Did you know that 95% of our neurotransmitters are made in our guts? So it makes sense that focusing on our gut health is an excellent place to start in terms of improving how we feel. Let’s talk about a couple common neurotransmitters that most people have heard of: serotonin and dopamine. Both of these are essential for several processes in the body and both will be negatively affected by prolonged states of high stress.
Serotonin is destroyed by the stress hormone cortisol (also know as adrenalin.) If you are showing signs of a serotonin deficiency then 70% of your normal amount has already been used up meaning it time to change things asap. People will experience pain and cravings with four times the intensity if they are deficient. You are also likely to sleep way less giving your body less time to repair and regenerate. Overall your ability to enjoy life becomes much more difficult.
Dopamine gives us the ability to feel satiated and its precursor is L-tyrosine. This amino acid will be used up by the thyroid if this gland is not functioning well. When this happens the satiated or satisfied feeling will be compromised. A dopamine deficiency makes it difficult to make good decisions or feel good about yourself as one becomes resigned to feeling this way. Again this is not a very fun way to live.
The good news is there is a way to create momentum in a different direction. I talk to most of my clients about the importance of the rest and digest response. By paying attention to this each time we eat you can cultivate the regrowth of the neural networks in our guts. Gut health is a topic I’ll be writing on much more but for now avoiding stress while eating (at least once a day) is a good start.
The stress response high jacks the calm and connect hormonal response as well. Because of all the estrogens in our environment the imbalance becomes exacerbated. Starting with our own physiology by ensuring we get enough down time is an empowering place to start. Another thing we can do is to eat more phytoestrogens (yams, flax etc) These will block the receptor sites so there is less room for the bad estrogens from plastics, industrial food systems etc.
That is probably enough for today. I look forward to sharing more about the intricacies of restoring gut health. Spring is a wonderful time to commit to some changes that will easily last a lifetime as you start to feel more comfortable in your body.