Tag Archives: Running

025 – Bitter (Not So) Sweet Sugar & PTSD

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how-much-sugarWeEatIn this episode we discuss the role of sugar, our brain and recovery… Last week we learn about how running can be a tool for helping us deal with difficult memories.  One of the ways running helps is by increasing a key brain protein, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).

The sweet white powder we call sugar is in most processed food products.  It has a powerful effect on our brain in producing a short lived pleasure response.  But it can come at great expense.  Sugar has been linked to obesity, diabetes, cancer and other health problems.  But what does that mean for those dealing with Post-traumatic stress?  It is estimated that Americans consume 22-32 tsp. of sugar each day!  An estimate for the U.S. Department of Agriculture says that we consume an amount equal to 31 five pound bags each year!

It has been shown to influence brain function.  In particular BDNF, a key brain protein involved in memories, is negatively impacted by sugar.  In recovering from PTSD we need all the proper neurotransmitter working as designed. Getting sugar out of your diet is not likely to cure PTSD.  But in combination with all the other tools at our disposal it could help further our progress toward victory.

 

 

Some resources for further investigation: A CBS News/60 Minutes Report (See how “addicting” sugar can be)

http://youtu.be/B56Gpf1f5_A

What Eating Too Much Sugar Does to Your Brain http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/neuronarrative/201204/what-eating-too-much-sugar-does-your-brain

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain-derived_neurotrophic_factor

What Sugar Does to Your Brain: http://www.olsonnd.com/what-sugar-does-to-your-brain/

The Effects of Energy-Rich Diets on Discrimination Reversal Learning and on BDNF in the Hippocampus and Prefrontal Cortex of the Rat  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2042136/

Sugar: The Bitter Truth (The SHORT Version)

http://youtu.be/tdMjKEncojQ

Sugar: The Bitter Truth – Dr Robert Lustig, MD, University of California http://youtu.be/dBnniua6-oM

Secrets of Sugar – CBC News

http://youtu.be/xDaYa0AB8TQ

chicklet_itunesrss subscribe Are you drawn to sweets (or other carbs) when you are stress?  I am.

024 – Running Through, Not Away From, Memories

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RunningTowardTarget by Master isolated images FDP

by Master isolated image on Freedigitalphoto.com

Hay, I found an instant, quick fix to post-traumatic stress… Not really.  But there are many tools we can use to grow and work toward—and achieve—success over PTSD.

One of the coping mechanisms in PTS is to avoid memories.  At times this may be necessary.  But at some point we will need to deal with our past.  We can equip ourselves with tools to help with this process.

This week we take a look at the role running can play in the recovery process. 

We will discuss:

  • The brain and body in stress (and post-traumatic stress): hormones, steroids and the body/brain connection (see Episode 001 – Post Traumatic Stress: It’s not just in your head).
  • The brain and body while running
  • How much running?  According to Dr. Otto, blood levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), increase after about 30-40 min of running.  But this is not the only benefit!
  • Prolonged Exposure Therapy
  • Other benefits – besides the physical and psychological: goal achievement, causes, comradery.
  • What about those that cannot run?  Perhaps it is best if we not focus on what we can do and consider whatever we can do right now.  I share my own struggle with not being able to run or do other intense physical activity because of my lungs.

 Resources:

Article, “Running Back From Hell”, http://www.runnersworld.com/runners-stories/running-back-from-hell?page=sing

Team Red, White, and Blue – helps service members transition http://teamrwb.org/

STRONG STAR (South Texas Research Organizational Network Guiding Studies on Trauma and Resilience) http://delta.uthscsa.edu/strongstar/

Question:  Have you found exercise to be beneficial?  Please join the discussion.  Your experience can help or encourage others.

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