There are 100 billion nerves in the human body.
Put another way, there are 14 times more nerves in the body than there are people on planet. That’s quite an astonishing figure.
Of course, clinically nerves are not called nerves. Instead, they’re called neurons.
Neurons interact with one another – spreading their messages through electrical activity. Sometimes, that electrical activity goes into overload. What manifests is a seizure, or convulsion. Drugs are then administered to patients to reduce the electrical activity to normal levels.
Electrical messages pass from one neuron to another via a small gap called a synaptic cleft.
To give you an idea of how nerves pass on messages to one another, hold out your fists and separate your firsts by a one-inch gap.
That’s pretty much how nerves are connected – one electrical message passing from the left side of your left fist, to the right-side of your left fist – passing that gap (synaptic cleft) – to pass on the message to the left-side of your right first, and so on.
One the electrical message reaches the synapse, it triggers the release of a chemical – known as a neurotransmitter. We’ve all heard of neurotransmitters. They include histamine, serotonin and dopamine.
Neurotransmitters then pass across the synaptic cleft to cause the electrical impulse to pass onto the next nerve.
In summary, then, an electrical message from one nerve triggers a chemical release that passes on that electrical message to the second nerve. This process continues all the time.
Many people are deficient in neurotransmitters.
Depending on the neurotransmitter, this manifests in many different disease states. For example – patients who are deficient in serotonin may experience depression. Drugs – called SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) – are used to prevent serotonin breakdown in the synaptic cleft. Less breakdown means more serotonin is available to pass on an electrical message to other nerves – alleviating the deficiency and restoring normal neuronal health.