Physical health is your platform for emotional and spiritual health, but what happens when your brain chemicals become unbalanced affecting your ability to be healthy?
Neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers used to communicate information throughout your brain and body and are crucial in regulating optimal brain function. When there is an imbalance in the levels of neurotransmitters, serious physical and mental effects can develop. They are linked to the immune and endocrine system, including the adrenal medulla component of the adrenal glands.
Importantly neurotransmitters are responsible for emotions, thought processes, joy, depression, fear, anxiety and addictive behaviours concerning food, alcohol, drugs and gambling. Neurotransmitter imbalance has been shown to cause depression, anxiety, addictions, insomnia, weight gain, fatigue and altered sex drive.
It is estimated that 86% of people in the western world have suboptimal levels of neurotransmitters. In Australia approximately 45% of people will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime.
There are two types of neurotransmitters:
The three major catecholamines are:
The major Inhibitory neurotransmitters are
GABA: Natures Valium like substance, GABA is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the cortex of the brain in humans and mammals. It helps to balance the stimulating effects of Glutamate which is the main excitatory neurotransmitter in the cortex and also opposes noradrenaline. Low levels of GABA will result in nervousness, anxiety, panic disorders, aggressive behaviour, ADD, alcoholism, drug addiction and cravings for carbohydrates and sugars as these substances temporarily and artificially increase levels of GABA.
Interestingly, glutamate is the precursor to GABA, any excess of glutamate should be automatically converted into GABA. This is the mechanism through which balance is maintained. Anytime glutamate levels start to build up the excess is converted to GABA in order to calm down your nervous system.
The glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) enzyme is needed for glutamate to facilitate the conversion to GABA. Problems with the GAD enzyme such as in genetic variations is thought to be one of the underlying reasons for too much glutamate.
GABA is critical in speech and language function. The rubellavirus, found in the MMR vaccination can decrease the activity of GAD by as much as 50%. This is a reason that some children begin to show symptoms of autism immediately after vaccination as their speech and language becomes affected. Heavy metals and toxins from bacteria or candida can also affect GABA levels.
Certain amino acids such as taurine together with vitamin B6 can help increase GABA levels. Care needs to be taken if certain genetic variants in CBS and SUOX exist.
Imbalances in neurotransmitters can cause widespread health problems;
Accurately measuring the central nervous system (CNS) level of neurotransmitters has proven difficult. This is partly due to the fact that neurotransmitters are rapidly formed and broken down in the nervous system. Urinary testing for neurotransmitters is not accurate, Organic acid testing can provide far more valuable information. For example, Vanilmandelate (VMA) and Homovanillate (HVA) are the main metabolites of the catecholaminesdopamine, adrenaline and noradrenaline. Low urinary levels of VMA and HVA have been associated with low CNS levels of these neurotransmitters.
5-Hydroxyindoleacetate (5-HIAA) is the end metabolite when serotonin is broken down. Elevated levels of 5-HIAA indicates a high level of turnover of serotonin potentially depleting the amino acid tryptophan.
Restoring correct levels of neurotransmitters together with the adrenal hormones can have a profound effect on your life.
The first step in addressing fatigue and mood disorders and is to undergo the necessary lab tests.
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