Iodoral is Back!

Iodoral Graphic

By Allergy Research Group

Iodine is an essential element that is crucial for thyroid and adrenal health and proper function. It also helps to boost your immunity and create a healthy metabolism balance. Although its main function is to aid in the production of thyroid hormones by the thyroid gland, other organs in the body have a need for iodine in order to function normally too.

Several studies have demonstrated the body’s need for iodine intake. The original study on adolescent girls was completed 80-years-ago and used 9 mg of iodine daily. The minimum amount of iodine determined in these studies is equivalent to 0.1 mg per 1 kg of body weight per day. For example for a 50 kg woman, the daily amount of iodine would be 5 mg.

During the early 1900’s, the iodine/iodide solution called Lugol solution was used extensively, effectively, and safely in medical practice—for both low activity and above normal activity of the thyroid gland. The recommended daily intake for iodine supplementation was 2 to 6 drops of Lugol solution, which provided 12.5 mg to 37.5 mg total iodide. That amount was mentioned as recently as 1995 in a book on Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Several investigators have shown convincing evidence for the need for adequate iodine intake. Japanese women living in Japan consumed a daily average of 13.8 mg total elemental iodine and some research suggests this is an important factor for their relative health. In the 1960s, one slice of bread in the USA contained the full Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of 0.15 mg iodine. Over the last 2 decades, iodine was replaced by bromine in the bread making process. Bromine may block thyroid function and can also interfere with iodine in the body.

The RDA limits for vitamins and minerals were established after World War II. One of the last essential elements included in the RDA system was iodine, established in 1980 and confirmed in 1989. The RDA for iodine was based on the amount of iodine/iodide needed to prevent goiter and hypothyroidism. The optimal requirement of the whole human body for iodine has never been studied. Therefore, the optimal amount of this element for physical and mental well-being is unknown. Based on demographic studies, the mainland

Japanese people consumed an average of 13.8 mg daily and they are one of the healthiest people on planet earth. Lugol solution is a time-tested preparation with a proven track record for over 150 years. Two drops contain 12.5 mg iodine/iodide, an amount very close to the 13.8 mg average intake of the mainland Japanese people.

Iodoral® is a tablet form of Lugol solution. A one 12.5 mg tablet of Iodoral® supplies an amount of total elemental iodine comparable to the average daily intake of this essential element by the mainland Japanese people.

Administration of iodine/iodide in a liquid solution is not very accurate, may stain clothing, has an unpleasant taste, and can cause gastric irritation. Iodoral® is a precisely quantified tablet form containing 5 mg iodine and 7.5 mg iodide as the potassium salt. To prevent gastric irritation, the iodine/iodide preparation is absorbed into a colloidal silica excipient and to eliminate the unpleasant taste of iodine, the tablets are coated with a thin film of pharmaceutical glaze. Iodoral® can help promote healthy thyroid function, support your weight management efforts, balance your metabolism, increase energy and reduce fatigue, boost your immunity, and increase your overall health.

References:

  1. Ghent, W., et al, Can. J. Surg., 36:453-460, 1993.
  2. Eskin, B., et al, Biological Trace Element Research, 49:9-19, 1995.
  3. Marine, D., Atl. Med. J., 26:437-442, 1923.
  4. Abraham,G.E., The Original Internist, 11:17-36, 2004.
  5. Gennaro A.R., Remington: 19th Edition, 1995, Mack Publishing Co, 1267.
  6. Abraham, G.E., Flechas, J.D., Hakala, J.C., The Original Internist, 9:30-41, 2002.
  7. Epstein, S.S., et al, Prevention Program Macmillan, NY, 1998, pg5.
  8. Abraham, G.E., The Original Internist, 11: (2) 29-38, 2004.
  9. Abraham, G.E. Townsend Letter, 245:100- 101, 2003.
  10. Abraham, G.E., Flechas, J.D., Hakala, J.C., The Original Internist, 9:5-20, 2002.

 

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

July 16, 2018 at 12:59 pm Leave a comment

Could a Daily Dose of Sunshine Prevent Neurological Diseases?

Young friends enjoying a day at beach.By Jennifer Palmer, Naturopathic Doctor (ND) & NEEDS Education Director

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects predominately dopamine producing “dopaminergic” neurons in a specific area of the brain. It causes symptoms that progress slowly over years, including rigid limbs, gait and balance problems, and a type of tremor in the hands. Like most of the neurological diseases, it continually progresses and there is no solid cure.

A recent study has found a link between regular sun exposure and having a lower risk of developing PD as an older adult. Sun exposure increases the body’s vitamin D production and this may play a significant role in PD.

This study was conducted in France in order to examine the association of ultraviolet B (UV-B) light exposure from the sun, to the risk of developing PD later in life. The researchers found that in adults under 70-years-old, higher exposure to UV-B light is associated with a lower risk of developing PD. People under 50-years-old with consistently high UV-B exposure had the most significant reduction in their risk of developing PD as they grew older. In older age groups, the risk reduction was less significant, but still existed.

On the flip side, people who had the lowest exposure to UV-B light under 70-years-old had the greatest risk of developing PD. However, for people older than 70, low UV-B light exposure was a less significant risk factor for developing PD and for those over 80, there was very little correlation between sunshine and PD.

There’s a good reason why sunlight is related to neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease and many others. The key reason is that sunshine enhances the body’s natural ability to create vitamin D. When skin is exposed to UV-B light from the sun, it converts a type of cholesterol

(7-dehydrocholesterol) present in the skin into a vitamin D precursor. Then, this precursor is transferred to the liver and kidneys and is ultimately converted to active vitamin D. The body can produce adequate amounts of vitamin D through this process as long as there is sufficient sun exposure, but as we age, the process becomes less effective for many people. This might explain why UV-B exposure is less protective against PD in older adults.

The good news is that we can take vitamin D3 in supplement form to make up for the body’s compromised production and help prevent neurological disorders. Vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining neurological function and protecting the nervous system. When you have a deficiency, it increases a person’s risk of developing neurological diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.

The Vitamin D Council website (www.vitamindcouncil.org) lists more than 60 studies that explore the relationship between vitamin D levels and neurodegeneration. Vitamin D works on specific cells in the immune system to reduce inflammation—a condition that can be damaging to nerves and negatively influences brain function. It may also help reduce autoimmune reactions by balancing the immune system. Vitamin D helps deliver calcium into bones and reduces the risk of excess calcium being deposited into brain tissue. The nervous system also has vitamin D receptors, so the nutrient can influence neurotransmitter synthesis and nerve growth.

If you live in a location where it is difficult to get adequate sun exposure, such as northern latitudes, or if you are concerned about developing skin cancer, you can take vitamin D3 as a supplement. Your physician can test your vitamin D levels and if you find they are very low, you can take up to 10,000 IU vitamin D daily until your levels are restored.

For general supplementation, take 1,000-2,000 IU daily. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient, which is best absorbed when taken with food that has a little fat in it. And don’t forget that Vitamin D has cofactors that enhance absorption, including magnesium, zinc, and boron. Vitamin K2 supports vitamin D by shuttling calcium into the bones instead of blood vessels. This helps prevent calcium deposits in vessels and reduces the risk of developing atherosclerosis. Vitamin A and vitamin D share receptors, so it is important to get adequate amounts of both to prevent deficiency. Balance is always key when it comes to health, so be sure to take all the cofactors when taking high doses of vitamin D!

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

 

References:
Kravietz, A. et al. Association of UV radiation with Parkinson disease incidence: A nationwide French ecologic study. Environmental Research, 2017.
Przybelski RJ1, Binkley NC. Arch Biochem Biophys. (2007) Apr 15; 460 (2):202-5. Is vitamin D important for preserving cognition? A positive correlation of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration with cognitive function.

July 5, 2018 at 11:50 am Leave a comment

Biofilm Busters You Need to Know About

BiofilmsSubmitted by Klaire Labs

Chronic infections have become increasingly challenging, and not just due to the antibiotic resistance problem. Bacteria have developed a sneaky way of protecting themselves and becoming impervious to treatment. The trick is a sticky coating that they can surround themselves with called biofilm.

Bacteria clump together and the biofilm forms, surrounding the bacteria with a matrix of proteins and sugars designed to serve as a protective armor. Biofilms shield the bacteria from any substance that can destroy it, including antibiotics. Up to 80% of infections involve biofilms, which make for very persistent and difficult to treat infections that spread easily. Bacteria with biofilms have a 10 to 1,000 times greater resistance to antibiotic therapy. The protective coating allows bacteria to “hide” and multiply, which makes a person sicker with chronic, but unexplainable symptoms. But, not all biofilms are bad. They can also be present in healthy conditions, as they can serve as protection for good bacteria in our digestive tract and mucous membranes.

Despite our scientific understanding of the biofilm phenomenon, there has yet to be a pharmaceutical drug created to successfully combat it. This is why integrative physicians have turned to natural agents to help break down the protective biofilm and expose bacteria to treatments. There are various botanicals that can help bust up biofilms and if they cause a strong die off reaction, such as achy joints, fatigue, and flu-like symptoms, it indicates that the biofilms were extremely progressed. In that case, take it slower and consider adding additional antimicrobial ingredients.

If you’re fighting a stubborn infection that just won’t go away, suspect a biofilm problem. Try using herbs, such as rosemary, curcumin, goldenseal, oregano, and olive leaf, which are effective on lower grade biofilms. Black cumin, EDTA, and bismuth help get rid of moderate biofilms. You can take these supplements for a few weeks and up to a few months maximum.

 InterFase® and InterFase® Plus also fight against biofilms. These gastrointestinal anti-biofilm enzyme formulations should be used under the direction of an appropriately-trained healthcare professional. InterFase® is a potent enzyme formulation specifically-designed to disrupt gastrointestinal biofilm communities. Although a normal survival mechanism for commensal bacteria, undesirable organisms may become entrenched in biofilm; and therefore, unresponsive to conventional and natural remedies, including probiotics.

InterFase® enzymes have been selected for their ability to lyse foundational extracellular polymers as well as degrade bacterial and yeast cell walls. The addition of disodium ethylenendiaminetetraactic acid (EDTA) in InterFase® Plus delivers more aggressive anti-biofilm action by binding metals needed for biofilm formation.

InterFase® and InterFase® Plus are formulated to be employed as part of a comprehensive program to support GI health by modifying undesirable gut biofilm. The products are designed to be used in conjunction with botanicals, supplements, and/or conventional treatments. Also, changes in diet are usually necessary and the use of probiotics is strongly advised. As part of a comprehensive program, they should always be used under the direction of an appropriately trained healthcare professional. InterFase® Plus is not intended for long-term daily use. It is also contraindicated in individuals under the age of 18-years-old, pregnant or nursing mothers, individuals with liver or kidney conditions, or other conditions as indicated by the dispensing healthcare professional.

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

June 15, 2018 at 10:28 am Leave a comment

Managing the Gut-Brain Axis

Dr. Jen Palmer, Naturopathic Doctor (ND) & NEEDS Education Director

gut-brain-connection

 Did you know that the gastrointestinal tract communicates with the nervous system? Believe it or not, it’s called the gut-brain axis and through recent research it’s been determined to be an incredibly important relationship for keeping the brain healthy. The gut-brain axis is complex and three primary mechanisms support communication within it: 1) nervous system communication, 2) hormone signaling, and 3) immune system mediators. The gut-brain axis has become a means for treating various diseases, such as diabetes, obesity, and neurodegenerative diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and depression.

Serotonin, also known as the happy neurotransmitter, is key in preventing mood disorders. A lesser known fact is that a large percentage of serotonin resides in the gastrointestinal system, making it a huge component of the gut-brain axis. Serotonin regulates mood, sleep, and appetite. Depression is considered a deficiency of serotonin and the medications designed to treat depression are focused on increasing the availability of this neurotransmitter. People with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases have lower levels of serotonin transporters and, as a consequence, can also suffer from mood and sleep disorders. Serotonin is also believed to be neuroprotective and can protect the brain from damaging factors that could lead to Alzheimer’s disease.

It’s critical to maintain a healthy bacterial environment in the gastrointestinal tract, also known as the “microbiome”—in order to optimize serotonin levels. The microbiome influences the gut-brain axis and can be an effective part of keeping a healthy nervous system. The gastrointestinal tract helps support healthy neuronal development through its communication with the nervous system. But if the microbiome is off-kilter, meaning there is a lack of quantity, quality, and variety of the good bacteria, bad bacteria can take over and there is a potential for neurodegenerative diseases to develop.

Studies show probiotics are fundamental to maintaining a vigorous digestive tract and contribute to the foundation of good health. Of course, probiotics have demonstrated both immediate and ongoing positive health benefits for numerous chronic gastrointestinal conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Additionally, they have been shown to help prevent food and environmental allergies, as well as Candidiasis, and help to degrade toxins. There is even proof that some strains of probiotics bind mercury and other heavy metals, preventing their absorption into the body.

However, many contemporary lifestyle choices negatively impact the quality and quantity of beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. Antibiotic use, a high-fat/low-fiber diet, and gastric acid-inhibiting drugs disrupt the healthy balance of bacteria and create an environment that favors the growth of pathogenic bacteria. Although probiotics are found in certain foods, such as yogurt and sauerkraut, their viability and amount may be questionable. Many people require a concentrated supply provided in broad spectrum probiotic supplements.

Consider these probiotic options to balance a healthy microbiome and improve your overall health and well-being! Documented probiotic strains, plus clinically-tested natural PharmaGABA®, in a unique formula that supports the gut-brain axis. It promotes mood balance and reduces the digestive discomfort associated with occasional stress. The probiotic blend contains an efficacious combination at 10 billion cells per day, including Lactobacillus helveticus R0052, Lactobacillus rhamnosus R0011, Bifidobacterium longum R0175, and Bifidobacterium longum BB536. GABA is a neurotransmitter that helps balance mood, improves adaptability to stress, and supports relaxation and calmness.

The specific probiotics included in FLORASSIST® Mood have been shown to positively influence biochemical signaling between the gastrointestinal tract and the nervous system, with positive effects related to mood. It contains three billion colony-forming units of two probiotic strains supported by human clinical research to show improved mood—Lactobacillus helveticus strain R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum strain R0175. Human clinical research conducted on this dualprobiotic combination demonstrated improvements in mood, reduction in perceived stress, and promotion of relaxation. Two daily capsules of FLORASSIST® Mood is all you need to promote relaxation and improve mood. Flora Biotic Ultra contains 35 Billion CFUs, providing a broad spectrum of 14 different probiotic strains. Only one capsule per day is required, offering convenient dosing. All strains are specified and guaranteed, through laboratory validation, and only the strains listed are those found in the product. There are nine different Lactobacillus strains and four different strains of Bifidobacterium, creating a well-rounded formula. The addition of NutraFlora™ scFOS, a “short chain” fructo-oligosaccharide, provides nutrition for the microflora and promotes adhesion and growth in the intestinal tract. To maximize delivery of the beneficial bacteria to the intestinal tract, the vegetarian capsules are enteric coated to ensure survival through gastric acid. Disintegration tests are performed on every lot to ensure proper intestinal release.

 Primadophilus Optima Digestive Balance is a shelf-stable probiotic formula designed to support digestive balance and immune health. It provides 50 billion CFUs/active cultures per capsule and contains 100% HDS (Human Digestive Strains) probiotics. HDS Probiotics are probiotic strains that were originally isolated from the natural human intestinal microbiota as opposed to being isolated from animals, plants, dairy, or soil sources. Today, these strains are grown and fermented in a controlled environment by some of the most respected probiotic producers in the world.

Multiple strains of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, including researched strains NCFM®, Bl-04®, and Bi-07®, to help fortify and balance intestinal microflora and support immune health. They come in delayed-release, vegetarian capsules that are shelfstable and no refrigeration is required.

Reference: Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences October 2017, Volume 74, Issue 20, pp 3769– 3787. Microbiome, probiotics and neurodegenerative diseases: deciphering the gut brain axis. Susan Westfall, Nikita LomisImen KahouliSi Yuan DiaSurya Pratap SinghSatya Prakash.
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

May 11, 2018 at 2:41 pm Leave a comment

Why Whey?

Protein_Powder_LowresImmunoPro® is made with Proserum®, a proprietary, non-denatured, native whey protein that is produced to best maintain the full range of all the fragile immune-modulating and regenerative components naturally present in fresh raw milk. The milk source for this product is derived from cows that are grass-fed and graze year-round on natural pastures. The vast majority of other milk comes from grain-fed cows, which has been shown to be of inferior quality to grass-fed cows—including organic milk, which is not a helpful standard to look for because many organic dairies use or supplement with grain during the year. ImmunoPro® is GMO-free, hormone-treatment-free, pesticide-and chemical-free, and undergoes minimal processing.

Proserum® is biologically active, non-denatured, and naturally includes the highest levels of lactoferrin, immunoglobulins, serum albumin, active peptides, and growth factors. It contains exceptional amounts of the following important protein components, including the vital protein-bound fats that whey protein isolates remove.

Lactoferrin—An iron-binding, ironmodulating protein that enhances iron absorption when needed. It also has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.

 Immunoglobulins—Contains numerous immune system benefits.

Bovine Serum Albumin—Along with Lactoferrin and Immunoglobulins, it contains Cysteine and Glutamine, which are the precursors in Glutathione (GSH) production.

Active Peptides—Specialized paired amino acids exhibit a beneficial transfer factor affect on the immune system as well as boosting intracellular Glutathione.

Growth Factors—Growth promoting protein fractions are contained within the protein bound fats. Their function is to regenerate all aged or injured cells in the body, build and retain muscle, burn fat for fuel, repair DNA and RNA, fight infections, and help regulate blood sugar and brain chemicals.

Proserum® contains generous amounts of the crucial glutathione precursor covalent-bonded Cysteine. It is the optimal component for the intracellular production of Glutathione (GSH). Cysteine is very scarce in our modern diet; therefore, Glutathione production is limited and deficiency is prevalent. Additionally, lung, liver, and digestive abnormalities, pharmaceutical drugs, and most stressors lower Glutathione levels.

The full range of biologically active proteins in ImmunoPro® play a major role in the repair of RNA and DNA, antioxidant production (Glutathione precursors), improved liver function, red blood cell production, the binding and safe removal of heavy metals, wound healing, growth of new muscle, and the support of various immune functions.

Compared to other whey products, ImmunoPro® is minimally processed to best maintain the full range of biologically active, non-denatured, natural whey protein components. It’s the result of years of work to perfect a system that produces only the highest quality native whey product. Proserum® utilizes a proprietary filtration and drying method that involves a minimal amount of processing. The result is a microbial safe product that exceeds all standards and makes it the optimum nutrition whey powder. The process doesn’t use cross-flow filtration, microfiltration, isolate filtration, hydrolyzation, or ion exchange because these methods damage the original protein components. After use of these commercial methods, the damaged proteins are then filtered out and what remains is a narrow range of “undenatured” proteins that have survived the whey manufacturing process. Additionally, the vital protein-bound fats have been removed.

When considering a whey product it is best to ask for a lab analysis of the whey showing actual percentages of components present from the distributor/manufacturer. You should not receive a range of percentages as that denotes it is not from an actual test. Test results on our products are from an independent lab that performs SDS PAGE Gel method testing. Be sure to do your research on your whey protein in order to receive the most benefits possible!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

April 13, 2018 at 1:19 pm Leave a comment

The Correlation Between Histamines & Allergies

Spring is here! The snow has melted, temperatures are rising, and birds are once again singing, but unfortunately it’s not a season that everyone looks forward to. For those with seasonal allergies, spring only marks the beginning of misery—dealing with a runny or itchy nose, sneezing, and general irritation. During this time when the air is thick with microscopic plant particles, allergy sufferers experience immune imbalances from mast cells that cause excess histamine and the annoying symptoms of allergies.

Histamine is a chemical made by the immune system to get rid of allergens. It has an irritating affect that causes us to sneeze, itch, or get teary-eyed, all in an effort to drive out the triggering allergens. This is how it works. An allergen first sends a signal to specific immune cells called mast cells, telling them to release histamine. Histamines increase blood flow to the areas that are affected by the allergens, which leads to inflammation. Other immune chemicals then jump in to help get rid of the allergens and repair the inflamed area.

An example of this process that most of us are familiar with is when we get a stuffy nose or sneeze a lot. That excess production of mucous was triggered by histamine. Over-the-counter “antihistamines” are medications that attempt to counteract histamine release in order to decrease allergy symptoms.

If you’re looking for natural products to counteract allergic reactions, look for herbs or nutrients that stabilize the mast cells. Some effective products also help improve the integrity of the mucous membranes in general immune support. The majority of the natural options are most effective if you take the product daily, even before seasonal allergies start as a preventative measure. Natural options may not be as potent or quick-acting as over-the-counter anti-histamines, but they are preferred because they act preventatively and have no unwanted side effects like drowsiness.

One great natural option is Natural D-Hist, a targeted blend of flavonoids, antioxidants, proteolytic enzymes, and botanicals designed to provide comprehensive support for seasonal challenges caused by common environmental allergens. Natural D-Hist includes quercetin, a powerful flavonoid that supports healthy histamine levels. Bromelain enhances the absorption of quercetin and supports mucosal tissue health. Stinging nettle leaf balances the hyper-immune response and NAC (N-acetyl cysteine) clears the airways by promoting normal viscosity of mucus. This powerful combination actively promotes healthy nasal and sinus passages for individuals with elevated histamine and respiratory irritation.

You can also take stinging nettle leaf (Urtica dioica) alone. It’s a plant that has been shown to balance immune response, specifically in the airways and nasal passages. Studies have shown that the extract of stinging nettle leaf balances a variety of inflammatory activities that affect respiratory health. Stinging nettle leaf controls mast cell degranulation, prostaglandin formation, and histamine action all contributing to a balanced inflammatory response.

Combining herbs, such as turmeric, nettle, bayberry, eyebright, yarrow, and goldenseal is also an excellent choice to help stabilize mast cells and shore up mucous membranes. Turmeric Supreme Allergy from Gaia Herbs combines turmeric with other herbal extracts to support a healthy response to allergens. Quercetin, a flavonoid found in many plants, is especially effective for allergy symptom overload because it stabilizes mast cell membranes and prevents the release of histamine and other inflammatory agents. Black pepper extract is included to increase absorption and the bioavailability of curcumins.

 QBC Plex from Solaray contains a synergistic anti-inflammatory combination of quercetin, bromelain, and vitamin C. These flavonoids are intended to provide nutritive support to help maintain normal capillary permeability. Bromelain is the enzyme from pineapple that helps break down irritating proteins. Quercetin is one of the most well-known noncitrus bioflavonoids. Vitamin C is an important nutrient intended to provide nutritive support for healthy collagen synthesis, development of cartilage and bone, capillary and blood vessel integrity, healthy skin, and nerve impulse transmission.

If you dread spring every year because of your seasonal allergies, try taking a preventative approach with natural options. This spring, you may finally be able to enjoy the smell of fresh cut grass and flowers in bloom!

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

April 5, 2018 at 4:32 pm Leave a comment

Challenges of Stress Management—A Doctor’s Perspective

Written by Anne Thiel, ND & Submitted by Integrative Therapeutics

Integrative_brand_page_mobile_01Stress management is frequently focused on patient intervention, but it can be improved upon by digging into the nuances of the signs of stress and teaching people that coping with stress can improve their outcomes—regardless of their chief complaint. Some signs of stress are obvious, such as areas of tension that regularly occur after weekly meetings with an overbearing boss. Less obvious signs of stress may involve blood pressure or blood glucose readings that defy improvement despite numerous medications and supplements, or gastrointestinal complaints without corresponding pathology or lab diagnoses.

While these nuanced signs are often easier for an objective third party to recognize, helping someone realize the role of stress in seemingly unrelated health concerns may require a different strategy. A common complaint of someone that needs stress management is never feeling rested despite adequate sleep time or feeling excessive fatigue after exercising.

The challenges of stress management can occur in many stages. In early stages of HPA axis activation, ashwagandha can reduce stress and anxiety while L-theanine can promote calm feelings during exposure to stress.* In the later stages of the stress response, B vitamins are necessary for all cells to generate energy.

 Addressing Stress

For the person who does not think stress affects them or do not recognize the signs of stress, asking focused questions, such as how their energy levels fluctuate throughout the day, do they have difficulties falling or staying asleep, or how they feel after eating a meal can be valuable clues. Complementary to a person’s history are lab tests that evaluate key hormones and neurotransmitters like cortisol, DHEA, and epinephrine/norepinephrine. Cortisol can provide helpful guidance in developing a plan and potential stage of HPA axis dysfunction, although normal results do not negate complaints of stress or fatigue. A full thyroid panel is also necessary as adrenal and thyroid functions are intimately connected. Lab work before and after working through a plan of action is a great way to provide tangible information regarding efficacy of interventions or supporting the need to adjust the plan.

Most people know they should be getting a good night’s sleep, eating less sugar and more vegetables, and managing their stress with yoga or meditation, instead of a pint of ice cream while watching TV. How to manage stress in a manner that restores health and maintains the motivation for healthy habits is the art of medicine. A simple skill for stress management is to bring awareness to the heart rate through deep breathing. Anyone can find their pulse and feel the change that a long exhale brings; this can be done almost anywhere, at anytime.

Physicians often ask patients to do more than just take a pill, so providing them with an organized reference sheet can improve their understanding of recommendations and lead to improved compliance and outcomes. Asking them to fill out a form allows them to play an important role in their care, instead of a practitioner just telling them what to do. Organizing their care in a form that is easily read and referenced allows the person to spend more energy on taking care of themselves, instead of deciphering a treatment plan. This also creates the space to develop a dialogue with patients about their care and for them to take responsibility for their progress, or lack of, in a non-judgmental style. For example, ask them to provide an example of a personal mark of progress or goal, such as having enough energy to join a sports team or not relying on a cup of coffee to make it through the afternoon. This provides more descriptive information than simply rating stress or exhaustion on a scale of 1-10.

 Supplement Recommendations for Stress Management*

Supporting sleep and metabolic processes is necessary for all phases of stress management. Different supplements offer certain benefits for the various phases of coping with occasional stress.* Understanding where you fall on the continuum of HPA axis function provides a guide for recommendations. Lab values only tell part of the story; listening to the verbal and non-verbal clues can provide invaluable information. In early stages of HPA axis activation, calming the nervous system can support cortisol balance. Ashwagandha can reduce stress and anxiety, while L-theanine can promote feeling calm during exposure to stress.* In the later stages of the stress response, supporting appropriate cortisol rhythms is still important as well as supporting energy levels. B vitamins are necessary for all cells to generate energy—particularly in the citric acid cycle and in the mitochondria.* Melatonin is well known for supporting sleep, but it also provides support for immune-modulating activity that may be affected by stress.*

By paying attention to the signs of stress and integrating multiple stress management techniques, you will succeed in coping with occasional stress. We can’t avoid or control all sources of stress, but we can always improve how we manage it!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
References:
  1. Pratte MA, Nanavati KB, Young V, Morley CP. J Altern Complement Med. 2014; 20(12):901-8.
  2. White DJ, de Klerk S, Woods W, Gondalia S, Noonan C, Scholey AB. Nutrients. 2016; 8(1):53.
  3. Kennedy DO. Nutrients. 2016; 8(2):68.
  4. Carrillo-Vico A, et al. Int J Mol Sci. 2013; 14(4):8638-8683.

 

March 5, 2018 at 1:04 pm Leave a comment

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