Neurotransmitter Imbalances

Neurotransmitters are the biochemical messengers of the nervous system. They are generally grouped as either excitatory or inhibitory, as shown in Table 1. Neurotransmitters steer every emotion and reaction we experience. When an imbalance is present in a person’s neurotransmitters, the individual may experience a wide variety of symptoms such as mood issues, sleep disturbances or fatigue.

Neurotransmitters

Excitatory

Inhibitory

Epinephrine

Serotonin

Norepinephrine

GABA

Glutamate

Glycine

Dopamine

Taurine

Table 1. List of common excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters
 Let’s explore the clinical utility of neurotransmitters by considering a more specific example.
Anxiety is a common complaint often related to an excess of excitatory neurotransmitters in relation to inhibitory neurotransmitters. However, there is not one specific neurotransmitter pattern observed in all patients with anxiety. Understanding how the body deals with stress can help us determine why.
During a healthy response to a stressor, we see an increase in excitatory neurotransmitters. As a result, an inhibitory response should be activated to decrease the excitation in the body. We can liken this response to the brakes on a car. The excitatory neurotransmitters rev the engine, and the inhibitory neurotransmitters restore balance by slowing the system down again. For an individual with an anxiety disorder, the inhibitory response is insufficient, allowing excess stimulation to go unchecked.
A healthy neurotransmitter balance can be disrupted by numerous factors such as:

  • Chronic psychological stress
  • Diet
  • Immune challenges
  • Environmental toxins

When any of these potential stressors occur, a few different situations leading to symptoms of overstimulation (such as anxiety) may arise, depending upon an individual’s biochemistry.
Urinary neurotransmitter analysis can be a useful tool for identifying imbalances and determining the most effective therapy option. Armed with the results, practitioners can tailor treatment to the individual person instead of just the symptom. The result is improved outcomes, often sooner than traditional methods.
As discussed above, people with the same symptom may have very different underlying causes contributing to imbalances. Neurotransmitter testing helps remove some of the trial-and-error from therapy selection by providing some indication of what is happening in the body to cause a certain clinical complaint. Along with therapy to address imbalances, further analysis of a person’s lifestyle, diet, environment, and immune system status may be necessary to prevent relapse.


*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
**This blog was written by an outside source. This blog does not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Natural Partners.

Jennifer Farley
Manager, Medical Education
NeuroScience, Inc.