How neurotransmitters function
August 22, 2016
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Our brain function is regulated by neurotransmitters. Also referred to as chemical messengers, neurotransmitters are internal chemicals that help determine how we move, think, feel, eat, and sleep. They move signals across a chemical synapse from one nerve cell to another, targeting different neurons, gland cells, or muscle cells. When neurotransmitters are properly balanced, the brain and body work at an efficient rate, letting you go through your daily activities as expected.

However, everybody is created differently. While some people are born with balanced brain chemistry, others are not so lucky. Having perfect brain chemistry is ideal, as it lets you eat, sleep, and stress as much as you naturally do without negatively affecting your health. This is what everybody strives for. Most of us, however, need to eat well, get enough sleep, avoid illegal drugs and alcohol, and keep our stress levels down in order to function correctly.

Some people can only handle minimal stress and they have to be extremely careful about the foods they eat and how much sleep they get. These people either avoid drugs altogether, or they try them and easily end up addicted. People who have a very unbalanced brain chemistry may get easily depressed or nervous for no reason. It is very undesirable to be born with unbalanced brain chemistry.

Women with unbalanced brain chemistry often have extra trouble when their hormones are adjusting, during times such as menstruation or menopause. While they may not
be any more imbalanced psychologically than people with a perfect balance, it seems as if it takes very little to cause these people anxiety.

Most people are neither of these extremes. People tend to either be in the middle or favor a bit of one side or the other. However, regardless of where we lie on the spectrum of brain chemistry, imbalances may develop, leading to anxiety, depression, ADHD, memory loss, ADD, insomnia, digestion issues, bipolar syndrome, hypertension, bulimia, anorexia, and addictions, among other health-related disorders. Balanced brains can be altered by two things: stress and aging.

Stress

Stress, either short or long term, will wear anyone down with time. Stress may be caused by a single event such as death or job loss, or it may be caused by a long-term illness or a difficult marriage. Either way, stress can result in the imbalance of neurotransmitters.

Acute stress, also known as the fight or flight response, is a reaction to an immediate threat. Once the threat passes, the stress hormone levels become balanced out again and once they return to normal, they do not have any long lasting effects. Acute stress may be desirable in some circumstances, as it prepares the brain for optimal performance.

Chronic stress is more dangerous. This type of stress creates a vulnerability to other diseases from a simple common cold to cancer. The constant elevation of stress hormones wears down the health of the body, negatively impacting the brain. Chronic stress changes the functions of the brain, as well as its DNA and structure.

Aging

The more a person ages, the more imbalanced the brain chemistry becomes. Because of this, the incidence of anxiety, depression, insomnia, and memory issues increase after the age of 40.

Once a brain begins to age, the levels of transmitter substances become reduced, which also reduces the activities of the enzymes that are involved in the synthesis of these substances. Each transmitter and brain region varies in its sensitivity to the process of aging. Dopamine neurons are the most age-sensitive neurons.

In different types of dementia, several neurotransmitter levels are reduced. There is also a decrease in neurotransmitter metabolites, suggesting that the brain is unable to compensate for its losses.

If you suffer from any of these brain chemistry disorders, you were likely born with a predisposition due to your natural brain chemistry. Once stress or age come into play, you may become imbalanced permanently.

The good thing is that there are ways to help the neurotransmitters have better balance. Taking the necessary balance of amino acids can permanently fix brain chemistry disorders. The natural amino acids that come into play include l-dopa, cysteine, tryptophan, and tyrosine. These particular amino acids are essential because they determine the balance of serotonin, dopamine, and epinephrine, which are the three major neurotransmitters in the brain. This is referred to as neurotransmitter therapy.

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