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Brainworks

© Copyright 2011 Ty Parr, Ph.D.(All Rights Reserved)  Updated  30Apr2011

 

When we learned about the WISDOM OF THE BODY, it was clear that this could be defeated by adulterating our food to remove what nature had intended us to expect present (Example: Butter having a wide variety of small molecule fatty acids that are very important - replaced by cheaper margarine that had NO so such small molecules). In addition to that, we can sabotage ourselves by having cultural/ideological blinders about what our own body is telling us to get. Fortunately the feedback is very strong and most choose to satisfy demands of the body to some degree. This realization that our food intake choices was also related to brain needs in a specific way and could have behavioral effects was best formulated in the early 1980's by Richard Wurtman. These ideas are now widely acknowledged in the scientific community and spawned a huge number of follow up and elaboration articles to this day.

One of those demands of the body is the intake of proper levels of precursors (starting material) for our neurotransmitters. This is like but additional to the amino acid requirements of the body covered in the Protein part of the DIET section. One can mostly satisfy overall body amino acid needs but still be deficient in one or more of these neurotransmitter precursors.  Neurotransmitters are signaling molecules that allow our brain to function. They are composed of 4 major (and many more minor) types. The four major types are neurotransmitters in our brain are: Dopamine, Acetylcholine, GABA, and Serotonin. The precursors to these are:

NEUROTRANSMITTER
PRECURSORS & EFFECTS
Dopamine

Amino Acids Phenylalanine(Phe) & Tyrosine (Tyr)- typically present in protein rich foods

Typical leads to brain activation

Acetylcholine

Choline found in various Fats, especially lecithin (an isolated membrane phospholipid supplement)

Typically leads to brain activation

GABA

gamma-Amino butyric Acid from the amino acid glutamine (Gln) present if vegetables & grains, nuts & some fruits.

A balancing gentle brain calming effect

Serotonin

Amino acid Tryptophan (Try) which is richly present in selective high protein foods

A stress lowering gentle brain calming effect

 

NEUROTRANSMITTER
DOPAMINE
ACETYLCHOLINE
GABA
SEROTONIN
STRUCTURE

In general, Dopamine and Acetylcholine are activating neurotransmitters and GABA and Serotonin are modulating or repressing neural motivators. Health depends upon a proper dynamic balance between these oppositions over the course of the whole day .

Of the many different things that make each of us unique, one is that each of us appears to have a predominant optimal balance ratio of these neurotransmitters and hence an optimal balance ratio of these food precursors for the best functioning of our brain. This appears to differs from person to person. Some people are primarily dopamine dominant, while others are dominant in other members of this group. All of us require precursors for all four of these, but the relative amounts for the optimal balance ratios differ between individuals. Were we very sensitive to our bodies feedback, we could probably provide ourselves with this optimal ratio via the WISDOM OF THE BODY. Unfortunately many are not sensitive to the WISDOM OF THE BODY because they have never needed to listen to this subtle voice from the unconscious and the real feedbacks that is trying to inform us. This often results in insufficiencies in some and excess in other precursors.The insufficiencies are the big problems. Many think that their insufficiency is just the way their body works (something they just have to tolerate !). Think of when you last had a extremely nutritionally good meal (without overeating) and remember what your body was telling you (if you listen) - that it was very pleased. This is different than mere physical sense of fullness or the pleasurable psychological association with childhood food delights that can confuse the situation. This full engaged functioning of your body is what you are entitled to every day, but only if you understand and act to optimize your intake to match your unique pattern of neurotransmitter needs (or have sufficient of each & let the body make as needed). Additionally, high periods of concentration on some specialized task that requires very high levels of one or more of these neurotransmitters, may skew intake of your nutritional needs toward a slightly different pattern. In each case, if you are aware of the feedback and wants of your body, you will be guided to chose the proper needed distribution or at least sufficiency in all  

The most complete statement of these ideas is a book by Eric R Braverman, MD  (http://www.pathmed.com/meet.php) called "The Edge Effect"  (Sterling Publishing Co, Inc.,NY 2004) .  The table below is a compilation of data described in this book. and the next table is about what foods supply  high levels of each different neurotransmitter precursors.


This uniqueness in our differing needs for differing neurotransmitters also appears to have have profound effects on the nature of different people. Literally, they can be thought of as molding the general responses of each different neurotransmitter dominant group differently and that leads to a rather good correlation of neurotransmitter dominant type and occupational choice as well as personality styles. This also extends to what choices are made when you have too little or too much of dominant neurotransmitter precursors. It affects the choices of what types of drug abuse and even some aspects of personality. It is critical to understand that we each have various aspects of all these behavioral/personality states, but differ in predominance. People can and do behave in ways more typical of another neurtransmitter dominance group, but they must put in a considerable effort to do so. Learning and role flexibility modulates many of these differences.

< One should understand that there is no neurotransmitter dominant profile that determines or optimizes creativity or mental ability. Creativity and mental ability are largely not determined by neurotransmitter dominance, but rather by individual choices (especially sustained focus), backgrounds,  opportunities and encouragement, genetics, and so on.  Generally both nature and nurture are involved along with a considerable individual determination and focus. This determination and focus appears somewhat different for each type as they are often emphasizing their characteristic Mental State orientation. >

There is a distinct possibility that faulty dietary support may lead to or greatly aggravate MANY (IF NOT MOST) late life disease consequences. This is  partly because excesses or insufficiencies that are not corrected tend to drive unhealthy behaviors like over consumption or poor choices of  food, alcohol, or drugs that make matters worse. To this must be added faulty social and behavioral activity that generates lack of reward or worse. < Our job in life is to find, enhance, and extend healthy rewarding environments for ourselves and all our fellow beings - and our posterity. Other divisive orientations are pathology. >

PROPERTY DOPAMINE ACETYLCHOLINE GABA SEROTONIN
STRUCTURE
Precursor Amino Acid or amine

Phenylalanine (Phe) &

Tyrosine (Try)

choline (a hydroxyl quarternary amine)

(or lecithin as supplement)

L-Glutamine

(Gln)

L-Tryptophan(Trp)
Mental State when optimum

high attention

competitiveness

logical & persistent

resting awake ness

creative intuitive

innovative, socially adaptive

unselfconsciousness(ease)

steady,nurturing

consistent, socially nurturing

playful, relaxed

resilient

engaged in present moment

Orientation problem solver, systemic socially stable, resourceful tool user optimization seeker, socially nurturing stress resistant, resilient
Typical Professions

doctors

scientists

inventors

generals

architects

 

counselors

public service

writers

artists

advertising

administrators

accountants

nurses

construction

oil riggers

truck drivers, pilots

military, bartenders

computer specialists

Excess unbalanced intake/synthesis levels in each
insensitive, single minded, depletes serotonin, craves carbohydrates (serotonin)

impulsive & social butterfly

with poor focus

rigid traditionalist,

smothering nurturing

needs affirmation, but

fear driven avoidance

Psychological effects of Insufficient levels for dominant need.

Lack Energy & Focus

Loss of enthusiasm and forgetfulness

Lacks Energy, Poor endorphin production

craves fat (putative acetylcholine source)

pain ridden

immune problems

low enthusiasm - not enjoying life

depression

can't sleep

low Growth Hormone levels

depression

Psychological Response to Deficit in dominant
trying to get going
trying to get going
seeks pain reduction
seeks lower stress & alcohol
Deficiency Self Treatment (when don't understand problem)

Stimulants (caffeine, etc.)

(Sugar binge)

(serotonin depletion)

often smokes

Stimulants (caffeine,etc.)

(fat binge - choline associated fat)

increased carbohydrate intake

pain killers

sugar binges

craves carbohydrates not simple sugars
Typical anti-depressant choices in deficit
alcohol
alcohol
oxycointin (pain)
alcohol

Drugs that augment:

Drugs that block

l-dopa

beta-blockers

galantamine, valium

?

prozac, hydergine

?

?

?

Drugs chosen in severe deficiency
cocaine
hallucinogens
marijuana & quaaludes
alcohol & Ecstasy
Typical Diseases - related to deficit?

Addiction

Obesity

Parkinson's Disease

Multiple Sclerosis

Arthritis

Osteoporosis

multiple mental disorders

Chronic pain

Seizures

Hypertension

Sleep Disorders

Sugar Cravings

Type II Diabetes

Poisons to Dominant
Pb, Cd, PCB's , EMF fields
Al+3
Pb+2
PCB's, Plasticizers
Percent of Population
17 %
17%
50%
17%

DIET COMPONENTS & BEHAVOIRS THAT MAXIMIZE INTAKE/PROCESSING OF PRECURSORS

Dopamine(Phe, Try) Acetylcholine(choline) GABA (glutamine) Serotonin (Trp)
Chicken egg yolks Broccoli Meat & Pork
Turkey peanuts Bananas Chicken/Turkey
Pork & most meats Fish,milk, cheese Spinach eggs,milk, yogurt
Walnuts Nuts(almonds, filberts Fish, lentils,Nuts cottage cheese
Cottage Cheese Broccoil,Cabbage,Cauliflower Liver wild game
Ricotta Cheese Brown Rice Bran Most Green Veges fruits nuts,beans, banana
Avocado   Whole grains Cheddar, Gruyere & Swiss
Pumpkin seeds   Brown Rice Brown rice
wild game     Salmon & Blue fish

......................................................................<Both of these require complex carbohydrates>

<-------------------------Moderate (but not extreme) Exercise Helpful------------------------->

<--Play as a moderating and learning mode along with curiosity helpful Normalizing-->

As you can see, the range of foods needed to supply these needed neurotransmitter precursors strongly argues for a widely varying diet that samples from a variety to protein, fat, vegetable, and fruit sources. This need for variety of healthy (unprocessed) food intakes is critical to your best function. The same goes for moderate exercise and a playful learning mode with abundant curiosity. What we are arriving at here is optimal health, not just getting by.

Comparison of Braverman's NUTRITIONAL SUGGESTIONS & Longer Healthy Life

Braverman's Rainbow Diet:
Longer Healthy Life
high in vegetables of all colors
Yes
high in fruits of all colors
Limited amount, choose best, vary,fruit extract concentrates w/o sugar
multicolored spices
Yes, don't over do cinnamon
multicolored herbal teas
Yes, but be aware of "drug" like effects of some herbal teas
very high in fiber rich whole grains
Whole Grains & Fiber Yes, limit % of calories from carbohydrates to @ 20%
moderate in low-fat proteins

Yes, protein mainly from fish, eggs, beans, some cheese and some meats/poultry

(A modest consumption of animal fats are not injurious, but should remain less than 25% of total fat intake)

absent trans-fats, excess oils-fats

Yes Trans-fat out, w-9 monounsaturated fats much larger contribution (30-60%) dietary Calories to lower requirement for high carbohydrate intake

(insulin production burden lowered by this change)

low in sodium, sugar, refined grains
Yes
NOT  white flour or refined carbohydrates
Yes
NOT high in simple sugars
No simple sugars, substitute sugar substitutes of flavored Stevia or (flavored) xylitol(NEVER Aspertame,Sucrolose,Agave(80-95% fructose), etc.)
NOT high fat
Disagree, relatively higher w-9 olive oil (monounsaturated) fatty acid sources that allow us to decrease carbohydrates to 20% calories
  Probiotics that do not depend upon milk sugar (Lactose=glucose + galactose). Well known problems with ga lactose are covered in the Probiotics PDF (SUBSCRIBERS only) GALACTOSE IS BAD FOR ADULTS (esp. Elders !)

 

N.B. Braverman's diet (alone) does not include critically important probiotics such as yogurt and other sources of symbiotic (beneficial) bacterial that are not dependent upon lactose. These beneficial bacteria are enormously protective of a healthy gut (no easy gut "real estate" takeover for pathogenic bacteria) as well as a strong immune system.

Braverman argues the Potential Payoff for staying at Optimal (high) balanced intakes of Neurotransmitters -Possibility that Parkinson's (dopamine deficiency), Alzheimer's (acetylcholine deficiency), various auto-immune diseases (GABA deficiency) and mental disorders (all above but particularly serotonin) may all start as low level deficiencies or overall imbalances (HYPOTHESIS, not yet ESTABLISHED BY SCIENCE !). Deficiencies may tend to worsen and become maltreated with ineffective responses (typically excessive sugar, carobhydrates, fat, alcohol, pain killers, etc.). Further mistreated when seek medical advice because doctors are almost completely ignorant of these correlations and benefits, they typically use dangerous pharmacological drugs that may compound the problem. < IT IS NOT YET ESTABLISHED THAT MAINTAINING A INDIVIDUAL SPECIFIC PROPER BALANCE OF NEUROTRANSMITTER PRECURSORS FROM FOOD WILL PREVENT THE ABOVE, BUT WELL WORTH THE WAGER BECAUSE YOU FEEL BETTER ALONG THE WAY>. Braverman also (HYPOTHESIS) proposes that these neurotransmitter deficiencies are involved in multi Nature Diseases: PMS, Stroke, Sexual disorders. 


A further assertion made in "The Edge Effect" is that the "edge" given by sufficient "dopamine" levels minimizes becoming fat and keeps our mental status activated. This is asserted to be what can prolong the period of good mental function of remembering. This is contrasted to the experimentally measured drop in nerve conduction speed (See Shock illustration of linear declines in How & Why section for the decline in nerve conduction velocities). This is suggested as the reason for increased difficulty in memory retrieval with age (as levels of neurotransmitters decline and thus leads to slower nerve transmission that then disco-ordinates the process of access and memory retrieval which is envisioned as a wave phenomena requiring appropriate coordinated timing). I do not see nerve conduction decline as entirely due to just "neurotransmitter" insufficiencies as this ignores the rest of the machinery (like the cells ! ) in assigning blame. Moreover, his stated decline in brain nerve conduction speeds is much greater than that measured by Shock. In this logic, feeding high levels of  choline containing lecithin to choline deficient individuals should stop or reverse the case of acetylcholine dependent neurons (much of memory retention & intelligence system). While some benefit from higher lecithin levels, it is not clear that this age associated decline in memory retrieval is entirely due to this cause.
SUBSCRIBERS will have much more information on this in the Brainworks II PDF described below.

Think of a period in which you were bone tired in youth & early midlife. Did you not notice how much more difficult it is to retrieve memories? Same with when you had colds or flu. If you think it is only things that come on like tiredness or illness, what about when you are deeply emotionally upset about something - again you know you are not good at memory or evaluation thinking during these times. A wise person try's to avoid making fateful decisions when so bothered. Your memory retrieval system was far less good during these periods. A similar case can be made that elevated free radical problems in neurons (that occur in the case of illness, extreme tiredness, emotional stress, and aging) can diminish or interfere with function and with memory retrieval as well as creative thinking. The same may also be part of the reduced speed of nerve conduction Nerve conduction speeds may be highly dependent on the quality of neuron membrane and ion pumping status, something that also suffers with aging - from free radical damage. In short, neurotransmitters alone may be too simple an answer to the more complicated problem of the gradual aging related declines in mental function.

DMAE: Some considerable improvements can occur with supplements of Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE - also called Dimethylethynolamine) or strong antioxidants that enter brain tissue (not all do, eg. VItamin C does not).. DMAE is associated as a precursor to acetylcholine neurotransmitter formation, but often causes remarkable improvements in removing the "brain fog" of older individuals. DMAE has multiple effects besides its neurotransmitter precursor status. DMAE can diminish the storage of free radical sources like "lipofuscin" (gradually increasing with age aggregates of oxidized proteins and damaged/retired mitochondria that are not properly chewed up to starting materials - they can expand to an appreciable fraction of a neurons cell volume)). The drug Centrophenoxine is an improved delivery vehicle for DMAE into the brain, and is believed to have profound membrane and lipofuscin reducing effects. A similar process is seen with strong antioxidants that are allowed access to the brain through the blood brain barrier and other supplements that improve brain blood flow. The blood vessels surrounding the Brain have a complete seal off of access so that molecules have to be permitted to transit through the sealing off cells to gain access to the actual brain and neurons.

Sometimes a very slick model (Neurotransmitters are everything) that seems to answer so many other questions with few variables may be a little too simple, in spite of some good correlations.This does not diminish the importance of a nutritional sufficiency in neurotransmitter precursors.

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BRAINWORKS II PDF will be made available to SUBSCRIBERS with full information about how to improve Memory & CREATIVITY, Mental acuteness, and a mental sense of clarity. Brain fog is not necessary, you will be surprised to find yourself like a young person again. Remember when an idea was immediately followed by verbal stating of the memory. What is astonishing is that we have mostly all our memories intact (absent grievous pathological damage to the brain). What we need is the right supplements to offset our aging to recover this rich treasure. These simple and inexpensive supplements will include a number of "SYNERGETIC ACTING SUPPLEMENTS" (much greater benefit together than either alone added together - literally a GOOD SYNERGY). Some of these suggestions are explorations of the current  author (that have now been confirmed in scientific journals by others) and others are well or little known, but scientifically studied methods to improve overall mental ability. A specific rapid acting technique will be described using a harmless normal nutritional component of foods to greatly augment alertness and acuity for 3-5 hours without any side effects - even if you are tired (not caffeine or some common stimulant). This also has the advatage of avoiding drugs that have multiple secondary effects.

On top of this will be a "clearly stated set of methods" to generate your own creative ideas on any type of problem you choose to apply this procedure to. This alone will greatly augment your ability to generate new ideas by multiple simple but profound techniques. All these will be documented and sources disclosed. A wide variety of techniques exist to augment both your mental clarity and memory as well as your creative capabilities.  In our information age this ability to augment your mental abilities trumps almost everything except health (the base line need).
You may subscribe by clicking here SUBSCRIBE or by clicking on the SUBSCRIPTION menu choice at the top of this page. Access to the PDFs will be provided to the email address of yourchoice. Subscription is $30/year  ($2.50/month) with PDFs listed under the subscription menu and all others and health and warning updates as needed for the entire period of  1 year from subscription. Why would I offer such benefit at such low cost? I want to share this world - with people who are nutritionally, psychologically, and physically healthy with a vibrant creative mental state. This will benefit my healthy environment as well as others. Instead of the usual exploitation for profit, you are being offered a win-win situation.
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