The Cure for ‘Mommy Brain’

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Do you struggle with general exhaustion, decreased memory, sleep disruption, anxiety and/or depression?

These are not uncommon symptoms for moms under a tight schedule with multiple responsibilities and little time for self-care. When it comes to your mental health, however, it is important to address these symptoms early on before they lead to bigger health concerns.

Everyone is familiar with the relentless barrage of television advertisements for interventions that treat anxiety, depression and insomnia.  Mood altering drugs are big business!

But sadly, in spite of the media hype and legitimate public need, methods for evaluating the nervous system are few and far between. Proper evaluation leads to effective treatment; which is the ultimate goal.

Many people are familiar with the role of serotonin in depression, and the common prescription of SSRI’s (compounds used in antidepressants).

What people don’t always know is that there are approximately 12 other important neurotransmitters, neurohormones and cofactors involved in mood health.

This considerable variability explains, in part, why no two people should receive the same medical prescription, and why preventative intervention can occur before the need for stronger prescription medication.

Fortunately, today laboratory analysis of a small cup of your urine can help to determine which neurotransmitter levels are out of balance, and in turn, which therapies and nutrients are best suited for you.

Neurotransmitters, Neurohormones, Neuro-Cofactors

ACETYLCHOLINEStimulates muscle contraction and is involved in memory, learning and general intellectual functioning.
GABAMain mood modulator. Regulates daily sleep-wake cycles.
GLUTAMATERequired for learning and memory. Low levels can lead to tiredness and poor brain activity. High levels also contribute to Depression, OCD, and Autism.
SEROTONINThe most common contributor to mood problems, serotonin is key to our feelings of happiness and helps defend against both anxiety and depression. Daily stress can greatly reduce your serotonin supplies.
DOPAMINEResponsible for motivation, interest, and drive.
PHENYLALANINEImportant in focus and concentration.
EPINEPHRINEEssential to metabolism, regulates attention, mental focus, arousal, and cognition.
NOREPINEPHRINEUsed for arousal in the flight/fight response, plays a role in learning and memory retrieval.
HISTAMINEControls the sleep-wake cycle and promotes the release of epinephrine and norepinephrine.

Once neurotransmitter deficiencies or overloads are identified, an appropriate treatment strategy can be formed, addressing your specific imbalances. Additionally, one nutrient common to all neurotransmitter pathways is vitamin B6. It is used as a cofactor to help make serotonin, GABA, Dopamine….Taking a multi-B vitamin with high B6 (approximately 250mg) is of value in a mood health treatment plan.

Here is an Easy Mood Make Over Kit:   

  • Multi B6 Complex.
  • A quality fish oil with a 3:1 (or higher) ratio of EPA:DHA. This ratio provides optimal cognitive support. The content of EPA must also be above 1000mg.
  • EXERCISE – get all the neurotransmitters in the “brain playground”!
  • SLEEP – you may need assistance with specific strategies to address your unique sleep concerns and contributing factors.
  • GREEN FOODS – vegetable based greens!

For better results see a professional to help you develop a comprehensive nutrition support plan and vitamin plan to support your specific brain chemistry. Consider having your urinary brain profile test done as well.

Most importantly, you can prevent serious mood-based health concerns before needing pharmacological intervention.  It is important to treat and understand the actual root cause of your symptoms. Is it a serotonin imbalance, or a different neurotransmitter? Dig deeper; ask the right questions because there are tests out there that can evaluate and address your individual neurotransmitter function.

Have you struggled with general exhaustion, decreased memory, sleep disruption, anxiety and/or depression? Tell us your story.

If you have questions about this post please contact Dr. Tara Campbell, ND.  naturopath@continuumwellness.ca  416.913.3080 Ext. 301

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About Author

Dr. Tara, ND has made a career out of her passion for health and wellness. She works closely with each of her patients to maximize their state of health using natural medicine and naturopathic healing practices. True to her profession, she herself practices what she preaches, and wants to help you live a more natural and fulfilling life. In her spare time Tara enjoys Asthanga Yoga, browsing Indigo, dazzling people with creative salads, and getting to the mountains of Vermont. She can often be sighted cycling throughout Toronto. You can find Tara at Continuum Wellness or www.drtaracampbell.com. You can also reach her by email at drtara@drtaracampbell.com .

5 Comments

  1. jpatton@paradigmmedia.ca'

    This is great information Dr. Tara, and so important to know that we have alternative methods to help us with our moods and sleeping. MOMS need to sleep!

  2. Pingback: Keeping It Together – Mommy Brain | The Story of a Tired Mom

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