Past generations believed the biochemistry and our emotions were separate. Today we see all of our human emotions have a biochemical basis. Body and mind are totally intertwined.
Understanding the Biochemical Basis of Emotions
Charles Darwin observed in Expressions Of The Emotions In Man And Animals that all people share common emotional facial expressions, as do some animals. We all experience familiar human emotions such as sadness, fear, anger, joy, disgust, contentment, pleasure, and pain. Our facial expressions for our emotions are the same whether we are Chinese, African, or European.
Because of this universal phenomenon Darwin concluded that mankind must have an inborn genetic mechanism governing these emotional expressions (i.e., a universal chemistry for emotions). As far back as the 1920's, Dr. Wilder Penfield at McGill University in Montreal found that by stimulating certain areas in the brain he could automatically produce many different powerful emotional reactions such as weeping, laughing, and anger.
Dr. Candace Pert, former National Institute of Health researcher, in her book, Molecules Of Emotions explains how emotion-carrying peptides (made from amino acids) continually circulate and communicate throughout our brain and body. Receptors for these peptides and neurotransmitters are present not only in our brain, but also in our endocrine system, spinal cord, and even the immune system. She says,
What we experience as an emotion or feeling is also a mechanism for activating a particular neuronal circuit –SIMULTANEOUSLY THROUGHOUT THE BRAIN BODY– that generates a behavior with all the necessary physiological changes that behavior would require.
She relates how brain peptides and substances like ACTH are present in many body systems. For example, the immune system networks with the endocrine system and the brain and the nervous systems, all having the proper receptors for getting this information, from the carriers called neuropeptides. She found receptors on immune cells for virtually every peptide or drug identified in the brain. Thanks to this work, our belief that the brain is the seat of our emotions, just flew out the window! Our emotional network exists everywhere throughout our entire bodies.
Since our molecules of emotion originate as amino acids, we can clearly see the disadvantage of being denied normal amounts of these precious substances. Amino acids alone, or by their conversion into neurotransmitters and peptides, supply us with the chemicals needed to generate pleasure, alleviate pain, protect against radiation and combat the aging process. These amino acids perform healing miracles in treating our depression, anxiety, memory loss, and many other seemingly “psychological” states.
As you begin to understand these remarkable substances I’ll bet you will quickly tune in to the connection between their deficiencies and changes in your brains’ equilibrium. Serious depletion of course, will likely be labeled a DISEASE or called a MENTAL ILLNESS.
Unfortunately, in today’s medical thinking, identifying a disease means matching a drug to relieve the symptoms. Often, a safer approach is to measure and supply the right amounts of our brains’ natural chemicals, rather than using foreign, synthetic and sometimes toxic substances to try to duplicate nature.
Think of drugs as cheap imitations of the real chemicals your brain/body run on. Don’t cheat yourself, cheap imitations are the prescription to cause depression, not treat it.