Brain Health

Facts:

  • Approximately 5.4 percent of the Canadian population aged 15 years and over report symptoms that meet the criteria for a mood disorder, including 4.7% for major depression and 1.5% for bipolar disorder.
  • Overall, 20 percent of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime.
  • Approximately 8 percent of adults will experience major depression at some time in their lives and approximately 5 percent of household populations are affected by anxiety disorders.
  • Almost one half (49%) of those who feel they have suffered from depression or anxiety have never gone to see a doctor about this problem.
  • The economic cost of mental illnesses in Canada for the health care system was estimated to be at least $7.9 billion in 1998 – $4.7 billion in care, and $3.2 billion in disability and early death.
  • It is estimated that 10-20% of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder – the single most disabling group of disorders worldwide.

Symptoms:

  • Prolonged sadness or unexplained crying spells
  • Significant changes in appetite and sleep patterns
  • Irritability, anger, worry, agitation, anxiety
  • Pessimism, indifference
  • Loss of energy, persistent lethargy
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness
  • Inability to concentrate, indecisiveness
  • Inability to take pleasure in former interests, social withdrawal
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping

At the Functional Health Institute, we help our patients address mood disorders with safe, natural solutions. We believe the function of the central nervous system, including a balance of neurotransmitters, plays an essential and central role in the health of all body systems. Unfortunately, the nervous system can be easily disrupted by stress, poor diet, toxic chemicals, infections — or even genetics.

These factors can cause your levels of neurotransmitters to become either too high or too low. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that relay signals between nerve cells, called “neurons.” They are present throughout the body and are required for proper brain function. Serious health problems including anxiety and panic disorders can occur if certain neurotransmitter levels are too high or too low.

Most of the drug–based methods to treat anxiety include chemicals that either imitate neurotransmitters or redistribute existing neurotransmitters. It is generally believed that drugs supporting serotonin signaling will be beneficial when anxiety results from a lack of serotonin and that GABA-supporting drugs will be effective when a person’s symptoms are caused by lack of GABA. While the idea of matching a drug to a chemical imbalance is generally supported, the vast majority of healthcare practitioners prescribe psychological drugs based only on an individual’s symptoms and very few actually try to match a drug to a biochemical imbalance. This may explain why drugs are ineffective for most individuals.

At the Functional Health Institute, we support neurotransmitter function using targeted amino-acid therapies, specific minerals, and megavitamins as neurotransmitter precursors, enzyme cofactors, and receptor modulators as necessary to help maintain normal neurotransmitter levels.

We also pay particular attention to the adrenal gland, which is a major producer of adrenaline (also known as epinephrine). It plays a major role in the physiology of stress, acting like a “sprinter”, supplying a short burst of energy and capable of dealing with the flight-or-fight response of acute stress. Like a sprinter, it is short-acting yet powerful.

If stress persists for too long, the hormone that takes on the role of the “long-distance runner” is cortisol, and it provides the energy required to get you through those prolonged periods of stress. Unfortunately, if this hormone is elevated for far too long, it can lead to tissue breakdown, diabetes, weight gain, belly fat, mood disorders, and so much more.

What eventually happens is that these same glands that are designed to save our lives become fatigued and unable to see us through the next stressful experience. At the Functional Health Institute, we prescribe a natural approach and targeted therapies that have the potential to change your physiology and actually reverse these harmful changes.

Call us today to schedule a personal health consultation and we will sit down with you to help determine how we can help with your health goals.

Request a FREE consultation to see if Functional Medicine is right for you!