What is the Role of Serotonin?According to research studies, serotonin may play a fundamental role in a variety of brain and mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), phobias, and even epilepsy. Moreover, this substance is produced by the brain and body for appetite and digestion, including bowel movements, bone health, sex, and sleep. Serotonin is also a precursor to melatonin, another important chemical that helps regulate and manage our circadian rhythm, or sleep-and-wake cycle. Abnormal “happy chemical” levels can cause various other health issues. Abnormal serotonin levels have been associated with other health issues, such as heart disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and osteoporosis, a disease that weakens the bones. This essential substance ultimately plays a much bigger role in the central nervous system (CNS) and in the general structure and function of the human body, including the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Serotonin is also associated with cell division, bone metabolism, liver regeneration, and breast milk production. As a neurotransmitter, serotonin sends signals between brain cells or neurons. Serotonin affects the brain and body in several ways.
- Mood: Serotonin affects mood, anxiety, depression, and happiness. Certain drugs and/or medications can considerably increase serotonin.
- Bone density: Scientists have associated excess serotonin in the bones with osteoporosis. But, further research studies are still required.
- Clotting: Serotonin causes blood clots, which are released by blood platelets after an open wound. Then, the essential substance will send signals between the brain cells, or neurons, to cause vasoconstriction, or narrowing of the blood vessels, to reduce blood flow and produce blood clots.
- Nausea: If we consume something harmful, the gut produces serotonin to increase bowel functions and movements, often in diarrhea. When serotonin is produced in the brain after consuming something harmful, it can stimulate a certain region in the brain which causes nausea.
- Bowel function: Serotonin regulates and manages bowel functions and movements. It also helps control our appetite while we are eating.
- Sexual function: Serotonin seems to affect sexual function. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) increase serotonin levels in people with depression, but between 20 and 70 percent of people who take them experience a range of symptoms associated with sexual dysfunction.
Serotonin and Mental HealthSerotonin, also known as the “happy chemical” ultimately helps naturally control your mood. According to a research study in 2007, people with depression as well as other brain and mental health issues generally have abnormal serotonin levels. Serotonin deficiencies have also been associated with anxiety and insomnia. Another research study in 2016 evaluated how a group of mice lacking serotonin autoreceptors inhibited serotonin secretion. Without these autoreceptors, the group of mice had increased serotonin levels. Scientists found that this group of mice also demonstrated less anxiety and depression. It is not yet clear what exactly causes depression and other brain and mental health issues, but scientists believe that it may be associated with an imbalance of neurotransmitters or hormones in the brain and body. Normally, once a neurotransmitter has transmitted its neural impulse is reabsorbed into the body. SSRIs prevent the serotonin from being reabsorbed, leading to higher levels of serotonin in the synapses. In recent research studies, scientists have also found that gut bacteria may help produce serotonin and that most serotonin can actually be found in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Furthermore, scientists believe that most serotonin in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract may stimulate the vagus nerve, the long nerve that connects the gut and brain.
Serotonin, also known as the “happy chemical”, is a substance associated with mood, happiness, and a variety of other structures and functions in the human body. Scientifically referred to as 5-hydroxytryptamine or 5-HT, this essential substance is commonly found in the brain, blood platelets, and gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It ultimately helps to regulate and manage our circadian rhythm, or the human body’s sleep-and-wake cycle. Serotonin also controls appetite, cognitive, autonomic, and motor functions. Most scientists believe that this essential substance is a neurotransmitter while some scientists believe that serotonin is a hormone. In the following article, we will discuss the role of serotonin and its effect on overall brain and mental health. - Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C., C.C.S.T. InsightSerotonin, also known as the “happy chemical”, is a substance associated with mood, happiness, and well-being as well as a variety of other structures and functions in the human body. Scientifically referred to as 5-hydroxytryptamine or 5-HT, this essential substance is commonly found in the brain, blood platelets, and gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Serotonin is another “chemical messenger” that controls mood and movement. It also helps to regulate and manage our circadian rhythm, or the human body’s sleep-and-wake cycle. Serotonin also controls appetite, cognitive, autonomic, and motor functions. Serotonin is produced by a biochemical conversion process in the brain that involves several components of proteins, including tryptophan and its chemical reactor, known as tryptophan hydroxylase. Most scientists believe that this essential substance is a neurotransmitter while some scientists believe that serotonin is a hormone. The “happy chemical”, As previously mentioned above, is produced in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, blood platelets, and brain as well as in the central nervous system (CNS). In the following article, we discussed the role of serotonin and its effect on overall brain and mental health.
The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, and nervous health issues or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health protocols to treat injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. To further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.Curated by Dr. Alex Jimenez References:
- McIntosh, James. Serotonin: Facts, Uses, SSRIs, and Sources. Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 2 Feb. 2018, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/232248.php.
- Konkel, Lindsey. Serotonin: What to Know: Everyday Health. EverydayHealth.com, Everyday Health Media, 15 Aug. 2018, www.everydayhealth.com/serotonin/guide/.
- Scaccia, Annamarya. Serotonin: Functions, Normal Range, Side Effects, and More. Healthline, Healthline Media, 26 Mar. 2019, www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/serotonin.