Is Your Life Out of Control? Blame Your Neurotransmitters

neural synapseIs there an area of your life where you feel out of control?

Are you a shopaholic, chocoholic, caffeine addict, or worse?

Do you get depressed for no apparent reason, feel overwhelmed by life, have trouble sleeping, or have negative thoughts that you just can’t shake?

It’s very possible that you have a neurotransmitter imbalance.

How Your Brain Cells Communicate

There are about 100 billion neurons in the human brain and these cells communicate with each other via brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. Scientists have found just over 100 of these communication chemicals, but it’s believed they will ultimately discover thousands.

Neurotransmitters control your ability to focus, concentrate, and remember, as well as mood, cravings, addictions, sleep, and more.

It’s estimated that 86% of Americans have suboptimal neurotransmitter levels. (1)

Our modern lifestyle is largely to blame. Stress, poor diet, environmental toxins, drugs (prescription and recreational), alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine can cause neurotransmitter depletion.  

Many brain and memory supplements include amino acids, herbs, and vitamins that are designed to boost the production of one or more neurotransmitters. But there is a big problem with this approach!

If you don’t know which  neurotransmitters you need to boost, you might well be taking substances that could make your imbalance even worse:-(

There are two main kinds of neurotransmitters — excitatory and inhibitory.

Read the descriptions of the top four neurotransmitters and determine which one sounds most like you.

Then you can take the right actions and supplements to optimize your neurotransmitter balance.

Excitatory Neurotransmitters

Excitatory neurotransmitters keep you productive.

Dopamine helps you get focused. Signs that you need more dopamine are low energy and motivation, low libido, needing pick-me-ups to get through the day like caffeine, sugar, chocolate, or other stimulants.

People low in woman with shopping bagsdopamine have a tendency towards depression or apathy, but get a buzz from shopping or gambling. Their illicit drugs of choice are cocaine, amphetamines, or Ecstasy.

A protein-rich diet is an excellent source for the amino acids needed to create more dopamine. Foods that promote dopamine include avocado, beef, fish, pork, and coffee.

Exercise boosts dopamine levels naturally. 

Try supplementing with the amino acid tyrosine which converts into dopamine.

Acetylcholine is for learning and remembering. When you are low in this brain chemical, you can’t remember, become forgetful, can’t focus, can’t follow plots, and can’t find the right words.

You may crave fatty foods. You probably have poor muscle tone and find it difficult to exercise.

Acetylcholine deficiencies are associated with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and multiple sclerosis. Acetylcholine activity is the target of Alzheimer’s drugs, which block the breakdown of this brain chemical.

When your brain slows down, life gets a little harder.
Discover the best ways to get your brain back on track.

21 DAYS TO A BRIGHTER BRAIN

A choline-rich diet will help to produce the acetylcholine the brain needs to stay sharp. Some acetylcholine-rich foods include almonds, blueberries, cruciferous vegetables, cheese, eggs, fish, and chicken. 

Supplements that naturally increase acetylcholine levels include alpha-GPC, CDP-choline, and vitamin B6.

tweet thisLearn which brain chemicals you’re missing and what supplements you can take to balance your brain chemistry.

Inhibitory Neurotransmitters

Inhibitory neurotransmitters keep you feeling happy and relaxed. 

If you’re low in GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), you may be easily stressed, over-stimulated and overwhelmed.

You have a hard time relaxing and slowing down and have trouble sleeping. You may experience heart palpitations, cold hands, and shortness of breath.

GABA-rich foods are bananas, broccoli, fish, organ meats, spinach, and nuts. 

Individuals low in GABA often self-medicate with food, alcohol, or tranquilizing drugs to relax.

They could benefit from taking the amino acids l-theanine, the calming compound found in green tea, and taurine, which activates GABA receptors.

B vitamins reduce the wear and tear of stress, while relaxing herbs like hops, passion flower, valerian, and lemon balm promote a sense of calm and help you sleep.

The probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus markedly improves GABA levels. 

woman meditatingIt’s been shown that GABA levels can be increased by doing yoga. (2)

GABA supplements are sold, but there is some concern that supplemental GABA doesn’t readily cross the blood-brain barrier. 

Serotonin plays an important part in learning, mood, and sleep.

People low in this substance suffer from anxiety, insomnia, low self-esteem, negative thoughts, OCD, and SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

These people feel better with exercise and when taking serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) drugs, such as Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, and Lexapro.

Signs you are low in serotonin are that you crave sugar, bread and pasta, have trouble sleeping, and are prone to anxiety, negativity, and depression.

One of the most amazing things about serotonin is that 90% of it is produced in the intestines, not your brain! (3)

That is why people who fit this profile should definitely add a probiotic supplement to their diet to establish healthy gut flora. An overabundance of bad bacteria leaves toxic byproducts called lipopolysaccharides which have numerous negative effects on your brain including lowering levels of both dopamine and serotonin.

Learn more about how digestive health affects your brain.

To make serotonin, your brain needs enough of the essential amino acid tryptophan, found in bananas, beets, cheese, salmon, and poultry of all kinds, especially turkey. 

Daily exercise, sufficient sleep, and exposure to sunshine will increase serotonin levels, too. 

If you are low in serotonin, you should consider taking 5-HTP, B-complex vitamins, magnesium, and a probiotic supplement.

When your brain slows down, life gets a little harder.
Discover the best ways to get your brain back on track.

21 DAYS TO A BRIGHTER BRAIN

Supplements for Neurotransmitter Balance

Only a few supplement companies meet our stringent criteria. Here are supplements that can boost your neurotransmitter production from the companies we use ourselves and recommend to you. 

woman taking vitaminsIf you have signs of being low in either dopamine or acetylcholine try:

  • Wellness Resources Super Brain Booster — contains acetyl-l-tyrosine (a readily absorbable form of tyrosine), vinpocetine, (regulates the flow of neurotransmitters), alpha-GPC (highly bioavailable form of choline that forms acetylcholine), and bacopa (naturally balances neurotransmitters)
  • Wellness Resources Stress Helper — contains acetyl-l-carnitine to create acetylcholine and clear the brain of the beta-amyloid fragments associated with Alzheimer’s

If you have signs of low GABA try: 

If you have signs of low serotonin try:

Learn more about why we recommend these supplement companies:  Wellness Resources and Native Remedies.

Our Best Recommendations for Brain Health & Fitness

Wellness Resources Super Brain Booster

Wellness Resources Super Brain Booster

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Wellness Resources Super Coenzyme B-Complex

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Wellness Resources RelaxaMag

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Promotes deeper, more restful sleep, and restores natural sleep rhythm. Use when you're stressed during the day and can’t sleep at night.
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All-natural liquid formula acts quickly to relieve anxiety, nervousness, stress, and smooth out any rough edges to your mood. It was formulated by a clinical psychologist to be safe enough to be used by children but effective enough to relieve even the symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks.
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Wellness Resources Stress Helper

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Designed to improve stress tolerance, mood, mental clarity, and memory. It supports adrenals worn out from stress. A nice side benefit is that it can reduce stress-related eating.
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Shop for recommended brain health & fitness products and services here.

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