Posted in Daily Fire

Your head is not an island

Your head is not an island

Have you ever just thought ‘my head is fucked’

Like thoughts all over the place, stressing for no reason and just being pure negative

Then you start thinking what the hell is wrong with me, why am I like this.

You start blaming the fact that you have a negative mindset and that your head is fucked.

But you fail to notice when your Blaming your head the way your lifestyle has been lately

You’ve not been eating properly, you stopped exercising and your not even walking as much,

You’ve been stressed at work, your not getting meaningful connections out of your relationships because your too distracted

All this adds up

Your head is not an island, everything you do has an effect on how you think and feel, the things you do internally and externally

Your not broken and your head is not fucked everything you do is connected.

Take a step back, have a think about all the things that can be causing these feelings and make a plan to get back to reality

Posted in Daily Fire

We need each other

We need each other

It’s how we got here.

We got here through cooperation as tribes,

Working together to get food, look after the young and staying alive.

Being isolated meant almost certain death.

Today that feeling sticks with us,

If we are lonely our stress levels go up, we perceive more things as threats, we perceive others as threats which can make interactions awkward, it increases the risk of diseases like depression and Copd…

As the uk is pretty much back into lockdown I can’t help but think that the phycolical effects are going to be more disastrous than ‘Covid’ that thing that we may have but have no symptoms…

Meaningful relationships are needed now more than ever,

We’re all connected virtually but physically we’re not.

Reconnect with your tribes, we need them

Posted in Full Post

Serotonin & Health Effects

Your Not Broken (Preview)

A preview from my upcoming ebook linking the the gaps between mental health and overall health, Please note this is just a draft and will be edited. *This is for educational purposes only*

Serotonin 

Serotonin is manufactured in the raphe nuclei, an area located in the midbrain. Its production is triggered by activation of the tectum (Latin for roof), also located in the midbrain (59)

Stimulation of the midbrain roof depends on adequate light.

So if someone spends a lot of time in a poorly lit office, travels home and to work in the dark. The midbrain roof (Tectum) may not get enough stimulation and does not get the rest of the midbrain fired up causing serotonin production to suffer.

This could be why serotonin deficiency is often associated with depression and moodiness during winter, on cloudy days, or with too many days spent inside

Symptoms of Serotonin Impairment or Deficiency (59,170-76)

Low serotonin activity has been associated with, Loss of pleasure in hobbies and interests, Feelings of inner rage and anger, Feelings of depression, Difficulty finding joy from life pleasures, Depression when it is cloudy or when there is lack of sunlight, Loss of enthusiasm for favourite activities, Not enjoying favourite foods, Not enjoying friendships and relationships, Unable to fall into a deep restful sleep. 

A Domino effect of Serotonin Impairment (170.)

you may not experience all of the above symptoms but an example of how having unbalanced serotonin would play out.

It might start with a loss of enthusiasm for your favourite activity where for the first time you are having to get yourself motivated to do/ enjoy it. Socialising whether, at work, home or with friends starts to become an effort. Food starts to lose its flavour and you start to lose your appetite so you stop enjoying food like you used to. You might then start to think that this is just a phase you’re going through, maybe some sleep will help but you are now struggling to get some deep restful sleep if any at all and now you showing up late for work for the first time in your life and struggling to get anything done. 

You’re not enjoying life anymore so you go see a doctor after your breathing starts to get heavy and you’re getting pains in your chest. They may say it’s anxiety-related and gives you some medication to combat it along with some sleeping pills. This may help for a short while but then things start to go back to the way they were and then you may start to turn to alcohol to try to self medicate and get yourself back on track.

Too much Serotonin (59 & 170.)

Too much serotonin can make you extremely nervous, hesitant and distracted, Feeling very vulnerable to criticism and having a fear of being disliked which could lead to anger and sadness and a desperate desire for social contact but ironically being too afraid to initiate it (177.)

Not to forget that producing too much serotonin can affect the production of it leaving us with low serotonin traits like feelings of depression.

Serotonin & Foods,

Foods that have been known to have high tryptophan (which gets converted into serotonin) are chicken, eggs, cheese, peanuts, pumpkin and sesame seeds, milk, shrimp, mushrooms, snapper, halibut, scallops, spinach, turkey, lamb, beef, liver, and salmon (59,170, 178)

The standard western diet includes enough of the precursors for all amino acids so adding more of these foods might not improve your mood too much. 

The bigger issue is whether the precursors make it into the brain and are able to be synthesized into serotonin. Again, this is where general brain health, stress, and blood sugar imbalances determine how well the brain is able to uptake and use serotonin precursors (59.) 

As discussed in the blood sugar imbalances section too much glucose in the blood disrupts the distribution of Tyrosine to the brain therefore leaving us with too much or too little serotonin.

Tryptophan, found in protein-rich foods, is two steps away from serotonin. Tryptophan gets converted into 5-HTP and then 5-HTP to serotonin. However, these conversions are dependent on Iron. If you are showing symptoms of Serotonin deficiency you may want to consider having an Iron deficiency.

Iron deficiency anaemia signs and symptoms may include (179):

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Pale skin
  • Chest pain, fast heartbeat or shortness of breath
  • Headache, dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Inflammation or soreness of your tongue
  • Brittle nails
  • Unusual cravings for non-nutritive substances, such as ice, dirt or starch
  • Poor appetite, especially in infants and children with iron deficiency anaemia

Nutritional Compounds to help support Serotonin

5-HTP & Tryptophan

There’s an ongoing discussion in the natural health community whether it’s better to take tryptophan or 5-HTP to increase serotonin levels.

Tryptophan more readily enters the brain, but 5-HTP requires one less step to convert into serotonin (180.)

5-HTP supplements are thought to treat depression by increasing serotonin levels Several small studies (182-85) have found that 5-HTP reduced symptoms of depression. (However, two of them did not use placebos for comparison, limiting the strength of their findings) (181.) 

findings support that combining 1 to 3 g per day of l-tryptophan and early-morning bright light exposure is more efficacious than either treatment alone in patients diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder. In a double-blind study, 58 per cent of generally anxious patients randomized to 3 g per day of l-tryptophan reported significantly greater reductions in baseline anxiety compared to placebo (186)

Other nutritional compounds 

SAM-e naturally occurs in every cell of the body and brain and fuels over 100 metabolic reactions (180) SAMe is used to transfer a methyl group to boost serotonin production and increase serotonin levels. Several studies have shown it to be effective at easing depression (59, 187.)

St. John’s wort has been shown to act as a natural serotonin reuptake inhibitor. This means it allows serotonin to hang out in the synaptic cleft longer, therefore increasing its activity on postsynaptic receptor sites and boosting serotonin transmission (188-93.) 

Posted in Full Post

What does Blood Sugar Balance Have To Do With The Brain & Mental Health

Your Not Broken (Preview)

A preview from my upcoming ebook linking the the gaps between mental health and overall health, Please note this is just a draft and will be edited

What does Blood Sugar Balance Have To Do With The Brain & Mental Health

Well, we’ve all probably experienced the feeling when we haven’t eaten enough and we get a headache, feel shaky, blurred vision and struggling to concentrate, This is what happens when our BS drops too low, The brain simply isn’t getting enough fuel.

There is lots of evidence correlating a healthy diet with the maintenance of mental health, However, a trend towards a reduction in the quality of adolescent diets has been observed at the global level (77). This trend is characterized by an increased intake of fast foods, fried foods, sweets, refined grains, processed meat, and a reduction of fruit/vegetable intake (76). The consumption of this Western-style diet has been independently associated with a greater risk for the development of anxiety and depression (76)

A 15-year-old female student of south-Asian descent, Was diagnosed with GAD (General Anxiety Disorder)

A diet history revealed the following typical daily food intake:

(i)Breakfast: fruit smoothie containing fruit, fruit juice, and water. 

(ii)Morning snack: bagel with margarine.

(iii)Lunch: pasta or white rice with vegetables.

(iv)Afternoon snack: granola bar or cookies or gummy candies. 

(v)After school meal: white pasta; it may include meat.

(vi)Dinner: white rice or spaghetti; it may include meat.

(vii)Evening snack: cookies and toast.

(viii)Beverages: 2 litres of water, 1 cup of juice, 1 cup of lactose-free milk, and 1 cup of tea.

At the initial visit, the following dietary plan was prescribed:

(i)Breakfast: it includes a smoothie containing fruit, water, 1 scoop of protein powder, and 1 tablespoon of flax seeds or olive oil.

(ii)Lunch and dinner: they include a serving of protein (meat, legume, and soy) and a serving of vegetables.

(iii)Snacks: they include protein when possible (e.g., apple with sunflower seed butter, vegetable sticks with hummus, and pumpkin seeds).

(iv)Continue to eat carbohydrate-containing snacks as needed for the management of hypoglycemia symptoms.

At the first follow-up, four weeks later, she reported that she had complied with the dietary plan since the previous visit. She reported a significant decrease in anxiety (4 to 5/10) compared with (8 to 10/10), as well as improved energy, less frequent and less intense hypoglycemia symptoms, and fewer headaches (once per week compared to daily) in addition to improved concentration and mood. She required fewer snacks during the day and decreased her intake of granola bars, cookies, and candies (1-2 servings per day).

At a subsequent follow-up visit four weeks later, she reported that she had briefly reverted back to her original diet for a period of one week and experienced a worsening of anxiety symptoms within one day. After returning to the dietary intervention prescribed, her anxiety symptoms decreased within two days.

This case illustrates an example of improved anxiety and hypoglycemia symptoms in response to changes in the macronutrient composition of the diet. It suggests that dietary GI (Glycemic index) and blood sugar balance, within a physiologic range, may play a role in the development or clinical progression of anxiety. Subsequently, modifying the diet by reducing the consumption of refined carbohydrates and including more protein, fat, and fibre may be beneficial (77.)

Too much sugar and starchy foods are a major promoter of inflammation in the brain, and when inflammation affects the brain, neurons die rapidly and in great numbers, speeding up brain ageing and increasing the risk for neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s (59.)

In order for our brain to make neurotransmitters it needs the goldilocks effect for sugar in the brain, Too much or too little then our Neurotransmitter production is compromised.

Blood sugar imbalances are a big issue today and it’s no coincidence that brain chemistry imbalances are also a big issue.

When we eat too many sweets, starchy carbs, those sugary drinks that go by the name as coffee, all this causes a surge in insulin to stop BS rising to high, When insulin is too high Branched Chain Amino Acids are refused entry to the brain, leaving Tryptophan to travel to the brain alone.

Tryptophan gets made into Serotonin. The issue with this is that we now have too much serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is calming which is why people, after they have had a high starchy meal, may feel drowsy and sleepy. After the serotonin levels drop, people may feel depressed, spurring once again those cravings for sweets and starchy foods for that “high” they get from the serotonin surge. 

Overproduction of serotonin can lead to serotonin production being impacted. The end result over time is a loss in effective serotonin activity and increased symptoms of low serotonin, such as depression, loss of interest in life, seasonal affective disorder, and more. 

So the effect of too much insulin in the body leads to, too much Serotonin being produced, What about Hypoglycemia (Low BS)

Well, it’s kind of the opposite, There isn’t enough Tryptophan being produced and transported to the brain so not enough Serotonin is made. Another factor is that hypoglycemia lowers overall glucose levels in the brain. Adequate glucose is necessary to fuel energy in the brain, including the energy to produce serotonin.

This same principle applies to dopamine, our “pleasure and reward” neurotransmitter. As with a serotonin deficiency, a dopamine deficiency can produce symptoms of depression. Other symptoms include feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness, lack of motivation, and a tendency to snap or fly into a rage over little things

Posted in Poem

Riding The Storm

Right now I know it seems there is no other way,
Believe me even though I don’t know what to say,
I just want you to keep fighting every day

Right now the world may seem cold,
debt has a hold on you and it’s taking its toll
You feel stuck, Where is the way out of this hole,
Stress has you feeling like a mess, like somehow you’re broken

Keep up the fight, your filled with might,
I hope you trust me when I say that one day it’ll be alright
I know its hard to see past the hight of the struggle
But you’re filled with might and you’ll be alright

Right now the world may feel cold
One day though
Believe me
You will be ok as long as you
Never give up, Keep fighting, Be Brave, Be Bold

Never Give Up
You’ve got this
Believe me
One day you’ll
Realise that the world is beautiful and warm,

You just have to ride out this storm
I know you feel broken and torn
But keep riding this storm and watch emerge a Unicorn