Love Your Brain for a Good Mood

Brain health, mood and mental function are all intimately connected and strongly influenced by our diet, lifestyle choices, and life experiences. So much of our life trajectory depends on a healthy, functioning brain (career success, loving relationships, academic achievement, parenting, etc.), so loving your brain should be at the TOP of the list of things to love & care for in your life.

Brain Health Survey

How many of the following exposures or conditions have you experienced that alter brain function, injure brain tissue, or disrupt normal mood and mental function?

  1. Environmental toxin exposure (e.g., heavy metals, mold, PCBs, solvents, vehicle exhaust, smoke)

  2. Physical injuries or accidents where the brain experienced even a seemingly minor jolt or blunt force

  3. Emotionally traumatic or stressful life events, chronic life stress, and PTSD

  4. Eating refined foods daily that drive chronic inflammation (e.g., sugar, refined grains, dairy, seed oils)

  5. Nutrient deficiencies from lack of eating plant-based whole foods daily or consuming a standard American diet

  6. Autoimmune and neurodegenerative conditions (e.g., Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer's, Dementia)

  7. Gut microbiome dysbiosis & leaky gut syndrome (influencing the gut-brain pathway & connection)

  8. Obesity, weight gain, and metabolic disorders (e.g., cardiovascular disease, diabetes)

  9. Acute or chronic infections (e.g., EBV, gut dysbiosis, parasites, Lyme)

  10. Alcohol and/or drug use

If you answered yes to one or more, read on…

Chemical Messengers of the Nervous System

Each chemical messenger (neurotransmitter) in the nervous system plays a unique role in the brain and influences our behavior in specific ways. By reviewing the symptoms that show up when one or more is out of balance, you may discover a clue as to where your brain needs support to heal and function optimally.

1. Acetylcholine: activates motor neurons & muscle movement, alertness, attention, learning, and regulates unconscious processes of the body (autonomic nervous system)

Symptoms of (Im)balances: cognitive decline, memory loss, muscle weakness and pain, fatigue, mood disorders

2. Serotonin: the ‘feel good’ hormone, contributes to wellbeing and happiness

Symptoms of (Im)balances: hopelessness, lack of joy, lack of interest, “classic” depression

3. Dopamine: in charge of motivation, attention, memory, coordination, and movement

Symptoms of (Im)balances: loss of will/motivation, low libido, depression, quick to anger, constipation, muscle stiffness/weakness/tremors, loss of balance

4. GABA: promotes relaxation, calm, sleep, pain relief, and stress resilience

Symptoms of (Im)balances: anxiety, easily stressed, difficulty concentrating, insomnia, headaches

Do any of these (im)balances resonate with you? Does one type stand out more than the rest when you think about areas you struggle with?