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What are Neurotransmitters?

Neurotransmitters are the brain chemicals that relay signals between nerve cells, to communicate information throughout our brain and body. The brain uses neurotransmitters to tell the heart to beat, lungs to breathe, and stomach to digest. They can also affect mood, sleep, concentration and can cause adverse symptoms when they are out of balance.  Stress, poor diet, neurotoxins, genetic predisposition and certain pharmaceuticals can cause these levels to be out of optimal range.


There are two types of neurotransmitters, INHIBITORY which function for calm and well-being, and EXCITATORY which function for drive and motivation.

Inhibitory Neurotransmitters

SEROTONIN is an inhibitory neurotransmitter - which means that it does not stimulate the brain. Adequate amounts of serotonin are necessary for stable mood and to balance any excessive excitatory neurotransmitters.  It regulates many processes such as sleep cycle, pain control, appropriate digestion, and immune system function.

GABA is often referred to as “natures VALIUM-like substance”. The brain uses GABA to balance stimulating over firing of excitatory neurotransmitters. When GABA levels are out of range (high or low excretion values), it is likely that an excitatory neurotransmitter is firing too often in the brain.

Excitatory Neurotransmitters

NOREPINEPHRINE is responsible for stimulatory processes in the body and helps in the making of epinephrine. Low levels of norepinephrine are associated with low energy, decreased focus ability, and sleep cycle problems. This neurotransmitter can also cause anxiety and “mood dampening” effects at elevated excretion levels.

EPINEPHRINE regulates heart rate and blood pressure and is reflective of stress.  Long-term stress or insomnia can cause depletion of epinephrine.

DOPAMINE is the main focus neurotransmitter. When dopamine is either elevated or low - focus issues may arise such as daydreaming and not being able to stay on task. Dopamine is also responsible for our drive and motivation. Stimulants cause dopamine to be pushed into the synapse so that focus is improved. Unfortunately, stimulating dopamine consistently can cause depletion of dopamine over time.  




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