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Fasting Diet: progressions

 

Updated: 26 Sep 2018

 

This article is written with deep respect in the process of fasting and consciousness that its epigenetic effects are far reaching. Fasting in my opinion is something we all need to be comfortable with. There are many disputes on what the healthiest diet is, with advocates of the different diets often trying to support their view using ethnological and ancestral data. It is clear though to everyone that our ancestors had to survive periods of fasting independent of their diet (whether the famine was caused due to lack of game or a disaster in the crops).

My Journey with the Fasting Diet

I have been following a Fasting Diet on and off since September 2009. In my first attempt to fast (after reading my first book on nutrition called: Food Governs your Destiny) I set x3 2hour slots in the day during which I allowed myself to eat. Outside these windows I would consume only liquids. I stayed on the diet for 6 months, during which I:

?? reduced my waist circumference from 34 to 29 inches.

?? lost 7.5 kilos.

?? achieved mental clarity I have never experienced before.

During a big part of these 6 months I was vegetarian.

In 2016 I decided that as a way of monitoring my metabolism I would like to measure the production of ketones in my body. Between October 2016 and February 2017 I monitored my Blood Glucose (BG) and Ketone Bodies (KB) – beta-hydroxybutyric acid on a daily basis. Monitoring can be useful:

?? as feedback for one’s response to food / exercise.

?? for compliance when BG & KB targets are set.

During this period there were weeks of following a vegetarian diet but most days I consumed meat.

Fast Diet: Progressions

Bellow I share what I consider to be a natural progression of fasting. Of course everyone’s starting point is different: not everyone starts with a: 3 meals and 2 snacks diet and neither do we all have the same tolerance to the changes each step requires. I imagine you have not been eating the same way all your life, after all. If you are not sure how quickly you should progress from one stage to the next I suggest you err on the safe side. Most people will find progressions comfortable if they spend 1-2 months on each stage. Those with a healthy relationship to food will evolve our fasting practice over our lifespan.

⏱ Time Restrict your Eating

I consider the 16-8h type-diet to be an easy one for most people to adopt. During this diet you restrict your caloric intake over an 8 hour window. The remaining 16 hours one is allowed to have non-caloric drinks such as water, coffee and tea. The easiest way to get into it, is to prolong the overnight fast. Assuming one sleeps for 8 hours and stops eating 4 hours prior to going to bed, she / he can achieve the 16/8h fast by eating 4 hours after waking up. If the idea still feels daunting here are a few tips to ease your way into it:

?? Start with a 12-12h diet and gradually increase the fasting window. The danger here is not to be consistent. Decide which window schedule suits you and stick to it for at least 1 week before increasing the fasting phase.

?? Take days off if you find the idea of doing it daily suffocating. However have the days scheduled before hand and do not change them. You know you are ready to proceed when you have completed 4 consecutive weeks with 5 days per week on your “Time Restricted Eating” schedule.

? Eat while the Sun is up

While I acknowledge that many people working in offices have more physically active evenings than mornings; the body’s biological clock will not flip upside down because you signed up at the 20:30 CrossFit class. Neither your sleeping time can accommodate all the digestion you wish just because your gym class finishes at 22:00. As a next step to a “Time Restricted Eating” I consider to be the swift of the eating window earlier in the day. How early is early? – you decide. My suggestion is to finish eating prior to the sunset and ideally by midday. As you can see in the infographic from a 2018 paper [1], time restricting food to the earlier part of the day causes an number of beneficial effects:

Actions that helped me with this transition:

?? Exercise earlier in the day.

?? Make sure the quality of my sleep is not compromised. Supplements as well as breathing practices can support a good night sleep. Initially prolonged fasts can lead to elevated cortisol levels which will mess up with sleep. Poor sleep leads to tiredness and erratic appetite the next day.

⏰ Set your Eating Times

That stage could also be called: Stop snaking. Most of us (living a western lifestyle) have constant access to food and numerous stressors during our day. The combination of the two in many cases lead to binging / snaking. Whether you call it comfort food or not, every extra meal (and by meal let’s call anything containing more than 20 calories) requires the activation of the pancreas and the subsequent release of insulin. Insulin is a hormone with multiple roles in our biochemistry other than food metabolism. With that in mind I don’t find strange that hormonal imbalances are common in those with erratic eating patterns.

If one attempts to “Set her Eating Times” while she is eating during daytime only, I expect this transition not to be a big challenge. On the other hand shifting from a 16-8h fast to a “Set Eating Times” schedule can be a bigger step.

Setting the times when someone eats is a personal issue and can be scheduled around her lifestyle. My suggestion is to schedule no more than 3 meals a day and if for whatever reason a meal is lost not to be replaced.

☝? Eat Once a Day

If you have been following the progression described above I would be surprised if you are eating more than twice a day by now. Eating once can be something you want to try occasionally based on your energy expenditure & mood.

? Eat only When Hungry & As much as you Need

Even when I eat once a day I sometimes find hard not to overeat. I consider our relationship with food complex and the addictive aspect of it multidimensional. We can be addicted to:

?? certain foods.

?? the sensation of fullness.

Whatever the addiction is it will always manifest to emotions which make it hard to break loose off. To that extent I would like to clarify that:

“I consider eating one of the big joys of life & fasting can only enhance this sensation.”

Fasting works as a challenge for the body. This doesn’t mean it makes it makes the body weaker. In the same way that you would not assume a runner to be doing harm to her body just because her legs are weak at the end of a training session, don’t be afraid of fasting.

Fast Diet: Considerations

Most people when they consider fasting, they are worried about their energy levels and muscle mass maintenance. The energy levels may fluctuate initially : that is due not to lack of energy but to poor hormone regulation. Even if you have 9% of body fat, there is enough energy stored in your body to keep you alive for days. Fluctuations in energy levels can be caused because your metabolism has no access to your fat. If you are concerned with maintaining muscle mass I suggest you keep your protein intake high when you eat (~x1.6 gr of protein per body weight in kg)

Those that depend on constant energy supply (ie. 3 meals a day + 2 snacks), are the ones that would benefit the most from fasting.

?  Things to consider

?? Always keep your (AME) Appetite, Mood and Energy levels in check. If one of them is not under control adjustments may be necessary. In most cases soon after one gets out of control the other 2 follow.

?? Our life changes constantly and so will our mood, circadian cycle, appetite, needs for nutrients etc. I hope this article works as a road map not an itinerary.

?? Food composition can affect your Blood Glucose and consequently your fasting phases. Fibre, fat, protein can slow down your meals’ metabolism which is necessary initially.

?? Metabolism is complex and its efficiency depends on many factors including: oxygen availability & insulin sensitivity. Practicing yoga, breathing exercise and cold exposure can be very useful towards improving metabolic efficiency and supporting a fasting practice.

Things to consume while fasting

In order to maintain the calories low during fasting my suggestion is to limit your liquid intake to coffee & teas. If stimulants play havoc in your metabolism & appetite you should avoid caffeinated drinks all together. I have been consuming them freely. Two things that can help a lot in extending your fasting periods are:
?? Water – in particular carbonated. I think it is easier if one takes sips during the day aiming for 1-3 litters as opposed to drinking 3 glasses when filling peckish.

?? Magnesium Citrate powder (I like the one from Designers for Health). Its sweet taste can help deal with a sweet tooth while the Magnesium supports the adrenals & promotes gut mobility.

?? Brushing teeth after eating. Making sure mouth hygiene is in check can help in 2 ways: 1. some associate a clean mouth with the end of eating 2. food leftovers will stop triggering taste buds receptors.

 

 

References:

1. Sutton, E. F., Beyl, R., Early, K. S., Cefalu, W. T., Ravussin, E., & Peterson, C. M. (2018). Early Time-Restricted Feeding Improves Insulin Sensitivity, Blood Pressure, and Oxidative Stress Even without Weight Loss in Men with Prediabetes. Cell Metabolism.

Leaky gut: the trojan horse to food allergies?

Leaky Gut is a digestive track with a compromised permeability (like a hose with holes).

 

While the SYMPTOMS OF A LEAKY GUT ARE NOT ONLY ASSOCIATED WITH DIGESTION many people suffering from it experience food sensitivities. That’s why in my opinion:

  1. Elimination diets (i.e. FODMAP, low oxalate, low histamine diets) do not work long term: foods that cause reactions are removed but the reason why the reaction was there are 1st place stays.
  2. Most chronically ill patients have restricted diets: the body is not able to renew the epithelial tissue in the gut  leading to poor gut integrity ➛ increased gut permeability  ➛ food sensitivities.
  3. Diversity in gut flora is positively associated with health: A diverse gut flora supports gut integrity.

 

The reason why the above hold true can be traced to the double role of the gut:

  1. digest and absorb nutrients
  2. host part of the immune system

The immune system in the gut has the delicate role of balancing between: Tolerating or Reacting to the foods it comes in contact with. The evolutionary benefit of this role is the following:

Foods we consume can be degraded or containing toxins and thus be poisonous to the body. In these cases the activation of the immune system can kill the pathogenic substances and protect us.  This process is mediated through a series of steps leading to the increase of intestinal permeability.

 

Unfortunately in certain people the same reaction is triggered not only by toxins but also by regular foods. In these cases after the consumption of the “trigger food” the individual experiences a reaction such as: foggy brain, bloatness, diarrhea, stomach cramps, increased heart rate, running nose, anxiety, irritability. Reducing gut permeability (i.e. healing leaky gut) can make previous “trigger foods” tolerable again.

 

Testing for leaky gut.

Our gut wall consists of just one cell thick epithelial tissue (Sturgeon, C. and Fasano, A., 2016) . The space between each epithelial cell is called tight junction.

 

Lactulose/Mannitol test

The test that has been used the longest for detecting leaky gut is the lactulose/mannitol urine test. The test is simple: after an overnight (12 hour) fast you collect the urine then have a solution of lactulose & mannitol and 6 hours later you collect the urine again.

Mannitol enters the body through the epithelial cell membrane, while lactulose goes through the tight junctions (FlemIng, S.C. et al., 1990)

The loss of absorptive areas ➛ ↓ the absorption of mannitol.

The loss of mucosal integrity ➛ ↑ lactulose absorption.

 

An elevated lactulose : mannitol ratio indicates the presence of leaky gut. The test is available from many labs including Genova Diagnostics. The results can be affected by the use of  NSAIDS, alcohol and according to Dr. Alesio Fasano the results are very sensitive to the collection process and thus may not be reliable when done outside a lab.

 

3 stool markers of leaky gut (α1-Antitrypsin – sIgA – calprotectin)

 

α1-Antitrypsin

is a protein of the liver. When detected in stool (sourced from the intestines) it indicates a severe case of intestinal permeability and thus is not a sensitive enough marker of leaky gut (Biancone, L. et al., 2003)

sIgA

is part of the immune system and functions as a tag for substances that need to be excreted.

Calprotectin

is a protein linked with intestinal inflammation. It is used to distinguish between IBD & IBS (Leblhuber, F., et al., 2015).

3 blood markers of leaky gut (Zonulin – LPS – DAO)

 

Zonulin

Zolulin is a protein responsible for the modulation of tight junctions (Sturgeon, C. and Fasano, A., 2016).

↑ levels of Zonulin ➛ Opening of tight junctions ➛ influx of dietary & microbial antigens in the blood

 

The 2 main triggers of Zonulin release have been found to be:

  1. Bacteria: including Eschericha coli, lab E. coli, virulent E. coli, and Salmonella typhi (El Asmar et al. 2002)
  2. Gliadin: a protein found in gluten (Clemente, M et al., 2003)

Elevated levels of Zonulin have been linked in literature (Sturgeon, C. and Fasano, A., 2016) to:

  1. autoimmune conditions such as: Type 1 Diabetes, Celiac Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Intestinal Bowel Diseases
  2. metabolic disorders such as: Obesity & PCOS
  3. Asthma
  4. Coronary Heart Disease
  5. Systemic infections
  6. Gluten Sensitivity
  7. Necrotizing Enterocolitis
  8. Brain cancer (Skardelly, M et al., 2009) by altering the integrity of the Blood Brain Barrier.

 

Lipopolysaccharide Bacterial Endotoxin

Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is a component of the wall of gram-negative bacteria (Trent, M.S et al., 2006) responsible for the activation of the innate immune system. LPS have 3 regions. Lab tests measure the lipid A region which is also known as endotoxin. Germ-negative bacteria live in the lumen of the gut but should not be found in the blood. Detection of LPS endotoxins in the blood is sign of leaky gut.

 

DAO

Dunwoody Labs measures the levels of DAO enzyme in their intestinal permeability test. DAO is responsible for the break down of histamine. Histamine while necessary for good gut health when elevated can cause problems. Low levels of DAO thus is also a sign of leaky gut. Genetic polymorphisms in the AOC1 gene (which encodes the DAO enzyme) can impair the body’s ability to produce the DAO. Those with low levels can check their genetic burden using the table bellow.

source: InstagramOpus23

 

The future of leaky gut testing

While not currently available for the general public I-FABP is a marker of gut permeability used in laboratories. Intestinal fatty acid binding protein (I-FABP), is a marker of early enterocyte cell death (Derikx, J.P. et al., 2010)

 

 

How to support leaky gut.

When it comes to supporting leaky gut I like to split the nutrients in 2 categories:

  1. the ones affecting the mechanisms that cause the problem (these are the ones that ultimately will heal the intestines)
  2. the ones that suppress the symptoms – commonly referred to as anti-inflammatory (these are the ones that should help ameliorate the symptoms)

 

Avoid trigger foods

While I consider elimination diets not a good idea long-term in the short run it is important to remove any trigger foods to control inflammation. IgG food intolerance tests can be very useful for that matter.

 

Probiotics

I consider the use of probiotics the most potent yet the most tricky in implementation among all interventions. Certain probiotic strains have been found to induce cell proliferation in gut cells:

Bifidobacterium breve R0070 & Lactococcus lactis R1058 when taken taken together seem to have synergistic effects and both can be found in the Jarrow-Dophilus EPS. (Grimoud, J. et al., 2010 *)

Some others that were shown to suppress inflammation induced by LPS levels are:

  1. Bifidobacterium longum subsp. Infantis, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus – in the order mentioned (Laetitia, R. et al., 2013)
  2. Lactobacillus reuteri strain, ATCC PTA 6475 – available from Biogaia. (Thomas, C.M. and Versalovic, J., 2010)
  3. Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 (Groeger, D. et al., 2013)

 

* The French study by Julien Grimoud is a goldmine of information.

 

Mushrooms

Edible & medicinal mushrooms have been shown to activate & modulate the  immune system in the gut acting this way as anti-inflammatory in LPS toxicity.  A. bisporus, C. cibarius and L. deliciosus (Saffron Milkcap mushroom) are mushroom extracts available in supplemental form (Moro, C. et al., 2012).

Berberine

Berberine is an alkaloid found in some plants shown to inhibit the inflammatory effects of LPS (Mo, C. et al., 2014Wu, Y.H., et al., 2012). Berberine has been shown to interact with 57 genes, so cross-checking polymorphisms related to other symptoms is worth doing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

source: Opus23

 

Other agents

Quercetin & CoQ10 were also shown to have anti-inflammatory effects in  LPS toxicity (Abd el-gawad, H.M. and Khalifa, A.E., 2001). Fish Oils were shown to restore intestinal integrity by increasing DAO enzyme concentration in the gut (Liu, Y. et al., 2012).

 

L-glutamine

L-glutamine acts as fuel for intestinal cells (Larson, S.D, et al., 2007) and to that extent supplementation can benefit leaky gut. Gradually building the dosage from as little as 2.5 gr per day to 20 gr should be a safe way to avoid adverse reactions. I have not seen any studies demonstrating the benefits of L-glutamine supplementation for leaky gut however it does support overall intestinal health.

 

Larazotide acetate

Larazotide acetate is a protein shown to inhibit Zonulin production without any adverse effects (Paterson, B.M et al., 2007). Alba Therapeutics an Indian pharmaceutical company is in the process of developing a drug with this protein.

 

 

References

Abd el-gawad, H.M. and Khalifa, A.E., 2001. Quercetin, coenzyme Q 10, and l-canavanine as protective agents against lipid peroxidation and nitric oxide generation in endotoxin-induced shock in rat brain. Pharmacological research, 43(3), pp.257-263.

 

Biancone, L., Fantini, M., Tosti, C., Bozzi, R., Vavassori, P. and Pallone, F., 2003. Fecal α1-antitrypsin clearance as a marker of clinical relapse in patients with Crohn’s disease of the distal ileum. European journal of gastroenterology & hepatology, 15(3), pp.261-266.

 

Clemente, M.G., De Virgiliis, S., Kang, J.S., Macatagney, R., Musu, M.P., Di Pierro, M.R., Drago, S., Congia, M. and Fasano, A., 2003. Early effects of gliadin on enterocyte intracellular signalling involved in intestinal barrier function. Gut, 52(2), pp.218-223.

 

Derikx, J.P., Luyer, M.D., Heineman, E. and Buurman, W.A., 2010. Non-invasive markers of gut wall integrity in health and. World J Gastroenterol, 16(42), pp.5272-5279.

 

El Asmar, R., Panigrahi, P., Bamford, P., Berti, I., Not, T., Coppa, G.V., Catassi, C. and Fasano, A., 2002. Host-dependent zonulin secretion causes the impairment of the small intestine barrier function after bacterial exposure. Gastroenterology, 123(5), pp.1607-1615.

 

FlemIng, S.C., Kapembwa, M.S., Laker, M.F., Levin, G.E. and Griffin, G.E., 1990. Rapid and simultaneous determination of lactulose and mannitol in urine, by HPLC with pulsed amperometric detection, for use in studies of intestinal permeability. Clinical chemistry, 36(5), pp.797-799.

 

Grimoud, J., Durand, H., De Souza, S., Monsan, P., Ouarné, F., Theodorou, V. and Roques, C., 2010. In vitro screening of probiotics and synbiotics according to anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative effects. International journal of food microbiology, 144(1), pp.42-50.

 

Groeger, D., O’Mahony, L., Murphy, E.F., Bourke, J.F., Dinan, T.G., Kiely, B., Shanahan, F. and Quigley, E.M., 2013. Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 modulates host inflammatory processes beyond the gut. Gut microbes, 4(4), pp.325-339.

 

Laetitia, R., Paul, A., Marinescu, D., Shao, W. and Prakash, S., 2013. Effect of probiotics Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium on gut-derived lipopolysaccharides and inflammatory cytokines: an in vitro study using a human colonic microbiota model. Journal of microbiology and biotechnology, 23(4), pp.518-526.

 

Larson, S.D., Li, J., Chung, D.H. and Evers, B.M., 2007. Molecular mechanisms contributing to glutamine-mediated intestinal cell survival. American Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, 293(6), pp.G1262-G1271.

 

Leblhuber, F., Geisler, S., Steiner, K., Fuchs, D. and Schütz, B., 2015. Elevated fecal calprotectin in patients with Alzheimer’s dementia indicates leaky gut. Journal of Neural Transmission, 122(9), pp.1319-1322.

 

Liu, Y., Chen, F., Odle, J., Lin, X., Jacobi, S.K., Zhu, H., Wu, Z. and Hou, Y., 2012. Fish oil enhances intestinal integrity and inhibits TLR4 and NOD2 signaling pathways in weaned pigs after LPS challenge. The Journal of nutrition, 142(11), pp.2017-2024.

 

Mo, C., Wang, L., Zhang, J., Numazawa, S., Tang, H., Tang, X., Han, X., Li, J., Yang, M., Wang, Z. and Wei, D., 2014. The crosstalk between Nrf2 and AMPK signal pathways is important for the anti-inflammatory effect of berberine in LPS-stimulated macrophages and endotoxin-shocked mice. Antioxidants & redox signaling, 20(4), pp.574-588.

 

Moro, C., Palacios, I., Lozano, M., D’Arrigo, M., Guillamón, E., Villares, A., Martínez, J.A. and García-Lafuente, A., 2012. Anti-inflammatory activity of methanolic extracts from edible mushrooms in LPS activated RAW 264.7 macrophages. Food Chemistry, 130(2), pp.350-355.

 

Paterson, B.M., Lammers, K.M., Arrieta, M.C., Fasano, A. and Meddings, J.B., 2007. The safety, tolerance, pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic effects of single doses of AT‐1001 in coeliac disease subjects: a proof of concept study. Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics, 26(5), pp.757-766.

 

Skardelly, M., Armbruster, F.P., Meixensberger, J. and Hilbig, H., 2009. Expression of zonulin, c-kit, and glial fibrillary acidic protein in human gliomas. Translational oncology, 2(3), pp.117-120.

 

Sturgeon, C. and Fasano, A., 2016. Zonulin, a regulator of epithelial and endothelial barrier functions, and its involvement in chronic inflammatory diseases. Tissue Barriers, p.e1251384.

 

Thomas, C.M. and Versalovic, J., 2010. Probiotics-host communication: Modulation of signaling pathways in the intestine. Gut microbes, 1(3), pp.148-163.

 

Trent, M.S., Stead, C.M., Tran, A.X. and Hankins, J.V., 2006. Invited review: diversity of endotoxin and its impact on pathogenesis. Journal of endotoxin research, 12(4), pp.205-223.

 

Wu, Y.H., Chuang, S.Y., Hong, W.C., Lai, Y.J., Chang, G.J. and Pang, J.S., 2012. Berberine reduces leukocyte adhesion to LPS-stimulated endothelial cells and VCAM-1 expression both in vivo and in vitro. International journal of immunopathology and pharmacology, 25(3), pp.741-750.

Gut function and brain health III

This is the 4th of a series of posts demonstrating the link between the brain and other body organs. In the previous 2 we discussed how intestinal permeability and compromised detoxification can affect the brain.

 

The gastrointestinal (GI) track affects the brain through a 3rd pathway; the immune system. The GI track is constantly exposed to foreign substances many of which are pathogenic. While the body has certain mechanisms to neutralise these pathogens (such as saliva and hydrochloric acid) some of them do cause harm. In a similar way that the biggest military force of countries sits near it’s boarders, 70% of the body’s immune system is on the GI track. What does this have to do with the brain?

An active immune system produces chemicals (called cytokines) in order to destroy the foreign pathogens. Many of these chemicals cross the blood brain barrier (BBB) causing inflammation in the brain. Although it’s the lymphatic system’s job to control inflammation, other processes (such as thyroid and reproductive function) controlled by the brain are altered when the immune system is active.

 

The compound effect:

When the immune system is activated the gut-blood barrier gets also compromised, compounding the problem. All the issues discussed in the previous 2 articles then become relevant.

What can you do to prevent activation of the immune system in the GI track?

1. Avoid foods you are allergic to.

2. Stay away from highly processed foods and trans-fats.

3. Eat a diet high in antioxidant foods.

Gut function and brain health I

This is the 2nd of a series of posts demonstrating the link between the brain and other body organs.

Even if you haven’t heard the gut been called as the 2nd brain, you must be at least familiar with the expression “gut feeling”. What’s the basis though of this link? and while we discussed in last week’s post how the brain can affect the gut is the relationship reciprocal?

The gastrointestinal (GI) track similar with the nervous system (NS) contains a high amount of neuron cells. Neurotransmitters produced in the brain are also produced in the GI track. Serotonin is one example:

– In the brain it functions as a mood thermostat. Calms us down when “hyper” and cheers us up when “low”.

– In the gut serotonin is responsible for the muscle contractions necessary for digestion and food transport through the GI track.

 

How does gut function then affect brain health?

1. The intestines (mainly small but also the large one) is the area in the body where the food is transported into the blood. As you would expect this is a very controlled process. Who controls it? 3 things:

– structure. The structure of the GI wall is such to allow only for small molecules to enter the blood stream.

– bacteria.

– enzymes.

 

When this process is compromised nutrients and toxins which are not supposed to enter the blood cause havoc. The most straight forward way on how the brain can be affected is: A toxin crosses the gut-blood barrier → circulates in the blood stream → crosses the blood-brain barrier.

I hope it has become obvious how important it is to keep the integrity of the GI track healthy. What can we do to support it?

– avoid foods we are allergic to. While many lab tests can help us finding out, the elimination challenge test is an inexpensive good starting point.

– Support your diet with pre and probiotic foods.

– Reduce your exposure to toxics.

 

Healthy brain and overall body health

This is the 1st of a series of post demonstrating the link between the brain and other body organs.

The brain is responsible for autonomously (unconsciously) running many functions in the body. Nerve cells passing through the brainstem control the breath digestion heart beat. These nerve cells are called vagal nuclei and branch out to the vagus nerve.

Without getting too technical, do you see how a healthy brain and overall body health are linked? When the vangus nerve is in good shape messages from the brain are transmitted to the different organs in the body resulting in enzyme production, bowel movement, decrease of heart rate when it’s time for bed and so on.

How can you keep the vangus nerve is good shape then?

1. Gargle water (bringing it as deep down your throat as possible)

2. Singing loudly

3. Gag by pressing a tongue blade at the back of your tongue

 

Reference: Why isn’t my brain working? by Datis Kharrazian

Ulcer and Stress

Ulcer and Stress – maybe not love at first site but definitely a strong friendship

How many of you are not familiar with stomach aches in periods of stress? Despite how common the disease is, it’s only partially understood and the common treatments not a guarantee for relief from symptoms. However, and without been exclusive, ulcer is more common in people with high stress in their lives. Bellow is a list of some proposed theories linking the two and a few simple steps you can take to alleviate the symptoms:

1 Acid rebound
Try to avoid eating soon after or while feeling stressed. The stomach shuts down and is unable to excrete enough hydrochloric acid for protein breakdown. Give your stomach some time to adjust and drink a glass of water with apple cider or lemon prior to eating especially if the meal includes animal protein.

2 Decreased blood flow
Circulation of blood in the stomach muscles is also restricted when stressed, making the formation of micro ulcers more likely to occur. Again, give yourself some time to adjust before eating.

3 Immune suppression
The drop of acidity in the stomach allows bacteria Helicobacter pylori to multiply. In that case an alkaline diet can be adopted to give the body enough time to fight the pathogen.

4 Insufficient amount of Prostaglandins
Prostaglandins (inhibited by aspirin) are a class of hormones contributing to the repair of wounds like ulcer. A diet and a lifestyle that promotes a health endocrine system will support their function.

5 Stomach contractions
Calming exercise and happy thoughts activate the parasympathetic system and allow the stomach muscles regain their regular function.

 

For a more elaborate analysis refer to: Why Zebras don’t get ulcer by Robert M. Sapolsky