W e tend to think of mood swings as emotional responses to the situations we encounter as we move through our lives. Most people do not realize, however, that what we feel emotionally is largely driven by what’s going on physically. Everyone has heard the saying, “The mind influences the body,” but the opposite is every bit as true. The body has a tremendous impact on the mind.
In my over twenty years or practice, I have found that enzymes play an enormous part in overcoming mood disorders. Most people don’t realize how poor digestion and nutrient deficiencies can undermine their emotional health, contributing to mood swings. For example, I had a 9-year-old patient named Michael who was physically aggressive and had been throwing regular tantrums since he was 3. Once we treated his food sensitivities and began enzyme therapy, the change was astonishing. At one point he said to me, “Dr. Ellen, I haven’t screamed in 3 weeks.”
By helping our bodies utilize key brain nutrients, enzymes profoundly affect our minds and moods. In combination with nutritional supplements, they even may eliminate the need for powerful prescription medications, which often have serious side effects.
Getting Off the Mood Swing
Over the years, as I have treated thousands of patients in my BioSET clinic, I have observed that chronic mood swings are a common sign that a person has food sensitivities, the inability to completely digest certain types of nutrients. While almost any food can trigger sensitivity, the most common culprits are those that contain nitrites, glutamates, aspartic acid, tyrosine, caffeine, brewers or baker’s yeast, or sugar. Soy, wheat, corn, peanuts, milk, eggs, citrus fruits, and tomatoes are also frequent offenders.
When you are unable to digest a food to which you are sensitive, these undigested food particles pass through your intestinal wall into the bloodstream. There, they trigger an immune response, prompting immune cells to release antibodies. These antibodies act like the defensive unit of a football team, attacking the opponents while guarding their teammates.
If enough antigens and antibodies are present, they join to create larger molecules, called circulating immune complexes (CIC’s). Under normal circumstances, CIC’s recognize and eliminate infectious microorganisms, such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and toxic chemicals. They immobilize these invaders and then stimulate other immune cells, called macrophages, to gobble them up and get rid of them.
Although CIC’s are beneficial in small numbers, in excess, they trigger the release of immune mediators, messenger chemicals that alert the immune system to attack and destroy the CIC’s. The presence of too many immune mediators in the body can cause an array of symptoms, including mood swings.
How Enzymes Break Down CIC’s
One of the primary roles of enzyme therapy is to safely break down CIC’s, allowing the macrophages to clear away the remaining debris. This limits the number of CIC’s in the bloodstream, which curtails the release of immune mediators. When immune function returns to normal, your mood stabilizes.
I’ve seen this phenomenon in my patients, who have reported immediate, positive changes in mood and spirit once they began using enzyme therapy.
Keep in mind that food sensitivities are quite different from food allergies, although both involve an overzealous immune system. In general, allergic reactions occur immediately after exposure to the food. They can be quite serious and may require medical attention.
Protein Intolerance Causes Low Blood Sugar
Protein intolerance may be a factor in mood swings, because it deprives the brain of glucose from proteins—the brain’s preferred energy source. Under ideal digestive circumstances, the liver should convert up to 57 percent of the proteins from any given meal into glucose for the brain.
I find that a significant number of patients test sensitive to protein, which means that they have trouble breaking down the proteins in foods. This leads to a decline in glucose—a condition known as hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar—in which the adrenal glands respond by releasing cortical and adrenaline, hormones that prompt the liver to release its stored glucose. Although this ensures adequate glucose for the brain, the increased levels of cortisol and adrenaline lead to emotional arousal. This hypoglycemic cycle causes mood swings, among other emotional symptoms.
Dr. Ellen’s Prescription
Since mood swings can be a sign that the brain isn’t getting enough energizing glucose from protein sources, I advise everyone who’s prone to this mood disorder to eat high-quality proteins such as fish, nuts, and seeds—and to take a pH-balanced, full-spectrum, vegetarian formula digestive enzyme with every snack and meal. Giving your body the ability to fully digest and utilize the nutrients from the proteins you eat will do wonders for your energy level and your ability to avoid mood swings. I suggest a product with the following ingredients:
• Amylase (3,000 to 9,000 DU)
• Lipase (150 to 450 LU)
• Cellulase (200 to 600 CU)
• Lactase (75 to 225 ALU)
• Invertase (75 to 300 SU)
• Peptidase (1,000 to 3,000 HUT+)
• Alpha galactosidase (10 to 30 GAIU or 25 to 75 AGSU)
• Glucoamylase (2 to 12 AGU)
• Malt diastase (75 to 300 DP)
Dr. Ellen W. Cutler is the nation’s leading authority on enzyme therapy and the founder of BioSET, an innovative healing system that combines the use of enzyme supplements with other complementary medicine disciplines to treat a variety of chronic illnesses. She is the author of The Food Allergy Cure and MicroMiracles: Discover the Healing Power of Enzymes, among other books. For more information, visit www.bioset.net.
In 2006, Dr. Cutler will be speaking at The American Chiropractor Magazine Symposium in Panama, Feb. 13-15, 2006.