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.

12 Secrets for personal growth during the lockdown- Tips from the Thrivetribe

12 Secrets for personal growth during the lockdown- Tips from the Thrivetribe

It’s been over a month since the lockdown was imposed and like it or not, it’s made us all relook at our lives and rethink on how we were getting through each day. BLD (Before Lock Down), most of us at some point have imagined a life where we-

< note to reader> before you read the next lines, play beautiful piano music in your mind, you may add a rainbow or two if you please

-where we..

Imagined getting up early in the morning, starting our day with some meditation and a workout of our choice, making an insanely healthy breakfast that pampered our taste buds and then having an really  great work day, coming home, relaxing a bit with loved ones, having a healthy dinner and then falling asleep into deep restorative sleep and then another day like this and another day like this.

Sounds exactly what you’ve wanted to do for a long time but couldn’t ever get around to doing it because life was too busy and you never had the time to plan a day like this?

<piano piece can stop now if you want>

Well, now we all have more time than ever- no commuting to office, no wasted time in traffic so we’ve really been presented with a great opportunity to create a lifestyle around self care practices. Yet, this seems to have become an even more distant reality for most people in today’s challenging times. Work life and personal life seems to have gotten blurred further and everyone seems more burdened with work than ever before.

So how does one grow? How does one change past patterns to create one ones?

We’ve been talking to members of the Thrive Tribe to figure out how most of them have been able to actually use this time to work on themselves and create growth.

And here are some of their winning hacks.

  1. Develop a routine

Being locked down where time seems infinitely fluid, it is very important that you set in a routine for yourself. Make sure you have a schedule even if it’s a flexible one: wake up, meditate, exercise, get dressed and work (from home). Take it one day at a time and stick to the routine, one day at a time is an easier way to build habits than thinking of 21 days, 1 month, 2 months or 6 months.

  1. Eat right

Your brain is your biggest asset in these times. Your ability to think critically, do research and reject fear based narratives comes from here. Do ensure you are not loading it up with toxins, inflammatory foods and stimulants.  Be aware of  what you are putting in your mouth because of the old saying that goes- You are what you eat, digest and absorb. Most Thrive tribe members look at food as information, and not as entertainment- by that virtue they have become really conscious of every bite they eat. As one of them says, “eating clean, unprocessed, whole, non-GMO food has really helped in keeping my energy levels stable throughout the day’.

  1. Water for life

For most of us, it’s peak summer as we are in quarantine and summertime calls for better hydration. Water is a cleanser, a supplier of life. Drinking water is like washing out your insides and improving the function of all your tissues. Optimal hydration is extremely important. It helps regulate body temperature,boosts skin health and beauty, flushes out body waste, improves digestion and prevents random snacking (some of those hunger pangs are actually thirst signals). One lady from the tribe is really creative with her water- from lemon to cucumber to mint to pomegranate water, she makes the act of drinking water a fine art. The color of your urine is a good indicator of your hydration levels, as also as it’s clear, light yellow you are doing good.

  1. Beauty sleep

Most people want a break, a change of mood after a full day of work and netflix/ amazon prime seems like a savior, but both are designed in such a way that it’s easy to binge watch and lose track of time. The flip side of this is that you might push away sleep to watch one more episode and one more and one more and end up sleeping really late. The thing is changes in the patterns of sleep cause tremendous changes in our health too. Lack of sleep will make you groggy, unfocused and irritable the next day. One of our tribe members went the Netflix way in the first week of the lock-down and soon realized how it was impacting his mood and energy- he says tongue-in-cheek, “I’ve now set an alarm clock to shut down my electronic devices at 9 pm.. That way I actually fall asleep at 10 pm and surprisingly I don’t need an alarm clock to wake me up. It’s the best use of my alarm clock.”

  1. Use the ‘HALT’ technique

This tip is from Thrive’s founder Mugdha- She says, every time you feel low on energy or your mood changes check if you are HALT- Hungry, Angry and Afraid, Lonely or Tired and take appropriate action for each of those. P.S. If you are hungry, make sure that you do not binge on junk food, that would eventually lead to even worse energy levels through the day. Stick to clean, unprocessed, whole food.

  1. Create a Gratitude Journal

As Cynthia Ozick has rightly said- “We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude”. Creating a gratitude journal would make it easier for you to focus your attention on all the positive things around you and stay grateful for everything in your life.

  1. Learn something new

The only good thing that’s come out of this lock-down is it has allowed a growing number of people to question the life we led BLD.  Use this time to learn skills that will be of value to self and others,  no matter what happens in the world. Growing your mind is the number one personal growth hack in our books. If you don’t have any subjects you feel motivated to learn about,  then dig deep into what’s going on our planet currently. Why is humanity under a collective pause mode. Who’s running the show? These are important questions to ask as well.

  1. Move

Not just experts but even our tribe members have now found that moving their bodies throughout the day as one of the best forms of physical activity without having to go to gyms. Most of them are incorporating functional fitness in their household chores (doing squats while mopping or balancing on one leg while doing the dishes/ cooking for example). For those of you sitting for long periods for work, make sure you do a couch stretch at least once every hour to keep those quads and glute muscles functional.

  1. Mind your media

We honestly think the media is the real virus. You don’t really need to know what the Nation wants to know. Mind what you are watching and avoid news that creates stress and panic within you. Mainstream media thrives on creating panic, confusion, anger and hatred. Do not handover your mind to them.  Look for alternative sources for information about the current scenario.

  1. Do the ‘My 5’ exercise

This is a personal growth hack that the founder of Lifeplugin Summit Gautam Khetrapal  taught us and we really love it. As soon as you wake up and go to the bathroom, look at yourself in the mirror and say this to yourself

Dear <your name>

In the last 24 hours,

I feel proud of for these 5 things

I forgive you for these 5 things

And I commit towards doing these 5 things in the next 24 hours.

Try it out.. It’s pretty magical

  1.  Breathe

Breathing is the first thing we do when we are born and the last thing we do before we die but how much importance do we give to breathing? We can stay alive for long periods without eating, drinking or sleeping, but if we can not breathe, we die within a few minutes. If our way of breathing is short and quick our minds will be nervous and agitated. If our breathing is irregular the mind. Knowing how to breathe also helps us to control our emotions (anger included) and fears and keep a clear and sharp mind. If our breathing is deep, slow and regular then our mind will reach a state of tranquility and calm. When we are upset or stressed our breathing becomes quick and shallow. Breathing deeply and slowly instantly calms us down mentally as well as physically. is anxious and disturbed.

At Thrive we use a specific breathing technique that we share with all our tribe members. Contact us on the number below and we’ll share this with you too for free.

  1. Address your fears

What this lock-down has done for most of us is that it has made us come face to face with our fear of our death. We are mortal beings. Most of us have gone through our lives trying not to acknowledge this or forget this important piece of existence. We’ve never sat and ruminated over the fragility of our human existence. Until now. And this scares most of us. The fear could be about your own death or the death of your loved ones. How to address this? For starters, you could read our earlier article about this. If you fear losing your job like one of our tribe members did- have an honest talk with your employers and ask them what are the chances of that really happening and what would it take to prevent it from happening. She did that, and it turned out that her fear was unwarranted. One thing that we’ve learned from coaching so many people, hiding from your fear makes it worse- looking at it in the face and acting on it is really what resolves it. Like Thrive’s Founder Mugdha says, 

True courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is the ability to look at fear in the face, see where it came from and work on the triggers one by one until there is no fear left.

It is what the Thrive Tribe has done to stay sane and grow during the lock-down. We’ve now opened membership to Tribe to anyone who feels they deserve to be part of this beautiful collective. Here’s the link to our Facebook group

If you need help with your eating habits or anything else we’ve spoken about, reach out to us and we’d be happy to talk to you.

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

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.