The Neurotransmitters which foods interact with and our body relies upon
There are various foods that promote the health of the brain as well as
other parts of the nervous system. Some foods deal with the release of serotonin,
while others are the result of dopamine or an opioid being released or can
cause the secretion of one. Serotonin, dopamine and opioids all deal with
emotions and are extremely important when our body has to cope with outside
influences that may result in stress for instance.
Serotonin is an organic compound that is present in various
places throughout nature including wasp’s stings and scorpion venom
as well as certain fruits like pineapples, bananas, and plums. We as humans
contain about 5 to 10mg of serotonin in our bodies. Serotonin acts as a
neurotransmitter and is involved in various functions including learning,
sleep, and control of mood. Serotonin also deals with social behavior, food
intake, arousal, and motor pattern generation. It also plays a part in the
feeling and display of aggression and is crucial in social interactions.
Dopamine is one of the substances involved in forming
epinephrine, also known as adrenaline. Epinephrine is a hormone that is
important to the body’s metabolism. This hormone is secreted by the
medulla of the adrenal gland along with norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is
also sometimes secreted by nerve fibers and acts as a chemical transmitter.
The release of these hormones causes an increase in heart rate and the conversion
of glycogen to glucose; can be the result of fear or anger. The coined term
for this reaction to prepare the body for strenuous activity is the “fight
or flight mechanism”. Epinephrine is a catecholamine which means that
this compound (a hormone) serves as a neurotransmitter. They are identified
by the characteristic benzene series and the organic compounds associated.
Epinephrine, norepinephrine, and hormones prepare the body for emergencies
like cold, shock, and fatigue. Dopamine is also thought to play a part in
the reward processing and emotion as well. A deficiency in dopamine is responsible
for the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. To treat Parkinson’s
disease L-dopa is often administered because of its like to the formation
of dopamine in the brain.
Opioids are a group of naturally occurring substances
such as endorphins that the body produces in response to pain. These substances
have similar effects to opium and its derivatives. Another one of these
substances would be morphine. Endorphins have pain relieving properties
and there a three types that exist. The three types that exist are; beta
endorphins are found mostly in the pituitary gland, dynorphins and enkephalins
are found throughout the nervous system. Endorphins reduce the intensity
of pain by interacting with the opiate receptors, which explains why endorphins
are often found in high numbers among people who are, troubled by chronic
pain disorders. Endorphins are also connected to the processes involved
with euphoric feelings, the release of sex hormones, and appetite modulation.
The increase number of endorphins after a prolonged period of exercise produces
a euphoric feeling commonly known as “the runner’s high”.