August 17, 2017
New Dietary Guidelines
for Neurotransmitter Testing

It is well established that neurotransmitters are synthesized from amino acids found in our diet. For this reason, it would make sense that our diets can have an impact on things like mood, energy, and motivation. In fact, some patients may reach for carbohydrate rich foods, dense in naturally occurring serotonin precursors, to improve mood. While at the same time, obese patients with depression are often prescribed medications meant to raise serotonin levels as optimizing serotonin can improve mood and reduce the number of unwanted calories throughout a day. In truth, not all foods that affect neurotransmitter levels are unhealthy, as some nuts and even bananas can increase neurotransmitter levels and may be a very real part of a patient’s unknowing self-medication.

As the understanding of diet and its impact on neurotransmitter levels continues to grow, it may not surprise you that certain foods could interfere with neurotransmitter testing. Recently, Labrix has updated our neurotransmitter collection guidelines to include a list of foods that can falsely elevate neurotransmitter levels. Per our collection guidelines for neurotransmitters these foods include:

• Avocados
• Eggplant
• Tomatoes
• Bananas
• Melons
• Pineapple
• Grapefruits
• Plums
• Nuts / nut butters

As we strive to measure total body neurotransmitters, these foods may cloud the picture, skew results, and potentially impact treatment protocols. In fact, four hours after the consumption of these foods, solely food-induced elevations in serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine and epinephrine have been observed, with some elevations lasting up to 16 hours. While avoidance of these foods maybe an inconvenience to patients, think of it like a fasting lab draw for glucose. If a patient wakes up and has a pastry for breakfast before having their blood drawn, they may falsely appear to have increased glucose levels. The same may be true with the above-mentioned foods and neurotransmitter levels. It’s best to avoid these interfering factors to get the most accurate results, which will then lead to the most appropriate and therapeutic treatment plan.

The NeuroBasic panel (Serotonin, GABA, dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, glutamate) can illuminate frank imbalance in neurotransmitter levels and offer insight into a patient’s pattern of self-medication. For complete neurotransmitter collection guidelines, please visit Labrix.com.

References:
  • Jong, W. H., Post, W. J., Kerstens, M. N., Vries, E. G., & Kema, I. P. (2010). Elevated Urinary Free and Deconjugated Catecholamines after Consumption of a Catecholamine-Rich Diet. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism,95(6), 2851-2855. doi:10.1210/jc.2009-2589.
  • Kema IP, Schellings AM, Meiborg G, Hoppenbrouwers CJ, Muskiet FA. Influence of a serotonin- and dopamine-rich diet on platelet serotonin content and urinary excretion of biogenic amines and their metabolites. Clin Chem. 1992 Sep;38(9):1730-6.
  • 3. Wurtman, R. J., & Wurtman, J. J. (1995). Brain Serotonin, Carbohydrate-Craving, Obesity and Depression. Obesity Research,3(S4). doi:10.1002/j.1550-8528.1995.tb00215.x
Disclaimer:

All information given about health conditions, treatment, products, and dosages are for educational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice.

 
 
 
 

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