If you’re having trouble with adrenal fatigue or burnout, it’s critical you:
Adjust your life to decrease stress, including improving your sleep
Improve your diet (including removing adrenal draining foods such as caffeine, sugar, processed foods, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, and damaged fats). If you’re having trouble removing certain things from your diet, you may need amino acid support to address your cravings.
Caffeine, stimulant drugs: L-tyrosine
Sugar and carbs: L-glutamine if due to low blood sugar, L-tyrosine if due to low energy, or 5-HTP.
Alcohol, smoking, tranquilizers, anxiolytics: GABA if due to anxiety/nervousness
Comfort foods, pain killers (incl ibuprofen): DL-phenylalanine or D-phenylalanine to increase “feel good” endorphins
Fried/fatty foods: EPA/DHA essential fatty acids
Before using any aminos, be sure you have no contraindications. Check past blogs on amino acids or use the contraindication sheet in the studio.
Adrenal recovery can take between 6 months to 2 or more years. Supplements support this process by helping your adrenals return to normal function.
Helpful adrenal supplements:
Vitamin C, magnesium, panothenic acid, B vitamins: work in concert to potentiate the action of adrenals; essential for the production of enzymes and energy needed for the adrenal hormone cascade.
Adrenal glandulars; supports and rejuvinates adrenals
DHEA (do not take this without knowing your levels. Work with a health practitioner if you take DHEA)
targeted amino acids; see below
Licorice extract: supports adrenal function
Ashwaganda root: normalizes cortisol levels
Before taking any of these supplements, read up and understand what you are taking and why. A good explanation of most of these can be found on the James Wilson Adrenal fatigue website listing product faqs.
Aminos important in adrenal healing depend on the state of adrenal fatique you are in. If your brain chemistry is not ideal for daily (and nightly) functioning, your adrenals continue to be stressed.
If you feel very stressed and have a difficult time relaxing or you find yourself snapping at people, GABA is helpful.
If you are dull, feeling flat, with low energy, focus and concentration, tyrosine/phenylalanine is helpful.
If you feel depressed, low self esteem, withdrawn, 5-HTP/L-tryptophan is helpful.
Many people need a combination of aminos. If you take aminos, take them on an empty stomach (without other proteins in your stomach) and be sure you have B vitamins (especially B6) available. Bs are necessary to convert the amino to the neurotransmitter.
I’m hoping you’re beginning to understand the huge role brain chemicals play in how you feel. If you’re not feeling GREAT all or most of the time, it’s a sign that your brain is not getting what it needs. And, yes, you should and can expect to feel good most all the time. You get brain support from your diet, the right exercise, light, sleep and supplements. Toxins, poor quality or lack of food, lack of sleep, food allergies, digestive problems, lack of light and exercise (or the wrong kind of exercise for you) and certain food substances rob your body of the brain chemicals you need to feel good.
You’ve been reading “Female Brain Gone Insane” pages 113-135 about Food and Supplements to the Rescue.
Let’s recap this chapter:
“A malfunctioning brain expresses itself with symptoms reflected in your emotions, moods, thoughts and behaviors.” “Inadequate supplies of amino acids leads to deficits and imbalances in neurotransmitters, causing emotional breakdowns and uncontrolled behavior”.
When your brain is fed properly, you feel vibrant and happy. The ideal is to get the fuel from food. If you’re depleted, you’ll need help with individual amino acid supplements for a few months, possibly longer.
You’re depleted if you feel depressed, lethargic, anxious, racing thoughts, unhappy, can’t sleep, can’t focus, teary, lack of drive, flat, attention deficit, cravings for sugar, starch or alcohol, stressed and burned out, crave comfort food, overly sensitive, PMS, winter blues, fibromyalgia, phobias, panic, irritability, rage, intolerance, obsessive thoughts, low self esteem, or unable to relax.
Women are especially prone to brain chemical depletion due to dieting, calorie restriction and stress.
Dieting (low calorie, low fat, skipping meals, etc) results in deficiencies in amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, all essential for the creation of brain chemicals (neurotransmitters).
Diet must provide protein, carbs and fat at every meal.
Protein is the building block for amino acids. get it at every meal including breakfast. Plan for 20g protein per meal.
Carbs provide energy for your brain. 60% of the glucose you eat is used by your brain to aid thinking, memory and sleep. Low carb diets rob your brain. Carbs should be whole foods, not processed. Eat beans, nuts, veggies, fruits, whole grains. Avoid simple sugars: honey, molasses, maple syrup, brown sugar, agave syrup, rice syrup, corn syrup, milk, fruit juice, processed grains.
Fats: 2/3 of your brain is made of essential fatty acids (EFAs). Get these from nuts, olives, avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, butter. Fish have EFAs, be careful and aware of high mercury levels in fish. If you take fish oil supplements, be sure the bottle indicates the product is free of mercury and other heavy metals.
Do not eat protein alone or carbs alone. Your brain needs them together, along with good fat.
Foods to avoid and how they affect your brain: Alcohol: Has a depressant effect on your brain, leading to a lack of motivation and flat mood over the long term. Artificial colors: can cause hyperactive behavior, difficulty focusing, and lack of impulse control. Artificial sweeteners: can cause disruption of neurotransmitters resulting in headaches, depression, ADD, rages, joint pain, muscle spasm and can mimic MS, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. Sugar: Shifts in blood sugar level lead to decreased focus, concentration and memory. Can raise adrenaline levels causing insomnia and anxiety. High sugar diet increases insulin levels, blocking hormone receptors, resulting in hormonal deficiency syndromes. Hydrogenated (trans) fats: they replace the healthy fat in your brain and impair the brain cell-to-cell communication. White flour: Adds nothing positive to your brain chemistry. Is especially detrimental if your are gluten sensitive, leading to brain fog and other symptoms. Empty calories that don’t fuel your brain and contributes to blood sugar spikes.
Healthy eating habits should have a dramatic positive impact on your mood
Use the chart below to help you identify aminos based on your symptoms. Chart from The Diet Cure by Julia Ross. More good information on aminos headed your way in a future blog.
or brain fuel: promotes
Cravings for sugar,
starch or alcohol
Reduced mental stability
Fuel source for the brain stable, calm,
alert brain function.
Lack of energy, Lack of drive
Lack of focus, concentration.
You’ve made it through week 2 of the Body Blitz. If you’re just starting the book now, or if you’ve been sick and haven’t made it in to your classes, no problem. It’s never too late. Start now.
Lots of you have done food diaries this week. Was it helpful? Did it help you make changes or give you information on what you need to do? For those who made significant changes, do you feel better or worse? Let me know!
Let’s recap our reading from last week:
Identification of your hormonal phase:
Normal: estrogen and progesterone normal levels in normal sequence
PMS: normal estrogen, low progesterone
Perimenopause: erratic high estrogen not following normal highs and lows, low progesterone
Menopause/hysterectomy: low estrogen, no progesterone
Knowing your hormonal phase helps you understand changes in mood, energy level, personality, appetite and more. Blood and saliva hormone testing is useful in combination with monitoring your symptoms. If you test, be sure to do it on the correct day of your cycle if you have one. It’s best to work with a practitioner on testing and supplementing. Twin Cities resources were given in a prior blog.
Don’t forget testosterone and DHEA. If you use testosterone, be aware that high dose testosterone is not a good idea. You may feel great at first, and as time passes, testosterone turns into estrogen, which can bring back negative symptoms. Important for men too. Measure estrogen levels if you supplement with testosterone (men too). Do not supplement DHEA without monitoring your levels. It’s sold over the counter and can cause problems if not used correctly.
Identify your Emotional Type
1. Revved up and anxious (useful aminos)
2. I Can’t Get Off the Couch
Start with calming (5-Htp, GABA, etc) for 1-2 weeks
Once you sleep better and feel more calm, start the L-phenylalanine/L-tyrosine “wake up and alert” formula.
If you have cancer, serious physical illness, severe liver or kidney problems, ulcers, pregnant or nursing, schizophrenia or other mental illness, or you are taking medications for mood problems, especially MAO inhibitors or more than one SSRI, consult a knowledgeable practitioner before taking ANY amino acids on your own.
Lots more information on aminos and neurotransmitters in the books The Diet Cure and The Mood Cure by author Julia Ross.You’ll learn more about L-glutamine and food cravings and DL phenylalanine for increasing endorphins and reducing pain. Lots more detail
You can easily start using aminos on your own. You’l need to pay close attention to how you respond to them to learn the proper timing and dosages for you. Take aminos on an empty stomach (30 minutes before eating). They compete with other proteins (in your diet) to get to your brain. You’re targeting the brain with these aminos.
Use Mia’s troubleshooting on page 111.
Action Plan for Week 3:
Read pages 113-135 in Female Brain Gone Insane. You’ll continue learning about aminos and about how a good diet can improve your neurotransmitters.
Watch video on Vitamin D by Dr. Mercola (next blog).
Get your vitamin D level checked and make a plan to increase your level if necessary.
Stay on track with your exercise and dietary changes. Evaluate how your plan went last week, make adjustments, and plan your week 3.