Mood and the Microbiome

By Pam Conboy

The gut-brain axis is a communication network that links the central nervous system (CNS) with the enteric nervous system. The anatomical network includes the brain and spinal cord (CNS), autonomic nervous system (ANS), hypothalamic-adrenal-pituitary (HPA) axis, and innervation of the GI tract, or enteric nervous system. Both neural and hormonal routes of communication allow the brain to influence intestinal activities, including activity of functional effector cells (i.e., immune cells, epithelial cells, enteric neurons, smooth muscle cells, interstitial cells, etc.). Gut microbiota also influence the central nervous system both directly and indirectly by supporting epithelial barrier function, modulating immune function, supporting healthy inflammation metabolism, and directly altering circulating neurotransmitter levels. All of this gut-brain chatter has a remarkable influence on mood.

Gut-Brain Axis

Microbiota Mechanisms of Action

  • Intestinal epithelial barrier strengthening
  • Immunity and inflammation modulation
  • Hormone and neurotransmitter modulation

Although most of the research linking mood and the microbiota has come from animal models, clinical trials have begun to validate the cognitive impact of probiotics, or, psychobiotics.1,2

In a randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 40 adults, participants received a multi-strain probiotic formula (Ecologic BARRIER, Winclove, Amsterdam) at a dose of 5 billion CFU per day. Over the four-week period, the treatment group reported significant improvements in cognitive reactivity to sad mood as evidenced by a reduction in aggressive and ruminative thoughts (LEIDS-r scale). Of particular note in this study is the use of a probiotic as first-line clinical support for mental wellbeing.

A more recent, systematic ten-study review by Wallace and Milev assessed probiotic influence on mood, stress, and cognition.4 Although, most of the studies demonstrated positive results on measures of mood, they were heterogeneous in terms of probiotic strain, dosing, and duration of treatment. The authors therefore concluded that further randomized controlled clinical trials are warranted.

Nonetheless, there seems no doubt that manipulation of the gut microbiota is a promising mental health intervention. As neuroscientist, Jane Foster, PhD of McMaster University states, “It might be time to start thinking about treating [sad mood] from the bottom up instead of the top down. The evidence is there that the brain is responding to the gut. Let’s make that the therapeutic pathway.”5

  • Fond G, Boukouaci W, Chevalier G, Regnault A, Eberl G, Hamdani N, et al. The "psychomicrobiotic": Targeting microbiota in major psychiatric disorders: a systematic review. Pathol Biol (Paris). 2015;63:35-42.
  • Evrensel A, Ceylan ME. The Gut-Brain Axis: The missing link in depression. Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci. 2015;13(3):239-244.
  • Steenbergen L, Sellaro R, van Hemert S, et al. A randomized controlled trial to test the effect of multispecies probiotics on cognitive reactivity to sad mood. Brain Behav Immun. 2015 Aug;48:258-64.
  • Wallace CJK, Milev R. The effects of probiotics on depressive symptoms in humans: a systematic review. Ann Gen Psychiatry. 2017;16:14. DOI 10.1186/s12991-017-0138-2.


About the Author:

Majored in biology and trained as a medical technologist, Pam left the laboratory bench early on to pursue a career in marketing. In vitro diagnostics was the initial focus, where she began as a product manager. After more than a decade working for companies large and small, she spent nearly 15 years as an independent marketing consultant serving bio/pharma, medical device, and animal health companies worldwide. Today, Pam is the Director of Marketing for Klaire Labs (SFI USA) I Reno, NV.

Practical Applications for Curcumin in Common Disease Treatment

By Natural Partners

Curcumin has been traditionally used for thousands of years for health issues such as gas, digestion, menstrual irregularities, parasites and even gallstones. Curcumin is extracted from the root or rhizome turmeric, its active compounds being curcuminoids (demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin). Curcumin has almost 100 molecular targets and several mechanisms of action. Because of this, curcumin has been shown to be helpful in the treating diseases such as hepatitis and liver disease, depression, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and HPV.

For liver disease in particular, curcumin has many therapeutic applications. With the prevalence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease increasing more than any other type of liver disease, curcumin is being used more and more to help treat it. Curcumin treats nonalcoholic fatty liver disease effectively because it improves glucose disposal and insulin sensitivity, blocking fat deposits in the liver. For other liver disease, curcumin has been shown to reduce drug induced hepatotoxicity, enhance the effects of antiviral drugs in the suppression of Hepatitis B, inhibit Hepatitis C virus replication, and protect liver cells from oxidative stress.

Curcumin is also becoming prevalent in the treatment of cervical cancer and HPV. Cervical cancer is the third most common cancer world-wide and one of the leading causes of death in developed countries. Typically, cervical cancer is associated with HPV and curcumin has been shown to slow or limit the activity of the HPV virus. By enhancing p53 activation, a gene that can act as a tumor surpressor, curcumin can help fight HPV infection.

With the treatment of diabetes, curcumin is proving to be effective as well. Millions of Americans have type II diabetes and the trend continues to  increase, year after year. Curcumin can act in multiple ways to reduce blood sugar levels and decrease insulin resistance. Primarily, curcumin significantly reduces HbA1c levels. With pre-diabetic patients, curcumin can help stop the conversion to type II diabetes. In other clinical human trials, curcumin has shown to  decrease fasting blood glucose, insulin resistance index, serum FFA and triglycerides, C peptides, ALT and AST levels while increasing LPL activity, adiponectin, and insulin AUC/postprandial serum insulin levels.

Depression is another disease that can be difficult to treat, but practitioners are finding curcumin very useful in this application as well. Curcumin is uniquely able to address multiple biological mechanisms associated with depression such as oxidative stress, immuno-inflammation, and HPA-activity while promoting neurogenesis. In some studies, curcumin has even been shown to be as effective as fluoxetine (Prozac) in treating symptoms of depression. More importantly, curcumin has much less reported side effects than prescription anti-depressants.

One of the issues with both turmeric and curcmin is that they are poorly absorbed in the blood stream. Different products can use one or a combination of various absorption agents to deliver the curcumin. Potencies can range from 10% to nearly 90% curcuminoid content, which is the most important factor when choosing a curcumin supplement, so the type of supplement and delivery form makes a difference. Whether it is used in preventative medicine or to treat acute illness, curcumin is proving to be effective in many areas as we accumulate more data. Time will tell what curcumin applications could extend to in the future.


Sasaki H. Innovative preparation of curcumin for improved oral bioavailability. Biol Pharm Bull. 2011;34(5):660-665.

Cuomo J. Comparative absorption of a standardized curcuminoid mixture and its lecithin formulation. J Nat Prod. 2011;74(4):664-9.

Gota VS. Safety and pharmacokinetics of a solid lipid curcumin particle formulation in osteosarcoma patients and healthy volunteers. J Agric Food Chem. 2010;58(4):2095-9.

Jager A. Comparative absorption of curcumin formulations. Nutr J. 2014; 13:11.

Sanmukhani J. Efficacy and safety of curcumin in major depressive disorder: a randomized controlled trial. Phytother Res. 2013;28(4):579-85.

Bhardwaj RK. Piperine, a major constituent of black pepper, inhibits human p-glycoprotein and CYP3A4. J Pharmacol. 2002;302:645-650.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Does Your Prenatal Pass the Test?

By Natural Partners

5 Musts to make sure you’re getting the best for mom and baby

Most women know that taking a prenatal vitamin during pregnancy is a good thing, but did you know not all prenatal vitamins are created equal? Different brands have varying quality standards and can even have misleading labeling. When considering which prenatal vitamins might be best for you, there are several factors you want to consider. Take our quick test to make sure your prenatal makes the grade.

Does it have a GMP label?-

Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) guidelines provide guidance for manufacturing, testing, holding and distribution thus supporting quality assurance in order to ensure that a food or drug product is safe for human consumption. In the case of prenatals, it proves even more important because the nutrients are not just going to mom, but baby as well.

Does it have any fillers or excipients?

Manufacturers can fill tablets and capsules up by sometimes adding less than desirable fillers and excipients. Look for brands that don’t add anything else besides key nutrients, vitamins and even beneficial bacteria.

Is it approved organic?

Making sure your prenatal is made mostly of organic ingredients is very important because this ensures that the raw ingredients had little to no exposure to toxic pesticides and herbicides. Today, newborns can show levels of up to 17 organochlorine pesticides in their cord blood!

Are there enough of the right nutrients?

Work with your practitioner to make sure that the levels of nutrients in the prenatal are more than enough. In today’s world, our food is offering less and less nutrients because of soil depletion, so diet alone just isn’t going to cover it.

How do you feel after taking it?

Listen to your body. If you experience any out of the normal nausea, heartburn or gastric discomfort, then that prenatal probably isn’t best for you. If you are sensitive to most prenatals, try a whole food version as they are easier to digest and usually less offensive for women coping with the huge influx of hormones during early pregnancy.


*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Eating for Sexual Vitality

By Natural Partners

There’s a reason the saying “you are what you eat” has stuck around for so long. Our diets really are a reflection of how we feel, hence who we are able to be as people. If you put junk in, you get junk out.  Considering love, intimacy and heart health this February, we want to let you know that there are more foods out there than you may think that help support your sexual vitality. These are foods and herbs that can easily be integrated into your daily routine that will give you a little pep in your step. Here are some of our favorites:


Maca is a root that is typically purchased dehydrated and ground. Maca, also referred to as Peruvian ginseng is one of those wonder plants known as an adaptogen. Essentially it gives your body what it needs when it needs it. Because of its high content of calcium, B vitamins, magnesium, amino acids and trace minerals like zinc and selenium, it packs a one-two punch on everything your reproductive system needs. Maca is used to support both male and female libido as well as increase mood and energy. It has a relatively mild flavor and blends really well into your morning smoothie!


Tarragon is known as an ancient aphrodisiac. The best part is that it tastes amazing. Tarragon is actually in the licorice family, but has a beautiful flavor with a warming effect. Our favorite? A classic sauce Bernaise smothering steamed asparagus (which also happens to be an aphrodisiac and great for your liver and kidney).


Clove is known for its strong antiseptic properties but it is also very stimulating. A little goes a long way, we suggest teas with clove or adding clove essential oil into your diffuser in the bedroom.


Basil is known to boost blood flow and therefore increase heart rate. It has been reported that eating basil regularly actually helps men have lasting erections. Basil is a culinary wonder, but we love it fresh off the plant torn over some ripe heirloom tomatoes with a drizzle of your best quality olive oil and sea salt.


Watermelon is actually known to increase sexual arousal because it contains citrulline which helps dilate blood vessels. We love watermelon cold and tossed into savory salads or in fresh wedges with the rind on at a summer picnic on a warm day.


Truffles are a rumored aphrodisiac, but we’d like to think they are the real deal. How can you not swoon as soon as that unctuous, velvety, sexy aroma hits your nose? Truffles were sought after as far back as Ancient Rome. Today, people use pigs or dogs trained to find truffles in the ground in very specific forest regions. Try a little fresh shaved truffle or good quality truffle oil drizzled over just about anything, but our favorite is a warm silky plate of risotto. It is reported that the smell of truffles mimics the scent of the hormone androstenone, which helps attracts members of the opposite sex. Let’s see what you think and give them a try.


Cinnamon is another spice that helps improve circulation and is warming to the body. Cinnamon is a champion in our spice cabinet. Add it to unsuspecting dishes like fruit salad, pancakes, anything chocolate, and even red meat.


Vanilla is another spice that is known world over as sexually stimulating. Of course fresh vanilla beans are delicious in food such as baked goods and even savory dishes like butter poached lobster with the essence of vanilla, but we love adding a little good quality vanilla extract to an evening bath, maybe an evening bath for two?

These are just some of our favorite foods that help enhance sexual vitality. We hope you give them a try in new and exciting ways in your daily lives. Even better, try growing some of them in your garden, they are even more potent fresh picked!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Vitamin D Status Influences Success of Fertility Treatments

By TAP Integrative

Success rates of assisted reproductive treatments (ART), including in vitro fertilization (IVF), have improved over time because of enhanced abilities to select and transfer the embryo with the highest pregnancy potential. Still, overall success rates were only 36% as of 2016. Researchers suggest that an additional way to improve success rates will be to improve the likelihood of implantation in the uterus. Vitamin D receptors are expressed in the endometrium, and it has been proposed that vitamin D may regulate initial embryo implantation. In this context, researchers have begun to investigate the importance of vitamin D in patients undergoing ART. 

Researchers in the United Kingdom conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to summarize the available evidence related to vitamin D status and reproductive outcomes of ART. The study included cohort studies of women undergoing any form of ART who had their vitamin D status checked. The primary outcome was live birth rates according to vitamin D status.  

 The review included 11 studies and 2700 women. All studies scored well on the Newcastle-Ottowa quality assessment scale, indicating a low risk of bias. All studies were observational cohort studies, all assayed 25(OH) vitamin D, and all used the Endocrine Society classification of vitamin D status (<50 nmol/l deficient; 50-75 nmol/l insufficient; >75 nmol/l replete).  

 The overall prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in the meta-analysis of 11 studies was 35%; insufficiency was 45%; and sufficiency was 26%. Live birth was reported in 7 studies and found to be 33% more likely in women replete in vitamin D when compared to women with insufficient or deficient vitamin D status (OR = 1.33; 95% CI, 1.08-1.65). Women replete in vitamin D were also more likely to achieve a positive pregnancy test (OR = 1.34; 95% CI, 1.04-1.73, based on 5 studies) and clinical pregnancy (OR = 1.45; 95% CI, 1.05-2.20, based on 11 studies). There was no association between vitamin D status and miscarriage.   

The results of this review and meta-analysis demonstrate that women with sufficient vitamin D status have a greater chance of ART success. The authors suggest that treatment of vitamin D deficiency should be considered in women undergoing ART and that the benefits should be evaluated in randomized controlled trials.   


Chu, J., Gallos, I., Tobias, A., Tan, B., Eapen, A., & Coomarasamy, A. (2017). Vitamin D and assisted reproductive treatment outcome: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Hum Reprod, 1-16. 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Detox with Dr. Walter Crinnion and Dr. Holly Lucille

Dr. Walter Crinnion began to look closely at why people were experiencing certain symptoms and certain diseases. One common denominator was a heavy toxic load/burden and an overtaxed liver. Dr. Crinnion suggests that people are constantly exposed to toxins in daily life. For example, urban pollution from primarily diesel exhaust is a large contributing factor to cardiovascular disease and he has noticed an increase in heart attacks shortly following poor air quality days.

Disorders, especially affecting the endocrine system like obesity, diabetes, infertility are commonly linked to car exhaust. Another common toxin comes from low molecular weight phthalates found in skin care, perfumes, and plastics is linked to obesity and blood sugar disorders. Typically the more phthalates found in a patient’s urine, the more likely they are to be overweight or obese.

Understanding and avoiding environmental exposure is key to helping your body naturally detox. Eliminating your exposure to phthalates is a great place to start because that is avoidable. Dr. Crinnion suggests that every person who is environmentally burdened is deficient in Magnesium. Integrating more of it in your life through food and supplementation can potentially help your body’s natural elimination pathways exponentially. Glutathione is usually a deficient nutrient as well.

Dr. Crinnion shares that the CDC suggests that for 246 environmental pollutants, they found over 120 in the test group they measured. This suggests that toxins are basically unavoidable in today’s environment, further stressing the importance of detoxing regularly.

Walter J. Crinnion ND graduated with the first class at what is now, Bastyr University (then called the John Bastyr College of Naturopathic Medicine) in Seattle, Washington in 1982. While there, he had the privilege to have Dr. Bastyr, Dr. Bill Mitchell and Dr. Joe Pizzorno as teachers, mentors and, ultimately friends. Naturopathic medicine is based upon a handful of principles that include: Treat the cause, the healing power of nature and doctor as teacher. He embraced all of the principles and soon began to explore why some patients were not getting better when safe and powerful natural healing techniques were used. He soon realized that the cause of some illnesses were due to an overload of environmental toxicants. Since no one had begun to teach this aspect of medicine in medical schools, he began to search diligently through all the published medical journals and medical conferences to find answers.

Now in his third decade of practice he is considered one of the leading experts in the field of environmental medicine. He started the environmental medicine classes at Bastyr University, University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine, and the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM). At SCNM, he received an appointment as professor in 2003 and was able, with the help of a generous grant from Al and Kelly Czap, to start the department of Environmental Medicine which he chaired until 2013. Since 1999 he has been providing six-month training courses for licensed healthcare providers who wish to become more proficient in environmental medicine. He founded the Naturopathic Association of Environmental Medicine, a specialty board for practitioners in this field that sets standards of care and provides board certification in this area. Dr. Crinnion continues to lecture across North America and Europe at medical conferences where he is a sought-after speaker.

Dr. Holly Lucille, ND, RN serves as the President of California Association of Naturopathic Physicians. Dr. Lucille works at the Los Angeles Free Clinic providing health education, promotion and prevention. Dr. Lucille serves as a Naturopathic physician, an expert on women's health issues. In her private practice, Healing from Within Healthcare in Los Angeles, California, she specializes in Women's Wellness. She has extensive education in various modalities, including homeopathy, clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, body and energy work and mind body and lifestyle counseling. She serves as a Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of PhytoPharmica Inc. She serves as a Member of Scientific Advisory Board at EuroPharma, Inc. She serves as a Member of Medical Advisory Board at Integrative Therapeutics, Inc. She served as Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Enzymatic Therapy, Inc. She serves as Member of Naturopathic Scientific Advisory Committee at Kamedis Bio Herbal Skincare. She is the recipient of the 2004 Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine Legacy Award recognizing her incredible service and contributions to the naturopathic medical community. She is a Registered Nurse. Dr. Lucille has Doctorate from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine where she received the 'Daphne Blayden' award for her 'Commitment to Naturopathic Medicine.

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15 Ways to Improve Your Sleep Hygiene

By Helene Wechsler, MD

Most of us know by now that getting a minimum of 7 hours of sleep a night is best for us, but getting there can be a little difficult. People who sleep seven hours a night are healthier and live longer. 1 For various reasons including stress, anxiety, and stimulants from your diet, many adults do not get their minimum 7 hours and suffer because of it.  Guidelines issued in 2015 by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society state that adults need to get seven or more hours of sleep per night on a regular basis to remain in optimal health.  Sleeping less than seven hours per night is associated with weight gain, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, depression and premature death, as well as impaired immune function, increased pain, impaired performance and greater risk of accidents.2

Sleep, it turns out, may play a crucial role in our brain’s physiological maintenance. As your body sleeps, your brain is clearing out all the junk that has accumulated as a result of your daily thinking.  A 2013 study published in the Journal of Science found that metabolic waste products of neural activity were cleared out of the sleeping brain at a faster rate than during the awake state. This finding suggests that sleep serves a restorative function for our brain.3 After more than a decade of study, doctors have finally found direct evidence that synapses reset at night.4

Tips and Strategies-

Be Cool:

Cool, dark and quiet are key. While it’s great for your bedroom to look cool, we mean temperature as 60-75 degrees is ideal. “Decreasing body temperature is one of the strongest signals to our brain to bring on sleep onset. This decrease in temperature is regulated in part by the ambient temperature. Thus, when the ambient temperature is too high, the body cannot cool itself and therefore can't fall asleep. Cool bodies sleep better.”5 Taking a hot bath before bedtime is also a good idea, because once you get out of the bath, your body cools down more quickly.  This will help you drift off to sleep.6

Keep it Dark:

Sunlight is a powerful cue that tells the brain that it's time to wake up. Use blackout curtains or shades to block any incoming light and turn off any devices that have a light or glow.

Hush Hush:

The quieter the better. Use earplugs if your room has ambient noise or a sound machine with a soothing white noise or something that appeals to you like rain or waves to help you drift off.

Check your Meds and Diet:

Many medications and foods contain stimulants. Check your meds and supplements with your physician, but make sure you are not taking in caffeine, nicotine, sugar and alcohol in the evenings and even late afternoon.

Make a Routine:

Schedule a time to go to bed every night and stick to it, even on weekends. For some, creating a relaxing routine up to bedtime works best.

Screens, Screens, Go Away:

Anything with a screen should not be in the bedroom if you want good sleep. The blue light from tablets and smartphones have the same effect as sunlight on your brain, the opposite of what you want at bedtime.

Beds are for Sleeping and Romance:

This means keep the bed a “special” place. Working, eating, and watching TV are things that should be avoided in bed. An Italian study shows that people who have screens in the bedroom have half the amount of sex as those who do not.

No Midnight Snacks:

Eating and then sleeping is not a good idea because people generally experience acid reflux as your digestive system is most effective when your body is upright. If you are overweight, this imposes difficulties for your metabolism and hormonal balance, which can subsequently make you gain even more weight.

Catch Some Rays:

Getting sunlight in the morning is not only a good idea because it helps reset your internal clock, but the Vitamin D is also very beneficial. Go outside for some fresh air in the morning or make a habit of sitting by the window for 15 minutes with your morning coffee, journal or meditate.

Ditch the Pill and Try Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT):

The American College of Physicians advises its members that CBT should be the first line of treatment offered patients with insomnia. The key element of cognitive behavioral therapy is cognitive restructuring which challenges you to reframe negative ways of thinking that can become their own self-fulfilling prophecies. CBT asks you to look at the situation differently, and replace the negative thought with a positive one. During a CBT session, patients are educated about good sleep practices, how to complete a sleep diary, and dysfunctional beliefs and misconceptions about insomnia. Many studies have shown that CBT has a significant effect on the short- and long-term treatment of chronic insomnia. 7


Many sleep studies have shown that exercise during the day aids sleeping at night. The recommended amount of exercise is: 2½ hours a week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, along with strength or resistance training that targets every muscle group at least two days a week.  Moderate-intensity exercise can be brisk walking, light biking, elliptical machine; anything that increases your heart rate so that you can still talk while exercising but must catch your breath every few sentences.7 Exercising outside is also helpful, because bright light can help promote sleep.

Let Mother Nature Help:

A recent study released in the Journal Current Biology showed that spending time in nature can work wonders for your health, from lowering blood pressure and stress hormones to improving your sleep. Growing research suggests it improves our sleep by resetting our internal clocks to a natural sleep cycle.8


There’s no doubt that yoga is a gentle way to wind down your day. Anecdotally, people have reported longer, better-quality sleep and feeling more refreshed upon awakening, after practicing yoga.  Try a restorative or deep stretch yoga class to help you wind down.


In a 2015 study in JAMA Internal Medicine, adults who spent two hours a week learning meditation and mindfulness techniques for six weeks reported less insomnia and fatigue than those who’d spent that time learning basic sleep hygiene. Mindfulness is an increasingly popular form of meditation. It teaches you to work with certain thoughts to put sleep and insomnia into perspective.9

Turn to Herbs:

Melatonin, valerian root, and l-tryptophan all are backed with studies that show they can improve sleep and increase the amount of time you sleep. They are a great natural, non-habit forming method to improve sleep. Consult your physician to see if they might work for you. For a more gentle approach try lavender essential oil. You can put it in a diffuser, in your evening bath or even a spritz on your pillow.


*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Tart Cherry Juice for Insomnia

By TAP Integrative

Sleep and sleep disorders are multifactorial but mediated in part by the activity of melatonin and its precursors. Melatonin is derived from serotonin, which in turn is derived from the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan can also be degraded by the enzyme indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) to produce kynurenine—a biochemical pathway that is stimulated by inflammation. Inflammation stimulates greater degradation of tryptophan, a higher kynurenine:tryptophan ratio, and a lower availability of tryptophan as a precursor for serotonin and melatonin.

These biochemical pathways suggest that interventions aimed at decreasing inflammation might also increase the availability of tryptophan, boost production of melatonin, and improve sleep. Montmorency (Prunus cerasus) tart cherry juice contains a small amount of melatonin (0.135g per 100g), a small amount of tryptophan (9mg per 100g), and 0.2% procyanidins—plant compounds known for their anti-inflammatory effect. A small pilot study published in 2010 showed that tart cherry juice improved insomnia in older adults. To follow up on that study, researchers at Louisiana State University conducted a second clinical trial.

A total of 8 subjects older than 50 years and with chronic insomnia completed the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial. Subjects consumed placebo or tart cherry juice (Indian Summer cherry juice; 240mL in the morning and 2 hours before bed) for 2 weeks. The cherry juice was measured for procyanidin-B and total anthocyanidins. After 2 weeks, subjects completed an overnight polysomnographic sleep study, completed 5 questionnaires, and had blood drawn for analysis. Crossover testing was done after a 2-week washout period.

The main finding of this study was that tart cherry juice extended sleep time by 84 minutes (p=.018) with no adverse effects. Cherry juice also reduced the kynurenine:tryptophan ratio (p<.05) and the level of prostaglandin E2 (p<.05), indicating reduced inflammation and inhibition of IDO. Also, researchers found that procyanidin B-2 inhibited interferon--induced IDO in vitro.

Despite the small sample size of this pilot study, the results show promise that tart cherry juice may prove to be an effective treatment for insomnia.


Losso JN, Finley JW, Karki N, et al. Pilot Study of the Tart Cherry Juice for the Treatment of Insomnia and Investigation of Mechanisms. Am J Ther. 2017

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

"Detoxing" Your 2017 Sins

By Lauren Cox, Closer To Your Food


If the 7 Deadly Sins played too big of a role in your life in 2017, there’s no better time than now to work through your sins, heal, and move forward for an amazing New Year.



Opposite is Temperance

Did you indulge a little too much in the food and beverage department? Well there’s no time like the present to commit to a healthier lifestyle AND a detox that will help you shed a few pounds by getting your gut back in order so you can start your New Year off on a better foot. Cleanses that focus on the liver and GI tract are going to be your new best friend. These will typically include-


  • clean diet such as the Whole 30
  • drinking at least half your bodyweight in ounces of purified water daily
  • fiber supplement to help your GI eliminate waste and tone its muscle structure
  • liver support such as milk thistle to give your liver a boost.


A good GI and liver detox with a limited calorie diet will help your palate reset so you don’t overeat in the future and become more sensitive to the foods that got you in trouble in the first place as your liver and digestive systems will be working more efficiently.  


If you are prone to overeating and drinking, have your physician take a basic blood panel, because you are likely deficient in some nutrients, you may have hormonal imbalances, or your blood glucose levels may be out of sorts.



Opposite is Chastity

If you were a little too lusty last year, consider having your hormones checked. Typically people deal with a low libido, but hormonal imbalances can work either way. You want to focus on a diet that supports your Thyroid, Adrenals, and provides healthy fats.



Opposite is Charity

Greed can manifest in many forms, but for the sake of your health, you may want to consider an “emotional” detox. Greed to some extent is a natural human behavior, but it can become out of control when we are emotionally unbalanced. We tend to become greedy when we can’t let go of things. This can be seen in accumulating too much and wanting more than everybody else. An emotional detox could include anything from a retreat, a personal development education class, and working with a therapist. Whatever it is that works for you, get serious about doing the personal work. It will not be easy, but finding a way to let go of the things that weigh heavy on you really can set you free, making an amazing impact on your physical health as a bonus.



Opposite is Humility

Usually when we are acting too proud, we are compensating for an insecurity. Insecurities scare us so we lock them away and pretend everything is alright. Physically this takes a toll on us and manifests as fear and anxiety. When you add a toxic physical environment and a poor diet, the fear and anxiety burdens can become almost too much for some people to handle. Diet wise, try to stay away from stimulants like caffeine, alcohol and foods that wreak havoc on your immune system like deep-fried foods and refined sugars. Be sure you are eating really clean, again the Whole 30 diet works really great here. Incorporating Magnesium in a supplement or dietary form like black beans and non GMO tofu can help keep you calm. Most people are deficient in Magnesium anyways so giving it a try might be helpful.



Opposite is Kindness

People compare themselves to others constantly, it’s in our nature. It can be tough to not make a habit of it and make yourself feel inadequate compared to others. Perspective is key here, have you ever heard the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”? Mindfulness training can help your brain on a behavioral level break the pattern of comparison, jealousy and ultimately the feelings associated with it.



Opposite is Forgiveness

We all get angry, but if you possess a chronic anger you begin to suffer emotionally and consequently, physically. When you are angry too often, it is likely that your sympathetic (fight or flight) system is on overdrive, so you want to go to work on your parasympathetic or rest and digest system. Avoid processed foods, alcohol and sugars. You might just need to confront your anger and get it out of your system. Try a physically invigorating activity like kickboxing, dance, or martial arts to help serve as a release for these negative emotions.




Opposite is Diligence

Low energy is a common issue in America because people become emotionally and physically drained from poor diets, lifestyle and chronic stress. People tend to look for uppers to combat this including drugs, energy drinks, coffee or sugar. While these are a band-aide, they do not address the underlying problem. Work with your physician on a supplement protocol that will help support your adrenals, manage Cortisol levels, and help your mitochondrial energy production.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.