Diary of Unknown Symptoms

Mystery of the Internal Vibration

Entry for February 24, 2007


Brain Chemicals and Modern Life

It all comes down to our chemistry. Fidgeting, concentration, sleep, energy levels, mood swings, even the ability to sweat are controlled by the chemicals lurking about our bodies. Serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, melatonin, insulin, and prostaglandins are some of the more important ones…and these in turn are influenced strongly by stress, diet, exercise, sunlight, sleep and other life style factors. Of course the life style of today is radically different than it was 20,000 years ago. Consider how these factors from modern life commonly influence us:

  • Being indoors (lack of sunlight): Reduced melatonin
  • Stress: Reduced serotonin
  • Modern food processing: Fatty acid imbalances and chemical sensitivities
  • High sugar/carbohydrate and low-fat diet: More insulin; prostaglandin imbalance
  • Lack of exercise: Decreased serotonin and dopamine
  • Lack of sleep: Reduced serotonin
  • Poor nutrition: Reduced serotonin
  • Boring classes/job, lack of activity: Reduced dopamine & norepinephrine.
  • Deionized air: Reduced serotonin

Reduced serotonin levels from stress, lack of sleep & exercise, poor nutrition, and lack of sunlight are connected with ADD, irritability, depression, aggression, anxiety, lack of concentration, chronic pain, restlessness or fatigue, nausea, obsessive-compulsive disorder, weight gain or loss, fibromyalgia, arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, heat intolerance and other syndromes. Fluctuating serotonin levels are connected with bipolar disorder (manic depression) and hypomania. You don’t have to feel depressed or anxious; symptoms may be purely physical.

Reduced dopamine/norepinephrine caused by boring surroundings and lack of exercise may manifest as ADD, impulsivity, lack of concentration, restlessness, and depression or loss of pleasure. Dopamine is the “feel good” chemical which illegal drugs mimic (such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana) as well as cigarettes, coffee and alcohol. Ritalin and other ADD drugs are thought to increase dopamine activity.

Modern food processing has completely altered the types of fatty acids we consume. Since our brain is composed largely of fatty acids, we are missing the “bricks” needed for normal brain development and repair. In addition, we are eating lots of man-made chemicals. Food colors, for example, are mostly made from petroleum.

Reduced melatonin from lack of sunlight may disturb the sleep cycle and cause seasonal depression (called SAD).

Lots of sugars and carbohydrates lead to increased insulin levels. High insulin tells the body to store what you just ate as fat, thereby dropping your blood sugar concentration. Your brain can burn only sugar, so it is deprived of food. Poor concentration and depression can result. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can lead to diabetes. Also, the low blood sugar make you hungry, which causes you to eat more sugar or carbohydrates, and the cycle is repeated. Finally, insulin levels affect serotonin levels and many systems throughout the body.

Poor nutrition can result in lower levels of chemicals like serotonin. Vitamins B6, C and E (the stress vitamins) are especially important.

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February 25, 2007 - Posted by | Health | , , , , ,

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