Foods to fight anxiety. And possibly RSD?

RSD/CRPS is often described as an anxiety disorder (certainly gone awry) and a sympathetic system stuck in “fight or flight.” Maybe you don’t believe that. But likely anxiety has set in anyway from the overwhelming stress of the prognosis (a prognosis I believe doctors will learn later does not have to be and possibly contributes to the decline in some patients). What we do know is that western medicines like ketamine sedate the body. We now have learned ketamine is being used for depression as well. We know that many medications for RSD are anti-anxiety meds. With that knowledge, why aren’t more doctors prescribing meditation and a change in diet?

I am not a doctor or a nutritionist. I can only speak for me. But I did improve significantly when I started to practice qi gong on a regular basis. There is a cumulative effect to meditating. Food is another tool that has assisted in my calming endeavor. Turmeric, avocado, kale, fish oil, ginger root tea, among others (okay sometimes Cabernet).

Below is a list of 13 foods from a mindbodygreen blog that can help ease anxiety. So often we ignore the food we are putting in our bodies, eat unhealthy foods and then seek outside medicine. Maybe those foods aren’t unhealthy but they might not be helping our bodies. Perhaps they would be foods better suited for another medical condition.

What if food is the answer?

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-15428/13-foods-to-help-ease-anxiety-stress.html
from mindbodygreen:

1. Oysters Research has correlated an imbalance of zinc to copper with anxiety. This trace mineral ratio is responsible for proper neurotransmitter function and adaptation to stress. Increased copper and decreased zinc may lead to symptoms of anxiety.

2. Chamomile Tea Sip on this natural anti-anxiety medicine for its natural calming effect. This soothing, mild tea was shown to significantly decrease anxiety symptoms in just a few weeks!

3. Rooibos Tea Rooibos, or African red bush tea, is a delicious way to bring a natural calm to your day. Researchers are looking into its effect on cortisol. It seems to work by having a balancing effect on the body’s main stress hormone.

4. Full-Fat Kefir In functional medicine, the gut is considered the “second brain” because it’s home to 95% of your “feel good” hormone seratonin. With more than 100 million neurons, your gut’s health is essential to manage anxiety.

Bacterial imbalances in your gut can alter brain chemistry, and kefir, an ancient fermented dairy drink, might just be the most powerful probiotic ever! It also has fat soluble vitamins A, D and K2, all important for brain health.

5. Turkey …Tryptophan is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, which helps you to feel calm. Tryptophan in the form of meat, has been shown to reduce anxiety disorders!

6. Turmeric Curcuminoids, the antioxidants in turmeric, have a neuroprotective quality and help enhance your mood. It was shown in a randomized controlled trial to be an effective option for major depressive disorder, which is closely linked to anxiety disorders.

7. Organ Meats If you eat meat, organ meats are some of the best sources of nutrients needed to beat anxiety, like zinc and vitamin D. They also contain copious amounts of choline, needed for the synthesis of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Liver is also abundant in B vitamins, which are needed for methylation, a metabolic process in the body that is responsible for proper synthesis of neurotransmitters that regulate mood. Homocysteine levels and MTHFR mutations are two tests that I run to ensure optimal neurotransmitter metabolism and methylation.

8. Avocados This superfruit is great for brain health and anxiety. They contain potassium which helps naturally lower blood pressure. Avocados also contain beneficial B vitamins and monounsaturated fats that are needed for neurotransmitter and brain health.

9. Dark Chocolate Science has vindicated chocolate lovers everywhere. A randomized, placebo-controlled trial published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology revealed that people who drank a dark chocolate drink, equal to about 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate per day, felt calmer than those who did not.

10. Asparagus This sulfur-rich vegetable also contains the specifically beneficial B vitamin, folic acid. Low levels of folic acid are linked to neurotransmitter impairment, which can lead to anxiety. A 5.3-ounce serving provides 60% of the recommended daily allowance for folic acid! It also contains moderate amounts of potassium, which can lower blood pressure.

11. Adaptogenic Herbs One common hormonal signaling pathway dysfunction I find in patients struggling with anxiety disorders is the brain-adrenal axis. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is part of your sympathetic “flight-or-fight ” response and something, and can play a role in adrenal fatigue. Stress hormones, like cortisol, can cause seratonin receptors to become less sensitive to activation. Adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha, rhodiola and holy basil are some of the tools I use to optimize brain-adrenal function in patients.

12. Leafy Greens If you struggle with stress and anxiety increase the greens! Plant foods like Swiss chard and spinach are rich in magnesium, the natural “chill pill,” which also helps regulate the brain-adrenal axis.

13. Fatty Meat Inflammation is one factor when it comes to brain health and anxiety. Omega-3 fats have been shown to decrease anxiety. Omega-rich foods like Alaskan salmon and grass-fed beef can help decrease inflammation and help cortisol and adrenaline from spiking.

Turmeric

I am back at a few turmeric capsules a day and i notice a difference in my inflammation levels. Here’s an interesting article about it and this specifically caught my eye:

“Epidemiologists have hypothesized that the turmeric that is part of daily curries eaten in India may help explain the low rate of Alzheimer’s disease in that country. Among people aged 70 to 79, the rate is less than one-quarter that of the United States.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-weil-md/turmeric-health-have-a-happy-new-year_b_798328.html

Stress-Related Weight Gain

As I reported a few weeks back, I started to gain unexplained weight (there were no other lifestyle changes) when i was undergoing the two months of intravenous vitamins. My gut (pun intended) tells me it was the high dose C. I felt an extra pull on my system the days i had high dose C.

I have tried the normal tricks to lose weight – more exercise, fewer calories, more green tea. Those didn’t work and I actually think it made things worse!

Then something clicked for me last Friday. If it is an increase in cortisol and other stress hormones from the extra pull on my immune system, working out and adding more caffeine might make things worse. So, I started doing several epsom salt baths a day to get that magnesium in. I also did a few baths where I included raw apple cider vinegar with the salts to pull out excess toxins that have been building up. I have a fat belly. But it’s now deflating.

So i just looked online for other ways to lower cortisol levels.

Omega 3 fatty acids, maybe ironically vitamin c (i assume they mean orally), tea leaves, magnesium, and herbal supplements like ashwagandha, chammomile and even turmeric to help your body fend off cell damage from this chronic stress.  I love taking turmeric supplements for pain.

http://www.ehow.co.uk/facts_5751704_supplements-high-cortisol-levels.html

I may also book an infrared sauna again (i did one of those on Saturday along with a very light Swedish massage and it felt like it calmed things quite a bit).  I also had moxibustion yesterday at acupuncture to get that fat heated and moving on out. And yes, I also have those acu beads taped to my ears. Every few hours i touch my ear and go “what the sh*t is that?! Oh, oh yeah.”  I may need to work on my memory next. 😉

Putting the fire out

A few things have helped me when the burning pain got to be too much: a shot of Toradol or a few days of diluted raw apple cider vinegar have shown the quickest change.  I think the ACV has actually worked better and i’ve felt close to remission this way. It just tastes like garbage and you really can’t drink it in those amounts for very long without making yourself sick (you can change the PH too much in your body).  Anyone have any other secrets for this pain?

I think this rainy weather or my detox has me thinking ACV today. I would do something cooling but my acupuncturist says I am cold in the inside (i know, dead on after the last post) and that the heat is in my skin (where the small nerves are). So doing anything too cooling can backfire on me on a cool day. I’m already treating the mechanism (the inflammatory response) with fish oil, turmeric, magnesium etc. but i feel it’s time to treat the symptom when i start feeling like this.