What is Glutathione and Why Do You Need it?

4 months, 7 days ago

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in August 2016. It has been updated and republished in February 2019.

What is glutathione? It may be the most important molecule you need to stay healthy and prevent disease. It’s known for its anti-aging power as well as its benefit in fighting cancer, heart disease, dementia, and other chronic diseases. It’s also important for treating everything from autism and Alzheimer’s disease and more.

What is Glutathione and What Does it Do?

Glutathione is a combination of three simple building blocks of protein or amino acids − cysteine, glycine, and glutamine − and is produced naturally in the body. It is called the master antioxidant because it can regenerate itself in the liver after each “fill-up” of free radicals and go back to work. Free radicals are often the byproduct of normal cellular metabolic oxidation and toxic overload. They can lead to autoimmune diseases, several types of cancer, and even heart attacks.

Keeping yourself healthy, boosting your performance, preventing disease, and aging well all depend on keeping glutathione levels high. It is critical for immune function and controlling inflammation. It is the master detoxifier and the body’s main antioxidant, protecting our cells and making our energy metabolism run well.

Research has shown that raised glutathione levels decrease muscle damage, reduce recovery time, increase strength and endurance, and shift metabolism from fat production to muscle development.

Glutathione is critical in helping the body’s first line of defense against disease and illness – the immune system − do its job of fighting infections. It further supports the immune system in preventing cancer and other illnesses. Studies have also shown that glutathione can help in the treatment of AIDS.

Studies have also shown that glutathione can be effective in treating fatty liver disease, both alcoholic and nonalcoholic. It’s especially effective for people who make healthy lifestyle changes.

Glutathione is essential for maintaining healthy cellular mitochondria. Damaged or malfunctioning cellular mitochondria are part of the cancer process. This occurs when exposure to toxins and unhealthy cellular terrain combine to trigger a cellular defensive response. During this process healthy cells become cancer cells by reverting to a primitive form of respiration that uses glucose (sugar) instead of oxygen for respiration. They then refuse to die and keep multiplying.

The secret of the power of glutathione may be the sulfur chemical groups it contains. Sulfur is a sticky, smelly molecule which helps eliminate all the bad things in the body. Its stickiness allows it to capture damaging free radicals and toxins like mercury and other heavy metals.

As natural health author Paul Fassa wrote:

Glutathione is critical for one simple reason: It recycles antioxidants. You see, dealing with free radicals is like handing off a hot potato. They get passed around from vitamin C to vitamin E to lipoic acid and then finally to glutathione which cools off the free radicals and recycles other antioxidants. After this happens, the body can “reduce” or regenerate another protective glutathione molecule and we are back in business.”

Dr. Mark Hyman calls glutathione the “mother of all antioxidants” and says that he has found glutathione deficiency to be common in virtually all seriously ill patients he has treated. This includes people with chronic fatigue syndrome, heart disease, cancer, chronic infections, autoimmune disease, diabetes, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, asthma, kidney problems, liver disease, and more.

benefits of glutathione

Glutathione Deficiency

The body forms glutathione naturally, but production decreases as we age. Toxins also decrease healthy glutathione levels. If you are sick, feeling old, or just not in peak shape, you likely have a glutathione deficiency. The esteemed British medical journal, The Lancet, found the highest glutathione levels in healthy young people, lower levels in healthy elderly, lower still in sick elderly, and the lowest of all in the hospitalized elderly.

Normally, glutathione is recycled in the body − except when the toxic load becomes too great. When glutathione becomes depleted it can no longer protect against free radicals, infections, or cancer, and we can’t get rid of toxins. This leads to further sickness and soon we are in the downward spiral of chronic illness.

Active Glutathione is Known as GSH

Glutathione becomes inactive when it becomes saturated from doing its work of collecting free radicals, but it tends to regenerate itself in a healthy liver. Under ideal conditions, 10% of the glutathione remains inactive (or oxidized), while the other 90% is active. As the active glutathione (also known as GSH), drops below 90% and allows the inactive to increase beyond 10%, the struggle for optimum health begins to become a losing battle. When toxins build up, the GSH diminishes even more. When GSH falls below 70%, the immune system becomes critically compromised.

Foods & Supplements that Increase Glutathione Levels in Your Body

Certain foods contain precursors to help the liver produce more glutathione. These include sulfur-rich foods such as garlic, onions, and cruciferous vegetables (i.e. broccoli, kale, collards, cabbage, cauliflower, watercress), premium bioactive whey products, and colostrum.

You can also increase glutathione by increasing your vitamin C intake or adding milk thistle or turmeric to your diet.

The reason for using precursors to boost your liver’s ability to create healthy glutathione levels is that supplemental glutathione has issues with getting through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract intact without being degraded.

Exercise boosts glutathione levels and helps boost your immune system, improve detoxification, and enhance your body’s own antioxidant defenses. Start slow and build up to 30 minutes a day of vigorous aerobic exercise like walking or jogging, or play various sports. Strength training for 20 minutes, three times a week is also helpful.

Other supplements which can help increase healthy glutathione levels include:

A good all-around organic, whole-food derived nutritional supplement.

N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) has been used for many years to help boost glutathione. Time release NAC is the best option for keeping levels high throughout the day.

Methylation nutrients, including folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 are critical to keep the body producing and recycling glutathione.

Selenium helps the body recycle and produce more glutathione.

The family of antioxidants which includes vitamins C and E (in the form of mixed tocopherols) work together to recycle glutathione

Milk thistle (silymarin) helps increase glutathione levels and is famed for its ability to cleanse, protect, and regenerate the liver.

It is also worth noting that alpha-lipoic acid is a close second to glutathione in terms of importance for our cells. It is involved in energy production, blood sugar control, brain health, and detoxification.

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How Can Melatonin Supplements Benefit You?

6 months, 15 days ago

Table of Contents

What Is Melatonin?
Uses of Melatonin in Your Body
6 Ways to Optimize Your Melatonin Levels Naturally
Studies Regarding the Use of Melatonin Supplements
Benefits of Melatonin Supplement
Do Not Take Melatonin if You Have These Conditions
Side Effects of Melatonin
Consider Optimizing Your Melatonin Levels Naturally Before Taking a Supplement
Frequently Asked Questions

Sleeping is an essential human function, and at the heart of it is your circadian rhythm, also known as your body clock. It’s a natural, biological timer that helps your body recognize sleepiness and wakefulness over a period of 24 hours.

By sticking to a regular bedtime schedule, such as sleeping and waking up at the same time each day, you can maintain a steady circadian rhythm that will allow you to maximize your productivity while you’re awake, and get the right amount of sleep when nighttime arrives.1

Your circadian rhythm is largely dictated by your pineal gland. This gland is located near the center of your brain, with a shape that looks similar to a pine cone, hence the name. It’s estimated to be one-third of an inch long, and is made up of unique pineal cells and neuroglial cells that help support the gland.

Despite its small size, it plays a crucial role in your health because it produces a single hormone called melatonin, which is vital for controlling your body clock and, ultimately, your sleeping patterns.2

What Is Melatonin?

Melatonin, or N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine, is a hormone produced by the pineal gland.3 Your brain usually starts secreting melatonin around 9 p.m., which is the time most people go to bed. By increasing the amount, your body begins to recognize that bedtime is fast approaching, allowing you to sleep at an ideal time.4

To do this properly, you need to be aware of your exposure to light throughout the day and especially at night, because melatonin production depends on how much light your body absorbs.

If you stay awake past dark, light emitted by electrical devices hampers your body’s ability to produce melatonin. Ideally, you want to stop using gadgets an hour before sleeping to help increase melatonin production and maintain a steady circadian rhythm. Nightshift workers usually have it worse and constantly suffer from disrupted body clocks, because of their poor melatonin production.

3 Main Uses of Melatonin in Your Body

What is the role of melatonin anyway? Based on published research, it has been discovered to perform three main functions:

• Controls your circadian rhythm — Melatonin works as a sleeping aid by normalizing your circadian rhythm by convincing your body to prepare itself for bedtime.5 It’s a hormone that only “signals” your body to prepare for sleep, not one that actually makes you fall asleep.

• Functions as an antioxidant — Recent studies have found that melatonin not only affects your body clock, but also functions as an antioxidant that can help support your health. Specifically, it may help different aspects of your brain, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal health.6 It may even lower your risk of cancer, in some cases.7

• Boosts your immune system — Melatonin may benefit your immune system in various ways. In one study, researchers suggest that melatonin may help improve the treatment of bacterial diseases such as tuberculosis.8 In another study, melatonin has been suggested as a potential tool against inflammation, autoimmune diseases and Type 1 diabetes.9

6 Ways to Optimize Your Melatonin Levels Naturally to Improve Sleep Quality

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 50 to 70 million Americans are suffering from a sleeping or wakefulness disorder.10 As a result, many of them turn to various remedies, such as behavioral and environmental changes, to get a good night’s rest.11

One of the first things you can do is to make sure that your body is producing enough melatonin. Optimizing your melatonin levels naturally is important because it helps keep your body functioning normally without relying on outside factors. So, instead of immediately relying on melatonin supplementation, here are a few lifestyle changes I suggest you try first to boost your melatonin production:

• Avoid using electronic devices an hour before sleeping — Gadgets such as cellphones, TVs and computers emit blue light, and exposure to it tricks your body into thinking it’s still daytime. By avoiding gadgets an hour before bed, your body can produce the melatonin needed to help you sleep at your intended time.

• Make sure to get regular sunlight exposure — Getting regular sun exposure in the morning or at noontime helps your body reduce its melatonin production, so that when nighttime arrives, your pineal gland produces the correct amount to induce sleepiness.

• Try to sleep in complete darkness — If possible, try to remove immediate light sources from your room to help improve your sleep quality. The slightest exposure to light can interfere with your body’s melatonin production and keep you up later than you need. Keep gadgets 3 feet away from your bed or use blackout window shades.

• Remove sources of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) in your bedroom — EMFs emitted by certain devices such as Internet routers can disrupt your pineal gland’s melatonin production. Ideally, you should turn off your wireless router, as well as other wireless devices connected to the Internet before sleeping.

• If you need a nightlight, use a low-wattage yellow, orange or red bulb — Low-wattage bulbs with a yellow, orange or red color do not interfere with melatonin production the same way that white and blue bulbs do.

• Wear blue light-blocking glasses — This special device can help keep your eyes from absorbing blue light that can affect your melatonin levels. It can be a useful tool to have around the house, especially if you’re constantly surrounded by gadgets and artificial light sources.

In addition, the following foods are known to contain small amounts of melatonin. Making them a part of your regular diet while practicing the aforementioned sleeping tips may help improve sleep quality:12

Grass fed meat (lamb, beef and pork)
Wild-caught salmon
Pasture-raised chicken and eggs
Raw, grass fed milk
Tart cherries
Seeds (Flax, sunflower, fennel, mustard, alfalfa, celery and fenugreek)
Nuts (pistachio, almonds and walnuts)

If you’ve already tried everything, including incorporating melatonin foods in your diet, and you’re still having difficulty getting quality sleep, you may consider taking a melatonin supplement. In 2016 alone, 3.1 million adults in the United States turned to melatonin supplementation to help them sleep peacefully.13

Studies Regarding the Use of Melatonin Supplements

Since the discovery of melatonin, various studies have been conducted to discover how using it as a supplement can benefit your health. According to the Journal of Pineal Research, the melatonin secreted by your pineal gland enters every cell in your body and can even cross morphophysiologic barriers.

As a result, not only may it help you improve sleep quality,14 it also has certain anti-inflammatory compounds that may help reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as atherosclerosis and hypertension.15

In addition, a study published in Endocrine Journal reports that increasing melatonin intake may help improve your overall health, as this hormone can be an effective antioxidant that can help fight free radicals in your body.16

Another study suggests that melatonin may help obese people manage their weight. The researchers indicate that certain lifestyle factors suppress melatonin production, which results in sleep disruption that can lead to weight gain. By increasing melatonin production, adequate sleep can be reintroduced as part of a healthy lifestyle, along with other positive lifestyle changes, to help curb obesity.17

8 Potential Benefits of Melatonin Supplement

Melatonin may help boost your health in various situations, as shown in the table below. While each benefit is backed up with scientific research, always consult with a doctor before giving melatonin supplements a try:

• Insomnia — Melatonin is primarily used to help treat people who have sleeping disorders by inducing sleepiness quicker.18

• Jet lag — Melatonin may be used to help treat jet lag by adjusting your body to a new time zone. However, it’s generally recommended only for travelers who cross four to five time zones.19

• Heart disease — People who are struggling with heart disease may benefit from melatonin. A study has found that it may help lower your bad cholesterol levels by as much as 38 percent.20

• Menopause — Increasing melatonin consumption in menopausal women 42 to 62 years old may help improve mood and stave off depression.21

• Autism — Children diagnosed with autism who are also plagued with sleeping problems may benefit from melatonin supplementation. Research indicates that taking the hormone can lead to deeper sleep and better daytime behavior.22 However, I advise consulting your health care provider before giving any melatonin supplement to children.

Fibromyalgia — People affected with fibromyalgia are believed to have lower levels of melatonin. A group of researchers found that increasing the melatonin levels of fibromyalgia sufferers through supplementation helped alleviate their symptoms and improved sleep quality.23

Gallstones — Melatonin can help lower your risk of gallstones by inhibiting cholesterol absorption across the intestinal epithelium, as well as increasing the conversion of cholesterol into bile.24

• Tinnitus — If you have tinnitus, slightly increasing your melatonin may help improve your symptoms. In one study, participants who took 3 milligrams of melatonin supplements every night experienced a decrease in tinnitus intensity after the testing duration.25

Do Not Take Melatonin if You Have These Conditions

Here’s a crucial question you should ask yourself: Are you fit to take melatonin? While there are valid reasons for taking this supplement, remember that it can exacerbate certain health conditions as well. If you’re taking any of the following medications, you should not take melatonin as the mixture can have adverse effects to your health:26

• Anticoagulants and anti-platelet drugs

• Anticonvulsants

• Contraceptive drugs

• Diabetes medications

• Immunosuppressants

Taking melatonin while pregnant should be avoided as well, since there’s little knowledge in this field.27 If you’ve recently developed pregnancy-related sleeping problems, I advise you to consider behavioral and dietary changes before considering melatonin or other similar types of supplement.

Refrain from giving melatonin to children, including babies and toddlers, unless approved by your physician. While a 2016 study found that children with sleep difficulties who took melatonin did not develop any concerns or adverse side effects,28 it’s better to be safe.

10 Side Effects of Melatonin You Should Know About

Some of melatonin’s potential side effects include:29,30

Daytime sleepiness
Short-term depression
Vivid dreams, or possibly nightmares
Mild anxiety
Abdominal discomfort
Body clock disruption

If you are already taking a melatonin supplement and begin to experience any of the mentioned side effects, stop taking it immediately and consult with a doctor for safer alternatives. In addition, melatonin and alcohol should not be taken together, as it can increase your chances of accidents because the sedative effects are amplified.31

Remember: Consider Optimizing Your Melatonin Levels Naturally Before Taking a Supplement

Melatonin is a crucial hormone that performs few but important functions. Low levels of it can lead to sleep disruption, increase your risk of certain diseases and lower your antioxidant capabilities. However, remember to always try and improve your sleeping habits and environment before attempting melatonin supplementation.

While there’s an abundance of scientific evidence that suggest melatonin supplementation can be beneficial to your health, too much of it can actually make you more wakeful. By primarily focusing on natural strategies, you forego this risk, as well as the chances of developing unpleasant side effects that can further disrupt your quality of sleep. If you do decide to take a melatonin supplement, seek guidance from a doctor first.

Frequently Asked Questions About Melatonin

Q: Is melatonin addictive?

A: Currently, there’s very little information regarding melatonin supplement addiction. However, beware that it can still be abused, although the chances of becoming dependent are lower compared to other types of medications or supplements.32

Q: How long does it take for melatonin to work?

A: The average time for melatonin supplements to work is generally 20 minutes. If you’re about to take melatonin for the first time, it’s recommended that you take it one to two hours before your bedtime.33

Q: Can you take melatonin supplements while pregnant?

A: As of the moment, there is a lack of scientific evidence regarding the use of melatonin supplements on pregnant women, but it’s theorized that it may hamper sex drive, reduce ovarian function and increase the risk of developmental disorders. If you’re pregnant, it is best that you avoid using this supplement and resort to natural remedies to correct sleeping problems.34

Q: Is melatonin safe to use for kids?

A: Melatonin supplements are generally safe for children. According to a study published in Canadian Family Physician, children with sleep difficulties who took melatonin had no concerns or adverse side effects, according to their parents.35 However, consult with your child’s pediatrician before giving them any type of melatonin supplement.

Q: When is the ideal time to take melatonin?

A: Taking a melatonin supplement two hours before bedtime can help you maximize its effectiveness.36

Q: How long does the effects of melatonin last?

A: The half-life of melatonin is very short, around 59 to 65 minutes only.37

Q: Can you overdose on melatonin?

A: Yes. While there are no reported deaths related to overdosing from melatonin, consuming more than the recommended amount can cause side effects, such as autoimmune hepatitis, a psychotic episode, seizures, headaches or skin eruption.38

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21 Health Tips to Celebrate 21 Years of Mercola.com

11 months, 7 days ago

Congratulations to yesterday’s winners:

Denice from Sturgeon Bay & Lynda from Lawson!

Click here to enter our giveaway for your chance to win!

By Dr. Mercola

To help commemorate 21 years of offering the most up-to-date health information available, here are 21 of my top health tips to guide you on your journey. The topics are all-encompassing, so while you may not be able to do all of them right now, beginning with a few will begin to improve your overall health and sense of well-being. For more in-depth information, follow the hyperlinks provided.

What to Do More of or Get More of to Optimize Your Health

1. Get eight hours of quality sleep every night. Estimates suggest 1 in 3 Americans gets less than seven hours of sleep a night and more than 83 million adults in the U.S. are sleep-deprived.1 Unfortunately, without proper sleep, every single aspect of your health will suffer adverse consequences.

Sleep is required for maintaining biological homeostasis (balance) in your body, including metabolic homeostasis in your brain. Removal of toxins from your brain occurs only during deep sleep, making sleep deprivation a major risk factor for dementia and other neurological dysfunction.

Poor sleep also raises your risk of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, immune dysfunction, chronic pain conditions, sexual dysfunction, depression and much more. In fact, lack of sleep is a significant factor in premature aging, increasing your risk of dying from any cause.2

On the other hand, getting high-quality sleep, and enough of it — ideally right around eight hours each night — has been shown to boost learning, productivity, creativity and athletic performance, and that’s just in the short term. In the long term, your overall health and longevity hangs in the balance. So, protect your hours of sleep like you do your bank account. It will pay innumerable dividends.

2. Optimize your vitamin D, and check your level. Vitamin D deficiency is causing untold damage to the health of millions of Americans — and their offspring. In fact, 85 percent of Americans aren’t getting enough vitamin D to help fight bone loss, cognitive decline, rheumatoid arthritis and abnormal cell growth, which are just a few of the health issues vitamin D plays a role in.

To figure how much you need, have your levels tested and be sure to maintain a level between 60 and 80 ng/mL year-round.

Sensible sun exposure is your best source of vitamin D, but supplementation may also be necessary for some people. Your body can make thousands of units of vitamin D within minutes of whole-body exposure to sunlight3 but, unfortunately, 9-to-5 jobs keep most people indoors during peak sun hours.

Regular sun exposure is important not only for adequate vitamin D production but also much more, including boosting your immune system, regulating your circadian rhythm, lowering high blood pressure, improving your mood and even lowering your risk of many cancers, including skin cancer.

Safe exposure to sunshine is possible by understanding your skin type, the UV strength at the time of exposure and your duration of exposure. Always avoid getting burned, but do make sure you spend a sensible amount of time with your bare skin exposed regularly.

3. Sit less, move more. Sitting is a huge part of modern life. More than 10,000 studies attest to the fact that sitting is an independent risk factor for ill health and premature death. Walking just one hour a day, the equivalent of about 3 miles, will go a long way toward optimizing your health.

You’ll gain greater stamina, more energy and confidence, while simultaneously cutting your risk for chronic disease. Ideally, aim for at least 10,000 steps a day and cut your sitting time to three hours or less daily. A standing desk is an excellent option for office workers.

4. Intermittently fast, and consider water fasting. Meal timing has an extraordinary impact on your mitochondrial function, which in turn is a major determinant of your overall health. Eating late in the evening, when your body doesn’t need the energy, is one of the worst things you can do, as it triggers the generation of an excess number of free radicals that spill out of the electron transport chain and damage your mitochondrial DNA.

Eating excess carbohydrates late at night is particularly problematic, as it results in the production of superoxide, which in combination with high iron (which is very common) produces hydroxyl free radicals, which are among the most harmful.

As a general rule, eat your last meal at least three hours before bedtime. This has been shown to decrease your risk of both obesity4 and cancer incidence.5,6 Similarly, intermittent fasting has a number of powerful health benefits, including improved insulin regulation7 and a lower risk of heart disease.8,9

There’s also plenty of research showing that intermittent fasting has a beneficial impact on longevity, and it appears to be most beneficial when combined with a cyclical ketogenic diet.

Both intermittent fasting and cyclical keto allow your body to become efficient at burning fat, and this metabolic flexibility is part and parcel of why these strategies are so effective for optimizing health and preventing disease. Water fasting also has powerful benefits. As a matter of fact, water fasting may be one of the most profound metabolic therapies available, and it’s less than inexpensive; it’s free.

5. Burn fat for fuel, and limit protein. The inability to burn fat for fuel is the root cause of most degenerative conditions. Three powerful ways to shift your body into fat-burning mode have already been mentioned above: cyclical ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting and/or water fasting.

Another key component is your diet. To efficiently burn fat for fuel, you need to a) supply your body with healthy dietary fats, b) dramatically cut down on net carbs and c) limit protein.

As a general rule, you’ll want to increase your healthy fat to about 60 to 80 percent of your daily calories, reduce your net carbs to 20 to 50 grams a day or less, and restrict protein to one-half gram per pound (1 gram per kilogram) of lean body mass.

To make sure you’re actually meeting your nutritional requirements and maintaining the ideal nutrient ratios, a nutrient tracker such as www.cronometer.com/mercola is an invaluable tool.

It’s free, and already calibrated for nutritional ketosis, so based on the base parameters you enter, it will automatically calculate the ideal ratios of net carbs, protein and healthy fats to put you into nutritional ketosis. Once you’re able to burn fat, start cycling in and out of ketosis by adding higher amounts of net carbs once or twice a week, ideally on days when you’re doing strength training.

6. Reduce Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Exposure and ditch your microwave. A wide array of factors affect the health of your home — and you. This includes issues that affect indoor air quality, discussed above, and EMFs, which include AC electric fields from house wiring and corded appliances, AC magnetic fields from power lines and wiring errors, radio frequencies from smart meters, cellphones and Wi-Fi and dirty electricity, which is transient voltage spikes as a result of switching mode power supplies.

Electric fields have long been one of the most common, yet overlooked types of EMFs in homes (although wireless devices are fast overtaking them), thanks to the use of unshielded plastic wiring in walls and plastic power cords that we plug in. It’s important to measure electric fields and not just magnetic fields when checking EMF levels, as the former can also have a very detrimental effect on your health, primarily by robbing you of a good night’s sleep.

EMFs have been linked to a wide array of health effects,10 including the creation of excess oxidative stress, opening your blood-brain barrier, allowing toxins to enter your brain, damaging DNA in your nucleus and mitochondria.

It also impairs proton flow and ATP production, altering cellular function due to excessive charge, altering your microbiome and raising your risk for cancer. Importantly, EMFs also have neurological effects,11 and contribute to anxiety, depression, autism and Alzheimer’s.

EMF exposure is a significant health hazard that needs to be addressed — especially if you’re already struggling with chronic health issues, as your recovery will be severely hampered if your body is constantly assaulted by these unnatural fields.

For a list of remedial strategies, see my interview with electromagnetic radiation specialist Oram Miller. In your kitchen, one of the most hazardous appliances is your microwave. A far healthier alternative is a steam convection oven, which will heat your food just as quickly, but far more safely.

7. Purify your water and avoid fluoride. Water is the only beverage you cannot live without. Unfortunately, pure water is hard to come by these days, as water pollution, inadequate water treatment and high permissible limits on toxic pollutants have rendered most municipal water supplies untrustworthy.

To ensure purity, you really need to filter your own tap water. For guidance on selecting a suitable water filtration system for your home or apartment, see “How to Properly Filter Your Water.”

Water filtration is particularly important if your water is fluoridated and you are combating chronic disease, have young children or are using your tap water for mixing infant formula. Fluoride is a pernicious poison linked to reduced IQ, thyroid disease and many other health problems.

8. Detox in a sauna. Everyone is exposed to toxins to a greater or lesser extent, and these chemicals are stored in your body. For a detoxification program to be effective, you first need to mobilize the toxins, many of which are stored in fat cells; then you need to make sure your detox pathways are working properly, and you need to make sure the toxins are effectively excreted.

Fasting is a powerful detoxification method as it promotes lipolysis and the mobilization of fat-soluble toxins. To avoid reabsorption, it’s important to take binding agents when fasting — and to sweat out the toxins. Using a near infrared sauna is an ideal way to help facilitate toxins stored in your body.

9. Grow your own food. The best way to guarantee you’re eating truly healthy organic, uncontaminated foods is to grow them yourself. You may be surprised how easy it is to start with organic tomato, beet or lettuce seeds for growing food right at your fingertips.

Swapping lettuce for homegrown sprouts and microgreens (which can be grown on your kitchen counter) can help you meet several daily vitamin requirements, as these “baby” greens contain far greater concentrations of nutrients than full-grown vegetables.

Growing your own food is very satisfying, plus you don’t have to worry about genetically engineered foods laced with harmful pesticides such as glyphosate, which has been shown to wreak havoc in your gut, contributing to a wide variety of health problems.

10. Support regenerative and biodynamic agriculture by switching to organic grass fed beef and wild Alaskan salmon. Projections suggest the natural and organic sector may reach $107.7 billion in sales by 2019. However, traditional organics have developed a number of increasingly pressing problems, thanks to manipulation by large food companies.

Trusted organic brands have been swallowed up by multinational corporations that, by and large, lack a historical interest in organic farming, and organic standards have been significantly watered down, in some cases to the point of no longer fulfilling even the most basic criteria.

Regenerative agriculture is a return to what organic was originally all about — the protection and rebuilding of topsoil and ecological biodiversity — and biodynamic certification is as good as it gets, far surpassing that of organic standards.

To steer agriculture in the right direction, biodynamic really needs to be the new goal standard. Animal food farming has also undergone tremendous transformation, and we now, finally, have new standards for organic grass fed meats and animal products. So, to ensure the highest quality, be sure to look for beef and animal products certified by the American Grassfed Association (AGA).

The seafood industry also has more than a few problems, one of the biggest ones being the toxicity of farmed fish. This is particularly true for farmed salmon, as the higher fat content of the fish accumulates higher amounts of toxins from the feed and environment.

Farmed salmon has actually been identified as the most toxic food of all tested. Farmed salmon also does not have the beneficial nutritional profile of its wild counterpart. So, to protect your health, steer clear of all farmed salmon, and make sure you’re getting authentic wild-caught Alaskan salmon, which is by law not permitted to be farmed.

11. Reduce indoor air pollution by ditching nonstick cookware. Exposure to environmental toxins is responsible for at least 1 of every 4 deaths reported worldwide,12 and air pollution is the greatest contributor to this risk. What many fail to consider is that indoor air pollution is actually of greater concern than outdoor air pollution.

The average American spends 92 percent of their day indoors,13 where air pollution levels can be up to five times higher, and pollutants as much as 100 times more concentrated, than outside.14

Two primary sources of indoor air pollution are a) the materials used to construct the building itself and everything in it, including your furniture; and b) chemical products you bring into and use inside your home. One oft-ignored source of daily toxic exposure is the use of nonstick cookware.

When heated, the nonstick coating of these pots, pans and bakeware releases toxic compounds into the air that have been linked to thyroid disease, organ damage, cancer and infertility, just to name a few. Healthier options include ceramic and enameled cast iron cookware, both of which are durable, easy to clean and completely inert, which means they won’t release any harmful chemicals into your home.

12. Care about what you wear. “Fast fashion” has become an incredible problem, significantly contributing to environmental pollution and destruction. Fortunately, these problems are now starting to be exposed, driven by the movement to “Care What You Wear.”

As your dedication to clean up your life and environment grows, please remember to incrementally clean up your wardrobe as well. Gone are the days when fashion was all about looking good. Today, there’s a real movement toward fashion that also does good in and for the world.

As a consumer, your choices will help guide the garment industry toward more humane and environmentally sane manufacturing processes. The upshot is that responsibly made clothing made with nontoxic dyes (or no dyes) and organic materials also feel and look fantastic.

There’s a real difference in quality, and when a piece of clothing is of superb quality, the urge to toss it after a few wears is greatly diminished. In fact, high-quality items often get better with use. To ensure a piece of clothing meets the highest organic, sustainable standards, be sure to look for GOTS certification.

13. Avoid lectins. Many are now familiar with the problems of gluten, but lectins could be just as problematic.15,16 Lectins bind to carbohydrates and attach to cells that allow them to do harm as part of the plant’s self-defense mechanism against pests. Unfortunately, some may also cause trouble in humans. They are especially problematic if you have any autoimmune disease.

Many lectins are proinflammatory, immunotoxic, neurotoxic and cytotoxic. Certain lectins may also increase blood viscosity, interfere with gene expression and disrupt endocrine function.

That said, it would be a mistake to assume all lectins are bad for you. Avocados, for example, contain the lectin agglutinin,17 but this specific type of agglutinin is devoid of specificity for carbs. It interacts with proteins and polyamino acids instead.18 So, the presence of lectin is by no means a sole determinant.

Among the most problematic lectin-containing foods are wheat and other seeds of the grass family, beans, soy and other legumes, and members of the nightshade family such as eggplants, potatoes, tomatoes and peppers. Beans tend to have some of the most potent toxic and allergenic effects.19

While lectins can be problematic for just about anyone if you’re getting high amounts of them,20,21 those with an autoimmune disease are particularly vulnerable and may notice significant improvement in their condition when on a lectin-free diet. You can see a list of the foods that are high in lectins that need to be avoided at Dr. Steven Gundry’s site.22

14. Care for your gut with fermented foods and fiber. Studies have confirmed high-fiber diets help reduce your risk of premature death from any cause. A major reason for this protection has to do with how fiber benefits your gut microbiome, thereby reducing your chronic disease risk.

In recent years, the importance of optimizing the performance of your gut microbiome has come to the fore, showing that, like sleeping, your gut health is a major determinant of health status. When it comes to boosting your fiber intake, be sure to focus on eating more vegetables, nuts and seeds, not grains, as grains tend to promote insulin and leptin resistance.

Research23 has also confirmed that in order to work, the fiber must be unprocessed. Fermented foods such as fermented vegetables serve double duty by providing both fiber and loads of probiotics (beneficial bacteria). For instructions on how to make your own fermented foods, see “How to ‘Culture’ Your Way to Optimal Health.”

15. Measure and optimize your magnesium level. As the fourth most abundant mineral in your body,24 magnesium is required for the healthy function of most cells in your body, especially your heart, kidneys and muscles. Magnesium resides at the center of the chlorophyll molecule. So, if you rarely eat leafy greens, you’re probably getting very little magnesium from your diet.

Your best bet is to have an RBC magnesium test done, which measures the amount of magnesium in your red blood cells.

You can also evaluate and track signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency, and to make sure you eat magnesium-rich foods and/or take a magnesium supplement, balanced with vitamins D3, K2 and calcium. Alternatively, keep an eye on your potassium and calcium levels, as low potassium and calcium are common laboratory signs of magnesium deficiency.25

16. Avoid blue light and minimize cellphone usage. Certain types of lighting can also have a far-reaching impact on your health. Among the most harmful is light-emitting diode (LED) light bulbs. The main problem with LEDs is the fact that they emit primarily blue wavelengths of light and lack the counterbalancing healing and regenerative near-infrared frequencies.

They emit very little red, and no infrared, which is the wavelength required for biological repair and regeneration. When you use these aggressive lower frequencies — blue light — it creates reactive oxygen species that, when generated in excess, causes damage.

So, when your body is exposed to LED lighting on a daily basis, you end up with increased damage and decreased repair and regeneration. Switching your light sources back to incandescent light bulbs is a simple way to create a healthier environment in your home and office.

Cellphones are another major source of harmful EMFs, linked to DNA damage, heart tissue damage and heart and brain tumors. Avoid carrying your cellphone on your body unless in airplane mode and never sleep with it in your bedroom unless it is in airplane mode. Ideally, keep it in a Faraday bag when not in use. When using your cellphone, use the speaker phone and hold the phone at least 3 feet away from you.

17. Install a high-quality air filter in your home. As mentioned earlier, most of us are breathing polluted air indoors and can benefit from installing a high-quality air filter. Keep in mind that not all filters work with the same efficiency to remove pollutants from your home, and no one filter can remove all pollutants. See this previous article for an explanation of the different types of air filters to meet your specific needs.

Overall, photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) is one of the best technologies available. Rather than merely filtering the air, PCO actually cleans the air using ultraviolet light. Unlike filters, which simply trap pollutants, PCO transforms the pollutants into nontoxic substances.

In addition to using them in your home, portable air purifiers are available to take with you when you work or travel. For additional guidance on how to minimize air pollution in your home, see “How to Reduce Indoor Air Pollution.”

18. Develop a comprehensive oral health plan. Your dental and oral health also play an important role in your overall health and longevity. When bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease enter your circulatory system, your liver releases inflammatory C-reactive proteins, a marker for chronic inflammation.

Inflammation, in turn, is a hallmark of most chronic disease. Your teeth may also be a source of chronic heavy metal exposure if you have amalgam fillings, as these actually contain mercury, an extremely potent neurotoxin. To optimize your oral health, consider taking the following actions:

Have mercury (amalgam) fillings removed by a biological dentist properly trained in their safe removal
Brush with coconut oil and baking soda twice a day, 30 to 60 minutes after drinking and/or eating
Floss at least once a day
Trade your mouthwash for oil pulling with coconut oil
Seek out a mercury-free dentist for your regular dental maintenance

19. Hydrate properly. In a dehydrated state, your body accumulates toxins due to a lack of electrical energy flow. When you add in exposure to wireless technologies that output high amounts of electrical resonance, your already disconnected cells become prone to resonating to the wrong frequency.

A foundational part of hydration is to drink sufficient amounts of purified water. Tea and organic black coffee also count toward your daily hydration needs, although neither should be consumed in excess. Avoiding soda and other sweetened beverages is also important.

20. Avoid alcohol and nicotine. Naturally, a big part of maintaining health is to avoid ingesting toxic agents in the first place. Alcohol and nicotine are two major ones. Both are addictive, which worsens their impact. Vaping, while advertised as a way to help you quit smoking, is also addictive, toxic, and has been linked to a higher risk of smoking combustible cigarettes in the future.

21. Avoid opioids. Last, but most certainly not least, protect your health and life by avoiding opioids. The U.S. opioid epidemic was declared a public health emergency in 2017, and more deaths are now attributed to drug overdoses from opioids than breast cancer. Opioid pain killers are extremely addictive, making your risk of a deadly overdose very high.

This risk is magnified fivefold if you’re also taking a benzodiazepine drug such as Valium, Ativan or Xanax, commonly prescribed for anxiety and insomnia. Many younger people get hooked on opioids when taking them after having their wisdom teeth extracted, or getting a sports injury. If you struggle with pain, exhaust your other pain relief options before resorting to a narcotic pain reliever, and get off it as quickly as possible.

Read more: articles.mercola.com

South Indian 7 Day Diet Chart for Weight Loss

11 months, 13 days ago

Hey beauties,

It’s every person’s dream to lose extra pounds and to gain a slim figure. Whether diet charts are from North India, South India, Korea, or from any other culture, knowing the right balance of food, to eat in the right quantity, is very important to maintain a healthy weight. Most of us love South Indian food. It’s true that South Indian meals are rice centric and seasoned with lots of veggies and sour things, but the best part is that this cuisine is extremely light on the stomach. This diet is very easy to follow. In this article, I have compiled a 7-day diet chart plan taking food items from all South Indian cuisines that would help you lose some weight and also would help in adopting a healthy lifestyle. Read on further to know more details:

South Indian 7 Day Diet Chart for Weight Loss Feature

Day 1:

Cooked semolina cakes known as rava idli or idly

Early Morning Drink: If you are a fitness freak or someone who hits the gym regularly, then it is advisable that you start your day with this early morning diet. Drink one cup of lukewarm water with 2 teaspoons of lemon juice in it. This drink prepares your body for fat-burning process and fastens the process when you start working out.

Breakfast: Keep the breakfast light. Have 2-3 millet idlis with one bowl of sambar or one cup of green tea with 2 cream cracker biscuits.

Mid-Morning: At this time of the day, consume some fruit. You can either have an apple or watermelon as the latter is rich in water content. You can also make fruit salad to derive nutrition from a group of fruits.

Lunch: You can have a medium-to-heavy lunch with steamed rice/ragi balls + one bowl of sambar. Add curd to the lunch menu as it really works in a great way to burn fat.

Evening meal: Have 1 cup of green tea without sugar with two Marie biscuits.

Dinner: Keep the dinner light. Consume 2 rotis with a small bowl of “bhendekai gojju” (okra or bhindi curry in a tamarind base). You can add vegetable curry to this meal if you want to. Also, have curd with this meal.

Bed-Time: 1 cup warm milk with a pinch of turmeric in it. This drink is great to detox the body and will help you to have a good sleep.

Day 2:

Indian thosai (dosa dosai) with chutney, sambar

Early Morning: Have a glass of warm water and add apple cider vinegar to it. This drink will sped up your metabolism rate and will boost your immunity.

Breakfast: 1 plain dosa + coconut chutney, 1 cup black coffee without sugar and a few almonds.

Mid-Morning: A glass of coconut water with malai or mixed fruit salad.

Lunch: 1 bowl brown rice / 2 multi-grain rotis+ 1 cup sambhar + 1 cup boiled vegetables + 1 bowl of curd

Evening Time: A cup of black coffee without sugar + sprouted green gram sundal

Dinner: 1 bowl millet khichdi + 1 medium bowl of Thayir pachadi ((Raita of sorts prepared by grinding grated coconut, a few green chillies, and cumin seeds into a paste. Then, curd is added to this mixture and a tadka with curry leaves and mustard seeds completes the dish) with veggie salad.

Bed-time: A glass of warm milk with saffron in it before you go off to sleep.

Day 3:

Chana Masala Chickpeas served with rice.

Early Morning: 1 cup of aloe vera juice + 1 fruit of your choice

Breakfast: 2 oats idli + 1 bowl sambar or 2 mixed vegetable uttapams + 1 bowl mixed veg sambhar.

Mid-Morning: 1 cup green tea + 1 fistful of dry fruits or nuts

Lunch: 1 small bowl white rice + 1 cup ridge gourd dal +small bowl beetroot thoran + 1 small cup of sprouts salad + 1 cup buttermilk

Evening Time: Lassi without sugar + a handful of pistachios

Dinner: A small bowl of Kovakkai (Tindora) Rice+ Pachai Payaru (Green Gram) Kuzhambu + 1 small bowl of curd

Bed-Time: A glass of warm milk with a pinch of turmeric in it.

Day 4:

Sambar with Rice Idli, Indian Dish

Early Morning: A glass of coconut water + 1 fruit of your choice

Breakfast: Adai Dosa (made with rice, toor dal, chana dal, urad dal, moong dal, methi seeds) with chutney or Vegetable Oats Idli with green chutney + 1 cup of black tea (without sugar).

Mid-Morning: 1 cup freshly pressed fruit juice + 4/5 almonds

Lunch: 1 small bowl coconut rice + 2 rotis + 1 cup moong dal + 1 cup baked fish or 1 cup boiled chicken (or) 1 medium cup white rice + 1 small cup kothavarangai puli kootu + 1 cup sambhar + 1 small bowl of curd

Evening-Time: 1 cup green tea + 1 cup unsalted popcorn

Dinner Time: 1 bowl of Broccoli Poriyal (fry) +1 bowl of steamed rice +1 small bowl of curd (or) Egg dosa (made with egg white) with coconut chutney + a small bowl of fruit raita

Bed-Time: A glass of warm milk with saffron in it

Day 5:

Green tea n the brown mat

Early Morning: 2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds soaked overnight in 1 cup water

Breakfast: Pessaruttu (moong dal dosa) with green chutney + 1 fruit of your choice + 1 cup green tea

Mid-Morning: 1 cup coconut water + 4 almonds

Lunch: A bowl of Keerai Paruppu (toor dal made with any leafy vegetable) Masiyal + 1 bowl brown rice + chicken curry (or) mixed vegetable kootu (kurma) with brown rice + Tomato and cucumber salad + chicken curry

Evening Time: 1 cup black coffee + 2 multi-grain biscuits

Dinner: 1 bowl of Andhra Dal Masiyal (toor dal curry) with 2 chapattis + A bowl of sprout salad + 1 bowl of curd

Bed-Time: 1 glass of warm milk with a pinch of turmeric in it

Day 6:

Smiling young woman eating fruit salad

Early Morning: A cup warm water with half tablespoon of lime juice + honey to it

Breakfast: 3 medium vadas + tomato and onion chutney + 1 cup black coffee + 4 almonds

Mid-Morning: 1 boiled egg + 1 fruit of your choice

Lunch: 1 bowl brown rice + 1 bowl urud dal + boiled chicken (or) 1 bowl brown rice+ 1 Cup Sambar + 1 cup Mixed Vegetables + Baked Fish

Evening-Time: 1 cup butter milk or 1 cup of black coffee + 2 cracker biscuits

Dinner: 2 small multi-grain atta parathas with 1 cup vegetable kurma + 1 small bowl of curd or 1 bowl of rasam with lentil pancakes + 1 bowl of curd

Bed-Time: As usual, have a glass of warm milk and add some condiments to spice it up.

Day 7:

Tomato curry an Indian vegetarian side dish for chapati, roti, appam, rice.

Early Morning: A glass of methi water

Breakfast: Vegetable Oats Idli with green chutney + 1 cup black coffee + 4- 5 almonds (or) 1 glass of ragi ganji + 2 idlis with chutney + 1 cup black coffee

Mid-Morning: Any fruit of your choice + 1 multi-grain biscuit

Lunch: 1 ragi ball with 1 bowl of cabbage palya (stir-fried cabbage) + 1 bowl of bassaru (is prepared using toor dal, green gram, beans, dill leaves and palak leaves) or 1 bowl of dal with steamed rice + an omlette made with egg white + 1 bowl of green salad

Evening Time: 1 glass of yoghurt smoothie + a handful of nuts

Dinner: 3 medium-sized ragi balls + vegetable lady finger curry + sambar + 1 bowl of green salad. (or) 2 rotis + 1 cup mixed veg curry + ½ masoor dal + 1 bowl of curd

Bed-Time: Same as mentioned earlier

It is always necessary to tweak your lifestyle in order to remain fit and healthy. If you follow this diet plan religiously, then at the end of 7 days, you will observe a big change in your current weight. This South Indian diet works the best with regular workouts. Also, keep in mind that starving never helps in a good way to lose weight. A wholesome diet with all the nutrients in the right proportions helps you to get the perfect BMI. I am sure this article will help you in getting the perfectly-toned body.

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