The Four Major Neurotransmitters
Neurotransmitters are powerful chemicals that regulate numerous physical and emotional processes such as mental performance, emotional states and pain response.
Virtually all functions in life are controlled by neurotransmitters. They are the brain’s chemical messengers. Interactions between neurotransmitters, hormones, and the brain chemicals have a profound influence on overall health and well-being. When our concentration and focus is good, we feel more directed, motivated, and vibrant. Unfortunately, if neurotransmitter levels are inadequate these energizing and motivating signals are absent and we feel more stressed, sluggish, and out-of-control.
Proteins, minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates, and fats are the essential nutrients that make up your body. Proteins are the essential components of muscle tissue, organs, blood, enzymes, antibodies, and neurotransmitters in the brain. Your brain needs the proper nutrients everyday in order to manufacture proper levels of the neurotransmitters that regulate your mood.
There are many biochemical neurotransmitter imbalances that result in mental health symptoms such as:
Disrupted communication between the brain and the body can have serious effects to ones health both physically and mentally. Depression, anxiety and other mood disorders are thought to be directly related to imbalances with neurotransmitters. The four major neurotransmitters that regulate mood are Serotonin, Dopamine, GABA and Norepinephrine.
The Inhibitory System is the brain’s braking system, it prevents the signal from continuing. The inhibitory system slows things down. Serotonin and GABA are examples of inhibitory neurotransmitters.
GABA (Gamma amino butyric acid) GABA is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. It helps the neurons recover after transmission, reduces anxiety and stress. It regulates norepinephrine, adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin, it is a significant mood modulator.
Serotonin imbalance is one of the most common contributors to mood problems. Some feel it is a virtual epidemic in the United States. Serotonin is key to our feelings of happiness and very important for our emotions because it helps defend against both anxiety and depression. You may have a shortage of serotonin if you have a sad depressed mood, anxiety, panic attacks, low energy, migraines, sleeping problems, obsession or compulsions, feel tense and irritable, crave sweets, and have a reduced interest in sex. Additionally, your hormones and Estrogen levels can affect serotonin levels and this may explain why some women have pre-menstrual and menopausal mood problems. Moreover, daily stress can greatly reduce your serotonin supplies.
The Excitatory Neurotransmitter System can be related to your car’s accelerator. It allows the signal to go. When the excitatory neurotransmitter system is in drive your system gets all revved up for action. Without a functioning inhibitory system to put on the brakes, things (like your mood) can get out of control.
Epinephrine also known as adrenaline is a neurotransmitter and hormone essential to metabolism. It regulates attention, mental focus, arousal, and cognition. It also inhibits insulin excretion and raises the amounts of fatty acids in the blood. Epinephrine is made from norepinephrine and is released from the adrenal glands. Low levels have been can result in fatigue, lack of focus, and difficulty losing weight. High levels have been linked to sleep problems, anxiety and ADHD.
Dopamine is responsible for motivation, interest, and drive. It is associated with positive stress states such as being in love, exercising, listening to music, and sex. When we don’t have enough of it we don’t feel alive, we have difficulty initiating or completing tasks, poor concentration, no energy, and lack of motivation. Dopamine also is involved in muscle control and function. Low Dopamine levels can drive us to use drugs (self medicate), alcohol, smoke cigarettes, gamble, and/or overeat. High dopamine has been observed in patients with poor GI function, autism, mood swings, psychosis, and children with attention disorders.
Glutamate is the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain. It is required for learning and memory. Low levels can lead to tiredness and poor brain activity. Increased levels of glutamate can cause death to the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain. Dysfunction in glutamate levels are involved in many neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and Tourette’s. High levels also contribute to Depression, OCD, and Autism.
Histamine is most commonly known for it’s role in allergic reactions but it is also involved in neurotransmission and can affect your emotions and behavior as well. Histamine helps control the sleep-wake cycle and promotes the release of epinephrine and norepinephrine. High histamine levels have been linked to obsessive compulsive tendencies, depression, and headaches. Low histamine levels can contribute to paranoia, low libido, fatigue, and medication sensitivities.
Norepinephrine also known as noradrenaline is an excitatory neurotransmitter that is produced by the adrenal medulla or made from dopamine. High levels of norepinephrine are linked to anxiety, stress, high blood pressure, and hyperactivity. Low levels are linked to lack of energy, focus, and motivation.
PEA (phenylethylamine) is an excitatory neurotransmitter made from phenylalanine. It is important in focus and concentration. High levels are observed in individuals experiencing “mind racing”, sleep problems, anxiety, and schizophrenia. Low PEA is associated with difficulty paying attention or thinking clearly, and in depression.
Neurotransmitter levels can now be determined by a simple and convenient urine test collected at home. Knowing your neurotransmitter levels can help you correct a problem today or prevent problems from occurring in the future.
For many years, it has been known in medicine that low levels of these neurotransmitters can cause many diseases and illnesses. A Neurotransmitter imbalance can cause:
What causes a neurotransmitter imbalance?
Prolonged periods of stress can deplete neurotransmitters levels. Our fast paced, fast food society greatly contributes to these imbalances.
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Only one visit is necessary to perform a comprehensive history, interview, and education. Follow up evaluations, adjustments and balancing of hormones are done by phone or written communications and a return visit to Dr. Rob is not necessary. Ongoing testing and adjustment is mandatory and performed through a laboratory convenient to your home.
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Please complete all Renue Health questionnaires, ordered laboratory and obtain any necessary old medical records before you arrive for your initial consultation. This will allow Dr. Rob and his staff time to compile your biomarkers effectively and efficiently.
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Some of the specialty labs that we recommend involve blood, stool, urine, or saliva samples and can be done by you in your home. You will be given all lab kits and step-by-step instructions for at-home tests at the time of your consult. Once all of the final lab results are received, we will review them with you at your visit.
When we request laboratory tests, it is essential that they be performed promptly. Many tests can take up to 4 weeks to perform and for the results to be returned to us. Please do not delay in completing your tests. Some of the specialized tests may not be considered medically necessary by your insurance carrier, and therefore might not be covered.
It is your responsibility to make a follow-up appointment to review your lab results with Dr. Rob. If you are unable to return to our office to review your labs, we are available by Skype, Face time, or telephone.
Nutritional supplements are often recommended and we will help you select and find the highest quality products.
The supplements that we recommend at Renue Health are available for purchase from our office.
It is possible to have your supplements automatically shipped to your home or office for your convenience.
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