Does Your Brain’s Operating System Have a Glitch?
Neurotransmitters… The basics
Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that regulate many physical and emotional processes including movement, stress response, cognition, emotions, energy, cravings, pain and more. Functioning primarily in the central nervous system (CNS), neurotransmitters facilitate communication between the brain and the body’s glands, organs and muscles. Inadequate neurotransmitter function disrupts signals to target tissues and has a profound influence on overall health and well-being. In fact, imbalances in certain neurotransmitters are associated with many of the prevalent symptoms and conditions seen in doctors’ offices today including:
Mood disorders: depression, anxiety
Adrenal dysfunction: fatigue, insomnia
Loss of mental focus: ADD, ADHD, cognitive fog
Addiction and dependency
Hormonal imbalances: estrogen dominance, estrogen deficiency, low androgens
Loss of appetite control: obesity and insulin resistance
When functioning properly, the neurotransmission system has natural checks and balances in the form of excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters. Though there are many neurotransmitters found in the body, there are six in particular that play significant roles in primary symptomatic conditions.
Serotonin: involved in the regulation of sleep, mood, appetite, bowel movements, blood vessel modulation and aggression.
GABA: the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the CNS, GABA is important for balancing the excitatory actions of other neurotransmitters. If you are anxious or angry all the time you probably need the amino acids precursors to GABA
Dopamine: largely responsible for regulating the pleasure/reward pathway, memory and motor control.
Norepinephrine: involved in a wide variety of actions including attention and focus, regulating heart rate, affecting blood flow, and suppressing inflammation.
Epinephrine: much like norepinephrine, this excitatory neurotransmitter helps regulate muscle contraction, heart rate, glycogen breakdown, blood pressure and more, and is heavily involved in the stress response.
Glutamate: involved in most aspects of normal brain function including cognition, memory and learning, although high levels of glutamate can cause excitotoxicity, a process where nerve cells are damaged by excessive stimulation.
Neurotransmitter imbalances can be easily identified with a single, noninvasive urine sample. Testing provides a tool to understand each patient’s specific neuroendocrine imbalances, which can be corrected with targeted nutritional therapy, diet, and lifestyle interventions.
Want to learn more? Call Acu-Na Wellness Center and ask for a Holistic Health Consultation.