FOOD AS MEDICINE SERIES
Foods and neurotransmitters
Much of the information in this pamphlet is referenced from “Younger (thinner) you diet” by Eric R. Braverman M.D.
We will be covering four key neurotransmitters and the foods that help bring a better balance. Each section will cover, and symptoms when these neurotransmitters are low and the most common actions these have in your body and brain.
With low dopamine-you feel depleted. It takes more time and effort to get things done, your concentration may wonder, you’re thinking and decision-making may not be as quick. You may sleep a little longer but still wake up tired. You search for stimulants like coffee or caffeinated beverages just to get you going. You’re prone to addictions. Dopamine controls feelings of bliss and pleasure, euphoric, appetite control, controlled motor movements, feel focused.
Dopamine builder-tyrosine-rich foods include: beef, chicken, cottage cheese (low-fat), duck, eggs, granola, oat flakes, ricotta cheese, Turkey, wheat germ, whole milk, wild game, and yogurt. Spices that increase dopamine: Basil, black pepper, cayenne, cumin, fennel, flaxseed, garlic, mustard seed, rosemary, savory, sesame seeds, tarragon, turmeric. Supplements that boost dopamine-tyrosine, phenylalanine, rhodiola Rosa, B1, chromium, folic acid, yohimbine, methionine, vitamin D, magnesium, phosphatidylserine. Dopamine enhancing hormones:– testosterone/estrogen, vasopressin, DHEA, thyroid, cortisol, HGH, erythropoietin, calcitonin, insulin, TRH.
Acetylcholine-deficiency include memory lapses, increasing paranoia, frequent urination and bowel movements, sexual dysfunction, as well as dry skin and dry mouth. With advanced deficiencies you will find yourself avoiding contact with others. Your ability to get into a routine it’s totally out of hand, and you can’t manage your daily schedule. Acetylcholine effects alertness, memory, sexual performance, appetite control, release of growth hormone.
Acetylcholine foods: choline foods-Almonds, beef, blueberries, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, caviar, celery, chicken, cod roe, coffee, eggs, flava beans, fish, grape juice, hazelnuts, lettuce, oranges, peanuts, soybeans, tofu, wheat germ. liver, milk, and wheat germ.
Memory spices: allspice, basil, cumin, peppermint, sage, thyme, turmeric. Acetylcholine boosting hormones: HGH, arginine vasopressin, DHEA, calcitonin, parathyroid, estrogen. Nutrients that augment acetylcholine: choline, DMA E., acetyl l-carnitine, phosphatidylserine, fish oils, glycerol phosphorylcholine, piracetam (derivative of GABA).
GABA, GABA aminobutyric acid-with low GABA you can feel anxious, overwhelmed, unwell, and even shaky. That’s why migraines, mood swings, sleep problems, anxiety, pain and panic attacks are related to GABA imbalance. Your sleep can be disturbed by night sweats. You might even experience occasional dizzy spells, clammy hands, or forget what your best friend ask you to do for her. Severe drops will cause your day to end with tasks left undone. Meanwhile your constant anxiety accelerates weight gain and oppression and can cause you to withdraw completely from your work, your community, and your family. GABA has an anti-stress, anti-anxiety, anti-panic, anti-pain effect and causes you to feel calm, maintain control, focus.
Glutamine foods for GABA: beans, brand, brown rice, cassava (yuca), corn, high fiber breakfast cereals, lentils, whole milk, peas, root vegetables (carrots, beats, rutabagas, turnips), whole wheat or wheat breads, yams (sweet potatoes),, dairy products, fish, meat, poultry.
Boost GABA with vitamin B foods: bananas, beans, beef liver, beats, broccoli, cantaloupe, pigs grapefruit, halibut, kale, lentils, mangoes and nuts notes oranges a spinach wheat and wheat bran.
De-stressing spices: Caraway, cardamom, cilantro cinnamon, cloves, coriander, lemongrass, oregano paprika, poppy seeds
GABA hormones: progesterone pregnenolone GHRH oxytocin
Serotonin, the brain chemical allows you to experience pleasure and feel good about yourself. Deficiency can cause suspicion, being self-absorbed, and being a rule breaker. Promotes and improves sleep, improves self esteem, relieves depression, diminishes craving, prevents agitated depression and worrying.
Serotonin foods through tryptophan: Avocado, chicken, chocolate, cottage cheese, duck, eggs granola, wholemeal, rolled oats, Turkey, wheat germ, yogurt.
Serotonin spices: saffron, marjoram, peppermint , spearmint, dill, nutmeg, licorice, turmeri, cinnamand fennel
Serotonin boosters: vitamin D melatonin 5-hydroxytryptophan, B6, fish oils, magnesium, sceletium tortuosum, fucoxanthin, acetyl l-carnitine, DHEA, phenylalanine, SAMe, L-tryptophan, St. John’s wort.
Serotonin enhancing hormones: progesterone, human growth hormone, pregnenolone, leptin, aldosterone For ideas on how to combine these foods, herbs and spices I refer you to Dr. Braverman’s book. He gives several ideas and recipes to combine these foods in your diet.
At Keefe Clinic we offer urine and saliva testing for hormones and neurotransmitters to help determine your levels. We also offer a simple questionnaire to help identify which of these four neurotransmitters you might have an issue with. But the lab test offers a complete profile on your neurotransmitters.