The Epigenetic Toolbox For Maintaining A Healthy Mind,Body & Spirit

The Epigenetic Toolbox For Maintaining A Healthy Mind,Body & Spirit

DNA-molecule

Science has traditionally maintained a ‘material reductionistic’ view of mind and consciousness. Meaning that the phenomenon of consciousness and mind is something to be explained in terms of physical and chemical processes in the brain. On the other hand, certain philosophies and spiritual disciplines have held the inherent assumption that physical reality is totally detached from spiritual reality and one is not accessed through the other. This is of course creating more or less the same problem as in Science.

Many pre-Scientific cultures however have since time immemorial held an alternative and holistic view which transcends beyond these problems. They have seen the human experience in its totality – mind, body and spirit – as being closely interrelated and interconnected with the environment, the healing medicines of nature, the celestial movements and the cycles of the seasons, etc. Everything is causally interconnected in the grand wheel of life.

Our physical and mental health are influenced by the state of our bio-energetic field which in turn is also influenced by the karmic energies of the land, the people around us and the planet as a whole. Similarly, and equally interesting, our spiritual, energetic and non-physical health can be hacked through physical means. The physical is interfaced with our bio-energetic field and also with our multi-dimensional levels of consciousness through our DNA, our nervous and endocrine systems, the energy centres in our body (chakras) and very possibly through quantum communication between the micro-cellular level of our bodies up to the bio-energetic field and beyond to the quantum field that underlies everything (this is the interesting notion of quantum coherence). These physical interfaces or gateways can be hacked, healed or optimised. For instance, we are now starting to understand that our DNA is read-write and not read-only as was previously assumed. That means that our codes are being constantly rewritten even through our diet, lifestyle and stress levels – both positively and negatively.

The obvious had been staring us in the face all along. So many cultures came up with various methods to hack the spiritual through the physical – healing herbs, entheogens, fasting, exercises and even dance movements, meditation and so on. Take for instance the healing medicine plant Ayahuasca – how is it that one molecule – DimethylTryptamine (DMT – often referred to as the ‘spirit molecule’) can unlock powerful healing and cleansing in the biological, mental, energetic and spiritual layers of Self at once?

I would like to share with you my own daily source of nutrients and supplements that can be used by everyone to gain mental, energetic and spiritual health through bio-physical means. Some of the items on the list are common foods items, familiar to most, together with herbs and supplements that are available over the counter. As a disclaimer, I would like to note that this is fruit of my own research and experimentation which might no fit everyone’s lifestyle and taste. Also please consult a physician if you have any conditions that might be affected by diet or food supplements.

Nootropics: Keeping Optimal Brain Performance

Poor diet, stress and a hectic lifestyle can sap our mental energies and brain performance leaving our brain foggy. We feel not up to task to healthily navigate our way through our daily routines. This cascades into other areas of our life, not least our work, relationships and creativity.

Nootropics are the hottest trend of the moment in both the personal development and health and fitness world. They are essentially a group of smart drugs that target cognitive and neurological enhancement most popularly memory, motivation, focus & attention and mood.

Nootropics are approved and regulated smart drugs that can be bought over the counter or internet for under $50. One of the best products on the market so far is Alpha Brain by Onnit. Alpha Brain basically targets focus, mental drive and memory performance. It seriously gives me a powerful mental boost on the tap. I feel mentally focused, clear and sharp to perform my tasks throughout the day without ‘mental fogginess’. Main active ingredients are:

  • AC-11: the ‘rainforest super herb’ shown to help the body repair DNA
  • Alpha GPC: which supports learning processes through increasing the synthesis and secretion of acetylcholine. Heightened acetylcholine has been linked to memory, focus, mental drive, and REM sleep states
  • Huperzine A: known as Northern Firmross it prevents the breakdown of acetylcholine
  • Bacopa Monniera: An Ayurvedic herb known for its cognitive enhancing properties.

 

The Good Fats and the Hippocampus

The benefits of essential fatty acids such as Omega-3 are well known. It is one of the most common food supplements in people’s medicine chest. However I started taking regular intake of Omega-3 seriously when I saw this insightful video by Alberto Villoldo titled “Hacking the human Bio-field”. He points out how parts of the brain like the Hippocampus are damaged by stress-related toxins such as cortisol and adrenaline that are stored in the brain by the body. A damaged Hippocampus, according to Alberto, is what leads us to live in a state of fear where we only see threats instead of opportunities. The good fats, particularly Omega-3 is what is responsible for healing and detoxifying the Hippocampus even in just six weeks of regular intake.

Proteins & cutting down on Gluten & Sugars

Another interesting insight from Alberto Villoldo’s talk, regards how sugar and gluten are also responsible for damaging the brain. He points at anthropological studies that show how for instance the rise of war and religion in society propped up when humanity shifted from a hunter-gatherer to an agricultural based society. The diet shifted from fats & proteins to grain derived products like bread which are laden with gluten and sugar. The underlying epigenetic effect partly gave rise to the result that human society became more fear-based and aggressive. This is a very interesting point but now back to the kitchen.

My experiments in carb-free, Gluten-free and sugar-free diets have had an immense beneficial effect to my wellbeing and even mood overall. My last meal is before 6pm, then I break fast with a high protein meal – for example egg with tuna, spinach and topped with Guacamole. I snack on nuts, green smoothies then have a mini-lunch and early dinner with greens and fish ( or if you prefer meat).

Antioxidants

Antioxidants play also a crucial part in detoxifying the mind and body. I take my antioxidants from the super foods I eat – mainly dark green veg, nuts and green tea ( I take Matcha green teawhich has 137 times the antioxidants of normal green tea). Another source of antioxidants is from small bits of dark chocolate I put in my smoothies (dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants).

Boosting Serotonin:

Serotonin is a neuro-transmitter in the brain synthesised from the amino acid Tryptophan. It is responsible for improving mood, promoting happiness, relaxation and the ability to get a good night sleep. Hence hacking your serotonin levels is crucial to reinforcing your overall wellbeing, not least spiritually and energetically. One way of doing this is through a natural amino acid supplement called 5-Hydroxytryptophan or 5-HTP for short. 5-HTP is synthesised in the brain into serotonin with the effect of elevating your mood and leaving you feel relaxed but focused at the same time.

The Calming Herbs:

Other natural tools to calm the mind and the nervous system are relaxing herbs such as valerian root, passion flower, lemon balm, chamomile and holy basil among others. These can be taken separately or combined together and steeped into teas. Ideal for winding down after a hard day or as an aid to get a good night of restorative sleep.

Article by Gilbert Ross: Gilbert Ross is a writer and author of ‘The Art of Simple Living‘. He is passionate about exploring and teaching people about positive life transformations and the limitless potential of the human mind. You can read his blog Soul Hiker or follow him on Facebook, G+ and Twitter. You can also hire Gilbert to write for you here.

James Watson Says Antioxidants May Actually Be Causing Cancer

James Watson Says Antioxidants May Actually Be Causing Cancer

Annalee Newitzoriginal

 

Celebrated geneticist James Watson, one of several researchers who won the Nobel Prize for discovering the structure of DNA, has just published what can only be called a cancer manifesto in Open Biology. It’s full of fairly harsh criticisms for current cancer researchers, but also suggests several ways forward in the “war on cancer.” Among other claims, Watson asserts that antioxidants like vitamin C — often recommended as cancer-prevention supplements — could be causing some forms of cancer. He also has harsh words for personalized medicine, and the laziness of cancer researchers.

Watson, now in his 80s, has spent a great deal of his life raising money to fund cancer research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, where he’s served as director since the late 1960s. Clearly anticipating his own mortality, he mourns the lack of good leadership in cancer research:

That we now have no General of influence, much less power, say an Eisenhower or even better a Patton, leading our country’s War on Cancer says everything. Needed soon is a leader that has our cancer drug development world working every day and all through the night.

He suggests that the problem is researchers are slacking, only putting in “never frantic, largely five-day working week[s].”

He goes on to say that the current craze for “personalized medicine” that will treat cancer is just not going to work. But the main problem comes from government money being misspent:

The now much-touted genome-based personal cancer therapies may turn out to be much less important tools for future medicine than the newspapers of today lead us to hope. Sending more government cancer monies towards innovative, anti-metastatic drug development to appropriate high-quality academic institutions would better use National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) monies than the large sums spent now testing drugs for which we have little hope of true breakthroughs. The biggest obstacle today to moving forward effectively towards a true war against cancer may, in fact, come from the inherently conservative nature of today’s cancer research establishments.

 

He goes on to say that conventional thinking about cancer is all wrong. Antioxidants may be undermining cancer therapies and even causing cancer:

 

In light of the recent data strongly hinting that much of late-stage cancer’s untreatability may arise from its possession of too many antioxidants, the time has come to seriously ask whether antioxidant use much more likely causes than prevents cancer.

All in all, the by now vast number of nutritional intervention trials using the antioxidants β-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium have shown no obvious effectiveness in preventing gastrointestinal cancer nor in lengthening mortality. In fact, they seem to slightly shorten the lives of those who take them. Future data may, in fact, show that antioxidant use, particularly that of vitamin E, leads to a small number of cancers that would not have come into existence but for antioxidant supplementation. Blueberries best be eaten because they taste good, not because their consumption will lead to less cancer.

It is thought that antioxidants can prevent damage to DNA from oxygen radicals. But, argues Watson, we want oxygen radicals in cancer cells because this can cause the cells to die. Taking antioxidants might be preventing cancer drugs from destroying cancer cells. Instead, he recommends patients combine anti-antioxidants with cancer drugs.

Watson also recommends an area of research, into a class of proteins called RNAi, which can be used to shut down the activity of genes. He claims that we need less than a billion dollars to win the war on cancer if we focus on RNAi research:

The total sum of money required for RNAi methodologies to reveal the remaining major molecular targets for future anti-cancer drug development need not be more than 500–1000 million dollars. Unfortunately, the NCI now is unlikely to take on still one more big science project when it is so hard-pressed to fund currently funded cancer programmes … Further financial backing, allowing many more cancer-focused academic institutions to also go big using RNAi-based target discovery as well as to let them go on to the early stages of subsequent drug discovery, is not beyond the might of the world’s major government research funding bodies nor that of our world’s many, many super billionaires. The main factor holding us back from overcoming most of metastatic cancer over the next decade may soon no longer be lack of knowledge but our world’s increasing failure to intelligently direct its ‘monetary might’ towards more human-society-benefiting directions.

Watson also wants researchers to focus on a protein called Myc, which is believed to regulate the activity of 15% of our genes. Its activity is also linked to many kinds of cancer. Using RNAi methods, it’s possible we could figure out a way to control Myc, and thus shut down pathways to cancer.

Further Reading:

Watson’s manifesto, “Oxidants, antioxidants, and the current incurability of metastatic cancers,” in Open Biology

Reuters’ Sharon Begley has a good report on what other cancer researchers think about Watson’s comments.

As seen on http://io9.com

 

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