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PTSD, A System Based Approach

Post traumatic stress disorder is triggered by a terrifying, dangerous, shocking, or extremely scary experience. The “fight or flight” response is normal as is “fear”; but those suffering from PTSD will get triggered when no danger is around. It can be debilitating, frightening, paralyzing, and quite frankly, can rule someone’s world. Many suffer in silence and it often goes completely unnoticed.

When we think of veterans, two things come to mind: PTSD and Chronic Pain. For this post, I will concentrate on PTSD but please make note that PTSD isn't isolated only to veterans. This can impact anyone and requires a community of people to help them through.

Breaking down the chemistry:

When we have chronic or acute stress, this stimulates cortisol among other chemical messengers. In cases such as what a veteran might have experienced, you could imagine how high the cortisol might have been in a given moment. The cortisol easily crosses the BBB (Blood Brain Barrier), a protective barrier that only allows certain things to pass through to protect our brain. Once the cortisol enters the brain tissue, it can cause a lot of “not-so-nice things” to happen. One of those “not-so nice” things is damaging the part of our brain that regulates emotion, memory, learning, and even motivation. This is called the Hippocampus. Those with PTSD have smaller or atrophied hippcampi. To help heal this part of our brain, we might consider DHA fish oil and Phosphatidyl Serine to help heal and repair this area. Of course as ND’s, we’ll take a multi system approach because often times, an inflamed brain will trigger inflammation down stream. PTSD is most certainly supported through counseling and psychotherapy, but intentional supplementation can help to calm the neuro-inflammatory storm.

1. DHA Fish Oil

DHA is an omega 3 Fatty acid that is anti-inflammatory and has an affinity to nervous tissue.

2. Phosphatidyl Serine

Phospholipids are healthy fats that line and create all our cells "membranes" or walls. Phosphatidyl serine directly feeds the hippocampal tissue, thus working to lay down new and healthy brain tissue.