Archive for the ‘ Sleep ’ Category

The ads started popping up about a decade ago on social media. Instead of selling alcohol with sex and romance, these ads had an edgier theme: Harried mothers chugging wine to cope with everyday stress. Women embracing quart-sized bottles of whiskey, and bellying up to bars to knock back vodka shots with men.

In this new strain of advertising, women’s liberation equaled heavy drinking, and alcohol researchers say it both heralded and promoted a profound cultural shift: Women in America are drinking far more, and far more frequently, than their mothers or grandmothers did, and alcohol consumption is ending their marriages, alienating them from their children and killing them in record numbers.

White women are particularly likely to drink dangerously, with more than a quarter (25%) drinking multiple times a week and the share of binge drinking up 40 percent since 1999, according to a Washington Post analysis of federal health data. In 2013, more than a million women of all races wound up in emergency rooms as a result of heavy drinking, with women in middle age most likely to suffer severe intoxication.

This behavior has contributed to a startling increase in early mortality. The rate of alcohol-related deaths for white women ages 35 to 54 has more than doubled since 1999, according to The Post analysis, accounting for 8 percent of deaths in this age group in 2015.

“It is a looming health crisis,” said Katherine M. Keyes, an alcohol researcher at Columbia University.

Although independent researchers are increasingly convinced that any amount of alcohol poses serious health risks, American women are still receiving mixed messages. Parts of the federal government continue to advance the idea that moderate drinking may be good for you. Meanwhile, many ads for alcohol — particularly on social media — appear to promote excessive drinking, which is universally recognized as potentially deadly. These ads also appear to violate the industry’s code of ethics, according to a Post analysis of alcohol marketing.

For example, when girl-power heroine Amy Schumer guzzled Bandit boxed wine in the movie “Trainwreck,” Bandit’s producer, Trinchero Family Estates, promoted the scene on social media. Young women responded with photos of themselves chugging Bandit. Within months, Trinchero said, sales of boxed wines — sometimes called “binge in a box” — jumped 22 percent.

“We saw it first with tobacco, marketing it to women as their right to smoke. Then we saw lung cancer deaths surpass deaths from breast cancer,” said Rear Adm. Susan Blumenthal, a former assistant surgeon general and an expert on women’s health issues. “Now it’s happening with alcohol, and it’s become an equal rights tragedy.”

Alcohol marketing is regulated primarily by industry trade groups, but dozens of studies have found lapses in their record of enforcing the rules. As a result, an international group of public health experts convened by the World Health Organization’s regional office in Washington, D.C., plans to call in January for governments worldwide to consider legislation similar to laws adopted a decade ago to sharply curtail tobacco advertising.

Officials with the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, one of the largest U.S. trade groups, defend their record of oversight, saying it has received high marks from federal regulators.

DISCUS tells members that ads should not “in any way suggest that intoxication is socially acceptable conduct.” The Beer Institute tells members that their “marketing materials should not depict situations where beer is being consumed rapidly, excessively.” And the Wine Institute prohibits ads that make “any suggestion that excessive drinking or loss of control is amusing or a proper subject for amusement” or that directly associate use of wine with “social, physical or personal problem solving.”

But these rules appear regularly to be flouted, particularly on alcohol companies’ websites and social-media feeds, which are soaking up a growing share of the more than $2 billion the industry is expected to spend on advertising this year. And the trade groups acknowledge that they do not investigate or act on possible violations unless they receive a formal complaint.

Some of the edgiest ads appear on social media — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram — where they can be narrowly targeted toward the inboxes and desperate little lives of the most eager consumers.

Jokes about becoming inebriated are common.

Women also are frequently shown drinking to cope with daily stress. In one image that appeared on a company website, two white women wearing prim, narrow-brimmed hats, button earrings and wash-and-set hair confer side by side. “How much do you spend on a bottle of wine?” one asks. The other answers, “I would guess about half an hour …” At the bottom is the name of the wine:

Mommy’s Time Out.

Another ad on a company website features a white woman wearing pearls and an apron. “The most expensive part of having kids is all the wine you have to drink,” it says above the name of the wine:

Mad Housewife.

This spring, Mad Housewife offered a Mother’s Day promotion: a six-pack of wine called

Mommy’s Little Helper.

“The rise in hazardous drinking among women is not all due to the ads. But the ads have played a role in creating a cultural climate that says it’s funny when women drink heavily,” said Jean Kilbourne, who has produced several films and books about alcohol marketing to women. “Most importantly, they’ve played a role in normalizing it.

Source: Booze causing ‘crisis’ for women | TribLIVE

A ‘sixth sense’ which goes beyond the basic five senses of taste, smell, touch, sight and hearing, has apparently been discovered in America

A ‘sixth sense’ really does exist, scientists claim – but it’s got nothing to do with being able to see dead people.

Researchers in America say they have discovered the ‘intuition’ gene , which goes beyond the basic five senses of taste, smell, touch, sight and hearing.

This apparent sixth sense affects ‘proprioception’ or body awareness.

The discovery was made with the help of two young patients with a rare genetic neurological disorder who have a mutation in the ‘Piezo2’ gene affecting their body awareness.

When blindfolded, the pair were completely unable to walk without falling.

They also couldn’t track the position of their arms and legs as researchers gently moved them – something most people can do without looking.

While they were insensitive to certain kinds of touch, the pair – aged nine and 19 – could still feel pain, itch, temperature and gentle brushing.

6th Sense
Haley Joel Osment’s character in The Sixth Sense was able to see ghosts, but scientists believe our real sixth sense relates to body awareness

Neurologist Dr Carsten Bonnemann, of the National Institutes of Health in Maryland, US, said: “Our study highlights the critical importance of Piezo2 and the senses it controls in our daily lives.

“The results establish Piezo2 is a touch and proprioception gene in humans.

“Understanding its role in these senses may provide clues to a variety of neurological disorders.”

The two unrelated patients both have difficulties walking, possessing hip, finger and foot deformities and abnormally curved spines diagnosed as progressive scoliosis.

Pea-sized ‘human lungs’ have been grown in a lab and could revolutionise treatments

Dr Bonnemann discovered the patients have mutations in Piezo2 which seem to block the normal production or activity of proteins in cells generating electrical nerve signals.

Co-author Dr Alexander Chesler said: “As someone who studies Piezo2 in mice working with these patients was humbling.

“Our results suggest they are touch-blind. The patient’s version of Piezo2 may not work so their neurons cannot detect touch or limb movements.”

Scientist examining test tube in laboratory
Scientists say the Piezo2 gene is linked to our ‘sixth sense’ and relates to body awareness (Photo: Getty)

The researchers found blindfolding made it harder for them to reliably reach for an object in front of their faces than it was for unaffected volunteers.

The patients were also less sensitive to certain forms of touch.

They could not feel vibrations from a buzzing tuning fork as well as the control subjects could.

Britain in major HIV cure breakthrough as NHS patient stuns doctors with ‘remarkable progress’

But the patients’ nervous systems appeared to be developing normally. They were able to feel pain, itch and temperature normally.

The nerves in their limbs conducted electricity rapidly and their brains and cognitive abilities were similar to healthy controls of their age.

Dr Bonnemann said: “What’s remarkable about these patients is how much their nervous systems compensate for their lack of touch and body awareness.”

The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine .

Source: ‘Sixth sense does exist’ scientists claim – but it’s nothing to do with ghosts – Mirror Online

One study that was published in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases in 2004 found a 100% correspondence of fibromyalgia with SIBO. (4) Researchers have finally linked fibromyalgia to the health of the gut! One study showed a 100% connection between fibromyalgia and small intestine bacterial overgrowth, the direct result of an imbalanced inner ecosystem. In a double blind study, participants were asked to take a lactulose breath test, the gold standard when it comes to measuring overgrowth in the small intestine, which checks the breath for the presence of hydrogen. Bacteria produce hydrogen gas or methane as they feed. Researchers at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center found that 100% of the participants with fibromyalgia had abnormal test results. They also found that the more abnormal the test results, the more pain a fibromyalgia volunteer was in. The degree of bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine has a direct relationship with the severity of fibromyalgia

Source: The Hidden Cause of Fibromyalgia: A Natural Remedy for Pain ‐ All Body Ecology Article

Shocking New Role Found for the Immune System: Controlling Social Interactions

In a startling discovery that raises fundamental questions about human behavior, researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have determined that the immune system directly affects – and even controls – creatures’ social behavior, such as their desire to interact with others.

So could immune system problems contribute to an inability to have normal social interactions? The answer appears to be yes, and that finding could have significant implications for neurological diseases such as autism-spectrum disorders and schizophrenia.

“The brain and the adaptive immune system were thought to be isolated from each other, and any immune activity in the brain was perceived as sign of a pathology. And now, not only are we showing that they are closely interacting, but some of our behavior traits might have evolved because of our immune response to pathogens,” explained Jonathan Kipnis, chair of UVA’s Department of Neuroscience. “It’s crazy, but maybe we are just multicellular battlefields for two ancient forces: pathogens and the immune system. Part of our personality may actually be dictated by the immune system.”

Evolutionary Forces at Work

It was only last year that Kipnis, the director of UVA’s Center for Brain Immunology and Glia, and his team discovered that meningeal vessels directly link the brain with the lymphatic system. That overturned decades of textbook teaching that the brain was “immune privileged,” lacking a direct connection to the immune system. The discovery opened the door for entirely new ways of thinking about how the brain and the immune system interact.


Images of normal brain activity, left, and of a hyper-connected brain. (Images by Anita Impagliazzo, UVA Health System)Normal brain activity, left, and a hyper-connected brain. (Images by Anita Impagliazzo, UVA Health System)

The follow-up finding is equally illuminating, shedding light on both the workings of the brain and on evolution itself. The relationship between people and pathogens, the researchers suggest, could have directly affected the development of our social behavior, allowing us to engage in the social interactions necessary for the survival of the species while developing ways for our immune systems to protect us from the diseases that accompany those interactions. Social behavior is, of course, in the interest of pathogens, as it allows them to spread.

The UVA researchers have shown that a specific immune molecule, interferon gamma, seems to be critical for social behavior and that a variety of creatures, such as flies, zebrafish, mice and rats, activate interferon gamma responses when they are social. Normally, this molecule is produced by the immune system in response to bacteria, viruses or parasites. Blocking the molecule in mice using genetic modification made regions of the brain hyperactive, causing the mice to become less social. Restoring the molecule restored the brain connectivity and behavior to normal. In a paper outlining their findings, the researchers note the immune molecule plays a “profound role in maintaining proper social function.”

“It’s extremely critical for an organism to be social for the survival of the species. It’s important for foraging, sexual reproduction, gathering, hunting,” said Anthony J. Filiano, Hartwell postdoctoral fellow in the Kipnis lab and lead author of the study. “So the hypothesis is that when organisms come together, you have a higher propensity to spread infection. So you need to be social, but [in doing so] you have a higher chance of spreading pathogens. The idea is that interferon gamma, in evolution, has been used as a more efficient way to both boost social behavior while boosting an anti-pathogen response.”

Understanding the Implications

The researchers note that a malfunctioning immune system may be responsible for “social deficits in numerous neurological and psychiatric disorders.” But exactly what this might mean for autism and other specific conditions requires further investigation. It is unlikely that any one molecule will be responsible for disease or the key to a cure. The researchers believe that the causes are likely to be much more complex. But the discovery that the immune system – and possibly germs, by extension – can control our interactions raises many exciting avenues for scientists to explore, both in terms of battling neurological disorders and understanding human behavior.


Postdoctoral researcher Anthony J. Filiano, left, and Jonathan Kipnis, chairman of UVA’s Department of Neuroscience.Postdoctoral researcher Anthony J. Filiano, left, and Jonathan Kipnis, chairman of UVA’s Department of Neuroscience. (Photo by Sanjay Suchak, University Communications)

“Immune molecules are actually defining how the brain is functioning. So, what is the overall impact of the immune system on our brain development and function?” Kipnis said. “I think the philosophical aspects of this work are very interesting, but it also has potentially very important clinical implications.”

Findings Published

Kipnis and his team worked closely with UVA’s Department of Pharmacology and with Vladimir Litvak’s research group at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Litvak’s team developed a computational approach to investigate the complex dialogue between immune signaling and brain function in health and disease.

“Using this approach we predicted a role for interferon gamma, an important cytokine secreted by T lymphocytes, in promoting social brain functions,” Litvak said. “Our findings contribute to a deeper understanding of social dysfunction in neurological disorders, such as autism and schizophrenia, and may open new avenues for therapeutic approaches.”

The findings have been published online by the prestigious journal Nature. The article was written by Filiano, Yang Xu, Nicholas J. Tustison, Rachel L. Marsh, Wendy Baker, Igor Smirnov, Christopher C. Overall, Sachin P. Gadani, Stephen D. Turner, Zhiping Weng, Sayeda Najamussahar Peerzade, Hao Chen, Kevin S. Lee, Michael M. Scott, Mark P. Beenhakker, Litvak and Kipnis.

This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (grants No. AG034113, NS081026 and T32-AI007496) and the Hartwell Foundation.

Many people look for quick fixes to get rid of abdominal fat – but what actually works?

Source: Belly fat: What’s the best way to get rid of it? – BBC News

Source: A simple, comprehensive plan to prevent or reverse Alzheimer’s Disease and other neurodegenerative diseases – Part 1: The Plan | AGINGSCIENCES™ – Anti-Aging Firewalls™


A simple, comprehensive plan to prevent or reverse Alzheimer’s Disease and other neurodegenerative diseases – Part 1: The Plan

By James P Watson, with contributions and editorial assistance by Vince Giuliano


This is the first of a pair of blog entries concerned with dementias – neurological diseases including Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and its cousins.  This Part 1 write-up was inspired by a recent small, non-randomized clinical trial done by Dr. Dale Bredesen that showed true “Reversal of Cognitive Decline” in 9 out of 10 patients with documented cognitive decline (Bredesen, 2014).  Not all of these patients had AD, but all had cognitive decline.  Five had AD, two had SCI (subjective cognitive impairment), and two had MCI (mild cognitive impairment).  Although this study was too small to allow any statistical conclusions, it is the most positive report in a series of disappointing reports on the recent failures of Big Pharma’s monoclonal antibodies against amyloid-beta.  Dale Bredesen’s approach was a multifactorial one – utilizing 24 different approaches to halt or reverse cognitive decline.  We explore those 25 interventions here, focusing on the first 19.  They do not depend on drugs.   The focus of this blog entry is “What can be done about dementias now?”

The forthcoming Part 2 blog entry will provides a detailed discussion of some of the key science related to AD and dementias.  This is the “What is science telling us about dementias?” part which gets quite complex.  We review major theories related to AD there including the Hardy Hypothesis related to amloid beta, the GSK3 theory and more detail on the neuroinflammation theory which we introduce in this Part 1 blog entry.  We expect to emphasize the emerging importance APP (Amloid Precursor Protein).  And we will describe some very recent research that appears to establish that a basic cause of AD is the proliferation in aging of vestigal DNA segments in our genomes (known as LINEs which are long interspersed nuclear elements and SINEs which are short interspersed nuclear elements) with encode over and over again for the production of APP and for the failure of its clearance.  This could well finally explain the role of beta amyloid in AD.

We have published a number of earlier blog entries relating to AD and dementias.  For example, you might want to review my August 2014 blog entry The Amyloid Beta face of Alzheimer’s Disease.

About dementias

Dementia only happens to a minority of the population with aging, but is becoming an ever increasing problem with the explosion in longevity occurring world-wide

Cognitive decline is the major “fear” people have of getting old.  Even individuals with the feared “ApoE4 polymorphism” are not “predestined” to develop Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).  The ApoE4 allele is only a “risk factor” for AD, not the cause of AD.

A common error is that most people view “dementia” and “Alzheimer’s disease” as synonyms, but this is incorrect.  Alzheimer’s disease is only responsible for 60% of cases of dementia in the US and even less of the cases in Japan.  In the US,  Vascular Dementia (VaD) is the second-most common cause of dementia (20%), whereas in Japan, the incidence of AD and VaD is almost the same.  In the US, the remaining 20% of dementia cases are due to several other neurodegenerative diseases such as Lewy Body Dementia (LBD), Parkinson’s disease with dementia (PDwithD), Frontotemporal dementia/ALS spectrum disorder (FTD/ALS), and mixed dementia (which is usually a mixture of AD and VaD).

A portrayal of the breakdown follows.

Image source

In the Middle East and China, VaD is more common than AD.  This was true in Japan two decades ago, but now the ratio of AD to VaD is 1:1.  Since AD and VaD are clearly the leading causes of dementia world-wide, we will focus mostly on these two types of dementia.  Also, the risk factors for AD and VaD overlap and there are cases of “mixed dementia” which include features of both diseases.  AD affects 5.4 million Americans and 30 million globally.  By 2050, these numbers will be 13 million (US) and 160 million (world-wide) (Ferri, 2005). Many experts now regard dementia from neurodegenerative diseases as the 3rd leading cause of death after cardiovascular disease and cancer.  Despite millions of dollars being spent annually on research, the exact causes of these dementias are still unknown, but the number of clues to the causes is growing and we will explore some of the main ones in our Part 2 blog entry.

Neuroinflammation is the most universally accepted explanation for AD

What is clear is that the “universal sign” of all neurodegenerative disease is “neuroinflammation”, which under the microscope is manifested as “gliosis” and is seen with AD, VaD, PD, FTD/ALS, and the type of dementia seen after multiple concussions, which is now called “Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy” (CTE).  Although they all have different “triggers” for each disease, they all have “neuroinflammation” and histologic signs of gliosis.  We return to neuroinflammation several times as a central theme here and in the Part 2 blog entries.

Another “universal feature” is that all of these disease have familial cases with as few as 5% being genetic (AD) and as many as 50% being genetic (FTD).  In these familial cases, there is most often a genetic mutation that is causal in nature (early onset disease) or a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) that is not causal in nature, but predisposes the patient to the disease.   With the exception of CTE (where the primary cause is multiple concussions) and PD (where pesticide exposure, family history of PD, and depression combine to produce an odds ratio OR = 12.0), most of the cases of neurodegenerative dementias remain largely sporadic with unknown specific causation.

Environmental risk factors for neurodegenerative diseases are discussed in the 2005 publication Neurodegenerative Diseases: An Overview of Environmental Risk Factors  and in publications in this list.

Despite millions of dollars being spent annually on research, the exact cause of these dementias are still unknown, but the number of clues to the cause is growing.  What is clear is that the “universal sign” of these neurodegenerative diseases is “neuroinflammation”, which under the microscope is manifested as  “gliosis” and is seen with  AD, VaD, PD, FTD/ALS, and the type of dementia seen after multiple concussions, which is now called “Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy” (CTE).  Although they all have different “triggers” for each disease, they all have “neuroinflammation” and histologic signs of gliosis.  Another “universal feature” is that all of these disease have familial cases with as few as 5% being genetic (AD) and as many as 50% being genetic (FTD).  In these familial cases, there is most often a genetic mutation that is causal in nature (early onset disease) or a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) that is not causal in nature, but predisposes the patient to the disease.

With the exception of CTE (where the primary cause is multiple concussions) and PD (where pesticide exposure, family history of PD, and depression combine to produce an odds ratio OR = 12.0), most of the cases of neurodegenerative dementias remain largely sporadic with unknown specific causation.

Failure of Monotherapeutic Approaches to Neurodegeneration – It is time to consider multiple component therapies

The development of drugs to treat neurodegeneration has probably been the biggest failure of the pharmaceutical industry.  Although there are three FDA-approved drugs for AD, none of them produce anything other than a marginal, unsustained effect on symptoms.  Hundreds of clinical trials for AD have failed over the past two decades, most recently being the large Phase III trials of monoclonal antibodies that target amyloid-beta.  As of today, no drugs have been approved for Frontotemporal dementia, Vascular dementia, and Lewy body dementia.  Only one drug has been approved for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).  All of the clinical trials done for these diseases have largely been with monotherapeutic drug approaches.

We know from the field of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and HIV that single drug therapy for these diseases largely fail.  .  It is now clear that cancer is “incurable” with chemotherapy unless multiple drugs are used.  Combination therapies have become the standard for treating these conditions.  The requirement to combine drug therapies appears to pertain as well to diseases that we cannot “cure” but that are are yet treatable:  we can control the disease and prevent premature death from the disease.  This includes cardiovascular disease, HIV, and a few other glaring chronic diseases.  These diseases like dementias involve simultaneous upregulation or downregulation of hundreds or thousands of genes including protein-producing ones, and simultaneous activation or inhibition of a large multiplicity of pathway.  It is a very tall order to find a single molecule that can have the right effects on so very many different upregulated and downregulated molecules and pathways at the same time.  Yet, Big Pharma by tradition and because of patent law likes to look for single molecules that can be patented and that can make a big differences in a key step in a highly specific disease processes.  But most serious aging-related diseases and dementias don’t offer such an opportunity.

The Multi-factorial approach rather than “single target” approaches to Treating Alzheimer’s Disease

For the same reasons, it makes sense that a single drug made by “Big Pharma” could NOT solve the problems with these neurodegenerative diseases.  Here is a list of 25 different interventions that were combined into one effective program that “reversed” AD in 9 of 10 patients treated in a pilot study at UCLA and the Buck Institute.  None of these involve drugs.  I will include in black, the ones that were recommended by Dr. Dale Bredesen in what he calls the “MEND” program, which is an acronym that stands for “Metabolic Enhancement for NeuroDegeneration”.  You can check out his 2014 paper Reversal of cognitive decline: A novel therapeutic program.


1.  Eat a low glycemic, low inflammatory, low grain diet – Since sugar triggers insulin release and the insulin receptor triggers brain aging, this is easy to understand. For several complex reasons, certain proteins found only in grains (such as wheat germ, wheat gliadins) also triggers inflammation. The foods that have a high glycemic index or have lots of wheat in them include the following:

High glycemic index foods (these are bad) (and pro-inflammatory nonglycemic foods) Low glycemic index foods (these are good) (and anti-inflammatory foods and beverages)
Sweet Fruit – banannas, oranges, grapefuit Fatty fruit – avocadoes, olives, capers
Orange juice, Apple juice, grape juice Unsweetened coconut milk, soymilk, almond milk
Pancakes, waffles, French toast, toast Scrambled eggs, omelettes, boiled eggs, fried eggs
Candy, Pies, Cake, Ice cream, Sherbert Vegetables – Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, Artichokes
Corn bread, Cornflakes, corn oil Olive oil, Coconut oil extract (MCT oil)
Processed cold cereals – Chex, Raisin bran Oatmeal, barley cereal, rye bread, etc.
   Cream of wheat, Fruit loops, etc. Mushrooms, seaweed (Sushi), cheese, butter
Toast, bread, donuts, bagels, croissants tomato soup (add some protein), mushroom soup
Potatoes, potato chips, French fries Cream of broccoli soup, lentils, legumes
Sweetened yogurt, sweetened milk Unsweetened yogurt, Greek yogurt
Cow’s milk, Chocolate milk, hot cocoa Prosage patties, garden burgers, vegelinks
Jam, jelly, honey, maple syrup, pancake syrup Soymeat, tofu, vegameat, Frichick
Peanut butter, Jam, and bread sandwiches Portobello  mushroom sandwiches w/o bread
White rice, brown rice, pita bread, wild rice Indian curries (leave out the potatoes), Thai curry
Wheat thins, Pretzels, wheat snacks Dried kale chips, seaweed snacks, onion snacks
Sugar drinks, sweetened tea, Gatoraid Green tea, white tea (no caffeine), herbal teas

2.   Enhance autophagy – This can be done without fasting all day.  Research has shown that fasting for at least 12 hours per day (evening and night) is sufficient to activate autophagy.  Not eating for at least 3 hours before bedtime also activates autophagy.  Eating the evening meal earlier in the day also helps.  For those who do not want to fast for at least 12 hours, there may be little hope of “cleaning the cobwebs out of the brain”.  Studies have shown that eating too much or eating late at night completely shuts off autophagy.  This is probably the #1 reason why most people have so much “proteotoxicity” in the brain, the pancreas, and other organs.  You can review our blog entry Autophagy – the housekeeper in every cell that fights aging.

There are some natural compounds and some drugs that stimulate autophagy, however. They include the following:

  • mTOR inhibitors – The mTOR pathway is “downstream” from the Insulin/IGF-1 pathway. The mTOR pathway completely “shuts off” autophagy and stimulates protein synthesis. This is the primary “danger” of eating too much meat or protein (i.e. stimulating the mTOR pathway).  Continually inhibiting the mTOR pathway is probably not a good idea either, since it is very important to synthesize proteins.  However, intermittent mTOR pathway inhibition has been shown to be a very effective way of stimulating “cellular housekeeping” in the brain. The best-known drug that inhibits the mTOR pathway ia rapamycin.  Low glucose levels and low amino acid levels in the blood also inhibit mTOR.  It is interesting that at least one big pharma company, Novartis,  is interested in marketing rapamycin as an anti-aging drug(ref).
  • AMPK activators – The AMPK pathway is one of the major pathways that activates autophagy. AMPK is activated by both exercise and fasting. The AMPK pathway is a “cross-talk” pathway between mTOR and the Insulin/IGF-1 pathway.  Activating AMPK inhibits both of these “bad” pathways. (They are only bad in certain contexts of aging and still serve important functions in aging people.  We could not be alive without them.  In the Part 2 blog entry we will talk about how some times IGF is the good guy we don’t want to be without.)  Besides exercise and fasting, AMPK can be stimulated by three hormones, some drugs and many natural compounds. The most potent AMPK activator is muscle contraction (i.e. exercise). The three hormones that stimulate AMPK are thyroid hormone and two hormones secreted from fat: leptin and adiponectin. Next to this, the most potent chemical activators of AMPK are probably AICAR and ZMP. These are synthetic compounds that are the only true “exercise mimetics”.  ZMP is a derivative of AICAR.  AICAR has been shown to increase endurance in rodents by 44% without exercise.  This is amazing.  Combining AICAR with exercise makes the drug even more effective. Unfortunately, AICAR is very expensive ($350-450/gram).  Common drugs that activate AMPK include metformin and aspirin.  Natural compounds that activated AMPK include resveratrol, pterostilbene, curcumin, EGCG,  betulinic acid, Gynostemma Pentaphyllum, Trans-Tiliroside (from rose hips), and 3-phosphoglycerate.  See this list for articles in this blog that deal with autophagy or describe autophagy activators.
  • Sirtuin activators – The 3rd major family of pathways that activates autophagy is for the Sirtuin enzymes (SIRT1-7). Sirtuins are enzymes that remove acetyl groups from proteins. The most important ones it deacetylates for autophagy are 3 proteins that are crucial to the autophagy system of “cellular housekeeping”.  These 3 proteins are Atg5, Atg7, and Atg8. There are many practical reasons why activating Sirtuin-induced autophagy is critical to health.  For instance, SIRT1 activation protects cells in human degenerative discs from death by promoting autophagy.  This is why fasting has been shown to eliminate back pain. The most well-known SIRT1 activator is resveratrol, the active ingredient in red wine.  However, both red wine and white wine have been shown to activate Sirtuin enzymes.  NAD+, NMN, and NR all activate Sirtuin enzymes (all 7 of them), whereas resveratrol only activates SIRT1.   You can see our blog entry NAD+ an emerging framework for health and life extension — Part 1: The NAD World

3.   Reduce stress – psychological stress, depression, worrying, and being obsessive compulsive all increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The most effective ways to reduce “cellular stress” are as follows:

  • Yoga – yoga has been scientifically proven to reduce stress. The mechanism may be multifactorial, but studies suggest that activating stretch receptors in the muscles induces the SIRT3 gene.  The Sirtuin pathway is a major pathway activated by fasting, caloric restriction, red wine, NAD+, NMN, NR, and certain other natural compounds.
  • Meditation – meditation has been scientifically prove to reduce stress. However, 3 minutes of prayer is NOT meditation. Meditation requires 30-60 minutes of time. The MEND program recommends 20 minutes of meditation twice a day (No one prays that long).
  • Tai chi – this ancient Chinese form of exercise has been shown to reduce stress
  • Exercise followed by rest – exercise alone does not reduce stress, but exercise followed by a good night’s rest is very effective at reducing stress
  • Stretching exercises – These have a special beneficial effect on stress, especially back stretching exercises for back pain.

Self-monitoring of daily stress and exercise can be helpful for knowing what your stress levels are and how good a job you are doing at keeping stress at non-harmful levels.  A great many of the upstream conditions that can lead to dementias mentioned here (sedentary life style, improper diet, inadequate sleep, etc) are likely to induce constitutional stress which can be picked up by such monitoring.  A host of new wearable devices can keep track of exercise and its consequences.  See the blog entry Digital health – health and fitness wearables, apps and platforms – implications for assessing health and longevity interventions – Part 1.  Vince has identified two constitutional stress measurements in his blog entry that can be tracked starting with smartwatch heart rate and sleep measurements, MRHR (morning resting heart rate before awakening), and ERHR-MRHR (difference between evening resting heart rate and morning resting heart rate during sleep, a measure of overnight sleep-related constitutional stress recovery),.  These are described in the blog entry Digital health – health and fitness wearables, Part 2: looking for practical stress biomarkersAlso, heart rate variability is another personally trackable constitutional measurement of stress,  See my recent blog entry on heart rate variability, Digital Health Part 3.

4.    Optimize sleep – At least 8 hours of sleep at night is very effective in preventing Alzheimer’s disease.

Daytime sleeping probably is not as effective, but is probably not harmful provided that a person is not too sedentary with daytime sleeping (i.e. short naps).  Adding 0.5 – 3 mg of melatonin and 500 mg of tryptophan is also very helpful in getting a good night’s sleep.  One of the biggest problems with getting a good night’s sleep is sleep apnea, which is actually very common as we get older.

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“A Simplified schematic of the proposed interventions that may have potential to delay AD pathogenesis — The green arrows indicate pathways for improved circadian regulation and sleep quality, ultimately delaying AD pathogenesis. According to this model, chronobiotics (i.e., bright light therapy (BLT); melatonin; exercise; and food restriction) and good sleep hygiene could be used individually—but preferably in combination—to improve circadian regulation and sleep quality, decrease inflammation and Aβ deposition, and thereby delay AD pathogenesis.”  Image and legend source

5.   Exercise – The World Health Organization recommends 150 minutes of exercise per week, but the best scientific evidence suggests that this is NOT enough. The best scientific evidence suggests at least 450 minutes of exercise per week.  That is 60 minutes per day and an extra 20 minutes on one of those days.  If you want to skip Saturday, that means 75 minutes per day (1hr 15 minutes).  The exercise should include the following for preventing Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Swimming, outdoor hiking, calisthenics, aerobic fitness classes, spinning classes, etc.
  • 30-45 minutes of aerobic exercise where the heart rate is 60% of training heart rate.  This can be on a stationary bicycle, an elipical machine, a “hand bicycle”, a stair climber,
  • 1 mile per day of walking outside (the speed is not important)
  • Resistance exercise – this includes weight lifting, machines, stretch bands, push-ups, etc.
  • Stretching – stretching activates stretch receptors which activates the SIRT3 gene, which is key for mitochondrial function and decreasing free radicals in the muscles (which cause pain
  • Listening to relaxing music – classical music listening is a good way to relax.

Watching TV or looking at a computer screen and “surfing on the computer” probably does NOT work to reduce cellular stress.  Here are some of the blog entries we have published relating to exercise.

6.   Brain stimulation – The Mayo Clinic did a study in 487 patients where they participated in a computerized cognitive training program called “Brain Fitness Program” by Posit Science. This computer training required 1 hour of time per day, 5 days per week for 8 weeks (totaling 40 hours). This was called the IMPACT study.  This program increased their auditory processing speed by 131% and improved their memory an equivalent of approximately 10 years!  Here is some information on this inexpensive computer program:

Some of us think that we may keep our brains fit by constantly trying to figure out the mechanisms of aging.

7.  Keep your homocysteine low – High homocysteine levels seem to correlate with inflammation and also with deficiencies in folate cycle intermediates. The MEND program recommendation is to check your homocysteine levels and if it is > 7, then to take methyl-B12, methyltetrahydrofolate, pyridoxal-5-phosphate, and trimethylglycine (if necessary). The dosages are: Methyltetrahydrofolate – 0.8 mg/day and Pyridoxine-5-phosphate –  50 mg/day

8.   Keep your vitamin B12 high – Vitamin B12 is very important in memory and prevention of dementia. Vit B12 deficiency alone can cause dementia. It is easier to prevent than to reverse.  The MEND program recommends taking methyl-B12, not regular B12. They recommend basing the dose of methyl-B12 on serum levels of B12, which they recommend keeping above 500 with 1mg of methylB12/day.

9.  Keep your C-reactive protein low – CRP is a measure of inflammation. This correlates very well with inflammation in the brain (called neuroinflammation).  They recommend keeping the CRP levels below 1.0 and the Albumin/globulin ratio > 1.5.  There are no FDA-approved drugs that lower this which are safe to be used on a chronic basis.  However, there are several natural products that are effective in reducing C-reactive protein (CRP).  They include curcumin (400 mg/day), Fish oil (DHA & EPA), and an anti-inflammatory diet that is low in sugar and wheat products.  The MEND program recommends 700 mg of DHA twice a day (total 1400 mg) and 500 mg of EPA twice a day (total 1,000 mg).  Since most Fish oil capsules are only about 1/3rd omega-3 fatty acids, that means you need to take about 7,000-8,000 mg (i.e. 7-8 one gram capsules) per day of Fish oil.

10.   Keep your fasting insulin low – Most people develop insulin resistance with aging. Unfortunately, this is rarely diagnosed until they have already suffered the consequences of insulin resistance, which include metabolic syndrome, hypertriglyceridemia, hypercholesterolemia, Alzheimer’s disease osteoarthritis, accelerated hearing loss, accelerated visual impairment (including presbyopia, cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration, aka AMD).  Once these things occur, then reducing your fasting insulin no longer is useful – the cells are already dead!  The MEND program recommends keeping your fasting insulin to < 7.0.  The best way to do this is to eat a low glycemic index diet, encourage ketogenesis by 12 hours of fasting per day, exercise, sleep, and in some cases the drug metformin.  We have found that the NAD precursor, NMN is effective in reducing fasting insulin levels.  Other supplements designed to enhance NAD+ may help as well.

11.   Hormone balancing – The MEND program recommends normalizing thyroid hormone levels (free T3, free T4, estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, pregnenolone, and cortisol). For most people, cortisol levels are way too high.  The best way to reduce cortisol is to reduce stress, improve sleep, and also possibly to supplement with NMN or NR.  The rest of the hormones decline with aging and often need replacement. Here are some ways to make this safe:

  • Testosterone replacement therapy – this is risky in older men, due to the risks of accelerated coronary artery narrowing due to neointimal hyperplasia, as well as benign prostatic hypertrophy worsening or by making prostate cancer grow. For this reason, a thorough work-up for prostate cancer must be done before starting testosterone. In addition, testosterone dosing should be based on testosterone levels.
  • Progesterone – This is primarily for women, but also helps men in low doses. Any progesterone replacement therapy should also be based on blood levels of progesterone.
  • Pregnenolone – This helps both men and women for the brain.
  • Estradiol (E2) – This should also be done based on blood levels of E2

12.   Healthy gut bacteria – Most people have very unhealthy gut bacteria due to the use of antibiotics, due to general anesthesia, and due to dietary factors such as a high sugar diet. As a result, the lactobacillus that are good for your health often die.  In addition, the fiber-fermenting bacteria are often absent, thereby eliminating the healthful effects of a high fiber diet.  Probiotics and prebiotics are often helpful in restoring healthy gut bacteria.  You can see Vince’s 2012 blog entry Gut microbiota, probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics – keys to health and longevity.

13.   Reducing amyloid beta aggregates – One of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease is the accumulation of misfolded, aggregates of a protein called amyloid beta. Fortunately, there are two natural compounds that if taken in large quantities can reduce amyloid-beta plaques in the brain.  They are Ashwagandha and curcumin.  Both of these are effective in reducing amyloid beta plaques.  The MEND program recommend doses of 500 mg for Ashwagandha and 400 mg for curcumin.  Because curcumin is so poorly absorbed, it is better to take a liposomal or nanoparticle form of the curcumin, like Bio-curcumin 95. Curcumin can be taking as a pill, but it may be absorbed much better in curry that has coconut oil, since the coconut oil creates an emultion and micelles which can be absorbed by the lymphatic system and thereby “bypass” the liver and the “first pass effect”.   Ashwagandha is much better absorbed and does not have as much of a problem. It can be taken as a pill, but also can be taken as a tea.   My friend Dr. Vince Giuliano has made a liposomal form of these two compounds together with two complementary anti-inflammatory herbal extracts which he believes get into the blood stream in concentrations that are 8-10 times higher than by pill form.  He has written about these and other phytosubstances a number of times, e.g.(ref) (ref) (ref) (ref) (ref).

14.   Cognitive enhancement – This category was probably added to the MEND program for supplements that could not be categorized elsewhere. They specifically recommend the natural product called Bacopa monniera and Magnesium. Bacopa monnieri is also called “water hyssop”, “herb of grace”, “Indian pennywort” and Withania somnifera.  Bacopa monniera has been shown to reduce amyloid plaque and prevent synaptic decline in mouse models of AD.  One possible mechanism by which Bacopa monnieri works is to enhance LDL receptor-related protein, which is the “amyloid exporter” in the brain.  There are many studies that show a benefit from Bacopa monniera In humans. A meta-analysis of 6 high quality clinical trials of Bacopa monniera showed that 9 out of 17 tests showed improved performance in the domain of “memory free recall”. In a study on Okadaic acid induced memory impaired rats, the effect of standardized extract of Bacopa monnieri and Melatonin on the Nrf2 pathway was investigated.  “OKA caused a significant memory deficit with oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, and neuronal loss which was concomitant with attenuated expression of Nrf2, HO1, and GCLC. Treatment with BM and Melatonin significantly improved memory dysfunction in OKA rats as shown by decreased latency time and path length. The treatments also restored Nrf2, HO1, and GCLC expressions and decreased oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, and neuronal loss. Thus strengthening the endogenous defense through Nrf2 modulation plays a key role in the protective effect of BM and Melatonin in OKA induced memory impairment in rats.” There is a special form of magnesium which is much better incorporated into the cell called Magnesium-L-threonate, aka MgT.  Both can be taken as a capsule.  The dose Bacopa monniera they recommend is 250 mg/day. However, most of the clinical trials recommend dosages of 300-450 mg/day.

15.  Vitamin D3 –Vitamin D3 seems to be quite different than the other vitamins for a variety of reasons. The most important difference is that Vitamin D levels should be checked and individuals need to adjust their dose based on their serum vitamin D3 levels. To prevent AD, the levels of Vitamin D3 need to be > 50 nmol/L.  The strongest evidence for this comes from two recent studies from 2014.  One was a 5 year study in 1,658 elderly patients who started the study with no dementia. During the 5 years, 171 of the 1,658 developed dementia (10% risk over 5 years).  This study looked at “all cause dementia”, of which 90% is Alzheimer’s dementia (AD) and Vascular dementia (VD).  The risk of developing dementia when serum Vitamin D3 levels were > 50 nmol/L was very low.  However, those with Vit D3  levels between 25 and 50 nmol/L had a 1.53 fold higher risk of developing dementia of any type.  Those with levels below 25 nmol/L had a 2.25 nmol higher risk of developing dementia of any type.  The 2nd study reported in 2014 was from Denmark and followed 10,186 individuals in the Danish population for 30 years.  They looked at the risk of specific kinds of dementia and the relationship to Vitamin D3.  For Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the risk of AD type dementia was 1.25-1.29 fold higher in those with serum Vit D3 levels below 25 nmol/L.  For Vascular Dementia (VD), the risk of VD type dementia was 1.22 fold higher in those with serum Vit D3 levels below 25 nmol/L.  In conclusion, low Vitamin D3 levels is one of the largest risk factors for dementia and the easiest to prevent.  Most people do not get their Vitamin D3 levels checked.  Do you know what yours is?

16.   Increasing Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) Hericium erinaceus and ALCAR — Although there are many growth factors that make nerve cells grow, the most important one is probably Nerve Growth Factor (NGF).  NGF is a growth factor made and secreted by astrocytes in the brain and spinal cord.  NGF enhances neuronal stem cell regeneration of the brain.  Exercise is a potent stimulator of NGF secretion. There are several natural compounds that stimulate nerve growth factor secretion.  They include extracts from the mushroom, Hericium erinaceus. Although there are other edible mushrooms that are good for you, of the 4 edible mushrooms that were studied for their effect on NGF secretion, only Hericium erinaceus induced the secretion of NGF from human astrocytes in the Hippocampus of the brain.  Another compound that stimulates the secretion of NGF is Acetyl-L-carnitine, aka ALCAR.  Acetyl-L-carnitine also helps with neuropathic pain.   In rodent models of Alzheimer’s disease, 150 mg/kg/day of ALCAR induced NGF secretion and increased choline acetyltransferase activity, which increasea acetylcholine levels in the hippocampus.

17.   Provide the substrates for synaptic formation uridine, choline, citocolin, DHA, EPA, and herring roe — The ability to form synaptic connections between neurons is a key part of forming memory. Several key molecules are needed to create these synapses and dendritic spines that are not made by the human body (e.g. DHA) or are made in inadequate amounts (e.g. citicoline).   The omega-3 fatty acid called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is probably the “rate-limiting substrate” in the formation of presynaptic and postsynaptic proteins.  DHA alone will increase the formation of synapses and increase cognitive performance in humans and experimental animals, but the addition of two other circulating precursors for phosphatidylcholine also enhance memory formation.  These two other precursors are uridine (which gives rise to brain UTP and CTP) and choline (which gives rise to phosphocholine).   Phosphatidylcholine (PC) is the major phosphatide found in human neuronal connections. The other two major synaptic ingredients are uridine and DHA.  Studies have shown that the aministration of choline, uridine, and DHA together have a greater effect than the sum of the individual effects (i.e. they have a synergistic effect on generating synapses and dendritic spines). DHA alone increased the synthesis of hippocampal phospholipids by 8-75%, with the greatest percentage being in the synthesis if PC (phosphatidylcholine).  There are still controversies as to how much DHA a person should take per day.

The MEND program recommends 320 mg of DHA/day, but other experts recommend as much as 2,000 mg/day of DHA.  Herring roe, the eggs from the Herring forage fish, is another good source of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids that have a high phospholipid content.  MOPL 30 is a supplement product made by Artic Nutrition that includes a lot of phospholipids and a 3:1 ratio of DHA:EPA.  The MOPL 30 proprietary supplement not only increased neuronal generation, it also decreased plasma triacylglycerol and non-esterified fatty acids as well as increased HDL-cholesterol.  Although fasting glucose did not change, the glucose measurement on OGTT decreased at 10 minutes and 120 minutes into the test.   Instead of taking herring roe, uridine, or choline, the MEND program recommends citocoline (aka CDP-Choline) an intermediate compound in the generation of phosphatidylcholine from choline (i.e. already half made).  It is marketed under many names worldwide, including Ceraxon, Cognizin, NeurAxon, Somazina, Synapsine, etc. Studies have shown that citocoline increases dopamine receptor densities, prevents memory impairment, improve focus and mental energy.  Citocoline may also help treat attention deficit disorder (ADD).  The MEND program recommends a dose of 500 mg of Citocoline twice a day, 320 mg of DHA per day, and 180 mg of EPA per day.

18.   Optimize antioxidants – mixed tocopherols, tocotrienols, Selium, blueberries, NAC, Vit C, a-lipoic acid.  Although the free radical theory of aging has largely been proven to be incorrect as the “cause of aging”, there is no question that the “effect of aging” includes free radical damage to proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids that make up a cell.  To try to mitigate these “downstream effects” of aging, many believe that the judicious use of antioxidants still plays a useful role in treating neurodegeneration.  In this blog we have questioned that viewpoint and have pointed out that “antioxidants” like those mentioned often have powerful epigenetic impacts that better explain their actions(ref)(ref).

19.  Optimize Zn:fCu ratio – Alzheimer’s disease may be caused (in part) by copper toxicity — The fact that Alzheimer’s disease was rare prior to 1900, yet now being very common has led many experts to look for environmental “causes” of AD. One of the leading “suspects” in a long list of environmental risks for AD is inorganic copper, which comes from drinking water and supplement pills. There is clear evidence from human subjects that serum free copper is elevated with AD and that the level of free copper in the serum correlates with cognition and predicts cognition loss.  Animal studies have replicated these findings and have shown that as little as 0.12 ppm of coper in distilled drinking water in cholesterol-fed rabbits greatly enhanced the formation of AD.

A 2nd feature of AD is that those affected also have Zinc deficiency.  A small clinical trial published in 2014 showed that in patients over the age of 70, Zinc supplementation protected against cognitive loss and also reduced serum free copper levels in AD patients.  For these reasons, it is unclear if the efficacy of Zinc therapy is on restoring normal Zn levels or if it is due to reducing Cu levels.

The following Table lists the remaining interventions in Dale Bredesen’s list.  These are fairly clear and we will not expand on them here.

20.  Ensure nocturnal oxygenation Exclude or treat sleep apnea [54]
21.  Optimize mitochondrial function CoQ or ubiquinol, α-lipoic acid, PQQ, NAC, ALCAR, Se, Zn, resveratrol, ascorbate, thiamine [55]
22.  Increase focus Pantothenic acid Acetylcholine synthesis requirement
23.  Increase SirT1 function Resveratrol [32]
24.  Exclude heavy metal toxicity Evaluate Hg, Pb, Cd; chelate if indicated CNS effects of heavy metals
25.  MCT effects Coconut oil or Axona [56]

Neuroinflammation “causes” all of the neurodegeneratove diseases

Although we will save most of our discussion on the science of AD to the coming Part 2 blog entry in this series, we comment here a bit more on the the science behind most of the above interventions – their neuroinflammatory nature.

In all neurodegeneratiave diseases (both familial and sporadic cases), there is evidence of a chronic, low grade brain inflammation that does not go away.  Histologically, this is called “gliosis”, a term that describes what is seen under the microscope. As mentioned above, microglial cells are increased in number and they appear “angry” (i.e. they are activated) likely due to the presence of 1-42.  It is likely that these microglial cells are secreting pro-inflammatory factors which are causing the inflammation, although the picture is actually much more complex.  Vince has written about this in 2011 and before in the blog entries Key roles of glia and microglia in age-related neurodegenerative diseases, New views of Alzheimer’s disease and new approaches to treating it, and Alzheimer’s Disease Update. We surface some additional insights here and in Part 2..

This illustration portrays some of the inflammatory processes that go on when microglia and astrocytes are activated:

Image and legend  source The 2014 publication Inflammasomes in neuroinflammation and changes in brain function: a focused review  “Cytokines hypothesis of neuroinflammation: Implications in comorbidity of systemic illnesses with psychiatric disorders. Pro-inflammatory cytokines can migrate between systemic circulation and brain in both directions which could explain the comorbidity of systemic illnesses with psychiatric disorders. There are three pathways for the transport of pro-inflammatory cytokines from systemic circulation to brain as described by Capuron and Miller (2011): Cellular, Humoral, and Neural. Moreover, PAMPs and DAMPs from trauma, infection, and metabolic waste can prime glial cells to express pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6. When expressed, these cytokines activates granulocytes, monocytes/macrophages, Natural Killer, and T cells and together contribute to the pathophysiology of neuroinflammation. Chronic neuroinflammation could result in neurodegeneration and associated psychiatric disorders. These pro-inflammatory cytokines also stimulate production and expression of anti-inflammatory cytokine by glial cells that function as negative feedback to reduce the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines, subsiding the neuroinflammation. MCP-1, Monocyte chemoattractant protein-1; CP, Choroid plexus; CVO, Circumventricular organ.”

The chronic inflammation viewpoint of Alzheimer’s disease is related to but somewhat different than the Beta Amloid viewpoint, the viewpoint covered in my recent blog entry The Amyloid Beta face of Alzheimer’s Disease.

The situation is described in a 2014 publication by Landry and Liu-Ambrose: “An alternative to the classic amyloid centric view of AD suggests that late-onset AD results from age-related alterations in innate immunity and chronic systemic inflammation (for review see Krstic and Knuesel, 2013).

In the Part 2 blog entry we will go into the neuroinflammation hypothesis in further depth and will explore other theories as to causes of AD and the other neurodegenerative diseases.

So, a basic strategy for preventing or delaying the onset of neurodegenerative diseases is to mount a multifront war on systematic inflammation.  The 25 Bredesen interventions described above are initiatives in that war.

About James Watson

I am a physician with a keen interest in the molecular biology of aging. I have specific interests in the theories of antagonistic pleiotropy and hormesis as frameworks to understand cellular senescence and mechanisms for coping with cellular stress. The hormetic “stressors” that I am interested in exploiting at low doses include exercise, hypoxia, intermittent caloric restriction, radiation, etc. I also have a very strong interest in the epigenetic theory of aging and pharmacologic/dietary maintenance of histone acetylation and DNA methylation with age. I also am working on pharmacologic methods to destroy senescent cells and to reactivate quiescent endogenous stem cells. In cases where there is a “stem cell exhaustion” in the specific niche, I am very interested in stem cell therapy (Ex: OA)

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Though research on migraines has come a long way, the reason why some people are much more prone to them is largely still a mystery. Physicians will often try to find the cause of recurrent migraine attacks by evaluating patients for other underlying medical conditions, food intolerances and sleep problems.

New research suggests doctors may want to consider screening for something even more simple: vitamin deficiencies. Recent work presented June 10 at the 58th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society in San Diego finds that certain vitamin supplements could potentially help stop the occurrence of frequent migraines.

In a study on children, teens and young adults, the researchers found migraineurs (people who suffer from frequent migraine headaches) were much more likely to have mildly lower levels of vitamin D, riboflavin (B-2) and coenzyme Q10 (a naturally occurring, vitamin-like enzyme made by the body). All of these vitamins are needed for the mitochondria, the energy production centers of our cells, to function properly. “Deficient function, possibly through vitamin deficiency or over-utilization of vitamins, may put the migraineur at increased risk of energy deficiency,” says Dr. Andrew Hershey, director of the Migraine Center at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and one of the researchers working on the project.

For the study, researchers at Cincinnati Children’s looked at existing data on 7,691 young patients who were migraine sufferers and their records of blood tests for baseline levels of vitamin D, riboflavin, coenzyme Q10 and folate. Of the study participants, 15 percent were found to have riboflavin levels below the standard reference range. A significant number of patients—30 percent—had coenzyme Q10 levels at the low end of the standard reference range. Significantly lower vitamin D was seen in nearly 70 percent of the patients.

The researchers also found that patients with chronic migraines were more likely to have coenzyme Q10 deficiencies than patients who had episodic migraines. Girls and young women were more likely than boys and young men to have coenzyme Q10 deficiencies at baseline. Boys and young men were more likely to have vitamin D deficiency, but the reasons behind these trends need further investigation. It is important to note that both Q10 and D3 can be created in the body by exposure to the sun.

Sunlight is the most abundant energy source on this planet. However, the ability to convert sunlight into biological energy in the form of adenosine-5′-triphosphate (ATP) is thought to be limited to chlorophyll-containing chloroplasts in photosynthetic organisms. Here we show that mammalian mitochondria can also capture light and synthesize ATP when mixed with a light-capturing metabolite of chlorophyll. The same metabolite fed to the worm Caenorhabditis elegans leads to increase in ATP synthesis upon light exposure, along with an increase in life span. We further demonstrate the same potential to convert light into energy exists in mammals, as chlorophyll metabolites accumulate in mice, rats and swine when fed a chlorophyll-rich diet. Results suggest chlorophyll type molecules modulate mitochondrial ATP by catalyzing the reduction of coenzyme Q, a slow step in mitochondrial ATP synthesis. We propose that through consumption of plant chlorophyll pigments, animals, too, are able to derive energy directly from sunlight

From here PUBMED

What if conventional wisdom regarding our most fundamental energy requirements has been wrong all along and we can directly harness the energy of the Sun when we consume ‘plant blood’?

Plants are amazing, aren’t they? They have no need to roam about hunting other creatures for food, because they figured out a way to capture the energy of the Sun directly through these little light-harvesting molecules known as chlorophyll; a molecule, incidentally, which bears uncanny resemblance to human blood because it is structurally identical to hemoglobin, other than it has a magnesium atom at its core and not iron as in red blooded animals.

The energy autonomy of plants makes them, of course, relatively peaceful and low maintenance when compared to animal life, the latter of which is always busying itself with acquiring its next meal, sometimes through violent and sometimes through more passive means. In fact, so different are these two classes of creatures that the first, plants, are known as autotrophs, i.e. they produce their own food, and the animals are heterotrophs, i.e. they depend on other creatures for food.

autotroph and heterotroph

While generally these two zoological classifications are considered non-overlapping, important exceptions have been acknowledged. For instance, photoheterotrophs — a sort of hybrid between the autotroph and heterotroph — can use light for energy, but cannot use carbon dioxide like plants do as their sole carbon source, i.e. they have to ‘eat’ other things. Some classical examples of photoheterotrophs include green and purple non-sulfur bacteria, heliobacteria, and here’s where it gets interesting, a special kind of aphid that borrowed genes from fungi[1] to produce it’s own plant-like carotenoids which it uses to harness light energy to supplement its energy needs!

To learn more about this amazing creature read the study published in 2012 in Scientific Reports titled, “Light- induced electron transfer and ATP synthesis in a carotene synthesizing insect.”


A green carotenoid tinted aphid that is capable of capturing sunlight to produce energy. Interesting right?  But we need not look for exotic bacteria or insects for examples of photoheterotrophy. It turns out that animals, including worms, rodents and pigs (one of the closest animals to humans physiologically), have recently been found to be capable of taking up chlorophyll metabolites into their mitochondria, enabling them to use sunlight energy to ‘super-charge’ the rate (up to 35% faster) and quantity (up to 16-fold increases) of ATP produced within their mitochondria. In other words, a good portion of the animal kingdom is capable of ‘feeding off of light,’ and should be reclassified as photoheterotrophic!

The truly groundbreaking discovery referred to above was published last year in the Journal of Cell Science in a study titled, “Light-harvesting chlorophyll pigments enable mammalian mitochondria to capture photonic energy and produce ATP“, [contact me for the full version:] which I reported on recently, and which completely overturns the classical definition of animals and humans as solely heterotrophic.

Light-harvesting chlorophyll pigments enable mammalian mitochondria to capture photonic energy and produce ATP

Animals are Not Just Glucose-Burning Biomachines, But Are Light-Harvesting Hybrids

For at least half a century it has been widely believed among the scientific community that humans are simply glucose-dependent biomachines that can not utilize the virtually limitless source of energy available through sunlight to supplement our energy needs. And yet, wouldn’t it make sense that within the extremely intelligent and infinitely complex design of life, a way to utilize such an obviously abundant energy source as sunlight would have been evolved, even if only for the clear survival advantage it confers and not some ethical imperative (which is a possibility worth considering … vegans/Jainists, are you listening?).

As the philosopher of science Karl Popper stated, a theory can only be called scientific if it is falsifiable. And indeed, the scientific theory that humans are solely heterotrophic has just been overturned in light of empirical evidence demonstrating that mammals can extract energy directly from sunlight.

Deeper Implications of the New Study

First, let’s start by reading the study abstract, as it succinctly summarizes what may be of the most amazing discoveries of our time:

Sunlight is the most abundant energy source on this planet. However, the ability to convert sunlight into biological energy in the form of adenosine-59-triphosphate (ATP) is thought to be limited to chlorophyll-containing chloroplasts in photosynthetic organisms. Here we show that mammalian mitochondria can also capture light and synthesize ATP when mixed with a light-capturing metabolite of chlorophyll. The same metabolite fed to the worm Caenorhabditis elegans [roundworm] leads to increase in ATP synthesis upon light exposure, along with an increase in life span. We further demonstrate the same potential to convert light into energy exists in mammals, as chlorophyll metabolites accumulate in mice, rats and swine when fed a chlorophyll-rich diet. Results suggest chlorophyll type molecules modulate mitochondrial ATP by catalyzing the reduction of coenzyme Q, a slow step in mitochondrial ATP synthesis. We propose that through consumption of plant chlorophyll pigments, animals, too, are able to derive energy directly from sunlight.”

And so, to review, the new study found that animal life (including us, mammals) are capable of borrowing the light-harvesting capabilities of ‘plant blood,’ i.e. chlorophyll and its metabolites, and utilize it to photo-energize mitochondrial ATP production. This not only helps to improve energy output, but the research found several other important things:

  • Despite the increased output, the expected increase in Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) that normally attends increased mitochondrial function was not observed; in fact, a slight decrease was observed. This is a highly significant finding, because simply increasing mitochondrial activity and ATP output, while good from the perspective of energy, may accelerate aging and other oxidative stress (ROS) related adverse cellular and physiological effects. Chlorophyll, therefore, appeared to make animal mitochondria function in a healthier way.
  • In support of the above finding, worms administered an optimal range of chlorophyll were found to have significant extended life span. This is in accordance with well-known mechanisms linked to improved mitochondria function (in the absence of increased ROS) that increases cell longevity.

The last point in the abstract above is especially interesting to me. As a fan of coenzyme q10 supplementation for sometime, I have noticed profound differences qualitatively between ubiquinone (the oxidized form) and ubiquinol (the reduced, electron rich form), the latter of which has lead me to experience far greater states of energy and well-being than the former, even at far lower quantities (the molecular weight of a USP isolate does not reveal its bioavailability nor biological activity). The study, however, indicates that one may not need to take supplemental coenzyme Q10, even in its reduced form as ubiquinol, because chlorophyll-mediated sunlight capture and subsequent photo-energization of the electron transport chain will naturally ‘reduce’ (i.e. donate electrons) ubiquinone converting it into ubiquinol, which will result in increased ATP production and efficiency. This may also explain how they observed no increase in ROS (reactive oxygen species) while increasing ATP production: coenzyme q10 in reduced form as ubiquinol is a potent antioxidant, capable of donating an electron to quench/neutralize free radicals. This would be a biological win-win: increased oxidative phosphyloration-mediated energy output without increased oxidative damage.

From here: GreenMedInfo

And of course see more at Nutrition Facts

Hershey says the study adds to an ongoing observation that a significant number of people with migraines have lower levels of these vitamins. However, this trend is not seen in all patients across the board.

It’s been suggested for some time that vitamins play a role in this painful and debilitating chronic condition, but research on the topic is inconsistent. For example, a 2014 analysis in BioMed Research International of seven previously published papers on migraines and vitamin D deficiency suggested there isn’t enough evidence to back the claim that lower levels of the vitamin could make a person more prone to migraines. The researchers of that study found vitamin D deficiency  in 13.2 to 14.8 percent of migraine patients. These rates didn’t differ widely from the general population.

Even though evidence is limited, the nutraceutical industry has picked up on the potential for vitamins to alleviate and control migraines. A number of over-the-counter supplement cocktails are currently marketed to migraine sufferers. These typically combine the vitamins identified in this study, as well as magnesium, an organic mineral that when deficient has also been found to increase risk for chronic migraines. One study published in May in International Clinical Psychopharmacology found the odds of acute migraine headaches increased 35.3 times in patients who were identified as magnesium deficient. However, Hershey questions the use of magnesium supplements for treating migraines because he says only about 1 percent is absorbed by the body, and it is also difficult to measure in the blood.

In general, taking these vitamin supplements at recommended doses probably can’t hurt, but much more research is needed to determine whether vitamins alone could help stop migraines. One challenge researchers face is that vitamin supplements are often an intervention used in addition to medications and other experimental therapies. It’s therefore difficult to determine whether improvements in the condition can be explained for reasons other than supplement use

Source: Vitamin Deficiencies May Prompt Chronic Migraines

Previous research by Northwestern scientists showed that people who received the majority of their bright light in the morning weighed less than those who were exposed to most of their bright light after 12 p.m. The researchers wanted to understand why. Mouse studies also have shown that mice kept in constant light have altered glucose metabolism and gain weight compared to control mice.

“Our findings show that insulin was unable to acutely bring glucose levels back to a baseline level following a meal with bright light exposure in the evening,” said first author Ivy Cheung, a postdoctoral fellow in neurology at Feinberg. “The results of this study emphasize that our lighting environment impacts our health outcomes.”

The paper was published May 18 in the journal PLOS ONE.

There is increasing evidence that light and dark exposure patterns over time impact health outcomes such as body weight and food intake. The aim of the Northwestern study was to examine the acute effects of three hours of morning or evening blue-enriched light exposure compared to dim light on hunger, metabolic function and physiological arousal.

Nineteen healthy adults were randomized to three hours of blue-enriched light exposure starting either 0.5 hours after waking (morning group) or 10.5 hours after waking (evening group). Each person’s results were compared to their dim light exposure results as a baseline. The morning group ate breakfast in the light; the evening group ate dinner in the light.

The study showed blue-enriched light exposure acutely altered metabolic function in both the morning and the evening compared to dim light. While morning and evening blue-enriched light exposure both resulted in higher insulin resistance, evening blue-enriched light led to higher peak glucose. This suggests a greater inability of insulin to adequately compensate for the increase in glucose in the evening.

Other Northwestern authors include Dr. Phyllis Zee and Dr. Roneil Malkani.

The study was supported by grant 5T32HL790915 from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health; Philips Lifestyle Research Grant 2011 and other sources.

Scientists found bright light exposure increased insulin resistance compared to dim light exposure in both the morning and the evening. In the evening, bright light also caused higher peak glucose (blood sugar) levels. Credit: © Sergey Nivens / Flickr Exposure to bright light could affect your met

Source: Bright light alters metabolism – Science Bulletin

Fish oil, Vitamin D and other nutrients appear to raise the potency of medication

The multibillion-dollar supplement industry spews many dubious claims, but a new study suggests that some nutritional supplements, including omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, may boost the effectiveness of antidepressants. If so, the supplements might help relieve symptoms for the millions of people who don’t immediately respond to these drugs.

The meta-analysis—published Tuesday in the American Journal of Psychiatry—reviewed the results of 40 clinical trials that evaluated the effects of taking nutritional supplements in conjunction with several major classes of antidepressants, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants. It revealed that four supplements in particular upped the potency of the medications, compared with a placebo.

The researchers, based at Harvard University and the University of Melbourne, found the strongest evidence for an omega-3 fish oil called eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA. In general, people with depression who took an antidepressant drug and an omega-3 sourced from fish oil experienced a significant reduction in their symptoms as assessed by a the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, a common measure used by most of the studies in the review. The same was true, although to a lesser extent, for S-adenosylmethionine, methylfolate (a form of the B vitamin folic acid) and Vitamin D. A few isolated studies found some benefit from augmenting treatment with creatine, while adding zinc, vitamin C, the amino acid tryptophan and folic acid produced mixed results. The authors deemed all of these supplements relatively safe.

Lead study author Jerome Sarris of the University of Melbourne’s ARCADIA Mental Health Research Group notes that a large percentage of people with depression do not fully respond during one or two trials of an antidepressant. By some estimates, two-thirds don’t respond to the first antidepressant they try and a third fail to get better after several treatment attempts. “The implications are that clinicians and the public can consider [adding] therapeutic doses of nutrients such as omega-3s as a potential low-cost approach to reducing depression in people who are non-responsive to antidepressants,” he says.

Sarris and his colleagues speculate that the supplements may enhance the efficacy of antidepressants in various ways, perhaps directly by altering neurostransmitter activity or indirectly by reducing inflammation, known to contribute to depression. Leading nutritional psychiatry researcher Felice N. Jacka of Deakin University and the University of Melbourne explains that conditions like depression can trigger a cascade of physical concerns that certain supplements, when combined with accepted antidepressant therapies, could help mitigate.

“Serious illnesses such as major depression can result in increased inflammation and oxidative stress, which can in turn result in nutritional deficiencies and a depletion of essential fatty acids,” she notes. “Nutrients form the substrate of the essential biological processes of the body and brain, so ensuring that nutrient levels are adequate in patients suffering from any serious illnesses is important.”

Doctors and scientists often come down hard on nutritional supplementation. There is little to no scientific evidence backing many of the products crowding the shelves at health food stores and pushed by celebrity doctors. In fact, many come in mega-doses associated with serious side effects. And countless manufacturers produce these supplements, many with no standardized processes and varying degrees of quality control.

Indeed, the supplement industry exists largely outside of any oversight by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In December last year, the FDA announced the formation of a new Office of Dietary Supplement Programs to help tighten regulation, but for now when it comes to supplements, consumers often don’t know what they are getting.

Sarris acknowledges that supplements can differ greatly in quality and that his results should be approached with caution. “We’re not telling people to rush out and buy buckets of supplements,” he wrote in a press release accompanying the new paper. “Always speak to your medical professional before changing or initiating a treatment.”

But researchers like Sarris are gradually disentangling potential fact from fiction. A number of vitamins and supplements are coming under scientific scrutiny. Vitamin D in particular has been the focus of a host of recent studies and may be beneficial in treating a variety of conditions, from multiple sclerosis to schizophrenia.

For brain health, all—or at least most—roads lead to the sea.  Many small trials have reported associations between omega-3 fatty acids—obtained either through diet or supplements—and improved depression symptoms. In practice, omega-3s derived from fish appear to reach significantly higher blood levels than those sourced from plants. And there is a fast accumulating body of data linking a reduced risk for depression to traditional diets—including the Mediterranean, Scandinavian and Japanese diets—that are high in vegetables, whole grains and fish.

How does the evidence sit in light of the new study’s findings? “It is important to advise that a balanced whole-food diet is important for physical as well as mental health, and that supplements should not replace this,” Sarris notes. “However, I believe a good diet in addition to select nutraceutical prescriptions can still be recommended in some cases, such as when people have inadequate responses to antidepressant medication.”

As a next step, Sarris believes that researchers should move beyond specific supplements and study augmenting antidepressant treatment with, say, the Mediterranean diet. Both he and Jacka also feel that more work needs to be done to determine which supplements may benefit patients as individuals, based on their specific nutrient deficiencies, brain conditions and genetic profiles.

“A key imperative for nutritional psychiatry is to develop a clear understanding of what supplements are useful for whom, and under what conditions, and also to understand the baseline factors that might influence nutrient metabolism, such as gut health,” Jacka says. “This sort of knowledge should help us to begin to design targeted and personalized nutritional interventions for psychiatric illnesses.”

Source: Do Vitamins and Supplements Make Antidepressants More Effective?

Ask parents of teenagers what they’re worried about, and amon

Source: Why helping teens get more sleep could save lives –

Ask parents of teenagers what they’re worried about, and among the issues they’re likely to bring up is their teens not getting enough sleep. So many teens stay up past midnight and get up early, especially when their school starts, in some cases, well before 8:00 a.m.
A new study finds that pattern is not only dangerous — it could be deadly.

The study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that teens who get less than seven hours of sleep on school nights were more likely to engage in risky behaviors — such as texting and driving, drinking and driving, riding with a driver who was drinking, and not wearing a seat belt in a car or a helmet while on a bicycle — than teens who sleep nine hours a night.
“It was rather surprising to find such an impact of short sleep duration on these injury-related behaviors and suggests that sleep deprivation may play an important role in poor judgment and decision-making among adolescents,” said Janet Croft, chief of the epidemiology and surveillance branch of the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and one of the co-authors of the study.
Results are in: School starts too early, autism screening, PTSD and more
Results are in: Kids start school too early
This current CDC report, which analyzed questionnaires from more than 50,000 high school students in 2009, 2011 or 2013, is just the latest research to document how worrisome a lack of sleep for teens can be.
Back in 2011, the CDC found that insufficient sleep for teens, which was described as less than eight hours on average a night, was associated with cigarette, alcohol and marijuana use, sexual activity, not getting enough exercise, feeling sad or hopeless, and seriously considering attempting suicide. Almost 70% of teens were not getting enough sleep, the CDC found.
Read the CDC report (.PDF)
Doctors around the country grew so concerned about the impact of a lack of sleep on teens, including the connection with obesity, depression and traffic accidents, that the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement in 2014 recommending that schools start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. so that teens can get the recommended 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep a night.
But last year, researchers from the CDC and the U.S. Department of Education found that, based on data from the 2011-2012 school year, only 18% of the schools surveyed started classes at the recommended time of 8:30 a.m. or later, while more than 80% started earlier. Students in Louisiana were found to go to school the earliest with an average start time of 7:40 a.m.
‘Our society does not respect sleep’
Think about this: If you have to be at school at 7:40 a.m., and you have a 30-minute commute and need at least 30 minutes to have breakfast, shower and get out the door, you must be up at 6:40 a.m. at the latest. If you want to get the recommended 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep, you need to be in bed between 9:10 p.m. and 10:10 p.m. Do you know any teens who go to bed that early?
“The real issue at this point is that our society does not respect sleep, and we have grown-ups that brag about how, ‘We can get on with five hours of sleep,’ ‘We can drink that Red Bull and soldier on,’ ‘Sleep is for wimps,’ ‘I’ll get enough sleep when I’m dead,'” said Maribel Ibrahim, co-founder of Start School Later, a nonprofit focused on increasing public awareness about the relationship between sleep and school hours. “These are the statements that are horrifying, because really sleep is an essential third pillar of health.”
Let kids sleep later
School days: Teens need to start later (Opinion)
For way too many years, I’ve gotten too little sleep. From 4:00 a.m. wake-up calls during my days covering the White House, to sleeping just three hours at a stretch when I had my girls, to early wake-ups even now, I still don’t regularly get enough sleep — but I see the difference when I do. I’m fresher, quicker and all-around better at my job and as a parent when I get more sleep, and that is the case with teens, too.
A study by the University of Minnesota of more than 9,000 students in eight public high schools from three states found that schools with start times of 8:30 a.m. or later report improved academic performance in core areas such as math, English, science and social studies, better scores on state and national achievement tests, improved attendance and a reduction in tardiness.
Rock Bridge High School in Columbia, Missouri, moved up the start time for the school day from 7:50 a.m. to 8:55 a.m. at the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year.
The school has not done any study on the impact of the later start time, but anecdotal evidence from parents does point to some improvement, said Jennifer Rukstad, the school’s principal.
“There was just lots and lots of complaining about the impact on the life of the family, and so once you kind of allowed that to get through, then if you would ask the parents what kind of impact has it had on your child as far as their affect and their performance. And everyone said, ‘Oh, they’re much easier to get along with,'” Rukstad said.
“A teenager is going to go to bed when they go to bed, no matter what time they are supposed to get up, so if they’re going to stay up until midnight, they’re going to stay up until midnight whether school starts at 7:50 or 8:55. So they are, in general, getting a little more sleep than they were before, because they don’t have to get up as early,” she said. “But I have no data that says that performance has gone up, that we’ve dropped depression rates. We just don’t have data on that.”
Doctors: Early school start times unhealthy for students
Early school start times unhealthy, doctors say
The experience at Rock Bridge also points to the challenges of implementing later start times at every school around the country. The school day at Rock Bridge ends at 4:05 p.m., which affects athletic teams that need to travel a distance for games and after-school clubs. After-school clubs are not nearly as popular as before-school clubs, Rukstad said.
People generally love the start time, but hate the end time, she added. It’s possible, she said, that at some point in the next few years, based on financial pressures, busing needs and teaching demands in the district, the school time at Rock Bridge might move back to a slightly earlier time, but not as early as 7:50 a.m.
“There are just some limitations, especially when you look at middle school and high school of having their schedules so vastly different,” said Rukstad. (Middle schoolers start their day at 7:30 a.m.)
‘The enemy is ignorance’
Ibrahim of Start School Later said more schools are moving in the direction of starting later. When her group was formed in 2011, she said, schools in a total of 23 states attempted to begin the school day at a later time. Today, schools in 44 states have made the move, she said.
“So it is becoming a conversation piece. People are talking about it, and right now we have school districts that have done it,” she said. “All the previous obstacles that were cited are really not obstacles at all. The biggest obstacle is fear of change.”
Just this week, Maryland passed legislation which will recognize schools that are making strides toward healthy hours, said Ibrahim. “It’s really going to bring even more attention to the problem and it’s going to support school districts that are really trying to make a change,” she said.
Calming the teenage mind in the classroom
Calming the teenage mind in the classroom
What can a parent do? Researchers at the CDC say parents can encourage their children to practice good sleep habits, such as setting a regular bedtime and wake-up time, including on weekends, and limiting the use of devices such as computers, video games and cell phones in the bedroom after a certain hour.
“Parents may benefit themselves and their children by setting a good example,” said Anne Wheaton, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a co-author of the new study. “Adolescent sleep habits tend to reflect their parents’ sleep habits.”
The greatest thing parents can do to help their teens get more sleep, according to Ibrahim of Start School Later, is really get educated on the issue of school start times. “Ironically, even well-meaning school districts that have attempted to implement school start times have gotten backlash from the community, from the parents, because the school districts are not the villains necessarily. Really the enemy is ignorance,” said Ibrahim. “The enemy is assuming, ‘Oh this isn’t that big a deal. Just turn off your devices at night and stop texting and all will be well.’ That would be great if kids could get up at 7:30 in the morning, but it’s not great when they still have to get up at 5:00.”
Join the conversation

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It will be years before my girls, 8 and 10, begin high school. But after going through the research, hearing the benefits of later school start times, and knowing how difficult it is to get a teen to go to bed early despite a parent’s best intentions, I’m hoping by the time they get there, later start times will be as normal in high school as a teenager’s eye roll.
“We’ll say, ‘Oh my gosh, they used to start school at what time?'” joked Ibrahim.
Do you think high schools should have later start times? Share your thoughts with

WASHINGTON: Most teenagers in the United States start the school day too early each morning, robbing them of the sleep they need to concentrate properly and remain healthy, according to a study published Thursday.

Fewer than one in five middle and high schools in the United States start at 8.30am or later, as recommended, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Research from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has found that adolescents are biologically programmed to stay asleep longer than adults.

Depriving teens of that sleep could wreak havoc on their academic performance, the CDC said in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

“Getting enough sleep is important for students’ health, safety, and academic performance,” said Anne Wheaton, lead author and epidemiologist in CDC’s Division of Population Health.

“Early school start times, however, are preventing many adolescents from getting the sleep they need.”

In 2014, the AAP urged secondary schools not to begin classes until 8.30am to give teens the 8.5 to 9.5 hours of nightly sleep they need.

But only 17.7% of US high schools actually start at the recommended hour.

The effects are not limited to academic performance, and researchers warned students may also suffer outside the classroom.

“Insufficient sleep is common among high school students and is associated with several health risks such as being overweight, drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco and using drugs,” the CDC study found.

Many parents have urged schools to delay start times, but administrators often refused, arguing that after-school extra-curricular activities would be too hard to organise.

An estimated two out of three US students are sleep-deprived, according to a 2013 CDC study. – AF

WASHINGTON: Most teenagers in the United States start the school day too early each morning, robbing them of the sleep they need to concentrate properly and remain healthy, according to a study published Thursday.

Source: US teens start school too early, need more sleep: study | theSundaily

ONE in three Americans does not get enough sleep on a regular basis, raising their risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, US health authorities said Thursday.

Healthy sleep is defined as at least seven hours per day for adults aged 18-60, according to the report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The findings are part of the “first study to document estimates of self-reported healthy sleep duration for all 50 states and the District of Columbia,” said the CDC in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Sleep patterns varied nationwide by location and ethnicity, as well as employment and marital status, said the study which was based on randomly dialed telephone surveys.

Whites were most likely to get enough sleep – with 67%of non-Hispanic white reporting “healthy sleep duration,” compared to just 54% of African-Americans.

66% of Hispanics and 63% of Asians reported getting enough sleep per night.

The lowest proportion of adults who slept adequately was centered in the southeastern United States, an area that also has the highest prevalence of obesity and other chronic conditions.

Being out of work or being sick also made it harder to sleep for more than half of those surveyed.

People with a college degree or higher were most likely to report healthy sleep patterns – at 72%.

Married people were more likely (67%) than never-married (62%) or divorced, widowed or separated (56%) people to get at least seven hours of sleep per night.

“As a nation we are not getting enough sleep,” said Wayne Giles, director of the CDC’s Division of Population Health.

“Lifestyle changes such as going to bed at the same time each night; rising at the same time each morning; and turning off or removing televisions, computers, mobile devices from the bedroom, can help people get the healthy sleep they need.” – AFP

ONE in three Americans does not get enough sleep on a regular basis, raising their risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, US health authorities said Thursday.

Source: One in 3 Americans gets too little sleep | theSundaily


January 2006

By Terri Mitchell

Back when Europe was stone huts and the Mayans were playing soccer, the Chinese were drinking tea. Tea goes back at least 5,000 years as medicine and more than 1,000 years as a simple beverage. Made from the leaves of a bush related to flowering camellia, tea has had a starring role in major features such as the American Revolution and Zen Buddhism. The Japanese regard tea so highly that they’ve created a ceremony for it, and a separate little tea house in which to serve it.

The tea ceremony is remarkable in that it dramatizes tea’s physical effects on the human body. Tea causes changes in body chemistry that rejuvenate, relax, enhance the ability to think, and change mood.1-6 The biochemical changes provoked by tea are scientifically supported, and they’re not due to caffeine.6

Among the latest discoveries about tea is that it can prevent depression and lower blood pressure.7,8 Both green and black teas have beneficial health effects, the main difference being that black tea is oxidized. That would seem to destroy tea’s bioactivity, but it does not. Black tea continues to prove itself in scientific studies. Researchers with the US Department of Agriculture, for example, recently reported that five cups of black tea a day can lower potentially harmful low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and total cholesterol in people with mildly elevated cholesterol.9

Black tea has benefits, but green tea has undergone more investigation, especially in Japan, where it’s the most popular beverage. Many new reports have come out about green tea’s amino acid, theanine, since Life Extension introduced it. The only other known source of this unique amino acid is a mushroom.10 Discovered in 1949, yet just now undergoing substantial research, theanine occupies a place on the shelf quite different from that of other dietary supplements. It has to do with the tea ceremony.

Balancing Sleep/Wake

Millions of Americans will have trouble sleeping tonight. They won’t be able to fall asleep, won’t be able to stay asleep, or won’t feel like they slept. The primary reason is stress, followed by illness, inactivity, medications, and bad sleep environment. The net effect is a lot of grouchy, depressed, and accident-prone people.11 Most won’t see a doctor, even though insomnia can lead to depression, traffic accidents, and a pink slip. Instead, most people will reach for America’s favorite drug: caffeine.

Every day, millions of people take caffeine in one form or another. It’s not only in coffee, it’s in fruity sodas, over-the-counter drugs, and diet elixirs. “Energy drinks” and espresso are popular caffeine fixes with megadoses of caffeine. Caffeine keeps Americans alert during the day, but it has a price. It can stay in the body for about 10 hours. That’s if you have a fully functioning liver. If you drink alcohol or take cimetidine (Tagamet®) and other drugs, it will stick around even longer.12,13 That means the cappuccino you had at three in the afternoon is still around at midnight.

To relax at night, Americans don’t have many choices except prescription sleeping pills. But these drugs don’t work for everyone, and have undesirable side effects. Better solutions are needed.

Tea Ceremony in a Capsule

Relaxation, rejuvenation, focus. The tea ceremony energizes without draining, calms without putting to sleep, and motivates without causing a jagged edge. Although tea can have as much or more caffeine than some coffees, it doesn’t have the same “speedy” effect.14,15 The reason is its secret ingredient, L-theanine. Research shows that L-theanine neutralizes the speedy, jagged, bad effects of caffeine without reducing its mind-energizing, fat-burning features.16,17

L-theanine’s effect on the brain can be visualized on an EEG. Brain waves are actually smoothed out—but not flattened out—by supplemental L-theanine.16 The body is relaxed, the mind is calmed, but no drowsiness occurs.5 This is exactly the type of relaxation prescribed by sleep therapists. The person seeking help will be asked to listen to music or engage in a similarly relaxing activity immediately before retiring. Studies show that pre-sleep relaxation is very effective against insomnia, even in tough cases.18-20

Falling asleep is one thing; staying asleep and getting quality sleep is another. Researchers in Japan gave volunteers 200 mg of L-theanine daily and recorded their sleep patterns on devices worn around their wrists. The L-theanine didn’t cause the subjects to sleep longer, but it did cause them to sleep better. It was documented that sleep quality, recovery from exhaustion, and refreshed feelings were all enhanced by L-theanine. Those taking L-theanine felt like they slept longer than they actually did.21 This is good news for people who don’t get enough sleep, or those who want to sleep less and do more.

One of the other effects of the tea ceremony is that it leaves people in a better mood. Knowing that L-theanine can cross the blood-brain barrier and positively affect brain chemistry, scientists investigated its mood-modulating effects. The results of those studies have led to L-theanine being patented as a mood enhancer.22 How it works is not completely understood, but one thing researchers have discovered is that L-theanine changes levels of amino acids affecting serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain.5

Balancing Brain Chemistry

Memory impairment is frequently associated with old age or Alzheimer’s disease, but there are other causes. Stress and depression, for example, cause memory loss. Although usually thought of as mere psychological states, stress and depression cause physical changes in body chemistry. The brain is notably affected.

Stress hormones known as glucocorticoids are activated by both stress and depression. In turn, they cause imbalances in brain chemistry that interfere with mood and memory.23-26 The effect is biochemical. Glucocorticoids disrupt serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and other brain chemicals.27,28 These “neurotransmitters” are the target of prescription antidepressants such as Prozac® and Wellbutrin®. And it has been shown that glucocorticoids can interfere with the ability of Prozac® and other drugs to work.29 Worse still, glucocorticoids can cause the brain to shrink.30,31 Counteracting glucocorticoids is extremely important.

Drugs that block glucocorticoids have been proposed as a treatment for depression, and strangely enough, people have been treated successfully with ketoconazole (Nizoral®), an antifungal drug with the side effect of suppressing glucocorticoids.32,33 Theanine also suppresses glucocorticoids, and it is one of the few dietary supplements that crosses the blood-brain barrier.

Theanine’s connection to the suppression of glucocorticoids is through glutamate. Researchers have discovered that this natural component of brain chemistry, which is not traditionally associated with depression, in fact plays a major role.34 In people who are depressed, glutamate levels are out of balance.35 Preliminary studies show that blocking certain signals in the brain activated by glutamate may be as effective as prescription antidepressants.36,37 L-theanine may act as a glutamate antagonist.38 Researchers believe that glutamate receptor antagonists may offset the harmful effects of high glucocorticoid levels and offer neuroprotective effects against both acute and chronic neurodegenerative diseases.39

Glutamate-activated signals not only affect mood, they affect memory and learning.40 Memory and learning are similar biochemical processes in the brain. If an animal can’t remember, it can’t learn. Stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and alcohol all cause memory loss involving disruptions in glutamate-related signals that inhibit the storage and retrieval of memories.41-44

If theanine is present in the body at the time stroke occurs, the damaged area will be significantly reduced.45 This is supported by a Chinese study of 14,000 people, which found that drinking tea slashes the risk of stroke by 40%.46 Maintaining healthy levels of L-theanine and other tea-related compounds in the body may thus help prevent memory loss and stroke-induced damage to brain tissue.

Balancing the Liver: Alcohol

Another part of the body that responds positively to theanine is the liver. Research from Japan shows that theanine is a powerful antidote to the effects of alcohol. If theanine is given to mice before or after they drink alcohol, it significantly lowers blood levels of alcohol.47 It works by modulating alcohol chemistry.

Alcohol is converted to a toxic chemical known as acetaldehyde, which is similar to formaldehyde and more toxic than alcohol itself. Theanine accelerates the break- down of acetaldehyde and blocks toxic radicals.47 The remarkable powers of theanine to intercept free radicals was demonstrated in the same study. It not only blocked radicals caused by alcohol, it suppressed levels to below normal for five hours.

One reason theanine is able to reverse damage caused by alcohol is that it restores the liver’s all-purpose antioxidant and detoxifier known as glutathione. Drinking alcohol causes significant suppression of this critical factor. If the suppression is infrequent, the liver bounces back; if suppression is chronic, however, the liver can’t overcome the stress. It breaks down and the effects are felt throughout the body. Theanine helps counteract the alcohol-induced loss of glutathione.47

Glutathione is not only something people who drink alcohol have to worry about, it’s something that oncologists have to worry about. Depletion of glutathione in vital organs like the heart is a major cause of chemotherapy toxicity. Because of it, some drugs that could otherwise be useful in treating certain types of cancers can’t be used. Researchers looking into the possibility of adding theanine to chemotherapy have found that it counteracts drug-induced losses of glutathione in vital organs like the heart, but not in tumors.48 In fact, it blocks tumors from getting glutathione, thus enabling some types of chemotherapeutic drugs to work better.49 By enhancing glutathione where it’s beneficial and reducing it where it’s not, theanine again shows its propensity to restore balance.

Balancing Fat and Muscle

If there’s one place people want to restore balance, it’s in the area of body fat. As everyone knows,when fat loss is the goal, calorie expenditure is the game plan. One of the differences in people who are overweight and those who are not is that overweight people sit about two hours longer every day.50 Clearly, inactivity causes imbalance in the system, yet the mere thought of exercising makes some people tired. Motivation is lacking, and they might as well try to climb Mt. Everest as do a round on the stair climber.

But what if they really did have to climb Mt. Everest? Researchers in the United Kingdom made a surprising discovery in a study of mountain climbers. Hot tea, they found out, does wonders for fatigue and vigor (as in let’s get up and go!).51 Finnish researchers made a similar discovery when questioning people about depression. None of the subjects who drank five or more cups of tea a day was depressed, whereas those drinking no tea had the highest rate of depression.7 Neither research team attributed the motivational effects of tea to caffeine. Caffeine is effective for a different aspect of weight loss: speeding up metabolism. But 100 milligrams of caffeine only increases the resting metabolic rate 3-4%.52 Upping the dose can leave a person tired and shaky. So, caffeine by itself isn’t the answer to weight loss. Enter green tea.

Researchers know that green tea extract promotes thermogenesis above and beyond its caffeine content.53 They have been aware for several years that compounds in green tea increase caffeine’s calorie-burning effects. What those compounds are was a mystery until Japanese researchers decided to look into it in 2004. They divided green tea into its various components and investigated how catechins, theanine, caffeine, and green tea powder itself affect weight gain in female mice.54 They found that all the components suppressed weight gain. Green tea powder, catechins, and theanine also reduced triglyceride levels. The researchers concluded that not only can caffeine help prevent weight gain and fat accumulation, but theanine can, too. It’s not known whether the same results occur in humans.

In Japan, you will more likely find theanine in your beverage than caffeine. The Japanese value the rejuvenating, mind-clearing qualities of theanine. It’s not surprising that something that restores balance is very popular in a culture where restoring balance is the foundation of medicine. Westerners would do well to take note of this gift from the East.

Theanine is unique in a sea of supplements that promise much but deliver little. It’s one of the few supplements that crosses the blood-brain barrier. Research to date indicates that theanine is very useful for restoring balance to systems neglected by people who are on the go. It helps counteract the stimulating effects of caffeine, but complements caffeine’s positive aspects such as fat burning. It relaxes and rejuvenates. It reduces alcohol levels in the bloodstream and supports liver health. It restores mood and motivation, increases thermogenesis, and protects the brain. Supplemental theanine thus helps recreate the calming and centering effects of a tea ceremony in a convenient and accessible form.

1. Singal A, Kaur S, Tirkey N, Chopra K. Green tea extract and catechin ameliorate chronic fatigue-induced oxidative stress in mice. J Med Food. 2005;8(1):47-52.

2. Hossain SJ, Aoshima H, Koda H, Kiso Y. Fragrances in oolong tea that enhance the response of GABAA receptors. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2004 Sep;68(9):1842-8.

3. Huang Y, Chan NW, Lau CW, et al. Involvement of endothelium/nitric oxide in vasorelaxation induced by purified green tea (-)epicatechin. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1999 Apr 19;1427(2):322-8.

4. Unno K, Takabayashi F, Kishido T, Oku N. Suppressive effect of green tea catechins on morphologic and functional regression of the brain in aged mice with accelerated senescence (SAMP10). Exp Gerontol. 2004 Jul;39(7):1027-34.

5. Yokogoshi H, Kobayashi M, Mochizuki M, Terashima T. Effect of theanine, r-glutamylethylamide, on brain monoamines and striatal dopamine release in conscious rats. Neurochem Res. 1998 May;23(5):667-73.

6. Quinlan PT, Lane J, Moore KL, et al. The acute physiological and mood effects of tea and coffee: the role of caffeine level. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2000 May;66(1):19-28.

7. Hintikka J, Tolmunen T, Honkalampi K, et al. Daily tea drinking is associated with a low level of depressive symptoms in the Finnish general population. Eur J Epidemiol. 2005;20(4):359-63.

8. Negishi H, Xu JW, Ikeda K, et al. Black and green tea polyphenols attenuate blood pressure increases in stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats. J Nutr. 2004 Jan;134(1):38-42.

9. Davies MJ, Judd JT, Baer DJ, et al. Black tea consumption reduces total and LDL cholesterol in mildly hypercholesterolemic adults. J Nutr. 2003 Oct;133(10):3298S-3302S.

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Source: Theanine: Natural Support for Sleep, Mood, and Weight – 2 – Life Extension

For decades, scientists believed that excess body fat was mere storage for unused calories. However, research conducted over the past 20 years suggests added fat is more than a little extra cushion—fat cells are actually “toxic factories,” each one producing inflammatory cytokines (chemical messengers of inflammation) throughout the body and causing potentially serious damage to your health. It is this understanding that has led experts to more closely examine the effects of being overweight, even when an individual is considered physically fit.

In 1998, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) published Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults. These guidelines noted being overweight but in good physical health would reduce the risk of premature death— in other words, being physically fit mattered more than body fat percentage.

But in 2015, the International Journal of Epidemiology released the results of a study that suggested the “fat but fit” theory wasn’t true, based on the health data of more than 1.3 million Swedish men whom researchers followed for 30 years. Those study authors found that the beneficial effects of exercise declined as obesity rates increased. Compared to physically fit obese men, normal-weight men who were not physically fit had a lower risk of dying.

These results are backed by a prior study published in January 2015 that identified a link between increased levels of fat in the body— regardless of physical fitness— and high levels of inflammation. Inflammation is the root cause of all disease, especially chronic conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Another study published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research in 2015 observed a correlation between increased levels of white fat tissue and poorer prognosis in early-stage breast cancer. White fat, known as white adipose tissue, is fat stored for energy, but it also plays a role in raising inflammation levels when found in excess throughout the body.

Abdominal obesity, which is fat centralized in the belly, is a sign of high levels of visceral fat in the body. Visceral fat is the type of fat that accumulates in arteries and around organs, and has been credited with increased inflammation and disease risk. Emerging research has found that while this still holds true, fat may be further differentiated. A December 2014 study found that fat deposits may exist on the surface of the myocardium (muscular wall of the heart) and be contained completely beneath the membrane that encloses the heart— in contact with major coronary arteries and their branches. This fat, known as epicardial adipose tissue (EAT), is highly correlated with obesity, and thought to play a role in the development and vulnerability of plaque in the coronary arteries.

More on this…

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  • 7 reasons why you’re working out and still not losing weight

If being fit doesn’t protect against the dangers of excess weight gain, what can?

While fitness is still an important component of optimal health, it is not a standalone marker.

If you are struggling with losing weight, you will reap significant benefits by increasing lean body mass with exercise.

Here are 3 other tactics that can help you lose weight and lower your disease risk:

1. Assess body fat rather than BMI
One of the primary challenges facing the nation today is the standard of measurement for obesity. At present, obesity is defined by body mass index (BMI), which is essentially a height-to-weight ratio. For example, a man who is 5 feet 10 inches tall weighs 220 pounds and has 12 percent body fat would be considered obese, according to the BMI scale. However, anyone with 12 percent body fat is not overweight or obese. This person is likely a bodybuilder with very high levels of lean muscle. His body fat percentage is a better indicator of his health risk. BMI drastically underscores fat levels in the aging population, particularly postmenopausal women who have lost substantial muscle mass that has been replaced with fat and yet their weight remains steady.

A bioelectrial impedance assessment (BIA) is a more comprehensive look at body composition, assessing lean body mass, body fat, and body water percentages, as well as showing where primary fat stores exist. These assessments are generally available through a physician’s office. Monitoring your body fat rather than BMI will help you better assess your overall health and weight management goals.

2. Add a probiotic to your supplement regimen
Research continues to identify the gut flora as a contributing factor to multiple aspects of health, including weight management and inflammation levels. Unfortunately, the typical American diet often leads to imbalances in the microbiota of the gut favoring the development of intestinal inflammation and increased risk of disease. A daily probiotic (not a dairy-based, sugar-laden probiotic) can help promote healthy bacteria in the gut. According to one study, the Lactobacillus plantarum strain offers the greatest potential for suppressing chronic inflammation in the gut. In November 2015, one study uncovered evidence that the landscape of the bacteria in your gut may be the greatest factor in determining which foods will optimally improve an individual’s weight and general health.

3. Consume a clean, nutrient-rich, whole-foods diet
While certain research may say that the Mediterranean diet is good for some people and that the Paleo diet is good for others, one fact remains: Whole foods are best. Strive to consume a wide variety of fresh vegetables and low-sugar fruits organically or locally sourced. Enjoy a mix of lean proteins from animal sources along with plant-based proteins that are high in fiber, like quinoa. Keep sugar, artificial sweeteners and ingredients, and processed foods out of your diet. These foods contribute to toxins in the body and negatively impact healthy gut microbiota.

Achieving optimal health is always a work in progress. Set small goals every month, week, and day that will drive progress. You don’t have to be perfect, but you should try to make everyday choices, a choice that will maximize your wellbeing— mind, body, and spirit.

Dr. Jennifer Landa is Chief Medical Officer of BodyLogicMD, the nation’s largest franchise of physicians specializing in bioidentical hormone therapy. Dr. Jen spent 10 years as a traditional OB-GYN, and then became board-certified in regenerative medicine, with an emphasis on bio-identical hormones, preventative medicine and nutrition. She is the author of “The Sex Drive Solution for Women.”  Learn more about her programs at

For decades, scientists believed that excess body fat was mere storage for unused calories.

Source: ‘Fat but fit’: How carrying excess weight can have long-term health consequences | Fox News

Getting too little sleep during the week can increase some risk factors for diabetes, but sleeping late on weekends might help improve the picture, a small U.S. study suggests.

Researchers conducted a sleep experiment with 19 healthy young men and found just four nights of sleep deprivation were linked to changes in their blood suggesting their bodies weren’t handling sugar as well as usual.

But then, when they let the men get extra sleep for the next two nights, their blood tests returned to normal, countering the effect of the short-term sleep deprivation.

“It gives us some hope that if there is no way to extend sleep during the week, people should try very hard to protect their sleep when they do get an opportunity to sleep in and sleep as much as possible to pay back the sleep debt,” said lead study author Josaine Broussard of the University of Colorado Boulder.

The study doesn’t prove sleeping late every weekend can counter the ill effects of insufficient rest every other night of the week, Broussard cautioned.

And it doesn’t prove that catching up on sleep will prevent diabetes.

“We don’t know if people can recover if the behavior is repeated every week,” Broussard added by email. “It is likely though that if any group of people suffer from sleep loss, getting extra sleep will be beneficial.”

To assess the impact of sleep on diabetes risk, Broussard and colleagues focused on what’s known as insulin sensitivity, or the body’s ability to use the hormone insulin to regulate blood sugar. Impaired insulin sensitivity is one risk factor for type 2 diabetes, which is associated with age and obesity and happens when the body can’t properly convert blood sugar into energy.

The researchers did two brief sleep experiments. On one occasion, the volunteers were permitted just 4.5 hours of rest for four nights, followed by two evenings of extended sleep that amounted to 9.7 hours on average. On another occasion, the same men were allowed to sleep 8.5 hours for four nights.

After the four nights of sleep deprivation, the volunteers’ insulin sensitivity had fallen by 23 percent and their bodies had started to produce extra insulin. But when researchers checked again after two nights of extended rest, the men’s insulin sensitivity, and the amount of insulin their bodies produced, had returned to normal, mirroring what was seen during the portion of the experiment when the volunteers consistently got a good nights’ rest.

The volunteers were given a calorie-controlled diet to limit the potential for their food and drink choices to influence the outcomes. In the real world, when people don’t get enough sleep they tend to overeat, which may limit how much results from this lab experiment might happen in reality, the authors note in a report scheduled for publication in the journal Diabetes Care.

“The results from the present study are unlikely to be fully reflective of what may occur in persons who are older, overweight or obese, or have other potent risk factors for diabetes,” said James Gangwisch, a researcher at Columbia University who wasn’t involved in the study.

Chronically sleep-deprived people are more likely to develop other health problems, though, ranging from obesity to high blood pressure to cognitive deficits, the study authors point out.

“By catching up on sleep on the weekends, people are reducing average extent and severity of the effects of sleep deprivation,” Gangwisch added by email. “Ideally, we would all get sufficient sleep on a nightly basis.”

Getting too little sleep during the week can increase some risk factors for diabetes, but sleeping late on weekends might help improve the picture, a small U.S. study suggests.

Source: Sleeping in on weekends may help reduce diabetes risk | Reuters

Antibiotics make C. diff infection easier because of their effects on bile acid and bacteria living in the gut, according to new research.

Bacteria in the gut are involved in many of the body’s functions, from the creation of neurons in the brain to regulating chemicals that help break food down.

Scientists at North Carolina State University found in experiments with mice that a single course of antibiotic treatment can open a window for Clostridium difficile, or C. diff, to thrive because bacteria responsible for altering bile acid were killed off, according to a new study.


Primary bile acids are made in the liver from cholesterol to aid in digestion and fat absorption, and in controlling lipoprotein, glucose, drug, and energy metabolism. The acids travel through the intestinal tract to the large intestine, where other bacteria convert them to secondary bile acids. These secondary acids inhibit the growth, and infection by, C. diff.

“These findings are a first step in understanding how the gut microbiota regulates bile acids throughout the intestine,” said Casey Theriot, an assistant professor of infectious disease at North Carolina State, in a press release. “Hopefully they will aid the development of future therapies for C. difficile infection and other metabolically relevant disorders such as obesity and diabetes.”

In the study, published in the journal mSphere, the scientists identified 26 primary and secondary bile acids in mice, defining their levels before and after treatment with an antibiotic.

The scientists then added C. diff spores to concentrations of the acids, finding primary bile acids allow spores to germinate, regardless of antibiotic treatment, which included the broad-spectrum antibiotics cefoperazone, clindamycin and vancomycin.

When the spores passed into concentrations that mimicked the large intestines of mice, altered secondary bile stopped C. diff from growing. When bacteria that turn primary bile acids into secondary acids had been killed during antibiotic treatment, C. diff was able to grow.

Scientists said the experiments showing the importance of gut bacteria to preventing at least one bacterial infection — and how antibiotics can prevent the inhibition of its growth — may help guide future research into preventing the infections.

Source: Antibiotics promote C. diff infection by killing gut bacteria –

The virus you likely never heard of is steadily marching north from Brazil. It’s Zika, spread by Aedes mosquitoes. It’s a flavivirus related to yellow fever, West Nile, Chikungunya, and dengue. The latest two that hit the U.S., Chikungunya and dengue, are painful and bad enough—and dengue can kill people […]

The virus you likely never heard of is steadily marching north from Brazil. It’s Zika, spread by Aedes mosquitoes. It’s a flavivirus related to yellow fever, West Nile, Chikungunya, and dengue. The latest two that hit the U.S., Chikungunya and dengue, are painful and bad enough—and dengue can kill people who are infected more than once. Zika adds an added nasty punch of perhaps causing microcephaly, a birth defect where babies are born with abnormally small skulls and brains, and often have developmental abnormalities.

Aedes aegypti mosquito. (Photo by James Gathany, CDC 2006)

Zika was first found in mosquitoes in the Zika forest in Uganda, then isolated in people in Nigeria in 1968, though there was serologic (antibody) evidence of it’s being present through many African countries, India and Malaysia. It was first found outside these endemic areas in 2007, when there was an outbreak on Yap, a South Pacific island.

Zika distribution pre-2007 - Emerging Infectious Diseases

This first map, shows the “known distribution of Zika virus, 1947–2007“. The red circle represents Yap Island. Yellow indicates human serologic evidence; red indicates virus isolated from humans; green represents mosquito isolates.”

These maps are intriguing, showing how quickly Zika is spreading. A similar pattern was seen with Chikungunya, which only reached Europe in 2007, and the Americas in 2013. That same year, in the largest outbreak to date, 28,000 people in French Polynesia (11% of the population) became ill.

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Colombia is also seeing a huge rise in Zika cases, now with more than a thousand new cases a week. Brazil saw its first infection in May 2015. Since then, there has been an explosive increase in cases (estimated at 440,000-1.3 million) and associated cases of microcephaly, now numbering more than 1,000. (Curiously, the CDC says this is about a 10-fold increase; the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) says it is a 20-fold increase.)

Zika distribution 12-10-2015 - CDC

A map from December 2015 shows how Zika has spread northward since May, now with locally acquired cases in 10 Latin American countries, and travel-related cases diagnosed in the U.S. In just the time since I wrote the first draft of this post last week, Zika has spread further, most recently being found in Puerto Rico.

Given that mosquitoes don’t respect borders and that we now have Aedes-transmitted dengue and Chikungunya in the southern U.S., with similar climates as in now-endemic areas, I would expect us to soon begin seeing cases in Florida, Texas and the rest of the Gulf Coast, as well as perhaps California, as those areas all have the Aedes mosquitoes that transmit the virus.

How is Zika spread?

Those pesky mosquitoes are the main way people contract Zika, dengue and Chikungunya. A transfusion-associated case of Zika was reported from Brazil last week.

There are also now two reports of possible sexual transmission of Zika. The first report is quite intriguing. A malaria researcher returned to Colorado from a trip to collect mosquitoes in Senegal. Both he and his wife later became ill with Zika, though she did not join in his travel. He appears to have infected his wife, noting “patients 1 and 3 reported having vaginal sexual intercourse in the days after patient 1 returned home but before the onset of his clinical illness.” Though not proof of sexual transmission, it is likely, given the hematospermia (bloody semen) reported in these two cases.

Symptoms–Does Zika Cause Microcephaly?

Most of the infections are asymptomatic. Illness occurs 3-12 days after the bite from an infected mosquito and lasts 4-7 days. The symptoms of Zika are easily confused with dengue and Chikungunya—fever, rash, joint pain, headache. Conjunctivitis is apparently more common with Zika. Other than serious birth defects, prompting travel alerts, or the spike in Guillain-Barre paralysis seen in Polynesia, Zika seems to be generally milder that these other viruses…but that will likely change as we learn more. We thought the same when West Nile virus, a member of the same family, emerged.

The biggest concern about Zika thus far is whether this virus is the cause of the surge in cases of microcephaly. To me, this seems likely, given the increase of these birth defects noted both in Fiji and in Brazil, corresponding with the outbreaks of Zika. There is no definitive proof yet…but it is further evidence that there are now two cases of Zika virus being isolated from amniotic fluid, explaining how fetuses might become infected. There was another report from Brazil of Zika virus found in the blood and tissue of a newborn with microcephaly, who died within minutes of birth.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis is by reference lab work, so useful for hindsight, but not clinically. There are no rapid tests available in practice. But it’s useful to know what caused an infection, even if it is not treatable, as it might have implications for future care. For example, repeat dengue infections are much more likely to be life-threatening from hemorrhagic fevers than the initial illness.

There is only symptomatic treatment for any of these viruses—rest, fluids and pain meds, with acetaminophen (Tylenol) preferred. You should avoid aspirin or NSAIDs, at least until dengue is ruled out, as they could worsen the risk of bleeding.


Avoiding mosquito bites is the mainstay of preventing any infection from the critters. With malaria, the vector Anopheles mosquito generally bites at night or dawn and dusk, so using bed nets is an important route of prevention.

These disease-spreading mosquitoes are spreading between countries by travel, climate change and occasionally by human transmission to the insects.

In the last few years, the U.S. has had an invasion of Aedes mosquitoes, A. aegypti and A. albopictus. The Asian tiger mosquito, A. albopictus, which transmits all of these viruses, is an aggressive daytime feeder, making it much harder to avoid. It also can adapt to colder temperatures, meaning we will have much more trouble with it wintering over. One of the scary things is that this mosquito species has become resistant to four of the six pesticides used against it. This is part of why I support the use of Oxitec’s genetically modified mosquitoes, which have shown a greater than 90% efficacy in reducing Aedes populations in South American trials.

One other thing that is important is protecting yourself from mosquito bites, even if you become ill with one of these viruses, so that you don’t infect other mosquitoes that feed on you, and thus fuel the spread of disease. Stay in, use a net or use an insect repellent—either permethrin on your clothes, or picaridin or DEET—on your skin.

It’s critical, too, to eliminate the breeding grounds for the mosquitoes, pools of standing water, as can occur in abandoned tires or buckets.


The CDC has issued a travel warning due to Zika for the countries in Latin America experiencing rapid spread, encouraging enhanced protection against mosquito bites. Pregnant women, in particular, are urged to take extra steps to avoid bites. The warnings should be applied more broadly, given the spread of Chikungunya and dengue as well, to other countries in Latin America.


Zika virus is the latest emerging infectious disease to grace the Americas. With globalization and climate change, we can expect to see more and more similar infections. The arboviruses dengue, Chikungunya, and Zika are likely to be growing problems in the U.S. over the coming year or two. Who knows—if global warming continues unabated, we might even see a resurgence of yellow fever in the south. Brace yourself for an exciting new year.

Source: Zika: Coming To America Through Mosquitoes, Travel And Sex – Forbes

A team of researchers plans to figure out why this happens

In recent years, scientists have made small steps towards understanding the relationship between sleep and Alzheimer’s disease. Now, researchers from Oregon Health & Science University in Portland may soon illuminate the connection—they are launching the first experiment of its kind that will study a key process in the brains of sleeping humans, as NPR reports.

Disrupted sleep patterns have long been a common complaint for patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, sometimes decades before they develop cognitive problems or noticeable memory loss. The reason, researchers have discovered, is likely the buildup of beta amyloid plaque, a sticky amalgamation of proteins that collects in synapses and is characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. A number of studies published in the last five years have found that people (and mice) with disrupted sleep patterns had more beta amyloid plaque in their brains.

Researchers are starting to get a sense for why this is the case—sleep may sweep toxins from the brain, preventing beta amyloid from collecting in synapses. But scientists are still not sure what comes first—does the beta amyloid buildup cause the disrupted sleep, or the other way around? “It may be a vicious cycle,” Miroslaw Mackiewicz of the National Institute on Aging told the AP in July.

In order to better understand the brain’s “sweeping” mechanism that may be key to the Alzheimer’s puzzle, the Oregon team plans to observe people’s brains while they sleep. To do it, they’ll use a super-sensitive MRI machine to monitor just how and when the sweeping occurs during a participant’s sleep cycle. Though the researchers know it may be challenging to get volunteers to sleep in a noisy, confined MRI machine, they hope their findings could illuminate the relationship between sleep and Alzheimer’s disease. If they can figure that out, new treatments and preventative measures for the disease may soon follow

Source: Not Enough Sleep May Help Alzheimer’s Take Hold | Popular Science

small study suggests that for adolescents, their number of Facebook friends may be related to their stress levels, with more than 300 friends associated with higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.


The study only included 88 participants at one point in time, so it can’t indicate whether changes in Facebook metrics cause an increase in stress, or vice versa.

Other important external factors are also responsible for cortisol levels, but Facebook involvement may have its own effect, senior author Sonia Lupien of Montreal Mental Health University Institute said in a statement.

“We were able to show that beyond 300 Facebook friends, adolescents showed higher cortisol levels; we can therefore imagine that those who have 1,000 or 2,000 friends on Facebook may be subjected to even greater stress,” she said.

The 88 teens in the study, age 12-17, answered questions about their Facebook use frequency, number of friends, self-promoting behavior and supporting behavior of friends. The researchers measured the teens’ cortisol levels four times a day for three days.

Kids who had more than 300 Facebook friends tended to have higher cortisol levels than those with fewer friends, the researchers reported in Psychoneuroendocrinology.

With more peer interaction on Facebook, however, cortisol levels tended to be lower. Neither depression nor self-esteem were related to cortisol levels.

Cortisol levels in early adolescence may influence risk of depression years later, the authors wrote.

Wenhong Chen of the department of Radio-TV-Film and the department of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, who was not part of the new study, points out that the research is about Facebook, and so the findings can’t necessarily be generalized to other forms of social media use.

It may also not be generalizable to other age groups, Chen said.

“The preliminary nature of our findings will require refined measurement of Facebook behaviors in relation to physiological functioning and we will need to undertake future studies to determine whether these effects exist in younger children and adults,” Lupien said. “Developmental analysis could also reveal whether virtual stress is indeed ‘getting over the screen and under the skin’ to modulate neurobiological processes related to adaptation.”

Offline friend network size was also related to cortisol levels.

“It may not be about the number of friends either online or offline, it may be more about potential communication overload,” Chen said by email.

Larger networks may mean more peers and more drama, she said.

Rather than using the overall number of friends online or offline it may be more revealing to examine network composition, strong ties and weak ties, as well as individuals’ position in their networks, she said.

ource: Facebook network and stress levels may be tied together | Duluth News Tribune

American healthcare has received heavy criticism in recent decades due to its cost/outcome profile. The sources of poor performance in the United States are many, to be sure, and yet one source rarely gets mentioned, namely, primary care. Anyone following healthcare trends in the United States over the past decade will find few critiques of the deficiencies of primary care. In fact, the press clippings for primary care highlight the positive: a desire for more primary care providers (PCPs); a call for more coordination of care by PCPs; and the development of supportive structures around PCPs called “medical homes” and “accountable care organizations.” One would assume that primary care is working well and that we just need to expand it in various ways. Yet, there is a body of information, both vast and well-known, if not well understood, that would suggest otherwise. Why then is everyone eager for more of the same?The first answer to this question is that there is nothing wrong with primary care practitioners. They work hard, for less money than other medical specialists, and help their patients in many ways. To be clear, PCPs are not the problem with primary care. Instead, primary care is underfunded and is not structured with the right players and the right practice leaders. Another way of saying this is that the problem lies within the primary care setting, and I will argue that current proposals for medical homes and accountable care organizations will not fix this clinical delivery dysfunction. I will propose an alternative structure that delivers better care.We know that 70 percent of primary care visits stem from psychosocial issues1. Are PCPs equipped to understand and effectively address these issues? In general, PCPs have not been selected for clinical practice due to their temperament or desire to deal with psychosocial issues, and they receive very limited training to do so. It can be said then, with some exceptions, that they are not equipped to be effective in this regard. What about the lifestyle issues and health behaviors that drive over 50 percent of our health status? How are PCPs at helping people with their diet, exercise, stress, sleep, social isolation, and feelings of loneliness, all of which are significant health risk factors? Again, it can be said that PCPs are not effective, and yet, to be fair, no one has a formula for success, not even behavioral health professionals.While these facts should lead us to question the adequacy of the primary care model today, it appears fully ripe for dismantling when we recognize that behavioral health disorders are the number one source of disability today. Depression leads this group by far, with anxiety and substance use disorders contributing significant impairment. This is not just a U.S. phenomenon – the World Health Organization notes that depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. In terms of healthcare costs in the United States, people with depression and anxiety have costs that are 70 percent higher than those without a mental health diagnosis, and people with depression are four times more likely to have a heart attack.There are numerous troublesome facts like these, but even more worrisome is the reality that 80 percent of the people with behavioral health conditions get no treatment for these disorders. When PCPs identify them for treatment, they typically only get psychotropic medications, even though psychotherapy is remarkable effective and produces no side effects2.While these facts challenge the rationale for the primary care model, they would be mitigated somewhat if we could point to a primary care workforce that is deeply satisfied, growing in numbers, and eager to meet these clinical challenges. The unfortunate reality is that a shortage of PCPs is projected for the future – by conservative estimates, 45,000 too few by 2020 – and physicians generally view primary care as less desirable than other specialties due to lower income and increased time demand. Choose your image, either the elephant in the room or the emperor with no clothes, but how can we not simply state that the primary care model is irreparably broken and in need of replacement?Team-based careLet’s start with a key element of the medical home model, namely, team-based care, and then let us reorient the model by replacing the primary care physician with a behavioral health specialist as the team leader. In so doing, we might excel at: detecting the psychosocial issues that are motivating office visits; addressing strategies for changing critical health behaviors; and finally, diagnosing and treating unrecognized conditions like depression, anxiety and substance use disorder. These issues require a team rather than a single behavioral health clinician. We still need nurse practitioners to be on the front line for treating infections and injuries – more or less, the acute conditions – and we need PCPs to be the senior physicians addressi

Source: How behavioral health can advance a better model

If you need validation that being at work before 10 a.m. feels like “torture,” here it is.Early schedules go against the body’s natural “clock” and can impact learning and health, Paul Kelly, an honorary clinical research fellow at Oxford University’s Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute said, BBC reported.Kelly addressed a crowd at the British Science Festival in Bradford, England, and said making people under age 55 work before 9 a.m. is not conducive to a productive work force.’We cannot change our 24-hour rhythms,” Kelly said. “You cannot learn to get up at a certain time. Your body will be attuned to sunlight, and you’re not conscious of it because it reports to the hypothalamus, not sight.”He noted that staff and students are usually sleep deprived and called the problem an “international issue.”Kelly and researchers at Oxford University are currently recruiting 100 schools around the United Kingdom to take part in a study on delayed school start times and student performance.

Source: Expert says sleep deprivation is ‘torture,’ calls for later work day

Three-time Olympic runner Suzy Favor Hamilton has written a book about her post-athletics foray into the world of high-priced escorts.In “Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running from Madness,” Hamilton chronicles her struggles with undiagnosed bipolar disorder that began in earnest after the 2000 Summer Games and eventually drove her into thrill-seeking behavior.See the most-read stories in Sports this hour >>”My bipolar was driven toward sex,” she told People magazine. “It could have been driven towards drugs and alcohol, or gambling. I found sex was the biggest high to fuel my mania, which is common with bipolar people.”Hamilton has a history of depression in her family. Her brother committed suicide in 1999.In the People interview, she talked about the 2000 Olympics, when she surrendered the lead in the 1,500 meters on the final turn and collapsed short of the finish line. She now says she fell intentionally Years later, under the influence of a new antidepressant, she persuaded her husband to hire an escort for a threesome, hoping it might spice up their struggling marriage. That episode led to her working as a $600-an-hour escort.”Sex was the biggest high to fuel my mania,” she said. “I still crave that high. I can’t say I’ll never act out in that way again.”

Source: ‘Sex was the biggest high,’ Suzy Favor Hamilton says in new book – LA Times

Source: The Mega Sleep Thread … Melatonin, Ambien, GABA – Page 3 – Brain Health

Is Your Brain Firing As It Should? – Neurotransmitters

By Jacob Scharf

Guest Writer for Wake up World

On our troubled planet it is obvious to each of us there are many aspects of our daily lives that are not all they could or should be. Life can be difficult at times! These less than ideal conditions we live amongst create stress and depressive states of ‘being’ in our lives, the symptoms of which can manifest in various ways, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

While many writers focus their advice primarily on the physical aspects of our health, offering great insight on how to lift our general health out of the doldrums with diet and suggestions on supplementation of certain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals etc., there is not the same wealth of information offered as to how we might lift our mental and emotional health out of the doldrums, other than with various spiritual practices such as meditation and yoga. Great advice for sure, but there is a lot more you can do if you are troubled by the stresses of modern life.

This series of articles will focus on how you may find relief from issues like stress and sleep disorders, using targeted ‘brain nutrition’ rather than having to resort to prescribed pharmaceutical medications (antidepressants, sleeping pills etc.) which, in addition to their penchant for forming ‘chemical drug dependence’ in the patient, often come with a host of unwelcome side effects that ultimately do more harm than good.
Part 1 – Natural Ways to Enhance Neurotransmitters

Anxiety and Sleep Disorders.

Neurotransmitters are brain chemicals that transmit signals across a synapse (a structure that permits transit of an electrical or chemical signal) from one neuron (brain cell) to another ‘target’ neuron.

It is possible to have a deficiency in the raw materials that your brain needs to make neurotransmitters, in much the same way as a person may have a deficiency in a vitamin the body needs to assist with general health. These deficiencies can lead to states where neurotransmitters begin to ‘misfire‘, which can result in the various chronic states of mental and emotional health.

Many people are unaware that there are supplements available that will improve their neurotransmitter deficiencies and help correct the imbalance in their brain. And it may surprise you to learn that the supplements I will be discussing for optimal neurotransmitter health are a combination of natural hormones and simple amino acids, with specific functions relating to our brain chemistry.

When we encounter people who are in states of mental anguish, whether it be insomnia, acute anxiety or chronic depression, there is a general consensus within the scientific community that these individuals are experiencing a miscommunication between certain hormones and neurotransmitters in their brain. Presenting our brain with the raw ‘brain food’ it needs can help to optimize our brain’s performance and improve our mood. While taking pharmaceutical drugs may be viewed a little like sending in an armoured tank to rearrange the brain-scape, supplementing your diet with the raw materials your brain needs to rearrange itself is a more natural, subtle, and effective way to improve your mental and emotional health.
An introduction to the various supplements

As a student of Integrative Neuroscience, I witnessed a veritable epidemic of stress disorders amongst my fellow students during my finals week. Many were suffering anxiety that leads to sleep disruption – without sleep there was more anxiety and so it goes on. Sleep deprivation is not helpful when you need to think clearly, so no doubt many of us would benefit from feeding our brains what it needs to get us through these anxious times, with minimal sleep disruption and a sense of calm control – and two of these foods are serotonin and melatonin.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps you relax, and the precursor for making serotonin in your body can be found in one of the 22 essential amino acids, called Tryptophan. In other words, tryptophan is the raw food for serotonin production. Food sources of tryptophan include poultry, meat, cheese, yogurt, fish and eggs. However supplementing may prove more beneficial in times of greatest need, and as we age. Tryptophan can be purchased as a stand-alone supplement. When taken correctly, tryptophan can greatly assist with states of stress and high-anxiety.

Tryptophan – Is Your Brain Firing As It Should? – Natural Ways to Enhance Stress-Reducing Neurotransmitters

There are two basic kinds of tryptophan available. L-tryptophan which is the natural amino acid and 5-HTP (5-Hydroxy-tryptophan) which is the immediate bio-chemical precursor of serotonin. When taking the l-tryptophan a larger dose will be needed (around 2-4 grams daily in divided doses, or as a single dose at night for sleep) than if you decide upon the 5-HTP kind (around 300-400mg), because 5-HTP directly crosses the blood-brain barrier rather than having to first be converted in 5-HTP from the original L-tryptophan molecule.

Several double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trials have demonstrated the effectiveness of 5-HTP in the treatment of depression. Either form will help with stress and sleep disorders. See more here:

Anxiety leads to sleep disruption, and without sleep there is more anxiety … and so it goes on. This article will focus on how you may find relief from issues like stress and sleep disorders using targeted ‘brain nutrition’, rather than having to resort to prescribed pharmaceutical medications that ultimately do more harm than good. By Guest Writer Jacob Scharf

Source: Is Your Brain Firing As It Should?  Natural Solutions for Stress | Wake Up World

“New Solution Cures Snoring – And Lets EVERYONE Sleep At Night”

I am a simple man.

I enjoy my quality of life, generally speaking, but I’ve been in desperate denial of the fact I have a snoring problem. Deep down, I know my wife is miserable when I snore, and that this persistent condition of mine puts my physical

CPAP Is Not Your Only Option

and mental health in serious jeopardy….even worse still, I’ve done nothing about it.

Until now.

Reflecting back on how I let this serious health issue drag out for years, posing an incessant inconvenience to my wife, I feel like a complete buffoon! Not only that, but my wife is convinced I have sleep apnea (OSA), which can be deadly if left untreated. Still, I ignored her requests to seek help for almost five years.

Recently, my lack of restful sleep had begun to interfere with my workflow, which brought me to a breaking point. As a writer in the research field, I figured I could potentially cure my snoring and sleep apnea by putting my craft to work, gleaning advice from the medical community.

Here’s what I found:

While most people think of snoring as a minor annoyance, research shows it can be gravely hazardous to your health. For over 18 million sufferers nationwide, it’s caused by obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). People who suffer from OSA repeatedly and unknowingly stop breathing during the night due to a complete or partial obstruction of their airway. It occurs when the jaw, throat, and tongue muscles relax, blocking the airway used to breathe. The resulting lack of oxygen lasts for a minute or longer, and can occur hundreds of times each night.

Thankfully, most people wake when a complete or partial obstruction occurs, but this repeated interruption makes deep REM sleep impossible, leaving you completely exhausted and incapable of performing your responsibilities both at work and in the home.

According to my research, OSA has also been linked to a host of health problems including:

Acid reflux

Frequent nighttime urination

Memory loss




Heart attack

People over 35 are at higher risk for such complications…..I am 40. At this point in my research, I began to feel fortunate that nothing more serious had happened, having lived with this condition for over 15 years now.

In my continuing research, I found a case study published by Eastern Virginia Medical School in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, which concluded that the use of a simple chinstrap is the single most effective treatment for snoring and OSA. Better than CPAP devices, better than nasal strips, better than any other treatment on the market.

Left on my wife’s last nerve without any other viable option, I decided to give it a try. While not the most attractive nighttime fashion accessory in the world, the chinstrap induced a surge in my sex appeal, as it instantly and miraculously CURED my snoring and sleep apnea!

The chinstrap, which is made from a cutting-edge lightweight, ergonomic material, is exclusively available from a company called MySnoringSolution. Built for comfort, it works by supporting the lower jaw and tongue, preventing obstruction of the trachea. Thousands of people have used the MySnoringSolution strap to relieve their snoring symptoms, unanimously reporting sounder sleep and a resulting boost in overall health.

This is a certifiable effective snoring cure for just $119!

The “My Snoring Solution” Chinstrap is available exclusively from the company’s website which is currently offering a limited time “2 for 1” offer. The product also comes with a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee.

If you want to stop snoring once and for all, without expensive CPAP devices or other intrusive devices, this may be the solution you’ve been waiting for. The free additional strap is great for travel or as a gift for a fellow sufferer.

Don’t hesitate, Click Here to learn more and to get your risk-free, 2 for 1, exclusive bundle from MySnoringSolution.

via My Snoring Story.

Most teens start school too early in the morning, which deprives them of the sleep they need to learn and stay healthy, a new study says.

The American Academy of Pediatrics last year urged middle schools and high schools to start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. in order to allow teens — who are biologically programmed to stay up later at night than adults — to get the recommended 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep each night.

But 83% of schools do start before 8:30 a.m., according to a study released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The average start time for 39,700 public middle schools, high schools and combined schools was 8:03 a.m., based on data from the 2011-2012 school year.

School systems have debated whether to delay school start times for years. Many parents have asked schools to start later, arguing that their teens have trouble waking up early enough to get to school by 7:30 a.m., let alone learn.

“It makes absolutely no sense,” said physician M. Safwan Badr,  a past president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. “You’re asking kids to learn math at a time their brains are not even awake.”

But many school officials have argued that starting class later would make it more difficult to schedule after-school sporting events, which often require teams to take buses to other parts of their districts.

“It’s a logistical nightmare,” said Daniel Domenech, executive director of AASA, the School Superintendents Association., who said that school districts have to consider the cost of school buses, as well as traffic and after-school activity schedules.

Allowing high schoolers to sleep in could mean sending elementary kids to school in the dark during the winter, as they would have to take the early schedule. That could pose a safety dangers to the youngest kids as they walk to school or wait at bus stops, Domenech said.

Starting high school later also would mean starting sports practices later and make it more difficult for teens to get to after-school jobs, Domenech said.

He notes that early school start times are nothing new.

“This has been going on forever, and kids have been graduating from school and going on to college,” Domenech said. “It certainly doesn’t seem to have hurt them all these years.”

Yet studies show that today’s teens are chronically sleep deprived, said Judith Owens, director of sleep medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital and lead author of the pediatric academy report.

Two-thirds of high school students today fail to get even eight hours of sleep on school nights, according to the CDC report. Adolescents who don’t get enough sleep are at higher risk for being overweight, depressed and using tobacco, alcohol or illegal drugs, but less likely to get enough exercise, according to the CDC. Over time, people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to develop heart disease and type 2 diabetes, Owens said.

“This is a major public health issue,” said Badr, noting that parents should consider sleep to be as important for a child’s health as nutrition and exercise. He encourages parents to be firm with kids, setting bed times and telling teens to shut off their electronic devices.

Sleep deprivation also can lead to drowsy driving and car accidents, Owens said.

Studies on driving simulators show that “not getting enough sleep at night is the equivalent of consuming three or four beers and being moderately intoxicated,” Owens said. “So teens are getting behind the wheel as impaired as if they had consumed a fair amount of alcohol.”

Owens notes that students who finish school in the early afternoon spend more time unsupervised, giving them more time to get into trouble before their parents arrive home from work.

While some adults assume that sleepy teens are lazy, Badr said that adolescents’ natural sleep cycles are very different than adults’.

While the average adult’s body tells her to sleep from about 11 p.m. to 6:30 a.m., the typical teen body wants to sleep from about 12 a.m. or 1 a.m. until 8 a.m. or 9 a.m., Badr said. When school starts too early, “they’re waking up at a time when their brain doesn’t want them to be awake.”

Kids forced to wake up too early also miss out on REM sleep, which is important for consolidating memories and helping people to remember what they learned that day, Owens said. REM sleep tends to be concentrated in the last third of the night, or between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. for a typical teen, Badr said.

“It’s like telling you that you have to get up at 3 o’clock in the morning and function at full capacity,” Owens said.

Some schools have made changes aimed at improving teen sleep.

Owens has worked with the public school system in Fairfax County, Va., where high school used to begin at 7:20 a.m., and the first buses began picking kids up as early as 5:45 a.m. This fall, high school will begin at 8:10 a.m. Researchers are collecting data to see if the later start time leads to any changes in test scores or health, including the number of kids who report being depressed or who are injured playing sports, Owens said.



The vast majority of schools start before 8:30 a.m., which is earlier than doctors recommend for teens..


As rates of Alzheimer’s diagnoses continue to rise, researchers are searching for effective ways to detect the disease early in patients. A neuroscience graduate student at the University of Alberta says he’s identified a simple way to screen for early stages of the disease: by analyzing a patient’s saliva. The researcher, Shraddha Sapkota, presented his findings this week at the annual Alzheimer’s Association Conference in Washington, D.C.

For the study, saliva samples were analyzed with a special technology designed to measure protein levels. Results from each sample were then matched with patients’ medical records. Some of the patients had already received a diagnosis for Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment. The analysis showed a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment correlated with higher levels of certain proteins in saliva. It indicates that elevated protein levels may be predictors for the condition, even in its earliest stage.

Currently, doctors screen patients for Alzheimer’s disease through a number of tests. Unfortunately, many of the screening options are unreliable, costly or invasive. Written tests that evaluate executive memory and cognitive function aren’t always effective for distinguishing early-stage forms of the disease. Medical imaging tests such as MRIs—used to identify the formation of amyloid plaques in the brain—are costly. Spinal taps that can detect high levels of certain proteins in cerebrospinal fluid can be risky for elderly and frail patients.

Try Newsweek for only $1.25 per week

More research is needed to assess the potential for this test, but it could solve some of the challenges physicians face. Early detection of Alzheimer’s disease is key: Starting medications before the disease has progressed has been known to preserve cognitive function in patients. Some research suggests that patients will have the best outcomes if they start medications before any of symptoms of the disease begin to manifest. But to do so, physicians need an easy and reliable way to identify those patients.

Saliva Test Could Predict Alzheimer’s Disease.

he Neurology Advisor take:

It is not uncommon for people with depression or bipolar disorder to complain that their thinking has gotten less sharp. And new research, using brain scans, indicates that activity in the part of the brain involved in executive functioning, such as working memory, problem solving, and reasoning, is indeed impacted in the two conditions.

University of Michigan researchers gave 612 women — more than two-thirds had major depression or bipolar disorder — a test involving prolonged concentration. The women with either depression or bipolar disorder did equally bad on the test, a finding, researchers say, indicate that the two disorders are more similar than different, the reported in the journal Brain.

“These findings support the idea of seeing mood disorders dimensionally, as a continuum of function to dysfunction across illnesses that are more alike than distinct,” lead author Kelly Ryan, PhD, a neuropsychologist, said in a statement.

Brain scans of 52 of the women as they were doing the test were also taken. Those with depression or bipolar disorders had different levels of activity in the brain’s right poster parietal cortex compared with healthy participants.

The researchers say their work supports the National Institute of Mental Health’s Research Domain criteria, a project to find new ways of classifying mental disorders independent of the diagnostic codes found in the DSM-5.

Brain wave Depression, Bipolar Disorder Linked to Reduced Brain Connectivity

People with depression or bipolar disorder often feel their thinking ability has gotten “fuzzy,” or less sharp than before their symptoms began. Now, researchers have shown in a very large study that effect is indeed real — and rooted in brain activity differences that show up on advanced brain scans.

What’s more, the results add to the mounting evidence that these conditions both fall on a spectrum of mood disorders, rather than being completely unrelated. That could transform the way doctors and patients think about, diagnose and treat them.

Depression, Bipolar Disorder Linked to Reduced Brain Connectivity.

OLATHE, Kan. – A woman convicted of murdering her husband in their Kansas home walked free Wednesday after serving just 9 years for the crime, reports CBS affiliate KCTV.

In 1982, Melinda Raisch’s husband, 25-year-old David Harmon, was bludgeoned to death in their bedroom. At the time, Raisch told police two intruders knocked her out and she woke up later to find her husband dead. Detectives never believed her story.

Even so, Raisch moved to Ohio, married again and started a family.

David and Melinda Harmon

Olathe detectives reopened the case 20 years later. This time, she changed her story, telling detectives there was just one intruder.

WATCH: 48 Hours: A Knock on the Door

They arrested her and her former boyfriend, Mark Mangelsdorf, a New York marketing executive who, at the time of the murder, was a college student in Olathe, Kansas.

According to the Kansas City Star, Raisch was convicted of first-degree murder, but prosecutors agreed to a deal where she could plead guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for her testimony against Mangelsdorf.

Mangelsdorf pleaded to second-degree murder and in 2006 both were sentenced to 10-20 years, reports the Star.

Raisch, who was freed Wednesday, will be under supervised parole in Ohio for ten more years.


Melinda Raisch, Kansas woman who murdered her husband David Harmon in 1982, freed after 9 years in prison – CBS News.

How this Brit wooed 2 gorgeous women into his ‘throuple’ – NY Daily News.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) – A new study just released by the Centers for Disease Control suggests people who make more money get more sleep.

Researchers found about 35 percent of adults with incomes below the poverty line report getting less than six hours of sleep a night.

While about people making well above the poverty mark tend to get more than six hours of sleep.

Sleep specialist Dr. Lloyd Diamond said the data collected in 2013 and just released appears on point.

“I think there are a lot of things that contribute to the lack of the sleep or poor quality of sleep,” Diamond said.

Diamond said stress and work load can play a big part in anyone’s sleep cycle, but more serious health issues could be at play.

“People who are on the lower end of income are just caught in a vicious cycle of several different health issues,” Diamond said.

He said limited incomes could deter people from getting sleep tests and a chance at diagnosing sleeping disorders.

“It is something that can make whatever else you have going on harder to treat,” he said.

The CDC recommends adults get seven to eight hours of sleep each night.

via Study finds adults’ income, sleep can be linked – KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff.

The oldest person in the world, a Japanese woman named Misao Okawa, died early Wednesday morning at 117-years-old. Mrs. Okawa celebrated her birthday on March 5 with her family, including her 92-year-old son, however, retirement home officials where she resided up until her demise indicated that she had recently lost her appetite. In an interview last year with The Telegraph marking her 116th birthday, the oldest woman in the world attributed her longevity to relaxing, eating well, and sleeping eight hours a night in addition to regular naps. Eat and sleep and you will live a long time […] You have to learn to relax. In a recent study published in the journal Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, researchers examining the relation between naps and memory found a five-fold memory improvement after just 45 to 60 minutes of napping and in an unrelated study, researchers found that as little as 30-minutes of lost sleep per day throughout the work week could have long-term consequences on the human body’s weight and metabolism. Misao Okawa’s cause of death came as a result of heart failure, according to a USA Today report which quoted an official at her Osaka nursing home, Tomohiro Okada, as having said that she died “peacefully, as if she had just fallen asleep”. She went so peacefully, as if she had just fallen asleep […] We miss her a lot. According to Okada, she lost her appetite roughly 10 days before she passed away. She celebrated her 117th birthday just a few weeks ago. In 1919, Okawa married her husband Yukio with which she had two daughters and a son. While her husband passed away in 1931, she is survived by her four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Okawa, who was the daughter of a kimono maker, was declared the world’s oldest person in 2013 by Guinness World Records following the death of 116-year-old Jireomon Kimura in June of 2013 — both of whom were from Japan. Gary Dahl, the inventor of the Pet Rock, also passed away recently. He was 78-years-old when he died. What are your thoughts on the death of the oldest person in the world and her sage-like advice on longevity?

Read more at:

The oldest person in the world, a Japanese woman named Misao Okawa, died early Wednesday morning at 117-years-old. Mrs. Okawa celebrated her birthday on March 5 with her family, including her 92-year-old son, however, retirement home officials where she resided up until her demise indicated that she had recently lost her appetite. In an interview last year with The Telegraph marking her 116th birthday, the oldest woman in the world attributed her longevity to relaxing, eating well, and sleeping eight hours a night in addition to regular naps. Eat and sleep and you will live a long time […] You have to learn to relax. In a recent study published in the journal Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, researchers examining the relation between naps and memory found a five-fold memory improvement after just 45 to 60 minutes of napping and in an unrelated study, researchers found that as little as 30-minutes of lost sleep per day throughout the work week could have long-term consequences on the human body’s weight and metabolism. Misao Okawa’s cause of death came as a result of heart failure, according to a USA Today report which quoted an official at her Osaka nursing home, Tomohiro Okada, as having said that she died “peacefully, as if she had just fallen asleep”. She went so peacefully, as if she had just fallen asleep […] We miss her a lot. According to Okada, she lost her appetite roughly 10 days before she passed away. She celebrated her 117th birthday just a few weeks ago. In 1919, Okawa married her husband Yukio with which she had two daughters and a son. While her husband passed away in 1931, she is survived by her four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Okawa, who was the daughter of a kimono maker, was declared the world’s oldest person in 2013 by Guinness World Records following the death of 116-year-old Jireomon Kimura in June of 2013 — both of whom were from Japan. Gary Dahl, the inventor of the Pet Rock, also passed away recently. He was 78-years-old when he died. What are your thoughts on the death of the oldest person in the world and her sage-like advice on longevity?

Read more at:

The oldest person in the world, a Japanese woman named Misao Okawa, died early Wednesday morning at 117-years-old. Mrs. Okawa celebrated her birthday on March 5 with her family, including her 92-year-old son, however, retirement home officials where she resided up until her demise indicated that she had recently lost her appetite. In an interview last year with The Telegraph marking her 116th birthday, the oldest woman in the world attributed her longevity to relaxing, eating well, and sleeping eight hours a night in addition to regular naps. Eat and sleep and you will live a long time […] You have to learn to relax. In a recent study published in the journal Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, researchers examining the relation between naps and memory found a five-fold memory improvement after just 45 to 60 minutes of napping and in an unrelated study, researchers found that as little as 30-minutes of lost sleep per day throughout the work week could have long-term consequences on the human body’s weight and metabolism. Misao Okawa’s cause of death came as a result of heart failure, according to a USA Today report which quoted an official at her Osaka nursing home, Tomohiro Okada, as having said that she died “peacefully, as if she had just fallen asleep”. She went so peacefully, as if she had just fallen asleep […] We miss her a lot. According to Okada, she lost her appetite roughly 10 days before she passed away. She celebrated her 117th birthday just a few weeks ago. In 1919, Okawa married her husband Yukio with which she had two daughters and a son. While her husband passed away in 1931, she is survived by her four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Okawa, who was the daughter of a kimono maker, was declared the world’s oldest person in 2013 by Guinness World Records following the death of 116-year-old Jireomon Kimura in June of 2013 — both of whom were from Japan. Gary Dahl, the inventor of the Pet Rock, also passed away recently. He was 78-years-old when he died. What are your thoughts on the death of the oldest person in the world and her sage-like advice on longevity?

Read more at:

Misao Okawa Dead: Oldest Person In The World Dies At Age 117.


April 2 at 2:40 AM

It happens in an instant just before you fall asleep. You’re startled by a loud noise — the thud of a book slamming to the floor, or worse, the bang of a shotgun nearby. You a jump up and look around, but everything seems normal. Well it is, but you did hear a noise that wasn’t real. It was in your brain.

It’s a phenomenon called “exploding head syndrome.”

“It can sound like explosions, gunshots in your head, giant guitar strings breaking beside you or something heavy being dropped,” Brian Sharpless, assistant professor and director of the psychology clinic at Washington State University, told The Washington Post. He’s also the lead author of a study on the disorder. “A small number of people will see lightning, flashes of light or visual static like you see on a TV screen. It’s scary, and people wake up confused.”

Exploding head syndrome has received little clinical attention over the years. Scientists have hypothesized the condition is rare and seen mostly in people older than 50. But when Sharpless and his researchers assessed 211 undergraduate students for sleep paralysis as well as exploding head syndrome — which appear to be connected — they found the phenomenon is more common than clinic lore led them to believe. The researchers recently published the findings in the Journal of Sleep Research.

Its symptoms were first described some 150 years ago. Doctors have noted it in literature as “sensory discharges” and, later, “snapping in the brain.” In 1988, neurologist J.M.S. Pearce dubbed it “exploding head syndrome.”

Sharpless and his colleagues found that 18 percent of the people they interviewed had experienced the disorder at least once. More than 16 percent had recurring cases. However, when the researchers removed those who had also experienced sleep paralysis, the number fell to 13.5 percent — which is still “shockingly high,” he said.

The sensation occurs during “sleep state misperception,” the moment right before people doze off, though it can also happen as they are waking up.

“Your brain essentially has a hiccup in the reticular formation, which is the part of the brain that helps shut down your body for sleep,” Sharpless said. “It shuts down your motor, visual and auditory neurons. But with exploding head syndrome, instead of the auditory neurons shutting down, they fire all at once.”

That hiccup can make people hear a noise that isn’t there — sometimes in their ears, other times in their heads. In some instances, people have seen lightning or other flashes of light, or felt an intense heat all over, according to Sharpless’s research. But despite how scary the name is, “it’s physically harmless,” he said.

“Some people with exploding head syndrome thought they were having a seizure or a subarachnoid hemorrhage or something really bad,” he said. “There is some evidence that just learning about it can reduce the frequency of the episodes.”

Less than 3 percent of those who had experienced it had it to an extent that it interfered with their lives, according to the research. “If it happens that much, it’s not doing good things for your sleep,” Sharpless said, but that’s about it.

The next phase it to try to understand what might make people more likely to have it.

That loud bang that startles you awake: It may be ‘exploding head syndrome’ – The Washington Post.

Ashely Judd

Billy Joel

Hugh Laurie

Jim Carrey

How can somebody so funny be secretly struggling with depression? Such is the case with celebrated comedic actor Jim Carrey, who has been very open about his long-term depression battle. In a 2008 interview with the British newspaper The Sun, Carrey described how his mental health issues began just as he was breaking through to stardom, adding that his perspective on depression has changed over the years.

Sheryl Crow

This Grammy-winning singer has released hit single after hit single through the years, but even a woman famous for singing “all I wanna do is have some fun” can be depressed. According to a 2002 write-up in Blender, Crow states that depression has been part of her everyday life as long as she can remember. She credits antidepressants and therapy with helping her recovery.


10 Celebrities Coping With Depression – Depression Center – Everyday Health.

TaurineTaurine plays a major role in good liver function via detoxification and the formation of bile. Inadequate levels of taurine are common in many patients with chemical sensitivities and allergies. Taurine is the major amino acid required by the liver for the removal of toxic chemicals and metabolites from the body. Impaired body synthesis of taurine will reduce the ability of the liver to detoxify environmental chemicals such as chlorine, chlorite bleach, aldehydes produced from alcohol excess, alcohols, petroleum-based solvents and ammonia. Recent findings are demonstrating, that taurine is one of the major nutrients involved in the body’s detoxification of harmful substances and drugs, and should be considered in the treatment of all chemically sensitive patients. Taurine is helpful for high blood cholesterol and gall bladder problems, alcohol withdrawal, hepatitis and jaundice.

via Positive Health Online | Article – A Healthy Liver and Weight Loss.

“IT’S like coffee times ten,” raves one enthusiast. “I use it a couple of times a week and problems solve themselves. At the end of the day, I haven’t wasted hours on frivolous websites. At the end of the week, my apartment is clean.” This marvel of productivity is not a new energy drink or an experimental wonder drug but a simple electrical device that he built at home for less than $10. Whenever this physicist feels like an extra burst of motivation, he places electrodes on his skull and sends a jolt of electricity into his brain.

The currents, which are typically applied for ten to 20 minutes, are hundreds of times smaller than the seizure-inducing shocks used in electroconvulsive therapy. Plans to make such transcranial direction current stimulation (tDCS) machines are freely available online and their components can be bought at hobbyist stores. Kits cater to those lacking soldering skills, and now companies are emerging offering nicely designed and packaged brain zappers for mainstream consumers.

Not everyone using tDCS is seeking to become more efficient in their daily life. Some hope to enhance their concentration for study or video gaming; others want to boost their memory, speed up learning or induce meditative calm. Yet more are trying to self-medicate for conditions such as depression, chronic pain and motor, sensory or neurological disorders. The benefits might sound implausible, but there is some science to support them. The idea goes back a long way. Scribonius Largus, a first-century Roman physician, prescribed the shock of an electric ray for headaches, and in the 19th century electrical pioneers such as Luigi Galvani and Alessandro Volta toyed with crude bioelectric experiments. It was not until the 1960s, however, that the first rigorous studies of electrical brain stimulation took place.

Directing the flow

The theory behind tDCS is that a weak direct current alters the electric potential of nerve membranes within the brain. Depending on the direction of the current, it is said to make it easier or more difficult for neurons in a brain circuit to fire. Position the electrodes correctly and choose the right current, so the idea goes, and you can boost or suppress all kinds of things. Some researchers have reported that tDCS can reduce pain, ease depression, treat autism and Parkinson’s disease, control cravings for alcohol and drugs, repair stroke damage, and accelerate recovery from brain injuries, to say nothing of improving memory, reasoning and fluency. Remarkably, some effects seem to persist for days or even months. And the closer that scientists look at tDCS, the more they seem to find. Scientific papers about the technology appear at an ever-faster rate.

Hardly surprising, then, that DIY brain hackers want in on the action. Christopher Zobrist, a 36-year-old entrepreneur based in Vietnam, is one of them. With little vision he has been registered as blind since birth due to an hereditary condition of his optic nerve that has no established medical treatment. Mr Zobrist read a study of a different kind of transcranial stimulation (using alternating current) that had helped some glaucoma patients in Germany recover part of their vision. Despite neither the condition nor the treatment matching his own situation, Mr Zobrist decided to try tDCS in combination with a visual training app on his tablet computer. He quickly noticed improvements in his distance vision and perception of contrast. “After six months, I can see oncoming traffic two to three times farther away than before, which is very helpful when crossing busy streets,” he says.

Online communities dedicated to tDCS are full of similar stories. More still claim to have gained cognitive enhancements that give them an edge at work or play. Users follow the latest scientific papers avidly and attempt to replicate the results at home, discussing the merits of different currents, waveforms and “montages” (arrangements of the electrodes on the skull).

Happiness and health may always be more than just a 9-volt battery away

Dissenting voices are rare. Here and there are tales of people who experienced headaches, nausea, confusion or sleeplessness after tDCS, while temporary visual effects and mild skin burns are fairly common. There have been no reports of seizures, serious injuries or deaths. But that does not mean it is without risk, says Peter Reiner, co-founder of the National Core for Neuroethics at the University of British Columbia. He says DIY users may place electrodes incorrectly, thus stimulating the wrong part of their brain, or reverse the polarity of current, potentially impairing the very things they are trying to improve. No one really knows how tDCS interacts with chemical stimulants or recreational drugs like marijuana, or with pre-existing conditions like epilepsy. Even something as fundamental as being left-handed can alter the functional organisation of the brain. And if the benefits of tDCS can persist for weeks, perhaps its side-effects can linger, too. Many neuroscientists are particularly worried that the use of tDCS by children and young adults could affect their long-term neural development.

Some of these concerns can be addressed by manufacturing tDCS devices to make it difficult, or impossible, to exceed recommended currents or to apply the electrodes incorrectly. One such product already exists. The V2, made by Transcranial, a London company, is advertised as a $199 pocket-sized controller that pairs with a $99 headset intended to help with concentration and reaction speed while videogaming. Donning the headset automatically positions the electrodes on the left and right temples, and both the duration and maximum current are capped. A second headset provides a different montage aimed at improving performance and motivation while exercising.

In reality, however, there is no guarantee that even slick products are any safer than a pocket-money brain stimulator assembled at home from a 9-volt battery, electrodes, a few wires and other components. Unlike the tDCS machines used for medical trials and clinical research, consumer versions may not have been assessed by any official body for safety or effectiveness. If the maker insists they are for use only by healthy adults to enhance cognition or leisure activities and make no diagnostic or therapeutic claims, such “wellness” devices have slipped under the regulatory radar of both the Medical Devices Directive in Europe and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in America.

That worries some experts. A recent paper from the Institute for Science and Ethics at the University of Oxford points out that consumer tDCS products are mechanically and functionally equivalent to medical neurostimulation devices that require licensing. Why regulate the version that is likely to be operated responsibly by health professionals, and not the one freely available to unskilled and inexperienced users? The Nuffield Council on Bioethics agrees, recommending in 2013 that the European Commission should consider regulating all such gadgets under its medical devices regime, regardless of the purposes for which they are marketed.

The Institute for Science and Ethics proposes a graded regulation system that errs on the side of consumer choice for tDCS devices, requiring comprehensive, objective information about risks and benefits to allow users to make informed decisions. But it wants supplying brain zappers to children to be made illegal. Last year the FDA allowed transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator (TENS) machines for headache relief as it rated them as low-to moderate-risk devices. TENS devices use a different waveform to tDCS and target cranial nerves rather than the brain itself, but they rely on a similar controller and head-mounted electrodes. Before allowing new TENS products to be sold, the FDA now wants to see evidence that the components are not likely to cause injury, that the controller can reliably provide the correct output, that there are no thermal or mechanical hazards, and that clinical data demonstrate the device is safe and effective as a headache treatment. Recent draft FDA guidelines for wellness devices suggest tDCS machines may eventually be regulated in a similar way.

Going underground

The University of British Columbia’s Dr Reiner doubts that any manufacturer today can provide such information for tDCS. Even if they could, the cost of gathering it would make consumer devices more expensive. “When you can make a tDCS device yourself for less than $20, we would advise strongly against heavy regulation because it will only drive the technology underground,” he says.

Proving the effectiveness of brain stimulation will be difficult. Although it may well do something, exactly what is open to question. As the hype around tDCS grows, some neuroscientists are starting to question whether the technology really is the panacea it appears to be.

In 2013 Teresa Iuculano and Roi Cohen Kadosh of the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford split volunteers up into three groups and asked them to learn a made-up mathematical notation system. The first two groups received tDCS to different parts of the brain previously associated with numerical understanding and learning, while a non-functional “sham” device was used on the third group as a control. After a week, all three groups were tested on how well they had learned the new notation system, and whether they could use it in practice. The first group showed an improvement in learning compared with the control group, but a decrease in their ability to apply their knowledge, while the second group experienced the opposite result. This suggests that the brain is actually rather well balanced: boost performance in one cognitive realm through stimulation, and aptitude in another will naturally diminish.

There is also the possibility that a variation in individual responses to tDCS will overshadow any general effects. In a study published last year, Dr Cohen Kadosh set up two groups: one of people who were anxious when presented with mathematical problems, and another who had confidence in their ability to breeze through numerical quizzes. When treated with tDCS to their prefrontal cortices, the nervous individuals improved their reaction time on simple arithmetical problems and showed reduced levels of stress. Given the same treatment, the confident group had longer reaction times and no less stress. “If you can get exactly the opposite results with a different population, that shows DIY brain hackers and companies marketing stimulation to improve gaming or other abilities are not on the right track,” says Dr Cohen Kadosh. “We need to understand how the brain works in different people.”

Felipe Fregni, director of the Laboratory of Neuromodulation at Harvard Medical School, says tDCS has been shown to accelerate the learning of new skills. But he agrees that individual variation is important, noting that younger people sometimes do not improve as much as older subjects, and that people at later stages of learning may even experience detrimental effects. “The more science you know, the more confused you can become of what really is the effect of tDCS,” says Dr Fregni.

One advantage of the deluge of scientific papers is that they can be subjected to meta-analysis, whereby studies can be statistically combined to tease out new discoveries. Last year, Jared Horvath, a neuroscientist at the University of Melbourne in Australia, published a meta-analysis of 30 measurements taken during tDCS studies, including neural responses, oxygen levels and electrical activity in the brain. Surprisingly, he found that tDCS had a reliable effect on only one: the electrical response of muscles to stimulus, and even that has steadily declined in studies over the last 14 years. Mr Horvath believes this indicates that the response has historically been measured poorly and that it too will eventually disappear as techniques mature.

Equally troublesome is a meta-analysis of the cognitive and behavioural effects on healthy adults that Mr Horvath subsequently carried out. As before, he included only the most reliable studies: those with a sham control group and replicated by other researchers. It left 200 studies claiming to have discovered beneficial effects on over 100 activities such as problem solving, learning, mental arithmetic, working memory and motor tasks. After his meta-analysis, however, tDCS was found to have had no significant effect on any of them.

If tDCS alters neither the physiology of the brain nor how it performs, thinks Mr Horvath, then evidence suggests it is not doing anything at all. Marom Bikson, a professor of biomedical engineering at City University of New York, disagrees. “I can literally make you fall on your butt using the ‘wrong’ type of tDCS,” he says. Dr Bikson thinks the biggest challenge for tDCS is optimising techniques, such as the dose.

Mr Horvath notes that many papers measure 20 or more outcomes, with brain stimulation showing a weak effect on one or two. “But in the title and abstract, that’s all they talk about,” he says. “No one mentions the tons of effects that tDCS didn’t have an impact on but that technically it should have if it is doing what the researcher thinks it is.”

Another problem might be the small sample size, sometimes as few as ten or 15 people. Mr Horvath says future studies should use at least 150 subjects. There is, of course, the possibility that Mr Horvath’s analyses are flawed. His paper included only one-off sessions, while many scientists believe the effects of tDCS accumulate with repetition. However, too few multiple-session studies exist for a valid meta-analysis. Dr Cohen Kadosh points out that individual variations could make the technology look as though it is doing nothing when in fact it has real but opposing effects in different people. Mr Horvath insists that his analysis allows for this possibility.

Critics might also wonder why Mr Horvath omitted tests where tDCS seems to have been most effective, in alleviating, for instance, clinical conditions such as depression. He admits that would be useful but says, “If something doesn’t demonstrate any type of effect in healthy people, it becomes incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to argue why it would work within a clinical population.”

Not all neuroscientists are defending the status quo. “I’m not surprised that he found no effect from conventionally applied tDCS,” says Jamie Tyler, a professor at Arizona State University and one of the founders of Thync, a Silicon Valley startup that recently unveiled a smartphone-controlled tDCS device. Thync tried to replicate some basic tDCS findings on cognition but could not do so. Dr Tyler now believes that tDCS may not directly stimulate the brain at all but instead modulates cranial nerves in the skull, like the headache-busting TENS technology. He designed the Thync device, a pocket-sized unit with disposable pre-shaped electrodes, to target these nerves with the aim of generating either relaxed or energetic mental states.

A shot of caffeine

Dr Tyler recently published a study of 82 people with a control. Its results suggest that Thync’s device can reduce psychophysiological stress by altering skin conductivity (a measure used in pseudoscientific lie detectors), stress enzymes and heart rate variability. He likens Thync’s “modified tDCS” programs to ingesting either a third of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, and says no effect has been found on cognitive processes like working memory. While Thync’s stimulator is not yet available to the public, the firm was willing to give your correspondent a pre-launch trial.

The Thync device attaches with one sticky electrode on the right temple and one behind the right ear. The unit is controlled via a smartphone app, with the user able to adjust the intensity but not the duration of the session. At first, the unit generated a barely perceptible crawling feeling on the skin near the electrodes, building gradually to a pronounced tingling sensation. Over the 20-minute session, the strength of the signal varied up and down according to a preset routine. It felt itchy at times and, at its most powerful, caused muscles in the forehead to spasm alarmingly. Although the experience was not altogether unpleasant, any extra energy or focus proved, alas, elusive. Dr Tyler acknowledged that perhaps one in four people do not perceive any immediate benefit from the device.

Even for those who find themselves susceptible to its charms, the challenges for a product like Thync are formidable. The cognitive enhancements of a strong cup of tea or a glass of vintage Burgundy are well established. And partaking of them can be socially acceptable, deliciously enjoyable and rapidly achieved. None of these can be said of a disconcerting gizmo that needs half an hour to work and causes eyebrows to raise, both literally and socially.

Regardless of their questionable utility and effectiveness, tDCS gadgets are too novel, cheap and alluring to simply dismiss. Consumer-wellness devices like Thync may appeal to those who cannot use caffeine or alcohol for medical or religious reasons, and there will always be healthy overachievers seeking to supercharge their cognition for study or work. More importantly, tDCS presents the tantalising promise of relief from some medical conditions for which traditional therapies are either ineffective or unaffordable. As the University of Melbourne’s Mr Horvath says, “If there are ten percent of people who are feeling a huge effect, even if that’s placebo, who are we to say no to them?”

If people want to experiment with tDCS, there seems to be no reason to prevent them, provided it is done in the safest way possible. Devices could be regulated lightly with a view to safety rather than effectiveness, and neuroscientists encouraged to design future studies with more rigour. Happiness and health may always be more than just a 9-volt battery away, but brain hacking looks like it is here to stay.

Neurostimulation: Hacking your brain | The Economist.


30-Minutes Of Lost Sleep Linked To Weight Gain, Study Claims.


Because scientific studies are examining the role of magnesium in alleviating or circumventing many commonly occurring chronic ailments, it is important to be educated on the variations in magnesium supplements; especially magnesium orotate, the best form of the mineral supplement.

Magnesium is not easily absorbed in the body unless first attached to transporting substance. For this reason, many supplement manufacturers have “chelated” magnesium to organic and amino acids. A few of these include magnesium oxide, magnesium sulfate and magnesium carbonate. Quality depends on the amount of magnesium in the supplement and how bioavailable it is. Bioavailability refers to the amount of magnesium in the supplement that can be assimilated by the digestive system and used for cellular activity and health benefit

Magnesium is one of those supplements that is very well known for its benefits throughout the natural health community. Magnesium is involved in over 300 biochemical processes in the body. One of its most important functions is that it plays a key role is producing energy, this Elementmakes it vitality important for all cellular functions and processes. It helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm regular, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. Its wide range of health benefits and biological activity make it effective in addressing a number of common diseases and conditions including fibromyalgia, chronic pain, diabetes, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and headaches. Numerous studies have demonstrated that magnesium supplementation and correction of deficiency has improved the aforementioned conditions. The problem with this essential mineral is that most people do not have sufficient levels for optimal health. A gradual depletion of nutrients from our soils has left many vegetables with lower levels of magnesium. Another factor that contributes to magnesium deficiency is that it often is depleted by various common conditions (i.e. IBS, Crohn’s disease) and medications (i.e. proton pump inhibitors, diuretics).
For a more complete discussion please see the article The Many Faces of Magnesium in the Heart Health issue of Advances.

As a supplement, magnesium is most commonly found in small amounts in multivitamins and in certain over the counter laxatives. Minerals such as magnesium or calcium are combined with another molecule to stabilize the compound. Each combination, referred to as a chelate, (such as magnesium citrate) has different absorption, bioavailability and therapeutic value. These additional molecules can really impact the medicinal value of the magnesium and some even have beneficial effects in their own right. The most common forms and their benefits are listed below.

Magnesium-L-Threonate: This form of magnesium has recently been studied to improve memory and brain function. One preliminary study in animals found that it significantly enhanced both short-term and long-term memory, boosting scores by 15% for short-term memory and 54% for long-term memory compared to magnesium citrate.8 Based on this study, it appears that magnesium-L-threonate is a highly absorbable form of magnesium that can improve brain function. While this research is promising, more is needed to confirm its benefit.

Magnesium Pidolate (or picolinate): This form of magnesium has generated interest because it is very inexpensive and can easily be made into a liquid supplement. There really have not been any substantial research trials supporting its specific health benefits. The down side of this form is that the pidolate molecule does not have any additional health benefits.

Magnesium oxide: Often used in milk of magnesia products since this form has a strong laxative effect. Even though this combination contains a large proportion of magnesium compared to the oxide molecule, it has poor bioavailability and readily causes loose stools; therefore it is considered the least optimal form to use as a supplement. Also referred to as “Magnesia”, magnesium oxide is commonly used therapeutically as a laxative and relief for acid reflux. This type of magnesium shows high levels of concentration, but poor levels of bioavailability (only 4%).

Magnesium sulfate: This form is often used as an intravenous preparation but it is not used in oral formulations. Since it does have some absorbability through the skin, . An inorganic form of magnesium with an elemental concentration of 10% and lower levels of bioavailability. Magnesium sulfate contains magnesium and sulfer and oxygen; it’s commonly referred to as Epsom Salt.

Magnesium citrate: A commonly used form that has a good bioavailability compared to oxide. It is also very rapidly absorbed in the digestive tract but it does have a stool loosening effect.1 This form is found in many supplements and remains a solid option for delivering magnesium into the body. Derived from the magnesium salt of citric acid, this form of magnesium has lower concentration, but a high level of bioavalibity (90%). Magnesium citrate is commonly used as to induce a bowel movement, but has also been studied for kidney stone prevention.

Magnesium Amino Acid Chelate

A mineral chelate form of magnesium containing an ion of magnesium oxide connected to a mixture of some other form of amino acid. This could be a lactate, a glycine, aspartate or arginate, etc. The best chelated amino acid form of magnesium is aspartate or arginate.

Magnesium Aspartate: This form has increased bioavailability compared to oxide and citrate. There were some promising clinical trials conducted in the 1960s that found a combination of magnesium and potassium aspartates had a positive effect on fatigue and they reduced muscle hyper-excitability. Physiologically this makes sense since both magnesium and aspartic acid are critical players in cellular energy production. This form is not commonly found but has been used for chronic fatigue syndrome.

Magnesium Chloride

A form of magnesium showing moderate concentrations, but higher levels of bioavalibity when compared to magnesium oxide. Magnesium chloride has many uses, most commonly to help manufacture paper, some types of cements and fireproofing agents.

Magnesium Lactate

This type of magnesium shows moderate concentrations, but higher levels of bioavalibity as compared to magnesium oxide. Magnesium lactate is a mineral supplement that is most commonly used for treating digestive issues. Magnesium lactate should be avoided by those with kidney disease or kidney-related problems.

Magnesium Carbonate

This form of magnesium has moderate levels of elemental concentration and 30% bioavalibity rates. Magnesium carbonate has a strong laxative-effect when taken in high amounts. It is also commonly known as chalk, and is used as a drying agent by pitchers, gymnasts, rock climbers and weight lifters.

Magnesium Glycinate, Malate & Taurates

Chelated forms of magnesium holding moderate to low concentrations and higher levels of bioavailability. All three types of magnesium have a variety of uses, but none are as beneficial as the previous magnesium supplements listed above.

Magnesium Glycinate: Glycine is a well-known calming amino acid. This combination has good bioavailability and does not have a laxative effect since glycine is actively transported through the intest                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 inal wall. Due to the calming and relaxing effect of both glycine and magnesium, this combination has been used successfully for chronic pain and muscle hyper tonicity.

A magnesium supplement is best taken with calcium, for this reason, I developed IntraCal, it provides the best ratio of calcium and magnesium orotate.

– Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM

Magnesium Malate: This less well-known combination has been studied for use in fibromyalgia. Since malate is a substrate in the cellular energy cycle, it can help improve ATP production; there is some preliminary evidence that it may reduce muscle pain and tender points in fibromyalgia patients.4

o-DR-OZ-HEALTHY-HEART-facebookMagnesium Orotate: This is another relatively unknown chelate combination containing orotic acid. This form has good bioavailability has had been studied specifically for heart health. Orotates can penetrate cell membranes, enabling the effective delivery of the magnesium ion to the innermost layers of the cellular mitochondria and nucleus. Orotates themselves increase the formation of RNA and DNA which can help heart cells repair and therefore improve function. The combination has been shown to improve heart failure, symptoms of angina and exercise performance in clinical trials.5,6 The most effective form of magnesium supplement, created through the use of the mineral salts of orotic acid. Both plants and animals use orotates to create DNA and RNA. Extensive scientific research by Dr. Hans A. Nieper, M.D. shows orotates can penetrate cell membranes, enabling the effective delivery of the magnesium ion to the innermost layers of the cellular mitochondria and nucleus. Magnesium orotate contains many properties that can help protect you and your health, while offering your cells the most readily absorbable form of magnesium on the market today.

Magnesium Taurate: Both magnesium and the amino acid taurine share the ability to improve cardiac function; each has a potentiating effect on insulin sensitivity and also a calming effect on neuromuscular excitability. The actions of both have striking similarities when it comes to cardiovascular health. They both have blood pressure reducing effects, stabilize nerve cells, improve the contraction of the heart muscle and have an anti-thrombotic effect.7 Additionally, low levels of vitamin B6 have been shown to further deplete both magnesium and taurine.

Due to its broad ranging beneficial effects, magnesium has really emerged as a quintessential health supplement with an excellent safety profile. Various forms of magnesium can be employed for specific health concerns and to increase bioavailability. Consider the research evidence and activity of each form to choose one that is most appropriate for you.

1) Coudray C, Rambeau M, Feillet-Coudray C, Gueux E, Tressol JC, Mazur A, Rayssiguier Y: Study of magnesium bioavailability from ten organic and inorganic Mg salts in Mg- depleted rats using a stable isotope approach. Magnes Res 2005;18:215–223.
2) Nagle FJ, Balke B, Ganslen RV, Davis AW. The mitigation of physical fatigue with “Spartase”. FAA Office of Aviation Medicine Reports. Rep Civ Aeromed Res Inst US. 1963 Jul;26:1-10.
3) Lamontagne C, Sewell JA, Vaillancourt R, Kuhzarani C, (2012) Rapid Resolution of Chronic Back Pain with Magnesium Glycinate in a Pediatric Patient. J Pain Relief 1:101
4) Abraham GE, Flechas JD. Management of Fibromyalgia: Rationale for the Use of Magnesium and Malic Acid. Journal of Nutritional Medicine (1992) 3, 49-59.
5) Stepura OB, Tomaeva FE, Zvereva TV. Orotic acid as a metabolic agent. Vestn Ross Akad Med Nauk. 2002; (2): 39-41.
6) Geiss KR, Stergiou N, Jester, Neuenfeld HU, Jester HG. Effects of magnesium orotate on exercise tolerance in patients with coronary heart disease. Cardiovasc Drugs Ther. 1998 Sep; 12 Suppl 2:153-6.
7) McCarty MF. Complementary Vascular-Protective Actions of Magnesium and Taurine: A Rationale for Magnesium Taurate. Medical Hypotheses (1996) 46. 89-100
8) 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


  1. Classen HG. Magnesium orotate–experimental and clinical evidence. Rom J Intern Med. 2004;42(3):491-501. Review.
  2. Zeana C. Magnesium orotate in myocardial and neuronal protection. Rom J Intern Med. 1999 Jan-Mar;37(1):91-7. Review.
  3. Albrecht E, Kirkham KR, Liu SS, Brull R. The analgesic efficacy and safety of neuraxial magnesium sulphate: a quantitative review. Anaesthesia. 2013 Feb;68(2):190-202. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2044.2012.07337.x. Epub 2012 Nov 1. Review.
  4. Dufault R, LeBlanc B, Schnoll R, Cornett C, Schweitzer L, Wallinga D, Hightower J, Patrick L, Lukiw WJ. Mercury from chlor-alkali plants: measured concentrations in food product sugar. Environ Health. 2009 Jan 26;8:2. doi: 10.1186/1476-069X-8-2.


  1. Maria

    QUESTION: Would I be overdosing myself with Magnesium L-Threonate and after an hour took some Magnesium Glycinate? Thank you for specifying the different types of magnesium. I took Magnesium L-Threonate thinking it would calm me down as I was having mild anxiety attacks and no benefits after an hour. Decided to take Magnesium Glycinate, felt a difference of calmness!

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Maria,
      I don’t think you would be overdosing with combo. You really can’t over dose on magnesium since excess is just excreted in the digestive tract.
      Glad to hear you found relief!

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

      1. Gene

        Dr. Hrkal,
        which type of magnesium is best for depression please?

        1. Dr. Hrkal

          Hi Gene,

          There isn’t a form of magnesium studied for depression specifically even though there is evidence that low magnesium levels are most likely related to depression. See the following studies.

          I would stick to a well absorbed form of magnesium with good bowel tolerance like glycinate or malate.

          Hope that helps

          Dr Paul Hrkal

  2. Camille

    Good article. I have read studies that showed the benefits of supplementing magnesium during pregnancy but none indicated which form is best or used during pregnancy. Are you familiar with this?

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Camille,

      Thanks for reading the article. Magnesium (and calcium) are important to take during pregnancy to prevent muscle cramps and healthy bone formation. There has not been any specific form studied but citrate, malate or glycinate are well absorbed and safe for both mother and baby.

      Hope that helps

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  3. Patricia Grimes

    I’m a 85 year old widow and would like to take magnesium for my leg cramps.
    I take Clopidogel Bisulfate for a heart stent and Losartan 100 mg. for blood pressure.
    Could you tell me what type of magnesium would be best for me?
    Will appreciate your reply.

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hello Patricia,

      Thank you for the inquiry. Unfortunately we can’t recommend specific products for you on this forum. I would recommend you consult a qualified healthcare practitioner to make sure that your supplements are safe with the medications you are on. I can say that most forms of magnesium are useful for leg cramps. I would direct you to a form such as magnesium malate, that is easily absorbed and does not cause loose stools.

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  4. Mark

    I have restless leg which seems to be getting worse. I was told potassium would help. I have been taking nearly 2000 mg with only very slight improvement. I want to add Magnesium, which form would you recommend?

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Mark,

      Any form for magnesium would work except magnesium oxide. Magnesium citrate has a fast absorption so that is something you can take before bed. Magnesium glycinate has a calming effect and mag malate is great for muscle pain. Remember magnesium stores are built up over time so it may take a few months to see lasting benefits but usually people see an improvement quickly.

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  5. Sara

    Hi there,

    I’m just wondering what the best form of magnesium would be in order to get as many benefits as possible. Do you have to get each type of magnesium separately, or is there a way to get them all in one form of magnesium? If you do have to get them all separately, is it okay to mix them together and use all at once?

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Sara,

      Sorry for the late response. I don’t think you need to take all the forms to get the benefits of magnesium. Any of the amino acid combinations of magnesium will give you the benefits of repleting magnesium plus the effects of the amino acids. I would pick a magnesium form that best fits your goals (i.e. magnesium orotate if you have cardio vascular concern) and stick with it for a few months to build your levels. Magnesium glycinate or malate are my favorite for general health since they have a broad spectrum benefit on muscles.

      If you want feel free to mix them but a better approach would be to take each one for a period of time and rotate so you get the benefits of each. This way you amy be even able to tell which form you feel the best with. This will help guide you which form is best for you.

      Hope that helps
      Dr Paul Hrkal

  6. Roger

    Hello Dr. Hrkal,

    Your article list the benefits of different forms of magnesium that have different health attributes. My question is once cellular magnesium levels have reached optimal status. Would the benefits of Orotate’s effect on RNA & DNA be achieved? As such would L-Threonate benefits to cross the BBB be achieved as well. I guess my question is are these health benefits attributed to the FORM or magnesium. Thank you in advance

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Roger,

      Great question. The benefits of ortotate or threonate would be effective right from the start of supplementation since they have an independent and distinct therapeutic benefit. That being said, the evidence suggests that it can take months to replete cellular magnesium levels depending on the intestinal absorption and previous level of deficiency. It’s also very difficult to accurately measure this. So assuming that after 3 months of rigorous supplementation you achieve optimal magnesium levels the benefit of orotate would be there throughout this time since the effects are independent. You could argue that once magnesium levels are optimal orotate would be more effective but they are not needed for it to be effective.

      The form of magnesium makes a big difference but the effects are not necessary tied together. The added benefit of “amino acid” forms of magnesium it that they are actively absorbed compare to citrate or oxide so they don’t cause loose stools are easily.

      Hope that helps
      Dr Paul Hrkal

  7. Janni


    I’ve recently discovered that most magnesium supplements contain dicalcium phosphate. Is there any calcium-free form?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Justine

      Hi Janni, there are many quality magnesium supplements that don’t contain calcium diphosphate. Calcium diphosphate can be used either as a source of calcium to make a cal-mag type of product, or it can be used as a type of flow agent or bulking agent to help the product go into the capsule better. But there are lots of magnesium supplements that don’t have any type of calcium in them. None of AOR’s magnesium products contain calcium.

  8. Betty


    I want to take some bone health products like calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K2 and magnesium. What type of magnesium do you recommend and how much?

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Betty,

      Thanks for the question. Any of the amino acid magnesiums (glycinate, aspartate, malate etc.) or citrate are good for bone health. Just stay away from magnesium oxide because its an inferior form that is poorly absorbed and causes loose stools.
      The recommended amount usually is 500mg.

      Hope that helps

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  9. Adnan

    What is your opinion on Magnesium Oil?

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Adnan,

      Some people really advocate for the use of magnesium oil for topical application to relieve muscle pain. While there are some reports of improvement in symptoms, this way of getting magnesium has not been studied nor is a good way to address systemic deficiency. There really isn’t a good way to assess if topical application is actually getting into the body other then patient feedback. I personally stick to oral magnesium products since my clinical experience and the research supports this administration route.

      Hope that helps
      Dr Paul Hrkal

  10. Jessica Ann

    I have been taking 400 mg magnesium oxide once a day for about 2 weeks and I have been feeling very dizzy. Could this be a possible side effect? I have hyperparathyroidism and am below normal levels magnesium and phosphorus but high blood calcium and pth. Thank you

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      HI Jessica,

      Its tough to tell if your symptoms are related to the mag oxide. Magnesium can lower blood pressure which can lead to symptoms such as dizziness. I would stop the supplement to see if the symptoms persist. If they do persist see you doctor.

      Hope that helps
      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  11. rosalind

    Which form of magnesium would be the best to use for severe constipation even though I eat fresh fruit, dark leafy greens each day and plenty of water since I stopped eating gluten. My antibodies were elevated on a blood test to 5.6ug/ml ( the normal range was <2.0 so I was told to avoid wheat,etc. I used to eat a lot of whole grains everyday with all of the above to keep myself regular. I am really afraid of becoming dependent. It is impossible to get enough whole grains without wheat.

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Thanks for the question

      Magnesium citrate would be the best to promote bowel movement. Keep increasing the dose little by little each day until you get loose stools. Then reduce dose by half. The absorption is on par with the best amino acid chelate forms of magnesium but it still can offset constipation. If you are gluten sensitive then magnesium is poorly absorbed so I would recommend you continue magnesium supplementation as you get your diet in order.

      Hope that helps
      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

      Hope that helps

  12. rosalind

    I definitely feel better since I stopped the gluten( except for the severe constipation)

  13. Simi

    I was taking magnesium malate 850 mg each day for muscle pain.Now, I am having stomach acid problem. I have cut magnesium malate dose to less then 425 mg. For stomach acid problem, which magnesium would be the good one?
    Thank you

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Thanks for the question Simi,

      My understanding of your question is that you have reflux after taking magnesium malate (“stomach acid problem”).
      Magnesium is very well tolerated and usually doesn’t cause digestive or stomach upset when taken at the recommended doses. There is no one form that is best at minimizing the effect on stomach acid except avoiding magnesium oxide. The only thing you can do is reduce the dose (which you are trying) or change to a different form. Try AOR’s new advanced magnesium complex for a combo of the most absorbable forms.

      There are many other reasons for reflux. I would consult your healthcare practitioner if the problem persists.

      Best of luck,

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  14. Ken

    Hi: I’m a 67 year old male and have been diagnosed with atherosclerosis with a moderate calcium score in the aorta, and also occasional palpitations, nonetheless have worked out regularly for years. Was taking magnesium oxide for a year or two until discovering it’s probably the least effective of the magnesium supplements (actually it seemed to help the palpitations some). Also just upped my Vitamin D3 and added K1 and K2. Was wondering what your thoughts were for which magnesium helps heart and circulation the most…thanks!

  15. Ken

    Hi: I’m 67 and in pretty good shape, but have been diagnosed with a calcium score of about 145 three years ago, also have once-in-a-while palpitations, but worked out at the gym regularly for decades. Was taking magnesium oxide (400mg a day) for a couple years until researching that it’s probably the least effective of the magnesium supplements (actually it seemed to help the palpitations some). Also have upped Vitamin D3 to 4000iu (recent blood level of 40) and added K1 (1mg) and K2 (300mcg). After reading various opinions on various magnesium formulas, was wondering your thoughts on which is best for heart and circulation…thanks!

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Ken,

      Thanks for you comment. Magnesium Orotate and Magnesium taurine would be the best for heart health. Take a closer look at those in the above article. Magnesium itself will counter balance calcification and improve blood flow. Orotate and taurine provide additional benefits for heart cell function, nerve conduction and repair. The vitamin K is an excellent addition to offset calcification.

      Dr Paul Hrkal

  16. Tammy

    I suffer from chronic migraines and read an article stating to drink 700-1000mg of magnesium citrate/malate along with 4000mg of pyruvate in an 8 ounce glass of water. My question is do you have any experience of using this combination and would it make a difference if it was citrate or malate.
    Thank you

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Tammy,

      Magnesium will help you with vaso-relaxation and headaches. I am not familiar with pyruvate or the combo with magnesium. I like to use magnesium and curcumin for tension headaches but migraines are more complex. I would look at food allergies and other sources of inflammation in migraine cases.
      For magnesium I would use either citrate, malate or glycinate. They are best absorbed.

      Dr Paul Hrkal

  17. Tammy Philipp

    Thank you

  18. Jeanenne

    I have Essential Tremors – it mostly affects my hands. Is there a form of magnesium that might help? I’m otherwise in good health, am 79 years old, take no medications but do take supplements.

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Jeanenne,

      Thanks for the question. For essential tremor there has been no studies with magnesium. Theoretically it may help with muscle spasms but I don’t think we have any evidence to say it will help with essential tremor.

      There is a lot of evidence supporting the benefit of magnesium (muscle function, bowel regularity, etc.) so you would still benefit from taking a formula like magnesium glycinate or magnesium malate.

      I hope that helps
      Paul Hrkal ND

  19. Jeanenne

    Thank you so much for your prompt reply. We have been taking two or three different forms of Magnesium (one kind at a time) but have run out and wanted a recommendation as to which form to take. I have been unable to find any supplement that lessens the effects of ETs but am planning on starting on a highly alkaline diet as that is what helped me in 2008 when I had PMR. (That and prayer)

  20. Beth

    Hello I am 39 years old, female. I have heart palpitations and chronic upper back pain. Which kind of magnesium do you recommend? the cardiologist had prescribed me magnesium oxide but if another kind will help me more than I would rather try it. Can I take two kinds at the same time the one for the heart and the one for the muscle function? What is the recommended dose?

    Thank you for your help

    1. Dr. Hrkal


      There is a lot of evidence supporting the benefit of magnesium (muscle function, heart function, bowel regularity, etc.) so you would still benefit from taking a formula like magnesium glycinate or magnesium malate that have been specifically studied for the muscle function. Magnesium orotate or taurine has been studied with heart function. I have included 2 links below to some information that will be helpful.

      I do think that whatever type of magnesium you choose (outside of mag oxide which is poorly absorbed) will be helpful for both situations.

      I hope that helps
      Paul Hrkal ND

  21. Andrea

    I have adrenal fatigue and the dreaded sleeplessness that comes along with it. Which form of magnesium would help? Thanks!

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Andrea,

      In this case you want a well absorbed magnesium to replete levels that were lost during stressful periods. Any type other than magnesium oxide is well absorbed. I would also consider magnesium glycinate for its calming effects before bed for insomnia.

      Good luck
      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  22. Linda Powers

    I have heard that magnesium does not absorb well with fluoride taken either ingested, or transdermal as in soaking in it. Could you verify this information?

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Linda,

      This is a very interesting question. There actually is fair amount of research showing that fluoride prevents the absorption magnesium in the intestines. The fluoride ion itself can inhibit the activity of magnesium in enzyme processes throughout the body. This reduces bone formation, vascular relaxation and energy production. It is safe to conclude that fluoride should be avoided and ingesting high levels may counteract the beneficial effects of magnesium. This doesn’t mean you avoid magnesium supplementation. If fact, if you drink fluoridated water you should increase your magnesium levels to offset the negative effects. This webpage has a summary and list of reference that you will find helpful.

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  23. Kathy slick

    My product of magnesium citrate does not carry a recommended correct daily dosage. Natural Fractors. Canada is the name of this fine white powder. Please be specific as I find this subject very confusing. 78years old.

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Kathy,

      I don’t know the specific dosage of the magnesium you are referring to but it should say on the label. The goal is to get 100mg 2-3 times daily. Take as many caps as you need to achieve that dose. If you get loose stools then reduce the dose by half.

      I hope that helps
      Dr Paul Hrkal

  24. Ooy

    I have numbness on the tip of my big toes. Have been taking Vitamin B12 for that and was diagnosed magnesium deficiency. Could you please recommend what type of magnesium i should take for the numbness. Thank you in advance.

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Ho Ooy,

      While there is no type of magnesium studied specifically for nerve pain magnesium glycinate or taurine are great options for nerve issues since they have good absorption and both glycine and taurine are calming neuro-signalling molecules. Also consider other reasons why you could be having numbness in your toes. Diabetes and nerve entrapment can cause numbness in your toes.

      Good luck

      Paul Hrkal ND

  25. Michelle

    I have a 12-year-old son who has asthma, food allergies, and is also ADD. I have read that kids with these problems lack magnesium. I’m not sure which type of magnesium would be best and how much to give.

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Michelle,

      Unfortunately we can’t give recommendations for patients on dosage. I would follow the label on the bottle. I can say that there is clinical research showing magnesium is useful in ADD cases and they used a citrate form. Consider a well absorbed form of magnesium like mag glycinate that also has calming effects.

      I hope that helps

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  26. Anna

    It looks like I could benefit from different forms of Mg . Would it be smart take different forms of it either daily at the same time or alternate different ones each day ? I have heard from others that diff Mag forms have different applications so you can’t take them at once . Is it true ? If yes, so then what best time to take each of form during the day ? Thank you for taking time answering all our questions ! I found this site very informative ( I am a holistic health practitioner ) !

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Anna, you are right that different forms have unique benefits but the focus should still be on an absorbable form of magnesium. I suggest taking 1 type for 1-2 months and then switching to another form. There is no benefit to switching forms daily.

      Thanks for you question

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  27. Ooy

    Thank you very much for your prompt reply. I have diabetes checked and the result was ok, but have to keep close look on that. I had never heard about nerve entrapment. Will find out more about it and consult with my doctor. Thank you.

  28. Toni

    Doctor Hrkal,
    December 8, 2014

    My husband has a lot of issues from RLS to calcification of the aorta. He was told by his doctor to take magnesium. At first he was on magnesium chloride but has since switched to magnesium glycinate. I was concerned until I read your article.One question, I would like to know if he should be taking calcium, D and K2 with the magnesium in order for it to absorb properly and be of value?
    Thank you,

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Toni,

      If any cases of calcification vitamin K should be used. Studies have shown it reduces and prevents calcification of soft tissue like blood vessels.
      However, to answer your question, Vitamin D, K, or calcium are not needed for the optimal absorption of magnesium. Mag is absorbed better when taken away from food and other minerals since they compete for absorption and require stomach acid to be broken down.

      I hope that helps

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  29. Lisa


    I have a 3 y/o son who is autistic. He currently takes Mag Glycinate 100mg bid. He deals with constipation regularly. Would it be too much Mag to give occ Mag Citrate?

    Thank you,

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Lisa,

      You don’t need to switch magnesium but just very gradually increase the dose of mag glycinate until your son’s stools become more loose. To directly answer your question, there is no harm occasionally adding mag citrate if you desire.

      Paul Hrkal ND

  30. fenty

    Hi Dr Hrkal,
    Can someone have sleep apnea (on CPAP machine for pretty long) consuming magnesium glycinate ? Since mg glycinate will help muscle to relax while sleep apnea person has too relax muscle around the throat that blocking the air, it seems making it worst? If it is okay which magnesium is the best? And what is the correct dose to start? Thanks so much.

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Fenty,

      Magnesium’s action is not that is will relax muscle so much that it affects breathing. Its more correct to picture when there is enough magnesium the muscle functions normally, which includes proper contraction and relaxation. Mag glycinate should not adversely affect breathing or sleeping. A well absorbed form of magnesium (like glycinate) is a good form to take to restore proper levels. There is no correct dose because it varies depending on the person and health concern. I typically tell people to follow the label dosage which usually ends up being 200-300mg daily.

      Dr Paul Hrkal

  31. fenty

    Thanks Dr Hrkal,
    Pls help me with my last question; for the best sleep aid should i go for mag glycinate or mag bisglycinate?

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi fenty,

      Either one is fine. The bisglycinate is just 2 glycine molecules. Both work well for sleep.

      Dr Hrkal

  32. Heather

    You said Mag glycinate was calming, do you know why when I take it it makes me anxious? Also when I take Potassium it gives me chest tightness and pain? Thanks

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Heather,

      Some people have this “opposite” effect to magnesium. We don’t know exactly why it happens but my theory is that since magnesium increases energy production at the level of the mitochondria some people could be overstimulated by this. The same is true for its affect on the brain. Mag is needed in the formation of excitatory neurotrasmitters so you may be pushing these pathways with extra mag. I would suggest trying to support the brain pathways with a B-complex. Its might make the magnesium less excitatory if other co-factors are present.

      here is study that supports this theory

      I hope that helps

      Dr Paul Hrkal

  33. dju

    Lots of good info here. So I have a vitamin D/magnesium question. Recently increased my vitamin D3 to 10,000 units/day after latest blood test came back still low after taking 6,000 units D3/day. At the same time I stwitched from magnesium citrate to magnetic glycinate due to intestinal issues. No intestinal issues, but getting that anxiety and jittery feeling again. Wondering if the high dose if D3 is draining my magnesium or if the switch to 800 mg magnesium glycinate/day isn’t maintaining my magnesium level like magnesium citrate did. My intestinal problems seem better though.

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Dju,

      Its tough to say exactly what is causing the jittery feeling again but it may be the glycinate component. Even though it is calming for most people it can have the opposite effect for a few. I would try switching to one of the other magnesiums (like malate) to see if you still feel that way. Malate is well absorbed as well. Another option is to reduce the dose of magnesium glycinate to 400mg daily. The vitamin D will not have an effect on the magnesium but it could increase your calcium levels.

      Dr Hrkal

  34. Zenie Ed

    I took mag glycinate for a few months at a low dose 3x a week. It was good but it aggravated my insomnia. What mag supplement do you recommend? I’ve got adrenal fatigue. Thanks

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Zenie Ed,

      Some people have this “opposite” effect to magnesium. We don’t know exactly why it happens but one possible explanation is magnesium is needed in the formation of excitatory neurotrasmitters so you may be pushing these pathways with extra mag. I would suggest trying to support the brain pathways with a B-complex. Its might make the magnesium less excitatory if other co-factors are present. Also another type of magnesium, like mag malate or citrate could not have the same effect on the brain.

      here is study that supports this theory

      I hope that helps,
      Dr Paul Hrkal

  35. Erin

    Hi. I recently was diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism and underwent a parathyroidectomy and thyroid lobectomy (it was intrathyroidal) 6weeks ago. I am in the process of determining the damage with doctors but it appears I have had it for at least 10 years. I have suffered from back pain, kidney stones/infection, fatigue, apathy, heart palpitations, Lown Ganong Levine Syndrome, extra clotting (no DVT), and hand numbness. Since surgery, many things have improved but I am now getting muscle spasms often, palpitations have increased, and daily numbness in my arms, hands, legs and feet that lingers for up to an hour. My labs indicate low vitD and low-normal calcium, normal PTH. I am currently taking 100% RDA calcium, 4000 IU D3, 100% RDA K2. Should I request to be tested for Mg deficiency? Do my current symptoms sound like they could be improved with Mg? Is Mg deficiency associated with HPT pre or post-op? Thank you.

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Erin,

      That sounds like a complex situation. Low or altered thyroid function could cause all those symptoms which I would suspect before I think of magnesium involvement. If you wanted to test for magnesium deficiency that I would request ionized magnesium but even this test is a poor marker of your true magnesium levels outside the blood stream. For this situation, I would suggest seeing a naturopathic doctor that will be able to answer of magnesium is a good idea for you to take. The good news is that magnesium is very well tolerated and has very little side effects.

      I hope that helps

      Dr Paul Hrkal

  36. Lisa Lansford

    Hi, I’ve been taking 1,000 mg. of Magnesium Oxide per day (500 mg. in the morning and 500 mg. in the evening) for several months and am very happy with the laxative properties (no more constipation). After reading this very informative article, I am wanting to try Magnesium Taurate and Magnesium L-Threonate for their benefits. My question is, would these two forms of Magnesium have the same beneficial effects on my digestive system as the Magnesium Oxide? I don’t want to go back to ineffective elimination.

    Thank you for your help. Lisa

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Lisa,

      Thanks for you question. There is no doubt that magnesium oxide has the most potent laxative properties but citrate also has this effect at similar doses. Any type of magnesium will have a stool loosening effect but oxide and citrate just have their effect at lower doses. I think you can try another form like mag taurine but just adjust the dose to maintain your stool function. Also once you build up your mag levels your stools should need less of a dose to regulate bowel movements.

      I hope that helps

      Dr Paul Hrkal

  37. Huni Hinrichsen

    Do any of the magnesium types counter each other? I have been taking Magnesium Citrate for a while to reduce risk of getting blocked bowel movement but a doctor is recommending me to take Magnesium Threonate for improved nerve and brain functions. I tried switching but noticed shortly that my bowel movement dropped.

    Can I take both of them right before bedtime or would you recommend sticking to either?

    Thanks Paul!

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Huni,

      There is no known interaction between the forms of magnesium. Citrate does a better job at loosening the bowels. Threonate will also loosen stools but at a higher dose since the amino acid is absorbed more readily. In my opinion you could take both together if needed.

      Dr Paul Hrkal

      1. Huni Hinrichsen

        Thank you very much!

  38. Katerina


    Hi how are you? I have a question. A few weeks ago I purchased a product called Natural Vitality Nature Calm. It is magnesium citrate that is in a powdered form which I add to my water at night to drink. I am hypothyroid and even taking my desiccated NatureThroid I still was severely constipated. The magnesium citrate works tremendously for me. I take roughly around 325 mg to 400 mg every night. The problem is my insomnia is still there. I used to have to take prescription meds just to fall asleep. I stopped taking the prescription meds for sleeping because I don’t want to live like that and rely on a pill just to fall asleep. I drink the magnesium citrate and then a few hours later I take melatonin, but it still takes me a few hours to fall asleep. I used to have migraines almost every day, muscle spasms, and muscle twitches. After taking the magnesium citrate that has gone away. My muscles do hurt a lot though and my doctor is still running some blood test to see if this is fibromyalgia or some other autoimmune disease. I wish they made an all in one magnesium pill. I did read that magnesium glycinate is good for insomnia. Why is glycinate better for insomnia versus the citrate form? Will the glycinate also produce a laxative effect? Also, taking the citrate I cannot say that I see a huge difference in my muscle pain. My main concern is I don’t want to become constipated again changing the magnesium type. I really love the nature calm, I feel that it really works but I just can’t easily fall asleep like normal people. Can you please recommend to me what I can do and which one I should take, and how many milligrams is the safest dose for the day in which ever you recommend? Thank you very much and I look forward in hearing from you.

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Katerina,

      Thanks for your questions. Its sounds like you have a number of things you are still trying to figure out. Unfortunately, I can’t make treatment or diagnosis recommendations in this post but I can answer some of your questions.
      1) Mag glycinate can be better for sleep since the amino acid glycine has an added calming effect in the brain that complements magnesium. Glycine is a calming neurotransmitter.
      2) Mag glycinate can also keep your stools regular but since its absorbed better than citrate you may need to take more to get the same effect.
      3) A common dosage for mag glycinate is 200-400mg daily in divided doses.

      Note: Mineral supplements can interact with your thyroid meds so be sure to take them at different times of the day.

      I would suggest you consult a Naturopathic doctor to help identify some root causes of the insomnia and muscle pain. There are number of effective things that can be done for fibro and lo.

      I hope that helps

      Dr Paul Hrkal

  39. Joe

    Hello Dr Hrkal,

    My wife and I use mag daily and love it. We always opt for a chelate form. My wife is now 20 weeks pregnant. I have heard that Mag L-Theronate taken before bed can help with better sleep and cognition due to it’s ability to pass the blood brain barrier so quickly. Pregnany has caused some sleepless/anxious nights for my wife. I know most chelates are safe and are often recommended to help with muscle health and calcium absorption in pregnancy. Would there be any reason why Mag L-Theronate would be ill advised in pregnancy?


    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Joe,

      Thanks for your question. You are correct that most chelates are safe however since Mag L-theronate is still a very new ingredient we don’t have much human safe data on it however it has been granted GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status by the FDA so I am confident in its safety for all ages. As an FYI, L-theronine is a metabolite of vitamin C which is definitely safe in pregnancy in low doses.

      Here the link

      I hope that helps
      Dr Paul Hrkal

  40. Xena

    I have 3 questions

    1) I am in my mid twenties and a longterm insomniac who sleeps 3 hours a day, before going to bed I suffer from high anxiety and muscle spams and restless leg syndrome which keeps me wide awake, which one would be the best to calm me down and get to sleep and how much (how many grams) shall I use to the optimum effect.

    2) is there any difference in using the magnesium oil vs the tablets and which one is better for my situation

    3) I have heard Magnesium works best when combined, there many on the market such as magnesium/calcium and Magnesium zinc again which one would be the best in my severe insomnia/ anxiety situation

    1. Dr. Hrkal

      Hi Xena,

      Thanks for the question. I can’t give you medical advise but I can answer some of your questions.
      1) Magnesium glycinate is a very relaxing form of mag that also has the benefit of glycine which is a calming amino acid. Follow the dose on the label but try taking a higher dose short term until you get loose stools and reduce from there.
      2) Oil is a topical application that can help sore muscles but its a not a good way to build up systemic levels if you deficient. Oral forms used for more than 4 months are needed.
      3) Cal/mag is a common supplement combo but we usually have enough calcium in our diets so I prefer magnesium by itself. I agree that restless legs, insomnia and muscle pain would benefit from all the minerals since they work synergistically together so I would also suggest a high potency multi (not a one a day – a good multi is at least 3 caps daily) along with your magnesium. Extra zinc could also be a good idea.

      I would suggest you see a Naturopathic doctor to help you address some roots causes of your insomnia. Somethings food sensitivities can cause inflammation, muscle spams and even insomnia.

      I hope that helps
      Paul Hrkal ND

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Understanding Different Types of Magnesium | Dr Nibber.

Tweens and teens report getting less and less sleep with each passing year. The disturbing trend comes from data collected over the past 20 years from U.S. students.

As of 2012, more than half of the surveyed kids age 15 or older reported sleeping less than seven hours a night. That is two to three hours less sleep than doctors and others recommend. Sleep is essential, especially for young kids and teens. Too little sleep leads to poor health and poor performance in school. It also increases the risk of accidents.

The new study found consistent decreases in sleep between 1991 and 2012. The largest drops happened in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Details appeared online February 16 in the journal Pediatrics.

The study crunched data that were collected as part of a program called “Monitoring the Future.” Each year, this survey asks some 50,000 U.S. students a variety of questions about their behaviors. One of them: “How often do you get at least seven hours of sleep?” Another asks: “How often do you get less sleep than you should?”

“Overall, across 20 years and all age groups, 12 to 19, there has been a downward shift in the proportion of adolescents getting seven or more hours of sleep,” says Katherine Keyes. A co-author of the study, she works at Columbia University in New York City. As an epidemiologist, she studies the factors that can influence the health of certain populations, including teens.

Girls were less likely than boys to report getting at least seven hours of sleep, the researchers found. Students who lived in urban areas, belonged to minority groups or whose families were poor also were less likely to report getting at least that much sleep.

The biggest decrease in sleep was among 15-year-olds. Fewer than half of those surveyed in 2012 reported sleeping seven or more hours a night. That represents nearly a 20 percent decrease in nightly sleep for that age group since 1991.

Teens don’t recognize the problem

Also worrisome was the poor understanding by many teens of what is ”enough” sleep. Students from both minority groups and low-income families were less likely to get seven or more hours of sleep per night. These same students also were likely to report that they felt they were regularly getting enough sleep, the study found.

“A lot of teen-agers just don’t know what an adequate amount of sleep is. They get four hours and think they are just fine,” says Keyes. She adds that one message of the study is that kids need to learn the importance of getting a proper night’s rest.

The researchers are unsure why kids are sleeping less. Many people have blamed the rise of social media and increases in screen time. However, the steepest drops in sleep occurred in the years before Facebook and other social media sites became hugely popular.

More likely, a combination of reasons is to blame, says Daniel Glaze. He is medical director of The Children’s Sleep Center at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. He singles out demands put on teens by early school start times, sports, jobs —and yes, socializing. Obesity also may play some role. Obesity disrupts sleep — and teen obesity rates have risen as the length of a night’s sleep has declined.

“Clearly there are many factors we could improve and, hopefully, improve the amount of sleep,” says Glaze, who was not connected with the study.

But just educating teens to sleep more may not be enough to change their sleep behavior, report the authors of a second study. Educating local teens about the importance of sleep raised their awareness, researchers at The Chinese University of Hong Kong found. The bad news: It had no effect on how much the students actually slept. These data for Chinese youth also appeared online February 16 in Pediatrics.

Studies like these suggest that getting teens to sleep more will require tackling the root causes, Glaze says. The first study suggests places to look, he notes. For example, girls report getting less sleep than boys. He says it’s now important to ask: “What are those teen-age girls doing? Look at the factors related to specific groups.” Then, he says, it’s important to “not only educate, but address those factors.”

Keyes and her fellow researchers also found individual teens get less sleep as they grow up. The finding is significant. As of 2012, about two-thirds of 12-year-olds reported sleeping seven or more hours a night. That same year, only about one-third of 18-year-olds reported getting that much shuteye.

Power Words

(for more about Power Words, click here)

behavior  The way a person or other organism acts towards others, or conducts itself.

data  Facts and statistics collected together for analysis but not necessarily organized in a way that give them meaning. For digital information (the type stored by computers), those data typically are numbers stored in a binary code, portrayed as strings of zeros and ones.

epidemiologist  Like health detectives, these researchers figure out what causes a particular illness and how to limit its spread.

factor    Something that plays a role in a particular condition or event; a contributor.

media      (in the social sciences) A term for the ways information is delivered and shared within a society. It encompasses not only the traditional media — newspapers, magazines, radio and television — but also Internet- and smartphone-based outlets, such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook and more. The newer, digital media are sometimes referred to as social media.

shuteye  Slang for sleep

survey  (in statistics) A questionnaire that samples the opinions, practices (such as dining or sleeping habits), knowledge or skills of a broad range of people. Researchers select the number and types of people questioned in hopes that the answers these individuals give will be representative of others who are their age, belong to the same ethnic group or live in the same region.

Readability Score: 6.9


The steady creep of less sleep | Science News for Students.

THURSDAY, Feb. 19, 2015 (HealthDay News) — A new study helps explain why getting too little sleep might boost diabetes risk.

Researchers say lack of sleep can lead to increased levels of substances called free fatty acids in the blood. These substances interfere with the ability of the hormone insulin to regulate blood sugar levels.

The researchers said these findings suggest that high rates of obesity and diabetes could be reduced by something as simple as having people get more sleep.

“At the population level, multiple studies have reported connections between restricted sleep, weight gain and type 2 diabetes,” said study senior author Dr. Esra Tasali in a University of Chicago news release. She is an assistant professor of medicine at the university.

The study included 19 healthy men. They were between the ages of 18 and 30. The volunteers participated in two sleep scenarios. In one, they got a full night’s sleep — about eight hours a night — for four nights. In the other, they only got slightly more than four hours of sleep a night, according to the researchers.

After a few consecutive nights of getting too little sleep, the men’s blood levels of fatty acids increased and stayed high for about five hours in the early morning hours. These levels usually peak and then drop overnight.

As long as fatty acid levels remained high, the ability of insulin to regulate blood sugar levels was impaired, according to the study.

Study lead author Josiane Broussard explained in the release, “The result was a significant loss of the benefits of insulin. This crucial hormone was less able to do its job. Insulin action in these healthy young men resembled what we typically see in early stages of diabetes.” Broussard is a former graduate student at the University of Chicago, and is now a postdoctoral research scientist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute in Los Angeles.

The study was published online Feb. 19 in the journal Diabetologia.

The findings add to growing evidence that lack of sleep may disrupt fat metabolism, and suggest that increasing people’s amount of sleep may reduce rates of obesity and diabetes, the researchers said.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about sleep.

Small Study Links Lack of Sleep to Type 2 Diabetes Risk – US News.

“It’s understood that kids who are bulliers at school are sometimes being bullied at home, often times by a sibling, though sometimes by a parent,” she said. “And it has a sustained impact — depression, insecurity and loss of trust and intimacy in relationships.”

via Sibling Bullying More Common Than Schoolyard Torment, Study Shows – NBC

“Making sure that sleep is obtained during the right time of day may be an inexpensive and easily disseminable intervention for individuals who are bothered by intrusive thoughts,” researcher Jacob Nota of Binghamton University said in a news release.

“If further findings support the relation between sleep timing and repetitive negative thinking, this could one day lead to a new avenue for treatment of individuals with internalizing disorders,” added co-researcher Meredith Coles of Binghamton University, according to a journal release. “Studying the relation between reductions in sleep duration and psychopathology has already demonstrated that focusing on sleep in the clinic also leads to reductions in symptoms of psychopathology.”

The findings are published in the journal Cognitive Therapy and Research.

Sleeping Earlier Could Treat Depression, Anxiety : Mental Health : Counsel & Heal.

Your Coffee Drinking Habit Could be Genetic : Biology : Nature World News.

Deadly doses of everyday foods


According to Caffeine Informer, 154 shots of espresso is enough to kill the average person. (That’s calculated at a rate of 77mg of caffeine per shot, though studies have found the range of caffeine per shot can vary enormously.) That adds up to around 12 grams of caffeine — however, Jack James, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Caffeine Research, estimated in Popular Science that the deadly amount is a considerably lower 10g.


If you drank that much coffee or Coke, you’d actually be more likely to die of water poisoning. Though your body is mostly made up of water, drinking too much of it really can kill you — too much H20 causes a condition called hyponetraemia (basically, all that water flushes the salt out of your body, and without life-giving salt, you die). Seven-and-a-half litres of water consumed in three hours was enough to kill California mum Jennifer Strange in 2007, when she guzzled it down during a radio contest called “Hold Your Wee for a Wii”. The actual deadly dose is estimated to be, on average, six litres.

Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate has a little over three times more theobromine than milk chocolate (and baking chocolate has even more than that), so chowing down on around nine 220g blocks of dark chocolate could feasibly be the end of you. (It’d certainly be the end of your dog — only a few squares of chocolate is enough to kill man’s best friend.)


According to one of the many books spun off from Stephen Fry’s (thoroughly researched) quiz show QI, “more than a kilogram of potatoes eaten at a single sitting would be certain death”. That’s about seven medium-size potatoes. The culprit is nicotine (or, depending on your source, solanine), which is found in all plants in the Solanaceae (or nightshades) family, which includes potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants and (of course) the tobacco plant. For the record: 10 cigarettes contain enough nicotine to kill you, if you ate them raw.


Alcohol has wildly different effects on people depending on factors like gender, body composition, metabolism, how much you’ve eaten and how fast the booze has been consumed. So take these figures with a grain whisky… er, of salt. But according to the Drug and Alcohol Clinical Advisory Service, an alcohol concentration of 4g per 100ml of blood (ie, a blood alcohol concentration of greater than 0.4) is enough to kill you. To reach that, a woman of average weight would need to drink 14 shots in around an hour; for a man, it’s as many as 20.

Deadly doses of everyday foods.

Flush your brain with sleep and stay bright for the light.


Brains flush toxic waste in sleep, including Alzheimer’s-linked protein, study of mice finds – The Washington Post.

A trip to the intensive care unit for a serious illness may result in Alzheimer’s-like symptoms for a year or longer after leaving the hospital, according to concerning new research.

Researchers at Vanderbilt University studied hundreds of patients from the time they entered the ICU to 12 months after they were discharged, and found 75 percent of them left the hospital with a cognitive problem. One in three left with cognitive troubles similar to what’s seen in patients with Alzheimer’s.

The study’s authors point out that survivors of a critical illness frequently report developing new cognitive troubles or experiencing worsening ones, but not much is known about long-term risks.

“We knew that something was going wrong with people’s brains when they were getting out of medical and surgical ICUs but we didn’t understand to what degree their brains were being disabled and then having to live with that throughout their life,” Dr. Wes Ely, a professor of medicine and critical care at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, said to the CBS Evening News. “So, we set out to define exactly what was going on with the survivors of critical care in terms of brain function.”

Common reasons a person might be admitted to the ICU include breathing failure, cardiogenic shock — a medical emergency when the heart suddenly can’t pump enough blood — or sepsis, a potentially deadly illness in which the body has a severe reaction to bacteria or germs.

Sepsis is the number one disease people come into the ICU with, says Ely, and many who battle it or other critical illnesses may experience “delirium,” a type of temporary brain dysfunction marked by extreme confusion. Delirium has been associated with increased risk for long-term cognitive problems. Taking sedative drugs while in the ICU may increase risk for delirium.

The researchers think delirium itself may be the strongest predictor of long-term cognitive problems, and could serve as an area for doctors to better target to stave off thinking and memory issues.

For their study, researchers enrolled 821 ICU patients and gave them cognitive tests at three and 12 months after discharge.

Delirium developed in 75 percent of them during their hospital stay.

Persisting cognitive impairments at 12 months were seen in both older and younger patients, with 34 percent and 24 percent of all patients having cognition scores similar to patients with moderate traumatic brain injury and mild Alzheimer’s disease, respectively.

Ely, an associate director of aging research at Vanderbilt, started the study thinking that people over 65 would be most at risk. But, he found healthy people in their 30s and 40s — who should be at the height of their brain function — developed cognitive problems after the ICU.

Taking a sedative itself was not independently associated with risk for long-term cognitive impairment.

Ely called the results “dramatic,” but added, “we weren’t as surprised by the numbers as we were worried that the rest of the world was not aware of this problem.”

This study only tracked patients for one year, but the researchers have continued to look at the study group and plan to track them for four to six years. While those results have yet to be published, Ely said most of the patients whose problems did not resolve early unfortunately still have permanent cognitive impairments.

“It’s really a shocker to most people to understand that when they survive and they go through all of that ICU experience now they have to survive with essentially a new disease of the brain,” he said.


Lisa Uribe

/ CBS News


Lisa Uribe, a 46-year-old who underwent routine gallbladder surgery 18 months ago, has been feeling these effects firsthand since her procedure resulted in an infection and a three-week trip to the ICU. She still experiences short-term memory loss and other cognitive troubles that prevent her from working or driving without getting lost.

“Being somewhere and not knowing why you are there or what your purpose was for being in this location. It’s a scary thing,” Uribe told the CBS Evening News. “Every day I wake up and I keep thinking this is the day I’m going to go back to my old life.”

Some people who have cognitive problems stemming from a serious illness may be incorrectly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Ely added, “which is why we think that this is a major public health problem that the community and the lay public need to be aware of.”

He thinks more needs to be done to keep patients in the ICU alert, awake and walking around if possible to reduce their odds of developing delirium. Exercising your brain with puzzles and games like Sudoku and Scrabble while in the ICU may also boost brain function.

Monitoring how much patients sleep may also improve outcomes, since beepers, lights and staffers taking X-rays or blood tests may prevent someone in the ICU from getting adequate rest. Ely says in general that hospitals need to get better at safely handling ICU patients.

“We package eggs in a very careful fashion so that the eggs are not broken when we get them home. In the ICU, we need to package our patients more carefully so they don’t get broken while they are in the ICU,” he said. “We get them out of the ICU not only living, but living to the fullest of their capacity as close as before they got sick, which I think is not happening to our best of our ability in the present time.”

In an accompanying editorial published in the same journal issue, researchers at the University of Toronto pointed out that not all patients had delirium, and some of the patients with cognitive problems at three months showed improvement by 12 months. Still, the study “unequivocally” showed that cognitive impairments in these patients is a public health concern.

“This new knowledge provides detailed education for patients, families, ICU stakeholders, primary care physicians, and health policy makers and should fuel an informed discussion about what it means for our patients to survive an episode of critical illness, how it changes families forever, and when the degree of suffering and futility becomes unacceptable from a patient-centered and societal standpoint,” wrote Drs. Margaret Herridge and Jill I. Cameron.

The study will be published online on Oct. 2 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Study: ICU stays lead to Alzheimer’s-like problems in one-third of patients – CBS News.

Sleep calms some fears, study suggests | The Courier-Journal |

BBC News – Sleep ‘boosts brain cell numbers’.

When the shit hits the fan here all the storm troopers, sheriffs, national guard, local police, highway patrol and their bosses will be amped up on some form of amphetamine.

They are going to be ZOMBIES with body armor.  Head shots required.

The USA uses it to this day.  Why is this a surprise.

In 1972, Heinrich Böll won the Nobel Prize for literature. But before he became a writer of novels, short stories, and essays, Böll was a writer of letters. During his early 20s, which also happened to be during World War II, he was conscripted into the German military. And as he fought, serving in France, Romania, Hungary, and finally the Soviet Union, Böll corresponded with his family back in Cologne. The letter he sent on May 20, 1940, contained not just an update, but a request. “Perhaps you could obtain some more Pervitin for my supplies?” Just one of these pills, Böll explained, was as effective at keeping him alert as several cups of coffee. Plus, when he took Pervitin, he was able to forget, temporarily, about the trials and terrors of war. He could — for a while, at least — be happy.Pervitin was the early version of what we know today as crystal meth. And it was fitting that a German soldier would become addicted to the stuff: the drug, Der Spiegel notes, first became popular in Germany, brought to market by the then-Berlin-based drugmaker Temmler Werke. And almost immediately, the German army physiologist Otto Ranke realized its military value: not only could the methamphetamine compound keep fighters pilots, in particular alert on little sleep; it could also keep an entire military force feeling euphoric. Meth, Spiegel puts it, “was the ideal war drug.”7983133268_bf4e8368a6_m.jpgAnd it was, as such, put to wide use. The Wehrmacht, Germany’s World War II army, ended up distributing millions of the Pervitin tablets to soldiers on the front they called it “Panzerschokolade,” or “tank chocolate”. The air force gave the tablets to its flyers in this case, it was “pilot’s chocolate” or “pilot’s salt”. Hitler himself was given intravenous injections of methamphetamine by his personal physician, Theodor Morell. The pill, however, was the more common form of the drug. All told, between April and July of 1940, more than 35 million three-milligram doses of Pervitin were manufactured for the German army and air force.News of meth’s powers, unsurprisingly, spread. British papers began reporting on German soldiers’ use of a “miracle pill.” Soon, Allied bomber pilots were experimenting with the drug. Their tests ended quickly, though; while the soldiers who used pilot’s salt were able to focus on their flying in the short term … they also became agitated, aggressive, and impaired in their judgment over the long.The Germans would notice the same side effects — the side effects thanks, Breaking Bad! we know so well today. Short rest periods, it turned out, weren’t enough to compensate for long stretches of wakefulness. Some soldiers who used the meth died of heart failure; others ended up committing suicide during psychotic phases. Many others simply became addicted to the stimulant, leading to all the familiar symptoms of addiction and withdrawal: sweating, dizziness, hallucination, depression. Leonardo Conti, the Third Reich’s top health official, moved to limit use of the drug among his forces. He was, however, unsuccessful.As late as the 1960s, in fact, the Temmler Werke was supplying the armies of both East and West Germany with its Pervitin pills. And it wasn’t until the 1970s that West Germany’s postwar army, the Bundeswehr, finally removed the drug from its medical arsenal. East Germany’s National People’s Army wouldn’t follow suit until 1988.Via Der Spiegel, hat tip Digg.

via ‘Pilot’s Salt’: The Third Reich Kept Its Soldiers Alert With Meth – Megan Garber – The Atlantic.

Page 2: Medical Mystery: Body’s Own ‘Valium’ Leads to Extreme Sleepiness – ABC News.

Top Ten Benefits of Zinc
By Charles Poliquin 2/9/2012 1:05:04 PM

Improve all aspects of your health and well-being by making sure you get enough zinc in your diet. Many people know about zinc for its immune boosting properties, but this mineral is actually a wonder of health benefits. Researchers write that “zinc is such a critical element in human health that even a small deficiency is a disaster.”

Zinc is so important because it is found in every tissue in the body and is directly involved in cell division. It is a powerful antioxidant, helping to prevent cancer, but zinc also is directly involved in proper endocrine function and the maintenance of ideal hormone levels.

Zinc deficiency makes both men and women infertile and causes low libido.


Additionally, adequate zinc is necessary for optimal physical performance, energy levels, and body composition. Zinc affects protein synthesis and is required for proper function of red and white blood cells. It is highly concentrated in our bones, the pancreas, kidneys, liver, and retina.

Low zinc also exacerbates the effects of stress on the body and accelerates aging.

This article will give you the top ten reasons why you should attend to your zinc levels and ensure your loved ones are doing so as well. Be aware that zinc deficiency is not only prevalent in malnourished individuals or developing countries. Rather, it is widespread in the U.S. and the UK, and it is particularly common in areas where the population eats a large amount of cereal and grain proteins. Low zinc is common in men, women, and children, and I’ve found that over 90 percent of my clients and athletes are zinc deficient.

Groups At Greatest Risk of Low Zinc

Zinc deficiency occurs from not eating enough zinc-rich foods. Zinc is found in large concentrations in meat, some seafood—

oysters contain the largest concentration of all known foods—

and dairy. Whole grains and legumes contain zinc, but it is bound to phytates in these plant-based foods, making the zinc inaccessible by the body. Vegetarians are at greatest risk of zinc deficiency, but alcoholics and people with digestive issues and poor stomach acid are also highly susceptible. Taking medications may produce zinc deficiency and low levels of almost all essential nutrients. Women on the birth control pill or on hormone replacement therapy are at greater risk of deficiency.

Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency

Low zinc will produce an altered sense of taste leading to cravings of saltier, sweeter food. Deficiency can also be indicated by diarrhea, low energy, chronic fatigue, infertility, poor immunity, bad memory,  inability to focus, ADD symptoms, slow wound healing, nerve dysfunction, and ringing in the ears.

Take note that symptoms may be present, but because they are so diverse and associated with other health conditions, it’s often hard to make the link to zinc deficiency without a test. A guide is provided at the end of this article on how to test your zinc level.

#1 Improve Athletic Performance and Strength
Adequate zinc directly affects athletic performance and strength development from training because it plays a primary role in anabolic hormone production.  Research shows having ample zinc available in the body allows for a more robust release of the three most important anabolic hormones, testosterone, growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). Without these, you’ll miss out on muscle and strength development from your hard work in the gym.

A recent study in the journal Biological Trace Element Research highlights the boost that raising zinc levels can give to testosterone production following exercise. Researchers found that giving trained athletes a zinc supplement for four weeks prior to an exhaustive exercise test resulted in a greater post-workout testosterone response than a placebo.

Taking zinc produced higher testosterone levels in the athletes than taking a selenium supplement (a powerful antioxidant that minimizes oxidative stress in the testis). Researchers note that zinc enhances the conversion rate of androstenedione to testosterone, and that paired with high-intensity exercise, it allows the body to produce testosterone at an even higher rate.

Male and female athletes will benefit from adequate zinc since this mineral ensures healthy release of growth hormone and IGF-1, which are essential for performance and muscle development in both sexes. Plus, the boost to testosterone post-workout can improve strength gains recovery in men. And, as you’ll see below, having enough zinc will give you more energy and improve metabolism.

#2 Support Male Reproductive Health and Fertility

Zinc is a critical mineral for robust testosterone levels, and the cells of the male prostate require a very high concentration of zinc to work optimally. Low zinc in men impairs testosterone production, puts them at risk for developing prostate cancer, and causes infertility. Inadequate zinc has also been linked to low libido.

One recent study of 88 men aged 40 to 60 years showed that those with normal testosterone levels had significantly higher zinc compared to those with low testosterone levels. Low zinc was directly correlated with low testosterone levels, which put the men at greater risk of symptoms of male menopause.

Just as important, zinc is used to produce enzymes that initiate cell division,

but the male prostate tissue requires ten times more zinc than other cells in the body to stay healthy. Adequate zinc level in the prostate protects the cells from damage, inflammation, and cancer development. Also, once the prostate cells are damaged and become cancerous, they lack the ability to accumulate zinc, leading to greater propagation of cancer cells that produce to tumors.
Giving a large dose of therapeutic zinc to rats with prostate cancer halted cancer cell proliferation and helped the rats maintain body weight, which is an indicator of better overall health and homeostasis. There was reduced evidence of biomarkers that indicate oxidative stress and inflammation in the prostate from the zinc supplement. Overall enzyme levels were better.

In contrast, a placebo group had a rapid increase in cancer cell growth and decrease in body weight. There was also a 50 percent increase in DNA damage and inflammation during the study period, indicating a progressively diseased prostate cancer state.

Researchers write that zinc is a “promising anti-cancer treatment” and that regular supplementation when men are healthy with no evidence of cancer is the best prevention. They also suggest zinc can prevent related cancers such as ovarian, breast, and colorectal.

#3 Support Female Reproductive Health and Fertility
In women, zinc is involved in the growth process of the oocyte or egg. If women are zinc deficient, the egg won’t mature properly and ovulation will be impeded, causing infertility. Adequate zinc allows women to use estrogen and progesterone efficiently, supporting reproductive health and ensuring that estrogen does what it’s supposed to do in the body. When estrogen levels become too high, or are inefficiently metabolized they can cause poor reproductive health and breast cancer.

#4 Prevent Cancer and Boost Immune Function
Ananda Prasad, a leading researcher in the field of zinc and health, notes that simply ensuring our zinc levels are adequate can help cure a number of the most severe health problems, especially cancer and poor immune function. Along with prostate cancer, low zinc plays a role in the development of most cancers since it is instrumental in healthy cell proliferation. Recent evidence links zinc deficiency to cancers of the breast, colon, ovaries, lungs, skin, and leukemia.

Zinc deficiency profoundly affects the immune system because low zinc produces a direct and rapid decline in T cell function. T cells elevate the body’s immune system when viruses, bacteria, or challenges to health arise. Older people are at greater risk of zinc deficiency, which is not thought to be solely due to poor dietary intake. There’s evidence that a need for more zinc may increase with age to counter inflammation, support the immune system, and ensure healthy cell function.

#5 Improve Cardiovascular Health
Zinc is vital to maintain the health of cardiovascular cells and the endothelium. The endothelium is the thin layer of cells that lines the blood vessels and plays a major role in circulation. Low zinc can cause a deficiency in the endothelial barrier, which  leads to high cholesterol buildup and inflammation. Cholesterol and inflammation increase your risk of heart disease.

Studies show that poor zinc status can amplify the negative cardiovascular effects of a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet, whereas an adequate zinc intake will have a protective effect and inhibit the progression of heart disease. The elderly population is especially susceptible to the buildup of inflammatory markers including C-reactive proteins and cytokines, which have been called “slow, silent killers.”

#6 Become More Sensitive to Insulin and Prevent Diabetes
Zinc is needed for the healthy function of most hormones, including insulin. Adequate zinc plays at least three roles in insulin health. First, zinc binds to insulin so that insulin is adequately stored in the pancreas and released when glucose enters the blood stream.

Second, zinc improves cell health, making up a component of the enzymes necessary for insulin to bind to cells so that glucose can enter and be used as fuel. The process of insulin binding to the cell is what is referred to with the term “insulin sensitivity” and means that the cell is receptive to insulin. Once insulin binds to the cell, it “opens the door” so that the glucose can enter. If the cell is resistant to insulin, glucose will stay in the blood stream, cause high blood sugar, and ultimately lead to fat gain. When zinc concentration falls, there is a reduction in insulin secretion and peripheral insulin sensitivity, which if persistent, will lead to diabetes

Third, zinc has anti-inflammatory effects as mentioned in #5 via its role in abolishing inflammatory markers such as C-reactive proteins. Zinc also helps get rid of substances that cause inflammation in cells, helping to preserve cell health and insulin sensitivity.

A recent study of Spanish school children found a direct relationship between low zinc levels, greater body fat content, and insulin resistance. The children who were classified as zinc deficient had poorer insulin sensitivity and greater glucose intolerance (a related measurement of persistent blood sugar levels) than those whose level was adequate.

#7 Get The Super Antioxidant Effects of Zinc
Zinc is an excellent antioxidant. The purpose of an antioxidant is to get rid of free radicals that cause damage to cells in the body by bonding with them and neutralizing them. Zinc is particularly good at countering the damaging effect of high iron. Zinc also targets free radicals that cause inflammation and is especially effective at detoxifying heavy metals from the brain.

#8 Detoxify The Brain of Heavy Metals and Prevent Alzheimer’s
The super antioxidant effects of zinc allow it to efficiently remove toxins from the body and keep them from building up in tissue and causing damage. The progression of neurodegeneration and Alzheimer’s disease is accelerated by heavy metal buildup in the brain. Zinc can help get rid of those toxins, and it also helps maintain cellular homeostasis of brain cells.

#9 Boost Brain Function and Treat ADHD

Zinc plays an essential role in neurotransmitter function and helps maintain brain structure and health. It is necessary in the metabolism of melatonin, which regulates dopamine. Also, zinc is part of an enzyme that is necessary for the anabolism of fatty acids in the brain membrane. This is very important because a key part of supporting brain health and function is to ensure the membrane gets the nutrients it needs.

A new study on rats tested the effect of giving supplemental zinc to pregnant females during gestation and lactation and found better spatial memory and overall cognitive development in the offspring. A large zinc dose produced the best results. Human studies are limited, but data on how zinc can treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) indicate its importance.

Zinc is a commonly ignored mineral for treating ADHD. Studies show children with ADHD tend to have lower zinc than healthy children. Even more promising, one study of 400 children with diagnosed ADHD found that taking 150 mg/d of zinc sulfate improved impaired social behavior and made subjects less hyperactive and impulsive than a placebo. Subjects that had higher body mass index and lower fatty acid level had more dramatic improvements in socialization and hyperactivity measures from taking zinc.

#10 Elevate Mood and Avoid Depression
The  exact relationship between zinc deficiency and depression is unknown, however it surely has to do with the role of zinc in neurotransmitter and hormone production. Dopamine production, which is partly regulated by zinc status, is a chemical that boosts energy, mood, and reward-driven learning. Poor insulin health or low testosterone levels can lead to health problems that increase rates of depression and low energy. Throw in the antioxidant power of zinc and its ability to get rid of inflammatory biomarkers such as C-reactive protein and tumor necrosis factor (causes cell damage), and it is reasonable to ensure zinc intake is adequate when treating depression.

A new study in the Journal of Affective Disorders showed that zinc deficiency may affect depression in women more than men. Women in this study who were already using antidepressants and had low zinc levels had a five times greater risk of ongoing depression. It’s thought that the gender-based relationship between low zinc and depression is related to how zinc influences energy levels and production of the hormone estrogen.

In women, estrogen is involved in serotonin production—the neurotransmitter that makes people feel good—and zinc supplementation can increase the density of serotonin receptors in the brain. Have you picked up on the theme that zinc plays multiple roles in the body, affecting numerous chemical messengers that play complex, essential, interconnected parts in the body?

How To Test Zinc Level
Before you start popping zinc at random, take note that there is an upper limit to dietary zinc. Zinc toxicity has produced poor immune health and infertility, just as low zinc compromises the immune system. Scientists suggest you perform a zinc test to measure your level and then supplement accordingly. Once you start taking zinc, your levels will rise and you should do another test six to eight weeks later for best results.

The simplest way to test for zinc is a taste test that works because we know that taste and smell are dependent on there being adequate zinc in the body. To do this test, get zinc sulfate and put about 1-2 teaspoons in a cup and sip it, holding it in the mouth. If it tastes just like water, you are very zinc deficient. If you taste something slightly metallic, you are moderately zinc deficient. If it tastes disgusting—strongly metallic and unpleasant—your levels are probably adequate. This test is subject to individual taste perception and it is not 100 percent valid, but it is a good place to start.

Other test options are a serum zinc test, but there are factors that can cause inaccuracies such as fluctuations from meals, stress, diurnal variations, and complications from other nutrient deficiencies. A plasma zinc test is another option and it will pick up severe zinc deficiencies, but it won’t indicate a more moderate deficiency. It should not be relied on because even a moderate deficiency will negatively influence health.


Neek, L., Gaeini, A., Choobineh, S. Effect of Zinc and Selenium Supplementation on Serum Testosterone and Plasma Lactate in Cyclist After an Exhaustive Exercise Bout. Biological Trace Element Research. 9 July 2011. Published Ahead of Print.

Chang, C., Choi, J., Kim, H., Park, S. Correlation Between Serum Testosterone Level and Concentrations of Copper and Zinc in Hair Tissue. Biological Trace Element Research. 14 June 2011. Published Ahead of Print.

Maseregian, N., Hall, S., et al. Low Dietary or Supplemental Zinc is Associated with Depression Symptoms Among Women, But not Men, in a Population-Based Epidemiological Survey. Journal of Affective Disorders. October 2011. Published Ahead of Print.

Piechal, A, Blecharz-Klin, K., et al. Maternal Zinc Supplementation Improves Spatial Memory in Rat Pups. Biological Trace elements Research. January 2012. Published Ahead of Print.

Banudevi, S., Elumalai, P., et al. Chemopreventive Effects of Zinc on Prostate Carcinogenesis Induced by N-Methyl-N-Nitrosourea and Testosterone in Adult Male Spargue-Dawley Rats. Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology. 201. 137(4), 677-86.

Gumulec, J., Masarik, M., et al. Molecular Mechanisms of Zinc in Prostate Cancer. Klinical Onkology. 2011. 24(4), 249-255.

Ortega, R., Rodriguez, E., et al. Poor Zinc Status is Associated with Increased Risk of Insulin Resistance in Spanish Children. British Journal of Nutrition. 2012. 107, 398-404.

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