Categories
Emotional health-Finding peace General

Optimism Is Good For Your Health

Research studies so often focus on the risk factors for various diseases and shortened life spans, but they rarely focus on what makes us more likely to be health and live a long life.

“After decades of research, a new study links optimism and prolonged life. Researchers have found that individuals with greater optimism are more likely to live longer and to achieve ‘exceptional longevity,’ that is, living to age 85 or older.

Optimism refers to a general expectation that good things will happen, or believing that the future will be favorable because we can control important outcomes. Whereas research has identified many risk factors that increase the likelihood of diseases and premature death, much less is known about positive psychosocial factors that can promote healthy aging…

It is unclear how exactly optimism helps people attain longer life. “Other research suggests that more optimistic people may be able to regulate emotions and behavior as well as bounce back from stressors and difficulties more effectively,” said senior author Laura Kubzansky, PhD, MPH, Lee Kum Kee Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences and co-director, Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The researchers also consider that more optimistic people tend to have healthier habits, such as being more likely to engage in more exercise and less likely to smoke, which could extend lifespan.”

One way to change your state of mind is to keep a gratitude journal. Start and end your day by writing down something for which you’re grateful. It’s a good way of resetting your brain, and you’ll find that you start looking for things throughout the day to be thankful for. And if you have a hard time sticking to it, try pairing up with a friend to exchange emails with your “gratitudes.” They’ll help you see the world differently when you read the things they’re grateful for, and they’ll hold you accountable and make sure you’re doing it, too. Plus, it’s a great way to keep in touch with someone you love who you might not see regularly.

Still struggling to change your mindset? Consider seeing a life coach/personal development coach/therapist. They can help give you the tools to change how you look at the world and process the harder things you’ve been through so that they don’t continue to hurt you.

New evidence that optimists live longer: After decades of research, a new study links optimism and prolonged life

After decades of research, a new study links optimism and prolonged life. Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), National Center for PTSD at VA Boston Healthcare System and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, have found that individuals with greater optimism are more likely to live longer and to achieve “exceptional longevity,” that is, living to age 85 or older.

Categories
Family health General Orthopedic rehabilitation

Static Posture Linked To Pain

“Trapezius muscle activity variation during computer work performed by individuals with and without neck-shoulder pain.”
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Research published on July 25, 2019 found that individuals with neck and shoulder pain exhibited longer uninterrupted periods of muscle activation compared to their non-symptomatic counterparts. This suggests that static posture and not poor posture may be the greater concern and contributor to pain. The research reiterates the importance of taking regular breaks when sitting in front of a computer screen. 

Massage and acupuncture can help keep you functional, but studies like this show just how important it is for you to avoid being sedentary for too long.

Trapezius muscle activity variation during computer work performed by individuals with and without neck-shoulder pain

Aimed to compare muscle activation during computer use in those with and without pain. * Exposure variation analysis (EVA) applied to upper trapezius muscle activation. * EVA group differences and day-to-day reliability among controls determined. * Most EVA measures exhibited moderate-high reliability. * Pain group had more longer continuous durations of muscle activity than controls.

https://sciencedirect.com

Wishing you wellness,

Mary Clark

Categories
Emotional health-Finding peace Family health General

Angina and Acupuncture

A recent study published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association (July 29, 2019) reported that adjunctive acupuncture reduced angina frequency and pain intensity in those suffering from chronic stable angina (CSA). It was found to be more effective than antianginal therapy alone. Acupuncture treatment also resulted in better regulation of anxiety and depression within the treatment period. 
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The findings of the current study reported that the benefit is the result of acupuncture causing “autonomic remodeling by improving the balance between the vagus nerve and sympathetic nervous system during treatment.”
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All participants in the study received 12 sessions of acupuncture treatment (3 times a week for 4 weeks). The acupoints needled were PC6 and HT5.

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2739058?fbclid=IwAR0ml1RxA5rA0dY2osoC_doukQCkr5dOhLfrsyXp9zwkkDPZoW3cepLZuGM

Yours in wellness,

Mary Clark

Categories
Emotional health-Finding peace Family health General

How Much Sleep Is the Right Amount of Sleep?

How many hours of sleep did you get last night? 

According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults aged between 26-64 years, should receive 7 to 9 hours of sleep but not less than 6 hours or more than 10 hours. 

In clinic, l will often discuss sleep quantity and quality. Although l consider sleep to be a non negotiable and one of the pillars of health, I do appreciate the fact that sometimes personal circumstances will impact an individuals ability to sleep soundly. 

Some of us are going through a stressful time and are struggling to settle at night. Some of us have health issues that prevent us from getting the rest that we need. Some of us have little ones and are simply doing the best that we can.

I encourage those not having to navigate through extenuating circumstances to start small. Try going to bed 15 minutes earlier for a week or so and see how that goes.

National Sleep Foundation Recommends New Sleep Times

National Sleep Foundation Email: nsfmedia@sleepfoundation.org WASHINGTON, DC, ( February 2, 2015)–The National Sleep Foundation (NSF), along with a multi-disciplinary expert panel, issued its new recommendations for appropriate sleep durations. The report recommends wider appropriate sleep ranges for most age groups. The results are published in Sleep Health: The Journal of the National Sleep Foundation .

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Wishing you wellness,

Mary Clark

Categories
General

How Does Stress Affect the Gut?

Feeling stressed, anxious, angry or sad while eating will have a short and long-term effect on the functions of the gastrointestinal tract. 

Research continues to report that exposure to stress results in alterations of the bidirectional microbiota-gut-brain axis interactions (“brain-gut axis”). 
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“The major effects of stress on gut physiology include: 

1) alterations in gastrointestinal motility; 2) increase in visceral perception; 
3) changes in gastrointestinal secretion; 4) increase in intestinal permeability; 
5) negative effects on regenerative capacity of gastrointestinal mucosa and mucosal blood flow; and 
6) negative effects on intestinal microbiota.”
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Although functional GI disorders (FGIDs) are not considered to be psychological diseases, the research continues to support to notion that the brain plays an important role.  
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Dr. Emeran Mayer, MD recommends that: “we can each take care with what, when, and how we eat to promote healthy diversity in our gut microbiome. We can seek to maintain a positive emotional state as much as possible by relaxing and enjoy mealtimes. There are many simple forms of stress reduction that can be employed such as regular exercise, abdominal breathing, or progressive muscle relaxation.”
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In clinical practice, I not only focus on what an individual is eating but will delve into when and how they eat. There is a significant difference between eating mindfully and slowly, and what l refer to as “inhaling” food. I encourage all of my patients to step away from their televisions, multiple screens and distractions, and eat in silence. Even if it begins with 5-10 minutes at a time, it is progress. 

https://iffgd.org/?fbclid=IwAR1cWYXEM6EdpbZ1Y5D0K8obYJyr7pVIS2WNl3-graOVEgumlPVDkQYUMHQ

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/cns.12490?fbclid=IwAR1zZTUrXcYuftgh3yHPhIYBgWmHLmqnfpKeAHl9nL8bVibfH2HMGVIxS3o&

Wishing you wellness,

Mary Clark

Categories
Family health General

Fibromyalgia and the Microbiome

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a prevalent syndrome, characterised by chronic widespread pain, fatigue and impaired sleep. Those that suffer from FM also have to contend with the fact that it is an “invisible disease” and not immediately apparent to others. FM can be debilitating and will often have a significant impact to the quality of life. It also continues to be challenging to diagnose and difficult to treat. 
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A study recently published in Pain (June 18, 2019) reported an altered microbiome composition in individuals with fibromyalgia. There were differences in the serum levels of butyrate and propionate in patients with FM compared to those without FM.
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The promising news is that the study was the “first demonstration of gut microbiome alteration in non-visceral pain”, which is an observation that is likely to pave the way for further studies. The hope is that future studies will foster the exploration of new treatment modalities and offer some hope to FM patients.

https://journals.lww.com/pain/Abstract/publishahead/Altered_microbiome_composition_in_individuals_with.98647.aspx?fbclid=IwAR2Ro7xDzy-YXwl-Tqp1I7MTS01j9bXVRAa4zDc6iVRh5aqsWjJZWdVr0Go#pdf-link

Wishing you wellness,

Mary Clark

Categories
Family health General

Does It Matter What Time You Eat?

The old adage ‘breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper’ could be the best way to lose weight and stay healthy.
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A new study in the journal of Sleep (April 12 2019) demonstrated that a daytime eating schedule promoted weight loss and a positive profile for fuel oxidation, energy metabolism, and hormonal markers, compared with a nighttime eating schedule, independent of caloric intake.
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The research found that individuals who followed a daytime eating schedule (food consumed between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m) had a better metabolic profile than those who followed a delayed eating schedule (food consumed between 12:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m). 

The other key focus was sleep. The participants in the study were asked to maintain a sleep-wake cycle between 11:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m.

So if you’re struggling with weight gain, examining your eating schedule could be a good next step. For more nutritional and mind/body help, book an appointment with us at https://awakeningshealth.com.

https://academic.oup.com/sleep/article-abstract/42/Supplement_1/A15/5451138?redirectedFrom=fulltext&fbclid=IwAR3tBR58kBq3aLHT7Dpm4rQpGLn4NC4HLYLaS4vkzoCl4AnxRcF4RxwT3Qg

Daytime eating schedule found to help with weight management

daytime eating schedule promoted weight loss and a positive profile for fuel oxidation, energy metabolism, and hormonal markers, compared with a nighttime eatin

Wishing you wellness,

Mary Clark

Categories
Family health General

Vitamin D and Hypertension

Is there a link between low vitamin D levels and resistant hypertension? 
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A study published in the journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypertension (April 2, 2019) believes that there is, and found a statistically significant association between Vitamin D deficiency (levels lower than 20 ng/ml) and resistant hypertension (a blood pressure >140/90 mmHg despite the concurrent use of 3 antihypertensive agents of different classes). 
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Based on my research, an optimal level of vitamin D is between 60-80 ng/ml, but most labs will consider a Vitamin D above 30ng/ml as within normal range. l encourage my patients to aim for optimal rather than the low end of the range. 
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As always, my message is: please be mindful when supplementing. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and over supplementing can result in toxicity. Please discuss your supplementation regime and lab work with your primary care provider, functional medicine doctor or other health professional.

The association between vitamin D deficiency and the risk of resistant hypertension.

Clin Exp Hypertens. 2020;42(2):177-180. doi: 10.1080/10641963.2019.1601204. Epub 2019 Apr 2.

Wishing you wellness,

Mary Clark

Categories
Emotional health-Finding peace Family health General

Burnout

Burnout is now classified as a disease. 
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“The World Health Organization (WHO), an agency which guides many health providers and organizations, now includes “burnout” in its International Classification of Diseases (ICD) Handbook, where it is described as “an occupational-related condition resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.
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According to the WHO, doctors can issue a diagnosis of burnout if a patient exhibits three symptoms: feeling depleted of energy or exhausted; feeling mentally distanced from or cynical about one’s job; and problems getting one’s job done successfully. The WHO notes that burnout is to be used specifically “in the occupational context” and that it “should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.” 
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I don’t agree with the limited context as l feel that if you have reached a point of burnout at work, you have also reached that point in other areas of your life. Feeling stressed, depleted, exhausted and mentally distanced cannot be confined and isolated to the workplace.
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If you are feeling this way, please reach out for help. There are many caring and experienced practitioners out there who can support and help you navigate your way back to health. 
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https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/2158244017697154

Wishing you wellness,

Mary Clark

Categories
Family health General Sports Performance

Are You Magnesium Deficient?

Common symptoms of mild-to-moderate magnesium deficiency include anxiety, depression, fatigue, insomnia, irritability, panic attacks, muscle cramps and twitches, chest tightness, hyperventilation, faintness, difficulty with mental concentration, memory loss, confusion, nuchal pain, headaches, intestinal complaints, tremor, palpitations, and certain types of cardiac arrhythmias.

Magnesium is a cofactor for more than 300 different enzymes. It is essential for the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the body’s main storage form of energy.  Magnesium inhibits platelet aggregation, promotes dilation of blood vessels, and has an antispasmodic effect on skeletal and smooth muscle.1

I mostly use magnesium for its ability to help muscles relax.  It does this by binding to the calcium binding sites in the muscle and replacing the contraction-signaling calcium with magnesium, leading to muscle relaxation.2

Magnesium supplementation can come from oral supplements or epsom salt baths.  Usually 100-750mg/day is used. At the upper range it’s best to divide dosage throughout the day to help avoid diarrhea which is the primary symptom of excess magnesium. The formula I most frequently recommend includes potassium and some other vitamins that aid in potassium absorption, which is especially helpful after a workout.

1. Nutritional Medicine by Alan Gaby M.D.

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7286246

Wishing you wellness,

Michael Dunbar