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Could Your Anxiety Be Genetic?

Could your anxiety be genetic?

There is a simple to challenge to find out.

There are many known factors that contribute to anxiety, but one that is rarely discussed is a genetic variant that can inhibit traditional care. You may wonder, “how can I make a change if my problem is genetic?” In fact knowing your anxiety stems from a genetic variant will empower you to possibly find a more appropriate path to feeling better.

Let me explain:

Your brain is influenced by a number of chemicals called neurotransmitters, chemicals which pass messages from one nerve cell to another.Two of the most influential neurotransmitters are Glutamate and GABA.

•    Glutamate excites the brain

•    GABA slows the brain

As you may have guessed, an imbalance between glutamate and GABA may have an adverse effect on your mental state. Too much glutamate may equal more anxiety.

But…

Glutamate turns into GABA in the brain. A number of things influence this process, including your genes. If you happen to have the gene variant that inhibits the process, you may be expressing it in the form of anxiety.

Take the Alpha-ketoglutaric acid challenge

When taken as a supplement, the body should turn Alpha-Ketoglutaric Acid(AKG) into glutamate and then GABA. If you have this genetic variant, the body can’t convert glutamate into GABA, in essence temporarily creating too much glutamate and the resulting symptoms.

The test: Take 1000 to 1500 mg of Alpha-Ketoglutaric Acid. You will be symptom-free if your body successfully converts it to GABA. But if you have the genetic variant your body will have a problem completing the conversion, and you may notice excitability, nervousness, anxiety, insomnia, or gut disturbances. You might have to do this challenge for a few days to notice any changes.

What to do if the result is positive?

 If this is positive you will want to develop a strategy to increase GABA through supplementation. You can also add supplements that support GABA, such as l-theanine, l-taurine, vitamin b-6, Valerian, and lithium orotate.

What else can you do?

 •    With your prescribing doctor, you may want to readdress some of your medications. Benzodiazepines, such as Valium and Xanax, may be difficult to withdraw from because of the resistance you build up over time.

•    Avoid MSG. This is one of the largest contributing factors on raising unnatural Glutamate levels in the body and brain. This may cause what is called the Chinese food syndrome.  MSG raises glutamate and if your body can’t convert it to GABA, it may lead to hyper-excitable symptoms like a racing heart rate, headaches, stomach problems, among others. By the way, MSG goes by many different names. Get educated on other names MSG goes by.

•    Exercise has also been shown to restore neurotransmitters to a healthy level.

•    Organic Acid Tests and genetic tests can zero in on a cellular and genetic level to see what influençable markers you have and to develop more powerful strategies to overcome your anxieties.

If you experience thoughts of doing harm to yourself or others, seek help from a mental health professional.

Anxiety may be expressed in many ways, and there are many causes. If there is an influenceable cause, wouldn’t you want to know? I hope this article helps.

5 Tips to Help You Eat Healthy During the Holidays

The holiday season can be a real test to eating healthy for all of us. You do not have to completely sabotage your healthy routine. Yes, you may be tempted and you should be able to enjoy yourself without feeling all the guilt. Still take the time to nourish your body with the following tips to help you navigate through all the holiday temptation.

  1. Keep Hydrated! Did you know that keeping yourself hydrated will help with any cravings and can also assist with any over eating? Drinking plenty of water and keeping yourself hydrated will help you re-assess your craving. 
  2. Bring something to the party. There’s nothing like bringing a covered dish or your favorite desert to the holiday party. This allows you to make something on the healthy side or for you to create those dishes that are a fit for any stomach or intolerances you may have. Think of some healthy holiday trail mixes or low-calorie side dishes. Try making some healthy versions of your favorite holiday treats. There are lots of wonderful recipes online that can help. 
  3. Eat the good stuff during the day and before you go to the party. Eating well during the day and then eating prior to going to your holiday function will help you make better choices when you arrive. Look to fill up your plate at the party with the healthy choices first. 
  4. Watch your drinks. Alcohol does a few things, it can be loaded with calories but it also can assist you in making bad choices when eating. Pace yourself and make drink choices that aren’t loaded with sugar and mixers. 
  5. It’s a mindset. If you have a routine the holidays shouldn’t give you a pass to veer off course. Stick to the routines you’re used to and know that you may stumble but you have to get back into the groove of that routine. Don’t make the holidays your excuse for bad decisions. 

Enjoy the holidays with your family and friends. Savor all the wonderful foods that you will have and don’t feel too guilty about it. This holiday eat well and be merry!

Top 5 Reasons To Eat a Ketogenic Diet

The Ketogenic Diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. So let’s put down the bread and increase your brain power!

The “Keto” in Ketogenic comes from “Ketones,” the small fuel molecules produced when you eat very few carbs and only moderate amounts of proteins.

The goal of a Ketogenic diet is for your body to switch its fuel supply to run entirely on fat. 

  1. Losing the Pounds: Transforming your body into a fat-burning machine makes it a weight loss machine. Revving up  fat burning puts the breaks on the production of insulin – the fat storing hormone, creating ideal circumstances in which fat loss can occur, without hunger.
  2. Jedi Knight Mental Focus: Ketosis provides a steady flow of fuel (ketones) to the brain, unlike the big energy swings that occur from burning sugar (glycolysis), often resulting in the experience of increased focus and improved concentration.
  3. Let’s get Physical: Ketogenic diets can vastly increase your physical endurance by giving you access to the energy available in your fat stores. When your body primarily burns carbohydrates your fat stores are not easily available and they can’t fuel your brain. Burning sugar makes you hangry (hungry and angry). Burning fat makes you heppy (happy and energetic).
  4. Settle the Stomach: It’s common to experience fewer stomach ailments and complaints on a Ketogenic diet. You may produce less gas, be less nausea, experience less cramping and have fewer bouts of diarrhea. You may even get relief from constant heartburn, allowing you to shelve the antacids.
  5. Less Acne: Many people experience less acne and fewer breakouts. A low glycemic diet, often in combination with the elimination of dairy products and the addition of fruits and vegetables has been shown to reduce acne, decrease body mass index and the risk of type2 diabetes.

Before making dietary changes be sure to check with your physician or health care provider.

The Role of Food in Your IBS

We are constantly being barraged with plates and pyramids dictating what makes up a healthy diet. Low-fat, moderate fat, only a little protein or a protein portion the size of your palm; lots of fruits and vegetables or lots of grains; none is the perfect answer for everyone. As a matter of fact, some of those guidelines may actually cause your IBS symptoms to flare up. There is no one size fits all answer when it comes to relieving IBS symptoms, but we will say that over the years we have found some common threads with our patients. 

Fiber – Yeah we know it should be good for you. Fiber is the thing that adds healthy bulk to your diet.  Buzz words like “whole grains” may be appealing, but they may not always be a good choice. Fiber can aggravate your symptoms, especially your diarrhea. Your best bet is to look for soluble fibers like vegetables and fruits. For those with a more sensitive system we often recommend cooking vegetables for easier digestion.

Grains – As discussed above, grains are known to aggravate IBS symptoms. Because of their inflammatory nature we often have patients steer clear of ALL grains, at least until symptoms calm down. Some patients are able to reintroduce grains successfully over time; however, patients with Celiac Disease or non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity are often limited to grains that do not contain   rye, wheat, barley, or other grains known to induce a cross-sensitive reaction. 

Foods that are Fried – We all love french fries, but fried foods are really hard on your gut, especially for those struggling with IBS. 

Beans and Coffee – IBS can appear as diarrhea or constipation, or alternate between the two. Either way it’s unpleasant. We often hear about things like beans and coffee “helping things along” but we also hear how they can overshoot the mark and have a bad result. Your best bet: if you already know a food bothers you, don’t eat it.

Milk – Like grains, dairy products are known to be inflammatory. For you, this may mean typical IBS symptoms like constipation or diarrhea, in others it may cause joint pain, bloating, or skin problems. Like grains, we often have patients eliminate all dairy until symptoms go away, then we add it back into your diet, one product at a time for a fews day to see how you feel. 

There is no cookie cutter solution for each person suffering from IBS even though we often see identical symptoms in those suffering with it. Everyone has a different underlying cause. Keep a journal and list what you eat and when you have problems.  These suggestions should be a good starting point for relieving your pain. 

Come to one of our FREE Workshops where Dr. Kirshner will answer all your questions about your IBS.

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