In 1968, a group of German scientists discovered the active flavonoid complex silymarin, which provides milk thistle’s medicinal benefits.
Since then, hundreds of studies have been done on silymarin, and it is approved in the German Commission E Monographs (the most accurate information available on the safety and efficacy of herbs) as a supportive treatment for inflammatory liver conditions such as cirrhosis, hepatitis, and fatty infiltration caused by alcohol and other toxins.
Silymarin is used to:
Regenerate liver cells damaged by alcohol or drugs
Decongest the liver (A liver decongestant stimulates bile flow through the liver and gallbladder, thus reducing stagnation and preventing gallstone formation and bile-induced liver damage.)
Increase the survival rate of patients with cirrhosis4
Serotonin, or 5-hydroxytryptomine (5-HT), was first identified over 50 years ago. Since then, scientists have found that low serotonin can be a serious problem for many people. It is responsible for a wide variety of central nervous system effects, including emotional equanimity, restful sleep, the regulation and perception of pain, sexual behavior, appetite control, and our general level of satisfaction and happiness with the world around us.
You may recognize the symptoms of low serotonin. They can affect anyone with anything from common, garden-variety malaise to serious emotional disorders. Here are just some of the symptoms:
Low self esteem
Loss of interest and pleasure in usual activities
Sleep and appetite disturbances
Even worse, research indicates that low serotonin is associated with aggressive and violent behavior, as well as suicide, which appears to be on the rise.
Surprisingly, there are several inexpensive, safe, and effective nutritional approaches to enhance serotonin levels. In fact, solid scientific evidence that these nutritional approaches may actually work as well as (or even better) than Prozac® or similar types of drugs known as SSRI’s, or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors.
But you wouldn’t know this if you only followed mainstream information. These drugs are big, big business — reaping billions a year in profits for the big drug companies. There is a strong commercial interest in keeping them on the market, regardless of the methods and consequences.
Nobody disputes the fact that SSRI’s and other antidepressants have a place in the world. And we don’t advocate anyone terminating any subscription medication and trying alternative treatments without consulting their physician beforehand.
But we do believe, and studies have proven, that there is a place for nutritionally-based supplements in the fight against depression, anxiety, all the related illnesses, and even just for those of us who often “just don’t feel well.”
Supplements that act on serotonin levels have been proven effective in a variety of treatments:
Depression: In a series of studies dating back to the late 1960s and early 1970s, 5-HTP given to seriously depressed people was reported to produce dramatic and sudden improvements.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: L-Tryptophan was found to be effective in reducing the symptoms of OCD.
Anxiety: Ten patients with anxiety were treated with 5-HTP, and significant reduction in anxiety was measured on three different scales designed to measure anxiety. And in a study of 20 people with panic disorders, several experienced relief after receiving 5-HTP.
Preventing Migraine Headaches: One study showed that 5-HTP can reduce the intensity and duration of migraine headaches. Another study showed that 5-HTP is even more effective in preventing migraines.
Enhancing Sleep: The action of 5-HTP and tryptophan in promoting sleep without a drugged feeling or morning hangover are similar to the hormone melatonin, which is well-known for its sleep-regulating function. This is probably due to the fact that some of the serotonin produced in the body is converted directly into melatonin. Serotonin may also promote sleep by helping the brain “tune out” unwanted stimulation. One French study found that administration of 5-HTP to “mildly insomniac” people resulted in significant improvement.
Suppressing Appetite: According to a British obesity expert, among the most effective and safest candidates for drugs that genuinely suppress appetite are those that increase serotonin in the brain. Not surprisingly, one of the most common uses of SSRIs these days has been to suppress appetite with the goal of losing weight. But in one well-controlled study researchers found significant weight loss in a group treated with 5-HTP.
Fibromyalgia Relief: Two major studies in Italy demonstrated significant improvement in patients according to six different criteria.
Preventing Heart Disease: One surprising benefit of minimizing depression, anxiety and stress is a correlation with a reduction in the danger of heart disease. This has been demonstrated by a host of studies, but is far too complex a subject to investigate within the scope of this article. However, the connection is well documented.
Please review the following articles to read more about low serotonin and related health issues.
If you need help in reducing your stress and anxiety levels—and most of us probably do—you should be aware of Magnolia Extract, an ancient Chinese medicine that has been proven as a powerful antioxidant, anticancer weapon, and an amazingly effective tool to combat the stress and anxiety of modern life.
MCT Oil (medium chain triglycerides) are digested and utilized differently than other fatty acids. Instead of being packaged into lipoproteins that circulate in the bloodstream, they are absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the portal vein, and are then transported to the liver. Because they don’t need bile or pancreatic enzymes to break down, they are easier to digest. And because they are easier to digest, they provide your body with quick energy, like carbohydrates.
Another exciting fact about MCT oil is it provides cellular energy very quickly – without relying on glucose. This is particularly significant when the supply of glucose is compromised due to insulin resistance, a common health concern.
And there is good cause for concern. Insulin resistance is a growing health concern and predisposes many serious health problems. Between 1994 and 2002, a 23% growth rate brought the number to 6.8% of the total U.S. population.
Most MCT oils consist primarily of C-8, C-10, and C-12 carbon lengths. While these are good general purpose oils that will not store as fat, the ketone potential is limited. As mentioned earlier, MCT oil is rapidly converted to energy producing ketones or excreted. Most people can’t tolerate the multiple tablespoons of traditional MCT oil required to stimulate meaningful amounts of ketones. Stomach upset and diarrhea are the likely result. Only C-8 MCT oil supports an abundance of ketones with a dosage free of gastric side effects. With the lower dosage comes a lower calorie content and more effective stimulation of the fat to ketone energy cycle.
A recent study concluded C8 MCT was about three times more ketogenic than C10 and about six times more ketogenic than C12.