Author: Dr. Michelle Durkin on 5 April 2016
If you are getting sick of all of the posts I'm putting up about the brain, I promise this is going to be the last brain post for a while. There is just so much material to write about I can't help myself.
I came across this quiz when listening to a podcast about nutrition and exercise when the guest was talking about linking the Chinese 5 element theory and brain neurotransmitter profiles to individualize athlete training programs. I found this fascinating and of course did the quiz myself.
You can find the quiz here: Dr. Braverman Brain Quiz. If you choose to do this test remember you can only do the test once. If you do it more than once it will create testing bias because you have already read the questions before.
We all have 4 main neurotransmitters in the brain: Dopamine, Acetylcholine, GABA, and Serotonin. We need dopamine and acetylcholine to wake us up (excitatory) and we need gaba and serotonin to fall asleep (inhibitory). You would assume that having a balance between all of these neurotransmitters is ideal. But that is not true. The power comes from knowing yourself. Knowing where your strengths and weaknesses are will allow anyone reach their optimal performance more easily.
For example, dopamine dominant individuals respond best to intensity. They have very efficient nervous systems so they need a lot of variety or they will become bored. This is important in their workouts, their food, and their jobs. Allowing them to burn off the extra energy they produce so efficiently is really important for their overall health. If they don't get the stimulation they crave they will start looking for it in other unhealthy ways. This group tends to be very prone to addictions.
On the opposite end of the spectrum we have serotonin dominant individuals. They tend to have weaker nervous systems and a weak endocrine (hormone) system. If they try to do too much at once with too much intensity they will burn out. They are best suited to exercises like yoga, and walking. A job that allows them to work at their own pace is ideal. A fast-paced lifestyle could be their worst enemy.
In the middle we have the balanced neurotransmitter individual. This is what the Chinese element theory would classify as the Earth element. These individuals do very well with stability. If they overdo it with too many carbs, not enough sleep, or too much exercise their immune system will suffer and they will gain weight easily. Quick changes in their life can easily burn them out. Yo-yo dieting will be very detrimental for their metabolism. A balance between intensity and rest is really important.
Now I would love to hear from you. Did you try the Brain Quiz? What is your neurotransmitter dominance? What is one thing that you can start doing now to work with your strengths instead of against them? Let me know in the comments below and I will see you next week with Doctor as Teacher Tuesdays!
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