The Effects of a Serotonin Deficiency
Within the brain is a very important chemical known as serotonin, which regulates sleep, lowers stress, and creates positive mood but when a serotonin deficiency exists, the body responds in a negative way. While this chemical helps balance many functions of the body, these same functions can cause a deficiency. For instance, any of the following could lower chemical levels:
- Prescription medications
- Excessive alcohol and/or caffeine consumption
- Poor sleep
- High stress levels
- Poor diet
- Lack of exercise
- Frequent sun exposure
When there is a serotonin deficiency, the person begins to feel bad, becoming tired, irritable, struggling with focus, and more. The challenge is getting a proper diagnosis. Since the overall sense of depression, anxiety, cognitive thinking, and no interest in daily activities, fatigue, insomnia, and low self-esteem could be associated to many different health conditions, doctors sometimes overlook the possibility of this chemical being too low.
Many studies have been conducted on serotonin deficiency and the one symptom found most often is depression. Depending on the level of deficiency, the person may simply feel neutral or blue but in severe cases, there would be long periods of deep depression. Another common symptom is the feeling of being anxious, which could range from mild to moderate to severe.
For many people with a serotonin deficiency, the doctor would suggest lifestyle changes. However, if the problem were severe, the doctor would recommend specific supplements, or even prescribe certain medications that would boost levels. As the level of this chemical begins to return to normal levels, the entire body becomes balanced, which leads to a feeling of well being.
Remember, this chemical is often referred to as the “mood chemical” in that it is a vital, a transponder that promotes positive thinking. Another cause of this brain chemical becoming too low is variations of genetics. As an example, a baby born with an abnormal serotonergic neuron structure has an increased risk of SIDS. Additionally, research shows that many serial killers had this very deficiency.
To help with a deficiency of this particular brain chemical, a change of diet is imperative. The goal would be to consume certain foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, mushrooms, walnuts, chicken, and turkey, which are rich in sertonergics and vitamin B6. In some instances, changing diet alone is enough to make a significant improvement.
One important note pertaining to serotonin deficiency is a condition that can develop known as “Serotonin Syndrome”. In this case, the person has a high level of this neurotransmitter. If that individual were taking a combination of serotonin reuptake inhibitors with monoamine oxidase inhibitors, overdose becomes a real threat. Doctors typically avoid medication for this conditioning, focusing more on better diet.