Mood

Did We Wake Up with an Antidepressant Deficiency or What?

  • Do you struggle with “low” moods or have been diagnosed with depression?

  • Do you find yourself feeling irritable and short-tempered?

  • Do you fluctuate between low moods and feelings of anxiety?

  • Does your mood seem to get worse during rainy and winter months?

  • Do your moods coincide with digestive upset?

  • Do your moods fluctuate according to your menstrual cycle?

  • Do you use food, alcohol or other substances to self-medicate your moods?

Changes in mood are a part of life. Things happen; we feel it. But chronic mood imbalances are certainly not normal and your genes, what you eat, take, think and do can impact your moods greatly.

Antidepressant drugs round out the top 4 drug classes prescribed behind Levothyroxine, Lipid lowering medications and cardiovascular agents in 2014. In fact antidepressant drug sales have increased 4oo% from 1988 to 2012. That’s a lot of depressed people, not to mention those who feel anxious or irritable or just plain blue.

How Can I Naturally Influence My Mood?

I’ve seen many of my clients dramatically improve their mood by cleaning up their diet and supporting their unique biochemistry with precision nutrition:

  • Removed common reactive foods such as gluten and dairy.

  • Replace reactive foods with more nutrient dense foods.

  • Balance eating patterns to keep blood sugar levels stable bringing down cortisol and insulin levels and increasing adiponectin (your fat burning hormone) levels.

  • Repaired their digestive system and removed bad bacteria and fungus from the gut.

  • Supported liver and detoxification to gently remove toxins from their body.

  • Improved hormonal balance, especially adrenal, thyroid and sex hormones by optimizing nutrition and lifestyle that influence the production of these hormones.

  • Uncover genetic mutations and addressed nutrient deficiencies such as low vitamin D, methylated folate, magnesium, vitamin B6 or B12.

How can you easily Influence Your Mood?

  • Get your digestion in order. For more on this topic go to here to read up (link).

  • Maintain blood sugar balance by eating at least 3 meals a day and 1-2 snacks and completing your eating at 7:00 pm.

  • Gently detoxify your body to remove toxins that interfere with your brain and nervous system.

  • Guard your sleep! Improve your sleep and many other energy and mood problems improve.

How to Improve Your Energy Levels

I find that energy levels, sleep and digestive health are closely related. Taking action to resolve issues in these areas usually brings about positive changes in mood.

Don’t underestimate the power of simple changes to your eating and lifestyle as a means of improving your mood – the simple things are almost always the most effective. The first place to start is with your nutrition intake, daily eating habits and digestive health. Without optimizing these, any improvements in energy will be short lived.

What Causes Mood Disruption?

Excluding “life” events and circumstances, many factors may lead to changes in mood. These include:

  • Genetic weakness in metabolizing B vitamins in the methylation pathway can hinder your body’s ability to manage your neurotransmitter levels.

  • Nutrient deficiencies such as amino acids, zinc, copper, B6, B12, B9 and vitamin D can certainly lead to mood disturbances.

  • Blood sugar imbalances can change someone’s mood at the drop of a hat because low blood sugar leads to the production of stress hormones.

  • Hidden food and chemical sensitivities can create mood disturbances by creating excess toxicity and immune responses in your body.

  • Gluten sensitive people often have mood-related issues and neurological symptoms that can include mood disturbance.

  • Vitamins and minerals are needed to run hormone pathways may be deficient.

  • Neurotransmitter imbalances can create mood changes; for example low GABA levels may lead to anxiety and hyperactivity, while low serotonin and dopamine levels may lead to low motivation, blue mood, and feelings of low self-esteem and fulfillment.

  • Hormone imbalances such as low thyroid hormone, low cortisol, or low progesterone and testosterone may create significant mood changes in both men and women.

  • Elevated levels of cortisol your “stress” hormones and adrenaline (epinephrine) can create feelings of anxiety and irritability.

  • When hormones are out of balance in a woman’s body, it’s common to see mood changes in the latter two weeks of her menstrual cycle.

  • Testosterone brings drive and motivation to both men and women. Low levels can result in low moods.

  • Toxins such as heavy metals may interfere with brain and nerve function.

  • Bad gut bacteria balance has shown in studies to induce anxiety in rats – what do you think this does in humans?

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Simple Tests to Evaluate Your Energy and Mood Chemistry

How to Test Your Energy Production
Generally, the lower your energy, the lower or “flatter” the mood or the more likely you will feel “wired and tired!”

These simple measures can be done at home. They are:

  • Your waking temperature subaxial (under the underarm) body temp

  • Your waking pulse

A low morning body temperature may indicate thyroid issues or at the very least a reduced metabolic rate. A low pulse is immediately indicative of a low metabolic rate, which means your body’s energy production is low.

The Limitations of these Home Tests

Unfortunately, when we see low waking axial body temperatures and pulse, we don’t know why your engine is running below speed. But we can tell you are. These two markers can have several common causes:

  • Low thyroid function?

  • Low adrenal function?

  • Low cofactors for hormone production.

  • Nutrient deficiencies such as B vitamins, iron, magnesium, amino acids, carnitine or CoQ10?

In other words, what bad stuff is in your body, and what good stuff is missing or too low?

Organic Acids

A simple urine test done first thing in the morning can tell you whether your serotonin or gaba and dopamine pathways are functioning optimally. Couple this with diurnal salivary cortisol and DHEA levels, you will be armed with the information you need to determine why you have low mood and energy.

Similar tests, organic acids tests, can also evaluate nutrient levels like B-vitamins, and also indicate if your methylation pathway, critical to your making your brain chemistry, is sub-par. You’ll also discover whether your liver is under toxic stress and whether your kidneys are able to clear ammonia from your body. If any of these functions are impaired, your mood may be affected.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D levels are strongly associated with mood as well as immune regulation and cancer risk. Low vitamin D can be related to feeling low during the winter months (so-called “SAD” syndrome). Your body makes vitamin D from sunlight exposure, so in the winter months you’re not likely to make as much of this important nutrient. In fact, almost everyone tested has low vitamin D even when they live in sunny climates. 98% of my clients have low levels of vitamin D unless they are taking a supplement. In addition, methylation pathway mutations at the VDR (vitamin D receptor) genes can increase the need for additional vitamin D.

Let’s Talk about Stress Baby! The Adrenal Hormones

Your adrenal glands are the size of your thumbnail and sit atop each kidney. They primarily help your body respond to stress, and their hormones – cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline can affect energy production in a significant way.

Excessive cortisol levels can cause anxiety and poor sleep quality, whereas low cortisol is more likely to result in low moods and a wired and tired feeling all the time (though people can also feel anxious when cortisol is low, as well as high).

Sex/Reproductive Hormones

Progesterone, testosterone and estrogen are important “mood” hormones in both men and women. Imbalances between these hormones are common, especially if you have imbalances in thyroid or adrenal hormones.

Progesterone is calming and relaxing, and helps with staying asleep. It promotes energy production in your body. Anxiety may result from low progesterone levels.

Estrogen levels is the feminizing hormone and has to be in balance with progesterone to maintain optimal mood and memory. Estrogen, however, can mood crushing when it’s present in high amounts, and may suppress thyroid function and cellular energy production and cause weight gain – a instigator of low mood in itself.

Low testosterone in both men and women can result in low mood, low motivation, poor exercise resilience, lack of confidence and sex drive, while elevated testosterone may cause irritable moods and aggressive behavior, amongst other symptoms.

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