As the holidays approach everyone feels more stressed out. Too much to do. Too little time. Spending too much money or not having the money to spend. Too much or too little family. Many people deal with this stress by drinking too much alcohol or eating too many rich desserts. They're available why not just enjoy one more? Everything will get back to normal after the holidays. Or will it?
What makes some people overindulge with desserts and alcohol?
Are they just hopeless emotional eaters and lack any will power? Are they indulgent Foodies who have to taste and drink all the treats at this time of year?
While it may be easy to criticize someone else, if you have a family member who over eats when they are stressed out or reaches for another glass of wine or beer, it may be their only way of dealing with stress.
What happens inside the brain when one drinks alcohol or eats a rich dessert?
Surprise! You don't just fall asleep. You produce a neurotransmitter called GABA, gamma amino butyric acid, our completely natural homemade Valium.
That's why people get relaxed when they drink alcohol. Their muscles relax, their brains relax and their bodies relax. The same goes for rich desserts and by that I mean high doses of carbohydrates and fats. This combination also turns on the production of GABA.
GABA is made in your brain and when you produce it, GABA stimulates the downstream neuron and you feel calm, grounded, and focused. You no longer feel like you're wrapped too tight. You're able to relax. Take a deep breath. The world as a safe place. You might think to yourself, “I can deal with whatever comes along. I don't have to worry about something bad happening; I'm okay. I'm good enough. I'm safe."
When there is a family history of alcoholism or family members have trouble with their "nerves", frequently there is a genetic tendency to produce too little GABA. This can be very disruptive and create very dysfunctional families. People feel anxious, nervous, and fearful on a global scale. Someone will always be predicting that something bad is going to happen. Someone else simply can't sit still because they're so agitated. Someone else is calm because they've just had some alcohol or because they're taking Valium or Xanax or Ativan.
If you recognize your family or yourself, take a deep breath and smile. You probably come by this honestly, by that I mean it's in your genes. But, and it's a BIG BUT, your genes are not your destiny and they do not control your life unless you choose to let them.
For over 10 years, Julia Ross MA, author of The Diet Cure and The Mood Cure has been treating people with food addictions with amino acids and nutrients.
I read her books and implemented her therapies for myself and thousands of patients in 1999.
The one I recommend the most frequently is Glycine to manufacture more GABA.
Some people just don't utilize glycine and convert it into GABA very well. They are chronically anxious, Nervous Nellies and no amount of discussion or reasoning will calm them down. They drive everyone batty. They may become alcoholics if they learn that alcohol helps them feel normal. Alcohol stimulates the GABA neuron just like GABA itself. Or they may become fat overeaters because rich food produces more GABA. Or they may get "hooked on" Xanax or Valium which are drug forms of GABA.
For the rest of you out there, be grateful that you do not have this problem. And be empathetic. Folks who are low on GABA are doing the very best they can with what they have. Every time. Every way.
You may offer them a different option or try this yourself. It cannot hurt you.
Take 500-3000mg of glycine in powder form (its sweet) and hold it in your mouth while it dissolves.
Within 5-10 minutes, you will be making more GABA, and feel calmer. Less worried. Smiling or even laughing more easily. No alcohol, Xanax or dessert needed. (This is 2-12 calories if you're concerned.)
If this does not work as well as you expected or if you need over 3000mg/day of glycine, then there is a second step you must take.
Sometimes the GABA neuron isn't built right. It has a keyhole (receptor) for the GABA (the key to feeling calm) to fit into. If GABA is low, glycine will help you make more "keys". But if the keyhole is warped or misshapen, then you need to repair the keyhole. Fix the GABA keyhole by taking Evening Primrose Oil 3000 mg daily for about a week. Then the glycine should work better.
Another way of looking at it is to imagine that the GABA receptor is a baseball glove. GABA is the baseball. EPO "breaks the glove in" to catch the ball smoothly and securely every time.
If this doesn’t work, get some help. Other neurotransmitters or receptors (keys and key holes, balls and gloves) may be involved. Don’t give up. You can get your life back.
If it does work for you, then you can begin to deal with the unhealthy behaviors that you've used in the past to feel calm. Now you have another choice.
Take Care of Yourself,
Elizabeth Vaughan MD