How Neurotransmitters Are Measured  

The neurotransmitters in your brain are responsible for virtually every action of your body. These chemicals send signals to brain cells, and the result is regulation of not only physiological actions but also emotions and behavior.

When your neurotransmitters are out of balance, havoc can ensue in the body and in your life. A doctor experienced in hormone replacement therapy could measure your neurotransmitter levels and help correct the imbalances through bioidentical hormone therapy and appropriate vitamins and supplements.

Overview of Neurotransmitters

Neurotransmitters are molecules used by the nervous system to send messages to neurons, which are the nerve cells that transmit impulses around the body. In other words, the neurons send messages to the muscles. There are many different types of neurotransmitters that perform different functions in the body, including but certainly not limited to:

  • Acetylcholine – plays an important role in cognitive function and in the peripheral nervous system, which connects the central nervous system of the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body
  • Dopamine – correlates with the brain’s reward system; alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes increase dopamine levels, and low dopamine levels put a person at risk of social withdrawal.
  • Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) –helps the body rest; too little GABA may result in anxiety and mood disorders.
  • Glutamate – the most common of neurotransmitters, glutamate plays a crucial role in brain metabolism and also helps humans sleep and control pain.
  • Norepinephrine – brings the body into the high alert state under certain circumstances, raising heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Serotonin – known as a calming hormone that aids in the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone; patients with low levels of serotonin levels may experience insomnia and depression.

Neurotransmitter Measurement

Tests are available to measure the levels of most major neurotransmitters in the body. A doctor could test a patient for neurotransmitter imbalances via a urine or blood sample. Not only can testing determine current neurotransmitter levels, but such testing establishes a baseline prior to treatment.

Regular testing after treatment has started may establish a patient’s response to therapy. If a patient is suffering from a psychological disorder, neurotransmitter testing may identify imbalances that could affect the patient’s mental state.

Because neurotransmitters circulate throughout the body and are excreted in urine, this form of measurement is perhaps the simplest, as it is non-invasive. Cerebral spinal fluid can also measure neurotransmitter levels, but withdrawing it requires a spinal tap, which is quite an invasive procedure.

How Neurotransmitter Measurement Could Help

Detection of neurotransmitter levels may aid in correcting a hormone imbalance if testing is done as soon as symptoms begin—or ideally before serious side effects from a hormone imbalance are even noted. A patient may have reason to suspect a possible imbalance if they experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Headache, including migraines
  • Brain fog
  • Mood swings
  • Impaired memory
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Insomnia
  • Depression and/or anxiety
  • Compulsive behaviors such as gambling, binge eating or drinking, and/or addictions

The testing may identify potential imbalances that could cause issues if not corrected. After completing testing, the doctor could then have a much better idea for treatment options, along with the ability to monitor treatment efficacy.

It should be noted that it is often critical to identify which neurotransmitter is causing the problem because its levels are either too high or too low. Some symptoms, such as insomnia, may result from one or more neurotransmitter imbalances.

Speak with Dr. Jacobson Today

If you experience symptoms indicating a neurotransmitter imbalance, call Dr. Edward Jacobson’s office today and arrange a consultation. A qualified doctor could measure your neurotransmitters and devise appropriate therapy to establish hormonal balance. The attorney could also any questions you may have about how neurotransmitters are measured, and what your next steps should be.