Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Is type 1 diabetes Reversible?

Could Type 1 Diabetes Be Reversible After All?
on JULY 11, 2017 by CHRIS KRESSER 42 comments
Type 1 diabetes is characterized by the loss of insulin-producing ­ŁŤŻ cells in the pancreas and has largely been thought to be irreversible—until now. Newly published research suggests that there might be a cure for type 1 diabetes after all. Read on to get all the details.

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While type 2 diabetes is known to be reversible with diet and lifestyle changes, type 1 diabetes has long been thought to be a permanent condition that requires lifelong insulin dependence. Excitingly, a new study published just last month (1) suggests that a “fasting mimicking diet” could effectively reverse the pathology of type 1 diabetes in mice. While the potential for translating these findings to humans is still unclear, this is such a pivotal study that I wanted to take the time to unpack it piece by piece. First though, a bit of background to set the stage.
What is a fasting mimicking diet, anyway?
We know that water-only fasting provides many health benefits, including reduced blood glucose, regeneration of the immune system, and cellular maintenance (2). But prolonged fasting is difficult for most people and can cause adverse effects on physical and mental health due to its extreme nature. Researchers have therefore been attempting to design diets that mimic the physiological benefits of prolonged fasting without the burden of complete food restriction.

Fasting mimicking diet may reverse type 1 diabetes
This type of diet is called a fasting mimicking diet (FMD). It is a very-low-calorie, low-protein, high-fat diet that causes changes in glucose, ketone bodies, and specific growth factors similar to those seen during prolonged water-only fasting. The FMD is characterized by cycles of caloric restriction and refeeding. For example, in mouse models of FMD, researchers restrict the amount of food the mouse has access to for four days, followed by three days of unrestricted feeding every week. In humans, one FMD cycle consists of five days of restriction, and eating resumes as usual for the rest of the month. This is typically repeated for three months (3).
Soon, we’ll jump into the results of the study to look at the intriguing effects of an FMD. But first, let’s briefly review what happens to the body in type 1 diabetes.
Pancreatic anatomy and type 1 diabetes
The pancreas contains regions called islets, which are dense clusters of cells that are responsible for secreting hormones. The two main types of endocrine cells are insulin-producing ╬▓ cells and glucagon-producing ╬▒ cells. Pancreatic ╬▓ cells are among the most sensitive cells to nutrient status. When you eat a meal, they release insulin, which helps to shuttle glucose from the bloodstream into cells to be used for energy production. Between meals, glucagon helps to maintain a minimum level of glucose in circulation.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition in which the body’s own immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing ╬▓ cells of the pancreas. It is widely accepted that ╬▓ cells in the adult pancreas replicate at an extremely low rate (4, 5), and that new ╬▓ cell formation occurs very rarely (6). The ╬▓ cell depletion and resulting loss of insulin secretion characteristic of type 1 diabetes is therefore thought to be irreversible.
Exciting developments in stem cell therapy may have potential for treating type 1 diabetes, but this invasive procedure would require complete removal of the dysfunctional pancreas, stem cell transplant, and activation of a complex genetic program to generate a new one. Enter the fasting mimicking diet.
The results are in: FMD reverses type 1 diabetes in mice
I know this is the part you’re all waiting for, so let’s get right to it. The researchers used a mouse model of type 1 diabetes, in which scientists use high doses of the drug streptozotocin (STZ) to cause depletion of ╬▓ cells (7). Just five days of treatment with STZ was enough to elevate blood glucose, at which point the researchers started half of the mice on their first FMD cycle. The other half of the mice were left to eat unrestricted.
FMD restores insulin-dependent glucose control
In STZ-treated mice eating as much chow as they pleased, blood glucose levels continued to skyrocket. In contrast, mice receiving regular FMD cycles had blood glucose and insulin levels that returned to nearly normal levels by around day 50. Furthermore, glucose tolerance tests at this time point confirmed that FMD cycles in mice improved the ability to clear excess glucose from the blood.
FMD improves the cytokine profile
They decided to measure other substances in the blood as well. Analyzing immune signaling molecules called cytokines can tell us a lot about how the immune system is interfacing with the rest of the body. In this study, they found that mice on regular FMD cycles had reduced cytokines associated with inflammation and ╬▓ cell damage (TNF╬▒, IL-12) and increased levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines associated with ╬▓ cell regeneration (IL-2, IL-10).
FMD triggers the regeneration of pancreatic beta cells
All this is great, but what the researchers really wanted to know was if the improvement in blood glucose control and changes in cytokines was mirrored by functional changes in the pancreas. Using cell staining techniques, they found that STZ treatment resulted in a dramatic (85 percent) decrease in the number of insulin-secreting ╬▓ cells and an increase of non-hormone-producing cells. But with just a few FMD cycles of caloric restriction and refeeding, many of these non-╬▒/╬▓ cells redifferentiated into functional insulin-secreting ╬▓ cells (1)!
Turning back time: reawakening embryonic genes
How was the FMD doing this? The researchers were curious too and wondered if epigenetics were responsible. They ground up some of the pancreatic tissue from the mice and used RNA sequencing to determine which genes were being expressed. They found that the FMD is able to turn back the clock, promoting a gene expression profile in adult mice that is usually only observed during embryonic and fetal development. This is quite an astonishing finding.
I’ve covered epigenetics before—the idea that expression of certain genes can be turned on or off, depending on what stimuli are present. Essentially, the genetic blueprint for building a pancreas is present in every single cell in the body, from the womb through adulthood, as is the blueprint for every organ and structure of your body. But this genetic blueprint only gets turned on at certain times and in certain cells, when the proper signals are present.
For example, in normal mouse development, pancreatic progenitor cells express the proteins Sox17 and Pdx1 around embryonic day 8.5. Some of these pancreatic progenitors are converted into endocrine precursor cells, which then express the protein Ngn3 from embryonic day 11.5 to 18. These Ngn3-expressing precursors ultimately give rise to all of the islet endocrine cells. These proteins are usually not expressed at all once a mouse reaches adulthood.
However, the results of this study suggest that an FMD can induce expression of these embryonic development and ╬▓ cell reprogramming markers. When the researchers performed the experiments again but intentionally destroyed the Ngn3 cell lineage, they found that FMD-induced ╬▓ cell regeneration did not occur. This suggests that epigenetic reprogramming is responsible for the improved glucose tolerance and islet regeneration (1).
Beyond mice: regeneration in the human pancreas
Okay, so FMD reverses type 1 diabetes in mice. But what about humans? Unfortunately, it’s pretty hard to measure the regeneration of a pancreas in living humans, since we can’t collect human tissue like we can mouse tissue. So instead, the researchers performed ex vivo (outside the body) experiments on cultured human pancreatic islets from both healthy people and type 1 diabetics.
Ingeniously, they separately enrolled five human subjects in an FMD lasting five days and took blood samples at baseline and at day five of the FMD. The post-FMD blood serum samples had higher levels of growth factors and ketone bodies and lower levels of glucose, as expected. The researchers then took the cultured pancreatic islets and bathed them in the collected samples. In both healthy islets and type 1 diabetic islets exposed to the FMD-treated serum, there was a trend toward glucose-dependent induction of embryonic genes Sox2 and Ngn3.
They then tried applying commercially available “fasting mimicking” culture mediums that were low in glucose and serum to the cultured islets. When supplied with just this small amount of glucose, insulin secretion was stimulated in both healthy and diabetic islets. There were also major changes in ╬▓ cell reprogramming markers (1).
Were we meant to eat three times a day?
I’ve written before about the mismatch hypothesis—the idea that our genes have not caught up to our modern lifestyle. Our hunter–gatherer ancestors probably had periodic variation of food scarcity and hunting success and likely rarely ate three times a day. The ability of animals to deal with food deprivation is an adaptive response that is conserved across species. In times of scarcity, a mild atrophy of tissues and organs minimizes energy expenditure. Upon refeeding, the body can build these tissues back up to their normal volume (8).
This raises a few interesting questions: is expression of these “embryonic” genes in adulthood really abnormal? Or is it possible that we are meant to have transient expression of these “embryonic” genes periodically throughout our lifetime?  Could our constantly fed state in most of the Western world be the true “abnormal” gene expression pattern? I certainly hope to see more research in this area, especially in humans.
Answers to your burning questions

What’s the takeaway? In a mouse model of Type 1 diabetes, a fasting mimicking diet causes a short-term reduction in ╬▓ cell number, which returns to normal levels after refeeding. This occurs through lineage reprogramming and ╬▓ cell regeneration, effectively restoring insulin production! Similar changes were seen in a cultured human pancreas, but more research is necessary to confirm that ╬▓ cell regeneration also occurs in living humans.
What about type 2 diabetes? Since I’ve written before about reversing type 2 diabetes with diet, I decided to focus this article on type 1 diabetes. But the research I unpacked in this article was actually only half of the findings from this influential study. The other half of the experiments used a type 2 diabetes mouse model and showed that FMD was also able to rescue mice from late-stage type 2 diabetes. ╬▓ cell number and insulin secretion were restored after six to eight cycles of FMD and refeeding (1).
Where can I try an FMD? The FMD, as studied in clinical trials, is currently available from Prolon as a specific package of prepared foods and micronutrients. It is intended to be administered under a doctor’s supervision. It’s very likely that a “homemade” version with a similar number of calories and similar composition of carbohydrate, fat, and protein would have the same effects, but this hasn’t yet been studied in a clinical trial. As I’ve written before, fasting is not right for everyone, so please consult with a healthcare practitioner before trying this at home.
Is it really as simple as an FMD? Maybe, but probably not. If in fact this research translates to humans, an FMD may regenerate your pancreas and restore insulin production in the short term, but it’s not going to stop your immune system from destroying it again. You would still need to address the root cause of disease, which is most likely an underlying food intolerance producing antibodies that are cross-reacting with islet cells. I would surmise that an FMD combined with the Paleo autoimmune protocol might just do the trick, but this remains to be tested.
Where can I dive deeper into the scientific research? Head over to the Kresser Institute blog, where I take an even closer look at the latest medical research. Be sure to check out my recent blog post on the benefits of FMDs for cancer, aging, metabolic disease, cognitive health, and more.
We certainly don’t have all the answers yet. Stay tuned for more discussion on my blog about the benefits of fasting mimicking diets and how to apply them in your life. This is certainly a fascinating topic and one that I’ll continue to cover in future blogs and podcasts as we learn more.

Now I’d like to hear from you. Do you or someone you know have type 1 diabetes? Does this research surprise you? Would you want to try an FMD? Let us know in the comments!

Ear Wax

Your Earwax Can Give You Important Clues about Your Health



For the most part, we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the inside of our ears, apart from a very general “are they clean?”. Perhaps we should be giving them more thought because the color of our earwax can say a lot about our general health, and it can give us valuable clues when something is wrong.
The Role of Ear Wax in the Body
Earwax is often viewed as a gross and annoying nuisance, but it is actually a very crucial part of our natural defense system. Ear wax is formed from wax glands in the external ear canal and it protects the skin and ear from water and infection[1].
Everyone differs in the amount of ear wax that they have, and the consistency. Ear wax can be wet, or dry, and too much or too little can be quite dangerous, increasing the risk of infection[1]. So, you really want to have just the right amount.










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What is the Right Amount of Ear Wax?
Every individual is different in terms of how much ear wax is the right amount, and the only way to truly know if the amount of earwax in your ears is normal is if you have a doctor analyze it.
If you’re experiencing the following symptoms you may have a buildup of earwax, and you should consult a doctor:
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-Earache, fullness in the ear or a ‘plugged’ feeling
-Partial hearing loss
-Tinnitus, ringing, or noises in the ear
-Itching, odor, or discharge
-Coughing[4]
What Your Earwax Says About Your Health
Color
The color of each person’s ear wax can vary, but there are some colors that are natural, and others that indicate a serious health problem.
“Normal earwax ranges from light orange to dark brown, but if it’s yellow, green, white, or black, that suggests an infection and you need to see a doctor[3],” says Benjamin Tweel, MD, an otolaryngologist at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
Odd Smell
Your ear wax should never have an odor. If it does, this could be a sign of an infection.
“In my experience, it’s the patient who notices a smell, but it’s very possible other people might bring it up as well,” says Tweel. “Regardless, it needs to be treated.”[3]
Flakiness


If your ear wax is dry and flaky you could have another skin problem that is prevalent, such as eczema. This consistency, accompanied by soreness could also be psoriasis, though it’s less common.
“Patients usually already know they have this because they’ll see rashes elsewhere, but it’s definitely worth bringing up,” says Tweel, “it’s pretty easily treated”[3].
Itchy Ears
Scratching your ear every once in awhile doesn’t mean that there’s a problem with your ear, but if you are constantly itching and scratching there is a chance you could have an infection.
Earwax Removal: Do It the Right Way
Ear wax isn’t bad, it keeps your ears dry and prevents infection, but you do want to keep it from blocking your ears. Ideally, the ears will never have to be cleaned, but this is not always the case. If you are experiencing symptoms that are interfering with your day-to-day life, consult a doctor or clean your ears safely using proper methods.










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First things first, when it comes to earwax removal, do not use cotton-tipped applicators (such as Q-tips) because you risk breaking your eardrum. It’s also possible to jam ear wax even deeper into the ear shaft. These applicators may also increase the risk of bacterial infection in the external ear canal[1].
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Instead, visit your doctor on a regular basis to have them clean out your ears, or try this safe ear cleaning method at home:
  1. Soften the wax – Use an eyedropper to apply a few drops of natural baby oil or glycerin in your ear canal.
  2. Use warm water – After a day or two, when the wax has softened, use a rubber-bulb syringe to gently squirt warm water into your ear canal. Tilt your head to straighten the ear canal and allow the water to enter the ear, and when you are finished irrigating tip your head to the side and let the water drain out.
  3. Dry your ear canal – When you’re finished, gently dry your outer ear with a clean towel[2].
Do not have your ears irrigated if you have diabetes, a hole in the eardrum (perforation), tube in the eardrum, skin problems such as eczema in the ear canal or a weakened immune system[4].
For something that’s thought about so infrequently throughout the day, earwax can give us some important clues as to our general health and well-being. Taking good care of our ears will ensure that our hearing remains top-notch throughout our lives. Something as simple as changing the way that you clean your ears can have a big impact on your health. 

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Healthy Holistic Living brings you alternative health news from all over the web. These articles are sourced and shared with permission so you get all the news that's fit to keep you in good physical and mental health. Stay happy, stay hungry, and stay on Healthy Holistic Living.
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11/28/2017 -- West Pacific hit by multiple volcanic eruptions at once --...

Against tooth decay a chinese herb

Chinese Herb Shows Promise Against Tooth Decay

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Story at-a-glance
  • Water extract of the Chinese herb Galla chinensis has potent anticaries effects, effectively inhibiting acid production caused by caries-associated bacteria and increasing teeth’s resistance to acid
  • The health of your teeth is largely dependent on your diet, which affects not only your gut microbiome but also your oral microbiome. Like your bones, your teeth need certain nutrients to remain strong and healthy
  • Omega-3 fats may help ward off gum disease. People who consumed the highest levels of the animal-based omega-3 fats were 23 percent to 30 percent less likely to have gum disease
  • Research shows topical fluoride is unlikely to provide any significant protection against cavities. Other studies show fluoride is a neurotoxic endocrine disruptor that does more harm than good
  • Coconut oil is a natural antibacterial alternative that can significantly improve your oral health. Oil pulling with coconut oil has been shown to significantly reduce plaque formation and gum disease with consistent use
By Dr. Mercola
Your dental health is an important component of your physical health. While often ignored or overlooked, dental issues such as cavities and root canals can have a significant systemic influence, and the state of your soft tissues and teeth often offer a clear reflection of what's going on in the rest of your body.
Tooth decay is often misconstrued as a “fluoride insufficiency,” but nothing could be further from the truth. The health of your teeth is largely dependent on your diet, which affects not only your gut microbiome but also your oral microbiome. Like your bones, your teeth also need certain nutrients to remain strong and healthy.
Interestingly, Chinese researchers recently discovered that water extract of the herb Galla chinensis has potent anticaries effects, effectively inhibiting acid production caused by caries-associated bacteria and increasing teeth’s resistance to acid.1,2
The Anticaries Activity of Galla Chinensis
Galla Chinensis3 (Wu Bei Zi, also known as Chinese gall or Chinese sumac) — one of hundreds of Chinese herbs tested by this research team — was found to have “strong potential to prevent dental caries due to its antibacterial capacity and tooth mineralization benefit.”4 The herb also has antiviral, anticancer, hepatoprotective, antidiarrheal and antioxidant activities. 
According to the authors, “Galla chinensis water extract has been demonstrated to inhibit dental caries by favorably shifting the demineralization/remineralization balance of enamel and inhibiting the biomass and acid formation of dental biofilm.” Unfortunately, it’s still far too early to start using the herb in dental applications, because the researchers have yet to identify the active ingredient responsible for these anticaries activities. As reported by ScienceBlog:5
“In the present study, several Galla chinensis extracts with different main ingredients were obtained and determined by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis. The antibacterial capacity was determined using the polymicrobial biofilms model, which can generate reproducible plaque-like biofilms that occur in vivo.
The effect of inhibiting tooth demineralization was tested using an in vitro pH-cycling regime, which mimicked the periodic pH change in mouth. ‘Medium molecular weight gallotannins are the most active constituent in terms of caries prevention’ concluded Xuelian Huang, Ph.D., DDS, the lead author.”
Dietary Guidelines for Strong, Healthy Teeth
While Galla chinensis may someday be added to dental products as an aid against tooth decay, your best answer is already at hand. If you want to have healthy teeth, you must start from the inside out, and that means cleaning up your diet.
Much of the dietary advice for oral health is founded on the findings of the late Dr. Weston A. Price,6 a Cleveland dentist who sought to determine what makes for good dental health by studying indigenous tribes who, he said, had “fine teeth” and few chronic health problems. While studying the oral health and diets of various native tribes, he noticed distinct similarities:
  • The foods were natural, unprocessed and organic (and contained no sugar except for the occasional bit of honey or maple syrup) 
  • The people ate foods that grew in their native environment. In other words, they ate locally grown, seasonal foods 
  • Many of the cultures ate unpasteurized dairy products, and all of them ate fermented foods 
  • A significant portion of the food was eaten raw 
  • All of the cultures ate animal products, including animal fat, full-fat butter and organ meats 
When Price analyzed his findings, he found the native diets contained 10 times the amount of fat-soluble vitamins, and at least four times the amount of calcium, other minerals and water-soluble vitamins as that of Western diets at that time. Their diets were also rich in enzymes because they ate fermented and raw foods (enzymes help you to digest cooked foods).
Importantly, the native diets also had at least 10 times more omega-3 fat than modern diets and far less omega-6 fats. Today, there’s ample evidence showing diets lacking in omega-3 fats while being heavy on omega-6s from vegetable oils (now found in most processed foods), are a recipe for disaster.
Modern research supports Price’s early observations, showing that even moderate amounts of omega-3 fats may help ward off gum disease. In one study,7 researchers divided nearly 9,200 adults into three groups based on their omega-3 consumption. Dental exams showed those in the middle and upper third for consumption of the omega-3 fats DHA and EPA were 23 percent to 30 percent less likely to have gum disease.
What About Fluoride?
While fluoride is commonly touted as the best prophylactic and answer to caries-prone teeth, the evidence to support these claims is flimsy at best. Dental caries is caused by demineralization of your teeth (enamel and dentin) by the acids formed during the bacterial fermentation of dietary sugars. Demineralization is countered by the deposit of minerals from your saliva, or remineralization, which is a slow process, and fluoride is said to prevent dental caries by enhancing this mineralization.
Alas, your teeth do not actually rely on fluoride for remineralization. In fact, fluoride serves no beneficial biological role in the human body at all. It does, however, cause harm. For example, evidence shows fluoride is an endocrine disruptor that can affect your bones, brain, thyroid gland, pineal gland and even your blood sugar levels. Importantly, it’s a known neurotoxin, shown to lower IQ in children.
Research8 has also concluded that the protective shield fluoride forms on teeth is up to 100 times thinner than previously believed. It has long been believed that fluoride changes the main mineral in tooth enamel, hydroxyapatite, into a more decay-resistant material called fluorapatite. However, the researchers found that the fluorapatite layer formed in this way is only 6 nanometers thick — meaning it would take almost 10,000 such layers to span the width of a human hair.
As noted by the authors, “ … [I]t has to be asked whether such narrow … layers really can act as protective layers for the enamel.” Considering the systemic toxicity of fluoride and its questionable effectiveness as an anticaries aid, I personally see no reason to use it. There are far safer and more effective ways to protect your teeth from cavities.
Poor Diet Is the Primary Cause of Dental Decay
By far, excess dietary sugar is the most significant factor in driving dental decay. Other primary causes of tooth decay cited in the medical literature include:
  • Children going to bed with a bottle of sweetened drink in their mouth, or sucking at will from such a bottle during the day 
  • Poor dental hygiene and poor access to and use of dental health services, usually related to socioeconomic status 
  • Mineral deficiencies, like magnesium, which can weaken bones and teeth9
  • Vitamin K2 is crucial for bone mineralization and unless you consume grass fed organic animal products and nonpasteurized fermented foods on a regular basis, there is a good chance you might be deficient in this important nutrient
  • More than 600 medications promote tooth decay by inhibiting saliva
Research10 published in 2014 shows there is a robust log-linear relationship of dental caries to sugar intakes, meaning your risk of cavities increases the more sugar you eat — and this was found to be true despite regular use of fluoridated water and/or fluoridated toothpaste. According to this study, to minimize your risk of cavities, sugar should make up no more than 3 percent of your total energy intake (with 5 percent noted as a “pragmatic” or more realistic goal).
In an interview with Medical Research, Aubrey Sheiham, Professor Emeritus of dental public health, University College London, explained that current approaches are really missing the boat when it comes to preventing cavities:11
“Current approaches to controlling dental caries are failing to prevent high levels of caries in adults in all countries and this relates to the current high level of sugar intake across the globe.
Thus, for multiple reasons, including obesity and diabetes prevention, we need to adopt a new and radical policy of progressive sugar reduction. The progressive accumulation of dental caries, despite widespread use of fluoride, shows that sugars intakes should be <3 a="" and="" caries="" cost="" dental="" disability="" i="" in="" minimize="" of="" percent="" population.="" the="" to="">
Foods That Fight Bad Breath
Certain dietary choices can also contribute to or prevent a common side effect of poor oral health, namely bad breath (halitosis), caused by oral bacteria that produce foul-smelling sulfur compounds during protein breakdown. Clearly, if you struggle with bad breath, you need to address your overall diet and/or daily oral hygiene. That said, the following foods may also help fight bad breath:12
  • Cinnamon, thanks to the presence of antimicrobial cinnamic aldehyde, which helps prevent odor-causing bacteria
  • Water. Dry mouth promotes microbial growth that can lead to bad breath. Making sure you’re well-hydrated by drinking more water can help stimulate saliva production
  • Strawberries. Their high water content and vitamin C help deter odor-causing bacteria
  • Green tea contains antioxidants that help deter and destroy odor-causing bacteria
  • Parsley, apple and spinach — all three of which contain polyphenols that help break down foul-smelling sulfur compounds
Coconut Oil Is Excellent for Oral Health
Coconut oil is a powerful inhibitor of a large variety of pathogenic organisms, from viruses to bacteria to protozoa, largely due to its naturally high lauric acid content. Your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, a monoglyceride that can destroy lipid-coated viruses — including herpes, influenza and measles — as well as gram-negative bacteria and protozoa.
Researchers in Ireland found that coconut oil treated with enzymes (in a process similar to digestion) strongly inhibits the growth of most Streptococcus bacteria strains; microbes commonly found in your mouth can lead to plaque buildup, cavities and gum disease. This included Streptococcus mutans, the acid-producing bacterium identified as a major cause of tooth decay.13
While the product used in this study was a special enzyme-treated formulation, natural organic coconut oil can have similarly beneficial effects. Not only can you create your own toothpaste from coconut oil, baking soda and natural, unprocessed salt, you can also use coconut oil for oil pulling.
Oil Pulling Explained
Oil pulling14 is a practice dating back thousands of years, having its origins in Ayurvedic medicine. Basically, it involves rinsing your mouth with coconut oil, much like you would with a mouthwash. The oil is worked around your mouth by pushing, pulling and drawing it through your teeth for a period of 15 minutes. In the beginning, your cheeks and jaw may tire after just a few minutes, so you may need to work your way up to 15, but it’s well worth the effort.
This process allows the oil to “pull out” bacteria, viruses, fungi and other debris from between your teeth and gums. When done, spit out the oil in the toilet or outdoors to avoid clogging your sink, and rinse your mouth with water. Do not swallow the oil.
When done correctly, oil pulling has a significant cleansing, detoxifying and healing effect, not only for your mouth and sinuses but for the rest of your body as well. Anecdotally, oil pullers have reported relief from systemic health problems such as arthritis, diabetes and even heart disease.
Scientifically, oil pulling has been shown to significantly reduce plaque formation and gingivitis (gum disease) with consistent use.15,16,17 According to Bruce Fife, naturopathic physician and expert in the healing effects of coconut, the cleansing effect of oil pulling can be understood with the following analogy:18
“It acts much like the oil you put in your car engine. The oil picks up dirt and grime. When you drain the oil, it pulls out the dirt and grime with it, leaving the engine relatively clean. Consequently, the engine runs smoother and lasts longer. Likewise, when we expel harmful substances from our bodies our health is improved and we run smoother and last longer.”
On a side note, Manuka honey from New Zealand, which is well-known for its potent medicinal properties, has also been shown to be effective in reducing plaque.19 Researchers found Manuka honey worked as well as chemical mouthwash, and better than the cavity fighting sugar alcohol, xylitol. This is most likely due to the honey’s antibacterial properties. Clinical trials have shown that Manuka honey can effectively eradicate more than 250 clinical strains of bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant varieties.
Take Control of Your Oral Health


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Proper dental hygiene is important for optimal health, as discussed by Dr. Bill Osmunson in the interview above. When it comes to preventing cavities, drinking fluoridated water and brushing your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste are not the answer you’re looking for. The key is your diet, along with daily dental health care in the form of tooth brushing and flossing.
You can learn more about proper brushing and flossing techniques by following the hyperlinks provided. Practicing twice daily brushing and flossing, along with regular cleanings by your biological dentist and hygienist, will ensure that your teeth and gums are as healthy as they can be.
You may also try oil pulling to enhance your dental hygiene routine. Importantly, by avoiding sugars and processed foods and replacing them with fresh whole foods, healthy fats and fermented foods, you prevent the proliferation of the bacteria that cause tooth decay in the first place. To recap, here are some basic guidelines for optimizing your dental health, safely and naturally:

  • Avoid fluoridated water and fluoridated toothpaste
  • Minimize your sugar and grain consumption and avoid processed foods. To really minimize your risk of cavities, limit dietary sugars to 3 percent of your total energy intake or less
  • Increase consumption of fresh vegetables, fermented foods and high-quality animal-based omega-3 fats 
  • Practice good daily oral hygiene and get regular cleanings from a mercury-free dentist 
  • Consider oil pulling with coconut oil, which is a powerful inhibitor of a large variety of pathogenic organisms

Monday, November 27, 2017

6 Grapefruit Seed Extract Benefits You Won’t Believe


When you eat a grapefruit, what do you do with the seeds? I’m guessing you spit them out or remove them from the start. What if I told you that those grapefruit seeds, particularly in grapefruit seed extract (GSE) form, actually might hold a wealth of health benefits.
This makes sense, considering grapefruit benefits include weight loss, cellulite reduction and immune system enhancement. Grapefruit seed extract actually has a different set of benefits almost entirely, but some of them do overlap with the incredible abilities of grapefruit essential oil. Practitioners of alternative medicine say grapefruit seed extract possesses antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties and recommended its use for the treatment of candidiasis, earaches, throat infections and diarrhea.
Grapefruit seed extract, especially when used internally, can be somewhat of a controversial supplement due to a lack of human studies as well as evidence of adulteration of grapefruit seed extract. The main controversy stems from study findings that some commercially produced grapefruit seed extracts contain harmful ingredients like benzethonium chloride and triclosan. (1)
Without a doubt, if you’re going to use a grapefruit seed extract product, you should always read ingredients lists carefully and make sure that you buy from a reputable company. While brands might differ when it comes to quality, scientific research shows that pure grapefruit seed extract can kill all kinds of infectious microbes and even helps combat common health issues like candida and athlete’s foot. So are the seeds of a grapefruit actually good for you? Let’s discuss why this citrus fruit’s seedlings might be worthy of attention to your life as an internal, external and household natural remedy.

6 Grapefruit Seed Extract Benefits 
1. Fights Candida
Grapefruit seed extract is on my candida diet treatment plan for very good reason. Candidiasis, commonly referred to as “candida,” is a fungal infection that can affect men and women of all ages in various parts of the body. It most commonly occurs in the mouth, ears, nose, toenails, fingernails, gastrointestinal tract and vagina.
A Polish study published in 2001 found that a 33 percent grapefruit extract has a potent antifungal effect against Candida albicans strains taken from patients with candida symptoms. (2) GSE’s antifungal properties help it combat candida infestations by killing the yeast cells that have taken over in the body.
2. Kills Antibiotic-Resistant UTIs
A noteworthy case study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2005 found that grapefruit seeds were highly effective in killing antibiotic-resistant urinary tract infections. The study looked at several patients who were treated with grapefruit seeds (Citrus paradisi) orally for two weeks. The dosage was five to six grapefruit seeds every eight hours.
Within those two weeks, all patients responded satisfactorily to the treatment minus one. However, this patient initially had the bacterial UTI resistant to three different antibiotics, but after taking grapefruit seed there was a reversal of the antibiotic resistance pattern. Although a small human study, the data points toward the antibacterial ability of dried or fresh grapefruit seeds being comparable to proven antibacterial drugs, making it an effective home remedy for UTIs. (3)











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3. Remedies Fungal Infections
Histoplasmosis is a fungal infection sometimes mistaken for tuberculosis that’s caused by Histoplasma capsulatum or H. capsulatum, a fungus often found in bird and bat droppings. Histoplasmosis is most commonly transmitted when spores become airborne (often during cleanup or demolition projects) or from dirt contaminated with the droppings. The majority of people who acquire histoplasmosis are symptomless and never even know they’re infected, but some people may develop flu-like symptoms that last around 10 days.
For people with weak immune systems, chronic diseases or for infants, histoplasmosis can be serious. About 500,000 people are exposed to H. capsulatum each year in the U.S.
A recommended alternative treatment for this fungal infection is grapefruit seed extract at a dosage of 100 milligrams (capsule) or five to 10 drops in water three times daily. It’s recommended for its antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. Since GSE likely helps make the immune system stronger, it can help provide symptom release for fungal infections like histoplasmosis.
4. Relieves Athlete’s Foot and Nail Fungus
Athlete’s foot is a skin disease that usually occurs between the toes and is caused by a fungus. As a natural treatment for athlete’s foot, you can try applying full-strength grapefruit seed extract to the problem areas two to three times per day. (4) It shouldn’t take too long to have the itching, burning and general unpleasantness of athlete’s foot under control.
You can also use GSE as an alternative to tea tree oil to treat toenail fungus. Simply paint the extract on the infected nails twice a day until you see improvement.
5. Treats Digestive Disturbances Associated with Eczema
Eczema is a common skin disorder that often has links to food choices and digestive issues. One preliminary human trial investigated the effectiveness of grapefruit seed extract on atopic eczema patients who also had intestinal dysbiosis, a microbial imbalance or maladaptation in the digestive tract. All patients showed severe atopic eczema, including bleeding lesions over the face, limbs and trunk, while 14 of 25 also had intermittent diarrhea, constipation, flatulence, intestinal rushes, bloating and abdominal discomfort.
Subjects received either two drops of a 0.5 percent liquid concentrate of grapefruit seed extract twice a day or 150 milligrams of encapsulated grapefruit seed extract (ParaMicrocidin®) three times a day. After a month, all of the subjects taking capsules experienced significant improvements in constipation, flatulence and abdominal discomfort, as well as night rest, while 20 percent of the subjects taking the liquid experienced significant improvements in their negative digestive symptoms. The extract was mostly effective against Candida, Geotrichum sp. and hemolytic E. coli. There were zero side effects during the entire study. (5)
6. Works as a General Antimicrobial
Grapefruit seed extract benefits can be experienced when it’s taken by mouth for bacterial, viral and fungal infections, including yeast infections. (6) But there are also many grapefruit seed uses that don’t involve ingesting the extract. Due to its antimicrobial activities, grapefruit seed extract is commonly included in many throat sprays, nasal sprays, ear drops, mouth washes, toothpastes, shower gels, wound disinfectant sprays and other personal care products. Instead of using unnatural and synthetic preservatives, many natural companies turn to grapefruit seed extract for its ability to preserve a product by killing unwanted bacteria.
Other antimicrobial uses of grapefruit seed extract include:
  • In laundry — to kill fungi and bacteria, add 10 to 15 drops to the final rinse
  • In carpet cleaners — to kill pathogenic organisms
  • Sterilizing and disinfecting operating rooms
  • In nebulizers — one drop GSE to one ounce saline water for control of respiratory infections
  • In humidifiers — three to four drops per gallon of water to prevent algae growth
  • As a better preservative than most chemical preservatives currently on the market
  • Disinfecting surfaces — when mixed with water in a spray bottle, it’s great for disinfecting cutting boards and other kitchen as well as bathroom surfaces
  • In hot tubs and swimming pools — GSE is added to lessen the need for high levels of chlorine
  • Farming — farmers use the extract in animal feed and water to reduce the incidence of infectious diseases




Grapefruit Seed Extract Plant Origin and Nutrition Facts
Grapefruit seed extract, also known as GSE or citrus seed extract, is derived from the seeds, pulp and white membranes of a grapefruit. Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) seeds comes from a grapefruit, which comes from a grapefruit tree. This is a citrus tree of the Rutaceae family that produces edible fruit.
Grapefruit seed extract is made by mixing grapefruit seeds and pulp into a highly acidic liquid. After some additional processing, the mixture turns into a yellow, thick liquid that has a strong, bitter taste. It’s then typically combined with vegetable glycerin to reduce the bitterness and acidity.
The main biological compounds in a grapefruit seed that are believed to be responsible for its ability to destroy infectious invaders are the polyphenols known as limonoids and naringenin. (7)
You can also get the benefits of GSE by eating the seeds, pulp and white membranes of a grapefruit. The benefits of grapefruit juice are increased when it’s produced fresh including the seeds and membranes.

Grapefruit Seed Extract History and Interesting Facts
  • Grapefruit seed extract was discovered by Jacob Harich, an American immunologist, in 1972.
  • The grapefruit is a subtropical citrus tree grown for its fruit, which was originally named the “forbidden fruit” of Barbados.
  • Grapefruit was first documented in 1750 by Reverend Griffith Hughes describing specimens from Barbados.
  • Farmers in Europe use a powdered form of GSE in fish and poultry feed to prevent infections caused by salmonella and E. coli bacteria.
  • GSE is used in cosmetic products for its natural antimicrobial abilities.
  • Other uses for diluted grapefruit seed extract include as a mouthwash, throat gargle, acne skin cleanser and disinfectant.
  • Don’t confuse GSE with the other GSE — grapeseed extract— another supplement entirely. Grapefruit seed extract is from a grapefruit while grapeseed extract, or grapeseed oil, is from a grape.

How to Choose and Use Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grapefruit seed extract is available in supplement form as a liquid concentrate, capsule or tablet. It’s readily available at your local health store or online.
Never purchase a grapefruit seed extract product that contains health-hazardous, synthetic chemicals like methylparaben, benzethonium chloride or triclosan. A typical formula I recommend contains just two ingredients: grapefruit seed extract and vegetable glycerin.
Always speak with your health care provider about proper dosage or follow the instructions provided on the extract. The typical recommended dosage for the liquid extract is 10 to 12 drops in a glass of water (at least five ounces), one to three times daily. For capsules and tablets containing dried grapefruit seed extract, the usual recommendation is 100 to 200 milligrams, one to three times daily. The amount depends on the strength of the GSE and the reason you’re taking it.
Grapefruit seed extract can deplete good bacteria in the gut if it’s taken for long periods of time. If you intend to take it for three or more consecutive days, make sure to also consume a probiotic supplement a few hours before taking your dose of GSE.
Always store your grapefruit seed extract away from heat and direct light.
If you feel unsure about taking supplemental forms of grapefruit seed, you can also eat the seeds (warning: they’re bitter) and white membranes of the grapefruit. You can also include the seeds and membranes when you make fresh grapefruit juice.

Grapefruit Seed Extract Possible Side Effects and Caution 
Before using grapefruit seed extract, talk to your doctor if you:
  • are currently taking any other medications, especially blood thinners or medicines used after organ transplant
  • are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter or dietary supplements)
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine
  • are breast-feeding
  • have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart/blood vessel disease
Never put the extract into your eyes, and don’t use at full strength in your mouth, ears, nose or sensitive areas. If used in full strength on skin it may cause irritation.
See a doctor right away if you have any signs of a serious allergic reaction after taking GSE. Signs of an allergic reaction include swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing, hives or rash.
Grapefruit seed extract is not commonly known to cause any side effects when taken as directed. However, rare side effects of may include nausea, vomiting, swollen or painful tongue, and burns of the mouth, throat or stomach. (8) Discontinue use if you exhibit any negative side effects.

Final Thoughts on Grapefruit Seed Extract
  • Grapefruit seed extract, also known as GSE or citrus seed extract, is derived from the seeds, pulp and white membranes of a grapefruit.
  • Many professionals, including doctors, veterinarians, farmers and consumers, praise GSE’s multipurpose use and effectiveness.
  • Grapefruit seed extract has been shown to posses antibacterial, antiviral, antimicrobial and antifungal properties, and it fights candida, kills antibiotic-resistant UTIs, remedies fungal infections, relieves athletes foot and nail fungus, and treats digestive disturbances associated with eczema.
  • If you have candida, it’s best to begin GSE therapy in partnership with a cleansing anti-candida diet. This means avoiding things like sugar, alcohol, dairy and grains.
  • NEVER buy a grapefruit seed extract product that contains harmful ingredients like benzethonium chloride, triclosan or methylparaben.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

How 11-year-old prodigy composed an opera

Betaine

What is Betaine? Benefits, Signs of Deficiency and Food Sources




Betaine is an amino acid that has been shown to have potential benefits for fighting heart disease, improving body composition, and helping promote muscle gain and fat loss because of its abilities to promote protein synthesis in the body.
Never heard of betaine before? Betaine, also known as trimethylglycine, is becoming more popular in supplements recently, but is actually not a newly discovered nutrient. While it’s been studied for its positive impacts on preventing heart disease for quite some time, only recently has betaine been included more often in exercise-focused and energy supplements, protein powders and other products geared at improving exercise performance and body composition.
Betaine is a derivative of the nutrient choline; in other words, choline is a “precursor” to betaine and must be present for betaine to be synthesized in the body. Betaine is created by choline in combination with the amino acid glycine. Just like some B vitamins, including folate and vitamin B12, betaine is considered to be a “methyl donor.” This means it aids in liver function, detoxification and cellular functioning within the body. It’s most crucial role is to help the body process fats.
Probably the most extensively researched benefit of betaine? It’s used to convert homocysteine in the blood to methionine. Homocysteine is an amino acid that is produced by the body naturally. Amino acids are the building blocks of all the proteins in the body. Although amino acids are critical compounds needed for many body functions, studies show that high levels of the amino acid homocysteine can be harmful to blood vessels, potentially leading to the development of plaque buildup and the condition called atherosclerosis (clogged arteries).(1) (2)
This dangerous condition is one of the main contributors to heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases; as a result, betaine’s ability to lower homocysteine has been researched extensively. Early studies were conducted to investigate betaine’s potential benefits for boosting muscle mass and strength, aiding in improved endurance, and helping to lower fat. More studies are still needed to draw definitive conclusions about betaine in these regards, but preliminary research shows betaine has promising benefits.

Betaine Deficiency
A betaine deficiency is not thought to be common in western nations, mostly because betaine is present in high amounts in wheat products, which are a staple in most people’s diets. Although it’s not directly due to low betaine intake, diets low in betaine may contribute to high homocysteine in the blood. High homocysteine levels in the blood may be elevated for many reasons, including environmental factors, diet and genetics.
The biggest threat to consuming low betaine levels is experiencing symptoms related to high homocysteine in the blood. This is seen most often in either older populations above 50, those who have suffered from alcoholism, or in children who have genetic conditions that lead to high homocysteine. Although this condition is rare, severely elevated levels of homocysteine can cause developmental delay, osteoporosis (thin bones), visual abnormalities, formation of blood clots, and narrowing and hardening of blood vessels. (3)

Recommended Daily Amounts of Betaine
In adults, there’s not an established daily recommended amount of betaine at this time. Recommended doses of betaine vary depending on the conditions being treated, and more research is still being conducted to establish a set recommendation for the general public. (4) (5)
  • For people with alcohol-induced fatty liver disease, the recommended amount of betaine supplementation is normally between 1,000 to 2,000 milligrams, taken three times daily. This is a high dose and more than normally would be taken, but is needed to repair liver damage in certain cases, like with recovering alcoholics.
  • Lower doses are usually used for nutritional support in people who have healthy livers and no history of heart disease. To help with digestion, there are many betaine supplements (in the form of betaine HCI) that are available on the market that range in recommended doses between 650–2500 milligrams.
  • People who are looking to benefit from betaine in regards to exercise performance, improving body composition, or relieving body aches and pains may take between 1500–2000 milligrams of betaine, although a set recommendation doesn’t exist at this time.
  • It’s not recommended that pregnant women or women who are breastfeeding take betaine supplements without more reports being conducted first to show it’s safe.
If you suffer from heart disease, liver disease, muscle aches or pains, or want to discuss taking betaine to help with body composition changes such as fat loss and muscle gains, you can speak with your doctor to determine the right dose for you. (6)
Betaine is usually taken with folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. Betaine supplements are manufactured as a byproduct of sugar beet processing. They can be found in powder, tablet or capsule forms. Betaine isn’t recommended for children or infants, unless it’s specifically prescribed by a health care provider to treat certain conditions, normally genetic diseases that involve liver malfunctioning.
According to reports, wheat bran/wheat germ is the single highest source of naturally occurring betaine. Therefore, in the average American’s diet, baked products that contain wheat germ —including foods like breads, crackers, cookies and four tortillas — are thought to be major contributors to betaine intake. These are not necessarily the healthiest sources of betaine, but because these types of processed products are unfortunately eaten in high quantities in the U.S diet, they are usually how people obtain enough betaine on a daily basis. (7)
Alcoholic beverages, such as wine and beer, also contain low to moderate levels of betaine, so their high consumption rates make them another key contributor of betaine in the American diet. However, keep in mind that there are definitely healthier alternatives to getting the levels of betaine that you need. For example, betaine can be found in nutrient-rich foods like spinach, beets, certain ancient whole grains (which are especially beneficial if they are sprouted first), and certain types of meat and poultry.

Top Food Sources of Betaine
Because everyone needs a differing amount of betaine depending on their needs, and there isn’t an established recommendation for betaine intake at this time, daily percentages are not shown for the food sources below. However, keep in mind most people do best getting between 650–2,000 milligrams of betaine per day.
Here are 12 of the best food sources of betaine:
  1. Wheat Bran — 1/4 cup uncooked (about 15 grams): 200 mg (7)
  2. Quinoa — About 1 cup cooked or 1/4 cup uncooked: 178 mg (8)
  3. Beets — 1 cup raw: 175 mg (9)
  4. Spinach — 1 cup cooked: 160 mg (10)
  5. Amaranth Grain — About 1 cup cooked or 1/2 cup uncooked : 130 mg (11)
  6. Rye Grain — About 1 cup cooked or 1/2 cup uncooked: 123 mg (12)
  7. Kamut Wheat Grain — About 1 cup cooked or 1/2 cup uncooked: 105 mg (13)
  8. Bulgar Grain — About 1 cup cooked or 1/2 cup uncooked: 76 mg (14)
  9. Sweet Potato — 1 medium potato: 39 mg (15)
  10. Turkey Breast — 1 breast cooked: 30 mg (16)
  11. Veal (17) — 3 ounces: 29 mg
  12. Beef — 3 ounces cooked: 28 mg (18)




Betaine Health Benefits
1. Supports Heart Health 
Betaine is best known for helping to reduce homocysteine levels in the blood, which is directly related to lowering risk for heart disease. A high homocysteine concentration is a potential risk factor for cardiovascular disease, but studies show that this condition can be reduced through regular betaine supplementation. (19)
By helping to fight hardening and blocking of arteries due to elevated homocysteine, betaine is beneficial in reducing the risk for heart attacks, stroke, and other forms of cardiac arrest and heart disease.
2. May Help Improve Muscle Mass 
Though research is mixed and somewhat limited in humans, ongoing betaine supplementation has been shown to reduce fat (adipose) mass and to increase muscle mass in animal studies and selective human studies. To date, several studies have been done to research whether betaine benefits exist for building strength and muscle mass. Different studies have showed varying results.
A 2010 study reported increased muscle power output and muscle force production after betaine supplementation. Another 2009 study showed that two weeks of betaine supplementation in active college males appeared to improve muscle endurance during squat exercises and increased the quality of repetitions that could be performed. The researchers of the latter study felt this showed that betaine has the ability to create improvements in muscular endurance but not necessarily in overall power. But other studies have showed no results when taking betaine, or mixed results when it comes to betaine benefits. (20) (21)
To draw a conclusion, in 2013, a study was done by the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. Participants were tested to see whether six weeks of betaine supplementation would have impacts on body composition, strength, endurance and fat loss. The participants were athletes who were already accustomed to exercise but who were being tested to observe whether further improvements could be main. (22)
The results showed that after six weeks of betaine supplementation, participants showed improved body composition, gains in the size of arm muscles, higher capacity to do bench press weightlifting and squat exercises. Researchers concluded that betaine does have the ability to positively impact body composition by aiding in muscle power and growth and contributing to increased stamina.

3. May Help with Fat Loss 
According to certain studies, data suggests that betaine supplementation may be beneficial in altering how the body processes and partitions nutrients, resulting in quicker fat burning abilities and fat loss without breaking down muscle tissue or losing muscle mass.
A 2002 study investigated whether pigs given betaine supplementation showed changes in body composition, specifically if they lost more fat while taking betaine. The results showed that betaine had positive impacts and that in the pigs fed betaine supplements, their ability to metabolize protein improved and they lost more fat than the control group of pigs (not receiving betaine) did.  Protein deposition was found to be enhanced in the pigs taking betaine, while body fat percentages were found to be lower than in the pigs not taking betaine. And this trend had a linear relationship, meaning that the more betaine the pigs were given, the more fat-loss results they experienced. (23)
However, researchers note that these results may be most apparent in cases where the subjects are fed low-energy (low calorie) diets overall. A 2000 study, for example, found similar results, in wich betaine’s fat-reducing effects were most apparent when added to already reduced-energy, low calorie diets. (24) More research is needed to determine whether betaine could have similar fat-loss benefits as part of an average-calorie, or even high-calorie, diet.
4. Helps With Liver Function and Detoxification 
Betaine benefits liver health by assisting in detoxification and the process of the liver digesting fats (lipids). Fat can accumulate to dangerous levels in the liver from conditions — such as alcohol abuse, obesity, diabetes and other causes — but betaine is able to assist in liver detox functions of breaking down and removing fats. (25)
Betaine also helps the liver to dispose of toxins and chemicals, preventing against damage to the digestive tract and other bodily damage that can result from toxin exposure. (26)
Betaine has also been found to protect the liver against hepatotoxins, such as ethanol and carbon tetrachloride. Hepatotoxins are toxic chemical substances that damage the liver and enter the body through certain prescription medications or through pesticides and herbicides that are sprayed on plants and crops that are not organically grown. (27)
Researchers are still learning more about the long-term negative effects of pesticide chemical exposure, and currently many types of heavy metals, pesticides and herbicides still remain on the FDA’s “considered to be safe” list. Therefore, many commonly eaten fruits and vegetables are sprayed with multiple chemical toxins, which we then ingest when eating these foods. Betaine may be helpful to the liver processing these toxins and removing them from the body.

5. Can Aid in Digestion 
Betaine is sometimes used to create Betaine Hydrochloride supplements (also called betaine HCl). Betaine HCI is thought to increase the concentration of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, which is the acid that must be present in order to break down foods and to use nutrients. In certain groups of people who have low stomach acid, they can experience a range of digestive problems that betaine is able to help relieve. (28)
Certain people find it beneficial to take Betaine HCI extract prior to meals to help enable the stomach to dissolve and process foods. Results have been found in people who suffer from indigestion due to medications or other digestive problems. Taking betaine HCl before meals may be able to help the stomach make better use of food’s nutrients, to improve the health of the digestive tract, and because the immune system heavily relies on the health of the gut flora, even to boost immunity.
6. Helps Relieve Aches and Pains 
Studies have shown that betaine may positively benefit those with muscle aches and pains. In one study conducted on horses, levels of lactate acid (associated with muscular fatigue) were lower after exercise when horses received betaine supplementation. (29)
This may be beneficial for people when performing rigorous exercise or for those who suffer from painful symptoms related to muscle and joint tissue damage.
7. Helps Repair Bodily Damage from Alcoholism 
Betaine is used to treat alcoholic liver damage that results in the accumulation of fat in the liver. Betaine has lipotropic (fat-reducing) effects, so it has been shown to produce significant improvements in healing fatty liver disease by helping the liver to process and remove fats. (30)

Adding Betaine to Your Diet
Try making some of these recipes below, which include betaine-rich foods like spinach, beets, quinoa and turkey.

Concerns and Interactions of Betaine
Betaine has the potential to impact the effects of certain medications and to interact with other nutrients. If you take any medications for liver disease, heart disease or have kidney stones, you should talk to your doctor before taking any betaine-containing supplements.
Betaine can raise total cholesterol levels, so although it’s beneficial for preventing heart disease, it also must be monitored in certain at-risk patients and taken in small doses. People who are overweight, who have diabetes, heart disease or who are at a higher risk for heart disease should not take betaine without getting a doctor’s input first.
There haven’t been many serious cases of betaine overdose or toxicity reported, but some people have reported experiencing mild side effects that include diarrhea, stomach upset and nausea.