Thursday, March 29, 2012

Food And Anxiety

A young Belgian named Geert has become an expert on all things having to do with anxiety and panic disorders, having suffered horribly since childhood himself and recovering. Geert teaches other anxiety sufferers how to overcome their problems and does it in a casual, light-hearted and entertaining style. I've always looked forward to videos from him and love his accent.

This wise-beyond-his-years young man has now come out with a new program teaching about the link between what you eat (or drink) and anxiety and panic disorders. He talks about the things you consume that make it worse and the things you can consume that will make it better. Like spinach and how it increases your gaba levels.

Check out Geert's introductory video for his program called Anxiety Foods and see if you don't find it enlightening and entertaining at the same time. I highly recommend watching it. Here's the link again:

By the way, that is NOT an affiliate link. If you decide to purchase his program I get nada - except the satisfaction that you're doing something to help yourself. After you watch it, shoot me an email and tell me what you thought.

To Your Recovery,


Thursday, March 22, 2012

How Kava Use May Be The Safest Method of Treating Moderate Anxiety

Stress and anxiety affect nearly everyone. These mental health issues tend to come in three different levels of severity:
  • Mild Anxiety – Anxiety that is common and easy to manage. 
  • Moderate Anxiety – Anxiety that affects your life often but doesn’t cause you to lose control. 
  • Intense Anxiety – Anxiety that strongly prevents you from engaging in any activity. 
Mild anxiety tends to be easy to manage, and can be treated with lifestyle changes. Intense anxiety is more serious. Often it requires more than simply some type of medicine or supplement, and those suffering from this level of anxiousness need to seek therapy in addition to any nutritional plan.

Moderate anxiety, on the other hand, is trickier. Therapy can be a useful form of support, but it's often too expensive for those with moderate anxiety, since that type of anxiety is manageable despite the way it affects your quality of life. Pharmaceutical medications are also a terrible choice, because the sheer number of side effects and personality changes that the drugs cause. In addition, numerous herbal supplements are designed for mild anxiety, and their evidence at moderate anxiety is less well known. While they may be effective, those that suffer from moderate anxiety are in need of a supplement with more proof – one that can successfully treat their anxiety every day in a manner that is side effect free.

Kava and Moderate Anxiety

One natural root has been shown to have all of those qualities: Kava. Kava has received extensive research about the benefits of this herbal supplement, with a mental analysis essentially proving that kava in the correct doses can be used as a potential treatment for moderate anxiety. In fact, the relationship between kava and anxiety is so strong that it has even been accepted by much of the medical community in a way that other herbal supplements can only strive for.

Kava is also known for its ability to promote sleep – an important factor in relieving moderate anxiety. While there are numerous potential neutraceuticals for anxiety and stress, the amount of evidence in kava's favor for persistent moderate anxiety is second to none.

Kava and Health

Yet no discussion of the benefits of kava is complete without discussing the health implications of the herbal supplement. Nearly a decade ago, the government claimed that kava itself caused liver damage, and while they did not ban the sale of kava in most states, they did strongly suggest that the public stop taking the powerful herb.

But there were problems with this data. Namely, that the studies showing a health issue all indicated that there were problems with abuse, along with serious drug and alcohol consumption in addition to using kava. In many ways people weren't using kava to relieve them of stress. They were using kava along with other drugs to destructively self-medicate.

Since then, scientists have found that – like many other drugs and herbs – there are interactions. And these studies found that kava interacts poorly with alcohol, so those that drink were experiencing marked side effects brought on by combining these two drugs.

When kava is taken safely, without any alcohol or health conditions that have damaged the liver or kidneys, it's shown that kava is completely side effect free. In addition, kava is not known to cause dependency. Since alcohol is also a drug that is known to stimulate anxiety, those that are suffering from moderate anxiety should not drink, and the kava can have its full effect.

Kava, Diet, and Lifestyle Change

Finally, anxiety is a powerful emotion – one that is easily affected by the behaviors you perform in your daily life. If you continue to engage in activities that cause you anxiety or surround yourself with situations that are known to lead to an increase in stress, you diminish the strength of the herb's benefits.
Kava should only be adopted when you are also willing to make lifestyle changes, including eating a healthy diet, getting a full night's sleep, avoiding stressful situations, and maintaining an active lifestyle. Anxiety is a cumulative condition – the more anxious you are regularly, the more stress symptoms you experience when you are in a situation with more anxiety later. Kava can and will mitigate a large percentage of anxiety, but if you continue to engage in anxiety causing behaviors, you will still experience some of that stress and tension that caused you to seek treatment in the first place.

Still, the benefits of kava – and the research that has gone into learning more about the herbal supplement – is second to none when it comes to treating anxiety. If you suffer from a degree of anxiety that doesn't yet need mental health counseling but does affect your life in a regular basis, consider starting a kava regimen and combining it with the beneficial lifestyle changes to reduce anxiety in your life.

About the Author:
Ryan Rivera is a natural herb supporter and writer of numerous health information articles about anxiety, stress, and panic, many of which can be found at

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Anxiety Disorders And Your Blood Sugar

Your Anxiety Disorder Can Cause Diabetes

About a year ago I found out my blood sugar is a bit high and by monitoring it a little, I discovered it fluctuates a lot. I've been concerned about this, obviously. And I wondered why this problem has come up, leading me to research, research and research some more.

I've learned that there are many possible reasons for elevated blood glucose levels and learn about more every day. First, of course, is our diet. I've recently been made aware that even if you think you're eating healthy foods, if you live in the US, you're probably NOT eating healthy.

But I'm not going to go on about diet measures. What I want to address here is the possible relationship between stress, anxiety or panic disorders and your blood sugar levels. Yes, stress can and does cause raised levels, even in people who have no other glucose issues or anxiety disorders. In the case of these people, it returns to normal when the stress passes, but not so for the person with generalized anxiety (or chronic anxiety) problems.

What Causes This?

As you probably know by now if you suffer from any form of anxiety disorder, what's happening in your body when you feel anxious or panicky is a misguided fight or flight response. Your body becomes prepared to fight or flee, meaning adrenaline is released, blood flow is re-directed and your body calls up all kinds of reserves to make you stronger, faster and more alert.

One of the "reserves" your body calls to action is a release of more sugar into your blood stream to give more quick energy to your cells, particularly your muscles. In a normal person experiencing the fight or flight response, this subsides as the cause goes away. But in the anxiety sufferer the response can go on for hours, days or indefinitely, leading to a multitude of possible medical ramifications. Not good. Did you know that diabetes is a major cause of heart disease, too?

A less than ideal diet, chemicals in our foods and now, genetically engineered or modified foods all contribute to a condition called insulin resistance. What this means is your cells are resistant to the insulin that's supposed to carry the sugars into your cells, where they can use it for energy. Add this to an abnormally high blood glucose level caused by the fight or flight response we anxiety sufferers experience, and you've got a highly elevated blood sugar level on a fairly constant basis. Diabetes.

What Can You Do About This?

If you haven't talked to your doctor about blood glucose, you should. Have a test for the glucose AND your insulin levels - you'll probably have to request the latter because most conventional doctors ignore it. If you find out your levels are high - even a little - start being more conscious of your diet, as your doctor will undoubtedly instruct you.

Second, start taking the right supplements to help control your glucose and insulin levels. I'm now taking a cocktail of biotin, chromium, cinnamon, ivy gourd extract and agaricus blazei mushroom extract that seems to be helping to control my levels, even as I'm under a ton of stress as of this writing. (In the list of high stressors, ending a relationship and relocating are at the top and I'm going through both at the moment.)

Another very important supplement you should probably take is a good anti-oxidant. A major cause of insulin resistance is inflammation and the anti-oxidant can help with that. CoQ10, Resveritrol or Astaxanthin are good. I like the Astaxanthin because it also contains a good dose of Omega-3. A good Astaxanthin can be ordered here: Mercola - Astaxanthin with ALA 
That's a link to the product on Amazon, so while you're there, you might as well look around for the other supplements, too.

Third, and not to be over-shadowed, is do something about your anxiety issues! Before you risk becoming a diabetic for life.

If you're the type of person who prefers reading an ebook, check out this program, The Anxiety Lie by Rich Presta, who also created The Anxiety Free Child and several other programs for anxiety and panic disorders.

On the other hand, if you'd rather learn by video, look at Easy Calm by Jon Mercer. In his series, he recounts his own experiences with anxiety, panic and phobias and what he did to cure himself.

To Your Health,


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Old Vitamin, New Discovery (For Me, Anyway)

Recently, I've become interested in health a lot more and the more I learn about what's good and what's bad to put in our bodies, the more I want to know. Because the more I learn, the more I realize I need to know.

A great source of health information I've found is Dr. Joseph Mercola's web site and his newsletter, which I highly recommend even if you're not into a super-healthy lifestyle. He puts a lot of work into exposing the health risks of the foods we eat these days and the drugs mainstream doctors put us on. As well as recommending supplements for optimal health. And one of those is what I want to tell you about.

About six months ago I decided I should have a full physical and made the necessary appointments, the first being with the lab at my doctor's clinic. They ran a full range of blood tests so the doctor would know as much as possible about my overall condition before seeing me, and truth be told, that's pretty much all he used. Very expedient, and one of the things I find unsatisfying about medical care in this country today - but that's a post for a different day.

So, back to the blood work. One of the things my doctor learned from it was that I was low on Vitamin D and he recommended I start taking a corrective dose of 2000 units a day, about twice what the usual supplementation dose would be.  No problem. I bought a big bottle of 2000 unit gelcaps and started taking them.

Is It Enough?

A few months later, after I had started following Dr. Mercola's blog, I read that the Vitamin D level considered adequate by the mainstream medical community is really only enough to prevent rickets! That we should actually double that at least. So I upped my dose to 4000 units and have been taking that daily ever since.

Now, where this ties into the subject of this blog, Anxiety Disorder, is I started to notice that my generalized anxiety symptoms got better. I still have a problem with stress and get stressed out often, but now I don't seem to feel the physical sensations like I did before. No tightness in my chest, no feeling like my heart's racing. All from taking two of those tiny gelcaps a day!

So this got me thinking about the area where I live and how many other people are diagnosed as being low on this simple vitamin. And how that relates to Seattle's dubious distinctions of being cloudy and gray so much of the time AND its standing as the US city with the highest suicide rate and the highest percentage of people taking anti-depressants. And get this: I read about studies that have shown that a VERY high percentage of people who are clinically depressed and taking meds for it are found to be low (many critically low) on Vitamin D.

Sunshine Makes For Happier People

I was also reminded by Dr. Mercola that the sun's rays are the very best source of Vitamin D (actually that our bodies use those UV rays to synthesize it) and the fact is, most Americans today don't get enough sunshine. Well, where I live, we don't have much opportunity even if we do get away from our desks and computers and get outside.

Without soaking up the sun in sufficient amounts to supply us with enough of this forgotten vitamin, we need to supplement our diet. And, according to Dr. Mercola, an adult should probably take 4000 to 5000 IU per day. If you have anxiety and stress issues, you might want to start with 2000 units and see what happens. That much can't hurt you and you might start to notice the same changes I did. If not, double it. But you might want to have your blood checked first to see where you stand; your doctor might in fact put you on a much higher dose temporarily.

Another thing I should mention is that Vitamin D is well-known as a mood enhancer. When your mood is better, you have a more positive attitude and we also know that will lessen your anxious feelings, don't we?