Tag Archives: metabolism

Chronically Tired?

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Most of us have noticed at sometime or the other, that the feeling of tiredness and fatigue just refuses to go away, no matter what we do. We eat, we sleep, thinking it would go away, but it doesn’t. Reason to worry, isn’t it?

We visit the doctor and he prescribes some medication, but our body does not respond. Reason to worry some more! Now what do we do?

A common and often misunderstood cause of constant fatigue is a condition called adrenal fatigue. Since very few doctors recognize and treat adrenal fatigue, millions of people live with feeling chronically exhausted and confused about why that’s so. What makes this particularly disturbing is that once adrenal fatigue is diagnosed, it can be treated and resolved and people start to feel better in just a few months’ time.

Why am I sooo tired?

The adrenals (small walnut-sized glands that sit on top of the kidneys) produce numerous hormones — adrenaline and others — that impact bodily functions including blood pressure, heart rate, metabolism, liver function and immunity. They also produce two crucial stress hormones — DHEA and cortisol — whose job it is to balance the body’s response to stressful influences, including blood sugar fluctuations. Living with stress — whether mental, physical or emotional, for a protracted period result in a situation where the need for a constant supply of these two hormones outstrips the adrenals’ production capacity. This deficiency dulls cognitive function, energy levels and, of course, our ability to handle stress. It also slows the immune response and with it the ability to fight off infections and even possibly cancer. DHEA and cortisol interact in complex ways that affect many functions — deficiencies can contribute to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, weight gain, fatigue, allergies, infections, mood disorders and poor libido.

Am I suffering from Adrenal Fatigue?

Fatigue is just one adrenal fatigue symptom. If you are chronically tired and have any of the following, you may want to consider asking your doctor for a blood or saliva test to determine whether you have adrenal fatigue:

  • Morning fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Light-headedness after standing up
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Inability to focus
  • Memory problems
  • Body aches, including pain in the lower back
  • Craving for salt and/or sugar
  • Slower recovery from illness than is usual for you.

Since mainstream medical practitioners are slow or fail to recognize adrenal fatigue, it is suggested that those who think they may have it should seek out naturopathic physicians.

How to fix?

Sooo tired

Sooo tired

Once adrenal fatigue is diagnosed, treatment is multi-pronged, including a combination of nutrients and lifestyle changes:

  • Stress reduction. Not surprisingly, your first task is to review what’s causing all the stress in your life so that you can determine what changes need to be made to reduce it.
  • Get more sleep. You need plenty of high-quality, restorative sleep. For those who have trouble falling asleep or who find themselves waking up in the night, 0.5 mg to 3 mg of melatonin, the “sleep” hormone, or 100 mg of the amino acid 5-HTP an hour before bedtime, is prescribed to help the body prepare for sleep. Ask your doctor which you should take.
  • Adjust your diet. People with adrenal fatigue often have blood sugar swings and cravings for sweets, so it’s very important to have breakfast every day and to eat small, healthy snacks between meals. He advises eating plenty of whole-grain foods and protein, including almonds, walnuts and macadamia nuts, and avoiding processed foods and simple sugars, including refined grains, fruit juices and, of course, sugary sodas. Also stay away from caffeinated beverages and alcohol. And if you have low blood pressure, which often results from adrenal fatigue and further contributes to fatigue, do be sure you are getting enough salt, which helps maintain blood volume and proper circulation. However, don’t go overboard — 2,400 mg per day of sodium from all sources is usually about right.
  • Exercise — in moderation. While exercise helps regulate stress hormones, too much will exhaust adrenal fatigue patients further. Patients are advised to start by walking 15 minutes a day, adding time as symptoms improve until reaching 45 minutes per day, but again, keeping it to a moderately intense level. Reduce the amount of exercise if afterward you find yourself feeling more tired rather than less — the goal is to increase overall energy.

Supplements

To help speed recovery, the following nutritional supplements are advised:

  • Vitamin B5 — (pantothenic acid) is especially important for stress-hormone production… 500 mg of B5, three times a day is often prescribed. A good multivitamin (or B-complex) will supply enough of the other B vitamins needed.
  • Vitamin C — typically 1,000 mg to 2,000 mg twice daily is prescribed, but reduce this dose if loose stools develop.
  • Adrenal glandular extract (AGE) — made from cow, pig or sheep adrenals, AGE contains growth factors that promote cell healing and also has nutrients to support gland function and repair. Take one to two tablets daily without food, and reduce the dosage if you become jittery or have trouble sleeping.
  • Ashwagandha — this herb, popular in Ayurvedic medicine, helps normalize adrenal functioning. Very effective and my personal recommendation.

Hormone therapy consisting of DHEA, cortisol or other hormones and supplements, is used to treat severe adrenal fatigue, but such measures require the supervision of a physician who is well practiced in the therapy.

Effective adrenal fatigue treatment ends up being an intensive self-care regimen in which you ratchet back the unreasonable demands you’ve been making on your mind and body. Fortunately, given time to recover, the adrenals are able to regain their strength… and with it, your natural energy will return.

Vaishali Parekh

www.indian-cooking.info

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The Oval Wonder

To Eat or Not To Eat

To Eat or Not To Eat

Eggs are something which I just can’t resist. In fact, I freak out over those lovely white (sometimes brown) oval objects. I am sure that there are many like me.

But we are scared to consume them! Scared that we would certainly die if we don’t stop eating them.

There are so many scary stories about eggs which we know since the time we started knowing.

But hey, all you egg lovers, there is light at the end of the tunnel!

Read the following lines and get to know some startlingly fresh facts about eggs.

OLD EGG MYTHS

It was previously thought that eggs raised blood cholesterol levels — one of the main causes of heart disease. The yolk in a single large egg contains five grams of fat, so it was quite natural for the doctors to assume that eggs clogged up people’s arteries, especially since they also contain dietary cholesterol .

Another myth was that fat is cholesterol. That is simply not true. Cholesterol is a waxy substance that resembles fat, but has little to do with it. Today, scientists know that cholesterol content in food and the cholesterol in our blood aren’t as directly related as once thought. So to know more about egg, one must have a look at cholesterol.

CHOLESTEROL

One has to understand that cholesterol is not necessarily bad. Humans need it to maintain cell walls, insulate nerve fibers and produce vitamin D. There are two types of cholesterol, dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol.

Dietary cholesterol is found in certain foods, such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy products. The second type (blood cholesterol, also called serum cholesterol) is produced in the liver and floats around in our bloodstream. Blood cholesterol is divided into two sub-categories: High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL), and Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL). LDL cholesterol is considered bad because it sticks to artery walls.

What is bad, is the amount of LDL blood cholesterol in the body. Too much of it can cause heart problems, but scientists are now discovering that consuming food rich in dietary cholesterol does not necessarily increase blood cholesterol.

Evidence showing that eating a lot of dietary cholesterol doesn’t increase blood cholesterol was discovered during a statistical analysis conducted over 25 years ago by Dr. Wanda Howell and colleagues at the University of Arizona. The study revealed that people who consume two eggs each day with low-fat diets do not show signs of increased blood cholesterol levels.

So what does raise blood cholesterol? Saturated fat does. Of the three types of fat (saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated), saturated fat raises blood cholesterol and LDL levels. It so happens that eggs contain mostly polyunsaturated fat, which can actually lower blood cholesterol if one replaces food containing saturated fat with eggs.

Discarding Myths

Discarding Myths

DELICIOUS, NUTRITIOUS

Eggs are actually quite nutritious. They are not just fat (yolk) and protein (white). In fact, they contain a wide array of essential vitamins and minerals. Here is what’s in an egg…

Vitamins

A: good for the skin and growth.

D: strengthens bones by raising calcium absorption.

E: protects cells from oxidation.

B1: helps properly release energy from carbohydrates.

B2: helps release energy from protein and fat.

B6: promotes the metabolism of protein.

B12: an essential vitamin in the formation of nerve fibers and blood cells.

Minerals

Iron: essential in the creation of red blood cells.

Zinc: good for enzyme stability and essential in sexual maturation.

Calcium: most important mineral in the strengthening of bones and teeth.

Iodine: controls thyroid hormones.

Selenium: like vitamin E, it protects cells from oxidation.

BEST TYPE OF PROTEIN

If that wasn’t enough, egg whites contain the purest form of protein found in whole-foods. It is so high that nutritionists use them as the standard when comparing other whole-food proteins. Their “biological value” — a measurement used to determine how efficiently a protein is used for growth — is 93.7. Milk, fish, meat, and rice respectively have a biological value of 84.5, 76, 74.3, and 64.

The higher the value, the better the protein is absorbed. This is why many bodybuilders include eggs in their diet. When a person eats meat, for instance, all of the protein is not necessarily absorbed and used to rebuild tissue.

Protein is a complex substance, which is why bodybuilding protein supplement makers are constantly trying to refine the quality of their product and some protein shake brands boast that their protein is made from egg whites. Each large egg contains 6.3 grams of protein.

NUTRITIONAL VALUES OF EGGS

Chickens raised with lots of sunshine, fresh food, fresh air and room to move around produce eggs which are one of nature’s most nutritionally dense foods.

Grass-fed Eggs

Grass-fed Eggs

However, there are still some concerns with commercial egg production, due to scientifically formulated chicken feeds. Commercial production methods require hens to spend their entire life indoors, hopped up on antibiotics to prevent infections in crowded quarters. Chicken feed is altered to increase shelf life by removing spoilable nutrients from grains. Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) are also spoilable, so the linoleic and alpha-linoleic acids are replaced with a more stable and Non-Essential Oleic Acid. The result is an egg with the same amount of cholesterol, but less EFA’s to transport and metabolize it properly in the body. Plant sterols found in vegetables, which reduce the cholesterol content of eggs by up to 35 percent also are removed from the chickens’ diet. Commercial eggs therefore contain more cholesterol than home grown barnyard eggs or organic eggs.

Eggs contain all the essential amino acids in the exact proportions required by the body for optimum growth and maintenance of lean, metabolically active tissue.

HOW TO EAT EGGS

Experts advise that despite being low in saturated fat, one should not eat more than two eggs a day on a low-fat diet. Egg yolk is mainly fat, so even though it doesn’t raise blood cholesterol levels, it can cause other problems if abused.

Contaminated eggs kill up to 5000 individuals each year. One egg in 10,000 is contaminated with salmonella, so you should never eat undercooked eggs or swallow them raw.

It is advisable that grills should never be set higher than 250F. Anything above that will leave the interior raw while burning the outside. To get a proper hard boil, an egg should be boiled for at least ten minutes. If an egg has runny parts, it means it is not cooked properly.

So, now don’t be scared and let the oval wonder cast its spell upon you.

Vaishali Parekh

www.indian-cooking.info

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