Dr. Nicole Beurkens and I sit down together at the end of the recent Integrative Medicine for Mental Health conference to talk about anxiety and the impact of both low zinc and low GABA. Nicole shares her perspectives on working with children and I share what I see with the adult women I work with. We don’t specifically talk about older adults or men but it’s applicable to everyone.
Dr. Nicole Beurkens PhD, a special educator, clinical psychologist and nutritionist, is author of the new book Life Will Get Better: Simple Solutions for Parents of Children with Attention, Anxiety, Mood and Behavior Challenges
In case you’re new to my community, this is my book: The Antianxiety Food Solution: How the Foods You Eat Can Help You Calm Your Anxious Mind, Improve Your Mood, and End Cravings
Here are some of the highlights from our conversation about zinc:
- Zinc is a very common deficiency and can be a contributing factor in both anxiety and ADHD
- Zinc is depleted by sugar consumption, stress and exercise
- Zinc sulfate used as a zinc challenge is one way to determine your zinc status
- Nicole’s response to the zinc challenge: fuzzy, strong yukky taste – which means good zinc levels
- Most people coming to the booth had very little reaction to the zinc challenge – which means low zinc levels
- Level 1, 2, 3 and 4 are used to figure out your zinc status (you can read about the zinc taste test here)
- My response to the zinc challenge: metallic, gross, horrible and I got goosebumps – – which means good zinc levels
- Nicole shares that most of kids and young adults at her clinic have level 1 or level 2 zinc status, and it’s an easy test to do with kids
- Many people at the conference were on zinc and were surprised they were not tasting the zinc sulfate. Other than sugar consumption, stress and exercise, low HCl (stomach acid) can affect your absorption. I also found that many of these folks were on a gluten-free or Paleo or GAPs diet and eating a lot of nuts or using nut flours. Nuts are high in copper and this can counteract the zinc.
- We talk about the importance of good quality zinc supplements and finding a zinc product and multi that is copper-free. Here are the products I recommend.
Then we talk about GABA Calm, a calming amino acid that we both love! Here are some of the highlights from this section:
- It’s a lozenge/sublingual, is easy to take and helps in situations where the anxiety can quickly escalate into panic attacks. Nicole likes the peppermint flavor and finds many of the children and young adults she works with prefer the orange flavor. Personally I also prefer the orange flavor.
- For adults, if you use wine at the end of the day to de-stress, you may be low in GABA and self-medicating, and using something like GABA-Calm often helps.
- Moms will take their GABA Calm with them and use as needed and give to their kids if needed too.
- I share how effective it is for Lyme anxiety and how it can be used instead of benzodiazepines (I interviewed Trish about this on the recent Anxiety Summit)
- GABA Calm can help when you’re on a benzodiazepine and even very severe anxiety or depression can be alleviated with diet and nutrients.
- Nicole shares how common benzodiazepine prescriptions are in teens and young adults; and the issues with dependence and wanting to quit but not being able to. It can sometimes take years to reduce the medications.
- I share about the first World Benzo Awareness Day on July 11 – so many people are in trouble and are not cautioned.
We were both so encouraged being at this conference and seeing so many physicians, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, psychiatric nurse practitioners and others practitioners who are really interested in learning more about these approaches. They are seeing the same issues we see with some of the medications (and not getting to the root cause of anxiety) and they are excited to expand their knowledge base. It’s just so exciting to see the pendulum swinging!
We both really appreciate the Integrative Medicine for Mental Health conference. If you’re a practitioner and haven’t attended it’s a must-attend event. If you were there you know what I mean. It was also super to meet so many of you after my talk and at my booth. If you’re not a practitioner do tell your doctor about it. Save the date for 2017: September 28 – October 1 in Orange County, California.
We did this as a live video feed on Facebook hence the references to posting questions and Facebook. It was also the end of the event and the people next to us were packing boxes and using a lot of tape so apologies for the weird noises.
Feel free to share your results with zinc and GABA Calm and any questions you may have.