Everyone that has been in chronic pain knows that over time, it can get pretty hard to maintain a positive mood. Obviously, it can be pretty hard to remain upbeat when you hurt all the time. But recent research shows that beyond the obvious “I hurt therefore I feel bad” reasoning, chronic inflammation can cause disruption in neurotransmitter synthesis which can lead to numerous symptoms of neurotransmitter imbalance. Luckily, these neurotransmitter imbalances an be corrected.

What Inflammation Does

Chronic pain is a way of life for many people. This can disrupt nearly every aspect of a person’s life – what you do during the day, how active you can be, how well you sleep and even how you think. The reduced mobility, mental preoccupation with the limits that chronic pain can induce and sleep disruption will undoubtedly, over time, lead to a depression of the mood and/or anxiety for almost everyone that is in chronic pain. Researchers may now have determine one of the reason’s why.

A number of studies have shown that inflammation causes depletion of pyridoxal-5-phosphate – which is the active form of vitamin B6 – in the body. Pyridoxal-5-phosphate is vitally important to the enzymes that catalyze the reactions that change amino acids into their respective neurotransmitters. As an example, the enzyme aromatic amino acid decarboxylase is dependent on pyridoxal-5-phosphate. This enzyme catalyzes the conversion of 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) into serotonin as well as the conversion of L-tyrosine and L-dopa into dopamine. Without adequate pyridoxal-5-phosphate levels, this conversion  can be dramatically impaired, which will result in neurotransmitter dysfunction, which can lead to numerous symptoms, including depression, anxiety, insomnia, migraines, mood swings,  and poor memory and concentration. Therefore, it appears that chronic inflammation and pain can cause neurotransmitter dysfunction, which can lead to a lot of the symptoms that people with chronic pain commonly experience.

How to Counter Inflammation-Induced Neurotransmitter Dysfunction

Since chronic inflammation causes neurotransmitter dysfunction, which can lead to numerous additional (unpleasant) symptoms, the underlying neurotransmitter imbalances must be corrected while the root causes of chronic inflammation are being addressed. This involves the use of amino acid therapy in addition to identifying and addressing the underlying imbalances that have lead to a person’s chronic pain and inflammation. Addressing both of these issues at once – namely, the causes of inflammation and the neurotransmitter imbalances that the inflammation has induced – will help a person feel better faster and dramatically improve the speed at which they heal.

  1. Chiang EP, Smith DE, Selhub J, et al. Inflammation causes tissue-specific depletion of vitamin B6. Arthritis Research & Therapy 2005.
  2. Chiang EP, Bagley PJ, Selhub J, et al. Abnormal vitamin B6 status is associated with severity of symptoms in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Am J Med. 2003, 114: 283-287.