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B Vitamins For A Better Mind!

What are B Vitamins?

B vitamins refer to a class of water-soluble vitamins that are vital for maintaining good health and well being. 

They are building blocks for a healthy body that have a direct impact on your energy levels, cell metabolism and also brain health.

B Vitamins Include:

  • B1 (Thiamine): Helps your body generate energy from carbohydrates. The main role of carbohydrates is to provide energy for your body, especially your brain and nervous system.
  • B2 (Riboflavin): Helps your body breakdown carbohydrates, protein and fats to produce energy.
  • B3 (Niacin): A B vitamin made and used by your body to turn food into energy. It helps keep your nervous system, digestive system and your skin healthy.
  • B5 (Pantothenic Acid): Very important for making blood cells and helps convert your food into energy. 
  • B6 (Pyridone): Helps your body make energy from food and form red blood cells that help deliver oxygen throughout your body. B6 also regulates the hormones dopamine and serotonin.
  • B7 (Biotin): Your body needs Biotin to convert certain nutrients into energy. It’s also important for your hair, skin and nails.
  • B9 (Folate): Helps form your DNA, which is important for every cell (Including Brain Cells) in your body.
  • B12 (Cobalamin): Helps your body make energy from food just like B6. It keeps your body’s nerve and red blood cells healthy, and helps make DNA for all cells.

B vitamins play a vital role in producing brain chemicals that affect your mood and other brain functions. 

Low levels of B vitamins such as Folate, B12 and B6 have been linked to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, along with worsening the symptoms of mental disorders such as bipolar disorder.

Where Do You Get B Vitamins?

B Vitamins are obtained by eating nutrient-rich foods. 

These Include:

  • Avocados: Long before avocados were considered a stereotypical millennial stable they’ve been regarded as a superfood. One whole avocado is packed with B vitamins.
  • Plain Low Fat Yogurt: The amount of nutritional value varies from brand to brand, but they tend to be rich in vitamin B12 and riboflavin.
  • Salmon: This is a low mercury fish that’s high in omega 3’s. It’s also high in other nutrients including B vitamins.
  • Chicken: Chicken, along with turkey are loaded with B vitamins such as niacin and pyridoxine.
  • Eggs: One chicken egg contains 33% of the recommended daily intake of the B vitamin biotin.
  • Chickpeas: Foods such as chickpeas are a great source of B vitamins, especially B6 and folate.
  • Tofu: Along with being a valuable plant source of iron and calcium, tofu contains vitamin B1.
  • Dark Green Vegetables: Vegetables such as spinach, romaine lettuce and kale contain large amounts of folate.

However, there are people with bodies that have a hard time absorbing B vitamins or they can’t obtain B vitamins from diet alone.

There are many vegetables that could lose of their nutritional content while being cooked. Unless you eat them raw.

Some people have cut meat out of their diets which is a significant source of vitamin B12.

It’s recommended that they look into taking a multivitamin or a vitamin B complex supplement.

What Is Vitamin B Complex?

Vitamin B-Complex is a supplement that includes all eight B vitamins in one pill.

It’s been shown to improve brain health by providing optimal psychological and neurological benefits. This significantly benefits mood along with reducing stress.

Despite the added benefits of a vitamin B supplement there are health risks as the dosage goes up, so talk to your doctor first before taking it.

Bipolar Disorder And B Vitamins

Bipolar Disorder is associated with episodes of mood swings that range from depressive low moods to manic/hypomanic highs.

Symptoms include mood swings, depression, anxiety, fatigue, irritability, inability to focus and appetite fluctuations.

The exact cause is unknown but a combination of genetics, environment and altered brain structure and chemistry play a role. An often overlooked factor that plays a role is poor diet.

A poor diet deficient in nutritional content can play a role in bipolar disorder, especially low B vitamins.

Studies have shown that vitamins B1, B6 and B12, in particular play a role in decreasing bipolar symptoms. Also they improve the overall health of your brain, which leads to better management of bipolar disorder.

Please talk to your doctor before increasing the amount of B vitamins in your diet.

Do you take any supplements to improve your health?

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If you’re interested in learning more about how blueberries are a superfood please click on the button below:

Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/vitamin-b-complex

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/expert-answers/vitamin-b12-and-depression/faq-20058077

https://www.eatthis.com/best-foods-vitamin-b/

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-Consumer/#:~:text=Vitamin%20B12%20is%20a%20nutrient,absorb%20vitamin%20B12%20from%20food.

https://www.livescience.com/51966-vitamin-b2-riboflavin.html#:~:text=Riboflavin%20is%20a%20vitamin%20that,be%20used%20by%20the%20body.

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-b-foods#TOC_TITLE_HDR_5

https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-b-complex#1

https://psychcentral.com/lib/vitamins-for-bipolar-disorder/

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Blueberries: A Super Food For a Super Mood

Earlier this year I wrote a post about the possible link between processed food and health problems such as increased anxiety. 

If you eat foods such as processed meat, fried food, refined cereals, candy, pastries and high fat dairy products, you’re more likely to be anxious and depressed. However, if you eat a healthy diet rich in whole fiber-rich grains, fruits, vegetables and fish you can stay on an even keel.

There’s one particular fruit that’s been labeled a “super food”, because they’re bursting with health benefits. I’m referring to Blueberries.

What Are Blueberries?

Blueberries are a popular small fruit native to North America. They can be eaten freshly picked or used in a variety of recipes and can be purchased frozen.

Why Are Blueberries Labeled a “Super Food”?

Blueberries contain a plant compound called anthocyanin; this gives them their blue color and many of their health benefits. They also contain nutrients such as fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6 and numerous phytonutrients.

Phytonutrients are natural chemicals or compounds produced by blueberries; they not only protect blueberries from insects and the sun they also function as powerful antioxidants.

Antioxidants are substances that protect cells against damage from disease linked to free radicals and inhibit the growth of many kinds of cancers. 

Are Blueberries Good For Mental Health?

It’s an interesting fact that when we’re feeling anxious and stressed our bodies crave Vitamin C and other antioxidants to help repair and protect our cells. 

I mentioned in a previous post about processed food being linked to poor health; some of the worst problems occur in the brain. Disorders such as ADHD, anxiety, depression and brain fog have been linked to inflammation and damage to the brain’s synapses.

Antioxidants in blueberries not only inhibit the growth of many kinds of cancer they also have antiinflammatory properties that improve brain health by reducing anxiety and depression. 

There was a study that examined the effects of oral vitamin C supplements on anxiety in a group of students. The study found that antioxidants are useful for both the prevention and the reduction of anxiety.

If you want to be either less anxious or anxiety free it’s recommended that you munch on this superfood.

What Superfoods Do You Eat?

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Sources:

https://www.psycom.net/foods-that-help-with-anxiety-and-stress/

https://www.webmd.com/depression/ss/slideshow-avoid-foods-anxiety-depression

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/287710#benefits

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The Pandemic Response (Part. 3): People Helping People

In the past month the COVID-19 pandemic has dominated the news 24/7. It’s very interesting to see the human response to this crisis.

Breaking Apart and Coming Together

Regardless of what background you’re from, humanity is breaking apart and at the same time coming together. 

Some people push others out of the way at the grocery store, however there are people helping others in need and work together with them to achieve a common goal. 

I’ll be discussing how people are helping other people in the COVID-19 crisis.

What Are The Benefits of People Helping People?

It’s interesting that there are many benefits derived from helping other people. It’s not only a benefit to the people you are helping, but it can benefit you as well.

Volunteering your time to help other people has been linked to improved happiness, health and sense of well being.

Health benefits derived from volunteering include reduction in chronic pain, lowered blood pressure and a mental boost from connecting with your community while social distancing.

People Are Helping By:

Helping Neighbors Under Quarantine: It’s easy to fall back into old habits when you hang out with people who are perpetually negative and bring you down every time they’re around. I’ve learned to associate less with people who bring me down and associate with people that are upbeat and build me up.

Volunteers Donating Blood: All over the world there’s a blood shortage being made worse by the COVID-19 lockdown, blood drives being cancelled and people being afraid to make donations due to the fear of catching the virus. Despite everything that’s been going on many COVID-19 survivors are donating blood plasma to help seriously ill patients fight the virus.

Donating To Local Food Banks: The massive lockdown put in place to fight COVID-19 has caused mass layoffs and led to a high demand for food aid. I saw a news story about a food bank in Texas that served 10,000 families in a single day, which put a huge strain on their food supplies due to huge demand. Food banks across not only the United States, but across the world are under a lot of stress, so a lot of people including myself are making donations to local food banks. 

Engineers Offering Aid To Hospitals: When the pandemic began in March Italy was hit hard by COVID-19. Hospitals were experiencing shortages of not only PPE, but also important disposable ventilator parts such as venturi valves. An Italian start-up called Isinnova figured out how to reverse engineer venturi valves and then manufacture them using a 3-D Printer. 

Volunteers Making PPE For Medical Staff: The global demand for PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) due to the ongoing pandemic has caused a severe shortage of items such as face masks for medical staff. Volunteers have gotten together under the guidance of the  CDC (Centers For Disease Control & Prevention) to sew masks.

Have You Ever Volunteered Your Time?

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If you’re suffering from anxiety please click on the button below and download my free anxiety expert guide:

Source:

https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2020/03/18/good-and-beautiful-things-ive-seen-amid-coronavirus-pandemic

https://www.asme.org/topics-resources/content/coronavirus-update-engineers-to-the-rescue

https://www.upworthy.com/san-antonio-food-bank-swamped

http://www.forthoodsentinel.com/living/covid-19-pandemic-causes-blood-donation-shortage/article_a66dda02-7364-11ea-9921-1be5db86de13.html

https://www.wsj.com/articles/coronavirus-survivors-keep-up-the-fight-donate-blood-plasma-to-others-11585733401

https://www.dartmouth-hitchcock.org/patient-education/sewing-masks.html

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What is CBD Oil?

What is CBD oil?

What is CBD oil? CBD or cannabidiol is one of many chemical compounds found in cannabis sativa or (industrial hemp) called cannabinoids. 

It is found along with 113 other cannabinoids including THC. Cannabinoids act on receptors found in the endocannabinoid system.

What is the Endocannabinoid System?

The endocannabinoid system or ECS is a system of cell receptors that bond with cannabinoids to regulate homeostasis or the balancing of your body’s physiology. 

The endocannabinoid system is described as being a lock and key mechanism. The receptors are the lock and the cannabinoids are the key. This triggers a reaction that affects the brain and body.

The ECS consists of two types of cell receptors:

Cannabinoid Receptor Type 1(CB1): Expressed in the peripheral nervous system and central nervous system which includes the brain. 

Cannabinoid Receptor Type 2(CB2): Expressed in the immune system along with the digestive system and many of the body’s organs. Mainly found in white blood cells, in the tonsils and the spleen. CB2 is very important in the regulation of the release of cytokine. What is cytokine? Signaling molecules that mediate and regulate immunity and inflammation.

What are the Benefits of CBD oil?

Benefits include:

Manage Stress and Anxiety: CBD oil has been shown to reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety including reducing rapid heart rates.

Improve Sleep: Since CBD oil reduces anxiety that interferes with sleep and helps you get more restful sleep.

Reduce Pain and Inflammation: CBD oil has anti-pain and anti-inflammatory effects that help with pain management.

Could Benefit Heart Health: The anti-inflammatory and anti oxidative properties of CBD oil may be able to reduce the risk of factors that can lead to heart disease.

May Reduce Acne: Using CBD oil may help reduce acne by reducing the amount of sebum the body creates.

Can Alleviate Cancer Symptoms: Research has suggested that CBD oil along with other cannabinoids may ease neuropathic pain, nausea and poor appetite due to cancer and cancer treatment.

Heal Without Habit: CBD oil and other cannabinoids may be a viable alternative to narcotic pain killers.

How is CBD Oil Applied?

There are three ways CBD oil can enter the body: 

  • Inhalation
  • Ingestion
  • Absorption

Inhalation: Inhalation occurs when you apply CBD oil though the lungs either by vaping or smoking.

What is Vaping?

Vaping is a popular way to apply CBD oil. It is fast acting and the effects can last up to three hours. It is a popular way to relieve stress and anxiety, chronic pain and it helps those who want to quit smoking cigarettes.

There are two options for vaping CBD oil vape juice or vape pen. The use of a CBD vape pen is the easiest way to vape CBD oil due to the easy to use out of box solution that required little or no set up. However the solution  found in CBD pens have to be replaced over time and that can get costly. The use of CBD vape juice is preferred when you want to mix CBD oil with a favorite flavor of vape juice. However the vaping device has to be purchased separately. 

Vaping CBD oil is fast acting due to it going directly to your lungs. When this happens the CBD diffuses directly into your bloodstream. Other methods of applying CBD oil take longer to take effect because it has to pass through your liver and gut.

There is a risk for lung irritation or damage from vaping. Over the long term inhaling hot CBD oil has the potential to damage your lungs. There are chemicals in many vape pens that contain thinning agents like propylene glycol and polyethylene glycol that are known carcinogens.   

Ingestion: Ingestion occurs when you apply CBD oil through your mouth. It can be by consuming an edible or applying a tincture.

What is an Edible?

A CBD edible is a tasty way of getting a daily dose of CBD. They can provide long lasting relief for the condition you’re trying to treat. However they take 30 minutes to 2 hours to fully go into effect. The results last longer than inhalation.

There are active compounds in CBD extract added to CBD edibles  that can be added to cooked or baked goods to add additional health benefits like boosting antioxidants. An example would be using cannabutter and CBD crystals when cookies or brownies are being baked.

It’s easier to get the correct dosage of CBD eating edibles than vaping. When edibles are purchased or made pre-dosed servings are added. However when CBD oil is inhaled by vaping it is harder to determine how much dosage you are getting.

What is a Tincture?

A tincture is a concentrated liquid form of one or more herbs, such as cannabis. When produced it can be refined to contain certain compounds from cannabis such as CBD and/or THC. 

CBD oil tinctures can be applied under your tongue and the full effect occurs between 50 and 90 seconds. I asked someone on a social media forum about other ways tinctures are used and he said that he added 3 to 5 drops or 5:1 Ratio of CBD tincture in his coffee every morning.

Tinctures are not only popular they are effective. They are so concentrated that it delivers CBD to the body quicker than edibles and the body can break them down quicker also.  If a user cannot vape CBD oil due to health restriction tinctures are a great alternative.


Absorption: Absorption occurs when CBD oil is absorbed through the skin when it is applied topically as an ointment, salve or lotion.

Topical CBD oil is excellent for providing relief from pain in the muscles, joints, nerves and neck and back. It can be used to treat skin conditions like acne, contact dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis and skin rashes. Research shows that its possible it can be use as an effective treatment for bacterial infections such as MRSA.

Topical CBD oil is considered the most versatile among the already versatile CBD products. What do I mean about it being versatile? CBD oil can be used not just to treat anxiety and depression, but it has many other functions. 

 I discovered another use for CBD oil started when I started using it to relieve pain caused by a fractured finger. I rubbed it on topically and it dulled the pain as effectively as taking ibuprofen. According to a study done by the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research CBD oil strengthens bones and accelerates the healing of fractures.

Is CBD Oil Federally Legal?

The answer to this is yes. CBD oil is federally legal as long as the amount of THC doesn’t exceed 0.3%.

THC (Tetrahydrocannabidiol) like CBD is one of 113 cannabinoids identified in cannabis. However, unlike CBD THC is a psychoactive compound that can cause someone to become “high” and it is still considered a schedule 1 controlled substance by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency).

The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 was a proposed law that would’ve removed industrial hemp from schedule 1 controlled substance and would’ve made it an ordinary agricultural commodity. The provisions were incorporated into the 2018 United States Farm Bill that became law on December 20, 2018.

Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cbd-oil-benefits

https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/news/20180507/cbd-oil-all-the-rage-but-is-it-safe-effective#1

https://www.fb.org/market-intel/2018-farm-bill-provides-a-path-forward-for-industrial-hemp

Have You Ever Been Curious About CBD Oil?

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Is Processed Food Linked to Physical and Mental Health Problems?


I was doing research for a previous blog post about guten and its effects on our physical and mental health and started asking about processed foods that contain high fructose corn syrup and how they affected our overall health.

High Fructose Corn Syrup is a key ingredient in processed foods such as soda, pastries, condiments such as ketchup, candy, processed bread, canned fruit.

Since the late 1970’s High Fructose Corn Syrup has been added to our food and as of 2019 it’s estimated that the average American consumes at least 40 pounds of it a year. 

Since it’s the beginning of the new year many people want to make New Year’s resolutions. Many of these resolutions revolve around changing our diets and this post is intended to inform you about why giving up high fructose corn syrup is a good new years resolution.

What is High Fructose Corn Syrup?

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), also known as glucose-fructose, isoglucose and glucose-flucose syrup is a sweetener derived from corn. It is used to sweeten processed foods and soda primarily in the United States. 

Starting in the 1970’s HFCS became more widely available due to low corn prices due to farm subsidies and table sugar becoming more expensive.

HFCS is similar to regular table sugar (sucrose); they both contain fructose and glucose.

What is Fructose?

Fructose is a sugar found naturally in fruits, fruit juices, certain vegetables and honey. However, fructose is an added component in HFCS and as a result occurs artificially in many processed foods. 

Fructose is a valuable and needed nutrient that is good for you, but it’s a problem when it’s added artificially.

What is Glucose?

Glucose is a simple sugar made by plants and most algae during photosynthesis from water and carbon dioxide using energy from the sun. Foods that contain carbohydrates such as grain, rice and potatoes and our bodies change 100% of carbohydrates into glucose. 

Glucose is a component added to HFCS.

High Fructose Corn Syrup is made from corn; when corn is milled its turned into corn starch and further processing turns it into corn syrup. HFCS starts off as mostly glucose, but it’s converted into fructose by using enzymes.

What Health Problems are Linked to High Fructose Corn Syrup?

High Fructose Corn Syrup has been linked to many health problems including:

  1. Adds More Fructose To Your Body Than You Need: Before table sugar and HFCS became affordable and widely available most people’s diets contained only small amounts of fructose from natural sources such as fruits and vegetables. However, over the past few decades the intake of fructose has increased significantly and has contributed to numerous health problems.
  2. Weight Gain and Obesity: The amount of fructose we consume from table sugar and HFCS has increased by 300% in the last 50 years and this has led to weight gain and obesity. Excess fructose in particular leads to the accumulation of visceral fat; which is a type of fat that surrounds your organs and leads to other serious health problems such as insulin resistance that leads to diabetes.
  3. Increases The Risk of Serious Health Problems: Along with weight gain and obesity HFCS increases the risk of developing some serious health problems including Heart Disease, Fatty Liver Disease, Diabetes, Metabolic Disorder, Inflammation and Cancer.
  4. Harms Your Brain: Some of the worst effects of HFCS occur in the brain. Disorders such as ADHD, anxiety, depression and brain fog can result from HFCS. Unnatural amounts of Fructose from HFCS not only leads to insulin resistance that causes diabetes it can also interfere with insulin’s ability to regulate how cells use and store sugar and impede production of the energy needed to process thoughts and emotions. Studies done on rats concluded that a diet high in HFCS can damage the brain’s synapses (neural junctions). All signs are pointing to yes that poor diet leads to an increase of mood, emotional and learning problems. 

If you are struggling with anxiety please down my anxiety expert guide by clicking the link below.


Want To Start Making a New Year’s Resolution?!

Either reducing  or avoiding High Fructose Corn Syrup is a challenge, because so many foods that we eat contain it. If you decide to make it a New Year’s Resolution to change to a healthy diet there are some important steps you need to take.

Start by closely reading nutrition labels: It’s important to carefully read labels before you buy anything at the grocery store to see if HFCS is an ingredient.

Foods that contain HFCS include:

  • Candy
  • Soda
  • Salad Dressing
  • Frozen Junk Foods
  • Processed Breads
  • Canned Fruits
  • Processed Fruit Juices

It’s important to be aware that some brands advertise as “no high fructose corn syrup” on the package, because there may still be HFCS in that product and may be listed under a different name.

These names include:

  • Maize Syrup
  • Corn Syrup
  • Glucose Syrup
  • Fructose Syrup
  • Isolated Fructose

Avoid Meals That are Canned, Frozen or Prepackaged: These foods are convenient, but there are a lot of added ingredients such as HFCS.

KnowThe Difference Between Natural and Organic: Someone I know is always asking questions about the food labels “natural” and “organic. The word natural is sometimes placed on products that contain HFCS. Also, the word organic is sometimes placed on labels, because foods contain “organic HFCS”. It’s important to note that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate labels. Foods that are HFCS free organic can be found in the section at the grocery store that contains health food or at specialty health food stores such as Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. In the short run some organic foods are more expensive, but you’ll feel healthier in the long run. 

Start Incorporating More Whole Foods Into Your Diet: Incorporate more whole foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables. When foods such as canned fruits are processed a lot of the fiber is stripped out, when grains such as wheat are processed into white flour the bran and germ that provide the most nutritional benefit are stripped out. It makes more sense to eat less processed or whole foods.

Start Baking and/or Cooking at Home More: When you bake or cook your own food you have more control over the ingredients that are added to them. If you don’t want to use table sugar instead of HFCS you can use alternative natural sweeteners such as honey or mashed fruit.

Take an Omega-3 Supplement: I mentioned that HFCS is harmful to your brain and its important to start taking an Omega-3 supplement along with changing your diet. Along with lowering blood pressure and reducing the likelihood of a heart attack Omega-3s decrease the likelihood of developing memory problems, depression and anxiety as the brain’s synapses are repaired.

I’ve noticed changes in my health right away just simply changing form Kellogg’s Raisin Bran to Organic Brands such as Cascadian Farms Raisin Bran. Right away you’ll notice that the flakes don’t taste as sweet and they have a lot more fiber. Raisin Bran is my favorite cereal and just changing to an organic brand promoted weight loss also.

Have you ever noticed that you feel better physically and mentally with an improved diet?


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The Gluten-Mood Connection

Anxiety, Gluten and How Foods Affect the Mood

When I was doing research for my previous post about social anxiety I read something that was very interesting. There are many people with anxiety disorders that have emotional triggers caused by underlying mental health issues and past trauma, but there are other people that experience anxiety despite not having other mental health issues. It’s possible that diet plays a huge role in our mental health. The topic I’m exploring in this post is Gluten.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a substance present in cereal grains such as wheat. It’s responsible for the elastic texture of dough.

Gluten is present in these grains and starches:

  • Wheat
  • Wheat Germ
  • Rye
  • Semolina
  • Graham Flour

Foods that contain gluten:

  • Soups
  • French Fries
  • Processed Cheeses
  • Processed Meats
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Cereals
  • Baked Goods
  • Condiments

To be more specific gluten is a group of proteins called prolamins and glutelins. 

Gluten occurs with starch in the endosperm of various cereal grains. Between 75 and 85% of the total protein in bread and wheat is supplied by this protein complex.

There are many people who suffer from gluten intolerance.

What is Gluten Intolerance?

Gluten intolerance or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) occurs when this protein triggers gluten-related inflammation in the gut and causes physical and mental symptoms.

Physical Symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Headaches

Along with physical symptoms gluten intolerance can affect mental health.

Symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Brain Fog

The symptoms of NCGS are similar to celiac disease, however they are both different conditions. Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disorder that can cause long-term harm to your digestive system and is life threatening vs. NCGS which is more short term.

Gluten and the Effects on the Flora – Gut-Brain Connection

I mentioned in a previous post titled the “Brain-Gut Connection” about the role that the gut microbiome plays in our mental health. It’s interesting that 90% of the happy hormone serotonin is produced in the small intestine by gut bacteria. 

However, the overuse of antibiotics could disrupt the gut microbiome and lead to a decrease of serotonin causing symptoms such as anxiety, depression and brain fog.

Is There a Link Between Gluten Intolerance and Gut Health?

Along with playing a role in our mental health the gut microbiome also plays a role in the proper development of the immune system and the tolerance to different foods. 

If this gut microbiota is altered early on in life it can lead to chronic inflammatory conditions, food allergies and autoimmune disorders. It’s not only the overuse of antibiotics that can disrupt the gut microbiome, but also other factors as well.


Including:

GMO’s: There are many pros of growing crops that are genetically modified organisms including increased crop yields, lowering crop prices and making crops more resistant to the elements. However, some of the cons include no long term human clinical trials to prove that GMO’s are safe, tinkering with the genetic makeup of plants may result in the introduction of toxins that may  induce food allergies and GMOs are bred to be herbicide resistant and this has led to the growth of “superweeds”. that require more toxic weed killers to kill. 

Chemicals: The use of chemicals such as pesticides and weed killers such as Glyphosate (Roundup) are possible causes of gluten intolerance. Roundup has been used since the 1990’s to not kill the herbicide tolerant “superweeds” that are now growing as a result of GMO crops, but Roundup is also used by some farmers to dry out wheat before it’s harvested. A study was done on fish that were exposed to glyphosate and they developed digestive problems that are reminiscent of celiac disease and it can also disrupt gut bacteria in animals by killing beneficial forms and causing an overgrowth of pathogens that can affect immune health and disrupt digestion.

Lifestyle Changes – Things to Be Aware of

The symptoms of both celiac disease and gluten intolerance can be managed through lifestyle changes. Other benefits include increased energy levels, improved cholesterol levels, improved digestion and overall better health from eating fewer processed foods that contain gluten.

Lifestyle changes include:

Gluten-Free Diet: The only treatment for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet. However, even if you’re experiencing gluten intolerance either starting a gluten-free diet or reducing the amount of gluten you eat can lead to a reduction of symptoms.

It’s important to be aware of what foods are gluten-free:

Foods To Eat include:

  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Meats and Fish
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and Seeds

A gluten-free diet can include non-gluten grains:

  • Wild rice
  • Quinoa
  • Buckwheat
  • Amaranth
  • Pure Oats

also,  gluten free flours:

  • Coconut flour
  • Almond flour
  • Chia flour
  • Chickpea flour
  • Quoinoa flour
  • Sweet potato flour

Being Aware of the Hidden Sources of Gluten: It’s important to be aware that there are hidden sources of gluten in everyday items. These include medications and supplements, beauty products, bullion products and food products labeled “wheat free”.

Consult a Doctor or a Nutritionist: Before starting any diet it’s important to consult a professional first before making a lifestyle change.

Being Aware that a Gluten-Free Diet will not Guarantee Weight-Loss: The change to a gluten-free lifestyle will not guarantee weight loss unless exercising more is part of your lifestyle change.

Take a Probiotic: After either eliminating or reducing gluten the next step is to restore your gut microbiome. By taking a specific probiotic that rebuilds immunity and digestive health you’ll be able to reverse many symptoms of gluten intolerance including, anxiety and depression.

Ways of Coping With Change Related Anxiety

Any kind of life change can be tough and changing your lifestyle is no exception.

When you become gluten-free your family and friends might start bugging you about your new diet. They may start saying comments or asking questions about your diet. Since it’s the holiday season the comments and questions will probably by centered around what you’re missing out on being gluten-free, but some people may not include you in their holiday festivities at all.

In order to avoid having a sense of anxiety and loneliness from the judgement of others that don’t understand your new gluten-free diet it’s important to reach out to like minded people. This can be achieved by meeting new people through support groups, social media forums or through mutual friends who are also gluten-free.

The anxiety that can occur when your life changes will pass eventually and when you download my anxiety expert guide and learn about some of my mentors it will help you in your journey toward a healthier life.

Have You Ever Suspected that Your Mood is Affected by What You Eat?

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Brain-Gut Connection!

I’ll be discussing a topic that’s very interesting, the Brain-Gut connection.

What is the Brain-Gut Connection?

The Brain-Gut Connection refers to the physical and chemical connections between your brain and gut consisting of millions of nerves and neurons.

Have you ever heard the saying “I had a “gut feeling” that something was wrong”? The brain and gut actually communicate with each other. There are chemicals called neurotransmitters that are important for your nerve cells and brain to function. 

What is Serotonin?

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter responsible for improving mood and positive feelings. 90% of serotonin comes from your gut.

What does this have to do with Anxiety?

Well, your gut consists of an environment made up of microorganisms called a microbiome. Some of these microorganisms or gut bacteria species can create neurotransmitters. Along with most serotonin; about half of all dopamine comes from this environment. 

Serotonin is responsible for our good mood and positive feelings. When our microbiome is disrupted  studies show that the amount of serotonin declines. 

Symptoms include:

  • Increased Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Depressed Mood
  • Aggression
  • Impulsive Behavior
  • Poor Memory

Mental Disorders linked to Low Serotonin:

  • Panic Disorder
  • Eating Disorders
  • Social Anxiety
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • ADHD
  • Autism

Can the overuse of Antibiotics disrupt the Brain-Gut Connection?

Antibiotics are prescribed for a bacterial infection. If used properly they are a lifesaver, but if they are overused problems can occur. Overuse of antibiotics can disrupt the gut microbiome and cause gut dysbiosis and dysfunction. The decline in beneficial gut bacteria has been linked to increased anxiety and depression.

Antibiotics have been given to livestock on industrial farms for years. When we eat meat products like poultry, beef and pork we are exposing ourselves to more antibiotics than what we actually need.

What is Industrial Farming?

Industrial farming or factory farming is a type of intensive form of agriculture that refers to the industrialized production of livestock, poultry, fish and crops that maximizes production and keeps prices low.

What are the Pros and Cons of Industrial Farming?

The Pros of Industrial Farming include:

  • Lower Food Prices: Due to industrial farming allowing for producing agricultural products on a large scale it results in lower prices for consumers.
  • Automated Food Production: Automation in the form of mechanization has resulted in fewer hours being worked in order to produce more product.
  • Can Be Established Almost Anywhere: Since larger farms are more resilient to changes in the environment, water access and location they can be located on marginal lands that are unused or underused in order to increase food production.
  • Lengthen Food Availability: New and existing technologies such as refrigeration has allowed for the lengthening of food availability.

Cons of Industrial Farming Include:

  • Use of Antibiotics: Antibiotics promote growth, increase feed efficiency and reduce mortality in indoor poultry farming, however antibiotic use in farming has led to the increase in antibiotic-resistance in humans and when these products are consumed the microbiome in the gut is damaged. Along with declining mental health a damaged gut has also been linked to obesity.
  • Use of Chemicals: Large scale industrial farming requires the use of chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers.
  • Requires a lot of Water: Unsustainable amounts of water are required to produce on such a large scale.
  • Encourages Animal Diseases to Mutate into Human Diseases: The e. coli bacteria occurs in the intestinal tracts of all warm-blooded animals and it occurs in a benign form, however the overuse of antibiotics can result in pathogenic forms of e. coli that can cause humans to get sick.
  • Animal Cruelty: Due to the intense scale of production that includes overcrowded living conditions and overall lower quality of life for animals industrial farming is known for animal cruelty.

I went on to a Facebook forum and asked other people the same question about the overuse of antibiotics and I received some testimonials.

“Just finished a course of amoxicillin and felt like a dark cloud is hanging over me that can’t shake and that just doesn’t seem like me”!

“This makes sense to me. I have acute anxiety disorder since I was 13. Before that I took antibiotics 5 times a day with milk then in my teens I started getting a once a month antibiotic shot”!  

What can you do?

I’ve found it helpful to take a probiotic along with the medication that I take for anxiety. I still had symptoms of anxiety and depression along with weight gain. Not all probiotics are created equal the one I take specifically for anxiety and depression is from “Garden for Life: Mood+digestive+immune system”. Other things that help gut health is a high fiber diet, eating fewer carbohydrates and eating less sugar.

Since I started taking a probiotic my mood has significantly better, my appetite has gotten under control and I no longer crave carbs. It’s also helpful to take probiotics after being treated for an illness with antibiotics in order to encourage the good bacteria that puts us all in a better mood.

What do you think? Leave me a comment!