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Louise had really been through some serious life trials – a history of disordered eating, multiple psychiatric hospitalizations, 5 psychotropic’s for 15 years, and an extremely challenging taper process. We had resolved any diagnostic trace of Grave’s Disease, moved her through a beautiful pregnancy, and homebirth, breastfeeding, and yet, it was hard for her to feel – truly feel – the magnitude of healing that had taken place. To embrace what it means to no longer be a patient – not an endocrine patient, not a psychiatric patient, not an obstetrical patient… to simply be herself.
Surrendering the status of patient
One would think that being released from the patient role would feel like getting out of jail. But what if when the jail cell is open, you don’t want to leave? In psychology, this is called learned helplessness: a kind of beating down of any sense of personal power that creates incapacity to change one’s circumstances.
This learned helplessness is what the conventional medical system can do to an unsuspecting consumer. It can give you a label – one that actually feels good to receive because it seemingly validates your felt experience of suffering and struggle – and then you become that label. I suffer from general anxiety disorder, I have ADD, ADHD, I’m bipolar, I am on the Asperger’s Spectrum, I am a diabetic, etc.
And you don’t know who you are without this label, without the routine of appointments and prescriptions, without the social currency of your health complaints, and without worrying about your wellbeing. Sometimes, this state of being just feels too familiar to imagine moving beyond… like an itchy wool sweater that you’ve gotten used to and would rather not brave the cold without.
What does it mean to no longer be sick?
What it means is that suffering has taken on personal meaning. Almost the moment that it does, it paradoxically ceases to be suffering. Symptoms stop being a problem and start being an opportunity to learn more about this wondrous vessel your consciousness inhabits… Your Body!
But is it really your body? Did you make it? As Michael Singer would say, “Go ahead – make an eyeball…I’m waiting!” Or as Alan Watts would say, “You don’t have to think about how to work your thyroid gland, it just happens.” And you are there simply to be with this happening. .. to support it and allow for it?
It is your body’s process; the depth, timing, and mystery of it is not for you to command.
And like a child having a tantrum, it’s only when you make a practice of really seeing them, hearing them, and honouring them that the tantrums stop and the harmonious dance of mother-child begins. Similarly, it’s only when you stop fighting, domineering, and dictating the conditional terms of acceptance to your body – when you finally stop and you make a truce – then the deep healing begins.
Is your inner control freak at the wheel?
Having been on both the patient and the clinician end, I now find that a lot of the testing, supplementation, and general high-level management of integrative and functional medicine can keep patients stuck in the fighting and commanding posture, lording over their body machine.
How about a new probiotic for the less-than-perfect poops, or more pau d’arco to kill the yeast, or perhaps extra l-theanine for the possibility that I might not fall immediately asleep tonight. Do your thoughts ever sound like that? Of course, there is nothing inherently wrong with supplements or natural approaches – the point is that the intentionality and the mindset matter. Are you looking to fight a symptom or support the response that it represents?
Stopping this fight entails relinquishing the need to micromanage your body’s expressions, getting to a point where you say – wow, I hear you Body…I’m finally listening. I promise to honour you every day and to trust that you know exactly what you’re doing.
This receptive energetic posture is how you create the conditions for healing. This is how your Body shows you, in the present, that there is something that has yet to be resolved. And only when we listen with curiosity will we be intuitively led to exactly what that is – from a toxic exposure to a buried traumatic memory. No fancy testing required.
First things first – the reunion with the Body
Saying no and setting boundaries is hard. In a people-pleasing social fabric, we are very uncomfortable with the possibility that someone might not like us if we do. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that boundaries set us free.
That lines create the empty spaces that we release into. So, before letting go of the Body steering wheel, before understanding that it’s not really your Body to manage, and before bowing to it every day – you have to reunite with this Body. You have to learn what it is to care for your Body even when your mind is trying to tell you that you don’t have time, that it’s not necessary, and that self-care is a precious fad.
I believe in fierce grace.
And the fierce part comes first, in the form of commitment to a higher level of care – Body, mind and spirit – than most of us are comfortable with. Through this ritual – in the case of my patients and Vital Mind Reset participants, a month-long ritual – you send your body a very different signal… a signal that informs a truce. You say, I will prioritize caring for you – nourishing, cleansing, and generally honouring you. And this gesture – even if you don’t even feel it authentically from the start – incites a response.
The Body responds with the dissolution of symptoms and early indications that it is, in fact, listening, and that a conversation has begun. But there is a point at which you understand the cosmic hierarchy, and then you bow down to its wisdom and give your Body permission to do its thing, its way. And then your Body shows you where the journey is taking you. A clear Body feels intuitively what is right and what is wrong. And as long as the mind is receptive and not reactive, then there are no longer any mental decisions to make. It all becomes a happening.
The tyranny of perfect health and happiness
The goal cannot and should not be perfect health and happiness. Why not? Because these goals imply that the process of Body truce and honour is simply a means to an outcome that is ever receding into the future. But we are here, right now, having a real embodied experience of this lifetime. It is rich with strangeness and wonder, and if you are courageous enough, it will be peppered with mystical opportunities to grow and to look deeper into the hurt places that need attention, love, and care…and you won’t call them problem symptoms any longer. You’ll call them invitations to finally, truly be yourself.
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Second it had to be easy… as close to “done for you” as possible so you never have to feel anxious about what to do… what the next “step” is or if you’re “doing it right”.
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Weight Loss Lifestyle Tips
Are you finally ready to shed those unwanted pounds, but you aren’t sure where to start? There are so many questions that should be answered when it comes to finding the best way to reach your weight loss goals. Wading through the abundance of information available can become confusing to say the least. These weight loss lifestyle tips can help.
Please Note: The following ingredients research is not company
supplied but based upon my own independent Google research, you are welcome to
do your own research.
If you decide to
try using herbal stress relief, it is important to be consistent and use the
chosen herbs for some time. They are usually quite gentle in action on the body
and need to be used regularly for you to see the results.
The Thrive Rest Sublingual Gel Technology
the Latin for “under the tongue”, refers to the pharmacological route
of administration by which substances diffuse into the blood through tissues
under the tongue.
When a chemical
comes in contact with the mucous membrane beneath the tongue, it is absorbed.
Because the connective tissue beneath the epithelium contains a profusion of
capillaries, the substance then diffuses into them and enters the venous circulation.
In contrast, substances absorbed in the intestines are subject to
“first-pass metabolism” in the liver before entering the general
L-Tryptophan is an
all-natural dietary supplement commonly used to counter insomnia, as well as
depression, anxiety and premenstrual syndrome.
Tryptophan is an amino
acid that interacts with those brain chemicals important to sleep and the
timing of your biological clock’s sleep-wake cycle. Tryptophan increases
serotonin, which also increases melatonin, both neuro-transmitters in your
brain’s pineal gland. These neural “gateways” regulate sleep and mood chemicals
that affect sleep and mood balance.
When either serotonin or
melatonin is disrupted you can suffer insomnia and depression symptoms.
Tryptophan supplements provide extra doses of sleep inducing amino acids that
reportedly help counter sleep disturbances.
One of the most useful
benefits Tryptophan for anxiety provides is mood regulation, through the
production of the neurotransmitter Serotonin. Supplementing with L-Tryptophan
and its by-product 5-HTP may improve mood and relieve stress.
L-Tryptophan is converted into 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) and other
metabolites in the liver. 5-HTP, which is also available as a mood supplement,
travels through the blood stream to the brain. Once there, it is able to cross
the blood-brain barrier.
In the brain, 5-HTP is
converted into Serotonin, the neurotransmitter most commonly associated with
the regulation of mood.
In addition to the role it
plays in regulating mood, Serotonin is also converted into the hormone
Melatonin. Melatonin is a sleep-regulating neurotransmitter that controls the
sleep/wake cycle (circadian rhythm).
During the day, the brain
produces more Serotonin, and Melatonin production is very low. When light
levels drop at dusk, Serotonin is converted more readily into Melatonin, and
levels rise in the body.
Melatonin helps you stay
asleep throughout the night and wake feeling rested. This may help to control
anxious thoughts during the day.
What is it?
Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) is a chemical made in the brain and often taken
as a supplement to relieve anxiety, improve mood, reduce PMS symptoms, and
treat symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
According to recent sleep
studies, GABA levels are up to 30% lower in people suffering from insomnia.
Similarly, GABA levels are also lower in patients with depression or mood
acid) is a naturally occurring chemical compound produced in your brain, and,
according to a recent study, helps to relax your body as well as your mind.
“After 60 minutes of administration,” the clinical trials abstract reads,
“GABA significantly increases alpha waves and decreases beta waves
compared to water or L-theanine. These findings denote that GABA not only
induces relaxation but also reduces anxiety.”
GABA is a highly important
element in the brain. Essentially, it plays a key role in regulating the
depressive neuro-activity in the human brain. In other words, it’s responsible
for helping your mind switch from “work mode” to “relaxation mode”. It also plays
a role in sedative change in the brain, which is the key to falling asleep at
How GABA helps reduce
stress: GABA, in supplement form, is used for its relaxation-inducing effects,
and to help relieve stress. It has also been shown to help improve mood, which
can also lead to less stress in the future. Essentially, it works by blocking
brain signals that incite anxiety and stressful feelings, allowing the brain to
remain calm and inducing relaxation. -Source: http://top10supplements.com/best-supplements-for-stress-relief/
Skullcap herb is an
amazing plant for stress, tension, anxiety, nervousness and panic attacks. If I
were pressed to simply list one application for skullcap it would be its
ability to relieve stress and anxiety. It works well in acute situations and
can be taken over time to decrease chronic stress (along with lifestyle
modifications of course).
It works well for acute
and sudden onset anxiety or panic attacks. For people susceptible to sudden
onset anxiety or panic attacks, fresh skullcap tincture can be kept on them at
Experienced herbal medic,
Sam Coffman, shares his reliance on skullcap herb for shock-related anxiety.
spp.) and Passionflower are two that have never failed me as a formula to help
someone cope quickly with shock-related anxiety. – Sam Coffman, Plant Healer Magazine 11
Not just for acute cases,
skullcap can be taken over time as a nerve tonic to support nervous system
health in people who have been through prolonged periods of stress and feel
like their nerves are constantly on edge.
Studies showed that
American skullcap has antioxidant properties that may help protect against
Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, anxiety and depression.6
capabilities were also linked to increased antioxidant activity in the liver,
considered to be one of the slowest-recovering organs. The herb boosts the
liver’s efficiency, helping with reduction of toxin levels in the body and
blood, and consequently enhancing well-being. Furthermore, other properties
discovered in American skullcap include:7,8
• Sedative: American
skullcap is a known nervine, and it has potential as treatment for epilepsy, hysteria,
panic attacks, anxiety and delirium tremens. Meanwhile, people with sleep
problems can use American skullcap since it’s able to help induce sleep
naturally, without the negative effects of prescription drugs and
over-the-counter (OTC) sleep aids
• Antispasmodic: The herb
can help minimize throat infections, headaches from stress, neuralgia and
after-effects of incessant coughing. American skullcap can also be useful when
treating withdrawal symptoms from tranquilizers and barbiturates, and may even
benefit people with anorexia nervosa, fibromyalgia and mild Tourette’s syndrome
People with nervous
disorders who experienced seizures or other spasmodic side effects that
occurred from a problem in the nervous system may also utilize American
• Analgesic: This herb can
help with pain relief all throughout the body, as it can reduce inflammation
and deliver a major boost in wound healing and injury recovery
The Ayurvedic herb,
Ashwagandha supports healthy sleep by rejuvenating the body and addressing
stress-related exhaustion. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) has emerged as one
of the world’s most powerful adaptogen, which means it helps the adrenal system
regulate hormones and helps the body cope with stress. In fact, “somnifera” in
Latin literally means the “sleep inducer.”
Lowers Stress Hormones:
One of the well-understood pathways linked to sleep disturbance is the
overproduction of the stress hormone, cortisol. According to our circadian
clock, cortisol should naturally decrease in the early evening in preparation
for sleep. Stress can overrule these rhythms and cortisol can stay elevated
into the night and affect sleep success. Ashwagandha, in numerous studies, has
been shown to help control and limit the production of cortisol as a result of
Many people are ditching
over the counter sleep aids and trying the herbal supplement Ashwagandha for
sleep issues. We know that this plant-based medicinal has been used for
centuries in India to treat a number of conditions and disorders.
It has strong anti-oxidant
and anti-microbial properties, which it uses to protect cell health in the
brain and major organs.
Ashwagandha reduces stress
by cutting the amount of cortisol, a hormone commonly released by the body
during stressful situations. Cortisol triggers various stress reactions in the
body, or “fight or flight” reactions. It further cuts stress by reducing blood
pressure, and balancing blood sugar levels.
Ashwagandha quells anxious
thoughts and allows the mind to become calm. These anxiolytic effects are
achieved by activating signaling via GABA receptors. When these receptors are
activated, it results in feelings of calm and relaxation.
The central nervous system
is mildly sedated and a sense of peace may result. We think that this is the
key to the efficacy of taking Ashwagandha for sleep issues.
Research has shown that
there are measurable health benefits of engaging in a creative activity such as
stress reduction, reduction of feelings of anxiety or depression, improvements
in immune function, and improvements in your cognitive function are all
associated with creative pursuits.
The Role of Herbs in Supporting Our Creativity
There are many herbs and
supplements that are known to help boost creativity. These are commonly grouped
together and called nootropics. A nootropic substance is anything that enhances
our brain, especially in creativity, cognitive function, and memory.
Ashwagandha is one of
these powerful herbs. Ashwagandha is one of the most heavily studied adaptogens
there is. It is most known for its ability to reduce stress, but it has many
other health benefits as well!
Researchers reported that
it blocked the stress pathway in the brains of rats by regulating chemical
signalling in the nervous system. In human studies, the herb showed a 69%
reduction in anxiety and insomnia, compared to only 11% in the placebo group.
Ashwagandha can help your
focus and concentration, both of which are incredibly important when you’re
working on a creative project!
Here are 7 benefits women may experience with
1. Promotes Graceful Aging
Stress, both metabolic and
emotional, dramatically affects aging. Cortisol, the body’s stress hormone,
contributes to muscle loss and weakness, wrinkles, and cognitive impairment.
Research has found that Ashwagandha improves resistance to stress, possibly decreasing
cortisol production.  One study of 64 individuals observed a reduction in
stress and a significant decrease in cortisol levels in individuals taking Ashwagandha
compared with placebo.
2. Menopausal Support
Ashwagandha acts on the
endocrine system by encouraging hormone balance. A study involving 51
menopausal women supplementing with Ashwagandha noted a significant reduction
in symptoms such as hot flashes, anxiety, and mood. 
3. Sexual Potency (men and women)
The Kama Sutra, one of the
oldest surviving texts on human sexuality, mentions Ashwagandha in its
literature as a potent sexual stimulant for both men and women. Research
indicates that the herb supports sexual health and vitality by increasing blood
flow and reducing bodily tension. Women taking Ashwagandha typically experience
an increase in sexual desire and satisfaction.
4. Memory Support
Recent research has shown
that Ashwagandha reduces memory impairment in animal models. The herb may also
protect the brain from the oxidative stress that leads to neurodegeneration.
Relaxation, a benefit derived from the
herb’s stress-fighting effects, also improves long-term visual memory. 
Another benefit many women
report after taking this herb is in regards to energy levels. This anecdotal
evidence is supported by scientific investigation; a recent study reported Ashwagandha’s benefits for improving energy
while reducing stress-related disorders. 
6. Mood Booster
Ashwagandha is a known
mood-boosting herb, and research suggests that the therapeutic plant may play a potential role in fighting mood
imbalance.  Women battling mood swings may benefit from supplementing
Stress, illness, hormone
imbalance, and nutrient deficiencies — all of these issues threaten female
reproductive health and make it difficult for a woman to conceive. Research
shows that Ashwagandha supports thyroid function, an organ responsible for
regulating hormones.  Also, by decreasing stress, Ashwagandha may encourage
a situation that is optimal for fertility.  More research is needed to
clarify whether or not Ashwagandha is effective for helping infertile females
struggling to conceive.
Bacopa monnieri is an
herbal nootropic, a plant-based supplement that boosts brain power and reduces
anxiety naturally. Bacopa monnieri is one of the oldest and most well-respected
nootropic supplements. A traditional Ayurvedic medicine, sometimes referred to
as Brahmi, has centuries of history as a potent cognitive enhancer, stress
reliever, and brain protectant.
Bacopa monnieri is used to
improve memory formation and speed of recall, make learning faster and easier,
enhance clarity of thought, and augment overall brain function. It is also
believed to act as a brain protectant, and studies show that it has potential
as a treatment for dementia.
Bacopa has also been shown
to have significant anxiolytic or anti-anxiety effects, producing a feeling of
calmness and tranquility and reducing feelings of stress. Users report that it
is an excellent general relaxant and can improve the quality of sleep, so they
wake feeling rested and refreshed.
I recently read an
Ayurvedic weight loss protocol that included bacopa taken a few times a day to
reduce nervous food cravings. The kind of sleepiness that a high dose of bacopa
induces is not a heavy, drugged feeling, but a feeling of deep peace and calm
in keeping with its respected Ayurvedic mental and soul-calming properties.
Bacopa is an ideal herb to
give not only to induce sleep, but for staying asleep through the night.
What is it? Valerian is an
herb commonly used to treat insomnia, anxiety, and stress. Although it’s
considered safe for most adults, the effects of long-term use are unknown.
Short-term side effects include headaches and sluggishness in the morning,
especially if taken at higher doses.
Does it work? Early
research indicates it could be helpful in reducing blood pressure, heart rate,
and feelings of pressure when under stress.
Some herbal supplements
reduce anxiety without making you sleepy (such as L-theanine), while others are
sedatives. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is squarely in the second category.
It is a sleep aid, for insomnia. It contains sedative compounds; the German government
has approved it as a treatment for sleep problems.
Valerian smells kind of
nasty, so most people take it as a capsule or tincture, rather than a tea. If
you want to try it, take it in the evening—not before you go to work! Valerian
is often combined with other sedative herbs such as hops, chamomile, and lemon
Valerian is a very
helpful form of herbal stress relief if you suffer from tension and anxiety, or
have a tendency to get easily over-excited and/or hysterical. It is very
calming but is unlikely to make you sleepy (although I wouldn’t suggest taking
large quantities and then driving) and you can use it without any worries about
getting addicted to it. If you have trouble sleeping, try taking valerian an
hour or so before you go to bed. If your body gets so tense that you experience
pain, taking valerian can help to relieve the discomfort. –Source:
Studies have shown that
passionflower lowers anxiety in mice, but only one study has been carried out
in humans, according to Lenz. That randomized, placebo-controlled study was
done in 2001 in patients with general anxiety disorder, and found that 45 drops
of liquid passionflower daily was as effective in treating the disorder as the
drug oxazepam. Still, more research on its safety and effectiveness is needed,
Lenz wrote in his study.
Passion flower is
extremely useful if you suffer from long term insomnia. It can be taken over a
long period of time. It helps you get to sleep, sleep well and wake up without
any of the heavy feeling of some sleeping tablets. It has a generally
tranquillizing effect. It can help to relieve restlessness, irritability,
nervous stress and anxiety and can also be used where great tension is causing
spasms in the body as it is also an antispasmodic. -Source: http://www.family-stress-relief-guide.com/herbal-stress-relief.html
According to the National
Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), more research is
needed to assess the potential uses of P. incarnata. Some studies suggest it
may help relieve anxiety and insomnia. Other species of passionflower have
shown promise for treating stomach problems.
P. incarnata has many
common names, including purple passionflower and maypop. Early studies suggest
it might help relieve insomnia and anxiety. It appears to boost the level of
gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in your brain. This compound lowers brain
activity, which may help you relax and sleep better.
In a trial published in
Phytotherapy Research, participants drank a daily dose of herbal tea with
purple passionflower. After seven days, they reported improvements in the
quality of their sleep. The researchers suggest that purple passionflower may
help adults manage mild sleep irregularities.
Some trials suggest that
purple passionflower may also relieve anxiety. A study reported in the journal
Anesthesia and Analgesia examined its effects on patients scheduled for surgery.
Patients who consumed it reported less anxiety than those who received a
There are many passion
flower benefits — it may help reduce and possibly eliminate insomnia, anxiety,
inflammation from skin irritations and burns, menopause, ADHD and even more
serious conditions such as seizures, high blood pressure and asthma, just to
name a few.
Studies have shown that
passion flower may be just as effective as synthetic drugs for generalized
anxiety disorder (GAD)! (1) It’s common to see passion flower combined with
other calming herbs such as valerian root and lemon balm, chamomile, hops, kava
May Help Reduce the Effects of Menopause, Including
Hot Flashes & Depression
Menopause is associated
with feeling of anxiety and depression, which is often caused by low levels of
amma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is a chemical in the brain. Hormone
therapy that relies on modern medicine can create a lot of unwanted side
effects. Studies have been conducted that show that passion flower can treat
menopausal symptoms such as vasomotor signs (hot flashes and night sweats),
insomnia, depression, anger, headaches, and may be a great alternative to conventional
hormone therapy. (3)
Passion flower may be
helpful in reducing anxiety and has long been known as a folk remedy. It’s
believed that certain compounds found in passion flower may interact with some
receptors in the brain provoking relaxation. Because passion increases GABA,
the activity of some brain cells that may be causing anxiety is lowered and
makes you feel more relaxed. Studies suggest that passion flower extracts may
even have mild anti-inflammatory and anti-seizure benefits. (4)
A study was performed for
four weeks on 36 out-patients that were diagnosed with generalized anxiety
disorder (GAD). The results indicated that passion flower extract was an
effective treatment for managing the anxiety and did not negatively affect job
performance unlike the synthetic therapy. (1) Another study involving children
showed that nervousness was reduced after the use of the combined plant
extracts to include passion flower, St. John’s Wort and valerian root. (9, 10)
Hops work as a central nervous system relaxant. This makes them a very
helpful form of herbal stress relief if you suffer from insomnia and the stress
states caused by not getting enough sleep. Hops help to relieve tension and
anxiety and are helpful in reducing restlessness.
Hops have a strong muscle relaxing effect so if being stressed gives you
headaches, indigestion, stomach pains, palpitations or a nervous cough, then
taking hops, especially in the form of a tincture, could prove very helpful for
Effects of a hops (Humulus lupulus L.) dry extract supplement on
self-reported depression, anxiety and stress levels in apparently healthy young
adults: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover pilot study.
OBJECTIVE: The Humulus lupulus L. plant (hops) is used as a herbal
medicinal product for anxiety/mood disorders. Our aim was to study the effects
of a hops dry extract on self-reported, anxiety and stress levels in young
DESIGN: Apparently healthy young adults from our university completed
the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21) and those reporting at least
mild depression, anxiety and stress were invited to complete the study intervention.
This followed a randomized (1:1), placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover design
with two 4-week intervention periods (hops or placebo; two 0.2 gr capsules once
daily) separated by a 2-week wash-out.
Anthropometric measurements, DASS-21 assessments and measurements of
morning cortisol plasma levels were performed at the beginning and the end of
the 4-week treatment periods.
RESULTS: 36 participants (Females/Males: 31/5; age: 24.7±0.5 years)
completed the study intervention (attrition: 6/42). No significant changes in
body weight and composition or morning circulating cortisol were noted with the
hops or placebo.
Significantly decreased DASS-21 anxiety, depression and stress scores
were documented with hops (9.2±7.3 vs. 5.1±5.9, 11.9±7.9 vs. 9.2±7.4, and
19.1±8.1 vs. 11.6±8.1; all p values <0.05), which were significantly greater
compared to those caused by the placebo (all p values <0.05).
CONCLUSION: In otherwise healthy young adults reporting at least mild
depression, anxiety and stress symptoms, daily supplementation with a hops dry
extract can significantly improve all these symptoms over a 4-week period.
These beneficial effects agree with the indication of hops for anxiety/mood
disorders and restlessness, as approved by the German Commission E.
Anybody that enjoys a glass or two of rich, hoppy beer will be familiar
with the way that the tension seems to ease from your body. While alcohol may well
have something to do with this, hops themselves may also play a part.
Hops have been traditionally used for their sedative abilities and may
help to ease feelings of anxiety and stress.
Several studies have demonstrated that hops have sedative effects on the
body’s nervous system (1)
It is believed to work because it modulates the GABA receptors in the
brain. Studies have also shown that hops are more effective as a sedative when
used in combination with valerian. (2)
FOR IMPROVED SLEEP
There is a growing body of scientific evidence that hops could help
people improve their quality of sleep and even help treat sleep conditions like
Hops have traditionally been used to help with sleep issues and several
studies have analysed its effectiveness as a sleep aid. Several studies have
found that hops were effective in promoting sleep in combination with another
herb – valerian. (3)
A study published in 2012 set out to examine the effects of hops in
female nurses chosen because of their stressful jobs and their poor sleep
The study found that the participants who drank non-alcoholic beer
containing hops experienced a much-improved quality of sleep compared with the
control group. (4)
Studies have found that hops have chemicals that act like estrogen.
These chemicals may help relieve some of the symptoms of hormonal changes which
occur because of menopause.
A study done on 100 postmenopausal women found that a vaginal gel using
hops as one of the major ingredients reduced dryness in the vagina. It also
helped relieve painful intercourse, burning, itching, and vaginal inflammation.
One study published in 2006 examined the effects of a phytoestrogen
extracted from hops (8-prenylnaringenin) on menopausal discomfort.
The results of the study indicated that a daily intake of hop extract
had beneficial effects on many of the discomforts associated with menopause
including hot flashes. (5)
TO RELAX THE MUSCLES
Hops can also be used alone or in combination with valerian to help relax
your overly stressed muscles, ease stiff joints and prevent spasms and
According to experts when these herbs are used in combination, they are
even more effective than when used alone.
Recent research carried out in China suggests that xanthohumol – a
compound found in hops may help protect the brain’s cells from oxidative
According to the researchers, this type of oxidative stress can lead to
degenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers at Lanzhou university concluded that xanthohumol may
protect the brain from damage and reduce the risk of various brain disorders.
A study published in 2012 reported that the flavonoid – xanthohumol –
extracted from hops helped reduce body weight and fasting glucose levels in
The researchers also concluded that the results demonstrated the extract
may have a beneficial effect on some of the symptoms of metabolic syndrome. (8)
Another potential benefit of the xanthohumol found in hops is the effect
it may have on heart health. A study published in 2012 found that it possessed
powerful antiplatelet activity. The researchers concluded it may have a role to
play in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. (9)
Chamomile is a
mild relaxant and sedative. A cup of chamomile tea before bed can help you to
fall asleep easily and sleep well. Like lemon balm, it also has anti-spasmodic
properties. This is a wonderful tea for children. It can be slightly bitter so
sweeten it with a little honey if you like. -Source:
Recent clinical and laboratory research has
determined that chamomile is not only relaxing, but it can significantly
decrease anxiety and even fight depression.
The most recent study, from the UK’s
University of Nottingham Medical School, found that chamomile significantly
relaxed blood vessels and smooth muscle fibers. This effect was indicated
specifically with the application of three of chamomile’s central constituents,
apigenin, luteolin and bisabolol – all hydroxylates.
The fact that chamomile is an anti-anxiety and
anti-depression herb was cemented by a clinical study at the University of
Pennsylvania School of Medicine. This study was done in 2009, but its data and
findings were re-investigated and confirmed last year.
The researchers enlisted 19 people diagnosed
with anxiety with depression, along with 16 people who were diagnosed as having
a history of anxiety and depression. These groups were studied along with a
control group of 22 people who had no anxiety or depression – past or present.
The study was randomized, double-blind and
placebo-controlled. The researchers gave the subjects either 220 milligrams of
chamomile extract (standardized to 1.2% apigenin) or a placebo study, both in
The researchers found that 57% of the group
using the chamomile extract had significantly reduced (greater than 50%)
anxiety scores using the HAM-A system.
A study (RCT) on 80 postnatal women with poor
sleep quality showed that drinking chamomile tea significantly improved in
sleep quality after 2 weeks [R].
Another study (RCT) involving 80 elderly
people over 60 yielded similar results. After 4 weeks of oral consumption of
chamomile extract, the participants improved their sleep quality [R].
Chamomile Reduces Anxiety And Depression
Chamomile can be used as a treatment for
patients with generalized anxiety disorder by reducing depression,
restlessness, and constant worrying.
Several studies (RCT) concluded that long-term
chamomile consumption reduces generalized anxiety disorder symptoms without
significant side effects [R, R].
Furthermore, a study has revealed that
aromatherapy with Roman chamomile oil over a 2-week period reduced
depressive-like behaviors in rats [R].
Chamomile Rids Parasites In The Gut
A cell-based study showed that chamomile
extracts exhibit anti-parasitic activity against Haemonchus contortus.
Chamomile inhibited egg hatching and led to worm paralysis and/or death even at
low concentrations [R].
Anisakiasis is a parasitic disease caused by
the presence of worms from the Anisakis genus in the gut. This disease is
usually contracted through consumption of raw or undercooked fish. Symptoms of
anisakiasis include vomiting, nausea, stomach pain, and diarrhea.
An animal study concluded that chamomile
essential oil can treat anisakiasis by producing damage to the parasite’s
muscular and digestive systems, and ultimately killing, the worms [R].
Considered to be one of the most ancient and
versatile medicinal herbs known to mankind, dried chamomile flowers have
numerous, widespread health implications thanks to their high level of
disease-fighting antioxidants like terpenoids and flavonoids.
Chamomile’s vital antioxidants are found in
the plant’s potent oils and are the main contributors to its natural healing
properties. As an effective alternative medicine with almost no known negative
side effects, chamomile has been used for nearly 5,000 years in standardized
tea, herbal extract and cosmetic forms to promote tranquility, vitality, a
youthful appearance and longevity.
1. High Source of Antioxidants
The main antioxidant components extracted from
chamomile flowers are the terpenoid group of antioxidants, including
chamazulene and acetylene derivatives. Because these delicate compounds are
unstable, they’re thought to be best preserved in an alcoholic tincture or
“essential oil” form. Other major constituents of the flowers include several
phenolic compounds, primarily the flavonoids, including apigenin, quercetin,
patuletin as well as various glucosides. (1, 2, 3)
These compounds lower inflammation by fighting
free radical damage and preventing cell mutation. Chamomile benefits start with
antioxidants that are associated with better immune function; lower rates of
mood disorders; reduced pain and swelling; and healthier skin, hair, nails,
teeth and eyes.
2. Fights Anxiety and Depression
Chamomile, whether in tea, tincture or
essential oil form, is one the best medicinal herbs for fighting stress and
promoting relaxation, according to research from Alternative Therapies in
Health and Medicine and Pharmacognosy Review. (4, 5) Inhaling chamomile vapours
using chamomile essential oils is often recommended as a natural remedy for
anxiety and general depression, which is one reason why chamomile oil is a
popular ingredient in many candles, aromatherapy products and bath-soaking
In extract form, chamomile is frequently used
as a mild sedative to calm nerves and reduce anxiety because its vapours travel
directly to the olfactory part of the brain, turning off tension and reducing
the body’s stress response. This is why practitioners use chamomile to
effectively relieve symptoms of chronic anxiety and stress, including hysteria,
nightmares, insomnia and various digestive problems. (6)
Smells are carried directly to the brain, and
they serve as an emotional trigger. The limbic system evaluates the sensory
stimuli, registering pleasure, pain, danger or safety; this then directs our
emotional response, such as feelings of fear, anger and attraction.
Our basic emotions and hormonal balance are in
response to the most basic smell. Scents are a direct pathway to memory and
emotion. Fragrances, like chamomile, relieve pain and generally affect personality
and behaviour. Research proves that using oil fragrances is one of the fastest
ways to achieve psychological results.
What is it? A hormone
produced by the brain’s pineal gland, melatonin helps control sleep cycles.
Because sleep and mood are closely connected, supplementing with melatonin can
alleviate stress. It’s considered safe, but can cause side effects like
headaches, short-term feelings of depression, dizziness, and irritability.
Does it work? Early
research indicates it could be helpful in reducing blood pressure, heart rate,
and feelings of pressure when under stress.
Generally, people use
Melatonin supplements to help with sleep disorders, such as primary insomnia.
It also used for a variety of health conditions that include bipolar disorder,
dementia, depression, endometriosis and anxiety.
Melatonin is a hormone
made by the brain to regulate sleep cycles, but it can also play a role in mood
and anxiety. It helps to control the level of stimulation and activity
experienced by the body, and demonstrates anxiolytic effects.
If you have anxiety,
melatonin may help make it easier to fall asleep at night, since insomnia is a
common side effect of this mood disorder. It can also improve depression
symptoms in patients with both anxiety and depression.
Melatonin was introduced
to the United States in 1992 as a “sleep hormone.”
While some find melatonin
helps restore restful sleep, scientists are finding far more consistent
applications for melatonin in the area of brain protection.
New discoveries are
validating melatonin’s ability to guard the brain from oxidative stress and the
neurodegeneration that occurs as a result of aging and environmental factors.1
With this research, melatonin deserves the title of “brain hormone.”
increasingly finding that the age-related decline in melatonin levels may be
one factor for the age-related increase in neurodegenerative diseases.2-4 In
fact, some symptoms of melatonin deficiency are seen in patients with
Alzheimer’s, such as disruption of day/night patterns, mood changes, and
with melatonin in middle age and beyond has been shown to protect against
Alzheimer’s as well as reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease, shrink the size
of the infarct area involved in a stroke, and minimize the brain swelling and
dysfunction following a head injury. 2,6-13
As if this were not
enough, research is also finding that in lab studies melatonin can play a role
in longevity by increasing the “longevity protein” SIRT1.14,15 Clearly,
melatonin’s beneficial properties extend far beyond sleep.
Melatonin as a natural
occurring free radical scavenger and an inducer of antioxidant enzymes has been
well documented in thousands of publications within the last decade. Melatonin
is no longer exclusively classified as a neurohormone since melatonin has been
identified in bacteria, fungi, algae and plants.
endogenously-produced melatonin is no longer the only source in the body since
melatonin is also derived from the diet when vegetables, fruits, cereals,
herbs, olive oil, wine or beer are consumed.
characteristic of melatonin is its permeability into the brain. It readily
passes through the blood-brain-barrier and accumulates in the central nervous
system at substantially higher levels than exist in the blood. As a result,
this molecule exhibits strong neuroprotective effects, especially under the
conditions of elevated oxidative stress or intensive neural inflammation.
There’s been a resurgence
of interest in the anxiety-relieving powers of L-theanine, an amino acid found
in green tea.
Discoveries over the past
two years have uncovered exciting additional properties of this nutrient best
known for inducing calming, tranquilizing effects while simultaneously
anxiety in large part because it bears a close resemblance to the brain-signalling
chemical glutamate. L-theanine produces the opposite effect in the brain.
While glutamate is the
brain’s most important excitatory neurotransmitter, L-theanine binds to the
same brain cell receptors and blocks them to glutamate’s effects. This action
produces inhibitory effects. That inhibition to brain overactivity has a
calming, relaxing effect in which anxiety fades.
In addition to blocking
excitatory stimuli at glutamate receptors in the brain, L-theanine also
stimulates production of the inhibitory, relaxing neurotransmitter GABA, adding
to its calming, anti-anxiety effects.
anti-anxiety drugs, however, some of which mimic GABA’s effects, L-theanine
produces its anti-anxiety effects without producing sleepiness or impairing motor
behaviour. In fact, L-theanine has been shown in human studies to moderately
improve alertness and attention while exerting its anxiety-reducing effects.
Of particular interest are
studies showing that L-theanine supplementation prevents the abrupt rise in
blood pressure that some people experience under stress. The reason this is so
critical is that many people have normal blood pressure readings at rest that
spike up to dangerously high levels when subjected to stressful situations.
There’s a link between
anxiety, reaction to stress, and the brain’s most fundamental function,
maintaining cognition. Studies over the past two years suggest a potential role
for L-theanine in supporting cognitive function and preventing its loss.
How L-theanine helps
reduce stress: Primarily, L-theanine helps to relax the body and mind, without
having sedative effects. So, it’s a great way to help manage stress, and you
can use it during the day because it won’t cause drowsiness.
Theanine supplements may
also help to reduce the perception of stress and help you stay in a more
positive mindset. Theanine has also been shown to work synergistically with
other supplements, including caffeine. Research has shown a combination of
200mg of theanine with 200mg of caffeine promotes significant improvements in
cognition and attention.
Many people consider
L-theanine a way to “take the edge off”, so to speak. Particularly when used in
combination with stimulants, like caffeine, the relaxing-but-not-sedative
effects of L-theanine really come into play.
Also, while most people
drink caffeine on a daily basis, few people know that coffee and caffeinated
beverages can actually worsen anxiety and stress symptoms. But when combined
with L-theanine, you shouldn’t experience any negative effect from the
caffeine, and you can still enjoy that helpful pick-me-up from a cup of coffee,
combined with the calming effects of the amino acid supplement.
What You Need to Know about L-theanine to Sleep Better
at Night and Feel Relaxed during the Day.
What is L-theanine?
L-theanine is an amino
acid that is found in tea leaves. It was identified in tea by Japanese
scientists in 1949. While tea is the most common dietary source for L-theanine,
this compound is also found in some types of mushrooms. In foods, particularly
green tea, L-theanine is thought to be a source of umami, the savory, brothy
Scientists studying umami
flavor have made some interesting discoveries. Umami has been linked to
decreased risk for obesity. It may stimulate metabolism, and may boost sensations
of fullness and lengthen the time before hunger returns after eating.
There’s also evidence
suggesting that L-theanine, when consumed in tea, may change taste perception,
specifically diminishing the taste of bitterness in foods such as chocolate and
How L-theanine works…
relaxation and facilitates sleep by contributing to a number of changes in the
Boosts levels of GABA and
other calming brain chemicals. L-theanine elevates levels of GABA, as well as
serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals are known as neurotransmitters, and
they work in the brain to regulate emotions, mood, concentration, alertness,
and sleep, as well as appetite, energy, and other cognitive skills. Increasing
levels of these calming brain chemicals promotes relaxation and can help with
Lowers levels of
“excitatory” brain chemicals. At the same time it is increasing chemicals that
promote feelings of calm, L-theanine also reduces levels of chemicals in the
brain that are linked to stress and anxiety. This may also be a way that
L-theanine can protect brain cells against stress and age-related damage.
Enhances alpha brain
waves. Alpha brain waves are associated with a state of “wakeful relaxation.”
That’s the state of mind you experience when meditating, being creative, or
letting your mind wander in daydreaming. Alpha waves are also present during
REM sleep. L-theanine appears to trigger the release of alpha-waves, which
enhances relaxation, focus, and creativity.
One of the appealing
aspects of L-theanine is that it works to relax without sedating. That can make
L-theanine a good choice for people who are looking to enhance their “wakeful
relaxation,” without worrying about becoming sleepy and fatigued during the
Benefits of L-theanine
With its ability to
increase relaxation and lower stress, L-theanine can help in sleep in a number
of ways. L-theanine may help people fall asleep more quickly and easily at
bedtime, thanks to the relaxation boost it delivers. Research also shows
L-theanine can improve the quality of sleep—not by acting as a sedative, but by
lowering anxiety and promoting relaxation.
There’s evidence that
L-theanine may help improve sleep quality in children with attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A study examined the effects on the sleep of
boys ages 8-12, and found that the supplement worked safely and effectively to
improve the quality of their sleep, helping them to sleep more soundly.
Reducing stress and anxiety…
L-theanine is what’s known
as an anxiolytic—it works to reduce anxiety. Some anxiolytics, such as valerian
and hops, have sedative effects. L-theanine, on the other hand, promotes
relaxation and stress reduction without sedating. L-theanine can help foster a
state of calm, attentive wakefulness.
L-theanine has positive
effects on both the mental and physical symptoms of stress, including lowering
heart rate and blood pressure.
Research suggests that
L-theanine can help reduce anxiety in people with schizophrenia and
Enhancing attention, focus, memory and learning…
Under stress, the body
increases production of certain hormones, including cortisol and
corticosterone. These hormone changes inhibit some brain activity, including
memory formation and spatial learning. L-theanine helps to lower levels of the
stress hormone corticosterone, and avoid the interference with memory and
L-theanine may help boost
other cognitive skills. Research shows L-theanine can increase attention span
and reaction time in people who are prone to anxiety. It may help improve
accuracy—one study shows that taking L-theanine reduced the number of errors
made in a test of attention.
Sometimes, L-theanine is
used with caffeine to enhance cognitive skills. Studies show that combinations
of L-theanine and caffeine can improve attention span, enhance the ability to
process visual information, and increase accuracy when switching from one task
THRIVE products are all about nutritional support and enhancing
general health, wellness, weight management, fitness, mental acuity and mood
support. It is about bringing the body back into nutritional balance. For more
about Thrive Products for mood and better sleep go to: https://brainspahealth.le-vel.com/Products/THRIVE/SGTRest
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you use meet strict standards for public health protection.
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Alkalising can be a powerful way for us to support our cells so they can work at their best. A powerful way to accelerate healing in your body is to eat alkaline inducing whole foods. Alkalising foods can help to regulate our energy intake, assist our cardiovascular system and even how we metabolise proteins.
If you have a weight issue and/or suspect you may have a thyroid issue try having protein for breakfast instead of in the evening, this can make a huge difference.
What to Eliminate from Your Diet:
Additive loaded processed and fast foods.
Remove all foods containing refined flour and gluten including bread and other wheat products such as breakfast cereals and pasta. Gluten can cause gut problems like malabsorption syndrome and leaky gut syndrome.
Remove all dairy products from your diet. Try unsweetened almond, macadamia or coconut milk instead.
Avoid sugar, particularly refined sugars. Now I know this is a hard one because we are addicted to sugar but it is really important.
Avoid alcohol because it is loaded with sugar too. If you cannot live without it then cut it down to one or two glasses, once or twice a week.
What to add to your diet:
Eat whole foods… not processed or fast foods which are loaded with additives.
Try going to your local health food store and creating your own breakfast power mix with non-wheat, no-GMO cereals, nuts and fresh fruits.
Eat only pasture-raised, grass-fed animal meats that contain no hormones boosters and antibiotics.
Fish like wild-caught salmon and sardines.
Try unsweetened almond, macadamia or coconut milk instead of dairy milk especially if you suspect you maybe lactose intolerant. Actually you not lactose intolerant… you are an adult… milk is for infants (and preferably mother’s milk).
Organic cold-pressed coconut oil (anti-inflammatory) or pure organic extra virgin olive oil (not for cooking on high heat as it breaks down into carcinogens, use coconut oil instead as it has the highest heat threshold).
Eat lots of coniferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower.
Add beans (not baked beans as they have sugar in them) and eggs into your diet.
Introduce garlic and red onions to your evening meal.
Eat lots of watermelon (richest source of L-Citrulline) and other melons, cucumbers, onions, garlic and chick peas which also contain L-Citrulline. (Your kidneys change L-Citrulline into another amino acid called L-Arginine and a chemical called nitric oxide. These compounds are important to your heart and blood vessel health. They can also boost your immune system.
Natural food sources containing L-Arginine which include turkey (richest source), chicken, pork, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, spirulina (seaweed) and quinoa.
Include a high-quality pre and probiotic formula
Add an alkalizing booster powder containing Magnesium Carbonate, Citric Acid, Potassium Bicarbonate and bicarbonate of soda.
Supplement with high-quality nutritional supplements, they are more expensive but have a better absorption rate and less additives, and preferably look for the highest grade pharmaceutical-grade rather than the lower medical-grade or the lowest grade cosmetic or nutritional grade supplements (most commonly found on chemist and supermarket shelves).
Have protein smoothie for breakfast (PEA protein powder, chia seeds, mixed berries, bananas, strawberries, mangoes (skin and all) and other fresh seasonal fruits).
A Warning about Whey Protein Powders
Dr. Art Ayers, a former professor at Harvard University with a Ph. D. in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, had this to say about whey shakes:
“Avoid whey protein (a by-product of the dairy industry) as it may destabilize the gut microbiota by disrupting the gut flora. This is why it can facilitate weight gain or loss, since gut flora are involved in weight stability but at what cost. But whey shakes also have proteins that are partially digested to produce antimicrobial peptides and other factors that disrupt adult gut flora. I think that the whey shakes work temporarily, because they destabilize the gut microbiota that are providing part of the metabolic set point that helps the body to resist weight change from excess or insufficient dietary calories. Whey protein supplements contain peptides and hormones that may negatively impact human health.”
Dietary supplement ‘calcium caseinate’ is a protein that is obtained from casein present in skim and milk. Calcium caseinate, micellar casein, and milk casein isolate are the three types of casein proteins, out of which calcium caseinate is the lowest quality casein.
Calcium Caseinate does not contain pure casein but a highly processed variant of casein, called calcium caseinate. It cannot offer similar health benefits as offered by casein. Proteins that undergo heating (processing involves exposure to high heat) and various other chemical processes often lose many of the functional benefits. They are said to be denatured (different from their original, natural structure). Such proteins can prove to be harmful to your health.
Possible Side effects
Those that are lactose-intolerant may experience stomach pain and bloating (excess gas and pressure in stomach). They are at a higher risk for developing gastrointestinal problems. Excessive consumption of this supplement may result in heartburn, indigestion, etc.
Acid casein is treated with the chemical calcium hydroxide (alkali) to get calcium caseinate. Such chemical alkalies may curb and damage the nutrient-absorbing capacity of your digestive system.
Because it is exposed to high heat during processing, the caseinate becomes an ultra thermolyzed protein combined with MSG (a by-product of protein thermolyzation). Consumption of this protein may lead to headaches, chest pain, nausea, weakness, heart palpitations, etc. It is true that more research is needed to prove these facts. Most people experience short-term reactions to MSG that don’t require any treatment, but possibility of long-term effects cannot be completely denied. Dangers of MSG include brain damage, weight gain, obesity, liver inflammation, type 2 diabetes, etc. The MSG in disguise can trigger your allergies too.
It is difficult for the human stomach to digest the denatured protein completely. So, some undigested protein enters the colon. There, it is fermented by colonic bacteria. This results in formation of highly carcinogenic phenolic compounds that contribute to the growth of colonic tumours. Thus, ultra thermalised casein can increase the risk of colon cancer.
Researchers and doctors are of the opinion that casein peptides can seriously affect blood pressure levels during and after surgery.
It has been observed that casein products interfere with the adsorption of certain drugs which can eventually result in serious health issues.
Some people are allergic to casein and may have a life-threatening reaction.
Dr. Russell Blaylock M.D., has described in his book “Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills” that calcium and sodium caseinates as food additives always contain free glutamate. The review of this book is available on the American Nutrition Association’s Nutrition Digest, Volume 36, No. 4. Although MSG is not added to the supplement as an ingredient, it is formed during processing, and therefore, it may not be mentioned on the label. To be on the safe side, pregnant and breastfeeding women and those who are about to undergo a surgery should avoid taking calcium caseinate supplement.
It’s good to keep in mind though that fructose, in small amounts, has been in our diet for a very long time as a species and that we usually handle small amounts very well. The real damage is when the high sugar habit becomes chronic and is repeated day after day like consuming protein powders with a large Fructose component.
Here are a few known possible health issues:
Fructose can only be metabolized by the liver and can’t be used for energy by your body’s cells. It’s therefore not only completely useless for the body, but is also a toxin in high enough amount because the job of the liver is to get rid of it, mainly by transforming it into fat and sending that fat to our fat cells. Excess fructose damages the liver and leads to insulin resistance in the liver as well as fatty liver disease.
Fructose reacts with proteins and polyunsaturated fats in our bodies 7 times more than glucose. This reaction creates AGEs (advanced glycation end-products), which are compounds that create oxidative damage in our cells and ultimately lead or contribute to inflammation and a host of chronic diseases.
Fructose increases uric acid production, which, in excess, can cause gout, kidney stones and precipitate or aggravate hypertension.
While most of your body’s cells can’t use fructose as a source of energy, the bacteria in your gut can and excess fructose can create gut flora imbalances, promote bacterial overgrowth and promote the growth of pathogenic bacteria.
In part because of the damage done to the liver, chronic excess fructose causes dyslipidemia, which means that your blood lipid markers tend to shift towards numbers that indicate a risk for heart disease.
Fructose rapidly causes leptin resistance. Leptin is a hormone that controls appetite and metabolism to maintain a normal weight. Leptin resistant people tend to gain fat and become obese really easily.
Excess fructose alone can cause all the problems associated with the metabolic syndrome (diabetes, obesity, heart disease).
Cancer cells thrive and proliferate very well with fructose as their energy source.
Excess fructose also affects brain functioning, especially as it relates to appetite regulation. It has also been shown to impair memory in rats.