- Saliva testing evaluates the “free” (active) hormone levels. A hormone has to be unbound to elicit a physiologic action. Saliva testing looks at the active hormone inside the cell, at the site of action. Saliva testing has been validated as a testing method for measuring the hormones cortisol, estradiol, progesterone, DHEA, and testosterone to name a few.
- Saliva testing requires no needles.
- Saliva testing has been shown to be well validated and superior than blood, with sensitivities and specificities exceeding 100% and 97.4% respectively. Other than perfection, you can’t get much better than that.
- According to the National Institute for Health, saliva testing is useful in “detecting various cancers, heart disease, diabetes, periodontal disease…”
- Saliva testing is also useful in disease evaluation. Saliva testing of cortisol has been recommended as the first-line test for Cushing’s syndrome due to “high diagnostic accuracy.”
Testing hormones through saliva is backed by science. But don’t take my word for it. In fact, it’s well supported in medical literature and is the right thing to do. Below are links to several abstracts regarding salivary hormone testing. Read them for yourself and learn about the science behind this form of hormone testing.
- Belkien LD, Bordt J, Moller P, Hano R, Nieschlag E. Estradiol in saliva for monitoring follicular stimulation in an in vitro fertilization program. Fertil Steril 1985;44:322.
- Bolaji II, Tallon DF, O’Dwyer E, Fottrell PF. Assessment of bioavailability of oral micronized progesterone using a salivary progesterone enzymeimmunoassay. Gynecol Endocrinol 1993;7:101-110.
- Campbell BC, Ellison PT. Menstrual variation in salivary testosterone among regularly cycling women. Horm Res 1992;37:132-136.
- Aardal-Eriksson E, Karlberg BE, Holm AC. Salivary cortisol- and alternative to serum cortisol determinations in dynamic function tests. Clin Chem Lab Med 1998;36:215-222.
These articles are published in well-respected journals; and if you notice, they are not recent. Salivary testing of hormones has been well published in the medical literature for some time now.
Here are a few quotes from these studies:
- “…salivary cortisol may be used as an alternative parameter in dynamic endocrine tests.”
- “…assessment of ovarian function…can be performed precisely with the saliva estradiol assay.”
- “…saliva collection has provided the medical and research community with an excellent medium for the monitoring of plasma steroid levels.”
Nowhere else in medicine do we blindly treat people without assessing a baseline and post treatment level(s). Balance is the key; not one individual hormone. Unfortunately, the medical field is very slow to learn and change.
For more information about salivary testing, read Evaluating Hormones Requires More Than Just a Blood Test.
Recently on his daily television show, Dr. Oz discussed IV nutrition therapy. I was very disappointed when Dr. Oz questioned the validity, benefit, and safety of this invaluable therapy. He had a guest physician on his show to defend IV therapies, but his guest talked in generalizations with no specifics and no scientific data. Dr. Oz’s conclusion at the end of the show, and I will paraphrase, was: “I guess if the Hollywood celebrity types are doing it, there must be some benefit.”
Wow! Now that’s scientific (insert sarcasm). We live in day where we have instant access to data and scientific research, and that is his closing statement?
As physicians, we often forget that we are scientists. Our testing and therapies should be based on science, not opinion. Yet, neither Dr. Oz nor his guest presented any scientific data to support their statements in favor or opposition. So, allow me to do the job that Dr. Oz and his guest did not.
Intravenous nutritional therapy has been around since IV vitamin C was first used for treatment of polio in 1949. Is it something everyone needs? Of course not. Should everyone take insulin? You get my point.
At Seasons, we evaluate a client’s needs based on symptoms. The symptoms lead us to extensive metabolic testing to determine the specific presence and severity of deficiencies of amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, etc. Only then do we recommend IV nutritional therapies using the metabolic test results combined with the client’s symptoms. That is what medicine is all about – using the art and science of medicine for the patient’s benefit.
Another reason to use IV nutritional therapy is that for most Americans, our guts are a wreck (and that is putting it mildly). Absorption problems are a major concern for Americans. If you can’t absorb a vitamin or nutrient, it doesn’t matter how good the source or the dosage of therapy is, it just won’t be absorbed. If you are dealing with severe deficiencies, then you’ll never catch up.
How about an analogy to paint a clearer picture? A patient seeks help from a physician for severe dehydration. The patient just can’t keep anything down. Is the physician going to give the patient a pat on the back, tell them to just drink more water, and send them on their way? Of course not. The physician knows that the patient cannot tolerate oral therapy at that point. The deficiency is severe. The physician knows that he/she must catch the patient up, and then instruct the client to drink more water. And how does the physician “catch” the patient up? Well, IVs of course.
Does Dr. Oz question the safety, validity, and benefits of this therapy? Of course not. That is because it is standard practice. Standard practice is defined as: whatever everyone else is doing. I remember my mom often asking me, So…if everyone else jumps of a cliff, are you going to do that too?
And the testing to determine dehydration? Very limited. Usually, a urinalysis, complete blood count test (CBC), maybe a general chemistry, and of course a physical exam. From experience and training, I can tell you that the IV fluids are started based on the physical exam, before the test results get back. That is not how we approach IV nutritional therapy at Seasons. Dr Oz gave the impression that people just walk into a Doctor’s office to order IVs as one would a hamburger at a fast food drive-through. We customize therapy to specific needs and match it with their specific metabolic demand.
So, what does the science say about IV nutritional therapy? The science is overwhelmingly in favor of IV nutritional therapy.
The research below looks at surgical patients. It is well known that poor nutritional status of the patient undergoing surgery effects outcome. These studies showed that IV nutritional therapy improved outcomes. This is not total peripheral nutrition (TPN). TPN is therapy to replace all nutrition. Intravenous nutritional therapy is just to replace vitamins, minerals, and maybe some targeted macronutrients.
- Bellantone R, Doglietto G, Bossola M, Pacelli F, Negro F, Sofo L, Crucitti F. Preoperative parenteral nutrition of malnourished surgical patients. Acta Chir Scand. Apr 1988;154(4):249-51.
- Rham D. A guide to perioperative nutrition. Aesthetic Surgery Journal. July-August 2004;24)4):385-390.
- Xu J. Yunshi Z, Li R. Immunonutrition in Surgical Patients. Current Drug Targets. Aug 2009;10(8):771-777.
- Beier-Holgersen R, Boesby S. Influence of postoperative enteral nutrition on postsurgical infections. Gut. 1996;39:833-835.
So, what about the other benefits of IV nutritional therapy?
- Wolk RA, Rayburn WF. Parenteral nutrition in obstetric patients. Nutr Clin Pract. Aug 1990;5(4):139-52.
- Rayburn W, Wolk R, Mercer N, Roberts J. Parenteral nutrition in obstetrics and gynecology. Obstet Gynecol Surv. Apr 1986;41(4):200-14.
- Russo-Stieglitz KE, Levine AB, Wagner BA, Armenti VT. Pregnancy outcome in patients requiring parenteral nutrition. J Maternal Fetal Med. 199;8:164-7.
- Zibell-Frisk, Jen KL, Rick J. Use of parenteral Nutrition to maintain adequate nutritional status in hyperemesis gravidarum. J Perinatol. 1990;10:390-5.
First trimester miscarriage
- Acacio B et al. Pregnancy outcome after intralipid infusion among women experiencing recurrent pregnancy loss. Fertility & Sterility. Apr 2008;89(4):S11.
- Roussev RG et al. Duration of intralipid’s suppressive effect on NK cell’s functional activity. Am J Reprod Immunol. Sep 2008;60(3):258-63.
- Klenner FR. Massive doses of vitamin C and the virus diseases. J So Med & Surg. April 1951;113(4).
- Schencking M, Vollbracht C, Weiss G, Lebert J, Biller A, Goyvaerts B, Kraft K. Intravenous vitamin C in the treatment of shingles: results of a multicenter prospective cohort study. Med Sci Monit. Apr 2012;18(4):CR215-24.
- Gorton HC, Jarvis K. The effectiveness of vitamin C in preventing and relieving the symptoms of virus-induced respiratory infections. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. Oct 1999;22(8):530-3.
- Tanaka H, Takayoshi M et al. Reduction of resuscitation fluid volumes in severely burned patients using ascorbic acid administration. Arch Surg 2000;135.326-331.
- Crimi E et al. The beneficial effects of antioxidant supplementation in enteral feeding in critically ill patients: a prospective, randomized, double, blind, placebo- controlled trial. A & A. Sept 2004;99(3):857-863.
- Dentico P et al. Glutathione in the treatment of chronic fatty liver disease. Recnti Prog Med. Jul-Aug 1995;86(7):7-8):290-3.
- Smith SW, Howland MA, Hoffman RS, Nelson LS. Acetaminophen overdose with altered acetaminophen pharmacokinetics and hepatotoxicity associated with premature cessation of intravenous N-acetylcysteine therapy. Ann Pharmacother. Sep 2008;42(9):1333-1339.
- Mitchell JR et al. Acetaminophen-induced hepatic necrosis. IV protective role of glutathione. JPET. Oct 1973;187(1):211-217.
- Chen JY, Chu CC, So EC, Hsing CH, Hu ML. Treatment of postherpectic neuralgia with intravenous administration of vitamin C. Anesth Analg. 2006;103:1616-1617.
- Schencking M, Sandholzer H, Frese T. Intravenous administration of vitamin C in the treatment of herpetic neuralgia: two case reports. Med Sci Monit. 2010;16:58-61.
- Chen JY, Chang CY, Feng PH, Chu CC, So EC, Hu ML. Plasma vitamin C is lower in postherpetic neuralgia patients and administration of vitamin C reduces spontaneous pain but not brush-evoked pain. Clin J Pain. Sep 2009;25(7):562-9.
- Riordan HD et al. A pilot clinical study of continuous intravenous ascorbate in terminal cancer patients. P R Health Sci J. Dec 2005;24(4):269-76.
- Mikirova N, Casciari J, Rogers A, Taylor P. Effect of high-dose intravenous vitamin C on inflammation in cancer patients
- Ohno S, Ohno Y, Suzuki N, Soma G, Inouse M. High-dose vitamin C (ascorbic acid) therapy in the treatment of patients with advanced cancer. Anticancer Research. Mar 2009;29(3):809-815.
- Chen Q et al. Pharmacologic ascorbic acid concentrations selectively kill cancer cells: Action as a pro-drug to deliver hydrogen peroxide to tissues. PNAS. Sept 20 2005;102(38):13604-13609.
- Juraschek SP, Guallar E, Appel LJ, Miller ER III. Effects of vitamin C supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr. May 2012;95(5):1079-1088.
- Schneider MP et al. Superoxide scavenging effects of N-actylcysteine and vitamin C in subjects with essential hypertension. Am J Hypertens. 2005;18:1111-1117.
- Mikirova N, Rogers A, Casciari J, Taylor P, Effect of high dose intravenous ascorbic acid on the level of inflammation in patients with rheumatoid. Modern Research in Inflammation. 2012;1(2):26-32.
- Sechi G et al. Reduced intravenous glutathione in the treatment of early parkinson’s disease. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry. Oct 1996;20(7):1159-1170.
- Hauser RA, Lyons KE, McClain T, Carter S, Perlmutter D. Randomized, double- blind, pilot evaluation of intravenous glutathione in Parkinson’s disease. Mov Disord. May 15 2009;24(7):979-83.
- Kuwabara S et al. Intravenous methylcobalamin treatment for uremic and diabetic neuropathy in chronic hemodialysis patients. Intern Med. Jun 1999;38(6):472-5.
- Ziegler D et al. Alpha-lipoic acid in the treatment of diabetic polyneuropathy in Germany: current evidence from clinical trials. Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes. 1999;107(7):421-30.
As you can see, the benefits of IV nutritional therapy are abound. That is not my opinion, but scientific fact.
How safe is IV nutritional therapy? The studies below showed the safety of IV nutritional therapies in all states of health, including pregnancy.
- Greenspoon JS, Rosen DJ, Ault M. Use of peripherally inserted central catheter for parenteral nutrition during pregnancy. Obstet Gynecol. May 1993;81(f (Pt2)):831-4.
- Valencia E, Hardy G. Practicalities of glutathione supplementation in nutritional support. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care. May 2002;5(3): 321-326.
- Padayatty SJ et al. Vitamin C: Intravenous use by complementary and alternative medicine practitioners and adverse effects. PLos ONE 5(7):e11414.
Just because Dr. Oz (the great and powerful, Dr. Oz) says it is so doesn’t make it so. I hope I’ve helped pull back the curtain and expose the real science supporting IV nutritional therapy.
The Romantic Gift: Looking to add some spice to your (ehem) love life?
Try Sprayology’s Man Power and Woman Power from their Rejuvenation line. The rejuvenation sprays replenish the body’s supply of energy to relieve the symptoms of aging, helping you function at a more youthful level. All seven formulas in this collection are FDA-Regulated and help with age-related issues such as low energy, sex drive, menopause, weight loss and bone density.
Man Power ($32) is recommended for men who want to gain strength, improve mood
and increase their sexual desire naturally. Man Power temporarily relieves the symptoms of low male energy including: decreased sexual desire and vitality, muscular weakness, irritability, and “the blues.”
Woman Power ($32) is recommended for women who want to rejuvenate their body and increase their sexual desire and pleasure naturally. Woman Power relieves the symptoms of low female energy, including decreased sexual desire, low physical energy, irritability and “the blues.”
Sprayology marries science and time-honored natural medicine with convenience and innovation to enhance healing and well-being naturally. Sprayology redefines wellness and makes it easy to incorporate natural products into your daily life for better health naturally.
The Gift of Relaxation: Swedish Relaxation Massage. Relax and enjoy a complete mind, body, and soul treatment with the benefits of a massage therapy. Smooth, flowing massage using firm but gentle pressure and the techniques of long strokes, kneading, percussion, compression, vibration and friction. Eases muscle aches and tension, improves flexibility, promotes circulation, and enhances relaxation.
The Beautiful Gift: Organic Passion Fruit Facial. A papaya, pineapple, pumpkin and mango infused blend of organic and medically effective ingredients designed to rebalance tired, stressed and dull looking skin. This non-chemical peel naturally rebalances, regenerates, restores and soothes your skin with organic ingredients. This facial is recommended as a course of three treatments or as a maintenance treatment every month. Relax and restore your skin and wellness.
The Waterworks Gift: Expectant Mother Massage. This gift is guaranteed to make her cry the happy tears. Now, the hormones might have something to do with it, too, but we know she will love that you thought of her during this special time. The soothing essence of massage allows expectant mothers to feel serene, healthy, and comforted while helping to relieve common ailments of pregnancy. Expectant mother massage addresses the issues and needs associated with this special time. Very relaxing for mother and babies love it, too!
My pre-60th birthday journey to improve my previous test results from Seasons of Farragut continues! This month I decided to focus on the first tenet in our Seasons wellness regimen – nutrition!
About two years ago I took the ALCAT test and was astonished at my lengthy list of reactive foods! The ALCAT is a fascinating food sensitivity test in which white blood cells are introduced to a variety of foods, chemicals, and herbs. The severity of the reaction determines if a substance is mild, moderate, severe, or normal within my body. Since knowledge is power, I decided to receive the news that gluten and dairy were on my “severe list” as a positive indicator rather than “buyers’ remorse” for having performed the test!
Lyn-Genet Recitas has written a book, The Plan, which explains how inflammation from food intolerance can cause symptoms such as joint pain, skin disorders, fatigue, weight issues, headaches, and digestive disorders. Whereas a food allergy can have almost an immediate effect, a food sensitivity may not show up for several hours to 3 days later. For weight gain, it’s not as much about the calories as the chemistry of the body. One person may benefit from last night’s salmon and broccoli but someone else may actually gain 2 pounds. Inflammation from food intolerance causes damage to the lining of the gut. As the lining becomes “leaky” with gaps present, foods begin to slip through not completely digested. This causes the body to attack undigested foods.
As we age, inflammation can increase which causes our systems to slow down. Many of us have much less stomach acid and digestive enzymes to break down food. This can ultimately alter our weight and our health. Reactive foods cause our bodies to produce more histamine which causes water retention via dilated capillaries. The brain responds by increasing the production of Cortisol. As more Cortisol is produced, fewer sex hormones are produced since both sets of hormones depend on the same building blocks. Increased Cortisol causes an increase in glucose which causes an increase in blood sugar! This domino effect alters the good bacteria in the gut and can increase yeast production. The altered gut flora leads to a weakened immune response since about 70% of our immune system is in the gut.
The thyroid gland can also be affected by food intolerances. White blood cells that attack undigested foods may migrate to the thyroid gland and begin to attack it. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disorder of the thyroid gland. This is determined by a blood test that measures the number of specific antibodies against the thyroid gland. As I began to avoid gluten, my own antibody level began to decrease. I was able to decrease my thyroid replacement dosage. This month, I repeated my ALCAT test and found that many of my food intolerances had improved. Not only had I attempted to avoid specific foods, but I also worked intentionally on healing my GI tract. I take a powerful probiotic daily as well as a digestive enzyme with my dinner. For one month of each season, I take a protein shake that is loaded with L-Glutamine. This amazing amino acid helps to heal the leaky gut. It is packed with anti-inflammatories and herbs to help my liver and GI tract detox.
Two years ago, I had about a dozen foods on my severe list. This year, I only have one – apples! So, I’m going to give them up for the next 6 months. My moderate reactive list contains 18 foods which I will have to have great discipline to avoid. These are healthy foods but for me, can cause hidden inflammation. Gluten now causes moderate reactions in my body. I have noticed that when I indulge in gluten, the next morning, my joints ache and my stomach hurts. I doubt if I will ever reintroduce gluten. Dairy is moderate also. Fortunately there are lots of great choices for me and I look forward to continual healing of my GI tract. Our Nutritional Consultant, Carolyn will keep me focused on this life-long journey of wellness. Be sure to check out her amazing recipes on our website!
Long term benefits with this specialized nutritional therapy will keep inflammation down and hopefully help me avoid chronic disease as well as weight gain. If you would like more information regarding the ALCAT test, call Seasons today. Let’s age intentionally with nutrition being our number one “medicine!”
Top 5 Reasons for NOT Buying Supplements at Discount Stores: Pharmaceutical-Grade Supplements Explained
Over 75 percent of the world’s population takes some kind of supplement daily. I am a huge advocate of supplements. Everybody should be taking, at the very least, a multi-vitamin. We just don’t get the same nutritional value from our foods that our parents and their parents did.
But will any source do? The quality of most over-the-counter (OTC) supplements just won’t cut it. The old adage “You get what you pay for” still rings true. If it costs $5 for a month’s supply of a particular vitamin, you are getting the quality of that $5, which is not much. So why pay $40 for that same vitamin because it is labeled “pharmaceutical grade?” Let me explain.
As stated by Health*Edge Sciences, there are three grades of raw materials in the U.S.:
- Pharmaceutical Grade
- Food Grade
- Feed Grade
Pharmaceutical grade is defined as greater than 99% purity without binders, fillers, dyes, or other substances. Food grade means it safe for human consumption. And feed grade implies it is safe for animal consumption (which usually ends up as human consumptions…but that is an article for another day). And can the FDA monitor all these supplements in the Unites States? Of course not. It is beyond their scope and ability.
Let’s make break down pharmaceutical grade into a more applicable definition.
Many supplements will only contain 10% of the raw material and 90% of other fillers.
Lack of purity or contamination has been a long-standing problem. From news reports, you might already know that Mercury-contaminated fish had been used in many Omega-3 supplements. That’s not the case with pharmaceutical grade supplements as they commonly exceed the definition of “pharmaceutical grade.” For example, Nordic Naturals exceeds both the Norwegian Medicinal and European Pharmacopoeia standards.
How about globally? According to ConsumerLab in 2002, 5-10% of all supplements were contaminated with lead. Lead in any level is toxic to the body. To have any contamination of such toxic substances as Lead and Mercury is simply unacceptable. Lead and Mercury are listed #2 and #3 respectively, in the 2007 Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry‘s toxicity rankings.
All supplements and prescriptions have fillers in them. These fillers are needed, but they can cause many problems with the supplement. First, they can actually inhibit the absorption of the product, leaving the products completely useless. Second, the filler can be toxic to the body. Third, the filler can be a common allergen.
4. Active Form
The key to a good vitamin is not just if the vitamin/supplement is absorbable, but is it absorbable in the active form. Why is this important? One example is the energy required to convert from an inactive to active form. Many of the clients that we see at Seasons struggle with energy production, ATP. The conversion of inactive to active requires enzymes, which requires energy. We conserve energy by giving the supplements in the active form when at all possible.
The most common prescribed vitamin B12 on the market is cyanocobalamine. The body makes cyanide as a by-product of the break down of cyanocobalamine. Obviously, we want to avoid the introduction of any potentially toxic substance to the body. At Seasons, we choose to give the active form of Vitamin B12, methyl-cobalamine, to avoid this toxic by-product. There is no reason to give the inactive form of Vitamin B12.
5. Third Party Testing
A good test of any product, is not what you say about it, but what third parties say. This is one of the big benefits of pharmaceutical grade supplements. They will be tested by third party companies to assure quality, potency, and absence of contamination. Of course, there are some “pharmaceutical grade” companies that don’t follow these standards, and this is the reason to work with your Integrative Medicine physician to ensure that your supplements are of the highest quality.
It is a Thriller night. “Darkness falls across the land, the midnight hour is close at hand…”
It seems everywhere you turn, there are zombies on the move. There are zombie TV commercials, zombie games, zombie novels (the best I have read, by the way, is an unpublished zombie book written by my brother), and even dancing zombies. Michael Jackson showed us how well zombies can dance – better than myself, I might add.
But, of course, zombies are not a part of reality. Who really believes a soul-less human exists, a living body moving about but devoid of the qualities such as a conscience that make us human? Zombies just live in the world of fiction, right? Or do they?
I think, perhaps, the zombies we encounter today are different than those of Hollywood. Maybe zombies don’t roam earth terrorizing whole cities, but there are many who have become emotionless and mindless individuals, none the less. These zombies are just a product of the current medical paradigm, a point of view that works for the disease model of medicine but fails in a health-and-wellness model.
A recent analysis by Medco Health Solutions, Inc. revealed that 1 in 5 Americans take prescription medications commonly used to treat psychiatric and mood disorders. That statistic is even worse for women. One in 4 women take the same prescribed medications. The majority of those mood-altering medications are anti-depressants, with 20 percent of American women on some type of anti-depressant. According to the CDC, the use of anti-depressants has increased 400 percent over the last two decades, with the fastest-growing age group being middle-aged women. The question we need to ask is this: do 20 percent of American women need antidepressant therapy?
Even the bravest among us, our military, are not immune to this trend. The Army’s 5th Mental Health Advisory Team revealed that 12 percent of combat troops in Iraq and 17 percent of combat troops in Afghanistan are on prescription anti-depressants and sleeping pills.
As bad as the numbers appear for psychiatric medications, prescribed painkillers are the fastest growing addiction today. According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the abuse of painkillers increased by 400 percent from 1998 to 2008. Prescription opiate abuse results in 13,000 deaths per year. In Toronto, oxycodone prescriptions increased by over 850 percent from 1991 to 2004. In the same time period, there was a 500 percent increase in deaths due to oxycodone. Prescription drugs account for an estimated 38,000 deaths annually. These numbers are staggering.
Don’t get me wrong. The purpose of this post is not to bash the use of these types of prescription medications. I am, however, strongly opposed to their misuse and abuse. For many people, these medications can and do change their lives. However, should that number be 20 to 25 percent of the population?
I advocate solution-based healthcare as opposed to band-aid based healthcare. I use the zombie analogy to make a point. Is our current status quo of healthcare in this country creating a legion of zombies? And what if there are alternatives, which I know there are, to treating the underlying issues which produce the symptoms these drugs are intended to minimize or alleviate? Don’t mask the problem. Solve the problem.
In my medical practice, which focuses on an integrative approach to medicine combining the latest advances in medicine with the most natural approach possible, I see patients daily who suffer from the list of symptoms these medications (particularly anti-depressants) are typically prescribed for. With proper testing and analysis of the results, we are able to treat these patients with pharmaceutical-grade vitamin supplements and reverse and/or eliminate their symptoms, returning them to a state of wellness. Wouldn’t it make sense to utilize that approach instead? According to the U.S. Poison Control Center annual analysis, no deaths have occurred from the use of vitamin supplements over a 27-year time period. Compare that to over 3 million deaths occurring from prescription drug use during the same time period (1983-2009).
While it’s the time of the year that zombies and scary things capture our attention, let’s not forget that zombies really do exist and that number is growing fast. With middle-aged adults being the fastest growing age group of users of anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, and sleeping pills, the age of zombies is just beginning. I can only hope that more people will seek alternatives and look for solutions to the symptoms beyond prescription medication. We can solve these problems without simply masking symptoms.
Yes, Virginia, there are zombies about.
You’ve no doubt heard the old saying “You are what you eat.” Well, recent medical research has highlighted links between diet and improved mental functioning, raising the distinct possibility that, in fact, “You think what you eat.”
That could be encouraging news for youngsters diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), seniors struggling with the onset of dementia and anyone who desires to think more clearly and focus for longer periods of time.
Lots of foods are rich in the vitamins and other nutrients that can boost cognitive functioning, some which are well-known and others that are less-familiar. Among them:
Blueberries: Regular blueberry consumption has been shown to improve memory function. Blueberries are rich in antioxidants, which aid in preventing damage caused by free radicals. And the good news doesn’t stop there. Research has also found that these little blue jewels can reverse age-related diminishment in coordination, balance and motor function.
Broccoli: According to the authors of “365 Ways to Boost Your Brain Power,” broccoli – or, more specifically, broccoli sprouts – is a super food that has been linked to staving off the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Flax seeds: Flax seeds are packed with alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a fatty acid considered beneficial in combatting a range of health conditions, including heart disease, cancer and high cholesterol. Some evidence also suggests benefits for the brain’s cerebral cortex, where sensory information is processed.
Salmon: Rich in omega-3 fatty acid, salmon promotes the growth of brain tissue, helping counter the effects of Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related cognitive disorders.
Chocolate: For those with a sweet-tooth, perhaps the most exciting news to come out of medical research in some time is that eating chocolate can sharpen cognitive ability. Yes, chocolate! And both dark and milk chocolate have benefits. Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants and can improve mental focus and concentration; milk chocolate is believed to improve memory and reaction time. (So, have your doctor write you a prescription for a 30-day supply of Hershey’s bars immediately!)
Foods to Avoid
If, after adding some of these super foods to your diet, you haven’t experienced the benefits you were hoping for then it’s time to consider taking certain foods out of your diet. Many people are unaware that they have food intolerances that can have a negative effect on cognitive functioning.
For example, some people may experience a turnaround after removing wheat and gluten from their diets. For others, yeast, dairy products, soy or corn may be the culprit. If you think you may have an intolerance to any of these foods, cut it out of your diet for a few weeks and see whether your ability to focus improves. (Food Sensitivity Testing is also available for a more in depth screening of reactions to over 300 foods, chemicals and other substances associated with inflammation that are linked to chronic health problems.)
Your brain is full of potential, but in order to reach that potential you need to treat your brain to a healthful buffet. Start by adding some of these super foods to your diet and getting rid of any foods that may be causing you more harm than good.