Tag Archives: anxiety

Anxiety

AnxietyJacquie Eubanks RN BSNAnyone who has experienced anxiety is familiar with what can be described as an unpleasant feeling, a vague sense of unease and apprehension. While anxiety disorders affect over 40 million adults in the US, virtually everyone has felt anxious at some point in time. Symptoms such as mild stomach discomfort, perspiration, a quickening of the heartbeat, are common reactions to stressful situations. Similar to fear, anxiety triggers the fight or flight stress response and the release of stress hormones, including adrenaline, to see you through a momentary anxiety producing circumstance.

Normal intermittent anxiety is beneficial in certain temporary situations, a job interview, a college exam, public speaking, or what a performer would call opening night jitters. When anxiety becomes chronic or irrational and begins to interfere with normal everyday life, it can lead to physical illness and a psychological disorder diagnosis. Dissimilar to fear, which is a rational response to a real danger, chronic irrational anxiety generally lacks a clear or realistic cause, yet still produces physical responses that can become debilitating and lead to chronic conditions.

Chronic disproportionate anxiety that negatively affects sleep and concentration or results in avoidance of social situations, is classified as a disorder. While treatable, statistics show that a large percentage of adults who have anxiety disorders never receive treatment, such as therapy or medications. People who have undiagnosed or untreated anxiety disorders are more likely to self-medicate with nicotine, alcohol or street drugs that may temporarily relieve anxiety symptoms, but may also greatly affect general health and wellbeing in the long term. Those who are struggling to manage the symptoms of persistent, but not debilitating, anxiety may have anxious thoughts or behaviors that may be improved by dietary and lifestyle changes.

  • Eating more protein and healthy fats, not skipping meals, and avoiding sugar and refined carbs can keep blood sugar stable and eliminate blood sugar crashes. Low blood sugar can initiate a stress response and the release of stress hormones that feels eerily like anxiety.
  • Gradually decreasing caffeine intake until you can eliminate it entirely can help to improve sleep, stabilize energy and improve the stress response.
  • Getting adequate, restful sleep helps to eliminate the anxiety-insomnia-sleep deprivation cycle, leaving one less vulnerable to anxiety. To help wind down in the evening, dim the lights an hour before bedtime, take a warm shower or bath, or do a short meditation and some gentle stretching to help you relax.
  • Taking probiotics and eating fermented foods can help to promote healthy gut flora and improve gastrointestinal function. Digestive tract health can affect mood and may play a role in anxiety disorders.
  • Take every opportunity to get in some physical activity, as exercise helps to relieve stress and anxiety.

Anyone who struggles with anxiety will tell you that managing anxiety is not an easy task. Good lifestyle habits are certainly beneficial, as proper diet, sufficient exercise, and good quality sleep can noticeably improve the anxiety and stress response. As well, proper supplementation can improve the quality of sleep, provide calming minerals, support mood and neurotransmitter production and aid adrenal function, resulting in anxiety relief, improved focus, increased energy and more optimal stress management.

L-theanine – Found naturally in green tea, this amino acid enhances cognition and focus, while surprisingly promoting relaxation without inducing drowsiness. Utilized to naturally relieve anxiety and stress, L-theanine calms both the body and the mind, bringing about a state of wakeful relaxation. When you need to chill out, L-theanine can help.

Magnesium – Widely known as a calming mineral, magnesium is involved in hundreds of biochemical processes, including energy production, blood glucose regulation and stress management, as well as immune system and adrenal function support. Magnesium deficiency is linked to symptoms of anxiety, depression, mood imbalances, and insomnia, all of which benefit from magnesium repletion.

GABA – Synthesized naturally in the brain and widely distributed throughout the central nervous system, GABA is a major neurotransmitter that has relaxation-inducing and stress-relieving effects. Low levels are GABA are associated with anxiety, depression and insomnia. Clinical studies have shown that GABA supplementation can promote feelings of calmness, increase metal clarity and focus, and support more restful sleep.

Kava – Used traditionally for centuries to enhance relaxation, improve mood and support sleep, kava has been shown to elevate mood, improve stress management, reduce the negative effects of stress, and relieve symptoms associated with generalized anxiety, including persistent worry, restlessness, insomnia, fatigue and muscle tension.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality formulas to support overall health and a healthy stress response:

L-Theaninel-Theanine by Pure Encapsulations: One capsule provides 200 mg of l-theanine as Suntheanine®, a unique amino acid that provides helpful relaxation support, and eases occasional nervous tension and irritability with causing drowsiness. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.

Magnesium (glycinate...Magnesium Glycinate by Pure Encapsulations: Magnesium supports the metabolism and utilization of nutrients and the proper functioning of critical enzymatic and physiological functions. Important for muscle function and mood balance, magnesium in glycinate form is less likely to cause bowel discomfort than other forms of magnesium. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.

Gaba 750 mgGABA 750 mg by Integrative Therapeutics: One capsule provides 750 mg of GABA in support of the neuroendocrine system. This pure vegetarian formula is gluten, soy, dairy and sugar free.

 

Kava (Formerly...Kava by Herb Pharm: This liquid extract is sourced from sustainably harvested Kava grown in the Vanuatu Islands in the South Pacific according to ancient agricultural traditions. Kava provides nervous system support, promoting peaceful relaxation and stress reduction. This formula is prepared from the whole rhizome and root and is extracted with pharmaceutical grade certified organic grain alcohol. Gluten free, Non-GMO formulation.

Kava KavaKava Kava by Professional Solutions: Formulated with ecologically harvested Kava Kava from Vanuatu, this potent herbal extract supports calm, relaxation and bodily systems negatively affected by stress. Vegetarian formula. Contains Non-GMO soy.

 

References:
What is Anxiety? https://www.anxiety.org/what-is-anxiety
Understanding the Anxious Mind. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/04/magazine/04anxiety-t.html
Magnesium and the Brain: The Original Chill Pill.  https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201106/magnesium-and-the-brain-the-original-chill-pill
Murray, Michael, M.D. Easing the Agony of Anxiety & Panic Attacks. Vitamin Retailer, February 2017
Is It Normal Anxiety or an Anxiety Disorder? https://www.verywell.com/is-it-normal-anxiety-or-an-anxiety-disorder-2584401

Healthy Airline Travel: Part II

TipsForHealthyAirlineTravelPartIIBy Jacquie Eubanks BSN, RN

Travel should be fun, exciting and enjoyable.  Planning ahead can help you cope with any worries or fears that can accompany your travel plans.  Here are some common problems associated with air travel and tips on how you can manage, overcome or prevent illness and discomfort: 

Jet Lag

Jet lag is a form of disorientation and fatigue caused by abruptly switching to a different sleep/wake schedule.  This occurs when the body’s circadian  (24 hour) clock struggles to adjust its normal rhythms to your new destination. Traveling across time zones creates confusion within the body as sleep patterns are interrupted.  Short term consequences of missed sleep can result in impaired memory and speech functions and an impaired ability to think and process information. 

  • An east-west flight of less than 4 hours may cause stiffness and irritability.  A longer flight may cause varied symptoms of digestive problems, dehydration, headache, disorientation, anxiety, nausea or constipation
  • To minimize jet lag, try shifting your sleep patterns by an hour or two for a few days before your flight and get a good night’s sleep before your trip. 
  • Try to sleep on the plane.  A window seat is a better choice for longer flights as you can prop yourself against the wall and can avoid being disturbed when your seat mates get up.  Here’s where your travel pillow, an eye mask and noise cancelling head phones come in handy. 
  • Once you arrive, exist solely on the local time to quickly realign your circadian clock and  have as normal a day as possible.  If you arrive in the morning, get some daylight and fresh air, try to push through to an early dinner and then get a good night’s sleep.
  • Changes in temperature and eating times can also contribute to travel fatigue. 

Anxiety

Even those without fear of flying can suffer from anxiety regarding travel.  Fatigue and anxiety can wreak havoc on the immune system. 

  • Practice relaxation techniques such as listening  to soothing music, enjoying a good book or watching an in-flight movie. 
  • Try creative visualization.  Imagine yourself at your destination and all the wonderful things you plan to do there. 
  • Cut back on caffeine.  Stay hydrated by drinking water and get plenty of rest before your flight. 
  • Hand over control.  Anxiety is often about needing control and the lack of the ability to have control in certain situations.  The Captain is a professional who wants to arrive as safely as you do and accepting that fact may reduce anxiety. 
  • Scheduling a minimum of 45 minutes for layovers between flights may also help reduce anxiety. 
  • Use the power of distraction.  Bring with you items that will distract from the flight such as crossword puzzles, a good book, or portable games.  Striking up a conversation with your seat partners can help pass the time and keep your mind occupied.
  • Take good care of your body and nutrition.  Physically fit, well-rested people are less likely to suffer bouts of anxiety. 

Deep Vein Thrombosis

Sitting for long periods of time can increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a potentially life threatening disorder in which blood clots form in the deep veins of the body.  Senior adults, smokers, obese or pregnant persons and people with varicose veins or a history of blood clots are most at risk.  The following exercises can help relieve fatigue, stress and tension and will increase your blood circulation minimizing your health risks.

  • Once the seatbelt restriction is lifted, get up every hour and walk the aisle of the plane to stretch your legs. 
  • Perform in-seat exercises such as slow ankle rolls, gentle head and shoulder rolls, or foot pumps where you lift your heels high while keeping your toes on the floor and then reverse leaving heels on the floor and lifting your toes. 
  • Stretch your arms straight out in front of you, then lift them overhead and reach up into the air for an additional stretch.
  • Lifting one knee at a time and pulling it towards your chest for 15 seconds is another excellent stretch you can do while seated. 
  • In addition, you can do a forward flex by keeping your feet flat on the floor, bending forward from the waist and reaching your hands towards your ankles.

Food and water borne illness:

Experiencing new cuisines and local fare is a big part of traveling.  Use caution when you arrive at your destination.  Not all water and ice is safe to drink so stick with bottled water and other bottled beverages and bypass the ice.

  • Roadside stands and food kiosks may look temping but be cautious.  Raw foods, unrefrigerated foods, undercooked foods, unpeeled fruit, or unpasteurized dairy can all cause gastrointestinal problems.  Better to eat in restaurants that have a reputation for safe cooking. 
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before every meal or snack.  Hand washing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of foodborne illness.  If soap and water are not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on your hands but may not entirely eliminate them.  Soap, water and 20 seconds of rubbing is the best way to clean your hands. 
  • Take probiotics to keep your healthy intestinal flora flourishing and boost your immune system to defend against harmful bacteria.  
  • Digestive aids can help your body cope with new or unusual foods and can maintain stomach and intestinal comfort by supporting the digestive process. 

Don’t forget to bring a hat, sunglasses and comfortable shoes.  A little planning ahead on your part can ensure your health and comfort.  Here’s hoping you have a safe, healthy and memorable summer! 

Supplemental aids for travelers:

Ortho Biotic by Ortho MolecularTo maintain and encourage the growth of good bacteria in your intestinal tract.  Stress, alcohol, pollutants and foods can all increase harmful bacteria and set the stage for digestive issues and illness.  Taking a probiotic before, during and after air travel can help boost your immune system and reduce your chances of digestive imbalances from foreign microbes.  This is a great probotic for travel as refrigeration is not necessary. 

Digest Gold by Enzymedica –  Formulated to assist with digestion of proteins, fats, carbohydrates and fiber.  Changes in your diet while traveling can upset your digestive system.  This product is designed to assist the body in the maximum digestion of nutrients, support energy production and provide immune support.  

End Fatigue Daily Energy B Complex by Integrative Therapeutics –  Ultimate strength B vitamin formula for all day energy.  End Fatigue Daily Energy B Complex features high levels of B12 and other B vitamins for healthy blood, brain and nerve cell function all essential for sustained energy.  This product helps maintain mental alertness when you are experiencing fatigue. 

Buffered Ascorbic Acid by Pure Encapsulations  –  Buffered ascorbic acid combines calcium ascorbate, magnesium ascorbate, and potassium ascorbate to create a neutral pH vitamin C.  Vitamin C supports the body’s defense system by enhancing white blood cell function and activity and increasing antibody response.  Vitamin C is a superior antioxidant that helps fight viral and bacterial infections while enhancing immunity. 

Rhodiola (SF755) by Thorne Research –  Rhodiola is an important stress-relieving botanical.   In addition to aiding sleep, Rhodiola can enhance mood and decrease occasional episodes of worry and nervousness, allowing for more efficient functioning under stressful conditions.

 

How Colorful Is Your Diet?

HowColorfulIsYourDietBy Susan Brown

Highly pigmented fruits and vegetables contain phytonutrients.  Phytonutrients are natural biochemical components which work together with vitamins, minerals and fiber to promote good health.  Phytonutrients contain antioxidants that protect your cells from disease-causing free radicals.  Studies show that eight out of ten Americans fall short on their phytonutrient intake which means they face a nutrient deficit.  Those who eat generous amounts of a variety of fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet are more likely to have a reduced risk of developing chronic disease including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and some types of cancer

When it comes to fruits and vegetables, a more colorful plate benefits your health and your waistline.  Adding 3 – 5 servings of fruits and vegetables to your daily meals or snacks increases nutrients and fiber essential to good health without adding a significant amount of calories and fat.  All produce forms count including fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100% juice.  Frozen fruits and vegetables, frozen at their peak of ripeness, are just as nutritious as fresh.  To put a colorful diet in perspective, eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables each day.  Variety is very important as each food brings its own health benefits to the table.  As a rule, the brighter the color of the food, the more concentrated its nutrition.  When choosing colorful foods, stick with whole foods and avoid foods that get their color artificially through processing and added dyes. 

Here are some very good reasons to add color to your diet along with just a sampling of food color choices: 

RED – Red fruits and vegetables contain lycopene, an effective and powerful antioxidant.  Lycopene belongs to the carotenoid family which includes beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.  Lycopene’s antioxidant actions help maintain the strength, thickness and fluidity of cell membranes, which are vital in the prevention of disease.  Lycopene aids in the prevention of plaque formation in the arteries, inhibits age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, prevents aging of the skin and is a natural internal sun protectant.  Strawberries contain folate which aids heart health and decreases the risk of certain birth defects.  Cherries are a great source of fiber, vitamin C and potassium, which help maintain blood pressure.  Cranberries contain proanthocyanidins that prevent bacteria from sticking to bladder and stomach walls reducing chance of illness.  Kidney beans contain B vitamins, which are key for neurological function.

  • Tomatoes, watermelon, red grapefruit, red peppers, beets, pomegranates, cherries, wild salmon, kidney beans, red apples, raspberries, strawberries and cranberries.

ORANGE – Orange fruits and vegetables contain an abundance of antioxidants, fiber and phytonutrients that are good for your skin, eye and heart health.  Foods rich in carotenoids have been shown to decrease the risk of various cancers including lung, colon, bladder, cervical, breast and skin cancers.  Beta-Carotene, a powerful antioxidant, can help delay cognitive aging and protect skin from sun damage.  Beta-carotene is a precursor for vitamin A which is important for night vision, neutralization of free radicals and the health of your immune system.  Orange foods are chock full of vitamin C which boosts the immune system, protects against cardiovascular disease and helps rebuild skin collagen.  Pumpkins contain zinc, a mineral essential for proper brain function, reproductive health and wound healing.  Sweet potatoes, carrots and citrus fruits are loaded with potassium which aids muscle and nerve function and helps maintain the proper electrolyte and acid-base balance in your body. 

  • Cantaloupe, peaches, oranges, tangerines, papaya, mangoes, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, orange peppers, and carrots.

YELLOW –  Yellow vegetables such as corn contain the antioxidants zeaxanthin and lutein which work together to block harmful rays that can cause eye damage over time.  Pineapple contains bromelain which aids digestion, absorption and elimination.  Yellow bell peppers are packed with vitamin C necessary to produce carnitine, a  compound in muscles that converts fat into energy.  Yellow fruits and vegetables reduce age-related macular degeneration, lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, promote collagen formation and healthy joints, encourage alkaline balance and work with magnesium and calcium to build healthy bones. 

  • Yellow peppers, lemons, yellow squash, garbanzo beans, butternut squash, apricots, pears,  nectarines, sweet corn, bananas and pineapple.

PURPLE/BLUE – Purple foods are colored by a pigment called anthocyanin, a strong and protective antioxidant which can help reduce the risk of cancer,  improve memory and assist with healthy aging.  Purple fruits and vegetables are also packed with flavonoids known to be one of the most powerful phytochemicals.  Flavonoids provide heart-healthy benefits to the cardiovascular system, lowering LDL cholesterol, raising HDL cholesterol, and improving memory storage.  Lavender is associated with increased blood circulation and is helpful in reducing insomnia and anxiety, as well as treating skin ailments such as psoriasis, acne, wrinkles, cuts and burns.  Purple basil, which has high doses of vitamin A, vitamin C and calcium,  is beneficial for the hair, skin and eyes. 

  • Berries, grapes, eggplant, plums, figs, raisins, purple basil, purple potatoes, lavender, and red wine (in moderation).

GREEN – Plant foods derive their green pigments from chlorophyll, a naturally occurring molecule.  Chlorophyll delivers a continuous energy transfusion into the bloodstream, replenishing and increasing red blood cells.  Chlorophyll is not only a powerful oxygenator, it strengthens our immune systems and enhances overall wellbeing.  Chlorophyll is known to improve the health of the circulatory, digestive, immune and detoxification systems of the body.  There are many delicious green foods all containing tremendous health benefits.  Green-hued foods contain EGCG, a potent antioxidant, plus lutein, zeaxanthin and isoflavones.  These phytonutrients are beneficial for eye health, cancer prevention, wound healing and gum tissue health.  Spinach contains vitamin A which helps protect skin from sun damage and ensures healthy cell turn over. 

  • Honeydew, avocado, kiwi, limes, kale, collards, spinach, tea, peppers, peas, grapes, green apples, asparagus and broccoli.

WHITE – White foods contain the phytonutrients allicin and quercetin that may reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer.  Leeks are packed with inulin, a plant fiber that has shown to increase calcium absorption.  Onions contain both sulphur, a powerful antibiotic, and quercetin, an anti-inflammatory agent.  White potatoes are high in vitamin B6 and potassium which support the cardiovascular system and aid in prevention of disease. 

  • Garlic, onions, leeks, cauliflower, potatoes, fennel, white turnip, white corn, white peaches, ginger and mushrooms. 

The FDA recommends 3 -5 servings of vegetables and 2-4 servings of fruit each day.  One serving of vegetables equals:

  • 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables
  • 1/2 cup of other vegetables cooked or raw
  • 3/4 cup of vegetable juice

One serving of fruit equals:

  • 1 medium apple, banana, orange, pear
  • 1/2 cup of chopped, cooked, or canned fruit
  • 3/4 cup of fruit juice

Following these guidelines, it is not difficult to get your full servings of fruits and vegetables each day.  Most of us tend to eat the same foods regularly.  Next time you go grocery shopping, try a fruit or vegetable that you have not had before rather than focusing on what is familiar to you.  When you explore new foods, you are introducing different nutrients and antioxidants to your body.   To reap the most health rewards from your fruit and vegetable consumption, simply think in terms of naturally bright-hued foods. Take your plate from monotone to an artist’s palette and eat your full range of colors every day. 

Supplements for phytonutrient balance:

Greens by Quantum Nutrition Labs Nature’s amazing live-sourced super nutrition formula for optimal health and rejuvenation. Our prized mix features our pristine Power Grass-Plus Blend™ (low-temperature, air-dried) coupled with Power Greens Blend™ for optimal effect. Vegan/vegetarian formula. 

Deeper Greens by Ortho Molecular Products –  Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) is a unit value assigned by researchers to measure the antioxidant value of a given food.  Foods with a high ORAC value benefit the body by increasing plasma antioxidant levels.  Deeper Greens is formulated for excellent pH and fiber values, and contains a high ORAC value to meet the National Cancer Institute’s recommended 5-a-day intake of fruits and vegetables in a satisfying single serving.  Ortho Molecular’s Deeper Greens uses organically grown fruits, vegetables, and grasses where available. 

Organic Greens & Reds Powder by Douglas Laboratories –  Organic Greens and Reds powder is a healthful supplement containing a concentrated phytonutrient blend of grasses, vegetables and botanicals.  This product contains a wide assortment of organic vegetables and fruits that provide potent antioxidant protection.  In addition, fiber from flax seed and digestive enzymes are included to support overall gastrointestinal health.

Sweet Wheat Capsules by Brightcore Nutrition –  Rich in minerals such as phosphorus, iron, calcium and potassium and packed with vitamins including A, B, C and E.  Sweet Wheat provides an array of nutritional benefits including a boost to the immune system, detoxification, strong and healthy hair, skin and nails, and a more restful night’s sleep.

Phytoganix by Metagenics –  A convenient, delicious way to get a diverse daily supply of phytonutrients from certified organic sources to support overall good health.  This highly nutritious, berry red formula provides superfruits such as antioxidant-rich raspberries, blueberries, goji berries, and lingonberries, herbs including spirulina, polyphenol-rich green tea, astragalus, and ginger, vitamin C-rich acerola extract and vegetables such as green cabbage, beets, carrots, and spinach.