The brain constantly strives to maintain a balance between different neurochemical systems in response to current internal and external needs - what it does through constant neurobiological and synaptic changes that alter the levels of various neurotransmitters.
Too much or too little of any one neurotransmitter disrupts the entire balance of the brain. This imbalance manifests itself as changes in the way you think, feel and behave - the mental ups and downs of your daily life.
Changes at different levels of neurotransmitters can be temporary - altered as a result of a specific event or experience that happens to you during the day, or longer in the form of a continuous neurochemical ebb and flow from morning to night, usually according to your built-in circadian rhythm ...
One of the main acts of control is the level of excitation and inhibition in the brain, mediated by the corresponding levels of the neurotransmitters glutamate and GABA.
During the night when you need to sleep, the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA blocks the activity of other neurotransmitter systems, shifting the balance in its favor.
On the contrary, during the day when you need to think and respond, the brain regains balance so that these other neurotransmitter systems are no longer under restraining control and are actively working through their respective neural systems.
The consequences of having a neurotransmitter imbalance depend on how extreme the imbalance is, but generally, most clinical disorders associated with the brain have some degree of neurotransmitter imbalance - be it too little of a specific neurotransmitter, or in some cases too much.
For example, dopamine depletion in Parkinson's disease, serotonin depletion in depression, GABA depletion in anxiety, acetylcholine depletion in Alzheimer's and glutamate, and GABA imbalance in epilepsy.
In addition, disturbances in neurotransmitter imbalances can cause changes in a wide range of behaviors, including your mood, your ability to sleep normally, your concentration and ability to remember information or your motivational state, to name a few.
Maintaining a healthy balance of neurotransmitters requires a healthy balanced diet. This provides the brain with the necessary neurochemical building blocks as well as the appropriate chemicals needed to support their synthesis, transport and degradation.
This includes providing the brain with adequate stores of energy (for example, from carbohydrates and fats, which ultimately help form the energy-generating ATP molecules), amino acids, and various vitamins and minerals that are cofactors in enzymatic pathways.
Although many of the neurotransmitters cannot cross the blood-brain barrier and enter the brain directly, their precursors, amino acids, can in some cases do this, providing a potential pathway to influence the concentration of these neurotransmitter precursors in the brain.
While there are various foods that contain neurotransmitters and their amino acid precursors, their ability to alter brain responses depends on how easily they can cross the blood-brain barrier - the gateway from the bloodstream to the brain. GABA and glutamate require a significant concentration difference between the blood and the brain to be passed through.
Neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin cannot cross the blood-brain barrier because they do not contain the necessary "transport" mechanisms required for this transition. On the contrary, in some cases, their precursors, amino acids, can cross the blood-brain barrier.
Medication drugs can disrupt the balance of your brain's neurotransmitters, or vice versa, compensate for its imbalance.
Different medicines work in different ways, some of them:
Mimic the action of a neurotransmitter such as amphetamines acting on catecholamine receptors.
Enhance the action of a neurotransmitter, for example, benzodiazepines enhance the action of GABA receptors.
Prevent reuptake of neurotransmitters, as is the case with cocaine and catecholamines or Prozac and serotonin).
Block (antagonize) receptors, such as the action of the beta-blocker propranolol on noradrenergic and adrenergic receptors.
Also, stress and our emotional state have a great influence on neurotransmitters. Your body's physiological stress response is driven in part by the steroid hormone cortisol, which is released by activating a brain-body pathway called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.
One neurotransmitter that is particularly susceptible to change is glutamate, the main excitatory neurotransmitter in your brain. Chronic stress causes more glutamate to be released than usual in the synapses of the prefrontal brain regions involved in higher-order thinking and the hippocampus, a region of memory.
It also affects how efficiently glutamate is released from the synapse when it is no longer needed. Too much glutamate leads to cognitive impairment, especially learning and memory.
Chronic stress also lowers serotonin levels in the brain, which partly explains the link between chronic stress and depressive disorders.
How do we correct neurochemical imbalances? For example, using amino acid and peptide therapy. Targeted amino acid therapy is when a person is prescribed a specific neurotransmitter supplement to try to combat any suspected imbalance in the brain's neurotransmitter systems. Targeted Amino Acid Therapy works by dramatically altering the relative balance of amino acids in your diet.
They are based on the conclusion that a subtle change in diet is usually not enough to change the level of certain neurotransmitters in your brain, because in order to increase the concentration of a certain amino acid and help it cross the blood-brain barrier, its concentration must be high enough.
This is necessary due to the competitive interaction between amino acids trying to cross the blood-brain barrier. The addition of a certain amino acid in large quantities is aimed at disrupting this balance, promoting the passage of this particular amino acid.
It is also well known that exercise is good for your body's health. It is also beneficial for your brain by improving your thoughts and emotions on a number of different indicators.
One reason for this is that exercise affects the neurochemical balance of your brain by altering the levels of monoamine neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Serotonin and to some extent dopamine are involved in so-called “central fatigue,” the process by which your brain feels tired after strenuous or prolonged exercise.
High-intensity exercise increases the availability of brain tryptophan and promotes the synthesis of serotonin, which, when combined with changes in other monoamine neurotransmitter systems, mediates behavioral fatigue and subsequent positive mood changes.
Light therapy has also been used to try to control the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. One of the most commonly targeted systems for serotonin because of its role in depressive disorders such as seasonal affective disorder.
Therapeutic interventions that artificially mimic the "lux" level of natural light have been shown to prevent mood deterioration in situations where tryptophan, the main precursor of serotonin, is insufficient.
Due to the "exciting" effect of light, it has also been used to treat disorders where the natural circadian rhythm is disturbed. However, the timing of light therapy is critical to its effectiveness and must be consistent with your built-in circadian rhythm to avoid further disrupting the natural ongoing metabolic cycles in your body and brain.
Our center uses light therapy in the form of photobiomodulation with red and infrared light. This spectrum allows not only to level the level of neurotransmitters in the brain, but also to influence the growth of immune function, healing processes.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation.
This is the latest technology that allows you to influence the production of neurotransmitters by the brain. Depending on the problem that the patient has, the point of action of the brain is determined, as well as the type of neurotransmitters that need to be adjusted. The advantages of this apparatus are its colossal effectiveness in a short time. It makes it possible to adjust the level of neurotransmitters by large values already in 3 minutes, for example, in the treatment of depression. This technology is also used in the treatment of memory impairment, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, vegetative-vascular disorders, burnout syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, various neuroses and post-stroke conditions.
Neurotransmitters play a decisive role in the balance of the body's neurochemical system, and their harmony is crucial for the entire body. Take care of yourself and your nervous system!