The US National Institute of Mental Health says we now have over 40 million Americans affected by a mental or emotional condition. Then there is the other 50 million who suffer from intermittent bouts of anxiety and depression.
Wow. That’s nearly one third of the US population with mental health issues.
Scary? Damn right it is!
NIMH says just over 50% of adults with a serious mental illness get treatment .
This typically includes inpatient care (7.5 %) and outpatient therapy (40.5%), but the ‘top dog’ is prescription drugs (antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs). Although people do achieve relief of their symptoms, side effects can be far worse than the original condition.
Think suicidal thoughts or actions, the development of tics, liver damage, violent, aggressive or homicidal behavior and impaired immune function, to name a few.
What no-one talks about is Neurotransmitters.
Google how your brain works, and you’ll begin to understand why mental health conditions make a lot more sense and you can see that there are other (safer) ways to deal with them!
Billions of cells in my brain talk to each other, exchanging information in the form of chemical messengers called neurotransmitters.
If brain cell ‘Fred’ wants to send a message to brain cell ‘Wilma’, Fred releases the proper neurotransmitter. The neurotransmitter floats across a miniscule space between the two cells (the synaptic cleft) and the receiving cell, Wilma, “catches” the message in one or more of its “catcher’s mitts” (neuroreceptors).
And it happens at the speed of light. Or at least it should if everything is working to the max.
When the message is delivered, the leftover neurotransmitters need a cleanup. This happens in one of two ways:
They are broken down by enzymes, pass through the liver and end up in your urine or feces.
They get sucked up by little “vacuums” (reuptake pumps) to be recycled.
The Big Stars of your Neurotransmitter Inner World
Although your body has over 50 neurotransmitters, you do have an A-Team. Here are the nutrients they are made of. We’ll look at the common and less common ones and what happens if you are short on them.
Function: Controls your arousal, movement and hormonal responses.
What deficiency can cause: Muscular and cell rigidity, tremors and Parkinson’s disease.
Food: The amino acids tyrosine or phenylalanine, vitamin B6, folic acid, iron, copper, magnesium and zinc.
Function: Controls electrical activity of your brain and is vital for memory storage.
Deficiency: Memory loss, depression, confusion and muscle incoordination.
Food: The amino acid choline, vitamins B6, B5 and B3, manganese, lysine and threonine.
Psychiatric drugs achieve their intended effect by artificially manipulating our neurotransmitter levels.
Some antidepressants block our re-uptake pumps from vacuuming up leftover serotonin. The drug forces serotonin to hang around between our brain cells, making us feel “happier.”
This can get nasty. It can eventually cause you to have too much serotonin which can make your depression even worse!
By encouraging proper levels of neurotransmitters in your body, you could feel a whole lot better from mental health conditions!
Ways you can naturally help support your neurotransmitters and your state of mind!
A whole foods diet with lots of organic fresh fruits, green vegetables, grass fed meats, line caught fish, real grass fed butter, cocoa and olive oil, eggs. These foods that will load us up with the proper nutrients for your body to make your neurotransmitters. We ‘bring home’ our manufacturing process.
Drop the soda, sugars and refined carbs. These leach essential nutrients from your body and are seriously addictive, even causing many mental conditions. If you don’t believe it, stop eating them for 2 weeks and see what your body and mind make up to force you back onto them!
Encourage a healthy gut with probiotic supplementation or fermented foods. The majority of your body’s serotonin is created in your gut. From there it is sent express to your brain. Gut health is crucial to brain health!
Make sure you have enough vitamin B12. B12 supports a process in your body called methylation. Methylation is vital to the formation of many neurotransmitters, and methylation abnormality is a factor behind mental health problems.
Get sources of Omega-3 essential fatty acids like wild caught fatty fish. Omega-3 EFA’s are vital to brain health. Supplement with a purified fish oil formula if your diet is lacking in this area.
From the 700+ scientific studies so far, one benefit claim clearly emerges: one of the main actions of H2 is to improve cell signalling; in the brain, cell signalling is done by neurotransmitters.
We certainly need the nutrients mentioned above to make neurotransmitters, but it may not be enough. We also need the body to recognise that the neurotransmitter needs to be made. It has to send the message that the nutrients need to be used for that particular purpose. This message delivery is carried via cell signalling, and with our modern lifestyle and constant state of low to medium level toxicity, occasionally the body needs help with maintaining optimal cell signalling. H2, it appears, can do this.
A good number of studies have now shown H2 can increase a number of neurotransmitter levels, including dopamine, epinephrine and acetylcholine. In the studies, scientists were able to conclude that increase in dopamine levels were sufficient to lead to a reduction in Parkinson’s symptoms.
In addition to molecular hydrogen cell signalling role, it is also anti-inflammatory. This is important to our brain as well as our body. Between the brain and the rest of the body is the blood brain barrier (BBB). This semi-permeable membrane, when functioning optimally, allows the brain’s essential nutrients and neurotransmitters into the brain, and keeps everything else out. However, in less than optimal health, the BBB can become more porous and let things into the brain that are detrimental, such as free-radicals and heavy metals. This increase in porosity can be due to inflammation.
Heavy metals and excess free-radicals in the brain may contribute to the development of neuro-degenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer's. They can not only destroy the neurotransmitters, they can damage the receptors. We certainly need sufficient neurotransmitter levels, and proper functioning receptors for proper brain function. By decreasing inflammation at the BBB, molecular hydrogen can help reduce free-radical damage to the neurotransmitters and their receptors.
Molecular Hydrogen is also a selective antioxidant, so it mops up free radicals.
Therefore, in addition to its role in helping neurotransmitters and their receptors talk to each other and keeping the bad guys out of the brain, it can also help mop up any of the bad guys that do happen to find their way into the brain.
Help increase the levels of neurotransmitters
Protect neurotransmitter receptors from damage
Improve the function of the blood brain barrier
Reduce free-radical damage in the brain