Eat Your Broccoli

Do you remember when your mom said ‘Eat your broccoli!’? Do you remember how annoying that was? Well, she was right! And the reason is sulforaphane. Sulforaphane in broccoli can greatly reduce your cancer risk, detoxify your system, and even work towards reducing Alzheimer’s.

Sulforaphane protects against depression, cancer and Alzheimer's

It all comes down to the fact that inflammation eventually kills you and sulforaphane can help fight inflammation. No matter how healthy you try to live, you will have inflammation going on somewhere in your body—whether it’s a reaction to pollutants you breathed in, from sunlight, as a reaction to diet and even exercise, or simply aging—there is no way to escape inflammation. Mostly, our bodies do quite a good job of keeping everything under control but given the high exposure to the toxins of a modern world, it makes sense to support our bodies in fighting inflammation. Precisely that’s what sulforaphane does—and very effectively.

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Microdosing LSD: Smart Drug or Placebo?

Microdosing LSD promises to act like a mix of Adderall and Prozac but without the side effects. Sounds too good to be true; is it? Some swear by microdosing while others call it a placebo effect. We researched the scientific explanations why microdosing might actually work, the risks involved and evaluated the evidence as of today. Here is what we found.

Biohackers love microdosing

Microdosing gained currency in Silicon Valley in late 2015 and is spreading like wildfire across the rest of the world. Software developers microdose to enhance their problem-solving capabilities. Biohackers microdose to boost their productivity. People with mood disorders microdose to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.

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Psychedelics and Mental Health

“When you take psilocybin, it’s like taking onboard your own psychotherapist.” said a study participant about his psychedelic experience. A widespread belief about psychedelic drugs is that they can turn users mentally ill; what the data shows, however, is that psychedelics can achieve quite the opposite effect: they afford patients a relief of symptoms. Indeed, a growing body of evidence supports that psychedelic drugs may be extraordinarily effective in treating mood disorder and addiction.

Psychedelics effective in mental disorders

Depression. Anxiety. Addiction. Most everyone of us knows somebody who is battling such a condition. Talk therapies may help, but sometimes they don’t. Antidepressants may help, but sometimes they don’t. Some patients are of the opinion that antidepressants are like “Band-Aids” in the way that they never really tackle the underlying issues of their problems.

I haven’t yet heard psychedelics getting described as “Band-Aids”. What I have heard from users is that psychedelics do something like the opposite: they confront you with your greatest vulnerabilities and help you come to peace with them.

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Your Brain on Psychedelic Drugs

“During my LSD sessions, I would learn a great deal” said Cary Grant about the 100 acid trips he dropped in the search of his true self. “And the result was a rebirth. I finally got where I wanted to go”. Steve Jobs described taking LSD as “a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life”. How is it that we never hear such grand endorsements about heroin, alcohol or cigarettes? What is it about psychedelics that has the power to change lives for the better? The answer might lie in the unique ways that psychedelics interact with the brain. In this post we’ll go deep on the molecular level—in a fun way.

Self-Reflected by Greg A. DunnThis and more stunning artwork is available on gregadunn.com

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The Psychedelic Experience

For someone who has never taken a psychedelic drug it can be difficult to imagine what it’s like. You’ve probably heard of melting walls, tasting colors or kaleidoscopic vision. Such pronounced hallucinations are typically the outcome of high doses of LSD or psilocybin. In moderate doses, however, the effects are more subtle. Colors appear more vivid and patterns may morph slightly, but users usually don’t see things that aren’t actually there.

On TV and in movies, psychedelic experiences are often misrepresented or exaggerated. Looking for more realistic examples of common dose effects I found this photo depicting what someone might see while looking at an otherwise normal patch of grass.

Hallucinogenic vision example Hallucinogenic vision by Chelsea Morgan

It’s still grass, but the colors are amplified and the individual blades of grass seem to compose geometric shapes, maybe you can even detect objects or faces.

The higher the dose, the more intense the hallucinations. The following image demonstrates a visual experience one may get from a slightly higher dose of LSD:

Visual acuity enhancement by StingrayZ

In any case, visual effects are just one aspect of the psychedelic experience. Psychedelic drugs create an altered state of consciousness that I like to describe as interpreting reality in a different way. Others have described it as seeing the world through the unbiased eyes of a child. But if you ask ten other people, you’ll get ten other answers. So, let’s hold the subjective descriptions aside for a moment and look at a quantified model of altered states of consciousness.

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Eat yourself happy

The neurotransmitter serotonin is deeply involved in regulating mood and anxiety. If your brain is low on serotonin, you might feel depressed or irritable. So, what can you do to keep up a steady supply of serotonin? Step number one: eat right.

nutrients in food influence happiness through serotonin in brain

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Psychedelic Drugs and the Serotonergic System

Most of us know someone who has taken antidepressants. But psychedelic drugs? Not so much. Many people believe they are illegitimate and dangerous. You might be surprised to hear that psychedelic drugs like MDMA and LSD have a lot in common with antidepressants. They both work with the same neurotransmitter in the brain: serotonin.

And indeed, antidepressants and psychedelic drugs promise to heal similar mental illnesses and can also have similar side effects. Do you know how they work in the brain? No? Good! That’s exactly what this article is about. Before we can talk about your brain on these drugs, though, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the brain and its serotonergic system. Don’t worry, it’s super fascinating stuff, and easy as 1-2-3:

You can't understand psychedelic drugs and antidepressants without understanding the serotonergic system in the brain first

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Medical benefits of psychedelic drugs

“Psychedelic drugs are poised to be the next major breakthrough in mental health care” writes Scientific American. Dropping acid to treat depression—seriously…?!

Psychedelic drugs proven effective against mental disorders like depression

Psychedelic drugs can seem pretty scary at first. At some point in your life, you’ve probably heard stories about LSD causing schizophrenia, triggering flashbacks, or even making people jump out of windows because they think they can fly.

Some of these stories contain a kernel of truth, while others are simply urban legends. I’ll go into detail about these concerns in later posts—including what the latest scientific research tells us about them.

But for now, try to set aside any horror stories you may have heard. A large and growing body of evidence supports that psychedelic drugs have an acceptable risk-benefit ratio and are worth a closer look.

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Kalbfreundliche Milch aus Österreich

Was Milchproduzenten verschweigen: Kälber werden nach der Geburt von der Mutterkuh getrennt.

Egal ob Biobauernhof oder konventionelle Viehhaltung: Kälber von Milchkühen werden innerhalb der ersten Lebenswoche von ihrer Mutter getrennt, häufig innerhalb weniger Stunden nach der Geburt.

Kühe haben enge Beziehung zu ihrem Kalb

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Having a baby sucks

I’m dead serious—you’re signing up for two years of misery. And nobody is talking about it. Here is my story.

baby doesn't stop crying

Having a baby is worse than the death of your spouse?

Imagine your spouse or partner, the most important person in the world died. Horrible, right? Well, according to a 2015 study having a baby is worse. In numbers, it’s 50 percent worse than the death of your partner or being unemployed. The birth of your first child is almost three times as bad as a divorce.

relative loss of happiness after child birth, unemployment, divorce of death of partner

There you have it: Having a baby sucks.

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The Skeptic's Guide to Embracing Homeopathy

You know homeopathy is bogus; but your child doesn’t! The Power of Placebo: How you and your family can get a great deal out of homeopathy without actually believing in it.

argument if homeopathy works

My mom and I have had this conversation a gazillion times. Then, last Christmas, we got into a full-blown fight.

fight about efficacy of homeopathy

Study after study shows, that homeopathy has no effect beyond placebo. Same is true for acupuncture, cupping and some other types of so called complementary medicine. The placebo effect however is powerful and worth further investigation.

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Deodorants Don't Cause Breast Cancer

Many people believe that antiperspirants cause breast cancer, especially if applied after shaving. Here is why you can happily use your antiperspirant and why you might want to throw it out anyway.

does aluminum cause cancer

I have tried very hard to stay away from antiperspirants for the last few years because someone told me that the aluminum in them causes breast cancer. Back then, I googled this claim and found plenty of posts agreeing with this statement and thus believed it. It was pretty difficult to make the switch from antiperspirants to deodorants at the beginning, but I’ve simply gotten used to it 5 years down the line, although for eventful/stressful occasions I still bring out my very effective bottle of antiperspirant. I decided it was time to investigate sweating, deodorants and antiperspirants and whether there was any truth to this lifestyle change. Turns out, there isn’t much. But there’s a lot we should all be aware of.

Why we sweat at all
How deodorants and antiperspirants work
Can aluminum in antiperspirants cause cancer?
Brand-new approach to odors

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Cannabis and Breastfeeding. The Facts.

How much THC makes it into breast milk? Can it get a baby “high”? What are the long-term effects on the child?

I nursed my daughter for more than 1.5 years. You bet, I had a glass of wine from time to time. I knew how long it would take my body to clear the alcohol so that—after a couple of hours—I could feed again without exposing my child to any risk.

With cannabis, nursing mothers are pretty much groping in the dark.

Marijuana is legal in half of the States in the US and legal-ish in 16 other countries around the world. And mothers out there are wondering under which circumstances medical or recreational cannabis use is safe while breastfeeding.

The official guideline is that breastfeeding women should not use cannabis. This is because not enough is known about the topic to state “safe amounts” to mothers. I wasn’t satisfied with that answer, so I kept on digging. Here, I’ll present an overview of the scientific facts, so that you can make up your own mind.

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Human Metabolism of THC

It’s widely-known that Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the active ingredient in cannabis and the reason people experience a psychological high. Less widely-known, however, is what happens to THC in the body and how that impacts the psychological high.

Thumbnail-Infographic-Human-Metabolism-THC

This post presents a summary of scientific research on the human metabolism of THC—visualized and explained in simple language.

Originally, my goal was to write on the effect of cannabis in breast milk (update: which I now did) but as I got deeper into the subject matter I became fascinated with the metabolic pathway of THC and what that means for its psychological effect. I learned why—also on a molecular level—cannabis turns into a different kind of drug when it is eaten vs. smoked, why it has such a long half-life in the body and how inhalation technique greatly impacts bioavailability. I spent two months reading my way through scientific papers not freely available to the public, analyzing original data and making sense of it all. The majority of sources for this post are from scientific journals and occasionally from Wikipedia for definition purposes.

I was surprised that I couldn’t find any infographics on the subject. So after collecting all this data, I decided to create an infographic myself that sums up the human metabolism of THC. Enjoy and feel free to share it. I encourage you however, to read the post as well, since it contains additional information that goes beyond the infographic.

To understand the pathway of THC in the human body, you must first understand what THC does when it hits your body. You might find the biochemistry part at the beginning challenging. I certainly did when I started applying myself to the topic. Believe me, it’s worth it—I promise the reading gets easier and incredibly interesting further on.

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What Zika is and how to avoid it

Why should we care about Zika? News of the Zika virus is all around, but how dangerous is it really? And is Zika relevant for people who are not intending to have kids? Here’s my four-part journey on what we actually know and don’t know about the Zika virus to date.

Part 1: What is Zika and why is it in the news?
Part 2: What diseases does Zika cause? How do I know if I have Zika?
Part 3: How do I avoid getting Zika?
Part 4: What’s the future of the Zika virus?

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Sind Bio-Kühe glücklich?

Ich esse gerne Rindfleisch. Bilder von industrieller Tierhaltung fahren mir aber durch Mark und Bein. Deswegen verbringe ich gefühlte Stunden vor dem Kühlregal im Supermarkt und vergleiche Etiketten auf Frischfleisch.

Wenn ich im Schnitt 70% mehr Geld für Bio-Rindfleisch ausgebe, möchte ich zwei Dinge wissen: erstens, auf welche Bio-Siegel kann ich mich verlassen? Und zweitens, ist eine Bio-Kuh auch wirklich glücklich?

Bio Logos Österreich

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