Using Diet to Balance the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous Systems – Part 2 of 3

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Nutritionally Controlling the Autonomic Nervous System by Pat Davidson
I'm just coming off a vegetarian diet. If you think you have an overactive SNS and are concerned about your diet, consult a health-care professional. I'd like to also mention that medical devices or implants can wreck havoc on your immune system possible causing these issues. See and discover other items: I had none of these symtoms apart from muscle tightness until I tried to taper off of the diazepam. Changes or defects in certain components of the intestinal barrier may lead to activation of the inflammatory system potentially leading to known gastrointestinal diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease[ 27 ]. Soups and stews are great options.

The Autonomic Nervous System

What Should I Eat? Nutrition, the Autonomic Nervous System and Health

What Should I Eat? Weston Price whose book maybe read online at this link http: Not surprisingly he found that while people who followed their ancestral diet and ate a wide range of natural foods had excellent jaw development, beautiful teeth and no tooth decay — the opposite was true when the same white flour, sugar and canned foods etc became staple dietary items. Within a generation, people lost their robust health and good looks — and narrow faces, overcrowded teeth, dental decay and became susceptible to serious diseases such as TB, which became became rampant.

That bad diet should lead to dental problems and increased vulnerability to infection and general ill health perhaps seems predictable. In summing up, the factors common to traditional, health-sustaining diets, Dr. Gonzalez states that no traditional peoples ate an all plant food diet and that none ate a low fat diet. All traditional diets included raw foods — and fermented foods were usually on the menu too. Fortunately, there have been some very intelligent people who have dedicated a large proportion of their lives to working out some of the reasons why certain people thrive on some diets and sicken on others — and, just as importantly, how to determine what sort of diet will suit an individual.

Gonzales succinctly explains the functions of these two divisions of the ANS, and how Frances Pottenger Senior investigated the effects of nutrient supplemental on the ANS. He found that potassium stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system — so it can also be helpful for people who are sympathetic dominant.

People who have extreme sympathetic dominance, Dr. Gonzalez says, benefit from diets that are largely raw fruit and vegetables which conveniently and naturally provide large amounts of potassium and magnesium. William Kelley — who cured himself of pancreatic cancer was a prime example of a sympathetic dominant type: If the cell is behaving in an exergonic manner it is giving energy off, and endergonic behavior involves the cell taking energy in.

The nervous system can be divided into the somatic and autonomic divisions. The somatic nervous system controls the excitation of skeletal muscle. Every other organ system function in your body is under autonomic control.

The autonomic nervous system is housed within the medulla in the brainstem. The brainstem is in the hindbrain, which is a primitive brain location from an evolutionary perspective. The forebrain is where conscious thought resides, and the hindbrain is where subconscious brain matters are located.

This is fortuitous because it would be very demanding from a conscious thought perspective to have to regulate heart rate, the opening and closing of arterioles, determining the extent of liver action, kidney filtration and reabsorption, and the countless other organ actions that must take place on a constant basis to survive as an organism on this planet. The autonomic nervous system is divided into the sympathetic and parasympathetic centers. Each branch effects the organs of our body in different ways, often times in a way where the two branches mirror one another.

Finding balance between the two branches of the autonomic nervous system and being able to alternate from sympathetic to parasympathetic dominance is critical to the overall health and performance of the human organism. Generally speaking, activation of the parasympathetic nervous system is essential to be able to digest food. The parasympathetic nervous system is also associated with the secretion of broken down food products into the blood stream, and it tends to promote the secretion of many of the anabolic hormones within the body.

So to maximize the ability to absorb nutrients from food that you eat and to get those nutrients into cells where you can promote anabolic endergonic cellular reactions, shifting the body into a parasympathetic state is extremely desirable. If we cannot escape from a sympathetic state, we cannot maximize digestion, absorption, and cellular uptake of nutrients.

Furthermore, the sympathetic nervous system is also associated with activation of the immune system. When the immune system is activated, this tends to promote an inflammatory state within the body. Inflammation is associated with closure of blood vessels, which prevents nutrient rich blood flow from being able to reach tissues of the body. Foods that promote an inflammatory state and an immune response prevent us from being able to shift solidly into parasympathetic dominance and being able to digest, absorb, and deliver nutrients to cells.

Therefore, this is a relationship between food choices and autonomics. Since autonomics is the controller of every organ system of your body this means that to some degree the food choices you make determine everything about the function of your body and your overall health and wellness. In essence, you are what you eat. My main focus from a dietary perspective is to respect my autonomic nervous system and to not insult the balance between the two divisions.

My sympathetic nervous system is my driver during waking hours. It excites me, fosters an exergonic state, helps promote my ability to perform mechanical work, and keeps me focused. My sympathetic nervous system is not my primary digestion, absorption, and cellular uptake driver. Based on this, I do not eat much food for breakfast and lunch on most days. My parasympathetic nervous system is most dominant at night while I am asleep.

Sleep is the greatest regeneration period for the human organism, and it is the time where we can really accomplish some good high quality digestion, absorption, and cellular uptake of nutrients. Based on this, I eat the majority of my calories at night before I go to bed. The immune system responds to tissue trauma and to foreign invaders that can be found in the blood stream. When trauma or a foreign invader is detected, the immune system sets off a cascade of events that results in white blood cell proliferation, inflammation, vasoconstriction, and a host of other chemical responses.

This chemical cascade is fairly stereotypical and reproducible. The immune system response is one that is initiated because a threat has been presented to the body. From an autonomics standpoint, the sympathetic nervous system is the division that is activated in response to threat. We must therefore ask the question, are there foods that create a threat to the body? The answer from an autonomics and immune system perspective is yes. Plants do not have any desire to provide other animals with nutrition.

Plants are trying to survive and pass their genes off to the next generation to keep their species alive on this planet. Plants have developed defensive strategies to be able to prevent their sex organs from being destroyed when an animal eats them. The gluten protein is one such evolutionary plant based defense strategy. The human digestive processes are not capable of breaking down the gluten protein during digestion in the gut.

This means that when we absorb foods with the gluten protein, the gluten casing is still intact when it enters the blood stream. Gluten is something that the human body perceives as being a foreign invader, and as a result, the immune system is activated, and a sympathetic state ensues. Some of the signs and symptoms of an activated immune system include leaky gut syndrome, an increased prevalence of auto-immune conditions, inflammation, swelling, gas, and bloating.

The medical community as well as many nutritionists seem to only focus on Celiac disease when it comes to gluten. This is a mistake because anything that is activating the sympathetic nervous system and the immune system can exert effects on any organ system in the body, and which organ system is most effected will be a highly individualistic experience. Gluten is probably the most insulting inflammatory and immune system activating food choice for most humans; however, it is certainly not the only food choice that can set off this cascade.

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