We can all reflect on times that we wish we had just a little more energy. This is most often felt by people that are extremely busy or even unwell. Up until now it remains a mystery as to why, and it’s often dismissed as over exertion. There is an Australian Nutritionist that has been working on some very intense study in this space that really looks at this in an entirely different way. 

Mark Richardson explains that he has been diving deep into Autonomic nervous systems’ influence on nutrition. The Autonomic function in very basic terms has two branches. The first branch being the sympathetic that allows us to access energy to protect ourselves in danger. The other is the parasympathetic that allows us to rest and repair our bodies. 

I think that we understand this is not a yin and yang and these two branches do not need to be in balance. Mark began looking at this role in illness, where the system would often become polarised and by that I mean either sympathetic or parasympathetic dominant. This began to demonstrate how the two systems could act independently, at the same time. 

It sounds weird to be excited and relaxed at the same time, but I’m sure we have all heard the term “wired and tired” especially people who have trouble sleeping after a big day. That can be referred to as over-sensitisation and it also fits within this model. 

As Mark explains further that some very different processes transpire as a result of both branches of the nervous system being active at the same time. In that complexity the understanding was developed that once you applied nutrition in relation to the state of the nervous system, a new digestive ease was uncovered. This has so many positive outcomes when looking at people who do not have the ability to easily shift from one state to the other. 

Diving in deeper this Aussie nutritionist was able to display actions that brought anxiety and in some cases depression simply by miss- matching the food with the nervous system. This was later reproduced in a provocation study. 

Learning more about this, it started to become clear that this was also a great approach to peak performance. Mark laughs as he applies peak performance to global investors, entrepreneurs as well as athletes. 

He believes that the application is universal to match the nutrition to the nervous system state, rather than current applications of just letting the body try to adapt. The original model was simply designed around a subset of illness and autonomic instability. However, in some ways we begin to understand that people are already doing this.

As we wind down in the evening with a glass of wine, waking up to coffee in the morning or eating sugar to get through the day, that is more about driving the nervous system towards one state. This new understanding is promoting ease within both systems by providing the type of nutrition that the body is preparing for. 

I asked Mark to explain a little more about other impacts of this application. It was quite intriguing how he began to demonstrate that overfueling in the wrong state would bring anxiety to one branch and mismatching the other branch would promote an energy crash. 

My mind began to open with excitement as I considered all of the applications and possibilities. Thinking about things like Chronic Fatigue type issues and even how tired I often feel after lunch or the apparent random onet of brain fog. 

I’m really looking forward to catching up with Mark in the future for another chat as we watch this space unfold in Nutrition. 

Facebook: Mark Richardson Nutritionist