Archive for July, 2013

Testimonial from Clive Mainwaring, Lot et Garonne, France

Image“David, originally you promised it would take two weeks to see a marked improvement, or in my case, (worse scenario) three weeks.

I must tell you the difference is truly amazing! Starting this coming Monday will be my fifth week and I have to report that last Thursday was in my opinion the beginning of the end of RLS for me – the end of over 30 years of suffering!

After weeks of torment and little or no sleep, I slept like a log for nine hours and this past Wednesday, Thursday night, and last night I slept equally for 7 and 8 hours respectively. Boy, oh boy oh boy, so a huge thank you David for that!

For three days now I have been free of all pain and the joy of climbing into bed, knowing that moments later I would be asleep is not describable to those outside our suffering.

Life has some meaning again. Sleep is my warm friend and thank you again for your emails and concerns.”  – Clive 

Comments (2)

Glutamate, Inflammation, Restless Legs and Insomnia: PART 2 of 2

ImageHOW TO LOWER YOUR GLUTAMATE LEVEL (FOR A BETTER SLEEP)

from Nancy Mullan MD
“If you keep the total amount of glutamate in your body under control, you can prevent neurologic symptoms. One way you can do this is by eliminating gluten and casein from your diet. You also want to eliminate glutamate and anything that sounds like that, and aspartate and anything that sounds like that, from your supplements.

Glutamine is a frequently recommended supplement, but glutamate and glutamine change back and forth into each other. This means that the administration of glutamine, say for gastro intestinal support, actually increases the level of glutamate.

There is a neurotransmitter, which opposes glutamate, which has a calming effect. This is GABA, gamma amino butyric acid. It is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. Glutamate should be able to convert into GABA.

Glutamate is acted on by the enzyme glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD), but several factors may interfere with this conversion, and you get stuck at glutamate.

GABA is the neurotransmitter involved with this function. GABA is very prominently involved with the neuronal connections of language. It actually puts the gaps between words. Decreased GABA leads to increased anxiety, increased aggressive behavior, decreased social behavior, decreased eye contact, and decreased bowel function. GABA is necessary to stimulate bowel contraction.

Decreased GABA also causes eye-focusing problems, like both eyes focused in toward the nose or vertical or horizontal eye wavering.

Calcium is another factor in the glutamate GABA story. If glutamate is like a gun, then calcium is the bullet. Glutamate creates the scenario for excitotoxicity to happen, but the agent that actually destroys the nerve cell is the influx of calcium. The combination of excessive glutamate from any source and too much calcium is major.

Evaluate calcium levels using a urine essential elements test. Vitamin D and Vitamin K are fat-soluble vitamins and are important for re-establishing calcium balance. Your body can store Vitamin D, but Vitamin K may need to be supplemented on a daily basis unless you are eating dark leafy green organic vegetables.

Supplementing calcium may be done by using chamomile and/or nettle rather than by taking calcium directly. Increasing magnesium relative to calcium, using zinc to limit glutamate damage, and monitoring lithium, iodine and boron levels will all aid in reducing glutamate levels and reversing the flow of calcium into the neurons and back to the bones and teeth.

A common issue is taking too many supplements too soon. The more sick you are, the more carefully you need to add supplements. You should add them one at a time, starting with really tiny amounts.”

Image

WHAT IS GABA?

from Novus Medical Detox Center
and thebrain.mcgill.ca
“GABA is a chemical messenger that is widely distributed in the brain. GABA’s natural function is to reduce the activity of the neurons to which it binds. Some researchers believe that one of the purposes that GABA serves is to control the fear or anxiety experienced when neurons are overexcited.

GABA receptors are probably the most common kind in the mammalian nervous system. It is estimated that close to 40% of the synapses in the human brain work with GABA and therefore have GABA receptors.

GABA receptors are channel receptors. This means that when GABA binds to them, they change shape slightly to allow ions to pass through their central channel. This channel mainly allows negatively charged chloride ions to enter the neuron, thus reducing its excitability.

Because of this property of the GABA channel receptor, GABA is classified as an inhibitory neurotransmitter, as opposed to excitatory neurotransmitters, such as glutamate, which augment the nerve impulses in the neuron.

When GABA binds to a nerve cell receptor, it opens the nerve cell so that chloride ions which are present in the brain are allowed to move into the nerve cell and slow the activity of the cell, and the person normally experiences a calming feeling.

For example, if our brain produces more excitatory neurotransmitters like norepinephrine or epinephrine (adrenaline) than normal, we can become anxious or have more stress than normal.

If our brain is working normally, it will produce more GABA and this will slow down the actions in the brain and thus have a calming and relaxing effect on us.

Because of our unique DNA and the way that each of us metabolize drugs, each of us may have different amounts of GABA in the brain but we are still considered to be operating “normally.” Unfortunately, there are no accepted medical tests to determine if we have too much or too little GABA activity.

In addition, it appears that people who are nutritionally deficit and dehydrated often have problems with the operation of GABA in their brains.

It is widely believed that caffeine produces its stimulant effects by inhibiting the release of GABA and thereby allowing the increase of excitatory neurotransmitters.

Research is indicating that a major factor in people who suffer from anxiety disorders or panic attacks and in people who have become addicted or dependent to street drugs, prescription drugs and alcohol is that they are likely to be suffering from low GABA activity.”

 

ImageTHE GLUTAMATE-GLUTAMINE CYCLE

During all the research I’ve done over the last few years, researching EVERY area of RLS, from the scientific to the emotional, to the outrageous … I’ve never been as confused and overwhelmed as I have been in trying to decipher all the information that’s available on how to naturally boost your GABA level.

One thing that is unanimous, is that the “supplement” GABA is essentially useless. So that option is eliminated.

The really confusing area (the part that hurt my brain) is whether or not to take L-Glutamine to help boost your GABA level.

To understand the relationship between GABA, glutamine and glutamate, you have to understand a bit about the intimate cycle they are involved with. This cycle determines whether more GABA or more glutamate is produced.

Here are a couple of explanations.

from Wikipedia, Glutamate-glutamine cycle
“In biochemistry, the glutamate-glutamine cycle is a sequence of events by which an adequate supply of the neurotransmitter glutamate is maintained in the central nervous system. Neurons are not able to perform new synthesis of the neurotransmitter glutamate and y-aminobutyric acid (GABA) from glucose. Discoveries of glutamine and glutamate pools within intercellular compartments led to suggestions of the glutamate-glutamine cycle working between neurons and astrocytes. The glutamate/GABA-glutamine cycle is a metabolic pathway that describes the release of glutamate or GABA from neurons and then taken up into astrocytes (star shaped glial cells). In return, astrocytes release glutamine to be taken up into neurons for use as a precursor to the synthesis of glutamate or GABA.”

from Natural Stresscare
“Think of glutamic acid (GA), glutamine (GAM) and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) as three members of a close-knit family with three very different personalities. Glutamic acid is a non-essential amino acid (the body can manufacture it when things are working right) that’s also an excitatory neurotransmitter.

Its cousin GABA has an opposite personality – it calms our nerves and relaxes us. Glutamine is the source for both of them – the body can make either glutamic acid or GABA from glutamine. This is a special family … the members can change into each other from time to time.”

As I understand it, the glutamine in your body is used to either build your GABA level, in turn lowering your glutamate level … or vice versa – depending on which way they are out of balance at that time.

Glutamine is essentially a manager, determining what needs to be produced in order to keep the GABA and glutamate levels in balance.

For restless legs sufferers, that have some inflammation going on, and in most cases, a racing mind at night … it’s seems logical that the l-glutamine that you intake is going to be used to raise your GABA level, which will in turn lower your glutamate level, and help calm down that racing mind of yours.

But, there’s a catch. Because you have a higher than normal amount of inflammation in your body, this can affect the transport and monitoring that are part of the Glutamate-glutamine cycle.

As you may have read in some of the scientific studies posted on my website regarding inflammation and glutamate, inflammation can affect how the cycle behaves … which is often badly.

ImageIt’s kind of like how your keyboard behaves after you spill a cup of coffee on it. It will probably still work, but with a few quirks.

I sent an e-mail to Dr. Mullan asking her to clarify this confusing area for me. Here is her response.

“Be careful when you read studies. You never know what the author’s motive may be or who may be backing the study. Dr Amy Yasko does not recommend l-glutamine because it can turn into glutamate, especially if the GAD gene or enzyme is affected in any way.

And certainly be aware of any dietary influences, especially MSG (it goes without saying). Peas, mushrooms and Parmesan cheese are also on the high glutamate avoid list.”

After taking everything I’ve learned into consideration, my recommendation is to take neither the supplement GABA or L-Glutamine.

Because of the inflammation in your body, their behavior in the delicate Glutamate-glutamine cycle is unpredictable. My suggestion is to take L-Theanine or Taurine and to also consider some of the other natural GABA boosters you’ll read about below.

NATURAL REMEDIES TO INCREASE GABA AND LOWER GLUTAMATE LEVELS

ImageL-THEANINE

from The Wellspring School for Healing Arts
“L-Theanine is a free (non-protein) amino acid found primarily in tea leaves, (Camilla Sinensis).

L-Theanine, otherwise know as gamma-ethylamino-L-glutamic acid, is thought to be the key to tea’s subtle but calming effects despite the caffeine content in tea. L-Theanine is thought to counter the stimulating effects of caffeine by increasing the production of alpha brain waves. Alpha waves are associated with a state of deep relaxation while being mentally alert. In studies, subjects on L-Theanine exhibited alpha brain wave patterns similar to the state achieved by those during meditation.

Additionally, L-Theanine easily crosses the blood brain barrier, and is thought to play a role in increasing and regulating several neurotransmitters, most notably GABA (gamma amino butyric acid), which is an important inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. GABA promotes a pleasant calm without the drowsiness. L-Theanine is thought to interact with dopamine and serotonin as well, resulting in increased focus, improved memory and learning ability.”

from Natural Stresscare
“Rather than GABA or l-glutamine, one can take the amino acid l-theanine instead. L-theanine is converted to several useful calming and mood-elevating substances in the brain, including GABA.3,4 So one can use theanine as a kind of “bank shot” to get around the blood brain barrier issue with respect to GABA.”

“Theanine and glutamate transporter inhibitors enhance the antitumor efficacy of chemotherapeutic agents.”
Sugiyama T, Sadzuka Y. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2003 Dec 5;1653(2):47-59. School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Shizuoka, 52-1 Yada, 422-8526 Shizuoka, Japan.

“The combined effects of theanine, a specific amino acid in green tea, and glutamate transporter inhibitors on the antitumor activity of doxorubicin (DOX), were investigated and we clarified the biochemical mechanisms of action of these modulators.

We revealed the novel mechanism of enhancement of antitumor efficacy of DOX via the inhibition of glutamate transporters. Similarly, theanine enhanced the antitumor activities of other anthracyclines, cisplatin and irinotecan. Consequently, the modulating effect of theanine on the efficacy of antitumor agents is expected to be applicable in clinical cancer chemotherapy.”

ImageTAURINE

from Integrative Psychiatry
“Taurine is an amino acid that is present at significant levels in the CNS and is positive modulator of GABA that does not have any adverse side-effects. Taurine also potentiates glycine – the inhibitory neurotransmitter in the spinal cord.

The role of taurine as an inhibitory amino acid has been confirmed in many studies. Not surprisingly, brain tissue and cardiac tissue, which are susceptible to high levels of neurotransmitter stimulation, maintain high levels of taurine. Taurine has been shown to prevent the neuronal damage that can occur when there is an exposure to increased levels of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate. Over stimulation by excitatory neurotransmitters is the primary cause of neuron death in ischemic stroke. Taurine has been found to significantly reduce neuron death caused by over stimulation.

The calming effects of taurine have been well studied. Other studies of taurine have found that it can reduce epileptic seizures and that low taurine levels are associated with anxiety.”

from Charles Poliquin on Poliquin Inc.
“I call taurine the amino acid of anxiety control and stress management because it will lower cortisol and helps people be less anxious. The benefits of taurine don’t stop there. It also improves athletic performance and reaction time, supports insulin health, can prevent diabetes, elevates energy production, is a potent brain nutrient, increases work capacity and time to exhaustion from intense exercise, lowers blood pressure, protects the heart, helps with detoxification, and fights inflammation.

It’s best to lay the building blocks for success before you start taking taurine because this amino acid is an excellent addition to a protein-rich diet and supplement plan that ensures you aren’t deficient in any of the essential nutrients. For example, be sure you are getting a nice therapeutic dose of omega-3 fats, and have your fat intake balanced because this will help taurine work its magic.

Taurine is an amino acid that calms the nervous system by facilitating the production of the neurotransmitter GABA, which stands for gamma-aminobutyric acid. By helping to raise GABA levels, taurine will allow your body to manage anxiety so that your thoughts don’t go spiraling out of control and you don’t get the associated cortisol and adrenaline spikes that go with anxiety and stress.

Research shows that taurine supplementation can lower anxiety in stress-producing situations, thereby allowing for greater work output and performance. One study in Advances in Experimental Medicines and Biology found that giving rats a taurine treatment prior to an anxiety-inducing exercise maze resulted in less anxious behavior and better speed through the maze a rat group that were given a placebo.

Take taurine for better sleep, but make sure you are getting a magnesium supplement that your body can absorb as well. Together these nutrients are the answer to abolish stress, calm the nervous system, and help you sleep better. You’ll also have a better overall mood. People who are deficient in either magnesium or taurine are at greater risk for depression and poor motivation.

Magnesium is well known to calm the nervous system, while countering fatigue. Similarly, taurine raises GABA levels, calming the nervous system and lowering anxiety and stress hormones that hinder rest. I suggest magnesium taurate, a form of taurine that is bound to magnesium for best results.”

“Taurine prevents the neurotoxicity of beta-amyloid and glutamate receptor agonists: activation of GABA receptors and possible implications for Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders.”
Louzada PR, Paula Lima AC, Mendonca-Silva DL, Noël F, De Mello FG, Ferreira ST. Departamento de Bioquímica Medica, Instituto de Ciencias Biomedicas, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ 21941-590, Brasil. FASEB J. 2004 Mar;18(3):511-8.

“Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and several other neurological disorders have been linked to the overactivation of glutamatergic transmission and excitotoxicity as a common pathway of neuronal injury. The beta-amyloid peptide (Abeta) is centrally related to the pathogenesis of AD, and previous reports have demonstrated that the blockade of glutamate receptors prevents Abeta-induced neuronal death. We show that taurine, a beta-amino acid found at high concentrations in the brain, protects chick retinal neurons in culture against the neurotoxicity of Abeta and glutamate receptor agonists. The protective effect of taurine is not mediated by interaction with glutamate receptors, as demonstrated by binding studies using radiolabeled glutamate receptor ligands. The neuroprotective action of taurine is blocked by picrotoxin, an antagonist of GABA(A) receptors. GABA and the GABA(A) receptor agonists phenobarbital and melatonin also protect neurons against Abeta-induced neurotoxicity. These results suggest that activation of GABA receptors decreases neuronal vulnerability to excitotoxic damage and that pharmacological manipulation of the excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitter tonus may protect neurons against a variety of insults. GABAergic transmission may represent a promising target for the treatment of AD and other neurological disorders in which excitotoxicity plays a relevant role.”

ImageVALERIAN

from Wikipedia – Valerian (herb)
“Valerian has been used as a medicinal herb since at least the time of ancient Greece and Rome. Hippocrates described its properties, and Galen later prescribed it as a remedy for insomnia. Valerian root has sedative and anxiolytic effects. These effects are suspected to be mediated through the GABA receptor. The amino acid valine is named after this plant.”

from LIVESTRONG.COM
“The University of Maryland Medical Center says valerian root might increase the concentration of GABA within your brain. Because of this action, valerian is often prescribed as a natural remedy for anxiety and those affected by insomnia. It might take up to three weeks of consistent use for its effects to be felt.”

“Synaptosomal GABA release as influenced by valerian root extract–involvement of the GABA carrier.”
Santos MS, Ferreira F, Cunha AP, Carvalho AP, Ribeiro CF, Macedo T. Department of Zoology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra, Portugal. Arch Int Pharmacodyn Ther. 1994 Mar-Apr;327(2):220-31.

“The effect of an aqueous extract obtained from the roots of Valeriana officinalis was investigated on the uptake and release of GABA in synaptosomes. It is concluded that valerian extract releases [3H]GABA by reversal of the GABA carrier, which is Na(+)-dependent and Ca(2+)-independent.”

OTHER NATURAL REMEDIES

by Dr. Mike Dow, The Dr. OZ Show

“You know that feeling you get in the middle of a frantic workday with 3 deadlines approaching while your kids keep texting you about dinner? If we were to take a look inside your brain, the chemicals that act like your car’s accelerator pedal – dopamine, adrenaline, norepinephrine – are surging. And GABA, the chemical that acts like your car’s brakes, is in short supply.

While there are several drugs that help to boost GABA, there are also some natural ways to get the peace and calm your brain needs. Finding natural solutions have a few benefits. First, they’re not addictive like many of the prescription medications. Also, they won’t leave you feeling groggy, so you’ll still be able to be productive at work and at home.

Here are 4 ways to get the GABA your brain is craving:

Swap your afternoon coffee for a cup of oolong tea.
When we feel overworked and worn out, coffee is a natural go-to. But its high levels of caffeine send the activating brain chemical dopamine soaring. The tradeoff for short-term productivity is a jittery feeling and insomnia hours later. Try oolong tea instead. It contains GABA, and sipping it may provide you with the break your brain and body needs. The break you’ll get may provide you with the stamina to get everything done without feeling worn out.

Swap the candy bar for cherry tomatoes and hummus.
The high levels of fat in that candy bar are not only bad for your waistline, it’s bad for your brain! High levels of unhealthy fat also increase dopamine levels. But cherry tomatoes are rich in GABA, and the olive oil in hummus helps to balance your omega-3 versus omega-6 ratio. This ratio can help balance all of your brain chemicals over the long-term which will leave you feeling peaceful and happy.

Swap the soda for a glass of kefir, a probiotic drink.
Soda is not only associated with obesity; a new study showed an association with soda (and diet soda) and depression. Kefir contains GABA, and the carbohydrates boost serotonin – your other main feel-good, peaceful brain chemical. Talk about a double whammy!

Swap orange chicken and fried rice for grilled shrimp and brown rice. The high fat in orange chicken and fried rice flood your brain with dopamine which can even set you up for food addiction. But the shrimp contains a healthy dose of GABA, and the high-fiber brown rice gives you nice, healthy release of serotonin.”

ImageYOGA

from Science Daily “Yoga May Elevate Brain GABA Levels, Suggesting Possible Treatment For Depression”

“Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and McLean Hospital have found that practicing yoga may elevate brain gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) levels, the brain’s primary inhibitory neurotransmitter. The findings, which appear in the May issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, suggest that the practice of yoga be explored as a possible treatment for depression and anxiety, disorders associated with low GABA levels.

Using magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging, the researchers compared the GABA levels of eight subjects prior to and after one hour of yoga, with 11 subjects who did no yoga but instead read for one hour. The researchers found a twenty-seven percent increase in GABA levels in the yoga practitioner group after their session, but no change in the comparison subject group after their reading session. The acquisition of the GABA levels was done using a magnetic resonance spectroscopy technique developed by J. Eric Jensen, PhD, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and an associate physicist at McLean Hospital.

According to the researchers, yoga has shown promise in improving symptoms associated with depression, anxiety and epilepsy. “Our findings clearly demonstrate that in experienced yoga practitioners, brain GABA levels increase after a session of yoga,” said lead author Chris Streeter, MD, an assistant professor of psychiatry and neurology at BUSM and a research associate at McLean Hospital.

“This study contributes to the understanding of how the GABA system is affected by both pharmacologic and behavioral interventions and will help to guide the development of new treatments for low GABA states,” said co-author Domenic Ciraulo, MD, professor and chairman of the department of psychiatry at BUSM.

“The development of an inexpensive, widely available intervention such as yoga that has no side effects but is effective in alleviating the symptoms of disorders associated with low GABA levels has clear public health advantage,” added senior author Perry Renshaw, MD, PhD, director of the Brain Imaging Center at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital.”

KAVA KAVA

from LIVESTRONG.COM
“Consume 150 to 300 mg of kava kava standardized extract one to three times per day. Make sure the extract contains 30 to 70 percent kavalactones, which are this herb’s primary active compound. It is suggested that this herb increases the number of attachment sites for GABA in the brain. By creating more attachment sites, it is believed the effects of GABA might be more profound, which results in a mild sedated state. Use extreme caution when supplementing with kava kava, as this herb might have detrimental effects on the liver if consumed in excess. Thus, discuss the use of kava kava with your physician to ensure its safety.”

B-COMPLEX
from Paleo for Women
“Foods rich in B-complex vitamins, particularly inositol, prompt GABA production. In fact, B-vitamins are necessary for the functioning of nearly all brain processes and chemicals. Foods containing B-vitamins comprise a rich and varied list. They include: fruits such as bananas, figs, cantaloupe oranges and figs, and vegetables, particularly cruciferous vegetables, such as beets, broccoli, kale, and spinach, and nuts, and seafood, and beef and beef liver, chicken liver, all organ meats, and all game/ruminant meats.”

Comments (2)

Glutamate, Inflammation, Restless Legs and Insomnia: PART 1 of 2

ImageIn April of 2013 results of a scientific study were released showing that the presence of glutamate was much higher in Restless Legs patients than in the normal population. As you’ll read below, excessive glutamate makes your brain race uncontrollably. Not helpful if you’re trying to fall asleep at night before your legs start acting up.

This (as well as the presence of increased histamine levels in RLS patients) is hard evidence of why so many RLS sufferers have a racing mind at night when they are trying to sleep. 

I remember so many night, lying in bed exhausted, but unable to sleep. It didn’t make any sense? Now it makes perfect sense.

Fortunately, there are remedies to help lessen your glutamate level and slow the brain down. I’ll touch on those in the next post.

from Johns Hopkins Medicine
“The small new study, headed by Richard P. Allen, Ph.D., an associate professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, used MRI to image the brain and found glutamate — a neurotransmitter involved in arousal – in abnormally high levels in people with RLS. The more glutamate the researchers found in the brains of those with RLS, the worse their sleep.

For the study, Allen and his colleagues examined MRI images and recorded glutamate activity in the thalamus, the part of the brain involved with the regulation of consciousness, sleep and alertness. They looked at images of 28 people with RLS and 20 people without. The RLS patients included in the study had symptoms six to seven nights a week persisting for at least six months, with an average of 20 involuntary movements a night or more.

The researchers then conducted two-day sleep studies in the same individuals to measure how much rest each person was getting. In those with RLS, they found that the higher the glutamate level in the thalamus, the less sleep the subject got. They found no such association in the control group without RLS.

Previous studies have shown that even though RLS patients average less than 5.5 hours of sleep per night, they rarely report problems with excessive daytime sleepiness. Allen says the lack of daytime sleepiness is likely related to the role of glutamate, too much of which can put the brain in a state of hyperarousal — day or night.”

WHAT IS GLUTAMATE?

from the Vitality & Wellness Centre
“Your body has two sorts of neurotransmitters; one that excites you (keeps you awake) called Glutamate and one that relaxes you called GABA.

GABA is your body’s main relaxing neurotransmitter. Your body’s main excitatory neurotransmitter (Glutamate) is most active during your waking hours. So when you fall asleep your brain Glutamate levels should drop and your brain GABA levels should rise. This facilitates a great restful nights sleep.

People who have trouble sleeping, or more specifically are unable to switch their minds off, generally have lower than normal levels of GABA with elevated Glutamate levels. These people generally make the comment that their minds are always racing and that they are unable to fall asleep or when they wake up they are always thinking and are unable to get back to sleep.”

Below is an excerpt from a highly informative article by Dr. Nancy Mullan that gives a great overview of glutamate. 

from Nancy Mullan MD
“Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter. While I am thinking, talking, processing and sharing with you, the glutamate receptors in my neurons are functioning actively to take glutamate into the cell.

You need glutamate for learning, attending, and functioning. In fact, the more intelligent you are, the more glutamate receptors you have on your cells. But too much glutamate being taken in to your nerve cells will burn them out. It would be like turning a light switch on and off continuously until it breaks.

A number of other substances related to glutamate will also act as excitatory neurotransmitters at glutamate receptor sites. They include glutamate, glutamic acid, glutamine, alpha ketoglutarate, and monosodium glutamate or MSG. The aspartate family of molecules will do this also. They include aspartate, aspartic acid, and aspartame, commonly known as NutraSweet.

For the aficionados among you, cysteine can also act as a mild excitatory neurotransmitter, but N-acetyl cysteine does not. However, N-acetyl cysteine contains an acetyl and a sulfur group and so must be used thoughtfully.

Glycine is also a special case neurotransmitter. If the balance in your body is towards glutamate, glycine will be excitatory. If the balance is toward GABA, it will be inhibitory. So if you tend toward glutamate excess, avoid glycine.

The number of glutamate receptor sites on your neuron surfaces are an important determinant of the level of glutamate in your cells. The more glutamate receptor sites you have, the more glutamate you take in. Your resting level of glutamate is higher. Your balance tips to favor excitotoxicity. Glutamate excitotoxicity produces nerve damage or death. It does this by setting off inflammation.

Increased numbers of glutamate receptors have been associated with certain neurologic disorders. Lou Gehrig’s Disease or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Fragile X, schizophrenia, and seizure disorder are among them.

Increased glutamate produces insomnia, decreased eye contact and may lead to too much acetyl-choline which can lead to bladder contraction and abnormal eye movements called strabismus. And increased glutamate causes an increase in self-stimulatory behavior (stims).

One of the ways your brain deals with excitotoxin damage is to increase the level of opioids that are produced. Opioids are opium-like substances. Obviously they will interfere with your ability to function.

Elevated levels of glutamate deplete your levels of glutathione (GSH). GSH is a central antioxidant and metal detox agent in your body. Depleted GSH leads to increased inflammatory mediators, including TNF alpha, and helps to exacerbate leaky gut.”

WHAT IS EXCITOTOXICITY?

from Wikipedia – Excitotoxicity
“Excitotoxicity is the pathological process by which nerve cells are damaged and killed by excessive stimulation by neurotransmitters such as glutamate and similar substances. This occurs when receptors for the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate (glutamate receptors) such as the NMDA receptor and AMPA receptor are overactivated by Glutamatergic Storm.”

Pictorial Review of Glutamate Excitotoxicity: Fundamental Concepts for Neuroimaging.”
Leighton P. Marka, Robert W. Prosta, John L. Ulmera, Michelle M. Smitha, David L. Danielsa, James M. Strottmanna, W. Douglas Browna and Lotfi Hacein-Beya. From the Neuroradiology Section, Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Froedtert Hospital, 9200 W Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53226. AJNR 2001 22: 1813-1824

“There is a growing list of neurologic disorders are now understood to share a final common destructive metabolic pathway called excitotoxicity, which has been the focus of intense investigative efforts in the neurosciences over the past several decades (3–31). Excitotoxicity refers to an excessive activation of neuronal amino acid receptors. The specific type of excitotoxicity triggered by the amino acid glutamate is the key mechanism implicated in the mediation of neuronal death in many disorders.

Glutamate excitotoxicity is the final common pathway resulting in neuronal injury for many seemingly unrelated disorders, including ischemia, trauma, seizures, hypoglycemia, hypoxia, and even some neural degenerative disorders. Familiarity with this process is important for neuroradiologists because of its central position in many of the disorders encountered in daily practice. This area has been one of the most intensely investigated fields in the neurosciences over the past several decades, and the information generated from this work will clearly influence our basic understanding of many neurologic disorders.”

ImageTHE LINK BETWEEN HIGH GLUTAMATE LEVELS AND INFLAMMATION

When I see a report like results of the John Hopkins study, I am 100% certain that if I do a bit of digging, there will be an undeniable bond between whatever the agent happens to be (in this case glutamate) and inflammation.

Sure enough, the evidence is OVERWHELMING that inflammation is directly involved with the excessive glutamate levels.

Below are some studies that identify this connection. I’m only posting a few here. You can read the results from several other studies at my website.

from Russell L. Blaylock, M.D. on the Vaccine Risk Awareness Network

“Neuroscientists have known for sme time that inflammatory cytokines cause the brain to release higher levels of glutamate — the more intense the inflammation, the higher the brain glutamate level. The highest levels are found in the prefrontal lobes and limbic system, the areas most related to mood control. MSG also increases brain inflammation.”

from Emily Deans, M.D. in Evolutionary Psychiatry
“Inflammatory cytokines interfere with the regulation ofthe neurotransmitter, glutamate. Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter that, if left to go wild, can pound our NMDA receptors in the brain and wreak major havoc. No one wants overexcited NMDA receptors, and clinical depression is one among many nasty brain issues that can be caused by overexcitement. Astrocytes, little clean-up cells in the brain, are supposed to mop up excess glutamate to keep it from going nutso on the NMDA. Turns out inflammatory cytokines interfere with the clean-up process. The horse tranquilizer (and club drug) ketamine, when administered IV, can eliminate symptoms of severe depression pretty much immediately in some cases (do NOT try this at home) (2). Ketamine helps the astrocytes mop up glutamate, and it is assumed that this is how ketamine instantly cures depression. Unfortunately, the effects of ketamine don’t last, otherwise it would be a nifty tool, indeed.”

“Effect of glutamate on inflammatory responses of intestine and brain after focal cerebral ischemia.”
Xu L, Sun J, Lu R, Ji Q, Xu JG. Department of Anesthesiology, Jinling Hospital, 305 East Zhongshan Road, Nanjing 210002, Jiangsu Province, China.

“Glutamate is involved in the mechanism of intestinal and cerebral inflammation responses. The effects of glutamate on cerebral and intestinal inflammatory responses after ischemia are up-regulated at the transcriptional level, through the NF-kappaB signal transduction pathway.”

Don’t worry, it may seem bleak, but the news gets better. In the second post of this series I’ll feature some natural methods for lowering your glutamate level –  hopefully opening the doorway to a better sleep.

Comments (6)

A Doctor that Actually Recommends Natural Treatments for RLS

ImageI’m currently gathering information for a post that will connect high glutamate levels (because of a recent study that shows that RLS sufferers have a higher presence of glutamate in their brain), inflammation, RLS and insomnia.

It’s exciting what I’ve found so far, and should be helpful to many of you, if not all of you. I’ll hopefully be able to have this posted by the end of today.

I’m doubly excited because during my research I found an article by a doctor, Dr. Tim Gerstmar, that suggests a good place to start for RLS recovery is my website www.rlcure.com

The author recommends using a micellized curcumin product, cayenne, and ginger, and drinking carrot juice as a starting place. He suggests you’ll begin to see relief within 2 weeks of following this regimen. From there he recommends a repair/healing phase and then a maintenance phase. This seems like a inexpensive, safe place to start the non-drug treatment of RLS.

Dr. Gerstmar summarizes by saying “Based on my review of the literature and the science behind RLS I think the best place to start in the natural treatment of RLS is with an ‘anti-inflammatory’ diet and lifestyle, followed by repleting the nutrients needed to create dopamine.”

This is VERY hopeful. As more doctors concede to the obvious advantages of natural healing, it should help get the word out and educate RLS sufferers, and let them know, at the very least, that they have options.

Leave a Comment

Testimonial from Christine Woodland, Australia

Woman at Desk“I have given up milk and wheat products, and significantly limited my sugar consumption. I have found that has helped enormously. Sugar, I think is a particular problem.

I also try to limit my eating at night to mostly vegetables and salads. That too I think has helped.

I am sleeping reasonable well now throughout the night, most nights. The times I experience RLS is when I get back into bed after visiting the bathroom in the early morning hours. It’s then that the RLS tends to start, but I manage to get back to sleep.

Since I have taken these various approaches my RLS has decreased by about 90%. And as I mentioned, when the only time I experience it is when I get back into bed in the middle of the night after a bathroom visit.  I get twinges of restless legs, but generally doesn’t take hold, and I go back to sleep. This is often in conjunction with using a hand massager, on my legs, which helps to relieve the symptoms, and I quickly fall sleep.”

~ Christine

Leave a Comment

Histamine Intolerance, Inflammation and RLS (PART 7): SUMMARY

ImageBelow you’ll find a summary of the previous 6 posts.

Histamine: A heterocyclic amine released by mast cells when tissue is injured or in allergic and inflammatory reactions, causing dilation of small blood vessels and smooth muscle contraction. When a person is allergic to a particular substance, such as a food or dust, the immune system mistakenly believes that this usually harmless substance is actually harmful to the body.

In an attempt to protect the body, the immune system starts a chain reaction that prompts some of the body’s cells to release histamine and other chemicals into the bloodstream. The histamine then acts on a person’s eyes, nose, throat, lungs, skin, or gastrointestinal tract, causing allergy symptoms.

Histamine Intolerance: Our “histamine bucket” fills up based on factors such as genetics, allergies, medication, diet, environment, nutritional deficiencies, intestinal damage, and UV exposure. When our body cannot break down excess histamine, we suffer with histamine intolerance and increased inflammation (for Restless Legs Sufferers, the concern is the increased inflammation in the legs).

Histamine Intolerance may also be involved with your inability to sleep at night, even when your legs are taking a break from twitching. Excessive histamines could be a major contributing factor if you’re suffering from insomnia.

In a recent study at John Hopkins University, scientists discovered that histamine receptors were substantially higher in RLS patients.

ImageFoods that are particularly high in histamine and other vasoactive amines include:

Champagne, wine, beer, cider and other fermented drinks and spirits.
Sauerkraut and other pickled foods.
Vinegar and foods containing it such as dressings, pickles, mayonnaise, ketchup & mustard.
Tofu and soya sauce.
Parmesan cheese and other cheeses.
Sausages and other processed meats (ham, salami, gammon, bacon).
Mushrooms and quorn.
Tinned and smoked fish (tuna, salmon, herring) and crustaceans.
Prepared salads.
Tinned vegetables.
Dried fruit, seeds, nuts.
Yeast extract, yeast.
Chocolate, cocoa, cola.

Other environmental factors that can raise histamine levels are:

mold
Electromagnetic fields (EMFs)
Nutritional imbalances
Hormones – including stress hormones
UV exposure

The best ways to counteract high histamines levels are:

1 Altering your diet to remove the worst offenders.

2. Introducing some of the many “natural” antihistamines that are available into your diet.

They include Vitamin C, Bromelain, Quercitin, Butterbur, Pycnogenol and Omega 3.

These natural antihistamines will counterbalance the high histamine levels that are causing your discomfort.

Keep in mind that over-the-counter antihistamines will SEVERELY increase the intensity of your Restless Legs.

ImageI hope that you have enjoyed this series of posts on Histamine Intolerance, Inflammation and Restless Legs Syndrome.

Maybe “enjoy” is not the right word. I hope that you “learned” a lot.

I know that I gained a wealth of knowledge and have really enjoyed your feedback.

I would like to thank all the people who wrote articles and host blogs that I referred to in this series. There are some really great blogs and websites out there to help you learn about histamine intolerance, and how to overcome it. I suggest that you visit as many as you can. The more you read about this issue, the more it will become real in your life. Hopefully you’ll find the strength, courage and the will needed to make the necessary changes in your life.

I also hope for all of you that are taking pharmaceutical medications to deal with your Restless Legs, that you have gained an understanding that in order to recover from your ailment, a lot of hard work and many sacrifices are required. There is no “miracle cure” coming down the pipe. That, I can assure you.

The “Cure” is taking what you’ve learned from this and other websites, including the RLcure website, and forcing yourself to change.

Change is the hardest thing for a human being to do.

There’s no sweeter sound in the world than someone flushing their Requip down the toilet and dealing with their Restless Legs head-on. That takes true courage.

Yes, it’s scarey stuff and seems impossible to overcome, but it can be done, one small step at a time.

I wish you the very best in your journey!

Leave a Comment

Histamine Intolerance, Inflammation and RLS (PART 6): NATURAL ANTIHISTAMINES

ImageFinding the right combination of natural antihistamines and dietary food intake is going to take a bit of time. Please don’t try and fix yourself in one day! Try out a couple of the natural antihistamines for a few days, and see how your body reacts. Make a few substitutions in your diet, and see if you can notice a difference.

It’s all about patience, the willingness to experiment, and most importantly … listening to your body.

from wisegeek.com
A natural antihistamine is a substance found in nature that can fight against histamines in the bloodstream. Antihistamines can treat allergies, colds, and sinus problems by blocking histamines and alleviating symptoms caused by excess histamines in the blood.

Histamines are a defense mechanism used by the body to protect against organisms it views as a threat. When an allergen is encountered, the body releases histamines into the blood to fight against the perceived intruder.

from Healthy Skin Care

Vitamin C
In addition to being a powerful anti-oxidant and immune booster, some studies have shown that high doses of vitamin c can help reduce sensitivity to allergens and reduce inflammation, mucus production, and wheezing. Researchers at Arizona State University indicated that taking 2000mg of vitamin c per day reduces histamine levels in the blood by up to 40%. In order to act as a natural antihistamine the dose is usually greater than 1000mg per day.

(Editor’s Note: Many studies have shown that Vitamin C is an energy booster, so I highly recommend that you don’t take it later than mid-afternoon in order for it not to interfere with your sleep).

ImageQuercitin
is a bioflavonoid. Bioflavonoids are potent nutrients that help maintain the health of collagen in the body. The firmness of the skin is due to collagen and so quercitin plays a role in preventing the anti-aging of skin and more specifically preventing the sagging of skin. Because quercitin and other bioflavonoids aid in improving the health of capillaries, connective tissues, and circulation, they also help treat bruising and varicose veins. Bioflavonoids are powerful antioxidants that also boost immunity and can aid in reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, cataracts, cancer, help to regulate blood sugar, help in respiratory problems such as asthma, and prevent inflammation.

In addition to the above stated benefits, quercitin falls into the group of natural antihistamines that will not cause drowsiness. Quercitin can be very effective in preventing the release of histamine from cells and can be used to treat allergy symptoms such as swollen nasal passages, congestion, sneezing, watery and itchy eyes and nose, and skin conditions such as dermatographism, psoriasis, and eczema. On the other hand, non-natural antihistamines work differently. They do not prevent the release of histamine, but rather they block the action of histamine at receptor sites.

Natural antihistamines such as quercitin can be found in apples, grapefruit and some other citrus fruits, cherries, raspberries, red grapes, yellow and red onions, leafy vegetables, red wine, green tea, black tea, evening primrose, squash, shallots, courgettes and broccoli, blue-green algae, and capsium or “chili peppers”.

Uritca urens is an herb that has been used for many centuries because of its natural antihistamine properties. This herb is a rich source of quercitin.

Quercitin also helps boost the benefits of vitamin c and visa versa and therefore are often taken together.

There is no set dosage for how much quercitin should be taken. Some recommend 1,200mg per day, while others suggest not going over 500mg per day to be absolutely sure of no problems, although no side effects have been reported. Dosages should be discussed with a physician and/or in consultation with a qualified nutritionist.

Bromelain
is an enzyme from pineapples that is an effective natural anti-inflammatory compound. It improves the absorption of quercitin and other bioflavonoids and therefore, natural antihistamine products often contain bromelain as well.

(Editor’s Note: Some companies like NOW Brand have supplements that are a combination of Quercitin and Bromelain).

ImagePycnogenol
also falls into the bioflavonoid group of natural antihistamines. Like quercitin, this bioflavonoid will not make you drowsy and is very effective at preventing the release of histamine from mast cells. Some laboratory studies have shown that this natural antihistamine can block up to 70 per cent of histamine released when an individual is exposed to an allergen.

Pycnogenol is obtained from the extract of the bark of the French maritime pine, which grows in Les Landes in southwest France. Suggested dosage is around 300mg per day.

Many studies have been performed on pycnogenol and have shown that it is very safe. In addition to being one of the very effective natural antihistamines, it also is a powerful antioxidant and helps with a variety of conditions from diabetes to cholesterol control, menstrual disorders, asthma, other skin care problems, etc.

Grape Seed Extract
can be used as a natural antihistamine. The main active component is its high content of proanthocyanidin (OPC or PCO). Proanthocyanidin is found in red, white, and purple grapes, blueberries, cherries, and plums. The PCO is found mainly in the peels, skins, or seeds. Food processing and storage is detrimental to the amount of active proanthocyanidin available.

The PCO bioflavonoid complex can also be found in the barks of the lemon tree and the Landis pine tree, as well as the leaves of the hazelnut tree. The highest known concentration (95 per cent) of the PCO complex is found in purple grape seeds, and the second highest (80-85 per cent) in pine bark.

In addition, it has other benefits for the skin and body as well, such as: use as an anti-inflammatory, improves circulation and therefore good for varicose and spider veins and bruises, promotes healing, restores collagen and elasticity of the skin and thus good for anti-aging of the skin, strengthens weak blood vessels, arthritis, etc.

Dosage is usually 75 to 300mg daily for 3 weeks, then a reduction to a 40 to 80mg daily maintenance dose.

Butterbur (petasites hybridus)
is an herbaceous plant found in Europe and parts of North Africa and Asia. It is a plant with heart shaped leaves that enjoys damp marshy areas and sometimes is referred to as bog rhubarb.

For many years, butterbur was used to treat migraines. Recent research (in 2005) by Swiss and German scientists compared the butterbur extract versus other non-natural antihistamines. The conclusion from the study was that butterbur was as effective as an antihistamine as the other products, but with fewer side effects such as drowsiness.

Extracts from the butterbur plant need to be processed in order to eliminate some of the existing toxic components. This is the main concern about the use of butterbur, although proper processing of the extract would eliminate this problem. Many would like to see more safety information and research being produced before recommending it for long-term use.

Butterbur extracts are not recommended for individuals under 12 years of age, people with kidney or liver problems, or pregnant or lactating women. Consultation with a physician is highly recommended before considering the use of this product.

Green tea
also falls into the group of natural antihistamines. Green tea contains quercitin and catechins, which possess antihistamine properties. Two to three cups of green tea a day is required in order to obtain the antihistamine benefits. Green tea extract supplements are also available.

Honeycomb
can be used as a natural antihistamine. The active component in honeycomb that possesses mild antihistamine properties is propolis.

Simply chew a small square of honeycomb up to three times daily or add honeycomb to tea, etc., instead of sugar.

Magnesium
Natural antihistamines may also include certain minerals. For example, magnesium is one such mineral. Dosage as a supplement is typically in the 400 – 800mg per day range. Certain foods are also good sources of magnesium – plants, grains, meat, and fish. More specifically the top magnesium containing foods are: pumpkin and squash seed kernels, Brazil nuts, bran cereal, halibut, quinoa, spinach, and almonds.

L-Histadine
is an essential amino acid in the body that can prevent excessive histamine production. One or two 500mg capsules three times daily are usually required.

from Allergy Relief Help

Modern Alternative Health

and better nutrition

ImageStinging Nettle (Urtica Dioica)
has been used for its herbal quality for centuries. Other than being used for allergies, nettle is commonly used for inflammation and water retention. The leaves contain biologically active compounds that reduce inflammation. They can also be used as a diuretic. The leaves have also been used to treat conditions such as arthritis, high blood pressure, and Alzheimer’s disease.  The roots contain unique and helpful qualities in similar and different ways from the leaves. Also useful as a diuretic, the root has been known to assist in prostate problems and treatment, including BPH (an enlarged prostate). An infusion of the plant also stems intern bleeding and can be used to lessen and control excessive menstruation.  Similar infusions have also been used to treat hemorrhoids and skin complaints like eczema.

Stinging nettle’s leaf contains a quality that blocks histamine receptors. This quality means that the leaf can function just as a common allergy treatment such as Allegra or Claritin as a histamine blocker but has none of the side effects that those drugs carry.

The best ways to receive the benefits of the plant as a histamine blocker are to either take a supplement or make a nettle infusion. Taking a supplement of freeze dried extract provides you with the best possible option as a supplement – the activity of the leaves are biologically preserved in the freeze drying process. A dosage of 300 mg 2-3 times a day should keep allergies at bay.

Making an infusion of the leaves is also a successful way to treat and prevent allergies, much more effective than a tea. A trip around the web will give you multiple recipes for infusions. Most lead to a recipe of 1 cup of dried leaves to 1 quart of water. Some people recommend boiling the water and then having the leaves steep/set for 8-10 hours. Others recommend using the sun as the heating element for the process. I’m going to start with hot water while the temperatures are still unpredictable and then move to sun steeping once spring is solidly here. (I am also waiting until this little boy is born before I start taking infusions.)

The primary antihistamine herb is STINGING NETTLE, which is one of the most popular herbs among those seeking natural allergy relief.  One study found that it may offer relief to people with hayfever.  Sixty-nine patients completed the study.  Of these 58 percent rated the freeze-dried preparation of stinging nettle effective.  Forty-eight percent said it worked as well or better than their conventional medications.  Typical dosage:  300 mgs. of freeze-dried nettle in capsules two or three times per day.

Some researchers think one of the active components is a bioflavonoid, others think polysaccharides are responsible, still others say lectins deserve the credit. But whatever the final determination of the active ingredients, nettle loses its antiallergy power if not harvested and processed correctly. Look for a high-quality powdered product that has been freeze-dried or specially processed to retain the active ingredients. This special processing costs more, so don’t be seduced by cheap imitations.

Use nettle when you would otherwise use an antihistamine drug to stop your misery. Many people take up to 3,000 mg per day of nettle leaf powder in capsules to relieve the temporary symptoms of hay fever and other allergic reactions, including animal allergies. Symptoms often begin to improve within 15 minutes, and the effect typically lasts for about four hours. The studied dosage is 300 mg twice a day of freeze-dried nettle leaf.

from Cybele Pascal on CybelePascal.com

Flavonoids
such as Quercetin are a group of plant pigments that are largely responsible for the colors of many fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Quercetin is a natural antihistamine that helps stabilize mast cells to prevent both the manufacture and release of histamine, as well as other allergic and inflammatory compounds. Good sources of Quercetin are citrus fruits, onions, garlic, apples, parsley, tea, tomatoes, broccoli, lettuce, legumes and berries.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
are thought to reduce allergic reactions through their anti-inflammatory properties. Omega-3 Fatty Acids are found in such foods as cold-water fish (think salmon), and walnuts, but since this is a blog devoted to food allergy sufferers, I prefer to recommend you get your Omega-3s from less allergenic sources, such as hemp seeds, flax seed oil, canola oil, and grass-fed meat.

from One Good Thing By Jillee

ImageLavender, Lemon and Peppermint
For a couple of months now I have been dealing with the most random ailments. Things I’ve never dealt with before. But the two most tormenting things have been itching (all over) and swelling in my ankles. No matter WHAT I tried I couldn’t find relief! I would find temporary relief with a few natural remedies for the itching…but since it wasn’t dry skin related they really didn’t last. The swollen ankles were impervious to anything I tried!

UNTIL my sister Rebecca (Camp Wander) recommended I try something new. Through her work and research with essential oils she has become more and more convinced that many chronic medical issues stem from an allergic response our body is having to toxins. Toxins that our bodies are bombarded with every day from our drinking water, to our health and beauty products, to the materials used to build and furnish our homes!

So by following this line of thinking it makes sense that an antihistamine of some sort would help with this allergic reaction. No? YES! And, according to my sister, the combination of Lavender, Lemon, and Peppermint essential oils can create a powerful all-natural antihistamine. These three oils together can cool down body inflammation resulting from the body’s allergic response.

I’m going to get technical for just a minute…so bear with me. From what I understand, when an allergen of some kind (which could be a myriad of different things) enters the body, something called IGE antibodies begin releasing histamines that trigger an inflammatory response in the body. Cells start to release fluid and SWELL. The exact symptom I was having.

After Rebecca explained all this to me it made so much sense, and I was eager to give it a try! I’ve been taking the LLP combination faithfully since then and have seen an almost COMPLETE elimination of my symptoms. The itching is MUCH better (with just an occasional flare-up) and my ankles are finally back to their normal size and shape! I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I am about this!

While the typical recommendation for using LLP as an antihistamine is to combine equal parts Lavender, Lemon and Peppermint essential oils with 1 part fractionated coconut oil and rub it on your feet twice a day, my sister suggested I try taking it internally. At first I was a bit worried about this because I know how STRONG those oils are! But then she told me about these “gelatin capsules” (which I found at my local health food store for about 5 bucks) and I was off and running and haven’t looked back! I faithfully fill and swallow 3 capsules a day with 3 drops each of Lavender, Lemon and Peppermint in them. For me, it has made all the difference in the world.

from LiveStrong

Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)
can be found growing in the woodlands and meadows of many parts of North America. Its gnarled underground root is collected for medicinal use. Goldenseal possesses powerful anti-inflammatory properties, making it effective in combating the effects of histamine. Goldenseal has been nicknamed the “cure-all” herb because it can be used for a wide range of ailments, including periodontal problems, eczema, heartburn, infections and painful menstruation. AltMD.com advises only taking goldenseal for short periods — not more than three weeks at time — because it can build up in your tissues and become toxic.

Horny Goat Weed
is a member of the Epimedium genus of plants; in traditional Chinese medicine, it is known as yin yang huo. This herb is native to parts of China and Korea, being used to relieve some of the symptoms caused by the body’s release of histamine. Horny goat weed has some anti-inflammatory properties, which may account for its effectiveness in treating hay fever. Horny goat weed should only be used for a short time, and it should not be used if you are pregnant, nursing, have heart disease or are taking any type of steroids.

Papaya
is very rich in vitamin C; each piece of whole fruit contains more than 300 percent of the recommended daily allowance, according to the World’s Healthiest Foods website. In addition to the antioxidant vitamins, enzymes found in papaya can help regulate inflammatory response in your body. “The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook” suggests that eating papaya or drinking its juices may act as an antihistamine and relieve the itching associated with hives.

from Colette Bouchez on WebMD  

ImageAcupuncture
In addition to whatever natural treatments you try on your own, you may also find significant relief visiting a practitioner of the ancient Chinese medical practice known as acupuncture. Based on the idea that stimulating points outside the body can change or initiate reactions inside, in this case treatment is thought to affect the immune system, where allergic reactions begin.

In a small but significant study of 26 hay fever patients published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine, acupuncture reduced symptoms in all 26 — without side effects. A second study of some 72 people totally eliminated symptoms in more than half, with just two treatments.

Acupuncture can be particularly useful if you are suffering from multiple allergies, since it works to quiet the areas of the immune system that are overstimulated by exposure to multiple irritating factors.

from Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac. on acufinder.com

Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)
is rich in anti-histamine properties. The flowers can be crushed and used as a poultice for inflammatory swelling. Make a tea and drink 2-3 times a day. Chamomile can cause histaminic allergic reactions in some very sensitive people. If this occurs, simply discontinue.

Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea)
is a widely used herbal remedy for treatment of upper respiratory tract infections. This purple coneflower has shown to have antihistamine properties.

Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)
Hailed the “mushroom of immortality”, one of my favorite natural remedies is Reishi (Ling Zhi). Japanese researchers have found that reishi acts as an antihistamine, making it useful for treating allergies. “Lanostan”, a compound found in reishi, appears to control the release of transmitting chemicals in the body, thereby inhibiting the release of histamine. Since reishi also promotes the adrenal function and immune reaction, it has added effectiveness in controlling the body’s reaction to an allergen.

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
is a natural antihistamine, as well as having antiseptic properties to help purge infections. The essential oil has been shown to have antimicrobial activity against a host of different bacteria and fungi.

from Jeanie Lerche Davis on WebMD

ImageTea
is considered a superfood — whether it’s black, green, white, or oolong tea. All those tea types come from the same tea plant, Camellia sinensis. The leaves are simply processed differently. Green tea leaves are not fermented; they are withered and steamed. Black tea and oolong tea leaves undergo crushing and fermenting processes.

All teas from the Camellia plant are rich in polyphenols, antioxidants that detoxify cell-damaging free radicals in the body. Tea has about eight to 10 times the polyphenols found in fruits and vegetables, according to long-time tea researcher John Weisburger, PhD, senior researcher at the Institute for Cancer Prevention in Valhalla, N.Y.

Studies of humans, animals, and petri-dish experiments show that tea is high beneficial to our health. Research suggests that regular tea drinkers — people who drink two cups or more a day — have less heart disease and stroke, lower total and LDL cholesterol, and recover from heart attacks faster. There’s also evidence that tea may help fight ovarian and breast cancers.

Tea also helps soothe stress and keep us relaxed. One British study found that people who drank black tea were able to de-stress faster than those who drank a fake tea substitute. The tea drinkers had lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.

Leave a Comment

Older Posts »