Four key nutrients improve neurotransmitter health and have a positive direct impact on healthy levels of stress. Neurotransmitter imbalances caused by pandemic-related environmental factors have perpetuated psychological distress. If these neurotransmitter system imbalances occur over a long period of time, they can have direct and indirect detrimental consequences on anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder¹. With this being said, key impactful nutrients are creative solutions that remedy the neurotransmitter imbalances and psychological distress².
Pandemic-related measures such as social restrictions and limits on operating nonessential businesses has led to social isolation, unemployment, and underemployment. Social isolation, or long term interruption of social bonding, is a predisposing factor for altering the levels of neurotransmitters in the central nervous system³. Furthermore, data indicates that social isolation can suppress the release of several neurotransmitters, including dopamine, serotonin, adrenaline, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and glutamate, which increases psychological distress⁴. Social isolation perpetuates stressors, which can directly influence GABA receptor functioning, and creating imbalances⁵.
To offset the cascade of these neurotransmitter imbalances, key nutrients stabilize neurotransmitter production and therefore support a healthier balance of brain health, even for those who’ve consequently suffered the impacts from social isolation and other pandemic-induced environmental factors.
Vitamin B6 deficiency is common as a result of chronic anxiety. Furthermore, B6 is involved in the making of several neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Both serotonin and GABA help control anxiety, depression, and feelings of pain⁶.
Because Vitamin B6 is involved in producing several neurotransmitters, it may impact mood and stabilize anxiety, irritability, and increased feelings of pain⁷. B6 is highly involved in the production of serotonin and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), both of which are found to remedy feelings of anxiety and pain. The role of B6 in combating such mood issues is being tested in a variety of conditions.
Several large-scale studies have demonstrated that Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), a cholesterol derived steroid that is synthesized in the adrenal glands, has neuroprotective, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antihypertensive properties⁸. Within mood and anxiety disorders, DHEA is found to be deficient. DHEA also modulates both dopamine and serotonin release within hippocampal neurons, which is key to emotional regulation and anti-anxiety effects⁹.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is an inhibitory neurotransmitter known to help the body balance the excitatory brain processes and help maintain a balanced mood¹º. As an inhibitory neurotransmitter that blocks specific brain signals and decreases activity in the nervous system, GABA produces a calming effect and can help with feelings of anxiety. In addition, GABA has been shown to increase feelings of relaxation during a stressful event. Due to deficiencies of GABA activity in the body, nerve cells can be activated in ways that exacerbate certain conditions such as anxiety disorders¹¹. Appropriate GABA activity promotes a healthy stress response by preventing excess neuronal excitation¹².
Produced primarily in the liver and kidneys, taurine is an amino acid that helps quiet down excitatory signals in the brain¹³. According to specific studies, taurine possesses antidepressant and anxiolytic activities¹⁴. Glycine and GABA production are increased by taurine, which perpetuates the calming of the brain. It also protects the brain by reducing the harmful effects of excess glutamate¹⁵.
Researchers have concluded that anxiety, tension, and feelings of nervousness were higher when study participants had low tryptophan levels¹⁶. Based on these results, low levels of tryptophan may also increase aggression and impulsiveness in aggressive individuals¹⁷. In addition, tryptophan supplementation has been demonstrated to increase serotonin, promote improved social behavior¹⁸, and improve mood and panic disorders¹⁹.
Neurotransmitter stability is key to emotional wellbeing and stress level management. Despite the current social dynamics, these key nutrients play a significant role in remedying this long term impact on anxiety and post traumatic stress syndrome. Vitamin B6, GABA, DHEA, and Tryptophan supplementation continue to present positive clinical outcomes as they stabilize neurotransmitter health. Clinical protocols directed towards the long-term wellbeing of mental health are enhanced with these key simple solutions.