Neurotransmitters are a class of chemical messengers in the body that help regulate many body functions. Most people have heard of several common neurotransmitters, including serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) and are familiar with some of their functions in regards to mood and sleep. What many people do not know is that your neurotransmitter balance may dramatically affect your ability to lose and maintain your weight.
Neurotransmitters, Cravings & Addictions
Neurotransmitters not only regulate your mood and hormone levels, they also directly impact your appetite, cravings and sleep. More specifically, if your serotonin levels are low, not only will your mood suffer, you will also be much more likely to crave carbohydrates, especially in the mid‐afternoon and evening. This will make it particularly difficult to lose weight, because your will power is no match for your brain chemistry and you will eventually ‘blow’ a diet and give into the cravings.
Once more, low dopamine levels can cause binging behavior, and are at the root of many addictive‐type behaviors ‐ including addictions to various foods, alcohol, drugs, and actions ‐ all of which will thwart any attempt at losing weight through traditional weight loss methods. In addition, low dopamine levels will dramatically increase your appetite, so you will want to (and eventually will) eat more than your bodily needs warrant, causing you to gain weight.
The key to being able to reduce and eliminate your cravings and appetite is often found in rebalancing your neurotransmitters. This begins with identifying if any of the factors above are at the root of your imbalances so we can prevent further depletion. Next, we must give the body the nutrients it needs to restore your neurotransmitter levels.
Neurotransmitters are made in the body from specific amino acids and cofactors, like B‐vitamins, selenium, and other vitamins and minerals. Given the right proportions of each of these nutrients at the right time, the body will make the neurotransmitters it needs.
By identifying and addressing your neurotransmitter levels you can effectively and efficiently control your cravings and appetite in addition to eliminating depression, helping improve your quality of sleep and rebalancing your hormone levels.