Hello all! This week we are going to discuss a more serious topic, it affects millions, it can be mild, or lasting years and become chronic. Sometimes it can be debilitating. This condition is connected to dietary factors, lifestyle, and other health conditions. Curious yet? Well, I hope so. It has been given many names, “panic attack” stress/tenseness, phobia, do you know it yet? The disorder is known as ANXIETY. Anxiety can refer to many symptoms such as: fear, nervousness, trembling, diarrhea, unsettling feelings, palpitations, numbness like pins and needles in your arms, legs sweating, fatigue, poor concentration, mood swings, easily startled. This list can go on and on, but until you get a better understanding of the triggers and root cause, you cannot have an effective treatment. We are not talking about the temporary feeling of stress/anxiety like before a big test. We are talking about anxiety that affects a person’s life when it interferes with normal daily functions including sleep. This condition can be short-term or chronic, you can have a few symptoms or many.
WHAT CAUSES IT?
Here are some of the common triggers:
- Chronic stress
- Traumatic life events
- Chronic pain
- Financial issues
- Genetic factors
While triggers for anxiety differ from person to person, there is one triggering factor that can that is so significant it can cause the anxiety to become a chronic problem. It is INFLAMMATION. Anxiety feeds off inflammation, they go hand in hand and thus making the anxiety triggers worsen. Example, stress increases inflammation in the body. Stress takes its toll on the body and when you have an underlying issue of chronic inflammation (auto immune condition) or other inflammatory condition, then anxiety can present itself. There are many documentations linking inflammation, anxiety and depression. Inflammation is the body’s response to injury and the injury does not have to be just physical.
Mental and emotional stress can spark an inflammatory response as well. When the inflammatory process gets activated in the body the first place affected is the GUT. Stress produces inflammatory cytokines that affect the way the gut, brain and nervous system respond. Therefore, anxiety, depression and leaky gut can develop. If leaky gut manifests itself it can start cycles of anxiety to show itself due to the disrupted microbial imbalances in the gut, and poor absorption of nutrients and toxins building in the blood stream.
Nutrient deficiency plays a significant role in the health of the nervous system and deficiencies in certain nutrients worsen anxiety issues. It is best to address anxiety treatments in several approaches and not in one specific way. A thorough approach is to take gut health and inflammatory levels into account. To determine the state of your gut health you can ask your practitioner to look at zonulin and lactulose levels (the ELISA TEST). This can help determine the severity of the leaky gut. Sometimes just reversing leaky gut, can resolve or lesson anxiety and prevent it from worsening. Inflammatory markers also need to be addressed. Hs-CRP or C-reactive proteins measure cytokines in the blood that are released by damaged or inflamed tissues. Homocysteine is another test that measures amino acids in the blood. When elevated it can indicate nutrient deficiencies associated with chronic inflammation.
BOTTOM LINE!!!! When treating anxiety check Gut health and inflammatory factors so you can have a more direct effective treatment for lessening or resolving the issue.
It’s all about education!!!
BASIC ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET INCLUDES:
- Leafy greens
- Cruciferous veggie
- Bone broth
- Sweet potatoes
- Lean beef
- Chicken (dark meat)
- Artificial Sweeteners
- Processed Foods
Food sensitivities and allergies play a giant role in inflammation and gut health. When foods that are sensitive to your body are consumed, they produce an immune response and cause digestive malabsorption. They aggravate the persons gut and thus creating inflammation which can lead to nervous system disorders such as anxiety/depression.
That is why when a patient seeks acupuncture treatment to help with anxiety, I strongly suggest testing for gut health, food sensitivities and inflammatory factors. These are some of the main triggers that need to be addressed to help resolve the anxiety issue.
If you or anyone you know are suffering from this issue, please pass this on.
Till next time
May your health be with you.