What are Neurotransmitters?
Neurotransmitters are chemicals that stimulate the synapses of the brain. Examples of more commonly known neurotransmitters are glutamate, GABA, dopamine, and serotonin. The function of a neurotransmitter is either to excite or to inhibit the firing of brain synapses and thus to stimulate or mute brain activity. Some neurotransmitters have a general effect, while others have more specific roles in the brain.

What are the benefits of stimulating Neurotransmitters?
Enhancing the activity of the neurotransmitter glutamate may help with some brain disorders because it tends to excite the synapses connected to memory function. Sedatives and tranquilizers are often effective because they enhance the neurotransmitter GABA, which is a strong inhibitor of brain function. Narcotic drugs such as opiates excite the body’s dopamine system, while dysfunction in the dopamine system has been connected to Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia. Serotonin levels affect a wide array of body functions, including mood, sleep, appetite, and learning.

What supplements affect the function of Neurotransmitters?
Certain herbs and other dietary supplements can affect the function of neurotransmitters. For example, 5-HTP can help to increase the brain’s concentration of serotonin and inhibit depression. Tyrosine can benefit those suffering with depression and other mood disorders. A licensed medical practitioner can provide advice about which supplements support the treatment of a particular condition.

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This entry was posted in Natural Health Dictionary, Supplements, Vitamins and Nutrients.