AntiAgeing Savantess

Global Wellness, Skin Care and Aesthetics

Archive for ‘March, 2013’

        happy snacking or breakfast         

I’m sure you have noticed….. your mood changes after eating.

One would expect happiness after feeding a famished belly, but many times, that is not the case. Instead, your diet can sometimes contribute to your tired, irritable or lazy demeanor, when what you really need is to feel energized and prepared for your day. Let’s face it, now a day; we need every bit of energy we can get! This modern life requires us to get through our tightly packed schedules motivated and with the right attitude. Later, we need to adjust to transition theses energetic days to relaxing nights, assuring a rejuvenating nights rest. Whether we have an important meeting, a life changing exam, a long list of draining tasks or just to spend time with family or friends, we always want to feel sharp minded, positive and with no excuses for not giving ourselves 100%.  With that said we should want to know how to feed ourselves to optimize our mood. I would want to know, for example,  if there was something I could do to help me be less anxious when I have to present in a meeting or to have optimal stamina before going to the gym or to be more relaxed when spending time with my mom….wouldn’t you?

I hope to help you understand how to use the power of food to set the mood for what could be your best day yet!

Our brain is ruled by Neurotransmitters


The central nervous system, composed of mostly our brain, controls not only the way our heart beats  and the way we breathe, but most other processes that our vital to life itself. In addition, the stability of the nervous system is key in regulating our mood, sense of well-being, energy and mental clarity.  It is for this reason that neurotransmitters (NTs) are so important to our overall health and mental state. These chemical messengers are released from one brain cell, or neuron, to another to initiate a chemical reaction causing nerve impulses which ultimately preside over how our bodily systems function, feel and act. In fact, NTs are the key players in regulating messages between over 100 billion neurons that make up and control our entire nervous system. Healthy brain function depends of a balance and regulation these NTs production and release.  Even small imbalances in the proportions of NTs can affect our mental health. Since the precursors of these NTs are primarily derived from food, (include vitamins, minerals and most importantly amino acids), what we eat can have an immense impact on their presence and activity. Depending on what we eat, and in what proportions, we can alter the prevalence of one neurotransmitters production and activity over another’s. Since different NTs have different actions we must strive to supply our body with the right dose of materials needed to produce healthy levels of each type. Our food choices can, therefore, attribute to how we physically and mentally maneuver through life.

Mood NTs

Although there are hundreds of neurotransmitters active in our bodies, for the purposes of this post, I will discuss only those which have the most influence on our mental state and their effect on our overall mood.

First off, it’s important to know that we have two major classes of neurotransmitters, inhibitory and excitatory. The inhibitory neurotransmitters are those that serve to calm and stabilize mood. While the excitatory help the body prepare for activity, mental acuity and stress.

Two important inhibitory NTs are Serotonin and GABA.

  • Serotonin is necessary to relax the mind, calm anxiety and nervousness, decrease sensations of pain and help prevent overeating.  Additionally, when Seratonin is balanced, you have a better immune and digestive function overall. We all know what sickness and bloating does to our mood…. Needless to say Seratonin helps balance our minds and our tummies, and does wonder for feelings of happiness.
  • GABA is known as our bodies “natural valium-like NT”, and is mainly responsible for keeping you calm in moments of stress.

The excitatory NTs are Norepinephrine and Epinephrine.  Appropriate levels of norepinephrine are required to wake up the nervous system and keep you energetic, focused and productive throughout the day.

  • Norepinephrine plays an important role in alertness, motivation and concentration. It also has a role in helping produce long term memories and keeping your metabolism in check.
    • Epinephrine most important role is in blood pressure and heart beat regulation, however, is also released in response to stress.
    • High levels of these excitatory NTs can in the short term give us the power we need to pull through an energetically demanding event BUT long term excess has health risks including damage to our circulatory system and kidneys.  Apart from stress, certain foods can promote chronic excitatory NT release, causing the associated physical damage and additionally inhibitory NT depletion (in failed attempt to compensate for excess excitatory NTs effects). Too much excitatory NTs cause anxiety, stress, and insomnia and contribute to alterations in mood.

Certain NTs can both be both inhibitory and excitatory depending on the receptors present. Dopamine and Acetylcholine are two such NTs.

  • Dopamine is important to mood stabilization, as it can calm the mind to focus and prevent depressed mood.  In elevated concentrations it is also capable of contributing to nervousness or anxiety.
  • Acetylcholine (Ach) is a NT necessary for memory retention, mental acuity and alertness. Deficiency in Ach is seen in Alzheimer patients. For more info about Ach and Alzheimers click here.

How can what we eat affect what neurotransmitters are prevalent in our systems?

Food, depending on it’s nutritional composition, offers our body different precursors for production and stimulated release of certain neurotransmitters. Nutritious foods are the best sources of these NTs and proteins are often our ideal source. Proteins and NTs share a common building block, known as amino acids. When ingested our body breaks down proteins into amino acids and if the appropriate supportive nutrients are present (vitamins, minerals etc.) in the appropriate nurturing environment, the NTs are produced. Amino acids themselves can serve as NTs, stimulating neuron receptors to the release of other NTs. Appropriate nutrition is essential to provide the body with the correct elements needed to produce the correct NTs in the correct proportions. The ratio of these NTs produced allow our body to maintain a healthy neutrality and balance irregularities produced by stress, hormones, illness or other. This complex balance can be thrown off if we have any nutritional deficiencies (vitamin, mineral or protein), ingest food which deplete certain NTs (such as sugar, alcohol, medications or  excess carbohydrates), or have chronic digestive or hormonal issues. Although this science is complex and can be affected by various factors, we can help contribute to the health of our mental state by providing our body with a nutritionally balanced diet and avoiding excess of those toxins which can throw NT balance into a disarray.

To eat in a way which we can precisely acquire certain energy levels or to balance our mood is not easy. We can, however, learn a few guidelines which can help us seek out certain nutrients, and avoid ingestion of interfering substances, to help assure we are the happiest, most easy going and sharpest selves.  

DAY TIME FOODS- Uplifting, Energizing, Mind-Sharpening Effect

Seek Out:

  • Tyrosine rich foods for energy
    • The amino acid tyrosine promotes production of the excitatory NTs…dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine.
    • Foods high in protein like eggs whites, soy products, meat, wheat germ beans, legumes and cheese. Almonds, pumpkin and sesame seeds are also great sources and can be used as snacks.
    • Chicken is a great source of tyrosine and therefore excitatory NT precursor. Chicken additionally provides the brain with a source of coenzyme Q10. Coenzyme Q10 additional supports the energy generating potential of the neurons.
    tyrosine rich groups

    tyrosine rich foods

    tyrosine rich food

    • Antioxidant rich foods to assure alertness and motivation
      • Dopamine is essential for alertness and motivation. Unfortunately it is easily oxidized and therefore must be protected by adding foods which have high antioxidant power
      • Fresh fruits and vegetables are the best dietary antioxidants and help maintain and increase your dopamine levels by fighting the harmful free radicals which threated its oxidation and destruction.
      • Watermelon (excellent source of super antioxidant B6), apples (contain quercetin well known for dopamine protective properties), bananas (shown to increase dopamine levels), beets (contain natural antidepressant betaine which also essential in dopamine production) and avocados are best dopamine protecting or enhancing properties.

      perfect mood antioxidantsavocado and bananas to set the mood

      • Choline for concentration and memory
        • Choline, a B complex vitamin, is the precursor to acetylcholine (Ach). Ach is a neurotransmitter essential to memory and whose deficiency is liked to Alzheimers.
        • Choline is found in high concentrations in cholesterol containing foods. I’m not saying go back to fried eggs and butter for breakfast but a whole boiled egg might pay off resulting in better concentration before a big exam.
egg yolk for the mind

a bit of cholesterol can sharpern the mind

        • Other sources of choline include beans, cauliflower, soy products, cheese, oats, wheat germ and whole grain.

**Diet tips:

To assure energy? For breakfast, try an egg white omelet with a half a cup of cottage cheese or a soy milk fruit smoothie with a teaspoon of wheat germ.  For an energizing lunch, try a nice chicken breast meal with sautéed veggies or bean salad.

flaxseed soy smoothieegg white omlete with antioxidants

For a brainy breakfast? Try a egg sandwich on whole wheat with slice of low fat cheese.

egg sandwich cheese wheat

food for your brain

High Sugar Processed Foods? Don’t do it! Although these options may seem like a perfect fix for an energy slump they are short lived and ultimately result in a brain and energy slump. These non-nutritional food sources supply our blood stream with lots of free glucose (sugar energy source), but this activates the pancreas to work into overdrive producing a compensatory insulin surge. Insulin causes cells to take in this free glucose for storage. Once glucose taken into cells, we are left with no free energy source in blood stream, causing us to suffer an energy crisis, commonly referred to as a “sugar crash.” Since out brain cells do not have a way to store glucose for use in such an energy crisis, our brain “starves” and we suffer symptoms of weakness, confusion and headaches.  My advice, skip these food choices and focus on the nutritionally rich sources, offering you vitamins, proteins, complex carbs and nurturing fats.

avoid high processed sugar food

avoid sugar and processed food

FOODS TO CORRECT YOUR MOOD: For a Stabilized, Content and Relaxed Mind

Seek out:

  • Tryptophan to decrease anxiety and increase sense of wellbeing
    • Tryptophan is the amino acid building block to serotonin, our happy and relaxing NT.
    • Bananas, turkey, egg yolk, hazelnuts, beans and cheese are great sources of tryptophan.
    • To benefit from tryptophan we must balance with a serving of a healthy carbohydrate. The problem lies in the same high protein foods rich in tryptophan may also be great sources of tyrosine, the energizing NT precursor. To make sure we benefit from tryptophan and are not affected by the presence of the tyrosine, we need the accompanying carbohydrate.
tryptophan balance

tryptophan balanced meal

How does the carbohydrate help tryptophan stimulate inhibitory or relaxing NTs and prevent tyrosine over stimulating the excitatory NTs??

  • The carbohydrate triggers insulin release to divert other amino acids from brain so tryptophan can gain access to the receptors it needs to, to get converted into serotonin. As I explained before serotonin is a inhibitory neurotransmitter which promotes balanced mood and a general state of well-being.
  • Getting a good source of tryptophan to brain can result in a natural, non-medicated way to help decrease anxiety, decrease pain leading to more rational behaviors and mood. 
  • Tryphtophan rich foods accompanied by a healthy carb snack can also set the mood for easy sleep induction! Melatonin, an important hormone in sleep the sleep/wake cycle regulation, is made from serotonin.  A lack of seratonin, may therefore, contribute to sleeping problems. Please see my post on Beauty Sleep here for more insight on ways to get restorative sleep.

**Diet Tip:

Dieters beware!! A strict no –carb diet will most definitely result in a very unhappy, and difficult to deal with, individual. By not supplying your body with normal trigger for insulin release (the carb), you are basically limiting production of serotonin. No wonder No Carb= No Fun!! The anxiety usually results in increased appetite and foul mood. Take a break and eat a whole grain toast with a slice of low fat cheese or a whole grain pita with some hummus!

perfect mood stabilizer meal

dieters escape from moodiness

  • L-glutamine to induce relaxation
    • L glutamine is an amino acid precursor for GABA, our relaxation NT.
    • Pork, beef, sesame and sunflower seeds are good sources of this.

**Diet tip:

Seeking a more hearty way on a cold day to relax? Try a beef or pork based dish accompanied with a sesame garnish and brown rice pasta.

pork, sesame brown rice pasta

fighting stress with a nutritious and satisfying meal

    • Selenium to decrease irritability and moodiness
      • Selenium is a mineral which works with vitamin E to assist in serotonin production. Also has shown to prevent toxicity from exposure to certain metals (by binding to them and producing nontoxic forms and preventing neurotoxicity)
      • Deficiency in Selenium contribute to irritability
      • Sources include tuna, tomatoes, eggs, and broccoli and sunflower seeds.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids to stabilize mood and sharpen mind
    • Omega 3s have shown to improve the communication between brain cells by improving the conductivity of the brain medium through which NTs must travel through.
    • Omega 3s increase levels of available serotonin.
    • Supplementation linked to better mood and memory.
    • Sources include cold water fish, such as cod and salmon, flax seed and olive oil.
salmon for omega 3
Salmon is a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Phenylethylamine to lift spirt and calm mind
    • PEA is a small neurotransmitter and neuromodulator that’s actions include stimulating release of norepinephrine and dopamine.
    • Chocolate, especially dark organic types are good sources of this!!!! Although the normal metabolism of chocolate limits the concentration of active PEA available to brain, purer sources of cocoa do offer us some PEA benefits.
    organic dark chocolate

    organic dark chocolate

    • To avoid the high sugar effects of milk chocolate and to benefit from maximum availability of PEA try a bit of dark chocolate as your desert choice… studies have proven it can simulate better mood and soothe at the same time! Hurray!!

**Diet Tip:

Noticing you may be starting your day off on the wrong foot?  Try a tuna salad with tomatoes and eggs or have a grilled fish with sautéed broccoli in olive oil with sunflower seeds.  If you need a snack, try some mixed some nuts. Avoid foods with high glycemic index such as pasta, white breads and sugary foods.  For a sweet desert my choice would the obvious few squares of dark chocolate!! (:

tuna salad tomatoes and sunflower seeds

fix moodiness with a balanced fresh diet

  • Caffeine to elevate depressed mood
    • Caffeine stimulates neurons to release excitatory NTs
    • Although too much caffeine can stimulate depletion of certain neurotransmitters and cause other mood issues such as irritability or anxiety, a little can help stimulate the nervous system just enough to get you out of your blues.
    • Try a nice cup of green tea over coffee. Green tea is a vasodilator (improves circulation) and an antioxidant and therefore, has more benefits over coffee.
    organic green tea

    Clippers organic green tea….pure bliss!

    • If you choose to have coffee as your caffeine source, don’t surpass a 2 cup serving as it could bring about negative physical and mental symptoms.
    • Folic Acid (vitamin B9) to prevent depression
      • Studies show link between low folic acid levels and subsequent lower brain serotonin levels. This is hypothesized to be because of folic acids role in the production of a vital serotonin precursor know as S-adenosyl-methionine.
      • Low levels of folic acid are more commonly seen in depressed and psychiatric patients. Studies show patients supplemented with  200 mg of folic acid greatly improved feeling of overall wellness.
      • Good sources of folic acid found in papaya, oranges, grapefruits, avocado, asparagus, beets, spinach (or other green leafy veggies), soybeans, peanuts and turkey.

**Diet tip:

Feeling like you might need food remedy to help with depressed mood? Try starting the day with a cup of green tea and an papaya, orange and grapefruit salad. Lunch can include a turkey or avocado whole grain sandwich with spinach salad.

fruit salad papaya grapefruit

happy breakfast bowl


The Bottom Line/Summary

The proper release of these neurotransmitters,(NTs), is key in giving us the control we desire over our mood and rational mind. Since our diet supplies the body with the key elements for NT production and balance…we need to pay more attention to what we eat! By choosing wisely what eat, we have a better chance at predicting what our day might be like. Our meal plans may shape the days productivity level, your likability and overall effectiveness.

All this said, remember, food are not the only things that can affect NT levels and healthy balance. Stress can cause neurons to release excess excitatory NTs. Anything hindering digestion, (food allergies, inflammatory reactions, undigested food, lack of certain digestive enzymes etc.), can inhibit the way we absorb nutrients necessary to make certain NTs.  Digestion, is especially important for serotonin presence and activity in the body as approximately 90% is produced in your gut and must be reabsorbed across a healthy intestinal wall  in order for the body to be able to utilize it. An inflamed gut could limit absorption of serotonin and therefore contribute to depressed and anxious mood. Chronic excess of alcohol, drugs, toxins, metals and medications can also effect digestion and absorption of many NTs or alternately act directly on neuron receptors to inhibit their action. Appropriate levels of vitamins and minerals, are needed for both production and release of NTs. Hormone imbalances can cause NT imbalances by affecting both production and release.

foods that destablize mood

foods that destabilize mood… use coffee and chocolate in small doses and in emergencies only!!

NT balance may seem complex but if we in general lead a healthy life style and keep stress at bay, we should be able to take control of our energy levels and mood by simply controlling our diets!

If you feel persistently overly moody, irritable and nervous, you should see your doctor. Ask about testing your NT levels.  This test is easy, safe and most often covered by insurance. With luck, your doctor will attempt amino acid supplementation to balance your NT imbalance prior to using medications (which have their own dangerous side effects)!

My Ultimate Diet Tip? Next time think twice prior to reaching for that doughnut or greasy fast food item! These foods may seem necessary to relieve your distress but, remember, as much joy as it may bring you in that instant, its consumption will surely add on to your list of troubles. Along with the extra weight and health problems, these non-nutritious foods will leave you with additional anxieties, irritated and less prepared to make the right choices.  So do yourself and everyone around you a favor….reach for an apple, get a massage, go for a run or hug a friend!  You will thank yourself later!

kick out the junk

kick out the junk… and say hello to an improve you!

Cheers to feeling happy, relaxed and more productive!

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PRP and The Vampire Factor

I’m pretty excited to share with you another treatment that promises your skin a second chance at looking and behaving younger! For a recap on what happens to skin as we age, check our the introduction to my “Youth Injection” series here. The therapy I’m discussing in this post,  uses our bodies’ natural source of Plasma Rich Platelets (PRP). It’s natural, safe, quite simple to perform and best of all can help your skin recover from years of accumulative wear and tear! Sounds amazing right?

This innovative therapy is the latest buzz around the globe not because of its difficulty or controversial nature but because the SOURCE of its promises of immortality. PRPs value to skin health, youth and regenerative power seem quite in line with the desires of some of our most beloved fictional villains. It seems for the first time BLOOD may be a rich commodity for mankind and vampires a like.

blood red woman

Yes, PRP is a derivative of our own blood, for this reason PRP therapy is popularly referred to as “The Blood Facial”. A decade ago anything to do with blood may have caused many to squirm with a bit of uneasiness. This uneasiness has recently changed to something closer to genuine intrigue.  With all the current vampire craze (Twilight, Vampire diaries and such), most find these immortals dependence with blood quite fascinating. I mean. anything that can help them maintain their classic beauty, eternal youth,  and impressive physiques, century after century must be looked into..right? It is therefore no surprise, in this Vampire conditioned population, the beauty power of “The Blood Facial” be so excepted and sought after.

brad pit as vampire

The History

Studies have confirmed that blood contains growth factors and stem cells which have the ability to regenerate tissue. Use of PRP has been dated back since the 1970s. Fortunately, for those of you  who have been waiting  for an “organic rejuvenation method”,  the medical world has decided to apply these investigated benefits to clinical practice in aesthetics. PRP is now accepted worldwide as a clinically valid method of improving the health of various tissues and skin, contributing to restoration of its youthful function. Although popularized in the 1990s as a therapeutic treatment in orthopedic medicine (musculoskeletal injuries), it is today considered mainstream for its’ anti-aging skin benefits. Japan and Europe have been applying it to aesthetic practice since 2004 while doctors in the US embraced PRP therapy about 6 years ago, in 2009. As more and more doctors are becoming aware of the benefits and becoming skilled  in applying its technique, we can now seek out this cutting edge yet natural rejuvenation method from our favorite aesthetic professionals.

Why can PRP be referred to as natural or organic?

PRP is a treatment which uses the body’s own regenerative power to restore healthy tissue function. Specifically it uses regenerative power which lies in our very own blood and more specifically in our platelets. Aesthetically, doctors are using it promote healthy skin circulation, collagen production, decrease the appearance of wrinkles, scars and discolorations of the skin without any artificial or exogenous (made outside of body) substances. The treatment improves skin in terms of texture, color and thickness using only the components naturally found in your own blood.

blood needle

What is it about the Platelets?

Platelets are essential for normal hemostasis (control of bleeding and clot formation, the first phase of wound healing). Too few platelets mean risk of uncontrolled bleeding and prolonged healing to any minor injury. Too many in your overall circulatory system, means increased risk of blood clot formation and with this also an increased risk of blood clot causing stroke.

In PRP therapy, we not so much interested in the platelets function themselves, but their contents. Within the alpha granule portion of each platelet, lies its ability to enhance tissue repair and regeneration. By stimulating a process called degranulation, we can liberate the contents of these alpha granules and benefit from their rich components. These components include healing proteins, cytokines (cell messengers important for immune function) and growth factors. The release of these proteins and growth factors work to initiate processes to repair DNA, promote stem cell proliferation and their differentiation, resulting in advanced tissue repair and regeneration responses.

How is the procedure performed?

The treatment begins when your nurse or doctor removes a vial of blood from your arm and place in a tube with a gel that helps segregate the platelet rich portion. This is comparable to the removal of blood for a simple blood analysis. Immediately after the blood is placed in a special centrifuge machine which spins for approximately 9 minutes until the blood separates the cellular component (containing platelet poor plasma, Red and White Blood Cells) from the platelet rich plasma. Once separated the plasma portion rich in platelets is carefully removed with a syringe and activated by calcium chloride to release the growth factors and bioactive proteins. This activated plasma is then divided in to tiny syringes (like those used for Botox), ready to be injected into your skin.

seperating PRPPRP plasma

Your doctor will then inject the PRP into either specific areas of concern (along wrinkles, or an especially weakened or damaged area of skin) or in an even fashion over the entire area for general rejuvenation. PRP is can be used to rejuvenate entire face, chest, hands or several of these areas together.

method of blood facial

Topical anesthetic could be used to numb the area 20-40 min prior to the injections although, most, claim little discomfort.

Treatments are usually done 2-3 times, in eight week intervals. Some, start to take notice of visual improvements within a few weeks, however, we encourage waiting 2-3 months to appreciate full effect of a single treatment.

Benefits to skin?

By injecting these activated platelets under skin, we can achieve an accelerated skin rejuvenation which would have never been possible under normal circumstances. By using PRP, we can push skin into enhanced repair mode and stimulate renovation of the skin where it needs it the most. PRP works to activate the immune system to remove damaged cells and stimulates more collagen and elastin, ultimately creating thicker, firmer and healthier tissue.  It can also help improve microcirculation of the skin, repairing damaged blood vessels and assuring the skin better nutrition, oxygenation and toxin removal.

In general, the skin will visibly appear fuller and more youthful. You will be able to appreciate a softening of wrinkling, folds or scarring. Skin will improve in terms of overall color, tone, pore size, texture and you may even appreciate a subtle lifting effect.

Results will vary, depending on your age, overall health, extent of skin damage you have present, your nutrition and lifestyle factors (smoking and alcohol consumption). The more damaged your skin is , the more sessions that you may require to see full benefits. As with most treatments, if you are a heavy smokers, abuse alcohol or drugs you may see little benefit from PRP. Also if you have a chronic illnesses requiring you to take many medications PRP might not be appropriate an appropriate option. If you are interested in PRP and its benefits find someone who can evaluate your specific case! It’s an amazing antiaging tool but as with all procedures, is not for everyone!

PRP eyesPRP face

Some advantages of PRP in comparison to other treatments?

  • Use of platelets native to one’s own blood means the treatment is non-toxic, hypoallergenic and with extremely low incidence of side effects
  • Even when used alone adds natural fullness to face without necessity of more aggressive fillers or aesthetic treatments
  • Well established studies in area of sports medicine prove benefits of PRP to healing  and its ability to reduce need for surgical intervention .
  • Can be used to rejuvenate harder to treat and delicate areas such as skin around eyes, neck, chest and hands
  • Can be used to rejuvenate several problematic areas in one session.
  • Tolerability of procedure means little dependence on topical anesthesia.
  • Simple and quick treatment, usually an hour-long office visit is sufficient for entire preparation and procedure.
  • PRP can offer additional benefits in other areas of body, including use in scalp treatment to stimulate healthy hair growth.
  • Cost friendly procedure. Session prices range from $300-400 dollars per area (250-350 euros).
  • It is also frequently being used to  using it to improve out comes of other aesthetic procedures such as chemical peels, lasers and radiofrequency treatments and even pre-surgery to assure optimal healing
  • Most see results lasting for 18 months

PRP neck

Are there any disadvantages?

  • Involve needles or other invasive technique (dermaroller) to get into skin
  • May cause a bit more swelling than other aesthetic procedures such as Botox or fillers.
  • Takes 2-3 months to see full benefit of treatment
  • In cases of advanced aging or sun damage, PRP therapy will most probably not serve your aesthetic goals when used alone. Along with nutritional support, the use of lasers, dermal fillers or other advanced procedures will be recommended.
  • Those with autoimmune disorders, liver conditions or blood disorders are most likely not appropriate candidates for PRP.

Want to get more out of your PRP session?

For those who want to see a bit more benefit from their PRP session, the famed Beverly Hills RN, Sylvia Silvestri suggests an upgrade version called The Vampire FaceLift! Hollywood is going wild about the Vampire FaceLift results and everyone, including celeberties, are signing up without hesitation.  The fact that each guest at the OSCARS got a Vampire Facelift in their gift bags this year, says something about the value the treatment carries.

According to the Silvia Silvestri,  The Vampire Facelift reaps all the benefits of PRP, with the additional enhancement provided by those treatments which use Hyaluronic acid (HA products such as Restylane, Perlane and Juvaderm).

“The Vampire Facelift is a trademarked procedure that combines an HA and PRP. It is administered in a specific technique which requires that doctors and nurses be trained and certified before they can offer the procedure” explains Silvestre, the national trainer of the trademarked Vampire Facelift procedure.

Beverly Hills RN Sylvia Silvestre

The official Vampire FaceLift Trainer

What additional benefits do we see by adding Hyaluronic acid to the PRP?

“The HA serves as a scaffold structure for the PRP, and patients typically only need one treatment. PRP injected on its own without an HA sometimes requires more than one session,” explains Silvestri.

As explained in my previous post, The MesoLift Rejuvenation, HA is extremely hydrating, adds suppleness and additional structure to the skin, It also allows contouring power to the aesthetic practitioner, allowing additional fullness to be placed where needed and enhancing the rejuvenating power of the PRP.

Results are incredible to say the least. The only downfall? ….the cost. The Vampire Facelift costs $1000-1500 on average and therefore make the otherwise economical PRP treatment, a financial investment one must be prepared for..

To see a link of the procedure being done, I have attached the following you tube video Its a part of a series called Dirty Little Beauty Secrets featuring the Vampire Facelift performed by Dr Barnes in Newport Beach, CA. I chose this video because its short, sweet and kinda fun!

For more information on the Vampire Facelift click here. For those of you who may be doctors, or other medically licensed professionals, and want to get trained to perform this amazing treatment, contact the official Vampire Facelift trainer, Silvestre directly at

Bloods AntiAging promise: Benefiting from the “Vampire Factor”

PRP offers you a natural alternative to other injectable or laser rejuvenation procedures.  By using only components naturally found in your own blood (including the blood derived growth factors which I refer to as “Vampire factors”), it can stimulate the skin to behave and appear more youthful, accelerate healing of any damaged tissue and create and environment for graceful ageing. If you can get past the needles and the blood… you may have an ideal way to economically restore skin health. If you’re looking to optimize other aesthetic procedures by providing the skin with a healthy base for healing and renovation, PRP therapy might be the right option for you. Talk to your aesthetic practitioner and find out if they are trained in PRP and if they feel you could benefit. It seems we can learn a thing or two from our vampire friends; a little blood may not give us immortality but can certainly enhance our aesthetic reality.



 beauty sleep man

Eventually, we all come to realize what are elders have been communicating to us for over generations…no beauty regimen can compensate for a healthy sleep routine. According to the National Sleep Foundation, it is vital for adults to receive between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night.  The scary fact is that chronic sleep deprivation takes a toll not only on the way we look but our overall wellbeing and function. Almost immediately, a week of sleep deprivation results in an impaired memory, decreased productivity, irrational thinking, mood swings and in general low energy levels. With time, lack of sleep translates to stress in the body, leading to weight gain, hair loss, bad skin and low immunity.  Health issues linked with chronic sleep deprivation include depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attacks and stroke.

sleep deprivation

To make matters worse, once we realize the importance of sleep has on our livelihood and sanity we often let the pressure of sleeping cause us additional anxiety. This anxiety serves only to worsen our sleep impairment! There are ways we can take action and stop worrying about quality sleep. By implementing some rituals around bedtime, surrounding ourselves with soothing elements and avoiding what may contribute erroneous bodily signaling, we can encourage longer and more restful sleep.

Below I list the key players affecting sleep patterns.  I also list some suggestions as to what we can do to cultivate the right sleep formula for ultimate health and beauty.


Your level of activity, especially around bed time can greatly affect your ability to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep throughout the night. We want to stay active throughout the day and start winding down as we approach bedtime. Here are some guidelines about which activities should be avoided and sought out as we approach nighttime.

  • Avoid stimulating activities 3 hours prior to bed.
    •  High intensity exercise close to bedtime such as boxing and running may give you more energy just when you need less.  Too close to bed time, these excersies may be translated by your body as strenuous and  result in increase alertness and body temperature,  making sleep induction more difficult.
    • Stressful work can negatively affect sleep. Unless you job involves singing, painting or playing with children, try to refrain from it prior to bedtime.
    • Difficult conversations with your friends, spouse, family or others late in the day can attribute to sleep difficulties. These are the type of issues that translate to stress and will keep you up thinking all night.
    • Violent shows or news reports also have shown to agitate the mind and increase physiological stress making sleep more difficult.
  • Seek out relaxing activities as your day is coming to an end.
    • Reading a book and taking a bath do wonders for your mental state.
    • Use a pre-bed beauty routine or self-massage signal to your body sleep time is near.
    • Yoga has shown to induce on-command relaxation due to its ability to slow breath (slows neurological centers in brain) and reducing muscular tension.  A few yoga poses with concentration on the breath prior to bedtime can be used to transition your hectic day to peaceful night. Click here for some yoga poses beneficial for insomnia.


  • Go to bed at the same time every night.
    • This will naturally set your circadian rhythm by offering environmental signals for pro-relaxation hormone release and temperature adjustment.


Foods can stimulate or calm depending on which metabolites provide to the body.

  • Avoid stimulants after 3 pm.
    • Stimulants include sources of caffeine (coffee, green tea), chocolate, high sugar foods, some types of pain relievers and diet pills.
    •  Heavy, fatty meals are also to be avoided as they require lots of energy to help appropriately digest them and may cause discomfort as your body is trying to unwind.
    • Alcohol decreases the time you spend in deep restorative sleep phase called REM sleep. You will wake up more easily to any stimulus and will awaken feeling as if you are still in need of sleep.
  • Seek out sources of the amino acid tryptophan combined with a carbohydrate rich snack prior to bed. Tryptophan is the precursor needed for serotonin production, the sleep and happy hormone and neurotransmitter. The carbohydrate assures insulin release which diverts other amino acids from brain so that tryptophan can have priorities over the receptors which are responsible for serotonin production and release.  There are a number of foods which contain tryptophan.
    • My favorite tryptophan sources for sleep time are chick peas, bananas, oatmeal, eggs,  peanuts,  low fat milk, cottage cheese or greek yogurt, unsweetened soy and miso soup.
    • Healthy carbohydrate complements could include a slice of whole grain toast, a half a cup of rice, half of a baked potato, or half a cup of unsweetened whole grain cereal.
    • Beans are both a great source of tryptophan and a great carbohydrate but can cause gas in sensitive stomachs. Meats also have tryptophan but create digestive challenges which could create discomfort.
  • Seek other foods encourage sleep by offering a low but natural source of the hormone melatonin. Melatonin regulates our internal sleep wake cycle (synchronizes are circadian rhythm) and when high stimulates sleep.
    • Cherries, tomatoes, olive oil and walnuts are ideal foods to incorporate in your late night snack.
  • Seek out sources of magnesium which promote muscle relaxation and switch the body to rest and repair mode.
    • Bananas and almonds are amazing sources of this and perfect to combine in a pre-bed snack.

foods helping sleep

Some examples of ideal dinner/late night snack for a good night sleep? Try slice toast with sliced hardboiled egg and tomato drizzled with olive oil.  Other suggestions include hummus spread on whole grain pita with some cherries for dessert or small bowel or Irish oatmeal with bananas and unsweetened soy milk….. Get creative, think healthy, light and satisfying!


Although aromatherapy cannot cure the cause of your sleep problems it can help calm the mind so that you can fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Aroma therapies use essential scents from natural plant sources to alter ones mood, cognitive function or health.lavander aromatheraphy

  • Seek out chamomile, sandelwood, valerian and lavender oil. These oils have been used for centuries as natural sleep remedies. Spray or dab on pillow prior to bed or put a few drops in your pre-bed bath! Some of my favorite products include Perfect Potions Pure Essential OilsValerian and Hops Sleep Well Herbal Bath and the Thymes Lavander Candle and Wash.
  • Avoid cyprus, rosemary, peppermint, grapefruit and lemon oil scents prior to bed…these are great to get your mind sharp and concentrated but can be stimulating and make it difficult to sleep.


When it comes to treating sleep problems, lifestyle adjustments are always  to be attempted prior to seeking out the help of supplements. Lifestyle adjustments aim at treating the cause of your sleep insufficiencies, are free of side effects and are much healthier for you in general. Supplementation however, may be the right choice for you if lifestyle adjustments have failed or you have specific work or traveling schedules which may require additional support. These are a few that I find the safest and most effective.  

  • Melatonin, as mentioned above, is a hormone the body produces naturally to induce sleep.

melatonin concentration

    • Supplementation at .3-.5mm (low doses) may be a safe and effective way to induce sleep for those who suffer from short term insomnia. Melatonin is released from the pineal gland in the brain around 9 pm every night. As its concentration builds it causes one to feel sleepy and therefore induce restful activity and preparation for sleep.
    • Those with hectic irregular schedules, who fly across time zones or have been watching too much late night TV may need to reboot their circadian rhythm with the help of melatonin. Light exposure disrupts the release of natural melatonin and therefore may be a source of sleeping issues.
    •  Since long-term supplementation or high dose melatonin in the blood can cause health problems it’s always best to consult your doctor and try and address lifestyle habits which could be affecting sleep first.
  • L-theanine is an amino acid which is naturally found in low dosed in green tea. It promotes a calm, balanced mood.
    •  Suntheanine is a brand of a supplement which provides an effective dose of pure L-theanine for a deeper night sleep.Suntheanine
  • Valerian is an herbal supplement which when taken in doses of 200-8-00 mg prior to sleep can help provide you with a deeper quality sleep.
    • This is one of the oldest well studied sleep remedies with virtually no side effects when used correctly. The two downfalls are 1) it may take a week or two to gain the full  benefits supplementation and 2) in 10% of patients valerian may cause alertness (not relaxation) and therefore make sleep induction even more difficult! ….I suggest trying this out on a weekend!

Environmental Influences

  • Seek out an hour of morning sunlight to initiate onset of day time bodily functions.  Healthy exposure to daylight is imperative to create a healthy wake sleep cycle. Those who go to work before the sun comes out and arrive as it is already setting may be missing out on the correct dosage needed to naturally cue the bodies’ circadian rhythm.
  • For those who cannot change jobs or who work from home in a climate which offers little daylight…..full spectrum lights and sun alarms can be purchased to set healthy internal  sleep clocks.
  • Sun alarms can offer a natural easy way to set your internal wakeup and sleep rhythm and a gentle way to ease you out of bed in the morning.

  • Seek out and create sleep conductive environments. This translates to a dark, cool, quiet and comfortable room. Since we lose our ability to regulate extreme heat or cold during deep REM sleep we need to make sure the room is as close to ideal temperature for comfort and that we balance our clothes and bed dressing appropriately to balance temperature.
  • Avoid any source of light close to or during bedtime. This can inhibit pineal gland activation and therefore melatonin production resulting in inability to enter sleep.
    • Light exposure can include TV, computer or even bed clock exposure. Avoid these at all costs at least an hour prior to bedtime.

light and sleeping

The mind

Racing thoughts and uncontrollable obsessive thinking can keep us from sleeping. Women, especially have a hard time shutting down the brain prior to sleeping. This can result in a chronic sleep disturbance resulting in a compromise of both health and psychological wellbeing.

It’s very difficult to help yourself or anyone else suffering from this sleep neurosis. Figuring out what to do to stop worrying can be overwhelming. Life never ceases to test us and to give us new problems for which we feel we must endlessly ponder.  It’s up to us to learn to manage and calm our mind so it doesn’t negatively affect our health. Here are some tips for a calming the mind:

  • Keep a notebook by your bedside. Write down your list of things to do prior to bed. Also use to jot down additional concerns or worries and even some thought to make lists of solutions. If something keeping you up write it down to contemplate at a time during the day.
  • Make plans to talk to someone who can understand or at least sympathize. Again, if possible, best to make this a breakfast or lunch time appointment.
  • Try Acupuncture …it worked for me! Prior to moving to Europe I felt overwhelmed with uncertainness, excitement and guilt for leaving people I loved behind. Acupuncture helped calm my nervous system so I could channel my concerns and deal with them in a more organized way.

accuputure and sleep

  • Meditate prior to bed. Mediation is the ideal way to calm the mind and stop unhealthy thought processes which may interfere with sleep induction.
  •  How to meditate? Sit cross legged and comfortably on the floor in a quiet room. Turn off the phone and other source of distraction. Sit up straight, relax and focus on breathing slowly and deeply. Focus on a specific point or close your eyes and attempt to visualize a place which calms you. Begin to count breaths 1-10 repeatedly until no thoughts intrude your mind. With time, the necessity to count will go away and you will be able to enjoy the benefits of giving your mind a break prior to bed time.  Set a timer form 5-10 minutes to make sure you are not thinking about the time you have left.

meditation in pjs

  • According to Harvard Medical School research,  practices like mediation and yoga activated disease fighting genes decreasing incidence of sickness, cancer and inflammation related pain. Other, studies have shown mediation has a direct link to higher immunity, increase fertility, emotional balance, lower blood pressure and calmness.

Other Factors

Increasing age is NOT considered a reason to sleep poorly. It is most often associated with underlying health problem, less than ideal lifestyle habits or stress management. Below are a few of the reasons why aging adults tend to suffer from sleeping issues. If you have tried to modify your lifestyle and still find it difficult to sleep, see your medical doctor to rule out some of these factors.

  • Hot flashes cause fluctuations in temperature and therefore can cause difficulty in both sleep induction and ability to stay asleep. Hot flashes are a symptom of  irregular hormone surges and are many times suffered by peri-menopausal women and other disorders interrupting hormone regulation.
  • Medications are the root cause of many types of sleep disorders. This should be one of the first things evaluated if a medicated person complaining of sleep disturbances.
  • Snoring is, according to the national sleep foundation, a primary cause of sleep problems in a large percentage of ageing and overweight adults. This is an especially alarming if it is a symptom of a disorder associated with high blood pressure and other health concerns called Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
  • Disorders such as Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), OSA and Gasteroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can also be major causes of sleep disruption.
  • Psychiatric illnesses are almost always related to sleep disturbances. Depression is the most common psychiatric illness affecting both our energy levels and sleep patterns.
  • Napping frequently during the day, may be a major cause in a person’s ability to get the restorative sleep they need at night. It can many times cause a vicious cycle where one who is not sleeping well during the night becomes exhausted during the day and, as a consequence, requires daytime naps, further attributing to their night time insomnia.


So….What to do for the occasional sleepless night??

  • IF you CAN’T sleep and you find yourself lying awake at night. The worst thing you CAN do is to continue lying there….this will just further increase sleep anxiety!
  •   I suggest…. get up, jot down any annoying thoughts, warm up a glass of milk with honey, drink it and put on some light music till you get tired. Alternatively, you could read a relaxing book with a soft light, try a few stretches or yoga moves.  Try and relax and not to stress about not sleeping…it will just make matters worse! Hopefully you will be falling into sleep mode shortly after a quick recharge!

reading and milk

When sleeping problems become frequent, it’s a sign that something in our life is unhealthy. Whether this may be a underlying disease process, poor diet, poor lifestyle (stress, smoking, alcohol abuse or other) or unhealthy relationship….we need to try and resolve it!

I hope that with this information I have inspired you to embark on a mission for better sleep! I know, I was inspired, at just the thought of writing this post! Born as an energetic type A personality, I have struggled with sleep issues for years.  Regular exercise, yoga and attempting to be as organized as possible have helped me achieve healthier sleep patterns.

As many of you can relate…the symphony of lifes hecticness (in my case three kids, a demanding job, and active lifestyle), requires the guidance of a good conductor to set the pace and keep the rhythm. By implementing good sleep habits, we are allowed to be the best conductors we can be! These habits enable us to make beautiful music every day, despite the noisy realities of life! The better equipped we are to maneuver life in a balanced harmonious way, the better environment we create for everyone around us to do the same. Sleep is one of the most essential ingredients needed to create this environmental harmony. It can, therefore, be said that the more of us who sleep well, the closer we may be to a smarter, better organized, less violent, healthier and happier world!

sleeping couple

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