A neurotransmitter is a chemical messenger in your body. It carries messages from a nerve cell to other nerve cells, muscles, organs, glands, and more. These messages help you:

  • Move your body
  • Feel sensations
  • Keep your heart beating
  • Take in and respond to all the information your body gets from itself and your environment

There are many different types of neurotransmitters in your body, such as:

  • Dopamine — plays a role in your movement, attention, emotions, and motivation
  • GABA — stops or blocks chemical messages from nerve cells
  • Histamine — plays a role in your reticular activating system (the part of your brain that wakes you up), your body’s immune response, and your gut (stomach and intestines) function
    • Doctors may use histamine to tell if a person has problems in their hypothalamus (a part of your brain)
  • Norepinephrine — plays a role in your “flight-or-fight” response (getting your brain and body ready for action), increasing your focus, alertness, and ability to access your memories
  • Orexin — plays a role in your sleep-wake control, how awake you feel during the day, appetite, energy, and mood

Some neurotransmitters, like GABA, block or stop chemical messages from being sent to the next nerve cell. These are called inhibitory neurotransmitters.

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