The Connection between Neurotransmitters and Mental States
A Variety of Complaints, One Common Source
Before I recommend a program to support a patient’s mental health, I first try to identify any triggers or underlying issues that are contributing to the problem. Unfortunately, one of the consequences of living in our modern society is the amount of potential factors that can lead to unhealthy mental states. Moreover, what happens in the mind is closely related to physical function: stress, long-term health concerns, lack of exercise, and a nutrient-poor diet are just a few examples.
Although a variety of factors can lead to a variety of complaints, many prevalent mental health concerns are typically traced back to a common source: neurotransmitter function. Testing neurotransmitters can be done easily with a testing kit. Neurotransmitters are natural chemicals that act as messengers between cells in the brain. Over the years, scientists have identified many of these neurotransmitters and their roles in the body:
- Memory and cognitive processes are heavily dependent on acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter known to decline with age.
- Attention, learning, and mental focus require adequate stimulation with excitatory neurotransmitters, particularly dopamine, and balanced levels of norepinephrine.
- Sense of tranquility is influenced by the calming effects of GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter.
- Feelings of nervousness are influenced by glutamine, an excitatory neurotransmitter.
- Perception is influenced by a healthy neuronal environment, particularly by the balance between GABA and glutamate.
- Mood, stressful feelings, and sense of well-being are influenced by the level of brain cortisol – a neurohormone that can become elevated during times of stress, which may impact serotonin.
- Feeling happy, content, and relaxed is related to the level of serotonin, which is a common target for modulation in conventional approaches.
- Sleep and wake cycles are dependent on melatonin status – a hormone derived from serotonin and produced in the pineal gland.
Nutritional Supplements to Support your Mental Health:
Neurotransmitter modulation is the primary goal to address neurological health with many conventional products – which are not without side effects. Instead, for many patients, I prefer natural and clinically successful neurological health products that are uniquely designed to act centrally – within the brain – through the careful selection of ingredients:
- Palm tocotrienol complex featuring other naturally occurring constituents such as CoQ10, plant squalene, phytosterols, and mixed carotenoids.
- Bioactive decapeptide complex derived from milk with relaxing properties.
- Purified Huperzine A, a concentrated plant alkaloid from Chinese club moss (Huperzia serrata) with memory-enhancing properties that has been extensively investigated.
- L-5-methyl tetrahydrofolate (L-5-MTHF) – research indicates that L-5-MTHF may be the only form of folate that crosses the blood-brain barrier. Ideal for people whose folate metabolism may be affected by genetic variation.
A Well-Rounded Program for Well-Rounded Health:
Of course, achieving optimal health is rarely achieved through supplementation alone. Exercise, a healthy diet, and stress management are also key factors in helping you reach optimal physical and mental health.