Serotonin Deficiency Symptoms
Serotonin Deficiency Symptoms and Causes
Serotonin deficiency symptoms develop as a result of the body having too little serotonin. This is an essential chemical which also goes by the name of hydroxytryptamine. This neurotransmitter is responsible for regulating our sleep pattern, helping us manage stress, as well as balancing out emotional fluctuations. Serotonin transmits these commands to nerves located all over the body, but if there is not enough serotonin to deliver these messages, the body ultimately begins to suffer a variety of potentially harmful symptoms.
What are the symptoms of serotonin deficiency syndrome?
Serotonin deficiency symptoms are quite common among the population. In fact, many of the symptoms are shared among other disorders, which can sometimes make this syndrome a little difficult to diagnose. Insomnia is one of the more obvious signs of a serotonin deficiency, and in fact most sleep-related disorders can be linked to low levels of serotonin. Anxiety and panic attacks are also more likely to occur as a result of the inability to properly control emotions and general mood. For the same reason, one may experience irritability or be quick to anger. It is also possible to experience low self esteem, thoughts of suicide, and obsession.
Depression is highly likely to occur as well as a dislike of dark or wintery weather. This is due to a chemical called melatonin. When it becomes dark, the melatonin levels raise while the serotonin levels decrease. When one is already suffering the effects of a serotonin deficiency, the added decrease caused by melatonin fluctuation can be devastating to an individual. The body may also produce a craving for sugar which aids in the absorption of tryptophan—an amino acid used to make serotonin. This is often why many of us crave sweets when we are down.
What causes this deficiency?
Serotonin deficiency is usually traced back to one’s diet. Even a healthy eater can develop a serotonin deficiency if they do not consume foods high in tryptophan. Foods that contain this amino acid include turkey, chicken, tuna, salmon, shrimp, brown rice, and soybeans. But having the right diet isn’t all there is to it. Anything that can hinder the body’s performance could be a possible culprit. Studies have shown that elevated levels of stress could result in a failure to produce less serotonin. This is likely a side effect of the body’s inability to function at peak performance due to high stress.
Serotonin production can also be effected by the lack of exposure to sunlight. We all know that spending too much time in the sun can be bad for the body, but sunlight is also the main way that the human body absorbs Vitamin D. It has been hypothesized that an increase in Vitamin D could indirectly cause a raise in serotonin production. Deficiencies in vitamins and minerals, particularly calcium, and niacin, are also thought to cause serotonin deficiency syndrome.
How can serotonin deficiency symptoms be treated?
The only way to effectively treat a serotonin deficiency disorder is to discover the cause behind it. As mentioned earlier, the most likely cause is failure to consume enough tryptophan through one’s diet. Some have successfully treated symptoms by using light therapy, such as spending time outside or using a sun lamp/box. Certain antipressants, such as Prozac, can help to elevate and regulate serotonin, however an overuse of these products could cause more harm than good. Anyone who suspects that they are suffering from a serotonin deficiency should speak to their doctor to get a formal diagnosis as well as a recommended course of treatment.