Neurotransmitters are chemical substances used by the nervous system to carry information from cell to cell. Neurotransmitters are important factors in brain chemistry that help us think and understand the world around us. Their balance is vital to a person's emotional and mental well-being.
The neurotransmitter profile includes measuring the molecules of dopamine, serotonin, noradrenaline, adrenaline, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and glutamic acid in a urine sample.
What diseases are associated with neurotransmitter imbalances?
Disorders in the balance of neurotransmitters are involved in various diseases and pathological conditions such as:
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Aggressive behavior and irritability
- Impulsive behavior
- Panic attacks
- Inability to concentrate
- Depression and mood disorders
- Amnesia and memory disorders
- Insomnia and other sleep disorders
- Low libido
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (neurosis)
- Premenstrual syndrome
What does neurotransmitter testing include?
Adrenaline: Adrenaline or epinephrine is both a hormone and a neurotransmitter. Adrenaline is released by the adrenal glands along with noradrenaline and is responsible for the "fight-or-flight" reaction. Adrenaline affects cardiovascular function and glucose metabolism. Unbalanced adrenaline levels can cause aggression, anger, adrenal exhaustion, weight gain, and stress.
Noradrenaline: Noradrenaline or norepinephrine acts as a stress hormone and as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. Together with adrenaline, they are responsible for the "fight-or-flight" reaction, increasing glucose release and blood flow in the body. Noradrenaline is synthesized in the same biochemical pathway as dopamine. Unbalanced noradrenaline levels can cause aggression, stress, and depression.
Dopamine: Dopamine is the major neurotransmitter associated with the brain's pleasure center. It is released when the body experiences pleasant situations and when it seeks them. Dopamine is also involved in sensory integration, attention, sleep, learning, and motivation. Dopamine is involved in regulating the body's mood and mobility.
Serotonin: Serotonin is the neurotransmitter most associated with mood. Serotonin is derived from the amino acid tryptophan and is found mainly in the gastrointestinal tract and central nervous system. When it is at normal levels, it prevents the onset of depression and reduces the reaction to pain. An imbalance in serotonin levels can contribute to osteopenia and osteoporosis, digestion disorders, fatigue, low mood, hot flashes, and sleep disorders.
Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid: Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. GABA is important for basic body functions and the regulation of other neurotransmitters. It stimulates relaxation and is an important molecule for overall well-being. Imbalance in GABA levels can cause lethargy, nervousness, stress, depression, and insomnia.
Glutamic Acid: Glutamic acid is an important mediator of stimulatory signals in the brain and is involved in many processes of normal brain function, including cognitive functions, memory, and learning.