Every breath you take, every move you make, these are all due to nerve cells communicating with each other with electrical and chemical signals within your body. This is accomplished by neurotransmitters in the brain that send neurons throughout and control your heart, your lungs, your mood, energy levels, your appetite and more.
There are two kinds of neurotransmitters, excitatory (the ones that get you going) and inhibitory (the ones that calm you down). Inhibitory neurotransmitters balance your mood and are easily depleted when the excitatory neurotransmitters become overactive.
The major neurotransmitters are Serotonin and Dopamine. Serotonin is an inhibitory neurotransmitter and is necessary for a stable mood and to balance out any excessive excitatory neurotransmitters. Too much or too little can make the difference between a good night’s sleep and insomnia. Dopamine (and other neurotransmitters like GABA and Norepinephrine) is an excitatory neurotransmitter responsible for our get up and go. The problem is when we over-do it (like too many cups of coffee) over time there is a complete depletion of these neurotransmitters because they have become overstimulated.
These neurotransmitter imbalances can lead to health problems like:
- Adrenal fatigue
- Brain fog
- Eating disorders
- Estrogen dominance
- Hormonal imbalances
- Hypo-thyroid issues
- Insulin resistance
- Leaky gut syndrome
- Low testosterone
- Memory loss
- Metabolic syndrome
- Mood disorders
Think about it, when we are stressed, we reach for “comfort foods”, usually loaded with carbohydrates that load up the serotonin. When we do that, we naturally crave more. This leads to more intake of carbs (sugars and other empty calories), and eventually our entire body just wants to stay on the couch and feed on serotonin enhancing foods. This will eventually lead to weight gain, candida, leaky gut and other conditions that result in low energy and can lead to depression.
If you are in exercise boot camp or a workaholic, you may do the opposite, consuming whatever would stimulate those muscles and brain matter to move. If your body is over-stressed, in a constant “fight or flight” condition, the neurotransmitters go into overtime and can create stress and constant anxiety. It can all lead to a vicious cycle of out of balance neurotransmitters.
The bottom line is the foods we eat effect our mood by how they trigger the actions of neurotransmitters in our brain. A proper combination natural vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, and whole foods can help restore the proper balance.
Knowing your neurotransmitter levels can help you correct an imbalance and prevent major health problems. These levels are too important to guess at. Work with your doctor to get the balance right, and help those neurotransmitters spark the holistic health synergy you and your body deserve.