Many of us start the day with a small breakfast as we run out the door, followed by a medium sized lunch and a large dinner. We also tend to snack throughout the day and even grab a bite before bed. However, while what we eat is important, a growing body of research suggests when we eat matters too.
The digestive system’s circadian rhythm
While you have likely heard of the circadian rhythm, the master “clock” in the brain that governs our sleep-wake cycle, we actually have a variety of circadian clocks that govern the daily cycle of activity for every organ.
These rhythms exist because every organ needs downtime for repair and regeneration.
The digestive system is no exception. During the day, the pancreas increases production of insulin, which controls blood sugar levels, and then ramps it down at night.
Circadian clocks optimize our health by aligning our biological functions with regular and predictable environmental patterns. Disrupting our circadian clocks — such as by skipping breakfast or eating at midnight — can result in health issues such as weight gain, metabolic syndrome, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and more, and if you want to know more about YOU and YOUR health, schedule a FREE 15-minute consultation with Dr. Celaya.
Eat breakfast daily
About 20 to 30 percent of American adults skip breakfast. Some do it to save time, many do it in an effort to lose weight. However, studies show that people who eat breakfast daily are less likely to be obese, malnourished, suffer from impaired blood sugar metabolism, or be diagnosed with diabetes.
They are also less likely to have the heart disease risk factors of high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Even the American Heart Association recently endorsed biologically appropriate meal timing to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Just eating breakfast isn’t the only important thing, however. It’s critical to start the day with a breakfast that provides plenty of protein and healthy fats, and a minimum of sugars. This helps support blood sugar balance and proper brain function throughout the day.
Make breakfast the largest meal for weight control and fat loss
The timing in relation to the size of our meals is also important.
Research shows having the largest meal in the morning appears to help with weight control compared to having a large meal in the evening.
In fact, a person eating the identical meal at different times of day might deposit more fat after an evening meal than a morning meal.
This is partially because insulin, a hormone that helps with blood sugar control, appears to be most efficient in the morning. In addition, we burn more calories and digest food more efficiently in the morning than later in the day when most of us eat our largest meal.
In one study, a group of overweight women with metabolic problems were put on a 1400 calorie-per-day diet. Half consumed 700 calories at breakfast, 500 calories at lunch, and 200 calories at supper and the other half reversed that pattern.
Women in both groups lost weight and experienced reduction in fasting glucose, insulin, and ghrelin (a hunger hormone), but in the same time frame the large-breakfast group experienced added benefits:
They lost 2.5 times the weight compared to those who ate the largest meal at dinner.
They had a significantly greater decrease in fasting glucose, insulin, and triglyceride levels.
Their satiety (sense of fullness) scores were significantly higher.
They also lost more body fat, especially in the belly.
According to the researchers, a high-calorie breakfast and a reduced calorie dinner is beneficial and might be a useful alternative for managing obesity and metabolic syndrome.
The body needs fasting periods for optimum health
Fasting signals to the body to start burning stores of fat for fuel. Most of us eat meals and snack from the time we wake up until shortly before bed — or even in the middle of the night. In fact, studies show the average person eats over a 15-hour period during the day. This short fasting time period may interfere with optimal metabolism and increase weight gain.
Researchers put a group of prediabetic men through two eating cycles. In one phase, they ate meals within a 12-hour window for five weeks.
Then in another phase, they ate the same meals in a time-restricted six-hour window starting in the morning.
They ate enough to maintain their weight, so they could assess whether the time-restricted regimen had benefits unrelated to weight loss.
In addition, the men who ate only one or two meals per day fared better than those who ate three meals.
A recent review of the dietary patterns of 50,000 adults over seven years provides added evidence that we should ingest most of our calories early in the day, including a plentiful breakfast, a smaller lunch, and a light supper.
The researchers said that eating breakfast and lunch five to six hours apart and making the overnight fast last 18 to 19 hours may be an effective method for preventing long-term weight gain.
Another recent study found that subjects who added snacks to their daily meals tended to gain weight over time, while those who had no snacks tended to lose weight.
Light exposure is key for proper metabolism
Sufficient exposure to natural light and darkness also play an important role in how we metabolize food for either energy production or fat gain.
At night, the lack of sunlight signals our brain to release melatonin, the hormone that prepares us for sleep. In the morning, the light stops melatonin production and we wake up.
When we change that signaling — whether from a late-night meal, artificial lighting at night (especially blue screen light), shift work, flying and travel, or changing our eating patterns — it confuses our bodies’ circadian clocks. Eating at the wrong time of day strains the digestive organs, forcing them to work when they are supposed to rest.
Shift workers, who account for about 20 percent of the country’s workforce, have a particular problem with disturbed circadian clocks. Many frequently work overnight shifts, forcing them to eat and sleep at odd times. Nighttime shift work has been linked to increased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and breast cancer.
Studies have linked poor melatonin activity and disrupted sleep-wake cycles with an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s, cancer, autoimmune flare-ups, obesity, and more.
Low blood sugar may require a before-bed snack
One important exception to the “don’t eat right before bed” rule is for those who have chronic low blood sugar. For these people, keeping blood sugar stable throughout the day — and night — is critical for brain health, energy level, and more.
If you suffer from the following chronic low blood sugar symptoms, it may be best to take a small, high-protein low sugar snack just before bed:
Constant sugar cravings
Nausea or lack of appetite in the morning
Irritability, light-headedness, dizziness, or brain fog if meals are missed
Craving caffeine for energy
Eating to relieve fatigue
Afternoon energy crashes
Waking around 3 a.m.
Daily habits to maximize your dietary rhythm
To help maximize your meal timing and metabolism, incorporate the following habits into your day:
Make breakfast your largest meal and make dinner your smallest. While this may prove difficult for those with a busy social life or family that sits down to a big dinner every evening, make the evening meal smaller whenever possible.
Prioritize protein and healthy fats with breakfast, and minimize sugar and caffeine intake especially before lunch, to stabilize blood sugar and regulate metabolism.
Avoid between-meal snacks and bedtime goodies. The exception is for those who have chronic low blood sugar as mentioned above.
Try a time-restricted eating pattern, or intermittent fasting, to maximize weight management.
Manage exposure to blue light at night:
Avoid screen light in the evening
Install the f.lux app on your phone and computer
Read a book
Wear blue-blocker glasses at night
Install amber or red light bulbs for evening use
If you have chronic low blood sugar, a small before-bed snack with plenty of protein may be a good idea to keep your blood sugar stable all night and prevent that 3 a.m. wake-up.
While studies suggest that prioritizing larger meals early in the day helps support metabolic health, it does not necessarily mean that you should skip dinner. Instead, have your dinners earlier and make them relatively light.
The take-home message here is like the old proverb, “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.” Schedule a FREE 15-Minute Consultation with Dr. Celaya.
Most everyone has heard of SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, when winter brings on chronic blues. But if you feel better in winter than summer, you may have summer SAD, also called reverse SAD. While the jury is still out on the causes of summer SAD, there are ways to get through the season with more energy, better sleep, and improved mood.
Although both winter and summer SAD and summer SAD share symptoms of sadness and anxiety, they diverge in potential causes and remedies.
Winter SAD commonly involves sadness and anxiety, sluggishness, weight gain, oversleeping, cravings for high-carb foods, social withdrawal, and a loss of interest in typically enjoyable activities.
While summer SAD also causes sadness and anxiety, it differs from winter SAD by causing the following:
Agitation and irritability
Feeling overheated at night
Loss of appetite
Increased suicidal ideation
Increased sex drive
While five percent of the population suffers from winter SAD, researchers estimate roughly one percent suffer from the summer version, and women with summer SAD outnumber men two to one.
Spring and summer depression can be especially hard to cope with because sufferers feel very out of step — everyone is happier when you’re more miserable.
Suicide is a concern with summer SAD as suicide is more of a concern when people are depressed and agitated rather than depressed and lethargic.
Are the causes for winter and summer blues the same?
Most theories regarding the cause of the winter blues — what most of us think of as SAD — stem from the fact that short winter days reduce our exposure to daylight, leading to an increase in the hormone melatonin. This can negatively affect our body’s circadian rhythm, or sleep-wake cycle, as well as brain hormones that affect mood, motivation, and appetite.
Support for this theory comes from the overwhelming success of morning light therapy in the winter. When the brain is exposed to natural light in the morning, it helps regulate the circadian rhythm, improving sleep, energy level, and mood.
The causes for summertime SAD, however, are not yet clear. The theories below are being studied, but a consensus has yet to be reached.
Possible genetic component. More than two-thirds of patients with SAD have a relative with a major mood disorder.
Hypothalamus. Some scientists believe the root cause could lie in the brain’s hypothalamus, our brain’s control center for hormones.
Changes in light. While winter SAD has been linked to decreased light, summer SAD may be related to longer days and increased light offsetting the circadian rhythm by activating the body’s melatonin response at the wrong time of day.
Heat and humidity. Sensitivity to heat and humidity may come into play, including in areas with milder summers, although incidences go up in hotter areas.
Study subjects with summer depression were shown to experience a significant increase in body temperature at night compared to non-sufferers. When they were wrapped in cooling blankets at night their temperatures dropped and their symptoms disappeared. As soon as they went outside into the summer heat, their depression returned.
Without a known cause, how do I manage my summer SAD?
While the causes for summer SAD are not yet decided, here are some tools to help you cope with those summertime blues:
Early morning sunlight. Get 30 to 60 minutes of early morning sunlight as often as possible to help shift your body clock into the proper circadian rhythm.
Blackout curtains. Install these in your bedroom during the summer to mimic the cool dark of winter nights.
Open bedroom windows at night. This will improve air flow and keep room temperatures lower for improved sleep.
Sunglasses. Avoid bright light by wearing sunglasses outside the house. Even on cloudy days there is substantial exposure to sunlight. At higher latitudes, the blue light spectrum is more prevalent, making cloudy days have more glare.
Avoid blue light and screen light in the evening. This helps the body to adjust its hormone production in preparation for a proper sleep cycle. Some patients find wearing blue-blocker glasses and installing the f.lux app on phones and computers also helps immensely.
Cool your bed. While cooling therapies are not guaranteed to be permanent fixes, the temporary help can make a big difference in sleep quality. You can use low-tech solutions like frozen water bottles in your bed or opt for more high-tech solutions like a cooling pad or bed fan.
Check thyroid levels. Some evidence suggests those with summer SAD have low thyroid function, which can affect temperature regulation, mood, sleep, appetite, weight, energy, and more.
Eat an anti-inflammatory diet.
Eat plentiful and varied produce. This will support your healthy gut bacteria and help support production of neurotransmitters to support brain health and mood regulation.
If you suffer from summertime SAD, contact my office to find out how you can reclaim your energy, appetite, and mood.
Thanks to science and public awareness, we know environmental pollution from industry harms our health. Same goes with tobacco. But did you know “social pollution” is just as harmful? Social pollution refers to the long hours, lack of economic security, high cost of health care, exhaustion, surviving in a gig economy, lack of parental support, and high stress that has come to characterize work life in the United States and other industrialized countries. It is now recognized as they fifth leading cause of death.
In the new book Dying for a Paycheck, author and Stanford University professor Jeffrey Pfeffer uncovers the disastrous toll of modern work life on human health.
Sixty-one percent of American workers say workplace stress has made them sick, and 7 percent have been hospitalized by it.
Workplace stress leads to the chronic diseases that make up three quarters of the health problems crushing our health care system, including diabetes, metabolic syndrome (pre-diabetes) cardiovascular disease, and circulatory diseases. Disorders such as alcoholism, drug addiction, and overeating are also linked to high stress and the erosion of family and social structures from work-related stress.
In fact, one of the worst aspects of modern work life is the effect it is having on our social support structures. Long, stressful hours at work breaks up marriages, children, and families, leaves too little time for healthy socializing with friends and family, and makes it difficult for single people to date or establish new relationships.
Research clearly shows regular healthy socialization is vital to good health and that isolation and lack of positive social time can be as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
When work place stress and social pollution keeps you stuck in fight-or-flight mode
One of the many downsides to workplace stress and social pollution is that it can keep your nervous systems stuck in fight-or-flight mode. A normal stress response is to flee, fight, or freeze. When work stress and the havoc it causes on your home life is constant, you never get a chance to unwind from being in a constant fight-or-flight state.
The chronic stress from this is devastating to brain and body health. It accelerates brain aging, causes leaky gut, raises inflammation, imbalances the hormones, and increases the risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and addictive habits.
What can you do to protect yourself from social pollution and workplace stress
Unfortunately, most of us cannot single-handedly change this unhealthy situation in which we find ourselves. However, you can be aware of and not psychologically buy into the subtle or not-so-subtle shaming and unhealthy expectations around productivity.
Companies expect longer hours at lower pay yet provide little to no job security, sick days, maternity or paternity leaves, and so on. Be aware of this and don’t internalize the messaging that working long days with no days off makes you a better person. It doesn’t, it makes you a sicker person.
If you can downsize your housing, car payments, or other expenses, consider the positive impact living more modestly can have on your health. It could be the ticket to a dramatic health turn around.
However, not everyone can afford to downsize as many are working non-stop to barely get by. Although there is no easy answer to this, recognize your situation and don’t ask too much from yourself.
The more people who are aware of the problem, the better chance we have at changing public perception and workplace policies.
In the meantime, support your health the best you can with an anti-inflammatory diet, seek out support, and make sure to include healthy, restful, and relaxing time in your life as much as possible.
If you have a desk job and are too tired to make it to the gym, take regular breaks to move your body and go for short walks as frequently as possible. Regular physical activity is vital to the heath of your brain and body and will help protect you from the harm of workplace stress.
Ask my office for more ways we can help you buffer your body from the negative effects of too much stress.
Do you know those irritable people that always seem angry or depressed, sensitive to emotion, live in constant chaos, or seem perpetually stuck in unfavorable situations? Sometimes, this is just a byproduct of poor brain function. Of course, naturally optimistic people can suffer from poor brain function too—symptoms may consist of memory loss, brain fog, fatigue, anxiety, and depression.
All of these feelings—and others—can trigger symptoms in the gut. This gut-brain connection operates as a bi-directional system; therefore, a person’s gut inflammation or distress can be the cause or byproduct of stress, anxiety, or depression.
This is particularly true in circumstances when a person experiences gastrointestinal (GI) upset without a physical cause. For such functional GI disorders, it is a challenge to heal the gut without first looking at the connection between the gut and brain and considering the effects of stress and emotion.
One of the most significant things to understand is the intimate link between the gut and the brain. We have several receptors that fire into the brain, such as for sensation, sound, temperature, balance, etc. These signals stimulate the brain to relay information into the brainstem of the central nervous system (CNS), which is the area of the brain that keeps the heart beating, lungs functioning, and gut moving.
The wall of the digestive system is innervated by the CNS and the enteric nervous system (ENS)—it has millions of neurons that control blood flow and secretions to help you digest food. Inflammatory issues, such as in intestinal permeability (leaky gut) or an imbalance in the gut microbiome (dysbiosis) can impact the messages from the gut to the brain.
The vagus nerve, a cranial nerve that is a part of the ENS, is a key pathway to the activation of the digestive system. Degeneration of vagal function, or less activation of the vagus nerve, compromises the digestive function by decreasing blood flow to the gut (which leads to leaky gut, neuroinflammation, and a cycle of other inflammatory responses).
The multitude of neurons in the ENS not only influence our GI function but also how we “feel”—this is why the ENS is called our second brain. Though the second brain is not capable of in-depth thought, it does “talk” to the brain.
Stress, for example, is closely tied to the gut. The body responds to external and internal stressors with the “fight or flight” system. During a stressful situation, a redirection of energy takes place; your digestion is put on hold, your heart and respiratory rate escalate, and your palms may get sweaty. This protective mechanism is intimately related to cortisol levels, which are ruled by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.
Typically, diffusion of the stressful situation resets your body back to normal. But if you are always stressed, anxious, or stuck ruminating on negative thoughts, your body gets caught in a fight or flight response.
The byproduct of this chronic response is chronic inflammation—the root of many diseases. Inflammation leads to serious health consequences, such as high blood pressure, intestinal permeability, autoimmune disorders, and neurodegeneration.
The trillions of gut microbes—collectively known as the microbiome—also play a role in the regulation of our immune response. Communication between the gut microbiome and nervous system may influence disorders like anxiety and depression, autism, and dementia.
GUT-BRAIN OR BRAIN-GUT IMPAIRMENT
How do you recognize if you need to improve your gut-to-brain or brain-to-gut axis?
If your brain is impaired (brain fog, memory loss), if you suffer from intestinal motility issues (constipation, nausea), and if you have not had a positive response to conventional digestive protocols, you may have a brain-to-gut impairment.
Furthermore, if you have digestive issues, these can impact your brain chemistry and impair your gut-to-brain communication.
It is not uncommon to be in a vicious cycle of both a gut-to-brain and brain-to-gut impairment; most people need to support both simultaneously.
A characteristic symptom of this cycle is a decrease in the motility of the gut and consequently constipation, straining during bowel movements, and incomplete elimination. Poor elimination means that waste sits in the intestines, promoting an environment for yeast and bacterial overgrowths and the development of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
Poor vagal function also encourages gallbladder stones and attacks and reduces the effectiveness of digestive secretions; therefore, digesting food becomes difficult.
Many patients with chronic gut dysfunction never improve because they do not move past treating it at the gut level—this will create the vicious cycle. Poor gut health will impact your brain function thus causing depression, anxiety, poor cognition, and other brain-based symptoms.
GUT-BRAIN HEALING STRATEGIES
While there’s still much to discover about the mystery of the digestive system and all that it affects, we are sure of several things that can help improve the connection between your gut and brain.
Remove pathogenic and reduce opportunistic bacteria and microorganisms.
Supplemental support may include digestive enzymes, L-Glutamine, N-acetyl glucosamine, and antifungals (such as oregano oil).
Support for Your Brain-Gut Axis
Every neuron needs oxygen, glucose, and stimulation.
Oxygen – A reduction in blood flow to the brain, such as from a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, anemia, low blood pressure, and hypothyroidism, reduces the amount of oxygen the brain receives.
Glucose – Glucose fuels the brain. If you become hypoglycemic (low blood glucose) from going too long without eating, you may feel dizzy or lightheaded. On the other hand, in insulin resistance (high blood glucose), glucose can’t get into the cells of your body or brain leaving you feeling sleepy or slow.
Stimulation – Stimulation such as physical activity and mental challenges “exercise” your neurons and are essential to keep them active and healthy. Exercise also increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor and supports mitochondrial function.
Support the brain with nutrition.
Reduce inflammation with resveratrol, turmeric, and fish oils.
Optimize with vitamins and supplements.
Provide neurotransmitter support.
OPTIMIZE YOUR BRAIN WITH GUT REPAIR AND DETOXIFICATION
Healthy brain function is not just about boosting your score on a brain game, remembering where you put your keys, or preventing dementia.
A Healthy brain equals a better quality of life. When you have optimal brain function, you are happier, and you are naturally drawn to nourish your body and mind. Ask my office for more information about a detoxification and gut-repair program using the AIP diet. You can schedule to become anew patientor afree consultation.
As more and more people are opting for a healthier lifestyle today, beverages like protein shakes and detox drinks are gaining popularity. One of such considered to-be-healthy drinks is green tea. However, rather than being a new scientific discovery, green tea has been in use since the ancient times, specifically in Indian and Chinese medicine and is considered one of the most beneficial, health-promoting drinks available today.
What is green tea?
Green tea is made from the leaves of Camillia sinensis plant, which is also used to produce other teas such as oolong tea and black tea. It is the processing method of the leaves that separates them–black tea is oxidized and green tea is not. Another interesting fact is that, though all the different types of green tea are made from the same plant species, the quality, taste, and type of green tea varies significantly. This is dependent on several variables, including processing methods, cultivation practices, chemical use, etc.
What are the benefits of drinking green tea?
Time and again, the innumerable benefits of consuming green tea daily have been proven by extensive research and studies, and green tea is no myth. In fact, green tea is a miracle of nature, some of the benefits of which are as follows:
It is a rich source of antioxidants
Despite being low in calories, green tea contains several antioxidants such as flavonoids and catechins. These antioxidant substances protect the cells in the human body from damage from harmful, free radicals. These antioxidants also help in detoxification.
Green tea aids in weight loss
Having green tea is a great add-on to a weight loss regime, as the beneficial compounds in the tea aid in body fat reduction. It also helps to maintain the weight, which is the most difficult part of the weight loss journey. Another way by which green tea helps in weight loss is by enhancing physical performance and endurance. Are you interested in other antioxidants and what they can do for you? Schedule a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION with Dr. Celaya.
Green tea boosts immunity and lowers the risk of infection
According to several studies, catechins in green tea possess antimicrobial properties and thus reduce the risk of developing an infection. Thus, by boosting immunity, green tea maintains your overall health.
It improves brain function
Green tea has shown to have a positive impact on memory, cognition and attention span. Some research has concluded that substances present in green tea are neuroprotective and thus, help in both treating and lowering the risk of disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Along with enhancing the brain function, green tea also helps with depression and stress.
It helps you sleep better
Having a cup of green tea before bed has a relaxing effect on the body, thus helping you sleep better. This has a dual effect – it lowers your stress levels, and also provides you a boost for making your mornings productive. However, some people may face difficulty in sleeping due to the caffeine content in green tea. Decaffeinated tea can help solve this problem.
Green tea is good for the gut
Green tea can be considered a probiotic because of the positive effect it has on the microflora in the gut. It also helps improve digestion. However, one downside of green tea is the caffeine in it. Even though the caffeine content in green tea is not a lot, it might still aggravate the symptoms of conditions like Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Thus, it is better to avoid having large quantities of the same in case you suffer from some such condition.
Green tea lowers the risk of cancer
Investigators have shown that the epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) found in green tea can lower the risk of developing cancer. The positive effect of green tea has been shown with regards to breast cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer among others. However, it is recommended to consult your doctor if you are on anti-cancer drugs. This is because the compounds in green tea can interact with some of these drugs.
It improves overall cardiovascular health
Drinking green tea regularly has beneficial effects on blood pressure, thus improving the cardiovascular health. Green tea can also reduce the risk of adverse cardiac events by lowering the serum lipid levels. The substances in green tea also promote vasodilatation, which reduces the work to be done by the heart. Furthermore, green tea aids in improving blood sugar levels. Various human studies have shown that regular consumption of green tea can improve insulin sensitivity, and thereby, lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Anti-aging effects of green tea
If the abovementioned health benefits weren’t enough, green tea helps fight the signs of aging by maintaining the health of various tissues of the body. Moreover, green tea also helps one look younger by increasing blood circulation to the skin and improving the overall appearance of the skin.
Surely, these benefits depict why green tea is considered a miracle for the human body. Certain situations, however, warrant caution before you make green tea a regular part of your diet:
Some drugs can interact with the compounds present in green tea and cause untoward effects. Hence, if you are on any medication, consult your doctor first.
Iron deficiency anemia can result from drinking green tea excessively as it hampers the absorption of iron in the intestine.
Similarly, green tea consumption can also lead to vitamin B12 deficiency.
Too much of anything is not good. Although research says that you can have as many as ten cups of tea a day, it is safe to restrict yourself to two or three cups.
Drinking green tea on a regular basis is a convenient, affordable and healthy habit to add to your life. If the above outlined science-backed benefits have not managed to emphasize the goodness of this drink, consider the innumerable years that have gone by since this drink was introduced to the human race, and still remains one of the most popular beverages worldwide. So have that cup today and take a step towards a healthier you!
Dark circles under the eyes are a common medical condition of both men and women, although they can sometimes be observed in young ages or children. Dark circles under the eyes do not necessarily indicate tiredness, but stress and exhaustion are likely to aggravate the facial appearance of many individuals, including their likelihood to develop dark circles. People who suffer from dark circles under their eyes often look older, sadder, more tired and more stressed out than they are. In most cases, dark circles under the eyes are not a sign of a serious medical condition.
But, what causes these dark circles under eyes?
There is no single cause for this problem, but it may occur due to various reasons such as sleep deprivation, excessive smoking, excess alcohol consumption, allergies, eczema, aging, heredity factors, malnutrition, gluten intolerance, mold exposure, candida, stress, and illness. Sleep deprivation is considered the primary reason, and the easiest to prevent. But oversleeping can also cause dark eye circles. Allergies and nasal congestion can dilate the blood vessels that drain from the area around the eyes, causing them to darken. There is also a direct relationship between dark circles under the eye and age. As we get older, we lose some of the fat and collagen surrounding our eyes. This loss, joined with the thinning of our skin, intensifies the development of dark circles. In addition, heredity factors also play a leading role. For example, dark circles under the eyes that appear in childhood are often an inherited trait. Some children will outgrow them, but others will not. Some people notice that dark circles under the eyes tend to run in families as well.
Malnutrition can cause dark circles under eyes. A common cause is low iron and/or low vitamin B12 and sometimes folic acid. This can be especially seen with vegetarians. The deficiency may prevent the blood from providing enough oxygen to eye tissues, resulting in the appearance of dark circles. Take a look at MegaMulti which is a great multiple vitamin to pick up the deficiencies.
Wheat or gluten intolerance can also contribute. Try eliminating wheat, barley, and rye from your diet for a couple of weeks to see how you do. This is not foolproof though. There are other products that can have gliadin cross contamination issues with gluten. Also, when someone stops their intake of gluten, they can increase their consumption of certain foods that also can cause problems, such as buckwheat, sorghum, hemp, sesame, amaranth, quinoa, tapioca, teff, and potato. The only way to find out what you are sensitive to is to have the right testing performed; otherwise, you are just guessing.
Mold exposure can also cause chronic dark eye circles. This very common problem can decrease your immunes ability to deal with detoxification. There are several types of mold, and some may just cause allergies, while black mold (Stachybotrys), Penicillium and Aspergillus can be toxic. Not only can they cause black circles under the eyes, they can be linked to memory problems, brain damage, leukemia, and cancer of the kidneys, esophagus, and liver. These molds can weaken the immune system and damage DNA in the cell. This can cause chronic illnesses, birth defects, infertility, and miscarriages. Here again, testing for you and your environment can help you know if this is causing issues.
Candida, which is a fungus, can also cause dark circles. Making sure you do not have an overgrowth of candida can make a difference. Of course, certain diets high in carbohydrates and processed foods can feed candida. When someone has a problem digesting food due to a lack of stomach acid and or digestive enzymes, food can putrefy or ferment, which can cause an increase in opportunistic or pathological bacteria. Candida then can become a problem since the beneficial bacteria are not in large enough numbers to keep the candida under control. Taking a digestive aid with HCL and enzymes and a probiotic can be beneficial. See my digestive supplement Digest and probiotic ProBio in my website store.
People who drink too much coffee can have difficulty getting enough sleep. Fluid retention, as may occur with excess salt in the diet, can cause dark circles. Pregnancy or weight gain may be considered an additional risk factor. Bacterial infection of the eyelid such as Periorbital cellulitis can carry an additional risk for these dark circles.
How to get rid of these black circles under your eyes?
The first and most important step is to get plenty of sleep at night. It’s not fully understood why insufficient sleep may result in dark circles under the eyes, but it seems that lack of sleep does reduce circulation and increases the tendency of the skin to become pale (thus increasing the appearance of darkness under the eyes). It is advised that you remove all eye makeup before going to bed at night. Make sure that you sleep seven to nine hours per night. You should also abstain from alcohol and drugs because they can negatively affect the quality of your sleep.
One of the most common causes of skin discoloration under the eyes is an allergy. If an allergy is the root of the problem, you shall treat the allergy or avoid the allergen. If there are persistent dark circles under the eyes, you may have an undetected food allergy or an allergy to a chemical or mold in your home. People with allergies also tend to be deficient in B6, folic acid, and B12, so taking a multivitamin can be beneficial.
A stuffy or congested nose can result in dark circles under the eyes because the veins around sinuses are darkened and dilated. Here again, you need to think about how your immune system is working, and how to boost it. Watch my video, antibiotic resistance to get some ideas on how to boost your immune system.
You must eat a healthy, balanced diet. Inadequate antioxidants, vitamin B12 deficiency anemia, and vitamin K deficiency may lead to skin problems such as dark circles and puffiness under your eyes. Hence, you must eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, especially cabbage, spinach, and other leafy green vegetables. Many doctors advise people to take a multivitamin supplement daily. Drinking adequate fluids is necessary to improve circulation. Fast or processed food should be avoided. It is also recommended that you should reduce salt intake since excess salt causes the body to retain more water, and this may lead to the appearance of dark circles under the eyes. Too much salt can also impair your circulation and cause the blood vessels under the skin to appear blue.
Dark circles can appear in heavy smokers because smoking leads to vascular or blood vessel problems that make your blood vessels appear more prominent and bluer.
Last but not least, relaxation can help you get rid of stress and anxiety that are preventing you from sleeping, eating and resting properly. Adrenal issues can be a major cause. Hence, relaxation can lead to very positive results for many people who suffer from these dark circles.
In conclusion, if you have these dark circles under your eyes, do not worry. Simply, eat healthy food, sleep well, quit smoking, take a multivitamin supplement, reduce your exposures, and finally relax! If you would like help finding out if food sensitivities are contributing to your dark eye circles, Click Here to set up a free consultation.
Have you ever wanted to know everything there is to know about your thyroid? This 7-part video series will cover thyroid lab testing, nutrition and infections that affect the thyroid, toxins, thyroid hormone conversion, lifestyle, and adrenal interplay.