How are Neurotransmitters, Mood and Food Intolerances related?

As if it is not enough to find out that we can measure and adjust the level of neurotransmitters in your nervous system using nutrients and herbs (see my prior blog here)…who knew that balancing neurotransmitters could also benefit other areas of your body that are out of balance (hormones and immunity).  On the other hand, your food choices can derail the effort just as easily.

A leading field of research called “psychoneuroimmunology” focuses completely on communications between the nervous system, immune system and digestion. Studies have shown what you might have suspected…that what you experience in your nervous system (stress) has a ripple effect on your immune system, hormones, and digestion.  Not only that, but it goes the other direction as well. When hormones shift, the nervous system is impacted.  And depending on what you eat for breakfast, your neurotransmitters flux too. 

We are truly connected, not just by cells and tissue, but by invisible messengers that talk across boundaries within our bodies.  It is no wonder, then, that when a person is under stress (a student in final exams as an example) they are more likely to have digestive trouble or to catch a cold, and when a woman is experiencing a shift in hormones (postpartum or peri-menopause) then she is more likely to notice mood changes.  Have you ever noticed that your mood changes after you eat certain foods?

Getting to know these interconnections over the past decade in practice led me to identify a connection between immune reactions to foods in the digestive tract and the nervous system.  I noticed that patients with delayed food sensitivities (to gluten for example) tended to also complain of anxiety, insomnia and PMS, and vice versa.  And patients with anxiety and depression tend to have IgG and IgA delayed food reactions.  

Research is now beginning to show that gluten intolerance impacts the nervous system, even more than the digestive tract!

Immune system messengers called cytokines travel from the intestines, through the body, and shift everything toward a stressed and inflamed state, including the nervous system. (To see my presentations on this subject given at professional conferences – Integrative Health Symposium and American Association of Naturopathic Physicians – in 2010, please email me

To support health and healing, it is therefore necessary to address both the messengers in the nervous system and food intolerances (gluten and others too), and by addressing these two areas, I find that patients make leaps toward feeling better. 

I think of it as though we are resetting your system. By turning off the stress alarm and removing stress in the form of food allergens, we are allowing your body to return to wellness. It is a distinctly individualized process of understanding the current state of your body and identifying which nutrients and foods will most benefit your health going forward.

Are you ready to make simple interventions that have the ability to impact the health of your whole body? Then let’s make sure to find out if what you are eating is throwing your neurotransmitters off track!  I added the finger-prick (self-test) food sensitivity panels for IgG and IgA to my online store to make it easy for you to get started.  

If you’d like me to take a look at your case to help you understand how your neurotransmitters and foods may be affecting the way you feel, please submit a request for a consultation and be sure to let me know your availability.  You can click here to get to the consultation request online.

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Loving to share healthful information with you, 

Dr. Doni