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

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 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

Exogenous vs. Endogenous Ketones

The empirical research and powerful testimonials concerning ketosis are of abundance.

You might have had this question run across your mind, like many people looking for health optimization: what is the difference between taking exogenous ketones and following a ketogenic diet?

Either way, the body will benefit. Let’s talk about this difference.

Simply put, “exogenous” refers to something that is sourced from outside of the body. All supplements are therefore considered exogenous because they are ingested rather than created by the body. “Endogenous” refers to something created within the body.

Is that simplified enough? I hope so.

Now the question becomes what are the implications of that exogenous vs. endogenous? Are there any specific differences between taking exogenous ketones and producing endogenous ketones? This video from Michael Rutherford clearly explains the difference; don’t let it be too complicated.

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Alchemy Athletics provides this incredible insight to the community. Endogenous “ketosis can be unsustainable in the long-term considering that just a small amount of carbohydrates or excess protein can kick you out of ketosis.” This is very true. And this is why exogenous ketone use can be so handy in long-term health and wellness. Learn more about the benefits of exogenous ketone supplementation in Alchemy Athletics’ Ketones 101 and read through the resources listed at the bottom of the article!

Onward and Upward,

Coral A.J. Gibson

Posted in Ketogenic Life

Intermittent Fasting

Let’s talk about how intermittent fasting will revolutionize your brain and metabolism.

The benefits are numerous, yet the most important is a simpler and longer life. I imagine you’ve seen people meal prepping, packing 6 meals a day to eat every two hours on the hour like clockwork. Doing so makes your body dependent on the incoming food. Your brain counts down the minutes, your insulin spikes and crashes and your hormones make you hangry if you are a few minutes late. Intermittent fasting is the opposite!

Intermittent fasting (IF) means that you will consume fewer meals and practice  more periods of fasting. There are multiple schedules you can follow. The easiest to follow, and the one I recommend beginners do to start, is to wake up, drink their ketones and wait to have their first meal until they are truly hungry. This will help the body relearn the signals for hunger rather than just following culture and time patterns. For many, that time comes around 12-1pm. They then use an 8 hour feeding window, so their last meal of the day should be consumed before 8-9pm.

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As I discussed last week, your body might reach a plateau when following any routine for an extended period of time. When your body is ready for a new routine, you can implement one of the other intermittent fasting schedule options outlined by Intermittent Fasting 101 from Keto Kookie. As your body gets more accustomed to this new way of eating, you might implement a full 24- or 48-hour fast. Doing so regularly will dramatically help with cell regeneration, ridding your body of toxins, allowing it to recover from the abundance of tasks it has daily. Intermittent Fasting can also help in chronic disease prevention as The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discusses here.

*Note: While Intermittent Fasting is widely regarded as the optimal way to eat, you should always talk to a doctor before making dietary decisions.

Challenge yourself to start Intermittent Fasting beginning with dinner this Sunday night.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

To health and happiness,

Coral Gibson

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.

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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

Stress Kills Ketosis

This article has been created with the goal of helping to weed out common misunderstandings about what ketogenic nutrition should look and feel like.

You should NOT be starving yourself everyday in an attempt to lose weight. You should NOT feel so guilty that your cortisol levels are through the roof. You should NOT remove carbohydrates without replacing it with other nutrients: FAT AND KETONES!

That’s the paramount point here. The management of insulin is the key reason ketosis became an area of empirical research. Insulin, a hormone, is released into the body and promotes fat storage. Those spikes in insulin that take place with sugar intake are the culprit. In this article by Dr. Adam Nally from Surprise, AZ, he addresses Common Ketosis Killers in layman’s terms so every single person can understand it quite simply.

How do you kill ketosis?

  1. carbohydrates
  2. alcohol
  3. excessive protein
  4. malnourishment
  5. artificial sweeteners
  6. flavored coffee creamers
  7. unnecessary medications (upon doctor’s approval)
  8. STRESS

Numbers 1 through 7 can generally be managed by self-control, personal mediation and increased respect for your body! Number 8 is the MOST CHALLENGING! Am I right?

CARTOON

Lowering stress seems to be the most difficult to adjust. In my years of practice, every person deciding to make a lifestyle change can add or remove whatever nutrients they need to achieve their health and wellness goals. However, when stress levels aren’t decreased, nothing CAN change! Cortisol, the hormone stimulated by the increase in stress, literally kills ketosis and neuron communication in the brain. Adequate sleep is imperative, and even 10 minutes a day of meditation, stretching, yoga or that splendid “me time” could help combat how stress is impacting your daily life.

I hope this serves as a reminder to respect your body and give yourself some love. If you are not sure what that looks like, read through other articles I’ve written here on my site. As stated above, exogenous ketones help mediate the effects of stress, and are available for purchase here. Here’s to the rebirth of ketosis!

Posted in Of Heart and Mind

Depression, PTSD and Other Mental Illnesses

Every week, we come into contact with new people that enter our lives. These people can be introduced into your life as clients, friends, customers, co-workers, love interests, and even family you’ve never met before. One thing that we all possess is a real self, which is the person that we are currently living as. However, we all also possess an ideal self, that person we wish or aim to become. This is something I studied in great detail my junior year at Hendrix College in Dr. Dana Leighton’s Social Cognition course when I wrote this research paper discussing The Salience of Guilt, Self-Blame and Hopelessness.

fully functioning person, according to Carl Rogers, a humanistic psychologist, is one who is possesss these five characteristics:

  1. Open to experience: both positive and negative emotions accepted. Negative feelings are not denied, but worked through.
  2. Existential living: being able to live and fully appreciate the present, allowing themselves to experience life, not always looking back to the past or forward to the future.
  3. Trust feelings: decisions made ourselves due to feeling, instincts and gut-reactions are paid attention to and trusted.
  4. Creativity: not playing safe all the time, taking risks and thinking creatively, including the ability to adjust and change and seek new experiences.
  5. Fulfilled life: happy and satisfied with one’s life, yet looking for new challenges and experiences.

Such a person also exists when the individual is able to accept that our selves are not in congruent (the real self is not full equivalent to the the ideal self), and is patient and understanding with themselves in working towards becoming as such. But what happens when the individuals does not accept the gap between the real self and the ideal self is most frequently mental illness, such as depression, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc. This is something that I dedicated a significant amount of my time to research. In fact, I intend to continue to pursue research and turn my paper (referred to at the top of the page) into a fully comprehensible book on what this all means. It’s something that I am very passionate about.

Please take the 30 minutes it may require to really read through this information and digest it. Something as fundamental as this is a big reason why there is disconnect in our society. So many people don’t believe they are capable of ever becoming their ideal self, and therefore revoke their ability to be fully functioning people contributing to society. Similarly, most people witness the impediments faced by such a person and are unable to put their egos aside. They can’t understand that the person they see can’t just set aside their concerns and instantaneously become the person they wish to be. The concept of patience is simple, but hardly practiced.

Just a tidbit to take with you as you embark on new journeys. Have a marvelous weekend!

Ever so graciously,

Coral Jinright

Resources: