What About Food, Insulin & Brain Chemistry?
By Joan Kent, PhD
Insulin can be linked with brain chemistry and can also change it. One way that insulin can influence brain chemistry is through insulin resistance.
Doctors tell us that insulin resistance is the result of overweight. That's true but not the whole story. Insulin resistance can be genetic – or even the result of how we eat.
If someone is carbohydrate sensitive, for example, that person produces exaggerated insulin when he or she eats high insulin-triggering foods. Sugar is a very high insulin-triggering food.
When someone who is sensitive to carbs in this way eats a lot of sugar or other insulin-triggering foods, the body can become insulin resistant through a process known as receptor down-regulation.
Down-regulation decreases the number of insulin receptors and also the sensitivity of the remaining receptors. It's an adaptation to high insulin secretion.
The end result is a functional decrease in insulin's effectiveness. That in turn can interfere with the transport of tryptophan to the brain.
Tryptophan is an amino acid, so it comes from protein. When tryptophan can't get to the brain, the brain can't make serotonin. Low serotonin paves the way for rotten moods (depression, irritability, anxiety and more). There's more to the solution, of course, but I've had excellent results with clients suffering from anxiety and other mood issues.
Low serotonin may also be linked with sugar and/or carbohydrate cravings. Bad moods themselves are a cause of sugar cravings. Either can set up a self-perpetuating cycle.
I've helped many clients eliminate food cravings and feel fantastic.
Yet foods can affect brain chemistry in other ways, as well. For example, I've worked successfully with clients with ADD, ADHD, autism and more. Recently, I received a testimonial from the relieved mother of an autistic client who has gone on to get a great job and become independent.
Another client, who had ADD, used to sound almost frantic during our calls but now sounds calm, even, and in control.
So clients may have quite a variety of symptoms and health issues. Some of them are addicted to sugar, and some are not.
It's not always easy to get results with these clients – and sometimes they even "fight" my food recommendations.
Here's the terrific news. When they follow my guidelines, their amazing results can go far beyond just getting rid of junk food. The many health issues and mental states that food can influence are why I call my specialty psychoactive nutrition. But if you ask, I'll just say I use food to change brain chemistry and hormones.
If you feel you need help with a health issue, I'd love to help you. Just visit www.LastResortNutrition.com and grab your free Empowered Eating Consult. Find out how simple changes can produce big results.
Brought to you by Dr. Joan Kent, best-selling author of Stronger Than Sugar: 7 Simple Steps to Defeat Sugar Addiction, Lift Your Mood, and Transform Your Health.