Neurotransmitter Testing

By  Dr. Jason Porter - at  September 4, 2008    

Medical research has established a definite link between neurotransmitters and a number of mood, energy, and sleep conditions. It has been concluded that deficient or excessive neurotransmitter levels may be at the root of many of these conditions. Therefore, the ability to assess the levels of various neurotransmitters offers a useful tool in addressing neurotransmitter related conditions.

Neurotransmitters such as Serotonin, Dopamine, Norepinephrine, Epinephrine, and GABA regulate our mood and sense of well being. A simple urine sample provides indicators of neurotransmitter levels allowing for targeted nutritional intervention to balance and optimize mood and create a greater sense of well being without medication

Neurotransmitter testing is able to view the amounts of norepinephrine, epinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin, both in the periphery and in the central nervous system of the brain. These test are drawn in our office and sent to  locals labs such as Sonora Quest or LabCorp. The expense of labs is generally covered under most insurance plans. Samples are drawn twice to compare results at resting conditions and under stress. First after lying quietly for 20 minutes, and secondly after moving five minutes from a resting position. Levels of norepinephrine and epinephrine are compared along with levels of serotonin to determine how the brain is handling stress and the underlying deficiencies or causes of depression, insomnia, or anxiety.

Once treatment is initiated with the use of targeted amino acids and sometimes low doses of antidepressants(typically 1/5th the average dose prescribed), labs can be repeated every 3-4 weeks to evaluate whether the targeted treatment has improved neurotransmitter levels and activity. Our high success rate of treatment of depression and other disorders of mood hinges upon exact evaluation of levels of the neurotransmitters involved in depression and anxiety. The guesswork is removed when we see the numbers. At that point we know what to do and we can expect a positive outcome as treatment is initiated.

Once a patient’s neurotransmitter are restored to optimal and balanced levels, a maintenance protocol is designed to help the patient remain disease or symptom free. In most cases we are able to treat without the use of any medication at all, which is exciting for many due to the side effects associated with typical antidepressants.



Dr. Jason Porter

Dr. Jason Porter

Dr. Porter is a graduate of the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Arizona, and a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), the Arizona Naturopathic Medical Association (AzNMA), the Naturopathic Association of Therapeutic Injection (NATI), and the American College for the Advancement of Medicine (ACAM) where he is certified in chelation therapy. Dr. Porter is also a supervising physician at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine where he teaches Naturopathic Medical Students methods for treatment of chronic pain conditions and disease prevention for longevity and improvement in quality of life.

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