It’s Not All in Your Mind
In this day and age there are an endless amount of self help books, videos, programs, coaches, and speakers that teach techiniques on how to keep a positive mind set. In fact the majority of the blogs I write center around this very subject. By now we all understand that happy thoughts and managing stress are the key to a satisfying life and a healthy body. Even despite the multitude of resources and techniques keeping a positive state of mind can be a struggle for many, myself included. There are days where even though everything in my life is great I find myself in a funk or anxious. With all the self growth work I’ve done you would think I would have this down! But what I’ve learned in studying the various underlying causes of disease is that there are contributing physical factors that affect the mind. These factors for the most part are out of your control. That is until you educate yourself and are willing to do something about it. In this blog I will give a brief run through of all the physiological factors that influence your state of mind.
Your Gut Thinks First
Your gut is home to a wide variety of bacteria. You have your good bacteria made by Short Chain Fatty Acids that helps to promote a healthy intestinal environment. But you also have several “bad” or pathogenic bacteria living inside your intestinal walls as well. This can be a combination of yeast and candida, parasites, and other not so nice microbes. Now keep in mind that all these different forms of bacteria are living beings. Just like any other living being they want to thrive and not die. This means that each bacteria has an incentive to create an environment in which they can live and multiply. Candida, for instance, loves sugar and alcohol. Feed it some dessert and a martini and candida will multiply and spread throughout the body at a relatively fast rate. When candida thrives it causes all sorts of issues in the body from bloating, to allergies, depression, and even cancer. If you have brain fog and are feeling unmotivated you may have a good amount of candida overgrowth. Now I could go on and on about candida, but I what I want to emphasize is that these different forms of bacteria have a direct affect on your mind.
Your gut is also home to the majority of your neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters communicate directly with your brain via the Vagus nerve to release Seratonin, Dopamine, Gaba, etc… The health of your intestinal tract will have a direct influence on neurotransmitter signaling. Another interesting aspect is that all the pathogenic bacteria in the gut can influence that signaling as well. Since candida lives on sugar it can actually send signals to your brain which will make you crave sugar! When you start to actually go after candida and starve it out, the sugar cravings increase. I’ve seen this time and time again with clients. Even with clients that don’t have a sweet tooth, they all of a sudden get insatiable sugar cravings. Remember that candida is a living being and it doesn’t want to die, so it will do whatever it can to survive. In this sense your gut is literally your second brain.
Hormones out of Whack?
For any woman that has experienced PMS or Menopause you understand what a profound affect hormones have on your mind. Men are not exempt here either. Low testosterone will lead to depression, and on the same token too much testosterone will lead to anger. A little too much estrogen can send you into anxiety and overwhelm for both men and women. Your hormonal pathway has a direct effect on your neurotransmitter signaling as well. At our office we do a saliva hormone panel to get an accurate read on all your sex hormones throughout the entire month long cycle. With all the panels we’ve run, we have never seen anyone come back with normal hormones. It’s no wonder everyone feels over emotional and out of control at times! Regulating your hormones is key for anyone suffering from depression, anxiety, or anger.
Metals on your Mind
One unfortunate outcome of the industrial age is that our environment, food, and water are all contaminated with Heavy Metals and Chemicals. When these metals are introduced into your body they attach themselves to neurotransmitters and various endocrine glands. The charge from all these metals literally scrambles your nervous system and will also affect your entire hormonal pathway. Sadly kids today have a higher amount of heavy metals in their system then adults. This is due to the fact that heavy metals and chemicals are passed through the umbilical cord. The Environmental Working Group did a study in 2009 that showed over 240 toxic compounds were found in newborns at birth! This means that children are already born with a heavy toxic load before they are even introduced to the environment. Generationally this is getting worst. We run a hair panel at our office that tests for a variety of heavy metals in the tissue. The kids always have higher amounts then their parents! Not surprisingly one of the major areas that heavy metals affect are brain function and firing. Autism and ADHD are a direct result of this affect. Depression, anxiety, OCD behavior, and aggression can all be linked to heavy metals as well. It should be noted that Heavy Metals and Chemical Toxicity have a devastating affect on multiple functions in the body and are the root cause behind many different diseases. But the direct affect it has on brain function and mood is undeniable.
Adrenals in Overdrive
In the midst of an unhealthy gut, unbalanced hormones, and an overabundance of heavy metals, you have your poor little adrenal glands doing their best to keep up. Your adrenal glands help you regulate stress by releasing various hormones to allow your mind and body to adjust to whatever current stressor you are dealing with. One of the ways the adrenal glands do this is by releasing certain excitatory hormones to keep you on high alert. For instance if you were running from a wild animal your adrenals would be pumping out these hormones so that you can run and escape. It is the same rush of hormones that you get when you are about to give a speech or do a presentation. The problem in this day and age is that our adrenals are “on” too often. We simply have too many stressors. When the adrenals turn on full time you can feel constantly on edge and anxious. This is very common after experiencing a shock or major loss. Post traumatic stress sets in and the adrenals are in overdrive, reacting to any little thing. Often people suffering with over active adrenals feel anxious all the time. Many of these same people are put on anti-anxiety meds which is not fixing the underlying issue with the adrenals, it is simply covering up a symptom. Keep in mind that your adrenals are responsible for releasing over 50 hormones in your body, including your sex hormones. If the adrenals are off, the rest of your hormones will be off too. Trust me, addressing the adrenals is not something that you want to ignore.
It’s in your Genes
We recently introduced an advanced DNA panel to our practice. This panel shows us where you have a glitch in your DNA and what your bodies methylation pathways look like. Methylation is basically a biochemcial view of how your cells communicate with each other. When we are looking at these panels not only will it show us your genetic disposition to different diseases, but it will also show us what chemicals in your brain are firing or not firing. Your genetic pathway may be setting you up for a lifetime of anxiety and nervousness, that is unless you change your genes of course. Your DNA is not set in stone. It can be changed, as long as you have a clear picture of what pathways need to be corrected. If you feel like you have been prone to depression or anxiety your whole life your genes may definitely play a role, and it is worth taking a look at.
As you can see there are numerous physiological reasons for why you may be battling depression or anxiety. Now keep in mind that all the self growth and spiritual work is still very important. Despite what is going on for you physically, you want to do your best to look on the bright side. But drugs aren’t the answer, treating the root cause is.
This was a brief overview and I’ll go into more depth on each of these subjects in future blogs and videos. If you are interested in learning more or seeing if you would be a good candidate for our program you can set up a 90 minute educational consult by calling 941-806-8548. This session can take place in person or over Skype, and is a great way to get an in-depth understanding of the underlying causes of disease that are affecting you and what you can do to heal your body and your mind.