For many people the festive season is a time of joy and celebrations – uniting with family and friends after a busy year. However, for some people this time of year can be quite trying. There are a host of things that add to stress and difficult emotions during the holidays from finances, worries about the future to memories of lost ones. Another major contributing factor to feelings of depression and anxiety, irrespective of the time of year, is the result of an imbalance or deficiency of brain chemicals or neurotransmitters.
Neurotransmitters play a vital role in our body as they communicate information between the brain and the rest of the body. They affect our mood, sleep, memory and concentration. When they are out of balance, our mood and behaviour are significantly affected. A deficiency in one is usually associated with an abundance in another.
Some of the most important neurotransmittersand their primary function are listed below:
Glutamate (most abundant)
Fight or flight
What causes an imbalance of neurotransmitters?
The cause of chemical imbalances and mental disorders is not a clear-cut science. Researchers believe that genetics as well as environmental and social factors, such as stress or trauma, play a role.
At GENEWAY™ we test for a number of genes that are critical for the physiology and biochemistry of balancing neurotransmitters. Having this genetic information can be life-changing for patients and practitioners, since it takes the guesswork out of the equation….
- Poor diet e.g., low protein, high sugar, high saturated fat, low unsaturated fat
- Excess alcohol use/ drug use
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Certain medications
- Chronic physical and emotional stress
- Surgery/ operations
- Medical conditions e.g., diabetes, thyroid conditions, cardiovascular diseases.
- Restrictive diets
- Genetic makeup & individual biochemistry
- Metabolic impairments
- Metal toxicity
- Digestive problems
- Chemical & food sensitivities
- High stress and/or psychological trauma
- Lack of sleep
- Viruses & infections
- Lack of, or excessive, exercise
- Hormone imbalances
- Essential fatty acid deficiencies
- Blood sugar imbalances
- Overly sedentary lifestyles
Serotonin is probably the most talked-about neurotransmitter – the ‘happy’ brain chemical! Deficits in serotonin can lead to depression, aggressiveness, anxiety, panic attacks, food and alcohol cravings, irritability and insomnia. Your genes play a very important role in the conversion of amino acids to neurotransmitters. Amino acids are the raw materials for neurotransmitters and a range of vitamins and minerals are co-factors necessary for their production.