GABA, GABA, Doo, Part 2
As Christians, it is extremely important for us to realize that in many ways, we have control over our health. While there are many things we cannot control (allergies, genetic abnormalities, malfunctions of our systems, etc.), the truth is that if we treat our bodies like actual the Temples of the Holy Spirit they are (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), eating and drinking only what is appropriate for our bodies, we will gain and keep a good handle on our health. Unfortunately, even after people learn this, most will ignore it or put it off for some other time. We are creatures of habit and it is very difficult to break old habits and start new ones.
I began my journey roughly two years ago because I was just so tired of feeling like death warmed over. I recall earnestly praying that God would “heal me.” Of course, I wanted to be healed right then and there, but God chose to do it over time so that I would learn tremendous things about how my body works. In the process, I have been able to break old habits and start new ones. It began by avoiding certain foods and built from there. As we get deeper into this series, I will share more about this journey.
But I’d like to stress again, that I am not dispensing medical advice in this series. I am simply pointing out what many scientists and doctors have been telling us for some time. Is anyone listening? Are you ready to listen?
The need for health is now, especially considering how many chemicals are in our food and water (not to mention the air we breathe). We cannot put it off any longer because poor health does affect us spiritually. We will not have the energy to persevere in our faith. We will grow tired and slide into despair because of what bad food and bad fluids do to our systems.
Rare is the person who lives to be 100 today and gets there by drinking a glass of wine every night and smoking a cigar every week (neither of which I’m recommending). There is no “one rule for all” living. Everyone is different even though many of the working principles remain the same for all people. However, good health often starts and is maintained by what we avoid in our diets.
We introduced neurotransmitters last time and we needed to start there because without neurotransmitters, our entire systems will not work properly at best and stop working at worst. God has designed us so that we need neurotransmitters. They are the way the body communicates with the brain and visa versa as well. There are neurotransmitters that keep us from experiencing things like autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, depression, Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and an entire host of other ailments and maladies. There are also neurotransmitters that have the job of keeping other neurotransmitters working properly via communication.
Without neurotransmitters, we would ultimately stop working, completely. Obviously, this is when we die. Until our deaths though, we have the option of gaining and maintaining our health. It’s our choice.
Only a few generations ago – many Americans still lived on farms. They grew their own food, raised cows for milk, and lived off the land. There were no such things as GMOs (genetically modified organisms), and processed foods were not like they are today, filled to overflowing with chemicals, preservatives, and fillers.
What scientists have learned is that many of these chemicals, preservatives, and fillers are harmful to our systems. Why? Because they disrupt the health of our guts. Hopefully, you’ll recall that I mentioned last time that neurotransmitters, while used in our brains, are created in our guts. This truth cannot be stressed enough.
Because of this, it should be realized that it is the utmost importance to ensure that we have healthy guts. Unfortunately today, what is called “leaky gut” or “leaky gut syndrome” is occurring in more and more people. It is also known as “intestinal permeability.” It is a very real situation, but for many in the medical area, it is considered gray because not a great deal is known about it. Yet, it is also understood and acknowledged that people with Celiac Disease and Crohn’s have this malady.
…leaky gut syndrome (or intestinal permeability) affects the lining of the intestines resulting in symptoms such as persistent muscle or joint pain, poor concentration, indigestion, gas, mood swings, nervousness, skin rashes, recurrent bladder or yeast infections, constipation, or anxiety.
The lining of the intestines is a barrier that normally only allows properly digested fats, proteins, and starches [to] pass through and enter the bloodstream.
The problem occurs when other things that are normally not allowed do manage to escape through the intestinal “netting” or lining directly into the bloodstream. As this happens, these microscopic pinholes that have been created enlarge and worsen, allowing more to pass directly into the bloodstream. This results in a “leaky gut” as bad things “leak” directly into the gut.
You may be interested to know that High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) – a fake sweetener derived from GMO corn stalks and is in hundreds of food and drink products – is not broken down by our bodies. Instead, it often goes directly into our blood streams (unlike pure sugar cane, which is broken down). Beyond this, it gets stored in our livers and turns on the fat-producing cells. You can read more about it here, here, and here. If this is what HFCS causes in your body, then clearly, it’s ruining your gut health. If it’s ruining your gut health, then it is also impairing proper growth and regulation of the needed neurotransmitters for your brain. Fixing this is as simple as avoiding anything with HFCS in it.
In essence, you are slowly but consistently creating all sorts of problems for yourself if you eat foods or drink fluids that contain HFCS. You need to stop right now. Don’t think that drinking “diet” sodas will help either. Aspartame and other fake sweeteners also create problems for neurotransmitter creation and use. A leaky gut can take months to heal depending upon how bad it is and during that time, neurotransmitters are compromised. You need to do what you can to eliminate the things that tear your neurotransmitter creation and use down.
Last time we also spoke of the main categories of neurotransmitters. I want to talk about two of them which fall under the Amino acid neurotransmitters: GABA and glutamate.
You can’t really talk about how to increase GABA without talking about glutamate, because they have a complex and interconnected relationship. Both are very important neurotransmitters that have a profound impact on many different aspects of our physical, mental and spiritual health with the former being inhibitory and the latter being excitatory. Excitatory neurotransmitters stimulate brain cells, while inhibitory ones reduce stimulation. Like all neurotransmitters, too much or too little of either one leads to problems. (Emphasis in original)
Think about the fact that just these two neurotransmitters – GABA and glutamate – perform many functions via communication in our systems. When they are out of balance or out-of-sync, the impact on our physical, mental, and spiritual health is almost immediately seen. What is very interesting is that these two particular neurotransmitters are exact opposites. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, while glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter. Let’s consider glutamate first.
[Glutamate] has many important roles like stimulating your brain cells so you can talk, think, process information, learn new information, pay attention, and store information in short and long-term memory. As a matter of fact, studies suggest that the more glutamate receptors you have the more intelligent you are. High levels of glutamate receptors are correlated with superior abilities in learning and memory. Unfortunately, they [are] also correlated with an increased risk of stroke and seizures.
Scientists also tell us that glutamate, while absolutely necessary for proper brain function, is very abundant in the brain but is found “in very small concentrations.” If this is the naturally occurring situation for glutamate, then it should be clear that too much glutamate is simply not good. Our brain regulates this when everything is working correctly. What happens when there is too much glutamate in the brain?
Too much glutamate can also increase eosinophils (a particular type of white blood cell) which results in inflammation, impair blood vessels that lead to migraines and blood pressure irregularities, and impair other areas of the brain like the hypothalamus, hippocampal neurons and Purkinje neurons (related to GABA), which affect speech and language.
By the way, none of this is “junk science” or “quackery.” This is all scientifically proven. These are things scientists know and understand about glutamate, how it works, and the effects – both positive and negative – it has on the brain. Here are a few other negative effects of too much glutamate.
- Mercury in the body becomes more toxic in the presence of high levels of glutamate
- Excess glutamate also makes cancer cells proliferate and increases tumor growth and survival
- Excessive glutamate levels can cause the brain to release endorphins/enkephalins to protect the brain, but
- this can deplete natural opioids and glutathione levels (needed for detoxification, gut health, and inflammation)
- glutathione also helps to protect neurons from damage to keep cells from dying
- High levels of glutamate may increase the survival of unfriendly microbes in the gut and contribute to problems like excess acid and heartburn
- Too much glutamate can lead to too much acetylcholine, and too much acetylcholine has a stimulating effect as well and puts one into a perpetual state of sympathetic stress with high levels of anxiety, fear, insomnia, restlessness, nervousness etc
These are just some of the negative effects of having too much glutamate in the brain. Take a good look at that list above and ask yourself if you are healthy enough? How do you answer that question? You answer it based on two things: 1) what you eat and drink, and 2) how you physically feel.
Are you listless? Does your stomach/gut simply not feel that great? Do you simply feel “unwell” or have an unspecific malaise? These could be related to too much glutamate in your system. I’m not suggestion you run out and buy supplements that will help you reduce glutamate. The only thing I am suggesting you do right now is to determine what you eat and drink and ask yourself if there is anything you can change about your eating habits.
We’ve mentioned high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Do you drink sodas or other drinks sweetened with this? Eliminate them immediately. Do not switch to diet sodas. If you must, buy sodas only sweetened with pure cane sugar, which is actually broken down in our systems, unlike HFCS. The fake sweeteners used in diet drinks also negatively impact glutamate and GABA. “They” know this yet they persist in producing products with Aspartame and the like because of the profits they make from it.
Stop buying processed foods with HFCS in them. You must do this immediately whether you think they’re a problem for you or not. HFCS is literally poison to our bodies and there is much proof available on the ‘Net alone. Of course, the sugar and sweetener industries will tell you something completely different but their job is to make you buy their product.
By the way, HFCS constantly undergoes name changes and that should tell you something. Whether it’s “fructose,” “high fructose corn syrup,” “corn syrup,” “glucose,” “glucose syrup” or some other derivative, it’s all made from GMO corn stalks in the lab. They often contain high levels of heavy metals and other contaminants. Why eat or drink them?
I would like to say one thing about supplementation here. I use supplements, but I’m using them sparingly. You must go very, very slowly where supplements are concerned and when you do choose to supplement, you must read labels! Supplements are often notorious for adding the same kind of garbage that’s added to our foods. You’ll have to pay more for supplements that do not have wheat, gluten, corn, yeast, dairy, etc., etc., etc., but they are worth it.
We’ll be back next time to talk about GABA and how it works in conjunction with glutamate and visa versa.
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