Anxiety

  • By Healthy Living Liberty Lake
  • 09 Aug, 2016
Have you ever felt the symptoms of anxiety? A feeling of anxiousness, perhaps for no particular reason. Racing heart, feeling frazzled, waking at night startled, panic attack, explosive diarrhea without warning, jittery, sweaty palms, feeling faint, nauseous, mind races at night and won't allow sleep, clenching of the teeth? If so, you know how devastating these symptoms can be and how negatively they can impact your life.

There are a number of treatments for anxiety, most involving pharmaceutical drugs that may or may not work and may or may not be addictive in nature. It is important to treat anxiety, not just to diminish symptoms and improve quality of life, but to improve longevity.

A recent study, conducted by researchers from the University of Southern California, has discovered that "frantic and frazzled people" have a 48 percent higher risk for dementia, compared to those who do not frequently experience feelings of anxiety. USC-led researchers studied 28 years of data from Swedish Adoption Twin Study of Aging, overseen by the Karolinska Institute of Sweden. The research included 1082 participants who were either fraternal or identical twins. Participants answered several questionnaires, completed in-person tests every three years, and were screened for dementia throughout the process. Numerous others studies have explored the link between dementia and psychological variables, such as depression and neuroticism. However, this study established that the anxiety-dementia link was independent of the role of depression as a risk factor.

The twin who developed dementia had a history of higher levels of anxiety, compared to the twin who did not develop dementia. To determine whether anxiety levels correlated to demential risk, researchers compared those who reported high anxiety with those who reported lower anxiety levels. “Those in the high anxiety group were about 1.5 times more likely to develop dementia,”. According to the study, people who have high levels of anxiety tend to have higher levels of stress hormones, including cortisol. There’s outward signs that chronically high levels of cortisol damage parts of the brain such as the hippocampus, which stores memory, and the frontal cortex, which is liable for high-level thinking.
Natural methods to treat anxiety are many, including yoga, aerobic exercise with its production of endorphins, and supplements including lavender, L-theanine, 5-HTP, Magnesium, omega-3's, chamomile tea, ginger and valerian root, to name a few.  

But the newest treatment for anxiety, which is drug-free and long lasting, is neurofeedback. Neurofeedback is a type of bio-feedback, which normalizes brain wave patterns that are provoking the anxiety. We do it here in the office, and start out measuring the brain waves, utilizing a qEEG, or brain mapping procedure. Then, based on the results, we can set up neurofeedback to directly change the abnormal brain waves to normal. It takes on average of 20 sessions, done twice a week, and also helps with depression and insomnia.  

Symptoms such as depression, chronic fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, PTSD, and memory impairment are frequently a result of an abnormality of the EEG or brain waves. This can now be easily measured and a treatment plan devised based on results.
If you are suffering from chronic anxiety, do NOT let this continue to drain the joy from your life. There are great treatments available to give you your life back again.
By Healthy Living Liberty Lake 18 Jul, 2017
We've all heard the advice to drink more water. 8 glasses a day, to be precise. Whether you're thirsty or not, it's good for you. I've always doubted this advice since it had no sound reasoning behind it, other than "detoxification". But now, a new study done by the University of Melbourne casts doubt on this advise.

Many who advocate drinking eight glasses or more of water daily are not aware of the potentially fatal side effect of water intoxication.  We are fortunate in that we have a mechanism to regulate fluid intake to keep us from over-drinking. The study showed for the first time that the brain activates a "swallowing inhibition" when excess liquid is consumed.
Participants in the study had to rate the amount of effort that was required to swallow water following exercise when they were thirsty, and then later when they were persuaded to drink an excessive amount of water. There was a 3-fold increase in the swallowing effort after over-drinking, which validated that the swallowing reflex is inhibited when enough water has been consumed.

MRI was used to record the activity in different areas of the brain involved with swallowing. The prefrontal areas made more active when the participants attempted to swallow with a great effort, meaning that the frontal cortex steps in to override the swallowing inhibition, in order to avoid water intoxication.  

Intoxication occurs when levels of sodium in the blood become abnormally low, which can cause symptoms of lethargy, confusion, nausea, convulsions and coma. In my 25 years of practice, I've had 2 patients die from excessively drinking water, causing sodium to be very low, which caused brain swelling. There have even been incidences where athletes in marathons were advised to fill up with water and then died, because they followed those incorrect recommendations and drank far in access of their actual need.

The researchers advocated doing what our bodies demand, stating that we should just drink according to our thirst, not a deliberate schedule.  We should trust in our "swallowing inhibition" that the brain activates if excess liquid is consumed.  The  brain helps maintain tightly calibrated volumes of water in our bodies. Do drink when you're thirsty. And remember on hot summer days, like we have now, you'll need to drink more to stay hydrated. Even more so with exercise.  

But don't drink water just b/c someone told you should drink at least 8 glasses a day .   Drink when you're thirsty, and you'll be fine.
By Healthy Living Liberty Lake 07 Jul, 2017
Everyone's ideas of happiness is different, but there is one thing we all have in common.  Serotonin- the critical neurotransmitter needed to boost mood.  People with low serotonin levels are often depressed, pessimistic, and generally not pleasant to be around.  Serotonin is called the "happy hormone", but also has other health benefits which make us healthy at the same time.

10 Ways to Naturally Boost Your Serotonin Levels:

1. Eat animal protein.  An amino acid called tryptophan helps produce serotonin, and animal protein is the best source. Tryptophan is especially high in chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, beef and dairy. Whey and egg protein are scientifically proven to increase this amino acid in the brain.
2. Sunshine - natural light has a positive effect on mood, and triggers serotonin synthesis.  The brighter the sunlight, the more serotonin the body produces.  This could explain feeling down in the winter or on rainy dark days.
3. Vitamin D - helps convert tryptophan into serotonin.   Here, we need to supplement as we rarely get enough UV rays  to make enough.  You'll typically need between 2000 IU - 10,000 IU daily.
4. Omega 3's - help boost serotonin production in the brain.   Need 2000-4000mg daily.
5. Eat Curry - curry has turmeric, which is considered a potent anti-depressant.   Helps to increase serotonin in the brain, while reducing inflammation.
6.Caffeine - this has a positive effect on levels of serotonin in the brain, which is good news for most of us.   Don't overdo, however.
7. Exercise - has been shown to increase serotonin levels because motor neurons activated during physical activity boost the release of serotonin.  Regular exercise will spike tryptophan levels in the brain.
8. Massage - proven to reduce cortisol and increase happy hormones by as much as 28%.  Plus it feels great.
9. Nuts - contain tryptophan, so the more you eat, the happier you'll be.  They also have numerous other health benefits, such as decreasing inflammation, helping to prevent heart disease, cancer and respiratory ailments.
10. Green tea - contains L-theanine, an amino acid that boosts serotonin levels.   It also has a powerful antioxidant that prevents brain damage.

There you go, this is a good place to start, especially if you've been feeling down lately.   B vitamins may also help, but if none of this is enough, then see your doctor.
By Healthy Living Liberty Lake 14 Jun, 2017
Have you ever heard of Hashimoto's?  It's a common cause of low thyroid, or hypothyroidism. It's an auto-immune disease, which means the body is making antibodies against the thyroid and destroying it.

To diagnose, a blood test for thyroid antibodies must be done. Like all auto-immune diseases, it is much more common in women than men.
With Hashimoto's, blood levels often show an elevated TSH, and a low T3.  T3 is the active form of thyroid, and when the Free T3 is less than 3, expect fatigue as a common complaint.  

The conventional treatment of Hashimoto's is to prescribe a synthetic T4 , such as synthroid or levothyroxine.  This is not optimal, however, as often the T3 remains low.  And, in a review of patients on levothyroxine, long-term use was related to cardiac dysfunction, left ventricular hypertrophy (or heart failure) and rapid bone loss. Therefore, I typically will prescribe a T3/T4 combination, such as Armour or Nature Thyroid.
However, the goal is to reduce the antibody levels. To do this I recommend a supplement such as Thyrotrophin PMG made by Standard Process.   It must be taken three times a day and can act as a decoy, allowing the antibodies to attack it rather than the thyroid itself.
Now there is another option which has great promise.

Researchers looked at 40 men and women with Hashimoto's.  Half got placebo, and half got black cumin seed for 8 weeks.  Levels of T3, TSH and thyroid antibodies were measured before and after, and also the person's body composition.
What did they find?  "treatment with black cumin seed significantly reduced body weight and BMI. TSH and thyroid antibodies decreased, while T3 levels increased in those taking black cumin.  Those on placebo had no difference in their levels."

Every single measurement of Hashimotot's disease improved with this herb!  TSH improved 50%.  T3 levels improved 15%.  And antibodies decreased 50%.  All without side effects.

You can buy black cumin at any health food store or online - if you have Hashimoto's, give this a try.  
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