Wednesday, 29 September 2010

A little-known hormone, Vasopressin

There are many chemical messengers involved in human responses to eachother and abilities to learn but for this post I am going to draw attention to vasopressin because we hear so little about it. Vasopressin is a brain hormone that is released by the pituitary gland. It improves attention, concentration, memory retention, and recall (both short-term and long-term). Vasopressin facilitates more effective learning by helping to "imprint" new information in the memory centres of the brain, a function which cannot be achieved without the action of vasopressin. It is involved in pair bonding and the ability to connect with other people.

Cocaine, LSD, amphetamines, Ritalin, and Cylert (pemoline) cause a release of vasopressin. Frequent use of these drugs can deplete levels of vasopressin with a result of making you slow and dopey.
Alcohol and marijuana, however, inhibit the release of vasopressin. Adding vasopressin when using these drugs will compensate for much of the dopiness caused by them. Nicotine increases vasopressin levels which is maybe one reason there is a tendency to add it to the mix when using alcohol or marijuana.

In my's increasingly obvious how use of various chemicals can significantly interfere with our relationships with others and how  important it is to keep things on an even keel in this regard because it is so confusing to everyone involved when levels of hormones such as vasopressin are being randomly tinkered with. It make sense to adjust our brain chemistry in a more on-goingly sustainable way which i think can be done. Especially now at a time when it seems such an urge for us to collectively link up.

Eka Heart

Will be speaking at Eka Heart on 10th October 2010.

The Pleasure of Delayed Gratification

In Robert Sapolsky's  talk in the post below, he describes how the chemical messenger dopamine operates when humans and other primates engage in goal orientated activity (work).   It seems that when the brain gets the signal that activity is to be performed with the promise of reward dopamine levels go up - until the work is finished and in fact the levels of dopamine can back to the original levels by the time the reward arrives.  It's seems that it's the anticipation that triggers the rise of dopamine rather than the reward itself.

Dopamine is quite a euphoriant - the effects of cocaine for example are based on it.  So we can see how it is possible to get such a kick out of work and goal orientated tasks.  Dopamine improves motivation and satisfaction, helps us pay attention, improves memory and cognition, enjoyment of activity and movement.  It is deficient in cases of attention deficit disorder.

An interesting piece of research that Robert Sapolsky draws attention to is that the dopamine levels rise highest when there is a 50% chance of reward - there is even more euphoria from goal orientated activity when there is an element of risk it seems.  It seems that the uncertainties and need to perform well to get the reward boost levels of this brain enhancing chemical.  This gives us a biochemical explanation of the enjoyment of engaging in some kind of self-directed enterprise over  a wage paid job!

Of course there are many implications of all this but the one that really strikes me is the intense satisfaction of working hard towards a inspiring visionary goal for the future and being able to forego some instant pleasures in lieu of this.  And as well as short term goals to have a magnificent long term goal that includes them and yet stretches out into a time when we transcend all this seems to me to be key to the greatest life satisfaction right now.  With our cerebral hemispheres restored, we don't yet know quite how our brain biochemistry would operate and we don't know whether this perception of goals in the future would be part of the picture, but for now it seems essential for our mental well-being.

On the food front, in order to have the raw materials to make dopamine we need enough of the amino acid tyrosine in our diet.  Animal derived sources (such as raw dairy in the vegetarian sphere) are much richer in tyrosine than plant sources.  Unfermented soy can inhibit conversion of tyrosine into dopamine.  Also watch out for caffeine which boosts dopamine levels for a while after which they crash - as with some other stimulants.  Caffeine also lowers serotonin levels.

Thyroid hormones are needed to convert tyrosine to dopamine and it is important that the the thyroid gets enough iodine, a mineral which so often lacking in our diets because of depleted soils - we can include sea vegetables, unrefined sea salt, kelp or  a more concentrated iodine supplement.  Chlorine and fluoride in tap water interfere with uptake of iodine so stick to spring water or purified water and avoid fluoride toothpastes.

Omega 3 fish oils (try fermented fish oil - also rich in fat soluble vitamins) are helpful especially if you also avoid heated and processed vegetable oils which compete with the omega 3's.  Vitamin D is  a hormone that directs the conversion of tyrosine into dopamine and the related neurotransmitters adrenaline and norepinephrine.  It orchestrates much of this action through its relationship with calcium which is involved in controlling brain cells.  So now we are getting to this time of year in the northern latitudes get to a sunshower/sunbed  or eat vitamin D rich foods like raw butter.  For these darker months the sun does not rise high enough in northern latitudes to give the UVB light necessary for us to manufacture vitamin D from sun exposure.
There is a list of raw dairy suppliers including raw butter here.

Monday, 20 September 2010

The Most Important Discovery in Recorded History

Last seen on Saturday at Out of the Ordinary festival, this phenomenal presentation is gathering momentum as it does the circuit this year.  The depth of content has been increasing and interest has been gathering - not to be missed!

Explaining the headline: The most important discovery in human history is how we lost, and how we might regain full consciousness.   What happened before recorded history was almost certainly much more marvellous - and another matter - we began to record history as we began to lose our consciousness and therefore our eidetic memory.

Out of the Ordinary

Just been at Out of the Ordinary festival where I did a talk and made some lovely connections - thanks! - all round a really nice few days in every respect.

I still have some bargain editions of my little book Recreating the Psychoactive Forest - due to a printing error (my fault) I have had to sellotape the covers together - the contents are all there and intact.  It was great to be able to sell so many at the festival at this time when so many people are counting their pennies while this information is so needed.

More details to be confirmed soon of Food for Consciousness event on Saturday 27th November in Totnes, Devon.  Speakers will include Tony Wright (Root Cause of Human Insanity), Paul Foster (Hemp nutrition and biological lifestyle etc), Philip Ridley (Weston A. Price Foundation).  I will speak about practical nutrition and lifestyle embracing the knowledge and wisdom coming from all these points of view - these speakers have been invited based on the superb information they convey, their ability to convey it and their integrity in living it.  Entry will be by donation -  all you have to do is get yourself there for a treat of a day and a chance to interact with people on similar paths.  Delicious high nutrition refreshments will be available.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

The Sacred Feminine

Here Tony Wright explains that in our undegenerated state there really isn't so much difference psychologically between men and women.  The perplexing differences we currently experience  are really different manifestations of brain damage - the symptoms have manifested differently because of our different hormone levels to start with.

'My take and terminology is intentionally rational as it appears to be the dominant mode of communication in the hierarchical/patriarchal systems. My objective is to infiltrate those systems with a ‘concept’ that breaks the rational minds deluded grip in a language even it understands.
So rather than discuss philosophy I would say there is a biological/hormonal mechanism with a gender related outcome that explains the emergence of patriarchal societies in terms of neurological degeneration due to hormone damage during early development. This is not a male only condition, it just hits males harder leading to extremes in symptomology, more madness/fear/control at one end yet paradoxically more insight, cognitive ability etc at the other. Archaically I don’t think there was much gender difference in perception/psychology, the fully functional neo-cortext (advanced lens of perception, temple of light/house of god, whatever) facilitated access or self-recognition of a profound sense of beingness without gender. Even now, push the limits/depth of our perceptual equipment and the ‘experience’ reported regardless of gender is remarkably similar. Brief summary here
More accessible accounts here
One thing I’m convinced of, there is no way to think our selves out of the mess we are in, that is part of our current delusion, concepts or ideas alone no matter how elegant, insightful or well intended will make no meaningful difference if we are neurologically compromised in modern language or deluded and fallen from grace re the universal accounts of our pre rational history.'!/topic.php?uid=126548109135&topic=14638

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Touching Honesty

 from the Love Police

I particularly like the last two minutes - they seem to sum up what so many people are coming to...