The Science Behind Feeling Happy
By Kelly C. Heim, PhD and James Greenblatt, MD
The human mind is orchestrated by large networks of neurons. Like any type of network, proper function depends on the coordinated efficiency and accuracy of communication. In the brain, a language of chemical messengers allows high-fidelity neuronal conversations that enable us to think, learn, remember, and experience emotion. Known as neurotransmitters, these compounds are critical for emotional wellness, cognitive performance, and behavioral health.
1.) Sugar and refined white flour products can lower levels of dopamine. Eliminate these foods from your diet as much as possible, and substitute with whole grains and sweet fruits that contribute to dopamine production.
2.) Saturated fats, such as those found in butter and red meat, can clog the arteries in the brain and hinder the flow of dopamine and serotonin. Substitute unhealthy fats with unsaturated fats such as those found in olive oil, nuts, and fish.
Dopamine and serotonin are neurotransmitters that are critical for overall mental health. Dopamine plays important roles in maintaining alertness, while serotonin facilitates relaxation and appetite regulation. A healthy presence of both compounds relies upon getting an adequate supply of nutrients that feed these neurotransmitters.1,2 There are many steps in the creation of dopamine and serotonin that require nutritional support. These are the three main categories:
• Amino acids used as building blocks for neurotransmitters1*
• Vitamin and mineral cofactors required for biosynthetic pathways2*
• Phytonutrients that stabilize neurotransmitters and maintain healthy reuptake to maximize their actions3*
The creation of dopamine begins with the amino acid L-phenylalanine, which is sequentially converted to tyrosine and L-DOPA, and then dopamine.1,2 This pathway requires activated folate (MTHF or 5-methyltetrahydrofolate), activated vitamin B6 (P5P or pyridoxal 5'-phosphate) and zinc.2 Once synthesized, dopamine is passed along to other nerves to exert its beneficial effects. However, dopamine is subject to a process known as reuptake or it may be degraded by specific enzymes. The end result of both processes is a deficiency of dopamine. Nearly a decade of research has indicated that the polyphenols in green tea directly target the enzymes that degrade dopamine, thereby supporting dopamine stability.4 Rhodiola rosea and grape seed proanthocyanidins have been reported to stabilize dopamine as well.5,6*
Serotonin synthesis begins with the amino acid L-tryptophan, which is hydroxylated to form 5-HTP (hydroxytryptophan) in a pathway that utilizes 5-MTHF, vitamin B6, and vitamin C.1,2 Clinical studies have also indicated essential roles of zinc and magnesium.2 Once released, serotonin activity depends on healthy reuptake balance, which may be maintained in the presence of taurine.7 Inositol is also involved in the pathway as serotonin binds to the receptor.
DopaPlus delivers the precursors, cofactors, and phytonutrients that support multiple steps in dopamine activity to promote alertness, cognitive function, and positive mood. SeroPlus provides precursors, cofactors, taurine, and inositol to help moderate occasional stress, promote relaxation, and support healthy eating behavior.*
In many situations, there is a reason to support both dopamine and serotonin activity, although they seem to have opposing actions. The solution is NeuroPure, which combines serotonin and dopamine precursors and cofactors. This formula includes curcumin and quercetin (which contain polyphenols) for healthy enzyme activity, further supporting both neurotransmitters.8,9 An additional mechanism of these polyphenols is maintaining L-tryptophan availability by slowing the enzyme responsible for its degradation.10 NeuroPure provides comprehensive support for emotional balance and mood stability.* Each product is designed to be used individually with the co-support of magnesium and essential fatty acids.
The Integrative Mental Health Series has been developed based on decades of research and clinical experience in integrative psychiatry. Each formula delivers powerful natural ingredients in combinations that address multiple aspects of neurotransmission to optimally support mental health and emotional well-being.*
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
1. Amino Acids. 2012; Jun 8.
2. Psychological Bulletin, Vol 133(5), Sep 2007;747-760.
3. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2012;2012:541971.
4. Drug Metab Dispos. 2003;31(5):572-579.
5. J Ethnopharmacol. 2009;122(2):397-401.
6. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2010;94(3):447-453.
7. J Neural Transm. 2011;118(7):1031-1041.
8. Sci World Journal. 2009;9:1233-1241.
9. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2011;35(3):702-721.