Autism: It's on the Rise and Linked to Many Health Problems

Learn How Heavy Metals Play a Role

April brings the bliss of warm days, blue skies, emerald trees and apple blossoms. It also ushers in autism awareness month—that time of the year when we turn our attention to the growing epidemic of neurodevelopmental disabilities striking children across America.

Autism rates are rising. One in every forty-one U.S. children—2.41 percent—are afflicted with autism spectrum disorder, according to new data from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). "The prevalence of autism spectrum disorder is much higher than previously thought," Dr. Wei Bao, lead author of the new study, told CBS News. That's up from 1 in 68 in 2010. But Bao said in the 1970's, only 1 in 1000 children suffered from autism.

Boys are three times more likely to have autism than girls, although now researchers believe that girls' rates are underestimated because the disorder manifests differently in females, and because girls may be more adept at hiding autism. Girls may in fact be suffering in silence. One Australian study of 50 girls from the Bond University Center for Autism Spectrum Disorder in Brisbane, Australia, found that the girls were teased, bullied, often highly anxious, and could develop eating disorders or self-injurious behavior.

Whatever the final count, each child suffering from autism can cost up to $2.4 million over a lifetime, according to a landmark study by the organization Autism Speaks.

Though every child with autism is unique, autism spectrum disorders (ASD) can lead to difficulties with social interaction and communication, anxiety and rage, a tendency to engage in repetitive behaviors (such as rocking, spinning, finger play or fluttering the hands), problems with coordination or balance, an increased need for order, obsessive and narrow preoccupations, and many other symptoms. Some children with autism are nonverbal. Though autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder, one that essentially impacts brain function, it is also associated with many other health issues including poor sleep, digestive distress, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

This suggests that autism is a body-wide phenomenon affecting the entire immune and nervous systems. In fact, specific immune abnormalities have been found in 30 to 70 percent of autistic children, according to Jane El Dahr, M.D., is the Chief of Pediatric Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology at Tulane University Health Sciences Center. Inflammation may be impacting the entire body, including the brain; and some researchers contend that by reducing brain inflammation, the destructive effects of chronic inflammation on the nervous system can be reduced, allowing for improvement in autism.[1]

The Link Between Heavy Metals and Autism

Nobody knows for sure why autism is on the rise, but one good guess supported by abundant research is the increasing toxicity of the modern world. There are over 80,000 chemicals registered for use in the U.S. and every year 2000 more are added—so many that if the Environmental Protection Agency were to test them all it would take centuries. Every day we encounter environmental toxins such as particulates from pollution; heavy metals, pesticides and herbicides in food and water, endocrine disrupters from plastics and other modern chemicals. Chemicals are abundant in everyday items such as computers, smart phones, furniture, cosmetics, cleaners, toys, carpet and more.

Heavy metals appear to play a role in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). One recent study found that mothers of children with ASD have more mercury dental amalgam restorations than mothers of healthy children not suffering from the disorder, suggesting exposure to mercury during pregnancy and possibly breastfeeding.[2] Other studies have correlated mercury toxicity with autism as well.[3] A 2015 study of 100 children with autism and 100 healthy children not suffering from the disorder, found significantly higher levels of mercury, lead and aluminum in the children with autism group.[4] The researchers concluded that "environmental exposure to these toxic metals at key times in development may play a causal role in autism."

In order to determine whether heavy metals are playing a role in symptoms, a whole blood elemental metals analysis is useful and safe. Not only can such tests measure levels of toxic metals along with beneficial nutrients (such as zinc or magnesium), it can measure imbalanced mineral pairs. Such a screen can indicate elevated exposure to toxic metals or imbalances of nutrient metals in whole blood.

The Irreplaceable Role of Glutathione

Our ability to excrete mercury and other toxic metals is dependent on the presence of abundant glutathione, our most important endogenous antioxidant. Glutathione is essential to detoxification, quenching free-radicals, helping modulate immune function, and removing mercury safely from the cell. Glutathione binds to mercury and allows it to be safely carried out of the body into the bile.[5] Biliary secretion of mercury is in large part dependent on the presence and transport of glutathione in the bile.[6] [7]

The severity of autism has indeed been correlated with toxic metals and low glutathione, particularly red blood cell glutathione levels.[8]

Typical oral supplementation of glutathione, however, has low bioavailability while liposomal formulations protect glutathione from being broken down by digestive acids and enzymes, allowing it to be taken up into the cells where it is needed.

Can Chelation Therapy Help Autism?

Numerous studies have documented actual improvements in symptoms of autism after chelation therapy for heavy metals. The word chelation comes from the Greek word chele that means claw of a lobster, thus depicting the concept of holding with a strong grip; molecules that chelate 'claw' metals loose from the cells, and hold onto them. In one study, after six months of chelation therapy, verbal and nonverbal communication of ASD children improved, as did ability to adapt to change and relate to other people.[9] Another impressive study documented significant improvements in autism symptoms after a mere six months of oral chelation therapy.[10]

However, there is a hidden dark side to typical oral and intravenous chelation therapy: toxins such as methylmercury, cadmium, arsenic, can be reabsorbed after excretion into the bile. This reabsorption and redistribution can put stress on the organs of detoxification, such as the liver and kidney, and further damage a delicate system already under stress.

Intestinal Metal Detox for Autism?

Thiolated resins are unique substances with metal-binding groups that tightly bind metals like mercury, and were first used in the 1970s to address a mass methylmercury poisoning incident in Iraq. Grain treated with a methylmercury fungicide that was never meant for human consumption was imported into Iraq as seed grain.[11] Tragically, the poison grain was eating by rural Iraqis, and thousands died while many more were left disabled. It was found that thiolated resins could significantly reduce the half-life of the methylmercury, improving some of the devastating symptoms.[12],[13],[14]Today, thiol-functionalized silica can safely intercept mercury and other metals in the gut, binding them tightly while avoiding redistribution and subsequent toxicity to the liver and kidneys. Because this type of binder acts locally in the gastrointestinal tract, it can allow metals to safely drain at a natural rate.

Though autism spectrum disorders can be challenging and difficult, the good news is that there are many approaches to improving symptoms. In fact, as children grow into adults, autism naturally tends to improve. Autistic children can grow into inspiring and remarkable adults with unique gifts. One such person is Temple Grandin, who holds a PhD in animal science, teaches at Colorado State University, runs her own business, and gives talks around the world. First immortalized in a profile for The New Yorker Magazine by the late Oliver Sacks, she described herself in her own biography, Emergence, as unable to tolerate normal contact, living in a world of excruciating and heightened sensation, subject to violent rages, still without language by age three, yet able to sit on the beach sifting sand in fascination for hours. Today, as autism awareness grows, there is increasing acceptance of human neurodiversity, and hope for families dealing with autism spectrum disorders.

You may also be interested in:

[1] Rodriguez JI, Kern JK. Evidence of microglial activation in autism and its possible role in brain underconnectivity. Neuron Glia Biol. 2011 May;7(2-4):205-13. View Full Paper

[2] Khaled, E.M., Meguid, N.A., Bjørklund, G. et al. Metab Brain Dis (2016) 31: 1419. View Abstract

[3] Kern JK, Geier DA, Adams JB, Toxicity biomarkers in autism spectrum disorder: a blinded study of urinary porphyrins. ediatr Int. 2011 Apr;53(2):147-53. View Abstract

[4] Mohamed F, Zaky EA, El-Sayed AB Assessment of Hair Aluminum, Lead, and Mercury in a Sample of Autistic Egyptian Children: Environmental Risk Factors of Heavy Metals in Autism. Behav Neurol. 2015. View Abstract

[5] Ballatori N, Clarkson TW. Biliary secretion of glutathione and of glutathione-metal complexes. Fundam Appl Toxicol. 1985;5:816–31. doi: 10.1016/0272-0590(85)90165-4. View Abstract

[6] Ballatori N, Clarkson TW. Dependence of biliary secretion of inorganic mercury on the biliary transport of glutathione. Biochem Pharmacol. 1984;33:1093–8. doi: 10.1016/0006-2952(84)90519-7. View Abstract

[7] ArticlePubReaderPDF–728KCitation

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7. Jozefczak M, Remans T, Vangronsveld J et al. Glutathione Is a Key Player in Metal-Induced Oxidative Stress Defenses. Int J Mol Sci. 2012; 13(3): 3145–3175. View Full Paper

[8] Adams JB, Baral M, Geis E The severity of autism is associated with toxic metal body burden and red blood cell glutathione levels. J Toxicol. 2009:532-640.

[9] Blaucok-Busch E, Amin OR, Dessoki HH et al. Efficacy of DMSA Therapy in a Sample of Arab Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Maedica (Buchar). 2012 Sep;7(3):214-21. View Abstract

[10] Adams JB, Baral M, Geis E et al Safety and efficacy of oral DMSA therapy for children with autism spectrum disorders: Part A--medical results. BMC Clin Pharmacol. 2009 Oct 23;9:16. View Full Paper

[11] Bakir F, Damluji SF, Amin-Zaki L. Methylmercury poisoning in Iraq. Science. 1973 Jul 20;181(4096):230-41. View Abstract

[12] Saha B, Iglesias M, Dimming IW, Streat M. Sorption of trace heavy metals by thiol containing chelating resins. Solv Extract Ion Exch. 2000 Jan 1;18(1):133-67.

[13] Sangvanich T, Morry J, Fox C, et al. Novel oral detoxification of mercury, cadmium, and lead with thiol-modified nanoporous silica. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2014 Apr 23;6(8):5483-93. View Abstract

[14] Clarkson TW, Small H, Norseth T. Excretion and Absorption of Methyl Mercury After Polythiol Resin Treatment. Arch Enviro Health: Int J. 1973 Apr 1;26(4):173-6. View Abstract 

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Four Essential Tips for Boosting Your Energy Naturally

Worn Out, Weary, Sapped & Spent

Remember the immense and boundless energy of childhood? That full-throttle-jump-on-the-bed-run-in-circles-and-yell-at-the-top-of-your-lungs Vesuvius of energy? Delight and curiosity about everything, and then the sweet plunge into deep, restorative sleep at nap-time or nighttime…waking up with nary an ache or pain…

If that kind of energy feels long gone—if you drag through the day depending on red bull, coke, and various energy products—you may need a different kind of reboot. Here are four essential and effective tips for a natural and sustained energy boost.

Make Sure to Get Restorative Sleep

Do you have an unpaid sleep debt? Sleep is a foundation of health and a source of abundant energy. Chronic lack of sleep raises risk of many health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, depression and anxiety.[1]

Yet sleep is the first thing people cut down on when work and family pressures mount. Nearly a third of Americans are sleep deprived. That has serious consequences beyond being tired. Many inflammatory molecules and hormones are impacted by sleep.[2],[3]

Meditation, yoga and guided relaxation have been proven to improve sleep, and many youtube videos, tapes and apps are available.[4] But that may not be enough when you're wired and tired. One effective sleep re-set comes in the form of supplemental melatonin. Melatonin is a natural hormone that regulates the body's circadian rhythm—it is suppressed by bright light or daylight, and surges as night falls. Melatonin levels begin increasing in the late evening, reaching their peak between 2:00 and 4:00 a.m.[5] When the body's sleep cycle becomes dysregulated, supplemental melatonin can help restore normal, healthy sleep patterns.[6] Night time melatonin levels are reduced in primary insomnia.[7] Normal melatonin secretion also declines with age.

Melatonin offers additional benefits beyond sleep, because it can function as a potent antioxidant. It can, for instance, reduce oxidative stress in high-intensity athletes during training.[8]

When standard over-the-counter supplements containing melatonin are taken, only 15% of the melatonin is absorbed. A liquid liposomal formulation may offer more rapid distribution and better uptake to the blood stream. In addition, for those highly sensitive to melatonin, a liquid format can be easily titrated to a very low dose.

A good night's deep sleep literally helps our brain cells replenish the energy stores they spent during the day. Sleep recharges the brain and the body.

Exercise Regularly

There's a funny paradox to energy—you have to spend it to get it. One way of combating exhaustion is regular exercise. Consistent aerobic exercise—even as little as 20 minutes three times a week—can boost energy levels in fatigued individuals. In one study, low intensity or moderate intensity exercise increased energy levels 20% after six weeks, and dropped feelings of fatigue by as much as 65%, and the researchers suggest that exercise acts directly on the central nervous system to increase energy and reduce fatigue.[9]

Even moderate exercise, however, can deplete vitamins and minerals—often through sweating. A broad-spectrum vitamin and mineral supplement can be the best multivitamin for energy. It will include a panoply of necessary nutrients to offer a natural energy boost. For instance, B complex vitamins are important for energy metabolism in the body, and athletes with low levels perform more poorly during high-intensity exercise. Adequate levels of calcium and vitamin D are necessary for skeletal strength and even for skeletal muscle function, which is important for high-impact exercise.

Calm the Mind and Soothe Anxiety

Chronic anxiety and worry are consequences of the so-called "monkey mind", as it's called in Buddhist thought—a mind seemingly filled with innumerable drunken monkeys jumping, chattering, screeching endlessly. It's hard not to worry in today's high-octane, always-connected, ever-demanding world.

Both anxiety and worry are known to deplete energy levels and lead to a kind of wired-and-tired exhaustion. Excessive worry will shift you into a constant fight-or-flight state, triggering your sympathetic nervous system to release stress hormones such as cortisol. Chronically elevated cortisol levels raise blood sugar and triglycerides to meet the demands of increased stress. Chronic fatigue can be one outcome. To calm the overactive monkey mind, well-known supplements such as Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and L-theanine can offer natural assistance in achieving relaxation. Some individuals suffering from chronic anxiety and insomnia do not naturally make sufficient levels of GABA. In turn, L-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea. L-theanine competes in the brain with the most important excitatory neurotransmitter, glutamate. By inhibiting the action of glutamate, it produces a calm, relaxed state.[10]

Turn to Adaptogenic Herbs

Adaptogenic herbs are healing plants that bring the body back into balance, especially its ability to handle stress. These healing botanicals help your entire body cope with fatigue, increasing non-specific resistance to stress. In the words of herbalist Dan Moriarty, founder of Sun Horse Energy, "They balance physiology at a cellular level for stress accommodation, and help the body achieve homeostasis. Think of a violin. If tuned too tightly the stress will break the strings. If tuned too loosely, the strings will be floppy. Either way, you won't have music. Adaptogens tune your body to the right pitch and tension." Adaptogens with a long record of safety, that have been used for hundreds or thousands of years, include Schisandra berry,Ginseng, Chinese licorice root, Lycium (the goji berry), and many others.

[1] Fernandez-Mendoza J, Vgontzas AN Insomnia and its impact on physical and mental health. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2013 Dec;15(12):418. View Full Paper

[2] Kim TW, Jeong JH, Hong SC. The impact of sleep and circadian disturbance on hormones and metabolism. Int J Endocrinol. 2015;2015:591729. View Full Paper

[3] Meier-Ewert HK, et al. Effect of sleep loss on C-reactive protein, an inflammatory marker of cardiovascular risk. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2004 Feb 18;43(4):678-83. View Abstract

[4] Neuendorf R, Wahbeh H, Chamine I et al. The Effects of Mind-Body Interventions on Sleep Quality: A Systematic Review.

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:902708. View Abstract

[5]Peuhkuri K, Sihvol N, Korpel R Dietary factors and fluctuating levels of melatonin Food Nutr Res. 2012; 56. View Full Paper

[6] Sack RL. Use of melatonin for sleep and circadian rhythm disorders. Review article.Ann Med. 1998. View Abstract

[7] Riemann D, Klein T, Rodenbeck A, et al. Nocturnal cortisol and melatonin secretion in primary insomnia. Psychiatry Res. 2002; 113: 17-27. View Abstract

[8] Ortiz-Franco M, et al. Effect of Melatonin Supplementation on Antioxidant Status and DNA Damage in High Intensity Trained Athletes.

Randomized controlled trial. Int J Sports Med. 2017 View Abstract

[9] Puetz TW, Flowers SS, O'Connor PJ. A randomized controlled trial of the effect of aerobic exercise training on feelings of energy and fatigue in sedentary young adults with persistent fatigue. Psychother Psychosom. 2008;77(3):167-74. View Abstract

[10] Nathan PJ, Lu K, Gray M, et al. The neuropharmacology of L-theanine(N-ethyl-L-glutamine): a possible neuroprotective and cognitive enhancing agent. J Herb Pharmacother. 2006;6(2):21-30. View Abstract 

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Quicksilver Scientific Launches Liposomal Melatonin, A Natural Sleep Aid

Quicksilver Scientific brings you an advanced delivery form of the body's primary sleep-moderating hormone, Melatonin.

LAFAYETTE, CO. MARCH 27, 2018 - Quicksilver Scientific and Dr. Christopher Shade, PhD, announce the newest addition to their elite line of complex liposomal supplement therapies – Liposomal Melatonin.

Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by your body's pineal gland which regulates the body's circadian rhythm. Melatonin production is related to time of day, rising in the evening and falling in the morning. The normal melatonin cycle can be disrupted by many factors, including exposure to electromagnetic pollution, blue light at night, stress or travel. Supplemental melatonin can assist in restoring normal, healthy sleep patterns.

Quicksilver Scientific's Liposomal Melatonin is a fast-acting, long-lasting, oral melatonin liquid. The liposomal format improves bioavailability with higher and faster absorption rates than other oral forms of melatonin, and also prolongs the systemic effects of this hormone in the body, supporting your normal melatonin cycle through the entire night. The liquid format can easily be used by individuals who struggle taking capsules or tablets and can be titrated to a lower or higher dose to meet the body's needs.

If you are looking to purchase Melatonin as a consumer, visit For doctors, buy it directly on

About Quicksilver Scientific:

Quicksilver Scientific is a leading manufacturer of advanced nutritional systems with a focus on detoxification. We specialize in superior liposomal delivery systems and heavy metal testing to support optimal health. Our advanced liposomal supplements are highly absorbable and support the body in the elimination of ubiquitous toxins, enabling you to achieve your genetic potential. At Quicksilver Scientific, we are passionate about health and well-being and are committed to improving the lives of everyone we touch. Quicksilver Scientific, LLC is located in Lafayette, Colorado. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

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The Mother of All Antioxidants

How Glutathione Promotes Health, Energy and Longevity

It seems like everywhere you turn today you hear about the astonishing health benefits of antioxidants, phytonutrients, and nutraceuticals. From the eye-catching news that an antioxidant in beets might stave off Alzheimer's disease, to man-made super-antioxidants that can prevent cells from dying, to the good news that antioxidant-rich foods like dark chocolate, tea, walnuts, prunes, blueberries, strawberries, hazelnuts and more can lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes, it appears indisputable that the phytonutrients packed into plants are good for us.

It's hard to deny the benefits of antioxidants. We just need to eat right, right?

It's not quite that simple. Even if we consciously eat as colorful and healthy a diet as we can, we might need to proactively boost our defenses with antioxidant supplements.The nutrient, vitamin and mineral levels in food have been steadily declining for many decades.[1] At the same time, the prevalence of toxins and chemicals has soared: there are now more than 80,000 chemicals in use in the United States, many of which have never been tested and may be harmful to health. They lurk in everything from furniture to household cleaners, cosmetics, cars, toys, water and food.

Comprehensive antioxidant protection entails promoting our own internal antioxidant defenses. In particular, this means protecting and replenishing levels of our most critical endogenous antioxidants, the versatile metabolic gems that our own body makes all the time.

The Free Radical Theory of Aging and Health

Sixty years ago a brilliant cardiologist and chemist named Denham Harman came up with the free radical theory of aging, and it forever changed the way we think about health and longevity.[2] He proposed that free radicals, generated by normal cellular metabolism as well as by toxins from the environment, are highly reactive and damaging, and contribute to poor health and aging. Later, in 1972, Harman extended his theory and proposed that mitochondria, the energy powerhouses inside our cells, generate (and are damaged by) the free radicals they create when they produce energy. Energy is like a metabolic fire, and it can singe us.[3],[4]

In the simplest terms, the theory suggests that free radicals generate what is known as "oxidative stress", and this needs to be "quenched" or repaired by antioxidants. When more antioxidant is made available, cells can safely undertake a higher level of metabolic activity.

Science has since confirmed that aging, and the degenerative diseases associated with aging, are indeed in part due to our decreasing ability to defend ourselves against free radical damage and oxidative stress.[5] But nature is wise: our bodies have evolved sophisticated, natural detoxification systems that work on a deep cellular level to protect us and quench the fire of free radicals.[6] Every day our detoxification systems work heroically to fend off toxic insults, but the marvels our bodies perform are rarely even thought about until our system becomes overwhelmed and breaks down. Efficient detoxification depends on a series of seamless reactions that bind toxins to shuttle damaging free radical molecules out of the body.

Glutathione, the Mother of All Antioxidants, to the Rescue

Our quintessential antioxidant defense is the glutathione system, which includes glutathione itself, along with the enzymes and other proteins that enable glutathione to do its work. Glutathione is actually a very simple molecule—our body makes it from three amino acids—cysteine, glycine and glutamine. Yet it is incredibly versatile—a universal toxin-binder. Glutathione is extremely important for maintaining intracellular health.

There have been more than 94,000 peer-review medical articles exploring glutathione and its impact on health. The entire glutathione system contains multiple molecules and enzymes that function to quench oxidative stress, repair damaged proteins, and detoxify or remove both internal and external toxins. Glutathione S-Transferase (GST) is a critical enzyme that catalyzes the transfer of a metal onto the glutathione so it can be safely bound and excreted.A well-functioning glutathione system also contains proteins and enzymes that can safely bind and move toxins and heavy metals out of the body.[7] Glutathione is present in every single cell of our bodies, and concentrations are particularly high in the liver, where glutathione binds to toxins to ensure they're removed or excreted.

Glutathione not only scavenges free radicals, it helps regenerate other critical antioxidants, such as Vitamin C and Vitamin E.[8] It helps regulate immune responses, and is critically important in inflammatory conditions.[9] It regulates molecules that play a key part in inflammation, such as NF-κB, molecules called "inflammasomes", immune cells involved in fighting infections such as T cells and phagocytes, and more.[10] It plays a role in regulating autoimmune diseases, where there is an increased level of oxidative stress associated with immune activation and inflammation.[11]

Glutathione plays a key role in defending us from mercury toxicity. Mercury is the most harmful naturally occurring substance we know of. It is a far more powerful biological toxin than either lead or arsenic. We can be exposed to mercury through auto pollution, consumption of fish, and Hypersensitivity to low-dose mercury exposure from dental amalgam fillings has been demonstrated, with exquisite sensitivity to amalgam-derived Hg in sensitized individuals.[12]

How to Support Your Glutathione Levels

Glutathione is continually recycled in the body — but all too often the system is overwhelmed by too many toxins or stressors. Glutathione production also declines with age. The 'mother' of all antioxidants can be severely depleted during serious illness. According to Jeremy Appleton, ND, Chairman of the Department of Nutrition at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Ore., glutathione is inevitably depleted in those who are severely ill.

One might think the easy answer is to simply supplement with glutathione, but oral supplementation is unreliable, since glutathione is degraded by stomach acids and enzymes in the GI tract. Glutathione production can be supported by other supplements, including Vitamins C and E, selenium, alpha-lipoic acid, n-acetyl cysteine, B vitamins, and key botanicals such as milk thistle.

Liposomal delivery systems can protect glutathione from breakdown in the digestive system. In addition to greatly improving bioavailability, the liposomal delivery format enables intracellular delivery of glutathione. In cell cultures, liposomal glutathione has been demonstrated to be 100 times more efficiency for intracellular delivery than non-liposomal glutathione.[13]

[1] Davis DR, Epp MD, Riordan HD Changes in USDA food composition data for 43 garden crops, 1950 to 1999. J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Dec;23(6):669-82. View Abstract

[2] Viña J, Borras C, Abdelaziz K. The Free Radical Theory of Aging Revisited: The Cell Signaling Disruption Theory of Aging. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2013 Sep 10; 19(8): 779–787. View Full Paper

[3] Harman, D (1956). Aging: a theory based on free radical and radiation chemistry. Journal of Gerontology 11 (3): 298–300. View Abstract

[4] Harman, D (1972). The biologic clock: the mitochondria? Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 20 (4): 145–147. View Abstract

[5] Matés JM, Pérez-Gómez C, Núñez de Castro I. Antioxidant enzymes and human diseases. Clin Biochem. 1999 Nov;32(8):595-603 View Abstract

[6] McCall MR, Frei B Can antioxidant vitamins materially reduce oxidative damage in humans? Free Radic Biol Med. 1999 Apr; 26(7-8):1034-53 View Abstract

[7] Patrick L. Mercury toxicity and antioxidants: Part 1: role of glutathione and alpha-lipoic acid in the treatment of mercury toxicity. Altern Med Rev. 2002 Dec;7(6):456-71. View Abstract

[8]Dixon DP, Sgteel PG, Edwards R. Roles for glutathione transferases in antioxidant recycling. Plant Signal Behav. 2011 Aug; 6(8): 1223–1227. View Abstract

[9] Rahman, W. MacNee, Regulation of redox glutathione levels and gene transcription in lung inflammation: therapeutic approaches, Free Radic. Biol. Med. 28 (9) (2000) 1405–1420. View Abstract

[10] M. Suthanthiran, M.E. Anderson, V.K. Sharma, A. Meister, Glutathione regulates activation-dependent DNA-synthesis in highly purified normal human lymphocytes-T stimulated via the Cd2-antigen and Cd3-antigen, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 87 (9) (1990) 3343–3347. View Abstract

[11] Perricone C, et al. Glutathione: a key player in autoimmunity. Autoimmun Rev. 2009 Jul;8(8):697-701.

[12] Rocha JBT, Aschner M, Dórea JG Mercury Toxiity. J Biomed Biotechnol. 2012; 2012: 831890 View Full Paper

[13] Zeevalk GD, Bernard LP, Guilford FT. Liposomal-glutathione provides maintenance of intracellular glutathione and neuroprotection in mesencephalic neuronal cells. Neurochem Res. 2010 Oct;35(10):1575-87. View Abstract 

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Boost Brain Health and Gain Your Cognitive Edge

Be Smart About Brain Health: Know the Top Phytonutrients and Supplements for Mental Clarity

Most of us know about the foods and nutrients that help protect our hearts—from fish high in Omega 3 fatty acids, to generous helpings of leafy greens, brightly colored vegetables and fruits, and particularly the lavish red, purple and black berries and grapes rich in antioxidants like anthocyanins and resveratrol.[1]

What we may not know is that the very same nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are good for the heart are also great for the brain. If we want to keep our memory sharp, improve our ability to focus, banish brain fog, and increase mental acuity, we must consider the critical role of phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals.[2]

"Research over the past 5 years has provided exciting evidence for the influence of dietary factors on specific molecular systems and mechanisms that maintain mental function," writes integrative biologist, Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a UCLA professor of neurosurgery. Gomez-Pinilla analyzed over 160 studies on how food affects the brain.[3] In fact, Gomez-Pinilla believes that "dietary management may become a natural, non-invasive, and cost-effective therapeutic solution to maintaining a healthy brain and a strong defense system against some of the most common disorders in the world. In addition… it is likely that the effects of lifestyle on the brain have the capacity to influence neurological health of future generations."

And yet, according to the latest research, Americans are eating nowhere near the amount of healthy fruits and vegetables they need to optimize health. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that most people eat at least 9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, 4 servings of fruits and 5 servings of vegetables.[4] Yet a study found that the average consumption of fruits and vegetables in the United States is only 3.6 servings of fruits and vegetables (1.4 servings of fruits and 2.2 servings of vegetables) per person per day.[5]

Highlights of The Latest Research on Diet and Brain Health

Here are some highlights of the latest research on phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals and brain function.

  • Scientists recently discovered that the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is not only good for the heart, it can reduce depression. The diet, based on research sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, emphasizes fruits, vegetables, low fat or nonfat dairy, whole grains, lean meats, fish, poultry, nuts and beans.

  • Berries, so richly colored, contain phytonutrients that can slow cognitive decline. One recent study, from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, followed 16,000 older women over 15 years, and found that those who ate at least a half cup of blueberries or a full cup of strawberries once a week delayed memory decline by 2.5 years.[6] In particular, antioxidants in blueberries such as the anthocyanins cross the blood-brain barrier, and increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which helps promote new nerve connections correlated with healthy cognitive function.[7] BDNF levels decline with age

  • Both nuts and berries can forestall cognitive decline. The synergy of the nutrients and in nuts and berries can "alter cognitive performance in humans, perhaps forestalling or reversing the effects of neurodegeneration in aging."[8]

  • Omega 3's, found in fish, can keep mental focus sharp. Consuming omega-3 rich fish just once a week is linked to a 10% per year slower rate of cognitive decline among older adults. And individuals who consume fish at least once per week have a 60% lower risk of Alzheimer's disease. Oily fish such as salmon, herring and sardines are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids but lower in mercury and PCB's.[9]

  • A cornucopia of leafy greens can keep your brain humming along in tip-top shape. Researchers at the Rush Institute for Healthy Aging and the MIND Center for Brain Health looked at nearly a thousand healthy adults and discovered that those who ate merely a single serving of leafy greens per day appeared 11 years younger in terms of their cognitive health compared with those who rarely consumed leafy green veggies.[10]

Beyond Diet: Supplements for Energy and Focus

As important as a healthy diet is to longevity, cardiovascular health and cognitive function, many people want an extra edge beyond what diet might provide. What specialized nutrients are associated with enhanced memory, mood, creativity, and ability to pay attention? Are there specific vitamins for memory, or brain health supplements for mental focus?

First and foremost, a complete vitamin, mineral and phytonutrient supplement can offer broad spectrum support, ensuring that even if there are gaps in the diet, or in digestive capacity, nutrient intake will be more than adequate. From infants to teens to the elderly, nutrient and micronutrient deficiencies are not uncommon.[11],[12] Finding one supplement that blends state-of-the-art nutraceuticals and super-nutrients, along with adaptogenic herbs and molecules that support mitochondrial function, can help protect cognitive health and function, as well as boost the energy required for sustained concentration. Certain adaptogenic herbs are known for their ability to protect and enhance cognition; these include ginseng, which has has shown remarkable benefits for cognition and alertness.[13]

A generous supply of phospholipids is also important. Lipids might be called the liquid gold of your brain: about 60% of your entire brain is composed of fats that keep cell membranes flexible and structurally sound. Brain cells are especially rich in a lipid called phosphatidylcholine (PC). A pure source of PC can be beneficial for cognition.[14]

Neuroprotective antioxidants can boost cognitive function and support neuronal function. These include Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), which not only supports the cardiovascular system, but the brain and nervous system.[15] Melatonin is another neuroprotective antioxidant that restores healthy sleep cycles and supports healthy mood and cognitive function. Molecular hydrogen is a universal and well-tolerated antioxidant. Hydrogen is one of nature's purest and simplest antioxidants, created by the natural reaction of magnesium with water. Molecular hydrogen is easily able to pass through cellular membranes and the blood brain barrier.[16]

Trace mineral deficiencies are common, even in well-nourished individuals.[17] Adding a good source of trace minerals, such as that provided by seawater harvested from protected plankton blooms, can offer biologically important support to the immune system, nervous system, and neurotransmitters.

You may also be interested in:

[1] Nichols PD, McManus A, Krail Ket al. Recent advances in omega-3: Health Benefits, Sources, Products and Bioavailability. Nutrients. 2014 Sep 16;6(9): 3727-33. View Full Paper

[2] Liu RH. Health benefits of fruits and vegetables are from additive and synergistic combination of phytochemicals. Am J Clin Nutr.2003;78:517S–20S View Abstract

[3] Gomez-Pinilla F. Diet and cognition: interplay between cell metabolism and neuronal plasticity. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2014 Nov 1. View Full Paper

Published in final edited form as: Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2013 Nov; 16(6): 726–733

[4] USDA. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. USDA Human Nutrition Information Service, Hyattsville, MD. 2010.

[5] PBH, Produce for Better Health Foundation. State of the plate: 2010 Study on American consumption of fruits and vegetables. 2010.

[6] Devore E, Kang JH, Breteler MB Dietary Intakes of Berries and Flavonoids in Relation to Cognitive Decline. Ann Neur 2012 Vol 72(1) pp.135-144 View Full Paper

[7] Williams CM, El Mohsen MA, Vauzour D Blueberry-induced changes in spatial working memory correlate with changes in hippocampal CREB phosphorylation and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels. Free Radic Biol Med. 2008 Aug 1;45(3):295-305. View Abstract

[8] Pribis P, Shukitt-Hale B. Cognition: the new frontier for nuts and berries. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Jul;100 Suppl 1:347S-52S View Abstract

[9] Okyere H, Voegborlo RB, Agorku SE. Human exposure to mercury, lead and cadmium through consumption of canned mackerel, tuna, pilchard and sardine. Food Chem. 2015 Jul 15;179:331-5 View Abstract

[10] Morris MC, Wang Y, Barnes LL. Nutrients and bioactives in green leafy vegetables and cognitive decline. Neurology Jan 2018. 90 (3) e214-e222 View Abstract

[11] Weeden A, Remig V, Holcomb CA Vitamin and mineral supplements have a nutritionally significant impact on micronutrient intakes of older adults attending senior centers. J Nutr Elder. 2010 Apr;29(2):241-54

[12] Stang J, Story MT, Harnack L, Relationships between vitamin and mineral supplement use, dietary intake, and dietary adequacy among adolescents. J Amer Diet Assoc. 2000 Aug;100(8):905-10. View Abstract

[13]Smith I, Williamson EM, Putnam S et al. Effects and mechanisms of ginseng and ginsenosides on cognition. Nutr Rev. 2014 May;72(5):319-33 View Abstract

[14] Rondanelli M, Opizzi A, Faliva Met al. Effects of a diet integration with an oily emulsion of DHA-phospholipids containing melatonin and tryptophan in elderly patients suffering from mild cognitive impairment. Nutr Neurosci. 2012 Mar;15(2):46-54 View Abstract

[15] Sandhir R, Sethi N, Aggarwal A, Coenzyme Q10 treatment ameliorates cognitive deficits by modulating mitochondrial functions in surgically induced menopause. Neurochem Int. 2014 Jul;74:16-2 View Abstract

[16] Ostojic SM. Molecular hydrogen: An inert gas turns clinically effective. Ann Med. 2015 Jun;47(4):301-4 View Abstract

[17] Dreosti IE. Trace Elements in Nutrition. Med J Aust. 1980 Aug 9;2(3):117-23. View Abstract 

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Why Liposomal Supplements Are the Next Wave of Good Nutrition:

Breakthrough Liposomal Technology Uses NanoScale Science to Nourish Cells

We live in a time of extraordinary food abundance—just walk into any supermarket and you'll find a veritable Garden of Eden, with fresh fruits, greens and vegetables from around the globe, as well as freshly baked whole grain breads, wild-caught fish, and a panoply of yogurts crafted from dairy or nut milks. We also luxuriate in the cheapest food available in history--in the 1930s, Americans spent a quarter of our disposable income on food while today we spend under a tenth. And our choice of healthy foods has expanded—there has been a 27% increase in consumption of fresh fruit and a 21% increase in consumption fresh vegetables from 1970 to 2010. We're eating more broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, onions, apples, bananas, and grapes.[1]

Yet in spite of all this bounty, we are often nutrient-deficient-- over 40 percent of adults have dietary intakes of vitamin A, C, D and E, calcium and magnesium below the average requirement for their age and gender. And these statistics do not even take into account the important antioxidants that keep us healthy, such as glutathione, Coenzyme Q10, and resveratrol.

Are standard, oral multivitamin supplements the answer? Nearly two out of three adults in America think so, since they take vitamin, mineral or herbal supplements. But the typical oral supplement may not deliver its full therapeutic potential. Enzymes in the stomach and gastrointestinal tract can degrade oral supplements. On their own, potent antioxidants may not be able to efficiently cross cell membranes. For instance, numerous flavonoids that show potent antioxidant activity in vitro in the laboratory, achieve only very low concentrations in the blood after oral consumption.[2] One of the most storied antioxidants, resveratrol, associated with longer lifespan, lower risk of heart disease, and lower levels of inflammation, is poorly absorbed in oral supplement form.[3] CoQ10 supplementation can be challenging: as a lipid-loving (lipophilic) molecule, CoQ10 is best digested with fats and suffers poor absorption in water. According to William Judy, founder of SIBR Research, less than 1 percent of simple CoQ10 powder is absorbed. Similarly, typical oral delivery of glutathione, the most potent intracellular antioxidant our bodies make, is greatly inhibited by its breakdown in the stomach. In one study of 40 healthy adults, supplementation with oral glutathione had no effect on blood levels of the antioxidant, and no significant changes were observed in biomarkers of oxidative stress.[4]

In order to offer health benefits, vitamins and minerals need to reach the target tissue of action. Bioavailability is key for supplements and functional foods and related health claims.[5] Many factors affect bioavailability—including digestive problems, low stomach acid, low uptake of a nutrient. In addition, supplements themselves vary in the amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants they offer—some offer more than the recommended daily amount, some less. Products are sold in many different forms (powders, liquids, tablets, capsules, chewables, and gummy candies), all of which result in variable amounts. According to one study:"Many ingredients in adult MVMs had mean percentage differences that were above label claims and were highly variable between individual products in a representative sampling of the US market."[6]

Enter Liposomal Delivery Systems: Taking a Cue From Nature

The starburst of complex life we see all around us every day began with single cells 3.8 billion years ago—simple, free floating bacteria that were one of life's earliest and most ingenious inventions.

Those simple cells, just like our cells today, possessed a membrane composed of a lipid bilayer. The membrane performed all kinds of extraordinary feats: not only did it protect the inside of the cell, it allowed nutrients to pass through and wastes and toxins to be expelled. And it evolved the capacity to carry electricity, and to store energy as ATP molecules. Mostly composed of phospholipids, the cell membrane was not only protective, it was highly active.

Fast forward to the 1960's, when smart scientists began to experiment with liposomal delivery of medications.[7] Liposomes are tiny phospholipid bubbles with a bilayer structure very similar to that of our cell membranes. Liposomes turn out to be ideal carriers for therapeutic molecules, highly effective at delivering nutrients directly into the cell. Liposomes are highly biocompatible, and they are capable of holding either water-soluble or fat-soluble molecules. Their size, electrical charge, and surfaces can be tweaked in a lab. Liposomal delivery systems have been used successfully in clinical trials for an astonishing variety of therapeutics—delivering everything from anticancer to antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic medications as well as sophisticated gene medicines and vaccines.[8]

Liposomal supplements offer a nutritional delivery system with rapid uptake and effective delivery into the cells. Liposomes are highly efficient in terms of facilitating antioxidant delivery, and because they are prepared from natural phospholipids, they are biocompatible and nontoxic. Liposomal delivery systems are becoming increasingly popular for nutraceuticals because they protect these therapeutic molecules from breakdown in the digestive system. In cell culture studies, liposomes can increase intracellular delivery 100-fold over non-liposomal delivery.[9]

Liposomal nutraceuticals and health supplements offer many benefits over typical oral formulations. These include:

  • High bioavailability and absorption
  • Protecting nutrients against the harsh environment of the GI tract
  • Increasing oral uptake in the mouth via the mucosa
  • Increased uptake into cells
  • Liposomes can be formulated to hold both water-soluble and fat
  • The liquid format of liposomes may be more compatible for those who have trouble swallowing large tablets

Size Matters—And Small is Better

Not all liposomes are alike. Smaller liposomes are far likelier to persist and deliver their therapeutic molecules. These smaller liposomes offer the most rapid uptake and are less easily scavenged and cleared by our immune systems. Liposomal delivery systems usually fall into three categories:

  • MLV (Multi-Lamellar Vesicles) are about 500-5000nm (nanomolars) and have more than one bilayer.
  • LUV (Large Unilamellar Vesicles) are ~200-800nm with a single bilayer.
  • SUV (Small Unilamellar Vesicles) range from 20-150nm and have a long circulation half-life and better cellular delivery than larger particles.

The ultra-small, unilamellar liposomes are created with sophisticated high-shear equipment. The result is tightly controlled, tiny vesicles that are actually the size of nanoparticles. The smallest, unilamellar (one layer) liposomes circulate in the blood the longest and are most stable. Cellular uptake is markedly increased—as much as nine times--as liposome size decreases from 236nm down to 97nm. At the smallest size (64 nm), uptake is 34 times higher.[10]

Lipid nanoparticle delivery systems have been shown to dramatically improve absorption of many natural substances such as DIM (Diindolylmethane) and milk thistle, which are known to have poor bioavailability on their own.[11] Nanoparticle liposomes are ideal for the delivery of numerous molecules, especially when longer term effects are desirable.

A Closer Look at Liposomal Supplements

Glutathione benefits dramatically from liposomal formulations. Liposomal glutathione can restore immune system responses.[12] Liposomal technology is also superbly suited to a water-soluble antioxidant like Vitamin C, increasing blood levels over standard oral supplements.[13] Coenzyme Q10, our most potent lipid-soluble antioxidant, also benefits from liposomal formulation. High-quality complex mixtures of pure compounds and botanicals compounded into liposomal formulations offer superb efficacy and ease of use.[14]

Although many liposomal products claim improved bioavailability, few are able to truly deliver the increased absorption these formulations can offer. With sophisticated, well-designed, lipid nanoparticle delivery systems, the bioavailability, absorption and cellular uptake of many natural substances can be dramatically enhanced. And as a side benefit, phosphatidylcholine, which composes the membrane of lipid nanoparticles, also nourishes the lipid membranes of cells, providing phospholipids that can be used for cellular repair.

[1] Sturm R, An R. Obesity and economic environments. CA Cancer J Clin. 2014 Sep-Oct;64(5):337-50. View Full Paper

[2] Suntres, ZE. Liposomal Antioxidants for Protection Against Oxidant-Induced Damage. J Toxicol. 2011; 2011: 152474 View Full Paper

[3] Gambini J, . Inglés M, Olaso G et al. Properties of Resveratrol: In Vitro and In Vivo Studies about Metabolism, Bioavailability, and Biological Effects in Animal Models and Humans Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2015; 2015: 837042

[4]Allen J, Bradley RD. Effects of Oral Glutathione Supplementation on Systemic Oxidative Stress Biomarkers in Human Volunteers.J Altern Complement Med. 2011 Sep; 17(9): 827–833. View Full Paper

[5] Rein MJ, Renouf M, Cruz-Hernandez C et al. Bioavailability of bioactive food compounds: a challenging journey to bioefficacy. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2013 Mar; 75(3): 588–602. View Full Paper

[6] Andrews KW, Roseland JM, Gusev PA. Analytical ingredient content and variability of adult multivitamin/mineral products: national estimates for the Dietary Supplement Ingredient Database Am J Clin Nutr. 2017 Feb; 105(2): 526–539. View Full Paper

[7] D. Bangham, M.M. Standish, J.C. Watkins, Diffusion of univalent ions across the lamellae of swollen phospholipids, J. Mol. Biol. 13 (1965) 238–252. View Abstract

[8] Allen TM, Cullis PR. Liposomal drug delivery systems: from concept to clinical applications. Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2013 Jan;65(1):36-48. View Abstract

[9] Zeevalk GD, Bernard LP, Guilford FT. Liposomal-glutathione provides maintenance of intracellular glutathione and neuroprotection in mesencephalic neuronal cells. Neurochem Res. 2010 Oct;35(10):1575-87 View Abstract

[10] Hood RR, Andar A, Omiatek DM, Verrland WN, Swaan PW, DeVoe DL. Pharmacy-on-a-Chip: Microfluidic Synthesis of Pegylated and Folate Receptor-targeted Liposomes for Drug Delivery. 16th International Conference on Miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Sciences October 28 - November 1, 2012, Okinawa, Japan

[11] Yang KY, Hwang du H, Yousaf AM, et al. Silymarin-loaded solid nanoparticles provide excellent hepatic protection: physicochemical characterization and in vivo evaluation. Int J Nanomedicine. 2013;8:3333-43

[12] Ly J, Lagman M, Saing T et al. Liposomal Glutathione Supplementation Restores TH1 Cytokine Response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection in HIV-Infected Individuals J Interferon Cytokine Res. 2015 Nov 1; 35(11): 875–887. View Full Paper

[13] Davis JL, Paris HL, Beals JW. Liposomal-encapsulated Ascorbic Acid: Influence on Vitamin C Bioavailability and Capacity to Protect Against Ischemia–Reperfusion Injury Nutr Metab Insights. 2016; 9: 25–30. View Full Paper

[14] Shade, CW. Liposomes as Advanced Delivery Systems for Nutraceuticals. Integr Med (Encinitas) 2016 Mar; 15(1): 33–36. View Full Paper 

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Pamper Your Gut and Heal Your Intestines With Beneficial Soluble Fiber

When we think about our immune system, we don't instantly zoom in on the gut. And yet an astonishing eighty percent of the immune system actually lives in our GI tract. For most of those immune cells, it's the intestinal wall that is home sweet home. Many of them spend their entire lives secreting huge quantities of immune antibodies into the gut. Those antibodies help protect us from pathogens and infection.

Our gut is under stress today because of our industrialized food supply, which beckons us daily with seemingly irresistible processed, high-sugar, high-fat, low-fiber foods. None of those 'foods' feed our gut flora the way a diet rich in healthy whole grains, fruits and vegetables can. When our gut flora is balanced, our gut's immune system functions optimally.

Take fiber, for instance. It is essential to gut health and provides food for our friendly gut bacteria. The average adult consumes about 15 grams of fiber per day. Yet optimal amounts for good gut health are two to three times higher—25 grams of fiber per day for women, and 38 grams per day for men, according to the Institute of Medicine. This nourishing fiber is essentially indigestible to us, but is a perfect meal for our friendly microbes.

A Highly Beneficial Soluble Fiber

One versatile and well-tolerated, gentle fiber comes in the form of acacia gum. This natural gum, derived from the sap of the acacia tree, has been used in medicine and as a baking ingredient for many centuries. Acacia gum is packed with soluble fiber—95%--and that fiber offers unique benefits. [1]

Daily consumption of soluble fiber has been shown to increase levels of beneficial gut bacteria, support healthy cholesterol levels, soothe sensitive stomachs, help normalize gut transit time and both ease constipation and yet improve diarrhea, and have a beneficial effect on blood sugar, blood pressure and weight.[2],[3],[4] Many of these benefits are correlated with the ability of the soluble fiber, such as acacia, to attract water and form a soothing gel. (In contrast, insoluble fiber, such as that found in bran or psyllium, provides bulk to the waste in the digestive tract and helps regulate bowel function).

Acacia is also very well tolerated, even by sensitive individuals. In a 2003 study, the gum did not trigger adverse gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating, gas and diarrhea, even when consumed at high doses of 30 grams a day.[5] Acacia gum is popular among those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, which leads to bloating, gas, and alternating constipation and diarrhea. When mixed with yogurt and bifidobacteria, acacia gum has a substantial beneficial effect on irritable bowel syndrome.[6]

As far back as 1983, scientists discovered the ability of acacia gum to significantly lower cholesterol.[7] This was confirmed in further research in 1997, and again in 2015.[8],1 And acacia, like other prebiotics, may help regulate blood sugar. By replacing typical sugars in foods, they can lower the glycemic response after eating a meal. In addition, acacia has been shown to reduce inflammatory cytokines.[9]

Prebiotics: Ideal Nourishment for Your Friendly Flora

But perhaps acacia is most valued for its reputation as a well-tolerated prebiotic—ideal food for our beneficial flora, selectively stimulating the growth of gut microbes such as bifidobacteria and lactobacilli.

More than twenty studies have been conducted since the late 1970s to unpack the relationship between gum acacia and our gut flora. Acacia's prebiotic impact on our gut flora is substantial; it not only selectively stimulates our beneficial flora, it can help reduce troublesome strains such as clostridium. It appears to resist digestion and absorption in the stomach and small intestine, and instead is metabolized entirely in the colon by our flora, and cannot be recovered at all from stool.[10] When fermented in the colon by bacteria, it yields two important short-chain fatty acids, butyrate and propionate, both of which are beneficial to the immune and epithelial cells in the gut.[11]

The importance of prebiotics cannot be overstated, for in the colon a true symbiosis between our gut bacteria, and the immune and nervous system exists. Studies show soluble fibers' beneficial impacts in conditions ranging from irritable bowel disease to Type 2 diabetes and obesity.[12]

If you think about the magnificent work your gut carries out every day—breaking down food, absorbing its life-giving nutrients, getting rid of toxins, communicating constantly with the immune and nervous systems—you may conclude it makes sense to pamper it. Gut bacteria thrive or starve, depending on what you feed them. Providing your gut—and thus your whole body health—with a soluble fiber with demonstrated benefits makes sense.

You may also be interested in:

The Healing Potential of a Universal Binder Blend

Bitters: Balancing Agents for the Gut

[1] Mohamed RE, Gadour MO, Adam I. The lowering effect of Gum Arabic on hyperlipidemia in Sudanese patients. Front Physiol. 2015 May 18;6:160. View Abstract

[2] Eswaran S, Muir J, Chey WD. Fiber and functional gastrointestinal disorders. Am J Gastroenterol. 2013 May;108(5):718-27. View Abstract.

[3] Silva FM, Kramer CK, de Almeida JCet al. Fiber intake and glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review with meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutr Rev. 2013 Dec;71(12):790-801. View Abstract

[4] Chutkan R, Fahey G, Wright WL, McRorie J. Viscous versus nonviscous soluble fiber supplements: mechanisms and evidence for fiber-specific health benefits. J Am Acad Nurse Pract. 2012 Aug;24(8):476-87. View Abstract

[5] Cherbut C, Michel C, Raison V, et al. Accacia gum is a bifidogenic dietary fiber with high digestive tolerance in healthy humans. Microbial Ecol Health Dis2003; 15, 43–50.

[6] Yang Won Min, Sang Un Park, Yeon Sil Jang Effect of composite yogurt enriched with acacia fiber and Bifidobacterium lactis World J Gastroenterol. 2012 Sep 7; 18(33): 4563–4569. View Full Paper

[7] Ross AH, Eastwood MA, Brydon WG A study of the effects of dietary gum arabic in humans.

Am J Clin Nutr. 1983 Mar;37(3):368-75. View Abstract

[8] Mee KA, Gee DL.Apple fiber and gum arabic lowers total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in men with mild hypercholesterolemia J Am Diet Assoc. 1997 Apr;97(4):422-4. View Abstract

[9] Daguet d, Pinheiro I, VVerhelst A, et al. Acacia gum improves the gut barrier functionality in vitro. Agro FOOD Industry Hi Tech 26(4) 2015;29-33.

[10] Ross AH, Eastwood MA, Brydon WG A study of the effects of dietary gum arabic in humans.

Am J Clin Nutr. 1983 Mar;37(3):368-75. View Abstract

[11] Walter DJ, Eastwood MA, Brydon WG, Elton RA. Fermentation of wheat bran and gum arabic in rats fed on an elemental diet. Br.J.Nutr. 1988;60:225-32.

[12] Roberfroid M, Gibson GR, Hoyles L et al. Prebiotic effects: metabolic and health benefits. Br J Nutr. 2010 Aug;104 Suppl 2:S1-63 View Abstract

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The Ultimate Detoxification Strategy - Push and Catch: How to Detoxify Rapidly With Ease

Toxins in air pollution are widespread and can damage our health—and the health of our children—a sweeping new study warns. The new research maps air pollution for nearly 90,000 schools across America and finds widespread exposure to airborne toxins, including mercury and other metals.[1] These toxins can build up in our bodies and are associated with increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease, respiratory disease, autoimmune conditions and many other conditions.[2],[3]

We truly do live in toxic times. Almost all of us are walking around with measurable levels of mercury and bisphenol A (BPA) in our urine. Toxins can accumulate within tissues and cells, burden our antioxidant defenses, and lead to chronic inflammation and leaky gut syndrome. An inflamed and leaky gut further allows toxins to slip into the bloodstream and trigger a systemic inflammatory response.[4] It is the classic vicious circle.

Optimal health is built by supporting our body's built-in, profound detoxification abilities on a regular basis. Ideally, this is a lifelong approach, not simply a quick 3- or 7- or 10-day detox diet like those popularized by well-loved sources such as Dr. Oz or Prevention Magazine.

Effective daily detoxification hinges on a simple but profound insight into the way our body cleanses and replenishes itself. Quite simply: we push toxins out of the cells and then catch and bind them before they have a chance to do further damage. Push and catch. Though it might sound like a quirky new sports game, push and catch is actually a deep way of reconceptualizing how our bodies manage toxic exposures. We want toxins to be safely flushed out of cells and circulation through the liver into the large intestine, and out through the kidneys into the bladder.

Your Liquid Gold

Our body has a natural answer for toxins—and that is bile, the liver's liquid gold. Bile is produced by your liver and stored in your gallbladder, and is essential to healthy digestion and effective detoxification.[5] Toxins flow with bile out of the liver and into the gallbladder, and then into the gastrointestinal tract, where they are bound into stool and excreted.[6] Stagnant bile flow impairs that precious process: think of the difference between rushing white-water rapids and a slow-moving, muddy river.

Even those blessed individuals with healthy bile flow can be overwhelmed when exposed to excess pollution, or when they intentionally ramp up their detoxification processes. Detoxification can be stimulated through vigorous exercise, therapeutic sweating in saunas, lymphatic massage, changes in diet, or the judicious use of herbs, chelating substances, and nutraceuticals.

Bitter herbs are classic remedies for stimulating the flow of bile and the mobilization of toxins. The moment bitters touch our tongue they send signals directly to our body and brain. That is because we have a few dozen different receptors that detect bitter molecules—and these receptors are so important they line our tongues, lungs, heart, intestines, even our genitals.

Bitters open the gates of detoxification and let the bile flow. These herbs have a long history as tasty aperitifs and digestifs sipped before or after meals to stimulate digestion. Bitter herbs such as dandelion, gentian, solidago, milk thistle and others, help stimulate production of bile as well as increase bile flow, and support the organs of detoxification—the liver, gallbladder, kidney and urinary tract. Essential oils such as myrrh and clove also stimulate bile flow, and are antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory.

In addition, phosphatidylcholine, the main lipid that forms cell membranes, is an essential component of bile and can improve excretion of bile and toxins.[7]

All these aids may be regarded as the 'push' phase of detoxification. But 'push' alone is not enough. When toxins are rapidly mobilized they can spill back out of the bile into circulation again, only to be stored anew in tissue and fat. Rashes, brain fog, aches and pains, and fatigue may result.

Playing Catch

It benefits us to first push toxins out of our cells, and then efficiently 'catch' them after they've been released. One powerful and yet gentle way to do that is with a coordinated mélange of broad spectrum binders.

There is no universal binder that has an equal affinity for all toxins—the common metals, pollutants, mold and bacterial toxins, plastic residues, flame retardants and more that we encounter daily. A blend of carefully calibrated binders can capture an impressive array of toxins. Binders such as clay and charcoal have been trusted remedies for thousands of years. Newer substances such as chitosan (a highly purified long chain sugar made from the shells of shrimp) or unique proprietary binders can latch onto toxins and prevent them from recirculating. Binders can sometimes contribute to constipation, and it can be useful to offset this with additional health-promoting molecules that bulk up the stool, soothe the intestinal lining and support gut motility.Fibers like acacia gum, and soothing molecules like aloe vera, can be mixed into a universal binder blend for optimal effect.

With a rapid delivery system, such as nanoscale lipid-based liposomal deliveries, it is possible to rapidly stimulate bile flow with bitters (push) and then, shortly after, follow with a universal binder blend (catch).This effective approach can be utilized daily, helping to avoid common 'detox' and 'die-off' symptoms.

Push and catch. These two simple concepts can reinvigorate your daily approach to detoxification.

You may also be interested in:

Mercury: A Potent Toxin with Widespread Health Impacts

Small But Dangerous Air

Sperm Counts Are Plummeting, And Researchers Think They Know Why

[1] Grinseki SE, Collins TW. Geographic and social disparities in exposure to air neurotoxicants at U.S. public schools. Environ Res. 2018 Feb;161:580-587. View Abstract

[2] Bonini MG, Sargis RM. Environmental Toxicant Exposures and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Two Interrelated Public Health Problems on the Rise. Curr Opin Toxicol. 2018 Feb;7:52-59. View Abstract.

[3]Hodjat M, Rahmani S, Khan F et al. Environmental toxicants, incidence of degenerative diseases, and therapies from the epigenetic point of view. Arch Toxicol. 2017 Jul;91(7):2577-2597. View Abstract

[4] Ahmad R, Sorrell MF, Batra SK, et al. Gut permeability and mucosal inflammation: bad, good or context dependent. Mucosal Immunol. 2017 Mar;10(2):307-317 View Abstract

[5] Sharma R, Long A, Gilmer JF. Advances in Bile Acid Medicinal Chemistry. Curr Med Chem. 2011;18(26):4029-52 View Abstract

[6] Hellström PM, Nilsson I, Svenberg T. Role of bile in regulation of gut motility. J Intern Med. 1995 Apr;237(4):395-402. View Abstract

[7] Hişmioğullari AA, Bozdayi AM, Rahman K. Biliary lipid secretion. Turk J Gastroenterol. 2007 Jun;18(2):65-70.

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Supporting Detoxification with Sleep

Supporting Detoxification with Sleep

Our bodies are constantly challenged by environmental toxicities and the continual effort of detoxication. Although dietary support for detoxification is one important leg of the supportive "stool," so is healthy sleep. So many individuals are sleep deprived today, whether due to nighttime awakenings to care for children or loved ones, a job that is demanding or requires work at evening hours, or chronic health conditions, including chronic infections or heavy metal toxicity, that contribute to insomnia. Many cytokines, inflammatory markers, and hormones are impacted by sleep and the lack thereof.[1],[2],[3]Studies have shown that both acute total and short-term partial sleep restriction increases many pro-inflammatory signaling molecules in the body. [4],[5] Not only do these inflammatory markers rise acutely, but this effect can persist beyond the days with diminished sleep, despite normal recovery sleep in subsequent nights.

The integrity of the blood-brain barrier is negatively affected by sleep restriction as well.[6] The blood-brain barrier protects the central nervous system from circulatory proteins and toxins that may contribute to neuroinflammation and damage. An altered blood-brain barrier may contribute to numerous neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, and more.[7] Stress also increases permeability of the blood-brain barrier.[8] The stress-associated increase in blood-brain barrier permeability may contribute to increased symptoms with stress in neuroinflammatory conditions such as multiple sclerosis.

Cleaning up the diet is one thing that can support healthy sleep. By reducing inflammation and its mediators such as histamine, the blood-brain barrier integrity is improved, and related neuroinflammation and excess agitation is diminished.[9] In addition to addressing diet from a larger standpoint, the foods and beverages consumed directly before bed also can have an impact on sleep. If a snack is consumed before bed, it should be higher in protein and fats as this will help keep the blood sugar levels stable through the night. Alcohol also has a negative impact on sleep quality, in part due to the fact that the blood sugar level will fall during the night.[10] As larger meals before bed can contribute to evening symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux, this should be avoided, particularly in susceptible individuals.[11]

Intense exercise later in the day can have a negative impact on sleep, as it leads to a rise in cortisol and catecholamines, promoting a 'fight or flight' sympathetic state in the nervous system.[12],[13] Activities that are considered to be good "sleep hygiene" include the avoidance of the use of electronics and other intense blue light sources for at least 1 hour before bed. Blue light has a wakeful effect, and suppresses melatonin secretion.[14],[15] Electronics should not be present in the sleep environment due to their potential distracting effects, and sensitive individuals may find benefit from turning off the WiFi signal in the house.[16]

Detoxification and treatment of chronic infections can improve sleep, particularly in the long run, as doing so reduces systemic and central nervous system inflammation which can negatively affect sleep. On an as needed basis, supplemental therapies can be used to support healthy sleep. Trace minerals support neurotransmitter metabolism and the function of all the enzymatic systems of the body, and can help the body and brain to turn down at night. GABA and L-theanine support alpha wave rhythms in the brain, similar to the relaxed state which occurs with meditation.[17],[18] Cannabinoids, which are endogenous in our body but also found in hemp oil, can also impact sleep, calming neuroinflammation and improving the integrity of the blood-brain barrier. [19],[20], [21]

To learn more, read on at:

[1] Kim TW, Jeong JH, Hong SC. The impact of sleep and circadian disturbance on hormones and metabolism. Int J Endocrinol. 2015;2015:591729. View Full Paper

[2] Meier-Ewert HK, et al. Effect of sleep loss on C-reactive protein, an inflammatory marker of cardiovascular risk. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2004 Feb 18;43(4):678-83. View Abstract

[3] Vgontzas AN, et al. Chronic insomnia is associated with a shift of interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor secretion from nighttime to daytime. Metabolism. 2002 Jul;51(7):887-92. View Abstract

[4] van Leeuwen WM, et al. Sleep restriction increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases by augmenting proinflammatory responses through IL-17 and CRP. PLoS One. 2009;4(2):e4589. View Full Paper

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Gaining Momentum: Quicksilver Scientific Hires Asa Waldstein as Chief Operating Officer

Fast growing health supplement company strengthens its leadership team with the addition of Asa Waldstein.

LAFAYETTE, COLO. (PRWEB) JANUARY 17, 2018 - Quicksilver Scientific, a leader in liposomal health supplements, announces the addition of Asa Waldstein as Chief Operating Officer, further consolidating its executive team. Asa said of his new position: "I am thrilled to join the legendary Dr. Chris Shade and the executive team at Quicksilver Scientific at this crucial point in the dietary supplement industry, adding my deep passion and unique experience to this innovative and holistically-centered company as we together redefine the future of natural bioavailable medicinal products."

Asa joins Quicksilver Scientific from Empirical Labs where he led the company in its growth over the last 7 years as General Manager. Asa will be responsible for all operations, manufacturing, QA, certifications and regulation compliance, and testing labs at Quicksilver Scientific. Dr. Christopher Shade, C.E.O, commented: "Asa and I have been "competing friends" for several years. I am thrilled that we are on the same team now and can combine our talents and experiences to grow this company and set the gold standard for this market segment."

Asa's significant experience in fast-scaling operations, manufacturing, international compliance and distribution along with key account development brings deep industry expertise to Quicksilver Scientific at a key point where they are poised for accelerated growth and influence in this explosive market sector. "Asa is a welcome addition to our already experienced management team. We have doubled sales annually for the last four years and look forward to taking the business to the next level," commented Peter Goehrig, President of Quicksilver Scientific. 

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