Wellness Solutions Presents the First Two Chapters Free
Chapter 1: Introduction
People have always believed—or continue to believe—that serotonin is the happy hormone and that elevating it has antidepressant effects.
Imagine if I told you that wasn’t at all true. For depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses, SSRI medications are most frequently prescribed; over 90% of patients receiving antidepressant medication take one of these medications. Physicians prescribe it without hesitation, and the majority of them are unaware of the serious side effects or don’t even inform their patients of them. It’s more about balance therapy.
You may be wondering why so many people seem to benefit from SSRIs. After all, how come?
A few of the causes are as follows:
While all SSRI medications increase total serotonin levels and inhibit serotonin uptake, some of them also increase brain levels of allopregnanlone (a GABA agonist that is now approved for the treatment of depression), increase dopamine, inhibit histamine, and desensitize other serotonin receptors. This throws off our attempt to balance therapy.
One of the most widely used antidepressants, aeoni, for instance, inhibits the 5-HT2C and 5-HT3 serotonin receptors while also increasing allopregnanolone.
More serotonin receptors are antagonistic to more recent SSRIs that are being developed. This is due to the fact that medicine is finally catching up and realizing that depression cannot be “cured” by serotonin. Furthermore, although most SSRI users report feeling better, a major side effect of the drug is anhedonia, or a lack of enjoyment in life.
Dopamine is essentially the happy hormone that makes you feel motivated, enjoy life more, want to accomplish goals, and so forth. To learn more about increasing dopamine, go here.
Reducing stress will also have a significant impact on lowering serotonin because stress typically elevates serotonin in conjunction with an overactive hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. However, trauma and chronic stress can cause persistently elevated serotonin and hypersensitivity long after the initial stress has subsided.
A brief history
Allow me to briefly explain the history of serotonin. The enzyme tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH) converts the amino acid tryptophan into serotonin. These enzymes come in two varieties: type I is found in the stomach and type II is found in the brain.
Between 95 and 99% of the body’s total serotonin is found in the gut, whereas only 1% is found in the brain. However, under abnormal circumstances, the brain can synthesize up to 60% of its serotonin from tryptophan. Additionally, there is a significant increase in gut serotonin production when the gut is irritated. Later, more on that.
Serotonin binds to a wide variety of receptors, including 5-HT1 to 5-HT7. For instance, 5-HT1 has four sub-receptors: 5-HT1A, 5-HT1B, 5-HT1C, and 5-HT1D.
Because the serotonin receptor 5-HT1A functions as an auto-receptor, the body produces less serotonin when serotonin binds to the receptor. Thus, 5-HT1A functions as a kind of internal sensor for total serotonin and aids in the regulation of serotonin levels. On the other hand, desensitization of the receptor can result in persistently high serotonin levels. Not favorable.
We’ll delve deeper into each of the 14 serotonin sub-receptors that have been identified so far, as they all have distinct functions. I’ll do my best to make things as easy as possible.
Moreover, serotonin can bind to its receptors in the extracellular space after it is released from neurons. Then, the serotonin transporter, 5-HTT or SERT, rounds up the serotonin and returns it to the neurons. Reduced serotonin transporter (SERT) indicates increased extracellular serotonin, which can attach to serotonin receptors and enhance the effects of serotonin. Put another way, a low SERT is undesirable.
The primary enzymes that degrade serotonin into its primary metabolite, 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5HIAA), are aldehyde dehydrogenase (ADH) and monoamine oxidase-A (MAO-A). Steady MAO-A activity will result in elevated serotonin flux. To raise serotonin levels, the majority of SSRI medications inhibit the MAO-A enzyme.
Through glucuronidation, which necessitates healthy liver function, serotonin produced in the gut is primarily eliminated or detoxified I.
Now that you have a solid understanding of the production, function, and breakdown of serotonin, let’s talk about some of its adverse effects when levels are raised.
Effects of elevated serotonin on the body
migraines, bronchoconstriction, asthma, and hives (in addition to histamine).
syndrome of chronic fatigue
Serotonin released from platelets or other cells causes edema and swelling in the joints.
slowed metabolism, which may lead to weight gain.
Sweating and flushing
Easily alarmed, jittery (due to adrenaline), sensitive to light, sound, and visual disruptions, and prone to head twitching I
In response to exercise, serotonin increases core temperature, which also contributes to decreased exercise endurance I. It is better to inhibit serotonin synthesis when exercising.
raises the hormone aldosterone, which also causes water retention and blood pressure to rise.
increases the release of prolactin, primarily via 5-HT2A I,
increases CRH, glucocorticoids, and ACTH (primarily through 5-HT2C), as well as glucocorticoid receptors through the 5-HT7 receptor I, thereby activating the adrenal axis.
increases the number of estrogen receptors (via 5-HT4) I
prevents the synthesis of testosterone
prevents the release of dopamine in the frontal cortex (via 5-HT1B and 5-HT2C)
Well enough of those worrisome, highly unwanted side effects. Going on to low serotonin maintenance.
I’m going to show you which supplements have been shown to lower serotonin after talking with you about the most crucial daily actions you can take to maintain low serotonin.
Chapter 2: The High Serotonin Personality
Unlike other neurotransmitters, serotonin is a complex neurotransmitter that affects every part of the body. Balanced therapy is essential. At the moment, it’s thought to help with anger, impatience, impulsivity, depression, anxiety, etc. The fact that people with these symptoms have lower levels of the serotonin metabolite 5-HIAA is one of the main causes of this. Because 5-HIAA is low, the research is predicated on the idea that brain serotonin is low. On the other hand, low 5-HIAA actually indicates that the brain is overproducing serotonin rather than that very little of it is being broken down.
Serotonin can be elevated in the brain in three main ways: first, by increasing its synthesis via tryptophan hydroxylase 2 (TPH2); second, by decreasing the function of monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A), which breaks down serotonin; and third, by decreasing the function of the serotonin transporter, or SERT.
Serotonin will be raised as a result of low MAO-A and SERT activity, as well as elevated TPH. I don’t specifically address whether serotonin is good or bad and why in this piece; instead, I describe a possible personality trait of someone who has high serotonin. Remember that serotonin is most likely elevated in combination with other chemicals such as glutamate, nitric oxide, prolactin, estrogen, cortisol, histamine, prostaglandins, and so on. It is rarely, if ever, elevated on its own. Because serotonin increases the release of certain hormones, such as cortisol and glutamate, many of the personality traits associated with it may be caused by elevated levels of these hormones. Lowering cortisol or glutamate on its own, however, won’t completely resolve the issue because serotonin is the primary cause of the problem and won’t be greatly alleviated if it isn’t controlled.
Here are a few of the most typical”char’cteristics of high serotonin personalities:
weariness or sluggishness, fatigue quickly, and even chronic fatigue syndrome (caused by an increased 5-HT2A receptor)
Preventing TPH fatigue avoids this tiredness. But other neurotransmitters, such as cortisol, acetylcholine, noradrenaline, the serotonin:dopamine ratio, the kynurenine pathway, etc., are also implicated in fatigue in addition to serotonin.
Overexcitation (caused by elevated 5-HT2A receptor) includes ADD, ADHD, easily becoming distracted, anxiety, impulsivity, restlessness, overthinking, rumination, and other symptoms
Mental rigidity and inflexibility. Some studies claim that using psychedelics like LSD, mushrooms, etc. to activate the 5-HT2A receptor reduces rigid thinking. However, this is actually because these drugs stimulate the release of glutamate, which in turn stimulates the release of dopamine via the NMDA receptor. Dopamine is involved in creativity and flexible thinking . Additionally, people typically experience a type of “bliss” for a week or two following psychedelic exposure, which is caused by 5-HT2A downregulation.
depressed, melancholy, low spirits, diminished motivation to engage in other activities, such as going out and having fun, social anxiety and retreat, etc.
Decreased cognitive function (not necessarily ignorance, but mental intuition) But in a very authoritative way, they may believe they are knowledgeable and possess all the answers.
Narcissistic: grandiose delusions, power fantasies, inflated sense of self-importance, need for unceasing admiration, etc.
Diminished sensory perception, including anhedonia, apathy, diminished auditory, taste, smell, sensation, and musical euphoria.
excessively critical and biased in the negative
Negative, cynical, and incapable of seeing the good in life
Feel “icky” and frequently ask to be left alone.
Assertiveness and non-assertiveness are completely uncorrelated (5-HT2C is inversely correlated with assertiveness) Rude and aggressive dominance may appear to be assertive. According to philosopher Eric Hoffer, “the weak man impersonating strength is rudeness.”
OCD (5-HT2C activation decreases dopamine and noradrenaline and increases compulsivity)
aversive, passive-aggressive, but also capable of extreme violence and aggression
Give no thought to the repercussions of poor choices. Another possible cause of this could be low dopamine, which gives less weight to the severity of negative outcome. Life seems pointless or like a joke.
Sensitivity to and increased expectation of stimuli related to threats, punishment, and unfavorable feedback
Emotionally unstable people are emotional and argumentative about their beliefs and viewpoints, highly sensitive to emotional triggers (feeling like you have to walk on eggs around them), and easily triggered emotionally as a result of a traumatic experience with someone in the past.
Bullying is typically the result of early-life trauma from being physically or mentally abused, which leads to the victim becoming the aggressor.
Decreased psychomotor performance, memory, attention, planning ability, and verbal fluency. Nonetheless, people with high levels of serotonin and estrogen tend to talk a lot because these chemicals encourage the need to communicate.
Terrified – terrified of failing, lacking self-assurance and self-promotion.
Futile obedience (because they don’t want to upset anyone, are afraid, are “zombified,” don’t question things, etc.) and futile patience (continue waiting for something, even if it’s unlikely or unreasonable)
Thoughts and even attempts at suicide/
Bipolar mania – mood swings/ Helpful mechanisms include the histamine receptor H1, the 5-HT1A receptor’s agonism (which lowers serotonin), and the 5-HT2A receptor’s antagonism (which lowers excess glutamate).
Intermittent explosive disorder violent, aggressive, easily agitated, and argumentative.
Unlikable: Research indicates that men perceive women with high serotonin levels as less attractive and respond to them more violently. Those with high serotonin levels do, however, tend to draw in other like-minded individuals.
Of course, not everyone with high serotonin will have the same personality traits; you may know someone who exhibits some or many of the traits but not all of them. This is caused by variations in hormone levels between individuals as well as variations in receptor expressions.
However, in general, individuals with high serotonin have low dopamine and are more likely to be unstable, negative, prone to making poor decisions and cognitive errors, pessimistic (though they can also be overly (fake) optimistic and have a lot of fake confidence), lean on other people’s energy, possess all the answers and be overly logical rather than creative, depressed, irritable and truly annoying, passive-aggressive/up-in-your-face aggressive, enjoy picking on others to make themselves feel better, think highly of themselves (but deep down are highly insecure and lash out if any insecurity is exposed), can’t take something to be incorrect, etc.
To put it even more succinctly, serotonin is primarily associated with two types of personalities: one is assertive, dominant, narcissistic, authoritative, and controlling, and the other is more weak, depressed, anxious, and socially isolated (feel sorry for me). One can also be a combination of the two (“two-faced”, split personality etc.).
Kids in Motion Presents the First Three Chapters Free
Chapter 1: Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet consists almost entirely of foods that come from plants and is considered a helping hearts diet.
Oldways is an organization that, along with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the World Health Organization, created the Mediterranean diet pyramid 25 years ago. At the top of the pyramid are the core foods, which include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, herbs, spices, nuts, and olive oil. The organizations suggest consuming fish and seafood on a twice-weekly basis in addition to moderate amounts of dairy products, eggs, and poultry. Only on occasion would consumers indulge in red meat and sweets. This kind diet is where it gets its reputation for helping hearts.
What are the Advantages and Detriments of Following a Mediterranean Diet?
If you’re on the fence about adopting a diet more typical of the Mediterranean, you should think about the studies that support the idea. According to the findings of a study and a meta-analysis, an individual’s likelihood of dying from any cause is reduced by five percent for every point that is added to their Mediterranean diet score on a scale that ranges from one to nine.
A study that involved over 26,000 women found that those who followed the Mediterranean diet the most closely had up to a 28 percent lower risk of developing heart disease. The researchers believe that the diet’s ability to reduce inflammation may be a key factor in its protective effect. In addition, the antioxidant food component known as hydroxytyrosol, which may be found in foods that are staples of the diet (fruits, nuts, and extra-virgin olive oil), has been demonstrated to repair heart-harming free radical damage, according to the authors of the study. Helping hearts is one of the primary benefits of this diet
Even if you don’t place a high priority on living a long life and taking care of your heart, there is no ignoring the possibility that you could be interested in the Mediterranean diet due to the possible weight loss it offers. This kind of eating may help you maintain your weight without making you feel deprived, despite the fact that this is not the primary purpose of the strategy.
A study that was conducted by researchers from Harvard University and Emory University followed a group of overweight or obese adults on the Mediterranean diet and a control group eating a standard American diet supplemented with fish oil, walnuts, and grape juice — foods that supply key nutrients in the Mediterranean diet — for a period of eight weeks. A standard American diet is rich in foods that are high in saturated fat, added sugar, and salt. The Mediterranean diet is rich in foods that are low in these three categories. In comparison to the control group, those who followed the Mediterranean diet experienced greater weight loss, a reduction in the blood levels of inflammatory markers, and a decrease in both their total cholesterol and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels. A pleasant surprise was that this wasn’t supposed to be a study on weight loss in the first place (that was just an added benefit), so researchers made sure both groups consumed the same amount of calories.
When it comes to controlling chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, dietitians frequently suggest adopting a dietary pattern that is inspired by the Mediterranean. The American Heart Association notes that this diet is considered heart-healthy despite the fact that it contains more fat than is typically recommended (though it is still low in unhealthy saturated fat).
The main takeaway is that this is one of the healthiest ways you can eat, but as with anything else, you should always talk to your doctor before changing your diet or using a diet as part of your treatment plan for a disease.
5 Suggestions to Help You Get Started on Your Own Mediterranean Diet Plan
Because this is a method of eating rather than a strict set of rules, the good news is that you are free to modify it in any way you see fit to accommodate your preferences for food and drink. There is no way to adhere to this to the letter without risking falling off the bandwagon and experiencing feelings of inadequacy. Even within the Mediterranean diet there are what we call ‘special occasion days,’ where you may eat more or eat foods that perhaps are not very healthy, but that is actually part of the lifestyle. A healthy connection with food is encouraged by the Mediterranean diet, which recognizes that food is meant to be enjoyed. The term “cheating” refers to a component of the Mediterranean diet. You merely go about your business the following day as if nothing had happened.
Nevertheless, in order to get you started, here are five key pieces of advice:
Eat a diet high in beans. Not only are they a pantry staple that you probably aren’t eating enough of anyway, but they are also budget-friendly and offer a plethora of nutritional benefits, such as being high in fiber and protein, low in fat, and a source of B vitamins, iron, and antioxidants. Lentils, dried peas, beans, and chickpeas (such those used to make hummus) are examples of these foods.
Avoid drinking too much alcohol. One of the most popular misconceptions about folks who follow the Mediterranean diet is that they consume a great deal of red wine. The consumption of wine as part of the Mediterranean diet is done so in moderation, and it is always consumed with food. It was common practice to drink only a little amount of wine with meals, typically between three and four ounces.
Cook the meat as a side dish. In the past, people only ate meat on special occasions, such as a Sunday meal, and even then they only ate a limited amount of it on those occasions. You should make an effort to eat more vegetarian main courses throughout the day, such as those that are based on beans, tofu, or seitan. When you do eat meat, choose lean cuts like chicken without the skin and limit your consumption of red meat to once a week or twice a month at most.
Consume fewer sugary foods. Treat sweets like you would meat and save them for rare occasions but on a daily basis, there isn’t much sugar eaten. This does not mean that sugar is forbidden; for instance, you can put some in your coffee if you want to.
Olive oil is great to cook with. The best oil for cooking is extra-virgin olive oil, so always use that. Because olive oil is high in heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, you may feel good about keeping a bottle of it on hand in the kitchen even though using too much of it might cause weight gain (it is, after all, a fat, so the calories can mount up quickly).
A Comprehensive Food List for the Mediterranean Diet
When attempting to make your diet more Mediterranean, the following foods should be included and others should be avoided:
Rarely or Never
Red meat (beef and pork)
Cured meats (bacon, sausage, and salami)
Processed meat products (chicken nuggets)
Oil and Fat
Extra-virgin olive oil
Avocadoes and avocado oil
Rarely or Never
Fruits and Veggies
Nonstarchy veggies, (zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, artichokes, and dark greens)
Starchy veggies (sweet potatoes, potatoes, and root vegetables)
All fruits (peaches, cherries, apricots, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries)
There are no off-limits fruits or vegetables.
Rarely or Never
No fruits or veggies are off-limits.
Nuts and Seeds
While they can be part of every day, eat them in moderation.
Cashews (and all other unsweetened nuts)
Rarely or Never
Sweetened trail mixes
Sweetened nut butters
Whole-grain bread (look for whole-wheat flour as the first ingredient)
Whole grains (farro, bulgur wheat, barley, and quinoa)
Oatmeal (steel-cut or old-fashioned)
Pasta (choose whole-wheat pasta whenever possible)
Rarely or Never
Frozen waffles and pancakes
Crackers and other snack foods
These are consumed in moderation.
Plain Greek yogurt
Plain ricotta and cottage cheese
Brie, feta, or goat cheese (plus other cheeses that you enjoy)
Rarely or Never
Processed cheese (like American)
These are consumed in moderation.
A small amount of added sugar (in coffee or tea, for example)
Rarely or Never
Condiments and Sauces
Tomato sauce (no sugar added)
Rarely or Never
Red wine or other alcohol
Rarely or Never
Bottled sweetened coffee
Herbs and Spices
All dried herbs and spices
All fresh herbs
Salting food to taste
Rarely or Never
There’s no reason to restrict these in your foods.
Your Guide to Following the Mediterranean Diet for the Next 14 Days
When it comes to arranging your menu, here are some suggestions for where to get started. Please take into consideration portion quantities aren’t provided. Calorie counting is not required while following this particular diet plan. Your body has unique requirements, and those of another individual won’t match up with them.
Breakfast Coffee or tea with a bowl of oatmeal topped with berries
Snack Handful of almonds or walnuts
Lunch Half of a turkey sandwich made with whole-grain bread and a cup of lentil soup
Snack Sliced carrots, bell peppers, and cucumbers dipped in hummus
Dinner Veggie and white bean stew
Breakfast Coffee or tea with plain Greek yogurt topped with a drizzle of honey and walnuts
Snack Roasted chickpeas
Lunch Leftover veggie and bean stew from yesterday’s dinner
Snack A peach (or apple, depending on the season)
Dinner Roasted chicken served with pita bread, tzatziki (a yogurt-based sauce), and a side salad
Breakfast Smoothie made with the milk of your choice, fruit, and nut butter
Snack ¼ avocado mashed with lemon juice and salt on top of whole-grain crackers
Lunch Three-bean soup topped with a dollop of pesto and served with a whole-grain roll
Snack Package of olives and fresh veggies
Dinner Salmon with farro and roasted zucchini and eggplant
Breakfast Coffee or tea and toasted whole-grain bread, sliced cheese, and strawberries
Lunch Lentil-based salad with feta, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and olives
Snack Greek yogurt with fresh fruit
Dinner Grilled shrimp served with sautéed kale and polenta
Breakfast Coffee or tea and a breakfast bowl of leftover farro (from dinner on day 3) topped with a poached egg and a few slices of avocado
Snack Dried apricots and walnuts
Lunch Quinoa, bean, and veggie salad served with a slice of whole-grain bread
Snack Whole-grain crackers and black bean dip
Dinner Marinated, grilled chicken skewers served with bulgur wheat and a cucumber and red onion salad
Breakfast Coffee or tea and smoked salmon, capers, and tomato slices
Snack In-season fruit (such as a peach or two apricots in summer, or a pear in winter)
Lunch Mediterranean bean salad and whole-grain crackers
Snack Piece of cheese and olives
Dinner Moroccan lamb stew with couscous
Breakfast Coffee or tea and Greek yogurt with sunflower seeds and raspberries
Snack Sliced orange and pistachios
Lunch A piece of whole-grain bread with sliced tomatoes, cheese, and olives
Snack Packaged, flavored lupini beans
Dinner Red lentil and vegetable stew
Breakfast Coffee or tea and two eggs with sautéed greens (spinach or kale), plus an orange
Snack Roasted chickpeas
Lunch Leftover lamb stew from dinner on day 6
Snack Mixed nuts with a piece of dark chocolate
Dinner Baked white fish, roasted potatoes, and zucchini
Breakfast Smoothie made with the milk of your choice, frozen cherries, banana, and cocoa powder
Snack Mini peppers stuffed with hummus
Lunch Tuna salad made with olive oil, dried herbs, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes served on a bed of spinach with mixed veggies and whole-grain crackers
Snack Piece of cheese with a piece of fruit
Dinner Hearty Tuscan white bean soup with whole-grain bread
Breakfast Coffee or tea and a bowl of oatmeal topped with raisins and crushed walnuts, plus a drizzle of honey, if desired
Snack Greek yogurt and a piece of fruit
Lunch Leftover Tuscan white bean soup from dinner on day 9
Snack Hummus with sliced raw veggies like red peppers, celery, and cucumber
Dinner Garlic lemon chicken thighs served with asparagus and Israeli couscous
Breakfast Coffee or tea and a slice of veggie frittata with avocado
Snack Apple with nut butter
Lunch Prepared dolmas (look for these stuffed grape leaves in the prepared food section at some grocers) with hummus and pita
Snack Greek yogurt dip with sliced veggies
Dinner Seafood stew (shrimp and white fish in a tomato base)
Breakfast Coffee or tea and a small bowl of ricotta topped with fruit (berries, peaches, or fresh apricots) and a drizzle of honey
Snack Handful of lightly salted nuts (hazelnuts, pistachios, almonds, or a mix)
Lunch Greek pasta salad (whole-grain pasta with red onion, tomato, Kalamata olives, and feta) served on a bed of romaine
Snack Fruit salad
Dinner Leftover seafood stew from dinner on day 11
Breakfast Coffee or tea and oatmeal with nut butter and blueberries
Snack Container of Greek yogurt
Lunch Salmon salad sandwich with a cup of bean-based soup
Snack Smashed avocado on whole-grain crackers
Dinner Shakshuka (baked eggs in tomato sauce) topped with feta and served over polenta
Breakfast Coffee or tea and toasted whole-grain bread topped with ricotta and sliced fruit
Snack Dried cranberries and mixed nuts
Lunch Quinoa bowl with roasted sweet potatoes, goat cheese, and walnuts
Snack Olives and a few pita chips dipped in hummus
Dinner Artichoke and cannellini bean pasta with bread crumbs and Parmesan
s, and Parmesan cheese for supper.
Chapter 2: The DASH Diet
Rich in fruits, vegetables, healthy grains, low-fat dairy, and lean protein, the DASH diet is low in salt. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Originally, the diet was designed to help decrease hypertension, but it’s a healthy method of weight loss as well.
How It Works
Eating healthful foods is made easier with the DASH diet. This goes beyond a conventional low-salt diet. Foods rich in calcium, potassium, magnesium, and fiber are emphasized in the DASH diet because these nutrients work together to decrease blood pressure.
When following the DASH diet, you should consume lots of:
Heart-healthy fats found in avocados and canola and olive oils
It’s best to limit:
Sweets and drinks with added sugar
foods heavy in saturated fats, including most packaged snacks, fatty meals, full-fat dairy, and tropical oils
Use of alcohol
You can determine how many calories you need to consume each day with the assistance of your healthcare physician. Your age, gender, degree of activity, underlying medical issues, and whether or not you’re trying to maintain or reduce weight all affect how many calories you require.
You can adhere to a diet that permits you to consume 1,500 mg or 2,300 mg of salt (sodium) daily.
When adhering to the DASH diet, you ought to restrict your intake of the following foods:
foods seasoned with salt
drinks sweetened with sugar
meals heavy in saturated fats, like deep-fried dishes and whole-fat dairy products
packaged foods, which are frequently heavy in sugar, fat, and salt
Consult your provider before adding more potassium to your diet or using salt substitutes, which frequently contain potassium. People with kidney issues or those on specific medications need to watch how much potassium they eat.
DASH suggests exercising for at least half an hour per day, most days of the week. The key is to engage in moderately intense exercises for a minimum of two hours and thirty minutes a week. Engage in heart-pumping workouts. Spend 60 minutes a day exercising to help avoid weight gain.
Numerous studies have examined the many health advantages of the DASH diet. This eating plan may be helpful to follow to:
Reduce elevated blood pressure
Lower your chance of stroke, heart failure, and heart disease
assist in preventing or managing type 2 diabetes
lower cholesterol levels
Lower the likelihood of kidney stones
In developing the DASH diet, the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute contributed. Additionally, it is advised by The Heart Association of America
You will get all the nutrients you require if you stick to this diet. It is secure for both kids and adults. It is a fiber-rich eating approach that is low in saturated fat and advised for all individuals.
It is a good idea to discuss any health conditions you may have with your provider before beginning this or any other weight loss eating plan.
You will probably be eating a lot more fruits, veggies, and whole grains when following the DASH diet eating plan. These foods are high in fiber, and consuming too much fiber too soon might lead to gastrointestinal distress. Increase your daily intake of fiber gradually, and make sure you’re getting enough water.
The diet is generally simple to stick to and ought to satisfy you. It’s possible that purchasing more fruits and vegetables than previously will result in higher costs compared to prepared meals.
You can follow the diet if you’re gluten-free, vegetarian, or vegan.
Books with recipes and advice on the DASH diet are also available for purchase.
There is also the DASH diet for hypertension and the DASH diet for blood pressure.
Chapter 3: The Flexitarian Diet
A plant-forward, semi-vegetarian diet is the general definition of the flexitarian diet.
More precisely, a flexitarian diet is a flexible eating pattern that promotes the consumption of meat less frequently and/or in smaller amounts, integrates dairy and eggs, and stresses the addition of plant or plant-based foods and beverages.
A flexitarian diet has no predetermined macronutrient or calorie targets.
The flexitarian diet’s tenets are in line with the 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
According to new research, adopting a flexitarian diet may help manage weight and lower the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer.
The majority of Americans do not get enough dairy, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seafood, legumes (such as chickpeas, lentils, and beans, including soy), or legumes. A “flexitarian diet” aims to make dietary choices easier by emphasizing what can be added to the diet rather than what should be eliminated, even though a complete diet overhaul may seem daunting.
The combination of the terms “flexible” and “vegetarian” is the flexitarian diet. The term “flexitarian diet” refers to a semi-vegetarian, plant-forward diet that includes dairy and eggs and occasionally permits meat consumption, despite the lack of a universally accepted definition. Without necessitating adherence to the strict dietary guidelines of 100% vegetarian or vegan diets, the emphasis on plant foods is believed to contribute to the health benefits associated with a vegetarian diet.
A flexitarian diet has no predetermined macronutrient or calorie targets. Rather, the objective is to gradually increase the intake of plant-based or plant-derived foods; meat is still allowed; it is just to be consumed less frequently and/or in smaller amounts.
The majority of the calories in a flexitarian diet are derived from nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Plant-based foods (such as foods made from soy, legumes, nuts, and seeds) are the main source of protein. Dairy products and eggs are good sources of protein; meat, particularly red and processed meats, provides less of it. Owing to its focus on foods high in nutrients, the flexitarian diet promotes reducing intake of sodium, added sugars, and saturated fat.
Your Health and the Flexitarian Diet
Although less strict than a vegan or 100% vegetarian diet, a flexitarian diet can still be beneficial to health. The 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which advocate choosing comparatively less red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened foods and beverages, and refined grains and more nutrient-dense foods and beverages (fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean proteins, and healthy fats), are in line with the plant-forward philosophy of a flexitarian diet.3.
A 2016 review of the evidence-based literature looked at the effects of switching to a flexitarian diet and included 25 studies (21 observational studies and 4 randomized controlled trials). Note that the definitions of the diets included in this review varied slightly: from “a diet recommending moderate levels of animal intake” to “a diet comprised of a total of red meat or poultry ≥1 time/month but all meats combined (including fish) <1 time/week and eggs/dairy in any amount.” The review discussed new data that points to the flexitarian diet as a potential means of lowering blood pressure, improving metabolic health indicators, and lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes. A semi-vegetarian or flexitarian diet may also be helpful in the management of inflammatory bowel conditions like Crohn’s disease, according to the same review.
The flexitarian diet’s emphasis on foods high in mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidant vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, fiber, and protein is thought to be responsible for the foods’ protective effects.
A growing amount of research is looking at how flexitarian diets can affect heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and weight management, among other health issues.
A flexitarian or semi-vegetarian diet that increases the intake of plant-based foods may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. A diet high in plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains, has been linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to research.
Numerous studies have looked at the effects of plant-based diets on the risks associated with diabetes. Flexitarian diets are linked to significantly lower insulin, glucose, and insulin resistance levels compared to non-vegetarian diets. They also lower the risk of developing diabetes mellitus.
Dietary patterns that are flexitarian or semi-vegetarian have been linked to a lower risk of developing some cancers, including colon cancer.10.
Control of Weight
A flexitarian diet that includes more plant-based foods may help with weight control. According to research, people who follow a flexitarian diet have significantly lower body fat percentages and body weights than people who follow non-vegetarian eating patterns.
Additional Advantages of Dietary Fiber Sources
Just around 5% of Americans meet the recommended daily intake of dietary fiber, which is 14 grams per 1,000 calories. The majority of Americans only consume about half of this recommended amount. A person’s daily intake of dietary fiber, which is important for gut and bowel health and facilitates proper digestion and nutrient absorption, can be increased by eating more plant-based foods. In addition, dietary fiber intake has been connected to a number of possible health advantages, such as a lower risk of hypertension, stroke, coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, obesity, certain gastrointestinal disorders, metabolic dysfunctions like type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, and certain cancers.
Sources of Vitamins and Minerals through Diet
Numerous health-promoting vitamins and minerals, such as folate, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and manganese, as well as vitamins A, C, E, and K, are found in plant-based diets. These nutrients are essential for the proper functioning of our immune systems, muscles, heart, nerves, skin, gut, brain, and eyes. Frequently, they are not ingested in sufficient quantities. Although the focus of this diet is primarily on the health benefits of plant-based foods, dairy and eggs are also permitted and offer additional nutrients and high-quality protein. Eggs provide vitamins A, D, E, choline, iron, lutein, and folate; dairy contains B vitamins, potassium, calcium, and vitamin D.
Effects on the Environment
Aside from the obvious health benefits, switching to plant-based diets from animal sources can also have a less harmful effect on the environment. When compared to omnivorous diets or animal foods, plant-based foods can help consumers meet functional and nutritional requirements while producing fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
It’s important to keep in mind, though, that these comparisons do not take into consideration the reduced bioavailability of some nutrients, like iron and protein, in specific plant-based diets. This indicates that some nutrients found in some plant foods are not absorbed by our bodies as well as they can by our bodies from animal foods. Therefore, when nutrient density is taken into account, the environmental footprints of some plant-based foods do indeed increase.
Ways to Initiate a Flexitarian Dining Plan
Arrange fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and healthy fats on your plate at every meal.
The majority of the time, choose plant-based foods (such as legumes, nuts, and seeds), dairy products, and eggs when selecting your protein sources.
Enjoy the flexibility of this plan; meat can be added occasionally; just watch the amount that you eat.
Incorporate a greater amount of whole, nutrient-dense foods into your diet, as this may help you eat fewer foods and drinks that are heavy in calories, saturated fat, added sugars, and salt.
To sum up
Fundamentally, the flexitarian diet promotes flexibility, which may be appealing to those seeking a less regimented approach to better health. This diet’s primary goal is to gradually increase a person’s intake of plants without cutting out animal products. The flexitarian diet, which places a strong emphasis on plant-based and vitamin-, mineral-, and fiber-rich foods, has been linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
True North Counseling Presents the First Three Chapters Free
Chapter 1: Stomach Acid
Your stomach acid’s pH might change depending on a number of things, including drugs and medical conditions, according to True North Counseling. A pH that is very high or low might lead to issues.
The lining of your stomach secretes a watery, white liquid known as gastric acid or stomach acid. Its strong acidity aids in the digestion of food by breaking it down. This facilitates the easier absorption of nutrients by your body when food passes through your digestive system.
The acidity of stomach acid is necessary to break down tough, fibrous vegetables as well as meat and can act as a sort of revive therapy.
To prevent sickness or other health issues, your body is made to withstand normal amounts of stomach acid.
Nevertheless, it’s possible that such systems don’t always function as intended. Consuming low- or high-acidity gastric juices might lead to further health issues.
Learn how powerful stomach acid is and what happens if your body produces too much or too little of it.
How much acid is in the stomach?
The benefits of stomach acid to your health are many. It transforms the food you ingest into smaller, more easily absorbed pieces. Additionally, it serves as your body’s first line of defense against germs and viruses that might cause illness. A very acidic liquid is needed for these operations. Just how acidic, though?
In order to really comprehend the strength of stomach acid, it is necessary to first comprehend how the acidity of a beverage is determined. Between 0 and 14 is the pH scale, which is used to quantify acidity. The greater the acidic levels in the fluid, the lower the pH level. For instance, battery acid is very powerful since it has a pH of 0.
There are fourteen least acidic fluids. We refer to them as alkaline liquids. Neutral fluids, such as pure water, are in the center at 7.
With a pH of between 1 and 2, stomach acid is considered to be very acidic.
Remember that items like metal and bone may dissolve in battery acid. Because stomach acid has a pH balance that is just one or two points higher than normal, it may also break down very durable objects like teeth and bones.
What composes stomach acid?
Hydrochloric acid (HCl) is primarily responsible for the low pH of stomach acid.
Nevertheless, stomach acid contains relatively little hydrogen chloride (HCl). Sodium chloride (NaCl) and potassium chloride (KCl) are additional ingredients.
This acidic trio is secreted by the cells lining the wall of your stomach. The cells also secrete mucus and a number of enzymes. The procedure depends on this mucus. It shields the stomach lining from the damaging effects of acid and other gastric secretions, preserving the delicate organ.
What happens if there is not enough hydrochloric acid in your stomach?
It’s normal for the pH of your stomach acid to change periodically.
Stress and some medications may cause stomach acid to become unbalanced. As a result, your body may not produce as much HCl.
Signs of low amounts of HCl
When this occurs, you could start to feel symptoms such as:
vomiting and nausea
Hypochlorhydria, though, is a disorder that you can have if your stomach acid is consistently low. When acid production is consistently low, there might be serious consequences. In the first phases of this illness, you may have trouble adequately digesting meals and absorbing the nutrients your body needs to operate. It might harm your digestive system if left untreated. Your risk of infections and long-term medical problems rises as a result.
Therapy for low levels of HCl
The probable reason will determine the specific course of therapy for low acid gastric juices.
An HCl supplement could be recommended by your physician. This may raise the pH of your stomach acid. Additionally, they could recommend drugs that include the pepsin enzyme, which helps raise stomach acidity.
Other therapies consist of:
using antibiotics to address an underlying illness
improved diet and more supplements
strategies for reducing stress
What occurs if the hydrochloric acid content in your stomach is high?
The mucus in your stomach may lose its effectiveness if the acidity of your gastric secretions is too high.
High quantities of stomach acid may cause a variety of issues, such as:
Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)
High HCl level symptoms
The following are the most noticeable signs of elevated stomach acid levels:
vomiting or nausea
stomach pain that may worsen on an empty stomach
loss of appetite
unexplained weight loss
Therapy for elevated HCl levels
Medication is the most frequent treatment for excessive stomach acid as a revive therapy. PPIs, or proton pump inhibitors, reduce stomach acid production. PPIs may be prescribed by your doctor on their own. PPIs are sometimes administered in combination with other drugs.
Other interventions will be contingent upon the presumed etiology of these elevated acid levels. Among these therapies might be:
tumor removal surgery, gastrectomy, or vagotomy, which involves cutting out a portion of the stomach or vagus nerve
Acid levels that are consistently too high or too low might be detrimental to your health and wellbeing. Getting help may help you avoid long-term issues.
Reasons for low levels of HCl
Reduced acidity is more likely to occur under certain situations. Among these risk factors are:
having a premature birth
being over 65
having surgery on the stomach
being deficient in several nutrients, particularly zinc
having an H. pylori infection
Reasons why HCl levels are high
There are several things that might make you more likely to have excessive stomach acid. These consist of:
overproduction of certain hormones known to cause the production of stomach acid
rebound gastric acid production upon cessation of stomach acid-lowering medicines
an infection with H. pylori
blockage of the gastric outflow
tumors, although rare
Schedule a visit with your doctor if you believe you are exhibiting signs of either high or low stomach acid.
Tips for optimum acid production
It is necessary to do further study on non-pharmacological methods of influencing acid production. However, a 2019 analysis found that persons with high acid production could benefit from dietary and lifestyle modifications
Among these modifications are:
consuming frequent, smaller meals as opposed to big, calorie-dense ones
Never lay down for two to three hours after a meal, and never eat two to three hours before to going to bed.
Steer clear of anything too tight that presses on your abdomen.
Increasing your diet’s fiber intake
cutting down on the calories you consume each meal
if you smoke, abstaining from smoking
eating a Mediterranean-style diet
drinking plenty of water in between meals
getting enough sleep
keeping a healthy weight
Your body naturally creates stomach acid, a highly acidic liquid, to aid in food digestion and nutrient absorption. Your body also creates enzymes and mucus to help defend itself from the acid’s potency.
Reflux, ulcers, and heartburn may all be caused by elevated stomach acid levels. You may have trouble digesting meals if your stomach acid is low.
In the event that you exhibit symptoms of low or excessive acidity, get medical help. Both of these may provide issues if left untreated and could develop into chronic conditions.
A medical expert can assess your symptoms and determine the most appropriate course of action for you. Sometimes, they could search for underlying medical conditions, such as an infection, that might be causing your abnormal acid levels.
Chapter 2: Gut Health
“Gut”: What Is It?
Everyone has heard about the significance of gut health and gut health, but what exactly is the “gut”? Although some would argue that the whole digestive tract—from ingestion to excretion—is the “gut,” the majority of the actual action takes place after the material has been broken down and exited the stomach.
Indeed, the stomach plays a crucial role in the process, but the intestinal system comes to mind when considering the gut, mostly the small intestine, which is responsible for about 90% of nutritional absorption. Many food intolerances also originate in the small intestine. About 70% of people are lactose intolerant, and after consuming a dairy product, they may have diarrhea, nausea, bloating, gas, or stomach discomfort for 30 to 2 hours.
Individuals who are lactose intolerant have trouble digesting milk products because they do not create enough lactase, an enzyme that aids in the breakdown of milk sugars. After ingesting dairy products, undigested lactose remains in the gut and ferments, causing the symptoms that many individuals have.
Therefore, the small intestine is really the major location of the often reported “stomach ache” or “upset stomach”! The large intestine, also known as the colon, is the primary location for the microbiome—the community of beneficial bacteria—while the small intestine is responsible for nutrition absorption and a host of other processes. In actuality, the intestinal tract contains the whole “gut” that we are all talking about.
Gut Microbiome and Flora
The majority of readers have almost certainly heard the terms “gut flora” and/or “microbiome,” but what exactly is the microbiome? And what’s meant by gut flora?
All of the bacteria, viruses, fungus, and other tiny creatures that reside in your intestines are together referred to as the microbiome. We refer to those same microorganisms as the gut flora. I know it seems scary, because fungus and bacteria are nasty, right? Not all of them, however. Beneficial microorganisms are essential to bodily processes. Your general health is really primarily dependent on maintaining a healthy gut flora.
The microbiome serves a wide range of purposes, including a sort of revive therapy. Maintaining a healthy gut flora facilitates digestion by assisting the body in breaking down certain meals that the stomach and small intestine are unable to process. Additionally, gut flora contributes significantly to the immune system by acting as a barrier, stopping the development of dangerous bacteria, and assisting in the synthesis of vitamins B and K.
Studies have even connected the gut-brain axis’s health and function to the microbiome. Experts now refer to this microbiota as an “organ,” given its primary role in the body’s regular operation and the many tasks it performs. Nonetheless, because the microbiome is not innate, it is regarded as an “acquired organ,” beginning at birth and changing throughout the course of a person’s life.
The total weight of microbiota may reach up to 2 kg (4 lbs). The cecum is a little area of the big intestine that is home to a significant population of these bacteria. The region where the small intestine joins the large intestine, known as the cecum, is pouch-like and located close to the appendix.
Microbes may also be found in the stomach, esophagus, and small intestine, but in much lesser quantities. Healthy intestinal walls will be able to host more of that ideal microbiota than an unhealthy intestinal wall since these microorganisms reside in the mucosal lining of the intestinal wall. In order to increase the amount of good gut flora, several diets and supplements may also be beneficial. These supplements are often probiotics.
For those who have visited health stores, attended natural product exhibits, or read up on health trends, it is evident that prebiotics and probiotics are becoming more and more popular. In 2012 alone, there were about 3 million more persons in the US using probiotic or prebiotic supplements than there were in 2007, a four-fold increase in the usage of these supplements. These figures have only gone up in the last several years. However, you may want to grasp what the distinction is between probiotics and prebiotics before getting too technical.
In actuality, prebiotics and probiotics vary greatly but both are required and together make up a harmony therapy. Dietary components like fiber are referred to as prebiotics because they aid in the development of beneficial bacteria in the stomach. These consist of flaxseeds, apples, oats, garlic, asparagus, and bananas, among other things.
Probiotics, on the other hand, are real, live microorganisms that are said to provide several health advantages, including assistance for the digestive system. Live culture yogurts, fermented meals and drinks, nutritional supplements, and even non-oral items like skin lotions are all marketed as probiotic goods.
Though some people may find the concept of purposefully ingesting germs and microbes unusual or unsettling, the advantages of probiotics have made this notion more popular among the general population. Probiotic bacteria aid in vitamin production, aid in food digestion, and eliminate pathogenic microbes. Furthermore, a large number of the microbes included in probiotic supplements are identical to or comparable to those that our bodies naturally contain in order to carry out these tasks.
Recognize that not all probiotics are created equal while reading about how to choose one. Probiotics include a wide variety of microorganisms that, while belonging to the same family of bacteria, have distinct roles in the body.
For instance, the most prevalent are from the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus families. Numerous bacterial species from each of these two groups’ respective families are included. If one strain of Lactobacillus bacteria is shown to be protective against a disease, it is not a given that another strain would be as effective. When adding new bacteria to their bodies, those with compromised immune systems or major medical conditions should exercise caution. Apart from probiotics, several dietary supplements may also assist to enhance the intestinal environment and increase the hospitability of beneficial bacteria. In any case, it is essential to speak with a doctor before starting a new nutritional supplement.
Increased intestinal permeability, a condition where toxins and germs may seep past the intestinal wall and into the circulation, is essentially what is meant to be understood when one has a leaky gut.
Our food is broken down by the digestive system into usable nutrients, which are then transferred to the bloodstream and distributed throughout the body as required. Furthermore, the digestive system functions as a physical gatekeeper, permitting only useful substances to pass through.
Tight junctions are the name for these gatekeepers. Tiny gaps called tight junctions exist throughout the intestinal wall. They let water and nutrients pass through while blocking the passage of germs and poisons into the circulation. The so-called leaky gut syndrome results from these tight connections becoming loose, which essentially makes the gut wall more permeable to both dangerous bacteria and toxins as well as helpful chemicals. Inadequate circulatory circulation of germs and toxins leads to hyperactive immune response and systemic inflammation. This subsequently causes gastrointestinal bloating, excessive wind, poor digestion, tiredness, underproductivity, and even skin issues—symptoms of a leaky gut.
Many people are still curious about the etiology of leaky gut. Although research on leaky gut syndrome is ongoing, zonulin is assumed to be partially or maybe entirely to blame. The gut may become more permeable if this protein is activated by intestinal bacteria that have seeped out of it. Numerous factors may cause zonulin activity, such as consuming a diet heavy in sugar, using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (like ibuprofen) for an extended period of time, stress, inflammation, and routinely consuming excessive amounts of alcohol.
We are hearing more about the illness these days as researchers gain better understanding of the gut and its function in immune system and general health. More people are taking responsibility for their own health, reading up on topics, and learning about ailments like leaky guts. We then desire to take action to mend our own intestines after realizing that’s maybe what we’ve had all along. Chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, and a few food allergies have all been linked to leaky gut syndrome. Making every effort to stop and fix a leaky gut may help shield us against long-term illnesses.
Absorption is a critical component of gut health that is often disregarded but is essential for harmony therapy. In the nutrition and supplement sectors, this phrase is often used. However, how many people really get it? The small intestine, which is the primary location of nutrition absorption, is where it all begins. These nutrients need to cross the intestinal lumen, enter the mucosal cells that line the digestive system, and finally enter the circulation in order to be absorbed. Several processes are involved in this, and they vary depending on the kind of nutrient that is flowing through.
First is diffusion. Simply said, this is the movement of molecules from a high concentration location to a lower concentration area. Molecules may effortlessly pass the cell membrane on their own when simple diffusion is occurring.
Osmosis, or the dispersion of water, comes next. Then came enhanced diffusion, in which the nutrient enters the circulation without the requirement for a carrier or transport molecule. The transportation mentioned above are all passive and don’t need energy to operate. Additionally, there is active transport, which requires a carrier molecule in addition to energy to be absorbed. In contrast to straightforward passive diffusion, this kind of transport may carry materials from a lower concentration into a greater concentration.
Even though the body naturally absorbs nutrients, having a sick stomach might reduce the amount of nutrients that are really absorbed and used by the body. Certain supplements for gut health may assist to improve this absorption, which will raise the vitamins, proteins, and other vital components in our meals’ bioavailability.
Simply said, bioavailability is the amount of a nutrient that the body can absorb and utilize. The vitamins and minerals we ingest have widely differing levels of bioavailability. Almost all of the sodium we consume is absorbed by the body because some minerals, like sodium, are absorbed at a very high percentage. In contrast, just around 25% of what we consume is usually absorbed when it comes to calcium. Iron has much less, at 5%.
Generally speaking, the body absorbs animal goods more readily than plant ones. This is due to the fact that plants include compounds like fiber, phytates, tannins, and oxalates that bind minerals in the digestive system and limit absorption. Regrettably, the body would benefit from these plant-based diets’ increased bioavailability since they include a lot of nutrients.
For instance, turmeric is well known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities, yet its bioavailability is often poor. Many firms incorporate compounds that promote absorption to assist the increase of the bioavailability of curcumin, the main chemical in turmeric, so that lesser quantities taken will have a bigger impact. This allows consumers to actually benefit from turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties. Once again, it is critical to consider the impact those gut-enhancing substances have on absorption. Do they swell up to force nutrients through? Or instead, do they collaborate with the stomach to stimulate natural transporters and repair the lining?
A Diet for Gut Health
Our whole health is directly impacted by the condition of our stomach. Immune system strength, mood, and food digestion are all influenced by the integrity of our gut; difficulties with food digestion brought on by a compromised gut may result in inadequate nutrition and even disease.
Our microbiome, a vital collection of billions of bacteria, fungi, and viruses, lives in our stomach. These microbes, also known as “good bacteria,” support the proper function of our digestive tract. Furthermore, the microbiome in our stomach affects our skin, immune system, emotional and physical well-being, and risk of contracting illnesses like cancer. Take care of our microbiome, and it will take care of us. Our gut health and microbiota are influenced by the foods we consume, so what should we eat more of and less of to keep our guts healthy?
Pickles, kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, yogurt, and kefir are examples of fermented foods and beverages that are excellent for the digestive system. They have probiotic bacteria, which aid in keeping the harmful bacteria out of our digestive tract and helping the healthy bacteria populate it. A particular kind of fiber known as prebiotics is what the microbes in our microbiome love to eat. Prebiotic fibers include inulin, which is found in foods like garlic, onions, and leeks. Good-for-you meals also aid in the absorption of water by the colon, facilitating the easy movement of waste products and food throughout the whole length of the intestines. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains fall within this category.
Food that May Impair Gut Health
The adage that fresh veggies and whole grains are healthy while processed red meats, sweets, and saturated fats are unhealthy has a basis that goes beyond heart health and weight control. Controlling these is like harmony therapy. Sugary, salty, and high-fat diets are terrible for the intestines. As much as possible, stteer clear of processed meats, baked goods, desserts, chips, fried meals, and fast food if you want to strengthen the health of your digestive system. Store them as seldom sweets.
And trust your instincts. Many individuals have dietary intolerances to certain proteins, like gluten, or sugars, such lactose, which is present in dairy products. You should stay away from these foods if they make you feel bloated, gassy, or uncomfortable after eating them. You may be intolerant to them. A sick stomach will physically talk to you. As it attempts to process the food you consume, it will gurgle and create sounds that are beyond your control. Along with gas and bloating, you could also feel gastrointestinal aches that go throughout your body. Along with regular weight gain or loss, you could also have diarrhea or constipation.
Digestion is not the only symptom of a sick gut. Because of the gut-brain link, having a bad stomach may cause mood changes, depression, difficulty concentrating, and even skin conditions like eczema. Also, you might have difficulty getting a decent night’s sleep, which would leave you feeling drained and agitated all the time. For many people, these symptoms are frequent and daily occurrences, and they are often attributed to other factors like stress or just having a busy life. If this describes you, it may be time to listen to your body and your nutrition. You may regain control over your health and find the correct path to gut health by learning to listen to your body’s cues.
What is your gut telling you?
Chapter 3: Exercise
The digestive system’s functions include breaking down, or digesting, food, getting rid of impurities, and absorbing energy and other essential elements that our bodies need to operate properly. But it’s also significant in other respects.
Gut health’s impact on mental health
Additionally, the state of our gut affects our mental and emotional well-being. Poor gut health may also have a negative impact on our mental health. Therefore, maintaining the health of our digestive system is crucial to our general well-being and goes beyond just avoiding digestive illnesses like gas, bloating, and constipation. Fortunately, there are easy things that we can all do to promote gut health.
In addition to the apparent importance of eating and drinking the correct foods, our digestion is also influenced by the way we exercise our body. It aids in stimulating the stomach and raises digestive activity, to start.
Train to maintain intestinal health
The muscles in our digestive system get more blood flow when we exercise, which massages our food as it passes through the digestive tract, a mechanism called peristalsis, which speeds up and improves the efficiency of their job.
Additionally, studies indicate that exercise modifies the microbiota’s equilibrium in the gut. The so-called gut flora actively defends our immune system, inhibits the development of harmful bacteria, and aids in the body’s digestion and absorption of nutrients from the food we consume.
Steer clear of intense cardio workouts
During the period of digestion, it is crucial to steer clear of certain high-impact workout kinds, like:
Choose walking and other low-impact physical activities instead of these workouts, since they might disturb the digestive system and create pain and stitches.
The Super 3 Peristalsis is a pattern of digestive workouts that helps us digest meals by rubbing food along the digestive canal. It is an involuntary muscular activity in the gut. By aiding this process, this particularly crafted workout program helps improve your digestion.
After a short meal or snack, you may start the program right away; however, if you’ve had a larger meal, you should wait around half an hour.
To protect your knees while kneeling for the exercises, it is advised that you use an exercise mat or towel.
It’s okay to do this workout just after a little lunch or snack. It’s crucial that you take your time, so concentrate on moving slowly and deliberately.
Put your hands flat on the floor just under your shoulders as you drop on all fours. Right behind your hips is where your knees should be. Make sure your back is straight.
Stretch your right arm out till it’s parallel to your shoulder, very slowly. Elevate your left leg concurrently to align your heel with your hips. Try to draw a straight line that extends from your right arm to your left foot.
After maintaining this posture for a little while, very gently begin to pull in your left knee and right arm to return to the beginning position.
From this position, let your back arch as if a belt is drawing you up, lowering your head and tailbone. Hold this for a brief moment before repeating at least 10 times with the same arm and leg. Repeat after resting on the other side.
After you’ve finished this program, go directly to the stretches. In addition to massaging the stomach muscles and easing any bloating sensations, they will facilitate the peristalsis process.
You should now be laying on your back on your mat or towel after turning over. All you have to do is fold both of your knees into your chest and give them a little embrace.
Now, while still holding onto the opposite knee, carefully stretch one leg straight out. After that, swap by drawing the straight leg back in.
For the whole exercise, keep your head and shoulders on the floor. Do this ten times.
In order to complete the exercise, return both feet to the floor and gradually extend your legs straight out so that you are resting flat with your arms by your sides.
Keep your arms in touch with the floor as you slowly stretch them out to the side and up beyond your head.
Now extend yourself to your maximum length. Any internal pressure is released as a result. Keep this pose for ten to twenty seconds.
These workouts may even reduce abdominal fat and improve digestion:
Riding a bike is another excellent way to keep the digestive system running smoothly. Not only can cycling promote intestinal health, but it also helps reduce belly fat.
The goal of ab exercise is to strengthen the abdominal muscles and correct the digestive system. This exercise may be tried in a variety of ways, such as the vertical leg crunch, long arm crunch, and reverse crunch. One of the finest workouts for a healthy digestive system is a sit-up or crunch. Your intestines and bowel movement are strengthened by the muscles in your belly and core. Additionally, they aid in avoiding digestive problems including bloating and gas. Better more, this workout may help you get flat abs and decrease belly fat!
You may be surprised to learn that even this basic breathing exercise has an impact on your digestion. An appropriate breathing pattern may assist with issues like bloating and heartburn. All you have to do is practice breathing in and out using your abdominal muscles while sitting up straight. By relaxing, you’ll be able to control your stress levels.
Learn Innovative Therapy Techniques With This Free Sample Chapter
Chapter on Sleep, “Peace and Purpose”
Histamine controls many body functions and is a key part of your body’s response to inflammation. Which histamine receptors histamine binds to determines what effect it has. Scientists have found four different kinds of histamine receptors. Excess histamine can cause anxiety as well as insomnia.
You have H1 receptors all over your body, including in neurons (brain cells), smooth muscle cells in your airways, and blood vessels. When the H1 receptors are turned on, allergy and anaphylaxis symptoms show up. It can lead to:
Itchy skin (pruritus)
Expanding of blood vessels (vasodilation)
Hypotension (low blood pressure)
Increased heart rate (tachycardia)
Narrowing of your airway (bronchoconstriction)
Movement of fluids through blood vessel walls (vascular permeability)
Some of these changes in the body cause sneezing, stuffy nose, and a runny nose (rhinorrhea). H1 receptors do more than just control allergic reactions. They also help:
Of course, its effect on sleep-wake cycles is our current concern. It’s like our balance from within. Our sleep-wake cycle is essential when it comes to finding peace and purpose in life.
Histamine is considered wake-promoting because drowsiness is a common side effect of certain anti-allergy medications that block histamine signaling. Also, histamine neurons are generally active in wake states and inactive during sleep. Histamine neurons promote wakefulness by activating neurons in the cortex that cause arousal and by inhibiting neurons that promote sleep. So, basically, histamine keeps you awake.
Balance From Within: How to Reduce Histamine Naturally
Foods that reduce histamine:
Vitamin C reduces histamines, as well, so any foods containing vitamin C may reduce histamine. Foods to avoid if you trying to reduce histamine:
Wine or beer
Aged meats or cheese
Supplements that may help reduce histamine:
B. longum (probiotic strain)
B. infantis (probiotic strain)
Pancreatic enzymes (ask a doctor before use)
Methylxanthines (Dietary sources of methylxanthines include coffee, tea, chocolate, maté, and guarana. You can drink coffee, eat chocolate, or supplement with theobromine, but attempting to supplement with theophylline is not recommended, as adverse cardiac effects are possible. However, chocolate also contains some histamine, and researchers suspect that it may encourage histamine release. The net effect of cocoa is unknown; it’s recommended that you test your own individual response and see what it does for you.)
Luteolin (found in celery, parsley, and broccoli)
Apigenin (found in parsley, grapes, and apples)
EGCG (found in green tea)
Kaempferol (found in cruciferous vegetables, delphinium plants, witch hazel, and grapefruit)
Myricetin (found in berries, teas, wines, and many vegetables)
Rutin (found in buckwheat, apples, and passionflower)
Theanine (found in green and black tea)
Naringenin (found in grapefruit)
Curcumin (found in turmeric)
Eleuthero (also known as Siberian ginseng)
Tulsi (also known as holy basil)
Mucuna pruriens (also known as velvet bean)
L. plantarum (a probiotic)
Carnosine (made from the amino acids beta-alanine and histidine and found in high-quality meat)
NAC (N-acetyl cysteine)
Valine (found in meat, grains, vegetables, and milk and other dairy products)
Drugs that reduce histamine:
doxylamine (often sold under the brand name “Unisom,” though Unisom sometimes contains diphenhydramine instead)
These should be reserved for occasional, short-term use only. You can quickly develop tolerance to them, and side-effects may occur with prolonged use.
Cortisol is a steroid hormone that is made and released by your adrenal glands and is also important in our pursuit of peace and purpose. These glands are endocrine glands that sit on top of your kidneys. Cortisol affects many parts of your body, but its main job is to control how your body reacts to stress. Cortisol is a hormone called a glucocorticoid that is made and released by your adrenal glands. Glucocorticoids are a kind of hormone called a steroid. They stop inflammation in your body’s tissues and keep your muscles, fat, liver, and bones from breaking down too quickly.
Glucocorticoids also change the way people sleep and wake up. Your body checks your cortisol levels all the time to keep them steady (this is called homeostasis). Cortisol levels that are either too high or too low can be bad for your health. People often call cortisol the “stress hormone.”
But it does a lot more than just control your body’s stress response. It has many important effects and functions all over your body. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that, from a biological point of view, there are many kinds of stress, such as:
Acute stress: This kind of stress happens when you are suddenly and for a short time in danger. Acute stress can be caused by things like barely avoiding a car accident or being chased by an animal.
Chronic stress: This is long-term stress that happens when you must deal with things that make you angry or worried over and over again. Chronic stress can be caused by things like having a job that is hard or frustrating or being sick all the time.
Traumatic stress: This happens when you go through something that puts your life in danger and makes you feel scared and helpless. Traumatic stress can be caused by things like being in a war or being sexually assaulted or going through a tornado. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can sometimes be caused by these things.
When any of these things stress you out, your body makes cortisol.
How does my body react to cortisol?
When you’re stressed, your body can release cortisol after releasing “fight or flight” hormones like adrenaline. This keeps you on high alert. In times of stress, cortisol also makes your liver release glucose (sugar) so that you can get energy quickly. Cortisol helps control how your body uses fats, proteins, and carbs for energy by regulating your metabolism. Normally, your cortisol levels are lowest in the evening when you go to sleep and highest in the morning before you wake up. This suggests that cortisol is a key part of waking up and is involved in the circadian rhythm of your body. Cortisol levels need to be just right for people to live and for their bodies to work properly. If your cortisol levels are consistently high or low, it can be bad for your health. High cortisol levels can cause anxiety.
How does my body keep the level of cortisol in check?
Your body has a complicated system to control how much cortisol you have in your body. Your hypothalamus, which is a small part of your brain that controls hormones, and your pituitary gland, which is a small gland below your brain, controls how much cortisol your adrenal glands make. When the amount of cortisol in your blood drops, your hypothalamus releases corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), which tells your pituitary gland to make adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). Then, ACTH tells your adrenal glands to make cortisol and let it out. Your hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal glands must all be working well for you to have the right amount of cortisol in your body.
How can I find out how much cortisol I have?
Your doctor can test your blood, urine, or saliva to see how much cortisol is in your body. Based on your symptoms, they will decide which test is best.
How much cortisol is normal?
Cortisol is a hormone that is found in your blood, urine, and saliva. Its level is highest in the morning and drops throughout the day, reaching its lowest point around midnight. If you work nights and sleep at different times, this pattern can change. The normal ranges for most tests that measure cortisol in your blood are:
10 to 20 micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dL) from 6 to 8 a.m.
3 to 10 mcg/dL around 4 p.m.
Normal ranges can be different from lab to lab, person to person, and over time. If you need a cortisol level test, your doctor or nurse will look at the results and tell you if you need more testing.
What makes cortisol levels so high?
Hypercortisolism is the medical term for having abnormally high levels of cortisol for a long time. This is usually considered Cushing’s Syndrome, which is a rare condition. Causes of cortisol levels that are higher than normal and Cushing’s Syndrome include:
Taking a lot of corticosteroid drugs like prednisone, prednisolone, or dexamethasone to treat other health problems.
Tumors that produce adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). These are usually found in your pituitary gland. More rarely, neuroendocrine tumors in other parts of your body such as your lungs can cause high cortisol levels.
Adrenal gland tumors or excessive growth of adrenal tissue (hyperplasia), which cause excess production of cortisol.
What are the signs that your cortisol levels are too high?
Depending on how high your cortisol levels are, your symptoms of Cushing’s Syndrome will be different. Common signs and symptoms of cortisol levels that are higher than normal are:
Weight gain, especially in your face and abdomen.
Fatty deposits between your shoulder blades.
Wide, purple stretch marks on your abdomen (belly).
Muscle weakness in your upper arms and thighs.
High blood sugar, which often turns into Type 2 diabetes.
High blood pressure (hypertension).
Excessive hair growth (hirsutism) in women.
Weak bones (osteoporosis) and fractures.
What causes cortisol to be low?
When cortisol levels are lower than normal, this is called hypocortisolism. This is a sign of adrenal insufficiency. There are two kinds of adrenal insufficiency: primary and secondary. Some things that can cause adrenal insufficiency are:
Primary adrenal insufficiency: Most of the time, your immune system attacks healthy cells in your adrenal glands for no known reason, which can cause primary adrenal insufficiency. The name for this is Addison’s disease. Your adrenal glands can also be hurt by an infection or bleeding in the tissues (called an adrenal hemorrhage). All these things stop cortisol from being made.
Secondary adrenal insufficiency: If you have hypopituitarism or a tumor on your pituitary gland, it can stop your body from making enough ACTH. ACTH tells your adrenal glands to make cortisol, so when there isn’t enough ACTH, there isn’t enough cortisol made.
Corticosteroid medications can also cause cortisol levels to be lower than normal, especially if you stop taking them quickly after using them for a long time.
What are the signs that your cortisol levels are too low?
If your cortisol levels are lower than normal, this is called adrenal insufficiency.
Unintentional weight loss
Hypotension (low blood pressure)
How can I lower my level of cortisol?
If you have Cushing’s syndrome, which is when your cortisol levels are very high, you will need medical treatment to bring them down. Most treatments involve either medicine or surgery. If your cortisol levels are lower than normal, you’ll also need medical help. In general, though, there are a few simple things you can do every day to try to lower your cortisol levels and keep them where they should be.
Get good sleep: Sleep problems like obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia, or working the night shift can cause cortisol levels to rise.
Regular exercise: Several studies have shown that regular exercise can help you sleep better and feel less stressed, which can lower your cortisol levels over time.
Learn to control stress and stressful ways of thinking: Knowing how you think, how you breathe, how fast your heart beats, and other signs of stress can help you catch it early and stop it from getting worse.
Do exercises that help you take deep breaths: Your parasympathetic nervous system, or “rest and digest” system, is activated when you breathe in a controlled way. This helps lower cortisol levels.
Have fun and laugh: Laughing makes endorphins come out and stops cortisol from coming out. Having hobbies and doing fun things can also make you feel better, which may make your cortisol levels go down.
Keep your relationships in good shape: Relationships are an important part of our life. Having tense, unhealthy relationships with people you care about or work with can cause you to feel stressed out often and raise your cortisol levels.
When should I talk to my doctor about my cortisol levels?
If you have signs of Cushing’s syndrome or adrenal insufficiency, you should see a doctor. If you are worried about how stressed you are every day, talk to your doctor or nurse about what you can do to reduce your stress and stay healthy. Cortisol is a very important hormone that affects a lot of different parts of your body. There are a few things you can do to try to reduce your stress and, by extension, your cortisol levels. However, sometimes you can’t help whether your cortisol levels are too high or too low. If you gain or lose weight, or if your blood pressure goes up or down, these are signs that your cortisol levels are too high or too low. You should talk to your doctor about this. They can do some simple tests to find out if your symptoms are caused by your adrenal glands or your pituitary gland.
Balance From Within –Foods that lower cortisol:
Adaptogens such as mushrooms, moringa and ashwagandha
Supplements that lower cortisol:
Norepinephrine Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter and a hormone. It is also called noradrenaline. It is a key part of the “fight-or-flight” response in your body. Norepinephrine is also a drug that is used to raise and keep blood pressure high in short-term, serious health situations. As a neurotransmitter, norepinephrine is made from dopamine. Norepinephrine is made by nerve cells in your brainstem and in an area close to your spinal cord. Norepinephrine is a part of your body’s sympathetic nervous system, which is part of your “fight-or-flight” response to danger. The “fight or flight” response is called the “acute stress response” in medicine. If you have too much norepinephrine, you may feel anxious or on edge. How does the body use norepinephrine?
It makes you more awake, alert, and focused.
Blood vessels get smaller, which helps keep blood pressure steady when you’re stressed.
Changes the way you sleep, how you feel, and what you remember.
What sets off the release of norepinephrine?
Norepinephrine is a hormone that comes out of your adrenal glands when you’re stressed, when your tranquil waters are disturbed. The fight-or-flight response is the name for the changes in your body that happen because of this response.
What does “fight or flight” mean?
The fight-or-flight response is how your body reacts to stressful situations, like when you need to get away from a dangerous situation (like a dog that is growling) or when you have to face a fear (like giving a speech for school or work). It’s the opposite of tranquil waters. During the fight-or-flight response, your brain tells you that something bad is happening. Then, nerves in a part of your brain called the hypothalamus send a message down your spinal cord and out to the rest of your body. Norepinephrine is the neurotransmitter that tells your nervous system what to do when your brain tells it what to do. The neurotransmitter noradrenaline goes to these organs and tissues and causes these quick reactions in the body:
Eyes: The pupils get bigger to let in more light so you can see more of what’s around you.
Skin: Your skin goes pale when your blood vessels get a message to send blood to places that need it more, like your muscles, so you can fight or run away.
Heart: The heart beats harder and faster to get more oxygenated blood to places like your muscles that need it most. Also, blood pressure goes up.
Muscles: When muscles get more blood flow and oxygen, they can move and work faster and with more strength.
Liver: Your liver turns the glycogen you have stored into glucose, which gives you more energy.
Airways: People breathe faster and deeper. Your airways widen, which lets more oxygen into your blood, which then goes to your muscles.
Your adrenal gland releases the hormones adrenaline (epinephrine) and noradrenaline (norepinephrine) when the neurotransmitter noradrenaline gets to it. These hormones get to every part of your body through your blood. They go back to your eyes, heart, lungs, skin, blood vessels, and adrenal gland. The “message” to these organs and tissues is to keep reacting until the danger is gone. Norepinephrine is used as a medicine to raise and keep blood pressure up in situations where low blood pressure is a problem, but only for a short time. Some of these conditions could be:
Low levels of norepinephrine can cause the following health problems:
Hypotension (low blood pressure)
Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
Blood pressure and heart rate changes
Dopamine beta-hydroxylase deficiency. Your body can’t turn dopamine into norepinephrine if you have this rare genetic disease
High levels of epinephrine can cause the following health problems:
High blood pressure
Rapid or irregular heartbeat
Pale or cold skin
Nervous feeling, jitters
Pheochromocytoma, which is a growth on the adrenal glands
People with high levels of norepinephrine are more likely to hurt their heart, blood vessels, or kidneys. To lower norepinephrine, it’s important to find ways to put your body into parasympathetic response mode, so anything in nature that can help you relax will do. Norepinephrine levels can be kept in check by eating a well-balanced diet, reducing emotional and physical stress, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly.
A well-balanced diet has been shown to help keep your immune system healthy and give you the extra energy you need to deal with stress. Early research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids and vegetables may help control cortisol levels. Mindful eating reduces stress by encouraging people to take deep breaths, choose their food carefully, pay attention to the meal, and chew their food slowly and thoroughly. This can also help your body digest better.
Herbs and Supplements
Calming amino acids like a theanine supplement can help support norepinephrine levels, and nervine botanicals like lemon balm, kava, and chamomile, which work on the nervous system, can help naturally lower norepinephrine levels. There has been a lot of research on how adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha can help the nervous system adapt to stressors, which can reduce stress and anxiety in people who use them regularly. Melatonin has been shown to lower the amount of norepinephrine in the body because it helps the sympathetic tone.
Physical activity can help lower stress hormones and blood pressure. Aerobic exercise raises your heart rate and breathing rate, which lets more oxygen flow through your body. Meditation, yoga, and tai chi all focus on deep breathing, which can help the parasympathetic nervous system help fight stress. Some research shows that using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help lower norepinephrine levels, which are often high in people who are anxious or angry.
Many supplements are known to assist sleep and help you return to tranquil waters. Here are some of the better known and more widely used and studied ones available.
Lavender oil seems to have a soothing effect and reduces anxiety and restlessness. Most studies on lavender’s efficacy as a sleep aid have focused on lavender essential oil, though some people also use the dried herb as a tea or in their pillow. Essential oils should not be ingested except under a doctor’s supervision, as even lavender oil contains poisonous compounds. Instead, the oil should be diffused into the air or diluted in a neutral cream or oil for use on the skin. Lavender may be most appealing for people who struggle to sleep due to anxiety or racing thoughts. It is also popular among people who want an external sleep aid rather than something they consume. Short-term use of dried lavender or use of lavender essential oil is thought to be safe, though potential side effects for the external use of lavender oil include skin irritation and allergic reaction. Lavendar is also available as a clinically-studied supplement called Lavela WS 1265.
Valerian has been used for sleep problems since the 2nd century and been known to help people fund extreme relief. Though further research needs to be done, valerian appears to help people fall asleep faster, sleep better, and wake up less often. In some studies, patients taking valerian were 80% more likely to report sleep improvements than those taking a placebo. Because experts have not located a single active compound, they speculate that valerian’s effect may be due to several compounds working together, or the amino acids GABA or glycine. The roots and stems of the valerian plant are made into teas, tinctures, capsules, extracts, and tablets. While each type of preparation has its fans, the tea can have an unpleasant odor, and researchers generally use liquid extracts or capsules in their research. Valerian is usually recommended for people with insomnia or general problems with sleep quality. Most people report that it is more effective once they have been taking it for several weeks. However, further research is needed to determine how effective valerian is in treating insomnia. Valerian is generally considered safe for adults. Side effects are rare and tend to be mild but may include headache, dizziness, itching, and upset stomach.
German chamomile has been used to treat sleep problems since ancient Egypt. Despite this long history, there has been little research into its benefits. What we do know from smaller studies and meta-analysis is that German chamomile may soothe anxiety and improve sleep quality, although researchers are not clear on why it might have these effects.
On the other hand, it does not appear to benefit people with insomnia. The most common preparations of German chamomile are capsules, tincture, and tea. Although there is another variety called Roman chamomile, most research has focused on the German type. Chamomile is generally regarded as safe when used as a tea or taken orally. It does have potential interactions with some drugs, including blood thinners, and there is little information on its safety for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Side effects are usually limited to mild nausea or dizziness, but allergic reactions are possible, particularly for people with allergies to related plants like ragweed and daisies.
The passionflower vine is native to the Americas and has historically been used as a sedative by multiple indigenous cultures. There has been very little research into its benefits, though the existing research is encouraging, if limited. In one study focused on generalized anxiety disorder, passionflower’s calming effects were comparable to a commonly prescribed sedative. Passionflower may also improve sleep quality and make it easier to fall and stay asleep. Extracts and tea are both common forms of passionflower people use. Both have been used in research settings, so choosing between them is a matter of preference.
While research into this supplement shows potential benefits for anxiety and insomnia, there is no conclusive proof of its efficacy. There is little research into its safety. However, daily doses of up to 800 milligrams have been used safely in studies lasting as long as two months. Side effects are usually mild and may include drowsiness, confusion, and uncoordinated movements. Pregnant women should not use passionflower, as it can induce uterine contractions. There is limited research into its safety while breastfeeding.
In addition to being the main flavoring in beer, the flowers of the hops plant are used by some people as a natural sleep aid. Like most natural supplements, the benefits of hops have not been researched enough to definitively state whether it might help people sleep better. However, there is preliminary evidence that hops supplements can help stabilize circadian rhythms and lessen the symptoms of shift work disorder.
Dried hops flowers contain the acids humulone and lupulone, and their relationship with the body’s GABA receptors may be part of the reason for hops’ effects. Hops is often combined with other natural sleep aids such as valerian. It can be taken as non-alcoholic beer or in dried form as a tea or dry extract. Different studies have used all three methods, and there is no evidence in favor of one form over another. It is likely safe to consume hops in the form of non-alcoholic beer or tea, though supplemental use is only considered possibly safe due to the lack of research. Hops also has more potential side effects than some other natural sleep aids.
Because it has weak effects similar to estrogen, hops can cause changes to the menstrual cycle and is not recommended for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or who have hormone-sensitive cancers or other conditions. Hops can also worsen depression. However, for most people, side effects are mild and may include dizziness or sleepiness.
CBD is a chemical known as a cannabinoid that is present in the cannabis plant. Cannabis has over 100 cannabinoids, and CBD is much different than the psychoactive delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cannabinoid. Most CBD is derived from hemp, which does not contain enough THC to be psychoactive. Research into CBD has previously been limited due to cannabis regulations, but there are indications that it might help some people sleep better. To begin with, it appears to reduce the anxious symptoms of a broad spectrum of mental health conditions. It also seems that the body’s own cannabinoid system affects how we sleep, making CBD more likely to have benefits.
There has been some evidence that CBD can aid some sleep disorders and reduce excessive daytime sleepiness, but research is currently inconclusive. Although CBD has been legal federally since 2018, it is not supposed to be sold as a dietary supplement. It is, however, widely available in forms such as tinctures, gummies, and oils. Because of this lack of regulatory oversight, one study found that 26% of CBD products had less CBD than they claimed, while 43% had much more. CBD appears to be largely safe with minor side effects such as tiredness, diarrhea, and changes to weight or appetite. However, its safety is unknown for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding CBD may interact with medications and adversely impact certain health conditions.
Tart Cherry Juice
Juice from the tart cherry, also known as the sour cherry, appears to raise melatonin levels and increase the availability of tryptophan, an amino acid that may play a role in helping people fall asleep. These are promising findings, and tart cherry juice may improve sleep quality and make it easier to fall asleep. However, some studies indicate that the effect on insomnia is not as strong as established treatments like cognitive-behavioral therapy. Studies on the health benefits of tart cherries have had participants consume the equivalent of up to 270 cherries a day, but there is no specific research into their safety. The juice, which can be very sour, is usually diluted in a small amount of water before drinking.
Magnesium is a mineral naturally present in food and often added to processed foods. It is used throughout the body and is present in bones, soft tissue, and blood. Older adults are more at risk for magnesium deficiency, and one of the mineral’s many roles is sleep regulation. Some research suggests that supplemental magnesium may help reduce insomnia in older adults, either when used alone or with melatonin and zinc. It may also reduce excessive daytime sleepiness in adults.
Since high levels of magnesium are available in foods like pumpkin seeds, it is easy to supplement by eating more magnesium-rich foods. Magnesium supplements are also available in pills and tablets, including multivitamins. Magnesium aspartate, magnesium citrate, magnesium lactate, and magnesium chloride are the easiest for the body to absorb. While magnesium is usually safe at ordinary dietary levels since the kidneys filter it out, high dosages can cause side effects like diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal cramping.
Magnesium also interacts with some medication and other supplements, and very large dosages can lead to significant heart abnormalities including low blood pressure or hypotension, irregular heartbeat, and cardiac arrest.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is an amino acid and neurotransmitter that plays a vital role in regulating nervous system activity and can possibly provide extreme relief. In addition to being made by the body and present in food like tea and tomatoes, GABA is available in supplement form. While it was previously believed that GABA taken orally could not pass the blood-brain barrier and was therefore not useful to the body, there is now some evidence to the contrary Small trials of supplemental GABA have shown that it can reduce stress and may help people fall asleep more easily.
It is not currently known whether GABA’s effects on sleep might be due to stress reduction or another mechanism. GABA naturally occurs in the body and in food, but there is little research into whether it is safe to take as a supplement. However, most studies have shown no adverse reactions. GABA is available in pills and may be derived from natural or synthetic sources. Research is still ongoing as to whether synthetic GABA is as effective as GABA derived from a natural source.
Like GABA, glycine is an amino acid and neurotransmitter made by the body and available in some foods. Glycine appears to affect sleep and pass the blood-brain barrier. Studies show that glycine appears to improve sleep quality, potentially by lowering body temperature. Taking glycine before bed may also help reduce the negative effects of insufficient sleep, which may be due to improved sleep quality or another mechanism. Supplemental glycine is available in capsule or powder form, and there is limited knowledge about what form might be most beneficial. While glycine is part of our diet, its safety is unknown when taken in the quantities usually found in supplements.
Are Natural Sleep Aids Safe?
Natural sleep aids are not universally safe or unsafe. Sold over the counter or online, natural sleep aids do not go through the same testing and review process as prescription medicines. In general, there is a lack of high-quality research about the effectiveness and safety of most natural sleep aids. As a result, many questions about natural sleep remedies remain unresolved. There are special considerations to keep in mind when evaluating the safety of natural sleep aids.
Many natural sleep remedies, when taken in the proper dosage by healthy adults, have few side effects. But this does not mean that all natural sleep aids are safe. As a precaution, adults should talk with their doctor or pharmacist before taking a natural sleep aid. Adults should also stop taking natural sleep aids if they notice any abnormal health changes or side effects.
Some natural sleep aids may be safe for use in children, though sleep hygiene should be encouraged before sleep aids are considered. In many cases, there is insufficient research in children to confidently evaluate the safety or efficacy of natural sleep aids. For certain natural sleep aids, such as melatonin, short-term use is generally considered to be safe for most children, but there is limited data about long-term use. To make sure that any medication or sleep aid does not affect their child’s health and development, parents should take precautions when considering natural sleep aids for their children, including:
Talking with their pediatrician first
Ensuring that the dosage is meant for children and not adults
Paying attention to the label and list of ingredients
Looking for high-quality products that are tested by third parties to reduce the risk of tainted or mislabeled supplements
Pregnant or Breastfeeding
People who are pregnant or breastfeeding should use caution with natural sleep aids. Many ingredients have not gone through rigorous testing in people who are pregnant or breastfeeding, so little is known about potential effects on their child. Although some products may be safe, the best approach for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding is to consult with their doctor prior to taking natural sleep aids.
Should You Talk to a Doctor Before Taking a Natural Sleep Aid?
It is advisable to talk with a doctor before starting to use any natural sleep aid. Even though these products are available without a prescription, your doctor may be able to help in several ways:
Reviewing your other medications and the potential for interactions between them and a natural sleep aid
Addressing your health history and the likelihood of adverse reactions from natural sleep aids
Understanding your sleeping problems and evaluating if they may be caused by an underlying sleep disorder that can be resolved with a more specific form of treatment
Discussing the potential benefits and risks of specific types of natural sleep aids
Offering suggestions about dosage or timing for taking natural sleep aids
Providing guidance about how to know whether a natural sleep aid is working or causing side-effects
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I)
Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I or CBTI) is a short, structured, and evidence-based way to deal with the frustrating symptoms of insomnia and a proven way to find extreme relief.
How it Works
CBT-I tries to figure out how the way we think, what we do, and how we sleep are all linked. During treatment, a trained CBT-I provider helps figure out what thoughts, feelings, and actions are causing the insomnia symptoms. Thoughts and feelings about sleep are looked at and tested to see if they are true. Behaviors are also looked at to see if they help people get to sleep. Then, a provider will clear up or reframe any misunderstandings or problems in a way that makes it easier to sleep. Most treatments take between 6 and 8 sessions. The length can vary depending on what a person needs. When given by a primary care doctor, treatment can be as short as two visits.
People often call CBT-I a “multicomponent treatment” because it uses more than one method. Sessions can have educational, cognitive, and behavioral parts. Cognitive interventions include “cognitive restructuring,” which tries to change wrong or harmful ideas about sleep. Behavior changes can include relaxation training, controlling stimuli, and limiting sleep. All these help people relax and get into good sleep habits. At the heart of CBT-I is giving information about how thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and sleep are connected. The order and flow of each part can change based on how the provider works and what each person needs. Here are some CBT-I techniques that are often used:
People with insomnia may have wrong or dysfunctional thoughts about sleep, which can make them do things that make it harder to sleep. This reinforces the wrong or dysfunctional thoughts. For example, having trouble sleeping before can make it hard to fall asleep again. This worry might make you stay in bed for too long to try to sleep. Both stress and spending too much time in bed can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. This can turn into a frustrating nightly pattern that can be hard to break.
Cognitive restructuring starts to break this cycle by identifying, challenging, and changing the thoughts and beliefs that lead to insomnia. During treatment, common thoughts and beliefs that may be addressed include anxiety about past episodes of insomnia, having unrealistic expectations about sleep time and quality, and worrying about being tired during the day or other effects of not getting enough sleep. With the help of a trained provider who can help evaluate them more objectively, inaccurate thoughts can be found, challenged, and changed. Homework is often given so that students can practice these skills when they are not in class.
People who can’t sleep start to dread going to bed because they associate it with being awake and frustrated. They may also think of their bedroom as a place where they do things that make it hard to sleep, like eat, watch TV, or use a cell phone or computer. Stimulus control tries to change how these things are linked. During treatment, the bed is only used for sleeping and making love. Clients are told to get out of bed if they can’t fall asleep or if they’ve been awake for more than 10 minutes. They should only go back to bed when they’re tired again. Clients are told to set their alarms for the same time every morning and not to nap during the day.
Sleep Restriction and Compression
People with insomnia often lie awake in bed for too long. Sleep restriction limits how long a person can stay in bed so that they can get back on a regular sleep schedule. This technique is meant to make you want to sleep more and can temporarily make you feel more tired during the day. It is not recommended for people with health problems like bipolar disorder and seizures that can get worse when they don’t get enough sleep. Using a sleep diary, the first step in sleep restriction is to figure out how long a typical night of sleep is. The amount of time in bed is then changed by this amount plus 30 minutes.
For example, if a person wants to sleep 8 hours a night but only gets 5, they should change their bedtime so that they sleep for 5 hours and 30 minutes. Once a person spends most of their time in bed sleeping, they can start slowly extending the amount of time they spend there. Sleep compression is a slightly different method that is often used with older people because it is gentler. Instead of immediately cutting down the amount of time they spend in bed to the amount of sleep they get on an average night, the time they spend in bed is gradually cut down until it is close to the amount of time they spend sleeping.
Relaxation techniques can help ease the stress and racing thoughts that come with lying awake in bed. These methods can boost the body’s natural ability to calm down. This is good for both the body and the mind. The best ways to relax are those that are easy to fit into a person’s daily life. Here are a few CBT-I techniques that are often used to help people relax: Breathing exercises: CBT-I can teach many different breathing exercises. Most of these exercises have you take slow, deep breaths. Research has shown that focused breathing can slow down your heart rate and breathing, as well as make you feel less anxious, angry, and sad.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR): PMR is a method in which different muscle groups are tense and then relaxed. These techniques can be used with guided imagery or breathing exercises. Autogenic training is a way to focus on different parts of the body and pay attention to certain feelings. A person can pay attention to feelings like weight, warmth, or relaxation. Biofeedback is a technique that uses technology to help keep track of things like brain waves, heart rate, breathing, and body temperature. People may be able to learn to have more control over these processes if they use the information that electronic devices give them. Guided or self-hypnosis can help people who have trouble sleeping by teaching them how to relax when given a verbal or non-verbal cue.
Meditation has many benefits, such as lowering stress and anxiety and making it easier to relax. Meditation can also be done through practices like yoga and tai chi that combine focused attention with movement.
A core part of CBT-I is teaching clients how important good sleep hygiene is. Good sleep hygiene means doing more things that help you sleep and lessening or getting rid of things that make it hard to sleep. Some of the things that might be talked about are how diet, exercise, and the place you sleep affect your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
CBT-I is a group process, and practicing the skills you learn in sessions is important. A common part of treatment is giving the patient homework. Between sessions, you might have to do things like keep a sleep diary, practice questioning automatic thoughts or beliefs when they come up and improve your sleep hygiene.
Is CBT-I helpful?
When these techniques are used together as part of CBT-I with multiple components, between 70% and 80% of people with primary insomnia feel better. It takes less time to fall asleep, you sleep longer, and you wake up less often during sleep. Results tend to stay the same over time. For some people, CBT-I works better than medications. This treatment has also been shown to work for people who are more likely than others to have trouble sleeping, such as pregnant women.
CBT-I is thought to help with many kinds of insomnia. It may even help people with short-term insomnia. This means that CBT-I may be useful for treating insomnia symptoms even if they don’t meet the criteria for chronic insomnia. Even though this treatment for insomnia has been shown to be very effective, it doesn’t always work right away. It can take time to learn and use the skills that are taught in therapy.
Some methods, like controlling what you do before bed and getting less sleep, can help you change your sleep habits slowly. Some people find it helpful to keep track of their progress over time so they can see small improvements that can encourage them to keep going with treatment. If CBT-I alone doesn’t help with insomnia symptoms, the American College of Physicians suggests talking to a doctor about the risks and benefits of taking sleep medications along with CBT-I.
Does CBT-I Have Risks?
For CBT-I to work, you need to be willing to face your negative thoughts and actions. Even though the risks of treatment are likely to be low, it may sometimes be painful. Talking about painful memories, thoughts, and feelings can be hard and may cause stress and discomfort in the short term. Working with a trained CBT-I professional can help reduce the risks of this treatment because they know how to give support and tools to deal with temporary problems or setbacks.
Who Gives CBT-I?
CBT-I is usually given by a doctor, counselor, therapist, or psychiatrist who has been trained to do so. Professional groups like the Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine and the American Board of Sleep Medicine can help you find CBT-I practitioners. There aren’t enough CBT-I professionals to meet the demand right now because so many people need this treatment. Researchers have come up with new ways to offer CBT-I, like digital, group, and self-help formats.
Several digital CBT-I (sometimes called dCBT-I or dCBT) apps have been made to keep up with this trend, lower the cost of treatment, and give more people access to the benefits of CBT-I. The Department of Veterans Affairs has its own app called CBT-I Coach. It can be used by both veterans and people who are not veterans. Different online resources and smartphone apps that offer dCBT-I have different purposes and require different amounts of help from the provider.
Some resources just help people while they work with a trained CBT-I provider in person, while others are fully automated and don’t need any help from a clinician. Other resources and apps are a mix of the two, letting people work through a pre-set program and have regular feedback sessions with a professional through e-mail or the phone. Digital CBT-I works well to treat insomnia in kids, teens, and adults.
Even though only a few studies have directly compared dCBT-I and face-to-face approaches, it seems that both help people with insomnia feel better.
In some cases, doctors will prescribe drugs for the treatment of insomnia. All insomnia medications should be taken shortly before bed. Do not attempt to drive or perform other activities that require concentration after taking an insomnia drug because it will make you sleepy and can increase your risk for accidents. Medications should be used in combination with good sleep practices. Here are some medications that can be used to treat insomnia:
Some antidepressant drugs, such as trazodone (Desyrel), are very good at treating sleeplessness and anxiety.
These older sleeping pills — emazepam (Restoril), triazolam (Halcion), and others — may be useful when you want an insomnia medication that stays in the system longer. For instance, they have been effectively used to treat sleep problems such as sleepwalking and night terrors. These medications have some serious downsides. They can cause addiction and dependence. Dependence means that you have physical withdrawal when you stop them. Also, there is a black box warning against their use with opioids, because both depress respiration and increase your risk of overdose.
This sleep drug is approved for use in people who have trouble staying asleep. Silenor may help with sleep maintenance by blocking histamine receptors. Do not take this drug unless you have time to get a full 7 or 8 hours of sleep.
Lunesta also helps you fall asleep quickly, and studies show people sleep an average of 7 to 8 hours while on it. Don’t take Lunesta unless you are able to get a full night’s sleep as it could cause grogginess. Because of the risk of impairment the next day, the FDA recommends the starting dose of Lunesta be no more than 1 milligram.
This drug is approved for people who have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. It works by suppressing the part of the central nervous system that keeps you awake. It may cause you to feel sleepy the next day.
This sleep medication works differently than the others. It works by targeting the sleep-wake cycle, not by depressing the central nervous system. It is prescribed for people who have trouble falling asleep. Rozerem can be prescribed for long-term use, and the drug has shown no evidence of abuse or dependence.
It works by blocking a hormone that promotes wakefulness and causes insomnia. It is approved by the FDA to treat people that have insomnia due to an inability to fall asleep or to stay asleep. The drug may cause you to feel sleepy the following day.
Of all the newer sleeping pills, Sonata stays active in the body for the shortest amount of time. That means you can try to fall asleep on your own, then, if you’re still staring at the clock at 2 a.m., you can take it without feeling drowsy in the morning. But if you tend to wake during the night, this might not be the best choice for you.
Zolpidem (Ambien, Edluar, Intermezzo)
These medicines work well at helping you get to sleep, but some people tend to wake up in the middle of the night. Zolpidem is now available in an extended-release version, Ambien CR. This may help you go to sleep and stay asleep longer. The FDA warns that you should not drive or do anything that requires you to be alert the day after taking Ambien CR because it stays in the body a long time. You should not take zolpidem unless you are able to get a full night’s sleep — at least 7 to 8 hours.
In rare instances, these medications have been known to cause injuries because of behaviors while asleep or partially asleep such as sleep walking and sleep driving, among others. The FDA has approved a prescription oral spray called Zolpimist, which contains zolpidem, for the short-term treatment of insomnia brought on by trouble falling asleep. If these medications don’t work for you, your doctor may suggest something off-label. These are medications used to treat conditions they weren’t originally made for.
Older antidepressants are sometimes prescribed to treat insomnia because they change brain chemicals, which can help regulate sleep. These older medications also tend to have a sedative effect or make you sleepy. They include:
Mirtazapine (Remeron SolTab, Remeron)
Nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor)
The FDA issued warnings for prescription sleep drugs, alerting patients that they can cause rare allergic reactions and complex sleep-related behaviors, including “sleep driving.” They also warned people that taking sleeping medication at night can impair their ability to drive or be fully alert — even the next day. Keep in mind that sleep drugs are not for long-term use.
Talk to your doctor if you’re still having trouble sleeping after 2 weeks. For a short time, a sleeping pill can help you sleep better. But it’s important to know everything about sleeping pills that you need to know. That means knowing about the side effects of sleeping pills. If you do, you can avoid using these sleep aids in the wrong way.
What are sleeping pills?
The name for most sleeping pills is “sedative hypnotics.” That’s a group of drugs that help people fall asleep or stay asleep. Benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and other hypnotics are examples of sedative hypnotics. Anti-anxiety drugs like Ativan, Librium, Valium, and Xanax are called benzodiazepines. They also make people feel sleepy and help them fall asleep. Halcion is an older sedative-hypnotic benzodiazepine drug that has been mostly replaced by newer drugs. Even though these drugs may help in the short term, all benzodiazepines have the potential to become addicting and can make it hard to remember things and pay attention.
Most of the time, they are not recommended as a long-term solution for trouble sleeping. Barbiturates are another type of sedative-hypnotic drug. They slow down the central nervous system and can make you sleepy. As sedatives or sleeping pills, barbiturates can have a short or long effect.
Most of the time, though, these drugs are only used as anesthesia. If you take too much, they can kill you. Newer drugs help you fall asleep more quickly. Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata are all sleep-inducing drugs that bind to the same brain receptors as benzodiazepines. They are less likely to cause physical dependence than benzodiazepines, but they can still sometimes do so over time. They can work quickly to make you feel sleepy and help you fall asleep.
Rozerem is a different kind of sleep aid from the ones we’ve already talked about. It changes melatonin, a hormone in the brain, and it’s not addictive. Belsomra is a unique sleep aid that works on a chemical in the brain called orexin. It is not addictive. Silenor, a low-dose version of the tricyclic antidepressant doxepin, is another non-addictive sleep aid.
What do sleeping pills do to your body?
Like most medicines, sleeping pills can make you feel bad in other ways. But you won’t know if a certain sleeping pill will cause side effects until you try it. If you have asthma or other health problems, your doctor may be able to tell you about some side effects. Sleeping pills can make it hard to breathe normally and can be dangerous for people with asthma, emphysema, or some types of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is a lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. Sleeping pills like Ambien, Halcion, Lunesta, Rozerem, and Sonata often have the following side effects:
Hands, arms, feet, or legs that burn or tingle
Changes in appetite
Dry throat or mouth
Impairment the following day
Slowing of the mind or trouble paying attention or remembering
Pain or tenderness in the stomach
Shaking of a body part that can’t be stopped
It’s important to know about the possible side effects of sleeping pills so you can stop taking them and call your doctor right away if you start to feel sick.
Sleeping Pills and Older Adults
Experts say you shouldn’t use any sleep aids if you’re 65 or older. This includes both over-the-counter drugs and newer “Z” drugs like eszopiclone (Lunesta), zaleplon (Sonata), and zolpidem (Ambien). When taking sleep aids, older adults are more likely to get sick than younger people. When you’re older, sleeping pills tend to stay in your system longer.
After taking them, you might feel sleepy all day. Confusion and trouble remembering things are also known to happen. This could cause older people to trip and fall, break their hips, or get into car accidents. Some over-the-counter sleep aids can cause other side effects that are hard for older people to deal with. You might have a dry mouth. You could also be constipated and have trouble going to the bathroom.
Before you decide to take sleeping pills, talk to your doctor. They may suggest that you get a medical exam to find out what’s causing your sleep problems, such as depression, anxiety, or a sleep disorder. Your doctor will also give you ideas for how to treat your inability to sleep without drugs.
Are there sleep-aid side effects that are more complicated?
Some sleeping pills have side effects that could be harmful, such as parasomnia. Parasomnias are movements, behaviors, and actions like sleepwalking that you can’t stop. During a parasomnia, you’re asleep and don’t know what’s going on around you. Parasomnias are complicated sleep behaviors that can happen when you take sleeping pills.
For example, you might eat, talk on the phone, or have sex while you’re sleeping. Another bad side effect of sleeping pills is sleep driving, which is driving while not fully awake. Even though parasomnias are rare, they are hard to notice once the medicine starts to work. On the labels of sleep aids and hypnotics, there is information about the possible risks of taking a sleeping pill. Because complex sleep behaviors are more likely to happen if you take more than what your doctor tells you to, don’t take more than what your doctor tells you to.
Can I have an allergic reaction to sleep aids?
Yes. People can be allergic to any medicine. The allergy could be caused by the medicine’s active ingredient or by one of its inactive ingredients, like dyes, binders, or coatings. People who are allergic to a certain sleeping pill should stay away from it. At the first sign of any of these serious side effects, you should talk to your doctor right away:
Blurry vision or any other eye problems
Difficulty breathing or swallowing
Feeling like your throat is closing
Rapidly beating heart
Eye, face, lip, tongue, or throat swelling
Also, anaphylaxis is a serious side effect that can even kill someone who is allergic to a medicine. Anaphylaxis is a sudden reaction to an allergy. Angioedema, which is a severe swelling of the face, is another possible side effect. Again, if you are allergic, you should talk to your doctor about these possibilities.
When do I take a pill to help me sleep?
Most of the time, it’s best to take a sleeping pill right before you want to go to bed. Read the instructions your doctor wrote on the label of the sleeping pill. There is specific information about your medicine in the directions. Also, always give yourself enough time to sleep before taking a sleeping pill.
TENS Units, which use electrical stimulation, are the least talked about way to help people sleep, anxiety, and other mental health concerns. In one study, people with chronic insomnia took part in an open trial to see how well low frequency electrical stimulation helped them sleep. Fifty-four people were studied for four weeks. A TENS Unit was put on their trapezius muscle five days a week, 30 minutes to an hour before bed. The study’s results showed that low-frequency electrical stimulation made poor sleep and insomnia a lot easier to deal with. This also made people feel less sleepy during the day, which helped improve their overall quality of life. There are many high-quality TENS machines available online. Some of the best options are made by Oxiline.
EMS (Electrical Muscle Stimulation)
Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) technology supports muscle recovery and helps reduce tension and muscle discomfort, thereby supporting better sleep. From professional athletes and fitness enthusiasts to busy moms and everyday people who experience muscle pain or muscle atrophy, electric muscle stimulation offers a safe, scientifically sound way to support fitness recovery, decrease muscle pain and enhance a healthy sleep schedule. EMS devices typically come with a dual function which includes TENS. There are many viable options, but for a wide variety of choices, you can check out Therabody.
There are many reports that acupuncture helps a lot with insomnia with very few side-effects, but there has yet to be a systematic study of its efficacy and safety.
People often get the wrong idea about hypnosis because of how it is shown in movies and TV shows. Because of this, it is often overlooked or written off as a possible treatment for a wide range of health problems. When done in a specific way, hypnosis can help a person pay attention in a way that makes it easier for them to listen to suggestions that can help them change the way they think and act. Early research shows that it may help people with insomnia and other sleep problems and has few side effects.
Before starting sleep hypnosis, it’s important to know what it is, how it works, what its pros and cons are, and how to get the most out of it. Hypnosis is a state of mind where a person is very focused on a single thought or image. This makes them less aware of their surroundings and can make them seem to be in a trance-like state.
During hypnosis, the brain activity of a person changes, making them more open to new ideas. Hypnotherapy has been shown to help with pain and some side effects of cancer treatment, among other health problems. It can help with some mental health problems.
Hypnosis does not control the mind. During hypnosis, a person is usually more receptive to suggestions, but they still have control over what they do. Most worries about mind control come from stage shows or TV shows that don’t show how hypnosis is used in real medicine. Even though some people who are very easy to hypnotize may seem to be completely controlled by a hypnotist, decades of research show that hypnosis is not the same as mind control. Hypnosis does not involve falling asleep. Instead, a person stays awake, but their attention is fixed in a way that might make them look like they are in a trance or just not paying attention.
Sleep hypnosis is when hypnotherapy is used to help people who have trouble sleeping. Sleep hypnosis is not meant to make someone fall asleep during the hypnosis. Instead, it changes bad sleep-related thoughts or habits so that the person can sleep better after hypnotherapy. Hypnosis can help people sleep, but it can be used with other treatments as well. For instance, it can be used with cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I).. Sleep hypnosis may also help people develop better sleep habits and better sleep hygiene.
Essential oils are oils derived from plants, usually by crushing and steam distilling parts of the plant. A variety of essential oils have been used as medical treatments since ancient times. Aromatherapy involves inhaling essential oil scents or vapor in hopes of obtaining positive health effects. Research demonstrates that because smell affects sleep, incorporating certain essential oils into your bedtime routine may help people sleep better. Learn about the best essential oils for sleep to determine which ones you want to bring into your bedroom environment.
Lavender, a purple flowering shrub, seems to be the plant with the essential oil that is most studied by scientists. This essential oil calms the nervous system, primarily due to the chemical compounds linalool and linalyl acetate found within it. Many studies demonstrate lavender’s positive effect on sleep in a variety of people. People with insomnia — especially women, younger people, and those with mild insomnia — reported improved sleep after breathing in steam filled with lavender essential oil. In students, exposure to lavender aroma at nighttime reduced sleepiness upon waking the following day. Ischemic heart disease patients sleeping in a hospital’s intensive care unit experienced improved quality of sleep after hours of lavender aromatherapy. Women between ages 45 and 55 experienced improved sleep quality after lavender aromatherapy. Hospital patients with coronary artery disease experienced improved sleep and reduced anxiety after inhaling a lavender essential oil. Postpartum mothers who inhaled lavender essential oil and kept cotton balls soaked with lavender essential oil in the room as they slept enjoyed improved sleep. Lavender can be put on a pillow to be inhaled during the night or combined with other oils and used for massage, as it is easily absorbed by the skin. Combining lavender aromatherapy with sleep hygiene techniques improves sleep more than lavender alone.
Bergamot is a fragrant herb native to North America, often grown to attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Research suggests bergamot may help with a variety of ailments. Sometimes, bergamot is ingested in extract form or as a juice. Bergamot essential oil may also be inhaled or diffused throughout a room.
When bergamot essential oil is experienced as aromatherapy, it may lower blood pressure and improve mental health. These calming properties might be why bergamot is thought to improve sleep. However, many sleep studies involving bergamot use essential oil mixtures rather than bergamot oil alone, making it difficult to determine the precise effects bergamot essential oil has on sleep. One such study of healthy women found that a mixture of bergamot and sandalwood essential oils improved sleep quality in 64% of study participants. Another study of people in cardiac rehabilitation found that sleep quality significantly increased after exposure to an aromatherapy mixture of bergamot, lavender, and ylang-ylang.
There are two types of chamomile plants: Roman and German. These plant varieties are similar, although they have different combinations of active ingredients and, as a result, potentially different effects. Roman chamomile essential oil is more known for reducing anxiety, while German chamomile is known for relieving pain.
If a person experiences anxiety or pain that interferes with sleep, reducing those symptoms could in turn improve sleep. The effect drinking chamomile tea has on sleep is more commonly studied, but people do engage in chamomile aromatherapy for sleep as well. Roman chamomile, lavender, and neroli is an essential oil blend for sleep that has been scientifically studied. This blend reduced anxiety and improved sleep quality in a study of patients staying in an intensive care unit.
If you would like to reduce anxiety as part of your sleep hygiene routine, chamomile is one of the best essential oils for sleep and anxiety. In one study, inhaling a mixture of chamomile and lavender essential oils reduced anxiety in nurses. There was an even greater reduction when aromatherapy was paired with music. In another study, Roman chamomile aromatherapy reduced anxiety in pregnant women.
If you enjoy woodsy scents, consider incorporating cedarwood essential oil as you create your ideal bedroom for sleep. Cedarwood oil has a sedative effect due to a chemical compound called cedrol. The sedative effects of cedrol have been studied in both animals and humans. Inhaling an essential oil mixture that contains cedrol has been demonstrated to improve sleep quality in both young, healthy adults and older adults with dementia, likely because it activates the parasympathetic nervous system.
Researchers recommend using cedarwood oil for at least 20 nights to see effects. Cedarwood oil, along with other essential oils, may increase total sleep time and reduce early morning awakenings. Cedarwood oil appears to be versatile, improving sleep in a variety of different types of people. One study focused on women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s living in Japan, Norway, and Thailand. Cedrol had a sedative effect across groups, even though women in different countries had different baseline levels of anxiety and average sleep times.
Clary Sage Oil
Native to southern Europe, clary sage is an herb. Although it isn’t the same plant as the popular dried herb sage, it is often used similarly for flavoring foods. Some people may also use clary sage essential oil for its sleep-promoting properties. Studies show that clary sage oil has an antidepressant effect and reduces cortisol levels. Since cortisol impacts circadian rhythms and appears to be tied to alertness, reducing cortisol may promote sleep.
Clary sage may also improve sleep by reducing anxiety. In one study, clary sage oil inhalation appeared to reduce stress in medical patients by lowering their blood pressure and respiratory rate. If anxiety interferes with your ability to sleep and you enjoy the smell of herbs, clary sage oil might be a good option for you.
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Most amino acids come from protein. Amino acids are the building blocks our brain uses to make neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, essential components of body life wellness. For example, the amino acid l-tyrosine is used in combination with certain nutrients to create dopamine and norepinephrine. Therefore, it’s essential that we get enough amino acids from our diet on a daily basis.
According to SCL Health, the average sedentary adult male should get about 56 grams of protein from their diet daily, and a female should get about 48 grams. It’s important to note that they are referring to a sedentary person. Ideally–especially if we’re dealing with mental health concerns–we are exercising on a regular basis. That would mean that we require even more protein. It can be difficult to get that much protein consistently.
That’s when protein powders come in handy. The problem is, though, that most protein powders on the market are filled with a variety of odd and artificial ingredients that could be bad for your health, especially your gut health, which is an essential component of your health. Of course, healthy protein powders do exist, and using them on a daily basis could improve your mood, energy, concentration, motivation, and reduce anxiety and stress. The one I have found most helpful is called Drink Wholesome.
That’s Not All
Their protein powder is my breakfast every morning, but the fact that I’m blending a drink gives me the opportunity to use other ways of improving my health. I include some vegetables, fruit, and spices (curcumin), as well. The flavor from the protein powder manages to cover up any of the flavors I’m not particularly fond of, and it ends up tasting great.
The gut is often referred to as the second brain. It is now being understood that it is nearly as important for our mental health as our brain. Artificial ingredients, added sugars, and other harmful substances harm, firstly, our gut. Drink Wholesome‘s primary goal is to make protein powders and meal replacements that are good for your gut. Other ways of improving gut health include l-glutamine, prebiotics, and probiotics. Think of taking care of your gut as one part of taking care of your mental health.
In a recent research, it was shown that eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, fish, and legumes resulted in a remission of symptoms in one-third of the participants who were adults with depression. Emotional control and cognitive function are significantly influenced by the foods you consume, which also affect the structure and function of your brain.
Amino acids included in foods high in protein help create important neurotransmitters that are used to treat and prevent sadness and anxiety. You may avoid sugary, processed foods, which can cause anxiety and sadness, by eating meals and snacks that are protein-packed. Protein-rich foods may help you feel more energetic and give you the drive to start exercising and feel better.
Protein Enhances Neurotransmitter Performance
The generation of neurotransmitters depends heavily on amino acids, the components of protein. The substances known as neurotransmitters are what enable brain cells to interact with one another. For instance, when you consume chicken, your body breaks down the protein and creates the amino acid L-Tyrosine, which is then used to make dopamine. Numerous illnesses, such as melancholy, addiction, ADHD, Alzheimer’s, and schizophrenia, are linked to low dopamine levels.
The precursor of serotonin is the amino acid L-tryptophan, which is present in chicken, fish, dairy products, and nuts. Consuming meals high in L-tryptophan may elevate mood and increase the efficiency of SSRIs and other antidepressants.
Consuming More Protein Can Reduce Your Sugar Intake
You’re less likely to grab for sugary snacks when protein-rich meals are the mainstay of your diet. Increased sugar consumption may harm all of your body’s systems and jeopardize your physical and emotional wellbeing. A protein known as BDNF may be the connection between sugar and sadness, according to research looking into the relationship. In the brain, BDNF is crucial for the survival, development, and differentiation of nerve cells. Sugar reduces BDNF activity, which is often already low in depressed individuals. Increasing your protein intake will help you curb your sweet craving and maintain stable blood sugar levels.
Consider protein bars as an example of a snacking strategy that may keep you full between meals. However, you should be aware of the sugar level in protein bars since some of them can have the same amount of added sugar as a cookie. The
Mood Effects of Anemia
Foods that are frequently rich in iron are included in the protein macronutrient group. Low iron levels are the most prevalent dietary deficit in the world and may lead to anemia. You can experience anemia-related weariness, irritability, and disengagement. Depression symptoms might be exacerbated if you feel uninspired or unable to maintain physical exercise for extended periods of time. Include protein sources high in iron in your diet if you have been diagnosed with anemia.
Your mood and ability to function will both improve after your anemia has been treated. Nutrition may play a significant role in maintaining good mental health, among other factors. Protein is a necessary food for all bodily functions, including the healthy operation of the brain. Including plenty of protein in your meal plan may be a crucial act of self-care that can help with melancholy and anxiety.
Therapy Solutions presents three free chapters from “The Anxiety Book: How to Minimize Anxiety Naturally”
Chapter 5: Psychology
Therapy could be a solution since your own thoughts could be causing or exacerbating your anxiety. Joy wellness can be found. Sometimes, we have anxious thoughts because of neurochemical issues and sometimes we have neurochemical issues because of anxious thoughts. It’s difficult to say which comes first and how much they feed into one another. Other than therapy, here are some solutions on how to deal with and improve upon anxious thought patterns.
This can bring increased comfort, relaxation, pleasantness, vigor and alertness, joy wellness, and reduced symptoms of arousal, anxiety, depression, anger, and confusion.
If you find you can force yourself to exercise, it can have tremendous benefits. Exercise is well-known for its physical benefits, and it has long been recommended for mental well-being, joy, and wellness. However, scientists are getting closer to figuring out just how exercise works its brain magic. They are learning that exercise has a significant impact on brain structure, particularly in areas impacted by depression and schizophrenia. Other, more subtle effects include increased attention, a sense of achievement, and occasionally social stimulation, all of which are therapeutic in and of themselves. While more physical exercise is always preferable, even small amounts of physical activity, such as a daily stroll, can have a huge impact on mental health.
“Physical activity is a really powerful intervention,” says Anders Hovland, a clinical psychologist at the University of Bergen in Norway. However, modifying the structure of the brain isn’t the only way that physical activity may help people with mental illnesses. According to Smith, the practice of exercising can be beneficial in and of itself by modifying people’s mental habits. Simply doing something — anything — can be beneficial in and of itself for persons with mental health concerns since it focuses their attention and stops them from obsessing on their situation. Indeed, one review of the data revealed that placebo exercise — that is, moderate stretching that is too light to have any physiological effect — had almost half the positive impact on mental health as vigorous exercise.
Regular exercises not only occupy the mind, but they also provide exercisers with a definite sense of progress as their strength and conditioning increase. According to Gordon, this sense of success — which may be especially noticeable in weight training, where people make rapid, easily observable increases — might help alleviate some of the stress of anxiety and melancholy. If that’s the case, learning to play a musical instrument, learning a language, and a variety of other hobbies might help people cope with mental health issues in a similar way. But exercise has additional benefits, making it one of the finest ways to manage mental health.
“Anything can provide advantages,” Firth adds, “but exercise may provide larger benefits, wellness, and joy.” For one reason, moderate exercise trains people to tolerate short-term discomfort in exchange for long-term benefits. People with anxiety disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or panic attacks, have a diminished ability to bear mental discomfort, thus events that most people would manage with result in uncontrollable distress.
There’s now evidence that regular exercise increases tolerance for internal discomfort, which might explain why it’s so effective at controlling these disorders. However, there are certain drawbacks to using exercise as a mental health treatment. Even mild movement, such as moving around every now and then during the day rather than sitting for long periods of time, may be beneficial. Aaron Kandola, a psychiatric epidemiologist at University College London, and his colleagues discovered that teenagers who engaged in more light exercise during the day had a reduced incidence of depressive symptoms than those who spent more time sitting in a study of almost 4,000 adolescents in the UK.
Force Yourself to Do Something You Normally Enjoy
You don’t even have to enjoy it. Just do it anyway. It may bring some benefits. It may not. It will very unlikely make things worse. But the chances are, you’ll enjoy it at least a little bit, and it might give you the energy and motivation to do something else afterwards, creating a snowball effect.
Talk to a Friend or Professional
Talking about your problems with a friend is proven to be beneficial, but even if you don’t want to talk about what’s going on with you, just chatting can be a great help. If you don’t have a friend you can talk to when you need it most, just text “Home” to 714714, and you’ll be connected, through texting, to a 24/7 crisis counseling line, which you can utilize as often as you need. I’m a crisis counselor for this program and can vouch for its excellence as a program.
Depression and anxiety sap a person’s energy to do just about anything—even activities they enjoy. As a result, people with depression tend to become less active, which causes the depression to worsen. However, even a little bit of activity can help stop this cycle.
Social isolation is a common symptom of depression. Related issues—such as fatigue, lowered self-esteem, and anxiety—exacerbate this problem. Resisting social isolation, and instead leaning on social support, can improve resilience to stress and depression. As you can see, a lot of the time, you do the opposite of what you want.
Lean on your existing relationships.
Make it a priority to socialize with friends or family every day. If this is proving difficult, or if no one is nearby, plan times to interact remotely. Try cooking together on a video call, playing a game together, or sharing a coffee over the phone. Maybe you’re doing the opposite of what you want.
Say “yes” to socializing.
Depression makes it tempting to stay home, isolated from friends and family. Make a habit of saying “yes” to social opportunities, even when you’re tempted to stay in. You do the opposite of what you want.
Join a support group.
Support groups let you connect with others who are dealing with issues like yours. You’ll benefit from sharing and receiving advice and support, helping you find joy wellness.
Three Good Things
Negative thinking is a defining feature of depression. Positive experiences are minimized, while negative experiences are magnified. Gratitude helps combat this tendency by shifting focus toward positive experiences, rather than negative ones. Write about three positive experiences from your day. These experiences can be small (“The weather was perfect when I walked to work”) or big (“I got a promotion at work”).
Mindfulness means paying attention to the present moment. It means taking a step back and noticing the world, and one’s thoughts and feelings, without judgment. The goal of mindfulness is to simply observe. Mindfulness helps reduce the worry and rumination that often accompanies depression. One way to practice mindfulness is through meditation. During mindfulness meditation, you will simply sit and focus your attention on the sensation of breathing. By focusing on your breathing, you will put yourself in the here-and-now.
Time and Place
Find a quiet, comfortable place where you can practice mindfulness for 15 to 30 minutes every day. Frequent and consistent practice leads to the best results, but some practice is better than none.
Sit in a chair or lie down in a comfortable position. Close your eyes or let your gaze soften. Let your head, shoulders, arms, and legs relax. Adjust your posture whenever you feel uncomfortable.
Awareness of Breath
Focus on your breathing. Notice the sensation of the air as it travels in through your nose and out through your mouth. Notice the gentle rise and fall of your belly.
During meditation, it’s normal for the mind to wander. When this happens, gently turn your attention back to your breathing. You may need to do this frequently throughout your practice. Focus on your breathing. Tell yourself that again and again. Focus on your breathing.
Chapter 6: GABA
GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. It reduces a nerve cell’s capacity to produce, receive, or communicate chemical signals with other nerve cells. Changing levels of GABA are connected to a wide range of medical conditions. The GABA receptor is the target of numerous medications.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA): What is it?
In your brain, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) functions as a neurotransmitter, or chemical messenger. By obstructing particular signals in your central nervous system (your brain and spinal cord), it slows down your brain. GABA is well known for its calming effects. It is believed to have a significant impact on regulating nerve cell hyperactivity linked to anxiety, stress, and fear. GABA is also known as a neurotransmitter made up of non-protein amino acids.
What is the mechanism of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)?
Your central nervous system’s most prevalent inhibitory neurotransmitter is GABA. Inhibitory neurotransmitters reduce the stimulation of nerve cells in your brain by preventing or blocking chemical messages. Most neurotransmitters function in a similar manner. They are chemical messengers that transfer information between nerve cells in your brain. A synapse, which is a tiny area filled with fluid between each nerve cell, is present. Neurotransmitters must pass through this synapse to reach the next nerve cell, where they must bind to specific receptors, much like a key that can only fit and function in its complementary lock. GABA-A and GABA-B are the two different types of GABA receptors found on nerve cells. The responsiveness of the nerve cell is decreased when GABA binds to these receptors, despite the fact that they function in various ways. As an inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA reduces a nerve cell’s capacity to produce, receive, or transmit chemical signals to other nerve cells.
What are GABA’s health advantages?
GABA is thought to have the following effects by slowing down specific brain processes:
Calm your nerves.
Improve your sleep.
What connection does glutamate have to GABA?
Your brain’s primary inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA, prevents the transmission of chemical signals from one nerve cell to another. The primary excitatory neurotransmitter in your brain, glutamate, on the other hand, enables the transmission of chemical messages from one nerve cell to another. The inhibitory effects of GABA and the excitatory effects of glutamate must coexist in a delicate balance for the brain to function properly. Along with serotonin, GABA collaborates with another neurotransmitter. In actuality, a healthy body and brain depend on a variety of neurotransmitters that interact and compete with one another in specific ways. Actually, the enzyme glutamic acid decarboxylase reacts with glutamate to produce GABA.
Which medical conditions are related to variations in GABA levels?
It is believed that certain neurologic and mental health issues are connected to periods when GABA messaging activity (or “signaling”) is out of balance and not functioning properly. Reduced GABA activity could lead to:
Mood and anxiety disorders
What drugs specifically target GABA?
The GABA receptors are the target of numerous medications. These consist of:
Benzodiazepines. The GABA-A receptor is the target of this class of medications, which also includes diazepam (Valium®) and alprazolam (Xanax®). Surgery, the treatment of epilepsy, REM sleep disorders, alcohol withdrawal, anxiety, essential tremor, and muscle spasticity all benefit from the use of benzodiazepines.
Barbiturates. These sedative medications.
Sabil® brand of vigabatrin. This medication is used to treat infant seizures and spasms.
(Romazicon®) Flumazenil. The overdose of benzodiazepines is treated with this medicine. Additionally, it helps those with hepatic encephalopathy’s mental state.
Valproate Acid. Both a mood stabilizer and an anti-seizure drug, this one.
Zolpidem (Edluar®, Ambien®). This is a hypnotic-sedative. Insomnia is treated with it.
(Neurontin, Gralise, Horizant) Gabapentin. This medication is used to treat nerve pain, seizures, insomnia, and anxiety.
Propofol, also known as Diprivan®. General anesthesia uses this medication as a sedative.
Gablofen®, Lioresal®, and Baclofen. This medication relaxes muscles and is often prescribed for anxiety.
GABA as a Dietary Supplement? GABA is a dietary supplement that is offered. The majority of it, though, might not be able to penetrate your brain. (In technical parlance, this is referred to as “crossing the blood-brain barrier.” The barrier is a special membrane that only lets specific molecules travel to and from your brain through it. Therefore, it is unknown whether taking dietary GABA supplements will have any effects on your brain. There isn’t enough solid scientific evidence to date to back up the use of a GABA supplement to treat ailments. More research with more participants is required.
Do foods contain GABA?
Some fermented foods, like kimchi, miso, and tempeh, contain GABA. It can also be found in oolong, green, and black tea. Brown rice, soy, and adzuki beans, chestnuts, mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, sprouted grains, and sweet potatoes are additional foods that either contain GABA or help your body produce more of it. It’s unclear whether eating foods containing GABA enables GABA to enter your brain, similar to supplements. More studies involving sizable participant numbers are required. The most prevalent inhibitory neurotransmitter in your central nervous system is gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).
GABA reduces a nerve cell’s capacity to produce, receive, or communicate chemical signals to other nerve cells. GABA is well known for its calming effects. It is believed to be extremely important in managing stress, anxiety, and fear. Several neurological and mental health conditions, as well as other medical conditions, have been linked to decreased GABA levels. Increasing GABA levels may aid in the treatment of diabetes, high blood pressure, and insomnia. The GABA receptor is a primary target of drug development by pharmaceutical companies due to the high levels of GABA in your brain. More people need to be studied to determine how well GABA supplements and foods work to prevent and treat medical conditions. Speak with your healthcare provider about the best course of action for treating your medical condition before buying GABA supplements or consuming specific foods that contain GABA.
Chapter 7: Oxytocin
Although the symptoms of generalized social anxiety disorder are sometimes alleviated by antidepressant medicines such as Prozac, and tranquilizers such as Valium, these medications do not work for everyone. The researchers looked at the anxiety-reducing effects of oxytocin, a neurotransmitter sometimes called the “love hormone” for its ability to reduce stress and promote pro-social behaviors such as trust, empathy, and openness to social risk. Oxytocin has now been shown to make the amygdala less reactive to pictures of threatening or fearful faces. Previous research identified the amygdala as a crucial brain area for emotional processing.
In a paper appearing August 6th in Neuropsychopharmacology, researchers expanded on previous findings showing oxytocin’s influence on the amygdala. The research team was led by Stephanie M. Gorka, Ph.D., of the University of Illinois and included Pradeep Nathan, Ph.D., of Cambridge University (formally Monash University), recipient of a 2007 NARSAD Independent Investigator grant. They examined how oxytocin affects connections between the amygdala and other parts of the brain in people with anxiety disorder. As study participants viewed fearful faces, brain scans with functional MRI showed that the amygdala communicated significantly less with other parts of the brain in those with generalized social anxiety, compared to those not diagnosed with anxiety disorder.
The less connected the amygdala was to other brain regions, the higher the anxious participants’ baseline stress levels were. Importantly, oxytocin reversed those trends by increasing amygdala connectivity in anxiety patients, while decreasing amygdala connectivity in everyone else. These findings suggest that oxytocin can have specific effects in people with anxiety through its influence on the amygdala.
More broadly, the fact that oxytocin had opposite effects in the two participant groups indicates that the neurotransmitter’s success in reducing stress and promoting social behavior depends on individual brain characteristics, which differ between those with anxiety and those without the disorder. Thus, while oxytocin continues to show promise as a potential treatment for anxiety, it may not promote positive social behaviors in everyone. As noted by Professor Nathan and colleagues, these findings are preliminary.
To better assess how presumed changes in the brain influence actual experiences of anxiety, further research is needed to test oxytocin on more people with and without anxiety disorders. This, the scientists say, will be crucial in determining whether and exactly how oxytocin can improve treatment for anxiety disorders. Foods that may increase oxytocin include:
Here are some of the most common symptoms associated with common chemical imbalances. Following that, are how certain supplements, medications, and drugs affect these various chemicals. If something is left blank, that means I was unable to find information one way or another. If something is marked “n/a,” that means there is little to no effect done in that regard. If you crave wellness, read on!
Low Dopamine • You lack motivation • You’re tired • You can’t concentrate • You’re moody or anxious • You don’t feel pleasure from previously enjoyable experiences • You’re depressed; you feel hopeless • You have a low sex drive
High Norepinephrine • High blood pressure (hypertension) • Rapid or irregular heartbeat • Excessive sweating • Cold or pale skin • Severe headaches • Nervous feeling, jitters • Pheochromocytoma, which is an adrenal gland tumor Low Gaba • Anxiety • Depression • Insomnia
Low Cortisol • Fatigue and morning sluggishness • Depression • Anxiety • Weakened immune system and increased susceptibility to infection and sickness • Loss of resilience in stressful situations • Brain fog or mid-day lack of focus • Cravings for salty or sweet foods
High Cortisol • rapid weight gain mainly in the face, chest and abdomen contrasted with slender arms and legs • a flushed and round face • high blood pressure • osteoporosis • skin changes (bruises and purple stretch marks) • muscle weakness • mood swings, which show as anxiety, depression or irritability.
Ashwagandha Serotonin: Up Dopamine: Down GABA: Up Norepinephrine: Down Acetylcholine: Up Oxytocin: Up Histamine: Down Cortisol: Down Testosterone: Up
Lion’s Mane Serotonin: Up Dopamine: Up GABA: Up Norepinephrine: Up Acetylcholine: Up Oxytocin: Up Histamine: Up Cortisol: Up Testosterone: Down
Curcumin Serotonin: Up Dopamine: Up GABA: Up Norepinephrine: Up Acetylcholine: Up Oxytocin: Histamine: Down Cortisol: Up Testosterone: Up
Valerian Root Serotonin: Up Dopamine: Up GABA: Up Norepinephrine: Up Acetylcholine: Oxytocin: Histamine: Cortisol: Down Testosterone:
Skullcap Serotonin: Dopamine: Up GABA: Up Norepinephrine: Acetylcholine: Oxytocin: Histamine: Down Cortisol: Testosterone: ‘
Magnolia Serotonin: Up Dopamine: Up GABA: Up Norepinephrine: Down Acetylcholine: Up Oxytocin: Histamine: Down Cortisol: Down Testosterone: Down
Ginkgo Biloba Serotonin: Up Dopamine: Up GABA: Down Norepinephrine: Up Acetylcholine: Up Oxytocin: Histamine: Down Cortisol: Down Testosterone: Up
Melatonin Serotonin: Up Dopamine: Down GABA: Up Norepinephrine: Down Acetylcholine: Up Oxytocin: Up Histamine: Down Cortisol: Down Testosterone: Up
Chamomile Serotonin: Up Dopamine: Up GABA: Up Norepinephrine: Up Acetylcholine: Oxytocin: Up Histamine: Down Cortisol: Down Testosterone:
L-theanine Serotonin: Up Dopamine: Up GABA: Up Norepinephrine: Down Acetylcholine: Oxytocin: Histamine: Down Cortisol: Down Testosterone: Up
L-glycine Serotonin: Up Dopamine: N/A GABA: Norepinephrine: Acetylcholine: Up Oxytocin: Histamine: Down Cortisol: Down Testosterone:
Taurine Serotonin: Dopamine: GABA: Up Norepinephrine: Down Acetylcholine: Oxytocin: Up Histamine: Cortisol: Down Testosterone: NAC Serotonin: Up Dopamine: Down GABA: Up Norepinephrine: Down Acetylcholine: Oxytocin: Histamine: Up Cortisol: Down Testosterone: Down
Sceletium Tortuosa Serotonin: Up Dopamine: Up GABA: Up Norepinephrine: Acetylcholine: Oxytocin: Histamine: Cortisol: Down Testosterone: Down
Passionflower Serotonin: Up Dopamine: Up GABA: Up Norepinephrine: Up Acetylcholine: Oxytocin: Histamine: Down Cortisol: Down Testosterone: Up
Hops Serotonin: Up Dopamine: Up GABA: Up Norepinephrine: Up Acetylcholine: Up Oxytocin: Histamine: Down Cortisol: Testosterone: Up
Lemon Balm Serotonin: Up Dopamine: Up GABA: Up Norepinephrine: Up Acetylcholine: Up Oxytocin: Up Histamine: Down Cortisol: Down Testosterone: Up
Lavendar Serotonin: Up Dopamine: Up GABA: Up Norepinephrine: Acetylcholine: Oxytocin: Up Histamine: Down Cortisol: Down Testosterone: Up
Kava Serotonin: Up Dopamine: Up GABA: Up Norepinephrine: Up Acetylcholine: Down Oxytocin: Histamine: Cortisol: Down Testosterone:
Fenugreek Serotonin: Up Dopamine: Down GABA: Norepinephrine: Acetylcholine: Up Oxytocin: Up Histamine: Down Cortisol: Down Testosterone: Up
Sulbutiamine Serotonin: Up Dopamine: Down GABA: Up Norepinephrine: Up Acetylcholine: Up Oxytocin: Histamine: Up Cortisol: Testosterone:
Lithium Serotonin: Up Dopamine: Up GABA: Up Norepinephrine: Down Acetylcholine: Down Oxytocin: Up Histamine: Down Cortisol: Up Testosterone: Down
Gabapentin Serotonin: Up Dopamine: Down GABA: Up Norepinephrine: Down Acetylcholine: N/A Oxytocin: Histamine: Cortisol: Down Testosterone: N/A
Ritalin Serotonin: Up Dopamine: Up GABA: Up Norepinephrine: Up Acetylcholine: Up Oxytocin: N/A Histamine: Up Cortisol: Up Testosterone: Down
Adderall Serotonin: Up Dopamine: Up GABA: Up Norepinephrine: Up Acetylcholine: Up Oxytocin: Up Histamine: Up Cortisol: Up Testosterone: Down
Wellbutrin Serotonin: Up Dopamine: Up GABA: Up Norepinephrine: Up Acetylcholine: Oxytocin: Histamine: Up Cortisol: Up Testosterone: Up
Hydroxyzine Serotonin: Down Dopamine: Down GABA: N/A Norepinephrine: Down Acetylcholine: Down Oxytocin: Down Histamine: Down Cortisol: Testosterone:
Tiagabine Serotonin: Dopamine: Down GABA: Up Norepinephrine: Down Acetylcholine: Oxytocin: Histamine: Cortisol: Down Testosterone:
Clonazepam Serotonin: Up Dopamine: Up GABA: Up Norepinephrine: Down Acetylcholine: Down Oxytocin: Histamine: Cortisol: Down Testosterone:
Galantamine Serotonin: Dopamine: Up GABA: Up Norepinephrine: Up Acetylcholine: Up Oxytocin: Histamine: Cortisol: Up Testosterone:
Tylenol Serotonin: Up Dopamine: GABA: Norepinephrine: Up Acetylcholine: Oxytocin: Down Histamine: Up Cortisol: Down Testosterone: Down
NSAIDs Serotonin: Dopamine: GABA: Norepinephrine: Acetylcholine: Oxytocin: Histamine: Cortisol: Down Testosterone: Down
THC Serotonin: Up Dopamine: Up GABA: Down Norepinephrine: Down Acetylcholine: Up Oxytocin: Up Histamine: Down Cortisol: Up Testosterone:
CBD Serotonin: Up Dopamine: Up GABA: Up Norepinephrine: Up Acetylcholine: Up Oxytocin: Up Histamine: Down Cortisol: Down Testosterone:
If there are supplements, drugs, or medications that you would like me to include in part 2, just let me know.
Do you currently seem to be a little more forgetful? Do you simply have a lot on your mind, or could getting older be the cause of this? It’s time to achieve mind wellness. It’s no secret that as we get older, our bodies change, including our brains. Put hope in motion. Many people fret about forgetfulness, but not everyone who struggles with memory has Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Age-related forgetfulness is a common symptom of aging. Many older adults enjoy a good crossword puzzle, phone app game, or other activity to improve memory, attention, and focus, but are these brain games really helping your brain—especially against memory loss?
Is it possible to play brain games to keep your mind sharp?Hope in motion.
Our brain is dynamic and constantly changing throughout our lives, according to Jessica Langbaum, PhD, co-director of the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute’s Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative. Our brain continues to create new neurons and neuronal connections as we get older, she said. Over the course of your life, participating in cognitively stimulating activities and brain training can have a positive effect on how well your brain functions, including your memory, attention, thinking, language, and reasoning abilities.
Activities or exercises that challenge your ability to think are considered cognitively stimulating like hope in motion. Brain training, also known as cognitive training, aims to improve a specific brain function (such as memory, attention, your ability to switch between tasks, processing speed, etc.) by teaching strategies and offering guided practice. Think of cognitive training as a mental equivalent of a physical boot camp. According to Dr. Langbaum, some types of training can help adults perform daily tasks and show benefits for mood and wellbeing in addition to improving daily cognitive abilities. Brain training appears to enhance cognitive abilities on the surface, but more research is required. “Several studies are investigating whether a particular type of cognitive training delays or reduces the risk of impairment in adults 65 and older, including the PACT Study.” said Dr. Langbaum.
The distinction between mental exercise and “brain games”
While some in-person programs use physical games or worksheets, the majority of contemporary brain training programs use computer game or handheld device formats. The distinction between brain games and brain training, however, is not clear. Recently, a lot of controversy has surrounded brain games due to the proliferation of businesses touting their advantages. Unfortunately, many fall short of the expectations. Brain games may be entertaining and engaging, and you may even get better at them, but these advancements haven’t been proven to significantly enhance cognitive functioning or general day-to-day functioning, according to Dr. Langbaum.
For instance, practicing Sudoku may get you better at Sudoku but won’t improve your overall cognitive abilities/ Many for-profit businesses misuse the term, frequently duping consumers into purchasing untested games that have no beneficial effects on memory or mental health. Even some businesses have received fines from the Federal Trade Commission for making such untrue claims. According to the proverb, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t.” It’s okay to play commercially available brain games; you might even find them enjoyable, according to Dr. Langbaum.
In light of this, look for peer-reviewed studies about any commercially available programs you’re interested in on their website. Playing only brain games won’t enhance cognitive function. Even though there are many gimmicks that promise to keep your mind and brain sharp, there are other actions you can take to support brain health. “The best things you can do are to get enough sleep, be physically active, eat nutrient-rich foods, and find stimulating activities that interest and challenge you,” Dr. Langbaum advised.
What exercises are suggested to stimulate the brain?
Anything requiring attention, focus, and engagement qualifies as cognitively stimulating activity. There are many activities that will challenge your brain, such as gardening, chess, volunteering, and playing with your grandchildren. And there are numerous approaches you can try, whether they are done in person, on paper, on a computer or mobile device, etc. As noted, make sure there is enough evidence to support the training. “There are cognitive training programs targeting things like attention, memory or speed of processing that can improve that ability and everyday activities that rely on it,” Dr. Langbaum said.
For those who struggle with memory
There may be cognitively stimulating activities that can help a loved one with a memory impairment, such as mild cognitive impairment or dementia, maintain their independence in handling daily tasks or functions for a longer period of time. Activities like music or crafts, for instance, can keep dementia sufferers alert and occupied. Small-group participation in these activities fosters social engagement and interaction, both of which are advantageous. Maintaining social engagement is crucial for people with memory impairment, such as dementia, according to Dr. Langbaum. “Encouraging the activities that the person with dementia finds interesting and enjoyable can improve mood and support their overall mental health.” “Cognitive rehabilitation,” also known as reablement, can assist those with mild cognitive impairment in performing particular daily, self-care tasks. Programs for improving memory or processing speed, however, have not proven beneficial for people with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia.
Our brains’ remarkable adaptability to changes over the course of a lifetime is truly amazing. One effective strategy for enhancing your brain’s health and wellbeing is to engage in cognitively stimulating activities. Try something new and push yourself to perform more difficult variations of your favorite activities. It demonstrates that even a “old (or not so old!) dog” can learn new tricks.
Chapter 2: Neuroplasticity
The brain’s capacity to adapt and change as a result of experience is known as neuroplasticity. It is a general term for the brain’s capacity to modify, rearrange, or expand neural networks. This may involve structural changes brought on by learning or functional changes brought on by brain damage. The term “plasticity” describes the brain’s malleability or capacity for change. Neuro is short for neurons, which are the nerve cells that make up the brain and nervous system. Thus, neuroplasticity enables adjustments or changes in nerve cells.
The two main forms of neuroplasticity are as follows:
The brain’s capacity to transfer functions from one damaged area to another unharmed area is known as functional plasticity.
The brain’s capacity to actually alter its physical makeup as a result of learning is known as structural plasticity.
The Workings of Neuroplasticity
The brain grows quickly in a child’s first few years of life. Every cerebral cortex neuron has about 2,500 synapses, or tiny spaces between neurons, where nerve impulses are relayed, at birth. This number has increased to a staggering 15,000 synapses per neuron by the age of three. However, the average adult only has about half as many synapses. Why? Because some connections grow stronger as we acquire new experiences while others fade away. Synaptic pruning is the term for this process. Stronger connections form between frequently used neurons. Those that are used infrequently or never pass away eventually. The brain can adjust to a changing environment by creating new connections and removing weak ones.
Having an adaptable and flexible brain supports:
the capacity to pick up new skills
the capacity to improve current cognitive abilities
stroke and traumatic brain injury recovery
bolstering areas where function has decreased or been lost
Enhancements to improve mental fitness
Age and Environment Are Important While plasticity is present throughout life, some changes are more pronounced at particular ages. For instance, as the developing brain develops and organizes itself during the early years of life, the brain frequently undergoes significant changes. Younger brains are typically more receptive and sensitive to experiences than brains that are much older. This does not, however, imply that adult brains are incapable of adapting. Additionally, there may be a genetic component. The interaction of genetics and environment also influences how plastic the brain is.
The Process of Neuroplasticity is Continuous
Brain cells other than neurons, such as glial and vascular cells, are continually plastic throughout life. It can happen as a result of brain injury or as a result of learning, experience, and memory formation. The brain is constantly changing in response to learning, contrary to popular belief, which held that the brain became fixed after a certain age. The parts of the brain connected to particular functions may sustain injury in situations where the brain is damaged, such as during a stroke. Eventually, healthy brain regions may take over those tasks, allowing the abilities to return.
Limitations of Brain Plasticity
But it’s important to remember that the brain’s plasticity is limited. Certain actions are primarily controlled by specific regions of the brain. For instance, certain parts of the brain are crucial for speech, language, movement, and cognition. Deficits in those areas may result from damage to important parts of the brain because, despite some recovery being possible, those functions simply cannot be fully replaced by other parts of the brain.
At any age, there are things you can do to encourage your brain to adapt and change. Improve the Environment It has been demonstrated that learning environments that provide lots of opportunities for focused attention, novelty, and challenge encourage beneficial changes in the brain. While this is especially crucial during childhood and adolescence, an enriching environment can still benefit your brain well into adulthood. Your brain could be stimulated by:
Taking language classes
playing an instrument and taking lessons
exploring new locations while traveling
Making art and other forms of creativity
Get Lots of Sleep
Sleep plays a significant role in dendritic growth in the brain, according to research. The growths at the ends of neurons known as dendrites aid in the communication of information from one neuron to the next. You might be able to promote more brain plasticity by fortifying these connections. It has been established that sleep has significant effects on both physical and mental health. According to some researchers, this may be partially inherited and partially caused by the structure of the brain’s grey matter.
By following good sleep hygiene, you can enhance your quality of sleep. This entails creating a regular sleep schedule and an atmosphere that promotes sound sleep.
There are many advantages to regular physical activity for the brain. Exercise may help prevent neuron loss in important regions of the hippocampus, a region of the brain involved in memory and other functions, according to some research. Other research suggests that physical activity aids in the development of new neurons in the same region. According to a study published in 2021, physical activity also appears to increase brain plasticity through its effects on the basal ganglia, which controls movement and learning, functional connectivity, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that affects nerve growth.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services advises engaging in at least two days a week of strength training activities, such as lifting weights or using your own body weight, and at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio activity (such as walking, dancing, swimming, or cycling). Develop mindfulness Being fully present in the moment, without dwelling on the past or planning for the future, is what mindfulness entails. The key is to be aware of the sights, sounds, and sensations around you. Numerous studies have demonstrated that developing and using mindfulness can promote the neuroplasticity of the brain. Games to play aren’t just for kids: Playing board, card, video, and other games has been shown to increase neuroplasticity in the brain.
Concerns Regarding Brain Plasticity
Although changes in the brain are frequently viewed as improvements, this is not always the case. The structure and operation of the brain may occasionally be adversely affected or altered. For instance, when it permits negative changes brought on by drug use, illness, or trauma (such as brain injury or traumatic events that lead to post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD), brain plasticity may be problematic. Brain plasticity can be negatively impacted by even lead poisoning. Additionally, certain medical conditions may restrict or impede brain plasticity. Pediatric neurological conditions like epilepsy, cerebral palsy, tuberous sclerosis, and Fragile X syndrome are among them.
The Discovery of Neuroplasticity
Theories and beliefs about how the brain functions have changed significantly over time. Early scientists thought that the brain was “fixed,” but more recent research has revealed that the brain is more flexible. Initial theories Researchers thought that only during infancy and childhood could the brain undergo changes until the 1960s.
Early in adulthood, it was thought that the physical makeup of the brain was largely fixed. Norman Doidge, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, proposed that this idea that the brain is incapable of change primarily stemmed from three main sources in his 2007 book “The Brain that Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science,” which took a historical look at early theories. William James, a psychologist, first proposed that the brain might not be as static as previously thought. “The Principles of Psychology,” a book he wrote in 1890, contained the following passage: “Organic matter, especially nervous tissue, seems endowed with a very extraordinary degree of plasticity.”
But for many years, this concept was largely ignored. Current Theories Karl Lashley, a researcher, discovered evidence of alterations in the rhesus monkeys’ neural pathways in the 1920s. The ability of elderly people who had experienced severe strokes to recover function was studied by researchers in the 1960s, proving that the brain was more malleable than previously thought. Modern researchers have also discovered proof that the brain can heal itself after injury. In order to adapt to new experiences, learn new information, and form new memories, the brain continuously creates new neural pathways and modifies existing ones, according to contemporary research.
Technology advancements have made it possible for researchers to take a previously unattainable look inside the brain. Research has shown that people are not limited to the mental abilities they are born with and that damaged brains are frequently quite capable of remarkable change as modern neuroscience research flourishes.
Chapter 3: Neurogenesis
New neurons are formed in the brain both during fetal development and as adults through a process known as neurogenesis. It is now known that neurogenesis does not only take place during embryonic development, as was once thought to be the case. There are billions of cells in the human brain, including glia, neurons, and an unknown number of subtypes. The majority of these cells are produced in the very early stages of development, in embryonic stages.
Early neurogenesis starts with the formation of a neural groove, which separates the neural plate from the ectoderm (early embryonic development’s outermost germ layer). The neural crest, a temporary group of cells, and the neural tube, which is the precursor to the central nervous system (CNS), are created as a result of this fusion. The development of tissues and organs is aided by neural crest stem cells, which are produced after the neural crest produces its own neural crest stem cells.
Neurogenesis occurs during embryonic development and is particularly important during development because it is the cause of the variety of neurons in the brain. `The neural stem cells differentiate during neurogenesis, which means that they will change into one of several specialized cell types at particular times and locations within the brain. Numerous animal species have been found to exhibit signs of self-healing and ongoing neuronal growth.
Mammalian brains were believed to be an exception to this rule, though. It was known that other cells could divide in adults and react to injury, including microglia, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes. Only the neurons were thought to be incapable of self-replication despite the ability of these cells to divide. It is now known that adult neurogenesis is possible and that this limitation on neurons is untrue. Adult neurogenesis was allegedly first discovered in the 1960s. In this decade, studies led by Altman and Das (1965) produced the first anatomical proof of the existence of newly developed neurons in the hippocampus of adult rats. Similar findings were made by Paton and Nottebohm (1984), who discovered functional integration of recently developed neurons in songbirds’ central nervous systems.
It took until the 1990s for the field as a whole to accept that adult neurogenesis has a role to play in brain function, despite evidence of its existence dating back to the 1960s. The realization of this discovery was made possible by fundamental researchers Richards, Kilpatrick, and Bartlett (1992). These scientists found that adult mice’s brains contained neural stem cells. It was decided that since neurogenesis requires neural stem cells, it can take place in mammalian brains. Since the discovery of mammalian neural stem cells, significant developments have been made in almost every aspect of adult neurogenesis in the mammalian CNS.
Adult neurogenesis may only occur in the subgranular zone (SGZ) and the subventricular zone (SVZ) of the brain, according to recent research. The dentate gyrus of the hippocampus, which has been shown to be the area where new dentate granule cells—small cells crucial for learning—are generated—is where the SGZ is situated. The lateral ventricles are where new neurons are produced, but the SVZ is where they migrate to the olfactory bulb (a region involved in smell) to develop into interneurons
How Neurogenesis Takes Place
Neurogenic signals serve as the initial stimulus for the brain’s neurogenesis process. These might result from a variety of things, like stimulated activity in particular brain regions. In turn, this promotes the growth and stimulation of neural stem cells. These stem cells will then either differentiate to produce neural progenitor cells or they will divide endlessly to produce more stem cells. Between stem cells and fully developed neurons are neural progenitor cells.
The neural progenitor cells are now differentiating to create particular varieties of neurons. Similarly, gliogenic signals activate glial cells, which are CNS cells with supportive roles, to support the stimulation of neural stem cells. The gliogenic neural stem cells will then differentiate into glial progenitors, which will then become support cells like oligodendrocytes and astrocytes. Instead of being called neurogenesis, this process is called gliogenesis.
It has been established that the neuroepithelial cells, radial glial cells, and basal progenitors are the three classes of stem and progenitor cells from which mammals’ central nervous systems (CNS) develop. The beginning of neurogenesis converts neuroepithelial cells into radial glial cells, which are in charge of producing all of the CNS’s neurons, including astrocytes and oligodendrocytes, which are supportive cells. In adult mammals, neurogenesis has been found to take place primarily in two regions: the subventricular zone (SVZ) that extends throughout the lateral ventricles of the brain and the subgranular zone (SGZ) of the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus.
Humans’ temporal lobes contain the hippocampus, which is a component of the limbic system. This area of the brain is crucial for creating new memories, recalling those memories, and learning. The proteins that start the process of neurogenesis are produced by astrocyte cells in the dendrite gyrus of the hippocampus. The dendrite gyrus uses neurogenesis to aid in the encoding of new information. In animal studies, neurogenesis in this area is assessed by giving the animals’ brains an injection of a radioactive marker that binds to dividing cells.
When the animal dies, counting the marked cells will reveal exactly how many cells have multiplied. Within the hippocampus, adult-born neurons are produced at a rate of about 700 per day. A person’s lifetime results in the replacement of about one-third of the neurons in the hippocampus. It is believed that adult neurogenesis in the hippocampus is essential for controlling mood, spatial memory, and the ability to store new memories. However, the hippocampus’s preexisting memories may be interfered with by the growth of new brain cells there.
The hippocampus is where most memories are created before being sent elsewhere for long-term storage. The memories persist for a while in the hippocampus as well as other brain areas for a few years before the hippocampus is cleared of them. The influx of new cells may compromise the memories already stored there until the pre-existing memories are fully transferred. This could be the cause of why we don’t always remember things from our early years. SVZ of the lateral ventricles eventually transfers neurogenesis to the olfactory bulb.
The olfactory bulb is a structure in both cerebral hemispheres that is close to the front of the brain and that receives neural information about odors. The SVZ’s ability to generate new cells could be inhibited, which could have an adverse effect on cognitive function, including olfactory memory. Recent studies have revealed that adult neurogenesis can also take place in the amygdala, a part of the brain critical for processing emotional memories, in addition to the SVZ and SGZ. This may be how new emotional memories are created, but more research is needed in this area.
How Important Is Neurogenesis?
The discovery of neurogenesis in the adult human brain suggests that this could be crucial for the treatment of neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease because stem cells can divide and differentiate into many different types of cells. Alzheimer’s disease does not currently have a treatment. Neuroscientists are currently focused on creating strategies to boost neurogenesis in the hippocampus using stem and progenitor cells from the brain.
They might be able to treat these neurodegenerative conditions, as well as possibly age-related memory and cognitive decline, and mental illness, if they are successful in boosting the generation of new neurons in this region. Neurogenesis and synaptic plasticity, also referred to as a change in activity during synaptic transmission, frequently interact with one another. A neurophysiological indicator of learning, synaptic plasticity refers to the brain’s capacity to reorganize and adapt in response to the external environment. It has been discovered that after a stroke or seizure, the brain in rodents can produce new cells to help it heal.
As a result of the damage, neurogenesis was increased. This has repercussions for therapeutic techniques for repairing the brain after suffering from brain damage. Researchers are currently looking into ways to wake up dormant stem cells in the event that the areas where neurons are found sustain damage. In order to encourage stem cells to repair the damage, other researchers are looking for a way to transplant them directly into damaged areas. Similar to this, scientists are attempting to extract stem cells from other sources, such as embryos, in order to direct these cells to differentiate into neurons or glia.
Finally, techniques to encourage the amygdala to generate new brain cells may be able to treat conditions like anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, and depression that are linked to fear. Aging is the primary factor causing a decrease in neurogenesis. Since disease is not the cause of the brain’s natural degeneration, it cannot be stopped.
Despite this, research has shown that the majority of neurons actually remain healthy until death, but between the ages of 20 and 90, brain volume can decrease by about 5 to 10%. Additionally, it has been proposed that lifestyle elements like inadequate sleep, inactivity, and foods that raise blood glucose levels can all result in a reduction in neurogenesis. Also, mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder have been linked to a decrease in neurogenesis.
On the other hand, it has been proposed that exercise may boost neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus, leading to the production of more new neurons. A healthy diet, learning, and social interaction can also promote adult neurogenesis. In essence, it is believed that activities that can positively stimulate the brain in the production of new cells. Antidepressant medications and electroconvulsive therapy have also been discovered to be effective ways to boost neurogenesis.
My goal here is not to go into great detail on any particular remedy but just to give you an idea of some of the options that are out there and their commonly recommended doses. Always consult your doctor before adding any new supplement to your routine, whether it’s natural or not.
St. John’s Wort – 300mg 3x/day Rhodiola Rosea – 360-600 mg daily of an extract standardized for 1 percent rosavin, 180-300 mg of an extract standardized for 2 percent rosavin, 100-170 mg for an extract standardized for 3.6 percent rosavin Saffron – 30mg 2x/day Fish Oil – 200-500mg of combined EPA and DHA per day NAC (N-acetylcysteine) – 600mg 2x/day Vitamin D – 800 IU/day B Vitamins – B1 (Thiamine) 1.1 mg B2 (Riboflavin) 1.1 mg B3 (Niacin) 14 mg B5 (Pantothenic acid 5 mg B6 (Pyridoxine) B7 (Biotin) 30 mcg B9 (Folate) 400 mcg B12 (Cobalamin) 2.4 mcg Sam-e – 400mg 2x/day Ginseng Extract – 300mg/day Sulbutiamine – 200mg 2-3x/day Caffeine – 100mg 1-3/day Lithium Orotate – 5mg of elemental lithium per day L-tyrosine – 200mg 1-3/day Amino Acid Complex – 5g/day Noopept – 10mg 1-3x/day Mexidol – 250mg 2x/day Petitgrain Essential Oil Turmeric – 500mg of curcumin 2/day Vitamin C – 1,000mg/day Broccoli Sprout Extract – 500mg/day Moringa Powder – 2g/day Blueberry Extract – 800mg 1-2x/day Magnesium – 400mg/day Melatonin – 0.1-3mg/day Cocoa Powder – 2.5g/day DLPA – 500mg 1-3x/day Ginkgo Biloba – 120mg 2x/day White Peony Root – 500mg/day DIM – 100mg/day Ashwagandha Root Extract – 600mg/day Vitamin B3 – 500mg/day Cordyceps – 2g/day Green Tea Extract – 500mg/day L-tryptophan – 3g/day Longjack Extract Powder – 1,200mg/day L-theanine – 200mg 2x/day Chamomile Extract – 400mg 1-3x/day Myo-inositol – 12g/day Hawthorn Berry Extract – 500mg 2-3x/day Lavender Essential Oil Lavendar (Silexan) – 80mg 1-2/day Frankincense Essential Oil Bergamot Essential Oil Yuzu Essential Oil Tangerine Essential Oil Rose Essential Oil Jasmine Essential Oil CBD – 50mg 2x/day
“Breathing problems. Marijuana smoke irritates the lungs, and people who smoke marijuana frequently can have the same breathing problems as those who smoke tobacco. These problems include daily cough and phlegm, more frequent lung illness, and a higher risk of lung infections.” “Marijuana raises heart rate for up to 3 hours after smoking. This effect may increase the chance of heart attack. “ “ Regular, long-term marijuana use can lead to some people to develop Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome. This causes users to experience regular cycles of severe nausea, vomiting, and dehydration, sometimes requiring emergency medical attention.1” “Compared to those who don’t use marijuana, those who frequently use large amounts report the following:
lower life satisfaction
poorer mental health
poorer physical health
more relationship problems
People also report less academic and career success. For example, marijuana use is linked to a higher likelihood of dropping out of school.18 It’s also linked to more job absences, accidents, and injuries.19” “Marijuana use can lead to the development of a substance use disorder, a medical illness in which the person is unable to stop using even though it’s causing health and social problems in their life. Severe substance use disorders are also known as addiction. Research suggests that between 9 and 30 percent of those who use marijuana may develop some degree of marijuana use disorder.25”
“Multiple studies have linked marijuana use with a higher risk of psychosis, which is a medical term that applies to symptoms that involve losing touch with the real world, such as hallucinations or paranoia. For example, in an analysis published in 2016 in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin, researchers looked at previous studies of about 67,000 people. They found that people in the study who used the most marijuana were more likely to be diagnosed with a psychotic mental-health condition, such as schizophrenia, than people who had never used marijuana. A review published in April 2016 in the journal Biological Psychiatry also found a link between cannabis use and an increased risk of psychosis. “Overall, evidence from epidemiologic studies provides strong enough evidence to warrant a public health message that cannabis use can increase the risk of psychotic disorders,” the authors wrote in the review.” “Using marijuana for many years may be linked to changes in brain size, research has suggested. In a study published in November 2014 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers looked at 48 adults who used the drug at least three times a day, for an average of eight or nine years, and 62 people who didn’t use marijuana. It turned out that the people who had been smoking pot daily for at least four years had a smaller volume of gray matter in a brain region called the orbitofrontal cortex, which previous research had linked to addiction” “THC —marijuana’s main psychoactive compound —may increase the level of “neural noise,“or random neural activity in the brain, research suggests. In a 2015 study published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, researchers measured the levels of this random neural activity in 24 people under two conditions: after they had been given pure THC, and after they had been given a placebo. They found that the people showed greater levels of neural noise after they received the THC, compared with their levels after they took the placebo. [11 Surprising Facts About Placebos] “At doses roughly equivalent to half or a single joint, [THC] produced psychosis-like effects and increased neural noise in humans,” senior study author Dr. Deepak Cyril D’Souza, a professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, said in a statement. The findings suggest that psychosis-like symptoms that people may experience after smoking weed may be related to this neural noise, the researchers said.”
“The research team studied 48 adult marijuana users and 62 gender- and age-matched non-users, accounting for potential biases such as gender, age and ethnicity. The authors also controlled for tobacco and alcohol use. On average, the marijuana users who participated in the study consumed the drug three times per day. Cognitive tests show that chronic marijuana users had lower IQ” “Eventually, however, the structural connectivity or ‘wiring’ of the brain starts degrading with prolonged marijuana use.”
“Despite some contentious discussions regarding the addictiveness of marijuana, the evidence clearly indicates that long-term marijuana use can lead to addiction. Indeed, approximately 9% of those who experiment.” “Regular marijuana use is associated with an increased risk of anxiety and depression,23”nt with marijuana will become addicted.” “Both immediate exposure and long-term exposure to marijuana impair driving ability; marijuana is the illicit drug most frequently reported in connection with impaired driving and accidents, including fatal accidents.35 “ “Marijuana smoking is also associated with inflammation of the large airways, increased airway resistance, and lung hyperinflation, associations that are consistent with the fact that regular marijuana smokers are more likely to report symptoms of chronic bronchitis than are nonsmokers4”“”Marijuana use has also been associated with vascular conditions that increase the risks of myocardial infarction, stroke, and transient ischemic attacks during marijuana intoxication.45 The actual mechanisms underlying the effects of marijuana on the cardiovascular and cerebrovascular systems are complex and not fully understood. However, the direct effects of cannabinoids on various target receptors (i.e., CB1 receptors in arterial blood vessels) and the indirect effects on vasoactive compounds46 may help explain the detrimental effects of marijuana on vascular resistance and coronary microcirculation.47” “The THC content, or potency, of marijuana, as detected in confiscated samples, has been steadily increasing from about 3% in the 1980s to 12% in 201250 (Fig. 1A). This increase in THC content raises concerns that the consequences of marijuana use may be worse now than in the past and may account for the significant increases in emergency department visits by persons reporting marijuana use51 (Fig. 1B) and the increases in fatal motor-vehicle accidents.35 This increase in THC potency over time also raises questions about the current relevance of the findings in older studies on the effects of marijuana use, especially studies that assessed long-term outcomes.” “Similarly, more research is needed to understand the potential effects of marijuana use on age-related cognitive decline in general and on memory impairment in particular.” “As policy shifts toward legalization of marijuana, it is reasonable and probably prudent to hypothesize that its use will increase and that, by extension, so will the number of persons for whom there will be negative health consequences.” “Another important aspect in the discussions around cannabis is the fact that in today’s cannabis and marijuana preparations the THC/CBD ratio is shifted to significantly higher THC content. Thus, studies from the seventies or eighties of the last century cannot be uncritically transferred to the actual situation, since at that time the THC content was much lower.”