Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and serotonin are both neurotransmitters that aid in regulating the body’s anxiety level and mood. Besides, there are no foods that contain specifically GABA and serotonin. You can eat foods that contain their chemical precursors like glutamic acid and glutamate for GABA and tryptophan for serotonin. This way, you can stimulate the body to produce more of these vital brain chemicals. It is noted that people who eat highly processed foods like processed meats, fried foods and refined grains feel depressed more often than those who ate more fruits and vegetables and fish. According to some researchers, poor diet can cause depression and that GABA and Serotonin are two depression-fighting neurotransmitters in the brain and they are being affected through eating certain foods. In this regard, the word GABA serotonin diet was coined.
GABA Deficiency Symptoms
GABA is an amino acid and an inhibitory neurotransmitter that helps in dealing with stressful situations. It can let you calm down during an increased stress level. According to Dr. Braveman, if a person has low level of GABA he will experience feeling over emotional, tense, nervous and irritable. Other manifestations of GABA are stiffness, fatigue, difficulty in relaxing and tense muscles says Frantz Delva, M.D. who is a biochemist and nutritionist and the author of “The Art of Healthy Eating.”
If you have low GABA, you will have food cravings together with poor impulse control but if you got too much GABA, this can slow down your metabolism and lead to weight gain. To balance levels of GABA, you must eat organs of meat especially beef liver, fish, brown rice, lentils, beans, oats, whole wheat, cantaloupe, oranges and mushrooms. Avoid drinking alcohol and caffeine. Drinking herbal tea like the passionflower aids in proper regulation of GABA levels.
Serotonin Deficiency Symptoms
Serotonin is not only a neurotransmitter that produces feelings of well-being. It is also related in regulating good sleep, memory, learning, movement, mating behavior and blood clotting. A normal serotonin level can make you sleep restfully at night.
According to naturopathic doctor Natasha Turner in “The Hormone Diet,” the incidence of serotonin deficiency has reached the epidemic dimensions competing with the health problem of obesity. Turner obtained data from the World Health Organization that depression is the primary symptom of serotonin deficiency leading to disability. Other signs of low serotonin levels are constant worry, difficulty in making decision. Compulsive eating and low-self esteem.
Tryptophan is the chemical precursor of serotonin and producing more serotonin through dietary means is more complicated than eating tryptophan-rich foods. So as to achieve full benefit of tryptophan, it is advisable to combine it with a diet that is also rich in complex carbohydrates. These complex carbohydrates can trigger the chemical reactions to bring tryptophan in the brain where it synthesizes serotonin. Foods that contain complex carbohydrates are pineapples, bananas, brown rice, figs, fennel, potatoes, radishes and spinach.
Vitamin C is also required in the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin, same with vitamin B, calcium and magnesium. Foods that are rich with these vitamins and minerals include green leafy vegetables, brown rice, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, tofu, corn and eggs. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish. Hemp seed, chi seeds, flax seeds and walnuts can increase serotonin levels too as well as strenuous exercise say Eric Braverman, M.D. as stated in his book “Understanding Your Brain Chemistry to Lose Weight.” Instead of drinking caffeinated drinks as they depleted serotonin levels, herbal teas like St. John’s Wort can be a good substitute.
The GABA Serotonin Diet helps us in a number of ways. In this regard, you are advised to take in the right food to be able to get more of these two essential supplements in the body.