Blooming Wellness https://www.bloomingwellness.com Health & Wellness Blog by Dr. Eeks Sun, 25 Aug 2019 11:46:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.2 The Social Brain Hypothesis for Depression https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/08/the-social-brain-hypothesis-for-depression-with-dr-watt/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/08/the-social-brain-hypothesis-for-depression-with-dr-watt/#respond Sun, 25 Aug 2019 11:46:28 +0000 https://www.bloomingwellness.com/?p=16307   New Causes Or Cures podcast posted: The Social Brain Hypothesis for Depression Anyone who struggles with depression or knows someone who struggles with depression should listen to this podcast. We don’t talk enough, if at all, about the social brain hypothesis for depression, yet we should, because  it could help a lot of people […]

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Depression and the Social Brain

 

New Causes Or Cures podcast posted: The Social Brain Hypothesis for Depression

Anyone who struggles with depression or knows someone who struggles with depression should listen to this podcast. We don’t talk enough, if at all, about the social brain hypothesis for depression, yet we should, because  it could help a lot of people who are currently struggling. That includes people of any sex, age, occupation and relationship status. I’ve received a few phone calls from folks who listened to this podcast and thanked me. They were trying to manage their own depression, or a loved one’s, and looking for new answers, because the medication we have for depression doesn’t offer the best long-term outcomes and has a lot of side effects to consider, including withdrawal syndrome.

Dr. Douglas Watt is a forensic neuropsychologist with over 30 years of clinical practice. He has degrees from Harvard and Boston College, has served as the director of clinical psychology in two Boston teaching hospitals and has been on the faculty of the Boston University School of Medicine for 15 years. He teaches classes on affective neuroscience and its implications. He’s also a prolific writer and has written numerous articles on this topic ( the social brain hypothesis for depression) and others.

In this podcast, Dr. Watt joins Dr. Stair to discuss the Social Brain Hypothesis for Depression and why he believes depression is an evolutionary shut-down mechanism, the chemical imbalance theory is reductive at best,  and why conventional antidepressants fall short. He discusses what social rejection and loss of relationships does to us neurologically and why folks with an impaired capacity to make meaningful social attachments can become addicted to social media as a failed replacement for real-life intimate connections. In other words, our social media connections won’t help. Finally, he discusses why playfulness is a great promoter of intimacy, play as a mammilian prototype, our current play deficit and what we can do to fix it.

This is a longer podcast, but it’s full of wise gems. I know our society doesn’t like to focus on one topic for a prolonged period of time, but I  highly, highly, highly recommend listening to at least some of it. Depression and chronic loneliness are both increasing around the globe, and Dr. Watt offers a solid reason why. I implore you to listen to it if you struggle with depression! Truly.

I don’t make it a secret that I struggled immensely with my depression in my twenties. While that used to be a common decade for struggling with depression, I think it’s happening frequently at any age now. I also struggled with finding a path to recovery and, frankly, conventional wisdom failed me. I learned nothing about The Social Brain, but I wish I did, because it would have helped.  All anyone did was offer me text-book therapy lines that I already knew and throw pills at me. If I compared my path to recovery to a biking trip, I started out on the standard, well-marked conventional and paved road. I followed the rules and kept going for a while, but couldn’t ignore a gut feeling that I wasn’t feeling better. In fact, I felt worse. An inner force compelled me to swerve off the conventional road and head into the unmarked woods, where I found myself surrounded by brush, weeds and trees. I moved forward on my bike, only to hit trees, crash down hills, get bit by mosquitoes and meet complicated beings along the way who had their own vices and struggles. Confusion, scratches, feeling lost, bruises, undoing, doing…but the most remarkable thing was that I wasn’t actually tripping aimlessly through the woods. I was forging my own path to recovery. And when convention fails you in a big way, forging your own path is the only option. I wrote about that time in my life in my book Manic Kingdom. Hope you read it and hope you listen to this podcast.  

 

Other Causes Or Cures Podcasts:

One doctor’s struggle with Benzodiazepines

Wireless Technology and Our Increased Risk of Brain and Heart Cancer: An Interview with Dr. Fiorella Belpoggi

Opioids or Marijuana? What it’s like to be a Spoonie.

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Wireless and Health: Why I Won’t Make a Bluetooth ZENBand https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/08/wireless-and-health-and-why-i-wont-make-a-bluetooth-zenband/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/08/wireless-and-health-and-why-i-wont-make-a-bluetooth-zenband/#respond Sun, 18 Aug 2019 16:55:31 +0000 https://www.bloomingwellness.com/?p=16184   Wireless and Health: Why I won’t make a Bluetooth ZENBand I get asked ALL OF THE TIME why I don’t make a wireless or Bluetooth ZENBand option. One person recently exclaimed, “What is this? The 1980s?”  So let me explain:   At one point, I was going to make a Bluetooth ZENBand. It was […]

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Wireless Headphones and Cancer

 

Wireless and Health: Why I won’t make a Bluetooth ZENBand

I get asked ALL OF THE TIME why I don’t make a wireless or Bluetooth ZENBand option. One person recently exclaimed, “What is this? The 1980s?”  So let me explain:

 

At one point, I was going to make a Bluetooth ZENBand. It was incredibly affordable to make, and wires started to feel retro, even antiquated. But I was still interested in any potential health risks attributed to EMF radiation exposure. EMF stands for electro-magnetic field. It’s non-ionizing radiation, and how things like our cell phones, Wifi and Bluetooth operate. I began casually searching studies and contacting researchers so I could pick their brains. One doctor I came across was Dr. Joel Moskowitz, director of community health at the University of California, Berkeley. He didn’t mince words. He wrote me, “Wireless headphones are the opposite of wellness.”

 

I was a bit stunned, given the seemingly ubiquitous nature of wireless technology. I put the wireless production on hold and began to dig deeper. The tedious systematic literature review ensued!

 

Trying to make a health assessment on a “new” exposure is tricky. When a new tech product comes to market, no robust studies are required to prove health safety. It’s not like a drug that requires several levels of testing. A randomized controlled trial involving humans, the gold standard of evidence, would be unethical. Hence, we have to rely on animal studies and epidemiological data and analyze trends. Essentially, is the epidemiological data trending with the results of animal studies?

 

My search uncovered that 250 scientists and doctors from around the world had sent a petition to the World Health Organization warning about the potential health problems from wireless technology. The petition was signed prior to the rise of wireless headphones and earbuds, and mostly focused on cell phones. Cell phones emit more EMF radiation than Bluetooth, but my concern with Bluetooth was its proximity to the head and brain.

 

Still, that was one petition and I wasn’t convinced. Plus, everyone I talked to would call me a “Quack” for even expressing concern. I was the object of numerous eye-rolls. Clearly, if there were no warnings and wireless was everywhere, there couldn’t be any deleterious health effects. Right….RIGHT?!?

 

My next step was to contact some of the signers of the petition and talk to them. My hope was to have them on my Causes Or Cures podcast. Several agreed, and so far, two podcasts related to EMF exposure and health problems are posted. I plan on posting more.

 

The first person I interviewed on the topic of wireless and health was Dr. Fiorella Belpoggi. She is the head of research at the Ramazinni Institute in Italy and director of the Cesare Mal-toni Cancer Research Center. She has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers and has conducted the largest animal study to date on EMF exposure and cancer. Her study found that EMF exposure increased the risk of gliomas, a type of brain tumor and schwannomas, a type of heart and ear tumor. The results of her study were consistent with the results of another million-dollar study conducted by the U.S. Health and Human Services’ Department of Toxicology. Both studies showed an increase in the same type of rare tumors. ( The Dept of Toxicology also found a link to pheochromocytomas, tumors of the adrenal gland.)  So, the two largest animal studies on EMF exposure and cancer showed consistent results. Dr. Belpoggi stated that there is no question that EMF radiation affects mammalian cells. When I asked her about potential mechanisms of action, given that EMF radiation was non-ionizing, she told me that the fact that it is non-ionizing is “nonsense” when studies clearly show it affects mammalian cells. To listen to her podcast, click here. I also wrote a separate blog post summarizing her points and recommendations for mitigating risk from exposure.

 

Next, I interviewed Dr. Anthony Miller, a trained medical doctor and Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto’s Dall Lana School of Public Health. He is a longtime advisor to the World Health Organization and was the Senior Epidemiologist for the International Agency for Research on Cancer. He’s published numerous studies on the epidemiology of cancer and environmental causes of cancer, so I wanted to ask him about wireless and health. When I asked him to rate the evidence for potential harm from wireless technology, he told me it was very robust. He said that he expected an epidemic of brain tumors related to EMF exposure. I then asked him how it was possible to make such a strong statement against wireless technology, when it’s used everywhere and people are either listening with their wireless headphones or on their cell phones most of the day. He told me that tech and phone companies are extremely powerful enterprises with a lot of ad money. In short, money talks. On a promising note, he said that the World Health Organization will most likely reopen the analysis of EMF radiation and its current carcinogenic ( cancer-causing) ranking. You can listen to my podcast with Dr. Miller here.

 

I also interviewed Dr. David Carpenter via Skype audio, but sadly my recording didn’t record. Dr. Carpenter is a public health physician and director of the Institute for Health and the Environment, a collaborating center of the World Health Organization. He’s a professor at the University of Albany’s School of Public Health, where he previously served as Dean. Dr. Carpenter received his medical training at Harvard medical school, has over 400 peer-reviewed publications and wrote 6 books. He echoed what the other researchers/doctors told me: that there is significant evidence that EMF-radiation causes harm and the World Health Organization needs to address it. I remember him telling me that his daughter is a veterinarian and when she ran around seeing animals, she’d put her cell phone in her bra, because it was a convenient place to put it. He scolded her, told her to never do that, because he was worried about the increasing rates of breast cancer. I related to that story, because when I’m running around without a purse, etc., I’m always wondering where to stick my cell phone. It’s ended up in my sports bra a few times- but I’ll never do that again! Dr. Carpenter also said there is zero proof that any of the EMF shields/ protection devices now flooding the market truly work. That’s worth digesting, because a person might feel protected with a “shield” and not cut back on their use of EMF-emitting devices, when there’s no solid or repeat evidence to suggest they are even remotely effective.

 

Prior to these interviews and even my notion of creating a wireless ZENBand, I had interviewed Dr. Hugh Taylor, the chief of Ob/Gyn at Yale New Haven Hospital. He is the editor-in-chief of Reproductive Science and editor of Endocrinology. Dr. Taylor published a randomized controlled trial showing that cell phone exposure in pregnant mice led to mice that exhibited symptoms that would be classified as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ( ADHD).  You’re probably saying to yourself, “But those are mice. And how in the world does one identify ADHD in mice?”  Fair question, and I’m linking to the interview here. The most compelling finding of Taylor’s study is that he had actual objective evidence to support the ADHD observations. He and his team took pathological samples, or sections of the fetal mice brain, and analyzed them for differences. The pathological specimens between the fetal group exposed to EMF radiation were different than the pathological specimens of the group not exposed to radiation. That’s a compelling objective finding. Other researchers have documented cognitive and memory impairment in relation to in-utero EMF exposure, in addition to decreased fertility overall, and I plan on exploring these areas more in the future. I plan on exploring how EMF affects the microbiome, our memory and cognitive ability overtime.

 

I want to note that everyone I spoke to mentioned that the distance between the EMF-emitting device and one’s head/body is highly significant. If you reduce this distance, even by a small amount, you significantly reduce your risk of potential harm. In our tech-infested lives, this is good news. It means I can put my phone on speaker if I need to make a call, use wired headphones and keep all EMF-emitting devices off of my body.

 

The studies above are a mere sliver of the expanding body of evidence showing that EMF radiation can be hazardous to our health – That wireless and health are linked and impact each other. We should be even more concerned when we consider our increasing reliance on technology and the time we spend on wireless devices. We should be really concerned about exposure in vulnerable groups, such as children and pregnant people. In the spirit of the oath I took in medical school, “First Do No Harm,”  we shouldn’t choose to do anything with the potential for great harm if it’s not necessary, and we should uphold the Precautionary Principle. For those unfamiliar with the Precautionary Principle, it’s this: “The principle that the introduction of a new product or process whose ultimate effects are disputed or unknown should be resisted.”

 

Not making a Bluetooth ZENBand is a horrible marketing decision for me, but it’s the one most consistent with my ethos as a doctor and proponent of public health and wellness. Just like I won’t fry my brain and walk around with two microwaves in my ears, I won’t wear Bluetooth or wireless headphones, so I won’t sell them to you. If I sold them to you, I’d be an awful hypocrite. When I use my ZENBand and listen to audiobooks or music for a prolonged period of time, I use an old Mp3 player. It’s a nice way to engage with the world around me and escape the distractions in my phone.

 

Finally, for the wireless and health risk dedicated doubters, remember the story of cigarettes. Cigarettes were immensely popular and mainstream for years and years. It took a very long time for the health risks of cigarettes to catch up with the popularity and profitability of smoking and the formidable power of the tobacco industry. Think about Roundup, the world’s most popular pesticide. These exposure stories usually follow a similar plot, but luckily for us, the Hippocratic Oath eventually prevails.

 

For more information on wireless and health, visit Microwave News or contact erin@bloomingwellness.com

Erin Stair, MD, MPH

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Are Left-Handed People Crazier? https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/08/5180/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/08/5180/#respond Tue, 13 Aug 2019 20:46:55 +0000 http://www.bloomingwellness.com/blog/?p=5180 Are left-handed people crazier than right-handed people? There is a general sense that left-handed people are crazier. Crazier in the colloquial sense of that word, not in the stigmatizing sense. After all, I’m a Lefty.  😉 In an official sense, a study shows left-handed people are prone to mental illness more so than right-handed people. […]

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Are left-handed people crazier than right-handed people?
There is a general sense that left-handed people are crazier. Crazier in the colloquial sense of that word, not in the stigmatizing sense. After all, I’m a Lefty.  😉
In an official sense, a study shows left-handed people are prone to mental illness more so than right-handed people. Researchers at Yale University studied 107 patients that went to an urban, outpatient psychiatric clinic for either mood, depression, schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder.  They found that the percentage of schizophrenics or schizoaffectives who are left-handed is much higher than the percentage that is right-handed.  Specifically, the prevalence of left-handedness in those with mood disorders was 11% , which compares to the general population, but the percentage of left-handedness in schizophrenics/schizoaffectives was 40%. The odds ratio was 7.9 and p was less than .001. So if you are left-handed you are 7.9 times as likely to get schizophrenia or be schizoaffective than a right-handed person.
I should add that left-handedness is often associated with more health ailments than right-handedness. If you skim medical databases for “left-handedness and health” you’ll discover that it has been linked to spinal deformities, immunological disorders, migraines, neurosis, insomnia, diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, GI disorders,  psychiatric ailments in general, and “enuresis noctura,” or wetting the bed at night. At least you now have an idea of what was inside the medical charts of famous Lefties like Obama, Bill Clinton, Einstein, Darwin, Newton, Osama Bin Laden and “the worst Britain in history,” Jack the Ripper…
Why are left-handed people crazier?
The doctors and researchers are busy coming up with theories as to why left-handed people might go mad more often than right-handed people. They speculate that it has something to do with brain development or neuronal circuitry. I think it is another reason altogether. I think Lefties go mad more often than Righties, because the world drives Lefties mad. It is the world’s fault. I am left-handed so I consider me an expert opinion. In this world, Lefties are left out. There is a prejudice against us that can be seen and felt everywhere. The world craps on Lefties, and as a result, Lefties have to deal with more stress, more anger, more unfairness, more bullshit… and all of those things combine to set the stage for not only craziness, but a plethora of other health problems too. Studies over and over again link stress with an unsound mind. The world drives Lefties to insanity.  But how specifically? I’ll get there.
So are left-handed people crazier? Yes. Here is my list why.
1)   Handheld Mechanical Can-Openers
                    If a Lefty has to open a can somewhere with a handheld can opener, it will be designed for a right-handed person, not a Lefty. Then a Lefty has to pretend he/she is a Righty in order to open a can. And it will take a lot longer and probably involve cutting oneself. The world does not care if left-handed people can eat out of a can.
2) The PEN Smudge
                   Every single time you write as a Lefty, you will experience the pen smudge. And sometimes it stains for days and you can’t get it out and then you just go around looking like a dirty person who doesn’t wash your hands.

Are Left-handed people crazier than Right-Handed people?

3) Spiral Notebooks
                    These are the absolute worst for Lefties and can drive a Lefty to madness in no time.
4) Stick-shift Cars
                   Where’s the stick? Not on the left hand side of a car!  Why? Because the world doesn’t want Lefties to drive stick. ( Not that I want to drive stick, but the option should exist.)
5) Computers and those Computerized Pens you use to sign something after making a purchase
                 Computers always have the good stuff ( numbers pad, computerized pen, etc) on the right side of the keypad. The computerized pens are always on too short a leash for a Lefty to conveniently sign his/her bill. There’s always maneuvering involved. Why does the world do this? Why do stores do this? To drive Lefties mad.
6) Gym Class and Sports Woes
               There is never a Lefty baseball catcher’s mitt, golf club or field hockey stick in gym class. Or if there is, there is only 1, and it is grungy as Hell and the one that the one Lefty in each class 100 years before you used. The world doesn’t care if Lefties participate in gym class. Exercise is proven to prevent madness, but they want Lefties to go crazy.
7) The 1 pocket in pants and shorts 
              This pocket is never on the left. Always on the right. Why? Because shorts and pants makers don’t want Lefties to put anything in their pockets.
8) The Store Scoopers
            Stores supply bins full of stuff people eat, and they also supply scoopers to scoop the stuff out.  These scoopers are designed for a Righty. I eat a lot of granola and nuts.  ( Wellness, duh.) I’m like a squirrel that way. I always go to the granola and nut bins. When I try to scoop, however, it’s painful. I’m practically contorting my body around the scooper to make it work, but meanwhile granola and nuts are falling to the ground, and other shoppers are staring at me like I’m “slow” and “challenged.”
9) “Oh, great, you’re a Lefty”
                       Lefties create frustration for instructors who only know how to teach Righties.  I experienced this a lot at West Point. Especially when instructors would try to teach me how to shoot, tie knots, defend myself against an attacker, etc…. it was always, “Oh, great, you’re a Lefty. Wait over there so I can teach the Righties first, and then ( maybe if I have time) I’ll teach you.” Why? Because the world wants Lefties to get shot at and have knots that fail when they are repelling down a mountain to escape the enemy.
10) Dinner Parties
                    Dinner parties are designed to leave out Lefties since most people eat with their right hand.  If you are a Lefty and go to a dinner party, you will most likely always be placed next to a Righty. And you will bump elbows all night long, thereby creating tension and stress. Why? Because the world wants Lefties to eat alone. And being alone can drive one mad.

Are Left-handed people crazier?

11) Surgical Equipment is all Right. 
             I think the most frustrating portion of my surgery rotation during medical school was that all of the surgical tools were designed for Righties. I remember scrubbing into an operation with a particularly cantankerous surgeon. He kept saying “cut” to me, but whenever I tried to “cut,” I couldn’t. I would start sweating while the surgeon kept yelling, “Cut, cut, CUTTTTT you IDIOT!”  It was first grade arts and crafts all over again.  Why? Because most surgical tools are made for Righties.  Of course you can special-order surgical tools for Lefties, but what med student is going to do that for a 3 month rotation on a student budget? Not me! The world does not want left-handed people to become surgeons, that’s obvious.
12)  The school Room with no Left-Handed Chairs. 
               This will drive a Lefty crazy faster than almost anything.  It’s all the trend for secondary schools and universities to have the half-desk. The problem is that most (if not ALL) of the half-desks have their “half” on the right hand side. This means that a Lefty will be forced to sit in one of those half-desks and take notes and exams while their elbows wave around in the air. Why? Because the world doesn’t want Lefties in school. They’d rather you go stupid and mad.

 

13) It All Starts in 1st grade Arts and Crafts
             Like any madness, it all goes back to childhood issues.
  Every Lefty out there can relate to not being able to cut anything in Arts and Crafts, because the teacher gives you a pair of  right-handed scissors. So you are the student who frustratingly tries to cut out your shapes, hearts and snowflakes, but can’t, because you can’t cut. And the school doesn’t care. The teacher doesn’t care.  The world doesn’t care. And your artwork looks like vomit on the bulletin board for parents’ night.

Are Left-handed people crazier than right-handed?

14) Left is Evil
             The left side has always been considered the evil side. In all of those drawings of a face, an angel and a devil, what shoulder is the devil sitting on? The left. To ward off evil, one throws salt over his or her left shoulder. Witches cast spells with their left hands.  All of the blessings in Church are made with the right hand. For example, “In the name of the father, son, and holy spirit,” is never done with the left. Priests baptize babies with their right hands. If someone is considered a deviant or poorly behaved, he or she might be described as being “baptized by a left-handed priest.” The devil is always portrayed as being left-handed and there are countless bible verses that bash the left, such as, ““Then he will say unto those on the left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” This could be what drove Satan mad.

report-card2

In places like the Middle East, being left-handed is considered REALLY evil. In some places it is a rule that you wipe your butt with your left hand and some water. Never the right hand, only the left. And then they don’t let you eat with your left hand, because if you do, you follow Satan. So much for just being hungry and born with a different-sided brain dominance! It’s obvious that you worship the Devil.  It’s like what this guy says:

lefthandtwo

On a positive note, if I ever want to lose weight, I know where to go….
So, I hope my blog shed some light on why left-handed people are crazier than right-handed people.
It’s not our fault. It’s the world’s.
Thanks for reading! Since I’m left-handed, if you want to read my book about going crazy, check out Manic Kingdom.  😉

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ZENBands and Wellness Travel & a Review from Tao Wander https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/08/zenband-for-wellness-travel/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/08/zenband-for-wellness-travel/#respond Mon, 12 Aug 2019 09:37:01 +0000 https://www.bloomingwellness.com/?p=16138 ZENBands and Wellness Travel: Wellness travel is becoming a huge trend, and I couldn’t be happier about that. Every time I travel, I have a little anxiety about how to maintain my health/wellness regimen , including exercise, good sleep, meditation, yoga and having access to the foods I like to eat and products I like […]

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Tao Wander ZENBand Review

ZENBands and Wellness Travel:

Wellness travel is becoming a huge trend, and I couldn’t be happier about that. Every time I travel, I have a little anxiety about how to maintain my health/wellness regimen , including exercise, good sleep, meditation, yoga and having access to the foods I like to eat and products I like to use. If I feel like I can’t maintain my wellness regimen while traveling, I’ll be miserable. I have to plan it out ahead of time. This brings me to the ZENBand.

Recently I’ve been connecting with wellness travel professionals and organizations, because a lot of my blog readers and customers are very conscious about wellness , and this includes while traveling. Lots of folks are using the ZENBand as a travel accessory specifically for wellness travel, and I love that. There are a few reasons why I think the ZENBand and wellness travel go together.

1) From the start, it’s made with wellness in mind, which is why I purposely don’t do Bluetooth. Anyone who knows me knows I talk about this issue a lot and feature scientists/ researchers on this topic on my podcast…, but really, would you walk around with 2 mini-microwaves in your ears and be okay with that? And not just for an hour but for hours every day? On a long trip?  My guess is no. If you are interested in reducing potential health risks from long-term Bluetooth exposure, the ZENBand is a great option for wellness travel.

2) I am always mindful of color therapy and the impact of color on mood. I take that into consideration when designing the ZENBands. I love when customers write me and request a specific color, because it makes them feel a certain way. Afterwards, I jot down a note, so if I currently don’t have the color/design, I can work on getting it. Color plays a role in traveling too. If you’re an anxious traveler, maybe you prefer a ZENBand with a calming color or design. If you want more energy for traveling or feel reluctant to go on a trip , try one of our brighter and energizing colors. Speaking of amazing colors and designs, I can’t wait to show you some of our new designs this Fall, designed by the very talented Elsha. ( Check out her website. She’s one of the most inspiring and talented people I know with one hell of a personal story. )

3) The ZENBand is super comfortable for your head and ears, which is what you want if you are traveling on planes and trains. I always travel with mine. It’s not noise canceling, on purpose, but the sound quality is great. Why isn’t it noise canceling? Because in this world, folks, you don’t want to nix one of your most important senses. You want to upgrade your situational awareness as much as possible and be aware of everything around you. Wellness is about being healthy, which includes staying alive. Situational awareness is Wellness 1010. Canceling noise means you are canceling one of your abilities to pick up potential situational dangers, and that can get you killed. ( I don’t mince words, do I? 🙂 )

4) The ZENBand is perfect for camouflaging travel hair, forehead blemishes and fine lines. The fact that we make it wider than normal headbands makes it great for hiding messy travel hair, zits and wrinkles. I actually LOVE it for this purpose. ( Not to mention, covering over stubborn grey roots that refuse to darken. ;)) It’s also stylish and discrete, with no outside labels, so you can wear it wherever you are traveling.

5) If you have trouble sleeping in hotels like I do or are concerned that a hotel might be too noisy, the ZENBand is a great tool to help coax your mind and body into sleep mode. I don’t recommend wearing it through the night, but just long enough to calm your mind and guide yourself into a relaxing state for sleep. You can listen to one of our Fall Asleep ZENTone programs (that include a great guided imagery by one of the most soothing voices around) to help induce sleep.  We have a lot of options in the ZENTones Sleep category, so check them out.  If you want more answers on the science behind the ZENTones, click here.

6) The ZENBand is super lightweight and EASY to bring with you anywhere. Seriously, it is. It’s super lightweight. You can easily toss it in your purse pocket or toiletries bag. And since we are focused on the ZENBand and wellness travel, you can use it to meditate on retreats, listen to hypnobabies scripts if you are pregnant or our sound therapy ZENTone programs too.

Truth be told, I’m biased about the ZENBand being a great and affordable travel accessory, because I made the darn thing. Now I’ll link to a review by Tao Wander, a wellness travel guru, who wrote a thoughtful review on the ZENBand and wellness travel.  I want to thank her for doing this, because reviews are the bread and butter of small businesses, yet I’m TERRIBLE at requesting them. Completely awful at it. By the way, I didn’t ask her to do this or pay her. I sent her a ZENBand to try, and she did the review and review video on her own.  So thank you so much, Tao Wander!! ( Also, check out her site. She has amazing tips for wellness travel destinations and retreats…heck, I might sign up for one! )  🙂

Want health tips? Follow us on Instagram. I keep it fun and funny, because we need more of those in life. We also do a lot of giveaways!

Follow my Health podcast Causes Or Cures, available on i-tunes and Spotify too. I’ve been lucky and honored to feature some amazing brains on hot wellness topics. These are folks who actually study the topics and do the research. Highly recommend listening to them.

 

Thanks all- See you around cyberspace,

Erin

Erin Stair, MD, MPH

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Mental Health & The Political Climate, with Gabriel Nathan https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/08/mental-health-the-political-climate-with-gabriel-nathan/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/08/mental-health-the-political-climate-with-gabriel-nathan/#respond Sat, 10 Aug 2019 23:34:27 +0000 https://www.bloomingwellness.com/?p=16133 What’s going on with our collective and individual mental health and the current political climate? Do you think the current political climate is impacting our mental health at all…, or are you living under a rock? If you are living under a rock, do you have room for a few more?  Just kidding, sort of.  […]

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Mental Health and the Political Climate

What’s going on with our collective and individual mental health and the current political climate? Do you think the current political climate is impacting our mental health at all…, or are you living under a rock? If you are living under a rock, do you have room for a few more?  Just kidding, sort of.  😉

There’s been a surge of requests for therapists due to stress, anxiety and relationship troubles due to the current political situation. Social media sites are saturated with tribal and reductive back-and-forths that only increase our individual and collective sense of angst. Long-term friendships have dissolved, marriages have ended, Twitter is a battlefield and toxic stress is the name of the game. In short, we’ve come a long way, baby.

In this Causes or Cures episode, Dr. Erin Stair (me)  chats with Gabriel Nathan, chief editor of OC87 Recovery Stories, about the state of our mental health in the current political climate, why our interactions are toxic and broken, and what can be done to improve our interactions and move us towards recovery.

Be mindful that specific people and events are mentioned in this podcast, and though not the intent, some things mentioned might offend or anger you. Gabe and I have different political opinions, but let this serve as a fair warning to those whose blood pressure rises when politics comes up.

 

Listen to other episodes on Causes or Cures:

Wireless and Our Cancer Risk: An Interview with Top Cancer Researcher, Dr. Fiorella Belpoggi

What does it really mean to be Holistic? An Interview with The Holistic Psychologist

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Skincare Routine for the Summer https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/07/skin-care-routine-for-the-summer-using-coffee-grounds-helichrysum-spikenard-oil-tomato-paste-and-honey/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/07/skin-care-routine-for-the-summer-using-coffee-grounds-helichrysum-spikenard-oil-tomato-paste-and-honey/#respond Tue, 30 Jul 2019 16:05:23 +0000 https://www.bloomingwellness.com/?p=16012 A good summer skincare routine can preserve a wonderful face. And yes, your face is wonderful. 🙂 Hey guys, I’m a big fan of creating my own skincare routines based on what I’ve learned from studying herbs, essential oils and how different food ingredients impact our skin. Most importantly, a great skincare routine includes a […]

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A good summer skincare routine can preserve a wonderful face. And yes, your face is wonderful. 🙂

Hey guys,

I’m a big fan of creating my own skincare routines based on what I’ve learned from studying herbs, essential oils and how different food ingredients impact our skin. Most importantly, a great skincare routine includes a great diet, and I always tell people that I eat what I put on my face. For the most part. Does that sound weird?  Maybe, but it works. That, good sleep, a steady stress reduction routine (since cortisol inhibits collagen) and my new found love, face yoga. Also, it’s okay if you don’t do the “natural route” and get Botox, fillers or whatever else is out there. You do you. There’s no right or wrong here. Personally I hate needles, artificial stuff, procedures and anything that resembles a doctor’s office, so I will be aging the old-fashioned way. At least for now. Maybe I’ll be the facelift queen in the future, who knows. Life changes and we change.

I digress, as usual… 🙂

Before I list the steps for this particular skincare routine, let me say that staying out of the summer sun is vital for preventing skin discolorations, spots and fine lines. I don’t go in the sun much at all during the summer, but when I do, I always have a massive hat and sunglasses. ( In a future blog, I’ll write more on what I do/use for sunscreen, because there are growing concerns about the toxicity of popular brands, even ones that are recommended by dermatologists. )

So, let’s get to it. Here are the steps for my summer skincare routine:

1) First, I exfoliate with used coffee grounds.

I take a pinch of wet coffee grounds from my coffee pot and exfoliate my face in a gentle, circular motion. This can get messy, but one only needs a pinch. I only exfoliate with coffee grounds these days.

2) Mix a tiny amount of Organic Tomato Paste with a tiny amount of Unpasteurized Manuka Honey

I don’t need much to do this, and neither do you. I mix it as well as I can, and always make sure the honey is unpasteurized, so its enzymes maintain their activity. The honey might be difficult to mix, but it is fantastic for the skin, especially for any scratches, scars and burns. (Click here for my blog on why Unpasteurized Manuka Honey is phenomenal for your skin, especially for wounds.)

Tomato paste contains lycopene, a carotenoid or plant pigment that makes tomatoes and tomato paste red. Lycopene has high antioxidant activity. Studies have shown that when eaten, it significantly reduces UV-induced erythema (redness/inflammation) compared to controls. Tomato paste has a higher level of lycopene than tomatoes or tomato juice, which is why I use it. I also eat a lot of tomato paste throughout the year.  May your inner chef get creative with it.  😉

After thoroughly mixing, I rub it on my face. I don’t look pretty, but that’s not the point. It doesn’t have to look pretty to work. I leave it on for approximately 30 minutes.

SkinCare Routine for the Summer

3) I rinse with cold water & rub an ice cube ( till it melts) over my face in a circular fashion.

I use ice on my face daily. It reduces signs of redness and helps reduce some of the elements of inflammation. Rubbing ice on your face and neck is also a good practice for your mental health. If you find yourself getting stressed, anxious and “hot-headed” during the summer days, grab an ice cube. When someone says, “He/She needs to cool off,” it can be taken quite literally.

4) The last step of my skincare routine, is to rub a little Helichrysum Italicum and a little Spikenard oil on my face.

I rub it in a circular fashion, outward towards my ears. Helichrysum Italicum is used in a lot of store-bought cosmetic products, but I like to use the oil itself. I also love the way it smells, and find it very calming and refreshing on hot summer days. It gives you a golden tint, which I like, though too much can make you look like you’re in liver failure. 😉  H. Italicum contains many flavonoids, or intricate carbon structures that have a variety of antioxidant, anti-aging and antiviral activities. H. Italicum is a powerhouse, with documented activity against Staph Aureus ( a bacteria responsible for many skin infections) and even the Herpes Simplex Virus.

I add in Spikenard oil ( from the Valerian flower family) because it’s been shown to have a fabulous anti-inflammatory and wound healing profile, and it mixes well with other oils.

Skincare routine for the summer

Obviously No Makeup LOL

That’s it for my summer skincare routine. Stay tuned for future posts on sun protection, homemade exfoliation products that aren’t messy, and my face yoga routine.

Hope you follow me ( and Blooming Wellness) on Instagram where I often post health tips/charts, more skincare routines, and also listen to my Causes Or Cures Podcast. I’m grateful that I’ve had so many interesting people on my podcast, many experts in their respective fields. More to come, so check it out!

Grab a ZENBand for your next flight, beach trip, spa day here.

 

Ten Health Benefits of Coffee

 

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Benzodiazepine Withdrawal: One Doctor’s Horrible Experience https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/07/benzodiazepine-withdrawal-one-doctors-horrible-experience/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/07/benzodiazepine-withdrawal-one-doctors-horrible-experience/#respond Tue, 09 Jul 2019 22:34:34 +0000 https://www.bloomingwellness.com/?p=15748 What is Benzodiazepine Withdrawal? What are the symptoms? Dr. Christy Huff, who took benzodiazepines as prescribed, documented 80 withdrawal symptoms. Yes, eighty. If you’re not arcing an eyebrow yet, you should be. Benzodiazepines (Benzos) are some of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the world. Folks take them every day for anxiety, for traveling and […]

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Benzodiazepine Withdrawal

What is Benzodiazepine Withdrawal? What are the symptoms? Dr. Christy Huff, who took benzodiazepines as prescribed, documented 80 withdrawal symptoms. Yes, eighty. If you’re not arcing an eyebrow yet, you should be.

Benzodiazepines (Benzos) are some of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the world. Folks take them every day for anxiety, for traveling and for sleep. Despite how common they are, most people, including doctors and pharmacists, don’t know the extent of benzodiazepine withdrawal, including the vast array of symptoms, nor do they know how to treat it. Many doctors and stakeholders confuse addiction with chemical dependence, which can be extremely frustrating for the person going through withdrawal, who usually takes the medication as prescribed. Folks afflicted often turn to online forums and seek out others with similar withdrawal symptoms for advice. They are part of the “prescribed harm” community. Between searching for answers and managing symptoms, many people become so frustrated and exhausted that they resort to taking their own lives. As Dr. Huff mentions in this podcast, in the past year alone, she knows of at least 30 people who were going through benzo withdrawal and ended up killing themselves.

In this podcast, Dr. Huff opens up about how she felt while on benzodiazepines and her horrific experience coming off of them. She talks about the guidance she did/did not receive and what ultimately helped her. She does not mince words.

Dr. Christy Huff is a cardiologist by training, a mom and currently serves as director of the Benzodiazepine Information Coalition.

Listen to Causes Or Cures: Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Here.

Is it really Mental Illness? Read Dr. Stair’s novel Manic Kingdom, based on a true story that will make you rethink mental illness, sanity and who is or who isn’t crazy.

Manic Kingdom by Dr. Erin Stair

Traveling? Try our ZENBands for sleeping on a plane.

The Truth About Antidepressant Withdrawal: You don’t want to miss this interview.

Try ZENTones: Instantly comes to your inbox and great, natural tools for stress, anxiety and sleep.

Want to Up your Relaxation Game? Try a ZENBand in our shop now.

Sleep Better: Dr. Stair’s Sleep Routine for Sleeping Like a Cave Person

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Cell Phones, Wireless Technology and Cancer Risk: An Interview with Cancer Epidemiologist Dr. Andrew Miller https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/07/cell-phones-wireless-technology-cancer-risk-an-interview-with-dr-miller/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/07/cell-phones-wireless-technology-cancer-risk-an-interview-with-dr-miller/#respond Mon, 08 Jul 2019 21:52:49 +0000 https://www.bloomingwellness.com/?p=15733 Just posted: A new Causes or Cures podcast episode on cell phones, wireless technology and cancer risk! Who is telling us to be careful? Are they all quacks? Far from. Despite what tech/phone companies tell us and despite our heavy reliance on cell phones and wireless tech, there are many highly credentialed people who feel […]

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Cell Phones, Wireless Technology and Cancer Risk

Just posted: A new Causes or Cures podcast episode on cell phones, wireless technology and cancer risk!

Who is telling us to be careful? Are they all quacks? Far from. Despite what tech/phone companies tell us and despite our heavy reliance on cell phones and wireless tech, there are many highly credentialed people who feel they aren’t safe and that we should be taking precautionary measures to mitigate risk. Young people and pregnant women should especially take precautionary measures, as those are “critical periods” or times when an exposure can do more harm than usual.

As I’ve dug deeper and deeper into this topic, there are some incredibly bright, highly-published doctors and researchers who are sounding the warning bells. Sadly, I had to dig to find them. The mainstream media simply isn’t covering this topic enough, however they might after the World Health Organization takes a closer look at the current”risk classification”  for cell phones/ wireless tech as a potential carcinogen. ( Dr. Miller expands more on that in the podcast.) In the meantime, I’ll do my best to find these doctors and researchers and get them on my podcast. In a previous Causes or Cures episode, I interviewed Dr. Fiorella Belpoggi about the risk of cancer and wireless technology. She is a doctor and researcher in Italy who ran the largest animal study to date on this topic. You can listen to that episode here.

In this episode, I interviewed renowned cancer epidemiologist, Dr. Anthony Miller, on why he believes our widespread use of cell phones, wireless headphones and exposure to wireless technology are fueling a future cancer epidemic, especially in young people. He talks about the data, mechanisms of action, why folks don’t seem to take this threat seriously and why technology companies don’t feel the need to mitigate risk.

Dr. Miller is a trained medical doctor and Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto’s Dall Lana School of Public Health. He is a longtime advisor to the World Health Organization and was the Senior Epidemiologist for the International Agency for Research on Cancer. He also served as the Head of Epidemiology at the German Cancer Research Center and as a consultant to the Division of Cancer Prevention of the U.S. National Cancer Institute. He’s published numerous studies on the epidemiology of breast cancer; cancer evaluation and screening tools; environmental causes of cancer,  and cancer control measures. Dr. Miller has served as the director of the epidemiology unit for the National Cancer Institute of Canada, a clinical professor for the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at McMaster University, and was the Chairman for the Department of Preventive Medicine and Biostatistics at the University of Toronto.

He’s received numerous awards for his work, including: The Medal of Honour from the International Agency for Research on Cancer; The Distinguished Achievement Award from the American Society for Preventive Oncology; and The Distinguished Contributions Award from the Canadian Society of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

It was an honor to interview Dr. Miller about cell phones, wireless technology and cancer risk. To say he knows his stuff is an understatement. Please take a listen to what he has to say here. It’s worth it, because you’re worth it and your kids are worth it. Plus, there are really simple things we can do to mitigate our risk.

Click HERE to listen now.

You can also find it on i-tunes and subscribe here.

Read Dr. Stair’s Interview with  Yale University’s Dr. Hugh Taylor about Cell Phones, Wireless Technology and their use during Pregnancy.

Causes or Cures Podcast Interview with Dr. Nicole LePera on what it actually means to be “holistic”

Up your wellness game with a ZENBand. In our shop now, and always ship within the day.

Grab a copy of Manic Kingdom, an absolutely bizarre, but true, story.

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Prevent Bloating: Try Dill Water and These Natural Tips https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/07/prevent-bloating-with-dill-weed-or-dill-water-and-these-other-tips/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/07/prevent-bloating-with-dill-weed-or-dill-water-and-these-other-tips/#respond Mon, 08 Jul 2019 19:23:59 +0000 http://www.bloomingwellness2.com/blog/?p=3984   By: Erin Stair, MD, MPH Can we prevent bloating? Not entirely, but there are definitely evidence-based things we can do to help. Who’s struggled 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. […]

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Prevent Bloating

 

By: Erin Stair, MD, MPH

Can we prevent bloating? Not entirely, but there are definitely evidence-based things we can do to help.

Who’s struggled 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 foods 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 to prevent 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 home remedy of choice, there are plenty of other things you can try to alleviate gas and prevent 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 prevent bloating more. 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 and prevent bloating

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 (Really helps pass gas and prevent bloating. Do it after dinner.)

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.

Hope this helps. If I can leave you with anything it’s, Dill with it.  🙂

Grab a ZENBand for your travels, meditation sessions or pool-side relaxation here.

Order ZENTones for a natural approach to sleep, anxiety, stress and more.

Need a book for the plane, train or subway ride? Manic Kingdom will keep you turning the page, promise.

Drink Coffee?  You betchya it has health benefits.

Probiotics for Depression & Anxiety? Here’s the scoop.

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Best Diet for Depression https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/07/best-diet-for-depression/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/07/best-diet-for-depression/#comments Sun, 07 Jul 2019 22:46:08 +0000 https://www.bloomingwellness.com/?p=15625 What is the best diet for depression ? Let me start by saying that I don’t believe there is one best diet for everyone. I don’t buy into one diet being the best or the healthiest. The best diet for you is whatever diet you can maintain for the long-term that makes you the happiest, […]

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Best Diet for Depression

What is the best diet for depression ?

Let me start by saying that I don’t believe there is one best diet for everyone. I don’t buy into one diet being the best or the healthiest. The best diet for you is whatever diet you can maintain for the long-term that makes you the happiest, strongest and healthiest. Only you, often by trial and error, can decide which diet that is. That said, this blog will focus on what the published research suggests is the best diet to follow when you have depression.

The evidence for what is the best diet for depression strongly supports the Mediterranean Diet, as well as the Modified Mediterranean Diet. The essentials of the Mediterranean diet are: eating mostly fruit and vegetables, whole grains and nuts; red wine; replacing butter with extra virgin olive oil,  limiting the consumption of red meat to three times per month, and eating fish or chicken twice a week. While extra virgin olive oil and nuts are recommended for the Mediterranean diet, and while they both contain the “good kind of fat,” I recommend limiting yourself to portioned-out serving sizes. Oils and nuts are calorie dense, and too many calories results in extra pounds. One should also be mindful of alcohol consumption. Under the Mediterranean diet, red wine is only consumed with meals, and no more than 2 glasses ( each glass = 100 mil of wine) per day.

A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that a higher consumption of the Mediterranean diet in 6000 women was associated with a lower prevalence of depression. A study on 11,000 people conducted in Navarra, Spain and published in the Archives of General Psychiatry showed that people who followed the Mediterranean diet had a significantly lower risk of depression.  A randomized controlled trial involving over 100 adults with self-reported depression showed that eating a Mediterranean diet and substituting with fish oil capsules significantly reduced symptoms of depression. This study also showed a positive correlation between amount of omega three fatty acids consumed and reduced depression symptoms. The SMILES trial showed that following a modified Mediterranean diet ( the ModiMed) diet improved symptoms of depression in individuals diagnosed with major depressive disorder. The ModiMed diet is very similar to the Mediterranean diet with a few noteworthy adjustments. The ModiMed diet recommends 3-4 servings of lean red meat per week, which is based on a study that showed women who ate less (or more) than the recommended amount of red meat were more prone to major depression and anxiety disorders. ( Red meat is rich in iron and B12, and deficiencies in both of those have been linked to mental disorders. Female athletes who struggles with depression should especially pay attention to this.) The ModiMed also recommends only raw and unsalted nuts; between two-three servings of low-fat dairy ( or calcium-fortified soy products); and specifies oily fish, such as salmon, tuna and sardines.

While research supports the Med and ModiMed diets  as the best  diet for depression, evidence also shows that the worst diet for depression is the Western diet. The Western diet is made up of processed carbohydrates, processed meats, chips, white bread, pizza, a ton of sugar, and lots of flavored drinks. It’s fast, easy and cheap and anything that is fast, easy and cheap usually isn’t good for you.

The Western diet isn’t just linked to depression. It’s linked to a variety of chronic diseases, including obesity, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, attention deficit disorder and cancer. Most people know that the Western diet isn’t the healthiest, yet they still eat it, perhaps because of its convenience and rich, addictive taste. I know how it feels to work all day, have no energy to cook, despite being super hungry, and be tempted by the fast, unhealthy options. Unfortunately, when we give into those temptations, we do ourselves no favors when it comes to depression.

Sweetened desserts, fried foods, processed meat, refined grains, and high-fat dairy products have all been linked to depression.  A cross sectional study of women showed that eating processed foods, drinking beer, and having sugary treats was associated with a higher risk of both depression and anxiety.  Another study showed a positive correlation between consumption of fast foods ( hamburgers, sausages and pizza) and commercial baked goods ( muffins, doughnuts and croissants) and increased risk of depression. One study showed that university students who ate highly processed foods ( lots of additives) and did not exercise were at a much higher risk of depression. There’s more studies, but you get the point.

How does the Western diet increase one’s risk of depression? Is it as simple as eating crap makes you feel like crap? Maybe, in some cases. In a previous blog, I wrote about several theories for depression, including: The Vascular Hypothesis; The Maladaptive Cytokine Response Theory; The Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor Deficiency Theory, and the Oxidative Stress Theory. The “low serotonin” hypothesis for depression is not the only show in town anymore, which should also make us reconsider the first line of treatment, Selective Serotonin-Reuptake Inhibitors) In regard to the Vascular Hypothesis, the Western diet is known to increase the risk of  vascular disease, which means the brain may not have optimal blood flow to function properly. The Western diet is associated with higher amounts of C-reactive Protein, an indicator for inflammation in the body, which could be related to a maladaptive cytokine response. On the opposite spectrum, the Mediterranean Diet is preventive against vascular disease, is rich in antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids, and associated with less inflammation. (Again, these are theories and much research is needed to narrow down exact mechanisms.)

In conclusion, I want to mention my own struggle with depression and diet. When I was in the throes of my bulimic struggle, my depression was significantly worse. In fact, I don’t even know if I had depression, or if it was the heavy, dark spawn of disordered eating, poor sleep, poor social support, uneasiness about where I was in life and a complete lack of a genuine sense of self. And by the way, all of those factors fuel each other. I did seek conventional help, both from an eating disorder specialist and my med school’s psychiatrist. Both recommended that I take an SSRI within the first session of meeting me. I took it, because I was taught that it was THE solution for depression, I was struggling and two experts recommended it. I didn’t read the fine print or research side effects. The pills blunted me. I often tell folks that they made my emotions feel like shoes stuck in gum. I also developed dry mouth, and the entire time, I was still binging, purging and not sleeping well.  After a few weeks,  I upped and quit medical school, bought a one-way ticket to Los Angeles and started a romance with a strange man on the beach. Yes, you read that right. Did the pills make me manic? Maybe. I’m careful not to fall victim to recall bias, and there was a lot wrong in my life at the time. You can read about my adventure in my novel Manic Kingdom, and while I don’t know what specifically caused my manic breakdown, I can say this with one hundred percent certainty: Before anything else, I had to fix my diet and sleep pattern to stabilize my mood. Sleep and diet are intimately linked and if you sleep badly, you’ll often eat badly, and vice versa. I should have never, ever, ever swallowed a pill until those two aspects of my life were optimized. Through a lot of hard work, setbacks and misfires, I developed a personal sleep strategy, an optimal diet and, maybe more importantly, cultivated a healthy philosophy about eating. To this day, my diet is a combination of the ModiMed diet and Mindful eating. I plan on writing more about mindful eating and how I personally got “there”, so stay tuned.

Erin

Erin Stair, MD, MPH

Read Dr. Stair’s novel, Manic Kingdom: The Craziest True Story Ever!

Manic Kingdom by Dr. Erin Stair

Here’s How The Gut can Lead to Depression

 

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Cure for Plantar Fasciitis: The Bed of Nails https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/07/cure-for-plantar-fasciitis-bed-of-nails/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/07/cure-for-plantar-fasciitis-bed-of-nails/#respond Mon, 01 Jul 2019 11:08:35 +0000 http://www.bloomingwellness.com/?p=6780 Erin Stair, MD, MPH Am I about to unveil a cure for plantar fasciitis? Not really, but I can offer a tip that has helped me. I’ve struggled with plantar fasciitis off and on for years. I have really flat feet, arches that would make the beauty industry cringe, in addition to being a soccer […]

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Cure for Plantar Fasciitis: The Bed of Nails

Erin Stair, MD, MPH

Am I about to unveil a cure for plantar fasciitis?

Not really, but I can offer a tip that has helped me. I’ve struggled with plantar fasciitis off and on for years. I have really flat feet, arches that would make the beauty industry cringe, in addition to being a soccer player, Krav enthusiast and avid runner. When the bottoms of my feet hurt to the point of impacting my daily run, I’m miserable. Running is my therapy.

What is plantar fasciitis?

In simple terms, plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia, or connective tissue that connects from your heel to your toes. When the tissue is strained, tightened or damaged in some way, inflammation ensues. Since it’s an inflammatory process, swelling and pain are common symptoms. While fascia is connective tissue, recently there has been a lot more studies on the functioning of fascia. It’s actually quite complex, with metabolic, hormonal, lymphatic and sensory functions. My sister, a certified Myofascial Release Therapist, has told me that fascia can even store memories. Sometimes, when she’s working on a patient, those memories, some good, some traumatic, are brought to the surface, and people respond accordingly.

Back to the point of the blog…

My “cure” for plantar fasciitis is the bed of nails.  In case you’ve never heard of it, I’ve attached a photo. The bed of nails is more accurately a meditation mat with tiny plastic needles, essentially an acupressure tool. My friend Josh sent it to me and claimed it worked great for meditation purposes. I have used it for meditation once or twice, and probably should use it more for that purpose,  but where I find it benefits me most is for my plantar fasciitis.

Anyone who has suffered from plantar fasciitis will tell you that it hurts most in the morning, when you get out of bed and put your feet on the floor.  Mine tends to flare up after a long run on hard surfaces, which is basically every decent running route in NYC.  Many doctors have told me to wear insoles. I don’t, because I’m a recovering chronic ankle-sprainer, and I find having the surface of my feet as close to the ground as possible helps me navigate the terrain better and avoid ankle sprains. A physical therapist told me to roll my foot over a tennis ball. I’ve done this, but don’t get much relief. I’ve tried reflexology and massage and get some relief- depending on the strength of the masseuse, really. Someone even told me to try scraping a butter knife on the underside of my foot. Believe it or not, this has worked for me on occasion, but it doesn’t feel very smart or safe.

One day, keeping in mind the tenets of acupuncture and acupressure, I decided to try standing barefoot on my bed of nails. I’ll be honest: It hurts a lot at first. For your first time, I recommend not stepping on the bed of nails with your whole body weight. Hold onto a chair/table and lower gently onto the bed of nails, if only to alert your body to the feeling. That might be enough for some people. While I started out doing that,  I find I get the greatest relief by standing, unsupported, with my whole body weight on the bed of nails. I often dig my heels into the bed of nails, or rock back and forth from the heel to the toes, and can feel the fascia loosening and breaking up. Yes, it hurts, but ( and people with plantar fasciitis will understand this), the pain is temporary and a welcome relief compared to the nagging pain of plantar fasciitis. During a plantar fasciitis flare up, I have trouble sensing things on the bottom of my feet. My feet feel bloated and heavy. I don’t understand why, but the bed of nails has improved the sensory function of the bottoms of my feet.

How is the bed of nails a cure for plantar fasciitis?

I don’t know for sure, as I’ve come up with this method on my own. The bed of nails may serve as a temporary myo-fascial release. Maybe it stimulates blood flow or breaks up restrictions.  I don’t know why it works specifically, but I know it works for me. Oddly enough,  now I crave the bed of nails when I have a plantar fasciitis flare up. My flare ups tend to get worse when I’m premenstrual, possibly due to the increased bloating/water retention in my feet, and on those days, I use the bed of nails around 4-5 times a day, maybe up to 5 minutes each time. I stand on one leg, do squats and sometimes various yoga poses. You don’t have to do that. As mentioned before, standing on it with support will be enough for many people.  Afterwards, I lie on my back, facing a wall and with my butt against the wall, and with my legs stretched towards the sky. I stay there for around 20-30 minutes, as it helps promote blood flow from the feet towards the heart, and is considered a restorative pose in yoga. For added relaxation, add a ZENBand ( so it’s comfortable for you to lie & listen with your head on the floor) and listen to one of our custom-made Anxiety Relief ZENTones, that uses the science of sound to instill a state of calm and relaxation. We also have ones for pain here.

 

 

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Migraine Prevention Tips https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/06/migraine-prevention-tips-and-evidence-based-suggestions/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/06/migraine-prevention-tips-and-evidence-based-suggestions/#respond Sat, 29 Jun 2019 23:10:05 +0000 https://www.bloomingwellness.com/?p=13601 Erin Stair, MD, MPH The following blog covers migraine prevention tips Migraines can be mysterious and ambiguous. So can migraine prevention tips and discovering what specifically works for you. One summer, while taking courses for my Masters of Public Health degree, I had a bizarre experience with migraines. It started after a trip to Germany. […]

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Migraine Prevention Tips

Erin Stair, MD, MPH

The following blog covers migraine prevention tips

Migraines can be mysterious and ambiguous. So can migraine prevention tips and discovering what specifically works for you. One summer, while taking courses for my Masters of Public Health degree, I had a bizarre experience with migraines. It started after a trip to Germany. I came home and was hit with random attacks of severe pain on the left side of my head. The pain was debilitating to the point that all I could do was lie down on the ground and wait for it to go away. I kept a journal of potential triggers, including food, locations, sleep patterns, cardio, weight lifting, timing, hydration status, stress level…but couldn’t identify a clear pattern. One time, the headache occurred while I was calmly sitting in class. It became so excruciating, I had to leave. I couldn’t see, focus or do anything. Over the counter pain medication didn’t help, and when it was really bad, I took prescribed opioids. They helped, but I feared becoming dependent on such strong medication. This went on for about three months, and then the migraines went away. Poof! Gone! It was the strangest thing. I still have no idea what caused or cured the headaches. I often wonder if it was a reaction to some sort of  tick or mosquito bite. Truth is, I’ll never know.

A journal is a good first start when it comes to migraines. If you faithfully keep a journal, patterns may emerge and help you identify triggers. While a journal didn’t help me identify my triggers, it helped eliminate some. Pay special attention to foods, like dairy, alcohol and coffee and your hydration status. Also, if you’re a woman, be mindful of where you’re at on your menstrual cycle when you have a headache. Migraines are often associated with PMS. If you exercise a lot, do yoga or lift weights, be mindful of any neck or shoulder pain that may radiate to your head and cause a headache. Fatigue is a known trigger for mid-day headaches. Pay attention to how you’re sleeping at night and if you’re getting enough sleep. Of course, if you’re really worried and want a professional checkup, visit your doctor and run some tests.

A lot of people look to supplements or natural ways to prevent migraines, but what does the research say?  Below is a run-down of evidence-based migraine prevention tips. As always, pay attention to doses, timing and what is supported by a randomized, placebo-controlled trial, and what isn’t.

1. COenzyme Q 

CoQ10 is found in the mitochondria of every cell and plays a key role in energy metabolism. One theory for migraines is a problem with mitochondrial energy metabolism, the specifics of which are beyond the scope of this blog. Outside of the mitochondria, CoQ10 is  a potent antioxidant. A lot of research has shown that supplementing with CoQ10 can improve cases of congestive heart failure and high blood pressure, and it may also help with migraines. One double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial shows that CoQ10 supplements are helpful for migraines. Forty-two adults with migraines took 300 mgs of CoQ10 per day ( or 3 pills at 100mg/day) for 3 months. Compared to placebo, the CoQ10 group had significantly less migraines and significantly less nausea associated with the migraines. CoQ10 was also well tolerated.

2. Magnesium

High-dose magnesium is another migraine prevention tip. A multi-centered, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial included 81 adults with diagnosed migraines. Some folks received 600 mg of Magnesium/day for 3 months and  others received a placebo. At the end of 3 months, the group taking Magnesium showed a 41% decrease in headache frequency, compared to a 15% decrease in the placebo group. The Magnesium group also showed a significant decrease in the number of days with headaches and a significant decrease in OTC pain medication use. Side effects were minimal, with GI distress being the most common complaint.

At least one randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial shows that magnesium supplements may also work for kids with migraines. The study included 86 kids ( ages 3-17), divided into two groups. One group took 9 mg/kg of body weight/day of Magnesium 3 times a day, and the other took a placebo. After 4 months, the Magnesium group showed a significant reduction in migraine frequency and severity compared to placebo. You can get Magnesium from your diet, but all of these studies use a high dose to yield a significant effect.

3. Riboflavin

Another name for Riboflavin is Vitamin B2, which, like CoQ10, plays a role in mitochondria energy metabolism. A randomized trial involving 55 people with migraines showed that 400 mg of riboflavin/day for 3 months significantly reduced attack frequency and days with headache. The only adverse side effects reported were diarrhea and heavy urination. A lot of reputable brands only offer riboflavin as 100mg/pill, so keep that in mind.

4. FeverFew:

I’ve written about Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)  a lot in the past, because I grow it in my garden and use it to make skin cream. Feverfew has a lot of health benefits, but it’s most studied for its ability to prevent migraines. The Lancet published a great randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study on Feverfew and migraines. 72 volunteers were divided into two groups: One group took 1 capsule of Feverfew leaves/day and one group took a placebo pill for a duration of 2 months. At the end of 2 months, the groups switched and took their respective treatment for a subsequent 2 months. ( Switching groups in a crossover study  helps rule out placebo effect). In both the first 2 months and the second 2 months, the Feverfew group was associated with a significant reduction in number and severity of attacks, as well as a significant reduction in associated vomiting. No serious side effects were reported.

No one knows the exact mechanism for how Feverfew prevents migraines. The plant has 3 active components: 1) Parthenolide, 2) Canin and 3) Artecanin. These components are anti-inflammatory and may inhibit prostaglandins, histamine or blood vessel spasms that trigger migraines. I grow my own,  and eat the leaves whole.  It’s super easy to grow!

5. Butterbur

In the wild, Butterbur ( Petasites hybridus) produces gorgeous purple flowers. It may also be helpful for migraines. A three-arm, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, that included 245 adult patients with diagnosed migraines, compared two doses of Butterbur to placebo. The doses were 75 mg twice a day; 50 mg twice a day and 50 mg of a placebo twice a day. The study lasted for 4 months. At the end of the study, results showed that the group taking 75 mg of Butterbur twice a day showed a significant reduction in number of migraines. Even better news is that the results were  significant at  the 1, 2 and 3 month-mark, which means you don’t have to take it for 4 months to experience a significant improvement. 50 mg of Butterbur twice a day did not show a significant benefit over placebo.

Another study (not randomized nor placebo controlled) showed that Butterbur may help reduce migraines in kids and adolescents. 108 kids (6-17) with diagnosed migraines took between 50-150 mg/ Butterbur/day for 4 months. 77% reported a decrease in number of migraines and 91% said they felt better after 4 months of treatment.

 

Below are other migraine prevention tips I’ve come across that you can try. They aren’t tested in randomized, placebo-controlled trials, but they are supported by anecdotes and used by both herbalists and natural practitioners.

1. A Migraine Prevention Compress: 

Try this when you START to feel the onset of a migraine. Fill a large bowl with ice cold water. Add 2 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil; 2 drops of Ginger Essential Oil and 1 drop Marjoram Essential Oil.  Submerge three cloths. Apply to forehead,  back of head and back of neck.  Make sure it’s super cold!

2. If Stress Triggers Your Migraine:

When you start to feel the onset of a migraine,  rub Lavender Essential Oil in your temples and try listening to our Pain Relief ZENTones, which include low frequency delta and sub-delta waves and isochronic tones that may help reduce pain. ( There is at least one study showing that sub-delta waves help alleviate pain.)  ( I have a lot of female customers who listen to it when they are premenstrual.)

3. If Migraines related to PMS or Hormone changes:

In addition to some of the preventive tips mentioned above, you can try Sepia, which is from the skin of the cuttlefish.  It may help with other symptoms associated with PMS, like severe bloating, chills and mood swings.  For dosing, I would try 1 pill of 30cc of Sepia per day. ( I use this a week before my period, because I severely bloat and become mega irritated.)

 

Hope the above migraine prevention tips help!  If you have any questions, find me on instagram: Blooming Wellness on Instagram

 

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Myo-Inositol for For Bulimia and OCD

 

 

 

 

 

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Probiotics for Depression and Anxiety too https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/06/probiotics-for-depression/ https://www.bloomingwellness.com/2019/06/probiotics-for-depression/#respond Fri, 28 Jun 2019 14:54:27 +0000 http://www.bloomingwellness.com/?p=10596   By Erin Stair, MD, MPH    Probiotics for depression?  And anxiety? What?!? Yes, read on.  Guess what? You are never alone.  It may not be comfortable to think about, but tons of tiny organisms live inside us and affect our health. The microbiome refers to all of the microorganisms that live in our body. […]

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Probiotics for Depression

By Erin Stair, MD, MPH

 

 Probiotics for depression?  And anxiety? What?!? Yes, read on.

 Guess what? You are never alone. 

It may not be comfortable to think about, but tons of tiny organisms live inside us and affect our health. The microbiome refers to all of the microorganisms that live in our body. The term microbiota refers to specific populations of microorganisms in specific body parts, such as the gut microbiota. The gut microbiota is huge. There are 10 to 100 times more microorganisms living in each of our guts than our total number of human cells.1  There are more than 1000 species and 7000 subspecies, so next time you are lonely, think about all your gut buddies.

A growing body of research shows that the gut microbiota affects our physical and mental health in many ways, including being linked to depression. Depression may be associated with an altered gut microbiota. Jiang et al analyzed fecal samples from both depressed individuals and individuals who weren’t depressed. Results showed that the depressed individuals’ fecal samples contained increased amounts of harmful bacteria and reduced amounts of beneficial bacteria. This should get us thinking about how we can use probiotics for depression .

The type and quantity of microorganisms that make up the gut microbiota are affected by our environment, diet, stress, use of antibiotics and even cleaning products and disinfectants. While our focus is depression, alterations in the gut microbiota are linked to obesity, metabolic syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, autoimmune disorders, allergies, autism and neurological issues. That’s important to note, since chronic health issues can exacerbate an underlying depression.

Research shows that microorganisms in the gut interact with the brain in a bidirectional way. The gut has its own nervous system, the enteric nervous system, often call our second brain because it can function independently of our “real” brain. The enteric nervous system directly communicates with the central nervous system through both the sympathetic nervous system and the vagus nerve, part of the parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for gut motility, blood flow, immune cell activation and barrier function. The vagus nerve signals the gut when to “rest and digest” and communicates with the enteric nervous system through multiple nerve endings. The vagus nerve collects information on the health of the gut, including microbial content, and sends this information to the brain. Vagus means “wanderer,” and in many ways, it “wanders” around the gut, like a vagabond, collecting information. Alterations in the gut microbiota are sensed by the vagus, communicated to the brain, and have been linked to changes in mood. Studies on animals in which either bacteria were removed from the gut lumen or the vagus nerve severed show that depression, anxiety and stress significantly increase.

Some microorganisms that make up the gut microbiota can directly produce neuroactive chemicals, such as serotonin, GABA, dopamine and norepinephrine, which can directly affect the central nervous system. The production of these neuroactive chemicals depends on substrates, essentially food, which depends on our diet. Our diets, and even short term dietary changes, can directly influence the types and quantity of bacteria that reside in our gut.  The walls of a healthy gut form a tight barrier and prevent harmful bacteria and toxins from entering the circulatory system. Damage to the walls can cause increased permeability or a “leaky gut.” Leaky guts enable neurochemical-producing bacteria to enter the circulatory system, thereby creating systemic effects, one possibility being symptoms of depression.

Probiotics:
Probiotics are living microorganisms that, in adequate doses, yield health benefits for the host. They are often referred to as “good” bacteria and ingesting them may improve the gut microbiota and restore homeostasis. Ingesting probiotics does not automatically translate into health benefits. The dose, strain and durability matters, and more research on these characteristics is warranted. It is theorized that probiotics (and prebiotics discussed below) improve the health of the gut microbiota by promoting the growth of “good bacteria” and limiting the growth of potentially pathogenic bacteria; improving the gut barrier function, and improving overall host immunity.

Some studies show that probiotic consumption improves depressive symptoms. In rats, the probiotic strain Bifidobacterium infantis is shown to significantly reduce stress and depressive symptoms, and the strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus is shown to significantly reduce depressive symptoms after 28 days of use.  There are a few quality studies on humans with mixed results. I’ll mention two here, each a randomized, placebo controlled, double blind study (RCT), since such a study design is considered the highest level of evidence. One 8-week study compared a probiotic capsule with Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum with a placebo in individuals with low mood. Results showed no significant differences from the control group in subjective measures or biochemical markers. Another RCT showed beneficial mental health effects in petrochemical workers who supplemented with yogurt containing live, active cultures. An 8 week long randomized, double blind, placebo controlled study showed that supplementing with probiotics significantly reduced depressive symptoms in individuals diagnosed with major depressive disorder. This study is important for three reasons: 1) The study design was solid 2) Participants were required to have an official diagnosis of major depression. (This means they couldn’t self-select into the study, which improves accuracy) 3) Results showed that probiotics also significantly improved metabolic biomarkers, such as insulin sensitivity.

What foods contain probiotics? Unless altered, most fermented foods contain probiotics. Fermentation is the process by which microorganisms (probiotics being one type) break down carbohydrates into alcohol or acids. Fermented foods were a staple of our ancestors. Before refrigeration and the science of fermentation was understood, food naturally fermented. Therefore, much like the Mediterranean diet ( which I generally follow), fermented foods are considered part of a traditional diet, or the diet human beings have been eating since the beginning of mankind.

Today you can find many superfoods and functional foods with probiotics, since it’s a booming wellness trend. There are also a ton of supplements in capsule and powder formation. I do not take a probiotic supplement and instead try to get a healthy dose from my diet. While I struggled with depression a lot in the past, I didn’t consciously include probiotics in my diet for depression. I started doing it because I was having irritable bowel symptoms, and nothing was helping. I was bloated and would get sharp abdominal pains after eating any meal. Sometimes when I moved, even just a little bit, my gut sounded sloshy like a big ol’ swamp. I cut back on gluten, artificial sweeteners, chewing gum and started eating more probiotics. In about three weeks, I noticed a significant change and started to feel a lot better. Years later, learning about its potential antidepressant effects was a bonus.

Here is a list of foods with probiotics for depression.  A lot of these are in my refrigerator.

Yogurt with live, active cultures
Kefir
Sauerkraut
Kimchi
Tempeh
Some types of cheese ( But make sure it’s from a dairy farm that puts the cows first, please!)
Pickles ( not in vinegar)

Prebiotics

Prebiotics are ingredients that create health benefits by increasing the composition and/or activity of specific microflora. All prebiotics are classified as fiber, but not all fiber is prebiotics. For a food ingredient to be classified as a prebiotic, three conditions must be met: 1) The ingredient must resist gastric acidity, hydrolysis by enzymes and absorption in the upper GI tract (Meaning it isn’t digestible) 2) The ingredient is fermented by the intestinal microflora, and 3) The ingredient selectively stimulates the growth and/or activity of intestinal bacteria associated with well-being. Most prebiotics stimulate the growth of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, and it is no coincidence those two are in a lot of probiotic supplements.

Like probiotics, prebiotics were heavily consumed by our ancestors. For example, archeological evidence shows that early hunter/gatherer societies ingested high quantities of inulin, a prebiotic fiber found in early dessert plants.  Research strongly supports inulin as an effective prebiotic, although it has been known to create bloating and gas. A good, tasty source of inulin is Jerusalem artichokes Acacia, the gum from the Acacia tree, is also a good source of prebiotics and fiber. Studies suggest it is one of the more tolerable prebiotics, so if you struggle with gas or bloating, try Acacia. Wheat dextrin, a type of prebiotic fiber, has been shown to increase Bifidobacteria and decrease colonies of harmful bacteria in the gut. Whole-grain wheat and corn-based cereals have been shown to have prebiotic activity. A randomized controlled trial showed that supplementing with 2 bananas a day produced more Bifidobacteria in the gut, although the result was not statistically significant from the control group that supplemented with water. Bananas contain several prebiotic carbohydrates. The group supplementing with bananas, however, did show a statistically significant reduction in side effects, such as bloating, which in itself is a great reason to add more bananas to your diet.

List of Prebiotic Foods:
Asparagus
Chicory
Leeks
Bananas
Jerusalem Artichokes
Garlic
Oats
Soybeans
Wheat
Supplements (Inulin, Acacia, Wheat dextrin)

An extra note for the ladies:

1. Premenstrual syndrome can exacerbate underlying depression. Research strongly shows that calcium significantly reduces PMS symptoms, including low mood. Studies show that prebiotics may increase calcium absorption. If you suffer from PMS and want to manage it naturally, I recommend loading up on prebiotic foods and calcium at least two weeks before your expected period.

2. Probiotics for post-partum depression: Depression and anxiety are common after giving birth. A randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study showed that pregnant women who supplemented with Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 through pregnancy and six months after giving birth had significantly reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety than the control group.

An extra note for anyone with anxiety:

While the focus of this blog is probiotics for depression, eating fermented foods with probiotics is also associated with a significant reduction in anxiety.19

 

I hope this blog helps shed some light on gut bacteria and probiotics for depression. For what it’s worth, adding probiotics and prebiotics to your diet can’t hurt.  If you already take pro/pre biotics, feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.  🙂

 

PS: Don’t forget to grab a ZENBand and ZENTones  to up your relaxation game!

Cell Phones, Wireless & Risk in Pregnancy

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