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What Are Brain Synapses?

Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
Dr. Eric Venn-Watson’s Highlights
    • There are thousands of synaptic connections between the neurons in your body.
    • These connections facilitate conversations between neurons that help your body carry out bodily processes, from thoughts to muscular movement.
    • Taking a supplement like fatty15 can help support your cells and their ability to communicate with each other.* 

Your body has numerous complex systems that work together to keep your body functioning properly. Have you ever wondered how they communicate? They use a system of communication that involves neurons, aka your central nervous system cells. 

Below, we’ll talk about neurons and how they interact with one another and communicate. We’ll also discuss synaptic transmissions, what they are, and why they are important to your body’s communication system. 

And of course, we’ll go over how to support your cells (including those important neurons) to help your body stay balanced and healthy.

What Are Neurons?

Neurons are specialized cells that are part of your central and peripheral nervous systems, and there are billions of them located throughout your brain and body. Neurons have important jobs and can be classified according to their responsibilities.

Sensory Neurons

These neurons are located all over your body and are part of your peripheral nervous system. They help collect external stimuli and send messages back to the brain. 

For instance, when you smell smoke, the neurons involved with your sense of smell deliver a message to the brain, and the brain then interprets the information as the scent you smell. 

Sensory neurons work with motor neurons to help your body move and function. 

Motor Neurons

These neurons control involuntary and voluntary movement. We can break motor neurons down into two more categories: Upper motor neurons and lower motor neurons. Motor neurons must communicate with sensory neurons, but that communication is facilitated by interneurons.


These are neurons that handle messages between motor neurons, sensory neurons, and other interneurons. In the example of the smoke, sensory neurons carry a message to the brain where an interneuron picks it up. The interneuron then transmits the message to a motor neuron that may tell you to walk away from the smell.

The Art of Communication

Just like humans communicate, neurons communicate, and this specialized level of communication happens in synapses. There are two types of synapses between neurons; chemical synapses and electrical synapses.

Chemical Synapses

To understand how chemical synapses happen, we need to understand the basic structure of a neuron. The neuron comprises three basic parts: a soma, a dendrite, and an axon. 

  • Soma. The cell body of the neuron is the soma. It’s where the cell’s DNA and organelles are housed.
  • Dendrite. The dendrite spreads outward from the soma in a shape similar to a tree branch. The dendrite is the receptor portion of the neuron. The dendrites receive messages from other neurons and transmit the information to the soma.
  • Axon. The axon also spreads away from the neuron, resembling a branch or a long root. The axon is the outbox of the neuron. The axon typically houses neurotransmitters in vesicles at the end of each of their branch-like structures, which can be used to send messages to nearby neurons. 

Before any synapses occur, there must be an action potential. An action potential refers to a chemical or electrical signal being sent from the soma down through the axon. This is kind of like an explosion of energy outward from the neuron that is ready to be sent to another neuron. 

The neuron that creates the action potential and sends information to another neuron is called the presynaptic neuron. The receiving neuron, then, is called the postsynaptic neuron.

When we discuss chemical synapses, there are three different types.

Axodendritic Synapses

These synapses occur when chemical signals are sent from the axon of one neuron to the dendrite of another. These are sometimes referred to as excitatorysynapses because the action potential from the presynaptic neuron increases the probability of an action potential in the postsynaptic neuron. 

Axosomatic Synapses

During these synapses, the axon of one neuron sends a chemical signal to the soma of another neuron. These are usually inhibitorysynapses. This means that the action potential in the presynaptic neuron causes a reduction of action potential in the postsynaptic neuron. 

Axoaxonic Synapses

These synapses happen between two presynaptic terminals on the axons of two separate neurons. The goal of these types of synapses is to regulate neurotransmitter release between neurons. 

What Are Electrical Synapses?

The other types of synapseneurons are capable of producing are called electrical synapses. These typically happen faster than chemical synapses, but the energy created by each electrical synapse fades quickly between neurons, which means there’s less action potential energy transferred from neuron to neuron. 

Electrical synapses happen when ions move through specialized channels, called gap junctions, from one neuron to another. The gap junction is a special connection between the cell membranes of two neurons that are very close to one another. Electrical impulses are then transmitted across this membrane from neuron to neuron. 

These types of synapses are not as frequent or plentiful as chemical synapses. They’re very important for cellular processes, like the creation and movement of ATP inside a cell body. 

How Do Synapses Develop?

The cortex of the human brain is home to 100 trillionsynapses that happen per day. During early brain development, these synapses form rapidly, giving rise to consciousness, thoughts, and bodily functions. 

How Can I Support the Synapses?

If you’ve ever felt like your synapses weren’t firing away like they once were, you might be looking for ways to support your brain health and keep your edge. With the discovery of a new essential fatty acid known as C15:0, it’s easier than ever to support your nerve cells and every other cell in your body. 

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C15:0: Your Cells’ Best Friend

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Fatty15 is the award-winning supplement born of scientific research that contains just one ingredient, FA15™. This pure, vegan-friendly version of C15:0 helps support your cells by strengthening cell membranes, improving mitochondrial function, and even helping your cells communicate with each other more effectively.*

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Support Your Synapses

Your brain is always working, meaning your neurons are firing nonstop, and you can support those brain cells and your brain health with fatty15.*


Physiology, Synapse - StatPearls | NCBI Bookshelf

Neuroanatomy, NeuronAction Potential - StatPearls | NCBI Bookshelf

Making and breaking connections in the brain | UC Davis Center for Neuroscience

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Eric Venn-Watson M.D.

Eric is a physician, U.S. Navy veteran, and Co-founder and COO of Seraphina Therapeutics. Eric served over 25 years as a Navy and Marine Corps physician, working with the special forces community to improve their health and fitness. Seraphina Therapeutics is a health and wellness company dedicated to advancing global health through the discovery of essential fatty acids and micronutrient therapeutics.

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