Category Archives: Neurotransmitters

Nutrition for Neurotransmitters

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Here are a list of nutrients that support neurotransmitter production. Neurotransmitters are the communication signals of the nervous system and by increasing and maintain healthy production of neurotransmitters the brain can function properly and more effectively. 

GABA Enhancement/Glutamate Lowering

Magnesium:
blocks excessive stimulation from glutamate. It will decrease excito-toxicity when there is too much glutamate in the brain (often seen in those with MS, chronic pain, anxiety, seizures, and/or mood disorders). It has also been shown to be neuroprotective in animal models of brain injury.

Dietary Sources: pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, spinach, swiss chard, black beans, pinto beans, milk of magnesia, epson salt baths

Organic Sulfur:
Necessary component to generate GABA

Dietary Sources: garlic, leeks, onion, chives, cabbage, kale, collards, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, kohlrabi

Taurine:
Taurine has been shown to help prevent epileptic seizures and be useful in the prevention of cardiac arrhythmias, atherosclerosis, and congestive heart failure. It has been suggested that 1-2 grams a day in divided doses may help GABA production in a strategy to protect the brain or assist in the treatment of mood disorders.

Dietary Sources: Fish and shellfish

Glutathione:
Very important to the generation of GABA. It is manufactured inside the cell, from it’s precursor amino acids: glycine, glutamate and cysteine.

Dietary Sources: Must be manufactured from it’s precursors, particularly cysteine.

Glutathione Enhancement

N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC):
Considered the most cost-effective strategies to increase intracelluar glutathione and is a key component in the generation of GABA.

Dietary Sources: poultry, yogurt, egg yolks, red peppers, garlic, onions, broccoli, brussel sprouts, other cruciferous vegetables, oats, wheat germ, asparagus, avocado

Milk Thistle:
A powerful antioxidant that supports the brain, liver and kidneys in animal studies by preventing the depletion of glutathione. Silymarin is the active compound in milk thistle and is considered helpful in the detoxification process of the liver as well as protecting the liver from toxins.

Dietary Sources: milk thistle seeds

Turmeric:
A powerful anti-oxidant , anti-inflammatory, and antiamyloid substance. Turmeric is believed to inhibit lipid peoxidation, activate glutathione S-transferase, or induce heme oxygenase. Studies have demonstrated that turmeric could cross the blood-brain barrier, targeting senile plaques and disrupting existing plaques. 

Dietary Sources: curry, used as a spice

Selenium:
Selenium is a co-factor for the enzyme glutathione peroxidase, which helps generate glutathione in the mitochondria and has been shown to be neuroprotective.
Dietary Sources:  fish, mushrooms, tofu, free-range chicken, turkey, venison

Norepinephrine Lowering Substances

Theanine:
Shown to be neuroprotective as well as improving cognition and concentration and reducing anxiety and depression
Dietary Sources:   green tea – particularly matcha tea

Serotonin Enhancement

Aerobic exercise:
physical activity boosts the brain serotonin levels. 30 minutes of activity will elevate one’s serotonin.

Vitamin D:
Many adolescents, adults, and elderly individuals are vitamin D deficient. In addition to being important in brain development, vitamin D provides important support to immune function, lowers the risk of autoimmune disorders, lowers the risk of cancer, and is important in maintaining normal mood