Have you ever wondered why so many Americans are taking anti-depressants? Why are so many people, young and old, suffering from ADD, ADHD and other learning challenges? What’s going wrong in the brains of so many people, and why?
For most people, the answer lies in how well the brain is producing the neuro-chemicals that communicate information throughout the brain and body. These chemicals are called neurotransmitters, and when our bodies under-produce or over-produce them, we end up with changes in mood, behavior, and overall health. Neurotransmitters are the relay signals between nerve cells called neurons. Neurotransmitters are essential to life. They tell your heart to beat, your lungs to breathe, and your stomach to digest.
Neurotransmitter levels can be depleted in many ways including stress, poor diet, a high toxic burden, drugs (both prescription and recreational), alcohol and caffeine. It’s estimated that 86% of Americans have suboptimal neurotransmitter levels.
There are two kinds of neurotransmitters – excitatory and inhibitory. Excitatory neurotransmitters don’t necessarily excite you. Rather, they are what stimulate the brain. Inhibitory neurotransmitters, on the other hand, calm the brain and help create balance. Inhibitory neurotransmitters determine mood, but they are easily depleted when the excitatory neurotransmitters are overactive.
If neurotransmitters are so important, how do we keep them balanced? Well, to understand that, you need to get to know brain waves.
Our brains function primarily in four brainwave states
Each brainwave has the job of releasing neurotransmitters and does so based on several factors including stress level, thoughts—whether negative or positive—and environment. If we are not proactive in ensuring that our brains are functioning at optimal levels, it can cause either over or under production of neurotransmitters.
The first brainwave state is Beta, the wide-awake alert state necessary for focus and concentration. Beta is your reactionary mind, and is the only brain state where you experience fears, frustration and negative emotions. Beta activates the neurons that produce dopamine. Dopamine is stimulatory and is directly related to the fight-or-flight response. Too much beta, which many of us have due to stress, causes us to live in a reactionary state almost all the time.
Alpha is the next level brainwave state and is associated with creativity, relaxation, tranquility and daydreaming. Alpha produces acetylcholine, which harmonizes all the other frequencies. Acetycholine can have both excitatory and inhibitory functions, which means it can speed up or slow down nerve signals, but its main function is excitatory. It assists in learning, memory, arousal, and neuroplasticity.
Most of us do our best learning in alpha. If you’re lacking alpha activity, you can have repercussions like fibromyalgia and other types of chronic pain. Children with autism often have little or no detectable beta activity, which is one of the reasons they are often referred to as “disconnected kids.”
Our third brainwave state is Theta. It’s a breakthrough state where inventiveness resides. Theta is on the edge between asleep and awake, and is associated with heightened states of consciousness and super-learning. Theta brainwaves produce GABA, the neurotransmitter that controls the electrical rhythms of the body and that produce a calming effect. GABA is inhibitory and is important for down regulating excitatory inputs, making it a modulating frequency that helps the rest of the brain work optimally.
Most of the population today has very little theta activity due to stress and over-stimulation. Those who do have too much daytime theta have an under-aroused nervous system and will appear dreamy and disengaged.
Finally, we have Delta. This is the state we enter into when we’re experiencing deep, restful sleep. Delta is associated with the production of serotonin. Serotonin in inhibitory and controls electrical synchronicity in the brain, so the two sides of your brain can coordinate your body properly. It is also the state that allows the brain to recover, rejuvenate and balance out mood. Many people don’t sleep properly and then trudge through life with an exhausted brain. This causes an overproduction of serotonin, which in turn triggers the body to flush it out, a cause-and-effect cycle than can lead to low mood and lack of motivation.
As you can see, all of these neurotransmitters are essential to a balanced, healthy life, but if your brain wave activity is out of balance—like a one-man band instead of a symphony—you can’t produce the neurotransmitters you need, which may explain why 86% of Americans have suboptimal levels that can lead to other health issues. For example, researchers at MIT found that people with Alzheimer’s have extremely low levels of gamma brain wave activity (a state of heightened mental activity free from distraction), and that boosting gamma helped clear the amyloid plaques in the brains of rats. In our own test lab, we found that balancing all other brain wave activity boosted gamma naturally. More research is needed, but this may give new hope to those affected by this devastating disease.
Recent research into neurotransmitters has led to a surge in supplements purported to replace or enhance your body’s natural production, but in this instance, it may not be that simple. Without the presence of the right brainwave activity, the body simply can’t absorb the supplement and will flush it out.
So how do you get that symphony of brainwave activity, and thus the right flow of neurotransmitters?
For millennia, meditation has proven to be the best method for balancing the brain and providing states of harmony, focus, and inner calm. But reaping the benefits of meditation takes time, practice, and discipline—which tend to be in short supply in today’s immediate-gratification world.
Fortunately, there’s now done-for-you meditation technology. BrainTap is a powerfully effective tool designed to help you balance your brainwaves and enhance the production of all the necessary neurotransmitters needed for optimal function of body and mind. This technology has been extensively tested to create the perfect symmetry of sound, music and spoken word for the ultimate in brainwave training and relaxation, providing your mind and body with all the benefits of meditation, without the disciplined effort.
You can keep your brain balanced, achieve any goal you set for yourself and maintain the best health possible by signing up for your 7-Day Free Trial of BrainTap today.