HUGS-can they really prevent or help depression? ABSOLUTELY

Hugs…therapeutic…YES!

The average length of a hug between two people is 3 seconds. But the researchers have discovered something fantastic. When a hug lasts 20 seconds, there is a therapeutic effect on the body and mind. The reason is that a sincere embrace produces a hormone called “oxytocin”, also known as the love hormone. This substance has many benefits in our physical and mental health, helps us, among other things, to relax, to feel safe and calm our fears and anxiety. This wonderful tranquilizer is offered free of charge every time we have a person in our arms, who cradled a child, who cherish a dog or a cat, that we are dancing with our partner, the closer we get to someone or simply hold the Shoulders of a friend.

A famous quote by psychotherapist Virginia Satir goes, “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” Whether those exact numbers have been scientifically proven remains to be seen, but there is a great deal of scientific evidence related to the importance of hugs and physical contact. Here are some reasons why we should hug::

1. STIMULATES OXYTOCIN

Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter that acts on the limbic system, the brain’s emotional centre, promoting feelings of contentment, reducing anxiety and stress, and even making mammals monogamous. It is the hormone responsible for us all being here today. You see this little gem is released during childbirth, making our mothers forget about all of the excruciating pain they endured expelling us from their bodies and making them want to still love and spend time with us. New research from the University of California suggests that it has a similarly civilising effect on human males, making them more affectionate and better at forming relationships and social bonding. And it dramatically increased the libido and sexual performance of test subjects. When we hug someone, oxytocin is released into our bodies by our pituitary gland, lowering both our heart rates and our cortisol levels. Cortisol is the hormone responsible for stress, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

2. CULTIVATES PATIENCE

Connections are fostered when people take the time to appreciate and acknowledge one another. A hug is one of the easiest ways to show appreciation and acknowledgement of another person. The world is a busy, hustle-bustle place and we’re constantly rushing to the next task. By slowing down and taking a moment to offer sincere hugs throughout the day, we’re benefiting ourselves, others, and cultivating better patience within ourselves.

3. PREVENTS DISEASE

Affection also has a direct response on the reduction of stress which prevents many diseases. The Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine says it has carried out more than 100 studies into touch and found evidence of significant effects, including faster growth in premature babies, reduced pain, decreased autoimmune disease symptoms, lowered glucose levels in children with diabetes, and improved immune systems in people with cancer.

4. STIMULATES THYMUS GLAND

Hugs strengthen the immune system. The gentle pressure on the sternum and the emotional charge this creates activates the Solar Plexus Chakra. This stimulates the thymus gland, which regulates and balances the body’s production of white blood cells, which keep you healthy and disease free.

5. COMMUNICATION WITHOUT SAYING A WORD

Almost 70 percent of communication is nonverbal. The interpretation of body language can be based on a single gesture and hugging is an excellent method of expressing yourself nonverbally to another human being or animal. Not only can they feel the love and care in your embrace, but they can actually be receptive enough to pay it forward to others based on your initiative alone.

6. SELF-ESTEEM

Hugging boosts self-esteem, especially in children. The tactile sense is all-important in infants. A baby recognizes its parents initially by touch. From the time we’re born our family’s touch shows us that we’re loved and special. The associations of self-worth and tactile sensations from our early years are still imbedded in our nervous system as adults. The cuddles we received from our Mom and Dad while growing up remain imprinted at a cellular level, and hugs remind us at a somatic level of that. Hugs, therefore, connect us to our ability to self love.

7. STIMULATES DOPAMINE

Everything everyone does involves protecting and triggering dopamine flow. Low dopamine levels play a role in the neurodegenerative disease Parkinson’s as well as mood disorders such as depression. Dopamine is responsible for giving us that feel-good feeling, and it’s also responsible for motivation! Hugs stimulate brains to release dopamine, the pleasure hormone. Dopamine sensors are the areas that many stimulating drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine target. The presence of a certain kinds of dopamine receptors are also associated with sensation-seeking.

8. STIMULATES SEROTONIN

Reaching out and hugging releases endorphins and serotonin into the blood vessels and the released endorphins and serotonin cause pleasure and negate pain and sadness and decrease the chances of getting heart problems, helps fight excess weight and prolongs life. Even the cuddling of pets has a soothing effect that reduces the stress levels. Hugging for an extended time lifts one’s serotonin levels, elevating mood and creating happiness.

9. PARASYMPATHETIC BALANCE

Hugs balance out the nervous system. The skin contains a network of tiny, egg-shaped pressure centres called Pacinian corpuscles that can sense touch and which are in contact with the brain through the vagus nerve. The galvanic skin response of someone receiving and giving a hug shows a change in skin conductance. The effect in moisture and electricity in the skin suggests a more balanced state in the nervous system – parasympathetic.

Embrace, embrace with your heart.

autoimmune disease

Gluten Free. Gut Health. Immune Health.

Gluten Free and Gut Health….how they are linked.

I find it sad that we need to learn about health issues the hard way.  Our grandparents didn’t have to deal with such issues because they ate real food.  Today it is essential to educate yourself and learn how to get back to basics.  It is also essential to know your sources.  Where is your information coming from?  There are a several Doctors I follow in functional health and medicine, Dr. Osborn is one of them and has a fabulous book out, “No Grain, No Pain”.  He breaks down how it’s all connected.  I believe it’s a triangle of health, can’t just pick one thing, it’s all related because our bodies work as a whole.

If you are interested in learning more or need help deciphering through what it all means, call me, I’ll help simply it for you.  No need to spend hours researching on the internet…we’ve already done that for you.

A quick break down…

Lack of essential and bioavailable proteins are a major contributing factor to persistent illness in those with gluten sensitivity. Why? Protein is the main ingredient your body uses to build immune antibodies as well as heal inflamed structural tissues and muscles. These functions are vital for the following reasons:

1-Antibody production, particularly IgA is essential for your body’s ability to combat infection, chemical toxins, as well as allergies. Research has shown that antibody deficiency is a common phenomenon in those with gluten sensitivity. Lack of these vital proteins puts you at risk for multiple chronic health issues.

2-Muscles are required for movement of the frame. As part of this process, muscle serves as a pumping system for your lymphatic vessels. These vessels are crucial because they help the body transport immune cells and antibodies. They also help remove damaging toxins. Research has also shown that a large majority of those with gluten sensitivity have poor muscle to fat ratios.

Gluten Destroys Muscle & Causes Protein Wasting

In more than a decade of seeing patients and dealing with the consequences of gluten, one of the most common side effects of gluten is inflammation in the muscle and joints. The gluten proteins create an inflammatory reaction in these tissues that over time leads to many negative outcomes:

•Muscle pain

•Muscle atrophy (loss)

•Joint pain and arthritis

•Weight gain (increased visceral fat – AKA belly fat)

•Weight loss (due to muscle atrophy)

•Restricted mobility

•Increased risk for injury in those trying to exercise

Gluten consumption leads to body protein disruption in several ways…

1-Inflammation – Gluten can cause the immune system to literally attack the muscle and joints leading to chronic pain and inflammation. A prolonged immune system attack contributes to chronic degradation of these tissues and subsequently atrophy of the muscle and arthritis in the joint.

2-Hormone Release – To deal with this chronic damage, the body produces cortisol as an anti-inflammatory hormone. Increased cortisol leads to increased visceral fat (belly fat).

3-Damage to the Stomach and GI Tract – Gluten can damage the specialized cells in your stomach and small intestines that secrete vital acid and digestive enzymes. Over time this damage makes it almost impossible to properly digest and break down dietary proteins from meats and vegetables. Many with gluten sensitivity have lost their ability to digest properly and develop protein and amino acid deficits.

Gluten Induced Gut Damage Can Make Meat Digestion a Challenge

Many who embark on a gluten free diet still have inflamed and damaged gastrointestinal tracts. Some suffer with low acid production making it hard to digest dietary proteins. This is a big part of the “Catch 22″ in healing. To heal the gut, you need protein, but to digest the protein, you need a healthy and functional gut.

The Critical Role of Protein

Protein balance plays a major role body function. It is essential for proper maintenance of the immune system, the detoxification systems in the liver, antibody formation, muscle maintenance, tissue repair, digestive enzyme production, neurotransmitter (brain chemicals), and hormone production. Protein is responsible for building cellular receptors (antennas) that help recognize hormones, regulate blood sugar, control our circadian rhythm, and control our metabolism.

Too Many Carbs

Most people following the gluten free diet seek out alternatives to bread, pasta, cereal, etc. Unfortunately, these alternatives are highly processed, contain GMO ingredients, and they disrupt the carb, fat, protein balance. Excessive carbohydrate intake causes damage to important proteins in our bloodstream. This damage, often referred to as AGE (Advanced Glycation End products) is a major contributing factor to inflammation and chronic illness. And if you remember from the lesson above, chronic inflammation leads to hormone changes that tax our body’s protein stores and our ability to heal and repair is minimized.

The Problem with Over the Counter Protein Powders?

For patients with digestive issues, doctors commonly recommend meal replacement or protein powders. Unfortunately, most protein powders available over the counter contain cheap and highly processed ingredients that are subjected to high heat and chemical processing. These processes denature the protein creating a suboptimal food source that is harder to digest. Many other protein powders are also loaded up with artificial sweeteners and GMO chemicals like aspartame, sucralose, corn fructose, and maltodextrin. Some people will attempt to consume rice based proteins. Big mistake. Most rice proteins are devoid of nutrients, are low in biologically valuable amino acids, have a high potential for arsenic contamination, and most importantly contain a concentrated and very difficult to digest rice gluten. Other common protein options contain foods with severe allergenic potential. The most common include dairy, soy, and egg.

All three of these protein replacements can have severe drawbacks. Dairy is usually a major problem for those with gluten sensitivity. Aside from it’ s allergic potential, most dairy proteins are heat processed and derived from GMO cows being fed GMO grains covered in chemical fertilizers and pesticides. These chemicals are known gut irritants and have been shown to alter the microbial gut balance and contribute to intestinal permeability (AKA – leaky gut).

Soy proteins are high in phytates and tannins (compounds that inhibit mineral absorption – calcium, iron, zinc). Most soy proteins are also GMO and have been treated with chemical pesticides.

Egg protein replacement powders are typically derived from chickens being fed diets high in GMO grain sources. The birds suffer from poor environmental conditions. It is extremely common for those with gluten sensitivity to react to eggs from grain fed chickens.

If you want a high quality protein without the drawbacks to help support your recovery and overall health, Collagen and correct supplementation is necessary.  Call me and we can develop an individual plan for you!