• Mitun De Sarkar

By now most of us have come across the term 'Hangry'. As the term suggests, it means that some people tend to get angry (easily) when they are hungry. Hungry+Angry= Hangry.

This tends to happen when you haven’t eaten for a while, the level of sugar (glucose) in your blood decreases. When your blood sugar gets too low, it triggers a cascade of hormones, including cortisol(a stress hormone) and adrenaline (the fight-or-flight hormone). These hormones are released into your bloodstream to raise and re balance your blood sugar.

The release of cortisol can cause aggression in some people. Also, low blood sugar may interfere with higher brain functions, such as those that help us control impulses and regulate our primitive drives and behavior.

This kind of shift in mood is quite perceptible. The ones who tend to get hangry are most times aware that its the lack of food for a prolonged period of time that is causing a shift in their behaviour ( I am one of them). This tendency to be irritable is also managed reasonably easily, have a nutritious, balanced meal and it voila, the irritability subsides.

More complicated is the relationship between the gut microbiome and its influence on the more imperceptible mood disorders.

The gut is physically connected to the brain through millions of nerves.

Therefore, the gut microbiome may also affect brain health by helping control the messages that are sent to the brain through these nerves.

Certain species of bacteria can help produce chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. For example, serotonin is an antidepressant neurotransmitter that's mostly made in the gut.

A number of studies have shown that people with various psychological disorders have different species of bacteria in their guts, compared to healthy people. This suggests that the gut microbiome may affect brain health.

However, it's unclear if this is simply due to different dietary and lifestyle habits.

A small number of studies have also shown that certain probiotics can improve symptoms of depression and other mental health disorders. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25879690/)

Increasing research is being conducted in the area of probiotics and prebiotics, the kind of bacteria which are good for our gut health. (Human cells make up only 43% of the body's total cell count. The rest are microscopic colonists).

My take on how food can affect your mood are these:

  • If you have a tendency to be 'hangry', eat small nutritiously balanced meals at regular intervals, depending on your lifestyle. (an apple or a handful of nuts between meals can go a long way)

  • Eat a diverse range of foods: This can lead to a diverse microbiome, which is an indicator of good gut health. In particular, legumes, beans and fruit contain lots of fiber and can promote the growth of healthy Bifidobacteria.

  • Fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut and kefir all contain healthy bacteria, mainly Lactobacilli, and can reduce the amount of disease-causing species in the gut.

  • Prebiotics are a type of fiber that stimulates the growth of healthy bacteria. Pre-biotic rich foods include artichokes, bananas, asparagus, oats and apples.

  • Polyphenols are plant compounds found in red wine, green tea, dark chocolate, olive oil and whole grains. They are broken down by the microbiome to stimulate healthy bacterial growth.

  • Antibiotics kill many bad and good bacteria in the gut microbiome, possibly contributing to weight gain and antibiotic resistance. Thus, only take antibiotics when medically necessary.

Till next time,

Stay healthy

Stay Happy

Mitun De Sarkar

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  • Mitun De Sarkar

Updated: Jun 9, 2020

Lost weight recently, only to find that it's found you again? Seems like a hide and seek which one cannot win, most times.

So why does it happen? Why do we regain the weight we lost?( Most times with a tremendous effort and sacrifices) It comes back so quickly and in some cases the regain is more than the starting weight prior to the weight loss journey.

The answer may lie in something known as Metabolic Adaptation.

It means that our bodies actively adjust our metabolism and bring about Adaptive Thermogenesis, which in turn slows down our Resting Energy Expenditure and our Non Resting Energy Expenditure as well.

(REE and nREE are the measures that let us know how many calories an individual uses for daily maintenance)

There are other neuro endocrine factors as well, such as leptin (a protein found in fat cells, that signals the brain that you are full) levels may not stay optimised, resulting in lack of satiety after a meal.

The thyroid stimulating hormone also sees a decline, resulting in lowered levels of essential thyroid hormones that are necessary for balancing energy expenditure.

Simply put, the more weight we lose, at least initially, our body tries to reduce the energy expenditure in an effort to hold on to the weight. This is usually the case in individuals who go through a rapid weight loss.

My take on this Yo Yo weight loss and gain is this:

  • The longer one has been at an increased weight, the more the body will oppose a significant weight loss.

  • The faster one tries to lose weight, the higher the chances of weight regain, in addition to other neuro endocrine problems.

  • Reasonably paced weight loss under supervision, if possible, is the best for long term weight reduction.

  • As you are reducing your weight gradually, you needs to ensure that your nutrition is on point (with whole foods first and any supplements needed next).

  • Increase your activity levels to adapt to the reduced Resting Energy Expenditure (REE) during your weight loss journey.

Till next time,

Stay Healthy

Stay Happy

Mitun De Sarkar

21 views0 comments
  • Mitun De Sarkar

If you have not guessed it by now, the C stands for the superhero Vitamin C. Superheroes fight the bad guys right? In this case the bad guys are free radicals and pathogens, that can cause infection, inflammation and a host of other health issues.

And though there are other essential vitamins and minerals which are necessary for good health and to fight off free radicals and infections, the one which is head and shoulders above the rest is Vitamin C.

It is a potent antioxidant and a co-factor for a family of bio-synthetic and gene regulatory enzymes. Vitamin C contributes to immune defense by supporting various cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune system. Vitamin C supports epithelial barrier function against pathogens and promotes the oxidant scavenging activity of the skin, thereby potentially protecting against environmental oxidative stress.

The immune system is strongly influenced by the intake of nutrients.

Thus a vitamin C deficiency results in a reduced resistance against certain pathogens whilst a higher supply enhances several immune system parameters

Currently the RDA (recommended daily allowance) is inching towards 90-100mg a day mark, up from previous RDA of 60mg (which is just about enough to prevent Scurvy, an older disease which was caused due to Vitamin C deficiency)

My take on Vitamin C is:

  • Eat a diet that is nutritious and colorful (not the artificial colors), the colors in food that signify high vitamin C content are orange, red and yellow. e.g Yellow and red peppers, all forms of citrus fruits.

  • Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is the best way for getting Vitamin C in your diet as the complementing micro nutrients in them help in many other ways and they are delicious too.

  • Even though the RDA is at 90-100mg, I recommend taking a simple slow release, low dose (250-500mg) supplement. Particularly if you are unable to get adequate intake of fruits and vegetables in your diet and if your work exposes to environmental hazards (dust, pollution, air conditioned closed space).

  • More is not better. Intake of more than 2000mg or 2g of Vitamin C a day may cause nausea and diarrhea. In patients with thalassemia or hemochromatosis it may promote iron overload.

Till next time,

Stay Healthy

Stay Happy

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