Neurotransmitters have an important job to do. These chemical messengers within the brain are responsible for transmitting signals from nerve cells to target cells in muscles, glands, or other locations. Neurotransmitters are responsible for regulating critical functions such as heart rate, sleep cycles, digestion, mood, and much more. The brain and body relies on a proper balance of neurotransmitters, and health conditions such as depression and anxiety are linked to poor function of these messengers. Here, we share more about key neurotransmitters and why they’re so important in regulating your mental health. If you have a chronic condition that hasn’t responded well to traditional treatment, ketamine therapy may be an option to improve your mental (or even physical) health.
Serotonin is known for its role in mood regulation. As an inhibitory neurotransmitter, an adequate level of serotonin is needed to avoid conditions such as depression and anxiety. Medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are often used to increase serotonin levels and aid in alleviating conditions such as depression and anxiety. Exposure to natural light and vigorous exercise is also helpful for naturally boosting serotonin.
Like all neurotransmitters, dopamine is critical in regulating functions within the body. Dopamine is necessary in optimizing memory, learning, movement coordination, and behavior. Since dopamine plays a vital role in muscle movement, deficiency in this neurotransmitter is linked to Parkinson’s disease.
Norepinephrine is a chemical produced within the brain that acts as both a hormone and neurotransmitter. When you experience a stressful event, norepinephrine is released into the bloodstream. This response serves to increase the heart rate, trigger a release of glucose, and provide the muscles with blood flow. In addition to these bodily functions, norepinephrine affects mood and concentration.
Glutamate is the brain’s most abundant excitatory neurotransmitter. As an excitatory neurotransmitter, Glutamate is an important chemical messenger that stimulates nerve cells. An appropriate level of glutamate is necessary for the production of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is a calming neurotransmitter. Along with its messenger tasks, glutamate also provides an energy source for brain cells, aids in learning and memory, is a pain transmitter, and affects sleep and wakefulness.
GABA is a non-protein amino acid that blocks impulses between nerve cells and the spinal cord. Low levels of this neurotransmitter are sometimes linked to anxiety or other mood disorders, epilepsy, and chronic pain. GABA is available in supplement form, although it’s not clear yet if GABA taken as a supplement is able to reach the brain.
Our body is home to more than 40 types of neurotransmitters, and just a few of the key players are mentioned here. Each is responsible for carrying out an important and nuanced role within the brain. Without the right balance of neurotransmitters, you’re likely to experience mood disorders or other conditions that can negatively affect your quality of life. If you’ve tried several forms of treatment without finding the relief that you seek, ketamine therapy may be the next step. This FDA-approved anesthetic administered by infusion in a medical setting often delivers incredible results, and we’d love to learn more about you to determine if ketamine could be an option for you. To schedule a consultation, please contact our team.