What is Serotonin and Why is It Called The Hormone of Happiness?
Serotonin or (5-HT) is a natural chemical in the brain and body that acts as a neurotransmitter and hormone.
He plays many roles in regulating mood, memory, sleep, digestion and more.
Serotonin production is the result of the internal biochemical metabolism or degradation of the amino acid L-tryptophan. The result of this breakdown is 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), which is a direct chemical precursor to serotonin.
Precursor (sometimes used as a precursor) in organic chemistry – a substance, a chemical compound that reacts to produce another chemical compound
Serotonin, made from 5-HTP, is used by the body for a variety of important purposes, including digestive control and mood. Read more about 5-HTP Consumption, Effect, Benefit
Where is Serotonin Made?
Serotonin is produced in both the brain and the gastrointestinal tract.
Approximately 85% of the body’s serotonin is in the gut and platelets in the blood. The remaining supply is located in the central nervous system.
In the gastrointestinal tract, 5-HT is used in part as a peristalsis or inadequate contraction / movement and in the functioning of our digestive systems.
Peristalsis is the rhythmic annular contraction of the smooth muscle of the tubular organ walls, pushing the contents of the organs.
In the central nervous system, 5-HT is used as a neurotransmitter, improving communication between neurons. It is an inhibitory neurochemical property, which means that it helps prevent neurons from over-excitement by stimulating a sense of calm, relaxation and happiness.
The brain needs inhibitory neurotransmitters to balance the effects of excitatory neurotransmission on chemicals such as dopamine, noradrenaline, acetylcholine, and glutamate.
Serotonin is unable to cross the blood-brain barrier if it is ingested or produced elsewhere in the body. Still, a lot of 5-HT is needed for brain function. The 5-HT precursors are L-tryptophan and 5-HTP.
Tryptophan and 5-HTP
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid. It is considered essential because it cannot be synthesized in the body and must be obtained through diet or nutritional supplements. Tryptophan travels from the food or dietary supplement to the liver where it is broken down by the enzyme tryptophan hydroxylase to 5-HTP and other metabolites including niacin (vitamin B3).
5-HTP travels through the bloodstream to the brain, crossing the blood-brain barrier that separates blood from the brain and enters the brain tissue. In the brain, 5-HTP is converted into 5-HT by the glandular gland.
5-HTP is commonly used as a serotonin-raising supplement. Tryptophan supplements are also used, but some people prefer to take 5-HTP as a step to further convert metabolism to 5-HT (which may mean fewer side effects for some people) and often work faster in the body.
Why Does the Human Body Use Serotonin?
As a neurotransmitter, serotonin regulates the intensity of the synaptic signal. 5-HT plays various other important roles affecting both bodily and psychological functioning.
Here’s a partial list of how serotonin works in the body:
- Adjustment of mood, appetite, digestion, social behavior, libido, sleep and memory
- A supporting role in breast milk production
- Used to metabolize bone
- Maintains cardiovascular efficiency
- Helps in liver regeneration
- Necessary for efficient cell division
Serotonin To Reduce Symptoms Of Depression
Cases of depression, anxiety, and various other mental conditions are highly associated with hormone and / or neurotransmitter imbalances. There is no single known cause for depression.
Many factors affect a particular person and can lead to depression. These factors may include:
- Age of person
- General health
- Choosing a diet
- Activity Levels
- Geographic Location
- Other factors ..
In some cases, low levels of serotonin are associated with depression. It is not yet clear whether depression causes a decrease in serotonin levels or if depression is already caused by low serotonin levels.
In any case, low levels of 5-HT are a very common occurrence among individuals with depression.
Because 5-HT cannot be directly supplemented, a study was conducted with 5-HTP as a way to increase serotonin levels in the brain. The Natural Medicines Database has evaluated 5-HTP as a potentially effective dietary supplement in depression. Some studies have suggested that the use of 5-HTP may be similar to some common antidepressant medications.
In one study, one group of patients received 150-400 mg 5-HTP daily and the other group received 20-40 mg fluoxetine (Prozac). The study lasted eight sawith doses of 5-HTP or fluoxetine starting at lower doses and gradually increasing to the highest dose.
At the end of the study, 5-HTP was found to have a similar effect in reducing depressive symptoms as fluoxetine. Other studies have shown similar results and found that 5-HTP may be similar to the improvement in depressive symptoms with fluvoxam (Luvox) or imipramine (tofranil).
Other studies have investigated the use of 5-HTP as adjunctive therapy to other conventional antidepressants. One study showed that 300 mg 5-HTP in combination with 50 mg trisilicontain antidepressant chlorimipramine significantly reduced the symptoms of depression in patients receiving chlorimipramine alone.
More research is needed to elucidate the effects of 5-HTP, reduce the symptoms of depression, and increase serotonin levels in the brain. Currently, 5-HTP is not approved by the FDA as a drug for the prevention or treatment of depression.
How to Increase Serotonin Levels in the Body?
With the prevalence of antidepressants such as MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors) and SSRIs (selective 5-HT reuptake inhibitors), there is a great need for natural methods to increase serotonin. While there are many successful treatments using basic medicines, these medications also have a list of potential side effects.
People are looking for ways to naturally increase their 5-HT activity in the brain. These methods include:
Diet Changes: There are no foods that directly contain serotonin, but there are foods that provide your body with much more. These are foods high in the essential amino acid L-tryptophan. Read the article L-Tryptophan – What It Is ? to find out which foods contain the highest amount of this amino acid.
Increase your activity level: There is no doubt about the effectiveness of exercise as a global health boost.
Exercise has not been shown to increase serotonin levels, but many times it has been shown that exercise improves mood and significantly reduces depression.
In fact, many studies have concluded that physical activity alone is as effective as medication and / or psychotherapy as a treatment for depression. In addition, training with L-tryptophan supplementation has been reported to allow more of this amino acid to cross the blood-brain barrier.
It is caused by exercise-induced insulin release, which breaks down other amino acids but not tryptophan, which means that this important precursor crosses the blood-brain barrier better.
5-HTP Serotonin Supplements: 5-HTP supplements are made from natural sources such as Griffonia simplicifolia from West Africa. When you increase the amount of 5-HTP in your system, the nutrients needed for serotonin synthesis are readily available.
Talk to your doctor about using 5-HTP supplements. Your doctor will be able to determine the best dose and needs for your personal physiology, as well as determine if any side effects or interactions with existing medications or supplements are possible.