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Help for Neurotransmitter Deficiencies
This past few years has been really tough on everyone. With the many things many have been vigilant about and think we have been handling social distancing, wearing masks, and not going outside as much as normal really well, there is still a collective trauma that has taken place.
It is safe to say that our brain has been in a "fear state" for quite some time from constant terrible news in the media, an illusionary divide created on social media platforms that occasionally show up in real life, and also from always seeing people with their faces covered up for over a year now. Not to mention you may be experiencing other microtraumas frequently like stress, poor diet, lack of movement, toxic personal products, overuse of medications, alcohol, self-doubt, lack of community, shame, not being heard, etc.
Though you may not have noticed, these microtraumas that we experience daily are chipping away at our mental health and energy. Think of your healthy brain full of sufficient neurotransmitters to optimally regulate your mood as a bucket of water. The bucket is full of water, but every time you experience a microtrauma, a tiny hole gets punched in your brain bucket. One little hole is no big deal, but eventually, you have thousands of tiny holes in your bucket and the water leaks out faster and faster with each hole.
I am going to share some tips on how to patch these holes AND fill your bucket back up. I will be focusing on how to fill your brain bucket back up with serotonin, dopamine, and GABA.
I listed what a deficiency of each of these neurotransmitters looks like and foods that contain the amino acid precursors for that neurotransmitter in my previous email - Meet Your Neurotransmitters. Check that email to see if any of those deficiency symptoms sound like what you are currently experiencing.
How to improve serotonin production:
Stress zaps serotonin production because your brain quickly uses up serotonin supplies to try to keep you calm. Having a solid morning routine without your phone around can help reduce stress for the rest of the day.
Serotonin production is stimulated by light, so it is imperative that we get enough light during the day. Exposure to natural light also helps you sleep better because serotonin is converted into melatonin when the sun goes down and helps us get a good night of sleep.
Exercise and oxygen are key factors in boosting serotonin production because while our muscles rebuild, they call on a diverse range of amino acids to be sent to them for repair. But, the precursor amino acid to serotonin production, tryptophan, is not used for muscle rebuilding, so when all the other amino acids get sent to the muscles, tryptophan will be sent directly to the brain. This is that positive feeling we get post workout, sometimes referred to as a "runner's high." On top of all this, heavy breathing during exercise increases oxygen levels in the blood and allows serotonin to be made more efficiently.
Aim to exercise outdoors at least 3x per week for this serotonin boost!
And finally low thyroid and suboptimal adrenal function can cause a serotonin deficiency. I already mentioned that the adrenal cocktail can be helpful for restoring adrenal function and lowering stress, but magnesium is also very important for thyroid function.
How to improve dopamine production:
The great news is that lowering stress and exercising can help improve the production of dopamine in the brain!
The BIG thing to look into when addressing low dopamine production, which typically impacts your ability to focus and feel motivated, is low thyroid function.
How to improve GABA production:
One amazing food you can add to your diet to improve production of GABA and reduce stress is collagen. Collagen contains an amino acid called glycine that can help relax our muscles and us!
Recovering the adrenals by eating protein + carbs +fat every 3-4 hours throughout the day, focusing on gentle exercise like walking (outside is best), engaging in activities that bring you daily joy, and staying off media that makes you feel fearful or anxious.
If you missed it : Meet Your Neurotransmitters