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What Are Autoimmune Disorders?

bad and good bacteria

Immune system disorders cause abnormally low activity or over activity of the immune system. In cases of immune system over activity, the body attacks and damages its own tissues (autoimmune diseases). Immune deficiency diseases decrease the body’s ability to fight invaders, causing vulnerability to infections.

In response to an unknown trigger, the immune system may begin producing antibodies that instead of fighting infections, attack the body’s own tissues. Treatment for autoimmune diseases generally focuses on reducing immune system activity. Examples of autoimmune diseases include:

 

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  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus). People with lupus develop autoimmune antibodies that can attach to tissues throughout the body. The joints, lungs, blood cells, nerves, and kidneys are commonly affected in lupus. Treatment often requires daily oral prednisone, a steroid that reduces immune system function.

 

image of gut

 

 

 

 

  • Guillain-Barre syndrome. The immune system attacks the nerves controlling muscles in the legs and sometimes the arms and upper body. Weakness results, which can sometimes be severe. Filtering the blood with a procedure called plasmapheresis is the main treatment for Guillain-Barre syndrome.

 

  • Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy. Similar to Guillian-Barre, the immune system also attacks the nerves in CIDP, but symptoms last much longer. About 30% of patients can become confined to a wheelchair if not diagnosed and treated early. Treatment for CIDP and GBS are essentially the same.

gut & brain

 

  • Psoriasis. In psoriasis, overactive immune system blood cells called T-cells collect in the skin. The immune system activity stimulates skin cells to reproduce rapidly, producing silvery, scaly plaques on the skin.

 

 

  • Graves’ disease. The immune system produces antibodies that stimulate the thyroid gland to release excess amounts of thyroid hormone into the blood (hyperthyroidism). Symptoms of Graves’ disease can include bulging eyes as well as weight loss, nervousness, irritability, rapid heart rate, weakness, and brittle hair. Destruction or removal of the thyroid gland, using medicines or surgery, is usually required to treat Graves’ disease.

 

 

 

  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Antibodies produced by the immune system attack the thyroid gland, slowly destroying the cells that produce thyroid hormone. Low levels of thyroid hormone develop (hypothyroidism), usually over months to years. Symptoms include fatigue, constipation, weight gain, depression, dry skin, and sensitivity to cold. Taking a daily oral synthetic thyroid hormone pill restores normal body functions.

progression

 

  • Myasthenia gravis. Antibodies bind to nerves and make them unable to stimulate muscles properly. Weakness that gets worse with activity is the main symptom of myasthenia gravis. Mestinon (pyridostigmine) is the main medicine used to treat myasthenia gravis.

 

 

  • Vasculitis. The immune system attacks and damages blood vessels in this group of autoimmune diseases. Vasculitis can affect any organ, so symptoms vary widely and can occur almost anywhere in the body. Treatment includes reducing immune system activity, usually with prednisone or another corticosteroid.

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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?

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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.

 

 

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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*

 

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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

 

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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*
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  • Restore Healthy Bacteria*
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  • Improved metabolism
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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*

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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*

 

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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

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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*

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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

 

Let’s look at 20 good character traits that impact your happiness.

I invite you to look over this character traits list and pick at least one that you begin working on:

1. Integrity

Integrity is a character trait that has strong moral principles and core values and then conducting your life with those as your guide. When you have integrity, you main your adherence to it whether or not other people are watching.

2. Honesty

Honesty is a character trait that is more than telling the truth. It’s living the truth. It is being straightforward and trustworthy in all of your interactions, relationships, and thoughts. Being honest requires self-honesty and authenticity.

good-character-traits

3. Loyalty

Loyalty is a character trait of faithfulness and devotion to your loved ones, your friends, and anyone with whom you have a trusted relationship. Loyalty can also extend to your employer, the organizations you belong to, your community, and your country.

4. Respectfulness

With this character trait you treat yourself and others with courtesy, kindness, deference, dignity, and civility. You offer basic respect as a sign of your value for the worth of all people and your ability to accept the inherent flaws we all possess.

5. Responsibility

You accept personal, relational, career, community, and societal obligations even when they are difficult or uncomfortable. This character trait follows through on commitments and proactively create or accept accountability for your behavior and choices.infographic list of good character traits

6. Humility

You have a confident yet modest opinion of your own self-importance. You don’t see yourself as “too good” for other people or situations. With this character trait you have a learning and growth mindset and the desire to express and experience gratitude for what you have, rather than expecting you deserve more.

7. Compassion

This character traits example feels deep sympathy and pity for the suffering and misfortune of others, and you have a desire to do something to alleviate their suffering.

8. Fairness

Using discernment, compassion, and integrity, this a character trait strives to make decisions and take actions based on what you consider the ultimate best course or outcome for all involved.

 

9. Forgiveness

You make conscious, intentional decisions to let go of resentment and anger toward someone for an offense — whether or not forgiveness is sought by the offender. Forgiveness may or may not include pardoning, restoration, or reconciliation. It extends both to others and to one’s self.

10. Authenticity

With this a character trait you are able to be your real and true self, without pretension, posturing, or insincerity. You are capable of showing appropriate vulnerability and self-awareness.

11. Courageousness

In spite of fear of danger, discomfort, or pain, you have the mental fortitude to carry on with a commitment, plan, or decision, knowing it is the right or best course of action.

good-character-traits

12. Generosity

This willing to offer your time, energy, efforts, emotions, words, or assets without the expectation of something in return. This character trait offers these freely and often joyously.


 


13. Perseverance

Perseverance is a character trait steadfast persistence and determination to continue on with a course of action, belief, or purpose, even if it’s difficult or uncomfortable in order to reach a higher goal

 

14. Politeness

This character trait is knowledgeable of basic good manners, common courtesies, and etiquette, and are willing to apply those to all people you encounter. You desire to learn the personal skills of politeness in order to enhance your relationships and self-esteem

good-character-traits15. Kindness

Kindness is a positive character trait of being considerate, helpful, and benevolent to others. This character trait is motivated by a positive disposition and the desire for warm and pleasant interactions.

16. Lovingness

This character trait has the ability to be loving toward those you love means showing them through your words, actions, and expressions how deeply you care about them. It includes the willingness to be open and vulnerable.

17. Optimism

Optimism is character trait example of having a sense of hopefulness and confidence about the future. It involves a positive mental attitude in which you interpret life events, people, and situations in a promising light.

18. Reliability

This character trait can be consistently depended upon to follow through on your commitments, actions, and decisions. You do what you say you will do.

19. Conscientiousness

This character trait has the desire to do things well or to the best of your ability. You are thorough, careful, efficient, organized, and vigilant in your efforts, based on your own principles or sense of what is right.

20. Self-discipline

You are able, through good habits or willpower, to overcome your desires or feelings in order to follow the best course of action or to rise to your commitments or principles. You have a strong sense of self-control in order to reach a desired goal.

Developing these traits of good character can be difficult to foster and maintain, but they afford so many positive benefits to improve the quality of your life.

How to build good character traits

If you believe developing these positive characteristics, here are some action steps to show you how.

Define your core values

good-character-traits

Know what is most important to you by determining your values for your professional and personal life. These are the principles that are the foundation for your priorities, choices, actions, and behaviors. You can start by looking at this list of values.

Practice the habits

Pick one or two from this list of character traits above to practice for several weeks. Write down the actions you want to take or the behaviors you define that reflect this trait, and implement them in your daily life and interactions. Wear a rubber band on your wrist or create other reminders to help you practice.

Stretch yourself

Create high standards and big goals for yourself. Expect the best of yourself and constantly work toward that, even though you will have setbacks and occasional failures. Every stretch builds your confidence and knowledge that your positive character traits are getting stronger.

Commit to self-improvement

Realize that building your character is a life-long endeavor. It is something that is practiced both in the minutiae and the defining moments of your life. There will be times you step up to the character traits you embrace and other times you falter.

By remaining committed to personal growth and learning about yourself, your character will naturally improve, even through the failures.

Did you find any value from this character traits list?

What do you consider to be the most important and valuable character traits? How do you reflect these traits in your daily life both at work and in your personal life? I hope you’ll use these traits to help you stay anchored to being your best self.

Would you like to strengthen friends and family?

It would be really great if you could help me spread these good character traits to others. Would you be willing to send out some love to other people you know?  Please share this list of traits on your preferred social media platform.

Can Network Marketing Save Your Retirement?

We’ve all heard the story, if you just tell six friends about this business, and they tell six friends, who in turn tell another six friends, you’ll be on your way to financial freedom and never have to work again, right?

Let’s face it, whether you call it multi-level marketing, direct sales, or network marketing, the entire industry gets a bad rap.  It’s often labeled as a pyramid scheme or get rich quick scam, and frankly, there is ample evidence to approach it with caution.  However, as I have studied trends in this business model, I have come to a very different conclusion. One that actually suggests that network marketing can play a crucial role in how well baby boomers and others transition into retirement.

uncaptioned image

For full disclosure, I want to point out that I am not affiliated with any multi-level marketing or direct sales companies, and that I don’t receive any compensation from the industry for my opinion on it.  I’m sharing this with you because after I wrote what is considered the most widely read, copied, and quoted MLM article in the history of the industry, I was accused of writing it to promote my own MLM business or the industry in general, which is not the case.

The interesting thing that most people miss about the major connection between retirement and network marketing is that once you strip out the financial aspects, you get a very different picture.   Since the creation of Social Security back in 1935, people have been brainwashed to think that retirement is all about money.  That a successful transition from work-life to home-life requires the right dollar amount, asset allocation, and spending plan. But that’s just not the case.  There are plenty of people with substantial amounts of money saved for retirement that are completely miserable.

In other words, they built their nest egg in a dead or dying tree.  They may not get along with their spouse any longer, don’t have a life or friends outside of work, have broken relationships with their children, or have let their health go in hopes of getting it back later.  They essentially sacrificed some of the things that are most important to them for the benefit of trying to buy them back in retirement.  As a result, when they get there, they can feel lost, out-of-sorts, and struggle with their transition.

Specifically, they struggle to jump start their health goals, to connect with new people, to learn new things, and yearn to be a part of a community.  What I am telling you is that the average retiree is at least 25 pounds overweight, feels tired for some part of the day, may be moderately depressed about something, has low self-esteem in one or two areas of life, acknowledges they only kind of have a best friend, and overall lead pretty plain lives.

In a nut shell, retirement creates several non-financial gaps for both individuals and couples that need to be addressed.  If they are not, it can lead to the dark side of retirement which can include feeling unfulfilled, bored, and irrelevant.

In a similar fashion, when you eliminate money from the network marketing industry, a new perspective emerges.  Personally speaking, I love talking with people who are in this industry because they are always reading, posting, and sharing something inspirational.  They have goals, a dream board, and are generally using the products that they are selling to improve the way they look and feel.

That not only fosters a positive attitude and atmosphere, but also a lot of structure and activity.  Many network marketing companies offer weekly calls, local meetings, and an annual conference.  All of which get members out of the house, building knowledge and developing new skills, while offering them the opportunity to meet new people and deepen existing connections.

Wellness based MLM’s in particular are well positioned to help people retire with greater ease and success for two reasons. First, they create positive momentum.  When people start to lose weight, have more energy, or receive compliments on the way the look, it builds momentum.  They see, feel, and hear the benefits of their work paying off which encourages them to stick with the changes they are making. Second, there is a group effect. Many people struggle to develop and stick with a new health, diet, and exercise program on their own.  But when they do it in a supportive community with others, it’s much easier to get through the tough days and stay on track.  Furthermore, by taking better care of yourself, you are in a position to leave a better legacy than money could ever provide.

This group effect also plays into the vital role that a person’s social network can have on their retirement. Studies show that being around negative, pessimistic or sarcastic people can actually be detrimental to your health.  And many people can get stuck in a rut when it comes to who they hang around and associate with. Which means successful aging includes hanging around upbeat, positive people.

Now this is not to say, network marketing can solve all your problems and that every company in the industry is worth joining. What I am telling you is that the network marketing model is a low cost, widely available way to replace some of the psychological gaps you can lose, and may not be able to develop on your own.

It’s also important to note that while I expect there to be significant growth in the ranks of many MLM companies, there will also be substantial growth in businesses that adopt this model and its many benefits.  In fact, it’s one reason I developed the Certified Professional Retirement Coach certification in conjunction with the Retirement Coaches Association.

The formula of future business growth is based on the idea that people don’t just want to retire in a traditional format. They crave knowledge and want to feel relevant.  They want to improve their own transition and feel compelled to help others avoid the pain and pitfalls they have experienced.  They desire a supportive community where their opinion counts and they can openly ask personal, business or other questions.  They’re interested in hearing and exploring new ideas and need ways to make new connections through face-to-face interactions.

Whether its network marketing or a new industry, the way to save your retirement is to remove the concept of money.  By doing so, retirees can focus on gaining new skills and knowledge, helping themselves as well as others, building community through supportive relationships, or feeling good about the new identity and purpose in retirement!

Inspirational Monday

Monday is the start of the week and it has always been the unspoken enemy of people who totally enjoyed their weekends. Well, that’s quite a lot of people. It is a known fact that we really can’t get rid of Monday off the days of the week, people need to get up and pretty much drag their ass off the bed and start working the day. Monday mornings are the most dread moment of the week. It is the sign that a new work week has to start and that we must say goodbye to the bliss and comfort of the Saturday and Sunday. Do not let this dreadful moment become something so related with Monday.

Remember that Mondays should be welcomed with great enthusiasm, enormous hope and a tank full of energy. With that said, we have prepared for you the most inspiring Monday quotes to help you liven up this  quite not so energetic moment of the week. Our Monday Quotes will help you find your perspective to start you week right. Yes, it is hard to drag yourself out of bed after a very cozy and comfortable weekend. But what can we do? You need to live life so starting life means you need to start your week. To start your week, let these funny Monday quotes be your fuel to success. Together with these Good Morning Quotes and Good Morning Love Quotes for Him or Her you will be full of inspiration to start the week of right, right?

Inspirational Monday Quotes For You to Start Happy

1. Always believe something wonderful is about to happen.

Monday Quotes

This should be the spirit every Mondays. Know that something good will always happen. When you wake up on a Monday morning, you should feel happy, inspired, and motivated to make the best start to the week. Monday is the perfect day for a fresh start, so make something great happen for yourself today.

2. Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.

Inspiring Monday Quotes

You could have fallen the last week but not this week. Rise and fight! Rising when we have fallen is one of life’s simple pleasures. It’s easy to do and can always make you feel great.

3. To be successful, the first thing to do is fall in love with your work.

Very Inspiring Monday Quotes

Mondays will not be hard if you love your work. If Mondays are hard, perhaps, you need to do a second thinking.Most people spend their Sunday nights worrying about the week ahead. However, if you choose to do something that you love, then you will never need to worry a day in your life.

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4. Spend life with who makes you happy, not who you have to impress.

Inspirational Monday Quotes

If you meet people who makes you happy during Mondays, then it won’t be as hard.If you’re a man of simple pleasures, then you will find satisfaction in simply being around good people. For some people, all they really need is good people to be around to feel content and happy.

5. Be who you are and say what you feel.

Very Inspirational Monday Quotes

If you are dreadful to meet people who you don’t like, remember this. Just be you and everyday, not just Mondays, will be beautiful. Live the life that you want to live and nothing else will really matter. Trust in your own beliefs and the rest will fall into place.

6. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life and the only way to be truly satisfied is…

Motivational Monday Quotes

Keep getting up on Mondays to reach for your goals. A working day is never going to be a perfect day. However, you can make it a great day by working hard and doing something that you enjoy. Keep in mind, that if you have a positive Monday, then the rest of the week will usually look pretty good.

7. Today, you are you that is truer than true.

Very Motivational Monday Quotes

Remember that even if you hate Mondays because they ruin weekends, it is still a sign that you are alive. You are more important than anything that you’ve ever imagines, and the fact that you are living is a wonderful thing.

8. Be so happy that when others look at you, they become happy too.

Motivating Monday Quotes

If you make others happy, Mondays are no problem. People often make Monday morning wishes that their week is going to turn out great. However, you can make it great yourself by putting out positive vibes and energy.

9. Oh, come on. It’s Monday, not doomsday.

Very Motivating Monday Quotes

Work hard and inspire others to do the same. Just because it’s Monday doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. Monday is a great opportunity to take a chance on something new and prepare for a wonderful week ahead.

10. Rise Up & Attack the day with Enthusiasm.

Monday Morning Quotes

Make it happen everyday. Rise and Shine. Even if it’s not your favourite day of the week, working hard and inspiring others is always a great and rewarding thing to do. Every new day is a chance to shine bright.

11. I need something that’s more than coffee but less than cocaine.

Monday Quote

The love of our lives will bring us all the energy that we need! One of the best feelings in the world is when you can hear the coffee machine grinding away on a Monday morning. Embrace that joyous feeling and attack the day with great enthusiasm.

12. Make Today Beautiful!

Monday Quotes 1

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Make every day beautiful and you and the people around you will live a happy life. The thought of a beautiful day is wonderful, and you can make every day beautiful by channeling your inner positivity. Even on rainy days and mondays, you can still make each day beautiful.

13. May your coffee be strong and your Monday be short.

Monday Quotes 2

And tomorrow there will be a new day. No matter how much you may hate Monday, it’s always worth working hard and having a positive impact on every single day.

14. Don’t forget to be AWESOME.

Monday Quotes 3

Wake up and start your day with a lot of awesomeness and you will get happiness back. Every day can be awesome if you just let it be. There are amazing things that can happen each and every day if you just allow them to.

15. Dear Monday, I want to break up. I’m seeing Tuesday and dreaming about Friday. Sincerely, it’s not me, it’s you.

Monday Quotes 5

Our relationships with Monday are not as good as our relationship with the weekend. A lot of people hate Mondays, however, there is no reason to hate Monday if you focus on making your Monday amazing.

16. It’s Monday. I’m Happy. I’m Blessed. God is going to do amazing things this week,

Monday Quotes and Sayings

Monday is the day that opens up the week for many opportunities. There are so many opportunities in every single day, and Monday is the perfect day to seize them all.

17. It’s a good day to have a good day!

Monday Quote

If you start your day thinking it will be a good day, it will become a good day. Each and every day can become an amazing day if you simply allow it to. There is greatness built into each and every one of us and within each and every day.

17. Good things are going to HAPPEN.

Monday Morning Quotes

If you believe in it it will happen to you. There are great things all around, and it’s important to remember that there are many great things that can happen to you if you just believe in them.

18. Don’t forget to be AWESOME.

Monday Quotes

Wake up and help 1 person a day. Be kind and it’ll get back to you. Positive energy is a powerful thing. If you release positive energy into the world, then the world is going to return that energy right back to you as a thank you.

19. Ok Monday, let’s do this!

Monday Quotes

Let’s kick as like every day of the week! Have a positive attitude going into every single Monday morning and you will wind up having an amazing week each time.

20. Turning your passion into your job is easier than finding a job that matches your passion.

Monday Quotes

Find more amazing Seth Godin Quotes here!

Do something that you love and you will never have to work a day in your life. Find something that you enjoy doing and then make yourself a career out of it.

21. It’s Monday. Get a new perspective. Whatever obstacle you’re facing, it’s not permanent.

Monday Quotes

Every day you wake up is a day to make a change. No matter what obstacles lie in front of you, there are always ways to avoid them and come out shining even brighter on the other side.

22. How I feel on Monday, the perfect quote.

Monday Quotes

Monday don’t always have to be dull and dreary. All you have to do is focus and believe that something great is going to happen. Then just allow that greatness to shine upon you throughout the entire week.

23. Hello MONDAY!

monday-quotes

Wake up with a coffee and a smile and your week will be worthwhile. Monday morning coffee is one of the best tasting things on the planet and definitely one of the most rewarding things to drink.

24. MONDAYZzz

monday-quotes-sayings

Sometimes you just really need some motivation on the Monday to get you going. Sit back over your cup of coffee and enjoy these kick-starting Monday Quotes and Sayings for everybody to wake up too. Enjoy the extra boost of inspiration, motivation, creativity, determination and confidence you need to skyrocket your Monday. Or any day of the week when you need some motivation or inspiration for a Good Morning!

10 Things That Happen When Your Body Is Lacking Water

lacking water

Unfortunately, a shocking 25% of kids and teenagers are lacking water throughout the day.

Most kids obtain their water through sources such as fruit juices, sugary beverages, and other subpar options. A recent study showed, however, that this just doesn’t cut it; children and teens need at least two to three quarts of water per day. So, unless they eat a ton of fruits and vegetables, they probably need to drink a lot more water.

The problem becomes even more widespread when you consider adults – one study found that half of American adults don’t drink the recommended amount of water per day. When your body is lacking water, this can cause a range of problems including digestive issues, urinary tract infections, fatigue, anxiety, and brain fog.

Unsurprisingly, 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated according to a report by CBS.

Did you know that water makes up 60% of our bodies, 75% of our muscles, and 85% of our brains? With that said, most people don’t take hydration seriously enough. It doesn’t help that most of us drink energy drinks, coffee, and soda instead of drinking what our bodies actually need.

If you think you might not drink enough water on a daily basis, these signs will let you know for sure. Being on the lookout for these symptoms can help you take steps to make sure you stay hydrated and healthy.

HERE ARE 10 SIGNS YOUR BODY IS LACKING WATER

  1. YOUR SKIN, MOUTH, AND EYES FEEL DRY.

If you want to know whether you’re lacking water or not, look to your skin for the biggest clues. Being chronically dehydrated means you won’t sweat out as many toxins when you exercise, and this can lead to clogged pores and acne. You might also have dry, cracked skin.

If you don’t produce many tears, you might suffer from dehydration as well. However, this could point to a different eye problem, so you should talk to your doctor if you experience this issue. Obviously, it goes without saying that if you have a dry mouth and lips, you probably don’t drink enough water either.

  1. YOU DON’T PEE VERY OFTEN, AND WHEN YOU DO, YOUR URINE IS DARK YELLOW OR BROWN.

If you don’t pee much throughout the day and notice that when you do use the bathroom, you have dark urine, you definitely need to drink more water. Water helps to eliminate toxins and keep the renal system functioning correctly. If you don’t drink enough water, all the toxins will just accumulate in your body, and you’ll feel the effects in the form of exhaustion, brain fog, and other complications.

Also, pay attention to the color of your urine. If you have dark yellow or brown urine, you need to drink more water throughout the day. You may not want to consume a lot of water close to bedtime, however, because you’ll probably have to keep waking up to use the bathroom. Yellow or brown urine signifies that your body is holding onto water in order to carry out vital functions.

Try bringing a refillable water bottle with you to work or school so that you can get your recommended water intake.

  1. YOU HAVE FREQUENT BACK AND JOINT PAIN.

Your body’s cartilage contains nearly 80% water, so replenishing fluids after you sweat will keep your bones and joints lubricated and healthy. Water helps to protect your joints and bones during strenuous activities or unexpected events, such as when you exercise or if you happen to trip or fall. Back pain could mean your kidneys aren’t working properly; if your body is lacking water, some studies show that this could lead to permanent kidney damage.

Dehydration causes a buildup of muscle proteins called myoglobin in the kidneys, which can cause kidney stones and urinary tract infections.

If your body is seriously lacking water, you might experience back and joint pain often.

  1. YOU EXPERIENCE FREQUENT FATIGUE AND MOOD SWINGS.

Water carries oxygen into the body, so the more water you drink, the more vibrant and rejuvenated you will feel. However, if your body is lacking water, it turns to your blood to obtain oxygen, which can leave you feeling depleted and fatigued. Because your body lacks oxygen, all your systems will slow down to compensate. 

Inevitably, you will feel moodier and more exhausted, which will make it hard to carry out necessary tasks during the day. In fact, studies have shown that decreasing water intake in people who normally drink a lot of water leads to feelings of discontentment and anxiety. However, increasing water intake for those who usually drink very little leads to less fatigue and confusion.

  1. YOU FEEL HUNGRY, EVEN AFTER YOU EAT.

Most people associate a growling in their stomach with hunger, but thirst cues originate in the same part of the brain. If your body is lacking water, it may trick you into thinking you’re hungry when you really just need a glass of water (or two!) Next time you feel hungry, try drinking water instead of eating. If you just ate something, you’re probably just dehydrated.

However, if the pain persists, you probably need to put some food in your belly as well.

  1. YOU SUFFER FROM HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE.

When you don’t drink enough water, your blood becomes thicker, resulting in slower blood flow and a buildup of sodium in the blood. Dehydration combined with a high-sodium diet and sedentary lifestyle can lead to high blood pressure, which can cause some of the other health problems we mentioned in the article.

  1. YOU HAVE HIGH CHOLESTEROL.

Water retention is another thing that happens when your body is lacking water. Essentially, it holds onto any water it can find in order to keep you alive. In this study, 15 people were told to fast in two different conditions: once without replacing fluids, and another with supplementation of salt and water.

Researchers found that when the participants fasted without fluid replacement, they had much higher total serum cholesterol levels than when they supplemented with salt and water. While most people don’t fast, most people do suffer from dehydration, and therefore, are prone to high cholesterol.

  1. YOU HAVE DIGESTION PROBLEMS.

Water helps move waste through your body, so if you lack water, you may suffer from digestive issues. Water gets toxins out of the body, but if you don’t drink enough of it, your waste will move much slower, which can result in constipation and stomach pain.

When your body is dehydrated, the large intestine holds onto excess water from the foods you eat. As we said before, the body does this as a survival mechanism; it senses that you don’t have enough water in your system, so it retains water from any source it can find. Because your waste will move slower due to the lack of water, you may notice digestive issues and an overall feeling of fatigue.

  1. YOU GET RASHES ON YOUR SKIN OFTEN.

Water helps the skin remain hydrated and moist; without enough water, your skin might appear dry, cracked, or red. When your body is lacking water, this makes for the perfect environment for toxins to build up on the skin. Acne, psoriasis, eczema, and other skin disorders can result from dehydration.

itchy skin

  1. YOU GET BAD HEADACHES AND BRAIN FOG FREQUENTLY.

When you are dehydrated, your brain tissue loses water, which causes the brain to pull away from the skullThis sends alerts to the pain receptors surrounding the brain, which can cause anything from a mild headache to a migraine. When your body is lacking water, your blood flow slows down, which means less oxygen in your brain.

In turn, your body senses the lack of oxygen and dilates the blood vessels in the brain, which can lead to inflammation. The result is a pounding midday headache while you’re at work or school. If you experience headaches often, you might try drinking more water.

FINAL THOUGHTS

We hope this article shed some light on the complications that can occur as a result of not drinking enough water. Throughout our days, many of us don’t prioritize water, but we cannot survive without this precious resource. It literally pours life into our bodies, so make sure you bring a water bottle with you so you can feel rejuvenated and hydrated during your day.

If you have kids in school, make sure they know the importance of drinking water so that they don’t feel tempted to buy a soft drink or other sugary beverage at school.

In reality, we don’t need to drink anything other than water and maybe the occasional cup of tea. By teaching kids the right things to put in their bodies, they will feel less inclined to buy drinks that damage their health.

Send them to school with a water bottle to ensure they get enough water throughout the day. A glass or stainless-steel bottle is best, since harmful chemicals from plastic bottles can leech into the water.

To your continued hydration!

 

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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

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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.

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• 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™

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M’s BURN capsules deliver the perfect punch to help your body rev up its fat-burning potential, give you energy, and stave off your snacking and food cravings. When paired with TRIM•stiks™, the results are optimized.

60 capsules @ 2 capsules/day = 30 days’ supply

Take one (1) capsule w/breakfast, and then one (1) capsule w/lunch.

Not intended for individuals under 18 years of age. Do not use if pregnant or nursing.

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