There is a massive correlation between your gut health and mental health, this linked science website is just one of many many studies done by scientists worldwide on the relationship between what you eat, and what eats you.
Inflammation can contribute to depression and gut bacteria can influence inflammation. Research shows that probiotic gut bacteria can alleviate depression and anxiety. Gut microbes have an impact on the production of mood-promoting and calming compounds.
We won't be covering probiotics and the actual gut bacteria in this post, but just to open with an understanding of the importance that what you consume, has a direct relation to what will eventually consume you. Emotionally speaking that is. Although disease and body acidosis has been linked to nutrition and diet. Disease can only thrive in an acidic environment and what we eat either contribute to more of an unhealthy internal world, or builds a thriving healthy internal state, thereby affecting our mind and our self expression and experience here on earth.
We can not only prevent, but reverse disease with an acknowledgment, awareness and application of the connection between our digestive system and our minds.
There is so so much research, and so many great books to begin learning about this topic.
These are just a tiny peek into the fascinating world of the mind gut connection, and I highly recommend each and every book listed here, you can click the picture to take you right to the book on Amazon.
This post in particular is about how we can come to realize that conscious eating and allowing food to be our medicine and a thoughtful creative aspect of our lives, versus a stressful, quick satiation, can greatly improve the quality of your life and future.
So often with our food choices we pick items that cause a rush of sugar release for an instant brain high to keep alert and temporarily happy. Carbohydrates for example are abundant in most processed foods, and these carbs break down and convert instantly to sugar, which gives you a great short term release of energy to the brain. The keto diet is gaining popularity out there not only in its efficiency for rapid healthy weight loss, but in the switch from sugar feeding the body, to long term fuel filling the body off healthy fats. (More on this in another post)
Back to quick eating and fast choices, this insufficient way of using food as a filler substance instead of a planned out medium of nourishment, begins to condition our bodies to have cravings and highs and lows.
The digestion is sluggish, and overwhelmed leading to strain and struggle on all the organs, including the brain. Massively affecting mental health, both directly related to over consumption and lack of healthy choices.
Thus, the recommended reading material really covers all of this topic in depth, a thorough understanding of your body should be a great priority, since your body is your incredible self expression to interact within this constantly shifting changing planet, your body is your masterpiece of self creation.
You were born with a perfect body, this version of you will always change, cells are shed and structures of you are rebuilt on a daily basis. Even your thoughts and habit, every aspect of your makeup is changeable, and regenerative.
Your body is your home, that's why how you feel is a direct relation to how you present yourself, both physically, emotionally and energetically.
How can you begin a journey into the world of building a healthy lifestyle with food and clear your mind of confusion when it comes to where to start?
This is where the topic title comes in, what we want to start with is something that can help everyone, ADAPTOGENS, the herbal remedies that are tonics and balancers to the adrenal glands. Our adrenals are what distribute CORTISOL, they manage stress, and maintain your blood pressure. Cortisol is the bodies chemical response to stress, and living in with high levels of cortisol can cause adrenal burn out and fatigue.
The adrenals are constantly taxed and over worked trying to handle daily routines that are fast paces, stressful and draining on our systems.
The amount of food we eat is usually not on par with the recommended daily intake of proper vitamins, minerals, electrolytes and trace elements needed to maintain a balanced system by the end of the day.
Fast paced living will deplete what stores you can hold, and that's why supplementation is essential in the world we live in today.
There are specific supplements that nourish and tone the adrenals, the over taxed organ that pumps out the stress hormone and is usually drained and in need of rest.
Most supplements should be taken throughout the day, to keep a great amount consistently feeding your body, and take a few months to really become effective tools in your daily routine of health management.
You can talk to the educated health associate at your local vitamin shop about what might work best for you concerning adrenal fatigue and general energy maintenance.
What I suggest is what works for me, as an active, healthy person.
These plants and natural compounds work with the gut, absorbing at the level of the stomach and affecting your nervous system and organs in such a positive way.
They are best used of course in combination with food, specifically healthy food choices.
The beginning of this post we talked about the emotional outcome of choosing unhealthy foods, so adding a bunch of great supplements, doesn't in any way fix an already toxic gut environment.
Here is an interesting study done and published on ALC (A supplement in the health stores that goes by Acetyl L Carnitine) and it's affect on the body and depression, again linking the ingestion and gut health to the results on the mind and perception of the outer world.
Please only use this as information not a reference for supplementation, there is alot of information out there, and it doesn't mean that this one isolated substance will solve any or all potential issues or inbalances. I found this particular find intriguing and also another point towards the health solution we can be in control of for ourselves through proper nutrition and education.
A new study published in PNAS has uncovered a critical biomarker of depression and a promising treatment method based on the body's levels of a single molecule called acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC). This molecule's main job is to help transport fatty acids into mitochondria; in effect, it helps provide cells with energy. By comparing the blood levels of 71 depressed individuals and 45 healthy individuals, it was discovered that ALC levels were significantly lower in those suffering from depression. Not only that, but the more depressed the individual was, the lower their ALC levels.
That being said, here are
My top 7 Adrenal Nourishing Supplements.
Tulsi (Holy Basil)
Let's break it down, benefits, and ways to use these amazing tonics.
Rhodiola, this is a flowering plant and a natural adaptogen. Adaptogens mean they work with your adrenals and help the body manage stress. Rhodiola is used in treating mild to moderate depression, fatigue and exhaustion. Rhodiola can be found in pill form or sometimes in tea.
Ashwagandha, also known as Indian Ginseng, is an adaptogen used in Ayurvedic herbalism for thousands of years. Ashwagandha is one of the best natural mood stabilizers on the market. Studies suggest the health benefits of ashwagandha for anxiety compare to pharmaceutical antidepressants. Lowering cortisol levels naturally and maintains homeostasis in the body and mind. I used the powdered form, and I put a 1/2 a tbsp into my smoothie, sometimes I add it to my tulsi tea, it's a little "earthy" tasting so you can get it in capsule form as well. I am used to it at this point, I actually enjoy the taste. I also find the capsules are more costly in the long run. With all these supplements a little bit goes a long way, start with a teaspoon in a cup of warm (not boiling) tea, or a teaspoon in water or in a smoothie, then work your way up as you feel comfortable and notice a healthy change.
Ashwagandha is also known to support thyroid, by keeping the critical thyroid hormones T3 and T4 in check, this allows it to be a reliable hypothyroid treatment.
The herbal supplements i'm mentioning are almost all also good for aiding sleep, since they work with lowering cortisol and reducing stress, anxiety and depression. Ashwagandha is no different, lowering cortisol by 28% this has a signifigant impact on the improvement of inosomnia.
When supplementing with ashwagandha powder, it’s recommended to start with a dose between 300 to 500 milligrams per day. The withanolides content should be between 5-10 %. You can gradually increase the dosage until the desired results present themselves. Also, understand that depending on your health problems or personal goals, the dosage for ashwagandha may change.
5htp 5 HydroxyTryptophan
This amino acid is a precursor to serotonin with potential anti depressant, anti anxiety, sleep and weight management benefits. Some theories suggest depression is attributed to low levels of serotonin in the brain, in the case of 5htp, this is causes the creation naturally of higher levels of serotonin and melatonin, although alot of studies with 5htp are not peer reviewed and still being conducted, it's something great to look into for short term use. Long term high does of anything are not recommended.
Full Spectrum B Vitamin
I have seen the benefits of this supplement basically my whole life, dealing with clients when I was a product advisor in the health industry to giving general recommendations as a massage practitioner. A full spectrum 50mg - 100mg vitamin B supplement is a must have for the health of hair, skin, and nerves. This one also affects muscle and mind health, and I notice a dramatic improvement in my wellbeing when I am on my B's.
I take a vitamin B with added L Theanine, i'll post a link to each of my favorite products at the end of this article.
There are SO many benefits to the individual B vitamins, and that's why I always suggest a complex, that includes all of them, and usually in doses that work best together. B vitamins help in the production of norepinephrine, a hormone that helps manage stress. One study reported participants who had received B vitamin supplements showed reduced levels of stress during intensive cognitive activities.
A B complex can help boost energy, immunity and memory.
A B vitamin complex can help prevent Depression and Anxiety – Vitamin B deficiencies can result in depression, anxiety, and mood swings. Recent studies indicate those with depression or anxiety have lower levels of B-12 and B-9 and this deficiency could be playing a role in their mental health. It is suggested that taking B vitamins regularly could help keep depression at bay.
A B complex is part of the building blocks for a healthy life. There a plentiful amount of choices if you go to your local health store, the product advisors can show you everything from liquid to caps based on your age, needs and conditions. I suggest talking to someone there about your interest and options.
Holy Basil (Tulsi Tea)
Tulsi tea, which originated in India thousands of years ago, is known for its rich antioxidant and adaptogenic properties that are known to promote wellness by building the body’s immune system, reducing stress and promoting mental clarity. It is recognized as one of India’s most sacred herbs because of its health benefits and healing properties. Tulsi Tea’s antioxidants protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals that facilitate the cause and progression of various types of diseases. Also referred to as holy basil tea, this herbal brew’s adaptogens serve as powerful anti-stress agents that protect your body from a wide range of health concerns. The adaptogens guard against and deal with physical, chemical, environmental, and emotional factors that produce high levels of stress that compromise physical and mental health.
Ancient records mention tulsi to deliver a feeling of calmness. Once again, we see recommendations from ancient sources supported by science– tulsi tea can act as a natural antidepressant, studies say.
More research is needed to definitively link this effect to humans. However, so far the data supports the traditional use of tulsi tea to lift one’s spirits and provide relief from stress.
Though many natural extracts show science-backed promise, tulsi is among the most firmly supported by clinical trials. The best part? It’s so easy to “dose” tulsi– just steep as a tea and drink!
This is by far one of my favorite ways to unwind, is a maca banana mango smoothie. Maca nourishes the adrenals after a long day at work, its a turnip from peru, and a natural adaptogen in food form. That being said, Maca is very very safe and the peruvians even put Maca in their baby's milk! It is known for it's easily digestable quality and high concentrations of vitamins and minerals. Maca actually has 20 amino acids and 8 of those are essential to the functioning of our bodies. Maca works with the hormones and in about 1 tablespoon a day, you can bring yourself into a more balanced state, easing depression, boosting your mood, energy and focus, at the same time as an adaptogen, it overall lowers anxiety.
Vitamin & Mineral Rich // Full of Vitamins B, C, and E, maca powder is a great source for antioxidants and keeping your immune system healthy. It also contains calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, and phosphorous.
Overall I think Maca is one of my top favorite adaptogens because of it's incredible caramel flavor, and versatility with cooking and consumption. From yummy maca hot chocolate, maca coffee, smoothies, maca cookies, etc etc... haha! it's so great! So healthy, and it's incredibly bio-available to the body being an actual food vs herb. You can safely have quite a bit of it and feel just fine.
Magnesium and Electrolytes
Magnesium supplementation is essential, through capsules, powder added to your water, as well as taking soaks in high doses of magnesium for transdermal absorption. You can do that through the Float House. At the Float House you not only get top quality magnesium absorption you experience complete weightlessness in a beautiful clean unique space, relaxation and magnesium, both great tools for adrenal fatigue.
Magnesium is an necessary for good health and a vital component within our cells. Magnesium is absolutely critical for an overall balanced body and mind, as well as hormones and nerves. Today most people should rely on a supplemented form of magnesium since our soils and food sources are quite depleted of vital trace elements and minerals.
Magnesium is known to reduce muscle tension, lessen pain associated with migraine headaches, improve sleep, and address neurological disorders such as anxiety and depression.
Magnesium works within our cells — the powerhouses, factories and regulators of the body’s systems.
Because it is a necessary part of hundreds of biochemical reactions occurring constantly inside our cells, magnesium’s presence or absence affects the brain, the muscles, and the heart and blood vessels.
You can get a good amount of magnesium in an electrolyte pack, an the one I use is Magnesium Bis-Glycinate , its a chelated form of magnesium that is the best absorbed for those lowest on magnesium.
Here's some clickable links to my favorite supplements:
So that's my take on some of the everyday essentials that help me stay chill and adaptable to stress and keep my energy strong and body balanced!
See you soon!