Kidney Health

May 31, 2017

One of the items mentioned by Michelle in her presentation on Sleep (I'll cover Sleep in a later post) was something else I didn't know:  A good nights sleep restores my kidneys.  If I don't have it, my kidneys are progressively being damaged until they collapse.  

Our kidneys are an amazing organ. They produce hormones, filter blood, absorb minerals, produce urine and maintain a healthy acid-alkaline balance.  The kidneys also help maintain blood pressure, help heart and muscles function properly, keep bones healthy and stimulate production of red blood cells. You can live a pretty normal life with only 20% of your kidney function.  That is why a steady decline and gradual damage to your kidneys can often go unnoticed for a long time.  But when the damage is noticed, it can often be too late to reverse the damage.

Michelle spoke at length about the importance of good sleep and the ingredients formulated in Sleep are designed to encourage sleep and improved kidney health.  

But good kidney health requires more than just Vasayo Sleep.  We have to do our part in maintaining a healthy lifestyle that doesn't add more kidney damage.  26 million Americans have Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and millions of others are at increased risk.

Here are just a few common everyday examples of ways we add kidney damage:
  • Eating and drinking lots of sugar - Too much sugar can lead to health problems such as diabetes and obesity, both risk factors for kidney disease. A study carried out on employees at Osaka University in Japan suggested that drinking two or more soda drinks a day (diet or regular) may be connected with a higher risk of kidney disease.  
  • Smoking -  The Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology cites many different studies conducted since 2003 which all link smoking to decreased kidney function.
  • Vitamin B6 deficiency -  According to the studies performed at the University of Maryland Medical Center, vitamin B6 deficiency {less than 1.3mg daily] increases your risk of kidney stones.  (Core Essentials has 2 mg in each tablet.
  • Lack of exercise -  A large study published in 2013 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology suggested that postmenopausal women who exercised had 31% lower risk of developing kidney stones.
  • Magnesium deficiency – If you don’t get enough magnesium, calcium can’t get properly absorbed and assimilated, which can result in calcium overload and kidney stone formation.
  • Frequent sleep disruption – Kidney tissue gets renewed during the night, so sleep interruptions can cause direct damage to this organ. Science Daily reports that chronic sleep disruption can cause kidney disease.
  • Not drinking enough water – Our kidneys need to get properly hydrated to perform their functions. If we don’t drink enough, the toxins can start accumulating in the blood, as there isn’t enough fluid to drain them through the kidneys. The National Kidney Foundation suggests drinking at least 12 glasses of water per day.
  • Not emptying your bladder early – When nature calls, you should listen. Retaining urine in your bladder is a bad idea. If done on regular basis, it can increase the urine pressure in your kidneys and lead to renal failure or incontinence.
  • Consuming too much sodium – Over consumption can raise your blood pressure and put too much strain on the kidneys.
  • Consuming too much caffeine – Before you know it, your blood pressure goes through the roof and your kidneys start complaining.
  • Using painkillers for a long duration of time - Long-term use of certain pain medications, especially at high doses, has a harmful effect on kidney tissue and structures. Both over-the-counter and prescription pain medications can damage and reduce blood flow to the kidneys. Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) are a main culprit. As many as 1 to 3 percent of new cases of chronic kidney failure each year may be caused by pain medication overuse.
  • Missing your drugs – High blood pressure and type 2 diabetes are two very common conditions that are often brought on by our life style and unhealthy diet. If you already have them, be aware of the damage they can cause to your kidneys and protect your precious organs by taking the prescribed medications.
  • Too much protein – In healthy kidneys protein intake has NO EFFECT on kidney health. In sick kidneys, protein can cause problems. Why? Because when the kidneys are not excreting urea bad things happen. Urea itself is not particularly toxic, but other nitrogenous waste products are neurotoxic and can cause death at high enough levels. More protein means more effort for the kidneys, which can, over time, lead to decreased function.
  • Not treating common infections quickly and properly – We are all guilty of sometimes ignoring simple colds and flu, and pushing our bodies to the brink of exhaustion. But that can cause kidney damage. Studies have shown that people who are reluctant to rest and heal properly, often end up with kidney disease.Overload - Over-multitasking without mental breaks leads to stress, mental fatigue and burnout. And consequently, your sleep is a sensitive indicator of your stress level. A high stress level means poor sleep. For children whose brains have been taxed during the day, it’s especially important that they get the requisite amount of sleep for their age. For example, The National Sleep Foundation recommends pre-schoolers ages three to five get 11 to 13 hours of sleep each night. For both children and adults, a solution for recovering from the daily mental grind or over-exposure to a fast-paced environment is to have a relaxing bedtime routine. Think of this wind-down measure as a powering-down opportunity to help ease your mind into a sleep state that’ll rejuvenate you mentally and physically.
  • Too much alcohol consumption – The toxins found in alcohol not only damage the liver, but also your kidneys. According to Kidney Health Australia and American Kidney Fund, one way to avoid kidney disease is to drink alcohol in moderation.
  • Exposure to contrast dyes commonly used in imaging - It’s important to make sure your physicians check your kidney function before you undergo any radiology procedures, such as CT scans, certain X-rays and angiograms. The dyes they must inject into your body to complete these tests can cause serious kidney problems.
  • Not enough Sleep - Experts at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, studied 4,000 people over a decade. They found those sleeping five hours a night were 65% more likely to experience a rapid decline in kidney function compared with those getting seven to eight hours a night. Experts previously knew that regular poor sleep puts you at risk of serious medical conditions, including obesity, heart disease and diabetes .But its link with chronic kidney disease was, up until now, unclear. Now the US study suggests that kidney function may be compromised when your sleep is disrupted.
Michelle added another item to the list.  If you want Sleep to work as well as it can, don't stress your kidneys by eating before bedtime.  She suggested no later than 3 hours before bedtime.  She also suggested limiting water consumption at that time as well as eliminating any other potential interruptions to a full uninterrupted nights sleep. (approx. 8 hours)

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May 30, 2017

For months I have been investigating the ingredients in each of the formulations used in a Vasayo product.  I decided it was time to start displaying the results of my investigation into Neuro.

The Neuro formulation contains the following ingredients:


Citicoline (CDP-choline) is an endogenous nucleotide naturally found in the body where it is an essential intermediate in the synthesis of the major phospholipid of the cell membranes, phosphatidylcholine (PtdCho). There is some evidence of a stimulating role of citicoline for the release of dopamine neurotransmitters in the brain (Fonlupt et al 1985). Citicoline, by activating the central cholinergic system, also increases plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) levels and potentiates serum thyrotrophin (TSH) levels. The stimulation of central nicotinic and muscarinic receptors also increases growth hormone (GH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) serum levels (Cavun and Savci 2004).  The biological activity attributed to citicoline has suggested a possible role of citicoline on improving memory (McDaniel 2003). Some clinical studies have given evidence to this hypothesis (Agnoli et al 1989; Spiers et al 1996) and there is a proposal for studying citicoline in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) with the aim of confirming both its efficacy in these patients and a possible role as a retardant agent for the cognitive deterioration of the eventual subsequent dementia (Abad-Santos 2002).  (PMC - NCBI)  Citicoline has emerged as a valid treatment for patients with chronic cerebrovascular disorders or with memory problems.


Bacopa is used to treat a broad range of mind-related health concerns, including Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss, anxiety, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms, epilepsy, and as a general tonic to fight stress. Best of all, it has far less severe side effects than the dangerous psychotropic drugs often prescribed today.  The US National Library of Medicine / National Institutes of Health website (PMC - NCBI) lists 680 studies on Bacopa research, benefits and risks.  After reviewing the scientific evidence, the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database (NMCD) concluded that bacopa is “possibly effective” for aiding in learning and memory improvement.  

Rigorous study has found that this herb especially impacts how your brain handles new information: Bacopa is proven to help you retain more of it. A 2002 double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study [1] found a significant impact of bacopa “for the retention of new information.” Researchers also noted that bacopa slowed down how quickly subjects forgot new information.

A more recent randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study [2] of 81 subjects (all at least 55 years old) showed that bacopa significantly improved “memory acquisition and retention.”

In a 2008 study [3] subjects taking bacopa every day for 90 days saw significantly improved accuracy for their spatial working memory (critical for being able to find things and remember where they are).

Article Citations:
  1. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2002 Aug;27(2):279-81. Chronic effects of Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) on human memory. Roodenrys S,
  2. J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Jul;16(7):753-9. doi: 10.1089/acm.2009.0342. Does Bacopa monnieri improve memory performance in older persons? Results of a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial. Morgan A, Stevens J.
  3. Stough C, Phytother Res. 2008 Dec;22(12):1629-34. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2537. Examining the nootropic effects of a special extract of Bacopa monniera on human cognitive functioning: 90 day double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial.

Ginkgo Biloba

In October 2002, the Alzheimer’s Society and the Cochrane Collaboration published a comprehensive review that examined more than 30 ginkgo biloba trials – some dating as far back as the mid-70s.  The Cochrane researchers concluded that the studies reveal convincing evidence that ginkgo extract may benefit cognition, emotional health, and activities of daily living in patients who are in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. In less than three months, many patients experienced positive results using a dosage of less than 200 mg per day.

Ginkgo’s been widely studied for its effective anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, platelet-forming and circulation-boosting effects. According to current research, ginkgo biloba benefits include improved cognitive function, positive mood, increased energy, improved memory and reduced symptoms related to multiple chronic diseases — for instance, it’s been used as an asthma natural remedy, ADHD natural remedy and dementia treatment. In fact, it’s believed to be so effective that it’s even a prescription herb in Germany!

The US National Library of Medicine / National Institutes of Health website (PMC - NCBI) lists 4521 studies on Ginkgo Biloba research, benefits and risks.


Vinpocetine is a synthetic alkaloid derived from the periwinkle plant (specifically, synthesized from the molecule known as 'vincamine') that appears to have a track record of usage in European countries for the treatment of cognitive decline, stroke recovery, and epilepsy.

Vinpocetine has effects on brain blood vessels, brain blood flow, and brain cells themselves. In this way, it can be of value in enhancing the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the brain, as well as in possibly preventing the damage that occurs if nutrient delivery is impaired.

Some research suggests that vinpocetine may also help to prevent the neurotoxic effects implicated in Alzheimer’s disease.  Vinpocetine inhibits an enzyme called phosphodiesterase type 1 (PDE1) while reducing intracellular calcium levels, both of which normally cause smooth muscle in blood vessels to contract and narrow the diameter of the vessels. Inhibition of PDE1 and calcium thus allows brain blood vessels to relax and increases the amount of blood flowing through them. [2-5] 

Vinpocetine is also commonly used as a nootropic compound in the hopes that it may promote memory formation.  Vinpocetine appears to have a role in neuroprotection and reducing neural inflammation, and for healthy persons it may potentially increase blood flow to the brain and improve reaction time (Limited evidence all around). The benefit of vinpocetine in memory formation is not yet proven, but it may protect the brain from amnesia

The US National Library of Medicine / National Institutes of Health website (PMC - NCBI) lists 445 studies on Vinpocetine research, benefits and risks.

1. Spilt A, Weverling-Rijnsburger AW, Middelkoop HA, et al. Late-onset dementia: structural brain damage and total cerebral blood flow. Radiology. 2005 Sep;236(3):990-5.
2. Szakall S, Boros I, Balkay L, et al. Cerebral effects of a single dose of intravenous vinpocetine in chronic stroke patients: a PET study. J Neuroimaging. 1998 Oct;8(4):197-204.
3. Szilagyi G, Nagy Z, Balkay L, et al. Effects of vinpocetine on the redistribution of cerebral blood flow and glucose metabolism in chronic ischemic stroke patients: a PET study. J Neurol Sci. 2005 Mar 15;229-230:275-84.
4. Vas A, Gulyas B, Szabo Z, et al. Clinical and non-clinical investigations using positron emission tomography, near infrared spectroscopy and transcranial Doppler methods on the neuroprotective drug vinpocetine: a summary of evidences. J Neurol Sci. 2002 Nov 15;203-204:259-62.
5. Wu SN. Large-conductance Ca2+- activated K+ channels:physiological role and pharmacology. Curr Med Chem. 2003 Apr;10(8):649-61.

Huperzine A 

Huperzine A is thought to be beneficial for problems with memory, loss of mental abilities (dementia), and the muscular disorder myasthenia gravis because it causes an increase in the levels of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is one of the chemicals that our nerves use to communicate in the brain, muscles, and other areas.

Huperzine-A is able to promote proliferation of hippocampal neural stem cells (NSCs) at a concentration of 1μM for 48 hours (which is more potent than 10-100μM) to 125% of control secondary to activating the ERK pathway,[21] and this neurogenesis was confimed in vivo with injections of 0.2mg/kg of huperzine-A for 4 weeks (about a 25% increase in BrdU stained cells, affecting both newborn and adult mice).  [Ma T, et al Huperzine A promotes hippocampal neurogenesis in vitro and in vivo . Brain Res. (2013)]

Huperzine A acts as a cholinesterase inhibitor — a type of medication that works by improving the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. Small early studies suggest that huperzine A may improve memory and protect nerve cells, which could slow the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer's.

A recent meta-analysis found evidence that huperzine A may significantly improve cognitive performance in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Another study suggests that huperzine A appears to have many protective effects on the brain in addition to its role as a cholinesterase inhibitor.

The US National Library of Medicine / National Institutes of Health website (PMC - NCBI) lists 607 studies on Huperzine A research, benefits and risks.

Personal Note

After using Neuro for several months, I have experienced only a positive improvement in memory access and retention.  Ir is easier for me to access both short and long term memories and retrieve names and words that previously were immediately unretrievable or lost that have now been found.  The results are so helpful that I consider it a basic necessity in addition to the Core Essentials.  It is also easier for me to work with numbers, accounting programs etc.  My mind is sharper and able to focus on the numbers and words with less wandering for much longer periods of time. In other words, indispensable!  I couldn't maintain the intellectual activities required at work without it.

This month I purchased Energy and take it along with Neuro and Core.  Just as Michelle advised, taking the Neuro along with the Energy has surprised me with its effects.  I tried the Energy earlier with little noticeable results.  But taking it with the Neuro has made a big difference.  I maintain a high energy level (at 2 sprays in the morning along with Neuro & Core essentials) throughout the day that doesn't diminish after lunch and is still noticeable on my drive home.  I sleep better at night and I'm less stressed or irritable at the end of the day.