Currently in the world there are an astounding 350 million people who are suffering from some form of depression. That’s 5% of the world population. As this condition becomes a more popular diagnosis, there needs to be alternatives to the common antidepressant prescription. Antidepressants can work wonders and perform miracles, but they can still leak toxins into the body that can cause addiction, worse health problems, and other mental health conditions. Depression is often caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. Depression medications can cure these imbalances but usually leave some side effects including nausea, weight gain, insomnia, dry mouth, and blurred vision. For some people the side effects are minimal and almost absent, but for others the side effects can be as horrible as the depression. Many of those people are searching for a new type of treatment, one that can cure them without doing a different kind of harm.

A New Alternative To Antidepressants

A new option has recently debuted in the medical world. A natural medication that can help treat depression as well, if not better than previous depression medications.This new miracle is magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral that the body naturally craves and recent studies have shown that 248 mg of magnesium per day can lead to an astounding reversal of depression symptoms.

Thanks to a rise in pharmaceutical prices, medication is often pricey and it can be tough to afford necessary medications. Depression medication can cost anywhere from $30.00-$200.00 per month. Over the course of a year this amount can build up to quite an expense. Unfortunately many people can not afford these rises and therefore can no longer afford their medications. One of the greatest things about the recent discovery of magnesium and its medicinal properties is that people can take magnesium for just pennies a day. Magnesium is an effective approach to treating depression and eliminating side effects. It is safer and cheaper than other prescription therapies and drugs.

How to Get Magnesium

There are many foods that naturally contain magnesium like spinach, Swiss chard, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, and almonds. Each of these example have at least 75 mg of magnesium per serving so eating 3 to 4 servings would account for your intake for the day. Or if it is easier for you can purchase a supplement pill to take every day instead.

Taking your daily dose of magnesium can really help improve your mental health as well as your physical health. Not only is magnesium great for helping with depression, but magnesium has a whole list of other wonderful benefits. Magnesium is great for brain health, kidney health, and cardiovascular health. Turning to natural remedies could save you a lot of a money in a year and it will help your body to heal without all the harsh chemicals and side effects. Natural is the way to go, it’s great for your body and great for your pocket. If you are curious, give it a try, stop wondering and make the switch. Your body will thank you later.

Note: Before going off any prescription medication, it is important that you speak to and work closely with your physician.

Source: https://www.healthy-holistic-living.com/magnesium-treats-depression-better-antidepressant-drugs.html?utm_source=DA&utm_content=51885-27ZC

Getting pregnant at the same time among friends is more common than you think.

Finally getting pregnant and starting a family with your husband is a momentous occasion, but to have babies at the same time as your closest friends?

It’s what happened to friends and “Baby Barangay” bloggers Kelly MisaPatty Laurel-Filart and Bianca Santiago-Reinoso. The three women got pregnant at around the same time in 2015; Kelly and Patty’s pregnancies were just days apart. “When I gave birth, she [Patty] gave birth three days after,” Kelly shares in an interview with beauty website Calyxta. And their babies were all boys!Getting pregnant at the same time as your closest friends may sound surprising, but it may be more common than you think. According to a 2014 study led by Nicoletta Balbo and Nicola Barban, which was published in the journal American Sociological Association, a friend’s pregnancy “positively influences an individual’s risk of becoming a parent.”

Researchers analyzed data on 1,720 women who participated in a national study of adolescent health in the United States from mid-1990s to mid-2000s. They tracked female participants who were at least 15 years old in 1995, and through home interviews done for the study, researchers found out that more than half of the women bore a child by the time the final interviews were finished in 2008 or 2009.

Some of these women were friends with at least 10 other participants, and researchers used this information to find patterns among group of friends as they grew older. They found that those who were close in high school and remained friends through later years had a “strong contagion element for planned pregnancy.”

“We found this effect to be short-term and inverse U-shaped: an individual’s risk of childbearing starts increasing after a friend’s childbearing, reaches a peak around two years later, then decreases,” says Balbo and Barban.

These findings complement a previous 2011 German study where researchers concluded that friends had significantly stronger effects on fertility than siblings. In that study, researchers said that the likelihood of a woman getting pregnant increases with every peer who has given birth within the past three years.

Apart from getting pregnant at the same time, another report published in the Demographic Research says that there have been “extensive historical evidence on the correlation between friendships and birth rates.” Here, researchers said that social mechanisms may affect friends’ decisions to have a small or large number of children.

Calling it the “fertility influence,” researchers from Balbo’s study suggest three possible reasons why simultaneous pregnancies occur among friends:

1. Social learning. Women may be more inspired to become mothers when they see a close friend being successful at it.

2. Social influence. Women may feel that they’re being “left behind” when all their friends are starting their motherhood journey. (In millennial speak, we call this FOMO or “fear of missing out. But, of course, we take this info with a grain of salt.)

3. Cost-sharing. If close friends get pregnant at the same time, they can save on money by coordinating activities and childcare.

Whatever the reason may be for this phenomenon, having a friend to share your journey with should feel incredible, especially since you’ll be enjoying the perks of being pregnant together!

Source: https://www.smartparenting.com.ph/pregnancy/getting-pregnant/pregnancy-contagious-a00228-20180117

The witching hour began around 5 p.m. each day. I had two hands and three babies: twin 18-month-old boys and an infant daughter, all of whom were perpetually in the throes of a crisis, fall, or unpredictable bowel movement. My husband would be coming home from a new job and a three-hour round-trip commute, and my stepdaughter would be rolling in from middle school with teenage needs. They were always walking into a war zone.

I didn’t need to chitchat and be asked, “How was your day?” I didn’t need “I love you” either, or even “Thanks for all you’re doing.” I needed the person to walk through the door, roll up their sleeves, survey the situation, and pitch in. I needed help, stat.

So how could I get my fellow soldiers up to speed quickly and help me where the crisis was most intense? I needed them to be ready, and I needed to communicate the plan. So I asked my husband and stepdaughter to ask me the following as soon as they walked through the door: “How can I help?”

Four small, powerful words. They moved us immediately into collaboration, into a place of teamwork. It was the fastest way to integrate them into the moment and get the help I needed. They were no longer observers of crisis; they were EMTs, and we were moving to the next step, side by side.

Soldiers, emergency room doctors, and anyone else who deals in crisis has a shorthand for “I’m here; put me to work where you need me most.” I had spent years working in restaurants, and I knew what it felt like to be deep in the weeds—and more importantly, how to help a fellow chef out of the weeds. I had regularly appeared on live TV, and I had seen network crews do a form of this as well.

Now that I was in caregiver mode, I was always responding to what everyone else needed—or anticipating the needs of those who couldn’t speak. What I needed was someone to help me.

As soon as my husband and stepdaughter started using the mantra (and following up on the request that was made), that pile of dishes in the sink, that dirty diaper that needed to be changed, that hungry child who wanted a snack—suddenly, those to-do items were crossed off my list, lightening my mental load. I had less weight to carry.

In the spring of 2017, a cartoonist named Emma wrote an illustrated story about the “mental load,” the implicit project management work that lands in the lap of (typically female) primary caregivers. This resonated globally, and soon the phrase “mental load” was plastered across social media, everywhere.

“How can I help?” doesn’t solve the mental load, but it acknowledges the role of the caregiver as team leader and the other adults in the home as part of the team. Someone’s gotta quarterback the logistics of children. But the same person can’t be the quarterback and the receiver. “How can I help?” enables you to quarterback and creates a domestic culture of receivers ready for the pass, prepared to complete the play.

Image: Sidney Morgan

It’s never too early to start delegating work to others. Kelli DeFlora, owner of Montclair B.A.B.Y., a birth, advocacy, breastfeeding, and yoga center in Montclair, New Jersey, recommends having a list on the fridge as soon as the baby is born. “There’s always laundry to do, dishes to wash, and meals to make. When well-intentioned friends and relatives come through the door, you can say that the best way they can help is to take an item from the list and cross it off when it’s done,” says DeFlora.

“I see too many parents these days who try to do everything for their child, and disable them in the process,” says Peter Della Bella, M.D., a psychiatrist and New York University child psychiatry professor. Dr. Della Bella supports the “How can I help?” approach to family problem-solving. “Younger children, especially, are put in the position of being active participants, having to reflect, and having to work with someone to identify and solve problems. Arguably, problem-solving skills are the best skills parents can engender in a child.”

If you’d like to implement “How can I help?” in your home, try these techniques to make it part of your family fabric:

  1. Connect with your partner purposefully about roles in the home. Clarify who is taking primary responsibility for home care, childcare, finances, food, etc. Get clear about who is the lead on what.
  2. Share this article with your partner. Confirm that you’re both interested in using this technique.
  3. Have each project lead identify the trouble spots (or witching hours) in their role. When do they feel like they’re getting pulled into the weeds? Are there specific times of day, of the month, of the year, when the responsibility starts to get stressful?
  4. Role model “How can I help?” Now that you know where your partner needs help, say the words. Role model this behavior for your children if they are old enough. Find opportunities to use it on a daily basis: navigating out of traffic, spilled milk, sharing the laundry folding, etc. “How can I help?” can fast be applied in almost any tense scenario or moment of conflict.
  5. If help isn’t coming, ask for it directly. Say, “I need your help.” Pause for positive response, connect for a second, then delegate. Have a follow-up, and give positive feedback if it worked.

Can you imagine your partner, family, and friends walking through the door during the witching hour, asking what needs to be done, and then doing it? On the regular?

It’s the greatest phrase since “I love you,” and I say greater because the “I love you” is implied. And to it is an added “I got your back,” “We’re in this together,” and of course, “This is our family.”

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/why-saying-i-love-you-is-not-enough

Think your flow looks different this month? Here’s what its hue could mean.

Your period may show up every month and annoy you with the cramps, bloating, and fatigue that come along with it, but it deserves a little respect. Your monthly flow can actually provide a lot of insight into your overall health. For instance, if you’re struggling with irregular periods, that’s a sign you may be dealing with a thyroid problem, polycystic ovary syndrome, or a hormone imbalance, or that you’re underweight. And if it doesn’t show up at all, well, you might want to try a pregnancy test.

The color of your period blood may also provide some insights into what else is going on inside your body. It can come in a rainbow of shades from pink and whitish to bright red and even dark brown. Here, we explore what each period blood color might mean—and let you know when it’s time to call your doctor.

If it’s pinkish…


You may have low estrogen levels, especially if the pink blood is accompanied by a lighter-than-usual flow, or if you’re an avid runner, says New York-based functional medicine nurse practitioner Margaret Romero. Studies have found that excessive exercise can lower estrogen levels, which can subsequently mess with your period, sometimes causing it to disappear altogether. (It’s not uncommon for female professional athletes to stop ovulating.)

While this may not seem like a big deal (who hasn’t fantasized about never having to deal with a period at least once or twice?), low estrogen levels can increase your risk of osteoporosis if left untreated. So if you’ve recently started training for a marathon, have started working out for the first time in your life, or have upped the intensity of your workouts and you notice that your periods are suddenly lighter in color and flow or less frequent, talk to your doctor.

Romero says other potential culprits of a pinkish flow can include poor nutrition, PCOS, or perimenopause, which is when your ovaries start producing less estrogen in preparation for menopause (generally, it occurs around four to five years before menopause).

If it’s watery-looking…


You may have a nutritional deficiency. Alyssa Dweck, MD, assistant clinical professor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, says that a white-ish, diluted flow can be a symptom of severe anemia, especially if you notice your period getting lighter and lighter when it would ordinarily get a bit heavier. If, after monitoring your period for two or three cycles, you’re worried that this could be the case, talk to your doctor about getting tested for nutritional deficiencies.

To make matters a little more confusing, an iron deficiency might instead be caused by heavy periods. (A Finnish study that examined 236 women with heavy periods found that 27% were iron deficient and 60% were severely anemic.) If you bleed through pads or tampons in less than an hour, wake up at night to change your pads or tampons several times, or are always tired, it can’t hurt to get your iron levels checked.

If it’s dark brown…

dark brown

You may have older bits of uterine lining and blood that are just now making their way out of your body. But don’t panic: This is normal. “We’re not sure why this happens in all cases, but sometimes the blood is sitting around for a while and comes out particularly slowly,” Dr. Dweck says. “It has a lot of time to oxidize, which is why it can look brown or almost black.”

Everyone will shed her uterine lining at a different rate (like snowflakes, each period is unique), but for the most part, seeing some dark brown blood at the beginning of your period or toward the end of it is nothing to worry about.

If it’s a thick jam-colored red with large clots…

jam colored

You may have low progesterone levels and high estrogen levels. While some clotting is normal, says Dr. Dweck, clots the size of a quarter or larger can indicate a serious hormonal imbalance. Romero recommends reducing your consumption of dairy, soy, and sugar and seeing if that makes a difference.

Fibroids are another possibility. They’re most often benign, but they can be painful, so if you suspect they’re behind your heavy, clot-filled periods, ask your doctor for an ultrasound.

If it’s a mix of gray and red…

mix gray red

You may have an infection. You’ll probably also experience a really “foul, necrotic stench,” Dr. Dweck says. Get tested so you can get the right treatment.

Women who miscarry sometimes notice gray chunks of tissue that look like “liver,” Dr. Dweck says, so if you think there’s a possibility that you’re pregnant or having a miscarriage, call your doctor ASAP.

If it’s a bright, cranberry red…


You may have a healthy, regular period. Again, everybody’s “normal” will look different, but generally speaking, a consistently bright red flow that looks a little like cherry Kool-Aid is a signal that everything is working as it should.

Source: https://www.prevention.com/health/a20503433/color-of-your-period-blood-and-health/

There are some days you just cannot resist the urge to indulge when someone offers you a free doughnut in the office. It might feel like your impulsive choices are arbitrary, but if you pay attention, there may actually be a clear pattern for which days you can’t control the cravings. According to new research, your self-control plummets the day after a sleepless night. Why? Stress.

In a new study published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, researchers asked 211 college undergraduates to complete an online survey every night for 30 days. In it, they were asked about things like how much they slept the night before, their alcohol use, the current day’s activities and events (for example, if they were having a conflict with a friend), and how stressful their day had been. The researchers also specifically tracked how much difficulty the participants were experiencing with self-control by having them either agree or disagree with three statements: “Right now my mind feels unfocused,” “Right now my mental energy is running low,” and “Right now I am having a hard time controlling my urges.”

“We found that after a night of shorter sleep than usual, participants reported having greater self-control difficulties than usual,” Garrett Hisler, a research assistant at Iowa State University and one of the study authors, explained to mindbodygreen.

Part of this effect was because sleep loss made the day more stressful than usual, which then increased self-control difficulties. “Thus, sleep loss both directly made self-control more difficult but also indirectly made self-control more difficult by increasing stress,” Hisler explained.

Basically, in addition to sleeplessness itself weakening your willpower, your self-control is further compromised because of exhaustion-induced stress, making it even harder to say no to your vice of choice. When you’re perceiving more stress, self-control feels way more difficult, leading you to make a variety of bad choices.

Just being aware of the relationship between sleep, stress, and self-control is beneficial and may encourage you to think your way through a self-control obstacle. However, the best thing you can do to avoid temptation altogether is get the right amount of sleep every night, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates is “at least seven hours.”

“If you are on a diet and trying to resist the temptation of sugary foods, making sure you are getting enough sleep can be one way to reduce stress and increase the likelihood that you successfully resist their allure,” Hisler said.

If you are having trouble sleeping, there are several things you can do to combat insomnia, according to experts. Try shutting down any blue light sources—your phone, iPad, computer, the like—an hour before bed, keeping your thermostat between 62 and 80 degrees, and avoiding caffeine after noon. You’ll start to feel your impulse control kicking back into gear in no time.

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/why-you-just-cant-say-no-to-sweets

From essentials oils to candles to bath products, lavender’s soothing qualities have become a fixture in the a variety of stress-zapping wellness products. However, some people aren’t convinced that the violet-colored flower can actually help promote calm. Well, here’s some scientific evidence for all you non-believers: According to a new study done on mice, the aroma of lavender can actually provide stress relief.

“Many people take the effects of ‘odor’ with a grain of salt,” study author Hideki Kashiwadani, a physiologist and neuroscientist at Kagoshima University in Japan, said in an email to the New York Times. “But among the stories, some are true based on science.”

In the study, which was published on October 23 in Frontiers in Behavioral Neurosciencescientists enlisted the help of several mice with healthy noses. They had each mouse inhale linalool—a naturally occurring alcohol in lavender that gives the flower its unique scent. They compared them with mice injected with linalool and those on benzodiazepines. What the scientists found was that the scent alone—not its absorption into the blood—had a seriously relaxing effect on the mice’s brain.

Kashiwadani says that linalool’s calming effect is the result of the activation of specific neurotransmitter receptors in the brain via the specialized sensory cells called olfactory neurons. The most amazing thing about it is scientists found that inhaling lavender had a similar effect on the brain as taking benzodiazepines such as Valium. While this type of drugs can cause dizziness or light headedness, mice that inhaled lavender suffered no side effects.

While more studies need to be conducted (ideally on humans), he believes that lavender will be used clinically in the near future. For example, it can be used before surgery to help alleviate preoperative stress. Until that time comes, there’s no reason not to infuse a little lavender into your life.

Here are a few easy ways to do it:

Invest in essential oil

Lavender essential oil is budget-friendly and just a dab on your wrist can keep you in relaxation mode all day long. You can also use an essential oil diffuser to infuse the scent throughout your home.

Add it to your bath

Lavender oil, salts or bubble bath are an easy way to add a little relaxation to your bath time routine.

Try a lavender-infused cleaning product

There are lots of cleaning products that incorporate lavender into their scent. Mrs. Meyers has an entire collection of lavender-infused household cleaners, ranging from multi-purpose cleaners to laundry detergent.

Hang a fragrant wreath

Infuse some relaxation and a dash of color into your home life by hanging a lavender flower wreath on your bedroom door.

Make lavender lemonade or tea

Prepare a lavender syrup by heating lavender buds and sugar together in a small saucepan. Allow the sugar to dissolve and form into a syrup. Remove it from the heat. Using a sieve, filter out the lavender buds. Add a tablespoon of the lavender syrup to your iced tea with some fresh lemon for a cooling and relaxing beverage. You can also brew some lavender tea by brewing lavender buds in a sachet or tea ball. Just make sure to inhale before every sip!

Stash lavender sachets everywhere

Lavender sachets–bags filled with lavender leaves—are easy to make and inexpensive. Put them next to your bed, in your underwear drawers or even in your purse, and enjoy the relaxing benefits of linalool wherever you are.

Source: https://www.prevention.com/health/a24109574/lavender-for-anxiety/

With the seasons changing, you may be faced with a decision—to take or not take the antibiotic your doctor is recommending. Antibiotics can be necessary to treat some bacterial infections, but taking them causes many to think, “Oh no! My gut!” because of previous research that links antibiotic use with throwing our bacterial composition out of whack. New research is allowing us to breathe a little easier, indicating that antibiotics might not be as destructive to gut health as previously thought.

In a new study, scientists examined the effects of short-term intensive antibiotic use on the gut microbiota, and while antibiotics can deplete our gut of beneficial bacteria, it appears as though the body has the ability to replenish itself to a certain extent.

In the study, three different types of antibiotics were given to young men over the course of four days, and this depleted the gut of almost all beneficial gut bacteria. The participants were monitored over a six-month period, and the gut did recover most of the gut bacteria after six months, but the men were missing nine beneficial gut bacteria species. On top of that, new detrimental bacteria strains were detected in the mix.

While this is generally good news, the concern remains that multiple antibiotic treatments over the course of a lifetime could permanently eliminate beneficial bacteria in the gut, altering the diversity in the gut microbiota permanently. This is important to consider as the health of our gut microbiota plays a major role in things like our metabolic and cardiovascular health.

If you do have to take antibiotics, there are ways you can help your body recover. Functional medicine doctor Mark Hyman, M.D., recommends eating a low-carb diet and taking prebiotics and probiotics.

Prebiotics are considered a soluble fiber and can be found naturally in onions and sweet potatoes. For more probiotics, try incorporating more pineapple, tempeh, or miso into your day-to-day. Multi-strain probiotics can also be taken in capsule form.

As mbg expert and gut specialist Vincent M. Pedre, M.D., points out, incorporating a mix of the two is essential for gut health. As prebiotics feed the good bacteria, probiotics defend against bad bacteria and parasites. When the two are taken together, you can be sure you are on the road to better gut health.

So, when the time comes and you need to take antibiotics—and fingers crossed you stay well—rest assured knowing your body is doing what it can to recover, but it can’t hurt to help it along.

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/antibiotic-use-could-decrease-the-diversity-of-our-gut-microbiota