Getting Your Wellness Back

Archive for the ‘Mental Health’ Category

Regulation of Cortisol the Stress Hormone

Cortisol, often referred to as the stress hormone, plays a crucial role in maintaining health. But to be effective, circulating levels must be maintained in a fairly narrow range. If levels dip much below optimal, signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue occur. Any lower and the situation can become life threatening. 

If levels climb and remain above optimal for a period of time, signs and symptoms of metabolic syndrome appear. And if they get too high, Cushings syndrome manifests.

The level of circulating cortisol in the healthy body remains between 15 and 24 mcg/dL, producing 20-25 mg of cortisol over a 24-hour period. These optimal circulating levels carry in a diurnal pattern, with low being at approximately 4:30 a.m. and high occurring 30 to 45 minutes after rising or at approximately 7 a.m.  There is also a mid-afternoon low sometime between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., which usually lasts between 15 minutes and two hours.

The following are common signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue:

1) Morning fatigue: difficulty getting up and going without caffeine or other stimulants.

2) Mid-morning low: often compensated for by more caffeine plus sugar with fat. (e.g. coffee and donuts)

3) Afternoon low: typically experienced between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.

4) Energy improves substantially after around 6 p.m.

5) Sleepiness may occur around 9:30 p.m.

6) A second wind occurring around 11 p.m., lasting until 1 a.m. to 2 a.m.

7) Sleeping in about two hours beyond usual rising time is more refreshing.

8) Feeling run down and exhausted most of the day.

9) Sleep disturbances

10) Getting sick more often and taking longer to recover from illness and other stresses.

11) Decreased libido

These symptoms can be addressed through stress management , lifestyle modifications, food choices, dietary supplements and homeopathy. 

Shiitake Mushrooms Help Reduce Cholesterol and Boost immunity

The shiitake, also called the oakwood mushroom or the black forest mushroom in English-speaking countries, is an edible brown mushroom that is native to Japan, China, and Korea. It has been cultivated for over a thousand years, and fresh and dried shiitake remain popular in East Asia today. Like maitake muhsrooms, which bear a similar nutritional profile, shiitake is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine due to its alleged healing properties.

Though less popular in the West than the East, the shiitake mushroom is nonetheless prized in North America and Europe for their robust taste, curious texture, and nutritiousness. Indeed, some researchers tasked with investigating the health benefits of shiitake have proclaimed it a superfood. Let’s find out why.

According to the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, shiitake mushrooms contain an active compound called lentinan (a form of beta-glucan) that stimulates the immune system, which in turn activates cells and proteins that can inhibit cancerous growths. A 2011 study by researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong also found that the shiitake is a good source of antioxidants such as selenium, which can eliminate the cancer-causing effects of free radicals.

According to researchers at the Lulea University of Technology in Sweden, a compound in shiitake called eritadenine has the ability to lower cholesterol. Another, unrelated study by researchers at the Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine in Japan found that rats who ate shiitake and maitake excreted cholesterol, resulting in fewer cholesterol in their bodies.

Beating Jet Lag

Frequent travelers know it well: jet lag, that feeling of not being in sync with the local time zone after a lengthy flight. It can produce feelings of fatigue, nausea, headache, dizziness, irritability, and even constipation or diarrhea.

The medical name for it is desynchronosis, and though you may not be able to eliminate it completely from your itinerary, you can minimize its effects upon arrival. Here’s how to get your trip off to a good start.

1) Adjust your sleep schedule before leaving. As much as possible in the days before your departure, try to match your sleep schedule to the time zone you’ll be in. Go to bed and get up a little earlier.

2) Stay in Shape. The better your physical condition is before you travel, the easier the transition will be. Exercise regularly, eat well, and get rest.

3) Wear comfortable clothing. You’ll be able to relax better on the plane if your clothes are loose and your shoes don’t restrict your movement or blood flow.

4) Drink lots of water. Avoid alcohol and caffeine on the plane, but drink plenty of other liquids to minimize the effects of dehydration that can accompany air travel. The body does not detoxify as well at high altitudes which makes water especially important as well as taking your multiple vitamin before and right after being on the plane.

5) Walk around the plane. Once the seatbelt sign is off, follow the crew’s advice and feel free to move about the cabin. Keeping you blood flowing will make you feel better and lower the risk of developing blood clots that inactivity can cause.

6) Adapt to the local schedule quickly. You’ll be tired when you arrive, but don’t go right to bed if the local time is 8 a.m. Try to stay up, or take just a brief nap. Get out into the sunlight as much as possible—exposure to the sun’s rays will help your body adjust to the new clock.

7) If you have purchased a Mini Harmonizer from our office, having this on near you while you are flying can also help with Jet lag. This machine puts off the Earth’s natural frequency which helps re-charge the body.

How do You Prevent Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and the only cause of death among the top 10 for which medical treatments are unable to prevent or slow the progression of the disease to any appreciable degree. Research reveals that only 2% of all cases of  Alzheimer’s disease are linked to genetic inheritance. So what is causing the other 98%? Studies have shown that specific dietary practices play a major role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease—and in its prevention.

1) Control your Cholesterol– by keeping your blood cholesterol below 3.9 mmol/L by consuming a low-animal fat diet, avoiding trans fats, hydrogenated fats and organ meats.

2) Balance your Blood sugar– Keep your fasting blood sugar level below 5.0 mmol/L, as higher glucose levels lead to type 3 diabetes—a form of Alzheimer’s disease caused by high blood glucose and insulin.

3) Maintain Your Ideal Body Weight– Overweight individuals have a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease, primarily due to higher levels of circulating insulin and glucose levels—leading to type 3 diabetes.

4) Add a Multivitamin/Mineral to Your Daily Nutrition Routine– Take a high-potency multiple vitamin/mineral each day that contains a B-50 complex, 1,000 IU of vitamin D, and all the major antioxidants. (Ask us about the multiple vitamin that we use)

5) Get Plenty of Fatty Acids-Take an essential fatty acid supplement each day that contains fish, flaxseed, and borage oil. The capsule should contain 400 mg of each of these three oils. This daily dosage supplies the amount of EPA/DHA that has been shown to reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in large populations studies.

6) Make Melatonin Matter– After age 40, take a melatonin supplement one hour before bedtime. By age 40, melatonin secretion rates from the pineal gland in the brain have declined significantly. Melatonin is a vital brain antioxidant, sleep inducer, and immune modulator. Low melatonin levels are linked to cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.

7) Preserve the Memory Chemical-After age 55, take a supplement each day that helps preserve brain levels of the memory chemical, acetylcholine.  After age 55, brain synthesis of acetylcholine declines. Low levels of acetylcholine area hallmark feature of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

8) Don’t damage the Brain– Avoid known brain-damaging substances. For example, don’t drink excessive alcohol. Alcohol kills brain cells. If you drink alcohol, have no more than 3 drinks per week. Don’t smoke. Free radicals in cigarette smoke cause brain oxidation and increase the risk of cerebrovascular disease. Don’t use recreational drugs, as many are known to cause brain damage.

9)Keep your Mind Sharp– Keep your brain active by learning a new activity or new language. Examples include learning a musical instrument, taking dance lessons, playing ping-pong, and learning a new skill or subject outside of your usual skill set, career endeavor, or leisure-time hobbies. This helps to carve new brain circuits, which keep the brain young.

10) Protect Your Head– Finally avoid head injuries by wearing a helmet whenever cycling, skiing, rollerblading, etc. ( any activity with the potential for a slip, fall or other circumstance that could cause the head to be injured); and avoiding high risk head injury activities.

 

How Do You Tackle Anxiety?

When I ask my patients if they have anxiety symptoms, many of them deny it, but then they will say they feel “stressed.” It is as though there is a negative stigma about the word anxiety. Why is it that our society thinks it is abnormal to have some level of anxiety when the modern American life is so stressful? This anxiety is a natural response to alert us to the fact that there is something in our life that is causing ongoing stress to our body. It is an adaptive response to protect ourselves so that we can alter the trigger to prevent long-term damage to or drain on our
body and health.

What we do with this physiological signal is what determines whether the anxiety ends up being harmful long-term or being helpful in altering the stressful event so as to maintain health. In short, what we do with anxiety is what’s important.

So, when we feel anxious, how can we overcome it? We need to remove the anxiety provoking cause, and if we can’t, we need to initiate adaptive behaviors so as to lessen the overall negative impact. Use these five tips to ease anxiety:

1) Use all of your senses to help de-stress. If music gives you joy, incorporate it into your relaxation time.
2) Make sure you take a few minutes every hour to stretch, relax, and calm your mind. You can’t run at top speed all day long all day.
3) Eat an anti-inflammatory diet full of vegetables, low-sugar foods, and omega-3’s and plant-based proteins like nuts.
4) Exercise raises endorphins in the body and is a great way to de-stress. Put on your athletic shoes and go for a walk around the block.
5) Sleep is essential for our body to achieve a state of balance and to avoid feeling stressed

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