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Bromelain for Health & Wellbeing.

Bromelain is made from enzymes found in pineapple juice and plant stems (1).  Bromelain has historically been used as a folk remedy for burns and wounds.  It has a large degree of uses.  For instance, it aids digestion when taken orally it.  It is both a natural pain reliever and a natural anti-inflammatory (2).  It is believed to be as effective as NSAIDs/non steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (5).  It slows swelling, blood clotting, and the growth of tumors, and is a natural blood thinner. 

How bromelain works:

Bromelain assists with digestion and disorders of the digestive tract.  It is an enzyme which digests protein, vitamins, and minerals.  So, by improving the breakdown and absorption of nutrients, bromelain it improves health.  It can also assist with healing problems in the bowels, like Crohn’s disease, constipation, and indigestion. 

Irritable bowel disease/IBD can help to treat inflammatory bowel disease.  An animal study showed that bromelain can help suppress IBD associated inflammation.  Here bromelain was shown to reduce the severity and incidence of spontaneous (not lab induced) colitis.  Bromelain also lowered significantly the severity of inflammation in the colon in these animals, according to histology reports.  It is believed that these results were due to bromelains anti-inflammatory effects (21).  In a study involving taking biopsied tissues from people with irritable bowel diseases (inflammatory bowel disease or IBD, Crohn’s disease or CD), and from people who were healthy.  The tissues were then treated with bromelain in Petri dishes.  The treated tissues experienced a reduction in the secretion of pro-inflammatory disease-causing factors.  The concluding of the study was that bromelain may be a new or novel therapy for irritable bowel disease (22).

Diarrhea and intestinal issues are improved by bromelain.  Bromelain can counter the effects of E. coli (Escherichia coli) and Vibrio cholera, and reduce diarrhea.  It does this in two ways, firstly by reducing the ability of the bacteria to stick to cell receptor sites on the walls of the intestines; and secondly, by disrupting the cell signals that lead to the secretion of too much liquid by the intestines, which can cause symptoms of diarrhea (23).

Bromelain can improve allergies.  It does this by moderating the immune response, and by blocking the activity of cells (called DC44 antigen-presenting cells).  Bromelain also improves the functioning of (modulates) cells that link the part of the immune system that changes in reaction to challenges, called the adaptive immune response, with the part of the immune system that remains static or unchanged, called the innate immune response (called CD 11c dendritic cells).  so, bromelain helps both the initiate immune response and the adapt the immune system in better addressing threats.  In this way it can improve or slow allergic reactions/responses like nasal congestion, itchy eyes, rashes, and runny nose.  

Sinusitis involves chronic inflammation of the sinuses.  A small study of 12 people who had sinus surgery showed that those treated with bromelain for three months had better post surgery tests (rhinoscopy results), a great improvement in their symptoms, and reported an improved quality of life.  Some research shows that bromelain can help reduce sinusitis related nasal mucus and coughing, and hay fever related swelling and inflammation (19).

Asthma can be improved with bromelain.  Bromelain reduces inflammation of the airway, reduces swelling in the bronchi and bronchioles, and lowers mucus production (3).  This last helps decrease any obstruction of airways.  In an animal study bromelain was shown to have significant anti-inflammatory activity in the subjects’ respiratory passages.  These animals also had lower numbers of pro-inflammatory enzymes etc. in their blood streams (eosinophil, leukocyte, and cellular infiltrate counts, as well as BAS CD8+ T and CD4+ cells, and interleukins IL-4, IL-12, IL-17, and IFN-a).  At the same time no damage was done to healthy cells (3).

Urinary tract infections: when mixed with antibiotics bromelain boosted their effect on UTIs (4).

Osteoarthritis: bromelain helps treat osteoarthritis because it is anti-inflammatory in nature, and arthritis is a disease of inflammation (5).  Arthritis is often related to age.  It both chronic and progressive (worsening) in nature.  It gradually reduces movement as bone related pain increases.  It causes the loss of joint mobility and can impact life quality.  Bromelain assist with osteoarthritis in three ways. It is analgesic (pain relieving).  It helps to protect joint cartilage from damage, so slows the progression of arthritis.  It can diminish inflammation related swelling and damage to joints.  So, bromelain can be a good alternative to pain medication, which can have side effects (liver and kidney damage).  Research has shown bromelain to be as effective as drugs used to treat arthritis related pain.  Called NSAID or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.  At higher doses (945 mg per day) bromelain has been shown, in human trials, to have a similar impact to prescription anti-inflammatory diclofenac.  And, an even higher dose, 1890 gm per day was shown to have a greater impact than this medication on joint swelling (6).  Some preliminary research suggests that bromelain can also reduce pain related to rheumatoid arthritis, but it is preliminary at this stage (19).

Heart/stroke: Bromelain slows or inhibits the build up of blood platelets, called platelet aggregation.  This can cause clotting or thrombosis.  It has the ability to prevent blood clot from growing and becoming problematic, called a fibrinolytic ability (6). 

Skin: Bromelain stimulates wound healing.  Its anti-inflammatory ability is one reason it is used to heal wounds (7).  It also helps to clean skin wounds and remove dead, infected, thickened or callused skin.  This is called debridement of skin.  The enzymes from pineapple are of a class needed for proper cell division, so they are important for tissues health (8).  When used topically (on skin) bromelain-based cream, with 35% bromelain, has been shown to eliminated debris from burns and to speed up wound healing (9).  Bromelain, in clinical trials, has been effective in treating the skin condition pityriasis lichenoides chronica.  This condition involves lesions that can be long-lasting.  The cause of this disease is unknow.  Treating it is problematic and results are inconsistent.  A small study involving giving bromelain orally (by mouth) to eight people (three males/five females) resulted in all eight subjects going into remission.  The study involved giving the subjects 40 mg of bromelain three times per day for one month.  Followed by giving 40 mg two times per day for one month.  And, giving the subjects 40 mg once per day for the final month.  Two subjects had a relapse after five or six months, but this went away after they took bromalin for another three months, and on the same dosage schedule.  This result was believed to be due to bromelain’s anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and immunomodulatory effects (10).

Bromelain assists with keeping skin looking young (14).  It can help to renew cells, whiten skin, and reduce the appearance of cellulite.  Bromelain’s anti-inflammatory properties means that it can reduce the inflammation associated with red, irritated skin.  Bromelain’s ability to reduce swelling also means that it can reduce age related eye puffiness.  Bromelain is an exfoliant.  It can break down proteins holding dead skin cells together.  But, as bromelain doesn’t penetrate as deeply, it is less of an irritant.

you can make a face mask from pineapple by blending it until it is creamy. Then spread it over your face and neck, avoiding eyes. Leave the mask on for five minutes and then wash your face etc. with cool water.

you can also break open a bromelain capsule and mix the powder into your night cream once and a while. it will feel tight and dry, but your skin will glow when this is washed off.

Hair: health and length may be improved with bromelain.  Bromelain is believed to improve protein absorption by the body (20).  Hair is made from protein, so if the body is breaking it down and absorbing it in greater amounts, it will improve all bodily systems, including hair.

Varicose veins: may be managed better when taking bromelain.  This condition involves the walls of veins becoming lax/relaxed, and the veins becoming larger and bulging.  Bromelain can reduce the damage done to the veins and sustain the elasticity in them.

Cancer: Bromelain is being considered as an adjunct or add on therapy for cancer (11). for instance, it disrupts the growth of malignant/cancerous cells (12).   Animal research and human research (breast cancer) demonstrated bromelain’s ability to slow or even stop tumors.  This effect was dose dependent, with the animals absorbing 40% of the bromelain they consumed through their intestinal tract.  These animals also experienced a reduction in both swelling (antiedematous) and inflammation. Bromelain has also been shown to inhibit experimentally induced tumors in animals, predominantly dose dependently, and exhibit antiedematous and anti-inflammatory activity (13).  Bromelain has the ability to modulate the way the immune system interacts with tumor causing properties, called immune-cytotoxicity.  Here substances called monocytes act to fight tumor cells, and they stimulate enzymes that help kill tumor cells called cytokines (11).

Dental health: Bromelain, when taken by mouth, can reduce swelling/edema, as well as pain and bruising in dental treatments.  It also stimulates healing and reduces healing time after dental work.  It is best to take Bromelain both before and after treatment (15;16).

Bone: Bromelain is known to help accelerate healing of bone fractures.  When it was mixed into a proteolytic enzyme formula (rutin and trypsin) and given to people healing from fractures of the long bone these patients healed faster.  They also reported less pain and needing less pain medication (17).   

Bromelain can improve antibiotics ability to work (18), it may also benefit those suffering from bronchitis and angina (19).

Interactions and precautions: consult a health care provider before taking. 

Don’t take bromelain if you are taking any of the following (19):

Antibiotics, the amount of which is absorbed may be increased by bromelain. 

Blood thinning medications like antiplatelet and anticoagulant medications (Warfarin/Coumadin, Clopidogrel/Plavix, or aspirin).  Bromelain can reduce blood’s clotting ability, so it can increase bleeding.

Sedatives: bromelain magnify the effect of the following: Alcohol, Anti-depressants (tricyclics like amitriptyline/Elavil), anti-seizure medications (Dilantin/phenytoin and Depakote/valproic acid). barbiturates, benzodiazepines (Xanax/alprazolam or Valium/diazepam), herbs (catnip, kava, valerian), and insomnia medications (Rozerem/ramelteon and Lunesta).

Bromelain side effects: are usually mild like loose bowel movements or abdominal distress.  Rare reactions (usually in those with established allergies) include skin rashes, itching and hives, as well as breathing problems and swelling in the throat and face; diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting; and in younger women, increased menstrual flow.  Keep in mind that bromelain can thin the blood and so increase the risk of bleeding during surgery.  It is advised that if taking bromelain, it be stopped at least two weeks prior to surgery (19).

Bromelain should be avoided if you have one or more of the following: a bleeding disorder or high blood pressure; a kidney or liver disease; are pregnancy; or have an allergy to the following: carrots, celery, fennel, Latex, papain, pineapple, pollen (grass and cypress), or wheat (19).

Dosage: bromelains effect is dose dependent, and different conditions and different people may need different doses.  It has been shown to be affective starting at 160 mg per day, with the therapeutic action toping out at 2000 mg per day.  The last should be divided throughout the day.  Bromelain should be taken on an empty stomach, so either before a meal or between meals.

Allergies: 500 mg twice a day                     Arthritis/joint pain: 500-1000 mg twice a day

Cancer: 1000 mg twice per day                

Digestion: 250 mg, twice a day

Injuries: 500 mg, four times a day            Surgery/wound recovery: 1000 mg twice per day.

References:

1   MacKay, D., & Miller, A.L., (2003).  Nutritional support for wound healing. Altern Med Rev.,8(4):359-77.  PMID: 14653765.

2   Graf, J., (2000). Herbal anti-inflammatory agents for skin disease. Skin Therapy Lett.,5(4):3-5. PMID: 10785407.

3   Secor, E.R., Jr., Shah, S.J., Guernsey, L.A., Schramm, C.M., & Thrall, RS., (2012).  Bromelain limits airway inflammation in an ovalbumin-induced murine model of established asthma. Altern Ther Health Med.,18(5):9-17. PMID: 22894886.

4   Mori, S., Ojima, Y., Hirose, T., Sasaki, T., & Hashimoto, Y., (1972).  The clinical effect of proteolytic enzyme containing bromelain and trypsin on urinary tract infection evaluated by double blind method.  Acta Obstetrica et Gynaecologica Japonica., 19(3):147–153.

5   Brien, S., Lewith, G., Walker, A., Hicks, S. M., & Middleton, D. (2004).  Bromelain as a Treatment for Osteoarthritis: a Review of Clinical Studies.  Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine: eCAM, 1(3), 251–257. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/ecam/neh035.

6   Taussig, S.J, & Batkin, S., (1988).  Bromelain, the enzyme complex of pineapple (Ananas comosus) and its clinical application.  An update.  J. Ethnopharmacol., 22(2):191-203.  DOI: 10.1016/0378-8741(88)90127-4. PMID: 3287010.

7   MacKay, D., & Miller, A.L., (2003). Nutritional support for wound healing. Altern Med Rev.,8(4):359-77. PMID: 14653765.

8   Mótyán, J. A., Tóth, F., & Tőzsér, J. (2013).  Research applications of proteolytic enzymes in molecular biology.  Biomolecules, 3(4), 923–942. https://doi.org/10.3390/biom3040923.

9   Altern. Med. Rev. 1998; 3:302–5.

10   Massimiliano, R., Pietro, R., Paolo, S., Sara P., & Michele, F., (2007).  Role of bromelain in the treatment of patients with pityriasis lichenoides chronica.  J Dermatolog. Treat.,18(4):219-22.  DOI: 10.1080/09546630701299147. PMID: 17671882.

11   Maurer, H.R., (2001).  Bromelain: biochemistry, pharmacology and medical use.  Cell Mol Life Sci.,58(9):1234-45.  DOI: 10.1007/PL00000936. PMID: 11577981).  It disrupts the growth of malignant/cancerous cells.

12   Taussig, S.J, & Batkin, S., (1988).  Bromelain, the enzyme complex of pineapple (Ananas comosus) and its clinical application.  An update. J. Ethnopharmacol., 22(2):191-203.  DOI: 10.1016/0378-8741(88)90127-4. PMID: 3287010.

13   Grabowska, E., Eckert, K., Fichtne,r I., Schulze-Forster, K., Maurer, H., (1990).  Bromelain proteases suppress growth invasion and lung metastasis of B16F10 mouse melanoma cells.  Planta Med., 56: 249-53.

14   Lourenço, C.B., Ataide, J.A., Cefali, L., Novaes, L.C., Moriel, P., Silveira, E., Tambourgi, E.B., & Mazzola, P.G., (2016).  Evaluation of the enzymatic activity and stability of commercial bromelain incorporated in topical formulations.  Int J Cosmet Sci.,38(5):535-40.  DOI: 10.1111/ics.12308. Epub 2016 Mar 16. PMID: 26833020.

15   Tassman, G.C., Zafran, Z.N., & Zayon, G.M., (1965).  A double-blind crossover study of a plant proteolytic enzyme in oral surgery.  J. Dent. Med., 20:51–4.

16   Tassman, G.C., Zafran, Z.N., & Zayon, G.M., (1964).  Evaluation of a plant proteolytic enzyme for the control of inflammation and pain.   J. Dent. Med.,19:73–7.

17   Kamenícek, V., Holán, P., Franĕk, P., (2001).  Systémová enzymoterapie v lécbĕ a profylaxi poúrazových a pooperacních otoků [Systemic enzyme therapy in the treatment and prevention of post-traumatic and postoperative swelling].  Acta Chir Orthop Traumatol Cech.,68(1):45-9.  Czech. PMID: 11706714.

18   Bromelain. (1998).  Altern Med Rev.,3(4):302-5. PMID: 9734239.

19   Mount Sinai Hospital, Bromelain, Ananas comosus; Bromelainum.  Accessed at: https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/supplement/bromelain.

20   Castell, J.V., Friedrich, G., Kuhn, C.S., & Poppe, G.E., (1997).  Intestinal absorption of undegraded proteins in men: presence of bromelain in plasma after oral intake.  Am J Physiol., 273(1 Pt 1): G139-46.  DOI: 10.1152/ajpgi.1997.273.1. G139. PMID: 9252520

21   Hale, L.P., Greer, P.K., Trinh, C.T., & Gottfried, M.R., (2005).  Treatment with oral bromelain decreases colonic inflammation in the IL-10-deficient murine model of inflammatory bowel disease.  Clinical Immunology, 116(2): 135-142.  DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clim.2005.04.011.

22   Onken, J.E., Greer, P.K., Calingaert, B., & Hale, L.P., (2008).  Bromelain treatment decreases secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines by colon biopsies in vitro.  Clinical Immunology, 126(3):345-352.  DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clim.2007.11.002.

23   Pavan, R., Jain, S., Shraddha, & Kumar, A. (2012).  Properties and therapeutic application of bromelain: a review.  Biotechnology Research International2012, 976203.  DOI: https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/976203.

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bromelain and pineapple improve skin.

How creatine can support emotional wellbeing.

Creatine for emotional wellbeing.

Depression may be improved by creatine supplements. Preliminary studies are showing it to have protective effects against, as well as an ability to treat, the symptoms of depression. This might be due to the fact that it increases Adenosine triphosphate or ATP. This is an indication of how well brain cells are working or metabolizing energy. In short, creatine speeds up cellular metabolism within brain cells. Studies show that after taking creatine the brain is better able to use primary brain fuel oxygen (45), so it functions better. This is important as there is a growing body of scientific evidence that depressed people’s brains don’t metabolize energy in the same way that non-depressed people’s brains do (28). Studies using functional brain imagine (positron and single photon emission tomography or PET scans) have shown that the brains of depressed people often have diminished blood flow and metabolism. Specifically, in the frontal lobes and the basal ganglia. In one study of depression and creatine, which used measures of creatine in spinal flued, it was found that those subjects who were depressed, and expressed a desire to commit suicide, also had lower levels of creatine in their spinal fluid (28).

Regarding anxiety, in a study of people suffering from generalized anxiety disorder or GAD, but no childhood trauma, it was found to have reduced levels of total creatine in the cerebral white matter or brain tissue (28). A similar level of low creatine was found in a study of people who experienced panic attacks, but this time in the right amygdalohippocampal region of the brain. And, another study of panic disorder found creatine levels to be asymmetrical, with more phosphocreatine in the right frontal lobe than the left (28). In an animal study, using both male and female rats, those rats on creatine, regardless of sex, exhibited less anxiety than animals not given it (46).

Creatine is proving to be an adjunct or alternative treatment PTSD: it is now being investigated as a potential treatment for post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD combined with depression. Further, in studies of PTSD, using a control group, it was found that subjects diagnosed with PTSD had reductions of creatine in both the right and left hippocampal brain regions. Preliminary studies on creatine for PTSD are showing some success. A study of PTSD, where subjects were treatment resistant (drug resistant), found supplements improved symptoms in both men and women. The greatest response was in those subjects who had PTSD and depression. So, there is some proof that creatine can be therapeutic for PTSD. Regarding anxiety disorders specifically, there are few studies at this point. One case study, on a 52-year-old female who suffered from depression, fibromyalgia, and PTSD, found that the subject had abnormally low levels of phosphocreatine and ATP. She was unresponsive to medications before creatine supplements were introduced. After daily supplementation of creatine there was a reported improvement on measures of depression and fibromyalgia, and a 30% improvement on an overall quality of life scale (28).

When it comes to creatine doses for phycological problems, it is suggested that using lower doses (5 g) of creatine may be better and have more bioavailability, in comparison to higher (10 g) doses. This is as larger doses may slow the absorption of creatine. Smaller doses usually absorb in about two hours. And larger doses can cause the saturation of target sites in the body, resulting in a downregulation of, or lowering of priority of, creating in the cells. Tissues that are lower in creatine before supplementation show greater accumulation of it after supplementation. Keep in mind that it takes about four weeks for creatine supplements to build up in the brain and muscle tissue (28). An example is an experiment in which people given 5 g of creatine a day for four weeks found that the subjects experienced a significant increase in total brain creatine. This was especially true of the following brain areas: thalamus, cerebellum, white matter, and gray matter (28).

This information is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Please consult a qualified medical practitioner before making any dietary or lifestyle changes.

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Creatine for skin health & appearance.

Creatine improves skin health & appearance.

Creatine supports skin health and protects against, and reverses, age related skin damage. Or, that which is associate with aging is connected to damage to skin cells, especially within the mitochondria and DNA. Mitochondria, found in every cell, converts nutrients from food into energy. Aging is related to dysfunctional mitochondria (102). So, creatine is important in preserving the skin’s (and body’s) cellular energy system. It is turned to phosphocreatine (its phosphorylated form) in the body and, in this way, acts as a pivotal source for high energy phosphates, one of three components of ATP or adenosine triphosphate. The other two are sugar or ribose, and a nitrogen base called adenine. As aging sets in, and oxidative stress does more damage to cells, it becomes more difficult for the body to maintain the creatine system, and so more difficult to maintain the concordant energy storage mechanism in skin, in this way skin is negatively affected by a loss of creatine. The aging of the skin specifically is associated with a deterioration in cellular energy metabolism. This loss of energy is the result of harmful changes in mitochondrial function. This in turn is the result of free radicals created by solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation, called exogenous noxes (103). In short, as skin ages the cells try to counter any loss of mitochondrial energetic capacity by producing extra-mitochondrial pathways like glycolysis or the creatine kinase (CK) system.

A study of creatine metabolism and skin aging showed that aging is associated with a stress related deterioration in the mitochondrial energy supply in human skin (epidermal) cells, which is associated with a reduction in mitochondrial creatine kinase (Ck) activity (103). The same study shows that creatine supplementation is taken up by skin cells, where it is correlated with an increase in mitochondrial CK activity, improved mitochondrial functioning, and provided protection from free oxygen radical stress, or free radicals/oxidative stress (103).

This information is for educational and informational purposes only. Please see a qualified medical professional if you need help.

For more information on the benefits of creatine or for the above references go to:

Creatine may improve bone health.

1/2 tsp of Creatine powder a day can improve bone density & strength.

Creatine has, according to preliminary studies, the ability to improve bone strength. Currently creatine, and its ability to improve cellular energy, is being investigated for its beneficial effects on the brain, aging, and even bone health (63; 77). Bone health in particular is a primary concern to post menopausal women, as this population is especially vulnerable to weakening bones. This situation can lead to fractures, frailty, and a loss of function on a daily basis (64).

Exercise improves bone density and so is good for both bone strength and tissue health. Small studies of creatine (Cr) are showing it to have the ability to enhance bone mineral density. Bone mineral density is the amount of bone mineral in bone tissue. The more minerals present in the bone, the greater its strength, and the less likely it will be to degenerate or brake/fracture.

Creatine (Cr) supplementation may improve bone health in a multiplicity of ways. Firstly, Cr is used by the bone cells for cellular energy stimulation (7). So, by increasing creatine within the body as a whole, the bones have a better or enhanced access to creatine. The more creatine, the more metabolic activity within the bone cells. this means there is a greater chance that new bone is formed and that more minerals are absorbed, leading to greater bone strength and health (8). Secondly, Cr improves muscle performance (3; 4;5). When muscle vibrates against bone it stimulates bone cell development. The stronger the muscle, the more the muscle stimulates the bone, and the greater the stimulation, the more likely it is that the bone mass density will improve or increase (6). In order to garner the greatest effects from taking creatine for bones, resistance/weight training should be undertaken three times per week (67;71). Creatine should be consumed either during exercise/exertion or shortly before or after it.

Creatine should be combined with weight/load bearing exercise to result in improved bone health. A small placebo-controlled study (9), which also controlled for diet (via food journals), of postmenopausal women (half of whom took creatine for one year) showed that weight training (three times per week) combined with creatine supplements (seven grams) results in: the maintenance of bone mineral density; a mild increase in bone strength; and a mild increase in muscle strength. Conversely, the placebo/sugar pill group lost a significant amount of bone mineral density. The bone tested was the Femur, which is a large leg bone, and often prone to fracturing with age (1;10).

Some research is showing that for older adults it is better to take creatine right before, or during, exercise (11). It is hypothesised that creatine taken at this time increases the blood flowing to the muscles under exertion during exercise. This then results in better, or more, creatine being transported/moved into the muscles and building up or accumulating into the muscles (11). The best option might be to take it just before exercise. This was shown in two studies to increase muscle uptake of creatine, as well as muscle concentration of creatine. Both of these factors can lead to better overall results regarding muscle health and performance (12;13). When choosing a dose of creatine, effective dosing (after the first week of taking the full scoop to get it into the muscle) is approximately three grams or half a tea spoon. In short, creatine in combination with exercise and other dietary proteins is important regarding bone and muscle health during the aging process, especially for postmenopausal women (14).

This information is for educational and informational purposes only. Please see a qualified medical professional if you need help.

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Foods to Improve Dopamine

The following foods may naturally increase dopamine: bananas, (the riper the better), almonds, apples, watermelons, cherries, yogurt, beans, eggs, and meats (17). You can also take L-tyrosine supplements, including collagen, or tyrosine rich foods. This is as the amino acid tyrosine is an important precursor, or building block, of dopamine. Dopamine then forms norepinephrine, another mood related chemical. Tyrosine can be found in protein rich foods (32).

Sources are: almonds, peanuts; eggs; lean meat, cheese, turkey, chicken and fish; also, green vegetables like spinach and kale; and garbanzo beans (chickpeas).

Supplements that help boost dopamine, are L-Tyrosine (see above), Mucuna, L-theanine, and Rhodiola.

Mucuna or velvet bean. It has up to 5 percent L-Dopa or levodopa. It can cross the blood-brain barrier (this is a natural shield protecting the brain from noxious substances) and increase dopamine levels in the brain. It has been used as a natural treatment for stress, depression, and Parkinson’s disease. It also boosts serotonin and norepinephrine. If you take the supplement, take it as an extract with 15% L-Dopa, take 300 mg two times per day (33).

L-theanine is an amino aid found in green tea and it is known to create relaxation, but not sleepiness. It helps to treat depression, anxiety, and stress (both physical and mental). It also improves cognitive functioning (learning and memory). It helps boost GABA and serotonin in the brain, as well as dopamine. This is as it can cross the blood-brain barrier. 100 mgs will improve attention and focus. It is recommended that a person take 200 mg of L-theanine two to three times per day (33). Green tea (organic, one cup a day) is also associated with a reduction in breast cancer risk. Regarding weight loose, in one study women with polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS who drank green tea experienced a greater weight reduction.

Rhodiola or golden root can help with depression, improve work performance, reduce fatigue, and treat stress (mental and physical). It helps stabilize dopamine and supports its reuptake, leading to decreases in: anxiety, fatigue, and depression. It also increases the ability to deal with stress. If you want a supplement, get it in standardized root form, (Rhodiola rosea root) containing 3% total rosavines and at least 1% salidroside’s. Take 170 mg per day, twice a day (33).

Multi-vitamins and minerals can help boost mood: zinc, vitamin B6, and folate, are all needed for dopamine synthesis and neurotransmission. They are often depleted by stress, medications (including hormone-based birth control/HRT), poor diet, and toxic environmental exposure.

Keep in mind that too much dopamine is unhealthy or dangerous. Talk to a health car provider. Don’t mix dopamine supplements with methyldopa, antidepressants, or antipsychotic drugs without talking to a doctor and pharmacist. Tyrosine and mucuna can interact with other supplements like St. John’s Wort, 5-HTP, Tryptophan, and SAM-e. Don’t take if pregnant or breast feeding.

This information is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not to take the place of medical advice or treatment. Seek out a qualified health care provider if you have questions or need help. Dr. Grant is not responsible for any possible health consequences of anyone who follows or reads the information in this content. Everyone, but especially those taking medication (over the counter or prescription) should talk with a physician before undertaking any changes to their lifestyle or diet (including taking supplements).

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Eat to Improve Serotonin.

Healthy fats and protein are good for wellbeing.

Eating strategically may increase serotonin. The amino acid Tryptophan is a necessary building block (precursor) to serotonin, and it is readily available in protein rich foods and carbohydrates. But, another amino acid in protein has been found to slow, or even block, the production of serotonin so, ideally to increase serotonin production in the brain, eat sweet or starchy (ideally complex) carbohydrates without protein (15; 16;5). This may help to separate the pro-serotonin nutrients from the anti-serotonin ones. Eat low or fat free and protein free carbohydrates on an empty stomach (about three hours after a protein). The food source (like gram crackers, pretzels etc.,) should have at least 25 to 35 grams of carbohydrates and no more than 4 grams of protein. Try to eat less than three grams of fat per serving as this can increase your weight. If you want a quick boost to your mood try a simple carbohydrate, but keep in mind that this will raise your blood sugar and it may deplete levels of dopamine, another Nero-chemical associated with wellbeing (17). Here, chronic dopamine surges from easily digestible sources may lead to a loss of dopamine activity in the brain, as dopamine receptors stop functioning properly. This can result in constant cravings for foods that make dopamine (18) and ultimately weight gain. You should feel an effect 20 to 40 minutes after eating (5). Tryptophan is also necessary to make the sleep hormone melatonin as well as niacin, also called vitamin B3 (19). Sleep disruptions are common in depression, so this is important. Eat Tryptophan rich foods like the following: algae spirulina, bananas, beans, or legumes (like green peas or chickpeas), dairy, eggs, grass fed beef or lamb, Wild fish like cod or salmon, nuts like cashews or walnuts, potatoes, poultry, sesame seeds, and whole grains. The last includes brown rice, corn, oats, and quinoa.

The following foods may help to naturally increase serotonin: turmeric, dark chocolate, green tea, cold-water fatty fish, and fermented foods (yogurt, kefir, unpasteurized sauerkraut). The last helps balance gut bacteria as too much of a” bad” bacterium called lipopolysaccharides can lower serotonin levels (15;20;21). Also, adding vitamins (B6, B9, and B12), and the supplement SAM-e, that is S-adenosylmethionine, to your diet can help deal with depression (22; 23). Magnesium has been found to substantially help with treatment resistant depression (24) as have vitamin D and amino acids, especially tryptophan (25) and Glycine. The amino acid Glycine slows or stops the production of neurotransmitters that excite the nervous system, and therefore cause anxiety, often called the fight or flight response (26). When it is pared with glutamate it promotes the actions of glutamate in the forebrain, which may help in cognitive or thought processes (81). Glutamate is both excitatory and inhibitory. It can cause excitement in the brain and nervous system. Conversely, when turned into GABA it is inhibitory, causing feelings of calm. This is as glutamate is necessary to the production of GABA, or y-aminobutyric acid, which like glycine inhibits producing feelings of relaxation (27;28). In animal model’s glycine increase the amount of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. It is possible that glycine helps psychological problems associated with a lack of serotonin (29;30). Glycine can be found in high protein foods like fish, dairy, legumes, and meat.

The amino acid Phenylalanine (found in the algae supplements Chlorella and Spirulina) is converted into phenylethylamine (PEA) in the body (31). PEA boosts dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure, sexuality, and the brain’s reward system overall. This is why dopamine helps with feelings of wellbeing, with treating depression, and with reducing anxiety.

This information is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not to take the place of medical advice or treatment. Seek out a qualified health care provider if you have questions or need help. Dr. Grant is not responsible for any possible health consequences of anyone who follows or reads the information in this content. Everyone, but especially those taking medication (over the counter or prescription) should talk with a physician before undertaking any changes to their lifestyle or diet (including taking supplements).

References can be found at: http://lifeisbeautifullifecoach.com/932-2/

Light Therapy for Peri/Menopausal Thyroid Problems.

Light therapy

Light therapy helps thyroid function: it assists inreversing hypothyroidism by modifying gonadotropin hormone release (32).  Gonadotropins are hormones that, in women, stimulate the release of follicle stimulating hormones (FSH) and luteinizing hormones (LH) from the pituitary gland.  In the female body, LH stimulates the production of testosterone, which is then converted to estrogen.  FSH stimulates the egg follicles to mature, these follicles will eventually produce progesterone and small amounts of estrogen.  Human gonadotropin(hCG) hormones are weak stimulators of thyrotropin or TSH.  Human gonadotropin hormones stimulate a substance called adenosine monophosphate or cAMP (89) that then produces more thyroid stimulating hormone.  In both humans and animals hCG has been shown in studies to stimulated thyroid activity.  For instance, when people have overly high levels of hCG they are often diagnosed with hyperthyroidism (89). 

This link between sex hormones and thyroid functioning in women should not be overlooked.  Women are up to 20 times more likely to develop Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.  This condition is linked to disruptions in sex hormones.  Progesterone deficiency, often experienced in the menopausal transition, is interrelated with estrogen dominance (too much estrogen in comparison to the amount of progesterone).  This condition is linked to thyroid problems.  Estrogen increases the production of a protein made in the liver that inactivates thyroid hormone, called thyroid binding globulin or TBH (90).  The end result of such an imbalance is a slow down of the metabolism and increased weight and body fat.  Conversely, progesterone improves thyroid hormone activity by lowering the production of thyroid binding globulin.  When thyroid hormones are active, the body’s metabolism is stimulated, energy levels are improved, more fat is burned, and weight is better managed (91).  And, if estrogen dominance goes unchecked, hypothyroidism can be the result.  There are several shared symptoms of estrogen dominance and hypothyroidism (fatigue, headache, hair loss, reduced sex drive, and weight problems).  Estrogen dominance is also considered a symptom of thyroid insufficiencies (92).  So, these two conditions, which overlap, can be mistaken for one another (95). 

Hypothyroidism is associated with depression in research where other factors, like economics, race, age, and education levels, have been ruled out (93).  When progesterone drops and estrogen goes up or is imbalanced (normal estrogen, but not as much or no progesterone) thyroid binding globulin (TBG) goes up.  In response to elevated TBG, thyroid hormone T3 production is slowed.  So, it becomes less available to cells, disrupting their functioning.  This is one way in which progesterone deficiency disrupts limbic system functioning.  There are thyroid hormone receptors on brain cells (102), and if the brain is deprived of thyroid hormones mood states and cognition can become compromised (103), especially in the limbic system (104).  The limbic system is an area of the brain that includes the amygdala, hypothalamus, thalamus, hippocampus and other structures.  These structures are involved in regulating mood, as well as motivation, learning, and memory.  Making things worse, when T3 goes down, production of neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine also drops.  As these neurochemicals are involved in mood and though process, the result can be low mood, depression, and a lack of interest in pleasure, called anhedonia (94).

Keep in mind that thyroid disruptions can also impact sex hormones.  Thyroid hormone T3 can galvanize the release of progesterone from luteal cells (100).  Progesterone production mainly takes place during or slightly after ovulation.  It happens in the ovaries, specifically in the corpus luteum, which is a temporary structure and the remains of an ovarian follicle, after it has released a mature ovum or egg.  So, if women have trouble ovulating, they will have trouble producing enough progesterone.  This is another reason that the menopausal transition is associated with thyroid problems. 

Thyroid problems are also connected to the inflammatory response and the oxidative stress underlying it.  Thyroid hormones are meant to play a protective role regarding damage due to inflammation and oxidative stress.  But, if the thyroid is not functioning properly, this can’t happen.  So, hypothyroidism can amplify oxidative stress, which can magnify inflammation, which can then suppress sex hormone production, causing yet more thyroid issues (101) and problems producing neurochemicals.

Melatonin, which is improved with light therapy, also impacts thyroid health.  Both melatonin and thyrotropin releasing hormone or TRH are produced by the pineal gland.  TRH stimulates the production of thyroid stimulating hormone or TSH.  TSH then galvanizes the production of thyroid hormone.  So, melatonin can directly stimulate TSH production (87).  In a study of women lacking proper estrogen/progesterone production, those who took 3mg of melatonin for three to six months were shown to increase thyroid hormone levels (88).

Light therapy improves vitamin D production.  Vitamin D deficiency is associated with thyroid disease (96).  It one study, 72% of subjects with autoimmune thyroid disease had D deficiency (97).  In another study, on Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, 85% of subjects had low levels of D, and high levels of anti-thyroid antibodies (98).  And, it follows that vitamin D can help to treat thyroid problems.  In one study, those patients who received 1,200 to 4,000 international units or IUs of vitamin D per day over a period of four months showed lower levels of anti-thyroid antibodies at the end of the treatment (98).  Keep in mind that this is above the recommended daily allowance of 600 IUs.  Regarding thyroid stimulating hormone specifically, in a study of hypothyroidism and vitamin D, those who took supplements for 12 weeks showed improved levels of thyroid stimulating hormone.  Keep in mind that there was no change to thyroid hormones T3, thyroxin, T4, or triiodothyronine (99).

Depression is connected to sex hormone dysregulation.  In the female body, LH stimulates the production of testosterone, which is then converted to estrogen.  FSH stimulates the egg follicles to mature, these follicles will eventually produce progesterone and small amounts of estrogen.  Female sex hormones are neuromodulators, they play a significant role in controlling the dopamine neurons, called nigrostriatal, found in the area of the brain linked to cognitive processes, called the Substantia nigra.  In animal studies (female rats and primates) subjects who had their ovaries removed experienced a 30%, or higher, loss of dopamine cells (35).  This is very important as neurotransmitter dopamine is produced in these cells.  So, sex hormones, by way of the Substantia nigra, are central to cognition, emotion, and movement.  The neurons in the Substantia nigra travel to the frontal lobes (attention and executive function) and the area of the brain associated with motor control.  If there is a death of neurons in the Substantia nigra, cognitive problems, and loss of motor control, will result (36).  Further, estrogen also intensifies the effects of norepinephrine (adrenaline in the brain) and serotonin.  It does this partly by decreasing the monoamine oxidase (MAO) activity in the central nervous system (CNS).  MAO breaks down serotonin and norepinephrine, so estrogen slows this process down, leaving the neurotransmitters active longer.  This may explain the antidepressant like effect of melatonin (if given/taken at the right time of day) in perimenopausal and menopausal women (32). In a human study of natural morning light, it was found that post menopausal women who had less morning window covering and more morning light experienced less depressed mood (37). 

This information is for educational and informational purposes only.  It is not to take the place of medical advice or treatment.   Seek out a qualified health care provider if you have questions or need help.  Dr. Grant is not responsible for any possible health consequences of anyone who follows or reads the information in this content.  Everyone, but especially those taking medication (over the counter or prescription) should talk with a physician before undertaking any changes to their lifestyle or diet (including taking supplements).

Information is copy written.

References:

32   Zimmermann, R.C., & Olcese, J.M., (2007).  Melatonin, in Treatment of the Postmenopausal Woman, Basic      and Clinical Aspects, (third ed), 2007.  Academic Press. Elsevier Inc., Amsterdam, Netherlands.  DOI:  10.1016/B978-0-12-369443-0.x5000-5.   Accessed at:    https://www.sciencedirect.com/tompics/neuroscience/melatonin.

35   Leranth, C., Roth, R.H., Elsworth, J.D., Naftolin, F., Horvath, T.L., & Redmond, D. E., (2000).  Estrogen is  essential for maintaining nigrostriatal dopamine neurons in primates: implications for Parkinson’s  disease and memory.  Journal of Neuroscience 20:8604-8609.

36   Rutgers’s University Website: Memory Loss and the brain.  The newsletter of the memory disorders project at   Rutgers’s University.  webpage: Glossary Substantia nigra.  Accessed on: Jan 03, 2018.  Accessed at:   www.memorylossonline.com

37   Youngstedt, S.D., Leung, A., Kripke, D.F., & Langer, R.D., (2004).  Association of morning illumination and window covering with mood and sleep among post menopausal women.  Sleep and Biological Rhythms 2(3):174-183.  DOI:10.1111/j.1479-8425.2004.00139.x.

87   Sakamoto, S., Nakamura, K.,Inoue, K., & Sakai, T., (2000).  Melatonin stimulates thyroid stimulating hormone accumulation in the thyrotropes of the rat pars tuberalis.  Hstochem Cell Biol., 114(3): 213-218.  DOI:         10.1007/s004180000188.

88   Bellipanni, G., Di Marzo, F., Blasi, F., & Di Marzo, A., (2005).  Effects of melatonin in premenopausal and menopausal women: our personal experience.  Ann N Y Acad Sci., 1057:393-402.  DOI: 10.1196/annals.1356.030.

89   Hershman, J.M., (1999).  Human chorionic gonadotropin and the thyroid: hyperemesis gravidarum and trophoblastic tumors. Thyroid, 9(7): 653-657.  DOI: 10.1089/thy.1999.9.653.

90   Ben-Rafael, Z., Struass, J.F., Arendash-Durand, B., Mastroianni, L. Jr., & Flickinger, G.L., (1987).  Changes in thyroid function tests and sex hormone binding globulin associated with treatment by gonadotropin.       Fertility and Sterility., 48(2):318-320. DOI: 10.1016/S0015-0282(16)59363-7.  Accessed at:          http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/3111894.

91   Taylor medical group website.  Webpage:  estrogen and progesterone: two important hormones.  Accessed at:         https://taylormedicalgroup.net/healthtopics/estrogen-and-progesterone.

92   Santin, A. P., & Furlanetto, T. W., (2011).  Role of estrogen in thyroid function and growth regulation.  Journal of Thyroid Research., 2011, 875125. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4061/2011/875125.

93    Zavareh, A.T., Jomhouri, R., Bejestani, H.S., Arshad, M., Daneshmand, M., Ziaei, H., Babadi, N., & Amiri, M., (2016).  Depression and hypothyroidism in a population-based study of Iranian women.  Rom J Intern Med.,             54(4):2170221.  DOI: 10.1515/rjim-2016-0033.

94   Santin, A. P., & Furlanetto, T. W., (2011).  Role of estrogen in thyroid function and growth regulation.  Journal of thyroid research, 2011, 875125.  DOI: https://doi.org/10.4061/2011/875125

95   Kumar, P., & Magon, N., (2012).  Hormones in pregnancy.  Niger Med J., 53(4): 179-183.  DOI: 10.4103/0300-     1652.107549.

96   Yavropoulou, M.P., Panagiotou, G., Topouridou, K., Karayannopoulou, G., Koletsa, T., Zarampoukas, T., Goropoulos, A., Chatzaki, E., Yovos, J.G., & Pazaitou-Panyiotou, K., (2017).  Vitamin D receptor and progesterone receptor protein and gene expression in papillary thyroid carcinomas: associations with histological features. Journal of Endocrinological Investigation., 40(12):1327-1335. DOI: 10.1007/s40618-        017-0700-4.  Accessed at;  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28589382

97   Kivity, S., Agmon-Levin, N., Zisappl, M. et al., (2011).  Vitamin D and autoimmune thyroid diseases. Cell Mol Immunol., 8, 243–247.  Accessed at: https://doi.org/10.1038/cmi.2010.73.

98   Mazokopakis, E.E., Papadomanolaki, M.G., Tsekouras, K.C., Evangelopoulos, A.D., Kotsiris, D.A., & Tzortzinis, A.A., (2015).   Is Vitamin D Related to Pathogenesis and Treatment of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis? Hell J Nucl      Med.,      18(3):222-7.  PMID: 26637501.

99   Simsek Y, Cakir I, Yetmis M, et al., (2016).  Effects of Vitamin D Treatment on Thyroid Autoimmunity.  J Res Med Sci., 21:85.  DOI:10.4103/1735-1995.192501.

100   Datta M, Roy P, Banerjee J, Bhattacharya S., (1998).  Thyroid hormone stimulates progesterone release from         human   luteal cells by generating a proteinaceous factor.  Journal of Endocrinology., 158(3):319-25.      Accessed at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9846161.

101   Mancini, A., Di Segni, C., Raimondo, S., Olivieri, G., Silvestrini, A., Meucci, E., & Currò, D., (2016).  Thyroid Hormones, Oxidative Stress, and Inflammation.  Mediators of inflammation, 2016: 6757154.                https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/6757154.

102   Schroeder, A.C., & Privalsky, M.L., (2014).  Frontiers in Endocrinology, 5: 40.  DOI: 10.3389/fendo.2014.00040.

103 1   Dais, J.D., & Tremont, G., (2007).  Neuropsychiatric aspects of hypothyroidism and treatment reversibility. Minerva Endocrinol., 32(1): 46-65. 

104   Bauer, M., London, E., Silverman, D.H., Rasgon, N., Kirchheiner, J., &Whybrow, P.C., (2003).  Thyroid, brain      and mood odulation in affective disorder: insights from molecular research and functional brain imaging.  Pharmacopsychiatry, 33(supp 3): s215-s221.  DOI: 10.1055/s-2003-45133.

For more information on light therapy go to: http://lifeisbeautifullifecoach.com/light-therapy-an-overview/

This information is for educational and informational purposes only. Contact a certified health care provider if you need help.

Red light for Improved Dental Health.

Dental health: may benefit from light therapy devices. Blue LED or dental halogen curing lamps are specifically designed to fit into the mouth. Periodontal disease leads not only to loss of gum recession and tooth loose, but are associated with other, systemic, diseases. These devices can kill certain bactria found in the mouth (actinomycetemcomitans, Fusobactrium nucleatum, and Porphyromonas gingivalis) in 15 to 60 seconds, but only if in a certain state (biofilm) in other states (planktonic state “2) it is helpful in reducing pathogens only (21). Keep in mind that blue light may activate reactive oxygen species after gum surgery, which could be damaging to gum tissue after surgery specifically.

For References go to:

This information is for educational and informational purposes only. Please see a qualified medical professional if you need help.

Light Therapy for Diabetic Pain.

Light therapy can help treat diabetic peripheral neuropathy. This is considered to be the disease or dysfunction of peripheral nerves, causing numbness or weakness. It does this by improving plantar sensitivity, or sensitivity to touch of the plantar area of the food, which is usually decreased in diabetics. Light therapy was shown to help with (short-term) improvements to tactile sensitivity (16). It has also been used, in conjunction with muscle stretching exercise, to treat myofascial trigger points. It (830 m) also helps improve circulation and joint range of motion, pressure sensitivity, and pain in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee (10).

FOR REFERENCES GO TO THIS PAGE:

THIS INFORMATION IS FOR EDUCATIONAL AND ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY. PLEASE CONSULT A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL FOR HELP IF NEEDED.

Creatine for inflammation.

Creatine has anti-inflammatory properties: it tempers inflammation caused by free radicals, at least exercise related inflammation. The results of a study (90) of creatine’s effect on muscle soreness and inflammation “indicate that creatine supplementation reduced cell damage and inflammation after an exhaustive, intense race.” The study used experienced runners performing in a 30-kilometer race. The subjects were broken into two groups, a test/creatine group and a parallel/control group. The first group was given 20 gram of creatine and 15 grams of maltodextrine per day for five days prior to the race, and the control/parallel group was given only the maltodexrine for five days prior to the race. The researchers looked for signs of inflammation and soreness in the muscles (blood was taken looking for: creatine kinase, lactate dehydrogenase, prostaglandin E2, tumor necrosis factor-alpha) in all participants both before and after the 30 Km race. Blood samples were re-taken directly after the race, and at the 24-hour post race mark. The results showed the following: the treatment /creatine group had only a 19% increase in creatine kinase for the treatment/creatine group, vs a 400% increase in creatine kinase for controls; no change in lactate dehydrogenase plasma concentration for treatment/creatine vs. a 43% increase in lactate dehydrogenase in the control group; a 61% increase in prostaglandin E2 for treatment/creatine group vs. a 600% increase in prostaglandin E2 for controls; and a tumor necrosis factor-alpha increase of 34% for treatment/creatine vs. a 200% increase in tumor necrosis factor-alpha for the controls. And, no one in the treatment group reported any side effects.

Preliminary studies (using animals) demonstrated that creatine (either taken by mouth or injected) decreased the inflammatory response in several different models of acute inflammation. This is proving to be true in studies of chronic inflammation as well. Arthritis for instance has been shown to benefit from creatine treatment in animal models/studies (92). And, studies with people are also indicating that these effects help treat post-exertion/exercise related muscle-based inflammation. Creatine has been shown, in two different animal studies, to have favorable effects on the progression of arthritis. Most importantly, regarding inflammation, human trials have shown these effects to translate to exercise; studies have demonstrated that creatine reduced markers of inflammation following an Iron Man style triathlon (90), a thirty-kilometer food race (93), and an aerobic (running) test (94).

This information is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Please consult a qualified medical practitioner before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. For references go to the page creatine for health and well being .

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