The theory in nutritional therapy is that you need to remove offenders from your diet and/or add in the nutrients which you are missing.
Therefore I avoid and I add.
A few years ago I saw blue bottles of ‘Natural Calm’ (magnesium citrate) popping up at all my health food haunts. Magnesium deficiency can contribute to feelings of anxiousness and muscle pain and tension and constipation. If you are magnesium deficient you might also have strong cravings for chocolate. But there is not a medical test available to see if actually are magnesium deficient. I had many of the usual symptoms so I bought a bottle of Natural Calm.
It didn’t do much. A few times I think it actually made me more anxious. (welcome to the life of a highly sensitive individual). It also made me very bloated. Every. Single. Time. The label said to work up your tolerance to the point where it causes you loose stools and then back off a bit and maintain that level. All it did was bloat me. Loose stools never came.
Later on in my journey I learned that magnesium comes in different forms. Sensitive people like me don’t do the best with magnesium citrate as it is harder to digest. I bought a canister of powdered magnesium malate by the company Seeking Health and that gave me some relief to tense muscles. It did not cause any bloating or other negative digestion effects. The effect on my anxiety was marginal; mainly I was less anxious because my muscles weren’t as painful.
Some foods that are naturally high in magnesium include cacao powder (I switched to that instead of cocoa in baking, and also use it now and then in a smoothie), pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, almonds and cashews, lentils, beans, bananas, leafy greens, and avocados. I do not regularly use a magnesium supplement anymore but I do regularly eat many of the above foods.
Cod liver oil supplements can restore fatty acid balance as they are high in Omega 3 fats. The average American diet is high in Omega 6 fats, which cause inflammation. Soybean, cottonseed, corn oils, margarine and shortening (Crisco), and grain fed meats are the usual offenders. Cheap oils, like soy or cottonseed, are also found in many processed foods: cookies, cereals, salad dressings, mayonnaise, the cheaper the food the more likely it is to have a high omega 6 content. I switched to natural mayonnaise, palm oil shortening, and searched (and am still searching!) for healthier salad dressings; or I make homemade dressing with good olive oil.
It was fish oil supplements which helped our son heal from the rash he’d developed from gluten, as avoiding gluten wasn’t enough. We used straight up cod liver oil, lemon flavored, (but disgusting nonetheless). The exact kind we used so effectively at first has now morphed into something else with krill and shrimp etc. instead of actual cod livers… We used the brand: Nordic Naturals. It had a very high content of Omega 3’s in it (I read all the labels on what was available and chose one which was the purist and also had a solid level of Omega 3’s.). The omega 3 level in fish oil ‘pills’ that I could find at the time were so negligible I knew we’d be better off choking down a daily teaspoon of oil. I still occasionally take a teaspoon of it. But mostly, I just try to eat more fatty ocean fish and am mindful of the oils I use in cooking.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is common in people who are gluten intolerant. It is also well known to cause neurological, heart/circulation, and mental health issues. For a long while I took sublingual B12 tablets to manage tingling in my hands as well as feelings of nervousness, which sometimes included a racing heart. It helped. You just need to look for B12 which comes in the form of Methyl Cobalamin. When my PTSD hit, though, it no longer helped. In fact, there were times that taking a tablet seemed to make it worse.
Same with Vitamin D, people who are gluten intolerant are likely to be deficient in Vitamin D. Thankfully this is one deficiency which is very easy to test for at a Doctor’s office. (It does include a blood draw though-not fun). I have mine tested yearly now and have cleared up a deficiency by using a 2,000IU D3 supplement by Garden of Life brand. I do not take it year round. In the winter if I am unable to be outside at all, I take one pill a day, when I remember (which isn’t every day).
I know a lot of people who take double that amount. For me, I do best with conservative approaches to most everything. As far as Vitamin D regulation: after the PTSD flared I started to intentionally sit in the sun for at least twenty minutes a day, just to heal. It was one thing which helped me more than any other thing–just getting outdoors. Birdwatching. Reading books. Actually smelling the roses instead of frantically trimming them to perfection. In the winter we leave our porch furniture put. Even if I have to scrape snow off the chairs and don a coat, hat AND blanket I try to sit there and get sunshine whenever possible.
There are many foods high in Vitamin D: free-range eggs, fatty ocean fish, fortified cereals and milks, mushrooms, and I once read that free-range pork rinds have the highest levels of Vitamin D of any food available–more than ocean fish even. The pigs need to have spent a lot of time outdoors under the sun though, wherein is the rub.
Sadly, I haven’t been able to find any pork rinds that are labeled as ‘free range’. A shame, really.
Like pigs, I don’t do well with confinement indoors. Diet isn’t enough–I also need to be outside; and I need to live in the light!!