The Top 13 Reasons why you should avoid Dairy products

The Top 13 Reasons why you should avoid Dairy products

We have been told since the beginning of time about all the health benefits of milk and related products. But let us break the bubble because there is a whole different side to this story. The dairy products you have been consuming all this time are in fact doing more harm than anything good.

Here are 13 reasons why you should stop consuming milk and all the other dairy products right away (Better late than never!)

  1. Milk protein and Diabetes

Beta casein A1, a protein present in milk is directly linked to cause Type 1 Diabetes. The risk develops due to exposure to milk early in the life course, research reveals (1). 

  1. Toxins and Contaminants

Certain compounds may find their way into milk indirectly through dairy animals as residues of pesticides (DDT, lindane, dieldrin, etc.) on feeds/fodder. Several of these compounds get stored in the milk fat and are secreted with it (2). Contaminants may also enter milk directly as a consequence of hygienic or industrial practices (e.g., detergents and sanitizers/disinfectants), or as adulterants as in the case of melamine (often found in plastics and food contact materials and can harm the kidneys and urinary tract) (2).

It is very common for milk to contain residues of pharmacologically active substances (PAS), which have undesirable effects on the quality and technological properties of dairy products and also, more importantly, on your health. A study found the presence of 20 of such active substances from the following categories: antibacterials, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, antiseptic, antiepileptic,  lipid regulator, β-blockers (3).

Apart from the ones mentioned, hormones like estrogen are injected into the animals in order to increase the yield. While some amount of estrogen is also present in the cow’s body which can lead to further passage into the human body. Estrogen is known to have negative impacts on human reproductive health as well as is linked to cause cancers (4).

  1. Dairy fat and Insulin resistance

Fat contained in all the dairy products pose a threat for Insulin resistance, meaning your body resists Insulin, thus leading to high blood sugar levels. It is because Insulin is the only hormone in your body which helps in lowering the blood sugar levels. Saturated fat in these products is the culprit. Fat in any form, dairy or other sources (Vegetable oils, Butter, Ghee, etc) is itself harmful for your health. Our clients at ThriveFNC have observed a great deal of improvement in Insulin resistance by adhering to our protocol of a zero fat diet, i.e., eliminating all sources of visible fat from daily eating. 

  1. Cancer

Consumption of dairy products has been linked with a lot of different cancers. Studies have found positive cases of prostate cancer and colorectal cancer in men consuming milk on a daily basis. High circulating levels of something called’ Insulin like growth factor’ (IGF-1) is believed to be the reason causing cancer (6). A large study done on women found that those who  consumed the highest amounts of cheddar cream cheeses had a higher risk for breast cancer (7). Dairy intake can also lead to development of ovarian cancer. The reason is believed to be conversion of milk sugar (lactose) to galactose, a sugar which may be toxic for the ovarian cells (8). 

  1. Bad fats and heart problems

Dairy products including milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, ice cream are major food sources containing saturated fat. Saturated fat increases the level of bad fat, i.e., low density lipoprotein (LDL) in your body, which is directly linked to cause heart problems (9).

  1. Addictive substances

Using the Yale Food Addiction Scale, designed to measure a person’s dependence on, scientists found that cheese is particularly potent because it contains casomorphins (Casein derived Morphine like substance)- the substance, which is present in all dairy products, can trigger the brain’s opioid receptors which are linked to addiction. Neal Barnard, author of The Cheese Trap, also refers to Caseomorphins as opiates and mentions that these opiates attach to the same brain receptors that heroin and morphine attach to. They are not strong enough to get you arrested, but they are just strong enough to keep you coming back for more.

It has also been found that Casomorphins can destroy pancreatic beta cells, cells which are responsible for making Insulin. This destruction can lead to Type-1 Diabetes. Also, they have the potential to kill your body’s immune cells, subsequently causing autoimmune disorders (11).

  1. Lactose Intolerance

In a recent article published in The Times, 60% of Indian population was found to be lactose intolerant without even realizing about the same. Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest milk sugar called lactose. Nursing children make enzymes that break down lactose, but as we grow up, many of us lose this capacity (12). As a result, lactose is not absorbed, but remains in the intestine where it causes symptoms which  include  upset  stomach,  diarrhea,  and  gas (12).

  1. Allergies 

Cow’s milk is among the first foods introduced into an infant and accordingly is one of the first and most common causes of food allergy in early childhood. Various respiratory (wheezing, coughing, asthma) and gastrointestinal (abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea) discomforts and rashes on the skin have been observed (13).

Contaminated milk can cause allergic reactions or indirect problems through bacterial resistance to clinical treatments.

Cow’s milk contains 30 different proteins, of which Casein constitutes 80% share. The allergic reactions upon milk consumption are thought to be because of this milk protein, termed as cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA) (14).

  1. Effects on infant and child health

Cow Milk (CM) allergy can be one of the things that can impact infant and child health. Besides, Colic is an additional concern with milk consumption probably due to either Casein allergy or Lactose intolerance. Colic is a process in which an infant has inconsolable outbursts of crying for more than three hours per day, more than three days per week, for longer than three weeks. Possible treatment options include restriction of any form of milk or dairy product consumption by the breastfeeding mother (15), as the allergens can be passed on from breast milk to the baby and further aggravate the problem.

  1. Not-at-all-healthy-bones

To assume that weak and brittle bones are due to calcium deficiency is like assuming that infection is due to penicillin deficiency. In fact, these impotent bones are not due to calcium deficiency but rather due to excretion of too much of what you already have. This breaking down of Calcium is due to overconsumption of proteins. Dairy products, as we all know, contain good amounts of proteins and excess protein tend to leach out calcium, in order to buffer the renal acidic load as caused by proteins (17).

Also, it has been found in an ample number of studies that milk compounds like beta-casein and D-galactose can negatively impact bone health due to their capability of causing inflammation (18). Also in another study, it was concluded that milk consumption did not prevent fractures (19). This can possibly be due to the fact that several other nutrients play an important role in the cascade of strengthening the bones. (Vitamin D, Vitamin K along with Calcium).

  1. Dairy and skin problems

Dairy products, especially milk allergy, can manifest as Eczema along with other symptoms. Psoriasis is a condition in which there are dry, itchy, scaly patches on the skin and is thought to be caused by immune system problems and infections. Dairy products can be triggers for this skin problem because of their capability in causing inflammation as well as infections.

  1. Dairy products and infections

Developing countries like India face greater challenges as a result of incorrect processing or storage of dairy products. Being rich in protein, dairy products represent a transmission hazard for a large number of pathogens and can be responsible for outbreaks of  infections like brucellosis, listeriosis, tuberculosis, etc (20).

  1. Common sense

Besides humans, no other organism drinks milk beyond their natural age of weaning or drinks the milk of another species. Any type of milk whether it is A1 or A2, pure and farm fresh or organic, it does not suit the nutritional needs of humans, so it’s no wonder that consuming it and its derivatives causes us so many problems.

Our recommendation. Ditch the dairy. 

Confused about what to eat? Reach out to ThriveFNC on +91 77966 92504 and Click Below for a FREE consultation regarding any of your health concerns.

References:

  1. https://sci-hub.tw/10.1016/j.diabres.2008.11.010
  2. https://sci-hub.tw/10.1016/B978-0-12-374407-4.00104-7
  3. https://sci-hub.tw/10.1021/jf200364w
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4524299/
  5. https://scialert.net/fulltext/?doi=ijds.2007.104.115
  6. https://sci-hub.tw/10.1080/09637480903150114
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23492346/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10667469/
  9. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/104/5/1209/4564387
  10. https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelpellmanrowland/2017/06/26/cheese-addiction/#703f0b203583 
  11. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/329892140_A1_and_A2_Bovine_Milk_the_Risk_of_Beta-casomorphin-7_and_Its_Possible_Effects_on_Human_Health_II_Possible_Effects_of_Beta-casomorphin-7_on_Human_Health
  12. https://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0101-20612016000200179&lng=en&nrm=iso 
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3969108/
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4586534/
  15. https://indianpediatrics.net/nov2018/nov-979-987.htm
  16. https://www.pcrm.org/good-nutrition/nutrition-information/health concerns-aboutdairy#:~:text=Milk%20and%20other%20dairy%20products,%2C%20ovarian%2C%20and%20prostate%20cancers
  17.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12936953/
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4212225/
  19. https://sci-hub.tw/10.1001/archpediatrics.2012.5
  20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3882853/
  21. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jdr/2015/206959/


About the Author

Ria Jain is a Nutritionist with a Master’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She works as a Research Associate at Thrive Functional Nutrition Consulting. She firmly believes that a healthy outside starts from a healthy inside. She is constantly researching the subject and keeps the rest of us at Thrive updated with her latest findings in the field. Her articles on Thrive’s blog are an expression of her research findings.

The Reality of Health Related Productivity Loss

The Reality of Health Related Productivity Loss

With the lockdowns, most Indian employees have had the longest working hours compared to their global peers.  Current estimates show that Indian employees are now averaging nearly 60-72 hour work weeks while working from home. In addition, dealing with the stresses and pressures of their job has had enormous negative impacts upon their health.

Even pre-covid-19, the WHO reported a tenfold increase in the incidence of diabetes, from 1.2% of Indians in 1971 to 12.1% in 2000. A 2018 Optum Health Risk Assessment survey with 800,000 respondents from over 70 Indian employers found that over half of professionals suffer from high stress.

Pre-covid forecasts had estimated that the GDP Burden of Chronic diseases in India would $ 4.28 Trillion by 2030. In addition $153 Billion Per Year were the total annual costs arising from absenteeism due to chronic health conditions. These numbers have only changed for the worse in today’s scenario. 

The WEF/Harvard study mentions that 42% of Indian business leaders have serious concerns about the impact of chronic illnesses on revenue, profitability and productivity. 

The lack of employees’ physical activity (62%) and stress (55%) are the top lifestyle risk factors identified by employers in India, according to the India Health and Wellbeing Study by Willis Towers Watson. The other top concerns were obesity (43%), followed by poor financial wellbeing (27%) and tobacco use(25%).

To add to this, now there is a perennial scare of ‘death by a virus’. What data has shown us is that lifestyle diseases, specifically diabetes,  heart disease, hypertension are major risk factors for developing severe symptoms of COVID-19 and for increased mortality.

Even before this scare, lifestyle disease had become the world’s biggest killers, leading to 71 percent of all deaths in 2018. Sixty-three percent of all deaths in India are attributed to lifestyle diseases, with 23 percent at risk of premature deaths.

Our country is estimated to have over 8 crore hypertension patients, and around 7.29 crore diabetes cases among adults.

We now know that people who have underlying medical conditions including heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, cancer, and hypertension face higher odds of getting really sick or dying because they make our immune systems grow weaker, which makes it more challenging to fight off infectious diseases.

The risk for positive COVID-19 diagnosis is higher in people with weak immune defenses. Adding to the burden can be emotional stress, lack of sleep and physical exhaustion, which can further make one prone to diseases by weakening immunity.

For a typical senior corporate employee there always are never ending deadlines with a mounting pressure to increase productivity along with the high stress of adapting to a remote working environment leads him/her to make some really detrimental choices which includes consuming multiple cups of tea and coffee, eating poor quality food and smoking just to get through the day. Does this sound familiar?

Since work is so arduous, you often feel like you’ve earned the right to indulge, because sometimes dinner is the only good part of your day, you might ‘treat’ yourself to unhealthy stuff. Which will eventually lead to elevated blood cholesterol, high homocysteine, fatty liver, high blood pressure, and this in turn reduces your work related productivity even further. 

Chronic diseases often advance silently and without warning plus most people are unaware of their poor state of health because they make up for lack of energy, fatigue etc with stimulants such as tea/ coffee and cigarettes.

The reality of health-related productivity loss cannot be dismissed. What are your hidden chronic health problems costing you and your organization?

Reach out to us to find out how you and ThriveFNC can partner towards creating a healthier, vibrant, energetic (minus stimulants) working day!

Who knows how profitable that might turn out to be for you?

About the Author

Functional Nutritionist and Founder, ThriveFNC
Mugdha has a Master’s degree in Nutrition and has spent close to two decades in the arena of health and wellness. She discovered Functional Medicine when her own health took a nosedive. Using modern principles of functional medicine along with ancient wisdom about food and basing it on a sound foundation of spirituality she recovered from a multitude of chronic illnesses- not only did she lose 37 kgs, but she also reversed an autoimmune thyroid dysfunction (Hashimotos), diabetes and depression. She founded Thrive in 2017 to help others heal from chronic illnesses with her simple systems and methods. She has successfully healed over 200 unique cases so far. She now has a vision of healing 1 Million people through ThriveFNC.

Vegetable Oils- To eat or not?

Vegetable Oils- To eat or not?

Vegetable oils are purified oils made by highly intensive mechanical and chemical processes to extract oil from seeds and vegetable hulls. The extracted oil is then further put through different refining techniques. The final product is usually a bland oil with mild flavour supposedly free from impurities (as a result of the refining techniques) but also devoid of any useful nutrients.

In addition, high-temperature processing used in the refining process of vegetable oils may cause the weak carbon bonds of unsaturated fatty acids to break apart, thereby creating free radicals (1). Free radicals are highly reactive substances which lead to oxidative stress in the body and create additional health problems. 

Moreover, antioxidants (the good stuff that’s there in the original fatty food), such as fat soluble vitamin E, are also neutralized or destroyed by high temperatures and pressures. Harmful substances like Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) and Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA), both suspected of causing cancer and brain damage, are often added to these oils to replace vitamin E and other natural preservatives which are destroyed by heat (1).

The point being, cooking oils are devoid of any nutrients because of all the techniques involved in its processing. 

Most of us know that internal inflammation leads to a host of health problems. The top three chronic diseases with high fatality ratios (cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes) share inflammation as a common link.

Numerous studies have proven that high levels of inflammation increase your chances of suffering from chronic disease. 

What triggers inflammation?

We’ll talk about this in a later article but apart from toxins and pathogens, the food you eat can directly trigger inflammation in your body. And just how inflammatory are oils? Well, let’s find out. 

Research has proven that refined oils, primarily vegetable oils (Canola oil, Groundnut, Soybean, Safflower, Olive, Coconut, Rapeseed, Cottonseed, Palm, Corn oil) give rise to what are known as proinflammatory factors once consumed (2). As the name suggested, proinflammatory are the ones capable of producing inflammation. Also, fatty meals can stimulate the production of a specific toxin in your gut, namely, Lipopolysaccharide (LPS). LPS, too, is most likely to cause inflammatory changes (3).

There is also a direct link between dietary oil and fat intake and insulin resistance- excess dietary fat can lead to insulin resistance which is the root cause of diabetes. 

How does this happen? 

While our cells use glucose as its primary source of fuel for energy production, we also have small quantities of fat stored in our cells. This fat is called intramyocellular fat. The quantity of intramyocellular fat within your cells determines if your cells will open up to insulin or not. Too much fat in the cell, and insulin ( along with glucose) is not invited in-which leads to excess blood sugar in your bloodstream which gets diagnosed as diabetes. 

If you have elevated blood sugar levels for too long, it can kill beta cells. These are cells in your Pancreas which produce Insulin, the only hormone that lowers sugar from your blood and keeps you away from falling prey to Diabetes.

In addition, beta cells are highly susceptible to dietary fat. Known as lipotoxicity, the accumulation of excess fat in your beta cells leads to severe beta cell death. As a result of this massive cell die off, insulin production falls to below normal physiological levels. This state is called type 1 diabetes (4).

Saturated fat can activate immune cells to produce an inflammatory protein, called interleukin-1beta. Interleukin-1beta then acts on tissues and organs such as the liver and muscle to turn off their response to insulin, making them insulin resistant. As a result, activation of this pathway by fatty acid can lead to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes symptoms (5).

In short, your dependence on oils and fats for cooking can lead to diabetes and a host of other health problems. 

There is also the problem of toxins in oils. Numerous studies have confirmed Aflatoxin contamination in edible vegetable oils. This family of toxins (they are poisonous carcinogens and mutagens) produced by different fungi are known to contaminate a wide array of agricultural commodities including raw oil seeds, nuts or fruits, from which vegetable oils are extracted.

Such contamination may occur during pre and post-harvest stages especially due to poor storage conditions, high humidity and temperatures. These factors are known to favor the growth of these toxins, making them efficient enough to be transferred to the final edible products (6).

Moreover, a group of additives which go by the name- Phthalates have been added to cold pressed vegetable oils. This group of additives are known as potential ‘endocrine disruptors’ which can cause adverse effects on your reproductive system (7).

Our recommendation? Stay off oils in any form if you are prone to insulin resistance and diabetes. You can include natural sources of fat in your diet such as avocados, walnuts, flaxseeds (if you are plant based) and farm raised/ pasture grown animal products (but only if you know for sure that you have no insulin resistance)

Reach out to ThriveFNC to learn more about insulin resistance. Click below for a FREE consultation.

References-

  1. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Sundeep_Mishra2/publication/267710940_Cooking_oils_for_heart_health/links/5b228b0c0f7e9b0e37429a68/Cooking-oils-for-heart-health.pdf
  2.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2868080/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4424767/ – 
  4. https://www.masteringdiabetes.org/how-fat-kills-beta-cells/ 
  5. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110411121539.htm
  6. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0956713519300659 
  7. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11356-019-07162-y

About the Author

Ria Jain is a Nutritionist with a Master’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She works as a Research Associate at Thrive Functional Nutrition Consulting. She firmly believes that a healthy outside starts from a healthy inside. She is constantly researching the subject and keeps the rest of us at Thrive updated with her latest findings in the field. Her articles on Thrive’s blog are an expression of her research findings.

The underrated nutrient- Selenium

The underrated nutrient- Selenium

With its name derived from the Greek word “Selene,” selenium has caught attention as a micronutrient since 1817. Selenium (Se) is an essential trace mineral which is of fundamental importance to human health. Trace minerals are those which are required by your body in tiny amounts. 

Both organic and inorganic forms of selenium can be absorbed by your small intestine and in turn can be widely distributed in various body tissues and render important biological functions.

Hundreds of health benefits have been linked to it, ranging from its splendid antioxidant capacity to diligently working as a catalyst for production of the active Thyroid hormone (T3) and the list goes on and on. 

A wealth of research has put a light on its magnificent role in improving immunity, bad, fertility enhancement, efficient Thyroid gland working and reducing the risk of heart problems.

Apart from the ones mentioned above, Selenium has also established its utmost importance in keeping away metabolic problems. These are disorders that disrupt the normal metabolism, i.e., the process of converting food into energy. Problems of high cholesterol and constantly high blood sugar levels were improved following supplementation with Selenium, a study reveals.

In certain inborn errors, for instance, Phenylketonuria (PKU) in which there is faulty metabolism of an amino acid named- Phenylalanine and manifestation of mental problems, improved patient conditions were observed with Selenium supplementation. 

Symptoms of Se deficiency manifest as recurrent infections due to weakened immune system, hair loss, brain fog, fatigue as well as fertility issues in men and women. 

Se intake is extremely variable across the world due to a number of factors, including the Se content of the soil in which crops and fodder are grown, soil pH and organic-matter content, and the presence of ions that can bind with Se, making it unavailable.

Recommended dose of selenium varies in different countries in consideration of differences in geographical as well as in living styles of particular populations. This fact enables the effects of both Se deficiency and excess to be observed in the natural world.The effects of Se excess are probably less well known. Apart from some occasional cases of overdose where people have ingested wrongly formulated supplements. You can find Selenium from Brazil nuts, an excellent dietary source and also from organic animal liver and meat.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has made a recommendation on the dose of selenium for adults to be 30 to 40 μg/day and stated that daily intake up to 400 μg selenium shall be considered safe.

Reach out to ThriveFNC to know more about your health concerns. We are also available for a FREE consultation. Click below!

References:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673600024909

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/omcl/2017/7478523/

https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/21/5/609

About the Author

Ria Jain is a Nutritionist with a Master’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She works as a Research Associate at Thrive Functional Nutrition Consulting. She firmly believes that a healthy outside starts from a healthy inside. She is constantly researching the subject and keeps the rest of us at Thrive updated with her latest findings in the field. Her articles on Thrive’s blog are an expression of her research findings.

Know this Amino acid- Homocysteine

Know this Amino acid- Homocysteine

Hcy, short for- Homocysteine (hoe-moe-sist-een) is an non-essential toxic amino acid derived as a by-product of protein metabolism in the process of conversion of Methionine to Cysteine. 

Methionine is an essential amino acid, meaning it cannot be produced by the body, hence should be provided through dietary sources. On the other hand, Cysteine is a non-essential amino acid which can be made in the body using Methionine. 

Methionine ————-> Homocysteine ————–> Cysteine

This is done by a process called Methylation and is highly dependent on vitamin derived cofactors, vitamin B12, Folic acid and vitamin B6. If this process is dysfunctional it causes a build-up of homocysteine in the bloodstream. 

The level of homocysteine in the plasma is increasingly being recognised as a risk factor for disease and seen as a predictor of potential health problems.

Your homocysteine levels (or H Score) are more important than cholesterol, your blood pressure and even your weight as a measure of your health. In recent years high homocysteine has proven to be a reliable indicator of risk for heart attacks, strokes, memory decline and Alzheimer’s.

Your homocysteine level or H score is well worth knowing – it’s more important than your cholesterol level.

For example, a massive US survey of 136,905 patients hospitalized for a heart attack found that 75 per cent had perfectly normal cholesterol levels and almost half had optimal cholesterol levels! Elevated homocysteine levels affect the interior lining of blood vessels in the body, increasing the risk of atherosclerosis or narrowing of blood vessels and can also increase formation of clots. This can result in early heart attack and stroke.

 Why is Methylation important?

The methylation cycle helps us to operate both physically and mentally, so it may not be surprising that many different functions in the body use this process. 

Some functions include nervous, cardiovascular and immune system activity, as well as energy production, heavy-metal detoxification and hormone balance. Another important bodily function that methylation is connected to is DNA (1).

Methylation is a process that is essential for our DNA to work properly, and it may be the link between our environment, nutrition and disease.

Methylation and homocysteine though get caught in a vicious cycle.

Excess homocysteine build-up will result in a dysfunctional methylation cycle and if your methylation process is dysfunctional due to deficiencies of B-12, B-6 and Folate it will result in a buildup of homocysteine leading to condition called hyperhomocysteinemia.

About Hyperhomocysteinemia 

Hyperhomocysteinemia is a state in which excess homocysteine is present in the body i.e above normal levels. As stated earlier, as per our optimal health guidelines, your H- Score should ideally be below 6.

Causes-

The most common cause of hyperhomocysteinemia is an enzyme defect associated with homocysteine metabolism. Dysfunction of enzymes and cofactors associated with the process of Homocysteine conversion can possibly be causative factors.

Genetic errors in enzymes or absence of these enzymes are directly linked to the higher level of homocysteine. A deficiency in CBS i.e.,Cystathionine beta synthase is the most common reason for an increase in homocysteine because CBS converts homocysteine to cysteine (3).

Some other factors include:

-Diets deficient in nutrients which help in lowering homocysteine levels like- Folic acid, Vitamin B6 and B12, Zinc and TMG (trimethylglycine)

-Excessive Methionine (Protein) intake

-Certain diseases- Chronic renal failure as a result of which there is reduced elimination and Hypothyroidism in which antithyroid drugs can possibly cause the increased amounts. Also malignant tumors can cause Folate deficiency and altered Homocysteine conversion (3)

-Side effects of some drugs such as proton pump inhibitors, cholestyramine, metformin, methotrexate, nicotinic acid (niacin), fibric acid derivatives, and oral contraceptive pills (3)

 -Poor lifestyle – especially smoking and high coffee and alcohol intake

-In youth, elevated levels of homocysteine may arise due to sickle cell disease or nutritional factors. Studies have shown that consumption of meat and dairy based products can also bring about an increase in circulating levels of Homocysteine (4).

Such high levels of circulating Hcy pose a threat for underlying diseased conditions across different age groups, right from little children (high homocysteine levels have been associated with autism like symptoms) to the elderly. 

In pediatric populations, Hcy levels are important not only for cardiovascular disease, obesity, and renal disease, but the most interesting evidence concerns study of elevated levels of Hcy in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (5).

 In another study, Homocystinuria was observed in newborns. Homocystinuria is a disorder of methionine metabolism, leading to an abnormal accumulation of homocysteine in blood and urine which is normally not detected in appreciable quantities in blood and urine (6). These high levels show probable vitamin b12 deficiency, MTHFR deficiency (6). The enzyme MTHFR is necessary for conversion of Homocysteine to Methionine and high circulating Homocysteine levels were observed because of apparent Folic Acid deficiency. Folic acid is needed for the functioning of MTHFR enzyme. The detection of these deficiencies early in life can help in timely course of action for treatment.

Studies of children and adolescents indicate elevated homocysteine levels are linked with elevated blood pressure levels and increased weight (7). 

Moreover, high levels of Homocysteine have the ability to damage blood vessels (3) and it is because of this reason that it is considered as a potent risk factor for the development of Cardiovascular diseases.

Some studies have found Hyperhomocysteinemia to be the underlying cause behind age related macular degeneration (AMD) as a result of increased inflammation. AMD causes loss in the centre of the field of vision, thus leading to blurred vision (3). Hearing loss is another disease provoked by high blood homocysteine level and is thought to be due to direct damage to neurons (3).

In pregnancy, Hcy levels were investigated in relation to the increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes such as baby born smaller in size than usual, high BP during pregnancy, recurrent abortions, low birth weight, or growth restriction within the uterus (5)

Further, research also revealed a relation between Ovarian cancer and high homocysteine levels due (8). Also, in a study conducted with postmenopausal women, hyperhomocysteinemia happened to cause colorectal cancer (3).

It is documented that Homocysteine affects bone mineral density.This could result in bones becoming less rigid, increasing the chances of fracture (9). High levels of Homocysteine are known to disrupt insulin signaling, thus, causing insulin resistance (4). Research has also shown hyperhomocysteinemia to cause Alzheimer’s disease due to its ability to worsen Beta-amyloid plaque formation, which are known to lead to the onset of the disease (10).

Finally, a focus on the principal pathologies of the elderly (cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disease, osteoporosis and physical function) are also presented due to high homocysteine levels. Elevations in blood homocysteine levels have shown to be associated with common problems seen with aging, such as cognitive impairment, dementia, depression, osteoporotic fractures, and functional decline (11).

It is said that Hcy is one of the best predictors of overall health and even the risk of death.

So you see, it’s important to keep your homocysteine levels below 6, tribe. It is an important marker of internal health and the earlier you identify the build-up, the better it is for you.

The good news is that homocysteine levels can be tested and high homocysteine levels can be normalised through ThriveFNC’s approach (because we get to the root cause of your high levels). 

Get your homocysteine levels checked at the earliest and reach out to us at ThriveFNC to learn how to bring them down to normal levels. 

References:

  1. Methylation-https://www.bioceuticals.com.au/mobile/article/all/all-about-methylation-and-what-you-can-do-to-keep-yours-healthy
  2. https://www.foodforthebrain.org/alzheimers-prevention/methylation-and-homocysteine.aspx
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29552692
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5741875/ 
  5. https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/21/4/1421/htm
  6. https://academic.oup.com/clinchem/article/50/10/1769/5640076
  7. https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/133/8/2643/4687989
  8. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0959804997001214
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23449525/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16189268/
  11. https://academic.oup.com/biomedgerontology/article/60/9/1190/560525
  12. https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/133/8/2643/4687989
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5741875/
  14. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=167&ContentID=homocysteine

About the Author

Ria Jain is a Nutritionist with a Master’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She works as a Research Associate at Thrive Functional Nutrition Consulting. She firmly believes that a healthy outside starts from a healthy inside. She is constantly researching the subject and keeps the rest of us at Thrive updated with her latest findings in the field. Her articles on Thrive’s blog are an expression of her research findings.

The Stress Response

The Stress Response

What is Stress?

You might have heard a myriad of definitions/meanings of the word ‘Stress’. But what are we actually talking about when we discuss stress?

Normally, many of us use the word stress to direct the negative experiences of life that make us feel overwhelmed. Merely thinking about it gives us a false impression of its true nature.

However, stress is actually our body’s reaction to the changing and demanding environment around us. It is more about our capacity to deal with change than it is about feeling good or bad. Change is the only constant, they say. Changes happen all the time and stress is in large part what we feel when we are reacting to it. Thus, we can define it by saying that it is a series of emotional, physical and cognitive responses to a change. 

Stress Overload-

The most threatening thing about stress is it can easily creep up on you and you get used to it. Before you even start noticing, it starts affecting you. It starts to feel familiar, normal and eventually takes a heavy toll on your body in the form of what is called ‘Stress Overload’. Hence, it is very necessary to be conscious about the typical warning signs and symptoms of stress overload-

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Memory problems
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Poor judgment
  • Seeing only the negative
  • Anxious or racing thoughts
  • Constant worrying

Emotional symptoms:

  • Depression or general unhappiness
  • Anxiety and agitation
  • Moodiness, irritability, or anger
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Loneliness and isolation
  • Other mental or emotional health problems

Physical symptoms:

  • Aches and pains
  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Nausea, dizziness
  • Chest pain, rapid heart rate
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Frequent colds or flu

Behavioural symptoms:

  • Eating more or less
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities
  • Using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax
  • Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting)

What are the causes of Stress? Answer- ‘The Stressors’

The situations and pressures that can cause stress are known as Stressors. Scientists at the Centre for Studies on Human Stress (CSHS) classify stress into the following 4 categories-

Physiological (or physical) stressors

These are stressors that put strain on our body (i.e.: very cold/hot temperatures, injury, deficiencies, toxins, pathogens, dysfunctional organs or pain).

Psychological Stressors

These are events, situations, individuals, comments, or anything we interpret as negative or threatening (i.e. : inability to accept uncertainty, rigid thinking and lack of flexibility, negative self-talk, all-or-nothing attitude).

Absolute Stressors

These are stressors that everyone exposed to them would interpret as being stressful. These are objective stressors that are universal (i.e.: earthquakes, a tsunami).

Relative Stressors

These are stressors that only some exposed to them would interpret as being stressful. These are subjective stressors that cause different reactions in different people (i.e.: time pressure at work, traffic, paying taxes, writing an exam).

Briefly said, a stressor is anything that causes the release of stress hormones. 

We’ve seen this stress in every case we’ve worked with- a constant, underlying primordial fear based response to the environment around us. 

How does it impact your health though?

Stress is a complex phenomenon and each individual has his/her own level of stress tolerance.

Exposure to stressors results in a series of coordinated responses often referred to as ‘stress responses’ which are composed of series of reactions in the body including alterations in behaviour, autonomic function, secretion of multiple hormones and various physiological changes in the body. (See images)

*Amygdala- It is the integrative center for emotions, emotional behavior, and motivation inside the brain.

*Hypothalamus- It is a small region at the base of the brain that is responsible for releasing hormones, regulating body temperature, maintaining daily physiological cycles, controlling appetite, managing sexual behavior and regulating emotional responses.

*Adrenal gland- Adrenal glands are composed of two parts(the cortex and the medulla) each responsible for producing different hormones that help regulate metabolism, immune system, blood pressure, response to stress and other essential functions. 

*CRH-Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) is a peptide hormone involved in the stress response. Its main function is the stimulation of the pituitary synthesis of ACTH, as part of the HPA Axis. 

*ACTH- Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) is made in the pituitary gland and  is needed for adrenal glands to work properly and help the body react to stress. ACTH stimulates the release of another hormone called cortisol from the adrenal gland.

*Adrenaline- Released by the adrenal glands in response to stress,  it works by increasing the heart rate, increasing blood pressure, expanding the air passages of the lungs, enlarging the pupil in the eye, redistributing blood to the muscles and altering the body’s metabolism, so as to maximise blood glucose levels.

 *HPA axis- It is short for hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. The HPA axis is a term used to represent the interaction between the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal glands It is the body’s second component of the stress response system.

Effects of long-term stress

The body’s stress-response system is usually self-limiting. Once a perceived threat has passed, hormone levels return to normal. As adrenaline and cortisol levels drop, your heart rate and blood pressure return to baseline levels, and other systems perform their regular activities.

However, long-term or chronic stress is challenging. Under constant stress, the body does not receive a clear signal to go back to its normal functioning.

Over time, continued strain on your body from stress may contribute to serious health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other illnesses, including mental disorders such as depression or anxiety.

How to cope up with this stress?

Stress is a fact of life, wherever you are and whatever you are doing. You cannot avoid stress, but you can learn to manage it so it doesn’t manage you. 

When you change your mind about stress, you can change your body’s response to stress. Rethink your stress response to stress as something helpful. 

A study revealed that stress makes you social. The hormone Oxytocin is released that fine tunes your brain’s social instincts. Oxytocin is a natural anti-inflammatory and helps in healing your heart from the stress induced damage. 

Moreover, our body has a built-in stress resilience mechanism known as Human Connection. When you reach out to others under stress, you release more oxytocin and your response to stress becomes healthier and you recover faster from it.

At Thrive’s here’s what we do to help people perceive  and respond to stress better

  1. Fixing your deficiencies of nutrients essential for your adrenal glands to function well.

During a stressful event, your adrenals are overworked and are constantly pushed to release Adrenaline and cortisol along with other hormones.

Some specific nutrients like complex carbohydrates, proteins (tryptophan, phenylalanine and tyrosine, theanine) Vitamin C, Vitamin B, Magnesium, and Selenium play a very important role in reducing the levels of cortisol and adrenaline in the body and also the stress chemicals that activate fight and flight response(6). 

These nutrients play a very specific and important role in stress management. Hence, fixing the deficiencies of these nutrients is an essential step towards ensuring an optimal adrenal health.

  1. Bringing down both pathogen and toxin load from your body

Toxins and photogenic load as physiological stressors in the body can cause hormonal imbalances,  improper functioning of your enzymes, displacement of structural minerals, and can damage your organs(7). It is very important to look for these toxins and pathogens and flush them out of your body.

  1. Incorporating adrenal healing protocol

Chronic stress and adrenal dysfunction floods our body with excess adrenaline, which eventually begins to impact other organ systems. Our adrenal healing protocol is designed to give your body the right mix of glucose and mineral salts your adrenals need for optimum function. 

  1. Correcting organ dysfunctions

Stress brings about physiological changes almost throughout the body. All your organs strive to cope up with the stress. Overtime, stress can cause some organs to not function properly. Hence, it becomes necessary to make sure that your organs are working to their fullest capacity.

  1. Meditation

Meditation helps you to calm down and focus your attention. It produces a deep state of relaxation and helps you to eliminate negative and jumbled thoughts, causing enhanced well-being. It primes you perceive and respond to stress better. 

  1. Learning to breathe

Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. This is because when you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. It is impossible to be stressed and anxious while you are breathing deeply. 

  1. Finding your tribe

We as humans were meant to exist in a tribe, to work together towards the greater good of the tribe out of feelings of mutual love, trust and connectedness. In return, as a whole, the tribe always had your back. It’s the loss of this collective that makes everyone stay on their guard. 

The best way to resolve your stress though is by finding the root causes for the same which is  something we are exceptionally good at. If you’ve been struggling with stressful episodes, and would like to learn more about how we can help you.

Call us on +91 77966 92504 to learn more or click below for a free consultation

References:

  1. https://www.gulfbend.org/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=1229
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5579396/
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/stress-hormonehttps://www.hormone.org/your-health-and-hormones/stress-and-your-health
  4. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/understanding-the-stress-response
  5. https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/stress-body
  6. https://www.longdom.org/open-access/nutrient-and-stress-management-2155-9600-1000528.pdf
  7. https://naturemed.org/how-toxins-cause-disease/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3079864/
  9. https://www.uakron.edu/armyrotc/MS1/14.pdf
  10. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-symptoms-signs-and-causes.htm
  11. https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/uz2255

About the Author

Ria Jain is a Nutritionist with a Master’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She works as a Research Associate at Thrive Functional Nutrition Consulting. She firmly believes that a healthy outside starts from a healthy inside. She is constantly researching the subject and keeps the rest of us at Thrive updated with her latest findings in the field. Her articles on Thrive’s blog are an expression of her research findings.