Is Instagram Good for your Health? 5 reasons I say “NO”.

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@zen_drjen

Instagram scrolling has become a full time job/obsession for some people. I have cautiously used instagram to grow my following, but primarily I use it to educate and inspire people to take better care of their health. Thank you if you follow me.

For this weeks blog, I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at some things that may not be good for your health when it comes to instagram.

#1: Instagram can make you feel inadequate. This social media platform can be too much about “wanting what someone else has”. You may be knowingly or unknowingly in competition with others and yourself. This can create unnecessary stress on your mind and body. Now you may say that this does not bother you, but we are all humans and the effects of constantly seeing what others have and do can make you feel less than or wanting more, which breeds feelings of inadequacy. No matter how strong willed you think you are, it has some effect. This may make you feel anxious or even unhappy with your life. If you have made such a connection, then maybe it is time to “unfollow” some people who might make you feel this way and/or lessen the amount of time spent scrolling each day. I urge you to reconnect with yourself, your unique goals and stay focused on your well-being.

#2: Instagram has made people more sedentary. Instead of heading out to go to the gym or for a walk, most people have made instagram scrolling a hobby. Take a look at the daily average time you spend on instagram (found at top right of your profile page). If it is more than 30 minutes a day, I consider this excessive. Nevertheless, ask yourself if you can cut your time in half and use it to better your health and well-being. Some activities that I suggest are meditation, exercise, spending quality time with family and friends, picking up the phone and talking, going for a hike, reading, cooking healthy meals etc.

#3: Instagram can make one feel more anxious. As a culture, we have become technology obsessed. We want to be connected to the latest news, trends, videos and happenings in today’s world. This seems like a full time job. We already multi-task beyond our bodies capabilities and this can seem, for some, a chore to keep up and to be “in the know”. This can provoke feelings of anxiousness or addiction to the phone. Try taking an instagram holiday and see how you feel.

#4: Instagram scrolling can create back and neck pain. Looking down at your phone for an extended period of time can create improper posture and neck stiffness. If you suffer headaches and neck tension, you may want to consider how long you hold your head down in that position as it can be contributing to your pain.

#5: Instagram can affect your sleep. We all know the health damaging effects of not getting enough sleep. Most people like to scroll on instagram right before bed. Do you find you go to sleep later than you want because you are checking in with all your friends, celebrities and anyone else you follow? In addition, the bright screen on your phone decreases melatonin synthesis, which makes falling asleep difficult. I advise you to plan ahead and keep instagram out of the bedroom. The last thoughts before bed should be “Thank you God” not what other people are doing with their lives.

Now, I am not saying that Instagram is all bad, but I am noticing the damaging effects it can have on people when they are not conscious of their scrolling habits. I noticed some of the above effects personally and had to “check myself” to ensure that I was not affecting my health in any way. I hope this blog made you think about your instagram habits and if you find benefit in making any of the changes above, reach out and let me know.

In good health, Dr. Jen Cisternino, Naturopath

Are you getting enough Omega 3’s for your body?

Fish oil supplements and the phrase “eat more omegas 3’s” has become more common these days. This is also because more research has been directed at Omega 3 fatty acids in the human body and its impact on well-being.

In this article I would like to help you better understand what Omega 3’s are, why they are good for us and what foods are rich in omega 3’s. Contrary to some weight loss diets out there, fats are essential to our bodies and we needs fats in order to function. Not all fats are good for our body, but in lieu of this article, Omega 3’s get the spotlight and the praise!

Omega 3: The term omega 3 fatty acids refers to long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids. The predominant omega-3 fatty acid in our typical diet is ALA, alpha linoleic acid, which is mainly consumed via plant-based sources (vegetable oils such as soybean and canola).

The omega 3 fatty acids that we can also consume are predominantly EPA and DHA. Since EPA and DHA are found mostly in fish/seafood, our low intake in North America, has most people walking around low in these anti-inflammatory fatty acids. Comparatively, people in Japan, whose intake is quite high, have higher levels and in contrast tend to be healthier. ALA, which is more commonly ingested in North America, can be converted to EPA and DHA in the human body by the liver; albeit, the conversion efficiency is limited and we must not rely on that for healthy amounts in the body. Thus, the most effective way to increase EPA and DHA is to consume them in fish, fish supplements, algae or algal oils enriched with EPA and DHA.

Heath Benefits:

Maintaining optimal levels of omega 3 fatty acids is important for a variety of reasons throughout life. Higher levels of EPA and DHA omega 3 fatty acids have been associated with a significantly lower risk of death due to cardiovascular disease and increase in life expectancy.

In adults, higher blood levels of EPA/DHA omega 3 have been associated with a significantly lower risk for psychological distress, depression, cognitive impairment, age-related dementia, certain cancers and various other inflammatory disorders.

Try consuming more of these foods each week which have a high amount of omega 3 fatty acids:

Fish such as mackarel, salmon, cod liver oil, herring, sardines, anchovies have high amounts.

Vegan options would be: seaweed and algea, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts.

Get your Omega 3 Levels Tested:

With research advancements, there is a way to test your body’s omega 3 levels, among other fatty acids in your blood. The level at which you score (high or low) is a very strong indicator of the risk for sudden cardiac death based on published studies from the Harvard School of Public Health in the New England Journal of Medicine. If you are interested in learning more, reach out.

Dr. Jen Cisterinino, ND

416-301-3477

[email protected]

Could Stress be affecting your Thyroid Health?

Could Stress be affecting your Thyroid Health?
What you need to know to help you.

We are all aware of how chronic stress is bad for us, but most do not consider the implications it has on the thyroid gland specifically. Let me explain this process in your body.

Hormones are molecules released from one area of the body to carry messages to another area of the body. The main job of the thyroid is to produce the right amount of thyroid hormone to tell your cells how fast to burn energy. When the body is under stress, the adrenal glands are primarily responsible for producing the right amount of stress hormones that allow you to respond to stress.

When the body is under stress, the brain releases a hormone called corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH). This hormone tell the pituitary gland in the brain to send a message to the adrenal glands to make cortisol (the stress hormone). Both cortisol and CRH can inhibit thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and the conversion of T4 to T3. Every cell in the body uses T3 for healthy functioning. A decrease in T3 would yield these symptoms:

Fatigue, cold intolerance, weight gain, memory loss, poor concentration, depression, infertility, hair loss and more

This inhibition of your thyroid hormone takes place quietly, “behind the scenes”, for years without causing overt symptoms and change to your TSH. This is why so many women are caught off gaurd when they are diagnosed with a thyroid disorder. Everything seems to be going fine until they wake up and feel horrible. The reality is, if you have been experiencing chronic stress for years, stress hormones may have been inhibiting your thyroid. Some patients that I see remain in a subclinical hypothyroid state. This is a state in which your lab results are within normal but you appear to have all the symptoms. Thankfully there are ways to reset your stress response and re-establish healthier connections between your adrenals and thyroid gland.

The common test I order for my patients is a Comprehensive Thyroid Panel: This involves a reading of TSH, T4, T3, rT3, Thyroid Antibodies.

Reach out to get tested, so you may begin my thyroid recovery program.

Thank you for reading. Knowledge is Empowerment!

Dr. Jennifer Cisternino, ND

416-301-3477

[email protected]