Serotonin: Why You Need It and How to Boost Levels Naturally

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Serotonin: Why You Need It

Do you know that serotonin plays a role in virtually all human behavioral processes? From your emotions to digestion and motor skills, this forceful chemical impacts so many aspects of life and body function.

Serotonin receptors are found throughout the brain, where they work as neurotransmitters that send messages from one area to another.

But the majority of serotonin in the human body is found in the gut, where it influences several biological processes, including digestion, appetite, metabolism, mood, and memory.

Increasing your serotonin levels may work as a natural remedy for depression and improve your overall mood.

But with this and any neurotransmitter, you don’t want too much of it to accumulate in the body either.

That’s why increasing your levels naturally is a better option than using antidepressants with nasty side effects.

What Is Serotonin?

Serotonin: Why You Need It, It is a type of chemical that acts as a neurotransmitter, meaning it helps to send signals from one area of the brain to another. The chemical name for serotonin is 5-hydroxytryptamine, and it’s sometimes called 5-HT. As a neurotransmitter, it controls neural activity and plays a role in a wide range of neuropsychological processes.

Only 2 percent of the body’s serotonin is found in the brain, and 95 percent is produced in the intestine, where it modulates hormonal, endocrine, autocrine, and paracrine actions. In the mind, it occurs naturally in the body. It works as a neurotransmitter, sending chemical messages or signals to the brain to regulate motor function, pain perception, and appetite. It also modulates various biological processes, including cardiovascular function, energy balance, digestive function, and mood regulation.

It is a byproduct of tryptophan, an essential amino acid that’s known for its ability to regulate mood and balance hormones naturally. Tryptophan converts to serotonin in the brain and helps to make other essential amino acids available to help control your mood and reduce your production of stress hormones.

Serotonin vs. Dopamine

What is the function of serotonin and dopamine? Both are neurotransmitters that play a role in depression. Serotonin functions as a mood regulator, and it also plays a role in many other body processes, like digestion and sleep.

Dopamine is connected to what’s called the “pleasure center” in the brain. Your body gets a rush of dopamine when you are rewarded, but low levels of dopamine may lead to little motivation and feelings of helplessness.

The significant difference is how the two neurotransmitters affect your mood. Dopamine is released after pleasurable experiences, and it alters your motivation and interest, while serotonin impacts the way you process emotions. For optimal health, we need to keep both levels in balance.

Relation to Mental Health and Depression

Serotonin transmits signals between our nerve cells, giving it the ability to alter brain functions that affect our mood and sleep. Serotonin for depression has been the focus of many clinical and preclinical studies over the years.

Researchers know that the chemical signals many receptors throughout the brain regions in humans, but the exact mechanisms of serotonin as an antidepressant are still being explored.

Research conducted at Columbia University indicates that while the majority of the 15 known receptors for serotonin have been linked to depression and depression-like behavior, it’s the 1A and 1B receptors that are the most studied.

Human brain imaging and genetic studies show that these two receptors are involved in depression and the response to antidepressant treatment.

According to a review published in World Psychiatry, “evidence suggests that impairing serotonin function can cause clinical depression in some circumstances.” Moreover, evidence suggests that low serotonin function may compromise a patient’s ability to maintain recovery from depression, rather than it having a primary effect on lowering mood in vulnerable people.

This seems to be true because of studies that show tryptophan deletion is much more apparent in people with prior episodes of depression, in comparison to those who are simply at a higher risk of depression because of family history.

Studies involving SSRIs indicate that it may not be serotonin’s direct effects on our mood, but rather its ability to promote positive shifts in automatic emotional responses that help to relieve symptoms of depression.

Benefits and Uses

1. Improves Mood and Memory

Studies indicate that low brain serotonin levels are associated with poor memory and depressed mood.

We also know that serotonin and tryptophan produce alternations in the gut that alter the gut-brain axis and impact your mood and cognitive health.

Researchers have been able to explore the role of serotonin for depression by investigating the effects of lowering dietary tryptophan levels, causing a lowering of brain serotonin levels.

2. Regulates Digestion

Ninety-five percent of the body’s serotonin is produced in the intestine. Research shows that the chemical plays a role in intestinal motility and inflammation.

When 5-HT is naturally released, it binds to specific receptors to initiate gut motility.

Serotonin also regulates appetite, and it produces more of the chemical to help eliminate foods more quickly when they are irritating to the digestive system.

3. Relieves Pain

A study published in the journal Pain Research and Treatment found there is an inverse correlation between postoperative pain levels in patients with chronic low back pain and serum serotonin levels.

Another study found that when healthy volunteers underwent acute tryptophan depletion to manipulate 5-HT function, they experienced a significantly reduced pain threshold and tolerance in response to a heat thermode.

4. Promotes Blood Clotting

We need enough serotonin to promote blood clotting. The chemical is released in blood platelets to help with wound healing. Plus, it works to narrow tiny arteries, so they form blood clots.

Although this serotonin benefit helps in the healing process, there’s also evidence that too much serotonin can lead to blood clots that contribute to coronary heart disease,

so it’s essential to stay within the normal range of serotonin to prevent adverse effects.

5. Helps Wound Healing

A study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences found that it acts as a potential therapeutic candidate for enhancing skin healing in burn patients.

Researchers found that serotonin significantly accelerated cell migration and improved the wound healing process in vitro and Vivo models of burn injuries.

Normal Ranges

Serotonin: Why You Need It and essential info on how You can have your serotonin levels tested with a blood test. Blood is usually drawn from the vein and then delivered to the laboratory for results.

Individuals who are in danger of serotonin deficiency or perhaps carcinoid syndrome (high serotonin levels) might require a blood test. The typical serotonin range is 101 283 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). After receiving the levels of yours from a lab, it is better to discuss them with the healthcare provider of yours, as test measurements could differ and change what is considered a normal consequence.

Deficiency Symptoms and Causes

Study suggests that damaged serotonin functionality continues to be connected with psychiatric problems, including depression, nervousness, aggression, compulsive behavior, bulimia,schizophrenia, substance abuse, seasonal affective disorder, childhood hyperactivity, hypersexuality, mania, and behavioral issues. Low serotonin symptoms consist of the following:

  • Depressed mood
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Aggression
  • Irritability
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Appetite changes
  • Chronic pain
  • Poor memory
  • Digestion issues
  • Headaches

What leads to low serotonin levels? Serotonin is an element of a complicated system of receptors and chemicals. If you’ve reduced serotonin levels, you might have deficiencies in some other neurotransmitters, and that is what causes such apparent signs. Scientists do not know what causes serotonin deficiency; however, it can be because of genetics, poor diet, and lifestyle. In case you deal with chronic stress or perhaps are exposed to toxic materials, like quite heavy metals or possibly pesticides, you might be at a much better risk of very low serotonin. Some other causes can include a lack of sunshine as well as taking certain medications for a prolonged period. Ways to Treat Deficiency You will find organic serotonin food items as well as boosters, which will boost levels of serotonin without the demand for pharmaceutical drugs.

How to Treat Deficiency

You will find organic serotonin food items as well as boosters which will boost levels of serotonin without the demand for pharmaceutical drugs.

1. Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Serotonin: Why You Need It, Do you know the health of your gut will alter your body’s ability to produce it?

You must eat anti-inflammatory foods that will improve the health of your gut and promote the balance of good and bad bacteria.

Some of the best foods include wild-caught salmon, eggs, leafy greens, nuts, and fresh vegetables.

To maximize the good bacteria in the gut, probiotic foods are also beneficial.

Eating or drinking kefir, kombucha, probiotic yogurt, and apple cider vinegar will help to improve the health of your gut.

Healthy fats like avocado, coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, and ghee are also going to help reduce inflammation and promote the natural production of serotonin.

2. Exercise

Research shows that exercise has beneficial effects on brain function because it modulates neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and noradrenaline.

These chemical messengers contribute to exercise, affecting brain function, and even improving neurological disorders.

3. Get Enough Sunlight

The serotonin neurotransmitter will not be adequately produced if you don’t get enough sunlight.

Research suggests that there’s a direct relationship between sunlight and the production of serotonin.

It’s believed that exposure to sunlight triggers the brain to release the chemical.

This may explain, at least in part, why low levels of serotonin are associated with seasonal affective disorder 0r SAD.

4. Tryptophan

Research published in Nutrients shows that reduced intake of tryptophan can lead to significant reductions in certain brain activities that boost happiness.

According to a study, patients are often successful at lowering negative symptoms related to mood disorders, addictions, or hormonal problems when they take 6 grams of L-tryptophan per day.

Taking this amount of tryptophan every day for several months has been shown to decrease mood swings, irritability, tension, and restlessness.

5. 5-HTP

5-HTP, or 5-Hydroxytryptophan, is an amino acid that’s naturally produced by the body.

It’s used to produce serotonin, which is why 5-HTP supplements are often used to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression.

You can find 5-HTP supplements online and in health food stores.

Researchers recommend, however, that 5-HTP supplements be used carefully and under the care of a doctor to avoid an amino acid imbalance.

SSRIs Uses and Side Effects

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or perhaps SSRIs, are used to enhance symptoms of despair by increasing levels of serotonin in the mind of yours. Several of the most typical types of SSRIs include Zoloft and Prozac. Neuropsychological scientific studies show that in both depressed and healthy individuals, the administration of SSRIs resulted in good shifts in the way the brain reacted to emotionally driven info. But additional studies report results that are different, suggesting that only fifty % of individuals respond to SSRIs, along with substantial remission happens under thirty % of the precious time, indicating that innovative antidepressant techniques are necessary. SSRIs are the most widely prescribed antidepressant medicines in the world, however they do not come with no potential side effects. Several of the most common unwanted side effects include drowsiness, sexual problems, trouble sleeping, diarrhea, headaches, dizziness, nervousness, nausea, and blurry vision. SSRIs also interact with specific medicines and also can have harmful effects when put together with some pharmaceutical drugs or perhaps herbal supplements. Be sure you talk with your healthcare provider about possible interactions. And there’s the danger of experiencing withdrawal like symptoms after halting SSRIs. These signs can include a sensation of uneasiness, flu-like symptoms, nausea, dizziness, and much more. Besides SSRIs, another category of medications which are utilized for depression belong in the serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, or perhaps SNRIs. These drugs increase amounts of both serotonin and another neurotransmitter, norepinephrine.

Serotonin Syndrome Causes and Treatment

Serotonin syndrome, which happens to be a kind of toxicity, occurs when high levels of the substance accumulate within the body. This’s often caused by taking two or perhaps more drugs that raise levels or possibly combining medications with some natural supplements. Abuse of illegal drugs, like amphetamines, ecstasy, cocaine, and LSD, can also result in this situation.

The most common syndrome symptoms are anxiety, restlessness, agitation, sweating, and confusion.

In more severe cases, it can also lead to health issues like muscle twitching, muscle stiffness, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, high fever, and seizures.

Research also suggests high serotonin levels increase the risk of osteoporosis due to its effects on our bones.

If you notice these symptoms, consult your healthcare provider and talk to him/her about having your levels tested.

For people dealing with this condition, serotonin syndrome treatment involves withdrawal from the drugs or medications that are causing your chemical levels to be too high.

Some medications are used to block the production of the neurotransmitter, such as Periactin.

Precautions and Drug Interactions

If you are concerned about low or high serotonin levels, consult your healthcare provider.

Before using pills or supplements to correct a deficiency, seek advice from your doctor, especially if you are already taking medications to avoid interactions.

There is not enough research to support the use of these supplements during pregnancy or while nursing, so is sure to ask your healthcare provider before using them.

Final Thoughts

  • The serotonin definition is a neurotransmitter that’s produced within the brain and gut. It sends messages to receptors throughout the brain that allow for several body processes. Serotonin affects many parts of the body and provides for internal chemical balance.
  • Are dopamine and serotonin the same? No — they are both neurotransmitters that play a role in mood and emotions, but they are different. The serotonin molecule alters our emotional reactions to life events, while pleasurable experiences influence dopamine.
  • Normal levels make you feel, well, normal. But levels that are too high or too low can cause adverse effects. When your body produces the right amount of serotonin, you should experience regular sleep, but too much or too little of it can lead to sleep dysfunction.
  • What happens when your levels are too high? Serotonin syndrome, which occurs when too much of the chemical is being produced in the body, can lead to anxiety, restlessness, rapid heart rate, and high fever.
  • For people with low levels, supplements, usually in the form of tryptophan or 5-HTP, may help to improve the deficiency. Research also suggests exercising, getting daily exposure to sunlight, and eating a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet will help to increase levels naturally.