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- Under eye bags may be reduced by moisturizing your face, sleeping on your back, getting enough sleep, avoiding smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke, adding an extra pillow below your head when sleeping, avoiding rubbing your eyes and treating your allergies
- Diet changes such as drinking enough water, avoiding salty food, reducing alcohol intake and consuming vitamin C- and retinol-rich foods may also help get rid of bags under eyes
- Easy home remedies that may help include applying cucumber, avocado, cold compress, egg whites, potato, tomato, lemon juice or caffeinated tea over the affected areas
Periorbital hyperchromia, or dark circles under the eyes, is a common dermatological condition that can affect a person’s self-confidence because it makes them appear tired.[1 It’s a normal thing to happen, though, since this is a physical change that takes effect when you age.2
Also known as periorbital hyperpigmentation, periorbital melanosis and dark circles, under-eye bags may appear as the lower eyelid’s bluish discoloration (vascular type) or brownish to black hyperpigmentation (constitutional type).3 The eyelid skin is the thinnest of all body parts, particularly the lower medial eyelid, which has the lowest dermal to epidermal ratio.4 This is where fat accumulates through time, resulting in the development of bags under the eyes.5
Bags under your eyes aren’t always caused by getting too little sleep at night, contrary to what many people believe. They can be caused by factors that differ from one person to another. According to a 2007 study:6
“DC (dark circles) are caused by multiple etiologic factors that include dermal melanin deposition, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation secondary to atopic or allergic contact dermatitis, periorbital edema, superficial location of vasculature and shadowing due to skin laxity.”
Puffiness and bags under the eyes that appear in the morning may be caused by your sleeping position. Sleeping only on one side places pressure on the blood vessels under your eyes. The pool of blood that accumulates in this area makes the skin appear darker.7 According to Medical News Today, buildup of excess fluid and weakened muscles may cause dark bags under the eyes as well.8
Stress may also contribute to the appearance of dark circles. In Chinese medicine, having puffy eyes can be a symptom of water or kidney imbalance, while dark bags under the eyes may imply allergies.9
According to a Reader’s Digest article, most eye creams in the market are a waste of money because they basically contain the same ingredients as facial moisturizers. They’re usually water-based to ensure that the skin would be hydrated.10
If you intend to use an eye cream, choose products that contain organic ingredients such as shea butter, jojoba oil, acai oil, green tea leaf extract and chamomile flower extract to help moisturize your skin and to ensure safety from harmful chemicals. For more convenient and easy-to-follow methods, I have provided a list of remedies below.
Conventional treatments for under-eye bags include topical medications, surgery, chemical peels and laser treatments.11 However, I advise you to turn to safer and more convenient noninvasive methods to help diminish the bags under your eyes.
Although it is considered more of a cosmetic concern than a medical one,12 you can improve your appearance by getting rid of the bags under your eyes through these methods.
• Moisturize — Wrinkles and bags under the eyes become more visible when your skin is dry.13 Keep your skin well-moisturized, especially around the eyes, by using all-natural moisturizers such as pure emu oil and pure coconut oil.
• Use Brazilian ginseng — A 2009 study found that topically applying a serum sample containing Brazilian ginseng twice a day may help reduce the intensity of dark circles around the eyes.14
• Opt for eye creams with coffee extracts — A 2013 study found that caffeine has antioxidant properties that may work as a sunscreen. These polyphenol compounds protect the skin from UVB radiation, which may help prevent rapid skin aging.15
A 2018 study also found that skin care products with caffeine may help reduce under-eye bags caused by dilatation of blood vessels.16
• Use a safe sunscreen and wear sunglasses — Though sun exposure is vital in achieving optimal health, you must consider factors such as weather conditions, season and time of the day when you stay under the sun to avoid photodamage and the appearance of wrinkles.
According to a 2013 study, using a broad spectrum sunscreen and wearing UV-coated sunglasses may help reduce bags under the eyes.17 However, in choosing a sunscreen, make sure that it doesn’t contain oxybenzone, synthetic fragrances or retinyl palmitate; your safest choice is a lotion or cream with zinc oxide. You may also wear a wide-brimmed hat or a cap to protect your face and eyes.
• Gently remove your makeup — Excessively scrubbing your face may break your blood vessels, which may worsen the bags under your eyes.18 Avoid this by gently swiping some mild makeup remover over your eyes (coconut oil is a good option) and leaving it on your face for a minute before washing it off.
• Drink enough water — Staying hydrated will help restore your skin’s moisture and may help eliminate toxins from it.
• Avoid salty food — Sodium contributes to fluid retention,19 which causes bags under eyes. Cutting down on your salt intake at night is one way to reduce bags under eyes and puffiness in the morning.20
• Add retinol-rich food to your diet — Retinol or vitamin A helps prevent further thinning of the skin.21 Nourish the skin under your eyes by adding food rich in retinol such as grass fed beef liver, cheddar cheese, pasture-raised chicken giblets, turkey liver, grass fed butter and organic, pastured eggs to your diet.
• Reduce or avoid alcohol intake — Alcohol is one of the fluids that can dehydrate your body, including the skin under the eyes. This thin area may likely sink and form a bag.22 If you do imbibe in alcohol, be sure to balance it with at least 8 cups of water throughout the day.
• Consume vitamin C-rich food — A 2009 study found that vitamin C from sodium ascorbate lotion may help thicken the skin of the lower eyelids. The results showed that dark coloration is significantly diminished when the dermis has thickened.23
Reduce the appearance of bags under your eyes by adding foods rich in vitamin C such mango, papaya, pineapple, watermelon, broccoli, tomatoes, green and red bell peppers, strawberries and winter squash to your diet.24
If you want to know how to get rid of bags under eyes fast, here are additional lifestyle changes you should follow today:
• Sleep on your back — Sleeping on one side or on your belly contributes to the buildup of blood and fluid to the face. Try to sleep on your back to avoid morning face puffiness due to fluid accumulation.25
• Add an extra pillow below your head — Elevate your head when you sleep to avoid fluid buildup around your eyes.26
• Avoid smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke — Besides chemical irritation, smoking may cause skin damage and rapid aging, especially around the mouth and eyes. Preventing exposure to tobacco smoke is one of the ways you can avoid or remove bags under eyes.27
• Get enough sleep — One of WebMD’s recommended ways on getting rid of under-eye bags is ensuring you get high-quality sleep at night. To help prevent your skin from sagging, aim for seven to nine hours of sleep to give your skin more time to produce collagen.28
• Deal with your allergies — According to a Sage Journals study, dark bags under the eyes may be caused by nasal allergies in children. The authors note:
“Prolonged and persistent allergic edema of the mucous membranes of the nasal cavities produces pressure effects on the veins, interfering with their normal drainage. Thus the discoloration under the eyes develops from obstruction and slowing of the normal drainage of the lower venous marginal arcades and palpebral veins.”
Commonly known as allergic shiners,29 these may be mitigated by using natural antihistamines such as butterbur, vitamin C and green tea.
• Avoid rubbing your eyes — Frequent rubbing of the eyes may aggravate the appearance of dark circles, according to a study published in 2014.30 Doing this may break the blood vessels in your eyelids and create a blood buildup that causes the discoloration of the lower eyelids.31
If you’re looking for an easy home remedy for the bags under your eyes, here are different things that you may use at home:
• Cucumber — Cucumber is one of the most popular natural remedies for bags under eyes as it contains anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce puffiness. Simply put two slices of chilled cucumbers over your eyes for about 25 minutes.32
• Cold spoon —One of the most convenient under-eye bags treatments is placing a cold spoon over your lower eyelids to cool down your blood vessels.33
• Cold compress — Placing a cold compress over the eyes significantly reduces the swelling of blood vessels. Simply place a damp, ice-cold face towel over your eyes for 15 minutes to do this.34
• Egg whites — Times of India suggests applying beaten egg whites around the eye area as a bags-under-eyes remedy. Leaving the egg whites on your skin for 20 minutes may help tighten it35 as they contain astringent properties.36
• Potato or tomato — To lighten the dark circles under your eyes, use a cotton ball soaked in potato extract or fresh tomato juice. Squeeze out the excess and then place it over your under-eye skin for 10 minutes. Rinse after.
• Avocado — This fruit has emollient properties that make it a good moisturizer for your skin. You may either directly place avocado slices over your eyes or make a mask mixed with a few drops of almond oil.
• Lemon juice — With its natural bleaching properties, lemon juice may be used to help reduce the discoloration of the bags under your eyes. Remember to dilute it in water before applying the mixture to your under-eye skin to prevent irritation.37
• Caffeinated tea — Cold tea bags are known to help slow down skin aging because of their antioxidant properties.38 If you’ve got spare tea bags, soak them first in warm water and then place inside the refrigerator to chill. Afterward, place the tea bags over your eyes for five minutes.39
Remember that these methods for eliminating under-eye bags using home remedies may or may not work for you as these marks are caused by different factors, as found by a 2014 study involving 200 patients with different forms of periorbital hyperpigmentation.40 Try a few and see which ones work best for you.
In aromatherapy, essential oils are used to help boost a person’s mind, body and spirit. They may be diluted in carrier oil to be massaged on the skin, used with a diffuser or infused with hot water and inhaled via the steam.41 Aside from their therapeutic purposes, some essential oils such as lavender and Roman chamomile may help reduce puffiness and bags under the eyes because they contain anti-inflammatory properties.
Here’s a recipe for helping you reduce those dark circles using essential oils:42
• 1 drop chamomile essential oil
• 1 drop lavender essential oil
• 30 ml aloe vera gel, lotion or cream
1.Mix the essential oils with aloe vera gel.
2.Cleanse your face then pat it dry.
3.Take a small amount from the mixture then gently apply it to the skin around your eyes.
Alternatively, cotton balls soaked in witch hazel oil may also be placed over your eyelids for 20 minutes to reduce the dark circles.43 Witch hazel has moisturizing and astringent properties that may tighten and hydrate the skin under the eyes.
Before doing any of these, see how your skin responds by testing the various topical ingredients on a small area of your forearm. Be sure to consult your health care provider or a professional aromatherapist if you intend to use essential oils, as some oils may contain compounds that may not be suitable for your skin.44
As mentioned, having noticeable bags under the eyes is not a medical concern, but an aesthetic one that doesn’t imply a disease or a health-threatening condition.45 If the saggy skin obstructs your peripheral vision, an under-eye bags surgery or blepharoplasty could be done. This procedure gets rid of the excess tissue in your eyelids46 through an incision.
After removing the excess fat, the skin would then be stitched together.47 If your condition calls for a surgery, opt for transconjunctival than transcutaneous blepharoplasty so that the scar would not be visible.48
Having to remove bags under eyes by means of surgery may pose benefits and risks, so be sure to consult an expert before intending to undergo one.
Under-eye bags may be common, but data on how this condition develops is scarce.49 Many of the home remedies mentioned above may be easy to follow, but proper guidance from your health care provider is necessary for those to take effect. Make sure that you know the cause of your under-eye bags so that you’ll know which method is right for your condition.
Aging and genetics are two common causes of under-eye bags that you cannot control, so having a better lifestyle and attending to your skin care needs may be beneficial in reducing the appearance of these marks.
When you feel like the bags have become itchy, painful or severe, or if they blur or obstruct your vision, it’s best to visit your doctor immediately to address the problem and avoid further complications.50
Q: How do I get rid of dark circles and bags under my eyes?
A: Home remedies that may help reduce bags under your eyes include moisturizing your skin, using sunscreen, wearing sunglasses, caps or hats, avoiding salty foods, adding foods rich in retinol and vitamin C to your diet, and placing tea bags, potato peel, cucumber slices or cold spoons over your eyes.
Q: How do you fix bags under your eyes?
A: Having the thinnest skin of all body parts, eyelids and the skin around them are likely to develop damage as you age. Photodamage from exposure to UV rays may cause bags under the eyes. Some ways to help reduce this are topical antioxidant usage and sunscreen application.51
Q: Do eye creams really work?
A: Eye creams actually have the same formulation as facial moisturizers.52 When buying eye creams, look for organic ingredients such as shea butter, jojoba oil, acai oil, green tea leaf extract and chamomile flower extract to ensure safety from potential chemicals.
- 1 Semantic Scholar, “Periorbital Hyperchromia”
- 2 “Is Gender Recognition Affected by Age?”, 2009
- 3 J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 2012 Jul-Sep;5(3):183-184
- 4 Aesthetic Surgery Journal, “A Comprehensive Examination of Topographic Thickness of Skin in the Human Face”, 2015;35(8):1007-1013
- 5, 47 Mayo Clinic, January 26, 2018
- 6 Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 2007;6(3):211-215
- 7 United States Patent No. US 6,607,735, “Method for Reducing the Appearance of Dark Circles Under the Eyes”
- 8, 13, 25, 50 Medical News Today, April 3, 2017
- 9, 27 “Staying Healthy with Nutrition, rev: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine,” 2012
- 10, 52 Reader’s Digest, October 25, 2017
- 11, 51 Clinics in Plastic Surg. 2013 Jan;40(1):225-36
- 12 Dermatol Surg. 2009 Aug;35(8):1163-71
- 14 J Cosmet Dermatol. 2009 Jun;8(2):127-35
- 15 Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, “Caffeine’s Mechanisms of Action and Its Cosmetic Use”, 2013 Jan;26(1):8-14
- 16 EJPMR, “Preparation and Evaluation of Caffeinated Fairness Cream”, 2018;5(4):475-478
- 17, 48, 49 J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2016 Jan;9(1):49-55
- 18 Reader’s Digest, February 10, 2017
- 19 WedMD, January 21, 2018
- 20 WebMD, “Slideshow: Banish the Bags Under Your Eyes”
- 21 Medical News Today, May 10, 2018
- 22 WebMD, June 8, 2016
- 23 Skin Res Technol. 2009 May;15(2):214-7
- 24 Medline Plus, J anuary 7, 2017
- 26 Mayo Clinic, “Bags Under Eyes”
- 28 WebMD, November 19,2015
- 29 Clinical Pediatrics, “Allergic Shiners: Dark Circles Under the Eyes in Children”, 1966 Nov;5(11):655-658
- 30 Indian J Dermatol, 2014 Mar-Apr;59(2)151-157
- 31 Essilor, “Think Twice Before You Rub Your Eyes”
- 32, 35 Times of India, August 6, 2018
- 33, 39 Reader’s Digest, August 28, 2018
- 34 “Prescription for Nutritional Healing,” 2006
- 36 “Eggs in Cookery: Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium of Food and Cookery 2006,” 2007
- 37 Medical News Today, November 24, 2017
- 38 United States Patent No. US20110081333A1, “Apparatus and System for Treatment and Prevention of Bags Under Eyes”
- 40 Indian J Dermatol. 2014 Mar-Apr;59(2):151-157
- 41 National Center for Biotechnology Information, August 7, 2018
- 42 “100 Plus Essential Oil and Organic Recipes Box Set”, 2015
- 43 “Growing Younger: Breakthrough Age-Defying Secrets for Women”, 2001
- 44 WebMD, October 19, 2017
- 45 Dermatologic Surgery, “Infraorbital Dark Circles: Definition, Causes, and Treatment Options”, 2009 August;35(8):1163-1171
- 46 Mayo Clinic, March 28, 2018
Reproduced from original article:
Reproduced from original article:
- Your circadian rhythm is largely dictated by your pineal gland, located near the center of your brain, which produces melatonin, a hormone that is crucial for the regulation of your sleep cycle
- Melatonin is also an important energy hormone and a potent antioxidant that appears to play an important role in cancer prevention. It also benefits your brain, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal health, and has been shown to boost immune function
- Melatonin helps protect your mitochondria, which generate energy inside your cells. Melatonin appears to be the most powerful antioxidant in this regard, as it has the ability to enter into your mitochondria. It also recharges glutathione
- Melatonin works synergistically with vitamin D to optimize mitochondrial function. It also enhances vitamin D signaling
- Multiple sclerosis, cancer, neuropsychiatric disorders and high blood pressure are all examples of diseases that appear strongly linked to and affected by your vitamin D and melatonin status
Sleeping well is an essential strategy to optimize your health, and at the heart of it is your circadian rhythm. This is also known as your body clock. It’s a natural, biological timer present in every one of your cells that helps your body recognize sleepiness and wakefulness over a period of 24 hours.
Your circadian rhythm is largely dictated by your pineal gland, located near the center of your brain, which produces melatonin, a hormone that is crucial for the regulation of your sleep cycle.
If you have had enough exposure to bright light in the daytime, your pineal gland typically starts secreting melatonin around 9 p.m.1 As the amount of melatonin in your brain increases, sleepiness sets in as your body begins to prepare for sleep.
If you stay awake past dark, artificial light — especially that emitted by electronic devices — will inhibit your body’s melatonin production, so, ideally, you would stop using electronics at least an hour or two before bedtime to help increase melatonin production and maintain a steady circadian rhythm.
Melatonin Does More Than Control Sleep
While melatonin works as a natural sleep regulator, its biological effects don’t end there.2 It’s also a potent antioxidant3 that plays an important role in cancer prevention.4 It’s also thought to be important for brain, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal health,5 and has been shown to boost your immune function in a variety of ways.
In one study,6 researchers suggested melatonin may even improve the treatment of bacterial diseases such as tuberculosis. In another, melatonin was identified as a potential tool against inflammation and autoimmune diseases, including Type 1 diabetes.7
Melatonin is also an important energy hormone. As noted in the Stanford University course paper “Melatonin and Energy Levels:”8
“… decreasing the melatonin in the blood stream, consistent with the body’s natural response to suppress the secretion in the presence of light, causes the body to function at a higher energy level … An increase in the melatonin levels leads to a subsequent decrease in energy levels.
As such, understanding how to control and optimize the secretion and suppression of the melatonin for optimal hours of the day could help improve the treatment of sleep disorders and positively impact the energy levels of individuals.”
In short, if your sleep efficiency is impaired, meaning you’re not sleeping as deeply as you should, for as long as is ideal, then your energy level is going to be adversely affected.
Conversely, spending most of your daytime hours in poorly lit rooms, especially if you’re also exposed to excessive light after sunset, can impair your melatonin production, causing you to not sleep well.
Melatonin Protects Your Mitochondria
Importantly, the antioxidant activity of melatonin also helps protect your mitochondria, the tiny organelles inside your cells that generate most of the ATP or energy currency of your body. As noted in a 2007 paper in the Frontiers of Bioscience:9
“Melatonin is an ancient molecule present in unicellular organisms at the very early moment of life … The best-known actions of melatonin, currently supported by experimental and clinical data, include antioxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities, some of them involving genomic regulation of a series of enzymes.
Besides, melatonin displays anticonvulsant and antiexcitotoxic properties. Most of the beneficial consequences resulting from melatonin administration may depend on its effects on mitochondrial physiology.”
In fact, melatonin appears to be the most powerful antioxidant in this regard, as it has the ability to actually enter into your mitochondria.10 This is an ability that not all antioxidants have. According to this Frontiers of Bioscience paper,11 melatonin helps “prevent mitochondrial impairment, energy failure and apoptosis in oxidatively-damaged mitochondria.”
One of the things that makes melatonin so powerful is that it doesn’t just act as an antioxidant in and of itself; it also interacts with your body’s innate antioxidant system where it recharges glutathione.12 However, this brings us back to the importance of sleep.
Since melatonin is only released in response to darkness, and is easily and significantly inhibited by light (such as regular room lighting and electronic screens, after dark), your mitochondrial health will suffer if you do not take steps to optimize your sleep.
Aside from worsening your sleep quality and decreasing your sleep quantity, low melatonin production also increases oxidative stress, speeds up the aging process and raises your risk of degenerative diseases and chronic fatigue, thanks to its influence over your mitochondria.
Melatonin Works Synergistically With Vitamin D
In my February 2, 2020, article “The Importance of Vitamin D for Optimal Sleep,” which features my interview with neurologist and sleep coach Dr. Stasha Gominak, I review the hidden influence vitamin D has on your sleep.
A paper13 that will be published in the May 2020 issue of The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology — which I was able to review early, parts of which I’m sharing with you here — sheds further light on this connection. Not only does melatonin enhance vitamin D signaling, the two molecules act synergistically to optimize your mitochondrial function.
As noted in this paper,14 “The biosynthetic pathways of vitamin D and melatonin are inversely related relative to sun exposure,” meaning both are dependent on properly timed exposure to the sun.
A hypothesis presented by the researchers is that vitamin D and melatonin “play an essential role as modulators of mitochondrial function and adaptation to circadian and seasonal variations.”
Additionally, “both molecules are involved in the homeostatic functioning of the mitochondria,” the authors point out, stressing that the mitochondria are, in fact, “the final common target for melatonin and vitamin D.” Furthermore:
“A deficiency of these molecules has been associated with the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases, including arterial hypertension, neurodegenerative diseases, sleep disorders, kidney diseases, cancer, psychiatric disorders, bone diseases, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes, among others.
During aging, the intake and cutaneous synthesis of vitamin D, as well as the endogenous synthesis of melatonin are remarkably depleted, therefore, producing a state characterized by an increase of oxidative stress, inflammation, and mitochondrial dysfunction …
Mitochondrial dysfunction has been related to the etiologies of many complex diseases where overactivation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS), vitamin D deficiency and the reduction of melatonin synthesis converge.
In this sense, experimental and clinical evidence indicates that inflammation, oxidative stress, as in mitochondrial dysfunction, are consistent with low levels of melatonin and vitamin D, and also represent risk factors connected with development and maintenance of prevalent acute and chronic pathologies.”
Melatonin-Vitamin D Combo Produces Strong Synergistic Effects
According to the 2020 paper in The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology,15 multiple sclerosis, cancer, neuropsychiatric disorders and high blood pressure are all examples of diseases that appear strongly linked to and affected by your vitamin D and melatonin status.
Interestingly, a 2012 study16 pointed out melatonin is “an overlooked factor in schizophrenia and in the inhibition of antipsychotic side effects.” Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to a higher risk of schizophrenia,17,18 especially when levels are low during development.19
When combined in treatment, melatonin and vitamin D produce strong synergistic effects against cancer. Two separate studies20,21 have demonstrated the combination induces apoptosis and inhibits growth and division of breast cancer cells. In one of them, the combination resulted in “an almost complete cell growth arrest at 144 hours.”22
These effects were attributed (at least in part) to enhanced release of transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-β1), a type of cytokine that controls cell growth, proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis. Melatonin in combination with vitamin D has also been shown to protect against apoptotic ischemia-reperfusion injury in the kidney.23
Simple Ways to Optimize Your Melatonin and Vitamin D
The evidence suggests optimizing your melatonin production by making sure you sleep well at night may be a hidden key to maintaining mitochondrial health, which in turn is paramount for longevity and the prevention of virtually all chronic health problems.
However, while there are likely many benefits to supplementing with vitamin D and melatonin, it makes no sense to do so unless you are seeking to optimize your body’s own production.
The good news is it’s relatively simple and inexpensive to increase your melatonin and vitamin D levels. To optimize your vitamin D, I recommend getting sensible sun exposure on large portions of your body on a regular basis, ideally daily.
For further guidance, see “The Risks and Benefits of Sun Exposure.” If for whatever reason you cannot get sufficient amounts of sun exposure, consider taking a vitamin D3 supplement (along with a little extra vitamin K2 to maintain a healthy ratio between these two nutrients).
I personally have not taken any oral vitamin D for well over 10 years and my levels are typically over 70 ng/mL, even in the winter, but I have started taking sublingual melatonin as I am now older than 65, and believe there are benefits for such, even though I sleep in pitch dark and get bright sun exposure around 85% of the time during the day.
Optimizing your melatonin production starts with getting plenty of bright sunlight during the day, as this helps “set” your circadian clock. Then, as the evening wears on and the sun sets, you’ll want to avoid bright lighting.
Blue light from electronic screens and LED light bulbs is particularly problematic and inhibits melatonin the most. If you need lighting, opt for incandescent light bulbs, candles or salt lamps. The blue light from electronic screens can be counteracted by installing blue-blocking software such as Iris,24 or wearing blue-blocking glasses.
Additionally, an interesting paper25 in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, published in 2017, highlights the usefulness of time-restricted eating to improve your sleep cycle. As noted in this paper:
“The robustness of the circadian clock deteriorates with aging. Two new studies show that aging reprograms the circadian transcriptome in a cell-type-dependent manner and that such rewiring can be reversed by caloric restriction …
Surprisingly, the expression of core clock genes and clock-controlled genes remained unchanged with aging, despite the drastic circadian reprogramming. Thus, the core clock machinery remains largely intact in old age, giving hope for the prospect of reversing aging-associated circadian reprogramming to potentially improve physiological functions.
Indeed, CR-induced robust reprogramming of the circadian transcriptome partially overlaps with the circadian transcriptome in young mice. Thus, the profound physiological impact of CR may be, in part, mediated by the reprogramming of the circadian clock …
Given that aging-associated accumulation of DNA damage in stem cells originates from exposure to mitochondrial stress and that the mitochondrial protective programs are repressed in aged adult stem cells, it is tempting to speculate that reactivating the mitochondrial protective programs may provide a means to reduce the accumulation of cellular damage and reverse aging-associated circadian reprogramming.”
- 1 Sleep Foundation, Melatonin and Sleep
- 2 Pharmacological Research April 2012; 65(4): 437-444
- 3 Journal of Pineal Research December 17, 2002; 34(1)
- 4 International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 2013 Jan 24;14(2):2410-30
- 5 Current Neuropharmacology, 2017 Apr;15(3):434-443
- 6 Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 1999 Apr;43(4):975-7
- 7 International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 2013 Apr; 14(4):8638-8683
- 8 Stanford University, Melatonin and Energy Levels, Sierra Kersten, May 24, 2018
- 9, 11 Front Biosci. 2007 Jan 1;12:947-63
- 10 The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology May 2020; 199: 105595, Page 13
- 12 Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2006 Jun;27(3):365-8
- 13, 15 The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology May 2020; 199: 105595
- 14 The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology May 2020; 199: 105595, Abstract
- 16 Metabolic Brain Disease 2012; 27: 113-119
- 17 Journal of Neural Transmission 2000; 107: 839-842
- 18 IMAJ February 2012; 14: 88-92
- 19 Schizophrenia Bulletin September 10, 2010; 36(6): 1073-1078
- 20 Journal of Surgical Research April 2003; 110(2): 332-337
- 21, 22 Journal of Pineal Research November 22, 2010; 50(2)
- 23 The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology May 2020; 199: 105595, Page 19
- 24 Iristech.co
- 25 Nature Structural & Molecular Biology September 2017; 24(9): 687-688
Reproduced from original article:
by: Sara Middleton, staff writer February 1, 2020
(NaturalHealth365) One look at the harrowing images coming out of China is enough to leave all of us with the same question on our minds: what is coronavirus?
A mysterious, pneumonia-like illness is spreading around the world, and experts are anticipating this epidemic to be “as deadly as the Spanish flu epidemic” of 1918, which killed an astounding 50 million people. Stick with us to learn more about this worrisome disease and why you should consider natural remedies like vitamin C and vitamin D as part of your family’s virus prevention plan.
World Health Organization: Wuhan coronavirus epidemic poses a “high” global threat level
In late December 2019, the first cases of a strange and potentially deadly pneumonia-like illness were diagnosed in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. The illnesses – signs of which include fever, cough, breathing trouble, and sudden fainting and collapse – were found to be caused by a mutating strain of a virus called coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV. Its origin is hypothesized to be from a wet market in the Asian city of 11 million.
As of this writing, the death toll from 2019-nCoV has climbed to over 300 people, with 14,000 plus confirmed cases in at least 19 countries, including Australia, Cambodia, Philippines, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Tibet, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, and Vietnam (for real-time updates, check out this resource).
Just note: “Official” numbers are always downplayed for obvious business reasons.
In a heavily criticized move, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently stopped short of declaring this outbreak an international health emergency. Had they done so, it would be easier for global leaders to launch a concerted effort to prevent an epidemic. Failure to declare an emergency may delay care and put even more global citizens in the path of this potentially deadly illness.
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Only time will still tell if the international agency will change their stance on the severity of the outbreak. In the meantime, the WHO has conceded that they made a mistake in its risk assessment of the mysterious illness, and have upgraded the threat level from “moderate” to “high” at both the regional and global level (including “very high” in China).
Protect yourself and your loved ones from the flu with these 3 natural remedies
Reports from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that deaths from seasonal flu-like illnesses are increasing, and have been for some time. With the outbreak of this new mutating virus, it seems more important than ever to protect yourself and your loved ones from illnesses.
Here are 3 ways to keep your immune system health and strong:
- Take vitamin C: We know that a vitamin C deficiency has been linked to pneumonia. On the flip side, getting a sufficient amount of vitamin C can boost immune health and may help people avoid falling ill with flu-like illnesses. It’s no surprise that the Cebu City Health Office of the Phillipines recently advised people (after the arrival of a 5-year-old boy into the country who tested positive for coronavirus) to take vitamin C. According to Mayo Clinic, the recommended daily intake of vitamin C for adults is about 65 to 90 milligrams (mg) a day. But, that’s way too low to help avoid the threat of viral infections. In many cases, supplementation is a must … but, foods rich in vitamin C include kale, broccoli, peppers, kiwifruit, and citrus.
- Take vitamin D: Studies, including a 2017 study published in BMJ, show that vitamin D supplements can bolster people against colds, flus, and other types of respiratory infections. It’s understood – by many integrative healthcare providers – that vitamin D boosts the levels of antimicrobial substances in the lungs called antimicrobial peptides. The minimum recommended intake for vitamin D is around 400 – 800 International Units (IU) per day, but most studies show that increasing your intake to 1,000 to 2,000 IU/day (or more) is safe and beneficial. Keep in mind, to get the best absorption rate, it’s best to take a vitamin D supplement that offers the essential cofactors such as, vitamin K2, boron, zinc and magnesium – to name a few. In addition, foods rich in vitamin D include wild-caught fatty fish and pasture-raised (organic) eggs.
- Get enough sleep: Even just one night of sleep deprivation – getting less than the recommended 6 – 8 hours – has been shown to lower a person’s immune function and increase their risk of falling ill with a communicable disease. To avoid the threat of viral infections, make a commitment with your loved ones that you’ll all prioritize your sleep and practice good sleep hygiene techniques.
Obviously, it’s always a good idea to minimize your exposure to toxic chemicals, unwanted amounts of mental and emotional stress and eat an organic diet rich in antioxidants to support a strong immune system.
The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak is an actively developing story. Stay tuned for future updates on this flu-like epidemic and other major health news at NaturalHealth365.
Sources for this article include:
Reproduced from original article:
Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked
January 22, 2020
- The primary danger of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) — and what drives the processes of chronic disease — is the mitochondrial damage triggered by peroxynitrites
- Peroxynitrites are potent reactive nitrogen species associated with systemic inflammation and mitochondrial dysfunction, and are thought to be a root cause for many of today’s chronic diseases
- You cannot see, hear or smell EMF, and most do not feel it. Still, biological effects are taking place whether you’re able to sense it or not
- The number of people reporting pathological hypersensitivity to EMFs is rising. Between 1994 and 2008, prevalence of electromagnetic hypersensitivity syndrome in Austria rose from 2% to 3.5%. In 2011, Taiwan reported an incidence rate of 13.3%
- The possibility of large portions of the population being unable to work or live as free individuals due to incessant, elevated exposure to EMF is a very real threat to society as we know it. There are very few EMF-free zones left on the planet, and such zones will further shrink with the global implementation of 5G
Over the past decade, I’ve written many articles discussing the evidence of biological harm from nonionizing electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation.
While the wireless industry is built on the premise that the only type of radiation capable of causing harm is ionizing — X-rays being one example — researchers have for a long time warned that even nonionizing and non-heating radiation can jeopardize your health. This includes not only human health, but also that of plants and animals.
Over time, I became so convinced of the deleterious effects of EMF, I took three years to write “EMF*D,” which is slated to be released in February 2020. In it, I review the now overwhelming evidence showing EMFs are a hidden health hazard that simply cannot be ignored any longer, especially seeing how the rollout of 5G will exponentially increase exposures.
Scientists Now Understand How EMFs Impact Your Health
Over the years, I’ve interviewed several experts who have shared their in-depth knowledge about the poorly understood mechanisms behind EMF harm. Among them:
•Martin Pall, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of biochemistry and basic medical sciences at Washington State University, has published research1,2,3,4 showing that the primary danger of EMFs — and what drives the processes of chronic disease — is the mitochondrial damage triggered by peroxynitrites, one of the most damaging types of reactive nitrogen species.
Low-frequency microwave radiation activates the voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) in the outer membrane of your cells, causing them to open, thus allowing an abnormal influx of calcium ions. This activates nitric oxide, which is a precursor for peroxynitrite.5
These potent reactive nitrogen species are associated with an increased level of systemic inflammation and mitochondrial dysfunction, and are thought to be a root cause for many of today’s chronic diseases.
For an in-depth understanding of peroxynitrites and the harm they inflict, see “Nitric Oxide and Peroxynitrite in Health and Disease”6 by Dr. Pal Pacher, Joseph Beckman and Dr. Lucas Liaudet. It’s one of the best reviews I’ve ever read and free to download.
One of its most significant downsides of peroxynitrite is that it damages DNA. While your body has the capacity to repair that damage through a family of enzymes collectively known as poly ADP ribose polymerases (PARP), PARP require NAD+ for fuel, and when they run out of NAD+ they stop repairing your DNA, which can lead to premature cell death.
•Dr. Sam Milham, a physician and epidemiologist, wrote the book, “Dirty Electricity: Electrification and the Diseases of Civilization.” In his interview, he explains the biological mechanisms of high-frequency electric transients (electromagnetic interference patterns), and details some of the lesser-known household sources of this “dirty electricity.”
•Magda Havas, Ph.D., associate professor at Trent University in Canada, has written research including the effects dirty electricity can have on children’s behavior, and helpful remediation techniques.
EMF Pollution Is Likely Taking a Hidden Toll on Your Health
The problem with EMF radiation is that you cannot see it, hear it or smell it, and most do not feel it. Still, researchers assure us that biological effects are taking place whether you’re able to sense it or not. For most, it’s simply a matter of time and overall exposure load.
Here, it’s important to realize that we’re not just talking about radiation from your cellphone. The electromagnetic frequencies emitted from your Wi-Fi router, computer, home appliances, all manner of wireless “smart” technology, and even the wiring inside your walls are all capable of inflicting serious biological harm to your body and mind. And with 5G, it’s bound to get far worse.
Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome Is on the Rise
For some, the effects of EMFs are unmistakable and undeniable, and the number of people reporting pathological hypersensitivity to EMFs is rising. In 2008, an Austrian study7 noted that actual prevalence of electromagnetic hypersensitivity syndrome in Austria had risen by 1.5% since 1994, from 2% to 3.5%.
In 2006, Germany had an electrosensitivity incidence rate of 9%, and Taiwan reported an incidence rate of 13.3% in 2011.8 The RT documentary “Wi-Fi Refugees,” featured in “Documentary Explore Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome,” investigates the struggles reported by these “canaries in the coal mine.”
While symptoms may vary from one individual to another, commonly reported symptoms of electromagnetic hypersensitivity syndrome include:
- Skin itch/rash/flushing/burning and/or tingling — Many describe a “burning pins and needles” kind of pain, especially in the head and chest area
- Confusion/poor concentration and/or memory loss
- Fatigue and muscle weakness
- Chest pain and heart problems
Other reported symptoms include:
|Ear pain||Panic attacks|
|Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)||Feeling a vibration in the body|
One 2015 study9 pointed out that electromagnetic hypersensitivity is becoming an increasing challenge to the medical profession, which has yet to fully understand its implications, let alone its remedies.
Still, the complaints of modern-day hypersensitivities match those reported in the 1970s and ’80s by those working with radio and radar equipment and cathode ray tube monitors, which tells us that this is not a brand-new phenomenon. According to the authors:10
“In population-based surveys, the prevalence of EHS has ranged from 1.5% in Sweden to 13.3% in Taiwan. Provocation studies on EMF have yielded different results, ranging from where people with EHS cannot discriminate between an active RF signal and placebo, to objectively observed changes following exposure in reactions of the pupil, changes in heart rhythm, damage to erythrocytes, and disturbed glucose metabolism in the brain.”
As early as 2005, the World Health Organization warned that people have “for some time” reported health problems attributed to EMF exposure, and that some are “so severely affected that they cease work and change their entire lifestyle.”11
The possibility of large portions of the population being unable to work or live as free individuals due to incessant, elevated exposure to EMF is a very real threat to society as we know it. The reality is that there are very few EMF-free zones left on the planet, and such zones will further shrink with the global implementation of 5G.
I believe EMF exposure is one of the greatest challenges to public health facing us today. If we go back in time to the end of World War I, around 1918 or so, and use that timeframe as a baseline of EMF exposure among the general public, you come to the astonishing conclusion that EMF exposure has increased about 1 quintillion times over the past 100 years.
Knowing the impact EMFs can have, it’s completely irrational to assume that this radical increase won’t have adverse effects. My new book, “EMF*D,” is an attempt to inform you about the hidden harms of EMF and what you need to do to protect yourself and those you love. In it, you’ll learn:
- How EMFs are impacting your body and mind
- Where you can find them in your daily life
- How they can cause disease and speed up aging
- How to repair the damage done by EMFs at the cellular level
- Practical strategies to protect yourself and your loved ones from EMFs
In my book, I also reveal the reasons why you’ve been left in the dark about this serious health threat. “EMF*D” comes out February 18, 2020, but you don’t need to wait. Preorder your copy today and receive these five bonus gifts immediately:
- Early access to a chapter from the book
- $10 discount on a Mercola order
- 30-page Sneak Peak PDF Book
- 7 strategies to help reduce EMF exposure
- 5 tips to minimize your cellphone risk (SMS exclusive bonus)
Brain Cancer Is Not the Only, Nor the Major, Concern
While a number of studies have shown that cellphone radiation can trigger brain cancer this is not the greatest cause for concern. Your brain does have a far greater density of VGCCs than other organs, but so does your nervous system and heart, as well as male testes.
As a result of the elevated density of VGCCs in these areas, EMFs are likely to contribute to neurological and neuropsychiatric problems,12 as well as heart and reproductive problems, including but not limited to cardiac arrhythmias, anxiety, depression, autism, Alzheimer’s and infertility13,14 and miscarriage15,16,17,18 — and these conditions are far more prevalent than brain cancer.
That said, studies have also linked radiofrequency radiation equivalent to that emitted by 2G and 3G cellphones to other forms of cancer, including heart tumors. This includes U.S. government-funded animal studies19 published in 2018 that were further corroborated by the Ramazzini Institute that same year.20
As early as 2011, the evidence was strong enough for the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the cancer research arm of the WHO, to declare cellphones a Group 2B “possible carcinogen.”21
I’ve already mentioned one of the primary mechanisms by which EMFs harm your biology — i.e., the creation of peroxynitrites, which are potent oxidant stressors — but EMFs also damage your health in other ways.
For example, the enzyme ATP synthase — which passes currents of protons into the mitochondrial intermembrane space, similar to current passing through a wire — powers the generation energy of the creation of ATP from ADP, using this flow of protons.
Magnetic fields can change the transparency of the flow of protons to the mitochondrial intermembrane space, thereby reducing the current. As a result, you get less ATP, which can have system wide consequences, from promoting chronic disease and infertility to lowering intelligence.
EMFs may also alter your microbiome, turning what might otherwise be beneficial microbes pathogenic or toxic. This too can have far-ranging health effects, since we now know your microbiome plays an important role in health.
5G Rollout Will Significantly Magnify Health Risks
Any and all health ramifications attributed to previous generations of wireless technologies will be exponentially magnified with the rollout of 5G, which is simply being added on top of the already existing wireless infrastructure. This 5th generation technology may also present additional health risks.
A main concern with 5G is that it relies primarily on the bandwidth of the millimeter wave (MMW), which is known to penetrate 1 to 2 millimeters of human skin tissue.22 There’s also evidence suggesting sweat ducts in human skin act as antennae when they come in contact with MMWs.23
Many can feel the impact of MMWs as a burning sensation and/or pain, which is precisely why it’s used in nonlethal crowd control weapons.24 MMW has also been linked to eye problems, suppressed immune function and altered heart rate variability (an indicator of stress) and arrhythmias.25
In 2015, more than 230 scientists engaged in the study of biological and health effects of nonionizing EMFs in 41 nations signed an international appeal to the United Nations, calling for protection from nonionizing EMF exposure due to evidence of health effects even at low levels.26
Two years later, more than 180 doctors and scientists from 35 countries signed a petition27 to enact a moratorium on the rollout of 5G due to the potential risks to wildlife and human health.
Dr. Mercola Answers Your EMF Questions
I believe that the risk of EMFs is so important that I’ve decided to answer your questions on this topic in an upcoming video. Please submit any EMF questions you may have by clicking on the button below.
The earlier I get the questions, the greater the likelihood I will have a chance to include them in my response. Looking forward to answering your questions!
Protect Yourself From Excessive EMF
There’s no doubt in my mind that EMF exposure is an important lifestyle component that needs to be addressed if you’re concerned about your health, which is why I spent three years writing “EMF*D.”
My aim was to create a comprehensive and informative guide, detailing not only the risks, but also what you can do to mitigate unavoidable exposures. To get you started, see the tips listed in my previous article, “Top 19 Tips to Reduce Your EMF Exposure.”
If you know or suspect you might already be developing a sensitivity to EMFs (full-blown hypersensitivity can often strike seemingly overnight), mitigating your exposures will be particularly paramount. Many sufferers become obsessed with finding solutions, as the effects can be severely crippling. My book can be a valuable resource in your quest for relief.
The EMF Experts website28 also lists EMF groups worldwide, to which you can turn with questions, concerns and support, and EMFsafehome.com29 lists a number of publications where you can learn more about the dangers of EMFs.
Should you need help remediating your home, consider hiring a trained building biologist to get it done right. A listing can be found on the International Institute for Building-Biology & Ecology’s website.30
- 1 Rev Environ Health. 2015;30(2):99-116
- 2 International Journal of Innovative Research in Engineering and Management, September 2015; 2(5)
- 3 J Cell Mol Med. 2013 Aug;17(8):958-65
- 4 Current Chemical Biology 2016; 10(1): 74-82
- 5 American Journal of Physiology 1996 Nov;271(5 Pt 1):C1424-37
- 6 Physiol Rev. 2007 Jan; 87(1): 315–424
- 7 BMC Public Health 2008; 8: 310
- 8 Physicians for Safe Technology, Electrohypersensitivity Overview, Prevalence of Electrosensitivity
- 9 Rev Environ Health. 2015;30(4):209-15
- 10 Rev Environ Health. 2015;30(4):209-15, Results
- 11 World Health Organization December 2005
- 12 Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy 2016 Sep;75(Pt B):43-51
- 13 Environ Int. 2014 Sep; 70C:106-112
- 14 Central European Journal of Urology 2014; 67(1): 65–71
- 15 Scientific Reports 2017; 7 Article number 17541
- 16 American Journal of Epidemiology 1992 Nov 1;136(9):1041-51
- 17 Bioelectromagnetics 1993;14(3):229-36
- 18 PLoS ONE 8(12): e82113
- 19 National Toxicology Program, Cellphone Radio Frequency Radiation Final Report
- 20 Environmental Research March 7, 2018
- 21 World Health Organization, Fact Sheet #193, October 2014
- 22 Telecom Power Grab, 5G Fact Sheet
- 23 Phys Med Biol. 2011 Mar 7;56(5):1329-39
- 24 Environmental Health Trust 20 Facts About 5G Wireless
- 25 Electric Sense May 12, 2017
- 26 EMFScientist.org International Appeal to the UN May 11, 2015, updated January 1, 2019
- 27 Scientists Warn of Potential Serious Health Effects of 5G, September 13, 2017
- 28 EMF-experts.com, EMF Groups Worldwide
- 29 EMFsafehome.com, Publications
- 30 International Institute for Building-Biology & Ecology, Find an Expert
© 27th December 2019 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter
Reproduced from original article:
Posted on: Friday, December 27th 2019 at 3:15 pm
Written By: GreenMedInfo Research Group
This article is copyrighted by GreenMedInfo LLC, 2019
Low levels of testosterone can come with glaring symptoms such as erectile dysfunction and reduced bone mass. Before opting for hormone replacement therapy and facing the risk of serious side effects, here are five science-backed ways to optimize your testosterone levels naturally
In the face of aging and the treatment’s increasing popularity, many men around the world immediately opt for testosterone replacement therapy. While significant results may manifest in no time, there can be serious consequences down the road, particularly if the underlying cause of low testosterone isn’t addressed properly. Here are five things that you can explore for a natural testosterone boost:
A deficiency in zinc, an essential dietary mineral, has long been associated with testicular suppression, including suppression of testosterone levels. A 1996 study found a significant reduction in the blood testosterone of healthy young men after 20 weeks of zinc restriction.[i] It also revealed that six-month zinc supplementation in marginally deficient elderly men translated to a testosterone boost.
While research demonstrates that poor zinc levels in the diet can adversely affect testicular function, it is a reversible process and can be corrected via proper supplementation.[ii]
The exact mechanism behind how zinc deficiency exactly affects testosterone levels is yet to be fully understood, but the mineral may affect the cells in the testes that produce testosterone.[iii] Zinc helps your immune system function properly, plays a role in cell division and helps enzymes break down nutrients.
Studies have shown that magnesium intake affects testosterone and total insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1).[iv] The age-related decline in these anabolic hormones is deemed a strong predictor of metabolic syndrome and diabetes, as well as mortality in elderly men.
One proposed mechanism behind this mineral’s testosterone-enhancing role is its ability to inhibit the binding of testosterone to sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), resulting in an enhancement of bioavailable testosterone.[v]
3. Weight Management
Weight gain and related chronic conditions, including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, have been strongly tied to a reduction in testosterone, especially in middle-aged and elderly men.[vi],[vii] Here’s how it works: as you gain weight as fat, your testosterone production drops. However, this can be reversed through weight loss via adjustments in diet and lifestyle.
4. Vitamin D
A dose of sunshine can be a handy solution to low testosterone levels, with studies vouching for vitamin D‘s impact on regulating testosterone levels.[viii] Ideally, you would be able to get all the vitamin D your body needs through optimal sun exposure. This, however, may not be the case for those who live far from the equator, are dark skinned or spend most of their time indoors. Here’s GreenMedInfo.health’s review and recommendations for vitamin D.
5. Adequate Quality Sleep
One of the insidious effects of regular lack of high-quality sleep is decreased testosterone production. A 2013 study probed the effects of 33 hours of sleep loss on endocrine function as well as reactive aggression in 24 young men and 25 women, and found that sleep deprivation lowered testosterone in the male subjects.[ix]
There’s a double whammy here, as sleeplessness also facilitates fat gain, which, as mentioned earlier, is linked to impaired testosterone production.[x]
Scientific findings are quick to show that correcting a mineral or nutrient deficiency or insufficiency may raise low testosterone levels. For further information, check out the GreenMedInfo.com testosterone database to better learn how to increase testosterone naturally.
Written by Brenton Wight, Health Researcher, LeanMachine
Copyright © 1999-2020 Brenton Wight, LeanMachine
This site is non-profit, existing only to help people improve health and immunity
Updated 16th June 2020
TMG (Trimethylglycine) is a powerful nutrient, much like a vitamin, functioning as methyl donor, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, energy booster, toxin remover, immune booster and more.
Also called betaine (first isolated from sugar beets) but different from Betaine Hydrochloride.
TMG the Methyl Donor
The TMG molecule comprises three methyl groups (CH3) joined to one molecule of glycine (C2H5NO2). The benefit of TMG is that it releases easily one, two, or all three of the methyl groups.
Releasing one methyl group then leaves behind DMG (Dimethylglycine) which is just TMG with only two methyl groups. Releasing all methyl groups leaves just Glycine, which is the smallest molecule of all of the amino acids, which allows it to go almost anywhere in the body, including crossing the blood-brain barrier.
DMG is considered a B-complex vitamin, shown to help:
- Behaviour and speech in autistic children and adults
- ADHD (Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder)
- Neurological function
- Reducing seizures
- Stress tolerance
- Oxygen utilisation
- Liver activity
- Athletic performance
- Anti-viral and anti-bacterial
- Immune boosting
- Shrinking tumours
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Respiratory disorders
- Alcoholism, drug addiction.
- Cholesterol and triglycerides
- Blood pressure
- Blood glucose
Although DMG has all of these benefits, and is available as a supplement, LeanMachine recommends that people supplement with TMG as we then receive all of the benefits of DMG plus the benefit of 50% better methylation.
Methyl groups (CH3) are essential for millions of biochemical reactions every second in the body, these are a few examples:
- Lowering homocysteine, an amino acid, which inflames arteries when levels rise, leading to “hardening of the arteries”. Homocysteine levels are a much better indicator of cardiovascular disease than cholesterol. High homocysteine is commonly caused by insufficient methyl groups. The body gets methyl groups from TMG, Active Folate, Active Vitamin B-12, SAM-e, DMAE, Methionine, Taurine, Cysteine and Vitamin B-6.
Other causes of high homocysteine are mercury and copper toxicity. High homocysteine also causes methionine deficiency, in turn causing SAM-e (S-Adenosyl Methionine) deficiency which can lead to depression. Methionine is required for protein synthesis
- Excess homocysteine also leads to osteoporosis, birth defects, cancer, ageing and free radicals, all helped by TMG
- Methyl groups are required for the Phase 2, P450 liver detoxification pathway, a critical biochemical sequence of events. Fat-soluble toxins are joined to a methyl group, enabling a greater water solubility, then allowing the liver to remove them from the body. For toxins unable to be removed, methylation helps render them less toxic
- TMG increases production of SAM-e, helping to reduce depression
- TMG reduces risk of diabetes, as insulin release and insulin activity rely on methyl group donation
- TMG donates methyl groups for protein synthesis (biosynthesis), the copying of genetic code from DNA to RNA (genetic transcription), then to the synthesis (formation) of every chemical in the body
- TMG insufficiency causes biosynthesis slowing, telomeres shortening, and genetic errors (transcription errors) raises cancer risk from DNA mutations
The Methylation Process
This is a vital and most common chemical process in hundreds of essential chemical reactions, including:
- Methylation is essential for manufacture of all the chemicals for the body
- Stops certain viruses that could damage DNA
- Stops the production of trophoblast (fast-growing cells that may lead to cancer)
- Suppresses replication of DNA in areas where the body does not want it replicated
- Important for neurological chemicals and blood chemicals
- Corrects timing problems of the X chromosome in cell replication
- Causea a genetic trait to come from only one parent, and not both
- Prevents some genetic diseases
- Helps prevent shortening of gene telomeres
- Methylation is a primary method of removing toxins in the phase 2 liver detoxification system
- Methylation converts toxins of all kinds from insoluble, less soluble or fat-soluble compounds into water-soluble compounds to allow excretion. Larger molecules are eliminated through the bile, smaller ones are excreted in the urine
- Methylation is required for synthesis of dopamine and serotonin, improving mood, energy, wellbeing, alertness, concentration, and visual clarity
- Methylation helps with liver detoxification
- Methylation is required for conversion of homocysteine to methionine, which converts to other amino acids by various pathways
- Methylation helps balance hormones such as estrogens, reducing risk of estrogen-related cancers
- Reduces inflammation by removing toxins, balancing hormones, synthesising neurotransmitters and other methods
- Methylation protects the mitochondria and adaptive energy production to stop us from becoming very tired
- Restores SAM-e in spinal fluid, working as a methyl donor when restored by methyl groups
- Methylation is required for the body to make CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10), vital for heart health and energy production in the mitochondria
- Methylation increases muscle mass, important in cancer and other wasting diseases, and for general health
- Methylation may improve libido in some people
Who needs TMG?
Almost everyone needs supplemental TMG, even healthy people with a healthy diet, to provide enough methylation for modern life. Those subject to stress, toxins, cardiovascular disease, mental illness, depression, fatigue, exhaustion or almost any other medical condition, almost certainly need extra TMG.
Other benefits of TMG
The Parasympathetic System
TMG can improve the parasympathetic system, helping balance the autonomic nervous system. Hair mineral analyses show about half the population has an autonomic nervous system imbalance (sympathetic dominance), where the sympathetic (fight-or-flight) nervous system is “switched on” too often and too long, usually due to stress, causing many chronic health conditions. TMG may help reverse any imbalance, contributing to healing. Some doctors use “sympathetic dominance” in a different context such as “a sympathetic state of body chemistry” which is different from “sympathetic dominance” used here.
The MTHFR Defect
Almost half the people on Earth have the abnormal MTHFR gene expression, where the biosynthesis of folate is reduced, sometimes marginally, sometimes largely.
Often incorrectly called a “genetic defect” when it is actually a transcription error, polymorphism or abnormal gene expression where errors occur in copying the DNA code rather than a problem with the actual DNA code.
This is why Active Folate has benefits, as it is already in the (6S)-5-methyltetrahydrofolate form required by the body, while regular folate must be converted in the body to this form.
TMG can help supply the methyl groups where insufficent folate cannot. Active folate can be up to 700% more useful in the body, compared to regular folic acid. Note that folic acid is a cheap folate substitute used in many foods claiming to be “folate enriched” but folic acid may prevent absorption of real folate in foods or active folate supplements, and LeanMachine advises total avoidance of foods or supplements containing folic acid.
Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
There are not many reports on these properties, but they do exist, possibly as a result of methyl group donation
Effects on the Brain
TMG has a positive effect on the brain, likely due to methylation and SAM-e production. Recommended for those at high risk for Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinsons, depression, anxiety, seizures, migraine headache, ADHD (Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder), MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and other brain conditions.
1. Heart Disease
SAM-e is used for heart disease, also for fibromyalgia, abdominal pain, osteoarthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, chronic lower back pain, ageing, CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), improving mental performance, liver disease, spinal cord injury, lead poisoning, to break down bilirubin or porphyrin (or precursors).
SAM-e is often taken for PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) and a more severe form PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder).
IV use of SAM-e
IV (Intravenous) use of SAM-e is used for depression, osteoarthritis, AIDS-related nervous system disorders, fibromyalgia, liver disease, cirrhosis, and intrahepatic cholestasis (a liver disorder in pregnant women)
SAM-e is often injected for fibromyalgia, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Effects on Digestion
TMG aids digestion, again likely because of positive methylation throughout the body.
Glycine is the component left over when all three methyl groups have been donated from TMG.
Glycine is the smallest of the amino acids and very important for collagen formation and many other functions. Collagen, the most abundant protein in the body, is used for connective tissue: Tendons, ligaments, cartilage, skin, nails, arteries, veins, etc. Without collagen, we could not stand up, our body would be a pile of mush on the floor!
Glycine, in large doses (up to 3000 mg daily), has been found helpful for sleep and alertness. Although not recommended as a first-line supplement for sleep, it may help if other supplements like Valerian fail to work. This may explain why TMG helps induce restful sleep in some individuals.
Natural sources of TMG
TMG is normally made in the body, but not enough when there are toxins present or the diet is poor or absorption of nutrients is a problem.
TMG can come from the diet. Foods high in TMG include broccoli, quinoa, spinach, lamb, chicken, and beets. A vegetarian or vegan diet tends to be very low in TMG. Foods high in TMG are usually also high in folate, and both are methyl donors.
However, most people do not eat enough of these foods, and even eating large amounts will not provide enough TMG for optimum health.
Risk factors for low TMG
Generally, the body cannot make enough, the modern diet is poor in TMG, and the number of pesticides, chemicals, heavy metal contamination uses up all TMG available.
- Mercury is a poison that lowers TMG production in the body, and at the same time increases the need for TMG in the body. Almost everyone is mercury toxic now, as mercury is everywhere in the environment, especially in seafood and in dental amalgam fillings
- Copper toxicity also interferes with TMG, and most people today are toxic from copper pipes, tapware, cookware even if blood or urine tests are negative. While copper is essential for the body to build hemoglobin in blood, we need Chelated Copper from food or supplements, not metallic copper from copper pipes and cookware. Zinc deficiencies cause accumulation of copper in the body, and women have a higher risk than men. Causes headaches, female organ problems, depression, anxiety, skin conditions. Too much zinc (and/or magnesium) competes with copper for absorption, often leading to a copper deficiency.
Supplementary TMG is helpful for most people because of low body production, low in the diet, and higher requirements in our toxic world.
TMG 1000mg 100 tablets (most popular, best value).
Stress, inflammation, inflammation and some diseases increase our need for more TMG.
Dosage of TMG
- Women: Up to 1000 mg daily
- Men: Up to 3000 mg daily
- Children: Less than adults, in proportion to body weight
There are no reliable guides or tests to determine TMG dosage, but the figures above should be a good starting point.
If the sodium/potassium ratio is low, extra TMG may help.
Do not overdose, as too much TMG may lead to over-methylation, causing fatigue, nausea, hair loss, dizziness or other symptoms.
Most people have no side effects from TMG apart from feeling better, getting better sleep and having more energy.
Do not continue a high dose for extended periods.
Children need proportionately less TMG than adults, depending on their size and weight, but babies generally do not need TMG. Older children may need about 250 to 500 mg daily.
TMG is available as tablets, liquid capsules or crystals. Some children and the elderly may have problems with swallowing tablets. TMG has a sweet taste, so TMG crystals can be simply added to food.
Some people have problems tolerating TMG, so they may need a smaller dose. Try reducing the dose until any symptoms disappear.
People who have unresolved resentments seem to have more problems taking TMG, as an enzyme is activated which can cause anger, fear, depression or anxiety symptoms. These symptoms disappear if the dose is reduced or eliminated, but if one can tolerate the symptoms, TMG may help the person resolve their issues of conflict.
Some reports suggest that too much TMG may cause diarrhea and nausea, and may raise cholesterol levels, so those with high cholesterol should keep the level monitored.
Several factors affect poor methylation, such as:
- Raw vegetables are considered healthy, but cooked vegetables provide more dietary methyl groups
- Sugars in any form appear to harm correct methylation, and are bad for our health anyway
- Fermented foods are healthy, but are problem for methylation because:
- Some contain aldehydes (toxic to the liver), including kombucha tea, kimchi, and most fermented grains
- They contain ferments, which are bacteria or yeasts
Safer fermented foods, eaten in moderation, include yogurt, kefir, miso and most good quality cheeses
- Too much animal protein in the diet can cause high methionine and reduce methylation
- Fighting inflammation or infections consumes methyl groups, requiring more methylation
- Heavy metal toxicity, especially copper and mercury, interfere with methyl group formation
- High-dose niacin or niacinamide cause the body to use up methyl groups to detoxify and excrete niacin through the liver. Doses less than 50 mg daily are generally tolerated well
- Any liver toxins will reduce formation of methyl donors, also liver detoxification pathways require methyl groups, using up more methyl groups
- Methyl donor production seems to decrease with age, so seniors need more TMG
- Women of child-bearing age have much better methylation than men. Men always need more TMG than women
Methylation and Cancer
Cancer increases the need for methylating agents like TMG. People often die with cancer because they cannot eliminate their toxic metals and chemicals because of poor liver methylation, so toxins accumulate until death occurs.
Hair Mineral Analysis
More TMG may be required if a hair mineral test reveals:
- High zinc level, which may indicate presence of hidden toxic metals
- “Four lows pattern” meaning all four electrolyte minerals low: Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium. Indicates impaired methylation
- High mercury, becoming more common
- High copper
- High levels of the other toxic metals
These results indicate long-term toxic metal exposure.
LeanMachine is not a doctor, and everyone should consult with their own health professional before taking any product to ensure there is no conflict with existing prescription medication.
LeanMachine has been researching nutrition and health since 2010 and has completed many relevant studies including:
Open2Study, Australia – Food, Nutrition and Your Health
RMIT University, Australia – Foundations of Psychology
Swinburne University of Technology, Australia – Chemistry – Building Blocks of the World
University of Washington, USA – Energy, Diet and Weight
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Health Issues for Aging Populations
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – International Nutrition
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Methods in Biostatistics I
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Methods in Biostatistics II
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Principles of Human Nutrition
TUFTS University, USA – Nutrition and Medicine
TUFTS University, USA – Lipids/Cardiovascular Disease I and Lipids/Cardiovascular Disease II
Technical Learning College, USA – Western Herbology, Identification, Formulas
Bath University, England – Inside Cancer
WebMD Education – The Link Between Stroke and Atrial Fibrillation
WebMD Education – High Potassium: Causes and Reasons to Treat
Leiden University Medical Center, Netherlands – Anatomy of the Abdomen and Pelvis
MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) – A Clinical Approach to the Human Brain
LeanMachine has now examined thousands of studies, journals and reports related to health and nutrition and this research is ongoing.
Updated 16th June 2020, Copyright © 1999-2020 Brenton Wight and BJ & HJ Wight trading as Lean Machine abn 55293601287
Reproduced from original article:
by: December 24, 2019
Although it’s not as well-known as other essential oils, spikenard been used for centuries for health, beauty, and even religious purposes. While it’s valued as a prized perfume for its musky, earthy, spicy scent, it also offers antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties used by integrative healthcare providers for years.
A relative of the valerian plant, spikenard is a flowering plant that grows in the Himalayas in India, China, and Nepal, and it’s usually only found at around an altitude of 10,000 feet. Although it’s long been hailed for its ability to treat a variety of health problems, research backs up its use for treating insomnia, helping to reduce stress, and more.
How to defeat insomnia and reduce stress naturally without negative side effects
Multiple studies have investigated the use of spikenard essential oil as a sedative, as well as its ability to defeat insomnia. One study not only documented the sedative effect of the oil, but also discovered that when it’s mixed together with other oils like sandalwood, patchouli, borneol, and galangal oils, the sedative response was even more significant.
Another study went on to isolate two of the components of spikenard essential oil – beta maaliene and valerna-4,7(11)-diene. They found that the valerna-4,7(11)-diene offered the strongest sedative effect on test subjects and even had an effect similar to chlorpromazine, a medication often given to patients with behavior or mental disorders.
Spikenard oil also has a calming effect, which helps reduce stress. The combination of stress-relief and sedative effects make it a useful, natural treatment for people who have insomnia.
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Additional science-backed uses for spikenard essential oil
Beyond its ability to reduce stress and work as a sedative to relieve insomnia, spikenard essential oil offers many other science-backed health benefits, as well. One of the most studied benefits of this spikenard is its ability to fight fungus and bacteria.
Studies show that spikenard is one of the most effective essential oils against certain strains of bacteria, and it also works to heal skin problems caused by fungal infections.
Spikenard essential oil also has the ability to fight inflammation, which is at the root of many diseases. When studied in treating acute pancreatitis, spikenard treatment helped reduce the severity of the acute pancreatitis, proving its ability to work as an anti-inflammatory agent.
Other potential health benefits include:
- Stimulating the immune system
- Lowering blood pressure
- Reducing joint pain
- Relieving gastrointestinal issues
- Treating dandruff
- Reducing pain related to menstruation and muscle aches
- Promotes hair growth
- Relieves anxiety
Spikenard essential oil is often used topically or as aromatherapy. It can be diffused or inhaled directly from the bottle.
Another option is to add it to a carrier oil for a massage oil that promotes sleep while relieving sore muscles and headaches. You can also add a few drops to a bath to reduce stress and help relieve insomnia.
Sources for this article include:
Reproduced from original article:
Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola
- Researchers from Arizona and Texas have made a breakthrough discovery in plant DNA that could lead to stopping cancer cold, as well as slowing the aging process
- Centenarians are optimistic and have low rates of depression and other psychiatric problems
- Good quality sleep, in the right amount, can improve how you think and adapt to life’s circumstances
- Eating well and avoiding toxins also factor into your overall well-being
Youthfulness, vitality and a long, prosperous life have been sought after throughout human history. And now, it seems scientists may have discovered one of the keys to turning back the hands of time.
Researchers from Arizona State University and Texas A&M University have made a breakthrough discovery in plant DNA that could lead to stopping cancer cold and slowing the aging process, ABC affiliate News 15 Arizona reports.1
The research involves telomerase, an enzyme that produces the DNA of telomeres, which have been shown to play a role in the aging process. As your telomeres lengthen, they protect your cells from aging.
Take It From the Experts: Centenarians Share Their Secrets
While direct applications from the study to human health are distant, there are a number of things you can do now to improve your health span, according to one of the co-authors. In interviews and surveys with centenarians, certain themes came up time and time again when they explained why they’ve lived so long. The 10 most common reasons they gave for their long lives were:
|Keeping a positive attitude||Eating good food|
|Participating in moderate exercise like walking, gardening swimming, etc.||Living clean (not smoking or drinking excessively)|
|Living independently||Having family to interact with|
|Having a circle of friends||Being born with “good” genes|
|Having faith/spirituality||Staying mentally active and continually learning|
Centenarians are the fastest growing segment of the U.S population, with numbers doubling every decade; by the year 2050, the number of people who will have reached the century mark is expected to pass 1 million.
Centenarians have 60% lower rates of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure, yet scientific explanations for their health and longevity remain elusive. As a group, they are happy and optimistic and have extremely low rates of depression and other psychiatric problems, suggesting you may live longer by maintaining the right attitude.
Hopefulness and Positivity Affect the Heart
There are compelling links between cardiac health and mental health. For example, having untreated depression or anxiety disorder increases your odds of having a heart attack or developing heart disease. Stress hormones are again a primary culprit.
According to Julia Boehm, author of earlier Harvard studies looking at optimism and cardiovascular disease (CVD):2
“The absence of the negative is not the same thing as the presence of the positive. We found that factors such as optimism, life satisfaction and happiness are associated with reduced risk of CVD regardless of such factors as a person’s age, socioeconomic status, smoking status or body weight.”
With a later study,3 author Eric Kim told The Harvard Gazette:
“While most medical and public health efforts today focus on reducing risk factors for diseases, evidence has been mounting that enhancing psychological resilience may also make a difference.
Our new findings suggest that we should make efforts to boost optimism, which has been shown to be associated with healthier behaviors and healthier ways of coping with life challenges.”
The Significance of Sound Sleep
Getting adequate sleep is an important part of both mental and physical health. Too much or too little can lead to metabolic issues, as well as changes in mood and your ability to focus. Your circadian rhythm, which affects your sleep/wake cycle, holds implications for your brain, body temperature, hormones and cell regeneration among other things.4
“Irregular rhythms have been linked to various chronic health conditions, such as sleep disorders, obesity, diabetes, depression, bipolar disorder and seasonal affective disorder,” say scientists from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.5
Italian researchers found that deletion of a specific gene related to aging also affects glucose homeostasis. According to their article, published in the journal Glia, “Disruption of the circadian cycle is strongly associated with metabolic imbalance and reduced longevity in humans.”6
Telomeres and telomerase activity are also controlled by your circadian rhythm,7 making proper sleep an important part of longevity. In a 2007 study involving 21,268 adult twins, Finnish researchers found that adults who slept more than eight hours per night, or less than seven, showed increased risk of death.8
Of course, the quality of your sleep is also important, not just the quantity. Good quality sleep, in the appropriate amount, can improve how you think and adapt to the demands on your time and changes throughout your day. There is evidence suggesting that a calm mind and active body are two important ingredients for longevity.
The meditative technique known as “mindfulness” has even been shown to have a beneficial effect on genetic expression. According to a 2018 article in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity,9 meditation has also been found to affect the enzyme telomerase, which some researchers believe is actively involved with the process of aging.
After Resting, Be Sure to Refuel
Additionally, there are many other strategies you can implement to improve your health and extend your life span. To live longer, you need to counteract the progressive loss of muscle mass by increasing your protein intake as you age. The elderly, bodybuilders and endurance athletes typically have higher than normal protein requirements for their age group.
It’s also important to cycle high and low protein intake. Ideally, combine protein restriction with time-restricted eating, followed by increased protein intake on strength training days.
Fasting 16 to 20 hours each day is likely ideal, as this allows your body to more thoroughly deplete the glycogen stores in your liver. Benefits of fasting include the suppression of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and the activation of autophagy, both of which play decisive roles in disease prevention and longevity.
You’d also be wise to avoid eating two to three hours before bed, as late-night eating will decrease your nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) level, which is crucial for health and longevity. Late-night eating will also make you pack on unwanted pounds, as the excess calories will not be burned but stored as fat.
Preventing Cognitive Decline
Naturally, if you’re going to live longer, you’ll want to be healthy for the remainder, and that includes maintaining your cognitive function. Specific nutrients that can help prevent dementia and cognitive decline include vitamin D, DHA, folate and magnesium. Additional nutrients of notable interest, which are readily available in supplement form, include:
- Astaxanthin — Commonly called “king of the carotenoids,” is a potent anti-inflammatory from specific types of microalgae and may be useful for treating joint and muscle pain. It also supports healthy vision and can be used as an “internal sunscreen.”
- Ergothioneine — Found in porcini mushrooms, ergothioneine appears to play a specific role in protecting your DNA from oxidative damage. Along with glutathione, it may offer protection against age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and heart disease.
- PQQ — Particularly important for the health and protection of your mitochondria, PQQ has been shown to help protect against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. It also works synergistically with CoQ10, producing better results than when either one is used alone. Celery, parsley and kiwi are dietary sources of PQQ.
Kick the Chemicals to the Curb
Naturally, there’s also the issue of toxic exposures, which can take a toll on your health, so avoiding toxins is a given, right along with eating a wholesome diet of organic, unprocessed foods.
This includes tossing out your toxic household cleaners, soaps, personal hygiene products, air fresheners, bug sprays, lawn pesticides and insecticides, just to name a few, and replacing them with nontoxic alternatives.
A group of scientists from Southeast University and Changzhou No. 7 People’s Hospital in China recently published a study10 about the role of plastics in our environment and how long-term exposure affects our health. They found that high concentrations of nanoplastic particles reduced the life span of roundworms.
They believe that different levels of exposure may have effects on locomotion and immune response, indicating that nanopolystyrene is likely toxic to all types of organisms.
“Our results highlight the potential of long-term nanopolystyrene exposure in reducing longevity and in affecting health state during the aging process in environmental organisms,” they wrote. Next week I will post my interview with leading researcher James Clement on his book, “The Switch,” that will go into far more fascinating details on this topic.
- 1 ABC15 Arizona. November 20, 2019. Para 3
- 2 Harvard School of Public Health April 17, 2012
- 3 The Harvard Gazette December 7, 2016
- 4 National Sleep Foundation. December 16, 2019.
- 5 National Institute of General Medical Sciences. December 16, 2019. Do circadian rhythms affect body function and health?
- 6 Glia. December 13, 2019.
- 7 Biochemical and Biophysical Research and Communications. August 29, 2014;451(3):408-14.
- 8 Sleep. October 30, 2007; 30(10):1245-53.
- 9 Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. May 7, 2018;70:233-245.
- 10 The Science of the Total Environment. December 5, 2019.
Reproduced from original article:
December 05, 2019
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that occurs seasonally, typically ramping up in the fall and winter months and disappearing come spring
- Helpful treatments include optimizing your vitamin D and omega-3 levels, light therapy (including blue light exposure in the morning, but not later in the day), optimizing your sleep, the Emotional Freedom Techniques and exercise
- Your health and mood are intricately tied to exposure to sunlight. For example, your serotonin levels (the hormone typically associated with elevating your mood) rise when you’re exposed to bright light. Your melatonin level also rises and falls (inversely) with light and darkness
- Vitamin D deficiency is very common, and should be a top consideration when you’re looking for a solution to flagging mood and energy — especially if it occurs during fall and winter months
- While light therapy can take up to four weeks before you notice improvement, it was shown to be more effective than antidepressants for moderate to severe depression in a 2015 study
The loss of daylight hours during winter is a common cause of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that hits seasonally and lifts as spring and summer rolls back around.
The fact that SAD occurs when the days begin to darken and sunlight is at a minimum is not a coincidence. Your health and mood are intricately tied to exposure to sunlight. For example, your serotonin levels (the hormone typically associated with elevating your mood) rise when you’re exposed to bright light.
Your melatonin level also rises and falls — inversely — with light and darkness. When it’s dark, your melatonin levels increase, which is why you may feel tired when the sun starts to set, and in the heart of winter, this may be at as early as 3 p.m. if you live far from the equator. Light and darkness also control your biological clock, or circadian rhythm, which impacts hormones that regulate your appetite and metabolism.
As explained in the paper, “Seasonal Affective Disorder: An Overview of Assessment and Treatment Approaches,” published in the journal Depression Research and Treatment in 2015:1
“… SAD is a recurrent major depressive disorder with a seasonal pattern usually beginning in fall and continuing into winter months. A subsyndromal type of SAD, or S-SAD, is commonly known as ‘winter blues.’ Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer.
Symptoms center on sad mood and low energy. Those most at risk are female, are younger, live far from the equator, and have family histories of depression, bipolar disorder, or SAD … Typical treatment includes antidepressant medications, light therapy, vitamin D, and counselling.”
Considering the many health risks associated with antidepressants, and the fact that their efficacy is right on par with placebos, my recommendation is to avoid them if at all possible.
Aside from light therapy and vitamin D, other drug-free treatment options include optimizing your omega-3 level, exercise, the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and normalizing your circadian rhythm, all of which will be reviewed here.
The Role of Vitamin D
People with SAD tend to have lower serotonin and higher melatonin levels, which can account for the fatigue, tiredness and depressed mood typically associated with this condition. According to the Depression Research and Treatment paper:3
“A systematic review and meta-analysis concluded that low levels of vitamin D are associated with depression … During the winter months of November through February, those living about 33 degrees north or 30 degrees south of the equator are not able to synthesize vitamin D.
Many people with SAD and S-SAD have insufficient or deficient levels of vitamin D, and although no further studies have confirmed the findings, research investigating this association suggests that taking 100,000 IU daily may improve their symptoms.
Taking vitamin D before winter darkness sets in may help prevent symptoms of depression. Adverse reactions or intoxication is rare but could occur from doses of more than 50,000 IU per day.”
Vitamin D deficiency is very common, and should be a top consideration when you’re looking for a solution to flagging mood and energy — especially if it occurs during fall and winter months.
Ideally, you’ll want to get your vitamin D level tested twice a year, in summer and winter, when your levels are highest and lowest. This will help you fine-tune your dosage over time. While regular sun exposure is the best way to optimize your vitamin D level, this isn’t possible in many areas during the winter, thus necessitating the use of oral supplements instead.
GrassrootsHealth has a helpful calculator that can help estimate the dose required to reach healthy vitamin D levels based upon your measured starting point. The optimal level you’re looking for is between 60 and 80 ng/ml, and for all-around health, you’ll want to maintain this level year-round.
Omega-3 Fats Are Important Too
Another nutrient that can be helpful is marine-based omega-3. As noted in a 2009 review4 of three studies looking at the impact of omega-3 supplementation on patients with unipolar depression, childhood major depression and bipolar depression:
“Twelve bipolar outpatients with depressive symptoms were treated with 1.5-2.0 g/day of EPA for up to 6 months. In the adult unipolar depression study, highly significant benefits were found by week 3 of EPA treatment compared with placebo.
In the child study, an analysis … showed highly significant effects of omega-3 on each of the three rating scales. In the bipolar depression study, 8 of the 10 patients who completed at least one month of follow-up achieved a 50% or greater reduction in Hamilton depression scores within one month.”
In another study5 published that same year, people with lower blood levels of omega-3s were found to be more likely to have symptoms of depression and a more negative outlook while those with higher blood levels demonstrated the opposite emotional states.
A more recent review,6 published in 2015, pointed out that “Cell signaling and structure of the cell membrane are changed by omega-3-fatty acids, which demonstrates that an omega-3-fatty acid can act as an antidepressant.”
Importantly, this paper also points to research showing that the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 is an important factor that can influence your depression risk. People with severe symptoms of depression have been found to have low concentrations of omega-3 in conjunction with considerably higher concentrations of omega-6.
You can learn more about the importance of this ratio in “Getting Your Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio Right Is Essential For Optimal Health.” The key, really, to normalizing this ratio is to increase your omega-3 intake while simultaneously lowering your omega-6 consumption. This means you’ll need to ditch processed and fried foods, as they’re typically loaded with omega-6-rich vegetable oils.
Get Tested Today
GrassrootsHealth, which is conducting consumer-sponsored research into both vitamin D and omega-3, is one of your most cost-effective alternatives when it comes to testing.
Their vitamin D testing kit enrolls you into the GrassrootsHealth D*Action project, where your anonymized data will help researchers to provide accurate data about the vitamin D status in the population, the level at which disease prevention is obtained, and guidance on dosing to achieve optimal levels.
Their vitamin D, magnesium and omega-3 test kit is another option that will allow you to check the status of several vital nutrients at once. Each kit contains instructions for how to collect your blood sample. You then mail in your sample and fill out a quick online health questionnaire through GrassrootsHealth. A link to your test results will be emailed to you about a week after your blood samples have been received.
Light Therapy Is More Effective Than Antidepressants
Light therapy,7 using full-spectrum nonfluorescent lighting that has blue light to artificially mimic sunlight, is among the most effective treatment options for SAD. You want to avoid fluorescents as they emit large amounts of dirty electricity. Ideally, have the light exposure in the morning, well after sunrise. As noted in the Depression Research and Treatment paper:8
“Knowing the difference decreased daylight can make in triggering SAD and S-SAD, approaches seeking to replace the diminished sunshine using bright artificial light, particularly in the morning, have consistently showed promise …
Light boxes can be purchased that emit full spectrum light similar in composition to sunlight. Symptoms of SAD and S-SAD may be relieved by sitting in front of a light box first thing in the morning, from the early fall until spring …
Typically, light boxes filter out ultraviolet rays and require 20–60 minutes of exposure to 10,000 lux of cool-white… light daily during fall and winter.
This is about 20 times as great as ordinary indoor lighting … Light therapy should not be used in conjunction with photosensitizing medications such as lithium, melatonin, phenothiazine antipsychotics, and certain antibiotics.”
While light therapy can take up to four weeks before you notice an improvement, it was shown to be more effective than antidepressants for moderate to severe depression in a 2015 study.9,10 In it, the researchers evaluated the effectiveness of light therapy, alone and in conjunction with the antidepressant fluoxetine (sold under the brand name Prozac).
The eight-week trial included 122 adults between the ages of 19 and 60, who were diagnosed with moderate to severe depression. The participants were divided into four groups, receiving:
- 30 minutes of light therapy per day upon waking, using a 10,000 lux Carex brand day-light device, classic model, plus a placebo pill
- Prozac (20 mg/day) plus a deactivated ion generator serving as a placebo light device
- Light therapy plus Prozac
- Placebo light device plus placebo pill (control group)
In conclusion, the study found that the combination of light therapy and Prozac was the most effective — but light therapy-only came in at a close second, followed by placebo. In other words, the drug treatment was the least effective of all, including placebo.
The mean changes in the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale from baseline to the eight-week end point was 16.9 for the combination therapy (active light- and drug therapy), and 13.4 for light therapy alone.
Blue Light During Daytime Hours May Improve Your Mood
In addition to the bright white light used in light therapy, blue light has also been shown to be useful. According to a 2010 study,11 blue light appears to play a key role in your brain’s ability to process emotions, and its results suggest that spending more time in blue-enriched light could help prevent SAD.
Blue light is prevalent in outdoor light, so your body absorbs the most during the summer and much less in the winter. Because of this, the researchers suggested that adding blue light to indoor lighting, as opposed to the standard yellow lights typically used, may help boost mood and productivity year-round, and especially during the winter.
Keep in mind, however, that blue light after sunset or before sunrise should be avoided, as it can disrupt your circadian rhythm. In fact, one of the reasons for insomnia and poor sleep is related to excessive exposure to blue light-emitting technologies such as TV and computer screens, especially in the evening.
The blue light depresses melatonin production, thereby preventing you from feeling sleepy. So, to be clear, you only want to expose yourself to blue light in the morning, and possibly afternoon, but not in the evening.
In “How the Cycles of Light and Darkness Affect Your Health and Well-Being,” researcher Dan Pardi explains the peculiar effect blue light has on your brain, which sheds further light on why it’s so important to expose yourself to blue light during daytime hours only, and why you need to avoid it at night:
“[R]ods and cones in the eye… are specialized cells that can transduce a photo signal into a nerve signal… In the mid-90s, a different type of cell was discovered… [called] intrinsically photosensitive Retinal Ganglion Cells (ipRGC).
It does the same thing as rods and cones: it transduced light to a nerve signal. But instead of the signal going to your visual cortex, it goes to your master clock. Those cells are most responsive to blue light. If you can block blue light, you can actually create something called circadian darkness or virtual darkness.
What that means is that you can see, but your brain doesn’t think that it’s daytime; your brain thinks that it’s in darkness. That is actually a practical solution for living with artificial light in our modern world…
With more awareness, future digital devices will adjust lighting in the evening to automatically dim and emit amber/red light [instead of blue]. This is much better for healthy circadian rhythms and sleep quality.”
As you can tell by Pardi’s explanation above, the blue light issue is closely related to your sleep quality and circadian rhythm maintenance, and this too is an important component of mental health.
Historically, humans went to sleep shortly after sunset and woke up when the sun rose. Straying too far from this biological pattern will disrupt delicate hormonal cycles in your body, which can affect both your mood and your health. Indeed, the link between depression and lack of sleep is well established, and sleep disturbance is one of the telltale signs of depression.12
Sleep therapy has also been shown to significantly improve depression. While there are individual differences, as a general rule, you’ll want to aim for about eight hours of sleep per night.
For many, this will require going to bed earlier, which can be difficult if you’ve been watching TV or using electronics beforehand, as the blue light from the screen suppresses your melatonin production.
So, an important part of the solution is to avoid screen-time for a couple of hours before bed. Alternatives to not watching TV or using electronics is to install a blue light modulating software such as Iris,13 or using blue-blocking glasses.
Just make sure you don’t wear blue blocking glasses during the daytime, which is when you need the blue light exposure. Also, make sure the glasses filter out light between 460 to 490 nanometers (nm), which is the range of blue light that most effectively reduces melatonin. You can easily tell this by looking at a blue light and if it doesn’t disappear with the glasses, it is not blocking that frequency.
Exercise Helps Prevent Depression
Like sleep, exercise can impact your risk of depression. Even a minimal amount of exercise may be enough to combat depression in some people — as little as one hour a week could prevent 12% of future cases of depression, according to one study.14
Participants were followed for 11 years in this study, during which time it was revealed that people who engaged in regular leisure-time exercise for one hour a week, regardless of intensity, were less likely to become depressed. On the flipside, those who didn’t exercise were 44% more likely to become depressed compared to those who did so for at least one to two hours a week.
Exercise benefits your brain and mood via multiple mechanisms, including creating new, excitable neurons along with new neurons designed to release the GABA neurotransmitter, which inhibits excessive neuronal firing, helping to induce a natural state of calm15 — similar to the way anti-anxiety drugs work, except that the mood-boosting benefits of exercise occur both immediately after a workout and on in the long term.
Exercise also boosts levels of potent brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, which may help buffer some of the effects of stress. What’s more, anandamide levels are known to increase during and following exercise.16 Anandamide is a neurotransmitter and endocannabinoid produced in your brain that temporarily blocks feelings of pain and depression. It can also be activated with CBD products.
Tap for Symptoms of Depression
Last but not least, EFT, a form of psychological acupressure, is a noninvasive way that can help treat symptoms of depression, whether related to seasonal light differences or not.
Some people avoid energy psychology, believing it’s an alternative form of New Age spirituality. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is merely an advanced tool that can effectively address some of the psychological short circuiting that occurs in emotional illnesses.
It is not associated with any religion or spiritual outlook at all, but merely an effective resource you can use with whatever spiritual belief you have. In the video above, EFT practitioner Julie Schiffman demonstrates how you can use EFT to relieve your symptoms.
It’s the Season To Be Glad, Not SAD
Since SAD is triggered by the loss of light, it makes sense that light therapy is among the most effective treatments. Vitamin D and/or omega-3 deficiency, as well as lack of sleep and exercise, can also play a significant role, so addressing these basic lifestyle factors could also be what you need to avoid the winter blues.
In closing, it may be worth noting that it’s natural for your body to want to slow down somewhat in the wintertime. While this can be difficult when your work and personal life dictate otherwise, allowing yourself to slow down a bit and surrender to the overwinter process may ultimately help you to respect your body’s circadian rhythm, and recharge.
That said, this doesn’t mean you should plant yourself on the couch for the winter and not venture outdoors. On the contrary, staying active and spending time outdoors during the day are among the best “cures” for SAD.
- 1 Depression Research and Treatment 2015; 2015: 178564
- 2 Depression Research and Treatment 2015; 2015: 178564, 2. An explanation of Seasonal Affective Disorder
- 3 Depression Research and Treatment 2015; 2015: 178564, 3.3 Vitamin D
- 4 CNS Neurosci Ther. 2009 Summer;15(2):128-33
- 5 Psychother Psychosom 2009;78:125–127
- 6 Integrative Medicine Research 2015 Sep; 4(3): 132–141, 2. Omega-3 fatty acids and depression
- 7 Live Science February 12, 2019
- 8 Depression Research and Treatment 2015; 2015: 178564, 3.2 Light therapy
- 9 JAMA Psychiatry November 18, 2015. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.2235
- 10 Reuters November 19, 2015
- 11 Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Nov 9;107(45):19549-54
- 12 Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2008 Dec; 10(4): 473–481
- 13 Iris Blue Blocking Software
- 14 American Journal of Psychiatry October 3, 2017, DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2017.16111223
- 15 The Journal of Neuroscience May 1, 2013; 33(18):7770-7
- 16 Transl Psychiatry. 2014 Jul 8;4:e408.