Post Birth Control Syndrome + 5 Steps to Balance Your Hormones After the Pill

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If you recently quit hormonal birth control, you’re probably going through a bit of hell right now. I know it’s not fair, but you are going through something called Post Birth Control Syndrome.

This withdrawal process from hormonal birth control (HBC) lasts anywhere from 6-12 months, and it peaks at month 6 (1). It’s usually around this time that you might feel like giving up and going back to the pill. But please stay strong and power through this phase, because if you do you will be rewarded.

So why is this happening?!

The reason you are suffering is because your body is detoxing from synthetic hormones. This also usually causes a surge in androgens which can cause acne and other PMS symptoms.

To make matters worse, since you haven’t ovulated or had a period all these years while taking hormonal birth control ( HBC shuts down ovulation, so you’ve really just been having a “withdrawal bleed” or “pill bleed”) you’ve been robbed from making the hormone progesterone.

Progesterone is literally nature’s chill pill, so trust me, you want this!

Calming you down is not all that this super hormone can do! Progesterone nourishes our hair and nails by reducing androgens (male hormones), as well as boosts energy by stimulating the thyroid and the metabolism. And recent research has found that women who don’t ovulate experience bone loss at a faster rate than women who do ovulate, so progesterone is also a crucial component of preventing osteoporosis.

And since you haven’t been ovulating while taking hormonal birth control, it might take some time before your body starts ovulating and menstruating again.

So what is a “pill bleed”?

Pill bleeds are pharmaceutically induced bleeds that involve no hormone production on your end at all. So all of the “periods” you had while on hormonal birth control were just for show. Let me repeat, these “periods” were completely fake (exception being the Copper IUD and Mirena IUD. Read below for statistics).

Shocking, right?

When a women ovulates without the use of hormonal birth control, she creates progesterone and estradiol. These hormones have a multitude of benefits for your mood, bones, thyroid and metabolism. They’re pretty much essential for a women’s physiology. This means that women who take a form of hormonal birth control are robbed of these crucial hormones that keep us healthy and happy.

It’s one of the largest injustices to women’s health today, and it’s no wonder many women who take a form of hormonal birth control experience depression.

In October 2016 JAMA psychiatry released a study conducted by researches from the University of Copenhagen. In the study, titled “Association of Hormonal Contraception With Depression” they tracked one million women over the course of 13 years and concluded that women who use hormonal birth control are significantly more likely to be diagnosed with depression (2).

The fact that hormonal birth control is the most widely used form of contraception used today is infuriating. The practice is antiquated, and it’s time this harmful trend comes to an end.

Now is the time to take our reproductive system back into our own control. For the sake of our health, and the next generation’s. 

Common Symptoms of Post-Birth Control Syndrome Include:

  • Amenorrhea (loss of menstruation)
  • Heavy, painful periods
  • Infertility
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Acne
  • Migraines
  • Headaches
  • Hair loss
  • Depression
  • Blood sugar dysregulation
  • Anxiety
  • Gas or bloating
  • Changes in bowels
  • Inflammation and other immune imbalances

So now the road to recovery begins.

Your 5 Step Plan When Coming Off The Birth Control Pill (or any other form of hormonal birth control):

1. Reestablish your natural hormonal rhythm.

Your hormones fluctuate during different times of your cycle.

There are four cycles:

  1. Menstruation–  Estrogen begins to increase and progesterone is low.
  2. Follicular Phase- Estrogen peaks, progesterone is low.
  3. Ovulation–  Estrogen begins to fall and progesterone peaks.
  4. Luteal Phase– Both estrogen and progesterone dip.

Even if you are not yet ovulating on your own, it is important to encourage the production of estrogen and progesterone at the right times of the month. This will help you eventually start to ovulate on your own.

Two methods to reestablish natural hormonal rhythms:

  1. Seed cycling. Seed cycling is one of the simplest and most effective holistic remedies for balancing hormones.This ancient technique helps restore the balance of  the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone by rotating certain seeds into your diet during the two different phases of your menstrual cycle (follicular and luteal phase).
  2. Vitex– Vitex is an herb that promotes ovulation by protecting your hypothalamus gland from stress and from preventing your pituitary gland from making too much prolactin. Basically, it increases your levels of dopamine, which lowers your levels of prolactin, which makes your luteinizing hormone go up, and then makes you ovulate and make progesterone!

A note of caution about Vitex: Please do not use vitex until you’ve been off of hormonal birth control for at least three months. I recommend 1,000mg a day taken as a single dose first thing in the morning before breakfast. Stop taking it on days 1-5 of your cycle, and then start again. Discontinue use after six months. If you have PCOS please talk with a health care practitioner first, because it might not be the best choice.

2. Replenish nutrient stores.

Hormonal birth control causes leaky gut, preventing your body from absorbing all the nutrients from your food. As they say in Ayurveda “you are what you digest.”.

This is why women who come off hormonal birth control are deficient in nutrients and minerals such as zinc, B12, magnesium, D3, iodine and selenium-all nutrients necessary for ovarian health. So it’s imperative to replenish these levels ASAP.

3. Support detox pathways.

It’s important to open your detox pathways, as this is how you will flush out excess estrogen in the body, as well as all the synthetic hormones you’ve built up from the use of hormonal birth control . Ways to do this are by going on a cleanse like my 20-Day Hormone Reboot Program . Dandelion root tea, taking Glutothione, chlorella, and/or activated charcoal. NAC is also a great supplement. And of course, drink lots of water and eat plenty of liver supporting foods like broccoli sprouts, dandelion greens, beets, and cauliflower.

4. Rebuild your gut.

Most women’s gut post hormonal birth control is in a state of dysbiosis due to leaky gut. You must get your microbiome to a healthy state in order to start digesting and absorbing your food properly. Do this by taking probiotics, eating 2-3 servings of fermented foods daily, and drinking gut healing bone broth and collagen.

5. Nourish your thyroid

If you’re thyroid is not operating properly, it can prevent you from ovulating and having a healthy period. To support your thyroid, take 150 mcg of iodine daily (nothing more unless advised by a trained practitioner), and replenish your stores of selenium, 1-3 brazil nuts a day will do the trick, or 150 mcg in pill form daily. I encourage you to take a serum ferritin test and if your levels are too low (you want a level of 50-90 ng/ml) then supplement as needed.

Okay, I know this is a lot of information to absorb, and it might be overwhelming at first. But please be reassured that although it might seem like the end of the world, you can and WILL get through this.

And know that you are not alone. Please contact me today for a 30-minute consultation, so we can get you on my 20-Day Hormone Reboot Detox to get your hormones back on track, so you can start feeling the way you’re designed to- healthy, happy, and PMS free!

With Gratitude,

Health Coach Jenna

* exceptions being the copper IUD which uses no hormones, and the Mirena IUD which has low levels of hormones. In the first year the Mirena suppresses ovulation in 85% of cycles , and in the second year 15% of cycles.

Sources:

  1. Briden, L. (n.d.). Period repair manual. p.34.
  2. Skovlund CW, Morch LS, Kessing LV, Lidegaard O, Association of Hormonal Contraception With Depression. JAMA Psychiatry. 2016 Nov 1;73(11):1154-1162.PubMed PMID: 27680324.

How Sugar Affects Your Mood

Depression is a subject that hits close to home, as I struggled with ADD and depression from the age of 10.  When I was 18,  I ditched the anti depressants and instead started focusing on my diet and lifestyle. And guess what? It worked!

(To find out more about how you, too can ditch your depressants click HERE.)

Today I am sharing a guest post from friend and colleague, Lauren Roerick. Her mission is to help people treat depression holistically with her online program, The UnDepression Project. In this article, Lauren shares with us the strong connection between sugar and our mood.

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How Sugar Affects Your Mood

by Lauren Roerick

Have you ever had a sugar rush after eating too much candy at the movie theatre? Or perhaps experienced a food coma after Thanksgiving dinner? Have you ever found yourself getting “hangry” in between meals?

It’s starting to become common knowledge that food has an effect on our mood, but when we talk about depression or mental illness, food is rarely brought up as a possible contributing factor. Maybe it seems too obvious that for such a potentially debilitating illness, food could be part of the answer.

But when it comes to your mood, food is the best place to start.

Our bodies, and more specifically our brains, need food to function. But not just any food will keep our brains happy and healthy. Michael Pollan, author of several books on food and the American diet, including In Defense of Food, sums it up nicely: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants ”.

Christina Pirello , an authority on whole foods and nutrition, and host of television cooking show Christina Cooks, says that, “Americans have begun to live in a sort of paradox of health. Never before have we had more awareness of health and nutrition…We also live in a time when Americans have never been unhealthier. Heart disease remains the leading killer of men and women; diabetes is an epidemic affecting us at younger and younger ages. Obesity is completely out of control…[and] Cancer statistics are as terrifying as anything Stephen Kingcould dream up”.

Given this information, it is unsurprising that the acronym for the Standard American Diet spells the word SAD.

So what can we do about this? If we know that food can affect our mood and our mental health, how do we keep our brains healthy and our mood in tip­top shape?

Start with sugar!

When trying to improve your mood, I recommend starting with sugar, as it has a powerful effect on your state of happiness.

Sugar is a broad term for carbohydrates. Glucose, sucrose, fructose, lactose, dextrose, and starch are all different names for sugar. There are over 50 different names for sugar, which can make it tough to recognize all the places where it can sneak into your diet.

How Sugar Works: sugar.jpeg

When we eat sugar, the taste buds on our tongue send signals to the brain that activate our reward system by triggering the release of dopamine. Dopamine is the same feel good chemical that is released in our brains when we’re out with friends, exercising, having sex, or even smoking a cigarette. Dopamine is also one of the neurotransmitters that can be notoriously low in people suffering from depression.

While eating sugar in small quantities is not such a big deal, we’re generally not eating small quantities. The World Health Organization recommends that we only get 5% of our calorie intake from sugar or about 25 grams or 5 teaspoons. But most of us are eating between 3 to 5 times that much! At 39 grams or nearly 8 teaspoons of sugar, a single 12 oz. can of soda puts us way over the daily limit.

When we eat too much processed, refined sugar our blood sugar levels spike far beyond a normal range, leading to that sugar rush feeling. The brain’s reward centers light up like a Christmas tree and we get a surge of that feel good neurotransmitter, dopamine.

But it doesn’t last.

This high is shortly followed by a crash, as insulin rushes in to level out your blood sugar level. This crash can leave you feeling cranky, tired, stressed, and even depressed, which leads you to crave more sugar. It’s a vicious cycle.

To keep your dopamine circuits healthy and to avoid the post­sugar blues, it would make sense to limit the amount of processed, refined sugars that you put into your body.

But where to begin?

1. Cut out sugary drinks .

These contain huge amounts of sugars, and are full of empty calories that do not leave us full or satisfied. It’s really easy for these drinks to interfere with your mood, as they’re packed with dangerous levels of sugar and caffeine.

When first cutting out sugary beverages, it’s easiest to make this transition slowly. Rather then going cold turkey, try substituting one or two of your daily sodas or juices for water or herbal tea.

Each day or week, see if you can substitute one more, until you’ve phased out sugary drinks for good. If you’re used to drinking a lot of soda or juice, this will help you avoid the headaches or fatigue that can happen when you try to cut it out too quickly.

2. Beware of hidden sugars.

There are over 50 names for sugar making it easy for it to sneak into places where we wouldn’t normally expect. Roughly 75% of packaged foods in the grocery store contain some form of added sugar, so it’s important to check the labels of the food you’re buying.

When reading labels, remember that the higher sugar is on the top of an ingredient list, the more of it there will be. So if you see sugar in the first three or four ingredients, it’s usually a sign that there’s too much.

Ideally, ditch foods that have added sugar, and stick to whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and organic, hormone free meat or fish.

3. Exercise

Exercise boosts dopamine levels, so if you’re feeling a slump, instead of reaching for a candy bar, try going for a quick walk or doing some jumping jacks.

To start shifting your eating patterns to improve your moods, sugar is the best place to start. It’ll take a bit of practice and time, but in a couple of weeks you’ll start to notice the difference, leaving you feeling healthier and more vibrant. Actually, I bet you feel so amazing that you’ll never want to go back to sugar again.

About Lauren:

Bio Headshot smallerLauren Roerick is the creator of The Undepression Project and a certified holistic health coach specializing in depression recovery. She combines her expertise in nutrition, yoga, and depression recovery to provide you with a multifaceted approach to combatting depression.

Lauren struggled with depression in her early twenties, which led her to explore integrative treatments including yoga, meditation, nutrition, and cognitive behavioural therapy. After completing her thesis study on integrative depression treatment, she felt that this information wasn’t readily accessible in a neat complete package. This is why she’s created a powerful video course to teach what she’s learned and to help others make lasting changes in their own lives. For more information on the course, visit http://course.theundepressionproject.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter !

 

The Gluten-Free Life: Just Another Fad?

 

Gluten Free sign with clouds and sky backgroundLet’s Talk Gluten.

Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, rye, kamut, barley, spelt, and some oats. It is formed when the two proteins called Gliadin and Glutenin are combined with water. Gluten is touch and rubbery, and responsible for allowing bread o stretch and rise. Chances are you eat a lot of gluten, as the standard western diet consists of pizza, pasta, bread (to find out what is wrong with supermarket bread click HERE) , and processed foods- all very high in gluten.

Just Another Fad?

I kGfree2now it seems like everyone is talking about going “gluten-free” and critics accuse it of being the new “fat-free” fad. And they are not entirely wrong. Food companies have indeed taken this opportunity to shell out tons of processed, sugary, crap food that are marketed as “gluten-free”. 

Don’t buy into it, folks. If you want to live a gluten-free lifestyle, stick to real, whole foods. If you do this you can’t lose.

I have personally found so much success with being gluten-free. It wasn’t until I made this switch that I ditched the extra five-ten stubborn pounds, my brain fog hit the road, and my recurring rash completely disappeared.

So although being gluten-free can seem like the newest fad, this is much more serious than just a quick diet to lose weight. But if weight gain is your goal, eating gluten will sure get you there quickly.

Why Gluten Can Be Harmful:

Gluten intolerance and sensitivity affects millions of Americans, most of whom are unaware. These people complain of bloating, migraines, an inability to lose weight, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, rashes, and more. Many times this is simply an allergic reaction to gluten.gfree3

According to a review in The New England Journal of Medicine, there are 55 diseases that can be caused by eating gluten. (i) These include irritable bowel syndrome, cancer, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and almost all other autoimmune diseases. Gluten is also linked to anxiety, depression, (ii) schizophrenia, dementia, as well as autism. (iii)

Gluten is problematic for people with celiac disease, and for those with gluten sensitivities. Celiac disease is the most extreme, affecting an estimated three million Americans. (iv) A person with celiac disease is completely gluten intolerant and must eliminate gluten entirely from their diet.

The only way to find out if you have celiac disease is to get tested. The blood test is about 95% accurate, and it’s advised to get a biopsy to confirm. An important fact to remember is that you must be eating gluten for the test to be accurate. The removal of gluten for people with celiac disease must be a habit maintained for life.

Gluten is also detrimental to those with gluten sensitivity. It’s estimated that one-third of the American population is gluten sensitive. These people include those who have tested negative for celiac disease but have relief from problematic symptoms when gluten is avoided.

If you suffer from bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, rashes, joint pain, arthritis, depression, anxiety, migraines, constipation, or the inability to lose weight, I encourage you to go two weeks without gluten to see if it could be the cause.

So What Are My Alternatives?

Your options are really limitless on this one! There are so many naturally gluten-free foods that are full of fiber and other beneficial vitamins and minerals.

Naturally Gluten-Free Foods:

  • brown rice
  • millet
  • kasha
  • gluten-free oats
  • quinoa
  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • nuts/seeds
  • beans
  • most dairy
  • eggs
  • fish, poultry, meat
  • herbs

Beware of:

-Barley labeled under malt, malt flavoring, malt vinegar, and brewer’s yeast.

– distilled vinegar

-soy sauce

Once again, remember to be a label detective. It’s very easy for gluten to hide in processed items and condiments, so the more you stick to real, whole foods, the easier it will be to avoid.

Happy to be Gluten-Free,

Health Coach Jenna

HealtherNotions_Logo_Stacked

Sources:

(i) Rubio-Tapia A, Kyle RA, Kaplan EL, Johnson DR, Page W, Erdtmann F, Brantner TL, Kim WR, Phelps TK, Lahr BD, Zinsmeister AR, Melton LJ 3rd, Murray JA. Increased prevalence and mortality in undiagnosed celiac disease. Gastroenterology. 2009 Jul;137(1):88-93

(ii) Ludvigsson JF, Reutfors J, Osby U, Ekbom A, Montgomery SM. Celiac disease and risk of mood disorders–a general population-based cohort study. J Affect Disord. 2007 Apr;99(1-3):117-26. Epub 2006 Oct 6.

(iii) Millward C, Ferriter M, Calver S, Connell-Jones G. Gluten- and casein-free diets for autistic spectrum disorder. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004;(2):CD003498. Review.

(iv) Gluten: What You Don’t Know Might Kill You – Dr. Mark Hyman. (2011). Retrieved March 1, 2016, from http://drhyman.com/blog/2011/03/17/gluten-what-you-dont-know-might-kill-you/

10 Reasons to Drink Turmeric Milk + RECIPE

From curing the common cold to preventing or fighting against cancer, turmeric is an essential spice that you should become familiar with. With a long history of being used in traditional medicines such as ancient India’s Ayurveda, it has lately become more recognized in western practices – it’s really no surprise that it is currently the most studied spice on the planet.

I try to drink a warm cup of turmeric milk (aka “Golden Milk”) everyday. I especially make sure I get my cup in when studying yoga in India, as it’s nature’s best anti-inflammatory, helping relieve any general aches and pains. Plus, it’s really delicious – making it a nice treat before bed.

Healing Properties of Turmeric:

1. Cancer fighter.

2. Reduces symptoms of depression.

3. Cures the common cold.

4. Relieves arthritis pain.

5. Balances Hormones.

6. Relieves general aches and pains in the body.

7. Reduces risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.

8. Lowers cholesterol.

9. Alleviates allergies.

10. Helps wounds heal faster.

And these are just a tip of the iceberg of all the healing properties of turmeric.

Alright, so now that you know how AMAZING turmeric is, are you ready to make some turmeric milk?!

Turmeric Milk Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of coconut milk (or your dairy-free milk of choice) 
  • 1 teaspoon dried turmeric powder OR one half-inch fresh turmeric thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried ginger powder OR one half-inch piece of peeled, fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
  • A dash of freshly ground black pepper
  • Honey to taste (use local if possible – this will also help with allergies and do not add to the milk when it is HOT, as this turns the honey toxic. Wait until it is warm.)

Directions:

  1. Combine all the ingredients (except the honey) into a blender.
  2. Blend for 30 seconds to a minute.
  3. Pour mixture into saucepan over medium heat.
  4. Bring to boil.
  5. Turn off heat, cover, and allow mixture to cool for a few minutes.
  6. Add honey.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Alternatively, if you do not have a blender, skip steps one and two and combine all ingredients in a saucepan. If you are using fresh ginger and turmeric, use a strainer to filter them out before serving.

In addition to drinking turmeric milk, I also cook with turmeric as much as possible. There are tons of delicious recipes out there ranging from coconut curries to lentil soups. Here is a list of some goodies:

Curry Cream of Carrot Soup 

Turmeric Spiced Rice 

Spiced Kale Scramble 

Creamy Pumpkin Curry 

However you choose to get your daily dose of turmeric, make sure to ingest it after it has been heated. This is why drinking it in a warm beverage or cooking with it is best, as the heat activates the turmeric. Also, adding freshly ground black pepper boosts turmeric absorption by 2,000%! You can also increase turmeric’s healing properties by mixing it with a healthy fat such as ghee or coconut oil.

And guess what? Turmeric milk checks off all of the above!

Enjoy!

Health Coach Jenna

5 Steps to Help You Ditch Your Antidepressants

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Today, one in 10 Americans takes an antidepressant, and I am happy to say that I am no longer one of them.

I started taking prescription drugs at the age of 10 when my doctors diagnosed me with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). By the time I reached 18, I had been on 15 different antidepressants. At this point, I finally had had enough of feeling dull and lifeless, and decided to quit. What I realize today is that I never had ADHD or depression, but rather a gluten sensitivity, and a diet lacking in healthy fats, beneficial bacteria, vitamins, and nutrients to support optimum brain function.

Thankfully, through the power of yoga, and a healthy diet, I have been off of the meds for 10 years now, and have never felt better.

The good news is, you have the power to get off them, too.

*How to ditch your antidepressants

1. Take Probiotics

Scientists are finding out that there is a major relationship between our gut health and our minds. It turns out that if our gut is depressed, so is our mind. Doctor’s prescribe serotonin-specific reuptake inhibitor medications (SSRIs) to treat symptoms of depression. But did you know that you gut is responsible for making 80-90% of the serotonin available to your body? (i) When your gut bacteria is not healthy, inflammation occurs. And this inhibits the amount of serotonin available to your brain, resulting in depression. Dr. Perlmutter notes in his book “Brain Maker”:

“As a neurologist, for example, I find it intriguing to note that today’s antidepressants purportedly work by increasing the availability of the neurotransmitter serotonin, and yet the precursor for serotonin-tryptophan-is tightly regulated by the gut bacteria. In fact-a particular bacterium, Bifidobacterium infantis, does a great job of making tryptohan available”. (i)

By taking an aggressive dose of probiotics everyday, you will see huge results. Take a high grade probiotic in the morning and in the evening. Also, eat at least 2-3 servings of fermented foods everyday.

2. Take fish oil.   

Studies have found that taking Omega -3 fatty acids raises serotonin levels,  and researchers have found that when fed to pigs, fish oil has been shown to have the same effect on the brain as Prozac. Other studies have also shown that fish oil can smooth out mood swings from bipolar disorder.

If you are already taking fish oil, give yourself a pat on the back! But if you are using it to increase your serotonin levels, then up your dose to 20 grams, and make sure to buy pills with concentrated levels of EPA and DHA.

(Niacin has also been used to naturally treat depression and anxiety. To find more about click HERE.)

3. Meditate.

Studies have shown that meditation lowers stress, and in a recent study by the University of Oregon , they found that meditating can result in brain changes that may protect against mental illness. Meditating also helps you connect with your inner voice, which after years of being silenced by prescription drugs probably has lots to say!

Meditation is a wonderful spiritual outlet, but if you’ve tried it and it’s not your thing, there are many other outlets that can serve you in the same way.

4. Eat a healthy diet, and don’t skip meals.

You’ve heard the saying over and over “a healthy body, a healthy mind”, because it is the truth! What you put into your body affects your blood sugar levels, which in turn affects your moods. So make sure you are eating a diet filled with natural, unprocessed foods, loads of greens, healthy fats, and drinking plenty of water. And please, don’t go long periods of time without eating, as this quite often brings on mood changes.

5. Exercise!

It’s simple. Exercising releases endorphins, and endorphins make you happy.

Yoga is what works for me, but maybe swimming or HIIT ( high intensity interval training) might be what works for you. Whatever your outlet, make sure you get at least 30 minutes of exercise everyday. On the days where you don’t feel like an intense workout, simply go on a 30-minute walk, or do some gentle yoga. And for extra bonus points, try to get as much exercise outdoors in the sunshine as possible.

The choices are infinite, so play around and have fun with it.

And please remember to find a naturopathic physician to guide you along the way, in addition to consulting the psychiatrist or physician who prescribed your pills. With many of these beautiful people eager to help, why do this on your own? It’s much easier with support, I promise.

Making this transition will not be easy, but it is worth it. And please don’t close yourself off and try to do this on your own, because the more friends and family you include for support, the smoother the transition. Lastly, remember that you are a righteous and radiant being, fully capable of making this journey.

*Please do not quit your pills cold turkey. It is important that you integrate your new habits into your life while slowly weaning yourself off your pills. Your health coach can help you with this transition.

Furthermore, some people might need to stay on antidepressants. Not everyone is a candidate for being pill-free. Please consult your naturopathic physician and/or health coach to find out if quitting your antidepressants is right for you.

Further recommended reading:

Brain Maker

Mind Of Your Own

Grain Brain

HealtherNotions_Logo_Stacked

 

Sources

Perlmutter, David, and Kristin Loberg. Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain–for Life. Print.

 

5 Things You Can Do Now To Repair Your Brain

Did you know that Alzheimer’s starts 30 years before any symptoms appear, and that it affects 50% of people over 85? Or that depression is one of the greatest killers of our time?

Our brain is sometimes overlooked because we can’t see it, unlike our skin, hair, and body size, but it is vital to enjoying a healthy life. Our brains are involved in everything that we do: thinking, feeling, interacting, intelligence, character, planning, and decisions.

The bottom line is, when our brain works right, we work right, so it’s crucial that we take care of it to the best of our ability.

Here are 5 things you can do that will start repairing your brain right away:

1. Take probiotics

Scientists are finding out that there is a major relationship between our gut health and our minds. It turns out that if our gut is in a depressed, so is our mind. Doctor’s prescribe serotonin-specific reuptake inhibitor medications (SSRIs) to treat symptoms of depression and memory loss. But did you know that you gut is responsible for making 80-90% of the serotonin available to your body? (i) When your gut bacteria is not healthy, inflammation occurs. And this inhibits the amount of serotonin available to your brain, resulting in depression. Dr. Perlmutter notes in his book “Brain Maker”:

“As a neurologist, for example, I find it intriguing to note that today’s antidepressants purportedly work by increasing the availability of the neurotransmitter serotonin, and yet the precursor for serotonin-tryptophan-is tightly regulated by the gut bacteria. In fact-a particular bacterium, Bifidobacterium infantis, does a great job of making tryptohan available”. (i)

By taking a dose of probiotics everyday, you will see huge results. Take a high grade probiotic in the morning and in the evening. Also, eat at least 2-3 servings of fermented foods everyday.

2. Exercise  

Exercise will not only release serotonin and make you happier, but it will also help maintain your weight. There have been 24 recent studies proving that as weight goes up, the size and function of your brain goes down, and cognitive scores have also been shown to improve with weight loss.

3Get 8 hours of sleep

It’s crucial you get enough sleep, as this is when the brain repairs itself. If you deprive yourself of sleep, your brain will degenerate quickly.

 4. New Learning

Your muscles aren’t the only things that need a workout! If you don’t use your brain you will lose it. New types of learning can include reading books, taking an online course, doing crossword puzzles – get creative!

5. Drink Green Tea

Green tea is amazing for a plethora of reasons, one being that it helps the brain function. Green tea has caffeine and the amino acid L-theanine, which when paired together help the brain work. L-theanine also has anti-anxiety effects and increases dopamine.

And don’t forget to practice gratitude!

Write five things you are grateful for everyday and you will see an increase in happiness, which will have an overall positive effect on the health of your brain.

For further reading about keeping your brain healthy, I recommend Dr. Daniel Amen’s book “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life”.

HealtherNotions_Logo_Stacked

 

Sources

Perlmutter, David, and Kristin Loberg. Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain–for Life. Print.