Serotonin has many bodily functions and is directly linked to happiness, depression, and anxiety. It is also commonly referred to as the ‘happy chemical’.
This page has everything you would ever want to know about Serotonin. If you want additional details, click on the resources linked below.
What is Serotonin
Serotonin is one of your brain’s neurotransmitters. It is a chemical that helps communicate and carry information throughout your brain and body.
Serotonin, according to MedicineNet, is defined as a neurotransmitter that is involved in the delivery of nerve impulses. It is key to mood regulation, pain perception, gastrointestinal function (including the perception of hunger and satiety), and other physical functions.
The chemical formula of serotonin
The molecular formula of serotonin is C10H12N2O. That is 10 Carbon, 12 Hydrogen, 2 Nitrogen, and 1 oxygen atoms.
Serotonin is one of the key chemicals of the body that contributes to people’s emotional states. With high levels of serotonin in the body, people feel happy, relieved, accomplished, and other positive emotions. With low levels of it, people typically feel sad, anxious, and depressed.
The history of its function dates back to when humans had to hunt and gather for survival. Their body would create serotonin when successful in finding food, which would result in a feeling of accomplishment.
What does serotonin do? What are its benefits?
Studies have shown that the following are benefits of serotonin:
- Positive moods
- Effective blood clotting
- Good bone density
- Enhanced sexual function
- Correct bowel function
- Healthy cell regeneration and division
- And more
Here’s an article explaining how Serotonin affects the body in more depth.
Serotonin and sleep
Serotonin helps control the body’s circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycles). It is the precursor to melatonin, which is one of the chemicals that help you sleep effectively. Disturbances in sleep occur when there are unstable levels of serotonin.
Serotonin and happiness
Serotonin can cause anxiety and depression
Low levels of serotonin can lead to weakened nerve signals in the body, which is one of the most common causes of anxiety and depression.
How to Increase Serotonin
There are natural ways to increase serotonin as well as medically prescribed methods too.
Let’s dive into some ways to increase serotonin:
Serotonin in food
Eating foods that are rich in tryptophan can lead to an increase in serotonin. Research shows that a low-tryptophan diet causes brain serotonin levels to drop.
Serotonin in the gut
It is estimated that 90 percent of the body’s serotonin is produced in the GI tract. So if your body has low levels of serotonin, it is worth examining your gut health. If your gut health is bad, probiotics are worth researching as they can sometimes help.
Serotonin power diet
The serotonin power diet is when you eat a large portion of protein at lunch and no protein at dinner. This helps train your brain to curb your eating.
Antidepressants work by increasing serotonin and are called serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
Serotonin reuptake inhibitor
SSRIs ease depression by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain. Click here to learn more about them.
Serotonin supplements are natural supplements to help increase serotonin levels. Taking a serotonin supplement can be an alternative option to an SSRI. As mentioned before, the majority of serotonin is created in the gut. Supplements like probiotics can help lead to a healthy gut, which can lead to an increase in serotonin.
Serotonin Syndrome is very dangerous and can sometimes lead to death.
What is Serotonin Syndrome?
Serotonin Syndrome is a group of symptoms that can occur with the use of serotonergic medications or drugs. The symptoms can range from mild to severe.
Serotonin Syndrome Symptoms
Symptoms can include agitation or restlessness, heavy sweating, confusion, headache, changes in blood pressure, nausea, loss of muscle control, seizures, high fever, unconsciousness, and more.
Serotonin Syndrome causes
Serotonin Syndrome is typically caused by the abuse of over-the-counter and prescription drugs, especially antidepressants.
Serotonin Syndrome treatment
Milder forms of Serotonin Syndrome usually go away within 24 to 72 hours. However, if you have symptoms, you should stop medications that increase serotonin and take medications to block the effects of the serotonin already in your system. If you experiencing symptoms, you should consult a doctor immediately.