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Serotonin, sometimes referred to as the happy chemical, has a wide variety of functions in the human brain. A new research suggests a newly-discovered biological mechanism could be involved in a condition long thought to be imaginary.
Patients with heightened somatic awareness often experience unexplained symptoms—headaches, sore joints, nausea, constipation, or itchy skin—that cause emotional distress, and are twice as likely to develop chronic pain.
The condition, associated with illnesses such as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and temporomandibular disorders, is thought to have a psychological origin.
“Think of the fairy tale of the princess and the pea,” says Samar Khoury, a postdoctoral fellow at the Alan Edwards Centre for Research on Pain at McGill University.
“The princess in the story had extreme sensitivity where she could feel a small pea through a pile of 20 mattresses. This is a good analogy of how someone with heightened somatic awareness might feel; they have discomforts caused by a tiny pea that doctors can’t seem to find or see, but it’s very real.”
Thanks to an existing study on genetic association, Khoury and her colleagues might have found the elusive pea that explains somatic awareness.
The researchers used data available through the Orofacial Pain: Prospective Evaluation and Risk Assessment cohort that demonstrates that patients who suffer from somatic symptoms share a common genetic variant. The mutation leads to the malfunctioning of an enzyme critical for the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter with numerous biological functions.
“We believe that this work is very important to patients because we can now provide a biological explanation of their symptoms,” says Luda Diatchenko, a professor in the Faculty of Dentistry and lead author of the paper in Annals of Neurology.
“It was often believed that there were psychological or psychiatric problems, that the problem was in that patient’s head, but our work shows that these patients have lower levels of serotonin in their blood.”
The results of the study lay the groundwork for the development of animal models that could better characterize the molecular pathways in heightened somatic awareness. Above all, Diatchenko and Khoury hope the work will pave the way for treatment options.
“The next step for us would be to see if we are able to target serotonin levels in order to alleviate these symptoms,” says.
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
Source: McGill University
Original Study: DOI: 10.1002/ana.25521
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Let’s talk about how Brain chemicals and their functions. Maintaining a balance in these brain chemicals and hormones is key to a balanced mood. Most of us are under constant stress from work, relationships, technology, sitting for 8 hours a day at work, and eating food that isn’t great for us. Living and working in an urban setting can affect our mood and sleep, so it’s all about creating the right amount of chemistry.
The brain is one of the most complex organs in our human body. So you might be wondering “How do I make my brain chemicals happy? How can I balance my brain chemicals naturally? How does nutrition affect the brain? How do I know if I have a chemical imbalance?”. If you have asked any of these questions, then it’s possible your brain is ready for a tune-up.
First, let’s consider what chemicals our brain produces and get to know the top five essential brain chemicals. You may recognise these common brain chemicals. Often, they tell us when to be alert and to relax. They can signal sleep, confidence, trust, love, reward amongst other things.
The average adult brain weighs between 1300-1400 grams and is made up of 60% fat. Training the brain and giving it a wide variety of fresh and natural food is the best way to obtain essential nutrients. Specific types of proteins, fats, minerals, vitamins and good bacteria support brain function a lot better than others. Give yourself some of the better brain foods such as Blueberries, Nuts, Seeds, Avocados, Salmon, Coconut Oil, Broccoli and Beetroots.
How do I make my brain chemicals happy? Try some of these simple brain hacks and exercises.
While it is not the easiest thing to be happy all the time, being consistently positive begins with you. Starting small with simple changes in everyday behaviours, thoughts, and emotions. Small steps can help to boost and keep your brain active and in a positive cycle.
Find out more with us on how to balance your brain chemicals. Discover natural methods and how to use supplements to lead a happier and calmer life.
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Hormones are the most powerful messengers in the body. They are chemical messengers that tell the body what to do and they can make you feel poorly or feel fantastic. Your energy, mood, weight, sleep and virtually all your body functions depend on how well you balance your hormones.
As you age so do your hormones, these levels fluctuate due to many reasons such as aging, poor gut health, high stress levels, unhealthy lifestyle choices, poor sleep, nutrient-deficiencies and environmental toxins, just to name a few.
Attempting to put synthetic hormones into your body may have a reverse effect. With an initial feel-good response, it can rapidly increase your risks of other illnesses. Instead we must allow the body to naturally make these hormones, keeping them perfectly balanced using our master hormone glands and our liver.
How do you reset your Hormone Glands when it goes off balance?
The first step is to Remove the fake hormones.
These bring confusion to the body and throws it off balance.
The second step is to Support your hormone glands.
Find necessary nutrients in real, whole and clean food.
The third step is to Guard your sleep.
The common misconception is that sleeping long is good enough. With some healthy habits in place aided with natural supplements, expect a deeper and more restful quality of sleep.
At Healthystars, we understand that it can be very difficult to juggle your hectic everyday life and keep on top of your health. Our Nutritionists sift through the jargon on how to eat well, tackle health changes and teach you how to keep it going. Contact us and let us handle the rest!
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Is getting cancer by some poor luck of the draw? Is cancer about bad genetics just because it has occurred in your family? Some expert medical opinions say that the cause of cancer is still unknown. Other expert medical opinions attribute the cause of cancer to 10% genetic, 20% environmental and 70% lifestyle.
Cancer is not an accident waiting to happen. The fact is that people from all over the world and of every ethnicity, that by most accounts is not even genetically related to you, can also suffer from cancer. It is caused by something that is common in our environment and lifestyle choices. So can you prevent cancer?
Cancer is not about you being born with bad genetics but about you making your own bad genetics. You see when cells multiply, the DNA strands will unwind to make a copy and re-zip back into new cells. The DNA strands when unwound are exposed and any damage by environmental pollutants, use of harmful products or food chemicals will result in damaged cells or cells with bad copies.
By the natural order every cell is programmed to self-destruct if they are bad cells so that the problem is eliminated. If a bad cell does not self-destruct then the next step is for the immune system to destroy the cell. So why do bad cells survive and multiply into more bad cells? This is caused by growth hormone called steroids from what we use and consume that can over ride the self-destruct program allowing the bad cells to mutate and grow into tumors. This is how you make your own bad genetics by what you use and consume everyday.
So preventing cancer is about knowing and mastering how to live clean and eat clean. If bad cells do not self-destruct then it is important, to signal the cells using nutrients to return to the original program called apoptosis. At Healthystars we teach folks to know their body’s needs and the enemies they must avoid in their lifestyle choices. The wise sage Sun Tzu said that if you know yourself and know your enemy then in a thousand battles, there would be a thousand victories.
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Belly Fat & Estrogen
That belly fat may be a telltale sign of too much female hormone estrogen. This happens especially with aging when not enough male hormone testosterone is being made and too much estrogen is being accumulated.
Why are we absorbing these Xeno-estrogens?
We absorb estrogen in various chemical forms everyday in our food, water, personal care products, use of plastics, pesticides and animal hormones. These chemicals are estrogen-like hormones that are foreign to our body and behave like bad hormones that disrupt and lower our body’s good hormones. They cause all sorts of health conditions from obesity, sleep disorders, depression, enlarged prostate, and start cancers.
We need to drink water daily so it pays to invest in a water filter to remove as much of the xenoestrogen that was leached from PVC pipes. We should aim to reduce the food, plastics and product choices that contain xenoestrogen chemicals and then remove the excess in our bodies.
Nutrients that remove Xeno-estrogens
This is done with responsible nutrition. Foods like rolled oats, chia seeds, dark coloured berries and citrus rind contain active fibres and nutrients that either block the aromatase enzyme or convert estrogen down the safe pathway through our liver.
These nutritional supplements assist in the breakdown of Xenoestrogens in our bodies:
We may not be able to completely change our living environment or eliminate every source of estrogen but we should certainly do all we can to detoxify our body and prevent estrogen from accumulating. Our body uses nutrients to heal itself.
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Why is good bacteria so important?
In Singapore, the cleanest country in the world, we spend most of our lives in a microbe-depleted environment, such as over clean-houses with limited outdoor exposure. Likely causing an overactive immune system. With our natural immune defenses low, we rely on antibiotics from a young age to cure common bacterial infections. Studies have shown that taking antibiotics medications disrupt the gut microbiome (all good & bad bacteria in your body).
Taking a good quality and multi-strain Probiotic supplement can be one of the easiest ways to top up beneficial bacteria. This ensures you have enough beneficial bacteria in your body to keep the bad bacteria at bay, especially after a round of antibiotics.
What is our Microbiome?
Having a rich, diverse microbiome as an infant is associated with lifelong health benefits. Good bacteria and yeast forms the basis of everything from immunity to nutrition and mood. To be healthy and well you must have an estimated 100 trillion microbes living in you consisting of over 500 specialized species. Most of it populate different parts of your intestines but there are other types of microbes that protect your mouth, respiratory tract, bladder and skin.
Microbes are your first line of defense against other harmful viruses, bacteria and yeast. Many microbes are specialist in pre-digesting different nutrients in your food and making important enzymes.
Warning Signs that you are low on Beneficial Bacteria:
A good probiotic supplement must have sufficient variety and a high survival rate. The shelf life of these living creatures in the capsule is extremely short.
You only earned the right to live on this planet by forming a symbiotic relationship with microbes.
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Estrogen is a group of female sexual hormones, but are also produced in men in smaller amounts. Our hormonal balance comes under threat when foreign estrogens are excessively introduced in to our bodies, creating estrogen dominance. These foreign estrogens are compounded in our bodies and are difficult to detoxify through the liver.
Estrogen dominance does not only affect women, it affects our whole family. High estrogen in men causes symptoms such as infertility, growth of breast tissue & erectile dysfunction. High estrogen in children causes puberty to arrive prematurely and raises their cancer risk from a younger age. We are all suffering from some form of estrogen dominance because there is so much of it in our environment.
Estrogen dominance equals higher risk of cancer.
This is because estrogen promotes growth hormone production and cancer can be defined as an uncontrolled growth of cells. Excess estrogen can be linked to excess growth within our body, leading to cysts, fibroids, polyps, nodules, thickening of walls … essentially uncontrolled mass of cell growth leading towards tumours.
Remember, CANCER is the #1 killer in the land. Cancer is not some elusive bogeyman that strikes randomly. Cancer is not an accident waiting to happen. You are the sum of all the choices that you make daily. Educate yourself and know that what you consume or use daily matters.
What are Xenoestrogens, and where can we find them?
They are in the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat. Xeno literally means foreign, so xenoestrogens equals foreign estrogens. They mimic the hormones in our bodies and wreak havoc with our hormonal balance.
Here are a few sources of xenoestrogens that we should eliminate:
Estrogen dominance can be reduced with the right nutrition, a healthy functioning liver and by reducing exposure to environment estrogens. It is important to take a holistic approach to hormone balance and promote the detoxification of these foreign estrogens.
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Lots of folks have poor sleep quality which shows up on their ESG scan. Poor quality of sleep can undermine your health in more ways than you can imagine.
Yesterday I met a young man with severe digestive problems after returning from overseas. His doctor even suspect a possible infection by the bacteria called H.Pylori which can cause peptic ulcers and stomach cancer. Yes, the stomach issues must be address properly but it is equally important to determine the underlying causes. Poor sleep quality leads to neck-shoulder muscle stiffness. Now the heart needs to work harder to push blood up to the brain resulting in energy being stolen from the digestive tract causing poor digestion, gaseous reflux and vulnerability to nasty bacteria from unhygienic foods.
Your eyes are close, but its easy to wake you up. Or you often wake up after a long rest and still feel tired all day? These are all signs of poor sleep quality. As you get older, you sleep more lightly and get less deep sleep. Aging contributes to poor sleep quality, but it is possible to enhance your sleep quality with the right lifestyle and nutrition elements.
What is REM Sleep?
Good quality sleep means sleeping at the correct time and for the correct duration, where not just your body sleeps but your mind also enters into a deep state of rest called REM sleep. You will awaken feeling fully rested with your shoulder muscles relaxed and your mind is at its best throughout the day.
To achieve good quality sleep, you need specific nutrients daily from your food or by way of supplementation to make Serotonin and to convert it later to Melatonin. You need some sunlight in the day and preferably yellow light at night. It is important to avoid chemical hormone disruptors, too much caffeine and electromagnetic frequencies (EMF).
Always guard your sleep jealously.
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Anyone who is diagnosed with an autoimmune condition is told that it is incurable and that they have to manage this disease for the rest of their life. The Top-10 critical illnesses such as diabetes, strokes, cancers, asthma … are autoimmune. There are scores of less life threatening diseases such as obesity, skin allergies, food allergies, joint pains and many more that are all autoimmune. They reduce our quality of life, cause chronic fatigue, mood problems, pain, stress, suffering and impose many limitations to our daily life.
Why is this happening to me?
Autoimmunity has gone up 300 percent in the last fifty years. And it’s not because we are getting better at diagnosing it. With the prevalent use of antibiotics, increased consumption of processed foods and GMOs, along with beauty & skin products filled with chemicals. The environmental factors have increased in quantity and intensity, and they are hitting us sooner in life.
With intensive farming practices and love of processed food, the average person has a wider nutrient gap. Also, if you have leaky gut issues, you might not be absorbing nutrients that your body is consuming. But even if we are eating a good, organic diet, we still aren’t getting all the nutrients we need, or as many as our parents and previous generations got from their food because the soil quality today is much poorer, less nutrient-rich. This is why a good quality multivitamin is so important.
Is it genetic?
Autoimmune disease including the “rare” ones afflicts people of all ethnicity all over the world. Lets face it! You are not that special and the only thing that is common between you and all those people are many synthetic chemicals found in the what you consume and products you use.
Why are autoimmune diseases becoming so common?
We live in a highly connected world today. From east to west, from industrial scale farms to the small rural farmers, food is being produced with seeds, pesticides, steroids, synthetic hormone, storage methods, etc. This is supplied by corporations with the promise of higher yields, pest resistance, drought resistance, longer shelf life and of course greater profitability. How do we argue with that? But no matter how minute or “harmless” these substances may be, it will find its way into our body, into our cells and accumulate over time.
What preventative steps can you take to protect yourself?
We need to breathe, drink water, eat food and use products daily. We do not always have the luxury of changing our environment. The body stores these toxins. Vitamins, minerals and amino acids are the fuel for the body to detoxify itself, and protect us from disease-causing toxins. These resources, among others, are also used daily to maintain the health of our digestion, brain chemistry, hormones, etc. So if they are insufficient and are all used up then this nutrient deficiency will lead to other health problems. Your body’s cells and your immune system will go to war with itself. This is a fight you do not want to win because autoimmune is like a civil war, where the 'bad' cells attack your immune system.
We must reduce, make better choices daily and choose not to turn our body into a toxic dumping ground.
Let's eat cleaner, live cleaner and be always nutrient sufficient.
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Traditional Soya sauce made the old fashioned way, through a careful fermentation process, takes up to 18 months.
Instead, the Commercial Soya sauce consumed in most restaurants and sold in supermarkets are produced in just 12 hours. It contains high amounts of salt & toxic chemicals that are linked to Cancer, DNA damage & a whole host of other chronic conditions.
Tips to Keep MSG Out of your Diet!
You can guarantee that processed food will contain MSG or one of its pseudo-ingredients. Therefore, stick to whole, fresh foods diet to avoid this toxin.
When dining at restaurants (and even Coffee-shops), ask your server which foods are MSG-free and request that no MSG be added in to your meal. When shopping at the grocery store, be aware of the many hidden names of MSG.
Choosing to be MSG-free is not easy, but knowing your family is free from toxic additives is well worth it.