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Is it possible to test for imbalanced neurotransmitters?

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Is there a way to test if there is the correct balance of neurotransmitters? Also, is there a way to correct the amount if they are imbalanced? Since there are so many, how would one be able to locate what is imbalanced?

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Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a very good way to test neurotransmitter levels. There are a vast number of websites selling urine tests to detect neurotransmitter imbalances, but it's highly unlikely these are effective. They do indeed register levels of serotonin and dopamine in the urine. The problem, according to several American Medical Association-approved studies, is that they do not measure neurotransmitter levels in the brain; they measure the levels of these chemicals that are produced elsewhere in the body (i.e. the kidneys), which have no known effect on brain function.

The current thinking that neurotransmitter imbalances are the cause of depression and other mental health concerns is largely based on the results of current treatments. For example, the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI's), a very popular class of anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication, work by affecting the nerve's ability to reabsorb the serotonin released into the synapse during signal transmission. As a result, the serotonin is active for a longer time. Because ...

Solution Summary

Discusses the action of various neurotransmitters in the brain and the difficulties in determining "correct" levels. Also discusses the action of several chemicals on neurotransmitter activity and what this tells us about neurotransmitter function.

See Also This Related BrainMass Solution

Urine Tests & Neurotransmitters

The urine tests can only test neurotransmitters in the body and not the brain. The brain is so compact and complex that it would be very difficult to completely test everything in the brain.


1. Please provide a chart of some kind stating the correct balance of neurotransmitters? There wouldn't be a way to exactly check a human to that chart but if there was some sort of idea out there that like that, it sounds like there has to be some mistakes in this area before there are treatments and a complete knowledge on these neurotransmitters. Is there any other type of testing out there besides the urine test?

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