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Low serotonin levels or serotonin deficiency causes a broad selection of undesired symptoms and effects in both the brain and the rest of the body. Commonly treated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs, avant-garde science is finding alternative methods to rectify emergent or chronic forms of too low levels of the ‘happy’ chemical. What is less well-known is that most serotonin is produced within the lining of the gut, meaning low serotonin level symptoms are not merely relegated to the brain but encompass various anatomical and physiological symptoms.
The treatment of low serotonin in the brain without drugs is becoming the theme of miscellaneous scientific and clinical studies. With genetic research on the cusp of predicting our susceptibility to measureless maladies, it may soon be possible to prevent low serotonin without curative or therapeutic pharmaceuticals but with natural medicine alone.
What causes low serotonin levels within the brain and body?
The causes of low serotonin relate to various circumstances:
- Lack of precursors necessary for manufacturing the final product
- Failed or unworkable binding and consignment of serotonin to its target terminus-the brain
- Roadblock effect of other molecules at the nerve pathway receptor sites
- Scarcity of the finished product-serotonin
- Marring to the organ or tissue at the end of the neuron network
Low serotonin causes in the gut and the brain are comparable but not exact. We have known of serotonin’s existence since the unveiling of what was called enteramine (today’s serotonin) in the digestive tract. Some say that, had the brain form not been determinated shortly after this eureka moment, we would now know more about the intestinal variant. But research turned towards the brain and cold-shouldered the weightier supply in the gut.
When poring over what causes low serotonin it is imperative, to begin with, the precursor, for without the initial building blocks the body and brain become hog-tied. Stress can inhibit the working of the enzymes that convert tryptophan into serotonin, which is one of the many deductions of why stressfulness provokes depression.
Malabsorption in the gut and other digestive disorders, together with neurodegeneration and brain trauma, are other causes of low serotonin levels which cause low serotonin physical symptoms throughout the body.
For the first time, modern imaging methods have made it possible to use positron emission tomography (PET) scans to visualize what triggers serotonin production. This is good news. The future for low serotonin disorders is bright as these visual portraits show that a happy mood influences serotonin production and that it is not just serotonin that induces positivity, but can be the other way round–positivity can induce serotonin production
The ultimate list of low serotonin symptoms in the human population
Abnormally low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin are associated with typical symptoms which are not easy to differentiate from other pathologies or disorders and are often misunderstood. The effects of low serotonin are broad. Low serotonin levels symptoms such as low serotonin anxiety are partitioned between psychological and physical symptoms.
Psychological symptoms of low serotonin levels:
- Impossibility to fall into dreamland or remain asleep
- Violent or aggressive behavior
- Worriedness, anxiety and nail-biting
- Irritability and being short-tempered or snappy
- Feeling low, maybe depressed, unable to find joy or be exuberant
- Inability to concentrate, flunking exams, bad evaluations at the office
Physical symptoms of low serotonin levels:
- Exhaustion or fatigue, no get-up-and-go
- Low energy levels where lots of time-outs are taken
- Headaches (tension, migraine)
- Digestive disorders (irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, bloating)
- Sweet cravings and subsequent weight gain
- Premenstrual dysmorphic disorder–a disabling type of PMS
- Fibromyalgia-type aches and pains
Fully fledged psychological disorders may develop, under which binge-eating, obsessive-compulsive, social anxiety, panic and post-traumatic stress disorders.
Low serotonin treatments: can I increase serotonin without SSRIs?
The following non-pharmacological low serotonin treatments are proving to be very successful:
Serotonin brain food supplements:
- Tryptophan (levels must overstep other amino acids to prevent fighting to find a slot on the receptor)
- Vitamins B6, B9 and B12
- Cannabidiol (CBD)
- 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) from Griffonia simplicifolia seeds (an African shrub)
- SAM-e (s-adenosyl methionine, or in layman’s terms called ‘Sammy’)
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- L-theanine (an amino acid found in black and green teas but also available as a high-powered supplement)
Serotonin brain food for breakfast, lunch, and supper:
- Eggs (chicken, duck, goose, quail)
- Cheese (mozzarella, parmesan, swiss, gruyere, edam, gouda)
- Tofu and soy-beans
- Sea lion (this Alaskan delicacy has the highest levels of tryptophan of any food type, but is not on every restaurant menu)
- Sesame seeds (also sunflower, chia, pumpkin and squash)
- Spirulina and seaweed
- Atlantic cod
- Mood lightening and paring down of anxiety through conversations with professional psychologists or psychiatrists who help to change a negative mindset into something more positive. We have already seen that serotonin and happiness are dependent on each other and increasing one can accumulate the other.
- Exposure to daylight or specially fabricated daylight bulbs for light fittings.
- Physical exercise preferably outdoors.
What is serotonin syndrome? Is there a serotonin treatment at home?
The treatment of serotonin syndrome should be done in a hospital setting. Serotonin syndrome is usually due to an overdose of SSRIs, or the combination of SSRIs with other therapies, natural or otherwise which seriously increase serotonin levels.
It is not possible to overdose on serotonin stimulating foods or supplements alone as it is the action of serotonin reuptake prevention (SSRIs) that causes this sickness Serotonin syndrome can become a lethal event and must be ministered to under the superintendence of a primary healthcare center. Signs of low serotonin are very different from those of hyperserotonemia (too high levels of serotonin in the blood) and will therefore not be confused.