How is our brain affected in stressful situations?
In handling stress the brain uses large quantities of certain chemicals called NEUROTRANSMITTERS. (Neurotransmitters induce or inhibit impulses in your brain.) At some point, the amount of stress we endure causes the brain to run out of these chemicals.
The human brain is very capable of automatically manufacturing the quantity of chemicals it needs IF it is given the raw materials (nutrients from foods) to do so.
However, because of the number of stressful situations we are daily faced with, because of the world we live in, a normal diet does not supply enough of the raw materials the brain needs to manufacture enough of these chemicals, or Neurotransmitters, that the brain NEEDS and MUST HAVE to function normally. With the amount of Modern Stress our bodies face every single day, we would have to consume approximately:
Sixteen pounds of fish, Two gallons of whole milk, Two to three pounds of cheese, One to two pounds of turkey, EACH AND EVERY STRESS FILLED DAY, just to keep our Neurotransmitter levels normal. Or, we could accomplish the same thing by taking 3 Neu-beCALM'd™ capsules! (Recommended dosages are anywhere from 1-6 capsules each day.)
When Neurotransmitters Are Depleted, What Happens To Our Bodies?
Any type of Stress causes the OPIOID levels to diminish. This creates a sense of urgency in an individual. A person also becomes irritable, easily angered, easily losing their temper. Many people find relief from these feelings from an artificial opioid that is released by Alcohol or other drugs.
Low OPIOID levels automatically causes an increase in DOPAMINE release. This causes a feeling of alertness and anxiety. Continued Dopamine release causes emotional fatigue. When Dopamine is released, it is exactly the same chemical response as that following a small cocaine use. (The greatest natural Dopamine release happens at the moment of sexual climax.) Low OPIOID levels also causes the lowering of the GABA levels. When this occurs, feelings of anxiety, insecurity and unexplained panic are felt. The most obvious feeling is deep Depression.
Low GABA levels cause an increase in NOREPINEPHERIN release. This encourages quick, emotional response like anger and discourages slower, deliberate (logical) thinking. High NOREPINEPHERIN causes ADRENALINE to be released, which causes the heart to beat both faster and harder and causes red corpuscle reserves to be placed in the blood stream. It causes energy sources, nutrients, and oxygen to be diverted from functional organs straight to the muscles. Here is where High Blood Pressure, Strokes and damage to a number of pressure sensitive organs occurs. (The continued diversion of oxygen and nutrition from the functional organs causes them to become diseased.)
Low GABA levels causes a decrease in SEROTONIN levels which makes sleep difficult to impossible. Such a person also exhibits feelings of irritability and a lack of rational emotion. The SEROTONIN reduction further pushes the OPIOID levels lower. Thus, the Stress Cycle repeats with continually increasing intensity.
In the stress cycle "feedback" loop, the following reactions occur, all of which are obviously useful to a person threatened by a predator or a mortal enemy. However, they are harmful to the modern person under long term stress as exemplified by the [bracketed] statements :
* Stress causes the opioids (endorphin, enkephalin, etc.) levels to diminish. The lower opioids levels create a sense of urgency. This sense of urgency is usually expressed as the need to respond to certain physical demands, e.g., if one drinks a couple of quarts of iced tea at 10:00 in the evening, he or she will usually awaken in the middle of the night with a very strong sense of urgency. As soon as the body's need has been taken care of, the sense of urgency goes away.
If the sense of urgency is initiated by continuing stress and there is no way to relieve it, the stress "signal" goes from the opioids to GABA to Norepinephrine to Serotonin to Opioids to, etc. And, a loop occurs. Consequently, there is a continued diminishing of the chemicals until the system's control of emotions is lost. [The individual first becomes irritable, easily angered and finds him or herself suffering from easy loss of temper. Many find relief in the artificial opioid released by alcohol, tetrahydroisoquinoline, and thus become alcoholics. Others turn to opiates such as heroin, morphine, etc. Some find relief in carbohydrate bingeing. Most, rather noisily, just ruin their careers and their marriages.]
* The lowering of the opioids causes an increase in dopamine levels and a decrease in GABA levels. This produces a combination of alertness and anxiety. [The so called adrenaline rush is in large part the feeling of exhilaration caused by the dopamine release. It is exactly the same chemical response as that following a small cocaine use. (i.e. cocaine use causes dopamine to be released in larger amounts than the body requires for normal functioning such as sexual climax or appreciation of beauty.) Continual extra dopamine release causes emotional fatigue which can become debilitating. It can also lead to anhedonia, in which case, he or she can no longer enjoy beauty, music, or even love, in the extreme case. Continuous anxiety from GABA reduction can lead to depression and feelings of inadequacy.]
* The lowering of the GABA levels causes the norepinephrine levels to increase and serotonin to decrease. The increase in norepinephrine causes adrenaline to be released and the reduction of serotonin makes sleep difficult to impossible. [It is important to note that serotonin is a sleep enabling neurotransmitter, not a sleep inducing one. A lack of serotonin makes sleep very hard to achieve. Once the serotonin becomes available, the body demands the sleep it now badly needs. When this has been done the person feels rested and Fully refreshed. However, if the stress feedback continues, the lack of sleep can cause a great deal of damage to the body.]
* The increased norepinephrine encourages a quick, emotional response (e.g. anger) and discourages slower, deliberate (logical) thinking. [The anger released by the lack of the opioids is triggered more rapidly in the presence of the norepinephrine.]
* The adrenaline release causes the heart to beat both faster and harder and causes red blood cell reserves to be placed in the blood stream. It causes energy sources, nutrients, and oxygen to be diverted for use by the muscles. This deprives functional organs such as the liver, the digestive tract, etc., from their needed resources. This results in the person being able to make an almost super human (though perhaps illogical) physical response to the threat. [When the heart is required to beat faster and harder over long periods of time, the illness commonly known as High blood pressure usually follows. Unfortunately, this condition is usually not reversible. In the extreme case, this condition can cause strokes and damage to a number of pressure sensitive organs and passages. It can also cause damage to the heart. Further, the continual diversion of oxygen and nutrition from the essential organs causes those organs to become diseased.]
* The norepinephrine increase causes the serotonin levels to decrease. This makes sleep difficult or impossible. The serotonin reduction further modulates the opioids downward. The cycle therefore repeats with continually increasing intensity.
Decades of university research have been required to find the means by which the "cycle" is kept from repeating over and over. If this cycle were not brought under control grave illness would obviously occur as is does when we are under unrelenting stress. As early as 1928, Dr. Hans Selye's research showed that when stress is long term in nature, the "stress management chemicals" (as he called them), which enable the body to maintain control, are depleted. Ultimately, the correction can no longer be made. Selye showed that once these chemicals are totally depleted, the subject dies!
The last 20 years of research by many notable scientists such as Dr. Gerald Kozlowski, Terry Neher Clinical Advisor, to NeuroGenesis, Inc. and Dr. M. L. Barbaccia found that the stored metabolites can be replaced from normal diet, but only very slowly. They further found that the slowness was not due to a "lack of production facility" but rather a "lack of raw materials". While the quantities required vary from one individual to another, getting these additional nutrients from food is generally difficult. The average person would require several pounds of exotic fish, a quart of milk, and a variety of other high cholesterol and high fat content foods daily.
Thus, condensed supplementation is required to allow replacement of the necessary metabolites during modern times of continuing stress. This can be done by taking each of the individual supplements individually or by taking a single capsule containing all of them. An example of the latter is Neu-beCALM'd™ (patented and other patents pending).
Whether through numerous single component capsules or the patented "all in one" capsule formulation, the supplements must contain: d/l-phenylalanine and l-glutamine in combination with Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Magnesium, and Chromium, and Folic Acid in proper proportions. This formulation of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, has been shown to enhance the opioids, GABA, dopamine, norepinepherine, and serotonin availability.
Particular emphasis must be made that in the original Neu-beCALM'd, a large amount of d-phenylalanine was used to inhibit the opioid destruction enzyme, enkephalinase. This was done as the principal opioid precursors were so expensive as to be very cost prohibitive. A new discovery (patent pending) found that a small amount of d/l-phenylalanine combined with requisite amounts of folic acid provide the precursors necessary to increase the opioid supply by up to 500%. Thus, the opioid shortage is normalized rather than controlled by patient demand (PRN.)
Inspection of The Stress Cycle shows how such action works. This having been done, the human is able to withstand a great deal of modern constant stress without suffering the effects described above.
CONCLUSION: Today's preferred treatment of stress related disease is not a new miracle drug or even significant life-style changes. (The latter often cause more stress than they cure.) It is nutritional supplementation with common items we all consume every day. . .but not in large enough quantities. For instance, the primary ingredient in NutraSweet is l-phenylalanine. It is found in fish and algae's in the d/l form. L-glutamine is found in certain fish, (e.g. mackerel). Vitamin A is found in fish liver oil, carrots, and diary products. Vitamin B6 is found in liver, eggs, and dairy products. Magnesium is found in many fruits and nuts. Calcium is found in a wide variety of diary products. Chromium is found in shellfish and corn oil. And, l-tryptophan is found in milk, cheese, ham, and turkey. If one were to eat the quantities of the above foods that are required to handle modern continual stress, he would become obese in very short order and would probably have cholesterol and triglycerides counts that would be life threatening.
The concentrated nutritional supplementation is generally water soluble and to take too much is a practical impossibility. Thus, this type of nutritional supplementation is perhaps the most safe, practical means of managing this century's new form of stressors.
The highly stressed individual needs the above nutrition to survive. As a benefit he will be healthier and, because he is not on one emotional binge after another, happier.