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Lesson 3:

How to Balance Neurotransmitters

In Lesson 2 we learned that many factors can cause a neurotransmitter deficiencies. In this lesson we will review some ways we can increase and balance neurotransmitter levels.

Help! I have low neurotransmitter levels - what can I do?

Don't worry - advances in science have made it possible to increase neurotransmitter levels. Here are some of the different approaches you can take:

Traditional Medicine Treatments

As recently as the l970’s the neuro-chemical pathways of the brain were not very well understood. There was very little in the way of successful treatments for mood disturbances. Electroconvulsive or “shock” therapy (ECT) was about the only effective treatment for resistant severe depression. We were unaware then of exactly how this therapy worked but now realize ECT works by artificially shocking neurotransmitters out of neurons. This flood of neurotransmitters results in marked improvement of depression.

Advancements in neurochemistry in the l980’s fortunately lead to the discovery and understanding of many more neurotransmitters and their mechanisms of action. Now in a new era of neuropharmacology, more options for treatment are available and researchers continue to develop even better ones.

The most commonly prescribed medications for abnormal moods (dysphoria) are the serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, called SRI’s. These include: Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor, Serafem, Serzone, Celexa and Lexapro. SRI’s prevent serotonin from reabsorbing back into storage vesicles. More serotonin then stays in the synapse, reattaching to receptors and stimulating more neurons.

Alternative Medicine Treatments

Many alternative methods aimed at raising neurotransmitter levels have been widely used with reportedly good success, especially in Asia and Europe. These include acupuncture, hypnosis, massage, reflexology, meditation, yoga and herbal remedies. Neurotransmitter measurements of meditating Tibetan monks, showed increased levels of serotonin, the “serenity” messenger. With scientific data like this now supporting the benefits of these ancient treatments, more Western medical disciplines are becoming convinced and integrating them into their practices.

Nutritional Ways to Support Neurotransmitters

Neurotransmitter health must be maintained with a balanced diet that includes adequate amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fats. No food group can be eliminated since they are all critical for proper neurotransmitter production and function. Dietary neurotoxins, like excess caffeine, nicotine and alcohol decrease production and should be avoided.

Protein

Most neurotransmitters are made from protein or its subunits, amino acids. Eating adequate amounts of dietary protein is critical. The average person requires 40-70 grams (up to 90 grams for a very active athlete) of protein daily.

Serotonin originates from the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is the least common amino acid in food. It is also the most difficult to absorb into the brain. These make serotonin synthesis more difficult. Although tryptophan is mainly found in fish, meat, dairy products, eggs, nuts and wheat germ, eating these does not substantially increase serotonin. This is because these foods contain other amino acids that compete with tryptophan for absorption. Tryptophan “loses out” to the other amino acids.

Surprisingly, eating carbohydrates raises serotonin levels but eating protein decreases serotonin levels. Carbohydrates cause an insulin response that favors tryptophan absorption over other amino acids. This explains why many people who need more serotonin (like being overly-stressed or depressed) start to “self-medicate” by eating more sweets or starchy carbohydrates. As tryptophan absorption rises, so will serotonin production.

Studies from Harvard, MIT and Oxford medical universities demonstrate that women on high protein/very low carbohydrate diets lower their serotonin levels, making them more prone to weight gain relapse, depression, excessive craving, bingeing, bulimia, severe PMS and seasonal affective disorder.

Dopamine is made from the amino acid tyrosine. Eating high protein foods promote dopamine production. Tyrosine is abundant and is found in chicken, fish, dairy products, almonds, avocados, bananas, legumes, soy products, pumpkin and sesame seeds.

Carbohydrates

Dietary carbohydrates play a critical role in brain health. Women, especially, are vulnerable to how carbohydrates affect their moods. Serotonin, the main neurotransmitter for mood and appetite regulation, depends on carbohydrates for synthesis.

Dr. Judith Wurtman from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has published many articles linking serotonin deficiency conditions to low dietary carbohydrate intake. Women normally have one third less serotonin than men. Diets that severely restrict carbohydrates will result in even lower serotonin levels. Dr. Wurtman found that women on high protein/very low carbohydrate diets were at greater risk for depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), carbohydrate crave/binge disorder and severe premenstrual syndrome.

Dietary Fat

About two thirds of our brain is made of fat (lipids). Lipids are incorporated into the brain cell walls promoting membrane flexibility and strength. A filmy fat layer covers the branches of neurons allowing proper electrical transmission of brain signals.

Most lipids can be made directly by the body. But two lipids can come only from food. These fats are called essential fatty acids (EFA). The cell membranes of neurons are made from the essential fatty acids: alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) and linoleic acid (LA).

Alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) belongs to the “omega-3” fatty acid family. Main food sources of omega-3 ALA include flax seeds, walnuts, sea plants and green leafy vegetables.

Linoleic acid (LA) belongs to the “omega-6” fatty acid family. LA is found in the oils of seeds and nuts. Main food sources of omega 6 LA include expeller cold-pressed sunflower, safflower, corn and sesame oils.

The most abundant fat in the brain is DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), an omega-3 fatty acid. Good dietary sources of DHA come from high-fat, cold water fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and trout. DHA made from microalgae is also available in supplement capsules.

Dietary Supplement Method:

Neurotransmitter Precursor Therapy

Dietary corrections are important for restoring healthy brain function, but may not be enough to correct a significant neurotransmitter deficiency. Foods vary in their concentrations of amino acids and intestinal absorption can be unpredictable. The amount of protein needed to replace depleted neurotransmitters is not practical, nor healthy. For example, one would have to eat a 32-ounce steak or 3-dozen eggs every day to keep up with the amount of amino acids needed to improve PMS symptoms caused by low neurotransmitter levels.

Practical ways to naturally increase neurotransmitters with dietary supplements are now being utilized. A new class of supplements, neuro-nutraceuticals (such as CraniYums), has shown remarkable results. This method provides the brain with adequate amounts of basic building blocks (neurotransmitter precursors) needed for neurotransmitter production. Recently published studies support the validity of using supplements to raise neurotransmitter levels*. Laboratory measurements and clinical studies have documented predictable rises in neurotransmitter levels and symptom improvements.

Advantages of CraniYums™ Dissolving Lozenges

  • Clinically proven to safely increase levels of dopamine and serotonin at doses recommended.*
  • Patent-pending formulas developed by a medical physician for her clinic patients.
  • USP and equivalent pharmaceutical grade products guarantee purity, dose, and potency.
  • Direct, immediate delivery to the brain through the oral membranes (sublingual) improves symptoms faster and at lower doses than pill form supplements.
  • Dissolvable route bypasses digestion, eliminating time constraints around meals.
  • Sublingual absorption minimizes stomach and intestinal upset commonly experienced with capsule or tablet forms.
  • Delicious tasting lozenges do not affect blood sugar levels and are safe for diabetics. Does not promote dental decay.

Combining Therapies

Combined use of prescription medications like SRI’s with neurotransmitter precursor therapy has shown therapeutic advantages in current studies. Adding the dietary precursors boosts production of neurotransmitters while the medications allow more efficient use of them. This combined treatment approach may permit lowering of medication doses. Individuals are advised however, not to attempt reducing, adjusting or discontinuing their medications without first consulting with their physician.

There have been some reports of serious serotonin reactions in individuals taking tryptophan supplements with certain antidepressants. Medical advice is recommended before using any supplement with a prescription medication.

In Lesson 4 we will examine the medical doctor who developed the CraniYums supplements...

Lesson 4 - The Dr behind CraniYums


Information Guide on Neurotransmitters and CraniYums
Introduction to CraniYums
Lesson 1 - The role of neurotransmitters
Lesson 2 - What leads to neurotransmitter deficiency?
Lesson 3 - How to balance neurotransmitters
Lesson 4 - The Dr behind CraniYums
Lesson 5 - Clinical studies on CraniYums
Take the test - do you have a neurotransmitter deficiency?
FAQs on CraniYums

Order CraniYums Products


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Copyright 2007, Power Discovery, LLC
* Please consult with a health care professional before starting any supplementation program. The information contained on this site is general in nature and PowerSupplements, LLC does not take any responsibility for any errors that may appear. PowerSupplements, LLC has made every attempt to make the information as accurate as possible, however, we do not warrant its accuracy. Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication.

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