Offering a unique reference point on alternative medicine and complementary therapies.

Brain

Boost your Brain with Bacopa

Bacopa Monnieri, also known as Brahmi, is an Indian herb that is used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. It is thought to improve memory and mental function. Cosmetic companies are also using this herb in skin and hair products due to its potential antioxidant properties. This herb is traditionally used for memory and improving mental function. Bacopa is often included in many formulas, combined with other herbs that are used to improve memory and brain function. It has also shown promise as a nerve tonic for reducing anxiety. Brahmi is widely used in traditional Indian medicine as a nerve tonic. Bacopa is composed of many compounds such as phytosterols and flavonoids. It also contains many bacopasaponins such as bacoside and bacopasides which are thought to be responsible for improved mental function. Studies have found that bacopa prevents against DNA damage. A small number of animal studies have found that this herb can help in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and general cognitive function. Although these results are promising, further studies are required before any firm claims can be made. We hope you found this article about how to boost your brain with Bacopa useful. Please let us know by rating it...

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A Healthy Diet may Prevent Dementia

Doctors have written to the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, suggesting that persuading people to eat fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish and olive oil was “possibly the best strategy currently available”, in the battle against dementia. This is a very different treatment method than the usual advice of taking more medication. The group, which consists of doctors and health workers said that the prevention of dementia should be based on the benefits of a Mediterranean diet and not on questionable drugs. Last week brought together dementia experts from G8 countries in London.  Worryingly, according to a recent report the number of people living with the condition is expected to triple worldwide to around 135 million. There is at present an increasing number of prescriptions of anti-pyschotic medications written in the UK, with many possibly the result of mis-diagnosis. The letter also states that encouraging people to eat a healthier diet could have a greater impact in the battle to reduce the rates of dementia than the “dubious benefits of most drugs”. London cardiologist, Dr Aseem Malhotra said, “The evidence base for the Mediterranean diet, in preventing all of the chronic diseases that is plaguing the western world is overwhelming. This includes cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cancer”. Dr Simon Poole who organised the letter said that educating the public, including young children in the importance of a good diet in maintaining good health is a project that will take years, but which is absolutely essential. This letter needs to be taken seriously by all key decision and policy makers, to educate and promote the importance of a healthy lifestyle in disease prevention. We hope you found our article on how a healthy diet may prevent dementia useful. Please let us know by rating it...

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A Mediterranean Diet Can Reduce Risk of Parkinsons Disease

A new study has found that a Mediterranean-style diet rich in fresh vegetables and fruit can potentially halve the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. The findings of the study were published in the European Journal of Neurology. These results provide further evidence of the role that diet can play in preventing this debilitating disease. The study conducted by the University of Tokyo, studied the diets of 249 newly-diagnosed Parkinson’s patients. These were compared to the diets of 368 healthy volunteers. The researchers then split them into three groups: “Healthy” diets which consisted of fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, pulses, mushrooms. “Western” diets consisting mainly red meat, animal fats, processed meats. The last group was “Light” meals, which was roughly between the Healthy and Western diet. The results found that the “Healthy” group who ate mainly fresh fruit and vegetables had a 46% lower chance of developing Parkinson’s disease, than the other groups who had little or none of the healthy foods.  The results also found that neither of the other two diets had any protective action against the disease. The exact reason why certain foods have a protective effect on, and possibly reduce risk of Parkinsons disease is not yet known for certain. Although, some research suggests that this illness may be result when cells in the body undergo oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when cells are exposed to the damaging effects of “free radicals”. The chemical definition of a free radical is an atom or a group of atoms that contain at least one unpaired electron. Electrons are essential to provide a chemically stable atom. An unpaired electron is very reactive and will join to other atoms and this will cause a chemical reaction. Free radicals in the body are also very reactive and will react with other compounds leading to chemical changes in the body. Free radicals can be found in pollution, radiation, food preservatives, cigarette smoke and car fumes. A diet high in saturated fat can lead to an increase in free radicals as the process of heating oil can produce a large number of free radicals. Fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and pulses are full of antioxidants, which help to neutralise the effects of these free radicals....

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Eating Less Can Improve Memory

Researchers have found that eating less can help improve memory. The Italian study was looking into the theory of “calorie restriction”, as being able to boost health and extend life. This study was conducted by scientists at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome. This theory was tested on lab rats and the results found that cutting back on the number of calories by 25-30% (600 calories a day in humans) helped to boost the production of the memory and learning protein, CREB1. Lead researcher Dr. Giovambattista Pani said that this 25-30% decrease in the number of calories only equates to not eating a cake at the end of a meal. He continued, “Our findings identify for the first time an important mediator of the effects of diet on the brain. This discovery has important implications to develop future therapies to keep our brain young and prevent brain degeneration and the ageing process”. The findings of this study are very promising as the incidence of illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are on the rise. Helping to keep the brain young could be invaluable in our ageing population. Studies have also suggested that a cup of tea or coffee may also be beneficial, as caffeine has been related to increasing the levels of CREB1 which is made in the body. So, why mot substitute that end of dinner dessert for a cup of tea? You may find yourself being more alert when paying the bill! We hope you found this article about how eating less can improve memory useful. Please let us know by rating it...

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Vitamin B Supplement for Alzheimers Disease?

New research has claimed that taking one vitamin B supplement a day from middle age could protect your memory with age, and even ward off Alzheimer’s disease. The research was conducted by scientists at Oxford University. The research was conducted on pensioners who took high doses of the vitamin once a day for two years. The results found that the pensioners who took the supplement did 70% better on a simple memory test than those who did not. The Oxford University scientists claim that the vitamin B tablet prevents the memory lapses that can be a precursor to dementia and that it cut brain shrinkage (linked to memory loss) by up to 500%. The researchers are advising people to take a high dose vitamin B tablet from middle age. They do, however stress to seek your doctor’s advice first. The vitamin B supplement greatly reduced the shrinkage of the brain, which happens naturally with age, but this reduction was higher in those people with the highest levels of a chemical called homocysteine in their bloodstream. Homecysteine is a naturally occurring compound that builds up in the body as we age, and high levels are linked to various illnesses, such as alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, stroke and osteoporosis. Vitamin B, specifically B6, B12 and B9, break down homocysteine, and therefore can help to prevent these illnesses. We hope you found our article on Vitamin B supplements & Alzheimers disease useful. Please let us know by rating it...

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Health Benefits of 5-HTP (hydroxytryptophan)

5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) is derivative of the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is found in high protein foods such as soya, cheese, fish, meat, nuts, pumpkin seeds and lentils. The body converts tryptophan from our diet, to 5-HTP. This health supplement has been used to treat depression, insomnia, obesity and migraines. Although it is available in many health foods stores, you should consult a qualified nutritionist, pharmacist or doctor before started treatment. As you can see, most of the health benefits of this supplement relate to the brain. Once 5-HTP enters the brain, it is converted to the neurotransmitter called serotonin. Serotonin is responsible for various functions of the brain, including regulating mood, appetite and sleep. Some health professionals suggest that low levels of serotonin are a consequence of modern living. Life-style and diet can result in lower levels of this neurotransmitter in the brain. Benefits Depression: Doctors have been prescribing 5-HTP for the treatment of depression for decades. Studies have found that this supplement maybe more effective at treating depression than conventional anti-depressant drugs. An added benefit is that 5-HTP produces fewer side effects than anti-depressant drugs. Sleep:  This nutrient has also been found to promote and improve the quality of sleep. Through a number of natural reactions in the brain, 5-HTP is converted to melatonin. Melatonin helps to regulate the body’s circadian cycle. The circadian rhythm is an internal body clock that plays an essential role when we fall asleep and wake up. Our bodies produce more melatonin when it is dark (night-time) and less in day light. People who have taken 5-HTP have generally reported waking up feeling more relaxed and rested. Appetite: 5-HTP has been shown to have appetite regulating properties. In one study, women who took this supplement were found to consume fewer calories, lost more weight and were more likely to feel full while on adiet compared to those who did not. 5-HTP has also been found to be effective at reducing binge eating, which is often responsible for weight gain. Pain Relief: Low levels of serotonin are related to decreased pain tolerance. As 5-HTP increases levels of serotonin, it has been shown to greatly reduce pain associated with headaches and joint pains.   Cautions...

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Top Tips to Boost Brain Power

Take a breather Taking deeper breaths can help relax you an allowing yourself to have more air will produce more oxygen in your blood and your brain   Take or eat foods that contain certain vitamins It is good to have a good balanced diet and it doesn’t harm to take the extra vitamins you may need. You can easily buy vitamins at the health store. Vitamins such as Gingko can help increase the flow of blood to the brain, Saint John’s Wort apparently is good for treating long term depression and is a good mood lifter to help our brains to function better. Vitamin B is known to reduce stress and promote clear thinking. These are but a few.   Eat the right food Some carbohydrates can give you can cause you to feel lethargic making it hard to think clearly. So avoid carbohydrate such as pasta, sugar, white foods like bread and potato before doing anything that is mentally challenging. Eating fish supposedly speeds up your brain waves so that you can concentrate better. Certain ingredients contained in food are clearly bad for your brain, for example: artificial food colourings and sweeteners, sugary drinks, hydrogenated fats, sugars, any white foods and foods containing white-flour. Fruits and vegetables are antioxidants that protect the brain cells so eating all the berries, spinach, cranberries, and garlic are only but a few examples of good foods that can help.   Good posture Believe it or not but good posture can affect the way we think. When you are in a slumped position you are mentally programmed to be in a lazy state of mind. When you are sitting in an upright position you are more able to concentrate on wht you have to do.   Have a good night’s sleep It is said that it is not the amount of sleep you have but the quality of sleep that is good for you. As long as you are getting a certain amount of the quality is a lot more important than the quantity. A cat nap during the day can also help to rejuvenate the brain for some people.   Caffeine I’m not saying that caffeine is good for you and...

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Nutritional Supplements for a Healthy Brain

Most people ignore their brain function when thinking of anti-ageing supplements. This is a major oversight as the brain controls everything from memory to the function of the nervous system. The brain requires regular nourishment in order to function optimally. There is a direct link between the health of the gastro-intestinal system and the health of the brain. Research has shown that the chemical neurotransmitter serotonin, which is found in the brain, is also present in the gastro-intestinal system. Serotonin in the gut is responsible for triggering digestion. The nerve cells in the gastro-intestinal system feed back to the brain. Therefore a good diet is very important in maintaining good brain health as well as preventing illnesses that affect the brain. Recent studies have also discovered that restricting calorie intake can actually lead to living longer. Restricting calorie intake does not mean cutting out healthy foods, but eating in moderation and cutting out foods with high amounts of sugar, salt and saturated fats. These studies also highlight the possibility of improved brain function and a lower incidence of age related illnesses with a lower calorie diet. A balanced diet that consists of fibre, protein, complex carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, and nutrients is essential maintaining the health of both the gastro-intestinal system and brain function. There are certain natural health supplements that can help with brain health, nerve function as well as provide nourishment to the brain cells. The supplementation with essential fatty acids has been linked with improving conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The nutrient DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) is known to be beneficial for the general health of the brain. DHA helps to promote brain and nerve function and is predominately found in Flax Seed Oil and Fish Oil supplements.  Studies have shown that supplementation with DHA can improve memory in Alzheimer’s patients and improve memory loss that is related to ageing. Antioxidants are also very important in the health of the brain as they help to neutralise free radicals. Free radicals can be formed by factors such as exposure to radiation (including over exposure to the sun’s rays), cigarette smoke, air pollution, exercise, processed foods, household cleaners and stress. The body also produces free radicals through...

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Natural Health Supplements for ADHD

ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is a behavioural disorder that is characterised by symptoms such as hyperactivity, a short attention span, restlessness, being easily distracted, constant fidgeting and impulsiveness. These symptoms can also lead to sleep problems and learning difficulties. ADHD is normally diagnosed between the ages of 3 to 7 years. The symptoms may start at an early age, but they become more noticeable when a child starts school or nursery. It is a fairly common complaint in the UK, affecting 3 to 9% of school children and young people. The conventional management of ADHD is to prescribe strong medications such as Methylphenidate and Dexamfetamine, which stimulate the CNS (central nervous system). This will result in altering the balance of the neurotransmitters in the brain and could possibly lead to health problems in later life. The long term side effects of these drugs are not yet known, but these medicines are usually given long term. This is by no means a permanent solution to this condition, but just a means to keep the child in a “calm state”. These medications have a number of side effects such as sleep disturbances, depression, confusion, gastro-intestinal symptoms and growth retardation. These medicines are also addictive and children can become dependent on them. ADHD requires full consultations with a qualified complementary health practitioner, but there are some very effective natural supplements that can have very dramatic results. These supplements can be taken by young children and extremely safe. Current research is highlighting that deficiencies in certain essential fatty acids can contribute to behavioural disorders such as ADHD. Omega 3 contains two essential nutrients, Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).  Whilst they are both important for health, DHA is more important for concentration as this essential nutrient is predominantly found in the brain. Low levels of DHA have been linked with behavioural and learning and learning problems in children. Recent studies have highlighted that EPA is very effective in reducing problems with attention and perception that are associated with ADHD. This shows that both DHA and EPA are very important for the health of the brain. Flax seed oil is a rich source of Omega 3, 6 and 9 essential fatty acids....

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