In today's podcast Trudy dives into GABA and the gut-brain axis as well as the role of methylation and histamine in mood disorders. She also discusses the clinical issues to be aware of in managing patients with a history of benzodiazepine use and listen to why Trudy feels that giving up coffee might be crucial to healing.
Covered in this episode:
[00:46] Welcoming back Trudy Scott
[02:54] Understanding GABA
[05:13] Blood-brain-barrier and gut-brain effects
[07:13] Benzodiazepines: clinical issues
[12:56] Withdrawing from benzodiazepines
[18:09] The role of methylation
[20:13] High vs. low histamine
[27:27] Catecholamines and coffee
[33:34] Using tyrosine
[38:52] The Anxiety Institute
[40:35] Final thanks to Trudy
Food-mood expert Trudy Scott is a certified nutritionist on a mission to educate and empower anxious individuals worldwide about natural solutions for anxiety, stress, and emotional eating. Trudy serves as a catalyst in bringing about life-enhancing transformations that start with the healing powers of eating real whole food, you remember that stuff? Using individually targeted supplementation and making simple lifestyle changes. She works primarily with women but the information she offers works equally well for men and children as well.
Trudy also presents nationally to nutrition and mental health professionals on food and mood. Sharing all of the recent research and how-to steps, so they, too, can educate and empower their clients and patients. Trudy is past president of the National Association of Nutritional Professionals. She was recipient of the 2012 Impact Award and served as a special advisor to the Board of Directors for many years. Trudy is a member of the Alliance for Addiction Solutions and Anxiety and Depression Association of America. She was a nominee for the 2015 Scattergood Innovation Award and is a faculty advisor at Hawthorn University.
Trudy Scott is the author of The Anti-Anxiety Food Solution: How the Foods You Eat Can Help You Calm Your Anxious Mind, Improve Your Mood, and End Cravings. That was published in 2011. And she is also the host of The Anxiety Summit. Trudy's passion about sharing the powerful food-mood connection because she experienced the results firsthand, finding complete resolution of her anxiety and panic attacks.
Now, in our last podcast on neurotransmitters, we touched on GABA, but we decided that there's so much more information to cover that we're going to have a second one, and there are some other issues to cover off on as well. So, I'd like to warmly welcome you back to FX Medicine, Trudy Scott. How are you?
Trudy: I'm great, Andrew. Thanks so much for having me again.
Andrew: Now, we discussed a little bit about GABA, as I said, in our last podcast. But I remember you and I talking and we just thought, "Oh, there's a whole world opening up here." So, perhaps, can I ask you first to cover off on maybe some of the points that we covered and to then move on to further points, uses, indications of GABA, perhaps?
Trudy: Okay. So, GABA is one of our most calming neurotransmitters. It's also an amino acid and we can use the amino acid to help raise GABA levels. There is a bit of controversy about whether GABA's going to cross the blood-brain barrier and actually work. But we know that it does work. We're not quite sure how. You mentioned the fact that we've got this lymph factor that could be playing a role. We've got different GABA receptors in different parts of the body and it may be working at those different levels. There is some thoughts and new research saying that it maybe is crossing the blood-brain barrier and having its affects like that. We also have this whole concept of leaky blood-brain barrier and maybe it's only working when we have leaky blood-brain barrier. So, we don't really know.
We do know that it is relaxing and provides benefits for many individuals. And actually, I just saw some recent research showing it's beneficial for lowering...reducing inflammation, and we know how big a role inflammation plays in both anxiety and depression. And then also, plays a role in diabetes and pre-diabetes, and we know how blood sugar issues can be a factor, yes. So, I think we're going to be learning more as we see more research coming out. It's just a fascinating nutrient to me and, yeah, I'm excited with the research that we're seeing.
I actually saw a very interesting paper also related to toxicity and GABA. It was an animal study and GABA was shown to reverse fluoride-induced hypothyroidism in the animal study. So, I think we're just touching the tip of the iceberg as far as GABA is involved.
Andrew: Yeah. Just talking when...just noticing when you mentioned leaky blood-brain barrier, you know, it's well known that kids and the elderly have a more permeable blood-brain barrier. Indeed, this is why things like paracetamol can make elderly patients drowsy. So, I'm just wondering, in your clinical experience, have you ever seen it working better in elderly patients with anxiety and sleep disorders, things like that?
Trudy: I haven't worked with very elderly patients. I have seen it work exceptionally well with kids, and my thinking has always been that it's working well with kids because they haven't got so many underlying root causes that may be contributing to their anxiety, and it works quicker. They just seem to respond to GABA and tryptophan, and some of the other dietary changes quicker than adults. And I hadn't thought about the leaky blood-brain barrier with kids, so no, I don't really have an answer.
Andrew: Yeah. My initial, let's call it hesitancy, with oral use of gamma-aminobutyric acid was because there were some early data showing that it didn't cross the blood-brain barrier, but I do note that it tended to work in the gut, and as you say, it worked as an anti-inflammatory. I'm wondering about gut-brain crosstalk, if it might be acting some way in that...with that mechanism.
Trudy: I would definitely say that that is a factor and that has been published in the literature where they talk about the vagus nerve and the gut-brain connection, and the two-way connection that we have. You know, there was that study done with mice where they found that lactobacillus rhamnoses increased GABA levels and reduced anxiety. And then when they cut the vagus nerve, they found that those anxiety benefits were not being seen. So, we definitely do have that gut-brain connection.
Andrew: Okay. So, talking about anti-anxiety medication, one of the most common ones or the groups of medications are the benzodiazepines. Let's talk about the benzos. You know… they're obviously...they were certainly, overused. They cause long-term problems. What about their use and what GABA?
Trudy: I'm so glad you're asking this because it's one of my pet peeves is the amount of benzos that are being used and how they're being prescribed long term. And we know that they're prescribed for anxiety, insomnia and pain. But a lot of people don't realize they're in other places that they may not even be aware of.
If you're getting chemotherapy, it's in a cocktail in chemotherapy. It's used pre-surgery a lot. So, a lot of people don't even know that they're getting it, but they, as you said, they're widely prescribed, used a lot among elderly patients. And you'd asked the questioned earlier about older patients and they need smaller amounts of the benzos. So, that's something to think about. A lot of people are on them long-term and then, as they get older, they actually need less.
But it's also used off-label with children with autism, which I find really, really heartbreaking. And as you know and most of the listeners is that they should be used short term, so a maximum of two weeks. Even with a two-week prescription, that can cause problems with some people.
Unfortunately, they're used long term. And I've had people contact me and they've been on benzodiazepine for 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, and they're not told of the long-term consequences. They're not told that they're going to build up tolerance. They're not told that it can actually start to cause anxiety if they were, say, prescribed then for insomnia, then suddenly they start to have anxiety and panic attacks. And then, when they want to withdraw, they have all these issues with withdrawing and...
Andrew: Double-fold, yeah.
Trudy: Yeah. It's really, really heartbreaking. And I knew about this when I worked in Julia Ross's clinic. But what's really surprising to me is how few practitioners in the mainstream world even know about these issues. And I heard Dr Catherine Pittman present at the Anxiety and Depression Association Conference and she did a survey of this group called Benzo Buddies.
So, this is a support group that is being created for people who are being harmed by benzodiazepine. So, that just tells us that there's a problem there, you know, the fact that there's a support group. And she surveyed them to find out, "Were you warned by your doctor? Were you told that if you wanted to stop, you had to do a slow taper? Were you told that you could have these side effects? Were you supported when you wanted to taper?" And basically, the answers were all no. People were not warned. They weren't told of side effects. Their doctors had no idea that they were causing these problems. When they went and said, "My anxiety is getting worse," the doctor felt they needed more benzodiazepines, and they didn't realize that they might have been getting rebound anxiety.
So, the interesting thing is in that presentation, she had people in the audience raise their hands to say, you know, "Are you aware of these problems?" And I raised my hand because I knew about it from when I had worked in Julia Ross's clinic, and two other people in the whole lecture hall raised their hand about, you know, knowing about this information. So, it's not common knowledge and I still hear people today saying, you know, their doctor doesn't even know that it's causing these problems.
Andrew: Which to me is ridiculous, I've got to say, because way back, and I'm talking 1986, there was this great humorous comedy show called Mother and Son starring Ruth Cracknell. And this became such an issue with the use of benzodiazepines in Australia, that they were, you know, "mother's little helper", they were called early on. And it came to such an extent about the use of prescriptions for benzos that there was a community announcement made by Ruth Cracknell about giving your emotions a go, giving them a chance, which stirred controversy. And it was great to see an Australian actor make such an impassioned plea for the responsible use of benzos rather than throwing them around like Smarties. And it changed prescribing habits for long term.
But I still see elderly people taking these nightly. We know that it reduces the GABA receptors, therefore, building tolerance.
Trudy: You know, there's so many issues. Firstly, people are so desperate that they're looking for something. And I think that the message that we want to get out there is that there are other options. You know, this is not your only option. And I think they just don't even realize. They're so desperate. You know, they've got terrible social anxiety. They're having panic attacks and they're just looking for answers, or they're not sleeping. That's a big factor. And it does work initially for a lot of people. And then, they stay on it and then they can't get off it. So, that's one aspect.
The other is that there's some people...I've been looking at some of the research to see why some people have a harder time with it. Why do some people get more side effects? Why do some people have more...you know, harder time tapering? And there seem to be some patterns that I'm seeing in the literature. Certainly, when someone's doing a benzo and using oral contraceptives, when they're also taking a course of antibiotics, when they've been on an SSRI, they've been on antifungal medication, they've been on one of the fluoroquinolone antibiotics, they're drinking alcohol and they're taking pain medication.
So think of how many people are doing a benzo and at least one or more of those, and I think that is compounding the issue with a lot of people.
Andrew: Salient advice there. So, practically speaking, when you're talking about sleep issues and, you know, anxiety issues, do you start to...do you institute, you know, mind-body therapies, mindfulness, meditation, that sort of thing to assist people in getting off these benzos?
Trudy: Yes. And so, as far as the taper goes, obviously, it needs to be done really, really, really slowly. The Ashton Manual, Professor Ashton from the UK, she created a manual where she talks about the specific taper protocol for each benzodiazepine. But before anyone is even considering going there, I will obviously have them work with their doctor because the prescribing doctor needs to be, you know, supporting this. And it's often a difficult situation because I've got to be educating them, and then they take that information to the doctor or finding a doctor who is familiar with all of this and how slow it needs to be done.
It breaks my heart, actually, to hear...I heard someone reach out to me...Sorry… Someone actually reached out to me a few weeks ago saying their doctor had told them to taper in two weeks, and they were feeling terrible. This was someone who reached out to me on my blog. So, people are not being told that it has to be done slowly.
So, the doctor needs to know, it needs to be done super, super slowly. And I always say to them, "Don't even consider a taper until you've got everything in place." So that would be the mind-body stuff that you've just mentioned. It would be would being nutritionally sound, getting off the gluten, getting off the sugar, getting off the caffeine, dealing with the stress in your life, starting to add in some of the amino acids. So, I'll have them add in the tryptophan for the low serotonin support, add in the GABA for the low GABA. And then, as they're starting to taper, possibly bumping up some of those neurotransmitter support nutrients at the same time.
But based on what I just shared earlier, some people have a hard time. So, there is also research showing that specific benzodiazepines are more difficult to taper depending on certain polymorphisms that you have, specifically Valium. If you've got the CYP2C19 polymorphism, and about 10% to 20% of the population have a defect in this liver enzyme, they have a harder time tapering from Valium. And then, there's another polymorphism with someone who's on Xanax.
So, I think it's very individualised, and some people definitely have a much harder time than others. I did actually hear an interview from Dr Blair and he has had success with using CBD from organic industrial hemp. Now, this is...doesn't contain the THC so there's no psycho-active component. But he finds that CBD helps with some of the agitation that we will often see when someone's doing a taper. I have not used it yet, but I have been getting some feedback from some of my...people in my community, and some people are finding it to be beneficial.
Andrew: Yeah. Well, now that you reside in Australia, I'll put you in touch with a great mate of mine who's an expert in this area, Justin Sinclair, he can take you through that.
I think you also made another point earlier. It triggered in my mind a podcast that we did with the pharmacist who specializes in drug withdrawals, and the nutritional and herbal managements of those. Greg Mapp, and he discusses that slow tapering titration off the benzos as well, always monitoring your patients for side effects. So, I greatly thank you for raising that issue because it's a really important point. These people will go off the wall.
Trudy: And slow is...some people don't know what slow is. Slow could be a year. It can take a year to two years for some people, and if you...you know, I've been in touch with some people who are in the Benzo Buddies group and some of these other support groups, and some people, two years later, are still having side effects. That was one of the other things that Dr Catherine Pittman surveyed with the people in this group. What type of symptoms do you still have? What type of residual effects do you have, even though you're off the benzos? And for some people, two, three years down the road, they're still having problems. There's a high suicide rate and it's heartbreaking. It really is.
Unfortunately, as much as I love these support groups for that moral support and that community, they are saying to people "Do not use GABA. Do not use nutrients. Don't do anything." And I think that there's a break down there where I'd like to, you know, try and help them understand that there are a lot of people who will benefit by getting nutritionally sound before they start doing the taper.
So, it's a really problematic area, and it breaks my heart to hear, you know, how so many people are battling. I appreciate sharing from you about Ruth Cracknell. Obviously, not being from Australia, I wasn't familiar with that, and I look forward to learning more about that. So, thanks for sharing that.
Andrew: So, I've seen a couple of papers discussing GABA(A) receptor promotor hypermethylation, there's a mouthful, in suicide brain. What can you tell us about the importance of methylation with regards to GABA and indeed, perhaps getting off benzodiazepines?
Trudy: So, I'm interested in this paper and I'm going to have to look it up afterwards. But as far as I think when I hear methylation and problems with methylation, I think of two areas.
Certainly, we need methylation to feed into the BH4 cycle to make our neurotransmitters. So, it's a factor in making serotonin and dopamine and GABA. But then also, methylation is such an important process for detoxification. And if we are on a benzodiazepine or other medication, or someone's using alcohol, or they're exposed to lead or mercury, or they're exposed to the myriad of other toxins that we are in our day-to-day lives, they are now having to detox those compounds. And if we've got methylation defects, that could be impacted.
So, I would think that GABA is going to help. It's going to help reduce inflammation. It's going to help provide some of the neurotransmitters that may not be being made. And we know from that research that I mentioned that GABA helps with fluoride-induced hypothyroidism, so we may find that GABA helps with other types of chemicals that we're exposed to.
There was actually another paper that I saw that came out last year looking at tryptophan and found that together with vitamin C, it helped...I think it was an animal study, helped with reducing lead levels. So, I think these amino acids are pretty interesting in terms of how they help with some of the toxins that we might be exposed to.
Andrew: Yeah. What about low versus high histamine?
Trudy: So, histamine is another neurotransmitter and has an impact on mood. And there's the work of Carl Pfeiffer, and William Walsh talks about this a lot. So, there's low histamine and high histamine, and this is as measured in whole blood histamine. So, the low histamine is often referred to as histapenia, and the high histamine is histadelia. And then, there's also the work of some practitioners, one of them that comes to mind is Yasmina. She's known as the Low Histamine Chef and she's talking about low histamine diets and how important getting on a low-histamine diet is when it comes to mental health.
But let me first talk a little bit about Carl Pfeiffer's work. This is an area I know more about. With the low histamine, you can have anxiety and paranoia. With the high histamine or the histadelia, you can have higher incidence of suicidality, type A people, and because of their drive and because they're type A, they often succeed in committing suicide, which is very unfortunate.
Now, with the low histamine, it's vitamin C, tryptophan, niacinamide, and folate, methylfolate ideally. And with the high histamine, these people cannot tolerate folate at all. No methyl folate, no form of folate is tolerated, it actually makes the symptoms worse. And I think this is an area that a lot people don't really know about. I actually interviewed Dr Ben Lynch on one of the anxiety summits and we were talking about too much methylfolate making someone more anxious even though they have the MTHFR defect. So, you can have low or high histamine and you can have the MTHFR defect, and he was not aware of the work of Carl Pfeiffer. I actually asked him about it and he said he wanted to learn more.
So, we've just got these brilliant minds and I think we all need to be, you know, on the same page as far as some of these protocols go and some of these symptoms. But he has found that, and obviously we see this in practice, some people do really well, if they've got an MTHFR defect, when they are given methylfolate, other people, it makes them more anxious. And I'm wondering if those people that are made more anxious or who feel worse when they take methyl folate may actually, in fact, have this high histamine.
Andrew: Right. So, you need...yeah, so, look further if they get anxious when you give them methylfolate. Okay. So, I've got to ask, if you're talking about a high histamine type and they can't handle folates, do we have to be cautious about even things such as green, leafy vegetables? Which we would otherwise consider, you know, the basis of any healthy diet?
Trudy: I think if someone was doing them in excess like if they were doing...
Andrew: Green smoothies and...
Trudy: ...raw spinach in smoothies, I would say that could be problematic. What I've seen mostly is, you know, making reference to not taking supplements. And that's even, some people have a problem with the small amount, you know, 400 micrograms, that's in a multivitamin. So, that is problematic for some of the people that I've seen. I wouldn't say that, you know, small amounts in the diet would be problematic, but I think it really is individualised.
Andrew: But Yasmina tends to concentrate on things like avoiding fermented foods and pickled foods, and other things?
Trudy: Yes. But she's got an interesting approach though. So, the way...so what she talks about and there's quite a lot of research on histamine, in the literature, that's obviously not making reference to the low and the high histamine, and the testing that Carl Pfeiffer and his, you know, colleagues talked about.
But there's quite a lot in the literature where they talk about how the histamine imbalances can cause anxiety and depression, and Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's, and...not cause Parkinson's but contribute to symptoms of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. And, you know, some of the symptoms that can look like anxiety are this increased heart rate and higher blood pressure, feeling like you're short of breath, pounding heart, and dizziness, which is, you know, people will say, "Oh, I'm having a panic attack." But it could be the fermented food, the sauerkraut, the long-cooked broths, pickled meats.
So, a lot of people are saying, "Avoid these foods." Now, Yasmina, The Low Histamine Chef, her thinking is a little bit different. She is saying you can eat some of these foods, but you need to reduce the amounts, and then also add in other foods that are going to counter some of the effects of the histamine. But I must say that I've had enough clients with these issues that they need to take them out, you know, to stabilize their systems before thinking about adding some of them back. For some people, they just can't tolerate, you know, a broth at all. It's just too problematic.
Trudy: And I actually interviewed her on one of my anxiety summits, too, and she wasn't aware of the work of Carl Pfeiffer. I also interviewed Dr Bill Walsh on one of my summits, and we talked about this topic because he's the current expert on the low and the high histamines. And he wasn't aware of the work of Yasmina and the changes that can be made in the diet that can have an effect.
So, it's interesting that we've got all these amazing experts and these different sort of subset areas of histamine imbalances that aren't talking to each other, and I'd love to get them all together on a panel one day and pick their brains because they're all masters in their areas, and we need to be meshing some of this together.
Andrew: Well, I think the important issue for patients is that we need to get these people to talking together, networking, and reaching a consensus about what works, what doesn't. Because, you know, I think it's one of the issues I have, is everybody thinks they're an expert. But then, somebody has a contravening theory. We need to get this into a consensus point to say, "Okay. Well, you know, this works for patients in this subset and that subset." We can then work out a framework for treatment.
Trudy: Exactly. And I wanted to mention one other thing about the histamine which is an interesting one that I didn't know about, and I learned this from Yasmina. Is that there's a connection to the benzodiazepine. She actually had very severe anxiety, and that's how she discovered her histamine issues, and she was prescribed benzodiazepine. But I mentioned the Ashton Protocol for doing a taper, and part of that protocol is eventually switch to Valium and then taper the Valium because that is easier to taper.
But Valium is a DAO blocker, and this prevents histamine from being removed from the body. So, if you happen to have a histamine issue which she discovered she did have, Valium is not the best choice.
Trudy: Also, she talked about Xanax, and Xanax is pink. It's got pink dye in it and that can be a trigger for histamine issues. So, there's so many different variables that we need to consider here.
Andrew: Wow. What about dopamine and the catecholamines as neurotransmitters? And indeed, you know, our predilection for, dare I say the word addiction, to coffee in our western society. Of which I am one.
Trudy: It's a big thing. We self-medicate with it and it's something that I with my anxious clients I'm always saying, "Coffee needs to go," and it's the hardest thing often for them to quit. They'll get off the sugar and they'll get off the gluten, and they'll make all the other changes, but they're really holding on their coffee.
And we've got to figure out what the root cause is. Why do they need it? And one of them could be low catecholamines. And when you've got low catecholamine, you've got focus issues, low energy, motivation issues, lack of motivation, and this depression where it's an apathy kind of depression where you curl up in bed and you don't want to see anyone.
So addressing that with one of the neurotransmitter precursors, which is tyrosine, is amazing to help people get off the coffee. And I'll have my clients have the tyrosine next to their bed, so they can take that first thing in the morning when they get up, and then take it again mid-morning and then mid-afternoon as well. And then always looking at other options, Carob, Dandy Blend which is a dandelion mixture that is caffeine-free and good, obviously, for liver support. Rooibos Tea, I love Rooibos Tea, being a South African, it's a great antioxidant, full of polyphenols, shown to help with blood sugar control, shown now to help with support of the adrenals, and very similar benefits to green tea without the caffeine.
And I actually was talking to someone the other day about green tea, and although it's good, there are subset of people who have such an effect from the caffeine that they can't even tolerate the small amount in green tea. So that's when I would use something like Rooibos or tulsi, or licorice, or something. We just got to find a replacement for that coffee.
Andrew: Now, tulsi. There's a herb which professor Mark Cohen will talk on a whole podcast about. He gets very excited when you talk about tulsi, which is holy basil. I podcasted with him about something totally different. So we got onto tulsi and it was off. But it was a fantastic podcast because he took us through the such many uses of that herb. So you use that as a tea, as like a coffee replacement, do you?
Trudy: Uh-huh, yeah. You can use it as a coffee replacement. It's just going to give you some of those benefits and it's a great beverage. And I found some people don't like the taste of just the plain tulsi tea and there are some blends that come with lemon-ginger or licorice-tulsi, and you know, you're getting some benefits from the licorice as well.
Always, of course, with herbal teas that have got different flavors, I always caution my clients about, you know, the natural flavor and would rather have a herb in there, rather than a flavor, which is probably going to be synthetic, so just cautioning people about that.
Andrew: But I guess also, if somebody's going to have licorice-based tea they got to be mindful about hypertension as well?
Trudy: Yup, definitely.
Andrew: Indeed, I'll just add another thing in because it's a pet thing of mine. I remember even confectionary licorice. This is decades old research. Even confectionary licorice was lowering testosterone, and hence, it's therapeutic action with polycystic ovarian syndrome. But you've got to be mindful about other areas where you don't want to reduce testosterone.
Trudy: Exactly, yeah. And the other big thing with coffee is the pesticide. It's loaded with pesticides. You've got people drinking it with soy milk. We've got it being drunk out of plastic cups, so we've got all that plastic leaching into the coffee. And it affects blood sugar in the same way that a soda affects blood sugar. So it really, really has to go.
Andrew: Don't say that! But you know, something that I'm very mindful of now is that I've had a spell from coffee, shall I say? And certainly, my two, three cups a day, I have not been drinking that. Indeed, really one cup a day max. Over the last couple of days, I've had two, even three cups of coffee and I feel wired, really wired. I think this is an interesting reaction to the coffee that I love so much. So, you know, notwithstanding that I'm not going to give it up, but I think it's very interesting that when you reduce it, just how quickly it can affect you. I just want to move on. Talking about...
Trudy: I've got one more comment about coffee.
Andrew: Oh, yeah? Okay, all right…
Trudy: This is an interesting one. Dr Kelly Brogan, she is the author of A Mind of Your Own, the new book on depression, integrative psychiatrist in the U.S. And I heard her present at the Integrative Medicine for Mental Health Conference last year in the U.S., and she talks about using coffee enemas and has found coffee enemas to be useful with her patients that are tapering off SSRI because of its detoxification capabilities.
So, I just wanted to throw that in there. I have not used it with clients yet, but it certainly piqued my interest because I am familiar with coffee enemas being used in the cancer world for helping people who are using, you know, nutritional support for cancer therapy.
Andrew: I would think that one would be a specialist area? Not something to be taken lightly when you're weaning off an SSRI and using coffee enemas though.
Trudy: Absolutely. You want to be working with someone who is knowledgeable in both areas.
Andrew: Absolutely. Just discussing that safety issue for a bit, on tyrosine, you'd have to be using gram dosages of tyrosine, is that right?
Trudy: Yes. The starting recommendation for tyrosine is 500 milligrams twice or three times a day, and that can vary. If someone is super sensitive, we may even have them use a 10th of that. So it's, again, with the amino acids, I'll do a trial and start really low if someone 's sensitive and then build up based on their response.
But there are some precautions with using all of the amino acids, and certainly, with tyrosine. If someone had overactive thyroid or Grave's disease, you wouldn't use it. If they had melanoma or high blood pressure or migraine, then you would not use tyrosine.
Andrew: You've just twigged something that I had forgotten, and that was melanoma. Because it acts on melanin. Melanocyte stimulating hormone, correct?
Andrew: So, with tyrosine, I guess where I was thinking with tyrosine and thyroid issues was this short-term, sort of, transient effect called the Jod-Basedow effect. So you say you start 500 milligrams and work up. I don't think that's a really high dose, as in looking at reactions. I think you need grams.
Trudy: Okay. I'm not familiar with that condition you talk about. But if it's hyperthyroidism, then I would probably avoid the tyrosine because of the issue with tyrosine and Grave's, and hyperthyroidism in general.
Andrew: Yup. And it's a dangerous interaction with the old monoamine oxidase inhibitors, correct? With high-dose tyrosine?
Trudy: Yes. That could be an issue because of the high blood pressure.
Andrew: Now mindshare, can you take us through what is mindshare? This is something...J.J Virgin's Group, is that right?
Trudy: Yes, J.J Virgin is author of The Virgin Diet and the Sugar Impact Diet and has just come out with a great book on Miracle Mindset where she talks about the journey she went through when her son was hit by a hit and run driver and left for dead, and how she, you know, worked through her… using mindset to recover her son and you know, support the family.
And she's an amazing practitioner. I have known her for many years. We actually served on the board of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals together and she has gathered a group of integrative holistic practitioners into this amazing collaboration of people who are all supporting each other on the same mission of helping the world heal and recover, and find natural and nutritional, and non-medication-based solutions.
And the mission of the group is, "A rising tide lifts all boats." So, it's very collaborative. It's very supportive. We learn from each other. We learn both clinically and business...you know, so there's the business aspect. How can we grow our businesses, so we can reach more people? Because you can be the best practitioner in the world, but if no one knows you exist, then you're not going to be helping many people. So, it's just a wonderful group.
There's a Facebook group where we connect during the year, and then there's a live event every August in San Diego. And I've been going up...I think I've been five or six times now, and it's growing and growing and growing. When she first started it, I think there were, you know, 20 people. And now, it's up to 200. And I think this year, there's going to be 300 people and it's...I just can't recommend it, you know, any more than what I'm saying now. It's just a wonderful, you know, supportive group and wonderful to be...you feel like you're in your tribe, you know? This is my tribe of people and we've all got the same mission. It's really amazing.
Andrew: Yeah. She's written a book, right, "Miracle Mindset." You can get that everywhere.
Trudy: That's her most recent one, yeah. That's her most recent one about her son. Yep.
Andrew: Right, right, right. Okay. Gotcha. Because that's the... I think she discusses how that led to her, you know, basically tapping into this, let's call it resilience.
Trudy: Yeah. just being grateful, being appreciative of small changes, forgiveness, you know...
Trudy: ...everything that made her stronger to be able to deal with this terrible thing that she was going through with her son. And he's...you know they told her that he would not survive the night. And then, once he survived the night, then they told her that he wasn't going to get through the brain surgery, and then they said he would never walk again.
And she pulled, you know, together with her friends and her colleagues, and got the support and got all these experts together and was, you know...has had amazing results with him. He's still got issues, obviously, with a huge accident like that, but it's just amazing that...it's just so heartwarming. It's a wonderful heartwarming story of recovery for her son and then how she was able to go through all of that because it's got to be tough.
Andrew: Yeah, absolutely. Tell us about The Anxiety Nutrition Institute where practitioners can learn about amino acid training.
Trudy: So the Anxiety Nutrition Institute is my training that I am in the process of setting up, and it's to teach practitioners how to use the amino acids. Because a lot of people think, "Well, I only need to consider amino acids if I'm working with a population of anxious or depressed individuals, or people who are emotional eaters." But I see this application for amino acids in every practice. Because if you're working with someone with PCOS, you're wanting to help them get off the carbohydrates, and the amino acids can help with getting off the carbohydrates. And a lot of people with PCOS also happen to have anxiety.
If you are working with a woman with vulvodynia and pelvic floor issues, the GABA is very relaxing, and helps with some of the pelvic floor issues, and we see anxiety in that population as well. I mentioned diabetes. So, you're wanting your patients and clients to get off the carbs and they, you know, 45% of diabetic patients have anxiety as well.
So, the amino acids, I just feel and have seen, have such far-reaching impact and makes practitioner's work easier because their patients and clients are not having to use willpower to get off these carbohydrates and sugars, and addictive substances. The gluten and the coffee, and all of these other things that we're trying to have them removed so they can be eating a healthier diet.
Andrew: Trudy, thank you so much for taking us through...I mean, part of it. Seems like there's so much more to uncover. But at least, some of the more important aspects with regards to neurotransmitters and how we can help patients who have, you know, anxiety and other issues from neurotransmitter imbalances. I thank you once again for joining us on FX Medicine.
Trudy: Thanks very much for having me, Andrew. I enjoyed it, yet again.
Andrew: This is FX Medicine, I'm Andrew Whitfield-Cook.
Bravo J, Forsythe P, Chew M, et al. Ingestion of Lactobacillus strain regulates emotional behavior and central GABA receptor expression in a mouse via the vagus nerve. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Sep 20;108(38):16050–16055