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Happiness is in the Gut

Updated: Nov 5, 2018

If you have gone to a Doctor about depression or the blues, did they ask you about your tummy? Or offer you a drug? It's almost always the latter. I'd like to see this one thing change immediately in our society.

I shocked my spouse the other night when I told him that I was taking amino acids to increase Serotonin, which can help regulate cravings. He asked what do amino acids have to do with Serotonin? The answer is everything.

The first time I went into ketosis I stayed there for months and felt amazing at first. Each day I felt more in control. I felt more decisive, motivated, and sure of myself. The amount of C8/MCT oil I drank with caffeine made me think I was productive, and I did feel strong. I lost some weight, and a ton of my aches and pains went away. I was loving my new lifestyle and was hopeful that I had found something my body liked.

Slowly I had less interest in things going on in my day to day life. But my body was still feeling good, and I thought that was a good thing, not to be so emotional, not to get into drama.

Slowly my enthusiasm diminished. About three months in I was plateaued entirely on weight loss and tired of what we were eating, but I kept going. I wasn't angry, upset or mad about anything. Ever. And I wasn't excited, happy, or thrilled about anything either.

Then we went to Mexico! I had a planned break from my ketosis. What was not on the agenda, and surprised me so much was that my body went crazy making serotonin, I was still feeling good in the body, and I was high on life the entire trip. I haven't been that happy except for the births of my kids and my wedding.

Vacations with little stress are relaxing and healthy for you anyway, and I went to a place with great magnetism (I should write about that later), and I was eating a lot of local in-season food. The combination was intense, and I felt incredible, on top of the world. Then we came home and that slowly diminished as we came back. Los Angeles seeped back into my body, and I went back into ketosis. I noticed my optimism plummeting. I desperately wanted to get back to that place I was at in Mexico and fell into a bit of a depression.

Since I am not about to sit around being sad, and I love researching, I tried to figure out what my body was doing. Around that time I decided to break from my ketosis again, and the happy feeling came back! I was so excited, and although it wasn't the same as being on vacation, I could tell that what was off in me was going on in my gut, so I started to investigate further.

At this time I discovered Dave Asprey and the Bulletproof diet, I also read about how Serotonin is created in the gut, almost all of it. And starch or sweet carbs are needed for this action to take place. That explains so much of why I was in a doldrum. Bulletproof addresses this by Cycling Ketosis, we don't stay in Ketosis for the entire time, or ever - depending on our goals.

According to Michael Gershon, MD author, and professor at Columbia in Psychology Today, "95% of all serotonin in the body is in the gut, where it triggers digestion. Nerve cells in the gut also use serotonin to signal back to the brain. This information can train us not to eat certain foods by communicating pain, gas and other terrible feelings."

In his research Richard Wurtman, MD of MIT has shown that Tryptophan, which is the precursor for Serotonin has a difficult time making it to the neurotransmitters, The other amino acids seem to have dominance, but eating starch and sweets forces the other amino acids into the organs allowing Tryptophan to make its way to the brain, and converting to Serotonin.

This little bit of information has been a game changer for me, and I wonder what others are doing to increase their Serotonin. If you are on an SSRI drug, did your doctor ask first what you were eating? Take control of your body, and be your own advocate. I have learned so much about how this machine of mine works, and I have more gratitude for it every day.

If you are in Ketosis long term, I highly suggest you break out and cycle. Our bodies can burn two forms of fuel - glucose, and fat. Let it flex its muscles, revamp your gut flora, give your Serotonin a mini-makeover, and see if you feel a difference. Try some sushi! Live a little, then go back to your fat burning ways!

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