ADHD Neurotransmitters: Precursors Defined

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September 2, 2012
ADHD Insights – Diagnosis By Appearances
September 4, 2012

ADHD Insights: Specific ADHD Neurotransmitters Require Specific Attention 

English: Drawing illustrating the process of s...

Forget symptoms, like the banal hyperactive, inattentive and combined forms of ADHD, we're talking neurotransmitters here at CorePsych Blog, and have been for some time. While neurotransmitters are only a part of the healthy-brain-function picture, they are an important part.

For the new, improved, ADHD understandings and assessment opportunities the Main ADHD neurotransmitters, dopamine, norepinephrine, now include glutamate and PEA. Prefrontal cortex function depends upon effective balance of these busy working-memory connections.

Why Think About Those “Precursors?”

Precursors are predecessors – they come before neurotransmitters in neurotransmitter development. Remember: neurotransmitters don't live forever, they turn over, they degrade, in a surprisingly short time, and need to be refreshed: degradation = half life. Specific neurotransmitter precursors provide essential amino acid building blocks to form adequate amounts of fresh neurotransmitters. Without neurotransmitter balance, no meds, no NFB, no supplements work.

Most of the referrals to functional medicine, integrative, holistic practitioners are complex cases, failures at the limitations of traditional, limited, “synaptic” focus. The problem over there on that side of the fence: few really understand neurotransmitter modification in the first place. The solution: comprehensive appreciation, understanding on both sides of the fence – actually of the entire field the fences surround.

Measure Neurotransmitters – Consider Adding Precursors

If we measure and add we can significantly improve our understanding, and help the function of those neurotransmitter systems that suffer downstream from inadequate precursors caused by upstream immune dysregulations, diet insufficiencies, insufficient breakfast protein, trace element imbalances, and a variety of measurable biomedical influences.

Balanced neurotransmitters require both initial neurotransmitter measurement and then precursor additions to rebuild insufficient neurotransmitter supplies for each/any of the 4 ADHD neurotransmitters listed above.

Yes, it's more complicated than this simple review, but this is a start down the neurotransmitter precursor path! First the language, then the process.

Happy Holiday! Hope you're having a great weekend with your families – wherever you are!




  1. […] broken foundation photo as the likely outcome of years without breakfast.  Your brain and your neurotransmitter systems, measured on peer-reviewed, double-blind studies deteriorate without those protein […]

  2. Pamela says:

    Further question on Candida – my 16-year-old daughter tested slightly elevated for arabinose, a yeast overgrowth marker, on the Great Plains OATS testing. I reviewed the adult Candida questionnaire, but she has not had many of the typical yeast symptoms (thrush, yeast infections etc) She is now taking a probiotic. Is there something else we should be doing for her to combat Candida? She is on Zoloft and Adderall (new) but continues to have significant mood swings, anger outbursts and confusion.

    • Pamela,
      I’ve see this same phenomenon many times and we always chase down more aggressively that yeast connection if the meds aren’t working predictably. Candida remains one of the most relevant closet contributions to treatment failure. Then we chase down trace elements!

  3. Jimmy Choo says:

    I need some urgent help and advice as I have come to the end of my tether. I have read ADHD medication rules and It has shed light on my problems to an immeasurable degree – I suffer from Depression and ADHD and have been taking Effexor XR and Vyvanse dialled in carefully.

    They worked for 2 weeks but now it feels like I am taking no drugs at all – all my original symptoms have worsened significantly. I feel complete avolition, apathy, anhedonia and lack of motivation / drive.

    I am sure that I have no neurotransmitters – otherwise these medications would be helping.. I have had an IgG test and have eliminated those foods months ago and I eat plenty of protein!

    What should be my next step?

    • Jimmy,
      Sounds like you’re on the right track, but my first impression, having experienced this type of failure many times myself: your team is missing something with neurobiological consequences. My first guesses are two:
      1. Trace elements can create challenges as they often become unbalanced after years of immunity challenges – see TMA on tests14, next.
      2. Must test for Candida – the villain in the alley that lurks in the darkness of an otherwise beautiful evening. Questionnaire here: – Further, see this testing protocol here at OATS on the second page with links to an explanatory video:

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