What Are Neurotransmitters?

Transcript of Neuro Nugget Video:

Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers in the body. They are used by the nervous system to help neurons, or nerve cells, communicate with one another. They also help neurons transmit signals to other target cells all throughout the body. Out of all the neurotransmitters, some really stand out more than others because they’re better known or because they are found in a greater amount.

For example, some neurotransmitters are the focus in clinical settings for a variety of diseases. Five common neurotransmitters include, number one, acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter stimulates muscles to contract and plays an important role in various cognitive functions, such as memory. It is also associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Number two, dopamine. Now this is known as the feel-good chemical and plays a role in Parkinson’s disease. Number three, glutamate. It is the most abundant amino acid in the brain and can lead to cell death because of its ability to elicit a toxic response in cells.

Number four, GABA. This is an amino acid that acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain and can also act as a stress reducer. Number five, serotonin. It is a well-known neurotransmitter that is found in abundance in the digestive system.

It is typically associated with depression. These neurotransmitters fall into the category of how they cause the receptor to react, which are excitatory. When the neurotransmitter provokes this response, the receiving neuron generates a new electrical signal known as an action potential or a nerve impulse. It is designed to transmit a certain message or elicit a certain action from other cells.

For example, if you touch something hot, neurotransmission will occur and alert you to the sensation of heat via an excitatory response. Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter. Second kind is inhibitory. This response helps stop a specific response from other cells in the body.

It prevents an excitatory response. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. And finally, modulatory. Modulatory responses can regulate more than just one neuron after neurotransmission, meaning they can send the same message to various neurons at the same time.

They operate more slowly than the other responses. Dopamine and serotonin are modulatory neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are vital to the health of the body and the mind. Low levels of any type of neurotransmitter can lead to the development of different diseases.

Too many neurotransmitters can also pose the same risks. For example, if there are too few dopamine neurotransmitters in the brain, it could lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. An increased level of neurotransmitters that send pain signals and a decrease in the levels of neurotransmitters that inhibit pain signals have been associated with fibromyalgia, a condition characterized by widespread pain. In other cases, receptors can become sensitive to neurotransmitters.

When this happens, less of a neurotransmitter can elicit a greater response. It can occur in people taking medications that interact with specific neurotransmitter receptors such as antidepressants. In summary, neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that help nerve cells communicate with each other. They include serotonin, dopamine, glutamate, and acetylcholine.

Neurotransmitters serve several functions, such as regulating appetite, the sleep-wake cycle, and your mood. Want to learn more about your brain and how it functions? Call and schedule your brain map today.

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Posted on

August 23, 2023