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23 December 2011 Newsletter December 2011

Dear Éiriú Eolas family,

Dear Éiriú Eolas family,

It’s the time for another solstice; the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere and the summer solstice for those “down under”. Solstices mark earth’s celestial movements, defining the change of seasons. Winter solstice is the shortest day and longest night of the year. From then onwards, the sun grows stronger and people welcome the longer, brighter, warmer days that the sun brings. This heralds the coming of spring, with the blooming of the earth and abundance of food for earth’s creatures. It is no wonder that so many ancient and current festivities in this time are celebrating the birth of sun gods that will cast away the darkness and bring light into the world.

For the year 2011, the winter solstice date is December 22nd. We thought that it might be a good time for reflection, and το consider how the Éiriú Eolas program assists us in creating our lives in a healthy and more natural way. Even in an age where we’re in constant contact via our mobile phones and social networking, it’s not hard to see how disconnected we really are… from each other, mother nature, our own deepest desires, good health, and a way of life in which we can be truly happy. We’re sickly, unhappy, overstressed, overworked… Ηow did this happen? And what can we do to make our solstice celebrations bring back that sense of wonder and connectedness we felt as children?

For tens of thousands of years, humanity lived in harmony with nature and each other. We lived long, fulfilling lives, free of disease. We ate natural foods, enjoyed plentiful downtime to socialize, engaged in creative activities, and pondered life and all our relationships. But in the busy-ness of modern culture, we seem to have forgotten all of this. We’ve become disconnected from the knowledge of our own bodies, minds, and emotions, which our Paleolithic ancestors knew so well. Thankfully, this knowledge didn’t totally disappear. It’s there for anyone to find, buried in our history, science, religions, and most importantly, within ourselves. This knowledge is our birthright. It is universal and accessible still. We just need to know how to find it and nurture it to grow. Just as a seed, when given sunlight, water, and manure in which to grow, can become a rose, we have the ability to nurture the seed of our own soul, our essential self, to transform the suffering that has become normal in our everyday lives into something meaningful and full of life.

Éiriú Eolas, Irish-Gaelic for growth of knowledge, taps into this great tradition. After the end of the last ice age, the worldview and practices of the Western European Paleolithic tribes passed on through the tribes of the Celts and the Druids of Britain, Ireland, and Gaul. Éiriú Eolas represents a renewal of the way they saw and interacted with the world. Fortunately, it doesn’t end there. These traditions are universal because they crop up in all parts of the globe. While the symbols and frameworks differ from place to place, the root principles of their dietary, shamanistic, and social knowledge remain consistent. And Christmas and solstice celebrations have traditionally tapped into that way of life. So how can we use the principles of Éiriú Eolas this holiday season?

First of all, remember to breathe. As humans, we are one of the few species with the ability to consciously control our own breathing rate, changing thus our psychological state. Secondly, get out of the office and spend some time with your family. Read stories, sing songs, cook a plentiful and healthy meal, laugh together, and give plenty of hugs! All of these things have something in common: they stimulate your vagus nerve. That’s one of the most important things our vagus nerve does: helps us to establish that close connection and bond with the people we love. It’s what makes us truly human, because without it there would be no nurturing of children, no song, no compassion, no deep relationship with another human being. It really is that important.

When stress is overabundant in our lives, in work, relationships, and family, our fight-or-flight systems are working overtime. And that takes its toll on our bodies and our emotions. Luckily, we can turn it off whenever we want. The passage from our fight-or-flight response to calm social engagement with others is intimately linked with the activities of our mouth and throat: they’re what put the emotion in our voices, in our songs, and they’re what brings a baby to its mother’s breast. So when you spend time close to your loved ones, eating, talking, laughing, and singing, you’re actually doing all the things Eiriu Eolas helps you accomplish.

Happy Winter Solstice, Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!

The Eiriu Eolas Team

Posted in Newsletters

1 November 2011 Newsletter November 2011

Dear Éiriú Eolas family,

The Éiriú Eolas Research Team accesses a wide variety of material and we find many books that are worth recommending to our students. One of these is In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness, by Peter A. Levine, Ph.D.

Dr. Peter A. Levine is psychotherapeutic, comparative brain researcher, with an interest in animal behaviour, especially as related to trauma. He has proposed the idea that trauma is not a “disorder” (as in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), but an injury to the body-mind. Rather than a syndrome that may be a life-long burden, trauma can be healed.

Part of the book is devoted to tracing the evolution of the different strategies used by organisms to cope with the dangers of their environment, and the way the nervous system develops as animals become more complex. It’s a complex subject, but Levine does a very good job of explaining it in layman’s terms. From the earliest expression in jawless fish to the culmination of development in mammals, each level of development has a characteristic strategy for responding to threats, along with the mechanisms for recovering from stressful encounters. Essentially this is the history of the development of the vagal portion of the autonomic nervous system. Stimulation of the vagus nerve, of course is the key to the effectiveness of the Éiriú Eolas Program.

By comparing how animals cope with traumatic experiences, Levine shows how those adaptations have culminated in our own system for dealing with our environment. He uses the example of his automobile accident, to walk the reader through the successive states of shock, disorientation and reorientation, showing where this natural process can go off the rails. The experiencer can become stuck in one part of the process or another when the body’s systems for rebalancing after a traumatic experience are interfered with, which causes PTSD.

Dr. Levine then takes you through six case studies, showing how re-engagement of the body’s survival mechanisms can bring about complete recovery from even deep, decades-old traumatic wounds.

Here is an excerpt, just to whet your appetite!

Transmutation of Negative Emotions

A young brash samurai swordsman confronted a venerated Zen master with the following demand: “I want you to tell me the truth about the existence of heaven and hell”.

The master replied gently and with delicate curiosity , ” How is it that such an ugly and untalented man as you can become a samurai?”

Immediately, the wrathful young samurai pulled out his sword and raised it above his head, ready to strike the old man and cut him in half. Without fear and in complete calm, the Zen master gazed upwards and spoke softly : “This is hell”. The samurai paused, sword held above his head. His arms fell like leaves to his side, while his face softened from its angry glare. He quietly reflected. Placing his sword back into its sheath, he bowed to the teacher in reverence. “And this,”, the master replied again with equal calm, “is heaven”.

The ability to contain and process extreme emotional states is one of the linchpins both of effective, truly dynamical trauma therapy and of living a vital robust life. We can be driven insane by rage, paralyzed by fear and drowned by sorrow. Once triggered, these violent emotions can take over our existence. Rather than feeling our emotions, we become them; we are swallowed up by these emotions. This can be quite a dilemma because being informed by our emotions, not domineered by them, is crucial in directing our lives.

In the story of the Zen master and the samurai, one could speculate on what unconscious thoughts and images were stirred when the master provoked the swordsman’s ire. Perhaps the samurai was startled and at first even agreed with the characterization that he was ugly and untalented. This strong reaction to this insult (we might hypothesize) derived from his parents, teachers and others who humiliated him as a child. Perhaps he had a mental picture of being shamed in front of his classmates. And then the micro-fleeting “counter thought” – that no one would dare to call him that again and make him feel small and worthless. This thought and the associated (internal) picture, coupled with a momentary physical sensation of startle, triggered the rage that led him down the compulsive, driven road to perdition. That was, at least, until his “Zen therapist”, precisely at the peak of his rage =, kept him from habitually expressing this “protective emotion” (really a defense against his feelings of smallness and helplessness) and forced him to the ownership of his real power and peaceful surrender.

With the Zen master’s critical intervention, the samurai held back and felt the preparation to strike with his sword.In this highly charged state he paused and was able to restrain and transmute his violent rage into intense energy and a state of clarity, gratefulness, presence and grace. It is the ability to hold back, restrain and contain a powerful emotion that allows a person to creatively channel that energy.

The uncoupling of sensation from image and thought is what diffuses the highly charged emotions and allows them to transform fluidly into sensation-based gradations of feelings. This is not at all the same as suppressing or repressing them.

In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness (pg 321)

We hope you will enjoy reading this book as much as we have.

The Éiriú Eolas Team

Posted in Newsletters

1 October 2011 Newsletter October 2011

Dear Éiriú Eolas family,

You might have heard us in our meetings talk of the importance of doing the breathing and meditation together as a group, and many of you have experienced reaching a deeper meditation level when practicing in a group than when on our own. You might have heard us mention the concept of limbic resonance, also known as the “empathic harmony” that arises when our limbic systems connect with each other, in a mutually enriching experience. The concept was first introduced in the book, The General Theory of Love, written by psychiatrists Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini and Richard Lannon, in a scientific, yet very poetic style.

They posit that limbic resonance is vital for survival, especially for infants of the mammalian group. The authors cite a terrible experiment undertaken by a 13th century emperor of southern Italy, Frederic II, who in his unwise mind thought that he could find out the inborn language of mankind if he raised children who never heard a spoken word. He had women bathe, change and feed the infants, but no one was allowed to talk to them or prattle with them. The experiment did not produce any results because all children died before they reached talking age. In the 13th century this monarch proved (in such a horrible way) what the scientists of today are learning by experimentation and observation: that “children could not live without clappings of hands, and gestures, and gladness of countenance, and blandishments”. It is the limbic connection with their primary caregivers that keeps them alive. As for the adult human version, it is our limbic resonances that keep us healthy, and banish one of the biggest stressors of our daily living: feeling lonely and neglected.

Below are some excerpts from the book, about the importance of our limbic brain in our mammalian evolution and our everyday interactions. We hope you will find them compelling enough to read the whole book.

Limbic resonance is one of the wonderful results of a group breathing and vocalising together, which is of course, what we do in group sessions of Éiriú Eolas. Increasing limbic resonance encourages the development of all that is best in human society: warmth of feeling, empathy, connection. We hope that those of you who are able to go to classes will make it a regular part of your life. For those currently far from a regular class, you still make another sort of connection with those practicing on Mondays and Thursdays. Thought and feeling aren’t limited by time and space!

Humanity’s second or limbic brain drapes itself around the first [reptilian] with a languid ease. Within its smooth curves, however, lies a company of neural gadgets with tongue twisting appellations. The limbic list sounds like the incantation of a magus: hippocampus, fornix, amygdale, septum, cingulated gyrus, perirhinal and perihipocampal regions.

Early mammals evolved from small, lizardish reptiles. The peculiar mammalian innovation — carrying developing young within a warm-blooded body rather than leaving them outside in eggs – had been established well before an errant asteroid rammed the planet and put the chill on the dinosaurs. […]

High school biology draws the distinction between reptile and mammal along somatic lines: mammals sprout hair rather than scales; they are self-heating, while reptiles rely on the sun to regulate body temperature; they give birth to babies, not eggs. But MacLean [father of the triune brain hypothesis] pointed out that this classification overlooks a major brain difference. As mammals split off from the reptilian line, a fresh neural structure blossomed within their skulls. This brand new brain transformed not just the mechanics of reproduction but also the organismic orientationtoward offspring. Detachment and disinterest mark the parental attitude of the typical reptile, while mammals can enter into subtle and elaborate interactions with their young.

Mammals bear their young live; they nurse, defend and rear them while they are immature. Mammals in other words, take care of their own. Rearing and caretaking are so familiar to humans that we are apt to take them for granted, but these capacities were once novel — a revolution in social evolution. The most common reaction a reptile has to its young is indifference; it lays its eggs and walks (or slithers) away. Mammals form close-knit, mutually nurturant social groups — families — in which members spend time touching and caring for one another. Parents nourish and safeguard their young, and each other, from the hostile world outside their group. A mammal will risk and sometimes lose its life to protect a child or mate from attack. A garter snake or a salamander watches the death of its kin with an unblinking eye.

The limbic system also permits mammals to sing to their children. Vocal communication between a mammal and offspring is universal. Remove a mother from her litter of kittens or puppies and they begin an incessant yowling — the separation cry — whose shrill distress drills into the ears of any normal human being. But take a baby Komodo dragon away from its scaly progenitor, and it stays quiet. Immature Komodos do not broadcast their presence because Komodo adults are avid cannibals. A lifesaving vacuum of silence stretches between a reptilian mother and young. Advertising vulnerability makes sense only for those animals whose brains can conceive a parental protector.

And mammals can play with one another, an activity unique to animals processing limbic hardware. […] What in the world do activities like these accomplish? … why do all kinds of mammals want to frolic, gambol, tumble and roughhouse? For a mute mammal, play is physical poetry: it provides the permissible way, as Robert Frost said poems do, of saying one thing and meaning another. By the grace of their limbic brains, mammals find such exultant metaphor irresistible.

[…]

The limbic brain is another delicate physical apparatus that specializes in detecting and analyzing just one part of the physical world — the internal states of other mammals. Emotionality is the social sense organ of limbic creatures,…, enables a mammal to sense the inner states and the motives of the mammals around him. […]
Within the effulgence of their new brain, mammals developed a capacity we call limbic resonance — a symphony of mutual exchange and internal adaptation whereby two mammals become attuned to each other’s inner states. […] To the animals capable of bridging the gabs between minds, limbic resonance is the door to communal connection. Limbic resonance supplies the wordless harmony we see everywhere but take for granted — between mother and infant, between a boy and his dog, between lovers holding hands across a restaurant table. […] Because limbic states can leap between minds, feelings are contagious, while notions are not. If one person germinates an ingenious idea, it’s no surprise that those in the vicinity fail to develop the same concept spontaneously.

Warm regards,

The Éiriú Eolas Team

Posted in Newsletters

31 August 2011 Newsletter August 2011

Dear Éiriú Eolas family,

In the last couple of months we’ve been focusing on different aspects of physical health. We hope you’ve enjoyed the information and found it useful. There will be more to come as the Éiriú Eolas team is always on the lookout for the latest research in health and wellness.

This month we return to the basics: why meditation is such an important part of a balanced, healthy life. We feel that regular Éiriú Eolas practice, with its direct stimulation of the vagus nerve, will bring the benefits of a meditation practice to your life more quickly and easily than any other system today. And even if there isn’t a class available in your area, it is available online!

Also this month we introduce Michael Franzl, one of our European Éiriú Eolas teachers. He is the tech guru who makes sure our letters go out so nicely each month. Thanks Michael!

Wishing all the northerners a good return to “regular life” as the holidays come to an end. For our southern members, it will soon be time to get out the barbeque. Enjoy!

Warm regards,

The Éiriú Eolas Team

In this issue:

Featured teacher: Michael Franzl

Michael Franzl is an IT entrepreneur and part-time teacher working and living in Vienna/Austria and has recently founded his own company, programming and distributing software for gastronomy businesses and retail stores. Although his professional background is a rather technical one, having studied electromechanical engineering, he early became interested in martial arts, yoga and meditation. After having attended several seminars that promised personality development — always on the lookout for “the one thing” that could make the difference in his life — he discovered the breathing technique Éiriú Eolas. As Michael likes to say in his introductory EE classes:

“As some of my close friends and high school colleagues can confirm, it was always a very unlikely scenario for me to stand in front of a group of people, getting their attention and talking to them. In my youth I was rather shy and avoided confrontation at all costs. No wonder I had negative social experiences in school. Over the years, I developed a deep anxiety about being in groups, a fear that not only was psychological but also had strong physical effects — today I know that my “fight or flight” mechanisms were activated whenever I was confronted with social situations.

Always looking for a way out, nothing seemed to help this deeply ingrained behaviour that seemed to have been burned into my nervous system.

That is, until I discovered Éiriú Eolas. Within one year of practicing the deep and very controlled breathing exercises, learning to control my fears, and using the meditation as a form of prayer that I may receive support, I had founded my own company, began two jobs as a part-time teacher and was holding computer seminars. That meant I was standing in front of groups all the time!

The experience of finally having overcome my fears and even enjoying my ‘new and free life’ was such a profound experience that I wished to teach those breathing techniques myself.”

Michael underwent the EE training in September of 2010 and began giving regular EE classes to the students of a nurses’ school Vienna in the spring of 2011. Beginning with September 5th 2011, Michael will be giving open sessions in the center of Vienna.

He invites everyone in his classes with this goal:

Regular application of the very deep breathing exercises and the meditation, which can be done every night before falling asleep, and the proper attitude of spirit, can make a real difference in life. Nothing really stands between you and your goals. For me Éiriú Eolas is a way to connect to the world, to care for it, as it cares for me. The certainty that I experience during regular EE practice helps me keep going in more stressful and problematic times, which no doubt will always exist. You can’t circumvent them. You can only master them. Sharing your own experiences and hearing the experiences of others is already a great leap forward.

45 Benefits of Meditation

Dayne

Ok ok…I’m sure by now you have read about meditation in a number of places.

But is meditation really for you and WHY should you even sit down and shut up?

Let me explain…

Meditation has been used for centuries as a method for relaxation, improving health, and finding mental clarity. With so many benefits, it’s no wonder that it is used in cultures all over the world.

It’s hard to believe that something that looks so much like sitting around doing nothing is really doing quite a lot for your mind, body, and spirit. However, it has been found that as little as ten minutes of meditation a day can bring about significant positive changes.

Here are 45 reasons why you need to start meditating …

  1. Allows for healthier flow of oxygen to the brain, which means clearer thinking and better reasoning skills.
  2. Better blood flow to the muscles also helps with physical stamina so you are able to exercise more easily and for longer periods.
  3. The controlled breathing of meditation translates into slower respiration and a decrease in asthma attacks and other breathing issues.
  4. Deepens religious/spiritual devotion and understanding.
  5. Meditation actually relaxes the nervous system, leading to a decrease in multiple stress-induced reactions.
  6. It also lowers your heart rate to a healthier level.
  7. The act of meditating, as well as the meditative exercises themselves, creates a more self-actualized individual.
  8. Doesn’t have negative physical side effects, as do anti-anxiety medications.
  9. Develops emotional maturity as one learns to be calm in the face of drama.
  10. Increases the release of serotonin in the brain, a chemical that improves mood and makes one feel good naturally.
  11. Helps prevent panic attacks in those who suffer from anxiety disorders.
  12. Meditation can be used to improve memory and the ability to learn new things.
  13. Those who meditate are able to see the big picture in order to solve complex problems.
  14. The relaxing effects of meditation lead to less aggressive behavior in individuals.
  15. Helps with the process required to break bad habits and addictions such as smoking, drinking, and using drugs.
  16. Slows down the racing thoughts that often keep people distracted and awake at night. In general, those who meditate find that they fall asleep easily.
  17. Helps to normalize blood pressure.
  18. Meditative exercises lead to a higher level of attention and empathy throughout the day.
  19. Offers an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of oneself.
  20. Improves physical and mental reaction time during stressful situations.
  21. Can be a solitary act that requires no outside influence, including money.
  22. Allows an individual to feel a sense of connection to everything and everyone, increasing the personal capacity for love and acceptance.
  23. Through meditation, one is able to develop aspects of his or her character, such as will power and inner strength.
  24. Increases patience in those who practice, as they are less agitated and are even able to engage in meditation at times (like waiting in lines) when others would become annoyed.
  25. Keeps mental faculties sharp and slows down the effects of age on the brain.
  26. Meditators shift brain activity to less stress-prone areas of the brain,decreasing the negative effects of mild stress, depression, and anxiety.
  27. Ability to release negative emotions, rather than allowing them to become one’s focus.
  28. An improvement in physical posture results from holding one’s body appropriately, practicing breathing, and even from an increased sense of self confidence.
  29. The physical benefits of meditation include a decrease in physical pain, especially for chronic pain sufferers.
  30. Brings an opportunity to simplify one’s life, whether it means quieting some inner turmoil or recognizing the need for less material goods.
  31. It is common for those who meditate to discover a significant increase in their energy levels.
  32. Lessens the severity of physical and emotional symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome and other stress factors.
  33. Helps increase the overall amount lost during one’s weight-loss program due to a lowering of cortisol, as well as other factors.
  34. Those who meditate regularly benefit from lower levels of heart disease.
  35. Restores the body to a calm state once the flight or fight reflex has been triggered by an environmental stressor.
  36. Boosts an individual’s immune system to help ward off physical ailments and diseases.
  37. Increases creative output as the left and right hemispheres of the brain communicate more effectively and the mind is filled with less clutter and better able to focus in new directions.
  38. Can be used in conjunction with other forms of medicine or therapy to enhance physical and mental outcomes.
  39. Breathing is slowed for more efficient use of oxygen and a decreased waste of energy.
  40. Improves one’s ability to “live in the present” rather than always fretting over future desires or past regrets.
  41. Improves the ability to recognize one’s own thoughts and thought patterns, thereby allowing for self-reflection, acknowledgement, and even change.
  42. Removes obstacles preventing individuals from succeeding, specifically by making them clear to the individual so he or she can make appropriate changes on the path to success.
  43. Strengthens the digestive system for improved overall health and wellness of the body.
  44. Decreases tension within the muscles of the body, resulting not only in better relaxation, but also a lower likelihood of sustaining an injury.
  45. Hand-eye coordination increases within individuals who practice meditation.

In 2003, Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn of the University of Massachusetts Medical School conducted a research study regarding the effects of meditation on highly-stressed employees at a high-tech company. The resulting brain scans showed that thoseemployees who had been taught to meditate experienced a transfer in their brain activity into the joy and happiness center in the left frontal lobe of the brain.

Studies like this one are getting more and more companies, as well as individuals, thinking about the benefits of meditation and what the practice could mean for them. From increased productivity and job satisfaction to better relationships among employees, there are some real reasons to consider meditation in the workplace.

Of course, all of these benefits can be extended to everyday life, too, so considering meditation just for job purposes is too narrow of a focus. Instead, think of how you could gain physically, emotionally, and spiritually by incorporating a few minutes of this deep relaxation into your daily schedule.

Thousands of years’ worth of evidence shows pretty conclusively that those who practice meditation are both happier and healthier overall. Not bad for something that requires no money, no equipment, and only a few minutes a day.

What are you waiting for?

Posted in Newsletters

31 July 2011 Newsletter July 2011

Dear Éiriú Eolas family,

It’s now high summer in the North, so we hope all of you are getting your
Vitamin D from all that great sunshine! For those in the South, be sure
to check last month’s letter to make sure you are getting enough
supplementation. It will really help with those winter blahs. And for
everyone, plenty of pipe breathing and meditation with the Prayer of the
Soul will help all of us!

Continuing with our focus on good health, we have a great short video and
and excellent article on magnesium. This often ignored nutrient is vital
to almost every metabolic process in the body. Sadly, due to “modern”
farming practices, our soils has been magnesium deficient since the
1930’s, making it almost impossible to take in healthful amount of
magnesium through food alone. We hope you will enjoy them and find the
information useful and easy to add to your lifestyle.

Remember that Eiriu Eolas classes are available world-wide, so be sure to
check the Classes Near You link on our website (eebreathe.com)

Warm regards,

The Éiriú Eolas Team

Featured teacher: Carolyn MacCallum

Carolyn MacCallum is a former professional ballet dancer, dance teacher, certified massage therapist and reiki practitioner. She has had a life-long interest in the inter-relationship of physical, mental and emotional health from a spiritual point of view, stemming from her intensive dance training which brought with it wonderful experiences and quite traumatic ones. But all along the way, she was open to trying different things to improve herself as a dancer and a person, including different types of bodywork, such as rolfing, Feldenkrais, and Alexander, and various forms of meditation. She also studied Iyanger Yoga intensively in Los Angeles and Calgary.

Through it all she always wanted to help people, though sharing what she was learning, whether in class, rehearsal, or performance. In the course of her research, she came to the Éiriú Eolas program and found it to be a marvelous integration of this three-part approach to complete wellbeing.

What is most amazing is that such seemingly simple exercises could have such a profound effect. The best part is that the Éiriú Eolas program calls out whatever aspect of your being that is ready to shift and heal, whether physical, mental, or emotional. I have had sessions that were focused on releasing physical blocks, sessions that were pivotol in healing old emotional traumas, and sessions that brought clarity of thought when I truly needed it.

Along with the benefits of stress reduction, my health has improved immensely through following the diet recommendations that are part of the overall Éiriú Eolas program. I’ve been able to maintain a level of mental alertness and physical activity that I never thought would be possible in my mid- fifties.

Éiriú Eolas has had deep, positive effects on my life, which have unfolded in a gentle, natural way. Not only that, there was the marvelous educational and emotional support given by the instructors. It was so inspiring, I felt I had to be able to share this wonderful program.”

Carolyn now works in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada, sharing Éiriú Eolas with many different groups including the local women’s shelter, performing arts groups, and the general public who are interested in reducing their stress and improving their health.

The Dangers of Magnesium Deficiency

Dr. Peter Osborne

Signs and Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency Video

Signs & Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency:

  • Poor immune function
  • Bone Loss
  • Muscle pain and muscle twitching
  • Depression
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Increase cholesterol
  • Hypoglycemia or other blood sugar problems
  • Fatigue
  • Thyroid Disease

Magnesium has been shown to be beneficial in the following conditions:

  • Migraine Headaches
  • Infertility
  • High blood pressure
  • Type I and Type II Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Thyroid Disease

Drugs or additives that may deplete or interfere with metabolism:

  • Alcohol
  • Corticosteroids
  • High Blood Pressure Medications (diuretics)
  • Caffeine
  • Birth Control Pills (estrogen)

Laboratory Testing:

  • Lymphocyte proliferation assays (Spectracell labs)
  • Red Blood Cell testing
  • Serum testing (not accurate)

Food Sources:

  • Vegetables and fruits, pumpkin seeds (very high)

Magnesium: The Spark of Life

Dr. Gabriela Segura, Health Matrix

Magnesium, just like magnetite and manganese, owes its name to the greek word Magnesia, a place name derived from the tribal people known as Magnetes. Physicians and therapists have paid scant attention to this crucial element which is one of the most important minerals for all living organisms. Magnesium has a relaxing, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effect on our organism. It is critical for metabolic processes, cell growth and reproduction and is involved in hundreds of enzyme processes affecting every aspect of life. It is not only essential for maintaining good health, but also for detoxification and the treatment of numerous diseases.

Unfortunately, magnesium is one of the most depleted minerals in our soil. In fact, a U.S. Senate document from 1936 stated that fruits and vegetables being raised on millions of acres of land no longer contained enough of certain minerals, therefore starving the population of their nutritive effects no matter how much they ate. While some foods are enriched with calcium and vitamins, magnesium is usually ignored. Reseachers actually found that the recommended daily allowance for magnesium is inadequate to prevent magnesium deficiency. In addition, drugs such as painkillers, antibiotics, diuretics, anti-depressants and others further deplete magnesium and other vital nutrients in our bodies, worsening the symptoms for which they were prescribed in the first place. Stressful situations such as surgery, injuries, malnutrition, diseases and psychological stress also increase our daily requirements of this important mineral. This translates into a widespread magnesium deficiency problem among the population which then causes or contributes to numerous conditions including degenerative chronic diseases:

Anxiety and panic attacks. Magnesium helps keep adrenal stress hormones under control.

Asthma. Both histamine production and bronchial spasms increase with magnesium deficiency.

Blood clots. Magnesium plays an important role in preventing blood clots and keeping the blood thin without any side effects.

Bowel disease. Magnesium deficiency slows down the bowel, causing constipation, which could lead to colitis, toxicity and malabsorption of nutrients.

Cystitis. Bladder spasms are worsened by magnesium deficiency.

Depression. Serotonin, which elevates mood, is dependent on magnesium. A magnesium-deficient brain is also more susceptible to allergens, foreign substances that in rare instances can cause symptoms similar to mental illness.

Detoxification. Magnesium is crucial for the removal from the body of toxic substances and heavy metals such as aluminum and lead.

Diabetes. Magnesium enhances insulin secretion, facilitating sugar metabolism. Without magnesium, insulin is not able to transfer glucose into cells. Glucose and insulin build up in the blood, causing various types of tissue damage.

Fatigue. Magnesium-deficient patients commonly experience fatigue because dozens of enzyme systems are underfunctioning. An early symptom of magnesium deficiency is fatigue.

Heart disease. Magnesium deficiency is common in people with heart disease. Magnesium is administered in hospitals for acute myocardial infarction and cardiac arrhythmia. Like any other muscle, the heart requires magnesium. Magnesium is also used to treat angina, or chest pain.

Hypertension. With insufficient magnesium, blood vessels may go into spasm and cholesterol may rise, both of which lead to blood pressure problems.

Hypoglycemia. Magnesium keeps insulin under control; without magnesium, episodes of low blood sugar can result.

Insomnia. Sleep-regulating melatonin production is disturbed with insufficient magnesium.

Kidney disease. Magnesium deficiency contributes to atherosclerotic kidney failure. Magnesium deficiency creates abnormal lipid levels and worsening blood sugar control in kidney transplant patients.

Migraine. Serotonin balance is magnesium-dependent. Deficiency of serotonin can result in migraine headaches and depression.

Musculoskeletal conditions. Fibrositis, fibromyalgia, muscle spasms, eye twitches, cramps and chronic neck and back pain may be caused by magnesium deficiency and can be relieved with magnesium supplements.

Nerve problems. Magnesium alleviates peripheral nerve disturbances throughout the body such as headaches, muscle contractions, gastrointestinal spasms and calf, foot, and toe cramps. It is also used in treating the central nervous system of vertigo and confusion.

Obstetrical and gynecological problems. Magnesium helps prevent premenstrual syndrome and dysmenorrhea (cramping pain during menses). It is important in the treatment of infertility, and alleviates premature contractions, pre-eclampsia and eclampsia in pregnancy. Intravenous magnesium is given in obstetrical wards for pregnancy-induced hypertension and to lessen the risk of cerebral palsy and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Magnesium should be a required supplement for pregnant women.

Osteoporosis. Use of calcium with vitamin D to enhance calcium absorption, without a balancing amount of magnesium, causes further magnesium deficiency which triggers a cascade of events leading to bone loss.

Raynaud’s syndrome. Magnesium helps relax the spastic blood vessels that cause pain and numbness of the fingers.

Tooth decay. Magnesium deficiency causes an unhealthy balance of phosphorous and calcium in saliva, which damages teeth.

[Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. The Magnesium Miracle. New York: Ballantine Books, 2007]

Correcting magnesium deficiency provides relief in these and other conditions too numerous to list in this article.

Standard serum (blood) tests are useless in screening for magnesium deficiency since less than 1% of our body’s total magnesium can be measured in our blood. Unfortunately, doctors rely upon this test even though magnesium must be measured at work inside the cells and tissues with very specific tests. For the average person, the easiest way to diagnose magnesium deficiency is simply by supplementing for at least a few months to see if symptoms are relieved.

Under ideal conditions we need approximately 300mg of magnesium to offset daily losses. If you are under mild to moderate stress – physical or psychological disease, physical injury, athletic exertion, or emotional stress – your requirements for magnesium increase. Foods rich in magnesium, with a relatively low sensitivity profile, include fermented legumes (i.e. beans) and organic green vegetables. Since an average good diet may supply around 250mg, from which only half is actually absorbed, researchers feel that most people would benefit from magnesium supplementation. Otherwise, body tissue must be broken down to supply this essential mineral.

To benefit from magnesium supplementation, take chelated magnesium (bound to organic amino acids) for maximum absorption: magnesium citrate, malate, orotate, taurate, or magnesium glycinate. Do not use magnesium oxide because it is basically a laxative. The recommended dose is 6-8mg/kg of body weight (3 to 4.5 mg/lb), although 200mg four times per day is a better dose. If this dose has a laxative effect, cut down by 200mg until this effect stops. Spread your magnesium doses throughout the day because there is only so much you can absorb at one time. As you remedy your deficiencies over time, you might need less supplementation – your stools will tell you.

Some forms of chelated magnesium are better than others for certain conditions. Magnesium taurate is best for heart conditions. Magnesium taurate, glycinate and orotate are best for those who tend to have loose stools since they have less laxative effects. Magnesium malate is the best form to treat the chronic fatigue, pain, and insomnia of fibromyalgia.

Magnesium can be taken with or without meals but it’s best to take it between meals as it requires stomach acid to be absorbed. Digestion after a full meal may make the stomach acid less readily available for mineral absorption. Magnesium is an alkaline mineral which may act as an antacid, neutralizing the stomach acid needed for digestion.

Magnesium chloride can be used to make magnesium oil which can be readily absorbed through the skin when sprayed or rubbed on the body. It increases magnesium bioavailability in the body and provides the ideal solution for those individuals who experience loose stools when they try to take enough oral magnesium to meet their needs. Some researchers have found that using magnesium oil at a concentration of 25% magnesium chloride restores a magnesium deficiency in a matter of weeks that would otherwise require months or a year to restore with oral supplementation. If you pump about 6 sprays of magnesium oil for each leg and arm, you are applying about 400mg of magnesium (a 25-35% magnesium chloride solution delivers between 13 and 18 mg per pump). Using a few sprays under your arms will also function as a highly effective deodorant. If any redness or stingy feelings result, use a more diluted magnesium oil.

Requirements for a very ill person are much higher than for a healthy person. In general, if you take a full body magnesium bath, two ounces of magnesium chloride could be used. Some people prefer a very concentrated magnesium chloride bath with as many as eight ounces of magnesium at a time. Foot baths use much less water, so two ounces will yield a very concentrated intake. Soak the body or just the feet in the warm solution for 20-30 minutes. It is best to do it daily during the first week, starting at lower concentrations and working towards higher levels. Then continue at 2-3 times a week for 6-8 weeks or longer.

Magnesium sulfate, also known as Epsom salts, is another excellent option even though it is rapidly excreted from the kidneys and more difficult to assimilate. The effects from Epsom salt baths do not last as long, so you will need more magnesium sulfate than magnesium chloride in a bath to get similar results.

For the average individual, high doses of magnesium have no side effects except loose stools. However magnesium therapy is contraindicated in individuals with kidney failure, myasthenia gravis, excessively and pathological slow heart rate, and mechanical bowel obstruction. In such cases, it should at the very least be given under the supervision of a health care provider.

People often find relief from their symptoms when they take magnesium, so they immediately tell friends and relatives. This word-of-mouth spread of information about this miraculous mineral is really making a difference in the epidemic of magnesium deficiency, and I hope that you will benefit as well.

Further reading:

Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. The Magnesium Miracle. New York: Ballantine Books, 2007

Mark Sircus, Ac., O.M.D. Transdermal Magnesium Therapy. Arizona: Phaelos Books, 2007.

Posted in Newsletters

19 June 2011 Newsletter June 2011

Dear Éiriú Eolas family,

The season, whether in the northern hemisphere, or the southern is now
(hopefully for the north) in full swing. We hope wherever you are on the
BBM (“big blue marble”) this finds you happy and well.

This month we’re bringing you an article on the importance of Vitamin D in
maintaining good health. Where ever you are, getting enough of the
“sunshine vitamin” can be a problem with our mostly urban, indoor
lifestyle, regardless of the weather or season. After reading this
article you’ll want to be sure your levels are at their optimum.

Ollie Hopkins is featured in this month’s “Meet the Teacher”. He is one
of the latest group to be certified as an Éiriú Eolas teacher, and along
with his fellow graduates, is a welcome addition to our ranks. He is from
England, currently teaching in Leicester.

With new teachers being certified, Eiriu Eolas has been growing steadily.
We will be featuring them in future issues. In the meantime, you can
check out the latest events on the EE website here
http://eiriu-eolas.org/category/events/

If you’ve just joined us, you can find all our previous newsletters
archived here eiriu-eolas.org/category/newsletters

Finally, we’d love to get to know you all through the magic of the
internet. The Forum eiriu-eolas.org/forum is a wonderful place to
meet fellow practitioners as well as the teachers, and get your questions
answered in real time, if you don’t have access to classes in your area.

Remember, Breathe Life!

The Éiriú Eolas Team

Featured teacher: Ollie Hopkins

For Ollie, a seemingly lifetime searching for a self-healing technique that anyone could use, and a deep down knowing that it had to with breathing and mastering it, led him to the Éiriú Eolas breathing meditation programme.

“Before, nothing that I’d found lasted, hence experiencing Éiriú Eolas was a revelation! I knew instantly that I’d found that self-healing programme that anyone could do with rapid benefits. And all this, achieved without people needing to have any special ‘set ups’. The techniques are completely natural and easy to learn. It was what I’d been looking for to share with other people. There was the added benefit that I could ‘walk my talk’, through my own experience, empathize with where people are, able to recognize what people are experiencing, and what may happen as the classes progress: emotional release and detoxification that I’d experienced from the beginning, and still am!”

One major point that has impressed Ollie is the scientific grounding of the techniques within the programme.

“What really impressed me, right from the beginning, was the tremendous amount of research behind it, backed up by accepted medical papers and books in various disciplines.”

And for Ollie, this research continues with feedback from practitioners worldwide, enhancing the process: its practical application, with full access to the forum, to share experiences, to receive any feedback asked for, and access to a much wider community of users.

A couple of other things have impressed Ollie too.

“Another thing I like is the community aspect to the teaching, the provision of a safe environment where people are respected, listened to, be understood and helped. On top of the breathing and meditation work there is the dietary advice recommended that allows the body to safely detox, which when combined with the breathing meditation can lead to significant improvements in overall health. All in all, it’s a beautiful context in which to teach.”

As a qualified engineer, business manager, psychotherapist, and now retired, Ollie is now focused on sharing the Éiriú Eolas program with retired people, those who are unwaged, students and people with health problems.

Starting in June, 2011, Ollie’s classes are held every Tuesday, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, at the Friend’s Meeting House, 16 Queen’s Road, Leicester, LE2 1WP. You can contact him on Tel: 0116 270 9066, or by email: oliver@eiriu-eolas.org.

The virtues of Vitamin D: It’s time we saw the light

There’s no such thing as a cure-all, but Vitamin D comes pretty close. Jeremy Laurance explains how a little sunshine could help you live a lot longer.

It may not be the first supplement to be called a “wonder
vitamin”, but it is one of the few to have lived up to the name.
Last week, the biggest review of the role of vitamin D in health
found that people who took supplements of the vitamin for six years
reduced their risk of dying from all causes.

Overall mortality

It was the proof that researchers had been waiting for. Earlier
studies had suggested that vitamin D played a key role in
protecting against cancer, heart disease and diabetes –
conditions that account for 60 to 70 per cent of all deaths in the
West. The new study, by scientists from the International Agency
for Research on Cancer in Lyon and the European Institute of
Oncology in Milan and published in Archives of Internal Medicine,
shows that it does. The review of 18 trials involving 57,000 people
found that those who took the supplements had an 7 per cent lower
risk of death overall during the six-year period of the study.

Edward Giovannucci, a professor of nutrition at the Harvard
School of Public Health, said that the research added “a new
chapter in the accumulating evidence for the beneficial role of
vitamin D on health”. He called for a debate on the merits of
“moderate sun exposure, food fortification with vitamin D and
higher dose supplements for adults”.

Vitamin D is important because we are often short of it. Most
healthy individuals get all the vitamins and minerals they need
from eating a balanced diet, but vitamin D is the exception. It is
made by the action of sunlight on the skin, which accounts for 90
per cent of the body’s supply. Very little comes from food.

But the increasing use of sunscreens and the decreasing amount
of time spent outdoors, especially by children, has contributed to
what many scientists believe is an increasing problem of vitamin D
deficiency. In the winter, the sun in Britain is barely strong
enough to make the vitamin, and by spring, say scientists, 60 per
cent of the population is deficient (defined as a blood level below
30ng per millilitre).

Colds and flu

The traditional advice for avoiding these winter ailments has
been to swallow large quantities of vitamin C. But we may have been
turning to the wrong vitamin. Researchers from Winthrop University
Hospital in Mineola, New York, found that giving supplements of
vitamin D to a group of volunteers reduced episodes of infection
with colds and flu by 70 per cent over three years. All the
participants were Afro-Caribbean women whose dark skin means that
they make less vitamin D. The researchers said that the vitamin
stimulated “innate immunity” to viruses and bacteria. The decline
in vitamin D levels between November and March could be the
“seasonal stimulus” that accounts for the peak in colds and flu in
the winter. “Since there is an epidemic of vitamin D insufficiency
in the US, the public health implications of this observation could
be great,” the researchers wrote.

Heart disease

High rates of heart disease in Scotland have been blamed on the
north’s weak sunlight and short summers. Differences in sunlight
may also explain the higher rates of heart disease in England
compared with southern Europe. Some experts believe that the health
benefits of life in the Mediterranean may have as much to do with
the sun there as with the regional food.

A study of almost 10,000 women over 65 by the University of
California found that those who took vitamin D supplements had a 31
per cent lower risk of dying of heart disease; researchers at the
University of Bonn found lower levels of vitamin D in patients with
chronic heart failure.

Vitamin D works by lowering insulin resistance, which is one of
the major factors in heart disease. It is also used by the thyroid
gland, which secretes a hormone that regulates the body’s levels of
calcium, which in turns helps regulate blood pressure.

Cancer

A 40-year review of research found that a daily dose of vitamin
D could halve the risk of breast and bowel cancer, two of the
biggest cancer killers. Scientists from the University of San Diego
reviewed 63 scientific papers published since the 1960s and
concluded that there was a need for “public health action” to boost
vitamin D levels. They said that a daily dose of 1,000
international units (25 micrograms) was needed; the recommended
level in the US is currently only 400 units. Vitamin D deficiency
“may account for several thousand premature deaths from colon,
breast, ovarian and other cancers annually,” they wrote in the
American Journal of Public Health.

The research showed that African Americans with darker skins and
people living in the north-eastern US, where it is less sunny, were
more likely to be deficient in vitamin D, and had higher cancer
rates. This could explain why black Americans die sooner that
whites from cancer, even after allowing for differences in income
and access to health care.

In June, the Canadian Cancer Society recommended that adults
start taking vitamin D supplements to reduce their risk of
cancer.

Rickets

This is the disease traditionally linked with vitamin D
deficiency. A century ago, the typical bow-legged gait of children
whose bones had softened and deformed in the absence of the vitamin
was a common sight. Cod liver oil, which contains vitamin D, was
introduced as a welfare food in 1942 and virtually eliminated the
condition. Now, rickets is reappearing. Last June, doctors in
Dundee reported five cases in ethnically Asian children; dark skin
produces vitamin D more slowly than lighter skin.

Vitamin D is crucial for the absorption of calcium, which is the
building material for new bones. As well as leading to rickets,
deficiencies can contribute to poor tooth formation, stunted growth
and general ill health.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence is consulting on
a proposal to recommend supplements for certain pregnant women at
risk: vegans and women who cover their skin for religious reasons.
Supplements are already recommended for infants at risk, and are
available free to families on income support and jobseeker’s
allowance.

Diabetes

Vitamin D supplements given to babies born in Finland reduced
their risk of Type 1 diabetes by 80 per cent. Researchers followed
12,000 children born in 1966 until 1997 and found that those who
developed rickets, indicating vitamin D deficiency, were three
times more likely to become diabetic. Vitamin D is believed to act
as an immunosuppressive agent, which may prevent an overly
aggressive response from the immune system from destroying
insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

In Oxford, the number of five-year-olds with diabetes has
increased fivefold, and the number of 15-year-olds with it has
doubled. Doctors say that this increase is too steep to be caused
by genetic factors, and must be due to changes in the environment.
“Our research shows that an alarmingly high number of people in the
UK do not get enough vitamin D,” said Elina Hypoponen, from the
Institute of Child Health in London, who led the Finland study. “In
winter, nine out of 10 adults have sub-optimal levels.”

Multiple sclerosis

The idea that sunlight might protect against MS arose because
the condition is more common in countries further from the equator:
gloomy Chicago has a higher rate than sunny Florida, for example.
Cloudy Scotland has the highest rate of MS in the world. Scots born
in May, after the long, dark winter, have an above-average risk,
while those born in November, after the summer holidays, have the
lowest risk.

Sir Donald Acheson, former UK Chief Medical Officer, published a
study in 2004 suggesting that people who spent more time in the sun
had a lower risk than those who stayed out of it. Published in the
Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, it concluded that a
certain level of exposure to the sun might be necessary throughout
the year.

Autism

Could vitamin D deficiency be behind the explosion in autism?
John Cannell, a psychiatrist and vitamin D advocate, thinks so. The
evidence is circumstantial, but Cannell says that medical advice to
avoid the sun and cover up since the 1980s has paralleled the rise
in autism. Flagging levels of vitamin D could be the decisive
factor. Dr Richard Mills, research director at the National
Autistic Society, said: “There has been speculation about autism
being more common in high-latitude countries that get less
sunlight, and a tie-up with rickets has been suggested –
observations which support the theory.”

How to get it – and how much you should take

* 90 per cent of the body’s supply of vitamin D is generated by
the action of sunlight on the skin.

* Vitamin D lasts for around 60 days in the body, so it needs
regular topping up.

* Twenty minutes twice a week in the sun with exposed hands,
arms and face is adequate to maintain reserves.

* There is no recommended supplementary dose in the UK.

* In the US, the recommended supplementary dose is 400
international units a day.

* Some scientists say that 1,000 international units of vitamin
D a day may be necessary to prevent disease.

* Vitamin D supplements cost around 5p a day.

Posted in Newsletters

27 May 2011 Newsletter May 2011

Dear Éiriú Eolas family,

We hope our letter finds you all well and healthy this month. As Eiriu
Eolas means “Growth of Knowledge”, we try to provide you with the best
information we can find to enhance your well-being on every level. This
time we have some really interesting information to share!

Next to the regular practice of EE, our research team has found another
practice that will help you with maintaining your health: eating as much
animal fat as possible. This might come as a shocking suggestion to you,
after years and years of hearing doctors and specialists tell us that we
should by all means avoid fat consumption because it will make us fat,
increase our cholesterol, cause us strokes, heartaches, etc. But what
newer research is bringing to light is the fact that animal fat is the
building block of every cell in our body, thus indispensable for our
health.

In reality, a diet rich in animal fats and low in carbohydrates will help
us lose weight and increase our body muscle even with limited exercise.
The article below and the short video will provide you with an overview on
the subject. We also suggest reading the excellent book, “Life Without
Bread: How a low carbohydrate diet can save your life”. It’s short and
simple, but the authors, Dr. Christian Allan and Dr. Wolfang Lutz do an
amazing job explaining the biochemistry of carbohydrates and fats, and how
they each affect our bodies. There’s also a lot of examples from their
research and practice where eating foods rich in fat and low in
carbohydrates treated people’s diabetes, fatigue, heart diseases,
gastrointestinal disorders, hormonal problems, and cancer, while at the
same time keeping them at a healthy weight.

We hope you find this information as fascinating as we have. May you have
a wonderful month ahead of you.

Warm regards,

The Éiriú Eolas Team

 

Meet the teacher: Irini Gregoriou

Irini was born in Cyprus, and through her studies and work, has done a lot of travelling and lived in different countries. Always seeking to understand the human condition and our purpose in life, she has always had an inclination to help those in need. In 2000 she graduated with her BA in Psychology from the University of Indianapolis, and received her MA in Creative Arts therapy from Hofstra University, New York, in 2002. As a personal pilgrimage, in the fall of 2003, she walked almost all 900 km of the medieval road stretching from the foothills of the French Pyrenees to the western-most coast of the Old World in Finisterre, Spain, also known as The Camino de Santiago de Compostella.

An avid reader of everything pertaining to human psychology, history, religion, health and healing, she received a 200-hour Yoga teacher certification from the Polarity Center of Long Island New York in 2003, and became a certified Eiriu Eolas instructor in 2010. Through her work as an art therapist, she had the opportunity to work in a variety of clinical settings in both her country of origin and the US. She received a lot of hands on experience dealing with people suffering from mental, personality and mood disorders. She feels for the suffering of humanity on the personal level and has learned how to assist people in their challenging journey to healing. This experience has helped her greatly in her work as an Eiriu Eolas instructor, since the breathing techniques of the program can bring up past traumas and repressed emotions in the practitioners.

In her own words, Irini shares:

“I found from my own experience how powerful and complete the Eiriu Eolas program is as soon as I started practicing. Not only I had instant stress reduction, but I could feel all these repressed emotions come to surface and by acknowledging them, they could be released and no longer be energetically stuck in my body, controlling my thoughts and emotions. Life becomes easier and more joyful when we are able to put down all these packages we carry around with us. Our relationships with the people we love and interact with on a daily basis become more intimate and our communication patterns, as well as our reactions, become geared to the here and now, instead to our unresolved issues from the past.

One can be in therapy and talk about their traumas and problems for years and years without resolve. How easy it is in today’s world, with the way we are taught to deal with everything on an intellectual level, to open our heart and tap into all those emotions locked in there since day one, in such a gentle way? Only Eiriu Eolas – of all the different programs I have experienced – allowed me to do this. Another thing that I love about Eiriu Eolas, is that it stands up to its name: Growth of Knowledge. With this technique, people are taught everything about themselves, growing thus in knowledge of how the body, mind and emotions work, and how each one of the techniques affects us on all levels. The teaching does not stop with the breathing techniques and the meditation, but extends to sharing with our students the research done by the Eiriu Eolas team on healthy eating and how to best care for our body and mind. Everything is scientifically researched and proven before shared. There is also a spiritual component to the EE program that the Prayer of the Soul fills in. Science may never be able to explain the many pairs of eyes that I saw tear up – as mine did too – the first time these beautiful words of the Prayer were heard. They went straight in and touched my heart.”

I feel that now more than ever, humanity needs a tool with which to heal itself, and deal rationally, compassionately and in unison with the problems we face. Eiriu Eolas is that tool, and I feel honoured to be able to share it with the world.”

 

Nutrition — Connecting the Dots

A Metabolic Paradigm Shift, or Why Fat is the Preferred Fuel for Human Metabolism

Source Link

There’s a good reason so many people (mostly the sugar-burners, whose disparate group includes fruitarians, veg*ans, HEDers, body-builders, most MDs, the USDA and virtually every RD program in the country) can’t seem to grasp why a lower carb, Primal approach to eating is a better choice for health and fitness: their fundamental paradigm – the core theory that underpins everything else in that belief system – is flawed. They remain slaves to the antiquated notion that glucose is the king of fuels, so they live their lives in a fear of running low. The truth is, fat is the preferred fuel of human metabolism and has been for most of human evolution. Under normal human circumstances, we actually require only minimal amounts of glucose, most or all of which can be supplied by the liver as needed on a daily basis. The simple SAD fact that carbs/glucose are so readily available and cheap today doesn’t mean that we should depend on them as a primary source of fuel or revere them so highly. In fact, it is this blind allegiance to the “Carb Paradigm” that has driven so many of us to experience the vast array of metabolic problems that threaten to overwhelm our health care system.

It boggles my mind that such a large segment of the so-called health and fitness community would continue to defend high carbohydrate diets with such tenacity. It should all be very obvious by now. The studies keep piling up indicating that carbohydrate intake is the major variable in determining body composition and that excess glucose from carbohydrate intake (especially from processed grains and sugars) is the primary culprit in obesity and in many disease processes. It follows logically that if you can limit carb intake to a range of which is absolutely necessary (and even up to 50 grams a day over) and make the difference up with tasty fats and protein, you can literally reprogram your genes back to the evolutionary-based factory setting you had at birth – the setting that offered you the opportunity to start life as a truly efficient fat-burning organism and to continue to do so for the rest of your life as long as you send the right signals to your genes. Becoming an efficient fat-burner is the major premise of the Primal Blueprint eating and exercise strategies.

 

But logic doesn’t rule when you are stuck in the Carb Paradigm, so I still see some misguided bloggers decrying the Primal Blueprint eating strategy as potentially harmful for its relatively low carb intake or stating that my advice to “generally keep carbs under 150 grams a day unless you’re an athlete” is ridiculous. How many more times do I have to overhear a trainer advising a still-portly client to “eat 5 or 6 small meals throughout the day, always with some carbs, so you keep your blood sugar up and don’t go into starvation mode.”? It’s time to stop this nonsense and reframe the current views of human metabolism to accurately reflect the two and a half million years of evolution that shaped the current human genome – a perfect DNA recipe that fully expects us from birth to function largely on fats.

It’s time for a Metabolic Paradigm Shift within the health and fitness world.

The Faulty Carb Paradigm “Logic” Goes Something Like This

The basic underlying assumption is that glucose is the preferred fuel of most cells; BUT, because we can’t store very much glucose (as glycogen in liver and muscles), we need to provide a continuous source of glucose in the form of exogenous carbohydrate (high carb meals) to keep the brain, blood, and certain organs humming along and the muscles primed for activity. AND, if we don’t feed ourselves enough carbohydrate every few hours, our blood sugar will drop and we’ll go into “starvation mode” and cannibalize our precious muscle tissue. AND any lack of regular glucose refilling (i.e. skipping a meal or fasting) will cause cortisol to rise, which will have additional deleterious effects.

FURTHERMORE, an excess of glucose in the bloodstream is known to raise insulin and will predispose excess calories (from all sources) to be stored as fat. THEREFORE, we should also be doing a lot of moderate-to-heavy cardio or lifting activity most days to burn off this excess stored body fat. HOWEVER, if we want to be ready and able to exercise frequently and strenuously to burn off our stored fat, we need to eat lots of complex carbohydrates between workouts to refill our glycogen stores. And ULTIMATELY, the only way to lose weight is to restrict calories, (calories in less than calories out), BUT if you’re working out regularly, it’s almost impossible to maintain a calorie-restricted regimen and still be able to work out hard enough to burn appreciable calories. Sheesh.

Sure, there are exceptions, like the driven and genetically gifted types, who can train long hours, refuel on carbs and not add much body fat (hey, I was one). But unless you love to work out incessantly and have really lucky familial genes, the Carb Paradigm is an unsustainable and ridiculous literal and figurative treadmill, a self-fulfilling prophecy for most people who tend to gain weight steadily and insidiously over the years and wonder why. If you are one of the 60+% of the American population who is overweight, the above scenario plays itself out because you have spent your life programming your genes in the direction of being an effective sugar burner and, as a result, have become dependent on a fresh supply of sugar (carbs) every few hours. Naturally, in the presence of all that glucose, and provided you actually do some exercise, your genes will eventually get the signals to up-regulate the enzyme systems, pathways and receptors involved in sugar-burning and fat storage and they’ll down-regulate all those involved in accessing and burning fat for energy. Of course, that doesn’t make it right, but it sure makes it appear as if glucose is king. What makes it worse, if you don’t exercise, you head down the path to insulin resistance and/or obesity.

The Problem: The Basic Assumption of the Carb Paradigm is Wrong

Glucose is not the preferred fuel of muscle cells under normal human resting metabolic conditions or even under most normal human movement patterns (exercise). Fat is. Sure, given an unlimited supply of glucose and regular refilling of glycogen stores, skeletal muscle will burn through it during exercise the same way a fire burns through kindling when that’s all you have to offer. The body can shift carbohydrate oxidation to keep up with intake. But skeletal muscle can burn fat with great efficiency (and far less oxidative fallout) at relatively high outputs for very long bouts. Cardiac muscle actually prefers ketones, and the brain can run just fine (maybe even optimally) on a blend of ketones and minimal glucose. Our survival as a species has depended on these evolutionary adaptations away from glucose dependency. Entire civilizations have existed for ages on what is practically a zero-carb diet. Think about this: there is actually no requirement for any “essential dietary carbohydrates” in human nutrition. It’s possible to live a very long and healthy life never consuming much – if any – in the way of carbs, provided you get adequate dietary protein and fat. The same can’t be said for going too long without protein or fat. Cut too far back on either of those macronutrients and you will eventually get sick and die.

The Evolutionary Model

Fat and protein were the dominant macronutrients (when food was even available) over the majority of our two-and-a-half million years as evolving humans. The lack of regular access to food and a scarcity of carbohydrates for much of this time necessitated that we adapt efficient pathways to readily store and access body fat for energy if we were to survive day-to-day and generation-to-generation. Our movement patterns were such that we never required large amounts of glucose or that we needed to store very much glycogen. It was predominantly fats, ketones and the minimal infusion of glucose via gluconeogenesis that got us here. Dietary carbs were insignificant. In fact, when you consider how ridiculously small the body’s glycogen reservoirs are, you understand that it would have been impossible for us to survive as a species if glucose were truly the “preferred” fuel. The liver, the main back-up glycogen/glucose storage facility for the brain and other glucose-burning organs, can only store about 100 grams of glycogen. Less than a day’s worth. Your muscles can only hold another 350-500 grams, barely enough to run for 90 minutes at a reasonable clip, and that glycogen isn’t even available to provide fuel for the brain. Meanwhile, we have a virtually unlimited storage capacity for fat (like 100,000 grams or close to a million calories on some people). The reason glycogen storage wasn’t necessary is because, between our copious fat storage capability, easy access to fats as fuel, gluconeogenesis and ketones, we just didn’t need much. Evolution tends not to reward structures or functions that take up unnecessary space or waste energy.

So How Much Glucose Do You Really Need?

Much less than most people assume. At any one time, the total amount of glucose dissolved in the bloodstream of a healthy non-diabetic is equivalent to only a teaspoon (maybe 5 grams). Much more than that is toxic; much less than that and you pass out. That’s not much range for a so-called “preferred” fuel, is it? Several studies have shown that under normal low MET conditions (at rest or low-to mid- levels of activity such as walking and easy work) the body only needs about 5 grams of glucose an hour. And that’s for people who aren’t yet fat-adapted or keto-adapted. The brain is the major consumer of glucose, needing maybe 120 grams a day in people who aren’t yet on a low carb eating program. Low carb eating reduces the brain’s glucose requirements considerably, and those who are very low carb (VLC) and keto-adapted may only require about 30 grams of glucose per day to fuel the brain (and little-to-none to fuel the muscles at <75% max efforts). Twenty of those grams can come from glycerol (a byproduct of fat metabolism) and the balance from gluconeogenesis in the liver (which can actually make up to a whopping 150 grams a day if you haven’t metabolically damaged it with NAFLD through fructose overdosing). Bottom line, unless you are a physical laborer or are training (exercising) hard on a daily basis, once you become fat-adapted, you probably don’t ever need to consume more than 150 grams of dietary carbs – and you can probably thrive on far less. Many PBers do very well (including working out) on 30-70 grams a day.

The Fat Paradigm

The Fat Paradigm, under which the human species has thrived quite effectively for two and a half million years, recognizes that human metabolism is pre-programmed by evolution to be primarily fat-based (the real preferred fuel). In other words, our genes expect us to function optimally when we consume fats and can easily access our stored fat. The Fat Paradigm acknowledges that the body is able to manufacture adequate glucose as needed. It acknowledges that most typical human movement patterns can be fueled almost entirely by fats and/or ketones (PDF) if need be, but can draw on glycogen when energy bursts are required (and which can then be replaced over time). It acknowledges that fat (and cholesterol) are not the proximate cause of heart disease. It acknowledges that fat cells are designed to release stored fatty acids as required, especially during times of scarcity or fasting. It allows for intermittent fasting as a means of accelerating fat loss without sacrificing muscle tissue. It increases insulin sensitivity, modulates energy and mood swings, and allows for a normal and healthy drop in hunger and cravings. There is a downside, however: you can’t train long and hard day-in and day-out in the fat paradigm.

Now then, having explained all this, please understand that I am not carb phobic. I actually permit more carbs in the Primal Blueprint than many other low carb eating strategies. I prefer to view carbs as the “elective” macronutrient, as a tool to use to manipulate your glycogen levels as needed. Low carb isn’t even the main objective of eating in the PB: eliminating grains, sugars and seed oils are the primary objective. Of course, when you get rid of that crap and naturally limit your carb intake to veggies, root tubers and a few fruits, you almost invariably decrease carbs to under 150 grams a day. And that emulates our ancestral dietary intake.

I came up with a simple Carbohydrate Curve a few years ago that offers a pretty concise picture of where most people ought to fall if they are seeking optimum health and energy, depending on their size, weight, sex, age, goals, etc. Now, many hundreds of thousands of user experiences later, I am finding that the Curve is pretty much spot on for a large segment of the population.

When I say generally that a chronic intake of over 150 grams of carbs can lead to insidious weight gain over a lifetime, I am factoring in the concept that many people are at the effect of a familial genetic predisposition to storing fat easily under the carb paradigm (the 60+% overweight). I am also factoring in the drop in metabolism that happens naturally with age, as well as the fact that PBers don’t NEED to purge and refill glycogen stores every day via exercise. Yes, there are some people (a small percentage of outliers) who might maintain pretty decent body composition at up to 300 grams a day on little exercise. I would bet that they also are selective about the carb sources and do a better job of controlling overall calories, so there’s little excess to store. For most of the population, that 150 mark remains a good average level for maintaining ideal body composition.

Well, that was a lot to digest today. You see where I’m going with this. I need your help in showing the health community that their basic assumptions are wrong and that they need to make a Metabolic Paradigm Shift. I’m sure there will be lots of specific questions, so bring ’em on and I’ll do a follow up post in a week or two.

Posted in Newsletters

29 March 2011 Newsletter March, 2011

Dear Éiriú Eolas family,

This month we are spotlighting, Laurel Wells in Meet the Teacher. She is a chaplain as well as an Éiriú Eolas instructor, who is doing wonderful work with several groups of women in prison and mental health settings in the southeastern US.

Like many of you, we too have been following the news from Japan. Such catastrophic events are deeply sad and upsetting. They come from out of the blue, throwing our sense of our place in the world badly off-balance, making us feel fragile and helpless. If you have been feeling this way, we hope you have all been doing extra Pipe breathing anytime you find yourself getting depressed or anxious.

Another excellent cure for anxiety is knowledge. In this case, the media has been playing up, (or playing down, depending on who you listen to) the dangers of radiation spreading around the globe. While we don’t know what may happen, we CAN do plenty to protect ourselves from such a possibility. An excellent article by Dr. Gabriel Segura, one of the developers of the Éiriú Eolas program, puts together a complete approach to protecting your loved ones and yourself, not just from this event, but from all sorts of toxic situations. It’s a little longer than usual, but we know you will find it helpful.

With love,

The Éiriú Eolas Team

 

Laurel Wells

Laurel has long been interested in spirituality and health. With a varied and eclectic life path, she has eventually combined these two interests by working as a chaplain and facilitator of EE. As a long time practitioner of meditation, she feels the simplicity and ease of the EE program is part of its success because it allows even those with a busy schedule to have the time to incorporate it into their daily routine.

“I find the Eiriu-Eolas program to be the best system of relaxation and meditation that I have ever come across. As a hospital chaplain, I find its scientific foundation and spiritual expression create a harmonious and healing experience for those who practice the program. I have taught this technique to prison inmates, homeless vets, those who are dying, those who are losing a loved one, and many people who are just looking for a way to heal themselves and positively interact with the world around them. Without fail, the gentle and healing effects of this program have benefited those who do it, in big ways and small.”

Eiriu-Eolas is Irish-Gaelic for growth of knowledge, an apt name that leads to more positive manifestations of this program. Because the aim of the facilitator and participants is to seek growth of knowledge, this openness allows for many levels of exchange between those who are doing the program together in a group. It opens the door for exploration and detoxification on multiple levels – emotional, physical, and spiritual and the learning and sharing that occurs between participants is truly inspiring. It is also extremely helpful during times of additional personal stress. Laurel noticed a huge benefit from the program last year when she was going through a very difficult time.

“My father had just died suddenly, my mother was in intensive care for a month, and I was caring for my handicapped sister as well as my eight year old son. The grief, worry, and physical demands during that time were overwhelming some days. On those days, I would sit down with my EE cd and breathe until my head was clear , my emotions soothed, and my body engergized. It was just a lifesaver. I even played the meditation and music for my mother while she was unconscious in the hospital. I think it was one thing that helped her to recover.”

Laurel is currently teaching EE with various groups in the Western North Carolina region. She facilitates a weekly class at Swannanoa Correctional Institute for Women and will be teaching a class for the public beginning in April at The French Broad Food Co-op in Asheville on Wednesdays from 12 – 1pm.

You can contact Laurel at laurel@eiriu-eolas.org

Detoxify or Die: Natural Radiation Protection Therapies for Coping With the Fallout of the Fukushima Nuclear Meltdown

Original Link

Foot-dragging in recognizing obvious problems and the resultant delays in preventing exposure and mitigating the effects lies at the door of nuclear power advocates more interested in preserving the status quo than in helping millions of innocent people who are suffering through no fault of their own. – Nesterenko, A. V., Nesterenko, V. B. and Yablokov, Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment.

We have had conflicting reports from mainstream news sources regarding the nuclear emergency in Fukushima, Japan. Some say that it is not nearly as bad as the Chernobyl catastrophe, others say that it will be much worse than Chernobyl. What are we to make of this? Who can we trust?

With the current state of affairs, I think it is reasonable enough to expect and prepare for the worst, hope for the best and take what comes. It is with this state of mind that I set out to review the available literature about accessible and alternative therapies in case of nuclear disasters as well as data about the Chernobyl catastrophe. What I found was shocking enough but know that there is also well-documented essential knowledge that can protect you and your loved ones.

This article includes an overview of the publication Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment which appeared in Annals of the New York Academy (2009). The authors – Alexey V. Nesterenko (Institute of Radiation Safety (BELRAD), Belarus) and Alexey V. Yablokov (Russian Academy of Sciences) along with Vassily B. Nesterenko – synthesized information from several thousand cited scientific papers and other materials, including successful and widely available natural therapies that worked. There are also other numerous studies about alternative effective treatments in case of radiation. It will give you a clear idea of what to expect and what you can do in case of a nuclear disaster in Japan.

This is a matter that concerns all of us as no country in the world is capable of providing complete protection from radiation for those living in affected areas and from eating locally grown foods that are contaminated with radiation.

A Lesson from History or What to Expect: The Chernobyl Catastrophe

We have to look only as far back to Chernobyl to understand why we are having so many conflicting reports and little information about what is happening in Japan.

In the last days of spring and the beginning of summer of 1986, radioactivity was released from the Chernobyl power plant and fell upon hundreds of millions of people. The resulting levels of radionuclides were hundreds of times higher than that from the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

The normal lives of tens of millions were destroyed. Today, more than 6 million people live on land with dangerous levels of contamination. More than 20 years after the catastrophe, due to the natural migration of radionuclides, the dangerous consequences in these areas have not decreased, but have actually increased and will continue to do so for many years to come.

Authorities typically provided the least possible financial means for detoxification therapies and disaster control while they denied the facts and documented data concerning dangerous levels of radiation among the population, in foods and the environment.

Sound familiar? This attitude has been the norm rather than the exception.

As a result of the catastrophe, 40% of Europe was contaminated with dangerous radioactivity. Asia and North America were also exposed to significant amounts of radioactive fallout. According to Yablokov et al., the claim by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), and several other groups that the Chernobyl radioactive fallout added “only” 2% to the natural radioactive background ignores several facts:

“First, many territories continue to have dangerously high levels of radiation. Second, high levels of radiation were spread far and wide in the first weeks after the catastrophe. Third, there will be decades of chronic, low-level contamination after the catastrophe. Fourth, every increase in nuclear radiation has an effect on both somatic [body] and reproductive cells of all living things.”

Another important lesson from the Chernobyl experience is that experts and organizations tied to the nuclear industry have dismissed and ignored the consequences of the catastrophe. It was only after 8 or 9 years from the catastrophe that the medical authorities began to finally admit the universal increase in cataracts among the population. The same occurred with thyroid cancer, leukemia and organic central nervous system disorders.

In addition to that, it is known that the percentage of food products with radioactive contamination in excess of official permissible levels did not decrease for 14 years after the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe. On the contrary, this percentage began to increase in 1996. In spite of official secrecy, the full picture of Chernobyl food contamination in countries as far away as the United States has finally begun to emerge:

“Many people suffer from continuing chronic low-dose radiation 23 years after the catastrophe, owing primarily to consumption of radioactively contaminated food. An important consideration is the fact that given an identical diet, a child’s radiation exposure is three- to fivefold higher than that of an adult. Since more than 90% of the radiation burden nowadays is due to Caesium-137, which has a half-life of about 30 years, contaminated areas will continue to be dangerously radioactive for roughly the next three centuries.

“When children have the same menu as adults, they get up to five times higher dose burdens from locally produced foodstuffs because of their lower weight and more active processes of metabolism. Children living in rural villages have a dose burden five to six times higher than city children of the same age.

“Daily exposure to small amounts of radionuclides (mostly Cs-137) is virtually unavoidable as they get into the body with food (up to 94%), with drinking water (up to 5%), and through the air (about 1%). Accumulation of radionuclides in the body is dangerous, primarily for children, and for those living in the contaminated territories where there are high levels of Cs-137 in local foodstuffs. The incorporation of radionuclides is now the primary cause of the deterioration of public health in the contaminated territories.

“Experience has shown that existing official radioactive monitoring systems are inadequate (not only in the countries of the Former Soviet Union). Generally, the systems cover territories selectively, do not measure each person, and often conceal important facts when releasing information. The common factor among all governments is to minimize spending for which they are not directly responsible, such as the Chernobyl meltdown, which occurred 23 years ago. Thus officials are not eager to obtain objective data of radioactive contamination of communities, individuals, or food.

“We have to take responsibility not only for our own health, but for the health of future generations of humans, plants, and animals, which can be harmed by mutations resulting from exposure to even the smallest amount of radioactive contamination. [Nesterenko, A. V., Nesterenko, V. B. and Yablokov]

Chernobyl Disaster

All people living in territories heavily contaminated by Chernobyl fallout continue to be exposed to low doses of chronic radiation. Without special equipment to identify levels of environmental contamination, it is impossible to know what radionuclide levels are in our food and water or have been incorporated into our bodies.

The radioactive elements Caesium-137 (Cs-137), Strontium-90 (Sr-90), Plutonium (Pu), and Americium (Am) released in Chernobyl concentrate in the roots of plants and it is now known that they will continue to be mobilized for decades, even up to several hundreds of years into the future. Agricultural products have contained – and will continue to contain – radioactivity in all of the Northern Hemisphere countries contaminated by Chernobyl.

The level of radionuclide incorporation in our bodies varies according to each organ. In Chernobyl the most affected organs (from autopsies) were the thyroid gland, the adrenal glands, the pancreas, the thymus, the skeletal muscle, the spleen, the heart and the liver (in decreasing order).

The thyroid gland is the most affected since radioactive iodine (Iodine-131) binds to it, making supplemental non-radioactive iodine a key therapy in the case of nuclear radiation. The natural iodine will bind to the thyroid, blocking the radioactive iodine from binding to it. The affliction of the adrenals is worthy of attention, since there were many “new” diseases that emerged after the Chernobyl disaster whose symptoms resemble those of adrenal fatigue.

The total Chernobyl death toll for the period from 1987 to 2004 has reached nearly 417,000 in other parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa, and nearly 170,000 in North America, accounting for nearly 824,000 deaths worldwide. This number of Chernobyl victims will continue to increase for several generations.

A Note on Radiation

Radiation poisoning damages organ tissues by excessive exposure to ionizing radiation. Ionizing radiation consists of particles or electromagnetic waves that are energetic enough to detach electrons from atoms or molecules, thus ionizing them. Direct ionization from the effects of single particles or single photons produces free radicals, which are atoms or molecules containing unpaired electrons, and which tend to be especially chemically reactive due to their electronic structure.

This means that they become chemically unstable and highly reactive ions as free radicals are formed. These unstable metabolic by-products strive to stabilize by ‘stealing’ a replacement electron from any neighboring molecule, leaving even more damaged molecules in their wake. This is how free radicals in our bodies are produced and cause inflammation, a process that is best known as oxidative stress, oxidative damage or lipid peroxidation. Oxidation can even cause debilitating changes to your DNA. This is why anti-oxidants are so important. Antioxidants help to counteract or neutralize the free radicals before they can damage our healthy cells by lending a hand (actually, an electron) when stabilization is needed. This is the reason why we are fond of so many antioxidants such as vitamin C, E, carotenoids, resveratrol, taurine, coenzyme Q10 and melatonin, to name but a few.

Medical Syndromes

Nuclear or ionizing radiation that penetrates the body can affect your body in a number of different ways, and the adverse health effects of extreme radiation exposure may not be apparent for many years.

Among the specific health disorders associated with Chernobyl radiation there was increased morbidity and prevalence of the following groups of diseases:

  • Circulatory system (owing primarily to radioactive destruction of the endothelium, the internal lining of the blood vessels).
  • Endocrine system (especially nonmalignant thyroid problems).
  • Immune system (“Chernobyl AIDS,” increased incidence and seriousness of all illnesses).
  • Respiratory system.
  • Urogenital tract and reproductive disorders.
  • Musculoskeletal system (including pathologic changes in the structure and composition of bones: osteopenia and osteoporosis).
  • Central nervous system (changes in frontal, temporal, and occipitoparietal lobes of the brain, leading to diminished intelligence and behavioral and mental disorders).
  • Eyes (cataracts, vitreous destruction, refraction anomalies, and conjunctive disorders).
  • Digestive tract.
  • Congenital malformations and anomalies (including previously rare multiple defects of limbs and head).
  • Thyroid cancer (All forecasts concerning this cancer have been erroneous; Chernobyl-related thyroid cancers have rapid onset and aggressive development, striking both children and adults. After surgery the person becomes dependent on replacement hormone medication for life.)
  • Leukemia (blood cancers) not only in children and liquidators, but in the general adult population of contaminated territories.
  • Other malignant neoplasms.

[Nesterenko, A. V., Nesterenko, V. B. and Yablokov, Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment.]

Other health consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe include:

  • Changes in the body’s biological balance, leading to increased numbers of serious illnesses owing to intestinal toxicoses, bacterial infections, and sepsis.
  • Intensified infectious and parasitic diseases (e.g., viral hepatitis and respiratory viruses).
  • Increased incidence of health disorders in children born to radiated parents (both to liquidators and to individuals who left the contaminated territories), especially those radiated in utero. These disorders, involving practically all the body’s organs and systems, also include genetic changes.
  • Catastrophic state of health of liquidators (especially liquidators who worked in 1986 – 1987).
  • Premature aging in both adults and children.
  • Increased incidence of multiple somatic and genetic mutations.

Chernobyl actually “enriched” the medical vocabulary with such terms as “cancer rejuvenescence,” as well as three new syndromes:

  • “Vegetovascular dystonia” – dysfunctional regulation of the nervous system involving cardiovascular and other organs (also called autonomic nervous system dysfunction), with clinical signs that present against a background of stress.
  • “Incorporated long-life radionuclides” – functional and structural disorders of the cardiovascular, nervous, endocrine, reproductive, and other systems owing to absorbed radionuclides.
  • “Acute inhalation lesions of the upper respiratory tract” – a combination of a rhinitis, throat tickling, dry cough, difficulty breathing, and shortness of breath owing to the effect of inhaled radionuclides, including “hot particles.”

[Nesterenko, A. V., Nesterenko, V. B. and Yablokov, Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment.]

Several other new syndromes, reflecting increased incidence of some illnesses, appeared after Chernobyl. Among them:

  • “Chronic fatigue syndrome” – excessive and unrelieved fatigue, fatigue without obvious cause, periodic depression, memory loss, diffuse muscular and joint pains, chills and fever, frequent mood changes, cervical lymph node sensitivity, weight loss; it is also often associated with immune system dysfunction and CNS disorders.
  • “Lingering radiating illness syndrome” – a combination of excessive fatigue, dizziness, trembling, and back pain.
  • “Early aging syndrome” – a divergence between physical and chronological age with illnesses characteristic of the elderly occurring at an early age.

Specific Chernobyl syndromes such as “radiation in utero“, “Chernobyl AIDS”, “Chernobyl heart”, “Chernobyl limbs,” and others await more detailed and definitive medical descriptions.

But deterioration of public health (especially of children) in the Chernobyl-contaminated territories 23 years after the catastrophe is not due to psychological stress or radiophobia, or from resettlement… it is mostly and primarily due to Chernobyl irradiation. Other than the first powerful shock in 1986 there is the continual chronic low-dose and low-dose-rate radionuclide exposure.

Psychological factors (“radiation phobia”) simply have no bearing on the pathologies described because morbidity continued to increase for some years after the catastrophe, whereas radiation concerns have decreased.

Infections on the Rise

There is evidence of increased incidence and severity of diseases characterized by intestinal toxicoses, gastroenteritis, bacterial sepsis, viral hepatitis, and respiratory viruses in areas contaminated by Chernobyl radionuclides (Batyan and Kozharskaya, 1993; Kapytonova and Kryvitskaya, 1994; Nesterenko et al., 1993; Busuet at al., 2002; and others). Genetic instability markedly increased in the contaminated territories and has resulted in increased sensitivity to viral and other types of infections (Vorobtsova et al., 1995).

Whether activation and dispersion of dangerous infections is due to mutational changes in the microorganisms (which render them more pathogenic), impaired immunological defenses in the populations, or a combination of both, has not yet been fully answered.

One gram of soil contains some 2,500,000,000 microorganisms (bacteria, microfungi, and protozoa). Up to 3 kg of the mass of an adult human body is made up of bacteria, viruses, and microfungi. In spite of the fact that these represent such important and fundamentally live ecosystems, there are only scarce data on the various microbiological consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe. – Nesterenko, A. V., Nesterenko, V. B. and Yablokov

There was activation of retroviruses (Kavsan et al., 1992). Tuberculosis became more virulent in the more contaminated areas of Belarus (Chernetsky and Osynovsky, 1993; Belookaya, 1993; Borschevsky et al., 1996). From 1993 to 1997 the hepatitis viruses B, C, D, and G became noticeably activated in the heavily contaminated areas of Belarus (Zhavoronok et al., 1998a,b). Herpes viruses were activated in the heavily contaminated territories of Belarus 6 to 7 years after the catastrophe (Matveev, 1993; Matveev et al., 1995; Voropaev et al., 1996). Among soil bacteria that most actively accumulate Cs-137 are Agrobacterium sp., Enterobacter sp. and Klebsiella sp. Sharp reduction in the abundance of healthy gut bacteria (bifidus bacteria) and the prevalence of microbes of the class Escherichia; in particular, a sharp increase in E. coli has been noted in the intestines of evacuee children living in Ukraine.

All microorganisms (viruses, bacteria, fungi, and protozoa) and microbiological communities as a whole undergo rapid changes after any additional irradiation. The mechanism of such changes is well known: inclusion and increase in the frequency of mutations by natural selection and preservation of beneficial novel genes that for whatever reason appear more viable under the new conditions. This microevolutionary mechanism has been activated in all radioactively contaminated areas and leads to activation of old and the occurrence of new forms of viruses and bacteria. All but a few microorganisms that have been studied in Chernobyl-affected territories underwent rapid changes in heavily contaminated areas.

Our contemporary knowledge is too limited to understand even the main consequences of the inevitable radioactive-induced genetic changes among the myriad of viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and fungi that inhabit the intestines, lungs, blood, organs, and cells of human beings. The strong association between carcinogenesis and viruses (papilloma virus, hepatitis virus, Helicobacter pylori, Epstein – Barr virus, Kaposi’s sarcoma, and herpes virus) provides another reason why the cancer rate increased in areas contaminated by Chernobyl irradiation (for a review, see Sreelekha et al., 2003).

Not only cancer, but also many other illnesses are connected with viruses and bacteria. Radiologically induced pathologic changes in the microflora in humans can increase susceptibility to infections, inflammatory diseases of bacterial and viral origin (influenza, chronic intestinal diseases, pyelonephritis, cystitis, vaginitis, endocolitis, asthma, dermatitis, and ischemia), and various pathologies of pregnancy.

The long-term consequences for microbial biota may be worse than what we understand today.

– Nesterenko, A. V., Nesterenko, V. B. and Yablokov

A Note on Environmental Consequences

All the initial forecasts of rapid clearance or decay of the Chernobyl radionuclides from ecosystems were wrong, it is now known that they are taking much longer than predicted because they recirculate. The overall state of the contamination in water, air, and soil appears to fluctuate greatly and the dynamics of Sr-90, Cs-137, Pu, and Am contamination still present surprises to Chernobyl scientists.

“As a result of the accumulation of Cs-137, Sr-90, Pu, and Am in the root soil layer, radionuclides have continued to build in plants over recent years. Moving with water to the above-ground parts of plants, the radionuclides (which earlier had disappeared from the surface) concentrate in the edible components, resulting in increased levels of internal irradiation and dose rate in people, despite decreasing total amounts of radionuclides from natural disintegration over time.

“In 1986 the levels of irradiation in plants and animals in Western Europe, North America, the Arctic, and eastern Asia were sometimes hundreds and even thousands of times above acceptable norms. The initial pulse of high-level irradiation followed by exposure to chronic low-level radionuclides has resulted in morphological, physiological, and genetic disorders in all the living organisms in contaminated areas that have been studied – plants, mammals, birds, amphibians, fish, invertebrates, bacteria, and viruses.

“What happened to voles and frogs in the Chernobyl zone shows what can happen to humans in coming generations: increasing mutation rates, increasing morbidity and mortality, reduced life expectancy, decreased intensity of reproduction, and changes in male/female sex ratios.

[Nesterenko, A. V., Nesterenko, V. B. and Yablokov, Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment.]

Proven Effective Detox Protocols

The therapies described here are widely available as over-the-counter supplements in most countries.

Green stuff and other sea food

In Chernobyl, 5 grams of spirulina for 45 days was used successfully against radiation poisoning. Chlorella algae also has shown radio-protective effects. A study showed that spirulina reduced urine radioactivity levels by 50% after only 20 days and so the Institute of Radiation Safety in Belarus developed a special program to treat 100 children every 20 days with spirulina. Furthermore, the healing occurred during the continuous presence of radiation as well as the presence of radiation contaminated food and water sources. In particular, spirulina given to children with accumulated high doses of radionuclides reduced radioactive cesium. No side effects were registered. Only buy spirulina or chlorella from a certified heavy-metal free source.

Studies on sea vegetables with sodium alginate have shown that they selectively bound with radioactive strontium and eliminated it from the body. Sodium alginate is found in many seaweeds, especially kelp. Sodium alginate binds tightly to such substances as strontium, calcium, barium, cadmium and radium. Some seaweeds are contaminated with lead or arsenic so you only want to consume seaweed that is deep ocean harvested or has been tested to be free of metal toxicity (such as kelp from the west coast of South Africa).

Black and green tea have shown radioprotective effects when taken either before or after exposure to radiation. This anti-radiation effect was observed in several Japanese studies, and studies from China also suggest that the ingredients in tea are radioactive antagonists. Tea catechins are associated with antioxidant properties and can have radio-protective effects when taken both before and after irradiation.

Kelp also has organic iodine which will saturate the thyroid so radioactive iodine will not be absorbed. You can take 1 or 2 tsp or 5 to 10 tablets.

Pectin

Pectin is one of the most effective means of protecting against radiation when consumption of contaminated food becomes unavoidable. Pectin preparations, along with vitamins and minerals, have demonstrated a high efficiency in eliminating incorporated radionuclides. The recommended dose is 5 grams once or twice a day for one month, 4 times a year.

“In 1999 BELRAD together with “Hermes” Hmbh (Munich, Germany) developed a composition of apple pectin additives known as Vitapect® powder, made up of pectin (concentration 18 – 20%) supplemented with vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, C, E, beta-carotene, folic acid; the trace elements K, Zn, Fe, and Ca; and flavoring. BELRAD has been producing this food additive, which has been approved by the Belarussian Ministry of Health, since 2000.

“The pectin additive Vitapect with clean nutrition appears to be 50% more effective in decreasing the levels of Cs-137 than clean nutrition alone (Nesterenko et al., 2004).

“A clinical study of 94 children, 7 to 17 years of age, divided into two groups according to their initial level of Cs-137 contamination determined by whole body counting (WBC) and given Vitapect orally for 16 days (5 g twice a day) revealed both a significant decrease in incorporated Cs-137 and marked improvement in their electrocardiograms.

“From 1996 to 2007 a total of more than 160,000 Belarussian children received pectin food additives during 18 to 25 days of treatment (5g twice a day). As a result, levels of Cs-137 in children’s organs decreased after each course of pectin additives by an average of 30 to 40%.

“Based on long-term experience, the BELRAD Institute recommends that all children living in radioactive contaminated territories receive a quadruple course of oral pectin food additives annually along with their conventional food ration. Eleven years of BELRAD’s activities in controlling levels of incorporated Cs-137 in more than 327,000 children has not caused alarm in the population or radiophobia and has led to the spread of knowledge concerning radiation protection and an increased sense of personal responsibility for one’s health.”

[Nesterenko, A. V., Nesterenko, V. B. and Yablokov, Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment.]

Antioxidants and Sulfur Compounds

DMSO is available in various formats.

Sulfur has a long history of use as an antidote for acute exposure to radioactive material. Antioxidants have the capacity to reduce toxic effects of radiation in our bodies. Early research identified sulfur-containing antioxidants as among those with the most beneficial therapeutic effects.

Dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) is the classical sulfur compound and a powerful anti-oxidant, exactly what we need for detoxification and protection from radiation. A Japanese study showed that even low concentrations of DMSO had radio-protective effects through the facilitation of DNA double-strand break repair, providing protection against radiation damage at all cellular levels in the whole body. The information and experience on DMSO is so fascinating that it can be described only as miraculous. Due to its importance, we have dedicated an entire article to it. See DMSO: The Antidote for Radiation Poisoning.

The use of anti-oxidants such as alpha lipoic acid, Vitamin E, Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), vitamin B, selenium, N-acetylcysteine and other sulfur compounds becomes crucial. It is important to use several of them, as they work best as a team. In addition to that, individual anti-oxidants can act as pro-oxidants when they themselves are oxidized, therefore individual anti-oxidants could enhance the progression of post-irradiation damage to tissues and organs. Several studies have shown the importance of anti-oxidant supplementation to be an effective therapy against radiation hazards.

Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) is a crucial supplement. It is water and fat soluble and it is also capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier. This means that it is capable of reaching and preventing damage in our fatty tissues, our brains, and every single organ for that matter. ALA also repairs DNA. It is a good heavy metal chelator, it protects the heart and brain from cell death, stimulates the regeneration of liver tissue and is rapidly absorbed high up into the digestive tract. ALA recycles other antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and glutathione which is an indispensable antioxidant for detoxification and is synthesized within the mitochondrion. Glutathione may not reliably be augmented by oral supplementation because it cannot always pass over the mitochondrial membrane, therefore it must be synthesized within the mitochondrion. ALA and its metabolite DHLA provoke the cell to produce significantly higher levels of glutathione (even by 70%). So if the glutathione levels in a cell are kept up to a satisfactory level by ALA, even if the cell is poisoned, the cell will have a better chance of recovering instead of dying. It is of critical importance in order to reduce or reverse radiation-induced oxidative damage after radiotherapy. The recommended dose of ALA is 100mg twice a day with meals, although others have used higher doses of between 300mg and 600mg. A study conducted on some of those who worked on the Chernobyl clean-up operation 10 years after the accident showed that 600 mg of lipoic acid for two months was able to normalize many, but not all, of their lab abnormalities.

The anti-oxidant N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), as a source of glutathione and sulfur, is an excellent supplement to take. Studies have suggested that it might prove efficient in saving individuals exposed to lethal and sub-lethal radiation doses with few or no side effects on individuals exposed to lower doses. It is also widely available. Around 500mg twice a day is a good dose, although some have used with great success around 5 grams of NAC (per day, in a hospital setting) in 7 day cycles in order to detoxify heavy metals.

Other important supplements include magnesium and vitamin C. For more information on the many forms of magnesium and dose recommendation, see here. Calcium and magnesium both help your body to pass off Strontium 90, but make sure to take enough magnesium in order to properly metabolize the levels of calcium.

For vitamin C (ascorbic acid), 1-4 grams as a daily maintenance is a good dose, but during detox or acute exposure, more will probably be required. Vitamin C cannot only protect against radiation but also repair damage from previous exposure. It will also be very handy in case of infections. You can try taking 4 grams of vitamin C 3 times per day. If you have diarrhea or abdominal bloating, cut out one dose. If there are no signs of intestinal “gurgles”, you can increase your dose throughout the day.

Consider taking also a good B complex which help to normalize the red and white blood cell count, since the destruction of white blood cells by radiation can last for extended periods of time.

Vitamin E 800-1000 IU per day and selenium 200 mcg per day are also important since radiation studies support evidence for the synergistic effects of vitamin E and Selenium in protecting from oxidative damage.

Zinc has been successfully used to chelate americium-241 from a nuclear accident victim. Natural zinc will also help the body eliminate several toxic heavy metals including cadmium, aluminum and lead. The recommended dose is 50 mg per day. You might want to supplement yourself with a good mineral complex in order to avoid deficiencies or imbalances brought on by increasing your zinc intake.

If there is a deficiency in potassium , radionuclides like cesium-137, cesium-134, potassium-40 and potassium-42, are absorbed through selective uptake. Too much potassium supplementation can be dangerous, so make sure to follow label instructions.

Melatonin, other than being our “sleeping hormone”, also has powerful antioxidant properties. Animals subjected to whole-body irradiation and given melatonin exhibited increased survival and the protection against radiation-induced oxidative damage was apparent throughout the body. More importantly, melatonin administered orally results in higher circulating levels and more rapidly increasing tissue concentrations. As soon as an exposure occurs, depending on the wind direction after radiation explosion, people living at a distance could protect themselves by oral administration of melatonin, which can be ingested repeatedly as required.

Curcumin is a naturally occurring compound contained in the spice turmeric. Curcumin has been found to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor activity in a variety of animal models of human diseases including radiation-induced pulmonary diseases.

Breathing and meditation techniques

The proven and effective Éiriú Eolas program includes well-known stress control techniques that stimulate the vagus nerve, which then activates the parasympathetic system which is a powerful anti-inflammatory system. It also includes well known emotional releasing techniques. It can be applied to improve symptoms associated with breathing difficulties, autoimmune diseases and mood problems. It reduces oxidative stress with an improvement of the overall antioxidant status, and thus it has application in numerous diseases including, chronic radioactive exposure.

There is no question but that social and economic factors are dire for those sick from radiation. Sickness, deformed and impaired children, death of family and friends, loss of home and treasured possessions, loss of work, and dislocation are serious financial and mental stresses. – Alexey V. Yablokov, Vassily B. Nesterenko, and Alexey V. Nesterenko.

During the breathing exercises and the meditation portion of the program, levels of the anti-stress hormones GABA, melatonin, and serotonin are increased, and levels of the stress hormones cortisol and norepinephrine are decreased. Learn more about the many benefits of this program here. The program is available for free at eebreathe.com.

Diet

There are several simple cooking techniques that decrease radionuclides: boil foods several times and discard the water, wash food thoroughly, soak some foods and discard the water, avoid the peels of fruits and vegetables, salt and pickle some foods but throw away the pickling juice! Avoid eating strong broths, use butter, etc.

Remember that another way of boosting your body’s detox capabilities and overall anti-oxidant levels is through the foods we eat which then become key to survival in these stressful times. Being on a detox diet is crucial to regaining health in a toxic environment. Our extensive experience and research shows that those on a no grain/low carb (no gluten) and non dairy diet fare MUCH better.

Chronic ailments often involves an imbalanced immune/defense system in which food sensitivities are involved even if they are not the cause of the problem, leading in turn to chronic inflammation – which translates into disease. This is why it is important to undergo an elimination diet in order to balance the body’s immune system. Some of our immune cells take 6 months to regenerate, so it can take that much time in order to see results if you are very sick. But often you can see positive results in the first two weeks on an appropriate diet, even when you can’t afford any other detox therapies. You can find the diet and how to transition to it here.

Everyone is different and it is only by testing foods that we can discern our individual problematic foods. Having said that, no one should be eating cereals or dairy products or high processed foods because the human system is simply not constructed to digest them properly. What we eat is crucial in recovering our health and it is a great healing medicine when done correctly.

Garlic and onions, being sulfur containing foods, help bind and deactivate both the radioactive isotopes and toxic metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. The sulfur will help the kidneys and liver detoxify the body.

The most direct way of decreasing radionuclide intake is to avoid foods that are potentially heavily contaminated and to consume foodstuffs with lower levels. However, this is not easy to do because the average level of radionuclide bio-accumulation differs in each region owing to differences in soils, agricultural techniques, etc.

The Chernobyl experience tells us that soaking in water, boiling, salting and pickling foods such as vegetables can decrease the amount of radionuclides in some foods several-fold. Milk always contains high levels of radiation; processed products that reduce contamination levels, such as butter and ghee butter, are safer.

Radionuclide concentrations in the visceral organs of animals are usually significantly higher than in muscle tissue. Among visceral organs the order of decreasing levels of Cs-137 is: lung > kidney > liver > fat.

The Chernobyl experience showed that in contaminated territories the same species of fish taken from rivers and streams have significantly lower radionuclide levels than those from lakes and ponds. Plant feeding fish had three to four times lower radionuclide levels than predatory species (catfish, pike, etc.). Fishes at lower levels of the ocean (crucian, tench, etc.) had several times more contamination than fish which live in the top water layers (small fry, chub, etc.).

It is very important to avoid radionuclides in food and if they are consumed to try to eliminate them from the body as quickly as possible. In a baby, the biological half-life of Cs-137 is 14 days; for a 5-year old it is 21 days; for a 10-year old, 49 days; for teenagers, about 90 days; and for a young male, about 100 days (Nesterenko, 1997).

From the Chernobyl experience, the order of decreasing levels of Cs-137 were: chicken > beef > lamb > pork. Meats from older animals have more radionuclides that meat from younger ones owing to accumulation over time. Bones of young animals have more Sr-90. Eggs: shell > egg-white > yolk.

Pork and fats were not only the safest, they also prove to be a very healthy option for detox and healing purposes. For more information, see ‘I have high cholesterol, and I don’t care‘.

The biological properties of Cs-137 are similar to those of stable potassium and Rubidium, and Sr-90 and Pu are similar to calcium. These properties determine where they concentrate in the body so the use of stable elements may help to decrease the absorption of radionuclides.

Foods rich in potassium include potatoes, beets, raisins, dried apricots, bananas, tea, nuts, lemons, and dried plums. Calcium rich foods include butter and ghee butter, eggs, horseradish, green onions, turnip, parsley, dill, and spinach. Green vegetables, apples, sunflower seeds, black chokeberries are rich in iron; and Rubidium is found in red grapes.

A diet to protect against radioactive contamination should include uncontaminated fruits and vegetables, especially those rich in pectin such as apples to promote the rapid elimination of radionuclides.

Sleeping in Total Darkness

Low melatonin production leaves you not only susceptible to radiation damage, but it also leaves you vulnerable to accelerated aging, depression, weight gain. People with lower levels of melatonin have lower immune/defense function, less antioxidant activity and accelerated cancer cell proliferation, and they also tend to have more unhealthy imbalances in gut bacteria. But sleeping in total darkness is a natural way of enhancing the secretion of melatonin during the night. The room where you sleep has to be completely dark to the point of not been able to see anything. If lights seeps underneath your door, put a towel along the base. Cover your electric clock radio with something. Even the smallest light can decrease melatonin secretion, even if you’re not able to see it with your own eyes.

Miscellaneous

Natural zeolites (i.e., those found in volcanogenic sedimentary rocks) is a mineral which possesses attractive properties that contribute directly to their use in the extraction of Cs and Sr from nuclear wastes and the mitigation of radioactive fallout, but also as a dietary supplement for heavy metal detoxification. It also has anti-bacterial properties and it stimulates the immune system. It was used during successfully during Chernobyl.

Organic Germanium (Ge-132) protects cells exposed to cesium-137 without affecting cellular growth or survival. 25 mg to 100 mg per day has been typically used. (My favorite colon cleanser has organic germanium on it).

Activated charcoal has the ability to absorb and neutralize radioactive substances and some toxic materials. Researchers report that 10 grams or 1 tablespoon of charcoal can absorb about 3 to 7 grams of materials.

There are excellent articles out there focusing on iodine, clays, magnesium therapies and sodium bicarbonate. For more information, see:

Treatments for Nuclear Contamination

Iodine Treatments for Radiation Exposure

Greenmedinfo.com – Radioprotective

All this information will help you to not only protect yourself from chronic radiation exposure, but it will also help you to regain your health by improving your mood and mental functions in these crucial and stressful times.

Sources

  • Bill Bodri. How to help support the body’s healing after intense radioactive or radiation exposure. Top Shape Publishing, LLC. 2004.
  • Brown SL, Kolozsvary A, Liu J, Jenrow KA, Ryu S, Kim JH. Antioxidant diet supplementation starting 24 hours after exposure reduces radiation lethality. Radiat Res. 2010 Apr;173(4):462-8.
  • Burt Berkson, M.D., PhD. The Alpha Lipoic Acid Breakthrough, New York: Three Rivers Press, 1998.
  • James C. Lee, Paul A. Kinniry, Evguenia Arguiri, Matthew Serota, Stathis Kanterakis, Shampa Chatterjee, Charalambos C. Solomides, Prashanthi Javvadi, Constantinos Koumenis, Keith A. Cengel and Melpo Christofidou-Solomidou (2010) Dietary Curcumin Increases Antioxidant Defenses in Lung, Ameliorates Radiation-Induced Pulmonary Fibrosis, and Improves Survival in Mice. Radiation Research: May 2010, Vol. 173, No. 5, pp. 590-601.
  • Dan Jia, Nathan A. Koonce, Robert J. Griffin, Cassie Jackson and Peter M. Corry (2010) Prevention and Mitigation of Acute Death of Mice after Abdominal Irradiation by the Antioxidant N-Acetyl-cysteine (NAC). Radiation Research: May 2010, Vol. 173, No. 5, pp. 579-589.
  • Davis GD, Masilamoni JG, Arul V, Kumar MS, Baraneedharan U, Paul SF, Sakthivelu IV, Jesudason EP, Jayakumar R. Radioprotective effect of DL-alpha-lipoic acid on mice skin fibroblasts. Cell Biol Toxicol. 2009 Aug;25(4):331-40. Epub 2008 Jun 13.
  • Kashino G, Liu Y, Suzuki M, Masunaga S, Kinashi Y, Ono K, Tano K, Watanabe M.An alternative mechanism for radioprotection by dimethyl sulfoxide; possible facilitation of DNA double-strand break repair. J Radiat Res (Tokyo). 2010;51(6):733-40.
  • Mumpton FA. La roca magica: uses of natural zeolites in agriculture and industry.Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 Mar 30;96(7):3463-70.
  • Nesterenko, A. B., Nesterenko, V. B. and Yablokov, A. V. (2009), Chapter II. Consequences of the Chernobyl Catastrophe for Public Health. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1181: 31 – 220. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04822.x
  • Nesterenko, A. V., Nesterenko, V. B. and Yablokov, A. V. (2009), Chapter IV. Radiation Protection after the Chernobyl Catastrophe. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1181: 287 – 327. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04836.x
  • Okunieff P, Swarts S, Keng P, Sun W, Wang W, Kim J, Yang S, Zhang H, Liu C, Williams JP, Huser AK, Zhang L. Antioxidants reduce consequences of radiation exposure. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2008;614:165-78. Review.
  • Parcell S. Sulfur in human nutrition and applications in medicine.Altern Med Rev. 2002 Feb;7(1):22-44.
  • Vijayalaxmi, Reiter RJ, Tan DX, Herman TS, Thomas CR Jr. Melatonin as a radioprotective agent: a review. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2004 Jul 1;59(3):639-53.
  • Chris Wambi, Jenine Sanzari, X. Steven Wan, Manunya Nuth, James Davis, Ying-Hui Ko, Carly M. Sayers, Matthew Baran, Jeffrey H. Ware and Ann R. Kennedy (2008) Dietary Antioxidants Protect Hematopoietic Cells and Improve Animal Survival after Total-Body Irradiation. Radiation Research: April 2008, Vol. 169, No. 4, pp. 384-396.
  • Weiss JF, Landauer MR. Protection against ionizing radiation by antioxidant nutrients and phytochemicals.. Toxicology. 2003 Jul 15;189(1-2):1-20.
  • T. S. Wiley, Bent Formby. Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival. Atria (2001).
  • Yablokov, A. V., Nesterenko, V. B. and Nesterenko, A. V. (2009), Chapter III. Consequences of the Chernobyl Catastrophe for the Environment. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1181: 221 – 286. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04830.x

13 February 2011 Newsletter, January 2011

Dear Éiriú Eolas family,

The New Year found our team reading and researching the issue of sleep. Since we try to be informed with the lasted research on everything that has to do with our physical, emotional and mental well-being, it was only natural that the benefits of proper sleep will become our interest as well. After trying out some of the suggestions from T.S. Wiley’s book, Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar and Survival, and experiencing the benefits for ourselves, we decided to extend this recommendation to all of you.

Remember Shakespeare’s words from Macbeth?

“Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleeve of care
The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath
Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,
Chief nourisher in life’s feast.”

All very true. Sleep is our personal caregiver, balm and nourisher. Have we been sleeping properly enough however to reap all the benefits sleeping can offer us? According to Wiley, we haven’t. Since the widespread use of electricity some 70 years ago, our sleep has suffered and so has our health. It was about that time that obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer started taking lives at a rate never before seen. Why? Because we lost connection with the rhythms of nature, sending thus false messages throughout our system. We forgot HOW to and WHEN to sleep.

When our natural body rhythms get out of whack, so do our hormones, and this wreaks havoc on our bodies. Long days and short nights tell our bodies three things: eat carbs (to hibernate for the winter), have sex (so our babies will be born in spring), and run (summer is the time of hunting and predators, activating our stress response). When this happens all year-round, we suffer the consequences: obesity, hyperinsulism, depression, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer. The list goes on. All from getting too little sleep!

Here is a 10-minute video to get an idea of what we are talking about:

http://www.naturalnews.tv/v.asp?v=0C3EAD2326B55EFA7A2D503499190B5B

From the above link:

Here are a few ideas to help improve your sleep cycle if required:

  • Sun up – get up
  • Sun down – sleep. During the winter months dim your lights two hours before bed.
  • Avoid bright lights including TV & Computers 30 min’s before bedtime
  • Ensure your bedroom is completely dark, no light from anywhere, including your clock!
  • Be at least 3 feet away from any electrical appliances
  • Avoid caffeine after 2pm (1/2 life of 6 hours)
  • Avoid alcohol (Cortisol release, which is a stress hormone)
  • Avoid eating high GI foods like carbohydrates before sleeping
  • Performing deep breathing exercises to facilitate relaxation
  • Reserving your bed for sleeping, rather than using it as an alternative site for working, watching T.V, or studying
  • Turn your router system off at night (EMF)
  • Leave your window partially open at night. People typically sleep best when there is fresh air in the room and it’s about 60-65 degrees.
  • Spending 15 to 30 minutes winding down by making excellent natural music selections. Keep the volume low enough that it’s not disruptive.
  • Meditate, read or journal 30 min’s before your bedtime.
  • Shower or bathe in un-chlorinated water before bed. Do not use mass-market, non-organic commercial scents, oils or hygiene products on your body at night. Most of these products are loaded with toxins that elevate stress hormones.

We hope you enjoy the two sleep-related articles that we chose out for you, and understand more about your hormones and the importance of having your circadian rhythm in sync.

Keep on breathing, and may you have many restful sleeps to come!

The Éiriú Eolas Team

Featured Teacher: Henry See, Fort St. John, Canada


Having explored many different breathing and meditation techniques over the years, Henry See was not prepared for the gentle power of Éiriú Eolas. Other techniques had left him feeling grounded, but nothing came close to producing the emotional release and detoxification he experienced right from the start of his daily EE practice. He knew it was something he wished to share with others.

“It is such a remarkable programme, so gentle yet powerful, and it is so easy to integrate into a busy life. When I was raising a family, I found it difficult to do regularly the zen meditation I was practising at the time. It is hard to find a half an hour morning and night to sit on your mat with young kids. But with Éiriú Eolas,it can be broken up into shorter periods during the day, and the pipe breathing is available whenever you need it, whenever you feel those stress chemicals shooting into your gut.”

He is also impressed with the scientific grounding of the techniques provided for the students. “The work that is being done by the research team at EE is remarkable. It is reassuring for the students to know that there is a clear scientific basis to the programme. The forum is a valuable resource as well.”

The health benefits are also impressive.

“Other types of meditation left me feeling energetic after going to weekend retreats, but that energy got lost quickly when I returned to daily life. With EE, that energy is always there. But energy with a sore, achey body isn’t much help. With the changes to my diet recommended by the EE programme, I have completely eliminated all the aches and pains associated with ‘growing old’. If I can help just one otherperson achieve those benefits, it is worth it.”

Henry has been teaching EE for almost a year in the northern British Columbia community of Fort St. John where he runs a bookstore. “There is an active music community up here in FSJ. I used to have all sorts of blocks about getting up and performing. I noticed that with the EE, I have more confidence. I can get up and perform just for the sheer pleasure of it without being hounded by that negative voice in my head telling me that I am an idiot and am makinga fool of myself”, he says laughing.

Henry’s classes are every Monday evening at 7:00 pm at Sacred Space, 10607 101st Ave in Fort St. John. You can reach him at (250) 787-9433 or at henry@eiriu-eolas.org.

Source Link

Good old Melatonin- Making news again

News have been released that “according to a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), exposure to electrical light between dusk and bedtime strongly suppresses melatonin levels and may impact physiologic processes regulated by melatonin signaling, such as sleepiness, thermo regulation, blood pressure and glucose homeostasis.”

In my book Lights Out, I have pointed out that melatonin and progesterone are both master-switch hormonal controllers. If either one is out of sync, it reads to nature as “pushing a red button.” Any light at night changes natural rhythms.

As time goes on, we increase the amount of responsibilities and tasks that we take on, and as a result we sleep less and less. “In 1910 the average adult was still sleeping nine to ten hours a night. Now the average adult is lucky to get a full seven hours a night. You can’t make melatonin in the daytime or with the lights on. We need to understand that “going to sleep with the sunset means a whole-body melatonin bath.” When we sleep short nights that mimic summer mean: Reduced melatonin secretion which means reduces white cell immune function; A sever reduction in the most potent antioxidant that you have-melatonin.”

In the study, recently reported researchers evaluated 116 healthy volunteers aged 18-30 years who were exposed to room light or dim light in the eight hours preceding bedtime for five consecutive days. An intravenous catheter was inserted into the forearms of study participants for continuous collection of blood plasma every 30-60 minutes for melatonin measurements. Results showed exposure to room light before bedtime shortened melatonin duration by about 90 minutes when compared to dim light exposure. Furthermore, exposure to room light during the usual hours of sleep suppressed melatonin by greater than 50 percent.

In Light’s Out I point to studies in 1993 and 1994 that reported that human volunteers at the NIH were monitored for hormonal release and brain activity by Dr. Thomas Wehr. The volunteers slept eight hours (a short night) and Fourteen hours (a long night.) The results included, “Longer periods of melatonin secretion upped white cell macrophage and lymphocyte production. The second most obvious difference hormonally between short and long nights was the amount and length of prolactin secretion. This change in melatonin and prolactin secretion reflected the long night’s fragmented sleep pattern.

“Given that chronic light suppression of melatonin has been hypothesized to increase relative risk for some types of cancer and that melatonin receptor genes have been linked to type II diabetes, our findings could have important health implications for shift workers who are exposed to indoor light at night over the course of many years,” said Joshua Gooley, PhD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass. and lead author of the study.

Seventy million Americans admit they are tired. In Lights Out, I proved that the major killers correlated with obesity- heart disease, diabetes and cancer- are caused by short nights, by working ridiculously long hours, by literally burning the candle at both ends, and by the electricity that gives us the ability to do it.” “Working late in bright lights after dark, or watching David Letterman or checking late-night E-mail , for even just half an hour, all register as the long days of summer to your inner environmental controls. The amount of sleep you get signals to your body the mode that it is in.” Winter signifies famine to your internal controls. Famine on the horizon signifies instinctive carbohydrate craving to store fat for hibernation and scarcity.” If you sleep at night for the number of hours it would normally be dark outside, you will only crave sugar in the summer, when the hours of light are long. It is the perennial adaptation or the chronic, constant intent to hibernate, that causes overconsumption of carbohydrates and obesity and its attendant high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and inevitable heart failure. In Sex, Lies and Menopause, I point out that “The artificial triggers of man-made light and food not only fool your insulin, cortisol, and melatonin system-which wreaks havoc with your sleep cycle and make you jumpy and crave sugar- they affect your sex hormones too. Without estrogen, women can’t sleep. Estrogen grows life, and progesterone refines and stabilizes it. Our lifestyle of living in an endless summer will have to change before we can hope to solve the many ailments that come from sleep deprivation, with prescription drugs. The only person to benefit from sleeping is you.

News have been released that “according to a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), exposure to electrical light between dusk and bedtime strongly suppresses melatonin levels and may impact physiologic processes regulated by melatonin signaling, such as sleepiness, thermo regulation, blood pressure and glucose homeostasis.”

In my book Lights Out, I have pointed out that melatonin and progesterone are both master-switch hormonal controllers. If either one is out of sync, it reads to nature as “pushing a red button.” Any light at night changes natural rhythms.

As time goes on, we increase the amount of responsibilities and tasks that we take on, and as a result we sleep less and less. “In 1910 the average adult was still sleeping nine to ten hours a night. Now the average adult is lucky to get a full seven hours a night. You can’t make melatonin in the daytime or with the lights on. We need to understand that “going to sleep with the sunset means a whole-body melatonin bath.” When we sleep short nights that mimic summer mean: Reduced melatonin secretion which means reduces white cell immune function; A sever reduction in the most potent antioxidant that you have-melatonin.”

In the study, recently reported researchers evaluated 116 healthy volunteers aged 18-30 years who were exposed to room light or dim light in the eight hours preceding bedtime for five consecutive days. An intravenous catheter was inserted into the forearms of study participants for continuous collection of blood plasma every 30-60 minutes for melatonin measurements. Results showed exposure to room light before bedtime shortened melatonin duration by about 90 minutes when compared to dim light exposure. Furthermore, exposure to room light during the usual hours of sleep suppressed melatonin by greater than 50 percent.

In Light’s Out I point to studies in 1993 and 1994 that reported that human volunteers at the NIH were monitored for hormonal release and brain activity by Dr. Thomas Wehr. The volunteers slept eight hours (a short night) and Fourteen hours (a long night.) The results included, “Longer periods of melatonin secretion upped white cell macrophage and lymphocyte production. The second most obvious difference hormonally between short and long nights was the amount and length of prolactin secretion. This change in melatonin and prolactin secretion reflected the long night’s fragmented sleep pattern.

“Given that chronic light suppression of melatonin has been hypothesized to increase relative risk for some types of cancer and that melatonin receptor genes have been linked to type II diabetes, our findings could have important health implications for shift workers who are exposed to indoor light at night over the course of many years,” said Joshua Gooley, PhD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass. and lead author of the study.

Seventy million Americans admit they are tired. In Lights Out, I proved that the major killers correlated with obesity- heart disease, diabetes and cancer- are caused by short nights, by working ridiculously long hours, by literally burning the candle at both ends, and by the electricity that gives us the ability to do it.” “Working late in bright lights after dark, or watching David Letterman or checking late-night E-mail , for even just half an hour, all register as the long days of summer to your inner environmental controls. The amount of sleep you get signals to your body the mode that it is in.” Winter signifies famine to your internal controls. Famine on the horizon signifies instinctive carbohydrate craving to store fat for hibernation and scarcity.” If you sleep at night for the number of hours it would normally be dark outside, you will only crave sugar in the summer, when the hours of light are long. It is the perennial adaptation or the chronic, constant intent to hibernate, that causes overconsumption of carbohydrates and obesity and its attendant high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and inevitable heart failure. In Sex, Lies and Menopause, I point out that “The artificial triggers of man-made light and food not only fool your insulin, cortisol, and melatonin system-which wreaks havoc with your sleep cycle and make you jumpy and crave sugar- they affect your sex hormones too. Without estrogen, women can’t sleep. Estrogen grows life, and progesterone refines and stabilizes it. Our lifestyle of living in an endless summer will have to change before we can hope to solve the many ailments that come from sleep deprivation, with prescription drugs. The only person to benefit from sleeping is you.

Source Link

Evening light exposure dangerous to health: new study

According to a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), exposure to electrical light between dusk and bedtime strongly suppresses melatonin levels and may impact physiologic processes regulated by melatonin signaling, such as sleepiness, thermoregulation, blood pressure and glucose homeostasis.

Melatonin is a hormone produced at night by the pineal gland in the brain. In addition to its role in regulating the sleep-wake cycle, melatonin has been shown to lower blood pressure and body temperature and has also been explored as a treatment option for insomnia, hypertension and cancer. In modern society, people are routinely exposed to electrical lighting during evening hours to partake in work, recreational and social activities. This study sought to understand whether exposure to room light in the late evening may inhibit melatonin production.

“On a daily basis, millions of people choose to keep the lights on prior to bedtime and during the usual hours of sleep,” said Joshua Gooley, PhD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass. and lead author of the study. “Our study shows that this exposure to indoor light has a strong suppressive effect on the hormone melatonin. This could, in turn, have effects on sleep quality and the body’s ability to regulate body temperature, blood pressure and glucose levels.”

In this study, researchers evaluated 116 healthy volunteers aged 18-30 years who were exposed to room light or dim light in the eight hours preceding bedtime for five consecutive days. An intravenous catheter was inserted into the forearms of study participants for continuous collection of blood plasma every 30-60 minutes for melatonin measurements. Results showed exposure to room light before bedtime shortened melatonin duration by about 90 minutes when compared to dim light exposure. Furthermore, exposure to room light during the usual hours of sleep suppressed melatonin by greater than 50 percent.

“Given that chronic light suppression of melatonin has been hypothesized to increase relative risk for some types of cancer and that melatonin receptor genes have been linked to type 2 diabetes, our findings could have important health implications for shift workers who are exposed to indoor light at night over the course of many years,” said Gooley. “Further research is still needed to both substantiate melatonin suppression as a significant risk factor for breast cancer and determine the mechanisms by which melatonin regulates glucose metabolism.”

Posted in Newsletters

10 December 2010 Newsletter, December 2010

Dear Éiriú Eolas family,

As the holiday season approaches we hope this month’s newsletter finds you all enjoying the festivities with family and friends. We wish to make the experience the best we can for our loved ones, even the most joyous occasions can be stressful, as we strive to nurture them with delicious, healthy food and close, emotional support. But even the most dedicated caregiver need care and nurturing too, in all this activity. Practising the Éiriú Eolas program is an excellent way to give yourself the nurturing you need at such a busy time. Because the exercises can be done individually, according to the time you have available, you are only a breath away from peace and calm!

This month’s articles are especially pertinent to this time of year as they feature research on how regular meditation can promote social harmony and help those in stressful care giving positions avoid burnout. We hope you will enjoy them.

Consider giving the gift of stress relief, healing and rejuvenation to yourself and your loved ones this Holiday Season, by sharing Éiriú Eolas with them. Contact your local instructor, or you can obtain a set from our website. And finally, as the New Year is coming, there will be updates in the schedules of classes. Check the Éiriú Eolas blog page for the updates http://eiriu-eolas.org/blog for schedule changes in your area.

We wish you all a warm, loving, safe holiday time, filled with happiness and joy!

The Éiriú Eolas Team

Meditation: The Key to Resilience in Caregiving

By Sharon Salzberg, Posted: November 19, 2010 in the Huffington Post

As I look forward to co-leading this retreat, People Who Care for People: Tools for Resiliency at the Garrison Institute, I find myself reflecting on caregivers I know. Some practice caregiving professionally, as nurses, first responders, chaplains, non-profit attorneys; others in their personal lives, as parents, children, siblings, friends. As difficult and pressured as caring for others can be, as tiring and overwhelming as it often becomes, many express a very powerful happiness at being able to serve.

An important element in how we keep going is being able to touch that happiness, broadening our perspective beyond what we see just in front of us, reminding us of our deepest motivation and what we care about most. In a challenging environment, facing our own or others’ suffering, we need to draw on inner resources.

Whether you care for a young child, an aging parent, a difficult-to-understand teenager, a client at work with no clear resolution to their problems in sight, any skillful relationship of caregiving relies on balance — the balance between opening one’s heart endlessly and accepting the limits of what one can do. The balance between compassion and equanimity. Compassion is the trembling or the quivering of the heart in response to suffering. Equanimity is a spacious stillness that can accept things as they are. The balance of compassion and equanimity allows us to profoundly care, and yet not get overwhelmed and unable to cope because of that caring.

I have been involved for several years in a program run by the Garrison Institute, bringing the tools of meditation and yoga to domestic violence shelter workers, and then to shelter supervisors and directors. These people are very much on the front lines of suffering, dealing daily with their clients’ issues of betrayal, heartbreak, fear, anger, humiliation. They might be survivors of trauma themselves. They might receive very little institutional support. They inevitably rely on inner resiliency to sustain their work over the long term.

Our premise has been that fostering greater balance of heart and mind is a key to that resiliency, and that one valuable avenue to cultivating this balance is meditation practice. Meditation helps us see our own difficult mind states — such as anger or fear or a sense of helplessness — with compassion instead of self-judgment. It also provides a refuge during life’s storms by helping us connect compassionately with others, no matter the circumstances.

Especially in times of uncertainty or pain, meditation broadens our perspective and deepens our courage. The spaciousness of mind and greater ease of heart that naturally arise through balanced awareness and compassion are fundamental components of a resilient spirit. They bring us an unusual kind of happiness, one not determined by the conditions we find ourselves in, not defined by the amount of “success” or “failure” we saw in our efforts today. Meditation helps us return, again and again, to this unique happiness.

Friday, November 19, 2010 by: Carolanne Wright, in Natural News

Meditation linked to happiness and positive behavior

A study at the University of Wisconsin confirms meditation can alter the structure of the brain, fostering a brighter outlook and increased empathy. Since positive thinking and emotions affect health, meditation can contribute to overall wellness.

Richard Davidson, a trained psychologist who has practiced meditation for decades, believes meditation can strengthen brain circuits connected with happiness and positive attitude in a similar way we strengthen muscles with exercise. Davidson and his colleagues have produced scientific evidence that this form of mental exercise permanently changes the brain for the better.

Using MRI technology, contemplative neuroscientists were able to view the area of the brain, the left-sided anterior region, believed to be associated with positive thoughts. The researchers documented increased activity in this region of novice meditators who participated in an eight week mindfulness meditation course.

Davidson’s team discovered that the practice of compassion meditation also stimulates the limbic system (the brain’s emotional network) while increasing positive emotions. Expert meditators with more than 10,000 hours of practice showed the greatest activity in the limbic systems and appeared to have permanently altered their brains to generate positive thoughts. Even outside of meditation, committed meditators permanently changed the way their brains operated.

Positive emotions and optimism are good for your health as well. Evidence shows that optimists take proactive steps to ensure wellness whereas a pessimist tends to engage in health-damaging behaviors. Research further validates that individuals with a positive outlook have less hypertension, diabetes, and respiratory tract infections. Positive emotions also increase immunity and resistance to colds and flu, while reducing cortisol, incidence of stroke, and inflammation. As an added bonus, optimism increases longevity.

According to Health and Wellness by Gordon Edlin and Eric Golanty:

Advances in identifying the biological mechanisms of mind-body communication confirm that the mind can affect health in powerful ways. Joy, creativity, and contentment lead to a state of harmony, which we experience as bodily health and subjective well-being.

Nerve cells in the brain’s thought and feeling centers connect to other nerve cells in the brain and body, to hormone-producing tissues and organs and to immune cells. In this way, mental activity is able to influence many of the body’s physiological processes.

Meditation isn’t just for monks anymore. Use this powerful tool to strengthen a favorable mind-body connection that supports health and watch the mind become illuminated with positive outlook.

Sources for this Article:

“Positive Affect and the Complex Dynamics of Human Flourishing”, Barbara L. Fredrickson, University of Michigan, Marcial F. Losada Universidade Catolica de Brasilia, October 2005, American Psychologist, 677-686

“The Broaden-and-Build Theory of Positive Emotions”, Barbara L. Fredrickson, Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci, Volume 359, September 2004, 1367-1378

“Optimism”, Clinical Psychology Review, Volume 30, Issue 7, November 2010, 879-889, Positive Clinical Psychology

Health and Wellness
, Gordon Edlin and Eric Golanty, Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2007

“The Health Benefits of Writing About Intensely Positive Experiences”. Chad M. Burton and Laura A. King, Journal of Research in Personality, Volume 38, Issue 2, April 2004, 150-163

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