The brain is compiled of billions of neurons. Neurotransmitters are the chemical messages that are transmitted through one cell and on to the next. They are what allow the brain cells to communicate with each other. Acetylcholine, monoamines, and GABA are three of the major neurotransmitters that affect a beings mental and physical behavior.
The first transmitter to be discovered is acetylcholine, which controls all muscular movements. The neurons from the acetylcholine are sent all through the brain. They are responsible for REM sleep, the phase of sleep where dreams occur. Acetylcholine also helps facilitate learning, controls electrical rhythms of hippocampus and modulate functions. It is responsible for sharpening a person’s perception and concentration. The body needs choline for its memory. Without it, a person can have a decreased memory function. It is thought that a lack of acetylcholine can result in Alzheimer’s disease, which is both mentally and physically debilitating (Bruno, 2009). A person will also be very tired and mentally worn out if he or she is low on acetylcholine because of the disturbances that might occur in the REM phase of sleep.
Norepinephrine, dopamine, epinephrine, and serotonin are the four chemicals that make up monoamines. Norepinephrine is responsible for passing nerve impulses from one to the next. Dopamine is responsible for attention, movement, and learning. Parkinson’s disease is linked to the deterioration of dopamine neurons in the body. Epinephrine is also known as adrenaline and is responsible for the bodies “flight or fight” response to stimuli. Serotonin helps to regulate a person’s eating, arousal, sleep, pain, and mood. Dreaming is also controlled by these neurons. If any of these neurotransmitters are working improperly a person could become highly agitated, depressed or have trouble learning. If a person exercises, the epinephrine is released and a person will feel good and healthy. Exercise also helps the memory by releasing monoamines.
GABA is the neurotransmitter that calms the brain. By having healthy GABA levels a person will be able to sleep and rest without interruptions in their sleep pattern. GABA promotes restful sleep. GABA deficiencies will result in hormonal imbalance and affect the pituitary gland, which is responsible for growth. This imbalance will possibly stop a person from growing at normal rate. If the body is high in GABA if will burn fat better. Low GABA levels have been linked to movement disorders such as multiple sclerosis and mental disorders such as depression bi-polar disorder and alcoholism.
All of these neurotransmitter messages together help to send messages to the brain and if they are all at healthy levels a person will rest better and feel better all around.