We attribute all causes of disease to bodily dysfunctions and disorders. However little did we know that the brain also has a major part to play towards the onset of any disease? Physically, a disease cannot start without the participation of the brain!

A renowned Greek philosopher Plato once said that “ The greatest mistake in the treatment of diseases is that there are physicians for the body and physicians for the mind, although the two cannot ever be separated”.

In this article, let’s dig deeper to know how your brain chemicals dictate your personality, attention, memory and, health.  How balanced neurotransmitters can contribute for a healthier and longer life devoid of diseases.

 

Neurotransmitters – The Blueprint for Brain, Mind, Body Connection

Fixing a small component in the brain can fix many things in your body. Your brain is governed by chemical synapses that pass signals from one neuron to another called neurotransmitters. It’s these neurotransmitters that determine everything we do from physical activity to cognitive activity and emotional activity. If these neurotransmitters have been changed due to chronic stress, trauma or malnutrition, then it can dramatically alter a person’s physiology.

There are several neurotransmitters in the brain, however, four principal neurotransmitters are responsible for determining your personality. All of us are born with varying individual levels of these four key neurotransmitters and generally, one neurotransmitter is dominant throughout our lives. And, it is this dominant neurotransmitter that determines to a great extent your personality and the choices you might make in life:

Dopamine

 Individuals who have dominant levels of this neurotransmitter are highly motivated, determined and have high levels of energy. This is because dopamine is the “happy hormone” that plays a primary part in the brain’s reward system.

Acetylcholine

 On the other hand, individuals with this neurotransmitter as dominant have a clear memory, refined thought process, tend to be artistic and have the ability to see the big picture in any situation.

GABA

 Stands for Gaba Amino Butyric Acid, these individuals are fairly laid back and calm. This neurotransmitter helps to harmonize the brain rhythms and acts as a natural brain balancer. It also regulates the heart rhythms and beats.

Serotonin

Lastly, these individuals are fun-loving, socialize well and easy to get along with. Typically, these are your happy-go-lucky lot who take life as it comes. This neurotransmitter is primarily produced in the GUT.

You can know which type of neurotransmitter you are dominant with a simple analysis test rather than a detailed diagnosis which is expensive and is done at research laboratories.

Naturally one neurotransmitter is dominant and the others are slightly lower, however, all these neurotransmitters have to be present in the right balance. Since an imbalance between these four transmitters leads to potential health hazards, it’s important to maintain the right levels of neurotransmitters.

Primary Neurotransmitters and Role Inside the Brain

The four primary neurotransmitters dopamine, acetylcholine, GABA and serotonin are produced in different parts of the brain:

Frontal Lobes

Firstly, the frontal lobe contains most of the dopamine neurons and acts as the control panel of a system. It governs the response to any stimuli and shapes the personality.

If you lose the dopamine edge, it gets you into addiction, smoking, drugs, overeating sweets or caffeine, binges, obesity, and Parkinson’s disease. Recent research and study have proved that restoring dopamine levels in the brain improves the body’s ability to metabolize sugar.

Parietal Lobe

Situated on the top, it is the thought factory of the brain. It also processes the sensory skills and governs the muscle actions of the body. Acetylcholine is produced here and it determines how fast the brain works and is also a good measure of the relative brain age. 

Sadly our brains are older than our physical age for most of us. However, this can be easily reversed by naturally boosting this neurotransmitter acetylcholine in your brain.

Acetylcholine also acts a lubricant and helps with the thinking process. The term “fluid thinking” is often associated with acetylcholine. Low levels of acetylcholine lead to memory loss, language disorder, paralysis, Alzheimer’s.

Temporal Lobe

On the Bottom base of the brain, this lobe deals with memory and language functions of the brain. This is where GABA is produced and in turn, leads to the production of endorphins or the feel-good hormone.

GABA has a slightly sedative effect and gives you the feeling of calmness and balance within your mind, body, and spirit. A short supply leads to headaches, blood pressure, palpitations, fits, seizures, low drive, and irregular heart rhythm.

Occipital Lobe

Situated at the lower back of the brain, it is responsible for the visual process. Serotonin that aids the sleep process is produced here. It also has a nourishing and healing effect on the body.

Low levels of serotonin lead to hormonal imbalance, depression, chronic stress, sleep disorders, eating disorders and PMS for women.

Recognize your Personality and Thinking Style

Here are some broad guidelines and categorizations of personality and thinking style that will help you understand your personality in tandem with the dominant neurotransmitter. Do remember that one personality is not greater than the other. The important thing is to recognize your strengths and weaknesses and then take the right measures to improve your persona:

Extroverted vs Introverted

Usually, extroverts are dopamine dominated and have increased brain voltage. On the contrary, Introverts have low dopamine.

Intuitive vs Sensing

Intuitive personalities base their thinking on hunches looking for new ways and ideas. They are fast thinkers and are dominated with the Acetylcholine neurotransmitter. Sensing personalities tend to take more time to think and then make a decision and are low in acetylcholine.

Judging vs Perceiving

Individuals who like to take in all the information and then judge based on the facts are GABA dominant and generally very composed. Whereas people who like to make their judgments out of their own perceptions quickly are low in GABA.

Feeling vs. Thinking

Individuals who take to the feeling mode in their thinking style usually have a quick response and also need love or attention are mostly serotonin dominated. As opposed to this, individuals who are more logical in their thinking are low in serotonin.

Attention and Neurotransmitters

A decade ago, attention deficit disorder was never a known health issue. Only in recent times are many children diagnosed with attention issues. Neurotransmitters and brain chemicals have a definite influence in your attention span.

Low level of dopamine can lead to lack of attention. Whereas, if you suffer from memory loss, it can be due to low acetylcholine. Impulsive actions and hyperarousal due to lack of balance in attention is associated with low levels of GABA. If you are unable to grasp concepts quickly or a slow learner, you might have low serotonin.

The role of Neurotransmitters in Memory

Lapses and deterioration in memory is not always a natural part of aging. You can still possess a good memory even if you are old. The prime cause of improper memory function is largely due to the chemical imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain.

The primary neurotransmitter responsible for memory is Acetylcholine. There are four distinct types of memory each of which is controlled by neurotransmitters. The working memory or the ability to record information for ongoing processes is governed by the frontal lobe and dopamine is central to this memory.

Next, is the immediate memory,  wherein the memory from the working memory is transferred to the immediate memory so that you can make a decision. This comes under the rule of the parietal lobe and is acetylcholine controlled.

Thirdly, verbal memory is necessary to understand sounds and language. Polyglots or people who speak many languages are strong in this area and are dominated by GABA.

Lastly, there is visual memory. They are good with directions and can remember a place with its exclusive details. This process is governed by the occipital lobe and ruled by Serotonin.

Bending the Brain Forward

Addressing the four key brain neurotransmitters and their electrochemical signals get to the root cause of any illness and are like the key to unlocking a healthier and happier life. When we bend the brain in the wrong direction, it will potentially lead to health hazards.

For example, if we smoke, eat high sugars, have junk food or overly processed food, indulge in heavy drinking and other unhealthy lifestyle choices it can lead to imbalances in the neurotransmitters levels. Other ways of bending the brain in the wrong way are overcautious thinking, not trying new things, stopping to socialize, having too much coffee, eating too much glucose or carbs.

Detect Brain Imbalances to Improve your Personality and Health

Just like how the parts of a car work together to get you where you want to go, the four primary neurotransmitters in the brain work together to keep you healthy.

Dopamine is like the gasoline and the source of power for the brain, Acetylcholine is the accelerator that regulates the speed, GABA is the braking system that controls and balances out the movements and finally, Serotonin is the alternator that recharges the battery that starts the body’s engine. The key to keeping your brain chemicals in balance is through proper diet, nutrition, and a healthy lifestyle.

 

Improve Neurotransmitters Levels to Fight Depression Naturally

Dr Suresh Shottam

The author Dr. Suresh Shottam, is a practicing naturopath, researcher, author and lecturer who was based in New York for 30 years and currently practices in India. He coaches senior executives in Peak Performance and Ultra-Wellness. His "Uncommon Sense Wellness" workshop has been well-received by professionals and the general public both at home and abroad.