Life is Beautiful

Life, Longevity, & Anti-Aging Coaching

Author: Sharon Grant, PhD (page 2 of 3)

Benifits of Omega 6 & 3 fatty acids, Part 2

Omega three fatty acids and how they impact health: including autoimmune diseases, bone health, eye health, heart disease, menstrual problems, skin, fatty liver disease, weight gain/obesity (including metabolic syndrome), inflammation (including cancer), and mental health problems (anxiety, depression, sleep hygiene, and cognitive decline/dementia). Omega 3s are very important to health. For instance, DHA is found in the testis sperm, the retina, and the cerebral cortex (brain). Regarding brain health, DHA is a main element of the lipids that make up the brain (4).

Omega 3 oils used to be abundant in our diets, it was available in most foods we consumed.  But, in the last 150 or so years, humans (in most parts of the world) have either changed their diets, or had it changed by modern, largescale, farming practices, to such an extent that now Omega 3 fatty acids are hard to come by, and Omega 6s are overly prevalent in foods and overly consumed (4).  In fact, when both Omega 3s and Omega 6s are present, our bodies are designed to favour metabolising Omega 3s. Evolutionarily we ate as much or more 3s than 6s, creating a balanced ration of 1 to 1, 1 to 2 or even 1 to 3 favouring the Omega 3s.  Now we eat far more 6s, up to 20 times as much by some estimates.  This is a problem for many reasons.  Omega 3s are anti-inflammatory, 6’s cause inflammation and other health problems.  In short, Omega 3s enhance health and Omega 6s, in great quantities, can be detrimental (4).

Omega 3 fatty acids are metabolized from alpha linolenic acid (ALA) into eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Today Omega 3s are found in fewer foods than in the past (4).  They are found (as ALA) in green leafy vegetables, in walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and in cold water fish, fish oil/fatty fish (DHA and EPA). Omega 3 fatty acids are also in the seeds of the following plants: rape, chia, flax, and perilla, soybeans. It is found in canola oil.

Latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA): is a hybrid or mix of type I and II.  It is said to be the 2nd most common type of diabetes (% of all diabetics in Europe have this type).  In the United States diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death.  It also leads to limb amputations (foot and leg), blindness, and heart disease (28).  LADA has a slower autoimmune process than type I and shares some features of type II (insulin resistance and weight problems).  LADA sufferers have lower levels of: C peptide, HOMA-B and HOMA-IR. Interestingly, those with LADA report taking less fish oil and eating less fish (16).

Eating omega 3s, especially from fish, might reduce the risk of developing LADA or latent autoimmune diabetes in adults. This is as fatty fish, and its’ oil, have n-3 PUFA or polyunsaturated long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.  These include EPA or eicosapentaenoic and DHA or docosahexaenoic acids.  They effect and modulate the immune system, lower inflammation, and help regulate or control how genes are expressed.  These types of fats can move into cells easily, change the cells’ functioning and help treat autoimmune disease.  As Omega 3s and Omega 6s compete fore the same enzymes, if Omega 3s are metabolised, Omega 6s (which, if overly abundant, cause inflammation) won’t be. This effect was not found for type II diabetes where fish oil supplements may actually increase the risk of type II diabetes (16).

Diabetes: taking enough Omega 3s, especially DHA, is associated with a reduction in type II diabetes (45).

Vitamin D supplementation is associated with reduced risk of both LADA and type II diabetes.  Many immune cell types (B and T cells for instance) have vitamin D receptors.  Vitamin D in an active form, as the metabolite 1.25(OH)2D, has the ability to control immune cells’ inner workings and production/growth. In both type II and LADA diabetes vitamin D may affect the way B cells in the pancreas work.  This is done by 1,25(OH)2D, found in vitamin D, binding to vitamin D receptors in B cells (16).  Poor B cell functioning is also associated with insulin resistance, both types of B cell malfunctioning predict the onset of Type II diabetes years before its final onset (27).

Further, vitamin D increases insulin action by stimulating insulin receptors expression causing an improvement in glucose transportation.  In type I diabetes vitamin D may help to treat the condition by modifying T cell diversity.  T cells are white blood cells that protect against illnesses.  In Type I Diabetes T cells are signaled to destroy cells in the areas of the pancreas (Islets) that produce insulin (28).  In Type II diabetes T cells are implicit in the pathogenesis of the disease.  In this case T cell are necessary for metabolic inflammation and insulin resistance to develop (29).

Eye health:  Omega 3 acid DHA is prevalent within the retina’s outer membrane. DHA is necessary to keep the retina and overall eye, healthy. DHA help protect the retina from over exposure to light, oxidative stress (damage at the cellular level due to free radicals, or single, unpaired, electrons looking for a mate within cells, which in turn damages cells, including DNA and proteins), inflammation, ischemia or lack of proper blood flow to the eye, metabolic processes associated with increase risk of damage, and general age-related problems (17).

Heart Disease: DHA reduces bad fats (triglycerides) in the blood, as well as lessoning clotting (thrombosis), reducing cardiac arrhythmia and lowering death rates (up to 50%) due to heart attach (myocardial infarction). This last is by taking 200 mg per day of DHA (from fish oil/fish) has been shown to reduce heart attach (19).

Skin: studies have shown that eating more Omega 3 fatty acids, especially from fish, lowers incidence and severity of acne.  This is because Omega 3s lower inflammation, which is a risk for acne development.  It does this in part by hindering the (inflammation causing) chemicals PGE2 and LTB4 (15). These are associated with acne.  Omega 3s also decrease levels of something called insulin like growth factor (IGF) and preventing hyperkeratinisation of sebaceous follicles (14).

Conversely, Omega 6 fatty acids, which are known to increase inflammation throughout the body, is considered to be a factor in the development of inflammatory acne.  Keep in mind that the modern western diet has shaped the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids to at least 10:1 (14).

Take 2,000 mg (2 gm) of EPA omega 3s a day.  Get at least 1,000 mg of EPA (superior anti-inflammatory Omega 3).  You can eat oily fish like sardines, anchovies, tuna and salmon or maceral (wild).  Also eat flax seed and oil, walnuts and oil, and canola oil.

Omega 3s, especially DHA, increase glutathione and lowers oxidative stress, while increasing antioxidant capacity (26).  This is good as oxidative stress may damage skin.

Zinc:  helps the body metabolise omega 3s.  it moves vitamin A from the liver into the skin.  It is also anti-inflammatory and antioxidant in nature.  Zinc can assist in breaking down a nerve chemical that causes stress related sebum production, called substance P.  Take 40 mg a day (can do this over a variety of products).

Vitamin A: is in some sources of Omega fatty acids, like cod liver oil.  this is needed to lower risk of acne and inflammation (14). It also helps dead skin cells slough off, which stops pores clogging.  It also helps form red blood cells, which bring oxygen to skin, keeping it healthy. Get as much as 10 000 iu’s per day (talk with medical professional before starting this).

Weight: can be impacted by Omega fatty acids.  In better human studies a connection was made between body composition, weight management, lowered hunger, and greater feelings of satiety, or fullness, and eating more Omega 3 fatty acids.  So, Omega 3 fatty acids could act as a natural way to regulate appetite.  In fact, supplementing with Omega 3s has proven to lower body weight in lean, overweight, and obese individuals as well as lessening obesity in obese individuals (4).

This last may be confusing, but there is a scale for obesity (6): the BMI or body mass index is a calculation of high, age, sex and weight.  BMI is correlated with more accurate measures of body fat.  So, it gives an idea of how an individual’s weight impacts their health.  A BMI lower than 18.5 is underweight; 18.5 to 24.9 is normal weight; 25 to 29.5 is overweight; 30 or more is obese, with obese 1 being 30 to 34.9, obese 2 being 35 to 39.9 and obese 3 being 40 or higher. The last is considered sever or extreme. Keep in mind that BMI is not completely accurate as muscle weights more than fat.

Regarding the absorption of Omega 3s and 6s, if the body is overwhelmed with Omega 6s then it will be less able to metabolize omega 3s. This is as the human body uses the same two enzymes to break down both types of Omega oils.  These are fatty acid de-saturases or FADS2 and FADS1.  Trans fats are also problematic in this way, blocking Omega 3s.  Age negatively impacts the body’s ability to produce FADS, making it harder to synthesize these important nutrients from food (4).

Making things more complex is the fact that, dependent on genetics, a person’s body responds in one of two ways to Omega 6s and Omega 3s.  Up to 80% of people of African descent, and 45% of people of European descent, have this problem.  These groups are at risk as they are genetically prone to maximizing the synthesis of AA from LA and EPA from ALA.  While ideally this would enhance health by making it easier for the body to produce enough of the nutrients it needs, in a world awash in Omega 6s it negatively impacts health. Excessive Omega 6s are correlated with a heightened risk of cancer, coronary heart disease or CHD, leptin resistance and metabolic syndrome, as well as diabetes, obesity, and other heath problems (4).

Omega 6s produce molecules (called eicosanoid metabolic products) are important in cell signalling.  They are significant to many things including magnitude of pain, blood pressure, cell growth, reproduction (spontaneous miss carriage and labour), controlling blood flow in tissues and in immunity, (starting and stopping inflammation, fever, allergy responses etc.).   These molecules are produced in the membranes of all, or most, cells in the body (4).  Too many 6s can lead to cardiovascular disease, immune problems and illness, heightened pain, and inflammatory problems. Keep in mind that inflammation causes arthritis, heart disease and depression, as well as being associated with diabetes and thyroid problems.

Omega 6s and 3s balance one another out.  Omega 6 fatty acids are active even in small amounts, which may be good for health.  In larger quantities they can become problematic causing inflammation, blood clotting in blood vessels, abdominal cramping, and the following cardio vascular related problems: blood viscosity or thickness, cell proliferation or growth (which may contribute to cancer), blood vessels suddenly constriction which reduces blood flow rate (called vasospasm), constriction of blood vessels which increased blood pressure (called vasoconstriction), and thickening of arterial walls (called atheroma’s), and blood clots (called thrombus) in some.

Omega fatty acids and the endocannabinoid system: Supplementation of animals with fish oil high in DHA for 4 weeks resulted in an increase in DHA levels in the brain, decrease (significant) in 2-AG in the brain, and AA in the brain.  This reversed the dysregulation of the cannabinoid system, improved sensitivity to insulin and a lowering of central body fat (4).

Regarding weight, the endocannabinoid system helps control appetite and metabolism or how fast a body burns energy.  If this system becomes hyperactive weight gain and obesity may result.  In animal models some endocannabinoids reinforced sweet tastes, and a desire for more sweet food.  Some weight loss experiments have shown promise by targeting the endocannabinoid system.  Dysregulation of the cannabinoid system leads to increased body fat and insulin sensitivity.  Animal studies have proven that this can be reversed with the addition of Omega 3s and lowering of Omega 6s (4).

Further, the consumption of too many Omega 6s and not enough Omega 3s can lead to a type of endocannabinoid signalling that results in other health problems besides weight gain.  These are:  inflammation, energy homeostasis and negative or distressing emotionality or mood (4).

Inflammation/allergies: A balance between Omega three and Omega 6 fatty acids means less inflammation as a response to several biological reactions to potential allergens and inflammation antagonists.  These are:  gene expression (which genes are activated as a response to the environment), lipids that have hormone like effects (called prostaglandin), and allergic response activating lipids (called leukotriene metabolism) that increase asthma, rhinitis and other allergies, and other allergic and other inflammation responses to infections, called interleukin-1 production (4).

Arthritis (especially rheumatoid) related inflammation and pain is reduced by Omega 3s, while it is increased by Omega 6s (19).

Cancer: Omega 3s are associated with reduced the growth, or proliferation, of cancer cells and tumours (19). Conversely, growth/proliferation of cancer cells and tumours is increased by Omega 6s.

Weight management: Regarding human studies, in a study of normal weight women, the subjects’ intake and metabolism of Omega 3s and Omega 6s (tested with a blood test) showed that the Omega 3 fatty acid EPA, or eicosapentaenoic acid, was associated with a reduced likelihood of a long-term gain in weight, while Omega 6s (DGLA or dihomo y linolenic acid, LA, and GLA or Gamma linolenic acid) were associated with an increased likelihood of long-term weight gain.

An overabundance of Omega 6s, as well as a lack of Omega 3s, are contributors to obesity (4).  The last is especially important given the increase in overwaited and obese individuals.  Omega 6 fatty acids can stop the process by which the body burns stored fat (white oedipal fat).

Metabolic syndrome: is a condition in which an individual experiences high blood pressure, high blood sugars, high triglycerides (fats), and low levels of HDL or good cholesterol and has a waist measurement (circumference) of more than 40 inches or 102 cm for men and 35 inches or 88 cm for women.  Metabolic syndrome can lead to many health problems (diabetes, stroke, hypertension, cardiovascular disease) and may contribute to dementia.  One in five Canadian adults may suffer from this syndrome (10).  Metabolic syndrome is associated with insulin resistance in the body and the brain.

A diet low in Omega 3 fatty acids and a diet high in sugar both cause problems regarding brain health, learning, memory and emotionality, when mixed together the problems are amplified.

Too much sugar in the diet leads to insulin resistance.  Insulin can cross the blood brain barrier and signal neurons, so too much can overwhelm the neurons, which stop functioning properly.  This results in a decrease in signaling between insulin receptors in the brain.  As insulin receptors in the hippocampal area are associated with making new memories, damage can be problematic. Regarding fructose (type of sugar) specially, it alone may damage the brain. Here neuronal cells in the brain have been proven to directly metabolize (use) fructose, and too much fructose speeds up or accelerates the use of fructose sensitive glucose transporters in the hippocampus, where they regulate synaptic activity and neurotransmitter release, so disrupting this process can potentially causing memory problems; furthering problems, a high fructose diet causes high triglycerides (blood fats) which can also cause memory problems.  The last is probably due to triglycerides being able to influence the brain regarding insulin resistance (9).

Regarding Omega 3 fatty acids, a diet deficient in DHA can lead to the brain being vulnerable to insulin resistance and cognitive problems.  Omega 3 fatty acids are necessary to brain health and a lack of them has shown to cause problems at the cellular level (lower phosphorylation) in the insulin receptor and its signalling molecules. Too few Omega 3s leads to an imbalance that favours Omega 6s. Too much Omega 6 fatty acid leads to unhealthy changes in the brain’s plasma membrane.

Changes to the membrane fluidity leads to a lessoning of it and a disruption of membrane insulin receptor signalling.  This then causes problems with insulin receptor substrate 1 a signaling adapter protein IRS 1 (mediates the control of various cellular processes by insulin) and Akt (protein that plays a key role in multiple cellular processes like glucose metabolism, apoptosis, cell proliferation, transcription and cell migration), and in the end damage to memory and cognition.  This is needed for neurons to stay healthy by helping with synaptic plasticity (growth and repair).

Each problem in and of itself causes cognitive or thought disruptions. But, when both are present, problems are magnified regarding insulin resistance in the brain and higher triglyceride (bad fat) levels (9).

A high fructose diet combined with a DHA/Omega 3 deficiency leads to hyperinsulinemia (too much insulin in the blood relative to the level of glucose), hypertension (high blood pressure) and Hypertriglyceridemia (high blood levels of triglycerides), and higher than normal triglyceride (blood fat) levels (9).

This all effect brain health by lessoning healthy neural functioning and causing a lowering of the brain’s ability to grow, called synaptic plasticity.  These effects can cause mental health issues, and problems with learning and memory (44).

Interestingly, Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown in animal models to protect the brain from the potential damage of a diet high in sugars (especially fructose) and insulin resistance.  While Omega 3 deficiency leads to higher triglyceride levels, and greater elevation of insulin and glucose by fructose. A diet rich n Omega 3s reversed this trend, lowering insulin and triglycerides when fructose was present, leading to greater insulin sensitivity.  Omega 3s maintain, or help to regain, metabolic homeostasis or balance within the body (9).

Metabolic syndrome and liver disease:  In an animal study subjects eating a diet high in fat and high in Omega 3s, but low in Omega 6s, is associated with increased energy, better metabolism of glucose, or blood sugar, and lipids, or fat in the blood.  This diet also lowered inflammation, increased insulin signaling in the liver, lowered cholesterol and reduced the likelihood of developing liver disease. Interestingly, the diet eaten by the animal subjects in this study wasn’t lower in the number of calories eaten (4).

Apatite and the endocannabinoid system: endocannabinoids are lipids made from Omega 6 fatty acid AA.  Too much AA results in over production of endocannabinoid signals.  Endocannabinoids activate endogenous cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) in the adipose (fat) tissues, the brain, the gastrointestinal tract, and the liver.  If CB1 receptors are activated then the person or animal experiences a surge in appetite, resulting in more food than normal being consumed.  The concentration or balance of endocannabinoids is regulated by the balance of Omega 6s to Omega 3s in the diet, as well as the activity of enzymes (biosynthetic and catabolic) that are integral to something called the endocannabinoid pathway working properly (4).

Adipose tissue: White fat can be positive to health as it is a way for the body to store energy and secrete hormones.  But, too much white fat is associated with both obesity and metabolic disorders.  It was recently found that brown fat cells are in white fat. These brown fat cells, when turned on, can use up or burn white fat by turning it into energy (thermogenesis) used for heating and cooling the body (5).

In human studies having higher amounts of Omega 6s in blood taken from ambilocal cords was associated with increased fat or adipose tissue and higher than normal BMI or body mass index scores in the subjects, children, at three years of age (4).

Omega fatty acids are so important to health that in both animal and human studies they have proven to protect against obesity and might lesson continued weight gain in those who are already considered obese (4).  For instance, when obese animals were fed a diet high in Omega 3 fatty acids they showed a decrease in a type of adipose fat called visceral fat.  This type of fat is usually stored around the internal organs in the abdomen, including the intestines, liver, and pancreas.   In the animals tested there was a reduction in fat in the following areas specifically:   the white fat behind the testis, called epididymal fat; fat stored behind the abdomen cavity, called retroperitoneal fat; and fat in the peritoneum, which is the membrane lining of the abdomen and organs there of.

Regarding obesity, besides directly impacting fat burning, the Omega 3/6 ratio impacts hunger, food choices and weight in another way.  Omega fatty acids can affect a system in the body called the endocannabinoid system. Omega 6 have a strong, potentially negative impact on this system.  In an animal study increasing the dietary LA (an Omega 6) from 1% to 8% resulted in an increased production of endocannabinoids in the liver. This in turn lead to a greater risk of obesity regardless of a low-fat diet.

Supplementing with 6 grams of fish oil (for 3 weeks) resulted in a 22% increase in fat burning without exercise, called basal lipid oxidation.  It is suggested that taking Omega 3 supplements can increase a person’s metabolic rate or metabolism long term (4).

Thyroid health: the thyroid gland to a great extent controls your metabolic rate or the speed at which your body burns calories.  The thyroid also impacts energy levels and body temperature, immunity and sex drive.

The liver plays a pivotal role in thyroid health.  The thyroid secretes two hormones, an inactive one called T4 or thyroxine and, in smaller amounts an active one T3, or triiodothyronine.  T4 must be converted to T3 before it can be used.  The liver does most (60%) of the conversion, with some help from muscles and kidneys (3).  Hypothyroidism and subclinical hypothyroidism are a worry when women transition into menopause.  Omega 3 fatty acids may be a good natural treatment for thyroid problems.  This is as in an animal study a diet high in Omega 3 fatty acids has been shown to increase production of thyroid hormones in the liver (2).  The liver has a thyroid hormone receptor protein called TRB1, this was higher in the test subjects, who also had lower amounts of fat or lipids in the blood (2). The subjects who ate the Omega 3 diet also had more of an enzyme associate with increased thermogenesis or fat burning, as this enzyme is usually stimulated by T3 via TRB1 the researchers suggest that the thyroid hormone action is being enhanced by the Omega 3s. The enzyme is called hepatic mitochondrial glycerophospate dehydrogenase.

Furthermore, these animal subjects showed less weight gain, lower amounts of white Adipose fat accumulation around the abdomen, lower levels of cholesterol, and lower levels of triglycerides or bad fats.

Brain health: DHA, a type of Omega 3 found in fish oil, is needed for normal brain functioning to be maintained such an extent that it impacts learning new things. It has a protective role regarding disease.  For instance, in an Australian study of Multiple sclerosis, people at risk of being diagnosed with MS and who were put on a high Omega 3s (fish based, DHA specifically) were less likely to be diagnosed with MS related demyelination.  This is when the fat coating the brain and spinal cord, called the myelin sheath, starts to disintegrate.  The myelin helps neurones communicate by facilitating electrical impulses from one neuron to another (18).

A lack of DHA can increase the likelihood of learning deficiencies.  Low levels of Omega 3s in animal diets are associated with decreased amounts of DHA in brain phospholipids, and higher amounts of 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), an endocannabinoid made from Omega 6 based Arachidonic acid (AA) which is proinflammatory.  Supplementing the diets of animals deficient in Omega 3s for four weeks increased brain DHAs while lowering   2-AG and AA in the brain.  As we age our brain begins to shrink (neuronal pruning).  Omega 3s help may be prophylactic as a lack of them is associated with cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s dementia (19).

Keep in mind that while the brain will choose Omega 3s over other types of fats, the brain uses it up quickly, so these fats need to be replenished (19).

Dementia: there is a link between low levels of Omega 3 fatty acids and age-related break down, or slow down, of signals between neurons in the glutamatergic system in the area of the brain called the hippocampus. Omega 3s are very important for the glutamatergic system to develop properly and to function optimally in adults (7). Further, proinflammatory proteins (remember too much Omega 6 can cause this) is involved in cell signalling disrupt the central nervous system in a manner associated with depression.  They change the way serotonin is used and lower the brains ability to grow or regenerate, called synaptic plasticity and can contribute to brain shrinkage or neurodegeneration (7).

DHA, from omega 3s, is necessary to neuronal survival, meaning it keeps neurons in the brain from dying.  It is important to neurogenesis, or brain cells developing and growing (23).

Omega 3 fatty acid DHA is a component of the protein brain derived neurotropic factor or BDNF (23). This substance helps keep both the brain and peripheral nervous system healthy.  It prevents existing brain cells from dying, it supports general cognitive functioning, and it induces new synapses and neurons to grow (called neurogenesis). BDNF depletion is connected to accelerated aging, Alzheimer’s dementia, depression, mild cognitive impairment, neurotransmitter dysfunction, obesity and schizophrenia (31; 32).

DHA provides the building blocks for an endocannabinoid called synaptamide, which is necessary for cells to grow, as well as to differentiate within the brain during its development (prenatally).  DHA also provides building blocks for Neuroprotein D1 (NPD1), which protects neurons from death by triggering the synthesis of proteins that are anti-apoptotic (suicidal).

Anxiety and Depression: Omega 3s lower inflammation, improve the brain’s ability to use glucose, help neurons to function better, helps make a neurochemical needed to make new dendrites and neurons grow, called BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor), and lower the production of stress hormone cortisol. They also enhance the endocannabinoid system, which if unbalanced regarding the amount of Omega 6s to Omega 3 being may lead to depression and mental illness.

DHA also helps in making the protein brain derived neurotropic factor or BDNF (23). This helps keep both the brain and peripheral nervous system healthy.  It prevents existing brain cells from dying, it supports general cognitive functioning, induces new synapses and neurons to grow (called neurogenesis). BDNF depletion is connected to accelerated aging, Alzheimer’s dementia, depression, mild cognitive impairment, neurotransmitter dysfunction, obesity and schizophrenia (31;32).

All of these factors, if out of balance, are associated with depression.  These factors may be why human studies have shown that Omega 3s have antidepressant like effects (11).  Omega 3s may affect depression in a short period of time, as low as three weeks. A small study, involving 20 people, with 10 taking Omega 3 and 10 taking a sugar pill, showed that after 21 days of supplementation 67% of the active treatment group were no longer depressed according to the Beck Depression Inventory.  This was in comparison to 20% of the placebo, or sugar pill, group (12).  Further, people who take Omega 3 fatty acids, and lower their intake of Omega 6 fatty acids, report lower levels of anxiety.

Depression is related to a decrease in the brain’s ability to properly metabolise glucose or sugar, here low sugar consumption has been found in many areas of the brain associated with depression. People who are depressed tend to have an increased activity of the glutamatergic system and a reduction in activity in this system has an antidepressant like affect (7).

The right ratio of Omega 3 fatty acids, from fish oil, coupled with a lowering of Omega 6 fatty acids, which are pro-inflammatory and hinder Omega 3 metabolism, has been shown to work as a treatment for depression (primary).  Here it is advised that 60% of the fish oil be EPA and 40% DHA, with a dose of 200 to 2,200 mg per day (7). Proinflammatory proteins involved in cell signalling disrupt the central nervous system in a manner associated with depression.  They change the way serotonin is used and lower the brains ability to grow or regenerate, called synaptic plasticity and can contribute to brain shrinkage or neurodegeneration (7).

A lack of Omega 3 fatty acids is connected to an increase in production of the stress hormone cortisol (made from CRH or corticotropin release hormone) and produced in (a stress galvanizing over active) HPA axis or Hypothalamus, pituitary adrenal axis.  Omega 3s lesson the production of cortisol by modulating or changing the amount of cortisol being moved through the blood-brain barrier.  This helps to calm down (or normalize) the HPA axis (7).

Fish oil, and Omega 3 fatty acids specifically, may help prevent and treat depression in part because they help to facilitate the “metabolism, release, uptake, and receptor function” of serotonin and dopamine cells.  They also help to control or regulate the way neurons transmit signals in areas of the brain that are often dysfunctional in depressed people.  (Omega 3 fatty acids improve “G protein mediated signal transduction, membrane bound enzymes, and protein kinase C system” (7, pg. 12).  In an animal study, when the subjects were feed Omega 3s (which they had previously been deprived of) resulted in a 40% Growth in dopamine levels in the frontal cortex (a brain region negatively affected by depression) and an improvement in dopamine D2 receptor binding (7). In human studies, it was found that lower levels of Omega 3’s could act as a predictor of suicidal behaviour (over 2 years) and a study of pregnant women’s blood found that high plasma, or blood, levels of Omega 3s overall, coupled with a ratio of low 6s/3s were associated with low rates of depression (7). People who are vulnerable to depression may want to take no less than 650 mg per day of fish oil (7).

Pain management:  we can not overlook the role of pain in depression.  Those who suffer from neuropathic pain or inflammation are up to five times more likely to experience anxiety (disorders) and depression.  When an individual suffers from both depression and pain, 80% of the time they do not react positively to drug (pharmacological) therapy designed to individually address these problems.  But, they do react to cannabinoids, components within cannabis, (21). Both synthetic drugs and cannabis-based drugs with the psychotropic components (giving the feeling of euphoria etc.) removed have been shown to positively effect both depression and pain (21). Another option may be omega fatty acids. Both Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids are precursors to endocannabinoids.  This means that they are converted in the body to cannabinoids (22;23).  There is an enzymatic pathway which converts Omega 3 based endocannabinoids into a powerful molecule which fights inflammation (associated with both pain and depression) by binding to the same receptors in the immune system that the part o marijuana, called THC, also binds too (22).  Omega 6s in concordance with Omega 3s also has a positive effect on pain.

This is as the body makes arachidonic acid from Omega 6s (21;22).  this is then turned into two cannabis-like substances called endocannabinoids (N arachdonoylethanolamine, and 2 aachidonoylglycerol or 2-AG).   Even though these substances are made from a derivative of Omega 6 fatty acids called arachidonic acid (22) a proper balance between omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids is needed to enhances the body’s ability to maximize arachidonic acid (23).

Stress: The right balance of Omega 3s to 6s helps ameliorate the affects of prolonged stress on the nervous system.  (7). A lack of Omega 3 fatty acids is connected to an increase in production of the stress hormone cortisol (made from CRH or corticotropin release hormone) and produced in (a stress galvanizing over active) HPA axis or Hypothalamus, pituitary adrenal axis.  Omega 3s lesson the production of cortisol by modulating or changing the amount of cortisol being moved through the blood-brain barrier.  This helps to calm down (or normalize) the HPA axis (7).

Premenstrual syndrome: in a small human study after 45 days of taking Omega 3’s the test group reported much lower rates of anxiety, depression severity, lack of ability to concentrate, and bloating than the control group.  Also, the test group had fewer days of reported bloating and depression.  After 3 months (90days) the average reported severity of the following decreased markedly: anxiety, bloating, depression, lack of concentration, and nervousness, and the duration of the following had lowered: anxiety, bloating, breast tenderness, depression, headache, lack of concentration, nervousness (8).

Omega 3s are needed to make the hormone DHEA, which is then converted to sex hormones in both male and female bodies. A lack of DHEA is associated with low libido, atrophy of sex organs in menopausal women, depression, cognitive problems and low self esteem.

Foods and supplements:  Foods to eat to improve an Omega 6/3 balance (4):

Wild fish, ideally fatty fish like salmon, tuna or mackerel (from lakes, oceans, and rivers) eaten two or more times a week, eggs from free range chickens or fed with omega 3 rich foods like pumpkin seeds, flaxseed, fishmeal and walnuts (and its oil). Also, the following oils: chia, flax, perilla, and rapeseed.  Also, those high in monounsaturated oils: hazel, high monounsaturated sunflower, macadamia nut, olive.

Foods to remove from the diet: vegetable oils like corn, cottonseed, safflower, sunflower, and soybean.

Take the supplement lecithin with fish oil to increase the amount of active Omega 3s and decrease Omega 6s in the body (1).  It is advised that 60% of the fish oil be EPA and 40% DHA, with a dose of 200 to 2,200 mg per day (7).




For references go to:

benfits of omega 6 and 3 fatty acids, part 1


Omega six fatty acids and omega three atty acids and how they impact health: including autoimmune diseases, bone health, eye sight, heart disease, menstrual issues, skin, fatty liver, weight gain/obesity (including metabolic syndrome), inflammation (including cancer), and mental health (anxiety, depression, sleep hygiene, and cognitive decline/dementia).

Omega 6 fatty acids are found in many foods (4).  They are found in most plant seeds, except for the seeds of palm, cocoa and coconut.  Omega 6s are also found in animal products (grain fed meat and dairy cows and chickens, including eggs) and some types of fish.

They are important to the immune and endocannabinoid systems.   They are necessary for a healthy body and changes to Omega 6 consumption can cause health problems like hypertension, diabetes, and hepatorenal syndrome, which causes kidney and liver problems (19).  Omega 6s are important to human health, but only in the wright quantity.

There are two types of Omega 6 fatty acids, pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory (33). The Pro-inflammatory type is Arachidonic Acid (AA), which in moderation helps with brain development, nervous system health, and muscle growth.  It is found in dairy products, eggs and meats.  The anti-inflammatory type is Linoleic Acid (LA), which turns to Gama-linolenic Acid or GLA (33) and finally to Dihomogamma Linlenic Acid (DGLA), making it anti-inflammatory (35).  This type of Omega 6 is found in butter (from grass fed dairy), nuts, seeds and vegetable oil (33) and in green leafy vegetables, as well as breast milk (35).

Cellular health: Omega 6s are important to health and cellular functioning.  They produce molecules (called eicosanoid metabolic products) that are important in cell signalling.  These signals are significant to many things including magnitude of pain, blood pressure, cell growth, reproduction (spontaneous miss carriage and labour), controlling blood flow in tissues, and in immunity, (starting and stopping inflammation, fever, allergy responses etc.).   These molecules are produced in the membranes of all, or most, cells in the body (4).

Joint and bone health: GLA specifically helps to lower pain, inflammation and stiffness associated with arthritis. GLA supplements slow degenerative joint diseases and helps to treat osteoporosis as it increasing the absorption of, and build up of, calcium in bones (38). In a study of older (65+) female osteoporosis sufferers, those who took EPA and GLA supplements experienced less bone loss over a three-year period.  Many subjects also had an increase in bone density (39).

Inflammation and rheumatoid arthritis: DGLA is very important in controlling inflammation as well as playing a role in cellular health and gene expression (35).   Evening primrose oil, a good source of GLA, is reported to reduces pain, swelling, and stiffness. Take 540 mg per day, up to 2.8 g per day.  Divide the doses. But, it can take up to six months to see a difference (36).

Heart health: GLA specifically lessens the formation of plaque in the walls of the arteries of the cardiovascular system.  It also helps lower cholesterol levels (38).  LA might lower risk of coronary disease (40).  720 Harvard T.H. Chan website.  Webpage: the nutrition source, Dietary linoleic acid and risk of coronary heart disease.

Omega 6s (GLA) helps reduce hypertension or high blood pressure: either alone or in conjunction with omega 3s from fish oil (EPA or eicosapentaenoic acid and DHA or docosahexaenoic acid).  In a study on males, subjects who took six grams of black currant oil per day saw a reduction in their diastolic blood pressure vs. those in the placebo condition (39).

GLA can reduce blood pressure when an individual is under stress (38).

Diabetic pain: Omega 6s, in GLA form, help manage and reduce pain when people experience diabetic neuropathy or nerve pain (34;38). GLA improves communication between nerves and the functioning of nerves. Helping to prevent and improve nerve damage (38).  This is important as nerve damage can be experienced as numbness in the extremities (hands/feet/legs).  If this is very bad it can lead to amputation.

Control blood sugar: GLA also helps to control blood sugar (34).

Attention deficit hyperactive disorder: a study of 75 youth found that after 6 months of being given a mix of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids had a meaningful reduction of symptoms, including inattention (37).

Skin health: GLA improves the skin barrier’s functioning by restoring moisture, which makes skin smoother and healthier, compensating dryness and damage.  It can also treat inflammation that results from dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis or itchy skin (38).

Muscle mass: which decreases with age can be helped by taking the right amount of AA.  It helps skeletal muscle cells grow and develop.  In an animal study AA supplementation increased skeletal muscle size, increase in the amount of cytoplasm in a cell (myonuclear content), and an increase in the time it takes protein to turnover or bread down and be synthesized by the cell (protein accretion) of developing muscle fibres called myotubes (41). This last is important as protein accretion slows with age.

The social component of autism spectrum disorder: ARA, from Omega 6s, and DHA, from Omega 3s, play a key role in brain network development.  ARA is important in signal transduction regarding maturation of neurons (42). It has been shown, in a small human study (subjects approximately 14 years old), to be improved with large doses of AA and smaller amounts if DHA. The subjects in the active (real oil) condition showed a significant improvement in social withdrawal (according to the Aberrant Behaviour Checklist-Community) and communication (according to the Social Responsiveness Scale).  Blood tests showed an increase in markers associated with greater brain cell communication (signal transduction).  In this case plasma transferrin levels and plasma superoxide dismutase levels (42).

Breast cancer: women with breast cancer taking GLA had a better reaction to the medication tamoxifen then those only taking the drug (39). Breast pain, called cyclic mastalgia can be helped by EPO (Evening Primrose Oil) might help lesson mild breast pain (39).

Menopausal symptoms: EPO might help with night seats and hot flashes (39).

Too much AA can lead to a deficit in GLA, this is as too much AA disrupts the bodies’ ability to convert LA to GLA (33).   A balance between AA and LA is needed. The best sources of LA/GLA are borage (highest amount), evening primrose, black current seed, fungal oils and the blue green algae Spirulina (39) as well as echium, and hemp seed.  GLA supplements are usually made from evening primrose oil or EPO.  Supplements should be organic, in a light resistant package, be refrigerated, and have freshness date (39).

While there is no official recommended daily amount of LA, 11 to 12 grams for women and 14 to 17 grams for men per day should give the body enough to convert to the needed amount of LA.

Omega 6s can be found in the following foods: seeds, nuts, oils from canola, corn, safflower, soybean, and sunflower (40). A tbsp of   corn or soybean oil has approximately 7 g of LA (linoleic acid) and 11 walnuts (shelled) provide approximately 11g of LA.   These sources of Omega 6s also provide Omega 3s.

We need the following nutrients to properly convert GLA to DGLA: Magnesium, vitamins B 3 and 6, as well as C., and zinc (43).

Don’t take EPO if you have a seizure disorder or are taking epoin combined with anesthetics.  Stop taking 2 weeks before surgery if you need anesthesia.  Don’t take if pregnant.  Don’t take more than 3 000 mg GLA per day as it can increase inflammation.

Side effects of EPO (39): headache, nausea, abdominal pain, and loose stools.

Some omega 6’s (found in corn oil) might contribute to prostate tumor cells.  So, don’t take if at risk of prostate cancer.

for references go to :

Benifits of Float/REST therapy

Float therapy, also called restrictive environmental stimulation therapy (REST), is considered to be an alternative treatment in North America for physical and psychological problems and is accepted as a medical treatment in some European countries (13).  Float/REST involves lying in an isolation tank filled with body temperature water and 1000 pounds of Epsom salt. The environment is designed (8) to reduce or eliminate sensory signals (auditory or sound; gravity; gustatory or taste; olfactory or smell; proprioceptive channels or movement/position of body and body parts; speech; tactile or feeling; thermal or temperature; vestibular or inner ear re: give information about balance, motion, and overall equilibrium; and spatial orientation or visual).  Some people report feeling the benefits of float/REST immediately, but others take three sessions to experience them.

Float/REST has been proven beneficial in clinical studies for the following problems: stress, anxiety disorders (including generalized anxiety and social anxiety), burn out, depression, and pain management (including fibromyalgia, headache and arthritis). It is currently being studied as a treatment for PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), autism, panic disorder, anxious depression, and mania in bipolar depression (anxiety, anger, and dysphoria) as well as the acute state of schizophrenia.  It is used for addictions treatment.

Positive effects of float/REST in clinical trials are as follows:  improving sleep quality, optimism (1;9), and a sense of well being.  It also improves breast milk production and lowers blood pressure (6). Float therapy can improve creativity and athletic and musical performance.   In clinical trials float/REST has shown that after 12 (45 minute) sessions, with two a week, the individual will get the maximum desired pain and stress relieve (13).

To learn more read on.

Psychological impact:  Float therapy has been shown to reduce negative psychological qualities or experiences while increasing positive ones, improving immune function, and lessening perceptions of pain (1; 2). Regarding stress, floating is more effective in those suffering from severe stress (harder to get to respond to stress reduction) than other techniques (13).

After 12 float sessions participants in one study (male and female) found that their areas of pain felt better, and their reported experiences of anxiety, depression and stress were lessened.  Conversely, their sleep quality, feelings of optimism and, in the case of nursing mothers’ their breast milk production improved (called prolactin).  All of these benefits, other than the prolactin, were maintained for up to 4 months after the last float session (2). Some have reported feelings of euphoria, increased creativity, and altered states of consciousness (13).

Burn out: for those individuals who are experiencing burn out and a lack of desire to return too, or continue, to work float therapy may be of benefit.  In a small study (six participants in a 10-week study) combining talk therapy with float therapy all of the participants reported an ability to continue working full time as well as reporting improvements to their quality of life and positive psychological transformations or experiences (7).

Generalized anxiety disorder: It also shows promise as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder. For instance, in a human trial 37% of the treatment group had reached full remission, and problems with emotional regulation, sleep, and depression had improved.  The improvement to all the benefits, accept depression, were sustained for six months (3). This may be as float therapy has been shown to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol, along with levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone(ACTH), and the hormone that regulates the adrenal glands (4).  So, float therapy reduces activity in the area of the brain most associated with a stress response, the pituitary-adrenal axis.  ACTH (which increases cortisol) is released in reaction to stress.  ACTH is related to circadian rhythms and so sleep. it is produced when the HPA axis (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis) is stimulated by a potential stressor.  Long term activation results in, or contributes too, many health problems including anorexia, cardiovascular problems, depression, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and osteoporosis (17).

Why float/REST may work for psychological problems: lies in its impact on stress related hormones, which are decreased by floating.  The HPA axis (hypothalamus pituitary adrenal) plays a primary role in the stress (fight or flight) response.  Its hormones (ACTH, epinephrine, nor-epinephrine, cortisol and aldosterone) have been shown to lower during float therapy.  This effect can last up to four months (16). The HPA axis (17) both affects, and is affected by, different brain and nervous system components.  It can also alter its functioning as a response to environmental influences. The HPA axis hormones can influence the autonomic nervous system, controlling these vital functions: body temperature, pain and appetite, blood pressure, heart rate, and digestion.  It also works with, and is affected by, many areas of the brain.  These include the limbic system, (region known to control mood and motivation), the amygdala (fear, responses to danger) and the hippocampus (memory formation, motivation and mood).

Other psychological problems Float/REST therapy may positively impact include PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), panic disorder, anxious depression, and mania in bipolar depression (anxiety, anger, and dysphoria)  and the acute state of schizophrenia.

In one study, after three weeks of float therapy, subjects had lower circulating levels of the fight or flight response related hormone/neurotransmitter noradrenaline metabolite (3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenyl ethylene glycol or MHPG). It was reduced significantly in the float group, but not the control group (10). This metabolite is the principle one for norepinephrine (also called noradrenaline in the brain and adrenaline in the blood) degradation and its presence in blood samples suggests that there was recent sympathetic nervous system activity. It is higher in people under stress or who are experiencing emotional distress. Here the peripheral nervous system is over-active leading to anxiety, emotional instability, insomnia, irritability, and (exaggerated) fear and aggression. These are symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, anxious depression, and mania (anxiety, anger, and dysphoria) in both bipolar depression and schizophrenia (acute state), amongst others.   This might explain the reports of individual war veterans who state that float therapy helped treat/ameliorate their PTSD symptoms, even when other therapies failed (28;5).

Over production of norepinephrine can lead to a depletion of it, or a reduction of it, in the neurons of the brain that respond to it. This may happen either through a degeneration of the neurons, or by a slowing of production of noradrenaline.  This depletion leads to an underactive system and symptoms of depression, including the following: hypo-arousal symptoms like insensitivity to stress and excessive tiredness or excessive time sleeping, called hypersomnia (10), as well as a lack of motivation, impaired cognitive processes (including intellectual skills), and poor appetite. A depletion of norepinephrine is also associated with eating disorder anorexia and with gambling addiction.

Currently research is being done (using fMRI technology and waterproof electrodes) to see how float therapy is affecting the amygdala, where we process fear and rage.  It is the amygdala that first gets information from the eyes and ears (sense organs) about potential danger.  The amygdala decides whether the sights and sounds signal danger.  If they do, a distress signal is sent to the hypothalamus. This is the area of the brain that communicates with body regarding the stress response, called fight or flight.  The hypothalamus uses the autonomic nervous system to do so.  This system controls the following: breathing, blood pressure, blood vessel dealation/constriction, heartbeat.  It is broken into two parts, the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. The first revs the body up for a fight or to take flight, the second calms it down after the danger is over (29).

During fight or flight, the hypothalamus first signals the adrenal glands to release hormone adrenaline (or epinephrine).   As the adrenaline rush dissipates, the hypothalamus initiates the second part of the stress response by producing stress hormones in the HPA axis. This system is responding to the hypothalamus releasing CRH (corticotropin releasing hormone).  This substance goes to the pituitary gland (in brain) which in turn makes ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone). ACTH then goes to the adrenal glands which produce cortisol.  This system keeps the body in the stress (fight/flight) response. When the brain perceives the stressor as having passed it should activate the second system, the autonomic nervous system.  But, if someone is under stress for a long time, this fails to happen and the body is always producing low levels of cortisol.  This leads to chronic stress and anxiety and health problems (29).   These problems include cardio vascular problems and obesity/weight gain.  The first is as constant upswings in epinephrine damages arteries and blood vessels, high blood pressure, and increased risk of stroke or heart attach.   The second is due to increased appetite and higher amounts of unused fat being stored in the body (29).

It is the amygdala which is usually affected by the anti-anxiety drug Ativan (Lorazepam, a benzodiazepine).  Regarding the fMRI study, the results are reported as looking promising.  The primary researcher, Dr. Justin Feinstein has stated that “the preliminary data is that the amygdala is shutting off post-float. (5).” Further, on other studies the effects of float therapy, after 12 sessions, have been shown to last up to four months (2).

Dr. Feinstein recently gave one float session to 50 participants to see if one session alone could be beneficial.  The participants reported a range of psychological problems: agoraphobia, anxiety (including generalized anxiety and social anxiety), depression, post traumatic stress disorder, and panic disorder (8).  Each person was given the Spielberger State Anxiety Inventory both before and after the float session.  It was found that one float session alone resulted in a robust decrease in felt anxiety and a significant enhancement in mood (happiness, overall well-being, relaxation and serenity) for the entire group (8). Floating greatly reduced reported depression, muscle tension, pain, negative affect or emotionality and stress. The anxious test subjects, in comparison to low/no anxiety subjects, experienced a greater response to floating. In fact, many tested as approaching non-anxious levels post float.  And, those with the highest reported anxiety to start with had the greatest reduction in distress.

Float therapy holds promise as a treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Asperger syndrome, as well as being used in conjunction with psychotherapy for addictions (13).

Learning, creativity, and performance: floating can increase creativity and originality while altering states of consciousness.  This may be as sensory deprivation reduces what is called secondary processes, thoughts about current life events and abstract thinking (logic, abstract, analytical, reality oriented) while increasing primary processes like imagination, intuition, and focus on the present (13).

A study using the Guilford Creativity Scale, State Personality Inventory (SPI) and the Profile of Mood STATES (POMS) found that the subjects who took a 1 hr float were more creative, had greater vigor, and lowered scores on anxiety, depression, fatigue, and tension (23). Those individuals who tested as more creative before floating showed a greater reduction in measures of depression and hostility scores more than lower creative types or those in the control group (sat in relaxing environment).  Women who tested as very creative to begin with deceased their fatigue and depression scores.  Pre-test highly creative males lowered their scores on hostility.  These subjects also showed a greater response to floating re: lowering anxiety, confusion, fatigue and tension (23).

A small study on university professors found that subjects were more creative regarding generating research ideas post float vs. sitting in their offices relaxing.  Further, mood ratings indicated that REST/float was associated with greater levels of vigor and lower levels of anger, depression, confusion, fatigue, and tension (24).

Another study, on university students studying intermediate level jazz improvisation, found that the students who floated 1 hr per week had higher ratings in improvised pieces, technical ability and higher final grades (25).

Athletic performance: has been improved by floating.  Here the unwanted effects associated with stress were reduced, and restoration after competition and training were accelerated (13). Floating has been shown to lower blood pressure and help dilate arteries for greater blood flow (13).  This would assist in injury healing. Floating has improved perceptual motor skills in sports (25).For instance, in a test on archers, those who floated for 45 minutes prior to marksmanship training had less perceived exertion during the training, had more consistency regarding their performance, and showed lower muscle tension (27).

Float/REST induces a more obvious primary process condition or deeper concentration. This state positively influences the closed skills needed for self paced sports (archery, diving, ice-skating, and marksmanship).   This skill set includes the following:  immediacy-focus, cognitive shift from verbal based (left) hemisphere to spatially dominated (right) hemisphere, narrowed span of attention, and relaxation (27).  This skill set can be used, if combined with visualization exercises in the tank, by coaches and athletes to reinforce (primary processing) desired skills/outcomes (27).

The reason for these changes may be that float/REST may elicit cerebral (brain) changes similar to those proposed in the Dynamic Hemispheric Asymmetry (DHA) model.  This suggests that float/REST allows the normally non-dominant part of the brain (cortical hemisphere) to become more active and have greater influence on both affective (emotional) and cognitive (thought) processes. This model hypothesizes that float/REST engenders more cortical hemisphere control, resulting in the positive results of studies on float/REST subjects. These individuals were found to be more perceptive and creative while experiencing more brain activity (learning, memory, imagery, divergent thinking) as well as being more flexible regarding habits and attitudes (26).

Immune response: float therapy increases the hormone prolactin. This hormone, best known in association with breast milk production, is essential in metabolism, pancreatic development, and regulating the immune system (13).   One study found an enhanced immune response after floating, with an increase in T-lymphocytes and B-Lymphocytes (13). Prolactin helps men make sperm (14) and, in both sexes, plays a part in maintaining the myelin coating, the fat that coats axons in the CNS (15). This is important regarding brain health.

Regarding pain management and healing: float/REST therapy is shown in clinical trials to significantly benefit the following pain related features: decreased pain in general, decreased muscle tension, decreased pain caused by muscle tension, lessening of anxiety, magnesium absorption, mood elevation, and stress reduction (11). In fact, stress related pain is significantly reduced by float therapy (2).  After 12 sessions, 70 human subjects were able to sustain the positive effects for up to four months.  Regarding pain management specifically this study: concluded that floatation tank therapy is an effective method for the treatment of stress related pain” (pg. 154, 2).

Chronic Muscle pain (neck/back area) was shown in a clinical trial to improve, in both sexes by float therapy (9).  Here 20 people were given nine floats over a three-week period.  Most reported a significant improvement in sever perceived pain intensity.

Fibromyalgia sufferers response to float therapy has been studied.   in this condition stress may both cause and trigger the symptoms of Fibromyalgia (effecting 2% of the population, with more women effected).  Fibromyalgia symptoms include widespread pain in both muscles and bone (musculoskeletal pain), which is described as a dull ache arising from muscles. These can be constant and include knots that are trigger points, tension headaches and temporo-mandibular joint pain or TMJ. Other symptoms include irritable bowel syndrome or IBS, an inability to sleep restfully, and mood disturbances (anxiety and depression).

Fibromyalgia is benefitted by as little as three float/REST sessions (11).  Participants experienced the following reductions: in pain, how much they were bothered by pain, muscle tension, anxiety, stress, and sadness. They also experienced an increase in the following: ease of motion, well being, relaxation, and increased energy.  Importantly, the improvement was found to be cumulative over the sessions leading to longer term effects (11).

Other conditions positively impacted by floating include rheumatoid arthritis, muscle tension, headaches, and back injury (11).  Headache sufferers may find release as migraine headaches may result from magnesium deficiency as it relates to neurotransmitter release and vasoconstriction.  Individuals who suffer from this condition have lower levels of magnesium in the blood (12).  The American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society together concluded that magnesium therapy is prebaby effective in the prevention of migraines (12).  See a health care provider before pursuing this line of treatment. Floating may positively impact bone health and vitamin D absorption.  Magnesium affects bone health as it influences the concentrations of both parathyroid hormone (so it helps thyroid problems) and the active form of vitamin D.  these are both needed for bone homeostasis.  So, magnesium is needed to maintain bone mineral density in both sexes (12). Women with lower levels of magnesium are at greater risk for osteoporosis.

Why float therapy works on pain: is due in part to the increase in magnesium.  Magnesium deficiency is associated with numbness, tingling, muscle spasms, cramping and twitching, personality changes, seizures, abnormal heart rhythm, and coronary spasms (12).  Interestingly bowl problems, (IBS is a symptoms of fibromyalgia) is known to cause magnesium deficiency.

Epsom salt (magnesium sulphate heptahydrate) may be absorbed through the skin and into the blood.  There is some experimental evidence to support this (18).  Magnesium has been shown in studies to be absorbed through hair follicles and sweat glands, which make up 1% of the skins surface. This doesn’t sound like much but given that the skin makes up about 10% of body mass and is the largest organ in the body, so it can still have an effect.  Samples of blood, urine, and hair indicating magnesium levels post transdermal (skin) absorption were higher after exposure to Epsom salts and remained higher for 24 hrs (18).

The sulfur in Epsom salt baths, proven to penetrate skin (21) is theorized to help increase an enzyme in cells called phenol sulfotransferase (PST).  This happens in the body after the sulfur from bath water, with the help of bodily processes, is changed to a sulfur the cells can use.  PST attaches the sulfate to other molecules (phenols) which are then more likely to be excreted in urine, leading to detoxication (22).  This is very important as if your body lacks sulfur, phenols accumulate and can interfere with CNS functioning. So,  phenols negatively effect many neurotransmitters (22).  An example is catecholamine sulfotransferase or M-PST, a type of PST that acts on neurotransmitters.

Other forms of sulfotransferase impact not only neurotransmitters, but hormones, proteins, and carbohydrates.  All of these components impact cellular health (22). Besides PST, sulfur helps make molecules governing the cell surface regarding chemical traffic (extracellular matrix) and is necessary for proper cell signalling by ions.  This is true of cells in the areas of the brain that process information about the senses, called the auditory, somatosensory, and vestibular (balance, motion, spatial orientation) systems, and the cerebellum (regulator of sensory systems regarding voluntary motor movements like speech, posture, coordination, muscle activity) as well as many cranial nerves (nerves going from brain to sense organs).

Besides the above, Float/REST may have success with pain as it has other effects on neurotransmitters.  For instance, those suffering form fibromyalgia have abnormal increases in pain signalling neurotransmitters.  Perhaps because pain receptors in the brain appear to develop a memory of pain and become sensitized to it, leading to overactions to pain signals (11). Those suffering from fibromyalgia have increased pain sensitivity, meaning that the connection between pain and arousal is amplified.  So, an increased pain sensitivity leads to higher arousal and exaggerated perception of pain (11).

Float sessions may, over the long term, reset the central pain sensitivity.  Self regulation is the result of float/REST sessions as it focuses attention away from external events and onto internal (mental and physical) events.  Here the individual is repeatedly exposed to physical symptoms while in a deeply relaxing (calming mentally and physically) environment. The brains sensitivity to pain may be reset by this combination of pain sensation and low arousal levels.  This effect is likened to the reconditioning of the emotional context of a traumatic memory during a deeply relaxed state (11) perhaps like EMDR therapy.

Skin appearance and health: is improved by bathing in Epsom salts. Water rich in magnesium has been shown to improve skin because it binds to water, influences skin health (30).  Magnesium improves moister content and the way it regenerates and changes (proliferation and differentiation).

A study on dead sea water and dry skin found that submerging limbs for 15-minute magnesium rich water.  It was found that after six weeks there was improvement to the following:  trans-epidermal water loss, skin hydration, skin roughness, and skin redness/inflammation.  The researchers said that bathing in magnesium rich water “significantly improved skin barrier function compared with the tap water treated control” (pg. 1).  In other words, magnesium baths moisturize (hydrate) skin. Those with the greatest problem with trans-dermal water loss experienced the most improvement (30).

Regarding weight loss: magnesium supplements have been shown to reduce body fat in women (19) and this may be why some people have claimed to experienced weight loss/reduction in inches after floating.


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12   National Institute of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements website.  Webpage: Health Information, Magnesium, fact sheet for health professionals.   Accessed at: https://ods/             HealthProfessional/#h5

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20      Prosksch, E., Nissen, H., Bremgartner, M., & Urquhart, C., (2005).  Bathing in a magnesium rich Dead Sea salt   solution improves skin barrier function, enhances skin hydration, and reduces inflammation in atopic dry     skin.  International Journal of Dermatology, DOI:10.1111/j.1365-4632.2005.02079.x

21    Waring, R.H., (2013).  Report on absorption of magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts) across the skin.  Epsom Salt        Council.  Available online:                content/uploads/2015/10/report_on_absorptoin_of_magnesium_sulfate.pdf

22    Geng, L., (2012).  Epsom salt baths for therapeutic use and detox.  Pursuit of Research, promoting good nutrition                for special needs website.  Accessed at:          use-and-detox/

23    Gorgays, D.G., & Forgays, D.K, (1992). Creative enhancement through flotation insolation.   Journal of   Environmental Psychology, 12:329-335.

24    Suedfeld, P., Metcalfe, J., & Bluck, S., (1987).  Enhancement of scientific creativity by flotation rest (restricted      environmental stimulation technique).  Journal of Environmental Psychology 7:219-231.

25    Vartania, O., & Suedfeld, P., (2011).  The effect of the flotation version of restricted environmental stimulation      technique (REST) on jazz improvisation.  Music and Medicine, an Interdisciplinary Journal, 3(4).  DOI:          10.1177/1943862111407640

26    Suedfeld, P., Steel, G., Wallbaum, B.C., Bluck, S., Livesey, N., & Capozzi, L., (1994).  Explaining the effects of        stimulus restriction; testing the dynamic hemispheric asymmetry hypothesis.  Journal of Environmental       Psychology, 14(2): 87-00. DOI: 10.1016/s0272-4944(05)8016-x.

27    Norlander, t., Archer, T., & Bergman, H., (1999).  Primary process in competitive archery performance: effects of flotation REST.  Journal of Applied Sport Psychology 11(2):194/209. DOI: 10.1080/10413209908404200.

28   Englel R., (2016).  Float therapy: A new method in PTSD treatment. Military 1. Accessed at:       

29   Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School website. Webpage: Understanding the stress response,          chronic activation of this survival mechanism impairs health, (March 20111/ updated May 2018). Accessed at:

30     Proksch, E., Nissen, H.P., Bremgartner, M., & Urquhart, C., (2005).  Bathing in a magnesium-rich dead sea salt solution improves skin barrier function, enhances skin hydration, and reduces inflammation in atopic dry     skin.  International Journal of Dermatology, 44(2):151-157.  DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-4632.2005.02079.x


DHEA loss means aging







Regarding brain  health,Dehydroepiandrosterone, or DHEA (also called androstenolone), is a very important neuroactive steroid. It modulates, or controls, the neurones’ ability to fire (called neuronal excitability) in the brain. It does this by making the brain produce GABA (acting as an antagonist).  DHEA also impacts the production of NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartic acid)  which mimics or copies glutamate in the brain.  Glutamate plays a significant role in learning and memory, as well as being responsible for sending signals between nerve cells.  DHEA also produces the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and  serotonin (20) which are important for emotional well-being and though processes.

DHEA, In its sulfated form (DHEA-S), is the most abundant steroid in the human body. It is a steroid hormone produced in the adrenal glands, the brain, and the gonads (1). It circulates throughout the body.  It helps in the synthesis of sex hormones and other biological functions (2).  It can turn to estrogen (and androgens) in women and testosterone in men. DHEA is associated with health and longevity. Within the brain it helps neurons develop, function, and survive. In the body it helps build and maintain muscle mass.

This hormone is especially important to women regarding the production of sex hormones.  Here all estrogens, and almost half of all androgens, are synthesized from it in the peripheral tissues (3).  In post menopausal women DHEA is the primary source of female sex hormones, even though it has declined by 60% compared to pre-menopause (19).  It is so important that a lack of it is associated with most medical issues in postmenopausal women (19).

Low levels of DHEA have been connected to impaired sexual functioning, lower cognitive performance (inability to think clearly), and an inferior sense of emotional well-being (4). A lack of it is associated with depression and supplements can in fact have antidepressant like effects (18).

A supplement in the form of a sulfate can be taken to try to increase the amount of DHEA in the body (4).  Exercise can also make the body increase production of it.  Eating foods necessary to supply your body with the components needed to make DHEA is also a good idea, (see list at bottom of article).

Regarding cognitive/though related functioning, studies show that higher levels of DHEA produced by the body is associated with better global cognitive functioning in both sexes (19). In women, when it is taken as a supplement, it is associated with better concentration and working memory, but this held true only when subjects were distracted  (17).  Studies of elderly individuals using high dosses of supplements, 25 mg to 50 mg per day, did show a positive effect on cognitive or though related functioning (19).  But, the researchers voiced concern for potential side effects (though descried as mild). The hormone DHEA or Dehydroepiandrosterone (11) a is a treatment for depression (12).

Conversely, with regards to depression, in human studies it was found that supplements can improve an overall sense of well-being, can decrease fatigue, increase libido, and prevent depressive episodes (18). In one human trial of DHEA supplementation for depression, after only two weeks, half of the subjects showed an improvement of  50% or better on measures of depression.  Here Subjects  were given 30 mg twice a day for two weeks.  In another study (6 weeks in total) with subjects having the strength of the supplement increase over time (from 90 mg a day for three weeks to 450 mg a day for the next three).  The last by giving 150mg doses 3 times per day,.  Subjects who were rated as moderately depressed at the start of the trial reported improvements in sexual functioning and a 50% reduction in symptoms associated with depression.  Those subjects who responded well to DHEA were still asymptomatic 12 months later (20).

Regarding DHEA’s ability to affect psychotic symptoms, in a small human study on schizophrenics, DHEA supplements had an effect on psychotic symptoms.  Both male and female schizophrenics, taking 100 mg per day of DHEA as well as previously prescribed antipsychotic medications, showed great improvement in symptoms (20). Interestingly the women had a greater positive reaction to the supplements.

When it comes to sexual functioning and orgasims, human studies are inconstant. Some studies (on sexual gratification) show a placebo effect, and other studies show an effect due to the supplement (5).

In menopausel women experience in great vaginal problems, DHEA (1%) cream may be a good intervention for sexual problems. This is as it has been shown to improve arousal, vaginal dryness, and lubrication, as well as intensity of orgasm (5).   This is as DHEA may help deal with, or ameliorate, vaginal wall thinning.  DHEA helps make estrogen, which improves sexual functioning, lubrication, and the quality of vaginal tissues.  After menopause vaginal tissue thinning can result from estrogen and estradiol falling bellow 20 picograms in the blood.  This is very important as estrogen improves vaginal thickness so much that pre-menopausal (especially those 20 to 30 years of age) have vaginal tissues 20 to 30 cells thick.  In comparison, post menopausal women have vaginal tissues only 6 to 8 cells thick (5).

Regarding post-menopausal atrophy of the sex organs, after the age of 30, naturally occurring DHEA starts to decrease in the vaginal tissues (6) and may impact vaginal atrophy. In human studies vulvovaginal atrophy has been treated successfully with intravaginal DHEA safely. This cream (prasterone) has been shown to replace missing vaginal cell-specific intracellular hormones (estrogens and androgens).

For those women who are uncomfortable with the idea of taking HRT  sexual problems may be addressed by natural therapies like DHEA, as a dietary supplement that may help increase sexual arousal (before taking it you should talk to your doctor) (7).

When it comes to improved production of sex hormones, animal models have shown great success with supplements. For instance, in an animal study, using female animals, DHEA was successfully converted to sex hormones within 3 hours of administration (3).   Some of the conversion happened in the adrenal glands (androgens) and some in the ovaries (estrogens) themselves.  Here androstenedione (AD) rose by 264% and testosterone (T) rose by 8000% in comparison with the control animals, which did not receive the supplement.  After 6 hours, estradiol (E2) had significantly increased to about 113% more than the control animals.  Even in animals without ovaries there was an increase of 537% in AD and a 2737% increase in T, due to conversions happening in the adrenal glands.   While DHEA in female animals with intact ovaries did have an improvement in in estrogen and progesterone production in the sex organs, DHEA didn’t improve E2, estrone or E1, and progesterone or P in those with out ovaries.  Basically, DHEA supplements help to turn pregnenolone into progesterone, and estrone and androstenedione into estrogen (3).

Supplimental DHEA can improve bone density (8 18),  increase muscle mass, improve the appearance of loose connective tissue (adipose fat or tissue), and help recover one’s physical condition and appearance (8).

DHEA can be made from good fats, especially with plenty of omega 3 fatty acids. Eat pumpkin seeds, raw butter, ghee, oils like flax, palm, olive and cod liver (13).


Exercise has been proven to increase the production of the hormone DHEA, or Dehydroepiandrosterone (11), which may be part of the reason it is a treatment for depression (12). Increased production of DHEA is associated with improved self-esteem and reduced fatigue (16) as well as anti-aging, improved immune response (11) and improved memory (12). DHEA can change to estrogen in women and testosterone in men (15). Increased DHEA may be one of the reasons why menopausal women who exercise have been shown to assess their symptoms as being less important and so cope better with them  (41).

In Canada DHEA as a supplement is available only by prescription (9) as it is in most European countries (5). DHEA is available for sale as a supplement in the US (10).  For women a dose of 15 mg to 25 mg per day is recommended (22).

Regarding side effects, DHEA can cause confusion, anxiety, and agitation. There is concern that long term use of supplements can increase the risk of cancers associated with sex hormones, including breast cancer (21), and taking too high a dose is associated with acne (22).

Please be advised that this information is for educational and entertainment purposes only.  Please seek appropriate care from a qualified medical or mental health professional.

1   Elk, j., (2014). The dictionary of drugs: chemical data: chemical data, structures and bibliographies.   Springer. Pp. 641.

2 Hempstead, B.L. (2006).  Dissecting the diverse actions of pro-and mature neurotrophins.  Curr Alzheimer Res. 3(1): 19-24.  DOI:  10.2174/156720506775697061

3  Zhou, Y., Kang, j., Chen, D., Han, N., & Ma, H., (2015).  Ample evidence: dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)  conversion into activated steroid hormones occurs in adrenal and ovary in female rats PLoS ONE, 10(5):e0124511 tenth anniversary. DOI:  10.1371/journal.pone.0124511

4 Davis, S.R., Panjari, M., & Stanczyk, F.Z., (2011). DHEA replacement for postmenopausal women.  Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 96(1):1642-1653.  DOI: 10.1210/jc.2010-2888

5 Harrison-Horner, J., (2012).  Is DHEA the next wonder drug for menopause?  Web MD website. Women’s Health webpage. Accessed on Jan 30th, 2018.  Accessed at:

6    Fernand, L., Belanger, A., Pelletier, G., Martel, C., Archer, D., & Utian, W.H. (2017).  Science of intracrinology  in postmenopausal women. Menopause, the Journal of the North American Menopause Society, 24(6):702-712.  DOI: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000808

7 National Institutes of Health, National Center for Compementary and Integrative Health web site.  Web page: NCCIH Clinical Digest for health professionals. What science says, Octover 2015.  Retrieved from                      

8 Ganceviciene, R., Liakou, A.L., Theodoridis, A., Makrantonaki, E., & Zouboulis, C.C. (2012).  Skin anti-aging   strategies. Dermato-Endocrinology, 4, (3), 308-319.

9 Health Canada website.

10 Kornblut, A.E., & Wilson, D., (2005). How one pill escaped the list of controlled steroids.  The New York Times, April 17, 2005.  Accessed at:  list-of-    contoled-steroids.html?_r=o

11 Heaney, J.L.J., Carroll, D., & Phillips, A.C., (2013). DHEA, DHEA-S and cortisol responses to acute exercise in older adults in relation to exercise training status and sex.   Age (Dordr) 35 (2):395-405.  Doi: 10.1007/s11357-011-9345-y

12  Wolkowitz, O.M., Reus, V.I., Roberts, E., Manfredi, F., Chan, T., Raum, W.J., Ormistron, S., Johnson, R.,  Canick, J., Brizendine, L., & Weingartner, H.,(1997).   Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) treatment of  depression. Biological Psychiatry 41 (3): 311-318

13    Body ecology, the way to be website.  Webpage: if you really want to avoid early aging, get to know “DHEA”.   Accessed on March 17, 2017.   Accessed at: 

14 Sakson-Obada, O.l, Wycisk, J. (2015).  The body self and frequency, intensity and acceptance of menopausal symptoms. Menopause Review, 14, (2), 82-89

15     DHEA and the production of male and female sex hormones (Aug 16, 2015).  Webpage: Hormones Men Women.  Website: Health Today. Accessed on: Jan 15th, 2018.  Accessed at: -the-          production-of-male-female-sex-hormones/

16  Watson, S., & Mackin, P., (2006).  HPA axis function in mood disorders. Psychiatry 5 (5): 166-170.  Doi: 10.1383/psyt.2006.5.5.166

17 do Vale, S., Selinger, L., & Escera, C., (2014).  The relationship between Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), working memory and distraction – a behavioral and electrophysiologicl approach. PloS ONE, Public Library  of Science, 9(8): e104869

18 Genud, R., Merenlender, A., Gispan-Herman, i., Maayan, R., Weizman, A., & Yadid, G., (2009).  DHEA lessens depressive like behavior via GABA-ergic modulation of the mesolimbic system.    Neuropsychopharmacology, 34:577-584.  DOI: 10.1038/npp.2008.46.


19   de Menezes, K.J., Peixoto, C., & eras, A.B., (2016). Dehydroepiandrosterone, its sulfate and cognitive      functions. Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health: CP & EMH. 12:24-37.

20   Lake, J. MD.  DHEA improves depressed mood but not cognitive functioning.  (2017, Nov, 29th).  Psychology Today. Accessed on: Feb 22, 2018.  Accessed at: care/2017/dhea-improves-depressed-mood-not-cognitive-functioning

21   American academy of neurology website.  DHEA supplement shows no effect on Alzheimer’s disease, April 7,         2003.  Accessed on: Feb 22, 2018.  Accessed at:

22  Murray, M., (2018).  Doctor Murray website.  DR. Alzheimer’s disease webpage, What is Alzheimer’s disease?  Accessed on: Feb 22, 2018.  Accessed at:’s-disease/

Chlorella for health (P1)

Benefits of taking chlorella

Chlorella is a microalga that grows in fresh water. It has the highest content of chlorophyll of any know plant.  Chlorella is highly nutritious.  Its nutritional composition is: 45% protein, 20% fat, 20% carbohydrates, 5% fiber, and 10% minerals and vitamins. Chlorella is a good source of Chlorophyll, Iron, protein, amino acids, and magnesium (1).

Regarding protein and amino acids, as much as 5% of Chlorella consists of amino acids, (19, including all eight of the essential amino acids). In 100 g of Chlorella powder there is: 1990 mg Isoleucine, 4320 mg Leucine, 3430 mg Lysine, 1280 mg Methionine, 2360 mg Phenylalanine, 2530 mg Threonine, 1030 mg Tryptophan, 2910 mg Valine, 1080 mg Histidine, 730 mg Cystine, 1980 mg Tyrosine, 3080 mg Arginine, 4320 mg Alanine, 4700 mg Aspartic Acid, 6180 mg Glutamic Acid, 2960 mg Glycine, 2370 mg Proline, 2060 mg Serine (2).

Chlorella is a good source of beta-glucan and nucleic acids. It has omega fatty acids in it that promote hormone balance (3 Natures Balance) and cardiovascular health (4 Dockery et al., 2004).  Chlorella also has pro-vitamin A, and vitamins B 12, C, K, E.  it is high in beta-creatine, lutein, thiamine, riboflavin, and pyroxidine, niacin, pantothenic acid, and folic acid (4 Dockery et al., 2004) as well as biotin, iodine, and inositol.

Chlorella has high ratios of RNA/DNA (3), 3 percent for RNA and 0.3 percent for DNA (5). RNA and DNA are needed by cells to form and divide properly.  When there is a breakdown in the production of RNA and DNA, which happens with age, physical deterioration and a loss of energy can occur (5).  Chlorella even has mucopolysaccharides (long-chains of sugar molecules), which are found in joint fluid and mucus amongst other things in the body (6).

Three tablespoons (1-once) of Chlorella has the following nutritional value:

16 grams of protein

133 percent of the daily recommended value of zinc

202 percent of the recommended daily value of iron

22 percent of the daily recommended value of magnesium

287 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin A

71percent of the recommended daily  value of vitamin B2

33 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin B3.

Chlorella also has phosphorus, and vitamin B1 and B6. (7)

Cellular health: Chlorella has high ratios of RNA/DNA (3 Natures Balance), 3 percent for RNA and 0.3 percent for DNA (5). RNA is ribonucleic acid and DNA is deoxyribonucleic acid.  Both have anti-aging functions, RNA and DNA are needed by cells to form and divide properly.  When there is a breakdown in the production of RNA and DNA, which happens with age, physical deterioration and a loss of energy can occur (5).  Further, Chlorella is also high in GLA or Gamma Linoleic Acid, which is a building block of cellular membranes (6).

Chlorella has something called CGF or Chlorella growth factor in it. This stimulates the production of human growth hormones in the pituitary gland.  This helps enhance the replacement of cell tissue and healing (6).  Chlorella is also a good source of both the amino acid Arginine and GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid), both of which increase the production of human growth hormone (8 Organic News Room).  This effect is even more pronounced when taken together, or with one of following:  L-Dopa, L-Ornithine and Alpha-GPC (Alpha-glycerophosphocholine).

Weight-loss and metabolic disorder/prediabetes: taking Chlorella supplements can be helpful for weight management. People often over eat in an attempt to get enough of the nutrients (vitamins, minerals and fatty acids) their diet lacks.  This overeating results in excessive insulin production, and a dysfunctional endocrine system, which then leads to more cravings for unhealthy or refined foods.  Chlorella is a great source of nutrition and provides most, or all, the essential nutrients the body needs (6).

Chlorella also assists in insulin signalling while providing a consistent, balanced supply of insulin. Insulin resistance can contribute to nutritional deficiencies by disrupting glucose homeostasis. Insulin is the hormone primarily involved in breakdown, absorption and uptake of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats (called intermediary metabolism).  This metabolic process underpins glucose homeostasis or blood sugar balance.   This is very important as it greatly impacts how glucose and glycogen are used or stored.  This decision by the body will be a reaction to how much energy the body is using, and how much it is taking in in the form of food.  This mechanism underlies the body’s use of fat as a source of energy for the brain and muscles.  Also for skeletal muscle uptake of amino acids and the liver’s conversion of amino acids into proteins (34).

Chlorella has a balance of carbohydrates and proteins. This provides a consistent supply of energy without the production of excess insulin.  This helps to balance blood sugar and it is the reason Chlorella acts as a natural appetite suppressant (6).

In a human study using both at risk and normal weight subjects, both groups benefited by taking Chlorella supplements. It helped both groups to reduce body fat percentage, total serum cholesterol and to lowered blood glucose levels.  The researchers also found, regarding the at-risk group, that Chlorella positively impacted genes that were involved with fat metabolism and insulin signaling (9).

In animal studies Chlorella supplementation improved blood glucose (blood sugar) sensitivity and lowered serum triglycerides, or fat in the blood. Further, Chlorella inhibited the build up of visceral fat, or fat around major organs like the kidneys, liver and pancreas.  Chlorella also improved lipid metabolism disorders, when the body is not able to break down fat or fat-like substances (fatty acids, waxes, oils and cholesterol) properly (10 Noguchi, et al., 2013).  In an animal study, Chlorella was shown to reduce serum (blood), and liver cholesterol levels significantly in animals fed Chlorella powder.  It was shown in this study that Chlorella converts cholesterol to bile acids in the liver (30).

Chlorella is high in essential fatty acids, including Gamma Linoleic Acid, or GLA. These acids help the body regulate or control cholesterol levels in the blood (6).  Chlorella has the amino acids tyrosine and phenylalanine, which can act as apatite suppressants (11).

Chlorella stimulates intestinal peristalsis, or the contraction and relaxation of muscles to move food through the digestive system. This helps to optimize digestion, which can aid in weight loss (11). The faster the food moves through the digestive system, called the transit time, the fewer nutrients are absorbed and the more likely the person is to lose weight.  Conversely, the longer the transit time, the more likely they are to gain weight (12).

See page on Chlorella for sources.

Please note, this information is for educational and entertainment purposes only.  Contact a medical professional if you need assistance.

MSM for health and beauty!

MSM or Methylsulfonylmethane: is also called dimethyl sulfone, DMS02, and methyl sulfone.  It is a compound found in many grains, vegetables and fruits as well as diary products and meat.  As a supplement, it is a supplement made primarily from edible, biologically active, organic sulfur.  The body uses it to make amino acids methionine and cysteine (22). The supplement MSM is water soluble, odorless, slightly bitter tasting, white supplement.  It contains 34% elemental sulfur (22).

It can help treat inflammation, immune problems and restore health to skin, muscle and bodily tissue. The body uses sulfur in an abundance of functions, many critical, and is the bodies fourth most abundant mineral (1). Sulfur is very important to the body.  It helps form and hold strands of tissue together, it is essential to the activity of many enzymes necessary for health and well being, and it may regulate the shape of diverse biomolecules.    Ideally, we get sulfur from fresh meat and fish, as well as plant based foods.  We need to consume more sulfur from food sources than we usually get with the modern, western diet of.  Cooking or heating food, as well as processing it, eliminates the sulfur in food (18).

MSM is fairly inexpensive, holds few risks, and does not have a sulfuric odder. Oral supplements of MSM easily crosses the blood brain barrier (BBB) and becomes evenly distributed throughout the brain (12).  If applied to the skin, MSM can remain in the body for up to three weeks, and if taken as a supplement, for one week (18).  It is recommended that animals, of which we are one, get between 0.5 and 1.o milligram/kg of body weight per day (18).

MSM is used for as a beauty and health aid, as well as to treat several conditions. This is a short list of some of them: muscle recovery, including cramps/ problems/recovery, tendonitis, bursitis and to lesson scar tissue build up on muscles (11); also hemorrhoids, osteoarthritis (11), hair, nail, and skin health (sun burn, healing in general), stretch marks, gum disease, and general dental problems; also joint related autoimmune disorders including osteoporosis, Inflammation (arthritis, rheumatoid and osteo);  health problems including obesity, gastro intestinal  problems ( indigestion, upset stomach, constipations, ulcers, and leaky gut syndrome), yeast infections, pre-menstrual syndrome (headaches, cramps, indigestion and water retention), cancer, and bronchial problems like allergies and asthma (12); also eye problems, atherosclerotic issues like thickened or hardened arteries, improved circulation, lower blood pressure, increase energy, and  MSM it helps remove free radicals from the body, so it decreases oxidative stress.

Regarding safety, it is considered to be safe and well-tolerated at doses under 4845.6 mg/day (12).

MSM helps the immune system to work better and helps cells work normally. Cells use sulfur in the release of extra fluids and byproducts that otherwise build up and result in tenderness and swelling (2).

MSM protects against cancer: on its own or combined with other things, has been shown to lesson tumor development and too have anti-cancerous properties in (12;18). This is true for the following cancers: breast, esophagus, stomach, liver, colon, bladder, and skin. MSM is cytotoxic, or toxic, to cancer cells. MSM prevents cell viability by arresting, or stopping, the cell from dividing and reproducing itself twice, called the cell cycle. And, by killing cells, either through killing all of the cells, called necrosis, or by assisting in the normal die off of cells, called apoptosis (12). In animal studies, when cancer-cells are transplanted into an animal treated with MSM, tumor growth, including breast cancer, is suppressed (12;18) and cancer of the lymph nodes or lymphomas (18).

MSM helps cells that are potentially cancerous return to a state closer to a non-cancerous cell. It lessens the likelihood of cancer cells metastasizing or moving to other, healthy, cells/areas, and it makes cancer cells age (12).  In animal studies MSM protected against the harmful effects associated with X-ray exposure (18).

MSM for skin appearance and problems (allergies, rosacea and wounds): MSM can improve the appearance of skin by lessoning redness, improving skin tone overall and lessoning skin’s sensitivity (1; 12). MSM is needed to build keratin (12) and collagen.  MSM mixed with EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) in a lotion was shown to significantly improve edema (swelling due to injury or inflammation) related pitting after only wo weeks of use (12). It is non-irritating to sensitive skin (12).  Skin’s condition and appearance are significantly improved after two or more weeks of MSM treatment (both by users and experts).  MSM mixed with pyruvic acid, made from a type of sugar, and used once a week for two weeks improves elasticity, wrinkling, and melisma.  Rosacea can be helped with MSM mixed with silymarin (12).

The sulfur in MSM is needed to make keratin and collagen within the body. These substances help keep skin elastic and healthy. These nutrients This is why it is thought that MSM helps to keep skin looking young by lessoning scars, dark spots/sun damage and preventing wrinkles (1). MSM is even more powerful in rebuilding new and healthy skin when mixed with the following: vitamins A, C, and E, and antioxidants (1). It is also a natural treatment for eczema (24).

MSM may help bones: in animal studies, supplements corrected epiphysitis, called Sever’s disease in humans. This disease involves an imbalance of calcium and phosphorous leading to pain and inflammation as the bone develops. It is most often seen in children aged 8 to 14 (19).

Regarding skin problems: when MSM is mixed with silymarin can reduce inflammation that increases the time it takes for wounds to heal, causes rosacea (especially subtype 1 called erythemato-telangiectatic phase), allergic reactions and general discoloration of skin (5; (12).

MSM and Hair: because MSM improves the production of collagen and keratin, needed for the body to make new hair, skin cells and nails, it helps stop or revers hair loss (6).

Muscles (Pain and spasms): MSM can improve post work out and surgical recovery. It can lesson cramping, sourness and general discomfort. The body stores the sulfur, found in MSM, in joints and tissues.  Sulfur helps maintain and repair the tissue cells in joints and muscles, which are often fibrous and rigid and which are broken down when muscles are exerted.   Similar to its effect on joints, MSM helps bring back permeability and flexibility to the walls of cells that make up muscle tissue (1; 12; 18).  This allows the nutrients that are necessary for tissue health to pass into the cell with greater ease.  These nutrients help remove lactic acid, responsible for muscle stiffness or burning.    The nutrients also enable repairs to the cells overall. If you take MSM before exercise, it is even more beneficial.

MSM not only helps treat muscle problems (aches, pain and spasms), but it can prevent them. This is as MSM acts like a natural pain reliever or analgesic. It can improve mobility and range of motion as well as reduce swelling and throbbing associated with over use of muscles (from surgery, injury and exercise). MSM works even better when mixed with other anti-inflammatories.

MSM for joints and osteoarthritis: MSM is considered to be a natural anti-inflammatory.  It a micronutrient that can penetrate the cell wall with ease. Inflammation, pain and other health problems may be the result of proteins released by cells, called cytokines (13). MSM reduces cytokine expression.  It also helps the body to make collagen it can help make new tissue (joint and muscle).  It increases joint flexibility (including range of motion), and diminishes inflammation, swelling, stiffness, and pain (2;12;53).  MSM protects cartilage by suppressing the effects of cytokines that are known to destroy cartilage and by helping to normalize cartilage cells that are operating in an unhealthy manner (12). MSM when mixed with the following is even more powerful: Vitamin D., guava leaf extract, boswellic acid, arginine, hydrolyzed type I collagen, bromelain and glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate (12;53).

MSM is reported to improve life quality by those participating in a study on arthritis (after taking 500 ml 3 times per day, in combination with glucosamine, for 12 weeks).

MSM for gout: inflammation is involved in gout, so getting inflammation down, which MSM (3 000 mg 2 times per day) is helpful for, is a good treatment (14;15). Sulfur is necessary to keep joints and connective tissue healthy, so MSM is a way to assist the body in making/repairing collagen and other proteins needed for joints to function (14).

MSM for digestion/gut health: MSM can help with leaky gut syndrome and general digestion. Leaky gut is described as food particles leaching out of the gut and into the bloodstream, where they cause inflammation. MSM (and its sulfur) helps build up the gut’s lining and stop particles from escaping.   MSM also lessens inflammation, which is associated with food allergies (3).  Inflammation, pain and other health problems may be the result of proteins released by cells, called cytokines (13).  MSM reduces cytokine expression regarding colitis.  MSM helps four out of six people suffering from pain and pressure in the bladder and pelvic floor, called interstitial cystitis (12). MSM can inhibit Salmonella typhimurium and Escherichia or e-coli in animal studies week (18), so it can help treat food related issues. MSM in human trials has also shown to inhibit the growth of parasites (18).

MSM for bowels: regarding constipation, MSM helps to normalize bowel function (24).

MSM for urinary tract problems: MSM is a treatment for interstitial cystisis, of which most sufferers (up to 90 percent) are female aged 40 to 60. This condition involves feelings of pressure or pain in the bladder (urethral) syndrome (24). MSM takes longer to work, up to several months, but in 80% of cases improvement is reported.

The condition involves lower urinary tract symptoms (burning, pain, frequency, urgency) lasting for six or more weeks, but without a clear cause or obvious infection.  The symptoms can be constant or intermittent, mild or severe, depending on the person.  Women with this problem can have pain with sexual intercourse (and painful vulva or vulvodynia), and it can be co-morbid with fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or other pain problems, including chronic fatigue (25;26).

Interstitial cyctisis or IC which may be the result of illness/infection related damage to the bladder’s inner lining (glycosaminoglycan, or GAG). It may also be due to an overgrowth of yeast (26).

Oral/dental problems: taken by mouth, or used as a mouth wash, MSM can relieve gingivitis related inflammation (24).

MSM for hemorrhoids: Hemorrhoids can be incredibly painful and embarrassing. This condition is described as blood vessels in the rectum swelling to the point where going to the bathroom is difficult, and results in bleeding and pain.   A preparation of MSM and tea tree oil decreases swelling and pain associated with hemorrhoids (4).

MSM for body temperature: in animal studies taking this supplement has shown to lower body temperature week (18).

MSM for stress management: MSM has been shown to improve energy levels and mood.   It supports general immune functioning and it can lesson fatigue in the face of exertion and lesson feelings of stress, even when injured. If possible, it should be taken before a stressful even is addressed (8;9).

MSM for allergies: taking 2.6 g a day for 30 days is proven to help relieve both upper and lower respiratory symptoms (12).  Regarding inflammation in lung tissue, pain and other problems may be the result of proteins released by cells, called cytokines (13). MSM reduces cytokine expression.

The liver may benefit from MSM as it reduces inflammation in cases of injury to this organ (12).

Oxidative stress is reduced by MSM. Oxidative stress is described as disrupted performance of cells due to the presence of too many oxygen molecules in the cells.

MSM for obesity, type two diabetes and metabolic disorders: in animal studies MSM supplements helped markedly reduce the levels of blood glucose, or sugar, levels in animals that had been made obese through diet. In these same animals, MSM also significantly reduced overall fat in the blood, called triglycerides, as well as cholesterol. In animals bred to have genetic obesity linked metabolic disorders, those with marked impairment of glucose or blood sugar and lipid, or fat, metabolic profiles were helped significantly by MSM. The supplement ameliorated the problems.   MSM helped to reverse damage done to animals by over-nutrition in the femur microarchitecture. MSM may help with hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, insulin resistance, and inflammation (16).

MSM for cognitive health, anxiety and depression: MSM is a cholinesterase inhibitor. Cholinesterase is an enzyme that breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine has many functions. For instance, it regulates muscle contractions (parasympathetic nervous system). Within the brain it helps transmit nerve impulses within the brain and spinal cord, to better facilitate communication between neurons and nerves. Acetylcholine is necessary to encode new memories. Cholinesterase, in small doses, may help people to develop a better memory capability, enhance intelligence and improve on the brain’s plasticity (20). MSM has been shown in studies to stop anticholinesterases (paraoxon, tetraethyl pyrophosphate and octamethyl pyrophosphoramide) which disrupt, or destroy, choline and acetylcholine (18). Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter associated with attention, arousal, motivation and memory, as well as emotional wellbeing and energy as well as what makes muscles function properly (17).

Acetylcholine helps to regulate mood states. So, having a deficiency in acetylcholine may cause symptoms of depression and anxiety. Symptoms of deficiency may be as follows: dry mouth, trouble concentrating, confusion, slow thinking, memory problems, and anxiety, fatigue, and mood swings (21).

Potential side effects of MSM: Kept in mind that for those who have an abundance of acetylcholine, taking MSM may result in anxiety and restless or jittery behavior. Other side effects include: nausea, diarrhea or abdominal pain, fatigue, insomnia, problems concentrating, swelling, and headaches (22).

Please note, this blog is for educational and entertainment only.  Please seek out a medical professional if you need assistance.


1   Dr. Axe, food is medicine website. Webpage: MSM supplement improves joints, allergies, and gut health.   Accessed on: Nov 24th, 2017. Accessed at:

2  Brien, S., Prescott, P., & Lewtih, G., (2011). Meta-analysis of the related nutritional supplements dimethyl              sulfoxide and methylsulfonylmethane in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2011:528403. DOI: 10.1093/ecam/nep045

3    Lee, H.r., Cho., S.D., Lee, W.K., Kim, G.H., & Shim, S.M., (2014). Digestive recovery of sulfur-methyl-L- methionine and its bioaccessibility in kimchi cabbages using a simulated in vitro digestion model system.  Journal of Scientific of Food and Agriculture, 94(4):109-112. DOI:10.1002/jsfa.6205.

4  Joksimovic, N., Spasovski, G., Joksimovic, V., Andreevski, V., Zuccari, C., Omini, & C.F., (2012).  Efficacy and         tolerability of hyaluronic acid, tea tree oil and methyl-sulfonyl-methane in a new gel medical device for   treatment of haemorrhoids in a double-blind, placebo-controlled coninical trial.  Updates in Surgery., 64(3):195-201.

5   Berardesca, E., Cameli, N.,Cavallotti, C., Luc Levy, J., E Pierard, G., & Ambrosi, G.D.P,  (2008).  Combined effects of silymarin and methylsulfonylmethane in the management of rosacea: clinical and instrumental          evaluation. Journal of Cosmetic Cosmetology. 7(1):8-14.  DOI: 10.1111/j.1473-2165.2008.00355.x

6 Moody, A.G., (2017).  Living Strong website.  Webpage: MSM supplements and hair growth.  Accessed on: Nov        25th, 2017.  Acessed at:

7 Usha, P.R., & Naidu, M.U., (2004).  Randomized, double-blind, parallel, placebo-controlled study of oral glucosamine, mehtylsulfonylmethane nd their combination in osteoarthritis. Clinical Drug Investigation 24 (6): 353-363.

8 Kalman, D.S., Feldman, S., Scheinberg, A.R., Krieger, D.R., & Bloomer, R.J., (2012).  Influence of             methylsulfonylmethane on markers of exercise recovery and performance in healthy men: a pilot study.   Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 9(1):46.  DOI: 10.1186/1550-2783-9-46.

9 Nakhostin-Roohi, B., Niknam, Z., Vaezi N., Mohammadi, S., & Bohlooli., S., (2013).  Effect of single dose                administration of methylsulfonylmethane on oxidative stress following acute exhaustive exercise. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Research. 12(4):845-853.

10   Web MD website.  Webpage:  Find a vitamin or supplement (MSM-methylsulfonylmethane).  Accessed on:            Nov 26th, 2017.  Accessed at: msm%20methylsulfonylmethane.aspx?activeingredientid=522&activeingredientname=msm%20methylsulf onylmethane

11 web md website.  Accessed on: Nov 28th, 2017.  Accessed at:             supplements/ingredientmono-522-msm%20methylsulfonylmethane.aspx?activeingredientid =522&activeingredientname=msm%20methylsulfonylmenhane

12  Butawan, M., Benjamin, R.L., & Bloomer, R.J., (2017).  Methylsulfonylmethane: applications and safety of a novel                 dietary supplement. Nutrients, 9(3):290.  DOI: 10.3390/nu9030290.

13   Zhang, j., & An J., (2007).  Cytokines, inflammation and pain. International Anesthesiology Clinics 45(2):  27-47.  DOI: 10.1097/AIA.0b013e318034194e.

14 University of Mryland Medical Center. Webpage: Gout. Accessed on: Nov 28th, 2017. Accessed at:       

15  Arthritis foundation website. Webpage: Gout and supplements: what you need to know. Accessed on: Nov 28th, 2017. Accessed at:

16 Sousa-Lima, L., Park, S.Y., Chung, M., Jung, H.J., Kang, M.C., Gaspar, J.M., Seo, J.A., Macedo, M.P., Park, K.S., Mantzoros, C., Lee, S.H., & Kim, Y.B., (2016). Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), an organosulfur        compound, is effective against obesity-induced metabolic disorders in mice. Metabolism Clinical and Experimental 65 (10): 1508-1521. DOI: 10.1016/j.metabol.2016.07.007.

17 523 Tiwari, P., Dwivedi, S., Singh, M.P., Mishra, R., and Chandy, A., (2013). Basic and modern concepts on                           cholinergic receptor: a review. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease 3(5): 413-420.

18    Herschler, R.J., (2007). Website” Patents.  Webpage: Dietary products and uses comprising      methylsulfonylmethane US 48637 48 A.  accessed on: Nov 28th, 2017.  Accessed at:     

19  American college of foot and ankle surgeons.  Calcaneal Apophysitis (Sever;s Disease).  Accessed at:       

20  Nootriment website.  Webpage: Acetylcholineesterase inhibitors and their effects on memory, cognition &                             Alzheimer’s disease.  Accessed on: Nov 29th, 2017.  Accessed at:      

21 Nootriment website  Webpage:  Acetylcholine deficiency – causes, symptoms and treatments.  Accessed on:           Nov 29th, 2017.  Accessed at: acetylcholine-deficiency/

22  Ogbru, Ol, PharmD.  Website:  Medicine  Webpage:  MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) dietary    supplement.  Accessed on: Nov 29th, 2017.  Accessed at:

23  Usha, P.R., & Naidu, M.U.R. (2004). Randomised, double-blind, parallel, placebo-controlled study of oral             Glucosamine, Methylsulfonylmethane and their combinaiton in osteoarthritis.  Clinical Drug Investigation,  24, (6), 353-363.

24  Fortitech Premixes, strategic nutrtion website.  Webpage:  Methylmsm Sulfonyl Methane (MSM).  Accessed  on: Nov 29th, 2017.  Accessed at:

25 Urology Care Foundation website.  Webpabe: what is interstitial cystitis/bladeder pain syndrome?  Accessed  on Nov 30th, 2017.  Accessed at:

26   Teitelbaum, J., M.D., (2006).  Townsend Letter, November 2006 issue.  Webpage:  Pain free 1-2-3.  Pelvic pain syndromes -vulvodynia, interstitial cystitis, endometriosis, and prostadynia.  Accessed on: Nov 30th, 2017.  Accessed at:

Leptin, the obesity hormone

Leptin, the obesity hormone: Regarding weight loss and human trials, phosphatidylcholine is shown to help women loose weigh (25) with no side effects, while improving fat metabolism. It helps to lower the production of a hormone called leptin. For those of us who are aging this may be important as age usually brings about weight gain and increased adipose fat deposits (34).

Leptin effects several areas of the brain besides appetite. It can impact neuroprotection, memory, motivation, learning, and general cognitive functions, as well as growth, reproduction, metabolism, and energy expenditure (54).  If leptin production becomes disrupted, either by being overweight/obese or underweight/lacking proper nutrition, it effects how neurons function and cognition or thought processes (54).  So, bringing leptin back into balance by making the brain more sensitive to it may help improve cognitive, and other, functions.

Leptin dysregulation is associated with insulin resistance, type two diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), problems with blood clotting (atherothrombotic), and inflammation. It is connected with metabolic effects, oxidative stress, and shortens the life cycle of cells, called endoplasmic reticulum stress (55), increases apoptosis or cell death, and unhealthy changes in cells and body tissue (56) called remodeling (associated with type 2 diabetes).   Regarding the last, increased leptin levels may lead to inflammation in organs and tissues, and increase the likelihood of inflammatory diseases like: heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease (38).  It also contributes to injury of the liver, pancreas, blood vessels, and heart muscle (myocardium); and problems with the immune system, and blood platelets needed for clotting (38) and heart/vascular disease, diabetes, and insulin resistance (37).

Leptin is the hormone that fat cells produce to help bring on a feeling of fullness or satiety, to signal the brain that the body has the ability to produce the energy it needs (36). You would think that the more leptin produced the better, the less a person would eat.  But, the opposite is true. People who are overweight or obese tend to be leptin resistance or insensitive, which is associated with reward eating, or eating beyond caloric energy requirements.  Conversely, emotional eating may lead to leptin insensitivity as people stop recognising a feeling of fullness (35).

Leptin production goes up with body fat or adiposity. As people gain body fat, that fat produces more leptin and as more leptin is produced, the brain fails to respond to it, creating a vicious circle.  So, the reduction in leptin production indicates a renewed sensitivity to leptin, which means the individual will feel fuller sooner, and be less inclined to over eat (34).

High fructose sugar consumption is associated with leptin resistance in animal studies (34).   High fructose intake can lead to high levels of fats in the blood (triglycerides).  This is very bad, high triglycerides can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and fatty liver disease (47).  These fats in the blood seem to block the leptin in the blood from getting into the brain to signal the brain that the body should stop eating (34).  Further, high fat diets are associated with weight gain in test subjects who had high leptin levels (leptin resistance or insensitivity) but were not terrible overweight until they switched to a high fat diet (34).

Leptin insensitivity is associated with metabolic syndrome (45) and increased risk of type two diabetes, and cognitive problems (54). Leptin can modulate insulin action, or change the way it acts in the body, and can participate in the development of insulin resistance.

A bit about why this is important: insulin makes it possible for cells to absorb the blood glucose, or sugar, the body makes from food. This happens mostly in the small intestine.  Insulin helps the liver and muscles to store excess glucose, and it lowers blood glucose levels by slowing the production of glucose in the liver (48).  If a person is healthy, both insulin levels and blood glucose sit in a healthy range.  But, if the person experiences the following insulin resistance may occur: overweight or sedentary, has problems with hormones, uses steroids, is older, experiences sleep disruptions or apnea, smokes, takes certain medications or is of an ethnicity prone to this problem (48).

Insulin resistance is the inability of the body (muscle, fat, liver cells) to properly respond to insulin, making it hard for blood sugar (glucose) to be absorbed by cells. The pancreas, via beta cells, tries to produce more insulin to keep up with the greater demand.  This keeps blood sugar in normal ranges.  But, if the pancreas can’t keep up, excess blood sugar occurs and leads to the development of prediabetes, and eventually type two diabetes (48).  Prediabetes means blood glucose and the rating of it, A1C levels, are higher than normal, but not so high that diabetes will be diagnosed.   But, it is a risk factor for type two diabetes and cardio vascular disease (48).  Keep in mind that untreated insulin resistance usually results in type two diabetes within ten years.  Lifestyle changes are the best treatment.  Losing body weight, five to seven percent, exercise and dietary changes as well as smoking cessation. Type two diabetes, if untreated, results in damage to nerves and blood vessels (heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, and amputation of lower limbs).

The leptin/insulin relationship is complicated as (46) insulin stimulates the secretion of leptin in both animal and human studies.  Insulin resistance may trigger leptin resistance by disrupting the brains ability to fully be affected by leptin signals.  Eating a diet high in simple carbohydrates, sugar, and high fructose corn syrup, and not getting enough fiber and lean protein, may be part of the problem.  Sleep depravation may also play a part, as people eat more when tired or stressed (44).

Thyroid problems: are connected to elevated leptin levels. The leptin/thyroid axis has a multifaceted and twofold relationship. Leptin regulates the production of something called thyroid releasing hormone or TRH.  If there is a resistance to leptin, and your brain thinks you are not getting enough energy or calories, your brain (hypothalamus) slows production of thyroid release hormone (TRH) to force your body to slow its metabolism and store fat.  It does this as it thinks the body is starving. In reaction to this situation, the thyroid gland produces more TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) to tell the brain to produce more active thyroid hormone.  The TSH may also be signalling the fat tissue to produce more leptin, to tell the brain that there is enough energy for it to produce more thyroid hormone (41;42). TSH is a measure of how well the thyroid is functioning.  In short, it becomes a vicious circle.  Some data indicate that treatment hypothyroidism with thyroxin lowers leptin levels, and TSH levels, in individuals with hypothyroidism (43).

The thyroid and insulin. These two things influence one another.  Poorly regulated blood sugar, called dysglycemia, lessons or slows thyroid function, but poor thyroid functioning can cause dysglycemia and insulin resistance, and even metabolic syndrome (52).

Hyperthyroidism, when it works too fast, can cause poor blood sugar control and an increase in the body’s demand for insulin. Too much thyroid hormone leads to glucose being produced by the liver, a quicker absorption of glucose, or sugar, in the intestines, and insulin resistance, or the body’s inability to use insulin efficiently (51;53).

Hypothyroidism, when the thyroid is too slow, is associated with a slower rate of glucose uptake by cells, and a slower rate of glucose absorption in the gut.   Also, there is a slower clearance of insulin from the blood, and insulin is slower to react to elevated blood sugar (52).  Hypothyroidism can result in abnormal blood lipid or fat levels. As well as having too much fat in the blood (triglyceride level) overall, there is too much total cholesterol, and too high a rating of low-density-lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol.  These factors are associated in diabetics with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.  Hypothyroidism can slow the elimination of insulin from the bloodstream, so insulin doses may be reduced (51).

Thyroid problems and sugar. Eating sugar and simple carbohydrates (which turn to sugar in the body) drive blood sugar up too high, too fast.  The body releases insulin to try to drive it down, which can result in low blood sugar or reactive hypoglycemia (also an adrenal stressor).  This then causes anxiety, fatigue, nervousness and feelings of light-headedness (49).

When a diet is too rich in sugar or simple carbs, the pancreas produces insulin to move the extra sugar out of the blood into cells, to be used to make energy. Over time, these cells, perhaps overworked, lose the ability to deal with the insulin.  The pancreas then makes extra insulin to try to get the cells to respond.  This become insulin resistance.  Surges in insulin negatively effect the thyroid gland, destroying it, and lessoning thyroid hormone production (52).

Ironically, when a diet is too low in sugar, or the supply is inconsistent, blood sugar levels can also negatively affect the thyroid. Here, the adrenal glands produce cortisol to tell the liver to make more glucose or sugar, to bring blood sugar levels back to normal.  But if cortisol is released to often, the result is a suppression of the pituitary gland, the gland in the brain which tells your thyroid to function (52).

Fructose, from high fructose corn syrup, is a problem for the thyroid as mercury may be used in the manufacturing process. This mercury can then be found in trace amounts in the foods the fructose is used to make. The mercury may be stored for a short time in the thyroid gland.  This can damage it, mercury can break down the enzymes needed for the thyroid to properly function (496).

Regarding sugar substitutes, aspartame has phenylalanine in it. In a more natural form this is helpful to the thyroid.  It helps make thyroid hormones, but too much can disrupt tyrosine, an amino acid, from accessing the thyroid, disrupting thyroid functioning (496).

To keep blood sugar in a healthy range. Healthy blood sugar ranges are determined two ways, fasting glucose and post-prandial blood glucose.  Fasting glucose is the reading taken first thing in the morning, before eating or drinking and it should be between 75 and 95 mg/dL.  Post-prandial blood glucose is taken 1 to 2 hours after eating.  A normal reading is 120 mg/dL or lower (52).

Buy a blood glucose meter. In cases of hypoglycemia, keep blood sugar levels above 75 all day long.  Consume a diet consisting of low-to-medium amounts of carbohydrate. Eat small meals every 2-3 hours.  This will lesson fluctuations in blood sugar (52).  Alternately, if you are hyperglycemic you need to keep your blood sugar below 120 two hours after eating, so lower your intake of carbohydrates and sugar (52).

As both lecithin and choline assist in many areas of brain health, and there are several areas in the brain associated with regulating calorie intake, it may be that choline helps the brain become more leptin sensitive. This is possible in the face of the belief that even a slight injury to the leptin receptor pathway could cause obesity over time (34). Lecithin helps in cholesterol metabolism, by inhibiting its absorption and flushing it out of the system.  As lowering cholesterol is associated with lower leptin levels, this may be one of, or, the reason/s lecithin helps control and reset leptin levels.

To read about lecithin in greater detail, or access the sources for this post, go to the lecithin page.

Please not, this information is for educational purposes only.  Please contact a qualified healthcare provider if you have any health, or other, issues.


Lecithin, (in sunflower and soy based supplements) has many benefits regarding menopause related (and other) health issues. In fact, lecithin has many roles in the body, from regulating your heart rate to synthesize good cholesterol.

Regarding brain or cognitive health, lecithin improves memory and cognition, and battles or reverses cognitive decline. Psychologically, it helps treat or avoid depression, anxiety and stress, and lecithin helps fight disorders of the nervous system (6). These benefits are based in lecithin’s many brain healthy components, including choline and good fats or phospholipids like DHA.

Lecithin helps treat diseases of inflammation like cancer (including breast) and arthritis, as well as impacting heart disease. Lecithin can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, lower bad, or LDL, cholesterol, improve overall cellular health, and speed up wound healing.  Lecithin even helps with weight loss.

Regarding cellular health: lecithin is very necessary for cells to work properly. lecithin has a substance in it called phosphatidylcholine.  This substance helps keep cells healthy by properly maintaining cell function and structure.  It keeps cell membranes (which enclose the cell body and are made from lipids or fats) permeable and soft, so that nutrients can be absorbed easily.  Because it is a fat or lipid, lecithin can both stabilize and anchor membrane components, and turn into other lipids to help carry molecules across membranes to help cells function (4).  So, it follows that lecithin deficiency leads to hardening of the cell membranes, making it hard for nutrients to pass into the cell, which impacts health in general as the body is made of cells.

This positive effect on cellular health is probably why it has been found that menopausal women, taking 1200 mg of lecithin a day, have lower diastolic blood pressure, less arterial stiffness, which is associated with heart attack risk, and more energy (1).

to learn more, or see the sources for this document, go to the lecithin page.

this information is for entertainment and educational purposes only.  Please consult a qualified medical practitioner if you have medical, or other, problems.

Menopausal Allergies

Menopause related allergies, or the connection between gynecology and allergology.

Women are more likely to suffer from food allergies, pollen, sensitivity to Tabaco smoke, and asthma. Fluctuations in the hormones cortisol, estrogen and progestogen and Testosterone, which women have, though considered a male sex hormone, all play a role in how the female body reacts when it comes to allergies (1).

When there are fluctuations in sex hormones within the female body, adult onset allergies may result. Here women experiencing hormone related changes like pregnancy or menopause, and in the case of girls, the onset of puberty, estrogen may increase the inflammatory cells reaction too, and sensitively too, allergens.

Here, a previously harmless substance is suddenly viewed as threatening by the body’s immune system.  The body develops what are called (igE) antibodies to protect against the substance at the same time it is developing the same antibodies in reaction to hormonal (estrogen and progesterone) fluctuations (2;3).  These (IgE) antibodies cause the body to release histamine into the blood causing an allergic reaction.  These antibodies cause the body to release histamine into the blood, causing itching, sneezing and nasal drip.

Besides increasing the production of histamine, estrogen can lower (down-regulate) the production of the enzymes diamine oxidase (DAO) and monoamine oxidase (MAO). These two enzymes eliminate histamine, so estrogen both increases the production of histamine and slows down its dissipation in the body (4).  Making matters worse, histamine can encourage the production of luteinizing hormones (LH), which in turn makes more estrogen (4) starting, or supporting, a vicious cycle.

Progesterone also plays a role in histamine production, but by inhibiting the release of histamine from what are called mast cells, even during an allergy attach (4). If a woman’s production of progesterone slows, as it does in menopause, allergic reactions can become more problematic.

Even though testosterone is considered to be a male hormone, women do produce it. During the menopause transition testosterone production may decline (5).  Testosterone does have a protective effect regarding allergic reactions (6).   Testosterone may be an immunosuppressant, meaning it suppresses the immune response, stopping it from overacting to the point where an allergy, or asthma, develops (7).

In non-menopausal women, the reactions are typically as follows: joint pain, premenstrual asthma, interstitial cystitis, menstrual migraines, and fibromyalgia (2;4). A low doe of progesterone may be helpful in some situations (2).

For women going into menopause: be aware of never before experienced coughing and wheezing. Menopause may engender the onset of never before experienced asthma.  If this happens seek medical attention.  You may wish to look into temporary hormone replacement therapy (8).

Asthma: Take for instance asthma, which more women than men have, and which more women than men are hospitalized for, or die from.   The reason is the sex hormone estrogen.  Here the fluctuation of estrogen before a menstrual cycle or during the onset of menopause can cause inflammation, which can trigger an attack of asthma like symptoms.  In this case a treatment focused on stabilizing estrogen levels (estrogen replacement therapy) may be recommended.  Keep in mind that estrogen replacement has been associated with an increased risk of stroke and heart disease (8).

For women with irregular cycles and asthma: be aware of your symptoms, use a peak flow meter to measure your lungs ability to push out air. If you see a decrease in the meter’s numbers, it may indicate the onset of a menstrual cycle.  Avoid allergy triggers at this point (8).

Autoimmune problems: The immune system can also increase inflammation, leading to or exacerbating, autoimmune diseases.  Again, these can be linked to reactions within the body brought on by fluctuations in sex hormones (9).

The hormone cortisol is associated with allergies and autoimmunity. Cortisol is produce by the body in a natural cycle (high in early morning, and lowering throughout the day) and when the body is under stress, including good stress like exercise or excursion.  Acute, or short term, stress is protective, it helps humans to survive and thrive.  Long-term, or chronic, stress may have a negative effect on the body, including making allergies and asthma worse (10).  Prolonged production of cortisol leads to the body failing to synthesise or make testosterone, which is protective in reference to allergens (6).  Many women going through menopause experience heightened levels of cortisol, or unusual fluctuations in cortisol from day to night (11).  The higher levels of cortisol may result from estrogen that is either made within the body (endogenous) or as a reaction to estrogen made outside of the body (exogenous) that the body comes into contact with, like hormone therapy, birth control pills or foods high in estrogen like substances called estrogenic or Phyto-estrogens, as well as estrogen like chemicals called Xenoestrogens.  Be aware that a constant release of cortisol can lead to adrenal fatigue, which in turn allows a greater histamine, or allergic, reaction (12).

Phyto-estrogen foods include the following: soy, legumes, chickpeas; flaxseed, bran, alcohol; clover and alfalfa.

Chemicals that react in the body like estrogen, called Xenoestgrogens, can also impact the endocrine system (13) which produces cortisol. These are found in cleaning products, plastics, and food preservatives (propyl gallate, 4-hexyl resorcinol) as well as in pesticides, animal feed/medications and beauty products (14;13).

For a list go to

During the transition into menopause the body may make more of what is called follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which is meant to prompt the ovaries to produce eggs. FSH also signals the body to make oestradiol, a major type of estrogen (11).  The body reacts to the extra estrogen by producing more cortisol, hormone replacement therapy can also have this effect (11).  Hot flashes may also bring on a production of cortisol.

Conversely, a lack of cortisol, which ideally helps the immune system fight allergens, can negatively affect the immune system, leading to a greater reaction to allergens (6).   The preferred is a balance of cortisol, not too much and not too little, produced in a cyclical manner in sync with the body’s needs. Ideally cortisol levels should be highest in the morning and taper off through the day. Sighs that your cortisol levels are out sync are as follows:

Peaking too early: sleep disruptions, irritable and hostile in the morning, mind racing on awakening, and the experience of a sever energy lull mid-morning (15).

Not tapering off through out the day: If you are experiencing the following your cortisol may be up through out the day, but your adrenal glands are fatiguing: feelings of irritation and a lack of interest in things, overly fast speech, called pressurized speech, feeling hyper yet tired, or feeling like you are always behind and trying to gain ground (15).

Higher than average levels at night: combative attitude, worry-prone in evenings, not being able to fall asleep easily, trying to distract self with devices (15).

Too low levels throughout day: feeling of flatness, being tired no matter the amount of sleep gotten, falling asleep repeatedly, using stimulants to no avail (15).

Ways to alleviate dysregulated cortisol:

Use of the following supplements: vitamins B5 and C (1000 mg) and omega-3 fatty acids.

Try the herbs ginseng, ashwagandha, rhodiola, and eleuthero.

Drink plenty of fluids.

Behaviourally, get plenty of sleep, be aware of when you exercise as this can raise cortisol levels, and practice relaxation techniques like meditation (15).

To get cortisol release back in sink try eating a low carbohydrate meal in the morning, a moderate amount of complex carbohydrates mid-day, and a higher amount of complex carbohydrates during the evening meal.

Hormone allergy: Some women may suffer from what is called a hormone allergy.  This is an allergic reaction to the individual’s hormones, unrelated to any actual allergens (9).  This reaction, in spite of no allergens, may be linked to chronic inflammation and autoimmunity problems (9).

Hormone allergy can present as the following problems (9):

Premenstrual syndrome, loss of short term memory, premenstrual asthma, mood swings, menstrual migraine, weight problems, fatigue, skin problems, fibromyalgia, lowered sex drive, anxiety and panic attacks, interstitial cystitis, infertility, arthritis and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Tips for being aware of allergy and asthma related symptoms:

If you are going to get allergy tests do it on days 12-16 of the menstrual cycle, as these days are consistent with peak estrogen levels. This is important as immune response within the female body changes throughout the menstrual cycle (9).

In order to diagnose hormone allergy, it is necessary to have a medical professional take a full menstrual history including symptoms. Skin testing with bioidentical hormones can be done, just like for any other allergy test.  You can have a screening done for anti-hormone specific antibodies.  Regarding allergies and reproductive complaints, even if your tests come back “normal” or within normal limits ask to have hormone allergies investigated (9).

Keep in mind that estrogenic substances, or foods and supplements that have an estrogen like effect on the body, may also impact allergic reactions in women (3).

Regarding women with regular cycles: avoid known allergens before the onset of your menstrual cycle (8).

Bioidentical hormones administered sub-lingually, or under the tongue, have been shown to be successful in treating allergic reactions due to hormone imbalance in some cases (9).

Regarding hormone therapy and things like birth control pills, these change hormone levels which can then trigger allergic reactions like eczema, acne (or worsen it), breathing problems, and joint pain or migraine headaches (16).

Vitamin B6, the connection: Vitamin B6 is very important to many bodily functions, especially hormonal health (17). It is used by over 100 enzymes in the body. It is used for estrogen metabolism, the immune system, the endocrine system, which regulates hormones and the neurological (brain, nerves, spinal cord) systems, and in the process of methylation (18).

Methylation is described as the process by which the body takes three hydrogen atoms and one carbon atom (methyl group). The body utilizes this mix to produce a great number of necessary bodily functions including fighting the following: allergies, low immunity, and fibromyalgia (19).  The last is associated with diseases of inflammation (20). A disruption in methylation may be associated with allergies as it effects neurotransmitter balance (21) which, in turn, plays a role in allergic reactions. Here, dopamine, if produced by the brain in excess can have an antihistamine like effect.  This is as the enzyme Aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase, made from B6, is needed to metabolize both dopamine and histamine (7).

B6 for histamine: Vitamin B6 effects histamine production, and so allergies and asthma, and autoimmune problems in a round about way.   Vitamin B6 is necessary to the production of an amino acid called Aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase, or AADC (22).   This amino acid in turn is necessary for histamine production.  The enzyme catalyzes the conversion of histidine to histamine, as well as L-dopa to dopamine, and 5-hydroxytryptophan to serotonin (22). If histamine production uses up too much of the enzyme, not enough is left over to produce the neurotransmitters associated with emotional wellbeing (25) dopamine (7), serotonin, norepinephrine (23) and GABA.  This can lead to allergy and sinus related depression or anxiety.

The lack of B6 may explain why many people feel less alert when experiencing an attack of allergies or sinusitis.

B6 is necessary for the production of serotonin and norepinephrine (23) which are significant in protecting people from feeling depressed, as well as being necessary for cognitive functions like learning and memory (24).

B6 is used in the central nervous system, CNS, to help produce GABA, an amino acid associated with happiness. A mild deficiency of B6 can lead to the down regulation, or slowing in production of both serotonin and GABA (25).

B6 also helps produced the neurotransmitter acetylcholine which helps in the production of memory, dreams and thought processes.

B6 is imperative for the production of fatty acid DHA, or Docosahexaenoic acid, needed by the body for brain health, especially the health of the cerebral cortex. The cerebral cortex is very important for cognitive processes like attention, perception, memory, awareness, thought process, language and consciousness. Not surprisingly, DHA deficiency is associated with cognitive decline (26).

B6 for estrogen balance: B6 is needed by the liver to remove surplus estrogen from the body. Estrogen dominance contributes to autoimmune problems (27).  Further complicating matters, the body may mistake low progesterone for estrogen dominance, as the two sex hormones are needed to work together by the body.

B6 for progesterone: Progesterone is the product of the ovarian gland corpus luteum, it is produced after the egg is released during a menstrual cycle. Vitamin B6 is essential for the corpus luteum to work properly. Vitamin B6 deficiency may result in a progesterone deficiency (17).  B6 can help raise low progesterone levels (27).  This may be significant in the development of allergies during the menopause transition as progesterone helps to emolliate an allergic reaction, lessoning the likelihood of an actual allergy developing.

B6 deficiency is associated with allergies, asthma, and diseases of inflammation like osteoporosis and arthritis as well as emotional problems (23).

Sources of B6.

Fish (salmon, wild tuna) beef, chicken, garlic, sweet potato, spinach, bananas (438). Green leafy vegetables and fruits with high pigmentation (21). Other sources include brewer’s yeast, eggs, organ meat, carrots, peas, wheat germ, and walnuts (23).

Exercise may help the body produce the active form of vitamin B6 (23).

Side effects of taking too much B6 include numb or cold extremities (feet and hands) and poor circulation, hostile or irritable mood, and an irregular or rapid heart rate (21). Very high doses of B6 may result in toxic effects on the nervous system and on skin (28).

Causes of B6 deficiency include vegetarianism; the modern, nutrient deficient, diet, and eating processed or over cooking foods and consuming alcohol; Having diabetes, estrogen dominance, or taking contraceptive medication (birth control); and over working the adrenal glands by being under too much emotional and physical stress (including over exercise) for too long or by consuming too much caffeine (17;27). Medications associated with B6 deficiency are contraceptives, hormone replacement therapies and antidepressants (23).



1  Munoz-Cruz, S., Mendoza-Rodriguez, Y., Nava-Castro, K.E., Yepez-Mulia, L., & Morales-Montor, J., (2015).  Gender-related effects of sex steroids on histamine release and FceRI expression in rat    peritoneal mast  cells. Journal of Immunology Research, Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 351829,10 pages.  DOI:  10.1155/2015/351829

2 University of Texas at Austin. “Evidence of estrogen and progesterone hormone allergy discovered.”   ScienceDaily.  ScienceDaily, 30 March 2006.

3 Bonds, R.S., & Midoro-Horiuti, T., (2013).  Estrogen effects in allergy and asthma.   Current Opinion on Allergy Clinical Immunology, 13 (1):92-99.  DOI: 10.1097/ACI.ob013e32835a6dd6

4 mthfrsupport Austrailia. HER-stamine? The link between histamine and estrogen. Accessed on Sept, 14th, 2017.  Accessed at: between-histamine-and-estrogen/

5 Healthline website. Webpage:  Can women have low levels of testosterone?  Accessed on: Sept      17th, 2017.  Accessed at:

6  Stachowicz, M., & Lebiedzinska, A., (2016).  The effect of diet components on the level of cortisol. European Food Research and Technology,242 (12):2001-2009.

7    Oler, Dr. ND., (Sept 9th, 2014). Website: natural solutions for a healthy you.   Webpage:  Do allergies cause  neurotransmitter imbalance? Accessed on: Sept 19th, 2017.   Accessed

8 Hatfield, H., July, 07, 2009.   WebMD asthma in women.  Accessed on: Sept, 9th, 2017.  Accessed at:  www/

9 Shah, S. (2012).  Hormonal link to autoimmune allergies. International Scholarly Research Network ISRN Allergy.  Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 910437.  Accessed on: Sept 12, 2017.  Accessed at:           DOI:10.5402/2012/910437.

10 Dhabhar, F.S., (2008). Enhancing versus suppressive effects of stress on immune function:   implications for  immunoprotection versus immunopathology.  Allergy, Asthma, and Clinical Immunology: Official Journal of the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 4(1):2- 11.

11    Woods, N.F., Mitchell, E.S., & Smith-DiJulio, K., (2009).  Cortisol levels during the menopausal transition and early postmenopause:  Observations from the Seattle midlife women’s health study.   Menopause, 16 (4): 708-718.

12   Adrenal fatigue and allergies, Canary Club website.  Accessed allergies.html.  n: Sept 13th, 2017.  Accessed at: www.

13 Knoblauch, J.A., (March 27th, 2009).  Some food additives mimic human hormones. Health section,   Scientific America.  Accessed on: Sept 14th, 2017.  Accessed at:      httpsl//  additives-mimic-hormones/

14  List of Xenoestrogens-Chemical Estrogens.  Accessed on Sept, 14th, 2017.  Accessed at:

15  Millard, E., (2016).  The cortisol curve.  Experience Life.  Accessed on: Sept 13th, 2017.  Accessed at:

16 Fernandes, J.  (March 10, 2017).  Women with high sex hormone levels more prone to asthma and allergies, researcher says.  In Lung disease news.  Accessed on Sept 12th, 2017.  Accessed at:

17    Alisa, (July 19th, 2016).  Website:  Flo-living.  Webpage:  How to use B6 when you have progesterone deficiency. Accessed on Sept 19th, 2017.  Accessed at:   

18    How can vitamin B6 improve fertility?  (April 29th, 2015).  Website bites of health nutrition Accessed at:

19 Cohen, S.S., Website: Suzy S Cohen, America’s most trusted pharmacist.  Webpage: Methylation  problems lead to 100s of diseases.  Accessed on: Sept 19th, 2017.  Accessed at:[gallery1611]/0

20 Healthline website.  Webpage: Everything you need to know about fibromyalgia.  Accessed on: Oct 3rd, 2017. Accessed at:

21  Moyer, J.D., (Sept, 3rd, 2011).  Website: J.D. Moyer.  Website: In health/body-hacking, mental   health.   B-Vitamins, mood, and methylation-it’s complicated.  Accessed on; Sept, 19th, 2017.  Accessed at:

22  Gucuyener, K., Kasapkara, C.S., Tumer, L., & Verbeek, M.M., (2014).  Aromatic L-Amino acid   decarboxylase      deficiency: A new case from Turkey with a novel mutation.  Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology. Apri-Jun: 17 (2): 234-236.

23 website.  Accessed on: sept 26th, 2017.  Accessed at:               

24 Moret, C., & Briley, M., (2011).  The importance of norepinephrine in depression.  Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 7 (Suppl 1), 9-13.  DOI: 10.2147/NDT.S19619.

25 Tomen, D., (2017). Nootropics Expert website.  Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) Accessed on Sept 29, 2017.  Accessed   at:

26  Lukiw, W.J., Cui, J.G., Marcheselli, V.L., Bodker, M., Botkjaer, A., Gotlinger, K., Serhan, C.N., Bazan, N.G., (Oct. 2005).  A role for docosahexaenoic acid-derived neuroprotection D1 in neural cell survival and Alzheimer  disease. Journal of Clinical Investigation 115 (10): 2774-2783.  DOI:  10.1172/JCI25420

27   Bites of Health nutrition website.  Webpage: How can vitamin B6 improve fertility?  Accessed on: Sept 26th,   2017.  Accessed at:

28  Doheny, K., (June 15th, 2010).  Website: WebMD.  Webpage: Vitamin B6 linked to lower lung cancer risk.  Study finds association in smokers, non-smoker’s.  Accessed on: Sept 19th, 2017.  Accessed at: risk#1


What is collagen?

Collagen is a protein that is necessary for almost every bodily function.  it helps build and maintain bones,  teeth, gums, and tissue, amongst other things.  Collagen consists of 19 amino acids and 28 proteins.  It comprises 30% of the body’s protein (Borumand & Sibilla, 2015) and makes up 90% of bone matrix proteins, otherwise known as  the scaffolding for bone formation  (Dept. Washington Education).

Regarding aging, collagen supplementation is important as, after age 25, people  produce 1%  less each year (Wright, 2014).  Further, collagen (and gelatin, made from collagen) contains high concentrations of glycine and proline, amino acids that are often deficient in the western diet (PDB-101).  Collagen supplements both  increase collagen in the body and slow down a process known as enzyme collagenase, or the break down of collagen between cells (Human Clinicals).

There are several types of collagen in the body (type I being the most prevalent) and at least four available to purchase as supplements.  Collagen is important to aging as the body’s ability to make it declines with age and it is necessary for health.  Women especially have a hard time producing it after menopause. Post-menopausal women may experience up to a 75% drop in the production of type I collagen (which has types III & V in it).  This effects women in a variety of ways.  Women can experience hormonal changes associate with peri-menopause.  The sex hormone estrogen increases the amount of collagen in skin, influences skin thickness, and its moister content (Verdier-Sevrain, Bonte & Gilchrest, 2006).  During the menopause transition collagen under skin (fatty tissue and protein) is lost (National Institute on Aging).

Life style factors that impact collagen production negatively are: diets high in sugar, too much sun, excessive alcohol use, smoking, and nutritional deficiencies, (collagen depleted diets) and digestive problems (Axe, 2015).

Different types of collagen have different amounts of amino acids in them.  Having said that, both bovine and fish collagen usually have the following amino acid content:  alanine, arginine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid (glutamine), glycine, histidine, hydroxylysine, hydroxyproline, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, proline, serine, threonine, tyrosine, & valine (Szpak, 2011).

Amino acids present in of special note:

Arginine (L-arginine): helps with heart and artery problems/health and is important for circulation.  Arginine also improves the male sex drive and can strengthen the immune system (Axe, 2015).  It can help burn fat (Marimee et al, 1965), heal wounds and helps in weight-reduction.  Arginine also helps to lower cholesterol.  Regarding  how it helps lower blood pressure and improve circulation:  arginine releases nitric oxide into the blood, this then relaxes the blood vessel walls and improves circulation.  This  can then improves the elasticity of the arteries, lowering blood pressure.   This is why arginine, over time, helps improve erections, potency, stamina and sexual performance (Williams et al, 2002).

Arginine helps with hair growth (Wu, Meininger, Knabe, Baze, & Rhoads, 2000).

Arginine helps reduce insulin resistance and improves glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes, lowering the amount of insulin needed (Piatti et al, 2001).

Arginine, along with ornithine, and glutamine, can help sleep by detoxifying ammonia, which if the liver is not working properly, will build up and reach the brain, causing insomnia (Lavie, Hafetz, Luboshitzky, & Lavie, 2003).

Arginine supports bone health by assisting in the production of collagen and by helping osteoblasts (forms bone mass) develop. Arginine deficiency in women is linked to osteoporosis (Ammanne et all 2002).

Glycine is a semi-essential amino acid is present in collagen (29%) and protein.  Glycine is often not properly provided for in the modern diet, leading to a need for supplementation (Melendez-Hevia, De Paz-Lugo, Cornish-Bowden, & Cardenas, 2009).   Glycine builds DNA, forms creatine (needed for muscle growth/maintenance; energy production).   It is necessary for a healthy metabolism. Glycine inhibits neurons in the brain that produce  norepinephrine  (Hospital News), which is associated with anxiety (Pervose et al, 2001).  Obsessive compulsive disorder: The appropriate dose of glycine has been shown to be an effective treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) as well as Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) in some people.   This is as it is believed that these disorders are caused by a receptor in the brain failing to work properly (Cleveland, DelaPaz, Fawwaz, & Challop, 2009).  It is called N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA).  It is considered to be very important for memory function and learning as well as and brain plasticity or growth (Li, F., & Tsien, J.Z., 2009). Glycine makes the NMDA receptor work.

Glutamine: prevents anxiety, insomnia/sleep problems, tension, improves concentration, increases energy levels and helps digestion and strengthens immunity.  It helps with wound healing and joint health.  Glutamine even helps produce human growth hormone, this helps with maintaining mental well being as it helps release GABA to boost feelings of calm and tranquility (Welbourne, 1995). Some psychiatric drugs (benzodiazepines and barbiturates) are used to increase the brains production of GABA to boost feelings of calm and wellbeing (Purves et al., 2001).

Hydroxyproline: is 30% higher in bovine collagen then in fish collagen (Gauza-Wlodarczyk, Kubisz, & Wlodarczyk, 2017).  This amino acid, along with proline, help hair to grow.

Phenylalanine helps nerve cells communicate and is necessary for the central nervous system to function properly.  It also supports memory functioning.  Phenylalanine helps with pain management in chronic and acute pain associated with cramps, arthritis and migraine headache.

Phenylalanine is converted into phenylethylamine (PEA) in the body (Nootriment). This is considered a natural “love drug” and is associated with infatuation, sexual desire and the sex drive. PEA also boosts dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure, sexuality, and the brains reward system overall.  This is why dopamine helps with feelings of wellbeing, with treating depression and lessoning anxiety.  Phenylalanine (PEA) also helps the brain release norepinephrine, which can help with attention span, motivation, productivity and cognitive (thought based) performance (Nootriment). It also can increase heart rate and is associated with the so-called fight or flight response (Nootriment).

Phenylalanine is also converted into L-Tyrosine. This amino acid, when available in food sources, does not   cross the blood brain barrier, so it is necessary to consume foods that have the building blocks of this amino acid.  L-Tyrosine keeps cell membranes healthy and helps make biochemical messengers that allow the cells to communicate.  L-Tyrosine increases dopamine production and helps with norepinephrine reuptake.  By helping to balance dopamine and norepinephrine.  L-Tyrosine supports communication between different areas of the brain; it also keeps neural hormones balanced, optimizes energy and supports metabolism (Nootriment).

Proline is an amino acid present in collagen (15%).  Protects blood vessels and heart health, helps joints health.

Sources of collagen: Head cheese, pig feet, chicken feet, hard boiled eggs, Oxtail, Veal and Lamb, 6 to 7 cups of homemade broth made with gelatinous meats/bones, pork rinds, gelatin based deserts made from real gelatin.

Bone broth, made from beef or chicken bones.

Eating avocados helps boost collagen systemically. Eat genistein rich soy and cheese, these foods help boost production of collagen.

Collagen protein powered can be bought in health food stores or online. Buy hydrolyzed powder, it dissolves into liquids easily.

Types of supplements

hydrolyzed collagen provides 90% vs. food, which provides at best 27%.

Beef or bovine collagen provides types 1 and 3.  It helps skin (including gums and blood vessels), nails, hair, tendons, ligaments, muscles and bones (including teeth) and eyes (Axe 2015). Bovine collagen treats osteoarthritis.  It also helps gut health, muscles (building and maintaining/repairing), sleep, skin quality. Source of glycine and proline needed for creatine (Helps in energy production) production, production of muscle tissue and to make body produce its own collagen (Axe, 2015).

Poultry or chicken collagen provides type 2.  Good for cartilage production and general Joint health, it provides glucosamine and chondroitin sulfates, which help maintain bones.  Good source of proline, arginine, glutamine and glycine (Axe, 2015).

Egg based collagen provides types 1, 3, 4 and 10. Egg collagen has glucosamine and chondroitin in it as well as hyaluronic acid and other amino acids (Wong, et al., 1984). It helps with joint an tissue problem, improves skin quality and lessens the appearance of wrinkles, helps improve the range of motion, lessons stiffness and pain and helps with digestion (Axe, 2015).

Fish based collagen (most easily absorbable) provides type 1. Helps vital organs, blood vessels, joint and bone health, digestion and skin.   Source of amino acids proline, hydroxyproline and glycine.  Hydroxyproline is especially important as it helps collagen stay stable and helps in maintaining joint health (Pubhem).

Porcine or pig collagen is similar to bovine collagen. It is cheaper to purchase, but doesn’t absorb as well as other forms, so it doesn’t raise the body’s overall collagen levels as well as bovine or fish (

Type 1: found most often in the body and has types III and V, IVII in it.  Helps form bones, skin, tendons etc…keeps skin strong, elastic and healthy (helps wounds heal). The glycine in it can help with memory, cognitive processes and anxiety.

Type 2: helps build cartilage and connective tissues.  Helps prevent or treat joint problems and arthritis.

Type 3: makes up organ tissue and skin.   Works with type 1 collagen to form tissue and blood vessels.  Deficiency can lead to heart problems (Liu, Wu, Byrne, Krane, & Jaenisch,1997).

Type 4: helps form muscles, organs and fat. It is needed for nerves and blood vessels to work properly (Axe, 2015).   It is necessary for healthy digestive and respiratory systems.

Type 5: helps produce hair and the surface of cells. It is also needed during pregnancy to develop healthy placentas (Axe 2015).

Type 10: helps with bone and cartilage production, maintenance and healing (Shen, 2005).

Type 17a1: helps keep hair follicles healthy.  Found in type 1 collagen (Mandal, 2013).

Taking vitamin C with collagen is recommended as it helps hydroxyproline work at keeping collagen stabile.

Cautions about collagen supplementation: make sure that the source you buy is low in calcium, as too much calcium can lead to health problems. The US Food and Drug Administration labels collagen as a safe supplement. But, those with food allergies or sensitivities should be careful about the source of collagen.  Allergic reactions involving facial/neck swelling, hives, nausea, increased heart rate, stomach upset are rare, but can occur (King, 2017). Also, if you are female and menopausal be aware of the amount of calcium in your chosen supplement, too much calcium may cause health problems.

This information is for education only.  Please consult a qualified health care provider.

See reference page for full list of references regarding collagen pages.






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