How Do You Psychologically Prepare for Spinal Surgery?

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Spinal surgery and surgeries on other vital organs are considered serious procedures. So it’s no surprise how challenging it is to find ways to stay calm before undergoing an operation that can significantly alter your life.

Aside from thinking about the surgery, you may have other concerns that need managing, especially once you take a break to recover post-surgery, such as your taxes and finances and your family’s security.

These recommendations have been collated to prepare you for your upcoming procedure psychologically.

Tips in Preparing for Your Spinal Surgery

1.  Do Your Research

Before the procedure, you should get ample information on your upcoming surgery. Research the measures you have to take before, during, and after the operation.

By doing extensive research, you can prepare the possible pre- and post-care practices that you may need.

Surgeons allot sessions to answer your questions about spinal surgery that are bothering you. Take this time to inquire about the possible complications and outcomes of the procedure and discuss the surgical plan your doctor is preparing for you.

2.  Know Your Surgeon

To help ease your mind about your impending spinal surgery, make sure that you fully trust your surgeon.

When researching, try to find out more about a doctor’s background, experience, and specialization before choosing the surgeon to operate on you. This information can help assure that you are in good hands.

Developing a healthy professional relationship with your surgeon can lead to more comfortable conversations about your spine surgery.

3.  Weigh the Pros and Cons

Prepare yourself mentally by thinking about all the matters you have to consider before, during, and after the operation.

Enumerate all the advantages and disadvantages of undergoing surgery and train your mind to focus on being optimistic about the procedure’s results.

Look at the bigger picture and avoid dwelling on the possible complications and risks of the process.

4.  Talk to Other Patients

Find comfort in talking to other individuals who underwent what you are going through and survived it.

Expressing your emotions and thoughts to another person who understands you and has survived the operation can help ease your anxieties.

You can ask them for advice or tips on preparing for the surgery and how to deal with the procedure’s impact on your life. These conversations may encourage you to concentrate on the success of your spinal surgery.

5.  Plan the Future

Once you already know what to expect from the procedure, start planning what to do and find ways to cope better after the surgery.

Inform family, friends, and workmates that you will be taking time off so that they will also know how to deal with your situation.

Although the procedure will significantly impact the quality of your life, look forward to what is in store for you after your successful surgery.

6.  Expect Downtime

Anticipate that after your spinal surgery, you will not be able to do your routine for a while. You may need help and assistance from your family or physical therapist.

Before your operation, ensure that you have accomplished all you have to do and adjust your work and other schedules accordingly.

7.  Cherish the Recovery Time

Keep a positive perspective when you think about recovery time. Look at this period as your time to recuperate, heal, and rest.

Do not mull over the things that you will not be able to do after the surgery. Instead, contemplate how recovery time will help you go back to your routine.

Is CoQ10 the Future Treatment of Anxiety and Depression?

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What is CoQ10

CoQ10 is an antioxidant found naturally in the body with higher concentrations in the heart, liver, and kidneys because they have the greatest energy requirements.  CoQ10 helps convert food into energy and is also a powerful antioxidant which is likely why it plays a role in helping with anxiety and depression.  You can find it in foods such as avocado, parsley, soybean oil, fish and in animal heart and liver.  However, if the meat has been cooked, it reduces its bioavailability.

Loss of CoQ10 happens as we cook our food, naturally as we age, with depression and medical illness.

Anxiety and Depression and CoQ10

Recent studies have shown promising results in terms of CoQ10’s role in improving mood disorders.  One article states “CoQ10 plays a role in several processes that are impaired in bipolar disorder, mitochondrial function, inflammation, and oxidative stress. It is also neuroprotective, and prevents neurodegeneration in Alzheimer, Parkinson, and Huntington diseases. It raises brain-derived neurotrophic factor and protects hippocampal cells against injury. Serotonin is another possible avenue for its antidepressant effects.”

CoQ10 Supplementation

Dr. Nicole Cain Suggests:

  • COQ10 is a fat-soluble compound and that means that it can absorb very slowly and poorly if not formulated properly. The form of COQ10 in my bundle is formulated with Vitamin E, zinc, and medium chain triglycerides for optimal absorption into your body.
  • The second thing is to note that there are two forms of COQ10Ubiquinone and ubiquinol. Ubiquinone is the oxidized form—which means it has an added oxygen molecule which makes the ubiquinone more biochemically stable, and ubiquinol is not oxidized which can increase free radical damage.
  • She recommends using the ubiquinone form because you are starting with a more stable form of the nutrient and allowing your body to shift between ubiquinol and ubiquinone as needed.

CoQ10, CoQ10 Benefits, Benefits of CoQ10, CoQ10 side effects, what is CoQ10

The research

Here is an excerpt from an article that explains some research:

A 2013 article in the journal Molecular Biology examined the role CoQ10 supplementation can play in replacing lowered coenzyme Q10 levels.  There is well-established research pointing at lowered coenzyme Q10 levels among patients with either depression or bipolar disorder, particularly accompanying neurological disorders.

The researchers found that CoQ10 supplementation reduced fatigue and improved ergonomics during exercise for patients with Parkinson’s disease, thus elevating their mood.

Similar to the article in Molecular Biology, a 2016 article in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience examined the effect of adding CoQ10 supplementation for treating fatigue and depression in patients with multiple sclerosis. A group of 48 patients with multiple sclerosis were randomized to receive either a placebo or 500 mg of a CoQ10 supplement daily for 12 weeks.

Over the course of the study, patients taking CoQ10 showed a decrease in fatigue and depression, while the placebo group showed an increase in symptoms. The researchers concluded that CoQ10 may be beneficial in helping treat mood issues that often accompany multiple sclerosis.

A more recent 2018 article in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology examined the effectiveness of CoQ10 supplementation in treating the depression cycle in bipolar disorder, which may be linked to oxidative stress.

A group of 69 patients with bipolar disorder, and who were undergoing a depressive episode, were randomized to receive either 200 mg per day of a CoQ10 supplement or a placebo for eight weeks. Any mood stabilizing medications remained the same for the duration of the study.

Patients in both groups showed a decrease in symptoms of depression over time, but the group taking CoQ10 showed better response at the end of eight weeks of treatment.

Cautions

Of course, a careful medical history, including any medications, should be taken before recommending CoQ10.

Potential Drug Interactions

CoQ10 may be both beneficial and harmful in cancer treatments. For example, it might help reduce the toxic effects of certain chemotherapy drugs — cerubidin (daunorubicin) and adriamycin (doxorubicin) — on the heart. On the other hand, it’s recommended to not take CoQ10 if you are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation because it may decrease the effectiveness of the treatments.

Some research suggests that CoQ10 might reduce blood pressure, which could possibly enhance the effectiveness of certain blood pressure medications. While this may be a benefit, it’s important to make sure your health care provider is aware that you are taking CoQ10 so that your blood pressure can be closely monitored and your medication adjusted accordingly to avoid low blood pressure (hypotension). Symptoms of low blood pressure include dizziness and fainting. If left untreated, low blood pressure can become life-threatening.

If you’re taking a blood thinner, such as warfarin or aspirin, do not use CoQ10 without consulting your healthcare provider. “CoQ10 can reduce the efficacy of a blood thinner,” explains Splaver. “Therefore, it is important to always inform your physician before you begin any vitamin supplementation and monitor your blood thinner levels a little more

Some parents complain that their children are “over energized”, which is likely a result of improved energy metabolism allowing the child to get into more mischief than before. When this is an issue at bedtime, families have found that taking the second dose at dinner, instead of later, usually suffices.

https://www.chiroeco.com/coq10-for-anxiety/#:~:text=Any%20mood%20stabilizing%20medications%20remained,of%20eight%20weeks%20of%20treatment.&text=CoQ10%20is%20well%20established%20as%20a%20powerful%20antioxidant.

https://drnicolecain.com/3-key-supplements-for-those-suffering-from-anxiety/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3953391/pdf/OMCL2014-798957.pdf

9 Amazing Affects of Kindness on Health

kind, kindness, be kind quotes

2021 is drawing to a close and naturally we reflect back on the year we had and most of us are probably looking back a little further recalling our lives prior to COVID-19.  It’s been a difficult 2 years for humankind and so how do we go forward?  What is it that we all have in common, that we can all do and can affect our global family?  We all have within us the capability to be KIND to one another and to ourselves.  And when we tap into that common thread among us it can spread like wildfire.  I think we can agree that no matter who you are, where you are, what circumstances you’re in, that a little kindness goes a long way. I can recall an experience I had awhile ago when I was grocery shopping, and I was putting my groceries in the trunk of my car in the pouring rain.   I had put my last bag in the trunk and was about to bring the cart to the corral and out of nowhere a woman grabbed my cart and said, “I can bring it back for you, there is no sense in both of us getting soaked”. I can’t describe the enormity of my feelings at that moment.  I was initially surprised, which made me wonder why I would feel surprised by another person’s act of kindness.  And then I felt such gratitude and happiness that it carried me for a few days after.  This woman didn’t know me or the impression it left upon me but that is the beauty of kindness.  It doesn’t require much to do but the affect can be life changing.  Since that encounter, I am always looking for ways to pay it forward.

Did you know kindness is good for your health?

According to several studies kindness can:

  • Cause a production of oxytocin which helps in lowering blood pressure and improving overall heart health
  • Increase self-esteem and optimism
  • Increase happiness
  • Increase longevity
  • Increase serotonin, the chemical that heals wounds, calms and makes you happy
  • Decreases pain by releasing endorphins – natural painkillers
  • Decreases stress because of less cortisol
  • Decreases anxiety and depression
  • Kindness is contagious

kind, kindness, be kind quotes

If kindness to others can have all these amazing effects on your health imagine what it could do when you also are kind to yourself!  Here are 52 ways to be kinder to yourself cited by Inc.com

  • Embrace your own power and you’ll be better able to empower others.
  • Learn to calm your mind. A calm mind is the best weapon against even the biggest challenges.
  • Have a courageous conversation. Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.
  • Create media blackout days. Shut out all the screens and other things that distract or disturb you.
  • Be true to your word. Speak with integrity; say only what you mean and never speak ill of yourself or others. Use the power of your words in service to truth and kindness.
  • Do the right thing, even if no one is watching. Doing the right thing may hurt, but doing the wrong thing causes lasting harm.
  • Spend time with people who do good things. Never stop doing things for others and spend your precious time with others who share that spirit.
  • Embrace the unknown. Fear of the unknown can be truly paralyzing but having the courage and conviction to take a chance can turn fear to your advantage.
  • Be compassionate toward yourself. Be as understanding with yourself as you would be with your best friend. If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.
  • Celebrate your growth. Sometimes we forget to celebrate how far we’ve come. Mental, emotional, and spiritual growth don’t happen automatically. They take work and perseverance, and they’re worth rewarding.
  • Don’t ever settle. Never accept less than you deserve, because once you start to settle, you always will.
  • Stop worrying about what other people think. The greatest prison people live in is the fear of what other people think.
  • Don’t live your life online. Make sure you’re spending time with people face-to-face and living fully in real life.
  • Treat others with respect. Treating others with respect and generosity is associated with high self-esteem.
  • Realize you are worthy and deserving. There’s a big difference between thinking you deserve to be happy and knowing you are worthy of happiness.
  • Be kind to others. Set an example. Treat everyone with the same consideration you want for yourself.
  • Express yourself courageously. Speak your truth and live to express, not to impress.
  • Be your own superhero. Remember, superheroes are ordinary people who make themselves extraordinary.
  • Shut down negative self-talk. The things you tell yourself every day are either going to lift you up or tear you down. It’s your choice.
  • Hold yourself to a high standard. Never let anyone tell you your standards are too high. There’s nothing wrong with wanting the best for yourself.
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously. Take your work and your responsibilities seriously, but yourself not so much.
  • Do something you’re afraid to do. Learn to overcome fear with will.
  • Take time off. Everyone deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solution searched for. There’s no harm in withdrawing from your cares for a while.
  • Learn to forgive. In any conflict, the first to apologize is the bravest, the first to forgive is the strongest, and the first to forget is the happiest.
  • Set big goals. Set daily, monthly, and long-term goals built on your dreams. Never be afraid you’re thinking too big–nothing is impossible. If you believe in yourself, you can achieve it.
  • Respect yourself fully. Always treat yourself with the same respect you show others. Remember, the world sees what you put out there–so hold yourself to a high standard.
  • Give to others. Giving is the master key to happiness in life. It’s in giving that we receive the most.
  • Truly listen to people when they are speaking. Stop every other action and thought and focus on what’s being said.
  • Go to bed early. You’ll be happier, healthier, and more productive.
  • Help others. Don’t look for a reason to help people; just do it.
  • Change your thoughts to change your life. If you truly want to be better to yourself, start by listening to your thoughts. Your mind is a powerful thing, and when you fill it with positive thoughts amazing things can happen.
  • Stop trying to fit in. When you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect. Concentrate instead on being yourself and standing out.
  • Think of a way to make your life easier, then do it. If something doesn’t add to your life, it doesn’t belong in your life.
  • Stop judging yourself. One of the most important ways we can be kinder to ourselves is to stop judging ourselves. Don’t sum up your whole life in one moment.
  • Make the most of every opportunity. When opportunity knocks, don’t let fear hold you back. Open the door and embrace the opportunity, because it may be the most important one you’ll receive.
  • Learn to let things go. Sometimes the best way to be happy is to learn to let go of things you tried hard to hold on to.
  • Ask for help. Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it.
  • Stay focused. Keep yourself on task and you’ll discover more free time.
  • Be fully present. To be present in the moment is one of the greatest acts of kindness you can give yourself.
  • Take time for yourself. There is a virtue in work and there is virtue in taking time off. Enjoy both in balance.
  • Nourish yourself. What if you devoted the coming year to simply caring for yourself? Don’t make excuses, adjustments, or improvements–just do whatever it takes to nurture yourself.
  • Bring music into your life. Music gives wings to the mind and flight to the imagination.
  • Get out and have fun. There’s no valid reason not to enjoy your life every day.
  • Appreciate people in your life. Appreciation can make someone’s day or even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words, even awkwardly, is all that is necessary.
  • Learn to dance freely. Even if it’s only when nobody’s watching, learn to let yourself be loose and enjoy each step.
  • Don’t rest on your laurels. Keep yourself motivated and moving forward.
  • Try to bring meaning to every day. It’s important to remember that we all have meaning within us.
  • Learn to apologize. Apologizing doesn’t always mean that you’re wrong and the other person is right–sometimes it just means that you value your relationship more than your ego.
  • Boldly challenge yourself. If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.
  • Treat yourself to a personal health day. Take time off and get a massage, eat great food, do nothing, take a walk, work out, whatever you do–treat yourself to whatever makes you happy.
  • Be your own best friend. It’s far better than being your own worst enemy.
  • Reinvent yourself. Life isn’t about finding yourself; life will always be about creating yourself.

https://www.inc.com/lolly-daskal/52-ways-you-can-be-kinder-to-yourself.html

https://www.gms.ca/living-well/the-health-benefits-and-science-of-kindness

https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/the-art-of-kindness

https://www.dartmouth.edu/wellness/emotional/rakhealthfacts.pdf

Should You Be Worried About the Link Between Pesticides and Parkinson’s Disease?

In recent years, research has accelerated into Parkinson’s disease. Researchers are studying the disease around the clock in order to understand the causes, and solutions, to the disease. While there are still dozens of different avenues to look into, some research has illuminated a potential link between common household pesticides and Parkinson’s Disease.

It’s been found that exposing certain neurotransmitters to pesticides greatly reduces their energy level and output, which could translate into the development of Parkinson’s Disease. The link between pesticides and Parkinson’s Disease is still being studied and reviewed thoroughly, so new evidence is still coming out every day. Here’s a brief guide to the findings so far.

The Environment and Parkinson’s Disease

It’s been known for years now that while environmental factors can and do play a part in developing Parkinson’s Disease, they aren’t as important or predictive as genetic factors. A person’s genetic makeup is still the number one determining factor when trying to figure out how Parkinson’s Disease develops and reveals itself, though environmental factors can “trigger” the disease in people who are already genetically susceptible.

Any environmental factor is thought to only increase the odds of developing the disease slightly, especially when comparing it to the genetic makeup of the individual. Furthermore, there are also environmental factors which have actually been shown to decrease the risk of the disease, such as coffee and anti-inflammatory medications.

Location and the Development of Parkinson’s

Studies were conducted throughout the 80s to determine the link between rural living and the development of Parkinson’s Disease. Although many are unaware of these studies, they do confirm a link, although tenuous, between rural living and the development of Parkinson’s.

There are many factors which researchers looked at when trying to establish a connection: farming as an occupation, frequency of time spent around animals, living on a farm, and exposure to a variety of pesticides, as well as frequently drinking well water. These factors closely correlate to each other, however, so the individual factors should be taken with a grain of salt.

Restudying Rural Considerations

Since the study in question was performed in the 80s, nearly forty-five years ago, a team in Finland decided to reconduct the experiment to see if anything had changed in that timespan. Interestingly, they came to the same results as the previous study.

Although citizens had flocked to urban areas from rural farmland and well water is no longer used predominantly as a drinking source in rural areas, the study still showed a tenuous connection between growing up in rural areas and developing Parkinson’s Disease. It’s possible this conclusion represents a carry-over from environmental exposure from well into the past, although there is no substantial evidence to confirm or deny this conclusion.

Pesticides and Parkinson’s Disease

The connection between pesticides and Parkinson’s has been raised many times, which led some researchers to look into specific pesticides. However, these efforts are difficult because they require data which already exists in the population. Researchers can’t simply expose individuals to pesticides and record the data, so they must use information from pre-existing patients and study their findings based on the patients’ accounts.

However, despite these difficulties, there have been specific chemicals which have been studied, as there is enough data to do so. The chemical paraquat has been the most studied chemical in this timespan and seems to pose a significant risk to triggering Parkinson’s in patients.

The chemical is associated with a likelihood of disease development two or three times the control group. Another chemical which is concerning to the scientific community is rotenone, which acts to disrupt mitochondria during its use. Rotenone is actually extracted from plants, making it a “natural pesticide” though it has still been associated with Parkinson’s Disease and its development.

Other Concerns

Pesticides and rural living are not the only factors which can increase pesticides. Although, again, this research is difficult to conduct and conclusions are not always substantial or set in stone, there have been other, urban elements that have been associated with a slight risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease. These mostly include factors born from air pollution in cities and other urban areas.

For example, numerous pollutants such as particulate matter, ozone, and nitrogen dioxide have been linked to Parkinson’s Disease. Additionally, metals like copper, mercury, and manganese which can become entwined in the fabric of city air have also shown the potential to increase the risk of Parkinson’s, though not to a great degree.

Military Pesticides

One of the most extensively studied chemicals in the last fifty years is “agent orange” a pesticide sprayed by the American military in Vietnam, in an attempt to kill trees and plants of the country. This chemical is itself a mix of two other chemicals and lasts an extremely long time in the environment and in the systems of those who are exposed.

Many negative health outcomes, such as birth defects and cancer, have been attributed to Agent Orange’s use. However, many studies also come to wildly different conclusions. American Veterans are actually protected under the “Agent Orange Act” even if the scientific data is not airtight, an accommodation made to protect those who served in Vietnam. In 2010, Parkinson’s Disease was added to the list of ailments covered under the act.

SOURCES USED:

https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/10.1289/isee.2013.P-3-23-13

What Research Says About Quercetin for Brain Health

Quercetin, quercetin covid, quercetin benefits, what is quercetin

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

health benefits of dates, health benefits of medjool dates, are dates healthy?

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.

 

 

 

 

The Fascinating Science of How Pumpkin Seeds Help Brain Function

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Pumpkin seeds are a fall snack favorite adored by many. But, did you know that pumpkin seeds also have powerful brain health benefits and are integral in healthy brain function? They are rich in many micronutrients that are essential for healthy brain function, including copper, iron, magnesium, and zinc. Their magnesium content provides a calming effect on the brain — an amazing and all-natural option for stress relief.

Keep reading to learn more about how pumpkin seeds help brain function.

Key Minerals and Nutrients in Pumpkin Seeds

A quarter cup of raw pumpkin seeds contains about 150 calories, 15 grams of healthy fat, a few grams of carbs, and 8-10 grams of plant protein. They are also packed with nutrients.

are pumpkin seeds healthy?, pumpkin seeds benefits, health benefits of pumpkin seeds, benefits of pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds, which are also called pepitas, are an excellent source of manganese, magnesium, iron, zinc, and copper. Magnesium is key to helping improve mood and sleep. Manganese plays a key role in collagen production — promoting bone and skin health. Iron and Cooper found in pumpkin seeds are involved with energy production, whereas iron helps transport oxygen to the cells in the body. Zinc is key for immunity, vision, and skin health.

Eating just one serving of raw pumpkin seeds can supply between 14-42% of the daily target for these essential nutrients.

Pumpkin seeds contain the following key brain health minerals:

  • Magnesium: This mineral is essential for a well-functioning nervous system, and it also supports brain development, memory, and learning. Research has shown that low levels of magnesium may increase neurological health issues and conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and the risk of stroke, migraines, epilepsy, and anxiety and depression.
  • Zinc: Zinc plays a key role in the regulation of communication between the brain cells that impact brain development, memory, and learning. Zinc deficiency is linked to a number of neurological conditions, including epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, and depression.
  • Iron: Iron is another mineral that plays an integral role in the day-to-day functions of the brain and development. Iron deficiency can lead to fatigue, headaches, and anxiety. Iron deficiency is a widely known cause of impaired cognitive, language, and motor development.
  • Cooper: Cooper plays a key role in brain function and development and is required for essential enzymes that supply the brain with energy. A proper balance of copper is key because too little or too much can cause brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Menkes, and Wilson’s diseases.

Brain Benefits

Some of the most significant brain benefits that pumpkin seeds pack include:

  • Feelings of calm — The high magnesium content of pumpkin seeds can lead to stress and anxiety relief and an overall sense of calm. Over the past 50 years, as magnesium consumption has plummeted, anxiety rates have gone up drastically. A calm and controlled mind increases your decision-making power and brings you a better sense of clarity.
  • Feelings of happiness — Pumpkin seeds can also help produce serotonin — the incredible neurotransmitter that helps us feel happy. According to the NCBI, Serotonin is one of the most important neurotransmitters that influence mental health.

How to Eat Pumpkin Seeds

You can buy pumpkin seeds at most grocery stores and health food stores. Or, you can make your own! Simply take the seeds from a pumpkin and bake them at 350 for 30-40 minutes. Here are some simple and delicious ways to incorporate more pumpkin seeds into your diet:

  • Eat them alone as a snack
  • Sprinkle them on top of salads for some crunch
  • Mix them into yogurt and smoothies
  • Blend them in with protein balls
  • Sprinkle them on whatever you want for added flavour, crunch, and a brain boost, from oatmeal to cereal and stir-fries and tacos.

Pumpkin seeds are an extremely versatile and delicious snack that packs a serious brain-boosting punch. Try adding them to your meals or snacking on them to harness the brain-boosting powers and ensure healthy and optimal brain function.

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.

 

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.