Tag Archives: neurotransmitters

B6 capsules on Amazon

Pricing out B6 capsules:

B6 stand alone capsules in P-5-P form

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Why I take 5-HTP. And, CAUTIONS!

*UPDATE 10/14/2016 My sources of folate are: a diet rich in leafy greens and a multivitamin. The brand I’m currently taking is Thorne Research 2/Day. I take one at breakfast with a 50mg dose of 5htp, and again both at 2:00 p.m.  I also take magnesium glycine and taurine. All of these together are the core of my “calm and happy” nutrient supplementation. You can see other posts throughout my site and in the future for more information about other supplements such as brain-critical fats (fish oil and phospholipids) supplements.

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Mood Repair Primer

Here is a primer for what I mean by “Mood Repair Project.”

  1. Emotions are based on the physical/chemical.
  2. A healthy person has ups and downs, positive thoughts and negative thoughts, but they are not something they have to fight with for years!
  3. Hormones play a part, so women are more prone to these problems.
  4. However, aging, pain, sickness, and stress* tend to deplete serotonin and other neurotransmitters. Men are at risk also. The Standard American Diet or even a “healthy diet” that is less than optimal, is a basic reason why so many pharmaceutical drugs are prescribed.
  5. Some of us are “sensitive”– digestive issues, allergies, poor diet, periods of chronic stress*, etc. all play into creating our individual biochemistries. Embrace the understanding that you are a sensitive person. And there are remedies.

*Stress: Including stressful childhood, periods of depression, life events such as divorce, death of loved one, combat, abuse, neglect, and long periods of sub-optimal nutrition (which is the most common for most of us).  Also including, chronic pain, hormonal imbalances, long term illness, long periods or chronic over-work, history of not sleeping well or sub-optimal sleep.

Here’s a thought:  You “are” what you do.  All problems are relationship problems. So, the actions you take ARE CAUSAL and they define WHO YOU ARE!  If you help the biochemical balance of your brain, it will not be an overnight miracle, but it will be EASIER for you to grow:  to choose different actions.  It will be easier to have a more positive spin on things.  The things are what they are, but the meaning you make of them will determine how you act and therefore who you are (and how other people see you).

I love the bumper sticker “Don’t believe everything you think.”  I have tried for years to embrace that.  But, I just couldn’t, when a “false mood” came over me.

Foundational changes:

1. Natural Substances & Amino Acid Formulas – Take appropriate amino acids (including 5htp), vitamin/mineral supplements and herbs (Sam-e or St. John’s Wort, etc.) while you are doing your Mood Repair Project. This helps you get through lifestyle transitions. For every individual it will take a different formula and a different amount of time. Some may never get off the “helper” supplements. That’s ok. It’s healthier and safer than taking pharma drugs. Pharma drugs might be necessary for some people, but I urge you to read the books below before you make a decision to go on or stay on pharma drugs.

2. Digestion – the gut is where tons of things happen. The fate of your serotonin rests on digestion. For those of us with messed up digestion, we might need to tend to this part of our constitutions the rest of our lives on this Earth. Picture yourself dressing as a gardener, put on those gloves and start cultivating the soil of your gut. You will need probiotics, Betaine HCL and possibly digestive enzymes. I also recommend taking digestive bitters twice per day prior to, or during your meal (Bitters blow my mind!). I can keep adding on more things that you can try/add/do and many of them I am doing myself right now and plan to do them indefinitely until I feel my health becoming vibrant. Do NOT take antacids unless a doctor confirms that you have high acid.

3. DIET & BLOOD SUGAR LEVELING – exercise, digestion and diet must all be changes that you begin to make a permanent part of your life, for the rest of your life.  This is addressing the root cause of the chemical imbalance. The diet is basically Paleo with plenty of complex carbohydrate. Most certainly very low sugar and lots of protein. Eating at regular times MUST become a way of life because your digestive tract needs time to DIGEST the RAW MATERIALS needed to make your hormones and neurotransmitters!  You must eat 3 meals and probably some snacks in between.  Never skip breakfast or lunch.  You must have protein in regular, moderate amounts through the day.

4. Spiritual – Things that I put into the “Spiritual” category:

4a. Exercise. Modify your life to add 3 longer walks per week (listen on headphones to the walking meditation…)

plus some exercise that gets your heart pumping.

4b. Breathing.  Learn this and do it twice per day. You must do it regularly. The only way it will “work” is by doing it daily for a long period of time (listen to what Dr. Weil says in the video.

  1. Do the 4-7-8 breathing cycle 4x TWICE per day. This stretches the vagal nerve and reduces parasympathetic response. And, it’s quick. http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/VDR00112/The-4-7-8-Breath-Benefits-and-Demonstration.html
  2. Kaiser FREE podcasts. Much better if you download the MP3 because if you’re listening to one longer than 20 minutes via the website it will cut off.
    -“Panic attacks and anxiety” – esp. “Body Scan”
    -“Stress” – esp. “Walking Meditation”
  3. http://drsircus.com/medicine/function-vagus-nerve/ – there is a vibrational (vocal) technique to learn on the first video. (Learn it and teach it to the patient. You don’t have to mention that it is “sexual” or anything. Vagal nerve is related to a LOT of things, as this article describes. Calm the vagal nerve and reap the benefits (see #1 just above).

4c. Prayer & meditation. Whatever works for you!

4d. Counseling. The Mood Cure doctor, Julie Ross, said that counseling could finally be effective after someone with a neurotransmitter imbalance got healthy. This is why as a psychologist she brought in a nutritionist to her office. You can read about this in her book The Mood Cure.

Admitting you need this:

I didn’t know that what I was experiencing–mood changes or things that looked to me like thoughts– was based in my physical health.  It was at times impossible to observe my thoughts. Or, when I was observing with cognitive, it was like I had a whole different person with different thoughts.  That sounds like some sort of crazy split personality disorder, but I am speaking here of a very subtle thing that I came to understand over the course of my adult life.  My symptoms looked like PMS, so it seemed like something to expect, and not look further.  It was not easy for me or my family during those times.  It didn’t seem medical (beyond “PMS”), after all, I was trying my best to be healthy.  When I got irritated, angry, frustrated, broody, self-deprecating, negative… I either decided the problem was someone else’s behavior or that it was a “thinking” problem of my own (I would try to “think my way out of it”).  Problem was, I couldn’t think my way out.  Positive, constructive thoughts just don’t come when there’s not enough serotonin in one’s brain.  I could have even thought that it was a spiritual problem.  But, thinking, including the mental fortitude to make decisions that affect my spirituality, was based in my biochemistry.  Tending to spiritual matters CAN make a difference, and in some rare cases is MIGHT entail spirit bringing matter into balance (this is a matter of mystery and possibly faith or grace).  But, when there is a scientific explanation sitting right in front of us, I can’t imagine not trying it!  God gave us these minds to decipher how this universe works.  Molecules follow the rules God made.  And, once your biochem starts coming into balance, lovingkindness and the fruits of the Spirit are so much easier to exhibit.

I’m sure this all takes years. But, it starts now.

Watch the video on this page: http://www.moodcure.com/

Then PRINT the quiz and have the patient fill them out and write the date on the pages (this will give you benchmark). You can then put the answers into the website to get your score to understand the patient’s Mood Type. Put the paper questionnaire away for future reference.


Books list has moved here:

Mood Repair Books List


Peace starts with making peace in your cells.



Stress reduction program

My new integrative doctor gave me the following directives to reduce stress and calm my nervous system.

  1. Do the 4-7-8 breathing cycle 4x TWICE per day. This stretches the vagal nerve and reduces parasympathetic response. And, it’s quick. http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/VDR00112/The-4-7-8-Breath-Benefits-and-Demonstration.html
  2. She also recommended these free meditation podcasts from KaiserPermanente. Much better if you download the MP3 because if you’re listening to one longer than 20 minutes via the website it will cut off. Especially:
    • -anic attacks and anxiety – esp. Body Scan
    • Stress – esp. Walking Meditation
  3. yoga
  4. some aerobic exercise several times per week.


Here is an audio file about chocolate. Essentially a 9-minute listen on the topic of what chocolate does for mood. It’s 18 minutes total but halfway he digresses to other topics: http://jonbarron.org/media/effects-chocolate

Here are my notes:

Chocolate may have a temporary feel-good effect for depressed people, but long term effects are negative. Plus, the effects also depend on your personality as such:  If you are a Craver type, anticipation stimulates your dopamine.

In contrast, emotional eaters are looking for an immediate fix; they eat chocolate looking for an opiod effect (because of pre-existing low mood), but the chocolate doesn’t work very well. It can worsen the earlier mood or state.

Exercise is measured to improve mood and the effects last longer. (If I start to eat chocolate again, I may only put it in my mouth as I’m beginning some exercise LOL!)

Darker the chocolate the better, health-wise. Adding cayenne is healthier.

To increase enjoyment, plan ahead then eat it SLOWLY, and use anticipation of it to your advantage (like the Craver type).

If you are craving chocolate, examine your mood state and determine if you have depression. Look up anti-depressants on jonbarron.com because he gives you alternatives that are better than pharma drugs. [Note: see also moodcure.com]

What I have learned over the past month+ of being chocolate-free by choice, is that my plan is just that: to learn about the neurotransmitters.  I went to a Paleo style diet with no added sugars – I do still have starches and fruits and stevia. But with this diet and no chocolate, my cravings for chocolate have drastically subsided.  What remains is still my underlying emotional frustrations and tiredness, which I used to “treat” with dark chocolate every day.  I now say, I will only eat chocolate when I know I’m not doing it to try to treat my mood or energy symptoms.  Even then, I will need to put a cap on it and allow it only once a week.  In the meantime, I would not have classified myself as “depressed,” but depression does come in different forms, not just the crawl-under-the-covers variety. To me, it doesn’t matter what you call it, I am looking to improve my nutritional status so that all my hormones, including neurotransmitters, will be functioning as well as possible.

To that end, I discovered JonBarron.com tonight and have done too much reading late into the night (again). I highly recommend his website as a fount of awesome health information. His articles on digestive enzymes and the digestive process are like gold in our hands.