Is Maqui Berry Good for Dry Eyes?

Dayna Dye

Maqui Berry Aristotelia chilensis shows promise in helping to relieve dry eyesMaqui (Aristotelia chilensis) is a darkly pigmented Chilean berry that is showing promise in helping to relieve dry eyes.

Maqui and other berries have been harvested by the native populations of southern Chile and Argentina for more than 14,000 years and is currently known as a “super-fruit.”1,2 The berries contain an abundance of beneficial plant compounds known as anthocyanins and flavonols, as well as the phenol antioxidant ellagic acid.3


A recent review of the berry's potential benefits lists:

  • Protection against light-induced damage of photoreceptor cells
  • Inhibition of the enzymes alpha-glucosidase and pancreatic lipase (which digest starch and fat)
  • Anti-diabetic effects
  • Anti-inflammatory effects
  • Analgesic effects
  • Protection against atherosclerosis
  • Promotion of hair growth
  • Protection against skin photoaging
  • Inhibition of lipid peroxidation4
Here's another property to add to the growing list: increased tear fluid production and relief from dry eye symptoms.5

Tear Production and Dry Eyes

Tear Production and Dry EyesMaqui's effect on the eyes was evaluated by researchers at Japan's Gifu Pharmaceutical University, who examined the ability of maqui extract and two of its major anthocyanins (delphinidins) to inhibit photoreceptor cell death induced by visible light.6 They found improved cell viability and reduced intracellular radical activation in association with maqui berry extract as well as with the separate delphinidin compounds. Members of the Japanese team subsequently investigated the effect of maqui on tear fluid generation. Utilizing a rat model of dry eye, they found that oral pre-treatment with maqui extract helped preserve tear secretion and suppressed free radical formation in lacrimal glands, with higher doses associated with a greater benefit.7

In a pilot trial, 13 participants with moderately dry eyes received 30 milligrams (mg) or 60 mg per day of maqui extract for 60 days.5 Tear fluid volume, evaluated at the beginning and end of the study, significantly increased in both groups by the conclusion of the treatment period. Dry Eye-Related Quality of Life Scores, which assess the impact of eye dryness on daily routines, improved over time in both groups.

Eye Fatigue

A randomized, double-blind trial compared the effects of four weeks of daily maqui extract (60 mg) to a placebo among 74 visual display terminal users between the ages of 30 and 60 years with symptoms of dry eye and eye fatigue.8 (Regular and prolonged use of visual display terminals is associated with eye strain and dry eye.) Eye dryness, eye fatigue, tear break-up time and other factors were assessed at the beginning and end of the trial. Those who received maqui berry had a greater amount of lacrimal fluid production in both eyes prior to a video display terminal load test in comparison with the placebo group. Eye fatigue and other symptoms were also reduced in association with maqui supplementation. The authors of the report noted that dry eye onset has been attributed to inflammation, caused by an increase in reactive oxygen species in the epithelial cells of the cornea that destabilizes the tear film layer, which suggests that maqui’s antioxidant components may be responsible for the positive effects revealed by the trial.

Antioxidant Support

An investigation of maqui’s properties in mouse immune cells revealed its ability to downregulate the expression of cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2), which participates in the formation of inflammatory products.9 And in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 42 participants, consumption of maqui berry extract three times daily for four weeks was associated with a decrease in urinary F2-isoprostanes (a marker of oxidative stress) and oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.10

Research concerning the bioavailability of maqui berry extract revealed a significant increase in plasma levels of two selected anthocyanins with respective maximum concentrations occurring after one and two hours. “The results confirm a fast uptake and metabolism of the two selected key substances,” Christiane Schön and colleagues wrote. “The study clearly confirms the bioavailability of maqui berry extract and its specific anthocyanin compounds and related breakdown products in healthy subjects.”11

Preservatives in Eye Drops

The use of maqui could be a boon to those with dry eye who have had to rely upon eye drops that need to be administered throughout the day. While sometimes providing symptomatic relief, these drops can be initially irritating due to their preservatives. One potential concern is that some contain an ingredient known as tetrahydrozoline, which was associated with changes in corneal integrity in older analyses.12

The Bottom Line

Contact lens wearers, LASIK patients, individuals who spend hours in front of a computer monitor, those in arid or polluted environments, postmenopausal women or others who experience dry eyes may wish to try supplementing with maqui to relieve unpleasant dry eye symptoms. Life has enough irritating factors without irritated eyes.

About the author: Dayna Dye has been a member of the staff of Life Extension® since shortly after its inception. She has served as the department head of Life Extension® Wellness Specialists, is the author of thousands of articles published during the past two decades in Life Extension® Update, Life Extension Magazine® and on www.LifeExtension.com, and has been interviewed on radio and TV and in newsprint. She is currently a member of Life Extension’s Education Department.

References:

  1. Schmeda-Hirschmann G et al. J Ethnopharmacol. 2019 Sep 15;241:111979.
  2. Chang SK et al. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2019;59(10):1580-1604.
  3. Genskowsky E et al. J Sci Food Agric. 2016 Sep;96(12):4235-42.
  4. Romanucci V. et al. Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2016;17(6):513-23.
  5. Hitoe S et al. Panminerva Med. 2014 Sep;56(3 Suppl 1):1-6.
  6. Tanaka J et al. Food Chem. 2013 Aug 15;139(1-4):129-37.
  7. Nakamura S et al. J Funct Foods. 2014 Sep;10:346-54.
  8. Yamashita SI et al. J Tradit Complement Med. 2018 Nov 22;9(3):172-178.
  9. Cespedes CL et al. Food Chem Toxicol. 2017 Oct;108(Pt B):438-450.
  10. Davinelli S et al. J Am Coll Nutr. 2015;34 Suppl 1:28-33.
  11. Schön C et al. Nutrients. 2018 Nov 9;10(11).
  12. Peyton SM et al. J Am Optom Assoc. 1989 Mar;60(3):207-10.

Top Foods High in Iodine


Holli Ryan RD, LD/N

Food Sources of IodineIodine is an essential trace mineral, or micromineral, meaning we require smaller amounts of it compared with macrominerals, such as calcium.

The primary role of iodine in mammalian biology is to support the synthesis of thyroid hormones.1,2 Iodine also plays an important role in fetal neurodevelopment/cognitive development in children.3,4 Iodine has also been shown to support normal breast tissue in women.4

Who is at risk of not getting enough iodine?

  • Residents of developing countries5
  • Vegetarians and vegans5,6
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women4,5

Those who are deficient, at risk of deficiency or whose diet may be lacking should focus on including more whole food sources of iodine and consider supplementing to ensure adequate intake. Thank you to the Vegan Liftz community for including Life Extension’s Sea-Iodine™ in your ‘Best Vegan Iodine Supplements’ Buyers Guide.

Food Sources of Iodine5,6

Seafood and Sea Vegetables

  • Seaweed
  • Kelp
  • Bladderwrack
  • Nori
  • Wakame
  • Kombu
  • Hijiki
Seaweed types that contain Iodine Kelp Bladderwrack Nori Wakame Kombu Hijiki

Fish and Shellfish

  • Cod
  • Sardines
  • Tuna
  • Shrimp
  • Scallops
  • Salmon
seafood that contains iodine Cod Sardines Tuna Shrimp Scallops Salmon

Dairy

  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese

dairy products with iodine Milk Yogurt Cheese

Poultry Products

  • Eggs
  • Turkey

poultry contains iodine Eggs Turkey

Beans (Legumes)

  • Navy Beans
  • Lima Beans

Beans (Legumes) contain iodine Navy Beans Lima Beans

Fruit and Vegetables

  • Potatoes
  • Prunes

Fruit and Vegetables contain iodine Potatoes Prunes

Salt as a Source of Iodine

sea salt and Himalayan do not have as much iodine as iodized saltIn addition to the list above, iodized salt is a major source of iodine. Seafood contains the highest amount of iodine by weight compared to other foods. However, unfortified sea salt only contains a small amount of iodine. For cooking, chefs and consumers may choose sea salt or Himalayan salt as an alternative to table salt (iodized salt) for flavor, texture and their small amount of mineral content aside from sodium. Notably, these options do not have as much iodine as iodized salt.

Iodine in Plants

When it comes to fruits, vegetables and legumes as a source of iodine, the amount varies due to the quality of the soil, which depends on the region and growing practices.5,6 Other important minerals, such as the macromineral magnesium, are also affected by variations in soil quality.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


Holli Ryan RD LD/NAbout the Author: Holli Ryan is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist, health and wellness advocate, and blogger/writer based in South Florida. She is a Florida International University graduate and member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Her focus as a dietitian is disease prevention and management of health through nutrition education and customized suggestions. Holli believes that quality dietary supplements are an essential tool that have a variety of applications, from maintaining good health to managing chronic disease.

References:

  1. Niwattisaiwong S, Burman KD, Li-Ng M. Iodine deficiency: Clinical implications. Cleveland Clinic journal of medicine. 2017;84(3):236-244.
  2. Triggiani V, Tafaro E, Giagulli VA, et al. Role of iodine, selenium and other micronutrients in thyroid function and disorders. Endocr Metab Immune Disord Drug Targets. 2009;9(3):277-294.
  3. Zimmermann MB. The role of iodine in human growth and development. Seminars in cell & developmental biology. 2011;22(6):645-652.
  4. Chittimoju SB, Pearce EN. Iodine Deficiency and Supplementation in Pregnancy. Clin Obstet Gynecol. 2019;62(2):330-338.
  5. NIH, Iodine Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Published by U. S. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iodine-HealthProfessional/ Last updated: 05/01/2020. Accessed: 05/13/2020.
  6. Higdon J, Drake VJ, Delage B, Pearce EN, Iodine. Published by Linus Pauling Institute. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/iodine#summary Last updated: 08/2015. Accessed: 05/13/2020.

Is Breast Milk Enough for a Baby?

Dayna Dye

mother’s milk is sometimes not enough when it comes to meeting nutrient needsBreastfeeding is superior to bottle feeding for many reasons, but a mother’s milk is sometimes not enough when it comes to meeting nutrient needs —in quantity and in quality.

As early as 1921, a report concerning the potential adverse effects of bottle-feeding infants appeared in a medical journal. At that time, medical professionals received significantly more education concerning artificial feeding in comparison with breastfeeding.1

Currently, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding as the optimal source of nutrition through the first year of life: “We recommend exclusively breastfeeding for about the first six months of a baby's life, and then gradually adding solid foods while continuing breastfeeding until at least the baby's first birthday.”2

“Breast is Best” Health Benefits of Breastfeeding for Babies

  •  Bonding with mother
Skin-to-skin contact is important and breastfeeding helps provide an opportunity for bonding.

  •  Brain support
A study reported in the European Journal of Nutrition found better cognitive performance and gross motor skills among infants that were bottle-fed breast milk in comparison with those who were bottle-fed formula. Among infants who received only breast milk, those who were fed directly at the breast had better scores on some memory tasks compared to infants who were fed partially or completely by bottle.3

  •  Improved response to pain
A study that involved 100 one-day-old infants who were vaccinated for hepatitis B resulted in shorter crying duration during and after the injection among those who were breastfed compared to those who received powdered formula. The authors noted that human milk contains endorphins that are natural pain relievers.4

  •  Lower risk of obesity
Breast milk provides bioactive factors that may support a decreased risk of childhood obesity.5 In one study that collected anthropometric data from 203 infants during the first year of their lives, 4% of breastfed infants were overweight at 12 months of age compared with 7.6% of those who received both breast milk and formula.6

  •  Improved microbiome composition
Components of breast milk affect microbial colonization of an infant’s mucosa, which influences immune system development.7 Compared with the gut microbiota composition of breastfed infants, the gut microbiota composition of formula-fed infants has been found to more closely resemble the microbiota composition of adults who consume a Western diet.8

  •  Immune system support
Breast milk “provides protection during the newborn's adaption to the extrauterine environment and reduces the morbidity and mortality caused by both infectious and noninfectious diseases,” note the authors of a Nestle Nutrition Institute Workshop series published in 2020. “Its components act directly against infectious agents, but they also accelerate the newborn's immune system development, increasing its capacity for defense and reducing the risk of allergy and other immune-related diseases. Cytokines show the most refined immunomodulatory effects, but oligosaccharides, hormones and other components affect the newborn's immunity as well.”7

Breastfed infants had a lower incidence of diarrheal illness and middle ear infections during the first year of life and shorter duration of middle ear infections during the second year of life compared with formula-fed infants in one study.9 Diabetes incidence was found to be lower later in life in an at-risk population group who were breastfed during their first two months of life.10

Reasons why Breast is Best for Babies Health























When Breastfeeding Alone is Not Enough

  •  Inadequate supply
Some women do not produce a healthy supply of milk. It then becomes necessary to supplement breast milk with donated breast milk or formula to provide the infant with enough nourishment. Breast milk has many components, including casein and whey protein, fatty acids and vitamins and minerals that infant formula manufacturers attempt to duplicate.11

  •  Insufficient amount of vitamin D
The nutrients that breastmilk is deficient in are vitamin K, iron and vitamin D.12 Infants who are deficient in vitamin D run the risk of poor bone mineralization and rickets. Women who breastfeed may need to supplement with at least 2000 international units (IU) vitamin D per day for their milk to provide an infant with enough of the vitamin to result in adequate levels.

Related Article: Prenatal Supplement for Mom: Before, During and After Pregnancy

According to the Institute of Medicine, people are at risk of vitamin D deficiency at a serum vitamin D level of less than 12 ng/mL and of inadequacy at 12-20 ng/mL.13 Babies who are exclusively breastfed by vitamin D-supplemented mothers may sometimes still fail to attain optimal levels. Writing in the journal Pediatrics, Carol L. Wagner, MD, Frank R. Greer, MD and the Section on Breastfeeding and Committee on Nutrition of the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that “at this time it is prudent to recommend that all breastfed infants be given supplemental vitamin D3.”14

“A supplement of 400 IU/day of vitamin D should begin within the first few days of life and continue throughout childhood,” they continue. “Any breastfeeding infant, regardless of whether he or she is being supplemented with formula, should be supplemented with 400 IU of vitamin D, because it is unlikely that a breastfed infant would consume one liter of formula per day, the amount that would supply 400 IU of vitamin D.”

“Infants who are exclusively breastfed but who do not receive supplemental vitamin D or adequate sunlight exposure are at increased risk of developing vitamin D deficiency and/or rickets,” noted the author of a commentary in the Indian Journal of Medical Research. “The only practical option available is to seriously consider a routine vitamin D supplementation program starting from neonatal period extending right through the childhood into adolescence. In a recently published study, oral vitamin D3 supplementation as an oil emulsion has been shown to be associated with significant and sustained increases in 25(OH)D from baseline in fully breastfeeding infants through seven months.”15

In a study involving 2,244 infants, median time to first respiratory tract infection was longer than six months for those supplemented from birth with 400 to 600 IU vitamin D, in contrast with unsupplemented infants who experienced their first respiratory tract infection an average of 60 days after birth.16 Children who received vitamin D supplements five to seven days per week had a 54% lower risk of respiratory tract infection, an 83% lower risk of lower respiratory tract infection and an 82% lower risk of hospitalization related to respiratory tract infection in comparison with infants who did not receive the vitamin.

  •  Deficient vitamin K levels
An infant’s need for vitamin K, which is present only in low levels in breast milk, has led to the routine administration of injectable vitamin K to all newborns to prevent the risk of severe bleeding, which is 81 times more likely among those who do not receive vitamin K and can happen as long as six months after birth. Bleeding can occur anywhere, including in the brain, and is associated with mortality among 20% of all infants in whom it occurs.17

  •  Insufficient iron
Breast milk contains only a small amount of iron. Because most infants are born with iron already stored in their bodies, it is usually not necessary for those who are exclusively breastfed to begin receiving iron supplements until they are four months old. The recommended dose of supplemental iron for an infant is 1 milligram iron per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of the child’s body weight.18

A study that compared breast to bottle-fed babies found an absence of storage iron among 27.8% of those who were breastfed in contrast with none who received formula. Anemia incidence was four times higher in the breast-fed group compared to the formula group.19

Nutritional insufficiencies associated with breast milk consumption























The Bottom Line

Is breast best? The answer, in most cases, is a resounding yes, as long as infants receive key nutrients that are important for those of any age. The use of nutritional supplements (with a pediatrician’s approval) and timely introduction of solid food will help make up for insufficiencies associated with breast milk consumption.

About the author: Dayna Dye has been a member of the staff of Life Extension® since shortly after its inception. She has served as the department head of Life Extension® Wellness Specialists, is the author of thousands of articles published during the past two decades in Life Extension® Update, Life Extension Magazine® and on www.LifeExtension.com, and has been interviewed on radio and TV and in newsprint. She is currently a member of Life Extension’s Education Department.

References:

  1. Sedgwick JP et al. Am J Public Health (N Y). 1921 Feb;11(2):153-7.
  2. “Where We Stand: Breastfeeding.” healthychildren.org The American Academy of Pediatrics. Updated 2014 11 July. www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/breastfeeding/Pages/Where-We-Stand-Breastfeeding.aspx
  3. Pang WW et al. Eur J Nutr. 2020 Mar;59(2):609-619.
  4. Hatami Bavarsad Z et al. Arch Pediatr. 2018 Aug;25(6):365-370.
  5. Marseglia L et al. Women Birth. 2015 Jun;28(2):81-6.
  6. Mandić Z et al. Matern Child Nutr. 2011 Oct;7(4):389-96.
  7. Tlaskalová-Hogenová H et al. Nestle Nutr Inst Workshop Ser. 2020 Mar 16;94:38-47.
  8. Siddharth J et al. PLoS One. 2013 Dec 31;8(12):e83689.
  9. Dewey KG et al. J Pediatr. 1995 May;126(5 Pt 1):696-702.
  10. Pettitt DG et al. Lancet. 1997 Jul 19;350(9072):166-8.
  11. Martin CR et al. Nutrients. 2016 May 11;8(5).
  12. “Breastfeeding and Special Circumstances.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Last reviewed 2019 22 Dec. www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-special-circumstances/index.html
  13. “Vitamin D Fact Sheet for Health Professionals.” National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Updated 2020 24 March. www.ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/
  14. Wagner CL et al. Pediatrics. 2008 Nov;122(5):1142-52.
  15. Balsubramanian S. Indian J Med Res. 2011 Mar;133:250-2.
  16. Hong M et al. Matern Child Nutr. 2020 Mar 5:e12987.
  17. “FAQs.” Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Reviewed 2019 19 Feb. www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/vitamink/faqs.html
  18. “Iron.” Breastfeeding. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Reviewed 2019 14 Feb. www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-special-circumstances/diet-and-micronutrients/iron.html
  19. Calvo EB et al. Pediatrics. 1992 Sep;90(3):375-9.

How to Avoid Mental Burnout: Top Herbs and Lifestyle Tips

Julia Dosik, MPH

According to the World Health Organization, this is officially known as “burnout syndrome” We’ve all had those days. Difficulty getting out of bed in the morning, constant worrying, low energy even after countless caffeinated beverages, lack of motivation throughout the day and an overall feeling of a lack of well-being. It is normal to experience these feelings from time to time. The problem arises when the feelings take over our day to day lives for prolonged periods of time. According to the World Health Organization, this is officially known as “burnout syndrome” and it appears to primarily affect the working population. 1

People who experience these symptoms may feel very alone, like no one can relate to them or what they are going through. The great news is that the importance of taking care of our mental health (just as much as our physical health) is making its way into doctor’s offices and clinics, social media, some workplaces and even scientific research. The more we take care of our mental health, the more it may reflect in our physical health.

During this unprecedented time in our world, where transitioning to working from home has become the norm, supporting mental health through lifestyle techniques and natural remedies is vital.

Related Article: COVID-19 Health Protocol

What is burnout?

Burnout is a “syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” It is not considered an illness, but rather as a condition that can impact health status.Symptoms of burnout include:1,2

  • Exhaustion, energy depletion, insomnia
  • Anger, irritability, sadness
  • Negativity, cynicism and emotional distance from your job
  • Reduced productivity at work

What are the potential negative health consequences of burnout?

If left unmanaged, burnout might lead to health consequences (just like any form of chronic, unmanaged stress) such as greater vulnerability to illness, substance abuse, high blood pressure, etc.2

Although the hormones our bodies produce during stressful times are necessary in short bursts, they can create mental and physical issues when they are constantly being produced. Chronic stress can contribute to:3

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Digestive problems
  • Headaches
  • Sleep problems
  • Weight gain
  • Memory and concentration impairment

What causes burnout?

While burnout can be caused by many factors, all of them stem from unmanaged chronic stress. Factors that can lead to burnout include:2

  • Lack of social support from coworkers, family and/or friends
  • Lack of work-life balance (working with no clear “off” hours is often a major contributor)
  • Lack of control in a workplace (i.e. a chaotic workplace, as seen in service industries, including but not limited to healthcare or legal work)

Is it possible to suffer from burnout while working from home?

Within the past month, working from home has become mainstream in our society. Not only is working from home a huge change in routine, it can be difficult to clearly define when you are “on” and “off” the clock since you are at home. Of course, this may be easier for some than others. Some people have children at home that they must now home-school while doing their own work. Other people may not have school-aged children, but they may be dealing with an increased workload and stricter deadlines because of the perception that there is more “time” to get more done when you are home. No matter what your situation is, the one fact that is the same for all of us is that we are all in this together right now.

To avoid experiencing burnout from working at home, it is essential to mirror the hours you work at the office at home. As easy as it is to get caught up finishing that project, or crossing off another item from your to-do list, the best approach is to “sign-off” at the time you are supposed to and come back to your tasks with a clear head the next day.

As humans, we want to perform well and get our job done, especially during this time of job uncertainty. However, there is a difference between being productive and putting unnecessary stress on ourselves.

After all, one of the main causes of burnout is lack of work-life balance and working with no clear “off” hours. Even while working from home, it is in our best interest to maintain the same work hours as possible to avoid possible mental overwhelm and burnout.

What herbs and natural remedies may be helpful for someone with burnout?

We are currently living and working in a unique time. Even though the world has “slowed” down in a sense, increased productivity and short turnaround times are still very much at the forefront of most workplaces. It is up to us to take our emotional and mental well-being into our hands so we can keep up with the rapidly changing environment around us.

Along with lifestyle modifications provided in the next section, utilizing the following 5 scientifically validated herbs in your self-care regimen may prove to be successful.

  • Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
  • Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
  • L-theanine
  • Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea)
  • French Oak Wood Extract

Ashwagandha is an herb that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine (one of the oldest holistic medical systems, originating in India) for thousands of years. Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, which means it works by helping restore the body’s natural balance and helps fight the negative effects of chronic stress. In fact, studies show that ashwagandha has been effective in improving concentration, fatigue and relieving feelings of anxiety.4-6


Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, which means it works by helping restore the body’s natural balance and helps fight the negative effects of chronic stress.



















Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a member of the mint family and has been shown in research to help alleviate stress, depression and anxiety scores, as well as sleep disturbances.7,8 These benefits may be attributed to lemon balm’s ability to inhibit the breakdown of an important calming neurotransmitter in the brain, GABA, as demonstrated in preclinical studies.9 By helping inhibit GABA’s breakdown, lemon balm may promote a sense of calmness and relaxation, which is much needed for the highly anxious person who is not getting adequate sleep and is suffering from burnout.

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a member of the mint family and has been shown in research to help alleviate stress, depression and anxiety scores, as well as sleep disturbances.



















L-theanine is an amino acid from green tea known to induce calming effects while simultaneously helping improve alertness.10 It may also assist in reducing stress and anxiety in people exposed to stressful conditions.11 Preclinical studies indicate that L-theanine may promote anxiety easing effects by blocking the effects of the excitatory neurotransmitter called glutamate in the brain.12 Similarly to lemon balm, L-theanine also appears to stimulate production of GABA, which may help to calm the brain without producing sleepiness, like many anti-anxiety medications do.13

Rhodiola is an herb that grows in cold, mountainous regions of Europe and Asia. Like ashwagandha, rhodiola is an adaptogen, helping bring the body’s natural stress response back into balance. What’s exciting about rhodiola is that it has been specifically studied in people with burnout and was found to reduce their stress and fatigue while improving mental performance and mood.14-16

rhodiola is an adaptogen, helping bring the body’s natural stress response back into balance.



















French oak wood extract originates from the tree species Quercus robur. This extract was considered sacred by the ancient Greeks, Hebrews and Romans. They used it to fight against fever and diarrhea and as an antiseptic. Recent research shows that French oak wood extract is effective in relieving fatigue, decreasing emotional drainage, and improving levels of interest and enthusiasm in people suffering from burnout syndrome.17

What lifestyle modifications and techniques may be helpful for burnout?

If you are currently suffering from burnout syndrome, there are things you can incorporate into your day to help ameliorate its negative effects. These lifestyle modifications and techniques include:

  • Consuming a diet full of fruits and vegetables, especially berries, citrus and green leafy vegetables. Research shows this type of diet could promote higher levels of optimism and self-worth, reduce levels of psychological distress and protect against depressive symptoms.18
  • Engaging in at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity (i.e. brisk walking) not only helps with chronic disease prevention but benefits mental health and sleep as well. 19
  • People with burnout syndrome experienced positive effects on their symptoms after participating in regular physical activity for at least 12 weeks. 20
  • Sleep hygiene is vital when it comes to getting adequate sleep.21

When it’s time to sleep:

  • Minimize light, specifically the blue light emitted from your phone, iPad or smart TV
  • Avoid large meals or caffeine right before bedtime
  • Try your best to go to bed and wake up around the same time each day
  • Practice the relaxation and deep breathing techniques included in meditation and emotional freedom technique (EFT).

Meditation and mindfulness may be very helpful in regulating our stress response. 2,22 Taking at least 5 minutes out of our busy day in the morning and evening to sit in stillness with our body and mind can make a huge difference in how we perceive the day ahead and how we sleep. The term “meditation” can be daunting for some people, immediately thinking they must sit cross legged on the grass chanting “ommmm”. But meditating can be as easy as sitting up in your bed in the morning, taking 3 deep breaths in and out, and listening to the sounds around you. There are no “rules” for meditation, which tends to make the practice less intimidating for many people beginning it.

A common misconception for meditating is that you must completely shut off your mind or you’re not doing it correctly. Instead of focusing so much on shutting your mind off or stopping your thoughts, focus more on just quieting your mind. You can be aware of the thoughts that come in and out, but do not focus on the actual thought. Just let them float in and out, trying not to associate any emotions behind them. Of course, this will take time and practice, but investing a little bit of time in this practice now may prove to make a huge difference later. Especially since mindfulness, which is a type of meditation where you are intensely focused on what you are feeling and sensing in that moment, was shown to reduce levels of burnout and emotional exhaustion in nurses, the career most prone to burnout during this chaotic time.22

If you are interested in trying out meditation and need some help to get you started, the following mobile apps have been very helpful in my own meditation journey:

  • Insight Timer
  • Headspace
  • Calm
Emotional Freedom Technique, also known as “tapping,” is a psychological acupressure technique that has gained popularity in the alternative medicine and holistic healing world. The potential benefits of EFT are now being shown in clinical research, indicating that it may help reduce anxiety, depression, PTSD and even cravings. 23, 24

Tapping: Emotional Freedom Technique 101

EFT makes full use of our mind-body connection. The theory is that our body contains an energy system that travels along pathways known as “meridians”. The 9 meridians are located on the side of the hand (aka karate chop point), top of the head, top of the eyebrows, on the side of the eyes, beneath the nose, on the chin and collarbone, and underneath the arms, about a hand width from the armpit.25




















Image Credit: Chronogram

EFT is practiced by tapping on each meridian point with your fingertips (not fingernails) using gentle pressure while actively thinking about or saying a problem out loud. It does not matter how many fingers are used to tap on these points, but 2 is the most common. Here is an example of a basic tapping sequence:

  1. Even though I feel completely drained and burned out from work and my day to day life, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.”  While thinking or saying this statement out loud 3 times, you simultaneously tap on the side of your hand.
  2. Then, take a deep breath in and out and begin tapping about 5-7 times on each of the remaining 8 meridian points while either repeating the same phrase or something shorter like, “I feel so burned out” to help you mentally focus on the issue.
  3. After this first round of tapping on the “issue” you now begin a second round of tapping, focusing on positive statements, such as “I have faith that my situation at work will get better” or “I believe in myself and I will incorporate more self-care which will help me at work,” etc. There is no right or wrong statement.
You can do as many tapping rounds as possible until you feel a sense of calm wash over you.

The Bottom Line

Even though burnout syndrome is commonly seen in service-related jobs, it can affect anyone working in a traditional or non-traditional work environment (i.e. stay at home parents and working remotely). Feeling burned out from your day to day life is common and should not make you feel “less than” anybody else. The most important aspect of managing burnout is figuring out the root cause and working toward addressing it.

Whether it is defining a more clear time to be “off the clock,” speaking to your managers or HR Department about the importance of “wellness at work” for you, spending more time with your family or friends for some social support, or even spending more alone time with yourself—any or all of these steps may be beneficial. Whatever it is that will benefit YOU is critical for your mental wellness.

Incorporating the above lifestyle modifications is free of cost and can be a great way to improve your well-being. Of course, the combination of the lifestyle changes plus the herbal remedies is a more comprehensive approach to getting your mental health back on track. Remember, whatever you may be feeling, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. If practicing these techniques and taking the herbal remedies do not offer as much relief as you had hoped, licensed mental health counselors or your general practitioner are just one phone call away.

Julia Dosik, MPHAbout the Author: Julia Dosik, BS, MPH, is a clinical corporate trainer at Life Extension headquarters in South Florida. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology and psychology as well as a Master of Public Health specializing in health education. Julia utilizes a mix of in-person, virtual and written training to educate employees and consumers on how the human body functions and the importance of supplementing with science-backed ingredients. It is her deepest belief that high-quality dietary supplements are fundamental to an individual’s physical and mental well-being.







References

  1. World Health Organization. Burn-out an "occupational phenomenon": International Classification of Diseases. Accessed 3/6/2020. https://www.who.int/mental_health/evidence/burn-out/en/
  2. Mayo Clinic. Job burnout: How to spot it and take action. Accessed 3/6/2020. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/burnout/art-20046642
  3. Mayo Clinic. Chronic stress puts your health at risk. Accessed 3/11/2020. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20046037
  4. The Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association 2008;11(1):50-56.
  5. PLoS One. 2009;4(8):e6628.
  6. Indian J Psychol Med. 2012;34(3):255-62.
  7. Clinical nutrition ESPEN. 2018;26:47-52.
  8. Journal of ethnopharmacology. 2015;164:378-384.
  9. Canadian journal of physiology and pharmacology. 2007;85(9):933-942.
  10. Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition. 2008;17 Suppl 1:167-168.
  11. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2019
  12. Biological psychology. 2007;74(1):39-45.
  13. Journal of herbal pharmacotherapy. 2006;6(2):21-30.
  14. International journal of psychiatry in clinical practice. 2018;22(4):242-252.
  15. Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment. 2017;13:889-898.
  16. Planta medica. 2009;75(2):105-112.
  17. Minerva Medica. 2018 Jun;109(3):211-217.
  18. Nutrients. 2020;12(1):E115.
  19. American Heart Association. Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids. Accessed 3/13/2020. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults
  20. Journal of clinical medicine. 2020;9(3):E667.
  21. International archives of occupational and environmental health. 2019:10.1007/s00420-019-01504-6.
  22. Journal of advanced nursing. 2020:10.1111/jan.14318.
  23. Journal of evidence-based integrative medicine. 2019;24:2515690X18823691-2515690X18823691.
  24. The Permanente journal. 2017;21:16-100.
  25. The Tapping Solution. What is Tapping and How Can I Start Using it? Accessed 3/13/2020.

What to Do if a Family Member Has Coronavirus at Home

Dayna Dye

important tips to aid in the care of your loved one while protecting yourself.The COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic has impacted the lives of all of us—for some, the very households they live in. Have you considered how you might take care of a family member that has been infected and quarantined at home? Below are some important tips to aid in the care of your loved one while protecting yourself.

Has someone in your household complained of a sore throat lately? Sniffling or coughing? Feeling fatigued?

Don’t panic. It could be influenza or the common cold. And while the former is nothing to take lightly, especially by those who are older or have underlying health conditions, most cases of the flu are less dangerous than COVID-19, the disease caused by a novel coronavirus that is responsible for the ongoing pandemic.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The most prominent symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath.1 The cough that accompanies COVID-19 is generally dry (nonproductive). People infected with the virus may also report achiness, fatigue, sore throat, nasal congestion or diarrhea.2 Loss of ability to smell and/or altered sense of taste has been reported by some patients.3 For most individuals, symptoms are mild. Some infected people would not have known that they contracted the virus had they not been tested. However, infected individuals without symptoms can still transmit the virus.

Related Article: How to Stop Touching Your Face to Prevent Viruses

How do I know if someone has the coronavirus?

Although we know what the symptoms are, the only way for someone to know if they have COVID-19 is to get tested.

While the lines may be long and results may take days or sometimes over a week to receive, knowing whether one has COVID-19 is the first step in treating the virus. This knowledge can also help protect family members who would otherwise have been unaware of the presence of an infected individual within close proximity. Anyone who has been in contact with a household member who has tested positive for COVID-19 should also be tested.

How to care for an infected person

  • Quarantine
Infected individuals, as well as those who are caring for them, should not leave their residence unless absolutely necessary, to avoid spreading the disease. Caregivers should wear a cloth face mask and gloves when in proximity to an infected person. Thorough handwashing should occur after all contact with an infected individual or with items and surfaces they may have come in contact with. These items and surfaces should be disinfected regularly.4

If possible, the person being cared for should also wear a mask to minimize airborne droplets. Although an article recently published in The Lancet suggested that exhalations, sneezes and coughs project droplets within a gas cloud that can travel up to 27 feet, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, MD, believes that it would take an extremely forceful sneeze for droplets to approach this distance.5 For now, people are recommended to adhere to the current advice of maintaining at least six feet of distance from each other.

As COVID-19 has been detected in feces, it is wise for infected individuals to use a separate bathroom from that used by other household members if possible.6

Fresh fruit and vegetables and other components of a Mediterranean diet promote good health in general, and may help maintain healthy immune function.
  • Nutrition
The immune system is dependent upon the raw materials we supply to our body. Adequate protein, hydration and micronutrients such as vitamins C and D and zinc help support the immune function of both patient and caregiver.7-9 Fresh fruit and vegetables and other components of a Mediterranean diet promote good health in general, and may help maintain healthy immune function.10 Adequate hydration is also important during recovery (but, like anything, can be overdone).



  • Rest/Sleep
While rest and quality sleep are essential for patient recovery, they also support the immune system’s ability to protect against disease.11 The amount of care needed by a specific individual will differ, but some caregivers may find themselves suffering from short or interrupted sleep. To catch up on sleep deficits, try napping when the patient does.

  • De-stress
COVID-19 patients usually recover within days to weeks and may not require constant care. For those who are engaged in full time caregiving situations, exercise may help. In a study of male and female dementia caregivers, aerobic exercise lengthened telomeres (a marker of cellular aging), while improving cardiorespiratory fitness and lowering perceived stress.12

Making time for self-care is critical for anyone involved in the care of another person. Although it may not always be possible to choose when, taking a break to relax or do something we enjoy is important.

Related Health Protocol:Stress Management

  • Be vigilant
It is important to monitor infected individuals for signs of increased disease severity, including difficulty breathing, bluish face or lips, chest pain, confusion or an inability to rouse them.4 If any of these signs occur, the patient requires immediate medical attention.

It should be mentioned that treatment for other medical conditions the infected patient may have should not be neglected.

With proper care, the odds of recovery from COVID-19 are very good. Keep in mind that, like the period of two to 14 days that precedes the onset of symptoms, people might still transmit COVID-19 during the days following recovery.4,13 According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), two negative tests taken 24 hours apart and an absence of fever and other symptoms signals a lack of contagiousness. If the infected person is not willing to be tested, they can stop home isolation if there has been no fever for 72 hours or more, symptoms have improved and at least one week has passed since symptoms first appeared.4

A recent study conducted in Wuhan, China, found that the longest duration of viral shedding by someone infected with COVID-19 was 37 days. While the individual is an outlier among the 137 survivors in the study, it suggests that testing may be the preferred method to ascertain a lack of contagiousness.14

About the author: Dayna Dye has been a member of the staff of Life Extension® since shortly after its inception. She has served as the department head of Life Extension® Wellness Specialists, is the author of thousands of articles published during the past two decades in Life Extension® Update, Life Extension Magazine® and on www.LifeExtension.com, and has been interviewed on radio and TV and in newsprint. She is currently a member of Life Extension’s Education Department.

References:

  1. “Symptoms of Coronavirus”. United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last reviewed 20 March 2020. www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html
  2. “What are the Symptoms of COVID-19?” World Health Organization. 9 March 2020. www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses
  3. “COVID-19 Anosmia Reporting Tool for Clinicians”. American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. www.entnet.org/content/reporting-tool-patients-anosmia-related-covid-19
  4. “Caring for Someone.” United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last reviewed 18 March 2020. www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/care-for-someone.html
  5. Bourouiba L. JAMA. 2020 Mar 26.
  6. Chen C et al. Ann Intern Med. 2020 Mar 30.
  7. Carr AC et al. Nutrients. 2017 Nov 3;9(11). pii: E1211.
  8. Azrielant S et al. Isr Med Assoc J. 2017 Aug;19(8):510-511.
  9. Wessels I et al. Nutrients. 2017 Nov 25;9(12). pii: E1286.
  10. Maijo M et al. Front Physiol. 2018 Jul 26;9:997.
  11. Besedovsky L et al. Pflugers Arch. 2012 Jan; 463(1):121–137.
  12. Puterman E et al. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2018 Dec;98:245-252.
  13. “COVID-19 Risk” United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/faq.html
  14. Zhou F et al. Lancet. 2020 Mar 28;395(10229):1054-1062.

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