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Depression, Anxiety and the Role of Neurotransmitters

Depression, Anxiety and the Role of Neurotransmitters

Understanding Neurotransmitters

Neurotransmitters are the chemicals that are responsible for sending messages to our brain and throughout our body.  They will be sending messages between the nerve cells in our brain.  They tell the heart to beat, your stomach to digest the food you eat, etc.  They can also play other roles related to your mood, concentration and even the weight that gain.  Individuals can have some very serious negative effects if they are not correct.  There are several ways that they can be depleted in your body.  In fact, there have been studies that show approximately 86% of Americans do not have an optimal number of neurotransmitters.  These can be decreased by stress, drinking alcohol or caffeine and even by taking medications.

It is important to understand that there are two types of neurotransmitters in the body. These will include inhibitory and excitatory.  The excitatory neurotransmitters are going to be responsible for stimulating the brain.  The inhibitory neurotransmitters will be responsible for creating balance and they effect our mood.  They can decrease when they are over active.


Serotonin is one of the inhibitory neurotransmitters you will find in your body.  It is not going to be stimulating the brain.  It is needed to create balance and to also keep to many excitatory neurotransmitters from begin fired in the brain.  Those that use stimulant medications or that are consuming caffeine on a regular basis may cause the serotonin to decrease.  This is necessary to also help regulate the cravings for carbohydrates, sleep, digestion and pain.  Someone that has low levels of serotonin may also find that there immune system is decreased and not working properly.

GABA is another inhibitory neurotransmitter that will be sent out to help balance the amount of excitatory neurotransmitters that are fired in the brain.

Dopamine is special.  It is considered to be both inhibitory and excitatory.  It will help with depression and one’s ability to focus.


Dopamine will be the neurotransmitter that is going to get the most attention.  If this is high or low individuals will have trouble focusing.  They may not remember where they put their keys or they may not be able to stay on task when they are working on something.  Believe it or not, this is also important when it comes to our motivation to get things done.  Stimulants like medications for ADHD, or even caffeine, can move dopamine into the brain so that focusing can take place.  On the other hand, when this is stimulated to often it can cause a depletion.

Norepinephrine will have a role in stimulating all of the processes in the body.  It will also assist in making epinephrine.  Anxiety can be seen if there is to much of this in the body.  If there is to little then the person may have trouble sleeping and focusing.  Low energy may also be exhibited.

Epinephrine is one neurotransmitter that is the product of stress.  If someone is suffering from symptoms related to ADHD then this neurotransmitter may be elevated.  However, this can decrease if someone is continually experiencing stress or they are not sleeping.  This is necessary to regulate blood pressure and your heart rate.

Amino Acids

Learning about Amino Acids

Amino acids are the breakdown product of proteins in our body.  They are needed to help build muscle in the body and the brain.  They are not always consumed properly through the foods that we eat so they may need to be consumed through concentrated forms.

Amino acids are receive in the body from the protein that we eat.  They help to create serotonin in the body and help to fight depression, insomnia, anxiety, and memory loss to name a few.  Therefore, it is important to ensure that we are getting enough of these amino acids in our diet to help the body produce the neurotransmitter serotonin.

Amino Acid History

Amino acids were discovered in the 1900s and they were used as a natural way to help regulate the chemicals in the brain until the 1980.  It seems that medications have started to erase amino acids as a possible treatment for imbalances in the brain.  However, it is still an option for those that are looking for a natural remedy for depression and other complications related to neurotransmitter imbalances.

Getting Amino Acids from Your Diet

What you have to understand is that the amount of protein in your food will vary greatly.  Even though you should be consuming the proper amounts of protein in your diet to be healthy it can be difficult to get the right amount to help you balance the neurotransmitters in the body.  Once the proteins are broken down into amino acids by the body they will be released into the blood stream.  They must go across a blood brain barrier and this cannot happen if you have a depleted level of serotonin in your brain.

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Amino Acid Supplements

It is possible to increase the amount of serotonin in the brain if we use tryptophan as a precursor.  This can be done by taking a supplement between meals when the amino acids are decreased and there are less of them circulating through in the blood.  This makes it easier for it to get through the blood brain barrier and it will be there so that it can be used to produce neurotransmitters.

If you look at some of the symptoms below you will see what amino acid therapy may be able to treat.  There are specific amino acids for each neurotransmitter and the role that it plays within the body.

amino acid precursors

The supplements that you take will be related to your particular imbalance.  One amino acid can be used to balance the brain it may be important to include others as well.  In fact, it should include mineral cofactors, vitamins and a high quality omega-3 fatty acid.

In the end you should realize that improving your neurotransmitter levels and creating balance can have a great impact on your mood and your body. It can help with depression, anxiety, headaches, memory and even pain. You may even want to consult a professional to determine what protocol is right for you.

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Hear how Sally overcame her anxiety with Dr. Hagmeyer’s help…

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