Inhibitory neurotransmitters are chemicals in your brain that block or slow down brain activity. Your brain uses neurotransmitters to send messages throughout your body, directing and controlling your bodily function. Neurotransmitters control almost everything you do—thinking, moving, breathing, organ function, and so on.
Inhibitory neurotransmitters slow down activity, stopping or limiting thoughts, behaviors, and bodily functions. For example, inhibitory neurotransmitters help slow down your breathing and heart rate after you exercise, bringing them back to normal.
Inhibitory And Excitatory Neurotransmitters
You can’t define inhibitory without also discussing excitatory neurotransmitters. While inhibitory neurotransmitters decrease activity, excitatory neurotransmitters do the opposite. Excitatory neurotransmitters are energizing forces that encourage neurons to fire and send strong messages throughout your body and brain, ramping up activity and causing action.
Excitatory neurotransmitters increase activity, while inhibitory neurotransmitters decrease activity.
Excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters work together to regulate your body and brain activity.
For example, when you exercise, your brain releases noradrenaline, an excitatory neurotransmitter, to increase your heart rate and pump more oxygen to your muscles.
After you exercise, your brain releases acetylcholine, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that brings your heart rate back down to normal.
You need both excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters to help your body and brain maintain balance and respond appropriately to stimuli in your environment.