Neurotransmitters are essential chemical messengers used by neurons in the brain to send and receive electro-chemical signals within the brain and facilitate communication with all the other organ systems in the body. These powerful neurochemicals are responsible for regulating practically all functions in life, such as cognitive, physical and mental performance, sleep cycle, weight, pain perception and response and our emotional states.
Essentially they are the communication system of the mind, body and nervous system. To get a good picture in your head of what this means, you can think of your telephone service. A complex web of interconnections that allows communication to take place. Neurotransmitters literally govern every system in the body either directly or indirectly.
Even your spiritual health is greatly affected by your neurotransmitters, as it can be very difficult to achieve inner peace and find meaning and purpose in life when neuortransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, endorphins and GABA are not sufficient or are disrupted or norepinephrine is in excess.
Research tells us that deficiencies, imbalances, disruption or malfunctioning of neurotransmitters is extremely common in our society and is at the root of many of common health conditions, because when neurotransmitters are not functioning properly then the mind and body do not communicate effectively. When communication malfunctions, then organ systems don't function as they should. This results in a variety of undesirable symptoms both physically and psychologically. Recent research suggests that approximately eight out of ten people suffer from some form of neurotransmitter imbalance.
Symptoms of Neurotransmitter Imbalances or Neurotransmitter DeficiencyThere are many symptoms as a result of neurotransmitter imbalances or neurotransmitter deficiency, but these are some of the most common:
It's also important to note the symptoms of neurotransmitter imbalances or deficiencies overlap with many other conditions like adrenal fatigue, thyroid problems and hormone imbalances, so neurotransmitter testing or screening is always recommended to rule out other possibilities.
Hormones and Adrenals
Neurotransmitters also work in conjunction with hormones and adrenal glands, so it is also helpful to evaluate these levels as well. Hormones and adrenal glands need balanced neurotransmitters to function properly and neurotransmitters are also impacted by hormone levels and adrenal functioning. Their relationship is reciprocal. In order to get one functioning properly, balance needs to be restored in each.
All systems in the body work in conjunction with one another and affect each other and certain neurotransmitters also impact adrenal functioning. Hormones have a profound impact on neurotransmitters and vice versa. If these systems aren't functioning adequately, additional support may be necessary.
Please see the other fact sheets on adrenal fatigue and hormone imbalance or more information on these topics.
PLEASE NOTE: Manipulating neurotransmitters, whether it is by natural means or pharmaceutical drugs, is serious business. Not everyone responds to nutritional therapy in the same manner and negative effects are possible. Be sure to communicate all changes in mood, behavior and physical functioning. Always inform friends and family members anytime you begin a new treatment method, so they can watch for changes in mood or behavior that you may not be aware of because of altered perception.
Your guide to living whole and well. Emma Olliff is a Registered Nutritional Therapist, wellness expert, food lover, and advocate for healthy living!