Serotonin plays important roles in the resolution of mood, sleep, and appetite.
Serotonin is an inhibitory neurotransmitter synthesized by enzymes that act on tryptophan and/or 5-HTP.
Neurotransmitters are divided into two basic categories:
– Excitatory neurotransmitters stimulate the brain and body.
– Inhibitory neurotransmitters calm the brain and body.
Just as levels of individual neurotransmitters are important in maintaining optimum health, so is the proper balance between your excitatory and inhibitory systems.
Serotonin, generally regarded as the “happiness molecule,” contributes to the feelings of calm and well-being that eases depression and anxiety, supports sleep, and decreases appetite.
Serotonin is stored in presynaptic vesicles and released to transmit electrochemical signals across the synapse. Extensive research has been conducted surrounding serotonin and acts as a target for symptoms like low mood, compulsions, anxiousness, and headaches.
Serotonin acts, in most cases, as an inhibitory neurotransmitter and, like GABA, modulates neuron voltage potentials to inhibit glutamate activity and neurotransmitter firing. Serotonin neurons have large numbers of axons and are important in integrating neural circuits. This also provides an explanation for serotonin’s role in so many health concerns.
Serotonin is lower than the reference range. Generally regarded as the happiness molecule, serotonin has calming effects and contributes to the feelings of well-being. Serotonin elevates mood, decreases anxiety, appetite, and libido, improves sleep and memory, eases depression, and helps regulate body temperature. Most of serotonin in the human body is produced in the gastrointestinal tract, where it stimulates gut motility.
Symptoms of low serotonin levels:
– Depression / Low mood
– Sleep difficulties
– Uncontrolled appetite / Carbohydrate cravings
– Hot flashes
When serotonin is low, supplementation with cofactors to promote biosynthesis (e.g. vitamin B6), precursors (tryptophan/5-HTP), L-theanine, and probiotics may be helpful. Additionally, lifestyle modifications, such as regular exposure to bright light, healthy diet, sufficient exercise, and positive self-talk are all effective strategies that result in increased serotonin levels. [L]
Symptoms of high serotonin levels:
– Mental confusion
– Tachycardia (=rapid heartbeat)
– Muscle twitching,
Elevation can be due to SSRI medications (=Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors)
A rare disease called Carcinoid Syndrome also causes serotonin levels to be elevated. [L]
Cofactor support for high serotonin levels:
– copper (with zinc),
– Acetyl Coa,
– How to increase serotonin in the human brain without drugs [L]
– Carcinoid Syndrome [L]
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