Neurotransmitters are the brain chemicals that facilitate the transmission of signals from one neuron to the next across a synapse. Neurotransmitters work with receptors in the brain to influence and regulate a wide range of processes such as mental performance, emotions, pain response and energy levels. Functioning primarily in the Central Nervous System (CNS), neurotransmitters are the brain’s chemical messengers, facilitating communication among the body’s glands, organs, and muscles. Numerous clinical studies have shown that inadequate neurotransmitter function has a profound influence on overall health and well-being. In fact, imbalances in certain neurotransmitters are associated with most of the prevalent symptoms and conditions seen in practitioners offices today.
- Mood disorders; depression, anxiety
- Adrenal dysfunction; fatigue, insomnia
- Loss of mental focus; ADD, ADHD, cognitive fog
- Addiction and dependency
- Hormonal imbalances; E2 dominance, E2 deficiency, low androgens
- Loss of appetite control; insulin resistance
Compounding these symptoms of imbalance are the myriad of bioactive substances like caffeine, alcohol and nicotine and many of the medications used to manage these conditions as well as some cholesterol lowering medications. These substances and medications can contribute to neurotransmitter depletion and resulting symptoms by suppressing or artificially stimulating neurotransmitter receptor function.
When functioning properly the neurotransmission system has natural checks and balances in the form of excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters. These are classified according to their effects on postsynaptic membranes (receptor sites). Excitatory neurotransmitters cause depolarization of the membrane and promote an action potential. Inhibitory neurotransmitters cause hyperpolarization and depresses or inhibit an action potential.
Putting It All Together
Identifying and managing neurotransmitter imbalances is facilitated with a noninvasive urinary test. Testing provides a tool to understand each patient’s specific neuroendocrine imbalances,which can be corrected with nutraceuticals, BHRT, diet, and lifestyle interventions.
Information on this website identifies numerous symptoms and conditions associated with neurotransmitter imbalances. It is especially important to understand that there are agonistic/antagonistic interrelationships of the neurotransmitters with adrenal hormones and sex hormones. Changes in sex hormones and adrenal hormones can lead to neurotransmitter imbalances. And at the same time, neurotransmitter imbalances will affect hormone production and function. Testing both neurotransmitters and hormones provides a comprehensive view of the body’s functional neuroendocrine status, and brings to light additional factors that may be contributing to symptoms.
WHO SHOULD BE TESTED?
Neurotransmitter testing may be applicable to both male and female patients. Expression of the following symptoms can indicate neurotransmitter imbalances. Review of the neurotransmitter test menu will help determine which test should be ordered.
- Depressed mood
- Adrenal dysfunction
- Poor sleep
- Loss of mental focus, or cognitive fog
- ADD, ADHD
- Addiction or dependency
- Loss of appetite control
- Compulsive behavior
- Low libido
- Sexual dysfunction
Adrenal hormones, sex hormones, and neurotransmitters are functionally interrelated. Changes in sex hormones and adrenal hormones can lead to neurotransmitter imbalances. In turn, neurotransmitter imbalances can affect hormone function. Including neurotransmitters with hormone panels provides a more comprehensive view of the body’s functional neuroendocrine status, this interrelationship, and the associated factors that may be contributing to symptoms.
Below is an overview of six important neurotransmitters and their respective roles in various symptomatic conditions. Refer to the neurotransmitter test menu for panel options.
SEROTONIN is a significant neurotransmitter, its presence or absence being felt in a large number of areas of the body. Serotonin plays an important part in the regulation of learning, mood, sleep and vasoconstriction (constriction of blood vessels) as well as impacting anxiety, migraines, and appetite. Serotonin is an inhibitory neurotransmitter and adequate amounts of serotonin are necessary to balance any excessive excitatory (stimulating) neurotransmitters firing in the hypothalamus. Other functions impacted by serotonin include metabolic processes, digestion, and immune function.
HHigh stress, insufficient nutrients, fluctuating hormones, and the use of stimulant medications or caffeine all contribute to the depletion of serotonin over time. About 80% of the body's total serotonin is in the gut, in the enterochromaffin cells - where it regulates intestinal movements. The rest is synthesized in the serotonergic neurons in the central nervous system. When serotonin levels are too high or too low, then a multitude of symptoms may appear including depression, anxiety, PMS, heightened pain response, sleep disruption, carbohydrate cravings, obsessive thoughts and behaviors. Serotonin levels can have a significant impact on feelings of happiness and contentment and adequate levels are important to protect against anxiety and depression.
GABA is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter produced to counterbalance the excitatory effects of neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine and epinephrine. GABA is a significant. GABA is a significant mood modulator, essential for regulating norepinephrine, epinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin. High levels of GABA may indicate excitatory overload, due to the increased demand for GABA to balance the surplus excitatory neurotransmitter activity. These high levels may result in a ‘calming’ action that contributes to sluggish energy, feelings of sedation, and foggy thinking. Low GABA levels are associated with adrenal distress and Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis (HPA Axis) feedback dysfunction. Without the inhibiting function of GABA, impulsive behaviors are not controlled, contributing to a range of anxious and/or reactive symptoms that extend from poor impulse control to seizure disorders.
DOPAMINE DOPAMINE is the neurotransmitter most powerfully associated with reward-driven learning, development of memories and for motor control. Dopamine can bind to five known types of receptors and can function both as an excitatory AND an inhibitory neurotransmitter depending on which receptor it binds to. When dopamine is either elevated or low, memory issues frequently occur: forgetting where items are, forgetting what a paragraph said immediately after reading, or simply daydreaming and not being able to stay on task. Stimulants such as medications for ADD/ADHD and caffeine will cause dopamine to be pushed into the synapse so that focus is improved. Unfortunately, stimulating dopamine continually can inhibit natural transmission, reducing demand and contributing to depletion of dopamine over time.
Common symptoms with low dopamine levels include loss of motor control, addictive behavior, cravings, compulsions, and loss of satisfaction. These feelings lead to drug use, drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, gambling, and overeating. These actions are a result of an unconscious attempt to self medicate, looking for the satisfaction that is not occurring naturally in the body.
When dopamine levels are elevated, symptoms may manifest in the form of anxiety or hyperactivity. High dopamine has been observed in patients with poor GI function, autism, mood swings, psychosis and children with attention disorders. L-DOPA is a precursor to dopamine, and may also cause elevations in dopamine. Some therapies utilize L-DOPA for parkinsonian symptoms.
NOREPINEPHRINE (Nor-Adrenaline) is an excitatory neurotransmitter responsible for stimulatory processes for attention and focus. It is produced by the adrenal medulla or synthesized from dopamine. Norepinephrine plays a critical role in survival. First, it relays messages in the sympathetic nervous system as part of the autonomic nervous system’s fight-or-flight response. Second, norepinephrine prepares the brain to encounter and respond to stimuli from the environment thereby facilitating vigilance. In both roles, norepinephrine mediates arousal.
If norepinephrine levels are elevated over a long period, then resulting symptoms include stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, hyperactivity. Symptoms of low norepinephrine include fatigue, lack of energy, reduced capacity to focus, and reduced motivation.
EPINEPHRINE (Adrenaline) is synthesized from norepinephrine, and is an excitatory neurotransmitter that helps regulate metabolism, heart rate, and blood pressure. Epinephrine is involved in managing the body’s metabolic “fight or flight” response, rapidly preparing the body for action, boosting the supply of oxygen and glucose to the brain and muscles, increasing heart rate, dilating the pupils, while suppressing other non-emergency bodily processes (digestion in particular). It also increases catabolism of glycogen to glucose in the liver, thereby elevating the blood sugar level so the body is ready to respond swiftly to the real or perceived threat.
Elevated levels of epinephrine are associated with hyperactivity, ADHD, anxiety, sleep issues, and low adrenal function. Low levels are associated with poor concentration, fatigue, poor recovery from illness, dizziness, decreased energy and depression. Low levels are frequently linked with insufficient cortisol production, chronic stress and burnout. Long-term over-stimulation of the adrenal glands can cause epinephrine stores to be depleted, resulting in chronic low energy, altered metabolism and weight gain.
GLUTAMATE is a key compound in cellular metabolism. It is the most abundant excitatory neurotransmitter and, because if it’s role in synaptic plasticity, is involved most aspects of normal brain function including cognition, memory and learning. Glutamate also serves as the precursor for the synthesis of the inhibitory GABA in GABA-ergic neurons.
Consistently high levels of glutamate can be an indicator of excitotoxicity. Elevated glutamate levels are more commonly associated with panic attacks, anxiety, excess adrenal function, impulsivity, OCD and depression. Low glutamate levels have been associated with agitation, memory loss, sleeplessness, low energy level, insufficient adrenal function, and depression.
The Top 5 Reasons to use SALIVA TESTING at HOME.
Or fill out the online visit form, After you are contacted by a specialist, the need for lab tests will be determined.
Restoring patient health is our primary concern.
No blood draw is needed, no risk to the patient.
The specimen can be collected at home or at work at any time of the day. It Does not require a trip to have the specimen collected.
Since hormone levels may vary during the day or during the month,
multiple specimens can be collected, conveniently offering precise measurement.
Saliva measures the biologically active fraction of steroid, hormone
samples are stable for several weeks.
- LOW COST:
Tests cost less than similar serum tests.
- Insurance Pays:
Tests are CPT coded and third party reimbursable (insurance & Medicare)
No venipuncture (NO NEEDLES).
No biohazard, excellent patient compliance/ease of gathering sample
Convenient home collection.
- Scientific Superiority:
Free Fraction determinations reflect clinical condition.
Ease of collection allows frequent monitoring.
Quick results and turnaround, within 5 to 7 working days.
Free courtesy consultations with one of our doctors, to interpret results and give therapeutic implications.
- The Original:
Diagnos-Techs, Inc. introduced saliva testing into routine practice over 20 years ago, providing you with an extensive knowledge base to draw upon.
Adrenal Stress Index™ (ASI™)The Adrenal Stress Index™ (ASI™) panel was introduced by Diagnos-Techs in 1989 to evaluate stress, a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. It is a simple non-invasive test utilizing four saliva samples collected at specified time periods during the day. Since the human adrenal gland does not secrete its steroid hormones at a constant level throughout the day, the Adrenal Stress Index™ (ASI™) provides the clinician with an comprehensive assessment of adrenal function throughout the daily cycle. The ASI panel consists of ten (10) saliva tests: Cortisol (x4),17-OH Progesterone, DHEA/DHEA-S, Insulin (x2), Gliadin Ab, and Secretory IgA.Overview for Patients.
Female Hormone Panel™ (FHP™)The Female Hormone Panel™ (FHP™) is a non-invasive test consisting of 11 saliva specimens collected during specified time periods throughout the menstrual cycle. The ovaries are a major component of the female reproductive cycle and they release hormones in a cyclical manner which is referred to as the menstrual cycle. The Female Hormone Panel™ provides a dynamic mapping of the free fraction levels of Estradiol (E2) and Progesterone (P) throughout one cycle. In addition, the cycle average of Testosterone (T) and DHEA are measured. The Female Hormone Panel™ includes: Estradiol (x11), Progesterone (x11), cycle average Testosterone and DHEA/DHEA-S, 3 Progesterone production indices, 4 Estradiol production indices, a full cycle P/E ratio graph and an example of a restorative plan. The expanded Female Hormone Panel™ (eFHP™) includes an additional five (5) FSH and five (5) LH measurements.
Postmenopause Panel™ (PostM™) and Perimenopause Panel™ (PeriM™) Menopause is a natural and usually gradual change in glandular function in women resulting in substantial shifts in hormone levels. The Postmenopause Panel™ provides measurements of six key hormones: Estrone (E1), Estradiol (E2), Estriol (E3), Progesterone (P), Testosterone (T) and DHEA, DHEA-S (pooled). The Perimenopause Panel™ contains the same components as the Postmenopause Panel™ but sampled twice, 13-15 days apart. The inclusion of FSH and LH in the expanded Postmenopause Panel™ (ePostM™), extends the interpretation to include pituitary involvement.
Male Hormone Panel™ (MHP™) and Expanded Male Hormone Panel™ (eMHP™)The Male Hormone Panel™ (MHP™) allows the clinician to assess male hormone functionality affecting vigor, vitality and virility using a non-invasive saliva collection. The aging process is inevitable, but restoring lost male vitality is within reach. The Male Hormone Panel™ (MHP™) evaluates the androgen pathway by measuring the free fractions of 6 hormones: Androstenedione, Testosterone (T), Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), Estrone (E1), Progesterone (P), and DHEA/DHEA-S. The expanded Male Hormone Panel™ (eMHP™) contains all the tests in the MHP™ plus FSH and LH.
Food Intolerance (or sensitivity) is an abnormal response in the intestine to certain foods in genetically susceptible/ predisposed individuals. The result is irritation and inflammation every time the particular food is consumed. Food intolerance is different from food allergies in that intolerance is a lifelong condition. Food allergies are transient and usually fade when our intestinal tract is healthy. Food intolerances are not dependent on the health of the intestinal tract.
Food intolerance can occur in individuals from allergic and non-allergic family backgrounds. Food intolerance is caused by a food substance that triggers a toxic reaction on contact with our intestinal cells. Contact with susceptible cells produces inflammation that can result in intestinal damage. The inflammatory cells release chemicals that cause our immune system to release antibodies against the offending food. The main antibody produced by the intestinal lining is called secretory IgA (SIgA).
Food intolerances and food allergies are the same condition. Food allergies are immunological in origin and cause different forms of hypersensitivity reactions. Food allergies are distinct from food intolerances—which are genetically dictated entities.
Food intolerances are diseases of childhood. Intolerances are more likely to be symptomatic in children but are found in adults of all ages, because they are genetic in origin. Food intolerances are perpetrators of ongoing intestinal inflammation, which may eventually exhaust the body’s defenses.
Food intolerances are only present in symptomatic patients. Food intolerances can be subjectively silent in many individuals. Nonetheless, they continue to drain our defenses and weaken our intestinal immune system. Food intolerance occurrence is underestimated in our symptom-driven heath care system.
Food intolerances are simply intestinal irritations. Food intolerances can be more than a local intestinal problem, and may increase the risk of autoimmune diseases and cancer as well as accelerate aging.
Gut Manifestations of Food Intolerance
• Diarrhea or soft to loose stools are the most common GI symptom
• Intestinal hypermotility—accelerated intestinal passage of food which results in vomiting, spasms of the gut and diarrhea
• Gastroesophageal reflux
• Malabsorption—inability to benefit from the food we eat
• Changes in intestinal wall integrity—allows foreign bodies and microbes access beyond the gut which normally does not occur
Malnutrition and Nutritional Deficiencies
• Mouth ulcers
• IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome) Remember—You may have no symptoms and still have a food intolerance.
Food Intolerance Symptoms Beyond the Gut
Skin: Hives, dermatitis, rash, eczema Respiratory: Runny nose, asthma, nasal congestion, sinusitis
Heiner syndrome: A chronic pulmonary disease caused by hypersensitivity to cow’s milk
Brain: Headache, migraine, sleeplessness, irritability
Anti-cancer defense: Folic acid deficiency
Changes in blood coagulation: Vitamin K deficiency
Anemia: Weakened red blood cells and/or reduced counts, which may result in fatigue
GI Health PanelsDiagnos-Techs’ GI Health Panels are a group of a non-invasive screens of the gastrointestinal tract and its function. The GI-1- Gastrointestinal Panel™ and GI-2-Gastrointestinal Panel™ measure 15 or 22 individual, yet related tests utilizing saliva and stool specimens. Additional panels include: The FIP-Food Intolerance Panel™ consisting of the 4 most common intolerance tests: Gluten, Soy, Milk and Egg proteins, The GP9-S-Ova & Parasites Panel™ consisting of Ova & Parasites, Giardia Ag, Cryptosporidium Ag, and Amoeba detection-saliva, and the GP10-S-Ova & Parasites Panel™ which includes all the tests in GP9-S plus H.pylori Ab-saliva.
Bone Health Panel™ (BHM™) The Bone Health Panel™ provides an assessment of bone health utilizing a combination of non-invasive saliva and urine tests. Diagnosis of osteoporosis has relied heavily on technology that shows HOW MUCH bone has been lost. The Bone Health Panel™ measures HOW FAST bone is being lost and the hormone levels associated with bone health. This panel consists of one (1) saliva specimen and one (1) urine specimen and eight (8) individual tests measuring the free fractions of six (6) key hormones: Estradiol, Progesterone, Testosterone, FSH, Cortisol (x2), DHEA/DHEA-S, and urinary Pyrilinks-D (DpD).