How to test neurotransmitter levels

Updated March 27, 2017

Neurotransmitters are chemicals in your brain that communicate information by relaying signals between neurons. Neurotransmitters are responsible for a variety of functions in your body, including your mood, appetite, hunger and sleep. Low levels of neurotransmitters are often to blame for clinical diseases like depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Different lab tests are now available to allow you or your physician to test your neurotransmitter level through blood work or urine. However, testing through cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is still the preferred method to get accurate results.

Speak to your physician or health care provider about testing for neurotransmitter levels. Explain to your doctor why you want your levels tested and describe your symptoms.

Schedule an appointment at the lab or in your physician's office for a neurotransmitter test. A CSF test is often the most accurate but also the most invasive.

Order a urine neurotransmitter test online, if you prefer. Although these urine tests are not as valid as blood results or a CSF test, they can still give you an estimate of your neurotransmitter levels. Choose the proper test based on your symptoms. There is not one test that checks all neurotransmitter levels.

Attend your appointment or take your urine test. Mail your urine test into the laboratory for results. Include a copy of your insurance card so the lab will bill your medical insurance. Wait to hear from your physician to find out the results of your blood or CSF test.

Review your results. Your lab results will reveal whether a neurotransmitter level is low or elevated. Speak to your physician about your results and how to improve neurotransmitter levels, if necessary.

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About the Author

Ireland Wolfe has been writing professionally since 2009, contributing to Toonari Post, Africana Online and Winzer Insurance. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in psychology and Master of Arts in mental health counseling. She is also a licensed mental health counselor, registered nutritionist and yoga teacher.