What is health? and how to maintain or restore it?
a book outline or opening.
Outlining? Before I try to outline the Exposure to Toxins chapter, I need to look closer at the book as a whole, so an attempt to nutshell the main points - the healthy diet and habits would be the How-To’s to help tip our body’s circadian cycle from day-mode which modern life is keeping us in, back to night-mode each night. Then we may be able to achieve ‘health’ - a better quality of life and energy level.
Tipping the Clock Toward Health
What is health?
Quality of life, good energy level, lack of pain.
Stable mood, social life that isn’t difficult, stress coping adequacy.
Clear-headed decision making that isn’t difficult.
Sexual health and ability to have children if desired (fertile if age appropriate).
Fall asleep easily, stay asleep, wake up rested in the morning and clear-headed.
Comfortable digestion and defecation.
Healthy skin, hair, and mucous membranes.
Little pain or hypersensitivity to chemicals.
Modern life disrupts health in many ways, making it near impossible to have quality of life and health without some special effort.
At the most basic level of night and day, dark and light, our circadian cycle is disrupted by modern life and that disrupts our health and that of our environment’s species. Plants and animals are suffering for some of the same reasons - too much light when it should be dark and too many toxins and too little nutrients.
Modern life tips us into the action-oriented but inflammatory ‘day’ mode of our body’s circadian cycle - and keeps us there. We aren’t getting our restful, cleansing, and restorative ‘night’ mode. During our circadian cycle night-mode our body switches to anti-inflammatory chemical pathways that help with detoxifying and removing toxins, defective cells or cellular debris, rebuilding tissue, and repairing DNA damage before it becomes a cancerous or disease-causing problem.
How do we switch on our circadian cycle night-mode again? and restore a health restoring good night’s sleep?
It isn’t easy because there are many potential problems associated with modern life.
Light/Dark - sleep hygiene refers to health habits that may support a better rest. Black out curtain level darkness is best - cover all alarm clock lights. Use an eye mask if necessary but total darkness is better because our skin has receptors that perceive light too. Light at night keeps us more in day-mode and reduces melatonin production.
Full spectrum sunshine or lamps in the morning helps the body shift into day-mode and alertness. Early morning is ideal and later too. Sunshine can improve our vitamin A and D balance as it affects the metabolism of both.
Dim lights or blue light blocking glasses used for the three hours prior to sleep can help with calming the body into night-mode.
Diet - macro nutrient ratio. If the ratio of calories from saturated fats is above 10% or of total fat above 50-60% of the total calories in the average diet or binge days, then mitochondria are shifted into more inflammatory pathways - more like day-mode but more like cancer-mode too. Diets with a moderate carbohydrate ratio may be better than the current standard of 50-55% of calories from carbohydrates. That can tip us into an overeating problem and may cause excess blood sugar which turns into fat storage.
Diet - Nrf2 promoting phytonutrients and omega-3 fatty acids. Within the fat portion of the diet, a good ratio of omega-3 fatty acids is needed in comparison to the polyunsaturated oils and omega-6 fatty acids or the inflammatory pathways will be promoted.
Many phytonutrients in a wide range of foods can help promote the anti-inflammatory Nrf2 pathways of night-mode and inhibit the inflammatory NFkB pathways of day-mode. Think of our bodies as a factory with a night shift and a day shift and they share the same assembly line and machines - but they make different products. They can’t make both types of products at the same time. When we are chronically in ‘day-mode’ the NFkB pathways are using the assembly line so ‘night-mode’ Nrf2 rebuild/repair pathways can’t use the factory (or certain proteins).
Diet - adequate vitamins and trace minerals and mitochondrial cofactors. For health our bodies need to be able to keep up with building things and with clean-up. Active life uses energy, which creates metabolic waste, like the coals or ash at the end of a campfire. That metabolic waste needs antioxidants to make it safer, less toxic or acidic, and ready to be excreted by the kidneys or in sweat. Many nutrients are needed by our mitochondria to function efficiently with the methylation and citric acid cycles rather than with the more cancer-like fermentation method. Lacking any one of the many critical nutrients can make the whole cycles shut down - shift to fermentation. For a healthy night-mode we need our mitochondria and cells to perform the methylation and citric acid cycles.
Diet - microbiome support: fiber, resistant starches, probiotics or fermented foods, zinc. We not only need our mitochondria to be healthy, we need our microbiome to be healthy too as it can help health or add more toxins and negative symptoms. A healthy microbiome may be difficult if stress is excessive as that can be a cause of gut dysbiosis. Ultra-processed foods also seem to directly promote an unhealthy microbiome. Our beneficial species need better foods - suggesting that we do too.
Water - adequate water is essential - better water is better. Deuterium rich water and foods can be a health negative.
Structured water of foods are a health positive.
Deuterium depleted-water may be an expensive heath aid that might help someone who is ill. Reducing the causes of increased deuterium would be more cost effective.
Exercise - gentle full-range stretching, aerobic and strength-training exercise can all benefit health. Any movement helps support mitochondrial function which suggests that our mitochondria expect us, their host, to be a moving functioning host. Full range motion helps work fluid through our lymphatic system to be cleaned at lymph nodes by white blood cells and waste removed to be excreted from the blood in the urine. Aerobic and muscle strengthening work helps keep our nerves firing and muscles and bones moving efficiently. Using pathways helps them stay nourished as the nerve signaling is also signaling support cells to provide nutrients and growth hormones.
Reduce toxins, reduce stress. There are many toxins including EMF and excess blue light from our digital screen use; agricultural herbicides and pesticides; volatile chemicals in bad air or off-gassing from new plastic products; heavy metal nanoparticles in cosmetics, foods and the bad air too; food additives that are approved for use but are not really safe for most people or for some sensitive people (varies for specific chemicals); loud repetitive noise; strobe light effects; fear, emotional confusion, lack of autonomy or freedom, other emotional stress; ….other stuff.
Identify and reduce or eliminate dietary toxins that are personally inflammatory. This may include allergens; autoimmune molecular mimicry proteins; TRP channel activators for IBS or migraine sufferers and possibly other conditions; modern emulsifiers; excitotoxins - glutamate seasonings, aspartame and Neotame alternative sweeteners; glyphosate (may be adding to GI symptoms); histamine containing or triggering foods; and Retinoid Toxicity.
Genetics, epigenetics, and microRNA. Genetics can be a factor but the good news is that plant polyphenols can reset what proteins are being produced by modifying expression of microRNA. Negative gene effects can be modified up or down as needed by plant polyphenols from pomegranate and other functional foods - super foods that help restore our healthy function.
Genetic screening is more available now for self-pay and can help identify specific needs due to dysfunctional alleles that may be present.
Targeted supplements can make an enormous difference in health when a gene difference is significant enough to cause a lack of an essential nutrient or enzyme.
Epigenetics is potentially reversible with improved methylation cycles and nutrient availability. Otherwise, lack of zinc, microRNA balance and microbiome health can affect methylation rates. Too much or too little methylation of genes may negatively impact health. Simply taking a lot of methyl vitamins might not help if lack of those was not your individual issue.
How to be healthy?
Identify what is making your body inflamed and stop doing that. Add more things that help reduce inflammation.
Buying organic food and cooking more from scratch is helpful in our modern food environment. The negatives are so numerous in the food supply and the macronutrient balance is frequently not tipped towards health. How to cook is a bigger question than many people realize, or a simpler one than they may fear or expect. Yes, nit-picky fancy things can be prepared with a lot of time and detail, but simpler wholesome foods can also be prepared with some know-how and basic kitchen tools. As skills are learned and new favorites are added to your pantry (the shelf stable food or condiments that help with preparing fresh foods), it can become a lot of fun to cook what you like and garnish it how you enjoy it.
Your favorite beverages can also become a health treat with the addition of favorite herbs, spices or herbal teas or a dropper of an herbal extract. Making structured water beverages is also a tasty health treat.
Cheerful Juice recipe, an example of a health beverage individualized for BHMT gene dysfunction (DMG & methionine).
Approximately: 14 ounces water or herbal tea; 2 ounces of pomegranate juice; 1/2-1 teaspoon each: dimethylglycine (DMG) and methionine powder, 1/4-1/2 teaspoon each: lysine, N-acetylcysteine and taurine; a dash of baking soda; 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder; 1/4-1/2 teaspoon Gotu kola powder; 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract; a teaspoon of stevia powder; a tablespoon of pure maple syrup.
I have been working on that mix for several years. The amino acid powders are acidic. Sweetener and the baking soda helps make it possible to drink. I sip it slowly over the day and keep it in a bottle in the refrigerator. Making a big glass and trying to drink it at once was too much acidity for my sensitive gut.
Not having any too many days in a row seems to be a migraine factor for me. Having some dimethylglycine in particular seems to help if I have a migraine and had been skipping my Cheerful juice too many days. The name is “Cheerful Juice” because it makes me cheerful too, if I haven’t had it in a long time - or the first time I tried it. It was eye-opening to realize that I had been lacking a ‘cheerful’ factor all of my prior life. I likely need more than the 1/2-1 teaspoon per day also, but some is better than none. The BHMT gene allele means betaine (Trimethylglycine) is not converted to dimethylglycine well and also effects methionine metabolism in the methylation cycles.
Individualized health care is something a good health practitioner can help with but will not be able to dictate to you. You will need to learn to listen to your own body and learn what seems to help (feels good the next day and immediately) and what doesn’t seem to help (may feel good immediately but leaves negative symptoms later on).
Emotional issues and a negative attitude can add up to negative health. Having a positive outlook and a sense of purpose to accomplish each day can be a big factor in good health.
Health is worth the work of daily self-care habits as the payoff is the good mood, energy level and quality of life.
What is Gotu kola? I don’t know. I bought a bag vaguely remembering it can help alertness - It is the kola of original Coca Cola I think (and cocaine leaves were the Coca source). A coffee substitute for me maybe, and then I didn’t know what to do with it, so I tried it in my Cheerful Juice a few times and then forgot it and wondered what was wrong with my Cheerful Juice that day. It was the missing Gotu kola. It has an interesting flavor and may help mood and improve venous insufficiency - so good score for my individual health needs.
Gotu kola is a plant in the parsley family. It may improve mood by increasing alertness and reducing anger - perfect for my Cheerful Juice. It is not recommended for pregnancy, lactation or for children. It may have diuretic effects, reduce blood sugar, and add t anti-anxiety effects of that type of medication. (verywellhealth.com)
*A housekeeping note - I have added a Pomegranate section and this time just checked that subscribers will get emails to new posts for that section. I am moving my older pomegranate posts into that section for ease of reference. I will be adding more copies of Sayer Ji’s posts about pomegranate but will schedule them over a few weeks. Hopefully it will be easy for readers to have a pomegranate focused section.
Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of Fair Use. It is not intended to provide individual guidance. Please seek a health care provider for individualized health care guidance.
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