Would you benefit from cleansing? Yes, if you: Smoke Are regularly exposed to environmental toxins Drink less than a litre of water daily Drink soda pop, coffee or alcohol Eat processed foods such as white flour baked goods and candy Crave junk food Are tired, constipated, bloated and lack focus Have sticky or malodorous bowel movements Have pasty skin or dark circles under your eyes Have blood sugar problems Have unstable emotions Have unsatisfactory libido or sleep Are over or under-weight Use prescription or recreational drugs regularly If you peruse natural health news, you certainly have read the word “detox” lately.  You may have heard about how “body burden” of unnatural chemicals is higher than ever before. Industrial run-off into our rivers, pharmaceutical pollution flushed down toilets, burning fossil fuels belching into the air, fake food, plastic everywhere — all of this and more comprises an enormous burden for our internal self-cleansing systems. The amazing human body has several mechanisms by which to rid itself of non-nutrients which come in daily through our nose and mouth. We process food across...

Three recent clinical studies, two about cocaine addiction and one about compulsive gambling, examine the role of a simple amino acid in normalizing brain chemistry of those with addiction. Drug addiction and various forms of pathological gambling has widely ruined personal finances, family cohesiveness and health.  Relapse rates are extremely high.  These studies offer much hope for an inexpensive, non-toxic option for healing. N-acetylcysteine, a form of the sulfur-containing amino acid cysteine is a precursor to the brain neurotransmitter glutamate.  There is observational evidence that low levels of glutamate in the brain will increase compulsive and addictive behaviors and intensify cravings. Taking NAC by mouth has been shown to increase glutamate concentrations in the regions of the brain (the nucleus accumbens) which, when low in glutamate, promotes addictive behavior. In the first study, 15 volunteers with a history of cocaine addiction received either 600 mg of NAC or placebo every 12 hours for 2 days.  The test subjects taking NAC were significantly less likely to scan the internet for cocaine-related news than those on placebo, and the NAC group also...

A new study published in the October 2007 Lancet (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science) by researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD, concludes that influenza vaccinations in the US have prevented fewer deaths

The American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association have released new guidelines for physical activity that recommend that healthy adults ages 18 to 65 exercise a minimum of five days per week in order to promote health and prevent disease.

Most of us have experienced some degree of winter blues, and as many as 10 million Americans suffer a more severe form of the seasonal depression now known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The predominant theory as to the cause of SAD is absence of sunlight during the winter months, which causes hormonal imbalances, in particular an excess of the pineal secretion, melatonin. Although there is no definitive test for SAD, most SAD patients have high levels of melatonin in their blood. About 75% of SAD sufferers are women, which confirms a link to hormonal fluctuations. There also appears to be a genetic component, with entire families being prone to deep winter melancholia, particularly those living far enough north to experience lengthy periods of darkness for many months of the year. Artificial indoor light is not a protective or therapeutic measure to combat SAD, although high-intensity fluorescent light therapy may be curative. Light treatment has been shown to improve SAD in children also diagnosed with ADHD to the extent of allowing the kids to get off Ritalin (J Am Acad...

A Reuter’s news item appeared mid April this year in time for some tax-season levity: Lizard saliva may save your brain! No kidding. Apparently, a New-York-based biotechnology company has decided that ingesting the drool of the scary-looking southwest desert Gila monster may free the mind from the grip of Alzheimer’s disease (proceedings from the 7th International Geneva/Springfield Symposium on Advances in Alzheimer’s Therapy, Switzerland, April 8, 2002). Stay tuned! Meanwhile, other natural nootropic substances, with research behind them, hold promise for keeping mental functions sharp. (For more tips on how to enhance your memory, see the Brain-Booster Checklist below.)

Clinical depression affects 15 million Americans yearly, and countless more suffer from milder versions of this illness. Antidepressants are among the most commonly prescribed drugs. By the end of 1995, 12 million people around the world (half in the U.S.) were taking Prozac, despite the high side-effect profile of this, and most other, antidepressant drugs, notably headaches, drowsiness, dry mouth, sexual dysfunctions and insomnia. Like most other disease, depression can be largely relieved by lifestyle and nutrition changes. Addiction and depression interface to a large extent. Many people claim that they smoke, drink alcohol, or take drugs because it calms them down. In reality, the “high” is very short term; these addictions ultimately add more stress to the system because of obsession with the next “fix.” (Please read Lifestyle Factors In Reducing Depression at the bottom of this post, for a list of changes you can make in your lifestyle that will have a direct impact on alleviating depression).