Sunday, December 4, 2016

High Anxiety

I have been hospitalized twice in recent years -- in 2005, for blood clots on my lungs, and in 2012, for blood clots & congestive heart failure. After the 2012 experience, I went through a few months of high anxiety and panic attacks.

This was a life-altering experience for me. I began a self-help prevention phase of life that included proper dieting, ample exercise and delving into medical & natural remedies for various afflictions.

Scientific studies indicate that anxiety may run in families through genetics and conditioning.

Gamma-amino butyric acid is also called GABA is an amino acid -- a major neurotransmitter, widely distributed throughout the brain which acts like a natural tranquilizer by slowing down brain signals, keeping you calm. It can also help to lower blood pressure and strengthen the heart muscle.

GABA is the most important anti-anxiety neurotransmitter in the brain. Low levels of Gaba in the brain is associated with several neurological disorders brought on by anxiety, such as depression, irritability, panic attacks and insomnia. GABA induces relaxation and enhances sleep. It is also used to treat and prevent epilepsy.

According to Dr. Amen, "GABA can be taken as a supplement in doses ranging from 250 milligrams - 1,500 milligrams for adults and from 125 - 750 milligrams daily for children. For best effect, GABA should be taken in two to three divided doses."

According to Dr. Orloff, anxiety is linked to a deficiency in three main neurotransmitters. Chemical compounds that enhance communication between brain cells, thereby lowering levels of anxiety, are GABA, Serotonin and Dopamine.

  • GABA -- those with panic (anxiety) disorders may have abnormally low levels. A natural source of the compound of GABA is tomatoes, which also contain an antioxidant called lycopene that may be beneficial in preventing certain types of cancer. In studies, men with low amounts of lycopene in their diets had more the triple the risk of a heart attack or stroke than men with higher amounts. Other sources of lycopene include watermelon, grapefruit and guavas. Magnesium and vitamin B6 also boost GABA.

  • Serotonin -- a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, such as anger, anxiety and depression. If low on serotonin, it's more difficult to be relaxed and affects bowel function, mood, clotting nausea, bone density, sexual function.  Foods that increase serotonin include eggs, cheese, pineapple, tofu, salmon, nuts, seeds, chocolate and turkey.

  • Dopamine -- a neurotransmitter that blocks pain and is linked to the brain's pleasure centers, creating feelings of joy. Being low on dopamine causes fatigue, apathy, procrastination, low libido, sleep problems, memory loss, lack of concentration, inability to feel pleasure. The reason cocaine is so addictive is because it increases dopamine. Foods that increase dopamine include almonds, apples, avocado, bananas, beets, chocolate, coffee, fava beans, green leafy vegetables, green tea, lima beans, oak meal, turmeric, and watermelon.

Other methods of relieving anxiety recommended by Dr. Amen include daily multiple vitamin & fish oil (omega-3 fatty acids), exercise, balanced diet, positive thought patterns, meditating, breathing exercises.

Life is to be enjoyed, not endured -- a positive, fearless attitude and a proper diet are essential to physical and mental stability.

"If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are going." Lau Tzu

The purpose of life is to live, learn and love.

I highly recommend the following references which I utilized for the above information.


Amen, Daniel G. (M.D., Neuroscientist & Psychiatrist) -- Magnificent Mind at any Age

Duke, James A. (PhD) -- The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healing Foods

Orloff, Judith (M.D., Psychiatrist) -- Emotional Freedom

Quote for the Day -- "The journey to self-knowledge is an exhilarating yet humbling one." Dr. Judith Orloff

Bret Burquest is the author of 11 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a few dogs and where the journey to self-knowledge is a daily endeavor.

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