While I was doing
some digging for the second part of my series on quality of essential oils on
my homepage, I discovered a list of amazing abstracts on essential oils from
the 2016 International Symposium of Essential Oils*.
This sent me
to explore my find of the 183-page list of exciting research. I reviewed some
of the abstracts on quality already on my blog, including the one which caught my
attention on analyzing the different constituents found in various species of
cinnamon essential oils. (pg 63) I also made note of some other topics I
thought were interesting. I have listed them below:
oils and physiology: This abstract explored the effect of odor stimulation on physiological
measurements of the autonomic nervous system response (pg 46)
calming effect on smokers and nonsmokers (pg 141)
oils' vapor effect for inhibiting a respiratory pathogen (a, pg 49)
health: The effect of thyme oil (thymus
vulgaris) inhalation on rodents in protection of airway inflammation (pg
52) and cinnamon reducing airway "hyperresponsiveness" in rodents (pg 67) (I
wrote more about the health aspects of diffusing essential oils on this blog here.)
A model study
showing that Eucalyptus globulus has
an insignificant effect on beneficial bacteria but influences the killing of a
pathogen (pg 140). This is good news for gut health!
with compounds in essential oils and antibiotics (pg 138)
The use of grapefruit oil
for decreasing appetite in rodents and lavender
appearing to stimulate it. (pg 24) I have
written previously on the effects of aroma on appetite. It is quite a
complex interaction that involves the odor itself, hunger, taste, emotions, and
the physiological effects of the essential oil. Here are my thoughts on this
may be due to the nervous system responses to the scents. For example,
grapefruit can be stimulating, whereas, lavender is calming. When the body is
relaxed, in this case by smelling, lavender it may assist with the beginning
stage of digestion. However, I could not access the entire paper to fully
determine the mechanisms and see the correlations with humans. The study was meant
to test how these two oils modulated blood flow to the skeletal muscle. The
researchers found that lavender did enhance blood flow.
I don't think this means that lavender will be an "appetite stimulant", but it
may help rats that are in a cage and stressed relax and gobble more.
I hope you
enjoying taking a dive into some of the up-to-date research on essential oils. As
you can see, essential oils have many wellness uses. Remember to use them
safely and responsibly. You can learn more about these plant secondary
metabolites on my database of essential oils here.
are by PDF reading, NOT pages of abstracts
review the abstracts and articles for specific brands and methods on oils used
in studies to determine quality control. Not all studies use the same brand of
oils or methods to distill their own. This can result in differences in
Essential oils used in aromatherapy: A systemic review. Asian
Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine. August 2015. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apjtb.2015.05.007
International Symposium of Essential Oils http://unice.fr/colloques/iseo/documents/ISEO2016
Book of abstracts.pdf
on essential oils for the Healthy Gut Thinner You Summit was just released. You
can find out how to access it and get some additional resources on essential
oils quality here.
covered essential oils for the main page blog, my favorite topic, I thought I'd
cover some more updates on some of the articles I've been reading about healthy
bellies and gut bugs.
Your Heredity Influence of Your
study was really cool and reported on Science
Daily on October 3rd. It discussed how our microbiome was
influenced by our genetics! Here's the excerpt:
Our genes determine to
some extent which bacteria live in our intestines. Studies on human twins and
experimental work with animals have both confirmed that our microbiome is
partly hereditary. But so far, there was only limited information about the
host genes that affect the microbiome. Now a new study has associated genetic
loci and specific genes in human DNA to bacterial species and their metabolic
remember nature versus nurture is always at play and we can modulate and
optimize our belly bugs with lifestyle choices, most importantly a healthy diet. Here's a link to other factors.
Probiotics, Fiber, and Peppermint
Helpful for Bowel Disorders
A recent analysis of
various natural modalities to support bowel disorders found evidence for
several therapeutic interventions that were natural. Here's the abstract that
includes my two favorite things:
Functional bowel disorders (FBDs),
mainly irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and functional constipation (FC, also
called chronic idiopathic constipation), are highly diffused worldwide.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including ulcerative colitis and Crohn's
disease, although less common, has a strong impact on patients' quality of
life, as well as is highly expensive for our healthcare. A definite cure for
those disorders is still yet to come. Over the years, several therapeutic
approaches complementary or alternative to traditional pharmacological treatments,
including probiotics, prebiotics, synbiotics, fiber and herbal medicinal
products, have been investigated for the management of both groups of diseases.
However, most available studies are biased by several drawbacks, including
small samples and poor methodological quality. Probiotics, in particular Saccharomyces boulardii and Lactobacilli (among which Lactobacillus rhamnosus), synbiotics,
psyllium, and some herbal medicinal products, primarily peppermint oil, seem to
be effective in ameliorating IBS symptoms. Synbiotics and fiber seem to be
beneficial in FC patients. The probiotic combination VSL#3 may be effective in
inducing remission in patients with mild-to-moderate UC, in whom Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 seems to
be as effective as mesalamine in maintaining remission. No definite conclusions
can be drawn as to the efficacy of fiber and herbal medicinal products in IBD
patients due to the low number of studies and the lack of RCTs that replicate
the results obtained in the individual studies conducted so far. Thus, further,
well-designed studies are needed to address the real role of these therapeutic
options in the management of both FBDs and IBD. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bph.13632/abstract;jsessionid=D72AEB8F83C317107EDBB8C79E32A32E.f03t04)
Intestinal Diversity and Allergy Risk
Linked in Children
The theme of the
summit was that having a healthy gut means a healthy body. Here's a study that
demonstrates how a belly full of good bugs influences asthma and allergy risk
in the young:
Children who develop
asthma or allergies have an altered immune response to intestinal bacteria in
the mucous membranes even when infants, according to a new study. The results
also suggests that the mother's immune defense plays a role in the development of
asthma and allergies in children. (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161010052647.htm)
You can also
learn how essential oils support your gut health more here. Happy and health guts to you all!
Did you know that
your fillings could be affecting your health? The University
of Georgia's website recently reported, "Dental surface restorations composed
of dental amalgam, a mixture of mercury, silver, tin and other metals,
significantly contribute to prolonged mercury levels in the body, according to
new research from the University of Georgia's department of environmental
health science in the College of Public Health. This research, which analyzed
data from nearly 15,000 individuals, is the first to demonstrate a relationship
between dental fillings and mercury exposure in a nationally representative
According to Ecotoxicology
and Environmental Safety, "The potential adverse health effects of mercury
from amalgam and bisphenol A (BPA) from composite resin have been significant
concerns. It is unclear whether dental restorative materials significantly
contribute to mercury or BPA levels. The purpose of this study is to use NHANES
data including 14,703 subjects (2003-2004: n=7514; 2011-2012: n=7189) to
examine the association between Dental Surface Restorations (DSR) and blood
total mercury (THg), inorganic mercury (IHg), methyl mercury (MeHg) and urinary
BPA through the stratification of covariates and multivariate analysis."
This is a
"big win" finding for advocates of Mercury
Free Dentistry. The study's results indicate levels of elevation of both
forms of mercury in the blood of subjects with mercury fillings. This provides
further ammunition that mercury in the mouth is not inert, a controversial
subject in the dental industry for years.
to the fire, a related study on the negative impacts of mercury in the body
reported that it may trump exercise benefits. This trial, published in Environmental Health Prospectives, was a
cross-sectional association design of a population of 262 subjects. They had
all been tested for prenatal methylmercury exposure and were analyzed at age 22
years. The researchers were seeking to find mercury's effects on memory and processing in association with exercise. The authors stated, "Higher
aerobic capacity was associated with better performance in short-term memory
and processing speed. However, prenatal methylmercury exposure seemed to
attenuate these positive associations."
This is concerning, because exercise has
in many studies to support brain health and provides a simple intervention for potentially preserving cognition. In fact in a new study,
with 12 master athletes, researchers showed that after just 10 days of exercise
cessation there were changes with less blood flow to the brain. Thankfully, the
short-term effects didn't seem to effect cognition, as based on a verbal
fluency test. Translation
of this study's results could be limited to a specific population, but it
is intriguing in providing evidence of how moving the body effects blood flow to
the brain. Long-term this could have profound implications, especially if one combines inactivity with mercury exposure.
You can read
one of my previous posts on the mouth-body health link
here. Then click here to continue
reading about the concerns I have with mercury-filled mouths and some helpful
solutions. Knowing about the problem isn't enough, it's best to protect your body and health with support so that you can live your best life!
just recently returned from a magical 4-day training and retreat on essential oils.
I witnessed first-hand the seed-to-seal process and what it takes to make
quality, therapeutic oils. You can read more about that here.
Essential oils are
often misunderstood and I recently blogged to my essential oil subscribers
some of the major myths circulating the web regarding essential oils. Below is
the full E-blast for your reading pleasure and some additional bonus updates on
Fact or Fiction?
live in a time where it's especially hard to shift through and determine facts
from myths. This is due to the explosion of websites and the ease of anyone now
being able to set up a professional looking blog. However, "a blog does not an
important to look for references and use your own experience before taking
someone else's opinion to be fact, especially if their points are highlighted
with tempting tech glitzes. Unfortunately, some "experts" may really have
nothing more than their opinion and sales pitches to support their own bottom
line. Many do not have the education and expertise needed for truly helping or
educating someone. In fact, even with research studies, statistics and
headlines can be manipulated or
misinterpreted to favor a writer's opinion, such as on the topic of supplements.
essential oils, it's an absolute jungle out there!! Have you noticed?
Well, here's some good news for you today...
20 minutes when you can and listen to (the very energetic and peppy) Lindsey
Elmore, a pharmacist and expert in essential oils. You'll be glad you did, because you'll get a
summary of some of the most controversial issues in regards to using our
favorite secondary metabolites.
reviews the following myths and facts and I have provided you the references in
my previous blogs:
grapefruit oil controversy (I wrote about that here.)
(un)link to lavender and breast swelling in boys (Again, here's
cautions with wintergreen (She and I are on the same page.)
can also check out my
database for a whole series of articles on essential oils and safe use.
More Reasons to Love
that you are confident that pure lavender essential oil will not make your son's
breasts grow, I have even more reasons to love on this beautiful oil.
I was reading a blog on "7
Healing Uses for Lavender Essential Oil" on Green Med info. As I was cross-referencing
some of the studies, a few "newbies to me" caught my attention. I thought I had a complete geek-out from my
previous blog here, but the wonders of lavender can never be fully explored
in a lifetime. Here's what I learned...
Lavender and Calming-
More Than One Explanation
you read my blog on lavender, you probably vaguely remember how I explained
that lavender has a relaxing effect on the brain. This makes it optimal for
calming and decreasing stress. In a recent
study, researchers determined that they didn't find specific cortisol (a
hormone involved in the stress response) modulating effects with lavender.
Rather, they felt that expectancy and pleasurable experience with the scent
interacted with its pharmacologic properties to produce its relaxing
properties. The researchers also concluded that although lavender may not be
best for use with initial recall taks, it could help with post-stress performance
of a memory task. Here is the abstract of the methods and conclusions:
Objective: Aromas may improve
physiologic and cognitive function after stress, but associated mechanisms
remain unknown. This study evaluated the effects of lavender aroma, which is
commonly used for stress reduction, on physiologic and cognitive functions. The
contribution of pharmacologic, hedonic, and expectancy-related mechanisms of
the aromatherapy effects was evaluated.
Methods: Ninety-two healthy
adults (mean age, 58.0 years; 79.3% women) were randomly assigned to three
aroma groups (lavender, perceptible placebo [coconut], and nonperceptible
placebo [water] and to two prime subgroups (primed, with a suggestion of
inhaling a powerful stress-reducing aroma, or no prime). Participants' performance
on a battery of cognitive tests, physiologic responses, and subjective stress
were evaluated at baseline and after exposure to a stress battery during which
aromatherapy was present. Participants also rated the intensity and
pleasantness of their assigned aroma.
effects of lavender but not placebo aromas significantly benefited post-stress
performance on the working memory task (F(2, 86) = 5.41; p = 0.006). Increased
expectancy due to positive prime, regardless of aroma type, facilitated
post-stress performance on the processing speed task (F(1, 87) = 8.31; p = 0.005). Aroma
hedonics (pleasantness and intensity) played a role in the beneficial lavender
effect on working memory and physiologic function.
Conclusions: The observable aroma
effects were produced by a combination of mechanisms involving aroma-specific
pharmacologic properties, aroma hedonic properties, and participant
expectations. In the future, each of these mechanisms could be manipulated to
produce optimal functioning. (Chamine Irina and Oken Barry S. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary
Medicine. September 2016, 22(9): 713-721. doi:10.1089/acm.2015.0349.)
recent study, which was single-blinded, an effect of lavender essence on
modulation of cortisol and stressful feelings in candidates for open-heart
surgery was shown. I did mention in my geek-out blog a combination of lavender
and rosemary did as well.
what's the verdict?
appears that all of these studies have some confounding biases and limitations;
however, one thing IS clear. Regardless of how it does it, lavender tends to be
relaxing for most people, which is probably why it has a reputation for its
soothing action. Furthermore, the quality of the essential oil and the
constituents present would affect the results obtained from sniffing a bottle
of lavender oil, and not all oils are the same. Therefore, it's important to not only choose your
right oil for you, but to choose the right company for quality.
and safe oiling to you all! Let's all continue to share our true experiences
with the oils and the research and facts and mitigate those scary myths!
In one of my latest E-Blasts to my essential oil followers, I highlighted
why I was going crazy over an essential oils blend, Thieves® . I've been
obsessing on this blend and researching it for some time now.
It's important to note that this company doesn't contain the only
formulation of this ancient blend. You can read the full background in a recent
article that was posted on Ben
Greenfield's website here.
Below are some of the resources mentioned in the E-blast and a few of my
own. I think, after reading this, you'll see why it's one of my favorite oils
for diffusing and using on a daily basis.
Why I'm Going Thieves® Crazy:
1. Diffusing Power!
Of Microbes: Did you know that Thieves® was studied in vitro to inhibit
unwanted microbes in the environment? Here
is the link to the blog that summarizes this study and provides the
reference. I also reported on a recent in vitro study that demonstrated how
clove oil was among several oils to have protective effects on lung cells
exposed to pollution.
Of Mold: A case study supported how the blend of Thieves® essential oil
worked well in suppressing mold spores from a water damaged building. Here is
from my blog:
In fact, in 2005, Edward Close, PhD, a mold remediation consultant,
performed a third-party sampling for mold in an apartment complex that had been
evacuated related to a flooding. The new buyer had hired an expert to remediate
it using a hospital disinfectant; however, Dr. Close's sampling from that
treatment showed mold was still present. When Dr. Close diffused Young Living
Thieves® Blend under the same controlled conditions, he had amazing results.
There were 10,667 stachybotrys mold (a form of toxic mold) spores
identified in a per cubic meter area and after diffusing Thieves® essential oil
for 48 hours, Dr. Close found only thirteen stachybotrys remaining. In a sample
of sheetrock of 75,000 stachybotrys mold spores and after 72 hours of
diffusing, no stachybotrys mold spores remained. Furthermore, the mold
did not re-establish itself because the Thieves® continued to work for hours
after diffusing (23).
further discusses the power of using essential oils for defending the body
against unwanted mold spores and supporting the lungs, including the oils of
cinnamon and clove found in Thieves®.
2. The Concept of Synergism!
On my essential
oils database, I provide resources for learning more about the individual
oils of rosemary, clove, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and lemon. Click on the
individual oils and you'll see why the blend is so powerful.
This product page posts all the products that contain this wonderful
oil blend found in one click! Learn all about its uses, including its benefits
cleaning and personal care.
4. DIY's Galore
Click here to read some helpful DIY's and tricks that you can use with
this or your favorite similar essential oils blend!
You can learn
more and join my team of essential oils support here.
Disclaimer: This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic
quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that
have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no
quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as "100% pure" need only
to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with
fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin.
This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to
diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your
doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime.
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.
becoming more and more popular as research continues to validate its role in supporting
various aspects related to heath. For example, many are familiar with its
popularity for mitigating stress and I've written previously on how stress and
emotion can impact our physical body. However, more recent evidence is proving
even more intriguing with evidence of the effects of the power of meditation
that many ancient gurus knew for centuries.
in a 2015 article in Nature Reviews researchers
reviewed the evidence of how meditation may cause neuroplastic changes in the brain
in regions that are involved in the regulation of emotions, attention, and
self-awareness. The abstract reads:
Research over the past two decades
broadly supports the claim that mindfulness meditation - practiced widely for
the reduction of stress and promotion of health - exerts beneficial effects on
physical and mental health, and cognitive performance. Recent neuroimaging
studies have begun to uncover the brain areas and networks that mediate these
positive effects. However, the underlying neural mechanisms remain unclear, and
it is apparent that more methodologically rigorous studies are required if we
are to gain a full understanding of the neuronal and molecular bases of the
changes in the brain that accompany mindfulness meditation.
a previous meta-analysis of 21 studies reported that eight brain regions were
consistently altered in mediators, though bias may exist, the results were
To address these questions, we
reviewed and meta-analyzed 123 brain morphology differences from 21
neuroimaging studies examining ∼300
meditation practitioners. Anatomical likelihood estimation (ALE) meta-analysis
found eight brain regions consistently altered in meditators, including areas
key to meta-awareness (frontopolar cortex/BA 10), exteroceptive and
interoceptive body awareness (sensory cortices and insula), memory
consolidation and reconsolidation (hippocampus), self and emotion regulation
(anterior and mid cingulate; orbitofrontal cortex), and intra- and
interhemispheric communication (superior longitudinal fasciculus; corpus
callosum). Effect size meta-analysis (calculating 132 effect sizes from 16
studies) suggests a global 'medium' effect size (Cohen's d¯=0.46; r¯=.19).
Publication bias and methodological limitations are strong concerns, however.
Further research using rigorous methods is required to definitively link
meditation practice to altered brain morphology.
The Newest Study on the Block
randomized-controlled trial that took into account some of the previous research
methodological issues, such as setting and environmental effects, found amazing
results in regards to meditation. Specifically, the researchers were able to
demonstrate that not only did meditation effect well-being measures, but also
gene expression in markers related to stress, immune function, aging markers
(telomerase), and amyloid beta (AB) metabolism (a protein linked to Alzheimer's
disease). Differences were found among randomized vacationers and novice meditators
and a comparison group of regular meditators. Interestingly, vacation in the
retreat also had positive benefits alone, but meditation practiced by novices,
showed additional benefits. The abstract states:
Meditation is becoming increasingly
practiced, especially for stress-related medical conditions. Meditation may
improve cellular health; however, studies have not separated out effects of
meditation from vacation-like effects in a residential randomized controlled
trial. We recruited healthy women non-meditators to live at a resort for 6 days
and randomized to either meditation retreat or relaxing on-site, with both
groups compared with 'regular meditators' already enrolled in the retreat.
Blood drawn at baseline and post intervention was assessed for
transcriptome-wide expression patterns and aging-related biomarkers. Highly significant
gene expression changes were detected across all groups (the 'vacation effect')
that could accurately predict (96% accuracy) between
baseline and post-intervention states and were characterized by improved
regulation of stress response, immune function and amyloid beta (Aβ)
metabolism. Although a smaller set of genes was affected, regular meditators
showed post-intervention differences in a gene network characterized by lower
regulation of protein synthesis and viral genome activity. Changes in well-being
were assessed post intervention relative to baseline, as well as 1 and 10
months later. All groups showed equivalently large immediate post-intervention
improvements in well-being, but novice meditators showed greater maintenance of
lower distress over time compared with those in the vacation arm. Regular
meditators showed a trend toward increased telomerase activity compared with
randomized women, who showed increased plasma Aβ42/Aβ40
ratios and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) levels.
This highly controlled residential study showed large salutary changes in gene
expression networks due to the vacation effect, common to all groups. For those
already trained in the practice of meditation, a retreat appears to provide
additional benefits to cellular health beyond the vacation effect.
summer is over, you may need some support in taking another respite. The
results provided scientific proof to your boss that vacation is good for your
health, and regular meditators may further benefit from a retreat- a win-win!
The Alternative Daily. Survey Says: Yoga and Meditation are Growing in
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). National Health
Statistics Reports from the National Health Interview Survey. No. 79. Trends in
the Use of Complementary Health Approaches Among Adults: United States,
2002-2012 . 16 pp. (PHS) 2015-1250. February 10, 2015. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/nhis_nhsr.htm
Hölzel BK, Posner MI. The neuroscience of mindfulness meditation. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2015 Apr;16(4):213-25.
doi: 10.1038/nrn3916. Epub 2015 Mar 18.
McKay S. The Neuroscience of Mindfulness Meditation. Chopra Center
Website. Available at: http://www.chopra.com/articles/the-neuroscience-of-mindfulness-meditation
Fox KC, et al. Is meditation associated with altered brain structure? A
systematic review and meta-analysis of morphometric neuroimaging in meditation
practitioners. Neurosci Biobehav
Rev. 2014 Jun;43:48-73. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2014.03.016. Epub 2014 Apr
Epel ES, et al. Meditation and vacation effects have an impact on
disease-associated molecular phenotypes. Translational Psychiatry (2016) 6, e880;
In case you
weren't already convinced that researchers'
have gone "bug" crazy due to the explosion of articles on the microbiome,
there's even more exciting updates this month. If you don't know what the microbiome is yet,
I invite you to learn more about the little critters that reside in your
insides (and outsides). They are linked to many health outcomes and actually communicate
with our cells and modulate our biochemistry. Scientists have made connections
between the population of bugs that we cart around and how they are correlated
to and connected with many disease outcomes as well as how manipulating them
with probiotics, diet,
and lifestyle impacts our wellness. In fact, the National Institute of Health's Human Microbiome
Project is currently undertaking massive research initiatives to learn more
about the genetic population of microbes that makeup a healthy human.
Now, here are
some fascinating studies on the latest insights in the tiny world of
More Evidence That the Gut Microbiome
Affects Immune Response
In a recent study
published in EBioMedicine, researchers
reported on the correlation between bacterial activity and how it relates to
HIV activity and the response to treatment. One of the researchers in Science Daily stated:
"The make-up and behaviour of the
gut bacteria of HIV patients whose body responds adequately to antiretrovirals
are different to those who respond less well to treatment. It is possible that
the reason why some subjects respond better to antiretrovirals is because their
immune system is predisposed to these beneficial, recovery-enabling
bacteria," adds researcher Sergio Serrano-Villar at Hospital Ramón y
Here is the
While changes in gut microbial
populations have been described in human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV)-infected
patients undergoing antiretroviral therapy (ART), the mechanisms underlying the
contributions of gut bacteria and their molecular agents (metabolites and
proteins) to immune recovery remain unexplored. To study this, we examined the
active fraction of the gut microbiome, through examining protein synthesis and
accumulation of metabolites inside gut bacteria and in the bloodstream, in 8
healthy controls and 29 HIV-infected individuals (6 being longitudinally
studied). We found that HIV infection is associated to dramatic changes in the
active set of gut bacteria simultaneously altering the metabolic outcomes.
Effects were accentuated among immunological ART responders, regardless diet,
subject characteristics, clinical variables other than immune recovery, the
duration and type of ART and sexual preferences. The effect was found at
quantitative levels of several molecular agents and active bacteria which were
herein identified and whose abundance correlated with HIV immune pathogenesis
markers. Although, we cannot rule out the possibility that some changes are
partially a random consequence of the disease status, our data suggest that
most likely reduced inflammation and immune recovery is a joint solution
orchestrated by both the active fraction of the gut microbiota and the host.
This study was fascinating,
as it examined not only the population of microbes in the stool, but their
metabolic alterations and the difference between responders to treatment and
nonresponders as compared to controls.
study, researchers found a correlation between certain microbe populations in
infants and their risk for allergies and asthma later in life. It appears that
the guts of at-risk babies were missing the key immune lipids that modulate
a related study with rodents demonstrated how intestinal bacteria interact with
a receptor of the immune system that effects the intensity of allergic
responses. The researchers also found that when this receptor was absent in
rodents, certain bacteria were still able to override the allergic response and
normalize the immune response.
More Evidence that Microbes Are
Associated with Obesity
a metabolic consequence of obesity, the manipulation of diet modulating bacteria
population, or environmental exposures, more proof of the link between obesity
and bugs was found in two studies recently. One study found an increased risk
for childhood obesity in babies born via cesarean sections, in which the
newborn does not receive an inoculation of microbes through the vaginal canal.
Another enormous study undertaking on the antibiotic-obesity connection was
reported on in Science Daily. Researchers
have begun the process of gathering data by searching through records of 1.6 million
kids and will be correlating and reporting on how prescriptions of antibiotics
in the first two years of life are linked to weight gain at ages five and 10 years.
study found that exposure to the "sterile" ICU environment caused people to lose
their gut bugs, putting the at risk for various health imbalances. Health Day reported:
Intensive care patients have a
significant loss of helpful gut bacteria within days of entering the hospital,
a new study finds. These bacteria help keep people well. Losing them puts
patients at risk for hospital-acquired infections that may lead to sepsis,
organ failure and even death, according to the researchers.
For the study, the investigators
analyzed gut bacteria from 115 intensive care unit (ICU) patients at four
hospitals in the United States and Canada. Measurements were taken 48 hours
after admission and after either 10 days in the ICU or leaving the hospital. Compared
with healthy people, the ICU patients had lower levels of helpful bacteria and
higher levels of potentially harmful bacteria, the findings showed.
"The results were what we feared
them to be. We saw a massive depletion of normal, health-promoting
species," study leader Dr. Paul Wischmeyer said in a news release from the
American Society for Microbiology. Wischmeyer, an anesthesiologist at the
University of Colorado School of Medicine, is moving to Duke University in the
The microbes living in our body are providing the links we've been looking for in
the mechanisms of how all different diseases are connected. Importantly, simple
measures like eating healthy diets, exercise, decreasing stress, and taking the
right probiotics are simple ways to mitigate the risk of various diseases due to fact that these measures
take care of the critters your letting live rent-free in your insides!
RUVID. Gut bacteria affect immune recovery in HIV patients, study finds.
ScienceDaily. 5 September 2016. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160905114800.htm.
Villar S, Rojo D, Martínez-Martínez M, Deusch S, JF Vázquez-Castellanos, Bargiel
J, et al. Gut Bacteria Metabolism
Impacts Immune Recovery in HIV-infected Individuals. EBioMedicine,
2016; 8: 203 DOI: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2016.04.033
University Center for Clinical and Translational Science. Swelling obesity
rates may be tied to childhood antibiotic use. ScienceDaily. 30 August 2016. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160830084458.htm.
Chan School of Public Health. Cesarean delivery may lead to increased risk of
obesity among offspring. ScienceDaily. September
6, 2016. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160906130952.htm.
Preidt R. Patients May Quickly Lose Beneficial Gut
Bacteria in the ICU. Health Day.
August 31, 2016. https://consumer.healthday.com/caregiving-information-6/intensive-care-979/icu-patients-gut-bacteria-msphere-release-batch-2849-714373.html
University of California - San Francisco. Newborn gut microbiome predicts
later allergy and asthma, study finds: Microbial byproducts link particular
early-life gut microbes to immune dysfunction. ScienceDaily. September
12, 2016. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160912122348.htm
Technical University of Munich (TUM). Intestinal bacteria influence food
allergies: Composition of gut microbiota and immune system are closely
interwoven. ScienceDaily. September 12, 2016.
Enjoy the Healthy Benefits of Healing Aromatics
I just finished watching the Essential
Oils Revolution 2 and it was wonderful! As a self-taught geek with some
pharmacology background, it was exciting to hear all different viewpoints and
learn from various experts.
Two presentations I found very intriguing were on the topics of DIY recipes and
cooking with essential oils. Since DIY recipes are vast and a nice compilation
can be found here
I wanted to share a little bit more on
. Dietary essential oils have been used as natural and safe
flavorings and preservatives in the food industry for years
Below are some easy tips to get you started with adding essential oils into
your favorite dishes!
Cooking in 1, 2, 3...
1. First of all, the most important thing is to make sure you have essential
oils that are safe for ingestion. The FDA provides some guidance by listing
certain essential oils as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) here. Some essential oils companies label which
essential oils can be ingested, making this step easy! Technically, essential
oils which can be taken orally are considered to be dietary supplements. (If
you are still unsure about how to safely ingest oils or heard some headline
out this blog I did on standardization and quality.)
Dr. Z explains more on the safety of using essential oils in recipes in his
with Essential Oils Blog":
Essential oils - both real and synthetic -
have been used as flavoring agents for years.
It's just too easy to add a drop or two of an intensely flavored oil in place
of time consuming ingredients with much more volume. (1) In addition to flavor,
essential oils are regularly tested by researchers for their potential to
improve food safety. Antimicrobial oils, the theory goes, may be able to minimize
food borne illness if manufacturers added it to packaging.
So the idea that we can cook with essential
oils or incorporate them into our kitchen process is nothing new. The important
thing is to do so safely, appreciating the
differences between a whole herb or spice and its essential oil. You'll also
want to note that not every essential oil is a good choice for cooking.
Sometimes the oil doesn't taste quite as yummy as the whole herb. Sometimes the
oil has too much of a certain component, making it less than ideal or even
unsafe in high quantities.
2. The second thing to remember is that a little goes a very long way. Some
estimate that 1 drop per teaspoon is a conversion measure. I think anything
more than 2 drops is probably too much. (Finding a source for this is hard to
come by.) For optimal flavoring (and safety with "hotter oils" like oregano,
basil, thyme, and marjoram), you would want to add them to a recipe with some
form of fat in it.
3. Finally, it's best to add the essential oils last, when the dish is
almost finished. This will prevent the concern of altering
the constituents at high heat. Of course, cold recipes aren't a problem. Furthermore, there is
some evidence that certain essential oils can increase bioavailability of
healthy constituents with cooking, such as
thymol in thyme. However, carvacrol is supported when adding both the oil
and the ground leaves.
If you want to start some experimenting with dishes, some recipes can be
for barbecue fun. Bon App`etit!
Click here for my latest blog on the power of peppermint for a focused back to school brain.
been a little bit of a "doctor doom" when it comes to giving some stats on the
toxic exposures we come across every day. Although my focus has been more to
educate and empower with tools to protect ourselves, I know that sometimes it
can still appear daunting.
Last year, I
gave you tips for protecting kids' brains and
bodies from chemical harms (and
germs) as they go to back to school. This month I saw more these topics on
this subject of toxic effects hit my inbox including:
PCB Chemicals Still Tied to Autism in U.S. Kids
Linked to Migraines
Change May Prolong Smog Season in Southeast U.S.
as in the past the gloom was followed by the good, it will again today.
What the Scary Facts Have to Do with
recommended essential oils as one of my favorite tools to mitigate stress and
balance our physiology, biochemistry, and emotions. This past week, I was in
heaven with listening to the speakers in the Essential Oils Revolution 2 summit
explain the science behind how essential oils can protect our bodies from
sickness and modulate our health. (Speaking of too much of a good thing, I did
in fact listen to every single presenter!)
We know now
that inhalation and diffusion of essential oils has profound positive effects
on the brain and body. In fact, a recent study in rodents demonstrated how
aromatic essential oils (lavender, clary sage, sweet orange, and sandalwood) exhibited
metabolic effects in their brain biochemistry and urinary metabolites. This
study was further supporting evidence that their properties as secondary
metabolites modulating physiology beyond aroma. For my scientific-speak
followers, the authors concluded:
In conclusion, we identified the
global metabolic responses to aromas intervention characterized by unique
metabolic signatures in rat brain tissue and urine involving neurotransmitters,
fatty acids, carbohydrates and amino acids. Inhalation of essential oil is able
to attenuate anxiety-induced metabolic perturbation, concurrent with the
behavioral findings that inhalation of essential oil significantly increased the
open arms time and open arms entries.
I have hinted
about the saving grace of diffusing essential oils in the past and specifically
discussed how essential oils inhibit microbe growth in the
air. I was recently working on an article for one of my favorite fitness and
health gurus and found further support in how a specific oil blend I use is
effective in stomping out unwanted critters floating around us. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10412905.1998.9700958)
NASA demonstrated that plants have the power to protect us from indoor
pollution by decreasing levels of organic chemicals. Now, a new study reports
that essential oils may directly impact and alleviate lung and liver ailments
caused by air pollution. The study was done in vitro using lung and liver cells
exposed to airborne particulates. The authors sought to determine how essential
oil components, free and encapsulated, from extracts from cloves, aniseed,
fennel and ylang ylang would impact inflammatory mediators produced from the harmful
exposures. They found that these compounds reduced the resultant inflammation
responses of the cells. The abstract from the study reads:
Outdoor air pollution and fine
particulate matter (PM) were recently classified as carcinogenic to humans by
the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The exposure to airborne
particulate matter also contributes to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases,
which are major public health concerns. Up to now, no work has evaluated the
ability of essential oils as an alternative medicine to relieve the adverse
health effects caused by airborne particulate matter. Here, we investigated for
the first time the effects of four essential oil components, trans-anethole, estragole, eugenol
and isoeugenol, on the reduction in inflammation induced by particulate matter
with an aerodynamic diameter below 2.5 μm (PM2.5), in human
bronchial epithelial (BEAS-2B) and human liver carcinoma (HepG2) cell lines.
Anethole is a flavor component of anise and fennel, estragole is occurring in
basil, eugenol occurs in clove bud oil and isoeugenol occurs in ylang-ylang.
Essential oil components were tested either as free or
hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin-encapsulated forms. Control experiments showed
that particulate matter (PM2.5) induced inflammation by secretion of
pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and IL-8. Our results show that the addition of
either free or encapsulated essential oil components to particulate matter
exposed cells decreased up to 96 % the cytokine IL-6 level, and by up to
87 % the cytokine IL-8 level. Overall our findings evidence for the first
time that natural essential oil components counteract the inflammatory effects
of particulate matter and that encapsulation in cyclodextrins preserved their
surprise that constituents in oils have healing and protective properties. Just
one constituent alone in an oil has been found to have profound effects and the
synergism of the whole oil seems to be just as, or more, powerful. But remember
to use cold air diffusion to experience all the benefits you can receive from
aromatic applications. This way you will not destroy the essential oil
compounds and prevent them from oxidation in the air. For example, one (kinda-sketchy,
biased study) determined that lavender that was exposed to air at 60 degrees Fahrenheit
could produce negative reactions in sensitive people.
So treat your
oils well by preserving their therapeutic constituents with cold-air diffusion.
Remember if you use them safely and intelligently, they will then treat you
I just published a blog on calmness and the age of information overwhelm. Read it here.
Chemicals Still Tied to Autism in U.S. Kids. Health Day. August 23, 2016. https://consumer.healthday.com/cognitive-health-information-26/autism-news-51/prenatal-exposure-to-banned-chemicals-tied-to-autism-714114.html
natural gas wells associated with migraine, fatigue. Science Daily. August 25, 2016. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160825084623.htm
Change May Prolong Smog Season in Southeast U.S. Health Day. August 23, 2016. https://consumer.healthday.com/respiratory-and-allergy-information-2/air-pollution-health-news-540/climate-change-ozone-pnas-git-release-batch-2832-714103.html
Oils Revolution 2 Summit. August 22- 29, 2016. Online event. http://eorevolution2.com/
Young G, Oberg CJ. Effect of a Diffused Essential Oil Blend on Bacterial
Bioaerosols. Journal of Essential Oil Research. 1998;10:5.
Wu Y, Zhang
Y, Xie G, et al. The Metabolic Responses to Aerial Diffusion of Essential Oils.
Ye J, ed. PLoS ONE. 2012;7(9):e44830. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044830.
BC, Douglas WL, Bounds K. A study of
interior landscape plants for indoor air pollution abatement. July 1, 1989. https://archive.org/details/nasa_techdoc_19930072988
Kfoury M, Borgie
M, Verdin A, Ledoux F, Courcot D, Auezova L, Fourmentin S. Essential oil
components decrease pulmonary and hepatic cells inflammation induced by air
pollution particulate matter. Environmental
Chemistry Letters. 2016; DOI: 10.1007/s10311-016-0572-4
Hagvall L, et
al. Autooxidation of lavender oil. Contact
Dermatitis. 2008; 59: 143-150
interest in food
addiction piqued when I started working with men and women who came to me
for a wide-range of health issues. No matter the subject of wellness support,
weight always seemed to be an additional concern.
noticed a pattern in my clients that tended to delay results or cause a return
of symptoms. It was based on the roller-coaster of a dysfunctional relationship
to certain detrimental foods. For some, it appeared to be an actual addiction.
They wanted to be healthy, and were even given well-respected and legitimate
advice from previous practitioners. Still, the knowledge of "the right foods to
eat," and the ever-changing, dizzying lists of "good foods" and "bad foods"
didn't seem to change their behavior. Why?
began searching and applying my background in psychology, mind-body medicine,
naturopathic philosophy, and functional medicine and discovered that yes, food
could be a form
of addiction. Though not reported as very common, an average of less 10% in
several studies, I feel that the perhaps an "unease" around food is very
time, I quickly learned that dietary changes, no matter how balanced or
extreme, only stuck so long "the psychology of eating," a term coined by nutritional guru Marc
David, was not considered. Other factors that affect cravings and
willpower, such as biochemical differences in brain signaling, hormonal
imbalances, sleep, lifestyle, nutrient deficiencies, digestive disturbances,
and eating foods
that are designed to be addictive without consumer's knowledge,were reviewed recently and
in some of my
previous blogs. The solution was clear, recommendations had to be
reason, I was excited to see a recent study of 1,607 individuals (1,269
completed the study) across seven European contents that demonstrated greater
gains in dietary change adjustments in a dietary plan that included personalized nutrition (PN) advice.
study, subjects were recruited to an internet-delivered intervention (Food4Me)
and randomized to receive conventional dietary advice (control) or to the PN
approach. PN was based on either an individual baseline diet, an individual
baseline diet plus phenotype (anthropometry and blood biomarkers), or
individual baseline diet plus phenotype plus genotype (five diet-responsive genetic variants).
In this way, researchers could compare the effects of dietary targets based on
personalized advice and how additional information on phenotype and genetics
would influence follow through.
were based on dietary intake, anthropometry, and blood biomarkers measured at
baseline and after 3 and 6 months' intervention. The authors stated:
Following a 6-month intervention,
participants randomized to PN consumed less red meat [-5.48 g,
(95% confidence interval:-10.8,-0.09), P = 0.046],
salt [-0.65 g, (−1.1,-0.25), P = 0.002]
and saturated fat [-1.14 % of energy, (−1.6,-0.67), P < 0.0001],
increased folate [29.6 µg, (0.21,59.0), P = 0.048]
intake and had higher Healthy Eating Index scores [1.27, (0.30, 2.25), P
= 0.010) than those randomized to
the control arm. There was no evidence that including phenotypic and phenotypic
plus genotypic information enhanced the effectiveness of the PN advice.
I'll review some caveats of a low saturated intake for everyone in a future
blog, but the point is that by providing individuals with specific dietary
advice based on their genetics and current health status wasn't as powerful as
an internet-based tailored program that was specific for them. In other words,
feedback and interaction count for changing food habits.
loss and optimizing nutrition isn't just about knowledge of food and controlling
intake, but about providing comprehensive tools that fully address the whole
person. In fact, even their sense of smell and taste can be impactful in
modulating appetite. I just wrote a blog on my homepage on how even our sense
of smell may impact hunger cues and dietary choices. You can read that here.
How Prevalent is "Food Addiction"? Frontiers in Psychiatry. 2011;2:61.
Flint AJ, Gearhardt AN, Corbin WR, Brownell KD,
Field AE, Rimm EB. Food addiction scale measurement in 2 cohorts of middle-aged
and older women. American Journal
of Nutrition. January 22, 2014. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.068965
K. How Common is Food Addiction? A Critical Look. Authority Nutrition. https://authoritynutrition.com/how-common-is-food-addiction/
University. Personalized nutrition is better than a 'one size fits all'
approach in improving diets. Science Daily. August 16, 2016.
C, Livingston KM, Marsaux CFM, Macready AL, Fallaize R, O'Donovan CB, et al. Effect of personalized nutrition on
health-related behaviour change: evidence from the Food4me European randomized
controlled trial. International Journal of Epidemiology, August
Cordain L, Eaton SB, Sebastain A, Mann N, Lindeberg
S, Watkins BA, O'Keefe JH, Brand Miller. Origins and evolution of the Western
diet: health implications for the 21st century. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, February 2005;
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As a New York State Licensed Aesthetician, New York State Licensed Nail Specialist, and the Director of Living Well Healing Arts Center & Spa, Reisa combines her love of spa services and healing arts to achieve optimum skin and nail health, create greater overall wellness and bring forth our optimal, individual beauty.
"I believe that the day spa should be an instant getaway; a place that is quiet without being stuffy, relaxed, elegant and yet entirely comfy. You should feel warm and welcome, surrounded by people who care about you and what they are doing. This is the environment we strive to create at Living Well Healing Arts Center & Spa. Here, you are never just the "next" number; we allow ample time for your services, offer a flexible schedule and can be reached after hours. After all, to me, spa craft is not really a business, it's a lifestyle."