brain-chemistry-addiction-225x300Our emotions, craving, impulses and ultimately our actions are dependent on a finely tuned system of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters are either “positive or negative” and essentially either tell part of our brains to turn on or turn off. The balance of these neurotransmitters is critical for “normal” healthy brain activity. But a deficiency or overproduction of any one of them can result in depression, anxiety, substance cravings and even addictions.

Our genetics program for the receptors and enzymes involved in utilizing and producing these neurotransmitters….and ultimately how well they work. So while there is no “alcoholic gene,” your genetics determines your innate brain chemistry and function that make it vulnerable to abusing a particular substance (food, drugs, alcohol) or a particular action (shopping, watching TV, gambling)that make you feel good or “balanced” by mimicking a deficient neurotransmitter.

There are many neurotransmitters and hormones that play a role in determining how our brain functions and ultimately our behavior. But the primary “negative” or inhibitory neurotransmitters are gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA, serotonin, and endorphins. GABA is associated with relaxation – mental more than emotional. Serotonin is more of an emotional relaxant. Endorphins are your body’s natural pain killer and pleasure producer.

The primary “positive” or excitatory neurotransmitters include dopamine, norepinephrine (sometimes called noradrenaline) and epinephrine (also known as adrenaline). Dopamine is the excitatory neurotransmitter responsible for pleasure & euphoria, and short-term intense concentration. Norepenephrine is responsible for sustained alertness. Norepenephrine and epinephrine are both associated with the “fight-or-flight” response in the body.

The excess firing of excitatory neurons can result in anxiety, panic, obsessive and other disorders. It is the job of the negative neurotransmitters, including GABA and serotonin, to “turn off” the excess firing and the effects of the excitatory neurons.

Dopamine, for example, while important for producing a feeling of “well-being,” the excess release can cause out-of-control behavior – like a binge. GABA keeps the release of dopamine in check.
So maintaining a critical balance & modulating the levels of each of these neurotransmitters is crucial for controlling cravings and addiction.

MODER8 contains the amino acid and negative neurotransmitter, GABA, as well as 5-HTP – the precursor to serotonin. MODER8 also contains the amino acid L-Theanine, which is found in green tea. L-Theanine boosts GABA production and has a naturally calming effect.

But in addition to taking dietary supplements – or even pharmaceutical medications – to adjust your brain chemistry, there are other things you can do to help your own body adjust your neurotransmitter levels!
1. Become aware of what gives you pleasure naturally. Increase your serotonin and endorphins with activities such as:
a. Meditation
b. Exercise
c. Sunlight – being outside
d. Massage
e. Laughter / comedy
2. Reduce things that cause over-production of positive neurotransmitters. Be aware of substances and activities that cause you to feel anxious:
a. Reduce amount of caffeine.
b. Be aware of medications such as decongestants (like pseudoephedrine) that act like a stimulant.
c. When possible, eliminate exposure to unnecessarily stressful situations, and even people that may push buttons or cause you to feel agitated.

Think about the healthy things that you can do to adjust your brain chemistry – naturally – and start incorporating them into your life daily.