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” 2 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.
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.3 Our gluten-free, soy-free, sugar-free, probiotic-rich diet helps rid the gut of candida and creates 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 that are 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. This is because 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. A concurrent regimen of glutathione in the nebulized form ensures the safe elimination of toxic metals, protecting against free radical damage.5
Through a diet that restores gut health, a protocol rich in amino acids,4 and an effective detoxification regimen, the residents at Alternative to Meds Center can experience neurotransmitter rehabilitation, which in turn helps to resolve many of the physical and mental symptoms they had when they arrived at the center.
1. Science Daily “Study shows how serotonin and a popular antidepressant affect the gut’s microbiota.” [Internet] [cited 2020 Oct 6]
2. Shiel WC Jr., “Medical Definition of Downregulation.” Medicine Net [Internet] N.D. [cited 2020 Oct 6]
3. Briguglio M, et al., “Dietary Neurotransmitters: A Narrative Review on Current Knowledge.” PubMed ID 29748506 [Nutrients Journal 2018 May [cited 2020 Oct 6]
4. Lieberman H, “Amino Acid and Protein Requirements: Cognitive Performance, Stress, and Brain Function.” from the book entitled “The Role of Protein and Amino Acids in Sustaining and Enhancing Performance.” published by NIMH & National Academies Press [cited 2020 Oct 6]
5. Sears M, “Chelation: Harnessing and Enhancing Heavy Metal Detoxification – A Review.” Pub Med ID 23690738 [Scientific World Journal] 2013 Apr 18 [cited 2020 Oct 6]
Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente. He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.