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Functional Assessment of Urinary Neuro-biogenic Amines—A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE 

15

Endogenous Effects

Lifestyle and environment may con-

tribute to neurotransmitter function or

imbalance. Altered patterns of urinary

neurotransmitters may highlight the

need for precursor amino acids or nu-

tritional cofactors essential for synthe-

sis and metabolism. The assimilation

and absorption of nutrients requires

a healthy digestive tract and a healthy

microbiome (the presence of expect-

ed and beneficial microbes in the gas-

trointestinal tract). The metabolism of

neurotransmitters requires functional

detoxification pathways and metabolic

enzymes. Neurotransmitter levels may

be influenced by diet, medications, nu-

trition status, lifestyle and other factors

such as high sodium intake, age, gen-

der, body mass index, kidney function,

detoxification capacity, environmental

exposures, infection, tobacco use, stress

and inheritance.

Diet

Foods and beverages may contain

neuro-active molecules that may bind

to neurotransmitter receptors and alter

neurotransmitter levels or have other ef-

fects. Monosodium glutamate (MSG), a

common food flavoring agent, is known

to bind to glutamate receptors. Disorders

of digestion and absorption may result

in malnutrition; low levels of amino

acid precursors and enzyme nutrient

cofactors may affect neurotransmitter

synthesis or metabolism. The gastroin-

testinal bacteria (microbiome) may also

synthesize and metabolize neuro-active

compounds. A healthy microbiome may

contribute to neurotransmitter balance

through gut-brain-microbiome commu-

nications. A diet full of nuts, seeds, le-

gumes, fresh fruits and vegetables pro-

vides the fibers required by beneficial

and expected flora. (See

Digestion and

Absorption

section.)

Due to the industrialization and

over-processing of food, the diet is now

a potential avenue of exposure to mono-

sodium glutamate (MSG), preservatives,

artificial colors and flavors. Calorie-

dense, nutritionally depleted foods are

common fare, and diets rich in such pro-

cessed foods have been associated with

depression and behavior issues in some

studies. Research continues in this area.

Diets that eliminate allergens

and intolerances (oligoantigenic

or “elimination” diet) have been

shown to decrease attention deficit

hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

symptoms in multiple studies.

One study from the Netherlands

correlated the elimination diet,