I tried to find “sportification” in a dictionary, but nothing showed up. Could this relate to the “sports obsessions” which some carry with them? Or possibly the “playing sport” with energies, e.g., HAARP, weather modifications, etc.?
In any event, this appears to carry some positive messages, however.
Sweet basil oil comes from basil (Ocimum basilicum), a plant with a thick foliage and small white flowers. Fresh basil leaves taste sweet and pungent and exudes a fresh and floral aroma, while the dried ones have a spicy and earthy scent.
The “dot-like” oil glands in fresh basil leaves produce the essential oil of the herb. Its dried leaves and stems are used in food flavorings and in the production of essential oil. However, it is believed that oil obtained from the flowers is superior in quality compared to the oil from the whole plant.
There are several types of basil oil such as European or sweet basil, reunion, methyl cinnamate and eugenol.1 The commonly used basil oils in aromatherapy are the sweet basil and the exotic types. Sweet basil oil is produced in the U.S., France, Italy and Spain, while the exotic type is from Comoro Islands or Seychelles.2
Uses of Sweet Basil Oil
Basil, especially its leaves and seeds, is used mainly for culinary purposes all over the world. It’s a well-known fact that basil leaves are widely used in Italian cuisines like salads and pasta.
However, the essential oil from sweet basil is also often added in various foods such as spiced meats, sausages, tomato pastes, ketchups, pickles, and fancy vinegars. Dental creams and mouthwashes also use sweet basil oil as one of their ingredients.3 Sweet basil oil is used in making perfumes and can act as an insect repellent in your home as it possesses insecticidal agents that can repel flies and mosquitoes.
Composition of Sweet Basil Oil
Sweet basil oil is made up of d-linalool (methyl chavicol) of varying quantities depending on the source. A major component f sweet basil essential oil is methyl cinnamate. Other properties of the oil include 1,8-cineole, eugenol, borneol, ocimene, geraniol, anethol, 10-cadinols, B-caryophyllene, a-terpineol, camphor, 3-octanone, methyleugenol, safrole, sesquithujene and 1-epibicyclosesqui-phellandrene.
It also contains juvocimene 1 and juvocimene 2. Take note that variations of these chemical properties may exist depending on the source of the plant.4
Benefits of Sweet Basil Oil
Sweet basil oil has diaphoretic, stimulant, carminative, and expectorant properties. It is effective in revitalizing dull hair and skin and is also used in treating acne and skin infections. Sweet basil oil also offers health benefits for your:
• Digestive system. Due to its carminative properties, basil oil helps reduce indigestion, constipation, stomach cramps and flatulence. It helps expel gas from your stomach and intestine.5
• Immune system. The herbal oil works great in relieving sinus congestion, asthma, bronchitis and emphysema. It also helps prevent infections in wounds or cuts.
• Nervous system. Sweet basil oil is known to alleviate mental fatigue, migraine and depression. It is commonly used in aromatherapy for its calming effect. Basil oil clears the mind and provides mental strength.
How to Make Sweet Basil Oil
Basil is harvested from mid-February until the end of September. The essential oil is produced through steam distilling the flowers or the whole basil plant. Hydro-distillation can also be used, but the former is much preferred as it saves time and produces better oil quality. Steam distillation takes about one to one-and-a-half hours. The oil obtained from the flowers is 0.4 percent while the whole plant yields 0.10 to 0.25 percent oil.
How Does Sweet Basil Oil Work?
Applying a few drops of sweet basil oil to strained muscles can alleviate the pain. You can rub two to three drops of the essential oil on your forehead to promote alertness. Add sweet basil oil to your shampoo to reduce excessive hair oiliness.6
Receiving a massage using this oil may help stimulate blood flow and soothe muscle pain and spasms. In case of earache, dilute sweet basil with three drops of a carrier oil then massage it over and around your ear.7 Sweet basil oil can be added to baths when combined with other essential oils such as jojoba, sweet almond, or avocado oil. The herbal oil can also be inhaled using a diffuser or vaporizer.8
Is Sweet Basil Oil Safe?
Sweet basil oil is generally recognized as safe (GRAS). Although it doesn’t have any known side effects when used in small quantities, it may cause skin reactions to those who are sensitive to methyl chavicol.9 I advise you to always dilute it with a carrier oil before application.10 I also suggest conducting a skin patch test first to know if you are allergic to the essential oil. Also, studies show that an overdose of sweet basil oil can cause diarrhea, nausea, convulsions, dizziness or rapid heartbeat.11
Be aware that while sweet basil oil can be a healthful addition to your essential oil collection, the estragole content in it was found to produce tumors in mice when administered in dosages of 2 grams per kilogram of weight (0.07 ounces to 2.2 pounds).12 As a result, the German Commission E prohibited the use of basil herb for therapeutic purposes due to its estragole content and possible risks it may pose.13 However, it also was determined that short time use by adults does not pose a significant risk.14
Side Effects of Sweet Basil Oil
Even though it is generally considered safe, I suggest that young children, pregnant and nursing women avoid using this essential oil due to the fact that its potential toxigenic and carcinogenic components have not been clearly established. If you have a terminal illness or any chronic ailment, consult first with a professional aromatherapist or licensed physician before using sweet basil oil.
The gene thought to be most strongly associated with Alzheimer’s disease is the apolipoprotein E4 (APoE4) gene. Everyone inherits a form of APOE from their parents (it may be type e2, e3 or e4). If you inherit one copy of APoE4, it increases your risk of developing Alzheimer’s, while inheriting two copies increases the risk even more — but is not a guarantee that you’ll develop the disease. Research published in the journal PLOS One, however, suggests a different gene, known as TOMM40, is also a key player.1
APoE4 is thought to increase Alzheimer’s risk by influencing the buildup of amyloid plaque in the brain, which is a hallmark of the disease. The featured research revealed a TOMM40 variant may actually be more influential than APoE4 in declines in immediate memory, i.e., the ability to hold onto new information, according to the study’s first author, Thalida Em Arpawong, a postdoctoral fellow in the department of psychology at the University of Southern California.2
The study involved testing more than 30,000 participants for immediate and delayed recall by reading a list of 10 nouns and then asking participants to recall them immediately and five minutes later. A large discrepancy in the test results of each test can be a sign of dementia, including Alzheimer’s. They then examined genetic data to see if there was a link between any genetic variants and the memory test results. Medical News Today reported:3
“Only TOMM40 was found to be strongly associated with a decline in immediate and delayed recall. The results also showed an association with the ‘traditional’ genetic culprit, APoE4, but the link was not as strong. Additionally, the analysis revealed that the e3 variant of the ApoE gene was also associated with a low memory score, when found in conjunction with the TOMM40 gene.”
As noted by the study’s senior author, USC psychology professor Carol A. Prescott, TOMM40 appears to play a role in memory decline independent of the APoE gene, particularly the decline of verbal learning after age 60. Further, she suggested memory problems attributed to APoE4 in other studies may actually be due to TOMM40 or a combination of the two, stating, “the causes of memory decline are even more complicated than we thought before.”4
Genetics Account for Less Than 5 Percent of Alzheimer’s Cases
An estimated 75 million Americans have the single allele for ApoE4. Those who are ApoE4 positive have a 30 percent lifetime risk of developing the disease. Approximately 7 million have two copies of the gene, which puts them at a 50 percent lifetime risk.
It’s unknown how many Americans have the TOMM40 gene or others that may affect risk. It can be unsettling to hear that having a certain gene may predispose you to a disease like Alzheimer’s, but keep in mind it’s estimated that genetics account for less than 5 percent of Alzheimer’s cases.5
Further, even if you have the aforementioned genes, it does not mean your fate is set in stone. Dr. David Perlmutter, a board-certified neurologist and author of The New York Times best seller “The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan: Boost Brain Performance, Lose Weight, and Achieve Optimal Health,” explains:
“To be clear, no one inherits Alzheimer’s. Some of us who have relatives [with] Alzheimer’s … are at increased risk. We certainly know there are some genes, the apoliprotein E (ApoE) 3, 2 and 4 genes that are playing a role in carrying the ApoE-4 allele. It does increase a person’s risk.
But this is not a determinant that you will or won’t get the disease. It does indicate that you have a higher risk for that disease. But the beauty of what we are talking about is you can offset that risk. You can change your destiny.”
In short, yes, there are certain genes that may be linked to Alzheimer’s risk, some of which are likely yet to be discovered. But there are dozens of other factors that are also involved; genetics is only one small piece of the puzzle. For instance, research presented at the 2014 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) revealed Alzheimer’s patients with TDP-43, an infectious protein, were 10 times more likely to have been cognitively impaired at death than those without.6
Mounting research also suggests Alzheimer’s disease is intricately connected to insulin resistance; even mild elevation of blood sugar is associated with an elevated risk for dementia.7 Diabetes and heart disease also elevate your risk, as all three conditions are rooted in insulin resistance. Arterial stiffness (atherosclerosis) is even associated with the buildup of beta-amyloid plaque in your brain.8
As such, according to Perlmutter, your diet is by far the greatest contributing risk factor. To prevent Alzheimer’s, you need to focus on a diet that powers your brain and body with healthy fats, not net carbs (total carbohydrates minus fiber), i.e., a ketogenic diet.
A Ketogenic Diet for Brain Health
A ketogenic diet calls for minimizing carbohydrates and replacing them with healthy fats and adequate amounts of high-quality protein. I recommend a cyclical or targeted ketogenic diet for everyone, where you increase carbs and protein once you are able to burn fat for fuel on the two to three days a week you are strength training. I believe this is healthy for most individuals, whether they have a chronic health problem or not.
I say that because the ketogenic diet will help you optimize your health by converting from burning carbohydrates for energy to burning fat as your primary source of fuel. You can learn more about this approach to improving your mitochondrial function, which is also at the heart of Alzheimer’s disease, in my book, “Fat for Fuel.”
One of the most common side effects of being a sugar-burner is that you end up with insulin and leptin resistance, which it at the root of most chronic disease. Keep in mind that adopting the ketogenic diet along with intermittent fasting may further boost your results, especially if you have the ApoE4 gene.
Why Intermittent Fasting Is Critical if You Have the ApoE4 Gene
Interestingly, ApoE4 is actually a rather useful gene, as it helps your body survive famine. However, lack of food is a rare situation in most developed nations — most suffer health problems from an overabundance of food — but as soon as I heard this, I suspected having this gene could be a strong clinical indication that you absolutely need to do intermittent fasting or longer fasts on a regular basis in order to avoid Alzheimer’s.
“This is absolutely the case. I think it’s a very interesting point. ApoE is such a remarkably interesting gene … [It’s] is a fat-carrying molecule … What does that have to do with Alzheimer’s disease? Why do you start with ApoE4 and end up with Alzheimer’s? We started looking at this. It turned out, surprisingly, that ApoE actually enters the nucleus. It binds to the promoters of 1,700 different genes. It literally reprograms your cell toward a more inflammatory state.
In fact, if you look at the groups of genes, you couldn’t tell a better story about Alzheimer’s. It binds to things related to neurotrophic support … ApoE has a big impact … The ApoE4 was the primordial gene that appeared between 5 and 7 million years ago … For 96 percent of all of evolution of hominids, we’ve all been ApoE4 double positive … ApoE3 appeared 220,000 years ago. ApoE2 appeared 80,000 years ago.
Interestingly, ApoE4 prepares you to change niches. When we moved from in-the-trees arboreal ancestors to walking on the savannah, stepping on dung, puncturing our feet, eating raw meat filled with microbes, we needed a pro-inflammatory gene. In fact, if you look at the genes that are different between simians and hominids, a surprising number of these are pro-inflammatory.
It also allows you to eat fat, absorb it better and go longer without eating. If you take people who are ApoE4-positive and -negative and starve them, the ones who are negative will tend to die earlier. Therefore, it’s not that it’s better or worse. It’s different. It gives you some advantages. It gives you some disadvantages.
Therefore, you can learn to live your life slightly differently that is of advantage to you. My argument is that if you do the right things, Alzheimer’s disease should be a very rare illness …”
150 Factors May Contribute to Alzheimer’s Disease
Dr. Dale Bredesen’s ReCODE protocol evaluates 150 factors, including biochemistry, genetics and historical imaging, known to contribute to Alzheimer’s disease. This identifies your disease subtype or combination of subtypes so an effective treatment protocol can be devised.
For instance, Bredesen states that type 1 Alzheimer’s is “inflammatory” or “hot,” and patients present predominantly inflammatory symptoms. Type 2 is atrophic or “cold,” with patients presenting an atrophic response. In type 3, or toxic “vile” Alzheimer’s, patients have toxic exposures. There’s also a mixed type, type 1.5, which is referred to as “sweet” and is a subtype that involves both inflammation and atrophy processes, due to insulin resistance and glucose-induced inflammation.
An algorithm is used to determine a percentage for each subtype based on the variables evaluated, and an individualized treatment protocol is created. For example, if you have insulin resistance, you want to improve your insulin sensitivity. If you have inflammation, then you’ll work on removing the source of the pro-inflammatory effect.
Oftentimes you’ll need to eliminate toxins and/or address leaky gut or a suboptimal gut microbiome. Interestingly, they also place great focus on the rhinosinal microbiome, the microbes residing in your nose and sinuses.
Further, as mentioned, restoring mitochondrial function is a cornerstone of successful Alzheimer’s treatment, and one of the most powerful ways to optimize mitochondrial function is cyclical ketosis. Bredesen also recommends the following Alzheimer’s screening test so you can evaluate your risk and then get on an appropriate program for prevention or, if you’re already symptomatic, reversal:
40 to 60 ng/mL
Less than 16 U/L for men and less than 9 U/L for women
Omega-3 index should be above 8 percent and your omega 6-to-3 ratio between 0.5 and 3.0. You can get the omega-3 index test here.
Less than 6.0
Less than 2.0 microunits/mL
3.2 to 4.2 pg/mL
Less than 20 ng/mL
1.3 to 1.8 ng/mL
Serum copper and zinc ratio
0.8 to 1.2
110 to 150 ng/mL
5.0 to 5.5 ?m
Vitamin E (alpha tocopherol)
12 to 20 mcg/mL
Body mass index (which you can calculate yourself)
18 to 25
ApoE4 (DNA test)
See how many alleles you have: 0, 1 or 2
500 to 1,500
Less than 5.5 (the lower the better)
4.4 to 10.8 mcmol/L
You CAN Prevent, and Possibly Reverse, Alzheimer’s
It’s often said that Alzheimer’s disease is incurable and there’s no known cause. A more accurate statement would be that there are many causes, and, if you address the specific factors causing the cognitive decline, as Bredesen says, “There a tremendous amount you can do.”
Alzheimer’s disease has grown to be one of the most pressing and tragic public health issues facing the U.S. With the number of people affected expected to triple by 2050, the Alzheimer’s Association estimates that by mid-century someone in the U.S will develop Alzheimer’s disease every 33 seconds.9
However, by getting to the root of the disease, it may be possible to change that. In addition to the dietary strategies and intermittent fasting already discussed, Bredesen recommends, exercise to increase brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), stress reduction, optimizing your sleep, which is critical for cognitive function, and nutritional support. Important nutrients include animal-based omega-3 fats, magnesium, vitamin D and fiber.
There are other exciting treatment strategies in the works as well, including photobiomodulation, in which stimulation of the brain with near-infrared light has been found to boost cognition and reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s, including more advanced stages of the disease. Dr. Lew Lim has developed a device called the Vielight, which employs light emitting diodes at these frequencies. Alzheimer’s patients using the device for 20 minutes a day report remarkably positive results.
Electromagnetic exposures from wireless technologies are a crucial component that needs to be addressed, as this type of radiation activates the voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) in your cells, and the greatest density of VGCCs are in your brain, the pacemaker of your heart and male testes.
It is my belief that excessive microwave exposure and glyphosate, which disrupts the blood-brain barrier, and at the root mitochondrial dysfunction, are among the most significant factors contributing to Alzheimer’s. Getting back to genetics, you may or may not be among those who have an “Alzheimer’s gene,” so to speak, but it doesn’t change the fact that you do have control over many factors that can cut your Alzheimer’s risk considerably.
Mental health appears to be dwindling across the globe, with depression now being the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide.1,2 Over the past decade alone (2005-2015), rates of depression increased by 18 percent.3 In the U.S., more than 16 million people struggle with the condition, including 6 million seniors,4 and 11 percent of Americans over the age of 12 are on antidepressant drugs. Among women in their 40s and 50s, 1 in 4 is on antidepressants.5
Clearly, something is very wrong. Part of the problem, I believe, is the fact that the go-to solution simply doesn’t work, and the psychiatric field is slow to branch out into more effective yet less financially rewarding strategies. Antidepressants tend to be the first-line treatment, even though studies have proven they work no better than placebo.6,7,8,9
Now, researchers are investigating whether antidepressants might be prophylactically useful. The idea that taking a potent brain altering drug that has the clinical effectiveness of a placebo to prevent depression is suspect in the extreme. There are many other strategies with far better track records that can both prevent and help treat depression.
“Some studies have estimated that up to half of patients with head and neck cancers may experience depression. A group of researchers … examined what would happen if non-depressed patients were given antidepressants before receiving treatment for head and neck cancer.
Published in 2013, the results of the randomized, placebo-controlled trial11 were startling: Patients taking an antidepressant were 60 percent less likely to experience depression compared with peers who were given a placebo. In medicine, this approach is often referred to as prophylaxis, or a treatment used to prevent disease.”
Other studies assessing the benefits of prophylactic antidepressants include:
A 2014 analysis, which concluded antidepressants reduced incidence of major depression among patients treated for hepatitis C by 40 percent12
A 2004 study concluded post-stroke depression, which affects up to 40 percent of stroke victims, could be reduced through prophylactic treatment with the antidepressant mirtazapine. Forty percent of nontreated patients developed depression, compared to less than 6 percent of those receiving the drug13
A 2008 study also found nondepressed stroke patients given escitalopram (brand name Lexapro) were significantly less likely to develop depression compared to the placebo group over 12 months of treatment.14 However, it was later revealed the lead author had undisclosed financial ties to the manufacturer of the drug, which cast doubt on the results15
Other small studies have also concluded that pretreatment with antidepressants may reduce the likelihood of depression in patients receiving treatment for melanoma16,17
According to the featured article, “These findings provide compelling reasons for physicians and patients to consider using these medicines to pre-empt mental-health issues.”18
I couldn’t disagree more vigorously with this distorted view of reality. Just because an antidepressant might help prevent drug- or chemo-induced depression does not mean that nondepressed individuals will benefit from taking antidepressants prophylactically. In fact, it may well have the opposite effect. There’s really no telling what kind of devastating societal health effects such a trend might create.
Antidepressants During Pregnancy Increase Child’s Risk of Psychiatric Disorders
Antidepressants are particularly hazardous for children, teens (who are more prone to self-harm on certain antidepressants) and women of childbearing age. Recent research19 shows use of antidepressants during pregnancy raises the child’s risk of developing a psychiatric disorder.20,21 The study evaluated data collected from more than 905,000 Danish children born between 1998 and 2012. The follow-up period lasted for nearly 17 years. The results showed that:
Among children whose mothers did not use antidepressants during pregnancy, the 15-year risk of psychiatric problems was 8 percent
Those whose mothers took an antidepressant prior to but not during pregnancy had a risk of 11.5 percent
Among those whose mothers had started taking an antidepressant prior to pregnancy and continued taking the drug during pregnancy, the risk for psychiatric problems was 13.6 percent
Children whose mothers started taking an antidepressant during pregnancy had the highest risk of a psychiatric disorder — 14.5 percent
Birth Defects Linked to Antidepressant Use in Pregnancy
Estimates suggest anywhere from 822 to 14 percent23 of pregnant women take antidepressants, even though studies suggest there are risks involved. A 2015 study24 — which looked at the effects of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) used during the first trimester of pregnancy and in the month before — concluded that:
Paxil (paroxetine) was associated with an increased risk of five birth defects, including heart defects and anencephaly (abnormal brain and skull formation)
The use of Prozac (fluoxetine) was associated with heart wall defects and abnormal skull shape (craniosynostosis)
The increase in absolute risk was low; for instance, 10 out of 10,000 women may give birth to a baby with a heart defect but this increased to 24 out of 10,000 among those using Paxil. Still, some birth defects occurred two to three times more often in babies born to women taking the drugs, and when the increased risk is combined with the many other studies showing harm, and few showing benefit, it still poses a serious concern.
SSRIs Increase Risk of Death by One-Third
A recent meta-analysis25 also shows SSRIs and tricyclic antidepressants dramatically raise your risk of death from any cause — an effect attributed to the disruption of “multiple adaptive processes regulated by evolutionarily ancient biochemicals,” one of which is serotonin. A total of 16 observational studies were included in the analysis, involving some 375,000 participants.
Overall, use of antidepressants was associated with a 14 percent increased risk of a cardiovascular event, such as heart attack or stroke, and a 33 percent increased risk of premature death. Lead author Marta Maslej told Medical News Today:26
“We made sure to only include studies that did a good enough job controlling for important variables (like depression and other illnesses), and so we have attempted to statistically rule out other factors that could contribute to mortality. We also ensured that our findings weren’t related to confounding by indication.
This means that people who have more severe depression could be more likely to take antidepressants, and if that’s the case, we could not be sure whether the increase in risk of death is due to using antidepressants or having more severe depression.
To address this issue, we re-ran our analysis on only the studies that assessed depression in participants before they began using antidepressants. When we re-ran this analysis, the risk of mortality remained high which suggests that confounding by indication wasn’t an issue in our study.”
21st Century Reason for Rising Depression Rates
In light of the rapidly rising prevalence of depression, the question “why” is one that really needs to be looked into. I believe a significant yet completely ignored culprit is excessive microwave radiation from cellphones, cellphone towers, cordless phones, Wi-Fi, computers, smart meters, baby monitors and other electronic gadgets.
Last year, Dr. Martin Pall published a review27 in the Journal of Neuroanatomy showing how microwave radiation from these technologies is clearly associated with many neuropsychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety, autism and Alzheimer’s.
In a nutshell, microwave radiation activates voltage gated calcium channels (VGCCs) in your cells, and one of the tissues with the highest density of VGCCs is your brain. Once the VGCCs are stimulated, intracellular calcium dramatically increases, as does the release of neurotransmitters, neuroendocrine hormones and highly damaging reactive oxygen species (ROS) — all of which raise your risk for depression and anxiety.
Based on this mechanism, it seems clear that chronic exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) can play a significant role in psychiatric health. As a society, we need to take this seriously. On a personal level, be sure to limit your exposure to EMFs and wireless technology. Simple measures include turning your Wi-Fi off at night, not carrying your cellphone on your body and not keeping portable phones, cellphones and other electric devices in your bedroom.
Turning off all power at the circuit breaker to your bedroom at night is probably the single most important remediation strategy I can think of. The wiring inside your walls generates dangerous levels of magnetic and electrical (not microwave) radiation that impairs your melatonin production, disrupting your sleep.
This in turn will also heighten your risk of depression, anxiety and many other health problems. To learn more about how microwaves and dirty electricity affect your health, please see my interviews with Pall and Dr. Sam Milham.
Anti-Inflammatory Diet Is Essential for Psychiatric Health
Needless to say, your diet also plays a major role when it comes to your psychiatric health. According to Dr. Hyla Cass, a psychiatrist who uses integrative medicine in her practice, one of the first steps in addressing a mental health problem is to clean up your diet and address your gut health. If you don’t, you’ll seriously hamper your chances of getting well.
Food sensitivities can also play a role. For example, gluten can produce symptoms of depression if you’re sensitive to it. In such a case, the key is to remove gluten from your diet entirely. Merely cutting down will not work. Cass has seen many patients recover from severe depression when going gluten-free. It’s also important to avoid sugar and junk food, which raises your risk of depression by promoting inflammation.
In fact, chronic inflammation appears to be a leading cause of depression.28 One theory as to why certain nutrients work so well for depression is because they are potent anti-inflammatories. Nourishing your gut microbiome is an important component of lowering inflammation, as much of the inflammation starts in your gut. My previous article,29 “Are Probiotics the New Prozac?” reviews some of the supporting evidence.30,31,32
Researchers have also found strong connections between the gut microbiome and schizophrenia33,34 and bipolar disorder,35,36,37,38 demonstrating the close relationship between your gut and your brain. To nourish your gut microbiome, increase your consumption of fiber and probiotic foods, such as fermented vegetables, kimchee, natto, kefir and others. Keep in mind that, in order for it to work, the fiber must be unprocessed.39,40 Processed supplement fiber such as inulin powder does not provide gut bacteria with what they need.
Specific Nutrients Associated With Improved Mental Health
Specific nutrient deficiencies can also have a significant impact on your mental health. On CassMD.com you can find a free report called “Reclaim Your Brain,” which details a number of nutritional substances you can use to address conditions like anxiety and depression. Following are three of the most important ones:
• Omega-3s — The animal-based omega-3 fats DHA and EPA are crucial for good brain function and mental health.41,42 The 2001 book, “The Omega-3 Connection” by Harvard psychiatrist Dr. Andrew Stoll, was among the first works to bring attention to and support the use of omega-3 fats for depression. Omega-3s have also been shown to improve more serious mental disorders, including schizophrenia, psychosis and bipolar disorder.43
While there’s no set recommended dose of omega-3 fats, some health organizations recommend a daily dose of 250 to 500 milligrams (mg) of EPA and DHA for healthy adults. If you suffer from depression, higher doses may be called for.
In one study,44 an omega-3 supplement with a dose range of 200 to 2,200 mg of EPA per day was effective against primary depression. Good sources include fatty fish that are also low in mercury, such as wild caught Alaskan salmon, sardines and anchovies. If you don’t eat these types of fish on a regular basis, it would be advisable to take a high-quality omega-3 supplement such as krill oil, which has a number of benefits over fish oil, including better absorption.45
• Vitamin D — Researchers have suggested vitamin D may play a role in depression46 by regulating brain chemicals called monoamines, which include serotonin.47 As a general rule, depressed individuals have lower vitamin D levels than nondepressed people,48 and having a vitamin D level below 20 ng/mL can raise your risk of depression by 85 percent compared to having a level greater than 30 ng/mL.49
Recent research50 also claims that low vitamin D levels appear to be associated with suicide attempts. Ideally, maintain your vitamin D level between 40 and 60 ng/mL year-round. I also recommend having your vitamin D level checked yearly to assure you’re within this ideal range.
• B vitamins — A number of studies have shown deficiencies of one or more B vitamins (niacin/B3, B6, biotin/B8, folate/B9 and B12) can produce psychiatric effects. For example, vitamin B12 deficiency can trigger confusion, agitation, depression, mania, psychosis and paranoid delusions.51
One recent study52,53 found vitamins B6, B8 and B12 in combination were very effective for improving schizophrenic symptoms when taken in high doses — more so than standard drug treatments alone. Low doses were ineffective.
The power of niacin (B3) was also demonstrated by Dr. Abram Hoffer, one of Cass’ mentors and a co-founder of orthomolecular medicine, which refers to the concept of nutritional deficiencies being a source of mental illness. Hoffer used high doses of niacin to successfully treat schizophrenics. Amazingly, he was able to get many of these severely ill mental patients well enough to lead normal lives.
It turns out pellagra, a disorder caused by extreme niacin deficiency, produces the same psychiatric symptoms found in schizophrenia. In fact, Hoffer discovered that many schizophrenic patients were niacin dependent, meaning they needed far more niacin on a regular basis than normal in order to remain well.
Other researchers have found niacin may also be successfully used in the treatment of other mental disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention deficit disorder, anxiety and depression.
Holistic Mental Health Suggestions
Regardless of the nature or severity of your mental health problem, to successfully treat it, you need to take a holistic approach. Rarely will medication be the sole answer. And, considering the seriousness of some side effects, which include depression, suicide, cardiovascular events and premature death, taking an antidepressant for preventive purposes is definitely not recommended. Instead, whether you want to prevent depression or treat it, be sure to address your diet and any nutrient deficiencies you may have.
A holistic doctor will be able to help you determine your nutrient status with appropriate tests, and identify any food sensitivities you may have. Most people need higher amounts of vitamin D and omega-3, but to determine your ideal dose, be sure to get a vitamin D and omega-3 index test. Following are some additional guidelines and suggestions — presented in no particular order — to keep in mind:
Eat real food and avoid all processed foods
High sugar and starchy nonfiber carbohydrates lead to excessive insulin release, which can result in falling blood sugar levels, or hypoglycemia. In turn, hypoglycemia causes your brain to secrete glutamate in levels that can cause agitation, depression, anger, anxiety and panic attacks. Sugar also fans the flames of inflammation in your body.
In addition to being high in sugar and grains, processed foods also contain a variety of additives that can affect your brain function and mental state, especially MSG and artificial sweeteners such as aspartame.
Research also shows that glyphosate, used in large quantities on genetically engineered crops like corn, soy and sugar beets, limits your body’s ability to detoxify foreign chemical compounds. As a result, the damaging effects of those toxins are magnified, potentially resulting in a wide variety of diseases, including brain disorders that have both psychological and behavioral effects.
Lower your microwave and EMF exposure as much as possible
As mentioned, studies have linked excessive EMF exposure to an increased risk of both depression and suicide.54Addiction to or “high engagement” with mobile devices can also trigger depression and anxiety, according to recent research.55
It would be wise to limit exposure and/or shield yourself from Wi-Fi routers by turning them off at night, not carrying your cellphone on your body, and eliminating the use of portable phones. At bare minimum, do not keep portable phones, cellphones and other electric devices in your bedroom.
Also, the most important step you can take is to flip the circuit breaker to your bedroom at night, as a majority of the EMF you’re exposed to at night comes from wiring inside your walls, unless you live in Chicago or New York or a commercial building like a hotel where building codes require the wires to be enclosed in metal conduit.
If that is the case you don’t need to turn the power off but must pull all electrical plugs from the wall when you go to bed.
Spend more time outdoors
Getting closer to nature has been shown to dramatically improve people’s mood and significantly reduce symptoms of depression. Outdoor activities could be just about anything, from walking a nature trail to gardening, or simply taking your exercise outdoors.
Get adequate daily movement and regular exercise
Studies show there is a strong correlation between improved mood and aerobic capacity. There’s also a growing acceptance that the mind-body connection is very real, and that maintaining good physical health can significantly lower your risk of developing depression in the first place.
Exercising creates new GABA-producing neurons that help induce a natural state of calm. It also boosts your levels of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, which help buffer the effects of stress.
Add to your self-help tool bag
Slowing your breathing using the Buteyko breathing technique increases your partial pressure of carbon dioxide, which has enormous psychological benefits and can quickly reduce anxiety.
Other helpful tools include Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing and the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). EFT is particularly well-studied, and research shows it can significantly increase positive emotions and decrease negative emotional states. One scientific review found statistically significant benefits in using EFT for anxiety, depression, PTSD and phobias.
EFT is particularly powerful for treating stress and anxiety because it specifically targets your amygdala and hippocampus, which are the parts of your brain that help you decide whether or not something is a threat.56 For serious or complex issues, seek out a qualified health care professional that is trained in EFT57 to help guide you through the process.
Clean up your sleep hygiene
Make sure you’re getting enough high quality sleep, as sleep is essential for optimal mood and mental health. A fitness tracker that tracks your sleep can be a useful tool. The inability to fall asleep and stay asleep can be due to elevated cortisol levels, so if you have trouble sleeping, you may want to get your saliva cortisol level tested with an Adrenal Stress Index test.
If you’re already taking hormones, you can try applying a small dab of progesterone cream on your neck or face when you awaken during the night and can’t fall back to sleep. Another alternative is to take adaptogens, herbal products that help lower cortisol and adjust your body to stress. There are also other excellent herbs and amino acids that help you to fall asleep and stay asleep. Meditation can also help.
Beneficial herbs and supplements: SAMe, 5-HTP and St. John’s Wort
SAMe is an amino acid derivative that occurs naturally in all cells. It plays a role in many biological reactions by transferring its methyl group to DNA, proteins, phospholipids and biogenic amines. Several scientific studies indicate that SAMe may be useful in the treatment of depression. 5-HTP is another natural alternative to traditional antidepressants.
When your body sets about manufacturing serotonin, it first makes 5-HTP. Taking 5-HTP as a supplement may raise serotonin levels. The evidence suggests 5-HTP outperforms a placebo when it comes to alleviating depression58 — more than can be said about antidepressants.
One caveat: Anxiety and social phobias can worsen with higher levels of serotonin, so it may be contraindicated if your anxiety is already high. St. John’s Wort has also been shown to provide relief from mild depressive symptoms.
Make sure your cholesterol levels aren’t too low for optimal mental health
Low cholesterol is linked to dramatically increased rates of suicide, as well as aggression toward others. This increased expression of violence toward self and others may be due to the fact that low membrane cholesterol decreases the number of serotonin receptors in the brain, which are approximately 30 percent cholesterol by weight.
Lower serum cholesterol concentrations therefore may contribute to decreasing brain serotonin, which not only contributes to suicidal-associated depression, but prevents the suppression of aggressive behavior and violence toward self and others.
What to Do if Someone You Know Is Depressed
Perhaps one of the most helpful things you can do if you have a friend or family member who struggles with depression is to help guide them toward healthier eating and lifestyle habits, as making changes can be particularly difficult when you’re feeling blue — or worse, suicidal.
If you are feeling desperate or have any thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a toll-free number: 800-273-TALK (8255), or call 911, or simply go to your nearest hospital emergency department. You cannot make long-term plans for lifestyle changes when you are in the middle of a crisis.
Reducing corporate rate to 20% would shrink tax bills
Wells Fargo, Bank of America stand to benefit the most
BLOOMBERG — The six largest U.S. banks could see net income rise $6.4 billion, or 7 percent, if President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress can push through their proposed corporate tax rate cut.
Banks stand to benefit more than other industries because they typically have fewer deductions. The top six firms — JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co., Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley — paid an average of 26 percent in federal taxes last year, almost twice the average for nonfinancial companies, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Republican framework released Wednesday calls for lowering the corporate rate to 20 percent from 35 percent. […]
(Tyler Durden) Millionaire Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock set up a camera inside his hotel room to capture his deadly shooting rampage on film, as well as various other surveillance equipment in the hallway to alert him as cops closed in on him. According to ABC, the shooter had at least one lens set up to tape himself as he fired hundreds of rounds on thousands of unsuspecting concertgoers several hundred yards below his Mandalay Bay casino suite. Also, knowing that the cops would eventually catch up to him, he also reportedly wired cameras in the hallway outside his room so he could see when the heat was getting close.
… Between 2015 and 2016, Chicago experienced 58 percent more homicides and 43 percent more non-fatal shootings. Annual increases of this size are not unprecedented among American cities, particularly in recent years, but are rare for a city of Chicago’s size.
One striking feature of Chicago’s increase in gun violence is how sudden it was: as of December 2015, there was no indication that gun violence was on the verge of rising sharply. But in January 2016, homicides and shootings surged relative to their 2015 levels and remained higher in almost every month that followed, threatening 20 years of progress on violent crime in Chicago. …
What caused Chicago’s sudden surge in gun violence in 2016 remains a puzzle. Weather cannot explain the surge in homicides and shootings, since monthly temperatures in 2016 were close to their historical averages. City spending on social services and public education did not change much in 2016 compared to previous years, and while the state budget impasse disrupted funding for many community organizations, this did not seem to change sharply in December 2015.
Another form of police activity that declined in 2016 is street stops. Chicago police recorded over 80 percent fewer stops in January 2016 than they had in November 2015. This drop, from an average of over 50,000 stops per month in 2015 (through November) to approximately 10,000 stops per month starting in early 2016, began a few months before rates of gun violence in Chicago began to increase. What caused the decline is itself unclear.
Several frequently mentioned candidate explanations — the release of video footage showing the shooting by a CPD officer of teenager Laquan McDonald, announcement of a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation of CPD, implementation of an agreement between the City and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) concerning street stops, and a new state law regarding street stops—all happened essentially within a few weeks of each other in late 2015 and early 2016.