Hormones and Neurotransmitters

Our hormones and neurotransmitters determine how we think and feel. They influence how we are motivated, our eating patterns, sleep cycle, sexual desire, ability to learn and concentrate. Imbalances in hormones and neurotransmitters can result from age, stress, poor diet and genetic influence. Both can be measured and rebalanced through supplements, dietary changes and compounded formulations.

Correction of imbalanced hormones important but may not be sufficient to restore a sense of well being and proper sleep.  Many glands that control hormones are regulated by neurotransmitters that can also be measured and and adjusted when indicated.  Below are a list of some common neurotransmitters tested through our office.

Serotonin
Serotonin regulates the other neurotransmitters and is the precursor to the sleep hormone melatonin.  Adequate serotonin improves mood, sleep and gastrointestinal function.

GABA
GABA induces relaxation, sleep and helps control pain.  Too little GABA can lead to restlessness,    Irritability and insomnia.  Alcohol, barbiturates and benzodiazepines stimulate the GABA receptor and are common substances used or abused in persons with low GABA.

Norepinephrine
Norepinephrine acts in fight or flight type situations and it directs our actions when under stress.  It comes in handy when we encounter a bear in the woods but in modern society where stress is an everyday occurrence we can become overstimulated, agitated and depressed.  Amphetamines are an example of a drug that falsely elevates this neurotransmitter and exemplify the extremes of norepinephrine overstimulation and depletion.  When in balance, norepinephrine helps us stay alert, concentrate and retain learned information.  Without it we can have impaired concentration, fatigue and poor memory.

Dopamine
Dopamine has many functions in the brain.  It can effect the body’s ability to move and can be too low in conditions with Parkinson’s symptoms and too high in persons with involuntary muscle spasms.  Dopamine also plays a role in the brain’s reward system.  It drives us to succeed by making us feel good when we do and it helps to tune out the other “noise” to stay focused on a goal.  Keeping dopamine balanced is essential for those with concentration, addiction or motivation problems.
Estrogen
Estrogen declines around menopause and lower levels are associated with hot flashes and weight gain during this period. Women also need estrogen for memory, skin and hair health and to maintain bone density and sexual interest.

Progesterone
Is made by the ovaries and is usually the first hormone to decline in the peri menopausal period. Some symptoms of low progesterone include anxiety, thinning scalp hair, insomnia, low libido, weight gain and menstrual cycle related migraines. Progesterone also helps balance estrogen and improve the function of thyroid hormones.

Testosterone
Both men and women need testosterone. Women need it for upper body strength, cognition and it works with dopamine to increase sexual desire. Most men don’t realize that the undergo a condition similar to menopause called andropause when there is a decline in testosterone. This can occur in men as early as age thirty causing depression, muscle and joint aches, concentration problems, erectile dysfunction, low libido and fatigue. Low testosterone can also be associated with insulin resistance, high blood sugar and lipid disorders.

DHEA
Is a precursor to the sex hormones in men and women. While there are no specific symptoms of low DHEA, supplementing low DHEA in women can help restore testosterone levels. Supplementing DHEA can also improve mood, immune function, decrease body fat and improve mental acuity.

Melatonin
Is needed for sleep and is a powerful antioxidant. Melatonin is neuro protective and can improve obesity and metabolic syndrome.