Anxiety, ADHD, Addictions

So many people are trapped in states of anxiety, depression and addiction. These states can be produced by psychological problems such as stress and unresolved social factors as well as biochemical factors such as regular consumption of processed foods, caffeine, certain drugs, smoking, food allergies and sugar. Avoiding the above mentioned makes a huge difference in relieving the above mentioned symptoms. But due to it’s very nature, people actually use the above mentioned substances as a crutch thinking that they are getting relief from their anxiety. This however is not the case, as the crutch only serves to aggravate the symptoms, and in that a viscous cycle exists whereby one becomes emotionally and physically attached to the habit. The habit itself usually becomes destructive, as it overstimulates the body, increases the toxin burden on the body and negatively affects the mind.

If we look at ADHD, which is commonly associated with symptoms such as impulsivity, attention deficit, and lack of concentration, hyperactivity and loquaciousness. Obsessive compulsive symptoms may also be evident. Other observations include abdominal discomfort, excessive thirst, frequent urination, dry hair and skin with brittle nails. The symptoms associated with ADHD have important consequences for the individual, their family and society as the following problems may result such as learning disabilities, depressed behaviour by adolescence, aggression, tantrums, low frustration tolerance, academic problems, restricted thinking and reasoning, anxiety and poor social skills.

The exact etiology of ADHD is unknown, although neurotransmitter deficits, genetics, and perinatal complications, such as difficulties during pregnancy, prenatal exposure to alcohol and tobacco, premature delivery, significantly low birth weight, excessively high body lead levels, and postnatal injury to the prefrontal regions of the brain have been implicated (use of forceps/suction device during birth).

Excessive sugar intake, food additives and preservatives, sensitivity to certain foods, excessive television viewing, poor child management by parents and social and environmental factors such as poverty or family chaos are seen as aggravating symptoms, but the evidence for such individual aggravating circumstances is not strong enough to conclude that they are primary causes of ADHD.

According to the National Research Centre on ADHD catecholamine-rich fronto-subcortical systems is implicated in structural and functional imaging research on the neurochemistry of this condition.

The fronto-subcortical part of the brain is used for intellect, judgement, reflection and emotional reaction. Catecholamines, including dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine are hormones produced by the adrenal glands which are released into the blood stream during times of physical or emotional stress. Catecholamines also affect the digestion of food due to their ability to reduce digestive enzyme secretion. Adequate amounts of pancreatic enzymes in an alkaline medium are essential for the digestion and subsequent absorption of dietary fat and protein and this may explain why ADHD individuals have gastric issues and lack essentail fatty acids, which are vital for the development and function of the brain and nervous system. Digestive issues also lead to poor mineral absorption, and two key minerals are often deficienct in ADHD and anxiety states which are zinc and magnesium.

Catecholamines also lead to increased glucose within the blood stream, and one can therefore clearly see why the above issues occur.

So what can be done to support people in anxiety states?

1. Firstly, it’s important to refrain from consuming aggravating foods as indicated above. Instead consume a diet high in greens, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, spirulina, fish oils or flax seed and chia seed. Consume sprouts, nuts, seeds and wholegrains such as quinoa, amaranth and millet. Foods to consume which are high in tryptophan and tyrosine are banana’s, legumes, lentils, pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashew nuts, avocado’s and fish. These amino acids are required to make adequate amounts of serotonin, melatonin and dopamine. Also consume oats, which acts as a nervine. Cinnamon can be sprinkled over  meals as this helps with blood glucose regulation, due to high levels of chromium.

2. Supplements to consider are zinc, magnesium, omega 3 fatty acids and herbs which improve memory and concentration such as Bacopa, Ginko Biloba and Scullcap. Oats Sativa and Passiflora are good nervines which soothe the nervous system.

3. Another option is to consider Sceletium, an indigenous South African herb which has been used by the bushmen as a mood enhancer for hundreds of years and has been substantiated to be a very strong and effective natural anti-depressant.
The mood-elevating action of Sceletium is produced by numerous alkaloids including mesembrine, mesembrenol and tortuosamine. These alkaloids interact with the brain’s dopamine and serotonin receptors. Mesembrine is a major alkaloid present in Sceletium and has been proven to be an extremely effective serotonin-reuptake inhibitor.
Hence these facts and verified reports, it’s been confirmed, what the Bushmen have known for hundreds of years, – that Sceletium has a remarkable ability to effectively treat symptoms of anxiety, stress, tension and mild to moderate depression.

4. Hoodia Gordonii, which looks like a cactus, but is actually a succulent. This plant contains the miracle molecule P57 that was recently slurped up into the weight loss industry with no long-lasting success.
The reason – myth was that the bushmen chewed the bitter Hoodia plant to suppress hunger and thirst during long hunting trips. However, it has been established that the p57 molecule found in pure Kalahari Hoodia Gordonii works by mimicking the effect that glucose has on nerve cells in the brain, having a great effect on your blood-sugar that keeps it stable and eliminates the glucose peaks. Hoodia also enhances your mood. It is also known to maintain a high sustainable energy level.

5. Other nutrients which are essential for optimal adrenal function are Vitamin C, which is found most abundantly in the adrenal glands, is required for the metabolism of amino acids which are involved in the production of adrenal hormones such as catecholamines, adrenalin and noradrenalin, thyroxin, aldosterone, cortisol, corticosterone, cortisone and androgen hormones, which play a role in regulation of DHEA , eostrogens and progesterone.

6. B Complex – Riboflavin is another important nutrient in adrenal stress as it’s involved in the regulation of adrenal function through the production of corticosteroids and may be needed for the regulation of the thyroid hormones. Symptoms of adrenal stress are usually associated with poor energy levels and reduced resistance to stress and adequate riboflavin intake is essential in combating these symptoms. Riboflavin also plays a role in iron metabolism through the release of iron from ferritin and is involved in red blood cell production which is important for normal cell division, immune function and energy utilization. Riboflavin also acts as an antioxidant and helps in the regeneration of gluthione, a power tripeptide antioxidant crucially important in preventing and fighting infections and diseases. Pantothenic acid is another important nutrient for adrenal stress and is sometimes referred to as the “anti-stress vitamin” due to its essential role in maintaining adrenal gland function through the production of adrenal hormones, cortisone, which is involved in the metabolism of proteins and fats in energy production, the synthesis of glucose, aids in resistance to stress, inhibits inflammatory responses and affects the immune response. Pantothenic acid is also required in GIT motility and hydrochloric acid production, which needs to function properly as continual stress affects, inhibits GIT absorption of nutrients. Pyridoxine is involved in the production of several hormones relating to adrenal function such as androgen, oestrogen, progesterone, cortisone, thyroxin and cortisol in particular, by stimulating the release of adrenal catecholamines which can alter cell receptor response to steroid hormones such as cortisol. Vitamin B6 is also involved in the production of neurotransmitters GABA and serotonin which regulate the nervous system and help to prevent anxiety.

7. Adrenal Adaptogens – these are plants which have been used for hundreds of years to support adrenal function. They are called adaptogens, due to their ability to adapt to the adrenal glands needs. These herbs are Ashwaganda, Rhodolia, Ginseng, Macuna and Maca.

8. Deep breathing, yoga and meditation are beautiful ways to quiet the mind, oxygenate the body and reach a state of inner peace. By making these part of your daily practice one can truly reach a state of peace.

9. Regular exercise is also essential, as well as spending adequate time in the sun(without sunscreen),  spending time walking barefoot on the soil, spending time looking at the moon and stars, and getting adequate sleep.

For personal consultations please contact vivienne@vividhealth.co.za


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