The Interaction of Dopamine levels and Proper Breathing – Breath Your Way to Good Health!

Sometimes there is an easy common sense way to explain what looks like a complex scientific process. For instance, I recently came across a research article explaining that in rat studies dopamine was synthesized better at a lower pH. In fact, the ideal pH was 6.1 (slightly acidic) and dopamine formation actually decreased in comparison by 25% when the pH was 7.4 (slightly alkaline). Dopamine is a chemical molecule used in the brain to signal and basically functions to activate a sense of arousal and motivation in our brains, dopamine is not only tied to our motivation and reward systems it also fires through and kick-starts the motor and autonomic systems. Whenever you hear activation of the brain you also have to understand that activation and motivation in the brain mean movement. To say that differently, we are activated and motivated to do something; that requires us to move and it makes perfect sense that if we are motivated to do something then we move. This is the hard wiring of the brain and you can’t separate thinking, emotion and movement, they are wired together. Think about it what happens to our muscles and breathing when we move or exercise? We start to produce CO2 in our muscles, we breathe deeper, the ratio of inhalation to exhalation changes and during this process our blood becomes more acidic due to the gaseous exchange of CO2 and oxygen, as well as the build-up of lactic acid in our muscles. This process has a huge effect on our health! So let’s looking at three common disorders where breathing and exercise can have a simple and profound impact.

Parkinson’s Disease

In Parkinson’s disease, the part of the brain that produces dopamine (the substantia nigra) has degenerated and there is a lack of dopamine produced. To make this worse breathing becomes difficult because the posturing of the person becomes worse as the disease develops, forcing the person to become hunched over causing rigidity in the spine and ribs. If you would like to experience what it’s like roll your shoulders in and slouch foreward, now try to take in a deep breath; compare that to standing up nice and tall with shoulders back while you take in a nice deep breath. Then imagine every breath you take throughout your day is a struggle like the first one. Good news is even with Parkinson’s Disease you can exercise your breathing, therefore change your body’s pH and hopefully improve the likelihood of producing dopamine more efficiently.

ADHD

Dopamine fires up to the brain’s frontal lobes (our thinking centers) and allows us to be focused and alert. Studies have shown that these regions are smaller in an ADHD student’s brain. Studies have also shown that exercise can improve the symptoms of ADHD. Based on this and what we have explained about breathing we suggest that frequent burst of exercise that changes a person’s breathing will have a positive effect on focus, alertness, and thinking.

Anxiety

Have a look at people who are anxious and see what their breathing is like, or next time you feel anxious pay attention to how you are breathing. You will see that the breaths are short and shallow. They usually are coming from the upper ribs and neck muscles. This causes a person’s CO2 to be breathed off, therefore causing a decrease in pH and therefore decrease the chances of producing dopamine efficiently. Not good if you would like to think clearly. Bag breathing can be used in these situations and hey exercise that changes our breathing will have an even greater effect.

There are many breathing techniques out there; a simple one we recommend is to breath with a ratio of twice as long on the exhale. Start by placing your hand on your belly and push out against your hand as you breath in through your nose, feel the breath come up your lower ribs and move up through the chest stopping at full inhalation at the top of the shoulders, then slowly breath out through the mouth relaxing your neck and shoulders first, feel the breath slowly come down, relaxing the ribs and finishing by pulling the stomach in. The pace should be comfortable; the hardest part for several people is timing the exhalation to be slow and twice as long as the inhalation. So choose a ratio that is doable (ex. 4 seconds in/8 seconds out) then increase as you get better (ex. 10 seconds in/20 seconds out). Enjoy the rich free oxygen and improve your brain’s ability to produce dopamine.

Dr. David Hardy, D.C.
April 25, 2018

Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar, Chiropractic Physician

To schedule an appointment, click here.

Sources:

The effects of pH on dopamine and serotonin synthesis by rat brain striatal synaptosomes: Manoucher, Messripour, Year: 1992 | Volume: 24 | Issue Number: 1 | Page: 32-35

Brain development and ADHD: Amy L.Kraina F. Xavier Castellanosa  Clinical Psychology Review, Volume 26, Issue 4, August 2006, Pages 433-444.

Physical Exercise Alleviates ADHD Symptoms: Regional Deficits and Development Trajectory: Trevor Archer, Richard M. Kostrzewa Neurotoxicity Research
February 2012, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 195–209.

 

21 Beneficial Ways to Put A Little Spring In Your Step!

Walk Your Way to Better Health

Begin each day with a little courage, a little curiosity, and a little spring in your step. – Doe Zantamata 

Spring has sprung and it is the perfect time to go outdoors and get active.   Just 15 minutes of walking a day will bring about many health benefits and will change your life!  Walking is as natural as breathing.  In fact, we use more than half of our muscles to walk.  Walking is also one of the safest exercises.  It takes no expensive or specialized equipment and requires no special training.  Just a good pair of shoes and a little motivation.

10 Benefits of Walking:

  1. Boosts brain chemistry and will improve your mood
  2. Good for the heart. Lowers blood pressure and risk of a heart attack
  3. Relieves stress, anxiety, and depression
  4. Strengthens and tones arms, shoulders, abdominals, and legs.
  5. Promotes restful sleep
  6. Will give your skin a healthy glow.
  7. Improves balance
  8. Burns fat.
  9. Helps you to concentrate and clear your mind.
  10. Keeps the weight off in the right places such as the belly, hips, legs, and arms.

11 ways to help you receive the full benefits of walking:

  1. Make the commitment: commit to 15 minutes a day and gradually increase your minutes as your motivation picks up.
  2. Drink plenty of water: add a lemon or lime for the extra zest.
  3. Invest in a good pair of walking shoes.
  4. Begin and end with a good stretch.
  5. Ask a friend. What a great way to catch up and bond.
  6. Invest in a fit band to keep track and motivate you along the way
  7. Set aside a motivation jar: Place a dollar in the jar each time you reach your goal and then treat yourself at the end of the month for keeping your commitment.
  8. Put a bounce in your step with some good tunes: make a playlist with all of your favorite, motivational tunes.
  9. Maintain a healthy diet.
  10. Be aware of your posture: Head up, back straight, swing arms, abdomen flat and toes forward. Eyes focused 10 feet ahead.
  11. Change your scenery.
  12. Walk on your lunch break, walk instead of driving short distances.  Park at the furthest parking spot from your destination. Walking is easy to fit into a busy schedule!  Be sure to start at a pace that you are comfortable with. Gradually increase your walks to promote long-term health and weight loss goals.  You don’t have to go fast…..Just go!

Joy Vale
Patient Care Coordinator
April 18, 2018

Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar, Chiropractic Physician

To schedule an appointment, click here.

6 Ways To Be The Change In This World!

It seems to me that everybody wants health and wealth.  Although those aren’t the worst goals, are wealth and good health really the most important things in this world?  This may seem strange coming from someone who works at a functional medicine clinic, but I’m going to have to go with no. What good is money or a clean bill of health if you’re not a good person? You can win the lottery and live to the age of 100, but what does all that even mean if nobody is there with you to enjoy it? I think it’s time to recap the 6 pillars of character. Just remember, it only takes one person to change the world. Why not you?

1. Trustworthiness

Seems pretty straightforward, right? They say that honesty is the best policy, and I’d have to agree with that. I don’t know about you, but I think liars are pretty toxic people. Trust is at the core of all good, healthy relationships.

2.  Respect

Respect is mutual… most of the time. But that’s why I feel people should work on this one a little more. If everybody showed everybody else the same respect they want from others, there would be far less conflict in the world.

3.  Responsibility

Again, this one is pretty basic. People need to start owning up to their faults and mistakes. Everyone’s looking for a scapegoat instead of looking in the mirror.  Pointing fingers simply delays finding a solution because everybody’s more concerned about finding who or what to blame. Responsibility also applies to your duties towards work, relationships, and society in general. It’s making sure you’re not only doing what you need to do but doing it right the first time. This makes everybody’s life easier, which mean less stress and negativity, which leads to a better day for everybody.

4.  Fairness

This one is one that I tend to struggle with myself. My issue lies in the fact that life isn’t exactly always fair. Granted, some things are out of human control, but only taking what you earn is a good place to start. I feel as if fairness and respect go hand in hand. Having the respect for someone to give them what they deserve, or only take what you deserve, isn’t the only thing “fairness” applies to. It also refers to belief systems as well. You must RESPECT other people’s ideas and beliefs and hear them out to come up with a FAIR solution to a problem.

5.  Caring

You ever just needed a hug? Someone, to talk to? Maybe even just a little reassurance that you’re doing a good job? Everyone’s been there, and everyone knows what it’s like when you are on the receiving end of one of those small acts of kindness, so why not pass it on? If you see somebody struggling, help them out however you can. Even if it’s simply asking how somebody’s day went, (and actually listening to their response).  Sometimes it’s the small gestures, compliments, or actions that could brighten someone’s dreary day.

6.  Citizenship

This is another one that I struggle with occasionally. I think of citizenship as being an active part of something bigger than yourself. We have a fragile planet that we call home; maybe try to clean it up a little bit? Is there a problem in your community that you could solve? Try it out. You have a voice; don’t take it, (or anything else), for granted. Enjoy the little things and keep a positive attitude. Who knows, it may rub off on somebody who really needs it.

I’m not perfect… nobody is, but that’s no excuse. I see a problem in my community that I can fix. It only takes one person to change the world.All it takes is a little bit of character. It all starts with one person. It all starts with you! Try to work on these, even one pillar at a time.  Go out there and be a good person. Go out there and be the change.

Dallas Cain
April 11, 2018

Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar, Chiropractic Physician

To schedule an appointment, click here.

A Flaxseed Primer: Everything You Need To Know!

The “Who,” What, Where, When and Why of Flaxseed

Flaxseed is a rich source of healthy fat, antioxidants, and fiber. The seeds contain fiber, protein, lignans, and the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, also known as ALA or omega-3.

Where do flax seeds come from? Flax (Linum usitatissimum), also known as common flax or linseed, is a member of the genus Linum in the family Linaceae. It is a food and fiber crop cultivated in cooler regions of the world.

Nutritional Information (Serving Size 1 tbsp)

Calories 55
Total Fat 4.3 g
Saturated fat 0.4g
Polyunsaturated fat 3 g
Monounsaturated fat 0.8g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 3 mg
Potassium 84 mg
Total Carbohydrate 3g
Dietary fiber 2.8g
Sugar 0.2g
Protein 1.9 g
 
Benefits of Flaxseed:

  • Flaxseeds are a rich source of the omega-3 fatty acid ALA. Plant-based ALA fatty acids are proven to have heart health benefits and link to a lower risk of stroke.
  • Flaxseeds contain a group of nutrients called lignans, which have powerful antioxidant and estrogen properties. They may help in preventing breast and prostate cancer, as well as other types of cancer.
  • With so much fiber packed in each tiny seed, adding flaxseeds to your diet promotes regular bowel movements and can improve your digestive health.
  • The high fiber content of flaxseeds can help lower cholesterol and may play an important role in improving heart health.
  • Flaxseeds have been proven to lower blood pressure and are especially helpful for those with high blood pressure.
  • Flaxseeds are a good source of plant-based protein and act as an alternative protein source for people who do not eat meat.
  • Flaxseeds may lower blood sugar due to their insoluble fiber content. They are a beneficial addition to the diet of people with diabetes.
  • Flaxseeds keep you full for longer and may help you manage your weight by controlling your appetite.
  • Flaxseeds are versatile and easily added to your daily diet. There are a variety of recipes you can try.

Almond Flour & Flaxseed Pancakes

Ingredients

½ cup almond flour
½ cup flaxseed meal
4 large eggs
5 tablespoons coconut oil
½ cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons erythritol
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt

Instructions

  • In a mixing bowl, add your almond flour, flaxseed, erythritol, salt, and baking powder.
  • Mix the dry ingredients together well so everything distributes evenly.
  • Add your 4 eggs to the mixture.
  • Mix everything together until reaching a liquid consistency.
  • Add 4 tablespoons coconut oil and the coconut milk. Mix it together well until it’s a slightly more liquid consistency.
  • Add your coconut flour and mix well.
  • Add your spices to the mixture and mix them in well.
  • In a skillet, heat up 2 Tbsp. Butter and 1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil. Wait until the butter starts to bubble well and is starting to turn brown.
  • Add 1/4 Cup of pancake mix at a time. Try to only cook 2 at a time. When I cooked 3, they did not cook as evenly as I’d have liked.
  1. When the top starts to bubble, you know that side is ready. Flip it over with a spatula.
  2. Cook on the other side until it’s browned and doesn’t fall apart.
  3. Remove from the pan and enjoy!

 https://www.ruled.me/low-carb-almond-flour-flaxseed-pancakes/

Ground flaxseeds give the greatest health benefits. If using flaxseed oil, remember to store it in a cool, dark place and use it when cooking at a lower temperature to keep its nutritional properties. With many proven health benefits and possibly more, there’s no better time than now to grab some flaxseeds from your local grocery store.

Now you know!

This is where I gathered some of this great information.

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263405.php

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=81

https://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/what-to-eat/6-reasons-to-never-neglect-flax-seed

Nancy Boardman
April 4, 2018

Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar, Chiropractic Physician

To schedule an appointment, click here.