Neuron– the cells in your nervous system – control target cells such as muscles or other neurons, by releasing chemicals called neurotransmitters. The neurons are not connected to target cells; instead, chemical messages are relayed by neurotransmitters flowing across a gap between the cells, called a synapse. The neurotransmitters then bind to receptors on the surface of the target cells, in a lock-and-key fashion.
Neurotransmitter Imbalances: “A Failure to Communicate”
When you have imbalances in neurotransmitter levels, neurons cannot communicate as effectively with each other and with target cells, resulting in vast array of medical conditions, both physical and psychological. Most of us know that imbalances in the neurotransmitter serotonin are strongly linked with depression and mood swings. This discovery was the basis of researchers developing drugs such as Prozac and Paxil, which are called SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). Dopamine depletion in the brain is the cause of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Neurotransmitters – more than just serotonin!
Did you realize there are over 100 neurotransmitters that have been identified in the human brain? You’ve probably heard of endorphins. Endorphins are eurotransmitters. Epinephrine, or adrenaline, is also a neurotransmitter. Melatonin, histamine, and acetylcholine? Yep –all neurotransmitters!Other neurotransmitters you might not have heard of, but which perform crucial functions, include glutamate (important in memory and learning) and GABA (promotes muscle relaxation and relieves anxiety).Imbalances in any of them can cause significant problems.
That’s why the neurotransmitter testing is so valuable. We often finds that these imbalances may be the root cause of many serious diseases and conditions. The Problem with Prozac and Paxil and the Conventional Approach:
Conventional treatments employ medications that simply mask symptoms by calming nerves and recycling the existing levels of neurotransmitters. Many medications that conventional doctors prescribe often stop working after a while; they can also have serious, unwanted side effects such as weight gain and sexual dysfunction.Dr. Raju’s unique Functional Medicine approach:
A neurotransmitter evaluation can help discover the root cause of your discomfort.Dr. Raju can provide a safe and effective treatment using natural amino acids, vitamins, and other nutrients, which allow your body to make its own neurotransmitters. We willtypically obtain a baseline neurotransmitter evaluation and then perform follow-up urineneurotransmitter testing so we can accurately assess the effectiveness of your treatment regimen.
How is a neurotransmitter evaluation performed?
Neurotransmitter testing is easy; you simply provide a urine sample in our office and we send it to a specialized lab for evaluation of neurotransmitter levels. We use urine tests because blood levels of neurotransmitters tend to be very low and thus unreliable for testing purposes.What underlying medical conditions might be identified or further illuminated by neurotransmitter evaluation?
- Depression and Mood Swings
- Memory Problems and Brain Fog
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Heavy Metal Burden/Heavy Metal Overload
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Food allergies
- Digestive disorders
- Sleep disorders
- Substance abuse
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
- Bacterial and fungal overgrowth; infections