Create or Avoid Stress

By your internal reaction

Create Or Avoid Stress, Healthy Living Magazine, Lifestyle

Create Or Avoid Stress, Healthy Living Magazine, Lifestyle

Sadness. Irritability. Apathy. Fatigue. Hopelessness. We had them all, every one of us.

Some of us live these words every day and don’t understand why. We don’t know how negative our thinking has become because we’re in a room without a window to view a different world. Anxiety and stress kill, make one eat when one should not, unable to sleep; a miracle daily how well we handle things seemingly impossible to repeat. Some attempt to pull themselves out gritting and cursing with little or no success. Others turn to antidepressants, anxiolytics, alcohol and drugs. Opening up the biochemical tool kit can work three ways to give people a break from obsessive negativity.

Rev Brain Activity

Animal studies have shown vitamin B12 regenerates nerve cells. Vitamin B12 is a “methyl donor” that carries and donates methyl groups (a molecule of one carbon and three hydrogen molecules) to other molecules, including cell membrane components and neurotransmitters. Vitamin B12 is involved in energy metabolism, immune health, and nerve function. Vitamin B12 is a dietary supplement made for the depressed and anxiety ridden.

So is tyrosine. Acetylcholine may be the most well known brain neurotransmitting chemical, but brain function is mediated through the work of other neurotransmitters such as serotonin which is calming and helps to relax and the catecholamines (dopamine and norepinephrine) that increase alertness and attention and speed up reactions. These neurotransmitters are manufactured by the actions of enzymes in the brain on precursor amino acids such as tyrosine. A 1982 study found that supplemental tyrosine increased brain levels of the catecholamines, enhancing mental alertness and helping ward off depression. Tyrosine has shown promise in the treatment of Parkinson’s and depression.

Low levels of serotonin in the brain can cause people to become depressed, anxious, irritable, impatient, impulsive, abusive, afflicted with short attention spans, suffer poor sleep and overeat. Unlike some brain neurotransmitters which are found in limited brain regions, serotonin is everywhere.

Make Mood Molecules

The scientific name for pure serotonin is 5-hydroxytryptamine, or 5-HT, while the scientific name for 5-HTP is 5-hydroxytryptophan. Thus, we can see the close relationship between pure serotonin and 5-HTP. In fact, the body uses 5-HTP to manufacture serotonin.

Unfortunately, pure serotonin cannot be directly ingested or injected. The brain must manufacture its own serotonin from within the body. Because it is a sleek, lipid soluble molecule, 5-HTP passes through the blood- brain barrier and in a series of straightforward enzymatic reactions is converted to serotonin. The results of dietary supplementation can be profound. Some 70% of orally ingested 5-HTP is carried in the bloodstream to be delivered to the brain.

Scientists refer to serotonin as the brain’s master molecule. Since its discovery some 60 years ago, scientists have learned that serotonin is intimately linked to how people think, feel and behave.

The body can convert the amino acid tryptophan into 5-HTP, then serotonin. But in many cases this conversion process malfunctions and, instead of 5-HTP, a molecule called kynurenine is produced. (Stress causes overproduction of kynurenine.) The body may be unable to adequately synthesize 5-HTP. When this happens, severe health problems often follow, including depression, insomnia, fibromyalgia and weight gain. Thus, people with these conditions may have chronically low levels of serotonin. (For those with migraine headaches, 5-HTP has been shown to help normalize serotonin function in the blood vessels.)

Early clinical studies were conducted at the Osaka University Medical School in Japan. In one of the first studies, 107 patients received 5-HTP at doses from 50 to 400 milligrams (mg) daily. Within four weeks, 74 of the 107 patients reported improvements in their mood. There were no significant complications or side effects. A review of subsequent studies indicates depressed people respond quickly to 5-HTP therapy. In a 1991 study, published in Psychopathology, results were observed within three to five days.

Counteract Stress Reactions

Ocimum sanctum—holy basil—has been called “Tulsi” in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. “Tulsi” means “The Incomparable One,” a phrase that captures the stature of this herb. It is a “rasayana” or herb that on its own sustains perfect health and enlightenment. Stress studies suggest Holy Basil can normalize cortisol levels. Chronically high cortisol can allow an unsustainable physiological and psychological stress response. Cortisol causes a cascade of reactions that increases the risk of many deadly diseases. Holy Basil is able to counteract many of these reactions. Research shows Holy Basil is able to lower blood sugar levels, especially in type 2 diabetics, dramatically curb sugar cravings and fight inflammation. It contains anti- inflammatory phytonutrients called cyclooxygenase, or COX-2 inhibitors. Ayurveda reveres Holy Basil for its ability to facilitate expanded states of awareness. In India, meditative techniques have been taught and practiced for thousands of years for the purpose of experiencing higher statesofconsciousness.

Holy basil has an impressive list of health credits to its name. Research shows it’s an antioxidant, has anti-stress and anti-ulcer properties, delays tumor growth, improves survival rates for animals and can even be helpful in treating some cases of adult-onset diabetes. But for most of us, the combination of these herbs, together with vitamin D, folic acid and schizandra is an uplifting, stress-busting, full-service phytomedicine.

An unshakable internal balance and a more comprehensive perspective characterize higher states of consciousness. When our perspective is broader, we see “the bigger picture” and many of the incidences that used to trigger stress are no longer perceived as significant difficulties. Stress is created or avoided by our internal reaction to a situation. Holy Basil nourishes and soothes the root cause of stress—our mind. Because of that, it helps to stop stress reactions before they ever start.

References
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Growdon,JH,Melamed,e. effectsoforalL-tyrosineadministrationonCSFtyrosineandhomovanillic acidlevelsinpatientswithParkinson’sdisease. LifeSciences,1982;30:827-832.
Pöldinger,W.,etal. Afunctional-dimensionalapproachtodepression: serotonindeficiencyasatarget syndrome in a comparison of 5-HTP and fluvoxamine. Psychopathology, 1991;24:53-81.
Sano,I. L-5-hydroxytryptophantherapy. FoliaPsychiatricaetNeurologicaJaponica,1972;26:7-17.
Sembulingam, K., et al. effect of Ocimum sanctum Linn on noise induced changes in plasma corticosteronelevel. IndianJPhysiolPharmacol,1997;41(2):139-143.
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