Tag Archives: Depression

Could Unemployment Increase Stroke Risk?

In unstable financial times, losing a job can be a very stressful time in one’s life.  Anxiety and depression could develop as a result of such a big life event. In turn, a person’s health may start to worsen after losing a job if they do not have effective measures in place to help manage their stress.  Emotional eating, loss of sleep, and engaging in unhealthy habits such as drinking and smoking may develop as a result of stress. In fact, a study from Japan has recently found that those who are unemployed have a greater risk of stroke than those who are employed.

unemployment, health, stroke, heart disease

Unemployment and Stroke Risk Study

A recent study of about 42,000 men found that those men who were unemployed had a 60-percent higher risk of stroke than those who were steadily employed. In addition, those unemployed men who suffered a stroke were about 120-percent more likely to die from it than those employed men who had a stroke. For women, those who were unemployed had a 50-percent greater chance of having a stroke. Of those women who had a stroke, those who were unemployed had a 150-percent greater chance of death.

It is suggested that these alarming rates of stroke and stroke-related death in the unemployed may be due to unhealthy habits such as drinking, smoking, being inactive, and having a poor diet.  In addition, it is suggested that even once re-employed, individuals may feel afraid that they will lose their job again, and therefore may be afraid to take leave when they are sick.  In turn, this could affect their long-term physical health.

Although this study is based on the Japanese culture, it may not be completely applicable to Americans, so further studies must be done. However, studies like the Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System reported by the Centers for Disease Control suggest risk of depression is significantly increased for those Americans out of work.

How Can I Lower My Risk For Stroke?

Staying heart healthy involves a holisitic approach of eating balanced meals, staying active, and managing stress. Follow the tips below to help you keep your heart healthy for many years to come.

  • Consume minimally processed foods.  There are many foods that have to go through some processing to create such as yogurt or cottage cheese.  However, these types of products are only minimally processed. When trying to eat heart healthy, just be sure to limit highly processed foods such as neon-colored salty snacks, canned foods, pre-packaged meals, and deli meats like hot dogs or luncheon meat.  Just keep in mind that if it is an unnatural color, or has a confusing list of ingredients, then it is likely to be a highly processed product.
  • Consume plenty of fiber-rich foods. Fruits, veggies, whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and oats, as well as nuts and seeds are all great natural sources of fiber.  Fiber is important for helping stabilize blood glucose levels, slow down digestion to help with absorption of nutrients from foods, and to bulk stool to help with elimination of wastes from the body. Furthermore, fiber is also great for helping you to stay more satisfied after meals, so it can help with weight management.
  • Stay active.  Staying active each day for at least 30 minutes can be a great way to blow off some steam and keep your heart healthy.  This doesn’t mean you have to go to boot camp classes or run a marathon. Simple moderate activity such as walking, riding a bike, or swimming can help keep your heart  healthy.  Exercise not only works to strengthen your heart, but can also act as an outlet for stress.
  • Get plenty of sleep. When you are feeling stressed, it can be hard to sleep. However, lack of sleep can actually make you more prone to anxiety and depression. This is because your body uses sleeping time to regulate hormones, fluids, and blood glucose levels in the body.  If you have trouble sleeping, try natural essential oils such as lavender or frankincense to help relax your mind. Other sleeping aids may include:
    • Relaxation breathing
    • Listening to relaxing music
    • Eliminating screen time before bed
    • Avoiding fluid consumption 2 hours before bed to avoid interrupted sleep
    • Supplements like Somnova from Vitasciences.

Somnova includes natural ingredients like melatonin and magnesium that work together to help produce restful sleep. Melatonin is also natural, so it is unlikely to have any interactions with other medicines you may be taking. However, be sure to check with your medical provider before starting any supplement regimen.

  • Develop healthy stress management techniques.  Find 15 minutes a day to engage in an activity that you enjoy. Reading a book,  taking a relaxing bath, or going to an acupuncturist or massage therapist, are some ways to relax. Also, visiting a counselor may help you better deal with stress and anxiety. Consistent self-care is essential to overall health and well-being. You can also try supplements like TheraCALM from Vitasciences to help with stress relief and restful sleep.

Visit Vitasciences for all of your supplement needs to help enhance your healthy lifestyle. Also, be sure to visit the National Stroke Association for more information on stroke facts, prevention, and research.

written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

Sources:

American Heart Association (August 2015) “The American Heart Association’s Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations” http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/The-American-Heart-Associations-Diet-and-Lifestyle-Recommendations_UCM_305855_Article.jsp#.WPUehMuQx9A

Centers for Disease Control (March 19, 2015). “Unemployment and Depression Among Emerging Adults in 12 States, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2010” https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2015/14_0451.htm

Medline Plus (2017 April 13). “Another Downside to Unemployment: Stroke Risk?” https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_164623.html


  • Can Exercise Improve Brain Health?

    Staying active is well-known for helping to maintain heart health.  However, did you know that regular exercise may also benefit brain health?  A recent study has found that exercising 2.5 hours a week, or 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week, may help slow progression of Parkinson’s disease.walking, exercise, Parkinson's, brain health

    Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and progressive movement disorder that may worsen over time. Therefore, medication and surgery have currently been used to treat and manage the symptoms of the condition.  This condition involves the progressive death of brain cells, which leads to a decrease in dopamine levels in the blood. Lower dopamine levels result in a lessened ability to move.  Therefore, since those with Parkinson’s disease lose dopamine over time, they may subsequently experience tremors, stiffness, and trouble with walking.

    Exercise and Parkinson’s Disease 

    A recent study in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease looked at the effects of exercise on the progression of Parkinson’s disease. After observing 3400 patients for over two years, those people with Parkinson’s disease who maintained exercise 150 minutes per week had a smaller decline in quality of life and mobility as compared to those who exercised less. The type of exercise that was of most benefit was not apparent. However, it is suggested that finding a type of exercise an individual enjoys will help them to maintain a regular exercise regimen and in turn will benefit them. Furthermore, by empowering those with Parkinson’s disease to engage in more exercise they enjoy, it may improve overall quality of life for these individuals.

    Joint Pain and Quality of Life

    Even if you do not have Parkinson’s disease, you may experience joint pain that limits your movement.  Limited movement may in turn reduce quality of life by:

    • affecting heart health
    • making an individual more dependent on others for daily activities
    • reducing the amount of serotonin”feel good” hormone produced

    Therefore, it is important to find effective treatments for joint pain that will help make movement more comfortable.  When movement is more comfortable, you will be more likely to engage in more activity, and in turn will gain the most health benefits. Also, the American Psychological Association has reported that regular exercise may help reduce panic in those with anxiety and improve mood in those with depression. Furthermore, regular exercise has been found to normalize sleep patterns, which in turn can make it easier for the body and mind to handle stress.

    Some effective treatments for joint pain include:

    • CDC Self-management programs
    • Acupuncture
    • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications
    • Water-based exercises such as swimming
    • Supplements such as glucosamine or Flexova

    Furthermore, Flexova contains a blend of B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin A, as well as glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate that helps to reduce joint pain and improve joint mobility.  Therefore, for more information on Flexova and other high quality supplements that can help improve your quality of life, visit Vita Sciences.

    -written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

    Sources :

    Arthritis Foundation (accessed 2017 April 2) “25 Treatments for Hip and Arthritis Pain” http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/pain-management/tips/25-treatments-for-hip-knee-oa.php

    Centers for Disease Control (2017 March 7) “Living with Severe Joint Pain” https://www.cdc.gov/features/arthritis-quality-life/

    Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (accessed 2017 April 2) “What is Parkinson’s Disease?” http://www.pdf.org/about_pd

    Preidt, R. (2017 March 29) “Exercising 2.5 Hours a Week May Slow Parkinson’s Progress” https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_164357.html

    Weir, K. (2011 December) “The Exercise Effect” American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/12/exercise.aspx


  • Your depression could be a vitamin deficiency

    You may feel depressed if you have a bad day or an upsetting situation. However, depression is more than just an isolated feeling. For those with depression, daily living can be difficult or nearly impossible.  Depression causes disruption in daily living such as with working, sleeping, eating, and the way you think and feel for at least two weeks. These symptoms include:

    • persistent sad, anxious, or feelings of emptiness
    • decreased energy, loss of appetite or weight changes
    • loss of interest in things you once enjoyed doing
    • irritability
    • thoughts of death or suicide
    • difficulty concentrating or sleeping
    • aches, pains, or digestive problems with no clear physical cause

    What causes depression?

    Family history of the condition, major life changes, and stress or trauma can all lead to depression. Also, certain medicines and illnesses may also lead to depressive symptoms.  Furthermore, vitamin deficiencies can also contribute to some cases of depression.

    Depression has been linked with certain vitamin deficiencies according to a 2013 review in Current Psychiatry.  Depression, irritability, and agitation has been found to develop as a result of vitamin B12 deficiency.  Geriatric patients with low B6 levels had increased risk and severity of depression. Furthermore, marginal levels of vitamin B2 were found more frequently in depressed patients than non-depressed patients.

    What does the research say?

    First of all, a 2016 study in the Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience looked at the effects of vitamin intake on mild cognitive impairment. The study reported decreased risk of mild cognitive impairment in the Chinese elderly due to intake of carotenoids, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. Another 2016 study in the Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS care looked at vitamin intake effects on mental health outcomes.  HIV patients had decreased risk of anxiety and depression due to daily dietary intake of zinc, selenium, and vitamin C.   Finally, a 2015 study in the Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences looked at anxiety and vitamin C intake.  Students had decreased anxiety levels due to increased intake of vitamin C.

    Sereneo can provide all of the vitamins and compounds you need to boost your mood.  As a result of vitamin C and B vitamins, Sereneo works to support anxiety relief and calm your mind.

    Finally, a special thank you to the Hope for Depression Research Foundation.  They work hard every day to raise mental health awareness and to fund related research. Because of this, be sure to visit their site at hopefordepression.org on how you can support their cause.


    -by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

    Sources:

    de Oliveira, IJ, et al. (2015 Jan) “Effects of Oral Vitamin C Supplementation on Anxiety in Students: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial.” Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 18(1):11-8.

    Jamali, F., et al (2016 Nov-Dec) “Correlation Between Daily Dietary Micronutrients Intake and Mental Health Outcomes in Iranians Living With HIV infection, ” Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS care, 27(6): 817-825.

    Lu, Y, et al (2016 Nov 29) “Dietary Intake of Nutrients and Lifestyle Affect the Risk of Mild Cognitive Impairment in the Chinese Elderly Population: A Cross-Sectional Study,” Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 10:229. eCollection 2016.

    National Institute of Mental Health (accessed 2017 Jan) “Depression” https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml

    Ramsey, MD, Drew. (2013 January) “Vitamin Deficiencies and Mental Health: How are they linked?” Current Psychiatry, 12(1):37-44.

     


  • Natural Herbs, so you can Relax

    Supplements such as 5-HTP, GABA, and green tea extract are safe, natural herbs that can help you relax, sleep better at night and lift your mood. Scientific research supports the use of supplements for anxiety, fatigue, and insomnia.

    natural herbs, relax, stress

    Sleep better and fight stress with these natural herbs.

    Natural herbs for better relaxation

    For centuries, people have used natural herbs to promote good health. In recent years, we have developed the ability to analyze herbs our ancestors used for relaxation, energy, and mood. Through scientific testing, we can objectively identify the therapeutic properties of such healthy supplements.

    Natural Herbs…Relax!

    Supplements such as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), theanine, tryptophan and 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) are reported to promote relaxation…based on cellular and animal studies as well as human clinical trials the literature supports a role for these preparations as useful alternatives in the management of the stress and anxiety of everyday life.

    -Benjamin S. Weeks, Med Sci Monit 2009; 15(11): RA256-262

    Gamma Aminobutyric Acid (GABA)

    GABA is an amino acid produced in the brain which helps to regulate cognitive and neurological functioning. It’s has a naturally calming effect on the nerves. Supplements with GABA are excellent for reducing tension, promoting restful sleep, and elevating the mood.

    L-theanine- Camellia Sinensis Extract

    L-theanine is a green tea leaf extract that is used for its multiple health benefits. Tea has rich sources of flavonoid antioxidants, as well as the amino acid, L-theanine. Placebo studies found it effective for enhancing mental focus, promoting relaxation and reducing depression, without any negative side effects.

    5-HTP mood enhancer- Griffonia Simplicifolia extract

    5- HTP (5-hydroxy-l-tryptophan) is helpful for mood and sleep difficulties. Through serotonin regulation, this beneficial ingredient reduces stress and lifts the mood. Decreased serotonin causes lasting depression, while increased serotonin helps to balance the mood. Griffonia Simplicifolia, a tropical shrubbery, contains rich amounts of 5-HTP. Use daily to maintain healthy levels of the serotonin neurotransmitter in the brain. Effective for depression, nervousness, and sleep problems.

    Getting the most out of natural treatments

    Many forms of natural herbs and vitamins are available for good health, including some that are taken orally in pill form or liquid, as well as in a spray. For maximum absorption, doctors recommend using a vitamin-enriched lotion. Science proves that nutrients enter the body most efficiently when applied directly to the skin.

    Theracalm stress relief cream- buy it here natural herbs relax

    TheraCALM  stress relief cream helps you sleep better and control stress levels. Buy it here for $19.95

     

    Sources:

    Formulations of dietary supplements and herbal extracts for relaxation and anxiolytic action: Relarian

    Anxiolytic-like effect of Griffonia simplicifolia Baill. seed extract in rats.

    L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state.


  • Prevent Memory Loss- Check these 7 Medications!

    Memory loss doesn’t have to be a necessary part of getting older. Often, forgetfulness is triggered by certain medications that cause brain fog, fatigue, and mental confusion. To prevent memory loss, ask your doctor for healthier alternatives for the following drugs.

    Prevent Memory Loss- Check these 7 Medications!

    Prevent memory loss…

    If you’ve been noticing an increase in memory loss, then your first step is to schedule a check-up. Your doctor may want to screen for vitamin B12 deficiency, a common cause of frequent memory problems, tiredness, and depression.

    Other possible reasons for poor memory can include smoking, head trauma, stroke, sleep apnea, early-onset dementia, or just plain ‘ole stress.

    Or, memory loss can occur with commonly prescribed medications used to treat depression, anxiety, chronic pain, or even high cholesterol.

    Medications to keep in check…

    Here are some prescription drugs that doctors have linked with memory loss:

    1. Benzodiazepines for anxiety work by suppressing parts of the brain used to store memory. These should only be prescribed rarely, and not for long term. Ask your doctor for gentler treatments for anxiety, muscle spasms, or insomnia. Also, consider supplementing with safe natural ingredients that help to promote good cognition.
    2. Statins that lower cholesterol can also impair memory by reducing lipids that are needed for cellular communication in the brain’s network of nerve cells. To counteract the effect, doctors recommend taking high doses of vitamin B12, which encourages healthy nervous system functioning through the preservation of myelin.
    3. Certain anti-seizure drugs used to treat migraines, epilepsy or bipolar disorder can wreak havoc on the nervous system, leaving you feeling drained, disoriented, and forgetful. Certain anticonvulsants are better than others, so if you notice a change in your overall mood, then ask your doctor to recommend an alternative. Also, certain herbs, vitamins, and minerals have been found helpful when taken in tandem, such as butterbur, riboflavin, magnesium, and coenzyme Q10.
    4. Opioid analgesic painkillers prescribed for arthritis, migraines or fibromyalgia can interfere with both short-term and long-term memory. For chronic pain that requires frequent medication, inquire about non-narcotic painkillers. For joint pain and muscle soreness, rub daily with a pain relieving cream.
    5. Tricyclic antidepressants used to treat depression, anxiety, tinnitus, migraines, and chronic pain may cause severe memory loss in about 35% of patients, in addition to difficulty concentrating in more than half, according to recent studies. If you experience fatigue and memory problems, then your doctor may suggest lowering your dose or trying an alternative type of antidepressant, such as selective serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SSRI/SNRIs).
    6. Antihistamines used for nausea, allergies and migraines can impair the part of your brain used for memory and learning. To prevent memory loss while using antihistamines, make sure you’re using one of the newer formulas.
    7. Hypertension drugs such as beta-blockers work by inhibiting chemical reactions in the brain, including those needed for good memory and healthy cognitive functioning. As a result, you may experience frequent brain fog and memory loss after using beta-blockers for a long period of time. If using hypertension medications to treat migraines or tinnitus, then ask about certain vitamins and minerals that support good blood flow to the brain.

    Can you think of any other medications people should avoid, in order to prevent memory loss? Please share your comments or questions below.

    Image by photostock


  • Improve your Memory, Naturally!

    Forgetfulness is annoying, and sometimes scary- especially when it happens daily. To improve your memory and sharpen your thinking skills, you sometimes have to nourish the brain with healthy nutrients, while also making certain lifestyle changes that benefit cognitive functioning. Here are some excellent natural-living tips that help to aid memory retention.

    Improve your Memory, Naturally!

    Alzheimer’s disease is often the first thing people worry about when they begin to notice themselves forgetting things often. The good news is that rarely is dementia the cause of memory loss in your 40’s, 50’s, or even your senior citizen years.

    Sometimes, an underlying condition can be the contributing factor to slips in memory. Vitamin B12 deficiency, for example, causes short-term memory loss, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and a host of other mental and physical ailments.

    Do this to improve your memory!

    Listed are some things to put on your to-do list for ultimate brain health.

    Check your vitamin B12 levels.

    Vitamin B12 is one of the most important nutrients for memory, stamina, mood, and the relaxation response. When vitamin B12 is very low, you many feel continuously depressed, preoccupied, confused and fidgety.

    To find out if you have vitamin B12 deficiency, ask your doctor for a blood screening to check vitamin B12 levels in the blood. You may need to up your vitamin B12 intake for several months or longer.

    Vitamin B12- Because you just need Energy

    Get plenty of sleep at night.

    Studies show that practicing good sleep hygiene is crucial for your brain and memory. Alternatively, not getting enough good quality, refreshing sleep each night is a common cause of memory loss, anxiety, depression, and “brain fog.”

    Check your thyroid!

    A sluggish thyroid can trigger insomnia and depression, both of which lead to frequent slips in memory. If you’re often fatigued and forgetful, then ask your doctor for a blood test to check your thyroid gland functioning.

    Visit a doctor.

    Talk to your doctor about specific problems that you’re having with your memory. Some symptoms to include are feeling spaced out, fatigued, forgetting numbers or codes, missing appointments, forgetting names or words, or having difficulty just organizing your day.

    Get regular exercise!

    Studies have shown that including low-impact exercise into your daily routine is a great way to sharpen your mood, improve your memory, sleep better at night, maintain a healthy weight, and boost general happiness. Try walking for half an hour each day, or take on a new sport, such as biking or tennis.

    Don’t do this- it will ruin your memory!

    If you’re having difficulty paying attention, or you’ve found that you constantly forget something that you just reminded yourself about a second ago, then you may have to make certain changes to your routine lifestyle. Listed are some things to avoid when improving your memory.

    Avoid certain drugs.

    Don’t stop taking any prescription medications without speaking to your doctor, but do recognize side effects, such as memory loss, that can occur with certain medications.

    Medications that can interfere with good memory and also cause confusion, poor concentration or other cognitive problems include:

    • Tranquilizers
    • Antidepressants
    • Blood pressure medications
    • Heartburn medications
    • Antihistamines

    Don’t stress.

    Make an effort to decrease the amount of stress in your life; not only does it make you unhappy, but it also makes it hard to focus on everyday tasks, as worries and anxieties take up too much mental space.  If you’re having trouble concentrating or remembering things because of stress, then talk to a friend…take a walk…read a book…or confront the stress head-on.

    Cognitain Brain Health Formula for Memory

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    Can you add any other great tips on how to improve your memory? Please share below!

    Image courtesy of Master isolated images