Treating Anxiety Naturally & recognizing its Mechanism of Action within the body
Can methylfolate help with my anxiety? Does my MTHFR make me anxious? Stay with me throughout this entire article and we’ll talk about anxiety, how to break it down chemically in the brain and what we can do to help lessen it, especially if we have MTHFR or want to consider taking methylfolate to alleviate it.
Our Customer Success Story:
"I’m Jamie Hope, owner of Methyl-Life, and I have been studying MTHFR & related genes since 2011, way before most folks had ever heard of it. I learned about it through a doctor in eastern WA. I was convinced not only by the science I learned from Dr. Rawlins, but also by my own personal journey through anxiety, low mood, IBS, chronic fatigue, and fibromyalgia. I went from a nervous breakdown where I was forced to take medical leave to a place where I found much more calm, ease and most importantly, hope. Methylfolate and methylation have changed my life and that’s why I’m so passionate about ensuring the methylfolate I take every day is the highest quality methylfolate one can find in the world today."
How do we get anxiety? Well, we know it can come from many different sources, but at its core is a chemical interaction that takes place in the brain between two neurotransmitters, Glutamate and GABA (specifically too much Glutamate and not enough GABA is what brings on anxiety).
Glutamate is considered what’s called an “excitotoxin” particularly when too much of it exists in the brain without enough of the ‘feel good’ neurotransmitter, GABA to balance it out. When you have too much Glutamate in the body, it can result in excess acetylcholine which has an excitatory effect.
And this can put you in a state of continuous stress (specifically on the sympathetic nervous system) which then generates anxiety, fear, nervousness, restlessness and/or insomnia. And over time too much glutamate can bring on conditions like: Hyperactivity, OCD, Bipolar, Tourette’s, Fibromyalgia, Migraines, MS, Seizures, Huntington’s, Autism, Parkinson’s, ALS, Restless Leg Syndrome, Schizophrenia, Seizures and more.
GABA is Glutamate’s opposite, it’s the neurotransmitter that calms you down and helps you “feel good” and relaxed. It’s the ‘chill’ neurotransmitter. It does a lot of the “good” regulation for you regarding things like appetite, body temperature, sleep, sexual desire and arousal, pituitary action, autonomic nervous system and HPA axis balancing.
When you don’t have enough of GABA, you crave things like sugar, carbs, alcohol &/or drugs, because these things artificially increase GABA and make you feel better, temporarily, but they also deplete the neurotransmitters which will actually perpetuate the issue over time.
Okay, so what kinds of things cause this Glutamate level in our brains to become so high and our GABA to get so low, triggering so many of these unwanted symptoms?
In a perfect world, when our Glutamate levels get too high, our body would recognize this and convert this Glutamate into GABA to help us regulate ourselves. But sadly, it doesn’t happen this way for everyone, as you can imagine.
Certain genetics, stress, traumatic experiences, poor diet, and toxic build-up in the body can throw this delicate balance of GABA and Glutamate off the rails in a hurry. Causing you more grief than you want and often simulating a downward spiral of unwanted symptoms that seem difficult to reverse.
GAD is the name of the gene that converts excess Glutamate into GABA (so GAD is your friend), however, many folks have mutations on these genes which means that they can’t convert Glutamate into GABA very well, so they need to be careful not to take in too much Glutamate (23andme might be a source for determining if you have GAD mutations – most folks have some, but some folks have many GAD variants or defects).