Archive for the ‘Sleep’ Category
CBD Has Unique Ability to Cross Blood-Brain Barrier
- Your body has a barrier to keep foreign chemicals from accessing your brain and spinal cord. Researchers have discovered by coating nanocapsules with CBD oil, they could carry particles into the brain of mice
- CBD is the nonpsychoactive component of cannabis, which has strong anti-anxiety effects. Its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier suggests your brain has cannabinoid receptors used to maintain health
- Although it’s normal to be concerned, too much stress and anxiety steals your time, energy and health; according to the World Health Organization, by 2030 global costs of anxiety treatment are expected to reach $147 billion annually
- Low levels of endocannabinoids impact your risk of migraines, fibroids, irritable bowel syndrome and neurological conditions, but using CBD alone is not the answer to support your endocannabinoid system (ECS)
- Natural ways to boost your ECS include avoiding pesticides, optimizing omega-3 intake, fasting, exercise and reducing stress
The cannabis plant has over 400 chemicals and at least 60 different cannabinoids1 — chemical compounds the human body is uniquely equipped to respond to. Of the two primary chemicals, cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), only THC has psychoactive properties.
THC is the compound in cannabis triggering a “high,” whereas CBD has no psychoactive effects. Both compounds, and other phytochemicals found in medical marijuana plants, have a long list of beneficial effects on health.
Medical marijuana is a term used for the use of the whole, unprocessed plant or its chemicals to treat a medical condition.2,3 With the exception of four cannabis-containing or cannabis-related products for specific conditions with a prescription, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved any “marketing application for cannabis for the treatment of any disease or condition.”4 On the other hand, some states have gone ahead and approved it themselves for certain medical conditions.5
The number of states that have decriminalized, legalized or allowed medical marijuana sales continues to grow. In some states, cannabis is fully legal or illegal, but in others the laws are mixed, allowing medicinal use but not recreational.6
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse,7 notable scientific study results led to the creation of two FDA-approved medications containing cannabinoid chemicals in pill form, but not the use of the whole plant. Recently scientists proved CBD can carry other chemicals across the blood brain barrier, opening up its medicinal potential even further.
The Blood-Brain Barrier Is Designed to Protect Your Brain
More than 100 years ago, scientists discovered not everything injected into the bloodstream would reach the brain or spinal cord.8 Through research, scientists discovered the blood-brain barrier is semi permeable; in other words, it allows some materials to cross into your neurological system, but prevents others.
The importance of the blood-brain barrier to the health of your neurological system cannot be overstated. One portion of the system is formed by endothelial cells lining the microvasculature, which feeds your brain. This protects it from circulating agents and substances capable of disturbing your neurological functioning.9
The endothelial tissue in other capillaries in your body have small spaces allowing substances to move between the inside and outside of the vessel. In the brain, these cells fit together so tightly that many substances cannot leave the bloodstream and enter the brain.10
Additionally, glial cells — astrocytes — form another layer around the blood vessels and are involved in a two-way communication affecting physiology and pathology.11 This barrier mechanism is vital for normal functioning and providing a stable internal environment. One compound known to normally pass the blood-brain barrier is CBD.
Pharmaceutical Industry Finds Way to Use CBD as a Trojan Horse
In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was fought between the Greeks and the city of Troy.12 To gain access, the Greeks used a massive wooden horse constructed to hide a select force of men. It was presented as a gift, thereby allowing the Greek warriors to enter and destroy the city. Researchers believe CBD can act as a Trojan horse, helping move restricted chemicals across the blood-brain barrier.13
Researchers were interested in using CBD as a means to an end. They attached CBD, resembling endocannabinoids made by both mice and humans, to the outside of nanocapsules loaded with fluorescent molecules.
The fluorescence enabled the researchers to track the particles with the hope the experiment would mimic what occurs in the blood-brain barrier of humans. They demonstrated the CBD nanocarriers could transport fluorescent molecules across the blood-brain barrier in mice.14
When added in vitro to human cells mimicking the blood-brain barrier, the nanocarriers with CBD were more successful in passing through the cells than those without the CBD. Researchers also found when CBD nanocapsules were injected into healthy mice, 2.5 times more of them entered the animals’ brains than nanocarriers of equal size lacking the CBD coating.
Cannabidiol — Nonpsychoactive Component Has Anti-Anxiety Effects
The ability of CBD to naturally move across the blood-brain barrier indicates there are endocannabinoid receptors in the brain, which your neurological system uses to maintain optimal health. One of the benefits of CBD on your neurological system is reducing anxiety.
A meta-analysis15 evaluated the potential for CBD as a treatment for anxiety-related disorders. They found preclinical evidence strongly supported it for the treatment for panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
A second large retrospective study16 looked at cases in psychiatric clinics involving the application of CBD for anxiety and sleep complaints. It too found the data supported the use of CBD for anxiety-related disorders.
In a small study17 involving 24 patients with generalized social anxiety disorder who, while diagnosed, had never been treated, half received CBD while the other half received a placebo. Another 12 healthy control subjects performed the test without receiving either medication or a placebo.
Each volunteer participated in a double-blind procedure. The researchers compared the effects of a simulation of public speaking on the 36 individuals, finding CBD pretreatment significantly affected cognitive impairment, anxiety and discomfort in speech performance.
The participants in the placebo group experienced higher anxiety, cognitive impairment and alert levels than the control group. No significant differences were observed between those taking CBD and the healthy control subjects who took nothing.18
These results piqued the interest of Dr. Esther Blessing, psychiatrist and researcher at New York University. She obtained funding from the National Institutes of Health, and along with collaborators are beginning a clinical trial to test if CBD helps those with PTSD and moderate or severe alcohol use disorder.19
The researchers plan to use pharmaceutical grade CBD or a placebo daily on 50 participants with the goal of evaluating alcohol intake in those who take CBD.
A second study20 now in Phase II is exploring whether CBD may help prevent relapse in opioid addicts. As explained by Blessing, CBD is different from cannabis. Although it’s extracted from cannabis, it does not lead to altered perception or cognition.21 She commented:22
“Drugs can be non-psychoactive and still have an effect on the brain. CBD does have an effect on the brain, but it seems to affect the brain in possibly medicinal ways.”
Anxiety Steals Time, Energy and Lives
Although it’s normal to be concerned about aspects of your life, too much stress and worry may devastate your health. A rise in stress levels and anxiety may trigger physical, mental or emotion changes, an indicator of anxiety disorders.23 Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental illnesses in the U.S., affecting an estimated 40 million adults.
Those suffering are three to five times more likely to see their physician and six times more likely to be hospitalized. It’s not uncommon for someone with anxiety to also suffer depression.24 Anxiety disorders carry a significant financial burden to individuals, families and communities.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), by 2030, the global annual cost of anxiety will reach $147 billion.25 Researchers in one study concluded:26
“The cost burden of depression, anxiety, and emotional disorders is among the greatest of any disease conditions in the workforce. It is worth considering methods for quantifying direct and indirect costs that use administrative data sources given their utility.”
The cost of anxiety is measured in more than finances, as it takes an enormous emotional and physical toll. Long-term negative health effects may include digestive issues, insomnia, substance abuse disorders and depression,27 each of which come with a laundry list of physical symptoms, emotional disruption and financial burden.
Differences Between Recreational and Medicinal Use
The healing properties of medical cannabis come primarily from high levels of CBD and critical levels of other medicinal terpenes and flavonoids. However, THC, responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis, also has medicinal benefits.28,29 Growers are able to use selective breeding techniques to increase CBD and lower levels of THC for medicinal use.
While CBD has gained the most attention, CBD alone cannot fully support your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). Cannabinoid receptors in the human body were discovered in the 1990s,30 which in turn led to the realization our body makes endogenous cannabinoids that influence these receptors.
It was also discovered the ECS orchestrates communication between other bodily systems, such as your respiratory, digestive, immune and cardiovascular systems. The ECS does this via receptors found in every organ, including your skin. The use of medicinal CBD is aimed at the health benefits derived from providing your ECS with sufficient support.
However, if you choose to use exogenous CBD, it’s important to choose the right product as some do not meet the claims made on the label.31 Since CBD oil became a focus of popular holistic medicine almost overnight, the rapid innovations in the market have been impressive. However, while products quickly enter the market, effective control has not caught up yet.
Despite CBD being sold as a food supplement, it is often used for significant health problems. The WHO analyzed available scientific data and concluded CBD does not require drug scheduling. Nevertheless, CBD manufacturing may benefit from a preparation analysis to reduce contaminants and ensure the product in the bottle is what’s on the label.32
Researchers believe the methodology to achieve this goal already exists and the approach would hold the producer accountable for quality and safety. Until a system is in place, if you live in a state that has legalized CBD, it is important you purchase any products from a trusted source.
Single Magic Bullet Is Not the Answer to Support Your Endocannabinoid System
In this video clip from an interview with Carl Germano, board-certified nutritionist and phytocannabiniods expert, he discusses the need to move away from the single magic bullet idea of separating one nutritional compound from a plant and expecting miraculous results.
It’s important in many cases to consume the whole plant. The cannabis plant contains at least 60 other cannabinoids and 400 other chemicals, and many of these other phytocannabinoids and terpenes are needed to fully support your ECS.
However, the vilification of cannabis continues to negatively impact the ability to use the compounds medicinally.33 CBD oil has demonstrated use in the treatment of pain,34 which represents a significant threat to the sale of opioids responsible for a large piece of the financial growth of Big Pharma in the past decade.35
Purdue Pharma went even further, trying to position the company as an “end-to-end provider” of opioids and the treatment for addiction.36 The cannabis plant also poses economic threats37 to the lumber, energy, food and other industries as the fiber may be used to make paper, biofuel, building materials, food products and oil, clothing, shoes and even jewelry.
Cannabinoids Necessary for Optimal Health
Low levels of endocannabinoids in your system result in ill health. As you age, your body becomes less efficient in creating endocannabinoids needed for optimal health. According to Germano, cannabinoids may be used as biological markers for specific conditions and illnesses.
Endocannabinoid deficiency has been identified in those with migraines, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and neurological conditions, for example. Research has also discovered an intimate relationship between ECS and your omega-3 status, as omega-3 fat improves your cannabinoid receptors.
Other conditions associated with low levels include stress, anxiety, insomnia and eye health. For a long list of health benefits you’ll receive from supporting your ECS system, see my previous article, “The Many Medicinal Benefits of Cannabis and Cannabidiol (CBD).”
How to Boost Your Natural Endocannabinoid Levels
In my previous article, “The Endocannabinoid System and the Important Role It Plays in Human Health,” I discussed the importance of activating your ECS. There are several natural ways you may activate the system to improve your health without using external cannabinoids:
|Avoid pesticides and phthalates — Start by avoiding chemicals blocking the receptivity of your endogenous system by reducing your exposure to neonicotinoid pesticides and phthalates. Find more information about phthalates in my previous article, “Phthalate Exposure Threatens Human Survival.”|
|Optimize your omega-3 intake — There’s an intimate relationship between your ECS and your omega-3 status. Omega-3 fats make your cannabinoid receptors more active, and are used as backbone structures to produce cannabinoids in your body.|
|Expose yourself to cold temperatures — In past articles I’ve written about some of the surprising benefits of extreme temperatures. One of those benefits is the regulation of endocannabinoid in white and brown adipose tissue.|
|Fasting — Intermittent fasting may improve your health using yet another mechanism in your body — by increasing your endocannabinoid levels, and regulating your ECS.|
|Caffeine — Regular caffeine consumption regulates and enhances the activation of cannabinoid receptors. Remember the added caffeine may also disrupt quality sleep, so it’s important to forgo any caffeinated substances after 2 p.m.|
|Reduce stress — High levels of emotional stress have been shown to downregulate endocannabinoid levels in your body. High levels of cortisol also reduce binding to your endocannabinoid receptors. I recommend my previous article, “How Stress Affects Your Body, and Simple Techniques to Reduce Stress and Develop Greater Resilience,” to help you find methods that work for you.|
|Exercise — Although exercise is an excellent stress reducer, research also finds the much talked about “runner’s high” may be a function of the release of endocannabinoids in your brain and not just endorphins. If you are new to exercise, you’ll find suggestions and links in my previous article, “Exercise to Improve Your Body and Your Brain.”|
Ambien, Other Sleep Aids Get FDA’s ‘Black Box’ Label, Its Strongest Warning
Ambien and other prescription sleep medications are getting a new “black box” warning label from the U.S. Food and Drug Association (FDA). This type of label is the strongest that the agency issues, calling attention to side effects that can lead to serious injury or death.
The change follows the FDA’s evaluation of reports describing “rare but serious” incidents that occurred when users of these medications experienced complex sleep behaviors: sleepwalking, sleep driving “and engaging in other activities while not fully awake,” FDA representatives wrote yesterday (April 30) in a drug safety announcement.
A prominent boxed warning will now appear on patient medication guides and prescription information for insomnia drugs such as Ambien (generic name zolpidem), Sonata (generic name zaleplon), Lunesta (generic name eszopiclone) and others, according to the announcement. [7 Bizarre Drug Side Effects]
48 Symptoms of Lyme Disease: What They Look Like & How They Feel
Published on Aug 28, 2017
“You either have 20 diseases or you have Lyme disease.”
Of course, by Lyme disease, I actually mean Lyme/MSIDS, as we are typically infected with much more than just Lyme (borrelia), which means our cases are more severe, of longer duration, & necessitate numerous medications: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/10/30/study-shows-lyme-msids-patients-infected-with-many-pathogens-and-explains-why-we-are-so-sick/
MSIDS = multi, systemic infectious disease syndrome = one sick dog.
How to Detox Naturally for Healthy Aging
By Beth Janes Posted 03-15-2019
Environmental toxins have always posed a risk to humans, even thousands of years ago. Back then, it was things like molds and other dangerous bacteria and viruses, poisonous berries and other plants, snake venom, or the sting of a jellyfish that had the biggest potential to make people ill or even kill them.
Now, however, those naturally-occurring toxins are the least of our problems. Instead, our modern world is overrun with toxins and toxicants — the proper term for man-made toxins — which are harder to avoid and much more insidious than natural ones ever were.
Some estimates suggest that more than 200,000 man-made chemicals now exist, most of which have only been developed in the past 100 years or so, says Dr. Bill Rawls, M.D., Medical Director of Vital Plan. And we’re exposed to many of them every day in the air we breathe, the food and drinks we consume, and what has contact with our skin. Here’s just a taste of what’s on that list:
- Pollution from cars and industrial processes include particulate matter, ozone gas, and benzene.
- Indoors, chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are commonly released from household items like carpet, paint, and cleaning solutions.
- In the average American diet, you’ll find pesticide and herbicide residue, BPA or other chemicals from plastics that can leach into food, plus heavy metals and arsenic in water.
- The many personal care products we use, often with the intention of making skin and hair more healthy, can contain endocrine disruptors that have been linked to a variety of cancers.
- Traffic jams, work deadlines, and other pressures easily trigger toxic chronic stress.
- Refined carbohydrates, highly processed sugars and manipulated fats can also be toxic to humans’ otherwise relatively primitive systems, which were designed to run on simple plants, barks, herbs and fresh, clean water.
All of these toxins and toxicants negatively impact health on many different fronts, but one of the most serious is how they accelerate or interfere with aging. In fact, research now shows that environmental toxins play a significant role in what’s called external aging, according to a recent review in the journal Trends in Molecular Medicine. That’s the type of aging that’s driven by external factors, as opposed to the genetic and internal ones we can’t control.
As tempting as it is to want to isolate and target the worst culprits on the toxic list, there’s not necessarily one or even a few that you can vilify over others, says Dr. Rawls. “It’s all of them together — it’s this high level of insidious toxins that has never been here before on earth,” he explains. “Because our ancestors didn’t deal with them, our bodies don’t have the genetic memory or ability to properly tolerate or process all of the toxins that we’re now bombarded with daily.”
But all is not lost: It is possible to minimize toxins’ impact and significantly decelerate aging — and naturally, to boot. Here’s how.
How Cells Age — and How Toxins Interfere
To understand how modern toxins interfere with the aging process, it helps to first know how the body ages normally. “We are a collection of cells, and each cell is specialized to take care of other cells,” Dr. Rawls explains. “When a critical number of cells, or cells from a key organ like our lungs or heart, get sick or old or die — that’s what aging and illness is in a nutshell.”
That happens naturally over time when mitochondria, cells’ power generators, burn out, which causes cells to die or produce less healthy cells that don’t function properly. It also happens when cells are no longer able to properly communicate and coordinate with their 10 trillion peers, which all come from 200 different groups.
“That cellular coordination is remarkably important,” says Dr. Rawls. “When it doesn’t happen, the body starts breaking down and functions stop working — that’s also illness and aging.”
In many ways, our bodies aren’t that different than a machine, and just like components of a machine, our cells and systems eventually stop working as well. Toxins, however, can cause the aging of cells and breakdown of cellular communication to happen sooner than it would otherwise. “Environmental toxins strangle or suffocate or damage cells, or they disrupt chemical messengers so cells aren’t communicating, and so the body breaks down,” Dr. Rawls says.
For example, just as herbicides and pesticides mess with the chemical messenger channels in weeds and insects, they can also disrupt those in humans (which are surprisingly similar), says Dr. Rawls. Chemicals in plastics and in pesticides, meanwhile, may mimic hormones in the body. Not only does that affect signaling, it can throw your body’s hormonal balance out of whack and potentially contribute to hormonally-active cancers.
Other toxins may act as free radicals, causing inflammation and damage to cell membranes or blood vessels, Dr. Rawls says. That’s the case with many air pollutants from cars and industrial processes. When you breathe them in, they flood your respiratory and cardiovascular systems and can pass into your bloodstream.
These free radical-like toxins can interact with nerve endings, too, which then allow them to disrupt your nervous system. In fact, studies have found a clear link between high levels of airborne toxins in the environment and early death from all causes, but particularly heart disease. Decreased lung function and increased hospital admissions were also shown to be more common among those who live and work in the polluted areas.
Toxins may also directly damage DNA, the blueprint that cells use to make new cells. When that happens, the new, abnormal cells may die off — or they may continue reproducing damaged, diseased, or dysfunctional cells. For example, DNA in skin cells directly absorbs photons from UV light, which then leads to skin wrinkling and increased risk for skin cancer. Research even suggests exposure to certain toxins in pesticides and elsewhere may change DNA in a way that contributes to disease not only for those exposed, but also to their offspring and subsequent generations.
That’s all pretty scary stuff, but the good news is that you aren’t powerless. “The great thing about where we are now, is that we know more about the effects of these toxins than ever before, and we have more choices that let us better avoid or deal with them,” Dr. Rawls says.
How to Detox Naturally
Along with reducing your exposure to the more obvious and well-known toxins — such as steering clear of cigarette and cigar smoke, avoiding household chemicals, and reducing your use of plastic containers — here’s how to best protect yourself against invisible, insidious toxin exposure and equip your body to naturally filter them out and reduce the potential damage.
1. Fill Half Your Plate with Vegetables and/or Fruit
“No matter what the issue is, when it comes to improving health, the answer will almost always include eating more plants,” Dr. Rawls says. But as far as detox goes, there are specific ways veggies can help.
For one, many modern toxins are fat soluble, and, unlike meat, plants generally don’t have a lot of fat in which to store toxins. Many fruits and some veggies also have protective peels that help limit their load, plus you can find many affordable organicoptions.
People who eat a lot of produce also tend to not have excessive amounts of body fat that can store toxins. Cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cabbage in particular also help ensure proper functioning of your liver, which is one of your body’s main detox centers, Dr. Rawls says. Vegetables’ fiber plays a key role, too.
“After your liver processes a toxin to make it water soluble, it’s secreted into bile, where the molecules then need something to bind to in order to exit your body,” Dr. Rawls says. “Vegetable fiber does that better than any other type.”
Indeed, fiber intake was closely tied to what researchers called “successful aging,” according to a study in The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences. The researchers found that people who ate a lot of fiber were 80% less likely to have hypertension, diabetes, dementia, depression, and a functional disability.
Vegetables also ensure cell membranes are their healthiest, and these membranes are what let nutrients in and help keep toxins out. “All the fat you eat ends up in cell membranes,” Dr. Rawls explains. “If you’re eating mostly saturated fat from meat and fried foods, membranes become stiff like lard.”
Plus, fried food can actually be a toxin all on its own; cooking fat or oil over extremely high heat turns it into free radicals. “So what you’re doing then is lacing cell membranes with damaging free radicals,” he says. One study in the journal British Medical Journal found that post-menopausal women who ate one or more servings of fried food a day had an 8% higher risk of dying during the study period. The risk rose to 13% for those who ordered up fried chicken daily.
A healthy plant-based diet also contributes to a healthy vascular system and good blood flow, which also helps move toxins out of your body, Dr. Rawls adds. Bottom line: “What we eat influences aging down to the cellular level, as well as our ability to flush out toxins.”
2. Try Detoxifying Herbs and Natural Ingredients
“Everyone wants one simple detox product, but most of what’s available cause only a laxative effect,” Dr. Rawls says. “When people get constipated, they build up loads of bad bacteria in their gut, and when they get rid of it, they feel better. But those products are not actually helping remove toxins.”
One that is at the top of his list: Chlorella. A nutrient-rich freshwater green algae, chlorella is rich in chlorophyll, a pigment with antioxidant properties that binds to toxins and helps usher them out of your system.
He also points to herbs that support healthy liver function, which is highly involved in processing toxins so your body can remove them. “Herbs like milk thistle and burdock root, as well as andrographis are at the top of the list because they help protect liver cells,” Dr. Rawls says. Milk thistle, for example, contains a potent antioxidant compound that has been shown beneficial in liver disease, as well as for protecting against liver toxins and reducing liver inflammation, according to a review in Lancet Oncology.
Another herb to consider: Glutathione, an essential antioxidant found in many plants and our own bodies. Glutathione plays a key role in liver function, especially during the first stage of toxin removal — when the liver transforms the toxin from fat soluble to water soluble so it can be excreted, Dr. Rawls says.
Studies suggest glutathione can be beneficial for the liver, with a recent study in BMC Gastroenterology even showing it may help those with non-fatty liver disease. What’s notable here, though, is that along with supporting liver function, glutathione also helps protect cell mitochondria from free radical damage that contributes to aging.
Berberine and other bitter herbs that support healthy digestion also help your body detox and support healthy aging. They work by ensuring proper removal of toxins through stools, plus promote healthy, balanced gut flora. And a healthy balance of gut bugs means a strong immune system — upwards of 70% of our immune system lives in our gut — which helps strengthen your defenses against disease.
3. Get Enough Sleep
Not only does sleep help diffuse stress and its toxic effects, it is essential for your body to rid itself of toxic materials and waste. “Deep, stage-3 sleep is when your body is able to detox most effectively, and when it works the hardest to get rid of toxins,” Dr. Rawls says.
One recent study in the journal Science Advances showed how this works when it comes to the brain and toxic proteins that can build up and that have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers found that deep sleep sets up the ideal environment for your body’s glymphatic system to work optimally. The glymphatic system is your brain’s specialized waste removal system, which uses the flow of cerebrospinal fluid to “cleanse” away toxic junk.
If you struggle with occasional sleeplessness, herbs and other natural ingredients can help here, too. A few to consider:
- Montmorency tart cherries: They’re a natural source of melatonin, a sleep-signalling hormone. Levels are low, but you don’t need much to initiate sleep, says Dr. Rawls, and in fact the high levels (>3mg) found in many supplements may actually disrupt your normal sleep-wake cycle.
- Magnesium: More than half of Americans don’t get enough of this essential mineral, a shortfall that’s been linked with poor sleep quality. Plus, magnesium helps promote calm and relaxation, which naturally lends to better sleep. Look for it in magnesium glycinate form, which is more easily absorbed by the body.
- Ashwagandha and l-theanine: If stress is what’s keeping you up, consider these herbs. They can help balance the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis, which regulates stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline so you’re better able to manage stress in the face of it.
- Bacopa, passionflower, and motherwort: Especially when taken together, these three herbs help promote a calm mind and support normal, healthy sleep.
4. Drink Plenty of (Filtered) Water
Filtering your tap H2O is a no-brainer for limiting exposure to all sorts of metals and toxic substances. For example, as many as 56 million Americans in 25 states may be drinking tap water with unsafe arsenic levels, according to the U.S. Natural Resources Defense Council.
But along with arsenic, a known carcinogen, tap water can contain trace amounts of medications, heavy metals, and other toxins that can mess with natural hormones. Bottled water, however, isn’t the answer since it may not be filtered, plus has the added risk of potentially containing BPA, a hormone-disrupting toxin in many plastics, according to a paper in the The British Medical Journal.
Just as important as filtering your water is to be sure you’re drinking enough. Adequate hydration helps flush toxins out of your system through urine, but also by keeping your GI function regular, which is another exit point for toxins, Dr. Rawls says. Check out your urine for clues as to whether you’re sipping sufficiently — it should be light yellow, like lemonade.
5. Cut Way Back on Sugar
“Excess sugar is toxic in a variety of ways,” Dr. Rawls says. First, excessive sugar promotes the growth of abnormal or pathogenic bacteria in the gut. Those gut microbes can actually create toxins that stimulate and agitate the brain, which then affects sleep and hormone levels and sets off a domino effect that impacts health and longevity at every stage, Dr. Rawls says.
Excess glucose in particular accelerates aging since it sticks to proteins in the body, which “gums up the works,” Dr. Rawls says. “Proteins make all functions in cells possible, and when you load the body with glucose, it sticks to the proteins and causes them to collapse.” One of the most visible signs of too much sugar, for example, is skin wrinkling. That’s because collagen — skin’s main support structure — is primarily made of protein.
But that’s not the only way too much sugar can be toxic. The more you eat, the more your body will become resistant to the insulin that moves glucose out of your blood and to cells that use it for energy. That can lead to elevated levels of both insulin and blood glucose, which have been linked in studies to cellular aging, including in the brain. Meanwhile, other research has found that those who eat a lot of sugar are at higher risk of dying of cardiovascular diseases, reports a study in JAMA Internal Medicine.
6. Stay Physically Active
“One of the best ways to get rid of heavy metals in your body is through exercise,” Dr. Rawls says. “It increases blood flow and promotes sweat, which is a key way your body detoxes; I think of it as blowing out your pipes.” In fact, research suggests that people exposed to higher levels of metals may sweat out just as many toxins as they release through urine, according to a review in the Journal of Environmental Public Health.
Exercise is also the most effective way to manage stress and help encourage quality sleep. “That’s important, because stress and lack of sleep disrupt hormones, which then interferes with your ability to get rid of toxins,” Dr. Rawls says. So try to be moderately active every day, by walking frequently throughout the day or using a bike to commute. And if you can regularly work up a sweat, even better.
7. Turn to Nature’s Air Purifiers
A number of plants are known to be especially effective at scrubbing indoor air of pollutants, reports a paper in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. While all plants will help to some extent, try filling your home with air-purifying all-stars shown to significantly lower indoor levels of VOCs, including areca, lady and bamboo palms, English ivy, Boston ferns, peace lily and Ficus.
Likewise, when you’re outdoors, try to spend as much time as possible in naturally green areas and away from major roads and highways. Research suggests lusher landscapes help mitigate the effects of climate change, including improving air quality and reducing your exposure to airborne toxins. One review found decreased risk of mortality among those subjects who lived in the greenest areas.
What’s more, spending time amidst nature also significantly reduces stress, according to a study in Behavioral Sciences. If you can’t escape the city, at least seek out parks for a daily dose of nature. Research suggests urban parks and green spaces improve air quality and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, mortality, and diabetes, according to a review chapter in the book Nature-Based Solutions to Climate Change Adaptation in Urban Areas.
8. Be Sun Safe
While most toxins do their dirty work inside your body and in ways you can’t see, ultraviolet rays from the sun age you prematurely in very visible ways: Over time, they cause skin to wrinkle, make it less elastic, and trigger hyperpigmentation (brown spots) plus rough, dry skin texture.
Researchers who studied 183 sets of twins proved just how aging sun damage can be. The twins who had had more sun exposure and a history of outdoor activities and lack of sunscreen all looked significantly older compared to their more sun-safe sibling. Ultraviolet rays are also known carcinogens that can increase your risk of skin cancer, Dr. Rawls says.
You needn’t become a vampire who ventures out only at night, however. To protect yourself, simply practice sun-safe behaviors:
- Avoid being outdoors in the sun when rays are strongest, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
- Wear protective clothing, a wide-brim hat, and sunglasses.
- Apply a non-toxic sunscreen to exposed skin. Look for those that list zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as active ingredients, which are inert minerals that block rays, providing natural SPF.
Ultimately, it’s impossible to completely avoid the influx of modern-day toxins and their aging effects. But with these tips, you can certainly lessen your exposure and mitigate their negative effects now and years down the road as you enter and enjoy your golden years.
1. Sorrentino, Jessica A. et al. “Defining the toxicology of aging.” Trends in Molecular Medicine. 2014 July; 20:7 P375-384
2. University of Michigan School of Public Health, Environmental Health Fact Sheet. 2013, November. “Air Pollution and Oxidative Stress.” Retrieved from http://mleead.umich.edu/files/Air-Pollution-and-Oxidative-Stress.pdf
3. Kelly, Frank J. “Oxidative stress: Its role in air pollution and adverse health effects.” Occupational & Environmental Medicine. 003;60:612-616
4. Ueda, K. “Effect of environmental chemicals on the genes and the gene expression.” Yakugaku Zasshi: Journal of the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan. 2009 Dec;129(12):1501-6.
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Cannabidiol (CBD) has become the new hot product everyone’s talking about. Much like marijuana, you can use CBD to de-stress, reduce inflammation, or treat seizures without getting drowsy, hungry, or having the perception of time slowing down. In other words, consuming CBD won’t get you high.
CBD is extracted from the industrial hemp plant and is therefore considered part of the cannabis family. In 2018, congress passed the Farm Bill which legalized the production of hemp derived CBD. However, not all CBD is legal. Only those products compliant with the Farm Bill and approved by the FDA are considered legal by the federal government.
Nevertheless, the Farm Bill was seen as a huge win by the cannabis industry; a huge win that did not go unnoticed.
Competition has emerged from all corners of the globe. So much so, that the industry is expected to reach $22 billion by 2022. It was only a matter of time before well-known retail stores such as CVS and Wal Greens rushed to grab a piece of the pie.
Walgreens Wants In
WalGreens has announced its plans to sell CBD in almost 1500 of its stores throughout the US. As of now, they plan on selling CBD patches, creams, and sprays. However, the brand for these products has not been specified.
Due to the various state regulations regarding CBD, Walgreens will only sell CBD in nine states:
- New Mexico
- South Carolina
Walgreens spokesperson Brian Faith shared with CNBC the reason for introducing CBD in their stores is to increase the accessibility of health and wellbeing products to better meet customer demand.
However, with the recent stocking of CBD products on CVS shelves in early March, we highly doubt meeting customer demand was the only reason Walgreens announced it would sell CBD.
CVS Takes a Leap of Faith
CVS is leading the charge for retail pharmacies by selling CBD. The giant chain store has introduced CBD salves, lotions, spray roll-ons, and creams to its line of products in a strategic move to capture a portion of the growing industry.
At the time of writing, CVS sells CBD in:
Due to the FDA’s regulations, CVS has stated that it’s not selling any CBD food additives or supplements. Rather, they claimed to have partnered with CBD manufacturers that are complaint with the Farm Bill to deliver only high quality products to customers.
The CEO of Curaleaf has claimed that CVS will soon be selling its products on the CVS website and in over 800 CVS stores throughout ten states.
CVS is yet to confirm any of these claims.
Time will Tell
With the FDA frowning upon the use of CBD (especially as an additive in food or dietary supplement) many retailers are turning to CBD as a beauty product. The challenges for these two giants highly increase with the online competition completely dominating the market.
Only time will tell if consumer demand will allow CBD to become another mainstream product at retail stores.
https://restorativemedicine.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/4Holtorf_-Lyme-CFS.pdf (Slides Found in link)