Why is life too stressful for some people and not for others? Why do some people recover from a period of depression while others linger for months or years? Why do some people have an occasional panic attack and recover while others develop agoraphobia and over time struggle to leave their home? These are the questions Dr. William Walsh has been asking and after treating more than 30,000 patients with a variety of emotional problems, he's providing new answers and new hope through nutrient therapy.
The billions of neurons in your brain have a relatively few number of neurons that serve as modulators. Three major systems are the Serotonergic, Noradrenergic and Dopaminergic systems. These are the three systems that psychiatrist medications adjust to relieve depression and anxiety. Critical to these adjustments seems to be altering the reuptake of Serotonin, Norepinephrine and Dopamine. These neurohormones are given off in “synapses” sending a signal from one neuron to the next. Reuptake proteins clear these hormones to turn off the signal.
The number and type of reuptake proteins is controlled by your genes. Each protein is made up of a very specific sequence of amino acids that you get from your diet. The sequence of these amino acids is coded for in your DNA. Every cell of your body has its own factory for making the proteins it requires. Each cell has the same 23 chromosomes that your mother and father provided you. Each cell responds to its environment to produce the kinds of proteins that it needs.
Each cell has a system that adjusts the production of each protein. There are proteins that surround the DNA in your chromosomes called histones that turn on and turn off the production of each protein. When a cell needs a little more of a particular protein the histones that surround the DNA that code for that protein loosen up. This process is called acetylation. When enough of the protein has been made the histones tighten up around that area of your DNA in a process called methylation.
Epigenetics and the Ability to Handle Stress
The science of this process of turning on and turning off the expression of your DNA is called epigenetics. It is one answer to the nature vs. nurture discussion around why we each can respond so differently to the stress of our lives. Stress leads to increased methylation which limits the availability of that protein to your cell. The more stress, the greater and longer lasting will be the methylation. This limits the cells ability to handle the changes to its environment. This limits your ability to handle the stress in your environment.
Your doctor can provide you medications that will adjust the effectiveness of the proteins you are able to make. Many times this is effective, although it may cause a few side effects that you and your doctor can address. Counselors will help you to think about the stress in your life differently thereby decreasing the strain on your system allowing you to make better decisions.
Methylation and acetylation are also genetically controlled. Some people tend towards methylation while others tend toward acetylation. This can have a tremendous effect on your brain cells production of reuptake proteins. This can leave you feeling depressed or anxious with even minimal life stress.
Each of us has been given the genes we were born with. These genes will guide many of your given traits. The function of your genes also provides many of your traits and is controlled by epigenetic factors. These can be measured, and their effects can be modified with adjustments in the amount and type of nutrients you take. These effects have been measured in depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, ADHD and autism.
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