It is important to look at what neurotransmitters are and how much they are needed by the brain, and how aging affects their function. Many of us take these important brain chemicals without really understanding their role.
What are neurotransmitters?
Simply put, they are chemicals that allow your brain to work and send messages to the rest of your body. In fact, it is a little more complicated than that. Neurotransmitters come in a variety of compounds, each with a specific function. For example, a chemical called acetylcholine helps nerves to communicate with muscles to maintain voluntary movement, among other things. Another example is serotonin, which affects memory, emotions, sleep / wake patterns, etc.
When trying to understand the disruption of neurotransmitters in age-related brain degeneration we need to talk about how chemicals maintain their function. Most of us are familiar with the terms neurons and synapses in relation to brain biology. This is the basic area where these materials work.
A neuron is basically a nerve cell and the synapse is the smallest gap between nerves. Neurotransmitters are released from one neuron into the synaptic space to receptors in another neuron. Depending on the type of neurotransmitters released and the nerve cell type, different functions or information are transmitted.
A recent discovery is to understand the role of neurotransmitters in various brain problems. For example, it has been found that Alzheimer’s are caused by a decrease in acetylcholine in the brain, which causes the loss of various neurons.
Research has shown that one reason for the breakdown of neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine is the increase in enzymes that reduce the chemical to its components with age. Acetylcholine deficiency is a common ****** function that is required to prevent the release of many neurotransmitters into the body, but this process keeps those functions very low in humans as we get older. Prevents.
Other causes of neurotransmitter disruption include poor diet, lack of exercise, stress and excessive alcohol and smoking. All of these affect the body’s ability to produce and maintain various brain chemicals.
So we discussed the neurotransmitters we need to protect against age-related decline. First, eating a diet rich in vitamins and minerals … especially those with antioxidant properties such as C, E and some B complex vitamins can help bodies continue to produce and protect themselves from free radical damage caused by the use of chemicals. Damages the cells that produce it. Exercise is also important for the production of certain chemicals in the body such as sleep.
There are also prescription medications for people with neurotransmitter imbalances that can help restore levels. However, they do come with a risk of side effects, so remember to get all the facts from your doctor if you consider them.
Another way to protect yourself through natural supplements. There are supplements that can provide the ingredients needed for the production and protection of neurotransmitters. Supplements that use hyperzine A, which protects by blocking the enzymes that break down acetylcholine, are especially helpful in old age. Plus supplements that boost your brain provide L-tyrosine and other amino acids needed by the body to make neurotransmitters.
What is Neurotransmitter Deficiency Disorder and How Can It Cause Depression, Anxiety, and…
People with neurotransmitter deficiency disorder can suffer from one or more of the
following conditions: obesity, depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue,
insomnia, attention deficit, learning disorders, panic attacks, migraines, pms,
menopausal symptoms, digestive complaints and many more.
Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and other drugs working on the
neurotransmitter biochemistry such as Prozac, Zoloft, Effexor, Celexa, Wellbutrin,
etc. are currently some of the most commonly prescribed drugs. They work by
artificially increasing the amount of serotonin in the synapse of the nerve which
allows a temporary improvement in the chemical messaging system.
The problem with this approach is that these drugs DO NOT increase serotonin
levels and in fact deplete reserves of the NT. This occurs because the SSRI class
drugs cause an increase in an enzyme called MAO. It is common for people to
experience only temporary improvement due to this effect.
The most effective way to correct a neurotransmitter deficiency is to perform a
simple urine test to measure the NT levels. The treatment for optimizing the
neurotransmitter levels is to provide the basic amino acid precursors or building
blocks so the body can replenish the inadequate levels.
The true value of any treatment is the results it produces. Using this approach over
the last year, I have helped coach many patients to a higher level of wellness.
Patients with chronic depression, anxiety, and or insomnia have experienced a new
sense of wellbeing while continuing their prescription, others have successfully
weaned themselves off their prescription SSRI drugs after their symptoms have
improved. Weight loss patients using slightly higher amino acid dosing consistently
lose 1.5-2.5 lbs. per week without hunger while improving their lean muscle/body
Understanding what neurotransmitters are and their effects is an important step in solving the problems that come to mind as we age. Although the function of these chemicals is complex, there is no need to protect your brain. Using the common sense approach to good diet, exercise and natural supplements to help your brain cope with aging in your brain are easy steps.
Q. If I am already taking SSRI drugs, can I safely use this amino acid approach?
A. In my clinical experience I have seen great results with patients who have been on
SSRI drugs for many many years. First, we get the person feeling better, then if the
patient chooses, we slowly wean them off their prescription drugs.
Q. How does amino acid therapy increase NT levels?
A. 5HTP is converted into serotonin and then melatonin. Phenylalanine is converted
into tyrosine, then dopamine, L-Dopa, norepinephrine, and lastly epinephrine.
Q. How do you measure for the neurotransmitter levels in order to determine
A. The levels for epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin, GABA, PEA,
histamine, and many others can be measured with a simple urine test. An initial
urine test can be given and then repeated after 6 to 12 weeks of therapy to
determine optimal neurotransmitter levels have been obtained.
Q. Are there any side effects associated with the amino acid neurotransmitter
A. Not only are there no side effects, but there are numerous side benefits. People
with depression often find relief not only from depression but also insomnia,
fatigue, GI symptoms, chronic pain, pms, menopausal symptoms, obesity, food
cravings, etc. In a small amount of people (less than 5%) people could have gastro
intestinal symptoms such as nausea, cramping, diarrhea, etc. This occurs in people
with severe neurotransmitter deficiency. This usually occurs within the first three
days and is solved by stopping all amino acids. Therapy is continued at very low
dosing after symptoms abate and then slowly increased to therapeutic levels over
three to six weeks.
Q. How long will it take until my symptoms of depression/anxiety improve?
A. Each individual responds differently to treatment. Some patients have noticed
incredible improvements in moods in a few days, others don’t notice any
improvements for a period of time (sometimes 3-4 months) and then notice gradual
improvements over the following 3 to 6 months, most patients notice gradual
improvements beginning after 1 month of treatment and then continue to improve.
Q. What should I expect during a normal course of evaluation and treatment?
A. Evaluation involves an initial office visit to determine overall health history,
prescription drug levels, severity of symptoms, and any related health concerns.
There is an optional urine test for neurotransmitter levels. Treatment consists of the
1. Conditioning Phase – a one to two week period to prepare the patient for higher
levels of therapeutic amino acid dosing.
2. Therapeutic Phase – a period lasting anywhere from two months to 1 year+ where
high levels of amino acids are given to restore the neurotransmitter levels.
3. Maintenance Phase – ongoing treatment with a small amount of amino acids to
maintain the levels of neurotransmitters. This provides enough amino acids to
replace the neurotransmitters excreted throughout the day.
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