A group og researchers at Stanford University set their minds into studying how one night of poor sleep would affect brain function.

David M. Holzman and colleagues studied 17 adults between 35 and 65 years of age. None of them had problems with sleeping but half of them was for one single night exposed to sounds that would keep them from deep uninterrupted sleep.

What the study found was that a single night of poor sleep boost amyloid beta, a protein that has been linked with Alzheimers. The study also found that a full week of poor sleep elevates tau, another brain protein tied to brain damage in Alzheimers and a number of other neurological diseases.

The study report acknowledges that the weakness of the study is the small study group but gives a clear picture as to what sleep means for not only the risk of Alzheimers but also other neurological diseases.

In my opinion the most alarming finding in this study is that just one night of poor sleep is enough to elevate amyloid beta – and that given how easy the protein is raised, it also points to a link between stress and Alzheimers as well as other neurological diseases.

Exit from darkness !

Todays blog post is a bit different then what you are used to get from my hand. Acesalus.com usually place high emphasis on science and every article and every fragment of advice is based on what the science says or by questioning the validity of science, when it doesn’t add up.

But today, as we – for now – puts closure to the theme on mental illness, I am going to do things quite differently. I am going to tell you my own personal story – with depression, completely striped down and naked.

It’s my hope that I might be able to inspire someone out there to fight and overcome it, and if just one person finds inspiration and a better life then it’s been worth it.

My story starts back in the year 2000. At the time I was franchising a 7-Eleven store, and I was at a place where although stressed and from time to time under huge pressure I felt that I could do anything in the world that I put my mind into. In a lot of ways, that was also what I did.

However that year also set off my first depression, and started life events that would mark me for the rest of my life.

What happened was that I was faced with 3 armed robberies that year – and as luck would have it, I was working all 3 times.

First one didn’t bother me much really. It happened and I moved on. Six months later, I found myself looking into a gun barrel once more – and this time I felt the adrenaline rush through my veins differently then the first time, but again I brushed it off as a random event. Yet it shouldn’t be more random then the event reoccurring two weeks later but very differently.

It was early morning, still dark, and I was actually having my back to the door while sorting that days delivery of news papers. I did not hear the door open, I didn’t hear his steps either, not a sound until I heard the sound of the gun hammer being pulled back. I have no idea how I was able to recognize the sound, but I instantly knew what was going on, and as I turned around I remember thinking “Shit, not again !”.

But what I found when I turned was not even slightly close to what I had expected. At this point I was looking at a tall skinny person dressed completely in black, with exception of the white pattern of the skeleton on his face mask. If you remember the Scream movies that was popular at the time – that was exactly the mask he was wearing.

He pointed the gun at me and ordered me to empty the cash register in his carry bag – I remember considering while doing it, wether or not I could in any way press the alarm without making a weird movement, and gave up on that idea while watching the gun point to my chest. Then at that point the most dreadful thing happened – as I was in the process, he said something to me, I’ve forgotten today what it was, but it made the blood in my veins freeze to ice, as I could recognize the voice. I could very distinctively recognize the voice, but something blocked me from placing a face to the voice.

Now what really shook me around this last time was knowing that it was someone that I knew but not knowing who it was. Actually a few days after I had an idea who it was, but not knowing his name or being sure that it was him, it became a suspicion that I never said out loud. However seen in the backlight before the robbery he was at the store several times a week, after that incident I never saw him again – so maybe I was right after all.

The experience was traumatic, and during the following months I asked 7-Eleven to arrange conversations with a counsellor. That however was denied, on the grounds that their counsellor service was only for employees not for franchisors. So rather then dealing with it I ended up on anxiety medication, frightened to be alone, and frightened to walk into my own store.

It took me a year to get back on my feet and out of the medication. One of the tools to do this was letting go of the store and moving into a new environment.

However medication or not, the trauma remained there and few years later, everything began to pop up again. This time I went to my doctor in the hope of being send to a counsellor, but given a 6 month waiting list for a counsellor he decided that it would be better to place me on medication. I was given Cipralex, at the time a pretty new drug used to treat depression.

So over the next 6 months sudden anxiety attacks, dark and depressed thoughts was replaced with bad memory, low physical sensitivity, fatigue, and constant cognitive decline ( A few times I actually experienced to call the wrong person up and not realizing it until I was way into the conversation) , and a constant feeling of being “high” on something – as if I was there, but I was not.

By allowing myself to rest, find my place in life and redefine my purpose and the support and love of a few select friends I managed to get off the medication and return to life.

But it was not without a price. previously I had been known for having and elephants memory of even small details, but since taking the Cipralex I lost that extraordinary memory function and it has since taken years to retrain my brain up to normal memory function. On the physical side of things the sensitivity in my nerves and finer movement has suffered as well.

The next years that follow I was in and out of depression, but whenever I was in it was always for limited times of 1-2 months and never with the agony of that first great depression, until the summer of 2016.

That summer passed a lot of events on me. Primarily cut backs at my workplace of the time combined with a new leadership structure and a team spirit that was changed from “We stand together” to “Survival of the fittest” drew major strains on my mind control.

When at the same time I had to let go of what I had at the time defined as my life purpose and highest passion – I fell completely to the floor, I was overwhelmed with fatigue, very dark and hopeless thoughts, as if life had no meaning and no joy.

From there on it was like a freefall, I stoped my workouts (I used to be at the gym 4-5 times a week), I isolated myself as I had no energy for being social and if I had to be around people it would take me hours, and sometimes days, to work up the energy for that.

As an attempt at overcoming the problem, I decided to change job, and getting into a new positive work environment did push me in the right direction. However it should not last very long, as at the same time I got in contact with a person who thrived on bullying, harassing and belittling me – unfortunately that contact was in a context where I couldn’t just walk away. I was back at working, sleeping and eating because that was all I had energy for.

But that was also the time when sleeping failed me. I stoped being able to fall asleep and for the next 6 months I was sleeping 2-4 hours per day, after spending hours upon hours trying to fall asleep. If I was lucky then once a week my body would give up and sleep for 10-14 hours.

It is obvious that this was not healthy in any way, neither physically or mentally, and as I look back at it now, I often wonder how I survived.

The simple explanation to my survival is because I got sick and tired of feeling miserable. I started to rethink why I am here, what is my my purpose of being alive – and put it down on paper. One of those purpose defining things is actually this blog and the formation of a company devoted to promoting healthy life choices and natural alternatives to common health care.

At the same time as I took this step, I started surrounding myself with people with a positive insight to life, and who could build me up through personal development.

This was a life changer. I started to feel excitement sprout again. But I was still not getting regular sleep, fatigue was still after me like a demon in the night and though I was capable of smiling it never really hit the eyes.

So how could I get the last bit of way ? I asked myself that question many times. Given what the antidepressants I was given years earlier ruined for me – that was one path that I knew I would never take again. But what then ?

That was when I was introduced to a new supplement named VIVA. In my previous article I went through the science of Saffron as an antidpressant and anti anxiety remedy.

Saffron was exactly what this supplement was based on – So with the knowledge of Saffron as a well studied remedy for better sleep, better mood and less anxiety I was excited to try it out.

But what happened next impressed me more then any product had ever impressed me. The positive side of supplements is that they usually work better then pharmaceutical drugs on the long term – because they take care of the underlying root causes of disease, rather then just being a symptom treatment. They are usually also safer because they are simply food, but the downside is that most supplements takes time to work, and I have never seen a supplement that work faster then a pharmaceutical drug.

So when I decided to test VIVA I took 2 tablets shortly before bedtime, and within half an hour I was sound asleep. I followed the procedure the following two nights with the same result. But whats further more is that I felt energetic at the point of waking up. On the 3rd and 4th day I also experienced radically enhanced mood levels. I was so impressed because not even pharmaceutical antidepressants work this fast.

Today I’ve found a formula that works perfect for me – one tablet of VIVA in the morning to enhance my mood and two tablets 15 min. prior to bedtime for improved sleep.

In my mind there’s no doubt that the main reason why we have ever increasing problems with mental illness is that our food today is deprived of nutrients like Omega 3 and antioxidants so that chronic inflammation in the brain causes levels of serotonin to fall, and by depriving us of the nutrients that’s supposed to give us fuel to cope with challenging events in life – simultaneously as we now soround ourselfs with more and more challenging lifestyles.

If you want additional information on VIVA with Saffron then you can find it on this link or by clicking the image on the right. Also I would be happy to answer any questions you might have or go into more details with the process I went through – In that case you are welcome to send me a private message through my Facebook Page. All private messages remain that – private !

Could Saffron be the missing piece in side effect free mental health treatment ?

If you’ve ever worked in psychiatric care, or if you have a mental issue or know someone suffering from a mental issue then you know that the drugs that we use for mental treatment today, is everything but safe and free of side effects.

Because of this it’s been a long time hope to find a safe way to keep those mental issues under control. From the study mentioned in the previous article Inflammation Linked To Mental Illness we now know, that there’s a definite link between inflammation and mental health.

Muscular Man Male Back Blue Depressed Depression

We’ve seen links between anti inflammatory diet components, such as fish oil and/or high dosages of antioxidants, which has been reported to be mood enhancers. Now thanks to the study by Boston Children’s Hospital we know why it works – Because mental illness is caused by inflammation in the brain.

With an ORAC value of 20,580 ( ORAC is an international scale used to measure the antioxidant capacity of food) compared to apples with 17,933 , Reishi Mushroom with 9,244 , Cranberries with 9,090 or red wine with 4,523 – Saffron becomes highly interesting, not only as an anti inflammatory agent but also in the perspective of mental illness.

if we look towards history then Saffron has been used in traditional medicine as a calmative and antidepressant agent. The herb is also known to be relaxing the muscles in the digestive tract which helps the digestive process and enhance appetite.

But one thing is what is believed to be true by traditional medicine, or people using specific diets or herbs and report that they feel better – another thing is science , so where is the science ? Is all this make-believe or does it have any scientific validity ?

Iranian Hassein Hasseinzadeh, has done a vast number of studies on Saffron and mice that has shown increased mobility, enhanced erectile function and antidepressant like effects of Saffron. So these studies actually supports that Saffron can have an effect on mood.

But then how do humans react to Saffron ? Another Iranian study lead by S. Akhondzadeh showed a significantly higher effect on mild to moderate depression from Saffron compared to Placebo in a double blinded trial. Another study by the same research group ( also double blinded) proved similar effects of Saffron compared to Prozac.

A review study from 2015 concluded good effects of Saffron in treating depression as well as Alzheimers, where Saffron showed same effect as Donepezil but without the vomiting side effects.

Another review study from 2013 concluded the same “Saffron supplementation can improve symptoms of depression in adults with MDD” (MDD = Major depressive disorder”).

So what does this mean ? Well it does not mean that if you are diagnosed with a mental disorder you should throw away your medicine and start cooking with Saffron. It also does not mean that you should throw away your medicine and use a Saffron supplement instead – at least not without consulting your doctor.

However it does mean that it would make sense to supplement your conventional medication with a Saffron supplement. It also means that if you are one of the vast majority of people who suffers from periodic depression then it would make sense to use a Saffron supplement as a prevention measure. The same goes for those who lives stressful lifes – as stress often leads to depression.

It also means that these studies brings hope that in time we can come up with a safe and natural way of controlling mood and mental challenges.

So which supplement should you use ? There’s a number of choices, and I myself has been one of those suffering from a damaging depression, but has overcome it , with the help of among others a Saffron supplement. In the next two articles I will go in-depth with my personal story and choices along the way.

Further Reading and source material :

Hydro-alcoholic extract of Crocus sativus L. versus fluoxetine in the treatment of mild to moderate depression: a double-blind, randomized pilot trial.

The effects of CrTocus sativus (saffron) and its constituents on nervous system: A review

Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) and major depressive disorder: a meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials.

Crocus sativus L. in the treatment of mild to moderate depression: a double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trial.

Making your primary circle work for your mental health !

In our latest article we looked at pharmacology’s chance to be the solution to mental illness, and we came to the conclusion that psychiatric pharmacology has very little chance to solve the ever increasing problem.

Now why is that ? Well my argument is that mental disorders are not a medical problem but a lifestyle and society related problem. You and I, we create people with mental illness every day because of what we demand of each other. Next we give them a drug in the morning and at nighttime and society has taken care of the problem – and we’ve even saved our community a lot of money because it’s cheaper then therapy. Yet the problem is – psychiatric drugs calms the symptoms for a while, without curing the root problem, until the chemicals we’ve filled those people with has made them so sick that it bursts.

Mental illness has existed as long as history remembers – yet in the ancient times insanity was also used to cover up for ideas from people who was thinking things that was uncomfortable for the elite. Still mental illness was not nearly as common as today.

WHO estimates 300 million people suffering from depression world wide. Try to say this out loud – 300 million suffering from depression ! This does not include bipolar, schizophrenia, OCD, ADD, ADHD, etc…… dear friends, that’s a lot of people.

So when did we start to see this boom in mental illness ? Well it wouldn’t be to much of an assumption to say that the more industrialized our society has become the higher the count of people with mental disorders.

So what does that all tell us ? What has changed gradually as society has industrialized ?

1). Food quality : This is a sure winner. If something has changed for the worse along with industrialization this is it ! The more industrialized society has become the more our food has changed from low calories with lots of nutrients to higher in calories with less if any nutrients. More and more we use synthetic nutrients over the real thing, which often cause more turmoil then good.

2). Exercise : The more industrialized that our society has become the less manual labour has been done. Before industrialization the men worked hard in the fields, mines, on the docks, etc and the women worked just as hard by doing their chores in the home. All of it was manual labour. Exercise came as a natural part of life – today machines are doing most of our manual work and exercise is something we need to schedule.

3). Social life: The way we socialize with other people has also changed with industrialization. Industrialization has created a society where both husband and wife has to work and the hours we need to put into working is increasing. The result being that they loose social time together, with their children – who’s been parked at day care because mummy and daddy has to work. Those times has also passed when friends just dropped by to say hi – we need to schedule time to be social today.

Simultaniously we demand more and more of each other. Colleagues, employers and friends all expect of you to be perfect and always say YES ! Result – the intimate social relations we need from our spouses, children and friends suffer on the alter of career and living up to expectations.

In continuation of that, when I see the behavior of teens and young adults today, I see a frightening image of a group of people who long for recognition whether that’s if they look good enough, if what they do is good enough or if they themselfs are cool enough. I don’t know how you look at this image, but to me it’s increasingly frightening, and I can’t make any other conclusion that what they really lack is the attention of their parents, and if they dont get that then any attention good or bad is better then none.

In my opinion….before we start looking at how to treat mental illness we need to dig down below to the root cause, what has triggered all these cases ? Whats wrong and how do we make our primary circle work for us ? When I say primary circle I mean our selfs, the life we live, the people we soround ourselves with and the food we eat. We need to dig all the way down to, how do we get rid of the chronic inflammations that make our brains work against us rather then with us, how do we reclaim our right not to be perfect, how do we reestablish our social and intimate bonds with people and how do we get to the point where we can claim the right to therapy so that we got a chance to reprogram those mind patterns that has been disrupted, rather then taking dangerous life shortening medicine for life ?

Whats new about the Mental Illness and inflammation link ?

Yesterday I presented a study from the Boston Children’s Hospital that proved direct connection between mental illness and inflammation. This is not new, however the study is breaking news. So how does the study change the way we look at mental illness ?

It’s been known for years now that chronic inflammation is the cause of about 90% of the lifestyle diseases that we carry around. Conditions such as acne, colitis, arthritis, any autoimmune disease, type II diabetes, obesity, Alzheimers, Parkinson, ADD/ADHD, Autism etc. has been either proven to be caused by inflammation or worsend by inflammation. Now there’s always been a lot of theory as to wether or not mental illness and inflammation might also go hand in hand – and most doctors who work independently from the pharmaceutical industry has pointed towards inflammation as the root cause of depression, anxiety disorders etc.

In example watch this 8 minute presentation from Dr. Dave Scheiderer, about chronic inflammation and depression and why some people do not have full effect of modern medication.

However the new thing that follows the study from Boston is that now we can actually prove that inflammation causes mental illness. The mentioned study used a mouse model with Lupus, that focused on interferon-alpha a protein cytokine that is released by white blood cells as an alarm response. Previously we’ve thought that Interferon – Alpha did not cross the blood – brain barrier but the new study showed that Interferon – Alpha did exactly that and caused changes in the brain and loss of brain synapses.

This also validates reports saying that a diet of fish oil and high amount of antioxidants has helped people with non complex mental issues.

This is highly interesting in the perspective of developing anti inflammatory mental treatments with no side effects.

The study can be found here