Although serotonin, dopamine, and GABA may be the most widely known, there are over 150 neurotransmitters affecting how we feel, sleep, and behave. A significant number of these are produced in the gastrointestinal tract. It is estimated that 90% of the “feel-good” neurotransmitter serotonin is produced in the gut.
We have found that numerous dietary, lifestyle, and environmental factors that can deplete essential neurotransmitters. Because the gut plays such a critical role in neurotransmitter health, conditions that negatively impact the gastrointestinal tract such as bowel toxicity, inflammation, and Candida overgrowth can directly impact neurotransmitter levels.
Diet, in particular, has an outsized role in neurotransmitter levels. Certain foods can create toxic gastrointestinal conditions while other foods can create a healthy gut environment. Furthermore, amino acids are the building blocks of neurotransmitters. Amino acids come from protein in the diet. For these reasons, diet directly affects neurotransmitter levels and in turn impacts both physical and mental health.
Numerous medications can “down-regulate” the body’s ability to produce certain neurotransmitters. For example, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) block the regular removal of serotonin causing hyperactivity. The brain reacts to this overactivity by curtailing its capacity to react to stimulation by serotonin and by reducing the output of serotonin. This condition is known as downregulation. Over time, this down-regulated state can result in a severe depletion of serotonin and other neurochemicals and can cause serious physical and mental symptoms.
The Alternative to Meds Center makes neurotransmitter rehabilitation an integral part of each aspect of our treatment protocols. In terms of diet, we serve a menu designed to repair damage to the gut. Our gluten-free, soy-free, sugar-free, probiotic-rich diet helps rid the gut of Candida and create a gut environment that is optimal for neurotransmission production. And, as we have found that stimulants such as caffeine deplete neurotransmitter levels, our diet is strictly caffeine-free.
Furthermore, we implement an amino acid-rich supplement protocol that provides the building blocks so essential for neurotransmitter production. Each resident is evaluated by our clinical and medical teams and is given an individualized supplement plan to address their specific neurotransmitter imbalances.
But the key to neurotransmitter rehabilitation lies in our detoxification protocol. Often, environmental toxins such as heavy metals bind onto neuroreceptors preventing neurotransmitters from performing correctly. So, even providing the body with essential amino acids and a diet conducive to gut health will not, by themselves, necessarily clear up issues related to neurotransmission. For, the neurotransmitters can’t do their job properly if toxins impair their proper transmission.
For that reason, sauna detoxification is at the core of the Alternative to Meds Center treatment regimen. Before they enter the sauna, residents take supplements called chelators that bind onto the toxins blocking proper neurotransmission. These chelators pull the toxins free. Residents also take conjugators, which make the toxins that have been pulled free water-soluble so that they can be flushed from the body through sweat or defecation.
Through a diet that restores gut health, a protocol rich in amino acids, and a detoxification regimen that includes chelation and conjugation, residents at the Alternative to Meds Center can restore proper neurotransmission, which in turn helps to resolve many of the physical and mental symptoms they had when they arrived at the center.