Effectivecare.info, website launch

The series on oxidative stress is available in the full length version now. I still plan to add the individual sections to the blog, as it has a search feature that the new website does not have.

The series on oxidative stress is skipping ahead of the main text of the new website. This is the page link which I’ve been posting the first couple sections of on this site, this site is also embedded in the new site, so it can be accessed there in case finding something is difficult one way, why not post it in afew formats?

Read more:

  1. G3. Relaxation & Stress, (G3)
  2. the series continues in G4. Autoimmune Disease & Vitamin D, (G4),
  3. G5. Pre-eclampsia & TRP Channels, (G5)
  4. and G7. Fear & our Inner Child. (G7)
  • Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes. 
  • The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has a service for locating a nutrition counselor near you at the website eatright.org: (eatright.org/find-an-expert).

Three: Negative stress can trigger the “fight-flight” response – Who’s at Risk?

Stressful times can make fear and anxiety more likely as our body’s instincts expect to either run from danger or to freeze in position, possibly in the hopes of not being noticed by a predator.

Who’s more at risk to experience negative stress?

Who is more at risk to experience a challenge with a negative fight, flight, or freeze stress response? (G.10)  Instead of having their body or mind perceive a stressor as a positive challenge and an exciting reason to get up each morning ready to say “Carpe diem”?   

Who is more at risk to experience stress as a negative stress response instead of seeing it as a positive challenge and reason to get up and get busy?

  • Answer: many groups are more at risk for having their bodies respond to an event with more of a negative stress response than the average person.     

People more vulnerable to the negative health effects of stress include:

  • older adults;
  • mothers and especially working mothers;
  • less educated individuals;
  • divorced or widowed individuals;
  • people with financial concerns or lack of health insurance;
  • isolated or lonely people;
  • people who are targets of racial or sexual discrimination;
  • people who live in cities,
  • and people with a history of childhood trauma can be more risk to feeling stress.
  • Summarized from “Stress“: (G.5), University of Maryland Medical Center.

Antioxidant foods can help protect against negative effects from stress.

Eating antioxidant rich foods can help protect the body from negative effects that can occur due the waste chemicals produced during normal metabolism and increased during situations that cause more oxidative stress from  either emotional or physical reasons. Angry and tense due to having to hold in your temper at work, or angry and tense because the traffic was so physically dangerous to navigate simply to get to work in the first place; – both can increase the amount of oxidative stress occurring throughout the body.

Social contact with caring people can also help the body physically detoxify negative chemicals produced during stress or produce less of them in the first place, that will be discussed more in the next post. (G.10)

The stress response produces chemicals which can cause other inflammatory reactions throughout the body. Having extra antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables and assuring adequate omega 3 fatty acids was shown to help reduce inflammation in autoimmune Celiac sprue. (G.6)

Dark chocolate has also been shown to be beneficial antioxidant source. Forty grams (1.3 ounces approximately) per day of chocolate was found beneficial with a college student population. (G.7) That is quite a bit of chocolate for someone with limited room for the empty calories from sugar. Sesame seeds would provide antioxidants with no added sugar.

Eating sesame seeds as part of the daily diet has been shown in sports research to help reduce oxidative stress. The trial subjects ate 2 tablespoons per day of the seeds. See: Effects of Sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) Supplementation on Creatine Kinase, Lactate Dehydrogenase, Oxidative Stress Markers, and Aerobic Capacity in Semi-Professional Soccer Players. (G.8)

Using tahini in the diet regularly would have similar health benefits. Raw oil or seed butter products may have the most antioxidant content. Look for the phrase “unroasted” on a seed or nut butter product or “cold pressed” on the label of an oil or coconut oil product. Tahini is a sesame paste similar to peanut butter except it has different flavor. The flavor is stronger and to my taste does not go well with sweet jams or jellies like peanut butter or sunflower seed butter. I have found daily use of tahini to be more beneficial to my health then sunflower butter as a substitute for peanut butter – which I have to avoid. I have many dietary restrictions because I feel better without the foods, due to intestinal sensitivities and the autoimmune inflammatory reactions that can occur when I have even very small amounts of some things.

My easy answer to fueling my body so I can get back to what I like doing – reading and writing – is simply tahini spread on rice cakes. I’m used to it now and eat it plain but when I first started eating it I would drizzle a small amount of blackstrap molasses on as a sweetener with a stronger flavor and a good supply of iron and trace nutrients. Or more often I would sprinkle ginger powder on for a zingy accent that provides pain killing anti-inflammatory chemicals. Later in this section on oxidative stress TRP channels will be discussed and their unfortunate sensitivity to many common foods – including ginger. Sadly for my diet and inflammatory condition, I no longer can use ginger due to the intestinal overactivity of TRP channels – presumably, more on that in a later section – it may take a while, note the abrupt change in the next footnote number, there is some stuff in between the beginning and the end of the list:

Chocolate and antioxidant foods and herbs found helpful for stress are discussed in more detail with references on a UCLA webpage providing information about integrating Eastern medical philosophies and treatments with Western medical methods. (G.112)

To provide sustenance for the journey and a way to add chocolate to your diet for anyone who can’t think of any, see my antioxidant rich recipe for chocolate chip cookies. See the third version on this page of recipes and information about gluten free food sensitivity and autoimmune sensitivity for an egg free, butter free, gluten free cookie recipe. It is still a treat with calories and fat, but with fewer ingredients that contain inflammatory chemicals and more ingredients that are very good sources of antioxidants or healthy types of fats: Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Regarding TRP channels – cinnamon is a spice that can activate a type of the membrane gates to allow nerve signals or other actions to occur. The spice has been to help reduce blood glucose levels for patients with diabetes. About one half teaspoon per day was found helpful. A half teaspoon of cinnamon powder is a large amount. Some people enjoy it stirred into a bowl of hot cereal in the morning. It could also be added in smaller amounts to a few cups of hot tea throughout the day, or an evening cup of hot cocoa. Cinnamon is a spice that I avoid due to migraines, it may be causative as a TRPA1 channel agonist. More is included in later sections on TRP channels and the foods that may cause problems for some people such as those with a tendency towards migraines or Irritable Bowel Syndrome or concerns with chronic itch or skin problems such as psoriasis or eczema.

The science regarding cinnamon and blood glucose is complex, some of these terms and chemicals will be discussed in more detail later, this is an introduction to the topic of oxidative stress and TRP channels:

“Cinnamaldehyde ((2E)-3-phenylprop-2-enal) is a TRPA1 agonist (Figure 1, EC50 = 100 μM). [13] The pungency of cinnamon, when it comes in contact with the tongue, is due to its ability to activate TRPA1 expressed at the nerve terminals. Further, the activation of TRPA1 can cause the release of vasoactive peptides, such as calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) and substance P (SP) from the nerve terminals. It is intriguing that fibers that carry pain sensation also innervate the blood vessels, although the blood vessels are considered to be insensate. [25]”

“It is likely that the vasoactive substances released from the nerve terminals have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular functions. Activation of these receptors in the nerve terminals innervating the GI tract sends signals to satiety centers and releases neuropeptides/neurotransmitters locally. It has been shown that cinnamon can decrease blood glucose
levels in type 2 diabetes. [26, 27] Diabetic animals treated with
cinnamon showed decrease in blood glucose levels, which could
be brought about by the release of incretins (glucose-dependent insulinotropic hormone (GIP) and GLP-1) and insulin release caused by activation of TRPA1 receptors. [19]” (page 1118, G.113)

See a healthcare provider for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

  • Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.
  • The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has a service for locating a nutrition counselor near you at the website eatright.org: (eatright.org/find-an-expert)

References:

Two: Thinking flexibly may help against the negative effects of stress.

Chronic stress can damage the health of brain cells. Routines may help save energy for the brain but may also make it more difficult to change habits once the routine has been established.

Neuroplasticity refers to the connections and pathways that form between brain cells. Long term habits develop as routine nerve pathways between brain cells where an initial action may stimulate the rest of the routine habit. Having routines embedded in our memories may help to save us time when we’re performing routine activities like household chores or driving home from work but it may interfere when trying to replace an old habit with a new habit. Routines may save energy for the mind to wander to other thoughts while the familiar chore is being performed.

The ability to form new pathways in the brain may also help to reduce the negative effects of stress. (G.1) Games that are designed to boost brain plasticity may simply be boosting our ability to take tests. More research is needed to better understand neuroplasticity and how we can change old habits by changing the old neural pathways. (G.2)

In the meantime learning new words has been found to stimulate reward pathways in the brain. And it was found that people with stronger connections between the two regions of the brain involved in the reward pathways were able to learn more words than people with weaker connections. (G.3)

Poetry may activate the brain similarly to music by helping increase brain connectivity in a way that is similar to what occurs when someone is listening to or composing music. (G.5)

Meditation & Mindfulness Training can help an overanxious brain.

Mindfulness Training can help increase awareness of the issues that may be exciting or infuriating, but at a wordless subconscious level so they may go unnoticed and lead to behaviors that don’t seem to have a obvious reason or cause: How Mindfulness Helped a Workplace Diversity Exercise: (12.22)

And other research suggests that meditation and having a sense of purpose in life may help reduce some of the negative effects of stress which include cellular changes associated with aging. (G.4)

Communication or Assertiveness Training may help reduce stress by improving effectiveness of conversation and by increasing the likelihood of having pleasant exchanges rather than difficult ones.

Communication difficulties can lead to direct stress effects on the body that occur during the conversation, lack of oxygen itself from tensely holding the breath, talking too fast or crying, might also add to negative effects of oxidative stress.  Stress might also occur over time from the resulting lack of progress on the topic that was being discussed with difficulty instead of with clear exchange of each persons priorities, concerns, and goals.

Issues from our childhood with communication problems we observed in our parent’s or other caregiver’s conversation may show up in our own behaviors. Role playing in a group may help reveal where other people’s typical responses are different than what you might have responded yourself. Role playing can help provide a safe place to practice new communication techniques with people who understand the technique and that it is practice. The strategy is used in Family Systems Therapy but power struggles can be part of many types of relationships not just within families.

Training materials about equality within a conversation or within a relationship were developed for helping victims of domestic violence and batterers learn how to recognize problem behaviors within their communication and actions. The handouts may be helpful for most age groups as emotional manipulation or abuse of power and control can occur in many types of relationships not just between couples. Discussing the difference between equal exchanges in a conversation and unequal ones in a calm neutral setting may be helpful to prevent a difficult exchange from ever happening in the first place.

  • Power and Control and Equality Wheels  The Power and Control Wheel (11.15) was developed by the Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs (DAIP). (11.16) Manipulative behaviors are grouped into eight categories in the model. An additional Equality Wheel (11.17) was developed to help guide batterers and victims of emotional or physical abuse towards healthier ways to interact. It is grouped into eight equivalent categories with examples of healthier ways to interact with each other. Problems frequently can involve communication issues by both people in a relationship.

Crisis Hotlines and Resources:

  • U.S. National Suicide Prevention Hotline: Call 1-800-273-8255, Available 24 hours everyday. (I.suicidepreventionlifeline.org)
  • National Helpline: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: “SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service), is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.”  (I.samhsa.org)
  • Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, RAINN Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE, (I.RAINN.org)
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 24/7 confidential support at 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224. (G.thehotline.org)
  • Child Welfare Information Gateway: a variety of toll-free hotline numbers for concerns involving the safety of children. (11.18)

See a healthcare provider for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

  • Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.
  • The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has a service for locating a nutrition counselor near you at the website eatright.org: (eatright.org/find-an-expert)

References:

  1. Don Joseph Goewey, Stress, the Brain and the Neuroscience of Successs, Huffingtonpost.com, Aug. 10, 2014, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/don-joseph-goewey-/stress-success_b_5652874.html (G.1)
  2. Gary Stix, Neuroplasticity: New Clues to Just How Much the Adult Brain Can Change. Scientificamerican.com, July 14, 2014,  http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/talking-back/2014/07/14/neuroplasticity-new-clues-to-just-how-much-the-adult-brain-can-change/ (G.2)
  3. P. Ripollés,  Marco-Pallarés, U. Hielscher, A. Mestres-Missé, C. Tempelmann, H. Heinze, A. Rodríguez-Fornellsi, T. Noesselt, The Role of Reward in Word Learning and Its Implications for Language Acquisition, Current Biology, Volume 24, Issue 21, p2606–2611, 3 November 2014 http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822(14)01207-X (G.3)
  4. James Hamblin, Health Tip: Find Purpose in Life, theatlantic.com, Nov. 3 2014,  http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/11/live-on-purpose/382252/ (G.4)
  5. Kimberly Burnham, Great Ways Poetry Lights Up the Brain. 5bestthings.com, May 10, 2016, http://5bestthings.com/great-ways-poetry-lights-up-the-brain/  (G.5)

Positive stress has a sense of purpose – “eustress.”

Positive stress or “Eustress” can be less of a negative for health and happiness and instead be the challenge that keeps someone going and gets them out of bed in the morning excited to greet each new day.

  • See the article What is Positive Stress? for more information and a link to a business related article with more information about making a business environment support an employee’s sense of purpose and ownership of their work. Having “autonomy” over some aspect of your job can help provide a sense of purpose and value even when the work is repetitious or boring. (12.21)

Self-reported mindfulness was found to be associated with more self-esteem and an orientation for autonomy – feeling the ability to be self-directed. The research authors suggest mindfulness can be innate but which is also a skill that can be developed over time and improved with practice. Having an autonomy orientation has also been associated with more prosocial behavior – helping others, volunteering or other positive activities – and more to the point for a guide about writing policy for guiding behavior – autonomy support was associated with lower volunteer turnover. (12.23)

A sense of autonomy refers to feeling that you are in control over your actions instead of having your every action be micromanaged with excessively controlling policies. For “Autonomy support,” try investing in the workers with training and career planning resources. Effective managers and leaders aren’t born, they are trained and mentored, and opportunities for resume building projects may have been handed to them through networking.

Whatever Happened to Assertiveness Training?” asks a psychiatrist in an article focused on the need for assertiveness training for physicians. (G.6David M. Allen shares his concern that the changes in the health insurance coverage and managed care industry have left physicians more stressed and rushed than is healthy for them or their patients – potentially.

The solution that has been offered is mindfulness training, to help cope with stress. He makes the point that it is not a solution that would help protect patients or the physician’s time and stress caused as a direct result of having ineffective conversations with managed care or insurance company representatives. Who in turn can be rude or abrupt, or just a human but one who is having to enforce annoying, unrealistic policies that may even be life threatening. And oh, yes, the physician might be pressed for time as well. Mr Allen recommends assertiveness training for the physicians to help them directly reduce stress by giving them better tools for managing the real underlying cause of some of the stress – having to perform a job that has unrealistic demands on their time, and their patience and professional need to prevent harm to their patients. (G.6)

While everyone needs a livable wage, younger workers today may value a sense of purpose and autonomy more than a pay raise or monetary bonus. They are more likely to switch jobs many times in comparison to workers of previous generations.

  • Read more: Forget work perks, millennial employees value engagement. (12.26)

Leaders and managers can be the role models for purposeful behavior and smooth the way for employees to seek out a purpose they find stimulating. Guiding the selection of projects and helping the team collaborate can also give younger workers a chance at leadership roles which can add experience to their work record and resume.

Recent research suggests workers are more engaged when their manager or business leadership shows a sense of purpose. The team of researchers suggest that organizations can promote purposeful and ethical leadership in their management staff with several key strategies: adopting relevant policies; providing leadership role-modeling; having a core vision for the business; providing training and development for staff; and providing an organizational culture.

  • See Why Leaders With A Moral Purpose Have More Engaged Workers: (11.70)

An organizational culture that would be more supportive of purposeful leadership would promote positive interpersonal relationships and support the staff who are demonstrating the values of the core vision of the business.     

A purposeful leader incorporates the values of a moral self, with vision and commitment to stakeholders according to a report by Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, CIPD, and a purposeful organisation would have the attributes of societal responsibility, values, and ethics. The full report is available for download: Purposeful leadership: What is it, what causes it, and does it matter?, CIPD.co.uk: (12.31)

Advocacy for causes that support society in general or at a local level or even for the employee who needs a new car to get to work are all serving a “moral purpose.” Advocacy can be very challenging and trying to help can sometimes end up being harmful instead. Guidance is available, a free ebook, “The Complete Guide to Advocacy,” might help make speaking up for the environment and for human rights less stressful and more likely to result in providing effective help: (12.32.thecampaignworkshop.com)

References:

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes. 

  • The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has a service for locating a nutrition counselor near you at the website eatright.org: (eatright.org/find-an-expert)