Acetylcholine is a neuromodulator neurotransmitter like Dopamine and Serotonin. This chemical, as well as associated neurons, work together to form the chlorogenic system in the central nervous system. The chlorogenic system is responsible for important functions such as, short term memory, learning, decision making, reward and arousal. This important chemical, is also responsible in the peripheral nervous system (PNS). Its role in the PNS relates to important skeletal functions such as motor skills and intra-muscular communication.
Acetylcholine is also very important for a host of subconscious functions. Heartrate, digestion, respiratory rate, salivation, perspiration, pupillary dilation, sexual arousal are all completed with the help of Acetylcholine. It also helps with the release of the main excitatory chemicals: Epinephrine and Norepinephrine.
Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) is a carboxylesterase enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine (ACh) in the chlorogenic system. Blocking AChE temporarily is a proven medical treatment of Alzheimer’s. These drugs are referred to as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (Donepezil). Permanent blocking of AChe will cause life threatening consequences like paralysis and asphyxiation. This happens because the amount of acetylcholine becomes over populated and results in a malfunction in the transmission of ACh. In short, blocking AChE permanently is dangerous, but lowering levels of AChE or raising levels of Acetylcholine will be beneficial for memory and brain function.
Increase Acetycholine Naturally
While there are many prescripsion drugs to inhibit AChE, you can increase you Acetylcholine levels naturally with OTC supplements. Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) is the acetylated form of the amino acid derivative, L-Carnintine. ALCAR mimics the effects of Acetylcholine and acts as a powerful neuro-protectant and anti-oxidant in the brain. This supplement in higher doses will numb the ACh receptors due to depolarization block and have unwanted results.
The other option to increase acetylcholine naturally is to use a precursor. A precursor is a substance that creates the chemical reaction to create the desired compound. Perhaps the most well-known Acetycholine precursor is Choline. Choline occurs naturally in foods and is essential in an everyday diet. It can also be found in supplements. The most common source is lecithin which is derived from Milk and Eggs but Phosphatidylcholine can also be obtained in powder or pill form to help increase ACh levels.