Mood Swings

Douse Depression with the Brain Balance Plan

It’s hard to believe that one day you feel great emotionally and then the very next day or very next moment you can feel depressed, irritable, and often “flying off the handle” so to speak. Having these swings not only creates an incredible amount of stress to an already stressful, busy life, but it makes you feel guilty and half-crazy! The important thing to understand is that there are several types of “mood problems” that can be easily reduced or eliminated by balancing important brain chemicals.

Julia Ross, author of the Mood Cure, one of my most favorite, well respected nutritional practitioners, has years of success in treating mood related problems using simple amino acid supplement replacement, according to the brain chemicals that are off balance. At Ventana Wellness integrative medicine clinic, we have had tremendous success in treating these imbalances; once we understand where the deficit lies.

The mood imbalances must first be defined! Here are the four mood imbalances according to Julia Ross.

The Dark Cloud of Depression

  • If you’re high in serotonin – you’re positive, confident, flexible, and easy-going.
  • If you’re sinking in serotonin – you’ll tend to become negative, obsessive, worried, irritable, and sleepless.

The Blahs

  • If you’re high in catecholamines – you’re energized, upbeat, and alert.
  • If your catecholamines have crashed – you’ll sink into a flat apathetic funk.

Anxiety and Stress

  • If you’re high in GABA – you’re relaxed and stress-free.
  • If there’s a gap in your GABA – you’ll be wired, stressed, and overwhelmed.

Oversensitive Feelings

  • If you’re high in endorphins – you’re full of cozy feelings of comfort, pleasure, and euphoria.
  • If you’re near the end of your endorphins – you’ll be crying during commercials and overly sensitive to hurt. Julia Ross, “The Mood Cure”

So as you can see it is vital that the brain is balanced just right to insure that you have the correct amount of each of the above to feel well emotionally.

Other very important factors in balancing the brain are to pay attention to what you are eating! Amino acids are building blocks to brain chemicals needed for the optimal balance. Without these foods in your diet or eating too many foods that cause your blood sugar to be unstable will leave you feeling terrible, quickly!

Here is a diet “to do list” for those who would like to control their emotions better!

  • Eat breakfast; the brain is fueled best by a steady stream of glucose, and wonderful studies have been done to show that skipping breakfast reduces your performance at work and also for kids in school.
  • Start eating a combination of good low sugar-high fiber carbs; like fruits, veggies, high fiber breads or wraps, with at low fat proteins (essential for brain chemical production) like turkey, chicken, beans, eggs, cottage cheese, and some good healthy fats, like nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, etc. at each meal.
  • Eat every 4 hours and do not let your blood glucose drop; waiting too long will cause you to eat all of the wrong foods, make your feel tired and irritable, and most likely create more of the behaviors you are trying to get away from.
  • STOP THE SUGAR!! Cut out sugary drinks, sugary desserts, excessive packaged foods-laden with sugar or high fructose corn syrup, and eat WHOLE foods instead – your brain will love it!
  • Watch your sleep patterns. Sleep is restorative – you need to sleep to make brain chemicals. Most people need at least 8 hours of sleep to regenerate their brain and nervous system to feel emotionally balanced. If you are awake for 20 hours straight, your abilities are equivalent to someone who is legally drunk! Even two or three late nights in a row or early mornings, can leave you suffering the effects of poor brain function. Get your sleep!!

Supplements that help the brain are:

  • Amino Acids: (must be advised on these according to your personal needs) L-Tyrosine, L-Arginine, L-Glutamine, L-Lysine
  • Fish Oil, Borage Oil, Flax Seed Oil, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, or Cod Liver Oil supplements
  • SAM-E, GABA, 5-HTP (should be used with direction if already on antidepressants)
  • Vitamin B-complex (very important for brain chemical production)

Get your exercise; the number one antidepressant is exercise. Try to break a sweat daily! Even more gentle exercises like Yoga, can do wonders for your brain! Researches at UCLA reported that the poses in Yoga; particularly the poses bending over backwards are the best way to get a mental/emotional “lift”

Stay positive with your self-talk. You will become what you tell yourself you are! Please do not feed yourself words that lead you down the wrong path! Even if you don’t believe positive words about yourself; say it anyway, eventually you will!

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