Top 8 Health Benefits of Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega 3 fatty acids are some of the most important nutrients you can put in your body. Not only are they extremely anti-inflammatory, but they actually make up some of the most important structures of your body like your brain and nervous system. Not getting enough in your diet increases your risk of many chronic illnesses so it is important that you understand the benefits of omega 3 fats.

This is something that if someone asks me, “Hey what are the MOST important supplements to take on a daily basis?” I absolutely recommend. Along with things like magnesium, Vitamin D, clean water, and an anti-inflammatory diet; omega 3 absolutely cannot be overlooked.

Types of Omega 3

Omega 3 fatty acids are what is characterized as long-chain fatty acids.  The 4 main types of these are ALA, DPA, EPA, and DHA. We are going to primarily focus on EPA and DHA as they are most commonly deficient while being the most important for overall health.

EPA and DHA are derived from mother’s milk, algae, fish, and grass -fed meat products. EPA and DHA can be synthesized in the body from ALA, however it is a very inefficient process and can put excess stress on the liver. ALA is derived from plant sources of omega 3 such as green plants, flax, chia, hemp, pumpkin seeds & walnuts.

Omega 3 & Omega 6

As with many things in the body, fats are the most beneficial when consumed in proper ratios. When talking about omega 3, the most important balance to consider is omega 3 fats in relation to omega 6 fats. Omega 6 fats are important for inflammatory processes in the body, however consuming too much in relation to omega 3 can become excessively inflammatory.

This inflammatory imbalance between omega 3 to omega 6 is extremely common in today’s society. For many other reasons, chronic inflammatory diseases are at an all-time high. This makes it imperative that you start employing anti-inflammatory nutrition and lifestyle principles. Increasing your intake of omega 3 fatty acids is an important step in this process.

Cellular Health

One of the most important roles of omega 3 fat intake is that our cells actually need these fats in order to function properly. Every cell in the body is made up of a combination of cholesterol, saturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats.

The saturated fats and cholesterol help to maintain the structural integrity of the cell membrane while polyunsaturated fats allow fluidity. This fluidity is important for the transportation of materials, cellular communication, and other processes that occur across the cell membrane.

You may not have known this but the polyunsaturated fats that make up part of our cell membranes are actually the omega 3 fats EPA and DHA (1).

Fights Depression & Anxiety

Depression and anxiety have been associated with something called neuroinflammation. This just means inflammation in the brain. Because increasing omega 3 intake can be highly anti-inflammatory, this could make it an important consideration in anxiety and depression.

Additionally, there have been several studies demonstrating the effectiveness of EPA and DHA in mitigating depressive symptoms (2).

Finally, there is some evidence showing that lower levels of omega 3 fatty acids are correlated with higher levels of corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) which is normally released in response to stress. Chronically elevated CRH due to inadequate omega 3 intake could contribute to depressive or anxious feelings (3, 4).

Improves Sleep

Some preliminary evidence from a study published by Oxford in 2014 suggests that higher levels of dietary omega 3 intake are associated with lower instances of insomnia and less interruptions in sleep (5).

Considering the anti-depressive and anxiolytic effects mentioned above, it is realistic that omega 3 fatty acids may help one get a better night of sleep.

Another factor to consider is that chronic inflammation can have a detrimental impact on sleep quality due to increased levels of circulating stress hormones. Omega 3 intake can help to mitigate inflammation and improve sleep by lowering associated stress hormones.

Improves Eye Health

DHA is particularly important for development and maintenance of eye health. DHA is found in high amounts in the retina where it plays important roles in maintaining photoreceptor membrane integrity and ensuring optimal production of vision through light transmission (6).

Inadequate omega 3 intake has also been associated with conditions of dry eyes and poor eye structure development in children.

Finally, low intake of omega 3 is associated with increased rates of macular degeneration and retinopathy. Dietary carotenoids are also incredibly important for protecting your eyes from degeneration as illustrated below.

Strengthens Immunity

Poor immune function is often a result of chronic inflammation. Especially in cases of autoimmunity (overactive immune system), targeting underlying inflammation is extremely important for improving immune function. Increasing your intake of omega 3 fats is critical for this process.

In fact, a study performed on children up to the age of 3 showed that adequate DHA early in life is important for lowering instances of allergies and upper respiratory infections (7).

Promotes Brain Health During Pregnancy

Omega 3 fatty acids, particularly DHA, are incredibly important for the development of healthy brain tissue. Adequate omega 3 intake has been shown to provide benefits such as improved cognition, lowered stroke risk, improved cerebral blood flow, improved ADD/ADHD symptoms, reduced migraines, and decreased risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

As you can see, DHA intake is always important for ongoing brain health. It is critical that DHA needs are met during the developmental stages of a child’s life, particularly in the womb. As the brain undergoes rapid development, the mother will actually shed excess DHA stores in the body in order to support her child. If there is not enough, the child’s development may be significantly inhibited.

Improves Bone & Joint Health

Adequate omega 3 intake is important for optimal bone health. Like several of the conditions listed so far, poor bone health is associated with chronic inflammatory conditions in the body. This is the first and most foundational benefit of increasing omega 3 intake for bone health.

Additionally, omega 3 intake may improve bone health by helping to regulate calcium balance and osteoblast activity. Mostly animal-based studies point towards the importance of DHA for bone health (8).

Supports Heart Health

Once again, fish oil’s ability to mitigate inflammation has a powerful impact on the development and progression of cardiovascular diseases. One of the primary heart conditions, calcification of the arteries, is heavily influenced by inflammation and improper calcium metabolism.

As has been mentioned briefly, adequate omega 3 intake helps to promote healthy calcium metabolism. The anti-inflammatory benefits of omega 3 fats further promote heart health by helping to prevent the oxidation of the artery lining and cholesterol.

Studies have shown that fish oil can lower the risk of dying from a coronary heart disease event. Omega 3 fats also improve cholesterol, triglyceride values, and may help to lower blood pressure in some cases.

Fights Inflammation

If you have not noticed by now, one of the most fundamental benefits of increasing your intake of omega 3 fats is that profound anti-inflammatory effect. Because inflammation is at the root of almost all chronic diseases of modern times, this benefit is highly sought after.

For any of my patients who are suffering from a chronic disease and struggling to get well, increasing omega 3 intake is always a core strategy.

Studies have shown that a higher intake of omega 3 fatty acids can prevent or at least slow the progression of many chronic inflammatory disorders such as autoimmunity or neurological disorders. My experience working with people is that this strategy can be very beneficial.

Best Food Sources

Now that you understand the many benefits of increasing your intake of omega 3 fats, it’s time to learn the best sources. First and foremost, getting plenty of EPA and DHA from food-based sources such as wild-caught fish and algae grown in a clean-controlled environment, is the absolute best.

Some of the top sources include sockeye salmon, sardines, mackerel, and algae. There can be some conversion of ALA into DHA from foods like walnuts, flax, and chia. Conversion of ALA into DHA is typically not enough to reach optimal levels however.

Best Supplements

In addition to consuming fish or high DHA algae on a regular basis, it can be helpful to take an omega 3 supplement concentrated from fish or algae if you are a vegetarian/vegan. For therapeutic applications, taking in about 2-4 grams of omega 3 from EPA and DHA can be very beneficial.

It is in this range that I have noticed my clients get significant improvements in inflammatory markers and they notice other improvements in their overall wellbeing.

Nordic Naturals is my number one brand as they are concentrated and are held to extremely high-quality standards. For everyday use, Pro Omega or Pro EFA are my go-to choices. For people dealing with significant inflammatory conditions, Pro Omega CRP is one of the most effective supplements I have discovered.

Summary

Omega 3 fatty acids are vital to your health and wellbeing. Every single cell in your body and especially the tissues of your brain require omega 3 fatty acids in order to function properly. The two most important that are often deficient in people today are EPA and DHA which can be derived from fish and certain types of algae.

Daily intake of omega 3 fats should range from 1 gram daily (daily maintenance) up to 3-4 grams per day for significant health challenges rooted in chronic inflammation.  It is important to be sure you get a high quality purified fish oil that has removed any possible contaminants and is in the triglyceride form for optimal absorption.  This is why I really like the Nordic Naturals brand.

Sources For This Article Include

1. Valentine, R. C., & Valentine, D. L. (2004). Omega-3 fatty acids in cellular membranes: A unified concept. Progress in Lipid Research. PMID: 15458813
2. Grosso, G., Pajak, A., Marventano, S., Castellano, S., Galvano, F., Bucolo, C., … Caraci, F. (2014). Role of omega-3 fatty acids in the treatment of depressive disorders: A comprehensive meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. PLoS ONE, 9(5). PMID: 24805797
3. Nieminen, L. R. G., Makino, K. K., Mehta, N., Virkkunen, M., Kim, H. Y., & Hibbeln, J. R. (2006). Relationship between omega-3 fatty acids and plasma neuroactive steroids in alcoholism, depression and controls. Prostaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, 75(4–5), 309–314. PMID: 16959481
4. Lang, U. E., & Borgwardt, S. (2013). Molecular mechanisms of depression: perspectives on new treatment strategies. Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry : International Journal of Experimental Cellular Physiology, Biochemistry, and Pharmacology, 31(6), 761–77. PMID: 23735822
5. Montgomery, P., Burton, J. R., Sewell, R. P., Spreckelsen, T. F., & Richardson, A. J. (2014). Fatty acids and sleep in UK children: Subjective and pilot objective sleep results from the DOLAB study – a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Sleep Research, 23(4), 364–388. PMID: 24605819
6. Querques, G., Forte, R., & Souied, E. H. (2011). Retina and omega-3. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. PMID: 22175009
7. Birch, E. E., Khoury, J. C., Berseth, C. L., Castañeda, Y. S., Couch, J. M., Bean, J., … Scalabrin, D. M. (2010). The Impact of Early Nutrition on Incidence of Allergic Manifestations and Common Respiratory Illnesses in Children. Journal of Pediatrics, 156(6). PMID: 20227721
8. Maggio, M., Artoni, A., Lauretani, F., Borghi, L., Nouvenne, A., Valenti, G., & Ceda, G. P. (2009). The impact of omega-3 fatty acids on osteoporosis. Current Pharmaceutical Design, 15(36), 4157–64. PMID: 20041817

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7 Ways Magnesium Relieves Stress & Anxiety

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety disorders are THE leading mental disorder in the US today. Despite being highly treatable, less than 40% of those suffering from anxiety seek out help (1). Although not the only solution, I have found that magnesium relieves stress and anxiety better than almost any other natural compound I have come across.

As a cheap nutritional option to combat the insidious effects of chronic stress, I think magnesium could be one of America’s most critical nutrients. In addition to relieving stress, magnesium also has an incredible capacity to improve your ability to adapt and perform at a higher level.

How Magnesium Relieves Stress

Magnesium has a long list of benefits for the body. Because it is utilized by over 300 enzymatic processes in the body, just making sure you get enough will help ensure you are running at your full potential. This alone will reduce stress by improving your energy and ability to solve problems in your daily life.

In addition to this, there are a number of ways that magnesium acts in the body to reduce stress and anxiety.

Balances Blood Sugar 

If there was one factor that contributed to almost every chronic disease it would likely be blood sugar imbalance. This happens as a consequence of carbohydrate-heavy diets, sedentary lifestyles, malnutrition, and many other factors.

Rapid blood sugar fluctuations can contribute to chronic inflammation, hormone imbalances, neurotransmitter imbalances, and weight gain. All of these things can contribute to a subpar mental state, a lowered ability to handle stress, and an increased likelihood of experiencing anxiety.

One of the biggest symptoms that you are experiencing a blood sugar imbalance is something called reactive hypoglycemia. Shortly after a meal, you become tired and irritable followed by a rampant increase in hunger. Other symptoms include shakiness, anxiety, and dizziness. This condition is what we have come to know and love as “being hangry”.

In addition to following a healing diet low in carbohydrates and rich in healthy fats, magnesium supplementation has been shown to help prevent such drastic drops in blood sugar, helping to mitigate the inflammatory effects (2).

Stabilizes Cortisol

Cortisol is a hormone released in the body when we are under stress. While it has received a bad rap recently, cortisol is absolutely vital to health. When we are faced with a pressing situation that needs increased focus and energy to conquer, cortisol does this for us.

When under stress for long periods of time however, chronic elevation of cortisol can become a problem. Chronic elevation of cortisol contributes to neuroinflammation and blood sugar imbalances that throw increase the likelihood of experiencing anxiety.

Chronically elevated cortisol can also contribute to depression, memory loss, and brain fog, among other mental disorders.

During these times, magnesium can help by lowering cortisol, preventing neuroinflammation, and effectively lowering the tendency of anxious feelings (3, 4).

Improves GABA Levels

Mental states are heavily controlled by chemicals in our brains called neurotransmitters. When it comes to a balance between vigilance and relaxation, two neurotransmitters named glutamate and GABA are primarily responsible.

Glutamate is upregulated during times when we need to focus or be on our toes while GABA is what tells our brains to relax and rejuvenate. In our overstressed society, people tend to be glutamate dominant.

What should happen in a healthy individual is that excess glutamate in the brain is converted into GABA to help balance us out after stressful events. During times of chronic stress, we stop converting glutamate into GABA efficiently which leaves our brains in a stimulated state.

This leads to inflammation and high levels of damage to the brain tissue which is highly correlated with anxiety disorders. Magnesium supplementation helps to boost GABA production in two ways, by binding and stimulating GABA receptors and by increasing the conversion of glutamate into GABA (5).

You also rely on adequate levels of Zinc, taurine, Vitamin B-6, and glutamine to make adequate GABA, more on this here.

Reduces Brain Inflammation

As I have touched upon already, neuroinflammation is highly detrimental to a healthy mental state. Inflammation in the brain is thought to be one of the leading causes of anxiety and depressive disorders (6, 7).

The brain is one of the most concentrated areas of mitochondria in the body. If you are not familiar, mitochondria are structures in your cells that produce all of the energy for your body. The areas that have higher concentrations of them are indicative of the energy demands of those tissues.

Mitochondria are very sensitive to inflammation. When in an inflamed environment, they have a reduced ability to produce energy. In the brain, this can have many consequences. There are several ways this could be explained but if you think about it on a basic level, if your brain isn’t running efficiently, you won’t be able to handle the demands of a stressful life.

Magnesium deficiency is often found in those with elevated inflammatory cytokines, inflammatory immune modulators that are also high in people with autoimmune disorders. Magnesium supplementation may help to negate this inflammatory effect.

Alleviates Symptoms Of Depression

Anxiety and depression are often closely tied to one another. It has been estimated that about 90% of people who suffer from anxiety, also experience symptoms of depression.

Luckily, magnesium supplementation may assist with both (8). This effect is likely achieved by helping to balance neurotransmitters, lowering inflammation in the brain, balancing blood sugar, and assisting in mitochondrial energy production.

It has been shown in one study to be as effective as pharmaceutical anti-depressants, possibly by helping to upregulate the production of serotonin in the brain (9). Serotonin is the neurotransmitter in our brain responsible for making us feel happy and content so this is important.

Upregulates Neuroplasticity 

If downregulating inflammation in the brain is one of your primary targets in improving anxiety (and I think it should be), then increasing neuroplasticity should also be a target. Neuroplasticity is simply your brain’s ability to heal and create new brain cells.

Targeted together, lowering inflammation and increasing the formation of new brain cells will help the brain rebuild itself in a beneficial way.  Magnesium helps support the production of brain derived neurotrophic growth factor (BDNF) which improves the brain’s ability to rewire itself.

Magnesium is one of the few nutrients that has been shown to support neurogenesis (10). Specifically, a form of magnesium that can cross the blood-brain barrier may be the best for this. I go into my favorite forms of magnesium at the end of this article.

Detoxifies Heavy Metals

Heavy metals like lead, mercury, and aluminum can make their way into the brain tissues and cause massive amounts of inflammation. In fact, heavy metal exposure has been linked to anxiety in addition to a range of other neurological disorders like autism, ADHD, and depression.

Magnesium deficiency is correlated with reduced Cytochrome P450 and NADH cytochrome reductase enzymes which plays a vital role in phase I liver biotransformation.  Magnesium is also critical to the development of proper glutathione levels for phase II liver detoxification.

Magnesium can help with ridding the body of heavy metals to prevent them from entering the brain in the first place. It is possible that magnesium, if able to cross into the brain, could also pull heavy metals from within (11).

The Nutrient Of Resiliency

In addition to the benefits listed above, I consider magnesium an all-around master mineral that improves the function of almost every process in the body. By helping the body run more efficiently, you unlock extra energy that can be used to conquer the stressors of daily life.

By unlocking the ability to conquer your stress more effectively, you will likely experience much less anxiety as you go about your day. The way I see it, you can either spend your life trying to run from stress, or you can improve your ability to overcome stress. The latter is much more realistic given the demands of life we face in our society and magnesium is one key that I use every day to unlock my own potential.

Best Forms Of Magnesium 

Most magnesium supplements have a low absorption and an even higher proportion of those do not even make it into the brain. When looking to improve something like stress and anxiety, you absolutely have to consider this effect.

Magnesium L-Threonate

When I realized that most magnesium supplements do not provide the brain benefits they should, I decided to make my own.

A specific form of magnesium called magnesium L-threonate is the only form so far to be shown in animal studies to cross over the blood-brain barrier. Consequently, this form of magnesium has shown numerous beneficial effects on cognitive processes such as memory as well as measures of anxiety and depression.

Brain Calm Magnesium is one of the foundational supplements I recommend to just about every one of my clients, especially those dealing with increased stress. I get consistent feedback on what an immediate difference it makes in my clients’ lives just about every day.

Transdermal Magnesium 

For those with GI disorders inhibiting the absorption of nutrients or those who accumulate stress as the result of localized pain in the body, topical magnesium can be extremely beneficial.

Magnesium mineral sprays can temporarily reduce pain by becoming directly absorbed through the skin and alleviate pain entirely when used over long term periods. People experiencing symptoms of osteoarthritis can benefit from these mineral oil sprays by improving the balance of magnesium to the affected area.

Spray mineral oil daily over an affected area following a shower or before bedtime. Anecdotal evidence suggests that spraying magnesium oil over extended time duration can also alleviate cramping during menstruation.

For topical use, we have two forms of magnesium:

Magnesium Oil With MSM is great for reducing inflammation in achy joints and supporting healthy connective tissue.

Magnesium Lotion With Melatonin is a great solution for those who live stressful lifestyles and tend to have trouble sleeping at night.

Magnesium-Rich Foods

In addition to supplementation, there should be an effort to include as many magnesium-rich foods as possible into your diet. The following are the top food sources of magnesium you should be consuming on a daily basis:

Swiss Chard

Spinach

Grass-Fed Dairy (Butter, Ghee, Raw Cheese, Raw Milk)

Avocados

Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds

Pink Salts

Nuts

Dark Chocolate (100% Cacao with no added sugar)

Wild-Caught Fish

Sprouts

Sea Vegetables (Kelp, Wakame, Nori)

Organic Coffee

Summary

Magnesium is essential to human health and intricately involved in helping the body endure heightened levels of stress.

If you are a hard-charging person and tend to experience feelings of overwhelming stress and anxiety, make the conscious effort to increase your magnesium uptake and you will notice just how powerful this little mineral can be.

Mental health struggles are slow, silent killers sapping us of energy and happiness.

Whether challenged by depression, anxiety, stress, addiction or another manifestation, every single person is impacted and affected–you, your family, friends, neighbors and coworkers–either directly or indirectly every single day.

This Mental Wellness Summit Will Empower You Too: 

Overcome the silence, isolation and fear of your struggle

Transcend outdated, prescription-based healthcare systems

Find holistic practitioners and natural solutions for your pain

Implement expert practices, tools and tips into your daily routine

And so much more!

You can register for this event for free here

You will want to listen to my presentation on Friday, September 29th as I go through how to apply a ketogenic diet to reduce inflammation in your brain and improve your mood, memory and mindset!!

Sources For This Article Include:

1. ADAA: Facts & Statistics
2. Chaudhary, D. P., Sharma, R., & Bansal, D. D. (2010). Implications of magnesium deficiency in type 2 diabetes: A review. Biological Trace Element Research. PMID: 19629403
3. Dmitrašinović, G., Pešić, V., Stanić, D., Plećaš-Solarović, B., Dajak, M., & Ignjatović, S. (2016). ACTH, Cortisol and IL-6 Levels in Athletes Following Magnesium Supplementation. Journal of Medical Biochemistry, 35(4), 375–384. PMID: 28670189
4. Abbasi, B., Kimiagar, M., Sadeghniiat, K., Shirazi, M. M., Hedayati, M., & Rashidkhani, B. (2012). The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Journal of Research in Medical Sciences : The Official Journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, 17(12), 1161–1169. PMID: 23853635
5. Moykkynen, T., Uusi-Oukari, M., Heikkila, J., Lovinger, D. M., Luddens, H., & Korpi, E. R. (2001). Magnesium potentiation of the function of native and recombinant GABA(A) receptors. Neuroreport, 12(10), 2175–2179. PMID: 11447329
6. Sathyanarayana Rao, T., Asha, M., Ramesh, B., & Jagannatha Rao, K. (2008). Understanding nutrition, depression and mental illnesses. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 50(2), 77. PMID: 19742217
7. Lucas, M., Chocano-Bedoya, P., Shulze, M. B., Mirzaei, F., O’Reilly, É. J., Okereke, O. I., … Ascherio, A. (2014). Inflammatory dietary pattern and risk of depression among women. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 36, 46–53. PMID: 24095894
8. Serefko, A., Szopa, A., & Poleszak, E. (2016). Magnesium and depression. Magnesium Research. PMID: 27910808
9. University of Maryland Medical Center: Magnesium Overview
10. Abumaria, N., Yin, B., Zhang, L., Li, X.-Y., Chen, T., Descalzi, G., … Liu, G. (2011). Effects of Elevation of Brain Magnesium on Fear Conditioning, Fear Extinction, and Synaptic Plasticity in the Infralimbic Prefrontal Cortex and Lateral Amygdala. Journal of Neuroscience, 31(42), 14871–14881. PMID: 22016520
11. Nutritional Magnesium Association: Magnesium Deficiency Found in Mild-to-Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease (Link)

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What Is The MTHFR Gene Mutation?

Gene mapping has become extremely popular of late and a lot of research is being put into looking at various genes and their impact on our health.  The most well studied gene in terms of health is the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase or MTHFR.  This article will address the question of what is the MTHFR gene mutation, how does it impact our health and what can we do if we have an alteration at this gene?

What most people believe to be “genetic” conditions are usually heavily related to lifestyle choices. This include things like type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and many others. Even if one of these conditions run in your family, they are still primarily influenced by your diet and lifestyle, a concept referred to as epigenetics (1).

This is because, although you may have a certain genetic sequence in your DNA, your choices determine how those genes get activated or deactivated. There are however, minor genetic mutations that can influence how someone might respond differently to the same diet and lifestyle as someone else, such as the MTHFR gene mutation.

What Is A Gene Mutation? 

Genes are encoded by little proteins in what is called your DNA. These genes indicate things like biological traits (hair/eye color, skin tone, etc.) but they can also influence how a person’s body responds to its environment.

At this point in our understanding of biology, researchers have mapped the entire human genome. What this means is that we now have record of every possible DNA sequence found in humans. What we have yet to completely understand is how these sequences are relevant to our biology (2). We are starting to uncover some helpful clues however.

Types Of MTHFR Mutations 

The MTHFR gene codes the MTHFR enzyme which is involved in the methylation process within each cell.  When there is a mutation at this gene, it alters methylation and this can lead to a number of health challenges.  There are currently two known types of MTHFR mutations, also referred to scientifically as polymorphisms.

The MTHFR mutation can be inherited from one or both parents, affecting the MTHFR C677T or MTHFR A1298C genes specifically (3). A single mutation (heterozygous) in one of these is considered a risk factor for certain diseases while a double mutation (homozygous) is considered more of a concern.

A C677T mutation is associated with elevated homocysteine levels. This may put someone at higher risk for heart disease or neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s (4, 5).

A A1298C mutation is associated with neurotransmitter balance which has implications for mood regulation, depression, and addiction (6). 

What’s Significant About MTHFR? 

Researchers observed that people with a mutation in their MTHFR genes typically had higher rates of diseases like ADHD, alzheimer’s, depression, atherosclerosis, autoimmunity, and many other conditions (7). Now we know that the MTHFR gene is what determines our ability to methylate properly within our cells. This gives us insight into how we can mitigate the risk of these diseases. 

Methylation is a controlled transfer of a methyl group (one carbon and three hydrogen atoms) onto proteins, amino acids, enzymes, and DNA in every cell and tissue of the body to regulate healing, cell energy, genetic expression of DNA, liver detoxification, immunity, and neurology. 

These are all fundamental aspects of a healthy body so understanding how this genetic mutation influences health is extremely important from my perspective.

How Might This Mutation Affect You? 

While this genetic mutation tells us something about how someone’s body might respond to a certain lifestyle, there is still variance within this group. Some people experience very little consequences while others can encounter serious illness as a result. Obviously, there is deeper research necessary to fully understand quite how this works.

Also, most of the evidence that exists currently linking these mutations to certain diseases are epidemiological. This means they are only associations and we have no reason to believe that a MTHFR mutation can actually cause a disease.

That being said, there are certain considerations that may help people with MTHFR mutations experience a much greater level of health and wellbeing. I will touch on this towards the end of the article.

Why Methylation Is Important 

If you find out you have this genetic mutation, the next thing you want to do is actually test if you are having methylation problems. This is the real concern that we know can contribute to health problems.

Methylation is a critical process that happens trillions of times in every cell each minute.  It is one of the most essential metabolic functions of the body and is dependent upon a variety of enzymes. Without properly functioning methylation, one will experience accelerated aging due to an excessive energetic and toxic load that the body cannot handle.

As you can see, methylation is really a fundamental process in human biology that can have a huge impact on one’s health.

MTHFR Does Not Determine Your Fate 

As I mentioned in opening this article, your genes do not determine your fate. Due to the quickly developing field of epigenetics, we now understand how our gene expression can be influenced by our environment.

Our lifestyle habits, environmental conditions, and exposure to toxins can all influence gene expression. This has powerful implications for disease prevention and offers a solution for those with genetic mutations such as that of MTHFR.

Ways To Improve MTHFR Symptoms 

While having the MTHFR gene mutation is not a guarantee that you will face any kind of symptoms, there are strategies you should consider to counteract any you may face. MTHFR symptoms may be mostly related to methylation.

Methylation is regulated by key enzymes and cofactors for activation. This process is dependent upon certain vitamins and minerals. By taking this into account and supporting healthy methylation, many of these issues can be minimized.

Get More Folate

Proper methylation depends on the presence of certain nutrients in the body. The primary methyl donor involved in methylation is called S-adeosylmethionine (SAM). SAM is produced through a process that requires B vitamins (especially folate), choline, and betaine (8).

Getting plenty of these nutrients in your diet is a great first step for supporting methylation. Some of the best choline rich foods include grass-fed beef liver, sunflower lecithin, pasture-raised eggs and grass-fed butter.  Some of the best sources of betaine include beets and spinach.  The chart below shows the best sources of natural folates.


You may also find benefit in supplementing with a methylation support formula such as Methyl Power.

Control Homocysteine 

High homocysteine levels due to MTHFR mutation may be contributing to inflammation and increased risk of heart disease. This is because methylation is responsible for helping to clear this inflammatory amino acid out of the body. If methylation is inhibited. Other strategies need to be employed to help control homocysteine.

In addition to getting adequate nutrients listed above, follow these strategies to control homocysteine:

  • Do not overconsume animal protein (high in methionine, gets converted into homocysteine)
  • Consume bone broth to balance methionine with proline and glycine
  • Balance blood sugar
  • Avoid excessive caffeine
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Avoid processed foods
  • Consume plenty of antioxidant-rich vegetables and moderate fruits
  • Consider supplementing with Betaine (can assist with homocysteine metabolism) 

Heal The Gut 

It is important to keep the gut healthy for everyone, however, digestive complaints seem to be more common among those with MTHFR mutations. Additionally, it is important to make sure the gut is absorbing the nutrients listed above so that methylation can occur effectively.

Following a healing diet, consuming bone broth, and avoiding common food sensitivities is a great start. For more in-depth steps on maximizing your gut health, check out this article here.

Stress Reduction 

Chronic stress can deplete B vitamins, contribute to neurotransmitter imbalances, and provoke MTHFR gene mutation symptoms to become more pronounced. Because those with this mutation are already at higher risk of mental disorder, this is an important preventative measure.

My top tips for controlling stress and anxiety are outlined below:

Natural Detoxification Support 

If your methylation processes are not optimized, your body will have a higher difficulty eliminating toxins. If not addressed, these toxins can build up and cause a long list of issues.

It is important to employ daily detoxification strategies like super hydrating, fasting, sweating (through sauna or exercise), using activated charcoal, and limiting your exposure to toxins in your environment.

Get Sunlight 

Regular sun exposure is a key component of healthy brain function. This can be powerful for those predisposed to neurological disorders. Sunlight optimizes Vitamin D levels, supports healthy dopamine and serotonin, improves sleep, and supports blood sugar balance.

Additionally, healthy sunlight exposure may also help reduce autoimmunity and protect from neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. This is all just by going outside… and its free!

For added benefit get your bare feet in the grass, sand, dirt, or rock to receive earthing benefits at the same time.

The two most important times to get sunlight are first thing in the morning and around noon. Receiving the full spectrum of light from the sun is a powerful stimulus of your circadian rhythm.

Tips For Healthy Sunlight Exposure:

  • Make sure to remove glasses, sunglasses, or contacts as these filter sunlight and prevent the full spectrum of light from reaching your eyes.
  • Never look directly at the sun
  • Expose as much skin as possible for maximum benefit
  • Start with short amounts (15-20 mins) and work your exposure times up to several hours if possible

Control Exposure To Blue Light

In addition to getting adequate sunlight, it is important to limit your exposure to artificial blue light. This is the type of light that is emitted from phones, TVs, laptops, and most artificial lighting fixtures.

This type of light is extremely disruptive to circadian rhythms and can have a negative effect on neurotransmitter balance.

It is especially important to avoid these types of light in the early morning and within 4 hours of your intended bedtime. You can do this by turning off your devices or investing in a pair of blue light blocking glasses and using them strategically around these times.

How To Find Out If You Are Affected 

Many people will come across this article without knowing if they actually have this mutation or not. If you want to get this information, along with a lot of other helpful genetic information, 23 & Me is a great option.

This is a simple one-time saliva test that you order to your home, perform at home, and ship back with the provided shipping information. For a one-time fee of $199 you get a complete mapping of your unique genetics and insights as to what this means for your health.

While your genetics aren’t necessarily your fate, you can at least gain insight into any increased risks you are facing for certain diseases. Armed with this knowledge, you can implement lifestyle factors to make sure you are not surprised down the road.

Mental health struggles are slow, silent killers sapping us of energy and happiness.

Whether challenged by depression, anxiety, stress, addiction or another manifestation, every single person is impacted and affected–you, your family, friends, neighbors and coworkers–either directly or indirectly every single day.

This Mental Wellness Summit Will Empower You Too: 

Overcome the silence, isolation and fear of your struggle

Transcend outdated, prescription-based healthcare systems

Find holistic practitioners and natural solutions for your pain

Implement expert practices, tools and tips into your daily routine

And so much more!

You can register for this event for free here

You will want to listen to my presentation on Friday, September 29th as I go through how to apply a ketogenic diet to reduce inflammation in your brain and improve your mood, memory and mindset!!

Sources For This Article Include: 

1. National Institute of Health: Epigenetics
2. Moraes, F., & Góes, A. (2016). A decade of human genome project conclusion: Scientific diffusion about our genome knowledge. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, 44(3), 215–223. PMID: 26952518
3. Levin, B. L., & Varga, E. (2016). MTHFR: Addressing Genetic Counseling Dilemmas Using Evidence-Based Literature. Journal of Genetic Counseling. PMID: 27130656
4. U.S. National Library of Medicine: MTHFR Gene
5. Wierzbicki, A. S. (2007). Homocysteine and cardiovascular disease: a review of the evidence. Diabetes & Vascular Disease Research : Official Journal of the International Society of Diabetes and Vascular Disease, 4(2), 143–50. PMID: 17654449
6. Werner, E. R., Blau, N., & Thöny, B. (2011). Tetrahydrobiopterin: biochemistry and pathophysiology. The Biochemical Journal, 438(3), 397–414. PMID: 21867484
7. Yang, B., Fan, S., Zhi, X., Xia, R., Wang, Y., Zheng, Q., & Sun, G. (2017). Geographical and ethnic distribution of MTHFR gene polymorphisms and their associations with diseases among Chinese population. Clinical Genetics. PMID: 27888505
8. Anderson, O. S., Sant, K. E., & Dolinoy, D. C. (2012). Nutrition and epigenetics: An interplay of dietary methyl donors, one-carbon metabolism and DNA methylation. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. PMID: 22749138

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What Is The Best Magnesium Supplement?

What Is The Best Magnesium Supplement? 

Magnesium is one of the most important nutrients for human health. I have covered this extensively on my website for years. After reading my articles, many people reach the conclusion that they would like to add a magnesium supplement to their daily regimen. If you go to a local supplement, health food, or online store you will notice there are A TON of different forms of magnesium. These are not all created equal. So, what is the best magnesium supplement for the most health benefits?

The different forms of magnesium are metabolized and have different effects in the body. Some provide negligible effects, some stronger, and some I would consider superior. This is something I observed early on when considering adding a magnesium supplement to my personal line.

The Fundamental Role Of Magnesium

I say magnesium is one of the most important nutrients in the human body all the time and there is a HUGE reason for this. One of the biggest predictors of your overall well-being is your body’s ability to create and utilize energy. From a cellular level, this energy comes in the form of a molecule called ATP (adenosine triphosphate).

Your body is constantly operating within a balance of breaking down and rebuilding itself, a principal called homeostasis. On a very basic level, when you are breaking down faster than you are rebuilding, you have disease. When you are rebuilding as quickly as you are breaking down, you are thriving, adapting, and becoming stronger.

Every cell in your body relies on ATP in order to carry out its function. A fundamental principal of human physiology is that cells cannot effectively utilize ATP unless it is in its activated form, Mg-ATP. Magnesium actually binds to ATP and this important step allows our cells to use it more effectively.

Additionally, magnesium is intricately involved in the biological process of manufacturing ATP, so it could not be more crucial in this regard that you have enough magnesium to provide for the energy making process of almost every cell in your body. This is key in helping to optimize your body’s ability to heal and adapt.

Symptoms Of Deficiency 

Magnesium deficiency is often misdiagnosed because it is not easily detected in routine bloodwork. This is because almost all of the body’s magnesium is stored in the bones and organ tissues, particularly in the heart (1). It is estimated that only 1% of our total magnesium can actually be found floating around in the blood.

The organs in your body that require the most ATP include the brain, muscles (heart, digestive tract, skeletal muscle), and the ovaries if you are a woman.

Consequently, some of the most prominent symptoms of magnesium deficiency are brain fog, poor memory, trouble concentrating, muscle cramps/weakness, fibromyalgia, migraines/headaches, anxiety, depression, and PMS.

These are some of the common symptoms, however magnesium is also involved in over 300 different enzymatic processes in the body so symptoms of deficiency may vary widely. Some experts even claim that magnesium deficiency may contribute to over 20 different diagnosable medical conditions (2).

Why We Need More Than We Used To 

Although some magnesium can be obtained from the diet, there are a couple important reasons why I often recommend supplementation.

First, modern industrial farming practices have drastically depleted soil of its nutrient content, this means we are likely receiving much less than we used to.

Next, our environment is filled with new chemicals and biological stressors that increase our need for magnesium. These include things like EMF, pesticides, heavy metals, and general chronic stress involved with our chosen lifestyles. All of these things increase stress on our bodies, increase the need for ATP, and rapidly deplete magnesium stores as a consequence.

Supplementing with magnesium will help restore optimal levels to ensure effective energy production. Another cool thing I like about magnesium is that it can also improve your ability to adapt to a stressful lifestyle, similar to common herbal adaptogens.

Top Forms

There are A TON of different types of magnesium that are sold in stores. Many of these simply are not effective and will not do anything beneficial for your health. In fact, some forms of magnesium are not even absorbable by your digestive tract.

Below are some of my favorite forms of magnesium and the ones that are the most likely to benefit your health.

Malate 

Magnesium malate is magnesium bonded to malic acid. Malic acid is naturally occuring in many foods, especially fruits. This form of magnesium is theorized to be best suited for improving energy-related disorders.

This is thought because malic acid is a key component of the Krebs Cycle. The Krebs Cycle is the biological process that is responsible for manufacturing ATP, AKA energy. This is where magnesium malate may be helpful in conditions such as chronic fatigue or depression.

Animal studies have observed that magnesium malate may provide benefits for blood sugar regulation and magnesium/calcium balance, making it a solid option for supplementation (3).

Glycinate 

Magnesium Glycinate (or chelated magnesium) is a compound made up of magnesium and the amino acid glycine. This is thought to be one of the most bioavailable forms of magnesium for supplementation as well as one of the most gut friendly. Many people experience diarrhea with magnesium supplementation so this can be an important consideration.

For clinically diagnosable magnesium deficiency (hypomagnesia), the glycinate or bisglycinate form of magnesium are typically the most recommended for correcting this.

L-Threonate 

Magnesium L-threonate (MgT) is a newer form of magnesium with significant implications for mental health. Some preliminary research has highlighted the cognitive boosting ability and potentially even neuroprotective effects against Alzheimer’s disease (4).

What is so novel about this form of magnesium is that it is the only form shown in animal studies to cross the blood brain barrier. This is important because having this capability allows it to exert its beneficial effects on the brain specifically.

Consequently, this form of magnesium has been shown to improve measures of cognitive abilities such as short and long term memory and learning (5, 6). Additionally, this form of magnesium may be superior for conditions such as depression, anxiety, and brain fog.

In this article, I go over this 2010 study where a MgT supplemented group was able to retain their memory of where a submerged platform was hidden after 24 hours.  Both young and old rats in the control group forgot and began randomly searching through the maze and took more than twice as long as the MgT supplemented group.  The results of the study showed that old rats saw a 100% improvement in spatial long-term memory and even out performed younger rats who had not used MgT (5).    

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Citrate 

Magnesium Citrate is one of the most commonly used forms of magnesium because it is relatively low cost while also being reasonably bioavailable when consumed orally.

This form of magnesium is unique because it is one of the only ones that is naturally acidic. This is due to it being bound to citric acid, a common food additive that also occurs in citrus fruits.

Two noteable properties of this form of magnesium are its ability to aid in bowel movements as well as potentially help with oxalate metabolism. I often encounter patients who have kidney stones due high levels of dietary oxalates (more on this here) so this may be helpful for them.

While it may be beneficial for someone with kidney stones to supplement with magnesium citrate, I have actually found potassium citrate to be powerful for this. In combination, they may both provide benefits.

Chloride

Adding a chloride to magnesium brings another broad-range support compound to the mix. When these two are broken down in the body, you get the benefits of both magnesium and chloride.  Magnesium chloride is the most stable form of magnesium and is especially good for detoxification and for kidney function.

Chloride ions are abundant in the human body. First of all, as an electrolyte, chloride ions help to assure the proper conduction of impulses within the nervous system. They work along with potassium, sodium, calcium, phosphate, and magnesium to assure proper muscle contraction, control blood pressure, and allow for healthy brain function.

Additionally, chloride combines with hydrogen in the gut to produce HCl (stomach acid). Adequate stomach acid is needed to properly digest our foods and to activate intrinsic factor for absorbing Vitamin B12.

Inferior Magnesium Forms

Forms of magnesium that are often cheap yet offer relatively low bioavailability include the oxide, dihydroxide (milk of magnesia), sulfate, aspartate, and carbonate forms.  These forms of magnesium do not absorb well and tend to offer little benefit beyond laxative or antacid properties.

Magnesium Sulfate (also known as epsom salt) may, however, be suitable for absorption through the skin. For a step above, in my opinion, I would recommend these Magnesium Chloride salts for soaking. They are more expensive but likely to be much more beneficial.

Before You Buy 

While there are many forms and many brands of magnesium available on the market that will likely provide you with benefit. There is one consideration that I find critically important however.

As with all supplements, it is important to ensure you are getting yours from a source that tests every batch to ensure you are getting what is on the label and nothing else. This includes things like unwanted toxins, allergens, and heavy metals.

All of my personal line products are pharmaceutical grade, GMP compliant. This means they are produced in strictly monitored facilities who also send batches of their product to third parties for analysis before selling to consumers.

Brain Calm Magnesium 

There are many different forms of magnesium and they seem to have slightly different effects in the body. When I decided to add a magnesium supplement to my personal line I wanted it to contain the best forms of magnesium to provide a well-rounded benefit.

Brain Calm Magnesium was the result of this. It contains patented malate, glycinate, and threonate forms of magnesium for maximum neurological and systemic benefits for the body.

I often recommend this supplement for most people as a cost-effective way to boost magnesium levels, increase the body’s resilience to stress, and promote a tranquil and relaxed mental state. 

Topical Magnesium Chloride 

If you are someone with a lot of digestive issues, you may want to consider a topical magnesium. This type of magnesium can be applied directly to the skin and absorbed into your blood stream for increased bioavailability.

This type of magnesium is also great for applying to tense muscles, aches, and pains. For this purpose, I have found that the Ancient Minerals brand works the best.

The topical magnesium with MSM is the best for applying to problem areas or as a general magnesium supplement. The combination of magnesium and MSM is powerful for controlling inflammation and strengthening damaged tissues. This form is also very suitable for athletes!

For those who have trouble sleeping at night, Ancient Minerals also carries a topical magnesium with melatonin. For this one I will typically recommend applying one pump to the bottoms of the feet or abdomen 30 minutes to 1 hour before going to bed.

Top Magnesium Foods 

While magnesium supplementation is often a great idea, eating the right foods is just as important.

In the video below I go into detail on my favorite dietary sources. For convenience, I have listed my top 12 below.

  1. Swiss Chard
  2. Spinach
  3. Grass-fed Dairy
  4. Avocados
  5. Pumpkin Seeds
  6. Pink Salts
  7. Nuts
  8. Dark Chcolate
  9. Wild-Caught Fish
  10. Sprouts
  11. Sea Vegetables
  12. Organic Coffee

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Mental health struggles are slow, silent killers sapping us of energy and happiness.

Whether challenged by depression, anxiety, stress, addiction or another manifestation, every single person is impacted and affected–you, your family, friends, neighbors and coworkers–either directly or indirectly every single day.

This Mental Wellness Summit Will Empower You Too: 

Overcome the silence, isolation and fear of your struggle

Transcend outdated, prescription-based healthcare systems

Find holistic practitioners and natural solutions for your pain

Implement expert practices, tools and tips into your daily routine

And so much more!

You can register for this event for free here

You will want to listen to my presentation on Friday, September 29th as I go through how to apply a ketogenic diet to reduce inflammation in your brain and improve your mood, memory and mindset!!

Sources For This Article Include: 

1. The AFIB Report: Magnesium
2. Magnesium: An Invisible Deficiency That Could Be Harming Your Health (LINK)
3. Virag, V., May, Z., Kocsis, I., Blazovics, A., & Szentmihalyi, K. (2011). [Effects of magnesium supplementation on calcium and magnesium levels, and redox homeostasis in normolipidemic and food-induced hyperlipidemic rats]. Orv Hetil, 152, 1075–1081. PMID: 21676674
4. Li W, Yu J, Liu Y, et al. Elevation of brain magnesium prevents synaptic loss and reverses cognitive deficits in Alzheimer’s disease mouse model. Mol Brain. 2014 Sep 13;7(1):65. PMID:25213836
5. Slutsky I, Abumaria N, Wu LJ, et al. Enhancement of learning and memory by elevating brain magnesium. Neuron. 2010 Jan 28;65(2):165-77. PMID:20152124
6. Abumaria N, Yin B, Zhang L, et al. Effects of elevation of brain magnesium on fear conditioning, fear extinction, and synaptic plasticity in the infralimbic prefrontal cortex and lateral amygdala. J Neurosci. 2011 Oct 19;31(42):14871-81. PMID:22016520

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5 Reasons You May Have an Amino Acid Deficiency

5 Reasons For Amino Acid Deficiency

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, many of us learn that in biology growing up. To paint a more in depth picture, amino acids are actually involved in many critical body processes from building muscle to synthesizing important neurotransmitters like GABA and dopamine.

When you digest any food with protein in it, you are breaking it down into these important amino acid compounds. Amino acid deficiency is something that too often gets overlooked, so in this article I’m going to cover the top 5 reasons that someone could become deficient.

The amino acids have been specifically studied for important roles they play in the body. For example, the branched-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) are important for muscle synthesis (1). The amino acid glutamine plays important roles in maintaining gut lining health while also promoting a relaxed mental state.

There are 20 standard amino acids derived through the diet that all serve their own important roles in the body. 11 of these amino acids are considered “non-essential” meaning they are synthesized within the body. The other 9, however, are considered “essential” and must be acquired through the diet.

Poor Diet

One of the more obvious reasons for amino acid deficiency is the simple lack of proper nutrition. If your diet lacks the right foods with all essential amino acids, then you will not have them in your physiological arsenal.

One such diet that I often see amino acid deficiencies is a vegetarian or vegan diet. Because most foods on these diets are not complete proteins (not containing all essential amino acids), they require a little more planning to ensure adequate amounts of amino acids are absorbed into the body.

Also, a diet that relies on the chronic consumption of sugary and starchy foods and damaged fats (such as the standard American diet) can inhibit the ability of the pancreas to release proteolytic enzymes. Proteolytic enzymes are responsible for separating proteins into their individual amino acids.

Leaky Gut & Malnourishment

The lining of the gut is one layer of cells thin. This makes it very delicate but also very good at performing its function of regulating the absorption of nutrients from food. The spaces between these cells are tightly regulated to only allow certain things to pass while keeping the rest out.

When we damage these cells by consuming GMOs, foods with pesticides, chlorinated water, processed foods, taking antibiotics, or even from low-grade food sensitivities, the spaces between these cells are loosened. This is problem because larger food molecules get through into the bloodstream and the body mistakes them for foreign pathogens. This ultimately manifests in the body as sudden food allergies, autoimmunity, systemic inflammation, and malnourishment.

With a damaged gut comes poor digestion. At this point, even someone eating a clean healthy diet may not be extracting all of the important nutrients from their food.

Low Stomach Acid

A huge misinterpreted symptom in the body that I often encounter is heart burn. The traditional approach to correcting heart burn is to take something that neutralizes your elevated stomach acids levels. But what we know now is that heart burn is actually a sign of low stomach acid.

Stomach acid is what signals the esophageal sphincter (connecting the esophagus to the stomach) to close and prevent heart burn. So, the best way to mitigate heart burn is actually to support stomach acid.

Adequate stomach acid production is also critical for proper protein breakdown and amino acid absorption. Along with proteolytic enzymes from the pancreas, stomach acid must be present for proper digestion. Unfortunately, amino acids are also involved in enzyme synthesis so low stomach acid will typically also deplete digestive enzymes.

If you have acid reflux then this should be a huge indication that you need to start supporting your stomach acid production. If you do not have acid reflux but want to test your stomach acid levels, an easy at home test can help with this. Try the baking soda test outlined below and take necessary action steps depending on the outcome.

Blood Sugar Imbalance

Blood sugar imbalances lead to massive fluctuations in insulin and cortisol. When blood sugar spikes too quickly, insulin also spikes to shuttle sugar out of the blood and into the cells. This leads to a rapid drop in blood sugar and a spike in cortisol.

When your body is exposed to a stressor, cortisol will typically increase for a short period. Cortisol is catabolic, meaning it is responsible for breaking things down. After the stress has subsided, a healthy person would have a decrease in cortisol and the body would adapt and grow stronger during this rest period by repairing the damage that was done.

When cortisol is constantly spiking due to blood sugar fluctuations you get continued breakdown of tissues, chronic inflammation, and lowered ability to make important protein digesting enzymes.

The low blood sugar that occurs shortly after a high-sugar meal stimulates the body to shift into a state of gluconeogenesis (the body makes sugar from proteins). When in this state, the body rapidly degrades stored amino acids in the body, resulting in a potential deficiency much quicker (2).

Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal fatigue manifests in several stages but ultimately disrupts many key processes in the body. First of all, adrenal fatigue leads to cortisol dysregulation which further exaggerates detrimental effects of blood sugar imbalance. As mentioned above blood sugar imbalance can often lead to gluconeogenesis which depletes amino acids.

Furthermore, adrenal fatigue often throws off key sex hormones that regulate anabolic processes in the body. Because cortisol shares a production pathway with the sex hormones, when adrenal function is hampered and the body’s stress response is dysregulated, the body favors cortisol production.

As mentioned above, chronically elevated cortisol leads to catabolism (breakdown) of body tissues and rapid degradation of amino acids. When sex hormones are compromised, the problem is only made worse.

Solution: Supplemental EAA’s

Essential Amino acids are those which must be consumed through the diet. Whenever I have a patient who has any of the conditions outlined above or I suspect an amino acid deficiency, I recommend taking these in supplemental form.

As I mentioned, amino acids are involved in several key processes in the body. Just as one example, because of their involvement in neurotransmitter production, amino acid deficiency can really throw off your mood. This is one case where supplementing with additional EAA’s can provide powerful relief.

Although not a long-term solution, supplemental EAAs can provide very effective relief while working on the underlying issues.

Additional Benefits of EAA’s

In addition, to their therapeutic benefits, essential amino acids can actually be supplemented for additional health benefits.

Muscle Development

Proper development of muscle tissue relies on amino acids. The branched-chain amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine have been specifically studied in depth for their role in muscle formation (3).

Not only does this apply to normal growth of the body throughout life, but in other muscle development special cases. One such case is when muscle breakdown occurs due to resistance exercise. Amino acid supplementation can speed recovery and support muscle growth.

Additionally, amino acid supplementation may be helpful in cases of muscle wasting such as severe adrenal fatigue or during cancer treatment.

Bone Strength

The amino acid arginine plays an important role in bone formation and may reduce your risk of osteoporosis.

Arginine supplementation increases growth hormone and IGF-1 which both play a role in bone formation. Supplementation also increases nitric oxide in the body which is important for slowing the breakdown of bone (4). The action of these two mechanisms together act to increase bone density.

In addition to all the essential amino acids, you want to ensure you also get plenty of minerals and the vitamins D and K to ensure proper bone health.

Fat Burning

Essential amino acids can aid weight loss in a few different ways.  The amino acids arginine and lysine have been shown to support the production of growth hormone in some cases. Growth hormone has been known for some time to improve fat burning.

Additionally, lysine and methionine interact in the liver to form carnitine, an important transport molecule that moves fat into cells to be used for energy (5). This action literally improves your ability to burn fat.

Immune Health

Glutamine, arginine, and cysteine work to coordinate and support the immune system.

Glutamine interplays with lymphocytes and macrophages to coordinate necessary inflammatory reactions related to adaptive immunity. Arginine and cysteine both play roles in proper T-cell function (also important for adaptive immunity).

Adaptive immunity is the branch of your immune system that helps you build long-lasting defenses to pathogens like viruses and foreign bacteria. This is why most people only get the chicken pox once, their adaptive immune system has built defenses against it after the first exposure.

Deficiencies in these critical amino acids can contribute to significant immune suppression.

Cardiovascular Health

Circulation problems can lead to many health issues. Particularly organs that contain lots of tiny blood vessels, such as the brain, can be heavily impacted. Distal structures of the body such as the hands and feet will also be negatively impacted by poor circulation. Finally, sex organs will typically be impacted.

The amino acids arginine and citrulline may be able to boost circulation by supporting the production of nitric oxide (6). Nitric oxide is responsible for dilating blood vessels and allowing a greater amount of blood to flow through. This effect also helps to lower blood pressure.

Best Sources of EAAS

As I mentioned, amino acids come from foods with protein in them. In my opinion, the best sources of protein are sources that are low in toxins and contain a full array of amino acids.

Pasture-Raised Meats

Pasture raised meats are one of my top choices for getting a full range of amino acids while avoiding toxins that occur in conventionally raised meats. For example, beef from pasture raised cows is not only a great protein source, but also contains anti-inflammatory omega 3 fats.

Whenever buying the meat from an animal, always look for pasture-raised and organic. For beef particularly, look out for the 100% grass-fed signification. The pasture-raised certification also goes for poultry.

Whey Protein

Whey protein from grass-fed dairy is a great source of important amino acids. This source is particularly great for building and maintaining muscle because of its high amounts of the branched chain amino acids.

In addition to coming from grass-fed dairy, you also want a cold-processed, non-denatured whey protein. The heating and processing that a lot of whey proteins go through makes it harder for our bodies to digest and absorb.

Bone Broth

Bone broth has hit the mainstream hard the last few years and for many great reasons. Bone broth is a great source of amino acids along with gut healing nutrients like collagen and glutamine that are naturally occurring. Another huge benefit of bone broth is that most people tolerate it quite well with very little potential for allergies.

I think anyone could benefit from adding bone broth to their diet. It just has so many benefits.

You can buy already made bone broth at many grocery stores now, but there is question about quality variance between brands. You can also make your own using bones from pasture-raised animals. This method obviously requires a quality source of bones and the time needed to slow-simmer your bones.

The greatest bone broth solution to hit the market so far is bone broth protein powder. This bone broth has been dehydrated into a powdered form that contains 20 grams of protein per serving. Also, it tastes amazing. This is a great and economical way to include benefits of bone broth into our fast-paced lifestyles.

Vegan Proteins

There are a few complete sources of protein for vegans such as hemp and quinoa. As someone who doesn’t recommend a lot of grains in the diet, this can be tricky. Additionally, some of my patients have dairy sensitivities that make meeting dietary protein needs difficult.

For these cases I usually recommend a high-quality pea/rice protein. I made my own formula containing pea and rice protein along with several anti-inflammatory nutrients like ginger and l-glutamine. On top of the gut healing nutrients, this protein also serves as a powerful multivitamin source.  Check out the Gut Healing Protein here

In a lot of the cases that protein absorption is compromised, such as in the case of leaky gut, this combination of pea protein and gut healing nutrients can’t be beat. I use this one for many of my tough cases where digestive issues are present. After digestive issues have been resolved, I usually recommend my SuperDigest Protein for my vegan and vegetarian patients.

Amino Strong

When it comes down to it, one of the best ways to get amino acids into the body is to ingest them in their purest form. This way, there is very little energy that goes into breaking down the protein and your body absorbs them quite readily.

I formulated Amino Strong to provide a powerful source of all essential amino acids in specific ratios for therapeutic benefits.  Over 20 human trials have been conducted to arrive at this specific, patent-pending combination of amino acids in the most effective, anabolic ratios. The high absorbability of these amino acids also means greater support for the benefits mentioned above.

This is one of the primary supplements I used in my 20s when I was suffering from debilitating digestive issues and adrenal fatigue. It truly made a difference in my energy and performance and that’s why I have chosen to formulate this powerful blend.

I continue to use it today as a pre-workout powder and notice a huge difference in my strength, energy and muscle tissue development.

Mental health struggles are slow, silent killers sapping us of energy and happiness.

Whether challenged by depression, anxiety, stress, addiction or another manifestation, every single person is impacted and affected–you, your family, friends, neighbors and coworkers–either directly or indirectly every single day.

This Mental Wellness Summit Will Empower You Too: 

Overcome the silence, isolation and fear of your struggle

Transcend outdated, prescription-based healthcare systems

Find holistic practitioners and natural solutions for your pain

Implement expert practices, tools and tips into your daily routine

And so much more!

You can register for this event for free here

You will want to listen to my presentation on Friday, September 29th as I go through how to apply a ketogenic diet to reduce inflammation in your brain and improve your mood, memory and mindset!!

Sources For This Article Include:

1. Zhang, S., Zeng, X., Ren, M., Mao, X., & Qiao, S. (2017). Novel metabolic and physiological functions of branched chain amino acids: a review. Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology, 8(1), 10. PMID: 28127425
2. Schutz, Y. (2011). Protein turnover, ureagenesis and gluconeogenesis. International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research, 81(2–3), 101–107. PMID: 22419202
3. Tamanna, N., & Mahmood, N. (2014). Emerging Roles of Branched-Chain Amino Acid Supplementation in Human Diseases. International Scholarly Research Notices, 2014, 1–8. PMID: 27351005
4. Visser, J. J., & Hoekman, K. (1994). Arginine supplementation in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. Med Hypotheses, 43(5), 339–342. PMID: 7877530
5. Stephens, F. B., & Galloway, S. D. R. (2013). Carnitine and fat oxidation. In Nestle Nutrition Institute Workshop Series (Vol. 76, pp. 13–23). PMID: 23899751
6. Stone, A. V, Vanderman, K. S., Willey, J. S., David, L., Register, T. C., Shively, C. A., … Ferguson, C. M. (2016). Impaired nitric oxide production in children with MELAS syndrome and the effect of arginine and citrulline supplementation, 23(10), 1780–1789. PMID: 26780180

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8 Strategies For Effective Childhood Trauma Recovery

traumarecovery_cover

8 Strategies For Effective Trauma Recovery  

This is a guest post by Denisa Millette

As a forensic expert on childhood trauma assessment, I frequently work with children whose lives have been shattered by a traumatic event and are now dominated by a constant sense of danger and frightening emotions.

Many of them avoid social interactions and may isolate themselves.  They are likely to see themselves as bad and unworthy, and may be at risk for harming themselves.

Some are often viewed by others as being irritable, hostile, or aggressive.  These children may get into trouble at home or at school for their behavioral problems.  Their normal daily functioning is commonly disrupted by intrusive and persistent recollections and sensory re-experiencing of the traumatic event.

In addition, they may appear emotionally detached, unable to trust other people, and avoid negative emotions.  In cases of sexual abuse, the victims may tend to have sexual fears and unwanted sexual feelings and behaviors.

ctg-pic2

What is Childhood Trauma?

Childhood trauma can be caused by any situation perceived by the child as frightening and/or overwhelming, and during which the child feels scared and helpless.  This situation is often just a one-time event, such as an injury or a natural disaster.

But it could also be a long-term ongoing stress, such as physical, sexual, or verbal abuse, neglect, exposure to domestic violence, or chronic illness.  All such events have a potential to bring on symptoms of emotional and psychological trauma.

Some of the most frequent and well-known psychological and emotional symptoms of trauma include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Anger/aggression
  • Dissociation
  • Confusion, shock, and denial
  • Guilt and shame

It appears to be less known that a traumatic experience can also manifest itself in a form of physiological symptoms such as:

  • Sleep problems
  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Aches and Pains
  • Muscle Tension
  • Racing Heartbeat
  • Lack of focus and concentration

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Risk of Future Trauma in Adults and Children

Research shows that experiencing childhood trauma can have very negative, long lasting impact on the individual’s emotional, psychological, and physiological well-being in adulthood, especially if not resolved.

Specifically, childhood trauma has been associated with various forms of emotion dysregulation, including stress-reactivity, which is believed to be one of the mechanisms underlying the link between childhood trauma and psychological disorders.

For example, research shows that individuals with more severe histories of emotional abuse showed stronger stress-reactivity for anxiety. (1)  Individuals with a history of childhood trauma also reported significantly increased emotional reactivity to daily life stress, especially if the trauma event occurred before the age of 10 years. (2)

Research also show that childhood emotional trauma has more influence on interpersonal problems in adult patients with depression and anxiety disorders than childhood physical trauma.

A history of childhood physical abuse is related to dominant interpersonal patterns rather than submissive interpersonal patterns in adulthood. These findings provide preliminary evidence that childhood trauma might substantially contribute to interpersonal problems in adulthood. (3)

Trauma and Brain Development:

The brain and the immune system are not fully formed at birth but rather continue to mature in response to the postnatal environment. The two-way interaction between brain and immune system makes it possible for childhood psychosocial stressors to affect immune system development, which in turn can affect brain development and its long-term functioning.

Early-life stress predicts later inflammation, and there are striking analogies between the neurobiological correlates of early-life stress and of inflammation. These findings suggest new strategies to remediate the effect of childhood trauma before the onset of clinical symptoms, such as anti-inflammatory interventions. (4)

Furthermore, there is considerable evidence to suggest that adverse early-life experiences have a profound effect on the developing brain. Children who are exposed to sexual or physical abuse or the death of a parent are at higher risk for development of depressive and anxiety disorders later in life.

Preclinical and clinical studies have shown that repeated early-life stress leads to alterations in central neurobiological systems, particularly in the corticotropin-releasing factor system, leading to increased responsiveness to stress. Clearly, exposure to early-life stressors leads to neurobiological changes that increase the risk of psychopathology in both children and adults.

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Stress Sensitivity

Additionally, childhood trauma is associated with heightened social stress sensitivity and may contribute to psychotic and affective dysregulation later in life, through a sensitized paranoid and stress response to social stressors. (5)

As presented above, substantial number of studies show associations between early life stress and risk for mental and somatic diseases in later life. Potentially, these findings will allow unprecedented opportunities to improve the precision of current clinical diagnostic tools and the success of interventions.

As of now, we have only limited information about how childhood exposure to traumatic stress is translated into biological risk for psychopathology. Observational human studies and experimental animal models suggest that childhood exposure to traumatic stress can trigger an enduring systemic inflammatory response not unlike the bodily response to physical injury.

In turn, these hidden wounds of childhood trauma can affect brain development, key behavioral domains (e.g., cognition, positive valence systems, negative valence systems), reactivity to subsequent stressors, and, ultimately, risk for psychopathology. (6)

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The Anti-Depressant Solution

Children and adults diagnosed with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are commonly prescribed antidepressants containing the neurotransmitter serotonin.

In psychiatric circles, serotonin has a well-recognized role in the modulation of a number of mood and anxiety disorders. The most common antidepressants include Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft.

Antidepressants introduced since 1990, especially selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) have been used increasingly as first line treatment for depression and psychological trauma in children.

The safety of prescribing antidepressants to children (including adolescents) has been the subject of increasing concern in the community and the medical profession, leading to recommendations against their use from government and industry. (7)

Unfortunately, most parents of my pediatric clients are not well informed (if at all) about the serious negative side effects of these medications.  Most antidepressants can cause dangerous reactions when combined with certain medications or herbal supplements.

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Anti Depressant Side Effects

At times, an antidepressant can cause high levels of serotonin to accumulate in the body, causing so called Serotonin syndrome. Signs and symptoms of serotonin syndrome include anxiety, agitation, sweating, confusion, tremors, restlessness, lack of coordination and a rapid heart rate.

However, the most alarming fact is that FDA requires that all antidepressants carry black box warnings, the strictest warnings for prescriptions. In some cases, children, teenagers and young adults under 25 may have an increase in suicidal thoughts or behavior when taking antidepressants.

In fact, research studies show that the Use of antidepressant drugs in pediatric patients is associated with a modestly increased risk of suicidality. (8)

Over the years, I have personally evaluated numerous children struggling with self-harming and suicidal thoughts, while taking antidepressants.

Other negative side effects of antidepressants may include, among others:

  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Nervousness, agitation or restlessness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Blurred vision

How to Safely Enhance Trauma Recovery

Based on my clinical experience, I believe that psychotropic medication can be effective in treatment of certain psychiatric conditions.  However, I also believe that due to their negative, often detrimental side effects, psychotropic medications should be used only as a last resort.

Unfortunately, many treatment providers will undervalue non-drug treatments that are both safer and more effective. So, let’s look at some of these effective strategies.

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  1. Full Psychological Evaluation – It is crucial that you and/or your child receive a full psychological or trauma evaluation, consisting of a clinical interview and a full clinical testing battery to determine correct diagnoses and assessment of your current emotional, behavioral, and cognitive functioning as well as your treatment needs.Many individuals are misdiagnosed and prescribed psychotropic medication based on a brief survey or an interview with a pediatrician or a psychiatrist. In such cases, the focus is placed on treating the patient’s symptoms rather than the actual core of their condition. Thus, the symptoms are only partially managed or suppressed and often new symptoms emerge.
  1. Finding a Trauma Specialist – Facing and resolving your feelings and thoughts regarding your trauma or victimization is a necessary part of your healing. Given the difficulty and complexity of this process, it is imperative that you find a therapist who has experience in treating trauma victims.Cognitive-behavioral therapy and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) have been found very helpful (9) in treatment of trauma symptoms.
  1. Finding a Functional Medicine Doctor – an experienced functional medicine provider will evaluate your whole person rather than just your symptoms. He or she will work like an investigator piecing together your puzzle and identify missing pieces and imbalances triggering your health issues, including the physical trauma symptoms.Your doctor will also help you save time and money by pointing you exactly to the right tests and treatment methods so your path to wellness becomes clearer and your efforts more effective and less costly in the long run.
  1. Exercise – Trauma experiences can often get you “stuck” in hyperarousal and fear. Exercise can significantly improve your ability to shift your mindset and move your focus from your negative thoughts to your body and the way it feels and thus, ultimately “release” your nervous system. Exercise that engages your whole body, such as walking/jogging, swimming, or dancing works the best.
  1. Self-Regulation Techniques and Stress Reduction – learn simple techniques of mindful breathing, relaxation, and distress tolerance skills to cope with anxiety, depression, and negative emotions. Learn simple meditation or yoga – whatever you choose make sure it brings you relief and you enjoy it.
  1. Sleep – Adult and children trauma survivors alike often struggle with inability to sleep or stay asleep. However, managing your sleep routine and habits is crucial for your emotional healing and trauma recovery.Sleep needs vary with age, but generally speaking, young children need around 11 to 12 hours each night, teens need between 8.5 and 9.25 hours and the average adult needs between seven and nine hours per night. For some very helpful tips on sleep, check out this article written by Dr. David Jockers.
  1. Clean Up Your Diet – given that there are striking analogies between the neurobiological correlates of psychological stress and inflammation in the body, anti-inflammatory diet is most likely your best choice.  Your functional medicine doctor can determine the best diet to increase your energy and minimize your mood swings and symptoms of depression.
  1. Seek Support – it is very easy and common for trauma survivors to become isolated and withdrawn. However, this isolation is detrimental to your emotional wellbeing. Connecting with others doesn’t mean you need to discuss your traumatic experience with them.Simple participation in normal activities with others or volunteering will bring comfort to your soul. You can also locate a support group for trauma survivors to find encouragement and inspiration in hearing how others cope with their situation.

If your child is a trauma victim…

Don’t be afraid to communicate with your children about their thoughts and feelings regarding their traumatic experience. Don’t be alarmed if you find your child seeks safety by regressing into a younger age by bedwetting after being fully potty-trained or refusing to be alone.

Your comforting, positive, and patient attitude has a significant influence on child’s trauma recovery.  Children often tend to blame themselves for their own victimization.

Assure your child that he is not responsible for the traumatic event.  Give your child a sense of hope and safety.

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Final Word:

If you are battling trauma symptoms, there is a variety of non-drug, safe, alternative, and effective healing techniques and practices that can work wonders in trauma recovery for you or your child. If you are currently taking antidepressants or other medication, you can talk to your doctor about safely lowering your doses before getting off the medication completely.

You should NEVER stop taking the medication without talking to your doctor first. However, you can start implementing the alternative strategies listed above along with your medication to speed your recovery.

About The Author:

Denisa Millette is a child trauma assessment specialist and a wellness coach whose mission and passion in life is to help children and their parents find a safe path to ultimate emotional wellbeing.  Denisa holds a master’s degree in clinical psychology and she has been conducting psychological evaluations as well as specialized trauma assessments of children and teens in a private psychological practice since 2001.

Denisa has been recognized as an expert witness in child abuse and trauma cases in juvenile and superior courts across GA.  As a wellness coach, her main focus is on aiding her clients on their road to emotional recovery by using safe, effective, and non-drug treatment strategies. You can visit her at http://www.denisamillette.com

Sources For This Article Include:

  1. Weltz SM, Armeli S, Ford JD, Tennen H. A daily process examination of the relationship between childhood trauma and stress-reactivity. Child Abuse Negl. 2016 Sep 14; (60):1-9. PubMed PMID: 27639134
  2. Glaser JP, van Os J, Portegijs PJ, Myin-Germeys I. Childhood trauma and emotional reactivity to daily life stress in adult frequent attenders of general practitioners. J Psychosom. Res. 2006 Aug; 61(2):229-36. PubMed PMID: 16880026
  3. Huh HJ, Kim SY, Yu JJ, Chae JH. Childhood trauma and adult interpersonal relationship problems in patients with depression and anxiety disorders. Ann Gen Psychiatry. 2014 Sep 16; (13):26. PubMed PMID: 25648979
  4. Danese A, Lewis S. Psychoneuroimmunology of Early Life Stress: The Hidden Wounds of Childhood Trauma? 2016 Sep 15. DOI: 10.1038/npp.2016.198. PubMed: 27629365
  5. Nemeroff CB Neurobiological consequences of childhood trauma. J Clin Psychiatry. 2004;65 Suppl 1:18-28.PubMed: 14728093
  6. Danese A, Baldwin JR. Hidden Wounds? Inflammatory Links Between Childhood Trauma and Psychopathology. Annu Rev Psychol. 2016 Aug 17. PubMed: 27575032
  7. Jureidini, Christopher JD., Mansfield PR., Haby MM., Menkes DB.,Tonkin AL. Efficacy and safety of antidepressants for children and adolescents. BMJ. 2004 Apr 10; 328(7444): 879–883. PMCID: PMC387483
  8. Hammad TA, Laughren T, Racoosin J. Suicidality in pediatric patients treated with antidepressant drugs. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2006 Mar; 63(3):332-9. PubMed: 16520440
  9. Dorsey S, McLaughlin KA, Kerns SE, Harrison JP, Lambert HK, Briggs EC, Cox JR, Amaya-Jackson L. Evidence Base Update for Psychosocial Treatments for Children and Adolescents Exposed to Traumatic Events. J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol. 2016 Oct 19:1-28. PMID: 27759442

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Pyroluria: The Most Common Unknown Disorder

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Pyroluria:  The Unknown Disorder

Pyroluria, also called Malvaria, is a unique metabolic condition that is very rarely recognized in both the medical and natural health world.   Some researchers in the orthomolecular medicine and orthomolecular psychiatry believe that up to 10% of the population has this metabolic condition (1).  It is considered by many in the functional medicine world the most common unknown disorder.  Pyrolurics need a specific diet, lifestyle and supplementation program to get well.

Pyroluria is a genetic condition that is typically related to familial alcoholism and/or environmental toxicity.  If an individual has a family history of alcoholism they may very well have this genetic mutation.  It can be induced with childhood trauma or a chronic infection early in life.  The onset usually begins in the late teens and is often triggered by a traumatic life event.

The Symptoms Associated with Pyroluria:

It is estimated that as many as 50% of those with autism, 40% of alcoholics, 70% of schizophrenics, 70% of depressed individuals and 30% of people with ADHD have pyroluria (2, 3).  When this goes undiagnosed and untreated it becomes very challenging for these individuals to ever get well despite the use of holistic therapies.  Most will struggle with their health throughout their life and never find any long-term answers.

The symptoms of pyroluria include chronic anxiety, poor stress tolerance, digestive issues, poor immunity, joint pain, acne or eczema, mood swings and poor short term memory.  These individuals often have difficulty digesting and absorbing protein and they are easily wrecked by increasing stress (4, 5, 6).

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Diagnosing Pyroluria:

Pyroluria can be diagnosed through a specific Kryptopyrroles urine test.  Normal amounts of kryptophyrroles in the urine should be less than 20 ug/dl.  Numbers greater than 20 ug/dl would be a positive test for the diagnosis of pyroluria (7).  Many clinicians have found that this number should be less than 15 ug/dl.

The lab that I use for this test measures kryptopyrroles in mcg/dl and the number should be less than 9 mcg/dl.  Anything between 10-15 is considered mild pyroluria, 15-19 is moderate and anything above 20 mcg/dl, we consider a severe case.

Other warning signs you may have this disorder include an inability to remember dreams, hair loss, light, thin pale skin that is prone to stretch marks, white spots on the fingernails and poor tooth enamel (8).

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What is Pyroluria:

There are several waste products that are produced when the body makes hemoglobin for the red blood cells.  These waste products are called kryptopyrroles which are technically called hydroxyhemoppyrrolin-2-one (HPL) which are typically excreted by our body.  Individuals with pyroluria are unable to clear the HPL effectively and they build up in the system (9, 10).

The HPL binds strongly to zinc, biotin and vitamin B6 which are critical nutrients for cellular metabolism.   Over a period of time, the body becomes very deficient in these critical nutrients and symptoms arise.  These people will often go years suffering the effects of this disorder despite a clean diet, supplementation and holistic therapies.

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Nutrition & Supplementation:

Pyrolurics have a greater need for omega-6 fatty acids than most in our society (11, 12).  They need both arachidonic acid (AA) and Gamma linolenic acid (GLA).  A diet rich in pastured eggs, pasture-fed butter, grass-fed beef and wild game and organ meats supplies the body with significant amounts of essential fats.  These foods are also rich in zinc.

GLA is found in borage oil, evening primrose oil, black current seed oil and hemp oil.  This is typically supplemented with one of these sources as it is hard to get enough in our diet.

These individuals need to supplement with zinc and co-enzymated form of vitamin B6 called P-5-P (13, 14).  A general methyl donating supplement with P-5-P and other methyl donors such as trimethylglycine, methyl-folate, methyl-B12 and riboflavin 5’phosphate sodium is quite effect with this process.

Vitamin B6 is found in seafood, meat and green leafy veggies among other things.  However, the number one way we get B6 into our system is through fiber that our gut microbes break down and produce B6 as a byproduct of their metabolism of the fibers.   Probiotics and fermented foods are also necessary for these individuals to reduce inflammatory gut related stress and heal appropriately.

Lifestyle & Supplements Get Results:

With the right diet, supplementation and stress reduction most pyrolurics see results very quickly.  More severe cases usually experience slow progressive results.  Very stubborn cases are typically having issues with heavy metals or mold toxins.

They will need to remain on this lifestyle with moderate supplementation for the rest of their life or risk symptoms coming back.  Typically, large doses of supplementation is used in the beginning and the individual tapers down to smaller doses as they feel better and have a return to nutrient sufficient status.

Clinically, I use high doses of zinc, methylation support, mitochondrial support (CoQ10, Lipoic Acid, N-Acetyl Cysteine), Probiotics and GLA.

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Testing for Zinc and B6 Status:

The easiest way to test for zinc sufficiency is through a zinc tally test.  This is a test done by tasting a liquid zinc supplement.  With zinc sufficiency the liquid tastes awful but those who are deficient in zinc will not taste the liquid supplement.  This is a positive flag for a zinc deficiency.  Blood work could also be done to verify but most experts like the zinc tally test as it is easy and inexpensive.

The subjective test for B6 sufficiency is the return of regular dreaming that the individual can remember.  They don’t have to remember the entire dream but bits and pieces is a sign of sufficiency.  When they are deficient they will typically be unable to remember anything about their dreams (15).

Additional Tips to Know:

Pyrolurics also need to be sure to eat very clean and avoid phytate containing foods such as grains, nuts, legumes and soy.  Phytic acids in these foods bind to major minerals like zinc and render them useless in our body (16).  Soaking and sprouting legumes and nuts reduces the phytate count.

Due to zinc deficient states they are more susceptible to heavy metal toxicity from mercury, cadmium and copper.  When the individual is unable to develop a zinc sufficient state despite very large supplemental usage it is most likely related to heavy metal toxicity.  Special testing can be done for heavy metal levels.

Chronic stress, alcohol consumption, sugar consumption, smoking and pharmaceutical drugs will all further aggravate the symptoms and severity of pyroluria.

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Pyroluria Questionnaire:

The following includes the most common symptoms associated with the condition Pyroluria.  If you answer “yes” to 15 or more of these then further testing may be worthwhile:

1. Little or no dream recall

2. White spots on finger nails

3. Poor morning appetite +/- tendency to skip breakfast

4. Morning nausea

5. Pale skin +/- poor tanning +/- burn easy in sun

6. Sensitivity to bright light

7. Hypersensitive to loud noises

8. Reading difficulties (e.g. dyslexia)

9. Poor ability to cope with stress

10.  Mood swings or temper outbursts

11.  Histrionic (dramatic) tendency

12.  Argumentative/enjoy argument

13.  New situations or changes in routine (i.e., traveling) particularly stressful

14.  Much higher capability and alertness in the evening, compared to mornings

15.  Poor short term memory

16.  Abnormal body fat distribution

17.  Belong to an all-girl family with look-alike sisters

18.  Dry skin

19.  Anxiousness

20.  Reaching puberty later than normal

21.  Difficulty digesting, a dislike of protein or a history of vegetarianism

22.  Tendency toward being a loner and/or avoiding larger groups of people

23.  Stretch marks on skin

24.  Poor sense of smell or taste

25.  Feel very uncomfortable with strangers

26.  Frequently experience fatigue

27.  A tendency to overreact to tranquilizers, barbiturates, alcohol or other drugs (in other words, a little produces a powerful response)

28.  A tendency toward anemia

29.  History of mental illness or alcoholism in family

30.  Easily upset by criticism

31.  Sweet smell (fruity odor) to breath or sweat when ill or stressed

32.  Prone to acne, eczema or psoriasis

33.  A tendency toward feeling anxious, fearful and carrying lifelong inner tension

34.  Difficulty recalling past events or people

35.  Bouts of depression or nervous exhaustion

36.  Prone to frequent colds or infections

I have a specific blood test that lets me know if someone is positive for the Pyroluric condition and I have a specialized nutrition and supplement protocol to help these individuals regain their health.

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Mental health struggles are slow, silent killers sapping us of energy and happiness.

Whether challenged by depression, anxiety, stress, addiction or another manifestation, every single person is impacted and affected–you, your family, friends, neighbors and coworkers–either directly or indirectly every single day.

This Mental Wellness Summit Will Empower You Too: 

Overcome the silence, isolation and fear of your struggle

Transcend outdated, prescription-based healthcare systems

Find holistic practitioners and natural solutions for your pain

Implement expert practices, tools and tips into your daily routine

And so much more!

You can register for this event for free here

You will want to listen to my presentation on Friday, September 29th as I go through how to apply a ketogenic diet to reduce inflammation in your brain and improve your mood, memory and mindset!!

Sources For This Article Include:

  1. Nutritional Healing – Pyroluria
  2. HOFFER A, OSMOND H. MALVARIA: A NEW PSYCHIATRIC DISEASE. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 1963;39:335-66. PMID: 14078702
  3. Gebel L. [Occurrence of the mauve factor in schizophrenia]. Psychiatr Pol. 1973 Mar-Apr;7(2):153-9. Polish. PMID: 4710987
  4. HOFFER A, MAHON M. The presence of unidentified substances in the urine of psychiatric patients. J Neuropsychiatr. 1961 Aug;2:331-62. PMID: 13714995
  5. HOFFER A. The presence of malvaria in some mentally retarded children. Am J Ment Defic. 1963 Mar;67:730-2. PMID: 13963913
  6. Ellman GL, Jones RT, Rychert RC. Mauve spot and schizophrenia. Am J Psychiatry. 1968 Dec;125(6):849-51. PMID: 5698458
  7. A Rapid Screening Test for Pyroluria; Useful in Distinguishing a Schizophrenic Subpopulation Link Here
  8. Hoffer A. Malvaria and the law. Psychosomatics. 1966 Sep-Oct;7(5):303-10. PMID: 5912644
  9. Walker JL. Neurological and behavioral toxicity of kryptopyrrole in the rat. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1975 Mar-Apr;3(2):243-50. PMID: 1096175
  10. Krischer K, Pfeiffer CC. Biochemical relationship between kryptopyrrole (mauve factor and trans-3-methyl-2-hexenoic acid (schizophrenia odor). Res Commun Chem Pathol Pharmacol. 1973 Jan;5(1):9-15. PMID: 4686114
  11. Heleniak EP, Lamola SW. A new prostaglandin disturbance syndrome in schizophrenia: delta-6-pyroluria. Med Hypotheses. 1986 Apr;19(4):333-8. PMID: 3520252
  12. Horrobin DF, Huang YS. Schizophrenia: the role of abnormal essential fatty acid and prostaglandin metabolism. Med Hypotheses. 1983 Mar;10(3):329-36. PMID: 6348496
  13. Treatment of Pyroluric Schizophrenia (Malvaria) With Large Doses of Pyridoxine and a Dietary Supplement of Zinc Link Here
  14. Zinc and Manganese in the Schizophrenias Link Here
  15. Ebben M, Lequerica A, Spielman A. Effects of pyridoxine on dreaming: a preliminary study. Percept Mot Skills. 2002 Feb;94(1):135-40. PMID: 11883552
  16. Torre M, Rodriguez AR, Saura-Calixto F. Effects of dietary fiber and phytic acid on mineral availability. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 1991;30(1):1-22. PMID: 1657026

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