The effects of Serotonin on depression

Most of us who suffer from depression have heard that serotonin is a key component in our mental fitness. It is an important neurotransmitter, or chemical messenger responsible for transmitting information between nerves. It has been referred to body’s own feel good drug. In order to manufacture enough serotonin, we require tryptophan. There is plenty of research to support this. One study fed subjects a diet that lacked tryptophan and noted the effects, which showed just how vital proper levels of serotonin are to a positive human experience.

Subjects with optimal levels of serotonin:

  • were hopeful, optimistic
  • calm
  • good-natured
  • patient
  • reflective and thoughtful
  • loving and caring
  • able to concentrate
  • creative
  • focused
  • able to think things through
  • slept well with good dream recall
  • did not overeat carbs

Subjects with low serotonin on the other hand were:

  • depressed
  • anxious
  • irritable
  • impatient
  • impulsive
  • abusive
  • short attention span
  • abusive
  • blocked, scattered
  • flew off the handle
  • reactive
  • craved sweets and over indulged in high carbs
  • insomnia and low dream recall

There are several lifestyle choices which can impact the way our body handles the serotonin it does have:

  • cigarette smoking can reduce serotonin levels
  • Alcohol abuse can reduce serotonin levels
  • high sugar intake can reduce serotonin levels
  • blood sugar disturbances (Hypoglycemia) can reduces serotonin levels
  • Various nutrient deficiencies can reduce serotonin levels

All of the above dietary and lifestyle choices reduce serotonin levels by  impairing the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin.

We already talked about vitamin deficiencies and I know I can feel a difference in myself with the supplements I have already added, despite the recent demise of my relationship which sent me in somewhat of a tailspin.

If the above research is true.we need to stop doing the things that are squelching our own serotonin production, like smoking and drinking and eating shit. I crave sugar, I drink mountain dew, I would live on all sugar if I could. I smoke, I have never been a drinker, but the cigarettes and the sugar are killing my serotonin levels. The drugs they give us keep the serotonin we have floating around in our system more, they don’t help us create more. If we don’t have enough floating in the first place, why on earth are we recycling stale air?

What we need is to make more serotonin, not keep recycling the weak, stale stuff we have now.


Source: Encylopedia of natural medicine revised second edition, Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno


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