Our office offers complete neurotransmitter testing through advanced urine and saliva testing procedures.
What are Neurotransmitters?
Neurotransmitters are chemicals that relay signals between nerve cells, allowing proper communication within the brain and nervous system. This system of communication allows for proper neurological function and adequate hormonal function. Every neurotransmitter has several subtypes. It is the presence or absence of certain of these sub-types that causes a cascade of specific chemical reactions in the postsynaptic neuron. These reactions result in the excitation or inhibition of this neuron (nerve cell).
There are many neurotransmitters; however, they are either considered either inhibitory or excitatory chemicals. Apart from acetylcholine, they all belong to the family of amines or amino acids.
Acetylcholine is a widely distributed excitatory neurotransmitter that triggers muscle contraction and stimulates the excretion of certain hormones. In the central nervous system, it is involved in wakefulness, attentiveness, anger, aggression, sexuality and thirst, among other things.
Dopamine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter involved in controlling movement and posture. It also helps modulates mood. Producing too much dopamine can make one too intense, compulsive and driven. Overproduction of dopamine can also lead to violent behavior. Physical signs of dopamine deficiency will be fatigue, sleeping long hours and still not feeling rested, your mind wandering, difficulty making decisions, craving caffeine, sexual dysfunction
Glutamate is a major excitatory neurotransmitter that is associated with learning and memory.
Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that is important for attentiveness, emotions, sleeping, dreaming, and learning. Norepinephrine is also released as a hormone into the blood, where it causes blood vessels to contract and heart rate to increase.
Serotonin contributes to various functions, such as regulating body temperature, sleep, mood, appetite, and pain. Early signs of a serotonin deficiency include loss of enthusiasm, depression, insomnia, weight gain and lack of productivity. Increased levels of serotonin can cause nervousness, paranoia, depression and anger.
GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that is very widely distributed in the neurons of the cortex. GABA contributes to motor control, vision, and many other cortical functions. It also helps regulate anxiety. Early signs of GABA deficiency include: feeling anxious, nervous or irritable. One may start to feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Other symptoms include: allergies, light-headedness and muscle aches.
What Symptoms and Disorders are Related to Imbalances in Neurotransmitter Levels?
The most common symptoms associated with neurotransmitter imbalances are fatigue, depression, sleep disorders, anxiety, hypertension, diabetes, hypoglycemia, chronic pain and difficulty concentrating. Additionally, there is increasing research relating neurotransmitter imbalances to ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
What are the Causes of Neurotransmitter Imbalances?
There are many factors that can cause imbalances in the neurotransmitters; however, the most common are prolonged periods of stress and nutritional deficiencies. Other factors such as toxicity and some medications can also disrupt the balance of neurotransmitters.
Correcting Neurotransmitter Imbalances
In order to correct an imbalance we must first have a baseline measurement. Our office utilizes a combination Saliva and Urine test to measure inhibitory neurotransmitter, excitatory neurotransmitters and adrenal hormones. The effectiveness of this type of testing is well documented. (For more information see the attached article). Since neurotransmitters are derived from amino acids, it is often important to evaluate these levels. For more information on amino acid levels, visit the related section on our web site.
Click here for an interesting article on Neurotransmitter Testing EffectiveHPATesting.pdf
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