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Natural Ways to Balance Hormones

Hormones are your body’s chemical messengers. They travel in your bloodstream to tissues and organs. They work slowly, over time, and affect many different processes, including metabolism, sexual function, reproduction, mood and much more. Endocrine glands, which are special groups of cells, make hormones. The major endocrine glands are the pituitary, pineal, thymus, thyroid, adrenal glands and pancreas. In addition, men produce hormones in their testes and women produce them in their ovaries. Hormones are produced in a complex process, but depend on beneficial fats and cholesterol, so lack of these important dietary factors can cause hormone problems simply because the body doesn’t have the building blocks to make them. The entire endocrine system works together to control the level of hormones circulating throughout your body, and if one or more is even slightly imbalanced it can cause widespread, major health problems.
Hormonal imbalances are caused by a combination of factors such as diet, medical history, genetics, stress levels and exposure to toxins from the environment. Research shows that your gut health plays a significant role in hormone regulation. If you have leaky gut syndrome or a lack of beneficial probiotic bacteria lining your intestinal wall, you are more susceptible to hormonal problems, including diabetes and obesity. That’s because inflammation usually stems from your gut and then impacts nearly every aspect of your health. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of hormone imbalances include: infertility and irregular periods, weight gain or weight loss (that’s unexplained and not due to intentional changes in your diet), depression and anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, low libido, changes in appetite, digestive issues, hair loss and hair thinning.

Conventional treatments for hormonal imbalances usually include synthetic hormone replacement therapies, birth control pills, insulin injections, thyroid medications and more. Unfortunately, for the majority of people suffering from hormonal disorders, relying on these types of synthetic treatments often does three things. It makes people dependent on taking prescription drugs for the rest of their lives in order to keep symptoms under control. It simply masks the patient’s symptoms but doesn’t solve them, which means that the patient can continue to develop abnormalities in other areas of the body while the disorder progresses. It causes a higher risk for serious side effects such as stroke, osteoporosis, anxiety, reproductive problems, cancer and more.

Hormones — such as oestrogen, testosterone, adrenaline and insulin — are extremely important chemical messengers that affect many aspects of your overall health. Hormones are secreted by various glands and organs, including your thyroid, adrenals, pituitary, ovaries, testicles and pancreas. The entire endocrine system works together to control the level of hormones circulating throughout your body, and if one or more is even slightly imbalanced it can cause widespread, major health problems.

Eating a variety of foods high in short, medium and long-chain fatty acids is the key to keeping your hormones in check. Your body needs various types of fats to create hormones, including saturated fat and cholesterol. Not only are these essential fats fundamental building blocks for hormone production, but they keep inflammation levels low, boost your metabolism and promote weight loss. Healthy fats have the opposite effect of refined carbohydrates, which lead to inflammation and can mess with the balance of your hormones.

Four sources of anti-inflammatory, healthy fats are coconut oil, avocados, grass-fed butter and wild-caught salmon. Coconut oil has many uses. For example, coconut oil (or cream/milk) has natural anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and fat-burning properties. Avocado’s benefits include improving heart health, lowering inflammation, controlling your appetite and contributing to your daily intake of fibre and nutrients such as potassium.
Salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to lower inflammation and help with cognitive functions. Omega-3 fatty acids are a large component of brain-cell membranes and are important for cell-to-cell communication in the brain. To avoid antibiotics and other chemicals stay clear of farmed salmon as much as possible and also steer clear of oils that are high in omega-6 fats (safflower, sunflower, vegetable, corn, cottonseed, canola, soybean and peanut), and load up on rich sources of natural omega-3s instead (wild fish, flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts and grass-fed animal products). There is a type of omega-6 fat that you want to get in your diet called GLA. GLA (gamma-linoleic acid) can be taken in supplement form by using evening primrose oil or borage oil, and it’s also found in hemp seeds.

Adaptogen herbs are a unique class of healing plants that promote hormone balance and protect the body from a wide variety of diseases, including those caused by excess stress. In addition to boosting immune function and combating stress, research shows that various adapotogens such as medicinal mushrooms, rhodiola, Holy basil and thyme (both the common garden variety and broad leaf thyme which is also known as wild marjoram or Mexican marjoram) can: lower cholesterol naturally, reduce anxiety and depression, reduce brain cell degeneration, stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels and support adrenal gland functions. Thyme oil improves progesterone production, which helps to treat or relieve health issues like infertility, menopause, depression, fibroids, hair loss and insomnia. To help balance your hormones naturally, add 2 drops of thyme oil to a warm water bath or rub 2-3 drops with equal parts coconut oil into your abdomen. Holy basil, which is also known as tulsi, helps to regulate cortisol levels, thereby working as a natural remedy for anxiety and emotional stress. Studies show that holy basil can also protect your organs and tissues against chemical stress from pollutants and heavy metals, which are other factors that can lead to hormone imbalance.

Maca is a hormone boosting tuber originally from Peru. Women who use it often see improvements in fertility, reduction in PMS and better skin/hair. It can help men with sperm production, testosterone levels and muscle composition. Maca is a good source of minerals and essential fatty acids, which is one of the ways it supports hormone balance, however, its use should be discontinued during pregnancy.

Ashwagandha, in particular, can be extremely effective at balancing hormones. It benefits thyroid function because it promotes the scavenging of free radicals that cause cellular damage. Ashwagandha can be used to support a sluggish or overactive thyroid, and it can also help to overcome adrenal fatigue. Your adrenals can become overtaxed when you experience too much emotional, physical or mental stress, leading to the disruption of hormones like adrenaline, cortisol and progesterone.

Chaste Tree Berry nourishes the pituitary gland. It lowers prolactin and raises progesterone. For some women, this alone will improve symptoms.

Red Raspberry Leaf is a well know fertility herb that is also helpful in reducing PMS and cramping. It has a high nutrient profile and is especially high in calcium and is a uterine tonic. It is available in capsule form but makes an excellent hot or cold tea.

Magnesium is vital for hundreds of functions within the human body and many of us are deficient in this mineral. There are several different ways to get magnesium into your system. Topical application, by applying magnesium oil to the skin is often the most effective option for those with a damaged digestive tract or severe deficiency. Epsom salt baths or a refreshing drink of organic cocoa with a teaspoonful of black strap molasses are other ways to get magnesium into your body.

Vitamin D, a pre-hormone is supportive of hormone function. It is best obtained from the sun if possible, or from a D3 supplement or Cod Liver Oil (a good source of Omega-3 and Vitamin D). Make sure not to get too much, and optimally, get Serum Vitamin D levels checked to monitor levels.

Gelatin and collagen powders support hormone production and digestive health in various ways. Gelatin powder can actually “gel” while collagen protein does not but is easily added to soups, smoothies, coffee, tea or any other food.
Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners believe that the emotions of fear cause disease in your reproductive organs, kidneys and adrenals, affecting cortisol levels. This can lead to serious conditions like PCOS and infertility. The emotions of frustration, impatience and un-forgiveness cause disease in your liver, which can lead to an oestrogen imbalance and emotions of worry and anxiety can cause issues with your insulin levels, which can then affect several hormones.

A major component of balancing your hormones naturally is addressing any emotional imbalances that you are dealing with. You can do this by reducing stress levels, engaging in personal reflection and taking time for yourself. Practicing meditation or healing prayer can be extremely beneficial, and so can deep breathing exercises, spending time outdoors and exercising every day. Traditional Chinese Medicine therapies like acupuncture and massage can also help to improve hormonal balance, combat stress and improve blood flow.

Your emotions and hormones are connected, so by working to balance one, you are impacting the other. If you are ever feeling stressed, angry, agitated or even fearful, understand that this is affecting your hormone balance and can lead to even bigger health issues. Keep working on your emotional balance by making it part of your daily routine.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, internal emotions have a direct impact on a person’s health and addressing emotional imbalances, external factors and lifestyle choices can help to prevent health conditions associated with hormonal imbalances.

To balance your hormones naturally, it’s important that you eliminate toxins in your body by avoiding conventional body care products that are made with potentially-harmful chemicals including DEA, parabens, propylene glycol and sodium lauryl sulfate. A better alternative is to use natural products made with ingredients like essential oils, coconut oil, shea butter and castor oil.

Clary sage helps to balance oestrogen levels because it contains natural phyto- oestrogens. It can be used to regulate your menstrual cycle, relieve PMS symptoms, treat infertility and PCOS, and even reduce the chances of uterine and ovarian cancer. It also serves as a natural remedy for emotional imbalances, like depression and anxiety. Diffuse 3-5 drops of clary sage to help balance hormone levels and relieve stress. To ease cramps and pain, massage 5 drops of clary sage with 5 drops of coconut oil into your stomach and any other area of concern.

Problems with your gut health have been found to cause autoimmune reactions, including thyroid disorders. Use fennel essential oil to relax your body, improve your digestion and gut health, boost your metabolism and reduce inflammation. You can rub 2 drops of fennel into your stomach or add 1-2 drops to a class of warm water or tea to take it internally.

Lavender: Lavender oil promotes emotional balance, as it can help to treat anxiety, depression, moodiness and stress. It can also be used to promote restful sleep, which will help to balance your hormone levels as well. Diffuse 5 drops of lavender oil at home, add 5 drops to a warm water bath or apply 3 drops topically to your temples, back or neck or wrists.

Sandalwood: Sandalwood essential oil can be used to increase your libido, reduce stress, promote relaxation, boost mental clarity and even help you to relax. The powerful fragrance triggers peaceful feelings and results in the overall reduction of stress that can lead to hormone imbalances. Inhale sandalwood directly from the bottle, diffuse it at home or apply 2-3 drops to your wrists and bottoms of the feet.

Get a lot of natural light during the day, and spend at least 30 minutes outside each day if possible. The wide-spectrum of natural light helps boost serotonin levels which balance melatonin levels at night. In fact, sun gazing within the first hour of sun rise is extremely beneficial for balancing hormones, decalcifying the pineal gland and improving eyesight. Remember, if the pineal gland is not decalcified it will not vibrate at the higher frequencies necessary for optimum production of four major hormones: melatonin, serotonin, DMT and melanin.

Avoid artificial light as much as possible after the sun goes down. Install F.lux (it is free) on all computers and devices to reduce blue light and help you sleep better (it is also easier on the eyes). Drink enough water during the day and stop drinking about 2 hours before bed so you don’t have to wake up to use the bathroom. Take a soothing salt bath about an hour before bed with some relaxing music or a great book. Pray, meditate or find a way to reduce stress.
It’s sometimes necessary to supplement in order to fill nutritional voids that can be leading to a hormone imbalance. Evening primrose oil contains omega-6 fatty acids, such as LA and GLA, that support overall hormonal function. Supplementing with evening primrose oil can help to relieve premenstrual and PCOS symptoms. It also helps to create a healthy environment for conception.

Vitamin D: Vitamin D almost acts like a hormone inside the body and has important implications for keeping inflammation levels low. This is why people who live in dark areas often suffer from seasonal depression and other health problems unless they supplement with vitamin D. Sunshine is really the best way to optimize vitamin D levels because your bare skin actually makes vitamin D on its own when exposed to even small amounts of direct sunlight. Most people should supplement with around 2,000–5,000 IU daily of vitamin D3 if they live in dark areas, during the winter, and on days when they’re not in the sun.

Bone broth soothes the digestive system and supplies the body with nutrients that can be easily absorbed. Consuming bone broth or protein powder made from bone broth is especially beneficial to your health because it contains healing compounds like collagen, proline, glycine and glutamine, which have the powder to boost your overall health.

Probiotics: Probiotics can aid in repairing your gut lining, which in turn can balance your hormones. When undigested food particles, like gluten for example, leak through your gut into your bloodstream, it causes disease-causing inflammation that impacts the entire body — especially glands like the thyroid that is very susceptible to heightened inflammation. Most people with leaky gut have a deficiency of probiotics in their guts. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that can actually improve your production and regulation of key hormones like insulin, ghrelin and leptin.

The side effects of some medication can disrupt your hormone balance, leading to fatigue, appetite changes, altered sleeping patterns, low libido, sadness and even depression. Some medications that can mess with your hormone balance include corticosteroids, stimulants, statins, dopamine agonists, rexinoids and glucocorticoids. Beware of your medications, talk to your doctor about the side effects and research natural alternatives whenever possible.

Birth control is another dangerous medication that alters hormone levels. “The pill” is a type of hormone therapy that raises oestrogen levels to such dangerous levels that it can cause many complications. There are many other (safer) ways to prevent pregnancy.

Unless you get 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night, you are doing your body no favours. A lack of sleep or disturbing your natural circadian rhythm can be one of the worst habits contributing to a hormone imbalance. A lack of sleep, long-term use of corticosteroids and chronic stress are three of the biggest contributors to high cortisol levels. A report published in the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism stated that “Stress can lead to changes in the serum level of many hormones including glucocorticoids, catecholamines, growth hormone and prolactin.”

Sleep helps balance stress hormones, builds energy and allows the body to recover properly. Excessive stress and poor sleep are linked with higher levels of morning cortisol, decreased immunity, trouble with work performance, and a higher susceptibility to anxiety, weight gain and depression. To maximize hormone function, ideally try to get to bed by 10 p.m. and stick with a regular sleep-wake-cycle as much as possible.

In some cases, synthetic hormonal treatments (such as insulin or thyroid medication) will be necessary to treat a hormonal imbalance. However, the majority of people can feel a lot better by making the lifestyle changes described above. For people with diagnosed hormonal disorders — including type 1 or type 2 diabetes, adrenal insufficiency, Addison’s disease, Graves’s disease and Cushing’s syndrome, for example, it is always important to speak with your doctor before discontinuing medication use. The natural treatments above can still help you overcome your illness and greatly reduce symptoms, but these recommendations should not take the place of medical supervision. Because hormone imbalances vary so widely in terms of severity of symptoms, always keep track of how you’re feeling, do your research and evaluate how you respond to different treatments.

Natural treatments include eating an anti-inflammatory diet, consuming enough omega-3s, getting good sleep, exercising and controlling stress.

Disclaimer: The information given here is not to be considered as medical advice. You should always contact your medical practitioner regarding matters that affect your health.

Magnesium the Missing Mineral

Magnesium is an essential mineral for staying healthy and is required for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Multiple health benefits of magnesium include transmission of nerve impulses, body temperature regulation, detoxification, energy production, and the formation of healthy bones and teeth. Magnesium is one of the six essential macro-minerals that comprise 99% of the body’s mineral content. It helps build bones, enables nerves to function, and is essential to the production of energy from food.
Magnesium has been shown to have therapeutic value in treating conditions such as headaches, chronic pain, asthma, and sleep disorders and in a recent large scale study, magnesium has been linked to a reduced incidence of conditions such as heart disease, hypertension and diabetes.imagesBeetroot juice

Every single cell in the human body demands adequate magnesium to function, or it will perish. Strong bones and teeth, balanced hormones, a healthy nervous and cardiovascular system, well- functioning detoxification pathways and much more depend upon cellular magnesium. Soft tissue containing the highest concentrations of magnesium in the body include the brain and the heart—two organs that produce a large amount of electrical activity, and which can be especially vulnerable to magnesium insufficiency.
Fluoride in drinking water binds with magnesium, creating a nearly insoluble mineral compound that ends up deposited in the bones, where its brittleness increases the risk of fractures. Water, in fact, could be an excellent source of magnesium—if it comes from deep wells that have magnesium at their source. Urban sources of drinking water are usually from surface water, such as rivers and streams, which are low in magnesium. Even many bottled mineral waters are quite low in magnesium, or have a very high concentration of calcium, or both. Here are some of the things magnesium does:

It gives rigidity and flexibility to your bones (more important than calcium in many cases), increases bioavailability of calcium, regulates and normalizes blood pressure, prevents and reverses kidney stone formation, promotes restful sleep, helps prevent congestive heart failure, eases muscle cramps and spasms, lowers serum cholesterol levels and triglycerides, decreases insulin resistance, can prevent atherosclerosis and stroke, end cluster and migraine headaches, enhances circulation, relieves fibromyalgia and chronic pain, treats asthma and emphysema, helps make proteins, encourages proper elimination, prevents osteoporosis, proper Vitamin D absorption, protection from radiation, to aid weight loss, lessen or remove ADD or ADHD in children, in proper digestion of carbohydrates, emerging evidence is showing a preventative role in many cancers.imagesBlack woman with grapefruit

Some surveys have associated higher blood levels of magnesium with lower risk of coronary heart disease. In addition, some dietary surveys have suggested that a higher magnesium intake may reduce the risk of having a stroke. There is also evidence that low body stores of magnesium increase the risk of abnormal heart rhythms, which may increase the risk of complications after a heart attack. These studies suggest that consuming recommended amounts of magnesium may be beneficial to the cardiovascular system.

Are You Low in Magnesium?
Low magnesium levels are often diagnosed by symptoms alone as there is no blood test that detects low magnesium levels. The reason for this is that about 99% of the magnesium in your body is stored in your bones, muscles and soft tissue and only about 1 % is actually in your blood. Early signals of magnesium deficiency include: Appetite loss, headaches, nausea, tiredness and weakness. On- going or more severe magnesium deficiency can lead to more serious symptoms, such as numbness and tingling, cramps, seizures, behavioural changes, abnormal heart rhythm and coronary spasm.

The following symptoms can also point to low magnesium levels: Inability to sleep or insomnia, irritability, sensitivity to noise, mental disturbances, anxiety, depression or restlessness, muscle soreness or spasms, infertility or PMS, high levels of stress, headaches, heart “flutters” or palpitations, fatigue or unusual tiredness, coldness in extremities, fuzzy brain or difficulty concentrating, allergies and sensitivities, lack of appetite, back pain, body odour, bad short term memory, poor coordination, insulin resistance, carbohydrate cravings, constipation, frequent cavities or poor dental health, gut disorders, kidney stones, thyroid problems.

If you have more than one of the above symptoms and especially if you have more than five, it is highly likely that you could benefit from having more magnesium in your diet. Some conditions known to impact magnesium availability include: Individual variations in amount of stomach acid, commonly reduced in older adults, excessive use of alcohol, Crohn’s disease, celiac sprue, and any disorder of the digestive or intestinal function, kidney disorders, genetic magnesium absorption disorders, stress, surgery, and chronic disorders such as diabetes, diarrhea and vomiting.

How To Get Enough Magnesium
Unfortunately, magnesium is often not well absorbed by the digestive track, and is even more difficult to absorb if you are deficient or are low in vitamin D, have poor gut bacteria or suffer from a number of other conditions. On top of that, most foods are depleted of their natural magnesium levels and the water supply is lacking also. There are several ways to supplement, and a mixture of more than one type of magnesium supplementation seems to be most effective. It is important to start slow and work up, as high doses will not be completely absorbed at first and most will be wasted. There is also evidence that over half of all magnesium taken internally is not used and leaves the body as waste.indexAsparagus

Leafy green vegetables, sea vegetables, kelp, and especially nettle are good dietary sources of magnesium, though if you are deficient it will be difficult to raise your levels enough through diet alone. One of the best food sources of magnesium is pumpkin seeds – of which a quarter cup contains almost 50% of the RDA of magnesium! I would suggest you go for the organic ones – typically darker in colour because of their higher mineral content. Note that calcium and magnesium also need to be balanced with vitamin D3 and vitamin K2. In other words, any time you’re taking any of magnesium, calcium, vitamin D3, or vitamin K2, you need to take all four into consideration, since they all work synergistically.
Disorders linked with Magnesium deficiency

The following disorders have been linked with moderate to severe magnesium deficiency:
• Migraine headaches
• Type 2 Diabetes
• Osteoporosis
• Hypertension
• Atherosclerotic vascular disease, also commonly known as hardening of the arteries
• Colon cancer
• Asthma

Since all living life forms need magnesium to survive, fruits and vegetables usually have an abundance of it if grown organically in good soil. Levels of magnesium in crops can vary depending on how they were grown, since deficiency in the soil can cause poor magnesium uptake in produce. Asparagus, beets, beans, broccoli and cabbage are vegetables rich in magnesium. Apricots, bananas, pitted cherries, grapefruits, and oranges also have high magnesium content. You can also add dry almonds and Brazil nuts, cashews and roasted peanuts to salads for a magnesium-rich meal.magnesium-absorption

Magnesium deficiency is especially prevalent in older populations and is linked to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, coronary heart disease and osteoporosis. Several studies have confirmed the inverse relationship between magnesium intake and the risk of diabetes. For every 100mg/day increase in magnesium intake the risk of developing type 2 diabetes decreases by approximately 15%. Most magnesium intake in these studies was from dietary sources, not supplements. Clinical studies have shown improvement in insulin sensitivity with magnesium intake between 300 and 365 mg/day.

Researchers were also able to show that low magnesium levels resulted in impaired insulin secretion and lower insulin sensitivity. Since magnesium plays an important role in carbohydrate and glucose metabolism, it is no wonder magnesium status has an effect on diabetes. Magnesium is needed for the health of muscles, including the heart, and for the transmission of electrical signals in the body. Adequate magnesium intake has been associated with a lower risk of atherosclerosis and hypertension. More recently, several studies have found that a high intake of calcium without sufficient magnesium could increase the risk of arterial calcification and cardiovascular disease, as well as kidney stones.

Magnesium has a medium level of bioavailability – the degree to which a nutrient is absorbed and retained in the body for use. Magnesium is predominantly absorbed within the small intestine, with the efficiency of absorption depending on the amount of magnesium in the diet, the health of the gastrointestinal tract, the overall magnesium status of a person and their diet as a whole. On average about 20% to 50 % of ingested magnesium is absorbed. Unabsorbed magnesium is excreted in the faeces. These days there are different ways of getting magnesium into the body. Epsom salts baths are one way and applying magnesium topically, known as transdermal magnesium as it is applied to the skin either through lotions, gel, sprays or baths is another ways of getting magnesium into the system. Reports also suggest that using magnesium topically also benefits eczema and psoriasis.images.jpg Intermittent fasting

Magnesium supplements are available, but it is best to obtain any vitamin or mineral through food, as this increases the likelihood of ingesting optimal levels of other required and beneficial nutrients. Many vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients work synergistically, i.e. their benefits for health when taken together are greater than simply their individual benefits. As such, it is recommended to focus on meeting daily requirements for magnesium from foods before resorting to supplements as a backup. If, however, you have decided to take a magnesium supplement the best forms are magnesium malate, magnesium carbonate, magnesium chloride and magnesium glycinate. These are all readily absorbed by your body.

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for magnesium depends on age and gender. The National Institutes of Health recommend that children 1-3 years of age get 80 milligrams of magnesium a day, rising to 130 mg for children aged 4-8, and then 240 mg for children aged 9-13. After age 14, RDA recommendations diverge for men and women, with men typically requiring more magnesium than women due to a larger average body mass. The RDA for males aged 14-18 is 410 mg and 360 mg is recommended for females aged 14-18. Adult females are advised to get 310-320 mg per day. An RDA of 350-400 mg is advised during pregnancy, and 310-360 mg when breastfeeding. The RDA of magnesium for adult males is 400-420 mg.

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are not intended to replace a one to one relationship with your health practitioner nor are they meant as medical advice. You are encouraged to do your own research and make your own decisions in partnership with your medical practitioner.

Melatonin and the Pineal Gland

images.jpg day nightMelatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain. It helps regulate other hormones and maintains the body’s circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is your internal 24-hour “clock” that plays a critical role in when you fall asleep and when you wake up. When it is dark, your body produces more melatonin. When it is light, the production of melatonin stops. Being exposed to bright lights in the evening, or too little light during the day, can disrupt the body’s normal melatonin cycles, as can jet lag, shift work and poor vision.

Melatonin also helps control the timing and release of female reproductive hormones. It helps determine when a woman starts to menstruate, the frequency and duration of menstrual cycles, and when a woman stops menstruating (menopause). Preliminary research suggests low levels of melatonin help identify women at risk of a pregnancy complication called pre-eclampsia. Some researchers also believe that melatonin levels may be related to aging. For example, young children have the highest levels of night time melatonin. Researchers believe these levels drop as we age  and some  also think lower levels of melatonin may explain why some older adults have sleep problems and tend to go to bed and wake up earlier than when they were younger. This could also be one of the reasons why older people are prone to disease. It has also been stated that those who suffer from breast cancer, prostate cancer and autism have less than half the melatonin they should really have.

Melatonin has strong antioxidant effects and preliminary evidence suggests that it may help strengthen the immune system. It is also a  free radical scavenger that helps ‘cool down’ excess inflammation. In fact, melatonin is so integral to the health of your immune system that a lack of it causes your thymus gland, a key component of your immune system, to shrink in size. Because melatonin is a strong antioxidant and is able to cross the blood-brain barrier, it is thought to help protect against Alzheimer’s disease as well as brain aging. It is also said to be five times more powerful than vitamin C and twice as powerful as vitamin E.images.jpg pineal gland in architecture

Melatonin’s immediate precursor is the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is a major player in regulating and giving a lift to your mood. Serotonin is the hormone that is responsible for the “feel good” factor and like serotonin, melatonin plays important roles in your physical and mental health. Studies have shown that insufficient melatonin production can set you up for decreased immune function, erratic blood pressure, increased plaque in the brain, as seen with Alzheimer’s disease, decreased scavenging of free  radicals, increased risk of osteoporosis, diabetic capillary damage, depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and the acceleration of tumour and cancer cell growth. Research has also shown that melatonin offers particularly strong protection against reproductive cancers. Cells throughout your body, even cancer cells, have melatonin receptors, indicating their ability to take in melatonin.

If you’re wondering how to ensure that you’re getting enough melatonin, supplementation may be beneficial but it is much better and certainly less expensive to have your body produce its own melatonin by getting adequate high quality sleep and the decalcification of your pineal gland, as this is the place where melanin is produced.. Small quantities of melatonin are also found in foods like Goji berries, almonds, sunflower seeds, coriander and cherries, but, again, when you optimize your own production you will get the “perfect” dose of melatonin for you. Iodine also removes fluoride and bromide from your pineal gland, so supplementing with kelp tablets or seaweed can help in this regard. Another way to do this is to improve your sleep hygiene, which will in turn help you optimize your melatonin production. For a comprehensive sleep guide avoid watching TV or using your computer in the evening, at least an hour or so before going to bed. These devices emit blue light, which tricks your brain into thinking it’s still daytime. Normally, your brain starts secreting melatonin between 9 pm and 10 pm, and these devices emit light that may stifle that process.biological_clock

Below is a list, in no particular order, of eight supplements that will boost your melatonin production by increasing your pineal gland function, help in its decalcification, and support you on your journey of personal and spiritual cultivation.

Sleep in complete darkness, or as close to it as possible. Even the slightest bit of light in your bedroom can disrupt your biological clock and your pineal gland’s melatonin production. Even the tiniest glow from your clock radio could be interfering with your sleep, so cover your clock radio up at night or get rid of it altogether. Move all electrical devices at least three feet away from your bed. You may want to cover your windows with drapes or blackout shades, or wear an eye mask when you sleep. Not very romantic but it helps your melanin production. Install a low-wattage yellow, orange or red light bulb if you need a source of light for navigation at night. Light in these bandwidths does not shut down melatonin production in the way that white and blue bandwidth light does. Salt lamps are handy for this purpose.

Keep the temperature in your bedroom no higher than 70 degrees F. Many people keep their homes too warm (particularly their upstairs bedrooms). Studies show that the optimal room temperature for sleep is between 60 to 68 degrees F. Take a hot bath 90 to 120 minutes before bedtime, this increases your core body temperature, and when you get out of the bath it abruptly drops, telling your body that you are ready to sleep. Avoid using loud alarm clocks as being jolted awake each morning can be very stressful. If you are regularly getting enough sleep, you might not even need an alarm.images.jpg pineal and thyroid

Get some sun in the morning, if possible. Your circadian system needs bright light to reset itself. Ten to 15 minutes of morning sunlight will send a strong message to your internal clock that day has arrived, making it less likely to be confused by weaker light signals during the night. More sunlight exposure is required as you age and remember also that it is the actual brightness and not the temperature that matters where melatonin is concerned, unlike the production of vitamin D which relies on the heated rays of sunshine. Make sure you get BRIGHT sun exposure regularly. Your pineal gland produces melatonin roughly in approximation to the contrast of bright sun exposure in the day and complete darkness at night. If you are in darkness all day long, it can’t appreciate the difference and will not optimize your melatonin production. The human eye contains photo-sensitive cells in the retina with connections direct to the brain and wearing sunglasses prevents ultraviolet rays from reaching the eyes and then the pineal gland. Regular use of aspirin also reduces the production of melatonin.

Electro-magnetic fields (EMFs) can disrupt your pineal gland and its melatonin production, and may have other negative biological effects as well (next month’s article). Nutrition experts will tell you that brightly coloured fruits and vegetables are the best sources of antioxidants but melatonin hormones are more powerful. This is interesting because western societies have had higher and higher rates of chronic illness and disease since the birth of the Industrial Revolution. While this may be due to symptoms of a deficiency in vitamin D from less sun exposure, massive exposure to environmental toxins, our high intake of processed foods and a million other causes- it could very well have to do with our constant exposure to electric lights at night, which causes a decrease in melatonin hormones, which means fewer antioxidants.index.jpg Pine cones

Melatonin levels have been shown to be decreased in almost every diseased state- from autism to autoimmune disease to premature puberty, it seems that low melatonin levels occur with disease. Whether the benefits of melatonin include reversing disease has not been studied well or answered conclusively- but it is interesting and is an excellent reason to keep your melatonin levels high by getting to sleep before 11.00 pm, by minimizing your exposure to electric lights after dark and by sleeping in pitch darkness

So melatonin is a hormone, an inducer into altered states of consciousness, an antioxidant and it is also a smooth muscle relaxant. Probably one of the least known things about melatonin is that it not only acts as a muscle relaxant on the smooth muscles- particularly those of the digestive tract but it is also made by cells of the digestive tract as well. Administration of melatonin has actually shown improvement in inflammatory bowel diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, the digestive problems that accompany autism and, gastro-esophageal reflux.

It makes you wonder if getting the proper sleep at the proper time to produce as much melatonin as possible could help people with digestive problems. One study linked poor sleep to worse gastrointestinal problems in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and it’s fairly well known that when melatonin is given to children with autism, their chronic digestive complaints improve. Many of us have been exposed to sodium fluoride due to fluoridation of our water systems, and this has also resulted in the calcification of the pineal gland. Iodine, naturally occurring in plants such as seaweed, effectively improves the removal of sodium fluoride via urine. Unfortunately, the Western diet has left us deficient in this vital mineral while our bodies need it most. To avoid calcium deficiency when taking iodine supplements, a diet incorporating many organic foods such as kale, broccoli, almonds, oranges, flax seed, sesame seeds, dill, thyme and other dried herbs is recommended. The pineal gland has been implicated in a number of disorders including cancer, sexual dysfunction, hypertension, epilepsy and Paget’s disease. The pineal gland calcifies with age and melatonin production correspondingly decreases. This decline in melatonin has been suggested to be a trigger for the aging process.9884f339eb6b7ddf95e9edd285b386b9.jpg heiroglyphics of pineal

Environmental stresses affect pineal function, impacting overall body alertness, temperature levels, and hormone operation. Stresses that affect pineal function include unusual light and dark rhythms, radiation, magnetic fields, nutritional imbalances, temperature swings, high altitude, and overall daily stress patterns.

The pineal gland contains magnetic material in birds and other animals. It is a centre for navigation. This, of course, is important for blind individuals as well.  Magnetic processing is subtle and may be part of the body’s unconscious navigational system. Mobility specialists are aware of this possibility. Scientists believe that the pineal gland is a magneto-receptor, capable of monitoring magnetic fields, and helping to align the body in space. This was demonstrated by changing the direction of magnetic fields around the heads of birds which altered their ability to navigate.

There are many foods that help decalcify and improve the function of the pineal gland, while detoxifying other parts of the body. These include: cilantro, tamarind, Goji berries, watermelon, bananas, honey, coconut oil, hemp seeds, seaweed, noni juice, garlic, Chaga mushroom, raw lemon juice. Pineal gland decalcification can also be gained by eating more alkalizing foods. RAW. Organic cocoa in its purest form can also help detoxify the pineal gland because of cacoa’s high antioxidant content. Supplements like spirulina, chlorella, wheatgrass and blue-green algae are examples of chlorophyll-rich superfoods that offer similar benefits to eating leafy greens but with much more nutrition packed into a small serving. These nutrient dense supplements assist in the decalcification of the pineal gland due to their strong detoxification properties.

According to a 2012 article published in Food and Nutrition Research, low levels of folate, magnesium and zinc may impair the production of melatonin. Filling your diet with foods rich in these nutrients may help make sure your pineal gland has what it needs to produce the important hormone. Spinach, beans and asparagus are good sources of folate . You can meet your magnesium needs by including nuts, beans, yogurt and potatoes in your diet. For zinc, oysters, crabs, and chickpeas can help you meet your daily needs for pineal health and melatonin production.

Both oregano oil and neem extract help in the purification process, helping to remove existing calcification within the pineal gland, in addition to purifying the body’s systems, especially the endocrine system. Neem has been used in this way in India for thousands of years. In the western world, oregano oil is also becoming a holistic way of fortifying the immune system. In the longer term, both of these supplements will act as a natural antibiotic against new calcium shells created by nano-bacteria.decalcify-pineal-gland-1

For those of us who seek to fully activate our spiritual potential and tap into the power of the pineal gland, we must begin by strengthening its function through detoxification and proper nutrition. Researchers are finding that in many people, due to our poor diet, with pesticides, chemical-laden foods and environmental toxins such as fluoride in our water, the pineal gland and our entire bodies are exposed to many more toxins and nano-organisms than ever before. These form calcium shells around themselves for protection from our immune systems which has resulted in calcification of the pineal gland together with a build-up of calcium phosphate crystals in various parts of the human body. Many of us have a pineal gland that is already completely calcified. This does not fare well when we try to tap into the esoteric capabilities of this gland through yoga practice, meditation, using plant medicines and so forth. The process of detoxification is an essential place to start if we want to exploit our full spiritual capabilities which go hand in hand with having a disease free body.

Raw apple cider vinegar, which is a natural detoxifier helps decalcify the pineal gland due to its malic acid properties. Malic acid is an organic compound that gives fruits their sour taste. When taken as a supplement, it supports the digestive system and helps the body detoxify. Apple cider vinegar has many other health benefits. Ensure that the brand you buy is raw and cloudy which indicates that it is not refined and all the health giving properties removed. The reduction in melatonin production, as during aging, shift-work or illuminated environments during the night, induces insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, sleep disturbance, and metabolic circadian disorganization, causing a state of disruption leading to obesity.

When your circadian rhythms are properly regulated, you sleep well, you have energy in the mornings, your energy is constant throughout the day until it starts to gradually diminish in the evening and it reduces your risk of chronic disease. Yes, all chronic disease. The light-dark cycle mentioned above is the most important signal to your circadian clock. This means that one of the best ways to set your circadian clock is to be exposed to bright light (ideally sunlight) during the day, but be in the dark at night. In fact, sunlight exposure during the day is probably the single most important thing you can do to support the normal production of melatonin in the evening.index.jpg As above so below 2

If you plan to use a computer monitor or watch TV, there are two options. The first is to install “f.lux” on your computer or android devices and set the screen brightness to the lowest setting. The second and probably the best thing for supporting evening melatonin production (more technically called dim-light melatonin production) is to wear amber- tinted glasses for the last 2-3 hours of your day. In fact, several scientific studies show that wearing amber-tinted glasses in the evening improves sleep quality and supports melatonin production. What are amber tinted glasses? Quite simple: glasses with yellow lenses. These could be driving glasses, glaucoma glasses, or safety glasses. Some people prefer the large lens of safety glasses because they also block peripheral light and there are also options that can fit well over regular glasses. Amber-tinted glasses are also a great option for shift workers. The idea here is to reduce the amount of “blue” light to which you are exposed in the run up to bedtime. This “daytime exposure” at night disrupts your hormones leading to disease. Eating tart cherries before bedtime has been shown to increase melatonin production and induce a good night’s sleep.

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are not intended to replace a one to one relationship with your health practitioner nor are they meant as medical advice. You are encouraged to do your own research and make your own decisions in partnership with your medical practitioner.

Every Day is Detox Day

Detoxing is simply the body’s way of removing toxins and excess waste, the result of which is less lethargy, more energy and ultimately better health. Every day we are exposed to a variety of toxins in the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, the clothes we wear and of course radiation from electrical gadgets and background radiation as well. When the intake of toxins is greater than those removed the result is toxic overload which, if left unattended can result in a weakened immune system, which leads to illness which in turn can lead to death. Many advocates of detoxing propose a week long detox or a twelve day detox or even an annual detox, but with the amount of toxins that our bodies have to cope with these days detoxing should be a daily activity with possibly a deeper detox once a year.

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There are three ways our bodies handle toxins. Neutralising them, transforming them or eliminating them. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals. The liver transforms toxic substances into harmless agents and blood carries waste to the kidneys or liver eliminating them through the intestines or bladder. Elimination also takes place through the skin and nostrils. When all your systems are working well the result is good health but you have to give your body some help along the way, especially in these modern times with toxins everywhere.
During the process of detoxing your body will eliminate dead, dying or diseased cells, eliminate trans fatty acids, remove toxic waste matter in the lymphatic system and blood stream, remove the hardened coating of mucus on the intestinal walls, remove toxins in the liver, spleen and kidneys, remove excess cholesterol and remove mucus from the lungs and sinuses, the result of which will be safe weight loss without flabbiness, a balanced nervous system, an increase in energy, revitalized organs, better breathing, an improved digestive system, glowing skin and greater mental clarity. The main agents of detoxification are the liver, kidneys, lungs, skin, lymphatic system and the intestines/digestive system although this latter is generally not regarded to be in the same category as the others.

The Liver

liver-detox-diet-300x225The liver is the main organ when it comes to detoxing. It can be described as a processing plant and a storage organ. It is the largest internal organ and it not only converts food into energy but cleans the blood of alcohol, food toxins and poisons and produces bile which is necessary for digestion. It needs to be cleansed regularly in order to function optimally and it is much easier and safer to do it every day rather than yearly as some practitioners advocate. After all your body is under attack every day so why detox once a year or half year. Here are some tips for keeping the liver well maintained. Start the day with a cup of green tea with half a lemon or lime juice and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Eat some garlic, onion and coriander/cilantro (the green leaves). Incorporate cruciferous vegetables into your diet. Eat fermented food with your meals (probiotics, sauerkraut), exercise. Eat fibre rich foods like lentils, okra, sweet potato, green bananas, aubergine and plantain.

The Kidneys

The kidneys are the last stop for filtration and detoxification. They clean the blood of toxins and urine which, in turn, cleans the bladder. If the kidneys are not functioning properly, then any type of detox or cleanse will not be totally effective and although there are several signs of the kidneys being congested and not working effectively, cleansing them is quite easy. Signs of congested or inefficient kidneys are foggy head, oedema/edema (swelling ), low energy, bladder issues, kidney stones, low sex drive and ringing in the ears. Dehydration is the most common cause of kidney stress and kidney stones so drink plenty of clean WATER and eat fruits like limes, lemon, grapes, bananas, kiwi, prunes and apricots. You can also soak barley grains overnight and drink the water in the morning. This cleanses the kidneys and repairs any damage done from the build- up of toxins. You should also eat less protein to reduce the amount of the by-product creatinine which is harmful to the kidneys.

The Skin

The skin is sometimes referred to as the “third kidney”. A lot of toxins come out through perspiration and in dead skin cells that flake off. Alternatively, a lot of toxins leach into the body through the skin, mainly through the use of toiletries, and cosmetics and of course, the environment. There are a few very good ways to help the body eliminate toxins through the skin and perhaps the most effective is by having the occasional sauna which encourages sweating. You can also alternate hot and cold showers which will also help or have a soak in a hot bath with Epsom salts or bicarbonate of soda added to the water. These not only promote sound sleep but are very alkalizing and leach into the body through the pores which have been opened up due to the heat of the water.

The Lungs 

Your two lungs are some of the most important organs in your body because without them you would only live for a few minutes through lack of oxygen and the build- up of carbon dioxide in your body. With the environment in which we are living becoming more and more polluted and toxic, your lungs are being subjected to more disease causing chemicals and pollutants. Since you have very little control over the air you breathe you can help your lungs perform better by detoxing them. There are several ways this can be done. Special breathing exercises, having regular saunas, eating spicy foods and taking hot showers are just a few. From a dietary perspective there are many more ways to detox your lungs. Drinking sage tea is good for coughs and sore throats while ginger tea with lemon improves breathing and helps remove toxins from the respiratory tract. Peppermint contains menthol which is known to relax the smooth muscles of the respiratory tract and promotes free breathing. The herb oregano is not only an anti-inflammatory herb but also a decongestant and anti-histamine which can be added to your daily diet. You can also steam treat with eucalyptus by inhaling the fumes and it has even been suggested that boiling the leaves of the banana or plantain tree or even boiling green plantains or bananas and drinking the water will improve the functioning of the lungs.

The Lymphatic System

This is your body’s biggest drain. It removes waste from the blood and every cell and regulates the immune system. It delivers nutrients, oxygen and hormones and removes fluid toxins, cancer cells and pathogens. There are a few simple but beneficial steps you can take to detox your lymphatic system. Eat red foods for optimal lymph function (beet, cherries, radish, dark green vegetables, ginger, sea kelp, citrus fruits, and garlic. Herbs, such as parsley, dandelion root and nettles also help cleanse the lymphatic system. Even a sauna will help as it helps get toxins out through the skin and also through exhalation. The liver produces most of the lymph fluid so when the liver is congested the lymph system is also congested. You should avoid processed foods like white bread, processed meats, fast foods, canned foods, cereals, baked goods and packaged dinners. Your lymphatic system can also be helped by exercise.

The Intestines

detox-sqA healthy colon removes toxins but an unhealthy one produces its own toxins. The first step towards a healthy, detoxed colon is to change your diet to one that has plenty of fibre. So moving away from processed foods and embracing natural high fibre vegetables is essential, as this, together with drinking adequate amounts of clean water will speed up the passage of food through the intestines. This makes for regular elimination, a lower risk of re-toxing, a reduction of cholesterol and of course nourishment for the good bacteria in the gut. Colon cleansing involves regular bowel movements and of course if you are eating three meals a day you should be eliminating three times a day. This is contingent upon the nature of the food you are eating and will only happen if the food is high fibre and you have drunk plenty of water. If, on the other hand you are constipated and not eliminating, then toxins are sitting in your colon fermenting and putrefying and just waiting to be reabsorbed which ultimately gives rise to disease, including cancer of the colon.

Avocado

In addition to its many other health benefits avocado can help protect and repair your liver, the main organ of detoxification. Avocados contain very high amounts of compounds which help the body produce glutathione, perhaps the most powerful antioxidant there is. Research has shown that eating one or two small avocados every week for 30 days can make a significant difference in the health of your liver.

Ginger

Ginger speeds up the movement of food through the intestines. And also slows the growth of colorectal and ovarian cancer cells. It has also been associated with protection against Alzheimer’s disease. Ginger stimulates digestion, circulation and sweating and helps cleanse the colon, liver and other organs of waste and toxins. It is also a blood thinner.

Garlic

Garlic contains compounds called allyl sulphides which give garlic its very pungent smell. Allicin, a compound which is produced when garlic is crushed is said to help reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease and is also associated with the removal of heavy metals from the body. Garlic belongs to the allium family of herbs which also include onions, spring onions, shallots, chives and leeks. Onions are also associated with the removal of heavy metals from the body and for best effect should be combined with garlic and coriander.

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Beet

Beet has been shown to help cleanse the blood and the colon and strengthen the liver and gall bladder, all of which are associated with detoxification. Beet is high in iron which helps to regenerate the red blood cells and supply fresh oxygen to the body. It can very easily be integrated into your everyday diet to help keep the liver working properly. In addition to the direct benefit to the liver beet also functions as an antioxidant and is associated with a reduction in the risk of contracting cancer of the liver, skin, spleen and colon.

Kale

Kale, spinach, Brussel sprouts, kolrabi, cabbage and broccoli all belong to the brassica family and are generally referred to as cruciferous vegetables. They are rich in folate and chlorophyll and a phytochemical called sulforaphane, which stimulates enzymes in the body that detoxify carcinogens (cancer causing compounds). They also contain another compound called glucosinolates which help with the removal of toxins from the body. You should eat these vegetables raw or lightly cooked. Kale is considered to be the best of all the cruciferous vegetables.

Pectin

Pectin is found in the skin of many vegetables and fruits and is normally used in the making of jams and jellies. It has the ability to remove heavy metals and contaminants from the blood stream through a process known as chelation. The heavy metals and contaminants are then passed out of the body through urination. Sources of pectin are bananas, apples (especially green ones), cabbage, okra, beet, carrots, grapes and citrus fruits. With citrus fruits the pectin is the white part between the skin and the flesh known as the pith.

Teas

Some of the herbs and spices mentioned in this article can also be taken as teas, which may be more convenient for some people. Most of us are familiar with ginger tea and green tea but even garlic, coriander, turmeric, cayenne and coriander can be taken as teas. Some may have a taste that takes some getting used to but can be blended with other herbs to reduce their acrid taste.

Turmeric

Turmeric is the number one spice in the world due to its many health giving properties and plays a vital role in any detox programme. It stimulates the gall bladder to produce more bile and the liver uses bile to eliminate toxins. Bile also rejuvenates liver cells that breakdown harmful compounds. When mixed with castor oil turmeric is an even more powerful toxin remover, especially from the skin. Women should apply this mixture to the breasts and under the arm because it will pull harmful toxins from the lymph nodes and fat cells of the breasts reducing the risk of breast cancer.

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Coriander

Cilantro/Coriander or Chinese parsley is one of the few herbs that are used for the detoxification of heavy metals like lead, aluminium, mercury and cadmium from the body. It works even better when combined with garlic, onions and pectin.

Exercise

Exercise not only builds muscle but reduces fat and improves your mood. It also helps detox the body which is essential for good health. Exercise stimulates the body, increases circulation of the blood and lymph, a clear fluid that flows through our bodies. Exercise also causes us to us to sweat more which cleanses the skin through perspiration and during exercise when you drink water you help your kidneys do their job in filtering toxins more easily. Another effect of exercise is to improve digestion which naturally leads to less indigestion, gas, constipation and a better elimination of waste. Remember that exercise is not always a question of going to the gym and pumping weights or running on the treadmill. You should find a form of exercise that fits in with your daily routine, physical health and age and make that a part of daily habits. Swimming, brisk walking, dancing, yoga, tai chi or any form of physical movement carried out on a regular basis is good and helps your body detox.

Water

When you are exercising you are inclined to drink water as a result of losing body fluid through perspiration. Water, like exercise is a vital part of any detox programme. It not only keeps you hydrated but helps your kidneys flush out toxins, the main one being blood urea nitrogen. Water also carries nutrients to the cells to energize them, aids digestion, lubricates and cushions the joints and regulates our body temperature and metabolism.

Fasting

Sleep is indeed a mini fast and it is during this period that the body briefly carries out a short cleanse, the evidence of which is “morning breath”, a coated tongue or a mild experience of fogginess on awakening. This quick act of cleansing during sleep is in fact a short detox. During a longer “fast,” toxins enter the blood stream at a rapid rate and as a result the symptoms will be more pronounced than fogginess or morning breath. You should not go from eating a regular diet to fasting. There should be a transitional period during which you should eat only fruits and vegetables for a few weeks and then go onto a water fast.

Sleep

Normally, when we think of detoxing, we very rarely think of sleep as part of that process. The paradox here is that most of us know that “the body repairs itself when we are asleep”, but we somehow do not make the connection between the body repairing itself and detoxing. Recent research has shown that a particular mechanism that removes waste products from the brain is mainly active during sleep.
A statement from the University of Rochester Medical Centre where the research was carried out stated that “This study shows that the brain has different functional states when asleep and when awake. In fact, the restorative nature of sleep appears to be the result of the active clearance of the by-products of the neural activity that accumulate during wakefulness”.images Black woman asleep
In 2012 Dr Maiken Netergaard co-director of the University of Rochester Medical Centre reported that they had discovered a previously unrecognised system that drains waste from the brain. They called it the “glymphatic system” because it acts like the body’s lymphatic system but is managed by the brain cells known glial cells. Apparently, the glymphatic system clears away toxins or waste products that could be responsible for diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Tests have shown that the “glymphatic system” , the clean- up system, is ten times more active during sleep and that a sleeping brain removes significantly more amounts of one toxic protein called amyloid beta which is implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. They also found that during sleep the brain undergoes physical changes that allow the system to work faster. Apparently, the cells of the brain shrink by about sixty per cent, which increases the space between them so that the toxins can be flushed away more effectively.
Since sleep plays such a crucial role in the maintenance of good health, it is vitally important that any detox programme includes foods and herbs that encourage sound sleep. Some such foods are sesame seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, cocoa, dark green vegetables, black strap molasses, lemon balm, sage, barley and chamomile and the mineral magnesium.

Avoid Re-toxing

Of course, after having introduced the new regime to your everyday detox programme you may find that for the first few weeks your body may rebel. Avoid sugars, fast foods, additives, monosodium glutamate wheat, trans-fats and simple carbohydrates as these are anti-detox agents.