How does nutrition affect neurotransmitter pathways?

How does nutrition affect neurotransmitter pathways?

25 September 2019 Stephen Arnold Uncategorized

How does nutrition affect neurotransmitter pathways?

And how does nutrition affect subtle changes in psychological and behavioural parameters.

The links between nutrition, cognitive productivity and the links between environment, human behaviour and nutrition are outstanding.

Understanding these links is surely the key to improved cognitive and physical performance.

I recently produced a report outlining the reasons why mine sites experience a higher incident rate immediately after lunch.

We take this information and link it back to the effect’s certain nutrients place on the brain.

 In this report today we’re going to go over the above mentioned and help you understand why it’s so important to approach both physical, mental health and performance from a whole, well rounded approach.

Optimal brain function results from highly complex interactions between numerous genetic and environmental factors, including food intake, physical activity, age and stress.

Nutrition and dietary choices are one of the biggest mediators in cognitive function and physical performance.

But likewise, our environment, age, stress, physical activity play a role in our nutritional and dietary choices.

Every individual will respond to different nutrients on an immediate level as well as a long term cycle.

Nutrition and environment affect the epigenetics of an individual and can shape his/her actions, personality and overall wellbeing.

Poor nutrition can lead to long term health issues such as heart attacks. Diabetes, obesity and cancers.

As well as not providing our bodies with the correct micro nutrients required for normal bio-chemical reactions to occur, poor nutrition can also cause permeable gut syndrome, bacterial overgrowths, parasites and yeast infections among other digestive issues.

Correct nutrition is the first step in achieving the best performance both physically and mentally for any individual.

Another example of poor nutrition, this time in terms of volume and frequency rather than selection is the effect carbohydrates have on insulin production and insulin sensitivity at the cell.

  • The more carbs you eat, the more glucose you end up with in your blood stream and the more often you do this the more resistant you become at the cell and start producing less insulin as well.
  • Some carbs absorb faster than other, magnifying this process.
  • So if someone is slightly insulin resistant and they consume a large portion of fast absorbing carbs we end up with high levels of blood glucose.

This situation leads to diabetes and we also know that diabetes and poorly managed blood sugar levels lead to Alzheimer’s.

The further away from homeostasis the individual is, the more disruption nutrients can play on neurotransmitter pathways.

The un-healthier you are, the less effective your brain will work.

Something very important to pay attention to.

  • But not only that, the more neurotransmitter disruption we see, the more the individual can rely on food for support – think comfort food or cravings during PMS.
  • Carbs promote melatonin and serotonin release (the feel good hormones) which is why we turn to them.
  • But then we get the knock-on negative effect that these poor choices make.
  • High levels of carb absorption also affect the activity of orexin cells which control the sleep/awake cycles.
  • Carbs promote production of serotonin and melatonin which can make us feel drowsy, think everyone having a nap after the Christmas dinner.

Not a great situation if we’re in the middle of our working day or in the middle of something important like driving.

  • Not all carbs are equal, more wholesome carbs are going to have a lesser affect but total volume still needs to be addressed.
  • Healthy Proteins and good dietary fats can help regulate blood sugar levels, combine this with wholesome carb sources, timed accordingly then we can achieve an optimally functioning human.
  • Poor nutrition leads to cognitive fog, poor health, poor performance and mistakes in the work place among other things.
  • Neurotransmitter deficits occur long before obesity or diabetes do so trying to identify certain people who may be affected by poor nutrition is impossible, the reality is, we all are.

We’re only just beginning to learn the total cost of poor nutrition, we all think of weight management when we think of food related issues but the reality is, it goes a lot deeper than that.

But likewise, our environment plays a massive role on the nutritional choices we make as well.

If someone is depressed they may well find some level of enjoyment from food, if an individual is stressed or tired they are going to turn to food as well.

So good nutrition alone is a hopeless cause which is why in conclusion, the only way to operate at an optimal level with both cognitive pathways and physical performance we need to take a whole, well rounded approach to health and fitness, both at the gym and in the work place.

Some study papers to support my report are below.

Thank you for reading and good luck with your health and fitness goals (both physically and mentally).

Stephen Arnold
Health and Nutrition Specialist.

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