With all of these ways to throw your neurotransmitter levels out of balance, you may think it would be impossible to address them all. Luckily this isn’t so.
There are really only two major effects that all of the causes of neurotransmitter imbalance listed above have on the body. They either (1) cause a decrease in the amount of neurotransmitter available or (2) they cause damage to the post-synaptic neuron. In the first case, restoring proper neurotransmitter levels using amino acid therapy can quickly and effectively eliminate the relative deficiency and alleviate symptoms. In the second, more directed therapy, often requiring specific testing can make up for the damage and restore proper function.
Overcoming Neuronal Damage
Neurons are intended to function for life. Loss of a neuron to cell death is permanent. As damage to the receptors and neurons progress the neuron’s function slowly fades until neurotransmitter production decreases and eventually stops over time.
A nerve is made up of many neurons, often called a nerve bundle. As individual neurons fade and/or die, the amount of neurotransmitter sent through a nerve bundle decreases, as depicted here:
As this process continues, a person will experience more and more symptoms of imbalance; these can include mood swings, headaches/migraines, OCD tendencies, decreased focus/concentration, decreased memory, anxiety, sleep imbalances, hormone imbalances, food cravings and increased pain amongst other symptoms.
The Solution: Turn Up the Voltage
As we discussed earlier, the only way to increase neurotransmitter levels in the brain is to take amino acids (along with the necessary cofactors) which can cross the blood brain barrier where they can then be made into neurotransmitters. Increasing neurotransmitter levels through the neurons is analogous to increasing the voltage in an electrical wire, where by turning up the voltage you get more electricity out the other end of the wire.
It may help to think of it like this: when neurotransmitter disorders are present, some of the neurons within the nerve bundles are damaged to the point that the electricity flowing out of them is diminished to the point where symptoms develop. Increasing neurotransmitter levels through the administration of properly balanced amino acid therapy will effectively increase the voltage in the remaining viable neurons in the bundle. This causes the electrical flow out of the damaged nerve bundles to increase to the point that normal regulation and/or control is once again observed. In this state, from a clinical standpoint, the symptoms of disorder are under control.
If this all sounds like Charlie Brown’s teacher (i.e., “Wah, wa, Wah…”) try this: There isn’t a feedback loop in the brain for neurotransmitter production. Therefore, even if 50% of the neurons in a nerve bundle are damaged or destroyed, if we give the remaining neurons more amino acids (in the right dosages), the remaining healthy neurons will manufacture more neurotransmitters, effectively alleviating symptoms and restoring normal function.
In essence, we give the healthy neurons what they need to make up for the damaged ones; when we get the balance right, it’s as though the damaged neurons don’t exist and you function normally.