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endocannabinoid signaling

Endocannabinoid Signaling

From “The therapeutic potential of the endocannabinoid system for the development of a novel class of antidepressants” Trends in Pharmacological Sciences/2009 – Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology, The Rockefeller University, New York “Substantial evidence has accumulated implicating a deficit in endocannabinoid in the etiology of depression; accordingly, pharmacological augmentation of endocannabinoid signaling could be a novel target for the pharmacotherapy of depression.” “Within preclinical models, facilitation of endocannabinoid neurotransmission evokes both antidepressant and anxiolytic effects. Similar to the actions of conventional antidepressants, enhancement of endocannabinoid signaling can enhance serotonergic and noradrenergic transmission; increase cellular plasticity and neurotrophin expression (brain growth factor) within the hippocampus; and dampen activity within the neuroendocrine stress axis.” “These preclinical findings support the rationale for the clinical development of agents which inhibit the cellular uptake and/or metabolism of...

From “The therapeutic poten...

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Cannabinoid Receptors

Cannabinoid Receptors

Cannabis is the most commonly used drug in the United States and is being increasingly used as a self-medicating measure to counteract depression and/or anxiety. Individuals with mood and anxiety disorders have been found in previous studies to have lowered levels of endocannabinoids; hence, the introduction of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) activates the cannabinoid receptors, which offers relief for some of the symptoms of depression and anxiety. A new study published by Cell Reports and a research team at Vanderbilt University has found a way to replenish the levels of an endocannabinoid known as 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) in the brain, which may offer some relief for those who find themselves depending on cannabis to relieve depressive symptoms. Dr. Sachin Patel, professor of psychiatry, molecular physiology, and biophysics, purposefully induced depressive and anxiety disorders in adult mice by deleting an enzyme...

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ALZ

Brain Tour

Your brain is your most powerful organ, yet weighs only about three pounds. It has a texture similar to firm jelly. It has three main parts: The cerebrum fills up most of your skull.  It is involved in remembering, problem solving, thinking, and feeling. It also controls movement. The cerebellum sits at the back of your head, under the cerebrum.  It controls coordination and balance. The brain stem sits beneath your cerebrum in front of your cerebellum.  It connects the brain to the spinal cord and controls automatic functions such as breathing, digestion, heart rate and blood pressure. Your brain is nourished by one of your body's richest networks of blood vessels. With each heartbeat, arteries carry about 20 to 25 percent of your blood to your brain, where billions of cells use about...

Your brain is your most powerf...

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Vitamin D and Neurotransmitters

Vitamin D and Neurotransmitters

Every tissue in the body has vitamin D receptors, including the brain, heart, muscles, and immune system, which means vitamin D is needed at every level for the body to function. Vitamin D is also the only vitamin that is a hormone.  After it is consumed in the diet or absorbed (synthesized) in the skin, vitamin D is then transported to the liver and kidneys where it is converted to its active hormone form.  Vitamin D as a hormone assists with the absorption of calcium, helping to build strong bones, teeth and muscles. In addition to its well-known role in calcium absorption, vitamin D activates genes that regulate the immune system and release neurotransmitters (e.g., dopamine, serotonin) that affect brain function and development.  Researchers have found vitamin D...

Every tissue in the body has v...

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Tryptophan hydroxylase

Serotonin and Iron

Tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH) is an enzyme (EC 1.14.16.4) involved in the synthesis of the neurotransmitter serotonin.  It employs one additional cofactor, iron. The serotonin transporter (SERT) is a monoamine transporter protein.  This is an integral membrane protein that transports the neurotransmitter serotonin from synaptic spaces into presynaptic neurons.  This transport of serotonin by the SERT protein terminates the action of serotonin and recycles it in a sodium-dependent manner. Iron is required to synthesize both serotonin and dopamine, and serotonin receptors are known to regulate iron-carrying proteins.  But SERT had not been previously shown to control brain iron levels.  Follow-up studies with mice where the SERT gene was eliminated (SERT "knock-out" mice) verified a critical role for the transporter in controlling brain iron levels. Quoted from Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tryptophan_hydroxylase http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090127123009.htm Featured Image Source: http://www.hindawi.com/journals/nri/2012/650382/fig1/...

Tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH) ...

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Glutamate

Glutamate

A healthy brain is all about balance.  One one side we have glutamate, which is the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system.  Think of glutamate as a charioteer with a whip forcing the horses in your noggin to GO GO GO.  We're glad we have glutamate.  Without glutamate we'd be dead.  But the problem is, glutamate doesn't always know when to stop.  That's why we have GABA, the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system.  GABA is the groom who takes those horses out to pasture to munch on the green grass and rubs the horses down with a nice brush.  In the right balance, you have a winning horse.  With too much excitatory action you get a worn-out old nag. In autistic...

A healthy brain is all about b...

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Excitotoxicity

Excitotoxicity

Glutamate is the main excitatory neurotransmitter in the body.  It is essential for learning, and for both short-term and long-term memory.  It is also the precursor to the inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA.  GABA is a calming neurotransmitter, and is essential for speech. Problems occur if the normal process of regulation of Glutamate malfunctions and if toxic levels of this excitatory neurotransmitter build up in the synaptic junctions.  The brain requires sufficient levels of oxygen and energy to remove excess Glutamate.  However, Glutamate release leads to the release of insulin, which results in decreased glucose levels.  The amount of glucose in the brain regulates the removal of excess Glutamate from the synapses.  Therefore, a drop in blood glucose disrupts this removal process and...

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glutamate

Glutamate and GABA

Glutamate and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) are the brain's major "workhorse" neurotransmitters. Over half of all brain synapses release Glutamate, and 30-40% of all brain synapses release GABA. GABA and Glutamate regulate action potential traffic. GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter, stops action potentials. Glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter, starts action potentials or keeps them going. Since GABA is inhibitory and Glutamate is excitatory, both neurotransmitters work together to control many processes, including the brain's overall level of excitation. Tranquilizers increase ↑ GABA activity. Alcohol decreases ↓ Glutamate activity.  Alcohol increases ↑ GABA activity. Caffeine increases ↑ Glutamate activity.  Caffeine inhibits × GABA release. PCP "angel dust" increases ↑ Glutamate activity. The result of excess Glutamate or the imbalance of Glutamate & GABA in the brain have been implicated in a number of mental and neurological disorders ...

Glutamate and GABA (gamma-amin...

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Neurotransmission

Neurotransmission

Some key words to help you better understand medications for mental disorders. Neurotransmission, also called synaptic transmission, is the process by which signaling molecules called neurotransmitters are released by a neuron (the presynaptic neuron), and bind to and activate the receptors of another neuron (the postsynaptic neuron).  Neurotransmission usually takes place at asynapse, and occurs when an action potential is initiated in the presynaptic neuron. Reuptake inhibitor (RI), also known as a transporter blocker, is a drug that inhibits the transporter-mediated reuptake of a neurotransmitter from the synapse into the pre-synaptic neuron, leading to an increase in the extra cellular concentrations of the neurotransmitter and therefore an increase in neurotransmission. Agonist is a chemical that binds to a receptor of a cell and triggers a response by that cell. Agonists often mimic the action of a naturally occurring substance. Antagonist blocks the action of the agonist. Inverse agonist is an agent that binds to the same receptor as an agonist but...

Some key words to help you bet...

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MAOI

MAOI

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors - MAOIs Because of potentially lethal dietary and drug interactions, monoamine oxidase inhibitors have been reserved as a last line of treatment, used only when other classes of antidepressant drugs have failed. MAOIs act by inhibiting the activity of monoamine oxidase, thus preventing the breakdown of monoamine neurotransmitters and thereby increasing their availability. There are two isoforms of monoamine oxidase, MAO-A and MAO-B. MAO-A preferentially deaminates (removes/breaks down) serotonin, melatonin, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. MAO-B preferentially deaminates (removes/breaks down) phenylethylamine and trace amines. Dopamine is equally deaminated (removed/broken down) by both types. MAOIs inhibit the catabolism (break down) of dietary amines. If foods containing Tryptophan are consumed, Hyperserotonemia (Serotonin Syndrome) may result. When foods containing Tyramine are consumed, the individual may suffer from hypertensive crisis. It is assumed that tyramine displaces Norepinephrine from the storage vesicles.  This may trigger a cascade in which excessive amounts of Norepinephrine can lead to a hypertensive crisis....

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors ...

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SEROTONIN

Neurotransmitters

You may have heard about the "imbalance of chemicals in the brain" leading to "mental illness." We are going to make our best effort in explaining this..  The research has been difficult considering the abundance of conflicting information.  So I will summarize what we found.. These chemicals are called neurotransmitters (chemicals aka messengers). Neurotransmitters are endogenous chemicals which relay, amplify, and modulate signals between a neuron and another cell. Neurotransmitters are packaged into synaptic vesicles that cluster beneath the membrane on the presynaptic side of a synapse, and are released into the synaptic cleft, where they bind to receptors in the membrane on the postsynaptic side of the synapse. There are many different ways to classify neurotransmitters. Dividing them into amino acids, peptides, and monoamines...

You may have heard about the "...

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AMINO ACIDS

Amino Acids

Here is a list beneficial supplements and foods necessary for the following neurotransmitter's production and utilization: A few words about neuro-psychiatric drugs.  If you are on one or more of these types of medications, do not simply stop taking them and switch over to these natural alternatives.  This transition must be done only under medical supervision, as these medications are extremely bio-chemically habituating.  Also, while the nutrients mentioned for brain, adrenals and blood sugar health should create no problems and will likely be very beneficial, some of the nutrients and botanicals can function almost like a drug. These natural alternative should only be taken with the knowledge and guidance of your physician. The following are botanicals, amino acids and co-factors required for serotonin...

Here is a list beneficial supp...

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NEUROTRANSMITTERS

Neurotransmitters: Serotonin GABA Dopamine and Acetylcholine

Here are four key neurotransmitters essential to our health and well-being: Serotonin, GABA, Dopamine and Acetylcholine.  Heres' a brief look at specific functions, symptoms and conditions related to each. You will note that some symptoms are common to multiple neurotransmitters. You may discover that you fall into one specific neurotransmitter category or may have symptoms of multiple neurotransmitters.  To better differentiate your status, it is important to understand the function of each neurotransmitter and the quality of its symptoms. Serotonin Serotonin is produced both in the Central Nervous System (CNS) and in the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS).  Serotonin produced in the CNS is associated with anger regulation, body temperature, mood, sleep, pain modulation and appetite.  Serotonin produced in the PNS is associated with...

Here are four key neurotransmi...

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NEURON

Neurons

So, have you been told you may have a chemical imbalance in the brain?  What does that mean.  I found an explanation below to help you better understand what this chemical is. "The brain consists of about 100 billion cells.  Most of these cells are called neurons.  A neuron is basically an on/off switch just like the one you use to control the lights in your home.  It is either in a resting state (off) or it is shooting an electrical impulse down a wire (on).  It has a cell body, a long little wire (the "wire" is called an axon), and at the very end it has a little part that shoots out a chemical.  This chemical goes across a...

So, have you been told you may...

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