What Research Says About Quercetin for Brain Health

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Recently, there has been a heavy focus on researching the potential physical and cognitive benefits of specific natural food substances and nutritional supplements. One of the areas researchers have been focused on is the health-enhancing properties of flavonoids — a class of secondary plant metabolites found in many fruits and veggies. A lot of that research has been focused on quercetin — a flavonoid that is widely distributed in fruits and vegetables. Flavonoids are known to block inflammatory molecules in the brain.

Quercetin has been found to be a potent antioxidant that is capable of scavenging free radicals as well as protecting neuronal cells from neurotoxicity that is caused by oxidative stress.

What’s more, quercetin is an adenosine A1 receptor antagonist in vitro — meaning it can help reduce physical and mental fatigue as well as spatial memory, and it has even been shown to reverse cognitive deficits in mice. Additionally, the mice that were given quercetin supplements showed increased learning and memory function compared to non-treated mice.

What is Quercetin?

 Quercetin is a plant pigment (flavonoid) that naturally occurs in many plants, fruits, and vegetables. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that may help fight inflammation, kill cancer cells, control blood sugar, and help protect against heart disease.

Where is Quercetin Found?

As we mentioned, quercetin is found in many fruits and vegetables. It can also be found in grains, tea, and wine.
Quercetin is the most abundant flavonoid in the average person’s diet. It’s estimated that, on average, we consume from 10–100 mg of quercetin daily through various food sources.

Quercetins Impact on the Brain

The research we mentioned above suggests that quercetin’s antioxidant properties may help fight against degenerative brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
In one study, mice with Alzheimer’s were given quercetin injections every two days for a total of three months. By the end of the study, the injections were found to reverse several markers of Alzheimer’s, and the mice’s performance on learning tests was also improved.

Another study found that eating a diet high in quercetin reduced markers of Alzheimer’s disease and improved cognitive function in mice at the early to middle stages of Alzheimer’s.

The research on humans and the effect of quercetin on mental health are promising as well. In fact, one study found that three weeks of quercetin supplementation protected the human brain against mental fatigue and loss of sustained vigilance following three days of heavy exercise.

You may have heard that coffee is linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s. It turns out that it’s the quercetin, not the caffeine, that is the primary compound in coffee responsible for the potential protective effects against Alzheimer’s.

Sources of Quercetin

Quercetin, quercetin covid, quercetin benefits, what is quercetinIf you’re eager to start reaping the potential cognitive benefits of quercetin, add more of these foods into your diet:

  • Green tea
  • Black tea
  • Capers
  • Yellow peppers
  • Green peppers
  • Red onions
  • White onions
  • Shallots
  • Broccoli
  • Tomatoes
  • Cooked asparagus
  • Kale
  • Red leaf lettuce
  • Cherries
  • Red apples
  • Red grapes
  • Citrus fruits
  • All kinds of berries, including cranberries, blueberries, and raspberries
  • Buckwheat
  • Red wine

You can also take quercetin in supplement form. You can purchase quercetin supplements at most health food stores in capsule and powder form. The typical dosage ranges from 500–1,000 mg per day.

By itself, quercetin actually has a low bioavailability — meaning the body absorbs it poorly. This is why supplements often include other compounds like vitamin C or digestive enzymes such as bromelain to help increase absorption.

As the most abundant dietary flavonoid, quercetin has many health benefits, from brain health to improved exercise performance. Although these benefits are promising, we are looking forward to even more research being conducted on the substance.

Eating Dates for a Healthy Brain: What You Need to Know

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Nutritionists have long known the benefits of dates as a healthy part of a diet.  Recently, neuroscientists have studied the fruit’s effect on the human nervous system as well.  There is evidence to suggest dates lend a supportive or even restorative function with neural transfers and conductivity.  The studies have implications about maintaining or slowing the degeneration of brain functions. The research is still in its infancy, but early results have strong implications that eating dates is healthy for the brain.

How Do Dates Actually Help Brain Function? 

Once you’ve taken into consideration its other global impacts, it’s time to look at what scientific study says about brain health and dates.  One of the most promising correlations is between the consumption of dates and the prevention of Alzheimer’s and dementia.  Dates have a strong anti-inflammatory effect.  They can help block the reaction of proteins such as Interleukin 6 (IL-6), which not only influences the onset of dementia but that of cancer, arthritis, and other debilitating aging maladies.

Dates also help reduce the formation of plaque on the brain.  By limiting the reactions of amyloid beta proteins, dates may help slow the death of brain cells and failing neural pathways.  In animal studies the subjects showed better memory and learning capability with the inclusion of dates in their diet.  They also displayed lower stress when compared with the studies’ control groups.

Human trials, of course, will yield more conclusive data.  The research is still young, but if everything from Alzheimer’s to cancer and early blindness can be prevented, the incentive to do more study is there.  Dates may soon prove to be yet another of nature’s hide-in-plain-sight miracles.

What are Some Other Properties of Dates?

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Dates don’t simply aid brain function.  The fruit is rich in fiber.  They have several nutrients, including potassium, magnesium, manganese, iron, B-vitamins and protein.  The fruit’s carbohydrate content is high.  It is a strong source of sugar and must be eaten moderately to avoid excess weight gain.  Dates have many antioxidants such as flavonoids, carotenoids and phenolic acid.  These elements protect cells from free radicals.  They reduce the chance of heart disease, diabetes and loss of eyesight.  They also lower the risk of cancer and intestinal disorders.

Along with brain health there is evidence showing dates provide some help during labour.  The fruit can help with anything from cervical dilation to stabilization of the delivery cycle.  As little as six dates a day showed positive results in controlled studies.  As with brain studies, more research is needed, but indications are that the tannins in dates may help with contractions.  It’s also thought that some elements in dates mimic oxytocin, a hormone that regulates the actual contractions of labor.

 What’s The Best Way To Include Dates?

As to how you include dates in the daily diet the simple answer of course is to eat them.  The fruit is edible and tastes good freshly picked or dried.  It can be crushed and used as a sugar substitute.  As the ancient cultures showed, dates can be made into breads, puddings, powders, or purees.  They can be eaten at breakfast or as an afternoon snack.  Dates are great to eat before a workout.  You can eat them at night, but it’s best to do that in moderation, due to the fruit’s high calorie count.

 

 

 

 

What Research Says About Coenzyme Q10 for Mental Health

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Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant that occurs naturally in our body. This coenzyme is important for the growth and maintenance of the body’s cells. CoQ10 is also beneficial to your mental health.  As people grow old, the levels of CoQ10 in the body decrease. CoQ1O levels are also low in people who have conditions like heart disease, diabetes, migraines.  Certain foods, including fish, meat, and nuts can help increase the levels of Coenzyme Q10 in the body. You can also take CoQ10 supplements, which are available as capsules, tablets, IV, or liquid syrups.

Benefits of CoQ10 for mental health

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With the increase in mental illnesses, there has been an increase in research focusing on the benefits of CoQ10 for mental health. Several studies have indicated that CoQ1O supplements have been effective in treating and preventing a number of mental health issues. Some of the proven benefits of CoQ10 for mental health include;

1. Helps with migraine prevention

CoQ10 is found in the membrane of mitochondria of the cells. Research shows that coenzyme Q10 helps to boost the function of the mitochondria. Proper mitochondrial function increases energy to the cells while decreasing inflammation, which occurs during migraines.

Low levels of CoQ10 in the body can lead to abnormal mitochondrial function. This results in high uptake of calcium by the brain cells and increased production of free radicals as antioxidant protection decreases. It also reduces the energy levels in the brain cells, which causes migraines.

Research indicates that increasing CoQ10 does not only prevent but also treats migraines. Since frequent migraines can cause mental health issues, increasing CoQ10 levels in the body can help improve your overall mental health.

2. Safeguard brain cells from oxidative damage

While free radicals help in supporting the growth of brain cells and cognitive function, excessive production can damage and kill brain cells. Overproduction of these radicals occurs during oxidative stress when the counteracting antioxidant response system fails to work sufficiently.

CoQ10 is a lipid antioxidant that inhabits the generation of free radicals and oxidation of proteins as well as peroxidation of lipids. This in turn suppresses oxidative stress leading to healthy brain cells.

3. Guards against Neurodegenerative Disease

Research conducted by Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment shows that CoQ10 helps to improve the conditions of patients with neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Further clinical trials have also supported the promising effects of CoQ10 on people with Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. An example is where animal-based research indicated that CoQ10 prevents the overproduction of the harmful beta-amyloid, a component present in the brain of people with Alzheimer’s disease.

4. Treating anxiety and depression

Research has reported that patients with mood disorders such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar were found to have a drop in levels of CoQ10.  The research conducted by the journal Molecular Biology found out that supplementing CoQ10 in the body of patients with lowered coenzyme Q10 levels helped to decrease fatigue and depression.  Recent studies have also shown CoQ10, being a powerful antioxidant can help in improving the symptoms of mood disorders such as anxiety.

Dosage

There is no specific daily dosage for CoQ10. The amount will vary depending on the condition and can range from 90mg to 200 mg per day.  However, studies suggest the following dosage;

  • 150 to 300 mg per day for Migraine
  • 200 to 400 mg per day for depression and anxiety
  • 200 mg for neurodegenerative disorders

Always consult your health care professional on the dosage before using these supplements. Alternatively, you can follow the instructions provided on the packaging, because CoQ10 supplements have varying ingredients and strengths.

Possible side effects and risks

Generally, CoQ10 is safe for the majority of users. However, some people have reported mild side effects such as dizziness, insomnia, abdominal pain, fatigue, and stomach upsets after use.  You should also note that some medication like blood thinners can decrease the effectiveness of CoQ10. As such, talk to your health care professional before using these supplements if you’re under medication.

 

Learn How Melatonin Prevents Blood Clots in Ten Minutes

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Everybody needs 7-8  hours of sleep to function well. Without sleep, we don’t perform at our best, and lack of sleep can negatively impact our health.  Many people have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, tossing and turning during those precious hours intended for sleep. Melatonin, a neurohormone supplement, helps many people fall asleep and stay asleep, making it known primarily as a sleep aid. But there is research to show that melatonin can help in preventing blood clots. One of the most important areas of research would be exploring the use of melatonin in preventing blood clots, as around 100,000 people die from blood clots annually.

Melatonin has other health benefits that are just as important as sleep improvement possibly making it effective in treating:

Understanding Melatonin

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Melatonin has a long history in alternative medicine. In the U.S., it’s sold as an over-the-counter supplement, while it’s available by prescription in other countries. Natural melatonin is produced in your body by the pineal gland in the brain. Its production is triggered by darkness, which explains its benefits while sleeping in the dark. The supplement is a synthetic version of the natural substance.

Research on Melatonin and Blood Clotting

As far back as 2008, the Journal of Pineal Research published a study that showed the relationship between taking oral melatonin and blood coagulation. The study included 46 healthy men between 21 and 29 years of age. The subjects were given a placebo containing no medication or 3mg of oral melatonin. The study results reported: “A single dose of oral melatonin was associated with lower plasma levels of procoagulant factors 60 mins later.” Procoagulant factors promote blood clotting, and melatonin had lowered their levels, making clotting less likely. A 2013 research paper published by Arushanian described melatonin as a “natural inhibitor of (platelet) aggregation” that is potentially impactful in cardiovascular disorders so may be “recommended for use in pharmacotherapy.” A 2020 review of studies, published by Otamas, Grant and Aijan supported previous evidence, suggesting that, “…melatonin inhibits platelet aggregation and might affect the coagulation cascade, altering fibrin clot structure and/resistance to fibrinolysis.” In layman’s terms, melatonin inhibits bodily functions that lead to blood clots. This more recent study recommended further study to confirm and progress the research findings. The research on melatonin in this area is ongoing and more is needed in the future.

Who Shouldn’t Take Melatonin?

While Melatonin can have many benefits, including the potential to reduce clotting, it’s important to realize the dangers that may create to people on blood thinners, such as Warfarin, with herbs that can slow clotting, including garlic and ginger, and with blood clotting medication.

Taking melatonin along with blood thinning medication can lead to bleeding or bruising. It can interfere with the work of blood clotting medication. Melatonin is generally not advised for these groups but as always, people should follow the advice of their medical doctors.

Fluvoxamine (Luvox) is an antidepressant medication that increases the absorption of melatonin. Since more melatonin is absorbed creating greater conditions for blood thinning, taking it with fluvoxamine should be avoided.

Should I Take Melatonin?

A healthy person that doesn’t take blood thinning or coagulating medication, Fluvoxamine, or other medications or herbs that can interact with melatonin should be able to safely take melatonin if permitted by their doctors. If you’re considering melatonin, it may help you sleep, have additional benefits, and keep your blood free from unwanted clotting.

SOURCES USED:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/5563342_Oral_melatonin_reduces_blood_coagulation_activity_A_placebo-controlled_study_in_healthy_young_men

https://www.livescience.com/42066-melatonin-supplement-facts.html

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1479164120920582?icid=int.sj-abstract.citing-articles.3&

https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/d04058a1

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/melatonin-side-effects#TOC_TITLE_HDR_6

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/282008268_Effect_of_melatonin_on_the_thrombocyte_hemostasis_and_its_circadian_organization

This Is Your Brain on Vitamin C

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Vitamin C is well known for enhancing immunity, including preventing colds and improving mental health. Scientific studies indicate that people who consume foods rich in vitamin C experience less stress as they encounter physical challenges. After we consume vitamin C, it causes the body to dispense neurotransmitters that enhance mood such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. People who lack vitamin C have low synthesis of these neurotransmitters, and can become irritable and stressed.

 

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Vitamin C and Mental Health

A German study measured the stress levels of 120 individuals by letting them perform public speaking while solving math problems. The subjects were given 1000 mg of vitamin C prior to the task. Participants who did not take the vitamin showed elevated cortisol levels and higher blood pressure. Those who took the vitamin showed normal blood pressure levels and said that they did not feel that stressed.

Vitamin C also plays a vital role in maintaining the function and integrity of the central nervous system, including the formation of myelin and maturation of neurons, which protects nerve fibers and repairs neurons. In addition, it acts as a neuromodulator, which influences mood regulation.

Research studies also indicate that free radical damage and oxidative stress can play a part in the pathogenic mechanisms underlying several neuropsychological disorders including depression.

The American Journal of Psychiatry published a study stating that low levels of vitamin C were closely related to depression in the elderly. Another study published by McGill University found that administering vitamin C twice a day improved the mood of hospital patients. Vitamin C is also linked to promoting health for people suffering from bipolar disorder and anxiety.

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The Brain consumes a lot of vitamin C. Brain concentrations of vitamin C are higher than those of the rest of the body. It maintains vitamin C levels for a longer period of time after the body depletes them. That’s because metabolic furnaces in the neurons churn through glucose to power one’s movements and feelings. Vitamin C also works as an antioxidant. It surrenders electrons for the purpose of neutralizing rogue oxygen molecules which are emitted in the process. These are the free radicals that ruin DNA and cause cells to age.

Vitamin C also plays a role in the maturation and differentiation of neurons and in forming the myelin sheath that expedites impulse transmission and protects neurons. Thus, vitamin C is essential for cognitive performance and is also a cofactor in synthesizing several neurotransmitters. It plays a vital role in converting dopamine to serotonin. It also modulates the release of neurotransmitters in nerve cells. Vitamin C is also found in collagen, which is a stabilizing force for bones, teeth, and blood vessels. It helps ensure that the integrity of blood vessels retain their integrity as an aspect of cognitive capacity, particularly as people age.

In a review of fifty studies of Brain function and vitamin C levels conducted between1980 and 2017, Australian researchers discovered that there was a striking relationship between mental function and vitamin C status. A questionnaire, known as the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) measured the relationship.

In the study, the individuals that were cognitively intact had higher blood concentrations of vitamin C than the individuals who were cognitively impaired. Among the individuals who were cognitively intact, the levels of vitamin C in the blood had a correlation with cognitive ability. There was no linear correlation seen in people with cognitive impairment.

Factors such as exposure to toxins caused by air pollution and smoking as well as drinking alcohol make extra demands for vitamin C by placing the body under oxidative stress. Studies show that conditions like depression, fatigue, and poor healing of wounds happen when vitamin C levels are inadequate.

References

Bundrant, M. vitamin C and Its Key role in mental health. Psych Central. https://blogs.psychcentral.com/nlp/2017/01/vitamin-c- nd-its-key-role-in-mental-health/

Marano, H. The Cognitive Benefits of vitamin C. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/201801/the- cognitive-benefits-vitamin-c

Got Stress? You Need vitamin C. adrenalfatigue.org. https://adrenalfatigue.org/got-stress-you-need-vitamin-c/

Vitamin C: Essential for stress and Adrenal Function. adrenalfatigue.org. https://adrenalfatigue.org/vitamin-c-adrenal-function-stress/

The Link Between Zinc and Mental Health

If you are struggling with low mood or depression, you may have something that can help you hiding in the back of your medicine cabinet: zinc.

What is it?

Zinc supports a number of human bodily functions. In addition to providing support for the immune system, it allows the body to make proteins and DNA, helps heal wounds, and plays a vital role in childhood growth and development. It occurs naturally in a wide range of foods like beans, meat, and fish, and it’s also available in the form of a dietary supplement.

Zinc’s link to Mental Health 

Emerging studies are showing that zinc is also helpful in treating depression and psychosis. There also appears to be a link between zinc dysregulation and attention deficit disorder (ADD), and hyperactivity.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. Depression is associated with a low quality of life and leads to more than one million suicide deaths each year.

Multiple studies have shown that people suffering from depression have reduced levels of zinc in their bodies. Separate studies support the effectiveness of zinc to improve mood in both depressed and healthy people.

How to Add More Zinc to Your Diet

Whether you are feeling low or have been diagnosed with depression, adding zinc to your diet will help boost your mood. Here’s how to incorporate more into your daily life:

  • Take zinc supplements. You can buy these online, at the grocery store, or at your local supplement shop.
  • Meat is an excellent source. Red meat, in particular, contains high levels of zinc, but you can find sufficient amounts in pork, lamb, beef, and other kinds of meat.  A 3.5-ounce serving of raw ground beef contains 4.8 mg of zinc— that’s 44% of the Daily Value (DV).
  • Shellfish are a healthy, low-calorie source. In particular, oysters contain high amounts of zinc. Six medium oysters provide 32 mg of zinc— 291% of the daily value! Other shellfish that are good sources include Alaskan crab, mussels, shrimp, and salmon.
  • Legumes, including chickens, lentils, and beans, contain substantial amounts. But, they also contain phytates— an antinutrient that inhibits the absorption of zinc and other minerals. This means that you should still eat legumes, especially if you are vegetarian or vegan, but just know they don’t provide as much zinc as other sources. You can also heat, sprout, soak, or ferment legume to increase zinc’s bioavailability.
  • Dairy like cheese and milk contain a host of nutrients.. Milk and cheese, in particular contain high amounts of bioavailable zinc— meaning most of the food’s zinc can be absorbed by the body.

Zinc is a key part of a healthy diet, especially for people struggling with depression and low mood. The best part is you can easily add more naturally to your diet by consuming substantial amounts of the above-mentioned foods.

 

 

The Benefits of Vitamin D for Mental Health

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When you think of vitamin D, you likely think of the sun. Does thinking of the warm sun shining on your face make you happy? Well, there’s actually science to back up the significant role that vitamin D plays on our mental health. Let’s explore

What is Vitamin D?

You may have heard vitamin D referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” before. That’s because vitamin D is produced in the skin in response to sunlight. The body naturally produces vitamin D when directly exposed to sunlight, but you can also get it through foods and supplements to ensure you have enough vitamin D.

Vitamin D to Fight Depression

Research shows that vitamin D may play an integral role in regulating mood and fighting depression. One study found that depressed people who received a vitamin D supplement noticed their symptoms improve.

Research points to vitamin D’s role in regulating serotonin and calcium for its possible therapeutic impact on depression when vitamin D levels are boosted.

Vitamin D to Fight Anxiety

A separate study of people with fibromyalgia found that vitamin D deficiency was more common in people experiencing anxiety and depression. Another study of children also found that kids who were vitamin D deficient experiencing significantly higher levels of anxiety and stress than their peers.

Vitamin D and Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a severe mental health condition that causes people to lose touch with reality. This often leads to psychotic symptoms like hallucinations and delusions.

Researchers have discovered that people with schizophrenia are more likely to have significantly lower levels of vitamin D than normal, in addition to being more likely to live in parts of the world with less sun exposure.

A number of studies have also found that insufficient sunlight or vitamin D supplementation as an infant increases the risk of developing schizophrenia later in life.

So, how can you get some more vitamin D in your life to reap the mental health benefits?

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Get outdoors!  Soak up the sun and enjoy the mood-boosting effects.  Just don’t forget the SPF!

 


vitamin d and mental health, vitamin d deficiency and mental health, lack of vitamin d and mental health, low vitamin d and mental health
Light therapy is a daily treatment that involves a dose of intense artificial light— something more commonly associated with the treatment of seasonal affective disorder, but it has also been proven to be effective for treating other forms of non-seasonal depression such as major depression and bipolar. In fact,  studies show that light therapy has similar effectiveness to pharmaceutical treatments. You can even do light therapy from home with at-home lightboxes

 

vitamin d and mental health, vitamin d deficiency and mental health, lack of vitamin d and mental health, low vitamin d and mental healthVitamin D supplements: You can purchase Vitamin D supplements at your local grocery store or pharmacy. They come in a pill form that you can take every morning to help increase and regulate mood. Ideally your levels should be at 40-60 mg/ml year round.

 

Increase Vitamin D in your diet: Try to incorporate more vitamin D-rich foods into your everyday meals, such as fish oil, milk, egg yolks, mushrooms and vitamin-d fortified foods.

 

 

The Lockdown’s Effect on Mental Health

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Lockdowns, gyms being closed, holidays alone, and being separated from classmates, friends, and family members are just a few of the factors that have made the pandemic extremely hard on mental health. In fact, about 4 in 10 adults in the U.S. have reported symptoms of anxiety or depression during the pandemic.

Let’s take a closer look now at the impact COVID-19 is having on mental health.

Anxiety and Depression During the Lockdown

Before the pandemic had even made it to the United States, it was wreaking havoc on the mental health of people in China. Half a dozen studies with more than 10,000 respondents showed that people experienced worse mental health problems than before the pandemic, including high symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Up to half of the respondents showed serious signs of depression, and 35 percent showed serious anxiety. Studies find that the stress and anxiety fueled by the pandemic also cause poor sleep, creating a vicious cycle. The more we lay awake worrying at night, concerned about the pandemic, the worse our mental health becomes.

Loneliness During the Lockdown

Stay-at-home orders, social distancing, and travel restrictions have left people feeling more isolated than normal. 1 in 7 U.S. adults said they were often or always feeling lonely in April 2020, up more than 25 percent from 2018. However, we also saw a shift to more FaceTime calls and Zoom hangouts, and these things contributed to respondents in a separate study reporting feelings of “remarkable resilience.” So, not only did they not become lonely during the pandemic, but they gained a greater sense of community support.

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Domestic Violence During the Lockdown

Another unfortunate side effect of the pandemic and a major contributor to stress, shame, and anxiety is a spike in domestic violence worldwide. Sixty percent of people who were experiencing domestic violence pre-pandemic report the violence worsened during the pandemic. This is likely caused by increased stress, unemployment, spending more time at home, and shelters being forced to close their doors. The threat of abuse compounds the stress, anxiety, and fear that a lot of victims were already experiencing during the pandemic.

The Mental Health Impacts of COVID-19 are Worse for Disadvantaged Groups

Researchers worldwide set out to discover what else was making people vulnerable to mental health issues during COVID-19. They found that among the risk factors were people with poor health or chronic conditions who have a higher tendency of stress, anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

Researchers also found education and income played a role. The less stable the income and education, studies showed, the more anxiety, depression, and stress experienced.

Vital Self-Care Tools

  • If you can’t physically see loved ones doesn’t mean you have to isolate yourself. Lean on virtual chats with tools like Skype, Zoom, and FaceTime.
  • Physical activity is vital for mental health so make sure to make time for it even if it’s just for a few minutes a day. We can mental health, mental health awareness month, mental health services, mental health quotesnever underestimate the power of physical activity on our mental and emotional well-being.
  • Taking a moment each day for positive reflection will ensure that a part of each day has been dedicated to your well-being.
  • Don’t hesitate to create a support system with friends, family and others who can relate.  Seek out online support groups.
  • Talk to your health care professional who can guide you through these difficult times and give you more resources.
  • Eating a healthy well balanced diet will create a positive environment from inside out.

Effects of Lockdowns on Teen Nutrition

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Covid lockdowns have either been a hit or miss amongst teenagers. Some have taken these lockdowns as an opportunity to self-improve, while others have fallen into poor habits. Many have found themselves binge-eating and snacking frequently due to boredom, oftentimes these snacks are not the healthiest choices either. In addition, the lack of physical activity along with poor eating habits and nutrition will further result in a major increase in diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular pathologies, etc. in the upcoming generation of young adults.

Symptoms of Poor  Teen Nutrition

 

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Poor nutrition alone in teens can result in:

  • Skin problems (acne)
  • Poor bone health
  • Decrease in growth
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Mental health issues
  • Emotional health issues
  • Increased weight
  • Decreased energy

Furthermore, proper nutrition has been proven to help improve mental health and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and overall increase emotional health and energy. Being in lockdown, many teens have been experiencing a range of mental health issues, all of which can be bettered with proper nutrition. In a study conducted in 2013, it was found that teenagers who avoided eating processed foods and sugar while consuming a diet that consisted of a large number of vegetables, fruits, fish and grains had a 25-35% lower risk of developing depression than those who had poor nutritional diets.

How to improve teen nutrition and overall health

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The challenge is not only in the choices that teenagers are making, but also for parents and families to create a healthy food environment and help guide these adolescents to develop the fundamental skills of good eating habits and proper nutrition. Although poor nutrition can cause life-long damage, awareness and action can reverse/avoid many of those damages from carrying on into adulthood. Luckily, there are many ways that teens can improve their nutrition and overall health. Some ways to do so include:

  • Eating three balanced meals everyday with healthy snacks in-between.
  • Increasing the amount of fiber eaten. This is beneficial because fiber is more filling and will lessen the urge to binge eat or snack.
  • Eating more fruits and vegetables.
  • Limiting the consumption of red meat. Chicken and fish are great alternatives to red meat due to the fact that red meat contains more saturated fat.
  • Switching out juices and carbonated drinks for water.
  • Physical activity. It is important for teenagers to get at least 60 minuets of exercise daily. Exercise is essential because it helps with muscle gain, weight control, improve mental health, and reducing the risks of developing health conditions and heart diseases.

Snack Ideas

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To conclude, here are some examples of easy snack switches to help improve your nutrition.

  • Chips -> Kale chips
  • Chips/crackers and dip -> Vegetables and hummus
  • Cookies -> Fruit with nut butter
  • Ice cream -> Frozen Greek yogurt covered fruits
  • Chocolate -> Trail mix with dark chocolate

 

 

 

Light Therapy: Benefits of Vitamin D Lamps

Optimally, everyone should get at least 15 minutes of sun for three days a week to be in good health. Unfortunately, those that do not live near the equator may not have access to that amount of sun throughout the year. And in today’s busy climate, very few have the time to get into the sun enough to meet recommendations.  Light therapy is a great way to get the Vitamin D we need.  You may wonder how the sun is linked to vitamin D so here is a simple explanation. The sun’s UV radiation helps vitamin D precursors in the body to be converted into a usable form.

Why Do We Need Vitamin D?

 

Vitamin D is necessary for strong bones and can combat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which includes emotional and physical changes due to change in seasons. Lack of vitamin D may also lead to several complications in the body, including rickets, a reason why you need an alternative source of Vitamin D especially when sun exposure is low. An excellent way to always ensure you get Vitamin D is by using vitamin D lamps.

Vitamin D Lamps for Light Therapy

Vitamin D lamps are sun lamps used for phototherapy. They are fluorescent lamps that produce high-intensity ultraviolet-B (blue) rays. These rays trigger vitamin D production in the body. Here are the benefits of using a Vitamin D lamp:

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  1. Provides you with vitamin D during the winter season, a season when there are less available foods containing vitamin D
  2. Gives you a refreshed morning- Even with no sunrise, you get to experience ‘sun’ for a few hours in the morning.
  3. Boosts vitamin D deficiency as researchers have found that it can significantly increase serum Vitamin D levels even more than when using other supplements.
  4. Great for those who have problems using oral supplements due to side effects such as inflammatory bowel disease and cystic fibrosis.
  5. Improves sleep in people struggling with insomnia. Helps regulate melatonin, allowing the body to control the sleep-wake cycle.
  6. Helps ward off seasonal depression by regulating the serotonin which relays signals to the brain and enhances your mood.
  7. Phototherapy is used to treat people with dementia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
  8. The vitamin D lamps are adjustable and can be placed in any position. They are also portable hence easy to carry when travelling. This means that you can get your Vitamin D anywhere, anytime.
  9. Helps boost vitamin D facilitating the absorption of calcium in the body, promoting healthy bone growth and reducing the risk of related health conditions such as rickets.
  10. Helps modulate the immune system, regulate gene and cell growth, prevent frequent infections, and promote fast wound healing

Vitamin D Deficiency

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With the following signs and symptoms, you could start phototherapy with guidance from your healthcare practitioner.

• Fatigue and muscle weakness
• Bone and joint pain
• Slow wound healing
• Frequent infections

Tips when using a vitamin D lamp for light therapy

• Position the lamp 2-3 feet away from where you are to allow better concentration and dispersion of the light.
• Start with 30-40 minutes per day. If you don’t see changes, increase to an hour.
• Be consistent with your light therapy to see the above health benefits.

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Bottom line

With a Vitamin D lamp, you can still get the right amount of Vitamin D that your body needs even when there is reduced sun exposure. Get yourself a lamp and say goodbye to insomnia, seasonal depression and other related conditions. Always consult with your health practitioner, especially if you have any underlying health conditions, to know the right Vitamin D lamp to purchase.

Resources

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-2008-05-10-0805090323-story.html

https://www.chicagotribune.com/consumer-reviews/sns-bestreviews-health-the-best-light-therapy-lamp-2020-20200813-wdbrnaby6ff2bazsu7mbhsixxm-story.html

https://www.chicagotribune.com/consumer-reviews/sns-bestreviews-health-8-products-that-will-combat-seasonal-affective-disorder-20190108-story.html

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/are-sun-lamps-best-to-improve-your-winter-mood/