Neurotransmitters play a very important role in our mental state. You might say, it is pivotal in our overall well-being and survival. Acetylcholine is the first neurotransmitter to be discovered and as such, is extremely well studied. It is somehow unique because it can play both the role of excitatory and inhibitory functions which simply means it can both speed up or inhibit synaptic nerve impulses. This particular substance is present in both the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. This neurotransmitter is not only important but without it, we simply cannot function as an organism. For instance, our hearts would not even beat and no blood will be pumping into our veins. The compound acetylcholine as a neurotransmitter is really that important. Read on and find out what else this substance does to our body.
How do Neurotransmitters Work?
Neurotransmitters are what their name suggests, they transmit information from one neuron to another chemically thus providing instructions to muscles to do what they are designed to do. The way they do it is they travel between synapses and bind to specific receptor sites creating different kinds of reactions for each receptor. The receptor will either fire an excitatory response, which means to activate or an inhibitory response which slows down or shuts down transmission. Based on these responses, we experience different effects.
Where Do we Get Acetylcholine?
The human body produces the acetylcholine but there is a compound called choline that is needed before we can produce it. Choline is a nutrient that is a precursor to acetylcholine and is something that you need to “feed” your brain with in order to produce the neurotransmitter. When choline is present our body can produce acetylcholine. The nutrient choline alone can improve memory and concentration by allowing the production of this neurotransmitter. For a typical adult, one should consume an average of 550mg of choline per day. This is the margin by which you maintain a healthy level of acetylcholine for optimal functionality in a day.
Supplementation is Important
Choline is produced in very small quantities by our liver. The amount is so minuscule that its impossible to meet the daily recommended dose from this source alone. Fortunately, we have a lot of food sources that we can get choline from and more importantly, you can take supplements to augment your choline supply. It is important to note that although acetylcholine can be synthesized, it cannot cross the blood-brain barrier. However, by supplementing Choline, you ensure that the brain has enough choline supply to make acetylcholine.