· By PYM STORE
What are Neurotransmitter Deficiencies?
When many people think of health and wellness, they think of physical health: what they eat, how much they exercise, etc.
But one of (if not the) biggest pieces of health and wellness is mental health. Without strong mental health, you can’t get the physical health that you’re after and vice versa; the two work hand-in-hand.
This emphasizes the importance of mental and brain health even more. And when you’re thinking about mental health, you can’t do so without considering neurotransmitters.
What are neurotransmitters?
Neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers in the body; they are what carry messages between neurons.
There are a number of different neurotransmitters, many of which you’ve likely heard of.
This neurotransmitter was the first one discovered and is key to the parasympathetic nervous system. It is responsible for:
- REM sleep
- And more
This “feel good” chemical is one you’ve likely heard of. It’s what carries signals between the nerve cells of the brain and is responsible for:
- Hormone regulation
GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid)
GABA is our personal favorite neurotransmitter. It works to ensure that nerve cells in your body are not activated more than they should be. This results in keeping your anxiety, fear, and stress at manageable levels.
Glutamate plays a major role in proper brain function and is needed in order for your body to make GABA. The main duties of this neurotransmitter include:
- Energy source for brain cells
- Sleep-wake cycle
- Pain signals
This neurotransmitter is key to a number of different functions in the brain including:
You’ve like heard of an EpiPen that is used for allergic reactions. This “pen” is filled with epinephrine that is injected to treat a bad reaction to an allergy. Epinephrine has more of an effect on your body while norepinephrine has more of an effect on your blood vessels.
However, both are key to the way that your body responds to stress; they are the hormones responsible for your body’s fight-or-flight response to stress.
The final neurotransmitter is another one you’ve likely heard of. It is shown to play a role in:
- Sleep-wake cycle
As you can see, the above neurotransmitters are crucial to the proper function of the brain and body; they keep things moving smoothly and keep your physical and mental health in shape.
So, you can imagine that if there are any issues with these neurotransmitters, you’re likely looking at some problems.
And these are called “neurotransmitter deficiencies.” They result when the communication between the brain and the body is disrupted and the neurotransmitters are not able to carry their messages between neurons.
Lack of Serotonin
The most common neurotransmitter deficiency is a serotonin imbalance. This lack of serotonin can lead to anxiety and depression, which are both major issues in this country. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States – over 19% of adults suffer from anxiety. And over 6% of adults in the U.S. suffered from at least one “major depressive episode with severe impairment” in 2020.
Because serotonin plays such a key role in mood, when you have a lack of serotonin in the body, you will likely experience at least one or more of the following:
- Panic attack
- Low energy
- Issues with sleep
- Obsessions or compulsions
- Sugar cravings
- Low libido
Lack of Dopamine and Norepinephrine
As we learned above, dopamine and norepinephrine are behind motivation, interest, and energy.
Dopamine “hits” come from being in love, exercising, listening to music, and more. When your dopamine and/or norepinephrine levels are low, you may find yourself:
- Struggling to concentrate
- Lacking motivation
- Lacking energy
- Struggling to complete tasks
- Feeling moody
- Struggling with sleep
- Feeling anxious
This imbalance can lead to bigger issues such as depression, anxiety, and panic attacks and can even manifest itself in the body in the form of eating disorders, chronic pain, adrenal dysfunction, Parkinson’s disease, restless legs syndrome, ADHD, and more.
How To Keep Neurotransmitter Levels Balanced
Since you don’t want to suffer from any of the above results of neurotransmitter deficiencies, it’s important that you work to keep your levels balanced.
Here are some of the best things you can do for neurotransmitter health.
Whether you have 5 minutes or 50 minutes to meditate, you will gain some great benefits from this daily practice. Studies have shown that meditation increases the levels of dopamine in the brain, so this is a great natural way to keep your brain happy.
This doesn’t have to mean spending 2 hours in the gym every day – simply find a way to move your body that brings you joy. Exercise promotes the release of dopamine, noradrenaline, and serotonin, so get moving in order to lower your risk of anxiety and depression and improve your body’s response to stress.
Supplements are another great natural approach to dealing with neurotransmitter deficiencies (and possibly even stopping them before they start!). Our bodies require proper nutrition to function, so check to see if you’re giving your body all the nutrients and vitamins it needs.
GABA is an all-star supplement you should consider taking to avoid neurotransmitter deficiency. It naturally occurs in the body, but sometimes supplementation is needed to ensure everything is balanced. The right amount of this neurotransmitter ensures that you feel happy, calm, and well-rested.