Anger Management

By Dr Evelyn Lewin

Childhood anger be the result of emotional imbalance, inadequate sleep, inadequate physical play or dietary deficiencies, among other reasons. A good starting point is to eliminate processed food as it contains preservatives, colouring and stabilisers that can effect mood. Whole foods (vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, protein, healthy fats) provide the nutrients necessary to produce brain chemicals that control mood. Whole oats are a particularly calming and nourishing food.


Our genetic makeup and hence individual biochemistry plays a major role in determining the factors that will affect each of us and how these impact on our mental health. Certain people may have a disposition to deficiencies in certain nutrients and hormones which can lead to an imbalance of neurotransmitters and the development of mood / mental disorders. Neurotransmitter imbalances can be genetic in nature and involve abnormal absorption, metabolism and / or storage of key nutrients. Our individual biochemistry can help to determine which nutrients are individually required to balance health and prevent more serious disorders.


Test for Pyroluria

This genetic condition is related to an error in pyrole chemistry. These people have a chemical called kryptopyrroledetectable in their urine, which binds with vitamin B6 and zinc, depleting the body of these nutrients. Symptoms associated with pyroluria: explosive temper, mood swings, poor short-term memory, frequent infections, fearfulness, continuous stress and anxiety.RECOMMENDED TEST: Kryptopyrrole Test

Low Magnesium

A high proportion of the population is deficient in this vital mineral, magnesium. Magnesium has a calming effect on the body and is required for many of the body’s metabolic processes. Common symptoms associated with magnesium deficiency include: an exaggerated startle response, anxiety, palpitations, ramping, irregular heartbeat, premenstrual syndrome. RECOMMENDED TEST: Hair Mineral Analysis Test

Elevated Stress Hormones

Chronic stress can lead to excessive stress hormone levels circulating within the body and the normal regulating mechanisms may no longer be able to cope. Chronic stress depletes the body of many vital nutrients. The body cannot begin to cope with chronic stress without these vital nutrients. Some signs of nutrient depletion include an inability to cope with stress, fatigue, depression and impaired immunity.

Nutrients which can be invaluable for helping the body cope with stress include: magnesium, vitamin B5, vitamin C, tyrosine, tryptophan, acety-l-carnitine and phosphatidylserine. 


Organic Acid Test

24 hour Cortisol Profile

Gastrointestinal Issues

Any digestive disorder will affect the absorption of nutrients. Abnormally low or high hydrochloric acid, pancreatic enzyme deficiency, a “leaky gut” and inflammatory bowel disease (such as irritable bowel syndrome or gluten sensitivity) can contribute to deficiencies in certain nutrients and promote food sensitivities. This can lead to protein (amino acid) deficiency and directly affect the production of neurotransmitters that affect mood. If the integrity of the gut lining is damaged toxic substances may also be passed through into the bloodstream affecting mental health.


Intestinal Permeability Test

Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis

Hormone Imbalance

Research has discovered that anxiety disorders are associated with abnormal levels of certain hormones. People with anxiety tend to have higher than usual levels of a hormone called, corticotropin releasing factor (CRF), which switches on the stress response by initiating cortisol production (the main stress hormone). Other hormone secreting glands are also stimulated resulting in the dominance of certain hormones and inducing deficiencies in others. Low thyroid hormones are associated with depression and anxiety. An imbalance of the oestrogen to progesterone ratio can contribute to decreased blood sugar control, impaired immunity, migraines, mood swings, depression and violent outbursts. Low testosterone is associated with lack of interest and passive behaviour, whereas elevated levels are associated with aggression.


Comprehensive thyroid function testing

Organic Acid Test, Female/ Male Hormonal Testing

Nutrient Deficiencies

Individuals suffering from mood disorders may be deficient in particular nutrients and must be supported with appropriate nutritional supplementation.


Organic Acid Test

Hair Mineral Analysis Test

Red cell fatty acid test

Nutrients of particular importance:

Vitamin B12, vitamin B6 and folate: low levels are associated with mood disorders

B complex vitamins, magnesium, zinc, iron, copper, vitamin C, etc are all essential cofactors involved in maintaining a good balance of neurotransmitters involved in mood and behaviour

Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA): DHA is essential to healthy brain functioning and inadequate levels may contribute to depression, poor concentration and memory

Specific amino acids essential for neurotransmitter health include tyrosine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, histamine and glutamine.


Please seek professional advice when selecting supplements. Self-prescribing is not recommended and supplements should not be taken in conjunction with current medication without proper supervision.

Herbal Medicine in Mood Disorders

Herbal medicine has a long tradition in treating mood disorders successfully, without the unwanted side effects of prescription medications.

Hypericum perforatum is famous for its application for nervous tension and has a reputation as restorative for depression and anxiety

Ziziphus jujuba has been used widely in Traditional Chinese Medicine for the treatment of insomnia and anxiety

Piper methysticum is used in conditions associated with anxiety especially when associated with depression, nervousness and stress

Scutellaria laterifolia helps rebalance the adrenal (stress) hormones and is therefore useful during nervous exhaustion and depression.


Please seek professional advice when selecting herbal medicines. Self-prescribing is not recommended and supplements should not be taken in conjunction with current medication without proper supervision.

Reviewed by Dr Evelyn Lewin 28 March 2015 references
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This document has been developed and peer reviewed by a KIDS HEALTH Advisory Board Representative and is based on expert opinion and the available published literature at the time of review. Information contained in this document is not intended to replace medical advice and any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical practitioner.

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