Neurotransmitters are brain chemicals that support and govern development. Many neurotransmitters are needed to create the environment needed for optimal language, social and cognitive development.
Serotonin is a key brain chemical that is been identified in the physiological abnormalities in ASD and AD/HD. Serotonin is made from tryptophan with the help of vitamin C, folate, iron, calcium and vitamin B6. Tryptophan is an amino acid, which is a building block of protein. Children with developmental disorders often show amino acid deficiency including tryptophan. They also have an inability to effectively convert B6 to it’s active form P5P.
Serotonin is responsible for regulating:
- Sensory Perception
- Noise sensitivity
Dopamine is needed for fundamental brain function. Dopamine receptors have abnormal form in children with AD/HD. The methylation cycle provides the primary fuel for dopamine receptors in the brain. Children with autism and ADHD often have dysregulation in their dopamine system. Low dopamine levels impair attention and focus. High dopamine levels cause the mind to race and increase sensory perception which causes an overload on the brain’s ability to process. Dopamine is produced from the amino acid tyrosine with the help of iron, vitamin C, folate, vitamin B6 and tetrahydrobiopterin.
Dopamine is responsible for regulating:
- Sensitivity and processing of information
- Perception of change
- Relaying information
- Fundamental brain function – cognition
- Emotional Responses
- Attention and Focus
GABA and Glutamate
GABA is a calming neurotransmitter. It is created from glutamate with the help of B6, zinc and taurine. Research into the autistic brain has identified an imbalance in glutamate to GABA receptors. Deficient levels of GABA or problems with GABA receptors are thought to play a role in the excitatory elements of autism and ADHD.
Identifying and addressing problems with neurotransmitter systems is a key component to biomedical treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD as well as many other developmental disorders.