Nutrition for Psychological Issues

I spent Friday and most of yesterday in Washington DC. It always takes me a chunk of time to adjust to the greater density of people- Staunton’s streets are never teeming… except maybe when the Findells are playing Staunton Jams!

But once I do adjust to the big city, my first thought is “how impressive!” Such a wide variety of people living in (relative) harmony in a very small, crowded space… It’s only possible when the vast majority implicitly and automatically agrees to behave according to shared social norms.

We’ve all got our idiosyncrasies, but they’re normal to us… if they extend beyond society’s normal but not ours, we may never know it! There is certainly nothing wrong with going against the grain- in fact, I consider myself far from normal and am proud of it. 🙂

But those with mild Autism, Aspergers or ADHD may be desperately misunderstood: A machine part that is not well lubricated will scrape others and cause sparks… So it is for someone who lacks social lubrication like understanding body language & facial expressions or ease of allowing mistakes and inconsistencies or showing empathy and compassionate interest. The behavior of those with mild “afflictions”, can elicit intolerance from others, who may see them as inappropriate or rude, and even go as far as calling them names. Since all people are dear and sweet in their inner cores (at least I think so), this seems quite unfair.

Meanwhile this “different” person experiences stress because they can’t understand social cues and norms that most others take for granted. And especially in today’s society where there’s less connection and interaction, they may have no one bold enough to tell them their behavior is inappropriate. Worst of all, their friends and loved ones experience stress because they just can’t get though to them. Consequently, they miss out on one of life’s best things: relating and connecting with people!

I was motivated to write all of this because of an old episode of This American Life that I listened to on my way home from DC. Act Two featured a wife who’d stumbled upon a questionnaire that helped her diagnose her hubby as having Aspergers. It explained why the last 5 years of their marriage had contained near-intolerable strife. Realization of his condition wiped away her resentment and gave him a new lease on life. He said it was like being present at his own birth.

This man kept a journal to identify what he’d been doing to upset his wife, children, friends and coworkers. He studied it, adapted his behavior and his life improved. (He also studied how to make small talk by watching David Letterman and listening to Howard Stern!)

Unfortunately, there was no mention in this podcast about nutritional interventions for mental health… big miss!

Many psychological issues (Autism, Asperger’s, ADHD, OCD, depression, bipolar and skitzophrenia) can be improved, if not cured, by nutrition. The two main avenues of treatment are 1) special diets to remove foods that have neurotoxic effects, and 2) adjustments in supplements to compensate for nutritional deficiencies.

#2 (nutritional deficiency) may simply result from poor diet, but it could also fall under the fascinating category of nutrigenomics. Some people have genetic flaws that prevent them from being able to utilize nutrients. The resulting nutrient deficiency can have any number of effects, including psychological. For example, a mutation in the MTHFR gene (which makes an enzyme called methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) will prevent a person from using folate. This can result in psychological issues as well as heart disease and miscarriage. Another common genetic flaw is called Pyroluria.

Come in for a session at BuzzNutrition and I can help you easily and relatively inexpensively test for these genetic flaws!! The good news about these two conditions is that they’re completely manageable by taking a few supplements (every day for life). This supplement regime needs to be individualized (since we’re all biochemically unique) and I can help guide you to the regimen perfect for you.

If you constantly feel “off” or confused by social norms or feel that people just don’t know how to follow life’s rules, there could be something going on! ..If there is “something going on”, it is not a disaster! And it’s so much better to know because then you can DO something about it! There are many ways to cope with mental afflictions and you can find help at BuzzNutrition.

Check out the questionnaire here:

When I took the quiz, I was a little nervous to see the results… But to the surprise of many who know me, I turned out to be “very likely neurotypical”… very likely… I say it depends on the day. 🙂

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