Anxiety is a huge problem for millions of sufferers around the world. Rather than using strong prescription anxiety medication to treat your anxiety disorder, finding natural remedies and natural ways to relieve your anxiety can be a gentler and safer approach in the long run. Prescription medications often have strong, uncomfortable and undesirable side effects and a long list of long term problems. Natural remedies can have little to no side effects.
There are easy, natural changes you can make in your life that will help with controlling anxiety. In this video, Dr Hagmeyer explains the 5 steps you can take to overcome your anxiety and get to the root cause. Feeling good again is within reach.
Anxiety and Panic attacks video- 5 causes behind your anxiety and panic disorder
Hi Folks! Dr Hagmeyer here, and I have received many emails asking If I would do a video about Panic and anxiety disorders and some of the most common metabolic causes behind them. Because this is such a common problem experienced by so many people, I also want share some of the missing links in the treatment for people with anxiety disorders and panic disorders. The information I’m going to share with you in this video has helped thousands of patients over the years and it will help you understand how a holistic approach can give you light at the end of the tunnel.
So, if you have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or panic disorder, I want you to realize that while at times you may think you are only person suffering, what you should realize is that it is the most common type of psychological disorders that people suffer from.
Imagine The Entire City of Chicago Suffering with Anxiety- You Are Not Alone!
Anxiety disorders are so common that they affect about 6 million American adults. Just to put that into perspective, the city of Chicago has a population of about 2.5 million people) so if you can imagine city 3x the size of Chicago, or a city almost the size of NYC. Just for a moment imagine that every single person in that entire city suffers with panic and anxiety disorders just like you. Clearly your not alone! These numbers are staggering… and it only points out that we have a huge problem on our hands that is not being fixed with anti anxiety pills.
It’s Time to Get off the Medical Merry Go Round….
Now… whether you’re a man or a woman, anxiety and Panic disorders can be quite scary. In every effort of trying to get to the root cause of what’s causing your anxiety, you may have been bounced from one doctor to the next, hoping that the next doctor or the (new doctor) will do something different, but… every “new” doctor either only increases, adds more medication or changes the kind of medication your on.
While the prescription pad may help alleviate some of the symptoms, in a very short period of time the receptors in the brain habituate (or get use to the medication) and now your back to feeling lousy again. It becomes a medication merry go round.
Let’s get into some of common Metabolic Causes of Anxiety, Depression and Panic Disorder that I regularly see in my practice and the things that you can do that will help eliminate or correct your anxiety disorder naturally.
#1 Anxiety-Depression-Panic Disorders and Sex Hormones
The first area if you are experiencing anxiety, depression, panic disorders you want to consider is Sex Hormones- your sex hormones estrogen, progesterone, testosterone have influence brain and nerve function
Women are twice as likely to suffer from panic disorder than men, and so if your a woman and you experience symptoms like an Alternating menstrual cycle lengths… meaning that your cycle is shorter than 24 or longer than 32, you have pain, cramping, heavy bleeding, acne, facial hair, hair loss, hot flashes and mood swings, you don’t have a period you have PCOS, endometriosis, fibroids,- these are all at the very root a hormonal imbalance and if you have these… and you have anxiety then there is a hormonal component to your anxiety that needs to further investigation.
Due to this link between estrogen and serotonin, women are especially susceptible to mood disorders when they experience a sudden drop in estrogen levels (such as during pre menstruation) Some woman notice increased anxiety during during perimenopause and menopuase.
If you look at this diagram, you can see that between the ages of 35 and 50- a woman can have as much as a 75% reduction in progesterone levels. This is important because this imbalance can affect the brain in a number of ways.
It can affect the number of serotonin receptors in the brain- as you know serotonin is the neurotransmitter that helps us feel happy, feel good about ourselves, natures natural mood stabilizer and anti anxiety, it can affect the endorphins produced in the brain- these are opiate like chemicals also part of helping us feel good.
#2 Anxiety-Depression-Panic Disorders and Adrenal Stress
Not only do we see estrogen affecting serotonin and dopamine levels, we also know that when the body is under stress, the body responds by increasing cortisol output from the adrenal glands and this brings us to the connection anxiety and mood disorders has with adrenal glands.
Cortisol has what is called the diurnal rhythm. Like the one you see here in this graph. Cortisol should peak or be the highest in the morning hours and then steadily decline through the day with the lowest levels at night so you can fall asleep.
Neuro inflammation (brain inflammation) and oxidative stress leading to premature aging of the brain and aging brains are less effective at producing neurotransmitters.
During pregnancy, high levels of estrogen can improve mood; but right after the baby is born, estrogen levels drop off, reducing the amount of serotonin in the mother’s brain and Sometimes this is the catalyst for post-partum depression.
This Test is what we often see with People suffering with Anxiety and Insomnia
That’s not what we see with people suffering with anxiety. We see high levels or elevated levels throughout the day and especially at night if they suffer with insomnia.
If you look at this diagram, what I want you to notice, are all the things your adrenal glands play a role in.
At the very top (orange circle) you see that Cortisol levels influence Carbohydrate metabolism, If you look to the left (green circle), you will see that cortisol and DHEA also regulate inflammation. I’m sure you have heard of cortisone shots- cortisone is an anti-inflammatory. It brings down inflammation in the body. What happens if your body doesn’t make this hormone because your adrenals have been fried? as in the case of adrenal fatigue?
Without Healthy Adrenal Glands-Inflammation Can’t be kept in Check
How will inflammation be kept in check?… the answer is… it can’t.
Your brain, your blood vessels, Your heart, Your Thyroid, Your joints, Your muscles… All These are all very sensitive to Inflammation. Time Magazine featured an article on the front cover titled Inflammation the silent killer. The link between heart disease, alzheimers, diabetes and cancer.
Low Cortisol (like that seen in more extreme cases of adrenal fatigue) is also associated with low blood sugar-Any time we have too much or too little blood sugar this can have an impact on the way amino acids are transported into the brain having an impact on Neural health- memory learning mood, sleep, this is because cortisol impacts GABA levels, Serotonin levels and Dopamine Levels.
This is why it’s so important to get check the adrenal glands using salivary testing. A blood test while accurate, can still miss valuable information that can only be appreciated through Adrenal salivary testing.
#3 Anxiety-Depression-Panic Disorders and Thyroid disease
So we have covered how sex hormones, adrenal hormones can affect anxiety, let’s talk about the 3rd area that needs to be evaluated in connection to anxiety, and that’s our Thyroid. Every cell in your body has thyroid receptors and responds to thyroid hormones. Even your heart and your brain. This is why Thyroid symptoms can range from A to Z.
The problem with thyroid disease today is that it is one of the most commonly misdiagnosed hormone disorders in the world today. Largely because of the way most traditionally trained endocrinologists and General Practitioners test the thyroid and the lab ranges they have come to use and depend on. “Normal levels” don’t necessarily mean you have healthy thyroid levels. Learn more here
Now… If you suffer with Thyroid disease you probably know firsthand what happens when your thyroid is off- when the thyroid is off it affect your mood, focus, concentration, sleep, and without a doubt (in almost all the patients) i have ever worked with anxiety and depression — is a common denominator in all of them.
Whether you suffer with anxiety or depression is largely dependent on your T3 levels and T4 levels. (very important to have both T3 and T4 levels tested) but that’s a whole other video that I have done.
If you have an overactive thyroid because you are either over medicated or… because you have hyperthyroidism or undiagnosed autoimmune Hashimoto’s you will experience the
- Frequently warm
- Weight loss
- Hair Loss
- Inward trembling,
- Insomnia and the racing thoughts again… due to high levels of T3 and T4.
On the opposite end of the thyroid spectrum, is a condition where your thyroid is under active (this again could be autoimmune Hashimotos, or could be that your body cant convert t4 to T3 also known as Low T3 syndrome. If this is happening you may experience:
- Weight gain
- Brain fog
- Loss of focus and loss of concentration
- Bouts of Depression mixed with anxiety.
Here is where you will want to work with a Certified Functional Medicine doctor who will properly test your thyroid looking at a variety of thyroid markers and be able to get you back on track.
#4 Anxiety-Depression-Panic Disorders and Neurotransmitters
So we see that anxiety can be linked to thyroid problems, it can be linked to adrenal gland problems, and it can be linked to sex hormone imbalances. Another important area of consideration when you suffer with Anxiety and Panic Attacks is Neurotransmitters synthesis- and this is big part of our dietary consumption. digestion and absorption of proteins.
My opinion is that whenever a patient is experiencing anxiety, sleep disorders, depression, loss of focus, excitability, it is SO important to also look at an amino acid profile.
Amino acids come from the breakdown and metabolism of proteins. Amino acids are the building blocks that produce thyroid hormones, and our neurotransmitters like Serotonin, Dopamine, GABA, Melatonin, all the tissues in our body are made from proteins.
Amino Acids are the Back Bone of All Neurotransmitters
If you look at this illustration, the Neurotransmitters that you see on this diagram, are classified as excitatory or inhibitory. High levels of excitatory neurotransmitters NT like (Norepinephrine, Epinephrine, Glutamate and Dopamine) can cause you to feel jittery or panicky or have inward trembling.
The same can be said if you have and low levels of the calming or inhibitory neurotransmitters (serotonin or gamma-aminobutyric acid, also known as GABA) Low levels of GABA, can cause feelings of anxiety, in addition to restlessness and tension. This is why Doctors prescribe Xanax, Lunesta, Ambien.
On the flip side, If Dopamine, levels in your brain are too high, (again Dopamine is excitatory NT) you can also experience anxiety, fear, inner rage, and panic attacks. This might happen if your being overmedicated with medications that increase dopamine levels.
Now there are many things that influence the way these NT act on the body and it’s important that we realize thats its important for us to understand why we may have too much or too little of these NT.
Sometimes, we can’t make NT because of fluctuations in Blood sugar, Neuro-inflammation and Insulin surges. There is a huge connection between how these amino acids get transported into the brain and our bodies Insulin Response to sugar. Too much or too little sugar affects our brain from making NT. But it doesn’t stop there.
It’s not always a deficiency of a particular NT that’s causing the problem, In cases with anxiety I am often suspicious of a genetic defect of the GAD 65 enzyme. GAD 65 stands for (Glutamic Acid Decarboxylase). This enzymes job is to convert glutamate (excitatory) to GABA. Which is calming.
High Levels of Glutamate Can Cause Anxiety, Insomnia-
Some peoples Immune systems can attack this enzyme leading to low levels of GABA and high levels of glutamate. You don’t want high levels of glutamate.
Start reading your food labels and avoid those things with glutamate, glutamic acid and monosodium glutamate and some of the hidden names that food manufactures have disguised MSG.
Tryptophan and Tyrosine are amino acids that need to be transported across the blood brain barrier.
In the brain Tryptophan gets converted into serotonin and Tyrosine can get converted into dopamine. But sometimes these amino acids (Trytophan and Tyrosine) cant cross the blood brain barrier because of something called a (Large Neutral Amino Acid Transporter)or because of certain vitamin cofactors that we are missing in our diet.
Sometimes our bodies are not breaking down proteins into amino acids and this is why an amino acid profile I mentioned earlier can be so helpful, this is also why gut health is so important.
So the point I’m trying to make here is that’s its not only a NT deficiency you’re dealing with, it can also be the metabolism of proteins, digestion, autoimmunity, transport and blood sugar surges behind your anxiety, panic and depression.
This is where working with a Certified Functional medicine doctor will be able to help you! this is a very different approach than just whipping out the prescription pad and giving you an anti-anxiety medication.
With all of that being said, It is very important that if you are taking these medication, that you never quit taking them without the guidance of your prescribing doctor. Do not try to stop these on your own.
#5 Anxiety-Depression-Panic Disorders and Your GUT
The Next area that has just a massive impact on brain health is that of the GUT. Most people would not automatically think about their gut when they think about brain or psychiatric health…
Part of the problems lies in that when it comes to any health problem, we don’t look at the body as united system (we don’t look at it holistically) but rather separate compartmentalized systems. When treatments is rendered, it is rendered to the part of the body where the symptoms are- This is an outdated approach to maintaining, correcting and restoring health problems. Unfortunately, this is our allopathic, westernized philosophy on treating the body.
In my clinical experience, outside of the adrenal glands, blood sugar levels, Thyroid hormones and male and female hormones, the gut is also a major player for people suffering with anxiety, panic attacks or depression.
Many studies have linked depression to the kinds of gut bacteria, other studies have shown that the gut or inflammation in the gut causes brain deterioration, and other studies continue to show a connection between the microbial balance and anxiety.
Other studies these days show how food sensitivities like gluten, corn, dairy, oats, yeast can induce inflammation in the brain. Studies have shown that gluten can decrease blood perfusion to the brain. This means… less blood flow (oxygen) to the brain. Learn more about the 4 foods you should avoid if you suffer with anxiety, depression, insomnia and fatigue.
Just some quick final thoughts …
As a Summary, If you suffer with anxiety and depression, you owe it yourself to work with a Certified Functional Medicine Physician who understands all of these connections we have talked about today.
So there you have it- I know we covered a lot of information in today’s video, But more importantly I hope that it gives you a sense of hope ad encouragement. These are just some of the things that I look at when I work with patients who suffer with anxiety, panic attacks, depression or insomnia.
If you feel that you have been trapped and you are a prisoner in your body, I want you to realize that there is so much more you can do. Your health doesn’t start or end with a prescription pad. You need to make dietary changes, lifestyle changes and you need to take supplements that are tailored to your needs. Don’ take supplements to chase symptoms, Take supplements that will fill in the gaps of where your biochemistry is off.
Don’t spend the next 5 years getting sicker, and being put on more medications! If you are confused on where to start, I can help! click on the start here button where I have some important information to share with you. Lets get you on the right path- You deserve it.
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