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ADHD Neurotransmitters

Updated: Jun 6, 2023

Part of the issue with ADD/ADHD is a different balance of certain neurotransmitters. Depending on the individual, some of these may be more or less altered, or not altered at all.


Individuals with ADD have been found to have an overly efficient dopamine-removal system, which leads to low levels of dopamine. Ritalin and other common ADHD meds work by blocking the dopamine removing transporters.


Norepinephrine is made by dopamine, that acts as both a hormone and a neurotransmitter. It plays a role in mood and focus, and is often in short supply in ADHD individuals. This may explain why ADHD people are more likely to be thrill seekers, as thrill seekers seem to have naturally lower levels of norepinephrine.



Epinephrine is not as well known to be associated with ADHD, but stimulant medications used for ADHD have been found to affect the peripheral epinephrine system to improve focus.


Glutamate is not as well known to be associated with ADD, but a recent study found that glutamate production is partially responsible for the increase in focus and mood of people taking stimulants.

For more information on how nutrition impacts ADHD, click here.


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