Natural Solutions to depression, anxiety and mood disorders. Part 2 | Integrative functional medicine blog

Natural Solutions to depression, anxiety and mood disorders. Part 2

cofactor
The next part in our short series of dealing with depression, anxiety and other mood disorders has to do with the wonderful world of co-factors.
While being healthy has a huge impact on what we take into our bodies, that is only half the battle. Health is also affected by what our bodies do with those nurtients. Thus co-factors.
Co factors are those little things, often vitamins or minerals…




cofactor
The next part in our short series of dealing with depression, anxiety and other mood disorders has to do with the wonderful world of co-factors.
While being healthy has a huge impact on what we take into our bodies, that is only half the battle. Health is also affected by what our bodies do with those nurtients. Thus co-factors.
Co factors are those little things, often vitamins or minerals, that help certain enzymes do what they do. Enzymes are responsible for converting one substance into another. In the case of neurotransmitter a simple example would be the conversion of Dopamine, the pleasure transmitter ;-), into norepinephrine. The enzyme required for this conversion is dopamine beta hydroxylase. This enzyme can be helped along by its required co factors Vitamin C, Copper and vitamin B3.
Keep in mind that when co factors are low the conversion of one neurotransmitter into another will generally not just stop or shut off, the lack or low levels of these co factors will slow the conversion of one transmitter into another, thus causing or contibuing to many of the symptoms we see with depression, anxiety, and many other mood disorders.
So I’m just gonna jump right into the meat and potatoes here. The trick with a lot of this type of treatment (Integrative functional medicine) is that the treatment is very specific to each individual. I dont recommend taking a haphazard approach to treating anything.
I use to practice this way as an alternative healthcare provider. I thought, “whats the harm”. This can be one of those cases, as with auto immune diseases, that that approach can be detrimental. Try a little bit of this, little bit of that, put it in a bag, shake it up, and see what happens is no way to treat a patients health. Long story short, at least please get tested before initiating any type of treatment.
See my post on neurotransmitter testing here.
Keep in mind when recommending any co factors that are needed with the conversion of neurotransmitters i always recommend the activated forms of the vitamins (which I list below)
Ok. Now onto the good stuff. Again, know where you are to know where to go.
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Tryptophan to 5 HTP is converted by tryptophan hydroxylase.
required co factors - iron, MTHF, B3, C, D,
5 HTP to Serotonin in converted by aromatic amino acid decarboxylase
required co factors - PSP (activated form of Vit B6)
For the next step there are a couple different metabolites or intermediate steps but the end product of one direction for serotonin is melatonin. The enzymes NAT and hydroxyindole -0 - methyltransferase. Long words, in know. The important thing here is that this process can be helped along with SAMe. Not sleeping well? take a little melatonin or SAMe to optimize conversion.
I dont know if you caught the subtle chain of events there. This chain of events is why big turkey dinners tend to make us tired. Turkey is high in tryptophan, this get converted to serotonin, which converts to melatonin, which equals night night. sleepy time.
I dont plan on boring you with too much unnecessary information. If you are having trouble converting glutamine to glutamic acid and thus GABA take a few B vitamins (activated forms). They will help the enzymes necessary for all the conversions in leveling out these transmitters.
The next group of conversion has to deal with how dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine are all converted. So for all those patients that have a hard time calming down, are anxious all the time or those that are adrenaline junkies. This ones for you.
There are a lot of different enzymes involved in producing and metabolizing these transmitters. mostly staring with tyrosine. Some of the co factors I use to deal with this group include iron, MTHF, B3, C, D, PSP, Copper, B2, SAMe, and even cortisol on some rare occasions.
Its a lot of info to take in. Trust me I know. Im continually learning, adapting and applying.
I hope this article may help you or a loved one. If you need help or have questions please dont hesitate to call. I’d be happy to help.
Dopamined up,

Dr. Craig Mortensen

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