Neurotransmitter balance is essential for a healthy brain. They also have a great impact on general health with hormonal and neuronal responses: the HPA axis with the stress response is a good example. Effectively, the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis is a very important stress pathway.
What are neurotransmitters?
Thes brain hormones are chemical messengers that provide an electrical relay from one neuron to another. Without these neurotransmitters, the brain cannnot stimulate, calm, store information nor allow us to experience pleasure or neutralize pain.
The different neurotransmitters
In this article, we will present six different neurotransmitters essential for a healthy brain. Here is a list of the different neurotransmitters:
- Norepinephrine (norepinephrine)
Dopamine, desire and pleasure
Dopamine regulates pleasure and desire by stimulating functions throughout the body. Several addictive substances attach to dopamine receptors: alcohol, cannabis, cocaine and several other hard drugs as well as antipsychotics and several other psychotropic drugs.
Even excess sugar consumption or misuse (insulin resistance/glucose intolerance) alters the capacity of dopamine receptors. People who use coffee, black tea, mate, energy drink (guarana and coffee) and sugar tend to want to artificially maintain this high which often signifies an imbalance in dopamine.
Acetylcholine and memory
Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that stimulates the speed of transmission for both muscle response and memory. A desire for fatty foods, memory loss, concentration, attention and/or coordination of movement often reveal an indicator of imbalance in acetylcholine.
GABA and relaxation
GABA is the neurotransmitter that slows down and relaxes. It is often deficient in people who are anxious, insomniac, phobic or who have OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). A desire for starchy bread, pasta and starchy foods and its symptoms are often indicative of an imbalance in GABA.
Serotonin helps to find balance by slowing down; it is important for mood, appetite and satiety, sleep and control of pain. A strong desire for salt and its symptoms are often an indicator of an imbalance in serotonin.
Norepinephrine helps manage sexual arousal, dreams and the mood. It also acts on blood pressure, vasoconstriction (constriction of the blood vessels) and heartbeat.
It is possible to evaluate the dominance of one of these and their deficiency from questionnaires. Some laboratories also offer to evaluate the amount of certain neurotransmitters.
This approach is a way forward with regard to how to deal with the imbalances of the body globally, because it works upstream of health problems. The impact of emotions and stress on health, is and will always be, a royal road that treats most health conditions at the source, even before there is an imbalance between neurotransmitters. Cardiac coherence and meditation are then strongly indicated to restore the cerebral harmony and the whole organism.
Dr. Braverman is one of the neurologist physicians who introduced this approach. To learn more, read “The edge effect: achieve total health and longevity” of this author.