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Inactivity may make sympathetic nervous system hypersensitive

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Altostrata

Regular gentle exercise, such as walking, helps the nervous system to regulate itself.

 

But on your way to healing, don't overdo the exercise -- more is not necessarily better.

 

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/22/how-inactivity-changes-the-brain/?_php=true&_type=blogs&src=me&ref=general&_r=0

How Inactivity Changes the Brain

NYTimes.com January 22, 2014, 7:42 am By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS

A number of studies have shown that exercise can remodel the brain by prompting the creation of new brain cells and inducing other changes. Now it appears that inactivity, too, can remodel the brain, according to a notable new report.

 

The study, which was conducted in rats but likely has implications for people too, the researchers say, found that being sedentary changes the shape of certain neurons in ways that significantly affect not just the brain but the heart as well. The findings may help to explain, in part, why a sedentary lifestyle is so bad for us.

 

Until about 20 years ago, most scientists believed that the brain’s structure was fixed by adulthood, that you couldn’t create new brain cells, alter the shape of those that existed or in any other way change your mind physically after adolescence.

 

But in the years since, neurological studies have established that the brain retains plasticity, or the capacity to be reshaped, throughout our lifetimes. Exercise appears to be particularly adept at remodeling the brain, studies showed.

 

But little has been known about whether inactivity likewise alters the structure of the brain and, if so, what the consequences might be.

 

So for a study recently published in The Journal of Comparative Neurology, scientists at Wayne State University School of Medicine and other institutions gathered a dozen rats. They settled half of them in cages with running wheels and let the animals run at will. Rats like running, and these animals were soon covering about three miles a day on their wheels.

 

The other rats were housed in cages without wheels and remained sedentary.

 

After almost three months of resting or running, the animals were injected with a special dye that colors certain neurons in the brain. In this case, the scientists wanted to mark neurons in the animals’ rostral ventrolateral medulla, an obscure portion of the brain that controls breathing and other unconscious activities central to our existence.

 

The rostral ventrolateral medulla commands the body’s sympathetic nervous system, which among other things controls blood pressure on a minute-by-minute basis by altering blood-vessel constriction. Although most of the science related to the rostral ventrolateral medulla has been completed using animals, imaging studies in people suggest that we have the same brain region and it functions similarly.

 

A well-regulated sympathetic nervous system correctly directs blood vessels to widen or contract as needed and blood to flow, so that you can, say, scurry away from a predator or rise from your office chair without fainting. But an overly responsive sympathetic nervous system is problematic, said Patrick Mueller, an associate professor of physiology at Wayne State University who oversaw the new study. Recent science shows that “overactivity of the sympathetic nervous system contributes to cardiovascular disease,” he said, by stimulating blood vessels to constrict too much, too little or too often, leading to high blood pressure and cardiovascular damage.

 

The sympathetic nervous system will respond erratically and dangerously, scientists theorize, if it is receiving too many and possibly garbled messages from neurons in the rostral ventrolateral medulla.

 

And, as it turned out, when the scientists looked inside the brains of their rats after the animals had been active or sedentary for about 12 weeks, they found noticeable differences between the two groups in the shape of some of the neurons in that region of the brain.

 

Using a computerized digitizing program to recreate the inside of the animals’ brains, the scientists established that the neurons in the brains of the running rats were still shaped much as they had been at the start of the study and were functioning normally.

 

But many of the neurons in the brains of the sedentary rats had sprouted far more new tentacle-like arms known as branches. Branches connect healthy neurons into the nervous system. But these neurons now had more branches than normal neurons would have, making them more sensitive to stimuli and apt to zap scattershot messages into the nervous system.

 

In effect, these neurons had changed in ways that made them likely to overstimulate the sympathetic nervous system, potentially increasing blood pressure and contributing to the development of heart disease.

 

This finding is important because it adds to our understanding of how, at a cellular level, inactivity increases the risk of heart disease, Dr. Mueller said. But even more intriguing, the results underscore that inactivity can change the structure and functioning of the brain, just as activity does.

 

Of course, rats are not people, and this is a small, short-term study.....

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alexjuice

I've done well with walking this month and it has helped with my colon function (which has been very disturned). 6 days a week I go to the large grocery store and push a cart with 5 gallons of spring water around the store for 30 minutes or more. When the weather improves i will walk outside. This regular exercise has made a huge difference for me in the last 3 weeks (which have been very terrible). I hope I will continue walking when I am not so acutely miserable because right now I am in a bad way desoerate to get better so it is more easy to motivate myself to go and walk.

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Altostrata

Good to hear it's helping some, alex.

 

I imagine walking massages our innards, in a good way.

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btdt

Good to hear it's helping some, alex.

 

I imagine walking massages our innards, in a good way.

Alto could you break down how article is relevant to withdrawal... I have some ideas but this is a topic that has always be difficult for me... yes I am asking you what does it mean to use here... in simple language as today I can't get it into my head... I know what you will say will be speculation still I would like to hear you opinion.  Thanks

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GiaK

I told my husband today that I feel that the stronger I get physically the more it seems my autonomic system can heal. I do yoga and I walk and swim...

 

I gently push these days (not a good idea early on and I listened to my body to the point of being bedridden for a long time...my body needed that too at one time...)

 

anyway now I have the distinct feeling that my body is telling me to get as physically fit as possible. I was an athlete before I got drugged and then sick...so it feels like that is what I will be again...

 

my autonomic system is talking to me...wanting it... 

 

in any case, it's still moving in baby steps but it's wonderful to move and exercise in as many ways as I can.

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Altostrata

btdt, many suffering from withdrawal symptoms have autonomic instability and overactive sympathetic nervous systems. This article explains how exercise can help stabilize sympathetic-parasympathetic balance.

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alexjuice

Good to hear it's helping some, alex.

 

I imagine walking massages our innards, in a good way.

Yes, I think so. And I push the cart which also seems to help by forcing some abdominal contractions to turn the aisles and such. I got back from walking today a short while ago, and went to bathroom afterwards. I do miss the sun which has been missing a bit here this winter. I am really, really looking forward to the spring for the outside exercise and the sunlight.

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Rhiannon

I told my husband today that I feel that the stronger I get physically the more it seems my autonomic system can heal. I do yoga and I walk and swim...

 

I gently push these days (not a good idea early on and I listened to my body to the point of being bedridden for a long time...my body needed that too at one time...)

 

anyway now I have the distinct feeling that my body is telling me to get as physically fit as possible. I was an athlete before I got drugged and then sick...so it feels like that is what I will be again...

 

my autonomic system is talking to me...wanting it... 

 

in any case, it's still moving in baby steps but it's wonderful to move and exercise in as many ways as I can.

That is wonderful to hear. :-)

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Barbarannamated

I, too, have had many months that it seems my body is telling me to go very easy, lay down. Ive been in one of those times since a very stressful holiday when I pushed too hard.

 

My problem is the guilt and boredom that comes with being sedentary, especially after a relatively good period when I've been able to get outside on my own a few times per week.

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FreedomGirl

btdt, many suffering from withdrawal symptoms have autonomic instability and overactive sympathetic nervous systems. This article explains how exercise can help stabilize sympathetic-parasympathetic balance.

Just found this thread. Thank you. Alto, please advise what to do in my case. Seems the slightest upset, whether emotional, imagined, or actual physical exertion, oftentimes still stimuates the dysregulation I've been experiencing. Is this the same as HPA axis dysrgulation? Spending lots of time in bed, on the couch, and only gently walking through the store if my BP/adrenaline surges are quiet, otherwise I feel that rush of adrenaline/panicky buzz, and sure enough - my BP will be up, and irregular heart beats accompany it. It dissipates with rest, so I'm afraid to exercise. Yet inactivity can cause hypersensitivity of the parasympathetic nervous system? 

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Altostrata

Walking will help regulate the nervous system. Don't push yourself, take it easy, and while you're out, enjoy the fresh air and sights around you.

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Ks1994

 

btdt, many suffering from withdrawal symptoms have autonomic instability and overactive sympathetic nervous systems. This article explains how exercise can help stabilize sympathetic-parasympathetic balance.

 

Just found this thread. Thank you. Alto, please advise what to do in my case. Seems the slightest upset, whether emotional, imagined, or actual physical exertion, oftentimes still stimuates the dysregulation I've been experiencing. Is this the same as HPA axis dysrgulation? Spending lots of time in bed, on the couch, and only gently walking through the store if my BP/adrenaline surges are quiet, otherwise I feel that rush of adrenaline/panicky buzz, and sure enough - my BP will be up, and irregular heart beats accompany it. It dissipates with rest, so I'm afraid to exercise. Yet inactivity can cause hypersensitivity of the parasympathetic nervous system?

I have the exact same problem. I can't walk too much or my stress response activates and I put on more weight. But then being sedentary makes this worse? What the hell does my body expect me to do??

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btdt

btdt, many suffering from withdrawal symptoms have autonomic instability and overactive sympathetic nervous systems. This article explains how exercise can help stabilize sympathetic-parasympathetic balance.

  •  autonomic dysfunction:
  • dizziness and fainting upon standing up (orthostatic hypotension)
  • inability to alter heart rate with exercise (exercise intolerance)
  • sweating abnormalities, which could alternately be too much sweat or insufficient sweat
  • digestion difficulties due to slow digestion. Resulting symptoms could include loss of appetite, bloating, diarrhea or constipation, and difficulty swallowing.
  • urinary problems. These can include difficulty starting urination, incontinence, and incomplete emptying of the bladder
  • sexual problems. In men, this could be difficulty with ejaculation and/or maintaining an erection. In women, this could be vaginal dryness and/or difficulty with orgasm
  • vision problems. This could be blurry vision, or the failure of the pupils to react quickly enough to changes in light.

 autonomic dysfunction

It controls specific bodily organs to prepare us for fight or flight. These reactions are beyond the control of our consciousness and can be responsible for weird physiological symptoms.

The SNS dilates pupils of our eyes, shuts down the digestive organs, increases heart palpitations, relaxes the smooth muscles of bronchi and bronchioles, leading to “breathing problems”. The smooth muscles of the digestive tract is inhibited, so peristalsis stops, sphincter of the bladder also contracts and the bladder wall relaxes. This may lead to involuntary defecation, also known as encopresis. Blood vessels supply to the skeletal muscles are dilated. An overactive SNS is likely to open up blood vessels and flood your face, neck and ears in blushing. Other possible symptoms are: dizziness, shaking, trembling, (as when giving a talk in front of people), digestive disorders, swallowing problems, nausea, vomiting, or fear of vomiting or diarrhea, arrhythmia (irregular heart beats), ticks and restless legs, excessive sweating, depersonalization, incontinence, impotence, repetitive thoughts, ruminations, Anhedonia. It is obvious that these mental and bodily reactions helps to prepare the body for strenuous and quick actions in the face of environmental danger. The SNS diverts energy away from the vegetative to the muscular system.

Please note that in anxieties we see many symptoms – such as heart palpitations, stomach upsets and digestive disorders and so forth – that are the works of the SNS. Actions on the digestive system is often referred to as the Enteric Nervous System

Seems I have had both and still do at times... I had to look it up and yes I have likely done this 100 or 200 times by now ... expect I may look it up again too in the future. 

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btdt

maybe it is food..

The Parasympathetic Nervous System (PSNS) – the other branch of the Autonomic Nervous System – on the other hand reverses the SNS and counteracts the SNS. This system is triggered by the neurotransmitteracetylcholine, which may be a important piece of information to people suffering from Bipolar Disorder. See:Bipolar patients. See notes below. The Autonomic Nervous System and its effects on organs see imagehere.

Thus this fear reaction is an important survival mechanism in the face of real danger.

The question is how is this related to anxiety attacks or the irrational fears that can wreck people’s lives.

The clue is adrenaline. The question is why should the body produce excess adrenaline out of the blue, without any trigger in the environment, causing us to have unexplainable anxiety attacks, phobias and heart palpitation? Hypoglycemia can cause to dump magnesium into urine, upsetting the delicate magnesium-calcium balance. This can trigger excess adrenaline secretion and contribute to hypertension (high blood pressure) and heart palpitations, anxiety and mood swings. (Hemat RAS 2003, page 38 and here). When magnesium is deficient, calcium can leak in soft tissue and cause damage – that is calcification. Mark Mayer p15

The function of adrenaline is to convert sugar stores in our body in the form of glycogen into glucose.(Seeimage)

The reason for this is that brain is very sensitive to glucose levels. Although the brain represents only 2 per cent of the body by weight it requires about 60-70 per cent of available glucose in the body to energize the biochemical machinery of brain cells. (Stryer 634).

Glucose is the forerunner of Biological Energy called (ATP), which is essential in the manufacture of the relaxing and feel good neurotransmitters, such as serotonin.

Thus when the brain (in fact the HPA axis) senses a low blood sugar level it will send an hormonal message to the adrenal glands to pour adrenaline into the system. This raises blood sugar level and will feed the brain again, but it also causes us to feel fearful without an external object of fear. The fear is irrational.

Adrenaline not only activates the SNS, but is also a focusing hormone, forcing us to focus on any possible “danger” at the expense of anything else. It causes us to “ruminate”. Thus excess adrenaline production also lies at the root of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Thus now the question is why is the brain starved of energy causing it to trigger stress hormones??

There are many reasons for this, because there are many medical conditions that interfere with the proper absorption of glucose, such as the various digestive disorders, heavy metal intoxication replacing zinc substrates, coeliac disease, Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. The list is unending.

However the majority cases of of energy starvation in the brain is due to Insulin Resistance, which blocks the transfer of glucose (and other nutrients) across cell membranes. This can lead to the hypoglycemic syndrome, with its multitude of psychological and physical symptoms.

This condition can be tested with the four hour Medical Test for Hypoglycemia. It can also be tested with theNutrition Behavior Inventory Test (NBI) and the Hypoglycemia Questionnaire. If you score high you are likely to be hypoglycemic.

The non-drug treatment of this condition is going on a Hypoglycemic Diet.

This goes to show that the various forms of mental illnesses (really brain diseases) are due to a Nutritional Disorder.

http://www.hypoglycemia.asn.au/2011/anxiety-and-the-autonomic-nervous-system/

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