4 Steps for Reducing Gut Inflammation, Anxiety & Insomnia
In the aftermath of years past, I have certainly seen and talked to many individuals dealing with high anxiety, which leads to unrestful sleep and poor digestion. Of course this leads to more anxiety. But be clear that such a viscous loop can also happen in a different order!
Anxiety can Begin in the the gut!
Poor dietary choices and dysbiosis (unhealthy bacterial balance) in the gut can also trigger our immune system. This causes inflammation, which signals the brain that there is something wrong, triggering our stress response, and increasing anxiety. Our stress response, (also termed the HPA axis), leads to further inflammation, increased adrenal hormones, more anxiety, and poor sleep.
It can become a real mess! Regardless of where the cycle started, once your system gets jammed into the stress/ anxiety/ adrenal gear it can be very hard to get out of. However, the control points to help unroll this nasty ball of yarn remain the same.
1. Calm the Stress Response
Directly calm the stress response with aids that work on the nervous system
Examples include kava kava, L-theanine, Relora®, chamomile, 5-HTP, or GABA. At Optimum Health we use Opti-Calm with L-theanine, Relora® and rhodiola, as we find it helps quickly calms you down, without slowing you down.
2. Support the Adrenal Glands
Nourish the adrenal glands to help stop them from over reacting.
For this, good choices include adaptogens like rhodiola, ashwagandha, holy basil, or ginseng. All four of these premier adaptogens are found in our Optimized Adrenal Balance formula.
3. Target Inflammation
Reduce your body's inflammatory tendencies by calming your gut and balancing the immune response.
This can be accomplished with things like probiotics, vitamin D, essential fatty acids, and herbal formulas with astragalus and andrographis. For example, we use Opti-Elite Probiotics, microencapsulated Vitamin D, Synergy-3 Full Spectrum Omega Blend, and Optimum Immunity.
4. Return to Restful Sleep
If you are not sleeping well (or at all) do something about it!!
There are many natural sleeping aids you can try, from calming herbs to melatonin formulas. Finding something to help you sleep may also involve your doctor.
Though it may surprise some that I say this, my point is once your sleeping is off for any period of time, you simply are not regenerating, and it is extremely difficult to overcome challenges and achieve good health.
Unfortunately, as many have experienced first hand, what helps with sleep can be very individual, and can also change over time. One way or another, sleep is crucial and irreplaceable, so stick with it until you find something that works.
Note: For those who want the benefits of melatonin but find that they can't tolerate it due to nightmares or hang-overs, consider tart cherry extract. This is a natural source of melatonin, and provides a very low dose, yet is highly anti-inflammatory. I find it works extremely well with chamomile capsules.
More on this to come this month.