Folic acid and vitamin B12 are involved in the synthesis of serotonin and other neurotransmitters. Vitamin B12 deficiency has been found in many patients who have depression or decreased attention, concentration, and memory.
Getting enough sleep, exercising, listening to music, meditating, and spending time in the sun can all boost dopamine levels. Overall, a balanced diet and lifestyle can go a long way in increasing your body's natural production of dopamine and helping your brain function at its best.
In general, there are many nutrients essential to the synthesis and regulation of neurotransmitters, including amino acids, choline, vitamin C, B-vitamins, large amino acids (i.e., valine, leucine, isoleucine, phenylalanine), zinc, iron, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D.
In addition to various amino acids, several B vitamins, including thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, and vitamin B12, are needed as cofactors for the synthesis of neurotransmitters.
B12 acts as a cofactor in synthesis of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, thus B12 deficiency affects mood, emotions and sleeping and can lead to psychiatric disorders.
Drugs interfere with the way neurons send, receive, and process signals via neurotransmitters. Some drugs, such as marijuana and heroin, can activate neurons because their chemical structure mimics that of a natural neurotransmitter in the body.
Amino Acid Therapy
Using specific amino acid supplements is a natural way to help optimize neurotransmitter balance. Supplementation may also complement or eliminate the need for anti-depressants and other psychiatric medications, and can help restore positive outlook and overall function.
Unless the physical damage is irreversible, which is very rare, you can heal your neurotransmitters. Understanding what caused the damage helps lead to resolution.
Diet. Maintaining a healthy balance of neurotransmitters requires a healthy balanced diet. This provides the brain with the necessary neurochemical building blocks, as well as the appropriate chemicals which are required to support their synthesis, transportation and degradation.
Neurotransmitter deficiencies are rare neurological disorders with clinical onset during childhood. The disorders are caused by genetic defects in the enzymes involved in synthesis, degradation, or transport of neurotransmitters or by defects in the cofactor biosynthesis such as tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4).
Genetics, environment, chemicals and nutritional deficiencies are a few factors that can result in over- or under-production of neurotransmitters. Once out of balance, the nervous system begins to compensate – which, in time, can lead to neurological or psychological symptoms.
Fortunately, the seven “small molecule” neurotransmitters (acetylcholine, dopamine, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), glutamate, histamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin) do the majority of the work.
What foods contain these neurotransmitters? Dopamine production increases when people eat foods like chocolate, almonds, apples, peanuts, and olive oil. Oranges, grapes, and animal proteins boost endorphin levels. For increased serotonin production, try eating more salmon, milk, and pineapples.
“Some improvements are seen after 3 months, such as some improvement in [the] prefrontal cortex and the ability to make better decisions,” says Lopez. “In general, though, it's thought that the dopamine levels which are at the center of reward systems take about 12-14 months to return to normal levels”.
Treatment for Chemical Imbalances
Therapy may involve different treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), or family-focused therapy. Medications used to treat chemical imbalances include antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers.
Serotonin Serotonin may be the most well-known neurotransmitter. Low levels of serotonin are linked to both anxiety and depression.
When we don't have enough of them we don't feel alive, we have difficulty initiating or completing tasks, poor concentration, no energy, and lack of motivation. Low neurotransmitter levels drive us to use drugs (self medicate) or alcohol, smoke cigarettes, gamble, and overeat.
Neurotransmitter release is blocked intracellularly by botulinum neurotoxin, and this requires uptake of both toxin polypeptides by a process mediated by the larger chain. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.
Vitamin D supplements don't contain tryptophan, so they won't directly cause your body to make more serotonin. They may still help individuals with low serotonin, however, because the vitamin acts as a hormone that helps release neurotransmitters, including serotonin.