As a fitness professional, it is painfully apparent that the hardest thing people have a hard time with is eating healthy. A person can want to get in the best shape of their life and they will work hard in gyms in Scottsdale and may even cut calories. The problem is, they often will not cut out the habits that are sabotaging their weight-loss efforts. Wine, soda, beer, cigarettes, cookies, diet drinks, candy, ice cream, and all the other unhealthy habits people have to hold on like a Velcro to a sweater in the dryer. Now, chances are, you read that and thought, “well, I don’t smoke, or drink beer” or “I don’t ever eat candy.” Look at those things and think about what you do, not what you don’t take in. The problem with these habits is that they are not only standing in the way of your health, but they are also a part of a cycle that is keeping you unhealthy and reinforcing your bad habits.
Hippocrates said “Everyone has a doctor in him or her; we just have t help it in its work. The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well. Our food should be our medicine. Our medicine should be our food.”
Most people realize that bad food is not doing anything good for their bodies, but do you realize what it may be doing to your brain? Nobody wants to deal with dementia in their old age and if you have firsthand experience with a family member or friend with Alzheimer’s disease, you would likely do anything to avoid that fate. The good news is, there is evidence showing that you have a lot of ways to control the risk of dementia. Some researchers have concluded that Alzheimer’s is not a disease of old age, but rather a lifelong process that begins in youth (Marano, 2016). In one study, Richard Isaacson found that as a little as six months of a healthy diet with lots of fresh vegetables and light on carbohydrates can reduce memory decline, speed up mental processing, and enhance inhibitory control and attention (Marano, 2016).
Dr. Lisa Mosconi, the founder and director of the Nutrition and Brain Fitness Lab at New York University Medical Center, found that a higher intake of vitamin B12, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, along with consuming foods high in vitamins, E, A, and C, and high in fiber positively affected glucose metabolism in the brain (Marano, 2016) In addition, people who consumed foods high in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium had lower brain volumes than people who ate healthier (Marano, 2016). Marano points out that Mosconi only found strong effects when the nutrients were consumed in food and not from supplements.
Foods that are bad for you can increase inflammation in the body and the brain. Food allergies, unique to each person, can increase inflammation in the brain which will lead to decreased blood flow. Dr. Daniel Amen, the leading expert in SPECT brain imaging displays SPECT images of healthy brains and unhealthy brains on his website. The amount of activity in specific areas of the brain decreases greatly with even moderate alcohol consumption and a high sugar diet. Nicotine makes the negative effects even stronger. Your generous pour of one glass of wine per night is likely not as good for you as you think. You can get much more antioxidants from fresh fruit and vegetables and not do any damage to your brain or body. Sugar is the first thing you need to kick in your diet. Sugar is often hidden by other names such as sorbitol, fructose, cane juice crystals, maltose, fruit juice concentrate, high-fructose corn syrup, and barley malt (Amen & Amen, 2016). Dr. Amen and his wife, Tana Amen, BSN, RN, point out that farmers feed animals corn, soy, and potatoes to make them fat very quickly (2016) If that is not enough of a reason to steer clear, know that many of the pesticides used in treating these common foods are associated with ADHD, cancer, depression, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, hypothyroidism, and liver disease (Amen & Amen, 2016).
It can be hard to kick bad foods. Consider this, binge eaters eat less food when given naltrexone, a drug that binds with the opioid receptors to prevent other molecules from binding to them. Naltrexone is what you give to someone who has overdosed on heroin or was given too much morphine (Amen & Amen, 2016). Foods like gluten and dairy products are especially addictive and people who stop taking them in can often have withdrawal symptoms (Amen & Amen, 2016).
The good news is, your brain can heal itself if you stop putting bad things in and replace them with good fruits and vegetables. You will also want to take in high-quality proteins like eggs, fish, lamb, chicken, beef, and bison. It will also benefit you to take in nuts and seeds, lentils, chickpeas, and quality grains like quinoa. Keep your grain intake on the low end, but do not cut it out. Cook with healthy oils like avocado oil, coconut oil, macadamia nut oil, and olive oil. Your brain and your body will get healthier and thank you. Eat healthy whether you want a better brain or a better body. The two will work together to support the other. Adding in exercise to your new diet will make maintaining it easier and will enhance the positive effects of good food on your brain. Think strong, be strong, and live a long healthy life. What’s stopping you?
Triglycerides are esterified fatty oils that form the core of chylomicrons and VLDL cholesterol. Elevated blood levels of triglycerides, but not cholesterol, have been associated with an impaired fibrinolytic system and is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. This risk can be decreased when you lower triglycerides naturally.
Triglycerides and cholesterol both measure the total amount of lipoproteins in the serum, which can be a rough indicator of risk for cardiovascular disease. The associated cardiovascular disease risk prediction offered by triglycerides and cholesterol by themselves is 44 %, but when coupled with Vitamin A and E, looking at the ratio of (cholesterol + triglycerides)/ (Vitamin A & E), the risk predictive power goes to 85% accuracy.
Elevated serum triglycerides have been associated with the occurrence of atherothrombotic stroke and transient ischemic attacks. It is a powerful predictor of myocardial infarction.
A diet high in saturated fats and sugar (including grains) can raise serum triglycerides.
While a normal triglyceride laboratory can be up to 200 mg/dl, the appropriate goal for anyone serious about optimum health should target their triglyceride to be no higher than 100 mg/dl. A triglyceride count of 100 or more increased the relative risk of a new cardiovascular event by 50% and reduced the chance of surviving a subsequent heart attack.
Since triglyceride elevation is almost universally related to dietary intake of sugar (including grains), high triglycerides are one of the easiest and straightforward problems to correct with proper diet alone. The decline is dramatic and in a matter of weeks if you lower triglycerides naturally.
Start with eliminating all grain products from your evening meal. This includes wheat, rye, barley, potato, bread, and rice. You may find it difficult in the beginning and experience cravings. This is quite common because your body is already addicted after years of taking in grains. By starting with just your evening meal, you can cut approximately 30% of your total grain intake while still being able to ease your body into it. Do this for at least 60 days. As your body slowly gets used to the reduced grains intake, you can then also reduce grains intake at lunch. Substitute with more above-the ground-vegetables, eggs (raw is best, and try not to cook the yolk too well), and unroasted nuts. Oils are acceptable as long as they have not been exposed to high heat. Use virgin olive oil for salads and light stir fry, butter for high heat frying, and coconut oil for deep frying (which should be kept to a minimum). As usual, no desserts after dinner, and reduce snacks before bedtime. All refined carbohydrates such as cookies, ice cream, and chips should be avoided. Follow the above, and you will be surprised how quickly the triglycerides come down. As the triglycerides normalize, the total cholesterol will reduce automatically, and the total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol ratio will automatically improve.
Lower Triglycerides Naturally During Adrenal Fatigue Recovery
The human body knows what nutrition it needs to achieve and maintain optimum health. When this nutrition is not obtained and the body is affected negatively, such as high triglycerides or blood sugar abnormalities, the body becomes stressed. The body uses the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress ResponseSM system to combat stress from poor diet, lack of exercise, mental stressors, environmental toxins and other stress in life. This constant bombardment of stressors causes the adrenal glands to work overtime. The adrenal glands are two, small endocrine glands that are located above the kidneys. During stressful situations, the adrenal glands must produce cortisol, the stress hormone, to deal with the current stressor. Cortisol is the “fight-or-flight” hormone. The body produces cortisol to increase on demand energy, mental acuity, and other survival responses. This response comes at a cost however to other body functions that are not essential for survival. The poor diet leads to nutrient deficiencies and digestive distress. The body’s immune system weakens and hormonal imbalances develop. Over time symptoms arise, fatigue, lethargy, brain fog, irritability, weight gain and inability to lose weight, allergies, and anxiousness, which signal the adrenal glands are severely overloaded. Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome is the clinical term for this state of adrenal disruption.
To treat Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome and lower triglycerides naturally, lifestyle changes are essential. Following the Adrenal Fatigue Treatment is key to obtaining optimal nutrition for your body to begin rebuilding the body and repairing the adrenal and cardiovascular system. Find new ways to manage mental stress and developing a positive outlook on life will greatly improve health and the symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue. Daily exercise is highly recommended to lower triglycerides naturally and recover from Adrenal Fatigue. For AFS sufferers, exercise should be approached with caution. Starting with short, light paced walks or light yoga is best to prevent adrenal crashes.
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The Health Benefits of Dancing: Do They Apply to Adrenal Fatigue?
Have you ever noticed the joy on people’s faces while dancing to some upbeat music? Or have you, when sad, listened to some music to suit your mood and found yourself automatically swaying to the rhythm? Music might evoke or even enhance certain emotions, but it also tends to get the feet tapping and the body swaying. In other words, it gets you dancing, right? The health benefits of dancing tend to have a positive influence on your body and psyche. But there is more to dancing that we do not even “see” with the naked eye.
Dancing may be seen as a form of escape or a means of getting into shape. Have you noticed that when you’re feeling down, putting on some music and dancing — even if only just swaying back and forth — helps you to take your mind off your troubles and get caught up in the movement? For those who are carrying around a few pounds too many, dancing not only offers you a means of toning your muscles and getting fit, it also actively helps you trim off some of those extra pounds. In effect, the health benefits of dancing benefit you both physically and psychologically.
An added bonus is that you can do it anywhere with no need to join a gym or buy expensive equipment. No tools are required. All that’s needed is a little music, and you.
The type of workout you end up getting depends entirely on you. What kind of movements do you make? What is the intensity of your dancing? Are all muscle groups getting a workout? Are you concentrating on certain moves that need more complex execution and balances a part of your routine?
Interestingly, social dancing may give you even more of a cardiovascular workout than a dance routine. This is because endurance tends to come into play, as you may dance with others (i.e. exercise) for a much longer period than you would at home. Structured dancing sees you working out in quick bursts, and is more often focused on style and specific moves and muscle groups. No matter where you dance, however, the end result is what matters.
What are the Health Benefits of Dancing?
Dancing impacts just about all aspects of our wellbeing.
Dancing and Mood
Dancing can be a means of catharsis. When you find yourself in a situation where you feel despondent, dancing seems to get rid of your ‘blues’. It gives you a means of expression that many of us do not have with words. What is more, it is something you can do privately, with only the four walls present to see you in the act. The opposite is also true when something catchy and fun plays on the radio. You might start tapping your toe, and soon find yourself dancing joyfully, letting the music dictate each movement. Afterward, you are left gasping for breath, but with a huge smile on your face. You had some fun. You do not have to be a great dancer to get these health benefits of dancing.
Dancing and Physical Health
But besides getting you out of a bad space or being a fun activity, it does wonders for your body as well. Depending on the type of dancing you engage in, and besides getting a good workout, you strengthen your core and get a cardiovascular workout. Ballet, for example, is focused on stretching the muscles and balance, with an emphasis on motor skill improvement. Social dancing, on the other hand, develops endurance.
These benefits are not only for the young, however. The health benefits of dancing are great for older adults as well.
Dancing and Cognitive Decline
Cognitive decline is a fact of life for many older people. Those in the medical field have, for decades, tried to find innovative ways to slow down this phenomenon. Research into this trend looked at adults ranging in the age of sixty and noticed no signs of decline in their memory. The group had to take part in one of three activities, i.e. stretching and balance training, taking brisk walks, or participating in dance classes. Those in the dance classes participated in country dancing three times a week.
The brain scans taken at the end of the study for each individual was compared to the one taken prior to the onset of these activities. The group that fared the best was the one partaking in the dance activities. Their brains had undergone less deterioration than those in the other two groups. Dancing, or more specifically taking part in dance classes, not only involves movement but memory and learning. This is unlike the scenario with regards to aerobic exercises or workouts involving stretching.
Dancing Provides an Escape Mechanism
Dancing for fun gives us a mental break; an escape, if you will, from our usual work activities and its related stress. A study conducted in 2014 concurs that dancing, for recreational purposes, saw participants less tense and having more energy, especially when compared to competitive dancers. In the case of the latter group, their stress levels were found to be on par with those of professional athletes.
Dancing gives off much of the same endorphins as those given off while running. These endorphins make you feel good. Dancing also gives you the opportunity to focus only on yourself, your body, and your thoughts, or to escape from them if you so wish.
Dance, in adolescent females, has a positive effect on mental health, according to a study by the American Medical Association. According to the study, girls who danced were positive and more confident after dancing, with reports of feeling better overall after partaking in structured dance classes focusing on the enjoyment of motion instead of performance and perfection.
Interestingly, the positive feeling of euphoria many people experience when endorphins are released while dancing can be compared to a “runner’s high,” when a runner pushes through the boundaries of tiredness, receiving a rush of endorphins that enables them to complete the race with energy to spare.
Dancing Improves Balance and Coordination
Older people and younger children tend to injure themselves due to balance and/or problems with coordination. In fact, it is estimated that approximately a quarter of adults over the age of 65 falls each year. There is one very simple solution to getting hurt due to a fall: fall the way a dancer does.
Dance teaches body awareness while encouraging low-impact landings. These techniques are not only great for dancers, but also for anyone playing sports, older adults, and developing motor skills in younger children.
Interestingly, athletes tend to have more injuries than dancers do. When you compare dancers to athletes, the former have fewer knee injuries due to certain exercises that result in less force generated throughout the body. These controlled movements, when taught to those partaking in high-impact sports, may result in a decline in joint injuries.
Dancing is for All Ages
There is absolutely no age limit to dancing. Anyone can take part, no matter your age. Nobody is excluded when it comes to enjoying the health benefits of dancing. This is mostly because there are no rules when it comes to dancing, with all types of dance being accessible to all. Dancing integrates the mind, body, and soul, allowing all these parts of your body and psyche to participate in an activity that not only addresses physical fitness issues but mental issues as well. Whether you can only sway around, or whether you find yourself hopping and jumping and doing the splits, it is the enjoyment that counts while your body reaps the benefits.
Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) and the Health Benefits of Dancing
Dancing may address some of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue, a condition not officially recognized by conventional medicine. Symptoms of this condition vary from one person to the next, and to a large extent depends on the stage of the condition you are in. The first stages have your adrenal glands producing high (increasing) amounts of cortisol, often referred to as the stress hormone.
When your body undergoes the stress of any type, be it physical, psychological, or environmental in nature, your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis kicks in. As part of the Neuroendometabolic (NEM) stress response, the HPA axis is responsible for taking care of all aspects of your body in order for you to survive. When a threat is perceived, the hypothalamus in the brain sends signals to the pituitary gland, signaling a threat. In response, signals are sent to the adrenal glands situated on either kidney to produce higher levels of cortisol as well as adrenaline. These two hormones are responsible for the fight or flight response. Once the threat has passed, the hypothalamus signals to the pituitary gland that in turn instructs the adrenals to stop with the increased cortisol production. These instructions passing from one member of the HPA axis to the other are sent by means of chemical messengers (i.e. neurotransmitters).
Persistent stress and the accompanying high cortisol production, however, can have devastating effects on the body, resulting in adrenal burnout (when the adrenals are no longer able to produce the needed cortisol resulting in very low cortisol levels) and even death. Amongst these are included:
A tendency to gain/lose weight
High incidences of flu and respiratory disease
A lowered libido
Lack of energy/constantly feeling tired
Increased PMS problems
Upper back and neck pain without a clear reason
Please note that each of these symptoms of themselves may not indicate adrenal fatigue, but if you have a few of them, it may be indicative of the condition.
The Dance Connection
Regular exercise, including dancing, releases endorphins in the brain that, when reacting with certain receptors in the brain, reduce your perception of pain. These endorphins also “make you feel good”, and are responsible for what is commonly called the “runner’s high”, where a runner pushed past a certain threshold of tiredness and pain and gets what is known as his “second wind”.
But endorphins do not only act as analgesics (i.e. diminishing pain perception). They also act as sedatives (i.e. suppress pain). Manufactured in the brain and other parts of the body, endorphins are released in the brain in response to chemical messengers, i.e. neurotransmitters. Take note that neurotransmitters are responsible for the work done by the HPS axis in response to stress.
So what is the connection between cortisol and endorphins?
It is very simple. Endorphins make you feel good, telling your brain (and thus your body) that everything is fine. This allows the adrenals to lower their cortisol production as the threat has gone. Dancing, as well as other forms of exercise such a yoga, for example, instigate the release of the endorphins. The result may have a benefit on all aspects of adrenal fatigue and its recovery.
The Benefits of Endorphins
Endorphins allow for a decrease in cortisol production. This implies a positive impact on ‘normal’ hormone production, as high-stress periods see a decline in the production of certain hormones, including progesterone and testosterone, amongst others. A lowered cortisol production also has a positive impact on your immune system and gut health, ensuring good gut bacteria flourishes and negating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Furthermore, weight gain is one of the symptoms of a hormonal imbalance. The health benefits of dancing thus not only serve to burn fat, it helps to stabilize hormones as well.
Primary adrenal gland insufficiency is another name for Addison’s disease, a well-established medical condition that affects about four in 100,000 people, with the most famous case being John F. Kennedy. The disease is named after Thomas Addison, the 19th Century English physician who first discovered adrenal gland insufficiency.
There are actually two types of adrenal gland insufficiency: primary, or Addison’s disease, and secondary. They are disorders of the endocrine or hormonal systems, where the adrenals do not produce enough of certain hormones.
Primary adrenal gland insufficiency occurs when the adrenal glands are damaged and their cortisol output is decreased significantly. Aldosterone, another hormone produced by the adrenals, can also be insufficient.
Secondary adrenal gland insufficiency happens when the pituitary gland doesn’t produce enough adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) – a hormone that is charged with stimulating the adrenals to produce cortisol. So when ACTH is low, cortisol output is also low. After some time, the adrenal glands begin to shrink due to decreased ACTH stimulation. This condition is more common than Addison’s disease.
What is Adrenal Gland Insufficiency? The Full Picture…
Adrenal hormones are crucial for health – they need to be produced and secreted in the right amount to keep the body functioning properly. Imbalances and deficiencies in them can cause a multitude of symptoms and problems.
Let’s take a look at each hormone:
Cortisol, the body’s most important anti-stress hormone, is secreted by the adrenal glands in response to stress signals, whether mental, emotional, or physical. It also maintains blood pressure, keeps up heart and blood vessel functions, regulates metabolism, suppresses the immune system and reduces inflammation caused by immune system reaction.
The hypothalamus and the pituitary gland are what control how much cortisol the adrenals secrete. Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) is released by the hypothalamus, signaling the pituitary gland to release ACTH, which then stimulates the adrenal glands to produce cortisol. Cortisol, in turn, signals back to the hypothalamus and pituitary gland that they can now decrease their output of stimulant hormones.
Next is aldosterone, which is also produced by the adrenal glands. It helps balance sodium and potassium in the blood and helps maintain blood pressure too. When it is insufficient, there is a decrease in sodium and an increase in potassium.
The low sodium decreases blood fluid volume and triggers a drop in blood pressure. The high potassium can lead to irregular heartbeats, weak pulse, and nausea.
And finally, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) production by the adrenals can also be affected. DHEA is used by the body to make the male sex hormone, androgen, and the female sex hormone, estrogen.
Symptoms of insufficiency of the adrenal glands can include:
Loss of appetite
Low blood pressure
Irregular or absent periods
Craving salty foods
Dizziness or fainting upon standing
Hyperpigmentation (Addison’s disease only)
As you can see, there are some shared symptoms of adrenal gland insufficiency and adrenal fatigue, and it is very important to differentiate between the two in order to seek the right medical approach.
The Difference Between Adrenal Gland Insufficiency and Adrenal Fatigue
Firstly, the causes of adrenal insufficiency and adrenal fatigue are quite different. While adrenal fatigue does reflect the adrenal glands’ involvement in fatigue generation, it is really a non-pathological state. In other words, it’s a subclinical state. If you were to look at the adrenal glands under a microscope, there is no significant cellular pathology that is out of the ordinary.
Addison’s is often caused by an autoimmune dysfunction when the immune system attacks and destroys the adrenal cortex. Less often, it is caused by an infection, such as tuberculosis, cytomegalovirus and certain types of bacterial and fungal infections.
There are other, even less common, causes of Addison’s, such as cancer, certain medications, genetic defects and injury to the adrenal glands.
With secondary adrenal gland insufficiency, the causes can include anything that affects the pituitary gland or hypothalami such as tumors, surgery, and radiation.
Adrenal fatigue syndrome (AFS), on the other hand, is caused by stress and other factors, such as the deregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, immune system problems, metabolic-nutritional issues and nervous system problems. With AFS, there is a NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) imbalance. The HPA axis, that is responsible for dealing with stress in the body, runs from the hypothalamus to the pituitary gland and to the adrenal glands. The HPA axis is under a lot of pressure from chronic mental, emotional, or physical stress. This puts a heavy burden on the adrenal glands, whose cortisol output is now compromised. At some point, the effect of prolonged stress can spill over onto all the circuits in the NEM stress response, which is the body’s global response to stress, including the cardiotonic, detoxification, inflammatory, hormonal, neuroaffective and metabolic.
The degree to which the adrenal glands are taxed may not be the same as that which is experienced in Addison’s disease, and it is not detected by current lab testing in any way. So, what usually happens is that the patient will get tested for insufficiency of the adrenal glands using the ACTH, the results come back as ‘normal’, yet there is the constant fatigue being experienced. The next step is to have the thyroid tested, and if that comes back normal or borderline, the patient is at a loss again as to what is zapping their energy and affecting their health.
Though you never want to jump to conclusions, in such a case, it is safe to say that the likely culprit is AFS. But, because conventional approaches do not yet recognize adrenal fatigue, and for good reason since the pathology of the adrenals shows up as normal, no diagnosis is made and the patient is left to struggle with their fatigue on their own.
This is similar to the way diabetes was looked at in the past. The conventional approach, up until recently, saw either diabetes or non-diabetes, without acknowledging that, there is a subclinical or borderline diabetic state. So, it is the case with adrenal fatigue at the moment. If you really study adrenal fatigue, you will see that it is usually accompanied by other components from the NEM that are well beyond the adrenal glands. That is another good way to clue in on what is really going on.
Treating Adrenal Insufficiency vs. Adrenal Fatigue
As mentioned, the reason it is so important to determine which condition is at hand is that the adrenal fatiguetreatment modalities are quite different. With insufficiency of the adrenal glands, the deficient hormones need to be replaced, usually for life. Cortisol is replaced with a corticosteroid daily oral medication, and aldosterone is replaced with a mineralocorticoid oral medication. Those diagnosed with Addison’s are usually put on such steroids for life.
If the sufferer experiences an adrenal crisis where blood pressure, blood glucose, blood sodium drop, and potassium is high, an IV saline solution with dextrose can bring relief. As for AFS, recovery is best when it is through a holistic mind-body approach, with adjustments to nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle, as well the addition of appropriate supplementation. Of course, if other conditions exist concomitantly, they will need to be addressed as well.
The AFS protocol, in short, is as follows:
Remove stressors – whatever is going on in your life that is causing you stress, such as work, money or relationship problems, needs to be dealt with.
Get good sleep – Go to bed at 10 pm and do whatever is necessary to make sure your sleep is undisturbed, such as avoiding caffeine and turning off your TV and computer by 8 p.m. at the latest.
Exercise – the type of exercise will depend on the stage of AFS. If your adrenal fatigue is advanced, gentle adrenal breathing exercise will be a good start, and then you can move onto restorative exercise, then onto adrenal yoga.
Add nutritional supplements – different types of vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements can give you a boost. But, it is really important to get the right kind of guidance on this as some supplements, or too many supplements will adversely affect your condition.
Follow the right AFS diet – this diet is usually low in the glycemic index, with good fats and proteins, and carbohydrates from specific sources. Wheat and processed grains are not recommended, and avoiding starchy foods and trans-fat is also advised. You should regularly, have a snack before bed to maintain blood sugar levels during sleep. Salt is also a factor with adrenal fatigue and should be adjusted according to the stage of your condition. Dietary coaching is highly valuable for adrenal fatigue recovery, as there are many variables to take into account.
Steroids – natural hydrocortisone, or cortisone acetate, in 2.5 to 5 mg doses two to four times daily can help replenish adrenals for a short time with medical supervision.
Some other things to consider: be careful, especially if your condition is advanced, with making drastic changes or trying different things. There are many factors that can play a part, and some seemingly harmless, or even healthy, choices in other circumstances could negatively impact your recovery go right here.
For example, fruits that contain a lot of potassium should not be consumed. In fact, fruits in general, which are considered very healthy foods by other standards, should be limited to 10% of your diet at most. Getting advice from health professionals, not well versed in AFS, will delay progress as they may give you the wrong supplements or nutritional advice. Even more importantly, avoid the shotgun approach, where you take many nutrients and supplements at the same time hoping that they will boost your strength and energy. This usually backfires.
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Secrets of Guarana Seed Extract: Antioxidants and Caffeine
Guarana seed extract is loaded with ten times more antioxidant catechins than green tea. Though antioxidant catechins are found in several foods, they are found in higher concentration inside the seeds of guarana fruit. Over the years, several studies have documented the health benefits of guarana. Clinical studies have demonstrated that guarana seeds are rich in catechins that reduce oxidative stress, reducing the risk of cancer, diabetes, premature aging, and inflammation of the other harmful health conditions. Regular consumption of guarana can also aid weight loss and reduce obesity. However, guarana is very high in caffeine, and this can have dangerous side effects for those who experience chronic stress.
The History of Guarana
The guarana plant is native to the Amazon region in South America and is also found in Brazil. The guarana vine originated in the Amazon basin. Local people of this region have long been taking advantage of the stimulating properties of guarana. The climbing tropical shrub bears flowers and guarana fruit. Guarana, when opened, contains white-fleshed fruit with a bean-size black seed in the center.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recognize guarana as a safe supplement. Guarana seeds contain twice the caffeine content of coffee. Hence they have been used as a stimulant.
During the 17th century, Jesuit missionaries noted the powerful energy-enhancing effect of guarana seeds. They wrote that members of an Amazon tribe that consumed guarana seeds appeared to have more energy and could go on hunting for two days without feeling hungry. These historical tribesmen processed guarana seeds by drying, roasting, and grinding them. The ground guarana was then formed into an edible paste by mixing with water.
In Brazil, soft drinks and teas with guarana seeds have been popular since 1909. Recently, guarana energy drinks have gained popularity in the U.S market as well. The seeds are very high in caffeine and are also used as supplements.
Besides being a powerhouse of catechins, guarana contains theophylline and theobromine in tiny amounts. Guarana is also known to contain tannin molecules that cause the caffeine to release more slowly, and it does not easily dissolve in water. This is believed to be behind the long-term effect of this fruit.
The Surprising Antioxidative Effect Of Guarana
Recently, researchers found that guarana seed extract has ten times more antioxidant catechins than green tea. The U.K. study found that guarana has positive effects on oxidative stress, plasma catechins, and erythrocyte enzyme activity in red blood cells. Guarana extract reduced DNA cell damage and oxidative cell damage in the lymphatic system. The study further showed that guarana provides a long-term antioxidant effect.
The Royal Society of Chemistry, United Kingdom, conducted the month-long study in two stages. The study involved 12 slightly overweight but healthy adults with moderate risk for cardiovascular illness. During the first stage of the study, the participants’ parameters were measured on the first day, they were given a controlled diet, and then the same parameters were evaluated after 15 days. This created a control baseline.
During the second stage of the study, volunteers were asked to take 3g of guarana powder mixed with 300 ml water for 15 days, every morning before breakfast. Each day, researchers measured the effect of guarana before and after ingesting it. Participants also fasted overnight, allowing the prolonged effect of guarana to be measured.
Researchers assessed how guarana affected oxidative stress markers such as the oxidation of DNA and (LDL) low-density lipoprotein, as well as the absorption of catechins and metabolites.
LDL carries cholesterol to the cells for manufacturing testosterone and estrogen. However, the oxidation of LDL leads to atherosclerosis, increasing the risk of developing a cardiovascular illness. Consuming guarana increased the oxidation resistance level of LDL. Researchers also performed single-cell gel electrophoresis (SCGE) to analyze DNA damage during oxidative stress. The blood samples of participants taken an hour after drinking guarana showed less lymphocyte DNA damage. These markers depended on catechins in the bloodstream. Guarana intake increased the level of plasma catechins, indicating guarana was responsible for the effect.
Moreover, the research also showed that guarana catechins help to strengthen antioxidant enzymes in cells, especially catalase, peroxidase, and superoxide dismutase. These enzymes play a vital role in protecting cells from oxidative damage.
At the end of the study, researchers concluded that guarana catechins:
enhance plasma antioxidant activity
minimize plasma lipid oxidation
protect erythrocyte DNA
increase antioxidant enzyme activity
Guarana consumption also had a long-term antioxidizing effect, even after the plasma catechins left the blood.
Guarana Seed Extract and Stress
These effects of guarana seed extract can be beneficial for many health conditions. However, guarana also contains high levels of caffeine, which can have a negative effect in some cases.
If you are considering using guarana as a supplement, it is very important to consider both sides of the issue and how it can affect you individually. An essential aspect to take into consideration is any other conditions you may have, especially common and frequently overlooked conditions like adrenal fatigue.
Stress is the origin of a variety of illnesses, and many people struggle with exhaustion in everyday life. If you often experience high stress, along with symptoms of low energy, brain fog, feeling drowsy, difficulty waking up, insomnia, reduced concentration, irritability, body aches, stubborn weight gain, or craving salty food, then you may have Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS). This common condition occurs when the body can no longer keep up with the demands of stress.
Since stress leads to many health issues, it is important to deal with it. The self-regulatory system the body uses to protect against excess stress is known as the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response. The NEM involves many body systems working together to cope with stress.
Taking guarana seed extract along with other natural supplements can be a way to help cope with AFS. However, while guarana can be helpful for those with mild AFS, it’s high caffeine content can be dangerous for those in later stages of AFS, so it’s best to check with your health professional before taking this supplement.
How Guarana Can Help AFS
Prolonged energy. Caffeine stimulates and energizes the nervous system. Guarana seed extract contains twice as much caffeine as coffee. This can help many people with mild, early AFS who experience intermittent fatigue throughout the day. Unlike coffee, guarana releases caffeine slowly into the body, producing prolonged energy. Guarana directly stimulates the central nervous system, so taking small doses of it can help provide relief from fatigue. However, proper supervision is critical, as indiscriminate use of this compound can lead to many side effects and negative consequences. This is also only appropriate for those in early stages of AFS.
Increased weight loss. AFS can lead to gaining stubborn fat around the middle. Guarana aids effective weight loss by suppressing hunger. Guarana seed extract also stimulates the process of lipolysis, in which fat is released into the bloodstream to produce energy which is needed during exercise. However, this compound is only a good idea for weight loss if you have mild AFS and are properly supervised by a doctor.
Less oxidative damage. Oxidative stress can be caused by increased stress, exposure to toxins, or poor diet. Apart from this, free radicals are also formed when certain molecules travel freely in your body. When the level of free radicals exceeds the level of antioxidants, it leads to oxidative damage. This damage paves a path for various health problems including inflammation, dementia, cancer, and arthritis. Guarana seeds are rich in the important antioxidants epicatechin and catechin to help fight free radicals and reduce oxidative damage.
Promotes anti-aging. To handle stress, the adrenal glands of your body secrete the anti-stress hormone, cortisol. With AFS, the adrenal glands are overburdened and slow down hormone secretions. This reduces your body’s ability to fight against stress. At this point, the body’s nutritional reserves start to drop. To keep up with the need for energy, your body starts to break down its own compounds, which accelerates the aging process. Antioxidants help to repair and restore cell damage, thus reducing the onset of early aging. Guarana is extremely rich in antioxidants. Having a healthy lifestyle, eating a nutrient-rich diet, and taking a mind-body approach also contribute to preventing premature aging. However, guarana is only appropriate for early-stage AFS Original Source.
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Jane’s Story – A Woman’s Struggle with Estrogen Dominance Symptoms
Are you one of the many women who wonder about estrogen dominance symptoms? If so, please read this article. We take many aspects of our health for granted, trusting our bodies to balance and regulate the functions necessary for living. Many people make token efforts to improve their health by engaging in some physical activity and watching their calories. To really take health into your own hands, however, you need to understand how the routine choices we make every day contribute to the picture of our health ten, twenty and even fifty years down the road. To start, let’s explore how estrogen dominance symptoms in a woman named Jane begin to develop from hormonal imbalances long before they ever give any outward sign: https://www.drlam.com/blog/progesterone-cream-and-adrenal-fatigue/961/.
Her Childhood Years
Little Jane stood by her mother’s grave sobbing uncontrollably. Her mother had just passed away due to the dreadful breast cancer. As she placed some flowers on her grave, Jane could not understand fully why her mother had been taken away from her. After all, at the tender age of 10 years old, Jane could not fully comprehend the meaning of cancer and death or how estrogen dominance symptoms may end up impacting her life.
Jane relied on the rest of her family to bring her up. After her mother passed away, she managed to lead a normal and healthy childhood. At the age of 13, Jane entered puberty and had her first menstruation. Her body changed physically and she became more conscious of her appearance. By the time she reached eighteen years of age, she had a nice and fully developed body. She was very attractive and had many boyfriends.
Her Teenage Years
Jane took birth control pills during the last two years of her high school. After she entered college, she took less of it as she became sexually less active. Due to her increased workload in college, Jane did not devote much time to exercise although she did go to the college gym for a simple work out with her girlfriends at least once a month. During her college years, her appetite was good and she began to put on a little weight as she craved for sweet desserts like chocolate, donuts and ice cream. She is not obese by any means.
Maturing Into Adulthood
Upon graduation, Jane found a job as an advertising executive in a large corporation in the city. To save traveling time, she moved from the suburb where she was living in the city. She bought a charming house that was quite near her workplace. Unfortunately, this house was rather old and needed to be periodically uninfested of termites.
A few years later, at the age of 25, she met her husband and was married. She was a good wife and kept her home tidy and neat. They maintain a garden, and to keep the flowers free of insects and pests, pesticides have to be used regularly.
Jane became a workaholic. She worked an average of 12 hours a day. Her bosses recognized her talents and efforts and promoted her to middle management a few years later. Jane was ecstatic and felt a sense of achievement. She was only in her thirties and she already had a staff of 20 people under her. Her personal office had a panoramic view of the city. View More Reading Article
Experts continue to discover more about eggplant benefits, but this amazing fruit has been a part of traditional diets all over the world for thousands of years. Many people think of an eggplant as a glossy, dark purple vegetable, shaped like a large teardrop. However, eggplants, also known as aubergines, come in many varieties. The Toga variety is yellow-orange in color with green strips, while others are small, white, and egg-shaped.
Eggplant Nutrition Facts
The surprising eggplant benefits are mainly derived from their nutrition, vitamins, and mineral content. One cup (82 grams) of raw eggplant provides, based on USDA:
Calories 20 kcal
Fiber 2.5 grams
Calcium 7 mg
Magnesium 11 mg
Phosphorus 20 mg
Potassium 188 mg
Iron 0.19 mg
Vitamin C 1.8 mg
Folate 18 µg
Vitamin A 19 µg
Vitamin E 0.25 mg
Vitamin K 2.9 µg
10 Top Surprising Eggplant Benefits
1. Loaded with Unique Antioxidants
Eggplant isn’t the highest in the nutrition department like some superfoods, but it is unique. There’s a type of antioxidant present in eggplants that is somewhat rare, called nasunin. Nasunin is a kind of anthocyanin present in all types of eggplant varieties, as well as other deep hued vegetables and fruits.
Nasunin is among the key contributors to the eggplant benefits. Like other antioxidants, nasunin has the ability to counter free radical damage which is a main cause of disease development. The power of antioxidants powerfully reduces oxidative stress, which is a factor that can aggravate and worsen the symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome ( https://www.drlam.com/articles/adrenal_fatigue.asp ).
Adrenal fatigue happens when the adrenal glands don’t get the right amount of support necessary to function properly. That is why antioxidants such as nasunin are vital for the healthy functioning of the body.
Most of the nasunin in eggplant is present in the purple skin, so it is best to eat the whole vegetable, including the peelings, to reap the maximum eggplant benefits. Based on studies, nasunin has potent anti-inflammatory action as well as the ability to fight oxidative stress, serving as an O2 scavenger. It is also an iron chelator, which mean it helps iron become more absorbable. Further, it also binds molecules to harmful metal agents such as arsenic, mercury and lead, which are then excreted from the body.
Nasunin has been found to protect cell membranes and DNA from damage due to its positive effect on the cell walls. An animal study has found that nasunin was able to protect the fat layer of the cell membrane, keeping the structure intact to prevent cell death or DNA mutation.
2. Helps Protect Against Cancer
It is believed that there are 13 types of phenolic acids with protective properties at significant levels in eggplant. Different varieties of eggplants have varying phytonutrient and antioxidant levels, but they all share the same ability to fight cancer.
Aside from nasunin, eggplants also contain chlorogenic acid. This phenolic acid is found in the plant’s cell walls and is known to be highly effective in preventing free radicals from becoming cancerous cells, which may lead to tumour growth. Apart from its anti-tumor effects, chlorogenic acid is thought to have anti-cholesterol, anti-microbial, and antiviral properties, which means it can protect the body from different forms of inflammation.
Dynamic Duo: Antioxidants for Cancer
Potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplants, which are all nightshades, were found to have antiproliferative mechanisms against liver cancer and human colon cells. Yet another study found that eggplant extract had an inhibitory effect against human fibrosarcoma cell invasion. A natural compound called delphinidin present in eggplant extract was found to be responsible for this inhibiting activity.
3. Helps Lower Cholesterol
Aside from being an effective free radical scavenger, nasunin is also believed to provide protection from lipid peroxidation, a mechanism that has been associated with atherosclerosis and other diseases. An animal study found that subjects given eggplant juice significantly reduced their LDL (low density lipoprotein) levels. This finding suggests that eggplant benefits are due to its anti-cholesterol effect, not only from nasunin, but from other phytonutrients such as terpenes as well.
4. A Potent Mood Booster
Eggplant contains chlorogenic acid. One study revealed that this unique phenolic acid is linked with improved mood and cognitive processes.
5. Helps Improve Digestive Health
Eggplant has a high water content, exceeding 90 percent, which is why it is very low in calories. Eating vegetables with high water content, nutrients, and fiber helps remove toxins and waste from your gut. Your digestive tract must be well hydrated to eliminate properly through the intestines.
Consuming lots of fresh plant foods, in addition to drinking adequate water, is important to allow the digestive system to flush out waste. Due to these well known nutritional eggplant benefits, it is included in the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) diet, a special diet beneficial for correcting digestive issues, reducing inflammation, managing neurological issues, and aiding autoimmune conditions.
6. Contains a High Amount of Manganese
One cup of eggplant offers about 5 percent of your daily needs of manganese, an essential mineral that naturally occurs in the body in trace amounts. Manganese serves as an antioxidant, fighting free radicals to prevent them from causing oxidative stress and bodily harm. It is an important mineral for healthy bone formation because of its role in bone mineralization. It is necessary to properly metabolize and utilize calcium and creates important enzymes to form stronger bones.
In addition, manganese helps the body’s metabolic activity, connective tissue formation, and the regulation of hormones, which are vital for reproductive health. It is also crucial in fighting depression, regulating optimal thyroid gland function, and helps control blood sugar.
7. Helps Prevent Anemia
Being deficient in iron can pose serious harm to your health. Deficiency in iron may lead to anemia. Symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia include fatigue, headaches and migraine, weakness, cognitive malfunction, and depression. Hence, eating foods rich in iron can help combat anemia.
Eggplant is a meaty fruit that contains a decent amount of iron. It is also rich in copper, a crucial component of red blood cells. Without iron and copper, your hemoglobin count might decrease because they are constantly being used up.
8. Beneficial for the Heart
There are several mechanisms through which eggplant benefits your heart. As mentioned, eggplant contains phytonutrients known to reduce LDL (bad cholesterol) in the body, while stimulating the uptake of high-density lipoprotein (good cholesterol). While the balance of good and bad cholesterol is constantly fluctuating based on your diet, having more HDL is better. Lowering bad cholesterol can prevent heart attacks, atherosclerosis, and even strokes. In addition, the flavonoids in eggplant may reduce blood pressure, reducing the stress and strain on the heart.
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9. Aids Weight Loss
Due to the water and fiber content that eggplant has, it can be used as an effective food to achieve weight loss. Eggplant offers a wide array of essential vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients yet is low in calories, making it an excellent addition to a low-calorie diet. Its fiber content can also help you feel full quickly, so you’re less likely to overindulge. Eggplant also contains zero fat and cholesterol, another reason why it’s a very healthy food for those trying to maintain a healthy weight.
10. Effective for Detoxification
A lab study has found that eggplant activated certain enzymes that can help detoxify and remove drugs and other toxic chemical substances from the body. Nasunin is not only potent against free radicals, but it also acts as a natural chelator. Chelators are important for neutralizing and transporting heavy metals, the top source of dangerous free radicals, out of your body.
The liver is an important organ in the NEM Stress Response. Toxin overload can burden the liver, which aggravates AFS. This chelating action of eggplant makes it an excellent food for assisting the liver in detoxifying the body.
While iron is an essential nutrient necessary for proper immune function, collagen synthesis, and transport of oxygen, too much iron (iron overload) is unhealthy. It may lead to increase in free radicals and is associated with risk of heart disease and cancer. Thus, it is important to keep this mineral in balance in your body.
A Word of Caution
As part of the nightshade family, eggplants are known to cause allergic reactions, although not as often as bell pepper or tomatoes. Like with any other dietary change, it is a good idea to discuss your plans with your doctor before consuming large quantities of eggplant and watch out for any adverse reactions.
How to Choose and Prepare Eggplant
Choose an eggplant that is not too large. Smaller eggplants contain fewer seeds, which are also edible and are less bitter. It should be firm, with a length similar to a cucumber and the circumference of a large pear.
The nutritional facts listed above are for raw eggplant. However, eggplant can be a bit bland when eaten raw. It is often served baked instead of raw or boiled. Some cultures boil it, but it will make the meat inside slightly mushy. Many people fry them. Though this is truly a delicious way of cooking, frying eggplant absorbs a huge amount of oil/fat, which may have other negative health effects. Of course, culinary creativity can reveal the best of this vegetable. ( Original Source )
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Progesterone Cream for Menopause – Does it Work, and is it Safe?
Many women that are about to reach the age of menopause have heard about progesterone cream, and have heard about the good things it can do. In some cases the effect sound almost miraculous, so you may be wondering what it is all about – what is it, what does it do, and does it really work? And last but not least, is it safe? Here are the answers you are looking for.
What is Progesterone?
Progesterone is a hormone produced by your body, and it plays an important part when it comes to for example pregnancy. Furthermore, it supports your adrenal glands, thyroid, and healthy blood sugar.
Why do You Need it?
In the years before your menopause starts, the progesterone levels in your body will drop. So will your estrogen levels, but they will not drop as fast as the progesterone levels. The result of this is a hormonal imbalance in your body, and this can cause unpleasant symptoms like mood swings, anxiety, sore breast, bloating, irritability and headaches, and a number of other symptoms, but it can also cause more serious conditions like breast cancer in women (and prostate cancer in men).
Does it Work?
Studies done at Dr.Lam Coaching in Loma Linda showed that about 83% of the test subjects experienced a reduction or total elimination of hot flashes when using bioidentical cream. Furthermore, other clinical studies have shown weight loss, a significant reduction in uterine fibroids and a reversal of premenstrual dysphoric disorder and endometriosis – not only to be greatly improved but actually reversed when using bioidentical progesterone.
What Kind of Progesterone Cream Should I Use?
The cream you need to use to reduce or eliminate the symptoms described here is a bioidentical progesterone cream. It is not any cream you can buy in any local drug store, and it is not just any wild jam cream – you must make sure it is bioidentical. To be sure of this look at the label – it will say “USP”. A recommended bioidentical progesterone cream that is labeled USP, is Natpro. Bioidentical means that is has the same molecular structure as the progesterone your body produces itself. Creams that are not natural and instead are a substitute will not work the same way, and it can have side effects and be dangerous.
Is it Safe?
There is no evidence that USP natural progesterone is unsafe, and many doctors will tell you that it is completely and totally safe. Others will tell you it is safe, but that you should be careful to follow the directions given to you.
Do you feel tired all the time even if you get enough sleep at night? Do you crave salty foods? Maybe, you’ve been to many doctors and they could not find out what is wrong with you. Adrenal fatigue is a stress-related condition that affects the organ and system in your body. You may experience tiredness and exhaustion because of Adrenal Fatigue syndrome. Prolonged stress can cause chronic illness in your body.
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
It leads to lower levels of hormones and can cause havoc in your body. The activity of adrenal glands gets diminished and people suffering from it may have difficulty in getting out of bed compared to a normal person. Under-functioning of adrenal glands affects the heart and cardiovascular system, fat and carbohydrate metabolism, and even the sex drive.
Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
Difficulty in getting up in morning
People suffering from adrenal fatigue syndrome may experience difficulty in getting up in the morning. The patients would wake up tired and foggy, even if they get a long sleep. This happens because they remain alert during the evening and night due to high levels of cortisol. Their blood sugar levels drop down during the morning as cortisol regulates the blood sugar levels in the body. Your body realizes the hunger at night and forces you to wake up till late night. Most of the Adrenal Fatigue sufferers are late night snackers as they feel hungry during night.
High levels of Fatigue during the day
Adrenal Fatigue sufferers would experience low levels of energy during the day. Such people may need more and more coffee throughout the day as they feel tired in the day time. In the later stages of adrenal fatigue, your adrenals get depleted and do not produce enough hormones that are needed by the body. Patients would find it difficult to “lift” themselves as the energy levels would be low. Such people may also experience a bounce in energy in the late evenings.
Inability to handle stress
Do you find a small amount of stress leaving you worried and overwhelmed? Adrenal Fatigue sufferers would have a difficult time dealing with emotional and physical stress. They have low hormone levels and they feel all the more exhausted when any kind of stress triggers in their life. They would experience lack of enthusiasm, irritability, and anxiety when they struggle with stress.
How to treat Adrenal Fatigue?
Simple lifestyle and diet changes can have a great impact on your health. Blood sugar levels play a major role in maintaining the optimum energy levels. Eat right at the right time to prevent exhaustion. Include healthy food items in your diet to recover from adrenal fatigue. Mindfulness-based exercises like meditation and yoga help to relieve stress and anxiety. One should look for stress-management programs to lower the stress levels in the body and mind. Addressing sleep problems can help to recover from adrenal fatigue. Eat a small, healthy snack before hitting the bed.
Adrenal Fatigue is a common problem these days. Sufferers experience higher levels of stress in the body and mind, and so, they should look for holistic approach to treat stress and fatigue. There are several ways to get some relief from Adrenal Fatigue. Keep trying new ways and say goodbye to fatigue.
Dr. Lam has helped many people recover from adrenal fatigue. With decades of experience in clinical research, he is capable of helping people get rid of chronic mental and physical stress.