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About Alchemica

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    Shaman's Apprentice

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  1. Alchemica

    Ketosis as therapy

    I stuck with a very low carb very keto-like diet, it was good for weight loss but I was so anhedonic... I'd dropped 10kg, my pants were falling off and I felt absolutely no sense of personal reward. Just warning you.
  2. Alchemica

    Milly's Seeds of Love

    Milly came to visit a few of us... It was lovely to see some pics of Milly's morning glory flowering for someone else. Coming up to her Birthday, instead of celebrating it with her I'll offer some of this year's morning glory seeds complimentary I have some Milly's lucky mix now and there will be more soon - my vines intertwined so it's a mix, surprise yourself with what comes up! Also a small amount that is Carnevale di Venezia Also have some Grandpa Ott that I grew separately. A few people can put themselves on the waiting list (just has to fully dry) Shoot me a message.
  3. What's the opposite of addiction? Like to hear your views. Addictions are real shape-shifters. You can easily just shift between substance <-> behavioural etc and stay in loops To me, the addictive mindset reflects in things like: Suffering vs Acceptance and Growth Consumption vs Creativity Filling voids vs Creating connecting bonds To me, the most important thing has been trying to re-instate "I'm OK, you're OK". The feeling you're fundamentally OK and worthy, not wounded and different. That the world out there is OK too. You're OK. That interactions can be enjoyable. A feeling of engaging in a reciprocal interaction through simple love, connection and presence In that stance, you can engage with the world healthily, not as a wounded person filling voids. You can embrace yourself in your totality as being "you" as a worthwhile person. The world around you as being worth interacting with. Is it really connection? Some of my most disheartening experiences have been in trying to connect with humans. You can be surrounded by loving people and be miserable trying to connect with them. We promote that people need to connect socially to the point some even say "the opposite of addiction is connection". We even often promote people connect with outer God(s) to heal. Through such an attitude, you induce a state where you're easily not within yourself enough... and when you're struggling with wounds within, at the mercy of social connections. I saw how transient/volatile and impermanent the connections you could seek were. And how there were so many unhealthy things to connect to... and how you could chase more and more connections to fill wounded parts within and how trying to connect from a place of deficiency is really unhealthy. You become heavily dependent on connections. "Being alone feels like a problem that needs to be solved. And so people try to solve it by connecting. But here, connection is more like a symptom than a cure. It expresses, but it doesn't solve, an underlying problem. But more than a symptom, constant connection is changing the way people think of themselves. It's shaping a new way of being. You end up isolated if you don't cultivate the capacity for solitude, the ability to be separate, to gather yourself. Solitude is where you find yourself so that you can reach out to other people and form real attachments. When we don't have the capacity for solitude, we turn to other people in order to feel less anxious or in order to feel alive. When this happens, we're not able to appreciate who they are. It's as though we're using them as spare parts to support our fragile sense of self. We slip into thinking that always being connected is going to make us feel less alone. But we're at risk, because actually it's the opposite that's true. If we're not able to be alone, we're going to be more lonely." - Sherry Turkle "Why the pain?" What if we really need to take a step back from the outer world and sit with something within, "why the pain"? Be enough through our pain? You cant go into the suffering with the victim or deficiency mindsets or that will simply consume you with deeper and deeper suffering. When you feel deficient, you set the stage for a hungry ghost where you fill your inner voids of unhappiness and feelings of unwholeness in a multitude of unhealthy ways. While there's a hole you're filling you'll stay in a loop of more and more. We're taught we aren't enough, that there's something wrong with us. That's amplified by stigma and social exclusion. The more we believe that, the more it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. You shrink further and further and fill that place of 'not being enough' with external things, slide into unhealthier and unhealthier ways You stay in deficiency states and poor ability to delay rewards or sit with discomfort - you're permanently on the chase for something to fill a feeling of unworth, poor-self esteem, isolation etc. It's common in every aspect of our society from feeling we 'need a partner' to be complete, to deriving our worth by external things, to 'there's something wrong with you' to every aspect of our life. It's something heavily ingrained in our society that keeps us relentless consumers, often of things that aren't healthy for us, or more than we need. What if you start to think and feel, yeah - I'm hurting and wounded but everything I need to transform that pain is in me. You start to fill the voids from the inside in sustainable and healthy ways? Not saying you don't reach out for help when needed but "you are enough"? If you rely on external things filling those voids, you neglect the impermanence of life. Social settings change, things that provide hope/meaning/purpose can become easily unstable, you're totally on a collision course with going backwards if anything even slightly changes. You live in dependency of being filled from the outside through connections to tackle a fundamental state of inner deficiency What happens when you stop that chase for connections with the outer and instead connect with the wounded parts that feel like they're not enough? You can convince yourself your caring for yourself and you're in self-love but you really need extreme self-compassion. The pain/trauma, shame, the isolation, the anger etc? When we sit with them and transform our inner relationship with them until they're no longer voids of suffering, rather places we feel whole again? That takes acceptance, going into pain and allowing things to transform... I'm not saying you as a stand-alone unit are the complete perfect existence and you don't need to go beyond yourself but "you are enough". "You are enough does not mean that you are a final product, complete and finished, all done growing and changing and learning things" You can get off the constant striving and be OK. You can sit with wholeness of self-care, self-kindness, self-compassion, self-acceptance and self-transformation, self-love etc as a unit of wholeness within yourself. As you take on those traits for yourself, you gain the ability to radiate the same to others.
  4. Alchemica

    Ketosis as therapy

    Thanks for sharing @thegreenriviera One thing about diet changes is you can see how things affect you. Going very minimalistic with food made me see how simple/easily neglected things were driving mood states. One interesting thing is that through a relatively short period of depriving yourself a bit of food, I got a clean slate, not perma-impulsive hunger, to work with. You start to respect how things that you normally dismiss as driving mood changes do play a big role. It's like a nice reset and chance to see how the basics are driving symptoms. I've escaped carbohydrate cravings by eliminating them for awhile and interestingly they haven't returned to crippling levels. A few interesting things I noted: 1. How much those fluctuations in blood sugar do destabilise your mood, change your cognition and how cutting out/reducing/playing with low GI carbs is quite useful just to see how it impacts you 2. Potentially how much changes in electrolytes drive mood changes. I've always supplemented things like calcium/magnesium but overlooked sodium and potassium as driving mood states. 3. How nice a quality planty diet can be for sustained clean sustenance 4. How different fat sources feel and likewise proteins 5. What it's like to experience different states of ketosis Dietary electrolytes are related to mood At the moment, I'm quite interested in what simple electrolytes do for mood and symptoms. For both males and females it is recommended to keep sodium intake below 2,000 mg. Potassium recommendation for males and females are 4,700 mg per day. Magnesium intake for males should be between 330-350 mg per day, and females should intake about 255-265 mg per day. Calcium suggested intake is 800 mg per day for both males and females. Other factors: Dietary patterns seem important in severe mental illness [1] and have in some populations been associated with things like depression, stress and social support satisfaction [2]. Four-Week Supplementation in healthy individuals with a multi-vitamin/mineral preparation treatment was "associated with significantly improved mood, as measured by reduced scores on the "depression-dejection" subscale of the Profile of Mood States" [3] Individual vitamins: Vitamin A: There is a longstanding notion that vitamin A plays a role in psychiatric illness likely based on the profound effects of retinoids on brain development and processes such as long-term potentiation (LTP) and mood regulation. Proposed to be a player and therapeutic in ASD: "supplementation is a reasonable therapy at least for a subset of children with autism" [4]. Vitamin B-group: Thiamine (B1): Exerts antidepressant/anti-stress effects in animal models [5] and improved standard treatment in patients with depression [6] In a small study, thiamine supplementation significantly improved anxiety scores, general well-being and reduced fatigue in patients with Generalised Anxiety Disorder [7] "An improvement in thiamine status was associated with reports of being more clearheaded, composed and energetic. These influences took place in subjects whose thiamine status, according to the traditional criterion, was adequate." [8] Not much has been done on B2 and B3 in psychiatry but they are proposed to play a role. A recent animal study suggests that B2 or B6 vitamins restored the levels of DA and reduced oxidative stress in brain [9] B6: Inadequate amounts of vitamins B6 is linked with a higher incidence of depression and impaired neurotransmitter synthesis. It is proposed to be an effective therapeutic for some women (along with combinations) [10]. Improved attentional performance in males was significantly correlated with increased levels of vitamin B6 B12: Insufficient vitamin B12 status has been linked to poor neurodevelopment and cognitive decline. A significant improvement in depressive symptoms was observed after SSRI and vitamin B12 therapy in one study [11] Folate: see https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/integrative-mental-health-care/201709/folate-depression-schizophrenia-and-dementia Vitamin C: adding vitamin C alone to citalopram did not increase the efficacy of citalopram in MDD patients [12]. That said, in animal models it exerts antidepressant effects dependent on the activation of the opioid system, especially µ-opioid receptors, which might be an indirect consequence of NMDA receptor inhibition elicited by ascorbic acid administration. It may involve an activation of GABAA receptors and a possible inhibition of GABAB receptors, similarly to ketamine. It might be dependent on the activation of PI3K and mTOR, inhibition of GSK-3ß as well as induction of HO-1. These are important mood targets. Vitamin D supplementation, thought to modulate many areas of mental health, is associated with lower depressive and anxiety symptoms in psychotic illness [13] and addition of vitamin D to conventional antidepressive agents can improve antidepressive effect [14]. The core symptoms of ASD fluctuated in severity with changes in serum vitamin D levels in children: high-dose vitamin D3 regimens may ameliorate the core symptoms [15, 16] Vitamin E (α-tocopherol) has been linked to a decrease in the frequency of depressive symptoms. α-tocopherol is a lipid modulator of the cannabinoid system [17] Vitamin E has pain-relieving, antioxidant, antidepressant [18] and anxiolytic-like activities [19]. A low dietary intake of vitamin E is related to altered mood and depression, depression is accompanied by significantly lower serum vitamin E concentrations, vitamin E intake being directly related to the depression score [20].The cognition promoting effects of omega 3 PUFAs may be dietary vitamin E status related [21] and recently, omega-3 and vitamin E co-supplementation was effective in improving parameters of mental health in some individuals with conditions of inflammatory basis [22]. Minerals: Calcium: Ca and Mg may be involved in depression; however there are few data on these mineral nutritional statuses concerning depression and data from human-studies are limited. It thought that Ca intake is related to depression and mental disorders Chromium: Seems to have important effects on insulin signalling and mood. Preclinical and clinical studies reported its potential antidepressant properties [23]. Chromium has shown the most promise for treating subtypes of depression that affect carbohydrate cravings and appetite regulation [24] In some women it "reduced mood symptoms and improved overall health satisfaction" [25] Iodine: Deficiency causes brain structural alterations likely to affect cognition. Low iodine-rich food intake was associated with increased brain volume shrinkage [26] Iron: Human studies link anxiety-driven behaviour and mood changes to poor iron status but excess iron in the brain is detrimental. It is proposed imbalanced iron metabolism plays a role in modulating anxiety and emotional behaviours [27] Magnesium: Magnesium is effective for mild-to-moderate depression in adults. It works quickly and is well tolerated [28] Magnesium influences the neurotransmission involved in emotional processes, such as the serotonergic, noradrenergic, dopaminergic, GABAergic and glutamatergic systems. Potassium: may be useful in the treatment of mood disturbances - low potassium levels may be linked to symptoms of depression. Selenium: "Intake was associated with a general elevation of mood and in particular, a decrease in anxiety." [29] When taking the selenium the subjects reported a substantial improvement in mood at 100 mcg [30] Persons with low selenium status might experience relatively depressed moods [31] That said, another study found "no evidence that selenium supplementation benefited mood or quality of life in these elderly volunteers" [32]. It is suggested to play an important role in psychological functioning [33]. Zinc: Preclinical and clinical studies have demonstrated that zinc possesses antidepressant properties and that it may augment monoamine-based antidepressants [34] Meta-analyses support zinc for depression [35] It is proposed to cause general improvement in neuronal plasticity as well as reduction of neuronal atrophy and neuronal cell loss, modulation of the serotonergic system including postsynaptic 5-HT1ARs with a possible involvement of dopaminergic neurotransmission [36]. Peripheral Zn concentration may play a role in the physiopathology of some domains of cognitive function, "there was a significant positive correlation between plasma Zn levels and the concentration subcategory" [37] Less/other mentioned: Boron: Boron supplementation altered EEG such that there was a shift toward less activity in the low frequencies and more activity in the high, dominant frequencies of the EEG leading to improved psychomotor skill, and cognitive processes of attention and short term memory [38]. Choline sources: "The extent to which higher intakes of choline have the potential to enhance or influence cognition during childhood, adulthood, and/or age-related cognitive decline needs further investigation" [39]. Carotenoids significantly corresponded to global cognitive abilities including verbal learning, verbal fluency, memory recall, processing speed, and perceptual speed. Serum lutein, zeaxanthin, and β-carotene concentrations were most consistently related to better cognition. Serum zeaxanthin had significant relationships with most measures of cognitive function, with higher concentrations being significantly related to global cognitive performance,and better concept formation/abstraction. Serum concentrations of β-carotene were also significantly correlated to most measures of cognitive function. Serum lutein concentrations were significantly related to measures of global cognition, lower dementia severity, and executive function. Carotenoid levels have also been shown to protect cognitive function in older adults with mild cognitive impairment. Supplements have shown strong cognitive enhancement benefits over longer term studies Review on omega-3: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27472373/ [1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30359969 [2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29113038 [3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmid/26529011/ [4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29122693 [5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27825907 [6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26984349 [7] https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/…/53c8c4dbfdccf441a16bcc14… [8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9122365 [9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30413185 [10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28178022 [11] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3856388/ [12] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmid/25873303/ [13] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30245372 [14] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29460820 [15] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29629638 [16] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27868194 [17] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21843633 [18] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20144659 [19] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30251258 [20] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28531460 [21] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29656360 [22] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29306057 [23] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24101396 [24] https://www.verywellmind.com/chromium-for-depression-1066922 [25] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24237190 [26] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29083437 [27] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4253901/ [28] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28654669 [29] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1873372 [30] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2096413 [31] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8717610 [32] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16181615 [33] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12509066 [34] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28299207 [35] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28988944 [36] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28319749 [37] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0531556518300639 [38] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25063690 [39] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29451849
  5. Alchemica

    Ketosis as therapy

    Update on this, be careful with these "trendy" things. I got to quite a deep state of ketosis on this, went from nutritional ketosis to starting to get extremely depriving of food and it started to get to the same level of kind extreme territory I had as a teenager. What are my experiences lately? You can take your consciousness (and suffering) to quite profound, sometimes uplifting and at times very scary places (ie for me going extremely catatonic and in a bad mindset) through these diets that people are broadly normalising and promoting.Yes, you can tap into some spiritual/altered states, maybe lose some weight but also very easily push it to the extreme of depriving yourself to really unhealthy limits, really quickly. It can easily become an eating disorder rather than a health thing, these diets and it's a gradual slide. So while mild nutritional ketosis seems interesting and kind of low GI stuff seems reasonable enough but yeah it easily swings into something less so, particularly for those of us who have struggled with such before... I still feel the most healthy thing to do is change your relationship to food in a healthy way. Get some greater impulse control gradually, cut out unhealthy things and if you want, try something mild like intermittent fasting if depriving yourself takes your fancy.
  6. Ketosis as therapy Heard of a few people doing this, feel free to share your experience We're often centric on putting something in to remedy disease. Taking things out is often less favoured and easy. The nice thing about a diet change is you regain choice of, and gain discipline of what you put into your body and hopefully a health outcome out of it. The second is you can often address the issues of poor health Finding a diet and lifestyle that delivers improvements puts a feeling of health back in your conscious control. I thought, what am I like with very low carbs? I tried exogenous ketones, looking for a fix. What happens with using willpower for better health? I'm still using thiamine but now as a B150 complex and keeping balance in micronutrients including trace elements... my macronutrient profile was not delivering - I was perma-hungry on my relatively planty but carb-loaded diet... keeping up exercise and gardening but so up and down and moody, push through it I tried.... Why not change diet a bit/have another crack at nutritional ketosis? It's "trendy" but also interesting on paper. "...changing diet triggers a deeper consciousness about you" Allowing you to "align your new eating habits with your other new ones in general" Mice on higher glycaemic food showed more autistic behaviors, such as reduced social interactions and activities that seemed to serve no purpose, according to the study, while the low glycaemic mice saw their behaviours improve "Dietary lifestyle changes can have a positive impact throughout the lifespan and appear to not only reduce the risk of acquiring cognitive impairments, but can also attenuate existing impairments: a recent study showed that a 4-week low-saturated fat/low-glycaemic index (GI) diet resulted in improved memory performance and insulin metabolism in adults with amnestic mild cognitive impairment In a healthy young student population those with better glucose regulation perform better on tests of memory, vigilance, planning and dichotic listening compared with those with poorer glucose regulation. A higher-glycemic load diet was associated with higher depression symptoms, total mood disturbance, and fatigue compared to a low-glycemic load diet especially in overweight/obese, but also otherwise healthy, adults" [ref] In ASD, all subjects on the KD had increased BHB, only 50% of subjects demonstrated significant improvements in some studies, some being super-responders with dramatic improvements in social affect. There have been improvement in case studies in hyperactivity, attention span, abnormal reactions to visual and auditory stimuli, usage of objects, adaptability to changes, communication skills, fear, anxiety, and emotional reactions In more serious mental illness, evidence against the role of calorie restriction the mechanism of action of improvement in models, it seems to be more related to ketone bodies I got into meal skipping first. Then low GI, then super carb reduction, then ketotarian. Eventually I was in measurable ketosis, over 1.5mmol/L. Even just getting to breakfast skipping was hard enough without mood going way too low and symptoms initially. Ketosis, it's nice for some conditions on paper but what's it like in reality? "...many people with certain mental disorders find it especially difficult to maintain thanks to the very symptoms they’re looking to manage". "...amid the excitement about the ketogenic diet, I think it’s important to point out its drawbacks as a psychiatric tool." I agree, if you're looking to use a more extreme diet for mental health "wait until your brain is relatively stable before any kind of diet change". I tried getting into ketosis with extreme distress as a baseline once, even helping it along with BHB and I don't recommend it. It didn't work and made things worse. "...after two days of eating fewer than 30 grams of carbs, it hit — a period of low energy and weakness I woke up achy and sluggish, confused and depressed. I was simply too tired to be nervous about anything. But my depression had deepened, sending me into a dull blue fog. Then ten days, each of them torturous." 1. Caloric restriction increases longevity, memory, quality of life and reduces risk factors for neurodegenerative and psychiatric diseases "We suggest that switching between time periods of negative energy balance (short fasts and/or exercise) and positive energy balance (eating and resting) can optimize general health and brain health The increase in autism tracks remarkably closely with the increase in childhood overweight or obesity during the same time period (data from autismspeaks.org and the US Centers for Disease Control), suggesting a causal link between lack of metabolic switching and autistic behaviours, potentially through BDNF expression and excessive mTOR pathway activation" [1] "...metabolic programs relying on efficient fatty acid and ketone body oxidation are most of the time shut off in the modern lifestyle and have to be reintegrated in order to overcome the obesity epidemic – widely known as the breeding ground for most of the Western diseases" The modern lifestyle promotes continuous fueling of adipocytes - most authorities in the Western world recommend at least 50% of the daily caloric intake as carbohydrates but we're losing metabolic flexibility. We have an environment of energy abundance, prolonged psychosocial stress and physical inactivity. It is suggested that "...that the strong increase of diseases related to metabolic abnormalities is largely based on a deficit in metabolic flexibility induced by things like psycho-emotional stress, high meal frequency, physical inactivity etc" It's suggested we need to get used to "periodic fasting or calorie restriction, occasional meal skipping, ketogenic diets and of course exercise. Intermittent fasting and longer-term caloric as well as carbohydrate restriction are parts of our genetic heritage" [ref] There is abnormal hedonic behaviour displayed by diets with high-glycemic carbohydrates - today modern humans are surrounded by a plethora of rewarding stimuli in a nearby environment and through food, we are blunted to the point of reaching reward hyposensitivity What happens with strict carbohydrate restriction to induce adaptation to ketosis? - Improved memory function with a medium effect size in individuals with impairment in response to a relatively brief period of carbohydrate restriction designed to reduce insulin levels and induce ketone metabolism. Improved memory performance, potentially by regulating hippocampal function - Upregulation of GABAergic tone, regulation of glutamatergic transmission (changes the ratio of GABA:glutamate in favor of GABA), dopaminergic and serotonergic modulation along with changes in kynurenine metabolism. Enhanced the availability of brain tryptophan and serotonin, later releases of endogenous endorphins - greater satiety and reduced overall consumption - improved central insulin sensitivity - enhanced cerebral blood flow and blood–brain barrier function - reduced mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) expression, similar to the effects of the antidepressant ketamine - dramatic up‐regulation in neuronal autophagy (sometimes referred to as cellular cleansing) - may moderate the pathogenic relationship between stress reactivity and brain in limbic and prefrontal regions - β-hydroxybutyrate increases the frequency of gamma oscillations and has a protective role in executive function in serious mental illness - anti-oxidant/anti-inflammatory action - increases the activity of a family of transcriptional repressors known as sirtuins and broad epigenetic regulatory activities at physiological concentrations, these may alter seeking behaviour, preventing excessive ethanol intake and relapse and facilitate extinction. Enhance GABAergic and glutamatergic plasticities in DA neurons and normalise hyposensitivity to GABA. - activated brain PPARα: through this is likely to regulate expression of many genes encoding enzymes of amino acid/neurotransmitter metabolism and stimulation of PPARα improves cognitive function (reducing cognitive inflexibility, perseveration etc) in models of impaired cognitive function The beneficial effects of caloric restriction may require only a short‐term reduction in caloric intake Some of the things that temporarily flared up were transient worsening of AVHs and not enough energy to want to bother trying to socialise. I was temporarily in quite a negative mindset and not interested in much of anything. Now there are a few elements: 1. Stability of mind, quite a notable difference in consciousness and anxiolysis. A calm, centred softness. Consciousness is becoming clear and slowly expansive again. Still struggling with my memory, eg ingraining things but we'll see how that goes. Normally I struggle with extreme perservation, feel "locked in" to loops, like I'm not in control, "driven" and akathisic. There feels like a liberating sense of me driving choice again. Even social interaction was a relatively normal experience without aberrant emotionality and odd stress responses 2. Lack of hunger and better sleep 3. Clean energy as needed and less inner mind chatter. Normally I feel heavy in body, mind and spirit but today I felt like having an unco grove to music to unwind a bit, just to loosen up a bit 4. A spiritual element. Feeling generally satisfied as I am with a clear horizon. Normally I'm on the chase for something... and then another thing. While I'm trying to put minimal kJ in, it's interesting being in a state where you're burning and using fats, either what you put in, or your own, for energy. Instead of spiking blood glucose, you can get a feel for different fats and their uses. MCTs are nice for a quick boost and adapting to ketosis [1] and the initial stage but soon enough, you want to be running on healthier fats. That said, MCTs are the 'crack of fats' increasing BHB in a linear, dose-dependent manner and increasing total brain energy metabolism by increasing ketone supply [2], having positive effects on verbal memory and processing speed in patients with impairments [3] and exerting anxiolytic and social effects [4]. Coconut oil may improve brain health by directly activating ketogenesis in astrocytes [5] and has beneficial effects on neuron survival [6] If you want an interesting combo, try a carnitine source with your longer chain fats. Long-chain fatty acids (LCFA) require L-carnitine as a transporter into the mitochondrial matrix, while the MCTs do not. While most patients do not require carnitine supplementation [7], Carnitine helps shuttle fatty acids across cell membranes to be oxidized by mitochondria, covering an important role in lipid metabolism, acting as an obligatory cofactor for β-oxidation of fatty acids by facilitating the transport of long-chain fatty acids across the mitochondrial membrane as acylcarnitine esters. Oleic acid sources do seem to curb hunger nicely. There is reduced food intake in an oleate-specific manner [8].There is a hypoglycemic effect of oleic acid and the probable dependence of glutathione [9] Watch out for saturated fats: these increase brain inflammation and activates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis Dietary lecithin may increase the efficacy of omega-3 supplementation when their intake is combined [1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29951312 [2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29914035 [3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30367958 [4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29908242 [5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27430387 [6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28126466 [7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11879348 [8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27654062 [9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28214972
  7. Alchemica

    Isopropyl extractions

    Please keep it to legal things to do with isopropyl
  8. I still have moments I tune into these things, lately endogenously I found myself spontaneously creating a chakra Full Moon Mandala Did some reading, surely I'm not the only one who does these things? "The season of Spring presents a time for us to align with our inner truth, the seeds inside of us waiting to blossom with the droplets of rain and sun. One of my most loved rituals is the practice of creating an Earth Mandala, a Healing Circle, a Flower of Life, a cosmic diagram connecting us to the Universal oneness. It is an offering of prayer and love to Mother Earth and the Spirit of the land where you live. This ritual was inspired by the sacred Andean Despacho ceremony of the Inka tradition. Since ancestral times, people of the Andes have used this ceremony to connect themselves with the harmony of nature and to live in Ayni, in reciprocity and right relationship. To practice Anyi is to acknowledge the interconnection between human beings and the natural world that sustains us. In Peru, a Despacho ceremony is performed by the Q’ero shaman to honor Pachamama, Mother Earth or the Apus, the Mountain Spirits. Using various natural elements as offerings to represent the stars, rivers, clouds… the shaman creates a three dimensional Mandala composition as a symbolic act of respect for all of life." https://puakaihealing.com/earth-mandala/ I've been experiencing a strong connection to the natural world lately, plants, birds etc. "When a feather arrives for you, Spirit is reminding you of your spiritual origins and deep connection to your home beyond earthly realms." "Feathers come to us as gifts. They come from the sky, from the sea, from trees and deep grasses, even appearing within enclosed spaces never inhabited by winged creatures. They come to us unexpectedly, but not without purpose. Their messages may be startling, soothing or sudden, but they are always an opportunity for seeing – for finding answers to questions we may not even have known we were asking. What, then, is a feather? It is a part of a bird’s body, and it is a part of us. It exists for itself, to serve its primary purpose in the cosmos, and it exists in alliance with every other aspect of the cosmos. Just as we bring life-inspiring messages for others while simply fulfilling our own lives, so do feathers bring their messages to us. They remind us that we walk in a world overflowing with meaning." https://www.shamanicquest.co.uk/blog/2017/05/15/Shamanic-Practice-And-Feathers.aspx
  9. Alchemica

    Visitation by birds

    I too like to see birds symbolically and as spiritual messengers. I've also been feeling attunement to all animals/insects on a deeper level. I feel it's more a personal relationship that you find in their presence than any general one but just observing the bird can form some relevant "lesson" or insight. For example, some have taught me that I need to be more friendly with their general friendly nature. Others reaching for higher transcendence of self through their flight A more detatched view on the earthly pleasures and greater spirit etc There's plenty on spiritual views on the net but see what inner work it brings to your awareness?
  10. This one - the dragonfly - came to me in a time where I was embracing change - new place, new attitudes, new behaviour, new light "...change what needs to be changed, survive, become better, and flourish!"
  11. Well said @Inyan Coming from only ever being interested in plants for medicinal aspects, to then finding the enjoyment of creating that nourishing connection to food, I always dismissed anything else as aesthetic gardening and pointless. Not saying food/medicine isn't important, I'm just surprised to find how the act of relationship with something that won't deliver a therapeutic brew or even food really breaks the addictive consumption mindset - something I was always struggling with
  12. You can eat the kale, do the meditations, sip on the plant medicine but how healing is that really? I got disenchanted with 'plant medicine' as it was often turning into a bunch of band-aid experiences and pits of continuous self-medication. I saw lots of people embarking on the same loop, it seemed to be a pathway of less healing than expected. Anyone else found that? I think we've often lost some aspect of simply nurturing something that doesn't give back to us with food or medicine etc. A deeper connection to the Web of Life. I started growing some non-medicinals, things that weren't providing me with anything, and noticed something... From the butterfly attracting Milkweed to Milly's forget-me-nots to Acacias I'd never had any interest in... In the past, a plant's worth was dictated to me by what it could do for food or medicine, a very ego-centric view on the plant. There was nothing spiritual or worthwhile about a plant being simply a living entity, the essence of respect was often not there/not as deep - what did it do for us other than provide a bit of oxygen?!? It's "just a plant"... I was centred around always taking something from a plant, be it food, medicine, boosts in self etc. If we treat humans in such a way, constantly dictating their worth by what they can do "for me/us" and with limited respect for their unique worthwhile existence, that's a very unhealthy view that's all too prevalent in society - I believe our human relationships are often mirrored in the way we treat the Earth. If we flip that "for me/us" around into what we can do "for them" without expectation of something in return, that's the start of some healing. In that flip, you also seemingly make room for healthy natural reciprocity Today I see the worth of a plant beyond that narrow view. I'm starting to nurture something that I don't expect anything in return from. The essence of each plant has it's own gift, beyond a phytopharmacological or nutritional cocktail, and deserves respect - a more eco-centric and spirited view Looking forward to Trees for Life
  13. Keep us in the loop on any improvements or anything you note @Xperiment. I doubt you got up to as much thiamine depleting shenanigans as I did but if you did, be liberal with doses... Longer term, I've noted it's not the panacea for me - don't expect it to be - if I get stressed I get symptom flares but they actually resolve over a bit of time whereas before nothing would shift a continuous spiral down.
  14. This continues to deliver day by day. So much so I think the quest for some stability might be over I find the effects are very dose dependent in line with the dose-response noted above - using 500mg+ (I haven't noted side effects up to 1.5g) and keeping those levels elevated throughout the day has given me some good stability, I might be able to reduce doses soon. Why did my brain feel daily like it was being eaten alive, was pure negative affect constantly over-riding my emotional world, was I in pure dysphoria with constant fluctuations in mental state and deteriorating cognition? This seems to be the closest I've found to a solution and an affordable one at that The encouraging thing is that on returning to what was my first point of call but really upping the thiamine dose with just healthy dietary diversity and maintenance, it feels like there's nothing too much needing continuous time investment in attempting 'fixing' which has been a super challenging loop for me to break free from when minute to minute your mental state, memory and cognition is doing weird things. Hopeful I can maintain that. I'm currently having manageable stable-ish days without extreme and constant mood, emotional and other weird neuropsychiatric stuff happening. That said, it's been a long time of symptoms so there's likely been damaging effects from that. I'm not saying it's at all perfect but it's workable and stable 'good enough'. I can actually do some things I want to do for a few hours, particularly manage some family time, without it being absolute torture for my fluctuating brain state. Get on with living life.
  15. Well modulating 5-HT did something helpful, temporarily... In a moment of impulsivity went back to what was my first point of call after abstinence. Cheap old thiamine, was my body really getting enough or could that help explain the scary deteriorating struggle town I was in each day? Not going to neglect the other vitamins see table in this article The B vitamins: nomenclature, dietary sources, coenzyme forms (roles), symptoms of deficiency, and risk factors (over and above low consumption). Of all the evidence based things I've tried to stay on top of, thiamine was one major legitimate concern. Thought I was including enough to try and cover that concern... but I upped the thiamine quite a bit.... and felt slightly better. A few days, even better. These days of supplements being so dodgy in quality, I'll only use simple cheap pharmaceutical grade thiamine I trust from the chemist not some novel derivative. B1 Thiamine - brain deficiency particularly seen in alcohol abuse, obesity Mild deficiency: irritability, emotional disturbances, confusion, disturbed sleep, memory loss Deficiency: Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (neurodegeneration, within the medial thalamus and cerebellum). Ataxia, abnormal motor function and eye movement, amnesia, apathy, confabulation - Thiamine deficient rats developed learning and memory deficits as well as aggressive behaviour - There was significant cognitive deteriorations in the psychoneurotic scales in thiamine deprived participants . - There was significant association between improved thiamine status and enhanced performance across a range of cognitive-function test [ref] Thought I was on enough but if you start getting weird neurological symptoms and cognitive decline, it seems to be a really good thing to knock out as a potential causative factor ASAP rather than fluffing around, particularly if you've been on anything thiamine depleting. Not just take a bit but saturate your system with it for awhile... Particularly when if you're getting changes in mental state and cognitive deterioration - disoriented, inattentive, agitated etc Any thiamine experts? How much thiamine is actually needed for abstinence recovery? How long do you need to maintain high-dose supplementation for? I used 100mg/day for a bit then I was using about 50mg/day. Maybe that simply wasn't enough Alterations of serotonergic parameters have been demonstrated in experimental thiamine deficiency. "...data suggest that 5-HT neurons, although structurally intact, are functionally affected early during the progression of thiamine deficiency. These alterations, which are likely a part of adaptive neuronal change consequent to thiamine dysfunction, may be important in the physiological manifestations and the learning deficits commonly encountered in experimental thiamine deficiency. " Stuck with it a few days, got out in the garden more. Feel just clearheaded, been more able to persist with goal-directed tasks, not irritable. Calm and collected in the most grounded way I've felt for awhile. Stability of mood. I've actually slept in past my usual 3.30am wake up time, too. With 50mg in healthy subjects: An improvement in thiamine status was associated with reports of being more clearheaded, composed and energetic. These influences took place in subjects whose thiamine status, according to the traditional criterion, was adequate. Once again, this seems to have antidepressant augmenting effects in human studies [1]. In a small study, thiamine supplementation significantly improved anxiety scores, general well-being and reduced fatigue in patients with Generalised Anxiety Disorder. "Interestingly these patients were able to discontinue taking anxiolytic and β-blocker medications." [2]. It has also been found thiamine supplementation shows a beneficial clinical effect on children with autism [3]. [1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26984349 [2] https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/7c1b/53c8c4dbfdccf441a16bcc1464b2b26c9c55.pdf [3] http://article.sciencepublishinggroup.com/pdf/10.11648.j.ajpn.20130102.11.pdf "Thiamine is being used to improve brain function and it is also shown to help treat neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimers and Parkinsons" It's established "thiamine supplemented abstinent rats made a faster recovery of hepatic and neuronal damage than in the abstinence group. Changes in neurotransmitter levels in brain were also reversed by thiamine supplementation. DNA damage was decreased and DNA content increased in thiamine supplemented group compared to abstinence group showing a faster regeneration" [1] It is claimed Steve Jobs took massive doses of thiamine when he was experimenting with other stuff and said both were about equally effective as idea stimulators, but B1 did not have the psychoactive effect. Thiamine compounds may act by boosting anti-oxidant cellular defenses and prevent stress-induced inhibition of hippocampal neurogenesis [2] Thiamine has antidepressant/anti-stress effects that are associated with reduced GSK-3β expression and conditioning of adverse memories [3] High doses have some utility in dementia potentially due to a cholinomimetic effect of thiamine in the central nervous system [4] Thiamine is required to synthesise acetylcholine (ACh). Thiamine is involved in the presynaptic release of ACh; thiamine binds to nicotinic receptors and exhibits anticholinesterase activity The treatment with thiamine led to a significant improvement of Parkinson's symptoms. Experimental findings showed an increased dopamine release in rat striatum after the intrastriatal thiamine administration and "high doses of thiamine, could lead to an increase of synthesis and release of the endogenous dopamine, to an increase of activity of the thiamine-dependent enzymes" [5] A thiamine derivative promotes voluntary activity through dopaminergic activation [6] The same derivative has been found to make mice engage in more passive cuddling-type behaviours. Likewise acute sulbutiamine induced a modulatory effect on glutamatergic and dopaminergic cortical transmissions in the rat brain It has anticonvulsant effects [7] One report of a healthy subject taking mega-doses: "I have been using megadoses of Thiamine (Vit. B1) on and off for over a year and am greatly impressed. I always take a 250 mg or 300 mg B1 pill with a Vitamin B Complex (100 mgs/mcgs of the various B Vitamins) usually twice per day (once with breakfast and once with lunch). Good things about Thiamine megadoses: - Greatly improves my attention to detail on reading tasks. Without it I often struggle reading through pubmed articles for example, with it I read every single word quickly and understand what the article is about without giving up (I often 'give up' without this given that I have inattentive type ADD). - Greatly improves ability to do 'boring' mundane tasks. For example, when doing boring checking tasts at work, this helps me rip through them better than anything else. Also lets me rip through chores easily. - Improves my motivation. It allows me to follow a more disciplined lifestyle (eating healthier, sticking to routines, doing boring chores without too much hassle, etc.) - Gives me more mental energy and I feel more awake generally in the daytime." [8] [1] https://www.ijpp.com/IJPP archives/2013_57_4_Oct - Dec/406-417.pdf [2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28506637 [3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27825907 [4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8251051 [5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4828997/ [6] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-28462-2 [7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28766407 [8] https://www.longecity.org/forum/topic/65238-megadosing-thiamine-for-motivation-and-sexual-arousal/ I've learned with a potential deficiency ie thiamine, don't skimp on doses of the safe ones. Doses of high magnitude for longer periods are required to replenish many B vitamin levels and correct enzymatic activity, particularly with those who have restriction in their ability to absorb them. There is a linear dose response following single oral doses of thiamine in terms of whole blood and plasma levels up to the maximum administered dose of 1500 mg (corresponding to more than 1000 times the RDA). Higher doses have also been used such as 3g. It's seemingly better to get those levels up. "Epidemiological evidence suggests that the benefits of B vitamins extend well beyond the accepted biochemical cut-offs for deficiency or marginal deficiency" Other B deficiencies from [ref]: B2 Riboflavin Fatigue, personality change, brain dysfunction B3 Niacin - Particularly seen in alcohol abuse Depression, anxiety, progressing to vertigo, memory loss, paranoia, psychotic symptoms, aggression (Pellagrous insanity) B5 Pantothenic acid Encephalopathy, behaviour change, demyelination B6 Vitamin B6 (referring to: pyridoxal, pyridoxamine, pyridoxine) Particularly seen in Alcohol abuse, age-related malabsorption, contraceptive medications Irritability, impaired alertness, depression, cognitive decline, dementia, autonomic dysfunction, convulsions B7 Biotin - particularly seen in Type II diabetes, poor gluco-regulation Depression, lethargy, hallucinations, seizures B9 Folic acid/folate - particularly seen in Common genetic polymorphisms (inc. MTHFR C667T) Low Riboflavin and B12 B12 Vitamin B12 - particularly seen in age-related malabsorption, vegetarians, vegans, genetic polymorphisms Both cause affective disorders, behaviour changes, psychosis, cognitive impairment/decline, dementia (inc Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia) Observational and controlled trial research being focused disproportionately on just three of the vitamins—folate and vitamins B6 and B12. "Unfortunately, there is a general dearth of controlled trial research into the effects of the remaining B vitamins on brain function"