Serotonin is a monoamine neurotransmitter that has a wide range of neurological, psychological, cognitive, circulatory and gastrointestinal functions. It plays a vital role in neuro-chemical processes responsible for feelings of happiness and well-being. Serotonin is targeted in many pharmaceutical drugs for the purpose of treating depression, anxiety, vomiting, migraines, psychosis, etc.
One of the main conditions associated with a deficiency of Serotonin is Depression. However, it is also seen in conditions like ADHD, Obesity, Fibromyalgia, etc.
Neurological Functions of Serotonin
– Social Behavior
– Sexual Desire
How Is It Produced
Firstly, Serotonin is produced from an amino acid known as Tryptophan. Tryptophan is converted to 5-HTP which is then further converted into Serotonin. In addition to this, Trytophan requires healthy gut bacteria to be properly metabolized, so consuming foods that are rich in probiotics is also essential. In fact, there is a substantial amount of evidence linking probiotics and gut health to mental health.
Secondly, B-Vitamins also essential for producing neurotransmitters including Serotonin. Serotonin is further converted into melatonin -> The sleep hormone.
Consuming foods rich in these nutrients will help to produce serotonin by providing the raw materials needed.
– Lean Meat
– Organ Meats
Herbs For Serotonin
St. John’s Wort & Licorice Root – both of these herbs inhibit serotonin re-uptake and have been proven to improve the symptoms of conditions related to low serotonin levels, such as Depression. In fact, research has proven that St. John’s Wort is just as effective as standard pharmaceutical Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). However, neither of the above mentioned options have the same or similar side effects as standard SSRIs, making them a promising option.
Talk to an Ayurvedic doctor about the proper dosage of these herbs, including the use of drug carriers and metabolic stimulants to properly metabolize them.
(Always use medicinal herbs under the supervision of a doctor)
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Written by Dr. Nishal R.
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