As a clinical nutritionist, I regularly work with clients with mood imbalances and understand the impact that this can have on an individual's quality of life.
What I wanted to explain today is how our nutrient status plays a crucial role in mental health as neurotransmitters, also known as "happy hormones," are affected by what we eat.
The most commonly known neurotransmitters are Serotonin, dopamine and GABA. Low levels of these can all contribute to mood imbalances.
People with low serotonin may feel very flat, suffer from depression, lack enjoyment of life, and experience a low mood. Low dopamine can lead to apathy, lack of interest, low motivation, and addictive behaviours. Low GABA can cause individuals to feel uptight, anxious, overwhelmed, and they may experience an overactive mind. I talk more in depth about these symptoms in the video below.
It's essential to have enough protein in the diet to support the production of these neurotransmitters. The amount of protein that you need on a daily basis is often more than you realise. For vegetarians and vegans, it's crucial to consume a wide range of plant proteins each day to get the full range of essential amino acids needed for mood balance.
Sugar is another factor that can contribute to mood imbalances. It can cause blood sugar fluctuations and inflammation in the body, leading to feelings of anxiety and depression. Not only this, it can affect the cellular levels of key minerals that are crucial for neurological health. I often recommend lowering sugar intake for individuals with mood imbalances.
Dehydration can also impact mood as the body goes into fight or flight mode when dehydrated, leading to the release of adrenaline and cortisol, which can worsen anxiety and mood imbalances. Staying hydrated is therefore essential for optimal mental health.
Stimulants like caffeine can be too excitatory on the brain, worsening anxiety and mood disorders. I often recommend reducing or eliminating caffeine intake for individuals with mood imbalances.
In my clinical practice, I support people by checking their nutrient levels and prescribing minerals and supplements to help support neurotransmitter balance. I also help individuals develop personalised diet and lifestyle plans to support their mental health, including recommendations for nutrient-dense foods, exercise, and stress management techniques.
If you're struggling with mood imbalances, I encourage you to reach out to me to book an appointment. Together, we can work to develop a personalised plan to support your mental health and help you feel your best.
If you are suffering from unexplainable symptoms and your doctor doesn`t know what`s going on, then listen up…
Or, maybe you are fit and well and want to stay that way with preventative lifestyle measures.
Hair mineral analysis tests offer an amazing insight into what`s going on with your body at a cellular level.
Everyone knows that to live a healthy life with vitality, we need vitamins.
Not everyone knows about the importance of minerals though. Minerals are the nutrients that come directly from the earth such as magnesium, potassium, zinc and iron.
Certain minerals are absolutely essential for human functioning.
Magnesium, being one of the most important, is required for the energy cycle of every cell in the body, enzyme synthesis and every chemical function that we have to create. It is vital for brain and organ health, along with having a huge impact upon our mood.
Potassium transports the nutrients that you eat into each and every cell, whilst Zinc is essential for hormone production, immunity and insulin production.
Certain imbalances can occur that disrupt these processes, such as too much Copper can disrupt the functioning of Zinc levels
A depletion in vital minerals can cause:
The quickest and most reliable way to find out if you are deficient in any key nutrients is through a hair mineral analysis test.
The test will show the nutrient levels in your body and reveal any evidence of long term or acute exposure to heavy metals that you probably didn't realise that you had been vulnerable to.
Certain minerals are damaging to our bodies and we accumulate them every day. Mercury and aluminium are extremely toxic to the body and amongst others such as Lead, are known as heavy metals.
It is hard for the body to eradicate heavy metals. They accumulated from air pollution, household products, hygiene products (always get aluminium free deodorant) toys, jewellery, crockery, vaccines, certain medications (aluminium in antacids), makeup, dental fillings, contaminated paint or soil, plumbing and certain foods.
A healthy, functioning body can efficiently remove these metals to a certain extent, but if the burden is too great, they will be stored.
A person who has challenges with their immune system, lymphatic system and nutrient intake will find it very difficult to remove these metals and they will store in greater quantities.
Metals have a way of finding their way to the brain and like to accumulate in cells in this area. They are known to cause degenerative conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer's.
Problems that affect the brain and spinal cord can begin to emerge before these conditions such as:
Children are at a particular risk of toxic exposure as their brain and spines develop so quickly.
Toxins can cause a greater impact to children than they would to a fully-developed adult.
Heavy metal toxicity can be a factor in lower IQ, behavioural problems, ADHD, autism, anxiety and many more conditions linked to neurological functioning.
How does a Hair Mineral Analysis test work?
Hair analysis tests are extremely accurate.
The laboratories use sophisticated instruments and software programmes that allow for extensive quality control.
Human hair is around 80% protein and 15% water, with smaller amounts of lipid and inorganic substances.
Normally, around 90% of the hair on the scalp is in the growth phase. During the growth phase elements from the follicular cells and from the blood supply to the follicle are incorporated into the structure of the hair. As the follicle emerges through the skin, the process of keratinisation seals the elements inside the protein structures, making the hair a resilient and long -lasting tissue that can be used for analysis.
Mineral nutrients such as Zinc and magnesium are present in the follicular cells as enzyme co-factors whilst toxins that the body is trying to remove are dumped into the hair as part of the detoxification mechanism.
The scientific process of analysing a hair sample begins with hair being broken down with special acids at a high temperature. The hair is then separated from the elements. When the actual hair has been completely digested, only mineral salts remain. The mineral salts are added to a chemical solution and analysed to identify the mineral status and toxic metal accumulation found.
Why is this different to a blood or urine test?
A blood test only tells you how much of the nutrient is in your circulation at the time of taking the sample.
For example, If you have just eaten a banana before your blood test, the sample may indicate a high level of potassium when actually, without the banana it is normal.
Hair sampling is different because it gives an overall level of potassium. It shows how much you have been storing over a period of time, not just what you ate that particular week. A blood test is like a snap shot, whereas a hair mineral test shows you your mineral status over time.
Urine tests will only show the amount of minerals that your body is excreting, not how much you have absorbed.
As hair dyes contain metal elements, it is important that hair is not used as a sample until 6 weeks after being dyed, bleached or permed.
The week before you take your hair sample, use a gentle shampoo, like a baby shampoo or a natural product.
Hair should be cut from the back of the head, or nape of the neck. It should be cut as close to the scalp as possible. Your kit will show you how much to take.
How do I order a test?
If you would like to order a hair mineral analysis test then you can click here.
Once you purchase your test, I will call you to explain the process and send the test to you.
You will post the test directly to the laboratory and they will contact me with your results.
Results take around a week to ten days, but sometimes a little longer (lockdown has made the process longer).
Once I have your results, I will call you to arrange an analysis with you, which we can either go through on Zoom or on the phone.
If you have any other questions about hair analysis, then please get in touch.
Love and health to you all,
The contents of this blog are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, dietary supplement, exercise, or other health program.