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;
The Importance of
I just posted
an article on my website on the power of olfaction and its link to our
health, as well as our mortality. Specially, the sense of smell is intricate
for human survival. It modulates appetite and food preferences, is important
for detection of danger in the environment, is involved in pain processing and
the stress response, effects social relationships, and has a profound impact on
responses. Furthermore, several studies have reported on the link between
loss of smell and aging, cognitive decline, and increase risk of death from all
causes. Thankfully, even without the sense of smell, essential oils and odors
have an interesting correlation to modulating the same processes as olfaction
alone, but in different ways. In this blog, I'll use the example of Parkinson's
A Quick Background on Parkinson's Disease
Scientists believe PD is a result of the combination of environmental,
genetics, and epigenetic
factors (how the environment effects gene expression).
Many studies have linked abnormal alpha-synuclein, clumps of proteins found in
the brain and other tissues, to the disease process. In fact, accumulation in
the gastrointestinal tract of this protein is becoming a studied brain-gut
etiology. The World Journal of Gastroenterology states the following on
these links as well as the connection to smell being an indicator of this
The classical motor symptoms like bradykinesia,
resting tremor, rigidity and late postural instability result from the death of
dopamine-generating cells in the substantia nigra. There is also a wide spectrum of non-motor manifestations involving for example
olfactory (loss of smell), gastrointestinal (GI), cardiovascular, and urogenital systems . It has become evident that
the different levels of the brain-gut axis including the autonomic nervous
system (ANS) and the enteric nervous system (ENS) may be affected in PD [4-8].
(bold emphasis mine)
The Smell Connection of Detection
Science Daily reported:
Now, a new laboratory model of Parkinson's is
giving scientists an inside look at what happens in the brain years before
motor symptoms appear. Specifically, it demonstrates how abnormal
alpha-synuclein proteins, which are strongly associated with Parkinson's,
gradually spread from an area of the brain implicated in the early stages of
the disease to other regions of the brain ultimately damaged by the disease.
The findings were published today in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.
The article continues:
"We know that specific signs of Parkinson's,
including a loss of sense of smell, appear years before the onset of motor
symptoms. Our new model replicates the
phase that occurs long before diagnosis and, importantly, gives us a powerful
tool to test novel interventions that might prevent the onset of Parkinson's as
we know it."
The study demonstrates that alpha-synuclein travels
along nerve cells in the olfactory bulb -- the part of the brain that controls
sense of smell -- prior to the onset of motor symptoms and that this area may
be particularly susceptible to the spread of alpha-synuclein, ultimately
causing deficits in the sense of smell. Clumps of alpha-synuclein eventually reach several additional brain
regions, including the brainstem area that houses dopamine cells. (bold
The researchers are hoping these findings will lead to a new model to
study PD. However, there has been causative agents explored previously.
Effect of Smell on PD
There have been prior reports of the connection between olfaction,
environmental triggers, and Parkinson's disease. This theory is termed the "olfactory
vector hypothesis." Annals of Neurology
agents, including viruses, prions, and toxins, have been implicated in the
cause of a number of neurodegenerative diseases, most notably Alzheimer's and
Parkinson's diseases. The presence of smell loss and the pathological
involvement of the olfactory pathways in the formative stages of Alzheimer's
and Parkinson's diseases, together with evidence that xenobiotics, some
epidemiologically linked to these diseases, can readily enter the brain via the
olfactory mucosa, have led to the hypothesis that Alzheimer's and Parkinson's
diseases may be caused or catalyzed by agents that enter the brain via this
route. Evidence for and against this concept, the "olfactory vector
hypothesis," is addressed in this review.
In other words, the sense of smell can be an entry
way to toxicants through the nose to the brain and throughout the body! However, there's good news for aroma
inhalation as well!
The Essential Oils Connection
Essential oils have the ability to modulate emotion, memory, and physiological responses through their aroma and also due to their powerful secondary metabolites. Furthermore, essential oils have the power to modulate the health of the gut and brain. In fact, there's information
on my essential oils database
on how oils can modulate many aspects of health and
my latest blog discusses how even without the sense of smell, odorants have
So, make sure you check it out for more information. For now, know that
by using essential oils, you are powerfully practicing preventative medicine
through the linkage of your nose to your brain and supporting your gut-brain
Hays NP, Roberts SB. The anorexia of aging in humans. Physiol Behav. 2006;88: 257-266. doi:
Jacob S, Garcia S, Hayreh D, McClintock MK. Psychological effects of
musky compounds: comparison of androstadienone with androstenol and muscone
[abstract]. Horm Behav. 2002; 42:
274-283. doi: 10.1006/hbeh.2002.1826
Fox K. The Smell Report. Social Issues Research Center.
Krusemark EA, Novak LR, Gitelman DR, Li W. When the Sense of Smell Meets
Emotion: Anxiety-State-Dependent Olfactory Processing and Neural Circuitry
Adaptation. The Journal of Neuroscience. 2013;33(39):15324-15332.
Corradi-Dell'Acqua C, TuscheA, Vullieumier P, Singer T. Cross-modal representations of first-hand and
vicarious pain, disgust and fairness in insular and cingulate cortex. Nature Communications. March 18, 2016.
Masaoka Y, Sugiyama H, Katayama A, Kashiwagi M, Homma I. Slow breathing and emotions associated with
odor-induced autobiographical memories. Chem Senses. 2012 May;37(4):379-88. doi: 10.1093/chemse/bjr120.
Vermetten E, Schmahl C, Southwick SM, Bremner JD. A Positron Tomographic
Emission Study of Olfactory Induced Emotional Recall in Veterans with and
without Combat-related Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Psychopharmacology
Gottfried JA. Central mechanisms of odour object perception. Nature
reviews Neuroscience. 2010;11(9):628-641. doi:10.1038/nrn2883.
Van Andel Research Institute. New
model recreates early spread of Parkinson's disease in the brain. Science
Daily. August 8, 2016. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160808163628.htm
Mulak A, Bonaz B.
Brain-gut-microbiota axis in Parkinson's disease. World Journal of
Gastroenterology:WJG. 2015;21(37):10609-10620. doi:10.3748/wjg.v21.i37.10609.
Nolwen L. Rey, Jennifer A.
Steiner, Nazia Maroof, Kelvin C. Luk, Zachary Madaj, John Q. Trojanowski,
Virginia M.-Y. Lee, Patrik Brundin. Widespread transneuronal propagation of
α-synucleinopathy triggered in olfactory bulb mimics prodromal Parkinson's
disease. The Journal of Experimental Medicine, 2016; jem.20160368
Chamine Irina and Oken Barry S.
Aroma Effects on Physiologic and Cognitive Function Following Acute Stress: A
Mechanism Investigation. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary
Medicine. June 2016. doi:10.1089/acm.2015.0349.
Doty R. The
olfactory vector hypothesis of neurodegenerative disease: Is it viable? Ann Neurol.2008;63:7-15
Aguiar AS, Matheus FC, et al. Neurotox
Res. 2012; 21: 90. doi:10.1007/s12640-011-9281-8
Misra BB, Dey
S. TLC-bioautographic evaluation of in
vitro anti-tyrosinase and anti-cholinesterase potentials of sandalwood oil.
Nat Prod Commun. 2013 Feb;8(2):253-6.
Palomino OM, Frutos G. Effectiveness of
Rosmarinus officinalis essential oil as antihypotensive agent in primary
hypotensive patients and its influence on health-related quality of life. J Ethnopharmacol. 2014;151(1):509-16.
doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2013.11.006. Epub 2013 Nov 20.
Last week, I
discussed food as an addiction. On my homepage, I provided a continuation of
how food can be medicine and food can poison. In it, I highlighted the power of eating fish for brain health. Recently, a study caught my eye relating salmon
consumption to reducing anxiety in ninety-five male forensic inpatients.
the study investigated how consumption of Atlantic salmon could modulate
biology and self-reported anxiety. The researchers measured heart rate variability
(HRV) and heart rate (HR) as indicators of the nervous system response to
dietary components. Furthermore, they investigated the outcome measures in
relation to specific nutrients such as Vitamin D status and two omega-3 fatty
acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The participants were randomly assigned
to the fish group (portion size 150-300g) or
a meat group. The meals were consumed three times a weak. HRV (using root mean square deviation, rMSSD),
HR, and state-and trait-anxiety (STAI) were analyzed pre-intervention and after
23 weeks of the dietary intervention. The study reported:
The Fish group showed significant
improvements in both rMSSD and HR. The Fish group also showed significant
decreases in state-anxiety. Finally, there was a positive relationship between
rMSSD and vitamin D status. The findings suggest that Atlantic salmon
consumption may have an impact on mental health related variables such as
underlying mechanisms playing a key role in emotion-regulation and
also analyzed for levels of mercury, dioxins, and dioxin-like PCBs found in the
fish. They concluded even with 31% of tolerable weekly limit (TWI) in a person
weighing 100 kg, there were no adverse effects:
The content of several undesirable
substances was also determined in the Atlantic salmon. The level of mercury was
22 µg/kg, and the level of dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs was 0.48 ng TEQ/kg;
both are far below the EUs upper limits of 500 µg/kg and 6.5 ng TEQ/kg in fish,
respectively. Taking into account the amount of salmon consumed per week during
the weeks with the highest salmon intake, the intake of dioxin and dioxin-like
PCBs per week represents 31% of the tolerable weekly intake (TWI) in a person
weighing 100 kg . Persons with higher body weight will have a correspondingly lower
percentage of TWI. Importantly, no adverse side effects were reported during
the intervention trial .
E-blast by Trudy Scott, CN, commented on the study findings and made similar observations
as me. She stated:
- The salmon was farmed and mercury and dioxin
levels were measured. Despite this, mental health benefits and reduced
anxiety was observed. I suspect even more favorable results would have
been observed had wild salmon been used
- The authors mention that a longer intervention
as in this study i.e. 23 weeks/6 months is likely to lead to better
results than a shorter intervention
- The Fish group had a significant increase in
both omega-3 fatty acids: EPA and DHA
- The authors speculate about how improved
vitamin D status in the Fish group may help regulate serotonin production
and thereby help regulate heart rate variability and reduce anxiety
- The study highlights nutritional benefits of
fatty fish other than marine omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D: selenium,
iodine, vitamin B12 and high quality proteins. I'd like to add that it is
a source of zinc and iron too, both of which are co-factors for making
- Although the study found a significant decrease
in state-anxiety, it did not find any changes in trait-anxiety (here are
the differences in state-anxiety and trait-anxiety). The authors suggest that
trait-anxiety may be more difficult to change during a 6-month
intervention study. I'd like to add that other concurrent nutritional and
biochemical interventions would likely have provided additional mental
health benefits. This could include: a gluten-free diet, targeted individual amino acids, addressing dysbiois, addressing high or low histamine, pyroluria, and zinc-copper imbalances and son on.
In another study, supporting brain benefits for fish consumption, those on a fishy diet had lowered risk of
Fish contains high concentrations of
omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Several studies have reported depletions
of omega-3 fats among depressed patients, and a cross-national comparison has
revealed a significant inverse correlation between annual prevalence of major
depression and fish consumption. In a sample of 3,204 Finnish adults,
depressive symptoms were estimated with the Beck Depression Inventory. A
frequency question was used to measure fish consumption. Multiple logistic
regression analysis was conducted to assess the association between depression
and fish consumption. After the analysis adjusted for potential confounders,
the likelihood of having depressive symptoms was significantly higher among
infrequent fish consumers than among frequent consumers.
Last year, I
wrote about how fish oil was shown in several studies to reduce hostility in
troubled youth. You can read about
that here and learn more about the importance of a fishy diet for brain
Olson G, Dahl L, et al. Reduced Anxiety in Forensic Inpatients after a
Long-Term Intervention with Atlantic Salmon. Nutrients. 2014;6(12):5405-5418.
Scott, Trudy. Reduced anxiety in forensic inpatients - long-term
intervention with Atlantic salmon. E-Blast. August 8, 2016.
Tanskanen A, Hibbeln JR, Tuomilehto J, Uutela A, Haukkala A, Viinamäki H,
Lehtonen J, Vartiainen E. Fish consumption and depressive symptoms in the
general population in Finland. Psychiatr Serv. 2001 Apr;52(4):529-31.
et al 2006. Omega-3 fatty acids: evidence basis for treatment and future
research in psychiatry. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 67 (12): 1954-1976.
naturopathic doctor and functional medicine practitioner, I've worked with many
people who have various food sensitivities and disordered eating patterns. A
few weeks ago, I did a presentation on my book, BreakFree Medicine, at Nature Tyme, a wonderful health food store located in
Syracuse, NY. In my presentation, I took some time to discuss the topic of food
addiction. (Click here to access the presentation and read an overview. You will also find the top health news for July 2016 there.)
some articles I wrote throughout the years on this topic. In them, I discuss the
emerging and current research on food addiction. I also discuss the importance of looking at the biochemistry
when willpower is weak. Within the full links, you can access more
studies at the end of each article... if you want to dive deeper into the
propeller-hat-geeky science of the original sources.
Why Humans Eat Junk Food and Find It
Hard to Stop (Part 1 of 2):
This blog discusses how the food industry uses science to manipulate our taste
buds in order to make us want to eat and buy more of their products: http://dr-lobisco.com/why-humans-eat-junk-find-it-hard-to-stop/
Why Are We Addicted to Food? (Part 2
of 2): This blog
reviews the biochemistry of food addiction and the psychological connections. I
discuss the dopamine and neurotransmitter connections and the development of
the Yale Food Addiction Scale. If you want to get more resources and studies on
food addiction, this blog and the one below are great places to start: http://dr-lobisco.com/why-we-are-addicted-to-food-part-ii/
Making Americans and Little Ones So "At Large?" The Obesity Epidemic, It's Not
Just a "Food and Exercise" Thing:
In this blog I reveal 6 reasons, beyond the calorie myth of being
1. Americans aren't starving, but
they are dieting. This means they are constantly hungry.
2. Nutritional deficiencies
3. Insufficient Fiber & the microbiome connection
5. Fast Food Restaurants and Junk Foods (With an honorable mention about artificial
Read it here:http://dr-lobisco.com/obesity-epidemic/
Nutrient War Era- Why We Are On the Losing Side of Weight Loss: This blog
goes into detail on the factors that affect weight, beyond nutrient composition
and calories. I discussed them on "The Dirty 'D' Word" on Natural Path (http://thenatpath.com/food/diets/the-dirty-d-word/):
Digestive health (including the microbiome)
Medicine, Food as Poison, Dealing with Food as a (Sweet) Addiction: Part I: I recently
wrote an article that goes into further detail on food as an addiction. It also reviews
how food can be a medicine for health and how junk food can be poison to the body. I
will be posting this on my website next week, so stay tuned.
Medicine, Food as Poison, Dealing with Food as a (Sweet) Addiction: Part II: In an
article that I will be posting soon, which is published on Natural Path, I discuss five ways to help support those with a problem with food addiction or unhealthy eating patterns. These are a preview of the Five (5) Key Ways to kick the sugar and junk food habit:
Know if You're a "Moderator" or "Abstainer"
Use Stress Reduction and Mindfulness
Support Brain Balance (balance the different areas
of the brain by using specific nutrients to target imbalances and support
neurotransmitter balance through hormonal modulation, microbiome health, blood
Modulate Mood and Emotions with Essential Oils
for the full article to be posted on my website.
To Fast or
to Eat- Is There Still Room for Breakfast? All the confusion! How about fasting? In this blog, I
explore the caveats of the "fasting crave," and highlight who it may help.
Hint- ladies, you won't want to miss this! (http://dr-lobisco.com/to-fast-or-to-eat-is-there-still-room-for-breakfast/)
The Fructose- Alcohol Connection
As I was
writing this blog, I came upon a study I had not seen before. This study compared the "metabolic,
hedonic, and societal similarities" between fructose and alcohol. This was a unique way to
assess how food could be similar to a substance of abuse. The authors wrote:
Rates of fructose consumption continue
to rise nationwide and have been linked to rising rates of obesity, type 2
diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Because obesity has been equated with
addiction, and because of their evolutionary commonalities, we chose to examine
the metabolic, hedonic, and societal similarities between fructose and its
fermentation byproduct ethanol. Elucidation of fructose metabolism in liver and
fructose action in brain demonstrate three parallelisms with ethanol. First,
hepatic fructose metabolism is similar to ethanol, as they both serve as
substrates for de novo lipogenesis, and in the process both promote hepatic
insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, and hepatic steatosis. Second, fructosylation
of proteins with resultant superoxide formation can result in hepatic
inflammation similar to acetaldehyde, an intermediary metabolite of ethanol.
Lastly, by stimulating the "hedonic pathway" of the brain both
directly and indirectly, fructose creates habituation, and possibly dependence;
also paralleling ethanol. Thus, fructose induces alterations in both hepatic
metabolism and central nervous system energy signaling, leading to a
"vicious cycle" of excessive consumption and disease consistent with
metabolic syndrome. On a societal level, the treatment of fructose as a
commodity exhibits market similarities to ethanol. Analogous to ethanol,
societal efforts to reduce fructose consumption will likely be necessary to
combat the obesity epidemic.
Source: Lustig RH. Fructose: metabolic, hedonic, and societal parallels with ethanol. J Am Diet Assoc. 2010
Sep;110(9):1307-21. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2010.06.008. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20800122
nation is either obsessed, addicted, or caught in the mirage of diet confusion in regards to food.
I hope these resources provide you with some information that can help you, or
someone you know, who is struggling with their eating patterns. Remember, when
willpower won't work, you have to ask why? Biochemistry
and emotions will trump willpower everytime!
homepage blog, I outlined the health issues related to biotoxin exposure and reviewed
the resultant Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) in susceptible
individuals. This blog is a continuation of dealing with mold exposure and goes
into detail about environmental mold testing. It is meant to be a resource
guide for those who are concerned they may have mold in their dwelling.
listed to a podcast with Chris Kresser and Mike Schrantz on how to test for
mold. Mike currently owns and operates Environmental Analytics, LLC, an
environmental consulting firm. Through my studies and this podcast, I've
compiled some caveats and considerations related to environmental testing for
use air sampling, which may be helpful in some situations, but has several
Not all molds float in air (some are
heavier, some are lighter, some settle out quicker, some dry, some are too "stick.".)
- The sample itself may be accurate, but
limited by a "grab sample." A "grab sample" only collects about 5 minutes'
worth of air and may not represent the whole house.
- Some heavier molds
may be on the surface and only show up minimally in the air sample, making
the air sample appear normal
the "guru" on this topic, recommends ERMI (Environmental Relative Moldiness
Index) using the lab Mycometrics. This method involves getting a sample of dust
off of surfaces or using a vacuum to collect dust. Then, you send it in for assessment
via a DNA test.
issue with ERMI is quality of labs and that the test is dependent on good
quality of probes and primers. Therefore, you must pick your lab wisely.
Other Caveats and Considerations of
- You should collect more than one sample
- Some mold is hidden within walls/foundation and may
not be detected
- Some mold can only be detected under certain
conditions (temperature, moisture, etc.)
- Neither methods consider the mold outside the home
and the change inside, only a professional can do that
- ERMI is an average of what molds are considered a
problem, some people may be sensitive to some at lower levels or another
species not tested
review of mold in the home is thoroughly outlined by Harriet Ammam, a
toxicologist from Washington State Department of Health. She states that there
are four categories of health effects of mold: allergy, infection, irritation
(mucous membrane and sensory), and toxicity. She lists the following caveats,
though some of them have been revised as more research has been indicated:
Few toxicological experiments
involving mycotoxins have been performed using inhalation, the most probable
route for indoor exposures. Defenses of the respiratory system differ from
those for ingestion (the route for most mycotoxin experiments). Experimental
evidence suggests the respiratory route to produce more severe responses than
the digestive route (Cresia et al.,
from low level or chronic low level exposures, or ingestion exposures to
mixtures of mycotoxins, have generally not been studied, and are unknown...
of multiple exposures to mixtures of mycotoxins in air, plus other toxic
air pollutants present in all air breathed indoors, are not known.
of other biologically active molecules, having allergic or irritant
effects, concomitantly acting with mycotoxins, are not known.
of mold spores and fragments varies, depending on instrumentation and
methodology used. Comparison of results from different investigators is
rarely, if ever, possible with current state of the art.
many mycotoxins can be measured in environmental samples, it is not yet
possible to measure mycotoxins in human or animal tissues. For this reason
exposure measurements rely on circumstantial evidence such as presence of
contamination in the patient's environment, detection of spores in air,
combined with symptomology in keeping with known experimental lesions
caused by mycotoxins, to establish an association with illness.
of individuals exposed indoors to complex aerosols varies depending on
their age, gender, state of health, and genetic make-up, as well as degree
contamination in buildings can vary greatly, depending on location of
growing organisms, and exposure pathways. Presence in a building alone
does not constitute exposure.
of patients' environments generally occur after patients have become ill,
and do not necessarily reflect the exposure conditions that occurred
during development of the illness. ... (you can read the full article and
list at the link below)
Testing with Experts:
Due to the
caveats, self-testing is rarely accurate. You can try and find professionals in
your area by visiting the following site: http://www.acac.org/find/database.aspx.
Look for professionals with CIEC, CMC, or CMI certifications. Another option
would be to set up a consult with experts here: http://environmentalanalytics.net/contact-us/
What Happens if Mold is Found...or if it
Isn't but Symptoms Are Present
a good question! In my homepage blog I go through these tips, so visit it
Kresser. RHR: How To Test
Your Home for Mold, with Mike Schrantz. February 2016. https://chriskresser.com/how-to-test-your-home-for-mold-with-mike-schrantz/
Shoemaker RC. Inside Indoor Air Quality: Environmental Relative Moldiness Index
Ammann, HM. Is
Indoor Mold Contamination a Threat to Health? http://www.mold-survivor.com/harrietammann.html
Cleanup and Remediation: http://www.cdc.gov/mold/cleanup.htm
Atadtner A. Mold
Testing - Air Quality Lab Interpretation. Healthy Building Inspections and
Testing. February 14, 2013. http://healthybuildingscience.com/2013/02/14/mold-testing-air-quality/
the National Exposure Research Laboratory (NERL). https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/about-national-exposure-research-laboratory-nerl
J. Gangneux, T. Reponen, L. Wymer, S. Vesper, AND P. Le Cann. Correlation
between environmental relative moldiness index (ERMI) values in French
dwellings and other measures of fungal contamination. SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL
ENVIRONMENT. Elsevier BV, AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, 438:319-324, (2012).
on ERMI: https://nlquery.epa.gov/epasearch/epasearch?querytext=ERMI&fld=&areaname=&areacontacts=&areasearchurl=&typeofsearch=epa&result_template=2col.ftl&force=no&filter=sample4filt.hts
I know it's
not just me that is "in love with the bugs" and all they do for us. I think the
whole world's really gone buggy. I'm talking about our microbiota, the ecology
of bugs that live in and on us. They interact with our own cells and modulate our
biology in so many ways.
get a cool study on critters and share it on social media, people tend to get
excited and show it with their little hearts and likes. However, I got bugged
recently by a blog that made a conclusion that probiotics weren't effective due
to one review of seven studies. The authors determined there was no change in
fecal microbiome population with their ingestion; therefore, probiotics weren't
a good health tool. What!?
So, I had to
write a blog on my homepage in defense of the actions of probiotics. I went beyond
poo population changes, even though other studies have found changes in fecal
samples by swallowing bugs. For example, a recent review on weight loss did
determine there may be a small, but significant effect, of taking probiotics in
certain populations, though there were some limitations in the trials. Although
swallowing critters to lose weight is still pretty controversial, their effects
on our health in so many other ways isn't. In fact, there were two recent
studies on their role in multiple sclerosis.
For example, there
was a study from Science Daily finding
an association between those with multiple sclerosis and the ratio of "bad
bugs" to "good guys" in their belly. Following this, a few weeks later, was another
study on the same topic.
article, researchers found that 60 subjects with multiple sclerosis (MS) had
different compositions of gut microorganisms as compared to their 43 healthy
counterparts. Furthermore, they discovered that the MS patients that were being
treated had different gut populations than the untreated patients. What I found
fascinating with this study is that the scientists didn't just study
populations of microbial changes with the fecal samples, they also assessed
serum levels of immune markers (cytokine and inflammatory measurement) and
correlated alterations in genetic expression of certain immune cells (T cells
and monocytes). Finally, they measured methane in breath tests, as a
rudimentary marker of methane producing bacteria present. Quite an experiment!
(Hence, the long list of authors in the reference section needed to carry out
such a feat!)
Daily reported on these findings as stated below:
Samples from MS patients contained
higher levels of certain bacterial species -- including Methanobrevibacter and Akkermansia
-- and lower levels of others -- such as Butyricimonas -- when compared to
healthy samples. Other studies have found that several of these microorganisms
may drive inflammation or are associated with autoimmunity. Importantly, the
team also found that microbial changes in the gut correlated with changes in
the activity of genes that play a role in the immune system. The team also
collected breath samples from subjects, finding that, as a result of increased
levels of Methanobrevibacter, patients with MS had higher levels of methane in
their breath samples. The researchers also investigated the gut microbe
communities of untreated MS patients, finding that MS disease-modifying therapy
appeared to normalize the gut microbiomes of MS patients.
So, if anyone
had a doubt that these little critters are modulating our immune response,
these two studies that show which ones are present in our guts are associated
with an autoimmune disease such as MS, may turn some into believers! This
association wasn't a big surprise to me though, I think almost everything can
connect back to the gut. I had a hunch on the connections between gut bugs,
coffee, and MS a little while back, if you remember (see here: http://dr-lobisco.com/how-gut-bugs-link-coffee-nutrient-depletion-h-pylori-to-multiple-sclerosis/).
treat your belly bugs good with lifestyle and diet and they will treat you
well. Read more here.
Zhang, Yucheng Wu, Xiaoqiang Fei. Effect
of probiotics on body weight and body-mass index: a systematic review and
meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials. International Journal
of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 2016; 67 (5): 571 DOI: 10.1080/09637486.2016.1181156
NB, Bryrup T, Allin KH, Nielsen T,
Hansen TH, Pederson O. Alterations in fecal microbiota composition by probiotic
supplementation in healthy adults: a systematic review of randomized controlled
trials. Genome Medicine.2016; 8:52.
Versalovic J. Effects of probiotics on gut microbiota: mechanisms of intestinal
immunomodulation and neuromodulation. Therapeutic Advances in
Gastroenterology. 2013;6(1):39-51. doi:10.1177/1756283X12459294.
Logan AC, Bested AC. Fermented foods, microbiota, and mental health: ancient
practice meets nutritional psychiatry. Journal
of Physiological Anthropology. 2014. DOI: 10.1186/1880-6805-33-2
Ahmed M, Prasad J, Gill H, Stevenson L, Gopal P: Impact of consumption
of different levels of Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 on the intestinal
microflora of elderly human subjects. J Nutr Health Aging. 2007, 11:
Iowa Health Care. Link between gut bacteria, MS discovered: MS patients show
lower levels of good bacteria. ScienceDaily.
June 2016. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160627125355.htm.
Women's Hospital. Changes uncovered in the gut bacteria of patients with
multiple sclerosis: Study finds alterations in the gut microbiomes of treated
and untreated MS patients. ScienceDaily.
12 July 2016. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160712130221.htm.
Gandhi R, Cox LM, Li N, von Glehn F, Yan R, Patel B, Mazzola MA, Liu S, Glanz
B, Cook S, Tankous S, Stuart F, Melo K, Nejad P, Smith K, Topcuolu BD, Holden
J, Kivisakk P, Chitnis T, De Jager PL, Quintana FJ, Gerber GK, Bry , Weiner HL..
Alterations of the human gut microbiome in multiple sclerosis. Nature Communications. 2016; 7: 12015
just finished posting a blog on my homepage on the power of nurturing our
nature for optimizing health outcomes. I discussed the effects of childhood
adverse events and parental styles on children's physical, emotional, and social
well-being. You can read about this and how other environmental factors impact
health outcomes here. With this information, you can gain a better
understanding of your own emotional responses and discover how your lifestyle
choices can influence your well-being.
did you know that one of the most powerful healing modalities can't be found in
a technique, dietary theory, supplement, or medicine?
this blog, I want to focus on one of the most important "environmental exposures"
we have- our connections to others. Studies strongly support that isolation is
an independent risk factor in heart disease and mortality. In fact, recently I
just read an article on how single moms have a higher risk of heart issues.
According to Health Day:
Compared to married mothers with jobs,
single working mothers in the United States have a higher risk of heart disease
and stroke, researchers found. They're also more likely to smoke -- a known
heart risk -- than women with other work and family patterns, said Frank van
Lenthe, co-author of the new study.
Losing the support of a partner, along
with the second income, "may cause stress and result in unhealthy
behaviors," said van Lenthe. He is an associate professor of social
epidemiology at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
a related study, it was found that married people who suffered a heart attack
were more apt to recover than single people. The study was comprised of 25,000
adults in England and the researchers reported that those with a spouse had a
14% less chance of dying than their single comparisons. Don't worry, this
doesn't necessarily mean that you single people should run out and get married,
just for the sake of heart health.
review of the impact of social relationships and disease outcomes found that
just as positive social support can decrease risk for many illnesses, negative
relationships can cause health detriments. Therefore, it's the quality, not
necessarily quantity, that is thought to create the positive benefits in
wellness and disease risk.
these social patterns are thought to start in childhood, once again suggesting
the importance of parental influence early in life. However, social ties vary
with lifespan, with intimate partners being most important in later adulthood.
Knowing this, single, older adults, may want to make sure their emotional
intimacy is met in their loved ones and friendships.
health and social support has also been shown to provide benefit in relieving
depression. Depression is connected to various physical ailments and
cardiovascular risk. In a recent study, it was found that those who had
emotionally healthy relationships had a greater chance of complete recovery
from depression than those without productive relationship ties.
nurture is important, genetics also play a role in our ability to form
connections. For example, those with low activity in the gene related to
oxytocin were found to have a harder time decoding emotional facial cues and
tended to be more anxious about relationships in one study. A 2009 study also
linked genetic variations in oxytocin with social empathy and stress
reactivity. This is interesting considering that
this hormone is also linked to mental health and autism risk.
what is the takeaway? Click
here to read my previous article on how to boost the "love hormone."
Furthermore, you can take steps to reach out and heal emotional traumas to
support building stronger relationships. On my homepage blog, I also discuss
the impact of essential oils for emotional health and other factors important
in nurturing our nature.
social isolation, and behavioral and biological health indicators in older
adults. Health Psychol. 2011
Jul;30(4):377-85. doi: 10.1037/a0022826.
Working Moms Carry a Heart Burden. Health
Day. June 16, 2016. https://consumer.healthday.com/cardiovascular-health-information-20/misc-stroke-related-heart-news-360/single-working-moms-carry-a-heart-heavy-burden-712037.html
a Boost for Heart Attack Survivors.
Health Day. June 8, 2016. https://consumer.healthday.com/cardiovascular-health-information-20/heart-attack-news-357/married-folks-may-have-a-heart-attack-advantagee-711705.html
D, Montez JK. Social Relationships and Health: A Flashpoint for Health Policy. Journal
of health and social behavior. 2010;51(Suppl):S54-S66.
in five formerly depressed adults are happy, flourishing. Science Daily. June 7, 2016. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160607120808.htm
Depression Overview. PubMed Health. January 17,
and cardiovascular disease: a clinical review. European Heart Journal. November 25, 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/eht462
'Love Hormone' Gene May Be Key to Social Life. Health Day. June 21, 2016th https://consumer.healthday.com/mental-health-information-25/behavior-health-news-56/low-levels-of-oxytocin-gene-may-impair-social-skills-712110.html
Rodrigues SM, Saslow
LR, Garcia N, John OP, Keltner D. Oxytocin receptor genetic variation relates
to empathy and stress reactivity in humans. Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
This week, on my
homepage, I provided a summary of the top news for the month of June in health,
nutrition, and medicine. In my introduction, I discussed the theme of lifestyle
medicine as a preventative and effective strategy in reducing risk of various diseases.
There is a large amount of research in this area and in this blog I review some
of the studies on how exercise impacts the brain and body.
But first, I wanted to discuss one of my favorite studies
this month. It was based on how a personalized intervention program actually
reversed Alzheimer's disease in 10 subjects!
Reversal of Cognitive Decline in Alzheimer's Disease with Personalized
published in Aging reported on ten
case studies, including subjects with genetic risks, who showed reversal of
Alzheimer's disease using a comprehensive, personalized approach known as the MEND
protocol. In this method, doctors assess an individual's medical history,
genetics, lifestyle, lab work, and current medications and use these results to
find the best FDA-approved medications, supplements, and lifestyle changes for
that specific patient's needs. Results prior to the intervention and after were
based on quantitative MRI and neuropsychological testing.
summarize the amazing findings in their discussion as follows:
These observations provide further
support for the previously reported finding that the personalized protocol for
metabolic enhancement (note that the metabolic evaluation included parameters
shown to affect Alzheimer's disease pathophysiology, such as homocysteine ,
glucose , and inflammation , as well as numerous others as previously
described ) in Alzheimer's disease leads to the reversal of cognitive
decline in at least some patients with early Alzheimer's disease or its
precursors, MCI (mild cognitive impairment) and SCI (subjective cognitive
impairment). To our knowledge, the magnitude of the improvements documented in
patients 1 and 2 is unequaled in previous reports: in patient 1, the increase
in hippocampal volume from 17th percentile to 75th percentile
supports the marked symptomatic improvement that he (and others) achieved on
the protocol. In patient 2, quantitative neuropsychological testing
demonstrated improvements of up to three standard deviations (CVLT-IIB, from 3rd
percentile to 84th percentile), with multiple tests all showing
marked improvements. These findings complement and support the marked
subjective improvement already published for this patient .
and Movement for Memory Boost
new study with 72 participants randomized them into three groups: exercise
prior, four hours later, or no exercise, in relation to the completion of a
memory task. 48 hours later, the participants returned to assess their memory
and have a brain scan of representation of the task in the memory region.
According to Medical Xpress, "The researchers found that those who exercised
four hours after their learning session retained the information better two
days later than those who exercised either immediately or not at all. The brain
images also showed that exercise after a time delay was associated with more
precise representations in the hippocampus, an area important to learning and
memory, when an individual answered a question correctly."
not just interval training that may boost brain function. In a pilot study with
older adults, it was found that yoga caused changes in neural connections in
the brain and memory improvement. The study was a small group comparison
consisting of 25 subjects with cognitive impairment. The researchers assessed
yoga versus memory enhancement training for 12 weeks. According to the study, "The yoga group demonstrated a statistically
significant improvement in depression and visuospatial memory. We observed
improved verbal memory performance correlated with increased connectivity
between the DMN and frontal medial cortex, pregenual anterior cingulate cortex,
right middle frontal cortex, posterior cingulate cortex, and left lateral
occipital cortex. Improved verbal memory performance positively correlated with
increased connectivity between the language processing network and the left
inferior frontal gyrus. Improved visuospatial memory performance correlated
inversely with connectivity between the superior parietal network and the
medial parietal cortex."
Exercise May Help Adults Cope with ADHD (Attention
Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
In a recent study with 32 young men with ADHD
researchers at the University of Georgia found that exercise helped the
subjects with focus and motivation. According to Science Daily, the participants "cycled at a moderate intensity for 20 minutes on one day, and on
another day sat and rested for 20 minutes as a control condition. The
participants were asked to perform a task requiring focus both before and after
the different conditions, and researchers noted leg movement, mood, attention
and self-reported motivation to perform the task. As a result, researchers
found that it was only after the exercise when the participants felt motivated
to do the task; they also felt less confused and fatigued and instead felt more
energetic. Interestingly, leg movements and performance on the task did not
change after the exercise--rather, the exercise helped the young men feel
better about doing the task."
Intervention Works for Diabetics at Risk
from a recent lifestyle intervention program developed at the University of
Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health demonstrated the positive impact on
diabetes and heart disease risk using the Group Lifestyle Balance program. The study consisted of
223 participants who had prediabetes and/or metabolic syndrome. The program was
modified from the lifestyle intervention program used in the highly successful
U.S. Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). The DPP previously demonstrated that
weight loss and physical activity outperformed drugs in preventing diabetes or
metabolic syndrome. According to a recent report on the study in Science Daily, "Group Lifestyle Balance is a 22-session program administered over a
one-year period aimed at helping people make lifestyle changes to lower their
risk for diabetes and heart disease. The goals of the program are to help
participants reduce their weight by 7 percent and increase their moderate
intensity physical activity (such as brisk walking) to a minimum of 150 minutes
Read more on the
power of lifestyle medicine on my current blog here.
J Alzheimers Dis.: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/27060939/
previously the importance of the microbiome. You
can click here if you need a quick intro or refresher on the role of the
bugs that line our insides and outsides. I also just wrote a blog on why the
topic of the microbiome continues to be at the forefront of scientific
research. You want to make sure you check that out to discover why it is important
to consider that killing them off may not be the best idea and how to prevent
growing the bad guys to begin with a healthy gut.
against. "Biotic" = Life. Antibiotic. What happens when we kill our belly bugs
in an attempt to rid of disease? (I
wrote about this here. This is why I like the use of essential oils to
modulate the immune response and keep happy bugs in place.)
Do Antibiotics Blunt
Health Day recently
reported on a study linking antibiotics to reduced breastfeeding benefits:
Researchers found that babies who
were prescribed antibiotics while they were breast-feeding or shortly afterward
were prone to infections and obesity.
"In breast milk, unlike in
formula milk, the infant receives bacteria from the mother and specific sugar
components that promote the growth of certain [gut] bacteria," explained
lead researcher Katri Korpela, from the immunobiology research program at the
University of Helsinki in Finland.
The finding indicates that the
health benefits of breast-feeding are largely due to how it helps a baby
develop intestinal bacteria (microbiota), and that antibiotics disturb that
development, she said.
Drugs and Bug Effects in
Children- Antibiotics Effect Baby's Microbiome
A June 15, 2016
article in Science Transitional Medicine
reported the following on the significance of a new study:
Despite widespread use of
antibiotics in children, the effects of antibiotic exposure on the developing
infant gut microbiome have remained underexplored. Here, Yassour et al. present a longitudinal study
capturing how the gut microbiome responds to and recovers from antibiotic
perturbations. Antibiotic-treated children had less stable and less diverse
bacterial communities. Antibiotic resistance genes within the guts of these
children peaked after antibiotic treatment but generally returned rapidly to
baseline. Delivery mode (vaginal versus cesarean) also had strong long-term
effects on microbial diversity. These data give insights into the consequences
of early life factors such as birth mode and antibiotic treatment on the infant
Birth mode, and Diet Shape Microbiome Maturation During Early Life
A second study, released on the same day in Science Transitional Medicine was summarized as follows:
intestinal "microbiota," that is, the community of microbes inhabiting the
human intestinal tract, undergoes many changes during the first 2 years of
life. Bokulich et al. now show
that this pattern of development is altered in children who are delivered by
cesarean section, fed formula, or treated with antibiotics, compared to those
babies who were born vaginally, breast-fed, or unexposed to antibiotics. Future
studies will determine whether these disturbances influence the health of these
Antibiotics Make More Bad Bugs Grow?
study released on June 15, 2016 in Nature
was reported by Science Daily. The
Gastroenteritis is a common side
effect of taking antibiotics. While diarrhea may be mild and clear up after
antibiotic therapy is completed, in some cases, it can lead to colitis, an inflammation
of the colon, or more serious conditions that cause abdominal pain, fever and
Bäumler's research found that
oral antibiotic treatment increased the synthesis of a host enzyme that
generates nitric oxide radicals, which can oxidize sugars into sugar acids,
such as galactarate, a key driver of Salmonella
FEEDING HAPPY BUGS
Walnuts for Belly Bugs and Colon
to a study by the University of Connecticut, found in Cancer Prevention Research, as reported by Science Daily:
To figure out why walnuts were
beneficial, the UConn Health team collaborated with Dr. George Weinstock and
colleagues at The Jackson Laboratory. Weinstock's lab took fecal samples from
the mice and analyzed the communities of bacteria living in their digestive
tracts. They found that walnut consumption tended to push the gut microbiome
toward an ecology that was potentially protective against cancer. It's not
clear exactly how this works, but there are clues. For example, previous
research has shown that some gut bacteria digest fiber into compounds with
anti-inflammatory properties that may reduce tumor initiation. The microbiome
analyses also reflected interesting differences between male and female. Males
on walnut-free diets tended to have less-diverse gut flora than females. Adding
walnuts to the diets of male mice brought their microbiomes closer to those of
female mice on either of the diets. Whether this change contributes to the
protection seen in male mice remains to be determined.
The Competition and Cooperation
of Diet in Our Bodies with Our Bugs
wonderful article in the Annals of the
New York Academy of Sciences describes how some foods make our gut bugs and
our cells work together for health, and others cause a competition to ensue:
Diet has been known to play an
important role in human health since at least the time period of the ancient
Greek physician Hippocrates. In the last decade, research has revealed that
microorganisms inhabiting the digestive tract, known as the gut microbiota, are
critical factors in human health. This paper draws on concepts of cooperation
and conflict from ecology and evolutionary biology to make predictions about
host-microbiota interactions involving nutrients. To optimally extract energy
from some resources (e.g., fiber), hosts require cooperation from microbes.
Other nutrients can be utilized by both hosts and microbes (e.g., simple
sugars, iron) in their ingested form, which may lead to greater conflict over
these resources. This framework predicts that some negative health effects of
foods are driven by the direct effects of these foods on human physiology and
by indirect effects resulting from microbiome-host competition and conflict
(e.g., increased invasiveness and inflammation). Similarly, beneficial effects
of some foods on host health may be enhanced by resource sharing and other
cooperative behaviors between host and microbes that may downregulate
inflammation and virulence. Given that some foods cultivate cooperation between
hosts and microbes while others agitate conflict, host-microbe interactions may
be novel targets for interventions aimed at improving nutrition and human
example is the harmful fats and sugars found in the Western diet, which is
consumed by both the host (our cells) and pathogenic bacteria. The authors
state, "... these results suggest that diets high in fats and refined sugar can
(1) fuel harmful ecological change in the gut, and (2) escalate the intensity
of host countermeasures in the form of inflammation and possibly altered
IS THE SOLUTION TO JUST SWALLOW
may be helpful for many, but remember, we all have our own unique microbiome
related to our diet, environment, and lifestyle factors. Furthermore, it is now
understood that it's more about the immune modulation of using specific bacteria,
which actually create more diversity in our guts and better metabolites,
rather than haphazardly throwing down billions or trillions of high dose
probiotics that may or may not be a match to our own unique microbiome
why I usually suggest a reasonable amount of probiotic counts with
multi-strains that have been clinically tested for immune modulation. If I can,
I try to find a probiotic with specific bugs that have been shown in some
studies to modulate specific issues in my clients. Unfortunately, the research
still isn't perfect in clinical trials, but we are getting there.
best way to keep a healthy gut is diet and lifestyle. Then, it's finding a probiotic
that is right for you. If your gut isn't happy still, and you are taking a
probiotic, that's probably "not it." The good news is; they are pretty darn
safe...but if they aren't working, it may be a waste of bugs and dollars.
This past week, I sent an E-blast out to my essential oils subscribers
discussing some cool studies on rosemary oil. Below is the E-blast revised
preview provided online as an exclusive to my Saratoga.com readers. I then
expand more on the topic of this beautiful aromatic oil on my current homepage
Serendipitous Event Leading to Rosemary Exploration
I am an avid follower of some of the pioneers in natural medicine, such
as Dr. Mercola, and more recently, Dr. Eric Z. Recently, both of these health
warriors happened to visit my inbox via their articles on rosemary oil in quick
succession. (See the
links below.) Whenever something like
this happens, I pay attention to it. I feel it could be a prodding to explore
deeper on a subject and share what I learn with my readers. As it so happened,
I found that this popular oil was, in fact, missing from my essential oil database!
(I do; however, at least reference it for brain health here).
So, as with any blog or article on essential oils, I went through all the
references listed at the end. I do this in order to dig deeper into my
understanding and improve my clinical expertise with these precious secondary metabolites.
I found some great studies and did some more research myself.
One thing that can get confusing with essential oils blogs is when
references to studies are on the extracts of the herb verses the essential oil,
which may have different active constituents. I have been caught in this
mistake a few times myself. Therefore, these blogs will continue to focus on
the oil itself.
Another prod for me to dig into rosemary oil happened just a few hours
prior to my writing this. It was an article in Science Daily. It reported on a study that showed reversal of
Alzheimer's disease in 10 subjects! The treatment was personalized medicine
that consisted of a "complex, 36-point therapeutic personalized program that
involves comprehensive changes in diet, brain stimulation, exercise,
optimization of sleep, specific pharmaceuticals and vitamins, and multiple
additional steps that affect brain chemistry."
The connection was strengthened. We know that essential oils have a
profound effect on the brain, which you can read more about here and here. I then remembered a 2009 study in Psychogeriatrics
which demonstrated how aromatherapy can help those who need brain support, and
it used rosemary as one of the oils in the trial.
The abstract from the full study reads:
OBJECTIVE: Recently, the importance of non-pharmacological therapies for dementia
has come to the fore. In the present study, we examined the curative effects of
aromatherapy in dementia in 28 elderly people, 17 of whom had Alzheimer's
METHODS: After a control period of 28 days, aromatherapy was performed over the
following 28 days, with a wash out period of another 28 days. Aromatherapy
consisted of the use of rosemary and lemon essential oils in the morning, and
lavender and orange in the evening. To determine the effects of aromatherapy,
patients were evaluated using the Japanese version of the Gottfries, Brane,
Steen scale (GBSS-J), Functional Assessment Staging of Alzheimer's disease
(FAST), a revised version of Hasegawa's Dementia Scale (HDS-R), and the Touch
Panel-type Dementia Assessment Scale (TDAS) four times: before the control
period, after the control period, after aromatherapy, and after the washout
RESULTS: All patients showed significant improvement in personal orientation
related to cognitive function on both the GBSS-J and TDAS after therapy. In
particular, patients with AD showed significant improvement in total TDAS
scores. Result of routine laboratory tests showed no significant changes,
suggesting that there were no side-effects associated with the use of
aromatherapy. Results from Zarit's score showed no significant changes,
suggesting that caregivers had no effect on the improved patient scores seen in
the other tests.
CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, we found aromatherapy an efficacious non-pharmacological
therapy for dementia. Aromatherapy may have some potential for improving
cognitive function, especially in AD patients.
Thought from Dr. Sarah
I have seen profound effects with integrating aromatherapy and essential
oils in my practice. This holds true in all areas of wellness and in those who
complain of memory issues and mood imbalances. I find diffusing, inhalation,
and topical applications particularly effective for brain support, as the sense
of smell is powerful for emotions and cognition.
Here's a link to a
previous blog with some applications on using essential oils for emotions and
brain health. (Note, make sure you read the labels to determine which oils are
safe for ingestion).
Pre and post testing show reversal of memory loss from Alzheimer's
disease in 10 patients. Science Daily. June 16, 2016. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160616071933.htm
Dr. Eric Z. 4
Rosemary Essential Oil Benefits and Uses. http://drericz.com/4-rosemary-essential-oil-benefits-and-uses/
Refreshing Rosemary. http://articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/rosemary-oil.aspx
Kimura Y, Tangiguchi M, Inoue M, Urakami K.
Effect of aromatherapy on patients with Alzheimer's disease. Psychogeriatrics. 2009; 9: 173-179.
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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."