serotonin

sero

Functions
  • Brain Synchrony: Mood and anger regulation
  • Temperature regulation: affects Thyroid and metabolism
  • Sleep regulation: converted to melatonin
  • Appetite: carbohydrate stimulates production, present in Gastro Intestinal (GI) tract and affects GI motility
  • Pain modulation
  • Vasoconstriction
Food habits and Weight Management
  • Controls rhythm and tiredness – via conversion to melatonin and leads to proper rest and recuperation
  • Controls hunger – low serotonin leads to increased Ghrelin which controls feelings of hunger
  • Low serotonin leads to carbohydrate and salty foods cravings
Hormonal interactions
  • Interacts with Progesterone, Growth Hormone, Pregnenolone, Leptin, Aldosterone
  • Serotonin controls T3 production and TSH release
  • Thyroid hormones determine serotonin levels (low TSH, T4 or T3 leads to low serotonin)
  • Serotonin primes estrogen receptors
Deficiencies
  • Loss of coordinated development affects mind-body connection, causing headaches, backaches, insomnia and depression
  • Anger and aggression
  • Depression and guilt, OCD, Bipolar, Anxiety
  • Migraines, food issues and IBS
  • Tinnitus, Fibromyalgia
  • Intense religious experiences
Excess
  • Self-esteem: shyness, inferiority complex, nervousness, vulnerable to criticism and fear of being disliked, fear of social contact
  • Excess may be caused by estrogen dominance
Symptoms of deficiency
  • Psychological Deficiency:
    • Loss of pleasure in hobbies, interests and favorite activities and loss of enjoyment of life, friendships and relationships
    • Depression characterized by being worried and obsessive, inner negativity and “what if” scenarios that focus on negative outcomes / points of view leading to hopelessness vs calm, serenity and harmony
    • Inner rage, low self-esteem and lack of confidence – hard on self, inner scolding, guilt or shame vs being assertive and having healthy conscience
    • Angry feelings – impatience, irritability, edginess, tantrums vs compassion, empathy
    • False fear and inner paranoia – shyness, anxiety, panic, phobia vs calm confidence (nb thyroid function may be an issue here)
    • Overwhelm and feelings of too many ideas to manage
    • Obsessive or controlling – overly worried about one thing, hypervigilant and critical about others and making them dependants leading to resentment vs broad minded
  • Physical Deficiency:
    • Gut and heart problems – constipation and heart disease (due to anger and fear)
    • Sleep problems – getting to sleep or waking up both with obsessive worries on mind,
    • Pain – TMJ, Fibromyalgia and Migraines as serotonin enhances pain-relieving endorphins (nb thyroid function may be an issue here)
    • Cravings for ice cream, Candy, Cereal and high carb snacks
      • these lead to high blood sugar and hyperinsulemia
      • hyperinsulemia sweeps away all aminos except tryptophan which can cross BBB with ease
      • dairy has tryptophan – thus sugar and dairy such as ice cream or cereal is artificial way to boost tryptophan
    • Alcohol and Marijuana – release serotonin but also inhibit during extended use / intake
Causes of deficiency
  • Inflammation and chronic health issues
  • Gluten sensitivity affects serotonin receptors
  • Insulin surges
  • Low nutrients: B6, Zinc, Magnesium, B12
  • Low protein and sources of tryptophan in diet
  • Excess caffeine and stress
  • Sleep issues – due to melatonin deficiency
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Food and lifestyle modulators
  • Diet factors
    • Carbohydrate rich meals and mushrooms
    • Protein sources rich in tryptophan (TPT):
      • grass fed vs grain fed cattle: grass fed much higher in TPT content
      • turkey, beef, pork, dairy, chicken, eggs, liver
      • nutritional yeast, nuts, seeds, bananas, pumpkin seeds, soy and tofu
      • shrimp, halibut, salmon
      • most sources have higher content of other aminos and these in turn compete for entry to brain
    • Breast fed babies – much better source of TPT that infant formula (book)
    • Dietary fat increases availability of TPT to brain, thus low fat diets increase irritability and anger
    • Diets low in minerals and vitamin enzymes such as vit D, Ca, Mg, and B vits lead to TPT deficiency
    • Caffeine and aspartame promote adrenalin release (aspartame has phenylalanine as ingredient)
  • Stress – uses up serotonin supplies which act to create calm and broad focus (vs narrow and stimulated focus enhanced via stress hormones)
  • SAD – sun exposure stimulates serotonin release: complete sun exposure through eyes and skin at best part of day for time of year
  • Exercise:
    • Muscle repair uses other aminos except TPT so TPT gets easy ride across BBB into brain
    • Oxygen needed for TPT conversion to serotonin, thus oxygenation during aerobic exercise is best (also can help by taking deep breaths when not doing exercise
Herb and supplement modulators 5HTP, St John’s, Wort, SAMe, Inositol

When taking supplements, levels of serotonin should rise back up to normal leading to lack of need for more supplements – therefore, after each bottle, discontinue use to see if symptoms return; if symptoms continue with use, consider thyroid problems

Adapted from:

Braverman, E. (2009). Younger (Thinner) You Diet. New York, N.Y.:Rodale.

Kharrazian, D. (2013). Why Isn’t My Brain Working? Carlsbad, C.A.: Elephant Press

Ross, J. (2002). The Mood Cure. New York, N.Y.: Penguin

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