What Is Serotonin & How To Naturally Increase Your Levels Part III
This is the final article in a three-part series on serotonin. Check out the others in the series to better understand serotonin, its uses and benefits, and how it differs from dopamine.
In the previous article, we dove into how serotonin affects the body and its association with mental health and depression. This article will more specifically explore the symptoms of serotonin deficiency, what might cause it, and how one might treat it. Of course, always consult your healthcare professional before taking any additional medications.
The Symptoms Of Serotonin Deficiency
As we previously explored, serotonin is not a simple chemical. It is part of a complex system of neurotransmitters and receptors. Because it is tightly wrapped up in so many vital roles in the body, it has been difficult for researchers to pinpoint its effects on the body.
It has also been tricky to determine the exact causes of low serotonin. Due to its connectivity with other systems, low serotonin may also coincide with deficiencies in other areas. The lack of so many chemicals is thought to be the cause of the noticeable symptoms associated with low serotonin.
The most common symptoms of serotonin deficiency include but are not limited to the following:
Other behavioral disorders
Researchers are unsure what causes low serotonin. They are also uncertain whether these symptoms are directly linked to serotonin or a complex of other chemicals. However, they have found that chronic stress and exposure to toxic substances may put you at a greater risk of low serotonin. Another cause may be a lack of sunlight, which is thought to be associated with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Treat Serotonin Deficiency Naturally
While the causes of low serotonin aren’t well documented, there is evidence supporting various ways of increasing serotonin. These generally involve living a healthy life and watching your diet.
You should balance the good and bad bacteria by ensuring you have a balanced diet. Because most serotonin is produced and consumed in the gut, foods that improve gut health are beneficial. Eggs, leafy greens, nuts, and fresh vegetables are all great anti-inflammatories that keep the gut happier.
Regular exercise gets the blood flowing and the body humming and has been proven to have positive effects in virtually all areas of life. It also promotes the production of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, all of which are useful for homeostasis and counter people’s generally sedentary lives.
As mentioned before, a lack of sunlight is associated with low serotonin levels in people with SAD. It’s believed that sunlight triggers the brain to release serotonin into the body, helping regulate your body.
Tryptophan, 5-HTP, & SSRIs
The body uses tryptophan and 5-HTP to produce serotonin. Taking these supplements may aid in the body’s ability to make and utilize serotonin, balancing someone’s mood and body. They can also have side effects, particularly if you take other medications. Always contact your health provider before taking anything new.
The final notable treatment is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). They are antidepressants that help the body use serotonin or provide additional amounts. Common types of SSRIs are Zoloft and Prozac.
While there is evidence for the use of these drugs, they are not globally effective, and some studies have shown their efficacy to be relatively low. They also come with helping of side effects from dizziness to sexual problems to insomnia. Of course, there are places for these drugs, and if they are effective for you, do not hesitate to utilize them. Each body reacts differently, and that should be taken into account.