Dr. Laura on the Migraine-Constipation Link

Serotonin, constipation and migraine headaches may be linked.

What is going on?

It seems that there is a reduced output of serotonin. There are serotonin receptors in the gastrointestinal tract and the brain.

It appears to be due to a genetic change in serotonin production 5-HT2A – 1438 AA genotype (p=0.0005).

How will I know if this could be me?

Patient with this genetic susceptibility tend to have:

  • frequent bouts of constipation,
  • experience headaches only on one side of their head
  • suffer more frequently from extreme light sensitivity.

So what can be done ?

 Possible trials of supervised supplementation of serotonin botanical medicines or supplements that are safely prescribed may be helpful. Ask Dr. Laura M.Brown ND if this treatment is right for you.

 

Reference:

Uluduz D, Cakmak S, Ozge A, Ucbilek E, Sezgin O, Soylemez F, Temel G, Kanik A. A Link between Migraine, Tension Type Headache and Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Clinical and Genetic Indicators (P4.120). Neurology April 5, 2016 vol. 86 no. 16 Supplement P4.120

 

Dr. Phil Shares: Why The Tight Hamstrings, and What Can We Do About Them

 

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Why Do our Hamstring muscles tend to tighten up  And more importantly, exactly how do you plan to loosen them up?

Well, you may be able to sprint 100 meters in under 12 seconds, or stay on cadence in 22 Minute Hard Corps without missing a beat, but there’s one movement that will humble even the fittest of fanatics: bending at the waist and reaching for the ground.

You want your fingers to reach the floor, but frustratingly, they probably stop short around your ankles, your shins, or even your knees. One reason for this may be tight hamstrings.

First things first. “Hamstrings” refers to the three muscles on the back of your thigh: the semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and biceps femoris. Physiologically speaking, tight hamstrings refers to the anatomical shortening of the muscle belly — the center or “meat” of the muscle, explains physical therapist Rob Ziegelbaum, D.P.T., clinical director of Wall Street Physical Therapy in Manhattan.

Because the muscle belly has been shortened, there’s increased tension on the tendons, he says. This leads to less flexibility in your hamstrings, and less range of motion in the surrounding joints — the hip and the knee.

How Do Your Muscles and Tendons Shorten?

Think of them like rubber bands. Like rubber bands, tendons and muscles come with different levels of elasticity, and this is mainly thanks to genetics. “Some people are born with limited elasticity in their muscles and are, therefore, naturally less flexible,” says Ziegelbaum.

Women, incidentally, tend to be more flexible in general than men, and young children are more flexible than most adults, he says. But everyone can train to improve their flexibility as part of a well-balanced training regimen, according to the American College of Sports Medicine.

Genetically speaking, muscle length, tendon length, relative muscle and tendon length, tendon attachment points, and skeletal segment length all can play a role [in how flexible you are], says exercise physiologist Janet Hamilton, C.S.C.S., owner of Running Strong Professional Coaching in Atlanta.

All muscles and tendons have the potential to become more elastic and supple. The key to any stretching program is regularity. “For example, a gymnast who constantly does splits on a balance beam will adapt in such a way as to have relatively more flexibility than a long distance runner who works at a desk for a living,” says Hamilton.

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How Can Running Cause So Much Muscular Tension?

One of the most common culprits for tightening those hamstrings? Running. “I often see long-distance runners who gradually lose flexibility in hamstrings and calves,” says Hamilton.

Why is running so rough? Well, researchers aren’t actually entirely sure. Hamilton’s guess is that it stems from weak gluteal muscles, since the glutes and hamstrings work in synergy to propel you forward over the ground. “If one member of the team isn’t contributing as much as they should, then the other member of that team has to contribute more,” she adds. “This potentially leads to overuse and might be to blame for what we interpret as tightness.”

However, tight hamstrings and their attachments are not limited to runners. Pretty much every athlete (amateur or elite) that trains for athletic performance but doesn’t stretch thoroughly and effectively post-workout probably has tight hamstrings. “During and after a workout, our muscles tighten up in part to protect our joints and in part because of the depletion of water since dehydration tightens muscles,” Ziegelbaum says.

It’s not just the type of physical activity you do that determines how tight or loose your hamstrings will be; it’s also what you do throughout the day. “Tight hamstrings are a result of this adaptive shortening. If someone sits at a desk for prolonged periods, knees bent, hamstrings contracted, the muscle effectively changes to the required length, which is shorter than that of a person who is standing or stretching regularly,” Ziegelbaum explains.

Tight Hamstrings Often Lead to Lower Back Pain

Well, the obvious scaremongering answer is that it increases your risk of an incredibly painful partial or full tear of the hamstrings. But the bigger problem, Ziegelbaum says, isn’t actually in your hamstrings, but in those surrounding muscles.

Hamilton agrees. “Things in the human body are intricately related to one another. Movement at one segment often depends on something happening at another segment. If your hamstrings are tight, that’s going to affect the biomechanics of the two connecting joints, the knee and the hip (knee pain and tight hips). Tight hamstrings are often associated with a whole host of injuries, including various low back pain syndromes, knee injuries, and even plantar fasciitis,” Hamilton says.

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In fact, a study published in the journal Foot & Ankle Specialist, researchers found found that having tight hamstrings makes you nearly nine times as likely to suffer from plantar fasciitis. Yikes!

Plus, tight hammies can actually hurt your athletic performance. “Muscles that are ‘tight’ are often weak as well,” Hamilton says. “If a muscle is weak, you’ll have to recruit more motor units to accomplish a task, which may increase fatigue… and a fatigued muscle cannot produce force as well as one that is not,” she adds.

How to Tend to Your Tight Hamstrings

You can increase your flexibility by standing up and stretching more often. Even better, upgrade to a standing desk if possible — but make sure it’s set up ergonomically or you risk adding posture problems and neck pain to your ailments, Ziegelbaum warns.

Exploring more formal and lengthy mobility work like yoga or Pilates classes is always a good idea. At the very least, though, you need to be stretching pre- and post-workout, say these experts. A dynamic (moving) stretch routine before you start sweating can help maintain muscle elasticity during the workout, and a longer stretch afterward can help counteract the activity-induced tightening, Ziegelbaum explains.

“I often encourage my athletes to do a variety of drills in their warm ups, similar to what you might see the Olympic track and field athletes doing prior to competitions: skips, hops, high-knees — anything that mimics the motion you’re about to do — but at lower intensity,” Hamilton says.

The most effective stretches otherwise? Studies from the National Institutes of Health found that active stretches (long-held postures through full range of motion) can help increase hamstring length in just 6-8 weeks.

There are dozens of safe, do-anywhere hamstring stretches in many Beachbody programs. Try them after every workout or before bedtime. Try a few after your next big workout!

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health

Thanks For Sharing the article Beachbody.com

Dr. Phil Shares: How to Cope with Emotional Eating

 

How to Cope with Emotional Eating

How many times have you eaten not because you were physically hungry, but because you were stressed, tired, bored, anxious, angry, or (insert appropriate emotion here)?

Many of us have been taught that food can “soothe a mood,” that shoveling scoops of Ben & Jerry’s straight out of the pint can help dull the ache of a breakup. Comfort food — those warm, salty, melty bites of mac and cheese, for instance — preys upon our inability to say “no thanks” when we seek a reward or feel stressed.

When we use food to appease our moods, it sets us up for a vicious cycle of possible weight gain, followed by self-recrimination, followed by more emotional eating. But, I want to assure you that you can and you will stop this cycle if you learn a few simple tools.

Are You An Emotional Eater?

How do you know if you’re eating for emotional reasons? Try this self-test. For the following Answer each of the following five questions with a simple “yes” or “no.”

  • Do you eat between meals even when you’re not physically hungry?
  • If you eat between meals, are you eating on auto-pilot — i.e., mindlessly and without complete awareness and attention to what you’re actually doing?
  • When something upsetting happens, do you reach for the nearest bag of cookies to make yourself feel better?
  • Do you fantasize about foods that are your special “treats” such as chocolate cake or kettle chips?
  • When you eat these treats, do you hide out and eat them by yourself because you’re embarrassed to eat them in front of others?

If you answered “yes” to more than two of the above, you may be an emotional eater. When you want to eat when you’re not physically hungry, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

  • What am I feeling and why?
  • What do I really need besides food right now? (Hint: It’s often rest or a break from what you’re doing)

The healthy alternatives offered below may help you begin to escape the cycle.

Three of the Emotional States That Lead to Emotional Eating

Sadness, anxiety, and anger are the three emotional states I see most often among my patients that can lead to bouts of emotional eating. Some people eat to celebrate (hello, birthday cake), to quell boredom (think mindless snacking while watching TV), to reward themselves (“I just ran 7 miles, so I can eat a fully-loaded cheeseburger and fries”), but when it comes to patterns of emotional eating, I see them stem most from sadness, anxiety, or anger.

Sad Eating

Let’s face it: When heartbreak or loneliness hits, eating that tub of ice cream seems like a good idea. A bit of sweetness to drown out the sorrow… Before you know it, you’re caught in a self-perpetuating negative cycle that can be very difficult to escape. You eat because you’re sad, then you feel even more blue because you’ve eaten so much. This can lead to a “what-the-heck” attitude, increasing the likelihood of overeating when the next bout of the blues strikes.

Healthy alternatives to sad eating:

1. Express yourself: Your melancholy mood was probably caused by an upsetting incident. Get it off your chest by talking about it with someone you trust. If nobody is available to talk, try writing down your feelings.

2. Move: Battle the blues by moving your body and getting your heart pumping. Even doing 30 minutes of moderate exercise can boost the “feel-good” chemicals in your brain.

3. Give yourself permission to let it out: Light some candles, take a hot bath, listen to sad music, cry until you run out of tears. Allowing yourself to feel sad will help you process. Or, put on headphones, turn up the music, and dance, or punch pillows… pick a constructive way to emote that’s not eating.

Anxious/Stress Eating

Many of us eat to relieve our stress or anxiety. Research points out that emotional distress increases the intake of specific foods — in particular, those that are high in fat, sugar, or both. An excessive intake of these types of highly palatable foods shares similarities with the effects on brain and behavior that are seen with some drugs of abuse, according to research published in the journal Nutrition.

Healthy alternatives to anxiety/stress eating:

1. Stick to a regular, healthy sleep routine. If you’re not sleeping well because you’re stressed, the lack of sleep can result in poor food choices. Research shows that people who got insufficient sleep for several consecutive nights increased food intake to keep them going. When they returned to getting adequate rest, they stopped eating as much — particularly carbs and fats.

2. Do something relaxing and calming. We all have different ways of relaxing. The next time you feel stressed and anxious and instinctively turn to food, resist the urge to run to the cupboard or fridge, and instead practice a relaxing activity. Consider trying meditation, yoga, or even just pause for a moment to take some deep breaths.

Angry Eating

Unfortunately when we stuff our anger down with food this doesn’t get rid of our anger. It simply buries it. If we don’t deal with the emotion, it will keep popping up.

Healthy alternatives to angry eating

One way to get out of the angry eating trap is to delay eating — even 10 minutes will do — and to sit down, take a deep breath, and tune into what you’re really feeling. Ask yourself the following questions and patiently work your way through the answers.

  • What happened today that may have made me angry?
  • Why did that event stir up angry feelings?
  • What do I need to do in order to let go of this anger and feel peaceful?

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health

Thanks for sharing Beachbody.com