Moderation, part two

This got moderately long for a blog post, and I made it into a series.

Economic moderation – for the industrious read this first – about Financialization of the modern world: “Yeah, It’s Still Water,”- we can’t eat stock bubbles or money, or concrete. None of those things are part of a healthy ecosystem. Economic and environmental stress can increase health risks and possibly risk of addictions or anger and violence. More equality could be healthier for everyone and the economy.

Summary –

Community centers might help reduce addictions and improve health by giving people more to do and more to do in company with others. They could provide a place for children to have more positive role models in their lives. Child trauma can make addictions or other problems more of a risk as adults, having a positive connection in their life can help increase their likelihood of developing resilience and better coping skills.

Social connection can help the environment too if education and gardening or other projects are done with a group. It would also give people something to do away from electronic devices which may increase risk of addictive behavior and has EMF exposure which may increase health risks. Education about life skills or environment or health or whatever else interested the community could be included in a center’s activities. Fertility of the environment and for individual health prior to conception is the focus of a plan I wrote previously: Pre-conception Education Centers project proposal.

EMFs and WHO recommendations for Screen time for children

Questioning how we do things is how we reach better ways to do things, whether less work, or more health, change is often about adapting to new ways of life. More women working outside of homes meant easier ways to prepare meals or clean house were needed to help keep the home life going with fewer hours available for chores or childcare. Using the television as a babysitter was a concern as TVs became a common fixture in every living room, and gradually in every room of the house, and now with smartphones and tablets we can have TV with us at all times practically.

How much screen time is too much? Digital addiction has been added to the DSM-V psychiatric diagnosis manual. When it starts interfering with regular life is a typical division between fun hobby and addictive behavior. The type of video, the speed of the images and flashing lights, may be more important than a question of how much screen time is too much. For children younger than ten more screen time with fast moving images has been associated with risk of ADHD. Changes in the brain are similar to those seen in cocaine addiction and involve increased dopamine levels. (2)

Now parents and children need to also be aware of negative influences from television or computer personalities as well as the physical risks of electromagnetic fields (EMF) in addition to the addictive risks of the fast moving images or action.

My father was aware of the risk of EMF and a TV viewing rule was to stay at least four to six feet away from the television and another was about limiting the number of hours we watched. We each could pick one show a day, and watch the shows the other siblings chose making a total of about two hours of TV time per day. Modern health recommendations are in agreement – no screen time for under two year old children, one hour for two-four year old children, and limit screen time for older children to only a few hours per day. (WHO’s Guidelines for Screen Time for Children, 1)

Moderation series to continue with early childhood experiences and their potential effects on addiction risk.

Additional Resources regarding finance & the environment:

Climate change is real – according to financial advising company Morgan Stanley and myths about what is involved may be inhibiting investment in climate change solutions are debunked: Six Climate Investing Myths Debunked. We need investment in sustainable businesses and planned adaptations for expected environmental changes.

What might not be as good an investment in the environment is the financialization of ecosystem protections – pay us to protect some endangered species’ habitat and we will skim off part of the money as profit. Watch the documentary for free: Banking Nature, OffGuardian.

Reference List

  1. Amanda Tarlton, World Health Organization Releases New Screen Guidelines For Babies and Toddlers. April 25 2019, fatherly.com https://www.fatherly.com/news/world-health-organization-releases-new-screen-time-guidelines-kids/
  2. Erik Vance, What Screen Addictions and Drug Addictions Have in Common. Oct. 23, 2018 (pbs.org) https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/article/screen-time-addiction/
  3. Ben Hunt, Yeah, It’s Still Water, Oct 25, 2019 EpsilonTheory.com, https://www.epsilontheory.com/yeah-its-still-water/#.XcQp5nkjldY.twitter
  4. Six Climate Investing Myths Debunked. Sept. 18, 2019, MorganStanley.com https://www.morganstanley.com/ideas/six-climate-investing-myths-debunked
  5. Banking Nature, Nov. 4, 2019, Off-Guardian.org. https://off-guardian.org/2019/11/04/watch-banking-nature/

Moderation

The dose makes the poison” – attributed to Paracelsus , Swiss physician and chemist from about 500 years ago. The full quote: “All things are poison and nothing is without poison; only the dose makes a thing not a poison.” Even water and oxygen are poisonous in too large a dose. (1)

Modern chemicals are leading to different types of health problems than the classic understanding of toxicity which considers a substance toxic at the dose that would lead to death or cancer or a visible birth defect. One of the examples provided is BPA a chemical found in plastics and now in our environment which is considered safe in the traditional sense of toxicity – it doesn’t lead to cancer or death at small amounts however it may be acting as an endocrine disrupting chemical at very small doses. (1)

BPA acts as an estrogen receptor activator – estrogen is one of the main female hormones. At what dose of birth differences will society be concerned about the health of male infants? Endocrine disruptors including BPA are associated with differences in male sexual organs at birth. (2)

Returning to a research finding mentioned in the Vaping series (part 1, 2, 3), an experimental dose labeled Acute was 20 minutes of vape exposure each day for one week, and an experimental dose labeled chronic was 20 minutes of vape exposure for 3 weeks. (part 3, ref 4:17) Compared to what might be typical for a human both of those doses are pretty low. A human might smoke a half a pack of cigarettes per day – ten cigarettes taking minimally 5-10 minutes to smoke. Other humans might smoke a pack or two or even three packs per day.

A few humans might only smoke one or two cigarettes once a week during an evening out but that is less typical than the daily half a pack smoker. There may be some health benefits however in the smoking one or two during an evening out, if the time is going to be spent in a smoke filled environment. The lungs will increase protective layers of mucous to reduce entry of toxins when there is smoke exposure. Avoiding the smoke exposure altogether would be safest however.

Chronic cannabis smokers develop lung tissue that is less typical of lung tissue that is not chronically exposed to smoke. Emphysema was not associated with cannabis smoking at a rate much different than not smoking while tobacco smoking with or without use of cannabis was associated fairly closely for macroscopic emphysema risk. (3) Coughing, asthma, bronchitis may still remain risks from chronic smoking of cannabis. Infectious risks may also occur from use of water pipes or other types of pipes that aren’t cleaned regularly. (4)

Cleanliness and moderation – both are valuable. Moderation in all things is also valuable. The dose makes the poison whether smoking tobacco or cannabis, drinking water or alcohol, watching TV or playing video games or surfing the internet, even exercise can become a health risk if done excessively or in dangerous settings. Building up physical skills gradually can make exercise safer in various settings however building up a tolerance to some drugs or activities can just leave a person needing larger amounts to achieve the same dopamine excitement.

Dopamine is the main brain neurotransmitter for feelings of reward. Most major addictive substances cause an increase in dopamine directly (cocaine) or indirectly (most of the rest of common addictive substances) . See: Impacts of Drugs on Neurotransmission, (5), (7) It certainly would take less alcohol than water to harm someone or kill and tolerance can also develop to alcohol so more is needed to feel ‘drunk.’ Cocaine tolerance can build up to a point where the dopamine receptors no longer respond to other rewarding stimuli and the person may no longer feel pleasure except with increasing amounts of cocaine/crack.

In small amounts alcohol can have medicinal effects and reduce the stress of an emotional shock or physical trauma. That medicinal amount may be as small as a third of a typical serving size of alcohol, or up to one to two alcoholic beverage servings per day, for a smaller or larger adult. (G11: Alcohol) Often though, the problem is being able to stop at one or two alcoholic beverages as author James Thurber stated eloquently:

One martini is all right. Two are too many, and three are not enough.”

― James Thurber (died November 2, 1961)

Having an elevated stress level over time may make people more susceptible to addictive behavior. The stress response can become more likely to occur in the future when it has been chronically active in the past, as calming GABA activity is inhibited by the increased activity of dopamine receptors that occurs with stress or addictive behaviors. (12, 13, 14)

How much TV is too much TV? I heard recently on the radio that people in the U.S. spend on average 7000% more time watching TV than working on their finances – so we’re all financially stable then? Or most of us are behind on balancing the checkbook and planning for retirement? The number seems enormous, 7000%, in hours it means we are spending about 70 hours watching TV for every one hour spent looking into our financial health. See: Americans Spend 7000% more time watching TV than they do on their finances, by Brett Arends, (MarketWatch.com)

How much cellphone use is too much cellphone use? (8) That may involve more than dopamine over-stimulation. Chronic exposure to electromagnetic fields including from WiFi and TV sets may be increasing negative health symptoms beyond an addictive use of the electronic devices. Insurance company white papers have deemed the idea of 5G internet in urban areas as “High risk” with unknown health effects. (9) More than 180 scientists have appealed to the European Union to use caution regarding approving 5G installations which would need to be placed almost every block for reception rather than the current cellphone towers which are larger and can be placed at a farther distance from internet users. (10)

The effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields seems to be accumulative and infertility may result in just ten to fifteen years of exposure. Internet use throughout schools from grade school through highschool and college would be ten to fifteen years of exposure. How much infertility is too large a dose of infertility for a population to survive?

Research is limited and more is available about male infertility than effects on female fertility. Increased cellphone use (self-reported) was associated with decreased sperm count, sperm motility, viability and morphology (shape). Cell phone use was grouped into, No use, less than 2 hours per day, 2-4 hours per day, and greater than 4 hours per day. The researchers questioned the number of hours reported for use, however it has become fairly common to have your smartphone with you at all times – and that category – 24 hours per day, seven days per week was not included – and would represent living in a community with 5G installations. (page 257, 11)

Good news – meditation can help reduce the stress response (15), and while it might not help balance your checkbook, it may be a more beneficial way to increase dopamine levels than shopping or TV watching. (16)

Stay tuned for part two – moderation is too large a topic to take in one dose.

Reference List

  1. The Dose Makes the Poison Concept, Toxicity, chemicalsafetyfacts.org, https://www.chemicalsafetyfacts.org/dose-makes-poison-gallery/
  2. Sathyanarayana S, Beard L, Zhou C, Grady R. Measurement and correlates of ano-genital distance in healthy, newborn infants. Int J Androl. 2010;33(2):317–323. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2605.2009.01044.x https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2943951/
  3. Aldington S, Williams M, Nowitz M, et al. Effects of cannabis on pulmonary structure, function and symptoms [published correction appears in Thorax. 2008 Apr;63(4):385]. Thorax. 2007;62(12):1058–1063. doi:10.1136/thx.2006.077081 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2094297/
  4. Marijuana “bong” pseudomonas lung infection: a detrimental recreational experience. Repirology Case Reports, Vol 6, Issue 2, Feb 2018, e00293 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/rcr2.293
  5. Impacts of Drugs on Neurotransmission, National Institute on Drug Abuse, drugabuse.gov, https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/nida-notes/2017/03/impacts-drugs-neurotransmission
  6. Brett Arends, Americans Spend 7000% more time watching TV than they do on their finances. marketwatch.com, Oct. 19, 2019 https://www.marketwatch.com/story/americans-spend-7000-more-time-watching-tv-than-they-do-on-their-finances-2019-10-18
  7. Yanofski J. The Dopamine Dilemma-Part II: Could Stimulants Cause Tolerance, Dependence, and Paradoxical Decompensation?. Innov Clin Neurosci. 2011;8(1):47–53. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3036556/
  8. De-Sola Gutiérrez J, Rodríguez de Fonseca F, Rubio G. Cell-Phone Addiction: A Review. Front Psychiatry. 2016;7:175. Published 2016 Oct 24. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2016.00175 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5076301/
  9. 5G And The IOT: Scientific Overview Of Human Health Risks, Environmental Health Trust, https://ehtrust.org/key-issues/cell-phoneswireless/5g-networks-iot-scientific-overview-human-health-risks/
  10. EU 5G Appeal – Scientists warn of potential serious health effects of 5G. https://www.jrseco.com/european-union-5g-appeal-scientists-warn-of-potential-serious-health-effects-of-5g/
  11. Health Effects from Radiofrequency Eectromagnetic Fields, Report of the independent Advisory Group on Non-Ionising Radiation, (AGNIR report, April 2012) Documents of the Health Protection Agency, https://www.ices-emfsafety.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/AGNIR_report_2012.pdf
  12. Sinha R. Chronic stress, drug use, and vulnerability to addiction. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2008;1141:105–130. doi:10.1196/annals.1441.030 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2732004/
  13. Beas BS, Wright BJ, Skirzewski M, et al. The locus coeruleus drives disinhibition in the midline thalamus via a dopaminergic mechanism. Nat Neurosci. 2018;21(7):963–973. doi:10.1038/s41593-018-0167-4 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6035776/
  14. Van Bockstaele EJ, Reyes BA, Valentino RJ. The locus coeruleus: A key nucleus where stress and opioids intersect to mediate vulnerability to opiate abuse. Brain Res. 2010;1314:162–174. doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2009.09.036 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3274960/
  15. Young SN. Biologic effects of mindfulness meditation: growing insights into neurobiologic aspects of the prevention of depression. J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2011;36(2):75–77. doi:10.1503/jpn.110010 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3044190/
  16. Kjaer TW, Bertelsen C, Piccini P, et al., Increased Dopamine Tone During Meditation-Induced Change of Consciousness. Cognitive Brain Research 13(2):255-9 · May 2002 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/11408344_Increased_Dopamine_Tone_During_Meditation-Induced_Change_of_Consciousness
  17. part 3, ref 4, Laube BL, Afshar-Mohajer N, Koehler K, et al. Acute and chronic in vivo effects of exposure to nicotine and propylene glycol from an E-cigarette on mucociliary clearance in a murine model. Inhal Toxicol. 2017;29(5):197–205. doi:10.1080/08958378.2017.1336585 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5553614/

Vaping, Part 3: Combined risks – oils and TRP channel activators.

The risks of vaping may be additive, inhaling oils may increase risk of exogenous lipoid pneumonia (ELP), and inhaling TRP channel activators may increase risk of oxidative stress of cells or mitochondria. See part 1 Vaping and TRP Channel Activators, and part 2 Vaping Risks: ELP pneumonia and Oils, for the first two parts of the series.

Inhaling something accidentally is called aspirating and may occur while trying to swallow saliva, food or beverages, or during vomiting, especially for someone with weak muscles as may occur during chronic illness or with aging. Inhaling vape mixtures is purposeful and the original goal was to reduce health risks known to be associated with toxins caused by burning tobacco or an herb. Tobacco also has known carcinogens which would be removed from a product made with only the nicotine such as nicotine gums, lozenges or a nicotine patch.

Nicotine and cannabinoids can have health benefits, while toxins found in smoke can increase oxidative stress and may cause symptoms such as digestive problems, eczema, in addition to respiratory problems such as a chronic cough or bronchitis. Finding a safer way to consume nicotine or cannabinoids would be desirable however vaping may not be the solution, or not yet.

Flavorings that add odor are unnecessary for a product that isn’t inhaled through the nose, but an antioxidant preservative such as vitamin E and emulsifiers* such as glycerine are added to preserve and stabilize the mixture. Safer substitutes might not be available as other substances that preserve and emulsify might affect the lungs negatively also. Air is for inhaling, not emulsifiers. Vitamin E is oil based, antioxidants that are water based are available such as vitamin C, but then how would it stay mixed with an oil based cannabinoid or nicotine which dissolves better in oil or alcohol?

Nicotine can dissolve in water better than cannabinoids (2) and original vaping mixtures were made for nicotine rather than the cannabinoids THC or CBD. Vaping devices are available for powdered herb which heat the herb at a lower temperature than burning it, the problem with that method is that some of the beneficial cannabinoids in some strains of medicinal marijuana are only produced at higher temperatures so the vaped medicine may not provide the full symptom relief that smoking the strain would provide to a patient.

Trying to remove the glycerine from a nicotine vape mixture might not be fully protective against health risks either. The risk may involve a combination of the nicotine and the glycerine, as suggested in an murine based study of e-cigarette chemicals. Chronic exposure to a mixture containing nicotine and propylene glycol** (3 weeks for 20 minutes per day) was found to slow mucociliary clearing while exposure to the propylene glycol did not. Acute exposure (one week for 20 minutes per day) to either mixture did not cause slower mucociliary clearing. The size of particles effects clearance with larger particle size being more likely to remain in the lungs and smaller particles more likely to be exhaled. (4)

Nicotine also can act as a TRP channel activator (3) so the combination of some of the flavoring chemicals or the nicotine and cannabinoids may be opening the cell membrane’s TRP channels and allowing the glycerin or glycol to enter and accumulate to a level that inhibits cell function, causing Exogenous Lipoid Pneumonia or other health problems.

Pregnant women are advised to avoid use of vaped products (and to avoid smoke from tobacco or marijuana). An animal based study did find negative effects on lung alveoli development in newborn animals exposed to e-cigarette vape mixtures for the first ten days of their lives. Reduced weight gain was also noted. The negative effects were seen in the group exposed to nicotine and propylene glycol mixtures rather than the group exposed only to propylene glycol. (6)

If there is a take home point it may be that “Smoking is bad, mmmkay,”*** consider trying the nicotine patch, gum or lozenges, — but avoiding nicotine, smoking, or vaping during pregnancy is advised.

Cannabinoids are needed for fertility for females and males in a U shape curve – too little can cause infertility and too much can cause infertility. CBD is non-euphoria causing and is equivalent to the 2-AG form that is found in greater amounts during normal health than the THC equivalent called anandamide. Neither is recommended currently for use during pregnancy however genetic differences may cause a deficiency. Chocolate and some other legal food sources are available. Non-euphoria producing cannabinoids are the most abundant in plants and are also found in human breast milk and are important for stimulating the infant’s appetite and growth rate. We need cannabinoids in every cell of the body for many functions.. See the post Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency, (CED), and Phospholipids, for more information about symptoms or conditions that may be associated with a lack of cannabinoids and a list of legal food sources.

Footnotes:

*Glycerine is a natural emulsifier, helping to keep a water and oil mixture mixed without needing to shake it – picture an oil and vinegar salad dressing that separates into two layers compared to mayonnaise which has egg yolk as the emulsifier to keep the oil and water mixed together. (1)

** Glycerine/glycerin is also known as glycerol and glycols are similar chemically to glycerol. Some forms are more toxic to humans or animals than other forms. They are sweet syrupy liquids and may be consumed by animals if spilled in the form of antifreeze which would be toxic. (5)

*** South Park, paraphrase of a quote by the school guidance counselor Mr. Mackey.

Series:

Reference List

  1. Pat Thomas, Read the Label: Emulsifiers, TheEcologist.org, Dec 14, 2008, https://theecologist.org/2008/dec/14/read-label-emulsifiers
  2. Nicotine, Chemistry Encyclopedia, http://www.chemistryexplained.com/Ne-Nu/Nicotine.html
  3. Feng Z, Li W, Ward A, et al. A C. elegans model of nicotine-dependent behavior: regulation by TRP-family channels. Cell. 2006;127(3):621–633. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2006.09.035 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2859215/
  4. Laube BL, Afshar-Mohajer N, Koehler K, et al. Acute and chronic in vivo effects of exposure to nicotine and propylene glycol from an E-cigarette on mucociliary clearance in a murine model. Inhal Toxicol. 2017;29(5):197–205. doi:10.1080/08958378.2017.1336585 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5553614/
  5. 14.6: Glycols and Glycerol, The Basics of General, Organic, and Biological Chemistry, (Ball DW, et al.) Chemistry LibreTexts, Last Updated, Aug 12, 2019 https://chem.libretexts.org/Bookshelves/Introductory_Chemistry/Book%3A_The_Basics_of_GOB_Chemistry_(Ball_et_al.)/14%3A_Organic_Compounds_of_Oxygen/14.06_Glycols_and_Glycerol
  6. McGrath-Morrow SA, Hayashi M, Aherrera A, et al. The effects of electronic cigarette emissions on systemic cotinine levels, weight and postnatal lung growth in neonatal mice. PLoS One. 2015;10:e0118344.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4338219/