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Serotonin - What does it do?

Updated: Apr 15

Serotonin is a hormone that has many roles, it is known as a mood stabiliser that plays an important part in your feelings of well-being and happiness. It supports bowel movements, sleep, blood clotting, bone health, wound healing and reduces depression. But how and where it is made and how do you help regulate the balance of this hormone for you?

What does Serotonin do?

Serotonin is a hormone, this means it is a chemical messenger that sends messages or information between the brain cells and nerves cells.

How is it made?

Serotonin is made from essential amino acids, particularly from tryptophan. This amino acid also supports nitrogen balance in adults and children and produces niacin, an important chemical for making Serotonin. It is produced in the midline of the brainstem. 90% of serotonin is made in the digestive tract and is important in immunity too.

When is it released?

When your body sends chemical messages it requires neurotransmitters. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter so when messages are being sent this hormone is being released. It is also released when you are nauseous and sends messages for the body to remove toxic food or substances from the body. Serotonin levels are also connected to Oestrogen levels, when oestrogen levels are high so too are serotonin levels.

Symptoms of Serotonin imbalance

When Serotonin levels are low symptoms experienced include anxiety, depression, aggression, impulsive behaviours, irritability, low appetite and poor memory. High levels are associated with restlessness, loss of muscle co-ordination, muscle twitching, rapid heart rate, elevated blood pressure, heavy sweating, dilated pupils and diarrhoea.

What foods boost Serotonin levels?

Foods that are high in the essential amino acid tryptophan are: chicken, eggs, nuts and seeds, milk and oats. Aerobic exercise is another way to boost levels, 30 minutes is recommended.

Being out in the sunlight for 10-15 minutes a day is another was to boost levels. S.A.D (Seasonal Affective Disorder) condition is also linked to low Serotonin and lack of sunlight.

So take some time to play, re-energise and be outside to boost your mood, rejuvenate and support all areas of your health and wellbeing.


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