The New Deal: Hormonal Imbalance? Whether peoples’ appetites need suppressing, sleep initiated, weight loss induced, energy gained, or contraceptive organs ignited, people continue to use hormones (other than their own) for the answers. But, Is there a better way?
We were each born with a unique biochemistry. This biochemistry brings us great harmony in our lives when balanced, and can cause disruption when imbalanced. Our biochemistry is greatly influenced by tiny chemical messengers called hormones and neurotransmitters.
Our body maintains homeostasis with the help of the central nervous system (through neurotransmitters), endocrine system (through hormones) and our amazing immune system (through antibodies and specialized cells). Hormones and neurotransmitters are two separate chemical messengers, with some molecules acting as both hormones and neurotransmitters. When a neurotransmitter is running low, we see hormones coming to bat for our health. Thus, if we can balance our neurotransmitters, our hormones can often regain balance!
Neurotransmitters transmit signals from one neuron to a target cell across a synapse. From one neuron to another, these tiny chemicals transport trillions of commands across the seas of synapse throughout your body each minute. These sparks tell your heart to beat, lungs to breathe, stomach to digest, body to rest, and can affect your mood, your concentration, and your weight.
The brain is only able to divide and make new cells (neurogenesis) during fetal development and for a few months after birth, with only one exception. The hippocampus is the only area of the brain where neurogenesis has been shown to continue throughout our lifetime. This is where memory encoding and storage is shown to happen. Thank GOODNESS for that! The brain cells that produce our neurotransmitters are built to last a lifetime. We MUST take care of them to keep them sparking!
The average human brain has around 100 billion neurons (nerve cells) and many more neuroglia (glial cells) which support the billions of neurons. Each neuron can form links with up to 10 thousand other neurons at one time. With a typical neuron being able to fire 5-50 times a second, we can create up to 1,000 trillion synaptic connections a second! Talk about spark!
Neurotransmitters generally fall into two categories: Inhibitory and Excitatory. Excitatory neurotransmitters are what stimulate your brain. Inhibitory neurotransmitters calm the brain and balance your mood. When your excitatory neurotransmitters get too excited, or overactive, it depletes the inhibitory transmitters. Example: When I present, my brain seems to go through a millions thoughts per minute, (Dopamine at work) and when I am done – CRASH. GABA all used up! Karen crawls into bed……with a salad and asparagus….and a BioMat!
Stress, poor diet, biocides, neurotoxins, drugs (recreational and prescription), alcohol, dissolved solids in our water supply, endocrine disruptors such as xenoestrogen, cholesterol lowering medications, and caffeine usage can cause neurotransmitter levels to be depleted. A staggering 86% of Americans have suboptimal neurotransmitter levels. Personally I believe all dis-ease is neurotransmitter related.
At a very young age, I became GABA deficient. My parents did not know, and the doctors didn’t know, as little study was being done on our “sparks”. My childhood and young adult life were speckled with seizers. Epilepsy was the title given to the dis-ease, along with three medications. My involvement in natural health when I was 20 lead me on a course where I was able to increase my GABA levels with food, and completely reverse my epilepsy. I am happily seizure free now for almost 30 years!
Many people are born with neurotransmitter imbalances, which often lead to a host of complications. Today I will focus on four of our neurotransmitters: Dopamine (DA), Acetylcholine (Ach), Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and Serotonin (5-HT). Each of us make these neurotransmitters, and we each have a dominant neurotransmitter. We also may have a deficiency in one, or all. Listed below you will find traits of those well balanced, and symptoms of deficiency. There is a free test available at our website if you are unaware of your levels. The creators of the test are brain surgeons and neuro scientists. You can also take a urine test if you have access.
Dopamine: Dopamine is both an excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitter. Dopamine can help with depression as well as increase focus. 17% of the population is dopamine dominant. When balanced one is: motivated, tireless, fast on their feet, self-confident, highly rational, more comfortable with facts than emotions, focuses intently, strategic thinking, masterminding, inventing, problem solving, envisioning, functions under stress. Symptoms of depletion:blues, insomnia, poor focus, forgetfulness, Schizophrenia, Parkinson’s, social anxiety, drug abuse, ADD, MS, depression, PMS, and more. It was Arvid Carlsson who discovered that the precursor to dopamine (called L-dopa) could alleviate some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s, and was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2000 for this work. Drugs like cocaine, opium, heroin, nicotine, alcohol and medication for ADD/ADHD increase the levels of dopamine. BUT stimulating dopamine can actually lead to the depletion of dopamine.
Acetylcholine: Acetylcholine is most often excitatory, but can become inhibitory depending upon the receptor on the adjoining cell. Acetylcholine is responsible for much of the stimulation of muscles. When balanced one is: highly creative, quick thinker, social, works with senses, authentic, adventurous, romantic, optimistic, creative, spontaneous, intuitive, enjoys anything involving words, ideas, and communication. Symptoms of depletion: panic disorder, bipolar disorder, hyper/hypo thyroidism, hyperglycemia, ADD, narcolepsy, diabetes, muscle pain, Alzheimer’s, and more. Doctors find up to a 90% loss of acetylcholine in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s. Side note: plant poisons such as curare and hemlock cause paralysis by blocking the acetylcholine receptor sites in muscle cells. Another poison, botulin, has a derivative that is used by millions to temporarily eliminate wrinkles – Botox. Goodness me! Purposely inhibiting our acetylcholine…
Gamma-Amino Butyric acid (GABA): GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. GABA acts as the emergency brake for the excitatory neurotransmitters that lead to nervousness or anxiety. 50% of the population is GABA dominant. GABA contributes to motor control, vision, and many cortical functions. When balanced one is: Stable, consistent, prompt, social, calm, objective, levelheaded, practical, organized, focused, team player, sensible, believes in traditions and institutions. Symptoms of depletion: dizziness, phobias, tinnitus, severe heart arrhythmia, migraines, violent temper, facial pains, tachycardia, anxiety disorders, epilepsy, Huntington’s disease, and more.
Serotonin: Serotonin is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that is strongly involved in emotion and mood. Serotonin resynchronizes the brain while sleeping so you wake with a fresh start. If you have a serotonin dominance, you are among 17% of the population. When balanced one is: responsive to sensory input, thrives on change, physically coordinated, resourceful, great at trouble-shooting, love excitement, passionate, cheerful, optimistic, easygoing, intensely loyal, love independence. Symptoms of depletion: vaginal dryness, IBS, delayed sexual response, insomnia, loner behaviors, RA, alcoholism, sleeping disorders, depression, anger control, obsessive-compulsive disorder, suicide, increased appetite for carbohydrates, migraines, fibromyalgia, use of hallucinatory drugs, and more.
There are numerous ways to clean our blood and cell receptor sites so our nervous system can communicate with its neurotransmitters again, and for endocrine organs to start producing enough hormones, but that may be another article!
It is my hope to inspire you and your clients to re-establish hormonal and neurotransmitter balance naturally. There are foods and supplements that can increase each of our neurotransmitters. Likewise, there are foods that act as kryptonite for each as well. If I may add my political opinion, The Third “New Deal” should be bringing balance to our lives, communities, and governments through natural health!
Sorry, I am not running for president…
Hmmm…….. my Dopamine mind is thinking about that!
Enjoy your sparks!
Karen Urbanek, HHP
Author, Motivator, TV Host, and MOM!
Amazing Health? It’s a Cell Thing!