Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Neurotransmitter Precursors

When people come to The Coleman Institute for a detox, they are given specific instructions from Jennifer, our Intake Coordinator about what to bring. We may have to add nuts and seeds to the list.

We know that using narcotics, speed, benzos and other drugs essentially shut down the brain’s production of important neurotransmitters, notably serotonin, dopamine and GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid).A group of researchers from Food for the Brain, an educational foundation exploring how food affects our mental functioning, reports a growing body of evidence that providing food rich in the precursors of lost neurotransmitters will boost the levels of those chemicals, thus reducing cravings.

Anxiety and sleeplessness are common withdrawal symptoms, caused mostly by a reduction in the brain’s supply of glutamine, which is a precursor to GABA. GABA is our body’s own anti-anxiety chemical. Glutamine levels can be restored, thereby increasing the production of GABA by consuming an amino acid called N-acetylcysteine (NAC) which is found in seeds and nuts. Studies being done at the Medical University of South Carolina by Dr. Steven LaRowe showed that giving NAC to cocaine addicts caused a significant reduction in the cravings.

Serotonin is another neurotransmitter often deficient in people with drug problems. Insufficient amounts of serotonin in the brain are associated with depression. Serotonin is made from an amino acid called tryptophan, found in meats, brown rice, nuts and fish. Increasing levels of tryptophan has been found to induce a more optimistic outlook.

A diet high in Omega 3 fatty acids appears to help conduct nerve impulses. Many psychological problems have been associated with its deficiency, and trials are ongoing. Because it is not likely that successful results can be patented, most drug companies are not interested in pursuing this kind of research.

When you consider that we become everything we ingest—our skin, muscles, hair, organs, brain cells…it isn’t such a stretch to think that eating nutrient rich foods can contribute to stabilizing addictions. So when you arrive at The Coleman Institute for your detox, don’t forget to pack some almonds, walnuts, cashews and peanuts with your favorite pillow and comforter!

1 comment:

  1. Closing the production base of the brain neurotransmitters are serotonin, dopamine and GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid). If someone uses narcotics or cocaine, it will cause a decrease cravings, mental function, increase the chemicals in the body, anxiety and difficulty sleeping. Trouble sleeping and anxiety can be overcome by consuming amino acids (NAC) contained in whole grains and beans. The article you presented is very useful for my life and the materials narcotics addicts. Thanks for the explanation may be the best solution.