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Juice Fasts: Hype-Driven Fad or Evidence-Based Health Habit?

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  • The Facts:

    This article was originally written and published at Greenmedinfo.com, written by the GreenMedInfo Research Group and posted here with permission.

  • Reflect On:

    Juice fasts, formerly relegated to groups on the fringes of society, are now embraced by mainstream culture. Once only a ritual rite of passage for those embedded in natural medicine circles, juice fasts have now become ubiquitous, marketed by health gurus, infomercials, and integrative medical doctors alike.

Before you begin...

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Juice fasts, formerly relegated to groups on the fringes of society, are now embraced by mainstream culture. Once only a ritual rite of passage for those embedded in natural medicine circles, juice fasts have now become ubiquitous, marketed by health gurus, infomercials, and integrative medical doctors alike.

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Despite an abundance of anecdotal evidence and the testimonies of countless juicing enthusiasts, well-designed controlled studies on the subject have remained scant (1).

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Gut Microbiota: The Gateway to Good Health

The gut microbiota, or the one hundred trillion commensal bacteria that inhabit our gastrointestinal tracts, may be the vehicle through which juice fasts elicit their beneficial effects. Not only is a disturbed microbiota implicated in the pathogenesis of obesity and metabolic disorders, but weight reduction has been reported to engender improvements in levels of bacterial species that contribute to inflammatory processes (2). In particular, “Obesity is associated with lower bacterial diversity, phylum and genus-level changes, and altered representation of bacterial genes and metabolic pathways involved in nutrient harvest” (2, p. 394).

One study performed by Remely and colleagues (2015) examined the effects of a traditional diet in an Austrian monastery, comprised of small amounts of soup, cereal, fruit and vegetable juices, and herbal teas (2). This intervention, implemented in obese subjects, significantly increased microbial diversity as well as numbers of Bifidobacteria, Akkermansia, and Faecalibacterium prausnitzii. Mucin-degrading Akkermansia, which have high mucosal adherence and are correlated with a healthy gut microbial community, are depleted in inflammatory disorders such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (3, 4).

The researchers also reported that populations of Enterobacteria and Lactobacilli associated with inflammation declined after the intervention (2). The authors concluded, “Our results show that caloric restriction affects the gut microbiota by proliferating mucin-degrading microbial subpopulations,” demonstrating that juice fasts may operate through this mechanism (p. 394). Other models of caloric restriction have similarly yielded decreases in Streptococcacae, which incite mild inflammation, and increases in Lactobacillus species, which competitively inhibit pathogens and produce declines in inflammatory cytokine levels (5).

Polyphenol-Induced Microbiome Changes Favorably Influence Health

Fruits and vegetables represent the richest reservoir of phenolic compounds, which resist absorption in the small intestine and instead are metabolized by the colonic bacteria into compounds which modulate populations of gut flora. Researchers speculate that the microbiota may be a previously under-recognized avenue through which polyphenols promote health, improve metabolic parameters, and mitigate inflammation (6).

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For instance, when rats are given quercetin, a flavonoid found in plant foods such as apples and onions, microbial dysbiosis induced by a high-fat high-sucrose diet is inhibited (7, 8). The rats in this experiment likewise exhibited suppressed growth of bacterial species correlated with diet-induced obesity, such as Erysipelotrichaceae, Eubacterium cylindroides, and Bacillus, alongside an attenuated ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes (7). Further, when administered in concert, quercetin and trans-resveratrol prevented weight gain in a rodent model, whereas individually, they each improved insulin resistance (7). In isolation, supplementation with trans-resveratrol also modified expression of tight-junction proteins and inflammatory gene profiles, influencing intestinal permeability in ways likely mediated by the microbiota (7).

In another study, mice receiving Concord grape polyphenols with a high-fat diet exhibited improved profiles of glucose tolerance, adiposity, and weight gain, and had enhanced expression of fasting-induced adipocyte factor, which restricts triglyceride storage (6). The mice receiving grape polyphenols similarly displayed reduced levels of inflammatory markers, such as the inflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and interleukin (IL)-6, the endotoxin released from gram-negative bacteria called lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) (6). In addition, grape polyphenols improved intestinal barrier function by up-regulating the genes for occludin and proglucagon, the former of which is a tight junction architectural protein, and the latter of which is a precursor to proteins that maintain mucosal barrier integrity and promote insulin production (6).

Importantly, grape polyphenols induced dramatic alterations in the community of commensal microbes. This botanical reduced the ratio of Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes, which is significant since an increased ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes, which is induced by a high-fat, high sugar diet, has been shown to increase host adiposity when transplanted into germ-free mice (9, 10, 11). The grape polyphenols also significantly augmented populations of Akkermansia muciniphila, an obligate anaerobic species which blooms after gastric bypass surgery and promotes weight loss when transplanted into germ-free recipients (11, 12). In addition, cross-sectional studies have underscored that higher levels of A. municiphila appear in lean individuals relative to obese individuals (13). Because A. muciniphila is vulnerable to reactive oxygen species, the free radical scavenging capacity of grape polyphenols can create a more hospitable environment for this species and other obligate anaerobes that benefit health (6).

Likewise, cranberry polyphenols induced similar anti-diabetic effects in mice fed a high-fat, high sucrose (HFHS) diet (14). Administration of cranberry extract improved insulin sensitivity and glucose handling, lowering intestinal, plasma, and hepatic triglyceride levels, and reduced intestinal and hepatic inflammation and oxidative stress (14). Cranberry extract similarly attenuated circulating levels of LPS, effectively preventing the HFHS-induced metabolic endotoxemia that contributes to the pathophysiology of cardiovascular disease (14). Moreover, like grape polyphenols, treatment with cranberry extract led to dramatic elevations in A. muciniphila, which confers protection against metabolic syndrome features (14).

Other studies have elucidated that dealcoholized red wine polyphenols and cocoa-derived flavanols elicit similar effects on the gut microbiota (15). Collectively, polyphenols “modulate the human gut microbiota by decreasing the abundance of Firmicutes and increasing Bifidobacteria, Lactobacillus and Verrucomicrobia, which is also a key difference in the gut microbiota found in obese and lean individuals” (15, p.1).

Based on the aforementioned findings, researchers suggest that myriad distinct polyphenols and bioactive compounds may exert similar effects, both directly and indirectly, on the gut microbiome. They propose that diverse classes of dietary antioxidants may engender health benefits by conferring a survival advantage for certain commensal species (6). According to Roopchand and colleagues (2015), “We propose that this altered gut microbiota is, in part, responsible for the altered intestinal gene expression, epithelial integrity, and inflammatory markers, which then leads to decreased fat deposition and glucose absorption, along with increased insulin secretion” (6, p. 2857).

Changes in Gut Microbiota After a Juice Fast

Based on the premise that changes in microbial composition influence health, researchers designed a study to examine whether a three-day juice fast, followed by reversion to a customary diet for two weeks, would favorably influence the microbiota composition of twenty healthy subjects with low fruit and vegetable consumption (15). A root juice mix was blended from beet, apple, ginger, and lemon, whereas a citrus juice mix consisted of apple, pineapple, mint, and lemon, and the green juice mixes contained romaine lettuce, apple, cucumber, celery, lemon, and small fractions of kale, parsley, and spinach (15). Also included was a mix consisting of filtered water, lemon, cayenne, almond, vanilla bean, dates, and sea salt (15).

Whereas proportions of certain intestinal bacteria, such as Fusobacteria, Actinobacteria, Verrucomicrobia, and Proteobacteria remained consistent, a significant decrease in Firmicutes and increases in both Cyanobacteria and Bacteroidetes were observed in subjects undergoing the juice fast compared to baseline (15). Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes represent the two most abundant bacterial phyla in human populations, representing 40-60% and 20-40% of the microbiota, respectively (16).

Increased Firmicutes in relation to Bacteroidetes has been correlated with obesity and body mass index (BMI) in some human studies (17). According to researchers, “Comparisons of the distal gut microbiota of genetically obese mice and their lean littermates, as well as those of obese and lean human volunteers have revealed that obesity is associated with changes in the relative abundance of the two dominant bacterial divisions, the Bacteroidetes and the Firmicutes” (18, p.1027). The microbiome characteristic of the obese phenotype, in turn, has been correlated with increased harvesting of energy from the diet, and produces obesity when germ-free mice are colonized with the obese microbiota (18).

This trend, which has been supported by some studies and refuted by others, was reinforced by the present juice fast, where a significant positive correlation between weight at day four and Firmicutes proportion, and a significant negative correlation between weight at day four and Bacteroidetes proportion was observed (13, 15, 18). These changes in microbiota may mitigate or perpetuate metabolic syndrome features by regulating gut barrier function, as animal models have confirmed that a compromised gut barrier enables translocation of bacteria and antigens, which evokes inflammation from the gut-associated sub-mucosal lymphoid system (13).

In addition, Bacteroides species such as B. ovatus, B. thetaiotaomicron, and B. uniformis can ferment a wide array of indigestible complex polysaccharides, such as fruit- and vegetable-based xylan and pectin (19). These carbohydrates serve as fermentable substrates or prebiotics, which are metabolized into health promoting, gut sealing, cardioprotective short chain fatty acids. According to Flint and colleagues (2012), “Certain dominant species, notably among the Bacteroidetes, are known to possess very large numbers of genes that encode carbohydrate active enzymes and can switch readily between different energy sources in the gut depending on availability” (19, p. 289). The enrichment in Bacteroides species after the juice fast reinforces the prebiotic effects of juice, since similar increases in Bacteroides species such as B. acidifaciens, B. ovatus, and B. xylanisolvens were witnessed in studies of subjects with metabolic syndrome who included resistant starch in their diets (20).

In one particular study, flourishing of Bacteroides species was accompanied by significant decreases in fasting glucose, glycosylated hemoglobin, cholesterol levels, body fat, waist circumference, and pro-inflammatory markers, which speaks to the metabolic benefits incurred with strategies that augment Bacteroides populations (20). In addition, another rodent study showed that B. thetaiotaomicron combined with probiotics decreased mean body weight and reduced levels of postprandial triglycerides in rats fed a high fat diet, further illustrating the benefit of these specific microbes (21).

After the juice fast, populations of Bacteroides, Odoribacteri, Paraprevotella, Barnesiella, and Halospirulina were all enhanced at day four compared to baseline, whereas Eisenbergiella, Dialister, Ruminiclostridium, Subdoligranulum, and Streptococcus were all suppressed at day four compared to baseline, illuminating the immediate and dramatic effect that fruit and vegetable polyphenols can elicit on the microbiota (15). These other genera, however, besides Streptococcus, returned to baseline levels at day seventeen, indicating the need for regular polyphenol consumption to maintain favorable microbiome changes (15).

Effect of a Juice Fast on Inflammation

Although plasma antioxidant capacity remained unchanged after the juice fast, lipid peroxidation, as measured by urine malondialdehyde (MDA), significantly decreased by 40% at day four compared to baseline (15). The researchers attribute this to either the low-fat nature of the juice fast, such that fewer lipids are available for oxidative degradation, or the antioxidant protection conferred by juice polyphenols for lipids during digestion (15).

This latter hypothesis is supported by research demonstrating that polyphenol-rich juices containing cyanidin glycosides and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) supplemented for two weeks led to decreases in plasma MDA (22). In addition, red wine polyphenols have been shown to completely prevent the rise in plasma MDA that occurs due to oxidized fats (23). Similarly, rosmarinic acid, a polyphenol in oregano, significantly reduces MDA concentration in plasma and urine after burger consumption (24). Thus, the high polyphenol content in juices may protect against the carcinogenic and atherosclerotic effects of lipid peroxidation.

In addition, after the juice fast, day four nitric oxide (NO) concentrations were increased by five-fold and three-fold, in urine and plasma, respectively, compared to baseline, indicating the vasodilatory effect of fruit and vegetable nitrate content (15). Optimizing NO levels may prevent cardiovascular disease, since disturbed activity of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) is implicated in the pathophysiology of endothelial dysfunction, impaired arterial compliance, and hypertension. This is consistent with prior work which elucidated that nitrate-rich beet juice improves vascular function in hypercholesterolemic patients, as illustrated by increases in flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) and aortic pulse wave velocity and by decreases in platelet-monocyte aggregates compared to placebo (25). These changes may also be mediated by the microbiome, and nitrate-reducing bacteria specifically, since in one study, nitrate treatment modified the proportions of 78 bacterial taxa in the salivary microbiome compared to placebo (25).

Lastly, during the juice intervention, significant decreases in body weight and body mass index (BMI) occurred which persisted after the two-week follow-up period (15). Well-being scores remained consistent with baseline at day three, but there was a significant increase in well-being at the conclusion of the study (15). However, both NO and MDA concentrations returned to initial baseline values at day seventeen, suggesting that continued consumption of polyphenols is required to maintain anti-inflammatory benefits (15).

Although the fiber is largely removed from juice, this study highlights that juicing still elicits a prebiotic effect due to its polyphenol content, and that it can therefore favorably modify the microbiome by selectively stimulating the growth of beneficial commensal bacteria. Thus, juicing, with an emphasis on lower glycemic vegetables, may be both a prudent adjunctive strategy for people with gastrointestinal distress who cannot tolerate large quantities of fiber, and for individuals with metabolic derangements.

References

1. Horne, B.D., Muhlestein, J.B., & Anderson, J.L. (2015). Health effects of intermittent fasting: hormesis or harm? A systematic review. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 102, 464–470, doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.109553  (2015).

2. Remely, M. et al. (2015). Increased gut microbiota diversity and abundance of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and Akkermansia after fasting: a pilot study. Wiener Klinische Wochenschrift, 127, 394–398, doi: 10.1007/s00508-015-0755-1

3. Png, C.W. et al. (2010). Mucolytic bacteria with increased prevalence in IBD mucosa augment in vitro utilization of mucin by other bacteria. American Journal of Gastroenterology, 105(11), 2420-2428.

4. Belzer, C., & de Vos, W.M. (2012). Microbes inside-from diversity to function: the case of Akkermansia. International Society of Microbial Ecology Journal, 8(8), 1449-1458.

5. Zhang, C. et al. (2013). Structural modulation of gut microbiota in life-long calorie-restricted mice. Natural Communications, 4, 2163.

6. Roopchand, D. E. et al. (2015). Dietary Polyphenols Promote Growth of the Gut Bacterium Akkermansia muciniphila and Attenuate High-Fat Diet-Induced Metabolic Syndrome. Diabetes 64, 2847–2858, doi: 10.2337/db14-1916

7. Etxeberria, U. et al. (2015). Reshaping faecal gut microbiota composition by the intake of trans-resveratrol and quercetin in high-fat sucrose diet-fed rats. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 26(6), 651-660. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2015.01.002. 41-46.

8. Lee, J., & Mitchell, A.E. (2012). Pharmacokinetics of quercetin absorption from apples and onions in healthy humans. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 60, 3874-3881.

9. Carmody, R.N. et al. (2015). Diet dominates host genotype in shaping the murine gut micorbiota. Cell Host Microbe, 2015, 72-84.

10. Turnbaugh, P.J. et al. (2008). Diet-induced obesity is linked to marked but reversible alterations in the mouse distal gut microbiome. Cell Host Microbe, 3, 213-223.

11. Liou, A.P. et al. (2013). Conserved shifts in the gut microbiota due to gastric bypass reduce host weight and adiposity. Science of Translational Medicine, 5, 178ra141.

12. Zhang, H. et al. (2009). Human gut microbiota in obesity and after gastric bypass. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), 106, 2365-2370.

13. Stenman, L. K., Burcelin, R. & Lahtinen, S. Establishing a causal link between gut microbes, body weight gain and glucose metabolism in humans – towards treatment with probiotics. Beneficial microbes 1–12, doi:10.3920/BM2015.0069 (2015).

14. Anhê, F.F. et al. (2015). A polyphenol-rich cranberry extract protects from diet-induced obesity, insulin resistance and intestinal inflammation in association with increased Akkermansia spp. population in the gut microbiota of mice. Gut, 64, 872-883.

15. Henning, S.M., et al. (2017). Health benefit of vegetable/fruit juice-based diet: Role of microbiome. Scientific Reports, 7. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-02200-6

16. Million, M. et al. (2013). Gut bacterial microbiota and obesity. Clinical microbiology and infection: the official publication of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, 19, 305–313, doi: 10.1111/1469-0691.12172

17. Koliada, A. et al. (2017). Association between body mass index and Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio in an adult Ukrainian population. BioMed Central Microbiology. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12866-017-1027-1

18. Turnbaugh, P.J. et al. (2006). An obesity-associated gut microbiome with increased capacity for energy harvest. Nature, 444, 1027–1031, doi:10.1038/nature05414

19. Flint, H.J. et al. (2012). Microbial degradation of complex carbohydrates in the gut. Gut Microbes, 3(4), 289-306.

20. Upadhyaya, B. et al. (2016). Impact of dietary resistant starch type 4 on human gut microbiota and immunometabolic functions. Scientific Reports, 6, 28797, doi: 10.1038/srep28797  (2016).

21. Olli, K. et al. (2016). Independent and Combined Effects of Lactitol, Polydextrose, and Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron on Postprandial Metabolism and Body Weight in Rats Fed a High-Fat Diet. Frontiers in Nutrition, 3, 15, doi: 10.3389/fnut.2016.00015

22. Bub, A. et al. (2003). Fruit juice consumption modulates antioxidative status, immune status and DNA damage. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 14(2), 90-98.

23. Gorelik, S. et al. (2007). A novel function of red wine polyphenols in humans: prevention of absorption of cytotoxic lipid peroxidation products. The Official Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, 22(1).

24. Li, Z. et al. (2010). Antioxidant-rich spice added to hamburger meat during cooking results in reduced meat, plasma, and urine malondialdehyde concentrations. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 91, 1180–1184. doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.28526

25. Velmurugan, S. et al. (2016). Dietary nitrate improves vascular function in patients with hypercholesterolemia: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 103, 25–38, doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.116244

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3 Powerful Tools to Help Overcome the Emotional Toll of the Pandemic

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  • The Facts:

    The pandemic has had a significant effect on our lives. Possibly without realizing it, many are suffering from a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

  • Reflect On:

    If you feel stressed or feel that you have PTSD resulting from this pandemic, try these suggestions before resorting to medication or maladaptive coping strategies.

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

The pandemic has had a significant effect on our lives. Possibly without realizing it, many are suffering from a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Every news cycle paralyzes us with fear of a new variant. Some feel grief over who or what they have lost or continue to have feelings of social disconnectedness. Despite what we have all been through, we need to start moving forward with our lives and truly live again. We must recognize that we have more control over our physical and mental health than advertised. The truth is that there are many helpful things that we can do.

PTSD is a stress-related disorder that may develop after exposure to a traumatic event or ordeal in which death or severe physical harm was a threat or occurred. Those with PTSD may experience agitation, irritability, hostility, hypervigilance, self-destructive behavior, social isolation, flashbacks, fear, anxiety, depression, attention difficulty, loneliness, insomnia, or nightmares.

Trauma can lead to feelings of powerlessness, but powerlessness can also keep us trapped in a PTSD cycle. The psychological imprint of trauma rewires the brain. There’s an old saying in neuroscience: “neurons that fire together wire together.” Our brain neurons begin firing in the amygdala, the emotional part of our brains, during a traumatic event. People can get stuck in an emotional loop, and the rational voice in their heads does not weigh in. This looping can cause a person to respond disproportionately to stress – freezing, panicking, or acting out in anger. Some dissociate or enter a trance-like state. Maladaptive coping skills can sometimes develop. Cutting, burning, overeating, drinking, drugs, overspending, etc., is all an attempt to dampen our painful emotional feelings. So, to avoid getting stuck in a PTSD cycle, we must act and take our power back.

Time to seek out the most effective help so that we can feel calm and in control again. What can we do?

1. Boost Your Immune System

If you fear getting sick, it’s time to live a healthier lifestyle and boost your immune system. Sadly, we are taught (with the help of pharmaceutical dollars) that health comes from a needle or a pill. Our “experts” recommend masks, hand-washing, social distancing, and mRNA vaccines. Still, they seldom suggest a healthy diet, supplements, and other natural remedies to help improve our health and support the body to fight off illness and disease. Click here for my article that includes 16 Tips on Boosting Immunity.

2. Embrace Spirituality

Over the last 20 years, I have been honored to have worked with many great therapists, healers, spiritual leaders, and trauma survivors to witness the power of Spirituality in healing. Spirituality is an inner belief system providing an individual with meaning and purpose in life. Whether it involves a higher power, nature, religious rituals, meditation, mindfulness, or prayer, the premise is to stay connected to the core of who we are. That place of stillness within us holding the memory of wholeness, peace, inner strength, and balance – despite what has happened. A spiritual philosophy or practice can provide us with a bigger context for our experiences and clarify our purpose. Spiritual methods also connect us with a sense of community and support. Finding our tribe is essential in the face of trauma and loss. The spiritual journey often allows us to go inside ourselves and listen to our inner guidance and “knowingness.” The inner voice may know, for instance, that the virus will not hurt us, or what we are being told by the media is untrue. Spirituality also helps us shift our perspective from “why me” to “what can I do about it. It brings us a sense of power and control.

3. Guided Imagery & Bilateral Stimulation

Both tools are essential for the trauma therapy toolbox. They are noninvasive and helpful for overcoming the effects of trauma. Guided imagery can help us alter the negative or stressful pictures and thoughts in our minds and help us create new, more peaceful ones—a form of instilling positive affirmations. Before you read on, I thought you might like to download my 10-minute exercise. This science-based, comprehensive video will help you to cultivate a sense of inner peace and give you a way to help overcome the effects of this pandemic – GET IT HERE

Is There Science Behind This?

Science, yes. Magic, no. This method requires regular practice if you want to make lasting, long-term changes to the ways that you think and feel. The good news is that both guided imagery and bilateral stimulation are widely practiced and well-established practices. However, I recommend that if you are still struggling after repeated listening, you find a qualified trauma therapist to continue the work you have already started.

A Look At The Research

Guided imagery is a behavioral technique using a series of verbal suggestions to guide oneself or others in visualizing an image in the mind to bring a desired response in the way of a reduction in stress, anxiety, or pain. A growing list of empirical literature supports the use of these techniques in various physical and emotional conditions. Guided imagery resulted in a clinically significant reduction in PTSD and related symptoms in a returning, combat-exposed active-duty military population. Positive affirmations can positively affect the brain’s circuitry. There is MRI evidence suggesting that specific neural pathways are increased when people practice self-affirmation tasks.

Numerous research articles have established that bilateral stimulation is one of the most effective treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some therapists practice Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), a combination of psychotherapy and bilateral stimulation. EMDR is very effective for treating a wide range of mental health issues due to emotional and physical trauma. During bilateral stimulation, patients tend to “process” the memory in a way that leads to a peaceful resolution. And, often results in increased insight regarding both previously disturbing events and long-held negative thoughts about the self.

“Bilateral Stimulation induces a fundamental change in brain circuitry, similar to what happens in REM sleep. It allows the person undergoing treatment to process and incorporate traumatic memories into general association networks in the brain. This therapy helps the individual integrate and understand the memories within the larger context of their life experience.” – Robert Stickgold, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School

Takeaway

If you feel stressed or feel that you have PTSD resulting from this pandemic, try the above suggestions and download my helpful video before resorting to medication or maladaptive coping strategies. Also, you can discover the many mind-body practices you can do at home to help manage stress more successfully and so much more. SIGN UP HERE to receive your free download today. To purchase my book Healing Without Hurting, click here.

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Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

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Awareness

Boosting Your Mood and Improving Your Health With Vitamin D

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  • The Facts:

    Vitamin D is essential for proper immune functioning and alleviation of inflammation.

  • Reflect On:

    Are you or someone you love suffering from depression or an autoimmune disorder? When is the last time you checked your Vitamin D levels?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

Are you or someone you love suffering from depression or an autoimmune disorder? It appears vitamin D deficiency may be to blame.

Vitamin D is essential for proper immune functioning and alleviation of inflammation. The beneficial effects of vitamin D on protective immunity are due in part to its impact on the innate immune system and has numerous effects on cells within the immune system. Vitamin D is also involved in maintaining the proper balance of several minerals in the body. And, it helps to ward off the flu and many viruses and treat them. The latest research links vitamin D deficiency to many disease states. These disease states include cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease, depression, arthritis, and just about every other degenerative disease.

 “Vitamin D reduces depression. In a randomized, double-blind study, People with depression who received vitamin D supplements noticed a marked improvement in their symptoms.” – Journal of Internal Medicine

According to the Nutrition Research Journal, as many as 80% of people are deficient in vitamin D. Inadequate exposure to sunshine, poor eating habits, malabsorption, the VDR genetic mutation, and accelerated catabolism due to certain medications, dark skin pigment color, and too much sunscreen can be to blame. 

A doctor can check vitamin D levels with a simple blood test. Many mainstream doctors will suggest that you are within normal limits if your levels are 20-30ng/mL. However, for optimal health, the Endocrine Society and many functional medicine M.D.s and naturopaths will recommend levels of between 40-70 ng/mL for both children and adults. These doctors will also recommend a more aggressive replenishment program. For example, at age five, my son’s level was 24. The pediatrician recommended 500iu daily of supplementation, while our naturopath recommended 5,000iu daily for six months before retesting. Six months later, his levels were almost normal. 

“Through several mechanisms, vitamin D can reduce risk of infections. Those mechanisms include inducing cathelicidins and defensins that can lower viral replication rates and reducing concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines that produce the inflammation that injures the lining of the lungs, leading to pneumonia, as well as increasing concentrations of anti-inflammatory cytokines” – PubMed

How to Increase Your Vitamin D Levels

Get enough sun. Vitamin D3, “the sunshine vitamin,” is the only vitamin your body that is made, with the help of the sun. So be sure to get enough sun exposure to help the body make this essential nutrient. Hold off trying to protect ourselves from the rays of the sun at every turn by slathering sunscreen. Allow yourself to play outside, garden, and enjoy the rays in moderation.

If you must use some sunscreen, avoid chemical sunscreens made with toxic chemicals that cause thyroid dysfunction, endocrine disruption, allergies, organ toxicity, reproductive toxicity, skin cancer, development, brain, and metabolism problems. Shop for natural mineral-zinc-based certified products instead. When exposed to scorching climates or in the sun for extended periods, we use sunscreens by Babyganics, Badger, Babo Botanicals, and Goddess Garden products.

Eat a well-balanced diet, with foods higher in vitamin D. Although it is believed that we only get twenty percent from the foods we eat. Some foods higher in D include cod liver oil, fish, oysters, eggs, and mushrooms. 

Get checked for the VDR mutation. A blood test will determine if you have mutations in the vitamin D receptor. The consequence can be lower vitamin D levels and the inability to absorb vitamin calcium and many other minerals properly. According to a 2020 scientific report, supplementation of vitamin D can help improve VDR gene expression, so more supplementation may be necessary if you have this mutation.

“Something so simple. Vitamin D supplementation could improve the health status of millions and so becomes an elegant solution to many of our health problems today.” – Carol L. Wagner, MD – Medical University of South Carolina

Supplementation 101. Supplementation is often critical if you cannot properly metabolize or absorb enough vitamin D or not get enough sunshine. In areas with long winters and specific populations of people with darker skin color, supplementation may be even more critical. There are many supplements on the market. However, many tablet forms are not as bioavailable and harder to absorb. Therefore, it has been recommended that liquid forms are better. In addition, liquid D is often suspended in olive oil, which helps the vitamins to absorb more easily since it is fat soluble. One of my favorite brands is by Seeking Health. It does not contain any impurities or allergy-inducing ingredients. 

Final Thoughts

Boosting the immune system naturally works on your body’s innate wisdom. It supports the body to operate like a well-oiled machine, protects it from unwanted pathogens and disease, and helps ensure a healthy body and mind.

To receive more info on how you and your family can overcome ADHD, apraxia, anxiety, and more without medication SIGN UP HERE or purchase my book Healing without Hurting.

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Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

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Are Lockdowns Affecting Children?

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    We spoke to activist and mother Stephanie Sibbio about her co-creation of an organization called 100 Million Moms which seeks to empower women to stand up against injustices.

  • Reflect On:

    Are we choosing virus mitigation methods that are short sighted and harmful over the long term? Are they more harmful than the virus itself?

Before you begin...

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The potential downsides of lockdowns during pandemics have been explored quite a bit – and the truth is the scientific community is quite divided on whether it’s the right move. On one hand a case can be made for effectiveness of lockdowns, but at quite a cost, while on the other hand many have shown lockdowns to be ineffective in slowing spread. How a study is organized and conducted can also dramatically change results.

Interestingly a study in Nature showed that “less disruptive and costly NPIs can be as effective as more intrusive, drastic, ones (for example, a national lockdown).” This essentially states that governments could choose effective ways to mitigate virus spread effectively without inducing unwanted and long term side effects on society as a whole via lockdowns – regardless, lockdowns are still widely being used.

One question we might have is, what about factors that are not so easy to measure right away? Things like long term psychological damage of being constantly stressed, out of touch with community and friends, and confined to our homes. What affects are children experiencing in their development and learning? We may not know exactly for quite some time.

I felt inspired to speak to a mother who has not only be asking this question with regards to her child, but who has decided to do something to push back against government measures, like lockdowns, that many citizens and scientist don’t agree with.

Along with another activist, Stephanie Sibbio created a movement called 100 Million Moms who, as their Instagram states, are a rights-based movement empowering moms all over the world to stand up against injustice. We advocate for natural health & medical freedom.

I spoke to Stephanie about how she has seen lockdowns affecting children, and her story in co-creating 100 Million Moms. In this discussion you will learn how you can get involved as well.

Further Discussion

A large meta analysis on mask wearing has shown that children are having physiological issues and learning challenges with prolonged mask wearing.

A group of doctors did a panel worth considering that discusses the potential harms of lockdowns and the science that supports the idea.

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

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