Curebiome Naturopathic

6 Cancer Prevention Strategies

Six strategies for prevention (and potential management) of cancer

 

Cancer stinks, and in today’s world almost everyone knows someone who has or had one form of cancer or another. There is a ton of literature and even more people telling us their opinions (whether right or wrong). So I’m sharing three less known cancer prevention strategies and three more well studied ways to prevent cancer, all of which are being used to support treatment of certain cancers. Hopefully some of these will be familiar to you, others may be new or surprising.

Mitochondrial Support

If you’ve read our article on mitochondria (tk link) and cancer, then you already know that it’s extremely common for mitochondria to be abnormal in almost every cancer cell and that this abnormality eliminates that ability of mitochondria to signal the broken cell to die. Mitochondrial support can be supportive for multiple reasons. First if this support can rehabilitate the broken mitochondria, sometimes this can trigger cell death alone. Even if that cancer cell mitochondria does not recover there is the benefit for all the other cells in the body, which can help support more resistance of healthy cells and more susceptibility of the cancer cells to other approaches like chemotherapy.

 

Ketogenic Diet/Fasting

The ketogenic diet is a whole topic unto itself, but there are many fantastic researchers putting this together, like Dom D’agostino (TK link) and more. Ketogenic diet works in cancers through the mitochondrial malfunction we’ve talked about before. Any cancer cell with broken mitochondria is subject to the Warburg Effect, meaning it can only use glucose for energy, where functioning mitochondria can use ketone bodies produced by the ketogenic diet. These ketone bodies are both energy dense and antioxidant, they are protective to the brain and nervous tissues and improve mitochondrial function while starving out and sensitizing cancer cells to other therapies. Fasting functions very similarly in converting stored body fat into ketone bodies, granting very similar benefits. All in all the ketogenic diet is a fantastic consideration for most cancers, and can be utilized on a less intense and more occasional approach for anyone interested in prevention.

 

Detoxification of Environmental Toxins

We mention environmental toxins quite often here at Curebiome, that’s because they are everywhere and responsible for aggravating and causing many problems we are dealing with. Environmental toxins are also low hanging fruit, like mitochondrial support and the microbiome. Almost everyone is going to benefit from addressing these things, either directly through feeling more vitality or dramatically reduced risks of numerous diseases. Taking the time to shift your lifestyle to avoid toxins and even undergo some more extensive detoxification whether mild or intense, is removing many carcinogens from your body and helping to reduce your risk of multiple cancers down the road. Highest concerns are ubiquitous hormone disruptors like BPA, plastics and pthalates.

 

Green tea

If you haven’t heard about green tea and how good it is for you, then you’re one of the few who is in for a treat. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of studies around this plant and the health benefits it provides. Green tea is an antioxidant rich tea, which comes in many forms and includes an amino acid that is very calming and focusing to the brain. This offsets the small amount of caffeine green tea contains. There are studies using green tea extracts in regards to prevention of lymphomas, breast cancers and more.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28396252

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28765341

 

Turmeric/Curcumin

I would be very surprised if you haven’t heard about turmeric, but this is another highly studied plant in regards to cancer prevention and treatment. This plant is amazing for the scope of health benefits it has, for everything from pain, pesticide poisoning, to anticancer properties it makes it important to consider adding this food to your diet. Turmeric is a staple ingredient in Indian and Thai foods, and it’s easy to cook with and incorporate into a lot of dishes. There are things like fermented turmeric teas to we’re looking into which may provide a beneficial dose of healthy probiotics.

 

Physical Exercise

Exercise is huge for everything, including cancer. There are multiple studies showing the effectiveness of regular exercise in cancer prevention, as well as improving outcomes during cancer treatment. Without getting into too much detail, any type of exercise is likely to be a great benefit but the best will be consistent and introduce some variety with a combination of weight training and cardiovascular.

 

Bonus steps

If those three we’re too easy for you, a more difficult yet powerful preventative for cancer as well as diabetes, heart disease, depression, fatigue, etc, etc… I’m just going to give you a few action steps which will help reduce your environmental toxin intake, increase mitochondria health and can be used in conjunction with a ketogenic diet.

  • Eat organic, non-gmo, veggies when possible and affordable. Here’s a great guide to what’s important and what you can slide  on.
  • Eat organic, grass fed, pasture raised meats. And avoid farm raised fish. Here’s a guide to seafood and fish to choose or avoid based on environmental and heavy metals.
  • Drink more water and tea and limit sweetened drinks like sodas (yes that includes diet sodas which can actually lead to weight gain)

Mitochondrial Impairment and Rescuers

Mitochondrial Impairment and Rescuers

Stressors and Inhibitors of Mitochondria

If we want to understand how to improve things then it’s important to understand what’s holding the mitochondria back from functioning optimally. These inhibitors range from nutrient deficiencies, chemical toxins, lifestyle, physical and emotional stress and more. Each of these inhibitors can play a role in how you feel and most importantly how your cells and mitochondria are able to function.

 

Nutrient deficiencies are extremely common, for a number of reasons. First, processed foods pull all nutrients and vitamins that can degrade out to trade for a long shelf life. Processed foods might be fortified again with some nutrients, but  typically these are low quality nutrients not well utilized on top of being not enough and there are still many missing nutrients which are not fortified due to cost or their lack of stability (which is why they were removed in the first place). Other causes of nutrient deficiencies are low variety in diet, mainly a lack of plant based foods and essential fatty acid deficiencies. Refined sugar is another major stressor, which causes loss of nutrients like minerals to compensate the pure sugar and leads to other problems like insulin resistance, oxidative damage and roller coaster effects on blood sugar levels.
There are many chemical toxins that inhibit mitochondrial function, each of which comes with a range of other negative effects. A common class of mitochondrial toxin are pesticides that are found on non-organic or conventionally raised produce, in many rivers and waterways and especially near any agricultural areas. Pesticides interrupt normal function of the electron transport chain (the mitochondrial lifeblood) leading to inhibited function and a decreased energy output if not full on mitochondrial death. Different herbicides also have similar effects, herbicides are common contaminants in certain grain products like wheat and are inherent in the way some of these crops are grown. Outside of pesticides and herbicides there are multiple heavy metals like lead, mercury and cadmium that harm and inhibit mitochondrial function. These are found in sources ranging from high fructose corn syrup (mercury), fish (mercury), plants or animals grown or raised in polluted areas (lead/arsenic), cigarettes (arsenic) and many other places. Finally, and you might find this surprising, many pharmaceuticals are also mitochondrial toxins. Antibiotics are a specific class of medication which have negative impact on mitochondria (as well as the microbiome), this is because mitochondria are an ancient form of bacteria which basically teamed up with our more complex cells for a safe place to live and free food to provide us extra energy output. Chemical toxins are far and away a major inhibitor of mitochondrial and overall health, and always important to reduce our exposures to.

Certain personal lifestyle habits can also decrease mitochondrial function. Specifically, a sedentary lifestyle removes all signals to mitochondria to increase efficiency and produce more mitochondria. This is because when we stress our muscles enough, aka exercise, there are signals to the mitochondria to reproduce in order to provide more energy to prepare for more intense efforts. Without any sort of physical stimulus our body and mitochondria will go into conservation mode, which means less energy production overall.

 

 

Lack of sleep will also decrease mitochondrial function, among other problems. Sleep is where our body releases a number of hormones and antioxidants to signal repair and growth, without it there we miss out on that downtime for mitochondria to reproduce and repair as well. The last stress we’ll mention is emotional stress from a lack of stress management, or intense periods in life, this will also affect how well your mitochondria and cells in general can function. Emotional stress signals cortisol and a cascade of hormones which lock the body into a mode of “hold on tight until we get through this,” whether it’s a life threatening problem like a lion or not, like an angry boss or loss of a loved one. Finding ways to process and manage stress is a major improvement because lets the body move past survival mode and get back into relax and repair mode.

These are just a few of the many things that cause major decreases in mitochondrial function. The good news is each of these are able to be addressed and minimized to preserve and support mitochondria health, and your health and energy overall.

Mitochondrial Support and Rescue

Fortunately for all of us there are a lot of strategies to support our mitochondria. To know where to start we of course have to consider and decide what the most likely causes of mitochondrial inhibition are for us. We’ll cover a general approach right now, beginning with supporting deficiencies then removing the other problem makers.
It’s generally best to begin by addressing any deficiencies, as this will support all of the other forms of support. I like this strategy because giving a deficient system what it needs is almost always a good place to start, as it feeds the cell pathways that help manage the harmful excesses like toxins or stress which burn up many nutrients and lead to more deficiency. Some of the things to consider first are essential fatty acids and nutrient dense foods. Specific foods to consider are colorful plant based foods, wild caught fish and natural/organic meats, nuts and seeds. Specific nutrients are omega 3 fatty acids, B vitamins and antioxidants like Coenzyme Q10, resveratrol, Alpha Lipoic Acid, N-acetyl cysteine and others. The goal here is to restore the basics and mitochondrial antioxidants as we eliminate major stressors, this means doses usually start out low and ramp up for a period then drop back to a maintenance dose.

 

Avoidance and detoxification of harmful compounds is required for healthy mitochondrial function, as well as whole body health. The first place to start is identifying exposures to harmful compounds and systematically decreasing these exposures as much as possible. I discuss this in detail in other places (TK link to avoidance). Once avoidance measures are in place, beginning mild detoxification support is the next step. Nutrients that support glutathione production and recycling like N-acetyl cysteine and more of the same nutrients that support mitochondrial function, many of which are found in a good multivitamin. Sometimes we will pull in more intensive detox approaches, including things like sauna therapies, heavy metal chelation, IV nutrients like glutathione and more. Generally the more exposures a person has had the more important it is to start slow with these approaches, too much too fast will trigger an attempt from the cells and tissues to release more toxins than the body can actually eliminate – which is an unpleasant experience to say the least.

Beyond basic nutrient support, there is very good research and clinical results to support a ketogenic diet and fasting as aids in mitochondrial health. Ketogenic diets involve very low carbohydrates, moderate proteins and high fat intake. This balance of macronutrients leads to body to produce ketones, which are energy dense antioxidant molecules that our brain, muscles and most of our tissues use as energy. There is lots of information about ketogenic diets available, so I won’t go into details right now but it’s very helpful in addressing blood sugar problems, insulin resistance, weight problems and more. Fasting will similarly produce ketones, and is more commonly used intermittently by skipping breakfast or one or more days of water only depending on the person.

Finally there is a more potent nutrient based compound which produces dramatic improvements in mitochondrial function. It is a lipoic acid mineral complex which can be taken orally or administered intravenously, and alongside these other supportive therapies helps to further augment and improve mitochondrial function. It is sold as Poly-MVA and is best taken alongside certain other nutrients to improve its efficiency. While the average person will likely notice benefits, we rely even more on it for support in various chronic illnesses which have a mitochondrial component ranging from cancer, lyme, fluoroquinolone injury and more.

This is just a brief intro into some of the therapies we have found to be most effective to improve both mitochondrial function and health. All of these are not required to be used together or at all and it’s not unusual for any of these therapies to disagree with people which is why it’s nice to have options. There is more than one path to health, and while it might be tempting to jump right in it is extremely important to work with a knowledgeable health practitioner who can guide you towards the most beneficial therapies and away from those which are potentially harmful in your situation.

10 Toxins That Are Messing With Your Hormones

10 Toxins That Are Messing With Your Hormones

Common hormone disruptors affecting your weight, sex drive and health

 

#1 BPA (BPS and BPF)

BPA has been around for a long time, and one of its properties is that it mimics estrogen. For that reason it was even researched at one time for use as an artificial estrogen replacement, though wasn’t found suitable. The main concerns around BPA are the increased risk of certain cancers (estrogen linked), it negatively impacts thyroid and cognitive function, creates an increased risk of obesity and has even been shown to inhibit testosterone production (and more). BPS and BPF are sister molecules to BPA and have very similar impacts on disrupting hormones.

How to avoid

While it might seem like “BPA free” plastics are safe, they generally aren’t since these plastics commonly contain BPS and BPF, molecular brother and sister to BPA, which also disrupts hormone function.

  1. Avoid Canned foods
  2. Caution with receipts (thermal paper is often coated with BPA)
  3. Specific plastics marked “PC” and #7 are much more likely to carry BPA, BPS or BPF. (Though no plastic is guaranteed “safe”)

#2 Dioxins

Dioxins are a class of hormone disrupting toxin we are commonly exposed to. They are a by-product of many industrial processes, they last a long time and bio-accumulate in the food chain and in our body. Food products with high dioxins levels are dairy products like milk and butter, and animal sources like meat, eggs and fish.

How to avoid

  1. Avoid the status quo for these high risk foods. Always choose organic and when possible go for the cleanest local sources you can find.
  2. Bump up your plant based food intake – increasing foods like beans and legumes will both balance out your diet, help bind and eliminate toxins with fiber and decrease consumption of these other foods.

#3 PCBs

PCB stands for polychlorinate biphenyls, which is a mouthful for a chemical that is carcinogenic and known to disrupt immune function, hormones, the nervous system and more. PCBs are a persistent pollutant that were banned for production in the US back in the 1970s. They are commonly found in electrical devices as a coolant – things like transformers, they were also used in hydraulics and carbonless copy paper among other applications. The problem being that the persistence of PCBs means it is found commonly everywhere as it has invaded the ecosystem, including food products – particularly animals and dairy.

How to avoid

  1. Similar to dioxins, the goal here is to focus on the cleanest sources of dairy and animal products and increase plant based foods in the diet

 

#4 Phthalates

Phthalates are a chemical commonly found in many plastics and cosmetic products. Because of the common use of plastics many of us are exposed on a daily basis, and phthalates have a long list of negative health effects. Studies link phthalates to hormone disruption, decreased sperm count and motility, birth defects, weight gain (aka “obesogen”), diabetes and thyroid problems.

How to avoid

  1. Reduce and eliminate plastic from your life as much as possible
  2. Migrate to glass and stainless steel food containers
  3. Carry a glass or stainless steel water bottle with you
  4. Use phthalate free cosmetic products

 

#5 Perchlorate

Perchlorate is a common additive in rocket fuel, and also a common contaminant of produce and milk (strange connection, I know). In humans perchlorate is shown to compete with iodine – causing problems in the thyroid gland, which regulates metabolism and energy.

How to avoid

  1. Drinking clean water – Reverse Osmosis is the current gold standard, though many other options like carbon block filters are a good choice too
  2. Unfortunately we don’t have any great avoidance tips for foods, but if you’re eating a healthy diet it will help reduce the overall impact of perchlorate in your body

#6 Flame retardants

Flame retardants are a large class of chemicals that are very persistent and very hard on the hormone system. These chemicals have been found in animals around the globe, even those in remote locations like the arctic (another great reason not to eat any polar bears). Flame retardants can look like thyroid hormone in the body and disrupt normal thyroid function, again affecting metabolism and energy among others. There are also associations of negative impact on intelligence and brain function.

How to avoid

  1. Keep your house clean, leave your shoes at the door. Dust is commonly contaminated with this class of chemicals

(House plants, air purifiers, and good vacuums can help with this)

  1. When possible choose furniture untreated with flame retardants, special companies offer mattresses like this. Basic wood furniture is usually safe, reduce any foam filled furniture when possible

 

#7 Lead

What’s a list of toxins without lead? Well this list is no different, though there are many negative health effects of lead (like decreased brain function and cardiovascular health) it is another hormone disruptor. It’s been linked with miscarriages, premature birth, decreased levels of sex hormones and signalling problems between hormones and the brain.

How to avoid

  1. A good water filter
  2. Taking shoes off at the door (http://www.curebiome.com/10-tips-for-your-healthier-home/)
  3. Have any lead paint, lead pipes or lead soldering replaced by a professional

#8 Arsenic

I’m a fan of the old movie “Arsenic and Old Lace” (Cary Grant is the man), but I’m not a huge fan of actual arsenic. This is another heavy metal which also is a known poison, increases cancer risks and also disrupts hormones. The hormones affected by arsenic are those involved in blood sugar regulation leading to increased weight gain, insulin resistance, diabetes, high blood pressure and a lowered immune system.

How to avoid

  1. The best way to reduce arsenic exposure is keeping it out of your water with a high quality water filter
  2. Also don’t use or eat rat poison (see #3 below)
  3. Thoroughly rinse rice before cooking and avoid rice milks. Many rice storage facilities use rat poison (arsenic) to manage rodent problems

#9 Mercury

Mercury, like lead, seems to always make an appearance when we talk about environmental toxins. Mercury affects the nervous system, immune system, the pancreas increasing diabetes risk and the female hormone cycle. Higher mercury levels can disrupt normal ovulation and menstruation cycles, among other problems. Most common sources of mercury exposure are fish and dental amalgams. It’s also recently come to my attention that the processing of High Fructose Corn Syrup involves a mercury heavy ingredient in many cases, which leads to contamination of most HFCS – which on it’s own can be considered a hormone disruptor.

How to avoid

  1. Eat clean, sustainable seafood https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/walletcard.pdf . My favorite choice is wild-caught salmon
  2. Opt for resins over mercury amalgams for fillings
  3. Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup containing foods

 

#10 Organophosphates

Organophosphates are one of the more commonly used pesticides with roots from World War II. They kill insects through disrupting the nervous system and for this reason negatively affect our brain function, too. They also disrupt hormones through lowering testosterone, disrupting its normal function and interferes with thyroid hormone levels. It’s more common in non-organic produce.

How to avoid

  1. Choose organic, or at least choose organic for the fruits and vegetable most sprayed with pesticides https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty_dozen_list.php

Make a big difference in your hormones and your health by reducing your exposure to these ten toxins. Remember that it’s not about being 100% clean, it’s about taking your current exposures and lowering them by 5-10% or more when and where you can. Every little bit counts and a detox lifestyle means both avoidance and elimination (who tracks muddy shoes through the room they just cleaned?).

 

Worried about your exposure to hormone disrupting toxins? Call 415-385-2621 or contact us today to schedule a consultation!

 

Mitochondria, Heart Disease and Diabetes

Mitochondria, Diabetes and Cardiovascular disease

Mitochondria are a part of many diseases but very rarely are they the main component. They play an important role, but they are not always the number one problem – more like they are a side effect of everything going on. In diabetes and cardiovascular disease we see this clearly, the leading cause of these two epidemics are diet and lifestyle but a major way they manifest is through dysfunction of the mitochondria.

Mitochondria are crucial organelles within our cell that produce high amounts of energy for our cells through a process called cellular respiration, which functions through the electron transport chain. We also know that mitochondria are present in high concentrations in all muscle and nerve tissue, because these tissues are in high demand of lots of energy to function.

When we look at type 2 diabetes – one of the major problems we see is the inability of cells to take in glucose from the blood due to insulin resistance. The cell receptors have become damaged, and the cell can literally starve in conditions of excess sugar – nutrient deficiencies abound in this environment due to the excess sugar and lack of balance with minerals and vitamins. Oxidative damage is rampant, quickly using up any antioxidant nutrients present – specifically those antioxidants the support mitochondrial function. Eventually nerve cells start to die, leading to lack of feeling in fingers and toes- because the mitochondria within these cells are so lacking they cannot support the nerve cells.

In the heart – our main muscle which must pump all day everyday to keep our body alive we lose mitochondrial function as well. When the mitochondria can’t support this important muscle, it starts to fail and problems abound left and right. This is what we’re fighting, and this is where knowing about and supporting mitochondria make a major difference.

Some common and seemingly benign signs and symptoms of poor mitochondrial health are fatigue and weakness. Everyday things, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore them. We mentioned that mitochondria are found in high levels within the muscles, so if too few mitochondria are present or just aren’t working quite right you feel tired and weak. If the problem is more severe it can impact the brain and nervous system, which is experienced as brain fog, trouble concentrating, clumsiness and memory problems or worse.

In diabetes we commonly see that mitochondria are both smaller than normal and that there are just less of them. This might be because of the sedentary lifestyle that leads to diabetes, or possibly environmental toxins. Another important problem is the difficulty diabetic individuals have in making new mitochondria. All of this comes together to further aggravate a system that is already under heavy stress.
So what can we do? The main places to start, as we’ve mentioned before are diet and lifestyle. In this situation intermittent fasting and a plant heavy ketogenic diet can dramatically improve the situation by restoring deficient nutrients, removing excess glucose levels and restoring mitochondrial function. This approach, when implemented properly can correct blood sugar levels many times, and dramatically decrease reliance on insulin. Depending on the situation it has to potential to correct insulin resistance and restore cardiovascular and nerve function. Other therapies that we often include are reduction of environmental toxins, oral and intravenous mitochondrial supportive nutrients, sleep and hormone support.

Mitochondria – the basics

Mitochondria – the basics

What are Mitochondria, what do they do, where are they found?

You might remember mitochondria from science class back in school, where you drew pictures of the anatomy of a cell. The mitochondria looked like little sausages with squiggly lines inside of them (tk image). Most of us don’t remember too much about what they actually do, but you might remember the phrase “power houses of the cell.” This hints at their main function, which is to create energy through production of the molecule ATP.

Mitochondria are really fascinating when you start to understand they are necessary for us to function as an organism made of millions of cells. Mitochondria take our energy output and multiply it by 16 fold. While the base 2 ATP that primitive metabolism extracts from glucose, the mitochondria increases production to 32 ATP! Without this many of our cells would either starve or we would have to eat dramatically higher amounts of food to survive. This is really what lets us be a large, complex organisms with many organs. This includes our muscles and a big energy hungry brain that allows us to think the way we do.

How the mitochondria accomplish this is through the electron transport chain. The electron transport chain is a team of proteins inside the mitochondria which allows the mitochondria to extract multiple times more energy than our cell could otherwise. The process is called cellular respiration and is a highly efficient system. The electron transport chain is important because it’s very sensitive to nutrient deficiencies and chemical toxins, which reduce function and lead to low energy.

Mitochondria enable us to be a large, intelligent person through the enhanced production of energy we’re talking about. When mitochondria function decreases, we function less well, when mitochondrial function stops completely many of our cells will die from starvation. We see this in cases of cyanide poisoning, because cyanide actually binds to part of the electron transport chain and shuts down energy production completely which leads to death within hours to days.

There are a lot of other jobs our mitochondria do, like cell signaling, calcium homeostastis, apoptosis (programmed cell death) and much more. The point is, mitochondria are found in most cells in your body and they help everything work better. They are present in the highest levels within the muscles and brain where we have higher energy needs. Remember this because anytime there is fatigue, low energy or any sort of brain fog or cognitive issues mitochondria are a big part of correcting the issues.

Mitochondria aren’t the only thing to consider, but in a lot of situations they are a big part of the solution. If we don’t think about or even know about mitochondria, then we’re leaving a major part of our health on the table.

The role of mitochondria in health and disease

Mitochondria play a role in many diseases, but very rarely are they the main component. The more common signs and symptoms of poor mitochondrial health is seen in fatigue and weakness. Since mitochondria are found in such high levels within the
muscles, if there are too few or the mitochondria present aren’t working quite right then you’ll feel tired and weak. If the problem is more widespread it may effect the brain and nervous system, which can cause brain fog, trouble concentrating, clumsiness and memory problems.

The more problems the mitochondria have, the more intense symptoms you start to notice. Mitochondrial function is a component in diabetes and heart disease, which often come together. Considering mitochondria help us burn off the energy from sugar, it makes sense. In diabetes we commonly see that mitochondria are both smaller than normal, and there are less of them. Another common problem is that it’s difficult for diabetic individuals to make new mitochondria, all of which comes together to further aggravate a system that is already under heavy stress. In cardiovascular health mitochondria are extremely important. Remember the heart is a muscle that has to function all day every day, so if the mitochondria of the heart are deficient then the heart won’t be able to function well.

A major disease where mitochondria play a role is cancer, as almost every cancerous cell tends to carry abnormal mitochondria. There are a few exceptions, but the exceptions tend to be less severe forms of cancer. There is a lot of interesting research that shows these diseased mitochondria are a major part of cancer cells ability to create more cancerous offspring cells. When mitochondria can be restored, the cell regains the ability to destroy itself for it’s other malfunctions.

The last area we’ll touch on is the health of the nervous system. Mitochondrial dysfunction or inhibition in the brain and nervous system directly correlates with how well our brain can function. There is research directly into how mitochondrial function in the brain relates to Parkinson’s and Alzheimers disease, giving a new target to help slow down progression and even restore function in these diseases.
To sum everything up, mitochondria play a role in most of the major diseases we deal with today – specifically chronic diseases that present later in life. This means there is an enormous opportunity to prevent and improve these diseases by focusing on mitochondrial health. Just as important for those of us not dealing with these problems is that improving mitochondrial
function will ultimately improve our health and functions so that we think, feel and act more optimally.