Category Archives: Science

The Skinny on Collagen

It seems these days there is so much information out there. This or that is good for you, and then just as much information out there that says this or that is bad for you. How can we make decisions when we are constantly fighting over truth and not knowing who or what to trust, and who or what can help us?

Whether we suffer from anxiety, acne, or stomach aches, there just seems to be so many answers, while no answers at all. Nothing seems to work, while we are told to believe that all these magical pills or herbs for that matter will be the solution.

There’s a part of me that doesn’t believe in solutions, or one quick fix, but rather, as many functional medicine doctors would agree, we need to look at the body as a full system and see how everything interacts with each other. In addition, I feel like we relinquish our inner sense of knowing and put our faith entirely into the hand of the experts.

I encourage you to learn to tap into your feelings and intuition and allow that part of yourself to help you make decisions. YOU ARE MORE POWERFUL THAN YOU THINK.

 

With that being said let’s learn the skinny on another superfood/trendy supplement hitting the streets: COLLAGEN. What’s it all about and how crucial is it that we add it to our green tea avocado matcha smoothies in the morning. Here’s the scoop.

Collagen is the most abundant protein found in your body and the entire animal kingdom. Vital for functioning. 1/3 of all the protein in our bodies; accounts for 75 percent of dry weight of our hair, skin, and nails. It is the glue that holds the body together; the connective tissue: skin/muscle tissue/ bones/tendons.

Collagen production declines naturally as you get older. Some say as early as in our 20’s

Ensuring we have adequate collagen in our bodies is very beneficial. We can either take collagen supplements to achieve this, or eat a diet rich in foods (primarily Vitamin C and antioxidants) that help support our own natural production of collagen. I feel like both are great and beneficial ways to go about. So how about both?!

Here is the science that backs supplemental collagen in helping several health ailments.

So as the science is beginning to show, increasing collagen production has a great impact on supporting supple skin. Others agree, that collagen can be used post-workout to help with muscle repair and support.

Also, there are natural ways to support collagen production:

  • Limit Prolonged Sun Exposure
  • Diet low in sugar, STRESS (big one…), cigarettes etc.
  • Drink lots of water… is this all starting to sound familiar by now?
  • Food
    • citrus fruits
      • oranges, grapefruits, limes, lemons, kiwis
    • dark leafy greens: spinach and kale
    • red fruits and veggies: like beets!
    • orange fruits and veggies: like carrots, sweet potatoes
    • broccoli
    • cauliflower
    • onion, shallots, leeks
    • white tea
    • legumes: peas and lentils
    • nuts
    • garlic
    • avocados
    • chia seeds
    • pumpkin seeds

So I guess essentially, just eating healthy? Either way, here is a nice framework for better understanding our bodies and the ways it produces and intakes collagen.

Thoughts on collagen. Natural VS. Supplementing. What are your tips and tricks for healthy supple skin?

Susan Cain: The power of introverts

“In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.”

Self-Directed Biological Transformation (via SFGate)

“This week some exciting news has come out about the effect of meditation on personal wellbeing. Adding to the mounting evidence that meditation has a number of beneficial effects on things like blood pressure and depression, what’s crucial in the new study, which just appeared in Springer Nature’s journal Translational Psychiatry, is that meditation actually causes changes at the deepest level, in our genes. The study was top level, involving scientists from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, the University of California, San Francisco, and Harvard Medical School. Before detailing the research, let us paint the broader picture, because that’s where the real breakthrough is occurring.”

Source: SFGate

Menstruation and Moon Cycle: 101

Interestingly, many women cycle with the moon. We all know about ‘syncing’ up with people that you are close with and live with. This is something I would like to do more research on. But one thing, that many people don’t know, is the frequency in which women’s cycle sync with the moon.

moon

Mystic Mamma, cites in her article, Moontime~ Sacred time for Women

“Traditionally, the Moontime is the sacred time of woman when she is honored as a Mother of the Creative Force. During this time she is allowed to release the old energy her body has carried and prepare for reconnection to the Earth Mother’s fertility that she will carry in the next Moon or month. Our Ancestors understood the importance of allowing each woman to have her Sacred Space during this time of reconnection, because women were the carriers of abundance and fertility…”

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One thing I’ve come to learn in my own experience is how frequently our moon time LITERALLY syncs up with the MOON. That is, the frequency in which women have their period BEGIN with the FULL or the NEW moon. This is fascinating to me, and any supporting research surrounding this is of great interest.

This study explores female menstruation and it’s relationship to the moon cycles, The regulation of menstrual cycle and its relationship to the moon.

Here is a great article from Cycle Harmony that discusses the different moon cycles, and goddesses associated, The Moon Cycle and The Menstrual Cycle

For the sake of brevity we will discuss the history of two cycles (though many women may have their cycles during waxing and waning phases of the moon as well) .

Moonsong has a great article, Menstrual Lunar Asynchrony here is a brief synopsis:

A woman who ovulates during the new moon and menstruates on the full moon is part of the Red Moon Cycle. This cycle represented a woman that was not using her sexual energies for conception, but rather for self expression. Women who had their cycles during this time were looked at as the ‘evil woman’,  witches, seductresses, wise woman, medicine women because they represented women that were not using their sexual forces for only conception. It showed orientation away from the energies of procreation. Energies associated with this cycle: outward, world nourishing, learning to transform energy, turn rage into creative action. Creativity and sexuality may be more pronounced during this cycle.

The goddess associated is Ishtar.

ishtar

A woman who ovulates during the full moon and menstruates on the new moon is part of the White Moon Cycle. This cycle was thought to create the best conditions for conception and was often seen for being the ‘good mother’, the only aspect of womanhood acceptable to the patriarchal society. Energies associated with this cycle: inward, healing, self-nourishing. Cleansing and purification may be more pronounced during this cycle.

The goddess associated is Hecate.

hecate

Often times we can cycle more towards one moon time or another, so we are not fixed in these energies but rather it’s a fluid dance of womanhood to vacillate between the two.

This infographic shows how our cycle is often observed.

moon 2

Tracking your cycle can be fun and empowering. MyDays is a good app that allows you to put in your period times so you can become more self-aware! Regardless of where your period falls, our period is a good time to care for ourselves and provide self-love and relief.

Here is an article that discusses good yoga poses for menstruation, Yoga for Menstruation.

Some teas and herbal remedies for menstruation, Herbal Remedies for Menstruation

Check out this article, Can Essential Oils Relieve My Menstrual Cramps?

And Wellness Mamas article, Essential Oils for Hormone Balance

Please comment with any knowledge/experience/research surrounding menstruation!

 

KISSES <3

 

Vetiver: Travel, Magical Indian Grass and Supporting Research

vetiver

When I first smelled vetiver, it blew me away. There was something so specific  about it… so, familiar. My co-worker was putting some on one morning (we are yoga teachers and work in inner-city public schools, so it was no surprise that she was loading herself up with protective essential oils to face the potential brutality of the day).

She asked if I wanted to armor up, and I immediately fell in LOVE with this smell, I couldn’t stop sniffing my sleeve where it’s magical droplets had found themselves. It permeated my skin, my car, and right when my mom hugged me several hours later, it was the first thing she noticed and mentioned.

Different countries have plants native to them. They may have a plant so ingrained in their culture it is like apples and bananas to us. Some magical and mysterious herbs and spices and scents that we had no idea existed, exist. Vetiver, I have come to find, is one of them. How fun would it be to travel and explore the smells of different lands…

Vetiver is native to India, but has exploded all over Asia and Africa. In Sri Lanka it is known as the “oil of tranquility”, because it is known for it’s COOLING properties; thus, tropical places use it to cool down in hot summer months. It is built into thatch walls to freshen up a room.

Positive Health Wellness dives into the value of travel for health, check out this great article:

8 Reasons Why Traveling Is Good for Your Health

Surprisingly, there has been quite a bit of research done on the effects of Vetiver:

-Skin problems (Biological activity of vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides) essential oil in human dermal fibroblasts)

-Soothe feelings of anxiety and nervousness (Anxiety-like behaviour and c-fos expression in rats that inhaled vetiver essential oil)

-Treat symptoms of ADHD and ADD (ADHD Research by Dr. Terry Friedmann )

-Antioxidant Properties (Evaluation of antioxidant activity of vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides L.) oil and identification of its antioxidant constituents) (Vetiver oil (Java) attenuates cisplatin-induced oxidative stress, nephrotoxicity and myelosuppression in Swiss albino mice.)

-Improve Sleep (Modification of sleep-waking and electroencephalogram induced by vetiver essential oil inhalation.) ; (Odors enhance slow-wave activity in non-rapid eye movement sleep.)

vetiver

Aromatherapy: In Hospitals, and Suggested Uses.

“Then the LORD said to Moses, “Take for yourself spices, stacte and onycha and galbanum, spices with pure frankincense; there shall be an equal part of each. “With it you shall make incense, a perfume, the work of a perfumer, salted, pure, and holy. “You shall beat some of it very fine, and put part of it before the testimony in the tent of meeting where I will meet with you; it shall be most holy to you” [Exodus 30:34-38]

IMG_6047
“Aromatherapy uses plant materials and aromatic plant oils, including essential oils, and other aroma compounds for improving psychological or physical well-being. [Wikipedia]

It is even making it’s way into hospitals… 

aromatherapy 1

“Studies already have found that inhaled Mentha piperita reduces the need for Zofran in chemo-induced nausea, she said. Also, the M technique, with or without essential oils such as frankincense or lavender, can be effective in reducing terminal agitation at the end of life, Buckle says.”

Fort Worth Hospital Incorporates Aromatherapy, 2008

The following mentioned study had statistically significant results, and evidenced the use of lavender oil to improve the quality of sleep of patients.

Effect of aromatherapy on the quality of sleep in ischemic heart disease patients hospitalized in intensive care units of heart hospitals of the Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, 2010

Now, this use of aromatherapy is called “complementary medicine”: “Complementary medicine (CM) or integrative medicine (IM) is when alternative medicine is used together with functional medical treatment, in a belief that it improves the effect of treatments.” [Wikipedia]

aromatherapy 3

If done mindfully, and safely, we can experiment with aromatherapy at home. Explored in a controlled and conscious way we can do self-study on its effects. Here are some common ailments, and the suggested essential oils said to provide relief:

Agitation: Chamomile, Lavendar, Mandarin, Sandalwood

Anxiety/ Fear: Bergamot, Chamomile, Cedarwood, Frankincense, Jasmine, Lavendar, Neroli, Patchouli, Rose, Sandalwood

Aphrodisiac: Clary Sage, Jasmine, Patchouli, Rose, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Ylang Ylang

Fatigue: Basil, Bergamot, Clary Sage, Frankincense, Ginger, Grapefruit, Jasmine, Lemon, Patchouli, Peppermint, Rosemary, Sandalwood

Isolation: Chamomile, Bergamot, Clary Sage, Frankincense, Rose

Memory Boosters: Basil, Cypress, Lemon, Peppermint, Rosemary

Sadness/Grief: Bergamot, Chamomile, Clary Sage, Frankincense, Grapefruit, Jasmine, Lavender, Lemon, Orange, Rose, Sandalwood, Ylang Ylang

Self Esteem: Bergamot, Cypress, Grapefruit, Jasmine, Orange, Rosemary

Stress Relief: Bergamot, Chamomile, Lavender, Lemon, Orange, Patchouli, Vanilla, Ylang Ylang

aromatherapy 4