Archive for the ‘Nervous System’ Category

B Vitamins Help with Stress, Mood and Sleep

B-vitamins are water-soluble vitamins that play an important role in immune and nervous system function, cell growth and metabolism, energy production, mental health and stress management. Since water soluble vitamins are not stored in the body, the excess being excreted in the urine, they can be quickly depleted from the body and must be replenished regularly. B vitamins are a group of eight individual vitamins, often referred to as the B-complex vitamins, including B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folic acid), and vitamin B12.

B-complex vitamins are essential for mental and emotional wellbeing because of their significant role in regulating the nervous system and affecting mood. The brain operates by millions of neurons (brain cells) communicating with each other. Neurons communicate with each other through neurotransmitters. Among these neurotransmitters, the neurotransmitter “serotonin” plays a complex role in the way you eat, sleep, behave, and has a great influence on your overall sense of well being.

Serotonin is sometimes referred to as the “happiness hormone”. It helps to regulate mood, anxiety, relieve depression and promote healthy sleep patterns. When the level of serotonin in the brain is changed, a person’s behavior is also altered. A normal level of serotonin promotes feelings of happiness, but sometimes during periods of stress, the body uses higher levels of serotonin to compensate for being overwhelmed. Accordingly, the levels of serotonin begin to drop causing irritability, depression, anxiety and sleep problems. By facilitating the function and manufacture serotonin, B vitamins help fight stress, insomnia, depression, nervous disorders and migraines among other conditions.

Melatonin is another neurotransmitter in the brain that helps regulate the body’s circadian rhythm, the 24-hour internal clock that plays a critical role in the time you fall asleep and the time you wake up. It is sometimes referred to as the “darkness hormone” because when it is dark, melatonin production is increased, and in the morning the production of melatonin drops considerably. Since B vitamins enhance the production of melatonin, they facilitate healthy sleep patterns.

When the body is exposed to long periods of stress, B vitamins become depleted. This can manifest as anxiety, irritability, restlessness, fatigue, headaches, sleeplessness and inability to concentrate. This is why it is important to replenish the body with B vitamins especially during stressful times. Since B vitamins tend to work together synergistically, it is best to take a well balanced vitamin B complex formula to maximize benefits.

Always consult your naturopathic doctor before initiating a new regimen.

Wellness Naturopathic Centre, North Vancouver, BC
www.wellnessnaturopathic.com

The information on this website is for educational purposes only. It does not substitute for proper assessment and treatment by a licensed health care provider.

Advertisements

Know Your Dirty Dozen

Knowledge is power. Pesticides are substances commonly sprayed on fruits and vegetables for a better crop but this does not come without a price. Pesticides contain toxins that have adverse effects on health. Some pesticides are known to be carcinogenic (cancer-causing), others can disturb the hormone system and nervous system.Buying organic fruits and vegetables is ideal. But when it’s not possible to buy all organic, and you only have a certain budget for organics, knowing which ones are most contaminated can help you in your selection. The Environmental Working Group has provided a shopper’s guide 2011, pointing out the 12 most pesticide loaded produce, also known as the “dirty dozen” as well as the “clean fifteen” that is considered the least pesticide contaminated produce.

Here’s the dirty dozen list: apples, strawberries, peaches, domestic nectarines, imported grapes, domestic blueberries, celery, spinach, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, lettuce and kale/collard greens.
The clean fifteen list includes onions, sweet corn, pineapples, avocado, asparagus, sweet peas, mangoes, eggplant, domestic cantaloupe, kiwi, cabbage, watermelon, sweet potatoes, grapefruit, and mushrooms.
According to Environmental Working Group (EWG), having 5 daily servings from the dirty dozen list, would mean consuming 14 different pesticides per day. Having 5 daily servings from the clean fifteen would mean consuming less than 2 pesticides per day.

Take the list with you on your next grocery trip, and if organic is not affordable or available to you, aim for locally grown produce. Locally grown produce are more fresh and better on the environment because they don’t have to travel as much to get to your dinner table and they are more seasonal which is generally healthier and more in tune with your body. It also supports your local economy and community and of course tastes better!
Wellness Naturopathic Centre, North Vancouver, BC
www.wellnessnaturopathic.com

The information on this website is for educational purposes only. It does not substitute for proper assessment and treatment by a licensed health care provider.