Neurotransmitters

Neurotransmitters

Neurotransmitters are very important for the neural communication in our bodies. They are small chemical messengers that transport messages from neurons to other cells in our body. These messages influence almost everything that happens to us, and it is called neurotransmission.

There are no physical connections between neurons, there are small gaps called a synapse. So, to send a message, neurons send their messages across these synapses by diffusion of a neurotransmitter.

There are a handful of different transmitters but here is a small chart with some of the most important ones and the most commonly heard of ones that we deal with every day.

Adrenaline
Noradrenaline
Dopamine Endorphins
Enkephalins
Serotonin GABA

Adrenaline/Noradrenaline

Adrenaline/Noradrenaline is also known as epinephrine/norepinephrine is a hormone that is secreted from the adrenal glands and neurons. It is always released due to a stressor such as stress, excitement, a threat, or fear. You can experience an adrenaline rush in those situations that have a stressor. During a rush these can happen:

In the bloodstream, adrenaline binds to liver cell receptors and aids in the breaking down of large sugar molecules into smaller more useable sugar (gives muscles a boost of energy), it binds to muscle cell receptors in the lungs which causes faster breathing, stimulates heart cells causing a higher heart rate, causes blood vessels to contract and directs blood to main muscle groups, stimulates muscle cells to contract under the skin which causes perspiration, and lastly it binds to pancreas receptors to inhibit insulin creation.

Adrenaline/noradrenaline is made from the amino acid called tyrosine. Tyrosine is produced from phenylalanine and can be beneficial to mental performance is stressful events.

Neurotransmitter

Adrenaline, Noradrenaline

Definition/Function

A hormone, also called epinephrine and norepinephrine, released by the adrenal glands and neurons. It is released in response to a stressor that is possibly a stressful, exciting, threatening, or even dangerous situation. In the bloodstream, adrenaline binds to liver cell receptors and aids in the breaking down of large sugar molecules into smaller more useable sugar, binds to muscle cell receptors in the lungs, stimulates heart cells, causes blood vessels to contract and directs blood to main muscle groups, stimulates muscle cells to contract under the skin, and lastly binds to pancreas receptors.

Amino-acid It Is Made From

tyrosine
phenylalanine

Deficiency symptoms

Deficiency symptoms can include anxiety, depression, migraines, restless legs syndrome, fibromyalgia, sleep disorders, and hypoglycemia.

Natural Sources and Holistic methods

Turkey, fish, chicken, almonds, bananas, avocados, and soy products

Neurotransmitter Adrenaline, Noradrenaline
Definition/Function A hormone, also called epinephrine and norepinephrine, released by the adrenal glands and neurons. It is released in response to a stressor that is possibly a stressful, exciting, threatening, or even dangerous situation. In the bloodstream, adrenaline binds to liver cell receptors and aids in the breaking down of large sugar molecules into smaller more useable sugar, binds to muscle cell receptors in the lungs, stimulates heart cells, causes blood vessels to contract and directs blood to main muscle groups, stimulates muscle cells to contract under the skin, and lastly binds to pancreas receptors.
Amino-acid It Is Made From tyrosine
phenylalanine
Deficiency symptoms
Deficiency symptoms can include anxiety, depression, migraines, restless legs syndrome, fibromyalgia, sleep disorders, and hypoglycemia.
Natural Sources and Holistic methods Turkey, fish, chicken, almonds, bananas, avocados, and soy products
More Information Adrenaline Rush: Symptoms, Activities, Causes, at Night, and Anxiety (healthline.com)
Epinephrine vs. Norepinephrine: Function, Uses & More (healthline.com)
Tyrosine: Benefits, Side Effects and Dosage (healthline.com)
TYROSINE | Overview | Benefits | Studies | Dietary Sources | Deficiency (aminoacidstudies.org) Phenylalanine: Benefits, Side Effects, and Food Sources (healthline.com)

Dopamine

Dopamine acts out as a chemical messenger between neurons and is released when your brain is anticipating a reward. A reward can be anything that excites you such as food, sex, exercise, or anything else you enjoy.

It is involved in many bodily functions including digestion, heart and kidney function, mood and emotions, sleep, stress response, memory and focus, pain processing, and more. It works alongside with adrenaline and serotonin.

It is associated with good moods, and it is ideal in situations where you are learning, planning, and need to be productive.

Dopamine is produced from tyrosine as well.

Neurotransmitter Dopamine
Definition/Function It acts out as a chemical messenger between neurons and is released when your brain is anticipating a reward. It is involved in many bodily functions including digestion, heart and kidney function, mood and emotions, sleep, stress response, memory and focus, pain processing, and more.
Amino-acid It Is Made From tyrosine
phenylalanine
Deficiency symptoms Deficiency symptoms include lessened alertness, difficulty concentrating, poor coordination, less motivation and enthusiasm, and difficulty moving.
Natural Sources and Holistic methods Turkey, fish, chicken, almonds, bananas, avocados, and soy products
More Information Tyrosine: Benefits, Side Effects and Dosage (healthline.com)
10 Best Ways to Increase Dopamine Levels Naturally (healthline.com)
Dopamine Effects on the Body, Plus Drug and Hormone Interactions (healthline.com)
Phenylalanine: Benefits, Side Effects, and Food Sources (healthline.com)

Endorphins/Enkephalins

Endorphins/enkephalins are the body’s natural pain relievers. They are groups of peptides that are mostly controlled and released by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. They act as a pain reliever and promotes the feelings of pleasure.

They also aid in reducing stress, depression, anxiety, inflammation, and improves your mood, boost self-esteem, supports immune system health, and supports memory and cognitive function.

Endorphins are released during activities that bring you joy or pleasure such as laughing, exercise, sex, and they are released during painful events to help lessen the pain in the moment like when you break a bone.

Endorphins/enkephalins are produced by phenylalanine’s.

Neurotransmitter Endorphins, Enkephalins
Definition/Function They are groups of peptides that are mostly controlled and released by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. It acts as a pain reliever and promotes the feelings of pleasure.
Amino-acid It Is Made From tryptophan
Deficiency symptoms Deficiency symptoms can include anxiety, depression, and sleep troubles
Natural Sources and Holistic methods Sunshine, light, regular exercise, healthy diet, and meditation; foods that can boost serotonin are eggs, pineapple, salmon, nuts and seeds, and turkey
More Information Serotonin: Functions, Normal Range, Side Effects, and More (healthline.com)
What Is Tryptophan? Uses, Benefits, and Foods (healthline.com)

Serotonin

It is a chemical that nerve cells produce and is mostly found in the digestive system although also found in the central nervous system. It is a natural mood stabilizer and it primarily found in the stomach and intestines.

It aids in reducing depression, managing anxiety, healing wounds (blood clotting), stimulates nausea, and helps maintain good bone health.

It also plays a role in sexual function. Low levels of serotonin can factor into increased libido and vice versa.

Serotonin is produced from the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that aids in the nitrogen balance in adults and the growth in infants. It also helps to create niacin.

Neurotransmitter Serotonin
Definition/Function It is a chemical that nerve cells produce and is mostly found in the digestive system although also found in the central nervous system. It aids in reducing depression, managing anxiety, healing wounds, stimulates nausea, and helps maintain good bone health.
Amino-acid It Is Made From phenylalanine
Deficiency symptoms Deficiency symtpoms can include aches, pains, increased depression and anxiety, moodiness, and trouble sleeping.
Natural Sources and Holistic methods Exercise, laugh, listen to music, acupuncture, dark chocolate, sexual relations, dance, meditate, do what makes you happy
More Information Endorphins: Functions, Levels, and Natural Boosts (healthline.com)

GABA

GABA stands for Gamma aminobutyric acid. It is an amino acid that acts as a chemical messenger that blocks certain brain signals and decreases activity in the nervous system. It helps minimize feelings of anxiety, stress, and fear.

It produces a calming effect when it attaches to the GABA receptor which is a protein in the brain. It also works with vitamin B3 to do this.

GABA is naturally found in the brain and can be attained through fermented food sources.

Neurotransmitter GABA
Definition/Function It is an amino acid that acts as a chemical messenger that blocks certain brain signals and decreases activity in the nervous system.
Amino-acid It Is Made From GABA
Deficiency symptoms Deficiency symptoms can include blurry vision, anxiety, too much energy, trembling/twitching, memory loss, muscle pain, cold or unusually sweaty hands, night sweats, insomnia, headaches, difficulty focusing, abnormal cravings for carbohydrates, depression, tempers, mood swings, sudden increase of phobias.
Natural Sources and Holistic methods fermented foods and drinks (fermented soybean, buffalo milk, durian, cassava, fish, sake, mulberry beer, kimchi, sourdough)
More Information GABA Deficiency: How Does it Affect You? | gammaaminobutyricacid.org
Gamma Aminobutyric Acid: Uses and Side Effects of GABA Supplement (healthline.com)
γ-Aminobutyric acid found in fermented foods and beverages: current trends – PMC (nih.gov)

To learn more information about neurotransmitters you can check out Dr. Brooke’s website and check out this article about them:

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