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Are antidepressants disease causing?
Serotonin is an important messenger and neurotransmitter. Since 1965, researchers have suspected a link between depression and a low level of serotonin in the brain. From the 1980s onwards, this hypothesis received a great deal of attention. At that time, a new type of antidepressant was developed, the Selective Serotonin Recovery Inhibitors (SSRIs). They cause the serotonin secreted in the brain to remain in the synaptic gap for a longer period of time, stimulating the recipient cells and preventing the SSRIs from being absorbed back into the cells too quickly.
To date, the pharmaceutical industry has been spreading the above mentioned message to the market about its SSRI-type antidepressants: depression is based on imbalance in the brain and antidepressants are correcting it. However, the thesis has one crucial flaw: it has not been proven in any of the investigations undertaken to date. Some depressed people have a higher serotonin level than healthy people. Nobody knows what a normal value is. Many researchers now suspect that serotonin is only indirectly associated with depression.
This does not mean that a healthy serotonin level is not important. However, it is precisely this level where the drugs tend to muddy the water. It has been known for decades that the density of serotonin docking sites decrease by 25% after only one month if SSRIs are taken. Other researchers report that these receptors decrease by 50% in chronic SSRI administration. To date, the consequences of this has not been clarified. The only thing that is clear: instead of compensating for a hypothetical imbalance in the brain, the SSRIs cause this imbalance in the first place. It is unclear whether the serotonin system is impaired before treatment, yet during the treatment it has certainly changed.
Results suggest – it’s hardly better than a placebo
In addition, the effect of the SSRI is anything but clear. An important review study found that in 57% of the studies, there is no difference between the tested drug and a placebo (sugar pill). And 82% of the improvement achieved with antidepressants was also achieved with the placebo. Only in the small group of severely depressed patients do antidepressants seem to be significantly more effective than the placebo.
Nevertheless, SSRIs are still frequently prescribed, even in mild or even subliminal depressions. In view of the side effects, this is a dangerous practice. Relatively harmless side effects such as disorders of sexual disfunction, insomnia, nausea or diarrhoea are common. The increased risk of suicide is even more frightening: especially among children and adolescents, suicide attempts increased so much during SSRI administration that the package leaflets now must warn against it. Time and time again there are reports of delusional acts carried out under the influence of these tablets. In the United States, there is compelling evidence that the vast majority of massacres in schools were carried out under the influence of psychotropic drugs. The well-known filmmaker Michael Moore believes this connection should be investigated as soon as possible.
Antidepressants - could lead to depression?
Meanwhile, it is believed that the drugs used to alleviate depression are actually responsible (in part at least) for the epidemic of psychiatric illnesses we now experience worldwide. This is one of the claims made by the US science journalist Robert Whitaker. His thesis in short: Many patients are treated with SSRIs unnecessarily due to their initial minor symptoms. This may lead to an improvement of symptoms in the short term. However, the longer the treatment lasts, the more likely it is that the biochemical processes of the brain become more out of sync. There is a habitual effect and the efficacy of the medication decreases. New symptoms may appear in the form of side effects and this can become a pharmaceutical spiral. The Italian psychiatrist Giovanni Fava says: "Antidepressants may be beneficial in the short term for depression, but they could worsen the course of the disease in the long term." Also in a commentary in the journal "Journal of Clinical Psychiatry", which is seldom openly discussed: "Long-term use of antidepressants is now very common”.
Genuine sympathy is crucial if we want to help
What does this mean for those affected? Depression is not a harmless condition and the people affected should be helped. Studies have shown that drugs, psychotherapy, social support, sports, acupuncture or pseudo-treatments are all equally useful. That is why there are researchers who argue that if such different treatments work equally well, it may not even be possible to find out what one should do about depression. All that matters is that something is done. They are thus adopting a thesis developed by the psychiatrist Jerome Frank, about half a century ago; it is crucial that the patient be thoroughly examined, receive an explanation for his or her suffering, create hope and finally practise a therapeutic ritual with an acknowledged expert. Whether the specialist prescribes a drug or conducts conversations, however, is irrelevant. For us laymen, this would mean: we need to assist affected persons intensively and with real sympathy, to brighten up the mood, to suggest natural alternatives like Aronia Berries or Pollen and to work towards a lasting change of the affected person’s life circumstances which may be causing the illness. On the other hand, antidepressants of the SSRI type should be avoided with mild depression.
P. S.: Psychotropic drugs should not be discontinued, or the dosage reduced without consulting your medical professional. A sudden drop in blood pressure can lead to considerable psychological and physical reactions. If you want to adapt an existing medication, you should always do this in cooperation with your doctor.
The sugar-coated lie: In the 1960's, the US sugar industry deceived consumers in a similar way to the tobacco industry. Scientists and researchers were paid to present sugar in a positive light and place the blame for increasing cardiovascular disease entirely on fat. This misconception persists to this day and has devastating consequences. The theory stubbornly persists, against better knowledge, that an increased cholestrol level leads to arterial calcification and therefore heart attacks (see blog article "The Cholestrol Lies")
Scientists paid by the sugar industry
In 1957, British nutritionist, John Yudkin, suspected that saturated fats could lead to cardiovascular disease, but noted that other factors, such as sugar, were "at least equally important". This was confirmed in further studies. In 1965, one study concluded that the blood glucose values allow a better prediction of arterial calcification than the cholestrol values. The sugar industry decided to take action by launching media reports. As recently revealed by US professor Stanton Glanz, two research scientists were commissioned to conduct an overview study of the metabolism of sugars and fats and were very generously paid. The two scientists obligingly showed their appreciation by concluding that there was 'no doubt' that the only way to prevent cardiovascular disease was to reduce cholesterol . No mention was made of the possible role of sugar.
Less sugar, less medication
To date, no concusive biological evidence has been found to prove that an increased cholestrol level leads to the dreaded calcification of blood vessels. In a study conducted over 60 years and including 68 094 participancts, a high LDL cholestrol level was linked to a lower death rate rather than a higher death rate. This conclusion is in direct contrast to the current cholestrol hyposthesis which concludes that cholestrol, especially LDL cholestrol, leads to arterial calcification and health problems. But, there is little interest in the new discovery since the pharmaceutical industry earns billions from cholestrol lowering drugs. To abandon these drugs and to consume less sugar simultaneously does not appear to be an option. The true cause of arteriosclerosis is unclear and more research needs to be done. However, a high sugar consumption certainly plays a role.
Nail fungus is a common disorder of the finger and toe nails. Affected nails become thicker and turn a white or yellowish- brown colour. The cause is a fungal infection of the nail bed, affecting toenails more frequently than fingernails. The fungus can be contracted at school, home, whilst having a manicure or pedicure, or at a public swimming pool. The fungus is persistent and often spreads to other nails.
Nail fungus looks unsightly
Nail fungus is mostly a cosmetic and psychosocial problem. It looks unpleasant, can cause embarrassment and fear of the infection being passed on. However, because the nail thickens, the surrounding skin may become inflammed and painful.
Treatment requires patience
Nails grow from the nail root which is hidden 3-5mm behind the nail, under the skin. This is the area to target for treatment. The fungus must be prevented from forming during the formation of the nail. It is too late for parts of the nail that are already affected and the only solution is to wait for the nail to grow out and to trim off the affected area. This treatment is therefore a slow, lengthy process requiring patience.
How to treat nail fungal infections
I have had very good results with cinnamon, habanero or chili and artemesia. These natural substances all have excellent anti fungal properties. There are creams available which contain all three substances. It is important to treat the skin behind the nail where the nail roots are located, rather than the nail itself, by applying the cream daily. After about 3 months you will observe a clear, uninfected nail emerging from the skin. However, the treatment must be continued for between 9 months and a year to ensure that the fungus has been erradicated successfully and entirely.
Competitive sport and nutrition
Institute for Sports Medicine
SALUTO is the largest centre of excellence in the German-speaking world for top athletes. It is led by the sports scientist, Prof. Dr. Elmar Wienecke, who also holds a qualification in training from the football league. The centre has medical data from 10 000 top athletes and several thousand other competitive athletes - a treasure trove of information for sports medicine. However, the importance regarding the field of nutrition is still not fully appreciated.
Injuries due to a lack of micronutrients/nutraceuticals
72% of all sports injuries are not due to external effects. Muscles, tendons, ligaments and even bones are injured due to sporting strain, often due to a lack of vital nutrients. If the minerals and trace elements in the athletes blood are measured, the results are usually normal. Nevertheless, many athletes have a severe deficiency in these minerals at a cellular level, but they are unaware of it.
The optimal supply of micronutrients
Optimal care of the athletes micronutrient requirement leads to a significantly higher level of performance and fewer injuries. Top athletes usually lack the following micronutrients:
- Protein, especially essential amino acids (recommendation: Product MAP, which stands for Master Amino Acid Pattern)
- Vitamin C
- Omega-3 fatty acids and L-carnitine
Other more rare trace elements should also be kept in mind.
The right diet
Athletes require a higher intake of carbohydrates which should, whenever possible, be taken in the complex form ie.e wholegrain products. Before each training session, the glycogen stores in the muscles and the liver should be replenished. Sugar and white flour promote inflammation and hyperacidity. The protein requirement of an athlete is much higher than that of a couch potato, as is the need for fatty acids. Interestingly, athletes also need 3-4 times more micronutrients. Tests carried out on professional athletes show that even with a 4 times higher intake, they often still have a deficiency.
After each training session and competition, the body is highly acidic and flooded with free radicals. Therefore, antioxidants are vitally important for faster regeneration and recovery. The easiest way to do this is to add antioxidants to an isotonic drink. I recommend a product called Aronia Shots (available from Kingnature) to the athletes that I treat. It is advisable to consult a specialist, but one thing is certain: The correct diet is extremely powerful!
Countless people feel abnormally tired and would gladly take to their beds by late afternoon. Most people who mention this symptom to their doctor will not be given a diagnosis despite a thorough examination. If the hemoglobin, iron and thyroid levels are normal, there is not much the doctor can recommend. Frequently, the actual causes of fatigue are chronic stress, micronutrient deficiency or hormonal deficiency.
Chronic Stress, Burnout
People who are stressed produce more cortisol in the adrenal cortex. However, the adrenal gland is only able to produce large amounts of cortisol for approximately 3 years after which it falls into an exhaustive state and produces a dramatically decreased amount of cortisol. This results in burnout, a state of complete physical and mental exhaustion. By conducting a simple test, the cortisol day profile, it can be determined if a patient is still in a state of high stress (high cortisol level) or burnout (low cortisol level).
Anyone who doesn't have a balanced diet will suffer from a lack of essential nutrients sooner or later. Young people who tend to avoid fresh fruit and vegetables in favour of the daily consumption of sugary foods and energy drinks are highly likely to suffer from debilitating fatigue in early adulthood.
In such cases, there is no need for expensive medical investigation, but rather simple advice on healthy eating. If the cells lack the micronutrients, the mitochondria cannot produce energy. If individual cells lack energy, the whole body suffers from exhaustion. The cure is simple: replenish all the essential nutrients through healthy nutrition. To accelerate the healing process, the intake of natural vitamins and minerals can be increased by using Moringa and Aroinia extract.
One of the main reasons for the insufficient absorption of essential nutrients is chronic inflammation of the intestine in the form of Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, both of which are easily treatable.
People seldomly associate chronic fatigue with a hormone imbalance. Humans have around 150 hormones of which only 20 have been explored. Our hormones function in a finely balanced relationship with each other which is easily upset by stress, the contraceptive pill, medication and many other factors. Lack of estriol, progesterone or testosterone can result in fatigue and many other symptoms. Whenever fatigue is a symptom, a measurement of the hormones is urgently recommended (a saliva test is more accurate than a blood test).
Losing weight - but how?
Overweight as a global problem
Globally, it is estimated that 2 billion people are overweight. That is about a quarter of the world's population. In Switzerland, in 2012, there were over 40 per cent of the inhabitants, who had a body mass index of more than 25 and were therefore considered to be overweight. Being overweight not only reduces the quality of life of those affected but also harms their health. Common consequences of being overweight are type II diabetes, high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, which in turn can promote cardiovascular disease and strokes. The cost of all these subsequent illnesses of being overweight are estimated to be around CHF 6 billion a year in Switzerland.
Eat less carbohydrates - especially in the evening
How to lose weight? My basic recommendation is to halve the portion size of the side dishes (pasta, potatoes, bread and rice), double the vegetable portions and, if possible, forgo sweets and sugary drinks. The calorie intake is usually reduced by approx. 10%, and the carbohydrates should only be eaten in the morning and at noon. Consuming carbohydrates in the evening increase the insulin levels throughout the whole night and thus blocks the natural fat loss when your insulin levels are lower. Exercise and sport are important, but ultimately contribute little to weight reduction. Not recommended is a radical approach of completely fasting: the body then turns on an emergency program and prevents fat loss. Only water is excreted and muscles are broken down.
Are the hormones in order?
Anyone who does not lose a gram of weight despite adhering to these measures mentioned above, should have their progesterone level measured in their saliva. A lack of this hormone also prevents fat loss.
Finally, fat-burning food supplements, e.g. Coffea Vida, a preparation based on green coffee beans, can be taken. This extract of unroasted green coffee is rich in chlorogenic acid, a substance which, in threefold sense, acts on the blood-sugar level:
Chlorogenic acid inhibits the uptake of glucose (dextrose) in the intestine,
Chlorogenic acid inhibits the enzyme glucose-6-phosphatase, which leads to increased degradation of the glycogen stores in the liver and muscles,
Chlorogenic acid inhibits the enzyme amylase, so that the starch in the food cannot be split into glucose.
Overall, the blood glucose level increases less after eating, whereby less fat is formed and the desired weight can be reached and held. This anti-inflammatory effect of green coffee beans also makes it a promising candidate for the treatment of Type II diabetes - in addition to dried mulberry leaves, which also have a blood sugar suppression.
In a previous blog, I described how to reduce your body weight in a sustained way: you must halve the portion size of the side dishes (pasta, potatoes, bread and rice), double the vegetable portions and forgo sweets and sugary drinks. The calorie intake is usually reduced by approx. 10%. The carbohydrates should only be eaten in the morning and at noon. Consuming carbohydrates in the evening increase the insulin levels throughout the whole night and thus blocks the natural fat loss when your insulin levels are lower. Exercise and sport are important, but ultimately contribute little to weight reduction.
Green coffee and brown algae
You can support fat loss with food supplements such as extracts of green coffee. Green, non-roasted coffee is rich in chlorogenic acid, a substance which, in a threefold sense, acts on the blood glucose level. As a result, less fat is formed and the desired weight can be reached and held.
Brown algae powder can also support weight loss. These algae are rich in long-chain polyphenols, which reduce the activity of two important digestive enzymes (lipase and amylase) by about 50%. As lipases are necessary for the digestion of fats and amylases splits carbohydrate chains, brown algae powder reduces the digestion of fats and carbohydrates. In studies, volunteers lost on average 2.8 kg over an 8-week time frame.
If you eat less carbohydrates and at the same time take products that contain both an extract of green coffee beans and brown algae powder, you have good chance to permanently reduce your body weight.
They are widely prescribed, they are often taken for long periods of time, for a long time now they have been considered to be harmless, but this reputation is now being challenged: the talk is of stomach acid or proton pump inhibitor, which are taken by patients with heartburn or reflux. Between 2000 and 2008, the consumption of these medicines in the Canton of Geneva rose by around 500%. They are prescribed too often, for too long, too often unnecessarily and sometimes also for children. And this despite the fact that the acid blockers are ineffective in around a third patients. In cases of an irritable stomach, they are effective only in 10 to 15 per cent of the cases and in the case of an irritable bowel, not at all. Yet, in these cases the dosage is increased dramatically.
Renal impairment and food intolerances
The proton pump inhibitors bind to certain cells in the stomach and so inhibit gastric acid production. As they are very selective, they have long been considered very safe. But now a study has shown that they damage the kidneys and can lead to chronic renal impairment. In long-term treatment with acid blockers, the body's absorption of micro nutrients such as magnesium, calcium and vitamin B12 form our diet is severely inhibited. This increases the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures. The vitamin B12 that is missing has a significantly negative impact on important metabolic processes. As the stomach is less acidic, dangerous bacteria can survive and cause serious gastrointestinal infections. Finally, food intolerances can develop because the food reaches the intestine partially undigested.
Cayenne as an alternative
Heartburn and a strong reflux of acidic gastric contents into the oesophagus (acid eruption, reflux) are painful and unpleasant. Those affected, sleep badly and their quality of life is diminished. So, doing nothing is not an option. Fortunately, nature gives us a way to protect the stomach, which is also has no side effects namely Cayenne pepper. Instead of blocking the acid production, the burn of the Cayenne stimulates the production of the protective mucus layer on the gastric mucosa. Thus, you have an acidic stomach, which is necessary for the digestion and for defence against unwanted bacteria, as well as gastric mucosa protected by more mucus. The stomach becomes calmer, tightens less, is protected from excessive acid and leaves the oesophagus out of the equation.
It is important not to stop taking acid blockers immediately, but to slow reduce the dosage. Otherwise, because of a feedback mechanism, the acid production of the stomach suddenly increases excessively. This rebound effect occurs in a little as eight-week ingestion period. Similarly, the dosage of the Cayenne pepper can slowly be increased e.g. first take only one capsule together with the food and so dilute it to a certain extent. If tolerability is good, you can go up to two capsules and take them after the meal. Instead of taking capsules, you can also spice up your meals with very strongly with cayenne-pepper, but this is not for everyone.
Cholesterol is an irreplaceable building block, necessary for the health of every individual cell and for almost all hormones in our bodies. It is an important component of the cell wall, increases its stability and, together with proteins, contributes to injecting and extracting signalling substances into the cell. cholesterol is also vital as a precursor to many hormones and bile acids. A cholesterol level of 5.0 or below can be hazardous to life. On average, the European population has a level around 6.5 and this is considered normal.
To date, no proof for the hypothesis
In the 1950s, the hypothesis of an American nutritionist gain wide acceptance, according to which an elevated cholesterol level leads to arterial calcification and thus favours myocardial infarction i.e. heart attacks. Even though this hypothesis is based solely on empirical evidence, it is by no means proved. Up to now, no biological mechanism could be found, were one could demonstrate that an increased cholesterol level would lead to the feared plaque formation in the blood vessels. Despite this fact, the hypothesis stubbornly remains in main stream acceptance. The fact that cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins) represent the world's highest-selling segment of the pharmaceutical industry, probably hinders the necessary clarification and finding the truth. The issue of cholesterol will still shake the public, as more and more doctors admit that they have wrongly treated their patients with statins. In my practice, nobody is prescribed statins, unless you have a cholesterol value over 10.
Mortality is higher when cholesterol is low
Cholesterol is definitely not a risk factor for heart attack or stroke. In a large study, mortality was 30% greater when patients were treated with statins and blood thinners rather than with the correct diet. In a recently published meta-study with a total of 68,094 people over 60 years, a high LDL cholesterol level was associated with a lower mortality. This result is a striking contrast with the current cholesterol hypothesis, according to which cholesterol generally leads, especially LDL cholesterol, to arterial calcification and health problems.
Statins lower vital Q10
Statins also lower the Q10 level by about 50%, which can lead to severe side effects such as fatigue. The real reason people get arteriosclerosis is not clear and further researched needs to be one, but the high consumption of sugar certainly plays a role.
For high cholesterol values, I propose a plant-rich diet and a forgoing of sugar. As a dietary supplement, I recommend omega-3 fatty acids (for example, 2 capsules of krill oil), 2 capsules of Aronia and sufficient vitamin D (at least 3000 IU per day). If someone still needs statins, then only if additional Q10 is consumed, to compensate the medically induced lowering of the Q10 levels.
Chronic stress and burnout
Today, stress is omnipresent for many people. The burdens on the workplace have tended to increase, even in our leisure time a lot needs to be undertaken and done and of course the family may not come short either. Thus, for many, it is difficult to meet all the different expectations - not least their own - and to unite everything.
Stress increases cortisol levels
Those who suffer with stress produce more cortisol in the adrenal cortex. This hormone undertakes many tasks in the body for example, it has a dampening effect on the immune system. It ensures that inflammations do not spread too much and that small inflammations do not become a big catastrophe for the body. It is these properties, that modern medicine often uses cortisone, closely associated with cortisol, to suppress excess responses and inhibit inflammations.
Body must be able to relieve stress
Cortisol, together with insulin, also contributes to the regulation of the blood glucose level. Stress needs a lot of energy. By elevating the blood glucose level, cortisol provides the body with fast and sufficient energy when needed. Biologically, this is a very sensible mechanism: in a danger situation, we get the necessary energy to fight or flee. Today we are stressed but often "under constant stress" and we lack the necessary exercise ("fight or flight"), which would bring our body back to a "normal operating level". This is the reason why sport is so good at relieving stress and prevent the negative effects of stress.
In burnout, the cortisol is low
The adrenal gland is only able to produce large quantities of cortisol for about 3 years. After this time, it falls into a state of exhaustion resulting in a rapid drop in the cortisol level. The result is burnout, a state of complete physical and mental exhaustion. A simple test to determine the cortisol profile of a person, can establish if somebody is under stress (high cortisol) or if a person is already in the burnout stage (deep cortisol).
Cayenne stimulates cortisol production
What are we to do? Burnout patients need medical attention. They need support in the acute phase, during the regeneration and in the sustainable change of their living habits. One treatment option is to add the dietary supplement cayenne pepper to the diet. The hot tasting substances contained in the pods can stimulate the production of the now missing corporeal cortisol and thus help the patient to get back on his feet more quickly and helps to tackle the necessary adaptation of the lifestyle. Other options to increase vitality are taking flower pollen (give energy), coenzyme Q10 (to prevent fatigue), Moringa (natural multivitamin) or Aronia.