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About Alchemica

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    Shaman's Apprentice

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  1. Who else sprouts/microgreens? I decided I needed a new healing hobby. Gardening is good but the effort involved when I'm not well and heat in summer is too much. I still appreciate being in close proximity to plant life. You get to watch the seeds spring to life magically and then without mass effort in the garden, get dense nutrition (and phytochemicals). I took up sprouting/microgreens after having a short trial on broccoli sprout powder and thinking it could be good longer term. They're also good as they are easy behavioural activation when I'm feeling unwell and force me to keep tidy - it's something that embodies care, embraces life, encourages things like growth, self-care and cleanliness, shorter-term and longer-term goals and nurtures your health in return. Also, after switching to a super planty diet, I noticed lentils etc don't agree with me but lentil sprouts are fine. In general, germinated seeds, particularly microgreens, have more bioactive compounds than raw seeds [1] "Seed sprouting is a widely used natural processing method, which not only improves nutritional properties, decreases levels of antinutritional constituents but also enhances concentrations of bioactive compounds and antioxidant activity resulting in improved nutraceutical properties of seeds and creates a functional component for healthy food production" The concentration of proteins, fibre and bioactive compounds as well as bioactivity increased in the sequence: raw seeds-sprouted seeds-microgreens, while the content of total carbohydrates decreased. "Iron and zinc are still the most widespread deficient micronutrients in global food systems, known as ‘hidden hunger’ and are currently of the greatest concern when considering the nutritional value of vegetarian diets: sprouted seeds and microgreens are a good source of Fe and Zn with possibly increased bioaccessibility." "Like isoflavone concentrations, the contents of other phenolic compounds and non-phenolic metabolites as triterpene saponins increased in the following order: raw seeds < sprouted seeds < microgreens." [1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30602699 Now sprouted pretty much anything I could possibly find to sprout in the house. Soybeans, chickpeas, lentils, broccoli, mustard, radish, red clover, fenugreek etc. The works. Gut's finally coming back to some normality, contrary to simply cooked forms etc. Also set up a microgreens grow room, including wheatgrass. Sprouts are life potential, ignited. We awaken the nutrition inside the seed... "You’re growing a garden right in your kitchen, using your own energy to make the magic happen. It’s hyper-local food at its best! No chemicals or pesticides during the growing process, or fossil fuels for transportation. Could sprouts be the perfect food?! The quality of protein and carbohydrates improves, as the sprouting process begins to break down the complex proteins and starches into amino acids, peptides, and simple carbohydrates needed by the seed to grow. At the same time, anti-nutrients such as phytic acid, protease and amylase inhibitors are neutralized. This makes a sprout very easy to digest with highly absorbable nutrients [not to mention the enhancement of bioactive phytochemicals] Make sure that your jar or sprouting container is thoroughly clean, that you’re rinsing your sprouts with cool water twice daily, and that your sprouts have plenty of airflow." [1] I agree - Risks and Benefits "They are pretty energizing, and I enjoy the taste of them" "...a good choice for someone with a sensitive gut" "For people with problems digesting certain foods, sprouted germs might seem better for them, and they are less allergenic to people with sensitivities." "While sprouted grains and other nutrient-blocking seeds won’t be completely free from all antinutrients after soaking and sprouting, it’s a much better option". Broccoli: How to At least nine clinical studies of neurodevelopmental conditions like autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia are promising. Preliminary evidence that sulforaphane may improve symptoms of autism spectrum disorders with improvement in social interaction, in abnormal behaviour, and verbal communication. It is promising in neurodegenerative conditions in animal models. It is "possible that dietary intake of cruciferous vegetables including glucoraphanin (or sulforaphane) may prevent depression induced by stress and/or inflammation". It has potential to improve cognitive function in patients with schizophrenia [1] Sulforaphane may be a useful intervention for neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases because it "corrects underlying aspects of the diseases process, rather than merely alleviating symptoms". After Nrf2 pathway activation, over two hundred genes are induced and exert detoxification and antioxidant defense. - a naturally occurring Nrf2 activator - potent anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. - epigenetically enhances neuronal BDNF expression and its TrkB signaling pathways [2] - increased blood GSH levels in healthy human subjects following 7 days of daily oral administration [3] - prevented depression-like phenotype in mice after inflammation, or chronic social defeat stress [4] - following oral administration, it had an effect on histone deacetylase activity following a single dose in animal models. - improve glucose tolerance through the up-regulation of insulin signaling [5] Tip: add some radish/mustard seeds to your sprouting mixture: "...the addition of radish, rocket and rape sprouts to broccoli sprouts could promote the hydrolysis of the glucoraphanin to sulforaphane to 2.03, 2.32 and 1.95-fold, respectively, compared to single broccoli sprouts while the formation of non-bioactive sulforaphane nitrile in these three groups decreased greatly" [6] [1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30199394 [2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27735126 [3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29888232 [4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30386243 [5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30091431 [6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30263824 Fenugreek "Sprouting has shown to improve the nutritional profile of fenugreek seeds and decrease the fiber content such that it gets digested and absorbed in the system more easily. Also, germinated fenugreek seeds have higher antioxidant content and enhanced antidiabetic effect" [review] Fenugreek is known for its medicinal properties such as hypocholesterolemic, antidiabetic, anticancer and gastroprotective properties but it's healing properties extend beyond that. Fenugreek fibre in a breakfast meal increased feelings of fullness and reduced hunger, as well as reduced energy intake. It had comparable effects to metformin. When fenugreek was incorporated into food, it reduced the glycemic index (GI) by 21%. 10 g/day significantly decreased fasting blood glucose and HbA1c, serum levels of insulin, homeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance, and total cholesterol and triglycerides, and it increased serum levels of adiponectin in type 2 diabetic patients Clinically fenugreek seed leads to improvement in insulin sensitivity [1]. An animal study shows significant anti-anxiety effects [2] and it improves learning and memory process and has significant potential as an antiamnesic agent [3]. It has neuroprotective [4] and antidepressant activity in part by modulation of MAO-A/B [5] It demonstrated significant anabolic and androgenic activity in human studies [6]. Improves sexual function and increases serum testosterone in healthy middle-aged and older men [7] and sexual desire and arousal in women [8] It contains flavonoids, terpenoids, phenols, proteins/amino acids, saponins, and tannins. Galactomannan from fenugreek seeds is a prebiotic [9] Fenugreek may help protect against liver changes induced by chronic alcohol consumption. Health Benefits of Culinary Herbs and Spices: https://doi.org/10.5740/jaoacint.18-0418 [1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29518003 [2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27639708 [3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29681009 [4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27893738 [5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25176235 [6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30356905 [7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26791805 [8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25914334 [9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29876118 Wheatgrass Along with chlorophyll, it is a source of a large variety of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids (while being considered gluten free). In the passage from grains to sprouts to wheatgrass, the quantity of flavonoids increases being rich in flavonoids, particularly apigenin. A source of triterpenoids, anthraquinol, alkaloids, tannins, saponins, sterols, squalene, caryophyllene and amyrins Clinical studies show benefit as an adjunct to cancer therapy and benefit in rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, hematological diseases, diabetes, obesity, and oxidative stress. Currently available evidence confirms the safety of wheatgrass and its products [1] [1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26156538
  2. Hi mate, I would love some Ashwagandha seeds and any Romanesco broccoli if still available!

  3. Thanks for sharing. I'm not sure how a combination of plants simply targeting specific targets, often with multifaceted phytochemicals, that target many different pathways would go? I'd be personally more inclined to look at what is being used in preclinical models, or clinically with success for different conditions. That said, inosine is a potential disease-modifying therapy for MS, Salvia miltiorrhiza has some promise for cerebrovascular and brain conditions eg stroke recovery. To me, it's a lot of guessing to come up with a formula for neural repair that's going to help people with a diverse range of conditions
  4. Alchemica

    Ashwagandha free seed etc

    If anyone is interested, I have quite a bit of ripe fruit if you want to grow it etc. Harvested quite a few plants yesterday Can throw in a few other seeds: Calendula, Pyrethrum, Feverfew, Chamomile, Romanesco broccoli, have plenty of Milly's morning glory mix too While the fruit can cause GI distress consumed in large quantities, the withanamides, the primary active constituents in W. somnifera fruit extract exhibited neuroprotective effects. They may improve antioxidant status and reduce proinflammatory markers.These compounds may work to prevent Alzheimer's disease at the onset, and it also could prevent its progression [1]. This research was once heralded as a major step forward as there is nothing on the market that slows the progression of Alzheimer's. Can't find anything on how this research has progressed unfortunately. The patent extends to use for mood [2] [1] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150311124643.htm [2] https://patents.google.com/patent/CA2538905C Also can help out with leaf for research purposes. While it's less used than the root (and some seem to aim to avoid the withaferin-A), I've found it a nice enough medicinal tea and others use it similarly. The neuroprotective leaf and fruit constituents affect cortical muscarinic acetylcholine (including M1/M2 mAChRs) and neurotrophins, which may partly explain it's cognition-enhancing effect. The leaves possess higher content of active withanolides, Withaferin-A and Withanone, as compared to the roots [1]. Nootropic and CNS therapeutic properties of the leaf have been claimed [2]. Withaferin-A is a potent leptin sensitiser with additional antidiabetic actions and resulted in a 20-25% reduction of body weight in overweight mice [3]. It improves insulin sensitivity [4]. Anti-neuroinflammatory properties have been ascribed to the leaf [5] along with neuroprotective properties [6] Withaferin-A shows anti-neuroinflammatory [7] anti-Aβ properties [8] and dopamine-restoring [9] properties. Improvement of cognitive dysfunction has been ascribed to Withanone [10] including inhibition of AChE, anti-Aβ, protection against oxidative stress and anti-inflammatory effects. Many toxicological studies have demonstrated that Ashwagandha, in its reasonable dose, is a non-toxic, safe and edible herb - despite that, there is sometimes movement away from the cytotoxic constituents towards root extracts which may be less effective [1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27936030 [2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26361721 [3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27479085 [4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30417321 [5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27550017 [6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25789768 [7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26266054 [8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30356847 [9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30544122 [10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29108796
  5. Alchemica

    Passiflora to help a friend

    There was an interesting study done on how different people respond to this medicine In chronic illness, what type of person are you, does it alter how you respond to a herbal medicine? Patients' experiences attributed to the use of Passiflora incarnata: A qualitative, phenomenological study While results of studies point to the effectiveness of the therapeutic use of Passiflora incarnata for nervous restlessness, generalized anxiety disorder, insomnia, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, presurgery anxiety and menopausal symptoms, does it matter how you approach the medicine? There seems to be a fundamental aspect in responders: resetting of priorities in life and the new focus on personal growth Do you have a high degree of interest in personal growth and in overcoming your illness (Type 1), or more resigned to your condition (Type 2/3)? Do you try and maintain performance orientation (Type 2) "Type 1 patients reported that their chronic illness and its ailments led them to reset their priorities and to make more room for mindfulness and self care in their lives" Do you reset the priorities in your life (Type 1) or not (Type 2/3) All groups reported that they were frequently "overwhelmed by their daily life", constantly "chewing over everything" and "finding it difficult to distance themselves from overthinking" Interestingly, Type 1 have the best responses to a herbal medicine like Passiflora. Type 3 "did not experience something specific that they related to the use of Passiflora incarnata". Type 2 had some level of calmness. Type 1 patients attained "calmness" while using Passiflora incarnata. Moreover, they reported having a "better foundation" and "being more centered". With Passiflora incarnata,they thought that they were generally better able to "let things go" and felt more "patient" and "calm". "Passiflora, I feel, is providing me with a better foundation for these changes that have come about or that have started. I feel that I am on different ground here, that my new steps on this different ground are somehow more solid. That is, I am not perpetually racking my brain anymore. Therefore, I am not that unstable any more...in everything. That is what I identify with Passiflora." I was able "to take a step back and look at things" now "In the past, I was lived, but now I am living" I suffer "less from anxiety" with Passiflora incarnata. I am surprised that my anxiety "almost does not exist anymore" http://sci-hub.tw/10.1016/j.jep.2018.11.022
  6. Alchemica

    Passiflora to help a friend

    Passiflora incarnata has a really low beta-carboline content and hence the MAOI effect from such, if that's what you're seeking, is likely not relevant at typical doses. There does seem to be a more noted putative GABAergic component through the flavonoids - that's what I'd be more worried about interacting with the alcohol eg. potentiation (possibly also leading to disinhibition and even more drinking). I don't mind it as a mild mental health tool It's a nice enough plant to use but generally mild for someone used to 'intoxication' and probably with a baseline of some mental distress etc. I used to frequently brew up solid (25g) doses but eventually settled on a blend like lemon balm, chamomile and passionflower as more a subtler calm tea at more typical doses. Some people I know who had more typical brains found it sedating at much lower doses. For me, it was mainly a way of displacing drinking/craving onto something healthier but you can bring an emotional/spiritual level to any tea through a more ceremonial aspect and use it as an exercise in mindfulness. I looked for emotion-enhancing plants, that's one aspect I also liked to self-medicate. Thing is, the more you seek something external to enhance/modulate emotions, the worse things can get and the longer they'll likely persist. I ended up super, extra dysregulated through seeking 'emotional improvements' through even mild plants too often. The mere act of some novelty and hope can drive quite a potent - and at times healing - placebo response. If the expectation 'taking something' will help improve the emotional world of this person exists, it's quite likely there will be some of that with any option, just the belief can be powerful. It's worth utilising that belief in oneself and the mildest options available to drive a beneficial response IMO. Lately, I've come to see it's more shifting actions - doing - positively that can drive a better emotional landscape. If you can, get your friend growing some herbal plant allies, relating to them, nurturing them, crafting medicine/cooking with them etc more than taking them. Derive an emotional relationship with the plant more holistically, more so than seeking an emotional outcome of consuming a plant I wouldn't say discount some herbs like Passiflora as options, I would try to limit alcohol with it and start low Even something like Ashwagandha could be useful. It's one that seems quite promising for such things. Can send some seeds if you get interested.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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
  11. 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.
  12. 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
  13. Alchemica

    Isopropyl extractions

    Please keep it to legal things to do with isopropyl
  14. 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
  15. 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?