Using OATs and HTMA for Insight into Neurotransmitter Production
There is a myriad of ways in which the production and storage of neurotransmitters can go wrong.
I always like to start with the gut, especially when there is a lack of good supporting gut bacteria.
Without a proper amount of healthy gut bacteria, you will likely be looking at a GABA deficiency or a lack of the amino acids tryptophan, phenylalanine, and tyrosine.
In a low zinc condition, the chances of getting enough dietary amino acids drop appreciably.
And with a low zinc, we know that there is a high amount of toxic copper hidden in the tissues.
So let me explain a bit about how the high copper level is an important component in the gut-brain connection as it relates to neurotransmitter production.
Let's take the autistic population, for example, in which we see a preponderance of the Clostridium bacteria that has been shown through a high HPHPA value measured in the Organic Acids Test that I use.
The Clostridium bacteria first form in the gut and then break down to produce the HPHPA chemical.
HPHPA blocks the dopamine conversion to epinephrine, which happens to be a copper-dependent conversion pathway.
This excessive dopamine becomes a very reactive species that are very harmful to the brain cells while also depleting glutathione, a major component to successful detoxification.
It has been known for 40 years that excess dopamine has been implicated in the etiology of psychotic behaviors and schizophrenia.
Furthermore, dopamine undergoes oxidation in the presence of excess biounavailable copper and iron, which will create dopamine cyclized o-semiquinone.
This toxic dopamine product reacts with molecular oxygen to form oxygen superoxide free radicals that damage neuronal tissues.
These are the same free radicals that are predominant in the autistic population.
So when dopamine isn't metabolized into epinephrine due to Clostridium and/or a lack of bioavailable copper (usually both), it results in an overproduction of dopamine and reduced concentrations of epinephrine.
As we know, these imbalances lead to the vast array of psychological disorders.
Just think about what a lack of epinephrine will do!
This neurotransmitter plays a crucial role in the sympathetic nervous system by regulating the heart, lungs, stomach, intestines, eyes, and sweat glands.
This will ultimately affect the adrenal glands that produce these neurotransmitters.
A lack of epinephrine can thus have a profoundly negative effect on our physiology, as we will see aberrant Na and K on an HTMA affecting the entire mineral matrix.
As you can see, using an Organic Acids Test in combination with an HTMA brings even deeper insight into the health of my patients that helps me to design more individualized programs specific to bacteria markers and mineral levels.