Refers to hormones, neurotransmitters (the chemicals nerve cells use to communicate with one another), and inflammatory mediators called “cytokines.”

Hormone imbalances are often tied together into what is called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-thyroid-gonadal (HPATG) axis. This is because the different hormone systems are connected to one another, and operate in a hierarchical fashion with the demand for cortisol, the stress hormone, taking preference over the ability to maintain adequate levels of gonadal hormones. Under the Matrix node of COMMUNICATION, we often find symptoms such as insomnia, fatigue, brain fog, abnormal menstrual periods, hair loss, cold intolerance, skin changes and weight gain. Impaired libido, loss of genital sensitivity, and erectile difficulties can also be seen. In the brain the availability of neurotransmitters is dependent, in part, on the availability of the amino acids required to manufacture these nerve chemicals, and normally functioning enzyme systems which transform these building blocks into neurotransmitters and then help to break them down. Genetic variations in these enzymes can affect their function (such as COMT), and an awareness of these genetic variations can guide decision-making to optimize function. The inflammatory mediators called cytokines act as long-distance communicators to rally the immune system to different parts of the body, allow immune cells to communicate with one another, and ultimately help calm the immune response.


Neurotransmitter imbalances have been tied to a number of neurological and psychiatric diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. In addition, the modifiable lifestyle factors of Sleep, Movement, Nutrition, Stress, and Relationships should be evaluated for areas of need and corrective measures taken.


Nutrients that can be helpful when there are imbalances in COMMUNICATION include: iron, iodine tyrosine, zinc, selenium, vitamin A, B2, B3, B6, C, D, and E. The complex discussion of methylation should be addressed. Important amino acids for neurotransmitter production include phenylalanine, tyrosine, and tryptophan. Finally, cholesterol is required for the production of cortisol, aldosterone (involved in fluid and electrolyte balance), and all the gonadal hormones.


To further evaluate imbalances in COMMUNICATION the following tests may be helpful: Amino Acid Testing (Genova), Organic Acid Testing (Genova), Micronutrient Status Testing (SpectraCell), Salivary or Dried Urine Cortisol and Gonadal Hormone Testing (Various), fasting insulin, and a complete thyroid profile. Genetic testing can be evaluated with 23andMe and the Pure Genomics application available through Pure Encapsulations.
“As Director of Brain Tune Up! I hope you will consider participating in this exciting personalized medicine treatment program that aims to help you remain healthy, functional, and productive and make sure the number of your years are of the highest quality possible.”

Brain Tune Up! Program Director

Understand The Seven “Nodes” on the Functional Medicine Matrix


Please click to learn about the Assimilation node of the Functional Medicine Matrix. Assimilation refers to digestion and absorption of nutrients in the gut, as well as the health, diversity, and balance of the microbes that inhabit the digestive tract.


Please click to learn about the Biotransformation & Elimination node of the Functional Medicine Matrix.Biotransformation & Elimination refers to the way in which the body handles products of metabolism, toxic elements, drugs, and other chemicals, and eliminates waste through the urine, stool, and sweat.


Please click to learn about the Communication node of the Functional Medicine Matrix. Communication refers to hormones, neurotransmitters (the chemicals nerve cells use to communicate with one another), and inflammatory mediators called “cytokines.”

Defense & Repair

Please click to learn about the Defense & Repair node of the Functional Medicine Matrix.Defense & Repair refers to chronic inflammation, how different parts of the body influence the immune system, and the factors that lead to a breakdown in the normal role of the immune system.


Please click to learn about the Energy node of the Functional Medicine Matrix. Energy refers to the way that every cell in your body creates the fuel that it needs to carry out normal biological functions.

Structural Integrity & Transport

Please click to learn about the Structural Integrity & Transport nodes of the Functional Medicine Matrix. These refer to two critical and over-lapping functions in the systems that govern how the body works.

Read Neurologist Dr. Ken Sharlin’s Blog