In this final part of my notes from The UltraMind Solution I go through how the mental and physical health are connected, stress & relaxation as well what supplements Mark Hyman recommends.
Here is part 6 in case you did not read it.
Disclaimer: I am in no way trying to give the impression that I came up with this information and research by myself, all rights are reserved by Dr. Mark Hyman. Chunks of the text may also be directly quoted from the book without me knowing it.
Keep in mind that thoughts are things. Your thoughts will affect your body, which is why you should try to maintain a state of mind as positive as possible.
Mental health is highly correlated with physical health.
Being depressed literally destroys your body slowly on the cell-level.
Ultimately, our perceptions mediate or influence our biology in a direct and measurable way. The science of “PNEI”, or psycho-neuro-endocrine-immune system, has mapped out these connections clearly and powerfully.
All our self-talk and perceptions – good or bad –work through a coordinated network or system. This system is called the HPATGG axis (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-thyroid-gonadal-gut-axis or network).
A big mouthful, yes, but it is simply the system that governs the bidirectional connection between your thoughts and feelings, your hormones, your immune system, and your gut (which contains all three – hormones, immune system, and nervous system)
Everything talks to everything all at the same time
– Dr. Mark Hyman
The hypothalamus controls the stress or relaxation-response (it’s either or). When you get stressed the hypothalamus sends signals through the sympathetic nervous system, which works on autopilot. The adrenal glands then release cortisol and adrenaline as well as noradrenaline. This puts our body in an energized state – ready to face a dangerous situation.
The problem is that today very few situations are dangerous or serious enough for it to be considered efficient and healthy for you and your body to become stressed.
Excess stress in everyday life leads to overactivation of the sympathetic nervous system (too much cortisol and adrenaline), which burns us out.
Humans (like animals) were not meant to be stressed all the time, only when faced with a potentially harmful situation. Prolonged lengths of high levels of cortisol (as you get when you are chronically stressed for example) damages the hippocampus, as was discovered by Robert Sapolsky, author of the famous book “Why Zebras don’t get Ulcers”.
What an Overactive Stress Response Does to You
– Increases inflammation and inflammatory cytokines, which have all been linked to depression etc..
– Reduces the natural relaxation and anti-inflammatory calming, memory-enhancing neurotransmitter acetylcholine
– Increases anxiety and depression
– Damages the hippocampus, leading to memory loss and mood disorders
– Increases “excitotoxity” and activation of the NMDA receptors leading to cell death
– Reduces serotonin levels
– Reduced BDNF (required for the formation of new cells and repairing your brain)
– Lowers growth hormone
– Reduces slow wave sleep
– Reduces social interactions and sexual receptivity
– Increases abdominal fat and insulin resistance
– Interferes with thyroid function
– Activates pathways (BAX and p53) that lead to death of mitochondria and loss of energy production
– Increases the release of fats into the bloodstream
– Raises triglycerides, lowers HDL (good cholesterol) and raises LDL (bad cholesterol)
– Increases stickiness of blood and platelet aggregation, leading to clots à heart attack & stroke
– Causes loss of muscle
-Dr. Mark Hyman
Quite a list, try not to stress from now on, OK?
Controlling when to Relax
It is hard to control your stress response actively (it takes time, practice, correct diet and a proper lifestyle – think of a monk for example) as it part of your sympathetic nervous system, however you can control when to relax and elicit a relaxation response.
The relaxation response has several positive effects:
- Control of blood pressure and electrolyte balance.
- Control of energy metabolism and metabolic rate.
- Regulation of body temperature.
- Control of reproduction and sleep cycle.
- Regulation of the stress response (and the relaxation response) via autonomic activity coordination.
When you relax (meditation etc), you activate the vagus nerve, which flows from your brain through your neck and into your diaphragm. Whenever your vagus nerve is stimulated you activate the parasympathetic nervous system and lower cortisol levels which heals your brain.
The vagus nerve uses the calming and memory-improving neurotransmitter acetylcholine to make you relax and regulate your immune system.
By relaxing and activating your vagus nerve you can reverse or stop all the harmful effects of stress.
The stress response in our body created by “foreign” molecules in food is called xenohormesis.
Food affected by genetic modification, toxins, petrochemicals, antibiotics, livestock injected by hormones or fed unhealthy food (corn mixed with sawdust instead of grass for example) send the wrong kind of information to our bodies, making us unhealthy. (Can anyone say McDonalds?)
In a study from the American Journal of Clinician Nutrition it was found that genes related to stress, insulin resistance as well as inflammation were increasingly activated by people who ate high amounts of refined carbs.
“By the year 2025, it is estimated that major depression will be the second leading cause of medical disability in America.
-Dr. Mark Hyman
BOOKS TO LOOK UP:
Drug-induced Nutrient Depletion Handbook
Victor Frankel – Man’s Search for Meaning – (I read this one, it’s worth a read!)
Dr. Kenneth Pelletier – Sound mind, sound body
– Specifically for the stomach: Zinc, magnesium, vitamin A, D , fiber (to make you less hungry even though you eat less calories)
– Generally: Good multivitamin, b3,b6,b12 (folate),
– For thyroid hormone: Selenium, zinc, fish oil, iodine and tyrosine.
– Detoxification Lever + glutathione: Milk thistle 140mg twice daily, NAC (N-acetylcysteine) 500mg twice daily
– Detoxification + immune system: 1-2mg of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) once or twice a day
– Probiotics: Saccharomyces boulardii 150-250mg 1-2 times a day on empty stomach
– Anti-inflammatory herbs: turmermic (cucumin), ginger and rosemary
– Anti-inflammatory gut helpers: Glutamine 2500mg twice a day. Quercitin 500mg twice a day with food and other bioflavonoids. (recommended, potent at restoring balance in the gut)
For mitochondria & boosting metabolism: Eating herbs such as turmeric, ginger and garlic as well as snacking on fruits and berries for antioxidants (rainbow diet) and drinking green tea.
Non-essential supplements, but helpful under conditions of stress:
– Acetyl-L-carnitine 500mg twice daily
– ALA 100mg twice daily
– Coenzyme Q10 100mg daily
– D-ribose 5gm a day in powder
– NADH 10mg daily, taken as a tablet under the tongue
Amino Acids, Neurotransmitters:
You will notice the effects within days and should keep the therapy up for around 6 months, then you may no longer need it.
– Serotonin: 5-HTP mg twice daily once in the afternoon and once before going to sleep. Ad 50mg for each occasion every 3 days until you take 150mg at the afternoon and 150mg before bed. OR you take tryptophan 500mg once in the afternoon and once before bed on empty stomach. (do not take both)
– GABA: Take 500mg of GABA during the afternoon and 500mg before bed. Take theanine 200mg once in the morning and another dose of 200mg at night. (theanine is in green tea) These two complement each other.
– Dopamine: Take L-tyrosine 500mg before breakfast, 500mg before lunch and 500mg again mid-afternoon. After 3 days increase to 1000mg dosage. After one week add I-phenylalanine 500mg for every time you take the L-tyrosine. Increase to 1000mg after 3 days. Take these on empty stomach
– Acetylcholine: Amino acids, vitamin D, magnesium, zinc, selenium, folate, B12, B6.
Miscellaneous tips from the guide:
- Choose Organic and Hormone- and Antibiotic-Free Food
- Buy antibiotic- and hormone-free animal products, including dairy products, poultry, and red meat,
- whenever possible. Avoid eating types of fish that contain high levels of mercury, such as swordfish, tilefish,
- shark, king mackerel, and fresh tuna (canned tuna, especially chunk light, is lower in mercury). I recommend
- that you eat fish with the least mercury, including blue crab (mid-Atlantic), flounder, sole, wild salmon, sardines,
- herring, anchovies, and shrimp. Check periodic updates on seafood safety at www.ewg.org and www.oceansalive.com.
Preparation Week (1 week before 6 weeks of ultramind)
I recommend eliminating items from your diet in a systematic way. This may keep you from potential withdrawal symptoms, make you feel better, and jump-start the process to a better brain.
Remember, over the course of the preparation week, you will eliminate these items from your diet:
✣✣ Processed and refined carbohydrates and sugar
✣✣High-fructose corn syrup
✣✣Hydrogenated (trans) fats
✣✣ Processed, packaged, junk, and fast foods
Often when we stop eating foods we are allergic to, the reactions can intensify for one to three days. This is common, short-lived, and followed by a greatly renewed sense of well-being.
And that’s the end of my notes of UltraMind Solution. I hope you learned and APPLIED something from reading it!