflower, sunflower and soya oils, and are precursors to Arachidonic Acid, a molecule that is a precursor for our bodies’ immune cells such as leukotrienes, prostaglandins and cytokines.

Studies have indicated that an abnormal fatty acid composition in cellular membranes may lead to depression. In 1996, a case-control study showed a lower concentration of  omega-3 fatty acids in depressed patients compared to controls, and a significant increase in the ratio of Arachidonic Acid to Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA). Another study showed that red blood cell membranes and phospholipids of depressed patients contained a significantly higher concentration of Arachidonic Acid compared to EPA. In another case control study, it was shown that the red blood cell membranes of depressed patients had significantly lower levels of omega-threes compared to healthy controls, and a statistically significant positive correlation between dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids and the concentration of omega-3 fatty acids in red blood cell membranes.

The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids that forms the composition of cellular membranes depends on which type of fatty acid is most available in one’s diet.  An interesting trend noted by a panel of lipid experts in a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition is that the omega-6 intake of Western nations is currently outnumbering the omega-3 intake by a ratio of 20:1, while the recommended ratio is 2:1 . Some experts have correlated this trend with the increasing rates of major depression. Weissman et al. conducted a large, rigorous cross-national comparison between the prevalence of major depression and fish consumption. His study, involving 35,000 participants, is considered by colleagues as some of the most reliable cross-national data available. Results show a statistically significant negative association between national rates of major depression and fish consumption. New Zealand had the highest rates of depression and the lowest fish consumption, while Japan had both the highest fish consumption and lowest rates of major depression.

Another study measured levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in the postmortem orbitofrontral cortex of patients diagnosed with major depression and compared them to controls. He found significantly lower levels of DHA in the patients who had been diagnosed with depression than in the controls, and interestingly enough, a 32% deficiency in depressed females compared to a 16% deficiency in depressed males.

frat

 

THE VASCULAR THEORY: 

The vascular hypothesis of depression assumes that atherosclerotic changes that create suboptimal blood flow in the brain lead to depressive symptoms. This hypothesis is similar to the underlying pathology of coronary artery disease. Kris-Etherton et al. conducted a study that showed an omega-3 fatty acid deficiency in patients with coronary artery disease, while Leaf et al. ( 2003)  showed a deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids was positively correlated with incidence of fatal cardiac arrhythmias. The pathology of depression may be distinct from or perhaps worsen the pathology leading to coronary artery disease.  A case-control study comparing serum polyunsaturated fatty acid levels ( PUFAS) in 54 depressed participants and 54 depression-free controls, approximately two months after each suffered an acute coronary syndrome. They found that DHA was 14% lower and total omega-3 fatty acid levels were 12% lower in the depressed participants, and the ratio of arachidonic acid and EPA was significantly higher (12.63 +/- 6.63, p = .044) in depressed participants than controls ( 10.46 +/- 3.64, p=.044).

Also, exercise is shown to improve depression and some speculate that it is not necessarily due to the endorphin release but to the fact that exercise helps improve one’s vascular function, and therefore keeps the brain well perfused.

hypoperfused

 

THE IMMUNE SYSTEM THEORY: 

Another theory that potentially explains a link between omega-3 fatty acids and depression is that omega-3s alter the immune system which thereby leads to depressive symptoms. While the complexities of this theory are beyond the scope of this blog, prior research has shown that omega-3s inhibit pro-inflammatory cytokines by decreasing levels of arachidonic acid, the precursor to inflammatory cells such as prostaglandins, leukotrienes and cytokines. Studies have shown higher levels of the cytokines, Il-1, CD2, CD19, TNF-alpha and prostaglandin E2 in depressed subjects than in controls. Furthermore, animal studies have shown that when mice are injected with Il-1, TNF-alpha or lipopolysaccharide, which stimulates the production of cytokines, they exhibit symptoms of major depression.

Some also associate depression symptoms as “sickness” symptoms. Very simply, when you’re sick, you feel tired, withdrawn, sleepy, lethargic. You lose your appetite, want to sleep more, don’t feel like socializing and just feel, well, sick.  Since many of those symptoms are often seen in “depressed” patients and since these behavioral symptoms are triggered by specific immune cells, some say that depression could be due to a dysregulation of the immune system.

depression-symptoms

 

THE DYSREGULATION OF STRESS THEORY: 

Depression may be caused by a dysregulation of the body’s stress response, or more specifically the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Several studies have shown that depressed patients have higher levels of cortisol, the body’s stress hormone, and animal studies have shown that high levels of cortisol can deactivate liver enzymes that transform the short fatty acids into the longer-chained omega-three fatty acids. Delarue et al.’s randomized controlled study showed that supplementing with 7.2 grams/day of omega-3 fish oil significantly reduced blood cortisol levels, which may be another way omega-3 fatty acids impacts depression.

With the help of brain imaging, it has been shown that the hippocampus shrinks in depressed patients. The hippocampus has a lot of cortisol receptors, and a few studies have noted elevated levels of cortisol in patients who are depressed, who also exhibit hippocampus degeneration on brain images.

The BDNF Theory of Depression: 

Another theory that is currently being heavily research is the impact of omega-3s on brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), which is shown to be lower in depressed patients. BDNF is shown to protect nerve cells, increase neuronal transmission, and support normal brain structure. A 2004 study conducted on rats at the University of California, Los Angeles, showed that omega-3 fatty acids can increase the production of BDNF, while a diet high in sugar and saturated fat inhibits its production.

Other emerging theories that I’ve touched on in the blog include an altered microbiome , poor sleep, and Dr. Watts discusses depression as it relates to our “social brains.” Keep in mind that a lot of these potential “causes” have a chicken/egg relationship with depression.

 

Phew! That was a lot.  This was Part 1 of a 2 part blog. I felt I had to post this in order for Part 2 to make sense. This blog will also help you understand why certain nutrients, diets and supplements are speculated to work for depression.

On to Part 2.

 

 

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Running for Depression and Holistic Combination Therapy https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2018/11/running-for-depression-holistic-combination-therapy/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2018/11/running-for-depression-holistic-combination-therapy/#respond Mon, 05 Nov 2018 18:05:03 +0000 http://www.bloomingwellness.com/?p=12360 What IS she talking about? Watch my latest video on Instagram that explains: View this post on Instagram Let's talk about #running and #depression . Who has tried a running program to help fight off the blues? If you have, the evidence is with you. . . Also, because I want folks to try the […]

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What IS she talking about?

Watch my latest video on Instagram that explains:

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Top 5 Reasons to Get a Massage https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2018/10/top-5-reasons-to-get-a-massage/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2018/10/top-5-reasons-to-get-a-massage/#respond Tue, 30 Oct 2018 17:14:41 +0000 http://www.bloomingwellness.com/?p=12225 Sponsored Post Massage can be a relaxing and rejuvenating process for the mind and the body. Most people recognize that this type of therapy can provide those benefits, however, there are more reasons besides relaxation to get one. Still not convinced? Have a look at the top 5 reasons to get a massage below: Reduces […]

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Sponsored Post

Massage can be a relaxing and rejuvenating process for the mind and the body. Most people recognize that this type of therapy can provide those benefits, however, there are more reasons besides relaxation to get one. Still not convinced? Have a look at the top 5 reasons to get a massage below:

Reduces Stress

Each one of us suffers from high stress levels at some point in our lives. Stress is seen more and more due to today’s fast paced world. It comes to know surprise that stress can negatively impact our mental and physical health and well-being.

Massage allows you to close your eyes and breathe deeply while any built up pain or toxins are gently removed from the body. Allowing your mind to reach a quiet and meditative state while you receive your bodywork can do wonders for your stress levels in a natural way.

In a way, each therapeutic touch from the therapist can melt away your stress. Even a 10 minute rub down can bring your mind to a clearer and more focused state. Not to mention reflexology allows the release of dopamine and endorphins in the brain as you begin to relax. Both natural chemicals help to fight stress when they are released into the body.

Boosts Your Immune System

Your body has natural defense mechanisms which can greatly benefit from acupressure therapy. This means with the help of muscle manipulation you can have a better chance of being healthier.

Massage therapy helps to promote the function of your lymph systems. The lymph system helps remove toxins, the build up of waste, and any harmful bacterium from the body. Regular deep tissue therapy will stimulate the flow within the lymph systems which helps to keep your body in tip top shape.

If you are constantly suffering from anxiety and/or stress you are more prone to getting sick. Not to mention if you do not get enough sleep, you are also prone to catching an illness. If you do not receive enough sleep or you have high stress levels, you can compromise your immune system.

The good news is, bodywork can help combat mental and physical ailments that attack our immune systems. Those who are in search of complete mental and health well-being should seek massage on a regular basis. Learn more about the positive affects on your immune system by clicking here!

Promotes Better Sleep

When you can reach a state of relaxation, your sleep will begin to improve. In fact receiving a 3 minute back rub can help add 30 minutes or more to your sleep cycle. Three minutes of stimulation and stroking of the muscles allows your body to start to produce the feeling of calm which aids you to reach your sleep cycle quicker.

Not to mention, if your body is already in a calm state you are able to reach deeper levels of sleep.

Reduces Symptoms of Anxiety

Based on information from the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 40 million adult Americans suffer from some form of anxiety. Anxiety symptoms can be alleviated with the help of therapeutic massage. According to the American Massage Therapy Association, regular rubbing-down can help to reduce symptoms of anxiety which in turn promotes higher levels of mental health.

If you or someone you know suffers from anxiety, starting an acupressure therapy routine can help bring you to a calm and relaxed state. You can read more about how massage reduces anxiety here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massage#Single-dose_effects 

Improves Circulatory System

Receiving reflexology is a perfect way to get your blood flowing throughout your body. Those who specifically suffer from chronically cold feet, varicose veins, or swelling in the lower extremities, pressure and rubbing can help to improve these conditions.

Nutrients and blood travels such a long way through our bodies from the heart to reach our legs and feet before making its way back to the heart. Unfortunately, the nutrients and blood fight gravity to get back to the heart. The good news is, massage can jump start this process and literally allows your blood to start pumping.

Each of us can use a little relaxation and rejuvenation provided from a great reflexology session. Allow yourself to reap the many health benefits this hands-on therapy has to offer and schedule your next massage in Dallas today! Your mind and your body will thank you.

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It’s Time to End Factory Farms https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2018/10/its-time-to-end-factory-farms/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2018/10/its-time-to-end-factory-farms/#respond Mon, 22 Oct 2018 16:39:14 +0000 http://www.bloomingwellness.com/?p=12126 I know we are divided and reduced to Left vs Right. But can we please make a pledge to come together and end factory farms? People get on my case for not taking a stronger stance on issues. I do, I just don’t blow-spit them in your face. Factory farming is one. So here it […]

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I know we are divided and reduced to Left vs Right. But can we please make a pledge to come together and end factory farms?

People get on my case for not taking a stronger stance on issues. I do, I just don’t blow-spit them in your face. Factory farming is one. So here it is: If you buy food originally from factory farms, you are complicit in a special kind of evil, whether you like it or not, and where the victims have no say and no vote. These places are horrid, and I promise most with a heart and a brain wouldn’t eat one speck of flesh if they witnessed what actually happens: brute, blunt animal torture. Factory farm advocates make every effort to keep these practices hidden, because they want you to stay ignorant and to keep buying the neatly packaged remains of tortured beings. Now I know some call it progress: the fruit of an industrial revolution and an efficient way to feed the masses. Yeah…so efficient we are a nation of Fat Asses. We’d do ourselves and our muffin tops a favor if forced to take a walk in the woods and hunt for our food.

Our country, and much of the world, is battling a growing obesity epidemic. Obesity is linked to higher rates of cancer, mental health issues, chronic pain issues, knee surgeries, back surgeries, sleep apnea, cardiac problems, strokes and the list goes on and on. It can’t hurt to cut back on sugar, I know, BUT it also can’t hurt to cut back on processed, hormone- filled, antibiotic- injected, factory-farmed meat. We are constantly bickering about how we will pay for healthcare, yet very few are willing to make healthier choices that help prevent long-term, costly health issues. That in itself is selfish.

I know change doesn’t happen over night, so for the Naysayers, at least make an effort to learn where your food comes from. You should know that anyhow, right? That’s Health101 and SelfCare101. Whether you cook in or eat out, take some time to learn where your food comes from.

I realize that poor people living in food deserts don’t have the luxury of healthier food choices. There is a reason obesity rates are higher in poor neighborhoods, and factory farms love poor people. Organic is not cheap. If you give a damn and are solution-oriented, try to figure out affordable ways to bring both education and organic CSA products ( Community Supported Agriculture) to nearby, impoverished neighborhoods. You’d be surprised at how creative you can get when it comes to cultivating a more conscious and cost-effective healthier lifestyle.

That’s enough blow-spitting for one day.

I shall now cease banging my keyboard and hope someone thinks about what I wrote.

Thanks for reading.

Erin

 

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Do Celebrities like Taylor Swift and Kanye West Influence How We Vote? A Chat with Dr. David Jackson: https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2018/10/do-celebrities-like-taylor-swift-and-kanye-west-influence-how-we-vote-a-chat-with-dr-david-jackson/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2018/10/do-celebrities-like-taylor-swift-and-kanye-west-influence-how-we-vote-a-chat-with-dr-david-jackson/#respond Mon, 15 Oct 2018 01:47:50 +0000 http://www.bloomingwellness.com/?p=12006 I wish all celebrities well, but I don’t care about who they vote for, what products they buy, what food they eat, what clothes they wear, what wellness trend they jump on, or what causes they support. I’ve never cared. If I want advice, I listen to people who have experience or credentials related to […]

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I wish all celebrities well, but I don’t care about who they vote for, what products they buy, what food they eat, what clothes they wear, what wellness trend they jump on, or what causes they support. I’ve never cared. If I want advice, I listen to people who have experience or credentials related to whatever it is I’m asking about. If I want to support a cause, I do it because I care about the cause. When it comes to politics and voting, I try to be informed. This means I research issues that are important to me, and then I research the candidates and decide who is most likely to accomplish what I want done. I’m also cynical and constantly struggle with the notion that no matter who I vote for, it’s a vote for gridlock, because DC is a nest of rats and nothing ever changes (that much) for me. Despite my cynicism, the idea of taking advice from a celebrity, a person I don’t know, who is aloof from the average person’s troubles, and often not well educated on policies or issues that matter to me, is absurd. This past week, I’ve asked friends across the country for their opinions on celebrity endorsements of candidates. It’s a hot topic since Ye (Kanye West) continuously struts his support for President Trump, and Taylor Swift recently broke her silence on politics to endorse Democrats. Most of my friends’ responses fall in line with, “I wish they’d shut up,” “They are obnoxious,” “I don’t care what they think,“…all responses that fuel my beliefs about celebrity influence. Some with stronger partisan ties gave harsher responses, like, “I’m never watching his/her show again,” “I’m never listening to his/her music again,” “He/She is dead to me,” “Commie Loser,” “Watch his/her ratings go down now,” “I hope Hollyweird falls into the ocean.” Anecdotes aren’t data, and perhaps my social circle is swimming in anti-celebrity bias, so I asked Dr. David Jackson, a political science professor at Bowling Green State University, for his thoughts. His research and published studies focus on the significance between celebrities and political preferences. Dr. Jackson was kind enough to answer several questions for me:

1) Celebrities were very active in the 2016 election. Hillary Clinton especially tried to leverage celebrity influence for her campaign. In your opinion, how did celebrity endorsements impact the 2016 election?

Dr. Jackson:  Research shows that celebrities may have helped Clinton in 2016. For example, Nownes shows that celebrity endorsements reduced voters’ anxiety and anger toward Clinton. The reduction of these negative emotions leads to greater likelihood of support. Donald Trump had no military or public service experience before seeking the presidency. His reputation was based mostly on his hosting a “reality” game show. He is the ultimate celebrity politician. His success flips the situation ( or at least it should) of Republicans complaining about celebrity involvement in politics, because they supported a candidate who was not just celebrity-endorsed, but was a celebrity with no public service experience himself.

Soooo…Hillary’s celebrity endorsements helped her, BUT she still lost, and Republicans should file their complaints about celebrities under Pot/Kettle. Got it.
2) Are certain voter demographics more influenced by celebrities than others, and influenced in significant ways?
Dr. Jackson: It matters more if the celebrity matches the demographic or political predispositions of the voters they are trying to influence. My research shows, for example, that country music star Trace Adkins is a net drag on likely voters overall, but a net positive only among country fans. Similarly, Ted Nugent is a net drag overall, but a net positive among supporters of the Tea Party.
In the study Dr. Jackson mentions, 804 voters in Ohio were polled, so it wasn’t a national sample. Still, there were only three endorsements that yielded a net positive effect, meaning voters were more likely to vote for the candidate endorsed by the following three: The New York Times, The United Workers and the Cleveland Dealer. Endorsements from Beyonce, Eva Longoria, Lenna Dunham, the NRA and even Oprah all had a net negative effect, meaning voters were less likely to vote for the candidate these celebrities endorsed. ( However, Oprah had a significant net positive effect ( 20.7 points) among African American voters.) 
3) In your opinion, is it smart for a political candidate to spend time and money leveraging celebrity influence?
Dr. Jackson:  Yes.  My most recent research shows that celebrities who are liked (and therefore possibly viewed also as credible) are able to influence what people think about issues. This includes, for example, Taylor Swift’s endorsement of feminism, making the belief more popular among those who like her.
Candidates, take note: Focus on getting endorsements from celebrities who are consistently liked. Taylor Swift falls into that category…I think. 
4) We hear a lot about celebrities being out of touch with normal Americans. Does that impact “small-town” voter mentality? In your opinion, do people get angry or annoyed when celebrities tell their fans who to vote for?
Dr. Jackson: Traditionally, Republicans have made this argument and potentially benefited from it, but it seems this argument no longer has validity, in that they now support a President who literally has a tower with his name on it.
Kind of funny, because it’s true.
5) Obviously these are divided times, and social media fuels this division. When a celebrity endorses someone or starts actively protesting, do you see fans with opposing political views turning against them? Amy Schumer & Emily Ratajkowski most recently come to mind.  Any thoughts on this?
Dr. Jackson: Celebrities definitely need to be thoughtful about the effect their issue position and candidate endorsements can have on their own brand. If they endorse a candidate who loses, they may be blamed for it, even if it’s not their fault the candidate lost. If the candidate wins and does unpopular things, their brand may be tainted by being attached to the candidate.
6) Ye ( Kanye West)  is in the news a lot for his support for President Trump. Do you think his support will have an impact on voters, particularly with African American voters, in the midterms or even President Trump’s potential 2020 run?
Dr. Jackson: I do not.
Okay, then.
Can you explain why?
Dr. Jackson: I haven’t included Kanye West in my surveys so it is difficult to say anything based on hard data, so this is a bit speculative. Media presentations of him and reactions to his comments would not lead most voters to find him credible.
7) Taylor Swift just came out in support of Democratic candidates in Tennessee. Many folks are crediting a spike in voting registration to her endorsement. Do you think this spike was a result of Swift, and was this a “win” for Democrats?
Dr. Jackson: It’s hard to sort out Swift’s impact from the fact that the registration deadline for a number of states was approaching, and registrations normally spike then.
So it may be incorrect to attribute the spike in registration to Taylor, but she is likeable (see Question 3 above), so… who knows? 

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