Brain Health,

#007: Dr. Cory Reddish on Protecting Your Hard-Partying Brain

February 17, 2013

In this week’s episode, Jesse talks with Dr. Cory Reddish, a naturopathic physician and the creator of Party Pax.  Marketed as “Virtuous Nutrients for Your Vices,” these nutritional supplements were designed by Dr. Reddish to re-balance the brain’s neurochemistry following a big night of drinking or recreational drug use.

Jesse and “Dr. Cory,” as she’s colloquially known among the Burning Man and rave scene, discuss both the physiological realities of recreational substances, and the ethical pros and cons of a product like Party Pax.

How Your Partying Brain Can Live to Fight Another Day

In 2003, Dr. Reddish attended Burning Man, a festival in the Nevada desert where – despite the fun for all involved – extreme temperatures, an inhospitable environment, and heavy partying combine to make a near “perfect storm” of bad conditions for a healthy human brain.  But the urge to party cannot always be stopped.  And Dr. Cory, as she was known to festival-goers, planned ahead by bringing a healthy cocktail of neurological supplements to help people recover after their hard nights partying.

Before she knew it, she had become something of a local hero.  Her bounce-back concoctions worked, and were a major relief to people who had become accustomed to feeling awful for hours or days after their neurochemical misbehavior.  Nine years later, what began as a friendly giveaway has become something of a cottage industry for Dr. Cory.  Among other health products, she sells two Party Pax supplements formulated for the smoothest possible recovery from alcohol or “extreme” party drugs.

Alcohol & Your Brain

The most common “party substance” is of course alcohol.  While it’s been said that a glass of wine (or so) per day can be good for your health, Dr. Cory remains skeptical.  “Alcohol, essentially, can impact our neurotransmitters,” says Dr. Cory, including serotonin and dopamine.  While alcohol may provide short-term relaxation benefits, it acts as a toxin within the body.  This necessitates a “detox” period for both your body and brain…

How Detox Happens Once the Party is Over

“Detoxing is usually a two-phase process. A toxin comes into the liver and starts to be converted into a form that can then be eliminated from the body,” Dr. Cory explains.  The intermediary period between the two phases of detoxing can create substances more toxic to our bodies than the initial substance.  For these sequential detoxing processes to run as they should, certain specific vitamins, minerals and amino acid co-factors are needed by your body.

With alcohol, the intermediary compound is Acetaldehyde, a highly toxic substance which can cause tissue damage — and is the main culprit behind “hangover” symptoms. Additionally, alcohol’s detox process can cause depletion of B vitamins and electrolytes, and result in imbalanced sugar levels.  According to Dr. Cory, people who have a hard time consuming even minimal amounts of alcohol are likely to be experiencing a breakdown in their internal detoxing processes. In other words, if you’re a “lightweight,” it may be that your body doesn’t have the right vitamins, nutrients, enzymes and co-factors to correctly process alcohol.

Readers who fall into this camp who can replenish the vitamins and minerals required by the detox processes will feel a lot better next time they drink, says Dr. Cory.

Virtuous Nutrients For Your Vices: Party Pax

Years ago, Dr. Cory began putting together her own combinations of nutrients and vitamins to help friends aid their recovery from alcohol and other “party substances.”  At first, she hand-mixed B-12 and magnesium and distributed these homemade supplements to friends at the Burning Man festival… and the effectiveness of this recovery-boost made her an immediate hit.  Many of the revelers came back again and again as they noticed how much better they felt in quickly shaking or avoiding a hangover altogether.

Dr. Cory’s “Booze Pax” are formulated help the body process and detox from alcohol.  It contains amino acids and a spectrum of B vitamins, as well as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant elements that assist the liver in its detox process.

Her “Extreme Pax” are formulated for substances such as MDMA, psilocybin, psychedelics, cocaine and other “outside the mainstream” intoxicants.  These substances often stimulate dopamine and serotonin, and side effects can include muscle and jaw tension.  Extreme Pax are created to help replenish serotonin and dopamine in a way that recognizes the body’s physiological realities. For many people, serotonin can be difficult to replenish because serotonin-boosting supplements like 5-HTP require other amino acids and vitamins to fully reestablish pre-partying neurotransmitter levels.

This Week in Neuroscience: “Harvard Study Finds Fluoride Lowers IQ”

A Harvard study has found still more evidence of a dramatic and statistically relevant correlation between fluoride added to the water supply and lowered IQ among children.  Fluoride, long an intentional additive to US water systems, is said to improve the formation of strong tooth enamel among school-age children.  But this benefit is almost certainly completely overshadowed by the known neurotoxic effects of the same chemical.  Paul Beeber, President of the New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation (NYSCOF) asks: “Even if fluoridation reduced cavities, is tooth health more important than brain health?”  The answer, from Smart Drug Smarts’ perspective, is a resounding “no.”

(The full article is no longer available online.)

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