Balancing Your Neurotransmitters - The Subtle Art
Your neurotransmitters are in full control of your everyday moods, emotions, and other sensations you feel throughout the day. The goal of this blog is to allow you to reflect on the information and ask yourself these questions
Are my neurotransmitters in balance?
Am I constantly battling waves of emotions, sadness, aggressive changes in mood?
For many people, these thoughts may feel familiar, but don’t worry too much, we are here to learn more about your brain chemistry and propose actions to help balance your neurotransmitters so you can be the best version of yourself.
There are over 100 different neurotransmitters, however we will only be talking about the six common types which play the biggest role in how you feel throughout your day.
I personally believe it is extremely crucial to become aware of this as a lack of balance can result in weight issues, poor concentration, low-work performance and mood disorders.
Adrenaline and Norepinephrine
Common excitatory neurotransmitters known as the ‘fight-or-flight’ response cause an increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, expanded air passages in the lungs and optimised glucose consumption by the brain.
Acting as a neurotransmitter and hormone, Norepinephrine causes increased blood, sugar and heart rates in response to stimuli evoking “flight-or-fight” response.
In prehistoric times, our excitatory neurotransmitters helped us escape from the mountain Lion. In this era, our neurotransmitters may be over-responding to stimuli which are perceived as life-threatening such as your boss or a presentation which cause you to freak out, feel stressed and extremely nervous.
Therefore it is extremely important we remain in control of our neurotransmitter balance, in order to avoid it from incorrectly responding to stimuli and allow us to perform better and more controlled.
One of the more well-known neurotransmitters, Serotonin plays a role in impacting the mood you are in e.g. happy or depressed. Usually found in eggs and salmon, Serotonin can also impact your memory.
An article published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that 95% of Serotonin is found in the gastrointestinal tract . Therefore, taking care of your gut will literally enable you to feel happy and give you the cognitive benefits of mood enhancing, sleep quality, sexual desire and appetite.
The neurotransmitter most linked to pleasure, reward and drive. People who are low in Dopamine find it difficult to feel motivated and engage in daily activities.
Individuals who indulge in smoking, excess video gaming and watching violent or sexual content can be tricking their reward system in feeling a sense of pleasure and reward without doing anything.
Going back in time, dopamine was used to motivate people to hunt for their food and get pleasure from providing for their families. Nowadays, people can still survive with low dopamine levels due to all the convenience of drive through food outlets and delivery services. By engaging in activities which artificially trigger dopamine production for an extended period of time, our brains subconsciously link these activities to pleasure and so begins the cycle of unnaturally increasing our Dopamine levels.
That is why it is difficult for smokers to quit. A personality which has balanced dopamine levels will feel motivated, willpower, physical energy and focus on the task at hand. You may even find that you refrain from other Dopamine- related activities, rather finding different alternatives to raise your levels..
Acetylcholine plays an important role in both memory and learning. Without this crucial neurotransmitter there may be a risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease – causing brain cells to die slowly leading to a cognitive function decline, memory and other normal functions.
Acetylcholine is synthetised naturally in the brain through choline, a micronutrient found in egg yolks, soybeans and sunflowers.
GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is yet another important neurotransmitter responsible for many brain functions such as memory and learning capability. GABA allows you to feel calm and relaxed in stressful situations when balanced.
People who consume caffeine, deplete GABA levels which is why they are prone to feeling more anxious, irritable and experience nervous tension. Combining an increased GABA and serotonin production enhances your ability to be more social in social situations.
I hope you’ve something about your brain in this blog. Just remember you are a unique individual with a completely different brain chemistry balance from the next person.
To reach for optimum brain performance you must be aware of which chemical you are dominant in and which you are deficient in. By doing so, you may supplement minerals, herbs and/or vitamins to give you what you need. For example, if you're deficient in acetylcholine, you may supplement Vitamin B12 with Acetyl-L-Carnitine to give you the creativity and attention back.
I recommend to use the following test designed by Dr Brakemen to give you an idea of neurotransmitter balance.
Click Here to Complete the Quiz:
This is why it is crucial to not follow market trends and what other people are using to improve their well-being as 9/10 times it might not work for you. A personalised approach is needed.
Share your results below and let’s ‘fix’ each other together! There is nothing to be embarrassed about, you should be proud of yourself and be the one who is striving for greatest!
Other tests you can take include the following:
- Urine Testing (Do at home)
- Blood test (Consult your GP)
- Organic Acid Testing (Do at Home)
 Haverback, B. and Davidson, J. (1958). Serotonin and the Gastrointestinal Tract. Gastroenterology, 35(6), pp.570-578.