From time-to-time I am asked a question along these lines of – ‘Why can’t I just take neurotransmitters to optimize my neurotransmitter levels?’ On the surface, this seems like a very straightforward approach – something is missing, so you replace it with that something, in this case one or more neurotransmitters. Once you dig a little deeper, however, you find that the inner workings of the body don’t always proceed using a straightforward approach.
Neurotransmitters cannot cross the blood-brain barrier. This means that even though you may have thousands, even millions of neurotransmitter molecules in the general circulation, not one of them will get into the brain where they are needed for proper brain function and communication.
However, the amino acids from which every neurotransmitter is made can cross the blood-brain barrier. As such, taking these precursor amino acids (along with the necessary nutrients needed to convert them into their respective neurotransmitters) is the only way to improve neurotransmitter levels and function within the brain.
This can seem pretty confusing until it sinks in. If you’d like more information on how this all works, please visit: http://amino-acid-therapy.com/neurotransmitters/how-are-neurotransmitters-made/ and http://amino-acid-therapy.com/neurotransmitters/proper-neurotransmitter-balance/.