By Malia Thompson, CCH, CN
and will be published in the October edition of Natural Awakenings magazine
There has been a lot of information coming out in the last few years about the connection between our gut and our nervous system. The implications and details are compelling and complicated, but addressing the symptoms associated with imbalances doesn’t have to be.
The path to declining mental health can begin with inflammation in the nervous system, which can be caused by a number of factors including microbial imbalances and food intolerances. Inflammation is the immune system’s response to antigens (toxins) from bacteria, viruses – or foods. If a person can’t digest certain proteins such as gluten (in grains) or casein (in dairy products), these toxins will trigger the immune response. Even the tiniest amount of a food antigen can provoke a systemic response – think about the massive way the immune system responds to tiny viruses and bacteria! With foods one eats on a regular basis, this response can run haywire and cause chronic inflammation throughout the body. If the inflammation goes unchecked it can lead to widespread tissue damage, including in the brain.
You may have heard of Leaky Gut Syndrome – where excess permeability in the intestines allows unwanted proteins into the bloodstream and causes chronic inflammation. This also affects the nervous system, leading to neuro-inflammation. “Leaky Brain Syndrome” means the Blood-Brain Barrier (that nice protective covering around the brain) is compromised due to ongoing inflammation.
One result of food intolerances causing “Leaky Brain” is disruption in our neurotransmitters. You know, the motivated happy ones like dopamine and serotonin, and the calming focused ones like GABA and acetylcholine. Continued exposure to food antigens can eventually cause an autoimmune response, where our immune system actually starts attacking our own tissues. This is when the mood disorders and even neurodegenerative diseases take root.
Working with a nutritionist, herbalist or other trained practitioner can help you identify your food intolerances and give you support and guidance to eliminate the food that’s bumming you out, as well as heal your leaky gut and get your brain working on the sunny side again.
Why Isn’t My Brain Working?, Datis Kharrazian, DHSc, DC, MS, 2013, Elephant Press LC
Presented by Malia Thompson, Clinical Herbalist, Nutritionist
Whether you are choosing to quit drinking alcohol or it is being forced upon you, the withdrawal effects can be felt by everyone from social drinkers to alcoholics. The symptoms vary in severity and duration depending on the individual and what supportive measures are taken during the transition process.
This workshop will cover the anatomy of withdrawal, herbal and nutritional support for the physical and neurological effects of withdrawal including insomnia, cravings and anxiety, as well as Vitalist practices to incorporate self-care to ease the transition. This information is beneficial for individuals quitting alcohol, and for friends, family members, counselors and healthcare providers wishing to support those who are.
Saturday, April 30, 6-9 pm
Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism
2900 Valmont Road, Boulder, South side/lower level
Suggested donation: $10-20 sliding scale
The Importance of Cellular Hydration workshop
Presented by Malia Thompson
Tuesday, February 9, 6-8 pm
Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism
2900 Valmont Road, south side/lower level
What do heartburn, depression, aching joints, migraines, acne, high blood pressure and cellulite have in common? These are the some of the ways your body may be telling you that you are dehydrated.
Even if you think you are drinking plenty of water, you may be deprived of necessary hydration. Over time, cell membranes and connective tissues degrade, leading to a wide variety of ailments. From cellular energy to youthful skin, healthy cells and supple connective tissues are key to utilizing more of your water intake.
Where does the water go? Your body holds water in three major places – inside cells, blood, and intercellular fluid. Excess retained water accounts for puffiness and bloating. Other signs of dehydration include, fatigue, dizziness, irritability, headaches and urinating out all of your water intake.
When we are born, we are made up of over 75% water, but our water level goes down considerably as we age. What causes this loss of water? Free radicals that are made internally from normal metabolic processes as well as external sources can lead to a build-up of oxidative stress in our bodies, which can damage lipids and proteins, changing their structures and functions. The primary external sources of free radicals include poor quality water, environmental toxins like smoking, air pollution, pesticides and plastics, as well as stress. These are things that are hard to avoid in our society, but there are ways to slow down the impact of free radicals and oxidative stress on our bodies.
Here are some tips for how to drink you water to increase absorption:
A diet rich in colorful vegetables will provide your body with necessary antioxidant phytochemicals to combat free radicals. You’ve heard the saying, “Eat the rainbow.” Choose organic veggies in a wide range of bright colors to get the Vitamin C, carotenoids, and flavonoids that are great antioxidants.
Include good sources of grass-fed, organic protein in your diet to supply your body with other cellular and connective tissue building blocks such as B vitamins, essential fatty acids (EFA), sulfur (for detoxification), and amino acids. Lipids and lecithin are important building blocks for cellular structure. Good sources of lipids are fruit oils, fish oils, grass fed/organic meats, chia seed, flaxseed, and other vegetarian EFA sources. Lecithin is found in egg yolks, dairy, seafood, legumes, and to a lesser degree, in Brussels sprouts, broccoli and leafy greens.
On the herbal front, Aloe vera, Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and zinc help reduce inflammation from poor liver detoxification. Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica), Cayenne (Capsicum annuum) and Ginger (Zingiber officinale) increase circulation and vascular health. Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) and Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) root are demulcent and have a moistening effect on the body. And Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) supports the production of collagen for healthy joints and connective tissues.
• Your Body’s Many Cries for Water – You’re not Sick, You’re Thirsty. Don’t Treat Thirst with Medication, F. Batmanghelidj, MD, 2008
• Hydration & Electrolytes – It Takes More Than Just Water for Proper Hydration.
Chris Meletis, ND
• Cellular Hydration, Gordy Jordahl, Water Physiologist
• The Cellulite Solution, Howard Murad, MD, 2005
• Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health, V. Lobo, A Patil, A. Phatak, and N. Chandra, • • National Center for Biotechnology Information, 2010
• The Water In You, The USGS Water Science School, 2015
• Zinc is an Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Agent: Its Role in Human Health, Ananda S. Prasad, National Center for Biotechnology Information, 2014
• Staying Healthy with Nutrition, Elson M. Haas, MD, 2006
• The Neural Regulation of Thirst, Susan Perry, Society for Neuroscience, 2008
• Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, Andrew Chevallier, 2000
The FDA has sent warning letters to Young Living and doTerra Essential Oils. This may be a good thing. Read on...
Most of what we do as clinical herbalists is help people undo the damage done by Western medicine and pharmaceuticals. This articles was published on PubMed and worth the read.
Simply because it works better: exploring motives for the use of medical herbalism in contemporary U.K. health care.
Ryan Drum @ CSCH tomorrow! There are a few spots left! Call to reserve your spot or risk everything and pay at the door. 720-406-8609.
For the love of boobies, and your health, please watch the very informative video. It's about more than you think... The Secret Life of Breasts
Our school, Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism, is having a Holiday Faire and Open House, Saturday and Sunday, December, 5-6, 12-4 pm. I will be there selling some of my herbal creations. Come out and sip some hot cider or paleo hot chocolate while you explore.
Jovial and Guido are taking a hit for team herbalism.
I will be presenting to the CU Nutritional Club this evening. The topic is "Forgotten Foods - herbs and spices". I have about 40 minutes to speak, but I could talk on this subject for hours!!
There are 10 times more cells from microorganisms like bacteria and fungi in and on our bodies than there are human cells. This gives us a clue as to how important these microorganisms are to our health, from head to toe.
Nearly EVERYONE has signs of magnesium deficiency but we don’t realize it…
Here is a short, fun, educational, animation about the use of medicine plants through the ages.
THIS blog AND MY FACEBOOK PAGE ARE FORUMS FOR MY CREATIVE EXPLORATIONS AND THE FRUITS OF MY STUDIES AND EXPERIENCES WITH PEOPLE, HERBS, NUTRITION, NATURE, LIFE AND LOVE. THESE ARE MY CREATIONS, PHOTOGRAPHS, THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS. I HOPE YOU ENJOY.
Malia Thompson lives just East of Boulder, Colorado with a spectacular view of the Front Range.