For many of us personality is a way in which we define ourselves, attributing our different character traits and behaviors to this broad definition we call personality. Not only is it the way that we define ourselves but at times we create stereotypes and expectations of others based on assumptions about their personality. “Oh it’s just the way she is…” or “I can’t help it it’s just a part of my personality. I’ve always been this way.”
But what would you say if we told you that you could change your personality, resolve a ‘disorder’ or even just optimize the expression of your inherited and learned personality?
It may be hard to believe but your diet, vitamins, minerals and amino acids can play an extremely powerful role in your personality and behavior.
Energy production in your cells plays a central role in a wide range of behaviors that would often be categorized as a part of your personality. Your brain for example depends on energy from your brain cells and if you are not being fueled properly then it is a foregone conclusion that your behaviors and mood will be affected. This is why consuming the right foods and supplements for your Metabolic Type® is so critical to your mental well-being.
Someone who is dealing with depression for example, even outwardly appears to have “low energy”. They appear listless, uninterested, unmotivated, mentally slow and so on. And since it’s an energy problem it can be impacted by addressing the fuel for that individual’s Metabolic Type®. Once the body is fueled adequately and efficiently the energy that is created in the cells will naturally rise to the surface creating a more outwardly energetic, mentally alert and motivated personality. Quite often dramatic changes can happen in depression simply by eating correctly for one’s type.
In addition to energy production, the foods and supplements you consume also will have an affect on your systemic pH (acid/alkaline). Anxiousness for example, is an emotional state defined as being full of mental distress or uneasiness. In terms of pH this state is related to a more acidic pH and is a trait of Fast Oxidizer Metabolic Types® and Sympathetic Dominant Metabolic Types® when they are out of balance. When these types eat incorrectly for their biochemistry, they will experience an increase in anxiousness, hyperactivity and mood swings. But these “acid” traits can be normalized simply by eating the right foods for their given Metabolic Type®.
What’s most interesting is that the diet and nutrients for these two types need to be different in order to calm them down and reduce the anxiety and mood swings. The Sympathetic Dominant Metabolic Type® would have their anxiety and hyperactivity worsened by eating a diet that was higher in fat and animal meats while a Fast Oxidizer Dominant Metabolic Type® would be calmed by that same diet. The reverse is also true such that the Fast Oxidizer would feel worse on a diet higher in vegetables, fruits and grains but the Sympathetic Metabolic Type® would be more balanced with it.
The difference in Metabolic Types and personality is really quite interesting to observe. Here are a few of the traits of some of the Metabolic Types. These are just two of the Metabolic Types but maybe you can relate to some of these character traits:
Sympathetic Dominant - cool, aloof, quick witted, logical, rational, left brain, emotionally reactive, quick to anger, nervous, irritable, hard to make friends, driven, highly motivated, accomplishments and achievement are important (goal oriented), neat, orderly, list makers, obsessive, excellent focus and concentration.
Parasympathetic Dominant - open, warm, approachable, intuitive, emotionally oriented, takes life as it comes, spacey, right brain, slow to anger, depressed, sad, melancholy, not punctual, scattered, good endurance, wears heart on sleeve, ‘good time Charleys’, loyal, disorganized, messy, and lackadaisical.
Vitamins & Minerals
The wrong foods for a person’s type can certainly contribute to anxiety, depression and mood swings but what about the supplements you are taking? It is fairly commonly accepted that many people have a quantitative Magnesium deficiency due to excess processed foods. Magnesium is generally considered to be a calming nutrient but for some, too much Magnesium actually becomes excitatory and should only be taken in smaller amounts. Fast Oxidizer Metabolic Types are inherently acidic as mentioned earlier and Magnesium will further push them into a more acid state. The result of too much Magnesium for a Fast Oxidizer could be increased anxiousness, jitteriness and hunger. Meanwhile a Parasympathetic who takes too much supplemental Magnesium would actually be pushed further into a parasympathetic state and could become lethargic and depressed as a result.
Supplements can have an amazing impact on how we feel but the wrong supplements for the wrong person can at best cause minimal changes and at worst worsen an existing imbalance such as depression or anxiety.
Neurotransmitter Balancing Act
Another factor that can greatly influence your personality and behavior is the balance of excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters (NT) circulating and being used by your brain. An inhibitory neurotransmitter called Serotonin plays a role in sleep cycle, depression, anxiety, carbohydrate cravings and PMS. And another inhibitory NT called GABA is considered to be natures valium-like substance.
Then there are the excitatory NT’s such as Epinephrine and Norepinephrine which are responsible for the stimulatory and fight-or-flight processes in the body. Finally a last major NT is Dopamine which is uniquely considered to be both excitatory and inhibitory.
Depression, anxiety and mood swings will nearly always correlate with poor cellular energy production, imbalance from the wrong foods or nutrients or with a specific imbalance in these excitatory and inhibitory NT’s. Using targeted amino acids to replenish your NT’s and carefully balance them can often create rapid improvements in mood and energy. Two examples of amino acids that are effective at raising serotonin and dopamine levels are 5-HTP and L-Tyrosine. 5-HTP will convert to Serotonin and L-Tyrosine will convert to Dopamine and as we mentioned these two neurotransmitters are inhibitory and excitatory respectively. For some this can happen within minutes of taking the correct amino acids (AA’s) but the amount of time that you will need to continue taking those AA’s will vary from person to person.
Words of warning regarding supplementing with AA’s: Some of these many cause stomach upset so most who take them choose to take with a small amount of food. Always talk to your doctor before taking any supplements and do not take any of these if you are currently taking a prescription for a mood disorder unless you have discussed with your doctor.
Danny Maresca considers himself a philosopher, scientist and teacher but most of all a humble explorer of this reality. This blog covers topics he finds fascinating as they relate to his own interpretation of his own experience of life. He hopes that you will find value in what you read but openly invites deeper and different perspectives to his own.