Low serotonin anxiety and sugar addiction: my interview on the Sweet Freedom Summit

March 20, 2017

It’s not common knowledge that brain chemical or neurotransmitter imbalances can cause sugar cravings as well as anxiety and depression. But there certainly is a big connection between stress eating, comfort eating, emotional eating and low levels of the brain chemicals serotonin, GABA and endorphins. There is a growing body of research supporting this connection.

Sharing this sugar craving-brain chemical connection and bringing it back to my expertise in anxiety and stress is something I don’t get to do often enough. So when I heard about the Sweet Freedom Summit that Sherry Strong was hosting, I immediately reached out to her and shared this brain chemical imbalance/addiction/mood topic in the hope she’d invite me to speak.

I was thrilled when she said she’d love to interview me and then doubly thrilled when she said our interview was SO good (I really enjoyed it too!) she’s decided to offer it as a gift to EVERYONE who signs up for the summit! Wow!

The Sweet Freedom Summit runs April 10-17 and I’m giving you a sneak peek to some of my interview today.

Sherry starts the sugar cravings/emotional eating/addiction discussion by asking what the connection is to brain chemistry imbalances and what evidence do we have that this is happening? Here are a few snippets from my response:

Say we’ve got a brain chemical deficiency of low serotonin, we are going to crave sugar and carbs in the afternoon and evening. And we will also have the low serotonin symptoms which are depression, the worry type of anxiety, the ruminating thoughts, the worry, the fear (these are the symptoms I experienced in my late 30s – I was also a chocoholic)

So you have this emotional aspect and the sugar cravings aspect when you’ve got these brain chemical imbalances.

And I just want to share something with you. This is a study done in 2002. And I’m going to just read a quote from this. The title is Evidence that Intermittent, Excessive Sugar Intake Causes Endogenous Opioid Dependence.

They’re saying that sugar can be as addicting as opioids and drugs. The goal of the study was to determine whether withdrawal from sugar can cause symptoms similar to opioid dependence. We’ve been hearing in the news how opioid drugs like OxyContin can cause dependence and we can have severe withdrawal symptoms.  

What they’re saying is palatable food stimulates systems in the body that are implicated in drug addiction. And they felt that intermittent, excessive sugar intake might create a dependency and you get these withdrawal signs.

So they are saying that withdrawal from sugar is very similar to withdrawal from something like morphine or nicotine. And this is interesting because we know how addicting drugs can be. And we don’t realize that sugar can be as addicting.

Sherry had me repeat this statement to really bring the message home: 

Brain chemical imbalances, such as low serotonin, can cause mood problems, depression or anxiety or obsessive tendencies. And they can cause addictions, be it to street drugs, be it prescription drugs, or be it to sugar or some kind of carbohydrate. And we need to take them all as seriously as each other.

Do you resonate with any of the above? Maybe the example I shared will be closer to reality for you:

Just think about the obsessive nature we have when we’re craving something. We’ll binge eat a box of cookies. And then we may even rush out and buy a second box to replace the box that we binge-ate to replace it before someone sees that we’ve eaten the first box. That sounds like the behavior of a drug addict to me!

We also cover the low GABA type of stress eating that we see with anxiety and low endorphins comfort/reward eating where you really LOVE certain foods (think a big bowl of ice-cream) – and which targeted individual amino acids to use for each brain chemical imbalance. This all means NO willpower is required and zero feelings of deprivation! Really! (and you get a mood boost too)

I hope you can join us at the online no-cost event – simply click here to register today. It runs April 10-17 and when you register you’ll get immediate access to my interview and some other cool sign up gifs. Please share with family and friends who you know can benefit from this information!

Two decades ago, your host, Sherry Strong, was completely addicted to sugar. She was obese, sick and depressed to the point of wanting to die. All of that changed when she removed sugar from her diet.

If you are struggling to give up sugar, are an emotional eater or stress-eater or even if you simply indulge periodically – whether a health professional, busy mom, athlete or career-driven person – this event can help you, finally, improve your health, your life, your mood and end those sugar cravings and addictions!

Got questions or feedback? Please share them in the blog comments below.

YOU’RE WELCOME TO INCLUDE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEBSITE AS LONG AS YOU INCLUDE THIS COMPLETE BLURB WITH IT:

Trudy Scott (CN), Certified Nutritionist is the founder of www.everywomanover29.com, a thriving nutrition practice with a focus on food, mood and women’s health. Trudy educates women about the amazing healing powers of food and nutrients and helps them find natural solutions for anxiety and other mood problems. Trudy’s goal for all her clients (and all women): “You can be your healthiest, look your best and feel on-top-of-the-world emotionally!”

 

Leave a Reply

33 Comments on "Low serotonin anxiety and sugar addiction: my interview on the Sweet Freedom Summit"

avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest
Karina siegenfeldt
Karina siegenfeldt

Hi trudy… it sounds like a really good seminar. But I have one questionight about the serotonin imbalance… the psychology community is now saying that they have lied about the chemical imbalance…

https://www.madinamerica.com/2012/01/psychiatrys-grand-confession/

so how can this match the serotonin imbalance you are talking about.. I am a bit confused.

Angela
Angela
This is exactly what happened with my daughter. We knew she had anxiety since birth. (I have anxiety too) We tried really hard to keep sugar away from her because of the mood swings.(and of course heath reasons too) I believe she learned to self medicate with sugar at a young age. I include carbs when I say sugar. At age seven we took her to a psychologist and they put her on anti-anxiety. Then ADHD symptoms flared (I believe her anxiety slowed her down, without it she was not afraid to do anything)Fast forward I started learning how bad… Read more »
Natalie
Natalie
@Karina Thankyou for that link – very interesting to read. @Trudy I am a former sugar addict and will attest to the truly addictive nature of it. I would get shaky and short-tempered if I missed my sugar hit, I used to drive out at midnight in search of a shop that was open so I could buy chocolate, I would eat so much chocolate that I would feel sick, then do the same thing the next day. I would eat my sweet treats in private so I didn’t have to share etc, etc. I used a fantastic book called… Read more »
Marie
Marie

Hi Natalie! Potatoes Not Prozac saved my life. It’s amazing how simple dietary changes can be so powerful.

Natalie
Natalie
Hi Trudy and Marie The part of the program that worked for me was eating only 3 meals per day ( I used to snack constantly) and including protein with all meals and then the ‘potato’ for supper. The potato is a ‘slow’ carbohydrate that helps to move tryptophan slowly into the brain overnight so no sudden serotonin spikes. Once you had that in place, it was easier to give up the sugar. I agree that most of us have to do more and I have done this subsequently – addressing gut health, going organic, gluten free, dairy free, taking… Read more »
Natalie
Natalie

Hi Trudy
The potato was ‘supper’, i.e. at least 3 hours AFTER dinner. People use different words for their meals, so it was 3 meals and a potato 3 hours after the last meal. It may have worked without the potato but for a sugar addict the potato was a real ‘treat’ and helped take place of all the treats you had to give up!

Marie
Marie
Hi Trudy, I think the key for me was getting adequate protein throughout the day and then eating the potato before going to bed. As Natalie mentioned, this program was cutting-edge at the time. I did it 20 years ago! Due to severe depression and anxiety, a psychiatrist wanted me to take Paxil. I refused and started searching for non-drug solutions. I discovered Potatoes Not Prozac and bought the book. The solution seemed too easy. What?! Just eat three meals with adequate protein, and eat a potato before I went to bed? No way. (I didn’t take any of the… Read more »
Terry
Terry
Hello Trudy, I too like Karina would like more clarification on the chemical imbalance theory as it’s just that….a theory. As I understand it there is absolutely no medical or scientific test that has been able to establish high or low serotonin, norepinephrine, or dopamine in depressed or sugar addicted people. Also there is no evidence that too little or too much of these hormones is the issue at all! I understand that some people are attracted to the ‘it’s not me it’s my chemicals’ solution but is this truly a solution? Is not learning emotional resilience a far deeper… Read more »
Sid
Sid

Low serotonin symptoms and amino acid urine test results, but get extremely aggitated taking inositol/5-htp. High cortisol clue, or serotonin is too low and extra sensitive? Any thoughts?

Karina siegenfeldt
Karina siegenfeldt

Thank you so much trudy… its a good read. A thing that strikes me..(as i am in withdrawal from cymbalta )
Some of the people who have troubles with the amino acides maybe they are taking a antidepressive and that interfering with the different types of amino acides? I cant wait till I am of the cymbalta. But a slow taper is the only way out. I have been tapering since sep 2015 from only 30mg… i will be finish this year to Christmas.

Best of all karina

Shalini
Shalini
Hi Trudy, I heard you speak about GABA in the diabetes Summit. my daughter 12+ years has some symptoms of ADHD. I’ve put her on high vitamin therapy and a clean green diet which has helped her tremendously. But during her exams when she is at home she prepares very well but seeing her answer sheets I noticed that she is doing wrong the questions which she attempted at home in a calm environment. Can GABA help her? Do I need to get her tested for low GABA or low Serotonin or any thing else. Because the pressure of an… Read more »
Liz
Liz
Hello Shalini, Based on the symptoms you report about your daughter, do consider taking Trudy’s pyroluria questionnaire. The fact that the stress of exams causes worsening of symptoms suggests possible pyroluria and the need for increased vitamin B6 and zinc…..and possibly other supportive nutrients. Serotonin deficiency is associated with pyroluria. You are a wise mother to be looking for natural solutions/causes for your child’s difficulties. Trudy’s excellent book will safely walk you thru the process…questionnaire for pyroluria, amino acid (ex. Serotonin and GABA) trials to safely use supplements to provide symptom relief while addressing/correcting the underlying issue of pyroluria. In… Read more »
Shalini
Shalini

Dear Liz,

Thank you so much for replying to my comment and for your suggestion for me to have a look at pyroluria Questionnaire. I had a a look at it, she is already on Vitamin B6 and Zinc so that could be the reason not a single symptom matches her in the current time. If it was six months back then maybe some of them would. But I guess the Vitamins are doing their work well. Thanks once again.

Liz
Liz
Dear Shalini, So glad you already did the questionnaire and started on B6 and zinc. In my reading and research, I have learned that with pyroluria there can be a worsening of symptoms during times of increased stress. And for children, taking tests can be a stressful event. Some practitioners advise increasing B6/Zinc a bit during times of greater stress – a point Trudy makes in her book. Trudy’s book also offers guidance on what are safe levels of B6/Zinc. One, of course, wants to give adequate amount of nutrients but always within a safe level. Take care.
Shalini
Shalini

I don’t know why I am not able to reply to your comment but Thanks liz for your kind and encouraging words. I will keep your observations in mind.

Carol
Carol

when taking the test most Dr’s state no prep but when you get the test the lab says no zinc or vit b for a week before taking the test, I wish dr’s would tell us this in advance

Carol
Carol

Karin:
Because Cymbalta is time released is that why you cannot add any amino acids
also what are they typical withdrawal symptoms of cymbalta

Carol
Carol
Trudy thank goodness you are out there, I need help so if you could take just one more person, PLease let it be me Please My Doctor hid not shore me up on 5 HPT before reducing the Pristiq which is time released. Or shore up my diet or anything. I took pristiq at 7 am and tried to take 50 5 hpt at 2pm had headache and flushing and naseau moved to taking it at 8pm no issue went to 100 at 8.00 pm and other issues went away however started having mood swings at 4pm which of course… Read more »
Sogol
Sogol
Dear Trudy, Thanks for an amazing webinar, I just loved it!. The part where you can take Tryptophan as for sugar craving and low serotonin caught my attention. I bought some yesterday and took one.. After a few minutes I got a weird feeling in my head. But the sugar cravings went away after few minutes. I have to say that I also take antidepressive. But I know I have to keep them away at least 6 hours from each other. So I take Tryptophan in the morning and antidepressive before bedtime. I’m not sure if the weird feeling in… Read more »
wpDiscuz