Thursday, December 1, 2016

FTC Issues Enforcement Policy Statement Regarding Marketing Claims for Over-the-Counter Homeopathic Drugs

FTC Issues Enforcement Policy Statement Regarding Marketing Claims for Over-the-Counter Homeopathic Drugs
Efficacy and Safety Claims Are Held to Same Standard as Other OTC Drug Claims

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2016/11/ftc-issues-enforcement-policy-statement-regarding-marketing

November 15, 2016

The Federal Trade Commission today announced a new “Enforcement Policy Statement on Marketing Claims for Over-the-Counter (OTC) Homeopathic Drugs.” The policy statement was informed by an FTC workshop held last year to examine how such drugs are marketed to consumers. The FTC also released its staff report on the workshop, which summarizes the panel presentations and related public comments in addition to describing consumer research commissioned by the FTC.

The policy statement explains that the FTC will hold efficacy and safety claims for OTC homeopathic drugs to the same standard as other products making similar claims. That is, companies must have competent and reliable scientific evidence for health-related claims, including claims that a product can treat specific conditions. The statement describes the type of scientific evidence that the Commission requires of companies making such claims for their products.

Homeopathy, which dates back to the 1700s, is based on the theory that disease symptoms can be treated by minute doses of substances that produce similar symptoms when provided in larger doses to healthy people. Many homeopathic products are diluted to such an extent that they no longer contain detectable levels of the initial substance. According to the policy statement, homeopathic theories are not accepted by most modern medical experts.

For the vast majority of OTC homeopathic drugs, the policy statement notes, “the case for efficacy is based solely on traditional homeopathic theories and there are no valid studies using current scientific methods showing the product’s efficacy.” As such, the marketing claims for these products are likely misleading, in violation of the FTC Act.

However, the policy statement also notes that “the FTC has long recognized that marketing claims may include additional explanatory information to prevent the claims from being misleading. Accordingly, it recognizes that an OTC homeopathic drug claim that is not substantiated by competent and reliable scientific evidence might not be deceptive if the advertisement or label where it appears effectively communicates that: 1) there is no scientific evidence that the product works; and 2) the product’s claims are based only on theories of homeopathy from the 1700s that are not accepted by most modern medical experts.

The policy statement notes that any such disclosures should stand out and be in close proximity to the product’s efficacy message and might need to be incorporated into that message. It also warns marketers not to undercut a disclosure with additional positive statements or consumer endorsements reinforcing a product’s efficacy. The statement warns that the FTC will carefully scrutinize the net impression of OTC homeopathic marketing claims and that if an ad conveys more substantiation than a marketer has, it will violate the FTC Act.  

The Commission vote approving the enforcement policy statement and issuance of the staff report on the Homeopathic Medicine & Advertising Workshop was 3-0.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook (link is external), follow us on Twitter (link is external), read our blogs and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Spiritual Homeopathy

Spiritual Homeopathy by Celia Hastings

November 3, 2016

http://www.petoskeynews.com/news/opinion/celia-hastings-spiritual-homeopathy/article_9faa547e-aca0-535b-807f-c170440fee7d.html

“Through your wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 The Inclusive Bible

As the Thanksgiving and Christmas season approaches, some may find it difficult to celebrate. Those with recent or impending or unhealed losses may not look forward to the season. Wherever one may be on the journey of faith, “spiritual homeopathy” has something to offer.

What is spiritual homeopathy? It is based on the principle that “like cures like” and “wounds heal wounds” — the underlying wisdom of support groups. A Biblical story which illustrates this principle takes place on the ancient shepherding people’s journey through the desert. When they grew impatient and complained bitterly to Moses, God sent venomous snakes to bite the people. Many died. When the people confessed their sin, God told Moses to put a bronze snake on a pole. Those who were bitten and focused on the bronze snake did not die; they looked and lived.

Many years later Jesus said of his mission, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so the Chosen One must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes on the Chosen One might have eternal life.” Jesus’ disciple Peter wrote, “By Christ’s wounds you are healed.” In “The Angel that Troubled the Waters,” Thornton Wilder wrote: “Without your wound where would your power be? ... In love’s service only the wounded can serve.”

As the Thanksgiving and Christmas season approaches, spiritual homeopathy offers healing to all – because the Babe in the Manger is also the Wounded Healer.

The Rev. Celia M. Hastings has a master’s degree in religious education from Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Mich. She is author of “The Wisdom Series” and “The Undertaker’s Wife.”

 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Copper IUDs: What your doctor doesn't know may be harming you

Copper IUDs: What your doctor doesn’t know may be harming you.

https://www.samanthagilbert.com/copperiud-copper-toxicity/

Copper IUDs have soared in popularity as a hormone-free birth control choice for females. What your doctor doesn’t know about the harmful side-effects of copper could significantly harm you. If you have a copper IUD and are experiencing adverse symptoms, then this post is for you.

What is a Copper IUD and How Does it Work?

Per the Mayo Clinic’s definition, a copper IUD is an intrauterine device (IUD) that’s inserted into the uterus for long-term birth control (up to 10 years). It is a T-shaped plastic frame with copper wire coiled around the stem and two copper sleeves along the arms that continuously release copper into the lining of the uterus. This process produces an inflammatory reaction in the uterus that is toxic to sperm, which helps prevent fertilization.

Copper IUD Claims

Proponents of the copper IUD make a lot of claims that it is a better and safer form of birth control, even citing studies that copper ion levels released by IUDs are too tiny to impair human health. The two main claims that I will debunk that are completely false are:

  • Decreases the risk of endometrial cancer and possibly cervical cancer.
  • Doesn’t carry the risk of side effects related to hormonal birth control methods.

These claims couldn’t be further from the truth, with many females painfully finding this out the hard way. In fact, I have yet to work with a single female in my practice that hasn’t been adversely affected by the copper IUD.

Copper IUD Side-effects and Myths

Commonly disclosed side-effects include: cramping, bleeding between periods, and severe menstrual pain, but this only a very small part of the overall story when it comes to copper and females.

The overarching narrative to this story is that copper and estrogen share a very intimate relationship with one another because estrogen increases copper retention in the body. It has been estimated that almost 85% of females (of all age ranges) are adversely affected by a common, yet little known condition called copper overload or copper toxicity, and have no idea it’s the cause of their distress. This makes implantation of a copper IUD in a female that is already (and usually unknowingly) overloaded in copper a recipe for disaster.

To make matters worse, few doctors are aware of this condition, thus unintentionally prescribing hormones and/or devices that could negatively impact your health and well-being.

What is Copper Overload/Copper Toxicity?

Copper overload, often hereditary, is an inability to effectively eliminate excess copper. It is not the same as Wilson’s Disease, a life threatening and rare genetic disorder where copper accumulates in vital organs and glands.

Copper has the ability to profoundly affect every system in the body especially the reproductive, nervous, and glandular systems, and it has a devastating effect on mental health. This explains why common, yet undisclosed side-effects of the copper IUD include severe anxiety and panic attacks, depression, hair loss, anemia, increased anger and rage, brain fog, spaciness, paranoia, fatigue, and increased infections (yeast being the most common) to name a few.

As a metal, copper is a great conductor of energy, (you know how that energizer bunny keeps going and going) which gives credence to symptoms of insomnia, racing thoughts, heart palpitations, and dizziness after a copper IUD is inserted, symptoms all of my female clients have complained about after trying this method of birth control.

Copper and Cancer

As I mentioned previously, estrogen increases copper retention in the body. We live in an estrogen dominant world and it is well documented that estrogen dominance plays a direct role in the development of many cancers including those of the breast, ovaries, and cervix.

Additionally, impaired methylation synthesis is also a major factor in today’s soaring cancer rates. You can view the research here.

With copper high, zinc becomes imbalanced. Zinc is an essential nutrient in the healthy functioning of all our bodily processes. It enhances resistance to stress, maintains intellectual function, memory, and mood levels, and is an important component in the creation of all hormones. Zinc is also a major player in the creation of our bodies master antioxidants, metallothionein and glutathione, both of which are needed for every body system to function optimally and protect us from disease.

Without adequate zinc, we become prone to pathogenic infections as well as diseases caused by an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells.

Other Things to Consider With a Copper IUD

Practitioners are often told to inform patients that adverse menstrual irregularities will eventually subside after insertion of a copper IUD, but I have found the opposite to be true. Disorders such as endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) actually tend to increase in severity and duration after a copper IUD is implanted.

Postpartum depression (PPD) and psychosis are directly connected to elevated levels of copper, especially with multiple births because copper levels increase with each pregnancy (copper is needed to make blood vessels) and do not go back to normal post-birth. When I hear about women drowning their children, committing suicide, or shooting their husbands, I wonder if monitoring their copper levels would have helped prevent such sad stories.

Copper overload has a strong heritable component, which means that it is often passed down from generation to generation, something we call Transgenerational Epigenetic Inheritance (TEI). If all the females in your family share similar symptoms like mine do, copper toxicity may be the underlying cause.

Additionally, copper is a major player in ADHD/ADD, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, hyperactivity (especially in children) bipolar disorders, fibromyalgia, and paranoid schizophrenia.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Vitamin D Impacts Exercise Performance, Cortisol, and Heart Health

Vitamin D Impacts Exercise Performance, Cortisol, and Heart Health
September 27, 2016
Vitamin D supplementation reduces cardiovascular risk factors and cortisol levels and improves exercise performance, according to a randomized, placebo-controlled, single-blind, parallel trial published in August 2016.
In this study, 15 healthy subjects were given 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily or a placebo for 14 days. Researchers assessed body composition, systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP) and arterial elasticity (as measured by pulse wave velocity, PWV) at baseline, after 1 week, and on day 14 of the study. Cortisol and cortisone levels were measured using two 24-hour urine samples. The study authors evaluated the participants' performances on a bike ergometer and noted the distance cycled in 20 minutes and the Borg Scale rate of perceived exertion (RPE).
After 2 weeks, vitamin D supplementation resulted in a pronounced reduction from baseline in resting SBP (115.8 ± 17.1 to 106.3 ± 10.9 mm Hg) and DBP (75.4 ± 10.3 to 68.5 ± 10.1 mm Hg). Arterial stiffness, urinary free cortisol levels, and the cortisol/cortisone ratio also significantly declined in the vitamin D group. The reduction in cortisol was thought to be due to inhibition of 11 β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1), the enzyme responsible for converting cortisone to active cortisol. Exercise-induced increases in SBP and DBP were markedly attenuated by vitamin D supplementation.
Furthermore, subjects taking vitamin D significantly increased their distance cycled in 20 minutes and the Borg Scale RPE declined. Participants taking placebo did not experience any of these beneficial effects.
According to the study authors, "These results suggest that daily vitamin D supplementation may ameliorate CVD risk factors including a decrease in 11β-HSD1 activity, as evidenced by the decrease in the cortisol/cortisone ratio, and improve exercise performance in healthy individuals."
Reference:
Al-Dujaili EA, et al. Ther Adv Endocrinol Metab. 2016;7:153-65.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

NOW ON DVD! Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe

Pre-order Vaxxed Documentary here! https://www.amazon.com/Vaxxed-Cover-Up-Catastrophe-Del-Bigtree/dp/B01IHSJO6M/ref=as_sl_pc_tf_til?tag=larrycook-20

Every parent, doctor and concerned citizen should watch this chilling documentary!

Pre-Order Vaxxed On Amazon.com for $24.95
In 2013, biologist Dr. Brian Hooker received a call from a Senior Scientist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who led the agency's 2004 study on the Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine and its link to autism.

The scientist, Dr. William Thompson, confessed that the CDC had omitted crucial data in their final report that revealed a causal relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism. Over several months, Dr. Hooker records the phone calls made to him by Dr. Thompson who provides the confidential data destroyed by his colleagues at the CDC.

Dr. Hooker enlists the help of Dr. Andrew Wakefield, the British gastroenterologist falsely accused of starting the anti-vax movement when he first reported in 1998 that the MMR vaccine may cause autism. In his ongoing effort to advocate for children's health, Wakefield directs this documentary examining the evidence behind an appalling cover-up committed by the government agency charged with protecting the health of American citizens.

Interviews with pharmaceutical insiders, doctors, politicians, and parents of vaccine-injured children reveal an alarming deception that has contributed to the skyrocketing increase of autism and potentially the most catastrophic epidemic of our lifetime.


CLICK HERE
to pre-order (September 13 ship date).

 

 

 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Documentary Movie: Now available for streaming video at home!

 Vaxxed The Documentary Movie: Now available for streaming video at home!

"Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe".

Watch the new documentary on the CDC's cover-up that the MMR vaccine causes autism.

This is an exclusive offer and the film’s official (and only) streaming option until September.

Please note that for the time being, the Vaxxed stream will only be available in the United States and Canada.

Rent the movie; once you have started watching the film, you will have 48 hours to finish. Rent for $3.99.

Please watch, encourage others to watch and share this information!

http://vaxxedthemovie.com/stream/

 

 

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Monday, August 15, 2016

The 7 Proven Chlorella Benefits!

The 7 Proven Chlorella Benefits
https://draxe.com/7-proven-chlorella-benefits-side-effects/

Are you looking for an all-natural supplement that boosts your energy, supports fat loss and helps detox heavy metals like lead and mercury from your body? If so, a freshwater algae called chlorella may be exactly what you need.

Native to Taiwan and Japan, this superfood is rich with phytonutrients, including amino acids, chlorophyll, beta-carotene, potassium, phosphorous, biotin, magnesium and the B-complex vitamins.

Chlorella is a blue-green algae like its cousin spirulina, and we will compare the nutrients of these superfoods later in the article.

Studies have shown that chlorella benefits the entire body by supporting healthy hormonal function, promoting cardiovascular health, helping to negate the effects of chemotherapy and radiation, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, and aiding in the detoxification of our bodies.

Chlorella’s rich green color comes from a high concentration of chlorophyll. We are all told to eat more leafy green vegetables for good health, but sometimes it can be difficult to get the 5-7 servings of vegetables a day recommended by nutritionists and doctors of functional medicine.

While juicing is another option, it’s simply too time-consuming for most people. And frankly, most green leafy vegetables pale in comparison to the health benefits that chlorella can provide.

By consuming organic, low-temperature-extracted chlorella supplements, you can receive all of the chlorella benefits in a simple powder or tablet form.


Chlorella Nutrition Facts

As you’re about to see, chlorella is one of the most nutrient-dense superfoods in the world.

A 1-ounce (3 tbsp) serving of chlorella contains:

·        Protein—16g

·        Vitamin A—287% RDA

·        Vitamin B2—71% RDA

·        Vitamin B3—33% RDA

·        Iron—202% RDA

·        Magnesium—22% RDA

·        Zinc—133% RDA

In addition, chlorella contains a good amount of vitamin B1, vitamin B6 and phosphorus.

When you look at its nutrient density score, it’s easy to see why chlorella is ranked one of the top 10 health foods in the world. In fact, it is way more nutrient dense per gram than other greens, including kale, spinach and broccoli!


7 Researched Chlorella Benefits

Here are seven scientifically proven chlorella benefits you can expect to receive by incorporating this superfood into your daily diet.

1. Detoxifies Heavy Metals

If you have mercury fillings in your teeth, have been vaccinated, eat fish regularly, have been exposed to radiation or consume foods from China, you may have heavy metals lurking in your body. It is important for your overall health and wellness to be proactive in detoxing heavy metals and toxins.

One of chlorella’s most significant health benefits is that it wraps itself around even stubborn toxins residing in our bodies, such as lead, cadmium, mercury and uranium, and keeps them from being reabsorbed. Regular consumption of chlorella can even help keep heavy metals from accumulating in our bodies’ soft tissues and organs in the first place. (1, 2)

2. Detoxifies Radiation and Chemotherapy

Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are the most common forms of cancer treatment today. Anyone who has gone through either of these
treatments, or knows anyone who has, knows what a toll they take on the body. Chlorella’s high levels of chlorophyll have been shown to protect the body against ultraviolet radiation treatments while removing radioactive particles from the body.

According to researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University Medical College, “Cellular components and functions of the immune system remain at or near normal levels and are less adversely affected when patients are undergoing chemotherapy and/or taking immunosuppressive medications such as steroids.”

The university’s two-year study allowed researchers to observe that glioma-positive patients have fewer respiratory infections and flu-like illnesses when taking chlorella. (3)

3. Supports Your Immune System

Research published in 2012 in the Nutrition Journal found that after 8 weeks of chlorella intake, NK cell activity improved.

Researchers from the Yonsei University in Seoul Korea studied healthy individuals and their immune system’s response to chlorella supplements.

The results showed that chlorella supports a healthy immune system response and helps “natural killer” cell activity. (4)

4. Promotes Weight Loss

Losing weight is difficult, especially as we age. In a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, researchers state, “Chlorella intake resulted in noticeable reductions in body fat percentage, serum total cholesterol, and fasting blood glucose levels”. (5)

Chlorella benefits you by helping to regulate hormones, helping with metabolism, improving circulation, and promoting higher levels of energy. It also helps to reduce weight and body fat, and removes stored toxins.

As our bodies lose weight, toxins are released, and can be reabsorbed. It is important to flush these toxins out of our system as quickly as possible. Chlorella’s ability to surround the toxins and heavy metals resident in our bodies helps facilitate elimination and prevent reabsorption.

5. Makes You Look Younger 

Research continues to reveal that chlorella may also slow the aging process, making you look younger. A study published in the journal Clinical Laboratory revealed that chlorella greatly reduces oxidative stress, that can be caused from pollution, stress and a poor diet. (6)

The reason chlorella is so effective at giving you younger looking skin is because it naturally increases levels of vitamin A, vitamin C and glutathione in your body which eliminates free-radicals and protects your cells.

By just taking 1 teaspoon or a couple capsules daily of a chlorella supplement, you can see results in as little as 2 weeks.

6. Fights Cancer

It is believed that all human bodies at some time develop cancer cells. Properly functioning immune systems have the ability to attack and destroy these cells, before they have the chance to take hold and create cancer. A recent medical study found that chlorella helps fight cancer in several ways. (7)

First, when taken preemptively, it strengthens the immune system, so our bodies respond properly.

Second, because it removes heavy metals and toxins from our body, we are less likely to get environmentally based cancers.

Third, studies have shown that individuals once diagnosed with cancer, chlorella enhances the action of T cells helping to fight new abnormal cells.

And, as mentioned above, if cancer is diagnosed, and chemotherapy or radiation therapy is used, chlorella can help to fight the side effects and be used in addition to natural cancer treatments.

7. Lowers Your Blood Sugar and Cholesterol

Type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol are two of the serious chronic conditions facing many Americans today. Years of improper eating, stress and a lack of sleep have led many to one or both of these diagnoses.

In a study published the Journal of Medicinal Food, researchers found that doses of 8,000 mg of chlorella per day (divided into 2 doses), helps lower cholesterol and blood glucose levels.

Researchers observed first a decline in cholesterol levels, and then the improvement in blood glucose. They believe that chlorella activates a number of genes at the cellular level that improve insulin sensitivity, encouraging a healthy balance. (8, 9)


While most Americans may have not heard of chlorella, many people have been taking spirulina for years. They are both waterborne organisms, but at the cellular level, they are quite different. Both spirulina and chlorella have a concentrated balance of nutrients shown to help cleanse and detoxify the body, and a high concentration of protein that supports energy and clarity.

In fact, spirulina has been used in the World Health Organization’s feeding programs for malnourished children in undeveloped countries. A single one-gram dose of spirulina a day can counteract Vitamin A deficiency that can lead to blindness.

Chlorella’s protein levels, and combination of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients and phytochemicals go one step beyond spirulina. When used in tandem, their powers intensify.

Chlorella’s tough exterior cellular walls are difficult to digest. It took many years of research, study, trial, and error to find a way for the human body to effectively digest it. The substance in these walls is believed to be what surrounds heavy metals, pesticides, and other toxins and helps to remove them from the human body.

So when purchasing a chlorella supplement make sure to buy “cracked cell wall chlorella” because they are completely absorbable.

Chlorella Side Effects And Precautions

Chlorella can cause side effects in some individuals. Some of the symptoms include swelling of the face or tongue sensitivity to sunlight, digestive upset, acne, fatigue, lethargy, headaches, vertigo, and shaking.

The majority of these chlorella side effects and symptoms are typical to any detoxification program.

However, individuals that are allergic to iodine and those that have been prescribed Coumadin or Warfarin should consult with their physician prior to using chlorella.

How to Take a Chlorella Supplement 

When taking a chlorella supplement, there are two main ways to consume it.

1. Smoothie—Chlorella has a very strong taste and so you will want to add about 1/2 tsp of chlorella to a smoothie with banana, coconut water, vanilla protein powder and lime juice to help hide the taste.

2. Tablets—Simply take 3-6 tablets of chlorella with 8oz of water 1-3x daily to experience chlorella health benefits.

 

Eating for Serotonin - The Good Mood Neurotransmitter

Eating For Serotonin

http://drchristianson.com/eating-for-serotonin/?inf_contact_key=573b144df02405b779a15adb6149e0ffe1819a53c519133b742f63fa70f6512c

 

You know that your food affects your health, but did you know it can also affect your mood?

Science has shown us that food is so powerful that it can alter the neurotransmitters like serotonin that shape your feelings. This paper will explain how this happens and how you can eat to be happier.

What does serotonin do?

Serotonin is widely known for its role in mood regulation. As a neurotransmitter, it enables brain cells to send signals back and forth. Those signals are responsible for regulating your moods and promoting healthy sleep. Too little serotonin, for example, can make you sad, crave sweets or even lose your temper.

How do we make it?

Tryptophan (L-Try), an amino acid found in some foods, is needed for the production of serotonin. It’s an essential amino acid, which means our bodies can’t produce it, so we have to get it from our foods. [1]

Your body makes L-Try into serotonin with the help of several nutrients. The first step, making L-Try into 5 hydroxytryptophan (5HTP) depends on iron, riboflavin, and vitamin B6. Folate is needed to make 5HTP into serotonin. If you are low on any of these nutrients, you may be shortchanging your brain.

Since tryptophan is the only amino acid that can form serotonin, the amount of it in our diet is a decisive factor in the way we respond to stress, as well as the way we develop, adapt to change and age. [2]

How can serotonin affect us?

The brain-gut axis is “a bidirectional communication system between the central nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract.” [3] This means that your gut changes your feelings and your feelings change your gut. Serotonin acts on both terminals of this network, and the gut microbiome plays a critical role in regulating the normal functioning of this axis. The powerful influence of gut microbes on tryptophan metabolism and the serotonergic system highlights the importance of diet to maintaining a stable mood and healthy sleep patterns.

The wrong foods can spell trouble for our gut flora, and that, in turn, spells trouble for our moods and our ability to consistently get enough restorative sleep to maintain healthy brain and bodily function.

It also calls into question the benefits of using antibiotics, since the devastating effect on good as well as bad microbes must adversely affect our serotonergic system, and – by extension – our overall well-being.

Low Serotonin

What happens when you have too little serotonin? Here are some of the common symptoms and diagnosis that go along with it:

  •      depression
  •      anxiety
  •      sleeplessness
  •      aggression
  •      nervousness
  •      cravings – especially for carbs; urge to snack and overeat
  •      obsessive-compulsive behavior
  •      lack of euphoria
  •      worsening of chronic pain
  •      fibromyalgia
  •      migraines [4]
  •      Sudden Infant Death Syndrome [5]

Why would it be low?

There are a number of factors that can decrease the amount of serotonin in your body.

  •      Seasonal affective disorder
  •      an excess of estrogen
  •      a low-protein diet
  •      a low-carb diet
  •      chronic elevation of stress hormones – cortisol and/or adrenaline [6] [7]
  •      excessive caffeine consumption [8]
  •      excessive alcohol consumption
  •      thyroid disease
  •      a niacin deficiency (since tryptophan is used to create niacin as well as serotonin) [9]
  •      the habitual use of tranquilizers, benzodiazepines, or sleeping pills
  •      menopause [10]
  •      a deficiency of beneficial gut flora, which impacts the gut-brain axis

Obviously, since our serotonin levels depend on the amount of tryptophan we get in our food, a good place to start is by eating more tryptophan-rich foods.

But first, let’s look at some foods that can lower your serotonin levels.

Which foods lower serotonin?

  1.    Fructose

One more reason to avoid excess fructose – it can prevent you from absorbing tryptophan. As many as 1/3 of us are prone to fructose malabsorption with even the smallest amounts of fructose. If you are among the sensitive, even small amounts of it can be an issue. Even if you’re not sensitive to fructose, too much can block tryptophan for most anyone. [11]

About one third of the Western European population has fructose malabsorption – the inability to absorb fructose efficiently. [12] This problem can affect women even more strongly than men. The researchers in this particular study pointed to estrogen as the reason, since estrogen activates an enzyme that alters the metabolism of tryptophan from serotonin (happy) to kynurenic (not happy). It doesn’t help that women have less tryptophan in their bodies than men to begin with, so anything that further decreases the amount of it or alters its metabolism is going to adversely affect their serotonin levels, leading to low serotonin symptoms. [13]

  1.    Alcohol

Alcohol is a psychoactive agent that depresses the central nervous system. Small to moderate amounts of alcohol can increase the amount of serotonin in the body temporarily, which can be a problem for those taking an SSRI, since an additional increase in serotonin puts them at risk of serotonin toxicity syndrome.

Regular use of alcohol causes major disturbances in the metabolism of brain serotonin, decreasing the amount of it in the brain. It also makes the cells respond more poorly to the serotonin that is present. This would explain the link between excessive alcohol use and aggressive behavior, as well as depression and anxiety (or a worsening of those symptoms). [14]

  1.    Diet soda (aspartame)

Diet sodas aren’t an improvement, though. Aspartame’s content is about 50% phenylalanine, which has been shown to deplete serotonin to such an extent, it has been known to trigger manic depression, hallucinations, panic attacks, paranoia, and even suicidal tendencies, as well as other symptoms of low serotonin listed above. The amino acid tyrosine, a product of phenylalanine, “reduces the amount of tryptophan that can cross the blood-brain barrier for utilization in serotonin production.” [15]

Dopamine is a metabolite of phenylalanine, and altered brain dopamine concentrations have been linked with mental illness, particularly schizophrenia. The direct injection of dopamine into the brain ventricles of humans can induce hallucinations and psychotic episodes. [16]

Besides phenylalanine, aspartame also contains 40% aspartic acid and 10% methanol. It comes from genetically modified E. coli bacteria. Aspartic acid is an excitotoxin, meaning it goes right to the brain and starts poking it with tiny cattle prods. Methanol is wood alcohol used in antifreeze. [17]

Considering the bounty of healthier alternatives available, there’s no reason for us to continue poisoning our bodies with chemicals that alter our brain chemistry (for the worse). A fermented drink like kombucha – available in a variety of flavors – will not only refresh you in ways that chemical-laden soft drinks can’t, it will also add beneficial flora to your gut, which in turn can raise serotonin production and help your body heal itself.

  1.    Caffeine

I’m wincing as I write this, but even caffeine doesn’t come out squeaky clean under close examination. North Americans who drink caffeinated beverages tend not to stop at the recommended daily limits, and while drinking caffeinated beverages can increase serotonin, excessive caffeine consumption increases the body’s need for the neurotransmitter.

Caffeine increases cortisol levels, in proportion to the amount of caffeine consumed, so while a moderate amount can raise serotonin levels, more than that will raise cortisol levels to the point where your body needs more serotonin to balance the cortisol, since these two neurotransmitters need to remain in balance with each other. [18]

Your brain adapts to the amount of caffeine you habitually drink, so when you cut back or miss a cup or two one day, the absence or shortfall of caffeine results in a drop in your serotonin levels, which can cause irritability, headache, feelings of anxiousness, and an inability to concentrate. [19]

According to Medicine Plus, drinking two to four cups of coffee a day isn’t likely to be harmful, but everybody is different, and if you’re experiencing frequent headaches, rapid or irregular heartbeat, and difficulty sleeping, you should probably cut back on the caffeine. Too much is unlikely to improve your performance if it sends you to bed with a headache or puts your heart at risk. [20]

Coffee can also inhibit your body’s absorption of iron, which is a key mineral in the synthesis of both serotonin and dopamine. It can also decrease the circulating amounts of B vitamins, and since we need the activated form of B6 to synthesize serotonin, this can decrease the amount of serotonin produced, while simultaneously creating a greater need for it. [21]

Which foods raise it?

So, what can you take that will raise the levels of tryptophan – and ultimately serotonin – in your body?

Foods that are naturally higher in tryptophan include the following: [22]

Foods with mg of Tryptophan per 100 g

Sesame seeds                     882

Sunflower seeds                  752

Chia seeds                           721

Lobster                                 370

Yellowtail                              330

Crab                                     330

Salmon wild                         310

Chicken, white meat           290

Turkey, white meat             290

Turkey, dark meat              280

Trout                                   280

Mahimahi                            260

Black beans                        260

Salmon canned                   250

Beef rib eye                          230

Chicken, dark meat             210

Adzuki beans                       190

Beef tenderloin                    170

Beef, ground 90% lean       130

What about turkey?

People have been blaming turkey for their post-Thanksgiving-meal naps and general lethargy, when, in fact, turkey isn’t the culprit. Eating too much food – stuffing yourself – is more likely to be the cause of after-meal sleepiness.

Turkey doesn’t contain substantially more tryptophan than other protein sources. It’s the carbs surrounding the turkey on your plate that give the tryptophan a fighting chance against other amino acids that push it to the back of the line.[23]  So, tryptophan is a bit like the skinny kid at school who gets pushed around on the soccer field by the bullies but is a great listener and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. When he buddies up with carbs, though, the bullies get distracted, and tryptophan scores the winning goal. And everybody feels better – for a while, anyway.

Let’s look at this from a more scientific angle. When you eat carbs along with a protein that contains tryptophan, your body produces insulin, which diverts other amino acids to the muscles in your body, but it leaves tryptophan alone, giving it the chance it needs to create more serotonin and act on the brain-gut axis.

For the same reason a plateful of turkey will not guarantee you a jovial mood and a good night’s sleep, a glass of warm milk at bedtime won’t raise the level of tryptophan entering your brain, either. Neither will other foods high in tryptophan, such as walnuts, strawberries, or salmon, [24] though it’s not difficult to find articles on the internet advising people who are suffering from insomnia to eat and drink more of these foods.

In order for tryptophan to do its job, we need some carbs, and later in the day is the best time to take advantage of insulin’s diversionary tactics. This is one reason I created the system of carb-cycling in the Adrenal Reset Diet.

1/4 cup breakfast

1/2 cup lunch

3/4 cup dinner

Good carbs help because eating high glucose, low fructose complex carbohydrates helps L-try get into your brain. Thank insulin for that, since it encourages the absorption of the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) but leaves tryptophan alone to do its job.

Here are some complex carbohydrates and their glucose values. [25]

Good carbs that help L-Try

Food                                      Glucose value per 100g

Spelt                                     0.84

Teff                                        0.73

Amaranth                             0.27

Kidney beans                      0.23

Navy beans                          0.21

Wild rice                               0.2

Buckwheat                          0.2

Pinto beans                          0.13

Oats                                       .1

Sweet potato                       0.57

Too many carbs at one time can make you sleepy, and while that can be an advantage in the evening, that’s pretty much the only time most people want to be sleepy.  Late evening or nighttime, at least, is a more appropriate time for it. Plus, since insulin is diverting other amino acids to muscle tissue, your body can take advantage of rest time to build muscle, especially if your workout during the day has made muscle repair necessary.

Can you get too much serotonin?

Yes, but not from foods. This is really just a medication reaction. Serotonin toxicity syndrome typically happens as a result of an accidental overdose of a psychoactive drug that increases the amount of available serotonin. When someone starts a higher dose of an antidepressant, a mild or moderate case of serotonin syndrome may result. Severe cases are rare but possible and require immediate hospitalization.

Taking a tryptophan or a 5-HTP supplement while also taking an SSRI puts you at greater risk of serotonin syndrome, since they raise the level of serotonin in the body at the same time the SSRI is inhibiting its reuptake.

References:

[1] https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002332.htm

[2] http://raypeat.com/articles/aging/tryptophan-serotonin-aging.shtml

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25078296

[4] http://www.jesusisiam.com/tryptophantoserotonintomelatonin.html

[5] Paterson DS, Trachtenberg FL, Thompson EG, Belliveau RA, Beggs AH, Darnall R, Chadwick AE, Krous HF, Kinney HC; Trachtenberg; Thompson; Belliveau; Beggs; Darnall; Chadwick; Krous; Kinney (2006). “Multiple serotonergic brainstem abnormalities in sudden infant death syndrome”. JAMA 296 (17): 2124–32

[6] https://www.verywell.com/cortisol-and-depression-1066764

[7] http://www.webmd.com/depression/features/stress-depression

[8] https://www.verywell.com/cortisol-and-depression-1066764

[9] http://www.hypoglycemia.asn.au/2011/the-serotonin-connection/

[10] http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/2012/07/06/armour-5htp/

[11] https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201105/could-soda-and-sugar-be-causing-your-depression

[12] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11336160

[13] https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201105/could-soda-and-sugar-be-causing-your-depression

[14] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14624270

[15] http://www.alternativementalhealth.com/the-connection-between-aspartame-artificial-sweetener-and-panic-attacks-depression-bipolar-disorder-memory-problems-and-other-mental-symptoms/

[16] http://www.alternativementalhealth.com/the-connection-between-aspartame-artificial-sweetener-and-panic-attacks-depression-bipolar-disorder-memory-problems-and-other-mental-symptoms/

[17] http://www.activistpost.com/2014/03/food-for-thought-aspartame-depression.html

[18] http://www.livestrong.com/article/128225-serotonin-caffeine/

[19] http://www.livestrong.com/article/128225-serotonin-caffeine/

[20] http://www.livestrong.com/article/128225-serotonin-caffeine/

[21] http://www.precisionnutrition.com/coffee-and-hormones

[22] https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/nutrients/index

[23] https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200309/tryptophan-what-does-it-do

[24] https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200309/tryptophan-what-does-it-do

[25] https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/nutrients/index