01 Oct Understanding your brain chemistry: how to feel amazing from the inside out
Would you like to be able to feel your very best all the time? You wake up every day feeling fresh and excited about the day ahead. You’re full of energy, you’re positive and happy, and you enjoy your life, whatever it throws at you! Tiredness, boredom, depression and that ‘stuck in a rut’ feeling are all things of the past…
What if I told you I can help you feel like this girlies? And all you need to do to get there is balance your brain chemicals. You’d probably say, ‘What are you talking about Sheeks?!’ ‘What the heck are brain chemicals?’ But stick with me and I’ll let you into the secret of truly understanding yourself AND feeling good ALL the time.
Did you know we all have a totally one-of-a-kind brain chemistry? Yes really! Our brain chemicals are as unique as we are. And brain chemistry affects your memory, attention, personality, and physical health.
Here comes the science bit! Our brain chemistry is a magical mixture of the biochemicals: dopamine, acetylcholine, GABA, and serotonin. Together they control how you think, how you feel and how you behave. Can you cope?
And there’s more… Everybody has a dominant biochemical which is the one your brain produces in the greatest quantity – this biochemical is the boss of the other three. Once you find out what your boss biochemical is you can find out your true nature. It really is the key to self-discovery and finding out what makes you tick.
It’s also really important to know which biochemicals you don’t have enough of. If you’re lacking any of them it can cause all kinds of medical problems. By balancing your brain chemicals you will feel amazing again.
How cool is that? Want to get started? To find out what your boss biochemical (or dominant nature) is and if you might have any deficiencies, you can click here and do a super simple test.
What are brain chemicals:
We all have four major brain chemicals – called neurotransmitters – in our brains. They are: dopamine, acetylcholine, GABA, and serotonin. If any of these are out of balance it can cause all sorts of major health issues. No motivation, depression, anxiety, irritability, low mood, memory loss, obesity, insomnia, stress, back problems, joint and muscle pains, issues with your gut. Or even more serious health problems like Alzheimer’s. The list goes on… So, you can see why it is super important to try and balance them.
Depending on which of these neurotransmitters is your boss biochemical you’ll have a different personality type:
This biochemical is the big daddy of motivation. It can promote ambition, drive and action. A person with high dopamine levels is very alert and thrives on energy.
When your dopamine levels are off the chart, you will feel pretty much superhuman. All of your senses will be heightened and you will feel super powerful – like you can take on the world and smash everything!
On the flip side people with low dopamine can feel fatigued, have sluggish thinking, depression, and memory loss.
Feel like your dopamine needs a boost? Or did the quiz show a deficiency? Don’t stress, you can top up your levels using supplements and by making changes to your diet.
Supplements to take:
– Amino acid supplements such as Tyrosine and Creatine. I would add these to a whey protein shake to give yourself an energy boost when you need one.
– Vitamin B complex
– Rhodiola rosea
– Ginkgo biloba
Try and eat foods rich in Tyrosine to help your body make more dopamine. Add almonds, turkey, chicken, fish, cottage cheese and wheat germ to your menu and you will boost your levels in no time.
By increasing your Tyrosine intake you can restore your dopamine to optimal levels. Your body will get the energy it needs from the amino acids so you won’t for sugar and caffeine to give you a boost.
Exercise can boost your dopamine levels too. Try a Turn’d Up Fitness work out, weight training, running, bike ride, boxing, HIIT or meditation.
Listening to music is also brilliant for a dopamine hit – create a playlist of all your favourite songs and sing along to the music – it is THE BEST mood lifter. If you love R&B and Dancehall music follow me on Spotify: shekirajohnson and you will find all of the music we dance to at our classes. Instant energy through the fingernails and smiles for days…
Are you super creative and tend to go with what you feel? Do you follow your intuition or gut feelings? Maybe you’re a ‘go with the flow person’ always open to new ideas? If this sounds like you, acetylcholine is likely to be your boss biochemical.
If you have an acetylcholine nature you’re a quick thinker and probably a bit of a perfectionist. You want everything you do to be the absolute best no matter how much hard work it takes. You’ll have a lovely balance of flexibility, creativity, and impulsivity that will open you up to trying new things – go you!
Acetylcholine dominant people are super sociable and real charmers. They LOVE making new friends. Relationships and friendships come easy to them and they put A LOT of energy and care into all of their relationships. They remember other people’s feelings and try to avoid hurting others. They are also adventure addicts, so you will find them travelling somewhere exotic or expanding their minds by learning something new. To make the most of an acetylcholine nature, you need crystal clear thinking and to be coming up with new ideas all the time.
My personality is acetylcholine dominant which explains it all!
If your boss biochemical is acetylcholine and you have a deficiency you’ll probably feel like you’re just not yourself. You know those days when things feel a little off and everything feels like hard work?
Perhaps you’re finding it hard to concentrate or you’ve forgotten where you put your car key for the 50th time! Even dyslexia has been linked to an acetylcholine deficiency – I should know – this is something I have struggled with all my life. When the brain slows down so does the entire body
Here are some supplements you can take to balance your acetylcholine levels:
Citicoline (AKA CDP-Choline). Choline helps the body to make acetylcholine. Start taking this and you’ll probably notice your thinking will become a lot clearer, your memory will improve and you’ll have increased attention and focus for days – yippee! Citicoline significantly improves my focus and mental energy, so that’s why it’s in the ultimate brain supplement in my opinion.
– Alpha GPC – Another supplement you can take to boost your choline levels and balance your acetylcholine. It’s very effective at reaching the brain and improving how you think, your memory, judgement and decision making.
– Acetyl l carnitine,
It’s also worth trying out herbal nootropics like ginkgo, ginseng, zinc, magnesium, curcumin and turmeric. I love Qualia Mind. A great nootropic that contains vitamins, minerals and amino acids, specially formulated to boost your brain function. This supplement can also help to balance serotonin and dopamine levels and neutralise excess GABA – amazeballs! Another one of my favourite nootropics is Aniracetam.
Make sure your diet is high in choline rich fats. Eggs, nuts, cold pressed oils and avocados all have loads of these. I like to put some extra virgin olive oil and an avocado into every meal and smoothie I have to boost my levels. I have also found it helpful to take four grams of fish oil per day too.
Also known as Gamma-AminoButyric Acid, GABA has a calming, stabilising effect on the brain.
If GABA is your boss biochemical, you are likely to be stable and consistent. Almost 50 percent of the population have a GABA nature, so if this is you, you are in good company! GABA people are sociable, worry about others and are super dependable. If you have a GABA nature you will never skive off work and are likely to be on time and be there when others need you. We all need a GABA dominant person for our BFF!
When your GABA is in balance you will stay cool, even if everything around you is crazy chaos. Having good GABA levels will help you to set goals or organise a project or activity. Being super chill and confident all come naturally with a balanced GABA nature. The GABA dominant person just loves to be organized – you are likely to be that person who has a spreadsheet for EVERYTHING. Keeping things organised stops you worrying about uncertainty and ensures smooth sailing.
If you are GABA dominant you are probably a team player who likes to take care of everyone. You are calm, settled, and probably the person your friends turn to if they need a shoulder to cry on because you LOVE to nurture. You are always available to give advice, a big cwtch, or just listen.
If you have a GABA deficiency you may begin to feel anxious, nervous, or irritable. It will affect your emotional wellbeing and you could find yourself suffering from anxiety, or depression. You might feel dread, guilt, or experience those horrible thoughts of hopelessness/worthlessness we all get sometimes.
So how do you boost your GABA if you have a deficiency?
– Passion flower
All the above supplements will help your body to make GABA and keep your levels optimum. The easiest and most natural way to keep your GABA nature in balance is to ensure the body has enough raw materials to make GABA itself. This means eating plenty of complex carbohydrates to create a steady supply of glutamine, the amino acid that helps to form GABA.
– Try eating lots of fruit, vegetables, nuts, beans, and wholegrains to boost your complex carb intake. Leafy greens and fava beans are also naturally rich in GABA, so definitely add these to your shopping list. I always find having some sweet potatoes – a great complex carb – with my evening meal helps me to have a more restful sleep.
Biochemical serotonin is the best! Did you know it helps your brain to resynchronize itself so that every morning you wake up with a fresh start? Who doesn’t love that feeling?
If you have a serotonin nature you will be a real YOLO person You can be realistic and down to earth as well as impulsive. You love taking part in things and finding joy in everything – it’s the little things, right? A big achievement for you is getting something done immediately. You thrive on change; you will alternate tasks and find new ways of doing repetitive ones. You’re always the one trying new foods, hobbies and holiday destinations. The sky’s the limit for you!
When your serotonin levels are balanced you’ll feel at peace and in touch with the mind, body and spirit. You’re likely to be physically coordinated and very resourceful – Turn’d Up Fitness routines will come naturally to you! You’re a true fighter not put off by struggle, and if you get knocked down, you get right back up again.
If serotonin is your boss biochemical you’ll always be the life and soul of the party and last one standing, who has to be dragged off the dancefloor! And did someone say adrenaline junkie? That’s you to a tee! Mountain climbing, skydiving, hang gliding, skiing and scuba diving all seem exciting to you. You will try just about anything as long as there is some excitement involved.
– You can have too much of a good thing and if your body is making too much serotonin you could feel extremely nervous and anxious. You might find yourself becoming hesitant, distracted, super sensitive to any kind of criticism and paranoid about being disliked. Sometimes if you have way too much serotonin you might find yourself overwhelmed by sadness and anger. So it’s not all parties and having fun.
If you don’t have enough serotonin you might feel depressed, have trouble sleeping, suffer from chronic pain or have memory problems. It can bring on anxiety and increase or decrease your appetite. Serotonin deficiency is often brought on by too much excitement or insufficient sleep. It can make you feel over tired and out of control.
To try and rebalance your serotonin levels there are supplements you can take:
– Fish oil
– 5 HTP
– St John’s Wort
– And good quality probiotics
– You should also eat plenty of eggs, cheese and nuts and seeds as they are all great sources of tryptophan. Salmon is also rich in tryptophan and omega-3 fish oil. And pineapple is a great idea as it contains high levels of serotonin.
Don’t forget that 95% of your serotonin is produced in your gut. It’s not always produced by you but by the bacteria that lives inside of you. So having a good diet and looking after your gut bacteria is crucial if you want to feel your best.
How can you find out if you have a biochemical imbalance?:
There is no lab test to find this out. The best way to test is to look at your symptoms and then input how you feel into a special questionnaire. I would highly recommend Doctor Eric Braverman’s personality type assessment which you can find here: https://www.bravermantest.com/. It will help you find any deficiencies in your acetylcholine, dopamine, GABA, and serotonin levels.
Doctor Braverman is the founder and president of The Path Foundation, a non-profitable organisation that researches brain health and healthy aging – so he really knows his stuff!
How to fix your neurotransmitters:
Once you have discovered what your boss biochemical is and if you have any neurotransmitter deficiencies you can read back over each of the sections and see how to boost your levels of each biochemical.
There are also some supplements that will help to bring ALL your neurotransmitters back into balance. Even if you aren’t experiencing any side effects at the moment they are also supportive of your general neurotransmitter health:
– Vitamin D
– Fatty acids
– Fish oil
Incorporate these into your diet and routine and you will be amazed at how good you feel. They really are game changers for balancing your brain chemistry. And if you are still not feeling your best here are some natural supplements with anti-depressant qualities to try:
– Acetyl l carnitine
Give them a try and you will not know yourself! Our brain chemistry is so influential in how we feel it is well worth taking the time to find out how yours works. Once you understand what your boss biochemical is and if you have any deficiencies you can start eating the right things and taking the supplements you need to support yourself.
Did you enjoy reading this and want to find out more game-changing life hacks?
If you want more ways that you can change your life for the better for keeps, my 5 Day Wellbeing Challenge starts TOMORROW and I’m going to be sharing EVERYTHING you need to know feel amazing: How to fit exercise into your week, eat right, sleep like a boss, and tick ALL the things off your ‘to do’ list, and much more. All topped off with an EXCLUSIVE BEYONCE MASTERCLASS – guaranteed to take the roof off.
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