By: Dr. Lorn Allison, DN
So, knowing lots of fun facts about neurotransmitters is great.Though It doesn’t do much good to know that the majority of serotonin is made in your gut (as far as we know) or that dopamine deficiency is basically the cause of Parkinson’s (Note: there is obviously a lot more to it than these two examples). There is a great deal of excellent information out there on the web about depression and brain issues which is very scientific and detailed. For those of us who are clinicians, this is the golden age of access to information. That being said, it is still not very practical in terms of helping people feel better, much of the information-heavy on details but extremely light on applicable use for the average person.
If you’re unable to find a way to get these answers for yourself, or from a clinician who is knowledgeable enough, then you are still going to be feeling messed up, ineffective at your life and searching for answers.
What you need is practical and actionable advice.
I will try to give you some here…
There are many good written evaluation forms that can you can fill out which are extremely accurate at identifying dominant neurotransmitter profiles. For example, in the Master The body clinic we use numerous forms to identify neurotransmitter deficiencies so that we can better assess changes needed to lifestyle, diet, and supplements which helps us balance those neurotransmitters not only with supplements but with diet and foods.
Aside from the extensive eval forms we use in my clinic, I would suggest to you a great form, available to the general public at www.bravermantest.com this is an excellent form for identifying dominance and potential deficiencies of neurotransmitters in order of importance. No evaluation form is flawless, of course, but this one can be very useful.
I sometimes use this in addition to the evaluation forms we use in the clinic. It is a great way to get solid information about how someone’s dominant neurotransmitter profile helps identify character traits and behavior. This can then be used to help balance out the same issues and most importantly give a person an overall sense of well-being. Additionally, many times I have found that some glandular issues such as thyroid, etc. can be significantly helped by Relatively balancing neurotransmitters. I can only assume, this is because the brain is now considered the master gland/organ.
Here is a brief case study I can recount here gives some indication of this:
A mid 40s male came to my clinic, who had been suffering from depression, mood fluctuations, abdominal discomfort, digestive problems, underactive vagus nerve tone, complete lack of desire or libido, great difficulty concentrating / focusing and exerting physical or mental effort in any form, additionally, he would get excessively angry, very quickly.
This person had been given multiple antidepressants over the years with less than moderate improvement. When improvements were made, he became very physically tired even more than previously, although his depression was improved he was virtually ineffective at being productive by any measure.
He had also seen several holistic doctors and was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue and given protocols for improving energy levels. Again, at times, he made a slight improvement but mostly Not enough to be measurably significant.
I evaluated his previous tests which included blood labs, and functional medicine tests. Next, I had him fill out numerous evaluative forms for neurotransmitter dominance and neurotransmitter deficiency.
What I found, was that his neurotransmitter profile in order of dominance was:
After being able to clearly identify these issues and using appropriate supplement precursors and dietary changes this man had seemed to change completely and was highly motivated very active and much happier and more balanced emotionally. Within the course of one year after making the necessary changes supporting his dopamine dominance, he became very fulfilled with his place in the world.
The amazing and great thing about this case study was that not only does it fly against the current model of symptoms lining up with serotonin but we have to ask the question - could it be (in my mind, I think it is) that we are missing the boat, that many people diagnosed with depression may be depressed because they are actually dopamine dominant and deficient simultaneously? This argument has been made before by others I think it still does not receive the scrutinizing attention it should. I'm not arguing that there are not numerous other reasons including environment, social issues, brain inflammation, nutritional and possibly genetic triggers but when it comes to chronic depression should be evaluated thoroughly investigating all possibilities.
Many depressed people haven’t been able to focus or work on the things that they desire and they have no drive to make them happen. Could it be that many diagnosed depression cases are actually super motivated people by nature but unable to act due to dopamine insufficiency? If so, then in these cases, they need dopamine, not serotonin or at least much less serotonin than the current dopamine-serotonin 10/1 model.
A lack of clear thinking can come from the acetylcholine deficiency or In the case study above secondary dominance/Deficiency. I have seen this many times in my clinic and it’s something that should be seriously considered.
Precursor supplementation is one of the fastest ways I have seen to straighten these issues out. Many times, after solid correction of these imbalances they can reduce or eliminate the supplementary use for correction.
If you are concerned or wondering about your balance of neurotransmitter dominance, I do highly recommend the Braverman test website because it is simple, accurate, and can be very helpful in terms of determining supplementation, diet and lifestyle future forward to keep neurotransmitters in line with each other.
The recommendations for supplementation on the bottom of the page of the test link above are good recommendations but certainly can be combined in better ways for efficiency and reduction of pills, instead of taking the individual supplements.
Many times, A person has a high-stress level in their life because of their circumstances. In this case, they may find themselves needing supplementation for longer periods of time or continuously to offset the high-stress levels and effects on their physiology/metabolism.
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