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How is Your Major Neurotransmitter Production?

  Neurotransmitter Compounds play a key role in our Well-Being.
  Levels can change due to Stress, Hormone Imbalance, and Poor Diet
  Urinary NT Testing can help assess the effectiveness of NT Precursor Supplements. 

Assess Your Neurotransmitter Production

Genetic and Nutrition Challenges can affect key neurotransmitter production pathways.  NT testing can confirm the severity of genetic markers which may affect production.

Key Neurotransmitter Compounds Tested

Excitatory NT’s:  Dopamine, Norepinephrine, Epinephrine, Glutamate.  Inhibitory NT’s:  GABA, Serotonin.  Other key Markers:  Glycine, Histamine, PEA.

Gut-Hormone-NT Connection

Serotonin and Glutamate play key roles in the GI Tract.  Progesterone in women influences GABA, and Testosterone has been linked to Dopamine expression.

Neurotransmitter Video Library

Produced by New Image
Medical Director Gregory Zengo, MD

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Athens, Atlanta Georgia Neurotransmitter Testing Experts

Balance Neurotransmitters when Salivary Hormone Testing is Not Enough

Most new wellness patients at New Image feel fantastic after completing their Salivary Testing and correcting their stress-induced hormone imbalances.  Other patients also adjust diet and lose some weight to achieve success.

Some patients need a more deeper analysis.  Stress over time can than change our brain chemistry and even change our personality.  Extroverts become Introverts.  Positive people can become negative.  Free spirits can become slow, calculating, and even withdrawn.  Often uncovering and fixing hormone and neurotransmitter imbalances allows our true personality to emerge again.

While stress alters our ovarian, thyroid, testicular, and adrenal hormones, the ultimate perceived effect of these imbalances lies in the downstream alterations of neurotransmitter production.  Also, poor quality modern diets often do little to support these pathways as we age, resulting in symptoms that establishment medicine is quick to label as Adult ADD, Major Depression, or Anxiety Disorder.  This often results in a prescription for psychiatric medication that often does more harm than good.

The name neurotransmitter has many meanings.  It can mean a substance that exists only in the space between nerve endings that transmits the message from nerve A to nerve B.  But it also means a family of compounds that are produced and expressed in many different body tissues, not just the central nervous system.  In fact, serotonin, the most common neurotransmitter compound addressed by conventional medicine in the treatment of depression, is found most abundantly in the GI tract.

Neurotransmitter Testing can be useful to Assess…
–Effectiveness of Neurotransmitter precursor supplementation
–Efficiency of Production Pathways affected by genetic compromise
–Efficiency of Production Pathways affected by nutritional deficiencies

Some of the most important metabolic pathways involve these compounds.  Difficulty producing and expressing these compounds can lead to many symptoms.  Yet, Neurotransmitter testing is rarely used alone.  It is best used as a secondary assessment when symptoms persist after balancing Thyroid,

Stress Hormones, Sex Steroids, and Improving the GI Tract stress.  NT testing can be a valuable adjunct to a detailed Genomic analysis when assessing the clinical significance of mutations found in key genes like NOS, DHFR, and MTHFR.  We often test anyone with a known MTHFR mutation since neurotransmitter production is heavily dependent on the Folate Cycle.

While urinary Neurotransmitter testing does not diagnose or treat any known disease yet, it is helpful adjunct to address global stress-induced imbalances and for fine-tuning other bio-identical interventions when some symptoms persist after treatment.  We have also used NT testing to help patients decide when existing drug-based interventions could be tapered or continued.  Regardless, it takes a skilled physician to fully assess every medication and medical condition to truly understand the value of a neurotransmitter test in every patient.  And that means knowing when NOT to order a neurotransmitter test as well.

This is a rapidly changing field and you can trust Dr. Zengo will always stay abreast of the latest research involving useful diagnostic and treatment modalities to help optimize these key compounds to help you feel your best.

Why You Should Consider Neurotransmitter Testing at New Image

Patients whose main symptoms are lack of drive, irritability, moodiness, food & alcohol cravings, and depressive symptoms can also benefit from looking at their neurotransmitter production.  Patients ideal for this testing include:

  • Patients on SSRI, SNRI and other antidepressants who also have side effects and wish to taper off.
  • Patients on benzodiazepine anti-anxiety medication who wish to taper off.
  • People who have tried and failed these medications in the past but still have symptoms
  • People who are hormonally balanced but still have some lingering issues with drive, irritability, moods, and energy levels.
  • People who currently take neurotransmitter precursor supplements (5-HTP, GABA, Glutamine, L-Tyrosine) and want to adjust their supplement dosing.
  • People who are concerned that a medication they are taking might be interfering with neurotransmitter production.  This is a very common “behind-the-scenes” cause of “side effects” attributed to medication use.

A simple spot urine test can be done in the same kit as the saliva test which reveals production of the following stimulatory neurotransmitters:

  • Glutamate
  • Dopamine
  • Norepinephrine
  • Epinephrine

And the stabilizing or inhibitory neurotransmitters:

  • Serotonin
  • GABA

And these specialty neurotransmitters:

  • Glycine
  • Histamine
  • PEA

Results are reported in 2-3 weeks.  Typically balancing of hormones can also stabilize many of these neurotransmitters.  Also, dietary improvements can ensure that we have enough raw materials to produce these essential mediators.  When these interventions are not enough, targeted neurotransmitter precursors are prescribed along the the cofactors that support the production pathways.  Patients who start taking targeted neurotransmitter precursors often feel improved in 1-2 weeks and many then choose to taper off some of their medications that affect their neurotransmitter production.  Neurotransmitter testing is rarely covered by insurance, but only costs $209 for all 6 neurotransmitter levels.

Frequently Asked Questions about Neurotransmitter Testing & Treatment

Is NT Testing FDA-approved?

Urinary testing of neurotransmitters is FDA-approved and performed by CLIA-approved labs.  The testing has been shown in the medical literature to be clinically significant in some situations.

However, many inexperienced providers continue to ask too much of NT testing or assume that urinary NT testing is a direct window into brain chemistry.  That is simply not the case.  If you have had NT testing elsewhere, please bring your results to your visit with InnovativeMD and we can help you understand the significance of the results.

Can I test on SSRI medications and on supplements like 5-HTP?

It is important that you share all medications and supplements that you take on a daily basis at your first visit with InnovativeMD.

It is best to do a complete assessment of your symptoms before you change any medications or supplements in advance of a potential urinary NT test.  If we decide to continue those medications and supplements, we can advise you how to test while continuing to take them.

How are NT imbalances treated?

While there are nutritional precursors to every neurotransmitter compound that we test, it takes a complete picture of diet, genomics, and stress-induced hormone imbalances to recommend the right supplements in the right dose.  Just because supplements like 5-HTP and L-tyrosine are sold over the counter does not mean that you can take as much as you want and not feel any negative side effects.

We leverage all of the data to recommend the right supplements in the lowest effective dose, taking into account any prescription medications you are already taking.  We can even combine the indicated doses of NT precursors with vitamins and even probiotics in one customized regimen for you.