Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that affects most brain cells 2. Related to numerous functions, including emotions, moods, sleep, memory and appetite, serotonin also affects the muscles, as well as the body's endocrine and cardiovascular systems. When the body is functioning normally, tryptophan, which is an amino acid, converts to 5-hydroxytryptophan, which converts to serotonin. Your doctor can order tests to determine whether or not you have low serotonin levels and can advise you on treatments.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Symptoms and Causes of Low Serotonin
Symptoms of low serotonin levels include:
- negative thinking
- migraine headaches
Causes of low serotonin include
- nutritional deficiencies
- poor diet
- hormone imbalances
- inadequate sunlight
- lack of exercise
- digestive problems
- blood sugar imbalances
- alcohol use
Ways to Boost Serotonin
Foods that may help increase serotonin include:
- baked potato
- sunflower seeds
- pumpkin seeds
Not only is it important to eat the right foods, it is also important to eat them frequently throughout the day.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that affects most brain cells. Causes of low serotonin include nutritional deficiencies, poor diet, hormone imbalances, inadequate sunlight, lack of exercise, stress, digestive problems, infections, inflammation, blood sugar imbalances, smoking, alcohol use.
- Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience: How to Increase Serotonin in the Human Brain Without Drugs
- San Diego State University: Intro to the Brain--Neurotransmitter--What Is a Neurotransmitter?
- University of Maryland Medical Center: 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)--Overview
- Integrative Psychiatry: Serotonin
- Katie Nesling/iStock/Getty Images