Julia Ross is a nutritional pioneer who has authored several best-selling books called The Mood Cure and The Diet Cure. These are seriously two of my favorite books in existence and my conversation with Julia today was unforgettable. We talk about the days of when people were naturally happier because of their diets and what it takes to restore your good moods. Please visit http://notjustpaleo.com/free-health-consultation to schedule a complimentary consult with myself to discuss what's going on with you and determine how I can help you get better!
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Today we discuss
- Why people are in such bad moods!
- How diet affects your neurotransmitters
- Why urine testing for neurotransmitters isn't a good idea
- How to boost your moods with diet and supplements
- The good ol' days and some reminiscing about what happy people USED to do!
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Evan Brand: I’m here with an author of one of my favorite books. She’s much more than an author but that’s how I came across her - the author of several books. The one that I found first was “The Mood Cure” and then following that was “The Diet Cure”. So, I’m speaking today with Julia Ross. Hi, Julia!
Julia Ross: Hi, there! Glad to be with you!
Evan Brand: Yeah, thank you so much. We were talking off-air about my little stress tea that I drink before we got on the call. So, this maybe [is] something that people wanna know about. Do you drink any stress teas?
Julia Ross: I don’t. I seem to have an abundance of natural GABA (Gamma-Amino Butyric Acid) production. It’s sort of a genetic trait in my family – easy-going, relatively relaxed people. So, unless I’m under some very specific stressors, I don’t. And, in fact, licorice now gives me insomnia. So, I have to be pretty careful about herbs; many of which can go either way – be they’re stimulating or relaxing.
Evan Brand: Right, yeah. Well, that’s good. I think that my family probably has low GABA. We’re all…
Julia Ross: (laughs) Nervous wrecks?
Evan Brand: …yeah. We’re all a bunch of hot heads – either copperheads or low GABA or a combination of both, who knows. Well, tell people about yourself, if they haven’t heard of your books or what you’re into. You’ve done, in my opinion, some of the most important work in the 21st century for mood disorders.
Julia Ross: Well, thank you! I have to agree! (laughs) I was very fortunate. Earlier in my career, I was an addiction specialist and I had done a lot of training. I had a masters in clinical psychology and I was bringing all these exciting new techniques to bear on the addiction field where, up to that point, there really wasn’t much, except twelve-step programs, being provided. Over the years, I saw, and everyone else in the field saw, that the relapse rates were actually getting worse, not better, in spite of the fact that we had these rich psychotherapeutic programs, which our clients loved! They were great for a lot of things but they just were not great for fundamentally correcting mood problems that were biochemical in origin, which turned out they mostly were in the addicted population. So, mood didn’t really improve and the cravings persisted. And then, we learned that, indeed, their cravings and the mood problems of addicts were caused by fundamental aberrations in brain chemistry – deficiencies in the neurotransmitters that should be making people feel happy enough that they didn’t need to reach for substances. The biochemical resources [for these neurotransmitters] in the brain just weren’t there. And, fortunately, at about that time in the mid-80’s, a neuroscientist got very interested in the addiction field and introduced us to the fact that certain amino acids, or protein fragments, could correct the imbalances that were causing people to become addicted to various substances, including food. My clinic was, at that time, quite innovative for its time in that I’d already had hired nutritionists, as well as psychotherapists. But, we weren’t getting anywhere without the amino acid supplements that the neuroscientist, Kenneth Blum, introduced us to and had done quite a bit of very exciting research on. And so, with our clients, we were able to see that these neurotransmitter foods not only turned off addictive cravings for alcohol, drugs, and foods, but also normalized mood amazingly and quickly. And so, we started programs for people with compulsive eating problems too and found miraculous results. So, I’ve continued in my outpatients’ clinic here in San Francisco Bay Area to utilize and learn about the use of these brain foods and to train professionals about it and write books about it so that people can help themselves because this is really not a very complicated process of refurbishing of the optimally functioning brain. People can get the general directions in the book, each book has a website – “The Diet Cure”, which is more about overeating; and “The Mood Cure”, which is about depression, anxiety, insomnia, and some information about addiction as well.
Evan Brand: Julia, what I love about “The Mood Cure” is that you make it so accessible for people – I’m just smiling ear-to-ear, by the way. Your voice is…you can tell you’re GABA dominant or at least you have plenty of GABA. I think people are gonna love this episode and say “Oh my gosh, I can just listen to Julia all day”…
Julia Ross: (laughs)
Evan Brand: I certainly could, and trust me, I’m hundreds of episodes in of podcasting and you don’t find people like yourself very often. But, what I like about the “The Mood Cure” is that you make it very accessible for people to take action. There’s a lot of other books, and physicians, and practitioners that I’ve had on the show and they try to convince people that even just simple amino acid therapy is so complex and so scary and you must spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, on different testing and things like that – “just in case” – when it comes to supplementing. But, me, personally, I’ve done a lot of reading and researching, and going through your book was definitely one resource. Amino acids don’t have to be that scary.
Julia Ross: No! We were amazed by that. But, because of Kenneth Blum’s work, we were introduced to this very reliable way of assessing which neurotransmitters were in trouble and once you know that then you know which amino acids you need. And once you try them within 10-30 minutes, you can feel the difference; and so, you’re getting that feedback right away. You know that: “Okay, this is what I’m looking for. Now, I can feel relief [from] this set of symptoms”. So you keep on with it and adjust the dosing as you need. When we were first challenged about – “Why don’t you just do testing?” – we were able to explain to people that symptom questionnaires, or symptoms that describe [the] deficiency of any particular amino acid and neurotransmitter, came from testing. Lots of testing in the 1970’s, in particular, helped scientist to identify: “What does it mean that someone’s serotonin deficient? If their numbers are low, how do they feel?” And we were able to get this great picture of how the brain makes us feel or doesn’t make us feel. In fact, when testing for neurotransmitters levels became common – popular – over the last fifteen years or so, we actually did do it – this neuron testing – and found that it was so inaccurate that it didn’t correspond to the symptoms. So, people would, too often, be treating themselves for deficiencies that they didn’t really have and that they can get badly thrown off. So, we stopped doing it and I began to urge people and practitioners not to use it, but to use the tried and true symptom questionnaires instead to save the money, to save the potential problems caused by inaccurate testing. And, there’s been many studies, then, comparing urine testing of neurotransmitters with blood platelet testing or cerebral spinal fluid, which are known to be incredibly accurate, and finding it remote – it just doesn’t compare to the real information in a lot of cases, [but] sometimes it does and people are so excited because: “Ooh I’m deficient in this and I’ll take this, and it worked!” They have no idea that it could be even better if they would simplify and just go with their symptoms. And so, I’m very glad that I was able to find a good publisher who really promoted “The Mood Cure” so that people would have that least-worst.
Evan Brand: That’s great. So I mean, now, there’s so many different things in the modern world that are depleting neurotransmitters. Looking back from – pick wherever you would like to – looking back at, say, the 80’s compared to today, did you imagine that the world was gonna continue at a faster, and faster rate of pace, therefore, depleting neurotransmitters? Are we up against more than we ever have been compared to back then?
Julia Ross: Well, yes. It’s a terrible combination of increased external stressors and the most stressful diet ever known; so that we all have some vulnerabilities in terms of which neurotransmitters we make the most optimally and ones that we’re, perhaps, not as good at providing ourselves. And if we don’t have the basic nutrients to make neurotransmitters out of, coming on a regular basis from our diet, there’s just no way that we can do anything to deteriorate, in terms of our moods. And right now, of the top ten foods consumed, eight of them are refined sugar or starch, or some combination, and two of them are proteins and they’re at, like, number 8 and number 9. We are eating so poorly and we are eating so little protein because we’re so addicted to sweets and starches. Who needs a turkey thigh if there’s ice cream and pasta to choose from; it’s always going to lose out. So that’s why I, in 2012, published “The Diet Cure” to update the information that I’ve been giving out for years about how to stop our cravings for high carbohydrate foods so that we can get back to the balanced diet that allowed us to make our own neurotransmitters efficiently and beautifully; and keep ourselves on an even keel, emotionally; and help us to tolerate whatever stresses we encounter. I mean, life has always been stressful but the pace picking up the way it has [is] completely unknown in human history, as is our diet.
Evan Brand: Yeah, definitely. I’ve definitely fixed my mood with adding in more protein and just fixing my blood sugar. I didn’t really realize the importance of blood sugar until I started digging deep into nutrition and neurotransmitters. Even skipping meals, I’m not the biggest fan of intermittent fasting because so many people are so stressed out and they add that other stressor of just not eating or eating in such a small window that there’s no fuel; and then they binge-eat. That was something I wanted to ask you about. We kind of talked off-air a little bit about [how] the paleo movement’s really successful but 90% of people that come to me are doing paleo and they’re still failing, they’re still craving, they’re binge-eating. They are doing exercise and all of the great things that they are supposed to be doing, and going to bed at the right time, and things like that. But, they’re still binging on – now, it’s gluten-free cookies when it used to be just regular cookies.
Julia Ross: (laughs) Right! Well, addiction is addiction and it’s a very, very tough fight if you don’t have the tools to dismantle it. But, fortunately, the amino acids that corrects our brain’s neurotransmitter function – once those neurotransmitters are balanced we just don’t crave, because the allure of addictive foods is that they can instantly, and very temporarily, increase neurotransmitter function. That’s the drug effect. We can get the same kind of permanent mood benefit if we’re eating a paleo diet.
Evan Brand: What is it about the diet that’s causing people to fail, though? Do you think it’s too much exercise or other external stressors? What is it?
Julia Ross: Well, yeah, that’s a good question. A lot of people who do paleo or other things, some of them more commonly popular diets, are under-eating. They’re eating beautiful food but they’re not eating enough of it; and some of it is because they want to lose weight, and some of it is because some of the people who promote the paleo, or have promoted the paleo diet, in various forms just don’t know any better and they’re suggesting low calorie dieting. And yet, at the same time, people who do paleo are likely to be athletic and likely to want to be working out; and you can’t do all that. You can’t maintain a good diet and work out with low calories because the body is just going to go into rebellion. It needs its carbs, especially if you’re working out [and] especially if you happen to have a high metabolism. One of the things that I’m concerned about with people who go paleo is that I’ve seen a number of them who’ve ended up drinking excessively. I think one of the reasons is – they may have some latent tendency to alcoholism in the first place but – they’re just not eating enough food and not enough carbohydrate. If you need carbohydrate and all you’re eating is protein and fat, pretty much, your body will convert the protein and fat into carbohydrate so that you can keep on functioning. That just destabilizes things and people start to want the real thing: “I need some carbs! I’m starving for carbs!” And in a way, that’s true. A beautiful diet [but] you can still starve on it if you’re not eating enough. I was just reading about the Berlin airlift, that was [in] the beginning of the Cold War, and the Russians cut-off all roads to West Berlin. So, the Western powers began airlifting food and they airlifted I don’t know how many tons of food a day for a year until, finally, the Russians relented and opened the roads again. But, they were only able to feed them 1,700 calories a day. A lot of people think that’s a good amount of food but it was clear that they were starving when you look at photos before and after. Everyone who lived there knew they were starving. So, we have to be very careful about our tendency to want to go low-cal.
Evan Brand: That’s a great, great story. [With] so many people, carbohydrates are demonized. Any form of a grain, whether it’s rice or anything, it’s all demonized now. And for me, I felt like crap. I felt horrible. I had the mood blues, definitely, when I got rid of…well, not `got rid’ of carbohydrates [because] that’s almost impossible to do, [but] when I excluded rice and things like that. I really enjoyed the sweet potato and rice and things like that [and] I don’t think I can build muscle without carbs, I’m sure I could, but I feel so much better, now, with that stuff in my diet. So, I’m really happy to hear that you’re…
Julia Ross: Well, you’re sparing protein that way. You’re sparing your aminos to build the muscle. So, the protein isn’t broken down and burns in place of the carbohydrates, which the body will do. It doesn’t care about muscle when its survival is threatened. But, if you get a balanced amount of carb and protein tailored to your own body type it works really well as you’re describing.
Evan Brand: That’s a good point. So, you’re saying they have to balance out those macronutrients because if you’re suffering from cravings or you’re having trouble putting on muscle or losing fat, there’s likely some sort of mismatch there with your numbers – not that you need to count every grain of rice: “I have 37.5 grains now”.
Julia Ross: (laughs) I know. What I think helps a lot, it certainly helped me envision the problem here, [is] thinking about our history on the planet and, of course, the whole paleo movement is a very potent cry to look backwards. What we’re doing now is `death’ and we have to go backward if we’re gonna recover and retreat from this nightmare diet. But, we have to remember that people ate a lot of calories and they a lot of carbs. A lot of people who were not old enough to notice what was going on in the 60’s, which was the last decade that we even ate [an] approximately healthful diet, don’t know what it looked like. I was conscious in the 60’s and we never missed a meal, three meals – it was sacrosanct! Nobody missed meals, even during the Depression, it was unheard of for people to miss meals! Three meals a day and they were substantial, and yet, with plenty of carbs. At that time, there was too much sugar. We had gradually increased the amount of sugar and there were some heart disease coming up. The first book, though, on heart disease was written in the 40’s and in the 50’s our sugar increased, and our heart disease rate started to really get scary, but other carbs were pretty stable and plentiful. But, we were healthy other than [the] increased heart disease corresponded with sugar. We were healthy and we were happy, relatively happy, and our weight was totally normal. It was so unusual to see anybody who had a weight problem.
Evan Brand: Yeah, I know, I was about to say that. I’ve looked at some kind of old… I don’t know if it was Woodstock or whatever. I was kind of browsing the archives one day, looking at old pictures, and you saw there were no fat people, at all.
Julia Ross: No! They just weren’t here. And most people – I shouldn’t say `most’ but – I think a lot of people have forgotten that, [people] who know it; and then there’s so many generations now, born, who never saw it; who never saw a world when people were at normal weight without effort.
Evan Brand: Yeah! “Without effort”, yes, that’s the key; and people were happier. I’m getting goosebumps now just picturing the air and the energy! You make it sound like the energy and the air would’ve been different in those decades than it is now.
Julia Ross: Yeah, it wasn’t only the air but it was the sounds [too]. I live across from a bike path in beautiful Marin County, just north of San Francisco, and I never hear people sing or whistle, or anything, for years now; but that was a constant up through the 60’s. People were whistling, humming and singing under their breath or full on! So, we’ve just deteriorated in all these things that were basic to our nature for all of our history on the planet, unless there was a famine. People were in normal weight, normal health, and normal mood.
Evan Brand: Julia, let me ask you this: Do you think it’s the people? – I mean, I know they don’t have the raw materials from their diet to make the necessary neurotransmitters, they can’t be happy and they won’t have the will power to sing. To me, I don’t know if you feel this way, but it almost seems like you get made fun of for being a happy, outgoing, positive, upbeat person. Like, it’s more common in a group of people to just, sort of, kind of keep your head down and kind of stay quiet and just kind of move along. I can’t really think of a better word. I know it gets into conspiracy territory when you say the word `sheep’ but it seems like it’s more easy or more popular to become a sheep than someone who’s outspoken and happy; you’re putting out energy to the world! And I just want to find other people that are like that.
Julia Ross: Well, there used to be a lot more people like that and when you think about the 60’s, the activism of the 60’s, people were standing up and being counted. One of our clients is a social activist and his problem was panic attacks, and so, he had a lot of energy and he could keep working and doing his social activism but he had this panic. And so, we were able to get rid of the panic, but he and I had a lot of conversations about [things like how] he had to improve his diet as well as take *ImmuneX (26:46) supplement, and so forth. We talked about how the number of people – activist – has shrunk; and it’s because it’s a hard row, even if you’re in good shape, to be an activist. And people are not in good shape. They can’t tolerate stress, they have little energy, their health is not good, and they are pessimistic; they’re just, sort of, hanging on. They don’t have that high serotonin optimism – serotonin is the first transmitter to go whenever you’re depleted, especially if the diet is depleted of protein. And so, we get back to the diet again. We can’t be who we’re intended to be if we don’t fuel the brain and body properly.
Evan Brand: So, when you look at the United States as a collective…I’m assuming we’re depleted on almost all neurotransmitters, except for dopamine when we log on Facebook…
Julia Ross: Well, with all the caffeine going on, I’m sure we’re deficient in dopamine too. But, that drug is almost essential for life for most people, because it’s substituting for dopamine or stimulating what little we have naturally – giving us some energy. But, the reason I hate…let me just say one thing about coffee, which is another thing that concerns me about the paleo movement, is there’s hell of a lot of coffee as well as its *question (28:25) about alcohol. I don’t like it because it suppresses appetite and we have enough trouble getting people to eat three meals, but when they start the day with caffeine it’s really hard for them to eat until later. If you wait for later, it’s too late! You’ve skipped a third of the food that you’re supposed to take in and skipped the timing that’s so critical. What we found was that people who undereat in the morning, inevitably, overeat later in the day. They’re thrown off their blood sugar regulation and their neurotransmitter regulation, and they just crave stuff like crazy later on to make-up for what they didn’t get earlier.
Evan Brand: You just gave me goosebumps. That’s incredible. You just blew my mind because, I would say, maybe 7 out of 10 clients that I work with – I’m sure you’re familiar with butter coffee too where people adding butter and coconut oil…
Julia Ross: Yeah!
Evan Brand: …to their coffee, that way they don’t have to eat because they’re getting some…
Julia Ross: They’re getting calories, yeah.
Evan Brand: They’re getting some assemblance of real calories or fat in there. And, all these clients, they’re eating the entire bag of gluten-free cookies when they get home from work.
Julia Ross: That’s right.
Evan Brand: Incredible. So, we’re depleted all over and we need to restore that. Once we get the diet picture added, are there lifestyle things that we can do? Listening to music, for example; whistling, humming, singing…I love that, sort of, avenue that we were going on to…
Julia Ross: Well it’s just is spontaneous. That’s one of the ways you know. I often tell the story of being at a hotel [where] I’m gonna be speaking about mood at a conference. I’m on my way to the conference room and I hear somebody singing. And I’m already attuned to the fact that nobody sings anymore so [I thought]: ‘Wow! Somebody’s singing?” So, I tiptoe to the door of somebody’s hotel room and it’s the maid. She’s sitting at the toilet, cleaning it, on the floor and singing! And I asked her: “How long have you been in the United States?”… (laughs)
Evan Brand: (laughs)
Julia Ross: …in Spanish, and she said: “two years”. So she still had an optimally fueled brain from the simpler diet that people tend to live if they’re not from the United States.
Evan Brand: Oh, that is beautiful. So, what else are we missing out on? I mean, the singing, the humming…I’m just loving this. What else are people not doing that you remember people were doing? I want to get back to experiencing that. I know that’s a hard question…
Julia Ross: People had a lot more time alone without stimulation [and] so, they would hear themselves think and take in things around them. There was a lot more creative interactions with other people: “Well, what do we do?”, “Oh! Let’s make up…” You know, kids were not playing video games together, they were making up stories and acting them out, telling each other stories, and having little adventures in the corner lot. And part of that is that the kids don’t have very much energy now, and they’re heavier; and it’s harder for them to do physical play. It’s easier, in the condition they’re in, to do texting and video gaming.
Evan Brand: Yeah…
Julia Ross: So, it’s hard to compare what it was like then but I’m glad that we’re talking about this. I don’t think anybody’s ever asked me this, kind of, go on and on. I remember when I was in high school, I had a girl friend and we put on some kind of beautiful classical music that my father had been playing, and we opened the windows – and we had a really wide kind of terrace – and we just danced. We just felt like it. Nobody told us to do it, we just felt like it. Then, we would do that often. So, there were magical times, and it’s true that I associate music with a lot of them… having a lot of different kinds of music and really exploring different kinds of music; and music with a lot of different paces to turn on different parts of your brain experience.
Evan Brand: Yeah, so you should be using music as a, sort of, a tool. I definitely use it as a tool…
Julia Ross: ...to get you into…
Evan Brand: Yeah, different states.
Julia Ross: Uhuh!
Evan Brand: Classical. I really enjoy classical, and I don’t listen to too much – I don’t know if you would call it `modern music’ but I guess you would call it `radio music’ – I don’t listen to very much radio music. I just find that it puts me in a chaotic mindset. I don’t know if you listen to the radio…
Julia Ross: Well, I pretty much limit it to nothing past the 80’s. (laughs)
Evan Brand: (laughs) Yeah, I hear you! I mean, my grandpa, in his car, it’s `50’s on 5 on the XM Radio’…
Julia Ross: (laughs heartily)
Evan Brand: (laughs) …but it’s great! I love it! There’s nothing better. So, I look at 2015 and kind of the general direction we’re headed. I see some small waves trying to backtrack and things like that but, overall, it’s “aaaah!” and I’m kind of, like, pulling my hair out a little bit looking at the future. So, I jump in his car and there’s Little Richard or Jerry Lee Lewis, or something like that, and I’m fine. Everything in the world is fine.
Julia Ross: (laughs heartily) Yeah! The idea that music would really have a sense of humor… I don’t know if you’ve gotten into Motown and the next phase after the 50’s, but it was funny and joyous. So, we also got ideas like the ones we got in the 60’s: “What are we gonna do to change things?”, “Well, we’re gonna go back to whole grains. We’re gonna grow our own gardens”. This was all fruits of the 60’s. We wanted to change things and we had the strength and the inspiration to do that because, until drugs got to be too big a feature of the scene, we had our brains intact.
Evan Brand: That’s amazing. So, you’re saying there was some assemblance of kind of the real food revolt even then.
Julia Ross: Oh, yeah!
Evan Brand: But it just, kind of, [got] sabotaged or distracted, I guess.
Julia Ross: Well, it didn’t! I mean, one of the ironies is that conventional nutritionist are just now – in the last 10 years or so – talking about how important whole grains are! (laughs) And now, they’ve gone too far in that extreme and they’re talking about [how] that we should go vegan. That is a concept that really frightens me terribly because of the imbalance. There’s never been a human population, going all the way back, that was vegan.
Evan Brand: Yeah, I’ve worked with some vegan people and they have no emotional stability. Is that just the lack of protein just depletes…what does it..
Julia Ross: Yes! You can’t have enough serotonin unless you get enough protein.
Evan Brand: Okay. So, serotonin...
Julia Ross: And protein is what protects you from irritability, and impatience, and edginess, and that kind of thing. That’s your positive… The only two things that will naturally provide serotonin are protein, specifically the amino acid tryptophan, and sunlight. So, the further south you go, the more sun there is [and] you get this whole positive, relaxed, welcoming, optimistic, mañana kind of thing. That’s, in living color, what serotonin does.
Evan Brand: So, that’s part of the explanation why almost the further south or, I guess, depending on where people are listening – the closer to the equator, in general, you start to get that sort of easy go-lucky attitude.
Julia Ross: Yeah! I was raised in Los Angeles till I was 8 and we were outside sitting on the porch steps, talking to each other, until we come up to San Francisco. It’s not that far but it’s completely different. No one ever sat on the front porch unless there was an extraordinarily hot day. And a completely different quality of interaction with people – a lot of sarcasm and just not friendly, soft, open, funny, warm…
Evan Brand: It’s funny. Julia, another things that’s changed – it’s hilarious – is you said that they would only be on their front porch if it was hot; now, they’d be inside.
Julia Ross: That’s right! (laughs)
Evan Brand: They’d be hovering over the air conditioner! That’s funny because in Kentucky, my grandfather, he was growing up on a farm with his grandparents [and] the front porch was – that was the place to be. Everybody was out there, you’d wave, you’d say “hello!” when you had to out there, because the house was too hot until the sun went down.
Julia Ross: Yeah! You tell jokes…who knows what you’d get up to, but it’s fun!
Evan Brand: So, you and I need to write a book on the benefits of – what do you call that, do you call it `stooping’? Like, how they sometimes call a porch, a stoop?
Julia Ross: Oh! No, I don’t think we could call it that. They’ll think it’s slave farm worker labor that we’re talking about.
Evan Brand: Right, right. But getting on a porch [and] just being on a porch…
Julia Ross: Yeah! Front porch mentality…bring it back. And, in order to do that, the brain needs to be reminded; it needs to be fueled so that it can provide that kind of impulse: “Oh, turn of the TV! Let’s go outside! Let’s take a walk! The hot air feels real good tonight.” And fortunately, we have the nutrition supplement industry which has provided us with these neurotransmitter fuels in individual free form so they get right into the brain just about instantly; and you start to recharge and realize what you could really feel like. And then, you can be yourself. Then, you have access to all your inner resources – whether they’re mood, energy, activism, or creativity, whatever! It’ll come out of you if you can fuel yourself *full of (40:16) those doors open.
Evan Brand: So, what you’re saying is what we need is to gather activists, we need door-to-door workers that are delivering – whether it’s phenylalanine or tyrosine…
Julia Ross: (laughs)
Evan Brand: Whatever it is, we need door-to-door amino acid suppliers, asap.
Julia Ross: Well, my contribution to this is [that] I’m working on a third book; and I have a publisher who is completely in tune with the fact that this is our best hope for turning around the mood weight degenerative disease disasters that have befallen us, and willing to do international promotion to get the word out about how easy it is to access and use the amino acids. Then, we’ll only have to be worried about [whether]: “Is the production of the amino acids gonna hold up to the demand?” Because, once enough people know what these things can do and how quickly they can do them, the demand is gonna be huge! And then we’ll have a chance, I think, to do something about this planet, hopefully, before it’s too late.
Evan Brand: That’s exciting. When is too late?
Julia Ross: Well,I don’t know. They say that some of the most basic indicators have passed, that we are too late already. But, we’re very inventive and hopefully… All we can do is the best we can do. If you’ve discovered, these tools really are miraculous. So, if people’s brains are liberated to start working on saving the planet, maybe we can do it; or save half of it. I don’t know what the future holds but I know, at the moment, it’s not looking good. I was just seeing a film this week called “Salt of the Earth” which – I won’t go into what it’s all about but – just to say that it includes before and after footage of a rainforest property that had been leveled for financial gain. A son who inherited the property – it was completely barren, there were no animals, there [were] only weeds. There were no trees left – and began to plant trees, and now, it’s completely forested and the animals are back, including the jaguar. It happened within – be visible – within ten years. In the same film, they talked about how 50% of the planet is intact and the potential for a lot of what is intact to be regenerated is there. Anyway, it’s great that you’re running this program to get the word to people how they can improve their own mood and health, and contribute to the survival of everyone else.
Evan Brand: Yeah, it’s tough, because I hear everybody’s take on it so I’m kind of the filter for people to – I don’t know what you call it - *`titrated’ (44:29) down and so I completely hear you. You said that documentary, it was called “Salt…
Julia Ross: It’s called “Salt of the Earth”.
Evan Brand: Okay. I need to watch that because I love that you talk about jaguars. You wouldn’t believe the amount of time I’ve spent on Wikipedia researching the endangered species.
Julia Ross: Uhuh…
Evan Brand: “How many are left of these? How many are left of these? Oh, man, there’s only 2,000 of these…” It’s crazy. There’s 7 billion plus of us and then there’s, I think, right now, there’s about 3,200 Bengal tigers in India, and they’re trying to restore that number. And I know [that] Leonardo DiCaprio, he’s been working a lot on restoring those numbers and helping, I’m not sure exactly how he’s helping, but the number of Bengal tigers has actually increased over the past – I don’t know, whatever their measurement was – five, seven years maybe.
Julia Ross: Yeah!
Evan Brand: So, they went from 2,000 to 3,000. It’s amazing to think that they’re that low. I mean, if you picture 2,000 people – there could be 2,000 people in a Whole Foods on a Saturday afternoon, you know.
Julia Ross: (laughs)
Evan Brand: So, that’s it. We have a Whole Foods-full of tigers left.
Julia Ross: (laughs) that’s right. We want to regenerate our human tigers.
Evan Brand: Definitely.
Julia Ross: And it’s possible. So, it’s the only way I know because I’ve seen such miracles. I mean, we’ve seen over 4,000 people at the various clinics that I have around here. Almost all of them has had tremendous transformation within a week! So, this is not something that’s gonna take all sorts of discipline and months, and months, and months. It’s not. It works right away. You get the dose right, and it’s easy to get the dose right, and you’re there! You have to maintain the use of the amino acids for a certain number of months, depending on your particular chemistry, while you’re correcting your diet. So, it’s not enough to take the amino acids, you’ll never be off of them unless you also correct your diet and get enough protein in there.
Evan Brand: We have just a couple of minutes left but I wanted to talk about – you were talking about that client with the panic attacks and people that are stressed and overwhelmed. I just wanted to know, sort of, like a basic stack; I would almost call it the modern life stack. For me, like I was telling you about my tea. I love to take adaptogenic herbs and use those therapeutically just to help the stress response. But, in terms of amino acids and, sort of, your realm of supplementation: What is a basic, modern stressor stack? I guess that would be mainly to help out…would you say that would mainly be supporting GABA levels?
Julia Ross: Well, serotonin is anti-anxiety as well. So, we have two, what they call, inhibitory neurotransmitters in the brain that calms things down and one of them is serotonin, the other is GABA; and they’re easy to fuel. You take one at a time and see… Let’s say I take serotonin and I’m feeling a lot calmer but I’m still having some[thing] close to panic when the stress turns high. So, I add GABA and that’s all gone. So, depending on the person and their symptoms, and the severity of they’re symptom, they may have to take one or two amino acids. And then there’s the third issue which is: If the brain correction – calming – by these two amino acids isn’t enough, then you turn to your adrenal glands themselves and – here’s where I love testing – and that is the salivary test [that] anybody can order off the internet. Four samples of your adrenal cortisol hormone and see what the levels are. If they’re low, there are certain clear-cut nutrients; and if the levels are too high, there are others. So, those three factors – GABA, serotonin, and cortisol – are the keys to repairing the ravages of stress from our point of view.
Evan Brand: Yeah. So, I would say, probably 9 out of 10 clients – if they have an ASI (Adrenal Stress Index) already run – they’re low cortisol all day or generally low to where they should be. And they’re sort of the stress binge-eating type of people. So, if you would design a little, small stack there, what would that be? Would that be something like 5 HTP (Hydroxytryptophan) and, I know, L-theanine is…
Julia Ross: Well, it is amino acids. Yeah, it’s an amino acids. We only use it if GABA doesn’t work. But, it’s *monolith (49:30) when GABA doesn’t work and that’s, maybe, 1 in 10. So, when we get somebody who’s…you’re saying if their cortisol is in the normal range, it’s in the low-normal range?
Evan Brand: Right.
Julia Ross: It depends on their symptoms, because GABA is relaxing but it doesn’t help with fatigue. So, in order to get that cortisol energy back so that you have the strength to cope with stress, we prefer to use cortisol itself; which was available over-the-counter until very recently. So, now, we’re back to the adaptogens and, specifically, [to] Ashwagandha and, for those who tolerate it well, licorice - that’s for energy raising for a low-cortisol person. We often see somebody who is below normal in cortisol in the daytime and then excessively high at night, so they don’t sleep. And we have wonderful results [in] normalizing that with the amino acid serine, the phosphorylated type of serine, which normalizes and moderates that spike in the middle of the night that wakes you up and keeps you awake when you should be getting your best deepest sleep. And, that alone can raise your energy and normalize the rest of the day’s cortisol to get a deep night’s sleep.
Evan Brand: That’s great. How many milligrams is that normally? Because, I see a lot of times, that people are using way too low phosphatidylserine It’s just not really enough to do much.
Julia Ross: Well, there are two types of serine phosphatidyl that doesn’t do much for cortisol; but, phosphorylated serine, a different form of amino acids, is marvelous but ranges a thousand to 3,000 a day. By `day’, we mean: take it at bedtime if you tend to wake up in the middle of the night, so that it has time to act. And, we start with 1,000 milligrams and we go up to 3,000, if needed and as needed. This is all explained...There’s an article on insomnia on “The Mood Cure” website – moodcure.com – and also in the book; there’s a whole chapter on insomnia that includes information about how adrenal cortisol elevations can cause a particularly nasty form of uncommon form of insomnia.
Evan Brand: So, are you saying that phosphatidyl serine and phosphorylated serine- those are two different things?
Julia Ross: Those are two different types of serine.
Evan Brand: Wow! I never knew that.
Julia Ross: Well, most people don’t, and a lot of people try with the phosphatidyl, which is better known, but it just doesn’t have the impact on cortisol. It’s good for memory – it’s marvelous for memory! Whereas, phosphorylated Isn’t. But, phosphorylated can correct the whole adrenal brain disconnect. It’s just an amazing supplement.
Evan Brand: That’s cool I know this is very specific – this is my last question for you – I know this is very specific, depending on the person, but what would you consider your top 3 favorite nutrients? This could be just [for] life, in general – something that just really gets you through life.
Julia Ross: There really isn’t [just] one. You really have to go from person to person. But, it’s clear what the most commonly needed ones are and the most warmly welcomed over thousands of people; and those are: tryptophan or 5 HTP, an *(53:47), and GABA. And, for enchancing the pleasure in life, DL phenylalanine. But, for all those hypoglycemic who has real struggle with mood and cravings for sugar, in particular, the amino acid glutamine is a real life saver. So, I can’t limit it to three but I can go for four.
Evan Brand: Okay, Well, that works. Glutamine is super gut-healing too, which is why…
Julia Ross: Yes! – an immune system healer. It’s an amazing nutrient.
Evan Brand: That’s awesome. Well, Julia, I swear I can make this 10 hours if you gave it to me but….
Julia Ross: (laughs) Well, it was a pleasure!
Evan Brand: It was! We gotta let you go , but tell people about your website and your books, and we gotta do this again because we had so much fun – well, I wasn’t born yet – but we had so much fun reminiscing about the past.
Julia Ross: (laughs) Yeah! It’d be fun to do it when I have a little more time to remember specific stories. But, for immediate first aid, your listeners must be referred to my books, “The Mood Cure” and “The Diet Cure”, and the websites dietcure.com and moodcure.com that are loaded with things. And, among other things is people are timid about trying their own amino acids, there’s a practitioner list of people I’ve trained and certified on the moodcure.com site. And, there’s a virtual clinic for food cravers on “The Diet Cure” site. So, that’s a lot of resources for people and I wish all of your listeners the very best.
Evan Brand: Awesome. Thank you, Julia.
Julia Ross: You’re welcome.
Evan Brand: People should, definitely, get the audiobooks as well. If you’ve listened to a podcast [or] you’re an audio listener, pick up the audio version. I picked up the audio version of “The Mood Cure” and it’s one of my favorites. I’ve probably listened to it 10 times; and it’s just a great way to get that into your brain.
Julia Ross: Okay!
Evan Brand: Alright! Well, thanks again!
Julia Ross: You’re welcome! Buh-bye!
Evan Brand: Bye!