Why test neurotransmitter levels?

Neurotransmitters are the brain chemicals that facilitate the transmission of signals from one neuron to the next across a synapse. Neurotransmitters work with receptors in the brain to influence and regulate a wide range of processes such as mental performance, emotions, pain response and energy levels. Functioning primarily in the Central Nervous System (CNS), neurotransmitters are the brain’s chemical messengers, facilitating communication among the body’s glands, organs, and muscles. Numerous clinical studies have shown that inadequate neurotransmitter function has a profound influence on overall health and well-being. In fact, imbalances in certain neurotransmitters are associated with most of the prevalent symptoms and conditions seen in practitioners’ offices today.

-Mood disorders; depression, anxiety
-Adrenal dysfunction; fatigue, insomnia
-Loss of mental focus; ADD, ADHD, cognitive fog
-Addiction and dependency
-Hormonal imbalances; E2 dominance, E2 deficiency, low androgens
-Loss of appetite control; insulin resistance

Compounding these symptoms of imbalance are the myraid of bioactive substances like caffeine, alcohol and nicotine and many of the medications used to manage these conditions, as well as some cholesterol lowering medication. These substances and medications can contribute to neurotransmitter depletion and resulting symptoms by suppressing or artificially stimulation neurotransmitter receptor function.

When functioning properly, the neurotransmission system has natural checks and balances in the form of excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters. These are classified according to their effects on postsynaptic membranes (receptor sites). Excitatory neurotransmitters cause depolarization of the membrane and promote an action potential. Inhibitory neurotransmitters cause hyperpolarization and depresses or inhibit an action potential.

Who should be tested?

Neurotransmitter testing may be applicable to both male and female patients. Expression of the following symptoms can indicate neurotransmitter imbalances. Review of the neurotransmitter test menu will help determine which test should be ordered.

-Depressed mood
-Anxiety
-Adrenal dysfunction
-Fatigue
-Poor sleep
-Loss of mental focus, or cognitive fog
-ADD or ADHD
-Addiction or dependency
-Loss of appetite control
-Compulsive behavior
-Cravings
-Low libido
-Sexual dysfunction

Adrenal hormones, sex hormones, and neurotransmitters are functionally interrelated. Changes in sex hormones and adrenal hormones can lead to neurotransmitter imbalances. In turn, neurotransmitter imbalances can affect hormone function. Including neurotransmitters with hormone panels provides a more comprehensive view of the body’s functional neuroendocrine status, this interrelationship, and the associated factors that may be contributing to symptoms.