Blog

Diggestion issues! we got you covered.

digestwel+™ chewable enzymes

Love your gut! Avisae OptimALL Nutrition digestwel+ chewable enzymes is a unique formula of supplementary enzymes that helps your body’s gastrointestinal tract efficiently digest all types of food.*


Key Benefits

  • Ensures optimal digestion of food components for increased nutrient absorption*

  • Improves digestive function*

  • Reduces gastric reflux and intestinal discomfort*

Advertisements

7 Signs and Symptoms You Have Leaky Gut Syndrome.

Leaky gut - Dr. Axe If you’ve been around the natural health world very long, you’ve probably heard of a condition known as leaky gut syndrome. It sounds pretty gross, but it’s an important enough problem to consider. There are several leaky gut symptoms to be aware of, which is particularly important since leaky gut is associated with dozens of related conditions and diseases.As more Americans are affected by poor diet choices, chronic stress, toxic overload and bacterial imbalance, it appears that the prevalence of leaky gut has reached epidemic proportions. The medical profession is just now agreeing this condition may even exist, which is especially shocking to me because “intestinal permeability” (another name for leaky gut) has been discussed in the medical literature for over 100 years!

Why should leaky gut syndrome concern you? Recently leaky gut has been called a “danger signal for autoimmune disease.” (1) If you’re wondering if you may be experiencing leaky gut, the first thing to do is access your symptoms. Keep in mind that it’s very common for people on a Standard American Diet to struggle with poor gut function and high levels of inflammation — but just because digestive issues and autoimmune conditions are common doesn’t make them “normal”!

In this article, I’ve outlined a brief description of common leaky gut syndrome seen in people struggling with this condition. Can you heal leaky gut syndrome? As you’ll learn about below, there are four steps I recommend taking in order to repair leaky gut, which includes removing trigger foods from your diet, taking beneficial supplements and rebalancing your microflora with probiotics.


What Is Leaky Gut Syndrome?

The father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, said, “All disease begins in the gut.” More than two millennia after his death, scientific research has now proven he was onto something all those years ago. For over three decades, study after study has been published (several thousand articles exist to date) discussing our growing understanding of immunity, gut function and how modern diets and lifestyles negatively contribute to overall health by damaging our digestive system.

I (and many others in the medical field) refer to this particular phenomenon as leaky gut syndrome. In the medical literature, leaky gut is also referred to as “intestinal hyperpermeability.”

What Causes Leaky Gut?

The intestines are protected by a single layer of specialized epithelial cells that are linked together by tight junction (or TJ) proteins. Leaky gut symptoms are a consequence of intestinal tight-junction malfunction.

These tight junctionsare the gateway between your intestines and your bloodstream. They control what is allowed to pass into the bloodstream from your digestive system. More than 40 different TJ proteins have now been recognized to play a role in gut health. Tight junctions have a very precise job — they have to maintain the delicate balance between allowing vital nutrients to enter your bloodstream, while remaining small enough to prevent xenobiotics (disease-causing compounds from your diet or lifestyle) from passing out of your digestive system into the rest of your body. (1)

Here’s how a report published in the journal Frontiers in Immunologydescribes the pathology of leaky gut: (2)

The intestinal epithelial lining, together with factors secreted from it, forms a barrier that separates the host from the environment. In pathologic conditions, the permeability of the epithelial lining may be compromised allowing the passage of toxins, antigens, and bacteria in the lumen to enter the bloodstream creating a ‘leaky gut.’

When you have leaky gut, certain tiny particles that should never be able to enter your bloodstream start to make their way through. There’s also commonly abnormalities in the gut stemming from antimicrobial molecules, immunoglobulins and cytokine activities. This presents a major problem, as the vast majority of your immune system is found inside the gut.

The result? A disruption of acute inflammation, and sometimes autoimmune reactions. A normal part of your immune response that serves to fight infections and diseases winds up over-performing, leading to chronic inflammation, which is at the root of most diseases.

Some of the underlying causes of leaky gut include:

  • Genetic predisposition — certain people may be more predisposed to developing leaky gut because they are sensitive to environmental factors that “trigger” their bodies into initiating autoimmune responses.
  • Poor diet — especially a diet that includes allergens and inflammatory foods such as un-sprouted grains, added sugar, GMOs, refined oils, synthetic food additives and conventional dairy products.
  • Chronic stress
  • Toxin overload — including high drug and alcohol consumption. We come into contact with over 80,000 chemicals and toxins every single year, but the worst offenders for causing leaky gut include antibiotics, pesticides, tap water, aspirin and NSAIDS. I recommend buying a high-quality water filter to eliminate chlorine and fluoride and look to natural plant-based herbs to reduce inflammation in your body.
  • Bacterial imbalance — also called dysbiosis, which means an imbalance between beneficial and harmful species of bacteria in your gut. A large body of evidence now shows that gut microbiota is important in supporting the epithelial barrier and preventing autoimmune reactions. At least 10 percent of all gene transcriptions found in intestinal epithelial cells that are related to immunity, cell proliferation and metabolism are regulated by gut microbiota.

pre+probiotics pixies

 

How Serious Is Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Well, according to a 2014 review of the facts and research about intestinal permeability (among other sources), the chronic condition of hyperpermeability is linked to numerous symptoms and health conditions.

What are the symptoms of leaky gut? Some of the most prominent signs you may have leaky gut include: (3)

  • Gastric ulcers
  • Infectious diarrhea
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis)
  • Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
  • Celiac disease
  • Esophageal and colorectal cancer
  • Allergies
  • Respiratory infections
  • Acute inflammation conditions (sepsis, SIRS, multiple organ failure)
  • Chronic inflammatory conditions (such as arthritis)
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Obesity-related metabolic diseases (fatty liver, Type II diabetes, heart disease)
  • Autoimmune disease (lupus, multiple sclerosis, Type I diabetes, Hashimoto’s, and more) (4)
  • Parkinson’s disease (5)
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (6)
  • Propensity towards weight gain or obesity (7)

While these diseases are linked to leaky gut syndrome, it hasn’t been proven that there is a causal relationship; in other words, it’s not yet established that leaky gut causes any of these conditions, just that people who have leaky gut are more likely to have a number of other health problems. So while the scientific evidence has not yet proven that intestinal hyperpermiability (leaky gut syndrome) is actually responsible for these conditions, it strongly suggests that leaky gut and other dysfunctions tend to occur simultaneously. (8)


7 Leaky Gut Symptoms and Signs

How do you know if you have leaky gut? Below you’ll find seven leaky gut symptoms and early occurring conditions that may point to an issue with your gut health.

1. Food Sensitivities

Because of the onslaught of toxins that enter the bloodstream, the immune systems of people with intestinal hyperpermeability are on overdrive mass-producing various antibodies, which may make their bodies more susceptible to antigens in certain foods (especially gluten and dairy). In studies involving rats and human children, leaky gut and food allergies have been linked. (9, 10) Allergies are believed to be one of the most common leaky gut symptoms.

2. Inflammatory Bowel Disease 

Researchers from Hungary uncovered in 2012 that elevated gut permeability is oftentimes localized to the colon in people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis. (11) As far back as 1988, scientists suggested that Crohn’s disease may be more of a risk for people with leaky gut. (12)

A small study (observing 12 patients) discovered that zinc supplementation may help resolve the tight junction dysfunction in these cases, although more research is required on a larger scale to confirm these results. (13)

3. Autoimmune Disease

Zonulin is the only physiological modulator of intercellular tight junctions described so far that is involved in trafficking of macromolecules and, therefore, in tolerance/immune response balance. When the finely tuned zonulin pathway is deregulated in genetically susceptible individuals, both intestinal and extraintestinal autoimmune, inflammatory, and neoplastic disorders can occur.

Eating gluten may trigger this dangerous cascade. University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers have uncovered that gluten “activates zonulin signaling irrespective of the genetic expression of autoimmunity, leading to increased intestinal permeability to macromolecules.” (15)

The good news is that, at least as far as leaky gut plays a role in autoimmune conditions, it is reversible and could potentially alleviate some of these problematic immune responses. (16)

4. Thyroid Problems 

One of the autoimmune diseases that leaky gut syndrome may directly affect is Hashimoto’s disease. (17) Also known as “chronic thyroiditis,” this disorder is displayed with hypothyroidism (low thyroid function), impaired metabolism, fatigue, depression, weight gain and a host of other concerns.

5. Nutrient Malabsorption

In my own patients, I’ve observed various nutritional deficiencies resulting from leaky gut, including vitamin B12, magnesium and digestive enzymes. Those common nutrient deficiencies are one reason why many functional medicine practitioners prescribe a whole-food multivitamin in addition to probiotics for people suffering leaky gut problems.

6. Inflammatory Skin Conditions 

First described over 70 years ago, the gut-skin connection theory has described how intestinal hyperpermeability can cause a slew of skin conditions, particularly acne and psoriasis. (18) Creams and drugs with endless lists of (sometimes dangerous) side effects are often prescribed for these skin disorders, yet there has been evidence for several decades that part of the root cause might exist in the gut.

7. Mood Issues and Autism

According to a study published in the journal Neuroendocrinology Letters, leaky gut has been shown to cause various neurocognitive disorders. For example, the inflammatory response characteristic of intestinal hyperpermeability triggers the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and other chemicals that are thought to induce depression. (19)

A study published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience described the “vicious circle between immune system impairment and increasing dysbiosis that leads to leaky gut and neurochemical compounds and/or neurotoxic xenobiotics production and absorption.”

The authors go on to describe findings from a number of studies that point to their theory thatautism may be connected to problems in the gut microbiome, particularly within the first year of life. (20) It is actually a common hypothesis in modern science that leaky gut is strongly related to autism. (21)


What the Medical Community Has to Say About Leaky Gut Syndrome

Do most conventional doctors support the idea that leaky gut is real?

WebMD refers to leaky gut as “something of a medical mystery.”(22) This isn’t surprising, since it’s not a diagnosis that most doctors have been taught in medical school. “From an MD’s standpoint, it’s a very gray area,” says gastroenterologist Donald Kirby, MD – Director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the Cleveland Clinic. In his opinion, “Physicians don’t know enough about the gut, which is our biggest immune system organ.” (21)

To make matters worse, government agencies have also contributed to the confusion. According to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), “There is currently little evidence to support the theory that a porous bowel is the direct cause of any significant, widespread problems.” (23)

Yet, not everyone agrees. A roundtable review quotes the researchers at seven different European universities in 2014 agreeing upon the following: (24)

Alteration of the gut barrier seems to have multiple consequences facilitating the onset of a variety of diseases depending on other hits and on genetic or epigenetic constellations, respectively. The growing significance of the gut barrier and bacterial translocation raises the questions of how we can improve gut barrier functions and gut microbiota.

So while it’s encouraging that science is coming around to leaky gut syndrome being a real problem, we are by no means at a point where there are standard diagnostic tools for testing and treating leaky gut.

In the Western/conventional medical world, if there are no standard diagnostic criteria for a disease, then there are no specific therapies or treatments available. Moreover, if there are no “proven” treatment models, then most MD’s are left with no other choice than to follow what they believe to be the “safe path” and prescribe drugs that only treat leaky gut symptoms. For example, medications (like proton pump inhibitors or antacids) can be used to manage symptoms like acid reflux medications but these drugs don’t solve the root problem.

Because much of the medical community denies leaky gut’s very existence, it’s critical that you understand what leaky gut is and what to look out for in case you or a loved one is affected by it. The good news is that many functional and integrative medicine practitioners have a greater understanding of this condition than they did even a decade ago. They are much more likely to help you determine if you are suffering from leaky gut syndrome and to give you tools to help repair your gut.


How Do You Get Rid of Leaky Gut?

Now that we’ve been talked about leaky gut symptoms, causes and opinions, let’s talk about how to test for and repair leaky gut.

How do you test for leaky gut?

Several leaky gut syndrome tests are available that can help confirm a diagnosis and point you in the right treatment direction. Tests are helpful for identifying specific sensitivities and uncovering which types of toxins or deficiencies are contributing to your symptoms. Leaky gut tests include:

  • Zonulin or Lactulose Tests
  • IgG Food Intolerance Test
  • Stools Tests
  • Organic Acid Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies Tests
  • Lactulose Mannitol Test

What leaky gut treatments are available?

cl basic kit $225

After years of research and patient care, Avisae has developed a gut protocol process for helping to heal leaky gut. . If you’re concerned that you or a loved one may have leaky gut symptoms, I encourage you to read the detailed instructions, food suggestions and recommended leaky gut supplements listed in this article.

The basic steps to healing leaky gut are as follows:

  1. REMOVE foods and factors that damage the gut.
  2. REPLACE these with healing foods as you follow an anti-inflammatory leaky gut diet.
  3. REPAIR the gut with specific leaky gut supplements like butyric acid.
  4. REBALANCE your microbiome with probiotics (beneficial bacteria). This is key because bacteria in your gut are a major component of the intestinal barrier. They help promote resistance to the colonization of harmful or pathogenic bacteria species by competing for nutrients. Gut microbiota also regulate the digestion and absorption of nutrients and help supply epithelial cells with energy.
Two of the most commons questions people ask are: “What can I eat if I have leaky gut syndrome? And what should I NOT eat when I have leaky gut?”
If you’re struggling with leaky gut or other GI issues, remove processed foods— including un-sprouted grains, added sugar, GMO’s, refined oils, synthetic additives and conventional dairy products. A healing leaky gut syndrome diet includes foods like:
  • Bone broth
  • Raw cultured dairy (like kefir, yogurt, amasai, butter and raw cheeses)
  • Fermented vegetables and other probiotics foods. Probiotics may help reverse leaky gut by enhancing the production of tight junction proteins that defend against intestinal permeability.
  • Coconut products
  • Sprouted seeds (like chia seeds, flaxseeds and hemp seeds)
  • Foods with omega-3 fatty acids, especially salmon and other wild-caught fish
  • Herbs and spices
  • Other nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods like grass-fed beef, lamb, other fresh veggies and most fruits, apple cider vinegar, sea veggies, and other superfoods

Final Thoughts on Leaky Gut Syndrome

image of gut

  • Leaky gut syndrome is classified by malfunction in the intestinal tight junctions in the digestive tract, allowing larger-than-usual particles to pass from the digestive system into the bloodstream. When this occurs, the balance of inflammatory immune responses is disrupted, leading to chronic inflammation and poor immunity.
  • Although no causal relationships have yet been officially established, leaky gut is correlated with a large number of issues and diseases, including digestive disorders, depression, autism, celiac disease, autoimmune disease and more.
  • Common leaky gut symptoms include: food sensitivities, digestive issues, autoimmune disease, thyroid dysfunction, nutrient malabsorption, inflammatory skin conditions and brain-related issues such as depression and autism.
  • Leaky gut syndrome is not a recognized diagnosis in the medical community yet — but I’m confident it will be recognized someday, due to the vast body of research that has already been conducted.
  • If you suffer from any leaky gut symptoms, I encourage you to consult with your naturopathic doctor about options for treatment. Many of my patients have seen improvements when adjusting to a healing diet, rather than a disease and inflammation-causing one. In addition, there are helpful dietary supplements many people implement to support better gut health.

 

Depression: It’s Your Serotonin.

“Depression is a serious medical condition that may be due to a chemical imbalance, and Bliss adaptogen mist works to correct this imbalance.”

Bliss_1ozBostonRound

Herein lies the Serotonin Myth

As one of only two countries in the world that permits direct to consumer advertising, you have undoubtedly been subjected to promotion of the “cause of depression.” A cause that is not your fault, but rather, a matter of too few little bubbles passing between the hubs in your brain! Don’t add that to your list of worries, though, because there is a convenient solution awaiting you at your doctor’s office.

What if I told you that, in six decades of research, the serotonin (or norepinephrine, or dopamine) theory of depression and anxiety has not achieved scientific credibility.

You’d want some supporting arguments for this shocking claim, so here you go:

The Science of Psychiatry?

Rather than some embarrassingly reductionist, one-deficiency-one-illness-one-pill model of mental illness, contemporary exploration of human behavior has demonstrated that we may know less than we ever thought we did.  And that what we do know about root causes of mental illness seems to have more to do with the concept of evolutionary mismatch than with genes and chemical deficiencies.

In fact, a meta-analysis of over 14,000 patients and Dr. Insel, head of the NIMH, had this to say:

“Despite high expectations, neither genomics nor imaging has yet impacted the diagnosis or treatment of the 45 million Americans with serious or moderate mental illness each year.”

To understand what imbalance is, we must know what balance looks like, and neuroscience, to date, has not characterized the optimal brain state, nor how to even assess for it. In a review of serotonin theories of depression, Andrews et al. turn the paradigm on its head and conclude:

we propose that depressed states are high serotonin phenomena, which challenges the prominent role the low serotonin hypothesis continues to have in depression research (Albert et al., 2012). We also propose that the direct serotonin-enhancing effects of antidepressants disturb energy homeostasis and worsen symptoms. We argue that symptom reduction, which only occurs over chronic treatment, is attributable to the compensatory responses of the brain attempting to restore energy homeostasis.

In this paper, they work to deconstruct our indoctrination around serotonin as a “happy chemical”, and elucidate its complex role in redirecting energy production when a creature is under duress. It is only when we perturb the system with medication that the body’s response can sometimes result in a chemically adaptive state, that is temporary, at best (accounting for relapse rates, while on medication, of up to 60%). Even this analysis is a theoretical offering in the service of challenging the dominant paradigm.

A New England Journal of Medicinereview on Major Depression, stated:

” … numerous studies of norepinephrine and serotonin metabolites in plasma, urine, and cerebrospinal fluid as well as postmortem studies of the brains of patients with depression, have yet to identify the purported deficiency reliably.”

The data has poked holes in the theory and even the field of psychiatry itself is putting down it’s sword. One of my favorite essays by Lacasse and Leo has compiled sentiments from influential thinkers in the field – mind you, these are conventional clinicians and researchers in mainstream practice – who have broken rank, casting doubt on the entirety of what psychiatry has to offer around antidepressants:

ItsNotSerotonin-3

 

Depression is Not About Low Serotonin

In the 1950s, reserpine, initially introduced to the US market as an anti-seizure medication, was noted to deplete brain serotonin stores in subjects, with resultant lethargy and sedation. These observations colluded with the clinical note that an anti-tuberculosis medication, iproniazid, invoked mood changes after five months of treatment in 70% of a 17 patient cohort. Finally, Dr. Joseph Schildkraut threw fairy dust on these mumbles and grumbles in 1965 with his hypothetical manifesto entitled “The Catecholamine Hypothesis of Affective Disorders” stating:

“At best, drug-induced affective disturbances can only be considered models of the natural disorders, while it remains to be demonstrated that the behavioral changes produced by these drugs have any relation to naturally occurring biochemical abnormalities which might be associated with the illness.”

Contextualized by the ripeness of a field struggling to establish biomedical legitimacy (beyond the therapeutic lobotomy!), psychiatry was ready for a rebranding, and the pharmaceutical industry was all too happy to partner in the effort.

Of course, the risk inherent in “working backwards” in this way (noting effects and presuming mechanisms) is that we tell ourselves that we have learned something about the body, when in fact, all we have learned is that patented synthesized chemicals have effects on our behavior. This is referred to as the drug-based model by Dr. Joanna Moncrieff. In this model, we acknowledge that antidepressants have effects, but that these effects, in no way are curative or reparative.

The most applicable analogy is that of the woman with social phobia who finds that drinking two cocktails eases her symptoms. One could imagine, how, in a 6 week randomized trial, this “treatment” could be found efficacious and recommended for daily use and even prevention of symptoms. How her withdrawal symptoms after 10 years of daily compliance could lead those around her to believe that she “needed” the alcohol to correct an imbalance. This analogy is all too close to the truth.

No Intervention Creates Better Outcomes

Psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Carlat has said: “And where there is a scientific vacuum, drug companies are happy to insert a marketing message and call it science. As a result, psychiatry has become a proving ground for outrageous manipulations of science in the service of profit.”

So, what happens when we let drug companies tell doctors what science is? We have an industry and a profession working together to maintain a house of cards theory in the face of contradictory evidence.

We have a global situation in which increases in prescribing are resulting in increases in severity of illness (including numbers and length of episodes) relative to those who have never been treated with medication.

To truly appreciate the breadth of evidence that states antidepressants are ineffective and unsafe, we have to get behind the walls that the pharmaceutical companies erect. We have to unearth unpublished data, data that they were hoping to keep in the dusty catacombs.

A now famous 2008 study in the New England Journal of Medicine by Turner et al sought to expose the extent of this data manipulation. They demonstrated that, from 1987 to 2004, 12 antidepressants were approved based on 74 studies. Thirty-eight were positive, and 37 of these were published.  Thirty-six were negative (showing no benefit), and 3 of these were published as such while 11 were published with a positive spin (always read the data not the author’s conclusion!), and 22 were unpublished.

In 1998 tour de force, Dr. Irving Kirsch, an expert on the placebo effect, published a metaanalysis of 3,000 patients who were treated with antidepressants, psychotherapy, placebo, or no treatment and found that only 27% of the therapeutic response was attributable to the drug’s action.

This was followed up by a 2008 review, which invoked the Freedom of Information Act to obtain access to unpublished studies, finding that, when these were included, antidepressants outperformed placebo in only 20 of 46 trials (less than half!), and that the overall difference between drugs and placebos was 1.7 points on the 52 point Hamilton Scale.  This small increment is clinically insignificant, and likely accounted for by medication side effects strategically employed (sedation or activation).

When active placebos were used, the Cochrane database found that differences between drugs and placebos disappeared, given credence to the assertion that inert placebos inflate perceived drug effects.

The finding of tremendous placebo effect in the treatment groups was also echoed in two different meta-analysis by Khan et al who found a 10% difference between placebo and antidepressant efficacy, and comparable suicide rates. The most recent trial examining the role of “expectancy” or belief in antidepressant effect, found that patients lost their perceived benefit if they believed that they might be getting a sugar pill even if they were continued on their formerly effective treatment dose of Prozac.

The largest, non-industry funded study, costing the public $35 million dollars, followed 4000 patients treated with Celexa (not blinded, so they knew what they were getting), and found that half of them improved at 8 weeks. Those that didn’t were switched to Wellbutrin, Effexor, or Zoloft OR “augmented” with Buspar or Wellbutrin.

Guess what? It didn’t matter what was done, because they remitted at the same unimpressive rate of 18-30% regardless with only 3% of patients were in remission at 12 months.

How could it be that medications like Wellbutrin, which purportedly primarily disrupt dopamine signaling, and medications like Stablon which theoretically enhances the reuptake of serotonin both work to resolve this underlying imbalance? Why would thyroid, benzodiazepines, beta blockers, and opiates also “work”? And what does depression have in common with panic disorder, phobias, OCD, eating disorders, and social anxiety that all of these diagnoses would warrant the same exact chemical fix?

Are There Alternative Options?

As a holistic clinician, one of my bigger pet peeves is the use of amino acids and other nutraceuticals with  “serotonin-boosting” claims. These integrative practitioners have taken a page from the allopathic playbook and are seeking to copy-cat what they perceive antidepressants to be doing.

The foundational “data” for the modern serotonin theory of mood utilizes tryptophan depletion methods which involve feeding volunteers amino acid mixtures without tryptophan and are rife with complicated interpretations.

Simply put, there has never been a study that demonstrates that this intervention causes mood changes in any patients who have not been treated with antidepressants.

In an important paper entitled Mechanism of acute tryptophan depletion:is it only serotonin?, van Donkelaar et al caution clinicians and researchers about the interpretation of tryptophan research. They clarify that there are many potential effects of this methodology, stating:

In general, several findings support the fact that depression may not be caused solely by an abnormality of 5-HT function, but more likely by a dysfunction of other systems or brain regions modulated by 5-HT or interacting with its dietary precursor. Similarly, the ATD method does not seem to challenge the 5-HT system per se, but rather triggers 5HT-mediated adverse events.

Andrews goes further to include this interpretation in a long list of arguments against the role of low serotonin in depression (Box 1).

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 8.23.06 AM So if we cannot confirm the role of serotonin in mood and we have good reason to believe that antidepressant effect is largely based on belief, then why are we trying to “boost serotonin”?

Why Your Prescription Never Expires

All you have to do is spend a few minutes on http://survivingantidepressants.org/ or http://beyondmeds.com/ to appreciate that we have created a monster. Millions of men, women, and children, the world over are suffering, without clinical guidance (because this is NOT a part of medical training) to discontinue psychiatric meds. I have been humbled, as a clinician who seeks to help these patients, by what these medications are capable of. Psychotropic withdrawal can make alcohol and heroin detox look like a breeze.

An important analysis by the former director of the NIMH makes claims that antidepressants “create perturbations in neurotransmitter functions” causing the body to compensate through a series of adaptations which occur after “chronic administration” leading to brains that function, after a few weeks, in a way that is “qualitatively as well as quantitatively different from the normal state.”

Changes in beta-adrenergic receptor density, serotonin autoreceptor sensitivity, and serotonin turnover all struggle to compensate for the assault of the medication.

Andrews calls this “oppositional tolerance,” and demonstrate through a careful meta-analysis of 46 studies demonstrating that patient’s risk of relapse is directly proportionate to how “perturbing” the medication is, and is always higher than placebo (44.6% vs 24.7%). They challenge the notion that findings of decreased relapse on continued medication represent anything other than drug-induced response to discontinuation of a substance to which the body has developed tolerance. They go a step further to add:

“For instance, in naturalistic studies, unmedicated patients have much shorter episodes, and better long-term prospects, than medicated patients. Several of these studies have found that the average duration of an untreated episode of major depression is 12–13 weeks.”

Harvardresearchers also concluded that at least fifty percent of drug-withdrawn patients relapsed within 14 months. In fact:

“Long-term antidepressant use may bedepressogenic . . . it is possible that antidepressant agents modify the hardwiring of neuronal synapses (which) not only render antidepressants ineffective but also induce a resident, refractory depressive state.”

So, when your doctor says, “You see, look how sick you are, you shouldn’t have stopped that medication,” you should know that the data suggests that your symptoms are withdrawal, not relapse.

Longitudinal studies demonstrate poor functional outcomes for those treated with 60% of patients still meeting diagnostic criteria at one year (despite transient improvement within the first 3 months). When baseline severity is controlled for, two prospective studies support a worse outcome in those prescribed medication:

One in which the never-medicated group experienced a 62% improvement by six months, whereas the drug-treated patients experienced only a 33% reduction in symptoms, and another WHO study of depressed patients in 15 cities which found that, at the end of one year, those who weren’t exposed to psychotropic medications enjoyed much better “general health;” that their depressive symptoms were much milder;” and that they were less likely to still be “mentally ill.”

I’m not done yet.

In a retrospective 10-year study in the Netherlands, 76% of those with unmedicated depression recovered without relapse relative to 50% of those treated.

Unlike the mess of contradictory studies around short-term effects, there are no comparable studies that show a better outcome in those prescribed antidepressants long term.

First Do No Harm

So, we have a half-baked theory in a vacuum of science that that pharmaceutical industry raced to fill. We have the illusion of short-term efficacy and assumptions about long-term safety. But are these medications actually killing people?

The answer is yes.

Unequivocally, antidepressants cause suicidal and homicidal behavior. The Russian Roulette of patients vulnerable to these “side effects” is only beginning to be elucidated and may have something to do with genetic variants around metabolism of these chemicals.  Dr. David Healy has worked tirelessly to expose the data that implicates antidepressants in suicidality and violence, maintaining a database for reporting, writing, and lecturing about cases of medication-induced death that could make your soul wince.

What about our most vulnerable?

I have countless patients in my practice who report new onset of suicidal ideation within weeks of starting an antidepressant. In a population where there are only 2 randomized trials, I have grave concerns about postpartum women who are treated with antidepressants before more benign and effective interventions such as dietary modification and thyroid treatment. Hold your heart as you read through thesereports of women who took their own and their children’s’ lives while treated with medications.

Then there is the use of these medications in children as young as 2 years old. How did we ever get the idea that this was a safe and effective treatment for this demographic? Look no further than data like Study 329, which cost Glaxo Smith Klein 3 billion dollars for their efforts to promote antidepressants to children. These efforts required ghost-written and manipulated data that suppressed a signal of suicidality, falsely represented Paxil as outperforming placebo, and contributes to an irrepressible mountainofharm done to our children by the field of psychiatry.

RIP Monoamine Theory

As Moncrieff and Cohen so succinctly state:

“Our analysis indicates that there are no specific antidepressant drugs, that most of the short-term effects of antidepressants are shared by many other drugs, and that long-term drug treatment with antidepressants or any other drugs has not been shown to lead to long-term elevation of mood. We suggest that the term “antidepressant” should be abandoned.”

So, where do we turn?

The field of psychoneuroimmunology dominates the research as an iconic example of how medicine must surpass its own simplistic boundaries if we are going to begin to chip away at the some 50% of Americans who will struggle with mood symptoms, and 11% of whom will be medicated for it.

There are times in our evolution as a cultural species that we need to unlearn what we think we know. We have to move out of the comfort of certainty and into the freeing light of uncertainty. It is from this space of acknowledged unknowing that we can truly grow. From my vantage point, this growth will encompass a sense of wonder – both a curiosity about what symptoms of mental illness may be telling us about our physiology and spirit, as well as a sense of humbled awe at all that we do not yet have the tools to appreciate. For this reason, honoring our co-evolution with the natural world, and sending the body a signal of safety through movement, diet, meditation, and environmental detoxification represents our most primal and most powerful tool for healing.

 

 

Bliss_1ozBostonRound

bliss™adaptogen mist

Avisae OptimALL Nutrition™ bliss™ adaptogen mist is unique formula that helps reset your body’s serotonin pathways for improved mood, better sleep and increased focus.


Key Benefits

  • Improved Mood and Optimism*
  • Modulates Emotional Energy*
  • Rejuvenated Sleep Patterns*
  • Sharpened Mental Focus*
  • Normalized Libido & Sexual Performance*
  • Lessened Stress & Anxiety*

 

ValueIcons7_bliss

SUGGESTED USE:

Take one application of 6-10 sprays orally each day as needed.

 

 

Neutron Analysis on Glaucoma Drugs Offers Clues for Cancer Targets

Glaucoma Drugs Offers Clues About Enzyme Targets for Aggressive Cancers

New insights from neutron analysis of glaucoma drugs and their enzyme target may help scientists design drugs that more effectively target aggressive cancers.

A team of researchers led by the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory used neutron macromolecular crystallography to investigate the different states of three glaucoma drugs as they interact with the targeted enzyme, human carbonic anhydrase II (hCA II).

“Our goal was to observe differences in the presentation of three clinically used glaucoma drugs while they are bound to the hCA II enzyme,” said Andrey Kovalevsky, an instrument scientist at ORNL and a senior co-author of the study. “By looking at how well these drugs target hCA II in protonated, neutral and deprotonated states, we hoped to obtain insights that would make it possible to improve these medicines so they can better target enzymes linked to cancer.”

Protonation refers to the presence, addition or loss of a proton, which gives the drug a neutral, positive or negative charge, respectively. Altering a drug’s charge could change its ability to recognize and bind with its target protein and consequently, its effectiveness.

The study, published in the journal Structure, found that temperature, pH, and the electrical charge of the three glaucoma drugs affected their ability to target and bind with the hCA II enzyme.

“This discovery was really a proof of principle for us,” said Robert McKenna, a professor at the University of Florida and a senior co-author of the study. “It opened our eyes to how changes in temperature and pH can impact the protonation state of the drug, which in turn makes it more or less effective.”

New information about the hydrogen-bonding networks that make up the active site of hCA II may help other scientists develop new and better drugs for cancer treatment. The family of hCA enzymes contains similar proteins, such as hCA IX and XII, that are associated with aggressive breast cancers, such as triple negative breast cancer.

3D Structures of Brinzolamide and Dorzolamide

“We want to exploit the difference in charge, pH and temperature to see if we can design drugs that are more effective at targeting these enzymes,” said Kovalevsky. “If we can understand binding at the atomic level, we can redesign drugs and turn them into stronger and more selective ‘magnets’ that will be attracted to cancer-associated enzymes. Such drugs would be much more effective at killing cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unhurt, which significantly reduces side effects for patients.”

Many scientists have used X-ray crystallography to analyze the structures of hCA enymes, but these studies lack complete atomic information on drug binding because of X-rays’ inability to visualize hydrogen atoms abundant in proteins and enzymes.

Neutrons are sensitive to lighter elements, so they provide much more detailed information on the location of hydrogen atoms. Seeing hydrogen is critical to studying protonation states of an enzyme and ligand–a molecule that binds to a biological macromolecule–and to analyzing the architecture of hydrogen-bonding networks. Neutrons also offer other experimental advantages.

“When you use neutron diffraction you don’t have radiation damage, so you can do your study at room temperature,” said McKenna. “In addition, freezing crystals may alter the drug and enzyme, introducing a false view into the study, while room temperature studies more closely resemble the environment the drug will be used in.”

pre+probiotics™ pixie

https://youtu.be/0SS-bhKdX0E

 

Prebiotics are not probiotics!

While the general public has long understood probiotics, prebiotics are less known. But there are significant differences between the two, including health benefits.

Probiotics are live bacteria in yogurt, other dairy products, and pills. Doctors often prescribe probiotics to patients on antibiotics in an attempt to combat gastrointestinal side effects of the medication. And while probiotics have been shown effective in managing certain gastrointestinal conditions, they do not have the same power that prebiotics do.

First, they’re delicate — heat and stomach acid can kill them, rendering them ineffective before they’ve even been digested. Also, those who don’t eat dairy foods for taste or dietary reasons may find ingesting adequate amounts of probiotics difficult, if not impossible. Finally, we don’t know which “good” bacteria our unique bodies would benefit from. For some people, a certain good bacterial strain would be helpful. For others, it may not. When we consume probiotics, we’re taking a guess at which bacteria might be helpful and hoping for the best. We’re also hoping the ones that make it past the heat and acid of our stomach will actually go on to provide some health benefits to our system.

If this is a probiotic then what is a prebiotic? In short, the prebiotic is a specialized plant fiber that beneficially nourishes the good bacteria already in the large bowel or colon. While probiotics introduce good bacteria into the gut, prebiotics act as a fertilizer for the good bacteria that’s already there. They help your good bacteria grow, improving the good-to-bad bacteria ratio. This ratio has been shown to have a direct correlation to your health and overall wellbeing, from your stomach to your brain.

The body itself does not digest these plant fibers. Instead, it uses these fibers to promote the growth of many of the good bacteria in the gut. These, in turn, provide many digestive and general health benefits. Recent studies have also shown prebiotics and good bacterial gut balance play a direct role in mental health. Individuals who consume prebiotics on a daily basis have fewer issues with anxiety, depression, and stress. In fact, when their saliva was tested, it contained lower levels of cortisol. High levels of this hormone have been linked directly to mental health disorders.

Prebiotics, unlike probiotics, are not destroyed in the body. They are not affected by heat or bacteria. Getting the full benefits of prebiotics is easy, especially when consumed in a full-spectrum supplement form.

Probiotic vs Prebiotic

Prebiotics and probiotics both accomplish important health tasks for the human gut. Trying to decide between a probiotic and prebiotic supplement regimen? Consider these prebiotics vs probiotics facts:

PREBIOTIC VS PROBIOTIC

PREBIOTICS

PROBIOTICS

PREBIOTICS are a special form of dietary fiber that acts as a fertilizer for the good bacteria in your gut. PROBIOTICS are live bacteria in yogurt, dairy products, and pills. There are hundreds of probiotic species available. Which of the hundreds of available probiotics is best for the average healthy person is still unknown.
PREBIOTIC powders are not affected by heat, cold, acid or time. PROBIOTIC bacteria must be kept alive. They may be killed by heat, stomach acid or simply die with time.
PREBIOTICS provide a wide range of health benefits to the otherwise healthy person. Most of these have been medically proven. PROBIOTICS are still not clearly known to provide health benefits to the otherwise healthy. Some are suspected but still not proven.
PREBIOTICS nourish the good bacteria that everyone already has in their gut. PROBIOTICS must compete with the over 1000 bacteria species already in the gut.
PREBIOTICS may be helpful for several chronic digestive disorders or inflammatory bowel disease. Certain PROBIOTIC species have been shown to be helpful for childhood diarrhea, irritable bowel disease and for recurrence of certain bowel infections such as C. difficile.

prebiotic provide a range of important benefits not just to lower gut health but to overall well-being, too. Our formula has been rigorously tested and medically proven to increase the number of healthy bacteria in the gut. Science has proven the health benefits of prebiotics include increased bone density, strengthened immune system, better-controlled weight and appetite, and improved bowel regularity. Recent studies have also found that individuals taking prebiotics experience improved mental health.

How Prebiotics Help

For years, hardly anyone in the medical profession paid any attention to the role the colon plays in overall health. Over the past 15 years, however, we have discovered that the colon — and specifically, the bacteria that call the colon home — is incredibly important to wellness. The healthy bacteria that live there strengthen the bowel wall, improve mineral absorption and aid in the regulation of hormone production, which has a range of essential benefits. Prebiotics fertilize these good bacteria as they stifle the production of the bad, disease-causing bacteria, and  prebiotic is independently shown to cause the multiplication of beneficial bacteria which combat gut dysbiosis.

Try Prebiotics Today

When you have ample beneficial bacteria, you can experience better overall health from a physical, mental and emotional standpoint. You’ll be better nourished, feel fuller, and able to achieve and maintain a healthy weight more easily.

Can You Take Probiotics and Prebiotics Together?

Yes, you can take probiotics and prebiotics together. Prebiotics do not negatively interact with probiotics. Prebiotics do not interfere with medications, either. High-quality probiotics and prebiotics are safe when taken together.

In fact, when you think about how probiotics and prebiotics work, it makes sense to take them together. Simply put, prebiotics are “food” for probiotics. Probiotics digest prebiotics and use the molecules as energy. In some ways, probiotics and prebiotics act synergistically for gut health.

When Is the Best Time to Take Prebiotics and Probiotics?

clockThe best time to take prebiotics and probiotics is regularly. Follow the recommendations for each one, take them at the same time each day and take them consistently.

Some sources have suggested that prebiotics should be taken before probiotics. The truth is that it really does not matter.

The body “processes” prebiotics and probiotics at different rates. It may take hours for prebiotics and probiotics to make their way to the large intestine. They may not travel through the intestines at the same rate. In fact, most probiotics die in the stomach acid and never make it to the large intestine at all. So, trying to precisely schedule the best time to take prebiotics and probiotics together is rather pointless. The good news is that there are bacteria in the large intestine ready to digest the prebiotics once they arrive.

When Is the Best Time to Take Prebiotics?

Again, consistency is the key to taking prebiotics. You want to provide the healthy microbes in your digestive tract with a steady supply of “food.” Just as you like to eat at the same time each day, healthy gut bacteria come to expect a consistent supply of nutrients. If you starve the bacteria, they will either stop multiplying or die off, opening the door to unhealthy bacteria. Make a schedule to take prebiotics, and then stick with it.

Many people find that prebiotics make them feel fuller, faster. In fact, this satiety has been shown in research studies and clinical trials. Therefore, people who are trying to maintain a healthy weight or lose weight could take prebiotics along with meals. Prebiotics can help people feel full even if they have eaten less.

When Is the Best Time to Take Probiotics?

Probiotics are mostly destroyed by stomach acid and digestive enzymes. People can help protect against this destruction by taking probiotics with meals. The food may act as a buffer to protect the probiotics as they make their way through the stomach and small intestine. On the other hand, digestion is increased during and immediately after a meal. Thus, eating could make a more hostile environment for the probiotics. One way to overcome each of these problems is to take enough active probiotic colonies so that at least some of them make it to the large intestine.

Prebiotics vs. Probiotics: Which Is Better?

Both prebiotics and probiotics can benefit human health. However, probiotics suffer from one major problem: they have a difficult time making it from the mouth to the large intestine. Compared to what was swallowed, only a relatively small number of living probiotic organisms reaches the gut.

Watch the full video on CBN News!Prebiotics, on the other hand, are not digested by the human body but are instead digested by gut bacteria. For prebiotics, what you eat is what you get. Prebiotics supports the growth of healthy bacteria already in the large intestine. In some ways, probiotics are unnecessary for healthy individuals who consistently take prebiotics. For these reasons, prebiotics are better than probiotics for most people.

Pre+biotics

 

pre+probiotics

pre+probiotics™ pixie

Love your Gut! Avisae OptimALL Nutrition™ pre+probiotics™ pixie is a proprietary synbiotic blend that’s scientifically formulated to balance your gut-bacteria.


Key Benefits

  • Aids healthy gastrointestinal flora*
  • Improves digestive function*
  • Restore Healthy Bacteria*
  • Reduces bloating and intestinal gas production*
  • Improved metabolism
  • Shelf Stable – No refrigeration required

ValueIcons8

 digestwel+

digestwel+™ chewable enzymes

Love your gut! Avisae OptimALL Nutrition digestwel+ chewable enzymes is a unique formula of supplementary enzymes that helps your body’s gastrointestinal tract efficiently digest all types of food.*


Key Benefits

  • Ensures optimal digestion of food components for increased nutrient absorption*
  • Improves digestive function*
  • Reduces gastric reflux and intestinal discomfort*

ValueIcons8

Digest issues we can help!

 

bliss™adaptogen mist

Avisae OptimALL Nutrition™ bliss™ adaptogen mist is unique formula that helps reset your body’s serotonin pathways for improved mood, better sleep and increased focus.


Key Benefits

  • Improved Mood and Optimism*
  • Modulates Emotional Energy*
  • Rejuvenated Sleep Patterns*
  • Sharpened Mental Focus*
  • Normalized Libido & Sexual Performance*
  • Lessened Stress & Anxiety*

 

ValueIcons7_bliss

 

pre+probiotics™ pixie

Love your Gut! Avisae OptimALL Nutrition™ pre+probiotics™ pixie is a proprietary synbiotic blend that’s scientifically formulated to balance your gut-bacteria.


Key Benefits

  • Aids healthy gastrointestinal flora*
  • Improves digestive function*
  • Restore Healthy Bacteria*
  • Reduces bloating and intestinal gas production*
  • Improved metabolism
  • Shelf Stable – No refrigeration required

ValueIcons8

 

digestwel+™ chewable enzymes

Love your gut! Avisae OptimALL Nutrition digestwel+ chewable enzymes is a unique formula of supplementary enzymes that helps your body’s gastrointestinal tract efficiently digest all types of food.* 


Key Benefits

  • Ensures optimal digestion of food components for increased nutrient absorption*
  • Improves digestive function*
  • Reduces gastric reflux and intestinal discomfort*

ValueIcons8

 

reduce™ WEIGHT LOSS
optimal toning formula

A proprietary blend that helps your body’s metabolism work more efficiently. Supported by science these unique ingredients focus on helping you achieve a healthy weight when combined with diet and regular exercise.


Key Benefits

  • OptimALL Nutrition MetaBIOlize™ – Promotes Efficient Metabolization of Fats & Carbohydrates
  • OptimALL Nutrition ThermoSaf™ – A Safe Ingredient Formula That Supports thermogenesis for a more efficient use of calories
  • Helps appease appetite
  • Supports Healthy Blood Sugar Levels


optimal toning formula

A proprietary blend that helps your body’s metabolism work more efficiently. Supported by science these unique ingredients focus on helping you achieve a healthy weight when combined with diet and regular exercise.


Key Benefits

  • OptimALL Nutrition MetaBIOlize™ – Promotes Efficient Metabolization of Fats & Carbohydrates
  • OptimALL Nutrition ThermoSaf™ – A Safe Ingredient Formula That Supports thermogenesis for a more efficient use of calories
  • Helps appease appetite
  • Supports Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

 

Immune Cells from the Gut Are Recruited to Fight Multiple Sclerosis

Researchers at the University of Toronto and UC San Francisco have discovered that the intestine is the source of immune cells that reduce brain inflammation in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), and that increasing the number of these cells blocks inflammation entirely in a preclinical model of the disease.

The cells in question are plasma cells — white blood cells that originate as B cells in the bone marrow but change their behavior when triggered by microbes in the gut. Studying mice and samples from human MS patients, the researchers found that plasma cells that reside in the gut and produce Immunoglobulin A (IgA) antibodies appear to migrate to the central nervous system and produce an anti-inflammatory effect during MS flare-ups.

MS is an autoimmune disease, driven by other types of immune cells (including B and T cells) that attack myelin, the protective coating that surrounds nerve fibers. Recent clinical studies have shown drugs that target B cells mitigate MS, while those that target plasma cells make the disease worse. The current study offers an explanation for these divergent results.

“We already knew what was and was not working in the clinic,” said Jen Gommerman, PhD, a professor of immunology at the University of Toronto and the senior author on the study. “But here we’ve uncovered the molecular and cellular mechanism at play. It’s a kind of reverse translation approach, which highlights the importance of the gut-brain axis in MS and other autoimmune conditions.”

Canada and the U.S. have among the highest rates of MS in the world, with around three in every thousand individuals affected. Symptoms can include fatigue, poor coordination, tingling, organ problems and cognitive impairment. There is no cure, although quicker diagnoses and better drugs have improved outcomes significantly in the last 15 years.

“IgAs comprise 80 per cent of all antibodies in the body, yet their exact function is still not fully understood,” said Sergio Baranzini, PhD, a co-author on the paper who is a professor of neurology in the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences. “Showing that IgA-producing B cells can travel from the gut to the brain opens a new page in the book of neuroinflammatory diseases and could be the first step towards producing novel treatments to modulate or stop MS and related neurological disorders.”

The lead authors on the work are postdoctoral fellows Olga Rojas, PhD, and Elisa Porfilio, PhD, from the Gommerman lab at the University of Toronto and Anne-Katrin Pröbstel, MD, from the Baranzini lab at UCSF. In a moment of scientific serendipity, they recently presented their research at the same conference and realized their results aligned. The researchers began to collaborate, and Pröbstel and colleagues in the Baranzini lab were able to show that the Gommerman lab’s findings in mice had parallels to human MS patients.

Specifically, the UCSF team found evidence that IgA was decreased in fecal samples from patients with active MS neuroinflammation, suggesting that the inflammation-suppressing cells had been recruited to help fight the patients’ disease.

One promising aspect of the new research is that increasing the number of IgA plasma cells that migrate from the gut to the brain eradicated neuroinflammation in mice. A therapeutic approach might aim to expand the number of these cells in the gut, enabling a plentiful supply that could move to the brain and dampen inflammation.

“As a clinician-scientist, it is exciting that our experiments linking preclinical animal models to the biology we see in real MS patients may have uncovered a general mechanism for how the immune system counteracts inflammation,” said UCSF’s Pröbstel. “Until now, no one has really studied these IgA-producing plasma cells in the context of disease, but we are now examining them in detail in patients with MS to begin to understand how we might manipulate them to help treat neuroinflammatory diseases.

A key next step for the researchers is to figure out what microbes in the gut promote the generation of immunosuppressive IgA plasma cells. “If we can understand what these cells are reacting to, we can potentially treat MS by modulating our gut commensals,” said Gommerman, referring to the bacteria that live in the healthy gut. “That might be easier than getting drugs into the brain, which is a strategy that hasn’t always worked in MS.”

The study also raises questions about the microbiome and lifestyle choices. Do certain lifestyles nudge some people toward a gut microbiome that allows immunosuppressive plasma cells to flourish? Are specific foods conducive to creating that environment and if so, might a drug or supplement mimic the effect? Genetics are just one factor that affect susceptibility to MS; the current study highlights how non-genetic factors may confer disease resistance.

Gommerman plans to pursue the basic science behind these questions, working with Baranzini and other research groups to bring the findings into the clinical realm. “There is something very critical about how the gut and brain are connected, and we’re starting to unravel the molecular threads behind that clinical observation,” she said. “It’s a great example of how fast science can move.”

This article has been republished from materials provided by UCSF. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.

Reference: Rojas, O. L., Pröbstel, A.-K., Porfilio, E. A., Wang, A. A., Charabati, M., Sun, T., … Gommerman, J. L. (2019). Recirculating Intestinal IgA-Producing Cells Regulate Neuroinflammation via IL-10. Cell, 0(0). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2018.11.035

HYDRATION STICKS “MOOD”

SOUL•stiks

Through an explosion of tropical flavor, M’s SOUL•stik delivers all kinds of goodness with Nature’s finest herbs, like Siberian ginseng, Yerba mate and gikgo biloba to add clarity to your day and brightness to your soul.

• Enhances mood
• Boosts mental acuity
• 100% natural
• Sugar-free
• Unrivaled taste

20180816000832_soul_box

HYDRATION STICKS “TRIM”

TRIM•stiks

Sugar-free TRIM•stiks help you fight the urge to overindulge while boosting thermogenic activity. And it tastes fantastic! TRIM is your new best friend.

• 0 calories
• Includes short-chain polyphenols from lychee, fantastic for energy, vasodilation, and visceral fat loss
• Amazing taste
• Includes BioPerine®, which increases bioavailability of ingredients by 25–45%
• Great companion to BURN•caps™

trim box 32kb

HYDRATION STICKS “boost creativity”

HYDRATION STICKS

SMART•stiks™

Get more done with M’s SMART•stik. From morning ’til night, boost creativity, focus and overall cognitive potential with safe, proven nootropic ingredients.

• Clarity
• Focus
• Stimulating
• Use every day
• Just 10 calories

smart_box_stick_800

HYDRATION STICKS “ANTIOXIDANT “

HYDRATION STICKS

CoreAO•stiks™

CoreAO — the “AO” means “antioxidant” — from M boosts your immunity with the most powerful disease-fighting super nutrients on the planet. The clear xanthone champion is powered by Mangosteen, Açai, Bilberry, Grape-seed extract, Astragalus and Catechins.

• Packed with super nutrients
• Great immunity booster
• Just 5 calories
• 100% natural
• Unrivaled taste

Contains BioPerine®, which increases bioavailability by 25–45%.

CoreAO_Box_Stick_800

HYDRATION STICKS

HYDRATION STICKS
 
GO•stiks™
Natural, sugar-free energy from GO boasts vitamins and electrolytes, then pairs them with a heavenly taste and other down-to-earth ingredients. It’s the energy answer you’ve been looking for!
 
• Sugar-free / 0 calories
• No jitters, no crash
• Electrolyte-enhanced
• BioPerine® for increased bioavailability (25-45% more)
 
order yours today at https://shop.avisae.com/mds
go_stiks_800

The Erosion of the Middle Class — Why Americans Are Working Harder and Earning Less.

“I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there’s no end to it.” — Howard Beale

Howard Beale, the main character in the 1976 film Network, became a part of cinematic history when he uttered the line “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore.” That one line expressed a growing rage among America’s shrinking middle class at a time when Americans were reeling from years of war, political scandals and economic downturn.

In the four decades that have followed, little has improved for the average American. We’re still ‘mad as hell’ and the middle class is being eroded right in front of our eyes. When adjusted for inflation, many Americans are working longer hours and earning less than they did in 1976. So, how have we gone from vibrant middle class to the working poor in a matter of decades?

Median Incomes Are Stagnant

Despite increases in the national income over the past fifty years, middle class families have experienced little income growth over the past few decades. According to U.S. Census datamiddle class incomes have grown by only 28 percent from 1979 – 2014. Meanwhile, a report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) shows that the top 20 percent of earners has seen their incomes rise by 95 percent over that same period of time.

Contributing to the stagnation of wages is a notable decrease in the workforce participation rate. According to the Brookings institute, “One reason for these declines in employment and labor force participation is that work is less rewarding. Wages for those at the bottom and middle of the skill and wage distribution have declined or stagnated.” Historical data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics backs up these findings, showing a steady decrease in workforce participation over the last two decades.

The Erosion of the Minimum Wage & America’s Purchasing Power

Anyone who has read a comment thread on the internet about minimum wage laws knows the debate is currently one of the most highly contentious political topics in America. In the halls of Congress, the debate has turned into a nearly decade long impasse. As a result, workers at the low end of the wage scale have watched the purchasing power of their wages decrease from $7.25 in 2009, to $6.19 in 2018 due to inflation. In 2018, you need to perform 47 hours of minimum wage work to achieve the same amount of purchasing power as 40 hours of work in 2009.

The inflation-adjusted minimum wage value has been in steady decline since 1968, when the $1.60 minimum wage was equal to $11.39 (in 2018 dollars). Since then, lawmakers have reduced minimum wage increases relative to the rate of inflation. As Christopher Ingraham reports:

“Recent research shows that the reason politicians — Democrats and Republicans alike — are dragging their feet on popular policies such as the minimum wage is that they pay a lot more attention to the needs and desires of deep-pocketed business groups than they do to regular voters. Those groups tend to oppose minimum wage increases for the simple reason that they eat into their profit margins.”

To be clear, the erosion of the purchasing power of everyday Americans is hardly a new phenomenon. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the purchasing power of the U.S. Dollar has plummeted by over 95 percent since 1913, the year the Federal Reserve was created. The Bureau’s Consumer Price Index indicates that prices in 2018 are 2,436.33% higher than prices in 1913 and that the dollar has experienced an average inflation rate of 3.13% per year during this period.

The Rich Get Richer

While the outlook may be grim for low-wage workers, this is fantastic news for large corporations. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Economics shows that corporate profits are approaching all-time highs. But it’s not just workers who are feeling the effect of growing income inequality. The contrast is also being felt on Main Street. An analysis of the S & P 500 and the Russell 1,000 & 2,000 indexes by Bloomberg revealed a growing gap between America’s largest employers and smaller businesses.

report from the Institute for Policy Studies entitled Billionaire Bonanza: The Forbes 400 and the Rest of Us echoed these findings when it revealed that America’s 20 wealthiest people — a group that could fit comfortably in one single Gulfstream G650 luxury jet –­ now own more wealth than the bottom half of the American population combined.

Although the Trump administration continues to tout stock market and labor force increases as signs of economic prosperity, numbers show that the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans own 84 percent of all stock. A study conducted by the Economic Policy Institute found that wage growth remains too weak to consider the economy at full employment and that stagnant wage growth has contributed to the growing level of income inequality in America. The study noted that while wages have recovered from the 2008 recession, the gap between those at the top and those at the middle and bottom has continued to increase since 2000. As the study’s author, Elise Gould writes:

“We’re looking at nominal wage growth that is still slower than you would expect in a full employment economy, slower than you would expect if you thought there were any sort of inflation pressures from wage growth.”

The Decimation of the American Dream

Comedian George Carlin once said, “The reason they call it the American Dream is because you have to be asleep to believe it.” For millions of middle class Americans Carlin’s statement has proven eerily accurate. Stagnant wages and decreased purchasing power has put the prospects for middle class children in a tailspin as upward mobility trends have reportedly fallen by over 40 percent since 1950.

poll conducted by the Pew Research Institute corroborates this claim. According to Pew, only 37 percent of Americans believe that today’s children will grow up to be better off financially than their parents. That means more Americans think that today’s children will be financially worse off than their parents than those who believe they will be better off.

The sentiments expressed by millions of middle class Americans appear to be wholly justified due to the fact that middle class families are becoming more fragile and dependent on two incomes. A report from the Council of Economic Advisors found the majority of the income gains made by the middle class from 1979 to 2013 were a result of increased participation in the workplace by women. The report also noted the fragility of two income families amidst a decline in marriage and a drastic rise in single parent homes in recent years.

As a result of the slow growth in wages, over half of Americans now receive more in Government transfer payments (Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, Social Security) than they pay in federal taxes. An analysis of all 50 states also found that in 42 states the cost of living is higher than the median income.

The rising cost of healthcare is also putting the pinch on the wallets of many Americans. As Jeffrey Pfeffer noted in his book Dying for a Paycheck, healthcare spending—per capita—has increased 29 fold over the past 40 years, outpacing the growth of the American economy.

While many Americans continue to look to the government to fix problems like wage stagnation, income inequality and rising healthcare costs, the sad truth is that we live in a time when 1 in 3 households has trouble paying energy bills and 40 percent of Americans face poverty in retirement at the exact same time the Federal Government has admitted that they lost $21 trillion. Not only did they lose $21 trillion (yes that’s TRILLION with a T), but the Department of Defense indicated in a press conference that they “never expected to pass” the audit to locate the missing taxpayer money.

John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton famously proclaimed in 1887:

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

Perhaps it’s time for the millions of Americans who are quietly ‘mad as hell’ to start expressing their rage at the corrupt institutions of power that are decimating their livelihoods rather than expecting those very same institutions to fix the problems they created.

%d bloggers like this: