You have been taking the necessary steps to heal from your trauma, but you noticed that you are gaining weight, your moods are still a little up and down and you don't know why. You have heard that adding a supplement to your daily routine could be beneficiary, but you don't know where to start. With all the information out there about vitamins and supplements it can be a daunting task to sort through. Let me see if I can help with some simple basic information.
Let’s first talk about what happens to our appetite after a trauma. A hormone called cortisol is released during a traumatic event. This is not bad as it helps our bodies to go into protective mode. However, when we are not able to emotionally work past that event our bodies get stuck in that heightened state. When that happens cortisol continues to be released which can lead to certain issues.
Cortisol tends to cause cravings for what we call comfort foods, which are usually sugary or fatty. Those types of foods lead to sugar spikes which can cause extreme emotions. An excess of cortisol can also increase the amount of fat stored in the stomach. In addition, those types of foods have very little magnesium. Low levels of magnesium will increase inflammation in the body which is connected to depression and anxiety.
The best way to combat cortisol and magnesium issues is to first have your primary doctor check those levels. Then create a meal pattern that includes leafy greens, fish, nuts, fewer processed food, and less sugar. If that is not enough, then you should consider adding a magnesium supplement.
After a traumatic event, the body can benefit from extra micronutrients. If your body is deficient, a simple blood test can help to determine that and lead you to pick the correct multivitamin.
Vitamin D is another nutrient we should check on to ensure levels are normal. It’s the vitamin that helps us to have that feel-good feeling. A study of those with PTSD was conducted and found that 62.7% of them were deficient in vitamin D. Most of us get our vitamin D from the sun, but if you are struggling after a traumatic event, it might be worth checking to see if those levels are in the normal range.
Other supplements to consider are prebiotics or probiotics. Stress has been known to cause an imbalance in the gut's normal bacteria. This becomes important because 90% of serotonin is created in our gut and is a powerful hormone that helps us to feel good. Also, that good bacteria are what help to break down our food so that we do not have stomach issues.
It has been strongly suggested that Omega 3 supplements are not only great for physical health but mental health as well. A trial was conducted and found there was enough evidence to suggest that fish oil could be helpful in preventing PTSD. Ways to incorporate this into your diet are by eating oily fish three times a week or taking a fish oil supplement.
There are a few other non-supplemental options worth mentioning to consider. A study was conducted that showed strong evidence that repetitive transcranial stimulation (rTMS) was effective in improving the symptoms of those with PTSD. Followed by acupuncture, hypnotherapy, meditation, and visualization.
It’s important to remember that you have been through a lot so be kind to yourself. Eating healthy and adding supplements is a great way to take charge of your self-care but changing things up all at once may be hard and will take some time. These are only suggestions to consider. You know your body better than anybody! So, dig way down and start where you feel will be most beneficial and set you up for the most success.