The human brain is probably the most complex organ that exists in the human body, it is extremely functional and in order for it to work properly, it needs a large number of important elements. Here the neurotransmitters come to play a fundamental role since they play a crucial role in terms of mental processes , the management of emotions and behavior , among others, of the human being.


What are neurotransmitters?

Neurotransmitters are a series of chemical substances that are produced by the brain that have a messaging function , of transmitting all the signals that occur between one neuron to another.

  • Definition
  • What are neurotransmitters for?
  • features
  • Types
  • What are the main neurotransmitters
  • Features
  • Where they are produced
  • How neurotransmitters work
  • Effects edit
  • Diseases
  • Relationship of neurotransmitters with diet
  • Relationship with depression
  • Relationship with anxiety
  • Relationship with schizophrenia
  • Importance
  • Examples of neurotransmitters


A neurotransmitter is a type of biomolecule that is responsible for carrying information from one neuron to another consecutively. It is a chemical substance that has the ability to then transmit signals that occur between neurons through a series of nerve impulses and the process by which they transmit information is known as synapses .


What are neurotransmitters for?

Neurotransmitters serve to carry signals and stimuli from one neuron to another through nerve impulses . Its main functions are to inhibit or excite the activities that occur in postsynaptic cells . They intervene in many of the processes that occur in the human body and depending on them, human beings have the ability to react to situations that arise. They maintain adequate levels of pleasure, well-being, relaxation, control the musculoskeletal system, intervene in learning, memory and are responsible, among other things, for producing happiness in the individual.


Some of its main characteristics are the following:

  • They are produced from amino acids .
  • They are a direct part of the synapse as they participate in it.
  • They are regulated by means of neurotransmitters .
  • They need to interact with a specific receptor in order to produce a specific response.
  • They are produced by nerve cells .
  • They are capable of altering the way in which a certain cell works for a certain period of time or in the long term.
  • They can be released into the blood .
  • They are present in the inner part of neurons .


Currently there are a total of 60 neurotransmitters in the human body in charge of different functions since the brain is a very complex and even versatile organ where hundreds of mental processes take place. These mental processes are supported by a large number of neurons and for these to function properly it is necessary that they have a mode of communication, for this reason, there are many types of neurotransmitters, to be able to regulate the way in which nerve cells are activated.

What are the main neurotransmitters

The main types of neurotransmitters are as follows:

  • Serotonin : it is known by the name of the happiness hormone and when its levels are very low it can even cause depression and obsession problems.
  • Dopamine : a neurotransmitter that intervenes in addictive behaviors and that also produces feelings of pleasure in the body, coordinates muscle movements, regulates memory, learning and decision-making.
  • Endorphin : it is responsible for producing sensations of pleasure and euphoria, it also helps to calm the human being, improves the state of smoke, reduces pain and slows down the aging process.
  • Adrenaline : it is also known by the name of epinephrine and it is a neurotransmitter that makes it possible for humans to have survival mechanisms. It also has physiological functions such as regulating blood pressure and psychological functions such as keeping the body in a state of alert.
  • Noradrenaline : also called norepinephrine , it is related to processes of motivation, anger and sexual pleasure. When it is not at its normal levels it can cause anxiety and depression.
  • Glutamate : it is an excitatory neurotransmitter and is of great importance for the central nervous system, in addition, it is responsible for mediating sensory, motor, emotional and cognitive information.


There are many functions that these substances perform. Some of the most important functions of neurotransmitters are as follows:

  • They transmit signals or information from one neuron to another.
  • They participate in the management and control of human emotions .
  • They regulate the involuntary movements of the human body.
  • They are involved in learning and language .
  • They are responsible for regulating the way in which groups of nerve cells are activated.
  • They regulate body temperature and the digestive process .
  • They keep the sleep – wake cycle regulated .
  • It has an important role in the learning and decision-making process .

Where they are produced

Neurotransmitters are produced in the cell bodies of neurons and are then carried through the axon to their terminals.

How neurotransmitters work

At the moment in which the electrical signal reaches the final part of the neuron , it is possible to trigger and release small sacs called vesicles in which the neurotransmitters are found . In these sacs you can find the content of the synapse , a place where neurotransmitters can move easily to reach neighboring cells. In the cells then there is the union and the triggering of the changes in the cells. They are subsequently released, and then the neurotransmitter manages to cross the synaptic gap and attaches itself to the receptor of the other exciting or inhibiting the receptor neuron.

Effects edit

The main effects of neurotransmitters in the human body are related to the nervous system and to the behavior of the human being, since they actively participate in the preservation of all the vital functions of the body and also have a fundamental role in the processes diaries that are part of life.


The imbalance in neurotransmitters can produce a series of mainly psychiatric pathologies . Among them we can mention autism , depression , anxiety , sleep problems and even schizophrenia . By also participating in the actions of the muscular system, when neurotransmitters fail, diseases such as epilepsy and Shy-Drager disease or multisystemic atrophy can occur . They can also cause behavior and learning problems, among others.

Relationship of neurotransmitters with diet

Both are related because in the diet some nutrients can be found that can produce a stimulus in neurotransmitters and depending on the amount of these types of foods that are ingested, their activity can be improved or affected.

Relationship with depression

Studies indicate that neurotransmitters such as adrenaline , serotonin, and norepinephrine are closely linked to depressive problems and symptoms . Depression is a mental disorder that involves several factors and that occurs due to a series of alterations in the neurochemicals of the brain, mainly neurotransmitters. The decrease in the previously mentioned substances and their poor conduction between neurons cause depression.

Relationship with anxiety

Different neuroendocrine and neurotransmitter alterations occur in anxiety . In this health condition, the molecules that are responsible for carrying information are mainly involved and among the main neurotransmitters that participate to control it are dopamine , serotonin , acetylcholine and GABA , when these decrease or increase considerably, anxiety occurs.

Relationship with schizophrenia

The significant increase in dopamine , norepinephrine and epinephrine produces schizophrenia in the body, mainly due to the abnormal production of neurotransmitters in neurons that produce tyrosine hydroxylase , an enzyme responsible for synthesizing dopamine. Very high levels of the neurotransmitters catecholamines are also found in schizophrenic patients .


Neurotransmitters play an extremely important role in a person’s mood , in their ability to memorize , in behavior , in the ability to learn, and even in the state of well – being of the human body. They are also important because they intervene in practically all the cognitive and motor functions that the body performs and they are also the main basis for the brain to function properly.

Examples of neurotransmitters

Some examples of neurotransmitters are as follows:

Inhibitory neurotransmitters

  • GABA: g-aminobutyric acid
  • Taurine
  • Glutamate
  • Dopamine
  • Adrenaline (epinephrine)


  • Epinephrine
  • Glutamate
  • Acetylcholine
  • Serotonin

Of the sympathetic nervous system

  • Noradrenaline
  • Adrenalin

Central nervous system

  • Glutamate
  • Glycine
  • Dopamine
  • Histamine

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