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Columns : Radiant Health - Angelika Christie Last Updated: Feb 6, 2017 - 2:32:04 PM

If you have anxiety and stress... Your brain chemicals may be out of balance
By Angelika Christie, ND
Oct 8, 2009 - 1:02:23 PM

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I've previously told you about the importance of amino acids. The balance of your brain, including your mood, is dependent on four major amino acids:

Dopamine, Acetylcholine, GABA and Serotonin.

The following is a quick description of these:Dopamine gives your brain the 'firing power'. If your brain produces enough Dopamine, you feel energized, alert and aware of what is going on around you.

So let us just say that Dopamine provides you with brainpower. Acetylcholine makes you smarter.

It is the speed at which your brain can process information that Acetylcholine provides.

Let me give you an illustration with a common object like a car: if you are high in Acetylcholine, you have a Ferrari in your garage. But if you are low in Dopamine, you don't have the right fuel to make your Ferrari run like a Ferrari.

Without enough Dopamine, your Ferrari runs on maybe four cylinders...what a flop!

I will go into more detail about the above two brain chemicals, which are amino acids, in my next article.

Today I want to tell you a bit about the other two vital brain regulators: Gaba and Serotonin.

You may have already heard about Serotonin; it is also called the "feeling happy" brain chemical.

Yes, the brain creates happiness. So you see, you don't need anybody to 'make you happy'; you have the stuff already within your body, your brain.

Runners know about what is called a 'runner's high' which is nothing more than a wave of Serotin in surging through the brain and body.

When your Serotonin is high, your day will be flowing beautifully and your mood is elevated; nothing seems impossible.

Your left brain hemisphere (logic) and your right brain hemisphere (creativity) are connecting and communicating beautifully.

Serotonin is also responsible for your vision and cravings and, just as important, your sleep. When you are low in Serotonin you feel disconnected, fearful, emotionally out of control, overtired and generally unhappy.

But there is even more damage that a low Serotonin level inflicts on your body. When both sides of your brain are out of sync (not communicating properly), depression is quite likely.

You just do not handle life's challenges well. A very low Serotonin is a major age-accelerator.

The list of symptoms that low Serotonin triggers is very long and includes: constant fatigue, low sex drive, difficulty in concentrating, irritability, lack of motivation, feeling unsociable, indecisiveness, fears and thought of disease, death and dying, amongst many others.

Obsessive Compulsive Dis-orders (OCD) is often diagnosed in people with low Serotonin.

Depressed, or generally unhappy people always look and act older because they are aging faster. The best way to activate your natural Serotonin is to get a good night's sleep.

You need seven hours of good sleep to up-regulate your Serotonin. Going to bed at the same time (before midnight) and sleeping in a dark room without any stimulation through TV, Computers or other electronic gadgets is paramount.

In the night your brain will re-synchronize and rejuvenate itself; it is the cheapest vacation you can give yourself. Why? Because when you had a good night's sleep you wake up feeling great and it continues throughout the day. Isn't this what a vacation should accomplish?

There are many ways to boost your mood, which can be accomplished through supplementation with amino acids and other nutrients including natural hormone balancing.

Other beneficial activities are Yoga, Meditation, therapeutic breathing and just enjoying your work, family activities, friends and your hobbies.

For further instruction on specific diets, supplements and activities, get the advice and support of a qualified health care professional.

Let me say a bit about the other anxiety and pain controlling brain amino acid, which is GABA.

This brain chemical acts like a pendulum, keeping a calm steady rhythm within all the other brain chemicals.

So GABA is somewhat of a stabilizer because it is directly involved in how you handle the stress in your life. GABA works together with Serotonin to keep you in balance.

GABA does even more. If it is lacking, your brain sends a signal to produce more Cortisol, which is a major stress hormone.

As your stress and anxiety grows, your body experiences pain everywhere. Some typical symptoms for low levels of GABA include: panic attacks, excessive worry, headaches, high startle response, muscle tension, fatigue, sleep problems, weight gain, attention deficit (AD), rapid heart beat, Hypertension, digestive problems, diarrhoea, heartburn, cardiac arrhythmias, and a greater danger for heart attacks.

Just like before, you can do a lot with natural remedies and lifestyle changes to increase, or balance GABA in your brain.

Did you know that your brain is the most important part of your body? The brain controls everything; it is your hardware, just like in a computer.

Nothing works without the direction of your brain. My question is: How well do you care for your brain?

There is so much more to say about Serotonin and GABA, but the space here is limited.

Call me and we can discuss this further.

In my next article I will tell you a bit about the other two important brain chemicals, which are: Acetylcholine and Dopamine, which control the speed and power of your ability to think and process information, including your IQ. You may ask: is there a way to make my kids or myself smarter? The answer is: Yes. Find out more next week.

Angelika Christie ND is the managing director of Radiant Health Centre. Email her at radianthealth1@mac.com or www.radianthealthcenterbahamas.com

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