I’m going to cut right to the chase today with some not-so-rosy news
The National Institute of Mental Health currently estimates that over 40 million Americans are affected by one of several mental or emotional conditions that has a significant adverse effect on their quality of life.
That’s one out of eight of us, my friend.
These include conditions like:
· Bipolar disorder
· Panic disorder
· Eating disorders
Plus the NIMH also believes an additional 50 million people suffer from intermittent bouts of certain conditions like anxiety and depression.
That brings the total up to nearly one third of the entire US population that is dealing with mental health concerns…and if that doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what will.
Clearly we’re missing something along the way in terms of how these conditions are addressed and treated.
Let’s take a look and see what that might be:
The current trend
According to the NIMH, just over half (58.7 percent) of adults in the United States with a serious mental illness receives treatment for their problem.
That treatment includes inpatient care (7.5 percent) and outpatient therapy (40.5 percent), but far and away the leader of the pack is prescription medication (like antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs and pain killers).
Although these medications do “work”—as in, many people do feel relief of their symptoms—that relief comes at a very hefty price.
I’m not referring to how much they cost—I’m talking about side effects.
Plus many of the psychiatric drugs (especially antidepressants) are not even designed to be used for longer than six months, yet many people stay on them for several months, years or even decades.
And considering that the number of people suffering from mental health conditions continues to go UP, methinks there’s got to be a better way of looking at these illnesses.
The missing link—neurotransmitters
When you take a close look at how your brain actually works, mental health conditions make a lot more sense…and you can begin to appreciate that there are other very effective ways of dealing with many of these challenges.
I’ll give you a very brief biology lesson here so you can see what I mean:
The billions of cells in your brain talk to each other and pass along information by using little chemical messengers called neurotransmitters. We have over 50 known neurotransmitters, and each one carries its own unique type of message.
When one brain cell wants to send a message to another, it releases the appropriate neurotransmitter. Then the neurotransmitter floats across the tiny space between the two cells (called the synaptic cleft) and the receiving cell “catches” the message in one or more of its “catcher’s mitts” (called neuroreceptors).
Although this sounds like a slow, cumbersome process, it actually happens at the speed of light and the word is spread from cell to cell VERY quickly.
- They get broken down by enzymes, go through the liver and eventually make their way out of you through your urine or feces
- They get sucked up by little “vacuums” (called reuptake pumps) and are recycled to be used again another time
Medications play with neurotransmitters
Since neurotransmitters have a significant impact on how your brain functions and communicates, having too much or too little of one or more of them is a major factor behind mental illness.
Now, the reason psychiatric drugs achieve their intended effect on how people feel is that they play with your levels of neurotransmitters.
For example, many antidepressants work by blocking your reuptake pumps from vacuuming up leftover serotonin. Serotonin is your “feel good” neurotransmitter, so by forcing it to hang around between your brain cells longer, many people feel “happier.”
Anti-anxiety medications target another neurotransmitter (GABA) which is your “calming” neurotransmitter.
A more natural approach—support your neurotransmitters
What many people don’t realize is that when you naturally support your neurotransmitters and encourage proper levels of them, you can feel a whole lot better from mental health challenges!
You see, your neurotransmitters are made from amino acids (building blocks of proteins) and require one or more vitamins or minerals as part of the “recipe” to create the neurotransmitter.
Here are some of your major neurotransmitter players, how they affect you and their ingredients:
How it works: It regulates your appetite, mood, sensory perception and immune function.
What deficiency can cause: Depression, eating disorders, chronic pain, sleep disorders, emotional problems, anxiety and aggression.
The recipe: Serotonin requires the amino acid tryptophan, plus B Vitamins, Vitamin C, zinc and iron.
Gamma amino-butyric acid (GABA)
How it works: It has a calming effect on your mood.
What deficiency can cause: Anxiety, over-excitability, seizure disorders and mania.
The recipe: GABA requires the amino acid glutamate, plus Vitamin B6, manganese, biotin, lysine and taurine.
How it works: It is a stimulatory neurotransmitter and controls your arousal, movement and your hormonal responses.
What deficiency can cause: Muscular and cell rigidity, tremors and even Parkinson’s disease.
The recipe: Dopamine requires the amino acids tyrosine or phenylalanine, plus Vitamin B6, folic acid, iron, copper, magnesium and zinc.
How it works: It affects the electrical activity of your brain and is essential in the storage of memory.
What deficiency can cause: Memory loss, depression, confusion and muscle incoordination. It’s low in Alzheimer’s patients, and deficiency is often seen in menopause (hence the forgetfulness that many women experience in this stage of life).
The recipe: Acetylcholine requires the amino acid choline, plus Vitamin B6, B5 and B3, manganese, lysine and threonine.
Better ingredients = better levels of neurotransmitters
Clearly, having proper levels of neurotransmitters is essential for sound mental health!
So it’s crucial to make sure you’re not only taking in a good variety of nutrients for your neurotransmitter “recipes” (including amino acids, vitamins and minerals), but also that your body is absorbing those nutrients, and eliminating old used-up neurotransmitters like it should.
And that, my friend, is accomplished through having a good, nutrient-dense diet and encouraging efficient digestion.
Here are five very effective ways you can help make that happen:
Step 1: Have a healthy, nutrient-dense (but delicious!) diet
When it comes to eating for optimal physical and mental health, the Great Taste No Pain system will guide you every step of the way.
Or if you have celiac or gluten sensitivity, Great Taste No Gluten.
Both Great Taste No Pain and Great Taste No Gluten show you how to pair together REAL foods (loaded with crucial amino acids, vitamins and minerals) to help digestion to be accomplished smoothly and completely.
Not only can this help dramatically reduce gut problems, but it also can help improve your overall physical and mental health from head to toe by encouraging the elimination of toxins in your system and enhancing nutrient absorption!
And NEVER did eating for great health taste SO delicious. The dishes in both the GTNP and GTNG recipe sections are positively spectacular! You’ll be shocked at how scrumptious good-for-you foods can be.
Step 2: Encourage a healthy flora balance
The friendly flora in your gut also plays an important role in your digestion and nutrient absorption.
Plus here’s something most people don’t know—the vast majority of your body’s serotonin is actually manufactured in your gut, then it gets sent to your brain—so gut health takes on a whole new sense of importance when you’re talking about mental health!
That’s why supplementation with a quality probiotic formula like Super Shield can be so helpful to so many people.
Super Shield contains a variety of both Lactobacillus strains (which help your small intestine) and Bifidobacteria species (which live in your colon), each of which has their own “specialty” in how they help enhance your gut health and encourage sound digestion and nutrient absorption!
Step 3: Ensure you have adequate B12 levels
Vitamin B12 is an important nutrient that helps control a critical process in your body called methylation. Methylation is vital to the formation of almost ALL of your neurotransmitters, and methylation abnormality is a factor behind many mental health problems.
Now, getting enough vitamin B12 can be tricky because its absorption through your digestive tract can vary—it depends upon your stomach’s ability to produce enough acid and a compound called intrinsic factor.
That’s why B12 shots have been recommended so often in the past. Since the B12 is injected directly into your bloodstream, it bypasses any absorbency shortcomings in the GI tract.
But vitamin B12 sprays are gaining popularity because of their relatively low cost and convenience of use. With a B12 spray, just like an injection, you are able to bypass the GI tract issues since the B12 can instead be absorbed through the mucus membranes under your tongue.
If you suspect you’re low in B12 (or your doctor has confirmed it with a test), then you can help turn that around fast with Hydroxaden 2.5 B12 spray!
Step 4: Protect against Omega-3 essential fatty acid deficiency
Omega-3 essential fatty acids are CRUCIAL to mental health. Your brain absolutely MUST have them to function properly.
Unfortunately, they also happen to be deficient in vast numbers of people.
You see, because of our current prevalence of processed/fast foods, vegetable oils, farm-raised fish and meat from grain-fed animals (which have few or no Omega-3 EFAs), most people are lacking the Omega-3 EFAs their minds so desperately need.
That's why supplementation with a high quality Omega-3 fish oil formula like VitalMega-3 can make such a difference in your physical AND mental health.
VitalMega-3 is a top-quality fish oil formula that delivers a much-needed, brain-appreciated 1,200 mg of Omega-3s in every daily two-capsule serving.
Step 5: Weigh your alternatives
If you are suffering from a mental health challenge (or want to help prevent one from occurring), I encourage you to put the power of nutrition to work for you. It truly can make a huge difference in how you feel for the rest of your life!
And if you are presently on any psychiatric medications, be sure to talk to your doctor before you explore reducing or stopping these medications. Many people have successfully weaned off of drugs like Xanax and Prozac, but they can have serious effects if they are stopped suddenly and/or without proper medical supervision.
PS: Always be sure to let your doctor or healthcare provider know what supplements you are taking.