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New Study Shows The Science of How Psychedelic Drugs Repair Neurons In The Brain

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    New research shows how psychedelic drugs help to create structural changes in the brain — commonly referred to as neuroplasticity.

  • Reflect On:

    What is it about these altered states that cause such profound changes in the brain within such a short window of time?

In recent years, many psychedelic drugs, such as LSD, DMT, and psilocybin (magic mushrooms) have been able to shake off some of their stigma and bad reputation as scientists have discovered their promising results for the treatment of a variety of mental health disorders. Even ketamine, a common tranquillizer, often used as a party drug has been found to be able to treat cases of treatment-resistant depression, with the effects lasting long after the treatment has ended. Obviously, there would be protocols and dosages to follow that a health professional within the field would know about, this doesn’t mean we should start ingesting psychedelic drugs at will.

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New research has been able to show that the way that psychedelics repair the brain is similar to how ketamine can repair the brain. This could signify the beginning of a class of fast-acting drugs to treat a wide array of mental health disorders from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and addiction. A paper which was recently published in the journal Cell Reports noted how a team of researchers showed evidence that psychedelic drugs can induce structural changes in nerve cells, this is also known as neuroplasticity, this could help repair brain dysfunction and aid those suffering from mood and anxiety disorders.

“Psychedelics are some of the most powerful compounds known to impact brain function so I was very interested to know what their mechanisms of action are,” David Olson, Ph.D., an assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular medicine at UC Davis and the corresponding author on the study, tells Inverse.

This paper merely adds to a large growing body of psychedelic neuroscience research by showing some of the direct changes in the brain while under the influence of psychedelic substances.

The Study

Experiments were conducted on cultured rat neurons as well as on the brains of fruit flies and rats. Olson and his colleagues were able to find that LSD, DMT, and DOI actually increased the number of dendrites (branches) in nerve cells, increased the density of dendritic spines and increased the number of synapses, which are the functional connection between neurons. These findings certainly suggest that psychedelics absolutely do induce structural changes to the brain, which is why Olson believes they are so effective at treating mental illness.

“The structure of neurons affects their function, and in the case of a lot of neuropsychiatric diseases, particularly mood and anxiety disorders, these are characterized by an atrophy of neurons in the prefrontal cortex, a key brain region that regulates emotion, fear, and reward,” says Olson. “So if we can find compounds that promote the growth of those neurons we might be able to repair the circuits are damaged in those diseases.”

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The prefrontal cortex helps control the other areas of the brain that are involved in fear, anxiety, and reward. This is a critical region for the treatment of depression, PTSD and substance abuse disorders.

Olson and the co-authors of this study aren’t only interested in using psychedelics to treat patients. They want to be able to use psychedelic compounds as tools to dig deeper into the biochemical signalling pathways that lead to the neuroplasticity observed in this study. Being able to identify the specific ways in which psychedelic substances act on the nervous system, Olson and his colleagues hope to be able to develop a new generation of drugs that can emulate the same, long-lasting effects of ketamine and other psychedelic substances, but without the potential for abuse or other challenging experiences.

“That’s the ultimate goal: to use psychedelics as inspiration for better medicine,” Olson says.

Holistic Healing

There are intentions to treat people using the same processes that the psychedelic substances use, but without the psychedelic effects, but, if these substances already work, wouldn’t it be better to just learn how to work with them and navigate the experiences? One might be worried about a ‘bad trip’ on something like psilocybin, the active component in magic mushrooms, but research has shown that Having A Bad Trip On Shrooms an Actually Improve Your Well-Being. Perhaps, rather than just the substance itself that is providing the healing of the brain, it is the experiences that come along with the psychedelic experience and having to look at your life fro man objective point of view and face any darkness that comes along with it.

This is just one glimpse of the neuronal changes induced by psychedelic substances, more research will still need to be done to find out the long-term effects on brain function.

“Plasticity is not universally a good thing. We were hoping to induce plasticity in the prefrontal cortex, which can be potentially useful for treating mood and anxiety disorders, but promoting plasticity in other parts of the brain, like the amygdala can induce anxiety,” says Olson. “It’s very unclear what the risks are right now.”

Regardless, this research is promising and we are seeing more and more research in this realm emerge, especially with the work of the people at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS.) Who recently spearheaded the movement to get MDMA assisted psychotherapy an approved treatment method by the FDA for those struggling with PTSD. These times are changing.

CE Podcast

Joe Martino, Founder of CE recently did a podcast on psychedelics, and you can find that linked in the article he wrote below:

Why Psychedelics Are Not A Shortcut To Enlightenment

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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Awareness

Organic Certification: What the USDA Organic Label Means

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Organic and natural labels mean different things, and various types of labels tells you what percentage of ingredients are actually organic. We'll explore what to look for.

  • Reflect On:

    Do you sometimes buy products thinking they are organic or fully natural based on their wording? Have you later found out that those products aren't natural or organic at all? Read labels more closely at grocery stores to be aware.

Don’t get conned by fraudulent claims of “natural” or “organic.” Learn what to look for, and why it’s important, to ensure you’re getting the quality you are paying for.

The industrial age of the 20th century brought about changing agricultural practices that have generated increasing alarm about the effects of these practices on the environment and health. The use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, irradiated and genetically altered food and fiber products has created a groundswell of rightful concern. It has led to the growing demand for non-toxic, organic products that many are willing to pay a higher price for to ensure the healthful purity of food and clothing provided for their families.

With such profit opportunities, it’s little wonder that the lucrative organic product market has suffered abuse with so-called “organic” labels being fraudulently placed on products that have not earned the right. As a result of pressure from farming and consumer groups, legislation for the standardization of organic certification was introduced in the 1980s. It has been updated to include more vigorous enforcement and control methods since, with the current standards established in 2002 by the USDA.

The Standards of USDA Organic Certification

Specific standards must be met in order to legally claim a product as USDA certified organic. Organic producers must utilize methods that conserve water, maximize soil health, and reduce air pollution. The specific standards to earn USDA organic certification include:

Free of synthetic chemicals such as insecticides, herbicides, fertilizers, hormones, antibiotics, and additives

Free from irradiation and genetically modified organisms

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Agricultural products grown on land that has been free of prohibited substances for a period of three years

Animals used for meat, eggs, milk or other animal products must be exclusively fed foods that are organically grown, may not be given antibiotics or hormones, and must have access to outdoors.

Clean and sanitized harvesting and processing equipment throughout the process from harvest to finished, packaged product

Detailed chain-of-handling records from the field through final sales

Physical separation of certified organic products from non-organic products throughout the process of production

Regular on-site inspections from USDA-approved inspectors to ensure compliance

Understanding the Certified Organic Label

Once the rigorous process of certification has been completed, organic producers may place the USDA certified organic seal on their products. Currently, there are four levels of certified organic products, with a specific definition of the percentage of organic ingredients the final products contains. They are as follows:

• 100% organic: all production methods and ingredients are USDA certified organic.

• Organic: at least 95% of the production methods and ingredients are USDA certified organic with remaining ingredients included on the National List of allowed ingredients.

• Made With Organic Ingredients: at least 70% of the ingredients are USDA certified organic with remaining ingredients included on the National List of allowed ingredients.

• No organic wording or seal: less than 70% of the ingredients are USDA certified organic and no claims may be made on the front or back of the product.

Manufacturers or producers who knowingly label a product “organic” when it does not meet the USDA standards are subject to fines up to $11,000 per violation.

Why Organic Certification is Important

When you see the official USDA organic certification seal on food, clothing, and bedding products, you can be assured that these products have met the meticulous standards required and are free of chemicals, toxins, antibiotics, and hormones. When you see the USDA certified organic label, you will understand the value of the higher priced organic products as compared to non-organically produced products.

With the current stringent organic certification requirements enforced by regular inspections from USDA accredited agents, the USDA certified organic label has great meaning and importance to the consumer. Look for the label to know that you are getting the quality you are paying for.

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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Awareness

WHO Finds Global Lack Of Inactivity Rising Especially In Wealthier Countries — What You Can Do

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Inactivity is on the rise and it's the cause of a wide range of health concerns. Our population is only becoming more inactive, not less, and it's time to change that.

  • Reflect On:

    There are many factors of our modern world that make us less active. Our jobs, driving rather than walking/biking, too much screen time. What can you do differently to bring more activity into your life? What story stops you from starting?

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than a quarter of the entire population on this planet are not getting enough physical exercise, this number has barely improved since 2001. There are many factors that contribute to this, but just how much damage are we doing by failing to be active?

The lack of physical exercise raises the risk of many health problems, such as heart disease, type-2 diabetes and various types of cancers.

Interestingly, according to their study published in The Lancet Global Health, higher income countries, such as the UK, were among the least active population. Women were also found to be more sedentary throughout the world, excluding two regions in Asia.

The study looked at self-reported data on activity levels from 358 population based surveys covering 168 countries and included 1.9 million people.

The populations of higher income countries, which include the UK and USA showed an increase in the proportion of inactive people and had actually risen from 32% in 2001 to 37% in 2016, in the lower income countries it remained at 16%.

Those who were classified as inactive did less than 150 minutes of moderate exercise and around 75 minutes of intense activity per week.

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It was found that women were less active than men overall, except for in South and Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and higher-income Western countries. The authors believe that this was caused by a few different factors including extra childcare duties and cultural perspectives that may have made it more difficult for them to exercise.

Why More Inactivity In Wealthier Countries?

According to the researchers, in the wealthier countries, many of the jobs have transitioned to more office or desk jobs, meaning a more sedentary type of lifestyle. On top of that much of the population of these countries drive automobiles or take public transit to and from work which in many cases accounts for a lot of their time.

In the lower income countries, many of the jobs require the people to be more active, are physically demanding and people often have to walk to and from their jobs.

The WHO has had a goal to reduce the global levels of inactivity by 10% by 2025, the authors of the study feel that at the rate we are currently going, this target will be missed.

Lead author of the study, Dr. Regina Guthold said, “Unlike other major global health risks, levels of insufficient physical activity are not falling worldwide, on average, and over a quarter of all adults are not reaching the recommended levels of physical activity for good health.”

Regions with increasing levels of insufficient physical activity are a major concern for public health and the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases.”

Co-author, Dr. Fiona Bull added, “Addressing these inequalities in physical activity levels between men and women will be critical to achieving global activity targets and will require interventions to promote and improve women’s access to opportunities that are safe, affordable and culturally acceptable.”

According to the WHO,

Exercise guidelines for 19- to 64-year-olds

How much?

  • at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity every week
  • strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles
  • break up long periods of sitting with light activity

What is moderate aerobic activity?

  • Walking fast, water aerobics, riding a bike on level ground or with a few hills, doubles tennis, pushing a lawn mower, hiking, skateboarding, rollerblading, volleyball, basketball

What counts as vigorous activity?

  • Jogging or running, swimming fast, riding a bike fast or on hills, singles tennis, football, rugby, skipping rope, hockey, aerobics, gymnastics, martial arts

What activities strengthen muscles?

  • lifting weights, working with resistance bands, doing exercises that use your own body weight, such as push-ups and sit-ups, heavy gardening, such as digging and shovelling, yoga

What activities are both aerobic and muscle-strengthening?

  • circuit training, aerobics, running, football, rugby, netball, hockey

Final Thoughts

I was surprised to see that the WHO didn’t touch on inactivity due to too much screen time — watching television, Netflix, Facebook scrolling, messaging, texting, browsing etc. Certainly, the increase in screen time plays a roll with the amount of inactivity, especially in the higher income countries. If you are someone who spends too much time staring at a screen, then it is important to consider the above information. Can you limit your screen time and replace it with something active? Or would you consider jumping rope, or rebounding while watching the television? Our health is our greatest wealth and having awareness about an issue is the first way to create change and take responsibility for our lives.

Could you walk or bike to work instead of drive? What about trying a new sport? Could you commit to adding a few hours each week of physical activity? These small decisions could have a profound impact on your health, longevity and overall well-being.

Much Love

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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Awareness

List Of Products & Brands That Tested Positive For Monsanto’s Glyphosate

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Glyphosate is a carcinogenic chemical that can be found in an alarming number of food products. Traces have even been found in companies that employ the "Organic" label.

  • Reflect On:

    Think about what you buy and consume. By voting with your dollar and opting out of foods that contain this chemical, you are telling Monsanto you don't want it. The power lies in the hands of each and every one of us.

Finally, the corporate giant Monsanto, an organization that has hailed itself as the answer to global food shortages and is “working to help farmers grow food more sustainably” has been outed and is currently facing backlash after a near $300 million lawsuit was settled proving that glyphosate, the active ingredient in the roundup herbicide, causes cancer. The company was found guilty of malice and covering up the fact that their most popular product does indeed cause cancer.

On their website, it still states that “Glyphosate has a 40-year history of safe and effective use. In evaluations spanning those four decades, the overwhelming conclusion of experts worldwide, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has been that glyphosate can be used safely.” Seems they are still in denial, despite the lawsuit.

This is great news, however, as this story was too big to be kept from the mainstream. Many are starting to wake up to the fact that Monsanto isn’t as safe of a company as they would like you to believe. Despite years of mounting evidence that glyphosate is carcinogenic, Monsanto has been able to deny the fact, stating that no products contain a high enough level to pose a risk, failing to acknowledge the cumulative effect within the body.

Americans have applied 1.8 million tons of glyphosate since its introduction in 1974. Worldwide, 9.4 million tons of the chemical have been sprayed onto fields. For comparison, that’s equivalent to the weight of water in more than 2,300 Olympic-size swimming pools. It’s also enough to spray nearly half a pound of Roundup on every cultivated acre of land in the world.” ~Newsweek

Which Foods Have Glyphosate?

The issue is, it can be difficult to know exactly which products are genetically modified, and thus are likely to contain Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide or some form of glyphosate. In the past, a safe bet was to be sure to purchase only organic products; however in recent years even certain brands of organic foods have been compromised as glyphosate has been found in some of these as well. Thanks to WakingTimes for providing this list of foods containing glyphosate:

  • Original Cheerios
  • Honey Nut Cheerios
  • Wheaties
  • Trix
  • Annie’s Gluten Free Bunny Cookies Cocoa & Vanilla
  • Kellog’s Corn Flakes
  • Kellog’s Raisin Bran
  • Kashi Organic Promise
  • Kellog’s Special K
  • Kellog’s Frosted Flakes
  • Cheez-It Original
  • Cheez-It Whole Grain
  • Kashi Soft Bake Cookies, Oatmeal, Dark Chocolate
  • Ritz Crackers
  • Triscuit Crackers
  • Oreo Original
  • Oreo Double Stuf Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
  • Oreo Double Stuf Golden Sandwich Cookies
  • Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips (Frito-Lay)
  • Lay’s: Kettle Cooked Original
  • Doritos: Cool Ranch
  • Fritos (Original) (100% Whole Grain)
  • Goldfish crackers original (Pepperidge Farm)
  • Goldfish crackers colors
  • Goldfish crackers Whole Grain
  • Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies
  • Oatmeal Cookies Gluten Free
  • 365 Organic Golden Round Crackers
  • Back to Nature Crispy Cheddar Crackers
  • Breakfast Cereals as Tested by the Environmental Working Group (2018)
    • Granola
      • Nature’s Path Organic Honey Almond granola
      • Back to Nature Classic Granola
      • Quaker Simply Granola Oats, Honey, Raisins & Almonds
      • Back to Nature Banana Walnut Granola Clusters
      • Nature Valley Granola Protein Oats ‘n Honey
      • KIND Vanilla, Blueberry Clusters with Flax Seeds
    • Instant Oats
      • Giant Instant Oatmeal, Original Flavor
      • Simple Truth Organic Instant Oatmeal, Original
      • Quaker Dinosaur Eggs, Brown Sugar, Instant Oatmeal
      • Great Value Original Instant Oatmeal
      • Umpqua Oats, Maple Pecan
      • Market Pantry Instant Oatmeal, Strawberries & Cream
    • Oat Breakfast Cereal
      • Kashi Heart to Heart Organic Honey Toasted cereal
      • Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal
      • Lucky Charms
      • Barbara’s Multigrain Spoonfuls, Original, Cereal
      • Kellogg’s Cracklin’ Oat Bran oat cereal
    • Snack Bar
      • Cascadian Farm Organic Harvest Berry, granola bar
      • KIND Oats & Honey with Toasted Coconut
      • Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars, Oats ‘n Honey
      • Quaker Chewy Chocolate Chip granola bar
      • Kellogg’s Nutrigrain Soft Baked Breakfast Bars, Strawberry
    • Whole Oats
      • 365 Organic Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
      • Quaker Steel Cut Oats
      • Quaker Old Fashioned Oats
      • Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats
      • Nature’s Path Organic Old Fashioned Organic Oats
      • Whole Foods Bulk Bin conventional rolled oats
      • Bob’s Red Mill Organic Old Fashioned Rolled Oats (4 samples tested)
    • Orange Juice Brands as Tested by Moms Across America(2017)
      • Tropicana
      • Minute Maid
      • Stater Bros.
      • Signature Farms
      • Kirkland
    • Ben & Jerry’s Ice Creams
    • Staple Crops as Reported by Friends of the Earth Europe(2013)
      • Soybeans
      • Soybean fodder
      • Cotton seed
      • Maize grain
      • Sorghum
      • Barley straw and fodder Grass hay
      • Lentils
      • Sweetcorn
      • Sugar beet
    • Miscellaneous

 Final Thoughts

The most effective way to avoid glyphosate in your diet is to eat a whole-food plant-based diet, which means limiting your intake of processed foods as much as possible. Look for the “Non-Gmo Verified Project” stamp to ensure your foods do are not genetically modified and thus should not contain glyphosate. The fact of the matter is, the more informed we are in regards to these chemicals, the more power we have over our own health. It’s up to us to take responsibility for our own lives, our bodies and what we are putting inside. Vote with your dollar and avoid GMO’s whenever possible.

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Much Love

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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