The Daily Sprout

Your guide to healthier living.

We have been preaching STAND UP, for years.  I have reaped the benefits of moving back and forth, from table to table, for 18 years of practice.  Maintaining activity as well as metabolic function (moving my body and joints, and burning calories), even if at a low level, it has been functional.

Image from Harvard Medical Review

Now, the Harvard Medical Review is supporting the story we have been screaming from the rooftops for nearly two decades… STAND UP!

Check out this cool article – Move More Sit Less

The text from the emailed article is below :

The dangers of sitting

When you’re in pain, it may be hard to make yourself get up and move. But consider this: A growing body of evidence suggests that spending too many hours sitting is hazardous to your health. Habitual inactivity raises risks for obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, deep-vein thrombosis, and metabolic syndrome. Sitting can also increase pain. Even if you’re reasonably active, hours of sitting—whether reading a book, working on the computer, or watching TV—tighten the hip flexor and hamstring muscles and stiffen the joints themselves. Overly tight hip flexors and hamstrings affect gait and balance, making activities like walking harder and perhaps even setting you up for a fall. Plus, tight hip flexors and hamstrings may contribute to lower back pain and knee stiffness, scourges that many people suffer with every day.Researchers aren’t sure why prolonged sitting has such harmful health consequences. But one possible explanation is that it relaxes your largest muscles. When muscles relax, they take up very little glucose from the blood, raising your risk of type 2 diabetes. 

Given the research, breaking up long blocks of sitting to flex your muscles seems like a wise move for all of us, so try to build more activity into your day. Set a timer to remind you to get up and move around every so often. Take your phone calls standing up. Try an adjustable standing desk for your computer. Instead of sitting in an armchair while watching TV, sit on a stability ball, which makes you use your muscles to stay upright. And, yes, do our joint pain relief exercises.

For more advice on ways to stay mobile and pain free as you age, read The Joint Pain Relief Workout, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.

Thanks for reading, and for getting up off of your butt!

Be well and be blessed! – Dr. E

Social media is obviously a large part of our society. People have a lot of differing views of it, what its good for and not so good for. There’s been a lot of research on the possible effects social media can have on us. Specifically looking at whether or not it can cause depression or depressed moods. At this point there is strong evidence to suggest such a link between depression and social media usage but there are still some things to consider. The big question with any type of research is whether or not the link is that of causation or simply correlation. One study I found shows a very linear association with the amount of time someone uses social media and depression, meaning the more they used it, the more depressed they were. When the data shows a very linear result it would be easy to assume a causation relationship.

It may also be that those who use increased amounts of social media subsequently develop increased depression. Multiple studies have linked social media use with declines in subjective mood, sense of well-being, and life satisfaction.[17, 21, 34] For example, passive consumption of social media content—as opposed to active communication—has been associated with decrease in bonding and bridging social capital and increase in loneliness.[42] One explanation may be that exposure to highly idealized representations of peers on social media elicits feelings of envy and the distorted belief that others lead happier and/or more successful lives.[43, 44] Consequently, these envious feelings may lead to a sense of self-inferiority and depression over time.[45] It is also possible that the feeling of “time wasted” by engaging in activities of little meaning on social media negatively influences mood.[34] Additionally, the substantial rise in the amount of time young individuals spend on the Internet—particularly on social media—has led some to call for the recognition of “Internet addiction” as a distinct psychiatric condition that is closely associated with depression.[46, 47] Finally, it is possible that increased social media exposure may increase the risk of cyber-bullying, which may also increase feelings of depression.[48, 49]

However it may not be social media causing the depressed state. It may be in some cases that depressed people seek out social media more so than people that are not depressed.

It may be that individuals with depression tend to use more social media. For example, depressed individuals with a diminished sense of self-worth may turn to social media based interactions for validation.[37, 38] Subsequently, individuals may suffer from continuous rumination and guilt surrounding Internet use, while feeling compelled to continue the cycle due to low self-efficacy and negative self-appraisal.[37, 39] Due to the high accessibility of social media and the possibility of socialization in a controlled setting, individuals with underlying depression and anhedonia may be more drawn to social media interactions rather than face-to-face interactions.[40, 41] 

Another study looked at the different ways social media can be used to see if that can have differing effects on mood. For example you may assume that someone that posts mostly negative thoughts may be more likely to be depressed when compared to someone that typically posts positive experiences. There are also many passive users that simply scroll through their newsfeed without interacting with other friends posts. They data suggests that passive users are just as likely to experience depression as active users. It also suggests that those with a larger number of friends suffer from more depression. The thought is that the larger number of “friends” is actually mostly strangers or distant acquaintances and because of the lack of face to face interaction does not for the user to distinguish other users actual life vs what is presented on social media which can enhance feelings of envy.

While most of the studies focused on young adults, it was also suggested that research should be directed more toward teens and preteens, as this may be a more at risk demographic because they are often much more prone to comparison and envy of their peers as they are discovering who they are themselves.

The social media sites are aware of the potential risks of depression and have tried to take appropriate action.

The teams behind some social media sites have already begun to reach out to users who show signs of serious depression.When one searches blog site Tumblr for tags indicative of a mental health crisis such as “depressed,” “suicidal,” or “hopeless,” the search function redirects to a message which begins with “Everything okay?” and provides links to pertinent resources.[51] Similarly, in early 2015, Facebook tested a feature by which users’ friends could easily and anonymously report worrisome posts.[52] Authors of problematic content received popup messages on their next visit to the site voicing concern and encouraging them to speak with a friend or helpline worker. Although this button has since been removed, Facebook still accepts reports of suicidal content via an online form.

The authors did acknowledge that there are positive uses of social media and that it is a very prevalent way of life so more research on the subject is needed. Also that education on how to positively navigate social media and how avoid behaviors that may lead to depression. This is where the difficulty lies because there is not clear evidence as to what exactly that is. For now we can take away the knowledge that more social media use does show a strong relationship to higher rates of depression. If you are feeling depressed, maybe try avoiding Facebook and Instagram for a day, go enjoy some time outside and maybe leave the phone in the house. Being aware of this can also help us parents to be more vigilant at paying attention to our children’s social media usage. Whether or not using it causes depression, or maybe if they are using it a lot, it could be a sign that they are feeling depressed, either way, if they are using it a whole lot we should probably help them make some changes. What’s considered a lot? In the paper I’ve referenced, over 2-3 hours a day (cumulative with multiple visits each day), 3-4 times a week were the higher usage levels that showed higher rates of depression.

-Dr. Mark

Referenced Articles:

The recent article from the Harvard Medical Review on food and mood does a great job of pointing the finger of failure at mood, the failure being a moment of weakness in your diet, that leads you back down that path of sugar, but what about the mood that lies at the end of that path?  This opening paragraph helps to bring the question.

If you’ve ever found yourself in front of the TV after a bad day, mindlessly digging ice cream out of the container with a spoon, you know that mood and food are sometimes linked. But while stress eating is a verified phenomenon, the relationship between food and actual mood disorders, such as depression, is less clear. Or, to put it another way: can the things you eat influence your risk for depression — and can dietary changes potentially improve your mental health?

So the question as you can see, is whether there is an issue with the long term outcome of your mental health, based upon foods going in first.  Let’s re-state the question.

“Does your diet increase your risk of mood disorders?”

Image courtesy of Harvard Health Publishing

I would answer, ABSOLUTELY YES.  And I would start anecdotally, just considering what happens in the mind of a 30+ year old after they binge out on a pecan pie (I like using pecan pie because it is historically and generationally made with more corn syrup than just about any dessert I can think of).  And in my experience, the person sitting on the couch, fifteen minutes after they had their double dose of pecan pie, is fatigued, and they are sluggish in thought.  If they have any weight loss concerns, they are also mildly depressed, and beyond that they are feeling guilty.

What percentage of people are experiencing those symptoms?  Maybe 20-30%?  Perhaps it is 50%…. but I would argue from a perspective of experience, it is at least statistically relevant.   As we read further into the article, it touches on the very early correlation found in a few scientific studies:

A 2014 study in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity that used data from the Nurses’ Health study did find an association between depression and a diet rich in sugar-sweetened soft drinks, refined grains, and red meat, says Chocano-Bedoya.

Similarly, a 2018 meta-analysis published in the European Journal of Nutrition suggested that high consumption of meat could be associated with risk of developing depression. However, at this point, there are so many different factors associated with depression it’s not possible to tease out exactly how much a specific food or dietary pattern affects risk, she says.

Even though this is early in the discussion and early in the literature, I believe it gives us one more reason to take it all serious.  I love talking chiropractic care for health… reducing stress on the nervous system, and creating an opportuinty for incredible wellness.  But like anything where you perceive the assistance is being done to you, vs you fighting to do it for yourself… it is easy.

I focus our energy on writing about these areas that require commitment, because ultimately, this is where the world falls short.  How strong are you in your ability to fight your addictions, regardless of what they are.

Looking forward to continuing to help you trust that eating a high sugar diet, is the key to poor health, and that our leadership will help set you free from MANY health conditions.

Be well and be blessed!  – Dr. E

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