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To maintain optimum health we need a balanced supply of the four essential elements, hydrogen, oxygen, carbon and nitrogen. These are the stuff of organic life. Fats consist of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Water combines hydrogen and oxygen. Proteins consist of nitrogen. Sugars utilize carbon and hydrogen.
All food and nutrition is utilized by the body to produce one essential element, ATP (Adenosine Tri Phosphate). This one substance releases stored energy to generate neurotransmitters, transport proteins to cells, and aid in conducting electrical impulses. Brain neurons are the one cell that does not reproduce, therefore, it is critical that they receive enough of the essential ATP molecules to maintain longevity and remain viable.
Amino acids are the basic chemical building blocks of life, required to build all the vital proteins, hormones and enzymes. Neurotransmitters are made up of amino acids, except for acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is made from pantothenic acid, choline and ATP. Sixty neurotransmitters have been discovered, 10 of which are considered major conductors. Seven of the most common are:
Acetylcholine is essential for movement and memory.
Serotonin is produced by the pineal gland and is responsible for the waking/sleeping cycle as well as a counterbalance for adrenaline and noradrenaline.
GABA is helpful in alleviating chronic anxiety as an inhibitory neurotransmitter. It also aids in concentration.
Adrenaline and noradrenaline promote alertness, activity and mood elevation.
Glycine is an inhibitory transmitter, which with GABA can help to prevent the seizures of epilepsy.
Dopamine is essential for initiating and coordinating the libido responses.
Histamine aids the thalamus in sensory integration.
Proteins are made of amino acids, and are critical to proper brain functioning. Proteins contain nitrogen, which other foods lack. Twenty-two different amino acids are known. All but nine of these acids, however, can be made by the cells from fat or sugar combined with the nitrogen freed from the breakdown of used proteins. The nine which the body cannot make are called essential amino acids. This means it is essential that they be present in the diet if health is to be maintained. These nine are tryptophane, lysine, methionine, phenylanlanine, threonine, valine, leucine and isoleucine. Children also have difficulty making enough arginine, and histidine.
Amino acids are present in greatest abundance in egg yolk, fresh milk, liver, kidneys and cheese. Also, brewers' yeast, some nuts, soybeans, cottonseed and the germ of cereals contain complete proteins.
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