Posted in Ketogenic Life, Of Heart and Mind

Seasonal Affective Disorder

SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) affects 10-20% of Americans during the winter months. Research shows that SAD, also known as the “winter blues”, is due to the decrease in sunlight available during the autumn and winter months. Because there is a decrease in sunlight, there’s an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain, contributing to depression-like symptoms.

Lead researcher Brenda McMahon and her colleagues, from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, presented findings in 2014 at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) Congress in Berlin, Germany. Such findings followed 11 people with SAD and 23 people without SAD during the summer and winter months to see how the levels of serotonin and SERT (serotonin transporter) proteins changed during the seasons.

The results showed that those with SAD had 5% higher levels of SERT proteins during the winter than in the summer. Those without SAD had unaffected SERT and serotonin levels. “SERT carries serotonin back into the nerve cells where it is not active, so the higher the SERT activity, the lower the activity of serotonin,” explains McMahon. This seems to offer confirmation that SERT is associated with SAD.

Robert Tisserand and Psychology Today discuss how serotonin, melatonin, dopamine and norepinephrine (neurotransmitters) are all contributors to the symptoms of SAD. They also offer ways that you can naturally increase these levels during the winter when sunlight is not highly available.

Here’s some great ways to increase those neurotransmitters for overall improved mood during the winter months:

  1. Vitamin D Supplementation
  2. Exercise
  3. Sunlight or Light Therapy
  4. Massage
  5. Recall Happier Times!
  6. Essential Oils
    1. Stimuating Oils (black pepper, grapefruit, jasmine, lemon, rosemary)
    2. Calming Oils (bergamot, clary sage, orange, rose, sandalwood)

Seasons Greetings,

Coral A.J. Gibson

Resources:

Posted in Corrective Exercise, Ketogenic Life, Of Heart and Mind

Safeguard Your Body This Holiday Season

A large downfall for many people is the inclusion of sugar into almost every meal and treat during the holidays. Many people will allow themselves to succumb to everything placed in front of them. However, this will give way to an insulin resistance that you really don’t want to fight.

The abuse of sugar and carbohydrates during these winter months will make it really difficult for your New Year’s efforts to pay off as quickly. We are all creatures that look for instant gratification when we set new goals. Waiting until the New Year to implement those goals will leave you sorely disappointed. That’s why I always recommend you start your new year a month early on December 1. Go into December with anticipation on sustainable eating habits, an exercise regiment, self-care techniques and stress release tactics. Go into the last month of your year setting the foundation for the holidays so that your body is prepared to go into the next month (and NEW YEAR) ready to go to the next level to absolutely CRUSH those goals you’ve set for yourself.

Here are some ways to get your brain, body and spirit to the next level:

  1. Start your day asking yourself these three questions (Brendon Burchard):
    1. What do I want out of today?
    2. Who needs me to be on my A-game today?
    3. What will I do today that might challenge me? How will I face those challenges?
  2. Create a monthly budget spreadsheet of all that comes in and all that goes out each month. This will help keep your finances in check, and your stress managed.
  3. Download the app Peak Brain Training to “level up your brain” and get daily reminders to get more wrinkles in your brain for higher neuroplasticity.
  4. Utilize therapeutic grade essential oils to calm your stress and anxiety as your to-do list piles up and to keep your energy up if you feel restless.
  5. Do five minutes of activity right when you wake up and at least five minutes of stretching before you head to bed. Here’s a great resource for hip and back mobility before your head hits the pillow!
  6. Drink pure therapeutic ketones twice daily to improve brain function, increased fat metabolism and sustained energy and hormone levels throughout the day!

Even though it’s December 10, you can still lay the ground work for the rest of your month so that January will be a rock star start to your 2018. The above mentioned techniques are just a few ways to tune in.

I am an advocate of education and a believer in holistic health. Every system in your body works synergistically: digestive, circulatory, nervous, respiratory, muscular, skeletal, reproductive and endocrine. Each one is equally important, and your brain is the circuit board for these operations; so care for your BRAIN first.

Cheers,
Coral A.J. Gibson

Posted in Corrective Exercise, Ketogenic Life, Of Heart and Mind

Colder Temperatures Positively Affect Your Metabolism

Have you ever heard of BAT? Brown adipose tissue?

There exists two forms of fat in the human body: white fat and brown fat. The Scientific American shares that white fat cells store energy in the form of a single large, oily droplet that is otherwise relatively immobile. On the other hand, brown fat cells contain many smaller droplets, as well as energy machines known as mitochondria. Only in recent years have researchers found ways to convert white fat to brown fat. Having more active brown fat present can improve insulin sensitivity to help banish type 2 diabetes and heighten the body’s metabolism to reduce body weight.

Amongst multiple research studies, it is unanimous that lower temperatures force the body to induce thermogenesis, the heat generation that increases your body’s core temperature in order to bring it to homeostasis. When this takes place, white fat can then act like brown fat, otherwise called “beige” fat.

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Luckily, these temperatures do not have to be low enough to cause muscle quivering. In 2013, Japanese researchers had 12 young men with lower than average brown fat amounts to sit in a 63 degree Fairenheit room for two hours a day for six weeks. After six weeks, those 12 men were burning an extra 289 calories and PET-CT scans verified the heightened quantity of brown fat cells. They believe that exposure to these colder temperatures over six weeks increased the activity of a gene named UCP1, which seems to guide the conversion of white fat into beige fat. They also understand that exercise helps to increase UCP1 in conjunction with a hormone called irisin that helps convert white fat to beige fat.

A study supported by the National Institute of Health (NIH) in 2014 had 5 healthy men reside in a clinical research unit for 4 months. They would do their normal daily activities during get day then return to their private room for at least 10 hours each night. The temperature of the room was set to 24 °C (75 °F) during the first month, 19 °C (66 °F) the second month, 24 °C again for the third month, and 27 °C (81 °F) the fourth and last month. Each month, the men underwent extensive evaluation, including energy expenditure testing, muscle and fat biopsies, and PET/CT scanning of an area of the neck and upper back region to measure brown fat volume and activity.

After a month of exposure to 19 °C (66 °F), the participants showed a 42% increase in brown fat volume and a 10% increase in fat metabolic activity. During the following month of neutral temperature, these alterations returned to near baseline, and then completely reversed during the month of exposure to 27 °C (81 °F). All the changes occurred independently of seasonal changes.The increase in brown fat following cold exposure was accompanied by improved insulin sensitivity after a meal during which volunteers were exposed to mild cold. The extended exposure to mild cold also resulted in significant changes in metabolic hormones such as leptin and adiponectin.

Yu Hua Tseng, Ph.D., the Principal Investigator in the Section on Integrative Physiology and Metabolism at Joslin Diabetes Center, says that “brown fat is a natural defense system for obesity, diabetes and related diseases or conditions.” Because of the supporting research, the idea of activating brown fat as a way to combust this excess energy is now an attractive area of research for developing new treatments to help combat obesity and various metabolic diseases. Increasing your metabolic baseline by activating brown fat could be the key to combating such diseases or conditions.

Imagine this: exercise while being exposed to colder temperatures. George King, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer at Joslin Diabetes Center, recommend combining these known brown-fat activators by working out in the cold to get the maximum benefit. By doing so, you’d be revving up your conversion of white to beige fat, in turn burning more calories and improving insulin sensitivity!

Season’s Greetings,

Coral A.J. Gibson

Posted in Of Heart and Mind

Your Brain on Gratitude

‘Tis the season. Thanksgiving is here, and soon, Christmas will be, too. Today, in church service, we discovered how our body and mind respond to experiencing gratitude on a regular basis. This is what we will be discussing today.

An individual is positively affected neurologically, physically and emotionally when they experience gratitude regularly. The Huffington Post wrote an article called “The Neuroscience of Gratitude” which shares the following implications of gratitude:

  • production of dopamine and serotonin increases
  • it can be a natural antidepressant
  • the more these neural pathways are fired, the more automatic it becomes
  • encourages the search for constructive themes, rather than destructive ones

A study conducted in 2015 by four researchers created a four-condition experiment (stimulus, reflection, probe and rest) where participants read an excerpt telling of one of four phases of the Holocaust: 1. The rise of Nazism and Persecution, 2. Internment, 3. The Final Solution, 4. Final Months and Liberation. After reading the excerpt, they were instructed to reflect and feel, as much as possible, how it would feel to experience what they had just read, and create a deep, personal, realistic reaction. Then, they had to rate how much gratitude they felt on a scale from 1 to 4. A black screen would then be presented, as they were instructed to rest and release their mind of all thoughts for a 12-16 second period, acting as a baseline prior to the next phase. The four conditions of the experiment are shown in the figure below. The hypothesis? “That gratitude ratings would correlate with activity in brain regions associated with moral cognition, value judgment and theory of mind.”

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Experiment Protocol

The results? “Ratings of gratitude correlated with brain activity in the anterior cingulate cortex and medial prefrontal cortex, in support of our hypotheses. The results provide a window into the brain circuitry for moral cognition and positive emotion that accompanies the experience of benefitting from the goodwill of others.”

How awesome! When we feel grateful, we begin to elicit the positive emotion that comes from experiencing the benefit of a gift from someone. Even amidst tragedy and shortfall, simply “thinking” gratitude into existence will rewire the neural pathways to make it a habit for emotional well-being.

Here are four ways that you can practice gratitude:

  1. Write it down. On a daily basis, write down at least 5 things you are grateful for.
  2. Get into a routine of gratitude. You can have an accountability partner; you can write it every morning before you start your day; you can keep a list posted to be reminded daily. Whatever works for you.
  3. Meditate. You can do so sitting quietly or during your favorite exercise activity, such as yoga, pilates or even running.
  4. Surround yourself with people who share gratitude, too. These people might be family, co-workers or your church friends. Make sure you are not exposed to complaints every day. Be grateful and help others do the same.

Best Wishes,

Coral A.J. Gibson

Posted in Ketogenic Life, Of Heart and Mind

PTSD vs. TBI Using SPECT Scans

Because CT and MRI scans are unable to detect with sensitivity and specificity what a SPECT scan can when diagnosing mild TBI and PTSD, a group of researchers (Daniel G. Amen ,Cyrus A. Raji , Kristen Willeumier , Derek Taylor , Robert Tarzwell , Andrew Newberg , and Theodore A. Henderson) chose to use SPECT scans to see if they could find a true difference between the brain of those with TBI and PTSD. SPECT scans provide the clinical utility of the “delineation of the neural circuitry underlying PTSD ” and the improved detection of TBI. The SPECT scans in this study contain populations of those with PTSD, TBI, co-morbidities as well as those unaffected by either. The following is a collection of the statistics of those with PTSD and TBI in both military and civilian populations in the United States.

Military:

  • DoD reported 307,283 diagnosed cases of TBI from 2000–2014.
  • Congressional Research Service reporting 103,792 diagnosed cases of PTSD from 2000–2012.
  • Over 400,000 military personnel and veterans have been diagnosed with PTSD or TBI since 2001 [17, 18], and many have been diagnosed with both. The overlap of these two populations has been estimated at 33% [34, 35] to 42% [39]. among veterans. Those who have experienced a blast-related TBI have more than double the risk of developing PTSD.

Civilian:

  • About 7.7 million in the US population suffer from PTSD.
  • TBI is also quite prevalent, with 2.5 million annual visits to emergency rooms for suspected TBI.
  • 49% of those with TBI are likely to be diagnosed with a psychiatric illness the following year.

Although the majority of TBI symptoms can resolve over time, a significant proportion of cases develop a persistent post-concussive syndrome (PCS). Long-term consequences of seemingly trivial head injuries may be significant. TBI scans found these areas of the brain to be of particular interest (orbitofrontal cortex, temporal poles, and anterior cingulum) while PTSD scans found these more interesting (amygdala [9], corpus callosum [10], insula [11], anterior cingulum [1214] and hippocampus [15, 16]). A recent meta-analysis showed that PTSD patients had significant activation in midline areas implicated in self-referential processing and autobiographical memory.

The treatments for PTSD and TBI/PCS are different. Therefore, by reliably separating them and accurately identifying cases in which both are present, the use of the SPECT scan emerges as a genuine diagnostic need. All PTSD-identifying regions were hyperactive on SPECT when compared across all groups, and the TBI-identifying regions were correspondingly hypoactive.

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Perfusion is defined by Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary as “the pumping of a fluid through an organ or tissue”; in this instance, through the brain. When you look at the scans above, you can truly see the differences in perfusion across the four groups receiving SPECT scans. A healthy control shows normal higher perfusion to the cerebellum. The PTSD subject shows increased perfusion in the brain—particularly in the frontal lobes. The TBI subject shows decreased perfusion throughout by comparison. The subject with both PTSD and TBI shows perfusion that is lower than the person with PTSD but higher than the subject with TBI. These results suggest that TBI is associated with hypoperfusion while PTSD is associated with regional hyperperfusion, which both provide  important insights in regards to the pathophysiological differences between the disorders.

Many research studies have found the positive benefits that pure therapeutic ketones have on the perfusion across the brain, along with the neural communication across its lobes. If you or anyone you know are interested in getting a SPECT scan of your brain, visit one of the Amen Clinics across the nation! My goal is to get this information into the hands of those affected by TBI and PTSD, and hopefully this will aid in doing so!

With warm regards,

Coral A.J. Gibson

 

Posted in Of Heart and Mind

Essential Oils for Stress

If I asked every single person I talk to daily about their stress levels on a scale from 1 to 10 (1 being stress-free, 10 being on the verge of a breakdown), I’d say many people are in the position to respond with a 7 or higher. Why is that?! Now, I can’t say I don’t stress.

For those of you who know me personally, you know I’m pretty good at managing stress. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have stressful times during the week.

Stress can be defined as “physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension”.

It could also be defined as “importance attached to a thing.” 

I think this distinction is pertinent to understand. The second definition could contribute to the first definition. However, many people experience stress by things that are NOT important. Therefore, the tension is being created by our psychological state in a form of anxiety, which can be defined as “distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune”. If something is not important, to experience anxiety could be the contributing factor to stress. And that’s the kind of stress we need to work on mediating. Experiencing stress because of a crucial deadline for a work project is MUCH more reasonable than experiencing stress because your dog chewed up a $5 pillow you bought at Walmart. Of course, that is just an example. There are many trivial events in our life that contribute to anxiety without probable cause. Those events should not get more than a minute of anxiety or stress. Many people suffer from stress and anxiety on a daily basis. The management of these are what could propel you into a state of peace.

The use of aromatherapy with essential oils for the management of stress has been found to provide psychological and physiological benefits. I have put myself into a new work position full time and wear my lava rock essential oil necklace DAILY to help me as I go through training and catching onto the new flow of the workplace. You might not think that necessary, but it’s therapeutic in nature and forces my brain and sympathetic nervous system to relax and reduce the response to stress.

Check this out! A research study from 2002 as cited in this article from the Japanese Journal of Pharmacology found that the simple inhalation of patchouli and rose oil reduced sympathetic nervous activity by 40%, with rose oil reducing adrenaline concentrations by 30%. Amazing! This article also discusses how aromatherapy works through the nose, lung and the skin. When these scents are inhaled, “volatile aroma compounds from plants are capable of exerting direct-to-brain actions, primarily through the limbic and olfactory systems.”

I’d encourage you to try a few of the essential oil suggestions in the above article to achieve a sense of peace from stress and anxiety. I personally LOVE the Breathe blend from doTERRA. This is a remarkable blend of Laurel Leaf, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Melaleuca, Lemon, Cardamom, Ravintsara, and Ravensara. There are a multitude of single oils and blends to help you manage the stress you’re experience, whether it’s stemmed from importance or anxiety!

Happy smelling!

Coral A.J. Gibson

 

Posted in Corrective Exercise, Of Heart and Mind

Physiological Benefits of Yoga

Have you ever practiced yoga? Do you have someone in your life who seems to live at a yoga studio? The anecdotal evidence for practicing yoga is unquestionable: feelings of peace, mindfulness, heightened awareness, lowered stress, increased strength, among so many others. Even just 15 minutes a day of yoga is able to soothe the body by connecting breaths with movement to provide psychological benefits to this practice.

Even more empowering than the physical and psychological aspects of yoga are the physiological implications of current research. This National Health Interview Survey in 2015 looked to compare the use of different complementary health approaches in the United States. They found that 9.5% of U.S. adults (21 million) used yoga as a mind & body practice; this is an increase from 6.1% in 2007 and 5.1% in 2002. The numbers are still rising.

With this rise in the application of yoga to help improve health, it is valid to say there is something else more significant that people are benefitting from in their practice. Take 25 minutes of your time to watch this incredible video to get insight on where research is taking yoga.

Since 2012, Medicare has covered cardiac rehabilitation programs that include yoga. This is astounding to see alternative medicine applied amongst the Western medicine practices to help with cardiac rehabilitation by stabilizing blood pressure and reducing stress. Similarly, in this interview, Susan Taylor, PhD. discusses how neuroplasticity is directly affected by the meditation that takes place during yoga. “Positive thoughts expand our brains. Negative thoughts shrink them.” An extensive number of research studies show the positive effects of yoga on the neural communication across the brain that provides a more stable brain and “self-directed neuroplasticity”.

Enjoy looking through these Instagram pages for inspiration into making yoga a more regular practice in your life:

Experience the physical, psychological AND physiological benefits that can only be found through the practice of yoga and meditation.

Resources:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/03/01/yoga-health-fitness-trends/23881391/

https://nccih.nih.gov/research/statistics/NHIS/2012/mind-body/yoga

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ipp-gjAxbXw&feature=youtu.be&list=WL

https://yogainternational.com/article/view/neuroplasticity

 

 

Posted in Ketogenic Life, Of Heart and Mind

Increase Your Lifespan With Ketosis

What would you do if I told you I had the key to adding more happy years to your life?

Would you jump for joy knowing you’ll have more time to travel the world? Would you wake up every morning knowing you’ve got more time to spend with your children? Would you stop stressing the small stuff? Would guilt and remorse leave your heart?

It is my goal to help you grasp the fact that you are currently in the only body you will ever receive. You’ve got an incredibly smart body that deserves your respect. The energy you put into your body is exactly what you will get out of it. From a psychological point of view, that means living with gratitude, compassion, love and an open mind. From a physical point of view, that means doing uplifting activities like walking, yoga, hiking, kayaking and even sleep! With that said, let’s dive into how ketone bodies present life span extending properties by reducing oxidative stress and being an effective tool for combating free radical damage.

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Above, you see the  molecular structure of three ketone bodies. These three ketones are the subject of a critical review from IUBMB Life titled Ketone Bodies Mimic The Lifespan Extending Properties of Calorie Restriction. It’s fascinating really. This critical review discusses the genetic mechanisms of life expansion, the antioxidant system, the indications of your telomere length, and other anti-aging mechanisms, ALL of which can be optimized with the presence of ketone bodies.

The ketogenic diet is a wonderful way to nutritionally get into ketosis. Furthermore, in the above review, their results showed that consuming exogenous (sourced outside the body) ketone esters showed a two-fold decrease of glucose and a three-fold decrease of insulin in rats. What profound results!

“Aging in man is accompanied by the deterioration of a number of systems.”

We know that.

What you might not know is that “the unique ability of ketone bodies to supply energy to the brain during periods of impairment of glucose metabolism” is what make ketosis a highly effective treatment against neurological diseases that are currently untreatable with traditional medicine.

longlife

The take away: get ketones in your body and ENJOY LIVING LONGER!!

Get exogenous ketones in your body TODAY with this Ketone Operating System.

Posted in Ketogenic Life, Of Heart and Mind

Reducing Anxiety!

With exogenous ketone supplementation! 

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An article published on December 6, 2016 in Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience discusses the impact that ketone ester and BHB salts on blood glucose and BHB levels as well as performance on an elevated plus maze (EPM). What these researchers, including Dr. Csilla Ari and Dominic D’Agostino, concluded is astounding!

After 83 days chronic and 7 days sub-chronic exogenous ketone supplementation to a standard diet, the following results ensued!

  • less entries were made into closed arms on the maze
  • more entries were made into open arms on the maze
  • more distance was traveled in open arms on the maze

With these results, researchers concluded that exogenous ketone supplementation may represent a promising anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) strategy by helping induce nutritional ketosis. Take a moment to look through this incredible research article!

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If you haven’t tried exogenous ketones for whatever reason, I believe anxiety reduction is a good reason to start!