Monday, September 11, 2017
NUTRITION THERAPY FOR DEMENTIA: USING ESSENTIAL OILS
You will find an enormity of Essential Oils on the web, in health food stores, specialty shops, even grocery stores but one thing I can state as absolute fact … Essential Oils are NOT alike.
Rather than use an explanation from a biased source (a manufacturer or supplier) I’ve gone to the dictionary to answer the question, “What IS an Essential Oil?”.
It states. “An essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from plants. Essential oils are also known as volatile oils, ethereal oils, aetherolea, or simply as the oil of the plant from which they were extracted, such as oil of clove. An oil is "essential" in the sense that it contains the "essence of" the plant's fragrance—the characteristic fragrance of the plant from which it is derived. The term essential used here does not mean indispensable as with the terms essential amino acid or essential fatty acid which are so called since they are nutritionally required by a given living organism.
Essential oils are generally extracted by distillation, often by using steam. Other processes include expression, solvent extraction, absolute oil extraction, resin tapping, and cold pressing. They are used in perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and other products, for flavoring food and drink, and for adding scents to incense and household cleaning products.”
Essential Oils cannot be reproduced in the pharmaceutical industry. Chemists can replicate some of the known constituents but it would be next to impossible to successfully replicate or recreate an essential oil in the laboratory without sacrificing purity and therapeutic value.
Essential Oils embody the regenerative, protective and immune strengthening properties of plants. These are very powerful antioxidants that neutralize free radicals which can cause cellular damage in the body. Many essential oils have antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-infectious, antimicrobial, antitumor, anti-parasitic and antiseptic properties.
So, right now you're asking, what does all of this have to do with dementia and nutrition? The answer is….quite a lot.
Dr. William M. Partridge, an expert in blood - brain barrier research, determined in 2003 that, "The development of new drugs for the brain has not kept pace with progress in the molecular neurosciences, because the majority of new drugs discovered do not cross the blood brain barrier." The ability to cross the blood-brain barrier is essential for the treatment of brain diseases and disorders.
The blood brain barrier is the most secure tissue barrier in the body. It is highly selective in order to protect the fragile tissues of the central nervous system. This barrier only allows passage of certain compounds that are crucial to brain function (glucose, some amino acids, etc.). Novel research has demonstrated that certain sesquiterpene constituents found in essential oils can directly cross the blood brain barrier because of their small molecular size (2-4).
Although sesquiterpenes were particularly studied, it is reasonable to assume that other essential oil compounds, especially monoterpenes, which are structurally smaller than sesquiterpenes, can also penetrate the blood brain barrier.
Ok … now comes the tricky question … “How do I know an Essential Oil is safe for use?”
The applications most common to use are, ingestion (consuming internally), topical application (on the skin) and inhalation (smell by diffusing or simply inhaling from the container). In terms of Nutrition Therapy, we are addressing ingestion.
Given that the basic requirement for calling a product an “Essential Oil” is that the ingredients must contain a minimum of 1% plant essence, my advice is to simply READ THE LABELS! If the product doesn’t have a nutrition label on the container, it most definitely is NOT something you can put into the mouth and swallow. If the first ingredient on the ingredient list is not the plant essence, well, suffice it to say it begs me to ask the question … WHY would you want to buy it?
I have used Essential Oils for well over 50 years, both personally and in practice so, I am pretty particular about what I put in my mouth or on my skin and especially in a massage practice, the practitioner is far more cognizant about what he or she uses on their clients.
Let me preface the following by saying, this is NOT a sales pitch. Whatever products are discussed in this blog are here simply because these are the items I use or suggest to clients and are the positive or negative results obtained by me or other practitioners sharing their results with me.
Before using any product, I do intense and thorough research. Next I will either use it, to insure it isn’t caustic or I will talk at length to people that have used it to find out what, if any, negative or positive effects they experienced. If I find it to be effective and feel it may help clients, I may incorporate it into my use.
When it comes to dementia or any related disorder / disease, I will always encourage caregivers to exercise extreme caution when looking at products to use. Anything that can cross the blood brain barrier … in my book …better darned well be the purest of the pure, the cleanest of the clean and the best of the best. Bottom line, the end result is we are dealing with the brain.
Six years ago, I found a particular line of Essential Oils that, for me, ended my search for the best of the best. These are the things I looked for:
1. Purity and Therapeutic Value
3. Who is behind the product
4. Research / testing results prior to bringing it to the public
5. Feedback – this really ranks lowest on my list because the Essential Oil market is highly competitive and in the online world, negative comments or criticism often comes from a competitor.
The purpose for the preface to the guts of this post is simply this … be very careful when choosing an Essential Oil product or any other product for that matter. As a caregiver, you are looking for ways to increase comfort, eliminate anxiety or stress and provide optimal care for your charge. Knowledge is power and being forewarned is being armed. At the end of this blog, I will provide you with contact information where you can email me with questions or for details of any item mentioned.
ESSENTIAL OILS FOR NUTRITION THERAPY:
Proper nutrition is essential for everyone but as we age, it takes on an even greater priority or, it should. For those suffering with any form of dementia and especially those on any kind of pharmaceutical, Whole Food Nutrition isn’t just important … it is an absolute must.
Medications have an extreme impact on the digestive system or the gut. Your gut is literally your second brain, created from the identical tissue as your brain during gestation, and contains larger amounts of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is associated with mood control. It's important to understand that your gut bacteria are an active and integrated part of your body, and as such are heavily dependent on your diet and vulnerable to your lifestyle.
WHERE TO BEGIN:
Recent research 1/2 indicates that; physical and psychological stressors, environmental toxins, medications, processed foods, sugars and more increase inflammation in the gut. This inflammation will interfere with the signals transmitted to the brain.
Depression is often found alongside gastrointestinal inflammations and autoimmune diseases as well as with cardiovascular diseases, neuro-degenerative diseases, type 2-diabetes, dementia and cancer.
A gentle Digestive Cleanse using something as simple as Lemon Oil and PB Assist® will tackle gut inflammation and eliminate many of the toxins residing there, allowing the good bacteria to flourish and aid in the increased production of serotonin and the uptake of much needed whole food nutrients … naturally. This helps to retrain the body's systems filters to function normally once again.
THE IMPORTANCE OF WHOLE FOOD NUTRITION:
An increasing number of clinical studies have shown that treating gastrointestinal inflammations with pro-biotics, vitamin B, D and omega 3 fatty acids, through attenuating pro inflammatory stimuli to the brain, may also improve depression symptoms, general health and quality of life.
According to a study (2015)3 run by the Mental Health Centre of Kayseri Education and Research Hospital, obesity ran at a higher than normal rate among depressed patients and essential vitamin / mineral / fatty acid levels were much lower as well as the ability to uptake nutrients.
WHAT TO TAKE:
A balanced blend of essential antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E, an energy complex of B vitamins, and 800 IU of vitamin D, readily absorbable minerals including calcium, magnesium, and zinc, as well as organic trace minerals for optimal bone and metabolic health, a unique blend of health-promoting polyphenols from a wide variety of some of the healthiest fruits and vegetables, a unique whole food blend of vegetable powders from some of the healthiest vegetables, including the cruciferous vegetables and a botanical blend of pure plant extracts to help calm the stomach for those who may have experienced stomach upset with other vitamin and mineral products.
In addition, a proprietary blend of therapeutic quality essential oils, plant and algae-sourced omega fatty acids that can help support joint, cardiovascular, and brain health; as well as healthy immune system function.*
Now, you can go to a health food store and purchase these supplements individually and in some cases, two or more blended into one tablet. Chances are, most of what you will purchase is synthetic versions of the vitamin or mineral or many supplements contain fillers which the body doesn’t need but who wants to take a handful of pills in addition to medications currently prescribed? I don’t. This entire composition is available in 2 bottles and the dose I would suggest is ½ the recommended dose ( 2 of each per day) until the body acclimates to the improvements in energy levels, brain and digestive function.
Just an FYI to all you caregivers out there … If you plan to give these supplements to your charge, think about taking them yourself. Remember, the stress you are under as a caregiver will have the same negative impact on your body, mind and spirit as it does to your charge. Taking care of YOU is ALL important. If you don’t take care of YOU, who will take care of your charge if something happens to you?
(The supplements described above are available in the Daily Nutrient Pack®)
Stress, medications and often resulting depression and anxiety take a physical toll on the body. The first order is to help bring body systems back into balance.
To reach Regina with your questions or feedback, please, click the link below and fill in the form.
Please join us at http://alternativetherapiesfordementia.blogspot.com/ for upcoming articles.
Next up: Touch and Massage Therapy using Essential Oils – We’ll discuss the recommended oils to use in both therapies and oils for specific disorders / diseases, improved sleep, reducing stress, depression and anxiety as well as effective massage techniques you can easily learn.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Supporting Research on Nutrition:
Note: These links to the latest research on the importance of Nutrition in the treatment of depression, anxiety disorders, panic / panic attack disorders, bi-polar disorders and treatment resistant patients will take you to a web page off this blog.
1. Omega-3 supplementation lowers inflammation and anxiety in medical students: a randomized controlled trial.
Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Belury MA, Andridge R, Malarkey WB, Glaser R.
2. Depressive symptoms, omega-6:omega-3 fatty acids, and inflammation in older adults.
Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Belury MA, Porter K, Beversdorf DQ, Lemeshow S, Glaser R.
3. Evaluation of Nutritional Status of Patients with Depression.
Kaner G, Soylu M, Yüksel N, Inanç N, Ongan D, Bamsrl E.