What is Acetylcholine?
Acetylcholine was the first neurotransmitter to be discovered. It is the neurotransmitter that is released by stimulation of the vagus nerve, which alters heart muscle contractions. It is important for the movement of other muscles as well. Acetylcholine induces movement by the locomotion of an impulse across a nerve that causes it to release neurotransmitter molecules onto the surface of the next cell. This causes a stimulation of that next cell. After this process has been completed, the acetylcholine is then broken into acetate and choline. These travel back to the first cell to be recycled into acetylcholine and start the process over again.
Acetylcholine is critical for an adequately functioning memory, and it is the subject of the majority of research looking for treatments for memory deficits, like those found in Alzheimer’s disease. Any mental health issue that involves memory, or lack thereof, directly or indirectly relates to Acetylcholine
Clinical research into a natural supplement called Acetyl-L-Carnitine has been shown to improve some aspects of cognitive function and memory. Researchers have found that this nutrient is a precursor to the production of not only the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine, but also plays a role in the synthesis of dopamine. Studies have shown that supplementing one’s diet with Acetyl-L-Carnitine may have a direct benefit for mental function in adults and children.