Monday, March 27, 2017

Make Lemonade, Or You're At Risk For Dementia.

After a suggestion from a friend I began researching the effects of stress on cognitive decline. I'm not sure this is the answer she was looking for. 

There are a number of studies supporting the fact that stress does contribute to developing Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease. Even stressful events that happened years earlier can trigger long lasting effects in the brain. Events like death of a loved one, divorce, chronic illness of a loved one, caring for someone with mental illness. Having multiple stressful life events compounds the problem. There is a dysregulation of the brain-pituitary-adrenal axis that continues to over produce chemicals that make it harder to think and establish poor coping mechanisms. 

When people are in stressful situations their fight or flight systems go to work. So if you are in a meeting or in class where you are supposed to concentrate and learn you won't be able to. Who can sit and do what they're suppose to do when the lion is getting ready to attack? When the lion is attacking your cortisol and adrenalin are pumping, flooding your brain with anxiety chemicals. Dopamine and Acetylcholine should be being produced which helps you be calm and learn.

Does that mean I doomed to develop dementia because I've had stressful events in my life? It is important to realize that people respond to stressful events differently. Only you can control how much you let the event affect you. As the proverbial phrase goes, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade". If you have adopted this way of thinking you may very well prevent the expected consequences.

Taking the right supplements may also give you a fighting chance to prevent cognitive decline. There are many formulas to chose from, but one research article that resonated with me and what I'm trying to do is this one. Phosphatidylserine(PS) is a type of fatty acid that makes up brain cells. Young healthy brains have a larger supply of (PS) than the brains of older people showing the effects of aging. There is clinical evidence showing that supplementing with PS can improve behavior and improve comprehension and thinking.

Take away: Don't let stress get you down and take your supplements.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Please do me a favor and leave a comment with your favorite way to combat stress.

Reference1 Johansson LGuo XHällström T, et al
Common psychosocial stressors in middle-aged women related to longstanding distress and increased risk of Alzheimer's disease: a 38-year longitudinal population study

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Can Yogurt Help Treat Depression?

Can Yogurt Help Treat Depression?

Can yogurt treat depression? Really, what’s that all about?
Yogurt is a fermented food that has the good bacteria for your intestines. Real live cultures of Lactobacillus in the foods you eat can help balance the bacteria in your gut. That promotes a healthy gut environment so the balance of good bacteria out weighs the bad bacteria. This reduces the levels of anxiety and depression(1).
There is a high correlation of depression and anxiety in people that have irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s Disease(1). With these gut problems there is an imbalance of the good bacteria. They don’t make the right amounts of GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid). Other reasons for having an imbalance in intestinal flora is eating a diet high in processed sugary foods. Taking antibiotics will disrupt the normal bowel flora. As well as certain medications.
GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter of the central nervous system. It works to slow down the hyperactivity in the brain causing anxiety, then being overwhelmed with a sense of hopelessness and depression. By having a healthy gut, you increase your ability to make higher levels of GABA and decrease pathogenic bacteria.
Not just yogurt, but naturally fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and lots of other vegetables have the good bacteria in it. We need to be aware of where we get our fermented foods. The commercialized products we get at the grocery stores may not be the best source of good gut food. They are processed for mild taste and shelf life so the bacteria are not helpful. The yogurt you get out of the dairy case may be filled with sugar, High fructose corn syrup, dyes and additives which can even be more harmful for your intestines.
Making your own fermented vegetables is an option and might be fun. There are many recipes available online. However, shopping at local health food stores for unprocessed products and natural yogurts such as kefir and lassi.Drinking kombucha can provide good bacteria also. Eating a variety of different foods can increase your chances to help get all the right bacteria.
Don’t like fermented foods? Take a supplement to get your good gut bacteria, called probiotics. Get a good brand from a reputable source. The bottles need to be protected from the sun and heat. They are live cultures, you don’t want to kill them before you get them into your system. Everyone’s gut is different, so no one supplement is right for everyone. Rotate the variety of bacteria strains you take so you can get a broad spectrum. I have my favorite from this company.
There are more reasons to get your gut working properly and having a good balance of bacteria. Things like immune support, behavioral and learning issues in children, autism, food sensitivities and more. Maybe a subject for another blog post.
I’d love to hear from you. Please leave comment and let me know what you have  done to help your guts feel better.

Reference1 Ingestion of Lactobacillus strain regulates emotional behavior and central GABA receptor expression in a mouse via the vagus nerveJavier A. Bravoa,1,Paul Forsytheb,c,1,Marianne V. Chewb,Emily Escaravageb,Hélène M. Savignaca,d,Timothy G. Dinana,e,John Bienenstockb,f,2, andJohn F. Cryana,d,g
Reference2 Microbiota alteration is associated with the development of stress-induced despair behavior,Ioana A. MarinJennifer E. GoertzTiantian RenStephen S. RichSuna Onengut-GumuscuEmily FarberMartin WuChristopher C. OverallJonathan Kipnis & Alban GaultierScientific Reports 7, Article number: 43859 (2017)doi:10.1038/srep43859MicrobiomeStress and resiliencePublished online:07 March 2017