Wednesday, January 28, 2009

'Breathe, Not Botox'

I finally returned to yoga after a little 'sabbatical' (eg, holiday cheer, parties) and this fantastic teacher gave us incredible instructions (lotta newbies in class as it's still Jan). . . 'Breathe, not botox' for radiant, glowing skin and staying young. HAA aahhaa that's a new one for me!

Well, apparently she's totally R-I-G-H-T ON. Several new beauty products on the market contain neuropeptides (again pricey $$$ Perricone and Kinerase C8) claim to increase skin collagen and prevent/reduce wrinkles and 'AGE CONTROL'. HHHhhhMMMmmm... really...?

She explained that during spinal twists and deep breathing, our spinal fluid (CSF) is manipulated and gently encouraged to circulate more freely...releasing longevity-promoting substances. Wow. Neurobiology in yoga. She remarked that yogi's are known to have youthful looking skin and this is why. (It's true...have you seen Rodney Yee, the master? He doesn't look a day over 17.)

Articles and a Few Rare Scientific Studies

Neuropeptides: Their Significance in the Skin

Neuropeptide (Hexapeptide Argireline):
A synthetic hexapeptide (Argireline) with antiwrinkle activity.
Preparation and stability of cosmetic formulations with an anti-aging peptide.
Nanotechnology, cosmetics and the skin: is there a health risk?

Newest kid on the block (Octapeptide, SNAP-8)
Tech specs

Mammalian Neuropeptide Y (NPY)
Recently, I posted about neuropeptides generated in our nervous tissue like the brain and nervous tissue, as they relate to melatonin and pheromones. CSF bathes our brain and spine (have you heard of 'spinal taps'? not the music... ) and moves all along our spine and through the ventricles of the brain. Neuropeptides work through even our sweat glands and muscles (yeah, wrinkle producing ones) in our skin because our nervous system is like a super duper octupus which has far-reaching tentacles that innervate EVERYTHING. Scientists have found high concentrations of neuropeptides in healing tissue after trauma, burns and inflammatory conditions (psoriasis, vitiligo, atopic dermatitis). Centenarians in Poland have higher concentrations of NPY (neuropeptide Y) in their blood compared to younger folks, elderly (below age 70) and obese individuals. Animals experience many relaxing effects when they were injected with NPY into the brain: lower heart rate, improved energy regulation, enhanced the feeding-induced insulin response, less adrenaline (norepi), and improved parasympathetic responses (eg, calming restorative effects that occur typically when we're feeding or sleeping). Can't find skin radiating and anti-wrinkle benefits for NPY...but I betcha they exist *haHAA*
Neuroendocrine control of metabolic homeostasis in Polish centenarians.
Hormonal and metabolic effects of paraventricular hypothalamic administration of neuropeptide Y during rest and feeding.
Neuropeptide Y: anatomical distribution and possible function in mammalian nervous system.

How is NYP Increased?
Yoga -- which is the equivalent of pro-active R&R. (Interestingly, the below researchers did not find NYP overflow from the brain which I don't know if that is related to tight junctures at the blood-brain-barrier preventing it from leaving the brain confines?) Scientists measured concentrations of NYP and found that at rest human subjects produced the greatest amounts during rest and about 25% as much during exercise.
Region-Specific Neuropeptide Y Overflows at Rest and During Sympathetic Activation in Humans

"The net overflow of neuropeptide Y to plasma observed at rest across the hepatic circulation, but not the cardiac, forearm, or cerebral circulations, indicates that the gut, the liver, or both make a major contribution to systemic plasma neuropeptide Y levels in humans. Sympathetic activation by exercise produced a modest increase in cardiac neuropeptide Y overflow but to only approximately 25% of the resting input from the gut and without a change in arterial neuropeptide Y concentration."

Regress...To Progress??
As new technology emerges to fast track our health and looks, I can't help but be stunned by the simple realization that we can achieve the same exact things by just getting back to the basics (Paleo): twist and play, dance, yoga, meditate, sleep well, and rest/relax.

Do we need to 'regress' to progress...??

The below commentary by Japanese investigators distills many of my thoughts regarding ancient, historical healers recognized in different cultures and times. In modern conventional medicine, where's the harmony..? Here's Dr. Davis take on Prospecting for Health.
--China: Qi Gong Master/Herbalist
--Native America: The Shaman
--India: Ayurvedic Healer
--Ancient Korea/Asia: Gwan-seum, Bodhisattva of healing and mercy; 8th Century statue at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts)
--Ancient Japan: Yakushi, the Buddha of Healing and Medicine
--Ancient China/Asia: Guan Yin medicinal, merciful goddess (see picture)
--Ancient Greece: Asclepius, son of Apollo, and his 5 daughters including Hygiea (pharmacy)

The New World of Medicine: Prospecting For Health.
Go VL, Champaneria MC. Nippon Naika Gakkai Zasshi. 2002 Sep 20;91 Suppl:159-63.
UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Throughout past millennia, human beings have shared the common goal of improving health for longevity. However, different cultures around the world have developed their own approaches to achieve this goal. Various traditions have emerged, rendering distinct medical systems such as Ayurveda, Yoga, Chinese-Japanese medicine, shamanism, and Native American healing. Traditional medicine involves a holistic approach to the human body to integrate healing with culture, environment, and tradition. Modern allopathic medicine originated from Greco-Roman Medicine and Northern European traditions and is built on the science of anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry and the structure-function relationship between cells, tissues, and organs. This foundation focuses on diagnosis, treatment, and cure for acute illnesses via potent pharmaceutical drugs, surgery, radiation, and other treatment modalities. Within this past century, we have doubled the life-span of human beings. Genomic medicine, including stem cell research, cloning, and gene therapy, will increase our capability to treat even more diseases. In the new millennium, we face more chronic illnesses related to aging, environment, and lifestyle, such as cancer, diabetes. osteoporosis, and cardiovascular diseases. Thus, health care providers face the challenge of prospecting for health and disease prevention. Modern science and medical advancements provide the rationale for the integration of various traditional healing techniques, which have been termed Alternative and Complementary Medicine, to promote healing, health, and longevity. Advances in medicine must include the holistic approach of traditional medicine to face the current challenges in health care. Therefore, the New World of Medicine must fuse the antiquity of ancient healing with the innovations of modern medicine to increase life-expectancy and improve quality of life throughout the world.

PMID: 12426761

Finally, yoga significantly improves mood and reduces stress levels (cortisol) significantly in only 2wks in alcohol rehab subjects. After tequila, do you need rehab? Maybe!

Antidepressant efficacy and hormonal effects of Sudarshana Kriya Yoga (SKY) in alcohol dependent individuals. J Affect Disord. 2006 Aug;94(1-3):249-53. Gangadhar BN et al.

BACKGROUND: Sudarshana Kriya Yoga (SKY) has demonstrable antidepressant effects. SKY was tested for this effect in inpatients of alcohol dependence.
METHODS: Following a week of detoxification management consenting subjects (n=60) were equally randomized to receive SKY therapy or not (controls) for a two-week study.
CONCLUSION: Results extend the antidepressant effects of SKY in alcohol dependence subjects. Reduction in stress-hormone levels (cortisol and ACTH) along with BDI reductions possibly support a biological mechanism of SKY in producing beneficial effects.
PMID: 16740317


Anonymous said...

Wow!! I was reading a bio of a guy who during his vegetarian days had OCD and anxiety (I'm guessing from high wheat/grain intake and too little sat. fat/cholesterol). It made me think of how I've been trying to "do" yoga for the last 5 years to de-stress, stretch and meditate. And after a few minutes I'd get bored - or so I thought!! I think my wheat-consumption caused a lot of ADD-behaviors (certainly a factor in causing my hyper-thyroidism which also resembles ADD: fast heart rate, twitchy, insomnia), which prevented me from being able to sit still and t-h-i-n-k!

Now that I've been 5 months gluten (and casein) free, I've seen a turnaround in my ability to sit still, but noticing it's effecting my anxiety and ability to do yoga!!

Here's one for you: I was at Alum Rock Park in San Jose on Sat and was doing some poses (simple ones: downward facing dog, sun/Son/sunshineVit-salute) on a hill, and thought, wow, this is working different muscles b/c I'm not on a flat, stable surface. It took more balance to hold the pose b/c of the angle of the hill. Try doing yoga on a hilly surface next time - and see if you don't get stronger!!

Love the blog - whole insight for the whole body: heart, mind and soul. Thank you for sharing! - Marisa

Dr. B G said...


I've read that doing Yoga indeed on uneven surfaces greatly increases its strengthening and balances benefits! That's great! YOU ROCK!!!