Autumn Frandsen N.D.
Almost daily a patient rattles off a list of complaints with anxiety being included 90 percent of the time. Often, it is dismissed by the patient and his or her former doctors as a personality trait, a problem that has been with the patient for so long they have adopted it as part of who they are. For some, anxiety is a new phenomenon that hits them suddenly like a Mack truck.
What Contributes to Anxiety
When I question the patient about when it began there is almost always a trigger, however insidious it may be. Some may have experienced it for the first time when a challenging milestone is reached, such as entering high school or college. For some it crept up on them after moving into a new home or the birth of their children. Although all of these have different precipitating factors, they may not be handled drastically differently. For the women who slowly started to feel worse after the birth of a child they may notice that can no longer find time to exercise, or they are not eating as well as they used to. With the stress of pregnancy and birthing a woman’s body, i.e. the adrenals, may not be able to cope with the consumption of allergenic foods like they once did. Whatever the exact cause one thing is certain, exercise and an anti-inflammatory/elimination diet will undoubtedly help.
Food, Inflammation and Stress
When a person is inflamed, their muscles become tight, causing them to hold onto toxins and producing physical pain. The pain alone is enough to make someone anxious. That aside, the body is less capable of detoxifying and the recirculation of these toxins causes inflammation in numerous sites, stressing the body. When the body is stressed, it is in a sympathetic state which means that all parasympathetic functions are downregulated, such as digestion. When foods are not digested properly they can escape through the lining of the gut and cause a heightened allergic response, i.e. more stress on the body. Reducing the reaction-causing foods one eats will reduce the stress on the body, thereby reducing anxiety. Exercise can be just as important (and cost effective) in treating anxiety as it promotes bowel movements and detoxification, increases the parasympathetic (relax) response post workout and causes fat cells to release and anxiety causing toxins they may be holding onto.
So when you are feeling stressed or anxious, a cheap and easy cure may just be to slow down, assess your diet, and take a lovely walk around the block.
Dr. Autumn Frandsen N.D. is a Naturopathic Physician at National Integrated Health Associates, NIHA, serving Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia. As a naturopath, her philosophy is to use the least invasive and effective method to bring balance back to the body and restore health, while educating the patient on how to maintain it. Her areas of focus include Allergies and Chemical Sensitivities, Anti-Aging, Dermatology, Heavy Metal Detoxification, Hepatic Dysfunction, Immune Dysfunction, Insomnia.