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Metabolomics Testing and Neurotransmitters

Neurotransmitters are a familiar topic for most medical practitioners. So are the conditions that result from a neurotransmitter deficiency. Medication such as an antidepressant is routinely prescribed for people who have problems with their neurotransmitters, without trying to find out the root cause of the problem. Metabolomics testing can help you do that.

There are three types of neurotransmitter imbalance: 

  1. A deficiency in neurotransmitters caused by stress, a poor diet, problems in the digestive system or medication. 
  2. Physical damage to the neurons caused by a head injury or chemical intoxication.
  3. Genetics

The reason for the damage to the neurons is less important than fixing the neurotransmission. And that is where metabolomic testing can give you important information.

The Link Between Tyrosine And Low Dopamine Levels

Low levels of dopamine and norepinephrine can be caused by insufficient levels of tyrosine. Tyrosine is converted to dopamine and norepinephrine. The amount produced is regulated by the tyrosine hydroxylase enzyme. When dopamine and norepinephrine levels reach a certain point it signals the shutdown of the enzyme so that no more is synthesized.
Because of the limitation on how much dopamine and norepinephrine can be made from tyrosine, there is a limit to how effective tyrosine can be in the treatment of dopamine deficiency. Other ingredients, such as quercetin, EGCG (from green tea), ginkgo, Siberian ginseng, cacao, Rhodiola and Withania can be used when appropriate to further address a dopamine deficiency.

Low Dopamine and Norepinephrine Markers Correspond With Low Glutathione Levels

When looking at the metabolomics testing results and you see that the dopamine and norepinephrine markers are low, you will almost always also see that the glutathione levels are low. The reason is the nutrients used to make the neurotransmitters are also used to make glutathione. 

A glutathione deficiency may come about through exposure to environmental toxins such as lead, mercury, diesel exhaust or benzene. The lower the glutathione levels, the less glutathione is able to protect the brain and more damage is going to occur to the neurons. The result is conditions such as depression and anxiety. 

To add to the problem, the same nutrients that are used to manufacture neurotransmitters and glutathione are used for methylation. Every second of the day the body is choosing whether to make glutathione or if it is going to use those nutrients to run methylation. It cannot do both at the same time. It will always choose to make glutathione over methylation. Therefore you cannot fix methylation problems without first addressing glutathione.

Metabolic Markers For Serotonin Deficiency

There are metabolic markers that give you information about the status of neurotransmitter levels in the brain through metabolomics testing. Serotonin is produced from tryptophan. Therefore when you get a test result that shows that the patient has low levels of tryptophan, that patient has a problem with serotonin.

The related inflammatory markers can also be tested. Compounds such as kynurenic acid, xanthurenic acid, and quinolinic acid can inform you about inflammation in the brain that could be interfering with neurotransmitter production.

Metabolomics Testing Offers Important Information About Neurotransmitters

Neurotransmitters are an important part of brain health. When they are not working properly due to damaged neurons, a deficiency or genetic factors, people present to you with weight gain, fatigue and depression. 

Before writing a prescription for your patient with depression, anxiety or neurotransmitter deficiency, order an OMX metabolomics testing. The information offered by the results will show you where the problem lies so you can treat it more effectively. Supplementing with tyrosine, tryptophan or glutathione may be worth considering to support patient improvement.