Saturday, 31 December 2011

Chaplin's Speech From The Great Dictator

The comedy movie The Great Dictator was released in October 1940 and was written, produced and directed by Charlie Chaplin. The movie which satirizes Adolf Hitler was a commercial success and is best remembered by the speech at the end of the movie. It is one of the greatest speech ever made in movie history.

I'm sorry but I don't want to be an Emperor, that's not my business. I don't want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible, Jew, gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another, human beings are like that. We all want to live by each other's happiness, not by each other's misery. We don't want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone and the earth is rich and can provide for everyone. 

The way of life can be free and beautiful. But we have lost the way.
Greed has poisoned men's souls, has barricaded the world with hate;
has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. 

We have developed speed but we have shut ourselves in:
machinery that gives abundance has left us in want.

Our knowledge has made us cynical,
our cleverness hard and unkind.
We think too much and feel too little:
More than machinery we need humanity;
More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness.

Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. 

The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, cries out for universal brotherhood for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me I say "Do not despair". 

The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress: the hate of men will pass and dictators die and the power they took from the people, will return to the people and so long as men die [now] liberty will never perish. . .
Soldiers: don't give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you, who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel, who drill you, diet you, treat you as cattle, as cannon fodder. 

Don't give yourselves to these unnatural men, machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts. You are not machines. You are not cattle. You are men. You have the love of humanity in your hearts. You don't hate, only the unloved hate. Only the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers: don't fight for slavery, fight for liberty. 

In the seventeenth chapter of Saint Luke it is written:
"The kingdom of God is within man"
Not one man, nor a group of men, but in all men; in you, the people.

You the people have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness. You the people have the power to make life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy let's use that power, let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give you the future and old age and security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power, but they lie. They do not fulfil their promise, they never will. Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfil that promise. Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men's happiness. 

Soldiers! In the name of democracy, let us all unite!
. . .
Look up! Look up! The clouds are lifting, the sun is breaking through. We are coming out of the darkness into the light. We are coming into a new world. A kind new world where men will rise above their hate and brutality. 

The soul of man has been given wings, and at last he is beginning to fly. He is flying into the rainbow, into the light of hope, into the future, that glorious future that belongs to you, to me and to all of us. Look up. Look up.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

About White Tea and Witch Hazel

Recently Natural News carried an article about the proven benefits of white tea, witch hazel and rose as anti-inflammation agents. Read it here.

Monday, 12 December 2011

World's Best Antioxidant

By Dr. Mercola

Rudi Moerck, who has advanced training in biological sciences, is an expert on fats and antioxidants.Astaxanthin is recognized as one of the most potent and exciting antioxidants to emerge, and is backed by extensive and compelling evidence.
Extracted from marine algae, astaxanthin is what makes gives flamingos and salmon their pink coloring after eating the algae.

It's a member of the carotenoid family, which includes beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, and zeaxanthin, just to name a few.
In a normal diet, as long as you're eating enough vegetables, you'll probably get enough of most common carotenoids, such as beta-carotene (vitamin A).
"We don't recommend excessive supplementation of vitamin A," Dr. Moerck says.

"There is some literature about that. It really should not be overdone; especially synthetic versions.

You're better off getting your beta-carotene from organic carrots for instance."
The same applies for zeaxanthin, which is found in vegetables such as broccoli and leafy greens. Astaxanthin, on the other hand, can be more difficult to get in therapeutic amounts from your diet.

Why You May Need an Astaxanthin Supplement

Astaxanthin is the most commonly occurring red carotenoid in marine and aquatic animals, especially salmon, giving it its characteristic pink color.
Shrimp, lobster and crab are also sources of astaxanthin. However, you're unlikely to be able to consume enough salmon and shell fish on a daily basis to get a therapeutic dose. You'd have to consume about three-quarters of a pound of wild-caught sockeye salmon, which contains the highest amounts of astaxanthin of all the marine foods, to receive the same amount of astaxanthin you'd get in a 4mg capsule if you were to take a supplement.
That's reason alone to consider taking it as a supplement. Especially when you consider its many beneficial properties, such as:

Different Types of Carotenoids

The last point is very interesting, and something that sets astaxanthin apart from other antioxidants. There are essentially three different types of carotenoids: water-soluble, fat-soluble, and an in-between group that can interface between water and fat, such as vitamin E and astaxanthin.
While water-soluble antioxidants need to be taken every day as they're easily expelled, fat-soluble ones, such as astaxanthin, lutein, or zeaxanthin, do not need to be taken daily. Ideally, you do want to take them daily at a modest dose, but it's not required as they will to some extent accumulate in your fat tissues, which have a slower rate of turnover.

Astaxanthin and Vitamin E are Similar. Do You Need Both?

Astaxanthin is often compared to vitamin E—although astaxanthin is hundreds of times more potent. (Dr. Moerck provides a lot more detail about vitamin E in the interview, so for more information, please listen to the interview in its entirety, or read through the transcript.)
Interestingly enough, while similar, astaxanthin and vitamin E are totally unrelated in structure, and astaxanthin therefore has more tricks up its sleeve than vitamin E. But because of their general similarity, a frequent question raised is, do you still need to take vitamin E if you're taking astaxanthin?
According to Dr. Moerck, the answer is yes, but with a few caveats:
"[T]he most important vitamin E derivative is alpha-tocopherol," Dr. Moerck explains. "Natural [vitamin E], not the dl- [version] but alpha-tocopherol. It's more important than the other tocopherols… [But] vitamin E in large amounts is not a good idea. The reason for that is that vitamin E, when it gets oxidized, or when there is a photochemical production of a free radical, it has [what is called]… a benzenoid ring…
That forms a very stable free radical. It can sit around and… wait until it sees something that it can react with. That could be your tissue, or it could be another vitamin E free radical.
So large amounts of vitamin E… as a supplement, actually becomes pro-oxidative—it becomes a pro-oxidant.
That is not good because you'll form these stable free radicals… Vitamin E ultra-supplementation… is in my opinion not healthy… [M]ega-dosing would be anything more than 2,000 units. Having said that, if you mix something with vitamin E that allows that free radical to quench, to get down to what we chemists call the ground state, then you have a vitamin E that's very functional and does not become a pro-oxidant and that one ingredient is astaxanthin.
If you mix astaxanthin with vitamin E, it prevents the vitamin E from being a stable free radical [because] the astaxanthin quenches it to the ground state. So that's very important. Any formula that has vitamin E in it, I think you should have a few parts per million of astaxanthin, or more. It could be up to 4 mg."
So, when you take astaxanthin with vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), it will allow any free radicals formed when vitamin E reacts with singlet oxygen to go to the ground state, whereas vitamin E alone will not do that.

The Many Health Benefits of Astaxanthin

Researchers have discovered a number of areas where astaxanthin appears to be particularly helpful. I've previously discussed these health benefits in great depth, so for more information about its use for the following health problems, please see the hyperlinks provided:

Beware of Synthetic Astaxanthin

Like animal-based omega-3 fat, astaxanthin is an exception to my general rule to get your nutrients from food. Since it would be quite difficult to get therapeutic amounts of astaxanthin in your diet, it's a supplement worthy of consideration—especially to address any of the health problems listed above.
That said, dietary sources of astaxanthin include salmon, shrimp, lobster and crab. However, it's important to make sure it's wild-caught if you want to reap any of its benefits. Avoiding farm raised fish is good advise overall, but especially when it comes to salmon, as it typically will not contain natural astaxanthin. If your salmon label does not read "wild" or "naturally colored," you're probably going to be eating a coloring agent somewhat closer to motor oil than antioxidant...
Natural astaxanthin is more than 20 times stronger as an antioxidant than synthetic astaxanthin, and wild salmon are 400 percent higher in astaxanthin than its farmed counterpart. Furthermore, wild salmon have much higher levels of beneficial omega-3 fats than the farmed version.
Here's another interesting tidbit:
"If you look at the structure of astaxanthin, it's a very long molecule; the center of which is extremely fat soluble. That's why it goes into the membranes of your body and then the fatty tissue," Dr. Moerck says.
"When you look at a salmon you see that redness in a salmon. That color is really in the membranes and in the fat portion of the salmon associated with omega-3 DHA. They're right next to each other. That actually keeps the DHA from oxidizing. DHA is an unsaturated fatty acid. If you just leave it exposed to oxygen, it goes rancid.
… And in krill, one of the reasons why krill is so incredibly stable is it has astaxanthin in it. That keeps it from oxidizing."
Krill oil, due to its astaxanthin content, will remain undamaged by a steady flow of oxygen for an impressive 190 hours, according to tests conducted by Dr. Moerck. That's truly incredible when you consider just how fragile omega-3 fats are (both animal- and plant-based omega-3 fats).
Compare that to fish oil—an otherwise comparable animal-based omega-3 source—which goes rancid after just one hour. That makes krill oil nearly 200 times more resistant to oxidative damage compared to fish oil. A mere 0.2 mg of astaxanthin per gram of krill oil will protect it from rancidity.
"Krill oil; I have never seen anything like it," Dr. Moerck says. "As long as that krill oil has astaxanthin, as long as it's still red, it has antioxidant performance that even surpasses things like olive oil. That to me is totally astounding… [T]he only other oil that I know that's extremely stable and is a monounsaturated oil is amaranth oil."

Potential Side Effects

According to Dr. Moerck, the only documented side effect of astaxanthin is the development of slightly pinkish skin—which typically will not be considered a detrimental, as people typically identify people with a pinkish skin color to be "healthy."
So it's really a cosmetic benefit. Like melanin in your skin, this is also what will offer you protection against the sun, as astaxanthin works as an internal sunscreen.
More recently, a few bloggers have claimed that astaxanthin caused breast enlargement.
According to Dr. Moerck:
"There has been blogs about breast enlargement associated with astaxanthin. Folks, this is simply impossible… It's that cut and dry. Let me explain why that is.
First of all, the molecules themselves, the carotenoids, have no steroidal function. They also do not inhibit steroid formation, and of course we know that testosterone and estrogen are very important for sexuality and for hair growth and breast size, etc. However, carotenoids do not affect that at all. There is NO steroidal activity. It does not enter in any mechanism pathway for the synthesis of steroids."

Sunday, 11 December 2011

What Sets The Successful Apart?

Often I ask myself this question: Why some people are more successful than others? The answer has always been the same.

Successful people do things that others just don't want to do.

They do more than what is asked of them. They are willing to endure more. They keep going, keep getting up after each knock.

No matter what it is, be it academics, sports or business; the one that stands out is usually if not always, the one that has done more than others.

To do more, you will have to fight fatigue. You will have to ignore the whisper in your head telling you that you have done enough, and a million other things.

To do more you must be willing to give up that Wednesday night pool, Saturday afternoon football ( or soccer as you called in the US) and other activities that gives you pleasure but keeps you trapped in mediocrity.

To do more, is to wage a war on yourself and to never cease battle until you have tasted victory.

One of the greatest sportsmen ever, Edwin Moses, who went unbeaten from 1977 to 1987 in the 400 metre hurdles, a remarkable feat that will certainly will be repeated again, had this to say when asked how he kept winning: " I always had to keep improving my skills in order to remain competitive and keep winning"

Note the word "always" in the quote. Even when he was way ahead of his rivals, Edwin Moses never stopped improving himself.

Being successful demands a certain type of character from you and that is courage. The courage to do more than others. The courage to say no to all that gives you instant gratification. The courage to take it on the chin and keep going on.

If you are serious about being successful, you must be willing to do more than others.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

The 10 That Did Not Board The Titanic

JP Morgan, yes that JP Morgan,  for some reason had to extend his European stay and that was the reason he did not board the Titanic. Check out The 10 People Who Did Not Board The Titanic.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Never More Than Necessary

 "When you wish to instruct, be brief; that men's minds take in quickly what you say, learn its lesson, and retain it faithfully. Every word that is unnecessary only pours over the side of a brimming mind." ~ Cicero

Of all things that can be overdone, talking too much probably does the worst damage. Words once spoken cannot be taken back.By not saying more than needed, you minimize the risk of being misunderstood, misinterpreted or misquoted.

By keeping your words short and simple, you will get the message across faster and clearer. You messages have a very small chance or none at all being misunderstood. This is especially important when you are giving instructions. A concise instruction has shown to achieve more long muddled ones.

Which of these 2 signage below do you think is more effective?

 Researches have found that the sign on the right is far more effective than the one on the left.

There are many other examples of this, a "DANGER RADIOACTIVE" is found to be more effective than   "DANGER-KEEP AWAY- RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS ARE STORED NEARBY". Saying "SILENCE PLEASE" is found to be better than telling "THANK YOU for KEEPING QUIET".

Saying less and getting more done is a skill that can be learned. Anyone can do it.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Chlorella is Superfood

Chlorella is a micro-algae that has been around for millions of years. It is often called  ‘super food’. If you don’t already know, you might wonder why. Chlorella has been shown to offer benefits in treating the following conditions:
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Arthritis
  • Inflammation of joints and tissues
  • Depression
  • Severe liver damage and liver disorders
  • Intestinal ulcers
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Asthma
  • Hypertension
  • Constipation
  • Bleeding gums
  • Infections
  • Body odor / breath odor
  • Essential fatty acid deficiencies
  • Mineral deficiencies
  • Cancers (all types)
Chlorella is green in colour and it is of the same size of human cell, about 2 to 8 microns. The chlorophyll content in it gives it a green hue. Chlorella is usually grown in areas rich with sunlight. 
Chlorella contains almost known B vitamins. It also rich with:
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Beta-Carotene
  • All major minerals.
And Chlorella is packed with high-quality protein.

In his book, Healing with Whole Foods,  Paul Pitchford writes:

"Chlorella contains a greater quantity of fatty acids than either spirulina or wild blue-green. About 20% of these fatty acids are artery-cleansing, omega-3, alpha-linolenic variety; perhaps this is one reason chlorella has been shown to be so effective in reducing cholesterol in the body and preventing atherosclerosis."

One unique aspect of chlorella is that it contains what is known as Chlorella Growth Factor, which is essentially nucleic acids, RNA and DNA. Produced during the photosynthesis, it promotes cell rejuvenation and body detoxification.

Foreword of  Chlorella Natural Medicinal Algae by Dr. David Steeblock states:

"Chlorella is a food, not a medicine. We should realize, however, that when the proper foods are used, together with the right supplements to build up the health level of the body, diseases are often "crowded out". This is nature's way of healing the body. To put it very simply, there is no room for disease in a healthy body. When the tissues are cleansed and strengthened, and when we have removed the obstacles to healing that drag on all the glands and organs, I feel the body heals of its own accord. It would be difficult to describe the many highly technical experiments scientists have run to find out what biologically active substances are in CGF and what these substances do, singly and in combination. We must realize, however, that the reason why many scientists are putting so much time and effort into investigating Chlorella and CGF is because there is already a great deal of proof that Chlorella and CGF, even in relatively small amounts, stimulate growth, tissue repair and healing to an extent not previously found in any other food." 
In his book Chlorella, Jewel of the Far East,  Dr Bernard Jensen, D.O., Ph.D writes:

"Chlorella is a wonderful food supplement and it will work best and most rapidly if combined with a correctly balanced and proportioned food regimen....We find that the average person does not get enough green vegetables in their diet, and chlorella helps compensate for that. The average person may not have proper bowel elimination and chlorella helps make up for that also. The average woman does not have enough iron or calcium, especially after the age of forty; chlorella is high in both. The average person does not repair and rebuild tissue fast enough, and chlorella helps speed it up. These are some of the reasons why chlorella has such a positive effect on health."

and further adds:
"All blood sugar imbalances - diabetes, hypoglycemia, manic depression - are greatly helped because much of chlorella's protein, like that of spirulina, is predigested and ready to work to smooth out blood sugar fluctuations."

Chlorella truly offers many benefits to your body and adding it to your daily diet will definitely improve your overall health. If you intend to do so, just make sure the chlorella you are getting is the broken cell type.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Diabetes and Dental Care

Gingivitis and Periodontitis. Two common mouth disease suffered by people who have diabetes. Here is a helpful link for better dental care for diabetic people.

Breast Cancer and Use of MRI

New study reveals expensive MRIs pushed on women for breast cancer screening have no medical benefit. Read more here.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

My Thoughts Today

With the realization that death is certain and it can come at any time, I have come to value time.  Ever since than I try not waste it. It took me almost 40 years of living to discover this. I wished I had done it earlier.

I started this blog to share what I know about being more productive, doing things a little better, about continuous improvement that we make in our lives. There are various tools that we can use to do things better. There are various techniques we can use to deliver whatever that we wish to deliver.

Tools such as mind map, doing a list, getting rid of clutter even a simple smile makes our lives better. I hope to learn many more things that will save me time and make me better. And I will continue to share with you.

Have a good day.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Lead Poisoning Alert: This Widely Used Drink is Dangerous

By Dr. Mercola
Jeff Green has been an activist in the movement to eliminate a toxic fluoride from your water supply for the past 15 years.
The practice of adding fluoride to municipal tap water across the U.S. began in 1945.
With more than 60 percent of U.S. water supplies currently fluoridated, chances are you're one of the 170 million Americans who drink fluoride on a daily basis. Chances are also high that you're unaware of the sordid history that made water fluoridation a reality in the first place, because contrary to popular belief, its origins actually had nothing to do with protecting your dental health.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, you might be unaware that the fluoride added to your water is far from pharmaceutical grade…read more here

Fibre and whole grains 'reduce bowel cancer risk'

BBC News reported today that rResearchers from Imperial College London found that for every 10g a day increase in fibre intake, there was a 10% drop in the risk of bowel cancer. Read more here.

The Andes Plane Crash

"I want to eat the pilot" said Fernando Parrado to his friend Ricardo Cannesa, after the chocolates that they have been eating since they crashed was exhausted.

Cannibalism? Or just human survival instinct kicking in?

Parrado and Cannesa, survived on eating the flesh of their dead friends. If they didn't, then one of the most inspiring survival stories of our time would never had been told.

The Andes plane crash as it become popularly known, where 16 out of 45 survived after 72 days in the harsh sub-zero temperatures of the rugged Andes mountains, is a story of the unyielding human spirit. A story worth telling. A story worth listening. A story worth reading.

Two books have been written, the first by Piers Paul Read in 1974 titled Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors. In 2006, 34 years after he was rescued Fernando Parrado together with  Vince Rause published the book Miracle in the Andes: 72 Days on the Mountain and My Long Trek Home.

The official website for the survivors Viven is available in both Spanish and English.

Monday, 7 November 2011

How To Be More Convincing When You Talk

1.       Use small active verbs of physical movement for power and force
Verbs are words that bring to life what you say.  The more simple active verbs you use, the better. Your language will be more forceful and convincing.  Words such as pull, push, break, cut, spin, run, go, strike, stir brings life and movement to your talk. Avoid abstract and vague verbs. It destroys the power and force of what you say. Abstract verbs are usually nouns modified by adding -ize as in finalize or -ate as in officiate.  They bore your listener and makes him lose interest in what you have to say.

2.       Use simple words
The simpler your words are the more potent it is. Short simple words are powerful not only while talking but also in writing.  Note how much more force is in the sentence,“ Do Not Smoke” than in, “ Thank You For Not Smoking.”

3.       Use personal words
Always use personal words such as I, you, we, us, Smith, janitor. It is specific and more powerful. Avoid at all cost words that are used to pass the buck such as; “They said”, “It was said”.  They destroy the force of your talk.

4.       Be direct
Be direct. Be specific. Use illustration if you have to but do not beat around the bush.  And if you don’t know, say so.

5.       Deliver one idea at a time
The human brain has almost infinite capacity to store information but it only can take in so much at a given time. When you talk, you are transmitting information that your listener’s brain needs to interpret and this requires effort. If you are giving too many ideas at a time, your listener will simply lose interest out of exhaustion.  Giving one idea allows more time for the working memory of your listener to process it better and this helps in holding his interest.

6.       Respect your listener
Don’t talk down to your listener. You will lose his interest and that is it.

6 Simple Ways To Earn Respect

Respect, like money, must be earned. Here are six simple ways you can earn the respect of others.
1.       Seize opportunity  that offers increased responsibility
Don’t be afraid to assume more responsibility. Remember, to be stand out of crowd, you must be more than the crowd. If you are doing the same as what others are doing, you will never be more than them. If there is a fund raising project in your company, get yourself involved. If your boss is looking for some extra help with a report he is preparing, offer yourself. Do not worry what others might say, just go about your way and seize every opportunity that will increase your responsibility. 

2.       Do your best in every task you are given
Always give your best. As George Bernard Shaw once said, “Do your best in whatever you do, with whatever you have, wherever you are.” Do not whine or complain if you do not have all the tools or facts to get the job done, quietly go and search for solutions. Improvise and be resourceful.

3.       Admit your mistakes
Never pass the buck. This will hurt your reputation badly and it may never recover.  The ability to admit mistakes takes courage and wins you supporters and admirers. Most importantly, it wins you respect. You must also have the courage to accept honest criticism. This shows maturity and your willingness to learn.
4.       Stand your ground
Do not be made of glass. Don’t change your principles out of fear or to gain favour. If you are sure of your convictions, have the courage to stand by it. By no means am I suggesting you to be hard headed. Now and then you might have see things differently. There will be time you must back down to go forward in life but once you are sure of what you think is right, stick to it.

5.       Take complete responsibility
Your success and your failures are results of your actions. Where you are in life and where you will go depends on you. So take responsibility for your actions. Do not blame others of your failures.  And understand that your success depends on your efforts too. As a leader of man once said, responsibility is the price you must pay for greatness.

6.       Take responsibility for the failures of those working for you
You are responsible for the performance of those under you. It is your job to ensure that they will always give their best. Their failure to do so, is your failure too. Do not run away from this responsibility.  Your ability to accept responsibility for the failures of your subordinates will win you loyalty and respect.

Brains Built To Cooperate

You are a natural team player.

That is what the latest research published in Science has concluded. While researching plain-tailed wrens, famous in Ecuador for duets between males and females, researches found that the wrens do not respond strongly to their own voice but instead show stronger neuron activity while performing together.

As all vertebrates have similar neurotransmitter system, the paper's authors concluded that there is relevance to the human brain.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Vitamin D and Depression

By Dr. Mercola

A study of more than 81,000 women found those with the highest intake of vitamin D from food sources had a significantly lower prevalence of depressive symptoms.
The researchers suggested that vitamin D may affect the function of dopamine and norepinephrine.
These are neurotransmitters that are likely involved in depression, while also modulating the relationship between depression and inflammation.
This adds to growing evidence showing that if you're suffering from depression one of the best choices you can make is to spend as much time outdoors in the sun as possible.
Sun exposure is by far the best way to optimize your levels of vitamin D.

Vitamin D Fights Depression

The connection between vitamin D and depression is not new.
In 2006, scientists evaluated the effects of vitamin D on the mental health of 80 elderly patients and found those with the lowest levels of vitamin D were 11 times more prone to be depressed than those who received healthy doses.
In the current study, researchers found that intake of more than 400 IU of vitamin D from food sources was associated with a 20 percent lower risk of depressive symptoms compared with intake of less than 100 IU. This was a significant benefit from a very small amount of vitamin D -- as 400 IU is far too low to benefit most people (not to mention your body is made to get vitamin D primarily from the sun, not food or supplements, as I'll explain below).
It now appears as though most adults need about 8,000 IU's of vitamin D a day in order to get their serum levels above 40 ng/ml, which is the lowest they should be. Ideally your serum levels should be between 50-70 ng/ml, and up to 100 ng/ml to treat cancer and heart disease.
It's likely that vitamin D fights depression via several pathways, not only directly in your brain but also via inflammation. Vitamin D receptors have been identified throughout the human body, and that includes in your brain. Researchers have located metabolic pathways for vitamin D in the hippocampus and cerebellum of the brain, areas that are involved in planning, processing of information, and the formation of new memories.
Sufficient vitamin D is also imperative for proper functioning of your immune system to combat inflammation, and other research has discovered that depressed people tend to have higher levels of inflammation in their brains.

Why it's Best to Get Your Vitamin D From the Sun

The researchers mentioned above noted that studies have shown only about 30 percent of Americans' circulating 25(OH)D (vitamin D) is the product of sunlight exposure. This is an unfortunate byproduct of public health agencies' misguided advice to stay out of the sun to avoid cancer (when in fact vitamin D from sun exposure will prevent cancer). The truth is, vitamin D from sun exposure is the BEST way to optimize your vitamin D levels, and a recent interview with Dr. Stephanie Seneff brought the importance of getting your vitamin D from sun exposure to a whole new level.
I've consistently recommended getting your vitamin D from regular sun exposure whenever possible, and Dr. Seneff's review of how vitamin D—specifically from sun exposure—is intricately tied to healthy cholesterol and sulfur levels, makes this recommendation all the more important. As a quick summary, when you expose your skin to sunshine, your skin synthesizes vitamin D3 sulfate. This form of vitamin D is water soluble, unlike oral vitamin D3 supplements, which is unsulfated. The water-soluble form can travel freely in your bloodstream, whereas the unsulfated form needs LDL (the so-called "bad" cholesterol) as a vehicle of transport. Her suspicion is that the oral non-sulfated form of vitamin D may not provide all of the same benefits as the vitamin D created in your skin from sun exposure, because it cannot be converted to vitamin D sulfate.
I believe this is a very compelling reason to really make a concerted effort to get ALL your vitamin D requirements from exposure to sunshine, or by using a safe tanning bed (one with electronic ballasts rather than magnetic ballasts, to avoid unnecessary exposure to EMF fields). Safe tanning beds also have less of the dangerous UVA than sunlight, while unsafe ones have more UVA than sunlight. If neither of these are feasible options, then you should take an oral vitamin D3 supplement.
It is very difficult to get enough vitamin D from food sources alone, as very few foods naturally contain vitamin D, and those that do will not contain enough to optimize your levels. Interestingly, the only vitamin not found in breast milk is vitamin D.
Consider this a giant clue that we were NOT designed to swallow vitamin D. Newborn infants, just like you, were designed to produce it by exposing their skin to natural sunlight.  Lack of sun exposure is really the very root of the problem, as vitamin D deficiency, which is now at epidemic levels, is a fairly recent health concern, historically speaking.

The Depression-Inflammation Connection That Makes Vitamin D Even More Important

Depression is often found alongside gastrointestinal inflammations and autoimmune diseases as well as with cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, type 2-diabetes and also cancer, in which chronic low-grade inflammation is a significant contributing factor. Researchers have suggested "depression may be a neuropsychiatric manifestation of a chronic inflammatory syndrome."
Vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased inflammation in otherwise healthy people, and increased concentrations of serum TNF-alpha, an inflammatory marker, were found in women who had insufficient vitamin D levels.
What this all boils down to is that chronic inflammation in your body disrupts the normal functioning of many bodily systems, and can wreak havoc on your brain and possibly cause depressive symptoms. This is one more route by which vitamin D is important for your mood and brain health, as vitamin D will help reduce systemic inflammation. Vitamin D deficiency is actually more the norm than the exception, and this can impact far more than your mental health. Optimizing your vitamin D levels could help you to prevent at least 16 different types of cancer, along with heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's, the flu and much, much more.

Why Antidepressants Don't Work

There are many reasons why they don't work the way most people think they work, or want them to work.
Two such reasons, which I wrote about two years ago, are that:
  1. Chronic stress does not cause the same molecular changes that depression does, but most antidepressants are based on the hypothesis that stress causes depression. The hypothesis appears to be incorrect, which means the drugs are virtually worthless.
  2. An imbalance in neurotransmitters in your brain may not trigger depressive symptoms as has long been thought. Instead, the biochemical events that lead to depression appear to start in the development and functioning of neurons. This means antidepressants focus on the effect of depression, and completely miss the cause.
These findings were presented at the 2009 Neuroscience conference in Chicago, Illinios. The press release announcing the findings reads:
"More than half the people who take antidepressants for depression never get relief. Why?
Because the cause of depression has been oversimplified and drugs designed to treat it aim at the wrong target, according to new research from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. The medications are like arrows shot at the outer rings of a bull's eye instead of the center.
A study from the laboratory of long-time depression researcher Eva Redei... appears to topple two strongly held beliefs about depression. One is that stressful life events are a major cause of depression. The other is that an imbalance in neurotransmitters in the brain triggers depressive symptoms.
Both findings are significant because these beliefs were the basis for developing drugs currently used to treat depression.
Redei, the David Lawrence Stein Professor of Psychiatry at Northwestern's Feinberg School, found powerful molecular evidence that quashes the long-held dogma that stress is generally a major cause of depression. Her new research reveals that there is almost no overlap between stress-related genes and depression-related genes.
… [A]nother reason current antidepressants are often ineffective is that they aim to boost neurotransmitters based on the popular molecular explanation of depression, which is that it's the result of decreased levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine.
But that's wrong, Redei said. In the second part of the study, Redei found strong indications that depression actually begins further up in the chain of events in the brain. The biochemical events that ultimately result in depression actually start in the development and functioning of neurons.
"The medications have been focusing on the effect, not the cause," she said. "That's why it takes so long for them to work and why they aren't effective for so many people."

Well-Documented Side Effects

The interactions of antidepressants with your brain, liver, digestive system and other systems are still not fully understood, but we do know that the side effects are numerous. Besides the standard laundry list of nausea, dry mouth and loss of libido, more serious side effects of commonly prescribed antidepressants include:
  • Suicidal thoughts and feelings and violent behavior : The main and primary one that you should be concerned about is that they could actually INCREASE your risk of suicide. Your risk for suicide may be twice as high if you take SSRIs. Seven out of 12 school shootings were also perpetrated by children who were either on antidepressants or withdrawing from them.
  • Diabetes: Your risk for type 2 diabetes is two to three times higher if you take antidepressants, according to one study. All types of antidepressants, including tricyclic and SSRIs, increases type 2 diabetes risk.
  • Problems with your immune system: SSRIs cause serotonin to remain in your nerve junctions longer, interfering with immune cell signaling and T cell growth.
  • Stillbirths: A Canadian study of almost 5,000 mothers found that women on SSRIs were twice as likely to have a stillbirth, and almost twice as likely to have a premature or low birth weight baby; another study showed a 40 percent increased risk for birth defects, such as cleft palate.
  • Brittle bones: One study showed women on antidepressants have a 30 percent higher risk of spinal fracture and a 20 percent high risk for all other fractures. This is because serotonin is also involved in the physiology of bone. If you alter serotonin levels with a drug, it can result in low bone density, boosting fracture risk.
  • Stroke: Your risk for stroke may be 45 percent higher if you are on antidepressants, possibly related to how the drugs affect blood clotting
  • Heart disease and Sudden cardiac death: Brand new research reported at a New Orleans meeting of the American College of Cardiology found that antidepressants increase your risk of heart disease by causing your artery walls to thicken. The exact biological mechanism is still unknown. A literature review of studies from 2000-2007, published in Expert Opinion on Drug Safety in 2008, found that "Antipsychotics can increase cardiac risk even at low doses, whereas antidepressants do it generally at high doses or in the setting of drug combinations." Another study published in January 2009 in the New England Journal of Medicine also found that antipsychotic drugs doubled the risk of sudden cardiac death. Mortality was  found to be dose-dependent, so those taking higher doses were at increased risk of a lethal cardiac event.
  • Death: Overall death rates have been found to be 32 percent higher in women on antidepressants.
When you're talking about antipsychotics, which are meant for more severe mental illness such as schizophrenia, the risks can be even more severe, depending on the drug. For example, a recent study published in JAMA discovered that contrary to what we've previously thought, schizophrenia itself does not alter your brain mass.
What was previously believed to be evidence of the disease causing brain shrinkage was actually the effect of the antipsychotic drugs prescribed to schizophrenics…
Keeping that fact in mind, is it wise to prescribe antipsychotics to anyone who does not suffer from schizophrenia or bi-polar disorder?
Well, whether it's sensible or not, the fact is they are being prescribed to a whole lot of people who are neither bi-polar nor schizophrenic, and the side effects are just as bad either way.
And as another example of the dangerous mis-use and off-label prescribing that is so rampant today, a 2009 article in Medscape Today reveals that 60 percent of the US military veterans who received antipsychotic medication in 2007 were not diagnosed with any of the mental illnesses for which these drugs were approved. So that year, more than 162,440 military veterans—the MAJORITY; 60 percent—were prescribed brain-damaging drugs without a diagnosis warranting their use!
And that's just one group of people. You also have hundreds of thousands of civilians being prescribed antipsychotic for off-label uses every year. Again, drugs that cause BRAIN SHRINKAGE are being given to people without proper diagnosis of mental illness!
How is this NOT an outrage?
How could I possibly keep quiet about something as harmful as this?
If you're given a prescription for an antipsychotic, and you're not actually schizophrenic, wouldn't you want to know about this potentially devastating side effect?

Do I Feel the Use of these Drugs is Ever Appropriate?

Please understand that I am not seeking to diminish the impact of mental illness. It is massively pervasive and responsible for tens of thousands of deaths every year and needless suffering in millions of others.
My clinical experience leads me to believe that the only appropriate use of these dangerous medications is as a last ditch effort when the patient is at a serious risk to themselves or others. The drugs should be continued until the condition is under control and they are out of harm's way.
This is a very similar strategy to the way you would employ by going to the ER and orthopedic surgeon for a cast when you are in an accident and fracture a major bone. You don't use that cast the rest of your life. You use it until your bone is healed.
The REAL tragedy is that most of the drug companies do NOT view antidepressants this way. There are enormous marketing efforts to classify normal behavior as aberrant or diseased, which then requires lifelong therapy with their drug solution.

Four More Top Tips for Overcoming Depression

Optimizing your vitamin D is not the the only treatment strategy you can use to overcome depression. Virtually everyone with depression should also be:
  1. Exercising: Regular physical activity works better than antidepressant drugs to improve your mood. In fact, it's one of the most powerful strategies you can take to prevent and treat depression and boost your mood.
  2. Avoiding sugar and fructose: Sugar (including fructose) also has a seriously detrimental impact on your brain function. There's a great book on this subject, The Sugar Blues, written by William Dufty more than 30 years ago, that delves into this topic in great detail.
  3. Increasing high quality animal-based omega-3 fats: Your brain consists of about 60 percent fat, DHA specifically, so you need a constant input of essential animal-based omega-3 fats like krill oil for your brain to work properly. In fact, one study showed that people with lower blood levels of omega-3s were more likely to have symptoms of depression and a more negative outlook while those with higher blood levels demonstrated the opposite emotional states.
  4. Addressing emotional stress: If you've followed my articles even a little while, you know that I highly recommend taking an active role in your emotional health. This includes engaging in stress-relief modalities that appeal to you and are effective, like exercise, massage, journaling, guided imagery and more.
Depression is often a serious, even life threatening, condition, and I do not recommend that you self-treat. Instead, find a health care practitioner who can guide you through natural treatment options, providing holistic emotional and physical support so you can heal at the deepest level.

Study Participants Needed: Get Your Vitamin D Tested at Home

You can become a participant in the still ongoing Grassroots Health D*Action study, which is evaluating vitamin D's impact on your overall health status.
When you join D*action, you agree to test your vitamin D levels twice a year during a five-year program, and share your health status to demonstrate the public health impact of this nutrient. There is a $60 fee each 6 months ($120/year) for your sponsorship of the project, which includes a complete new test kit to be used at home, and electronic reports on your ongoing progress.
You will get a follow up email every six months reminding you "it's time for your next test and health survey." To join now, please follow this link to the sign up form.
You may want to consider joining this study not only because you'll be helping to create awareness about the profound importance of vitamin D for optimal health, but also because it's an ideal way to test and monitor your own vitamin D levels, which is highly recommended.

Important Concluding Thoughts—Please Read!

I want to make something abundantly clear before I leave you. I know firsthand that depression is devastating. It takes a toll on the healthiest of families and can destroy lifelong friendships. Few things are harder in life than watching someone you love lose their sense of joy, hope, and purpose in life, and wonder if they will ever find it again. And to not have anything within your power that can change things for them. You wonder if you will ever have your loved one "back" again.
It's impossible to impart the will to live to somebody who no longer possesses it. No amount of logic, reasoning, or reminders about all they have to live for will put a smile back on the face of a loved one masked by the black cloud of depression.
Oftentimes you cannot change your circumstances. You can, however, change your response to them. I encourage you to be balanced in your life. Don't ignore your body's warning signs that something needs to change. Sometimes people are so busy taking care of everybody else that they lose sight of themselves.
There are times when a prescription drug may help restore balance to your body. But it's unclear whether it is the drug providing benefits, or the unbelievable power of your mind that is convinced it is going to work.
If you have been personally affected by depression, my heart goes out to you.
A broken body can be easier to fix than a broken mind. Depression is real. It is my hope that you don't feel judged here, but that you are encouraged and inspired by those who have been there.

Vitamin B, Omega fat and Alzheimer

B Vitamin Supplementation Shown to Lower Homocysteine by 30% and to Slow Brain Atrophy.

Researchers studying the effects of nutrition at Oxford University in England found that daily supplementation with folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 lowered levels of homocysteine, a known risk factor leading to decline in cognition and memory

Read more here

5 Energy Foods

Foods are our body's fuel.  Skip your meal and fatigue sets in quickly. But don't just eat because you are hungry.  The food you consume determines your energy level. Here are 5 foods that can help you have feeling more energized all day long.

1. Water.
This is an often overlooked performance enhancing supplement. More than 70% of our body is made out of water. All of the body main organs needs adequate water to function. Depriving it of water makes it works harder and this in turn takes extra energy. By keeping yourself hydrated, you are ensuring your body's vital organ runs smoothly and this will make you feeling energized through-out the day.

2. Oatmeal.
This is a food that is rich in high quality complex carbohydrates and energy boosting vitamin Bs. It is also a source of soluble fiber.

3. Seeds.
Seeds such as flax, hemp, quinoa and chia, provide minerals, antioxidants, omega-3 and healthy fats.

4. Banana.
Bananas are rich in potassium.  And potassium is important because it keeps your nervous system functioning properly. Potassium also balances your blood ph level and help in muscle building.

5. Fish.
 Cold water fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring provide excellent omega-3 supply. Besides being among a few foods that can supply Vitamin D, they are also rich in complete protein, magnesium, potassium and energy boosting vitamin B.