Acetylcholine — Critical for Optimal Health
The symptoms of low acetylcholine affect many of the bodies systems and are often confused with a wide variety of conditions. Acetylcholine is one of the bodies most important neurotransmitters. What is acetylcholine — you can’t see it, you can’t measure it, but it is critical for your health.
Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter — a chemical messenger that allows your nerves to communicate. In the brain (the central nervous system) it allows your neurons to communicate. This allows you to think clearly and to form short-term memories.
Your muscles use acetylcholine, too (the peripheral nervous system). Low acetylcholine levels cause weakness and fatigue.
Acetylcholine is also required by the autonomic nervous system — the system of the body that you don’t need to think about. The autonomic nervous system controls your vagus nerve and every aspect of digestion, heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing. Your vagus nerve is also the anti-inflammatory system of the body. When it is not performing optimally, chronic inflammation can occur.
What Causes Low Acetylcholine Levels?
Acetylcholine deficiency can be secondary to genetic errors, chronic illness, chronic inflammation, some medications, and aging. It can be easy to miss because there is no blood test for it. The symptoms of low acetylcholine must be recognized based on presentation (signs and symptoms). Low acetylcholine is also easy to misdiagnose because it can mimic many other conditions.
Symptoms of Low Acetylcholine
If you have one or more of the following symptoms, low acetylcholine may be the underlying cause. Do any of these affect you?
- “Brain fog”, poor short-term memory: Acetylcholine is the neurotransmitter needed by the neurons of the brain to communicate with each other. Low acetylcholine causes difficulties with cognition, “brain fog”, and mental fatigue.
- Fatigue, especially fatigue that worsens with exertion: Acetylcholine is required by the peripheral nervous system to allow muscles to work. Low acetylcholine levels result in muscle weakness that worsens with exercise or exertion. The muscles may work for a while, then exhaust their supply of acetylcholine, leading to extreme fatigue.
- Constipation/gastroparesis: The vagus nerve requires acetylcholine to assist every aspect of digestion including peristalsis (movement of food/stool through the digestive tract), stomach acid production, opening of the pyloric sphincter at the bottom of the stomach, gallbladder function, some pancreatic function, and opening of the Sphincter of Oddi (which allows bile and pancreatic enzymes to pass into the intestines). Low acetylcholine levels result in chronic constipation and/or gastroparesis. Low acetylcholine levels also cause poor digestion and poor absorption of critical nutrients.
- Dry eyes: Tearing is a part of our autonomic nervous system. Acetylcholine is required by the lacrimal gland to produce tears. Acetylcholine is also used by the nerves to tell our bodies when to produce tears. When levels of acetylcholine are low, dry, painful eyes can result. Dry eyes from low acetylcholine are resistant to conventional dry eye treatment unless acetylcholine levels are restored.
- Orthostatic hypotension: Low acetylcholine levels result in low blood pressure when standing, which causes dizziness and weakness.
- Flushing: Low acetylcholine levels can cause episodes of flushing (redness) on the face. The neck and other parts of the body may also appear flushed. It is common for flushing to be misdiagnosed as rosacea or mast cell activation.
- Emotional instability: People with low acetylcholine levels will often suffer from the inability to cope with their emotions. Their emotional state can be unpredictable.
- Chronic inflammation: Acetylcholine is needed by the vagus nerve (the anti-inflammatory pathway of the body). Low levels of acetylcholine contribute to consistently high levels of inflammation which can cause pain, atherosclerosis, fatigue, hypercoagulation (easy blood clotting) and premature aging.
- Fast heart rate (tachycardia): The parasympathetic nervous system is the body’s “rest and digest” system. When levels of acetylcholine are insufficient, the vagus nerve no longer properly slows down the heart and the body cannot rest properly. The vagus nerve relies upon acetylcholine to stimulate the sinoatrial node of the heart to normalize heart rate.
- Large pupils: Pupil size is a function of the balance between the sympathetic nervous system (large pupils) and parasympathetic nervous system (small pupils). Low acetylcholine levels upset this balance. When the balance is upset, the sympathetic nervous system overrides the parasympathetic nervous system, resulting in large pupils. Large pupils often cause light sensitivity and difficulty focusing.
An Easy Way To Remember the Symptoms of Low Acetylcholine
Doctors have a mnemonic to remember the presentation of low acetylcholine: “Blind as a bat, dry as a bone, red as a beet, mad as a hatter”.
How do We Address the Symptoms of Low Acetylcholine?
What can we do if we suffer from low acetylcholine levels? Can we provide what our bodies need in a way that also stimulates the vagus nerve?
Yes, we can.
Patented Parasym Plus™ for Symptoms of Low Acetylcholine
PATENTED Parasym Plus™ safely and effectively boost acetylcholine to support the parasympathetic nervous system. It crosses the blood-brain-barrier for mental function. Parasym Plus™ promotes proper vagus nerve function to maintain normal bowel movements and digestion and to calm inflammation.
Parasym Plus™ for Sufferers of Chronic Fatigue
Do you suffer from chronic fatigue? You may enjoy reading the science behind Parasym Plus™. Download the whitepaper Correcting the Missing Piece in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.