Tag Archives: Stress

The sympathetic vs parasympathetic nervous systems…

You know the feeling of nervousness, stress or panic when we perceive danger or anticipating danger? Many of us know of the ‘fight or flight’ response being related to survival – but do you know much about the physiology of it?

How it affects your body in the long term to stay in that mode all the time?

 

Once upon a time we would have had to run from a predator, another opposing tribe or flee during bad weather… but in modern life, what is defined as things to escape from have somewhat taken on a new ‘cloak’. We now have ‘stress’ around us all the time, and what is physical or perceived stress WILL impact on our bodies, and sustained stress will turn into changes in our physiology.

Our bodies are designed to have short bursts of stress, and times of recovery in between so that we can maintain homeostasis and health.

The sympathetic nervous system is the one which activates our ‘fight or flight’ response… that includes activating thyroid and adrenal glands to provide energy so we can get away from the danger.

The energy this system uses is ‘destructive’ to the body – short bursts won’t necessarily harm, but long-term, the body ends up scrambling energy from any source it can, as quickly as it can, not discriminating where it comes from – it can be using muscles and other energy stores not normally used for ’emergency’ functions.

 

Of big focus to many who watch their waistline and wonder why it doesn’t change – the sympathetic nervous system won’t necessarily burn the fat you want it to!

 

If you stay in this ‘flight or fight’ mode… you will be burning through minerals, vitamins, potentially healthy muscle and other stores, and it will be detrimental to your adrenals and thyroid over time. You may feel great now, and amazed at how you can ‘keep on keeping on’, but a more major stressful life event will happen, and “suddenly” you will have a chronic illness, an autoimmune condition or even just get everyday sicknesses all the time, and not seem to ever fully recover.

You also have a parasympathetic nervous system which is involved in nourishing, healing, elimination and regeneration of the body.

The parasympathetic system gets ‘closed down’ to minimal operation when the sympathetic is active – imagine your body not being able to give much ‘attention’ at a metabolic level to your liver, pancreas, stomach and intestines? What do you think would happen to your body……?

  • Digestive disruption (slow motility, low stomach acid levels)
  • Low energy availability (where’s that energy coming from if you aren’t digesting?)
  • “Dis-ease” in these organs – diabetes/insulin resistance/blood glucose regulation, low digestive enzyme availability, gall stones, low liver function, etc
  • Constipation or diarrhea

“So what do I need to do?” I hear you say…

Working with your body to bring it into the parasympathetic state is really important – this means REST! Also nourishing your body fully so that when it needs to go into the ‘fight or flight’ mode, it has the energy sources, minerals and vitamins it needs to do it.

If you also contend with anxiety, depression, insomnia and the like, this can be extremely difficult – all of these conditions are heavily tied to mineral imbalances, so get testing done and learn about how they impact on your body, your brain and your life overall!

A few other things come to mind…

  • Be aware of your stresses in life – remove them where you can. If you can’t remove them, consider thinking outside the box on how to reduce them.
  • Relaxation, meditation, ‘me time’, anything to give you positive thoughts – do something EVERY day!
  • Eat whole foods, know what’s in your food… avoid all additives in ALL foods – not just the ‘numbers’ you know to be bad…..iron fortification, vitamin b, calcium
  • Empower yourself to understand your own health and that of your family – read, learn, ask questions, trust your gut… if it doesn’t seem ‘right’ for you… don’t do it.

Consider checking out the options and getting your minerals tested so you have a starting point. Remember, if you are always ‘running on empty’, this can be made worse by mineral imbalances and you are likely to continue to make the imbalances worse the longer you push through it.

Mineral imbalances don’t just fix themselves…nor do over the counter ‘quick fixes’ solve them. They are just band-aids…

Until next time!

– Kristan.

Filed under Calcium, Iron Dysregulation, Magnesium, Mineral Balance

International Health Coach Week 2017!

This week coming is ‘International Health Coach Week’ – and we want to help coach you to better mineral health.

Feel like you need to keep digging for answers?

Have you ever wanted to learn more about minerals, to get help you to understand?

Thought “wouldn’t it be great if there was someone I can talk to who could help me understand?”…

To get help so you can have a light bulb moment or two…….?

Well now’s your time to get learning! In the next week, Morley Robbins and I have scheduled TWO learning sessions scheduled to help you connect the dots, to help you understand and to support you taking control of your own health! The investment in better health is $25 US for each session.

To find out more or to book in, click on the session titles (Session 1, Session 2) and below. Sessions will be approximately 1.5 hours total including question time after the main learning session.

Please note – these sessions will have attendees from all around the world. To try to make this as easy as possible for everyone, I have included some major timezones so you can work out what your local time will be. If you aren’t sure which time to choose, please reach out for assistance!

Session 1 (now completed!)

Timezones:
Brisbane – 9:30am Wednesday 15th February
Berlin – 12:30am Wednesday 15th February
London – 11:30pm Tuesday14th February
US Central – CST – 5:30pm Tuesday14th February
US Pacific – PST – 3:30pm Tuesday 14th February

Session 2 (now completed!)

Timezones:
Brisbane – 8:30am Saturday 18th February
Berlin – 11:30pm Friday 17th February
London – 10:30pm Friday 17th February
US Central – CST – 4:30pm Friday 17th February
US Pacific – PST – 2:30pm Friday 17th February

Filed under Health and Wellbeing, Iron Dysregulation, Magnesium, Mineral Balance

It’s time to share… where did all this start?

Have you ever stopped to realise that something that has been a pretty harrowing experience in your life, was the best thing that could have ever happened to you?

That’s what this “little” story is all about.

I’m actually not really sure where to start, because while my road to discovering our family’s underlying health conditions started after the birth of our third child, there really were warning signs years before in my older children’s health, and dating back to my own childhood and beyond…

So, I’m going to start this current part to the story when our youngest was born, and with time, I’ll go back and cover the other realisations I have had since.

Her arrival has meant so much more than just the joy of another child in our family. So much more than the joy we get from seeing her growing up into a gorgeous little girl with personality plus. She’s meant that ALL of our family – within our own direct family unit, but also further afield… and many families outside of our network, have come to learn more about their health.

All from one little girl… and a somewhat determined mother I suppose too…!!

Let’s backtrack a little to October 2012. I was due with my third child… I had just completed the sale of our business of nearly 10 years, and had literally JUST finished the majority of the handover process the day before she ended up arriving.

Her siblings are twins, at the time they had just turned 6… they had significant health issues at birth (premature) plus silent reflux which caused no end of pain for our eldest (“K”) and all of us who didn’t get sleep in blocks longer than 40 minute stints until they were nearly 1. Food intolerances were found, more drugs (& different types used) and voila, reflux gone. Problems gone, right? Maybe not… but at the time we thought it!

By the time I got to the arrival of our youngest daughter “L”, I was much more armed with knowledge to push the typical “its reflux and that’s just the way it is” with her.

I had a natural delivery – VBAC too after being pressured into a c-section with the twins… so a big achievement in itself. I specifically requested no antibiotics to be given to either of us unless absolutely necessary… and it wasn’t needed – BONUS! (My research had taught me that AB’s during pregnancy and just after birth could lead to gut imbalances and reactions, so I fought hard for this).

Lydia newborn 15 October 2012

Just minutes old… photo credit to Jen Shipston from The Heart of Motherhood (http://theheartofmotherhood.com.au/)

One step forward, two steps back…

Catch 22 came, when our gorgeous little 8 pound (3.6kg) munchkin arrived, she was tongue tied and didn’t feed properly, which I am sure contributed to me getting mastitis. We had the tie snipped when she was 4 days old, but the damage was already done…

By the time she was 8 days old, I was on Augmentum as I had tried every non-AB option I could in combination with guidance from my midwives. Within 24 hours, she was a screaming mess.

Worth noting here that this is what I feel to be an extremely significant (backward) step in our journey. To this point she had been fairly content and feeding ok (within the realms of expectation for a tongue-tied newborn!), sleeping “ok” as a newborn will, etc. Then she just stopped sleeping and would only do so if completely upright. Projectile vomit, horrible explosive nappies… it was never-ending. I had been used to two severe reflux babies… and handling this ONE child, was more work than they were.

By the time she was 2 weeks old, a friend suggested me looking at becoming gluten and dairy free – it had helped her with her second child a couple of months before. This seemed fairly logical as we knew the twins had reacted as babies to dairy… but I had never gone to the extent of removing it from my diet (even though they were breast and/or express milk fed, I didn’t connect the dots for it – even though I realised other foods which definitely impacted on them like onion and garlic!).

Sooooo… from that day, my world changed. Dramatically.

Have you ever seen how much gluten is used in every day foods you buy? Have a look at the labels of every single product you buy. I bet if you have a ‘standard’ Australian diet without already being restricted… foods you buy have either got dairy, or gluten, or both in them.

She did improve at least a little with this, but was still overall very refluxy and reactive.

Next step was what I had tried to avoid… reflux medications.

….step 1… Infant Gaviscon

Credit to my GP here… he wanted to try the ‘gentler’ things before the strong medications I was asking for… to help ease the symptoms while we worked out triggers. He never once suggested I wean her to formula to help. He never once tried to coerce me into doing things that I didn’t want to do with the exception of trying to slow down the heavy meds… I didn’t understand at the time, I just wanted pain relief for my baby, but, I quickly realised it was worth a try.

It did actually help at the time to ease the symptoms, especially while she was probably in withdrawals, as was I no doubt too. Not thinking straight. After a month of varying uses of it and regularity of doses, etc… plus gradually taking out obvious triggers from my diet that came along… it was time for the ‘big guns’.

….step 2…. Losec (Omeprazole)

This medication actively reduces the amount of stomach acid which is going to burn and hurt in an individual with reflux. It makes a difference in pain and is used so commonly in children and adults alike. They are called “proton pump inhibitors” (PPI).

By reducing the amount of acid in the stomach, it also means that food particles may not be broken down into the smallest unit they can, and then if gut damage exists (which clearly in L it did, and many other babies with reflux it does too)…… these larger molecules can then go into their blood stream and put a massive strain on their bodies to break them down where they shouldn’t normally need to.

It also has serious impacts on health when used long-term, but these parts don’t get talked about. Mineral deficiencies they cause…. making food intolerances worse… yep… awesome. These parts were never discussed more than a glean… by multiple physicians. More about that later.

….step 3…. Zoton (Lansoprazole)

For some reason, the way my kids responded to the PPI drugs wasn’t “normal”… they didn’t actually get much relief from Losec, it helped a little, but didn’t solve a lot long-term. All of them ended up on Zoton and that’s where the changes in behaviour happened at least… pain relief… rest… recovery… (and some more mineral deficiencies)

This is the medication that helped us to find baseline with more significant diet changes… this is what let us see the huge amount of inflammation that was happening in L’s body… but its also what probably contributed to a longer recovery.

Luckily when she was about 8 months old, once I had gone through very extensive dietary changes beyond the dairy and gluten, a single pharmacist clued me up to the magnesium deficiency that would be created by her ADULT doses of this drug. A tiny little baby, borderline failure to thrive… and she was barely kept “maintained” reflux wise on something which actively pumps magnesium out of the body’s stores.

As quickly as I humanly could, we dropped the medication. Weathered the withdrawal symptoms (everything gets worse for a bit!) and found she was remarkably happy off them, but using the gaviscon again to manage symptoms of flares. At the same time, or soon after, we introduced magnesium via epsom salts, and via transdermal magnesium for me…. and that then led to a whole different path.

So beyond the gluten and dairy, then medication… what did I do to help her?

That’s for another day… please check by and I’ll link to the next post soon.

Filed under Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Health and Wellbeing, Mineral Balance

A Stitch in Time: Why Start Now

We’ve all been part of discussions about babies and toddlers and their various health conditions why they are unsettled generally, getting reflux etc. Parents are often desperately trying to find a medicine to fix their child. My experience, those I chat to on a number of forums online and elsewhere, plus my clients, is that dietary changes are actually easy for young children and in fact, these kids can go from ‘reflux’ or ‘colic’ to dream babies.

Why not try food as a solution, while your kid is still a little one?

Often the order of things is child gets sick, parent treats with pain killers, reoccurs or doesn’t help enough, so they visit the doctor, get antibiotics, which help for that round but either don’t eliminate the infection fully and/or never treat the base cause for the irritation. Inflammation. Irritants from allergies or intolerances (food or otherwise). Then this keeps happening, they get offered grommets, adenoids/tonsil removal and things may improve for a while. Look they are better!

Hurrah! Then school hits as a major stressor. The child can’t concentrate, sit still, or are disruptive. Maybe they still bed wet. Maybe they are very emotional all the time. Maybe they are on the border between being diagnosed as ADHD or Autistic, or maybe they are none of these but are just not well a lot of the time, quiet, slow weight gain, etc. Physically and/or mentally they are struggling. Things get desperate, Mum (sorry Dad, its more often Mum) hears about an elimination diet to get rid of food intolerances. They go through much trial and tribulation because now the child is older, they struggle with catering for school lunches, excursions, birthday parties, special events like Christmas or visiting family who don’t understand. You name it. But they get results…. and often they find that kids who  did the elimination  are new kids. Assertive, learning quickly, willing to help, concentrating. SLEEPING. This is wonderful, of course … they might have found it easier to do all this before the kids got mobile!

What’s my opinion antibiotics and medical intervention? They are necessary for those who are very ill, but offer little in the way of long term solutions or full ‘health’. They don’t help you work out the true causes to the ever-growing list of symptoms.

Can these common childhood problems be prevented from reoccurring and needing ongoing treatment by standard ‘medicated’ methods?

My family is living proof.

So, when you look at your toddler, thinking its too hard to consider looking at diet now because you’re too tired and overworked…maybe think about giving it a try because after a matter of days or weeks, your child may be sleeping through the night without wetting the bed, fighting at meal times, eczema, asthma, reflux, or simply being ‘unwell’ and clingy all the time or crying. There is a massive payoff to all your hard work. In my case ­ waking up at 8am and realising that I had an awesome night with our ‘reflux’ baby – priceless!

Get started with the ‘FAILSAFE’ or the RPAH Elimination Diet and consider addressing wheat and dairy within that (as these often make inflammation worse!). At worst you have put a bit of effort to feed your child a low chemical diet for a matter of weeks… and they may stay the same. Or, they may surprise you and improve beyond what you could have imagined.

Toddlers are pretty accommodating with food, you may tell me you have a picky kid, but, I bet I could make Failsafe food which they will eat. If I can, you can. Trust me, it’s a whole lot easier to start even younger with a baby on early solids giving them swede, choko and celery than it is arguing with a 7 year old who is asserting their independence!

I offer coaching to help parents who are overwhelmed, in the midst of sleepness nights and behaviour problems… trust me, you can do it without me… you just might prefer to have someone alongside, giving you a hand. There are online communities to help you along if you want to research before going forward… or dietitians who are experienced in the FAILSAFE/RPAH side of things (beware, plenty are not! You risk taking a lot longer by doing one food type at a time, or by them not being at least aware of the benefits of the full elimination-diet.

Once you determine intolerances, their little bodies can rest, the inflammation response by the body is reduced, and you have a fantastic place to start healing and working on fixing the underlying cause/s… gut health… mineral balance… combination of the two. While the body is irritated by food or environment, the capability for the body to recover is that much harder.

Goodluck! Don’t forget to ask for help and guidance… please don’t do it alone.

Filed under Failsafe, Health and Wellbeing

Mineral Balance, food intolerances/allergies or chronic illness and how these relate… (part 3)

(Continuing on from part 2 – here)

Vitamin D, Calcium and so many minerals… absorption can’t happen without magnesium… !

They diagnose low Vitamin D, despite many of us (in Australia at least) getting plenty of sun. They tell us to take the oral Vitamin (often D3) but don’t realise that it needs to be taken when there is sufficient magnesium in the body to absorb it… or your D3 levels are likely to never go up!

They tell us that calcium is so critical for strong bones, but they don’t tell us that without magnesium, it often cannot be absorbed either. Vitamin D3 and calcium need magnesium to be absorbed. That doesn’t necessarily mean they need to be TAKEN at the same time though. A small subtlety… but an important one.

Magnesium needs to be present in the cells to absorb nutrients from your digestion…. but if you take it at the same time as Calcium and D3, it may hinder absorption of all.

Some are familiar with magnesium… know that taking it when you are getting leg cramps may help. Take apparent megadoses of it… but you know what? You need the elemental magnesium, not just the total magnesium listed on the label. Sometimes it can say 400mg of magnesium, but it may have only 4mg of elemental magnesium in it! It also may not be well absorbed depending on the type.

There are so many complexities to how magnesium works in the body, how it is absorbed and how it helps the body to function once its there… but where to start?

Magnesium oil. Magnesium Chloride.

Put this on your skin, and it is well absorbed. It bypasses the need for the gut and gets to work in your body. Start slow, use 4-6 sprays per day in the first week. Then increase by 2 sprays per day, each week. So week 1 = (say) 4 sprays per day. Week 2 = 6, week 3 = 8 and so forth. Each Magnesium Oil spray will be a different concentration, but, the one I use is 66mg of Elemental Mag per 4 sprays… so I’m working towards the suggested total of 5 x my body weight (in pounds) in milligrams. So for a 150 pound person, that would be 750 mg per day TOTAL. So if you are taking any other supplements with magnesium, that would be included.

If you want to minimise tingling/stinging, spray only on the soles of your feet. Perhaps just before bed, or while watching tv/doing quiet activities in the evening and then wipe off the oil residue before bed.

(I started on my feet and have worked out since that my belly doesn’t tingle, so I put all of mine on there now, and wear an old shirt to bed so it doesn’t go on my sheets/good PJs)

For us, I noticed a change quickly. My breastfed baby started sleeping ‘through’ when I was up to 8 sprays per day. If I have deviated from that, she has started waking again. Tested several times sadly! In times of stress, you may need even more.

Something I noticed, and I didn’t fully think of this until much later. I started to tan on my feet for the first time in my 30-something years of life. Where was I putting the mag oil? On my feet. I wasn’t out in the sun any more, I wasn’t doing anything different to other recent years… it was only spring time too – not hugely intense sunlight… but… I developed a sun tan. Fancy that… more magnesium, more conversion of sunlight in the body to all the ‘good stuff’…?

Once you get started and see a difference, consider having a hair analysis done and getting some guidance on your own personal mineral status… more about that on another post, but if you are desperate NOW… go to ‘gotmag.org’ and have a look around. Get Morley to do an assessment for you…!

Some useful links about Vitamin D and absorption:

  • Magnesium, vitamin D status and mortality: results from US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001 to 2006 and NHANES III: Click Here
  • A very interesting ‘take’ on how so many physicians demand their patients to take Vitamin D, and explanation as to why they probably don’t improve! Click here
  • Some more information about Vitamin D/mineral absorption: Click here

Filed under Calcium, Health and Wellbeing, Magnesium, Mineral Balance

Mineral Balance, food intolerances/allergies or chronic illness and how these relate… (part 2)

Magnesium and Zinc…

(Continuing my discussion from Part 1)

When we overdo it, we get run down and can experience low zinc and magnesium as a direct result of stress. Copper often then shoots up and it prevents us getting the other two back to optimum levels again. We get run down, constantly sick. Just start to get better again, BANG, sick again.

We get problems with depression, reoccurring low moods. How we think starts to change – feeling more negative, submissive, doubting ourselves. Anxiety may kick in (read more here). Our mood starts to negatively cycle back onto our body, self image often takes a hit. We don’t exercise as much, or are too busy doing one thing or another. More stress. More depletion of minerals.

We just get on with things, just survive. Our digestion doesn’t work properly because the metabolic pathways with the right enzymes become dysfunctional because the raw ingredients (minerals) it needs to happen, are low or absent.

More critical pathways shut down or slow. We get kidney stones and gall bladder attacks as our bodies are unable to process the chemicals fully in our body with what we are consuming and the minerals present in our blood. Our bodies work overtime trying to keep our blood sugar stable. We put more weight on, eat more comfort food. Get more depressed because we are overweight. Our bodies are in survival mode, but it looks like we are purely overindulging.

We don’t have time to exercise. Its too hard to get started, our chronic illnesses now stop us from doing more than a little bit, and with all the images around of skinny, fit people doing it ‘easily’… we start to doubt we CAN even do it.

Even if we do manage to exercise, it takes SO much more effort to lose the weight. Our metabolism seems to be so slow. We take supplements to fix this, that and the other. We take broad multivitamins but they are so broad, they don’t necessarily address the deficiencies anyway and often give us things at the same time which can compete for absorption. Tests that Drs carry out often don’t pick up the root mineral balance issues due to poor choice of tests, or looking too narrowly at only certain things.

How can we move on from this depletion? Get a good base picture to begin with. Look at practitioners who do comprehensive Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) and will do a consult with you. I am currently getting assistance from Morley at GotMag.org

Some relevant links to this discussion…

  • One of my favourite Magnesium information websites… Got Mag
  • Read more on the brain and magnesium/mineral balance here
  • Want another more scientific explanation on The Stress Cycle and what I’ve covered? Check this out…
  • Have insomnia problems? Sleep not come easy? Check out Magnesium’s role in that… here.
  • Stress, Natural Enemy of Magnesium, Calcium, and Zinc…here. (Though I don’t necessarily agree with the supplementation suggested because I think its such an individual thing which needs to be reviewed by an experienced person/practitioner)
  • Adequate mineral levels can reduce stress… here.
  • Magnesium is being researched to help with concussion recovery. Just for interests sake! Check it out here.
  • Magnesium and migraines… interesting read here. (Worth noting: I recently had great success with supplementing minerals when I had a migraine – no painkillers. )
  • I have a number of other magnesium links on my other page which covers things I often mention in passing when I’m talking to people about Thermomix’s… scroll down to the heading ‘Magnesium’ and have a look here.
From http://www.thedietandfitnessblog.com/tag/magnesium-pills

From http://www.thedietandfitnessblog.com/tag/magnesium-pills

The next post in this series can be viewed here.

Filed under Calcium, Health and Wellbeing, Magnesium, Mineral Balance, Zinc

Mineral Balance, food intolerances/allergies or chronic illness and how these relate… (part 1)

Our family’s experience is that we can reverse intolerances and suspected allergies, and boost our energy and vitality. Over the next few days I will be covering key information that I’ve discovered on our road to health and happiness.

All around me I see hustle, and bustle. Wanting to save time, effort etc because we are all over-committed and worn out in a modern society that facilitates us doing more, all the time…. or else being frowned upon for being lazy!

Have you noticed how many people are intolerant of foods, or allergic to them? Having chronic health issues?

I’m realising now how this is linked. Adrenal Fatigue. Mineral Imbalance. Our bodies unable to maintain health because we are low in one or more of the critical building blocks.

We are busy, our bodies get run down and low on critical minerals. We get run down, constantly sick. Just start to get better again, BANG, sick again.

I’ll be covering critical minerals and vitamins in the coming days – zinc, magnesium, calcium, vitamin D and copper.

Get a bit of an idea what I’m talking about here and how it relates to food intolerances/allergies… check this out.

My third child in her happier times... just after her first birthday.

My third child in her more recent happier times… just after her first birthday. Our lives changed around that time when she responded to magnesium that I started supplementing with…

Discussion continued into Part two… here

Filed under Copper, Health and Wellbeing, Magnesium, Mineral Balance