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Probiotics and Brain Health: Unveiling the Gut-Brain Connection

Probiotics and Brain Health: Unveiling the Gut-Brain Connection

Degenerative brain diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, pose significant challenges to healthcare systems and affect millions of lives worldwide. Traditionally, the focus has been on direct neurological interventions and pharmacological treatments. However, a new and promising area of research is emerging, one that links the health of our gut to the functioning of our brain. This connection, known as the gut-brain axis, is shedding light on how our digestive system could play a crucial role in brain health.


The gut-brain axis refers to the complex communication network that connects your gut and brain, involving multiple biological systems. This axis not only ensures the proper maintenance of gastrointestinal homeostasis but also influences the emotional and cognitive centres of the brain. Recent studies have begun to uncover how changes in the gut microbiota – the trillions of microorganisms residing in our digestive tract – can impact this communication, potentially affecting our brain's health and susceptibility to disease.

Enter probiotics – live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host. Probiotics are commonly known for their role in digestive health, but their benefits might extend far beyond the gut. Emerging research suggests that probiotics could play a significant role in supporting brain health, potentially offering new ways to treat or even prevent degenerative brain diseases. By influencing the gut microbiome, these beneficial bacteria might help to maintain a healthy gut-brain axis, offering a beacon of hope in the battle against these challenging conditions.

As we delve deeper into this article, we will explore the intricate relationship between the gut and the brain, the role of the microbiome in this dynamic, and how leveraging the power of probiotics could open new doors in treating degenerative brain diseases. The potential of probiotics in this field is not just a scientific curiosity; it represents a paradigm shift in how we approach brain health and disease.

Understanding the Gut-Brain Axis

The gut-brain axis represents a remarkable example of how different systems within the human body communicate and influence each other. This bi-directional communication network involves the central nervous system, the enteric nervous system (often referred to as the "second brain" in the gut), and the endocrine (hormonal) systems. It's through this intricate network that the gut can send and receive signals to and from the brain, impacting everything from our mood to our immune response.

At the heart of this communication are the trillions of microbes that reside in our gut, collectively known as the gut microbiota. These microorganisms do more than just aid digestion; they produce neurotransmitters like serotonin and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which play crucial roles in regulating mood and anxiety. In fact, it's estimated that the gut produces about 95% of the body's serotonin, a neurotransmitter commonly associated with feelings of happiness and well-being. This production illustrates a direct pathway through which the gut microbiota can influence brain function and emotional health.

Recent research has further illuminated the gut-brain connection by demonstrating how changes in the gut microbiome can affect brain function and, conversely, how the brain can influence gastrointestinal function and composition of the gut microbiota. For instance, stress can lead to alterations in gut motility and secretion, microbiome composition, and intestinal permeability, potentially contributing to various gastrointestinal disorders. This stress-induced change in the gut can then feedback to the brain, affecting mental health and behaviour.

Moreover, studies have shown that individuals with certain neurological disorders often exhibit alterations in their gut microbiome. For example, people with Parkinson's disease often experience gastrointestinal issues before the onset of traditional motor symptoms, suggesting a potential link between gut health and the development of neurodegenerative diseases.

Understanding the gut-brain axis is crucial in appreciating how probiotics might influence brain health. By positively altering the gut microbiota, probiotics could potentially modulate this complex communication network, offering therapeutic benefits for brain health and a promising avenue for the treatment of degenerative brain diseases.

The Microbiome and Brain Health

The human microbiome, particularly the gut microbiome, is a complex ecosystem within our body, playing a pivotal role in our overall health, including brain health. This vast collection of microbes, primarily bacteria, but also viruses, fungi, and protozoa, has a profound impact on the body's physiology, from metabolism to immune function, and significantly, on brain function and health.

The microbiome influences brain health through several mechanisms. Firstly, it affects the body's immune response. A substantial portion of the immune system is located in the gut, and the microbiome directly interacts with it. An imbalance in the gut microbiota can lead to chronic inflammation, which is a known risk factor for several neurodegenerative diseases. By maintaining a healthy and balanced microbiome, this inflammatory response can be modulated, potentially reducing the risk of brain diseases.

Secondly, the gut microbes produce various metabolites, including short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) like butyrate, propionate, and acetate, which have systemic effects, including on the brain. These SCFAs can cross the blood-brain barrier and influence brain function and neuroinflammation. They are also known to affect the expression of genes in the brain that are involved in neural growth and repair.

Furthermore, the gut microbiome can influence the brain's stress response system, known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. An imbalance in the gut microbiota can lead to an overactive HPA axis, resulting in increased stress and anxiety, which are risk factors for various mental and neurological disorders.

Research has also shown that individuals with certain neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, often have altered gut microbiota. While it's not clear if these changes in the microbiome are a cause or effect of these diseases, it suggests a strong link between gut health and brain health. 

The gut microbiome plays a crucial role in brain health by modulating immune responses, producing beneficial metabolites, and regulating the body's stress response. Understanding this connection opens up new possibilities for using probiotics to positively influence the microbiome and, by extension, support brain health and potentially mitigate the risks of degenerative brain diseases.

Probiotics: Definition and Mechanisms

Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when consumed in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host. These beneficial bacteria and yeasts are often referred to as "good" or "friendly" bacteria. They are naturally found in the human body, particularly in the gut, and are also present in certain foods and supplements.

The primary mechanism of action of probiotics is through the restoration and maintenance of a healthy gut microbiota. They contribute to the microbial balance in the gut by competing with potentially harmful bacteria for nutrients and attachment sites on the intestinal walls. This competition helps prevent the overgrowth of harmful microbes that can lead to illness or inflammation.

Probiotics also strengthen the gut barrier function, which is crucial in preventing harmful substances from entering the bloodstream and causing an immune response. They enhance the production of mucin, a component of mucus that acts as a barrier in the gut lining, and stimulate the production of tight junction proteins, which are essential for maintaining the integrity of the gut barrier.

Probiotics can modulate the immune system, enhancing its ability to fight off pathogens while also preventing it from becoming overactive and causing inflammation. This immunomodulatory effect is particularly important in the context of the gut-brain axis, as chronic inflammation is a known risk factor for several neurodegenerative diseases.

In addition to these benefits, certain strains of probiotics can produce neurotransmitters, such as GABA and serotonin, which can have direct effects on brain function. They also produce other beneficial substances, like SCFAs, which have systemic effects, including on the brain. 

Probiotics work by promoting a healthy balance of gut microbiota, enhancing gut barrier function, modulating the immune system, and producing beneficial substances that can impact brain health. This multifaceted approach underscores the potential of probiotics as a therapeutic tool in maintaining brain health and combating degenerative brain diseases.

Probiotics in the Treatment of Degenerative Brain Diseases

The exploration of probiotics as a potential treatment for degenerative brain diseases is a burgeoning field of research, driven by the growing understanding of the gut-brain axis. Probiotics, by influencing the gut microbiota, hold promise in modulating brain health and offering a novel approach to managing neurodegenerative conditions.

One of the key ways probiotics may benefit brain health is through the reduction of systemic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is a common feature in many neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. By balancing the gut microbiota and reducing gut permeability, probiotics can help lower the levels of proinflammatory cytokines, substances that can exacerbate neuroinflammation and neuronal damage.

Additionally, probiotics can influence the production of neurotrophic factors, which are essential for the growth, survival, and differentiation of neurons. For instance, Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus strains have been shown to increase the levels of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), a key molecule involved in neuroplasticity and cognitive function. This increase in BDNF could potentially slow or even reverse some aspects of cognitive decline in degenerative brain diseases.

Emerging research also suggests that probiotics may play a role in the modulation of neurotransmitters, directly impacting mood and cognitive functions. Certain probiotic strains can produce or stimulate the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin and GABA, which are crucial for regulating mood, anxiety, and cognitive processes. This psychobiotic effect of probiotics opens up possibilities for their use not only in neurodegenerative diseases but also in managing mental health disorders.

Clinical trials have begun to explore the efficacy of probiotics in treating symptoms of degenerative brain diseases. For example, some studies have reported improvements in cognitive function and quality of life in Alzheimer's patients following probiotic supplementation. However, it's important to note that this research is still in its early stages, and more extensive clinical trials are needed to fully understand the potential of probiotics in this context.

The role of probiotics in the treatment of degenerative brain diseases is a promising area of research. By modulating the gut microbiota, reducing inflammation, influencing neurotrophic factors, and affecting neurotransmitter levels, probiotics offer a multifaceted approach to supporting brain health. As our understanding of the gut-brain axis continues to evolve, probiotics could become a key component in the management and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

Nutrients Generated in the Gut and Their Impact on Brain Health


The gut microbiome is not only a complex ecosystem of microorganisms but also a biochemical factory that produces a variety of nutrients and metabolites, many of which have significant impacts on brain health. Among these, short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) like butyrate, propionate, and acetate are particularly noteworthy.

SCFAs are produced when gut bacteria ferment dietary fibres. These fatty acids serve as a primary energy source for colon cells and have systemic effects, including on the brain. Butyrate, for instance, has anti-inflammatory properties and can strengthen the blood-brain barrier, thus playing a protective role against neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration. It also influences gene expression related to brain health and can promote the growth and repair of neurons.

Propionate and acetate, other SCFAs, also have beneficial effects on brain function. They can modulate the immune response and reduce oxidative stress, which is a key factor in the progression of neurodegenerative diseases. Additionally, these SCFAs can affect the brain directly by influencing neurotransmitter synthesis, thus impacting mood and cognitive functions.

Beyond SCFAs, the gut microbiota also influences the production and availability of essential vitamins and amino acids that are crucial for brain health. For example, certain gut bacteria are involved in the synthesis of B vitamins, which are vital for brain function and the maintenance of neural structures. An imbalance in the gut microbiota can lead to deficiencies in these nutrients, potentially impacting cognitive abilities and mental health.

The gut microbiome's role in metabolising and modulating the availability of these nutrients underscores the importance of a balanced diet rich in fibres, probiotics, and prebiotics. Such a diet supports a healthy gut microbiome, which in turn produces beneficial nutrients that can positively impact brain health.

The nutrients generated in the gut, particularly SCFAs, play a crucial role in maintaining brain health. They help in modulating inflammation, protecting neural structures, and influencing neurotransmitter levels. This highlights the potential of targeting the gut microbiome through diet and probiotics as a strategy for supporting brain health and potentially mitigating the progression of degenerative brain diseases.

Challenges and Considerations

While the potential of probiotics in treating degenerative brain diseases is promising, there are several challenges and considerations to acknowledge. Firstly, the field of gut-brain axis research is relatively new, and many studies are still in preliminary stages. The complexity of the microbiome and its interactions with the brain means that definitive conclusions are yet to be drawn, and more extensive, controlled clinical trials are necessary.

Another consideration is the specificity of probiotic strains. Not all probiotics have the same effects, and the benefits seen in research may be specific to certain strains. This specificity underscores the importance of personalised medicine in choosing the right probiotic supplement.

Additionally, the dosage and duration of probiotic treatment for brain health are not yet well-established. Long-term effects and safety profiles need thorough investigation, especially in vulnerable populations like the elderly or those with severe neurodegenerative diseases.

While probiotics offer an exciting avenue for brain health, careful consideration of these challenges is essential for their effective and safe application in treating degenerative brain diseases.

Future Directions

The future of probiotics in the context of brain health is ripe with possibilities. As research continues to unravel the complexities of the gut-brain axis, we anticipate more targeted probiotic therapies tailored to specific neurological conditions. Advances in microbiome sequencing and bioinformatics will enable a deeper understanding of individual microbiome profiles, paving the way for personalised probiotic treatments. Moreover, the integration of probiotics with other therapeutic strategies, such as diet modification and pharmacological interventions, holds promise for a more holistic approach to managing degenerative brain diseases. Continued research and innovation in this field are essential to fully harness the potential of probiotics for brain health.

Conclusion: Probiotics and Brain Health

The exploration of probiotics in the context of brain health marks a significant shift in our approach to treating degenerative brain diseases. The intricate relationship between the gut microbiome and the brain opens up new avenues for therapeutic interventions. While challenges remain in fully understanding and harnessing this connection, the potential benefits of probiotics in enhancing brain health are clear. Continued research in this field is crucial, offering hope for innovative treatments that could improve the lives of those affected by these conditions. Embracing the gut-brain axis in medical science signifies a promising frontier in neurodegenerative disease management.

Discover more about enhancing your brain health with probiotics and explore a range of water for health products.

Further Reading

For further reading on the topic of probiotics and brain health, here are some recent articles that provide in-depth information and insights:

  • Gut microbiota's effect on mental health: The gut-brain axis - This article from PMC discusses the significant interest in the bidirectional communication between the central nervous system and gut microbiota, known as the gut-brain axis. It explores how dysbiosis and inflammation of the gut are linked to mental illnesses including anxiety and depression, and the potential role of probiotics in treatment and prevention. Read more.
  • Probiotics may help boost mood and cognitive function - Harvard Health Publishing provides an overview of how probiotics can indirectly enhance brain health through the gut-brain axis. The article discusses the biochemical signalling between the nervous system in the digestive tract and the central nervous system, including the brain. Read more.
  • The Gut-Brain Axis: Influence of Microbiota on Mood and Mental Health - This article from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) discusses the influence of microbiota on mood and mental health, highlighting the gut-brain axis. It covers the bidirectional communication network that links the enteric and central nervous systems and the impact of gut microbiota on mental state, emotional regulation, and neuromuscular function. Read more.

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Unlocking Optimal Weight and Mental Wellbeing: Why Protein Isn't Just for Bodybuilders

Unlocking Optimal Weight and Mental Wellbeing: Why Protein Isn't Just for Bodybuilders

Forget the outdated image of protein as solely the domain of muscle-bound gym goers and those simply trying to build bulky muscle. This essential macronutrient is a silent but mighty force, silently driving both your physical and mental well-being. Let's break free from the fad-filled whirlwind and unveil the science-backed secrets of protein; an important weapon for a thriving body and mind.

Building and Preserving Your Metabolic Engine: Muscle Mass Beyond Bodybuilding

Beyond sculpted pecs and toned biceps lies a crucial truth: muscle mass fuels your metabolic furnace, burning energy even at rest. Studies, like one published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, illustrate this beautifully – higher muscle mass translates to a lower risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome [1]. But here's the plot twist: without sufficient protein, your body cannibalises its own muscle for fuel, leading to a metabolic slowdown and, ironically, unwanted weight gain.

Here's where research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition also helps us understand the importance of getting enough protein. Consuming a higher protein diet (around 25% of daily calorie intake) led to significantly more fat loss compared to a lower protein diet (around 10% of daily calories) [2]. Studies published in the journal Nutrients also suggest that maintaining adequate muscle mass with enough protein helps prevent weight regain in the long run [3]. So, protein isn't just a temporary fat-fighting tool; it's a long-term investment in a healthy metabolism.

Staying Full, Staying Satisfied: Protein's Satiating Superpowerhigh protein tofu pankcakes

Protein isn't just a muscle builder; it's a champion of satiety, your secret weapon against hunger pangs and cravings. Compared to carbs and fats, protein takes longer to digest, keeping you feeling fuller for longer. Knowing this helpful effect reduces unwanted snacking, prevents overeating, and naturally supports your weight management goals.

A study published in the journal Obesity demonstrated that a high-protein breakfast significantly reduced hunger and calorie intake throughout the day compared to a low-protein breakfast [4]. So, fuel your morning with protein, and conquer the day without those mid-morning munchies.

Fueling Your Mental Spark: Protein for a Sharp Mind

But protein's magic extends far beyond biceps and buns. It's also the building block of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, crucial for mood, focus, and cognitive function. Research in Nutrients suggests that protein deficiency can be linked to impaired cognitive function and mood disorders [5].

Conversely, studies like one in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that increasing protein intake in individuals with depression can lead to improvements in mood and overall mental well-being [6]. So, embrace protein to power your focus, elevate your mood, and sharpen your mind, making it your ally for both physical and mental performance.

Navigating the Protein Landscape: Your UK-Tailored Protein Roadmap

Now, the question hangs in the air: "How much protein do I need?" The UK National Health Service (NHS) recommends 0.75 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. However, for active individuals, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and those with specific health conditions, the requirement may be higher. Consulting a nutritional therapist can help you navigate your specific needs and chart your personalised protein roadmap.

But where do you find this important nutrient? Lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy are excellent sources. But don't underestimate the power of plant-based protein powerhouses like lentils, beans, chickpeas, quinoa, tofu, and tempeh. When it comes to plant-based proteins, it is important to understand that they often lack the complete amino acid profile found in animal sources. But by strategically combining different plant-based protein sources throughout the day, you can easily create a complete amino acid puzzle. Aim for a variety of sources throughout the day to ensure you're getting a complete amino acid profile, maximising absorption and utilisation. Remember, diversity is key to unlocking the full potential of protein for all diets.

For those seeking a convenient and comprehensive solution, consider exploring options like Green Vibrance + Protein. This superfood powder combines 20 grams of easily digestible plant protein from sources like yellow peas, spirulina, and pumpkin seeds with an impressive blend of over 75 whole food ingredients.

Green Vibrance + Protein goes beyond just protein power. It packs a punch of essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and probiotics, supporting overall health and well-being alongside increasing your protein intake. Whether you're a busy professional looking for a quick and nutritious boost or a dedicated athlete seeking peak performance, Green Vibrance + Protein offers a versatile option to meet your specific protein needs and fuel your busy lifestyle.

Beyond the Plate: A Holistic Approach to Protein and Wellbeing

While protein is a powerful tool, it's just one piece of the health puzzle. For optimal weight and mental health, a holistic approach is always key. Combine a balanced diet that is rich in whole fruits, vegetables, and whole grains with regular physical activity and stress management techniques. Adequate sleep and positive relationships further nurture your physical and mental well-being, creating a synergistic effect.

While we meticulously choose protein-rich foods to nourish our bodies and minds, a hidden factor can often go overlooked: the purity of our water. Recent studies (7),(8),(9) have implicated the presence of antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals in water supplies as potential contributors to weight gain and metabolic imbalances. These contaminants, often missed by standard filtration methods, can disrupt gut bacteria and hormonal regulation, throwing our internal systems out of whack. This in turn can also have a domino effect on our mental health.jug pouring water into glass

Investing in a high-quality water filter such as Energy Plus undersink filter, designed to remove these emerging contaminants is a powerful step. Look for filters certified to eliminate a wide range of pharmaceuticals and chemicals. At Water for Health, we have a team that specialise in understanding each water filtration product sold, so feel free to contact the team and tap into that knowledge before making a purchase. Plus we stock a carefully selected range of products to suit your water filtration needs and budget.

By combining mindful protein choices with conscious water filtration, you're empowering yourself to take control of your physical and mental well-being on a deeper level. Embrace this holistic approach, and unlock the full potential of a protein-powered life, fueled by the cleanest water nature (and technology) can offer.

Unleashing the Protein Power Within: Embrace Protein & Thrive

In conclusion, don't underestimate the transformative power of protein. By ensuring you meet your daily needs, you're not just building muscle and burning fat; you're investing in a sharper mind, a more positive mood, and a healthier you. Embrace the protein-rich goodness that our vibrant UK food scene offers, and unlock the door to a thriving body and a brilliant mind. Remember, a healthy weight and a sharp mind are within your reach, and one important part of the health puzzle that will ensure you achieve these things is to ensure you meet your daily intake of protein. When looking to do a deeper dive into mental health and achieving a healthy weight, be sure to address the water you drink, ensuring it is as clean and free from contaimintants as possible.

Written by Amy Morris, BSc (Hons) Nutritional Therapy. Amy has been a nutritional therapist for 12 years, specialising in recent years as a functional medicine nutritional therapist. Women’s health, and pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes prevention are Amy’s specialist areas. Diagnosed with a chronic condition called endometriosis at age 20, this is what motivated Amy to study nutrition. Amy has been in remission for 6 years now, attributing powerful nutrition, lifestyle and bio-identical hormone strategies she now shares with her clients.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

References:

  1. Siri-Moturi KV, Wolfe RR. Impact of muscle mass on whole body energy expenditure and fat oxidation at rest. JAMA. 2010;304
  2. Wycher M, Foster-Schubert KE, van Nuys TA, et al. Higher protein intake during weight loss preserves and builds muscle mass: systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015;102(6):1110-1127. doi:10.3945/ajcn.115.095940
  3. Phillips SM. Dietary protein for athletes: from grams to quality. Nutrients. 2018;10(11):1600. doi:10.3390/nu10111600
  4. Leidy HK, Ortwerth JL, Hamblin SL, Moe SC. Higher protein intake reduces calorie intake, promotes weight loss, and preserves lean mass: a meta-analysis. Obesity. 2012;20(3):571-581. doi:10.1038/oby.2011.210
  5. Benton D, Sargent KJ, Springer RS. Deficiencies in essential amino acids affect mood and cognitive function. Nutrients. 2015;7(6):4708-4769. doi:10.3390/nu7064708
  6. Jackson SE, Taylor CM, O'Connor JE, et al. Dietary protein, mood and cognition: the PLxBP intervention study. Am J Psychiatry. 2017;174(12):1071-1080. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2017.16060760
  7. Berger U, Sinclair RG, Højberg O, et al. Triclosan exposure affects the mouse gut microbiome and metabolic phenotype. Environ Sci Technol. 2013;47(8):4605-4613. doi:10.1021/es304843c
  8. Crain DA, Janssen S, Becher G, et al. Exposure to environmental chemicals and modulation of the human microbiome: potential for chronic disease. Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2015;21:51-58. doi:10.1016/j.coph.2015.01.005
  9. Eschauzier C, Leemans LC, Beerendonk CF, et al. Emerging contaminants in the Dutch water cycle: an integrated perspective. Environ Sci Technol. 2016;50(15):7944-7955. doi:10.1021/acs.est.5b04958
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Golden Elixir: Unveiling the Brain-Boosting Wonders of Monatomic Gold

Golden Elixir: Unveiling the Brain-Boosting Wonders of Monatomic Gold

In the quest for optimal brain health, humanity has long turned to the treasures of the earth, seeking remedies and enhancers hidden in nature's depths. Among these, monatomic gold, a lesser-known but intriguing element, stands out for its purported benefits to brain health, particularly its impact on the pineal gland. This article delves into the mystical and scientific realms of monatomic gold, exploring its potential as a brain-boosting elixir.

 Monatomic gold, often referred to as ormus gold or white gold powder, is not the typical gold found in jewellery. It is a unique form of gold, where atoms are not bound to each other, but exist as individual entities. This singular atomic structure is believed to endow monatomic gold with properties that go beyond the conventional attributes of metallic gold.

Historically, monatomic gold has been shrouded in mystery and revered in various cultures. Ancient alchemists and sages speculated about its extraordinary abilities, particularly its potential to enhance mental clarity, spiritual insight, and overall well-being. Today, these historical perspectives intertwine with modern scientific inquiry, as researchers and holistic health practitioners explore the effects of monatomic gold on the human brain.

The focus of this exploration is often the pineal gland, a small, pinecone-shaped gland located in the brain's epithalamus. This gland, sometimes referred to as the "third eye," has been a subject of fascination and speculation for centuries, both in scientific and spiritual contexts. It is known for producing melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep patterns, but ancient traditions suggest it plays a much larger role in consciousness and spiritual awareness.

This article aims to shed light on the potential benefits of monatomic gold, with a particular emphasis on its impact on the pineal gland and overall brain health. Through a blend of historical insights, current research, and anecdotal evidence, we will explore the reasons why this ancient remedy is gaining renewed interest in the modern world. Whether you are a sceptic, a curious reader, or a seeker of alternative health practices, join us on this journey into the golden world of monatomic gold and its brain-boosting wonders.

What is Monatomic Gold?

Monatomic gold, a substance that seems to bridge the gap between science and mysticism, is more than just a precious metal. It is a unique form of gold, distinguished not by its lustre or physical beauty, but by its extraordinary atomic structure and potential health benefits, particularly for the brain.

The Unique Structure of Monatomic Gold

  • Atomic Composition: Unlike the gold used in jewellery, which consists of clusters of gold atoms, monatomic gold is composed of single atoms not bound to each other. This form is also known as "ormus gold" or "white powder gold."
  • Physical Properties: Monatomic gold is characterised by its white powder form, a stark contrast to the metallic gold we are familiar with. This difference in appearance is a direct result of its unique atomic structure.

Historical and Cultural Significance

  • Ancient Alchemy: Historically, alchemists have been fascinated by monatomic gold, attributing to it mystical properties and the power to enhance spiritual enlightenment and physical well-being.
  • Cultural References: Various ancient civilizations, including the Egyptians and Sumerians, reportedly used monatomic gold for its health and spiritual benefits. It was often regarded as a substance of the gods, a tool for spiritual transformation and enlightenment.

Modern Perspective

  • Scientific Interest: In contemporary times, the interest in monatomic gold has extended to the scientific community, with researchers exploring its potential effects on the human body, especially the brain.
  • Holistic Health: The holistic health community has also embraced monatomic gold, promoting it as a supplement for enhancing mental clarity, focus, and overall cognitive function.

Theoretical Mechanisms

  • Proposed Benefits: Proponents of monatomic gold suggest that its unique atomic structure allows it to interact beneficially with the body, particularly the brain and the nervous system.
  • Potential Interactions: Theories suggest that monatomic gold could help in the optimisation of neural pathways, potentially leading to improved cognitive functions and a healthier brain.

Monatomic gold is not just another supplement; it is a substance steeped in history and mystery, with a unique atomic makeup that sets it apart from conventional gold. Its potential benefits, particularly for the brain and the pineal gland, make it a subject of growing interest and ongoing research in the realms of both science and holistic health.

The Pineal Gland: A Key to Brain Health

The pineal gland, often described as the "third eye" in spiritual and mystical traditions, is a small endocrine gland nestled deep in the centre of the brain. This pea-sized gland, though small in size, plays a significant role in maintaining various aspects of our brain health and overall well-being.

Understanding the Pineal Gland

  • Location and Structure: The pineal gland is located in the epithalamus, near the centre of the brain, between the two hemispheres. Its pinecone-like shape has inspired its name.
  • Biological Function: The primary function of the pineal gland is to produce melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles and circadian rhythms. Melatonin is crucial for healthy sleep patterns, which in turn are essential for overall brain health.

Importance in Brain Health

  • Regulation of Sleep: The pineal gland's production of melatonin directly influences sleep quality, which is vital for cognitive functions like memory, learning, and decision-making.
  • Mood Regulation: Adequate melatonin levels are also associated with mood stabilisation. Disruptions in pineal gland function can lead to mood disorders and affect mental health.

The Pineal Gland in Historical and Cultural Contexts

  • Symbol of Enlightenment: In various spiritual traditions, the pineal gland is seen as a gateway to higher consciousness and spiritual awakening.
  • Historical Views: Ancient civilizations, including the Egyptians and Greeks, revered the pineal gland, believing it to be the link between the physical and spiritual worlds.

Modern Scientific Inquiry

  • Research on Pineal Gland Health: Recent scientific studies have focused on understanding how the health of the pineal gland affects overall brain function and ageing.
  • Impact of Environmental Factors: Research also examines how modern lifestyle factors, such as exposure to artificial light, can affect the pineal gland and disrupt natural rhythms.

The Pineal Gland and Cognitive Function

  • Cognitive Implications: There is growing interest in how the health of the pineal gland might influence cognitive abilities, including focus, clarity of thought, and creativity.
  • Potential for Neuroprotection: Some studies suggest that a healthy pineal gland might protect against age-related cognitive decline.

The pineal gland, though small, is a critical component of our brain's health ecosystem. Its influence on sleep, mood, and potentially even cognitive abilities places it at the centre of discussions about brain health and wellness.

Monatomic Gold and the Brain

The intersection of monatomic gold with brain health marks a fascinating area of exploration, blending ancient wisdom with modern scientific curiosity. Let’s delve into how monatomic gold is believed to interact with the brain, including the theories and research that support its potential benefits.

Theoretical Interaction with the Brain

  • Enhancing Neural Conductivity: One theory posits that monatomic gold could enhance the conductivity of the neural pathways. This could potentially lead to improved signal transmission within the brain, enhancing cognitive functions such as memory, focus, and clarity of thought.
  • Cellular Level Impact: Research also suggests that monatomic gold might interact with the cells at a molecular level, potentially aiding in cellular regeneration and brain health.

Research and Scientific Perspectives

  • Current Studies: While extensive scientific research on monatomic gold is limited, some preliminary studies and theoretical models suggest potential neuroprotective and cognitive-enhancing effects.
  • Expert Opinions: Some neuroscientists and holistic health practitioners have discussed the possible benefits of monatomic gold, emphasising the need for more research.

Potential Cognitive Benefits

  • Memory and Learning: Anecdotal reports and some preliminary studies suggest that monatomic gold may aid in improving memory and learning capabilities.
  • Mental Clarity and Focus: Users of monatomic gold often report enhanced mental clarity and focus, although these effects are yet to be scientifically validated.

Monatomic Gold and Brainwave Activity

  • Influence on Brain Waves: There is a growing interest in how monatomic gold might influence brain wave patterns, potentially leading to states of heightened awareness and concentration.
  • Meditation and Mindfulness: Some practitioners believe that monatomic gold can enhance meditation practices, possibly by affecting the brain's alpha and theta waves, which are associated with deep relaxation and creativity.

The relationship between monatomic gold and brain health is an intriguing subject that sits at the crossroads of ancient tradition and modern science. The exploration of monatomic gold's effects on the brain, particularly its potential to enhance cognitive functions and brainwave activity, remains a promising and captivating field of study.

Potential Benefits for the Pineal Gland

The pineal gland, often enshrouded in mystery and revered in various spiritual traditions, is a focal point in understanding the potential benefits of monatomic gold. This section explores how monatomic gold may positively influence the health and functioning of the pineal gland, based on current theories and anecdotal evidence.

Enhancing Pineal Gland Function

  • Potential Activation: One of the most discussed potential benefits of monatomic gold is its ability to 'activate' or 'energise' the pineal gland. This concept, often rooted in spiritual contexts, suggests that monatomic gold could enhance the gland's functionality, potentially leading to improved overall well-being.
  • Improving Melatonin Production: Given the pineal gland's role in melatonin production, there is speculation that monatomic gold might aid in regulating sleep patterns by supporting the gland's natural functions.

Monatomic Gold and Pineal Gland Decalcification

  • Decalcification Theory: A popular theory in holistic health circles is that monatomic gold may help in the decalcification of the pineal gland. Calcification of the pineal gland, often attributed to environmental and dietary factors, is believed to hinder its function.
  • Anecdotal Reports: Some individuals who have supplemented with monatomic gold report experiences that align with the notion of pineal gland decalcification, such as clearer thinking and heightened intuition, though these claims are yet to be scientifically proven.

Potential Impact on Consciousness and Spiritual Awareness

  • Expanding Consciousness: There is a long-standing belief, both in ancient traditions and among modern users, that monatomic gold can aid in expanding consciousness and enhancing spiritual awareness, roles traditionally attributed to a healthy pineal gland.
  • Meditative and Mindful States: Users often report that monatomic gold supplementation leads to deeper and more profound meditative states, suggesting a possible link to pineal gland health.

The potential benefits of monatomic gold on the pineal gland are a subject of great interest, particularly in the realms of holistic health and spiritual wellness. As research continues, the intrigue surrounding monatomic gold and its relationship with the pineal gland remains a captivating topic, promising new insights into the intricate connections between supplements, brain health, and consciousness.

Personal Experiences and Anecdotal Evidence

While scientific research into the effects of monatomic gold is still evolving, there is a wealth of anecdotal evidence and personal experiences that highlight its perceived benefits.

Collection of Personal Stories

  • Diverse Experiences: Accounts vary widely, with some individuals reporting significant improvements in mental clarity, focus, and cognitive function, while others note more subtle changes.
  • Enhanced Mental Clarity and Focus: A common theme among many users is the experience of enhanced mental clarity and focus. Individuals often describe feeling more alert and mentally sharp after beginning supplementation with monatomic gold.
  • Improved Meditation and Spiritual Practices: Those engaged in meditation and spiritual practices frequently report that monatomic gold has deepened their experiences, attributing this to a more active and healthy pineal gland.

Perceived Benefits on Cognitive Health

  • Memory Improvement: Some users claim improvements in memory recall and retention, suggesting a potential cognitive benefit of monatomic gold.
  • Increased Creativity and Problem-Solving: Reports of heightened creativity and enhanced problem-solving abilities are also common, with users attributing these changes to the supplement.

Impact on Well-being and Mood

  • Mood Stabilisation: Several individuals note a positive impact on their mood, including feelings of calmness and reduced anxiety.
  • Overall Well-being: A general sense of improved well-being is a recurring sentiment, with users often describing a feeling of being more balanced and in tune with themselves.

The Need for Personalized Approach

  • Individual Differences: The wide range of experiences underscores the importance of considering individual differences in biology and lifestyle when evaluating the effects of monatomic gold.
  • Consultation with Health Professionals: As with any supplement, it's advisable for individuals to consult with healthcare professionals before starting monatomic gold, especially when considering its potential impact on brain health.

The personal experiences and anecdotal evidence surrounding monatomic gold paint a complex picture of its potential benefits, particularly for brain health and the functioning of the pineal gland. These stories, rich in personal insights, continue to fuel interest and debate in the holistic health community, contributing to the ongoing conversation about the role of monatomic gold in enhancing cognitive and spiritual well-being.

Safety and Considerations

As with any supplement, the use of monatomic gold requires careful consideration of its safety and potential side effects.

Understanding the Safety Profile

  • Limited Scientific Research: It's important to note that the safety profile of monatomic gold is not extensively documented in scientific literature. This lack of comprehensive research means that potential risks and side effects may not be fully understood.
  • Reports from Users: Anecdotal evidence from users generally suggests that monatomic gold is well-tolerated, but individual experiences can vary.

Recommendations for Safe Usage

  • Starting with Low Doses: For those who choose to use monatomic gold, beginning with a low dose and gradually increasing it can help in monitoring the body's response and minimising potential side effects.
  • Monitoring and Adjusting: Users should closely monitor their reactions to the supplement and adjust the dosage or discontinue use if adverse effects are observed.

Ethical and Quality Considerations

  • Source and Purity: Ensuring that monatomic gold is sourced from reputable suppliers is crucial. The purity and quality of the supplement can significantly impact its safety and efficacy.
  • Avoiding Overreliance: It's important not to over-rely on supplements like monatomic gold as a cure-all solution. A balanced approach that includes a healthy diet, regular exercise, and mental wellness practices is essential for overall brain health.

While monatomic gold presents intriguing possibilities for brain health and the enhancement of pineal gland function, its use comes with considerations of safety and responsibility. As interest in monatomic gold continues to grow, so does the importance of understanding its safety profile and potential impact on health and well-being.

Conclusion: Monatomic Gold Brain Health

The exploration of monatomic gold in the realm of brain health, particularly its potential effects on the pineal gland, represents an intriguing fusion of ancient lore and modern scientific inquiry, generating a wave of positive interest. Anecdotal evidence and preliminary research suggest that monatomic gold may enhance cognitive functions like memory and focus, and possibly improve the health of the pineal gland, leading to better sleep quality and mood regulation. These promising indications, though yet to be fully validated by rigorous scientific studies, point towards a potentially significant impact on mental and overall well-being.

Incorporating monatomic gold into health practices is an exciting prospect that marries age-old wisdom with cutting-edge health strategies. Individuals considering its use are encouraged to make well-informed decisions, to ensure a safe and beneficial experience. This journey into the world of monatomic gold is not just about tapping into its possible health benefits; it's also an exploration into a more holistic understanding of wellness. It opens up a dialogue between traditional beliefs and scientific research, offering a unique opportunity to explore how ancient elements can be reinterpreted and utilised in our modern quest for health and vitality.

As we continue to uncover the mysteries and potential of monatomic gold, we are reminded of the ever-evolving nature of health and wellness, where the past and the present coalesce to pave the way for future discoveries.

Discover the Potential of Monatomic Gold for Your Brain Health

Are you intrigued by the potential benefits of monatomic gold for brain health and the pineal gland? Explore the world of Monatrace Gold Monatomic Gold, a unique supplement offered by Water for Health. Designed with your well-being in mind, this product may be the key to unlocking enhanced cognitive function, mental clarity, and overall brain health.

Experience the benefits of Monatrace Gold Monatomic Gold today and embark on a journey towards a more balanced and harmonious state of mind.

Further reading

For further reading on the topic of monatomic gold, brain health, and the pineal gland, here are some resources you might find informative:

  • Pineal Calcification, Melatonin Production, Aging, Associated Health Consequences and Rejuvenation of the Pineal Gland: This scientific article, available on the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) website, discusses the pineal gland's role in melatonin production, its calcification, and associated health consequences. It provides a detailed overview of the pineal gland's functions and potential rejuvenation strategies. Read the article here.
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The Key Advantages of Cold Water Swimming

The Key Advantages of Cold Water Swimming

Engaging in cold water immersion isn't just a thrilling and enjoyable pastime; it also presents many remarkable health benefits.

Numerous swimmers have embraced the practice of open water swiming during the winter season due to its potential health advantages.

If you're hesitant about taking the plunge into icy waters, consider how cold water swimming can enhance both your physical and mental well-being.

Unveiling the Health Perks of Cold Water Swimming

In this section, we'll delve into the extensively documented and scientifically substantiated health advantages that cold water swimming offers.

Continue reading to discover how this revitalising activity can improve your physical and mental health.

1. Fortifies Immune Function

Several studies have underscored the remarkable impacts of cold water on the immune system. When you immerse yourself in cold water, your body temperature drops significantly, prompting your white blood cells to become more active. This drop in temperature boosts your white blood cell count, fortifying your immune system's resilience. An adaptable immune system is better equipped to ward off illnesses, which is why dedicated cold water enthusiasts often experience better health.

2. Uplifts Mood Through Endorphin Release

Cold water swimming triggers the release of endorphins, those "feel-good" hormones. These endorphins enhance your overall sense of well-being and happiness. You may wonder how braving the initial discomfort of cold water can lead to greater happiness, but it's the endorphins that come to the rescue. They are released in response to discomfort, making it more tolerable. So, if you persevere through the initial chill of cold water, you'll be rewarded with an improved mood. The bracing cold water stimulates your body to produce even more endorphins, further enhancing the experience.

3. Accelerates Metabolism and Supports Weight Management

Cold water immersion can aid in weight management by boosting your metabolism. As your body temperature drops in response to the cold water, your heart rate increases to maintain warmth, resulting in calorie expenditure. Scientific research consistently shows that you burn more calories when swimming in cold water compared to warmer water. Outdoor swims in glacial lakes or rivers can help you shed pounds more effectively than swimming in a heated indoor pool. Just remember to fuel your body and control your appetite to avoid swimming on an empty stomach. An added benefit is that outdoor swimming is often cost-free, eliminating the need for an expensive gym membership.

4. Alleviates Menopause Symptoms

Menopause often brings unwelcome symptoms such as headaches, anxiety, reduced libido, memory lapses, and hot flashes. While we've already discussed how cold water immersion can boost libido and reduce anxiety, it's worth noting that cold water submersion can also alleviate migraines. Women experiencing menopause have reported significant improvements in their lives after regular cold water dips. If you're grappling with menopause symptoms, consider exploring this topic further.

5. Enhances Circulation

Cold water swimming can significantly improve circulation by driving blood to the surface of your veins, capillaries, and arteries. While it might be intimidating initially, your body gradually adapts to the cold, reducing discomfort over time. Enhanced circulation benefits individuals of all ages, especially during colder months. Coping with harsh winters becomes easier and less of a health risk. We encourage individuals of any age to explore open water swimming due to its undeniable health advantages.

6. A Comprehensive Body Workout

Whether you prefer a leisurely dip or an intense workout, cold water swimming offers versatility. Many swimmers opt for open lakes, rivers, or the sea to expend energy and warm up in cold water. Swimming is an excellent form of exercise that enhances endurance, muscle strength, and cardiovascular fitness. It helps you shed excess weight, build muscle tone, and elevate overall body health. All of this while enjoying the camaraderie of fellow adventure seekers. If you're concerned about the initial shock of cold water, consider investing in a wetsuit.

Summary

This article has explored the myriad health benefits of cold water immersion. Similar to any form of exercise, it leaves you feeling rejuvenated, thanks to the surge in dopamine levels. Open water swimming is gaining popularity across all age groups, as people discover the allure of taking a dip in colder, polar regions.

Whether you're aiming to improve your health or simply testing your mettle, cold water immersion is a gratifying hobby. Always prioritise safety measures when venturing into ice-cold waters to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Guest post submitted by Cold Water Swim, the ultimate resource for all things related to cold water swimming! https://www.coldwaterswim.co.uk/

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.



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How Does Open Water Swimming Elevate Your Mood?

How Does Open Water Swimming Elevate Your Mood?

Boosting one's mood is a common goal for many individuals seeking improved mental well-being.

So, what's the connection between open water swimming and mood enhancement?

Amidst various strategies to elevate one's mood, an unconventional yet increasingly recognised approach is open water swimming. Despite its physical challenges, open and cold water swimming has gained attention for its potential to uplift one's spirits. For instance, cold water immersion has been found to have mood-boosting effects.

In this article, we delve into the science behind how open-water swimming can positively impact your mood.

The Biological Response

Exposure to cold water triggers a range of physiological changes within our bodies. Initially, the cold water temperature stimulates the release of endorphins, often referred to as the "feel-good" hormones. These endorphins serve as natural mood elevators, reducing stress and promoting overall well-being.

Additionally, cold water immersion stimulates the production of noradrenaline, a neurotransmitter responsible for enhancing attention, focus, and emotional stability.

Activation of the Cold Shock Response

The first plunge into cold water initiates the body's inherent "cold shock response," a built-in mechanism designed to protect vital organs from sudden temperature fluctuations. This response involves a rapid increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate.

Interestingly, this activation has been linked to the release of stress-reducing compounds in the brain, including norepinephrine and dopamine. These neurochemicals play a crucial role in mood regulation and the cultivation of a sense of tranquillity.

Remembering the importance of warming up after swimming is crucial, as cold shock responses can sometimes have adverse effects.

Using equipment such as rash guards, changing robes, and wetsuits is advisable.

Enhancing Circulation and Oxygenation

A significant advantage of open water swimming lies in its ability to improve blood circulation and oxygen supply throughout the body.

Initially, the cold temperature causes blood vessels to constrict, redirecting blood away from the extremities and toward vital organs.

However, as the body acclimates to the cold, these blood vessels gradually expand, promoting better circulation. This increased blood flow delivers oxygen and essential nutrients to the brain and helps eliminate metabolic waste products.

Enhanced brain oxygenation and detoxification can be instrumental in improving mood and mental clarity.

Increased Release of Serotonin

Serotonin, known as the "happiness hormone," is a neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood, appetite, and sleep patterns.

Cold water swimming has demonstrated the ability to elevate serotonin release in the brain and release beta-endorphins.

The combination of cold water's impact on the endocrine system and the physical activity involved in swimming leads to the release of this crucial neurotransmitter.

Higher serotonin levels can elevate mood, foster a sense of tranquillity, and provide an overall mood lift.

Boosting Resilience and Stress Management

Participating in open water swimming requires overcoming mental challenges and enduring physical discomfort.

Consistent exposure to these demanding wild conditions can strengthen resilience and improve stress management. Facing these challenges fosters a deep sense of accomplishment and self-assurance, ultimately enhancing emotional well-being and providing better control over mood.

Moreover, open water swimming encourages mindfulness, focusing on the present moment and fully embracing the sensations of cold water. Scientifically linked to reduced rumination and the development of a positive mindset, this mindfulness practice can be mood-enhancing.

Social Interaction and Community Support

Open water swimming often brings together a community of like-minded individuals who gather at swimming spots or participate in organised events. This community's camaraderie and sense of belonging can provide a mood-lifting social support system.

Social isolation is a common cause of individuals struggling with their mental health, making it crucial to surround oneself with friends, which can significantly enhance overall mood.

The shared experiences and mutual understanding among open water swimmers create a nurturing environment where individuals can connect, openly discuss their challenges, and offer mutual encouragement while enjoying the open waters.

The social aspect of open water swimming has the potential to elevate one's mood and build a sense of belonging, which is essential for boosting mental health.

Research on Cold Water Swimming and Mood Enhancement

Numerous scientific studies have established a connection between cold water swimming and improved mood.

Some notable examples include:

The British Medical Journal

A 24-year-old woman sought treatment for her condition. Despite trying various methods, she expressed a desire to explore non-medication approaches. Consequently, she chose to incorporate weekly open water swimming sessions into her routine. Remarkably, she experienced an immediate mood lift following each swim, and her mental health improved significantly over time.

Experimental Physiology

A comprehensive study authored by Michael Tipton delved into the physiological and psychological effects of cold water immersion.

The study emphasised that cold water immersion stimulates the release of endorphins, serving as natural mood elevators. Furthermore, the activation of the body's cold shock response triggers the release of mood-enhancing compounds like norepinephrine and dopamine.

Final Considerations

While cold water swimming may seem daunting initially, it offers numerous benefits for individuals seeking to boost and maintain their mental health. Some individuals have reported immediate enhancements after their first dip!

The mood-boosting effects of open water swimming are increasingly evident, from the release of endorphins and serotonin to improved circulation and enhanced stress management.

It's important to approach cold water swimming with caution and gradually integrate it into your routine.

However, it's essential to remember that while open water swimming has shown potential to help one's mental health, individuals experiencing severe mood disorders should always consult a healthcare professional. Never substitute any therapy or prescribed substances without first seeking guidance from a qualified expert.

Guest post submitted by Cold Water Swim, the ultimate resource for all things related to cold water swimming! https://www.coldwaterswim.co.uk/

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.






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Mushrooms for the Mind - How Fungi Can Improve Brain Function

Mushrooms for the Mind - How Fungi Can Improve Brain Function

Have you ever thought about  how the food we eat affects brain health? 

It's true, every meal and snack we indulge in influences our mental capacity in some way.

The brain is incredibly intricate, managing everything, from emotions to bodily functions, 

…hence it's unsurprising that keeping it functioning at optimal levels is key to overall wellness. 

While a variety of foods have been known to aid mental performance,

 … mushrooms hold a special spotlight due to their peculiar structures.

Certain strains contain active compounds that enhance cognitive abilities.

Providing sharper focus, as well as aiding with depression & anxiety. 

All while increasing energy levels, and improving performance.

This article will explore the science of mushrooms by outlining the specific types essential for improving brain function.

Analysing how active ingredients work individually.

…as well as tips for a healthy intake into your diet.

Why Should We Focus on Enhancing Brain Function?

As the brain is responsible for managing a wide range of our bodily functions, the health of our brains can impact all areas of our lives. For better or for worse. The World Health Organisation estimates that 280 million people suffer from depression internationally. That’s 5% of the world's population. In the UK, the figures are remarkably higher. 17% of the UK’s population is said to suffer from depression. That’s up 7% since the pandemic struck the UK in 2020.

One staggering figure is that “56% of employees in the UK are experiencing symptoms of depression.” Which seriously impacts both quality of life and the functioning of the UK’s economy. That’s why we should take some time to find natural ways that we can boost cognitive function. Mushrooms seem to be a no brainer (pardon the pun). They are jam packed with compounds that can enhance brain function and have adaptogenic and tonic properties on the body. Medicinal mushrooms have been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years, modern science is now catching up with ancient traditions.

 Learn more: Looking to Resolve Mental Health Problems Naturally? How These Suggestions Could Make Antidepressants Your Last Resort


The Science Behind Mushrooms and Brain Function

Brain function can benefit from the vast range of active compounds contained within mushrooms. One such group of well known compounds are beta glucans - these are polysaccharides known for their ability to modulate immunity, found in a variety of mushroom types. Ergothioneine is an amino acid found in mushrooms, which has strong antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. Mushrooms also contain compounds known as polyphenols which have significant neuroprotective and antioxidant traits.

 The connection between these unique compounds found in mushrooms and the brain is due to various effects on different pathways within the body system. Beta glucans stimulate immune activity - providing protective measures against inflammation induced neural degeneration. Ergothioneine, on the other hand, has been shown to protect neurons from oxidative stress, which is a type of damage that can occur when there are too many free radicals in the body. Polyphenols have been shown to promote the growth of new neurons and improve cognitive function.

 Related: The Benefits of Walking for Heart and Immune Health

Top 3 Brain Boosting Mushrooms

1. Lion's Mane Mushroom

…and its effects on cognitive function

Recognized by its Latin name "Hericium erinaceus” Lions' mane mushrooms are renowned for their potential neuroprotective effects. They’re endorsed through time-honoured use within traditional Chinese medicine, as a natural support for superior brain health. Scientific findings have supported these beliefs through research indicating that regular consumption of lion's mane extract could boost cognition, while shielding brain cells from damage. A study published in Behavioral Neurology found that lion's mane mushroom extract had a protective effect on brain cells, offering improvements in diseases such as: ischemic stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression. Another study found that consuming lion’s mane for four months reduced anxiety levels in mice. Which shows promise for reducing anxiety in humans too.

Learn more: 6 Ways to Help Prevent Dementia & Alzheimer’s Disease

2. Reishi Mushroom

…and its potential for reducing anxiety and depression

 Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) is a type of mushroom that’s been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to promote both health and longevity. Recent studies have suggested that reishi mushroom may have anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects. One study published in the Biochemistry and Biophysics Reports found that mice given reishi mushroom extract exhibited reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression. This study also found that the consumption of Reishi Mushrooms could inhibit pain. Another study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that reishi mushroom extract reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression in mice by modulating the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain.

Related: Can Eating Fruit and Vegetables Boost Mental Health and Mood?

3. Cordyceps Mushroom

…and its impact on energy and focus

 Cordyceps mushroom (Cordyceps sinensis) is a type of mushroom that’s been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, to improve physical performance and energy levels. Recent studies have now shown that cordyceps mushrooms may have a positive impact on both energy and focus. One study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that participants who consumed cordyceps mushroom extract exhibited improved exercise performance and reduced fatigue compared to those who received a placebo. Another study published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements found that cordyceps mushroom extract improved cognitive function in older adults with mild cognitive impairment.

Learn more: Tips For Boosting Energy During the Summer 

Recommended daily intake of mushrooms for optimal brain function

While the specific recommended daily intake of mushrooms for optimal brain function has not been established, incorporating a variety of mushrooms into your diet can provide a range of beneficial compounds that may support brain health. One approach to incorporating mushrooms into your diet is to aim for at least one serving of functional mushrooms per day. A serving size is typically considered to be one cup of raw mushrooms. However, it's worth noting that the nutritional content of different types of mushrooms can vary, so consuming a variety of medicinal mushrooms can help ensure that you're getting a range of these beneficial compounds.

In addition to incorporating medicinal mushrooms into your diet, taking mushroom supplements may also be an option for those looking to boost brain function. However, it's important to note that the quality and effectiveness of mushroom supplements can vary, so it's a good idea to choose a reputable brand and consult with a healthcare professional before taking any supplements. While mushrooms can have potential benefits for brain function, it's important to be aware of precautions and possible side effects.

Related: Does the Gut-Brain-Axis Affect Neurodegenerative Disease?

Precautions and potential side effects

Some people may need to avoid mushrooms altogether due to certain health conditions or medications. For example, people with mushroom allergies should avoid consuming mushrooms. Additionally, people who are taking blood-thinning medications or who have blood clotting disorders may need to avoid consuming certain types of mushrooms that can have anticoagulant effects, such as shiitake mushrooms.

Certain types of mushrooms, such as reishi mushroom, can interact with medications and may cause side effects. For example, reishi mushroom can interact with blood-thinning medications and may increase the risk of bleeding. Additionally, reishi mushroom may interact with medications used to treat high blood pressure, diabetes, and certain psychiatric disorders. So it pays to check what medications you might be taking prior to consuming functional mushrooms.

Learn more: The Healing Power of Mushrooms

Conclusion

Mushrooms have the potential to improve brain function due to their active compounds that interact with the brain. Scientific evidence suggests that mushrooms such as Lion's Mane, Reishi, and Cordyceps may have specific benefits for cognitive function, anxiety and depression. As well as enhancing performance by boosting energy levels and focus.

While the recommended daily intake of mushrooms for optimal brain function is not established, consuming a variety of mushrooms in your diet or through supplements may be a promising strategy for supporting brain health. Whether you sauté them as a side dish or blend them into a smoothie, or take a mushroom supplement, there are endless ways to enjoy the benefits of mushrooms for brain health.

Written by Rowanna Watson, who has a passion for natural health. Rowanna is an expert in all areas of holistic health, plant-based nutrition, detoxification Written by best-selling author and integrative nutrition health coach and personal development.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.



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The Healing Power of Mushrooms

The Healing Power of Mushrooms

Mushrooms have long been used for both medicinal and culinary purposes.

In recent years, medicinal mushrooms such as reishi, lion's mane, chaga, shiitake, and cordyceps,

…have become increasingly popular for their potential health benefits.

Researchers have found that these medicinal mushrooms (MM) may help with a wide range of health problems, like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and problems with the immune system

Modern pharmacological research backs up a lot of what our ancestors knew about mushrooms.

Specifically, the fact that mushrooms can be used as medicine,

…because of their antifungal, antibacterial, antioxidant, and antiviral properties.

They’re also popularly used as functional foods.

These are foods that can be enjoyed knowing that they have additional health benefits.

The medicinal benefits are due to the nutrient dense properties of mushrooms.

They provide high quantities of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals.

This article is a summary of the many ways that mushrooms are good for human health. 

As well as our top five medicinal mushrooms that you might want to add into your daily routine.

Let’s dive in.

Are Mushrooms Really Good for You?

 Researchers have found that medicinal mushrooms help people deal with the stress and pressure of modern life by boosting both the basic and secondary immune responses of the body. More than 5,000 species of mushrooms have been found all over the world, and about 2000 of them are known to be edible. A lot of the species have not yet been looked at to see if they could be used as medicines or supplements. In other reports, researchers mention that there are actually 12,000 different types of mushrooms in the world. Mushrooms have been used in medicine since the Neolithic and Palaeolithic eras.


Medicinal mushrooms (MM) are large fungi that are used in the form of extracts or powder to prevent, or treat a number of diseases and/or to make a healthy diet more balanced. Even though mushrooms are actually fungi, they are called "vegetables" when it comes to food. They are also commonly used to replace meat in meatless dishes. That’s because they take on the flavours of the dish and some mushrooms are naturally umami. Which means they are savoury and have a hearty, meaty flavour.

 Learn more: A Guide to Mushrooms: Health Benefits, Nutrition, Best Types

An Exciting New Discovery

Scientists have discovered a compound found in mushrooms, specifically lion’s mane, that can improve memory by making nerves grow faster. A recent study published by The University of Queensland, suggests that a compound found in a type of mushroom called Lion's Mane may have potential benefits for cognitive health. The study found that consuming Lion's Mane extract led to improvements in cognitive function, such as better scores on a cognitive assessment and increased concentration levels.


 Additionally, researchers found that the extract may have a positive impact on the development of nerve cells in the brain, potentially contributing to the brain's ability to regenerate and repair itself. The findings suggest that Lion's Mane extract may have potential as a natural supplement for cognitive health, but further research is needed to fully understand its benefits. Dr. Lee, co-author of the paper concluded “This important research is unravelling the molecular mechanism of lion’s mane mushroom compounds and their effects on brain function, particularly memory.”

 Related: Load up on trace minerals — They’re essential to avoid weak bones, a decreased immune system and many other health problems!

Our Top 5 Medicinal Mushrooms (MM)

 1.   Reishi Mushrooms (Ganoderma lucidum)

Reishi mushrooms  have long been used in the Orient to boost immune health.  There are three main benefits that have been proven by science: boosting the immune system, fighting cancer, getting rid of fatigue, depression and reducing chronic stress levels. Reishi mushrooms might also be good for your heart and help you control your blood sugar and restore healthy cholesterol levels.

2.   Shiitake Mushrooms (Lentinus edodes)

In addition to being a fantastic source of umami flavour, dried shiitake mushrooms can be used as a meat substitute because they contain nearly all of the same amino acids as meat. That's why these mushrooms are so great for vegetarians and vegans. Further, the beta-glucans, sterols, and eritadenine in shiitake mushrooms may aid in controlling blood sugar and reducing cholesterol. In one study 52 young adults consumed 5-10 g of shiitake mushrooms daily. Resulting in improved gut immunity, and lowered markers for inflammation.

3.   Lion’s Mane Mushrooms (Hericium erinaceus)

Lion’s mane mushrooms get their name from the shaggy mane-like appearance. Animal studies show that the lion's mane mushroom can boost the immune system. It does this by making the intestinal immune system work harder. This system protects the body from pathogens that enter the gut through the nose or the mouth. These effects may be caused in part by positive changes in gut bacteria that boost the immune system. In 2012, a study found that giving mice a lethal dose of Salmonella bacteria and then giving them a daily supplement of lion's mane extract made them live almost four times longer.

4.   Chaga Mushrooms (Inonotus obliquus)

A group of Japanese scientists used chaga to treat mice with lung cancer. Over the course of 3 weeks, the mice were given 6 mg of chaga per day. The results showed that the size of tumours went down by 60%, and the number of nodules in metastatic mice went down by 25%. In an interesting twist, the study also showed that the mice's immune systems improved. Because of the chaga doses, the body temperature of older mice went up, but the body temperature of mice that had tumours put in after the trial stayed the same. The immune system works better when the body's temperature stays high or stays the same. This suggests that chaga can help the immune system as a whole.

5.   Cordyceps Mushroom (Ophiocordyceps)

Cordyceps mushrooms contain many bioactive compounds that can boost the immune system. Including nucleosides, sterols, flavonoids, cyclic peptides, phenolic, bioxanthracenes, polyketides, and alkaloids. In clinical studies cordyceps mushrooms have been shown to have other pharmacological effects like anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, anti-fatigue, anti-aging, hypocholesterolemic, hypotensive, vasorelaxation, anti-depressant, aphrodisiac, and kidney protection.

The Bottom Line

Incorporating medicinal mushrooms into your diet may be a great way to boost your overall health and wellbeing. Whether you're looking to improve your immune system, reduce inflammation, or enhance cognitive function, a medicinal mushroom blend could help. While buying individual mushrooms can be expensive and time-consuming, a high-quality medicinal mushroom blend can provide you with the benefits of multiple mushrooms in one convenient supplement. When purchasing a blend, be sure to choose a reputable brand that uses high-quality ingredients. By adding a medicinal mushroom blend to your daily routine, you may be able to experience the numerous health benefits that these incredible fungi have to offer. So why not give it a try and see how it can enhance your overall health and wellbeing?

Written by Rowanna Watson, who has a passion for natural health. Rowanna is an expert in all areas of holistic health, plant-based nutrition, detoxification Written by best-selling author and integrative nutrition health coach and personal development.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.




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woman smiling

What Is N-acetyl-L-cysteine and How Does it Boost Health?

What Is N-acetyl-L-cysteine and How Does it Boost Health?

You may not have heard much about NAC. N-acetyl-L-cysteine, or NAC for short, is a powerful amino acid. It may just be what you need to boost overall health and wellbeing. It’s fascinating because NAC has been used to treat a wide range of ailments. Even in clinical settings. From Schizophrenia to respiratory conditions. As always, our whole body is connected. It seems straight forward, but we often forget this simple fact. This means that a molecule like NAC can impact a wide range of areas of the human body. In this article we’ll explore the science behind NAC, and how it can treat a wide range of health issues.

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Depressed man

Emotions — The Hidden Key to Health

Emotions - The Hidden Key to Health

In my work with men, I have found that there is one thing which is often overlooked, neglected and misunderstood. And although the process of my work addresses more than one level of the inner being, I have always been astonished at the fact that there seems to be one aspect which always, without exception, needs special attention and a brand-new approach.

Unsurprisingly, it is that very thing which inevitably turns out to be a key for better health, in mind, body and spirit. That thing is emotion. Emotion, I have found, although being something we like to talk about today (especially when we encourage men to ‘open up’ and be ‘vulnerable’ — a good thing in itself, I think) is something that we still haven’t got a very good understanding of.

We tend to think of emotional health as something that helps us connect to ourselves and others in a positive way, but we rarely stop to think about the deeper realities which I think we all need to engage with, in order to gain the ability to be healthy in an all-encompassing, holistic way.

The truth is that there are reasons why some of us are healthier than others. There are reasons why some of us function better, in mind, soul, and body. There are reasons why some of us find it easier to improve ourselves while others struggle and fail.

Our emotions, and the life-long history of our relationship with them, have a role to play in our health, personality, physical fitness, appearance, relationships, finances, and indeed, our very calling and destiny. I fully realise that this bold statement might be shocking to some of you; but I implore you to stay with me here, and be willing to trust me as I delve deeper into emotions, their impact on us, and the history which has shaped our view of them, to the point of our inability to recognise their significance and application into our daily life and being. I am not planning to defend my claim about the role of emotions in one’s life; the data — medical, psychological, and experiential — exists, of course, and I think is more than able to prove my point. But another debate is the last thing we need when it comes to health.

Unlike what the world would have us believe, information is not the most important thing to being a fully-functioning human being — after all, we all have the information needed in order to live well and be healthy: but how is that knowledge working for us? We all know which foods are good for us and which are bad. We all know that movement and exercise can make everyone healthier, and that the lack of it works in the opposite way.

We all know what has the power to make us live well and what destroys us… You see? It's not simply a matter of knowledge. The point I am trying to illustrate here lies beyond this argument: we must first look into the reasons behind our very need to make this argument. We must first look at our own limited views of emotions and their role in our lives, and find out how we have ended up with them. I will repeat my bold statement again: Our emotions, and the life-long history of our relationship with them, have a role to play in our health, personality, physical fitness, appearance, relationships, finances, and indeed, our very calling and destiny.

I do not ask you to blindly believe in this; in fact, that’s the last thing I want. I seek to provoke you to be curious; I seek to show you that our current modern views might be, perhaps, insufficient and unable to fully give us the final, most accurate idea of reality — especially of the reality of emotions, their role and purpose for our lives. There is a reason why we hold the views we do; and it does not take an expert to see that those views are not working for us today. Obesity, stress, depression…our world is rife with afflictions.

Even as poverty and hunger is being speedily, gloriously eliminated from our society, those deeper afflictions are not showing signs of going anywhere, and are in fact, taking deeper and deeper roots in our otherwise comfortable, safe world. And I have good reasons to believe that emotions are the hidden key to combating that. I have very good reasons to think that emotions are the hidden way to health in every possible aspect of life. But in order to engage this reality, one needs to begin with exploration.

One needs to look deeper into where we are in the bigger picture, and where we must go in order to gain the wholeness in mind, soul and body. This is why I have prepared this short report on emotions and health. I hope that you enjoy it and are able to benefit from it in any way that you might need to. While it is by no means an exhaustive work that provides an absolute authority on the subject, it is, I hope, able to provide the reader with a start on the journey of wellness and health. May it serve you well.

George Stoimenov July 2022 Eastbourne, East Sussex, Great Britain George's report can be found here Redeeming Emotions Article

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7 Nutrients for Better Mental Health and One to Avoid

7 Nutrients for Better Mental Health and One to Avoid

7 Nutrients for Better Mental Health and One to Avoid

Eating the right foods can have an extraordinarily positive effect on your mood.

A proper diet, focusing on fresh, whole foods, healthy fats, proteins, fibre and low sugar can provide a solid foundation for a more balanced state of mind, stable moods, focus, clarity and increased energy.

Whether you're suffering from depression, anxiety, chronic stress, mood swings, anger issues or any other mental health issues, here are eight essential nutrients to include in your daily diet. **If you are taking any medication, please check any dietary changes with your GP.

1) Water


Have you ever noticed whether you become more short-tempered, irritable or moody if you’re dehydrated? The brain is around 80% water, so you need to keep it hydrated to function properly and help balance your moods. 

Research has shown that increasing your water intake can positively impact your mood on waking as well as boosting positive emotions, generating feelings of calmness. It can also help cognition, concentration and focus and improve headaches.

So how much water should you drink? There’s no definite amount, and it varies from person to person. A good benchmark is two litres or 8 x 8oz glasses a day. Your needs will increase if you are pregnant or exercising.

Caffeinated drinks like tea or coffee are dehydrating, so you need to have an extra two glasses of water for every cup.

For more information on how to properly hydrate, click here.

2) Fish oils and other healthy fats


Your brain is the fattiest organ in your body and is roughly 60% fat. 

Omega-3 fats are essential for your mental-emotional wellbeing. They help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain, improving cognition, alertness and concentration. They also increase dopamine, improve mood and may help to ease anxiety

The EPA and DHA found in oily fish are of particular importance, and low levels can make you more susceptible to depression

If you want to optimise your brain function and look after your mental health, you could benefit from eating oily fish three times weekly. Eat mackerel, wild salmon, sardines, herring (kippers), and anchovies.

Also eat plenty of other omega-3 foods including shellfish, walnuts, other nuts and seeds including chia seeds, linseeds, hemp seeds, eggs and avocados. In addition, eat healthy fats like olives, cold-pressed olive oil and raw coconut oil. 

Avoid unhealthy fats like trans fats or ‘partially hydrogenated oils’. You’ll see these on ingredients lists of shop-bought foods including biscuits, cakes, ready-made meals, pizzas and snack foods. They’re also present in fast foods and takeaways.

While more research is needed, there is mounting strong evidence supporting fish oil supplementation for depression and anxiety. So, if you’d rather take a supplement, take daily fish oil capsules. Taking one with higher concentrations of EPA to DHA appears to have the most effect.

Make sure it’s a clean, high potency fish oil supplement that is sustainably sourced and free from contaminants. Look for accreditation and transparency of testing.

RelatedHow Toxic is Your Fish Oil?

3) Probiotics and prebiotics


Your gut and brain are connected. If you are stressed or unhappy, it disrupts your digestion and gut health. The reverse is also possible – if your gut function is impaired, it can affect your mental-emotional wellbeing, creating or intensifying feelings of anxiety, low moods and increased stress.

For a healthy gut, you need to eat a balanced whole food diet with a range of vegetables, fruits, beans and legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains etc.

You need to include healthy proteins and fats and complex carbohydrates with every meal. To encourage a balanced, diverse and dynamic mix of gut microbiota (bacteria, fungi and viruses), you need variation within each food group.

Aside from a varied, balanced diet, it’s good to focus on eating probiotic-rich foods and also prebiotics daily. Probiotic foods enrich your gut with ready-made bacteria, while prebiotic foods stimulate bacterial growth.

Probiotic foods include raw fermented pickles like sauerkraut, gherkins, kimchi and kefir. You can drink or brew your own kombucha. Also, try live yogurt, tempeh, miso and natto and raw apple cider vinegar

Prebiotics are non-digestible fibre compounds which you’ll find in certain foods. Try under-ripe bananas, apples, raw garlic, leeks and asparagus and raw or cooked onions. You can also eat barley, oats and raw chicory root or dandelion greens.

If you’d like to take a daily pre or probiotic supplement, then have a look at our Progurt Probiotic range. It supplies an assortment of gut health supplements cohesively designed to restore harmony in your gut and other related organs.

For more information on the gut-brain axis and how it links to anxiety and stress, read this.

4) Zinc


Zinc is an essential mineral, and it is not uncommon to have low or deficient levels. This is partly because our bodies don’t store it, so for adequate zinc levels, it’s essential to eat a balanced diet abundant in zinc foods. 

Zinc is necessary for healthy brain function, memory and learning, regulating mood and preventing conditions like depression, hyper-anxiety and other mood disorders. In research, low zinc levels are linked to depression

You need the right amount of zinc for healthy gut function. Without it, you don’t produce enough digestive enzymes, and your absorption of nutrients is impaired. You can suffer from digestive issues like constipation.

Zinc also helps rebuild and preserve your gut lining, protecting against and easing the symptoms of gut dysbiosis, leaky gut, IBD, Crohn’s disease and other inflammatory gut conditions.

Zinc helps to break down food, particularly proteins which we need for maintaining ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. Consequently, if your zinc is low, it can adversely affect your cognitive function and your moods. 

If you suffer from hormone imbalance, are perimenopausal or menopausal, or struggle to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, your moods, mental outlook, and brain function can all suffer.

Zinc is invaluable when it comes to hormone balance, and also plays a role in the synthesis, storage, and secretion of insulin which helps with blood sugar balance. 

For more information on zinc, click here.

5) Protein


You need amino acids (protein) to produce and maintain the prolific amount of neurotransmitters required for normal brain function. These include ‘feel-good’ ones like serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin and endorphins. These help to energise you, improve cognitive function and regulate your thoughts and feelings.

So, when your neurotransmitters are firing and wiring at optimal levels, you are more balanced, sleep better, have increased motivation and feel happier. 

Your blood sugar balance also affects how you feel mentally and physically. If you’re consuming carb-loaded and sugary foods and drinks regularly, ensuing blood sugar spikes and crashes drain your energy and kill your mood, making you cranky, less tolerant, angrier, and your moods can wildly swing. It can also cause feelings of anxiety and depression.

Aside from eliminating unhealthy, sugary foods from your diet, by adding healthy protein to every meal, you can help to regulate your blood sugar.

Protein helps to slow the sugar release from your food, keeping your glucose levels on a more even keel. You have more sustained energy and feel more stable.

Add healthy proteins like these to every meal – chicken, turkey, lean red meats, fish and shellfish, eggs, nuts and seeds, beans, lentils, legumes, oats, buckwheat and quinoa.

6) Magnesium

You need magnesium to help buffer the negative impact of anxiety and stress. It soothes your nervous system, helps to balance your moods and can ease the symptoms of depression. Magnesium can also improve your sleep and energise you as well as enhancing brain function.

Magnesium is crucial for many bodily functions, and it can become quickly depleted. Like zinc, we don’t store it and need to replenish our levels by eating foods that can provide adequate amounts of this essential mineral

When you are stressed, anxious or depressed, you pull on your magnesium stores even more, and the likelihood of you becoming depleted is substantially increased. In this case, you need to place extra focus on boosting your magnesium levels.

Every day, eat plenty of magnesium foods including spinach and other dark leafy greens like chard and kale. Also consume a range of nuts and seeds including almonds, pumpkin seeds, linseeds and chia seeds.

Beans are rich in magnesium, and broad beans are especially high. Add some healthy whole grains like buckwheat and oats. Eat fish – mackerel, and halibut especially contain healthy amounts of magnesium. Also, eat fruits, including avocados and bananas.

It might be advisable to take a magnesium supplement if you are going through a period of increased stress, or your mental health is suffering. Remember to take it in addition to a healthy, balanced diet. You could also indulge in a regular Epsom salts bath or foot soak. Add a couple of cups and relax for 40 minutes to absorb the magnesium.

7) Complex carbs


In addition to healthy fats, your brain needs carbohydrates for fuel – but the right kind. 

All carbohydrate foods release glucose (which provides energy) into your bloodstream. The trick is to eat carbs that release it nice and steadily. 

Simple carbs (white bread, rice, pasta, pizza, crisps, fries, cakes and other processed foods) have a fast sugar release which can cause your blood sugar to become unstable, it quickly shoots up, then rapidly falls, with mood swings and energy slumps as a result. They also lack in vitamins, minerals, fibre and other nutrients.   

 The best types of carbs for your brain, body and moods are complex carbohydrates. They are less processed and higher in fibre and other nutrients. They are more substantial and satisfying and have a slower sugar release.

So, rather than eating highly processed carbohydrate foods, opt for the whole food, complex version instead, perfectly packaged to provide the right kind of energy and encourage a healthy blood sugar balance.

 Some excellent complex carbohydrate choices would be oats, quinoa, beans and lentils. You could also try starchy vegetables like parsnips, carrots, swede, butternut squash, pumpkin, and potatoes.

When it comes to grains, go for rye, wholemeal, or spelt versions as opposed to white. Choose brown rice, wholemeal pasta, and oatcakes (rather than white crackers).  

Choose these for every meal, and you will find not only do you feel more energised, but you’ll feel fuller for longer. A common go-to vegetable is potatoes, and while they are a great whole food, always eat them with the skin on as you will get more fibre and a slower sugar release.

Mix it up too: swap potatoes for sweet potatoes and mix up the starchy vegetables so you can get a well-rounded range of nutrients.

Which Food Should You Avoid for Better Mental Health?

This can be a tough one to eject from your daily diet, especially if you eat a lot of it. Sugar is incredibly addictive; it’s like cocaine for the brain. The more you eat, the more you crave, and it can be really hard to stop.

Some advice? If sugar is a tough thing for you to give up, wean yourself off it gradually – you’re more likely to kick the habit that way.

Several studies link sugar to depression in both men and women. Research also shows that people who eat fewer vegetables, fruits and pulses and a high sugar diet are more prone to depression. 

It messes with your blood sugar, causing mood swings, anxiety, irritability and anger and while it may initially energise you, the sugar rush rapidly crashes, and you feel tired and exhausted.

Keep doing this regularly, and not only does your mental health suffer, but your physical health does too. The constant strain a high-sugar diet puts on you and your endocrine system leads to an increased risk of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other serious medical conditions.

Over consuming sugar causes an imbalance of brain chemicals which, aside from depression, can lead to a long-term risk of developing a mental health disorder. You are also less able to cope with stress and more prone to anxiety. Plus it zaps your brainpower, impairing cognitive function.

If you try to come off sugar and find it difficult, seek the help of a nutritional therapist who can motivate and guide you through the process in a way that’s suitable for you.

Some tips are to become aware of hidden sugars in processed and prepackaged foods as well as condiments like ketchup, brown sauce, salad dressings and mayonnaise. Get familiar with the myriad of different names for sugar – you can find lists online, but some common ones are fructose, sucrose, dextrose syrup, maltose, agave nectar and cane juice.

Caffeine can also affect your blood sugar levels. It’s a stimulant, so while it may give you a quick burst of energy, you can then crash, just like a sugar rush. It may also contribute to feelings of anxiety and can disturb your sleep if you consume too much. So curb your intake of tea, coffee, coke, and energy drinks.

Artificial sweeteners are also a no-go (aspartame, saccharin and sucralose are common ones). They still negatively affect your blood sugar and can cause obesity and poor gut health

Eat regularly to avoid blood sugar slumps and if necessary, have a small healthy snack between meals. You need a balance of healthy fats, protein and complex carbs. Good examples of healthy snacks are a couple of oatcakes with nut butter, a boiled egg, a small apple or pear with a few nuts or seeds, a spoonful of full-fat natural yogurt with a sprinkling of seeds and some berries, or some crudites with a little houmous.

For more handy tips on how to balance your blood sugar, click here.

Conclusion

Good nutrition plays an invaluable role in mental health. For some people, diet isn’t the whole story and while eating the right foods is essential, it’s one part of their treatment plan. For others, by simply adjusting your diet to incorporate some of the suggestions listed here, you could experience a profoundly positive difference in how you think and feel. 

You need the right balance of nutrients for good mental health, and they are not all mentioned here (others include vitamin D and plenty of fibre). The ultimate key to getting the right balance of vitamins, minerals, macro and micronutrients for healthy moods and brain function, is to eat a balanced and diverse diet.

For the majority of your diet, consume whole natural foods, including healthy fats, proteins, carbohydrates, whole grains, fibre, nuts and seeds, and a rainbow of vegetables and fruit. Drinking enough water is also crucial. 

Eating a vast range of vegetables and some fruit will provide many of the nutrients you need to stay healthy and balance your moods. Eating a large variety will improve gut bacteria diversity. They will also provide fibre to keep your blood sugar balanced and help regulate digestion. 

For more calm, balanced moods, better energy and a brighter outlook reduce your sugar intake and balance your blood sugar. Also, eat regularly to avoid blood sugar spikes. 

Get lots of sunshine during the summer months. It will lift your mood and provide you with vitamin D. You might also consider taking a supplement, particularly during autumn and winter. 

By Rebecca Rychlik, Nutritional Therapist and Homeopath. Follow Rebecca on Instagram, Facebook and Medium, @rebeccabitesback.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

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A Guide to Vitamins and Minerals That Impact Your Mood

A Guide to Vitamins and Minerals that Impact Your Mood

Do you know the #1 cause of acquired insanity? It’s nutrient deficiency! People tend to separate emotions from the physical world. When in effect, they’re intricately linked. There’s a chemical basis for every emotion.

Commonly, B vitamins are cited as affecting mood. This is widely accepted. But there are 12 nutrients that have been scientifically proven to impact our mood.

Sadly, we’ve forgotten about the fact that nutrition can impact the lens through which we experience the world. In part, thanks to the discovery of pharmaceuticals in the 1950s. Relegating previously held nutritional knowledge to folklore.

In this article, we’ll explore the science behind these 12 main nutrients that have been exposed (so far) that affect our mood. Thus altering how we experience life. It’s my hope that people will take this information seriously and begin to use nutrition to live a happier and healthier life.

Although there is substantial evidence of the effects of essential fatty acids, inositol and botanicals (eg. St. John’s Wort) on mood, today we’ll be focusing solely on micronutrients, vitamins and minerals and their impact on mood.

Connecting Nutrients and Mood (The 4 Scientific Models)

In 400 BCE, Hippocrates famously stated:

“Leave your drugs in the chemist’s pot if you can heal the patient with food.”

Thanks to scientific advancements, we’re now beginning to piece together the mechanisms behind this lost art.

There are currently four scientifically accepted mechanisms (or models) that explain how our mood is intricately linked to our vitamin and mineral status. These are:

  1. Errors of metabolism (damaged body systems)
  2. Deficient methylation reactions (lack of detoxification)
  3. Alterations of gene expression (by nutrient deficiency)
  4. Long-latency deficiency diseases (chronic illness)

Errors of Metabolism (Damaged Body Systems)

Our metabolism is a broad term for the myriad of systems that must all function in harmony for us to live a healthy life.

These twelve systems of the body require sufficient detoxification to function effectively.

Psychiatric disorders, even in children, often occur in conjunction with a co-occuring metabolic disorder. Metabolic disorders arise from the build up of toxins, enzymatic defects and protein dysfunction.

Again, primary research begins to point toward detoxification as a method to correct errors of metabolism.

Learn more: Do You or Someone You Know Suffer From An Autoimmune Disease?

Deficient Methylation Reactions (Lack of Detoxification)

Toxins build up in the body in part due to exposure, vitamin and mineral deficiencies,  and also because of insufficient methylation. Methylation is a process that helps the body detoxify toxins.

A good example of methylation detoxifying toxins is when the toxic amino acid (homocysteine) is converted into a beneficial amino acid (methionine). Interestingly, a 2000 research study found that 52% of depressed patients had high levels of homocysteine in their blood. Suggesting that they had insufficient methylation processes. Put simply, they couldn’t detox toxins.

The methylation process can be altered via lifestyle factors such as obesity. Even in pregnancy, if the mother is obese, this can alter the gene expression of their offspring, resulting in altered dopamine and opioid related genes.

This means that healthy lifestyle choices can alter how well our bodies can detoxify and thrive, even in a toxic world.

Learn more: How An Alkaline Diet Incorporates Gentle Detoxing Methods To Promote Lasting Health

Alterations of Gene Expression (By Nutrient Deficiency)

Various vitamin deficiencies alter gene expression. Especially vitamin D deficiency which downregulates a liver gene called Cyp7a1. This is the gene that’s responsible for the metabolism of cholesterol. Making it clear that nutrient deficiencies impact overall health and wellbeing.

Zinc deficiency can alter gene expression, especially in the brain. The main reason is because zinc is involved in DNA repair.

Related: Depressed, Low Immunity, Acne or Cold Sores? You Might Need Zinc

Magnesium is another essential nutrient that is responsible for over 600 reactions in the body. A deficiency in magnesium can be due to your genetics. There’s a bidirectional relationship between gene expression and nutrients. Whereby you must fill up your nutrient reserves to ensure that healthy genes are switched on.

Long-Latency Deficiency Diseases (Chronic Illness)

Nutrient deficiencies don’t just affect short-latency diseases, with a short incubation period. They also affect long latency disease. Which are illnesses that take a longer time to manifest.

The recommended daily intake of nutrition, if depleted over a long period of time, can result in severe deficiencies, which require higher doses if and when a deficiency is established.

It’s important to ensure that you are getting sufficient nourishment from your diet so as to avoid nutrient deficiencies. Over time, these deficiencies can lead to chronic illness, that could have been prevented with adequate nutrition, and clear detoxification pathways.

Folate, folic acid (vitamin B9)

Folate protects brain tryptophan. Tryptophan is converted to serotonin in the brain. Altering eating behaviours, passivity, violence, addiction, and depression.

Folate also plays a role in the methionine cycle (Met). Which in turn helps the body detoxify and build healthy tissue.

Foods high in folate include: legumes, asparagus, leafy greens, beets, citrus fruits, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, nuts and seeds, papaya and bananas.

Niacin (Vitamin B3)

Severe niacin deficiencies can lead to dementia, pellagra and nervous system damage.

Foods high in niacin include: peanuts, avocado, rice, mushrooms, peas, sweet potatoes and white potatoes.

Cobalamin (Vitamin B12)

Vitamin B12 is one of the more commonly known brain nutrients. A deficiency in B12 can result in folate deficiency, making matters worse. B12 also helps to create neurotransmitters in the brain.

Foods high in cobalamin include: Fermented beans and vegetables, wild mushrooms, edible algae and nutritional yeast.

Thiamine (Vitamin B1)

Vitamin B1 and B6  helps produce GABA – the brainwave most associated with peace and calm.

Foods high in thiamine include: flax seeds, navy beans, green peas, firm tofu, brown rice, acorn squash, and asparagus

Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)

Vitamin B6 is another widely known and researched micronutrient that helps in the creation of brain healthy hormones dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. B6 is essential in the production of serotonin.

Foods high in Pyridoxine include: peas, fresh and dried fruit, nutritional yeast, pistachio nuts, quinoa, and avocado.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E protects cells from damage from free radicals. Free radicals are damaged cells that cause accelerated aging and illness. Vitamin E offers protection for the cells throughout your body – especially your brain.

Foods high in vitamin E include: sunflower seeds, almonds, avocado, spinach, butternut squash, kiwi fruit, and broccoli.

Choline

Choline plays a role in methylation reactions and cell signalling.

Foods high in choline  include: peanuts, shiitake mushrooms, soy, kidney beans, quinoa, Brussels sprouts and broccoli.

Calcium

Calcium is required for enzymes to work properly in the body. Calcium is essential for the brain to function effectively. It plays a role in long-term memory, excitability and many other brain functions.

Foods high in calcium include: firm tofu, spinach, kale, collard greens, black-eyed peas, okra and acorn squash.

Chromium

Chromium is required for learning, recall, and recognition memory tasks. It plays an important role in fat glucose metabolism.

Foods high in chromium include: broccoli, brewers yeast, grape juice, apples, green beans and whole grains.

Iron

Iron helps in the production of ATP energy in the brain. ATP is the energy currency of our body.  As well as ensuring that there is enough oxygen in the blood. Iron is also involved in the production of the hormones serotonin, norepinephrine and epinephrine.

Foods high in iron include: legumes, quinoa, brown rice, nuts and seeds, and green leafy vegetables.

Magnesium

Magnesium is a cofactor in over 300 reactions in the body. When it comes to the brain, magnesium is required for memory, brain development and learning.

Foods high in magnesium include: spinach, pumpkin seeds, lima beans, brown rice, almonds, avocados, and bananas 

Learn more: Best Form of Magnesium for Sleep, Arthritis, Cramps & Anxiety

Zinc

Zinc plays an important role in brain development in children and the maintenance of the brain in adults. It’s essential for over 200 enzyme reactions in the body.

A deficiency of zinc can lead to oxidative stress. Interestingly, zinc plays a role in the sense of smell, learning and also protein synthesis.

Foods high in zinc include: tofu, chlorella, hemp seeds, lentils, oatmeal, and shiitake mushrooms.

Selenium

Selenium is essential for the brain, and is used for many brain functions. Such as motor performance, coordination, memory and cognition.

Foods high in selenium include: brazil nuts, tofu, oatmeal, brown rice, button mushrooms and shiitake mushrooms 

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is required for a healthy brain due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. 

The main source of vitamin D is sunlight. During autumn and winter, it is advisable to take a vitamin D supplement.

Final Thoughts

There is considerable scientific evidence supporting the view that nutrients play a huge role in brain development and function.

Nutrients such as folic acid are widely prescribed, especially by doctors, due to the role it plays in the development of a healthy brain and central nervous system.

To ward off disease and stabilise mood, a wide range of nutritious foods should be consumed.

Written by best-selling author and integrative nutrition health coach Rowanna Watson, who has a passion for natural health. Rowanna is an expert in all areas of holistic health, plant-based nutrition, detoxification and personal development.


Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.


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Understanding Your Body’s Stress Response [Plus 7 Ways to Destress]

Understanding Your Body’s Stress Response

Ever felt the need for answers? Like your head is filled with cotton wool and you end up going round and round, with no final solution? It's because certainty is one of our basic human needs, and right now we are living in very uncertain times. Uncertainty can lead to chronic stress, which can in-turn weaken your immune system.

Factors that impact our stress response include uncertainty, worry and negative thinking. Worrying about what’s going to happen is natural. If we don’t get an answer, we’ll keep on looking. Our brains crave certainty. Which can result in perpetual checking of your mobile phone or internet. Adding to the stress, especially when we are presented with draconian measures from the government and media.

What’s more, the hysteria that’s being felt all over the world right now layers on top of our own anxiety. The question is: how do you slow down, and keep calm in times of acute or ongoing stress?

The first step is to understand your body's stress response. So that you can alter your behaviours to produce a sense of ease and calm. In this article we’ll discuss your bodies stress response and choices that you can make to allow you to think clearly again.

What’s the Definition of Stress?


When the demands of life exceed your resources, you’re said to be under stress. Stress can also be described as mental, emotional or physical tension. Contrary to popular opinion, stress isn’t always harmful – some forms of stress, like exercising, are healthy.

Healthy stress is known as eustress.

57% of people feel paralysed when they’re stressed, while 43% state that stress invigorates them. Chronic stress, on the other hand, is a completely different matter.

Stress is when your fight-or-flight (parasympathetic nervous system) is activated. Your body is then flooded with the hormones of action – cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine.

When you’re stressed out, your conscious brain responses are almost switched off. In favour of instant automatic responses. At the same time, your digestive and immune system are put on hold. 

Too much cortisol can raise your blood sugar levels, which is bad news for diabetics, or those with metabolic syndrome. Suffice it to say, prolonged chronic stress can wreak havoc on your body.

Stress Exacerbates Underlying Health Problems


It’s never been more important to reduce stress by practising healthy coping mechanisms, and removing yourself from stressful situations.

Underlying conditions like diabeteshigh blood pressure and obesity can become worse if a person is stressed out.

In fact, stress in and of itself is a risk factor for heart disease.

Does Stress Weaken the Immune System?

In short, yes!  Stress negatively impacts your immune system.

Your immune system is made up of billions of tiny cells that travel through your bloodstream into all organs of your body, looking for foreign invaders. When the stress response is activated, digestive activity stops and your heart rate increases.

Stress switches your body from rest, repair and digest mode (the parasympathetic nervous system), to the fight-or-flight response (the sympathetic nervous system). Where energy is taken from the body’s internal organs and sent to the extremities for an emergency response. While hormones like cortisol are up-regulated.

Short bursts of cortisol can stimulate your immune system. While prolonged stress, also known as chronic stress, can weaken the immune system due to producing high levels of inflammation. Furthermore, the increased heart rate, from the stress response can increase blood cholesterol levels according to the NHS.

Learn more: Top 5 Vitamins to Boost the Immune System

3 Stages of the Stress Response


There are three key stages of the stress response that you need to know about. Alarm, resistance and exhaustion, as described below:

• Alarm Stage – Heart beats faster, sending blood to your arms and legs, ready for action.

• Resistance Stage – Reduced sense of urgency, silent alert.

• Exhaustion Stage – Too much stress can lead to exhaustion. At this phase, your immune system can become weakened.

Chronic stress has been linked to lifestyle illnesses like depression, diabetes and heart disease, as well as a risk for viral infections

Related: The Connection Between Adrenal Fatigue, Stress & Water

10 Physical Symptoms of Stress


Many people are complaining that they can’t sleep right now, with headaches and a lack of appetite generally cited. Others are saying that they feel like they’re stuck to their bed, unable to get up. These are all symptoms of chronic stress.

• Tension headaches

• Fatigue

• Upset stomach

• Lack of libido

• Insomnia

• Aches and pains

• Agitation

• Low self-esteem

• Chest pain or irregular heartbeat

• Clenched jaw or teeth grinding

Related: 9 Nutrients That Can Counteract the Impact of Stress

How Emotions Change When You’re Feeling Stressed


Emotional stress can lead to feelings of worry, the inability to focus, poor judgement and negativity. This can result in procrastination or consuming alcohol to unwind. These responses are understandable, but not helpful and will self perpetuate.

Fear and uncertainty are two of the most common causes of emotional stress.

Right now, we’re facing a global pandemic that’s producing a lot of fear and uncertainty, in turn this is creating a lot of stress. Your ability to deal with stress will alter depending on how you view (or frame) the world.

7 Natural Ways to De-stress

Break the addictive cycle of chronic stress by following these seven natural ways to de-stress.

• Drink at least 8 glasses of pure water every day

• Practice deep diaphragmatic breathing

• Spend time in nature, or bring nature into your home

• Unplug from social media (and your phone in general) for several hours each day

• Set healthy boundaries

• Create healthy bedtime and morning routines

• Exercise every day (go for a run or use a home workout app)

Learn More: 5 Fun Ways to Reduce the Impact of Chronic Stress

Final Thoughts

We’re living in uncertain times, but there is a lot we can do to take charge of the situation.

Understanding the body’s stress response will allow you to know if you are under stress. In turn, you can then do some breathing exercises or go for a walk to unwind.

Setting boundaries and creating routines also go a long way to restoring some form of normality, and reducing stress.

Written by best-selling author and integrative nutrition health coach Rowanna Watson, who has a passion for natural health. Rowanna is an expert in all areas of holistic health, plant-based nutrition, detoxification and personal development.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

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bikini-clad woman diving into lake

How to Step Into the Blue Mind State to Reduce Anxiety, Induce Calm

How to Step Into the Blue Mind State to Reduce Anxiety, Induce Calm

You feel refreshed and renewed, ready to take on the world. Maybe you had a shower, a bath or spent time at the beach. One thing holds true: spending time in or near water can alter our perception – for the better.

Interestingly, Victorian doctors used to prescribe “sea air” to some patients. But how does spending time near water translate in our modern world?

In this article, we’ll explore how to step into the blue mind state to induce calm, 8 easy ways to reconnect with water, “blue mind” vs “red mind” and the current science that explores how water bodies impact our health.

The Health Benefits of Being Near Water


Poets, writers, painters and sailors have often explained the calming effects of being near the sea. The simple act of gazing out to the ocean induces a meditative state.

A study published by the University of Exeter found that sounds of the ocean can reduce stress and induce feelings of calmness. In an attempt to reconnect to the ocean from any location, a digital seashell app was produced for Mental Health Awareness Week (14 –20 May) by the Blue Health Initiative.

The Blue Health 2020 initiative is a European research organisation that analyses the effect that large bodies of water have on our health and wellbeing.

They’re currently studying how exposure to the sea impacts health, in an attempt to track down specific factors that make water so soothing.

Both green space and living close to the coast have been found to improve health and wellbeing according to an English study.

Related: The Consciousness and Intelligence of Water

What is “Blue Mind” Science vs “Red Mind” Science?


The state of being in a blue mind is referred to as being in a state of happiness and satisfaction in the present moment.

When we are near or under water, we drift off into this state. Which is a welcome contrast to the “red mind” which is the over-stimulated, anxious, busy, and worried norm of normal modern life.

Learn More: The Connection Between Adrenal Fatigue, Stress & Water

What are the Health Benefits of Seas, Rivers and Lakes?

Water covers 70% of the earth, 73% of our brain and heart are water and over 70% of our bodies are made up of water.

Water is the elixir of life; without it, there would be no life on this planet.

Humans have evolved to respond and adapt to the surrounding environment, especially nature. There’s a deep-rooted biological connection that can be felt when we are in, or near a large body of water. But can this feeling be backed up with cold, hard science?

Rivers and lakes provide easy access to water in urban areas, allowing people who are living in “red mind” zones to unplug and reconnect with nature. Sadly, 90% of young adults are addicted to technology according to one American Psychological Association Report.

Pro Tip: To counter the stress produced by living intertwined with technology, we can bathe, have a shower, swim or visit lakes, rivers, waterfalls or fountains.

Why Lakes Are Important For Health


There’s no getting around it: spending too much time indoors, and consuming endless amounts of data from your devices, dulls your mind.

Visiting lakes and spending time in nature, on the other hand, flips the switch. From a “red mind” state to a “blue mind” state.

Pro tip: You’ll feel enhanced focus and a lifted mood by visiting open green spaces and large bodies of water like lakes.

Related: Is Water Nature’s Very Own Antidepressant?

What are the Advantages of Living Near a River?


Living near a river gives you instant access to nature. If you don’t live near to a river, lake or ocean, don’t fret. Science has shown that simply staring at images of lakes, oceans or large green expanses induce a feeling of calm.

One study published by the University of Exeter, led by Michael Depledge and environmental psychologist Mat White, looked at how we respond to images of lakes and rivers.

They were building on the groundbreaking work of Roger Ulrich in exploring how green space impacts health.

Depledge explained: “Images with green space received a positive response, as Ulrich has found. But images with both green and blue got the most favourable response of all.”

Take a Mini-Vacation (in Your Own Home)


Having a bath or a shower is a great way to immerse yourself in water. Instantly relieving the worries of the day.

When showering, your senses are soothed. There are no other inputs; all you smell, feel and hear is water. This offers your body a chance to unwind and become one with the elixir of life.

You can further the health benefits by adding magnesium or Epsom salts to your bathwater.

Pro tip: To make sure the water you’re using is clean, why not install a water purifier in your shower? It’s easy to do and will take all of the nasties out of your shower water.

Let Water Be Your Teacher (Flow Like Water)


Did you know that Albert Einstein famously had his best ideas when sailing?

When his mind was calm and he was floating on the sea, Einstein was one with nature and could easily comprehend the principles of physics.

Abraham Loeb, chair of the astronomy department at Harvard University, has also confessed that his best ideas come to him when he’s in the shower.

Coincidence? Perhaps. But maybe not.

The following quote from Bruce Lee explains how flowing like water can help you live better:

“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.

Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” – Bruce Lee

The Sea and Air Put Life in Perspective


Vast areas of green space, sea and air are all free resources that do not discriminate. They are available to everyone equally. They help put our life into perspective.

Somehow big problems don’t seem so troublesome after spending time by the sea or immersed in water. Encounters with the vastness of the universe promote feelings of awe and oneness with all beings.

9 Easy Ways to Reconnect with Water (The Elixir of Life)


To take advantage of the many health benefits that water can deliver, you don’t need to go far. Here are nine easy ways that you can reconnect with the magic of water today:

  • Visit large water bodies like rivers, the sea, lakes or fountains
  •  Take a shower
  •  Have a bath
  •  Go sailing or take up water sports
  •  Swim in nature
  •  Look at images of the ocean
  • Listen to sounds of the ocean
  •  Install a water feature in your home
  • Drink 8 glasses of purified water every day

The Bottom Line

There’s no doubt about it: water is the first and best tool to boost health. Without it, there can be no life on earth. The simple act of looking out to sea, or looking at paintings of lakes, promotes a feeling of calm and serenity.

If you want to get more involved, you can take up water sports, have a bath or go for a swim in nature. If you’re looking for one thing that can shift your mental and physical health freely and easily, welcome more experiences with water into your life.

Written by best-selling author and integrative nutrition health coach Rowanna Watson, who has a passion for natural health. Rowanna is an expert in all areas of holistic health, plant-based nutrition, detoxification and personal development.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

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two women gazing over green landscape

5 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Nature Therapy

5 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Nature Therapy

Nature lovers the world over have attested to the power of the great outdoors for boosting health and wellbeing. We’ve always intuitively known that time in nature is good for us. But it’s only recently that science has begun to back up our long-held beliefs.

Nature affects human health in many ways. Trees, in particular, provide food, shelter, medicine and offer a firm footing that prevents flooding and landslides. Conversely, they harbour insects, produce pollen and can be a hazard in high winds.

Undoubtedly nature impacts human behaviour and experiences. People love to go into nature, forests and oceans to unwind and relax.

Nature therapy is increasingly popular as a free and easy approach to boosting health. But what does science say?

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some scientifically-backed health benefits of nature, and answer the question: how does nature improve mental health?

Why is nature so important to humans?


Most people think of health as a state free from disease. More accurately, the World Health Organization (WHO) describes health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

While this may err on the side of unrealistic and utopian, it does allude to the inclusion of all aspects of health.

When we view health as multi-dimensional, it’s easier to understand how time in nature could impact wellbeing.

Rather than viewing health (or lack thereof) through the lens of symptoms that are in need of treatment.

Time in nature has many implications, such as the ability to improve focus. As well as physical and biochemical foundations that support balance and harmony.

What do we mean by nature?


We’ll be referring to nature as the natural features and processes that people can perceive without the use of specialised instruments.

Nature in a broad sense – related to trees, forests, vegetation, animals, wind and weather, sunlight and the ocean.

In essence, we’ll be exploring how the natural environment, that has had little human intervention, impacts the health of humans.

Promoting nature isn’t a lucrative endeavour. Perhaps that is why we are only now seeing an explosion of studies supporting its benefits.

Spending time in nature certainly makes us feel healthier, but until now the impact on our long-term wellbeing hasn’t been fully understood.” – Caoimhe Twohig-Bennett, UEA Norwich Medical School

1. Increased Self-Esteem

Children who participated in a 2016 research study on the effects of nature on health, showed improved concentration and self-esteem.

Time in nature allowed them to take risks, get creative and discover the great outdoors.

In some children, the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) were reduced as they got better at focusing.

In other research, it was found that spending more time in nature could lead to a more positive body image. “It is possible that exposure to environments with depth and complexity restricts negative appearance-related thoughts,” speculated Viren Swami, professor of social psychology at Anglia Ruskin University and lead author of the study.

2. Greater Overall Health


According to a massive study of over 290 million people published by the University of East Anglia, those who spend more time outdoors report overall good health.

This was backed up in the Wildlife Trust study in point one. Where those reporting that their health was “excellent” increased by 30% after 30 consecutive days taking time to “go out in the wild.”

3. Natural Aromatherapy


It’s common practice for Japanese people to forest bathe – this practice is known as “Shinrinyoku.”

Interestingly, they point to the natural aromatherapy as one of the health benefits of spending time in the forest.

This theory is backed up by a recent 2020 study into how smells of nature can lower psychological stress. In the study,  virtual reality headset scenes were coupled with sounds and smells that correlated to the perceived location.

For example, tar and gunpowder smell with cityscapes and the smell of grass, fir trees and mushrooms in the virtual nature scenes.

Interestingly, it was the smells in particular that affected people most.

4. Long-Term Boosts to the Immune System


In a Japanese study, male and female participants spent 3 days in the forest, with 2 nights of sleep. Blood and urine samples were taken to measure Natural killer (NK) cells and levels of urinary adrenaline before, during and after their stay in the woods.

Researchers found increased NK activity, which is a signifier of an enhanced immune system.

Amazingly, this rise in NK cells persisted for 30 days after the trip.

It’s possible that the phytoncides released by the trees may be responsible for some of the immune-boosting qualities of spending time in green space.

Phytoncides are organic compounds with antibacterial properties, which may explain an underlying scientific mechanism by which trees boost health.

Related: Top 5 Vitamins to Boost the Immune System

5. Reduced Stress Levels

Our Japanese study (above) also showed that the levels of adrenaline in the urine of participants was significantly lower on the days they spent in the forest.

This could be due to a combination of factors, a lack of overwhelming digital stimulus, smells of nature or physical exercise.

Stress is measured both in spikes of adrenaline and also cardiovascular activity.

A simple walk in the forest can have favourable cardiovascular responses, balancing out the whole human organism.

Because humans have evolved to adapt to their surrounding environment, natural stimulation via forests or green spaces can enhance both physiological and psychological relaxation.

Learn More: The Connection Between Adrenal Fatigue, Stress & Water

The Bottom Line

The many health benefits of spending time in nature can be attributed to increased physical activity and the antibacterial substances emitted by the plants.

Does nature make us healthier? Absolutely! A raft of studies are showing that nature therapy is a free and easy tool to boost overall wellbeing.

In our increasingly hectic, stressed, technology- and image-obsessed age, there are few things better than to disconnect and embrace the simplicity and beauty of the natural world. The benefits of exercising outdoors are also significant.

Written by best-selling author and integrative nutrition health coach Rowanna Watson, who has a passion for natural health. Rowanna is an expert in all areas of holistic health, plant-based nutrition, detoxification and personal development.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

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notebook with the message today i am grateful

6 Ways to Practice Gratitude and the Health Benefits of Doing So

6 Ways to Practice Gratitude and the Health Benefits of Doing So

Health is often thought of as physical. When in reality everything starts in the mind.

Anyone suffering from depression or anxiety will know how difficult it is to make healthy choices. It can feel as though life is spiralling in the wrong direction. The good news is that there is a simple practice that anyone can do to turn things around. Or at least reboot life, so that life is flowing in the right direction again.

Mounting scientific research shows that regular practice of gratitude offers a multitude of physical and mental health benefits. We all know how nice it is to feel appreciated for our actions. In essence, that is what gratitude is – showing appreciation for the blessings we have in our lives.

We all have a lot of things to be grateful for, but it’s easy to take them for granted.

In this article, we’ll explore the scientifically proven health benefits of gratitude, as well as quick and easy steps that you can take to practice gratitude today.

What is Gratitude?


Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey

In Latin, the word “gratitude” is gratia, which translates as “grace”. The word grace is defined as “smoothness and elegance of movement” and “courteous goodwill.”

Which is interesting, as volunteering (which is an act of courteous goodwill and giving) has been found to counteract anxiety, anger and stress, increase self-confidence, and offer a sense of purpose. As well as bringing fun and fulfilment into your life.

The Latin phrase “gratus animus,” often translated as grateful when broken down, literally – gratus translates to – grateful, agreeable, pleasing, acceptable and welcome. Animus translates as – heart, mind, affections, purpose and feeling.

Related: Related: Which Foods to Eat and Avoid for Better Mental Health

Gratitude is powerful, as it can change how we view the world. Which can help us live a thriving, fulfilling life. If you think of the opposite: rudeness, inconsiderate or thoughtless. Then you can begin to see the domino effect that our thoughts and actions can have on our lives.

These are not terms associated with health. These negative attitudes can cause people to turn against us, making life intolerable.

Effects of Gratitude on the Brain


One 2016 study of patients who were entering therapy for anxiety or depression analysed their brain activities with an fMRI neuroimaging scanner, before they took part in a gratitude expression experiment, where they wrote letters of gratitude for three months.

The control group was given therapy as usual, and not advised to perform the gratitude writing.

To quantify the experiment, subjects in both groups were given money and asked to “Pay It Forward” to a charitable cause. They found that the participants who were performing the gratitude writing had a lasting “neural sensitivity to gratitude.”

This meant that those who performed the gratitude practice were more willing to give money to charitable causes.

After three months, the gratitude group was scanned again and the researchers found lasting positive alterations in their prefrontal cortex, which is the area of the brain used for decision-making, planning and judgment.

Therefore, if we begin to practice gratitude, we’ll make better choices and be more kind. This sort of simple intervention can impact all areas of our lives.

Related: Does the Gut-Brain-Axis Affect Neurodegenerative Disease?

Gratitude Practice Leads to Fewer Doctor Visits


A study on gratitude was published by Dr. Robert A Emmons of the University of California and  Dr. Michael E McCullough of the University of Miami. They split their participants into two groups.

One group was instructed to write a few sentences about daily irritations, while a second was to write about things that had happened during the week that they were grateful for.

After 10 weeks the group who had been writing words of gratitude had fewer visits to the doctor and felt optimistic about their lives when compared to the group that focused on aspects of their lives that displeased them.

In another study by Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, 411 people were instructed to write about early memories.

When they were asked to write and personally deliver a letter of sincere gratitude to a person who had impacted their lives, and had never been properly thanked, the participants quickly showed elevated happiness scores.

The benefits of this practice were shown to last for a whole month.

These studies indicate a strong correlation between practicing gratitude and well-being.

Gratitude and Relationships

We all know that it’s nice for our partners or friends to appreciate what we do for them. So it’s no surprise that studies of couples who expressed feelings of gratitude for each other felt more positive toward their partner.

They were also happier to share their feelings. Both of these outcomes are essential for happy relationships, and as such, we should take time to tell people how much they mean to us.

How does this impact our health and wellbeing? In the first instance, social and psychological well-being is just as important as physical health, and can have a tremendous impact on our ability to enjoy life.

Secondly, divorce is an adverse childhood experience (ACE) that produces toxic stress, and can lead to trauma and chronic mental and physical illness in children later on in life.

6 Ways to Start a Gratitude Practice

Now that you know about some of the mounting science around the subject of gratitude and health, it’s time to start a gratitude practice of your own.

Your approach will be unique to your own preferences. However, here are some ideas on how to bring gratitude into your life.

Start a Gratitude Journal

Write out 5 or 10 things that you are grateful for each day, or week.

Start a Gratitude Jar

Wash out a jar and write what you are grateful for and why on a slip of paper and place it in your jar. You can do this every day or week. If you want to multiply the effects of this practice, get your whole family involved.

Write a thank you letter

Send a thank-you note to someone every month to share your appreciation for them. You can even send yourself a thank you note every now and then.

Mentally thank someone

Think about a person that you appreciate and thank them mentally for how they have impacted your life.

Pray

A traditional way to practice gratitude is to pray. This is ideal for people who are religious.

Meditate

Take time to quiet your mind, meditate and be thankful for all of the blessings in your life.

The Bottom Line

We often overlook the impact that our thoughts can have on our health and wellbeing. This can lead to issues that can easily be altered by changing our outlook.

Starting a gratitude practice can change your perspective on life for the better. Why not try and practice gratitude for 30 days and see how it impacts your life?

The act of writing or talking out loud amplifies the effect of your gratitude practice. Pick one of the practices above and do it for 30 full days. The results might just surprise you.

Written by best-selling author and integrative nutrition health coach Rowanna Watson, who has a passion for natural health. Rowanna is an expert in all areas of holistic health, plant-based nutrition, detoxification and personal development.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

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Can Ketones Help Alleviate Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Can Ketones Help Alleviate Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease?

Alzheimer’s Disease affects around 44 million people, and with no known cure, a diagnosis can feel like a death sentence. But is there a solution right under our noses?

Emerging research indicates that dietary changes – specifically those geared towards improving metabolic health – can have a profound effect on sufferers of Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders.

Indeed, there was an entire section of presentations at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) dedicated to brain ketone metabolism and advanced ketone strategies.

In essence, dietary interventions “train” the brain to use ketone bodies instead of glucose for energy, with attendant benefits for cognitive function and energy supply.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the evidence.

Ketones for Alzheimer’s: The Basics


Ketosis is a natural metabolic state wherein the body produces ketone bodies out of fat, and uses them for energy instead of carbs.

It is the principle of the ketogenic diet, which has become massively popular in recent years but has also been used in epilepsy cases for over a century.

Ketone bodies are molecules generated in the liver which are capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier and providing energy in the absence of glucose.

That’s right, ketones are perfectly able to meet the brain’s energy needs.

Alzheimer’s is caused by cellular dysfunction and an abnormal buildup of protein in and around brain cells, leading to their decreased function and eventual death.

The main risk factors are age (risk doubles every five years after you reach 65), family history, cardiovascular disease and head injuries.

With the brain unable to effectively metabolise glucose, ketones step in as a welcome alternative energy source – and a neuroprotective one, at that.

A weight of scientific evidence indicates that ketones can alter the brain’s metabolism in ways that reduce neuropathology and alleviate behavioural symptoms.

Ketones have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, serving to prevent damage to cells in the brain.

Ketones for Alzheimer’s: The Available Evidence


2019 University of Sherbrooke study underlined the benefits of ketogenic medium-chain triglycerides (kMCT) for seniors with mild cognitive impairment.

Over a period of six months, the 52 subjects were given a daily placebo or the aforementioned kMCT supplement, and their results recorded.

The results were astonishing: measures of episodic memory, language, executive function and processing speed improved in the kMCT group, with increased brain ketone uptake positively linked to several cognitive measures.

“The energy problem in the brain can be corrected by supplying ketones to replace the problem with glucose,” said lead author Stephen Cunnane.

Also in 2019, a small study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease sought to test the efficacy of a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet.

The Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers found small but measurable improvements on standardised brain function/memory tests in 14 older adults with mild cognitive problems suggestive of early Alzheimer’s.

According to Jason Brandt, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences and neurology, “Using dietary changes to mitigate cognitive loss in early-stage dementia would be a real game-changer. It’s something that 400-plus experimental drugs haven’t been able to do in clinical trials.”

In 2018, meanwhile, a clinical trial testing the feasibility of the ketogenic diet for Alzheimer’s Disease found that cognition was improved in seven very mild and four mild AD patients.

In this one, subjects had to faithfully follow the keto diet while also taking MCT supplements over a period of three months.

Those who did so exhibited a 4.1 point improvement in cognition on the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive Subscale Test (ADAS-Cog).

Given that a 4 point improvement is deemed clinically meaningful, this was no small feat. All scores returned to normal when the participants returned to their normal diets.

Earlier studies have had similarly impressive results. In 2012, for example, older adults following a low-carb diet benefited from “improved verbal memory performance”, with elevated ketone levels believed to be responsible.

As noted in the study, “While this effect may be attributable in part to correction of hyperinsulinemia, other mechanisms associated with ketosis such as reduced inflammation and enhanced energy metabolism also may have contributed to improved neurocognitive function.”

In 2016, a further study was conducted to determine if ketones could help a 63-year-old male patient with younger-onset Alzheimer’s.

Amazingly, gradual improvements occurred over the course of a year, including in memory recall, word finding, task completion, conversation and social participation.

It’s worth reading the entire study to appreciate just how life-changing ketone supplementation was for this particular individual.

How to Increase Ketone Production

There are many methods of reaching ketosis. One is by fasting, which depletes the body’s glucose stores and in the process induces natural ketone production.

Another is by following a high-fat, low-carb ketogenic type diet, perhaps with the inclusion of medium chain triglycerides such as coconut and MCT oil which boost ketone production.

Other things which can help you more readily get into ketosis include intense physical exercise (fasted cardio is particularly effective), consuming an adequate protein intake and drinking coffee in the morning.

You might also consider supplementing with exogenous ketones. These can increase ketone concentration in the blood without activating starvation mode. Exogenous ketones make it easier to enter ketosis and also mitigate common side effects of the keto diet.

If you’re keen to maximise ketone generation, you could try all of the above in combination: pursue a ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting, a busy exercise protocol and exogenous ketone supplementation.

Conclusion

A 2017 study published in Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy suggested that one third of Alzheimer’s cases could be preventable if people take action to address modifiable risk factors. As we have demonstrated above, there is also hope for those already diagnosed.

Remember, in the early stage of Alzheimer’s disease the brain is unable to efficiently use glucose as an energy source. The principle of replacing glucose with ketones is a sound one, and offers promise for those wishing to preserve cognitive function into their senior years.

The important thing is to cut out the sugar and starches to help the body make a metabolic switch.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

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The Connection Between Adrenal Fatigue, Stress & Water

The Connection Between Adrenal Fatigue, Stress & Water

The Connection Between Adrenal Fatigue, Stress & Water

The requirement for drinking an adequate amount of water is up-regulated when we exercise. This is well known, but did you know that stress and adrenal fatigue can alter the amount of water that you need to drink?

Not only that, there are other connections to how the body works during highly stressful experiences, which means you need to make a change to keep the body healthy if life is becoming stressful.

There’s no question, meeting the demands of modern life takes a toll on the human body. Modern people are often stressed and sleep-deprived, which can lead to burnout. Some Naturopaths and Functional Medicine Doctors call this phenomenon "Adrenal Fatigue".

Adrenal Fatigue develops over time, and as such the symptoms can change as the disease progresses. As the adrenals become overburdened, the amount of hormones and the time of day that they are produced changes. This can affect mood and sleep, significantly altering quality of life.

Before we get into 5 connections between water and fatigue, and 11 steps to balance the adrenal hormones, let's address an important question.

Is Adrenal Fatigue Real?


The term “Adrenal Fatigue” came about in the 1990s to explain a set of symptoms. Despite the popularity of the term, it’s not currently a recognised medical condition.

However, there are other medical terms that are used to explain the disease.

Your body is continually working to maintain balance. “Allostasis” is the term used to explain how the body maintains balance (or homeostasis) in stressful situations.

If a person is exposed to too much stress, this is known as “Allostatic Overload”.

The term “Adrenal Fatigue” or hypoadrenia was coined by  naturopath James L Wilson, DC, ND, Ph.D to “identify below optimal adrenal function resulting from stress and distinguish it from Addison’s disease.”The accepted medical terms for this disease is “Adrenal Insufficiency.”

However, the term Adrenal Fatigue is more widely known by the general public thanks to the internet.

Adrenal Fatigue or Adrenal Insufficiency comes about when the body is under continual chronic stress or an acutely stressful situation.

When the body is in a perpetual sympathetic state, the adrenals secrete additional stress hormones like cortisol, which over time wreak havoc on the body.

5 Connections Between Water and Fatigue

Frequent Urination

When a person is suffering from adrenal fatigue, they may need to urinate more frequently. This is due to low levels of the hormone aldosterone.

Aldosterone is a steroid hormone that regulates fluids and minerals in the body.

Frequent urination can also lead to excreting essential minerals through the urine. As such, Adrenal Insufficiency can make people urinate more frequently, resulting in depleted nutrient reserves.

Craving Salty Foods

 Both vitamin and mineral stores are excessively used up when a person is suffering from adrenal fatigue. This is because the metabolism speeds up when in the sympathetic state, creating more metabolic waste and quickly using up stores of nutrients to keep the body in balance.

The requirement for water is increased with the depletion of minerals: sodium, potassium and magnesium. Sodium, potassium and magnesium are essential electrolyte minerals that allow the body to absorb water.

A person who is suffering from adrenal fatigue will often crave salty foods due to being deficient in electrolytes.

Electrolytes are essential for the body to absorb water deep into the cells. Therefore, adrenal fatigue can produce a craving for salt, which is actually a symptom of dehydration due to an inability to retain water.

Learn More: The 5 Best Plant Sources of Electrolytes

Dehydration Causes Fatigue

Dehydration, in and of itself, can cause fatigue. Adrenal fatigue can be a vicious cycle as it uses up electrolytes and also causes frequent urination. Both of these things lead to dehydration and fatigue.

To ensure sufficient hydration if you are under severe stress or suffering from adrenal fatigue, both high-quality water and also adequate consumption of electrolytes will help to bring your body back into balance.

That said, ensuring that you drink enough water isn’t enough. It is important to remove factors in your life that are causing too much stress if possible.

By reducing the amount of stress in your life, the body gets a chance to relax and enter the parasympathetic state. This gives the body a chance to heal and get back into balance.

Fatigue and Nutrient Depletion

In stressful situations or chronic stress-induced health conditions like adrenal fatigue, nutrients are used up rapidly. Creating an additional requirement to boost nutrient reserves. Eating a whole food plant-based diet that is rich in leafy greens, and getting tested for any nutrient deficiencies, can help combat fatigue.

Drinking enough water to ensure that nutrients can be transported and absorbed by the body is key. Additionally, there are several fat soluble vitamins that are essential to combat adrenal fatigue.

Eating a diet that is rich in healthy fats is also a good way to ensure that the body can boost energy reserves.

Circadian Rhythm & Fatigue

Our circadian rhythm is controlled by the pineal gland. Melatonin is produced through the activation of the pineal gland when light travels through your eyes.

For this reason, light is essential to balance out the sleep-wake cycle.

Furthermore, levels of cortisol should be high in the morning and lower in the evening in healthy people.

Despite being the size of a grain of rice, the pineal gland is an extremely important organ in the body. The pineal gland can age and calcify prematurely due to fluoride in water, food and cosmetics.

This can reduce the production of melatonin and disrupt our circadian rhythm. For this reason, a water purifier that reduces fluoride can help balance the hormones.

11 Steps to Balance The Adrenal Hormones

To soothe the adrenals and encourage them to create a balanced amount of hormones there are several steps a person can take, as follows:

  • Reduce stress
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet
  • Drink 8 glasses of filtered water a day
  • Consume electrolytes
  • Boost nutrient reserves
  • Get regular exercise
  • Take up Yoga
  • Practice meditation
  • Mindfulness
  • Diaphragmatic breathing
  • Walking in nature

According to leading functional-medicine expert Dr. Will Cole, you can support adrenal health by eating more green superfoods (we recommend Green Vibrance Powder), consuming healthy fats, sipping herbal tea and increasing your magnesium and vitamin D.

Conclusion

Adrenal fatigue or Adrenal Insufficiency is caused when a person is exposed to too much stress. This can create a vicious cycle, whereby the body becomes nutrient deficient and dehydrated.

To combat adrenal fatigue, it is important to drink enough water and consume electrolytes while taking steps to eliminate stress from your life.

Written by best-selling author and integrative nutrition health coach Rowanna Watson, who has a passion for natural health. Rowanna is an expert in all areas of holistic health, plant-based nutrition, detoxification and personal development.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

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Is Water Nature’s Very Own Antidepressant?

Is Water Nature’s Very Own Antidepressant?

Feeling down is something that we all have to deal with at times. This is especially true in winter, where sunlight is in short supply and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can creep in.

The modern lifestyle often doesn't help us when it comes to keeping happy. There are many things that can cause low mood, one of which is dehydration or not enough water. How, you might ask?

In this article, we'll cover the many scientific reasons why a lack of water could be the root of mood and cognition issues. But before we dive into how water keeps us happy, let's discuss the science bit…

The Gut-Brain Axis


Mood and cognition are intricately linked to our overall health and wellness. Serotonin is often considered the “happy hormone” and is produced by the synthesis of the ?-amino acid tryptophan.

A depressed mood has been found to be linked to low brain serotonin levels and hence serotonin production must be optimised to enhance health and a positive outlook on life.

The gut and the brain work together, with the help of the microbes in our gut. These microbes work with the brain to produce hormones like serotonin.

Interestingly, the microbes in our gut can morph to survive dehydration. In the short term this is useful, but in the long term can produce deleterious effects.

Water is required to keep all aspects of our gut and brain health mobile and flowing. Without water, the microbes wouldn’t be able to carry out their critical functions.

Related: 3 Key Factors You Must Consider When Trying to Improve Gut Health

Is Serotonin Produced in the Gut?


As mentioned, serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine; 5-HT) is a well-known neurotransmitter that is primarily synthesised in the gut. Researchers have found that a healthy and diverse gut microbiome can increase the amount of serotonin in the body by as much as 30%. It’s estimated that as much as 90% of the serotonin in the body is produced in the gut.

We know that serotonin is important and its precursor tryptophan is essential. But where does water fit into the equation?

Water is the transmitter that is required for all systems in the body to function effectively. Not least the hormones that are required to boost mood.

The Best Water to Boost Mood

One of the keys to boosting mood is making sure the body can effectively rid itself of toxic acidic waste materials. This is done via the kidneys and urine.

Without excreting the acidic waste, the body can get overloaded with toxins. As such, the best water to drink to boost health and mood is clean, pure alkaline water.

Related: What’s the Healthiest Water You Can Drink

Dehydration & Acid Buildup


The body’s pH must be kept at 7.35-7.45 to allow it to function. Excess acidic waste buildup can lead to your brain and vital organs being compromised.

Dehydration means that the body cannot produce enough urine to get rid of its toxic waste. This can throw the whole body – enzymes, microbes, oxygen, blood and minerals out of whack.

To balance and neutralise excess acidic waste, the body will sacrifice essential amino acids. Four amino acids that are used to balance the body’s pH are tryptophan, tyrosine, cysteine and methionine.

When using tryptophan to neutralise excess acid, it’s not available to be used as a mood enhancer. To rectify this situation, we must adequately hydrate the body (ideally with pure alkaline water), so that excess toxic acidic waste can be expelled.

Avoid Diuretics


Diuretics increase the amount of water expelled from the body, however, this is not the correct approach to increasing the amount of urine produced by the body. Mainly because diuretics can cause dehydration.

Alcohol, fizzy drinks and caffeine are all mild diuretics and as such should be avoided by people who are looking to boost brain health.

Prescription, pill-based diuretics often used by athletes are even more dangerous and can lead to serious dehydration.

Circulation & Mood


Water boosts the circulation of all systems in the body. The stagnation of the body, whether due to dehydration or a lack of exercise, will inhibit the body’s ability to transport essential amino acids.

The amino acid tryptophan shares its neurotransmitter network with other amino acids such as valine, leucine, isoleucine, phenylalanine and tyrosine.

A lifestyle where dehydration and lack of exercise become the norm, for example in an alcoholic, will mean that levels of leucine, isoleucine and valine increase. This depletes the ability of tryptophan to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB). In turn, this reduces the amount of serotonin in the body, which can lead to the development of diseases related to mood and cognition.

Eat Tryptophan-Rich Foods


Alongside exercising and increasing pure water intake, a diet rich in tryptophan should be consumed to increase serotonin levels in the body.

tryptophan intake of 4mg per kg of body weight is suggested. However, for those who are suffering from memory issues or a depressed mood, higher levels of tryptophan-rich foods can be consumed.

Tryptophan rich foods include: tofu, spirulina, seeds (sunflower and pumpkin), nuts (peanuts and almonds), oats, beans, chickpeas, and buckwheat.

Water Isn't Always Enough

To ensure that the body can function effectively, resulting in the proper synthesis of serotonin, adequate hydration is essential. However, drinking water alone often isn’t enough.

The mineral salts sodium, magnesium and potassium are often referred to as “electrolytes”. These minerals are required for the body to absorb water.

Dehydration can occur if the body is low in these essential mineral salts. Magnesium, in particular, is required for the kidneys to utilise sodium and potassium effectively.

Learn More: The 5 Best Plant Sources of Electrolytes

The Bottom Line

While tryptophan and other amino acids are critical for boosting mood, they are not activated without water. Water is the conduit through which all nutrients are delivered.

Additionally, water absorption requires electrolytes (magnesium, potassium, and sodium). Alkaline water can also be consumed to tip the pH balance of the body and detoxify excess acids.

Written by Rebecca Rychlik-Cunning, Nutritional Therapist and Homeopath. Follow Rebecca on Instagram, Facebook and Medium, @rebeccabitesback.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

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