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 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 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.

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

The Importance of Green

Well… money is important. But what I’m talking about here is nutritious GREENS!

When individuals start following the ketogenic lifestyle, they will include an abundance of fat with a moderate amount of protein. This is a solid foundation. For optimal gut health and utilization of these fats and proteins, it is imperative to include greens in your diet. Non-starchy leafy greens and vegetables are necessary to ensure your gut biome is in homeostasis and maintain blood sugar. The Ketogenic Diet Resource site maintained by Ellen Davis MS is an absolutely incredible aid in your transition to the ketogenic lifestyle. This site debunks myths, presents the applications of the ketogenic diet and shares recipes, food plans and medicinal applications of the lifestyle. There are also books by Ellen Davis listed that can be purchased to broaden your horizon in the field: Fight Cancer with a Ketogenic Diet, Conquer Type 2 Diabetes, and many more.

This article written by Ellen Davis in the Well Being Journal in the July/August 2012 issue discusses why the ketogenic lifestyle is key to excellent health. “Small amounts of ROS are created as part of normal cellular respiration, and our cells have been equipped with various antioxidant molecules to disarm them.” We all know it doesn’t stop here. Oxidative stress from daily life contributes to the formation of free radicals in the human body, which are the cause of what we call inflammation. The inclusion of greens into your diet will also help balance your body’s electrolytes: sodium (Na), potassium (K), calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg). Electrolytes are found in the body’s fluids including urine and blood and provide an electric charge that controls all involuntary bodily functions as well as muscle contraction and relaxation. In conjunction with greens, exogenous ketones will help electrolytes balance with little intervention on your end. Learn more about electrolyte balance and its significance in your body.

I hope this has been helpful to you, and that you’ve got a handful of asparagus and spinach ready for dinner tonight!

Cheers!

Coral Jinright

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?

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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!