Developmental Disorders In Children – Is Methylation the Key?

by Court Vreeland, DC, DACNB

The first question is, ‘What is methylation?’ When we speak about methylation as it relates to the body, it is thought of as the process that regulates protein synthesis, genetic expression and many aspects of metabolism. Since the completion of the Human Genome Project in April 2003 there has been particular interest in the genes that control the activation of folate (folic acid, vitamin B9) from the diet. This is required so the body can methylate one necessary compound to convert it to another. Note that the terms folate and folic acid are not interchangeable. Folic acid is the form found in fortified foods and supplements, and folate is the form found naturally in foods. The body must activate folate, found in such foods as green vegetables, mushrooms, and some types of beans, so it can be used. In order to activate folate it is converted into 5-methyltetrahydrofolate or 5-MTHF. The gene that codes for the enzyme that facilitates this conversion is the 5-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase  (5-MTHFR) gene.

This gene may be mutated so that a child is significantly less efficient at converting folate from their diet into the usable form in the body. If this occurs he is less efficient at regulating protein synthesis, genetic expression and other factors related to metabolism.

Much of the early research involving the MTHFR mutation surrounded its link with birth defects in babies or in elevated levels of an amino acid called homocysteine, which is associated with higher risk of blood clots, stroke, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. New research on methylation is showing the link may extend to disorders like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and even autism, ADHD and other developmental disorders.

If you are concerned about your child’s status, a simple blood test is all it takes to determine if this genetic mutation is present. If it is, the answer is also quite simple. Since this gene controls how well your child converts folate/folic acid in his diet to the active form you have two options. The first is to give your child high doses of folic acid. This will ensure he converts enough to the active form to reduce risk. This may require 5-10mg or more per day. The other, and more favorable option is to provide a pre-activated folic acid supplement. This is often called methylfolate. The dosages required for this are much lower as it’s already in the usable and active form. Here, doses of 800-1,600mcg may be sufficient.  Methylation is the new frontier in functional medicine and knowing your child’s status may make a world of difference in many developmental conditions.


Court Vreeland, DC, DACNB

Dr. Court Vreeland completed his undergraduate work at Fairleigh Dickison University in Madison, New Jersey where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology with a minor in chemistry. He then attended Logan College of Chiropractic in St. Louis, Missouri where he completed his Doctor of Chiropractic Degree. Dr. Vreeland finished his Diplomate degree in chiropractic neurology in September of 2007. He has also completed courses in the Neurological Rehabilitation of ADHD and Other Learning Disabilities and in Vestibular Rehabilitation. Additionally, Dr. Vreeland has completed 100 hours of training in Applied Kinesiology and lectures regularly throughout the community and New England. He has lectured for continuing education credits for the Vermont Chiropractic Association as well as regularly holding seminars for manual therapists in New England.

 

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Supplement FAQ: Aqueous Multi-Plus™

by Biotics Research

Why you may need Aqueous Multi-Plus™:

For the human body to complete all the tasks it has in a normal day, it must be given a wide and complex variety of vital nutrients. Taking a broad-spectrum multivitamin/multi-mineral formula may help ensure the presence of those essential nutrients necessary for thousands of metabolic reactions. A deficiency in any one essential vitamin or mineral causes breakdown of metabolic pathways and leads to decreased performance in energy, strength and cognitive functions and presents the very real danger of illness. Your body cannot make its own vitamins – you must get them through the food you eat. This holds particularly true for children who have greater demands for these nutrients as they are still growing and developing. Your child would need to consume at least 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables a day to fulfill this requirement. For many different reasons, very few children can get all the vitamins they need from their diet. Additionally recent reports have shown that most fruits and vegetables today contain 50% to 75% less vitamins and minerals than they did 40 years ago, suggesting that the 5-7 servings actually needs to be increased. What child is capable of this? In view of all this, in 2002 the American Medical Association recommended that everyone should supplement with a daily multi-vitamin to guarantee that they get all the vitamins and minerals needed to stay healthy as they age.

Why your healthcare practitioner recommends Aqueous Multi-Plus™ from Biotics Research:

Aqueous Multi-Plus™ is a great tasting, easy to take liquid, multivitamin mineral formula with all the essential B vitamins (except folic acid), vitamins A, C, D and E with calcium, magnesium and other minerals, It is highly suitable for children and those adults who have difficulty swallowing tablets or capsules. Aqueous Multi-Plus™ exemplifies the type of innovation, consideration and quality you and your healthcare professional can expect from Biotics Research Corporation.

Click here to download the Patient FAQ on Aqueous Multi-Plus™ from Biotics Research in a printable PDF.

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Supplement FAQ: Bio-D-Mulsion Forte®

by Biotics Research

Why you may need Bio-D-Mulsion Forte®:

Vitamin D is an essential co-factor in bone health. Among several other properties, vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, both of which are needed for bone health. Additionally, vitamin D regulates blood serum levels of these two minerals to maintain adequate mineralization of bone, bone growth and bone remodeling. Researchers from the Harvard Medical School published results of a large-scale study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in February of 2003, confirming that there was a significantly lower risk of hip fractures only in individuals with a higher intake of calcium coupled with a higher intake of vitamin D. Vitamin D also plays several other important roles in human health including regulation of hormonal functions, modulation of neuromuscular and immune functions, reduction of inflammation, maintenance of vascular integrity, and proper gene encoding.

Why your healthcare practitioner recommends Bio-D-Mulsion Forte® from Biotics Research:

Vitamin D deficiency is common in the US, and more common in the elderly. It is known that the farther away from the equator you live the more at risk you are. Even worse, a recent study found that approximately 70% of the population of Phoenix, AZ had sub-optimal levels of vitamin D. If you wear sunscreen of SPF 8 or more, it is very unlikely that your skin is able to convert sunlight into vitamin D at all. A report published by Danish researchers in March 2004 showed that daily supplementation of vitamin D can reduce the risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis. A recent study conducted at Children’s Hospital Boston, found that Bio-D-Mulsion Forte® was safe and effective for infants and toddlers. Bio-D-Mulsion Forte® was shown to be highly bio-available, as effective as the pharmaceutical preparations it was compared to, and easier to administer. Additionally, Bio-D-Mulsion Forte® is far more cost effective. Clinical studies have shown Bio-D-Mulsion Forte® to be safe and effective for healthy adults, infants and children, as well as for those suffering from prostate cancer. Bio-D-Mulsion Forte® employs Biotics Research’s unique, all natural micro-emulsification, which greatly enhances the uptake and utilization, and is especially important for those having impaired digestive function. Additionally, in a recent study of the vitamin D products tested, only Bio-D-Mulsion Forte®  met specified quality standards for label claim and dose to dose consistency. This is another example of leading-edge innovation from Biotics Research, bringing you “The Best of Science and Nature

 

Click here to download a Supplement FAQ on Bio-D-Mulsion Forte® from Biotics Research in a printable PDF.

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Gluten and Sensitivities

by Rachel Olivier, MS, ND, PhD

Gluten is defined as a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye. The word Gluten is derived from the Latin gluten, meaning “glue”, due to its elastic nature. In breads and other pastries it is used as an aid to the rising process. It also aids in shape, and often exhibits a chewy texture.

In an opinion paper published last year in BMC Medicine 1, researchers described gluten sensitivity as a disorder distinct from celiac disease, in part because the intestine doesn’t appear damaged. Although about 1% of the population has celiac disease, celiac disease has been described as the “tip of the iceberg” for an “emerging problem…of a group of gluten-reactive patients, accounting for roughly 10% of the general population.”1 Because gluten is classified as GRAS (generally recognized as safe) gluten content in processed foods may not be specifically listed on labels. As an example barley malt may be an undocumented source of gluten. People react to gluten in different ways; some having severe immune reactions. Other reactions to gluten include intestinal problems, psychological problems, migraine headaches, psoriasis, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, multiple sclerosis, etc. Many practitioners believe there are numerous disorders (>200) that are correlated with gluten sensitivity.

In patients with celiac disease, a gluten free diet can be very beneficial. However, this dietary regimen can be just as beneficial for those with gluten sensitivity. In people with gluten sensitivity the symptoms may be as severe as in those with celiac disease.

Supplements are often not considered when discussions of gluten arise. However, it is comforting to know that all products from Biotics Research are free of gluten.

1. Sapone A, Bai JC, Ciacci C, Dolinsek J, Green PH, Hadjivassiliou M, Kaukinen K, Rostami K, Sanders DS, Schumann M, Ullrich R, Villalta D, Volta U, Catassi C, Fasano A. Spectrum of gluten-related disorders: consensus on new nomenclature and classification. BMC Med. 2012 Feb 7;10:13. doi: 10.1186/1741-7015-10-13.


Rachel Olivier, MS, ND, PhD

Dr. Rachel Olivier serves as a Physician Advisor for Biotics Research Corporation, a position she has held for over eleven years. As a Physician Advisor she serves to both educate and provide professional leadership for physicians and practitioners, in an effort to improve product understanding. In this capacity she serves as the main consultant, advisor and technical expert for health care practitioners. She also prepares and executes training seminars, and provides training and product support material for practitioners and members of the sales team, as well as writes technical and scientifically oriented papers for journals and trade magazines, and product literature updates. She holds a Masters degree in Molecular Biology from University of Southwestern Louisiana (currently the University of LA), along with a traditional Naturopathic Degree from Honolulu University, and a PhD in nutrition from California University.  She can be contacted at 800-231-5777 or via the website at www.bioticsresearch.com.

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Supplement FAQ: St. John’s Forte™

by Biotics Research

Why you may need St. John’s Forte™:

 In today’s society, feelings of anxiousness and nervousness are quite common. Whether it’s due to poor lifestyle habits, such as poor diet and lack of sleep, or emotional or physical stress, patients are often left feeling listless or lethargic.

Why your healthcare practitioner recommends St. John’s Forte™ from Biotics Research:

St. John’s Forte™ supplies a synergistic combination of botanicals, vitamins, minerals and other active compounds documented to support normal mood, and providing a beneficial effect on anxiety and nervousness. St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum L.) is classified as a cooling herb and has a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine. Conventional use is focused on unwanted mood patterns. Active constituents include hyperforin and hypericin. Damiana (Turnera diffusa) is traditionally used to support the nervous, endocrine and reproductive systems, and is noted for benefits associated with anxiety and nervousness. Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) functions as an adaptogen and is considered an invigorating tonic. Thiamin is a required component in carbohydrate metabolism and Riboflavin is an important molecule in intermediary metabolism. Folate is provided, as low folate status has been associated with an elevated score on a depressive symptom questionnaire (PHQ score of ≥ 10). Niacin is a precursor to coenzymes NAD and NADP and aids in proper functioning of the nervous system. P5P (the active form of B6) is an important component in the synthesis of neurotransmitters including GABA, serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine. B12 is involved in numerous enzymes as a required coenzyme and is essential for the transformation of neurotransmitters and the methylation of compounds in the brain. Biotin is an essential coenzyme for five carboxylasis; deficiency has been associated with depression and lethargy. Chromium is included for its potentiating action on peripheral insulin. Recent research suggests that magnesium levels may be involved in the mechanism for the progression of depressive mood or stress perception in relatively healthy adult women. Inositol, an essential component of every cell, is a key ingredient for the membrane lipid phosphatidylinositol, while Choline serves as a  precursor for the synthesis of acetylcholine and the membrane phospholipid phosphatidycholine, thereby serving to support cognitive function.

Click here to download the Supplement FAQ on St. John’s Forte™ from Biotics Research in a printable PDF.

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Concussion in Youth Sports – Addressing Recovery NATURALLY

by Court Vreeland, DC, DACNB

Concussion, or mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), is a growing concern in sports but particularly in youth sports. A concussion is defined as a reaction by the brain to a jolt or force that can be transmitted to the head by an impact or blow occurring anywhere on the body. Essentially, a concussion results from the brain moving back and forth or twisting rapidly inside the skull.1 Although the hallmark of concussion is classically considered loss of consciousness, most occur without such an event.

Each year, at least 1.7 million TBIs occur either as an isolated injury or along with other injuries and about 75% of those are concussions or other forms of mild TBI. Children are the most at risk group to sustain a concussion with nearly a half million emergency department visits each year for TBI in children aged 0 to 14 years.2

Children present a unique problem when evaluating for return to play and monitoring recovery. While children are often thought of as more resilient when it comes to health, there is evidence they actually take longer to recover from concussion.3 Additionally, the brain of a child is still developing. Differing maturation rates makes mTBI important to understand. Patient age and maturation may affect prognosis.4

The biologic response to concussion by the brain is defined by an energy crisis and a neuroinflammatory response. The most immediate response by the brain is a large increase in demand for energy in the form of glucose. However, this is coupled with a decrease in cerebral blood flow. This creates a paradox in which the demand for energy far exceeds the brain’s ability to supply it. As a result, a complex set of interactions is triggered eventually resulting in severe neuronal dysfunction or death.5 The neuroinflammatory response is characterized by changes in the integrity of the blood brain barrier and immune system activation. This immune activation is from both the peripheral immune system and the immune system in the brain. It is mediated by inflammatory molecules called cytokines.6

The goal of treatment initially should be rest and removal from activity. The length of time this will last depends on the severity of the injury. Additionally, every attempt should be made to supply the brain with as much fuel as possible. The child should be eating frequently and not skipping meals. Meals should consist of low glycemic fruits, vegetables and high quality protein and fat.

After the initial phase has passed, control of the neuroinflammatory response and repair of the blood brain barrier should begin. This may include supplementing with products like superoxide dismutase, lipoic acid, vitamin D, N-acetyl cysteine, or omega-3 fatty acids. The goal of these is to reduce inflammation and balance pro-inflammatory cytokine production with anti-inflammatory cytokine production. The above with also have a favorable impact on blood brain barrier integrity.

References:

  1. http://www.nysphsaa.org/safety/pdf/NYSED%20Guidelines%20for%20Concussion%20Management.pdf
  2. http://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/statistics.html
  3. McCrory P, Meeuwisse W, Johnston K, Dvorak J, Aubry M, Molloy M, Cantu R. Consensus statement on concussion in sport–the 3rd International Conference on concussion in sport, held in Zurich, November 2008. J Clin Neurosci. 2009 Jun;16(6):755-63.
  4. Toledo E, Lebel A, Becerra L, Minster A, Linnman C, Maleki N, Dodick DW, Borsook D. The young brain and concussion: imaging as a biomarker for diagnosis and prognosis. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2012 Jul;36(6):1510-31.
  5. Giza CC, Hovda DA. The Neurometabolic Cascade of Concussion. J Athl Train. 2001 Sep;36(3):228-235.
  6. Das M, Mohapatra S, Mohapatra SS. New perspectives on central and peripheral immune responses to acute traumatic brain injury. J Neuroinflammation. 2012 Oct 12;9:236.

Court Vreeland, DC, DACNB

Dr. Court Vreeland completed his undergraduate work at Fairleigh Dickison University in Madison, New Jersey where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology with a minor in chemistry. He then attended Logan College of Chiropractic in St. Louis, Missouri where he completed his Doctor of Chiropractic Degree. Dr. Vreeland finished his Diplomate degree in chiropractic neurology in September of 2007. He has also completed courses in the Neurological Rehabilitation of ADHD and Other Learning Disabilities and in Vestibular Rehabilitation. Additionally, Dr. Vreeland has completed 100 hours of training in Applied Kinesiology and lectures regularly throughout the community and New England. He has lectured for continuing education credits for the Vermont Chiropractic Association as well as regularly holding seminars for manual therapists in New England.

 

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Supplement FAQ: DopaTropic® Powder

by Biotics Research

Why you may need DopaTropic® Powder:

Vastly complex, the human nervous system coordinates innumerable processes via a host of chemical messengers called neurotransmitters.  Neurotransmitters are used for everything from signaling the heart and lungs to function, to enabling the body to sleep so regeneration and repair can occur.  Emotions, affect, mood, appetite, and even energy levels are also regulated by neurotransmitters.  Unfortunately, neurotransmitters operate within a very narrow confine, and their balance can be easily disrupted by a variety of factors including genetics, immune function, diet, stress, and general chemical toxicity.  Dopamine is an excitatory neurotransmitter that is important for regulating physical movement, emotion, and pleasure and motivation centers of the brain.  It also plays a neurocognitive role, particularly with memory, problem  solving, motivation, learning, and the ability to focus.  Additionally, dopamine acts on the sympathetic nervous system, thus it impacts physiological functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, and libido.

Why your healthcare practitioner recommends DopaTropic® Powder from Biotics Research:

DopaTropic® Powder is one of the newest additions to the Biotics Research line of fine nutritional supplements and is part of the NeuTropic™ triad of products (PheniTropic™NeuPerzine®, and DopaTropic® Powder).  L-Dopa, (aka levodopa; L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine) is a naturally occurring dopamine precursor that is derived from the Mucuna pruriens plant.  L-Dopa is an amino acid which is converted to the catecholamine neurotransmitter dopamine.  Low levels of dopamine are found in Parkinsons patients, and are associated with addictions, cravings, difficulty with focusing, or with the intake or processing information.  Each level teaspoon of DopaTropic® Powder contains 125 mg of L-Dopa that is sweetened with erythritol for fast delivery and ease of use.  Erythritol is a natural sugar alcohol that is 60-70% as sweet as sugar, yet it is almost non-caloric, and does not affect blood sugar levels or promote tooth decay.  Unlike other sugar alcohols, it is unlikely to cause gastric side effects.  It is usually recommended that DopaTropic® Powder be dosed early in the day as it may elicit sleep disturbances if taken before bed.  DopaTropic® Powder is not recommended for use during pregnancy or lactation.  Nor should it be taken in conjunction with MAOI’s, psychosis medications, blood thinners, diabetic medications, or by patients taking medications for Parkinsons disease.

 

Click here to download the Patient FAQ on DopaTropic® Powder from Biotics Research in a printable PDF.

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Obsessions and Compulsions

by Rachel Olivier, MS, ND, PhD

Anxiety disorders affect as many as eighteen percent (18%) of Americans.  Of these, mental disorders account for four out of the ten leading causes of disability in the US and other developed countries.1  While generalized anxiety disorder is the most common anxiety disorder that affects older adults,2 other disorders including obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and social anxiety disorder are also common.

OCD is thought to affect between 2-3% of the general population, and is the fourth most common psychiatric illness.3  In obsessive compulsive disorder people become trapped in “endless cycles of repetitive thoughts and behaviors”4, which can cause distress and anxiousness.  Because of this, the disease can become potentially disabling.  Although many of these patients are prescribed serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), it is estimated that 40-60% of patients do not respond adequately to this type of therapy.5, 6, 7

B-vitamins, particularly vitamin B6 can be very beneficial in the management of anxiety.  Vitamin B6 is important in the synthesis of the neurotransmitters γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine.  Messenger molecules or neuropeptides are thought to link the immune, endocrine and central nervous system.  These messenger molecules are transmitted through virtually all bodily fluids.  Additionally, vitamin B6 plays an important role as a “physiological mediator of steroid hormone function.”8  For individuals requiring vitamin B6, B6 Phosphate may be a beneficial addition to the daily diet.  Each tablet supplies 20mg of vitamin B6 as pyridoxal-5-phosphate.

Inositol can also be of benefit in OCD, as it functions in the maintenance of suitable electrical energy and nutrient transfer across cell membranes, thus it facilitates nerve impulses.  Intracellularly it acts as a second-messenger, and aides in the regulation of a number of cellular functions, and it can assist in elevating serotonin levels.  Additionally, it also acts as a lipotropic agent, converting fats into other useful products.

Other minerals such as methonine, calcium, magnesium, and zinc can also be beneficial for OCD patients, and patients with other anxiety disorders.  Methionine-200™ supplies 200mg of methionine per capsule, while Multi-Mins™ provides a source of Ca, Mg, Zn and other essential minerals.

  1. Lakhan SE, Vieira KF. Nutritional therapies for mental disorders. Nutritional J. 2008 7(2):1-8.
  2. Calleo J, Stanley M (2008).  Anxiety Disorders in Later Life: Differentiated Diagnosis and Treatment Strategies.  Psychiatric Times. 2008 26 (8).
  3. Bloch MH, Landeros-Weisenberger A, Kelmendi B, Coric V, Bracken MB, Leckman JF. A systemic review: antipsychotic augmentation with treatment refractory obsessive-compulsive disorder. Molecular Psychiatry. 2006 11:622-632.
  4.  www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/obsessive-compulsive-disorder
  5. Alarcon RD, Libb JW, Spitler D. A predictive study of obsessive-compulsive disorder response to clomipramine. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 1993 Jun 13(3):210-3.
  6. Erzegovesi S, Cavallini MC, Cavedini P, Diaferia G, Locatelli M, Bellodi L. Clinical predictors of drug response in obsessive-compulsive disorder. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2001 Oct 21(5):488-92.
  7. Ravizza L, Barzega G; Bellino S; Bogetto F; Maina, G. Predictors of drug treatment response in obsessive-compulsive disorder. J Clin Psychiatry. 1995 56(8): 368-373.
  8. Berdanier C. Advanced Nutrition. Micronutrients. CRC Press. 1998. pp.103.

Rachel Olivier, MS, ND, PhD

Dr. Rachel Olivier serves as a Physician Advisor for Biotics Research Corporation, a position she has held for over eleven years. As a Physician Advisor she serves to both educate and provide professional leadership for physicians and practitioners, in an effort to improve product understanding. In this capacity she serves as the main consultant, advisor and technical expert for health care practitioners. She also prepares and executes training seminars, and provides training and product support material for practitioners and members of the sales team, as well as writes technical and scientifically oriented papers for journals and trade magazines, and product literature updates. She holds a Masters degree in Molecular Biology from University of Southwestern Louisiana (currently the University of LA), along with a traditional Naturopathic Degree from Honolulu University, and a PhD in nutrition from California University.  She can be contacted at 800-231-5777 or via the website at www.bioticsresearch.com.

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Supplement FAQ: Neuro-5-HTP Plus™

by Biotics Research

Why you may need Neuro-5-HTP Plus™:

Stressful or fast-paced lifestyles, compounded by the grossly inferior Standard American Diet (SAD) have resulted in widespread neurotransmitter imbalances which may often manifest as altered mood, sleep disturbances, carbohydrate cravings or weight gain, focal or diffuse muscle pain, and headaches. Tryptophan assimilated into the body is metabolized to the amino acid 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) which is the precursor to the synthesis of 5-hydroxytryptamine, which along with dopamine and norepinephrine, are the three main monoamine neurotransmitters. Commonly referred to as the “feel good” neurotransmitter, it has been established that higher serotonin levels reduce carbohydrate cravings and hunger levels in general. In several weight loss studies it was noted that participants with 5-HTP supplementation were afforded weight loss in excess of one pound per week with almost total elimination of the irritability and excess hunger that can plague dieters. Serotonin levels should be a consideration for those with depression, obesity, carbohydrate sensitivity, fibromyalgia, ADHD, migraine headaches, and insomnia.

Why your healthcare practitioner recommends Neuro-5-HTP Plus™ from Biotics Research:

Neuro-5-HTP Plus™ combines 5-HTP along with 10 mg of B6 phosphate, 50 mg of niacinamide and 50 mg of the neurologically active amino acid L-theanine. These additional ingredients are present to facilitate the conversion of 5-HTP to serotonin with L-theanine increasing alpha waves in the brain and impacting serotonin and/or dopamine neurotransmitters related to memory and learning. The most commonly reported side effect experienced with 5-HTP is nausea, and this can be avoided by initially using a lesser amount and slowly working up to the dose required. Additionally, 5-HTP is not recommended for use during pregnancy or lactation, and should be avoided by patients with cardiovascular disease or those taking certain medications including MAO inhibitors, SSRIs and other serotonergic drugs. Once again, Biotics Research Corporation brings you “The Best of Science & Nature”.

 

Click here to download the Patient FAQ on Neuro-5-HTP Plus™  from Biotics Research in a printable PDF.

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The Gut-Brain Connection

by Court Vreeland, DC, DACNB

A large body of evidence is accumulating to support a role between healthy gut function, brain development and function of the central nervous system. The organisms contained in the gut should be considered an inner organ with functions similar in importance to any other organ present in the body. Disruptions in this “organ” may alter many things including brain function and cause symptoms like depression, anxiety, ‘brain fog’ and more.

At birth the human gastrointestinal tract is sterile, however, it is quickly colonized and by the age of one year, the bacterial profile looks similar to that of an adult.1 The connection between the gut and the brain is known to be bidirectional. This means messages from the gut affect brain function just as much as messages from the brain affect gut function.2

The mechanism by which alterations in bacterial profiles of the gut affect how we feel, think and move is fascinating. It all begins with lipopolysaccharides (LPS). LPS are structures located on the surfaces of bacteria present in our gut. These LPS may actually get out of the gut and into the blood stream producing a very strong immune response. Normally, the gut does a very good job keeping these LPS from getting into the blood stream.3 However, when the barrier in the gut weakens (‘leaky gut’) LPS is more easily absorbed and enters circulation.  When this occurs, inflammation ensues. If the process continues, high levels of inflammation are generated and this begins to alter neurotransmitter levels in the brain. With enough change in neurotransmitter levels, mood, behavior and cognitive function suffer.

What causes leaky gut? There are a lot of factors, however, evidence points to a high fructose diet (sugary beverages), the Western diet (high in processed foods) and nutrient deficiencies like vitamin D, A, zinc and magnesium.These factors are also known to increase the ability of LPS to get into the blood stream.4

Symptoms of depression, anxiety, ‘brain fog,’ or poor memory may not always be coming from your brain. The genesis of the problem might actually be in your gut! By maintaining a healthy diet and addressing potential nutrient deficiencies you may see many of your symptoms disappear without the need to expensive, mind-altering medications!

References:
1Palmer C, Bik EM, DiGiulio DB, Relman DA, Brown PO. Development of the human infant intestinal microbiota. PLoS Biol. 2007 Jul;5(7):e177.
2O’Mahony SM, Hyland NP, Dinan TG, Cryan JF. Maternal separation as a model of brain-gut axis dysfunction. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2011 Mar;214(1):71-88.
3Bested AC, Logan AC, Selhub EM. Intestinal microbiota, probiotics and mental health: from Metchnikoff to modern advances: Part II – contemporary contextual research. Gut Pathog. 2013 Mar 14;5(1):3.
4Teixeira TF, Collado MC, Ferreira CL, Bressan J, Peluzio Mdo C. Potential mechanisms for the emerging link between obesity and increased intestinal permeability. Nutr Res. 2012 Sep;32(9):637-47.


Court Vreeland, DC, DACNB

Dr. Court Vreeland completed his undergraduate work at Fairleigh Dickison University in Madison, New Jersey where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology with a minor in chemistry. He then attended Logan College of Chiropractic in St. Louis, Missouri where he completed his Doctor of Chiropractic Degree. Dr. Vreeland finished his Diplomate degree in chiropractic neurology in September of 2007. He has also completed courses in the Neurological Rehabilitation of ADHD and Other Learning Disabilities and in Vestibular Rehabilitation. Additionally, Dr. Vreeland has completed 100 hours of training in Applied Kinesiology and lectures regularly throughout the community and New England. He has lectured for continuing education credits for the Vermont Chiropractic Association as well as regularly holding seminars for manual therapists in New England.

 

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