Others gotten neurotransmitter levels checked?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by an1000, Oct 20, 2009.

  1. an1000

    an1000 New Member

    I have gotten testesd twice by NeuroScience Lab. I thought it was interesting how incredibly low my serotonin levels were, both when I was tested while on SSRI medication, and when off.

    When I was free of SSRIs my level was absurdly low (27.6, with an optimal range of 175-225)

    Even when on 10 mg of Lexapro my level was only 67.7

    I'd be curious to see the levels of others who have CFS.

    P.S. All my other neurotransmitter levels were either normal or very close to normal.
    [This Message was Edited on 10/20/2009]
  2. gapsych

    gapsych New Member


    I thought that the level of serotonin in your blood does not correlate with the level of serotonin in the brain, but that might be incorrect.

    Is this a standard test? Why don't doctor's use it for diagnosing depressing.

    Anyone? I would be interested in knowing.

    Thanks.
    gap
  3. zeowa

    zeowa New Member

    I think over half of one's available neurotransmitters are in the gut at any given time, so what is being tested? This is very interesting indeed. I have never heard of a doctor willing to test such levels.

    Wouldn't surprise me if the technology exists and Dr.'s just don't request it though...
  4. sorekitty

    sorekitty New Member

    gap, I agree. My dr told me that blood levels of serotonin doesn't correlate with the level of serotonin in the brain.

    I *WISH* they had a test for this! Please if anyone let us know is there is one.

    It is horrible to try an SSRI and have to wait and see if it works and if your side effects are intorlerable or not and then move on to the next. Then once you find one that works and it stops working you get to start the process all over again.

    Right now I'm weaning off prozac and am disgusted with it all. I don't feel like trying anything again. i have tried so many.

    Molly
  5. spacee

    spacee Member

    My level was 9 (range 11 -204). This was done without meds.

    I cannot take meds (ADs) then put me in a fetal position from skin pain caused by DMSO treatments to my bladder in the 1980s. They added something back then that later found to cause this skin pain..sigh.

    So, I tried 5htp...same skin pain.

    Then samE (sold here, GNC or a lot of other places). 400 mg three times a day. Felt some better.

    Then added GABA (sold here and a lot of other places) and that was the trick for me. Take one a day. It helps with stress and anxiety. I gave one to hubby after a stressful morning. He said "my afternoon was so much better". Now he takes it too.

    samE is pricey, GABA is not. But I feel a lot better emotional.. This illness takes it's toll.

    Spacee
  6. an1000

    an1000 New Member

    It is a urine test done by NeuroScience. Their number is 715-755-3995.

    Doctors, as we all know, are not always to be trusted. Some will say "Food influences your serotonin levels so this test is invalid." But, of course, the test is done after you have fasted. Other may say "But this test hasn't undergone enough study." That may be true, but it may still be useful for some. For me, my symptoms matched exactly my neurotransmitter levels. And it can't just be a coincidence that my serotonin level went up about exactly the level it is supposed to from SSRI therapy (which unfortunately for me is still way too low). How could the lab have fudged the results? They didn't even know I was on an SSRI?? It's not like one can cheat the test.

    My only guess as to why it's not more standard practice is, of course....the pharmacuetical companies have not pushed it. Perhaps they have done studies and realized it won't help them sell more meds. Maybe they realized it will prevent sales. Perhaps they think a lot of "depressed" or "sad" people will get their neurotransmitter levels checked, see that they're in the normal range, and forgo a trial of anti-depressants.
  7. gapsych

    gapsych New Member


    Actually it could be a coincidence, possibly not but we really do not know. If the lab test is not valid then there would need to be studies to see if there is any correlation and if it means something.

    I don't buy into conspiracy theories. Pharmaceutical companies are not perfect but for a conspiracy to happen? I think unlikely.

    I would hope that a lab would not fudge results.

    If there are pharmaceutical studies that show this test is indeed accurate, the pharmaceutical companies would make more money not less.

    gap

    ETA The above should say, "I would hope that a lab would not fudge results. I have change it. Oops!![This Message was Edited on 10/22/2009]
  8. gapsych

    gapsych New Member


    From med.help.org.

    http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Depression/why-dont-they-blood-test-for-serotonin-levels/show/466214

    "Question: Why don't they blood test for serotonin levels?

    I know in theory that sounds logical, but it doesn't work like that.

    It is the reuptake of SerotoninSerum serotonin level in the brain that can cause depression, not the actual level or amount in the brain.

    For example you could have perfectly normalNormal saline flush levels of SerotoninSerum serotonin level in your brain, but if the receptors in your brain are performing the reuptake (a kind of absorbsion) of that SerotoninSerum serotonin level too rapidly then much less SerotoninSerum serotonin level is left in between the receptors and this inhibits the brains ability to function normally, which can result in a depressed brain.

    Not to mention that Serotonin reuptake is not the only contributing factor related to depression. many other neurotransmitter chemicals also play a big part in brain function. Such as Norepinephrine, Dopamine, and Tryptophan, just to name a few.

    It's important to remember that SSRI drugs such as Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro, Ect.... Do not raise the level of Serotonin in the brain. Rather they work by Inhibiting the reuptake of Serotonin that already exists in the brain, Thus resulting in a slightly higher build up of Serotonin to remain in stasis between the billions of receptors in the brain.

    This inhibition of reuptake allows for improved brain functioning as it relates to mood and well being because more Serotonin is left in stasis between the receptors of the brain that rely on this presence of Serotonin to properly fire. Think of it like a tiny bit of fuel in between two slightly spaced apart receptors. The receptors need this Serotonin as a kind of bridge to fire data back and forth. When the Serotonin is artificially (with meds) prevented from being absorbed by the brain, more of it can stay in the little places between the receptors to do what it does best, act as a bridge for firing data to different parts of the brain.
  9. AuntTammie

    AuntTammie New Member

    gap said, "If there are pharmaceutical studies that show this test is indeed accurate, the pharmaceutical companies would make more money not less."

    IF such a test proved that SSRI's improved the levels of serontonin, then I would agree that drug companies would stand to make more.....if however, they proved that SSRI's actually cause the brain to down-regulate production of serotonin (which many believe that SSRI's do, which is why many patients wind up having to continually up their does, and it's also why many feel worse on SSRI's), then it would stand to reason that the pharmaceutical companies would want to prevent the test being used (at least as a follow up to the initial testing)

    I do know that the urine test for serotonin has been around for many yrs and it was standard practice for at least one psych hospital I know of to administer it upon admission....I do not know if it is considered to be accurate, or not, at this point
  10. Elisa

    Elisa Member

    Hi,

    I had this test as well - by NeuroScience. I also had exceptionally low serotonin. In fact, my doctor, who is a CFS specialist - said it was the lowest he had ever witnessed - under 50.

    I take serotonin precursors now - 5-htp and a formula designed to help produce serotonin if that is what my body needs.

    Anyway - just wanted you to know that I had the same results.

    I hypothesize that it is either a gene that disregulates serotonin or it's a result of being chronically ill.

    God Bless,

    Elisabeth



  11. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    I'm going to have the test done, probably next week. I think doctors don't generally order it for the same reason they don't generally order tests to check cortisol levels when you complain of severe insomnia, and instead give a sleep med like ambien. When you try to tell your average doctor about CFS, they don't have a clue.

    Mary
  12. an1000

    an1000 New Member

    Gap said: "If there are pharmaceutical studies that show this test is indeed accurate, the pharmaceutical companies would make more money not less."

    The pharmaceutical companies would only make more money if the millions of people who are on antidepressants, or considering antidepressants, were shown to have lower than normal serotonin levels. And that is statistically very unlikely.

    Gap also said: "I don't buy into conspiracy theories. Pharmaceutical companies are not perfect but for a conspiracy to happen? I think unlikely"

    I agree. I don't think it's a conspiracy. I just think it's smart business for them to discredit labs that don't help them to sell meds and help their bottom line. And I think doctors get much of their information from pharm reps because docs are very busy, and also that is how they retain patients, by writing prescriptions.

    Gap also said: "For example you could have perfectly normalNormal saline flush levels of SerotoninSerum serotonin level in your brain, but if the receptors in your brain are performing the reuptake (a kind of absorbsion) of that SerotoninSerum serotonin level too rapidly then much less SerotoninSerum serotonin level is left in between the receptors and this inhibits the brains ability to function normally, which can result in a depressed brain."

    That is true, but it is also true that if you just don't have nearly enough serotonin, you are likely to be depressed no matter how well your receptors are working.

  13. an1000

    an1000 New Member

    Elisabeth, did you find that 5-HTP and the formula you take have helped your symptoms? I never had any luck with 5-HTP. Not a luck with SSRIs either, but more than with 5-HTP.

    I'd be so curious to see how I'd feel if my serotonin levels even approached normal- on, or off, meds.