Mental health – Which type are you?

There are an endless number of factors that may at some point negatively affect our mental health, including:

How and where we live: Toxins in our environment and in our diet may linger, triggering inflammation and reduced absorption of nutrients needed for our mental health. Moreover, a diet that is rich in processed foods, sugars and unhealthy fats, with low beneficial vegetables, organic foods, nuts and seeds, may impact our gut microbiome. This imbalance directly affects our mental health via the gut-brain axis.

Infection and inflammation upregulate/downregulate genes that support neurotransmitters. Yeast and clostridia infections may affect hormone levels, causing an imbalance in serotonin or dopamine, our ‘feel good’ and ‘reward’ systems.

Emotional stress impacts the gut, neurotransmitters and hormone balance. Stress uses proteins that are essential to neuronal function. So, the cycle of poor mental health continues.

Genetic susceptibility: We have over 20,000 genes and we have only just begun to unravel some of the key genes that may increase our susceptibility towards poor mental health. It is important to realise that your genetics are only risk factors. In order to be expressed, any genetic variants need to be triggered by other factors. It is always wise to keep a holistic view of mental health and its causes. At Louella Natural Health, Nelson, I can order Genetic profiling, through the Fitgenes Test.  This is one tool that can aid you to understand any variants that you may have, so that you can protect yourself through lifestyle and diet. You can find out more by using the Fitgenes Health and Wellbeing Panel. The Organic Acid Test will also identify your current neurotransmitter levels, which may be affecting your mental health right now.

Some Mental health traits may be linked to genetic variants: Do you recognise yourself?

The High Dopamine Personality

  • You are an ‘A type’ personality, driven and focused.
  • You are not an addictive personality.
  • You tend to be self motivated.
  • You have a feeling of self worth.
  • You may become overwhelmed and anxious if order is interrupted.
  • You are more likely to get angry and anxious.
  • You are susceptible to criticism.

Treatment for high dopamine: diet, herbal and nutritional supplements and lifestyle choices, upregulation of the COMT enzyme. Dopamine clearance may be blocked by yeasts, mould and clostridia infection, so testing and treatment may be required for these.

The Low Dopamine Personality

  • You are not motivated or self-driven
  • You may lack interest in life, you like alone time
  • You are very prone to depression
  • You can become easily irritated
  • You may try to raise dopamine levels by drinking, taking drugs, addiction and risky behaviour
  • You may become shaky (‘Parkinson type low dopamine’)

Treatment:  Slow down the COMT enzyme, diet, supplements and lifestyle choices.

The High Serotonin Personality

  • You may suffer from high anxiety
  • You may experience Pschosis/mania
  • You may hear voices or hallucinate
  • Your bowels may be loose
  • You may have a rapid heart rate
  • You may experience heavy sweating
  • You can become easily agitated or restless
  • You are prone to OCD – controlled about thoughts, disturbed thinking

Treatment: Provide nutrients for effective methylation, lifestyle and nutrition guidance. Serotonin clearance may also be blocked by pathogens.

The Low Serotonin Personality

  • You may experience a loss of pleasure in hobbies or interests
  • You no longer enjoy friendships/relationships
  • You have feelings of inner rage and anger
  • You are suffering from depression and sadness
  • You may be obsessed with food
  • You may suffer from OCD, anxiety, panic attacks, bulimia, phobias
  • You may have IBS, often with constipation
  • Insomnia is common

Treatment:  Test for and provide supplements to increase serotonin and dopamine, consider referral for counselling and to your GP, depending on the scale of depression.  Diet and lifestyle support.

If you are currently suffering from mental health problems and would like to speak to me, please get in touch.  What you tell me will be treated with confidentiality, respect and with no judgement.  I can support you to either find the right person to help, or to set up a treatment plan that can help you move forward towards a positive, healthy life.

Warm wishes


About the Author

Louella Wood

Registered Naturopath DipNat, member NZSN, AIMA. BA (Hons)Env. Std., Dip.Tch. Working at Whangarei Natural Health, Whangarei.