Neurotransmitters

The human nervous system is responsible for coordinating thousands of processes, from muscle contractions to crying. The center of the nervous system is the brain, which contains over 100 billion specialized cells called neurons. The nervous system also contains very important chemical messengers called neurotransmitters. The brain uses neurotransmitters to tell your heart to beat, your lungs to breathe and your somach to digest. Neurotransmitters are also necessary for thought processes, emotions and other essential body functions including sleep, energy, panic and fear.

Clearly a system with this much responsibility needs to function properly in order for a person to remain healthy. Unfortunately, the nervous system can be easily disrupted through a number of factors:

  • Stress
  • Poor diet
  • Toxic chemicals
  • Infections
  • Genetics

These factors can cause the levels of neurotransmitters to become either too high or too low. Imbalanced neurotransmitter levels can lead to:

  • Feelings of sadness
  • Feelings of anxiousness
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Fatigue
  • Behavioral problems
  • Foggy thinking
  • Headaches

Common Neurotransmitters

  • Acetylcholine - the memory and learning neurotransmitter
  • Serotonin - the joy and well-being neurotransmitter
  • GABA - the "relaxed and calm" neurotransmitter
  • Dopamine - the pleasure and reward neurotransmitter

The best way to test is to assess your symptoms. Options for improving nervous system function (using natural products) can be discussed with your healthcare provider.