Orthomolecular Nutrition & Wellness Centers first step is to assess the patients’ neurotransmitter and adrenal hormone biomarkers with a functional laboratory test.
NeuroLab™ from Sanesco provides our patients with 3 primary profiles that measure 6 primary urinary neurotransmitters: Serotonin, GABA, Glutamate, Dopamine, Norepinephrine, and Epinephrine. Salivary adrenal hormones are also measured: 4 timed Cortisols and 2 DHEA. This profile assesses the six neurotransmitters that affect the hypothalamic-pituitary axis (HP) as well as the adrenal hormones cortisol and DHEA. Since the HPA axis initiates an adrenal response, this profile allows the practitioner to assess that response and make therapeutic decisions based on the information. Neurotransmitters are measured from a single urine sample, while cortisol (X4) and DHEA (X2) are measured from four saliva samples, the first taken between 7:00 and 8:00 am and then one every five hours thereafter for the remaining three samples. Orthomolecular Nutrition & Wellness provides a correlation analysis that includes unique clinical decision support and risk management personalized with respect to your patients. Customized functional input is included in each report, as each patient has a unique biochemical make up and variety of lifestyle factors and symptoms. The clinical team is correlating patient lab values to symptoms and severity, medications and dosages, lifestyle factors, medical diagnoses, supplements, and demographics to best analyze these interrelated variables and what this means for you and your patient.
When a patient presents one or more symptoms to our practitioner, they are given the appropriate Sanesco test collection kit(s) to establish baseline levels. Each non-invasive urine and/or saliva test provides a convenient, at-home collection method that encourages patient compliance. Urine testing follows an CLIA-approved technology developed by Sanesco’s scientific board . The patient mails the collected sample(s) to Sanesco in a pre-addressed, postage-paid box. Together with the patient’s symptoms, it is logged by Sanesco and forwarded to NeuroLab™ for processing. Test results are sent to Sanesco, whose expert team of multi-disciplinary researchers and clinicians develops a recommended treatment protocol that takes into consideration the patient’s symptoms, the test results and the over 100 self-reported lifestyle, medication, supplementation, medical history factors. A copy of the test results is then forwarded to the practitioner together with Sanesco’s individualized interpretation and educational comments. Whenever requested, Sanesco’s expert team is also available to further interpret test results and assist the practitioner in selecting a viable therapeutic approach. A key advantage of Sanesco’s functional assessment protocol is testing frequency. After an initial baseline is established, it is very important to regularly retest a patient’s neuronal and hormonal responses to measure changes that occur over time. Once therapy is initiated,the patient’s levels begin to shift; retesting allows the restoration of a patient’s health, a period that may last from three to nine months, depending on the individual and the severity of their symptoms. When a patient’s symptoms are relieved and long-term health has been restored, annual or semi-annual testing is conducted to maintain the patient’s state of health and prevent the return of symptoms.
Baseline Laboratory Assessment
Sanesco’s CSM™ process begins with assessment of a patient’s neurotransmitter and adrenal hormone levels with a non invasive lab test. This first step is necessary to begin to fully understand our patient’s neuro-hormonal status. An initial test established a baseline, and helps reveal underlying imbalances that may contribute to the manifestation of symptoms. Unlike traditional test and treat diagnostic models. Our laboratory assessment includes non-invasive serial testing that allows you to monitor changes in neuronal and hormonal responses over time, letting us make adjustments to a patient’s therapeutic protocol to achieve an optimal neuroendocrine balance and effective clinical outcomes.
Retesting for Neuroendocrine Optimization
One of the cornerstones of the CSM™ clinical model is retesting. Monitoring neurotransmitter and hormone levels throughout the rebalancing process is the most effective way of guiding individual therapy. The patient’s current response can be measured against previous results and symptoms, allowing for imbalances to be more adequately addressed. Targeted Nutritional Therapy will be adjusted as results are viewed and compared. With each retest, the patient is moving closer to achieving HPA axis and symptom balance.Example showing the previous and current values are below.
What is a neurotransmitter?
The brain makes chemical messengers calledneurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are produced and stored in the brain and are released into action when the brain cells are electronically activated. They areresponsible for every thought, mood, pain and pleasure sensation we feel. They controlour energy level, our appetite and the foods we crave. Neurotransmitters even regulatehow well we sleep as well as our sex drive. Psychological stress and physiological changes can cause neurotransmitter deficiencies orimbalances; likewise, the neurotransmitter deficiency or imbalance can causepsychological changes. Neurotransmitters can be easily measured by specialized noninvasivelaboratory testing. Thinking of it this way: it is common to measure thyroid levels before prescribingmedication and to test a diabetic’s blood sugar before adjusting the dose of insulin.Therefore, before treating an individual with neurotransmitter imbalances, it is importantto identify their specific levels in order to recommend the best therapeutic support. Neurotransmitters and hormones commonly measured are serotonin, dopamine, GABA,nor epinephrine, epinephrine, glutamate, cortisol, DHEA and thyroid. A deficiency ofany particular neurotransmitter not only affects neuronal function but also endocrinefunction anywhere in the body. Our endocrine system is considered primary and critical to all metabolic function.Glands such as the thyroid, the adrenals, the ovaries and the testes all take direction fromthe brain. There are many conditions that negatively impact hormone levels, and whenone hormone is imbalanced, there is a tendency for many other hormones to follow suit. Correction of imbalanced hormones is important but not always sufficient. Correction ofimbalanced neurotransmitters, on the other hand, is imperative if clinical progress is to bemade. Determining which neurotransmitters are low and which are high should precedeclinical intervention. For instance, combining poor diet with a stressful life-style is a recipe forneurotransmitter imbalances. The types of food we crave (starches, chocolate or sweets)and the time of day we crave them (late afternoon or evening) may characterize specific neurotransmitter deficiencies. In fact, serotonin depletion is one of the most commonneurotransmitter imbalances in our culture.
Common symptoms/conditions ofserotonin/dopamine imbalances include:
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Strong craving for sweets
- Difficulty concentrating
- Headaches (including migraines)
- Low motivation
- Chronic pain
- Irritability and anger disorders
- Seasonal affective disorders
- Decreased sex drive
What causes neurotransmitter deficiencies?
Weight Loss / Dieting
Dieting is the most common cause of self-induced neurotransmitter deficiencies. Protein deficientdiets may not supply adequate tryptophan, which is necessary for serotoninproduction. Carbohydrate is necessary to deliver tryptophan to the brain for serotoninproduction. High protein/low carbohydrate diets are a two-fold problem – there is notenough insulin and too much amino acid competition, which restricts the basic buildingblocks needed to produce enough neurotransmitters. Studies from major universities, including Harvard, MIT and Oxford, have documentedthat women on diets significantly deplete their serotonin within three weeks of dieting! This induced serotonin deficiency eventually leads to increased cravings, moodiness andpoor motivation, which all contribute to rebound weight gain – the common yetunfortunate consequence of dieting. Diets may also be deficient in B-vitamins and othernecessary nutrients. Folic acid, B6, and magnesium are all required in the process ofserotonin production. Therefore, it is so important to see a health care professional foryour weight loss program where you have the opportunity for neurotransmitter supportthat can help ensure successful weight loss with a healthy program specifically designedfor you.
Long term use of diet pills, stimulants, pain pills, narcotics and recreational drugs candeplete neurotransmitter stores. Diet pills (like phen-fen , phenteramine) use up largeamounts of dopamine and serotonin, which can result in “rebound” appetite controlproblems, low energy, unstable moods and a sluggish metabolism.
Prolonged Emotional or Physical Stress
The human body is designed to handle sudden, acute or short bouts of stress. Prolongedchronic stress takes its toll on the “fight or flight” stress hormones and neurotransmitters.Eventually, these become depleted and coping becomes more difficult.
Sixty percent of all adults over the age of 40 have some degree of neurotransmitterdeficiencies. Aging brain cells make smalleramounts of neurotransmitters. Also, as weget older, the body does not respond as well to them.
Stressors of all sorts can become chronic and cause adrenal fatigue. Manyneurotransmitters are responsible for proper sleep, especially serotonin and are productduring REM sleep around 2 to 3 am when serotonin converts to melatonin, the sleephormone. When serotonin levels are low melatonin level will also be low. Disruptedsleep occurs and fewer neurotransmitters are produced causing a sleepless night.
Heavy Metal Toxicity
Mercury, lead, aluminum, cadmium and arsenic are major neurotoxins. Chemicalpesticides, fertilizers, certain cleaning agents, industrial solvents and recreational drugscause damage to the brain cells and decrease neurotransmitter production.
Any condition ending in “it is,’ such as sinusitis, gastritis or arthritis is an inflammatorycondition. Inflammation interferes with the conversion of tryptophan to 5-HTP which isused in the body’s production of serotonin.
If hormones are deficient or are off balance, neurotransmitters do not function well.Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is a classic example of how low serotonin levels can shifteach month. Mood, appetite and sleep can be severely disrupted one or two weeks beforethe menstrual cycle. Another neurotransmitter imbalance occurs during menopause whendramatic changes in mood, energy, sleep, weight and sexual desire occur.
Some people are born with a limited ability to make adequate amounts ofneurotransmitters. They exhibit deficiency symptoms as children or young adults andoften have relatives who suffer from significant mental illnesses. As they age, affectedindividuals experience even more profound symptoms and debilitation. To learn more about the lab we use for testing go to Sanesco’s website at: http://www.sanescohealth.com/neurolab/ Our practitioners will go over the extensive test results that we receive from the lab to provide a protocol to help balance and optimize your neurotransmitters.