I talk about neurotransmitters in a lot of my videos and articles, so I created this page to thoroughly define them so that you can get the full picture of how deeply they can affect your experience and your life.
Neurotransmitters are essential to brain function. They’re responsible for sending communication from the brain to the rest of the body. It’s important to maintain an adequate supply of these brain chemicals in order to stay sharp and focused. Your supply is not fixed, and there are steps you can take to ensure the connections in your brain are always strong. Let’s take a closer look at neurotransmitters, how they work and what you can do to maintain them.
Neurotransmitters are essential chemicals in your brain. Their job is to send signals between neurons, or nerve cells. All of your bodily functions are controlled through this communication, including your heartbeat, digestion and breathing. The amounts of neurotransmitters in your brain can be determined and affected in numerous ways. When these levels are out of balance, you may experience a variety of problems. Neurotransmitter balance has an effect on your sleep, weight, mood and concentration. Contributors to poor neurotransmitter levels can include heredity, diet, drugs and sugar, among others.
Types of Neurotransmitters
There are two types of neurotransmitters in the brain. These are excitatory and inhibitory. The first type stimulates the brain, while the second adds a calming balance. When excitatory neurotransmitters go into overdrive, they can cause a depletion of the inhibitory kind, leading to a potential mood imbalance. Inhibitory neurotransmitters include serotonin and GABA. Serotonin helps to regulate mood, sleep cycles, pain and digestion. GABA works to balance excitatory neurotransmitter imbalance. Dopamine is unique because it’s both an excitatory and an inhibitory neurotransmitter. It manages depression and focus. Stimulatory processes such as anxiety are controlled by the excitatory neurotransmitter, norepinephrine. Epinephrine is indicative of stress. It controls heart rate and blood pressure, as well. Allergy and inflammation within your body are handled by the excitatory neurotransmitter, histamine.
How to Restore Balance
Maintaining balance among these brain chemicals is key to your overall well-being.
- Adding supplements to your diet can help to restore balance by adding some of the essential nutrients we’ve discussed in past blog posts to your system. Rhodiola, B vitamins, curcumin and ginkgo biloba are all examples of helpful ones.
- Consuming good fats like omega-3 fatty acids and adding other foods that stimulate neurotransmitter production is also recommended. Bananas, spinach, citrus fruit, berries, broccoli and fish are some suggestions.
- Increase caffeine intake and reduce stress to assist in restoring neurotransmitter balance.
As you can see, neurotransmitters play an important role in brain health and overall well-being. Now that you have an understanding of how they work, you can be more mindful of keeping them in check by maintaining a brain-healthy diet and incorporating nutrient-rich supplements into your regimen.