Archive for November, 2015
Research suggests a history of heavy drinking, especially in middle-aged folks, could contribute to memory loss in later years. It may even contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
And take note: The “sweet spot” between healthy, moderate consumption and dangerous, “heavy drinking” is surprisingly small.
Read on to find out where your scientific “sweet spot” is … and how you can potentially reverse the effects of alcohol on your brain before disease develops
Continued Below. . .
Discover A Natural Way To Boost Your Immune System Using Ingredients From Your Kitchen Cupboard…
Imagine what your life would be like if you could boost your immune system and using products you already have in your cupboard…
Are you one of the millions that suffer from chronic colds, the flu, and other common infections leading to poor health?
For years doctors prescribed antibiotics for everything from the common cold to headaches. But the fact is bacteria are becoming smarter and some are no longer responding to antibiotics.
What can you do about it?
Learn everything there is to know about boosting your immune system. When you work to prevent illness and boost your immune system, you have a much better chance of fighting off infection!
Red wine is an integral part of the Mediterranean diet, one of the world’s most thoroughly studied eating patterns. It’s an eating plan that’s pretty much proven to increase longevity and reduce disease.
As a Natural Health Insiders reader, you’re probably familiar with many studies that have shown the benefits of low to moderate alcohol consumption, especially in the form of red wine.
For example …
A French study of 3,800 wine-drinkers over 65 definitively showed moderate wine consumption decreased the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.1
Another study from the journal Age & Ageing found moderate alcohol consumption is associated with better cognitive health than no drinking at all.2
This is likely due to a powerful combination of red wine’s antioxidants (like resveratrol) and alcohol’s vasodilating action, which increases oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood flow to the brain.
However, when it comes to long-term brain health, there’s a thin line between healthy and harmful.
Generally speaking, “moderate” means one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. (Actually, to me that’s quite a bit of drinking.)
What’s more, a 2014 study published in Neurology has convinced me this definition of “moderate” is far too vague, when you consider something as precious as your brain is potentially at risk.
Let me explain.
The study showed men who consumed more than 1.3 ounces of alcohol per day began to experience cognitive decline up to six years earlier than did their lighter-drinking counterparts.3
There were no differences in cognitive decline among men who quit, abstained, or had consumed less alcohol than 1.3 ounces.
The line was very clearly drawn at 1.3 ounces.
Unless you’re a sommelier, that probably doesn’t mean much to you.
If wine is your alcoholic beverage of choice, you may know that a pinot noir is about 14% alcohol. The standard “pour” for a glass of wine in a restaurant is five ounces. Two glasses would equal 1.4 ounces of alcohol … too much to be considered healthy by the Neurology study’s results.
And of course, wines vary in their alcohol content, and glasses of wine often contain more than five ounces. What’s more, the 1.3 ounce figure is an average. Each person is different; in general, the larger you are the more you can drink without doing damage or becoming too intoxicated. That’s why it’s recommended that women, on average, stick to one glass per day while men, on average, can drink two.
If you’re concerned about your brain and you drink alcohol regularly, it’s important to be aware of the knife’s edge of difference between healthy and heavy drinking.
Heavy Drinking Puts You at Risk of Alzheimer’s
Researchers have believed since 1998 that “heavy” alcohol consumption is as important as hypertension and family history in gauging a person’s risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s.4
Researchers in the UK recently confirmed those findings. They studied 6,500 middle-age adults for nearly twenty years and found participants with a history of alcohol use disorders were twice as likely to fall victim to severe memory impairment.5
More than two drinks per day is usually considered an “alcohol use disorder.” The condition is said to affect over 17 million American adults today.6
And scientists are starting to gain some insight into how heavy drinking contributes to dementia.
They know it atrophies (shrinks) brain matter, though they aren’t exactly sure why. It may be that the consumption of ethanol affects cells; other hypotheses include malnutrition (frequently seen among alcoholics), liver dysfunction (also common among alcoholics), ethanol-induced hormonal changes, and increased inflammation from immune-system cells called cytokines.7
Whatever the cause, brain atrophy triggers changes in neurological functioning and can even cause a condition known as “alcoholic dementia.”8
However, there is good news.
Studies show this deterioration decreases with abstinence from alcohol.
And researchers found no discernible difference in the number of neurons between alcoholics and non-drinkers.8
It seems an alcoholic’s brain cells can survive the ordeal. This opens the possibility that you can reverse some of the effects of alcohol-induced atrophy by drinking less, or not at all.
My takeaway from all this is that a person’s drinking should be more moderate than what experts officially define as “moderate.” The official definition – one drink per day for women, two drinks per day for men – is a lot of drinking as far as I’m concerned. I just don’t think daily alcohol consumption is a good idea, whatever benefits a few studies may show.
Your long-term brain health may depend on making a wise choice.
This backyard garden staple is packed with iron, vitamin C, folate, fiber and essential minerals like potassium and manganese.
It’s commonly used for everything from increasing your stamina to taking the edge off altitude sickness …
And now, scientists are confirming that it contains a powerful compound that can increase your memory just 90 minutes after you eat it … and it may even help prevent dementia.
Read on to find out how this common vegetable can help your brain. . .
Continued Below. . .
Harvard reveals secret to
healthy blood pressure
According to new guidelines, if your blood pressure is between 120/80 and 140/90 (previously considered normal), your risk of heart disease quadruples!
While this will put a lot of people in the ‘danger zone,’ recent studies conducted by Harvard Medical School and other prestigious medical institutions have revealed a remarkable secret that promises to be a near miracle for healthy blood pressure support. To know more about this healthy blood pressure formula, Click Here.
Juice Your Way to
Better Cognitive Function
It’s the humble beetroot that packs such a powerful nutritional punch — and its secret ingredient is the inorganic nitrate found in its red or golden bulb.
Inorganic nitrate is a valuable nutrient. Don’t confuse it with sodium nitrate, the preservative found most often in processed meats and linked to birth defects.
Here’s how inorganic nitrate works:
When it comes in contact with the beneficial bacteria in your mouth, it chemically converts to nitric oxide (NO). Nitric oxide is a powerful vasodilator that opens up the blood vessels, allowing blood and oxygen to flow freely and easily throughout the body.
Several studies have confirmed that a daily dose of nitric oxide from consuming beetroot juice can be a great brain booster. And it works fast.
For example, researchers at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC studied the effects of drinking 16 ounces of beet juice daily in adults age 70 and older.
Just an hour after eating breakfast and enjoying their beet juice, the researchers studied participants with blood tests and an MRI.
The MRI revealed conclusively that the participants who had consumed the high-nitrate juice had increased blood flow to the frontal lobe of the brain, which controls executive functioning (the process of managing yourself and your resources to get the things you want) and long-term emotional memory.
From these results, they concluded a diet high in nitrates may be useful in improving cognitive function and possibly warding off cognitive disorders, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.1
Plus, a 2015 U.K. study showed that 40 healthy adults performed better on cognitive tests less than two hours after drinking 15 ounces of beet juice.2
They believe this one dose of nitric oxide is enough to increase blood flow to the prefrontal cortex and potentially improve cognitive performance.
It makes sense: increased blood flow to the brain brings more oxygen and vital nutrients to brain cells, which consume an enormous amount of energy. Decreased blood flow, on the other hand, is a key cause of vascular dementia.
You Can “Beet” High Blood Pressure, Too
There is also convincing evidence that high blood pressure, a well-known risk factor for heart disease, is likely to be associated with the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease as well.3
Beet juice can help you there, too.
A 2015 study showed that drinking 8.5 ounces of beet juice daily for four weeks can reduce hypertension almost as effectively as an anti-hypertensive drug … even in people who were taking medication but had failed to reach their target numbers. The control group, receiving a placebo, experienced no improvement.
In this study from the journal Hypertension, the group of 32 patients who received beet juice decreased their blood pressure an average of 8/4 mmHg, which brought many of the patients back into the “normal” range.4 (That’s millimeters of mercury; the first number is systolic pressure, the second is diastolic.)
The average drop in blood pressure using drugs is 9/5 mmHg … making beet juice an affordable, natural alternative to managing hypertension without side effects. (Plus, it’s better for your brain!)
Is Drinking Beetroot Juice Safe for Everyone?”
Beets are clearly an excellent addition to your brain-boosting regimens.
However, if you are diabetic, taking nitroglycerine for a heart condition or other vasodilators — such as sildenafil (Viagra), tadadifil (Cialis), or other medications for erectile dysfunction — or have had nitrate-containing kidney stones, check with your doctor before blending up your first beet.
Another helpful hint:
Beets have a very powerful flavor—but they’re worth experimenting with to find a juice or smoothie you like.
The capable staffer who researched this piece tells me that adding strawberries or cherries masks the flavor and makes beet juice more palatable. I’ve had it with spinach, kale, beet greens, ginger root or cinnamon. It tasted fine.
So drink to your health, knowing your body and brain are reaping the benefits of this potent super-vegetable.
There are also reliable beet juice supplements. Neo40 and Circ02 (same product under different brand names) can easily be purchased on the Internet.
Blood is both the brain’s kind friend and its mortal enemy.
Your brain depends on blood to deliver the vital nutrients that fuel the activity of the neurons where your memories are stored.
But the blood has to deliver its nutrient package across what’s called the brain-blood barrier. Let a single drop of blood leak through that barrier to linger among your brain cells and it can set off devastating inflammation that destroys the very neurons it is designed to support.
Plus, that inflammation can be your first step towards Alzheimer’s disease.
It’s the reason why “leaky brain syndrome” may be the next big focus of health care.
Continued Below. . .
A Special Message from Lee Euler, Editor
Could your blood sugar
use some quick help?
Before you answer, consider this: Blood sugar is the #1 factor for good health and long life.
Out-of-control blood sugar is linked to every serious degenerative disease on the Top 10 Killers list. It harms every important organ in your body, including your heart, brain, eyes, kidneys – even your sex life!
So today I’m excited to introduce a new natural solution to high blood sugar – and I’m not talking about changing the way you eat or shedding excess pounds. Of course, we all know we should do those things, but meanwhile, here’s a quick, easy way to support healthy blood sugar right now.
Nothing good happens in the brain when blood leaks. Normally the blood – and its proteins – never directly go into brain tissue.
A study at the Gladstone Institutes in California shows that when even a tiny amount of blood escapes across the blood-brain barrier and enters the brain, it activates an immune system response that devastates brain cells.1
The inflammatory immune cells irritated by leaky brain blood may soon be used as a diagnostic tool to spot early Alzheimer’s.
The Gladstone scientists found that when the barrier leaks even a minimal amount, an autoimmune reaction causes immune cells to gather and begin attacking the brain they’re supposed to defend.
Much of the damage is directed at myelin, the insulating tissue that protects neurons. Myelin is generally described as a sheath that surrounds the brain cell.
“These findings offer a completely new way of thinking about how the immune system attacks the brain — it puts the blood in the driver’s seat of the onset and progression of disease,” says researcher Katerina Akassoglou, who teaches neurology at the University of California, San Francisco.
The scientists found that the blood’s fibrinogen, a clotting factor, agitates immune cells called microglia. The microglia then call in other immune cells — macrophages and T cells — that enter the brain and start tearing the myelin sheaths apart.
Holes in the Blood-Brain Barrier
Unfortunately, as you grow older, your blood-brain barrier tends to grow leakier – particularly in the area adjacent to the brain’s hippocampus, the brain location crucial to preserving memory.2
A study at the University of Southern California shows that this leakage is more pronounced in older people suffering dementia than in those who have managed to keep their memories intact.
But there’s some good news about these autoimmune difficulties in the brain: Researchers at the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine have found that blood tests can detect the activity of the cells involved in these processes.3
They are developing a blood test for autoantibodies that may reveal the presence of Alzheimer’s disease very early, when the condition can still be headed off, before the patient undergoes significant memory loss and irrevocable damage.
The Rowan University researchers add that this type of early warning should help potential Alzheimer’s victims change their lifestyles soon enough to save their brains.
Blood Vessel Health
The key to fending off these autoimmune attacks is to look after the health of your blood vessels – your vascular health.
That means eating more fruits and vegetables, avoiding processed food, losing weight, taking steps to prevent diabetes, exercising and holding down your blood pressure.
“…we now know that many of the same conditions that lead to vascular disease are also significant risk factors for Alzheimer’s,” says researcher Robert Nagele.
Of course, there’s no reason not to lead a vascular-healthy lifestyle today to lower your risk of Alzheimer’s. You don’t have to wait for researchers to develop a blood test that will scare you into making changes.
More than 100 million people in the United States have prescriptions for drugs to treat anxiety, depression, insomnia and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
While the instructions for drugs like lorazepam (Ativan), diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax) specifically recommend short-term use in conjunction with mental health treatment, many people use them for months or even years at a time.
This long-term use increases the chances of becoming dependent on these medications, but that’s not all …
Studies suggest long-term users may also be giving themselves Alzheimer’s disease. Keep reading. . .
Continued Below. . .
3 Simple Strategies to
Banish Cellulite for Good
Dr. Charles Livingston has been helping men and women permanently eliminate
cellulite for most of his professional career.
Here’s what he found works to banish it for good:
1. Purging yucky toxins from your body that have lodged themselves in your fat cells
2. Eating a healthy diet with these certain cellulite banishing foods
(this does NOT mean starving yourself)
3. Consistent exercise (less than 2 hours per week is all you need!)
But that’s not all that he found…
He combined the 3 strategies above with this one unusual discovery found in
East Africa over 1000 years ago.
Does a Brain-Killing Drug Lurk
Your Medicine Cabinet?
Benzodiazepines (BZDs) are the most common category of drugs prescribed for treating depression, anxiety and insomnia. They work by enhancing the effects of a neurotransmitter called gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA).
GABA increases the feel-good hormone dopamine, which has a sedative, anxiety-reducing and muscle-relaxing effect on the body.
Unfortunately, BZDs don’t just stick to the GABA receptors in your brain.
According to a study published in Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, researchers determined that taking BZDs causes long-term episodic memory loss and even amnesia.1 They believe the sedative effects of these drugs interfere with memory formation and retention.
Even worse, a review study published back in 1998 suggests BZD use doubles the risk of car accidents, especially for drivers over 65 who are taking longer-acting and larger doses. Among the subjects of the study, the drug-induced mental impairment also caused confusion that led to dizziness, falls, and other accidents.2
But car crashes are just the beginning …
Researchers are also discovering a frightening correlation between long-term use and the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
And get this — use that lasts longer than 90 days is considered “long-term”!
A National Threat
A study of over 9,000 people revealed that those who took the drug for less than three months were in the clear. Those on a three to six month course had a 32% higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
And those who took a BZD for more than six months had an 84% higher risk. That, in my view, is truly frightening, and argues for an immediate ban on long-term use of these drugs.3
In fact, a review paper published in May 2015 revealed nine out of ten studies on this subject report an increase in dementia among benzodiazepine users, and the risk of dementia increased with cumulative doses and long treatment times.4
Researchers have yet to determine the exact cause-effect relationship between long-term use of benzodiazepine and Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, but the accumulated evidence is enough to convince researchers to advise against indiscriminate and long-term use.
One study even concluded, “Unwarranted long-term use of these drugs should be considered a public health concern.”5 That’s an understatement, in my view. At the minimum, they should be seen as similar to narcotics, with use for more than 90 days severely restricted.
Consider These Alternatives
Discuss all your options with your doctor or mental health practitioner before relying on drugs that may destroy your brain health further down the road.
If you’ve been taking BZDs for some time and would like to go off them, experts advise against stopping suddenly. Withdrawal symptoms are seriously unpleasant. Talk with your doctor about weaning off.
There are a few alternative remedies worth mentioning beyond the daily exercise, diet, and meditation recommendations (that I hope readers of this newsletter are already doing):
- Be sure the “friendly bacteria” in your gut are well balanced. A 2011 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed your colon and your brain are in direct communication. Ingesting Lactobacillus rhamnosus, an important probiotic, reduces stress-related hormones and anxiety and depression-related behavior.6
- Include omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, either from fatty fish or krill oil supplements, which have been shown to reduce anxiety.7
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is an acupressure technique that can change how your body responds to stress. (There are tons of great instructional videos for learning this technique on YouTube.com.)
Other things to consider include acupuncture (the five-element or traditional kind), zero balancing (see our book The Ultimate Guide to Conquering Pain if you’ve never heard of ZB), and movement therapies such as Tai Chi or Qi Gong.
There is a time and a place for taking benzodiazepines, but serious research shows beyond doubt they should only be used for 90 days at a time (or less, preferably) … not for years on end. They are a crisis-intervention solution – certainly not an easy, no-effort way for mildly depressed people to be happy.
I’ve known people with deep, chronic depression and I realize the problem is serious and intractable. At the same time, I’ve known people with dementia, and that’s infinitely worse. Sometimes you have to choose your poison. What’s more, I’ve seen the antidepressants fail (most of the time, actually), so they’re not a good solution.
If you find yourself overwhelmed by stress, anxiety, depression, or insomnia, please consider working with a complementary physician as well as your general practitioner. The “quack” (I’m joking. . .) will likely have additional, non-toxic remedies that can be used safely in the long-term … and even be beneficial for your brain.