Nourish Your Brain for Better Mental Health

digestion nourish Oct 17, 2019

Nourish Your Brain for Better Mental Health: Risk Factors for Nutrient Depletion

Did you know that specific nutritional deficiency may actually cause mental illness or exacerbate existing symptoms? This is because humans require a variety and certain level of basic vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and amino acids for proper brain function and to manufacture the necessary neurotransmitter levels (serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine) to maintain mental health.1,2  Without certain nutrients, it can literally be impossible for us to feel good--both mentally and physically.

You May Be Missing Key Nutrients

Even if you eat a healthy diet, your body may still be missing certain key nutrients. A lot of fruits and vegetables have less nutrition in them today compared to their counterparts grown decades ago. This is mainly due to soil depletion as modern agricultural methods continue to strip nutrients from the soil.3 Prescription medications such as antacids, antibiotics,...

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Developing Health Literacy for Kids With Mental Health Concerns

family kids Oct 10, 2019

Timothy Culbert, MD, IFMCP

Information is Empowering: Why Health Literacy Matters

Just like adults, children and teenagers benefit from being informed and empowered so that they can participate in important decisions regarding their health and wellness. The team here at Natural Mental Health is dedicated to enhancing “health literacy” for our readers, by providing up-to-date information that supports the development of self-care and self-regulation skills for all ages. 

Defining Health Literacy

Health literacy is set of skills people use to realize their potential in health situations. They apply these skills either to make sense of health information and services or provide health information and services to others. Anyone who needs health information and services also needs health literacy skills.

Developing Health Literacy in Teens and Kids

One way in which children and teenagers can enrich their health literacy is to read age-appropriate books that are both...

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CBD Oil for Mental Health for Kids and Teens

calm family focus kids Oct 03, 2019

Timothy Culbert, MD, IFMCP

What Kids, Teens and Parents Should Know About CBD Oil for Mental Health

By now you have probably heard of the potential health benefits of the natural plant-based remedy, CBD oil. It is derived from the cannabis plant, the same plant-type that provides marijuana. Cannabis plants have actually been utilized for millennia all over the world for their healing properties.

Understandably, there is some confusion about the differences between CBD oil and marijuana products. CBD oil that is hemp-based is legal in all 50 states. On the other hand, marijuana products vary by state in terms of their legality for medical versus recreational. CBD oil and marijuana both differ in their safety and efficacy for mental health symptoms in kids, teens, and adults.

I know, it's confusing. Let’s try to sort this all out...  

The Chemical Components of CBD, Marijuana, and Hemp

The term cannabis is used to identify a genus of flowering plants in...

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CBD and Cannabis For ADHD

calm focus joy Sep 26, 2019

Timothy Culbert, MD, IFMCP

Does CBD Oil Help Relieve Symptoms of ADHD?

There is sparse evidence that CBD oil can improve the core symptoms of ADHD, and the evidence that exists is mostly anecdotal. Nonetheless, that isn’t stopping patients from trying it.

The current concern is that consumer/patient use has sped past scientific evidence for use and regulation on product quality. That means long-term effects are virtually unknown and snake-oil companies continue to pop up with CBD products that are not pure. 

An article in ADDitude magazine summarized this:

“During [a person’s] development, I worry about cannabinoids, both CBD and THC,” says UCLA’s Evans. “There are adenosine receptors (and CB2 receptors) on the microglia that are critical for brain development, and CBD inhibits adenosine uptake. This may be a beneficial factor for epilepsy and autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, but who knows for ADHD.” 

The article...

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Transition from Summer to School [Like a Boss]

family kids Sep 12, 2019

 

By Anastasia Sullwold Ristau, PhD, Licensed Psychologist

Clinical Supervisor of all youth Intensive Outpatient Programs within PrairieCare Medical Group


 

This time of year is one transition after another. Changing from summer to school schedules requires big transitions with sleep, meals, and even how we organize our days or brains. Transitions are change, and more often than not, change is HARD.

And change is inevitable and unavoidable.

I’m challenging myself and all of you, dear readers, to face these times of change like a boss. That means a mental framework that allows us to keep our eyes on the bigger picture; to embrace all that comes with both the knowns and unknowns rampant in times of transition. Let's trust that internally we have more mastery and ownership over this parenting thing than we might believe in the moment. 

We’ve got this!

To help us move more smoothly from summer to school, we can use the 5 Square Prepare ...

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ADHD & Sleep: Using Melatonin to Reset Circadian Rhythm (Part 3)

 Timothy Culbert, MD, IFMCP

[Read Part 1 of this series for more on melatonin and its relationship with ADHD.]

First: Is Melatonin Safe? 

I've found melatonin to be quite helpful for kids and teens with ADHD for both sleep onset and sleep maintenance issues. However, some concerns have popped up about kids and teens using melatonin for long periods of time (more than 6 months) or at high-doses. However, little has been substantiated through research studies. 

A recent systematic review of 13 RCTs assessed the safety and efficacy of melatonin for pediatric patients with ND disorders (e.g, ADHD and Autism). Studies included a total of 632 children who took either regular melatonin or controlled release melatonin. The review found that:

  • Kids who took the melatonin fell asleep faster and slept longer compared to those given a placebo pill (Abdelgadir).
  • No major side effect concerns were apparent in any of the studies.

Second: How Should You Use...

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ADHD & Sleep: The Whole Family Approach to Reset Circadian Rhythm (Part 2)

 Timothy Culbert, MD, IFMCP

Good [and bad] Sleep Is Contagious 

Creating a culture of healthy sleep in a household requires a “whole family” behavioral approach to sleep. That means you'll need everyone in your home to opt-in to healthy sleep hygiene practices.

  • Sleep hygiene refers to sleep practices (I call them routines and rituals) that are conducive to sleeping well on a regular basis.
  • Sleep routines and rituals are done at the same time and sequence each night as a way of winding down and giving your mind and body time and cues to move into a more calm and quiet mode to ease the transition into sleep.

No matter if your family consists of just you, twelve cats, or lots of humans, you'll want to consider all the beings and environmental influences that can be optimized for sleep. Short-term assists like melatonin can be helpful, but it's really the establishment of healthy sleep practices that bring the lasting benefits. 

Some of the...

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ADHD & Sleep: Problems with Melatonin & Circadian Rhythm (Part 1)

calm focus sleep Aug 27, 2019

 Timothy Culbert, MD, IFMCP

The Connection Between ADHD and Sleep 

Many of the same brain regions that regulate sleep and arousal also control attention. You've likely felt that firsthand when trying to focus on a task after a rough night of [no] sleep. It's a losing battle.

The relationship between ADHD and sleep is becoming more clear as new research has identified that:

  • Between 55 and 75% of kids and adults with ADHD also suffer from sleep related issues.
  • Even just a little sleep deprivation can lead to mental fog, inefficiencies, and can mimic the symptoms of ADHD.
  • The symptoms of insomnia and ADHD may be related to the dysregulation of the 24-hour clock (AKA your circadian rhythm). 

Though not always done in usual care, it's vital that sleep issues are explored in any child, teen, or adult with complaints of inattention, impulsivity, or hyperactivity. If you're a patient or parent who can relate, don't be shy to bring up the topic of sleep with your...

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New Report on Electronic Media and SleepĀ 

sleep Aug 20, 2019

 

 Tim Culbert, MD and Henry Emmons MD

 

The debate continues to rage as to whether cell phones, computers and other electronic devices are essential to our daily functioning or whether we should seriously consider eliminating these devices as much as possible due to the problems that excessive utilization of these gadgets can lead to. A new report just released from the Common Sense Media organization, titled The New Normal: Parents, Teens, Screens, and Sleep in the United States, details these troubling trends. As we always say at Natural Mental Health, “sleep is the foundation of good mental health.” We may be creating a generation of sleep-deprived teens, kids and parents and our favorite technologies may be a big part of the problem!

Benefits of Using Electronics

On one hand, there are smartphone apps that teach great skills such as mindfulness meditation and encourage physical fitness practices. In schools, many students are loaned a computer or...

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NAC Supplements for Anxiousness

calm Aug 13, 2019

by Henry Emmons, MD

[adapted from The Chemistry of Calm]

p.s., You've read Part 1 of this series and the introductory article about balancing GABA and glutamate, right? If not, head to those articles first.

NAC Benefits | NAC and Anxiety

NAC is short for n-acetylcysteine. You may have never heard of it before, but it has been used for years in emergency rooms for patients who are at risk for liver damage from something they have ingested (e.g., too much acetominophen). It protects the liver for the same reason it protects the brain: it works as a powerful antioxidant, boosting levels of the body’s own primary antioxidant—glutathione.

As researchers have realized the connection between glutamate/GABA balance and anxiety conditions, they have begun experimenting with NAC. Recently it has been used with one of the most complex anxiety illnesses—the spectrum of compulsive disorders (including OCD). Remarkably, researchers found that this...

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