Your Brain, Your Mood, Your Food

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Amino Acids
are critical to the formation and functioning of neurotransmitters
which regulate the levels of our brain chemicals and are closely
linked with mood. What we eat has a tremendous effect on our levels
of neurotransmitters and therefore on our mood.

Stress and
nutritional deficiencies alter our brain chemistries and are common
precursors to many illnesses and disorders including depression.

Brain chemicals
associated with our mood include serotonin, catecholemine, gamma-aminobutyric
acid (GABA) and endorphin. When in balance, these neurotransmitters
help us in being alert, optimistic, calm and resourceful. A proper
diet helps us to maintain a good balance; however imbalance can
result from improper diet, poor digestion, stress, prescription
drugs, and deficiencies or imbalances involving other nutrients.

Serotonin is
our natural calming neurotransmitter that helps to regulate mood,
sleep and appetite. Low levels of serotonin lead to anxiety, sleep
disorders, food cravings, panic attacks, etc. L-tryptophan is the
amino acid integral to the production of serotonin.

Food sources
of tryptophan include brown rice, cottage cheese, meat, peanuts,
and soy protein. The amino acid supplements for increasing serotonin
levels are L- tryptophan and 5-HTP. Both can be used to increase
serotonin levels in the body – the one that will work best
for you depends on your body chemistry.

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3, 2009

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