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How Do Hormones Affect Emotions?

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How Do Hormones Affect Emotions?

Ray Schilling:

1. Serotonin production in the brain is important to prevent depression. Datis Kharrazian’s book Why isn’t my brain working? offers several scenarios that can cause depression and he has examples of cases that were cured of depression. He points out that deficiencies in two major brain transmitters can cause depression: serotonin and dopamine.

Serotonin is produced in the midbrain from the amino acid tryptophan in two biochemical steps. These biochemical conversions require iron, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, niacin, folic acid, and magnesium as co-factors. But you also need the “large neutral amino acid transporter” (LNAA) to transport tryptophan through the blood-brain barrier into the brain.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is produced in the frontal lobes of the brain. It is also necessary for learning. Dopamine is synthesized by the brain from tyrosine, which has to be manufactured in the liver from the amino acid phenylalanine. You need to have a healthy liver to produce tyrosine, which needs to be transported through the blood-brain barrier into the brain; similar to tryptophan this requires the “large neutral amino acid transporter” (LNAA). People with hepatitis, fatty liver, insulin resistance or diabetes may have problems with the LNAA transporter, which can cause dopamine deficiency. But as mentioned earlier they may also have low serotonin because tryptophan was not transported into the brain. This will happen with sugar overconsumption, as insulin resistance develops and affects the LNAA transporter resulting in both low serotonin and dopamine.

2. When testosterone is missing in an aging man, this causes low energy, depression, a lack of drive, and erectile dysfunction. You replace testosterone in appropriate doses and all of that normalizes. The reason for that is that many key organs including the brain have testosterone receptors. They need to be activated regularly by testosterone for normal organ function. Women need a small amount of testosterone as well to feel normal.

3. Estrogen hormones are the female hormones. If they are normal and balanced by progesterone (from the corpus luteum in the second half of the menstrual cycle) a woman feels well. There is a condition called estrogen dominance where too much estrogen is circulating in relation to progesterone, and these women have the following symptoms:

  • Irregular or otherwise abnormal menstrual periods
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Bloating (water retention)
  • Breast swelling and tenderness.
  • Fibrocystic breasts.
  • Headaches (especially premenstrually)
  • Mood swings (most often irritability and depression)

If the ratio can be normalized between progesterone and estrogen by the use of bioidentical progesterone, these symptoms disappear and the woman feels normal. Again it is the stimulation of the hormone receptors in just the right manner, which stabilizes the mood and leads to normal body function.

4. If thyroid hormones are missing, the person gets depressed and has a lack of energy. Thyroid hormones are stimulating cell function in all the body cells including the brain. Again this is transmitted by hormone receptors in the cells. It is easy for a physician to measure thyroid hormone levels (TSH and thyroid hormone levels) and to rectify the situation by ordering the right amount of thyroid hormones. When thyroid hormone receptor stimulation is normalized, all of the symptoms disappear and the person will feel normal again.

Conclusion

Hormones do not act in isolation, but in concert. Thyroid hormones give the body cells energy. Other hormones add to this and at the end we feel normal.

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.

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travel
Why You Should Never Take Your Shoes Off On an Airplane
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What should be worn during takeoff?

Tony Luna:

If you are a frequent flyer, you may often notice that some passengers like to kick off their shoes the moment they've settled down into their seats.

As an ex-flight attendant, I'm here to tell you that it is a dangerous thing to do. Why?

Besides stinking up the whole cabin, footwear is essential during an airplane emergency, even though it is not part of the flight safety information.

During an emergency, all sorts of debris and unpleasant ground surfaces will block your way toward the exit, as well as outside the aircraft. If your feet aren't properly covered, you'll have a hard time making your way to safety.

Imagine destroying your bare feet as you run down the aisle covered with broken glass, fires, and metal shards. Kind of like John McClane in Die Hard, but worse. Ouch!

Bruce Willis stars in 'Die Hard' (1988)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

A mere couple of seconds delay during an emergency evacuation can be a matter of life and death, especially in an enclosed environment. Not to mention the entire aircraft will likely be engulfed in panic and chaos.

So, the next time you go on a plane trip, please keep your shoes on during takeoff, even if it is uncomfortable.

You can slip on a pair of bathroom slippers if you really need to let your toes breathe. They're pretty useless in a real emergency evacuation, but at least they're better than going barefoot.

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.

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Big Questions
Where Should You Place the Apostrophe in President's Day?
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Happy Presidents’ Day! Or is it President’s Day? Or Presidents Day? What you call the national holiday depends on where you are, who you’re honoring, and how you think we’re celebrating.

Saying "President’s Day" infers that the day belongs to a singular president, such as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, whose birthdays are the basis for the holiday. On the other hand, referring to it as "Presidents’ Day" means that the day belongs to all of the presidents—that it’s their day collectively. Finally, calling the day "Presidents Day"—plural with no apostrophe—would indicate that we’re honoring all POTUSes past and present (yes, even Andrew Johnson), but that no one president actually owns the day.

You would think that in the nearly 140 years since "Washington’s Birthday" was declared a holiday in 1879, someone would have officially declared a way to spell the day. But in fact, even the White House itself hasn’t chosen a single variation for its style guide. They spelled it “President’s Day” here and “Presidents’ Day” here.


Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Maybe that indecision comes from the fact that Presidents Day isn’t even a federal holiday. The federal holiday is technically still called “Washington’s Birthday,” and states can choose to call it whatever they want. Some states, like Iowa, don’t officially acknowledge the day at all. And the location of the punctuation mark is a moot point when individual states choose to call it something else entirely, like “George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day” in Arkansas, or “Birthdays of George Washington/Thomas Jefferson” in Alabama. (Alabama loves to split birthday celebrations, by the way; the third Monday in January celebrates both Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert E. Lee.)

You can look to official grammar sources to declare the right way, but even they don’t agree. The AP Stylebook prefers “Presidents Day,” while Chicago Style uses “Presidents’ Day.”

The bottom line: There’s no rhyme or reason to any of it. Go with what feels right. And even then, if you’re in one of those states that has chosen to spell it “President’s Day”—Washington, for example—and you use one of the grammar book stylings instead, you’re still technically wrong.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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