Special Bag Helps People Get Rid of Unused Opioids

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, March 29, 2019 (HealthDay News) — After undergoing surgery, many people who are prescribed opioid painkillers have no idea how to dispose of leftover pills so they won’t be misused by others or harm the environment.

Giving special disposal bags to these patients more than doubled the percentage of people who safely disposed of their unused painkillers, according to researchers.

The new study included 208 patients who were prescribed opioids (such as OxyContin) when they left the hospital after surgery.

Of those, 63 received no formal information about disposal of leftover pills (“usual care”); 75 got an educational brochure outlining the importance of proper disposal of pills; and 70 received special disposal bags called Deterra bags.

The bags contain activated charcoal that binds to prescription drugs when water is added, making them unusable. Once in a landfill, the bags break down and prevent the drugs from leaching into the environment.

The bags cost about $7 each for individual buyers, but the research team bought them in bulk at a wholesale price for the study.

The researchers then followed up with the patients six weeks after they left the hospital.

The investigators found that about 28 percent of those in the usual care group had disposed of their leftover opioids. The methods of disposal included: throwing the painkillers in the garbage; flushing them down the toilet; or taking them to a law enforcement agency or other approved location.

Among those patients who received an educational brochure, 33 percent said they had disposed of leftover pills. People in this group who put their leftover pills in the trash were more likely to say they first mixed the painkillers with unpalatable substances to prevent others from abusing the drugs.

Among those given Deterra bags, 57 percent said they’d disposed of their leftovers, mostly by using the bag. Only one in 10 said they put their unaltered pills in the garbage or toilet, the findings showed.

“We need everyday disposal options that address patients’ needs and break down common barriers for safe disposal,” said study leader Dr. Chad Brummett. He is director of pain research at Michigan Medicine, the University of Michigan’s academic medical center.

Brummett said some patients may be uneasy about taking unneeded medications to law enforcement offices or take-back drives, and doing so may be inconvenient.

The researchers said the fact that more than 40 percent of patients with disposal bags still had their leftover opioids four to six weeks after surgery highlights the need for continued attention to proper medication disposal.

The findings are outlined in a research letter published online March 27 in JAMA Surgery.

WebMD News from HealthDay

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SOURCE: University of Michigan, news release, March 27, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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U.S. Flu Season Ebbing, but Still Widespread: CDC

FRIDAY, March 29, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Though flu season has probably peaked, beware: Influenza is still widespread in much of the United States, federal health officials said Friday.

“This week activity decreased a little bit, but flu is going to be around for a while,” said Lynnette Brammer, from the domestic influenza surveillance team at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Making matters worse, the predominant strain is influenza A H3N2, the most serious type, and it’s putting older Americans in the hospital, she said.

How much longer flu season will last depends on how long the H3N2 virus sticks around, and if influenza B viruses start to spread, Brammer said. Right now, B viruses are causing only a small percentage of flu cases.

Though this year’s flu hasn’t been as bad as last year’s, it’s still been a severe season, not the mild one health officials had hoped for. It will still be weeks before flu drops to levels needed for the CDC to declare the season over.

In other words, there’s still time to get a flu shot if you haven’t done so already, Brammer said. “There’s still a benefit from getting vaccinated.”

That’s especially important if you’re in a high-risk group, such as the elderly, she said. Seniors are particularly susceptible to H3N2 and its complications, including pneumonia.

The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get vaccinated. There’s still plenty of vaccine available, Brammer said.

And remember: Even if you get the shot for this flu season, you’ll still need to get vaccinated in the fall, she said.

That’s important because next year’s vaccine is different from this year’s. Both influenza A strains — H3N2 and H1N1 — have mutated, and the new vaccine has been tweaked to address these changes, Brammer said.

Both strains were included this year’s vaccine, but the H3N2 protection has been less than hoped, according to the CDC.

An underrated benefit of the vaccine is that even if you get sick, your flu will be milder than if you haven’t been vaccinated. A milder case can prevent complications like pneumonia that can be deadly, especially to the very young and very old.

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Geoengineering Could Reduce Warming by Half Without Hurting the Planet: New Study

ByDerrick Broze

A new study claims that controversial climate engineering techniques could be employed without harming the planet—but not everyone is convinced.

The latest push by longtime geoengineering advocate David Keith claims that the controversial climate engineering methods could work to reduce global warming by half without causing any major damage to the planet. The new study used computer modeling to examine the unintended consequences of geoengineering techniques—specifically solar radiation management, a type of geoengineering that involves spraying aerosols into the atmosphere in the hopes of reflecting sunlight and cooling the planet. This type of geoengineering is extremely controversial and previous studies have linked the technology to potentially dangerous outcomes for various parts of the planet.

The new study, recently published in Nature Climate Change, found that setting geoengineering operations within certain limits might prevent unintended consequences like drought and extreme storms. Peter Irvine, a climate and geoengineering researcher at Harvard University and lead author of the study, told Scientific American that his study used computer modeling to determine what might happen if scientists attempt to offset half of the warming as opposed to all of the warming predicted to occur in the coming decades.

Irvine and co-author David Keith state that the study suggests solar geoengineering would not make any water-related changes any worse than already predicted. Keith, a Harvard engineer, has been an advocate for geoengineering for more than a decade and one of the loudest voices in the debate in favor of geoengineering research.

Irvine and Keith’s study examined the effects of geoengineering by region around the world, using the same regions as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. They evaluated which regions would be made worse by geoengineering or without geoengineering. They found that in the areas of average and maximum temperatures, maximum annual precipitation, and total water availability, no region was made worse by geoengineering. The researchers also claim that hurricanes, typhoons, and other storms would not be worsened and might actually offset some of the effects of climate change on hurricanes.

However, as Scientific American notes, “the study isn’t a completely realistic depiction of potential solar geoengineering scenarios.” The study does not tell us how spraying aerosols in the air might actually affect the world around us. For example, scientists like Keith have recommended spraying strontium, aluminum, barium, and other aerosols from the back of airplanes. There have been no studies examining the effects of these particulates in the soil, air, and water, and how that will affect the environment, animals, and humans.

In a message to The Atlantic, Jane Flegal, a climate-policy researcher and an adjunct faculty member at Arizona State University, writes:

They are desperately trying to conjure demand for their research topic, but I think they’re hamstringing themselves over the long term by overclaiming. It’s important to keep in mind that this study actually tells us very little about the feasibility of the idea of geoengineering. It is reasonable to ask whether we expect the real world to behave like these models. [And] even if the real world behaved like these models, it is not clear to me that we should expect that this research will inform ‘rational’ decision making in this domain.

Alan Robock, a climate and aerosols expert at Rutgers University who previously conducted research for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), says the study does not take into account the reality that geoengineering may have additional side effects, like warming certain parts of the atmosphere, changing atmospheric circulation, or affecting the ozone layer.

“I do not agree that ’no area will be significantly worse off under a solar geo-engineering scenario’,” Robock said in an email to Scientific American. “Worse as compared to what? If we rapidly begin mitigation now, that is rapidly reduce our CO2 emissions to zero by switching our power to wind and solar, we will be much better off than a business-as-usual future, or one with geoengineering.”

Interestingly, Robock has previously stated that he believes the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) may already be using geoengineering techniques as a weapon of war. In 2015, while speaking at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Jose, California, Robock stated he was phoned by two men claiming to be from the CIA, asking whether or not it was possible for hostile governments to use geoengineering, or mass manipulation of the weather, against the United States.

I got a phone call from two men who said we work as consultants for the CIA and we’d like to know if some other country was controlling our climate, would we know about it?”

[…]

I’d learned of lots of other things the CIA had done that haven’t followed the rules and I thought that wasn’t how I wanted my tax money spent. I think this research has to be in the open and international so there isn’t any question of it being used for hostile purposes.

Robock’s statements warrant further investigation, but to those who believe that geoengineering techniques are already being covertly carried out by the U.S. government, his words are further confirmation that mad scientists are desperate to play God. The public and scientific community must examine all of the available evidence which currently shows geoengineering might lead to potential loss of blue skies, lower crop yields, and increases in land and water temperature. The media has already hopped on the geoengineering bandwagon so it’s up to the people to raise awareness and ask questions about this increasingly important topic.

Derrick is the founder of TCRN.

This article was sourced from The Mind Unleashed.

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Thailand Supermarket Uses Innovative Banana Leaves Packaging To Avoid Unnecessary Plastic Waste

By Mayukh Saha

Plastic Plastic Plastic!

The world is slowing getting overwhelmed with the rampant use of plastic. You walk into a supermarket and all you see is heaps of plastic. Even single pieces of fruits and veggies these days are wrapped all around by plastic.

You might very well ignore this issue altogether but very soon we might be living in a sea full of plastics and would have no place to go unless of course Mr. Elon Musk lands us into Mars, eh?

Welcome to Rimping. You guys have definitely heard of Chiang Mai, Thailand right? It is the new hub of startups. And Digital Nomads, like me, hover to this place like bees.

Rimping is the supermarket that is trying to break out of this norm of using single-use plastic and trying to find an innovative and alternative solution to this growing problem.

This alternative is an interesting way to use a packaging material that can very well replace plastic.

Enter banana leaves. Being situated near the equator, Thailand is a haven for banana plantations. So, this new method is using banana leaves to wrap up the packaging and prevent the use of excess plastic.

It is definitely not a completely foolproof method just yet, as a very small amount of plastic is still required in this new technique of packaging. But this is definitely a very viable and efficient first step in the reduction of plastic waste and plastic packaging.

Let’s hope that more and more people can come up with more innovative and newer solutions to replace plastic. This surely is an amazing first step.

Kudos to the brains behind this idea who are surely making the world a better place for our future generations, and making our oceans a safer place for all the endangered species of marine life.

Following is a list of pictures taken by Simon from Perfect Homes Chiang Mai Limited. This is what he had to say about the idea:

These were simple pictures taken off my mobile phone of a what I thought was a great idea. I certainly was amazed when they went viral.

This article was sourced from Truth Theory.

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Winter Depression – Homeopathic Treatment

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), as the name explains, is a season-based disorder that often begins during autumn and continues through the winters. The symptoms are most severe in the winters, and this disorder is also known by the name of winter depression. It is diagnosed when a person suffers from depressive symptoms in a specific season for two or three years. The homeopathic system of medicine has a very effective treatment for many psychological complaints, including seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Natrum Mur, Ignatia Amara, Kali Phos, Aurum Met, and Sepia Succus are the majorly indicated homeopathic medicines for seasonal affective disorder.     

homeopathic medicines for seasonal affective disorder

The symptoms tend to get better or completely over in spring and summer season. However, in rare cases of SAD, an opposite pattern appears where the symptoms begin in spring or summer and diminish by autumn. SAD with this pattern is known as summer depression.

Homeopathic Medicines for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Homeopathy provides symptomatic relief in the acute phase of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Once the acute phase is over, the medicines help overcome the tendency of seasonal affective disorder that arises every year. Each of these homeopathic remedies has its own characteristic symptoms based on which the prescription is decided. These homeopathic medicines to treat seasonal affective disorder are safe and cause no side effects.

1. Natrum Mur – Effective Medicine for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) with Depression

Natrum Mur is a well-indicated medicine for seasonal affective disorder (SAD) with marked depression. The features attending depression are joylessness, irritability, dullness of mind and a tendency to get easily offended. The person needing Natrum Mur desires to be alone, weeps in loneliness and has an aversion to consolation. Anxiety, palpitations, and hurriedness may also be present. A specific thought of some unpleasant thing that is about to happen prevails in the mind. Sleeplessness may also appear with the above complaints.

2. Ignatia Amara – Effective Remedy for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) with Tearfulness

Ignatia Amara is an effective medicine for winter depression with excessive tearfulness. Intense sadness and mood changes are present along with tearfulness. There is also an aversion to talking and a desire to remain alone. Anxiety and irritability, sighing, sobbing and intense brooding may be present. Sleeplessness and loss of appetite attend most cases needing homeopathic medicine Ignatia Amara.

3. Kali Phos – Natural Medicine for Winter Depression with Fatigue

Kali Phos is a natural medicine for seasonal affective disorder (SAD) with marked fatigue. The person requiring Kali Phos feels fatigued both mentally and physically. There is intense weakness and tiredness. Along with fatigue, symptoms like gloominess, dullness of mind and continual weeping, a sense of weariness from life, negative forebodings and loss of sleep are also present.

4.Aurum Met – Natural Treatment for Winter Depression with Feeling of Hopelessness and Worthlessness

Aurum Met is a useful medicine for SAD with a prominent feeling of hopelessness and worthlessness. Self-criticism may also be present in a high degree. Irritability and anger from slightest criticism, profound sadness and thoughts of suicide are also present. The person seems tired of life, feels as if life is a burden, and feels discontented all the time.

5. Sepia Succus – Natural Remedy for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) with Indifference

Sepia Succus is an effective medicine for seasonal affective disorder (SAD) with marked indifferent behavior. Indifference towards people of a close relationship like family members, friends, and life, in general, is present. Other significant features that attend are a feeling of helplessness, sadness, weeping tendency and aversion towards any mental or physical work along with anxiety is present.

Causes of Seasonal Affective Disorders

The exact reason behind seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is still unknown. However, it is thought that a reduced exposure to sunlight during the winter days affects the proper working of the hypothalamus. As a result, there are changes in the serotonin levels (low), melatonin levels (high), along with a disruption of the biological clock. This leads to depressive symptoms and change in sleeping pattern. A family history of SAD puts a person at risk to develop the same. People with bipolar disorder or depression are also at risk. The prevalence of seasonal affective disorder is more among women as compared to men. People living far away from the equator are more at risk to suffer from this disorder.

Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

The symptoms of SAD include feelings like depression, sadness, a low mood, lack of interest in everyday activities, low energy levels, fatigue, lethargy, feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness, irritability, anxiety, difficulty with concentration, desire to be alone, and physical symptoms like weight gain/loss, excessive sleep/sleeplessness, and excessive/reduced appetite.

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Premature Grey Hair? 6 Homeopathic Remedies that Work

Homeopathic Remedies for Grey Hair

Hair, it is said, is everything. Well, that may be sort of far-fetched but early greying of hair can be very disturbing for people. Greying of hair before the age of 35 years is referred to as premature greying. It has seen an increase over the past several years, and the main reasons could be stress or anxiety, improper diet, overuse of shampoos and conditioners or, of course, it could be in your genes. There have been cases of children as young as 8-10 years of age reporting greying of hair. The premature greying of hair can be successfully treated with Homeopathic medicines. The Homeopathic remedies for premature greying of hair are made of natural substances and are free from any side effects. The Homeopathic medicines act in the most gentle and natural way to halt the process of greying of hair.

Top Homeopathic Remedies for Premature Greying Of Hair

The top medicines for premature greying of hair are Phosphoric acid, Lycopodium, Natrum Mur, Phosphorous, Silicea, and Vinca Minor.

1. Phosphoric Acid: Best Remedy for Greying of hair from Grief

Phosphoric Acid is the top natural medicine for the treatment of premature greying of hair resulting from grief and depression. It can be accompanied by thinning or falling out of hair. The patient feels very hopeless, sad and becomes indifferent to all affairs of life. Extreme exhaustion and weakness are symptoms in all the persons requiring this Homeopathic medicine. The weakness is noted in both physical and mental planes. Phosphoric Acid helps both in making the patient come out of grief and restoring the pigmentation of hair that has been destroyed by the effects of grief.

2. Lycopodium: For Premature Greying in Spots

Lycopodium is an excellent remedy for halting the process of greying of hair when the de-pigmentation of hair occurs in spots. Lycopodium acts in the most natural and harmless manner to halt the greying of hair. The patient may show an increased craving for sweets and hot drinks. All the patients for whom Lycopodium can be of great help usually suffer from gastric troubles like constipation and gas in the abdomen.

3. Natrum Mur: For Greying of Hair of Anemic or Weak Persons

Natrum Mur is a natural medicine of great help for the treatment of grey hair mainly in weak and anemic (deficient blood) persons. This Homeopathic medicine helps to improve the general health of the patient and raise the immunity to combat the greying of hair. The persons who can greatly benefit from remedy Natrum Mur may also suffer from severe headaches, which get worse in the heat of sun. There may also be an unusual craving for salt in excess.

4. Phosphorus: For Greying Hair

Phosphorus is an excellent remedy for treating grey hair. This medicine acts wonderfully to prevent further greying of hair. The greying of hair may be accompanied by hair fall or dandruff. The scalp is itchy. Peculiar desires in eating like cold drinks, juice and ice creams standout for using this Homeopathic medicine.

5. Silicea: For Premature Greying with Improper Digestion

Silicea is a very beneficial natural medicine for treating grey hair when the digestive power, mainly absorption power of intestines, is improper and weak. Due to weak absorption, the nutrients from food are not properly absorbed and utilized. Deficiency in the nutrients leads to many troubles and greying of hair is one outcome of that. Silicea helps in improving the absorptive quality of intestines. As a result, the nutrients are available in proper amounts to maintain the natural color of hair. The persons requiring Silicea usually have increased sweating on scalp. The feet may also have sweat with bad odor. Sensitivity to cold air is an important feature confirming the use of this Homeopathic medicine for grey hair.

6. Vinca Minor: For Greying of Hair in Spots

Vinca Minor is a natural medicine of great help for halting the greying of hair. This medicine is the best remedy when the hair has fallen in spots and replaced by grey hair. Vinca Minor acts naturally in pigmenting such hair without any side effects. This medicine is also used for the treatment of eruptions on the scalp with discharges resulting in sticking of hair together.

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Getting Ready For Baby!

preparing for pregnancy

Pregnancy is an exciting, life changing and often scary time for most parents. With so much going on inside of you, (even more than the little one(s) growing) your focus shifts to the health and well-being of both you and your baby. Once the nausea subsides you may start to be able to make the conscious choice to eat well, get out for some fresh air and take some regular gentle exercise. Your obstetrician may have also suggested nutritional tips to support the health of your growing baby, which can include probiotics.

Go With Your Gut

The balance between good and bad microbiota (the incredibly varied inhabitants of a healthy gastrointestinal tract) in your gut can have a big influence on your health, but it can also influence your baby’s inner health. In a healthy gut, trillions of probiotic orgamisms are working away, setting up a healthy foundation for you and your baby.  Probiotics help to support this by balancing the flora in your gut. However, probiotics may also support immunity and general well-being. The healthier your gut environment,  the greater the possibility your baby will also have good gut and immune health.

Your Baby’s Inner Health Starts with Yours

Pregnancy probiotics are specifically designed to help support the healthy microbiota balance and gut health of both mum and bub during this important stage of life. Lactobacillus rhamnosus (LGG®) is one of the world’s most researched strains for pregnancy. In combination with Lactobacillus acidophilus (NCFM®) and Bifidobacterium lactis (Bi-07) it has been shown to support your baby’s immune system development, dry, itchy skin and helps to maintain baby’s health and well-being.

During pregnancy there is an increased need for nutrients such as iron, iodine, folate, zinc, calcium and vitamin D. Pregnancy supplements containing these essential nutrients can help support a healthy pregnancy as well as baby’s growth and development. Folate in the form of folic acid taken at 400-500mcg daily for one month before conception, as well as during pregnancy, is well known to support healthy foetal development.

Simple Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy

  • Try and eat organic/chemical free to avoid exposure to pesticides or added hormones
  • Eat 3 serves of fresh fish per week, or take a high quality fish oil supplement to support baby’s brain development
  • Eat protein at every meal (whether it’s meat, fish, nuts and seeds, eggs or dairy), to provide the building blocks needed for growth
  • Drink plenty of water and cut back on caffeinated and sugary drinks
  • Rest! Try to sleep a minimum of 7 hours per night. If you’re having trouble sleeping, speak to your healthcare professional about tips or supplements that may help
  • Exercise is crucial, but listen to your body! Try to include regular pelvic floor exercises to strengthen your pelvic muscles and help avoid problems in the future.

Every pregnancy is different, whether it’s baby number one or baby number three this is an exciting time. Don’t forget to be kind to yourself and don’t overdo it. Enjoy the experience of this unique journey and look forward to a happy and healthy baby.

Ethical Nutrients Inner Health Pregnancy & Breastfeeding is a scientifically formulated pregnancy and breastfeeding probiotic to support mum’s gut health and baby’s immune and skin health. Buy it now from our secure online shop.

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Top Tips to Overcome Challenges for New Mums

top tip for new mums

Becoming a parent is a big deal. Becoming a mum is even bigger. After 9 months of carrying a baby, you are now responsible for a small, helpless baby that relies on you for nourishment. The reality of this can be overwhelming.

Natural Support for Breastfeeding

For those that are breastfeeding, traditional plant medicine can be a valuable support. Galactagogic herbs such as Fennel and Aniseed support milk flow and milk quality. These herbs have been used for generations by medical herbalists. Raspberry leaf is also important as not only supports milk supply, but also uterine recovery, which is essential post childbirth.

When breastfeeding, it is important to hydrate regularly. Breast milk is predominantly made of water, so it is essential to stay hydrated. Taking herbs in a tea remedy gives you all the remedial benefits with a boost of hydration! Make up a flask or jug in the morning to set you up for the day – prepare according to the directions, then drink hot or cold.

Ensuring the right technique for breastfeeding is also important. Lactation consultants and midwives are specialists in this area and will be able to help with technique and positioning. Asking for help before issues arise may stop cracked, irritated nipples from becoming severe.

Aside from breastfeeding, there are many other challenges in the first 3 months with a newborn. In this period newborns are learning how to live outside of the womb. They slowly learn to self-settle, sleep alone and feed efficiently. However, this skill development takes time and can be frustrating for parents. Traditional plant medicine can support families in a multitude of ways throughout the fourth trimester and beyond.

Lack of Energy

All new parents are tired! With multiple wake ups throughout the night, both parents can feel fatigued. Taking energizing herbs like Sencha Green Tea with herbs that nourish your adrenal system is a balanced way to support stress and energy levels. Licorice is an adaptogenic herb, meaning it supports the adrenal glands and helps the body manage stress by modulating cortisol levels.

Adequate Iron Levels

Nettle is a medical herbalist’s favorite due to its high nutritional profile and provision of plant-based iron. In pregnancy, iron requirements double as the mother’s blood supply increases. Daily consumption of plant medicine like nettle may help to support healthy iron levels.

Impaired Immune Defences

New parents also need to take care of their immune system. When we are tired and stressed, immunity is one of the first things to suffer. Many parents find in the first year of parenting they fall ill more often. This could be attributed to a lack of sleep. Protecting your immunity can be as simple as including a formulation of herbs that boost your immunity. Thyme, Echinacea, Olive leaf, St. Mary’s Thistle, Sage and Angelica are great choices which support a healthy immune response. Good gut health is linked to good immunity so also consider a good quality, broad-spectrum probiotic.

Finding support where you can is essential as the first 3 months mark a huge step in the growth of your baby. Artemis products are suitable throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding, supporting your family through this special time.

Shop Artemis on our secure online store.

Always read the label and use as directed. If symptoms persist, see your healthcare professional. Artemis Ltd, Dunedin.
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What Is Colloidal Silver?

Colloidal silver is a liquid with small silver particles that are small enough to be measured in nanometers.1 It may also be defined as any fluid containing silver, such as colloidal silver protein.2 Unlike water, it is usually opaque because of a high concentration of silver nanoparticles that block light from passing through.3

In European folk medicine, it was believed that wearing silver rings may help ward off illnesses, while mixing silver powder with plants was used to help alleviate rabies, nosebleed and edema4 (swelling caused by trapped fluid in the body’s tissues).5 Colloidal silver was also used to help alleviate various health conditions and diseases such as epilepsy, stomach ulcer and mental illnesses. In the form of colloidal silver supplement, it’s known today as an alternative all-around germ fighter.6

Colloidal Silver Sources: Where Does This Impressive Liquid Come From?

Silver (Ag) can be found in compound formations that also contain lead, copper, gold and zinc. It is formed through hydrothermal processes in sulfide deposits. Other sources of silver are oxidized, weathered and decomposed rocks in iron caps (exposed part of an iron-containing deposit), where it precipitates through weathering.7

Unlike silver, which is a naturally occurring chemical element, colloidal silver is produced using a generator.8 By placing a DC voltage across two pieces of pure silver immersed in demineralized water,9 a high voltage will be applied to the electrodes to produce a colloidal silver solution.10

13 Colloidal Silver Benefits and Uses in Human Health Care

Colloidal silver is generally known to have antimicrobial effects, which is why it is considered an antibiotic. This is one of the most notable colloidal silver benefits because it is associated with a number of uses, such as:11

  • Water purification
  • Wound dressings
  • Bone prostheses
  • Catheters
  • Reconstructive orthopedic surgery
  • Cardiac devices
  • Surgical appliances

Colloidal silver supplements have also been gaining attention because of their positive health effects. While some undermine their potential, there are published studies to prove and support these claims. So what is colloidal silver good for? Here is a list of the various conditions for which colloidal silver can be used:

Pink eye — Also known as conjunctivitis, this is an eye disease caused by the inflammation of the conjunctiva, a thin layer of tissue on the inner surface of the eyelids that covers the white part of the eye.12 Colloidal silver may work as a natural antibiotic to help alleviate pink eye, and it may be taken orally or applied topically.13

Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria — Colloidal silver nanoparticles prepared using glucose as the reducing agent were found to exhibit an antibacterial effect against Gram-positive (Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis) and Gram-negative (Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa) bacteria.14

To add, the antibacterial activity of antibiotics such as penicillin G, amoxicillin, erythromycin, clindamycin and vancomycin may be enhanced when used with colloidal silver.15

Eczema This long-term condition causes you to have itchy and dry skin.16 Including colloidal silver in your daily skin care routine may boost its natural health by helping renew and soothe it.17

Herpes — Colloidal silver can be used for herpes treatment because it works as an antibiotic, along with enough folic acid and B vitamins in a diet. Herpes lesions may be treated using a colloidal silver compress.18

Ear infection — Silver sulfadiazine (SSD) is a safe formulation against otic infections (relating to the ears) caused by bacteria, fungi and viruses. An in vitro study found that this topical cream combined with fluorinated quinolone, an antibiotic, may help reduce the risk of ear infection and eardrum rupture in animals.19 To know more ways aside from using colloidal silver to help ease earache, read “Simple Home Remedies May Stop an Earache.”

Sinus infection — When used as a nasal spray, a colloidal silver solution may effectively reach nasal passages and sinuses to help alleviate sinus infections and sore throat.20

Additionally, it is believed that colloidal silver supplements may help mitigate acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and diabetes.21

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Colloidal Silver Studies Note Its Potential for Reducing Cancer Risk

Due to colloidal silver’s low toxicity and high therapeutic activity against disease-causing microorganisms, it may be used as an alternative to antibiotics in chemotherapy. As noted by a 2007 study, colloidal silver’s tiny silver particles are responsible for its overall increased surface area, which helps them easily and quickly penetrate into the cell walls of bacteria. These minute silver particles attach to cell receptors and attack enzymes that help reproduce microbial cells.22

A 2010 Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research study also found that colloidal silver may help reduce your risk of cancer by triggering cancer cell death without affecting normal peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) control cells,23 which are essential immune system cells. Colloidal silver exhibited its toxic effect on MCF-7 human breast cancer cell line, which led to apoptosis24 or programmed cell death.25

What’s the Difference Between True Colloidal Silver and Ionic Silver?

According to the website Silver Colloids, silver colloid may be considered true colloidal silver if it contains more than 50 percent silver in nanoparticle form. On the other hand, if it contains only 5 to 10 percent nanoparticles, it is considered ionic silver.

It may not be noticeable to the naked eye, but a visible characteristic of true colloidal silver is haze. Unlike ionic silver, which is clear like regular water, true colloidal silver solution is opaque. Also, it should not be labeled as mild silver protein or silver protein.26

Be Cautious of These Colloidal Silver Side Effects

Since there are no industry standards for colloidal silver producers,27 make sure that you purchase colloidal silver supplements or products from reputable sources to ensure their safety. You may also create your own colloidal silver solution by using a generator and twice-distilled demineralized water.28

Remember to ask for an alternative health practitioner’s advice before using this supplement, especially if you are dealing with any medical condition. Always choose high-quality colloidal silver products, which contain bioactive true colloidal silver. They should be free of contaminants such as salts, proteins, stabilizers and oxidizing compounds, which will help lessen your risk of argyria, one of the most common colloidal silver dangers.29

Argyria is an irreversible condition that may occur due to excessive exposure to silver and silver-containing products. Argyria can be characterized by a bluish grey skin discoloration, which may be more pronounced in sun-exposed areas. Although it is benign, the discoloration may less likely fade over time even if you have discontinued taking colloidal silver supplements.30 In severe cases, the liver and kidneys may be affected.31

Poor-quality colloidal silver may also cause long-term side effects in your renal, hepatic and neurologic functions.32 Other colloidal silver side effects include:33

  • Eye irritation
  • Blood cell alteration
  • Respiratory and intestinal tract inflammation

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Colloidal Silver

Q: Is colloidal silver safe?

A: Yes, provided that you choose a high-quality product and it’s used in moderation, with the approval of your physician. Select colloidal silver products that contain high-quality true colloidal silver and are made from pure, twice-distilled or reverse osmosis water, which may help reduce your risk of argyria.34

Q: What is colloidal silver used for?

A: Colloidal silver is used to help alleviate various health conditions such as sinus infection, pink eye, Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, eczema, herpes and ear infections. It may reduce your risk of cancer by triggering cancer cell death. Colloidal silver is also used for water purification, wound dressings, bone prostheses, catheters, reconstructive orthopedic surgery, cardiac devices and surgical appliances.

Q: How is colloidal silver taken?

A: Colloidal silver may be taken orally or used topically.

Q: Is colloidal silver good for cancer?

A: Published studies noted that colloidal silver may have antitumor potential by helping induce cancer cell death. It may also be used as an alternative to antibiotics in chemotherapy due to its low toxicity and high therapeutic activity against pathogenic microorganisms.35,36

Q: Does colloidal silver kill good bacteria?

A: No. Instead, its antibacterial action works against S. aureus, S. epidermidis (Gram-positive bacteria), and E. coli and P. aeruginosa (Gram-negative bacteria), which can cause various illnesses and diseases in humans, animals and plants.37

Q: Where can I buy colloidal silver?

A: Colloidal silver is available online in supplement and solution forms. Remember to look for a high-quality product and to seek an alternative health professional’s advice before purchasing.

Q: How do I make colloidal silver?

A: Place a DC voltage generator across two pieces of pure silver immersed in water. Apply a high voltage to the electrodes to produce a colloidal silver solution. Remember to use twice-distilled demineralized water or water that has undergone reverse osmosis instead of tap water, which may chemically alter the solution because of its high salt content.

Remember not to use metal or plastic containers because the colloidal silver may separate. Store the solution in a dark glass bottle at between 59 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit.38

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How Sleep Influences Learning, Memory and General Health

In the video above, Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D., a biomedical scientist, interviews professor Matthew Walker, Ph.D., founder and director of the University of California Berkeley’s Center for Human Sleep Science and author of “Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams.”

In this episode, Walker discusses how sleep impacts your ability to learn and your creative capacity, and the importance of deep sleep for brain detoxification, which can influence your risk for Alzheimer’s disease. The interview starts out with a discussion about how sleep patterns change during infancy, and the implications thereof.

Right around 12 months of age, when the infant is starting to learn to crawl, stand and walk, there’s a tremendous bump in stage 2 sleep, which is a light, non-REM type of sleep during which the brain is very active editing and making decisions about what information to retain and which to discard. In this case, the learning has to do with motor skills development.

Language development also occurs during this phase of life, and sleep plays an important role here too. In fact, sleep plays a crucial role any time you’re learning something new, be it language or mathematics, for example, regardless of your age.

How Sleep Impacts Learning Processes

What’s more, sleep allows your brain to consolidate many different abstract pieces of information, sort of collating them into cohesive patterns that allow you to make sense of the world around you, and your experiences of it. In other words, sleep is crucial for abstract learning — for connecting the proverbial dots — opposed to simply learning individual facts.

While this is particularly relevant during early development, this is something that you continue to do throughout life, and why sleep deprivation can have such a dramatic impact on your mental well-being, triggering confusion and negative emotional states.

According to Walker, sleep affects your learning and memory processes both before and after learning, and cheating yourself of sleep on either end will impact your ability to learn.1

First, sleep is important before learning, as it helps prepare your brain to soak up new information. Walker’s research shows that sleep-deprived students have a 40 percent reduction in their ability to retain new information, compared to those who got a full eight hours of sleep.

Walker theorizes that your hippocampus could potentially have a time-limited capacity to store new information. When you remain awake for more than 16 hours, your hippocampus effectively runs out of storage space and cannot receive further input.

To continue learning, you need to sleep, during which the information stored in your hippocampus is transferred into long-term storage in other parts of your brain, effectively clearing out your short-term hippocampal storage.

Second, you need sleep after learning, to properly save and hold on to those new individual facts — and integrate the new information with what you already know.

Walker discusses fascinating research demonstrating that, during sleep, your brain quite literally replays what it has learned, but at 10 to 20 times the speed of normal waking consciousness, and this is thought to be part of memory consolidation, as it increases synaptic strength.

This gathering and storing of new information occurs primarily during non-REM sleep. Then, during REM sleep (dream sleep), your brain fuses all of this new information with the entirety of everything you’ve already stored in your memory banks, creating a continuously evolving and growing “mind-wide web of associations,” Walker explains.

What’s more, while we make associative connections during waking consciousness, the connections we make during REM sleep are “the long shots,” the more bizarre and sometimes illogical associations between seemingly disparate pieces of information. And this is precisely why our dreams oftentimes make no logical sense.

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Quality Sleep Boosts Your Creativity

This is also why REM sleep allows us “to divine remarkably creative insight” into problems we could not solve during the day with logical, rational thinking. According to Walker, REM sleep is therefore crucial to acquiring wisdom (opposed to straight knowledge) — the ability to discern and extract meaning from your life experiences.

It’s also crucial to creative problem-solving, and many scientific discoveries have occurred as a result of dreaming. One example is that of Otto Loewi, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his discovery that the primary language of nerve cell communication is chemical, not electrical, as previously thought. The elegantly simple scientific experiment that led to Loewi’s award-winning discovery came to him in a dream.3,4

The chemical responsible for nerve cell communication is now known as acetylcholine, which is also the chemical responsible for the randomization of data connections during dreaming, as it disrupts the connection between the hippocampus, where memories of events and places are stored, and the neocortex, where facts, ideas and concepts are stored and the actual replay of memories take place.

Indeed, overwhelming evidence shows increasing sleep boosts both productivity and creativity.5,6,7 Sleep increases your ability to gain insights that would otherwise remain elusive by about 250 percent. According to Walker, simply dreaming about performing an activity increases your actual physical performance 10fold.

As old and new memories are integrated to form a new whole, new possible futures are also imagined. (This is what you actually perceive as “the action” of your dream.) The sum total of these processes is what allows you to assign meaning to life events and new pieces of information alike.

Sleep Deprivation Fuels Feelings of Loneliness

Walker also discusses some of his more recent research,8,9,10 which suggests loneliness may be closely tied to lack of sleep. For this experiment, 18 young adults were tested under two conditions: after a good night’s sleep and after a night of interrupted sleep.

They were then asked to view video clips of people walking toward them, and were instructed to stop the tape once they felt the person’s presence was infringing on their personal space. Interestingly, after sleep deprivation, the participants’ need for personal space was much greater than after a good night’s sleep.

When sleep deprived, they stopped the oncoming person at a distance that was 60 percent greater than when they’d had a good night’s rest. Brain scans also revealed that when sleep-deprived, they had 60 percent greater activity in the amygdala, an area of the brain that perceives threats.

In other words, the oncoming person was perceived as more threatening when they were tired. This perceived threat amplification from sleep deprivation can also make you more anxious in general, so it may play an important role in anxiety as well.

In a nutshell, the experiment suggests that the more sleep-deprived you are, the less social you become. What’s more, others pick up on this largely subconscious cue to be left alone, and further tests revealed people are more likely to rate you as being lonely when you’re sleep-deprived — and they’re far less likely to want to interact with you as well. As noted by Walker, “sleep deprivation can turn us into social lepers.”11

Loneliness has reached crisis proportions in the U.S. and has severe health consequences. For example, loneliness increases your all-cause mortality risk by a whopping 45 percent, Walker says, and he believes sleep deprivation may actually be a significant underlying factor. The good news is this is something you have a lot of control over and can do something about. 

Sleep Deprivation Triggers Fight-Flight-or-Freeze Response

It’s also worth noting that, according to Walker, they’ve been unable to find a single psychiatric disorder in which sleep does not play a role, which really highlights the importance of addressing sleep whenever you struggle with any kind of mental health problem, be it mild or severe.

Walker also notes that research has confirmed high-anxiety individuals are more prone to be negatively impacted by lack of sleep. So, if you know you’re prone to anxiety, depression or negative moods, you’ll want to be extra careful about getting sufficient amounts of high quality sleep. Unfortunately, high-anxiety individuals are also more prone to insomnia, which feeds the vicious cycle.

“The biological red thread narrative of insomnia is an amplified fight or flight nervous system,” Walker says. “You constantly see an overactive sympathetic nervous system in people with insomnia.” Cortisol plays an important role here, and in people who have trouble falling asleep, you typically see a spike in the stress hormone cortisol right at bedtime, when it should normally start to fall.

In people struggling with the other type of insomnia, where they have trouble staying asleep for the duration of the night, you often find mysterious spikes in cortisol at those times, when cortisol levels should normally be really low.

Walker suggests mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques, including meditation, for insomnia, as it calms down your sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight response) and facilitates the mental disengagement necessary to allow you to fall asleep and not get stuck in rumination and worry.

Other Important Health Benefits of Sleep

Sleep is also required for:

Maintaining metabolic homeostasis in your brain — Wakefulness is associated with mitochondrial stress and without sufficient sleep, neuron degeneration sets in, which can lead to dementia.12,13,14 Animal research reveals inconsistent, intermittent sleep results in considerable and irreversible brain damage.

Mice lost 25 percent of the neurons15,16 located in their locus coeruleus,17 a nucleus in the brainstem associated with arousal, wakefulness and certain cognitive processes. In a similar vein, research published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging18 suggests people with chronic sleep problems develop Alzheimer’s disease sooner than those who sleep well.

To learn more, see Walker’s paper, “Sleep: A Novel Mechanistic Pathway, Biomarker, and Treatment Target in the Pathology of Alzheimer’s Disease?” 19

Maintaining biological homeostasis — Your body contains an array of body clocks that regulate everything from metabolism to psychological functioning.

When you upset your circadian rhythm by not getting enough sleep, the results cascade through your system, raising blood pressure, dysregulating hunger hormones and blood sugar, increasing the expression of genes associated with inflammation, immune excitability, diabetes, cancer risk and stress20 and much more.

While the master clock in your brain synchronizes your bodily functions to match the 24-hour light and dark cycle, each and every organ, indeed, each cell has its own biological clock. In 2017, the Nobel Prize for medicine was actually awarded for the discovery of these body clocks.

Even half your genes have been shown to be under circadian control, turning on and off in cyclical waves. All of these clocks, while having slightly different rhythms, are synchronized to the master clock in your brain. Needless to say, when these clocks become desynchronized, a wide array of health problems can ensue.

Removal of toxic waste from your brain through the glymphatic system — This system ramps up its activity during deep sleep, thereby allowing your brain to clear out toxins, including harmful proteins linked to brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s.

By pumping cerebral spinal fluid through your brain’s tissues, the glymphatic system flushes the waste from your brain, back into your body’s circulatory system. From there, the waste eventually reaches your liver, where it can be eliminated.21,22,23

This short list should clue you in to many of the possible health ramifications of insufficient sleep. Considering the fact that sleep plays a key role in everything from gene expression and hormone regulation to brain detoxification and cognition, it becomes clear that there aren’t many facets of your being that can skate by unscathed when you skimp on sleep.

How Lack of Sleep Affects Your Heart and Cardiovascular Health

Importantly, research shows sleep is a significant factor in heart and cardiovascular health. For example, lack of sleep:

Prematurely ages your heart — In a study24 involving “a representative sample of U.S. adults,” people who got seven hours of sleep each night had hearts showing signs of being 3.7 years older, based on biological age, than their chronological age. Here, “heart age” was defined as “the predicted age of a person’s vascular system based on their cardiovascular risk profile.”

This concept was initially introduced by the Framingham Heart Study published in 2008. People who regularly slept either six or eight hours had hearts that were on average 4.5 years older than their chronological age, while those who got just five hours or less of sleep each night had the oldest biological heart age — 5.1 years older than their chronological age.

As noted by lead author Quanhe Yang, senior scientist in the Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,25 having a higher biological heart age raises your risk of developing heart disease.

Of the 12,755 participants in this study, 13 percent slept just five hours or less per night; 24 percent got six hours; 31 percent got seven hours; 26 percent slept for eight; and about 5 percent got nine or more hours of sleep each night.

Considering the ideal sleep time — based on hundreds of studies looking at sleep and health — is between seven and nine hours, these statistics reveal at least 37 percent of American adults aren’t getting anywhere near healthy amounts of sleep.

Raises your blood pressure and promotes vascular inflammation — While this link has been previously noted, a set of studies26,27 published last year found that even if you sleep a healthy number of hours, the quality of that sleep can have a significant impact on your risk for high blood pressure and vascular inflammation associated with heart disease.

Here, 323 healthy women between the ages of 20 and 79 wore sleep trackers that recorded onset, duration and quality of their sleep. Those who had mild sleep disturbance such as taking longer to fall asleep or waking up one or more times during the night were “significantly more likely to have high blood pressure than those who fell asleep quickly and slept soundly.”

Are Nighttime Electromagnetic Fields Robbing You of Healthy Sleep?

A factor that can have a significant impact on your sleep quality (and overall health) is electromagnetic fields (EMFs) emitted from household wiring, electronic and wireless devices. EMF exposure has a detrimental effect on your health regardless of the time of your exposure, but it’s particularly problematic at night, for a number of different reasons.

For starters, EMF exposure reduces your melatonin production,28 which will make it more difficult to fall asleep since you may not feel sufficiently sleepy. What’s more, melatonin is also a powerful antioxidant, and low levels have been repeatedly linked to an increased risk of cancer,29 so the impact on your melatonin production can have both short- and long-term effects.

Deep sleep is also the most important time for your brain health, as this is when its detoxification processes ramp up and take place, as explained in the section on the glymphatic system above.

EMF exposure has also been linked to neuronal changes that affect memory and your ability to learn30 — something to keep in mind if you’re in school, or have school-aged children. Importantly, EMFs also harm your body’s mitochondria by producing excessive oxidative damage. This in turn can cause or contribute to virtually any chronic ailment, including premature aging. To minimize your EMF exposure at night:

  1. Turn your cellphone off. At bare minimum, keep it in airplane mode and put it in a faraday bag.31 That will zero out any radiation. Never sleep with your cellphone under your pillow when it’s on, or for that matter put it on your body when it is not in airplane mode.
  2. If you’re currently using your phone as an alarm clock, consider getting a battery-driven alarm or better yet an audio only clock32 that has no light to disrupt your sleep. At bare minimum, keep the cellphone several feet away from your bed.
  3. Turn off your Wi-Fi at night. Ideally, hard wire your home so you have no Wi-Fi at all in your home.

For a more comprehensive information about the health problems linked to insufficient sleep, and dozens of ways to improve your sleep, see “Sleep — Why You Need It and 50 Ways to Improve It.”

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