Neurotransmitter Testing: What Can It Do For You?

Neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers of the nervous system, essential for relaying signals within the brain and communicating with all organ systems of the body.

A neurotransmitter imbalance is an underlying cause for the improper functioning of the communication system of the body. Recent medical surveys report that eight out of ten people are found to suffer from neurotransmitter imbalances that ultimately result in general disorders like obesity, migraine headaches, depression, ADHD and anxiety.

Why should I have a Neurotransmitter Test?

A neurotransmitter test can identify and correct neurotransmitter imbalances before they become severe enough to cause symptoms. It can help determine which medication or natural treatment would be beneficial in treating existing conditions.

A neurotransmitter imbalance can cause or contribute to the following problems:
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • ADHD
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Insomnia
  • Weight Issues
  • Hormone and Adrenal Dysfunction
  • Memory Impairment
  • Migraines

The Nature of Neurotransmitter Testing

For nearly 60 years, scientists have been measuring neurotransmitters and their metabolites as markers for a myriad of applications. Recent developments in this field have taken this technology from an academic to a clinical setting, where neurotransmitter testing can be used by clinicians as a non-invasive tool to address nervous system function. Neurotransmitter tests are available to determine the levels of major neurotransmitters, including serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and GABA.

Located within the capillaries that deliver blood to the brain, the Blood Brain Barrier is a single layer of specialized endothelial cells referred to as BCEC’s (brain capillary endothelial cells). These cells play a protective role, selectively allowing molecules into the Central Nervous System (CNS) while preventing harmful molecules from entering. For this reason, it is a commonly held misconception that neurotransmitters from the CNS cannot move to the periphery (out of the brain). In fact, BCEC’s possess transporters whose function is to regulate the passage of neurotransmitters in and out of the CNS.

There are a number of facts related to neurotransmitter tests that are discussed as below:
  • Studies have demonstrated direct neurotransmitter transport out of the CNS, into the periphery, via blood-brain barrier transporters.
  • It is a more efficient way to establish the response an individual is having towards medicines and supplements taken for conditions such as depression and anxiety.
  • Neurotransmitter testing may identify the underlying neurochemical imbalances that affect mental disorders.
  • Researchers have repeatedly demonstrated that urinary neurotransmitter measurements correlate with neurological conditions

The Method Employed For Neurotransmitter Tests

Neurotransmitters circulating in the blood are filtered by the kidneys and subsequently excreted in the urine. The existence of intact neurotransmitters in urine is not disputed, as evidenced by studies demonstrating renal transporters capable of filtering neurotransmitters from the blood to the urine. A simple non invasive urine collection can be employed to obtain the levels of the main neurotransmitters that regulate mood and behavior.

Neurotransmitters currently available for testing:
  • Epinephrine
  • Norepinephrine
  • Dopamine
  • Serotonin
  • GABA
  • PEA
  • Glutamate
  • Histamine 

How Do I Get Tested?

Neurotransmitter test kits can be sent anywhere in the world. This testing utilizes a simple urine specimen you collect in the privacy of your home and send back via postal service to the lab.

A healthcare practitioner specializing in neurotransmitter balancing can interpret the test and formulate a treatment plan based on the individual’s clinical symptoms and unique neurotransmitter imbalances. These results can serve as a guide for choosing the appropriate medication or supplements to provide a more natural cure for depression, anxiety and many other mental health disorders. 

Don’t trust your brain chemistry to just anyone! Find a mental health specialist that:

  • Is experienced in neurochemistry and neurotransmitter dysfunction
  • Provides customized treatment protocols based on symptoms and lab results
  • Provides consultations and follow up testing
  • Has training and experience with psychotropic medications
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