Research suggests it’s possible to reduce anger, anxiety, addictive behaviors, and much more—with foods and supplements.
We’ve all heard the expression “You are what you eat.” But if emerging research is any indication, it might be more accurate to say, “Who we are is what we eat.” It turns out, what we take in—whether food, liquid, or supplement—is a factor in both our moment-to-moment moods and even our long-term self-perceptions and relationships with others. It can encourage (or prevent) the playing-out of inherited predispositions such as motivation, outgoingness, over-sensitivity, and compulsiveness. Because nutrition dominates neurological and hormonal influences on the brain, it can affect countless behavior patterns that most view as character-driven.
Is Your Real Personality Under Siege?
Life is full of emotional responses to real circumstances. But if feelings or behaviors such as low moods or negative reactions to stress become increasingly common, prolonged, or magnified, there may be more at play. Over time, poor nutrition can cause emotional and physical changes that can come to define your personality and even your success in life.
If your feeling more chronically stressed, distracted, obsessed, or bored than in the past, or thoughts that are more focused on food, drink, drugs, shopping, or gambling for a “lift” or to relax or sleep. Could preventing unwelcome behaviors be as simple as changing your diet and taking strategic supplements?
Nutrition and Neurochemicals
Every mood—even if it’s in response to a real situation— is moderated by neurotransmitters including epinephrine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. All are profoundly influenced by nutrition.
In the 1980s, neuroscientist Kenneth Blum and his research team identified what they called reward deficiency syndrome (RDS). In RDS, low levels of “pleasure” neurotransmitters like dopamine drive compulsive behaviors, depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, and antisocial, addictive, and even criminal behaviors—and can influence food, drink, and other choices. RDS is genetically influenced, but Blum’s studies found that nutrition is also a factor. Blum identified amino acids, B vitamins, and other nutrients that help restore “short circuits” in brain function, often normalizing mood and cognitive issues, and relieving the drive to use sugar, alcohol, caffeine, painkillers, or other Band-aid fixes. It was a stroke of luck 25 years ago when I picked up the amino acid L-tyrosine to help my thyroid, and some probiotics and fish oil for my eczema (not knowing they would also help heal my own RDS and transform my moods).
Sugar and Mood
Sugar is everywhere. It’s a legal drug that can create lifelong addicts out of healthy children and cause a myriad of behavioral issues (not to mention equally distressing health decline). Reactive hypoglycemia refers to the classic “sugar crash” (low blood sugar that occurs after a “sugar high”). This reaction has been correlated with low serotonin (a key neurotransmitter linked to well-being), and shown to bring on symptoms including depression, anxiety, irritability, confusion, and exhaustion. On the more serious end of the spectrum, hypoglycemia has been linked to phobias, self-isolation, suicidal thoughts, rage, and violence. An infamously brutal tribe in Peru was found to have extremely high rates of hypoglycemia.
Alcohol can have the same effect. Low blood sugar following alcohol consumption has been correlated with violent crimes. Virtually all addicts, including many alcoholics, are hypoglycemic. Interestingly, when hypoglycemia was treated nutritionally in one study, 71 percent of alcoholics became sober.
The Microbiome and Mood
The microbiome is the inner bacterial ecosystem within each of us. Our bacteria outnumber our own human cells nearly 10-fold. Beyond the well-known digestive and immune-stabilizing impact of healthy gut flora balance are stunning new revelations regarding mood and behavior. The National Institutes of Health’s Human Microbiome Project, launched in 2007, has resulted in game-changing findings about bacterial impacts on human psychology. Most incredibly, it was discovered that bacteria not only synthesize the same neurochemicals that drive our thoughts and behaviors, such as serotonin and dopamine, but they also communicate with the brain via those chemicals. Imagine that!
A recent flurry of studies, mostly on rodents, show beneficial bacteria’s therapeutic effects on depression, autism, repetitive behaviors, anxiety, and more. One of the most fascinating of these studies showed that calm mice that were fed fecally-derived bacteria from anxious mice became anxious. Want to guess what happened when anxious mice were fed bacteria from calm mice? You guessed it: they turned into calm mice. A bit surreal isn’t it? Human research is still preliminary, but prescription ‘‘psychobiotics,’’ whereby specialized bacteria will be given to treat psychological disorders of all kinds, may become a reality in the not-too-distant future.
For a quick and easy resolution Moringa is the key. Capsules or powder: