Many people TODAY have shut down their automatic body- or in biological terminology, autonomic nervous system – disruption to the autonomic nervous system leads to weight gain, chronic digestive issues like bloating and reflux, chronic fatigue, and hormone imbalances like PMS infertility, PCOS, and thyroid dysfunction.
This Autonomic nervous system has three parts. The Parasympathetic, which controls your Rest, Digest, Relax and Heal functions, and whose primary nerve is the Vagus nerve, is one. The second part is the Sympathetic, which is your Fight or Flight response.
The third part of the automatic system, the “enteric” or gut nervous system, which holds 95% of the serotonin in your body and is vital to the immune system.
Too often we see people with dysfunctional nervous systems because they have been living on refined carbs sugar and caffeine, not sleeping, living in chronic stress, and destroying the helpful bacteria in their bodies through toxic foods, antibiotics chemicals and over the counter medications.
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First, inadequate sleep increases the accumulation of toxic metabolic debris in the brain, and leads to increased cortisol, which leads to increased appetite weight gain and fatigue as well as a suppressed immune system.
Then refined carbs, sugar and excessive caffeine (more than 100mg a day) lead to a yo-yo of hyperstimulation, turning up the sympathetics and also turning down the parasympathetics.
Chronic stress also leads to chronically elevated cortisol, driving further imbalances in sleep patterns, weight gain, blood sugar imbalances, immune dysfunction and even chronic pain. High cortisol also imbalances our sex hormones and can set the stage for low thyroid function – compounding symptoms like constipation and weight gain.
To top it all of stress and refined processed foods alter our gut bacteria (microbiome) setting the stage for all kinds of immune, mood and digestive issues.
This combination of factors over time decreases the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system, leaving the sympathetic system in overdrive and the enteric system frozen.
Restoring the nervous system takes time.
But there is a lot you can do on your own, starting today. Here are 3 tips to getting back into your automatic body:
1. Do an elimination diet.
Remove all refined grains, sugar and processed foods along with potential immune triggers like gluten and dairy from your diet for at least 6 weeks. This can help heal and rebalance your enteric nervous system, improving things like mood, brain fog and inattention. I also recommend taking a probiotic regularly to support a healthy bacteria.
2. Get 8 hours of sleep each night.
This might require taking magnesium at bedtime, doing a bedtime meditation, getting away from the blue light from computers and phones at least an hour before bed.
3. Get one hour of mental rest in every day.
This includes walking, meditation, gentle yoga, stretching or even cooking. This kind of downtime away from screens work and stimulation turns the parasympathetic system back on so it can begin to balance the sympathetic overdrive you have been living in.
If you need help getting started, I recommend our 10 or 21 day Purification Programs, which includes a simple daily support guide, a delicious protein smoothie you have for breakfast and mid afternoon snack every day, and healing supplements. I’ve seen this reset people’s systems quickly.
Our Next Group Detox begins July 8th. Contact us if you want to join in.